ATP Finals 2019 Day 6 Preview: Rafael Nadal's Fate Hangs In The Balance - UBITENNIS
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ATP Finals 2019 Day 6 Preview: Rafael Nadal’s Fate Hangs In The Balance

Who will join Dominic Thiem, Roger Federer, and Stefanos Tsitsipas in Saturday’s semifinals?

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The final stage of round-robin matches will get underway at The O2 on Friday. Yesterday saw Rafael Nadal seal the year-end No.1 spot after challenger Novak Djokovic lost in straight sets. However, there is little for to celebrate for the king of clay. Today he faces the prospect of winning his match and still not qualifying for the semi-final stage of the tournament. 

 

Here are the advancement scenarios for the Andre Agassi Group, with Tsitsipas advancing regardless of today’s results:

  • Zverev advances if he wins, or if he loses in three sets and Tsitsipas wins.
  • Nadal advances if both he and Medvedev win.
  • Medvedev advances if he wins in two sets and Tsitsipas wins.

Rafael Nadal (1) vs. Stefanos Tsitsipas (6)

Nadal seemed all but out of this tournament less than 48 hours ago, down 5-1 and a match point in the third set to Medvedev.  But Rafa made a classic comeback, aided by a Medvedev meltdown, and Nadal now has new life. Rafa will need more help from Daniil today, as the only way Nadal can advance to tomorrow’s semifinals is if he wins and if Medvedev defeats Zverev.  The first half of that equation will not be an easy task, against a confident and thus-far undefeated Tsitsipas. Stefanos already beat Medvedev and Zverev this week, and owns victories this year against Federer, Djokovic, and Nadal. The win over Rafa even came on clay in Rafa’s home country, when Tsitsipas prevailed in three sets at the Madrid Masters.  But Nadal has been victorious the other four times these two have played, including the very next week at the Rome Masters. A fast indoor hard court is far from Rafa’s favorite surface, yet he should feel good coming off his great escape on Wednesday. He also does not have the pressure of battling for the year-end No.1 ranking, as the King of Clay has already secured that crown thanks to Federer’s win over Djokovic last night.  And as our own Adam Addicott reported, Tsitsipas had an injection in his foot earlier this week, so he’s obviously not 100%. At the beginning of this week, Nadal’s advancement chances seemed slim, as he arrived with an abdominal injury that hampered his play on Monday. But with his tournament life on the line, I’m not betting against one of tennis’ all-time great competitors to find a way to win.

Daniil Medvedev (4) vs. Sascha Zverev (7)

If Nadal does win in the afternoon session, it would eliminate Medvedev from the tournament before this night match even takes place.  Regardless of the afternoon match outcome, Zverev will be playing for his tournament life in this last match of the round robin stage. Sascha owns a 4-1 record over Daniil, though Medvedev claimed their last meeting.  That was just last month in the final of the Shanghai Masters. But the Russian is not the same player he was a month ago, and he’s 0-3 since that championship match in Shanghai. Of course that includes the loss to Nadal two days ago, where Medvedev completely unraveled in the third set, sarcastically giving a thumbs up to his team after nearly after point he lost.  It will be tough to come back and win after that defeat, especially against a player who has dominated their head-to-head. And as the the defending champion in London, Zverev has good vibes playing at the O2. The German should be favored to win, which would guarantee his place in the semifinals for the second straight year.

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Monte Carlo Breakthrough Leaves Andrey Rublev With Mixed Emotions

The world No.8 takes confidence from his latest run but admits it is ‘impossible’ to play at his very top level every week on the Tour.

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After achieving a career milestone at the Monte Carlo Masters, Andrey Rublev was sent crashing down to earth on Sunday.

 

The Russian tennis star broke new territory at the tournament by reaching his first ever Masters 1000 final at the age of 23. However, he was denied the title by Stefanos Tsitsipas who produced a clinical performance to seal victory in just 71 minutes. Ending Rublev’s run of winning seven finals in a row.

“I feel happy with the week, and I feel super sad with the final, that I couldn’t show my game,” he told reporters on Sunday.
“Of course, I’m happy with the week because I beat so many great players and I beat one of the best players in history. It’s a special week.”

Earlier in the tournament Rublev stunned the draw when he upset Rafael Nadal in three sets en route to the semi-finals. Making it the fourth time in his career he has scored a win over a player ranked No.3 in the world. He is also the first player in history to come back from a set down to defeat Nadal at the tournament.

Besides the king of clay, Rublev also dismissed Roberto Bautista Agut and Casper Ruud. He has now won 24 matches on the ATP Tour this season which is more than anybody else. However, he is reluctant to link all of his match play with his latest performance.

“I feel tired after all the matches that I play, exhausted. But this is not excuse. He was just better than me, and that’s it,” he stated.
“Not always everything goes your way. It happened today. I was completely exhausted. Stefanos, he showed great game. He was just better than me, and that’s it.”

Despite his recent success, Rublev is eager to not get too far ahead of himself heading into the French Open. A Grand Slam where he has only played in the main draw twice before, including last year where he reached the quarter-finals.

“I would like to play really good in Madrid and I would like to play really good in Rome. I would like to play all of the weeks good. But it’s impossible,” he explains.
“Some of the weeks for sure will be better, some will be worse and some will be amazing.’
“For the moment I’m playing really consistent. I’m really happy I’m playing my best season so far. We’ll see what’s going to happen.”

Rublev is set to return to action next week at the Barcelona Open where he will be the third seed.

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Former Australian Open Semi-Finalist Kyle Edmund Undergoes Surgery

It has been reported that the world No.69 may not be able to return to the Tour for ‘several more months.’

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British world No.69 Kyle Edmund is set to be sidelined from the Tour for some time after having surgery to treat a long-standing problem in Switzerland. 

 

The former British No.1 has confirmed he had a ‘small procedure’ on his knee after being hampered with issues in the area ever since 2018 when a scan revealed that he had fluid behind his left knee. Details of the surgery have not been disclosed by the person who conducted the operation was Dr Roland Biedert, according to BBC Sport. A specialist Orthopaedic surgeon who has also operated on Roger Federer, Stan Wawrinka and Juan Martin del Potro.

“I had a small procedure on my knee. I’m currently rehabbing. The recovery is going well and I hope to be back on court as soon as possible.” Edmund said.

Currently ranked 69th in the world, Edmund hasn’t played a competitive match since losing in the first round of qualifying at the Vienna Open last October due to his knee. 2020 saw mixed fortunes for the 26-year-old. After winning the New York Open during February of that year, he lost seven out of 10 matches played during the rest of the season. Including five defeats in a row.

No return date has been outlined by Edmund or his team following the surgery. However, British media have reported that he may be out for ‘several more months.’ Casting doubts over his chances of being ready in time for Wimbledon which starts on June 28th. He hasn’t been absent from a Wimbledon main draw since 2012.

Edmund has been ranked as high as 14th in the world with his best Grand Slam run being to the semi-finals of the 2018 Australian Open. Overall, he has won two ATP titles and has earned more than $5.7 in prize money. 

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Grigor Dimitrov Blames Poor Monte Carlo Performance On ‘Big Infection’

The 29-year-old reveals the reason behind his error-stricken performance at the Monte Carlo Country Club on Thursday.

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Bulgaria’s Grigor Dimitrov said he simply ‘didn’t play’ in his latest match at the Monte Carlo Masters after winning just two games against Rafael Nadal.

 

The world No.17 fell 6-1, 6-1, to the 20-time Grand Slam champion in less than an hour on Thursday. He won 48% of his first service points and 32% of his second, as he hit 32 unforced errors. A dismal performance from Dimitrov who had beaten Jan-Lennard Struff and Jeremy Chardy earlier in the tournament.

Whilst it was never going to be easy playing somebody of Nadal’s calibre, Dimitrov has revealed that he had been troubled by an issue away from the court. He has been suffering from a ‘big infection’ in his tooth which has had an impact on his preparation for the match.

“I’ve been struggling with a massive tooth problem for the past four or five days,” he said. “I have a big infection in my tooth. It’s been hard. I haven’t been able to sleep well or eat well or anything like that.’
“I was bearing it for a while this whole week.”

It is another case of bad luck for Dimitrov on the Tour this season. At the Australian Open he reached the quarter-finals in what was his best Grand Slam performance since the 2019 US Open. However, in his last eight showdown with Russia’s Aslan Karatsev he was hindered by a back injury.

“It’s straight to the doctor’s, unfortunately,” he commented on his tooth. “Very, very unpleasant moment. It is what it is.’
“At least I’m glad it happened on a home soil so I can go see my dentist and figure this problem as soon as possible.Hopefully it’s not too serious and I’ll be able to come back as soon as possible.”

Speaking in his press conference, Nadal said he ‘felt sorry’ for his opponent who ‘played a bad match.’ During the match the world No.3 wasn’t aware of Dimitrov’s problem but was told about it afterwards.

“I wish him all the best. He’s a great guy, a good friend. I just hope the situation is to improve as soon as possible,” he said.

Nadal, who is seeking a record 12th title in Monte Carlo, will play Russia’s Andrey Rublev next.

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