Madrid: Nadal Wins with a Heavy Heart, Djokovic Tested Streak at 31


There was more than a match on his mind when Rafael Nadal took to the court on Saturday at the Madrid Open. Rafael Nadal had to overcome more than Roger Federer on court. Nadal was visibly emotionally distressed at the death of golfer Spanish golfer Seve Ballesteros during an on-court tribute.


In part 24 of the Nadal-Federer rivalry, the Spaniard extended his record over the Swiss to 16-8 with a 5-7, 6-1, 6-3 victory to reach his third consecutive Madrid Open final.

“This win is much too small to dedicate to Seve—he’s one of the greatest players in the history of our sport.”

“Playing Federer always provides a special satisfaction as we have played so many important matches,” said Nadal.


Nadal will meet Novak Djokovic in the final on Sunday and try to win his first title against the Serb in three tries.


Djokovic rallied against Thomaz Bellucci for a 4-6, 6-4, 6-1 win. Djokovic has tied Bjorn Borg’s 1980 record for wins at the start of a season at 31. John McEnroe holds the record at 42.


Different streaks will be in play in Sunday’s final. Nadal’s current clay court win streak at 37, Nadal’s winning streak against Djokovic on clay at 9-0 and Djokovic’s perfect start to the 2011 season currently at 31.

Victoria Azarenka

The ladies final on Sunday will see Victoria Azarenka face Petra Kvitova. Azarenka snapped Julia Goerges’ 10 match winning streak with a 6-4, 6-2 win. Kvitova dominates Li Na 6-3, 6-1.

Azarenka: “I came very motivated to play this match and show my best tennis …I had to be the one dominating the game and not her, because she has really big shots and when she goes for it it’s tough to see where she’s hitting.”

Both finalists will be moving up on the rankings – Azarenka will move up to No. 4 in the world. Kvitova will enter the top ten.

Kvitova: “Yesterday I knew if I won I’d be in the Top 10. It’s good but it’s only a number and I still want to get better and better…when I was young, I was inspired by Martina Navratilova. She was Czech, played very offensive tennis and had


Madrid: Night Session without Rafael Nadal

By Abigail Hinto in Madrid

The children are gone, the grown ups are out, dressed up for the night’s event.  But it’s not Rafael Nadal nor Juan Martin Del Potro that will be entertaining them. Taking their place are Andy Murray and Thomaz Bellucci instead.

Earlier in the day at Nadal’s practice, Tournament Director Ion Tiriac came out for a visit. Did he come out personally to tell Nadal that Del Potro has pulled out? For after Tiriac left, a fan asked Nadal’s Uncle Toni if Rafa would be playing tonight and he answered no. At least that was the translation the person beside me provided me.

After many fans bought tickets for tonight’s session, you can imagine the disappointment. The atmosphere for that match, in Spain, would have been amazing. I was anticipating a Davis Cup-like atmosphere. But an injury is an injury, and if a player can’t play, he can’t play.

So back to the replacement match, it featured the some of the longest rallies seen during Thursday’s match play, what you typically expect from clay court tennis.

Murray’s counter-punching style lends itself to those long rallies. But even his amazing defense wasn’t enough to win him the match. Bellucci, the clear aggressor won comfortably in the end 6-4, 6-2.

If the first night match featured the most long rallies, the second one between David Ferrer and Sergiy Stakhovsky had employed the most dropshots, another feature of clay court tennis. It is an amazing shot when it works, but can also make you loom stupid when it doesn’t even cross the net which Stakhovsky alternately pulled off against Ferrer. In the end, like Murray earlier, Stakhovsky’s dropshots didn’t help him win his match. Game, set and match David Ferrer – 6-3, 7-6.

Madrid Open Results and Order of Play

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Madrid: Federer Escapes, Nadal Sails, Djokovic Extends Streak

You knew it would not be an easy day for Roger Federer.  It took 70 minutes to play just the first set where he needed nine set points and a twenty-eight point tiebreaker to take the set from Feliciano Lopez 7-6 (13). This was only the first set of a three -set match in which all three sets ended in tiebreakers.  Lopez led in the third-set tiebreaker 5-2 when he missed an overhead that could have all but sealed a win for the Spaniard.  Federer saved a match point and completed the victory by winning the tiebreaker 9-7. Game, set, match Federer 7-6 (13), 6-7 (1), 7-6 (7).

Federer: “I’m relieved to get through….It was not easy at all.

“But it all came together for me in the end nicely. It didn’t feel like a clay match, it was bang-bang. I was playing OK. It got more and more difficult to return his serve.

“It was a tough match. I guess it will help me for the French Open, I did spend three hours on clay.”

“It felt like a really quick court out there and as the match wore on the more difficult it got to return Feliciano’s serve,” said Federer.

No such drama for Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic. Nadal captured his 35th consecutive match on clay taking out Marcos Baghdatis 6-1, 6-3 in just under 90 minutes.

Nadal:”I played well, it was a solid match with not many mistakes.”

“It was very positive to beat an opponent against whom I last lost (in August 2010 in Cincinnati).” Nadal will face a resurgent Juan Martin Del Potro on Thursday.

“I will need all of the crowd support when I play Del Potro,… the winner of this match will get confidence for the rest of the tournament.”

And the streak goes on, Novak Djokovic wons his 28th consecutive match of 2011 with 6-3, 6-4 win over South African Kevin Anderson.  Djokovic will try to equal Ivan Lendl’s 29-0 start of 1986 when the serb faces Spain’s Guillermo Garcia Lopez.

Djokovic: “It’s a fact that I’m playing the best tennis of my life. I’m definitely happy about it.”
“It’s crucial to stay really focused for each point. You don’t get that much time on this court and serving well is an advantage.
“It’s kind of a surprise but I always believed I had the quality to beat any player. I am more mature and I have more self-belief which is very important for this level.”

Djokovic next faces unseeded Spaniard Guillermo Garcia-Lopez.

Results Second Round
[1] R Nadal (ESP) d M Baghdatis (CYP) 61 63
[2] N Djokovic (SRB) d K Anderson (RSA) 63 64
[3] R Federer (SUI) d F Lopez (ESP) 76(13) 67(1) 76(7) – Saved 1 M.P.
[4] A Murray (GBR) d G Simon (FRA) 64 36 60
[5] R Soderling (SWE) d S Giraldo (COL) 63 63
[7] T Berdych (CZE) d [WC] M Granollers (ESP) 64 60
[Q] D Gimeno-Traver (ESP) d [8] J Melzer (AUT) 76(8) 63
J Del Potro (ARG) d M Cilic (CRO) 63 60
M Llodra (FRA) d [Q] F Cipolla (ITA) 64 62
X Malisse (BEL) d Y Lu (TPE) 62 62
T Bellucci (BRA) d F Mayer (GER) 67(5) 63 30 ret. (fatigue)

Madrid Open Results and Order of Play


Mutua Madrid Open on Tennis TV

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Madrid Open Wednesday – Kids’ Day and Nadal

By Abigail Hinto

Groups of students from the little ones to the teenagers came in droves to the Caja Magica for Kids Day at the Madrid Open on Wednesday. They were enthusiastic, loud, and everywhere.

At one practice court, a class of young students, were seated and watching Novak Djokovic practice. They sure did know where to place themselves. Or perhaps they were told. During Djokovic’s practice, a camera crew and reporters arrived. Clearly the crew was not for Djokovic, but for the next person scheduled on court, none other than Rafael Nadal. He walks in and everyone starts shouting, young and old. More camera crews come in, a couple of press photographers. Everyone’s there for Nadal.

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Wozniacki, Ferrer, Del Potro, Tsonga Advance in Madrid

Juan Martin Del Potro had a scare on Tuesday. He had to overcome a leg injury in the second set and Russia’s Mikhail Youzhny to win 6-1, 3-6, 6-3 at the Madrid Open. The Argentine said that he might not be physically ready for his round two clash with Marin Cilic “I will check with the doctor if it’s safe to play,” said Del Potro who said that he began to feel the pain in his semifinal match at the Estoril Open this past weekend.  “I will be careful for my future – I am playing really well last week and this, but my first goal is to play healthy….I want to be safe this week so I don’t want to risk my presentation in French Open.”

Jo Wilfred Tsonga had no trouble with qualifier Pere Riba 6-4, 6-2.

Top seeded Caroline Wozniacki battled through to a 6-4 6-4 win over Serbia’s Bojana Jovanovski . Wozniacki commented on her twitter account “”Not the best game but happy to get through and always difficult to play against a young upcoming player.”

Samantha Stosur struggled to get past Daniela Hantuchova 7-6 (7/1), 7-5 to advance to the second round.  Stosur said, “We always have tough matches,” Stosur said after claiming victory with 24 winners and 28 unforced errors. “We know each other’s game very well….it was a tough match and I’m glad to get through. I was ready to play a third set if it had gone to that. I just tried to stay in the moment and play each point as it came.”

In the strange match of the day David Ferrer traded bagel (6-0) sets with  Adrian Mannarino  and defeated the Frenchman 7-5, 0-6, 6-0.

Upsets on the day

World No. 55 Yen-Hsun Lu took out 15th seeded Fernando Verdasco 7-6(7), 7-5.

Feliciano Lopez stunned Milos Raonic 4-6, 7-6(2), 6-4 to advance to the second round to face third sees Roger Federer on Wednesday. Lopez commented on the match-up, “I play tennis and train everyday to play matches like the one tomorrow and against the players like the ones here, the best player in history, it’s really a pleasure…..I’m in a very good moment and I’ve had a very good season on clay and what matters most is the moment because there are incredible moments in everyone’s career and you’ve got to play against Federer and try to face him. I’ll try to play as well as I did today and if I do I will have many opportunities.”

Juan Monaco defeated No. 9 Gael Monfils when the Frenchman was forced to retire due to illness with Mondaco leading 6-2, 3-0.

Ten seed Agnieszka Radwanska was bested by Jarmila Gajdosova 3-6, 6-3, 63. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova defeated 11th seed Marion Bartoli 7-5, 6-1.

Madrid Open Results and Order of Play