Rafael Nadal Outlasts Magnificent Medvedev In Thriller To Win US Open - UBITENNIS
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Rafael Nadal Outlasts Magnificent Medvedev In Thriller To Win US Open

The former world No.1 required almost five hours to clinch his 19th grand slam title.

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Rafael Nadal withstood an almighty scare from fifth seed Daniil Medvedev to win his fourth US Open trophy.

 

The 33-year-old saw a two-set lead come and go before holding his nerve to prevail 7-5, 6-3, 5-7, 4-6, 6-4, in a thriller that consisted of 341 points being played. Engaging in some gut-busting baseline exchanges against one of the rising stars of the game. Medvedev, who is 10 years younger than Nadal, was contesting his fourth final in a row on the tour after Washington, Canada and Cincinnati. Something that had only previously been achieved by Ivan Lendl (1982) and Andre Agassi (1995). Nevertheless, it was the king of clay that narrowly came out on top with the help of 75 winners to 57 unforced errors.

“It was an amazing final. It seemed like I had the match more or less under control.” Said Nadal.
“The first words I have to say is to Daniil. His summer is one of the best summer’s I have seen (on the tour) in my career.’
“Tonight everybody has seen why he is the number four player (as of Monday) in the world.”

Coming into the match Nadal had only been broken six times in the entire tournament. However, a dramatic start to the final saw the Spaniard receive a penalty for a time violation in his first game before he got broken in the third. Prompting him to criticize the umpire by describing the penalty as ‘a bit too much.’ Despite the minor controversy, Nadal managed to regain his footing in the opener. Eventually breaking back to level 2-2 before winning 16 consecutive points behind his serve. Meanwhile, a heavy-hitting Medvedev refused to be intimidated in his maiden grand slam final.  Continuing to weather the storm, Nadal edged his way to the 7-5 lead. Doing so with the help of a lob which drew an error from the Russian.

In front Nadal continued to wear down his weary opponent, who had taping on both his leg and arm. Medvedev has enjoyed a stellar summer where he has played 22 matches over a six-week period, winning 20 of those. In comparison Nadal had played 11 matches and won them all. Continuing to engage in some lengthy baseline rallies, the Spaniard got his next breakthrough midway through the second set. A deep return of his rival’s serve forced him to hit the ball into the net on break point. Elevating the 33-year-old to a 4-2 lead.  Continuing to dictate proceedings, it wasn’t long before the two-set lead was his. Clinching it at the expense of two consecutive Medvedev forehand shots the drifted beyond the baseline.

The fight back

It looked as if Nadal would seal victory with ease after claiming another break in the third frame. However, what he didn’t expect was an extraordinary comeback from Medvedev. The Russian somehow managed to conjure up his best form with the help of numerous serves and volleying. In sets three and four Medvedev’s audacious play draw praise from the crowd, which viewed him as a villain earlier in the tournament. In both of those sets, he broke at the business end.

“To be honest, in my mind, I was already thinking about what to say in my speech. It was going to be soon in 20 minutes. Losing in three sets my first final, trying to give a fight, but not really.” Medvedev recalled.
“I had to fight for every ball and see how it goes. It (the match) went further, but unfortunately it didn’t go my way.”

Heading into the decider, the encounter resembled a boxing match with each player suffering their own blows. Still the warrior-like fighting from both men continued as Medvedev sought treatment for his right leg. It was Nadal, who would get the first blow after breaking twice en route to a 4-2 lead. However, Medvedev still refused to buckle down. Saving two match points to turn his 2-5 deficit to 4-5. Still, Nadal’s early attack was just enough to see him over the finish line. On his third attempt, he claimed the memorable victory with a serve down the line which was returned out across the court.

In the aftermath of the marathon encounter, tears started to flow from the eyes of the Spaniard as the stadium played a video of his greatest achievements in the sport. It resembled the retirement presentation Andy Murray had at the Australian Open, but for Nadal it was not a goodbye.

“It has been one of the most emotional nights of my career with the video, the support (of the crowd) – amazing.” Nadal reflected.
“This victory means a lot, especially with the way how the match became so difficult and tough. The nerves were so high after having the match almost under control. It was a crazy match.”

Winning multiple grand slam titles within the same season for the fifth time in his career, Nadal is now knocking on the door of Roger Federer’s all-time grand slam singles record of 20. He is currently at 19.

The clash between Nadal and Medvedev lasted for four hours and 49 minutes. Making it the third longest final in US Open history since records began in 1980.

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Roger Federer’s Team8 Considering Bid To Buy Cincinnati Masters Rights From USTA

The potential move has gained support from one former world No.1 player who says ‘it is nice to see responsible names’ in the mix to buy the prestigious event.

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Roger Federer Wimbledon 2021
Roger Federer (SUI) playing against Adrian Mannarino (FRA) in the first round of the Gentlemen's Singles on Centre Court at The Championships 2021. Held at The All England Lawn Tennis Club, Wimbledon. Day 2 Tuesday 29/06/2021. Credit: AELTC/Jed Leicester

It is understood that sports and entertainment company Team8 which was co-founded by Roger Federer is looking into potentially submitting an application for ownership of the Cincinnati Masters, according to two sources.

 

Sports business publication Sportico and Steve Weissman from The Tennis Channel have both reported that the business is among a number of interested parties who want to buy the event that is best known as the Western and Southern Open. In February this year it was confirmed that the USTA is selling their 93.8% stake in the tournament for a ‘nine-figure sum.’ It is understood that the organization doesn’t want the event to be relocated from Cincinnati in part of any deal.

“The USTA’s Board of Directors believes now is the right time to explore potential strategic options and alternatives in order to optimize the long-term growth of the tournament and take the tournament to the next level,” the USTA said in a statement published by tennis.com.

The USTA brought the rights to the men’s event back in 2009 for $12.5M and has since spent an additional $65M. Whilst Cincinnati is a combined tournament, the ongoing negotiations only apply to the men’s section. The women’s tournament is overseen by Octagon management.

Neither Federer or a member of Team8 have commented on the reported plans. The company was founded by the 20-time Grand Slam champion and his agent Tony Godsick back in 2013. Since then they have been involved in the creation of the Laver Cup, became a ‘major investor’ in the Universal Tennis system and are a ‘strategic investor and partner’ to On Running.

Should Team8 become the new owners, questions may arise about conflicts of interest with Federer still being an active player on Tour. The 40-year-old is currently sidelined from action due to a knee injury but is aiming to stage a comeback at the Swiss Open later this year. However, former world No.1 Andy Roddick has given his full backing to the possible takeover.

“In the world of tennis, where conflicts of interest know no bounds at all, Roger can do this. He has, obviously, been a great steward for the game and has created an incredible relationship with the fans in the city of Cincinnati. You’d like to see it stay in the tennis family with someone who actually knows and loves our sport.” Roddick told The Tennis Channel.

Federer has won the Cincinnati Masters a record seven times in his career.

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Daniil Medvedev ‘Happy To Play Wimbledon’ If Ban Is Lifted

The world No.2 says he is willing to speak with other players about the situation ahead of his return to action following surgery.

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Daniil Medvedev (RUS) in action against Jan-Lennard Struff (GER) in the first round of the Gentlemen's Singles on No.1 Court at The Championships 2021. Held at The All England Lawn Tennis Club, Wimbledon. Day 2 Tuesday 29/06/2021. Credit: AELTC/Edward Whitaker

Daniil Medvedev says he is still hopeful that he might be able to play at this year’s Wimbledon Championships should officials at The All England Club decide to change their stance.

 

At present the reigning US Open champion will not be allowed to play at the grass court major due to his nationality. Officials at the Grand Slam have confirmed that Russian and Belarussian players have been banned from the event due to the war in Ukraine. Ian Hewitt, who is the chairman of The AELTC, said the action was taken in order to prevent ‘the propaganda machine of the Russian regime’ from potentially benefiting from their players’ success.

The ban is a controversial move for the sport which until now had a united approach when it came to allowing those players participate in tournaments but only as neutral athletes. Former Wimbledon champions Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokopvic and Andy Murray have all expressed some degree of opposition to the decision. Meanwhile, the ATP and WTA are considering the possibility of removing the allocation of ranking points at the event.

Speaking about the ban ahead of this week’s Geneva Open, Medvedev acknowledges that it is a ‘tricky situation’ but is still hopeful that a u-turn could occur which would allow him to play. The 26-year-old has made four main draw appearances at Wimbledon with his best result being a run to the fourth round last year.

“There has been a lot of talk around it. I just tried to follow what’s happening because I don’t have any decisions to make. It’s right now about Wimbledon itself, the ATP, maybe the British government is involved,” news agency AFP quoted Medvedev as telling reporters in Switzerland.
“It’s a tricky situation and like every situation in life, you ask 100 players, everybody’s going to give a different opinion.
“I can play: I’m going to be happy to play in Wimbledon. I love this tournament.
“I cannot play: well, I’m going to try to play other tournaments and prepare well for next year if I have the chance to play.”

The former world No.1 has been among a group of Russian players who have previously called for peace in the region. Although none of them have gone as far as publicly condemning the actions of their government. Something which has drawn criticism from Ukraine’s Elina Svitoliva.

“I had some time to follow what is happening, yeah, it’s very upsetting,” Medvedev commented on the war.

Geneva will be the first event Medvedev has played in since reaching the quarter-finals of the Miami Open. He took time away from the Tour to undergo hernia surgery but has confirmed he intends to play at next week’s French Open despite his lack of match play on the clay.

During his time at those events, the tennis star says he is more than happy to speak with other players about the Wimbledon ban should they want to.

“Since I haven’t been on the tour, I haven’t talked to any of them face to face. It was the first time when I came here on Saturday when I can talk to players, and if they start talking about this, we can discuss,” he said.
“I don’t know exactly what’s happening, what’s going to happen, if there are going to be more decisions made.
“Same about Wimbledon. I don’t know if this decision is 100 percent, and it’s over.”

Granted a bye in the first round, Medvedev will start his Geneva campaign against either Richard Gasquet or John Millman.

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Conquering the world: Carlos Alcaraz beats Rafa Nadal and Novak Djokovic to cement Barcelona-Madrid titles (Part Two)

Carlos Alcaraz will now look to translate his success from the ATP Tour to Roland Garros.

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Carlos Alcaraz (@MutuaMadridOpen)

In part one, I assessed how Spanish teenager Carlos Alcaraz continues to take the tennis world by storm after his victory in Barcelona.

 

Now I turn my attentions to his success in another famous Spanish city.

Madrid Masters victory

Alcaraz again began his Madrid Masters campaign in style, beating the dangerous Georgian Nicoloz Basilashvili in straight sets.

A stern test came in the form of Britain’s Cameron Norrie, who pushed the birthday boy that day to three sets.

https://www.instagram.com/p/CdMSI6uKJZB/?igshid=MDJmNzVkMjY=

Alcaraz moving through 6-4, 6-7 (4-7), 6-3 to set up a blockbuster quarter-final clash with his idol Rafa Nadal.

Now, some context is needed that the 21-time Grand Slam was appearing in his first tournament back since recovering from a rib injury.

An opening round win against Serbian Miomir Kecmanović was backed up with a tight three-set triumph over Belgian David Goffin, with the veteran Spaniard saving four match points.

To his credit, Nadal pushed his young apprentice all the way, before going down 6-2, 1-6, 6-3, with the second set showing his obvious quality, despite being partially fit.

https://www.instagram.com/p/CdOP5Jtg2Pn/

If this moment was a changing of the guard in Spanish tennis, then Alcaraz’s impressive win over Novak Djokovic could point to the man who may dominant the future of tennis.

The world number one was fortunate to play a match less, after the shock withdrawal of old rival Murray in the third-round.

https://www.instagram.com/tv/CdRFDuFgIHv/?igshid=MDJmNzVkMjY=

But he was no match for the imperious Alcaraz who triumphed at front of the delighted home support, 6-7 (5-7), 7-5, 7-6 (7-5).

The first player ever to beat Nadal and Djokovic back-to-back on a clay court in the history of tennis.

https://www.instagram.com/p/CdQ4yADqinS/?igshid=MDJmNzVkMjY=

And Alcaraz made it a highly commendable 5-0 in finals, destroying Germany’s Alexander Zverev 6-3, 6-1, with little challenge unlike the previous encounters with Norrie, Nadal and Djokovic.

James Spencer (Twitter: @jspencer28) – Alcaraz Verdict

In truth, I had a sneaky feeling that Alcaraz would triumph in Barcelona.

The way he is playing with such finesse and confidence, particularly against the Monte Carlo Masters champion, Stefanos Tsitsipas, was incredible to see.

https://www.instagram.com/p/CdQ4yADqinS/?igshid=MDJmNzVkMjY=

Saving match points against Alex de Minaur, also showed his mettle.

He also has an unbelievable shot selection and fitness levels.

Beating Nadal and Djokovic back-to-back is no easy feat.

https://www.instagram.com/p/CdRGhGyq64J/?igshid=MDJmNzVkMjY=

Often just one win knocks the stuffing out of you, mentally and physically, but not for this kid.

Alcaraz doesn’t get carried away. And this has been shown consistently this season.

Winning the Miami Masters could have led to a drop in motivation, yet he has looked even more motivated if anything.

He’s performed on hard-court and clay court surfaces with an assuring dominance.

https://www.instagram.com/p/CdRDN0Hq_zY/?igshid=MDJmNzVkMjY=

In fact, he is unbeaten on clay this season, losing three times in total all season.

Matteo Berrettini in five at the Australian Open.

Nadal in the semis of Indian Wells in a tight three sets, that ultimately injured the elder Spaniard, which could have ramifications on his entire fitness this season, and the destination of the French Open trophy.

And a close three-set defeat to up and coming youngster Sebastian Korda in Monte Carlo.

https://www.instagram.com/p/CdTpZI6o1kX/?igshid=MDJmNzVkMjY=

The new world number six must surely be the new favourite to WIN the French Open later this month.

Skipping the Italian Open should help the 19-year-old heal any niggling injuries.

If he does win in Paris, he will be the youngest Grand Slam champion since you guessed it, Nadal.

Only time will tell.

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