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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‘Coronabros Stay In Your Basement’ – John Isner Plays Down Concerns Over COVID-19 Threat

The world No.21 believes players have to ‘learn and adapt’ to the virus.

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America’s top tennis player have said the world ‘can’t come to a complete standstill’ due to the Coronavirus pandemic as he hit back at criticism concerning an upcoming exhibition tournament he is participating in.

 

John Isner weighed in on the debate following a comment from freelance writer Ben Rothenberg whom on Twitter voiced concerns that Atlanta and West Virginia is staging tennis events with crowds despite a rise in cases. The world No.21 is set to play in the DraftKings All-American Team Cup in Atlanta, which will feature the eight top male players in the country. Officials plan to allow 450 people to attend the event on each day, which is estimated to be around 30% of the stadium’s maximum capacity.

“Ben, your concerns are valid, but, as someone who covers our sport for a living it would be nice if you would be supportive of WTT and Atlanta with their efforts to put on safe events instead of posting spooky headlines like this one that are factually incorrect,” Isner said making reference to an article Rothenberg posted.

Other Twitter users have also questioned the decision to allow fans to attend the event. Georgia, which is the state Atlanta is in, officially reported 2946 daily cases of the virus on July 1st. The highest amount within 24 hours since the pandemic began. Furthermore, Reuters News Agency reports that there was a record rise of more than 47,000 cases on Tuesday in America.

Nevertheless, Isner has dismissed calls for the event to be held behind closed doors or even cancelled. Branding his online critics as ‘coronabros’ before saying he wants to go on and live his life.

“You coronabros can stay in your basement all you want. I choose to live my life and play/promote the sport I love in a safe manner,” he said.

Unsurprisingly Isner has now been accused of downplaying the severity of the virus, which has killed more than 500,000 people worldwide. Including 130,000 in his home country alone. Challenged by one Twitter user who said she lost a family member due to the virus, Isner replied:-

“I’m incredibly sorry to hear that. I, in no way, was downplaying the effect of the virus, but I understand that perception can be reality.”

It is not fully understood by what he means with the phrase ‘perception is a reality’. Although he did like one tweet which said ‘the virus is much less lethal than the first models predicted. It’s now close to the flu.’ Although some medical experts have a differnt view on the perspective. White House coronavirus advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci has recently said the virus is “very different” from other outbreaks such as Ebola and HIV.

“We may not have a vaccine for a while and the world can’t come to a complete standstill. The reality is, we are going to have to learn and adapt to this virus in the safest manner possible,” he says.

The DraftKings All-American Team Cup in Atlanta will take place this weekend.

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Liverpool Ace Van Dijk Sees Similarities Between Him And Roger Federer

The Swiss Maestro has been praised for his seemingly effortless approach to the sport.

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Liverpool defender Virgil Van Dijk says he believes his approach to football is similar to that of Roger Federer in tennis.

 

In a recent interview the 28-year-old admitted that he can be perceived as laid back by some people whilst playing. Van Dijk recently helped Liverpool lift the Premier League title for the first time since 1990. The Dutch centre-back has scored four goals during the 2019-2020 Premier League season so far and was also part of the team which won the UEFA Champions League title last year.

Addressing his style of play on the pitch, Van Dijk said he has partly modelled his approach on the demeanour of Federer. Who currently holds the record for most Grand Slam titles won and weeks spent at No.1 on the ATP Tour.

“I have naturally always been a bit laid back, the way I look and the way my presence is,” The Express quoted him as saying.
“I think a good example is in tennis if you watch Federer playing tennis.
“It looks like he’s not even putting in any work and it can frustrate opponents as well thinking they’re trying as hard as they can and your putting on the slippers for example.”

Van Dijk isn’t the first Liverpool player to pay tribute to Federer. During the Swiss Indoors last October winger Xherdan Shaqiri said he can learn ‘so much’ from the world No.4. Shaqiri is also from Switzerland and started his career playing for FC Basel, which has been Federer’s favourite football club since he was a child.

“He’s here at home in Basel, then he’s running well and he’s winning. It went very fast and I’m happy for him,” Shaqiri commented on Federer’s win over Peter Gojowczyk at the Swiss Indoors last year.
“He is no longer the youngest and still plays at a top level, because you can look a lot off.”

Federer will not play any more professional tournaments this year after undergoing a second surgical procedure on his right knee within the last six months. The first was in February. Although he has pledged to return to action in 2021 when he will be 39-years-old.

It is only the second time in his career that Federer has ended a season half way through due to injury.

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Nick Kyrgios Blasts ‘Selfish’ Zverev Over Viral Party Video

The world No.7 has been blasted for breaking his pledge to self-isolate after playing in the Adria Tour where a series of players and coaches tested positive for COVID-19.

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Australian tennis star Nick Kyrgios has hit out at Alexander Zverev and the wider tennis community after it emerged on Sunday the German broke his self-isolation pledge to attend a party.

 

The world No.7 was caught attending a party at the Anjuna Plage Private Club in southern France after a video of him surfaced on the Instagram story of millionaire fashion designer Philipp Plein. Two other Instagram accounts also showed Zverev at the event on Sunday afternoon. The German issued a statement less than a week prior saying that he would go into a period of self-isolation after attending the Adria Tour in Zadar. Where Grigor Dimitrov, Borna Coric and Novak Djokovic tested positive for COVID-19. According to standard medical advice, those who have been in close contact with people with the virus should self-isolate for 14 days to avoid potentially spreading it.

“I will proceed to follow the self-isolating guidelines advised by our doctors. As an added precaution, my team and I will continue with regular testing,” the world No.7 said in a statement last Monday.

Zverev’s video sparked a series of criticism on social media, but Nick Kyrgios is by far the most well known figure in the sport to have spoken out. Releasing an Instagram video, the former top 20 player slammed the behaviour of his rival. Accusing him of being selfish before adding the tennis world was ‘pi**ing him off.’ During the Adria Tour players were seen attending parties and engaging with members of the public which was allowed under local laws.

“So I wake up and I see more controversial things happening all over the world. But one that stuck out for me was seeing (Alexander) Zverev again man, again, again, how selfish can you be? How selfish can you be?” Kyrgios said on Instagram.
“I mean, if you have the audacity to put out a f—ing tweet that you made your management write on your behalf saying you are going to self isolate for 14 days and apologising to f—ing general public for putting their health at risk, at least have the audacity to stay inside for 14 days. My god.
“Have your girlfriend with you for f—ing 14 days. Jesus, man. It pisses me off. This tennis world pisses me off. How selfish can you all get?”

Kyrgios isn’t the only player to criticise Zverev. Saschia Vickery wrote on Twitter ‘risking lives to dance off beat with no rhythm around hundreds of people how is this real life?’ and British player Katie Boulter said she was ‘speechless.’ Meanwhile, Noah Rubin wrote ‘we are far from being ok’ in reference in Zverev’s video.

French player Lucas Pouille was also spotted at the same party as Zverev. However, he didn’t play on the Adria Tour and has not been self-isolating. He recently withdrew from the United Tennis Showdown (UTS) due to injury.

Neither Zverev or a member of his team have commented on the video so far.

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