Rafa Nadal is aiming at a medal at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro - UBITENNIS
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Rafa Nadal is aiming at a medal at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro

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Rafael Nadal is aiming at winning a medal at the next summer’s Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro after a season of ups and downs. He dropped to world number 10 in June but finished in the top 5 after a good end of the season.

After losing to Tomas Berdych in the quarter final at the Australian Open Nadal won his first title of the year in Buenos Aires on clay. The Spanish star lost to Novak Djokovic in the quarter final at the Roland Garros ending his winning streak of 39 consecutive victories in Paris since losing to Robin Soderling in 2009. Nadal won his first title on grass in Stuttgart since Wimbledon 2010 but lost in the second round at Wimbledon to Dustin Brown. During the summer Nadal won his second title on clay of the season after beating Fabio Fognini in Hamburg. Nadal lost against Fognini after an exciting third-round match at the US Open in which the Italian came back from two sets down to win in five sets. This defeat ended Nadal’s 10-year streak of winning at least one Grand Slam title.

After the US Open Nadal reached the final at the ATP final in Beijing (losing to Novak Djokovic) and at the ATP 500 in Basel (losing to Roger Federer) and reached the semifinal at the ATP Finals in London where he lost against Djokovic. Nadal hopes to maintain the form he showed in the second half of the year in 2016.

“I want to be among the best next year. I have confidence that I will start the year well. I am playing well and I have reached a point where I am recapturing a good feeling, and when one reaches a difficult moment and returns to playing well, the desire and the energy are greater ”, said Nadal.

Nadal is bidding to win a second Olympic medal in Rio eight years after clinching the gold medal in Beijing 2008. Four years ago Nadal was forced to pull out of the London Olympic Games because of an injury.

“I am really excited to be at the Olympics. I said that pulling out of 2012 was one of the most difficult moments of my career, possibly the thing that hurt me the most, but there are plenty of objectives before then. I am going to compete in everything they give me in Brazil because they are the Olympics and you want to make the most of that, and to compete in the singles and the doubles”, said Nadal.

Nadal talked about the chance to play against 2015 Wimbledon finalist Garbine Muguruza in the mixed doubles.

“I don’t know. I have honestly not spoken to Muguruza not has it been raised so far. My intention is to play and also it will be the choice of those who are helping us to be there. Garbine has had a fantastic year and she is a very good option. My main objective is to compete well and enjoy myself as I have over the last few months. If that happens, it will be because I feel good and competitive and the objectives will be the same as ever”, said Nadal.

A few weeks ago Muguruza did not rule out her participation in the mixed doubles at the Rio Olympics with Nadal. The Spanish star of Venezuelan origin expressed her enthusiasm for the Olympic Games in Rio after receiving the Bronze Medal of the Royal Order of Sports Merit awarded by the Spanish Government through the Higher Sports Council.

 

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Novak Djokovic edges Tallon Griekspoor to reach the semifinals in Geneva

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Novak Djokovic saved four set points in the opening set to edge Tallon Griekspoor 7-5 6-1 in 1 hour and 17 minutes reaching the semifinals at the Gonet Geneva Open. 

Djokovic celebrated his 37th birthday on Wednesday by winning his 1100 match on the ATP Tour. 

Griekspoor saved an early break point on Djokovic’s serve in the ninth game of the first set. Djokovic fended off four set points, as he was serving at 4-5 0-40. The top-seed held serve with an ace and a first serve.  Djokovic broke serve in the 11th game with two deuce points to take a 6-5 lead. Djokovic held serve to love to seal  the first set. 

Djokovic won seven consecutive games  to build up a 4-0 lead with two breaks of serve. Griekspoor got back on the board by hold serve in the fifth game for 1-4. Djokovic won the final eight points and broke for the third time to seal the second set 6-1. 

Djokovic set up a semifinal match against Tomas Machac, who beat US rising star Alex Michelsen 6-3 7-6 (7-2). 

Djokovic beat Machac in a third-set tie-break in Dubai last February. 

“I thought the first set could have gone his way easily because he was a better player for most of the first set. We could have been having a completely different direction of the match if he converted those set points. I was lucky to find some really good serves and from that moment onwards really played some good solid tennis. I was lucky to find some really good serves and from that moment onwards I really played some good tennis. The way I played the second set was really good. I want to thank everybody again for the support and presence today on a colde day”, said Djokovic. 

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Novak Djokovic celebrated his 37th birthday with a win over Yannick Hanfmann in Geneva

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Novak Djokovic beat unseeded player Yannik Hanfmann 6-3 6-3 on his 37th birthday to reach the quarter finals at the Geneva Open. Djokovic became just the third player in the Open Era to win 1100 tour-level matches. 

“That really touched me. I am really happy to win on this special day. The key was the birthday. The birthday probably would not be the same if I did not win the match, but it’s nice to be here for the first time at this tournament, with my family coming here to support as well”, said Djokovic. 

Djokovic earned three break points in the sixth game. The world number 1 player missed consecutive break points, but he converted his third chance with a forehand to take a 4-2 lead. 

Djokovic fended off two break points consolidating the break with a hold for 5-2. The Serbian player hit a forehand drop-shot winner to earn a set point. Hanfmann hit a drop-shot winner to force the game to deuce. Hanfmann earned a break point with a crosscourt winner. Djokovic saved it before earning another break point when Hanfman hit a backhand into the net. 

Djokovic sent a forehand down the line wide to face the fourth break point of the game and the sixth overall. Djokovic hit a backhand winner down the line to force the game to the deuce. Djokovic wasted a set point and had to fend off four break points before the match was interrupted by rain. 

After the match resumed, Djokovic saved a seventh break point and hit consecutive aces to serve out the first set. 

Hanfmann converted his 10th break point to open up a 2-0 lead in the second set. The German player held serve at love to open up a 3-0 lead. Djokovic broke back for 2-3 when Hanfmann sailed a drive. 

Djokovic won four consecutive games breaking serve when Hanfmann hit the net with a backhand. Djokovic sealed the win on his second match point, when Hanfmann hit his running forehand into the net. 

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Flavio Cobolli beats Ben Shelton to reach the quarter final in Geneva

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Flavio Cobolli came back from one set down to beat fourth seed Ben Shelton 4-6 7-6 (7-1) 6-2 at the Gonet Geneva Open. Cobolli has scored the second top 20 win of his career.

Shelton started the clay season with his second title in Houston and reached back-to-back third rounds in Madrid and Rome. The US player lost to Zhang Zhizhen in Rome. 

Cobolli reached his first Grand Slam third round at the Australian Open last January. During the clay season the Italian player he reached the third round in Madrid and pushed Sebastian Korda to third round in Rome. He beat Australian Open semifinalist Aslan Karatsev in straight sets to set up a second round match against Ben Shelton. 

Shelton earned the only break in the seventh game of the first set to serve it out after 38 minutes. The US player went up a set and a break in the third game and held on his serve to take a 4-2 lead. 

Shelton saved three break points at 4-3 in a marathon eighth game, but Cobolli converted his converted his fourth chance with a well-angled pass to draw level to 4-4. Cobolli rallied from 0-30 down to earn a set point. Shelton saved it with a big serve and held a long service game to force a tie-break. Cobolli earned three mini-breaks and dropped just one point to win the tie-break 7-1. 

Cobolli broke serve in the fourth game and saved two break points in the next game to consolidate. Cobolli broke for the second time in the seventh game after a double fault from Shelton. Cobolli hit an ace to bring up three match points. Shelton saved the first chance but Cobolli converted his second chance with another ace to set up a quarter final against Alexander Schevchenko., who reached the last eight, after Emil Ruusuvuori withdrew from the match due to illness. 

Cobolli scored his first top 20 win against Nicolas Jarry at this year’s Australian Open. 

“This year I have played against a lot of lefties. I like to play lefties and you saw today that I am really happy. It was a difficult match, but I am really happy”, said Cobolli. 

Yannik Hanfmann beat Andy Murray 7-5 6-2 in 1 hour and 43 minutes. Hanfmann was leading 7-5 4-1 before the match was interrupted by rain. Hanfmann did not face a break point. The German player broke serve in the 11th game to win the first set 7-5. He broke serve in the third and fifth games and served out the second set on his second match point. 

Hanfmann set up a second round match against world number 1 Novak Djokovic. Denis Shapovalov won 12 of 13 games from 1-4 down to beat Federico Coria. The Canadian player set up a second round match against Tallon Griekspoor, who beat Christophen Eubanks 6-4 1-6 6-3. 

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