With The No.1 Ranking In Sight, Rafael Nadal Is Ready To Fight - UBITENNIS
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With The No.1 Ranking In Sight, Rafael Nadal Is Ready To Fight

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Rafael Nadal (zimbio.com)

Closing in on the world No.1 position, Rafael Nadal knows he faces a tough road ahead of him during the second half of the season.

The first six months of 2017 has seen the Spaniard once again establish himself as a heavyweight in men’s tennis following a troublesome wrist injury. At the Australian Open he reached his first grand slam final since the 2014 French Open. Following on from that, the Spaniard dominated the clay-court season by winning four titles, including a record tenth French Open title. He currently leads the ATP Race to London with 7095 points accumulated this season.

“To return to the highest level after the injuries has been key to maintaining the illusion and the desire to continue competing at the highest level,” Nadal recently said on Argentine talk show Con Amigos Asi.

It isn’t just Nadal that has enjoyed a resurgence on the tour this year. Roger Federer continues to prove that age in no barrier after winning four titles, including two grand slam trophies this year. The two have renewed their infamous rivalry this season with Federer winning all three of their encounters on hard-courts.

Due to both men’s absence in 2016 with injury issues, they have few points to defend during the remainder of the season. Nadal is defending just 370 points and Federer has nothing to defend. This situation places them both in a strong position to contest for the world number one accolade. Especially with Novak Djokovic out of action due to injury and Andy Murray is undergoing rehab on his arm.

The future could be reminiscent of past times when it was just Nadal and Federer fighting for the biggest titles on the tour. Still, the Spanish player is determined to do things on his own terms.

“The truth is, I always follow my own path,” said Nadal.
“It’s true that we (Roger and I) are better prepared to compete for nice things at the end of the year but it depends on what we’re able to do from now until the end of the year. We’ll have to wait and see.
“The person who will be able to keep his high level for a longer period of time will have more options to fight for the world No 1 ranking.
“But the same can be said of Murray… and many others who are up there. Maybe they haven’t had the best six months this year but they are also candidates.”

Preparing for the North American swing of the tour, Nadal has been training at his own academy in Manacor along with Grigor Dimitrov. He is set to play in two tournaments prior to the US Open with the Rogers Cup in Canada being the first of them.

“As always, the goal [in next tournaments] is to try to arrive as ready as possible and win as many matches as possible.” He said about his preparation during an interview with IB3 TV.

Nadal is currently 285 points adrift from Murray in the Emirates rankings. Should he rise to the top later this year, it will be the first time he has done so since June 2014.

Nadal’s season so far

Brisbane International – QF (lost to Milos Raonic)
Australian Open – Runner-up (lost to Federer)
Acapulco Open – Runner-up (lost to Sam Querrey)
Indian Wells Masters – R4 (lost to Federer)
Miami Masters – Runner-up (lost to Federer)
Monte Carlo – champion
Barcelona – Champion
Madrid – Champion
Rome – QF (lost to Thiem)
French Open – champion
Wimbledon – R4 (lost to Gilles Muller)

Win-loss record of 46-7

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Novak Djokovic’s Potential Second Round Clash With Rafael Nadal Headlines Olympics Draw

Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic could meet in the second round of the Olympics.

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Novak Djokovic’s potential second round clash with Rafael Nadal headlines an exciting Olympics draw.

The draw was done this morning for the Olympic Games which will take place at Roland Garros.

After Andy Murray’s late withdrawal from the singles event, the next big headline would take place in the men’s singles draw as Novak Djokovic could collide with Rafael Nadal in the second round.

It would be a titanic tussle between two of the best players of all time but first Djokovic will have to get past doubles specialist Matthew Ebden while Nadal takes on Hungarian Marton Fucsovics in the opening round.

Djokovic is the top seed after Jannik Sinner’s withdrawal and could play Hamburg champion Arthur Fils in the third round before a potential quarter-final clash with Stefanos Tsitsipas.

Meanwhile as for Carlos Alcaraz the Spaniard will begin against Hady Habib in the opening round and could face Cameron Norrie in the second round with the Brit facing Tallon Griekspoor in his opener.

Other key obstacles in his half of the draw are Rome finalist Alejandro Tabilo, Alex De Minaur and Casper Ruud.

Here are some of the other key matches in the men’s singles draw in the first round:

Lorenzo Musetti v Gael Monfils

Jack Draper v Kei Nishikori

Alexander Bublik v Taylor Fritz

Alex De Minaur v Jan-Lennard Struff

Kerber and Osaka first round clash headlines Women’s Singles Draw

In the Women’s singles draw the headline clash will see Naomi Osaka take on Angelique Kerber in a battle of the Grand Slam champions.

Kerber has announced this morning that this will be her final tournament of her career before retiring.

The winner of that match could take on Elena Rybakina in the second round with the Kazakh beginning her campaign against Jaqueline Cristian.

Rybakina has landed in Iga Swiatek’s half of the draw with the world number one beginning against Irina-Camelia Begu with the in-form Diana Schnaider awaiting in the third round.

In the bottom half of the draw, Coco Gauff will begin her campaign against Ajla Tomljanovic with Wimbledon semi-finalist Donna Vekic awaiting in the third round.

Wimbledon champion Barbora Krejcikova will face Sara Sorribes Tormo with Jessica Pegula awaiting in the third round.

Stefanos Tsitsipas, Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray headline doubles draw

In the doubles draws, Andy Murray will compete in his last ever tournament as he and Dan Evans are drawn against Taro Daniel and Kei Nishikori in the first round.

The dream duo of Carlos Alcaraz and Rafael Nadal face sixth seeds Maximo Gonzalez and Andres Molteni.

Meanwhile the Tsitsipas brothers face Nuno Borges and Francisco Cabral while Daniil Medvedev and Roman Safiullin face second seeds Kevin Krawietz and Tim Puetz.

The headline match of the men’s doubles is Taylor Fritz and Tommy Paul facing Felix Auger-Aliassime and Milos Raonic.

On the women’s side top seeds Coco Gauff and Jessica Pegula take on Ellen Perez and Daria Saville.

Also featuring in the draw are Caroline Garcia, Angelique Kerber, Barbora Krejcikova and Maria Sakkari.

The events start on Saturday and will conclude a week later.

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Angelique Kerber To Retire At Olympic Games

Angelique Kerber has announced that she will retire from tennis after the Olympics.

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Angelique Kerber has announced that she will be retiring from tennis at the Olympic Games.

The former three-time Grand Slam champion returned to the sport at the United Cup in January after becoming a mother.

It’s been a return full of ups and downs but ultimately Kerber only had one goal at the end of it and that was to play at the Olympics.

Now the 36 year-old will get to achieve that dream, Kerber has announced on Instagram that the Olympics will be her last tournament of her career.

In a post Kerber spoke about her Olympic journey as this is her third ever Olympics and said that this was the finish line.

Kerber will aim to end her career on a high as she has achieved some of the best achievements that this sport has to offer.

A former world number one, three-time Grand Slam champion and Olympic silver medallist at the Rio Olympics.

An incredible career for an incredibly resilient player that the tour will miss deeply.

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Matteo Berrettini battles past Alejandro Tabilo to reach the quarter final in Kitzbuehl

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Matteo Berrettini beat second seed Alejandro Tabilo 7-6 (7-4) 7-6 (7-5) to reach the quarter final at the Generali Open in Kitzbuehl. 

Berrettini has extended his winning streak to seven consecutive matches following his second title of the year in Gstaad against Quentin Halys. The Italian player won 79% of his first service points.  

Berrettini went up 2-2 0-30 but Tabilo hit two aces to hold  serve. Tabilo led 30-15 at 3-4, but Berrettini hit three aces to hold serve. Berrettini earned his first mini-break to take a 5-4 lead after a double fault from Tabilo and won the final two points to close out the tie-break 7-4. 

Tabilo saved four break points in the second game from 0-40 down to hold serve at deuce. Berrettini went up a break in the eight game to take a 5-2 lead. The Italian player was not able to serve out the match at 5-3 in the second set, as Tabilo broke back in the 10th game. Both players went on serve en route to tie-break. Berrettini earned two mini-breaks to take a 5-2 lead. Tabilo pulled one mini-break back, but Berrettini sealed the win on his third match point.

“Having the chance to just play, feeling good and healthy, fighting for matches is just what I wanted for so many matches. So I am enjoying it and I am looking forward for my next match”, said Berrettini.

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