Rafael Nadal Wins Rio Equaling Guillermo Vilas on Open Era List with 62 Titles


Nadal waves and smiles

(February 23, 2014) Rafael Nadal won his 62nd title defeating Alexandr Dolgopolov 6-3, 7-6 (3) to win the Rio Open title.

With the title Nadal equals Hall of Famer Guillermo Vilas with 62 titles, tied for 7th on the Open era title leaders list. This puts the Spaniard two titles behind Bjorn Borg and Pete Sampras.

Nadal is now 16-1 on the year, his lone defeat coming in the final of the Australian Open to Stanislas Wawrinka, where Nadal sustained a back injury. Rio was his first tournament since the Australian Open final.

“Clearly, it was important for me to get back and win after what happened in the final in Australia,” Nadal said.

In the semifinals against countryman Pablo Andujar, Nadal saved two match point to advance to the final.

“Yesterday was a tough match,” Nadal said. “Pablo played a great match, playing very aggressive. I played too short yesterday and I gave him the chance to have control of the point from inside. I’m not very happy with the way I played yesterday, but I think today I was able to play with a little bit more calm, play a little bit longer and go a little bit more for the points. I played a more solid match today.”

Nadal who has a perfect record playing in Brazil winning three different tournaments – Rio, Costa do Sauipe and Sao Paulo.

“I leave with the sensation that Brazil is something special for me,” he said.

“In a 500 tournament, you don’t have a chance to play a lot of these in the calendar. The first edition of a big tournament like Rio, it’s a very important city in the world, and after coming back from injury, it always makes the victory a little more special.”

“He was playing more solid than I watched him play yesterday,” said Dolgopolov. “The stats were pretty impressive from him. As usual, he was spinning his forehand, making a lot of trouble to hit flat and I couldn’t really get used to his serve much – only at the end of the match – but I’m quite happy with the week.”


Nadal Rafael Escapes Pablo Andujar to Reach Rio Open Final

Nadal waves and smiles

(February 22, 2014) No. 1 Rafael Nadal had to rally against Spanish countryman Pablo Andujar 2-6, 6-3, 7-6 (10) to make the Rio Open final. In the final he will face Alexandr Dolgopolov who upset No. 2 seed David Ferrer 6-4, 6-4.

The “King of Clay” saved two match points against him in the tiebreak and won the match on his fourth match point. The last time Nadal lost on clay was against Novak Djokovic in the Monte Carlo Masters. Nadal owns an astounding record on clay at 297-21 for his career, the best in the Open era.

Despite the loss Andujar won the most points in the match 108-106 with a 76% first serve percentage to Nadal’s 60%. Andujar was a mere 3 for 14 on break point chances while Nadal was 2 for 4. Nadal hit 40 winners in the two hour and 46 minute match.

“It was close because he played well, and I didn’t play my best,” Nadal said. Nadal called the tiebreak a “lottery.”

For No. 54 Dolgopolov, he came into the match against Ferrer with 1-6 record . The Ukrainian is looking for his third ATP title on Sunday while Nadal is gunning for his 62nd.


Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
February 17-February 23, 2014

Results – Saturday, February 22, 2014
Singles – Semifinals
(1) Klara Zakopalova (CZE) d. Teliana Pereira (BRA) 62 61
(5) Kurumi Nara (JPN) d. (Q) Nastassja Burnett (ITA) 64 36 62

Doubles – Final
Begu/Irigoyen (ROU/ARG) d. Larsson/Scheepers (SWE/RSA) 62 60

Order Of Play – Sunday, February 23, 2014
Center Court (from 11.30hrs)
1. ATP: Cabal/Farah vs. Marrero/Melo
2. Singles Final: Klara Zakopalova vs. Kurumi Nara (NB 14.00hrs)
3. ATP: Nadal vs. Dolgopolov (NB 17.00hrs)

Other results:

ATP World Tour 250
Marseille, France (+1 hour GMT)
17-23 February 2014 Surface: Indoor Hard


Singles – Semi-finals
[3] E Gulbis (LAT) d [1] R Gasquet (FRA) 63 62
[2] J Tsonga (FRA) d J Struff (GER) 76(4) 75

Doubles – Semi-finals
[2] J Benneteau (FRA) / E Roger-Vasselin (FRA) d G Kretschmer (GER) / A Satschko (GER) 61 75


COURT CENTRAL start 12:15 pm
P Hanley (AUS) / J Marray (GBR) vs [2] J Benneteau (FRA) / E Roger-Vasselin (FRA)

Not Before 2:15 pm
[3] E Gulbis (LAT) vs [2] J Tsonga (FRA)


Rafael Nadal Opens Rio Campaign with Win

Nadal high fH

(February 18, 2014) Showing no signs of a back injury which  hampered him in losing last month’s Australian Open final, No. 1 Rafael Nadal playing his first match since, defeated Spanish  countryman Daniel Gimeno-Traver 6-3, 7-5 in his opening round match on Tuesday at the Rio Open.

For Nadal who was playing his 800th ATP World Tour match, it kept his record playing in Brazil perfect at 10-0. Nadal is the just sixth active ATP player to have played at least 800 singles matches along with Roger Federer, Tommy Haas, Lleyton Hewitt, David Ferrer and Nikolay Davydenko.

Nadal told media:”Daniel is a specialist on clay, so for me it was a great match after so much time off after the final in Australia because of the back problems. I practiced very little. So I was happy to get back, and get back with a victory.”

“I’m happy to be back in competition,” Nadal continued. “I had to face a player that’s been playing for several weeks on clay courts. I have to improve some details, but I played better than I practiced and that’s positive.

“Latin America is very special for me, I feel like home. The people are great to me and it’s a pleasure to be back in Brazil. I hope I can come more often.”

Also advancing in the combined event were second seed David Ferrer, third seed Fabio Fognini and fourth seed Tommy Robredo. Fifth seed Nicolas Almagro was surprised by Alexandr Dolgopolov.


Men’s Singles – First Round
[1] R Nadal (ESP) d D Gimeno-Traver (ESP) 63 75
[2] D Ferrer (ESP) d J Chardy (FRA) 62 63
[3] F Fognini (ITA) d [Q] A Bedene (SLO) 76(5) 06 61
[4] T Robredo (ESP) d P Carreno Busta (ESP) 76(5) 63
A Dolgopolov (UKR) d [5] N Almagro (ESP) 26 63 60
J Sousa (POR) d [6] M Granollers (ESP) 26 63 75 – saved 4 M.P.
[7] J Monaco (ARG) d H Zeballos (ARG) 63 61
[8] P Andujar (ESP) d J Reister (GER) 64 63
A Montanes (ESP) d R Haase (NED) 61 76(4)
A Ramos (ESP) d L Mayer (ARG) 62 60
[PR] P Cuevas (URU) d A Gonzalez (COL) 67(0) 61 63

Men’s Doubles – First Round
[Q] F Delbonis (ARG) / L Mayer (ARG) d [4] T Huey (PHI) / D Inglot (GBR) 64 62
J Cabal (COL) / R Farah (COL) d A Dolgopolov (UKR) / G Garcia-Lopez (ESP) 63 36 10-8

Women’s Singles – First Round
(1) Klara Zakopalova (CZE) d. Mariana Duque-Mariño (COL) 64 64
Lourdes Domínguez Lino (ESP) d. (2) Francesca Schiavone (ITA) 64 64
Teliana Pereira (BRA) d. (4) Alexandra Cadantu (ROU) 63 64
Dinah Pfizenmaier (GER) d. (7) Barbora Zahlavova Strycova (CZE) 26 64 63
(Q) Irina-Camelia Begu (ROU) d. (8) Vania King (USA) 64 60
Chanelle Scheepers (RSA) d. Timea Babos (HUN) 26 63 62
Patricia Mayr-Achleitner (AUT) d. Yaroslava Shvedova (KAZ) 64 63
(Q) Veronica Cepede Royg (PAR) d. (WC) Paula Cristi Goncalves (BRA) 75 76(8)

Women’s Doubles – First Round
(1) Zahlavova Strycova/Zakopalova (CZE/CZE) d. Hsieh/Hsieh (TPE/TPE) 60 62
Kichenok/Kichenok (UKR/UKR) d. (WC) Alves/Haddad Maia (BRA/BRA) 62 61
Begu/Irigoyen (ROU/ARG) d. Cadantu/Soler-Espinosa (ROU/ESP) 75 61


CENTER COURT start 10:00 am
WTA – K Bertens (NED) vs [3] P Ormaechea (ARG)
Not Before 12:00 pm
ATP – [Q] M Klizan (SVK) vs [8] P Andujar (ESP)
ATP – [4] T Robredo (ESP) vs [Q] D Lajovic (SRB)
Not Before 4:30 pm
WTA – [1] K Zakopalova (CZE) vs S Soler-Espinosa (ESP)
Not Before 7:00 pm
ATP – [7] J Monaco (ARG) vs [WC] T Bellucci (BRA)
ATP – F Delbonis (ARG) vs [2] D Ferrer (ESP)

COURT 1 start 11:00 am
WTA – [5] K Nara (JPN) vs S Hsieh (TPE)
WTA – [Q] N Burnett (ITA) vs [Q] A Van Uytvanck (BEL)
ATP – [PR] P Cuevas (URU) / H Zeballos (ARG) vs [WC] M Demoliner (BRA) / J Souza (BRA)
ATP – A Begemann (GER) / M Emmrich (GER) vs [2] D Marrero (ESP) / M Melo (BRA)

COURT 2 start 11:00 am
WTA – A Friedsam (GER) vs N Kichenok (UKR)
WTA – J Larsson (SWE) / C Scheepers (RSA) vs [2] D Jurak (CRO) / A Klepac (SLO)
Not Before 1:30 pm
WTA – [WC] P Goncalves (BRA) / L Pigossi (BRA) vs P Kania (POL) / V Solovyeva (RUS)
ATP – D Bracciali (ITA) / F Fognini (ITA) vs O Marach (AUT) / F Mergea (ROU)

COURT 4 start 10:00 am
WTA – K Piter (POL) vs D Pfizenmaier (GER)
WTA – M Adamczak (AUS) / S Vogt (LIE) vs I Olaru (ROU) / A Panova (RUS)
WTA – after suitable rest – L Dominguez Lino (ESP) / M Duque-Marino (COL) vs [4] I Buryachok (UKR) / K Piter (POL)
ATP – [3] M Granollers (ESP) / M Lopez (ESP) vs P Andujar (ESP) / J Sousa (POR)


Rafael Nadal visits Christ the Redeemer Statue Ahead of the Rio Open



(February 15, 2014) Rafael Nadal fulfilled his promise. On Friday during his news conference at the Rio Open, the Spaniard said he would like to make the most of his stay in Rio de Janeiro and visit some famous tourist attractions. This Saturday, after practicing with Thomaz Bellucci, the world No. 1 went to the Christ the Redeemer, one of the new seven wonders of the world, in the top of the Corcovado Mountain.
Nadal could see one of the most amazing views of the world. From the Christ the Redeemer, he could spot the Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon, Ipanema and Leblon beaches and also the Jockey Club Brasileiro, where the Spaniard is going to play the Rio Open presented by Claro hdtv and will face Daniel Gimeno Traver in the first round.

“It is one of the most spectacular things I have ever seen. It is very beautiful, the surrounding mountains, an amazing view. And the statue is fantastic. It is a great luck to be in Rio. It is always nice to visit new places and Rio was definitely one of the places I wanted to be”

Earlier in the day another French Open champion, Italian Francesca Schiavone, the No. 2 seed at the tournament, who will face Lourdes Dominguez Lino in the first round, also visited the Christ the Redeemer.

Rio Open presented by Claro hdtv is the only tournament in South America to host a combined ATP World Tour 500 and a WTA International event. The event is held on the clay courts of the Jockey Club Brasileiro, including a stadium for 6,200 people. The total prize money is U$ 1,309,707 for the ATP and U$ 250,000 for the WTA. The first ATP World Tour 500 of Brazil’s history and the first ever WTA tournament in the city of Rio.


Rafael Nadal Returns to Sony Open


Nadal waves and smiles

(February 13, 2014) World No. 1 Rafael Nadal returns to the Sony Open seeking his first Miami title. He is scheduled to play his first match Saturday, March 22 at 8pm.

In 2013 made an appearance in a career-high 14 finals, in 2013, claiming 10 titles. After a 7-month absence, the Spaniard was able to return to the No. 1 ranking and win two Grand Slam titles (Roland Garros and US Open) continuing his streak of at least one Grand Slam crown in nine consecutive years.

The three-time Sony Open runner-up is part of a field of players including, 17-time Grand Slam winner Roger Federer, defending Sony Open champion Andy Murray, reining Australian Open winner Stanislas Wawrinka and three-time Sony Open champ Novak Djokovic.

The tournament begins on March 17 and runs through March 30.


Rafael Nadal to Miss Buenos Aires Tournament


(February 6, 2014) Rafael Nadal will skip next week’s ATP tennis tournament in Buenos Aires after a stomach virus. He also nursing a back injury sustained from the Australian Open final where he lost to Stanislas Wawrinka.

Nadal announced his withdrawal on Twitter and on video:


No Serious Problems as Rafael Nadal Continues to Recover from Back Injury


Nadal 88

(February 4, 2014) Rafael Nadal continues his recovery from a back injury he sustained during his Australian Open final loss to Stanislas Wawrinka.

A press release from Nadal’s communications team notes that Nadal’s scans show no serious problem and that exams “were satisfactory and showed positive evolution” in regard to his injury.

The world No. 1 is continuing to train and taking the tennis court on  Thursday and will decide “when he is ready to return to competition.”

Nadal’s next few tournaments on his schedule  are Buenos Aires next week, Rio de Janeiro, Indian Wells and Miami.


Tennis News & Net Notes

Rafael Nadal

Tennis News & Net Notes for January 29, 2014

Rafael Nadal is scheduled for a medical exam on Monday.

Roger Federer to play Davis Cup against Serbia this weekend

Andy Murray held a media conference call about his participation in the BNP Paribas Showdown at Madison Square Garden.

Andy Murray took to twitter to hold an impromptu Q & A session with fans.

Update on Juan Martin del Potro‘s visit to the Mayo Clinic. He has been prescribed a physical therapy program.

A Danish website says that Caroline Wozniacki has parted ways with her coach Thomas Hogstedt after just 2 tourneys working with him.

World No. 11 Milos Raonic, has pulled out of this weekend’s World Group tie against Japan due to an ankle injury he suffered at the Australian Open.

“Unfortunately I am pulling out of Davis Cup this week. I came to Tokyo believing my ankle would recover but it is not at a level where I feel I can compete or help my team,” said Raonic. “This decision was very difficult to make but I believe in the players on our team and that they can get us the win. With a team scenario the most important part this week is to come out with a team win and I believe this is the best way to do it.”


US Names Keys, Riske, McHale and Davis to Fed Cup Team

Ivan Lendl Holds Court with the Media on Powershares Series Tennis Conference Call

The U.S. National Indoor Tennis Championships announced today that 2013 Champion, Kei Nishikori, will return to Memphis to defend his 2013 title.

Syracuse University announced on Wednesday that former pro and women’s tennis coach Luke Jensen has stepped down to pursue other opportunities. Jensen was hired back in August 2006.

Nominations announced for Fed Cup by BNP Paribas World Group and World Group II ties

On Tuesday two-time champion Vera Zvonareva advanced at Pattaya Open with her the first win of her comeback after an 18-month absence due to injury. She lost on Wednesday.

Har-Tru Sports will be a domestic sponsor of the U.S. vs. Great Britain Davis Cup by BNP Paribas First Round tie this weekend.

The ITF announced that Steve Ayles will become ITF Executive Commercial Consultant for Asia-Pacific. Ayles has held senior positions in sport for over 17 years, including his most recent position as Director of Commercial for Tennis Australia.

College Matchday to Highlight 22 NCAA Division I Matches in 2014

Results and Schedules:

Paris, France
January 27-February 2, 2014

Results – Wednesday, January 29, 2014
Singles – Second Round

(1) Maria Sharapova (RUS) d. Daniela Hantuchova (SVK) 60 61
(4) Angelique Kerber (GER) d. Klara Zakopalova (CZE) 62 75
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (RUS) d. (7) Carla Suárez Navarro (ESP) 62 36 63

Singles – First Round
(WC) Kristina Mladenovic (FRA) d. (5) Simona Halep (ROU) 76(1) 64
Elina Svitolina (UKR) d. (6) Roberta Vinci (ITA) 63 06 75
(8) Kirsten Flipkens (BEL) d. Mona Barthel (GER) 63 46 62
(Q) Galina Voskoboeva (KAZ) d. Stefanie Voegele (SUI) 57 75 76(3)

Doubles – Quarterfinals
(1) Errani/Vinci (ITA/ITA) d. (WC) Cornet/Garcia (FRA/FRA) 36 64 105 (Match TB)

Doubles – First Round
(3) Groenefeld/Peschke (GER/CZE) d. Hradecka/Krajicek (CZE/NED) 46 61 119 (Match TB)
Husarova/Rosolska (SVK/POL) d. Voracova/Zahlavova Strycova (CZE/CZE) 06 62 108 (Match TB)

Order Of Play – Thursday, January 30, 2014
Court Central (from 11.00hrs)

1. Elina Svitolina vs. Galina Voskoboeva
2. Yvonne Meusburger vs. Kirsten Flipkens (NB 13.00hrs)
3. Kristina Mladenovic vs. Andrea Petkovic
4. Karin Knapp vs. Sara Errani
5. Babos/Mladenovic vs. Husarova/Rosolska (NB 19.00hrs)
6. Alizé Cornet vs. Petra Kvitova (NB 21.00hrs)

Court 1 (from 13.00hrs)
1. Dushevina/Parra Santonja vs. Niculescu/Zakopalova
2. Jans-Ignacik/Olaru vs. Groenefeld/Peschke

Pattaya City, Thailand
January 27-February 2, 2014

Results – Wednesday, January 29, 2014
Singles – Second Round
(3) Sorana Cirstea (ROU) d. Alison Riske (USA) 63 64
(4) Ekaterina Makarova (RUS) d. (WC) Vera Zvonareva (RUS) 60 62
Karolina Pliskova (CZE) d. (Q) Alla Kudryavtseva (RUS) 46 63 64

Doubles – First Round
(3) Kudryavtseva/Rodionova (RUS/AUS) d. Kania/Solovyeva (POL/RUS) 75 64
(4) Peng/Zhang (CHN/CHN) d. Aoyama/Dulgheru (JPN/ROU) 63 63
Daniilidou/Krunic (GRE/SRB) d. Lertpitaksinchai/Plipuech (THA/THA) 46 62 119 (Match TB)
Chuang/Kumkhum (TPE/THA) d. (WC) Wongteanchai/Wongteanchai (THA/THA) 61 63
Savchuk/Tanasugarn (UKR/THA) d. Chan/Xu (TPE/CHN) 76(5) 75

Order Of Play - Thursday, January 30, 2014
Court 1 (from 15.00hrs)
1. Tadeja Majeric vs. Kimiko Date-Krumm
2. Elena Vesnina vs. Nicha Lertpitaksinchai
3. Alexandra Dulgheru vs. Peng Shuai

Court 2 (from 15.00hrs)
1. Lertcheewakarn/Zvonareva vs. Daniilidou/Krunic
2. Chuang/Kumkhum vs. Hlavackova/Medina Garrigues
3. Date-Krumm/Tomljanovic vs. Kudryavtseva/Rodionova



Rafael Nadal to Have Back Examined Next Week


(January 29, 2014) A statement from Rafael Nadal says he will be having a medical exam on Monday. Nadal injured his back during the final of the Australian Open where he lost to Stanislas Wawrinka in four sets.

Nadal indicates that pending the exam, he still will keep his tournament schedule which includes tournaments in Buenos Aires, Rio de Janeiro, Indian Wells and Miami.

He has been prescribed anti-inflammatory medication and physical therapy to aid in his recovery.

Attached is the statement in Spanish, from B1PR: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10152023575368500&set=a.10150097264668500.277844.84685978499&type=1&theater






Rafael Nadal Fights Off Grigor Dimitrov to move into Melbourne Semis

Nadal waves and smiles

By Alana Mitchelson

(January 22, 2014) MELBOURNE – The world No. 1 Rafael Nadal rose to a 10-match winning streak after dismantling Grigor Dimitrov in a gritty four setter on Wednesday, 3-6, 7-6(7-3), 7-6(9-7), 6-2, however not without being somewhat shaken by the unrelenting 22-year-old Bulgarian in the first set.


In his quarterfinal debut, Dimitrov rose to the occasion and leapt to an early 3-0 lead. Shockingly, Nadal found it increasingly difficult to gain a good swing on Dimitrov’s 200 plus kph (124 mph) (and at times, 210 plus (130 mph)) serves rocketing down from the other side of the net and he tried to compensate for the speed by returning serve from a fair distance back from the baseline.


Dimitrov had no trouble holding service throughout the opening set and served it out 6-3, going for big winners and not so much as hesitating to attempt the odd ace during his second serves.


It was not really until a fair way into the second set when Nadal began to gain his usual momentum.


While Dimitrov produced 54 winners throughout the match, his ‘no fear’ game mentality did not always work in his favor as his first serves suffered significantly, his unforced error count skyrocketing to a costly 61 errors for the match on the whole.


The men dueled through tough, exciting rally sequences whereby the men kept the ball in play and showcased some fantastic lobs and drop shot volleys, making for truly entertaining quality tennis.


Dimitrov’s new racquet at 4-4 in the second did not seem to offer much to his game as he found himself in tricky situations where he opened up the court for Nadal to work much spin and depth onto his groundstrokes. He also had difficulty recovering after a couple of disheartening set point opportunities lost in the third set, which will surely improve in time with more experience on the big stage.


The Bulgarian commendably saved three match points in the last set, but on the fourth opportunity the world No. 1 finally prevailed to clinch the match.


Nadal had, all the while, been battling with some serious blisters on his left, dominant hand.


“With the forehand it’s not a big issue but with the serve, a little bit,” Nadal admitted.


“I feel that with the tape I can lose the racquet when I serving. That’s a terrible feeling for a serve because then when you have this feeling you are not able to accelerate at the right moment, you lose a little bit of coordination. That’s a big deal. I served slower.


“When you lose confidence with one shot, one important shot, then you are not able to play calm for the rest of the shots. So I’m going to try to improve on that for after tomorrow… if not, I’m not going to have the chance to be in the final.


“I was able to win a match against a very difficult opponent, so that has much more value than when everything is great. And because of these victories, sometimes it happens that the next day you are able to play much better and that these victories, at the end of the day, are more important than the days that you are playing great.”

Dimitrov grew quite emotional when reflecting upon his efforts during the match and how close he had come to a chance at dethroning the world No. 1.


​”There’s a lot of mixed feelings right now. I’m a bit shattered. It’s tough losing that match, my first quarterfinal. I came out expecting nothing less than to win,” Dimitrov said.


“All credit to Rafa. He’s been a tremendous competitor, a great guy off the court. We’ve had great battles over the past year, and now again, and hopefully more in the future.”


Nadal is bidding to win each of the four majors twice in his career by securing this year’s Australian Open title. He is now just two matches away from making that dream a reality.


Alana Mitchelson is a Melbourne-based freelance journalist covering the Australian Open for Tennis Panorama News. Follow her tournament updates on Twitter @TennisNewsTPN and read her personal website.