Dominic Thiem Ends Nadal’s Perfect Run On The Clay In Shock Madrid Win - UBITENNIS
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Dominic Thiem Ends Nadal’s Perfect Run On The Clay In Shock Madrid Win

The Austrian has stunned the 10-time French Open champion to claim only his second win against a No.1 player in his career.

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MADRID: Dominic Thiem has become the first player to defeat Rafael Nadal on the clay this year after stunning the top seed 7-5, 6-4, in the quarter-finals of the Madrid Open. Meaning that Roger Federer will return back to world No.1 on Monday.

Thiem, who has lost his two most recent meetings against the Spaniard in straight sets, applied an aggressive game plan from the start. Holding firm on the baseline and pushing his rival around the court. Hitting 29 winners to 28 unforced errors. A stark contrast to Nadal’s tally of 12 and 29. Furthermore, Thiem also converted five out of his 12 break point chances in the match.

“I had to really increase my level compared to Monte-Carlo to beat Rafa here. He’s in a really great form. He won 21 matches on clay (in a row) and 50 sets. This is amazing. So I had to play an extraordinary match, and that’s what I did.” Said Thiem.
“I moved well. I was physically tough. But always against him, there are long rallies. You get out of breath. But it was a good thing, as well, today.” He added.

In what was a repeat of last year’s final, the quality displayed by both men was at its highest level to begin with. Nadal, who entered the clash on a 14-match winning streak, faced a stern test from the onset. 24-year-old Thiem demonstrated some of his best tennis to wow the crowd on Court Manolo Santana. Including a breathtaking 162kph forehand winner.

The courageous efforts of the Austrian paid off in the sixth game of the match. After failing to break early on, he finally broke Nadal down as the Spaniard hit back-to-back errors. Elevating Thiem to a 4-3 lead.  Holding serve, he was on the brink of taking a set off Nadal on the clay. Ending the Spaniard’s record run of 50 consecutive sets won on the surface. Tasked with the mission, Thiem missed out on his first golden opportunity. A forehand drifting long squandered his set point before another unforced error a couple points later enabled the top seed to fight back and level 5-5.

Despite falling short, another opportunity soon beckoned for the fifth seed after another lacklustre Nadal service game resulted in his second break of the match. Serving once again for the set, Thiem triumphed with the help of some heavy hitting deep into the court. Clinching the 7-5 lead with an ace out wide and ending Nadal’s unbeaten run.

On the verge of a shock victory at the Caja Magica, Thiem continued to outplay and trouble the 16-time grand slam champion. Who grew more and more frustrated on the court. A forehand landing out from the Spaniard secured Thiem a break during the early stages of the second set, moving him closer towards a place in the last four.

Exchanging further breaks in the match, just two games stood in the way of Thiem clinching his best win of the season (by ranking). Battling on to 7-5, 5-3, the Austrian then recovered from 0-40 to deuce against the Nadal serve. Shortly after Thiem went on to seal the victory with another forehand cross-court winner.

“I tried to come back. I tried to do it. I tried to do it a couple of times. But I haven’t been good enough today.” Said Nadal. “He was better than me today. That’s the end of the story. Some days you don’t play as good as you would like to play. Also when that happens it’s because your opponent is doing really well.

Set to lose the No.1 ranking next week, Spaniard praised Thiem following their latest match. This week he was bidding to win his fourth consecutive title on the ATP Tour and his 78th overall.

“I am playing against one of the best players of the world. He played well. We played in special conditions. The ball flies more here.” Nadal evaluated. “It was a little bit more difficult to have the control of the ball. I was not under control of the point almost never during the match.”

Playing in the semi-finals of the tournament for a second consecutive year, Thiem will take on Kevin Anderson next. Who defeated Dusan Lajovic in his match earlier in the day. The South African joked after his win that he would rather play Thiem than Nadal.

“I’m happy that I play him tomorrow the first time on clay. We always played on pretty fast hard courts. But still, he serves great. His serve is also working very well here in the altitude I think.” Thiem said about Anderson.
“It’s going to be tough. It’s going to be completely different, like today, obviously against Kevin. But I try to go in the same way, to have the same attitude like today. I think then it can be a good match for me.”

Thiem trails Anderson 0-6 in their head-to-head.

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Pierre Sugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut reach the doubles semifinal at the ATP Finals in London

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Pierre Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut secured their spot in the semifinal of the ATP Finals doubles tournament with a 7-5 7-6 (7-3) win over Kevin Krawietz and Andreas Mies in 1 hour and 33 minutes. The French teeam won 75 % of their first serve points and fended off three of the five break points.

 

The French doubles team earned the early break to race out to a 5-2 lead. Krwietz and Mies fended off a set point and broke back to draw level to 5-5. Herbert and Mahut held serve at love before breaking serve in the 12th game to win the opening set 7-5.

In the opening game of the second set Herbert made a double fault to drop serve. Mahut and Herbert broke back to draw level to 4-4. Herbert earned three mini-breaks to win the tie-break 7-3.

“We didn’t know before the match that we needed to win in straight sets to qualify tonight. We just wanted to come on court and win this match”, said Mahut.

 

 

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Alexander Zverev Denies Using Phone During Match At ATP Finals

The world No.7 has insisted that he didn’t break any rules at the season-ending event.

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LONDON: Reigning ATP Finals champion Alexander Zverev has denied allegations that he was swiping through his phone during a sit down in his latest match in London

 

A series of Twitter users posted footage of the German placing his hand in his bag. It appeared as if he was using a phone or some sort of electronic device. Using his thumb to either press a button or swipe something. Despite the allegations, Zverev has denied any wrongdoing. 

“My phone was in the locker room. I always leave it there. I don’t know what they saw, but it was definitely not a phone.” Zverev replied when quizzed in his press conference. 

Under rules set out by the ATP, it is an offence for players to use their phones during matches and they could potentially be penalised. The rule is in place as part of fight against match-fixing in the sport. 

“A player is not allowed to use any electronic devices (e.g. CD players, mobile phones, etc.) during matches, unless approved by the Supervisor.” The 2019 ATP rulebook states. 

Despite the 22-year-old stating his innocence, questions remain about what he was looking at inside his bag. Which is located next up the chair of the match umpire. Asked to explain, he said it might have been ‘an empty water bottle.’ 

 

Zverev will play his final match of the round-robin stage at the ATP Finals against Daniil Medvedev. He is currently 1-1 in the group after defeating Rafael Nadal before losing to Stefanos Tsitsipas on Wednesday. 

“Days like this happen. It’s just how it is in sports.” Said Zverev after his latest loss. “Against Rafa, I played a great match. Today I didn’t. This is just how it is sometimes, even though I have to give credit to him. He played really well.”
“There are a lot of things that I did not do great, and I have to change that to have a chance on Friday.”

There are three possible scenarios in which Zverev can qualify for the semi-finals. The most simple is that if both he and Nadal or Tsitsipas win their next matches. He can also qualify if he loses to Medvedev in three sets and Tsitsipas wins. 

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Jean Julien Rojer and Horia Tecau beat Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah in the doubles tournament in London

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Former ATP Finals champions Jean Julien Rojer from the Netherlands and Horia Tecau from Romania beat 2019 year-end number 1 team Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah 6-2 5-7 10-8 after 90 minutes in Max Mirnyi Group of the doubles tournament at the ATP Finals in London.

 

Tecau broke serve with a backhand crosscourt winner to take a 3-1 lead in the opening set. The Romanian player went up a double break with a backhand crosscourt winner at 5-2 to seal the opening set after 28 minutes.

Cabal and Farah did not convert any of their break points in the ninth game of the second set before breaking serve for the first time in the match two games later to claim the second set 7-5 forcing the match to the decisive set.

Rojer and Tecau went up a 6-2 lead in the Match Tie-Break. Cabal and Farah won four consecutive points to draw level to 6-6. Rojer and Tecau rallied from 7-8 down by winning three consecutive points to claim the Match Tie-Break 10-8.

Rojer and Tecau have now a 1-1 record in Group Max Mirnyi. The Dutch and Romanian team took the re-match against Cabal and Farah, who won their previous head-to-head clash in five sets at Wimbledon en route to their maiden Grand Slam doubles title.

“I am happy with our form. We lost the first match and knew we would need to bounce back against a very good team. We played a very good first set, prior to them making adjustments in the second set. We played a really good Match tie-break”, said Rojer.

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