Inspired Stefanos Tsitsipas Stuns Nadal In Madrid Thriller - UBITENNIS
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Inspired Stefanos Tsitsipas Stuns Nadal In Madrid Thriller

The 20-year-old has scored a massive upset in the Spanish capital to reach his second Masters 1000 final.

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Stefanos Tsitsipas (photo by chryslène Caillaud, copyright @Sport Vision)

MADRID: Stefanos Tsitsipas’ journey to what he described as his ‘maximum potential has taken another significant step forward after he outlasted five-time champion Rafael Nadal 6-4, 2-6, 6-3, to reach the final of the Madrid Open.

 

Tsitsipas, who has won more matches on the tour than anybody else this season so far, produced a masterful display to tame and frustrate the world No.2. The ability of the Greek player to turn defense into offense drew both admiration and shock in Madrid. In total he produced 32 winners, of which 21 was from the forehand side, and saved 11 out of the 16 break points he faced.

“I felt I had more time to defend and attack, which might sound strange, but it felt like much better playing him on clay than on hard,” Tsitsipas commented about his latest match against the Spaniard. 
“I served and volleyed pretty often, not that much, but I did come to the net a few times. I was returning much better today than any other day that I have played him.’
“Return games and keeping him in the rally on his service games, being patient, trying to find the height and the depth and opening the court. That was crucial.”

The king of clay headed into the match as the heavy favorite for multiple reasons besides his ranking. In semi-finals matches play at the tournament, Nadal had only lost twice in 10 appearances. Doing so to Andy Murray in 2012 and Gilles Simon in 2008. His head-to-head record against the Greek was 3-0 with him never losing a set against him. Furthermore, he had only been broken once in 27 service games played this week.

Those statistics proved irrelevant in Nadal’s latest match with the 20-year-old. Who is already an Australian Open semi-finalist and the highest ever ranked player from his country. The usually reliable Nadal was masterfully dismantled by Tsitsipas to the amazement of the Madrid crowd. During the opening set, the Greek saw a break advantage come and go twice. However, it was third time lucky for the world no.9. A return of the Nadal serve to the corner of the court rewarded him another break and the opportunity to serve the set out. Closing in on the surprising lead, he sealed the 6-4 lead with the help of a serve down the line followed by a backhand volley at the net.

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With the prospect of a shock loss looming, a fiery Nadal responded with interest. Cheered on by his highly animated home crowd, the Spaniard began to display the play that saw him crush Stan Wawrinka on Friday. Winning 12 out of 14 points played during one stage in the second set. The dramatic recovery electrified the Caja Magica as a Tsitsipas backhand flying out enabled the five-time champion to force the match into a decider.

Despite Nadal’s resurgence, it failed to deter his younger rival. Engaged in a royal battle on the court, Tsitsipas rallied to a double break advantage to move a game away from a memorable win. Although Nadal refused to back down as he retrieved one of those breaks to narrow the margin, but it was too little too late. Three times match points came and went before the underdog secured one of the most memorable victories in his career. A Nadal backhand into the net sent him the final to his disbelief.

“It’s not been a good match.” A disappointed Nadal reflected. “I fought and did a couple of good things mentally. I trained around 5pm and it was very hot but it was more windy, colder.”
“I felt the ball better yesterday. It’s not been my best night. My opponent has been 
better when that happens you lose.’ He added.

The loss continues Nadal’s quest for the first title of 2019. Hampered by injury earlier in the season, it is the first time he hasn’t reached the final in either Monte Carlo or Madrid since 2004 when he missed those tournaments altogether.

“I think that it’s more normal what is happening right now, that what happened in the last 14 years, let’s say,” Nadal explained. “I think I have tennis ahead of me. I have time ahead of me. I’ll be able to try to win this kind of tournament that I was not able to win this year. And what I have to do is to be fit and to play properly and a high tennis level.”

Tsitsipas will play Novak Djokovic in the final on Sunday, who he defeated in Canada last year. The world No.1 prevailed in two tiebreakers over Dominic Thiem in his semi-final match. Djokovic is a two-time champion and last won the title back in 2016.

“I have never faced him on clay so I don’t know what to expect. I’m going to try to analyze some things to see the way he tries to play on clay.” The next gen star detailed about his preparation for Sunday’s final.
“I have seen plenty of his matches, but I’m going to try to adapt to the way he is playing on clay as fast as I can because I’m pretty sure he is not easy on clay, as on hard.”

Nadal is the 10th top 10 player Tsitsipas has defeated in his career.

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Dominic Thiem and Alexander Zverev reach the second round in Hamburg

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Dominic Thiem beat 2016 finalist Pablo Cuevas 6-3 7-6 (7-3) after 1 hour and 40 minutes in the first round of the Hamburg European Open to score his 24th win of the season and the 250th win of his career.

 

Thiem beat Cuevas for the fifth time in his seventh head-to-head clash against Cuevas and for the third time this year after his previous wins in Buenos Aires and at Roland Garros.

Thiem broke serve in the second game of the opening set after a lucky net cord return and hit a service winner in the ninth game to seal the first set 6-3. Both players traded breaks at the start of the start of the second set. Cuevas fended off a break point chance in the fifth game. Both players stayed neck and neck in the next game setting up a second set.

Thiem earned a mini-break at 2-1 after two mini-breaks from Cuevas. The Austrian player got a double mini-break with a backhand down the line winner on the ninth point. He closed out the match with a service winner on the next point.

“I wish that the grass court season would have been longer. I love this surface, but it was only one match unfortunately. I hope that I can do it better next year. I am back on clay for two weeks and the last two weeks of the year, so I will try to enjoy the mas much as possible”, said Thiem.

Last year’s ATP Finals champion Alexander Zverev made a winning start to his campaign in his home tournament with a 6-4 6-2 victory over last week’s Bastad winner Nicolas Jarry in 71 minutes. Zverev converted four of his six break point chances and saved four of the five chances he faced. Zverev broke serve in the third game to build up a 5-2 lead, when Jarry netted a backhand.

Zverev did not convert three set points, as he was serving for the set. He dropped five consecutive points before serving out the set at 5-4. Both players went on serve in the first four games before Zverev broke at 15 in the fifth game, when Jarry netted a backhand. The German player held serve at love before earning a break to build up a 5-2 after a forehand error from Jarry. The Chilean player earned two break points in the eighth game, as Zverev was serving for the win. Zverev saved them before sealing the second set 6-2 with an ace.

Nikoloz Basilashvili beat Bolivian qualifier Hugo Dellien 6-4 6-3 after 67 minutes. This year’s Monte-Carlo champion Fabio Fognini came back from one set down to beat Julian Lenz 6-4 6-4 setting up a match against Rudolf Molleker. Former Hamburg finalist Richard Gasquet beat Indian qualifier Sumit Nagal 6-2 7-6 (7-3) setting up a match against his compatriot Jeremy Chardy. Federico Delbonis saved three match points to beat Marco Cecchinato 6-7 (5-7) 7-6 (7-3) 6-2.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Rudolf Molleker knocks out two-time champion Leonardo Mayer in Hamburg

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German 18-year-old Next Gen player Rudolf Molleker knocked out 2014 and 2017 Hamburg champion Leonardo Mayer 7-6 (8-6) 6-4 after 1 hour and 39 minutes at the Hamburg European Open.

 

Molleker beat Mayer in 2017 in the Hamburg qualifying round, but Mayer got a spot in the main draw as a lucky loser and went on to win the title.

Molleker fended off all three break points in two consecutive games of the first set, before saving two set points in the tie-break. He sealed the second set with a single break.

The German teenager saved two break points in the seventh game with two service games with two service winners and one more chance in the ninth game to set up a tie-break. Mayer took the lead twice at 6-5 and 8-7, but Molleker saved both chances with two winners and sealed the tie-break on the 18th point after a double fault from Mayer.

Molleker earned an early break at the start of the second set and held his service games in the next games before sealing the win with a service winner at 5-4 to secure his spot in the round of 16.

Marton Fucsovics cruised past Phillip Kohlschreiber 6-3 6-0 dropping just 16 points on serve. Fucsovics got an early break in the fourth game to clinch the opening set 6-3. The Hungarian player broke three times in a one-sided second set and sealed the win with a service winner.

Andrey Rublev, who lost in the second round at Wimbledon and Umag, edged this year’s Munich and Houston champion Christian Garin 6-4 7-6 (7-5) after 1 hour and 39 minutes to score his second win over the Chilean player this year. Rublev broke three times to seal the opening set 6-4. The Russian player got the break back at 4-5 in the second set to set up a tie-break, which he sealed 7-5.

Jeremy Chardy came back from losing the first set to beat Jeremy Chardy 6-7 (4-7) 7-5 6-3 after 2 hours and 34 minutes. Paire fended off a set point at 4-5 in the opening set to clinch the tie-break 7-4. Paire got a late break in the second set, but Chardy won two games at 5-5 to force the match to the third set. Chardy went up a double break to seal the third set 6-3.

Martin Klizan converted all five break points to cruise past Daniel Altmaier 6-2 6-2.

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Nicolas Jarry Breaks New Ground To Win The Swedish Open

The 23-year-old has become the latest player to win their first ATP title in 2019.

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Nicolas Jarry (@FOXSport_Chile - Twitter)

Chilean fifth seed Nicolas Jarry has won his first ATP title at the Swedish Open after prevailing in straight sets on Sunday.

 

The world No.64 held his nerve to edge his way past Argentina’s Juan Inacio Londero 7-6(3), 6-4. Playing in only his third ATP final, Jarry dropped serve once as he blasted 10 aces and won 76% of the points behind his first serve. Becoming the first person his country to win the tournament since Luis Ayala back in 1960.

“I’m very happy to be able to have this (the title). I know it is not very easy to get the first one in anything that you do. I’m really happy.” Jarry said during the trophy presentation.
“I want to say thank you to my team. I have a big team back home and we are very united. This is for all of them and all of my family who has been there since I was born.”

Jarry achieved his career milestone without dropping a set during the entire tournament. Earlier in the week he also scored wins over Jeremy Chardy and Frederico Delbonis. Londero was the only seeded player he faced in Sweden this year. Overall, he was broken eight times in six matches played.

The 23-year-old isn’t the first member of his family to win a title on the men’s tour. His grandfather is Jaime Fillol, who is a former top 20 player that reached the quarter-finals of the 1975 US Open. During his career, Fillol claimed eight trophies and was the former president of the ATP.

“He is one of the best Chilean tennis players. He taught me the sport since I was little,” Jarry told atptour.com earlier this week. “He took me to great tournaments. I remember Wimbledon when I was 12 and I remember going to the US Open a couple of times. There used to be an ATP [tournament] in Santiago, so I was always involved in the tennis.”

The new Swedish Open champion is the second player from Chile to win a title in 2019. Christian Garin claimed his maiden title back in April at the US Men’s Clay Court Championships in Houston. He then went on to win the Munich Open, which is also a clay-court event.

Jarry exits Sweden with 250 ranking points and €90,390 in prize money earnings. He will next travel to Germany to play in the Hamburg Open.

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