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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Kei Nishikori In Doubt For The Australian Open

Asia’s highest ranked male tennis player is contemplating when he should return to the tour following surgery.

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Kei Nishikori (photo by chryslène caillaud, copyright @Sport Vision)

World No.13 Kei Nishikori is refusing to rule out the prospect of skipping the first grand slam event of 2020 as he continues his recovery from surgery.

 

Nishikori hasn’t played a match on the tour since his third round loss at the US Open back in September. A month later he underwent a procedure on his right elbow in a move that brought his season to an early end. Currently undergoing rehabilitation, it is unclear as to when the Japanese player believes he will return to the ATP Tour.

“The prospect of a return from surgery on right elbow in January. Maybe February. In the second half of next year I want to be able to play well.” Nikkan Sports quoted Nishikori as saying.
“I don’t want to overdo it,” he added.

The Australian Open will get underway on January 20th in Melbourne. Should he miss the grand slam, it will be the second time he has done so in the last three years. Nishikori also withdrew from the 2018 edition due to a wrist injury. In January he reached the quarter-finals and therefore has 360 points to defend next year.

During his time away from the court, the 29-year-old has been kept busy making changes to his team. Recently it was confirmed that he has started working alongside Max Mirnyi, who is a former world No.1 doubles player. Mirnyi, who has won 10 grand slam titles in men’s and mixed doubles, will be working full-time with Nishikori alongside existing coach Michael Chang.

“I’m getting closer to retirement. I want to be cured and come back to play good tennis in the second half of next year.” Nishikori stated.

Despite the injury setback, Nishikori has enjoyed success in 2019. Reaching the quarter-finals in three out of the four grand slam tournaments. The first time he has ever done that in his career. He also claimed his 12th ATP title at the Brisbane International. Overall, he won 29 out of 43 matches played.

Nishikori will turn 30 on December 29th.

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Family Of Venezuelan Doubles Star Launches GoFundMe Page For Cancer Treatment

Roberto Maytin was playing on the Challenger tour less than a month ago, but now faces a new battle.

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One of Venezuela’s highest ranked players on the ATP Tour is facing challenges off the court after being recently diagnosed with cancer.

 

Roberto Maytin, who currently has a doubles ranking of 136th, is undergoing treatment for testicular cancer Non-Seminoma. Non-seminomas are made up of different types of tumour, such as teratomas, embryonal tumours, yolk sac tumours and choriocarcinomas. Maytin’s brother Ricardo has launched a GoFundMe page to help cover the costs. The tennis player made $19,441 in prize money this season, which doesn’t factor into account numerous expenses such as travel, accommodation and paying for his coaching team.

“If life gives you a chance to live longer, I think nobody would miss the opportunity. In this plane, we all want to be (alive) for years however we forget that we are with a 50% chance of leaving at any time every day.” The fundraising page reads.
“My brother was diagnosed with testicular cancer NO Seminoma, at 30 years old. He now faces a crucial match that life has put him for growth as an individual, as a man and as an athlete. He is forced to undergo 4 stages of aggressive chemotherapy in order to heal at all and leave no trace of a Cancer that has been moving for months causing some damage.”

A former top 25 junior player, Maytin is one of only two players from his country to be ranked inside the top 200 in either singles or doubles on the men’s tour. This season he has won four Challenger titles across America. However, he has only played in one ATP Tour event since the start of 2018. He achieved a ranking high of 85th in the doubles back in 2015.

Once a student at Baylor University in Texas, Maytin formed a successful partnership with former world No.2 doubles player John Peers. Together they earned All-American honours with a win-loss of 36-5 and reached the quarter-finals of the 2011 NCAA tournament.

Maytin is also a regular fixture in his country’s Davis Cup team. Since 2007 he has played 15 ties and won 10 out of 16 matches played.

“I am also clear that the family is the gift of God for each one of us, so in this way and in whatever way I will put my desire and my energy so that my Brother Roberto Maytin, a Venezuelan professional tennis player, is back to the courts, which is where he belongs as soon as possible.”

Almost $25,000 has been raised so far to fund Maytin’s treatment. Click here to visit his GoFundMe page.

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John Newcombe Believes The Australian Open Will Be ‘A Big Ask’ For Nick Kyrgios

The tennis legend is unsure if the former top 20 player will be fit in time for the first grand slam of 2020.

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MADRID, SPAIN - Nick Kyrgios of Australia waking to the locked room Davis Cup by Rakuten Madrid Finals 2019 at Caja Magica on November 19, 2019 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Pedro Salado / Kosmos Tennis)

Former world No.1 John Newcombe has cast doubts on Nick Kyrgios’ chances of going deep in the draw at the upcoming Australian Open.

 

The 75-year-old, who won seven grand slam titles during the 1960s and 1970s, believes the injury-stricken world No.30 may struggle playing best-of-five matches in Melbourne. Kyrgios missed most of the final quarter of the 2019 season due to a shoulder issue. He returned to action last month at the Davis Cup, but skipped his country’s quarter-final clash with Canada due to a collarbone injury. Overall, he has won 23 out of 37 matches played this year.

“It’s a bit of a worry that he has recurring injuries, especially around where the muscles join the joints and that’s going to be an ongoing problem for him it seems,” Newcombe told The Age.
“At the Davis Cup he’d only played four sets of singles and his shoulder started to play up again and when you’ve got an injury like that it’s hard to go out and practice a lot.
“Leading into the Australian Open – five sets is a big ask for him.”

A two-time grand slam quarter-finalist, the 24-year-old has struggled to make his mark in the majors this year. Winning just three matches in three grand slam tournaments he played in. Kyrgios missed the French Open due to injury. At his home slam, he lost in the first round for the first time since making his main draw debut back in 2014.

As well as trying to get fit in time for the start of the new season, Kyrgios will continue to be playing under a probation on the ATP Tour for ‘aggravated behaviour.’ Should he violate that, he faces the prospect of a 16-week ban from the tour.

“I can’t speak for him but if it was me it would be tough having that ban hanging over you,” Newcombe said.
“But I guess you’ve just got to learn to zip up.”

Kyrgios is set to start 2020 at the inaugural ATP Cup, which is the only team event to have both prize money and ranking points available. After that, he is set to play in the Kooyong Classic in what will be his final test prior to the Australian Open.

“I am delighted that Nick has chosen to play Kooyong again, and hopefully it acts as the perfect tune up for his Australian Open (AO) campaign and sets him up for a massive 2020 season.” Tournament director Peter Johnson said in a statement.

So far in his career, Kyrgios has won six titles. Including Acapulco and Washington this year.

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