ATP Barcelona: Almagro beats Nadal for the first time - UBITENNIS
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ATP Barcelona: Almagro beats Nadal for the first time

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TENNIS – Nicholas Almagro upset his compatriot Rafa Nadal with a 2-6, 7-6(5), 6-4 win at the ATP Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell to reach the semifinal. Nadal, eight-time winner in 10 appearances in Barcelona, suffered his first defeat in eleven head-to-head matches. Diego Sampaolo

With his third round win over Ivan Dodig on Thursday, Nadal won his 42nd match in a row in Barcelona. He also scored his 683rd career win on the ATP tour tying Arthur Ashe in 11th place in the match.win list.

Nicolas Almagro won just two sets against Nadal who led 10-0 in the previous head-to-head matches.

Both players traded breaks in the opening two games of the first set but Almagro made 15 costly unforced errors. Nadal was looking to cruise to his 11th win against his compatriot after winning the first set with 6-2 (his 44th consecutive set in this tournament) but Almagro rallied from a 1-3 deficit in the tie-break to clinch it with 7-5 after 1 hour and 16 minutes. Almagro saved all five break points in the second set. The last time Nadal dropped a set in Barcelona dates back to the 2008 final against David Ferrer.

The third set featured four breaks of serve. Almagro rallied from 1-3 in the decider fighting back from a break down by winning three consecutive games with a break for 4-3 in the seventh game. Nadal managed to break straight back in a hard-fought eighth game to draw level to 4-4. Almagro earned a triple break point in the ninth game and converted the first chance to love to lead 5-4.

Almagro rallied from a 15-40 deficit in the tenth game when he was serving for the set. Almagro earned a second match point with a forehand swing volley. He hit a forehand winer down the line to clinch his first win against Nadal after two hours and 48 minutes.

I had a lot of chances in the second set when I had the match under control but I didn’t take them. As the match went on, I was less clam but I still had openings in the third set at 3-1 and 4-4 which I didn’t take. This is tennis and you just have to keep going”, admitted Nadal.

Almagro scored a back-to-back win against a Spanish player after beating Fernando Verdasco on Thursday. Almagro took a re-match against Verdasco who beat him earlier this month on clay in Houston

Nadal suffered his first defeat in Barcelona since 2003 when he lost against Alex Corretja on his debut in this tournament back in 2003 as a 15-year-old player. The Mallorcan star lost in the quarter final stage for the second consecutive week after losing to David Ferrer in the quarter final in Monte-Carlo.

Almagro set up a semifinal clash against Colombia’s Santiago Giraldo who won the first set 6-4 before German Phillip Kohlschreiber withdrew because of an injury problem after the seventh game of the second set as Giraldo was leading 4-3. Giraldo, who saved five match points to beat young Austrian Dominic Thiem 4-6 6-4 7-5 on Thursday, has reached his third semifinal this year after Vina del Mar and Houston.

Kei Nishikori reached the semifinal at the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell after beating Marin Cilic 6-1 6-3, his first tournament since suffering from a groin injury which forced him to withdraw from the Miami semifinals.

Nishikori dominated the match hitting 18 winners against Cilic who was probably tired after battling past Tommy Robredo in a hard-fought match on Thursday when he prevailed after two hours and 47 minutes with the scoreline of 7-5 6-7 (3-7) 7-6 (7-5) after saving five of six break points.

Nishikori, who qualified for the Barcelona quarter final for the second time in three years with a 6-0 6-4 win over Andrey Golubev, has reached his fourth semifinal this year. He reached his previous best result in 2012 when he lost in the quarter final against Fernando Verdasco. This year the Japanese star won one title in Memphis and reached two semifinals in Brisbane and Miami.

Nishikori set up a semifinal match against Ernests Gulbis who cruised past Teymuraz Gabashvili in straight sets with 6-1 6-4. Gulbis saved all the five break points he faced against Gabashvili.

Gabashvili, a Russian player of Georgian origin, upset last week’s Monte-Carlo semifinalist David Ferrer in the second round scoring his first top-10 win since his third round win over Andy Roddick in the third round of the 2010 Roland Garros.

Gulbis has reached his third semifinal this year. The Latvian won his fifth career title at the Open 13 in Marseille beating Jo Wilfred Tsonga last February and lost to Tomas Berdych in the Rotterdam semifinal. He has achieved his best result in the Spanish clay tournament improving the quarter final reached in 2010 when he lost to Fernando Verdasco. The Latvian reached his career high last February when he moved up to World Number 18 when he won in Marseille where he scored two consecutive wins against top-10 players Richard Gasquet and Jo Wilfred Tsonga. He reached the quarter finals in Indian Wells but dropped to World Number 23 after losing the opening match in both Miami and Monte-Carlo.

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Filip Krajinovic To Skip Australian Open If Required To Quarantine For More Than Five Days

The world No.34 says he ‘sees no reason’ why vaccinated players should have to go through a long quarentine in Australia.

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Image via twitter.com/atptour (Alexander Scheuber)

The second highest-ranked Serbian player in men’s tennis says it would be ‘unacceptable’ for organisers of the Australian Open to require players to quarantine for more than a week if they have been fully vaccinated.

 

Filip Krajinovic has become the first player to publicly state that they will not be prepared to travel to Melbourne at the end of this season if they have to go through strict quarantine measures once again. All the players who participated in this year’s Australian Open were required to be quarantined in a designated hotel for 14 days upon arrival in the country. During their stay they were allowed to use training facilities but that was the only time they could leave the premises unless there was an emergency.

There is no final decision regarding the travel requirements for the 2022 tournament but there are concerns that unvaccinated players may not be allowed to enter the country. The Victorian government recently issued a mandate ordering all essential workers to be vaccinated, including athletes. However, the regional government will not have the final say concerning tennis players arriving in the country with the national government being the ones in charge of that decision.

“They are very rigorous there and honestly, if I have to be in quarantine for 14 days after arriving in Melbourne, I will not go to Australia,” Krajinovic told Serbian newspaper Blic.
“I was vaccinated, I did everything in my power to protect myself and the people around me, so I really see no reason to sit there for 14 days in a room.’
“If they (the organisers) say that after arrival I need, say, five days to be in isolation, that’s OK for me, but anything beyond that is unacceptable to me. With the season ending late, I will have 20 days to get ready and go. Charter flights will be organized again and the last one is planned for December 28 for the players and that is the final date when I can go to Australia. I will see what the final decision from Melbourne will be, so I will cut what is the best thing to do.”

Earlier this week Victoria’s Sports minister Martin Pakula urged players to be vaccinated because it give them ‘the best opportunity to play in the Australian Open.’ It is expected that if unvaccinated players are allowed to attend, they will be subjected to stricter restrictions. This might include a longer quarantine period upon arrival and limitations of where they can go during their stay.

Last year, all of those players had to do their 14 days of quarantine. Right now there looks like there will be different rules for people who enter this country who are vaccinated as against unvaccinated and I don’t think the tennis will be any exception to that.” Pakula told the Sports Entertainment Network (SEN).
“In terms of what rules apply for people to enter Australia, whether unvaccinated people are allowed in at all, I don’t the answer to that yet. That’s going to be the subject of discussion at national cabinet and among the federal cabinet … those rules are not set by state governments.” He added.

Krajinovic is currently ranked 34th in the world and has a win-loss record this season of 18-18. At the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells he reached the second round before falling in straight sets to Daniil Medvedev. His best run so far this year was at the Hamburg Open where he reached the final.

“When we look at the whole of 2021, I played one final, one semifinal, there were good victories, but also worse results,” the 29-year-old commented.

Krajinovic is currently without a coach but is currently in ‘negotiations’ with somebody without elaborating further about who that person is.

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Alexander Zverev Secures Place In ATP Finals With Indian Wells Win

Zverev will be seeking to win the season-ending extravaganza for the second time in his career.

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Alexander Zverev (GER) Credit: AELTC/Edward Whitaker

Germany’s Alexander Zverev has become the fourth player to officially qualify for the ATP Finals after reaching the third round of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells.

 

The world No.4 defeated America’s Jenson Brooksby 6-4, 3-6, 6-1, in his second round match on Sunday which pushed him over the points threshold to secure his spot in the end-of-season event. It is the fifth year in a row he has qualified for the ATP Finals which he won back in 2018. He is one of only three German players to ever win the title after Boris Becker and Michael Stich.

This year’s tournament will take place in Turin, Italy for the first time in history after being held at The O2 Arena in London for more than a decade. Only the eight highest ranked players are eligible to play in the round-robin tournament which has on offer up to 1500 rankings points for an undefeated champion.

“My first time in Turin. I’ve been to London four times before. London is obviously very special to me because I won there, as well. I think the stadium is incredible, one of the most special events that we had,” Zverev told reporters on Sunday.
“But I also love playing in Italy. I had great success in Italy. I won my first Masters in Rome. I’m looking forward to being there. I’m looking forward to playing in front of the Italian fans. It’s going to be a great week.”

The 24-year-old approaches the final quarter of this season with four titles already won this year. He has won two Masters 1000 trophies, an ATP 500 event in Mexico and a gold medal in singles at the Tokyo Olympic Games. Zverev, who has recorded seven wins over top 10 players, also reached the semi-finals at both the French Open and US Open.

Zverev joins Novak Djokovic, Daniil Medvedev and Stefanos Tsitsipas as the players who have qualified for the ATP Finals so far. It is the third straight season the quartet has qualified for the event.

This year’s ATP Finals will get underway on November 14th. Medvedev is the defending champion.

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Denis Shapovalov Advances After Pospisil Retires In Indian Wells

The battle of the two Canadians didn’t go as planned…

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Denis Shapovalov (CAN) Credit: AELTC/Edward Whitaker

Vasek Pospisil faced off against his fellow Canadian Denis Shapovalov in the second round of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells and it was the world number 13 who got the win after the Vernon native pulled out due to an injury whilst trailing 0-3.

 

It was a rough start for Pospisil who seemed to struggle with his serve in the opening game of the match and double-faulted twice in a row to give the early break and Shapovalov had no issues consolidating the break.

Shapovalov continued to apply pressure on the Pospisil serve and after saving two breakpoints the world number 68 pulled up after a serve and stopped play, calling for the trainer. He ended up taking a medical timeout off the court and a couple of minutes later returned to court. Pospisil was broken once again and the following game after a couple of returns decided to call it quits.

” It was pretty awful…and if I’m being honest I am shaking a bit…It really sucks I hope it’s nothing serious…He’s a great guy he’s a real warrior he’s fought back from some injuries surgeries to such a great level.” Shapovalov said of his compatriot.

Shapovalov will face 19th seed Aslan Karatsev in the next round after the Russian thrashed Salvatore Caruso 6-2, 6-0.

In the other results of the day sixth seeed Casper Ruud dominated Roberto Carballes Baena 6-1, 6-2, Roberto Bautista Agut beat the Argentine Guido Pella 7-5, 6-3 and Sebastien Korda won an all American battle with Frances Tiafoe 6-0, 6-4.

Finally, Diego Schwartzman needed three sets to beat another American in Maxime Cressy winning 6-2, 3-6, 7-5.

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