Rafael Nadal Breaks 34-Year-Old Record On Route To Madrid Quarters - UBITENNIS
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Rafael Nadal Breaks 34-Year-Old Record On Route To Madrid Quarters



Rafael Nadal (zimbio.com)

MADRID: Top seed Rafael Nadal has become the first player in the Open Era to win 50 consecutive sets on the same surface following his latest win at the Madrid Open.

The world No.1 rallied to a 6-3, 6-4, win over Argentina’s Diego Schwartzman at the Caja Magica. Extending his head-to-head record against the 25-year-old to 5-0. Roared on by his lively home crowd, the Spanish king of clay produced 14 winners to 21 unforced errors. Converting three out of his seven break point opportunities.

“It was a tough match, for sure. He’s a really good player. He has a lot of talent. We’ve seen that in the past. He’s a very quick player. It was a difficult match.” Said Nadal.
“I was controlling at the beginning, and at the end I wasn’t in control so much.” He added.

The deceivingly straightforward score line was not a true reflection of the challenge Nadal encountered. Twice before he has squandered a set against Schwartzman become coming back to win. At the start of the match, the underdog look threatening once again. Forcing Nadal to save a break point in his second service game. Despite the scare, it wasn’t long before Nadal took control. Breaking for a 4-2 lead after a Schwartzman backhand slammed into the net. Gaining in momentum he went on to clinch the 6-3 lead on the stroke of the 45-minute mark. Firing a serve down the centre of the court to force the error from his rival.

It was a case of deja Vu in the second set. Schwartzman, who is currently ranked 16th in the world, continued to illustrate his potential. Hitting some world-class passing shots that drew admiration from the crowd. Still, Nadal had the extra level in his game. Slamming a forehand winner towards the baseline to move to a set and a break up (6-3, 3-2).

It wasn’t until two games away from a potential win that Nadal buckled. Some sublime fighting spirit from Schwartzman rewarded him with the break back to level 4-4 after slamming a forehand down the line. Schwartzman’s resurgence was short-live as back-to-back double faults in the following game guided Nadal to a chance to serve for the match. An opportunity the 10-time French Open champion capitalized on after a shot from his rival drifted wide.

“It seems now I’m in a positive momentum. The tournaments I’ve been able to play, I’ve been able to play deep (into the draw). In general I’m fine. I’m happy for those things are working out.” Nadal commented about his current form.
“Tomorrow I have a very tough match. I think it’s a key match in this tournament against a very tough player. It’s another opportunity to play against one of the best players of the world, especially here in this these conditions.”

In Friday’s quarter-final, Nadal will take on Dominic Thiem in what will be a repeat of last year’s final. Thiem secured his place in the last eight with a 2-6, 7-6(5), 6-4, win over Croatia’s Borna Coric. He trails Nadal 2-6 in their head-to-head, but was the last player to take a set off him on the clay at last year’s Italian Open.

“I have to play the best, one of my best matches of the life. I have to play very aggressive with not many mistakes.” Thiem said about facing Nadal.
“It doesn’t look like I can win the way it is right now. It was way more realistic last year. Anything can happen in tennis. Tomorrow is a new day.” He added.

He has surpassed John McEnroe’s previous record of winning 49 straight sets on the same surface. McEnroe achieved his run on the carpet back in 1984.

“None of these things are on my mind.” Nadal commented about breaking records. “I don’t want these things to not let be me focused. I have to play my match with all things possible. If I succeed and achieve the record, that’s good.”

Nadal is now 14-0 on the clay this year.


Jack Draper Wins In Stuttgart, Potentially Faces Andy Murray in Round Two



Jack Draper – ATP Monaco di Baviera 2024 (foto via Twitter @atptour)

Britain’s Jack Draper tight first round win headlined the opening day’s results at the Boss Open 2024 in Stuttgart – and possibly faces a second-round match with Andy Murray who takes on Marcos Giron tomorrow.

Less than 24 hours from the last ball being hit at Roland Garros, the ATP Tour had already switched surfaces onto the grass, and 22-year-old Draper was well tested but ultimately came through in two tie-breakers over Sebastian Ofner.

The sixth seed’s 7-6, 7-6 win contained just one break of serve each, both coming in the second set, as serve dominated proceedings on the faster grass courts in Germany.

While the Austrian won 75% on his first serve, Draper won a whopping 89% behind his first delivery as well as hitting eight aces. These kind of service stats will surely take him far during the grass court season.

“I thought it was a really good match,” Eurosport quoted Draper saying after his match. 
“Both of us played really clean tennis, executing really well.
“When it came down to it, I’m glad I competed really well and got over the line – it’s good to be back on the grass as well.”

There were also wins for Germany’s Yannick Hanfmann who won 6-3, 6-3 over wildcard Henri Squire, while compatriot Dominik Koepfer won in three sets over China’s Zhizhen Zhang 4-6, 7-6, 7-6. 

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Carlos Alcaraz Still Owns A Magical Racket



The legend of Carlos Alcaraz and his magical racket lives on.

The 21-year-old Spaniard executed one magical shot after another with his racket and legs  Sunday afternoon in the French Open final. That bit of magic spelled defeat for Germany’s Alexander Zverev.

This was a final to remember, one of the great matches of all the Grand Slams. It just wasn’t in the cards for the 26-year-old Zverev to finally win a Grand Slam title.


Both players seemed to play a game of “he had it and then he didn’t.”

Alcaraz appeared to have everything under control in the first set, but Zverev rushed through the second set and then made a comeback from 5-2 down in the third set to win five straight games.

Zverev had everything going for him when he started the fourth set with a two-set advantage. It appeared that all the 6-6 Zverev had to do was to continue playing his masterful game of big serves and mighty ground strokes.

But Zverev couldn’t get started in the fourth set until he was down 4-0. So much for a smooth and easy ride to a Grand Slam title. By then, the magic of Alcaraz was heating up.


Zverev still had his chances, even when he fell behind 2-1 in the fifth set. He had to feel pretty good about his chances when he took a triple break point lead against Alcaraz’s serve and appeared ready to even the set at 2-2. Even after Carlos came up with a winner to bring the  game score to double break point.

Zverev still was ready to even the entire match.

That’s when everything seemed to go haywire for the German, while all the while, Alcaraz was able to repeatedly come up with his magical shots as the Spaniard made critical shots that looked almost impossible to make.


Everything for Zverev was lost in the magical racket of Alcaraz.

What was then initially called a game-ending Alcaraz double fault and a 2-2 deadlock quicky reversed itself and Alcaraz stayed alive by winning the next three points while taking a 3-1 advantage.

Zverev did get back to a 3-2 deficit and had a break point in the sixth game, but that was it for the hopes of Zverev. The last two games went rather easily in favor of Alcaraz to wrap up a 6-3, 2-6, 5-7, 6-1, 6-2 victory for Alcaraz.

That moved the Spaniard to a higher level of success on the ATP Tour. He became the youngest man to win Grand Slam titles on all of the different surfaces, clay, grass and hard courts.

Carlos Alcaraz and his magical racket appear to be headed for greatness.

James Beck was the 2003 winner of the USTA National Media Award  for print media. A 1995 MBA graduate of The Citadel, he can be reached at Jamesbecktennis@gmail.com. 

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Tsitsipas Brothers Hit With Trio Of Fines At French Open



Stefanos Tsitsipas and his brother Petros have been fined more than 20,000 euros for multiple violations of the coaching rules at this year’s French Open. 

The brothers received a financial penalty during three different matches that they played in. Two of those were in the second and third rounds of the men’s doubles tournament. Furthermore, Stefanos was also penalised during his singles quarter-final match against Carlos Alcaraz, which he lost in straight sets. According to French newspaper L’Equipe, all three of those fines were issued as a result of coaching rules being broken.

Ironically, coaching is allowed during matches at the French Open but certain rules must be followed. ‘Verbal’ coaching can only be issued from the coaches and their team if they are sitting in the designated player’s box. Instructions must be limited to a few words and can only be given if the player is in the same half of the court as their coach. Although non-verbal coaching is allowed regardless of what side the player is on. Finally, players can’t start a conversation with their coach unless it is during a medical break, a bathroom break or when their opponent is changing clothes.

However, the Tsitsipas brothers have been found in violation of these rules, which is likely due to their animated father in the stands who is also their coach. Apostolos Tsitsipas has been given coaching violations in the past at other events, including the 2022 Australian Open. 

The value of the fines are €4,600 and €9,200 for the Tsitsipas brothers in the doubles, as well as an additional €7,400 just for Stefanos in the singles. In total, the value of their fines is €21,200. However, the penalty is unlikely to have an impact on the duo whose combined earnings for playing in this year’s French Open amount to roughly €495,000. 

So far in the tournament, the highest single fine to be issued this year was against Terence Atmane who hit a ball out of frustration that struck a fan in the stands. Atmane, who later apologised for his actions, managed to avoid getting disqualified from the match. Instead, he was fined €23,000. 

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