Rafael Nadal secured a 7-6(4) 6-4 6-1 win over Jannik Sinner to reach the semi-finals at Roland Garros.
In his 100th match at Roland Garros, Nadal overcame a tricky opening two sets to halt the progress of 19 year-old Jannik Sinner.
There were no sign of nerves from the Italian at the start of the contest as he was competing in his first grand slam quarter-final.
Sinner was hitting the ball with great authority off both wings as he broke down Nadal’s defences rather successfully.
Meanwhile the Spaniard was struggling to get great depth on his shots earlier on in slow late-night conditions in Paris.
Some early half-chances for the 19 year-old were snuffed out by the 12-time champion as he forced the youngster to make some extraordinary shots.
Although Nadal wasn’t at his best, he was finding solutions especially creating some wide angles to exploit open space on the court.
However Sinner, who was starting to hammer down his forehand finally got his break in the eleventh game as he looked to take the first set from Nadal.
But it turns out serving out a set against Rafael Nadal isn’t all that easy at Roland Garros as some tight decision-making and costly unforced errors saw him hand the break back to the Spaniard. A tiebreak would decide the opening set.
As the tiebreak evolved, Nadal played with more margin and produced more aggressive positioning on the court.
While Sinner’s nerves were there to see as more unforced errors evolved in the Italian’s game.
Seven of the eleven points were in Nadal’s favour as he sealed a 71 minute set 7-6(4).
Despite a tame end to the set, Sinner remained undeterred and continued to suffocate Nadal to the back of the court.
Moving with a more aggressive mindset, the Italian broke in the fourth game with some powerful shot-making especially on the forehand side.
Just like the first set though, Nadal broke immediately back taking advantage of Sinner errors in important moments.
The forehand was saving the Spaniard on multiple occasions when defending against the attack of the Italian.
87-0 was Nadal when winning the opening set and this seemed to be going a similar fashion as he had too much tactical variety and experience for his younger opponent.
A break in the ninth game secured the crucial break as Nadal edged into a two sets to love lead as play headed into Wednesday morning.
The second set was a crucial blow as Nadal started to play with a lot of freedom and construct points with confidence and move the Italian around the court.
As the rallies extended, the Italian became even more tired as the heaviness of Nadal’s shots and physicality of the contest was starting to play it’s part.
Finding difficult angles and high percentage plays, Nadal found his groove in the third set as he took apart his opponent.
Depth, Accuracy and timing were all there for Nadal as three breaks of serve in the final set secured victory and a place in the final four.
Sinner made it tough for Nadal in the opening two sets but the Spaniard used his tactical prowess and experience to secure an impressive victory.
Friday will now see Nadal play Diego Schwartzman, who was the last man to beat the Spaniard on clay and also the last man to take a set off the Spaniard at Roland Garros.
The 12-time champion will hope to be firing on all cylinders on Friday as he looks to book his place in a 13th Roland Garros final.
Monte Carlo Breakthrough Leaves Andrey Rublev With Mixed Emotions
The world No.8 takes confidence from his latest run but admits it is ‘impossible’ to play at his very top level every week on the Tour.
After achieving a career milestone at the Monte Carlo Masters, Andrey Rublev was sent crashing down to earth on Sunday.
The Russian tennis star broke new territory at the tournament by reaching his first ever Masters 1000 final at the age of 23. However, he was denied the title by Stefanos Tsitsipas who produced a clinical performance to seal victory in just 71 minutes. Ending Rublev’s run of winning seven finals in a row.
“I feel happy with the week, and I feel super sad with the final, that I couldn’t show my game,” he told reporters on Sunday.
“Of course, I’m happy with the week because I beat so many great players and I beat one of the best players in history. It’s a special week.”
Earlier in the tournament Rublev stunned the draw when he upset Rafael Nadal in three sets en route to the semi-finals. Making it the fourth time in his career he has scored a win over a player ranked No.3 in the world. He is also the first player in history to come back from a set down to defeat Nadal at the tournament.
Besides the king of clay, Rublev also dismissed Roberto Bautista Agut and Casper Ruud. He has now won 24 matches on the ATP Tour this season which is more than anybody else. However, he is reluctant to link all of his match play with his latest performance.
“I feel tired after all the matches that I play, exhausted. But this is not excuse. He was just better than me, and that’s it,” he stated.
“Not always everything goes your way. It happened today. I was completely exhausted. Stefanos, he showed great game. He was just better than me, and that’s it.”
Despite his recent success, Rublev is eager to not get too far ahead of himself heading into the French Open. A Grand Slam where he has only played in the main draw twice before, including last year where he reached the quarter-finals.
“I would like to play really good in Madrid and I would like to play really good in Rome. I would like to play all of the weeks good. But it’s impossible,” he explains.
“Some of the weeks for sure will be better, some will be worse and some will be amazing.’
“For the moment I’m playing really consistent. I’m really happy I’m playing my best season so far. We’ll see what’s going to happen.”
Rublev is set to return to action next week at the Barcelona Open where he will be the third seed.
Former Australian Open Semi-Finalist Kyle Edmund Undergoes Surgery
It has been reported that the world No.69 may not be able to return to the Tour for ‘several more months.’
British world No.69 Kyle Edmund is set to be sidelined from the Tour for some time after having surgery to treat a long-standing problem in Switzerland.
The former British No.1 has confirmed he had a ‘small procedure’ on his knee after being hampered with issues in the area ever since 2018 when a scan revealed that he had fluid behind his left knee. Details of the surgery have not been disclosed by the person who conducted the operation was Dr Roland Biedert, according to BBC Sport. A specialist Orthopaedic surgeon who has also operated on Roger Federer, Stan Wawrinka and Juan Martin del Potro.
“I had a small procedure on my knee. I’m currently rehabbing. The recovery is going well and I hope to be back on court as soon as possible.” Edmund said.
Currently ranked 69th in the world, Edmund hasn’t played a competitive match since losing in the first round of qualifying at the Vienna Open last October due to his knee. 2020 saw mixed fortunes for the 26-year-old. After winning the New York Open during February of that year, he lost seven out of 10 matches played during the rest of the season. Including five defeats in a row.
No return date has been outlined by Edmund or his team following the surgery. However, British media have reported that he may be out for ‘several more months.’ Casting doubts over his chances of being ready in time for Wimbledon which starts on June 28th. He hasn’t been absent from a Wimbledon main draw since 2012.
Edmund has been ranked as high as 14th in the world with his best Grand Slam run being to the semi-finals of the 2018 Australian Open. Overall, he has won two ATP titles and has earned more than $5.7 in prize money.
Grigor Dimitrov Blames Poor Monte Carlo Performance On ‘Big Infection’
The 29-year-old reveals the reason behind his error-stricken performance at the Monte Carlo Country Club on Thursday.
Bulgaria’s Grigor Dimitrov said he simply ‘didn’t play’ in his latest match at the Monte Carlo Masters after winning just two games against Rafael Nadal.
The world No.17 fell 6-1, 6-1, to the 20-time Grand Slam champion in less than an hour on Thursday. He won 48% of his first service points and 32% of his second, as he hit 32 unforced errors. A dismal performance from Dimitrov who had beaten Jan-Lennard Struff and Jeremy Chardy earlier in the tournament.
Whilst it was never going to be easy playing somebody of Nadal’s calibre, Dimitrov has revealed that he had been troubled by an issue away from the court. He has been suffering from a ‘big infection’ in his tooth which has had an impact on his preparation for the match.
“I’ve been struggling with a massive tooth problem for the past four or five days,” he said. “I have a big infection in my tooth. It’s been hard. I haven’t been able to sleep well or eat well or anything like that.’
“I was bearing it for a while this whole week.”
It is another case of bad luck for Dimitrov on the Tour this season. At the Australian Open he reached the quarter-finals in what was his best Grand Slam performance since the 2019 US Open. However, in his last eight showdown with Russia’s Aslan Karatsev he was hindered by a back injury.
“It’s straight to the doctor’s, unfortunately,” he commented on his tooth. “Very, very unpleasant moment. It is what it is.’
“At least I’m glad it happened on a home soil so I can go see my dentist and figure this problem as soon as possible.Hopefully it’s not too serious and I’ll be able to come back as soon as possible.”
Speaking in his press conference, Nadal said he ‘felt sorry’ for his opponent who ‘played a bad match.’ During the match the world No.3 wasn’t aware of Dimitrov’s problem but was told about it afterwards.
“I wish him all the best. He’s a great guy, a good friend. I just hope the situation is to improve as soon as possible,” he said.
Nadal, who is seeking a record 12th title in Monte Carlo, will play Russia’s Andrey Rublev next.
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