May 30, 2016

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 Grass-Court Edition of Mercedes Cup in Stuttgart

(June 14, 2015) Rafael Nadal captured his first title on grass since 2010 Wimbledon on Sunday when defeated Viktor Troicki 7-6 (3), 6-3 to win the Mercedes Cup for the third time in an hour and 27 minutes. Nadal claimed the title in Stuttgart in 2005 and 2007 when it was played on a clay court.

“I’m really, really happy. It’s my second win this year and it gives me a lot of confidence,” said Nadal of his 66th career tournament title.

“It was a great week for me,” he said.

“It’s a very special title,” said Nadal. “Since 2011 I didn’t play a final on grass, so win a title here is very good news for my game and for my mentality too. Congrats to Viktor for a great tournament. He’s playing great and will have some positives for the week.

“At this point of the season, every victory is important and every title means a lot to me. I’m happy for that.”

“In important moments my focus was not 100 per cent,” said Troicki. “He served very well the whole match. Even though it was a great week in reaching the final, I’m disappointed to lose this match. I had my chances and didn’t use them. I lost to a great champion. He served better and congrats to him.

“It’s a good result. I’m now going to London and we’ll see. I have high expectations for the grass season and this gives me a lot of confidence.”

“In important moments my focus was not 100 per cent,” said the 28th-ranked Troicki. “He served very well the whole match. Even though it was a great week in reaching the final, I’m disappointed to lose this match. I had my chances and didn’t use them. I lost to a great champion. He served better and congrats to him.

“It’s a good result. I’m now going to London and we’ll see. I have high expectations for the grass season and this gives me a lot of confidence.”

This was Nadal’s second tournament title this year, he also won in Buenos Aires.

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Angelique Kerber Stops Caroline Wozniacki for Stuttgart Title

Angelique Kerber

German Angelique Kerber rallied in the third set to upset Dane Caroline Wozniacki 3-6, 6-1, 7-5 in the final of Stuttgart for her second straight title, lifting her win streak to 11 straight.

“It was small things today that made the difference,” Wozniacki said of the 2-hour and four minute match. “I had 5-3 in the third set and 30-all, and it could have gone both ways, but she took her chances and it went her way. We’re great friends, we hang out a lot and practice a lot together, and it’s always nice to play a friend in a final. You obviously want to win, but if you don’t win, it’s still nice that your friend does.”

“A few days ago I said clay is actually not my favorite surface, but right now I think I will change my mind,” said Kerber. “I’ve played very well on clay the last few days and weeks. I feel good that I have had so many matches on clay, and now I’m looking forward to the next tournaments before Paris. Of course I’m a little bit tired – I’ve had a lot of matches the last few weeks, and also a lot of travel. So that’s why I’m for sure taking the next few days off, just relaxing a little bit before I go to Madrid.”

On the way to the final, Kerber defeated three-time defending champion Maria Sharapova in the second round and also took out second seed Simona Halep in the semifinals.

For Kerber she won her the fifth WTA title of her career and second of 2015. She also won Charleston earlier in the month.

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