Rafael Nadal: ‘I Can Achieve Anything’ - UBITENNIS
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Rafael Nadal: ‘I Can Achieve Anything’

Things are on the up for the 11-time French Open champion.

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

MADRID: After what has been a turbulent past few weeks on the tour, Rafael Nadal is finally seeing light at the end of the tunnel.

 

An injury forced him out of two American tournaments during March, the start to the clay season hasn’t gone as well as he would have liked, and earlier this week he was hit with a stomach virus. It is fair to say that 2019 has been far from perfect for the world No.2.

Despite those misfortunes, Nadal is quietly gaining in confidence at the Madrid Open this week. Bidding to claim his first title of the season, the belief has not lessened for the Spaniard. Who has spent a total of 196 weeks at the top of the ATP rankings so far in his career.

“Personally, I’m feeling very well, which is the most important thing besides anything else. And from that base, I think that I can achieve anything.” Nadal said on Thursday.
“You have to be good emotionally. You need to have the energy to be able to go forward. Right now I have it, I have the joy, I have the energy to be able to do it. And after all, you have to go through a process, you need to give yourself some time. I’m not a big believer that things click night to day.” He added.

Nadal continued his love affair with the Madrid Open on Thursday. Disposing of Next Gen player Frances Tiafoe 6-3, 6-4, to expand his winning record against the group to 21-2. During the match, he broke twice, once in each set, as the Spaniard blasted six aces and 17 winners past Tiafoe. Nadal is now 18-0 when it comes to playing North American players on the clay.

“There is a really key thing, which is the stability. I think that I have again the stability. I have been able to play two matches pretty solid. I haven’t done super good things, but I haven’t committed any errors.” He commented on his Madrid run so far.
“This is the base of my game. From that base, I have to just keep on going, keep on improving, keep going ahead, keep adding ingredients to the game I have right now, which is quite good.’
“If I manage to add the proper ingredients quickly, I will be ready to compete for both this week and next week in Rome, too.”

In the quarter-finals, Nadal will play Switzerland’s Stan Wawrinka in what will be their 21st meeting on the tour. Nadal currently leads their head-to-head 17-3 and last lost to him at the 2015 Paris Masters. Wawrinka defeated Kei Nishikori in his third round match earlier in the day.

“It’s a challenge to play him on the clay court. I have played him many times. It’s always difficult to play him.” The three-time grand slam champion said of playing Nadal.
“I’m happy the way I’m playing so far. I’m happy to be in the quarterfinal again, gaining confidence little by little. I know I’m playing well. I know I’m physically good, so we will see.”

Wawrinka, who is a former French Open champion, has the skills to be Nadal’s biggest challenge on the clay yet. Despite their seemingly one-sided head-to-head. The Swiss player is yet to drop a set in three matches played this week.

“I expect a very tough match. He is playing with confidence. It will be a tough one. He likes to play here in these conditions, fast court. And it will be a tough one.”

As a result of his latest win, five-time champion Nadal is now has a 36-6 win-loss record when it comes to playing at the Caja Magica. He has won the title more times than any other player in the history of the tournament.

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Svetlana Kuznetsova upsets Ashleigh Barty in Cincinnati to reach the 42nd final of her career

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Russian wild card Svetlana Kuznetsova edged top seed this year’s Roland Garros champion Ashleigh Barty 6-2 6-4 in the semifinal of the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati to reach the 42nd final of her career.

 

Two-time Grand Slam champion Kuznetsova, who is now ranked world number 153, scored her third win against top 10 players this week  after beating former US Open champion Sloane Stephens and Karolina Pliskova.

Barty missed her chance to regain world number 1 spot from Naomi Osaka, who was forced to retire from her quarter final.

Barty earned the first break of the match in the second game of the opening set, when Kuznetsova netted a backhand. Kuznetsova broke back in the third game with a smash winner and earned another break at 2-2 when Barty netted a backhand. Kuznetsova hit a return winner to build up a 5-2 lead. Barty asked a medical time-out to treat he right leg. Kuznetsova held serve at 15 to close out the opening set after 30 minutes.

Kuznetsova went up a break in the first game of the second set. Barty won just three points on return in the second set. Kuznetsova closed out the second set with three winners in the 10th game.

“I am really happy. I am not really an analyzing person, but on my intuition, I am doing so much better, not repeating so many of my mistakes, just playing smarter and wiser now. It’s been so many different things when I was off, so I just enjoyed time off. Honestly, I was not missing at all the travelling and all the stress when you play tournaments, but now I have missed it and I feel good. I feel joy staying here and being here. It definitely helped me to have some time off to see other things outside tennis”, said Kuznetsova.

 

Kuznetsova set up a final against Madison Keys, who beat Sofia Kenin in straight sets. The Russian 34-year-old veteran player has qualified for her first final since last year, when she beat Donna Vekic in Washington.

 

“Madison is extremely tough. When she is on fire, it is really hard to play against her. It’s going to be a difficult match-up”, said Kuznetsova.  

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David Goffin reaches his first Masters 1000 in Cincinnati

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David Goffin beat Richard Gasquet 6-3 6-4 on an overcast afternoon to reach the first Masters 1000 final of his career and his 13th title match at ATP Tour level at the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati. Goffin has dropped just one set en route to the final.

 

Goffin is returning to his best form this summer under the guidance of former Swedish player Thomas Johansson. He reached the final in Halle and his first quarter final at Wimbledon. He received a walkover after Yoshihito Nishioka was forced to withdraw from the match due to food poisoning.

The Belgian player started the match with two consecutive holds before breaking at love to open up a 4-1 lead with a backhand winner down the line.

Goffin held his next service games to seal the opening set 6-3. Gasquet earned an early break to open  2-0 lead, but Goffin won five of the next six games with two breaks. The 2017 Nitto ATP Finals runner-up served out the win at love in the 10th game after 1 hour and 16 minutes, as Gasquet sent his backhand long.

Goffin reached the semifinal in Cincinnati last year, but he was forced to retire due to an arm injury.

“I am very happy. It’s a tournament I like and I have played the best tennis in the past few years. I am really happy to reach my first Masters 1000 final here. It’s a great moment for me.”

 

 

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Richard Gasquet reaches his first Masters 1000 semifinal since Miami 2013

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Frenchman Richard Gasquet edged past this year’s Wimbledon semifinalist Roberto Bautista Agut 7-6 (7-2) 3-6 6-2 after 2 hours and 12 minutes to reach his first Masters 1000 semifinal since the 2013 Miami Open.

 

 Gasquet missed six months of action after undergoing groin surgery last January.

The French player set up a semfinal against David Goffin, who reached the semifinal after his Japanese opponent Yoshihito Nishioka withdrew from the match due to illness.

The first set went on serve with no break points en route to the tie-break. Bautista Agut hit a backhand wide at 1-2. Gasquet sealed the tie-break when Bautista Agut hit a forehand long.

Bautista Agut earned two breaks of serve in the second set and sealed it, when Gasquet made his third double fault on set point.

Gasquet broke serve with a volley in the third game of the decisive set. The French player went up a double break to race out to 4-1 lead. He saved two break points to hold his serve at deuce before serving out the third set on his first match point.

“I know how tough it was to come back. I know the moments I had at the start of the year, so I just wanted to enjoy, to fight. It is not easy to come back after six months out, but I am here. I am in semis tomorrow”,said Gasquet.

 

 

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