August 27, 2016

Novak Djokovic Could Face Rafael Nadal in the Semifinals of Roland Garros

 

(May 20, 2016) The French Open men’s and women’s singles draws were made in Paris on Friday and No. 1 Novak Djokovic and No. 4 seed, nine-time Roland Garros champion Rafael Nadal could be on a collision course to meet in the semifinals. Nadal moved into the No. 4 seed position when No. 3 Roger Federer withdrew from the tournament on Thursday.

Djokovic comes into Roland Garros seeking the only major tournament he has not won. He’s looking to become the eight man to have a “career slam,” winning each of the four major title at least once. Should the Serb win the French Open, he would hold all four major championships at the same time.

Djokovic has lost in the final of the French Open three out of the past four years. He will begin his quest for the Roland Garros crown against No. 100 in the world Lu Yen-hsun in, while Nadal will play big serving Australian, Sam Groth.

On the other side of the men’s draw, a pair of two-time major champions could meet in the other semifinal – No. 2 Andy Murray and No. 3 seed and defending champion Stan Wawrinka. Murray will play a qualifier in the first round, while Wawrinka will face-off against

The top seed in the women’s draw, Serena Williams is going after her 22nd career major, which would tie her with Steffi Graf on the all-time list, the most in the Open Era. She’s coming off her first tournament win in nine months, winning the Italian Open trophy last weekend on the clay courts of Rome.

A hurdle for the American could come in the quarterfinals, where she is projected to meet No. 5 seed and two-time Australian Open winner Victoria Azarenka. Williams may also have play 2008 French Open champion Ana Ivanovic in the fourth round and reigning Australian Open champion Angelique Kerber in the final four. Williams lost to the German in the Melbourne final.

Williams will open against No. 76 Magdalena Rybarikova.

Williams is the defending champion and is going after her fourth Roland Garros trophy.

In the bottom half of the women’s draw, No. 2 Agnieszka Radwanska could play fourth seed Garbine Muguruza in the semifinals.

Play begins on Sunday, May 22.

Men’s draw

Women’s draw

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Djokovic Survives Test From Nadal to Reach Italian Open Semis; Serena Williams Dominates

Djokovic celebrates win-001

(May 13, 2016) Novak Djokovic came back from a break down in both sets and set points down in the second set to fight off Rafael Nadal 7-5, 7-6(4) to reach the semifinals of the Italian Open on Friday in Rome. The dramatic match lasted almost two-and-a-half hours. The world No. 1 has now beaten the 14-time major champion seven straight times and has raised his record to 26-23 over the current No. 5. The Serb has now won 15 straight sets against the Spaniard.

Nadal grabbed opening breaks of serve in both sets and had five set points in the second set  serving at 5-4, but Djokovic kept coming back from adversity.

“I held my nerve at the clutch moments,” Djokovic said in an interview after the match. “Even though I had nervy beginnings to both sets, with some good games and good play in the crucial moments, I managed to win. It’s a straight-sets win, but it feels like we played five sets.

“Winning against Nadal is the ultimate challenge on clay courts and one of the toughest challenges we have in sport. I have to be very pleased with the way I handled myself in the big moments today. I won against one of my biggest rivals on his preferred surface. We must not forget he’s in form. He won Monte-Carlo and Barcelona and has played well the past couple of weeks. That gives me confidence for the rest of this tournament.”

Djokovic said that it was special to be on court playing against Nadal.

Nadal said that he was not disappointed and felt that he played well against the best player.

Djokovic will face-off against Kei Nishikori in his semifinal on Saturday. The sixth seed Nishikori beat 13th seed Dominic Thiem 6-3, 7-5.

No. 2 seed Andy Murray moved into the final four with a 6-1, 7-5 win over David Goffin. Murray will play French lucky loser Lucas Pouille for s spot in the final on Saturday. Pouille advanced when Juan Monaco withdrew with a left hip injury.

On the women’s side, No. 1 ranked Serena Williams, getting a little revenge from her loss in Miami, when she demolished Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-2, 6-0 in 51 minutes. She’ll play Irina-Camelia Begu next who beat Misaki Doi 6-2, 7-6 (3).

On the bottom half of the draw, Garbine Muguruza beat Timea Bacsinszky 7-5, 6-2 and will play Madison Keys, who defeated Barbora Strycova 6-4, 4-6, 6-3.

 

INTERNAZIONALI BNL D’ITALIA – ROME, ITALY
9-15 MAY 2016

RESULTS – MAY 13, 2016
Women’s Singles – Quarterfinals
[1] S. Williams (USA) d [9] S. Kuznetsova (RUS) 62 60
[3] G. Muguruza (ESP) d [11] T. Bacsinszky (SUI) 75 62
I. Begu (ROU) d M. Doi (JPN) 62 76(3)
M. Keys (USA) d B. Strycova (CZE) 64 46 63

Women’s Doubles – Quarterfinals
[1] M. Hingis (SUI) / S. Mirza (IND) d R. Atawo (USA) / A. Spears (USA) 64 62
I. Begu (ROU) / M. Niculescu (ROU) d [3] T. Babos (HUN) / Y. Shvedova (KAZ) 76(4) 63
[4] A. Hlavackova (CZE) / L. Hradecka (CZE) d [5] C. Garcia (FRA) / K. Mladenovic (FRA) 64 64
[7] E. Makarova (RUS) / E. Vesnina (RUS) d A. Klepac (SLO) / K. Srebotnik (SLO) 62 64

Men’s Singles – Quarterfinals
[1] N. Djokovic (SRB) d [5] R. Nadal (ESP) 75 76(4)
[2] A. Murray (GBR) d [12] D. Goffin (BEL) 61 75
[6] K. Nishikori (JPN) d [13] D. Thiem (AUT) 63 75
[LL] L. Pouille (FRA) d [PR] J. Monaco (ARG) w.o. (hip)

Men’s Doubles – Quarterfinals
[5] B. Bryan (USA) / M. Bryan (USA) d [4] J. Murray (GBR) / B. Soares (BRA) 63 64
[6] R. Bopanna (IND) / F. Mergea (ROU) d P. Kohlschreiber (GER) / V. Troicki (SRB) 63 64
[8] V. Pospisil (CAN) / J. Sock (USA) d P. Cuevas (URU) / M. Granollers (ESP) 64 76(4)
[PR] J. Benneteau (FRA) / E. Roger-Vasselin (FRA) d O. Marach (AUT) / M. Matkowski (POL) 46 75 10-8

ORDER OF PLAY – SATURDAY, MAY 14, 2016
CENTER COURT start 12:00 noon
WTA – [3] G. Muguruza (ESP) vs M. Keys (USA)

Not Before 2:30 pm
ATP – [LL] L. Pouille (FRA) vs [2] A. Murray (GBR)

Not Before 5:00 pm
WTA – [1] S. Williams (USA) vs I. Begu (ROU)

Not Before 8:00 pm
ATP – [1] N. Djokovic (SRB) vs [13] D. Thiem (AUT) or [6] K. Nishikori (JPN)
ATP – [PR] J. Benneteau (FRA) / E. Roger-Vasselin (FRA) vs [5] B. Bryan (USA) / M. Bryan (USA)

PIETRANGELI start 12:00 noon
WTA – [4] A. Hlavackova (CZE) / L. Hradecka (CZE) vs [7] E. Makarova (RUS) / E. Vesnina (RUS)

Not Before 1:00 pm
ATP – [8] V. Pospisil (CAN) / J. Sock (USA) vs [6] R. Bopanna (IND) / F. Mergea (ROU)
WTA – After Suitable Rest – [1] M. Hingis (SUI) / S. Mirza (IND) vs I. Begu (ROU) / M. Niculescu (ROU)

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Novak Djokovic Wins Madrid for Record 29th Masters Title

 

(May 8, 2016) Novak Djokovic won his second Madrid Open title on Sunday beating Andy Murray 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 for a record 29th Masters title and 64th career ATP World Tour title. The world No. 1 is now tied with Pete Sampras and Bjorn Borg for sixth place for titles won in the Open Era.

This win raises the Serb’s record against the Brit to 23-9, victorious in 12 of the last 13 matches.

“This came at the right time,” Djokovic said. “I had an amazing opening four months of the season. Then an early exit in Monte-Carlo, but it happened for a reason, because I needed some time to really recharge my batteries. Three weeks was more than enough to get some freshness and new breath and get ready for Madrid. I came here early, got used to the conditions, and played a really fantastic tournament that will definitely serve as a great confidence boost before Rome and the French Open.”

“I started very well,” Djokovic explained. “Played terrific tennis in the first set. Couple of close games in the second, beginning of the second set, and then I made some unforced errors and double faults in the game when I dropped my serve in the second set. I couldn’t get back.

“He started serving very well, especially down the T and deuce side. Very precise and very strong, and he was backing that serve up with aggressive first shots, and then just about an hour it was split sets.

“Then the match really could have gone either way, but we exchanged some breaks of serves early in the third. Then when it seemed like I was closing out the match and having a match point at 5-2, he came up with some big serves again. The last game obviously got myself out of some trouble with some good serves, with some good forehands, but was very, very close. Very close.”

Andy Murray

Andy Murray

“I obviously fought hard today,” Murray said. “Yeah, disappointed because from like two games, like 2-All to 4-2, 5-2, I was making him work hard in the second set and then beginning of the third and then at the end of the third set.

“I just think I’m definitely moving better. That’s for sure. It makes a huge difference. Like I said, on the other surfaces it’s a massive strength of mine, a big part of my game, and for a number years I didn’t move well on the clay. It was a hindrance, and that makes you uncomfortable. If you took Ivo Karlovic’s serve away he would feel uncomfortable going on the court. For me, take my movement away.

“When I was having the problems with my back it was difficult for me when stepping on the court; whereas now my body feels great. I feel like I’m moving a lot better. So I’m not going on the court sort of a little bit nervous or apprehensive. I believe I can play well on clay now.

“There was a period there – if you watch it back – the game I got broken [in the third set], I made three unforced errors in that game. That was disappointing. Then obviously the last game I don’t know how many break point chances I had, but must have been six or seven.

“Both of us were pretty clinical on the break points up until the last game for me. That’s why he’s No. 1 just now. He fought very hard in that game and served well when he was a bit nervous. At the end he came up with some big serves and got himself some free points and did well.”

 

“Then the match really could have gone either way, but we exchanged some breaks of serves early in the third,” noted the world No. 1. “Then when it seemed like I was closing out the match and having a match point at 5-2, he came up with some big serves again. The last game obviously got myself out of some trouble with some good serves, with some good forehands, but was very, very close. Very close.”

“I’m very pleased that I have developed a great rivalry with somebody that I’ve known since very long time and somebody that I have a very good and friendly relationship with on and off the court,” Djokovic said.

 

Since Murray did not defend his Madrid title from last year, he will slip to No. 3 in the world on Monday. Roger Federer will move up to No. 2.

In the men’s doubles final Jean-Julien Rojer and Horia Tecau won their first Masters 1000 title as a team, beating defending champions Rohan Bopanna and Florin Mergea 6-4, 7-6(5). It was their 12th trophy overall.

“They are a great team, and also friends,” Rojer said. “It’s never easy to play these matches and it’s difficult for all four guys.”

“I want to thank my partner for having another great week,” said Tecau. “We were struggling for a few weeks, couldn’t win a lot of matches… It feels great to play well together and get another title.

“We’ve been chasing this one for almost three years. We’re really excited to get this one because it comes after having a few early exits in Masters 1000 events this year. So it means a lot to us.”

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Halep wins Madrid Open; Murray Beats Nadal and Will Meet Djokovic in the Final

Simona Halep

Simona Halep

(May 7, 2016) Calling her win “the best day in my life,” Romania’s Simona Halep won her second career WTA Premier Mandatory event when she beat Slovakia’s Dominika Cibulkova 6-2, 6-4 to claim the Madrid Open title.

“I saw always that it’s a special tournament because of Mr. (Ion) Tiriac, because of many Romanians that are coming here. I feel like home,” Halep said. Tiriac, also a Romanian, is a member of the tennis Hall of Fame is the Tournament Director of Madrid and gave Halep a wildcard into the tournament three years ago.

The victory for Halep marks her 12th career WTA tournament title. She will now move up to No. 5 in the rankings. Cibulkova will rise to No. 26.

Kei Nishikori and Novak Djokovic at GR8 Fundraiser in Miami in 2011

Kei Nishikori and Novak Djokovic at GR8 Fundraiser in Miami in 2011

Novak Djokovic will meet defending champion Andy Murray in the Madrid Open final on Sunday. No. 2 Murray saved 11 break points in holding off four-time Madrid winner No. 5 Rafael Nadal 7-5, 6-4, snapping the Spaniard’s 13-match winning streak. Murray beat Nadal in last year’s Madrid final.

“Not loads of players have won against Rafa on clay throughout his career,” Murray said. “To beat him in Spain on a clay court is obviously a big, big challenge for any player. Very pleased to have beaten him this year.”

“Murray was not unbeatable today,” Nadal said in press. “It was an open match, an even match,”

“I didn’t play my best level, but I didn’t play badly. I played a medium level, which was not enough to beat Murray.”

Djokovic beat Kei Nishikori 6-3, 7-6(4) in the other men’s semifinal. The Serbian had some trouble serving out the match leading 6-4, 5-4 40-0. The man from Japan came back and held off four match points against him to even the set at 5-5. Both men held and went to a tiebreak, which Djokovic won 7-3.

“It wasn’t easy to play in these very windy conditions, but overall I’m very pleased,” Djokovic said.”

Going into the final Djokovic leads Murray 22-9, winning 11 of the last 12 matches, winning all four matches on clay. Murray needs to win on Sunday to keep his No. 2 ranking ahead of the French Open or Roger Federer will move up to the second spot.

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Murray and Nadal Advance in Madrid

Andy Murray fh

(May 3, 2016) Defending Madrid Open champion Andy Murray and four-time titlist Rafael Nadal moved into the third round on Tuesday. Fifth seed Nadal easily beat Andrey Kuznetsov 6-3, 6-3, while Murray passed a 7-6, 3-6, 6-1 test over veteran qualifier 37-year-old Radek Stepanek.

“I’m happy with the way I started the clay-court season,” Monte- Carlo and Barcelona winner Nadal said. “Today, another victory, so that’s great news. I’m excited about this tournament.”

“I served well both in Monte Carlo and in Barcelona. And it’s going to be vital to serve well here as well to have a good tournament.”

“He played very well, it was not easy,” Murray said of his two-hour and 16-minute match against the former world No. 8. “He was hitting the ball big up the lines. There was nothing I could do.”

2009 U.S. Open champion Juan Martin del Potro, currently ranked 274th after returning from injuries and surgery, beat 14th seed Dominic Thiem 7-6 (5), 6-3.

“I have just played my best match since I came back to tennis after my surgeries,” Del Potro said. “I’ve had a great test against a very high-level player.”

 

RESULTS – TUESDAY, 3 MAY 2016

Men’s Singles – Second Round
[2] A. Murray (GBR) d [Q] R. Stepanek (CZE) 76(3) 36 61
[5] R. Nadal (ESP) d A. Kuznetsov (RUS) 63 63
[10] R. Gasquet (FRA) d [WC] F. Verdasco (ESP) 64 36 61
[11] M. Raonic (CAN) d A. Dolgopolov (UKR) 64 67(3) 62
First Round
[13] G. Monfils (FRA) d K. Anderson (RSA) 64 61
[PR] J. del Potro (ARG) d [14] D. Thiem (AUT) 76(5) 63
[15] R. Bautista Agut (ESP) d [Q] S. Giraldo (COL) 63 75
B. Coric (CRO) d [WC] N. Almagro (ESP) 62 62
A. Ramos-Vinolas (ESP) d J. Chardy (FRA) 63 64
N. Kyrgios (AUS) d G. Pella (ARG) 76(7) 64
P. Cuevas (URU) d P. Kohlschreiber (GER) 63 36 76(5)
F. Fognini (ITA) d B. Tomic (AUS) 62 64
J. Sock (USA) d B. Paire (FRA) 26 62 76(5)
[Q] D. Kudla (USA) d I. Karlovic (CRO) 67(7) 76(5) 76(4)
[WC] P. Carreno Busta (ESP) d G. Dimitrov (BUL) 76(3) 63

Doubles – First Round
T. Bellucci (BRA) / L. Mayer (ARG) d J. Cabal (COL) / R. Farah (COL) 67(3) 76(3) 10-7
[WC] M. Bhupathi (IND) / F. Martin (FRA) d G. Pella (ARG) / G. Simon (FRA) 67(3) 75 10-7
R. Klaasen (RSA) / R. Ram (USA) d F. Lopez (ESP) / M. Lopez (ESP) 64 67(6) 10-5
P. Cuevas (URU) / M. Granollers (ESP) d S. Johnson (USA) / S. Querrey (USA) 64 62

SCHEDULE – WEDNESDAY, 4 MAY 2016

MANOLO SANTANA start 12:00 noon
ATP – F. Lopez (ESP) vs [15] R. Bautista Agut (ESP)
Not Before 2:00 pm
WTA – [6] S. Halep (ROU) vs [10] T. Bacsinszky (SUI)
Not Before 4:00 pm
ATP – [1] N. Djokovic (SRB) vs B. Coric (CRO)
Not Before 8:00 pm
WTA – [8] C. Suárez Navarro (ESP) vs S. Stosur (AUS)
Not Before 9:30 pm
ATP – A. Ramos-Vinolas (ESP) vs [7] J. Tsonga (FRA)

ARANTXA SANCHEZ start 12:00 noon
WTA – D. Gavrilova (AUS) vs [5] P. Kvitova (CZE)
Not Before 2:00 pm
ATP – F. Fognini (ITA) vs [6] K. Nishikori (JPN)
ATP – [Q] D. Kudla (USA) vs [9] D. Ferrer (ESP)
ATP – P. Cuevas (URU) vs [13] G. Monfils (FRA)
Not Before 8:00 pm
ATP – [PR] J. del Potro (ARG) vs J. Sock (USA)
Not Before 9:30 pm
WTA – [Q] P. Tig (ROU) vs M. Keys (USA)

ESTADIO 3 start 12:00 noon
ATP – [8] T. Berdych (CZE) vs [Q] D. Istomin (UZB)
ATP – [4] S. Wawrinka (SUI) vs N. Kyrgios (AUS)
WTA – [4] V. Azarenka (BLR) vs [Q] L. Chirico (USA)
WTA – D. Cibulkova (SVK) vs A. Pavlyuchenkova (RUS)

PISTA 4 start 12:00 noon
WTA – C. Mchale (USA) vs I. Begu (ROU)
ATP – S. Querrey (USA) vs [Q] L. Pouille (FRA)
ATP – J. Sousa (POR) vs [LL] M. Granollers (ESP)
WTA – [Q] L. Siegemund (GER) vs [WC] S. Cirstea (ROU)
Not Before 5:00 pm
WTA – TBA after rest – [5] C. Garcia (FRA) / K. Mladenovic (FRA) vs Y. Xu (CHN) / S. Zheng (CHN)

PISTA 5 start 12:00 noon
WTA – [4] H. Chan (TPE) / Y. Chan (TPE) vs M. Gasparyan (RUS) / K. Siniakova (CZE)
Not Before 2:00 pm
ATP – [16] G. Simon (FRA) vs [WC] P. Carreno Busta (ESP)
ATP – T. Huey (PHI) / M. Mirnyi (BLR) vs D. Nestor (CAN) / R. Stepanek (CZE)
ATP – R. Klaasen (RSA) / R. Ram (USA) vs [4] I. Dodig (CRO) / M. Melo (BRA)
ATP – TBA after rest – F. Fognini (ITA) / V. Troicki (SRB) vs L. Kubot (POL) / M. Matkowski (POL)

PISTA 6 start 12:00 noon
WTA – L. Arruabarrena (ESP) / S. Errani (ITA) vs [3] T. Babos (HUN) / Y. Shvedova (KAZ)
WTA – [8] E. Makarova (RUS) / E. Vesnina (RUS) vs A. Klepac (SLO) / K. Srebotnik (SLO)
ATP – H. Kontinen (FIN) / J. Peers (AUS) vs A. Dolgopolov (UKR) / B. Tomic (AUS)

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Rafael Nadal Sues Former French Health and Sport Minister Roselyne Bachelot for Doping Accusations

Nadal

(April 25, 2016) Rafael Nadal‘s lawyers filed a lawsuit on Monday in Paris against former French Health and Sport minister  Roselyne Bachelot due to her “offensive remarks” on French television.

Bachelot said on TV show Le Grand 8 that Nadal’s seven-month absence due to injury in 2012 was “probably due to a positive doping test.”

Via a press release (posted below), Nadal said:

“Through this case, I intend not only to defend my integrity and my image as an
athlete but also the values I have defended all my career. I also wish to avoid any
public figure from making insulting or false allegations against an athlete using the
media, without any evidence or foundation and to go unpunished.

“Should the tribunal consider there has been a wrong-doing and the sentence
recognises the right to damages, any compensation will be paid back in full to an
NGO or foundation in France.

“On the other hand, I ask for total respect regarding the legal procedure just started
and would like to express my complete trust in the French justice system who will be
judging the legal case.”

 

 

 

Rafael Nadal Press Release

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Rafael Nadal Wins 9th Barcelona Crown to Equal Guillermo Vilas’ Clay Court Titles Record at 49

(April 24, 2016) Rafael Nadal beat two-time defending champion Kei Nishikori 6-4, 7-5 to win the Barcelona Open for the ninth time on Sunday. The Spaniard has now equaled Guillermo Vilas record of 49 career clay court crowns.

It’s two straight weeks of titles for the 14-time major champion, who claimed his 69th career tournament victory.

Nadal now has won nine titles at three different tournaments – Barcelona, Monte-Carlo and Roland Garros.

“I was playing against the No. 6 player in the world, and if you don’t play at your best you aren’t going to win,” Nadal said after the match.

“I served well and that allowed me to play better. In the second set I missed several chances, and at the end it was very close, but I stayed mentally strong.”

“It was a very close match, Nadal said. “There were a lot of chances for both of us but I think I have been solid.
“When you play against players with this very, very high level, the match is often decided by a few moments. So I feel happy that I handled all these important moments well mentally.
“I have been working so hard to enjoy moments like this. The fact that I’m playing at home is always even more special. I’m very happy and I feel lucky to enjoy this again.”

Kei Nishikori

“It’s a great start to the clay court season,” Nishikori said. Even though I lost today I gained some confidence.
“He’s playing another good level of tennis. But also I gave away too many opportunities. And if I could get a couple more points on those important points, maybe the game changes a little bit.
He also gives me a lot of pressure. Every point, he gets every ball, so it’s not easy to win points against him.”

 

Angelique Kerber defended her title in Stuttgart, beating German countrywoman, qualifier Laura Siegemund 6-4, 6-0. The Australian Open champion battled back from 0-3 in the first set to win 12 out of the next 13 games. For Kerber this was her ninth career title.

 

It was a career week for the 71st ranked Siegemund, who will see her ranking move to 42 in the world as of Monday. The 28-year-old upset two Top Ten players to reach the final – No. 2 Agnieszka Radwanska and No. 6 Simona Halep.

Unseeded Cagla Buyukakcay, ranked 118 in the world had a career week in her hometown as she won the TEP BNP Paribas Istanbul Cup over No.5 seed Danka Kovinic, 3-6, 6-2, 6-3.

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Rafael Nadal Wins Ninth Monte-Carlo Crown

 

Nadal 881

(April 17, 2016) Rafael Nadal won his 28th Masters title and 68th career crown, claiming his ninth Monte-Carlo tournament by beating Gael Monfils 7-5, 5-7, 6-0 on Sunday.  He is now ties with Novak Djokovic for the all-time lead in Masters Series titles. It’s the 14-time major champion’s first title since last July, when he won on the clay in Hamburg.

Nadal stands just one clay court title away from tying tennis hall of famer Guillermo Vilas in total clay court crowns at 49.

 

“It was a very important week for me,” said the Spaniard. I feel much better than I did last year. The victory here confirms that I’ve been better. Monte-Carlo is one of the most important places in my career and it’s so special to win here after three years.

“Winning nine times here is unbelievable, and competing well two weeks in a row is something positive.”

“I knew (Nadal) was confident,” Monfils said. “He’s a great champion and puts more into it at the right moments. You’re just submissive to his power. Suddenly in the third set, he increased his power and I just couldn’t cope.”
“I know I worked hard to have this trophy with me,” Nadal said to media. “I am enjoying this moment. Is emotional moment after some tough moments. But that’s part of the life, is part of the sports in general.

“Very happy today. I hope and I believe that this week, Indian Wells, this week, two tournaments in a row, playing at a very high level, I think that’s so important. That’s what I needed.

“I said the first day when I arrived here in the first press conference that I needed matches in a row, I need weeks in a row competing at the highest level. I already have two weeks in a row competing at the highest level.

“Today winning nine times here is something unbelievable for me. Outside of that, that is something so special. Compete well two weeks in a row is something so positive. Another chance next week in Barcelona, I going to try my best again.”

 

“Have been working hard,” Nadal continued. “I have been working hard since long time ago. Last year have been a tough year in terms — I don’t want to talk anymore, I said enough about the nerves, I was nervous during the matches.

“Is work every day to slow down that, no? Is not going like this, going like this (indicating up and down). It’s not something that stays here and disappears. It’s the work of every day.

“The victories help. Still not 100% perfect, but still is much, much better of everything.

“I don’t have that feeling I had last year on court. Very happy for that. In terms of tennis, I am playing better. It’s obvious.

“I was able to raise the level, increase my level yesterday in the second and in the third, and today again in the third. That’s something I missed a lot the last period of time. Before when the match was coming tough, I was able to increase. This week I was able to do it.

 

 

 

In men’s doubles Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut won their third ATP World Tour Masters 1000 crown in a row winning Monte-Carlo over Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares 4-6, 6-0, 10-6.

“We have been very humble on the court during the last month and a half,” Herbert said. “After losing the first set, we could have been overwhelmed in the second. But we weren’t. We kept fighting. That means in the long-term, we can be consistent day after day.”

“We were playing well and we also had some luck,” Muhat explained. “When you win matches, you’re more confident and you’re able to relax when you play the important points. It can turn a match around, especially in the (match) tie-break.”

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Murray to Face Nadal in Monte-Carlo Semis; Federer Falls to Tsonga

Nadal 881

(April 15, 2016) Andy Murray and Rafael Nadal posted decisive victories and will play each other in the semifinals of the Monte-Carlo Masters on Saturday. Roger Federer returning to the court for the first time since his knee surgery in February fell to Jo-Wilfred Tsonga. Tsonga will play fellow Frenchman Gael Monfils in the other semifinal.

No. 5 Nadal dominated No. 3 Stan Wawrinka 6-1, 6-4 while No. 2 Murray destroyed Milos Raonic 6-2, 6-0.

“If I play like I did today, I’ll have a chance,” said Murray.

“Rafa, especially on this court, he plays great on clay obviously, but on this one in particular, his record is incredible. I think he’s maybe only lost one or two matches in his life here. So, yeah, it’s a great test for me this early on in the clay season.

“I’ll go into the match with confidence having managed to win against him in Madrid on the clay last year, and having played a really good match today.

“I look forward to it.”

 

“I’ll have to play a great match, but also a smart match as well,” Murray explained. “I need to be intelligent on the court, go in with a very good idea of what I want to do in the points.

“So, yeah, that’s the most important thing, to have a good game plan and be smart on the court. Against Rafa on this surface, he has the ability to get you to sort of play – I don’t know what the word is – but he gets you to go for more than you should because he’s so consistent.

“He hits a lot of height on the ball, a lot of spin. He can make you go for winners from uncomfortable positions. You have to not allow that to happen. You need to try and stay calm, be patient. I’ll try to do that.”

Nadal broke Wawrinka’s serve four times to reach his 11th Monte-Carlo semifinal. The Swiss broke his racquet in the fifth game of the first set to the boos of spectators. Wawrinka said he was disturbed by all of the noise coming from the restaurant above the court.

“You wonder whether people are coming to have lunch or to watch tennis. I don’t believe they saw a lot of the match. I think they also drank a lot of alcohol.” Wawrinka said. “When you don’t play well and you’re not in your match, it can bother you.”

“Anyway, it was not a good day for me today,” Wawrinka said. “I really need to work on two or three things that I want to improve. I have two weeks, or a bit more, before I go to Madrid. I will try to prepare well during that period.”

I believe today it was more of a concentration issue or mentally that I had a problem. I struggled. I rushed at the beginning. This is something you pay for against Rafa.”

“The real thing is every day is a different story,” Nadal said. “Yesterday I played against an opponent that he was playing so good, in my opinion. Is true that my serve probably was a little bit better today than yesterday. But both days I think I played good, no?

“Stan today, I think the last three games of the first set, that’s the only moment that he didn’t play well. Obviously he played with too many mistakes.

“But in the beginning of the match and in the second set was a good match, in my opinion. Both played good points.

“I think he played with more mistakes than me. But is true at same time he is going more for the shots all the time. When you want to play this way, very aggressive, you can have mistakes.

“I think I played good. I defended well. I moved well. When I had the opportunity, I was trying to have the control of the point with my forehand and with my backhand, too.”

Nadal plays Murray for a place in the final. The Spaniard has a 16-6 record against the Scot.

“He played a great match today,” Nadal said. “We’ll see. I need to be ready to play the way I am playing the last two matches. If I am able to do it, I hope to have my chances.

“He always was a good clay court player, no? He played semifinals of French Open twice or three times, I don’t know.”

Federer was two points away from defeating Tsonga at 6-3, 2-6, 5-4 with the Frenchman serving, but could not close.

“Yeah, I mean, I think it had definitely some twists and turns,” said Federer. “I’m not sure how come. Maybe we were both a bit up and down. We had a couple of games here and there that we kind of gave each other on the serve. Kind of hung onto it, me in the first, him in the second.

“Third was close all the way through. Maybe had a small chance the first game maybe. The game I got broken is a tough game to get broken on because I think I had three forehands that I’m in good position, and I end up losing all three points. It’ll a tough break to get.

“You know, it was a good tournament, a good match, exactly what I was hoping for and more, so I’m very happy.”

“It was a good match. It was nice to play an intense match. I’m happy how the body reacted. So many good things this week. It’s all positive for me.

“I know where I’m at now. I hope my knee and my body is going to be okay the next couple of days. If I’m good, I might go practice tomorrow as well just to get the body into maybe a rhythm of playing maybe four days straight at a very intense level. If I feel like I need a break, the team tells me to rest, I’ll do that tomorrow.

“Things are really good right now. Of course, it was unfortunate because I had my chances. But this tournament, really doesn’t matter at all if I missed or not those chances.”

 

“It’s always special to play against him, especially on court, because you have all the crowd against you,” said Tsonga. “Wherever you play, if it’s in France or not, it’s tough to play against him because you have him, the crowd and all the monument around him.

“Yeah, it’s always special to win against Federer.”

“I was expecting a difficult match, and that is exactly what happened. He was very reactive, he was running well. From the start, I thought he was very fast.

“But I was able to turn it around. He dropped his level a little bit and I was able to come back into the match and end up winning. It’s good for me.”

 

As for playing fellow Frenchman and friend Gael Monfils next: “You feel a bit more worried against him. Before, he had his own way. Now, he changed. But it’s still him.

“He’s certainly improved in a number of things, but it’s still him. I don’t really know what to expect. I’ll go on the court doing what I’m used to doing: trying to be aggressive, serving well. Gael is just the way he is. He is him. It’s good.”

“There’s not a real favorite (in the match), “ Tsonga said. “It’s going to be an interesting match. It’s difficult to say who will be the favorite.”

“It’s going to be a big match for several reasons,” Monfils said. “First, Jo has a game that I have trouble with. I was able to beat him once, but he was coming back from an injury.

“Another time I beat him, too. He was injured in Montpellier. I can’t say I really beat him.

He gives me many problems. It’s always the case when I play against very aggressive players. There are different kinds of aggressive players. A real aggressive player is difficult for me.

“Tomorrow the match will be different. I will need to find a solution to push him back and to try to stop him dominating the rallies.

“I’m sure 100% that he will try to be very aggressive. He will not want long rallies. He will want to use his forehand as much as he can, and he will be very aggressive on my second serve.

“So if I have a slight advantage in this match, it’s because I know what he’s going to do. He’s going to play aggressively. I don’t believe I’m wrong.”

“I think it’s going to be explosive.”

 

 

RESULTS – FRIDAY, 15 APRIL 2016

Singles – Quarter-finals
[2] A. Murray (GBR) d [10] M. Raonic (CAN) 62 60
[8] J. Tsonga (FRA) d [3] R. Federer (SUI) 36 62 75
[5] R. Nadal (ESP) d [4] S. Wawrinka (SUI) 61 64
[13] G. Monfils (FRA) d [LL] M. Granollers (ESP) 62 64

Doubles – Quarter-finals
[2] I. Dodig (CRO) / M. Melo (BRA) d T. Huey (PHI) / M. Mirnyi (BLR) 64 64
[3] P. Herbert (FRA) / N. Mahut (FRA) d D. Inglot (GBR) / A. Murray (GBR) 64 36 12-10
[4] J. Murray (GBR) / B. Soares (BRA) d [6] R. Bopanna (IND) / F. Mergea (ROU) 62 63
J. Cabal (COL) / R. Farah (COL) d H. Kontinen (FIN) / J. Peers (AUS) 64 64

SCHEDULE – SATURDAY, 16 APRIL 2016

COURT RAINIER III start 11:00 am
[4] J. Murray (GBR) / B. Soares (BRA) vs [2] I. Dodig (CRO) / M. Melo (BRA)

Not Before 1:00 pm
[5] R. Nadal (ESP) vs [2] A. Murray (GBR)

Not Before 3:30 pm
[13] G. Monfils (FRA) vs [8] J. Tsonga (FRA)
J. Cabal (COL) / R. Farah (COL) vs [3] P. Herbert (FRA) / N. Mahut (FRA)

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Murray, Nadal and Federer Reach Monte-Carlo Quarterfinals

Andy Murray

Andy Murray

(April 14, 2016) World No. 2 Andy Murray rallied from a set and two breaks down to beat Benoit Paire 2-6, 7-5, 7-5 to reach the quarterfinals of the Monte-Carlo Masters on Thursday. Also advancing were No. 3 Roger Federer, No. 4 Stan Wawrinka, No. 5 Rafael Nadal, No. 8 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga,  No. 10 Milos Raonic, No. 13 Gael Monfils, and unseeded Marcel Granollers.

“It was a big win is what it was,” Murray said.  “You know, to win from 6-2, 3-0 down, two breaks, when you’re not playing particularly well, it’s a great effort.

“You know, those matches are important. It would have been easy to lose today and get down on myself. But I kept fighting right the way through to the end.

“Definitely, you know, the second set was sort of ups and downs. I didn’t feel like in the third that was the case so much. I mean, I think I broke him twice, he broke me once.

“But, yeah, it was a good one to get through because I could have easily lost today. Fought well, good effort.”

“I think he played a bad game at 3-0 in the second to give me one of the breaks back,” the Scotman noted as the turning point in the match. “I felt like I was in with a chance then. That was really the point of the match where it turned a little bit for me. I mean, there was still a lot of work to be done at that stage. Obviously he served for the match in the third.”

“I made a bad dropshot and a bad volley that wasn’t too difficult,” Paire said. “I lost the game. It was 3-1. I started wondering. It allowed him to get back into the match. I wasn’t playing the simple tennis I was playing from the start. I was no longer waiting for the right shot to come.

“I think I should have won that match and I’m extremely disappointed.”

“I’m playing good matches. I have good results. I’m close to the top players.

“What happened today, I was a bit stressed when it was at the point of trying to close out the match. I made a mistake. I should have just put the ball back into play, for example. I have many regrets.”

 

Federer had straight forward 6-2, 6-4 victory over Roberto Bautista Agut.

“I felt as good as in the first match, or maybe not as good, because I felt a bit tired,” said the world No. 3. “I can feel it in my body right now. I feel a bit soft, without energy.

“But as the match progressed, I felt better and better. Once I made the break, I was able to relax a little more. Bautista Agut, it was the first time I played him. I wasn’t sure whether he would stay far behind or make dropshots. I saw him do that against Chardy. I was playing in a way he couldn’t make those dropshots, so it was a good match.

“I felt good. In the beginning of the second, I could have made more breaks. So it could have gone my way very early.

“I’m happy with what I did. He’s a good player.”

 

Nadal had to come back from a break in the first set to oust Dominic Thiem 7-5, 6-3. The Spaniard overcame 15 of 16 break points against him in the first set.

“The good thing, in my opinion, the best thing is he didn’t play bad the breakpoints,” said Nadal. “It was more that I played well in the breakpoints than he played bad.

“So happy for that because that mean that I was ready to find and take the right decisions in the most important moments. I was able to fight all the moments, no? I never give up in all these tough moments that I had in the first set. So very happy for that.

“I think I played a solid match in general. That’s why I’m in the next round, because the opponent was very hard.”

“I think I played a good match. In terms of level of tennis, was great I think. In terms of fighting spirit and attitude and being ready to accept the mistakes, the good points, the tough moments, was similar way that I played in Indian Wells.

“That was a great continuation against a very tough player. I think he played a great match, too. Was a very good victory for me. Very happy for that.”

Next match for Nadal will be Stan Wawrinka, who beat Nadal in the final of the 2014 Australian Open. “Stan, he’s always very dangerous opponent and he’s a great player,” said the 14-time major champion. “I know when he’s playing well, it’s difficult to stop him because he’s able to hit so hard the ball from every part of the court. He’s able to serve so good, too.

“We’ll see. Will be a tough one. I only can think about myself. I have to continue the same way than today, fighting for every point, playing with my strategy. We’ll see if I am able to play like today or maybe little bit better. Let’s see.”

“I will have to play well if I want to have a chance to keep winning,” Wawrinka said about his next match. “Rafa is always tough to play on clay. He’s a left-hander. It’s always complicated to play against him.”

Novak Djokovic’s conqueror has been conquered. Jiri Vesely, who stunned tennis’ top player in the second round lost to Gael Monfils in straight sets 6-1, 6-2.

RESULTS – THURSDAY, 14 APRIL 2016

Singles – Third Round
[2] A. Murray (GBR) d [16] B. Paire (FRA) 26 75 75
[3] R. Federer (SUI) d [14] R. Bautista Agut (ESP) 62 64
[4] S. Wawrinka (SUI) d [15] G. Simon (FRA) 61 62
[5] R. Nadal (ESP) d [12] D. Thiem (AUT) 75 63
[8] J. Tsonga (FRA) d [WC] L. Pouille (FRA) 64 64
[10] M. Raonic (CAN) d [Q] D. Dzumhur (BIH) 63 46 76(5)
[LL] M. Granollers (ESP) d [11] D. Goffin (BEL) 76(1) 64
[13] G. Monfils (FRA) d J. Vesely (CZE) 61 62

Doubles – Second Round
H. Kontinen (FIN) / J. Peers (AUS) d [1] J. Rojer (NED) / H. Tecau (ROU) 62 63
[2] I. Dodig (CRO) / M. Melo (BRA) d D. Marrero (ESP) / B. Paire (FRA) 76(4) 62
[3] P. Herbert (FRA) / N. Mahut (FRA) d [WC] R. Nadal (ESP) / F. Verdasco (ESP) ret. (Verdasco – calf)
J. Cabal (COL) / R. Farah (COL) d [5] B. Bryan (USA) / M. Bryan (USA) 64 63
SCHEDULE – FRIDAY, 15 APRIL 2016

COURT RAINIER III start 11:00 am
[10] M. Raonic (CAN) vs [2] A. Murray (GBR)
[5] R. Nadal (ESP) vs [4] S. Wawrinka (SUI)
[3] R. Federer (SUI) vs [8] J. Tsonga (FRA)
[13] G. Monfils (FRA) vs [LL] M. Granollers (ESP)

COURT DES PRINCES start 11:00 am
T. Huey (PHI) / M. Mirnyi (BLR) vs [2] I. Dodig (CRO) / M. Melo (BRA)
[6] R. Bopanna (IND) / F. Mergea (ROU) vs [4] J. Murray (GBR) / B. Soares (BRA)
After Suitable Rest – [3] P. Herbert (FRA) / N. Mahut (FRA) vs D. Inglot (GBR) / A. Murray (GBR)
H. Kontinen (FIN) / J. Peers (AUS) vs J. Cabal (COL) / R. Farah (COL)

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