Rafael Nadal jubilant following 16th Grand Slam crown at US Open - UBITENNIS
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Rafael Nadal jubilant following 16th Grand Slam crown at US Open

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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?” 

Rafael Nadal celebrates winning his 3rd US Open title in New York City/Zimbio/Clive Brunskill

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.

Rafael Nadal celebrates winning his 3rd US Open with the US Open trophy in New York City/Zimbio/Clive Brunskill

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.

Rafael Nadal poses with the US Open trophy at the Champion’s Photo Shoot in New York City/Zimbio/Clive Brunskill

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.

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Nadal survives three-set marathon with Shapovalov in Rome

Rafael Nadal saved match points to edge out Denis Shapovalov in Rome.

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Rafael Nadal (@atptour - Twitter)

The King of Clay needed three sets and over three hours to claim the win and avoid an upset.

 

Rafael Nadal needed three hours and 27 minutes to beat the Canadian Denis Shapovalov 3-6, 6-4, 7-6 at the Italian Open in Rome hitting 29 winners while his counterpart hit 46 unforced errors in the loss.

To everyone’s surprise it was the world number 14 who came out with the faster start earning two breakpoints in the first service game of the match with a stunning forehand winner.

He would break to take an early 1-0 lead and continued to have momentum earning another break and the Spaniard found himself staring at 3-0 defecit.

At 4-1 the world number three would get one of the breaks back but it wasn’t enough as the Toronto native would break one more time at 5-3 on his fourth breakpoint of the game to take the first set.

Once again we saw some really strong play from the Canadian in the beginning of the second set we saw history repeat itself when the world number 14 held serve and get the early break this time with his powerful forehand.

Nadal was fighting to stay in the set and the match and managed to earn a breakpoint but it was quickly saved with a big ace from Shapovalov. The very next game the Canadian had a chance to get another break but this time the Spaniard would deny him the opportunity.

After the world number three held serve he went on the attack looking to go back on serve and after three chances would get the break back. He would end up winning five games in a row and would take the second set to send it to a decider.

The third set remained on serve until 2-1 when the Canadian had a chance to break and he would take to jump out to a 3-1 lead. The break didn’t hold as Nadal came storming back the very next game breaking the world number 14 to love and equaling the set at 3-3.

The set and the match would ultimately be decided by a tiebreaker and in that breaker is when the Spaniard would take over winning it 7-3 to book his spot in the quarterfinals.

He will next face either Alexander Zverev or Kei Nishikori on Friday for a spot in the semifinals.

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Novak Djokovic Moving Into A ‘Good Trajectory’ After Reaching Rome Quarter-Finals

Novak Djokovic admitted that he is on a good trajectory after reaching the last eight in Rome.

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Novak Djokovic has said that he is on a ‘good trajectory’ after moving into the Rome Quarter-Finals.

 

The world number one moved into the last eight in the Italian capital with a comfortable 6-2 6-1 victory over Alejandro Davidovich Fokina.

Despite being broken in the first game, Djokovic rallied back to break on five occasions as he cruised past the Erratic Spaniard.

After 1 hour and 11 minutes, Djokovic’s overall game was too much for Davidovich Fokina as the Serb progressed to his 15th quarter-final in Rome.

After the match in his on-court interview the top seed admitted he is on a good trajectory as he builds momentum towards Roland Garros, “I thought I played well,” Djokovic told the ATP website.

“He started well and broke my serve in the first game. I made some errors, but I managed to break back right away and establish the control and consistency on the court. I think from the back of the court I was just a bit more solid than him.

“He made some unforced errors and double faults in key moments, which obviously helped me get that necessary break forward. I thought I played better, at least 20 or 30 per cent better, than I did against Fritz a few days ago. I am on a good trajectory and hopefully tomorrow will be even better.”

The real test for Djokovic will come tomorrow when he faces top 10 opposition in the last eight.

It will either be Monte-Carlo champion Stefanos Tsitsipas or Madrid finalist and home favourite Matteo Berrettini next up for the world number one.

Djokovic was well aware of the form either of his possible opponents are in heading into tomorrow’s showdown, “My next match will be against a Top 10 player, so it is going to be a battle,” Djokovic explained.

“Both of these guys are in great form. Tsitsipas won Monte-Carlo and Berrettini is just coming off the final in Madrid. I am obviously going to do my best to win that match, whoever I play against.”

In the other result in Rome today, Reilly Opelka reached the quarter-finals with a 7-6(6) 6-4 win over Aslan Karatsev.

The American hit 18 aces as he will now face Felix Auger-Aliassime or Federico Delbonis on Friday.

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Stefanos Tsitsipas sets up blockbuster third round match against Matteo Berrettini in Rome

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Stefanos Tsitsipas edged past Marin Cilic 7-5 6-2 to advance to third round at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome. 

 

Tsitsipas has improved his win-loss record to 28-7 this season, equalling Andrey Rublev for most match wins after Rublev beat Jan-Lennard Struff 6-7 (7-9) 6-1 6-4 earlier today. 

Tsitsipas had to save two break points in the ninth game to hold serve after four deuces. The 2021 Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters winner earned his crucial break in the 12th game to win a hard-fought first set 7-5. 

Tsitsipas was in control of the match and cruised to a 6-2 win in the second set with two breaks in the second and eighth games. 

“Sometimes I need to adjust my game and Marin is someone I respect a lot. I knew he was going to come out here and play his best tennis. He made move a lot. It was quite tricky to adjust to that at the beginning, but towards the very end of the first set I stayed calm and stayed calm and resilient. I had to play deep on the returns and find solutions from the baseline rallies. That worked well for me from 6-5”, said Tsitsipas. 

Tsitsipas set up a blockbuster third round match against last week’s Madrid Mutua Open finalist Matteo Berrettini, who beat John Millman 6-4 6-2 in front of fans, who will return on Thursday. Tsitsipas enjoyed the atmosphere on the Pietrangeli Stadium. 

“The Pietrangeli Stadium is very beautiful. It’s one of the best courts on tour. I feel like the Pietrangeli here is great. We are surrounded by trees in the city and it’s very quiet which is very important for tennis. Honestly, I can’t wait for the fans to come and fill in the stadium”, said Tsitsipas. 

Berrettini missed three consecutive break points in the third game of the opening set and earned his first break in the ninth game to take a 5-4 lead. The Rome-native star served out the first set at 15. Berrettini earned two consecutive breaks to race out to 4-0 lead. Millman saved a break point to hold serve in the fifth game, but Berrettini never looked back in his next two service games to claim the second set 6-2. 

Berrettini has improved with his each appearance in the Rome tournament, reaching the second round in 2018, the third round in 2019 and the quarter final in 2020. 

Tsitsipas beat Berrettini in their only head-to-head match at the 2019 Australian Open. 

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