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Carlos Moya Believes There Is More To Come From Rafael Nadal

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Rafael Nadal (zimbio.com)

Former world No.1 Carlos Moya believes Rafael Nadal has the ability to challenge for grand slam titles for ‘years to come.’

 

Moya, who is a lifelong friend of the Spaniard, joined Nadal’s team at the start of the year. In 2017 the 31-year-old has surged back to the main stage of tennis after being troubled by a wrist injury last year. He has already won five titles this season, including the French and US Open. In August Nadal returned to world No.1 for the first time since July 2014.

Speaking to the ATP about Nadal’s return to the top, Moya believes it could only be a taste of things to come. Hinting that he could follow in the footsteps of Roger Federer, who has won two major titles this season after his 35th birthday.

“If he can stay as healthy as he is now, without injury, motivated, looking after himself the way he is, we will be talking about Rafa for years to come,” said Moya.
“He is a player who broke records as a teenager and who is now breaking them as a veteran as well. This is something we haven’t see much in the history of tennis. People talk about how physical tennis is, but here he is at 31 winning two Grand Slams, right behind Federer. We mustn’t underestimate his talent, his ability to improve, to analyse things. For me, there is no reason to think he can’t spend many more years on Tour.”

In recent years there has been an increase in players playing later into their career. In this week’s Emirates rankings, nine out of the world’s top 20 players are aged 30 or over. Meanwhile, world No.39 Ivo Karlovic is 38-years-old.

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With 16 major titles to his name, Nadal is closing in on Federer’s all-time record of 19. Recently the Spaniard played down the hype surrounding the potential milestone. Insisting that it is not a focus of him.

“Do I dream about surpassing Federer in the Grand Slam title count? No, I don’t really think about it. My only dream is to continue to be healthy and happy,” Rafa recently told Spanish reporters at the US Open.

Whilst the focus may not be on overtaking his rival, Moya believes he will find a new challenge. So far in his career, Nadal has won 74 ATP titles in singles, including 30 Masters 1000 trophies and a gold medal from the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.

Someone who has achieved so much will always find a new challenge,” said Moya. “There aren’t many challenges left, but there are some. He is a very competitive person, a very demanding person and that helps a lot.” Explained Moya.
“He will keep finding motivation and his biggest motivation will be to keep improving, keep evolving, stay competitive and he knows that if he can do that, the options to win tournaments and fight at the top will be there.”

The next task for Nadal will be taking part in the inaugural Laver Cup. A team tournament that features team Europe against the rest of the world. The three-day exhibition event will start on September 22nd.

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Adrian Mannarino sets up quarter final match against Radu Albot at the Singapore Open

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Top seed Adrian Mannarino beat Roberto Marcora 6-3 7-5 to advance to the quarter finals at the Singapore Tennis Open. 

 

Mannarino converted his second break point at deuce in the fifth game of the opening set after six deuces to take a 3-2 lead, as Marcora hit his forehand into the net. The Frenchman earned three set points in the ninth game. Marcora saved the first two chances, but Mannarino sealed the first set on his third chance after 50 minutes. 

Marcora went down 0-40 in the second game of the second set, but he saved all three break points to hold serve at deuce. Mannarino held his serve in the next games and earned two match points on return in the 12th game. He sealed the win, as Marcora sent his backhand into the net. 

“At this stage there is no easy match. I never played against Marcora before, but I knew he had a couple of good games before. In the second set, he got used to the pace and was winning points in the big moments and it looked like it could go either way. I am pretty happy that I managed to keep my focus and win the second set”, said Mannarino. 

Mannarino set up a quarter final against Moldova’s Radu Albot, who fended off three match points to beat Yannick Hanfmann after 2 hours and 42 minutes. Albot fended off match points at 4-5 15-40 and in the second set and at 6-7 in the tie-break. 

Australia’s Matthew Ebden cruised past his compatriot John Millman 6-4 6-1 in 72 minutes. Soonwoo Kwon won 31 of his 38 first service points to beat Yasutaka Uchiyama 6-3 6-4 setting up a quarter final against Marin Cilic. Soonwoo Kwon claimed his third ATP Challenger Tour title in Biella beating Italian Next Gen star Lorenzo Musetti.

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Benoit Paire beats Nicholas Jerry to move into the quarter final at the Cirdoba Open

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Benoit Paire claimed a 6-2 6-4 win over Nicholas Jarry after 1 hour and 17 minutes to advance to the quarter finals at the Cordoba Open. Paire has improved his head-to-head record against Jarry to 4-0. 

 

The Frenchman fended off the eight break points he faced and broke twice in the third and fifth games and once in the second set. 

“I am really happy because I didn’t make too many double faults. I saw I was number one at the Australian Open with only one match and 23 double faults, so I am really happy to save it. Even when I was under pressure in the second set, I tried to push a little bit more. I am really happy about how I saved my break points in the second set. He made some mistakes on a few, but I was happy to fight. I did not say anything”,said Paire. 

Paire set up a quarter final against Federico Coria, the younger brother of former world number 3 Guillerrmo Coria. 

Federico Coria came back from one set down to beat Francesco Cerundolo from Argentina, who won three ATP Challenger titles in 2020. Coria reached the quarter final at Rio Open and qualified for his first Masters 1000 main draw in Rome. Slovakia’s Jozef Kovalik rallied from one set down to beat Chilean qualifier Marcelo Tomas Vera 4-6 6-2 6-3 after 2 hours and 12 minutes setting up a quarter final match against Argentina’s Facundo Bagnis, who beat his compatriot Federico Delbonis 6-4 7-5. 

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Iga Swiatek reaches her first WTA Tour semifinal since her Roland Garros triumph

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Iga Swiatek has advanced to her first semifinal since her Roland Garros title last October, when Danielle Collins was forced to retire as she was trailing 2-6 0-3 in the second set. 

 

The 19-year-old Polish player fired 17 aces and and won all 10 points on Collins’ second serve. She held three hard fought service games at deuce at 2-0 and 5-2 in the first set and 1-0 in the second set. 

Swiatek earned an early break to open up a 3-0 lead. Collins broke back in the fifth game for 2-3, but Swiatek broke twice in the sixth and eighth games of the first set and once in the second game of the second set to build up a 6-2 3-0 lead, before Collins was forced to retire following a medical time-out. 

Swiatek set up a semifinal clash against Jill Teichmann, who battled past Anastasjia Sevastova 6-4 6-7 (8-10) 7-5 after 2  hours and 57 minutes. Sevastova saved five match points in the tie-break of the second set. Teichmann faced two match points, as she was serving at 4-5 in the third set. 

Sixteen year-old qualifier Coco Gauff came back from 2-6 2-4 down to beat Shelby Rogers 2-6 6-4 6-4 after 1 hour and 50 minutes. 

Rogers broke twice in a row in the fifth and seventh games to win the first set 6-2 and earned two of the three breaks at the start of the start of the second set to take a 2-1 lead. Gauff rallied from 2-4 down by winning four consecutive games with two consecutive breaks to take a 6-4 lead. The third set started with a trade of breaks. Rogers broke at love in the fifth game to take a 4-2 lead. Gauff reeled off four games with two consecutive breaks to close out the third set 6-4. The 16-year-old US player won 14 of her 38 WTA main draw and qualifying matches in three sets and came back from one set down in 10 matches.

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