'This Doesn't Mean It’s Going To Be A Good Year’ - Rafael Nadal Reacts To Acapulco Triumph - UBITENNIS
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‘This Doesn’t Mean It’s Going To Be A Good Year’ – Rafael Nadal Reacts To Acapulco Triumph

The world No.2 spoke candidly about his future goals and what he wants his legacy to be following his latest win.

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Rafa Nadal - Acapulco 2020 (via Twitter, @AbiertoTelcel)

Top seed Rafael Nadal has eased to the Mexico Open title with a dominant 73-minute performance in the final on Sunday against world No. 35 Taylor Fritz.

 

The 19-time grand slam champion withstood 10 aces fired from Fritz to prevail 6-3, 6-2. Completing his near perfect performance at this year’s tournament where he didn’t drop a set en route to the title. On average Nadal lost five games per match. Against Fritz, Nadal was unbroken throughout the encounter as he hit 14 winners against eight unforced errors. Furthermore, he also dropped just five points behind his first serve.

“Winning in Acapulco is always special because of the closeness to the tournament and the people. It’s an important title in an important moment, I didn’t start the year as good as I wanted, but I got better, I came into the tournament a little bit saturated because I didn’t get a lot of rest and this was a week to build my confidence. I leave with my objective cleared, I’m very happy, I want to enjoy this and get ready for Indian Well,” said Nadal.

It was at the Mexican Open where he won his first ATP International Series Gold title back in 2005. Commonly known now as an ATP 500 event. His record in Acapulco now stands at 20 wins against two losses. Those who have defeated him, Sam Querrey in 2017 and Nick Kyrgios in 2018, both went on to win the title that year. It is the first time Nadal has won the tournament since it switched from clay to hard courts and it is his third overall.

Despite his recent triumph, the 33-year-old is staying grounded about what the future may have in store for him on the tour. He is currently locked in a battle with Novak Djokovic for the world No.1 spot. Djokovic won the Dubai Open this week.

“This doesn’t mean it’s going to be a good year; it only gives me confidence and lets me be in a privileged position”, he commented on his latest achievement.

It is the 17th year in a row that Nadal has won a title on the ATP Tour and 85th in total. In the Open Era, only Ivan Lendl, Roger Federer and Jimmy Connors have won titles than him. He is also the oldest player to win in Mexico as well as being the youngest.

”He’s one of the best players to ever play the game and he showed me why that is tonight,” runner-up Fritz said in tribute to his rival. “This is one of my favourite tournaments to come to every year. I’m just glad that I could have a good week at one of my favourite events. I felt a lot of love all week.”

Despite his highly decorated career, Nadal doesn’t want to be remembered for what he has won. Speaking to reporters in his press conference, he said he wants his legacy to be more meaningful.

“In the future, I do not want to be remembered as a tennis player who won numerous titles, but to have left a good example for boys and girls. This is my only objective, then winning or losing is part of the sport in general. If one thing I wish I could say that I have done well is that I have transmitted positive things on and off a track and that makes me very satisfied on my part,” he said.

Nadal will trail Djokovic by 370 points in the world rankings when they are updated on Monday. Both players will return to action in a couple weeks time at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells.

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Felix Auger-Aliassime Reaches Quarters In Cincinnati After Three-Set Win Over Sinner

The world number nine reached the quarterfinals after battling back to beat the Italian in three sets.

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Felix Auger-Aliassime (Roberto Dell'Olivo)

Felix Auger-Aliassime is into the quarterfinals of the Western and Southern Open after beating Jannik Sinner 2-6, 7-6, 6-1 in two hours and 26 minutes.

 

The Canadian served 14 aces and hit 29 winners in a match where he had to fight back from losing the first set on his way to sealing a spot in the final eight of the tournament.

“Jannik was just playing too good. I didn’t have a great start, I was missing a lot. But I just had no time. He was playing so fast, so precise, serving well. For a set and a half, it was just too good,” atptour.com quoted Auger-Aliassime as saying during his on-court interview. “That game he broke me in the second, returning on the baseline for three returns in a row, you can’t do much better, so I had to give it to him.
“But at the end, I was still on the court trying to find ways, trying to fight and trying to see how I could make him miss a few more balls and to put myself in a competing position and I did that well… To come back and play that way in the tie-break and the third set, that means a lot to me going forward.”

Sinner got the early break in the first set to take a 2-0 lead and broke a second time with the Montreal native serving to stay in the first set to seal it.

The second set stayed on serve until 3-2 when once again the Italian got the break of serve to take a 4-2 lead but Auger-Aliassime broke right back the following game. The set was eventually decided by a tiebreaker in which the world number nine raced out to a 4-0 lead, hitting some solid forehands and it looked like he had turned the match around. He won the breaker only losing a single point and sent the match into a deciding set.

The number seven seed kept the momentum going by breaking in the first game of the third set. He then earned a double break lead and was up 3-0 and broke a third time for a 4-1. Auger-Aliassime served out the match to book a date with Borna Coric who beat the Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut in straight sets 6-2, 6-3 in one hour and 21 minutes.

The pair have met twice before in 2019. Auger-Aliassime won their encounter in Miami but Coric triumphed in Rome.

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Cincinnati Daily Preview: Quarterfinals Featuring Medvedev/Fritz and Alcaraz/Norrie

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Daniil Medvedev this week in Cincinnati (twitter.com/cincytennis)

Friday’s ATP singles quarterfinals feature six of the top 13 players in the world.  By contrast, in the WTA singles draw, the top five seeds have all been eliminated, and only two seeds remain.

 

Each day, this preview will analyze the two most intriguing matchups, while highlighting other notable matches on the schedule.  Friday’s play gets underway at 11:00am local time.


Daniil Medvedev (1) vs. Taylor Fritz (11) – Not Before 1:00pm on Center Court

Medvedev has earned both his wins this week in straight sets, while Fritz came back from a set down on Thursday to defeat Daniil’s close friend Andrey Rublev.  The 24-year-old American is having the best year of his career, with a record of 35-13.  Taylor is on the verge of breaking into the top 10, and would be even closer to doing so had he received points for his run to the Wimbledon quarterfinals.  He earned his first Masters 1000 title at another North American hard court event earlier this year in Indian Wells.  In their first career meeting, Fritz has the firepower to pull off the upset, especially with a partisan crowd behind him.  But on a hard court, Medvedev remains the favorite to reach his third semifinal in Cincinnati.


Cameron Norrie (9) vs. Carlos Alcaraz (3) – Last on Center Court

This will be their fourth meeting within the past year, and thus far, all three have gone to Alcaraz.  That includes straight sets wins at the US Open and Indian Wells, and a three-set victory in Madrid on clay.  As impressive as Norrie has been across the past 18 months, no one has skyrocketed to new heights this past year like Alcaraz.  The 19-year-old is now 44-8 in 2022.  However, the sheer amount of tennis the youngster has played this year is concerning, despite his high level of fitness.  And many of those matches have been grueling, dramatic affairs.  Given his recent history with Norrie, Carlitos should be favored, though an upset by the British No.1 would not be a shocking result.


Other Notable Matches on Friday:

Madison Keys vs. Elena Rybakina – Keys upset world No.1 Iga Swiatek on Thursday.  Both Keys and Rybakina are yet to drop a set this week.  When they played at this year’s Roland Garros, Madison prevailed in a third-set tiebreak.

Ajla Tomljanovic (Q) vs. Petra Kvitova – Tomljanovic has survived four consecutive three-setters, going back to the last round of qualifying on Sunday.  Kvitova took out Ons Jabeur on Thursday. 

Stefanos Tsitsipas (4) vs. John Isner – Tsitsipas lead their head-to-head 4-2, and has taken their last four meetings.  Stefanos is vying for his third consecutive semifinal at this event.  Isner was a finalist here in 2013.

Jessica Pegula (7) vs. Caroline Garcia – Pegula is now No.3 in the year-to-date rankings, with a record of 30-15.  However, Garcia has slightly bested that record, as she’s now 32-15 this season.  Jess is 2-1 against Caroline, though the Frenchwoman claimed their only meeting in 2022.

Felix Auger-Aliassime (7) vs. Borna Coric (Q) – Auger-Aliassime saved two match points on Thursday night in a comeback victory over Jannik Sinner.  Coric followed up his upset of Rafael Nadal by defeating another Spaniard, Roberto Bautista Agut.  Felix and Borna split two encounters back in 2019. 


Friday’s full Order of Play is here.

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Andy Murray Outlines ‘Big Concern’ About His Current Fitness Ahead Of US Open

The 35-year-old is looking to see if he can find a reason behind his latest problem on the Tour.

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Andy Murray (GBR) - Credit: AELTC/Edward Whitaker

Britain’s Andy Murray has admitted that he is alarmed about the frequency of cramping he is experiencing during matches played in North America this season.

 

The three-time Grand Slam champion crashed out of the Western and Southern Open on Wednesday after losing in three sets to compatriot Cameron Norrie. During the closing stages of their encounter, it was visible that Murray was once again struggling with cramps. A condition that occurs when a muscle shortens and causes a sudden pain that can make it hard to move.

It is usual for athletes to experience cramps but for Murray the issue is a ‘big concern’ for him. Saying that this year is the first time in his career he has suffered from the issue on a regular basis.

“I think pretty much every tennis player in their career has cramped usually in these sorts of conditions,” Murray said during his press conference.
“But the consistency of it for me is a big concern. It’s not something that I have really experienced. I have experienced cramping but not consistently like over a number of tournaments.
“It’s a big concern for me because it’s not easy to play when it gets bad like it was at the end (of his match against Norrie). I feel like it had an impact on the end of the match.”

Murray says his cramping occurs ‘predominantly’ in his legs but different parts. The former world No.1 is now looking into seeing if he can find a possible explanation as to what might be triggering the cramps. The issue comes less than two weeks before the start of the US Open.

“It’s a big concern for me that and something that I need to address and find a solution for,” he said. “No one knows exactly why cramps happen. There are many reasons, whether its hydration, whether it’s the food that you have taken in, whether it’s fatigue and lack of conditioning, stress.’
“I need to try and understand what’s going on there.”

Since Wimbledon, Murray has achieved a win-loss record of 3-4 on the Tour with his best run being to the quarter-finals in Newport. He is currently ranked 47th in the world.

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