Rafa Nadal wins a hard-fought semifinal against Richard Gasquet in Basel - UBITENNIS
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Rafa Nadal wins a hard-fought semifinal against Richard Gasquet in Basel

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Rafa Nadal has become the first Spanish player to reach the final at the Swiss Indoor Open in Basel after a hard-fought win against Frenchman Richard Gasquet with 6-4 7-6 (9-7). Gasquet went up a break at the start of both sets but made two double faults as he was serving for the set at 5-4. Nadal, who is taking part in the Swiss Indoor Open for the fourth time in his career, saved two set points in the tie-break before taking the win on his second match point after two hours and five minutes.

 

Nadal won all his previous 13 head-to-head matches against Gasquet who won a set against the Spanish star for the last time in Toronto seven years ago.

Gasquet went up a break in the first game after Nadal made a double fault. Nadal made an attempt to break back but Gasquet held his serve with a backhand winner for 2-0.

Nadal won the third game for 1-2 on serve after a backhand winner and two errors from Gasquet.

The Frenchman hit two aces and a forehand winner to win his service game to love. Nadal won his second game after Gasquet made an error.

In the seventh game Nadal held his serve at deuce with a volley winner for 3-4 before breaking back one game later after two errors from Gasquet at 30-all. Nadal won his third consecutive game to take the 5-4 lead with a forehand winner.

Nadal hit two backhand winners at 5-4 to clinch his fourth consecutive game for 6-4 on his third set point.

Nadal won 67 percent of his first serve points, hit 10 winners to 7 unforced errors and converted two of his four break point chances in the first set.

The second set followed a similar pattern with Gasquet going up a break as at the start of the first set.  Gaquet went up 0-40 on Nadal’s serve but the 14-time Grand Slam champion fought back to save six break points. After a very long game Gasquet converted his seventh break point with a volley winner to take a 1-0 lead. After another hard-fought game in which Nadal earned two break-back chances Gasquet held his serve with an ace to build up a 2-0 lead.

Nadal won another tight game on serve to close the gap to 1-2. Nadal earned a chance to break back in a long fourth game at deuce but Gasquet won his service game for 3-1 after Nadal made two errors.

Nadal closed the gap to 2-3 after a solid service game. In the sixth game Gasquet held serve without facing break points to pull away to 4-2.

Nadal clawed his way back by winning the 9th game for 4-5 with an ace. As Gasquet was serving for the set at 5-4, he made two double faults. Nadal broke back to 15 with a volley to draw level to 5-all. Gasquet hit a backhand winner and an ace to force the second set to the tie-break.

Nadal took a 4-1 lead with a mini-break in the tie-break but Gasquet rallied by breaking back with two strong returns. Gasquet won five consecutive points to take the 6-4 lead and earned two set points. Nadal saved both set points to draw level to 6-6. Nadal earned a match point at 7-6 with a powerful forehand but Gasquet saved it with a down the line backhand. Nadal claimed five of the last six points to seal the win on his second match point with 9-7 as Gasquet sent his backhand wide.

Nadal fired 31 winners and converted three of his eight break point chances.

Nadal now leads 14-0 in his head-to-head matches against Gasquet.

Nadal will face the winner of the second semifinal between Roger Federer and Jack Sock

After his defeat in the Basel semifnal Richard Gasquet is no longer in contention for a qualifying spot for the ATP Finals in London. The line-up for the ATP Finals at the O2 Arena is now set with Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray, Roger Federer, Stan Wawrinka, Rafa Nadal, Kei Nishikori and David Ferrer.

 

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Rival Backs Dominic Thiem To Win Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award

Only two players have won the award since 2004.

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For the past 15 years only two players have managed to get their hands on the prestigious Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award, but one player thinks there could be a brand new winner this year.

 

Diego Schwartzman has lent his support behind world No.4 Dominic Thiem. The award recognizes those who have conducted the highest level of professionalism and integrity on the ATP Tour throughout the season. Established in 1977, Roger Federer has won the honour in 13 out of the past 15 years. The only other player to triumph during that period was Rafael Nadal, who won it in 2010 and 2018.

“I think Thiem can win it, he showed throughout the year a competitiveness and a respect with everyone that was spectacular,” Schwartzman told ole.com. “On top of that he is having great years of his career and this season was even better for the achievements he had.’
“He has a good chance of winning it.” He added.

Schwartzman, who reached the quarter-finals of the US Open earlier this year, has also been shortlisted for the award. Along with regular nominees Federer and Nadal. Only once has an Argentinian player won the title, which was José Luis Clerc back in 1981. At that time it was known as the ATP Sportsmanship award before getting renamed in 1996.

“I learned first (of getting nominated) through social networks rather than the official designation that the ATP sends you by mail.” The 27-year-old revealed.
“It is more spectacular than anything for the players I have next to me. It is a very important prize that recognizes a little what you do off the court, not only hitting the ball.”

Whilst he is dreaming of winning the honour himself, Schwartzman is just happy that he has been nominated.

“If I won this award, it would be spectacular. Now I am on that payroll that is very good and represents the values ​​that I try to maintain on a day-to-day basis and that (my coaching teams over the years) have taught me. It is very nice to be recognized for that. “ He concluded.

The four nominees for the Stefan Edberg Award was shortlisted by the ATP. However, it will be the players who will decide the winner. The result will be revealed later this month.

Multiple winners of the Stefan Edberg/ATP Sportsmanship award

Roger Federer – 13
Stefan Edberg – 5
Pat Rafter – 4
Alex Corretja – 2
Todd Martin – 2
Paradorn Srichaphan – 2
Rafael Nadal – 2

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Kei Nishikori In Doubt For The Australian Open

Asia’s highest ranked male tennis player is contemplating when he should return to the tour following surgery.

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Kei Nishikori (photo by chryslène caillaud, copyright @Sport Vision)

World No.13 Kei Nishikori is refusing to rule out the prospect of skipping the first grand slam event of 2020 as he continues his recovery from surgery.

 

Nishikori hasn’t played a match on the tour since his third round loss at the US Open back in September. A month later he underwent a procedure on his right elbow in a move that brought his season to an early end. Currently undergoing rehabilitation, it is unclear as to when the Japanese player believes he will return to the ATP Tour.

“The prospect of a return from surgery on right elbow in January. Maybe February. In the second half of next year I want to be able to play well.” Nikkan Sports quoted Nishikori as saying.
“I don’t want to overdo it,” he added.

The Australian Open will get underway on January 20th in Melbourne. Should he miss the grand slam, it will be the second time he has done so in the last three years. Nishikori also withdrew from the 2018 edition due to a wrist injury. In January he reached the quarter-finals and therefore has 360 points to defend next year.

During his time away from the court, the 29-year-old has been kept busy making changes to his team. Recently it was confirmed that he has started working alongside Max Mirnyi, who is a former world No.1 doubles player. Mirnyi, who has won 10 grand slam titles in men’s and mixed doubles, will be working full-time with Nishikori alongside existing coach Michael Chang.

“I’m getting closer to retirement. I want to be cured and come back to play good tennis in the second half of next year.” Nishikori stated.

Despite the injury setback, Nishikori has enjoyed success in 2019. Reaching the quarter-finals in three out of the four grand slam tournaments. The first time he has ever done that in his career. He also claimed his 12th ATP title at the Brisbane International. Overall, he won 29 out of 43 matches played.

Nishikori will turn 30 on December 29th.

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Family Of Venezuelan Doubles Star Launches GoFundMe Page For Cancer Treatment

Roberto Maytin was playing on the Challenger tour less than a month ago, but now faces a new battle.

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One of Venezuela’s highest ranked players on the ATP Tour is facing challenges off the court after being recently diagnosed with cancer.

 

Roberto Maytin, who currently has a doubles ranking of 136th, is undergoing treatment for testicular cancer Non-Seminoma. Non-seminomas are made up of different types of tumour, such as teratomas, embryonal tumours, yolk sac tumours and choriocarcinomas. Maytin’s brother Ricardo has launched a GoFundMe page to help cover the costs. The tennis player made $19,441 in prize money this season, which doesn’t factor into account numerous expenses such as travel, accommodation and paying for his coaching team.

“If life gives you a chance to live longer, I think nobody would miss the opportunity. In this plane, we all want to be (alive) for years however we forget that we are with a 50% chance of leaving at any time every day.” The fundraising page reads.
“My brother was diagnosed with testicular cancer NO Seminoma, at 30 years old. He now faces a crucial match that life has put him for growth as an individual, as a man and as an athlete. He is forced to undergo 4 stages of aggressive chemotherapy in order to heal at all and leave no trace of a Cancer that has been moving for months causing some damage.”

A former top 25 junior player, Maytin is one of only two players from his country to be ranked inside the top 200 in either singles or doubles on the men’s tour. This season he has won four Challenger titles across America. However, he has only played in one ATP Tour event since the start of 2018. He achieved a ranking high of 85th in the doubles back in 2015.

Once a student at Baylor University in Texas, Maytin formed a successful partnership with former world No.2 doubles player John Peers. Together they earned All-American honours with a win-loss of 36-5 and reached the quarter-finals of the 2011 NCAA tournament.

Maytin is also a regular fixture in his country’s Davis Cup team. Since 2007 he has played 15 ties and won 10 out of 16 matches played.

“I am also clear that the family is the gift of God for each one of us, so in this way and in whatever way I will put my desire and my energy so that my Brother Roberto Maytin, a Venezuelan professional tennis player, is back to the courts, which is where he belongs as soon as possible.”

Almost $25,000 has been raised so far to fund Maytin’s treatment. Click here to visit his GoFundMe page.

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