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Rafael Nadal makes comfortable work of Donald Young to reach Wimbledon third round

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Fourth seed and two-time former champion Rafael Nadal kept up his strong Wimbledon showing so far, moving past American lefty Donald Young 6-4 6-2, 7-5 into the third round at the All England Club.

 

15-time Grand Slam champion and world number two Rafael Nadal powered past American left-hander Donald Young 6-4, 6-2, 7-5 to reach the third round at Wimbledon for the first time since 2014. The two-time former champion kept up his strong form so far at SW19, blasting an impressive 37 winners to only 16 unforced errors in a solid two hours and 11 minutes.

“It was a good match again. Almost all the time more or less under control.” Nadal evaluated about his performance.
“I think I played a solid match. Serving well. It’s true that in the third I served a little bit worse. But in general terms, I am happy. I played well.” He later added.

In the opener, the tone was set early by Nadal as the fourth-seeded Spaniard took an immediate break of the Young serve on his first time of asking before backing that up with a comfortable hold to race out to an early lead as the American’s forehand let him down. The pair took care of their serves in routine fashion for the next six games as the scoreline moved to 5-3 with Young looking to serve to stay in the set. The world number 43 managed to hang onto his serve to force the two-time champion to serve out the first set, something Nadal did with ease as he held to love to close out the opening set 6-4 off another Young error.

The second set began with a case of deja vu for the unseeded American lefty as Nadal broke in the opening game of the second set just like in the first, taking the advantage on his first time of asking to go up 2-0 after consolidating the lead. Nadal and Young shared holds of serve the following two games before a determined world number two was able to once again push Young on his serve, eventually breaking through on his fifth time of asking to seize the double break for a 4-1 lead.

The 15-time major winner continued to steam ahead as he held with ease again, forcing the American to serve to stay in the second set. Young was able to force the two-time champion to serve for a two-sets-to-love lead but Nadal made no mistake with his opportunity, withstanding two impressive volley winners from Young on set point to save a break point and convert his third set point to take the second set 6-2 and move one set from the third round at SW19.

Rafael Nadal hits a slice backhand at Wimbledon in London/Zimbio/Clive Brunskill

The first six games of the third set featured both players untroubled on their serves, as neither faced a break point to bring the score to 3-all. Multiple errors the following game from Young gifted the Spaniard the break for 4-3 before the two-time champion backed that up with an easy hold to love punctuated by a big ace to go up 5-3. Looking to serve to stay in the match, some confident play from Young helped him to edge his way to a hold and force the fourth seed to serve out the second round win. A poor service game as he looked to close out the match from Nadal gifted the break to Young as on only his third break point of the match, a lucky net cord went the American’s way to level the set at 5-all.

Despite being broken as he attempted to serve for the match the prior game, the two-time champion bounced right back, punishing the Young serve to take a routine break off a big forehand winner and give himself another chance to serve out a spot in the third round. This time around though Nadal made no mistake of his opportunity, serving out the match to love to win 6-4, 6-2, 7-5  and move onto the third round at Wimbledon.

Khachanov test awaits

Embarking upon the third round at SW19 for the eighth time in her career, Nadal’s next test will be Russia’s Karen Khachanov. The Spaniard is fully aware of the threat he faces. The two have previously practice together on multiple occasions with Nadal describing the 21-year-old as ‘a great player in all aspects.’

Nadal respect for his younger opponent is one of the reasons why he refuses to get ahead of himself in the draw. Despite recently winning his tenth French Open title, the grass has been a surface that has brought mixed feeling for Nadal over the years.

“I don’t know how deep I can go on the draw or not, but I really don’t think about that now.” He explained.
“The only thing is today I won another match here in Wimbledon. That mean a lot to me. I’m happy tomorrow I have a practice day, and then after tomorrow again another  match.”

If everything goes according to the seedings at Wimbledon, Nadal will play Andy Murray in the semifinals. The winner of that match would become world No.1.

 

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Stefanos Tsitsipas ‘Happy’ To Follow In Grandfather’s Footsteps At Olympics

The Greek speaks out about carrying his family’s legacy at the Games.

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Stefanos Tsitsipas never met his grandfather but the two of them do have something in common – they are both Olympians.

 

The world No.4 has already created history in Tokyo by winning his first round match against Germany’s Philipp Kohlschreiber on Sunday to become the first male player from his country to win a singles match since 1924. Greece has won two medals at the Games but both of them were during its inaugural edition back in 1896.

Tsitsipas’ debut in Tokyo enables him to continue his family legacy of playing in the sporting extravaganza. His grandfather was Sergei Salnikov who played football for the Soviet Union during the 1950s. In 1956 Salnikov was part of the team who won Olympic gold in Melbourne. After retiring from the sport, he went on to manage the FC Spartak Moscow and the Afghanistan national team before passing away in 1984 aged 58.

“I’ve never had the opportunity to meet him. But my mom told me stories of his career and how he got it…. He kind of inspires me in a way,” said Tsitsipas. “I know what kind of athlete he was, with all the achievements and all the trophies. I’m proud of him.
“It’s something good, a legacy that is being carried on in the family. I’m happy to be the next in the family to be competing at the Olympics.”

It isn’t just a medal in the singles Tsitsipas has his eyes on, he will also be bidding for success in the mixed doubles alongside Maria Sakkari. The two previously paired up at the 2019 Hopman Cup where they finished second in their group.

“We have already played once (together), and we had great success,” Sakkari told reporters on Monday. “We know each other really well, and we are much better players two-and-a-half years later, and we are both really pumped to play together. Of course, I cannot predict that we will get a medal. We will try our best and I think we give ourselves the best chance we can.”

Tsitsipas will return to action tomorrow in the men’s singles where he will play Frances Tiafoe in the second round.

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Carlos Alcaraz reaches his first ATP Tour final in Umag

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Spanish Next Gen star Carlos Alcaraz secured a spot in his first ATP tour-level final with a 6-2 7-6 (7-3) at the Plava Laguna Croatia Open in Umag. 

 

Alcaraz has become the youngest ATP Tour finalist since 18-year-old Kei Nishikori won the Delray Beach title in 2008. 

Alcaraz broke twice to open up a 4-0 lead and held his next service games to close out the first set 6-2. 

Ramos Vinolas came back from a break down three times in the second set, when Alcaraz served for the match. Alcaraz battled through the second-set tie-break to clinch the win after two hours. 

Alcaraz set up a final against Richard Gasquet, who battled past German qualifier Daniel Altmeier 7-6 (7-2) 3-6 6-3 after three hours and 11 minutes. 

Gasquet has become the second oldest finalist in tournament history. The 35-year-old saved seven of hi sten break points, but he converted just just 3 of his 17 break points.  

Gasquet rallied from a break down twice to draw level to 4-4 before winning the tie-break 7-2. Altmeier converted his third break point in the eighth game to win the second set 6-3. Altmeier saved three break points in the second game, before Gasquet converted his second break point in the sixth game to win the second set 6-3. 

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Novak Djokovic Cruises Past Dellien In Olympics Opener

Novak Djokovic’s bid for a historic golden slam continued in Tokyo.

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Novak Djokovic (@ITFTennis - Twitter)

Novak Djokovic cruised past Hugo Dellien 6-2 6-2 to open his bid for a gold medal at the Olympics.

 

The world number one’s bid to achieve the golden slam is on after thrashing the Bolivian in humid conditions.

A perfect start for the Serbian who is looking to achieve the one thing he is yet to achieve and that’s win a gold medal.

Next for Djokovic will be Germany’s Jan-Lennard Struff.

In 32C temperatures, Djokovic was looking to start his campaign off against Bolivian veteran Hugo Dellien.

The slow paced courts would suit Dellien as he engaged in some long rallies with the world number one early on.

Despite creating three break points in the fourth game, Djokovic would fail to break early on.

However Djokovic increased his level mixing up the pace and depth of his shots to create angles for simple winners.

On his fifth break point Djokovic would break for a 4-2 lead and the top seed would break for a second time as Dellien had no answers for the Serb’s defensive skills. First set to Djokovic in 33 minutes.

A similar pattern evolved in the second set only this time Djokovic did get a break in the fourth game, breaking to love.

Accurate serving and construction of points gave Djokovic an easy first round match as another break secured the match and sealed his spot into the second round.

A fine performance in tough conditions gave Djokovic’s bid for history the best possible start.

Next for Djokovic will be Jan-Lennard Struff who beat Thiago Monteiro 6-3 6-4.

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