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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‘He Did Everything I did, Only Better’ – Pat Rafter Names The Toughest Rival Of His Career

The two-time grand slam champion opens up about his toughest rivalry as he predicts a bleak outlook for the 2020 tennis season.

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Former world No.1 Pat Rafter has named an American tennis legend as the player who he struggled the most against throughout his professional career.

 

The 47-year-old was a star of Australian tennis during his playing days after achieving a series of milestones. His accolades include becoming the first player from his country in 28 years to reach the top of the ATP rankings in 1999 and becoming the first man to win the Rogers Cup, Cincinnati Masters and US Open within the same year. Rafter is also the last player outside of the Big Three to have won back-to-back US Open titles after triumphing in 1997 and 1998.

Despite his successes, there was one player that caused him difficulty. Rafter played Pete Sampras 16 times on the ATP Tour, but could only win four of those encounters. At one stage he lost to the 14-time grand slam champion eight times in a row.

“The toughest player I played against was definitely Pete Sampras – he did everything I did, only better.” Rafter told Eurosport.
“His record was the best so there’s no doubt about it Sampras the stand-out. I enjoyed playing Andre Agassi the most – I thought we had a really good battle, I really enjoyed playing him.”

The rivalry between the two was tense at times. Highlighted best by their encounter in the 1998 US Open semifinals. Sampras complained of a quadriceps injury following his loss to the Australian. Prompting Rafter to famously say ‘he’s becoming a bit of a crybaby.’ A few months before that comment, he admitted that his relationship with the American wasn’t solid by saying ‘We’re not the best of mates. I wouldn’t go out for a beer with him, put it that way.’

22 years on from the verbal exchange between the two, Rafter now describes it as a thing of the past. Insisting that his rival never took what he said to him ‘personally.’

“I can’t remember the exact words, but we had a run-in in Cincinnati one year – I probably told him to grow up.” He recounted.
“He cracked it when I beat him one time. But that was back in the old days, emotions were running high and don’t take it personally. It’s all good.”

No tennis in 2020

Besides reminiscing about his playing career with Eurosport, Rafter has also predicted a bleak outlook for this year’s tour. All professional tournaments have been suspended until July 13th due to the Covid-19 pandemic. For the first time since 1945 Wimbledon has been cancelled due to the situation.

Many are now speculating as to when it will be possible for the tour to resume. The US Open is still optimistic that they can hold their tournament as scheduled later this summer. Meanwhile, the French Open is set to be played during the later part of September. However, Rafter doubts that either of those tournaments will happen.

“No, I think this (the virus) is going to be around for a long time.” Rafter commented on the chances of the 2020 season resuming. “Until they get a vaccine I can’t see how anyone is going to be playing.’
“Personally, I think it’ll be like the flu and we’ll have to get used to it.”

Potentially one solution for the tournaments would be to host matches without spectators. In order to minimise the risk of the virus spreading. An approach that has already been taken by other sports such as football. However, Wimbledon refused to consider that option this year.

“I think they could. No spectators. Sure. No ball-boys – I’d love to see the players pick up the balls themselves!” he concluded.

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‘Don’t Be Afraid’ – Nick Kyrgios Offers Support To Those Struggling During Covid-19 Pandemic

The bad boy of tennis says he will support those in need by delivering essential supplies.

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Former top 20 player Nick Kyrgios has urged members of the public to reach out to him if they require any help during the covid-19 pandemic in a social media post.

 

The two-time grand slam quarter-finalist has offered to deliver food to those who are struggling during the current crises, which has suspended the ATP and WTA Tours until at least July. It is estimated by economists that more than 500,000 people in Kyrgios’ home country of Australia will lose their jobs due to the outbreak. There have been more than one million cases of the coronavirus worldwide with many countries currently placed in a lockdown in a bid to halt the spread of the virus.

‘If ANYONE is not working/not getting an income and runs out of food, or times are just tough… please don’t go to sleep with an empty stomach,’ Kyrgios wrote on Instagram.
‘Don’t be afraid or embarrassed to send me a private message. I will be more than happy to share whatever I have.
‘Even just for a box of noodles, a loaf of bread or some milk. I will drop it off at your doorstep, no questions asked.’

In Australia there have been 5687 cases of Coronavirus as of Sunday which has resulted in 34 deaths. This is according to figures provided by chief medical officer Professor Brendan Murphy.

It is not the first time Kyrgios has offered to support those in need. Earlier this year he was an instrumental figure in helping raising money for the Australian bushfire appeal. Donating AUS$200 for every ace produced during the first month of the season and participating in a series of exhibition matches. According to 7 News, Kyrgios raised in the region of AUS$100,000 for the bushfire fund.

Kyrgios is currently ranked 40th in the world and has won six out of his nine matches played earlier this season. At the Australian Open he reached the fourth round before falling in four sets to Rafael Nadal.

 

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Diego Schwartzman On Playing The Big Three And Who He Believes Is The Best

The top-20 player pays tribute to the three tennis legends as he cast his vote in the greatest of all time debate.

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When it comes to taking on the Big Three in tennis, Diego Schwartzman is perhaps one of the best players to provide an insight into how frustrating it can be.

 

The Argentine world No.13 has played a member of the illustrious trio no less than 18 times in his career, but is yet to gain a single victory to his name. Consisting of Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal, the big three have dominated men’s tennis in recent years. Between them, they have won the last 13 grand slams and at least one of them has featured in 58 out of the past 60 major finals. Since February 2004, Andy Murray is the only player outside of the group to have held the No.1 position.

Schwzrtman’s record against the big guns has seen him lose to Nadal nine times as well as succumbing to both Djokovic and Federer on four occasions. Nevertheless, the three-time grand slam quarter-finalist isn’t bitter as he hails their achievements in the sport.

“Against Nadal you always come in hope of giving him a fight on any day and on any surface, but you quickly realize that it is almost impossible to defeat him.” Schwartzman said during an Instagram live chat with journalist Danny Miche.
“Djokovic makes me feel that in the second game of service I no longer have lungs. It’s unbelievable.’
“Federer gives you more air (time), but you don’t seem to know how to play tennis. It’s amazing how he hits the ball.’
“The three are unbelievable, in different ways.”

There is also the ongoing debate as to who should be named the greatest of all time. Each player has their own credentials. Federer currently has the all-time lead for most grand slam titles at 20. Nadal has won more ATP tournaments on the clay than any other player in history. Meanwhile, current world No.1 Djokovic has won more prize money in the sport than any other player – male or female.

Weighing on the debate, Schwartzman has given the edge to Djokovic. Prior to the suspension of the tour due to covid-19, Djokovic started 2020 by winning 18 matches in a row. Claiming titles at the ATP Cup, Australian Open and Dubai Tennis Championships.

“At his best, Djokovic has beaten Rafael Nadal many times on the clay and Roger Federer many times on the grass. So maybe I would say that he is slightly above the other two.” He explained.
“Let’s see if you can reach the records, now it was packed and saw that pace being broken. But Djokovic knows that he has to keep the level, because if he doesn’t win he will win the other two.”

Schwartzman started the year by winning nine out of 14 matches played. His best performance of the season so far took place on home territory when he reached the final of the Cordoba Open before losing to Christian Garin.

The Big Three head-to-head

Djokovic

Nadal

Federer

Djokovic

N/A

29-26

27-23

Nadal

26-29

N/A

24-16

Federer

23-27

16-26

N/A

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