Milos Raonic ‘Inspired’ By Nadal’s Dominance On The Clay - UBITENNIS
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Milos Raonic ‘Inspired’ By Nadal’s Dominance On The Clay

The former Wimbledon finalist speaks about his rivals record on the dirt

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Milos Raonic (zimbio.com)

MADRID: Playing on the tour alongside Rafael Nadal can be a frustrating experience, but for Milos Raonic it is one that he relishes.

The Spanish king of clay is currently on a 10-match winning streak after triumphing in Monte Carlo and Barcelona. On the surface Nadal last lost a set nearly 12 months ago to Dominic Thiem at the Italian Open. The performance of the Spaniard is one that draws admiration from his Canadian rival. Who trails 2-7 to him in their head-to-head.

“I find it quite inspiring to see what he has done on numerous counts throughout numerous years. Stopping and starting with numerous injuries.” Said Raonic.
“It’s incredible what he’s done and I think it is one of the biggest feats in tennis.
“He’s the man to beat on this surface, but there is a lot of other guys who gotta play as well.”

Similar to Nadal, the Canadian has also experienced his own fair share of injury issues. His latest is a right knee problem, which forced him out of the Monte Carlo Masters. The exact issue is related to his meniscus. A piece of cartridge which acts as a shock absorber between the thigh-bone and shin-bone. He has experienced the injury before, but this time it is to a ‘lesser degree.’

“We (my team) are managing it as best as we can. It is what it is. I’m just trying to deal with it the best way and smartest way possible.” He explained.

Raonic’s compliments towards Nadal followed his marathon win over Grigor Dimitrov at the Madrid Open on Tuesday. He knocked out the third seed 7-5, 3-6, 6-3, with the help of 12 aces and lost his serve only once during the match. Recording his first win over a top 10 player this season.

‘I can compete on any surface’

The triumph occurs at a tournament where Raonic is a two-time quarter-finalist at. The high altitude in Madrid enhances his service speed. Making him a tough player to break during matches. Although Raonic stresses that he can play on the clay elsewhere in Europe and beyond.

“I have also made a couple quarter-finals in Monaco and also made the semis in Rome.” He points out. “I played OK in all of them. I think this one (Madrid) come to me more naturally because it plays a little bit quicker and the ball bounces a little bit higher. But as long as I am heavy I feel like I can compete on any surface.”

In the last 16 Raonic will take on his Davis Cup team mate Denis Shapovalov, who defeated Benoit Paire in three sets. It will be the first time that the two will lock horns on the tour.

“I think he is incredibly talented. Very explosive. Can do a lot of incredible things. He has been playing great on tour since the Roger Cup in Montreal last year. He has had some great wins.” Raonic commented about his opponent.
“It is going to be a very difficult match.”

Raonic is currently ranked 24th  in the world.

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Jannik Sinner overcomes a first round scare against Tallon Griekspoor in Halle

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Jannik Sinner rallied past Tallon Griekspoor 6-7 (8-10) 6-3 6-2 for a maiden win as a number 1 player in his first grass-court match of the season at the Terra Wortmann Open in Halle. Sinner, the first Italian player to hold the number 1 spot in the ATP Ranking, has improved his 2024 record to 34 wins to 3 defeats. 

Sinner squandered a 5-1 lead in the tie-break and did not convert two set points at 6-4 and 6-5. 

Griekspoor converted his third set point to win a hard-fought tie-break 10-8. The Dutch player earned three break points at 2-2 in the second set. Sinner saved all three break points to hold serve and this helped him to turn around the match. Sinner broke serve in the sixth game to take a 4-2 lead with a diving forehand passing shot and won eight of the last nine service points to win the second set 6-3 forcing the match to the decider. 

Sinner broke in the third game of the third set and held serve at love for 3-1. The 2024 Australian player held serve with a lob for 4-2. 

Sinner earned his second break in the seventh game at love and closed out the win on his first match point with his 15th ace after 2 hours and 22 minutes. 

“It was for sure mentally tough. It was 5-1 up in the tie-break of the first set. This can happen especially on this surface. It can go very fast. I was good mentally. I was struggling in the second set, 0-40 down on my serve. If he makes that point, it is even more difficult. It is all about trying to get the confidence back, especially on this surface and I have shown that. Hopefully I can show some good tennis in the next round”, said Sinner. 

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Danil Medvedev saves a set point to beat Nuno Borges in Halle

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Danil Medvedev started his grass campaign with a 7-6 (7-4) 6-4 win over Portugal’s Nuno Borges in 1 hour and 31 minutes at the Terra Wortmann Open Open in Halle. Medvedev is still chasing his first title this season. 

Borges converted his third break point in the second game of the first set. Medvedev broke straight back in the third game and held serve at 15 in the fourth game to draw level to 2-2. Borges earned a set point at 6-5 in the first set, when Medvedev hit a double fault long. Medvedev hit a first serve out wide to save the set point. 

Both players went on serve en route to the tie-break. Medvedev raced out to a 4-0 lead with two mini-breaks. Borges pulled one of the two mini-breaks back for 2-5. Medvedev earned his third mini-break to take a 6-2 lead. Borges saved two set points for 4-6, but Medvedev sealed the tie-break 7-4 on his third chance. The second set went on serve until the 10thgame, when Medvedev broke serve on his second match point. 

Medvedev won five more points than Borges, but he saved five of the six break points he faced. 

Medvedev has a win-loss record of 22-1 against players outside of the top 20. 

Medvedev set up a second round match against Chinese number 1 Zhang Zhizhen, who battled past Sebastian Ofner 7-6 (10-8) 6-7 (3-7) 6-4. Medvedev will play his first head-to-head match against Zhang Zhizhen. 

Lorenzo Sonego won 85 % of his first serve points in his 7-6 (7-5) 7-6 (7-5) win over Miomir Kecmanovic. 

Sonego saved the only break point of the first set in the 11th game. Both players went on serve until the tie-break. Sonego raced out to a 4-1 lead. Kecmanovic pulled back on serve to draw level to 4-4. Sonego earned a first set point at 6-5, but Kecmanovic saved it. Sonego sealed the first set 7-5 on his second set point. 

Sonego earned a break point in the first game of the second set, but Kecmanovic saved it. The Serbian player fended off another break point in the ninth game. Sonego went down 2-5 in the tie-break, but he won five consecutive points to win the second set. 

Sonego will face the winner of the German clash between this year’s Roland Garros finalist Alexander Zverev and world number 471 Oscar Otte. 

Hubert Hurkacz beat Flavio Cobolli 7-5 7-6 (7-5). The first set went on serve until the sixth game, when Hurkacz earned the first break to take a 4-2 lead. Cobolli broke straight back in the seventh game and draw level at 15 to draw level to 4-4. Cobolli saved a set point in the 10th game, but Hurkacz sealed the first set with a break in the 10th game. The second set went on serve until the 12th game when Cobolli saved two match points. Hurkacz earned two mini-breaks to win the tie-break 7-2.  

Hurkacz will face either Brazilian wild-card Joao Fonseca or James Duckworth. 

Dominik Koepfer was leading 6-4 4-3 against Felix Auger Aliassime, when the Canadian player withdrew from the match due to a left hip injury. Fabian Mazoszan overcame last year’s Wimbledon quarter finalist Roman Safiulin 7-5 4-6 6-1. Maroszan could face world number 1 Jannik Sinner, if the Italian player beats Tallon Grieksppr. 

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Alex De Minaur beats Sebastian Korda in s’Hertogenbosch to win his second title of the season

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Alex De Minaur beat Sebastian Korda 6-2 6-4 after 1 hour and 31 minutes to win the ninth title of his career at the Libema Open in s’Hertogenbosch. De Minaur claimed his second title of the season after winning in Acapulco last week. 

De Minaur, who was competing as a top seed for the first time this week, did not drop a set en route to the title at the Dutch grass tournament. He converted five of his 14 break points and saved four of the six chances he faced. 

De Minaur reeled off four consecutive games from 2-2 with back-back breaks in the opening set. The Australian player won eight of nine points breaking at love for 4-2 and consolidated with a hold at 15 for 5-2. De Minaur earned his second straight break to clinch the first set 6-2. 

De Minaur converted his fourth break point in the second game of the second set to build up a 6-2 2-0 lead. Korda broke straight back in the third game and held his serve at 15 in the fourth game to draw level to 2-2. De Minaur converted his third break point in the sixth game to open up a 4-2 lead. The 2023 Davis Cup finalist saved four break points in the seventh game to hold serve for 5-2. 

Korda saved a match point in the eighth game as he was serving to stay in the match, but he made his fourth double fault to face a second match point. The US player hit a forehand pass to save his championhip point. 

Korda broke back for the second game in the ninth game at 15 in the ninth game for 4-5 with a forehand down the line, as De Minaur was serving for his second title of the season. On the changeover Korda took a medical time-out to treat a blister. After a five-minute delay Korda hit a between the legs mid-court forehand. 

De Minaur earned a third championship point with a forehand in the 10thgame, but Korda threw down a smash to save it. Korda hit a backhand long to face a championship match. 

Korda faced a fourth championship point after a backhand long. De Minaur broke serve in the 10th game on his fourth championship point to seal his second title of the season after 1 hour and 34 minutes, as Korda steered a forehand down the line wide. 

The Australian player, who beat Casper Ruud at the Mexican Open in Acapulco last February, has won multiple ATP titles in a single season for the third year following his triumphs in Sydney, Atlanta and Zhuhai in 2019, and in Antalya and Eastbourne in 2021. He has joined Australiana legends Patrick Rafter (1998) and 2000) and and Lleyton Hewitt (2001) as the third player from his country to win the title in s’Hertogenbosch. De Minaur has won his first grass title since Eastbourne in 2021.

“Obviously it was a great match. The conditions were tricky, and Sebastian is a hell of player. I am looking forward to playing doubles with him next week at Queen’s. I am super happy with the week. It’s been great. Happy days. I think it achieves a new career-high for me. That’s always a great title bonus for me. The first week on grass could not have gone better. I am looking forward to next week at Queen’s ”, said De Minaur. 

De Minaur, who had reached a career high of eighth with his semifinal win over Ugo Humbert in the semifinal, will rise two spots to world number 7 in the ATP Ranking next week after winning this title. 

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