2014/09/15

Dustin Brown Stuns No. 1 Rafael Nadal in Halle

 

(June 12, 2014) Just four days after winning his ninth Roland Garros title, world No. 1 Rafael Nadal fell in his opening match at the Gerry Weber in Halle, Germany to German wild card No. 85 Dustin Brown 6-4, 6-1 in 58 minutes. With the victory, Brown becomes the lowest-ranked player to beat a No. 1 player since No. 98 Mardy Fish beat Roger Federer at Indian Wells in 2008.

“I lost today because my rival was playing better than me,” said the Spaniard “And at the same time, as I said yesterday, the transition from clay to grass is difficult, especially when you arrive a little bit tired and not at 100 per cent. But I tried my best.”

Nadal is now 1-3 at Halle, with all three losses coming to German players.

“It was the worst draw possible against a player like this,” Nadal said. It’s very difficult to talk about the match because I don’t know what to say. I didn’t play. My opponent always served over 200kph with his first and second serves. So, that can happen on this surface if you face an opponent like this.

“I tried but my serve was not good enough. At the same time he changed the dynamic completely. For four games he really didn’t put many returns on the court and then suddenly he was playing winners from the return. So, it’s difficult to analyze these kind of matches.”

“I’ve had a lot of great wins before, but this was my first time playing against a World No. 1, at home in Germany and on grass – my best surface,” said the German Brown. “Everything came together. I tried to play my game as aggressively as possible.

“I took away the big things in (Nadal’s) game that make him the unbelievable player that he is. I hit a lot of big serves. I had a plan and it worked out.”

It’s Brown’s second top ten win of the year, he defeated No. 10 John Isner at the tournament in Houston in April.

Brown will play countryman Philipp Kohlschreiber in the quarterfinals.

Nadal has now lost his last three grass court matches to Brown, No. 135 Steve Darcis at last year’s Wimbledon and No. 100 Lukas Rosol at 2012 Wimbledon.

Roger Federer had to rebound from a first set loss to stop Portugal’s Joao Sousa 6-7 (8), 6-4, 6-2.

RESULTS – THURSDAY, 12 JUNE 2014

Singles – Second Round
[WC] D Brown (GER) d [1] R Nadal (ESP) 64 61
[2] R Federer (SUI) d J Sousa (POR) 67(8) 64 62
S Johnson (USA) d T Gabashvili (RUS) w/o (right knee)
Y Lu (TPE) d I Karlovic (CRO) 76(2) 76(3)

Doubles – Quarter-finals
M Draganja (CRO) / F Mergea (ROU) d [1] L Kubot (POL) / R Lindstedt (SWE) w/o (Kubot – left heel)
A Begemann (GER) / J Knowle (AUT) d R Haase (NED) / K Nishikori (JPN) 63 64
[WC] M Chiudinelli (SUI) / R Federer (SUI) d A Falla (COL) / S Giraldo (COL) 63 63

SCHEDULE – FRIDAY, 13 JUNE 2014

STADIUM start 12:00 noon
[WC] P Gojowczyk (GER) vs A Falla (COL)
[WC] D Brown (GER) vs P Kohlschreiber (GER)
S Johnson (USA) vs [4] K Nishikori (JPN)

Not Before 5:30 pm
Y Lu (TPE) vs [2] R Federer (SUI)

COURT 1 start 1:00 pm
M Draganja (CRO) / F Mergea (ROU) vs A Begemann (GER) / J Knowle (AUT)
After Suitable Rest – [WC] D Brown (GER) / J Struff (GER) vs I Karlovic (CRO) / M Pavic (CRO)

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Rafael Nadal Wins Ninth French Open Title for 14th Major

 

 

(June 8, 2014) Rafael Nadal captured his ninth French Open title, his 14 major title by defeating No. 2 Novak Djokovic 3-6, 7-5, 6-2, 6-4 on Sunday in Paris in three hours and 31 minutes. For Nadal it’s a record breaking five straight French Open titles, a 66-1 record at Roland Garros and a 35 match winning streak in Paris.

In capturing his 14 major, the twenty-eighth-year-old Spaniard has won his 64th tournament title. He is tied with Pete Sampras for second on the all-time list of major tournament titles, three behind Roger Federer who has 17. Nadal has one at least one major for the ten straight years.

Nadal lifts his record against Djokovic to 23-19, a perfect 5-0 when playing him at Roland Garros. He is now 4-3 in major finals against the Serb. Djokovic won at Wimbledon and the US Open in 2011 and at the 2012 Australian Open, while Nadal won at the 2010 US Open, 2012 Roland Garros, the 2013 US Open and Roland Garros.

“For me playing here in Roland Garros is just unforgettable, forever,” Nadal said.

Djokovic won the first set, after breaking Nadal in the eighth game and saving break points in the ninth for 6-3.

Nadal broke Djokovic in the 12th game to win the second set 7-5. In the third set, Nadal jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the third and broke serve again to take the set 6-2.

Djokovic had two chances to get the break back in the third set, in the fifth game and in the seventh, but Nadal held both times and then broke serve again in the final game for 6-2.

In the fourth set Nadal broke Djokovic in the sixth game to take a 4-2 lead, but the Serb broke back and held to even the set at 4-4. Nadal held for 5-4 and won the match when Djokovic double-faulted on match point.

“It was a great start; came back in the second,”Djokovic said in his post-match interview with media.  “Could have gone to the tiebreak and was quite even.  I lost that service game 6 5, and then the momentums went his side.

“I started, you know, playing quite bad, you know, and didn’t move as well.  Struggled a little bit physically throughout that third set.

“Then in the fourth started to feel a little bit better, but then just crucial points he played better.  I wasn’t playing at the level that I wanted, especially in the second part of the match.

“You know, that’s sport.  It’s how it is.  These kind of big matches obviously take the best out of players.  And of course it’s a huge challenge.  I tried to do my best.  My best wasn’t as the best against him in Rome a couple weeks ago.

“But, you know, it’s how it is.  Congratulations to him.  He was a better player in the crucial moments.  Of course it’s disappointing for me, but life goes on.  It’s not the first time or last time that I lost a match.”

“Without that second set, I don’t know if I have this trophy with me now,” Nadal said.

“He deserves to win this tournament,” Nadal said. “I am sure he will do it in the future.”

For his efforts, Nadal will receive €1,650,000 in prize money. He will remain No. 1 in the world.

At 45 clay court singles titles, Nadal is one title away from equaling the record of Guillermo Vilas at 46.

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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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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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