Daniil Medvedev Knocks Nadal Out Of ATP Finals In Thriller - UBITENNIS
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Daniil Medvedev Knocks Nadal Out Of ATP Finals In Thriller

The world No.2 failed to serve out the match in the second set as Medvedev held his nerve to seal a place in the final.

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Daniil Medvedev has extended Rafael Nadal’s hunt for his first ATP Finals title by at least another year after staging a marathon comeback in their semi-final clash on Saturday.

 

The world No.4 looked to be on the verge of straight sets loss before fighting back to prevail 3-6, 7-6(3), 6-3, in what is his first ever win over Nadal on the ATP Tour. Locking horns for more than two-and-a-half hours, Medvedev looked the fresher out of the two during the closing stages as he produced a total of 13 aces and 42 winners. A big contrast to Nadal’s tally of three and 26. Furthermore, the Russian only dropped serve once and broke four times.

“I felt really strange for him (Nadal) when he was serving at 5-4 in the second set for the match,” said Medvedev. “I felt like I was doing great shots, but there were no links in my game and that is why I was losing. He was better in the important moments and I couldn’t return in those important moments.’
“(Then) I decided to change some small things. To be closer (to the lines) and go for it a little bit more because I felt like I had the chance to win some games before.’
“It worked really well and I am really happy about it.”

Taking to the court Medvedev was arguably Nadal’s biggest test so far in the tournament. Heading into the clash, he had won all three of his previous matches in straight sets and had only dropped his serve once. Although early on, it looked as if the Spaniard would be triumphant.

The opener was a tightly contested encounter until the world No.2 struck in the eighth game. Continuing to repeatedly hit the ball deep towards the baseline, Nadal turned the fortunes in his favour after breaking a shaky Medvedev to love for a 5-3 lead. Continuing his surge, he clinched the opening set in the following game with a forehand shot that proved too problematic for his opponent to return.

Despite the breakthrough, Medvedev refused to back down. Triggering memories of their clash at the 2019 US Open when he came from two sets down to force their match into a decider, which Nadal won on that occasion. Capitalising on a sub-par Nadal service game, Medvedev swiftly worked his way to a 3-0 lead in the second frame.

With his back pushed against the wall, the 20-time Grand Slam champion responded in fitting fashion as he clawed his way back to level 4-4. Although part of his comeback was aided by some tentative tennis that was being produced from the other side of the court.

The roller-coaster continued for both men. Initially, it looked as if Nadal would seal the match 6-3, 6-4, after Medvedev produced a dismal service game. However, it was then Nadal’s turn to implode after a series of loose shots enabled the Russian to draw level once again at 5-5. The cat and mouse chase continued into the tiebreak where Medvedev finally seized his opportunity. After coming out on top in a 28-shot rally to clinch an early break, he weathered the storm en route to forcing the match into a final set.

Nadal is regarded as one of the greatest front-runners in the entire sport. Prior to the London semi-finals, he had won 173 out of 175 matches where he had claimed the opening set. However, it wouldn’t be this time round. Instead a Medvedev smash at the net gifted him a break for 4-3 in the decider as he closed in on victory. Nadal was unable to respond as he started to rapidly fade on the court. Enabling Medvedev to prevail on his first match point after a shot from Nadal touched the top of the net but failed to go over.

“I think I achieved enough to not find an excuse about the pressure,” Nadal replied when asked if nerves got the better of him.
“I know I won enough matches and enough tournaments in an even more difficult situation than this one and even in more important matches than tonight.’
“I felt I played a bad game. Of course you are nervous to win the match.’
“I think he played some good points and I make a couple of mistakes. And that’s it, and then he played a good tiebreak.’
“I should have been winning my serve in the third, the one that I lost. I had easy volley to close the game. Small details makes a big difference.”

Medvedev will next play Dominic Thiem in the final on Sunday. The Austrian ousted Novak Djokovic in his semi-final match. It will be the fifth meeting between the two with Thiem currently leading their head-to-head 3-1.

Dominic is an amazing player. I have practice with him twice here (in London) on the centre court. There was really tight points and games so I think there are going to be great tennis tomorrow (in the final),” he previewed.

Should Medvedev win the title he would become the first player to defeat every member of the world’s top three within the same tournament since David Nalbandian at the 2007 Madrid Open.

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The ATP announces the nominees for the 2020 ATP Awards

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Nominees have been announced for the ATP Awards for all player-voted categories (Comeback Player of the Year, Most Improved Player of the Year, Newcomer of the year, Stefan Edberg Sportmanship Award) and Coach of the Year. 

 

The Fans’s Favourite Award and and the Arthur Ashe Humanitarian Award Award will be announced later this month. Fans can vote for their favourite singles player and doubles team through 11 December. 

Three-time winner and 20-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal will be up against 2020 Rome finalist and Roland Garros semifinalist Diego Schwartzman, US Open champion Dominic Thiem and John Millman in the Sportsmanship category. 

Schwartzman is among the nominees in the Most Improved player category and will be against Ugo Humbert, five-time ATP Tour titlist Andrey Rublev and 2020 Sofia ATP Tour champion and 2019 Next Gen ATP Tour champion Jannik Sinner. The Most Improved player of the Year reached a higher ATP Ranking by year’s end and showed an increasingly improved level of performance through the year. 

The nominees for the Comeback Player of the Year are Kevin Anderson, Andrey Kuznetsov, Vasek Pospisil and Milos Raonic. The Compeback Player of the Year has overcome a serious injury in re-establishing as one of the top players on the ATP Tour. 

The contenders for the Newcomer of the Year Award are Carlos Alcaraz (winner in three Challenger tournaments in Trieste, Barcelona and Alicante), Sebastian Korda (winner of his first Challenger title in Eckental), Lorenzo Musetti (title in Parma and third-round in Rome Masters 1000), Jurij Rodionov (first Challenger titles in Dallas and Morelos) , Emil Ruusuvuori (semifinalist in Nur Sultan) and Thiago Seyboth Wild (first title in Santiago de Chlle)

The Coach of the Year Award contenders are Juan Ignacio Chela (Diego Schwartzman), Gilles Cervara (Danil Medvedev), Nicolas Massu (Dominic Thiem), Riccardo Piatti (Jannik Sinner) and Fernando Vicente (Andrey Rublev). 

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French Legend Leconte Speaks Out On Upcoming Return Of Roger Federer

The Grand Slam finalist gives his view on Federer’s chances for 2021.

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A former star of French tennis says he is hopeful but wary that Roger Federer will be able to return to the pinnacle of sport next year.

 

Henri Leconte, who is a former French Open finalist that achieved a ranking high of No.5, admits that the Swiss Maestro may find it tough on the Tour given the rise of what he describes as the ‘younger generation.’ This season Dominic Thiem won his maiden Grand Slam title at the US Open at the age of 27. More recently Daniil Medvedev defeated both Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal en route to the ATP Finals title.

We want to believe it. We all want to believe it! It’s been a long and difficult year. Will the motivation still be there? Will this break, the fact of having been able to enjoy his family, have changed something or will he still have that renewed motivation that has always fascinated us?” Leconte told TennisActu.

Federer hasn’t played a competitive match since his semi-final loss at the Australian Open in January. Since then, he has been sidelined from action due to a right knee injury which required two surgical procedures. The second took place after the first failed to produce the desired results.

Despite the setbacks, 20-time Grand Slam champion Federer is eyeing a return to the Tour in 2021. He is currently the oldest player in the world’s top 100 and one of two to be aged 39. The other is Spain’s Feliciano Lopez.

No one can say it. We all wish him, we would like him to stop on a Grand Slam title but the train (momentum) is gone with this younger generation which has put in an extra speed,” said Leconte.
“I would like to believe it. Roger has done so many things, that’s why he makes us dream, we would like to see him at the top. It will be very, very hard. ..”

It is not the first time Federer has taken a lengthy break due to injury. He missed six months of the 2017 season due to another knee issue before returning to action the following year when he won the Australian Open.

Earlier this week it was confirmed that Federer will head into the new season being able to use his iconic ‘RF’ logo. He hasn’t been able to use the logo for the past two years after switching from Nike, which held the rights, to UNIQLO. However, he has managed to regain control of ownership which means he will be allowed to use it on his apparel once again.

“The RF cap is back,” Federer said in a video message to fans on Twitter.
“After a long wait and extensive fine-tuning, UNIQLO and I are extremely excited to announce the return of the RF hat in 8 fresh colours starting December 8th, 2020,” he also wrote.
“This hat has meant so much to me and to my fans over the years.
“It has given us a way to visibly connect, and I have appreciated the opportunity to thrive off this supportive energy.”

As it currently stands Federer’s first tournament is set to be the Australian Open. The tournament had been scheduled to start on January 18th but it is believed that the date has been delayed until February 8th due to travel and quarantine arrangements.

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Casper Ruud Opens Up About What It Is Like Playing Roger Federer

The 21-year-old explains what it is like to face somebody who is considered by some as the ‘greatest legend’ in tennis.

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Norway’s top tennis player admitted that he had difficulty sleeping the night before he was set to play Roger Federer for the first time in his career.

 

Casper Ruud has shed light on what it was like for him playing the Swiss Maestro during an interview with TV 2. The 21-year-old took on Federer in the third round of the French Open last year which he ended up losing 6-3, 6-1, 7-6. At the time it was only Ruud’s fourth appearance in the main draw of a Grand Slam.

“When you meet the man who is considered the greatest legend in your sport in history, it is clear that then you were a little extra nervous,” he said of 20-time Grand Slam winner Federer.
“I remember before I was going to play against Federer, it was a bit difficult to sleep the night before. When you lie with your head on the pillow, your thoughts come.”

Ruud says Federer’s achievements in the sport made him feel more nervous about playing him. Overall, the 39-year-old has won 103 ATP titles and currently holds the record for most time spent holding the world No.1 ranking at 310 weeks. He played his first ATP event at the 1998 Gstaad Open, which was a year before Ruud was born.

Although the Next Gen star says he has admiration for all members of the Big Three, which also include Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal. The two highest ranked players currently on the men’s tour.

“It was in Melbourne a few years ago, and then I remember that we sat in a large cafe where all the players sit to eat. When Federer came in, it was completely quiet and everyone turned around. Now the legend is here,” he said.
“These three legends, they look taller than they might be. They are probably around 1.85 meters, but it may seem that they are two meters because of the respect you have for them.”

Since his meeting with Federer in Paris, Ruud has managed to make a name for himself as he gradually climbs up the world rankings. In February he won the Argentina Open to become the first Norwegian player in history to have won a title on the ATP Tour. He also reached the final of another tournament in Santiago. In September he defeated Matteo Berrettini in the Italian Open to record his first and so far only win over a top 10 player in his career.

“I do not remember everyone in my career. But there are some matches that stand out a bit, and that you remember extra well. Some ball exchanges, some punches here and there that you get, which you usually do not do. It is something that stands out a bit,” Ruud explains.

Unusually Ruud confirmed that both of his parents are now classed as his employees. He is coached by his father Christian who is a former player himself. Christian is a former world No.39 who was his country’s highest ranked male player in history until his son.

“The ultimate boss is probably (my) mother. She rules over both of us. In between at least,” he jokes.

After ending his season with three consecutive Tour losses, Ruud closes out 2020 with a win-loss record of 22-13 and has won $965,653 in prize money. He is currently ranked 27th in the world.
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