Rafael Nadal And Dominic Thiem Cruise Past American Opposition To Reach Last 32 - UBITENNIS
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Rafael Nadal And Dominic Thiem Cruise Past American Opposition To Reach Last 32

Rafael Nadal and Dominic Thiem produced comfortable victories on day four of Roland Garros.

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Rafael Nadal (@atptour - Twitter)

Rafael Nadal and Dominic Thiem both cruised into the last 32 of Roland Garros with straight set wins over American Opponents.

 

Nadal is searching for his 13th Roland Garros title and continued his bid against talented American Mackenzie McDonald.

Although McDonald has a lot power, it wasn’t enough to tear down Nadal’s defences as the Spaniard pummelled the ball around the court.

The American tried everything from shortening points up at the net to using the underarm serve, but nothing worked.

https://twitter.com/tennis_gifs/status/1311297296949182467

After winning 12 of the first 13 games, Nadal had a tougher match in the third set as the American managed to find rhythm on his serve.

However it was all too easy for the world number two he secured a 6-1 6-0 6-3 victory in 1 hour and 42 minutes.

Despite all the questions about how he would adapt the heavier ball and slower conditions, Nadal seems to be answering those questions in emphatic style.

Nadal’s next opponent will be either Kei Nishikori or Stefano Travaglia as he looks to set up a potential semi-final with Dominic Thiem.

Speaking of the Austrian, he was in action against a resurgent Jack Sock today in a big-hitting match-up.

Sock, who won a masters 1000 in the past and tested Nadal at Roland Garros in the past, looked to be aggressive and take the match to Thiem.

However the recent US Open champion was in full control of the match as his powerful backhand was the focal point to playing smart and precise tennis.

Despite a mini-blip in the third set, having to save three break points, the Austrian cruised to a 6-1, 6-3 7-6(6) victory ensuring his place in the third round.

Thiem will look to get through his matches in quick fashion in what is a tricky draw for the now grand slam champion.

Casper Ruud or Tommy Paul awaits in the last 32, with Diego Schwartzman and Stan Wawrinka as possible obstacles still to come.

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Borna Coric Admits He Was Difficult To Work With As He Targets Top 10 Milestone

The Croatian No.1 believes ‘controlled aggression’ is key to rising back up the rankings.

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Croatian tennis star Borna Coric says he has become more ‘easy-going’ in recent years after working under a variety of different coaches.

 

The 23-year-old has been guided on the Tour by no fewer than eight coaches since 2014 which includes the likes of Thomas Johansson (2015) and Riccardo Piatti (2017-2019). At present, he is now working with Martin Stepanek. A former Czech player who has worked with the likes of Thomas Berdych and Ivan Dodig.

“I am not going to deny it, I was difficult to work with before, high-maintenance if you like, and now I am more easy-going. But I really have never been the type of guy that fires a coach after two first-round losses,” Coric told tennismajors.com.
“Actually, looking back at all my coaches, only with one it was entirely up to me, where I felt we weren’t working well and I decided to end it. With everyone else there were different issues – personal problems on their side, or inability to reach an agreement in regard to finances, or that the coach wasn’t able to travel enough weeks with me, things like that.”

Coric’s various changes in his team can be partly attributed to his roller-coaster journey. Growing up he was portrayed as the next big thing in the sport following a series of high-profile wins during his teenage years. At the age of 17 he defeated Rafael Nadal at the Swiss Indoors followed by Andy Murray in Dubai the year after.

Despite his early promise, Coric is yet to scale the top of men’s tennis with his best ranking being 12th which was first achieved back in 2018. He looked on course to rise further last season but another coaching split combined with back injury problems resulted in him falling down the rankings again.

Given that the average age of professional tennis players peaking is on the rise, there is still time for Coric to get the breakthrough many have predicted for him. He is once again showing signs of a resurgence during what has been a limited 2020 season due to the Covid-19 pandemic. At the US Open, which was his 22nd appearance in a main draw of a Grand Slam, he reached the quarter-finals of a major for the first time in his career. More recently at the St. Petersburg Open the Croat reached the final before losing to the in-form Andrey Rublev.

As to what the key has been to Coric’s recent resurgence, he explains that it is due to what he describes as ‘controlled aggression.’

“It depends on numerous factors (whether he’ll be aggressive). The surface, my gut feeling, am I confident or not, if I am moving well and feeling fresh, have I got the right feel for the ball, the opponent’s style of play… A lot comes into it, but generally speaking, I am a far better player when I am being aggressive, not just retrieving, even though I am perhaps making a bit more errors,” he explains.
“You could see that on display in New York and me being aggressive, along with further improvement of my serve, are two of the biggest emphasis of my work with Martin. I am not there yet, but if I am healthy and able to maintain the level I had at the US Open, then I can get close to Top 10. But it’s still a long way to go.”

Coric is currently ranked 24th in what is his best ranking so far this season and has achieved a win-loss of 14-10. Out of those 14 wins, two were over top 10 players Dominic Thiem and Stefanos Tsitsipas.

Coric’s 2020 season summary

  • ATP Cup – one win and two losses
  • Australian Open – lost in first round to Sam Querrey
  • Buenos Aires – granted a bye in the first round, lost in the second to Thiago Monterio
  • Rio de Janeiro – reached the semi-finals before losing to Christian Garin
  • Western and Souther Open – in first ATP tournament following a five-month break due to COVID-19, Coric reached the second round before going out to David Goffin
  • US Open: Achieved his best ever Grand Slam result by reaching the quarter-finals. He was knocked out of the tournament by Alexander Zverev
  • Rome – lost in round two to Stefano Travaglia
  • French Open – upset in the first round by Norbert Gombos
  • St. Petersburg – achieved best result of the season so far by reaching the final.

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Alexander Zverev Confident ATP Finals Will Be Safe To Attend

The US Open finalist speaks out about travelling to the British capital during the pandemic.

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Alexander Zverev at the US Open 2020 (photo Twitter @usopen)

Germany’s Alexander Zverev believes the ATP Finals will be one of the safest places to be amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

The world No.7 will head to London next month to play in the season-ending event which features the eight best players in the world of men’s tennis. London has recently been moved from level one to level two on the British Government’s COVID-19 tier system following a rise in cases of the virus towards 100 per 100,000. People from different households are now no longer allowed to mix inside under the new rules. The health secretary, Matt Hancock, recently said that the number of infection cases is doubling every 10 days.

Despite the ongoing pandemic, Zverev says he is confident that the event will be safe to attend. For the first time this year it is taking place behind closed doors in accordance with government rules. In 2019 242,883 fans attended the tournament over an eight-day period.

“We will stay in a hotel next to the stadium, which will be bolted. I think this will be the last place, where people are vulnerable to the coronavirus disease,” Zverev told reporters on Sunday.

US Open runner-up Zverev is hoping for a strong end to what has been a testing season for the sport which was halted for five months due to the pandemic. On Sunday he added to his title collection by defeating Felix Auger-Aliassime in straight sets to win the bett1HULKS Indoors in Cologne. The tournament was also held without fans due to COVID-19 restrictions.

“Although we didn’t have any fans inside the arena, I felt the support from home. I had the feeling playing on home soil and I hope that many fans watched the final on TV,” Zverev commented.
“It is different and more difficult this year, as we played less tournaments than usual. I hope that I can keep it up like this.” He added.

At present six players have already qualified for the ATP Finals. Besides Zverev, Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Dominic Thiem, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Daniil Medvedev are all set to play. World No.4 Roger Federer has also qualified but will not be playing after deciding to pull the plug on his season due to a knee injury.

The O2 Arena has been home to The ATP Finals since 2009 and has welcomed more than 2.8 million fans to the event over that period. However, the event will be moved to Italy from next year.

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Andrey Rublev On Why He Believes Rafael Nadal Is The ‘Best Ever Athlete’

The world No.8 comments on Nadal’s latest achievement at the French Open earlier this month.

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The mental strength of world No.2 Rafael Nadal has been hailed by one of his rivals on the Tour following their win at the St. Petersburg Open.

 

Andrey Rublev has paid tribute to the Spaniard following his historic triumph at the French Open. In Paris Nadal defeated Novak Djokovic 6-0, 6-2, 7-5, to win the Grand Slam for the 13th time in his career to become the first player – male or female – to have won the same major event that amount of times. He has also drawn level with Roger Federer for most Grand Slam trophies won at 20 on the men’s tour.

“I can’t imagine not only how it is possible to win so many Slams but also how it is possible to achieve what he has done and how it is possible to be as mentally strong during the whole career,” Rublev told reporters on Sunday.
“Even Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic have bad days through their career but Rafa is the only one who no matter how he is feeling himself emotionally he always finds the way to win. And even if he loses, he is fighting in three-five set for many hours.”

The two tennis figures have only played against each other on the Tour once before which was three years ago in the quarter-finals of the US Open. Nadal eased to victory by dropping just five games in the process. Rublev is 11 years younger than his opponent.

“All the athletes have bad days, but in team sports your partners help you, so the team can win at the end if all the other players are good enough. It is very difficult to compete in any match no matter what is going on in your off-court life. He is not just the best tennis player he is the best athlete ever,” Rublev added.

As a result of his latest win, Rublev has risen to a ranking high of eighth in the world this week. So far this year he has achieved a win-loss of 34-7 and made more than $1.6 million in prize money. At the age of 22 he is currently the youngest player in the world’s top 10. Stefanos Tsitsipas is also the same age as the Russian but was born two months before him.

“Every position in the ranking means a lot now. The most important thing for me is to keep working. I still have a lot of elements that I need to improve. I want to believe that I will have the opportunity to become better for the next season,” he said.

The rise of Rublev has placed him on good footing to clinch a spot at the season-ending ATP Finals next month where the top eight players will play. He has withdrawn from the European Open this week but is planning to play events in Vienna, Paris and Sofia before the season ends. Then, if he qualifies, he will travel to London for the ATP Finals.

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