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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Nadal survives three-set marathon with Shapovalov in Rome

Rafael Nadal saved match points to edge out Denis Shapovalov in Rome.

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Rafael Nadal (@atptour - Twitter)

The King of Clay needed three sets and over three hours to claim the win and avoid an upset.

 

Rafael Nadal needed three hours and 27 minutes to beat the Canadian Denis Shapovalov 3-6, 6-4, 7-6 at the Italian Open in Rome hitting 29 winners while his counterpart hit 46 unforced errors in the loss.

To everyone’s surprise it was the world number 14 who came out with the faster start earning two breakpoints in the first service game of the match with a stunning forehand winner.

He would break to take an early 1-0 lead and continued to have momentum earning another break and the Spaniard found himself staring at 3-0 defecit.

At 4-1 the world number three would get one of the breaks back but it wasn’t enough as the Toronto native would break one more time at 5-3 on his fourth breakpoint of the game to take the first set.

Once again we saw some really strong play from the Canadian in the beginning of the second set we saw history repeat itself when the world number 14 held serve and get the early break this time with his powerful forehand.

Nadal was fighting to stay in the set and the match and managed to earn a breakpoint but it was quickly saved with a big ace from Shapovalov. The very next game the Canadian had a chance to get another break but this time the Spaniard would deny him the opportunity.

After the world number three held serve he went on the attack looking to go back on serve and after three chances would get the break back. He would end up winning five games in a row and would take the second set to send it to a decider.

The third set remained on serve until 2-1 when the Canadian had a chance to break and he would take to jump out to a 3-1 lead. The break didn’t hold as Nadal came storming back the very next game breaking the world number 14 to love and equaling the set at 3-3.

The set and the match would ultimately be decided by a tiebreaker and in that breaker is when the Spaniard would take over winning it 7-3 to book his spot in the quarterfinals.

He will next face either Alexander Zverev or Kei Nishikori on Friday for a spot in the semifinals.

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Novak Djokovic Moving Into A ‘Good Trajectory’ After Reaching Rome Quarter-Finals

Novak Djokovic admitted that he is on a good trajectory after reaching the last eight in Rome.

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Novak Djokovic has said that he is on a ‘good trajectory’ after moving into the Rome Quarter-Finals.

 

The world number one moved into the last eight in the Italian capital with a comfortable 6-2 6-1 victory over Alejandro Davidovich Fokina.

Despite being broken in the first game, Djokovic rallied back to break on five occasions as he cruised past the Erratic Spaniard.

After 1 hour and 11 minutes, Djokovic’s overall game was too much for Davidovich Fokina as the Serb progressed to his 15th quarter-final in Rome.

After the match in his on-court interview the top seed admitted he is on a good trajectory as he builds momentum towards Roland Garros, “I thought I played well,” Djokovic told the ATP website.

“He started well and broke my serve in the first game. I made some errors, but I managed to break back right away and establish the control and consistency on the court. I think from the back of the court I was just a bit more solid than him.

“He made some unforced errors and double faults in key moments, which obviously helped me get that necessary break forward. I thought I played better, at least 20 or 30 per cent better, than I did against Fritz a few days ago. I am on a good trajectory and hopefully tomorrow will be even better.”

The real test for Djokovic will come tomorrow when he faces top 10 opposition in the last eight.

It will either be Monte-Carlo champion Stefanos Tsitsipas or Madrid finalist and home favourite Matteo Berrettini next up for the world number one.

Djokovic was well aware of the form either of his possible opponents are in heading into tomorrow’s showdown, “My next match will be against a Top 10 player, so it is going to be a battle,” Djokovic explained.

“Both of these guys are in great form. Tsitsipas won Monte-Carlo and Berrettini is just coming off the final in Madrid. I am obviously going to do my best to win that match, whoever I play against.”

In the other result in Rome today, Reilly Opelka reached the quarter-finals with a 7-6(6) 6-4 win over Aslan Karatsev.

The American hit 18 aces as he will now face Felix Auger-Aliassime or Federico Delbonis on Friday.

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Stefanos Tsitsipas sets up blockbuster third round match against Matteo Berrettini in Rome

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Stefanos Tsitsipas edged past Marin Cilic 7-5 6-2 to advance to third round at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome. 

 

Tsitsipas has improved his win-loss record to 28-7 this season, equalling Andrey Rublev for most match wins after Rublev beat Jan-Lennard Struff 6-7 (7-9) 6-1 6-4 earlier today. 

Tsitsipas had to save two break points in the ninth game to hold serve after four deuces. The 2021 Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters winner earned his crucial break in the 12th game to win a hard-fought first set 7-5. 

Tsitsipas was in control of the match and cruised to a 6-2 win in the second set with two breaks in the second and eighth games. 

“Sometimes I need to adjust my game and Marin is someone I respect a lot. I knew he was going to come out here and play his best tennis. He made move a lot. It was quite tricky to adjust to that at the beginning, but towards the very end of the first set I stayed calm and stayed calm and resilient. I had to play deep on the returns and find solutions from the baseline rallies. That worked well for me from 6-5”, said Tsitsipas. 

Tsitsipas set up a blockbuster third round match against last week’s Madrid Mutua Open finalist Matteo Berrettini, who beat John Millman 6-4 6-2 in front of fans, who will return on Thursday. Tsitsipas enjoyed the atmosphere on the Pietrangeli Stadium. 

“The Pietrangeli Stadium is very beautiful. It’s one of the best courts on tour. I feel like the Pietrangeli here is great. We are surrounded by trees in the city and it’s very quiet which is very important for tennis. Honestly, I can’t wait for the fans to come and fill in the stadium”, said Tsitsipas. 

Berrettini missed three consecutive break points in the third game of the opening set and earned his first break in the ninth game to take a 5-4 lead. The Rome-native star served out the first set at 15. Berrettini earned two consecutive breaks to race out to 4-0 lead. Millman saved a break point to hold serve in the fifth game, but Berrettini never looked back in his next two service games to claim the second set 6-2. 

Berrettini has improved with his each appearance in the Rome tournament, reaching the second round in 2018, the third round in 2019 and the quarter final in 2020. 

Tsitsipas beat Berrettini in their only head-to-head match at the 2019 Australian Open. 

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