Rafael Nadal Returns To World No.1 Despite Absence - UBITENNIS
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Rafael Nadal Returns To World No.1 Despite Absence

The 31-year-old will be aiming to hold on to the top spot throughout the clay swing of the tour.

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Rafael Nadal (zimbio.com)

10-time French Open champion Rafael Nadal has overtaken Roger Federer to spend a fifth stint as world No.1 on the ATP rankings.

The Spaniard has returned to the position following his Swiss rivals shock second round exit at the Miami Open. Federer, who won the Miami title in 2017, was defending 1000 points and was required to reach the quarter-finals to maintain his top position. This week is Nadal’s 168th as world No.1, which is the seventh longest of all time. Should he spend a further three weeks at the top, he will overtake John McEnroe.

Heading into his beloved clay season, Nadal is set to return to action in the Davis Cup later this week. Spain will take on Germany on the clay in Valencia. He has played 32 matches in the team competition since 2004, winning 27 of those. His last appearance was back in 2016 when he played a doubles match against India. Nadal arrived in Valencia on Sunday to start training with his team.

It is unclear as to what matches Nadal will play in the upcoming tie. The match nominations will take place later this week.

“Here I am, I come to do the best I can,” Super Deporte quoted Nadal as saying upon arrival at the airport on Sunday.

The other movers

Elsewhere in this week’s rankings, Alexander Zverev and John Isner both moved up. Germany’s Zverev, who will also feature in Spain’s Davis Cup clash, has returned to No.4. One spot shy of his career high. Meanwhile, Miami Open champion Isner has returned to his career best of 9th. A position he first held on April 16th 2012.

Outside of the top 10, Borna Coric has broke into the top 30 for the first time in his career at 28th. The Croat has enjoyed a strong run at the first two Masters 1000 events of the season. Reaching the semifinals of Indian Wells followed by the quarter-finals in Miami. Hyeon Chung, who also reached the last eight in Miami, has broken the top 20 at 19th for the first time. Becoming the first South Korean in history to do so.

At the other end of the spectrum, Bosnia’s Miza Basic was the biggest faller by dropping 20 places to 95th in the world. Since winning his first ATP title in Sofia earlier this year, Basic has only managed to win two matches on the tour. He is the only player to drop ten or more places in the top 100 this week.

ATP Top 20 (week commencing April 2nd 2018)

1. Rafael Nadal – 8770 points (+1)
2. Roger Federer – 8670 points (-1)
3. Marin Cilic – 4985 points
4. Alexander Zverev – 4925 points (+1)
5. Grigor Dimitrov – 4635 points (-1)
6. Juan Martin del Potro – 4470 points
7. Dominic Thiem – 3665 points
8. Kevin Anderson – 3390 points
9. John Isner – 3125 points (+8)
10. David Goffin – 3110 points (-1)
11. Lucas Pouille – 2410 points (-1)
12. Pablo Carreno Busta – 2395 points (+7)
13. Novak Djokovic – 2310 points (-1)
14. Sam Querrey – 2265 points
15. Diego Schwartzman – 2200 points (+1)
16. Jack Sock – 2200 points(-5)
17. Roberto Bautista-Agut – 2175 points (-2)
18. Tomas Berdych – 2140 points (-5)
19. Hyeon Chung – 1897 points (+4)
20. Fabio Fognini – 1840 points (-2)

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Rising Star Mirra Andreeva Teams Up With Wimbledon Champion Martinez

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Mirra Andreeva – Australian Open 2024 (foto: X @WTA)

Teenage sensation Mirra Andreeva has begun working with a former Grand Slam champion on a trial basis ahead of the French Open.

The 16-year-old has linked up with Conchita Martinez, who is overseeing her run at this week’s Rouen Open in France. Martinez peaked at a ranking high of No.2 during her career and won 33 WTA titles. After retiring from the sport, she has coached Garbine Muguruza and Karolina Pliskova. 

Andreeva’s latest partnership was formed with the help of her agent ‘two or three weeks ago.’ According to the WTA website, their practice week went well and now they are testing working together during a tournament. 

“So far, so good,” said Andreeva“I like it, I hope she likes it too. We will see how it will go and then we will decide about our next tournaments. I cannot say there are special aspects we are working on. But the first thing we worked on was my slice, because she was a good slicer. So she told me some tricks, and I’m trying to use it when I have time and a good possibility on court.”

Andreeva is currently ranked 43rd in the world and is the youngest player in the top 100. She has already reached the fourth round of both Wimbledon and the Australian Open but is yet to win a WTA title. So far this year the Russian’s best result was a quarter-final appearance at the Brisbane International. 

Martinez, who also reached the last 16 of a major at the age of 16, spoke about the teenager with Ubitennis during last year’s Wimbledon Championships. At the time she pointed out that consistency is key for the youngster.

“The most important thing is that she keeps practising and focusing on what she has to do to get better. It’s great what she is doing now but she has to maintain it,” she commented.

Andreeva kicked off her campaign in Rouen with a 6-1, 6-3, win over Nadia Podoroska. 

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Carlos Alcaraz In Doubt For Madrid Open Title Defence

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Carlos Alcaraz admits that he is not certain if he will be ready in time to play at next week’s Madrid Masters.

The 20-year-old is yet to play a clay tournament in Europe due to a forearm injury which ruled him out of both Monte Carlo and Barcelona. He hurt his right arm whilst training shortly before the Monte Carlo event began. 

It is the latest in a series of injury issues that has affected Alcaraz throughout his young career. Since the start of 2023, he has also been derailed by issues with his abdominal, hamstring, post-traumatic arthritis in his left hand and muscular discomfort in his spine. 

“My feeling isn’t right, but it is what it is. Now I’m fully focused on recovery and I have a little more time,” Alcaraz told reporters in Barcelona on Monday.
“My goal is to try and go to the Madrid Open, but at the moment nothing is certain. I was given specific recovery times and I’ve respected them, but I haven’t felt good. I don’t want to get ahead of myself.
“I can’t say I’ll be 100% in Madrid, but that’s my intention. We’ll train and do everything we can so that the feelings improve so I can play a match … It’s also a very special tournament for me.”

Alcaraz has won the past two editions of the Madrid Open, which is classed as a Masters 1000 event. In 2022 he defeated Alexander Zverev in the final and then 12 months later he beat Jan-Lennard Struff in the title match.

The setback comes after what has been a steady start to the year for Alcaraz who has reached the quarter-finals or better in four out of five tournaments played. He successfully defended his title in Indian Wells and then reached the semi-finals in Miami. 

Should he not play in Madrid, it is likely that the Spaniard will lose his No.2 spot to Jannik Sinner who is just over 100 points behind him in the standings. He will still have the chance to play a clay-court event before the French Open with Rome taking place early next month. 

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Roberto Bautista Agut is within one win of a milestone 400th win on the ATP Tour

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Roberto Bautista Agut beat Roman Safiulin 6-3 7-6 (10-8) after 1 hour and 59 minutes to win the 399th match win on the ATP Tour of his career. 

Bautista Agut earned his first game in the seventh game to take a 4-3 lead. The Spaniard converted his fourth break point in the ninth game to seal the first set 6-3. 

Both players held on their service games en route to the tie-break. 

Bautista Agut saved a set point at 8-7 in the tie-break of the second set before winning the final three points to seal the tie-break 10-8 after nearly two hours on Pista Rafa Nadal. 

Bautista Agut drew level to 1-1 in his two head-to-head matches against Safiulin. 

The former world number 9 set up a second round against Karen Khachanov. In this match Bautista Agut will have the chance to reach the milestone 400th win on the Tour. 

Nick Hardt came back from one set down to beat Spanish Next Gen player Martin Landaluce 2-6 6-4 6-3. Hardt won his ATP Tour main draw debut match. He has become the first Dominican player to win an ATP Tour match since Victor Estrella Burgos in Quito in 2018. 

Hardt converted his third break point in the first game of the opening set and held serve at 15 to take a 2-0 lead. Landaluce broke three three times to win the first set 6-2. Hardt earned a break in the third game to win the second set 6-4. Hardt broke twice in the third and ninth games to close out the third set 6-3. 

“It was a crazy day, obviously a very special day. I feel at home here in Barcelona. Two weeks ago I won my first Challenger here, this week I qualified for my first ATP 500, and I won my first Tour match in the main draw”, said Hardt.   

Brandon Nakashima beat Daniel Evans 7-6 (7-5) 6-2 to set up a second round match against Andrey Rublev. Evans earned his first break to take a 1-0 lead. Nakashima won four games in a row with two consecutive breaks to take a 4-1 lead. Evans broke back in the ninth game to draw level to 5-5. Both players traded two mini-breaks to draw level to 3-3 in the tie-break. Nakashima earned his third mini-break to win the tie-break. Nakashima broke serve at deuce in the fifth game to take a 3-2 lead. The US player converted his fifth break point in the seventh game and held serve at love in the eighth game to close out the second set 6-2. 

Matteo Arnaldi was drawing level to 5-5 in the first set against Arthur Cazaux, when the Frenchman was forced to withdraw from the match due to an ankle injury. 

Facundo Diaz Acosta beat Daniel Rincon 6-1 6-4. 

Marco Trungelliti beat Duje Ajdukovic 6-2 7-6 (7-3). 

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