Rafael Nadal has set up a second round clash with Nick Kyrgios after a 6-3 6-1 6-3 win over Yuichi Sugita.
The third seed struggled early on in the first set but then dominated the Japanese qualifier by losing only seven games.
Now Nadal faces a tricky second round clash against Nick Kyrgios, who he lost to in the fourth round a few years ago.
The Australian beat Jordan Thompson in an entertaining five set battle on Court three earlier on in the day.
It was a tentative start from the Spaniard, who hadn’t played a grass court ATP tournament before Wimbledon and showed his rust early.
After losing the first two points, Sugita produced some sublime groundstrokes to catch Nadal off guard as he won the next 11 points for a break lead.
Having nearly conceded the double break lead, Nadal knew he had to improve his level and slowly managed to find his range.
Although it was a phenomenal start from the Japanese qualifier, he couldn’t maintain his lead as Nadal finally grinded the break back.
There was less panic and more ferocity about the former champion’s play now as he started to hammer his shots all around the court.
Some intelligent play saw Nadal edge a tight first set as he came to the net and used some variety to catch Sugita off guard.
A tough break followed by a hold of serve saw the first set go to the world number two in 45 minutes.
Once the Spaniard had a grip of the match, he never really let it slip as the second set saw him hit with confidence and power as he bullied Sugita around the court.
Some vintage Nadal play saw him prove unstoppable in the second set as the Japanese player failed to threaten on serve or return.
A third break of serve sealed a two sets to love lead and total control of the match.
Although Sugita showed more bravery with his overall play in the third set, there was no change of strategy as without any major weapons, he was barely going to threaten.
An eventual and inevitable break in the eighth saw the final nail in Sugita’s coffin as Nadal progressed into the second round.
Straight into the second round. @RafaelNadal defeats Yuichi Sugita 6-3, 6-1, 6-3
— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) July 2, 2019
After the match, Nadal seemed delighted with his victory in his first ATP grass match of the season, “I’m happy for the victory. This is the main thing,” Nadal said to the BBC.
“My first official match on grass in a year so it’s always difficult. At the beginning it was tough. There are lot of things to improve. I have one more day to keep practising.”
Next up for Nadal is a enthralling match with Nick Kyrgios, who he lost to in 2014 in the fourth round.
Matteo Berrettini Frustrated By Curfew Delay At French Open
Due to French law Roland Garros had to remove spectators from the venue at 11pm which angered many fans in the crowd.
Italy’s Matteo Berrettini said the pause in his match against Novak Djokovic at the French Open disrupted his momentum and hopes situations like this will ‘end soon.’
The world No.9 was taking on Novak Djokovic in the quarter-final in Paris on Wednesday evening. Trailing by two sets, Berrettini clinched the third in a tiebreaker as he was cheered on by the crowd. However, the atmosphere took a dramatic change during the fourth frame with fans having to be removed from the venue. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, France has a 11pm curfew in place which means any tennis matches after this time have to be held behind close doors.
The decision to stop the match at 11pm (when spectators were already breaking curfew) infuriated many with a series of booing coming from the stands. It is unclear as to why organisers didn’t evacuate the arena after the third set, which was 30 minutes before the curfew came into place.
“I’ll tell the truth. I think it’s a shame. It’s something that I didn’t like,” Berrettini commented on the situation afterwards. “But it’s (the law) bigger than us.
“It’s not that you can do something about it. You have to adjust. Hopefully this COVID and these bad situations are going to end soon. It’s not the worst thing that happened in the last year.”
The 25-year-old says the pause to the proceedings had a negative impact on his physicality, but didn’t go into the specifics as to why.
“I was feeling the momentum. I was playing good. Stopping wasn’t the best thing I think for my tennis, but I had to take it,” he continues. “Also physically I think didn’t help me. I got back on court and I wasn’t feeling great.
“But again, tennis players always say they have to adjust to everything. Next time I’m going to try to be better.”
Unlike his rival, Djokovic says the break was a blessing in disguise for him as he sealed a place in his 40th major semi-final. Becoming only the second player in history to reach that milestone after Roger Federer. He ended up winning the match 6-3, 6-2, 6-7(5), 7-5 after converting his third match point.
“I didn’t mind actually leaving the court because I felt like I needed a little bit of a break and reset,” he said. “It’s unfortunate for the tournament, for the crowd, to have that curfew. But we knew it before the match.”
Despite losing, Berrettini has still made history at the tournament. He has become the first Italian man in history to have reached the fourth round of all four Grand Slam tournaments.
Curfew Drama Overshadows Novak Djokovic’s French Open Win
After being taken to five sets in his previous match against Lorenzo Musetti, Djokovic was in fierce form throughout his latest encounter at Roland Garros.
Top seed Novak Djokovic battled his way into the last four of the French Open after overcoming some stern resistance from Italy’s Matteo Berrettini.
The world No.1 produced some emphatic defensive skills throughout his roller-coaster 6-3, 6-2, 6-7(5), 7-5, win on Court Philippe Chatrier. Against the world No.9 he blasted 44 winners and broke four times en route to winning his 79th match at Roland Garros. The latest win has also secured another historic milestone for Djokovic with him being only the second man in the Open Era to have reached a 40th Grand Slam semi-final after Roger Federer.
“He was playing some really powerful tennis. Especially in the third and fourth he served tremendously strong and precise. It was just very difficult to read his serve and play someone like him,” Djokovic commented on Berrettini’s performance.
Although the talking point quarter-final concerned the controversial decision by organisers to start the match at 8pm local time which allowed just a three-hour gap before Paris went into curfew. Five games after Berrettini clinched the third set, fans were left furious after being evicted from the venue with players being taken off the court. Even more baffling was the decision by organisers to halt proceedings at 11pm when those attending had already broke curfew instead of stopping it 30 minutes or so before.
“I didn’t mind actually leaving the court because I felt like I needed a little bit of a break and reset,” said Djokovic. “It’s unfortunate for the tournament and for the crowd to have that curfew. But we knew before the match. Referee came up to us and said, If it comes close to 11:00, we’ll have to empty the stadium. That’s what happened.’
“I’m happy that I had that experience of playing in front of the crowd in the night session.” He added.
The Wednesday night showdown was a historic occasion at the French Open with it being the first time a night session had been played in front of a crowd following a relaxation of national restrictions on the same day. Taking to the court Djokovic looked determined from the onset as Berrettini provided him with plenty of challenges early on. In both of his opening service games the world No.1 fended off break points as he tamed a series of thunderous shots from the Italian with some sublime defensive play. Djokovic secured his first breakthrough four games in after a Berrettini forehand drifted wide which enabled him to break for a 3-1 lead. That single break was enough of a margin for him to close out the set, which he did with a love service game.
Gaining momentum, the 18-time Grand Slam champion continued to apply the pressure in the second frame as he won eight consecutive points behind his serve. Berrettini, who had the support of an animated crowd, was unable to find any answers. The former champion surged to a 5-2 lead with the help of a double break. Serving for a two-set lead, he sealed it with a forehand shot which prompted an unforced error from his rival.
It looked as if Djokovic was on course for a straight sets triumph but a resurgent Berrettini had other ideas. Edged on by an highly animated crowd, the Italian rediscovered the power of his serve as he matched him game-by-game until a nerve-stricken tiebreaker. Djokovic moved to just two points from victory with two serves at his disposal. However, a tight backhand crashed into the net handed Berrettini set point, which he converted with a blistering forehand down the line. Prompting an almighty roar from him.
The tussle between the two caused a headache for officials. The fourth frame started 30 minutes before the curfew was imposed, meaning fans would have to evacuate the venue before the match finished. Eventually the match was halted amid booing and jeering from fans angry they had to leave in what was one of the most unusual situations to ever occur at the tournament.
Returning to the court in almost silence after a 20-minute delay, both players continued to valiantly battle. A nasty fall failed to deter the Serbian as he edged closer towards the finish line. Leading 6-5 he had his first match point but failed to convert due to a Berrettini serve out wide. Then on his second failed attempt a furious Djokovic screamed at his team out of frustration and then kicked one of the boards at the side of the court. Two points after that mini meltdown he prevailed with the help of a Berrettini shot going into the net.
Djokovic will next lock horns with nemesis Rafael Nadal for a place in the final. The Spaniard has won more matches at Roland Garros than any other player in history and is bidding to win the men’s title for a record 14th time. He narrowly leads their head-to-head 29-28 but lost their most recent clash at the Italian Open earlier this year.
“The quality and the level of tennis that I’ve been playing in the last three, four weeks on clay – Rome, Belgrade and here – is giving me good sensations and feelings ahead of that match. I’m confident. I believe I can win, otherwise I wouldn’t be here,” he said.
It is the 11th time in Djokovic’s career that he has reached the semi-finals of the French Open.
Updated Entry Lists For Queen’s, Halle
Two ATP 500 tournaments will be played in London at the Queen’s Club and in Halle (Germany), as the grass-court season is set to continue.
Two of the most prestigious grass-court events on the ATP Tour will take place from the 14th to the 20th of June: the Cinch Championships in London (Queen’s Club) and the Noventi Open in Halle are going to be the crucial steps of the Wimbledon warm-up.
Matteo Berrettini, Diego Schwartzman, Denis Shapovalov, Milos Raonic and Jannik Sinner will be some of the seeds at the Queen’s Club, where Andy Murray plans to come back with a Wild-Card. Spain’s Feliciano Lopez is the defending champion.
Four top-ten players are committed to play Halle: Daniil Medvedev, Alexander Zverev, Andrey Rublev and the defending champion Roger Federer will start their grass-court season in Germany. Roberto Bautista-Agut, Felix Auger-Aliassime and Kei Nishikori have entered the tournament as well, while the promising Swiss teenager Dominic Stephan Stricker has received a Wild-Card for the qualifying draw.
NEWS: Diego Schwartzman has withdrawn from Queen’s, he’s been replaced by Alexei Popyrin.
NEWS: Stefanos Tsitsipas has been awarded Wild-Card entry into Halle.
NEWS: Milos Raonic has pulled out from Queen’s, Frances Tiafoe takes his place.
ATP 500 Queen’s (GBR, Grass), entry list:
Berrettini, Matteo (ITA)
OUT Schwartzman, Diego (ARG)
Shapovalov, Denis (CAN)
OUT Raonic, Milos (CAN)
Sinner, Jannik (ITA)
OUT Wawrinka, Stan (SUI)
De Minaur, Alex (AUS)
Karatsev, Aslan (RUS)
Evans, Daniel (GBR)
Sonego, Lorenzo (ITA)
Fognini, Fabio (ITA)
Opelka, Reilly (USA)
Mannarino, Adrian (FRA)
Bublik, Alexander (KAZ)
Ramos-Vinolas, Albert (ESP)
Paire, Benoit (FRA)
Krajinovic, Filip (SRB)
Millman, John (AUS)
OUT Davidovich Fokina, Alejandro (ESP)
Norrie, Cameron (GBR)
Cilic, Marin (CRO)
Djere, Laslo (SRB)
Bedene, Aljaz (SLO)
WC Murray, Andy (GBR)
WC Broady, Liam (GBR)
WC Draper, Jack (GBR)
OUT (WC) OUT (SE)
OUT Kyrgios, Nick (AUS)
IN Chardy, Jeremy (FRA)
IN Lopez, Feliciano (ESP)
IN Popyrin, Alexei (AUS)
OUT Moutet, Corentin (FRA)
IN Lu, Yen-Hsun (TPE)
IN Tiafoe, Frances (USA)
IN Travaglia, Stefano (ITA)
Alt.1 Albot, Radu (MDA)
Alt.2 Caruso, Salvatore (ITA)
ATP 500 Queen’s (GBR, Grass), qualifying:
OUT Popyrin, Alexei (AUS) OUT Moutet, Corentin (FRA) OUT Tiafoe, Frances (USA)
OUT Tsonga, Jo-Wilfried (FRA)
OUT Herbert, Pierre-Hugues (FRA)
Pouille, Lucas (FRA)
Zapata Miralles, Bernabe (ESP)
OUT Broady, Liam (GBR)
Van de Zandschulp, Botic (NED)
Huesler, Marc-Andrea (SUI)
Jung, Jason (TPE)
Marchenko, Illya (UKR)
Tabilo, Alejandro (CHI)
WC Peniston, Ryan (GBR)
WC Parker, Stuart (GBR)
WC Ward, James (GBR)
IN Ofner, Sebastian (AUT)
OUT Karlovic, Ivo (CRO) OUT Safiullin, Roman (RUS)
IN Rosol, Lukas (CZE)
OUT Gulbis, Ernests (LAT)
OUT Muller, Alexandre (FRA)
IN Marcora, Roberto (ITA)
IN Bemelmans, Ruben (BEL)
OUT Ito, Tatsuma (PR, JPN)
IN Troicki, Viktor (SRB)
OUT Krueger, Mitchell (USA)
IN Vukic, Aleksandar (AUS)
OUT Stakhovsky, Sergiy (UKR)
OUT Tomic, Bernard (AUS)
OUT Kwiatkowski, Thai-Son (USA)
OUT Ito, Tatsuma (JPN)
Alt.1 Copil, Marius (ROU)
Alt.2 Ebden, Matthew (AUS)
Alt.3 Gojo, Borna (CRO)
ATP 500 Halle (GER, Grass), entry list:
Medvedev, Daniil (RUS)
Zverev, Alexander (GER)
Rublev, Andrey (RUS)
Federer, Roger (SUI)
Bautista Agut, Roberto (ESP)
OUT Carreno Busta, Pablo (ESP)
Goffin, David (BEL)
OUT Ruud, Casper (NOR)
Hurkacz, Hubert (POL)
Auger-Aliassime, Felix (CAN)
OUT Garin, Cristian (CHI)
Khachanov, Karen (RUS)
Humbert, Ugo (FRA)
Struff, Jan-Lennard (GER)
Nishikori, Kei (JPN)
Korda, Sebastian (USA)
Harris, Lloyd (RSA)
Koepfer, Dominik (GER)
Pella, Guido (ARG)
Thompson, Jordan (AUS)
Pospisil, Vasek (CAN)
WC Kohlschreiber, Philipp (GER)
WC Altmaier, Daniel (GER)
WC Monfils, Gael (FRA)
WC Tsitsipas, Stefanos (GRE)
IN Querrey, Sam (USA)
IN Simon, Gilles (FRA)
IN Moutet, Corentin (FRA)
OUT Lu, Yen-Hsun (TPE)
OUT Travaglia, Stefano (ITA)
Alt.1 Albot, Radu (MDA)
Alt.2 Caruso, Salvatore (ITA)
Alt.3 Giron, Marcos (USA)
ATP 500 Halle (GER, Grass), qualifying:
Basilashvili, Nikoloz (GEO)
OUT Travaglia, Stefano (ITA)
Gerasimov, Egor (BLR)
OUT Gombos, Norbert (SVK) OUT Caruso, Salvatore (ITA)
Giron, Marcos (USA)
Albot, Radu (MDA)
Ivashka, Ilya (BLR)
Hanfmann, Yannick (GER)
OUT Alcaraz, Carlos (ESP)
Duckworth, James (AUS)
Galan, Daniel Elahi (COL)
Novak, Dennis (AUT)
Sousa, Joao (POR)
Rinderknech, Arthur (FRA)
Barrere, Gregoire (FRA)
O’Connell, Christopher (AUS)
OUT Gojowczyk, Peter (GER)
Stebe, Cedrik-Marcel (GER)
OUT Karlovic, Ivo (CRO) OUT (RA)
WC Molleker, Rudolf (GER)
WC Stricker, Dominic Stephan (SUI)
IN Rodionov, Jurij (AUT)
IN Gulbis, Ernests (LAT)
IN Muller, Alexandre (FRA)
OUT Torpegaard, Mikael (DEN)
OUT Marcora, Roberto (ITA)
OUT Bemelmans, Ruben (BEL)
IN Maden, Yannick (GER)
IN Lacko, Lukas (PR, SVK)
IN Ito, Tatsuma (JPN)
OUT Krueger, Mitchell (USA)
IN Stakhovsky, Sergiy (UKR)
Alt.1 Masur, Daniel (GER)
OUT Kwiatkowski, Thai-Son (USA)
OUT Copil, Marius (ROU)
OUT Ebden, Matthew (AUS)
OUT Gojo, Borna (CRO)
Alt.2 Celikbilek, Altug (TUR)
Alt.3 Kuhn, Nicola (ESP)
Alt.4 Blanch, Ulises (USA)
OUT Kopriva, Vit (CZE)
Alt.5 Molleker, Rudolf (GER)
Alt.6 Choinski, Jan (GER)
Alt.7 Brown, Dustin (GER)
Alt.8 Sakamoto, Pedro (BRA)
Alt.9 King, Darian (BAR)
Alt.10 Vavassori, Andrea (ITA)
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