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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Injury-Hit Borna Coric Reacts To First Grand Slam Win In 16 Months

The Croat admits he was unsure how his shoulder would hold up in his opening match at Roland Garros.

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Borna Coric - US Open 2020 (via Twitter, @usopen)

Borna Coric said he is relieved that his body managed to hold up during his opening win at the French Open on Sunday.

 

The former world No.12 spent almost three hours on the court before defeating Spain’s Carlos Taberner 3-6, 6-2, 6-3, 6-1, in what was his first Grand Slam match of any kind since the 2021 Australian Open. Paris is only the seventh tournament Coric has played in since returning to the Tour following a year-long absence due to shoulder surgery. The 25-year-old is yet to win back-to-back matches this season.

It does feel great. I didn’t know what to expect in terms of my shoulder because I’ve never been in the fourth set, fifth set (of a match) for one-and-a-half years,” said Coric.
“So it was also kind of worrying for me, I didn’t know what to expect, I didn’t know how I’m going to feel and how my whole body is going to behave in those later sets. Obviously I’ve been practicing it, but it’s really never the same.”

Impressively the Croat produced a total of 54 winners against 39 unforced errors in his latest match in the French capital. Furthermore, he won 76% of his first service points and 53% of his second.

“The last few weeks haven’t been very easy, I lost many tight matches. I mean, I was also quite happy with my tennis, but I was just losing,” he reflected.

Coric was once tipped to be the future of men’s tennis after rising quickly up the ranks at a young age. In 2014 he was the youngest player to end the season in the top 100 and a year last he was the youngest to do so in the top 50. He has recorded a total of nine wins over top five players, including Roger Federer, as well as winning two Tour titles.

In the second round at Roland Garros Coric will take on the formidable Grigor Dimitrov who has been ranked as high as third in the world. He will enter the clash as the underdog given his ongoing comeback from injury. At present Coric’s principal focus is on his body but that will change in the coming weeks.

Until Wimbledon my health needs to come first and after Wimbledon I can kind of try to switch in my mind so I can start playing more and more tournaments. I can train more and I can focus more on the tennis rather than on my shoulder,” he explains.

Coric has reached the third round of the French Open on four previous occasions.

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Roger Federer’s Team8 Considering Bid To Buy Cincinnati Masters Rights From USTA

The potential move has gained support from one former world No.1 player who says ‘it is nice to see responsible names’ in the mix to buy the prestigious event.

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Roger Federer Wimbledon 2021
Roger Federer (SUI) playing against Adrian Mannarino (FRA) in the first round of the Gentlemen's Singles on Centre Court at The Championships 2021. Held at The All England Lawn Tennis Club, Wimbledon. Day 2 Tuesday 29/06/2021. Credit: AELTC/Jed Leicester

It is understood that sports and entertainment company Team8 which was co-founded by Roger Federer is looking into potentially submitting an application for ownership of the Cincinnati Masters, according to two sources.

 

Sports business publication Sportico and Steve Weissman from The Tennis Channel have both reported that the business is among a number of interested parties who want to buy the event that is best known as the Western and Southern Open. In February this year it was confirmed that the USTA is selling their 93.8% stake in the tournament for a ‘nine-figure sum.’ It is understood that the organization doesn’t want the event to be relocated from Cincinnati in part of any deal.

“The USTA’s Board of Directors believes now is the right time to explore potential strategic options and alternatives in order to optimize the long-term growth of the tournament and take the tournament to the next level,” the USTA said in a statement published by tennis.com.

The USTA brought the rights to the men’s event back in 2009 for $12.5M and has since spent an additional $65M. Whilst Cincinnati is a combined tournament, the ongoing negotiations only apply to the men’s section. The women’s tournament is overseen by Octagon management.

Neither Federer or a member of Team8 have commented on the reported plans. The company was founded by the 20-time Grand Slam champion and his agent Tony Godsick back in 2013. Since then they have been involved in the creation of the Laver Cup, became a ‘major investor’ in the Universal Tennis system and are a ‘strategic investor and partner’ to On Running.

Should Team8 become the new owners, questions may arise about conflicts of interest with Federer still being an active player on Tour. The 40-year-old is currently sidelined from action due to a knee injury but is aiming to stage a comeback at the Swiss Open later this year. However, former world No.1 Andy Roddick has given his full backing to the possible takeover.

“In the world of tennis, where conflicts of interest know no bounds at all, Roger can do this. He has, obviously, been a great steward for the game and has created an incredible relationship with the fans in the city of Cincinnati. You’d like to see it stay in the tennis family with someone who actually knows and loves our sport.” Roddick told The Tennis Channel.

Federer has won the Cincinnati Masters a record seven times in his career.

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Daniil Medvedev ‘Happy To Play Wimbledon’ If Ban Is Lifted

The world No.2 says he is willing to speak with other players about the situation ahead of his return to action following surgery.

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Daniil Medvedev (RUS) in action against Jan-Lennard Struff (GER) in the first round of the Gentlemen's Singles on No.1 Court at The Championships 2021. Held at The All England Lawn Tennis Club, Wimbledon. Day 2 Tuesday 29/06/2021. Credit: AELTC/Edward Whitaker

Daniil Medvedev says he is still hopeful that he might be able to play at this year’s Wimbledon Championships should officials at The All England Club decide to change their stance.

 

At present the reigning US Open champion will not be allowed to play at the grass court major due to his nationality. Officials at the Grand Slam have confirmed that Russian and Belarussian players have been banned from the event due to the war in Ukraine. Ian Hewitt, who is the chairman of The AELTC, said the action was taken in order to prevent ‘the propaganda machine of the Russian regime’ from potentially benefiting from their players’ success.

The ban is a controversial move for the sport which until now had a united approach when it came to allowing those players participate in tournaments but only as neutral athletes. Former Wimbledon champions Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokopvic and Andy Murray have all expressed some degree of opposition to the decision. Meanwhile, the ATP and WTA are considering the possibility of removing the allocation of ranking points at the event.

Speaking about the ban ahead of this week’s Geneva Open, Medvedev acknowledges that it is a ‘tricky situation’ but is still hopeful that a u-turn could occur which would allow him to play. The 26-year-old has made four main draw appearances at Wimbledon with his best result being a run to the fourth round last year.

“There has been a lot of talk around it. I just tried to follow what’s happening because I don’t have any decisions to make. It’s right now about Wimbledon itself, the ATP, maybe the British government is involved,” news agency AFP quoted Medvedev as telling reporters in Switzerland.
“It’s a tricky situation and like every situation in life, you ask 100 players, everybody’s going to give a different opinion.
“I can play: I’m going to be happy to play in Wimbledon. I love this tournament.
“I cannot play: well, I’m going to try to play other tournaments and prepare well for next year if I have the chance to play.”

The former world No.1 has been among a group of Russian players who have previously called for peace in the region. Although none of them have gone as far as publicly condemning the actions of their government. Something which has drawn criticism from Ukraine’s Elina Svitoliva.

“I had some time to follow what is happening, yeah, it’s very upsetting,” Medvedev commented on the war.

Geneva will be the first event Medvedev has played in since reaching the quarter-finals of the Miami Open. He took time away from the Tour to undergo hernia surgery but has confirmed he intends to play at next week’s French Open despite his lack of match play on the clay.

During his time at those events, the tennis star says he is more than happy to speak with other players about the Wimbledon ban should they want to.

“Since I haven’t been on the tour, I haven’t talked to any of them face to face. It was the first time when I came here on Saturday when I can talk to players, and if they start talking about this, we can discuss,” he said.
“I don’t know exactly what’s happening, what’s going to happen, if there are going to be more decisions made.
“Same about Wimbledon. I don’t know if this decision is 100 percent, and it’s over.”

Granted a bye in the first round, Medvedev will start his Geneva campaign against either Richard Gasquet or John Millman.

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