Master 1000 Madrid: Nadal easily dismisses Berdych - UBITENNIS
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Master 1000 Madrid: Nadal easily dismisses Berdych

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TENNIS Master 1000 Madrid – World Number 1 and Madrid defending champion Rafael Nadal cruised to a 6-4 6-2 to qualify for the semifinals in the Madrid Mutua Open. The King of Clay showed improving form compared to his previous appearances on clay where he did not get through in two consecutive clay tournaments where he had previously won a total of 16 trophies (8 in Monte-Carlo and 8 in Barcelona). Diego Sampaolo

Interviews, results, order of play and draws of the Mutua Madrid Open

The eagerly-anticipated quarter final between Rafa Nadal and Tomas Berdych did not really fulfilled the expectations. Nadal won easily against Juan Monaco and Jarkko Nieminen. Berdych faced a much tougher test yesterday when he fought back from a set down to edge Grigor Dimitrov in the third round.

Berdych, who won for the last time against Nadal in Madrid in 2006 when the tournament was held indoors before 16 consecutive defeats and reached the final in the Magic Box in 2012, posed a threat only in the first set before Nadal took full control of the match.

In the first set Berdych held serve in the opening game for1-0. Berdych earned a break point in the second game but Nadal forced the game to deuce with an ace and managed to save the break point. In the third game Berdych held serve to 15 to take a 2-1 lead. In the fifth game Berdych won three consecutive games to win the game to 30 for 3-2. In the sixth game Nadal rallied from 0-30 to take the lead 40-30 but he hit his forehand into the net. Berdych sent a forehand wide to drop the game for 3-3.

At 3-3 Nadal earned two break points after a long rally. Berdych saved the first break point for 40-30 but Nadal converted the first break point chance to take the edge for 4-3. Nadal backed it up holding his serve to pull away to 5-3. Berdych won the next game but Nadal went up 40-0 to earn three set points. The Spaniard held his serve to love to wrap up the first set with 6-4. Nadal played his best tennis of the year with a solid percentage on serve

Berdych won the first game of the second set. Nadal broke serve for the second time in the match with a forehand winner to draw level to 1-1 before rallying from 0-30 in the third game with four consecutive points to break in the third game for 2-1 with a down-the-line forehand.

From then on the match was played on Nadal’s serve and it turned out a one-sided match. He backed up the break to 15 to pull away to 3-1. Nadal went up 40-30 on Berdych’s serve but the Czech player saved a break point in the fifth game to keep his hopes alive to stay in the match.

However, Nadal held his serve to 30 to go up 4-2 before getting a second break of serve in the seventh game to extend his lead to 5-2. Nadal earned two match points at 40-15 and closed out at the first opportunity with his third ace of the match.

It was certainly the best match on clay for Nadal this year. Nadal has reached his fourth semifinal in five appearances in Madrid. He will face Roberto Bautista Agut who beat Barcelona finalist Santiago Giraldo 6-3 6-4

Nadal scored his 17th win over Berdych in 21 head-to-head matches and his 304th win on clay (with just 26 defeats). The Spaniard will be looking to clinch his fourth Madrid title after 2005, 2010 and 2013. He has already won 43 trophies on clay.

It was a match with a lot of intensity. It was my toughest match so far in the tournament. I knew I had to go a step forward. Talking about my level, I didi t pretty well. I managed to save a break point at the beginning of the match and I also saved another Love-30. I think that I played well in the key moments. To make it to the semifinals for the first time in the clay season here in Madrid is great news for me”, said Nadal

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Felix Auger-Aliassime Survives Australian Open Marathon

For a second time this week the Canadian was pushed but managed to win a tough four-set match against his Spanish opponent.

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Felix Auger-Aliassime (Manuela Davies/USTA)

Felix Auger-Aliassime booked his spot in the third round of the Australian Open after beating Alejandro Davidovich Fokina 7-6, 6-7, 7-6, 7-6 in a match that lasted four hours and 20 minutes.

 

The Montreal native hit 58 winners and served 28 aces while Davidovich Fokina hit 51 unforced errors. It is the second time the 21-year-old has reached the last 32 in Melbourne Park in what is his third appearence.

The first game of the match was a nervy one for the world number nine as it lasted six minutes and it involved him saving two breakpoints before being able to hold serve. The opener stayed on serve until 2-2 when the Fokina came up with an impressive passing shot to set up two more chances for the first break of serve of the match and this time managed to convert. Three games later the Canadian fought back and broke right back to go back on serve.

It was a tiebreak which decided the first set. The Montreal native jumped out to a 3-0 lead before the Spaniard came back again to win the next four points but the Canadian responded again winning three straight points to take the breaker 7-4 and the first set.

The second set was another impressive performance on serve by both players and once again was decided by a back and forth breaker that this time was won by Davidovich Fokina to level the match.

The third frame was much the same as both players kept their level up and not much differentiated the two. This tiebreaker was much more straightforward as the Canadian jumped out to a 5-1 lead before closing out the third set 7-5 and taking two sets to one lead.

The fourth set stayed on serve until 2-1 when the world number 50 had a chance to break and was able to get it for a 3-1 lead before the Canadian was able to break back the following game to go back on serve.

For the fourth time, the set was decided by a tiebreaker and this one was super tight with the Canadian getting the crucial break to take a 4-3 lead and that one break was enough for him to serve it out.

Auger Aliassime will now face Dan Evans in the third round after the Brit was handed a walkover against Frenchman Arthur Rinderknech who pulled out of the match due to injury.

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‘Best Feeling I’ve Ever Had’ – Underdog Christopher O’Connell Stuns Schwartzman At Australian Open

Prior to this week the 27-year-old had never won a main draw match at Melbourne Park or beaten a top 20 player.

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World No.175 Christopher O’Connell has pulled off a major upset at the Australian Open by knocking out 13th seed Diego Schwartzman.

 

The 27-year-old wild card had only ever won one match in the main draw of a Grand Slam prior to this year but illustrated the talent that he has with a 7-6, 6-4, 6-4, win over Schwartzman. A player who is currently ranked 162 places above him in the rankings. Against the Argentine he fired a total of 44 winners and won 75% of his first service points on route to claiming his first win over a top 20 player.

“It’s the best feeling I’ve ever had on a tennis court. I’ve been playing tennis since I was four. To have moments like this it’s a dream come true.” O’Connell said during his press conference.

Despite the straightforward score, the match itself was a marathon. The opener alone lasted for almost 90 minutes with the underdog saving three set points whilst down 4-5 before prevailing in the tiebreaker. Then in the following two sets he broke Schwartzman three times in total.

“I knew how crucial that first set was. It was really warming up out there. It was really a battle back and forth. It was crucial to get that first set, especially in the heat,” he said.

A late bloomer on the men’s Tour, the Australian started to make a breakthrough last year by reaching his first quarter-final at the Atlanta Open where he defeated Jannik Sinner. During that year he also reached the final of a French Challenger event before withdrawing due to injury and reached the second round of the US Open.

O’Connell, who has been ranked as high as 111th in the world, credits his coach for helping him reach new milestones in the sport. He is mentored by former player Marinko Matosevic who reached a ranking high of 39th back in 2013 and made more than $2M in prize money during his playing career.

“The process didn’t start yesterday. It’s been happening all of last year,” he stated.
“I’ve been working with Marinko. He’s just really confident with how I want to play tennis now. It’s the first time I’ve really had a one-on-one coach literally every day with me.’
“Marinko was such a great player. All his knowledge of the game, he’s just putting it onto me.”

Next up for O’Connell will be the in-form Maxime Cressy who lost to Rafael Nadal in the final of the Melbourne Summer Set just over a week ago. The American defeated Czech qualifier Tomáš Macháč 6-1, 3-6, 6-1, 7-6(5), in his second round match.

“I knew I had good results in me. It’s just being consistent. I felt today was a consistent match from me,” he reflected.
“But the biggest thing for me is just staying healthy, not having these injuries where I miss two months of tournaments. I nearly missed five or six months last year. I can’t be doing that.’
“The belief is always there, but I just got to make sure my body’s healthy this year. I want to play a full year.”

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French Player Tests Positive For COVID-19 Hours After Australian Open Defeat

The world No.40 was preparing to leave the country.

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Ugo Humbert is in quarantine after testing positive for COVID-19 following his first round loss at the Australian Open on Tuesday.

 

Humbert, who was the 29th seed in the men’s draw, is understood to have produced a positive result during a routine procedure players have to conduct before they leave the country. It is unclear as to if he is currently suffering from any symptoms.

Humbert crashed out of the tournament to compatriot Richard Gasquet, who won their match 3-6, 7-6(4), 7-6 (3), 6-3, in three hours and 18 minutes. Gasquet also tested positive for COVID-19 upon arrival in Australia earlier this month but was given the all clear to play at Melbourne Park following a negative test. There was a 15-day period between the 35-year-old announcing on Twitter he had the virus and his first match against Humbert.

“I was tested positive on my exit test yesterday and I’ll stay one more week in isolation in Australia,” Humbert wrote on Instagram.
“Thanks for your support and see you soon.”

The 23-year-old has started his season by winning one out of four matches played. Prior to the Australian Open, he scored one of the biggest wins of his career by defeating Daniil Medvedev at the ATP Cup in the group stages. However, following that victory he suffered losses to Alex de Minaur and Matteo Berrettini.

Tennis Australia is yet to comment on Humbert’s positive test.

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