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Wimbledon, Nadal rallied from a set and a break down to edge Lukas Rosol

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TENNIS WIMBLEDON CHAMPIONSHIP – Rafa Nadal battled past his 2012 Wimbledon conqueror Lukas Rosol in four sets with 4-6 7-6 (8-6) 6-4 6-4 after fighting back from a set and a break down. They met for the third time in their careers. They tie 1-1 in their previous head-to-head matches but Rosol famously upset the twice Wimbledon champion in their second-round match at the All-England Club in 2012. Earlier this year Nadal beat Rosol in straight sets in Doha. Diego Sampaolo

 

Nadal won the first game to love when Rosol hit a shot into the net. Rosol drew level to 1-1 with a powerful forehand. The first set went on serve until the ninth game when Rosol was the first to break serve for 5-4. Rosol went up 0-30 on Nadal’s serve with a winner down the line. Nadal won a chalenge to avaoid facing three break points but a double fault at 15-30 handed Rosol two break points. Nadal saved them with a couple of forehands but he dropped serve on the third break point. Rosol went up a break 5-4 and served for the first set. Rosol was on fire and held serve to love for 6-4 to take a one-set lead.

Nadal was on the verge of another shock defeat againsr the World Number 65 when the Czech player broke serve to love in the fifth game to take a 3-2 lead before consolidating the break in the next game for 4-2. Down a set and a break Nadal hit two aces to hold the game to 15 for 3-4. Rosol hit a shot down the line into the net to gift Nadal three vital break points. Nadal got the break with his return to draw level to 4-4 keeping his hopes alive. Nadal went up 40-0 but Rosol fought back with his return to 40-30 but the nine-time Roland Garros champion held serve to edge ahead 5-4 in the second set. Rosol who was close to serving for the set, was now serving to stay in it. Rosol held serve to draw level to 5-all  Nadal held serve to go up 6-5 but Rosol forced the second set to the tie-break. Nadal clinched a tight tie-break 8-6 to draw lvel on sets. Nadal got a mini-break at 3-all but Rosol hit a winner down the line before earning a set point with an ace. Nadal rallied from a 3-5 deficit in the second-set tie-break and hit a forehand down the line when he was serving at 5-6. Nadal clinched a hard-fought 57-minute second set when Rosol made a double fault.

Nadal won all three tie-breaks he played against Rosol during his career

“If I lost that set point in the second set, if that forehand down the line went out, maybe I would be sitting here with a loss. But that’s the sport. That forehand was the perfect forehand for that moment. Even if I was losing, I was fighting for every ball. I was fighting mentally and physically. Every match is so difficult here. I played a bad game at 4-4 and I lost the first set. Until that moment, I was playing better than him but I didn’t have my chances on the return. It is a very important victory for me. I finished the match at a very high level. To be in the third round here after three years is very positive news for me.”, said Nadal.

“When I was a set down and I got broken in the second, I was not thinking about the match two years ago. I am thinking what I have to do to win the next point in that match. Today is another story. I needed to find the solution. Finally I did. That’s the most important thing. I played with fantastic energy during the final three sets. I was returning great in the last three sets. I was able to have more breaks. Rosol can be dangerous for everyone, if he plays well. The players who are able to serve and hit the ball that quick, with his forehand and his backhand, especially on this kind of surface, will be dangerous for everyone”.

The tie-break was crucial for this match. Rosol held serve  Nadal was on fire after winning the breaker but Rosol bounced back and managed to hold serve. Nadal held serve with his serve for 1-1 and earned two break points but Rosol managed to save them. Rosol had to fend off another break point but Nadal finally got the break to take the 2-1 lead when Rosol hit his forehand into the net. The World Number 2 consolidated the break to love. Rosol did not give up and won an important game to close the gap to 2-3. In the eighth game Nadal held serve with an ace to go up 5-3. Rosol cruised to a 40-0 in the ninth game with a drop volley at the net. Nadal fought back but he steered a shot from Rosol into the net. Nadal served for the set and held serve to love in the next game to go up 2-1 on sets.

Nadal broke serve to love in the first game of the fourth set and consolidated the break by winning the second game to love. Rosol hit a powerful ace to end a 10-point losing streak. Nadal won another game to love with a winner down the line. Rosol won the next game to stay alive for 2-3. Nadal took the sixth game to love to pull away to 4-2. Rosol held serve to 30 to claw his way back to 3-4. Nadal hit a forehand winner into the corner to take a 5-3 lead. Rosol served to stay in the match but he managed to win the ninth game for 5-4.

Nadal faced a serious challenge in the final game of the match when he had to save a break point but he managed to clinch the match at deuce after an ace and a wayward shot from Rosol on the third match point.

Nadal is looking to score the Roland Garros-Wimbledon double three times after winning both Grand Slam tournaments in 2008 and 2010. The only player who managed to win this double three times was Bjorn Borg in 1978, 1979 and 1980

Nadal will face Michail Kukushkin in the third round

Diego Sampaolo

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Who Are The Best Hard Court Creators In The Last 12 Months?

Here are some of the best players at earning break points on a hard court in the last 12 months.

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Garbine Muguruza (@Tennis - Twitter)

As the Australian Open, slowly, approaches UbiTennis looks at the biggest hard court creators from the last 52 weeks.

 

Although winning matches are determined on how many break point opportunities you convert, to convert the break points you need to create them in the first place.

This can be the biggest challenge but for the players below this isn’t a problem as they are able to consistently create break point opportunities on a hard court.

Starting with the women, it may be a surprise to nobody that Garbine Muguruza, one of the more aggressive returners on the tour leads the way, earning on average 10.4 break points in the last 52 weeks on a hard court.

Muguruza’s hard-hitting style mixed with controlled placement puts her in pole position to punish her opponents on return.

There are also other big hitters in the top 10 such as Petra Kvitova, who averages 9.6 break points while Aryna Sabalenka earns 9.5 break points on a hard court.

While 2020 grand slam champions Iga Swiatek (9.8) and Naomi Osaka (9.3) also feature on this list.

Meanwhile on the men’s side it is Roger Federer who leads this list on average earning 10.8 break points, slightly more than Garbine Muguruza who is on top of the women’s list.

Federer is just ahead of Roberto Bautista Agut with 10.5 break points. This shows just how much Bautista Agut has improved on hard courts in the last 12 months being able to create so many break point opportunities with his return game.

Also featuring on this list are Alexander Zverev (9.2), Novak Djokovic (8.5) and Daniil Medvedev (8.3).

These are the players to look out for when seeing the players who are most likely to create opportunities in their respective draws and who the biggest servers may want to avoid in the Australian Open.

Here are the full lists of the top 10 from each tour and remember the Australian Open is set to begin on the 8th of February.

WTA Top 11 – Most Break Points Earned On A Hard Court In Last 52 Weeks

  1. Garbine Muguruza – 10.4
  2. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova – 10.2
  3. Saisai Zheng – 9.9
  4. Iga Swiatek – 9.8
  5. Anett Kontaveit – 9.6
  6. Petra Kvitova – 9.6
  7. Petra Martic – 9.6
  8. Aryna Sabalenka – 9.5
  9. Ons Jabeur – 9.5
  10. Simona Halep – 9.3
  11. Naomi Osaka – 9.3

ATP Top 12 – Most Break Points Earned On A Hard Court In Last 52 Weeks

  1. Roger Federer – 10.8
  2. Roberto Bautista Agut – 10.5
  3. Alexander Zverev – 9.2
  4. John Millman – 8.9
  5. Dominic Thiem – 8.9
  6. Guido Pella – 8.8
  7. Cristian Garin – 8.5
  8. Novak Djokovic – 8.5
  9. David Goffin – 8.4
  10. Adrian Mannarino – 8.3
  11. Daniil Medvedev – 8.3
  12. Grigor Dimitrov – 8.3

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Further 23 Players In Hard Quarantine After More Positive Tests On Charter Flight

More players head into hard quarantine ahead of the first grand slam of the year.

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(@emirates - Twitter)

A further 23 players have been told that they are being placed into hard quarantine after another positive COVID-19 test on a charter flight from Abu Dhabi.

 

Players were notified this evening in Australia that there was a positive test on the Abu Dhabi charter flight. Although it looks it wasn’t a player who tested positive it now means 23 more players will now go into hard quarantine.

This follows the news of 24 players going into hard quarantine after two positive tests from a charter flight from Los Angeles.

It is understood from several journalists that among those who are now being placed into hard quarantine from the Abu Dhabi flight are Belinda Bencic, Maria Sakkari, Bianca Andreescu, Angelique Kerber, Marta Kostyuk, Svetlana Kuznetsova and Ons Jabeur.

Although there are only 47 players in hard quarantine so far, there is a fear that this number could rise with more COVID test results still waiting to come back.

Before the charter flights, Andy Murray, Alejandro Davidovich Fokina, Madison Keys and Amanda Anisimova were denied entry into Australia via the chartered flights due to positive COVID results.

The first set of tournaments in Australia are set to begin on the 31st of January with the Australian Open due to begin on the 8th of February.

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ANALYSIS: Daniil Medvedev’s Run At The ATP Finals – Win Against Nadal Was The Turning point

Using two types of graphs, UbiTennis takes a closer look at the five matches won by Daniil Medvedev at the 2020 ATP Finals.

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Let’s analyse the five matches won at the ATP Finals by Daniil Medvedev, using the graphical representations provided by Federico Bertelli. We have renamed the graphs as “The ride”, recalling the famous Wagnerian composition. The first series of graphs is made up of decision trees and illustrates the trend of Medvedev’s and his opponents behind their respective serves, from the first round robin match to the final won against Dominic Thiem.

 

These are the details of his debut match against Zverev. The graph is easy to read: on the right (in blue) the times he held his serve are represented, while the time he broke his opponent are on the left (in red). The thicker the segment that connects two scores, the more frequently that ‘path’ of play has been covered.

https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/39qVQVmRFll9YWeGxM_Dl-qEBE7Z2iwMHIfrEa6v5WwIKELuSfGEYrmgVQkDzPhlhsEthmsawLr4Cx-hi-NC15wcu85Yjt_unBZPfFJWpWoyoW5JS1Xbzxf63e2tZnzu0Z_RDCg
https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/72lIM46LmWsHKBUr3Rhw7oYq4Lto4obP0mA7E_kQH9bVB58TMEhC1Onixq0M8tZch1ZG4v8Hmf_Ntxss48abHouM1wqaPgRaQSeAcsSbJCZAY1Tea-lYVQzeStc61ayblLIasXM

Medvedev’s solidity holding serve is undeniable, because he performed best in deuce receiver and deuce server situations. It can also be observed how the Russian got broken just once in his first three matches, against Zverev at 30-40, while against Nadal he was particularly in trouble with his own serve, as the Spaniard was the only one who broke him several times, taking advantage of some favourable scoring situations such as 0-40, 15-40 and deuce receiver.

https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/e0lb0_yVnzwb24LWS-xN7qdhxz4DqiNqCBEolubVLln3Qv_7Na99-mCi4WU_k9UrBT4T4H2OqcnxnlYEcO8TX4LtwMA3nkLW94JK6hnnEEshOXFd9_HNZ6seBhP56_deatR2Rig
https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/IPBeJdkVLRtQewleS-MxR7QHtzpehhO8wIslpXwlGLisR7KrzSbMng2lAUoAdjIMj2EWBPWhA838l2AJX27anuWFex_oIUSFdMHfoQWDlpW8DoLUx209sVr8cg7qdfvOdfJojX8

However, against Thiem, although Medvedev found himself tangled in a decider, the trend reverts back to that of the round matches: the only chance that Thiem had to snatch the serve was on the deuce receiver. He had no other chance from 40-40. 

https://www.ubitennis.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/Medvedev-finals.jpg

The graphical analysis, corroborated by the thickness of the oblique blue lines, also shows the growing solidity of the Russian from match to match, winning the opening two points in his service games. This is a sign of a growing confidence in his game as the Russian advanced towards the final stages of the tournament, e.g. the semi-final and the final.

As for the situations in which Medvedev was particularly proficient on his opponent’s serve, the deuce receiver stands out, a circumstance that was present in all five matches, followed by the 30-40 – he broke on this situation against Zverev and Schwartzman.

AN OVERVIEW

https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/vjDrxErqtjvDOnK9dhmExHj5OiMeiNHupX3ffY3sKFBPPQ39Yb7Gipu39P5_XYAlGoBbgeILp7kDrYKrQBoaVRJHSzD731_9doLJ2GVFq4xafnYhzlBeyORsZ4HY5UB88OHV3ao

The second series of graphs on Medvedev’s Valkyrian ride consists of radar graphs illustrating the classic statistics shown at the end of each match, which are equivalent to the following percentages – starting from the top and going clockwise: percentage of first serves in play, percentage of points won with his first and second serve, break points saved and converted, points won on the return against first and second serve, total points won, total points won on the return and on serve. What you see above is the diagram of Medvedev’s debut match: it is easy to see that he did better than Zverev in all statistics except for the percentage of first serves in play.

From the analysis of the first three matches of the group stage, even though the yellow area is predominant in almost all the statistical percentages, it’s clear that Medvedev was more effective in saving break points than his opponents (more than 80 percent against Zverev and 100 percent against Djokovic and Schwartzman), as well as in converting them. Against Schwartzman, he was actually bettered in the percentage of points won with the second service and in points won on the return against the opponent’s second serve.

https://www.ubitennis.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/bbb.jpg

However, in the next two matches the percentage profiles of break balls saved and converted change because Nadal’s and Thiem’s numbers are higher than the Medvedev’s. So, ultimately, it means that Medvedev conceded fewer break points and managed to convert those that his opponents offered him during the match. 

That shows a great solidity.

If the general statistical profile of the Medvedev’s match against Thiem is similar to that of the matches won against Djokovic and Zverev, and in some ways to the one against Schwartzman as well, the statistics outline against Nadal is totally abnormal and should be considered as an outlier. The percentage of points won returning Nadal’s second serve and on his own second serve were the crucial ones. We will analyse this aspect in another article that will deal with Medvedev’s positioning on the return.

In conclusion, from the analysis of the statistical profiles, it appears that the semi-final bout against Nadal was the toughest obstacle that Medvedev had to overcome in his ride to success in a tournament in which he turned out more than anyone to be able (perhaps naturally) to give the match the desired direction, even when the numbers were not completely by his side.

Article by Andrea Canella; translated by Alice Nagni; edited by Tommaso Villa

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