Rafael Nadal Praises ‘Great Guy’ Gasquet For 500th Win On The Tour - UBITENNIS
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Rafael Nadal Praises ‘Great Guy’ Gasquet For 500th Win On The Tour

The 10-time French Open champion takes a trip down memory lane as he reflects on his rivalry with the world No.34.

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World No.1 Rafael Nadal has paid tribute to Richard Gasquet after the Frenchman reached a milestone in his career at the Monte Carlo Masters.

 

On Thursday the world No.34 defeated Mischa Zverev 6-2, 7-5, to get his 500th tour win. Coincidentally, his first ever tour win occurred at the same venue back in 2002 when he defeated Franco Squillari at the age of 15. Gasquet is the first player from his country to win 500 matches on the ATP tour and only the eighth active player to do so.

“I’m happy I did it here rather than in Budapest.” Said Gasquet. “ There are very few players who have achieved this. I don’t know exactly how many.”
“I certainly am among the worst of players, among the players who achieved this (winning 500 matches). But I’m happy I did it in Monte-Carlo 16 years after my first victory.”

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The achievements of the 31-year-old has earned him praise from Nadal. Following his win over Karen Khachanov, the Spaniard said that Gasquet deserved the honour. Born just 15 days apart, the two first played against each other on the professional tour back in 2003 at a Challenger tournament in France.

“It is a great news for him. Especially because he’s a great, great person, great guy. Humble.” Said Nadal. “He’s one of the players that you want on the tour. He’s an easy person. He’s a great player.”

Nadal has a one-sided 15-0 lead over Gasquet in their head-to-head. Nevertheless, he admits that Gasquet was a better junior player than him. During his teenage years, the Frenchman won the boys’ title at both the French Open and US Open in 2002. During that same year he made his grand slam debut at Roland Garros at the age of 15. Nadal was 17 before he made his debut in a major.

“He’s a great player. We grow up together. Different countries.” Reflected Nadal. “He was better than me. We didn’t have the chance to play very often when we were kids because he was better than me, so he was not playing in the same age (group) as me. He was playing with the older guys.”

More than a decade on from their junior years, Nadal continues to be impressed by his rival. Gasquet has 14 ATP titles to his name and has been ranked as high as seventh in the world. Despite his young promise, he is yet to reach the final of a major. Reaching the last four of a grand slam on three previous occasions.

“He’s a classic player. I like the way he plays. Well done for him. I wish him all the best.” Concluded Nadal.

On Friday Gasquet will be bidding to reach his first Masters 1000 semi-final since 2012 when he takes on Alexander Zverev. Meanwhile, Nadal will lock horns with Dominic Thiem.

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‘Another Level’ – Nick Kyrgios Praises Rising Star Jannik Sinner

This week the world No.11 is bidding to win his third consecutive indoor tournament.

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Jannik Sinner (ITA), (Erste Bank Open 2021, Wiener Stadthalle); Copyright: e-motion/Bildagentur Zolles KG/Martin Steiger

Jannik Sinner’s recent dominance when it comes to playing tennis indoors hasn’t gone unnoticed with one of his peers praising him on social media.

 

The 20-year-old defeated Reilly Opelka in the second round of the Vienna Open on Wednesday in what is his fifth consecutive win on the Tour. Impressively Sinner has now won 18 straight sets on indoor hardcourts. Last Sunday he claimed his fifth Tour title at the European Open to become the youngest ATP player to win that many ATP trophies since Novak Djokovic back in 2007.

Sinner’s achievements were highlighted on social media by journalist Ben Rothenberg who posted a tweet of the 18 sets he has won. That caught the attention of former top 20 player and two-time Grand Slam quarter-finalist Nick Kyrgios who paid his own tribute to the Italian.

“He is another level. That’s for sure, played him in Washington doubles. Never played someone who hit the ball as hard,” he wrote.

The two are yet to play against each other in singles competition. In Washington Kyrgios and Frances Tiafoe lost 4-6, 4-6, to Sinner and his partner Sebastian Korda.

Sinner’s latest win in Vienna has boosted his chances of qualifying for the Nitto ATP Finals in Turin next month. He has risen back up the standings to 10th in the race after overtaking Indian Wells champion Cameron Norrie. Norrie will play his second round match on Thursday.

“I think I had not so many chances and I used them. I think that was the key today,” Sinner said of his latest win against Opelka. “I served well. My service holds were always quite fast and good. I felt well on the baseline, so I knew when I went in a rally that somehow I was going to win the point. But it’s never easy playing against him. You never have rhythm.”

Awaiting Sinner in the next round will be Austria’s Denis Novak who is currently ranked 116th in the world and is yet to beat a top 10 player in his career.

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Andrey Rublev moves past Ilya Ivashka to reach the quarter finals in St. Petersburg

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Andrey Rublev overcame Ilya Ivashka 6-4 6-4 after 1 hour and 39 minutes to advance to the quarter finals for the third time in his career in St. Petersburg Open. 

 

Rublev fended off all seven break points and earned two breaks in the seventh game of the first set and in the third game of the second set. The Moscow native player fired 10 aces and won 84 % of his first service points. 

The eight-time titlist is aiming to win his third career title on home soil after his previous titles in Moscow 2019 and St. Petersburg 2020. 

Rublev set up a quarter final clash against either Sebastian Korda or Botic Van de Zandschulp.Karen Khachanov knocked out Adrian Mannarino 6-3 6-3 after 1 hour and 25 minutes. Khachanov will take on 2014 US Open champion Marin Cilic, who eased past Albert Ramos Vinolas 6-2 6-3 after 1 hour and 23 minutes. Cilic leads 1-0 against Khachanov in their only previous head-to-head match in Cincinnati in 2018.

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Matteo Berrettini rallies from one set down to beat Nikoloz Basilashvili in Vienna

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This year’s Wimbledon finalist Matteo Berrettini came back from one set down to beat Nikoloz Basilashvlili 6-7 (5-7 ) 6-3 6-2 after 2 hours and 5 minutes reaching the quarter final at the Erste Bank in Vienna. 

 

Berrettini saved all three break points he faced and hit 22 aces, including two on the last two points of the match. 

Number 3 seed Berrettini had won three of his previous head-to-head matches against Indian Wells finalist Basilashvili, but they met for the first time on in indoor court. Berrettini had beaten Basilashvili in Winston Salem 2018, Halle 2019 and Rome 2021. 

Both players went on serve in the first set. Berrettini saved the only break point in the second game. Basilashvili earned a mini-break to take a 3-1 lead. Berrettini pulled back on serve to draw level to 3-3. Basilashvili earned another mini-break on the 10th point to earn two set points at 6-4 and converted his second chance to win the tie-break 7-5. 

Berrettini saved a break point to hold serve at deuce in the first game of the second set. The Italian player earned a break in the second game to open up a 3-0 lead and held his next service games before closing out the second set with a double break in the ninth game. 

Berrettini went up a 3-0 lead with a break in the second game of the decider. The Queen’s tournament champion faced a break point in the seventh game after a double fault, but he saved it with an ace. He served out the third set 6-3 with his 22nd ace. Berrettini set up a quarter final match against Spanish Next Gen player Carlos Alcaraz, who beat Andy Murray 6-3 6-4.

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