Unbeaten Rafael Nadal Hails ‘Positive Week’ At ATP Cup - UBITENNIS
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Unbeaten Rafael Nadal Hails ‘Positive Week’ At ATP Cup

The 19-time grand slam champion reflects on his current form as he guides Spain into the quarter-finals.

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Rafael Nadal (image via twitter.com/atpcup)

Rafael Nadal continued his perfect run at the ATP Cup with a straight sets win over Japan’s Yoshihito Nishioka to put Spain into the quarter-finals.

The world No.1 didn’t have it all his own way against the 24-year-old, who is ranked 71 places lower than him. Dropping serve twice in the opening set, Nadal required more than two hours to see off his opponent 7-6(4), 6-4. Handing Spain an unassailable 2-0 lead in their latest tie. In what was their first meeting on the tour for more than two years, Nadal said afterwards he was impressed by his opponents game.

“He’s a great player with a lot of talent.” Said Nadal.
“He really does a lot of very difficult things very easy. So he’s able to manage very well the timing of the point. And his movements are one of the best on tour. He has started the season very well, I’m happy to see him back at this very, very high level after tough injuries.”

Nishioka has been ranked as high as 58th in the world and won his maiden ATP title in Shenzhen back in 2018. He reached the second round in three out of four grand slam tournaments last year.

Nadal has now won all three of his singles matches in straight sets at the ATP Cup. Earlier in the week he also defeated Nikoloz Basilashvili 6-3, 7-5, and Pablo Cuevas 6-1, 6-2. In the doubles he also teamed up with Pablo Carreno Busta on Wednesday to defeat Japan’s Ben McLachlan and Go Soeda. Placing Spain at the top of Group B with no matches lost. Nadal has now won his last 12 doubles matches representing Spain with five different partners.

“I think it’s been a positive week for me personally.” Nadal reflected.
“Winning three matches against three tough opponents. That’s a good way to start the season.’
“Now we (team Spain) go to Sydney, it’s the quarter-finals, it’s going to be another tough opponent for all of us there. And I really believe that we need to keep working well, but I really hope to be ready to increase the level.”

The 33-year-old king of clay is hoping to capitalize on his run in form at the upcoming Australian Open. Where he finished runner-up to Novak Djokovic 12 months ago. It is the only grand slam Nadal hasn’t won multiple times. His sole triumph occurred back in 12. However, if he does triumph in Melbourne it would place him on level footing with rival Roger Federer for most major singles titles ever won by a male player.

“My only goal is to keep playing good tennis, keep enjoying this sport, being happy. And if that happens and I stay healthy, the goal is to keep producing chances in the events that I’m going to play.” Nadal concluded.

Spain will play their quarter-final match at the ATP Cup on Friday.

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Roland Garros 2024: Rafael Nadal Faces Alexander Zverev In Blockbuster Opening Round

Rafael Nadal and Alexander Zverev will meet at Roland Garros in the first round with Andy Murray taking on Stan Wawrinka in the opening round.

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Rafael Nadal has been drawn against Rome champion Alexander Zverev in the opening round of Roland Garros.

The 14-time Roland Garros champion will most likely be making his last appearance at the event where he has such a great history at.

It’s been a mixed clay court season for Nadal who built gradual momentum in Madrid but suffered an early exit in Rome to Hubert Hurkacz.

Now the Spaniard has been drawn to take on the champion of Rome, Alexander Zverev, in the opening round.

The match is a repeat of the 2022 semi-final where Zverev broke his ankle losing almost a year of his career.

This contest headlines the second quarter of the draw which also features Karen Khachanov, Holger Rune and Daniil Medvedev.

In the other quarter of the top half of the draw, defending champion Novak Djokovic will begin his Roland Garros campaign against Pierre-Hughes Herbert.

There is also a potential third round clash with either Gael Monfils or Lorenzo Musetti for Djokovic, who is currently in Geneva gaining extra match practice ahead of the second Grand Slam of the season.

The Serb could have a repeat of last year’s final in the quarter-finals with Casper Ruud as the Norwegian begins his campaign against Jakub Mensik.

In the bottom half of the draw Jannik Sinner plays his first tournament since suffering a hip injury in Rome as he takes on Christopher Eubanks in the opening round.

Sinner could face Cameron Norrie in the third round with the Brit taking on Pavel Kotov in his opening round before playing the winner of the battle of the Grand Slam champions between Andy Murray and Stan Wawrinka.

Murray and Wawrinka will clash for the fourth time at Roland Garros with Wawrinka leading their head-to-head 2-1 in Paris.

This section also includes in-form players such as Hubert Hurkacz, Alejandro Tabilo and Rome finalist Nicolas Jarry.

Finally Carlos Alcaraz will begin his Roland Garros campaign against a qualifier before potentially playing Jack Draper in the second round.

Another exciting clash awaits Alcaraz in the third round in the form of Sebastian Korda with Andrey Rublev or Stefanos Tsitsipas being potential quarter-final opponents.

This is the full draw with Roland Garros beginning on Sunday.

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Alexander Zverev Secures Return To Top Four After Winning Italian Open

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Alexander Zverev has clinched his first Masters title since 2021 after downing Nicolas Jarry in straight sets at the Italian Open.

The world No.5 surged to a 6-4,7-5, victory at the Faro Italico to become the 10th player in the Open Era to win the Rome trophy on multiple occasions. He also won the tournament in 2017. Zverev’s latest win was aided by an impressive service display from the 27-year-old who also hit 15 winners against eight unforced errors. He is now 22-1 against players ranked outside the top five at the tournament with his only loss being to Matteo Berrettini five years ago.

“It means a lot. Winning my first (Masters) title and winning my first after my injury in Rome. Rome is a very special place for me,” the new champion said afterwards. 
“I said at the beginning of the week if Rome is the place of firsts for me I’m extremely happy about it. It’s a very special week.” 

Playing in his first Masters 1000 final since 2022, Zverev produced a serving masterclass throughout the opening set with the German winning 20 out of 21 points. In contrast, Jarry experienced more difficult but valiantly fought back with the Chilean saving two straight break points at 4-4. Eventually, the third seed sealed the opener two games later with the help of some costly shots coming from across the court. A deep shot towards the baseline was unsuccessfully returned by Jarry, handing Zverev a set point which he converted.

Continuing to pile the pressure on in the second set, Zverev had a double chance to break for a 3-1 lead but failed to capitalise on that opportunity. The opportunities continued to come and go. Back-to-back double faults from Jarry at 4-5 handed Zverev two championship points but once again he failed to take advantage. Eventually, he sealed victory two games later with the help of a forehand shot that Jarry returned out. Prompting Zverev to raise his hands in delight before later paying tribute to his rival. 

“He’s playing huge. You can see that by the opponents he beat and how he beat them,” he said of Jarry. 
“I told him if he continues playing like that he is going to have many more chances. I’m happy to be the winner.”

As a result of his Rome triumph, Zverev has secured a top-four seeding for the French Open. On Monday he will rise in the PIF ATP rankings to No.4 which will be his highest position since August 2022. During that same year, he sustained a serious ankle injury which sidelined him for months. 

“The focus is on Paris, that’s for sure. but let me enjoy this one for a day or so and then I will have my full focus on Paris,” said Zverev.

Zverev has now won six Masters 1000 titles which places him in joint-ninth on the all-time list along with Daniil Medvedev. 

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Novak Djokovic Accepts Geneva Wildcard Ahead Of Roland Garros

Novak Djokovic has accepted a wildcard into next week’s ATP 250 event in Geneva as he looks to improve his form ahead of Roland Garros.

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Novak Djokovic has shockingly accepted a wildcard into next week’s ATP 250 event in Geneva.

The world number one hasn’t had the best season so far having yet to reach a final at any of his events this season.

There was hope for Djokovic that his fortunes would change on clay and the Serb started his clay court season by reaching the semi-finals in Monte-Carlo before losing to Casper Ruud.

However Djokovic’s clay court hopes were dashed in Rome as he lost in the third round to in-form Chilean Alejandro Tabilo.

This has meant that Djokovic risks being undercooked for the second Grand Slam of the season at Roland Garros.

Therefore the Serb has had no option but to take a wildcard into next week’s ATP 250 in Geneva.

Djokovic will join Casper Ruud, Andy Murray, Denis Shapovalov and Taylor Fritz in next week’s event.

Next week’s appearance will be the first appearance in Geneva in Djokovic who will be the top seed in Switzerland.

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