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Nadal comes from behind to beat Raonic

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TENNIS – Rafael Nadal had to fight hard to overcome Milos Raonic in three sets with 4-6 6-2 6-4 after two hours and 35 minutes to keep alive his hope to win the Sony Open in Miami for the first time in his career after losing three finals in 2005, 2008 and 2011. Nadal will meet 2010 Miami finalist Tomas Berdych who beat Alexander Dolgopolov 6-4 7-6(3). Diego Sampaolo

Nadal and Raonic met for the first time since their last match in the final of the Rogers Cup in Montreal. Nadal won all their previous head-to-head matches without dropping a single set.

Rafa Nadal dropped just nine games in the whole tournament. However, Nadal failed to capitalize on three break point chances in the first set before committing a double fault on break point at 5-4 down dropping the first set of the tournament.

Raonic dropped serve for the first time in the tournament with a double fault after leading 30-0 in the opening game of the second set. Raonic committed again another double fault to go down 0-3. Nadal cruised to 4-0 in the second set with a double break to draw level with 6-2 forcing the match to the third set.

When you start losing opportunities, you feel that you are going to be in trouble. I was lucky I started the second set with a break. That was very important for me. It’s very hard to play against these kind of players especially when you didn’t start the match the way you would like. I felt that I finished the match playing much better”, said Nadal.

The Canadian player fended off a break point at the start of the decisive set. In the sixth game Nadal held serve to love with four forehand winners. In the following game Nadal rallied from 0-30 to break serve in the seventh game for 4-3 before closing out the third set with a service game to love to reach the Miami semifinal for the sixth time in his career and for the 52nd time in a Master 1000 event. Nadal was in control of the third set where he lost just four points on serve.

For me to be in the semifinals after losing early in Indian Wells is very important for my confidence. There is a big difference between the quarter final and the semifinal. Tomorrow I have another day to try to keep playing better. This is a tournament where I really feel the love of the people so much, so I am going to try my best to keep playing well”, said Nadal.

Nadal leads 17-3 in his previous head-to-head matches against his semifinal rival Berdych and won their last 16 matches in the past seven years.

Raonic, who will move to the top-10 next week, showed the fruits of his work with his coach Ivan Ljubicic. “A lot of things we have working on I managed to incorporate and I feel like I am much better ahead. I dealt with the situation much better than I would have a few months ago”, said Raonic.

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Stefanos Tsitsipas starts his Australian Open campaign with a straight-set win over Salvatore Caruso

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Last year’s Australian Open semifinalist and ATP Finals champion Stefanos Tsitsipas dropped just five games in his 6-0 6-2 6-3 win over Italy’s Salvatore Caruso after 1 hour and 43 minutes.

 

Tsitsipas earned three consecutive breaks to cruise to a bagel win in the opening set. Caruso saved the first break point and held his first service game to draw level to 1-1, but she Tsitsipas converted his third break point chance at deuce to open up a 3-1 lead. The Greek player earned his second break at love in the eighth game.

Tsitsipas went up a break at love in the fourth game to take a 3-1 lead. Caruso saved three match points in the eighth game at 2-5 to prolong the match, but Tsitsipas served out the win at 30 with an ace down middle the court in the ninth game after 1 hour and 45 minutes setting up a second round match against either Phillip Kohlschreiber or Marcos Giron.

“Today I tried to stay calm. That was something that I had really in the back of my head, trying to stay calm, be aggressive on and off the court. I would describe the match the match as very stable. Throughout the match I was very focused. I was in the zone, and I am very happy with my first set. It was almost perfect. I don’t remember the last time that I won a set 6-0. It was a good quality tennis. Let’s not forget the people here. The people that bring the energy. I will give it to them”, said Tsitsipas in the post-match interview.

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Matteo Berrettini cruises past wild card Andrew Harris to advance to the Australian Open second round

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Number 8 seed and 2019 US Open semifinalist Matteo Berrettini cruised past Australian wild card Andrew Harris 6-3 6-1 6-3 in the first round of the Australian Open at Melbourne Park.

 

Berrettini converted five of his nine break points and hit 38 winners. The Italian player won the opening set 6-3 with a break in the second game at deuce and the second set with three consecutive breaks.

Berrettini came back from 0-40 down by winning five consecutive points in the sixth game of the third set to earn the break at deuce for 4-2 when Harris hit a forehand into the net. Berrettini sealed the win with a big forehand on the match point after 1 hour and 55 minutes.

Berrettini will take on either US Tennys Sandgren or Argentine qualifier Marco Trungelliti.

“It’s always tough because I played my last official match in November. I figured out how to play my best tennis, so I am really happy with my performance. Like always, I am going round by round. I am happy that I am healthy and playing well”, said Berrettini.

Last year’s Next Gen ATP Finals champion Jannick Sinner was leading 7-6 (7-2) 6-2 4-4, before the match was suspended due to rain. The Italian rising star converted four of his eight break points. Sinner went down a break in the seventh game to trail 3-5 in the opening set, but he broke back in the 10th game before winning the tie-break 7-2. Sinner broke twice to win the second set 6-2. Sinner went up a break in the sixth game to take a 4-2 lead, but Purcell broke back in the eighth game to draw level to 4-4.   Sinner, who is making his first appearance at Melbourne Park, holds a 15-30 lead at 4-4 in the third set.

Sam Querrey stunned Borna Coric 6-3 6-4 6-4 setting up a second round match against Lithuania’s Ricardas Berankis, who eased past Roberto Carballes Baena 6-4 6-2 6-2.

Guido Pella edged Australian wild card John Patrick Smith 6-3 7-5 6-4 to secure his spot in the second round, where he will face France’s Gregoire Barrere, who came back from one set down to beat Egyptian qualifier Mohamed Safwat 6-7 (8-10) 7-6 (7-1) 6-4 7-6 (7-5).

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Grigor Dimitrov Causes A Stir At Australian Open With Crazy Outfit

The world No.20 has split opinion about what he is wearing at Melbourne Park.

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Grigor Dimitrov’s first round match at the Australian Open didn’t centre round how or who he was playing. It was about what he was wearing on the court.

 

The former Wimbledon semi-finalist triggered a mass reaction on social media when walking into the Melbourne Arena wearing a navy blue Nike spotted tracksuit. A decision by the Bulgarian that has split opinion among tennis fans. Although Dimitrov has no regrets about the outfit, which he helped design along with Nike.

“It is! I just don’t wanna be a vanilla. I love being different,” the 28-year-old told reporters when asked if it was a fashion statement.

https://twitter.com/FOXSportsAUS/status/1219140520036851712

Besides the tracksuit, the 18th seed also caught the attention of fans with what he was wearing underneath. His abstract T-shirt featured a combination of white, black, pink and red. Drawing more questions about the decision behind what he is wearing on the courts in Melbourne. His shorts are more orthodox with just a plain navy blue colour.

In his first round match, Dimitrov battled back from a set down to edge out Argentina’s Juan Ignacio Londero 4-6, 6-2, 6-0, 6-4. During the at times roller coaster encounter, the world No.20 hit 17 aces and blasted 47 winners past his opponent. Recording his third win of the season following his two singles victories during the ATP Cup.

“I was just trying to get my rhythm. It was a very tough first set. I was unable to find my striking zone and did a lot of unforced errors.” A critically speaking Dimitrov commented during his on-court interview.

Dimitrov will play either Tommy Paul or Leonardo Mayer in the second round.

 

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