Nadal reigns supreme at the French Open with his 9th Title - UBITENNIS
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Nadal reigns supreme at the French Open with his 9th Title

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TENNIS FRENCH OPEN – In the final of the 2014 Roland Garros Rafael Nadal beat Novak Djokovic 3-6 7-5 6-2 6-4 to win his 9th title in Paris and his 14th career Major. Nadal proved once again, that he is the French Open. There is very little else one can say about him and this tournament. Cordell Hackshaw

 

Interviews, Results, OOP, Draws from the Roland Garros

At the start of the 2014 French Open, there was a question that was being asked which has rarely been asked for nearly a decade, “Would Rafael Nadal (1) defend his French Open title?” It might be more apropos to say defending his property as opposed to his title. True that in 2009 Nadal lost to Robin Soderling. Yet, statisticians will say that that was an anomaly; a “freak occurrence.” That loss does not change the undeniable truth of Nadal being the greatest of all players of all time on clay. He is simply supreme on the surface. One might even go as far as to say he is virtually unplayable on the Parisian courts. Back in 2011, that question floated about and it looked like Novak Djokovic (2) had solved the “clay conundrum” that is Nadal. However, Roger Federer stopped that meeting and Federer was the one who got to the final and lost yet again to Nadal. Since then, Nadal and Djokovic have met in the French Open and each time, Nadal has come out the victor. This year would be no different as for the three straight year, Nadal has beaten Djokovic on his way to the French title; his 5th time in a row and his 9th overall title; 3-6 7-5 6-2 6-4.

Overall, it would be hard to say whether Djokovic actually gave it everything in this match. However in the 1st set, it would difficult to say he did not. Djokovic served first in the match and fended off early break points during the 7th game to quickly give himself two break chances in the 8th game for the 5-3 lead. Nadal was able to save those two initial break points on his serve for deuce but his usually formidable forehand went errant on the 3rd one and Djokovic was serving for the set. Djokovic with the momentum squarely in his half of the court soon found himself down love-30 and then down two break points to get back on serve. However, the Nadal forehand proved to be unreliable in the early stages of the match and Djokovic won the set 6-3 when yet another forehand from Nadal went long.

Nadal was not about to let him reign here in Paris go unchallenged. He broke Djokovic in the 6th game to lead 4-2. Djokovic broke back immediately and remained on serve for 6-5 when he was serving to force the set to a tiebreaker. Nadal wanting to avoid the breaker and he put his foot down and demanded that this 12th game be his. He matched pace with Djokovic and showed him the true extent of his clay court prowess and soon he had double set points. Djokovic became erratic when he most needed to be perfect and so Nadal took the 2nd set 7-5. This equalizing set was all that the Spaniard needed to really turn up the intensity. His reaction to taking it almost matched that of winning the title. Nadal himself would later say, “We can talk about strategy, we can talk about tactics, and when you look at the score, the fact of winning the second set for me was something very important.”

Nadal then went into this “unplayable” mood where Djokovic simply did not have an answer. Nadal raced out to a 3-0 lead before Djokovic got on the scoreboard in the 3rd set. Djokovic looked poised to get things back on serve as he had a break point in the 5th game but again, he was unable to combat his opponent’s offensive and defensive skills. The style of play that saw Djokovic winning the rallies in the 1st set, was no longer working and Djokovic remained perplexed as to what to do. Nadal made the impossible shots possible and everything was working for him. Djokovic could only say later on, He was a better player in the crucial moments.” Nadal held serve and stretched his lead to 5-2. Djokovic served to stay in the set and again, he was broken. Nadal was now up two sets to one. Meanwhile, Djokovic was left looking as though he was unsure as to whether he was playing a man or a machine. Nadal was just that good on the big points and nothing was working against him.

There was no question that Nadal was going to take the match at this point. Djokovic looked physically unwell and at one point was even slightly sick on court. However, Nadal remained relentless in his pursuit for tennis glory. He broke Djokovic in the 6th game for a 4-2 lead. Djokovic broke back and levelled it 4-4. Nadal stayed ahead at 5-4 and forced Djokovic to serve to stay in the match. It was almost like watching their last two matches here at the French Open all over again particularly the 2012 final, Djokovic looked “done and dusted.” He pushed his forehand long to set up match point for Nadal and then double faulted to end the match. In all three sets that Nadal won, he never once served to close it out; he broke Djokovic every time. Djokovic summed of his performance in the match by saying, “I lost that service game 65, and then the momentums went his side. I started…playing quite bad…and didn’t move as well. Struggled a little bit physically throughout that third set…I wasn’t playing at the level that I wanted, especially in the second part of the match.”

Nadal proved once again, that he is the French Open. There is very little else one can say about him and this tournament. 9 titles, 5 in a row, 66-1 here in Paris, 14 major titles overall (tied for 2nd with Pete Sampras on the all-time list). Nadal beats his opponents both physically and mentally. Even that rare defeat back in 2009 to Soderling, the next year in 2010, Nadal had his revenge as be beat Soderling in the final in straight sets for his 5th title. “I knew that I had lost four times against Novak, so this win was very important to me. I had enough courage. I made the right decisions at the right moment.”

Djokovic had his chances to have at least taken it to a 5th set or even more so, made the scoreline more interesting. In the end though, Nadal did everything slightly better particularly on break point conversion and second serve points one: Nadal was 6/10 on break points and won 50% of 2nd serve whereas Djokovic was 3/9 and 36% on 2nd serve) Though they both had an excellent serving day, these noted differences proved to be the key factors of the match. On the other hand, Nadal feels that it more than his good tennis at play today. “Mentally I was so strong. I really wanted to defeat him. I don’t really know how to describe these things, but I managed to stick to it. I suffered quite a lot, but I found solutions. When there were problems cropping, I managed to find the solutions when the moments were very difficult with a number of shots which were quite tricky from the tennis point of view. I succeeded. I managed to win the match and the tournament.” Nadal has not only managed to win this tournament, one can say he really and truly owns it.

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Daniil Medvedev Eyes Further Improvement Despite Straight Sets Win At Australian Open

The world No.4 rates his performance so far in the grand slam tournament.

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Daniil Medvedev (image via https://twitter.com/AustralianOpen)

Fourth seed Daniil Medvedev believes he is yet to reach full throttle at the Australian Open after cruising into the third round of the tournament with a straight sets victory.

 

The US Open runner-up eased to a 7-5, 6-1, 6-3, win over Spanish qualifier Pedro Martinez Portero. Who was playing in the main draw of a grand slam for only the second time in his career at the age of 22. Dropping serve only one during the match, Medvedev blasted 19 aces and 40 winners past his rival. He also won 74% of his first service points.

Through to the last 32 in Melbourne Park for the second year in a row, the 23-year-old still believes that he could improve further on the court. Earlier in the week he also defeated Frances Tiafoe, who was a quarter-finalist at the Australian Open last year.

“I think there are still some things to improve. I think I could be more aggressive few moments of the match.” Said Medvedev.
“At the same time when you win three sets, you don’t want to discuss too much your level or something.’
“Of course, my next match is going to be completely different, so I’m happy with the win and happy to finally win in three sets without a tiebreak.”

As well as battling Martinez on the court, Medvedev was also forced to temporarily halt his match due to a nose bleed. Which occurred during the second set when he was leading 5-0. The Russian insisted that his bleed was not tension related and is something he has gotten used to.

“Let’s say it happens maybe two times a year or maybe once.” He said.
“I remember it actually happened last year Australian Open in first round. I think it was the only time last year, so it can happen sometimes but it’s nothing.”

Medvedev is one of a group of players who have been tipped to break the dominance of the Big Three in grand slam tennis this year. A group consisting of Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer. Last year he won 59 matches on the ATP Tour, which was more than anybody else.

Despite the high expectations, the world No.4 is playing down the hype surrounding him. Branding the Australian Open as ‘just another slam.’ It was during the last major at New York, where he reached his first final before losing to Nadal in three sets.

“I don’t know about other people, but for me, it’s just another slam where I have to win round by round again and again, where I had two tough rounds in my opinion in terms of games, especially the first one against Frances.” He stated.
“So I just take it as any new tournament, as an ATP one, any tournament I play. I just take it round by round. I try to win my matches.”

This year, Medvedev is seeking to go beyond the round round in Melbourne for the first time in his career.

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Fabio Fognini wins epic five-set match against Jordan Thompson

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Fabio Fognini battled past local favourite Jordan Thompson 7-6 (7-4) 6-1 3-6 4-6 7-6 in an epic five set match to score his five-set win at this year’s edition of the Australian Open.

 

The first set went on serve in the first five games. Fognini earned the first game in the sixth game, but Thompson broke back to draw level to 4-4. Fognini won the tie-break 7-4 after saving two set points in the 10th game.

Fognini earned an early break in the second game of the second set with a forehand passing shot. The Italian star went up a double break at 15 to race out to a 4-0 lead and closed out the second set 6-1 on his second set point.

Thompson saved two break points in the first game of the third set before breaking serve in the second game to open up a 3-0 lead. The Australian player saved a break point at deuce in the ninth game and held his serve to win the third set 6-3.

Both players went on serve with no break points in the first four games of the fourth set. Thompson converted his only break point in the fifth game and held his serve at 15 to open up a 4-2 lead. The home player did not look back in the next games to win the fourth set 6-4 forcing the match to the fifth set.

Fognini started the fifth set with a hold at love. The fifth set went on serve with no break points until the eighth game when Fognini earned the first break point of the set, but Thompson saved it at deuce to draw level to 4-4. Fognini earned his first match point at 5-4 with a forehand down the line. Thompson saved it with a big ace down the middle.

Thompson fended off another match point with a forehand down the line before holding serve after five deuces to draw level to 5-5. Fognini earned two consecutive match points, but Thompson saved them to force a super tie-break. Thompson made a forehand error at 1-1, but Fognini  double faulted. Fognini took a 7-3 lead after two unforced errors from Thomson. Fognini sealed the fifth set 10-4 with a backhand down the line after 4 hours and 5 minutes. Fognini will face Argentina’s Guido Pella.

“It was a good fight. It was amazing. It’s perfect. I feel good. I am tired for sure. I was two sets to zero in front. He was playing better, he was serving unbelievable. I had 75 match points, and it is more sweat, because it is tood easy winning in three sets”, joked Fognini.

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Marin Cilic takes the Match tie-break to beat Benoit Paire in Melbourne

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Marin Cilic battled past Benoit Paire 6-2 6-7 (8-10) 3-6 6-1 7-6 (10-3) in the match tie-break after 3 hours and 33 minutes in windy conditions to advance to the third round at the Australian Open. Paire won 82 % of his first serve points, but he made 51 unforced errors.

 

Cilic broke three times in a row to seal the opening set 6-2. Paire rallied from 3-5 down to win the tie-break 10-8. Paire earned a break of serve at deuce in the eighth game to win the third set 6-3. Cilic broke twice in the second and sixth games to win the fourth set 6-1.

Each player saved a break point in the fifth set, but they held on their service games en route to reaching the the match tie-break, where Cilic sealed the win 10-3.

Cilic booked his spot in the third-round, where he will face Spain’s Roberto Bautista Agut, who came back from one set down to beat Michael Mmoh 5-7 6-2 6-4 6-1 after 2 hours and 44 minutes. The match was moved to the Melbourne Arena after it was interrupted by rain, when Mmoh was leading 2-1 in the fourth set.

Last year’s Australian Open semifinalist Stefanos Tsitsipas reached the third round, when Phillip Kohlschreiber pulled out of the match due to a muscle injury. Tsitsipas set up a third round match against Milos Raonic, who converted each of his four break points to beat Cristian Garin 6-3 6-4 6-2.

Hungary’s Marton Fucsovics beat last year’s Next Gen ATP Finals champion Jannik Sinner 6-4 6-4 6-3 after 2 hours and 16 minutes. Fucsovics earned his first break in the third game to take a 2-1 lead. Sinner broke back in the sixth game to draw level to 3-3, but Fucsovics earned another break in the next game to take the opening set 6-4. Fucsovics went up an early break in the first game of the second set, but Sinner broke straight back. Sinner dropped his serve at love in the seventh game to lose the second set 6-4. Sinner went up a 2-0 lead with an early break. Fucsovics broke straight back in the third game to claw his way back to 1-2. Fucsovics broke serve in the seventh game to take a 4-3 lead and sealed the win in the ninth game on his first match point.

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