2014/07/30

Rafael Nadal Routs Andy Murray to Reach Ninth Roland Garros Final

 

 

(June 6, 2014) Rafael Nadal will play in the French Open title for the ninth time after crushing Andy Murray 6-3, 6-2, 6-1 on Friday. The win extends his record streak to 34 straight wins at Roland Garros. He is now 65-1 in Paris.

The world No. 1 and eight-time champion moved out to a 3-0 lead to begin the match and never had to look back.

“It was a bad, bad day,” Murray said.

Nadal will face Novak Djokovic in Sunday’s final. Djokovic beat Ernests Gulbis 6-3, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3.

The No. 1 ranking will be at stake in the final, with the winner claiming the top spot.

“It’s unbelievable to be in [a ninth] final,” Nadal said. “It’s very emotional for me. When I was a kid, to come here any day and play. Now, 10 years coming here. It’s something I’ll never forget in my life.”

It will be Nadal’s 20 Grand Slam final, second on the all-time list to Roger Federer’s 24.

More to follow…

 

Novak Djokovic Reaches Second French Open Final

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Novak Djokovic Reaches Second French Open Final

 

(June 6, 2014) No. 2 Novak Djokovic advanced to his second French Open final on Friday defeating 18th seed Ernests Gulbis 6-3, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3. For the 27-year-old Djokovic it will be his 13th major tournament final appearance. Djokovic has won 6 Grand Slam titles and is hoping to complete a career Grand Slam, should he capture the Roland Garros title. Djokovic lost in the 2012 final to Rafael Nadal.

In the opening set in the third game, Djokovic dug out of 15-40 and saved two break points to hold for 2-2. The critical game in the first set came in the next game as Djokovic needed four break point chances, but broke the Latvian’s serve for 3-2. Djokovic went on to win the next three games to close out the first set 6-3.

In the second set, both men held to form until the eight game when a Gulbis double fault gave Djokovic a break point chance which he took for a 5-3 lead when Gulbis sent a forehand shot long. Djokovic took the set 6-3 on his third set point.

In the third set Djokovic saved break points in the second and sixth games, but in the eighth game, Gulbis, making his first appearance in a major semifinal, finally took advantage to take a 5-3 lead to serve for the set. During the set Gulbis appeared to be stretching his back as though it were bothering him. The 18th seed captured the third set with an ace to send the match into a fourth set.

Djokovic broke Gulbis’ serve to go up 2-0 but is broken back at 15 to get back on serve. In frustration, Djokovic broke his racquet.

The set stayed even until the eighth game, when the Serbian broke the Latvian’s serve to go up 5-3. Djokovic closed the match out on his serve 6-3, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3.

“First two sets went well,” Djokovic said.  “I thought I played well, very solid, putting a lot of returns back in the court, serving at the high percentage.”
“Then suddenly midway through the third set started to feel physically fatigued a little bit, and you could feel that.  You could see that both me and him, we struggled on the court.

“It happens, you know.  It happens in the tournament, and important thing for me is that I realize what’s going on.  It’s nothing serious.  I’m going to have now two days of recovery and get ready for the final.”

“Difference in the match was, first of all, I’m not used to play these kind of big matches,” Gulbis said.  “It’s just normal I felt extra nervous and extra tense.
“I can take one positive side out of the match:  that I could still win a third set feeling that nervous and that extra tired, and I saw that he was feeling the same.  So it’s not only me.
“That’s one thing what I take for the future.  I take it out of this match.  Was a good thing.”

Djokovic will play  8-time champion Rafael Nadal in Sunday’s final.

More to follow…

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Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray Beat the Darkness to Move into Roland Garros Semifinal

Rafael Nadal

(June 4, 2014) Rafael Nadal  and Andy Murray booked their spots in the French Open semifinals on Wednesday.

Nadal rebounded from a first set loss to dismantle fellow Spaniard Davis Ferrer 4-6, 6-4, 6-0, 6-1, wining 13 out of the last 14 games for the win.

No. 7 Andy Murray beat not only 23rd seed Gael Monfils of France and the French crowd, but the sunset in a topsy-turvy match 6-4, 6-1, 4-6, 1-6, 6-0 in three hours and 15 minutes, which ended in almost complete darkness.

For Murray this will be his second time in the final four of the French Open when He plays Nadal on Friday. Murray lost to Nadal in the semis in 2011.

Murray dominated the first two sets and then the tide turned on in this cast the wind blew.

“I could see that the wind was not blowing as hard as it used to in the two first sets,” Monfils said of his comeback. “In the second set I was thinking, ‘Well, I hope the wind is gonna calm down.’ This is what happened.”

Monfils’ confidence grew as well as his crown support in the third and fourth sets. The 27-year-old Scot Murray totally dominated the fifth set, keep his opponent to a mere 6 points won in the final set.

“I didn’t win the first game when I was in a position to win it, and then I rushed it,” admitted the Frenchman to media. “I tried my forehand and my shots were out, and then it went very fast.”

For Rafael Nadal, his road to the final 8 was an easy one, not facing one seeded player. Ferrer started out playing aggressively, but came up short on drive and shot execution.

After dropping the first set, the 8-time French Open winner’s game went into overdrive, winning 18 of the next 23 games on the second show court, Suzanne Lenglen before darkness could fall.

“I am rather happy to have been able to turn the situation around,” said Nadal in his post-match interview. “I managed to pull through. Even though it was complicated, I managed to find solutions during the second set.”

“Today I was not good enough for this match,” said Ferrer. “I lost my focus. I was too slow, and I think I didn’t play the game of a Top 10. This is why I’m sad. It’s my attitude, my behavior on the court.”

Nadal will play Andy Murray for a place in the final. Nadal holds a 14-5 head-to-head record against the Scot.

“He can play very well on all the surfaces,” said Nadal in press. “It’s nothing new that he plays very well on clay. It’s not the first time he’s in semi-finals of Roland Garros. He’s a candidate to win Roland Garros.”

 

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Rafael Nadal Sails into Quarterfinals

 

(June 2, 2014) World No. 1 Rafael Nadal will face Spanish countryman David Ferrer in the quarterfinals of the French Open. Nadal had an easy 6-1, 6-2, 6-1 win over Dusan Lajovic. The last time Nadal and Ferrer played each other, Ferrer upset Nadal in the quarterfinals of the Monte Carlo Masters.

“I think that I am playing a little bit better than when I was playing against him in Monte-Carlo, but I think he’s playing great, too,” said Nadal to press. “He played three weeks in a row at a very high level. In Madrid he played great, in Rome he played great, and he’s playing great here.

“He’s coming to the match with confidence and with confidence that he beat me the last time. It will be a tough one.  I know how to play against him and to have chances to win I need to play very well. That’s what I’m going to try. If not, it will be impossible.”

Ferrer said, “Rafael (Nadal) is always the favorite.”

“Tactically, I will have to be perfect,” Ferrer said to have a chance. “I hope that I will instill some doubts in Rafa’s mind, but if we play at our best level, both of us, he will be a better player.”

Nadal’s win on Monday gave him his 696th victory of his career and it also gave Nadal his 32nd straight match at Roland Garros, breaking his own record.
The other quarterfinals will feature No. 7 Andy Murray against Gael Monfils. Ernests Gulbis versus Tomas Berdych and Novak Djokovic faces Milos Raonic.

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Prince Salutes the “King of Clay”

(June 2, 2014) Award-winning recording artist Prince was in attendance at Roland Garros on Monday to watch “King of Clay.” Rafael Nadal win his 32nd straight match in Paris, breaking his own record. Nadal destroyed Dusan Lajovic 6-1, 6-2, 6-1 to move into the quarterfinals where he’ll face fellow Spaniard David Ferrer.

Prince, winner of multiple Grammys, MTV Music Awards and an Oscar for the score of  “Purple Rain,” was seated in the back of the Presidential box of Centre Court, Philippe Chatrier holding a shiny cane.

Prince stayed until the end of the match and was greeted with applause from spectators and he left the stadium.

Prince gave a concert on Sunday in Paris at Zenith de Paris. Prince will play Berlin on Tuesday at the Temperdrom.

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Rafael Nadal Extends Win Streak at French Open to 31

Nadal

(May 31, 2014) Rafael Nadal has equaled his own record at the French Open. The world No. 1 now has a second 31-match winning streak at the clay court major event. Nadal is into the Roland Garros round of 16 with a 6-2, 7-5, 6-2 win over No. 65 Leonardo Mayer.

His last win streak at Roland Garros was snapped in 2009 by Robin Soderling in the round of 16, his only loss in Paris. The Spaniard will try to extend his streak to 32 when he takes on Serbian Dusan Lajovic in the fourth round.

Lajovic beat Jack Sock of the United States 6-4, 7-5, 6-3.

Nadal admitted that he has had a back problem. “Yes, I felt a little bit my back, so that’s why I slow down a little bit the serve,” he said in press. “I felt a little bit from the beginning. In the second match I was not serving that fast, too.”

“I had the problem in Australia. It’s real. That’s the real thing. But hopefully not. Hopefully not. But, you know, during my career I had few problems, so always can happen things. Hopefully will not be this case.”

Nadal leads the men’s tour with 37-6 match record. He is seeking his 9th French open title.

In other men’s matches, Gael Monfils had his hometown crowd behind him when he rallied for a 5-7, 6-2, 6-4, 0-6, 6-2 win over Fabio Fognini to reach the round of 16 for fifth time.

Guillermo Garcia-Lopez held off a comeback attempt by Donald Young to win 6-2, 6-4, 2-6, 6-7 (4), 6-4.

Two matches were suspended due to darkness – No. 7 Andy Murray and  Philipp Kohlschreiber was called at 7-all in the fifth set, while Fernando Verdasco was leading Richard Gasquet 6-3, 6-2, 2-2.

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Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray Move into Third Round of French Open

 

 

(May 29, 2014) Four-time defending champion Rafael Nadal put down one of the up-and-coming young guns of the men’s tour Dominic Thiem of Austria 6-2, 6-2, 6-3 on Thursday. The victory ups the world No. 1′s record at the French Open to 61-1, the lone loss coming in 2009.

At times, Thiem displayed his promise with all out shots, but Nadal’s stability and  experience was too much for the 20-year-old.

“It was a dangerous match, dangerous opponent today,” Nadal said to reporters “I am happy with the way I resisted. When I had to play long points I did well. When I had to attack and move him, I think I did well.”

Nadal emphasized that his young opponent will have chances in the furture at the major tournaments.

Nadal is trying to become the first man to win five straight French Open titles. He has won the tournament 8 times.

Fifth seeded David Ferrer of Spain, Seventh seeded Scotland’s Andy Murray, and 12th seeded Richard Gasquet of France also advanced to the third round  of Roland Garros in straight sets.

Andy Murray overpowered Australian Marinko Matosevic 6-3, 6-1, 6-3.

“It was a good serving performance today, especially when I was down in games,” Murray said. “In the game I got broken right at the end, it was not down to my serving, really. I just missed a few other shots. I was just trying to make sure that my intensity was there every moment, especially at the beginning of the sets. I managed to get ahead early in all of them, and that helped.”

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“Chatrier-gate” and Rain-Delay Chats in Notes and Quotes for Day 2 of the French Open

ext stade Roland Garros

(May 25, 2014) Taking a quick look at some of the off-beat stories on Day 2 at Roland Garros.

Chatrier-gate?

There was an uproar by many in the tennis world when on Sunday, it was announced that Rafael Nadal the 4-time defending champion and 8-time French Open winner was assigned to the second show court Suzanne Lenglen and not the primary show court Philippe Chatrier.

 

A tweet from Nadal’s management team:

 

 

When asked about this after he won his first round match on Monday, Nadal said:

“Doesn’t really matter a lot.  Always playing Roland Garros is a pleasure for me, is a really honor, and is a special feeling.  So all the memories at this place give me are unforgettable. And doesn’t matter if it’s Chatrier or Lenglen or another court, be around here in Roland Garros always gonna be great.  And I started in Lenglen this year, is a great court. I am not sure, but probably next one I gonna play in Chatrier.  That’s it.”

 

Rain-Delay amusement

In the second rain delay of the Novak Djokovic match in the second set, Djokovic went into showman mode by making funny faces at the TV camera and inviting a ball boy who was holding his umbrella to sit beside him on the bench to chat. Djokovic let the ball boy hold his racquet and gave him a bottle of Perrier water, while the Serb had a sports drink. A few minutes later the rain delay ended and they shook hands hands to end their chat.

“We had a nice chat,” Djokovic said. He’s a tennis player, so I asked him how long he’s playing, and how he’s enjoying his time as a ball kid. It was a nice, fun time, something unusual for the Grand Slams.”

 

 

Racquet Relationship

Q.  This is not strictly related to Roland Garros, but how would you describe your relationship with your racquet?
RAFAEL NADAL:  With my racquet?

Q.  Yes.  How do you feel with it?  And what does it represent with you?
RAFAEL NADAL:  I know my racquet since a long time (smiling).  No, that’s the best thing that I can say about my racquet is for some reason I am playing with this one.

It’s because I feel the racquet give me what I need for my game and is long, long time ago that I am playing with Babolat, since the age of 10 or 11, I don’t remember.  Always Babolat did the best possible for me, trying to help me in what I really need.

I think is great to be part of a great company of Babolat and a great company in the world of tennis.  I have a great relationship with them, and that makes the things a little bit easier.

 

Journalist Cogratulates player when he lost

Seems a reporter was misinformed about whether Nicolas Mahut won or lost his match at the French Open on Monday just before Mahut’s post-match news conference.

Here is the first portion of the official transcript:

Mahut

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Rafael Nadal Pummels Robby Ginepri in Paris First Round

 

(May 26, 2014) It was an easy day at the office for 8-time French Open champion Rafael Nadal who destroyed U. S. wild card world No. 279 Robby Ginepri 6-0, 6-3, 6-0.

I think I played after the first game that was not good, I played a solid first set,” the Spaniard said.  I start first six games of the second I didn’t play well, and he had a terrible game with the 3 All, a lot of mistakes.  After that I think I started to play a little bit better again.
“So in the third I finished the match playing not that good, so it was a solid start, happy for that.”

“A tough pill to swallow for sure,” 31-year-old Ginepri said of the loss.

“Always wanted to play him on clay and see how good he is. He showed me a lesson today. It was fun out there today, even though the scoreline didn’t really reflect it.”

The world No. 1 whose record at Roland Garros is now 60-1, has a record 8 Paris titles but is looking to become the first man to win five times in a row.

There was some controversy with Nadal’s court assignment for Monday. Instead of the 4-time defending champion opening his defense on the center court Phillipe Chatrier, he was placed on the second show court Suzanne Lenglen which raised eyebrows.

“Doesn’t really matter a lot,” the 27-year-old said.  “Always playing Roland Garros is a pleasure for me, is a really honor, and is a special feeling.  So all the memories at this place give me are unforgettable.
“And doesn’t matter if it’s Chatrier or Lenglen or another court, be around here in Roland Garros always gonna be great.  And I started in Lenglen this year, is a great court.

“I am not sure, but probably next one I gonna play in Chatrier.  That’s it.”

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Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams Capture Rome Titles

 

 

(May 18, 2014) Novak Djokovic stretched his win streak over No. 1 Rafael Nadal to four in a row when he came back to beat the seven-time Rome champion 4-6, 6-3, 6-3 to claim his third Italian Open on Sunday. Top women’s tennis player Serena Williams beat an injured Sara Errani in front of her home crowd 6-3, 6-0 to win her third Italian Open championship.

For No. 2 Djokovic who sat out last week’s Madrid Open due to a wrist injury, the Serbian had more than tennis on his mind during his battle with Nadal as dozens have died in the Balkans due to severe floods.

The 26-year-old, who drew a heart on the court in the clay with his racquet after his win, dedicated his victory to flood-hit Serbia.

“This heart on the court is for you,” Djokovic said on court. “It’s also a special dedication to my country, which is suffering a lot right now. My heart is with them.”

For Nadal who was pushed to three sets in all but one of his matches this week in Rome, he said: “It was a difficult week. Too many hours on the court.”

“I felt that Novak was pushing me and has a great talent to play inside the lines. I think this week is important for me. I have won 600 points. I was able to play in another final here. I was able to compete well against one of the best players of the moment. I arrive to Roland Garros now more encouraged that what I did a few weeks ago.”

The Spaniard hit 27 errors with only 15 winners against Djokovic. For the first time, 8-time Nadal enters Roland Garros, which begins next Sunday, with three losses on clay this season and just one European clay court title (Madrid). Nadal is 59-1 at the French Open.Djokovic is seeking his first French Open title. He was a finalist in 2012.

“It’s been a great week considering where I’ve been a few weeks ago with the wrist injury,” Djokovic said. Luckily for me, I played with no pain and increased the level of tennis as the week went on. I’ve had some tough matches. Four out of five matches were three-setters and I had to come back from one set down yesterday against Raonic and today again. That gives me a lot of confidence. Winning against Rafa in the final of a big tournament on clay, his preferred surface, is definitely a confidence booster.”

Djokovic takes home his 19th ATP Masters Series title.

Serena Williams Jumped out to a 3-0 lead and with a 5-3 lead, Errani sustained a left thigh injury and had to go off the court to get treatment. After Errani came back on the court, it was obvious that her movement was hampered. Williams who has been dealing a through injury herself last week when she pulled out of Madrid, reeled off the next 7 games for the title.

Speaking to the Rome crowd in Italian, Williams said, “I’m also sorry for Sara today. She really played great all week.”

“I’m sorry. You were unbelievable all week,” said Errani to the fans during the trophy presentation. “I tried to do my best and stayed on the court only for you.”

“It’s crazy for me that I got to the final this year,” Errani said through tears. “I never expected to manage to play such good tennis.”

“Sara played really well in the first set,” Williams added. “She was doing everything right and I could tell she had obviously improved since our last meeting in Paris last year,” Williams continued. It was unfortunate she got injured in the last game of the set, but overall I thought she was playing really well out there.”

For Williams it was her 60 title of the 32-year-old American veteran’s career. She now ranks 6th overall behind Martina Navratilova holds the record with 167 singles titles.

“My game gets better with age,” Williams said.

Williams will be going after her third French Open title when the Tournament begins next Sunday.

 

INTERNAZIONALI BNL D’ITALIA
Rome, Italy
May 12-18, 2014
Red Clay/Outdoors

Results – Sunday, May 18, 2014
WTA Singles – Final
(1) Serena Williams (USA) d. (10) Sara Errani (ITA) 63 60

WTA Doubles – Final
(4) Peschke/Srebotnik (CZE/SLO) d. (2) Errani/Vinci (ITA/ITA) 40 ret. (Errani: left hip muscle strain)

ATP Singles – Final
[2] N Djokovic (SRB) d [1] R Nadal (ESP) 46 63 63

ATP Doubles – Final

[6] D Nestor (CAN) / N Zimonjic (SRB) d R Haase (NED) / F Lopez (ESP) 64 76(2)

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