Mutua Madrid Open: Nadal wins the trophy after Nishikori's back gives in - UBITENNIS
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Mutua Madrid Open: Nadal wins the trophy after Nishikori's back gives in



TENNIS – Rafael Nadal successfully defended his Mutua Madrid Open title rallying from a set and a break down to beat Kei Nishikori 2-6 6-4 3-0 after the Japanese player was forced to withdraw from the match with a back injury during the decisive set. Diego Sampaolo

Interviews & results of the Mutua Madrid Open

With today’s title Nadal clinched his fourth Madrid title after his triumphs in 2005, 2010 and 2013 and his third win of the year after Doha and Rio de Janeiro. Nadal also collected the 27th Master 1000 win of his career 63th title of his career tying Bjorn Borg and Pete Sampras on the all-time title ranking. He is within two wins of equalling Guillermo Vilas all.time record of 46 titles on clay.

Nadal won the first clay of the European clay season after two consecutive quarter final defeats in Monte-Carlo and Barcelona. Nishikori’s winning streak of 14 consecutive wins came to an end but the Japanese made history as he has become the first ever Japanese player to reach the top 10 in the ATP Ranking.

It is difficult to say what would have happened if Nishikori had not suffered from a back injury in the crucial part of the match but what is certain is that the Japanese star played a fantastic first set in which he dominated with a clear 6.2. Nadal held serve in the first game to love to take a 1-0 lead. Nishikori saved a break point to draw level to 1-1. Nishikori earned two break points at 40-15 when Nadal made two forehand errors and a double fault. Nadal managed to save the first break point but Nishikori converted the second for 2-1 with a backhand smash at the net after a spectacular rally.

Nishikori got a second break for 4-1 and pulled away to 5-1 after just 27 minutes. Nishikori earned three set points at 5-2 40-0. Nadal saved the first set point but Nishikori converted the second with an ace to clinch the first set after 36 minutes .

Nishikori was on fire at the start of the second set when he got his third break of the match winning the game to love. Nishikori rallied from 0-40 to hold serve in the second game to go up 2-0.

Nishikori seemed to dictate the match from the baseline sending passing shots with his forehand and backhand. He was a break up and was serving at 4-3 but unfortunately the Florida-based Japanese player suffered from back pain after a long rally at 15-30 and needed a medical time-out.

The injury hampered Nishikori who dropped serve and Nadal sealed the win in the second set with a backhand beyond the baseline to force the third set.

Nishikori tried to continue at the start of the third set but he was forced to withdraw at 0-3 down. The injury has forced to pull out of the Rome Master 1000.

Unfortunately I was hurting and I tried to fight but Rafa was too good today, so congratulations to him. It has been a great few weeks for me in Spain. I won in Barcelona and now reached the final in Madrid, so it’s becoming like a second home for me. There is a lot of confidence I get from the tournament by beating Ferrer in three sets and playing well in the final. It’s going to be very exciting at the Roland Garros because I have never felt like that on clay. I am very confident of whatever I hit going for winners. I can hit from either side, forehand and backhand, so It’s a very good feeling that I have on clay right now”, said Nishikori.

It was the end of Nishikori’s dream to win his first ever Master 1000 tournament but he proved to be a tough opponent for Nadal and he will have other chances in the future. He has fulfilled his dream to become the first Japanese player to reach the top-10. His next step will be to become the first Japanese player to qualify for the ATP World Finals in London at the end of the year

Nadal improved his match record against Nishikori to 7-0. Nishikori managed to win just two of 19 sets. This year Nadal won a very tough match against Nishikori in the fourth round of the Australian Open with the scoreline of 7-6 7-5 7-6

Winning at home is always more special than winning anywhere. Having the chance to play in front of your home crowd is unforgettable for me. This city gives me a lot. This is a very important win for me but I am very sorry for Nishikori. He is an unbelievable player who will fight to be in London. I am sure of that. I really hope that the injury is not too bad and he will be able to play at the Roland Garros”, said Nadal


Jack Draper Wins In Stuttgart, Potentially Faces Andy Murray in Round Two



Jack Draper – ATP Monaco di Baviera 2024 (foto via Twitter @atptour)

Britain’s Jack Draper tight first round win headlined the opening day’s results at the Boss Open 2024 in Stuttgart – and possibly faces a second-round match with Andy Murray who takes on Marcos Giron tomorrow.

Less than 24 hours from the last ball being hit at Roland Garros, the ATP Tour had already switched surfaces onto the grass, and 22-year-old Draper was well tested but ultimately came through in two tie-breakers over Sebastian Ofner.

The sixth seed’s 7-6, 7-6 win contained just one break of serve each, both coming in the second set, as serve dominated proceedings on the faster grass courts in Germany.

While the Austrian won 75% on his first serve, Draper won a whopping 89% behind his first delivery as well as hitting eight aces. These kind of service stats will surely take him far during the grass court season.

“I thought it was a really good match,” Eurosport quoted Draper saying after his match. 
“Both of us played really clean tennis, executing really well.
“When it came down to it, I’m glad I competed really well and got over the line – it’s good to be back on the grass as well.”

There were also wins for Germany’s Yannick Hanfmann who won 6-3, 6-3 over wildcard Henri Squire, while compatriot Dominik Koepfer won in three sets over China’s Zhizhen Zhang 4-6, 7-6, 7-6. 

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Carlos Alcaraz Still Owns A Magical Racket



The legend of Carlos Alcaraz and his magical racket lives on.

The 21-year-old Spaniard executed one magical shot after another with his racket and legs  Sunday afternoon in the French Open final. That bit of magic spelled defeat for Germany’s Alexander Zverev.

This was a final to remember, one of the great matches of all the Grand Slams. It just wasn’t in the cards for the 26-year-old Zverev to finally win a Grand Slam title.


Both players seemed to play a game of “he had it and then he didn’t.”

Alcaraz appeared to have everything under control in the first set, but Zverev rushed through the second set and then made a comeback from 5-2 down in the third set to win five straight games.

Zverev had everything going for him when he started the fourth set with a two-set advantage. It appeared that all the 6-6 Zverev had to do was to continue playing his masterful game of big serves and mighty ground strokes.

But Zverev couldn’t get started in the fourth set until he was down 4-0. So much for a smooth and easy ride to a Grand Slam title. By then, the magic of Alcaraz was heating up.


Zverev still had his chances, even when he fell behind 2-1 in the fifth set. He had to feel pretty good about his chances when he took a triple break point lead against Alcaraz’s serve and appeared ready to even the set at 2-2. Even after Carlos came up with a winner to bring the  game score to double break point.

Zverev still was ready to even the entire match.

That’s when everything seemed to go haywire for the German, while all the while, Alcaraz was able to repeatedly come up with his magical shots as the Spaniard made critical shots that looked almost impossible to make.


Everything for Zverev was lost in the magical racket of Alcaraz.

What was then initially called a game-ending Alcaraz double fault and a 2-2 deadlock quicky reversed itself and Alcaraz stayed alive by winning the next three points while taking a 3-1 advantage.

Zverev did get back to a 3-2 deficit and had a break point in the sixth game, but that was it for the hopes of Zverev. The last two games went rather easily in favor of Alcaraz to wrap up a 6-3, 2-6, 5-7, 6-1, 6-2 victory for Alcaraz.

That moved the Spaniard to a higher level of success on the ATP Tour. He became the youngest man to win Grand Slam titles on all of the different surfaces, clay, grass and hard courts.

Carlos Alcaraz and his magical racket appear to be headed for greatness.

James Beck was the 2003 winner of the USTA National Media Award  for print media. A 1995 MBA graduate of The Citadel, he can be reached at 

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Tsitsipas Brothers Hit With Trio Of Fines At French Open



Stefanos Tsitsipas and his brother Petros have been fined more than 20,000 euros for multiple violations of the coaching rules at this year’s French Open. 

The brothers received a financial penalty during three different matches that they played in. Two of those were in the second and third rounds of the men’s doubles tournament. Furthermore, Stefanos was also penalised during his singles quarter-final match against Carlos Alcaraz, which he lost in straight sets. According to French newspaper L’Equipe, all three of those fines were issued as a result of coaching rules being broken.

Ironically, coaching is allowed during matches at the French Open but certain rules must be followed. ‘Verbal’ coaching can only be issued from the coaches and their team if they are sitting in the designated player’s box. Instructions must be limited to a few words and can only be given if the player is in the same half of the court as their coach. Although non-verbal coaching is allowed regardless of what side the player is on. Finally, players can’t start a conversation with their coach unless it is during a medical break, a bathroom break or when their opponent is changing clothes.

However, the Tsitsipas brothers have been found in violation of these rules, which is likely due to their animated father in the stands who is also their coach. Apostolos Tsitsipas has been given coaching violations in the past at other events, including the 2022 Australian Open. 

The value of the fines are €4,600 and €9,200 for the Tsitsipas brothers in the doubles, as well as an additional €7,400 just for Stefanos in the singles. In total, the value of their fines is €21,200. However, the penalty is unlikely to have an impact on the duo whose combined earnings for playing in this year’s French Open amount to roughly €495,000. 

So far in the tournament, the highest single fine to be issued this year was against Terence Atmane who hit a ball out of frustration that struck a fan in the stands. Atmane, who later apologised for his actions, managed to avoid getting disqualified from the match. Instead, he was fined €23,000. 

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