Rafael Nadal: “I’m getting tired sooner than usual” - UBITENNIS
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Rafael Nadal: “I’m getting tired sooner than usual”

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TENNIS – Rafael Nadal has come back from lengthy injuries time and time again in his career. Every time doubts are raised as to whether Rafa Nadal will be the same player than before and every single time the critics have been silenced. In Rio de Janeiro Nadal was making his second appearance of the season after a long spell on the sidelines. Bruno Bergareche Sans

 

Rafael Nadal has come back from lengthy injuries time and time again in his career. Every time doubts are raised as to whether Rafa Nadal will be the same player than before and every single time the critics have been silenced. In Rio de Janeiro Nadal was making his second appearance of the season after a long spell on the sidelines last season due to injuries. The Mallorcan was defending his title at the 500 event and did notch up notable wins against Bellucci, Carreño and Cuevas, three accomplished claycourters and was well on his way to another good win against Fognini until his fitness let him down.

“I think I had good moments and bad moments. Physically I’m combining good moments with bad moments. I’m lacking physical consistency. I didn’t feel too good physically after the second set. It’s true that it is very humid, you can say what you want, but I’m getting tired sooner than usual. And I didn’t have a problem with my groin, I was simply cramping in various parts of my body. It’s strange because I’ve hardly had any problems with cramps in my career, so it surprises me. I’m working well, with the right attitude, trying to improve things, but I’m on the path and I think I’m closer than I was a month ago to finding the standard of play I’m looking for”, said Nadal of his fitness frailties in Brazil.

Nadal who has only played 20 matches since July added that “it is normal to struggle physically when I’m competing. Even if I train, when you compete it’s more demanding physically. To get through extreme situations you need to experience all of these phases that I’m going through in the last tournaments I’ve played. I’m not worried, I understand that these are processes I have to go through”.

After not defending his title, Nadal has dropped to number four in the rankings, but the Spaniard isn’t worried about that as much as he is about rekindling his form. “Dropping in the ranking is normal when you get injured and have no points for almost seven months in the season. You either win everything from the moment you return or you drop places, which is what is going to happen. It’s logical. My fight isn’t in the entry ranking but in the race. I’ll come out of this batch in eighth or ninth place and from there I’ll have to work to get back up the rankings. That’s the only thing I can focus on now”.

Next up for Rafa Nadal is the ATP 250 event in Buenos Aires where he opens his campaign against Montañes or a qualifier.

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Stefanos Tsitsipas sets up blockbuster third round match against Matteo Berrettini in Rome

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Stefanos Tsitsipas edged past Marin Cilic 7-5 6-2 to advance to third round at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome. 

 

Tsitsipas has improved his win-loss record to 28-7 this season, equalling Andrey Rublev for most match wins after Rublev beat Jan-Lennard Struff 6-7 (7-9) 6-1 6-4 earlier today. 

Tsitsipas had to save two break points in the ninth game to hold serve after four deuces. The 2021 Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters winner earned his crucial break in the 12th game to win a hard-fought first set 7-5. 

Tsitsipas was in control of the match and cruised to a 6-2 win in the second set with two breaks in the second and eighth games. 

“Sometimes I need to adjust my game and Marin is someone I respect a lot. I knew he was going to come out here and play his best tennis. He made move a lot. It was quite tricky to adjust to that at the beginning, but towards the very end of the first set I stayed calm and stayed calm and resilient. I had to play deep on the returns and find solutions from the baseline rallies. That worked well for me from 6-5”, said Tsitsipas. 

Tsitsipas set up a blockbuster third round match against last week’s Madrid Mutua Open finalist Matteo Berrettini, who beat John Millman 6-4 6-2 in front of fans, who will return on Thursday. Tsitsipas enjoyed the atmosphere on the Pietrangeli Stadium. 

“The Pietrangeli Stadium is very beautiful. It’s one of the best courts on tour. I feel like the Pietrangeli here is great. We are surrounded by trees in the city and it’s very quiet which is very important for tennis. Honestly, I can’t wait for the fans to come and fill in the stadium”, said Tsitsipas. 

Berrettini missed three consecutive break points in the third game of the opening set and earned his first break in the ninth game to take a 5-4 lead. The Rome-native star served out the first set at 15. Berrettini earned two consecutive breaks to race out to 4-0 lead. Millman saved a break point to hold serve in the fifth game, but Berrettini never looked back in his next two service games to claim the second set 6-2. 

Berrettini has improved with his each appearance in the Rome tournament, reaching the second round in 2018, the third round in 2019 and the quarter final in 2020. 

Tsitsipas beat Berrettini in their only head-to-head match at the 2019 Australian Open. 

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Alexander Zverev eases past Hugo Dellien to set up a third round match clash against Kei Nishikori in Rome

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This year’s Madrid Mutua Open champion Alexander Zverev cruised past qualifier Hugo Dellien 6-2 6-2 on Nicola Pietrangeli Court to move into the third round at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome. 

 

Zverev fired 27 winners and fended off all six of the break points he faced. The German won five consecutive games from 0-1 down with a double break to race out to a 5-1 lead and served out the opening set at 15 in the eighth game. 

Zverev went up a break in the third game to take a 2-1, but he had to save six break points in a 12-game fourth game. Zverev managed to hold serve after seven deuces before breaking serve in the fifth game to open up a 4-1 lead. The German served out the win on on his second match point in the eighth game. 

The  German star will face Kei Nishikori for the second time in two weeks. He beat Nishikori, Dan Evans, Rafael Nadal, Dominic Thiem and Matteo Berrettini last week at the Madrid Mutua Open en route to the fourth ATP Masters 1000 title of his career after claiming three previous trophies in Rome and Canada in 2017 and Madrid in 2018.  

Federico Delbonis didn’t face a break point and converted four of his nine break points in his 6-2 6-1 win over David Goffin. The Argentine player will take on Felix Auger Aliassime, who cruised past last year’s Rome finalist Diego Schwartzman 6-1 6-3. 

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Aslan Karatsev beats Danil Medvedev in all-Russian clash in Rome

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Aslan Karatsev beat his compatriot Danil Medvedev 6-2 6-4 after 1 hour and 18 minutes in an all-Russian match to move into the third round at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia at the Foro Italico in Rome. Karatsev has scored his fifth career win against top 10 opponents.

 

Karatsev has improved his win-loss record to 21-6 in his 27 matches this year, including the ATP 500 title in Dubai, the semifinal at the Australian Open and the final at the Serbian Open in Belgrade. 

Karatsev has scored his second top 5 win in the past month after taking an upset win over world number 1 Novak Djokovic in the semifinal in Belgrade. 

Karatsev earned a double break in the fifth and seventh games to open up a 5-2 lead. The 27-year-old Russian player earned another break in the seventh game with a volley to take a 4-3 lead. He never looked back and served out the win on his first match point in the 10th game. 

Karatsev won 90% of his first serve points and saved just one break point. 

Karatsev faced Medvedev for the first time in his career on the ATP Tour. They teamed up with Andrey Rublev at the ATP Cup in Melbourne last winter helping Russia win the final against Italy. 

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