Rafael Nadal Outlasts Del Potro In Wimbledon Epic - UBITENNIS
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Rafael Nadal Outlasts Del Potro In Wimbledon Epic

Rafael Nadal battled hard and produced his best tennis to beat Juan Martin Del Potro in a remarkable five-set clash on Centre Court.

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Rafael Nadal edged out Juan Martin Del Potro 7-5 6-7(7) 4-6 6-4 6-4 in an amazing Centre Court encounter that lasted almost five hours.

The win earns the Spaniard, 32, a place in the last four at Wimbledon for the first time since 2011. He will now take on Novak Djokovic in the second semi-final on Friday.

The first set was very tight, but Nadal did most things a little bit better than Del Potro and in the end that made the difference.

He served superbly and won 24 of the 32 points played on his serve. This meant that the Argentine never had a chance to break and only got to deuce once when he was returning.

By contrast, the Spaniard successfully attacked Del Potro’s second serve and won 42% of the points against it.

This pressure enabled Nadal to earn two break points in game eight. But the Argentine saved one by outlasting the Spaniard in an excellent rally and the other with a superb cross-court forehand that the World No.1 was unable to return.

However, Nadal gained two more break points in game twelve. And this time he took the second of them when Del Potro hit a backhand into the net.

Del Potro gains the upper hand

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The second set was even closer as neither player gave an inch in the first eight games. Both the Argentine and the Spaniard served superbly and held with ease to make it 4-4.

Then Del Potro made his move. He put Nadal under pressure and the World No.1 made four uncharacteristic forehand errors to drop his serve for the first time in the match.

Unfortunately for the World No.4, he failed to serve it out. He double-faulted to gift the Spaniard a break-back point and Nadal seized his moment with a forehand winner down the line.

Both players held to force a tie-break, and the World No.1 looked set to win it when he earned an early mini-break. He came up with a brilliant backhand return that Del Potro had to stretch for, and the Argentine hit a forehand just long to go 2-1 down.

Nadal’s advantage soon became 6-5, and he had the chance to serve for the point he needed to go two sets up. Remarkably, he double-faulted, and three points later Del Potro crunched a forehand winner to level the match.

The pattern of serving dominance continued in the third set. Despite some entertaining rallies, neither player faced a break point until the tenth game.

Then the Spaniard faltered. He made three errors to hand the Argentine three set points. But Del Potro only needed one of them. He slammed a forehand winner down the line to go two sets to one up.

Nadal roars back

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However, Nadal is not a 17-time Grand Slam champion for nothing. He drew on all his qualities and all his experience to play a near-perfect fourth set.

The Spaniard held twice with ease and then broke to Del Potro to love in the fifth game. He almost broke the Argentine again in game nine, but the World No.4 saved two break points to keep the set alive.

It did not stay that way for long, as Nadal served out the set with ease. During it, he had won 20 out of 26 points on serve, hit 13 winners and made just three unforced errors.

Del Potro faced a difficult time on serve early in the decider. He survived a nine-minute game to establish a 2-1 lead as the Spaniard tried everything to break.

The Argentine then took Nadal to deuce but he could not force break point as the World No.1 held firm. And Del Potro’s own serve was soon under pressure again.

The Spaniard strained every sinew to hammer huge groundstrokes into every part of the court. He was rewarded with two break points.

Perhaps Nadal tried a little too hard to win the first one. Del Potro hit a cross-court short-angle forehand and the Spaniard returned it. He then tried to turn quickly to reach the next ball and fell backwards onto the grass.

The World No.1 briefly looked annoyed, but shrugged it off to slam a cross-court backhand winner past the Argentine and seal a vital break.

Nadal’s advantage almost vanished in the next game, but he dug in to save two break points and open up a 4-2 lead.

Del Potro fights but Nadal holds on

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Del Potro refused to give in. He hit a brilliant forehand on the run to earn a break point in game eight, and then almost managed to a get a backhand volley over the net at full stretch.

It developed into an epic game that lasted nearly 15 minutes. The Argentine gained two more break points but the Spaniard battled hard and saved them both before whipping in a forehand winner to make it 5-3.

After 292 extraordinary minutes on court, Nadal clinched victory with a backhand volley into the open court as Del Potro slipped again.

The Spaniard then showed his class after a brief celebration. He went over and hugged the Argentine as both players realised what an incredible match they had just shared.

“It was a very emotional match,” Nadal said in his post-match interview. “I think it was great-quality tennis, especially in the last set when there were some amazing points.”

“I feel sorry for Juan-Martin. He’s an amazing opponent and an amazing player, and in some ways he deserved the victory too. Last year I lost a match like this, but today it went for me.”

The Spaniard continued: “It’s a great feeling (to win), and it’s a very important achievement for me to be back in the Wimbledon semi-final.”

 

 

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Albert Ramos Vinolas saves two match points to battle past Andreas Seppi in Shenzhen

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World number 52 Albert Ramos Vinolas saved two match points to edge Andreas Seppi 6-7 (5-7) 7-6 (9-7) 6-3 after 2 hours and 53 minutes at the ATP 250 in Shenzhen. Seppi missed two match points in the tie-break of the second set at 6-5 and 7-6.

Seppi started the match well by winning seven consecutive points to break serve on his third opportunity. Ramos Vinolas broke straight back. The match went on serve until 5-5. The Spaniard earned his chance to serve for the set, but he failed to convert it. In the tie-break Bautista Agut went up a 3-0 lead, but Seppi reeled off six consecutive points to win the first set 7-5.

Ramos Vinolas broke serve at 30 in the second game, but he missed two chances for 4-0. Seppi broke back at 30. Seppi earned a break point at 5-5 and two match points at 6-5 7-6 on his serve but Ramos Vinolas won the final three points to win the second set 9-7.

The third set started with four break points (three for Ramos Vinolas and one for Seppi). Ramos Vinolas finally broke serve in the fifth game on his fourth opportunity and sealed the win with his double break at deuce in the ninth game.

Ramos Vinolas will face Victor Troicki, who was leading 5-3 over Guillermo Garcia Lopez, when the Spanish player was forced to retire due to a hip injury.

Frenchman Pierre-Hugues Herbert beat Dusan Lajovic 6-3 6-3 in one hour and four minutes to clinch his 20th win at the ATP 250 in Shenzhen. The World number 67 dropped just nine points in ten service games and faced just one break point and broke Lajovic once in each set.

 

Herbert got the first break of the match at 15 in the 10th game. He fended off a break point in the fifth game of the second set and earned his second break of the match in the seventh game to take a 4-3 lead and held two consecutive service games at love to reach the round of 16.

 

British young player Cameron Norrie served at 62 % and fended off all six break points to cruise past Di Wu 6-2 6-2 in 70 minutes. Norrie, who reached two consecutive semifinals in Atlanta and Los Cabos, converted on four of his seven break points. The Brit came back from 1-2 down by winning five consecutive games to seal the first set 6-2. He fended off four break points in the second game of the second set and went up a double break in the third and seventh games to race out to a 5-2 lead. Norrie sealed the win after saving two break points, as he was serving for the match in the eighth game.

 

Yoshihito Nishioka converted on five of his nive break points to cruise past Denis Kudla 6-1 6-3 in just 59 minutes. He booked his spot in the second round against either Denis Shapovalov or Ilya Ivashka.

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Dominic Thiem Wins First Indoor Title In Russia As Simon Triumphs In Metz

There was joy for Austrian and French tennis fans on Sunday.

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World No.8 Dominic Thiem has claimed his third ATP title of the season after defeating Slovakia’s Martin Klizan 6-3, 6-1, in the final of the St Petersburg Open.

Despite getting less than 50% of his first serves in, the top seed managed to dominate proceedings throughout the 67-minute encounter. Breaking Klizan three consecutive times during the final, as well as a fourth time during the closing stages of the second set. The Austrian was the more consistent out of the two on court as he hit 13 winners to 12 unforced errors. In contrast, his Slovakian opponent hit the same amount of winners, but a costly 27 errors.

“It means a lot to me. I was serving for my first indoor title, which was really amazing. That was why I got a little bit tight towards the end, but I’m really happy that I’ve won this game (match).” Thiem said during his on-court interview.

After falling on three previous occasions, the win is Thiem’s first triumph over Klizan on the ATP Tour. He has now won 48 matches this year, which is the highest number on the men’s circuit. As a result of his St Petersburg triumph, Thiem is currently placed seventh on the ATP Race to London with 3525 points. Only the top eight players will qualify for the end-of-season finale.

The performance of the Austrian, has drawn praise from Klizan. The world No.65 was bidding to become the first player to have won his first seven title matches since the ATP World Tour began in 1990. Frustrated by the outcome, Klizan has tipped his rival to top the ATP rankings in the near future.

“I wish you all the best on your way to becoming world No.1 because you are going to be very soon.” Klizan said to Thiem during the trophy ceremony.

Thiem is the sixth man to win three or more titles in 2018. Asked if he would be returning to Russia next year to defend his title, he admitted that he was unsure.

“One thing for sure is that I will come back here, but I am not sure if it will be next year or not.” He explained.
“There are many tournaments going on this week (of the ATP calendar) and it is not easy to decide.”

Simon delights home fans in Metz

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At the Moselle Open in Metz, Gilles Simon has become the second player in history to have won the tournament for a third time. Following in the footsteps of compatriot Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. The 33-year-old Frenchman outlasted German underdog Matthias Bachinger 7-6(2), 6-1. Bachinger knocked out Kei Nishikori in the semifinals of the tournament.

“Every title is special, I say to myself every time it may be the last, I’m happy to align (win) one more.” Simon reflected during his press conference.

The comprehensive performance saw Simon hit twice as many winners to unforced errors (34-17) as well as producing 10 aces. Winning his 14th ATP title and his second in 2018. Simon also triumphed at the Tata Open Maharashtra in Pune, India earlier this year.

As a result of his third triumph in Metz, Simon will return back into the world’s top 30 at 29 when the rankings are updated on Monday. It will be his highest position since March 2017. Simon has been ranked as high as sixth in the world.

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Fabio Fognini and Matteo Berrettini claim their first doubles title as a team in St. Petersburg

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The all-Italian doubles team formed by Fabio Fognini and Matteo Berrettini lifted their first doubles title as a team by beating Roman Jebavy and Matwe Middelkoop 7-6 (8-6) 7-6 (7-4) in the doubles final in St. Petersburg.

The match started with three breaks in a row. Jebavy and Middlekoop got two breaks to one to open up a 2-1 lead after the first three games. Berrettini and Fognini pulled back the break in the sixth game but they dropped their serve for the third time in the 11th game. The Italian team broke back for the third time to set up a tie-break.

The Italians wasted two consecutive set points in the tie-break but they sealed the first set on the third set point. Jebavy and Middlekoop got the first break of the second set in the second game and held their service games until the seventh game, when Fognini and Berrettini broke back. Jebavy and Middelkoop went up a break in the eighth game to open up a 5-3 lead, but Berrettini and Fognini broke back to set up a tie-break. Fognini and Berrettini reeled off three consecutive points from 4-4 to win the decisive tie-break after 1 hour and 39 minutes.

Berrettini claimed his second doubles title after lifting the Gstaad trophy with Daniele Bracciali last July. Fognini won his fifth doubles title and the first since Shenzhen in 2016.

“It was really tough for sure. I am really happy. It was a really great week for us. We played together for the first time. It’s good to leave St. Petersburg with the title”, said Fognini.

 

 

 

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