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.

ATP

Hubert Hurkacz Ends Poland’s 37-Year Wait For An ATP Champion

The 22-year-old has made history at the final ATP tournament before the start of the US Open.

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Hubert Hurkacz at Winston Salem 2019 (photo Twitter @WSOpen)

World No.41 Hubert Hurkacz has received a boost going into the US Open after winning his first ATP title at the rain-affected Winston-Salem Open.

 

The 22-year-old toppled top seed Benoit Paire 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, in the final on Saturday. Following up on his straight sets wins over second seed Denis Shapovalov in the semi-finals. Against Paire, Hurkacz had to battle back from a break down in the final set to prevail. Winning 67% of his first service points, but only 41% of his second.

“It’s a huge win for me,” Hurkacz said. “Benoit is an amazing player, so it was a really great win for me, great match. I had to fight a lot. It was great to have, but it I’m so excited that to lift my first trophy here.”

The win continues what is a breakout year for the Polish tennis star. He has already scored wins over top 10 players Kei Nishikori, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Dominic Thiem. However, Winston-Salem was his first ever final on the ATP Tour. As a junior Hurkacz was a runner-up in the boy’s doubles at the 2015 Australian Open.

Hurkacz’s triumph has also made history. It is the first time a player from Poland has won an ATP title since Wojtek Fibak in 1982. He is also the first Polish player to contest a tour final since Jerzy Janowicz.

“I’m so happy. Being here I haven’t realized I’ve won the title,” the former Next Gen star said. “On Monday I have another match to come (at the U.S. Open). Obviously today I’m going to be excited and tomorrow I’ll focus on the next job.”

There is also some consolation for Paire, who has now reached three tour finals within the same season. The first time he has ever done that at the age of 30. His win-loss record for 2019 currently stands 29-21.

“It was a tough match against Hubert,” Paire said. “It was very cold today, so it was not easy to play full. We stopped for 10 times during, so I think it’s never easy to play a match like this. But honestly it was a good match. Hubert played good, so he was confident from the beginning of the week.”

Both players will now head to New York to play in the final grand slam of the year at the US Open. Hurkacz will open up against Jeremy Chardy. Meanwhile, 29th seed Paire faces Canada’s Brayden Schnur.

Hurkacz is the 14th first-time winner on the ATP Tour this season.

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Dominic Thiem Downplays US Open Chances

The world No.4 has given a frank assessment about his hopes at the New York major shortly after the draw was made on Thursday.

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Dominic Thiem may be a top four seed in next week’s US Open, but the Austrian has played down the prospect of him winning his first grand slam title at the event.

 

The 25-year-old has experienced a setback in his build up to the tournament. Since winning the Kitzbuhel Open on clay, Thiem has only managed to play three matches on a hard court. Reaching the quarter-finals of the Rogers Cup in what what was his best-ever run at the tournament. However, more recently Thiem has been sidelined from action due to a virus and pulled out of the Cincinnati Masters.

Thiem’s first round opponent at the US Open will be Italy’s Thomas Fabbiano, who has suffered two consecutive first round losses on the tour. Fabbiano reached the third round in New York back in 2017, but has missed the two most recent editions.

“Without a doubt, there are much tougher rivals than Thomas Fabbiano in a first round, although I must say that, after overcoming this viral disease, I do not expect miracles.” Thiem told Sky Sport Austria on Thursday.

Heading into the event, Thiem has said he has set out no goal. He will be defending 360 ranking points after reaching the quarter-finals 12 months ago before losing in a five-set thriller to Rafael Nadal. Overall, Thiem’s win-loss at the US Open is 15-5 heading into this year.

“Right now I do not consider reaching a quarterfinals or a semifinal. I want to go round to round, looking beyond would be presumptuous.” He said.
“In the next few days I will keep my training to a minimum, the goal is to be in perfect shape on Monday.”

https://twitter.com/ZahrerLukas/status/1164574948528132097

Despite his recent setbacks, 2019 has been a season of success for the world No.4. In March he won the biggest title of his career at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells. He would then go on to win trophies in Barcelona and Kitzhbuel. However, in the grand slams he has been less consistent. At the French Open Thiem reached the final, but has failed to win back-to-back matches at both the Australian Open (second round) and Wimbledon (first round). Although at the Australian Open he was forced to withdraw from the tournament due to illness.

The US Open will get underway on Monday.

Dominic Thiem at the US Open

2018
Round Rank Opponent W-L Score
Quarter-Finals 1
Rafael Nadal ESP
L 60 46 57 764 675
Round of 16 5
Kevin Anderson RSA
W 75 62 762
Round of 32 74
Taylor Fritz USA
W 36 63 765 64
Round of 64 31
Steve Johnson USA
W 675 63 57 64 61
Round of 128 81
Mirza Basic BIH
W 63 61 64
2017
Round Rank Opponent W-L Score
Round of 16 28
Juan Martin del Potro ARG
L 61 62 16 671 46
Round of 32 34
Adrian Mannarino FRA
W 75 63 64
Round of 64 108
Taylor Fritz USA
W 64 64 46 75
Round of 128 186
Alex de Minaur AUS
W 64 61 61
2016
Round Rank Opponent W-L Score
Round of 16 142
Juan Martin del Potro ARG
L 36 23 (RET)
Round of 32 39
Pablo Carreno Busta ESP
W 16 64 64 75
Round of 64 89
Ricardas Berankis LTU
W 64 63 62
Round of 128 66
John Millman AUS
W 63 26 57 64 63
2015
Round Rank Opponent W-L Score
Round of 32 14
Kevin Anderson RSA
L 36 673 673
Round of 64 70
Denis Istomin UZB
W 64 64 10 (RET)
Round of 128 76
Daniel Gimeno-Traver ESP
W 75 63 75
2014
Round Rank Opponent W-L Score
Round of 16 7
Tomas Berdych CZE
L 16 26 46
Round of 32 21
Feliciano Lopez ESP
W 64 62 63
Round of 64 12
Ernests Gulbis LTA
W 46 36 64 63 63
Round of 128 84
Lukas Lacko SLO
W 63 63 62

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Denis Shapovalov wins Next Gen clash against Miomir Kecmanovic to reach the quarter final in Winston Salem

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Denis Shapovalov beat Serbian Next Gen Miomir Kecmanovic 6-2 6-3 after 1 hour and 16 minutes in Winston Salem winning two consecutive matches for the first time since he reached the Miami Open semifinal last March.

 

Shapovalov won 80 % of his service points and fended off four of the six break points he faced.

The Canadian Next Gen player earned six break points in the second game of the first set, but Kecmanovic saved them. Shapovalov earned the break in the fourth game at 15 to build up a 3-1 lead.

Shapovalov went up a double break in the next game after a forehand error from Kecmanovic. The Canadian player wrapped up wrapped up the first set 6-2 with two winners and two double faults from Kecmanovic after 37 minutes.

Shapovalov went up a 3-0 lead with a break, but he wasted three break points in the fourth game. Kecmanovic broke back to draw level to 3-3 and earned two break points in the seventh game, but Shapovalov saved them with two winners. The North American star broke serve in the next game to open up a 5-3 lead. Shapovalov hit four winners in the ninth game to close out the match.

Shapovalov is currently working with Mikhail Youzhny, who returned in St. Petersburg last September and is sitting in his coaching box in Winston Salem.

“Miomir is a very tough opponent. I have played him a lot in the past. We have had some crazy battles. I am really happy with the way I am playing”,said Shapovalov.

Shapovalov set up a match against Andrey Rublev, who battled past Sam Querrey 7-4 (7-4) 7-6 (12-10). In the tie-break of the second set Rublev saved three set points and Querrey fended off two match points. Rublev hit a forehand winner at 10-11 on Querrey’s serve to seal the win after 1 hour and 54 minutes. Rublev took a re-match against Querrey, who beat the young Russian player at Wimbledon in straight sets.

“It’s a special win for me. He just destroyed me, and now we had a great fight, and we were so close and I was a little more lucky”, said Rublev.

 Frances Tiafoe advanced to his fourth quarter final and his first since May when Filip Krajinovic had to withdraw from the match after losing the first set 6-2. Tiafoe went up a double break to race out to a 5-0 lead.

Hubert Hurkacz got three breaks to build up a 6-3 3-1 lead, when Feliciano Lopez was forced to retire from the match after 55 minutes.

Pablo Carreno Busta cruised past Lorenzo Sonego 7-6 6-0 after 1 hour and 40 minutes to reach his fourth quarter final of the season. Sonego got an early break to open up a 4-1 lead in the first set. Carreno Busta broke back in the sixth game before converting his sixth set point in the tie-break. The Spaniard broke three times to cruise to a bagel win in the second set after 25 minutes.

Benoit Paire came back from losing the first set to beat French Next Gen player Ugo Humbert 3-6 7-6 (7-2) 6-3. Paire broke serve, when Humbert was serving for the match at 6-5 in the second set. Paire went up a double break to a 4-1 lead. Humbert converted his third break-back point in the eighth point, but Paire broke for the third time to seal the win.

John Millman cruised past Robin Haase 6-3 6-4 setting up a quarter final match against Steve Johnson, who beat Casper Ruud 6-2 7-6 (7-5).

 

 

 

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