Convincing Rafael Nadal Edges Stan Wawrinka in Straight Sets at London ATP Finals - UBITENNIS
Connect with us

Hot Topics

Convincing Rafael Nadal Edges Stan Wawrinka in Straight Sets at London ATP Finals

Published

on

Rafael Nadal edges Stan Wawrinka in his debut match at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals winning by 6-3 6-2 in 1 hour and 23 minutes. The Spaniard wins thanks to consistency and aggression, as he starts his bid for a first ever year-end championships title.

 

Rafael Nadal is in London at the ATP World Tour Finals not just to see the city and hang around, settled on his qualification, considering how many doubted he could even make it to the last 8 at one point this season. While the other have managed to shine in the first 3 quarters of the season, the Spaniard has had to fight with his demons. And despite the doubts and the nerves, the low moments, step by step Nadal has managed to put his tennis back together. In London Rafael qualified as 5th in the race, increasingly shining more as the season played its last bids.

Against Stan Wawrinka in London, in his debut match at the O2 Arena, Nadal simply had more energy in the tank. The Spaniard exhausted the French Open champion showing glimpses of that consistency and fitness that brought him on top of men’s tennis, to stay. The match wasn’t as entertaining as many would have ought for, but it showed clearly how Nadal can and has to be considered a favourite in the Ilie Nastase group.

Nadal has the will, the energy, and the tennis he needs to go far in London, where he has a runner-up finish in 2010 and 2013 as his best result. The Spaniard has now found the length in his shots, the ability to send every ball back, together with the unique skill of opening up the angles without almost ever missing a ball.

Wawrinka and Nadal were playing for the 17th time in their careers, the fourth in 2015. Wawrinka had won in Rome and two weeks ago in Paris, Nadal had only won one match in Shanghai, dominating a tired Stan. This time Wawrinka was full power, at least in the first set, and Nadal won in straight sets. With this win, Rafael leads the head-2-head against the Swiss 14-3.

In the past years Nadal had to pull put 4 times from the ATP Finals due to injuries, always reaching the very last part of the season either injured or torn off from a long-lasting, exhausting season. The nerves and the insecurities worked as a fuel for the Spaniard this year. As the field arrived in London and we have now had a chance to see al 8 competitors in action, we can say that Rafael looks among the freshest together with World No.1 and season dominator Novak Djokovic.

Considering the Spaniard’s longevity and successful career, it is surprising to see that today’s victory is only the 14th Nadal has celebrated at the ATP Finals. But again, that was another Rafael Nadal. What if these are the premises for something even better for the 14-time Grand Slam champion? Let’s first see how far this Nadal can go in London first, as the tournament for him as only just started.

 

MATCH REPORT

 

Rafael Nadal (ESP) b. Stan Wawrinka (SUI) 6-3 6-2

Match Time: 1 hour and 23 minutes

O2 Arena – London
Barclays ATP World Tour Finals RR

 

THE FIRST SET

 

Nadal starts the match on serve. The Spaniard hits two forehands long to go down 0-30. Wawrinka takes control of the rally attacking with his forehand, covering the net and closing the point with a forehand volley winner to go 0-40 and have 3 break points right away. The Swiss plays an impressive point on his backhand, using top spin to challenge Nadal’s forehand and winning the rally with a stunning backhand cross-court winner. Stan breaks in the first game to love, to lead 1-0.

 

Nadal wins the first point of his match with a forehand progression down the line, that forces Wawrinka to hit in the net. Wawrinka feels the pressure immediately, fires a forehand wide and then a backhand long to allow Nadal with 3 break point chances at 0-40. Attacking with his forehand, Nadal closes the point with a forehand inside-out winner breaking back to love to set the score at 1-1.

 

In the third game Nadal becomes the first player to win a point on serve, as he attacks the ball and closes the point with a backhand cross-court winning approach at the net. Up 40-30, Nadal commits a double fault, but manages to have another break point while on the attack. Wawrinka kills a forehand down the line in the net, as Nadal holds serve to lead 2-1.

 

Wawrinka fires his first ace in the fourth game, then holds to 15 to set the score tied at 2-2. The Spaniard is far more secure on his first serve, managing to take control of the rallies on his service games. Nadal holds to 15 to keep the lead in the set up 3-2. Wawrinka has lost the brilliance of the first game, more keen to miss on balls bouncing half court. A good game of first serves is enough for the Swiss to hold to love and set the score at 3-3.

 

The match isn’t super entertaining so far, with short rallies and few winners. Wawrinka manages to awake the sleepy crowd with a fantastic cross-court backhand winner in the 7th game, but an aggressive Nadal dominates his service game, holding to 15 to continue leading 4-3. The Spaniard closes the game with a forehand winner.

 

In the 8th game, Nadal has a break point at 30-40, as Wawrinka can’t reach with his backhand volley on a deep lob from the Spaniard. Wawrinka saves the threat with a first serve and forehand winner. The Swiss faces another break point as he hits a backhand wide at deuce. Wawrinka serves a second service at 107 mph and then fires a forehand full swing to win the point and deny Nadal his second chance to break in the game. Stan has a chance to close the game on his advantage, but hits a double fault. The Swiss hits another easy forehand long and Nadal has his third chance to break. On the break point Wawrinka misses a forehand badly, on a ball that bounces without pace mid court. Nadal breaks and leads 5-3, serves for the set.

 

As Wawrinka seems unable to move well on court, Nadal attacks ruthless on his forehand. The Spaniard closes the first set with an ace after 37 minutes, holding serve to 15 and winning 6 games to 3.

 

Nadal closes the set with 10 winners, compared to Wawrinka’s 7.

 

THE SECOND SET

 

Nadal starts the second set on the attack. The Spaniard takes the net and closes with an airborne forehand to lead 15-40 on Wawrinka’s serve, getting 2 break point chances. Wawrinka denies both with a baseline winner and an ace. Nadal has another chance as Wawrinka misses on his backhand. The Swiss reacts strongly once again firing a forehand inside-out winner. The quality of the match raises. Wawrinka fires an ace, Nadal responds with a forehand return winner. The Spaniard then has another break point on which Wawrinka catches two lines with the forehand.

 

The Swiss finds it hard to deal with Nadal’s pace as he faces another break point. The forehand helps the Swiss again to get back to deuce. Wawrinka saves yet another break point, with an ace. On the umpteenth chance to break, Nadal is forced to surrender again, as Wawrinka attack at the net and closes with a smash winner. A backhand down the line winner allows Stan with a chance to closet he game. Finally, Nadal hits a return long and Wawrinka holds. In the game Nadal had 7 break points.

 

Wawrinka responds in the following game having 2 break point chances. Nadal saves the first with a forehand winner. On the second chance, Nadal wins the best point of the match. Wawrinka at the net plays a drop volley, Nadal reaches the ball and wins the point with a lob. The Spaniard holds serve staying strong to get back to 1-1.

 

In the third game Nadal is on the raise again. The Spaniard has three break points on Wawrinka’s serve. The Swiss saves the first, then on the second commits a double fault. Nadal breaks and leads 2-1. In the following game Nadal holds to 30 as Wawrinka hits another backhand wide.

 

The Swiss seems to have given up on his chances to win the match at this point. Wawrinka hardly runs to get the ball now, as Nadal keeps on being consistent putting the Swiss under pressure. Nadal has once again a break point in the 5th game, but Wawrinka saves it with an ace. The Swiss hits another backhand long to surrender to another break. Nadal takes control of the match leading 4-1.

 

The Spaniard shows major glimpses of the consistent tennis that allowed him to dominate tennis on clay over the years. Helped by the slower surface at the O2, Nadal hardly misses a ball, tiring off Wawrinka shot after shot. As the Swiss has nothing left in the tank, Nadal holds serve to 15 to lead 5-1 and ensure himself a chance of serving for the match.

 

The Swiss reacts with pride, holding serve firing two aces in the game to trail back 2-5. Called to serve for the match, Nadal doesn’t tumble. The Spaniard gets to match point with a backhand cross-court winner, leading 40-15 in the game. The 28-year-old closes the match after 1 hour and 23 minutes with a deep first serve on Wawrinka’s backhand. The Swiss returns long and Nadal gets the cheer of the London crowd.

The final stats reveal how Nadal closed the match with 18 winners and 12 unforced errors, with just one ace. Wawrinka ends the match with 29 winners and 35 unforced errors, and 10 aces.

 

Focus

Juan Carlos Ferrero Remaining Positive Despite Carlos Alcaraz’s Poor Form

Juan Carlos Ferrero remains confident of Carlos Alcaraz’s abilities despite his poor form.

Published

on

@tennisnewsbrazil - Twitter)

Juan Carlos Ferrero is looking on the positive side despite Carlos Alcaraz’s poor form.

After winning Wimbledon last year, many people thought that Carlos Alcaraz would dominate the ATP tour over the next year.

However since then, Alcaraz has lost his world number one ranking with the Spaniard not winning a trophy since capturing his second Grand Slam title at SW19.

There are concerns that Alcaraz’s form is dipping with Jannik Sinner potentially overtaking him in potential to challenge Novak Djokovic at the big events.

Despite the lack of titles to Alcaraz’s name, there is no reason to worry for coach Juan Carlos Ferrero as he is confident that the Spaniard’s lack of form is normal, “He has been achieving good results,” Ferrero claimed in an interview with Marca.

“The Cincinnati tournament was a shame because we were one point away. At the US Open, he made the semi-finals. When you play with such good people, it is difficult to win every tournament.

“For any player, not winning tournaments can affect your confidence level. For very good players, it is important to achieve the results that one sets in their path. Of course Carlos wants to win, but I see him well, I don’t see him with any type of desire, and that is very important.

“He doesn’t have the stress of I want to win, I want to win. He wants to do things well and wants to improve in every aspect that he can, and at 20 years of age there are many. The objectives are there. Every tournament that goes, the objective is to achieve a good result.

“And if he is physically well, a great result for him is to win. When you have that level and that potential, it is not bad to think that. Then, when you don’t get it, you have to know how to manage it and come out just as motivated.”

Ferrero brings a great level of experience and composure to the Alcaraz team having been in the Spaniard’s position many times when he was a player.

The Spaniard’s experience is evident as he claimed that failure isn’t a bad thing for Alcaraz to go through, “Not every year you can win six or seven tournaments and that doesn’t mean it will be a failure,” Ferrero was quoted by tennis 365 as saying.

“[Michael] Jordan and Tiger [Woods] didn’t win every Grand Slam and every ring every year. We cannot call that a failure. There are many positive things in a year even if you have earned less.

“You may have evolved in aspects that can be useful for the future. That’s where we are. The most important thing is that he is happy, that he trains well, that traveling makes him happy and from there he generates good tennis, which is what he loves. We all agree on that.”

Alcaraz will look to return to his best when he looks to defend his title in Indian Wells which starts on the sixth of March.

Continue Reading

Hot Topics

Rafael Nadal Unsure Of Fitness Ahead Of Return

Published

on

Rafa Nadal - Brisbane 2024 (X @BrisbaneTennis)

Rafael Nadal has admitted that he doesn’t know what sort of form he is currently in ahead of his return to competitive tennis in Indian Wells. 

The 22-time Grand Slam champion has only been able to play one event so far this year, which was at the Brisbane International where he beat Dominic Thiem and Jason Kubler to reach the quarter-finals. The event was the first he had played for almost a year after missing almost all of the 2023 season due to a hip injury. More recently, Nadal has suffered another minor injury setback with a ‘micro tear’ in one of his muscles which ruled him out of the Australian Open. 

Ahead of his latest comeback bid, Nadal will participate in a multi-million dollar exhibition event in Las Vegas against Carlos Alcaraz. The Netflix slam is being held at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino. According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal newspaper, the exhibition is the second-best-selling tennis event of the past year after the US Open. 

Speaking to reporters ahead of his clash with Alcaraz, Nadal provided a candid assessment about where he thinks his current form is. 

“I don’t know how I am,” Marca quoted Nadal as saying when asked about his current fitness. 
“I haven’t played a set since Brisbane. I’ve had better and worse moments. The most important thing for me is that I’m here (in America). If I’m here it’s already good news. Two weeks ago, beyond the results, the goal was to play Las Vegas and Indian Wells and I’m closer to achieving it.
“I don’t know what level I’ll be at in Indian Wells, but it is the least important thing today. For me, it is important to spend a few days in Indian Wells and train with professionals.”

Las Vegas will serve as a warm-up for Nadal ahead of Indian Wells which is the first Masters 1000 event of the season. It will be the first time he has played at the tournament since 2022 when he reached the final before losing to Taylor Fritz. 

“The preparation for Indian Wells has been bad and for Brisbane had been good. I hope to play a set between this Sunday’s match and the three days I have left before the debut.” He explained.
“For me, the priority is to try to get out of Indian Wells unscathed. Whatever has to be left, leave it in the clay season, which may or may not be the last (of my career), I have not decided 100 per cent. At the moment things are going that way.”

It is not the first time the 37-year-old has implied that this season could be the last of his career. However, he appears to still be unsure when asked directly about his future.

“I’m not saying goodbye because then I’d say I’m not playing anymore. This is an important point and I don’t want to say it because I’m not 100% clear about it.” He said.
“In the last two years, I haven’t been able to play. Life is showing you the path. How did I imagine my farewell? At first, I didn’t imagine it because when you start to imagine something, it means that the closer you are to it. It wasn’t something I had in mind.
“I would like to say goodbye well, being competitive and enjoying myself on the court. Whether that can be or not, time will tell.”

The Netflix Slam will get underway on Sunday at 22:00 CET. Nadal is then scheduled to play his first match in Indian Wells on Thursday. 

Continue Reading

Hot Topics

Alex De Minaur Defends Mexican Open Title To Stay In World’s Top 10

Published

on

Alex de Minaur - Australian Open 2024 (foto X @ATPTour_ES)

Alex de Minaur has become the first player in over a decade to win consecutive titles at the Mexican Open after beating Casper Ruud in straight sets. 

The Australian world No.9 dropped his serve only once en route to a 6-4, 6-4, victory over the three-time Grand Slam finalist. De Minaur managed to take control of the final with the help of 28 winners which was more than three times that of his opponent (eight). He also won 67% of his first service points and broke Ruud three times. 

“It’s been an amazing week,” said De Minaur, who also beat Jack Draper and Stefanos Tsitsipas earlier in the tournament. “Probably a week I didn’t really expect if I’m honest. I came into Mexico not feeling my best and just kept on telling myself to keep giving myself chances. I think today I played my best match of the tournament, so I’m extremely happy with that.” 

It is the first time the 25-year-old has defended a title on the ATP Tour. The triumph has ensured that he will remain in the ATP top 10 on Monday when the standings are updated. He is also the first player to have won the Mexican Open in consecutive years since its surface was changed from clay to hardcourt in 2014. 

“Acapulco has been a very good place to me for my tennis career,” he said. “The first time I won a 500, and [now] the first time I’ve defended a title in my career. I feel at home here and it’s a great place to be.” 

De Minaur enters the upcoming North American swing having won 15 out of 19 matches played so far this season. He is the only player in 2024 to have reached multiple ATP 500 finals after Rotterdam, where he lost in the title match to Jannik Sinner. 

Meanwhile, Ruud’s hunt for his first 500 title goes on. Despite being a former world No.2 and Grand Slam runner-up, the Norweigan is yet to win a tournament about 250 level. 

“Fantastic playing all week, too good tonight, too good every night,” Ruud said to De Minaur during the trophy ceremony. “It seems like you are playing in Acapulco quite well and I guess you will come back next year. I hope not, but I’m sure you will!” 

De Minaur has now won eight ATP titles so far in his career with seven of those being on a hardcourt. 

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Trending