Novak Djokovic Outlasts Nemesis Nadal In Epic To Reach Wimbledon Final - UBITENNIS
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Novak Djokovic Outlasts Nemesis Nadal In Epic To Reach Wimbledon Final

The Serbian will take on Kevin Anderson in the final.

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Former world No.1 Novak Djokovic has reached his first grand slam final since 2016 after battling past Rafael Nadal 4-6, 6-3, 6-7(9), 6-3, 10-8, after a two-day roller-coaster clash at The All England Club.

The meeting between the two was postponed on Friday night after Djokovic valiantly rallied his way to a two-sets-to-one lead. Unfortunately for the Serbian, he couldn’t continue his momentum as the 11pm Wimbledon curfew halted proceedings. Giving both players a chance to reflect upon their performance overnight.

“When you finish at 11pm and you have to come back to the practice court at 1030am. The adrenaline is really high, but it is not easy to relax. “ Djokovic said during his post-match interview.
“At the end of the day, I’m just so glad to overcome this challenge.”

14 hours after the last ball was hit in the match, the battle resumed on Centre Court. Resulting in the delay of the women’s Wimbledon final. A decision that has angered some in the sport. Nevertheless, the high calibre of exchanges between the two continued in what was their 52nd tour meeting. The was little to tell between the two with Djokovic winning just four points more than Nadal in the entire match (195-191). Coincidentally, both produced 73 winners to 42 unforced errors. Although Djokovic lead the ace count with 23 to nine.

“It’s hard to pick the words. I’m just going through things such as flashbacks over the past 15 months and everything I have been through to get here to the finals.” Said Djokovic, who missed six months of 2017 due to an elbow injury.
“It is one of the longest matches I’ve ever played. I’m just overwhelmed.”

At the start of the fourth set, Nadal saved two break points to battle through a 16-minute opening service game during what was a set of cat and mouse chase. The Spaniard then stormed to a 3-0 lead with the help of his sublime aggressive play. Only for a determined Djokovic to draw back and level 3-3. Nadal continued to apply pressure on his opponent and once again got rewarded for it. A low shot trigger a Djokovic forehand slamming into the net to gift another break to the second seed and the chance to serve the set out. A task that was far from simple. Nadal recovered from a 0-40 deficit by winning five points in a row. Forcing the match into a decider with the help of an ace.

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With a minimum prize money pay-check of £1.125 million at stake for the winner, there was little disparity between Nadal and Djokovic during the closing stages. Paving the way for a marathon 18-game final set that will go down as one of the most memorable in the history of their 52-match rivalry.  In total the 111-point set featured 14 aces and 42 winners.

Ultimately, it was a single falter that would prove instrumental in the outcome of the encounter. That was the case for Nadal more than five hours into the match. Serving behind 8-9, a slip on the grass enabled Djokovic return the ball in to work his way to three match points. His place in the final was then sealed after a Nadal forehand drifted out. Prompting Djokovic to look up at the air in delight.

“It (the match) was really special. I think it could have gone either way. It was very clear that few things separated the two players. I didn’t know if I was going to win until the last shot. I believed it, but I knew that he was very close.” Djokovic reflected.
“These are the kind of matches you live for. You work for.“ He later added.

A win away from his 13th grand slam title, Djokovic will next take on Kevin Anderson.  On Friday the South African prevailed over John Isner after six hours and 35 minutes of play. Making it the second longest match in Wimbledon history.

“Hopefully we can both play.” Djokovic joked about the upcoming final. “It has been a roller-coaster ride for him in the last couple rounds. He has had a day off, which means a lot. I wish I could have one.
“I’m in the finals of Wimbledon. It is an incredible achievement for me after what I have been through. I’m just trying to digest it for and then look ahead.”

Djokovic has now won 250 matches in grand slams. He leads Anderson 5-1 in their head-to-head and has won both of their previous meetings at Wimbledon.

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Rival Backs Dominic Thiem To Win Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award

Only two players have won the award since 2004.

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For the past 15 years only two players have managed to get their hands on the prestigious Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award, but one player thinks there could be a brand new winner this year.

 

Diego Schwartzman has lent his support behind world No.4 Dominic Thiem. The award recognizes those who have conducted the highest level of professionalism and integrity on the ATP Tour throughout the season. Established in 1977, Roger Federer has won the honour in 13 out of the past 15 years. The only other player to triumph during that period was Rafael Nadal, who won it in 2010 and 2018.

“I think Thiem can win it, he showed throughout the year a competitiveness and a respect with everyone that was spectacular,” Schwartzman told ole.com. “On top of that he is having great years of his career and this season was even better for the achievements he had.’
“He has a good chance of winning it.” He added.

Schwartzman, who reached the quarter-finals of the US Open earlier this year, has also been shortlisted for the award. Along with regular nominees Federer and Nadal. Only once has an Argentinian player won the title, which was José Luis Clerc back in 1981. At that time it was known as the ATP Sportsmanship award before getting renamed in 1996.

“I learned first (of getting nominated) through social networks rather than the official designation that the ATP sends you by mail.” The 27-year-old revealed.
“It is more spectacular than anything for the players I have next to me. It is a very important prize that recognizes a little what you do off the court, not only hitting the ball.”

Whilst he is dreaming of winning the honour himself, Schwartzman is just happy that he has been nominated.

“If I won this award, it would be spectacular. Now I am on that payroll that is very good and represents the values ​​that I try to maintain on a day-to-day basis and that (my coaching teams over the years) have taught me. It is very nice to be recognized for that. “ He concluded.

The four nominees for the Stefan Edberg Award was shortlisted by the ATP. However, it will be the players who will decide the winner. The result will be revealed later this month.

Multiple winners of the Stefan Edberg/ATP Sportsmanship award

Roger Federer – 13
Stefan Edberg – 5
Pat Rafter – 4
Alex Corretja – 2
Todd Martin – 2
Paradorn Srichaphan – 2
Rafael Nadal – 2

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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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