Rafael Nadal Remains Perfect Against Grigor Dimitrov With Win in Basel - UBITENNIS
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Rafael Nadal Remains Perfect Against Grigor Dimitrov With Win in Basel





Rafa Nadal now has a 7-0 record against the talented 24 year-old Grigor Dimitrov from Bulgaria with a tight three set win at the Swiss Indoors Basel tournament. Each player was trying to end the year on a positive note after disappointing results in 2015. The Spaniard missed much of the second half of 2014 due to injuries and ailments. In 2015, for the first time since 2004, Nadal did not win a grand slam title. In tournaments throughout the year, he has lost to much lower ranked opponents. The Bulgarian likewise has not played to expectations in 2015. Dimitrov’s ranking has slipped from a high of 8 in August 2014 to 28 currently; he has no titles in 2015. Both have been regaining form lately. Nadal was victorious over big servers Stan Wawrinka, Milos Raonic, and Ivo Karlovic in the Shanghai Masters to reach the semifinals. Earlier in October, the former world number one lost to Novak Djokovic in the Beijing finals. Recently, Dimitrov made it to the quarterfinals in Kuala Lumpur and Stockholm.


The young Bulgarian started the match strongly breaking Nadal’s first service game. However, The Spaniard, after a confident hold of serve in the seventh game, broke back in the eighth game with smart shot selection and aggressive returns, especially on second serves to level the set at 4 apiece. Nadal held comfortably at love the next game turning the set around. Despite getting off to a 30-0 start, Dimitrov lost serve to drop the first set 6-4. After beginning the set well, the Bulgarian’s level of play dipped, while Nadal’s game remained steady. Dimitrov’s first serve percentage was a paltry 34% in the set compared to 62% for Nadal. Dimitrov was hampered by many forehand errors and missing his signature backhand on key points (16 unforced errors compared to 11 for Nadal).


The second set began exactly like the first with Nadal dropping serve in the first game. The Spaniard tested Dimitrov’s serve in the next game, but Dimitrov confirmed the break. In this set, however, Dimitrov did not take his foot off the gas and won the third game to get a second break, he then held his serve easily to go up 4-0. Nadal began to play more aggressively keeping Dimitrov off balance and won the next three games (aided also by backhand errors from Dimitrov). The Bulgarian went up 5-3 with the help of two free points donated by Nadal followed by a timely ace. Dimitrov closed the set out 6-4 to force a decider. Dimitrov improved his first service percentage to 73% in the second set vs. 67% for Nadal.


Yet again, Nadal failed to hold his first service game and Dimitrov got off to a 2-0 start in the third set. Nadal had an important hold at love punctuated by an ace in the third game and got the break back in the fourth game to get back on serve. The Spaniard held at love again in the fifth game. He pressured Dimitrov’s next service game, but the Bulgarian held for 3-3. Nadal won the next two games comfortably to serve for the match. The last game had some fantastic points with Nadal coming out on top to win the match 6-4, 4-6, 6-3.


This is the second good win for Nadal in this tournament on a surface that does not play into Nadal’s game. The ball stays low and does not allow for him to set up his big swing. He competed exceptionally well after falling behind in each set. In the first round, Nadal lost the first set 1-6, before getting past Lukas Rosal of the Czech Republic; 1-6, 7-5, 7-6. Nadal will face Marin Cilic in the quarterfinals.


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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 Jamesbecktennis@gmail.com. 

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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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