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.

ATP

Rival Backs Dominic Thiem To Win Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award

Only two players have won the award since 2004.

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For the past 15 years only two players have managed to get their hands on the prestigious Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award, but one player thinks there could be a brand new winner this year.

 

Diego Schwartzman has lent his support behind world No.4 Dominic Thiem. The award recognizes those who have conducted the highest level of professionalism and integrity on the ATP Tour throughout the season. Established in 1977, Roger Federer has won the honour in 13 out of the past 15 years. The only other player to triumph during that period was Rafael Nadal, who won it in 2010 and 2018.

“I think Thiem can win it, he showed throughout the year a competitiveness and a respect with everyone that was spectacular,” Schwartzman told ole.com. “On top of that he is having great years of his career and this season was even better for the achievements he had.’
“He has a good chance of winning it.” He added.

Schwartzman, who reached the quarter-finals of the US Open earlier this year, has also been shortlisted for the award. Along with regular nominees Federer and Nadal. Only once has an Argentinian player won the title, which was José Luis Clerc back in 1981. At that time it was known as the ATP Sportsmanship award before getting renamed in 1996.

“I learned first (of getting nominated) through social networks rather than the official designation that the ATP sends you by mail.” The 27-year-old revealed.
“It is more spectacular than anything for the players I have next to me. It is a very important prize that recognizes a little what you do off the court, not only hitting the ball.”

Whilst he is dreaming of winning the honour himself, Schwartzman is just happy that he has been nominated.

“If I won this award, it would be spectacular. Now I am on that payroll that is very good and represents the values ​​that I try to maintain on a day-to-day basis and that (my coaching teams over the years) have taught me. It is very nice to be recognized for that. “ He concluded.

The four nominees for the Stefan Edberg Award was shortlisted by the ATP. However, it will be the players who will decide the winner. The result will be revealed later this month.

Multiple winners of the Stefan Edberg/ATP Sportsmanship award

Roger Federer – 13
Stefan Edberg – 5
Pat Rafter – 4
Alex Corretja – 2
Todd Martin – 2
Paradorn Srichaphan – 2
Rafael Nadal – 2

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Kei Nishikori In Doubt For The Australian Open

Asia’s highest ranked male tennis player is contemplating when he should return to the tour following surgery.

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Kei Nishikori (photo by chryslène caillaud, copyright @Sport Vision)

World No.13 Kei Nishikori is refusing to rule out the prospect of skipping the first grand slam event of 2020 as he continues his recovery from surgery.

 

Nishikori hasn’t played a match on the tour since his third round loss at the US Open back in September. A month later he underwent a procedure on his right elbow in a move that brought his season to an early end. Currently undergoing rehabilitation, it is unclear as to when the Japanese player believes he will return to the ATP Tour.

“The prospect of a return from surgery on right elbow in January. Maybe February. In the second half of next year I want to be able to play well.” Nikkan Sports quoted Nishikori as saying.
“I don’t want to overdo it,” he added.

The Australian Open will get underway on January 20th in Melbourne. Should he miss the grand slam, it will be the second time he has done so in the last three years. Nishikori also withdrew from the 2018 edition due to a wrist injury. In January he reached the quarter-finals and therefore has 360 points to defend next year.

During his time away from the court, the 29-year-old has been kept busy making changes to his team. Recently it was confirmed that he has started working alongside Max Mirnyi, who is a former world No.1 doubles player. Mirnyi, who has won 10 grand slam titles in men’s and mixed doubles, will be working full-time with Nishikori alongside existing coach Michael Chang.

“I’m getting closer to retirement. I want to be cured and come back to play good tennis in the second half of next year.” Nishikori stated.

Despite the injury setback, Nishikori has enjoyed success in 2019. Reaching the quarter-finals in three out of the four grand slam tournaments. The first time he has ever done that in his career. He also claimed his 12th ATP title at the Brisbane International. Overall, he won 29 out of 43 matches played.

Nishikori will turn 30 on December 29th.

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Family Of Venezuelan Doubles Star Launches GoFundMe Page For Cancer Treatment

Roberto Maytin was playing on the Challenger tour less than a month ago, but now faces a new battle.

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One of Venezuela’s highest ranked players on the ATP Tour is facing challenges off the court after being recently diagnosed with cancer.

 

Roberto Maytin, who currently has a doubles ranking of 136th, is undergoing treatment for testicular cancer Non-Seminoma. Non-seminomas are made up of different types of tumour, such as teratomas, embryonal tumours, yolk sac tumours and choriocarcinomas. Maytin’s brother Ricardo has launched a GoFundMe page to help cover the costs. The tennis player made $19,441 in prize money this season, which doesn’t factor into account numerous expenses such as travel, accommodation and paying for his coaching team.

“If life gives you a chance to live longer, I think nobody would miss the opportunity. In this plane, we all want to be (alive) for years however we forget that we are with a 50% chance of leaving at any time every day.” The fundraising page reads.
“My brother was diagnosed with testicular cancer NO Seminoma, at 30 years old. He now faces a crucial match that life has put him for growth as an individual, as a man and as an athlete. He is forced to undergo 4 stages of aggressive chemotherapy in order to heal at all and leave no trace of a Cancer that has been moving for months causing some damage.”

A former top 25 junior player, Maytin is one of only two players from his country to be ranked inside the top 200 in either singles or doubles on the men’s tour. This season he has won four Challenger titles across America. However, he has only played in one ATP Tour event since the start of 2018. He achieved a ranking high of 85th in the doubles back in 2015.

Once a student at Baylor University in Texas, Maytin formed a successful partnership with former world No.2 doubles player John Peers. Together they earned All-American honours with a win-loss of 36-5 and reached the quarter-finals of the 2011 NCAA tournament.

Maytin is also a regular fixture in his country’s Davis Cup team. Since 2007 he has played 15 ties and won 10 out of 16 matches played.

“I am also clear that the family is the gift of God for each one of us, so in this way and in whatever way I will put my desire and my energy so that my Brother Roberto Maytin, a Venezuelan professional tennis player, is back to the courts, which is where he belongs as soon as possible.”

Almost $25,000 has been raised so far to fund Maytin’s treatment. Click here to visit his GoFundMe page.

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