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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Fabio Fognini Hits Out At ‘Inexplicable’ Disqualification From Barcelona Open

The world No.27 has protested his innocence after losing his temper over a call made by an official.

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Italy’s Fabio Fognini describes the decision to kick him out of the Barcelona Open on Wednesday as a ‘shock’ and has vowed to look further into the matter.

 

The 33-year-old was taking on Spanish qualifier Bernabe Zapata Miralles in the second round of the tournament where he was trailing the match 0-6, 4-4. After losing his temper, the world No.27 is said to have been verbally abusive towards a lines official and was subsequently defaulted from the match for his behaviour. The incident occurred over a line call decision which Fognini didn’t agree with.

On court, he tried to protest his innocence by telling the umpire ‘I didn’t say anything’ but it failed to overturn the decision. Leaving Fognini fuming as he broke his racket on purpose.

Speaking to reporters afterwards, the Italian continued to protest his innocence in the match and said he would ‘investigate’ the matter. It is unclear what he is referring to but players are allowed to make an appeal against any fine if they feel it is unjust.

“I’m really surprised with the ATP, especially the chair umpire and the supervisor, because I was here to play tennis, I was here to fight in the match, and even if I was losing, doesn’t matter,” he said. “But what they did to me was something inexplicable, so I’m going to investigate it, but nothing more, I paid for something that I didn’t do, that’s the first and clearest thing that everybody has to know.”

Zapata Miralles said he was initially unaware of what was going on in his clash with Fognini as he was focusing on closing out the match. Barcelona is only the seventh ATP main draw he has played in so far in his career.

“I was on the other side of the court, I wasn’t listening to be honest,” Tennis Majors quoted the 24-year-old as saying afterwards. “When I saw the referee on the court, I asked the umpire what’s going on. But I was focused on my work on the court, I was thinking on the next point, the next game, on things I had to focus on.”

Fognini has never previously been defaulted from a tennis match but he is no stranger to controversy. At the 2017 US Open he was fined $24,000 for insulting a female chair umpire and at the 2019 Wimbledon Championships he was heard saying ‘I wish a bomb would explode on this club.’ He later apologised for his remarks.

Zapata Miralles will play compatriot Pablo Carreno Busta in the third round.

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Matteo Berrettini beats Marco Cecchinato in all-Italian match in Belgrade

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Number 2 seed Matteo Berrettini beat Marco Cecchinato 6-4 6-3 after 1 hour and 21 minutes in an all-Italian match to advance to the quarter finals at the Serbia Open in Belgrade. 

 

Berrettini broke serve three times and saved all three break points he faced showing that he is returning to his best form after an abdominal injury, which forced him ahead of his fourth-round match at the Australian Open. 

Berrettini saved three break points in the fourth game before earning his first break at 30 in the fifth game to take a 3-2 lead. Berrettini dropped just five points in his final three service games to win the first set 6-4. 

Berrettini went up a set and a break at 15 and never looked back in his next service games. He sealed the match 6-3 with his third break in the ninth game. 

This year Berrettini earned three top 15 wins to lead Italy to the ATP Cup in Melbourne. Last week he lost his opening match against Alejandro Davidovich Fokina in the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters. 

“Confidence is something that goes away, it comes back. For sure I know that is my level. I know that I can play that kind of tennis. I work hard to be there, to be in good shape. It was obviously a shame. I work hard to be there, to be in good shape. It obviously was a shame. I was sad about my injury, but I know that I can play well on clay, on grass and on hard-court”, said Berrettini. 

Berrettini set up a match against Serbia’s Filip Krajnovic, who eased past Nikola Milojevic 6-1 6-1. Berretini defeated Krajinovic in their only previous head-to-head match in the Budapest final in 2019. 

“It’s going to be very tough. He is top 10, he is a huge champion. He is very tough to play against. I played him once in the final of an ATP Tour event and he beat me, so I know how to play. It’s going to be very tricky, very tough, but I will give my best playing on my court. We see how it goes”, said Krajinovic. 

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Felix Auger Aliassime battles back to beat Lorenzo Musetti in Barcelona

Felix Auger-Aliassime reached the third round in Barcelona, where he will meet Denis Shapovalov.

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Felix Auger-Aliassime (@BATennisCom - Twitter)

The Canadian needed three sets and over two hours to get the win and set up a third round encounter with his good friend Denis Shapovalov.

 

Felix Auger Aliassime needed two hours and five minutes to beat the Italian Lorenzo Musetti 4-6, 6-3, 6-0 hitting nine aces in the win and setting up his next match with fellow Canadian Denis Shapovalov.

“It’s not always easy, to be honest, now I’m sitting here, I am happy that I won but things were difficult at some point in the match, I was facing breakpoints in the second set again and things got tight so trying to stay calm, trying to find solutions that was the main goal, I mean there was some ups and downs but in the end, I’m happy with the way the match ended, sometimes your not playing your best tennis but you gotta believe and have courage and fight through”.

The Italian got off to a great start earning a breakpoint in the opening game of the match but the Montreal native was able to save it and hold serve. At 1-1, the world number 20 was under pressure once again but hung in to save the breakpoint.

The Canadian got his first breakpoint of the match at 2-1 but this time it was the Italian who would do a good job of saving it. The very next game the world number 87 went back to work trying to get the early break and this time he was able to pull it off with a superb lob to take a 3-2 lead.

He would serve out the first set to take it 6-4 and a comeback was required if the Canadian didn’t want to be upset at the hands of the Italian.

The world number 87 kept it going in the beginning of the second set earning more breakpoints in the opening game but the Canadian would save both and hold serve.

The very next game the number 10 seed would set up two breakpoints with a stunning forehand winner and would break for the first time in the match to take a 2-0 lead.

The next game the Canadian struggled on serve and the Italian earned two more breakpoints and broke right back to go back on serve. At 3-2 the Montreal native would have another chance to break but the world number 87 would save it again.

At 4-3 the Italian started to get tight and the world number 20 earned three more chances to break and this time would break through to take a 5-3 lead and serve out the second set to send it into a decider.

Clearly the momentum was with the Canadian and he would earn three more breakpoints in the opening service game of the third set and broke to take a 1-0 lead.

After consolidating the break he would earn three more breakpoints and break once more to go up a double break. At the changeover Musetti called for the trainer and took a medical timeout to have work on his lower back.

The Canadian didn’t give in and after holding serve once again he would earn more breakpoints and break one more time and would serve out the match to win the decider with a 6-0 bagel.

As mentioned this win sets up a match with Denis Shapovalov on Thursday with both players meeting a total of four times and each player has two wins.

After the match Auger Aliassime spoke about the matchup and gave Ubitennis his thoughts.

“I feel like we played quite a lot lately and the past year so It’s always a challenge to play him, hopefully, I can play a good match, we can have a great battle but it’s always a tough task so I’ll try to rest and get ready as good as I can for the match tomorrow”.

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