Relentless Rafael Nadal Cruises To 16th Major Title At The US Open - UBITENNIS
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Relentless Rafael Nadal Cruises To 16th Major Title At The US Open

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Rafael Nadal (zimbio.com)

Rafael Nadal has ended his three-and-a-half year wait for a hard court title by dismissing a spirited Kevin Anderson 6-3, 6-3, 6-4, in the final of the US Open in New York.

 

Underlining his status as the best player in the world according to the Emirates ranking system, the 31-year-old produced a display of tenacity and speed in his shot-making. It was a picture perfect outcome for the Spaniard, who wasn’t taken to deuce whilst serving until the final game of the match. Overall Nadal’s display consisted of a 84% winning first service rate, 30 winners and only 11 unforced errors.

“It is a very special two weeks for me,” Nadal said during the trophy ceremony.
“To close the Grand Slam year with a win in New York, brings me to a higher energy because the crowd is unbelievable here.”

Sunday’s finale was tennis’ own version of David and Goliath. Top seed Nadal was aiming to claim his 16th major title against Anderson, a player participating in his first grand slam final. It started as a mammoth battle between the two heavy hitters, but in this version of the tale, it was the match favourite who prevailed against the underdog.

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The job of trying to tame the service power of his 6’8” opponent was a far from simple task for Nadal early on. 35 minutes into the match only five games were played as Anderson battled to stay within contention. Firing a series of aces and producing some nifty play at the net. The South African eventually buckled under pressure in the seventh game when a forehand landed out to secure Nadal’s breakthrough. Suddenly the closeness between the two rapidly eroded as the Spaniard roared his way to the first set lead. Clinching it with a delicate drop shot at the net.

31 places separate the two men in the ATP rankings and that difference became more noticeable as the match progressed. Anderson’s spirited performance was no match for Nadal’s superiority. Who used the speed of his shot-making to dictate the rallies. Nadal’s game plan of standing six meters behind the baseline when receiving was an unusual approach, but it rewarded him dearly. Muscling his way through the second set with an emphatic winner-error ratio of 15-2, the Spaniard broke for a 4-2 lead with the help of a smash at the net. Continuing to orchestrate the encounter on his own terms, the second set was sealed with ease. A lengthy rally that concluded with a ferocious forehand cross court winner.

The inevitability of Nadal’s milestone win began to frustrate Anderson, who battled hard and only managed to win six games in the first two sets. Mentally and physically the Spaniard had the edge, benefiting heavily from his rivals unforced error count towards the closing stages. Anderson continued to fight, prompting praise from the animated New York crowd, but it was not enough to spoil the Spanish party.

Serving for the title, Nadal’s rhythm suffered a blip as numerous calls from the crowd interrupted his service motion. After seeing his first match point come and go due to a speedy return from the world No.32, it was second times a charm for the top seed with a winning backhand slice at the net. Prompting praise from both the Crowd and his rival.

“I know we are the same age, but I feel that I have been watching you my whole life.” Anderson reflected after the final.
“You have been an idol of mine and it’s tough playing you. You’re one of the greatest ambassadors of our sport.”

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Nadal’s latest milestone also marked the end of an era. From 2018 onwards, he will no longer be joined by his long-term coach and uncle Toni on the tour. The man who first introduced Nadal to tennis. It was only fitting that he pay tribute to him moments after the story, describing Toni as ‘one of the most important people in his life.’

“I can’t thank Toni enough for everything he has done for me. Without him I don’t think I would be playing tennis. He has had a great commitment to training with me since I was three and he is one of the most important people in my life.” The newly crowned US Open champion said.

Taking home a prize money fund of $3.7 million, Nadal is the seventh man in history to win multiple grand slam titles after their 30th birthday. He is now only three titles behind Roger Federer’s all-time record of 19 grand slam trophies.

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Wimbledon: Quarter-Finalist Cristian Garin loves The Event But Not So much The Surface

The South American reacts to reaching his first major quarter-final.

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Cristian Garin (CHI) - Credit: AELTC/Ben Solomon

Just over a week ago, Cristian Gain admitted that he was ‘upset’ when he saw his draw for Wimbledon this year. 

 

The world No.43 was set to take on the formidable Matteo Berrettini in the first round who has won two grass-court titles in a row in recent weeks. However, the Italian was forced to withdraw after testing positive for COVID-19. Instead, his opponent was the much lower-ranked Elias Ymer from Sweden who he defeated in straight sets. Since then, Garin hasn’t looked back.

On Monday at The All England Club, he staged an audacious comeback to defeat Alex de Minaur 2-6, 5-7, 7-6(3), 6-4, 7-6(10-6). Not only did Garin bounce back from two sets down, he also saved two match points in the process. Becoming the first player from his country to reach the last eight of the tournament since Fernando Gonzalez in 2005 and only the fourth in history to do so. 

“It is something very special for me. Wimbledon is my favorite tournament. Every time that I play this tournament is something special I feel,” said Garin.
“To be in the quarterfinals is a dream. I will try to enjoy it. I will try to give my best in the next round.”

Ironically Garin comes from a country where there are no grass courts. This year is his fifth appearance at Wimbledon and it was at the event where he made his Grand Slam debut back in 2017. However, like many other South Americans, clay is still his preferred surface.

“I said Wimbledon is my favorite tournament, not my favorite surface,” he jokes. 
“I think the grass is very fun for me. I have to change a little bit the way that I play. I think here on this surface you have to be aggressive.

Garin is one of only five ATP players from Chile currently ranked in the world’s top 500. Since April he has been coached by Pepe Vendrell who previously worked as a mentor to Roberto Bautista Agut and served as Spain’s captain in the ATP Cup. 

The next test for Garin will be a showdown against the formidable Nick Kyrgios who defeated Brandon Nakashima in his fourth round match.

“He is for me one of the guys that I like to watch. He’s very good for tennis,” he said of Kyrgios.
“In these rounds, you play the best. For me, Nick is obviously one of the best on grass.”

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Last Brit Standing Cameron Norrie Urges Fans ‘To Get Behind Him’ At Wimbledon

The Brit says he is feeling more comfortable on the Tour.

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Cameron Norrie (GBR) - Credit: AELTC/Simon Bruty

Cameron Norrie had the pressure of being the British No.1 at Wimbledon this year and now even more eyes will be on him following his milestone win. 

 

The world No.12 defeated Tommy Paul 6-4, 7-5, 6-4, in his fourth round match on Sunday to reach the last eight of a major for the first time at the age of 26. In doing so he remains the only home player left in the singles draw of either men’s or women’s draws. Heather Watson lost her last 16 match earlier in the day to Jule Niemeier 6-2, 6-4.

“To play the way I did and to handle the occasion, I felt really comfortable the way I was hitting the ball this morning. Definitely more comfortable than my other matches.” Said Norrie.
“It was good to get through that one in the fashion that I did. I was up the whole match, which definitely helped.”

Norrie’s run is the best by a British man at The All England Club since Andy Murray back in 2017. He is coached on the Tour by Facundo Lugones who first got acquainted with him at college in America. The two were teammates with Lugones being a senior and Norrie a freshman. Last year he achieved a win-loss record of 52-25 and won the biggest title of his career in Indian Wells.

A solid top 20 player on the Tour, Norrie’s popularity back home is steadily increasing. Even more so in recent days due to Wimbledon. Now he is the last Brit standing there is added pressure but he is taking it all in his stride.

“I’m the last one standing. But I think it’s even more reason for everyone to get behind me,” he said. “Even the atmosphere was great today and definitely helped me get over the line there. Especially on that last game, I was obviously pretty nervous. I was serving for my first quarterfinal of a slam. I wanted to get it done there. They definitely helped me a lot.”

Norrie will be hoping the crowd will out in full force for his upcoming clash with former top 10 player David Goffin who defeated Francis Tiafoe in five sets. Goffin has reached the quarter-finals of a major on three previous occasions, including Wimbledon three years ago.

“He’s a very experienced player. He really likes the grass. He’s played a lot of big matches. It’s going to be tough,” Norrie previewed.
“He’s a great competitor, a really good athlete. He’s got a very complete game. He must be playing very well, so it’s going to be a tricky one.’
“One thing for sure, I know that I’m going to get into a lot of rallies with him. He’s not going to come and serve me off the court, which is good. It’s going to be another physical match, which is great for me.”
“I’m looking forward to competing. It’s going to be another huge challenge.”

The only time Norrie played Goffin was last year in Barcelona when Goffin was forced to retire from their match in the second set. 

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Roger Federer Hopes To Play One Last Wimbledon As Icons Mark Center Court Anniversary

The Swiss Maestro said it is ‘great to be back’ after attending a special centenary event alongside other greats of the sport.

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Image via https://twitter.com/Wimbledon/

On the 100th anniversary of Center Court, a special celebration took place on Sunday that saw the return of Roger Federer.

Past and present champions congregated on the premier court during a special 30-minute presentation with a couple of notable absences. Nine-time winner Martina Navratilova and Pete Sampras were absent. Each walking on one by one, the biggest cheer occurred when it was Federer’s turn to take to the stage.

The former world No.1 hasn’t played a professional match since his quarter-final loss at SW19 12 months ago due to knee surgery. He has already outlined his plans to return to action later this season at the Laver Cup and Swiss indoors. Speaking on court, Federer said he hopes to play at Wimbledon again as he unexpectedly hints at retiring in the near future. 

 

“I’ve been lucky to play a lot of matches here. Different type of role, but it’s great to be here. This court has given me my biggest moments,” said Federer.
“I hope I can come back one more time.”
“I’ve missed it here. I knew walking out here last year, it was going to be a tough year ahead. I maybe didn’t think it was going to take this long to come back – the knee has been rough on me.
“It’s been a good year regardless of tennis. We’re happy at home. I didn’t know if I should make the trip but I’m happy standing here right now.”


Federer is the only man in history to have ever won the Wimbledon title eight times and was undefeated between 2003-2007. 

One player closing in on that record is Novak Djokovic who is seeking to win his seventh title this year. Speaking about Center Court, the Serbian said the venue has a special place in his heart that dates back to his childhood.

“This court has been truly special from my childhood and the first image of tennis I’ve seen when I was four or five-years-old I saw Pete Sampras winning his first Wimbledon,” said Djokovic.
“This is where dreams come true and I was blessed in 2011, probably the highlight of my career, to win the tournament and so when I step out on this court I relive these memories. Truly an honor.”

As for the female champions of the tournament, Venus Williams, Simona Halep, Angelique Kerber and Margaret Court were all in attendance. So was Billie Jean King who is the co-founder of the WTA Tour and has won all three Wimbledon events on multiple occasions (singles – 6, doubles – 10, and mixed doubles – 4). 

“I played my very first match at Wimbledon as a 17-year-old. We started late so I had two days on this court. It was magical and wonderful and I knew I belonged here,” said King.
“I love history and I love the fact we have so many people here. Martina [Navratilova] could not be with us and she won nine women’s singles so I’d just like to say I’m sorry she can’t be here.”

In 1922 Center court was officially opened for the first time after taking just nine months to construct. At the time it was the largest-ever reinforced concrete structure. The addition of a roof didn’t occur until 2009.

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