Rafael Nadal Reaches Fifth Miami Open Final Following Victory Over Fabio Fognini - UBITENNIS
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Rafael Nadal Reaches Fifth Miami Open Final Following Victory Over Fabio Fognini

Joshua Coase

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Rafael Nadal skakes hands with Fabio Fognini at the net.

Rafael Nadal booked his place in his fifth Miami Open final after seeing off Fabio Fognini in straight sets 6-1, 7-5 in one hour and 30 minutes.

 

The Spaniard looked solid as a rock on serve and did not face any break points throughout the match. The fifth seed raced away with the opening set as Fognini appeared to be hampered by an arm injury which prevented him from hitting through the ball. The Italian showed great resistance in the second set and continued to hold serve despite facing break points, but it always looked to be the case of when and not if he would drop serve. Nadal made the breakthrough he had been craving in the eleventh game and had no trouble closing out the match.

Heading into this contest Nadal was seeking to reach his fifth final in Miami, while Fognini was looking to become the first Italian in history to reach the final. The Spaniard led their head to head 7-3 and made it three wins in a row over the Italian, who had caused him some problems in the past, but not on this occasion.

Nadal made a strong start, dropping just one point on his own serve in his opening couple of service games. The fifth seed led 0-30 in his opponent’s first service game and pushed him to deuce, but was unable to capitalise on this occasion. The next time Fognini stepped up to the line the Italian threw in an awful service game, packed with unforced errors as he dropped serve to love. 10 points in a row quickly took the Spaniard into a 4-1 lead.

In the next game, Fognini, who was appearing in just his second semifinal at a Masters 1000 level event, had a strong lead on serve, but allowed Nadal to work his way back in and earn a shot at securing a double break. In the rally which then ensued the Spaniard was at his best on the defence, making the Italian play one more ball, which led to Fognini dumping his attempted overhead into the net.

With the double break secured, Nadal held firm on serve, winning 83% of points behind his second serve, compared to just 11% for Fognini. The fifth seed closed out the first set 6-1 after just 25 minutes.

Things looked to be going from bad to worse for Fognini at the start of the second set as he returned from his bathroom break to find himself having to face break point. The Italian found the mark with his first serve as Nadal hit the net with his return and he was able to escape with the hold.

Fognini continued to struggle on serve but managed to hold on, saving a break point the next time he served, before securing another hold in a marathon fifth game, which lasted over nine minutes.

In the eighth game Nadal faced his toughest challenge on serve in the match after Fognini strung together a couple of good points to move to 30-30. The Italian was inches away from earning his first break point opportunity of the match after his attempted backhand cross court pass went just wide, getting caught by the wind at the last moment. The Italian managed to push his opponent to deuce but the Spaniard held firm and levelled the score at 4-4.

With that opportunity having passed Fognini by, it proved to be his final stand. The Italian recovered from 0-30 to get to 30-30 and narrowly missed a forehand which have brought up game point. Following that miss, Fognini double faulted to hand the break to Nadal, granting him the chance to serve for the match.

Nadal duly obliged and closed out the match to love, finishing with an unreturned serve to book his place in the final. The Spaniard dominated on serve throughout the match, winning 83% of points behind his first serve and 80% of points behind his second serve. The fifth seed will be hoping to go one step further this year and lift the trophy for the first time when he faces Roger Federer on Sunday.

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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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