February 14, 2016

Rafael Nadal Reaches ATP World Tour Semifinals with Dominant Victory over Andy Murray

 

(November 18, 2015) LONDON, UK – Despite a promising start for the Andy Murray with an immediate break, any signs of nerves from either player was eradicated once Rafael Nadal broke back, and then proceeded to take charge on Day four of the ATP World Tour Finals.

 

In a slightly more competitive first set, the pair stayed toe-to-toe with each other, but it was always the Spaniard who was hustling more, while Murray at times looked very bothered about everything.

 

Not even giving himself a haircut could change Murray’s momentum in the match. The Brit gave himself a little trim during a changeover in the first set.

“I had some hair in my eye, and I just wanted to get rid of it,” said Murray. “That literally took two seconds. That was it.”

 

The non-stop commentary to himself, his team, and engagement with the umpire all served to distract him from the fact that Nadal was very much in control of the set.

 

With a poor first serve percentage in the first set, things continued to slip away from the Brit rapidly, as nothing seemed to work. The odd occasions he did try to come forward did yield some hope, but it just was not consistent enough and Nadal rightly punished him royally for it soundly defeating Murray 6-4, 6-1, clinching the second spot in the semifinals.

 

He admitted: “He was hitting the ball extremely well from the back of the court, but I didn’t really help myself. I served poorly at the end of the first set and all through the second. That’s not going to be good enough against him when he’s playing that well.”

 

It leaves Murray with a dilemma, as all depends on the outcome of the night match against Stan Wawrinka. The Swiss had been listless against Nadal, barely trying at times, with a shocking amount of errors leaking from every point on his racquet, it could make for an entertaining encounter between Wawrinka and Murray on Friday as they make their last bids for semifinal place.

 

Wawrinka defeated David Ferrer 7-5, 6-2 in the night session, rallying from 2-5 down in the first set. Nadal qualified for the semifinals when Wawrinka claimed the first set.

 

In all honestly Nadal would look to be coasting towards a 3-0 lead at the head of Group Ilie Nastase and based on Ferrer’s abilities and his having pushed Murray to two tight sets in the opener, it would look to be a straight fight between the elder Spaniard and Murray for the No. 2 spot in the group, earning most likely a semifinal berth against Roger Federer.

 

He assessed his performance for the media after the match: “It’s an important victory because it puts me in a good position to try to be in the semi-finals, and at the same time I have a big day against a great player on a tough surface.”

 

Play continues with the final group stages for Group Stan Smith with the opening doubles matches starting at 12pm GMT

Share

Roger Federer Stops Novak Djokovic’s Winning Streak at ATP World Tour Finals

(November 17, 2015) LONDON, UK – The World No. 3 Roger Federer became the first player to book his place in the semifinals of the ATP World Tour Finals as he stopped the three-time defending champion and World No. 1 Novak Djokovic 7-5, 6-2 in the evening session at the O2 Arena.

 

While everyone expected another three-setter, as rallies clocked over 20 shots, there was nothing between them until a lapse from the defending champion to hand Federer the break for the first set.

 

Surrendering an early break in the second set to the Serbian gave fans hope that a comeback was on the cards, but an immediate break back, and two others to boot, pushed Djokovic down the table, and gave Federer his semi-final berth.

 

Not even a bold challenge on the second match point could save Djokovic, who now faces Berdych on the verge of a 0-3 drubbing in the group stages when they reconvene on Thursday.

 

Djokovic said: “The court is playing a little bit slower than maybe US Open or Cincinnati, the last couple times we played against each other. I think that’s where he felt maybe he can spin the ball and wait for a shorter ball from my side and come in, which he did. He tactically played well.”

 

Even Federer was not expecting the win, even allowing for how competitive he is.

 

“I wouldn’t have picked it maybe before the tournament, you know, just because of his really good record on the indoors, the year he’s had, especially with the run he’s been on. I focused more on beating (Tomas) Berdych and (Kei) Nishikori and let’s see what happens against Novak.”

 

The victory by the Swiss halted a number of the Serbian’s streaks – 38 indoor match wins, 23 overall match wins and 15 straight victories at the year-end championships.

 

Federer has taken back the lead in his head-to-head record against Djokovic at 22-21.

 

Kei Nishikori

Kei Nishikori

The day session featured the first three-set singles match of the event when No. 8 Kei Nishikori defeated No. 6 Tomas Berdych 7-5, 3-6, 6-3.

 

Ironically a match with the two players yet to win a round robin match in Group Stan Smith turned out to be one of the most entertaining Singles matches after a couple of says of straight-forward wins.

 

Both Berdych and Nishikori were searching for their first wins of the tournament, and with the prospect facing them of Novak Djokovic or Roger Federer respectively, a win was absolutely vital.

 

Certainly the first set was even, with perhaps Nishikori playing a bit more aggressively, nibbling away at the Berdych service game until he was finally rewarded with a timely break at the end of the first set.

 

It actually looked as though that had broken Berdych’s spirit as he quickly succumbed to another break at the start of the second set, but just as fast picked up momentum after a sloppy game from Nishikori allowed the Czech back in.

 

Into the first three-set match of the tournament in the Singles, and the pair were evenly matched in the final set, but once more it was Nishikori who was able to make good on his chances for a break point, getting his much needed win on the board.

 

The Japanese player admitted that everything had been working far better than in his opener against Novak Djokovic.

 

He said: “It was much better than first match. My serve went in much better than first match. Had a more good percentage for my first serve. Strokes, too. I thought I was being very aggressive. These courts are really slow, have more time to step in. I thought there were many good shots for me. I mean, I had a bad game in second set at 2-1, and after that he started playing better. That was kind of my fault that I give him little bit chance to come back for the match. Third set I tried to stay there all the time, more consistency, less unforced errors for me. Very happy with my game today.”

 

 

Play begins on Day 4 at 12pm GMT.

Share

ATP World Tour Finals – Andy Murray a Victory Away From Securing Year-End No. 2

(November 15, 2015) LONDON, UK – On day two of the ATP World Tour Finals, the question was whether Andy Murray would make that transition from his clay court preparations to the indoor hard court against an opponent that can be a large thorn in anyone’s side.

 

Facing David Ferrer for the second time in as many tournaments, it was clear that the Spaniard was up for making this a grueling encounter, putting Murray under pressure immediately.

 

Chances came and went for Murray later in the set, as he squandered three opportunities to gain an advantage, instead opting for breaking Ferrer for the set.

 

It is never as clear cut as that with this pair, as Ferrer took off at a sprint at the start of the second set, breaking the Brit, and consolidating easily. Murray was not easily put away though, breaking the Spaniard before repeating his feat from the first set, breaking to win 6-4, 6-4.

 

This puts him within a win of securing the year end No. 2 spot for the first time in his career.

 

He said to media, after the match: “First couple of games my timing was a little bit off. But I got it back pretty quickly, which was pleasing. You know, if you’re looking for a little bit of rhythm, he’s also a guy who makes you hit a lot of balls. The rallies are often quite long, so you can get into a rhythm against him. So that was good.”

Murray who will play the Davis Cup final next week against Belgium, was asked about the Paris attacks and if he had any concerns about going to Belgium. “I think everybody right now is concerned about things,” said the Scotsman. “But I do think the best thing that we can do is to live our normal lives, not change too much, because then the terrorists are the ones that are winning.”

“We need to go out there and do what we always do and try not to change too much. That’s all we can do.”

“I don’t want to live my life in fear each time I step on a tennis court. So that’s what I’ll do.”

 

There were high hopes that the night session match would deliver the first three set singles match of the tournament. There was disappointed because despite an early break by Stan Wawrinka, it was all about Rafael Nadal.

 

Having been quite defensive pre-tournament about his year, even going so far to reiterate that his slide down the rankings has not been because of injury but down to ‘playing badly,’ or rather a lack of confidence, Nadal looked to exploit an ill-at-ease Wawrinka, whom many thought to be a real contender.

 

While the first set was at least competitive, a mammoth hold at the start of the second set marked the tone for the remainder of the match. Nothing Wawrinka could do was right, as he sprayed errors thick and fast from his racquet.

 

Sure Nadal regained some of his trademark swagger, but it was as much about an apparent self-destruct from Wawrinka that set the Spaniard alongside Murray with a win against his name, 6-3, 6-2.

 

Wawrinka could do little else but acknowledge that he had played poorly, saying: “Just disappointed in general. I don’t think was great level, was great match. You know, when something goes wrong today, everything went wrong. Just everything went the wrong way.”

 

Nadal may have settled any nerves he had with that performance. He said: “I had a good week of practice here. I think I played the way that I wanted to play. I played aggressive. I played with not many mistakes. Just the thing I can do a little bit better is serving. For the moment I didn’t serve as good as I was doing in the previous days. But for the rest, all the shots worked well: backhand, forehand, good volleys, good smash, no missing the smashes today. So that’s good.”

 

Nadal and Murray will play in the next round, with Wawrinka and Ferrer each looking to salvage their chances on Day 4.

Share

Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer Open ATP World Tour Finals with Decisive Victories

(November 15, 2015) Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer secured easy opening round robin match wins on Sunday at London’s O2 Area on the first day of the ATP World Tour Finals.

The event began with a minute’s silence for the victims of Paris attacks before play got underway between Djokovic and Nishikori. More than 129 people are dead and hundreds wounded due to Friday’s terrorist attacks in Paris. Security measures have been heightened in the O2 Arena.

 

In the Stan Smith group, three-time defending champion Djokovic extended his winning streak at the year-ending event to 15 with his easy 6-1, 6-1 win over Kei Nishikori. It’s the world No. 1’s 23rd straight match victory overall.

The Serb lost a mere nine points on his own serve, hit 17 winners with only 14 unforced errors and never faced a break point in the 65-minute win.

“Obviously I didn’t make any first serve today,” Nishikori said. “So that cause lot of pressure that he always have a good return. I thought didn’t play bad. I had great points with groundstrokes. I think my serve was the key. Both sets I lost my first service game.”

“I was feeling very comfortable on the court, feeling like I could get most of the balls back,” Djokovic said. “I served efficiently. I mixed up the second serves as well. Didn’t give him really the same look twice. I always tried to change. The tactics worked very well.”

Djokovic, having a career year, winning three out of the four majors and six Masters Series titles, is seeking to become the first to win four consecutive year-end tournaments.

Djokovic was awarded his ATP No. 1 trophy for 2015 after the match.

In the night match, third seed and six-time ATP World Finals champion Roger Federer rebounded from a slow start to defeat sixth seed Tomas Berdych 6-4, 6-2. Berdych opened the match leading 2-0, but the Swiss regrouped to take control.

Federer, competing in his 14th straight year-end competition, hit 20 aces past the Czech in the 69-minute match.

“I think what I underestimated a little bit in some ways was that it was a first round. I think I was playing very well in practice,” said the Swiss. “I had a very good idea with Severin and Stefan how I should play the match. When I came in, I kind of forgot it was a first round. I do have to be a little bit careful as well at times. I was a bit sluggish coming in. I don’t want to say too overconfident, but I thought it was going to be easier than that. It was a good lesson for me to learn. But now I’m in the second round, so that’s a good thing.”

The 17-time major champion received the ATP Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship award and the ATPWorldTour.com Fans’ Favourite trophy after the win.

 

In the doubles competition, top seed Bob and Mike Bryan lost in their first round robin match in the Arthur Ashe/Stan Smith group to eighth seed Rohan Bopanna and Florin Mergea 6-4, 6-3. The Bopanna/Mergea team broke the Bryans’ usually reliable serves five times during the match.

The victory, which gives them a 1-0 record in group play, places them in a tie with Jamie Murray and John Peers at the top of the Group. Fourth seeds Murray and Peers defeated fifth seeds Simone Bolelli and Fabio Fognini 7-6(5), 3-6, 11-9 in one hour and 42 minutes, in a match held before the Djokovic – Nishikori contest.

 

 

Share

Groups Announced for ATP World Tour Finals; London Will Host event Through 2018

ATP World Tour Finals

(November 12, 2015) The ATP World Tour Finals in London held the official group draws ahead of the Sunday start. Top seed Novak Djokovic seeking a fifth year-end crown is in the Stan Smith group along with (3) Roger Federer, (6) Tomas Berdych and (8) Kei Nishikori. The Illie Nastase group consists of (2) Andy Murray, (4) Stan Wawrinka, (5) Rafael Nadal and (7) David Ferrer.

This year the singles and doubles groups have been named after former champions of the year-end event, including Stan Smith, the 1970 winner at Tokyo in 1970, and four-time winner Illie Nastase. Arthur Ashe and Smith won the first doubles title in 1970 while Peter Fleming and John McEnroe won the crown eight consecutive times.

The singles and doubles groups are listed below as well as the order of play for Sunday and Monday.

GROUPS

Singles – Group Stan Smith 
[1] N Djokovic (SRB)
[3] R Federer (SUI)
[6] T Berdych (CZE)
[8] K Nishikori (JPN)
Singles – Group Ilie Nastase
[2] A Murray (GBR)
[4] S Wawrinka (SUI)
[5] R Nadal (ESP)
[7] D Ferrer (ESP)
Doubles – Group Ashe/Smith 
[1] B Bryan (USA) / M Bryan (USA)
[4] J Murray (GBR) / J Peers (AUS)
[5] S Bolelli (ITA) / F Fognini (ITA)
[8] R Bopanna (IND) / F Mergea (ROU)
Doubles – Group Fleming/McEnroe
[2] J Rojer (NED) / H Tecau (ROU)
[3] I Dodig (CRO) / M Melo (BRA)
[6] P Herbert (FRA) / N Mahut (FRA)
[7] M Matkowski (POL) / N Zimonjic (SRB)

 

Order of Play – Sunday, 15 November
Afternoon Session 12:00 PM Groups Stan Smith & Ashe/Smith
(4) J Murray (GBR) / J Peers (AUS) (5) S Bolelli (ITA) / F Fognini (ITA)
NOVAK
DJOKOVIC
(1) (SRB)
KEI
NISHIKORI
(8) (JPN)
Evening Session 6:00 PM Groups Stan Smith & Ashe/Smith
(1) B Bryan (USA) / M Bryan (USA) (8) R Bopanna (IND) / F Mergea (ROU)
ROGER
FEDERER
(3) (SUI)
TOMAS
BERDYCH
(6) (CZE)
ATP World Tour Results
Order of Play – Monday, 16 November
Afternoon Session 12:00 PM Groups Ilie Nastase & Fleming/McEnroe
(2) J Rojer (NED) / H Tecau (ROU) (7) M Matkowski (POL) / N Zimonjic (SRB)
ANDY
MURRAY
(2) (GBR)
DAVID
FERRER
(7) (ESP)
Evening Session 6:00 PM Groups Ilie Nastase & Fleming/McEnroe
(3) I Dodig (CRO) / M Melo (BRA) (6) P Herbert (FRA) / N Mahut (FRA)
STAN
WAWRINKA
(4) (SUI)
RAFAEL
NADAL
(5) (ESP)
Share

“Fedal” Part 34 – Roger Federer Snaps Five-Match Losing Streak Against Rafael Nadal to Win Seventh Basel Title

 

Federer-Nadal by Rosemary Nardone

(November 1, 2015) In their first match-up since the 2014 Australian Open semifinals, Roger Federer defeated Rafael Nadal to win the Swiss Indoors final 6-3, 5-7, 6-3 in Basel. For the Swiss competing in his 10th straight Basel final, the win which gave him his seventh trophy in his hometown, broke a five-match losing streak against the 14-time major champion Nadal. This was Federer’s 12th Basel final. Nadal leads their overall head-to-head record 23-11.

“It was a very special day,” said Federer, who was once a ballboy at the tournament. “Probably it was my best victory here in Basel.”

“I lost but I was close to winning, very close,” said Nadal.

Federer hit 12 aces, 44 winners with 32 unforced errors going 3 for 7 on break points during the two-hour and two minute match.

“It was one of my best weeks in Basel, considering everything I’ve done throughout my career here,” Federer said after the match. “I thought the match was close. I had my chances in the second, but he fought back well, like he’s done throughout the week really. Overall I was really happy how I played.
“I know I’ve had better backhand days and he’s had better forehand days than today, but the match was high quality and it was entertaining and exciting for both of us as well. The confidence is good, no doubt about that. It’s good to get back into the mood of winning after Shanghai… I think the body’s gotten used to match play again after all these weeks of not playing.”

 

This 88th overall tennis title for Federer, now marks the fifth tournament which he has won at least seven times – Halle (8), Wimbledon (7), Dubai (7) and Cincinnati (7).

This is the sixth championship trophy he’s collected this year, adding to this titles in Brisbane, Dubai, Istanbul, Halle and Cincinnati.

Despite the loss in the final, Nadal had good week, taking down former Top 10 players Grigor Dimitrov, Marin Cilic and Richard Gasquet all in a row to reach the final. He will see his ranking move up from No. 7.

“It’s good news for me,” said the Spaniard. “Today I have been very competitive against one of the best players in the world. And on the toughest surface for me.”

“My goal is to get back to my level and be competitive against the top players again and today I was very competitive against one of the best players in the world,” Nadal said. “The match wasn’t far away from me. He played well and I played well too. The match was very close to win, but I think he served very well in the third. I want to congratulate him for the victory and I had a lot of quality things in my game and mental side to take away from the week.”

Next stop for both men will be the Paris Masters Series event, followed by the ATP World Tour Finals in London.

Share

Novak Dokovic Beats Rafael Nadal to Win Sixth China Open Title

Novak Djokovic

(October 11, 2015) No. 1 Novak Djokovic kept his record at the China Open perfect at 29-0 with a 6-2, 6-2 win over Rafael Nadal to claim his sixth Beijing title, his eighth title overall on the year. It’s his 56th career title.

“The scoreline, especially in the first set, doesn’t indicate the real battle that we had on the court,” Djokovic said.

“Had a couple of opportunities, especially on the 3‑2 game, Love‑30, 15‑40. Missed the volley. It was a bit unfortunate with some shots at that stage of the match.

“But, again, I managed to stay calm and still stick with the game plan to be aggressive and to make him move. It worked very well.”

“It was a very good first set, in my opinion,” Nadal said. “The result in the first set, 6‑2, I think is too much. I think for the moment I had a lot of chances. Love‑30, 15‑40, 40‑Love, and I lost all those games. That’s the real game. Then 6‑2. Should be much closer, that first set.

“In the second set, well, happened little bit what happened with the foot. I lost little bit the concentration. But at the end I finished playing well again. (Nadal hurt his foot early in the second set.)

“Very happy the way that I played the week, especially because I was able to improve every single match during the week, and especially in quarterfinals after that first set against Sock, I changed that dynamic. I played closer to the baseline. Yesterday I played a good match. Today I played a good match.

“Obviously the dynamic of him is different than my one. Especially in a very positive place for him, place where he won already six times, five times before that final. It’s obvious that is perfect place for him.

“I was competing very well in the first set. So seriously I am happy the way I played. I am happy the way that I am improving. As I said, when I arrived here, every match is important for me. All improvements are important, even if are the small ones. I felt during this week I improved a lot of things. I take a lot of positive things from the week. That’s very important for me, no?”

“I thought he did well from the backhand side,” the Serb continued. “He was more aggressive. I was looking for my kind of room for maneuver on his forehand side. He usually opens up that side. I tried to make the angles with the backhand cross.

“But I did well. I think I maintained that level of aggressivity and strength and power in my shots, and eventually I knew that he’s going to make mistakes and he’s going to give me shorter balls so I can dominate the rallies, which happened.

“I think the serve helped me a lot tonight, over 80% of first serves in, the aces, finishing off with an ace. That’s an element in my game that has worked very well throughout the entire week that has helped me to win many free points, obviously.”

Nadal still leads in the overall head-to-head against Djokoivic at 23-22. However, Nadal has lost 15 of his past 22 matches against Djokovic.

Djokovic will be the top seed for the Shanghai Masters this week. “Next week’s tournament is going to be even stronger because obviously all the best players in the world are there,” Djokovic said.

“This positive week definitely encourages me and gives me a lot of confidence for Shanghai.”

Djokovic, who has won three out of the four majors this year, has a 68-5 record this season.

Share

Nadal Beaten by Fognini After 2 Set Lead; Serena Williams Survives Mattek-Sands at US Open

 

(September 4, 2015) FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY –

Spectators got more than they bargained for during the night session of the US Open on Friday. Rafael Nadal lost and Serena Williams was forced to come back again to keep her hopes of a Grand Slam alive. The action lasted until 1:30 Saturday morning.

No. 8 Nadal came into the third round never losing a Grand Slam match when taking a two-set lead until he was beaten 3-6, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3, 6-4 by the 32nd seed Fabio Fognini. Nadal led by two-sets and a break of serve before the Italian’s comeback began.

“He play great,” Nadal said. “It was not a match that I lost, even if I had opportunities. It’s a match that he wins.

“So accept. Not happy that he played better than me, but that’s what happened. He played better than me, no? I didn’t play bad at all. I played a normal match, but not enough.

“So not happy with that. But accept that he was better than me today.”

“Well, I was starting to feel the ball really good, believe me,” Fognini said. “I lost that first set 6-3, but I was say in my mind, Okay, let’s try, let’s keeping working; do your tennis.

“I went down a break. After come back on 4-4, I went 40-Love on that game and I lost incredible game. So was my fault. Even if I come back from break down, I was say, Okay, let’s try. But two sets to zero against Rafa, maybe you have to go to Lourdes.

“I went there tonight and everything was in a perfect way.”

The loss ended the Spaniard’s 10 year run of winning at least one major.

“No, the only thing that means is I played worse than the last 10 years,” Nadal said. That’s the real thing.

“By the way, for me was amazing win 10 years in a row Grand Slam. I think nobody did. You can imagine how difficult is make that happen.

“Accept that was not my year and keep fighting till the end of the season to finish in a positive way for me. Finish the season with the feeling that I improved something from the beginning of the season. That’s something that I think I am doing.

“I think I have a good base now. As I said, good thing is I am not playing terrible matches like I did at the beginning of the season. When I am losing, I am losing because the opponents beat me, not because I lose the match, as I did a lot of times at the beginning of the season.

“That’s an improvement for me, so I have a base now. That is a start. I know what I have to do and I going to work on it.”

“I start really bad the season,” said the Italian. “I was starting really bad at the beginning in Australia. I play well on clay on the second month of the year. I play really bad another time on Indian Wells and Miami.

“But, you know, I was saying the first day that I came here, after play again really good on clay with the final against Rafa and two quarterfinal, I was feeling really well. I been playing really good, feeling on court really well.

“I play only two matches, that’s true. I play Monfils and I play Kokkinakis, but in two different way, for sure.

“For sure with Kokkinakis I play high level, even if I lost. With Monfils I play really good the first set, 0-6, breakpoint won. Second set I was really tired because I was coming directly to Europe.

“After Cincinnati I take two day off, recovery, start practice really hard four, five day of the week. I’m here for the first time in the fourth round.”

This will be the first-ever appearance in the round of 16 at the US Open for Fognini.

 

 

Before Nadal took the court, Serena Williams had to come back from a set down again to defeat American countrywoman wild card Bethanie Mattek-Sands 3-6, 7-5, 6-0, winning the last 8 games. She has now gone 24-0 in majors this year.

“Getting out of it so many times definitely helps me,” Williams said. “It’s definitely not something I want to do, though. But, hey, a win’s a win, I guess.”

“Just know usually when I’m down, I mean, I feel like if I’m not playing well, I know I can take it to another level. But if I’m down and I’m playing well, then I probably won’t win.

“But usually, you know, I know that I can play better. I just try to tap into the energy and I try to play better.”

Williams is looking to become the first woman since Steffi Graff in 1988 to win the Grand Slam. She is just four victories away from achieving history and winning her 22nd major.

“I don’t know what to expect. I’ve never been on this train. I love metaphors. I’ve never been on this train. It’s different. It’s definitely different.”

Women’s
Singles – Third Round
[13] Ekaterina Makarova (RUS) def. [17] Elina Svitolina (UKR) 6-3, 7-5
[23] Venus Williams (USA) def. [12] Belinda Bencic (SUI) 6-3, 6-4
[1] Serena Williams (USA) def. Bethanie Mattek-Sands (USA) 3-6, 7-5, 6-0
[25] Eugenie Bouchard (CAN) def. Dominika Cibulkova (SVK) 7-6(9), 4-6, 6-3
Kristina Mladenovic (FRA) def. Daria Kasatkina (RUS) 6-2, 6-3
Anett Kontaveit (EST) def. Madison Brengle (USA) 6-2, 3-6, 6-0
[19] Madison Keys (USA) def. [15] Agnieszka Radwanska (POL) 6-3, 6-2
Roberta Vinci (ITA) def. Mariana Duque-Mariño (COL) 6-1, 5-7, 6-2

Men’s
Singles – Third Round

[1] Novak Djokovic (SRB) d. [25] Andreas Seppi (ITA) 63 75 75
[9] Marin Cilic (CRO) d. Mikhail Kukushkin (KAZ) 67(5) 76(1) 63 67(3) 61

[32] Fabio Fognini (ITA) d. [8] Rafael Nadal (ESP) 3-6, 4-6, 6-4, 6-4, 6-4
[18] Feliciano Lopez (ESP) d. [10] Milos Raonic (CAN) 62 76(4) 63
[23] Roberto Bautista Agut (ESP) d. [14] David Goffin (BEL) 26 57 63 31 ret.
[19] Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA) d. Sergiy Stakhovsky (UKR) 63 75 62
Benoit Paire (FRA) d. [26] Tommy Robredo (ESP) 76(3) 61 61

Share

Nadal, McEnroe, Hewitt Keep Focus On Tennis at JMTP Benefit

Nadal McEnroe at Randalls Island

By Vito Ellison

(August 26,2015) NEW YORK, NY -With drawing cards like 14-time major champion Rafael Nadal, 2001 US Open champion Lleyton Hewitt and the legendary John McEnroe himself, it’s no surprise that the Johnny Mac Tennis Project drew a near-capacity crowd to Randall’s Island on a balmy Wednesday evening for the fifth edition of his Johnny Mac Tennis Project (JMTP) exhibition. The event was held to raise funds used to provide financial assistance to qualified young tennis players.  Sportime Clubs, home of last night’s event and McEnroe’s eponymous tennis academy and the JMTP, have already provided over $2 million in scholarships and assistance in part paid for by this annual event.

Long considered an iconoclast in the sometimes hidebound world of tennis, McEnroe’s mellower side was on display at last night’s event.  He was effusive in thanking his guests, particularly Nadal, of whom he said “He’s done me a huge favor and I owe him one big time,” said McEnroe.  “He’s come here for nothing and it is very, very much appreciated.” In another exchange he added, “When you get to be stature of Rafael Nadal, you expect people to come up to you, even the older players, to pay respect to you. Rafael’s never been that type.”

While McEnroe’s was unguardedly positive about Nadal he adopted a different, more protective stance regarding Nick Kyrgios. With McEnroe’s desire to keep the event and crowd focused on the good work of the JMTP, Kyrgios, who to his credit honored his commitment to attend, was largely relegated to the background. With Kyrgios still under heavy fire in the court of public opinion for his comments in a match against Stan Wawrinka two weeks ago, McEnroe announced to the gathered press that the Aussie would not be playing singles against Nadal as initially scheduled. “Nick Kyrgios is going to be playing doubles with me, along with my brother [Patrick] and Jonas Bjorkman,” McEnroe started. “I made a decision based on some of the ongoing stuff. While I want to be supportive of Nick and think he’s a tremendous talent…It would be better served for him at this particular time to maybe take a step back.”

Top draw Rafael Nadal would instead square off against another former World No. 1 in Lleyton Hewitt for an eight-game pro set.  The match, though just an exo, was typical of the Spaniard’s two steps forward/two steps back season-to-date. Nadal flashed vintage moments including an well-placed ace that helped him dig out of a love-40 hole on serve and a screaming backhand down-the-line winner that brought a big smile to his face and a 4-1 lead on the scoreboard.  The sparkling moments were tempered though by frustrating periods of imprecision.  He gave the net tape a workout at points and seemed to guide more shots than usual long.  The inconsistency left Nadal, who opened up a 6-3 lead in the eight game pro set scrambling to keep the lid on Hewitt in an 8-7(5) win that was closer than the early going would have indicated.

The exhibition was held in advance of the year’s final major, the US Open which commences Monday.

Share

Rafael Nadal Stops Fabio Fognini for Hamburg Crown

Nadal in Beijing

(August 2, 2015) Top seed Rafael Nadal won his second title in Germany this year stopping Italy’s Fabio Fognini 7-5, 7-5 in Hamburg in just over two-and-a-half hours on Sunday.

The win, which give Nadal his 47th clay court title, puts him just two trophies behind Guillermo Vilas at 49. Nadal has 67 career crowns.

The Spaniard who was serving for a 4-1 lead in the second set, eventually had to save two set points.

“It was a great match, many great points, many breaks, we fought hard,” Nadal said. “I had many ups and downs.”

“I lost the last two times against him, so I knew it was going to be a tough one. I think I had a great attitude the whole match, very positive, fighting for every ball. I had some tough moments on court, lost opportunities, but every time I came back and I kept fighting with the right mentality. I’m very happy for the victory. It is an important victory for me.”

The title this week will move Nadal’s ranking up to No. 9.

Share