Fast Courts A Problem For Rafael Nadal At Australian Open, Says Wilander - UBITENNIS
Connect with us

ATP

Fast Courts A Problem For Rafael Nadal At Australian Open, Says Wilander

The Swedish tennis great picks his favourite for the men’s title this year.

Published

on

Former world No.1 Mats Wilander believes the speed of the court could be an issue for Rafael Nadal at the Australian Open after labelling the Spaniard as the second favourite to win the title.

 

Wilander, who won the Melbourne major three times during the 1980s, believes playing on a fast court is Nadal’s worst surface. The Spaniard is seeking to win his second title in Australia and his first since 2009. It is the only major tournament in his career that he hasn’t won on multiple occasions. He reached the final last year before suffering a comprehensive loss to Novak Djokovic.

“I really think that the Australian Open has become a little bit of a problem for Rafa,” said Wilander.
“The main reason why it is a small problem for Rafa is that the courts are playing very fast.
“I would say it is the fastest hard courts that they play on the whole year and I think for Rafa he has improved on every different surface, of course, he has, but when it comes to playing on a fast hard court to me it’s his worst surface.”

Whilst raising concerns about the surface, Melbourne isn’t Nadal’s worst performing grand slam in terms of matches won. At Wimbledon he has won 53 out of 65 matches played, but did win the tournament twice. In comparison, at the Australian Open he has won 61 out of 74 played. Nadal has featured in the main draw of both grand slams 14 times so far in his career.

“I think Rafa is the second favourite because of doing well in Davis Cup and now he is playing well in ATP Cup. He hasn’t really taken a break at the end of the year so I don’t think we will see a reaction from Rafa until after the Australian Open.” Wilander previewed.

As to who is the frontrunner this year, the Swede has lent his backing behind defending champion Novak Djokovic. The Serbian is the most decorated men’s singles champion in the history of the tournament with seven titles. One ahead of rival Roger Federer. Djokovic began his season by guiding his country the ATP Cup title. During the final tie, he downed Nadal in straight sets.

“So for the Australian Open I think that Novak is the slight favourite ahead of Nadal and then I think Roger Federer and Stefanos Tsitsipas and other players like Daniil Medvedev are in the mix, but I would say Novak is the big favourite for sure.” Wilander concludes.

The Australian Open will begin on Monday. Nadal starts against Bolivia’s Hugo Dellian and Djokovic faces Jan-Lennard Struff.

ATP

Alexander Bublik reaches his third career semifinal with win over Denis Shapovalov in Marseille

Published

on

Alexander Bublik reached the third ATP Tour semifinal of his career after beating Canadian Canadian Next Gen player Denis Shapovalov 7-5 4-6 6-3 after 2 hours and 18 minutes at the Open 13 Provence in Marseille.

 

Bublik fended off a total of four break points in the first set, including three chances from 0-40, got the break in the 12th game to close out the first set 7-5, when Shapovalov hit a forehand volley wide at 30-40 after 45 minutes.

Both players traded breaks at the start of the second set. Bublik did not convert three break points at 3-2, when he hit a forehand into the net on his first break point chance. Shapovalov broke serve in the seventh game to take a 4-3 lead with a drop shot and wrapped up the second set with his third ace.

Bublik opened up a 2-0 lead with a break in the second game of the third set. Shapovalov broke straight back in the third game. Bublik got another break lead in the eighth lead at 15, when Shapovalov hit a forehand wide. Bublik sealed the win with a hold at love.

“He is a great player and serve. It was our first match, but I have known him for a very long time. I was happy to break in the first set, then in the second set he was better, and I had my chances in the third and I held on. So I am very happy”,said Bublik.

Continue Reading

ATP

Milos Raonic, Steve Johnson, Frances Tiafoe and Ugo Humbert reach the quarter final in Delray Beach

Published

on

Milos Raonic hit 11 aces and saved the three break points he faced to beat German Cedrik Marcel Stebe 7-5 6-3 after 1 hour and 36 minutes reaching the quarter final at the Delray Beach, an ATP Tour 250 tournament.

 

Raonic earned a break in each set. Stebe earned a break point in the ninth game with a forehand down the line, but Raonic saved it with a forehand. Raonic faced two more break points in the 11th game, but Raonic saved them with service winners. Raonic earned a break with a forehand down the line winner in the 12th game to close out the first set 7-5. Raonicwon four consecutive points on return to earn a break and closed out the match 6-3 with a hold of serve.

“I got lucky through that first set and then I tried to be a bit more aggressive, create more things and that put a bit more pressure on him. It opened up the match for me a bit more”, said Raonic.

Raonic set up a quarter final against Steve Johnson, who edged past his compatriot Jack Sock 6-4 5-7 6-1 after 2 hours and 5 minutes to reach his first quarter final at ATP Tour level in six months. Johnson came back from losing the second set by racing out to a 5-0 lead.

“This is just one of those tournaments where you feel comfortable coming back every year. It’s great to see Sock back. I thought he played a really good second set and I just got bit of a momentum in the third set”, said Johnson.

French Next Gen player Ugo Humbert edged Miomir Kecmanovic 6-4 7-6 (8-6) after 1 hour and 42 minutes to reach his third quarter final in 2020. Humbert fended off eight of the ten break points he faced and earned three breaks to win the last four games of the first set from 2-4 down. Humbert broke Kecmanovic, as the Serbian player was serving for the second set at 6-5. The Frenchman saved a set point and came back from 5-6 down by winning the final three points of the tie-break to clinch the win after 1 hour and 43 minutes. Humbert has improved his win-loss record this year to 8-3.

“It’s always tough to play against Miomir, because he is a great player. He always plays at a high level. I lost to him last week and I was a little bit stressed before the match, so I am very happy to get the win today. You have to enjoy the victory because it’s not easy every week. Winning in Auckland gave me a lot of confidence. I beat some great players, but I have to continue my improvement every day”,said Humbert.

Humbert will face US player Frances Tiafoe, who battled past Tommy Paul 7-5 7-6 (7-4). Both players stayed neck and neck in the first set until the 11th game when Tiafoe earned a break with a return winner. He served out the set 7-5 with a service winner in the 12th game.

Paul earned a break in the sixth game, but he dropped his serve, while he serving for the set at 5-3. Tiafoe closed out the match with a backhand crosscourt winner at 6-4 in the tie-break.

“It’s never easy playing a good friend. It’s awkward, but I thought it was a pretty good match overall. My forehand was definitely on, so that helped. I am starting to play good tennis again and just competing hard in every match”,said Tiafoe.  

Continue Reading

ATP

Felix Auger Aliassime saves three match points to beat Pierre Hugues Herbert in Marseille

Published

on

Felix Auger Aliassime saved three match points to beat Pierre Hugues Herbert 6-0 6-7 (8-6) 7-6 (11-9) after 2 hours and 40 minutes at the Open 13 in Marseille.

 

Auger Aliassime did not convert a match point in the tie-break of the second set before clinching the win on his sixth match point to advance to the quarter final in Marseille. The young Canadian player hit 16 aces and won 85 % of his first serve points.

Herbert hit a tweener lob on set point in the second set to force the match to the third set. Auger Aliassime hit an overhead into the open court at 6-6 in the tie-break in the third set. Herbert hit a forehand pass down the line to earn a match point on his serve, but he did not convert it, as he hit a backhand into the net.

Auger Aliassime saved two more match points at 5-6 and 7-8 in the tie-break with his forehand and an unretured serve, before sealing the win with an ace.

The Canadian Next Gen player will face this year’s Pune finalist Egor Gerasimov, who broke three times in his 6-4 7-6 (7-5) win over David Goffin.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Trending