Rafael Nadal Talks Next Gen Following Win Over Rising Star Auger-Aliassime - UBITENNIS
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Rafael Nadal Talks Next Gen Following Win Over Rising Star Auger-Aliassime

The world No.2 believes it is still possible for a player to win a grand slam under the age of 20 on the men’s tour.

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

MADRID: It was a classic case of experience triumphing over youth for Rafael Nadal and his latest match that took place at the Madrid Open.

 

The 11-time French Open champion eased to a 6-3, 6-3, win over Canada’s Felix Auger-Aliassime. An 18-year-old rising star that is the youngest ranked player in the current top 100. In March Auger-Aliassime reached his first ever Masters semi-final at a younger age than the Spaniard did.

Despite the credentials of his rival, Nadal would not be denied victory in his ongoing quest for his first title of 2019. Coming through a rocky end to the match which saw him drop serve before prevailing on his sixth match point opportunity. Overall, the former world No.1 hit 10 winners to 16 unforced errors. However, he benefited significantly from the 30 mistakes that were made across the court.

“In general, it’s a day to be very satisfied, very happy. I managed to win. I managed to win in two sets, against an opponent which was not easy and the day was not the best, it was windy and cold.” Nadal told Spanish media at the Caja Magica.
“I think that my backhand has been really well and other things. There are many things to improve of course, especially after the last days, which have been really complicated for me.”

Nadal is now 20-2 when it comes to playing Next Gen opponents. A group of players under 21 who are promoted as the next big thing in the sport. The ATP campaign was officially launched during the 2016 BNP Paribas Masters in Indian Wells.

Due to the age of the Big Four, who are all over the age of 30, some are wondering who will be their replacement. This week there are four Next Gen players in the top 30. The highest ranked is Stefanos Tsitsipas. For months Alexander Zverev was branded the leader of the pack before turning 22 in April.

“Today’s player (Auger-Aliassime) is one of those candidates to be really good in the future.” Nadal assessed. “Shapovalov is also a good player. We have Tsitsipas. We have a group of players where I cannot predict the future for them.’
“The best player will be the one who is able to improve the most during the next months and years. And we will be able to see that as spectators and hopefully me as an opponent.”

With more players playing later into their career’s, one might think that the era of young men triumphing in the majors is over. Although Nadal, who won three grand slams before turning 21, disagrees. Earlier this year 20-year-old Tsitsipas reached the semi-finals of the Australian Open.

“I believe that the best players in the history, not all ones, but almost everyone who has won a Grand Slam before 20, so there is no one reason today why this cannot happen again, that’s my feeling.” He said.
“If he’s good enough to do it, and he’s good, he has a good eye, he has a good attitude on court, why not?”

The world No.2 can’t avoid the Next Gen at the moment. His next challenger will be young American Frances Tiafoe. Somebody who he defeated in straight sets earlier this year.

“Frances is a very high-level opponent. He has a lot of speed. He’s very aggressive. And he’s an electric player.” Nadal previews about his upcoming opponent. “He serves very well. He moves very good on the clay. His feet movement is really good.”

Nadal is scheduled to play his third round match not before 20:00 local time on Thursday.

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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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