Following a dominant 6-3, 6-3, 6-4 final victory over big-serving South African Kevin Anderson, world number one Rafael Nadal expressed his disbelief and joy at winning his 3rd US Open title today in New York City.
In a season marked by resurgence and reemergence, it was 31-year-old Rafael Nadal who reigned supreme at the final major of the season in Flushing Meadows. Looking for his 16th Grand Slam title and 3rd US Open trophy, the top-ranked Spaniard served dominantly in his 6-3, 6-3, 6-4 dismantling of Kevin Anderson in the final. Following his second major triumph of 2017 and a monumental first hard court title since January of 2014, Nadal was overjoyed about the new heights he’s reascended to this year.
Asked about how he would reflect on this major triumph in New York, Nadal said, “Very happy, no? Been a great two weeks. Increasing level of tennis, increasing of confidence during that two weeks. Yeah, I have this trophy with me again here in New York. Means a lot to me, no? There is no better way to finish the Grand Slam season for me after a very emotional season in all aspects.”
“So very happy the way that I played, happy the way that I managed the pressure, and the way that I was competing during the whole event, no? Playing better or worse, the competitive spirit have been there in a very positive way all the time,” said a jubilant world number one.
Looking back on what it means to finish 2017 with two Grand Slam wins after two previous seasons filled with confidence crises, poor form, and injury, the 31-year-old Spaniard said, “No, no, no. When you start the season, for all the players is tough to win two Grand Slams. That’s the real thing. For everybody is tough to win at least one Grand Slam. There is only four chances on every year, and there is a lot of players that have chances. There is a lot of tough opponents out there. But somebody have to win Grand Slams too, no?”
Thinking back on how he came from a heart-wrenching loss to Fabio Fognini here back in 2015, his first ever from two sets to love up at a major, to now two years on claiming another US Open trophy, Nadal reflected on that triumph and disaster along the way saying, “Of course is something difficult to imagine eight months ago or nine months ago that we will be winning two Grand Slams each. But here we are, and just can say thanks to life for that opportunity.”
“I think I did the right work. I believed on the work, on the diary work all the time. I still believe on these things to improve, and I wake up every morning with the passion to go on court and to try to improve things. Probably that’s why I still have chances to compete in this sport and to do it well. That’s all,” concluded a joyful ten-time French Open winner.
Discussing more specifically his struggles on hard courts the last three years, the Spaniard described his first hard court title since Doha in 2014 saying, “For me is important because is the US Open. More than if because is in hard or doesn’t matter the surface. I win one of the most important events of the year. Is true that I was not winning titles on hard for some time, but as I say the other day, is not that I was playing bad on hard. I played the final in Australia. I played the final in Acapulco, final in Miami. Ready to win titles. Didn’t happen, is true.”
“It happened today. So very happy for that, and the US Open is an amazing event. The energy that this city and this court brings to me is unbelievable, no? I feel very connected with them, and I enjoy the passion that I feel in that court,” commented a jubilant Nadal on his 3rd New York City triumph.
Finally, reflecting back on his 2017 Grand Slam season, Nadal assed it saying, “I think it was, in terms of results, was one of the best seasons of my career, of course. I have been winning titles, playing three finals of Grand Slams, so that’s a lot, no? That’s so difficult. The other slam that I was not in the final, I lost the match 15-13 in the fifth to be in the quarterfinals, no. So was very competitive year for me. And on clay, I won almost every match. Of course is an emotional season because I have been through tough moments in terms of injuries.”
“But that’s like this. I think I always accepted all the challenges that my career present to me. The good news and the negative news, I accepted in some way in a very natural way, and I am a person that I don’t have much up-and-downs. I am a very normal person, and when I am in a negative moment, I don’t go very down. When I am in a positive moment, probably like now, I don’t believe that I am that good, no?”
“So I think I’m a natural person, normal person, and accept the things that life presents me. Try to go forward, no? That’s it. That’s the only way. When you are in a good way, be calm to have the chance to keep improving, and when you are in a negative way, just keep working to try to work on that situations. That’s all,” concluded a very candid and reflective Nadal on what will be one of the most memorable and emotional years of his storied career.
As for the future, Nadal closes the open-era Grand Slam singles title margin with Federer back to only two majors, with the world number one moving to 16 and the Swiss 35-year-old to 19 trophies after Nadal won in Paris and New York and Federer in Melbourne and London.
Looking into the near future and the final part of the 2017 season, Nadal will next play alongside Federer in two weeks time as part of Team Europe in the new Laver Cup in Prague before the top-ranked Spaniard begins his Asian Swing in Beijing at the China Open before heading to the Shanghai Rolex Masters, where Federer returns to the tour for the final stretch of the season.
Daniil Medvedev Ousts Former Quarter-Finalist Tiafoe, Kyrgios Reigns Supreme At Australian Open
Both players endured a testing start to their campaigns at Melbourne Park.
Two players tipped to fill in the void when the big three of men’s tennis departs from the sport have got off to a winning start at the Australian Open.
US Open runner-up Daniil Medvedev manoeuvred his way past a tricky encounter with Frances Tiafoe. Who reach the last eight of the tournament 12 months ago in what is his best grand slam performance to date. Despite the threat posed, Medvedev held his nerve to prevail 6-3, 4-6, 6-4, 6-2, on the premier Rod Laver Arena. The night-time encounter saw the Russian fired 13 aces and 42 winners past Tiafoe en route to the second round.
“It was a really tough match. I think it was a bit up and down from both of us.” Medvedev said during his on-court interview.
“I’m really happy to win because the first round is never easy. Especially against Frances, who was in the quarters last year.”
Medvedev, who turns 24 next month, has been labelled as one of potential players who can end the reign of Roger Federer and Co by winning a grand slam title this season. Last year he claimed 59 wins on the ATP Tour, which was more than any other player. During his breakthrough season he clinched his first two Masters titles as well as a duo of ATP 250 events.
Despite his victory, the world No.4 was far from contempt when it came to his latest performance. Medvedev dropped serve at least once in every set played and also leaked 35 errors. The same amount of mistakes as Tiafoe.
“There were many moments during the match where I felt I was getting momentum and then he came back.” He reflected.
“I think I can do many things better, but for the first round it’s a big win and I’m really happy.’
“I didn’t like my serve today to be honest. But hopefully I can do better in the next round, otherwise I will be in trouble.”
Kyrgios Topples Italian rival
Taking to the court at the same time as Medvedev, Nick Kyrgios also experienced a tricky start to his title bid in Melbourne. Seeded 23rd in the draw this year, the home favourite roared his way to a 6-2, 7-6(3), 7-6(1), win over Italy’s Lorenzo Sonego. Claiming his fourth tour win of the season following his trio of singles victories at the ATP Cup earlier this month.
“I was just excited to get out here. It has been a pretty emotional couple of months for all of us,’ Kyrgios commented in reference to the ongoing bushfire crisis in Australia.
“I just wanted to come out here and put on a good performance.”
Kyrgios has been one of the driving forces behind Tennis Australia’s series of fundraisers to support the bushfire appeal. He has pledged to donate $200 for every ace he produces during the Australian Open. Working out at $2800 from his latest match along after firing 14 past Sonego. Overall, Kyrgios won an impressive 87% of his first service points during the 135-minute clash.
“I feel good. I’m not looking ahead in the draw at all.” Kyrgios stated.
“Everyone can play in the draw, they are all capable. So I’m just going to take it one match at a time.” He added.
During his on-court interview, John McEnroe make an unexpected announcement. The former world No.1 has said he will donate $1000 for every set Kyrgios wins in the remainder of the tournament to the bushfire appeal. Prompting a huge cheer from the crowd.
Both Medvedev and Kyrgios will play their second round matches on Thursday.
Ernests Gulbis upsets Felix Auger Aliassime to advance to the second round in Melbourne
World number 256 Ernests Gulbis upset Canadian Next Gen star Felix Auger Aliassime 7-5 4-6 7-6 (7-4) 6-4 to reach the second round at the Australian Open at Melbourne Park.
Auger Aliassime was the second Canadian Next Gen player to lose in the first round at this year’s edition of the Australian Open after his compatriot Denis Shapovalov was defeated by Hungary’s Marton Fucsovics on Monday.
Auger Aliassime started the 2020 season with just one win in four matches at the ATP Cup, but he reached the semifinal in Adelaide last week, losing to eventual champion Andrey Rublev in three sets.
Auger Aliassime earned the first game in the ninth game at 30 to take a 5-4 lead, but Gulbis broke twice in the 10th and 12th game to win the first set 7-5. In the second set Auger Aliassime saved three break points in both the eighth and tenth games and broke in the ninth game at deuce to seal the second set 6-4.
In the third set Auger Aliassime saved four break points to hold his serve at deuce in the fourth game to draw level to 2-2. Gulbis fended off a break point in the fifth and eleventh games before winning the tie-break 7-4.
Gulbis earned an early break in the first game of the opening set. Auger Aliassime broke back in the third game and held his serve at deuce to draw level to 2-2 after saving two break points. Gulbis broke for the second time in the fifth game and held his next service games to close out the fourth set 6-4.
“Every time you come to Australia the main goal is the Aussie Open, so it’s not good. That’s what the result show, but at the same time I am staying calm and positive because I feel I am not far from playing well and winning matches”,said Felix Auger Aliassime.
Dominic Thiem beats Adrian Mannarino to reach the second round in Melbourne for the fifth consecutive year
Fifth seed and last year’s Roland Garros finalist Dominic Thiem beat Adrian Mannarino 6-3 7-5 6-2 to extend his winning record in his head-to-head against the French player to 8-0. The Austrian player hit 36 winners to 34 unforced errors. Thiem set up a second round match against either Albert Ramos Vinolas or Australian wild card Alex Bolt.
Thiem earned the first break in the fourth game to open up a 3-1 lead. Mannarino fended off two break points in the eighth game while he was serving at 2-5, but Thiem sealed the first set 6-3 on his third set point after a 27-shot rally.
Thiem went up a set and a break in the fifth game to take a 3-2 lead, but Mannarino pulled the break back to draw level to 4-4, as Thiem sent a forehand long. Thiem got his second break in the 11th game to take a 6-5 lead after a 28-shot rally and reeled off 12 of the last 14 points to clinch the second set 7-5.
Thiem started the third set with an early break and won 16 of the first 20 points to seal the win after 2 hours and 21 minutes. The 2019 ATP Finals runner-up reached the Australian Open second round for the fifth consecutive year.
Thiem leads 2-1 in his three head-to-head matches against Ramos Vinolas, but the Spaniard won their only clash on hard-court in Chengdu four years ago.
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