TENNIS

Rogers Cup: Greek teen Tsitsipas stuns defending champion Zverev, Nadal overcomes Cilic

Tsitsipas is the youngest player to post three top 10 wins at a single tournament since a 19-year-old Rafael Nadal at Monte Carlo in 2006.

Stefanos Tsitsipas saved two match points to beat defending champion Alexander Zverev 3-6, 7-6 (13/11), 6-4 and reach the semi-finals while Rafael Nadal recovered from a slow start, overcoming Marin Cilic 2-6, 6-4, 6-4 as the Spaniard’s chase for a long-sought ATP Masters title on hardcourt heated up on Friday.

The world number one reached the semi-finals in Toronto and will next face Russian Karen Khachanov, who beat Robin Haase 6-3, 6-1.

Nadal last won a title at this level on cement in 2013.

Greek teenager Tsitspas, who turns 20 on Sunday’s final day, defeated his third straight top 10 opponent at the tournament after knocking out Dominic Thiem in the second round and 13-time major winner Novak Djokovic in the third.

Tsitsipas is the youngest player to post three top 10 wins at a single tournament since a 19-year-old Rafael Nadal at Monte Carlo in 2006.

He will next face Wimbledon runner-up Kevin Anderson, who beat Grigor Dimitrov 6-2, 6-2.

“I’m confused now, is this real?,” 27th-ranked Tsitsipas said after completing his prestige hat-trick of upsets.

The Greek rallied from a set and 5-2 down to turn the tables on Zverev, who had been bidding for a fourth Masters 1000 title.

Tsitsipas broke in the ninth game of the second on the way into a tiebreaker, where he calmly converted on his fifth set point after saving two match points for the second-seeded Zverev.

Tsitsipas then salvaged four break points for 2-1 in the third, he traded breaks with the German and saved another trio of break points for a 5-4 lead.

He completed the victory after nearly two and a half hours on Zverev’s sixth double-fault.

“This shows that with dedication and work, dreams do come true,” Tsitsipas said. “I can see that it’s real – it’s happening.

“I don’t know what happened (in the second set) I just broke him (for 4-5), All along I could feel the crowd support, I knew I was still in the match.”

Nadal got caught on the back foot in the first set against Cilic, who took the opener on his fourth chance.

Nadal struck back in the second with a concluding break to square the match before taking victory with a break in the final game on his third match point after more than two hours.

Anderson ousts Dimitrov

Anderson’s sweep past reigning ATP World Tour Finals champion Dimitrov was a rematch of their 2014 quarter-final duel in Canada when Dimitrov claimed one of his six wins against the South African.

“It definitely was a great match today. I felt I played really well right from the beginning,” Anderson said.

“Right from the first point till the last, I felt I was in a really good frame of mind, playing the kind of tennis that I knew I wanted to be playing and needed to be playing.

“Getting off the court pretty comfortably definitely is a really good feeling.”

Anderson hadn’t defeated the Bulgarian for six years but he was in command throughout on Friday to reach his second career Masters 1000 semi-final having also made the last-four on clay in Madrid in May.

The big South African rolled into the semis in just 66 minutes, breaking four times while managing only a modest 11 aces.

“There’s not much to say, he came out, played his game and everything was going his way,” Dimitrov said. “He did everything well – simple as that.

“There was not much for me to do. I tried as hard as I can, but I couldn’t get into a rally.”

Dimitrov will now head for the Cincinnati Masters where he is the defending champion. Tsitsipas won his only previous match over Anderson, beating him on clay last May in Estoril.

With inputs from AFP

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Swara Bhasker: Sharp objects has to be on the radar of every woman who is tired of being “nice”

The actress weighs in on what she loves about the show.

This article has been written by award-winning actor Swara Bhasker.

All women growing up in India, South Asia, or anywhere in the world frankly; will remember in some form or the other that gentle girlhood admonishing, “Nice girls don’t do that.” I kept recalling that gently reasoned reproach as I watched Sharp Objects (you can catch it on Hotstar Premium). Adapted from the author of Gone Girl, Gillian Flynn’s debut novel Sharp Objects has been directed by Jean-Marc Vallée, who has my heart since he gave us Big Little Lies. It stars the multiple-Oscar nominee Amy Adams, who delivers a searing performance as Camille Preaker; and Patricia Clarkson, who is magnetic as the dominating and dark Adora Crellin. As an actress myself, it felt great to watch a show driven by its female performers.

The series is woven around a troubled, alcohol-dependent, self-harming, female journalist Camille (single and in her thirties incidentally) who returns to the small town of her birth and childhood, Wind Gap, Missouri, to report on two similarly gruesome murders of teenage girls. While the series is a murder mystery, it equally delves into the psychology, not just of the principal characters, but also of the town, and thus a culture as a whole.

There is a lot that impresses in Sharp Objects — the manner in which the storytelling gently unwraps a plot that is dark, disturbing and shocking, the stellar and crafty control that Jean-Marc Vallée exercises on his narrative, the cinematography that is fluid and still manages to suggest that something sinister lurks within Wind Gap, the editing which keeps this narrative languid yet sharp and consistently evokes a haunting sensation.

Sharp Objects is also liberating (apart from its positive performance on Bechdel parameters) as content — for female actors and for audiences in giving us female centric and female driven shows that do not bear the burden of providing either role-models or even uplifting messages. 

Instead, it presents a world where women are dangerous and dysfunctional but very real — a world where women are neither pure victims, nor pure aggressors. A world where they occupy the grey areas, complex and contradictory as agents in a power play, in which they control some reigns too.

But to me personally, and perhaps to many young women viewers across the world, what makes Sharp Objects particularly impactful, perhaps almost poignant, is the manner in which it unravels the whole idea, the culture, the entire psychology of that childhood admonishment “Nice girls don’t do that.” Sharp Objects explores the sinister and dark possibilities of what the corollary of that thinking could be.

“Nice girls don’t do that.”

“Who does?”

“Bad girls.”

“So I’m a bad girl.”

“You shouldn’t be a bad girl.”

“Why not?”

“Bad girls get in trouble.”

“What trouble? What happens to bad girls?”

“Bad things.”

“What bad things?”

“Very bad things.”

“How bad?”

“Terrible!!!”

“Like what?”

“Like….”

A point the show makes early on is that both the victims of the introductory brutal murders were not your typically nice girly-girls. Camille, the traumatised protagonist carrying a burden from her past was herself not a nice girl. Amma, her deceptive half-sister manipulates the nice girl act to defy her controlling mother. But perhaps the most incisive critique on the whole ‘Be a nice girl’ culture, in fact the whole ‘nice’ culture — nice folks, nice manners, nice homes, nice towns — comes in the form of Adora’s character and the manner in which beneath the whole veneer of nice, a whole town is complicit in damning secrets and not-so-nice acts. At one point early on in the show, Adora tells her firstborn Camille, with whom she has a strained relationship (to put it mildly), “I just want things to be nice with us but maybe I don’t know how..” Interestingly it is this very notion of ‘nice’ that becomes the most oppressive and deceptive experience of young Camille, and later Amma’s growing years.

This ‘Culture of Nice’ is in fact the pervasive ‘Culture of Silence’ that women all over the world, particularly in India, are all too familiar with. 

It takes different forms, but always towards the same goal — to silence the not-so-nice details of what the experiences; sometimes intimate experiences of women might be. This Culture of Silence is propagated from the child’s earliest experience of being parented by society in general. Amongst the values that girls receive in our early years — apart from those of being obedient, dutiful, respectful, homely — we also receive the twin headed Chimera in the form of shame and guilt.

“Have some shame!”

“Oh for shame!”

“Shameless!”

“Shameful!”

“Ashamed.”

“Do not bring shame upon…”

Different phrases in different languages, but always with the same implication. Shameful things happen to girls who are not nice and that brings ‘shame’ on the family or everyone associated with the girl. And nice folks do not talk about these things. Nice folks go on as if nothing has happened.

It is this culture of silence that women across the world today, are calling out in many different ways. Whether it is the #MeToo movement or a show like Sharp Objects; or on a lighter and happier note, even a film like Veere Di Wedding punctures this culture of silence, quite simply by refusing to be silenced and saying the not-nice things, or depicting the so called ‘unspeakable’ things that could happen to girls. By talking about the unspeakable, you rob it of the power to shame you; you disallow the ‘Culture of Nice’ to erase your experience. You stand up for yourself and you build your own identity.

And this to me is the most liberating aspect of being an actor, and even just a girl at a time when shows like Sharp Objects and Big Little Lies (another great show on Hotstar Premium), and films like Veere Di Wedding and Anaarkali Of Aarah are being made.

The next time I hear someone say, “Nice girls don’t do that!”, I know what I’m going to say — I don’t give a shit about nice. I’m just a girl! And that’s okay!

Swara is a an award winning actor of the Hindi film industry. Her last few films, including Veere Di Wedding, Anaarkali of Aaraah and Nil Battey Sannata have earned her both critical and commercial success. Swara is an occasional writer of articles and opinion pieces. The occasions are frequent :).

Watch the trailer of Sharp Objects here:

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This article was published by the Scroll marketing team with Swara Bhasker on behalf of Hotstar Premium and not by the Scroll editorial team.