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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Daniil Medvedev Searching For Confidence Boost Ahead Of Wimbledon

The two-time Grand Slam finalist says he is not the same player as he was two years ago when he last played Wimbledon.

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When it comes to playing on the grass this year Daniil Medvedev admits that the biggest issue for him might concern the mental side of the sport as opposed to the physical side.

 

The world No.2 kicked-off his grass swing last week in Halle where he was stunned in the first round by Germany’s Jan-Lennard Struff. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic disrupting the Tour in 2020, that was the first time the Russian had played a match on the surface in almost two years. Short on matches, Medvedev is back in action this week in Mallorca after taking a wildcard into the tournament.

“I like to play on grass, I just need to get some confidence in my game on the surface, because we didn’t play [on it] for two years. Two years ago, I was not the same player as I am right now,” Medvedev told atptour.com. “It is tough for me to say where I see myself, but I know I can play very good on this surface. I just need to find the right balance.”

Since he last played at Wimbledon, Medvedev surged on the ATP Tour by winning six titles with all of them being on a hardcourt. Furthermore, he also reached the final of the US Open in 2019 and the Australian Open this year. He is the first player outside of the Big Four to be ranked in the world’s top two since July 2005.

Despite his previous success on the grass, Medvedev admits he remains wary about playing on the surface and the conditions he may face.

“When I started playing on grass, I played in Challengers and even in [ATP] Tour tournaments on the outside courts, not on the central courts, and I can tell that the central courts are quite slow,” he said. “Especially the match I played with Gilles Simon at Queen’s [Club], we had rallies of 40 shots every second point. That is what makes it a little bit tougher.
“When I practise on practice courts, I feel like I am playing so good as the ball is so fast. Then I come onto the centre court to play the match, and the ball just stops after the bounce, and you have to adapt your game, so it can be tough. But I know I can play really well on grass.”

In Mallorca Medvedev has a bye in the first round. His opening match will be against either South Africa’s Lloyd Harris or France’s Corentin Moutet.

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Unseeded Ugo Humbert Becomes First Player In Over A Decade To Win Halle On Debut

The 22-year-old fired nine aces and 29 winners to claim his first ATP 500 title.

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image via https://twitter.com/ATPHalle

France’s Ugo Humbert has clinched his maiden ATP title on the grass after defeating Andrey Rublev in straight sets at the Noventi Open in Halle.

 

Humbert remained unbroken throughout his 6-3, 7-6(4), win over the Russian fourth seed who has won more matches on the ATP Tour than any other player since the start of 2020 (74). The Frenchman was particularly impressive behind serve where he won 83% of his first service points and 55% on his second. It is the first time he has beaten Rublev on the Tour after losing to him on two previous occasions in 2019 (Monte Carlo) and 2020 (St. Petersburg).

“It’s incredible,” said Humbert. “The best victory of my career. I’m very proud because it wasn’t easy, I was a little but tired today but I tried to stay focused on each point. It’s very nice.”

The triumph concludes what has been a marathon week in Halle for the 22-year-old. En route to the final he had to come through four three-set matches where he scored wins over Sam Querrey, Alexander Zverev, Sebastian Korda and Felix-Auger Aliassime. Becoming only the second player in Halle’s 28-year history to have reached the final by playing only three-set matches.

Meanwhile, runner-up Rublev paid tribute to his opponent following their clash. The world No.7 is now 1-2 in finals played so far this season after winning Rotterdam before losing to Stefanos Tsitsipas in Monte Carlo. To put that into perspective, in 2020 he won all six finals he played in.

“I have often told my coach that you play in an incredible way,” he said. “You have everything to be a very great player. So keep working, doing everything you do. You play very well, you have incredible shots. I wish you a great career.”

Humbert, who won two ATP titles last year in Auckland and Antwerp, is the first player to win Halle on the debut since 2010. On that occasion Lleyton Hewitt prevailed over Roger Federer in the final. He is now projected to rise to a ranking high of 25 on Monday when the ATP standings are officially updated.

The Frenchman will be hoping that he can continue his winning streak heading to Wimbledon where he reached the fourth round back in 2019. His best ever result in a Grand Slam to date.

https://twitter.com/TennisTV/status/1406612207086059528

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David Goffin Out Of Wimbledon Following Halle Accident

It has been reported that the unfortunate injury he suffered is ‘more serious’ than a sprain.

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David Goffin has been forced to withdraw from Wimbledon after suffering an ankle injury during the Noventi Open earlier this week.

 

The former top 10 player was taking on Corentin Moutet in Halle where he slipped on the grass and subsequently hurt his right ankle. Forcing the Belgian to retire from the match at the start of the third set. Providing an update on Goffin’s health, agent Martin Roux said he is unsure how long he will be absent from the Tour for.

“Yes, David has officially withdrawn from Wimbledon following his ankle injury in Halle. For the moment we do not know more about the exact duration of unavailability, ” Roux told lesoir.be. “He is of course disappointed to miss a Grand Slam tournament, especially since he had recovered well on grass before his injury. “

https://twitter.com/tennis_gifs/status/1404375935625875457

Elaborating further, Roux confirmed Goffin’s injury is ‘more serious’ than a sprain and tests are ongoing to assess the extent of the damage which has been caused to the ankle. It is not the first time he has suffered a freak accident on the court. During the 2018 Rotterdam Open he hurt his eye after a tennis ball rebounded into his face, forcing him to pull out of Marseille and Indian Wells that year.

“David told me that it was more serious than a minor sprain, after exams in Belgium.”Roux added. “The ankle has not yet deflated (stopped swelling). David realizes that ice and bandages won’t be enough to play. The ligaments must be affected in one way or another. The idea is to do new exams at the end of the week in order to then have a healing protocol, especially since after Wimbledon the Olympic Games will arrive quickly. These are now his next goals. “

The 30-year-old has achieved a win-loss record of 14-13 so far in 2021 and won his fifth ATP title in Montpellier. He has also reached the semi-finals in Antalya and quarter-finals in Monte Carlo. However, recently Goffin has struggled on the Tour with Halle being the fifth tournament in a row where he has failed to win back-to-back matches.

Goffin is currently ranked 13th in the world.

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