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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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Hubert Hurkacz Ends Poland’s 37-Year Wait For An ATP Champion

The 22-year-old has made history at the final ATP tournament before the start of the US Open.

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Hubert Hurkacz at Winston Salem 2019 (photo Twitter @WSOpen)

World No.41 Hubert Hurkacz has received a boost going into the US Open after winning his first ATP title at the rain-affected Winston-Salem Open.

 

The 22-year-old toppled top seed Benoit Paire 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, in the final on Saturday. Following up on his straight sets wins over second seed Denis Shapovalov in the semi-finals. Against Paire, Hurkacz had to battle back from a break down in the final set to prevail. Winning 67% of his first service points, but only 41% of his second.

“It’s a huge win for me,” Hurkacz said. “Benoit is an amazing player, so it was a really great win for me, great match. I had to fight a lot. It was great to have, but it I’m so excited that to lift my first trophy here.”

The win continues what is a breakout year for the Polish tennis star. He has already scored wins over top 10 players Kei Nishikori, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Dominic Thiem. However, Winston-Salem was his first ever final on the ATP Tour. As a junior Hurkacz was a runner-up in the boy’s doubles at the 2015 Australian Open.

Hurkacz’s triumph has also made history. It is the first time a player from Poland has won an ATP title since Wojtek Fibak in 1982. He is also the first Polish player to contest a tour final since Jerzy Janowicz.

“I’m so happy. Being here I haven’t realized I’ve won the title,” the former Next Gen star said. “On Monday I have another match to come (at the U.S. Open). Obviously today I’m going to be excited and tomorrow I’ll focus on the next job.”

There is also some consolation for Paire, who has now reached three tour finals within the same season. The first time he has ever done that at the age of 30. His win-loss record for 2019 currently stands 29-21.

“It was a tough match against Hubert,” Paire said. “It was very cold today, so it was not easy to play full. We stopped for 10 times during, so I think it’s never easy to play a match like this. But honestly it was a good match. Hubert played good, so he was confident from the beginning of the week.”

Both players will now head to New York to play in the final grand slam of the year at the US Open. Hurkacz will open up against Jeremy Chardy. Meanwhile, 29th seed Paire faces Canada’s Brayden Schnur.

Hurkacz is the 14th first-time winner on the ATP Tour this season.

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Dominic Thiem Downplays US Open Chances

The world No.4 has given a frank assessment about his hopes at the New York major shortly after the draw was made on Thursday.

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Dominic Thiem may be a top four seed in next week’s US Open, but the Austrian has played down the prospect of him winning his first grand slam title at the event.

 

The 25-year-old has experienced a setback in his build up to the tournament. Since winning the Kitzbuhel Open on clay, Thiem has only managed to play three matches on a hard court. Reaching the quarter-finals of the Rogers Cup in what what was his best-ever run at the tournament. However, more recently Thiem has been sidelined from action due to a virus and pulled out of the Cincinnati Masters.

Thiem’s first round opponent at the US Open will be Italy’s Thomas Fabbiano, who has suffered two consecutive first round losses on the tour. Fabbiano reached the third round in New York back in 2017, but has missed the two most recent editions.

“Without a doubt, there are much tougher rivals than Thomas Fabbiano in a first round, although I must say that, after overcoming this viral disease, I do not expect miracles.” Thiem told Sky Sport Austria on Thursday.

Heading into the event, Thiem has said he has set out no goal. He will be defending 360 ranking points after reaching the quarter-finals 12 months ago before losing in a five-set thriller to Rafael Nadal. Overall, Thiem’s win-loss at the US Open is 15-5 heading into this year.

“Right now I do not consider reaching a quarterfinals or a semifinal. I want to go round to round, looking beyond would be presumptuous.” He said.
“In the next few days I will keep my training to a minimum, the goal is to be in perfect shape on Monday.”

https://twitter.com/ZahrerLukas/status/1164574948528132097

Despite his recent setbacks, 2019 has been a season of success for the world No.4. In March he won the biggest title of his career at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells. He would then go on to win trophies in Barcelona and Kitzhbuel. However, in the grand slams he has been less consistent. At the French Open Thiem reached the final, but has failed to win back-to-back matches at both the Australian Open (second round) and Wimbledon (first round). Although at the Australian Open he was forced to withdraw from the tournament due to illness.

The US Open will get underway on Monday.

Dominic Thiem at the US Open

2018
Round Rank Opponent W-L Score
Quarter-Finals 1
Rafael Nadal ESP
L 60 46 57 764 675
Round of 16 5
Kevin Anderson RSA
W 75 62 762
Round of 32 74
Taylor Fritz USA
W 36 63 765 64
Round of 64 31
Steve Johnson USA
W 675 63 57 64 61
Round of 128 81
Mirza Basic BIH
W 63 61 64
2017
Round Rank Opponent W-L Score
Round of 16 28
Juan Martin del Potro ARG
L 61 62 16 671 46
Round of 32 34
Adrian Mannarino FRA
W 75 63 64
Round of 64 108
Taylor Fritz USA
W 64 64 46 75
Round of 128 186
Alex de Minaur AUS
W 64 61 61
2016
Round Rank Opponent W-L Score
Round of 16 142
Juan Martin del Potro ARG
L 36 23 (RET)
Round of 32 39
Pablo Carreno Busta ESP
W 16 64 64 75
Round of 64 89
Ricardas Berankis LTU
W 64 63 62
Round of 128 66
John Millman AUS
W 63 26 57 64 63
2015
Round Rank Opponent W-L Score
Round of 32 14
Kevin Anderson RSA
L 36 673 673
Round of 64 70
Denis Istomin UZB
W 64 64 10 (RET)
Round of 128 76
Daniel Gimeno-Traver ESP
W 75 63 75
2014
Round Rank Opponent W-L Score
Round of 16 7
Tomas Berdych CZE
L 16 26 46
Round of 32 21
Feliciano Lopez ESP
W 64 62 63
Round of 64 12
Ernests Gulbis LTA
W 46 36 64 63 63
Round of 128 84
Lukas Lacko SLO
W 63 63 62

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Denis Shapovalov wins Next Gen clash against Miomir Kecmanovic to reach the quarter final in Winston Salem

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Denis Shapovalov beat Serbian Next Gen Miomir Kecmanovic 6-2 6-3 after 1 hour and 16 minutes in Winston Salem winning two consecutive matches for the first time since he reached the Miami Open semifinal last March.

 

Shapovalov won 80 % of his service points and fended off four of the six break points he faced.

The Canadian Next Gen player earned six break points in the second game of the first set, but Kecmanovic saved them. Shapovalov earned the break in the fourth game at 15 to build up a 3-1 lead.

Shapovalov went up a double break in the next game after a forehand error from Kecmanovic. The Canadian player wrapped up wrapped up the first set 6-2 with two winners and two double faults from Kecmanovic after 37 minutes.

Shapovalov went up a 3-0 lead with a break, but he wasted three break points in the fourth game. Kecmanovic broke back to draw level to 3-3 and earned two break points in the seventh game, but Shapovalov saved them with two winners. The North American star broke serve in the next game to open up a 5-3 lead. Shapovalov hit four winners in the ninth game to close out the match.

Shapovalov is currently working with Mikhail Youzhny, who returned in St. Petersburg last September and is sitting in his coaching box in Winston Salem.

“Miomir is a very tough opponent. I have played him a lot in the past. We have had some crazy battles. I am really happy with the way I am playing”,said Shapovalov.

Shapovalov set up a match against Andrey Rublev, who battled past Sam Querrey 7-4 (7-4) 7-6 (12-10). In the tie-break of the second set Rublev saved three set points and Querrey fended off two match points. Rublev hit a forehand winner at 10-11 on Querrey’s serve to seal the win after 1 hour and 54 minutes. Rublev took a re-match against Querrey, who beat the young Russian player at Wimbledon in straight sets.

“It’s a special win for me. He just destroyed me, and now we had a great fight, and we were so close and I was a little more lucky”, said Rublev.

 Frances Tiafoe advanced to his fourth quarter final and his first since May when Filip Krajinovic had to withdraw from the match after losing the first set 6-2. Tiafoe went up a double break to race out to a 5-0 lead.

Hubert Hurkacz got three breaks to build up a 6-3 3-1 lead, when Feliciano Lopez was forced to retire from the match after 55 minutes.

Pablo Carreno Busta cruised past Lorenzo Sonego 7-6 6-0 after 1 hour and 40 minutes to reach his fourth quarter final of the season. Sonego got an early break to open up a 4-1 lead in the first set. Carreno Busta broke back in the sixth game before converting his sixth set point in the tie-break. The Spaniard broke three times to cruise to a bagel win in the second set after 25 minutes.

Benoit Paire came back from losing the first set to beat French Next Gen player Ugo Humbert 3-6 7-6 (7-2) 6-3. Paire broke serve, when Humbert was serving for the match at 6-5 in the second set. Paire went up a double break to a 4-1 lead. Humbert converted his third break-back point in the eighth point, but Paire broke for the third time to seal the win.

John Millman cruised past Robin Haase 6-3 6-4 setting up a quarter final match against Steve Johnson, who beat Casper Ruud 6-2 7-6 (7-5).

 

 

 

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