The Miami Open: Birthplace Of The Nadal-Federer Rivalry - UBITENNIS
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The Miami Open: Birthplace Of The Nadal-Federer Rivalry

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It was almost as if it was written in the stars for Roger Federer to play Rafael Nadal at the place where it all began.

In 2004 the world watched with intrigue as world No.1 Federer faced 17-year-old 32nd seed Nadal in the third round of the Miami Open. Yet to win a grand slam title, the hype surrounding Spanish prodigy was mounting. Many expected experience to triumph in the encounter, but Nadal had other ideas. Powering to a 6-3, 6-3, victory he was rewarded with his first ever win over a world No.1 player.

“He hit some really incredible shots, and that’s what youngsters do,” Federer said in 2004. “I’ve heard a lot about him and saw some of his matches, so this is not a big surprise.”

A year later, Federer got his revenge in what was an epic win in five sets. The Swiss player was trailing the match 2-6, 6-7(4), before staging a comeback. It was a match that is still rooted deep inside the mind of Federer. 12 years has past since their second meeting, but still he hails it as a ‘turning point’ in his illustrious career.

“It was a turning point in my career, to be quite honest. For me to be able to focus for, I don’t know how long we played, maybe four hours, smashing forehand after forehand down the line I remember, I felt like I had to learn how to fight in matches, and there I showed it to myself and my team that I could do it.” He explained.
“It was against somebody who ended up being my biggest rival.”

The start of something special

At first nobody knew how significant the rivalry was between the two tennis icons. It was only in later years that it has become known. The two men have already played each other in 22 ATP finals, including nine grand slam tournaments. Their meeting in this year’s Australian Open broke television ratings around the world. 11 million viewers watched the finale on Eurosport and its affiliated channels, including a record 1.3 million people in Spain.

This weekend marks the 37th meeting of what is now regarded as one of the greatest rivalries in the history of tennis. Federer secured his Miami final place with a marathon three-set win over the blossoming Nick Kyrgios. Meanwhile, Nadal disposed of Italy’s Fabio Fognini with little difficulty.

Federer trails their head-to-head 13-23, but is currently that man in form. This season he has already defeated Nadal twice. He has also won titles in Melbourne and Indian Wells, an inspirational achievement for a man who missed six months of 2016 due to injury. Even Nadal, who is yet to win the Miami title, acknowledges that he has hit work cut out.

“He’s playing great. When a top player like him is playing that well, then it’s always a big challenge for every player. That’s all.” Nadal said of Federer.

Federer might be the man in form at the moment, but Sunday’s match is destined to be a unique occasion for both men. Both players has relished in the glory of winning major titles and been driven to despair with to injury woes. Still the love shown to them by their fans has remained unchanged, making their rivalry even more special.

“It’s definitely going to be very special playing Rafa here again.” Federer said of Sunday’s Miami final. “Of course I’m thrilled for him (Nadal) as well that he came back as well as he did after the comeback, the struggles that he had last year. Feels like old times. We’re playing each other every week now. We can’t get enough of each other.”

Regardless of the outcome of Sunday’s final, there will always be a feeling of nostalgia when these two meet in Miami.

Previous matches played between Federer and Nadal

2017: Indian Wells (Masters 1000), Outdoor Hard
Federer bt Nadal 6-2 6-3 (Last 16)

2017: Australian Open (Grand Slam), Outdoor Hard
Federer bt Nadal 6-4 3-6 6-1 3-6 6-3 (Final)

2015: Basel, Indoor Hard
Federer bt Nadal 6-3 5-7 6-3 (Final)

2014: Australian Open (Grand Slam), Outdoor Hard
Nadal bt Federer 7-6(4) 6-3 6-3 (SF)

2013: London (ATP World Tour Finals), Indoor Hard
Nadal bt Federer 7-5 6-3 (SF)

2013: Cincinnati (Masters 1000), Outdoor Hard
Nadal bt Federer 5-7 6-4 6-3 (QF)

2013: Rome (Masters 1000), Outdoor Clay
Nadal bt Federer 6-1 6-3 (Final)

2013: Indian Wells (Masters 1000), Outdoor Hard
Nadal bt Federer 6-4 6-2 (QF)

2012: Indian Wells (Masters 1000), Outdoor Hard
Federer bt Nadal 6-3 6-4 (SF)

2012: Australian Open (Grand Slam), Outdoor Hard
Nadal bt Federer 6-7(5) 6-2 7-6(5) 6-4 (SF)

2011: London (ATP World Tour Finals), Indoor Hard
Federer beat Nadal 6-3 6-0 (RR)

2011: French Open (Grand Slam), Outdoor Clay
Nadal bt Federer 7-5 7-6(3) 5-7 6-1 (Final)

2011: Madrid (Masters 1000), Outdoor Clay
Nadal bt Federer 5-7 6-1 6-3 (SF)

2011: Miami (Masters 1000), Outdoor Hard
Nadal bt Federer 6-3 6-2  (SF)

2010: London (ATP World Tour Finals), Indoor Hard
Federer bt Nadal 6-3 3-6 6-1 (Final)

2010: Madrid (Masters 1000), Outdoor Clay
Nadal bt Federer 6-4 7-6(5) (Final)

2009: Madrid (Masters 1000), Outdoor Clay
Federer bt Nadal 6-4 6-4 (Final)

2009: Australian Open (Grand Slam), Outdoor Hard
Nadal bt Federer 7-5 3-6 7-6(3) 3-6 6-2 (Final)

2008: Wimbledon (Grand Slam), Outdoor Grass
Nadal bt Federer: 6-4 6-4 6-7(5) 6-7(8) 9-7 (Final)

2008: French Open (Grand Slam), Outdoor Clay
Nadal bt Federer 6-1 6-3 6-0 (Final)

2008: Hamburg (ATP Masters Series), Outdoor Clay
Nadal bt Federer 7-5 6-7(3) 6-3 (Final)

2008: Monte Carlo (ATP Masters Series),  Outdoor Clay
Nadal bt Federer 7-5 7-5 (Final)

2007: China (Tennis Masters Cup), Indoor Hard
Federer bt Nadal 6-4 6-1 (SF)

2007: Wimbledon (Grand Slam), Outdoor Grass
Federer bt Nadal 7-6(7) 4-6 7-6(3) 2-6 6-2 (Final)

2007: French Open (Grand Slam), Outdoor Clay
Nadal bt Federer 6-3 4-6 6-3 6-4 (Final)

2007:  Hamburg (ATP Masters Series), Outdoor Clay
Federer bt Nadal 2-6 6-2 6-0 (Final)

2007: Monte Carlo (ATP Masters Series),  Outdoor Clay
Nadal bt Federer 6-4 6-4 (Final)

2006: China (Tennis Masters Cup), Indoor Hard
Federer bt Nadal 6-4 7-5 (SF)

2006: Wimbledon (Grand Slam), Outdoor Grass
Federer bt Nadal 6-0 7-6(5) 6-7(2) 6-3 (Final)

2006: French Open, Outdoor Clay
Nadal bt Federer 1-6 6-1 6-4 7-6(4) (Final)

2006: Rome (Masters 1000), Outdoor Clay
Nadal bt Federer 6-7(0) 7-6(5) 6-4 2-6 7-6(5) (Final)

2006: Monte Carlo (ATP Masters Series), Outdoor Clay
Nadal bt Federer 6-2 6-7(2) 6-3 7-6(5) (Final)

2006: Dubai, Outdoor Hard
Nadal bt Federer 2-6 6-4 6-4 (Final)

2005: French Open (Grand Slam), Outdoor Clay
Nadal bt Federer 6-3 4-6 6-4 6-3 (SF)

2005: Miami (Masters 1000), Outdoor Hard
Federer bt Nadal 2-6 6-7(4) 7-6(5) 6-3 6-1 (Final)

2004: Miami (Masters 1000), Outdoor Hard
Nadal bt Federer 6-3 6-3 (Last 32)

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Stefanos Tsitsipas downs Sinner; now aims for Third Title in Monte Carlo

Stylish Greek completes comeback win and re-enters the top ten.

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After winning two in a row in 2021-2022, Stefanos Tsitsipas is now in reach of a third title at the prestigious Monte Carlo Rolex Masters, after beating World number two Jannik Sinner in three gruelling sets.

The 25-year-old had to battle hard and come from a break down in the third to win 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 and now plays Casper Ruud in tomorrow’s final. The Greek has had an indifferent start to the year with a 11-6 win-loss record, but today was his first top three victory since the 2022 Cincinatti Masters – where he beat Daniil Medvedev – and ensures a return back into the top ten of the men’s rankings.

Tsitsipas recognised how hard he had to fight and revealed after the match just how satisfied he was of his performance:

“It was tennis at its highest level that I have been able to play. Jannik was an extremely difficult opponent and it can be seen throughout the year so far. He has been very consistent and I could see that throughout today with his game. He is one of the toughest opponents I have faced so far and to find ways when there weren’t that many, I am proud of that. He gave me a very difficult game and the way I overcame it is true excellence.”

Sinner double faulted at 30-40 to gift the break early with the score at one game all. From there, Tsistipas rallied with poise and confidence in a brilliant opening set lasting 44 minutes including a stunning backhand down-the-line winner to open the game when serving at 4-3. He took the first set 6-4 after a tiring 18-shot rally – where both players hit all angles of the court – before Sinner hit a forehand wide.

However, 22-year-old Sinner struck back immediately on his first breakpoint at the start of the second set when he won a close exchange at the net and then took a 3-0 lead.  He later survived a breakback point when 4-2 up and crucially held on for 5-2. He faced more pressure when serving for the set at 5-3 and was taken to deuce but levelled the match at one-set-all on his second set point to give the crowd exactly what they were asking f

Sinner was now in full flow hitting powerfully from the baseline and once again broke early at the start of the final set to take a 3-1 lead. But with the match now entering the third hour he began to tire physically and called for the trainer during the changeover with the score at 4-3.  When the match resumed, he lost the next three games and the Greek had completed a remarkable turnaround, handing his opponent just his second defeat of the season in two hours and forty minutes.

“It helps a lot knowing I have a win like this under my belt. Having a win like this and getting to the levels of tennis again brings a lot of satisfaction to me,” Tsitsipas said. “When there is a lot of work put in each day, these are the type of matches you are aiming for.”

Sinner’s only loss prior to today was against Carlos Alcaraz in Indian Wells semi-finals. He has been the stand out player this year after already winning titles in Rotterdam, the Miami Open, and his maiden Grand Slam in Australia. Despite having won 25 matches overall though, he now trails Tsitsipas 3-6 in their head-to-head rivalry.

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Casper Ruud Reveals Shock After Knocking Out Novak Djokovic In Monte-Carlo

Casper Ruud is into his second career Masters 1000 final after beating Novak Djokovic for the first time.

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Casper Ruud is into his second Masters 1000 final of his career after recording his best ever win by beating Novak Djokovic 6-4 1-6 6-4.

The Norwegian defeated the world number one for the first time in his career as he overcame a mini-comeback from Djokovic to seal his place in the Monte-Carlo final.

Having lost his five previous meetings to Djokovic, Ruud played some fearless tennis under pressure as the eighth seed broke to close out a career-best win.

Speaking after the win Ruud admitted he was in a state of shock and was pleased with the victory, “I am super happy,” Ruud told the ATP website.

“This is a day I will remember for a long time. Beating a World No. 1 is something I have never done and beating Novak is something I have never done. I am very, very happy. I am a little bit in a state of shock right now.”

After achieving the seemingly improbable, Ruud will now look to win his first ever ATP title that’s above a Masters 1000 event when he takes on Stefanos Tsitsipas in the Monte-Carlo final.

That’s a prospect Ruud is looking forward to as he prepares for one final challenge, “There is always one more match in tennis,” the Norwegian explained.

“Tomorrow is going to be a special day, playing a final here in Monte-Carlo. It is a great result but I have been chasing a big title for a few years now and tomorrow I will have another shot at it. I am going to give it my all. Stef is playing well. He is a great player on clay and on other surfaces as well, but I guess clay is maybe where he has had the most success and especially this tournament.

“So it is going to be another tough task, but I am up for it.”

The final will take place at 14:00 BST.

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Rafael Nadal Set For Opening Round Test Against Cobolli In Barcelona

Rafael Nadal will look to make his ATP tour return in Barcelona this week.

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Rafael Nadal is set for his return to tennis in Barcelona as he has been drawn against Flavio Cobolli in the opening round.

Nadal has been struggling with injury after being injured again in Brisbane this year.

The tournament in Brisbane was his first tournament back for a year as he suffered a hip injury at the Australian Open last year.

Now Nadal aims to return to competitive action in Barcelona as he has been drawn against Flavio Cobolli in the opening round.

Speaking earlier in the week Nadal was hopeful of a return to the tour in Barcelona, “Excited to be here for a few days before the start of the tournament,” Nadal told the ATP website.

“I’m here to see how it goes… can’t wait to try and play. I’ll let you know. Important to say that I don’t want to confirm I’ll be playing, but I hope so. We’ll see.”

Should Nadal play and win his opening round match then the Spaniard will play fourth seed Alex De Minaur in the second round.

The former world number one has won the title on 12 different occasions but hasn’t won the title since 2021.

Elsewhere in the draw defending champion Carlos Alcaraz will begin against Luca Van Assche or Zhizhen Zhang with the Spaniard projected to meet Borna Coric in the third round.

Alcaraz suffered an injury in Monte-Carlo and will be beginning his clay court campaign in Barcelona.

Also in action in Barcelona are Andrey Rublev, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Casper Ruud.

Main draw action will begin on Monday.

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