Rafael Nadal Marks 1000th Match With Comeback Win Over Philipp Kohlschreiber - UBITENNIS
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Rafael Nadal Marks 1000th Match With Comeback Win Over Philipp Kohlschreiber

Joshua Coase

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Rafael Nadal Celebrates Victory

Rafael Nadal recovered from being bagelled in the first set to battle past Philipp Kohlschreiber 0-6, 6-2, 6-3 in a captivating contest at the Miami Open as the Spaniard competed in the 1000th match of his professional career.

 

Kohlschreiber made an emphatic start and shocked the Stadium Court crowd as he really brought the heat to Nadal, taking the opening set 6-0 after winning 67% of return points on Nadal’s first serve and 60% on his second. After gaining some confidence with service holds to get involved in the match at 2-2 in the second, Nadal took control as he reeled off seven games in a row, only allowing the German to win two points on his own serve in the second set. The fifth seed took that momentum into the final set and gained an early break before holding serve with ease throughout to reach the last 16.

Nadal, seeded five for this event, began his campaign here with a straight sets win over Dudi Sela, meanwhile his opponent, Kohlschreiber, came through a tough battle with American Taylor Fritz, recovering from a double break down to come through in a final set tiebreak. The odds were heavily stacked against the German in this, their 15th meeting, with Nadal leading their head to head 13-1. The German was also enduring a tough 28 losing streak against top 10 players as he stepped out onto the Stadium Court in Miami. After a promising start, the world number 31 could not maintain his level when it mattered most in the contest.

Kohlschreiber came out firing from the get-go, earning himself and immediate break point opportunity. The 26th seed capitalised by striking a return of serve winner cross court on the backhand side to make the perfect start. Nadal looked to respond as he worked his way to two break back points, but the 26th seed remained defiant and held to take a 2-0 lead.

Nadal was under pressure once more in his second service game as his opponent continued to really go after his shots on the forehand side, taking time away from the fifth seed. After squandering a game point, the Spaniard was pushed to face another break point and he cracked, going long with a defensive forehand to fall even further behind.

The crowd were left stunned as Kohlschreiber continued to ask the question with his returns of serve in the fifth game. Aggressive play from the German coupled with very tentative shanks off the forehand wing from Nadal saw the Spaniard relinquish serve once again.

The 26th seed had little trouble closing out the first set. The German missed the first set point as he attempted a very ambitious drop shot, but the first serve found the mark on the second chance. First set Kohlschreiber 6-0 after 25 minutes, the first bagel set that Nadal had lost since the 2015 Australian Open (l. Berdych).

In the second set the Spaniard made a much more encouraging start. The four time runner-up here in Miami held to win his first game of the match, tested Kohlschreiber by pushing him to 30-30 on the German’s serve and after missing out on gettingthe break he then held his own serve to love to move 2-1 ahead.

In the following game Nadal had a golden chance to earn his first break of the match as his opponent began to miss on the forehand side to go break point down. The Spaniard then played a far too tentative point, it was almost as if he was waiting for the German to miss after the fifth seed hit three balls up the middle of the court, before the 26th seed unleashed a forehand cross court winner. After surviving that scare, the world number 31 came through his most testing service game of the match to level the score in the second set once more.

In the sixth game the pressure finally told on the Kohlschreiber serve. Two backhand misses into the net from the 26th seed handed the break of serve which Nadal had been so desperate to secure. The Spaniard was eager to maintain his momentum and raced through his next service game before causing his opponent more anguish in the next game as he broke the German once again to seal the second set 6-2 after 37 minutes.

One of the key factors which helped Nadal turn that set in his favour was his drastic improvement on serve. Having only won 33% of points behind his first serve and 40% behind his second in the first set, the Spaniard improved those numbers drastically, winning 92% of points on the first serve and 80% on the second. The fifth seed did not give his opponent a look in on serve and it was also recognisable that Kohlschreiber’s form had taken a dip following a faultless first set.

Moving into the deciding set Nadal took complete control as Kohlschreiber’s bubble appeared to have burst. The German blew two chances to hold and despite saving one break point with a well executed backhand down the line winner, the 26th seed could not save another as he swiftly fell 3-0 behind.

The German asked the question of Nadal by holding serve throughout the remainder of the contest, but the fifth seed was not going to drop serve as he marched towards victory. The Spaniard held serve to love in the final game to complete an excellent comeback 0-6, 6-2, 6-3 in one hour and 38 minutes. Next up for the former finalist, Frenchman Nicolas Mahut, after he took out Guido Pella in straight sets to reach the last 16 of a Masters 1000 event for the first time in his career.

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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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John Newcombe Believes The Australian Open Will Be ‘A Big Ask’ For Nick Kyrgios

The tennis legend is unsure if the former top 20 player will be fit in time for the first grand slam of 2020.

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MADRID, SPAIN - Nick Kyrgios of Australia waking to the locked room Davis Cup by Rakuten Madrid Finals 2019 at Caja Magica on November 19, 2019 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Pedro Salado / Kosmos Tennis)

Former world No.1 John Newcombe has cast doubts on Nick Kyrgios’ chances of going deep in the draw at the upcoming Australian Open.

 

The 75-year-old, who won seven grand slam titles during the 1960s and 1970s, believes the injury-stricken world No.30 may struggle playing best-of-five matches in Melbourne. Kyrgios missed most of the final quarter of the 2019 season due to a shoulder issue. He returned to action last month at the Davis Cup, but skipped his country’s quarter-final clash with Canada due to a collarbone injury. Overall, he has won 23 out of 37 matches played this year.

“It’s a bit of a worry that he has recurring injuries, especially around where the muscles join the joints and that’s going to be an ongoing problem for him it seems,” Newcombe told The Age.
“At the Davis Cup he’d only played four sets of singles and his shoulder started to play up again and when you’ve got an injury like that it’s hard to go out and practice a lot.
“Leading into the Australian Open – five sets is a big ask for him.”

A two-time grand slam quarter-finalist, the 24-year-old has struggled to make his mark in the majors this year. Winning just three matches in three grand slam tournaments he played in. Kyrgios missed the French Open due to injury. At his home slam, he lost in the first round for the first time since making his main draw debut back in 2014.

As well as trying to get fit in time for the start of the new season, Kyrgios will continue to be playing under a probation on the ATP Tour for ‘aggravated behaviour.’ Should he violate that, he faces the prospect of a 16-week ban from the tour.

“I can’t speak for him but if it was me it would be tough having that ban hanging over you,” Newcombe said.
“But I guess you’ve just got to learn to zip up.”

Kyrgios is set to start 2020 at the inaugural ATP Cup, which is the only team event to have both prize money and ranking points available. After that, he is set to play in the Kooyong Classic in what will be his final test prior to the Australian Open.

“I am delighted that Nick has chosen to play Kooyong again, and hopefully it acts as the perfect tune up for his Australian Open (AO) campaign and sets him up for a massive 2020 season.” Tournament director Peter Johnson said in a statement.

So far in his career, Kyrgios has won six titles. Including Acapulco and Washington this year.

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