Novak Djokovic Dominates Nadal To Win Historic 7th Australian Open Title - UBITENNIS
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Novak Djokovic Dominates Nadal To Win Historic 7th Australian Open Title

The top seed produced an emphatic display to seal his third consecutive grand slam title and 15th overall.

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World No.1 Novak Djokovic has become the most successful male player in Australian Open history after crushing Rafael Nadal 6-3, 6-2, 6-3, to claim his seventh title in Melbourne Park.

The top seed showed little weakness during what was undoubtedly his best performance in the entire tournament this year. Taking on Nadal, who last won the Melbourne title in 2008, Djokovic toppled him with the help of a sublime serving display. Winning 81% of his service points. Furthermore, the Serbian hit 34 winners to nine unforced errors and faced just one break point throughout the entire encounter. Making it one of the most dominant displays he has ever produced against the Spaniard in their historic rivalry.

“I’m just trying to contemplate the journey in the last 12 months.” An emotional Djokovic reflected during his trophy ceremony.
“I had the surgery exactly 12 months ago so to be standing in front of you today and to win this title and three out of four Slams is amazing. I’m speechless.”

The clash on the Rod Laver Arena was the 53rd instalment of one of the most prestigious rivalries in the history of tennis. Prior to the clash, Djokovic narrowly lead their head-to-head 27-25. Pointing potentially to a close encounter between the two in Melbourne. However, the start to the match saw a stark disparity between the two.

Djokovic looked to be at home from the onset on a court that has brought him so much success. Meanwhile, Nadal was nervous and tentative with a series of errors undoing him. Throughout the opener, the world No.1 produced a serving Masterclass by winning 24 out of 25 points behind his serve. In contrast, Nadal dropped his first service game after hitting back-to-back errors. That sole break was enough to clinch Djokovic the first set. Serving for the 6-3 lead, a 21-shot rally concluded with a Nadal backhand ploughing into the net. Granting Djokovic his first set point, which he converted with the help of another mistake from across the court.

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Applying pressure onto the 17-time grand slam champion, Djokovic continued his emphatic offensive. Capitalising on yet another lacklustre service game from Nadal, which featured four unforced errors, the Serbian broke for a 3-2 lead in the second frame. Continuing to draw blood, the double break was soon secured with the help of some spectacular play from Djokovic. Who was producing his best level of tennis. Storming to a two-set lead, Djokovic close it out with a love service game that ended with an ace out wide.

Steam-rolling towards his 15th grand slam title, which is the third highest in the Open Era, Djokovic continued to dismantle his opponent. Capitalising on the backfiring of Nadal’s trademark forehand down the line, another early break in the third set move him to a 3-1 lead. Doing so with the help of a drop shot.

It wasn’t until almost 110 minutes into the match that Djokovic faced his first break point. A clear indication of his dominance against the world No.2. Once again he denied Nadal the chance of generating momentum as he fought back to hold serve and edge closer to the title with a 4-2 lead in the third set. Destroying the mini threat, it was a pulsating forehand winner down the line that granted Djokovic a duo of match points. After failing to convert his first, he prevailed on his second after a Nadal backhand drifted long.

Nadal vows to be better

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After being denied the chance to end his 11-year title drought in Melbourne, Nadal has vowed to improve his game further. The Australian Open was his first tournament on the tour since September. In recent months the 32-year-old has been blighted by injury issues concerning his knee, abdomen and thigh. On top of that, he also underwent minor surgery on his ankle in November.

“It has been an emotional two weeks. Even if tonight wasn’t my best day, I had somebody that played much better than me tonight.” Said Nadal.
“It’s been a very important two weeks for me. I have been going through some tough moments over the past year. Only having the chance to play in nine events and having to retire in two of them.

Now with his injury woes hopefully behind him, Nadal hopes his Melbourne run will elevate him to success later on in the season. In the tournament he scored two wins over seeded players – Alex de Minaur and Stefanos Tsitsipas.

“I really believed I played some good tennis. This is going to be some good energy for what’s coming.” He said.
“I’m going to keep playing hard, keep fighting hard to be a better player.”

The resurgence of Nadal has also gained praise from Djokovic. He has now lost eight consecutive matches against the Serbian on a hard-court.

“You are showing to me and all your other colleagues what is the definition of the fighting spirit and resilience.” Djokovic said during his tribute to Nadal.

The hat-trick of hat-tricks

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Djokovic has now won three consecutive grand slam titles in a row after Wimbledon and the US Open. He has become the first player in history to claim three consecutive major trophies on three different occasions. He has previously done so during 2011-2012 and 2015-2016.

“I would like to thank my team for supporting me. It is an individual sport, but you guys tolerate me on my bad days. Putting together a great successful formal that is working.” Djokovic said.
“Marian (Vajda) thanks for coming back to my team.” He later added.

Underlining his status as world No.1, Djokovic exits Melbourne with 2000 ranking points and AUS$4.1 Million in prize money.

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Dominic Thiem Edges Cuevas To Remain Unbeaten In Buenos Aires, Schwartzman Awaits

Dominic Thiem has extended his unbeaten streak to 11 matches in Bueno Aires after edging past Pablo Cuevas to reach the semi-finals.

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Dominic Thiem (@SectaDeportivaa - Twittter)

Dominic Thiem won an 11th consecutive match in Buenos Aires as he edged out Pablo Cuevas 4-6 6-4 6-3 to reach the semi-finals. 

After a slow start the Austrian won 73% of first service points to seal a place in the last four as he made it 11-0 in the Argentinian capital.

In the semi-finals he will play good friend and doubles partner this week Diego Schwartzman, who comfortably beat Albert Ramos-Vinolas.

The other semi-final will see Roland Garros semi-finalist Marco Cecchinato take on Guido Pella, who saved match points against Jaume Munar.

There was a threat to Thiem’s unbeaten streak early on as his Uruguayan opponent got off to the perfect start with a break in the third game.

Struggling on serve and failing to create any break point opportunities Thiem surrendered the first set in 34 minutes to the world number 78.

However the world number eight adjusted tactically and remained focused on the task at hand as he took a 3-0 lead. Despite being broke back while serving for the set, the top seed broke straight back to force a deciding set as he looked a relieved figure.

The deciding set went in similar fashion with the only exception being that Thiem wasn’t broken back this time. After holding his lead from 3-0 up, Thiem served out the match to secure his first ATP semi-final of the season.

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After edging past Cuevas, the world number eight will now play Diego Schwartzman in the last four in what is set to be a busy day for the duo.

Not only will they play against each other in singles, they will also team up with each other in doubles as they reached the semi-finals there as well.

The talented Argentinian defeated Albert Ramos-Vinolas 6-q 7-5 to reach the last four in his home country and will look to end Thiem’s unbeaten streak on Saturday afternoon.

The other semi-final will see Marco Cecchinato play Guido Pella with the action starting at 2pm local time.

While in New York the action starts at 4pm local time with Brayden Schnur taking on Sam Querrey and John Isner playing Reilly Opelka in the semi-finals.

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Dominic Thiem Extends Unbeaten Run As Ferrer Says Farewell To The Argentina Open

There were mixed emotions for players at the Buenos Aires Lawn Tennis Club on Thursday.

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Dominic Thiem (image via @sportsvision)

Top seed Dominic Thiem has made a winning start to the Argentina Open after triumphing in what was his first competitive match for a month.

The Roland Garros finalist has been absent from the tour in recent weeks after retiring from the Australian Open due to illness. During his absence, Thiem underwent a series of tests to establish the root of his problem and has been cleared to return to the tour.

Taking on Germany’s Maximilian Marterer in his opening match on Thursday, the Austrian powered his way to a 6-4, 6-4, victory. Converting four out of his eight break point opportunities. However, there is still room for improvement for Thiem, who only managed to win 48% of the points behind his second serve. The victory is his 10th consecutive at the tournament in Buenos Aires.

“I like the conditions here. I was able to develop a good performance to win it.” Thiem said afterwards.

This week the world No.8 is being mentored by Nicolas Massu. A former top 10 players who is best known for winning a gold medal at the 2004 Olympic Games. It is understood that the partnership is set to last only a week, however, Austrian newspaper Kleine Zeitung have suggested that it could be extended if proven successful.

In the quarter-finals Thiem will take on Pablo Cuevas. Cuevas, who has won all six of his ATP titles on the clay, knocked out Portuguese fifth seed Joao Sousa 6-4, 7-5.

“He is one of the best players on the clay.” Said Thiem. “We already played at Roland Garros and a Master 1000, so I’m expecting an open match.”

Thiem is currently tied at 2-2 in his head-to-head with the Uruguayan player.

Farewell continues his goodbye tour

Three-time champion David Ferrer has played his last ever match at the Buenos Aires Lawn Tennis Club. The Spaniard, who will officially retire from the tour in May, was edged out in a three set roller coaster against Albert Ramos-Vinolas. Ferrer failed to convert two match points during the second set as he suffered a 3-6, 7-6(9), 6-3 defeat.

“I feel at home because of the love they (the crowd) have for me. Loved.” Ferrer said following his loss.
“Without a doubt. It is very special since I will not step on this court again. What I will miss most is your affection.”

Ferrer is one of only two players in history to have won the tournament three years in a row. The other was Argentine legend Guillermo Vilas during the 1970s. Following his first round win there was a special presentation conducted to honour his career. Attendees to the on-court presentation included Gabriela Sabatini, Martin Jaite, Federico Delbonis, Marc Lopez, Diego Schwartzman, Juan Ignacio Chela, Mariano Zabaleta, Juan Monaco and Gaston Gaudio.

Ferrer’s conqueror Ramos-Vinolas will take on fourth seed Diego Schwartzman next. Schwartzman defeated Aljaz Bedene 6-4, 2-6, 6-2.

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Kei Nishikori cruises past Ernests Gulbis to cruise through to the quarter final in Rotterdam

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This year’s Brisbane champion Kei Nishikori cruised past Ernests Gulbis 6-1 6-4 to advance to the quarter final at the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam.

Nishikori reeled off the first 12 points of the match and broke serve twice to race out to a 5-0 lead. The Japanese star went up an early break at 15 in the first game of the second set. Gulbis broke back in the sixth game to draw level to 3-3, but Nishikori broke for the fourth time in the ninth game and served out the match 6-4 with an ace in the 10th game.

Nishikori lost just once in his eleven matches played this year. He beat Danil Medvedev in the final in Brisbane and reached the quarter final at the Australian Open before losing to eventual champion Novak Djokovic.

Nishikori sets up a quarter final against Hungary’s Marton Fucsovics, who beat Nikoloz Basilashvili 7-6 (7-1) 6-1.

Basilashvili got the first break of the match in the fifth game of the opening set to take a 3-2 lead. Fucsovics pulled the break back in the tenth game at 15 to draw level to 5-5 before winning the tie-break 7-1. In the second set Fucsovics broke three times in the first, third and seventh games to win the third set 6-1.

Fucsovics continues his impressive period of form one week after finishing runner-up to Danil Medvedev in the final of the Sofia Open.

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga edged Tallon Griekspoor 7-6 (7-5) 6-1 to secure his spot in the quarter final against Danil Medvedev. Tsonga lost to Medvedev 7-6 (7-2) 6-2 in the semifinal of the Brisbane International.

Griekspoor fended off four set points on serve in the first set, before Tsonga closed out the tie-break 7-5 with an unreturned serve after 54 minutes. Tsonga broke serve in the third game of the second set when Griekspoor made two consecutive forehand errors. Tsonga got his third break with a backhand return winner to close out the match improving his winning streak to seven matches.

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