Alexander Zverev beats Thiem to win the Mutua Madrid Open - UBITENNIS
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Alexander Zverev beats Thiem to win the Mutua Madrid Open

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Mutua Madrid Open - Day Nine

 

Alexander Zverev has won the Madrid Open title with a comprehensive 6-4 6-4 victory over Dominic Thiem in just 78 minutes here at La Caja Majica.

Mutua Madrid Open - Day Nine

It was a display of utter dominance and authority by the 20 year old, second seeded German who was once again invulnerable on serve. Having not dropped his delivery all week, he held serve from start to finish, breaking the Thiem serve at the start of each set.

The fifth seeded Austrian held a 4-1 record against Zverev coming into the match, which included a perfect 3-0 record on clay. However, the two had not played on clay since 2016, and back then Zverev had managed to win a set in each of the losing encounters, and he has grown exponentially in stature as a competitor since then. Thiem was searching for his first Masters 1000 title having lost in the final of Madrid last year to Rafael Nadal, and having put out the defending champion in the quarter-finals this year, he was fancied to win the title and become the first Austrian to win a Masters 1000 since the former world No.1 Thomas Muster won Miami in 1997.

The 24 year old Austrian held 9 career titles against Zverev’s 7, with an ATP ranking of 7 to Zverev’s ranking of 3.

Zverev now has three Masters 1000 titles having won his first Masters 1000 in Rome last year beating Novak Djokovic and following that up with a second in Montreal where he accounted for Roger Federer in the final. Although he unexpectedly faltered in the final of the Miami Open final against John Isner, he was not going to allow another to slip through his fingers in quick succession.

Thiem started the match nervously with two off forehands going well wide to go two break points down, after Zverev had stepped in and crunched a menacing forehand return winner up the line that must have had the Austrian shaking in his boots. A double fault handed the German an immediate break of serve, and the grateful Zverev never in turn offered so much as a sniff of a break point throughout the remainder of the set. He closed out the 32 minute set on his second set point with a roar of “Come on!” as Thiem’s mistimed forehand return off a short second serve sailed well long.

Thiem started the second set on serve just as tentatively as he had started the first, with unforced errors flowing from his racket after Zverev had opened up with a forehand cross court winner that clipped the side line. The German wasted no time in converting his break point opportunity when he ran around his backhand and thumped a ferocious forehand up the line which the scurrying Austrian at full stretch on his forehand wing was powerless to return. Zverev let out a scream of elation as the sight of a first trophy in the Spanish capital beckoned.

Although Thiem managed to push Zverev to deuce on his serve at 2-3 down, the German quickly battened down the hatches with a huge service winner up the centre and duly held for 4-2.

Thiem did well to force Zverev to serve out for the match when he came back from a 0-30 deficit with a backhand winner up the line and two consecutive aces which the swaggering German grudgingly conceded on inspection.

He would not be denied on serve however. He closed out for his first Madrid Open title with the kind of authority he has shown all week; setting up championship point with a delightful serve and forehand drop volley winner and sending a ball flying out of the Manolo Santana Stadium when he won championship point as Thiem’s attempted backhand chip return sailed long.

Thiem was magnanimous in defeat at the presentation ceremony, acknowledging his opponent as a worthy champion.

“Congratulations to Alex. You were very impressive and you were obviously the best player this week”, Thiem said. “Very well done and also to your team. You were great!”

“Losing a final is always really difficult and tough, but still I made two finals in a row here and so I obviously feel really comfortable and great in Madrid. Everybody who makes this tournament amazing, thank you for that.”

Zverev was quick to praise the titanic efforts of his vanquished opponent who had removed the biggest obstacle to his title aspirations.

“I want to congratulate Dominic on an amazing week. Beating Rafa (Nadal) in Spain on clay is an amazing achievement. Not many people have done that, so credit to you and also to your team. You guys are doing great. I’m very sure in the future you are going to win multiple of these events.”

“I want to thank my team as well. Without them nothing would be possible. We spend three hours a day in the gym trying to build some muscle which you still can’t see on me”, he said laughing. “But we are getting there slowly.”

My dad is the most important person in my team. Making me grow up, not only on the court, but the man who I am today is a lot because of you and because of my brother who is already in Rome, and because of my mum who is at home right now. Everything I do on court, you are probably the biggest reason for it. Thanks a lot for that.”

 

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Year-End No.1 Not A Priority For Rafael Nadal, Says Murray

Murray spoke about his rival as he gives a update on his current form.

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Three-time grand slam champion Andy Murray believes rival Rafael Nadal is not focusing on the prospect of ending the season as world No.1.

 

Murray spoke about the big three during an extensive interview with The Times. A group compromising of Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer. The Brit is currently on the comeback from hip resurfacing surgery and recently reached the quarter-finals of the China Open. His best run on the ATP Tour so far this season. Currently ranked 289th in the world, Murray admits that he still has a way to go to the top. However, the 32-year-old is drawing inspiration from some of his rivals.

“If I do get up there, I’m not going to be focusing on ranking targets. You look at what Roger [Federer], Rafa [Nadal] and I guess Novak [Djokovic], to a certain extent, are doing to give themselves a chance to play longer.” Murray told The Times.
“Right now, Rafa could be fighting to finish number one in the world and it’s not a priority for him. I would like to be competitive in the big events against the best players. I’m not there yet, but I’m closer than I was a month ago, and much closer than a couple of months ago,” he said.

Nadal is currently closing in on the world No.1 spot despite not playing since winning the US Open. On Monday Djokovic’s lead over him will be reduced to 320 points after the Serbian lost in the third round of the Shanghai Masters. Then on November 4th he is guaranteed to return to the top spot before the ATP Finals. Even more significant is that Nadal has no ranking points to defend for the rest of the season compared to 1600 for Djokovic.

Murray’s comments on Nadal echoes what the Spaniard has previously said. During the US Open in September, the king of clay stated that returning to the top was ‘not his main goal’ with his health being top priority.

“I don’t compete for it. I just do my way. If I am able to be No.1 doing it my way, great. But I always say the same: today is not my main goal.” He explained.
“Of course, it’s great to be in that fight. But for me personally, it’s not really a fight. I just try be competitive the weeks that I need to compete, or the weeks that I want to compete.’
“With my age and with my goals, I cannot lose energy or time to follow the No.1. I need to think about my career in a different way.
‘For me, my main goal is play as long as possible and compete, being competitive. Sometimes if you need to follow the No.1, you are going to lose years of your career.”

Nadal is set to return to action in November at the Paris Masters. Meanwhile, Murray returns to the court tomorrow at the European Open where he will play Kimmer Coppejans in the first round.

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Danil Medvedev beats Stefanos Tsitsipas in Shanghai semifinal to reach his sixth consecutive final

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Danil Medvedev reached his ninth final this year and his sixth consecutive title match after beating Greek Next Gen star Stefanos Tsitsipas 7-6 (7-5) 7-5 after 1 hour and 38 minutes in the semifinal of the Shanghai Rolex Masters.

 

The 23-year-old Russian player has now beaten his 21-year-old Greek rival in all their five head-to-head matches. Medvedev has reached his third Masters 1000 final after finishing runner-up to Rafael Nadal and winning the Cincinnati final last August. In an impressive hard-court season Medvedev lost the US Open final in five sets against Rafael Nadal and won the indoor tournament in St. Petersburg. Since losing to David Goffin the Moscow player has won 28 of his last 31 matches. He has become the 16th player in the Open Era to reach six consecutive finals.

Medvedev hit 25 winners to 18 unforced errors and saved four of the five break points.

Tsitsipas earned three break points at 4-4 in the opening set. Medvedev saved them with two serves and a forced error from Tsitsipas. The first set came down to the tie-break where both players stayed neck and neck until 5-5. The first 10 points of the tie-break went on serve. Medvedev got the decisive mini-break in the 11th game, when Tsitsipas made a forehand error. Medvedev closed out the first set after a backhand error from Tsitsipas.

In the second set Tsitsipas wasted game points at 1-1. Medvedev got the break in the third game of the second set with a backhand down the line winner. He consolidated the break by holding his serve with three service winners. Tsitsipas broke back at 15, when Medvedev was serving for the match. Medvedev broke for the second time in the 11th game with a forehand return before sealing the win in the 12th game with three service winners. Medvedev has become the 13th player since 1990 to reach three consecutive Masters 1000 finals.

“I think it’s a great achievement. I am proud of myself. Hopefully I can get the win tomorrow. It’s actually quite crazy. Here I had a lot of opportunities. to lose sets. I was close to losing a lot of them, especially with Vasek Pospisil with five set points. I think that’s also the confidence and the dynamic I am going through”, said Medvedev.

Tsitsipas was bidding to reach his second consecutive final after finishing runner-up to Dominic Thiem in Beijing.

 

 

 

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Alexander Zverev beats Roger Federer in Shanghai to reach his eighth Masters 1000 semifinal

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Alexander Zverev battled past Roger Federer 6-3 6-7 (7-9) 6-3 in 2 hours and 4 minutes to reach his eighth Masters 1000 semifinal and the first since Shanghai last year.

 

The German star has moved up to seventh in the ATP Race to London after reaching two consecutive semifinals in Beijing and Shanghai and has a good chance to qualify for his third consecutive ATP Finals.

Zverev hit 43 winners (including 17 aces) to 23 unforced errors and faced three just three break points in the entire match. He dropped his serve twice and broke four times.

Zverev did not convert five match points in the final stages of the second set.

Zverev dropped three points in his service games and hit 11 winners to 6 unforced errors. The Hamburg native earned a break at 3-2 and held his next service games to close out the first set with four service winners in the ninth game after 27 minutes.

Both Federer and Zverev traded breaks in the second and third games of the second set and held their serve in the next seven games to draw level to 5-5. Zverev broke serve in the 11th game with a forehand winner, when Federer was serving in the 11th game. Zverev wasted three match points on serve in the 12th game and was broken by Federer, who drew level to 6-6 to set up a tie-break.

Federer saved match points at 5-6 and 6-7 in the tie-break and closed out the second set with an ace.

Zverev held at 15 in the first game with a service winner in the first game and broke serve in the second game after a forehand error from Federer.

Zverev held serve at love in the third game to build up a 3-0 lead. He earned two break points in the fourth game, but Federer saved them. The Swiss player fended off another break point at 1-4 with a forehand winner. Zverev held serve at love to build up a 5-2 lead.

Zverev closed out the match with a hold at 15, as he was serving for the match in the ninth game, to set up a semifinal against either Dominic Thiem or Matteo Berrettini.

Zverev adds to his ATP Race to London ranking with 2615 points to take seventh place ahead of  Roberto Bautista Agut.

“Finally starting to kind of play the way I should play, I was really playing really defensive the whole year, and I was not with a lot of confidence. He will always find a way. He will always make it tricky for you like he did today with me, and always got to play your best tennis to have a chance. I knew if I am going to keep playing the way I played the first two sets, I am going to have a chance in the third set as well”, said Zverev after the match.

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