Rafael Nadal Out To Rediscover His Form In Barcelona Following Recent Blip - UBITENNIS
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Rafael Nadal Out To Rediscover His Form In Barcelona Following Recent Blip

The King of clay addresses his current form as he hopes to get back on track ahead of the French Open.

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Rafael Nadal (photo by chryslène caillaud, copyright @Sport Vision)

Heading into this year’s Barcelona Open, former world No.1 Rafael Nadal finds himself in unfamiliar territory.

 

For the first time since 2004, the 32-year-old enters the Real Club de Tenis Barcelona 1899 without winning a title so far this season. Nadal has only played in four tournaments prior to Barcelona Open after being briefly sidelined from action once again by a knee injury. He kicked-off his campaign on the clay in Monte Carlo last week, where he suffered a shock loss to eventual champion Fabio Fognini. A match he described as one of the worst he had ever played on the surface.

“My personal opinion is that I played one of the worst matches on clay. It’s a reality. There is no need to hide it. I do not see the benefit of wanting to deny it,” Nadal told reporters on Monday. “What has happened has happened.”

Nadal is now on a journey to rediscover his form ahead of the French Open. During the European swing on clay, he is defending 4680 ranking points. The highest amount on the tour. Despite his absence and the setbacks, the Spaniard has reached the semi-finals or better in seven out of the past eight tournaments he has played in.

“It is true that I have not won any titles, but I reached the final in Australia, semi-finals in Indian Wells and now semi-finals again in Monte-Carlo. The year is not bad and I’m third in the [ATP Race To London], but with more problems than I would have liked,” he said.
“The job is to find myself. During the last 18 months, I have had too many stops and ups and downs, non-tennis related. And when that happens, it’s hard to pick up rhythm and continuity. But it is true that it has happened so many times, and that after things go well… everything that happened seems to be forgotten. I hope to be ready to play well. And if it is not here, it will be in Madrid, in Rome or at Roland Garros.”

It is hoped that Nadal can get back on track at the Barcelona Open. A tournament he has dominated over the years by winning the title a record 11 titles. Overall, he has a win-loss record of 58-3 at the event. In 2017 the premier court was renamed in his honour.

“I lost a good opportunity to start the season in a fantastic way. But I’ve now got another one.” Nadal explained.
“We will know more about my form on Wednesday. This is a very special tournament that is part of the history of tennis and of my own.
“I have another morning to practice and we will see how we are doing. On a physical level, I’m more or less well.”

Nadal will take on Leonardo Mayer in his first match on Wednesday. The Argentine downed Marius Copil 6-3, 6-7(3), 7-5, in the first round. In their head-to-head, Nadal leads 5-0 and has only ever lost one set against Mayer.

How many points is Nadal defending in the coming weeks?

2018 Points defending – 4680 :-
– Monte-Carlo: 1000 (champion)*
– Barcelona: 500 (champion)
– Madrid: 180 (quarter-finals)
– Rome: 1000 (champion)
– Roland Garros: 2000 (champion)

* Last week, Nadal lost in the semi-finals in Monte Carlo and dropped 500 points.

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Alexander Zverev edged past Hugo Dellien to reach the semifinal in Geneva

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World number 5 and 2018 Nitto ATP Finals champion Alexander Zverev battled past Bolivian player Hugo Dellien 7-5 3-6 6-3 to reach the semifinal at the Banque Eric Sturdza Geneva Open. Zverev is still seeking his first title of the year.

 

Dellien earned the first break in the second game to take a 3-0 lead. Zverev converted his fourth break-back chance in the fifth game and held his serve to draw level to 3-3. Zverev saved a set point at 3-5 at 3-5, while Dellien was serving at 40-30.

Dellien needed one break in the fourth game to win the second set 6-3. Zverev held serve in the third game at the seventh deuce after seven deuces to take a 2-1 lead. The German player got the decisive break in the fourth game and held his serve at love to build up a 4-1 lead. Zverev never looked back to win the third set 6-3.

“I played very aggressive in the important moments. I was very aggressive also in break points down, This is finally something I was looking for in the last few weeks. I think today I showed it”, said Zverev.

Radu Albot came back from 2-4 down to beat Damir Dzumhur 6-3 7-5. Albot went up a double break in the third and fifth games to open up a 4-1 lead. Dzumhur pulled one break back in the sixth game for 2-4, but Albot broke for the third time on her third break point chance to win the first set 6-3.

Dzumhur went up an early break in the first game of the second set. Albot broke back in the eight game to draw level to 4-4 and sealed the win with his second break in the 10th game.

Albot will take on Nicolas Jarry, who dropped just four of his first service points to defeat Taro Daniel 6-1 7-5.

 

 

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Nikoloz Basilashvili sets up Lyon semifinal against Felix Auger Aliassime

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Four-time ATP Tour finalist Nikoloz Basilashvili secured his spot in the semifinal where he will face Felix Auger Aliassime in Lyon

 

Basilashvili came back from an early break down to beat Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-4 6-4 in the quarter final of the Parc Auvergne Rhone Alpes Lyon.

Tsonga got an early break in the second game to take a 2-0 lead, but Basilashvili recovered from the early start by breaking serve twice in the third and seventh games to take a 4-3 lead. The Georgian player held his final two service games at 30 to close out the opening set 6-4.

Basilashvili needed only a break in the third game of the second set to clinch the second set 6-4 to reach his first semifinal since winning the China Open in 2018.

Basilashvili set up a semifinal clash against this year’s Rio de Janeiro finalist and Miami Open champion Felix Auger Aliassime, who edged Steve Johnson 6-4 2-6 6-4. Auger Aliassime got a break of serve in the third game to clinch the opening set 6-4. Johnson bounced back by breaking twice in the second and eighth game to claim the second set 6-2. Auger Aliassime went up a double break in the third and fifth games to build up a 5-2 lead, but Johnson pulled one break back in the eighth game, when the 18-year-old player was serving for the match. Auger Aliassime served out for the match 6-4 in the 10th game.

Benoit Paire battled past Denis Shapovalov 6-3 4-6 7-6 (7-4) in 1 hour and 55 minutes. Paire broke serve twice in the fifth and ninth games to seal the opening set 6-3. Shapovalov claimed his only break in the fifth game to win the second set 6-4. Paire saved a total of three break points in the first and third games. Both players held on their service games en route to the tie-break. Paire reeled off the final three points from 4-4 to claim the tie-break 7-4.

Taylor Fritz fought back from one set down to beat Roberto Bautista Agut 6-7 (6-8) 6-3 6-4 after two hours and five minutes. Bautista Agut fended off one set point at 5-6 to take the tie-break of the opening set. Fritz fought back to open up a 3-0 lead with a break in the second game to claim the second set 6-4. The US player earned the decisive break in he ninth game to secure his spot in his first semifinal since the 2018 Chengdu Open.

 

 

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Tomas Berdych to Miss French Open For The First Time Since 2003

It will be the third grand slam the former top 10 player has missed within the past 12 months.

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Tomas Berdych (photo by chryslène caillaud)

Former Wimbledon runner-up Tomas Berdych will not play any clay court tournaments in 2019 after withdrawing from the upcoming French Open.

 

The 33-year-old has been absent from the tour since his first round loss to Feliciano Lopez in Indian Wells. Berdych has been hampered by issues within his back in recent weeks. He has been hoping to be fit in time for Roland Garros, but made a decision to withdraw from the event on Wednesday.

“I am not 100% ready to play the way I want and need to be competitive on the courts I love so much,” Berdych wrote on social media.
“I came to Paris and I had to take a tough decision and want another few days to fully recover and be ready for the grass season.”
“I love this tournament so much but I have to make sure not to further injure myself,” he added.

The Czech had played at the tournament every year since making his debut back in 2004. However, the French Open is his worst performing grand slam in terms of wins. So far in his career, Berdych has won 25 out of 40 matches played at the French Open. His stand out performance occurred in 2010 when he reached the semi-finals before losing to Sweden’s Robin Soderling.

It is not the first time back issues have forced Berdych out of action. In 2017 he was advised by doctors to end his season early due to persistent ‘back pain.’ He was also forced to skip both Wimbledon and the US Open due to the same problem.

Berdych, who last won a title at the 2016 Shenzhen Open, has played six tournaments so far this year. His best result occurred in January with a run to the final of the Qatar Open. He also reached the fourth round of the Australian Open and was a semi-finalist in Montpellier.

As a result of his absence, Berdych is currently ranked 100th in the world rankings. He will be replaced in the French Open draw by a lucky loser.

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