Ruthless Rafael Nadal Secures French Open La Decima With Magical Win Over Wawrinka - UBITENNIS
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Ruthless Rafael Nadal Secures French Open La Decima With Magical Win Over Wawrinka

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Rafael Nadal (zimbio.com)

It was an outstanding performance for an historic achievement by Rafael Nadal as he brushed aside Stan Wawrinka 6-2, 6-3, 6-1, to become the first ever player to win a tenth French Open title.

 

Few could doubt Nadal’s form going into the final after he dropped just 29 games on route. Nevertheless, it was expected that the unpredictable Wawrinka was the one player that could trouble him. The expectation failed to occur as the 31-year-old hit a total of 27 winners and dominated his opponent during the majority of the rallies to become the first man aged over 30 to win a 15th major title. The relentless and audacity of Nadal’s play made the third best player in the world look somewhat ordinary.

“It’s really unbelievable. To win my tenth (title in Roland Garros) is incredible, it is very very special. I would like to thank everybody today. I’m very emotional.” The champion said following the win.
“The feeling I have here (in Roland Garros) is impossible to describe compared to other places.” He added.

On what was a crucial day for both men playing on Court Philippe Chatrier, nerves were visible from the onset. Nadal was bidding to become the first player in the Open Era to win the same grand slam event for a tenth time. Meanwhile, Wawrinka was aiming to become only the second man in history to win their first four grand slam finals after Roger Federer.

As the nerves resulted in a series of errors from both, it was Nadal that appeared the more consistent and settled of the two. In only his second service game, Wawrinka was forced to save a quartet of break points to level 2-2 with the Spaniard. It wasn’t long before the Swiss buckle under Nadal’s intensity, hitting a backhand into the net and allowing him to break for 4-2. With the Spaniard in control of the match, the superiority of his shot-making secured set point after just 40 minutes of play. The lead was then sealed following error No.17 from the Swiss.

Muscling his way through, Nadal continued to bully Wawrinka around the court with the help of his swift and deep shots. The performance drew admiration from the French crowd and moved Wawrinka, a three-time grand slam champion, to the brink of despair. This was illustrated when Wawrinka was seen trying to eat a tennis ball as he dropped his serve to love at the start of set number two.

Even Wawrinka’s signature backhand shot failed to derail the Nadal party. The fourth seed was a wall that refused to be broken, as he returned some impressive angle shots from his opponent back with extra interest. It wasn’t just Nadal’s defensive play on fire, his serving was also pivotal. On route to a 6-2, 5-2, lead he dropped just three points behind his first serve. Securing the two-sets lead was a walk in the park as a Nadal serve was too much for Wawrinka to handle, who received a warning for racket abuse on the previous point.

Charging towards the Roland Garros finish line, a forehand winner into the corner of the court secured Nadal an early break at the start of the third. It was only a matter of time before the ‘La Decima’ dream became a reality. Even 0-30 down in one of his service games, Nadal conjured up some magic to hold. In contrast, Wawrinka struggled to hold, firing a forehand beyond the baseline to secure a double break for 4-1 in Nadal’s favour. The emphatic victory was secured a fraction over the two-hour mark when an attempted drop-shot from Wawrinka backfired, prompting Nadal to fall to the floor.

Relishing in his latest triumph in Paris, a somewhat emotional Nadal paid tribute to the tournament. He is the first fourth seeded player to win the trophy since his maiden achievement in 2005 and has now won 79 out of 81 matches played at the tournament.

“For me the nerves, the adrenaline, I feel when I play this is impossible compare to another feeling.” He explained.
“It is the most important event in my career without a doubt. To win again here is something I can not describe.”

Wawrinka pays tribute

A bitterly disappointed Wawrinka hailed his opponent following their match. The rocky performance of the Swiss player saw him produce 29 unforced errors, more than two-times that of Nadal.

“Rafa, I have nothing to say about today. You were too good. You are a great example and it’s always been an honour to play against you. Congrats on your career, to you and your team.” Said Wawrinka.

Following the loss, the 32-year-old has also missed out of the No.2 position, which would have been a new high in his career.

During the trophy presentation, there was a feeling of nostalgia around the court with a video showing all ten of Nadal’s wins. It was a moment that will be embedded in the Spaniards memory for as long as he lives.

“It’s difficult to talk today but the only thing I can say is thank you. For me to be here for many years is difficult to describe. I come back and see people I have a good relationship with and it’s very special.” Said 10-time French Open champion Nadal.
“It’s difficult for me to compare this to any other event. You are always going to be in my heart.”

Securing 2.1 million euros in Prize Money, Nadal will rise to second in the world when the rankings are published on Monday. It will be his highest position since October 2014.

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Alexander Zverev Powers Past Erratic Nadal To Set Thiem Showdown

Alexander Zverev secured his best win of his career on a clay court by beating Rafael Nadal in Madrid.

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Alexander Zverev (@ATPTour_ES - Twitter)

Alexander Zverev powered past an erratic Rafael Nadal 6-4 6-3 to reach the semi-finals in Madrid.

 

After a slow start Zverev produced some stunning tennis to knock out the five-time champion Nadal, who had an error-prone day at the office.

The German will now play Dominic Thiem in the last four in a rematch from the 2018 final.

It was the 20-time grand slam champion who started off the fastest as he looked to target the Zverev forehand early with uncomfortable spins and heights.

Eventually Nadal would get his rewards for an accurate tactical game-plan as a Zverev double fault handed him the break.

However that advantage was to be short-lived as the first point of the seventh game would change the momentum of the match with Nadal putting in simple unforced errors especially on the forehand side.

The German took advantage as he used his backhand to dictate points from the baseline. Furthermore, Zverev used his superior net play to his advantage by shortening the points and creating a faster tempo.

An unusual first set from Nadal’s perspective was complete as the fifth seed reeled off four games in a row to seal the opening set 6-4.

At the start of the second set, the Spaniard tried to up his level and intensity as he used some drop-shots at unexpected moments and attempted to bring the crowd into the match.

Despite this Nadal’s return game was lacking its usual ferocity as he couldn’t capitalise on Zverev’s second serves.

There was a lack of confidence in the Spaniard when implementing effective patterns of play as Zverev had a lot of success dictating play and winning the baseline and net rallies.

Another break in the fifth game ensured that Zverev’s dominance was being rewarded.

Although a double break advantage was denied, Nadal couldn’t deny victory for Zverev as the German sealed his first clay court victory over the ‘King of Clay.’

After the match Zverev admitted it was one of the biggest wins of his career, “Definitely one of the biggest wins of my career so far, especially on clay against Rafa. It is the toughest thing to do in our sport,” Zverev said in an on-court interview.

“Beating him in his house, in Spain, is incredible but the tournament is not over yet.”

Lots to ponder for Nadal as an error-prone performance sees him looking to improve in Rome next week.

As for the German, he sets up a 2018 final rematch with Dominic Thiem in the last four as he secured his best victory on this surface of his career.

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Dominic Them reaches semifinal in Madrid after three-set battle with Isner

Dominic Thiem is into the Madrid semi-finals after an impressive three set win over John Isner.

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Dominic Thiem (@atptour - Twitter)

The Austrian booked his spot in the semifinals after coming back to beat the American in three sets.

 

Dominic Thiem needed one hour and 55 minutes to beat the world number 39 John Isner in three sets 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 hitting 20 winners in the win while his opponent hit 26 unforced errors.

“We all know that he is one of the best servers in history and this altitude in Madrid makes it even tougher to return his serve but I was a little bit surprised by his return games, I think he attacked both my first and second serves and it took me a while to get used to it and I think the match changed when I saved those three breakpoints in the second set”.

It was the American who got off to the faster start holding his opening service game and then going on the offensive earning a breakpoint the following game and taking an early 2-0 lead.

The Greensboro, North Carolina native had a chance to go up a double break but the world number four saved both breakpoints he faced and managed to hold his first service game of the match.

That break was enough for the American to serve out the first set and he was one set away from the semifinals.

The second set stayed on serve until 2-2 when the Dallas, Texas resident had four breakpoints but failed to convert and the match was starting to turn with the American looking gassed.

In the next game the Austrian had three breakpoint and converted for his first break of the match as he served out the second set to send it to a deciding third set.

Isner was put under pressure early in the third set facing a breakpoint in the first game of the set but managed to save it and hold serve and it stayed on serve until 4-4.

That’s when the world number four earned two chances to break and on the second time of asking he would break and served out the match to book a date with either Alexander Zverev or Rafael Nadal.

After his match in an on court interview he gave this thoughts on a potential matchup with either Nadal or Zverev.

“It’s going to be a good one, I’ve played two big matches here against Rafa ( Nadal) and one big match against Sascha ( Zverev), and against either one of them it’s going to be an incredible challenge and it’s going to be exciting tomorrow”.

With the loss today by Isner when the new rankings come out on Monday it will be the first time in the open era and since the rankings came out that an American will not feature in the top 30 players in the world.

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Past Cancellation Of Clay Events ‘Double Motivation’ For Norway’s Casper Ruud

The 22-year-old is on a roll after scoring his biggest win yet over Stefanos Tsitsipas at the Madrid Open.

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Last year’s decision to scrap a series of clay events due to the COVID-19 pandemic was a huge blow to the world of tennis but at the same time a blessing in disguise for Casper Ruud.

 

The world No.22 is enjoying a surge in his form on the Tour after reaching back-to-back semi-finals at the Monte Carlo Masters and Munich Open. Furthermore, this week at the Madrid Open Ruud achieved the biggest win of his career on Thursday after stunning Stefanos Tsitsipas 7-6(4), 6-4. Registering his first ever win over a top five player on the Tour. He is yet to drop a set in the tournament.

Ruud partly credits his success on the clay to events that happened 12 months ago when he was unable to play on his favourite surface due to the pandemic. The French Open did take place but later in the year where he reached the third round.

“It was a part of the season last year that I was looking extremely forward to. I felt it was taken a bit away from not me but all the players when everything got postponed, some of the tournaments were cancelled,” Ruud said after his win over Tsitsipas.
“I think I just kept my motivation for a year and have double the motivation to be here this year luckily.’
“This (Madrid) was one of the tournaments that we didn’t get to play last year. I’m just trying to enjoy the moment and take care of the chances that I get.”

Growing up, the youngster trained at the Rafa Nadal Academy and says his time there has shaped how he plays today. Toni Nadal, who is the former mentor of Rafael Nadal, remains ‘involved’ in his tennis. Although the 60-year-old is now switching his focus to working with Felix Auger-Aliassime. Pedro Clar, who he met at the academy, is still a member of his team.

“Pedro Clar is the one that travels more often with me. We have a very good relationship. He’s here (in Madrid) this week,” said Ruud.
“He’s been with me at some of my biggest tournaments and wins. When I won my first tournament in Buenos Aires, my first semifinal in Rome last year, Pedro was with me. I think it’s helped me a lot.’
“Also getting help from Toni. Now Toni is helping Felix more personally. But he’s always involved with my tennis at some point in my career. Also Rafa, of course, he helped me a lot the last years.”

The next test for Ruud in Madrid will be Alexander Bublik who he beat in three sets in their only previous meeting back in 2019. Should he win again, the world No.22 would be through to his third consecutive Masters semi-final on the clay after Rome (2020) and Monte Carlo.

At the age of 22, Ruud has already become the highest ranked Norwegian player in ATP Tour history. Coincidentally the record was previously held by his father Christian who now his head coach. Following his latest win, he is set to break into the world’s top 20 for the first time on Monday.

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