Rafael Nadal Reacts To First Round Win At Australian Open - UBITENNIS
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Rafael Nadal Reacts To First Round Win At Australian Open

It was a strong start to the tournament from the top seed in the men’s draw.

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World No.1 Rafael Nadal overcame some spirited play from underdog Hugo Dellien to move into the second round of the Australian Open on Tuesday.

 

The former champion rallied to a 6-2, 6-3, 6-0, victory against the world No.73. Who is the only player from Bolivia to have a top 500 ranking at present. Despite the straightforward score, Nadal was at times made to work hard for victory due to some big hitting coming from across the court, but it was not consistent enough to derail the Spaniard as he dropped serve twice in the match.

“For me it is a positive start. What you want in the first round (of a grand slam) is to win and to do it in straight sets is even better.” Nadal said during his on-court interview.
“I’m happy and excited to be back here in Melbourne.”

Seeking only his second title in Melbourne and first in a decade, the top seed blasted 38 winners to 21 unforced errors in his latest encounter on the Rod Laver Arena. Nadal also had the edge when it came to serve as he won 70% of his first service points and 59% of his second. Converting eight out of his 18 break point opportunities.

Nadal’s form on the court elevated as the match progressed. After manoeuvring his way through the first two sets against Dellien, he switched up to another level in the third. It was during the decider where he dropped only six points behind serve and broke three consecutive times en route to victory. Clinching the win with the help of a clean forehand winner

“It was a tough first five games for me. I was leading 5-0, but he had a lot of chances to win games during that tough time.” He reflected after.
“He’s (Dellien) a fighter. He has a great story behind him. He is playing at a very high level and I wish him all the best for the rest of the season.”

The 32-year-old enters this year’s tournament with plenty of match practice following his run to the final of the inaugural ATP Earlier this month. At the tournament Nadal played a total of eight matches (including two doubles) and won six of them. Although he is not phased by the busy start to 2020 for him.

“There has not been much time between seasons this year. I finished late (last year) with the Davis Cup and then started (2020) with a demanding competition at the ATP Cup,’ he admits.
“But I’m happy. I’ve started to take it a bit slow at the end of last week and then I started to increase my intensity on the practice court.”

Nadal has now won his first round match at the Australian Open in 14 out of his 15 appearances. The only exception was in 2016. He has now won 62 main draw matches at the tournament since his debut back in 2004.

Up next for the top seed will be a meeting with either Portugal’s Joao Sousa or Argentina’s Federico Delbonis. He currently leads both player’s 3-0 in their head-to-head and is yet to drop a set against them.

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‘On This Surface I’m Only Inferior To Nadal’ – Pablo Carreno Busta Fires Warning at French Open

The world No.18 explains why he has very high expectations for Paris this year.

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Pablo Carreno Busta in action against Alexander Zverev during a men's singles Semifinal match at the 2020 US Open. (Photo by Simon Bruty/USTA)

Pablo Carreno Busta believes he has what it takes to pose a serious threat at this year’s French Open following his recent success in North America.

 

The world No.18 heads into Paris less than a month after reaching the semi-finals of the US Open for the second time in his career. Carreno Busta boasted a two-set lead over Alexander Zverev to close in on his first major final before the German fought back to clinch the match. Prior to the run, he also won the men’s doubles title at the Western and Southern Open alongside Alex de Minaur.

Taking to the court at Roland Garros on Monday, Carreno Busta eased to a 6-3, 6-2, 7-5, win over Australia’s John Milman in the first round. Producing 34 winners and breaking his opponent eight times en route to the win in the night-time encounter. Speaking to reporters afterwards, the 17th seed believes he has what it takes to go deep in the draw.

“I have a very high level, on this surface I am not inferior to anyone, except perhaps Rafa,” EFE quoted Carreno Busta as saying.
“If I am one hundred percent and I am brave and aggressive I am dangerous and it is not easy for them (other players) to beat me. It is what I have to try to do.”

It was at Roland Garros where the 29-year-old made his Grand Slam debut back in 2013. Since then his best run in the tournament was to the quarter-finals in 2017. Overall, Carreno Busta has won 11 out of 18 main draw matches played but has only managed to progress to the second week once in his seven previous attempts.

The next test for the Spaniard will be Argentina’s Guido Pella, who defeated Italy’s Salvatore Caruso 7-6(6), 6-7(4), 7-5, 6-4, in his opening match. Pella achieved a ranking high of 20th last year and his only title was on the clay was in Sao Paulo.

“It will be a very difficult game, perhaps more than today (Monday),” he previewed.
“I have to face the game the same, be solid and aggressive. It will be long, but I have played matches like that.”

Regardless of what happens over the coming days, Carreno Busta says he is happy to be playing once again following the break. The ATP Tour was stopped for five months due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Which is why the French Open is taking place later than usual in trickier conditions due to the cooler weather.

“It has been a very complicated year for all of us, there were moments when we did not know if we were going to be able to play. The important thing is that we are playing,” he states.

Carreno Busta is one of three Spanish players to be seeded in the men’s draw this year along with Nadal (2) and Roberto Bautista Agut (10).

Carreno Busta’s French Open record

2013 – R1
2014 – R1
2015 – R2
2016 – R2
2017 – QF
2018 – R3
2019 – R3

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Felix Auger-Aliassime Blasts Own Performance After French Open Misery

The Canadian says he didn’t play good enough in what was his main draw debut at the event.

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Rising star Felix Auger-Aliassime said he failed to ‘step up’ after crashing out in the first round of the French Open.

 

The 19th seed struggled to find a range throughout his 7-5, 6-3, 6-3, loss to Japan’s Yoshihito Nishioka in what was his first ever main draw appearance at Roland Garros at the age of 20. A below-par Auger-Aliassime produced six double faults and hit 58 unforced errors During what was a frustrating encounter. The Canadian also had 13 chances to break the Nishioka serve but only managed to convert twice.

“He played good. Also, I wasn’t good, and I could have been better on many of those opportunities,” the world No.22 said after the match.
“I give him credit and I take responsibility for that because I just felt like there were too many times where I just didn’t step up and played a decent point.”

Trying to find an explanation for his latest defeat on the Tour, Auger-Aliassime admits that he is unable to provide a specific reason. It is his fourth first round loss at a Grand Slam.

“The issue wasn’t technically. The issue could have been mentally, tactically,” he reflected.
“You always see what you could do better but when you’re in the moment you try your best. You try to win, but sometimes it’s not enough, you’re not good enough on the day.’
“Now it’s past me and I’ve got to accept that. It’s not easy. It’s tough. I felt like today I was just not playing good enough.”

Monday’s loss caps off what has been a somewhat disappointing clay court swing for the Next Gen star. Since reaching the fourth round of a Grand Slam for the first time at the US Open, Auger-Aliassime has only won one match in three tournaments played on the clay. Doing so at the German Open against Lorenzo Sonego.

“I had some good moments last clay-court tournaments in juniors, challengers, etc. This year there have been three tournaments, three complicated tournaments for me,” he said.
“It’s been a long time since I’ve played on clay, I haven’t had time to adjust and train.
“I could have done better, there was no reason. It’s obvious to everyone and myself that I haven’t been able to adapt and do what it takes to play better and win matches.”

Auger-Aliassime is the youngest player currently ranked inside the top 50 on the ATP Tour. The French Open was only his sixth appearance in a Grand Slam main draw.

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Marin Cilic Undeterred By French Open Loss But Wary Of The Next Generation

The former Grand Slam winner was in a reflective mood following his exit from Roland Garros.

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Despite a brief stay at this year’s French Open an upbeat Marin Cilic believes there are more positives than negatives when it comes to his current form.

 

The former top 10 player crashed out in the first round on Monday to recently crowned US Open champion Dominic Thiem. The showdown saw the Austrian prevail in straight sets to hand Cilic his earliest loss in the tournament since 2016. A bitter pill to swallow for a player who reached back-to-back quarter-finals in 2017 and 2018.

Although Cilic, who turned 32 on Monday, believes there is a silver lining to his latest match and he has ironically gained some confidence. It is the second time he has lost to Thiem in as many months after also doing so in New York.

“I feel that I’m not playing too bad. I’m feeling that I’m playing quite good,” Cilic told reporters.
“The match I played against Dominic at the US Open, the last two sets were really high quality. I was not far from extending it to a fifth set.’
“Here (at Roland Garros) I felt that I played still quite well considering it’s the first round, obviously I was gonna be a bit rusty but I felt I played quite solid.”

Whilst there are positives, questions are starting to mount about if Cilic has what it takes to once again be a contender at the major tournaments. He is currently ranked 40th in the world and was last inside the top 10 in February 2019. Furthermore, it has been more than two years since he won an ATP title with his last triumph occurring on the grass at the Queen’s Club.

It isn’t just the Big Three that is posing a threat, it is also the resurgence of the Next Generation of players. Both Alexander Zverev and Daniil Medvedev have reached a major final and Stefanos Tsitsipas is a former semi-finalist. All of those players are under the age of 25.

“In the last 12 months you can see that these youngsters, there are so many. I was looking the other day to see how many under the age of 25 there are in the top 50 and there are 18,” Cilic said.
“You have that great generation that came up (the ranks) and are getting more experience. They are playing better and better. Seeing possibilities with their game that they can go forward in these tournaments.”

Whilst in the larger view the Big Three remain the dominant forces on men’s tennis, Cilic believes a shift in power is starting to gradually happen. Which he admits is going to hinder his own chances of winning titles again in the future.

It is definitely becoming tougher to win these kinds of tournaments and you have to at the top of your game to win a grand slam,” he concluded.

Cilic’s win-loss record for the season now stands at 12-8.

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