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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Daniil Medvedev Can Improve Further After US Open Win, Says Coach

Gilles Cervara has overseen the rise of the world No.2 since 2017 and he believes there is still more to come.

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The 2021 Men's Singles Champion, Daniil Medvedev at the 2021 US Open, Sunday, Sep. 12, 2021 in Flushing, NY. (Garrett Ellwood/USTA)

The team of Daniil Medvedev are already looking into ways the Russian can improve his game less than a week after he won the US Open, according to his coach Gilles Cervara.

 

On Sunday the 25-year-old defeated Novak Djokovic in straight sets to claim his first-ever Grand Slam title and become the first Russian man to win a major since Marat Safin in 2005. Impressively Medvedev only dropped one set in the tournament which was against Dutch qualifier Botic van de Zandschulp in the quarter-finals.

Guiding Medvedev to glory in New York was his coach Cervara who has been working with him since 2017. The Frenchman was recognized for his work with Medvedev back in 2019 when he was named ATP coach of the Year. Speaking to Tennis Majors earlier this week, Cervara believes part of the success they have had is due to the desire to continuously improve.

“It’s huge to have won the US Open. But Daniil, me and the whole team, we are always focused on performance,” he said. “It’s a way of life, of thinking, which means that I will always be drawn to the idea of doing better, and therefore of winning the next tournament. To make this possible, I have to set up workouts to be even stronger and respond to more situations, to win even more.”

It is hard to question the approach taken by Cervara when you look at Medvedev’s results on the hardcourts. According to the ATP, the world No.2 has won 147 matches and 12 titles on the surface since 2018 which is more than any other player. The next best player is Djokovic with 115 wins and 10 titles.

Medvedev could end the year as world No.1 but it will be far from easy. He is currently more than 1300 points behind Djokovic in the standings. If he wants to overtake him he will need to win or reach the finals of key events in Indian Wells, Paris and the ATP Finals. Although it is hard to project an exact route as it is unclear as to what tournaments will be played.

“I tell myself that it involves work and improving many things on a daily basis. The team has already started to think: yes, he wins a Grand Slam, but we can see a lot of things to improve,” Cervara commented. “These things represent the concrete aspects to be deployed with a view to a potential future great result. To be number one and win other majors, you have to achieve concrete things, at work, every day.”

Just because Medvedev has won a Grand Slam doesn’t automatically mean that he will go on to dominate the Tour. 12 months ago at the US Open, it was Dominic Thiem who triumphed at the tournament. However, the Austrian admitted that he struggled over the following months after achieving one of his career goals. Thiem didn’t play in this year’s US Open due to a wrist injury.

“I don’t think that will happen to him, but if we want to use what has happened for others, then yes it is a point of attention. It’s too early to know. If that happens, we will look for solutions,” Medvedev’s mentor commented.

One of the most unique aspects of Medvedev’s game is how far he stands behind the baseline during points. In one research article conducted by UbiTennis on the 2020 ATP Finals, the average player stood 1.9 meters behind the baseline. However, Medvedev’s return position was between 4.51 and 5.51 meters. Interestingly the analysis found that the further he stood behind the more he won.

Cervara admits that initially he tried to stop Medvedev from standing so far behind the baseline but the Russian refused to do so. His initial fear was that the tennis player was opening himself up to too many angles which his opponent could use. However, he soon came to realise that this wouldn’t be the case.

“I tried to get him to return closer to the line, but he refused,” he said. “He felt that as he got closer to the line, things just stopped happening for him. I think I had the intelligence to listen to him and put myself in his shoes, not to deconstruct something that is advantageous for him thanks to his size, his eye and his playing intentions. And the stats tell us that it pays a lot.”

Medvedev is set to return to action in just over a week at the Laver Cup. So far this season he has achieved a win-loss record of 44-9.

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Top Seed Tennys Sandgren Defaulted From Match Two Games In At Challenger Event

The tennis player was on court for less than 20 minutes before the incident happened.

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Tennys Sandgren’s appearance at the Atlantic Tire Championships Challenger event in Cary was a very brief one after he was disqualified from his first round match for hitting a lines official with a ball.

 

The world No.103 was taking on Christopher Eubanks in the first round on Tuesday and got off to a promising start by breaking in the first game before working his way to a 40-30 lead in the second. However, Sandgren then landed himself in hot water after hitting a tennis ball which struck one of the court officials. At the time the American was frustrated after hitting a forehand error.

The bizarre incident wasn’t caught on camera by the tournament livestream but Sandgren gave his version of events shortly after. He said a ball thrown to him by a ball kid hit him in the genitals and after that he slapped a wayward ball towards the fence. However, that wayward ball ended up hitting the ‘tushy’ of a court official.

https://twitter.com/TennysSandgren/status/1437933892456140809

Immediately after the incident, the tournament supervisor was called to the court by the umpire. Following a brief discussion on the court, Sandgren was then disqualified from the match for an action which he later took full responsibility for.

“Just to be clear, this was all totally my fault,” he wrote on Twitter.

It is not the first time a player has been disqualified for hitting a ball which then struck an official. The most famous incident took place at last year’s US Open when Novak Djokovic was disqualified from his fourth round match after hitting a ball which hit the lineswoman in the throat. In another incident, Denis Shapovalov was disqualified from one of his Davis Cup matches after unintentionally firing a ball into the umpire’s eye.

Sandgren, who is a two-time Australian Open quarter-finalist, has experienced a disappointing 2021 season so far. The American is yet to win back-to-back matches at a tournament and has only recorded a total of eight wins overall. Since January he has fallen more than 50 places in the ATP rankings.

Full video (go to the 19-minuite mark)

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Daniil Medvedev Marks US Open Milestone With FIFA-Inspired ‘Dead Fish’ Celebration

In his own words, the new champion produced an ‘L2 + Left’ celebration after defeating Novak Djokovic in New York on Sunday.

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Daniil Medvedev reacts to winning the Men's Singles championship match at the 2021 US Open, Sunday, Sep. 12, 2021 in Flushing, NY. (Garrett Ellwood/USTA)

Daniil Medvedev’s reaction to winning his first Grand Slam title at the US Open wasn’t random. In fact, he has been thinking about his FIFA-inspired celebration since Wimbledon.

 

On Sunday the world No.2 defeated Novak Djokovic in straight sets to become only the third Russian man in history to win a major title. The triumph caused heartbreak for his opponent who was on the verge of achieving the elusive Calendar Slam which last happened on the men’s Tour back in 1968. Leading 6-4, 6-4, 5-4, Medvedev sealed victory after a Djokovic return slammed into the net. Prompting him to literally drop to the ground in a somewhat unusual way.

“Only the legends will understand, what I did after the match was a L2 + Left,” he said during the trophy presentation.

The reference was to the game FIFA with L2 + Left being the code for what is called by some as the brick fall celebration or what Medvedev describes as ‘dead fish.’ When a player would just drop to the ground on his side after scoring a goal.

“When I was running through [the draw at] Wimbledon… I was really confident about my game. I think it was one night, you know, you cannot fall asleep. Five, 10 minutes you have crazy thoughts, like every other person,” he said.
“I was like, OK, if I’m going to win Wimbledon, imagine I win it against Novak or whatever. To not celebrate is going to be too boring, because I do it all the time. I need to do something, but I want to make it special.”

Medvedev’s planned celebration was no secret with him openly speaking with others in the locker room leading up to the US Open. No names of who he spoke to were mentioned by the Russian who says his peers described the idea as ‘legendary.’

“I like to play FIFA. I like to play PlayStation. It’s called the dead fish celebration. If you know your opponent when you play FIFA, many times you’re going to do this. You’re going to score a goal, you’re up 5-0, you do this one,” he continued.
“Yeah, I talked to the guys in the locker [room], they’re young guys, super chill guys. They play FIFA. They were like, ‘That’s legendary’. Everybody who I saw who plays FIFA thinks that’s legendary. That’s how I wanted to make it… It’s not easy to make it on hard courts. I got hurt a little bit, but I’m happy I made it legendary for myself.”

It certainly was legendary from Medvedev.

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