Rafael Nadal Overcomes 'Dangerous Player' To Reach Mexico Quarters As Erratic Zverev Crashes Out - UBITENNIS
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Rafael Nadal Overcomes ‘Dangerous Player’ To Reach Mexico Quarters As Erratic Zverev Crashes Out

The world No.2 is just one out of four seeded players to make it to the last eight of the South American tournament.

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Rafael Nadal (image via https://twitter.com/ATPTour_ES)

Rafael Nadal remains on course for his first title since the US Open after battling to a straight sets win over next gen star Miomir Kecmanović in the second round of the Abierto Mexicano Telcel Open.

The top seed faced some stern tests throughout his 6-2, 7-5, victory over the 20-year-old Serbian. Who has only ever defeated one top 10 player in his career so far, which was against Alexander Zverev in Cincinnati last year. Overall, Nadal hit 20 winners to 17 unforced errors and converted five out of his six break points.

“(It was a) Tough opponent, he’s a very dangerous player with a lot of power so I’m very pleased with my victory.” Nadal said afterwards.

A clinical start to the match saw Nadal win five consecutive games before Kecmanović managed to get on the scoreboard. The world No.50 did manage to retrieve one of the breaks, but the damage was already done as Nadal sealed the opener in just under 40 minutes. Then in the second the top seed was severely tested as he dropped serve whilst serving the match out at 5-3 due to some impressive play from across the court. However, he prevailed four games later to book a place in the quarter-finals.

“I think I played a great first set, which is positive news for me and gives me some confidence.” Nadal reflected.
“The second set was close. I lost my serve when serving for the match, but he played a great game. I was not serving first serves in that game and he was playing some good points.”

The 19-time grand slam champion now extends his win-loss record in Acapulco to 17-2. His only two losses were to Sam Querrey (2017) and Nick Kyrgios (2018). Both of those players went on to win the title that year.

Next up for Nadal will be a maiden meeting with South Korea’s Kwon Soon-woo, who is through to his fourth ATP quarter-final of the season. The world No.76 stunned eighth seed Dusan Lajovic 7-6(2), 6-2.

Mixed fortunes for the other seeds

Alexander Zverev (image via https://twitter.com/ATPTour_ES)

The biggest casualty of the tournament so far is Zverev who suffered a straightforward loss to Tommy Paul. A player who is ranked almost 60 places lower than him in the ATP rankings. Struggling with his second serve, Zverev dropped serve once in each set to fall 6-3, 6-4.

“It just didn’t work”, Zverev said during his press conference. “When I play like this, it is not hard to defeat me. It wasn’t going up to the to the net, it wasn’t my backhand, it was my serve… a shot that didn’t work.”

Qualifier Paul has claimed his first ever win over a top 10 player in his career. The 22-year-old is currently at a career ranking high of 66th in the world. Last month he reached the semifinals of the Adelaide International and the third round of the Australian Open.

”It meant a lot. I was really excited to get out there and play. He put me under pressure in the first game and then from there, I played well for the rest of the match,” Paul said.

The American will play compatriot John Isner next.

Canadian rising star Felix Auger-Aliassime, who was seeded fourth in the draw, is another top name to exit the tournament. The 19-year-old fell 6-4, 6-4, to the in-form Kyle Edmund. Former grand slam semi-finalist Edmund is on a winning streak after recently claiming the New York Open title.

“He’s (Auger-Aliassime) won a lot of matches and he’s seeing the ball big. Like him, I’m on a decent run as well,” Edmund said. “I liked how I created chances in both sets early. Overall, against a Top 20 player, it was a good result. I’m very pleased.”

There was better news for Grigor Dimitrov. The Bulgarian endured a marathon encounter against Adrian Mannarino where he prevailed 6-7(8), 6-2, 7-6(2) after almost three hours of play. Dimitrov had a 4-1 lead in the final set before losing four games in a row. He then had to save two match points en route to winning.

”All I had to do was to stay in the match and fight. I don’t know why I have to make it so hard, but it what it is,” Dimitrov said. “The atmosphere here was electric once again. I’m just going to appreciate this moment.”

Dimitrov faces nemesis Stan Wawrinka next. Somebody he has lost to in their five previous meetings on the tour. The Swiss third seed eased to a 6-4, 6-4, win over Spain’s Pedro Martinez Portero in his second round match.

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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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