Rafael Nadal confirms that he will play at the 2021 Australian Open - UBITENNIS
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Rafael Nadal confirms that he will play at the 2021 Australian Open

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Rafael Nadal’s manager Benito-Perez Barbadillo has confirmed that the 20-time Grand Slam champion will play at the 2021 Australian Open in Melbourne from 8th February. 

 

“Rafa has confirmed that he is travelling to Melbourne and playing at the Australian Open”, confirmed Barbadillo to The Age. 

Nadal will take part at the Australian Open for the 15th time in his career. The Australian Open is the only Grand Slam where Nadal has not won at least two editions. 

Nadal claimed his only Australian Open trophy in 2009 beating Roger Federer in five sets. The Spanish legend finished runner-up in four more finals at Melbourne Park in 2012 and 2019 against Novak Djokovic, in 2014 against Stan Wawrinka and in 2017 against Roger Federer after a five-set epic match. 

Nadal will have to endure a mandatory 14-day quarantine, which is part of the protocols established by Tennis Australia and the concerned government bodies. The players will arrive in Australia from 15 to 17 January and quarantine for two weeks before the Australian Open gets underway on 8th February 2021. Roger Federer’s participation was thrown into doubt as he stated that he was not feeling 100 percent and is still recovering from a knee injury.

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Juan Manuel Cerundolo claims his maiden ATP title at the age of 19 in Cordoba

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Argentine 19-year-old qualifier Juan Manuel Cerundolo claimed his maiden ATP Tour title in Cordoba with his 6-0 2-6 6-2 win over Spanish veteran Albert Ramos Vinolas in Cordoba after a dream week. In the past seven days he beat Miomir Kecmanovic, Thiago Monteiro and Federico Coria en route to reaching his maiden ATP Tour final. He has become the first player to win a title on his ATP main draw debut since 2004 and the youngest Argentine player to win an ATP title since 2001. 

 

Cerundolo, who entered the Cordoba tournament, is the fifth-lowest ranked titlist on the ATP Tour since 1990 after Lleyton Hewitt, Pablo Andujar, Fernando Gonzales and Tommy Haas, and the lowest ranked since number 335 Pablo Andujar won in Marrakesh in 2018. He had won just 14 matches on the ATP Challenger Tour, where he has a record of 7 wins to 7 defeats.

Cerundolo converted three of his seven break points and saved all five break points he faced en route to winning the first set 6-0.  

Ramos Vinolas earned a double break and saved three break points in the second game to win the second set 6-2. The Spaniard went up an early break at deuce in the first game of the decider to open up a 2-0 lead. Cerundolo reeled off six consecutive games with three consecutive games and hit a crosscourt forehand winner on his first championship point. 

Cerundolo had never played an ATP Tour main draw match before this week at the Cordoba Open. He has become the first player to reach the final in his ATP Tour debut since Santiago Ventura in 2014 Casablanca. 

It’s the second time in the history of the Cordoba Open that a player won his maiden ATP Tour main draw match and went on to win the tournament in the same week. Cerundolo follows in the footsteps of Juan Ignacio Londero, who won his maiden title in front of his home fans in 2019.  

Cerundolo sprayed champagne into the crowd after raising the trophy. He and his brother Francisco both qualified for the main draw. They became the first Argentinian siblings to play in the same ATP main draw since 1981. Francisco lost to Federico Coria in the second round, but Juan Manuel avenged his brother’s defeat by beating Coria in the semifinal. 

Juan Manuel Cerundolo is projected to rise to a career-high of world number 181. 

“I really can’t believe it. It was anincredible week, a very nice tournament. I thank my faily, my coach and my friends, who traveled from Buenos Aires to see my triumph. I take a step-by-step. I have to play against Federico Delbonis in Buenos Aires”, said Cerundolo.  

Ramos Vinolas was playing in his ninth career final and dropped to 2-7 in his ATP title matches. 

“I must congratulate Juan Manuel for the incredible tournamet he has done. I think it has been seen that he and other Argentine boys have a great future so they have many years to enjoy”, said Ramos Vinolas. 

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David Goffin claims his fifth career title with a three-set win over Roberto Bautista Agut in Montpellier

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Belgium’s David Goffin claimed his fifth title with a 5-7 6-4 6-2 win over Spain’s Roberto Bautista Agut at the Open Sud France

 

Goffin fought back from one set down to win the first title since Tokyo in 2017. The Belgian beat Bautista Agut for the fourth consecutive time in six head-to-head matches improving his record in finals to 5 wins to 9 defeats. 

For the first time in history the top two seeds met in the Montpellier final. 

Goffin fired 13 aces and saved four of the six break points he faced. 

Bautista Agut saved a break point in the second game of the opening set to hold his serve. The Spanish player earned his first break at love to open up a 3-1 lead, as Goffin hit his backhand down the line wide. Bautista Agut held his service game at love to race out to a 5-2 lead. Goffin hit his third ace o hold serve at love in the eighth game and forced Bautista Agut to serve out the set. Bautista Agut hit a double fault and missed two running forehands to face a double break point. 

Goffin broke back in the ninth game for 4-5 with an inside-in forehand and held his serve with his fourth ace at deuce to draw level to 5-5. Goffin faced two set points at 5-6 with a double fault and a forehand error, as he was serving at 5-6. 

Bautista Agut dictated the rallies with his forehand to convert his second set point on Goffin’s serve in the 12th game to win the first set 7-5 after 49 minutes. 

Goffin earned an immediate break at love with  a backhand winner down the line in the first game of the second set. The Belgian player held serve for 4-2 with an ace. He served out the second set at love with two aces to force the match to the decider. 

Goffin drew a pair of forehand errors from Bautista Agut to get an early break in the first game on his third opportunity. The Belgian player saved three break points to hold his serve at deuce for 2-0 with a forehand down the line. The 2017 ATP Finals runner-up earned a double break to build up a 5-2 lead. Goffin converted his first championship point with a backhand down the line after 2 hours and 5 minutes. 

“It’s never easy to win tournaments. This is my fifth. Every tournament that I won was very special. I had some opportunities. I had matches where I had zero chance to win in the final, but sometimes you take it sometimes not. You need to continue. You need to improve your game. You need to fight and I am happy it pays off at the end. A final is always different. You have to just go for it. You made already a good week. It’s the last match of the week. So you have to give everything to try to win the trophy. Otherwise it’s tought to win  a tournament. I think I did it. I raised my level. I am really happy at the end because it was a tough moment. The last season was tough. I am happy I am back with a level like this. It would have been nice o win this title in front of fans. This win gives me the motivation to return stronger, when the crowd will return. Roberto played really well and I always that he is a very tough opponent. He is one of the biggest fighters and one of the best players especially in the final. I had to play my best best tennis and I think it was the case from the end of the first set”, said Goffin. 

Bautista Agut, who did not drop a set en route to the final, was bidding to win his 10th ATP Tour title. He has a 9-8 record in ATP title matches.  

“I think he played very good tennis today. I fought, but it was not enough and I am very happ for him to win the title”, said Bautista Agut. 

Roger Vasselin and Kontinen win the doubles title

Top seeds Edouard Roger Vasselin from France and Henri Kontinen clinched their second doubles title as a team with a 6-2 7-5 win over Jonathan Erlich and Andrei Vasilevski after 66 minutes.

Roger Vasselin and Kontinen fended off seven break points they faced to win their second career title after their triumph at the 2019 Stockolm Open. 

Kontinen and Roger Vasselin broke twice in the fourth and eighth games to close out the opening set 6-2. Erlich and Vasilevski saved two break points in the eighth game, but Kontinen and Roger Vasselin closed out the match with a break at love in the 12th game. 

The French and Finnish doubles team dropped just one set en route to the Montpellier ATP 250 title, when they came back from a set down in their 6-7 (5-7) 6-2 10-8 win over Hubert Hurkacz and Szymon Walkow. 

Roger Vasselin becomes the first player to win three doubles title in Montpellier. The French doubles specialist lifted his previous title in the home tournament alongside Nicolas Mahut in 2012 and Ivan Dodig in 2019. 

“We are happy the tournament this week. We were better and better. In each match. That is a good point. Now we are looking forward to the rest of the season”, said Roger Vasselin. 

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Singapore Champion Alexi Popyrin Dedicates Maiden ATP Title To Family

The world No.114 battled back from a set down to become the fifth active Australian player to win an ATP singles title.

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Rising star Alexi Popyrin has claimed the biggest title in his career to date after triumphing in the final of the Singapore Open on Sunday.

 

The 21-year-old battled back from a set down to defeat world No.46 Alexander Bublik 4-6, 6-0, 6-2, in what was his first ever final on the ATP Tour. Popryin, who had never got past the quarter-final stage of a Tour event prior to this week, managed to turn his fortunes around with the help of an emphatic service display. During the second set he dropped no points behind serve and only one in the third. Overall, the Australian produced 11 aces and broke Bublik five times en route to victory.

A former junior world No.2 who won the 2017 French Open boys’ title, Popyrin has become the fifth active player from Australia to have won an ATP title. The other four are Nick Kyrgios, Alex de Minaur, Bernard Tomic and John Millman. During the trophy ceremony Popyrin said the breakthrough was a result of hard work as he paid tribute to his family.

“I’ll definitely have very fond memories of Singapore now, I’ll definitely remember this for the rest of my life,” he said.
“We put a lot of hard work in the pre-season and it’s paying off in the start of the year I’ve had. In Australia I felt really good so it’s just good to see all the hard work paying off.
“My family behind the scenes, they’ve sacrificed so much for me and to finally win a tournament just shows how much hard work they put in with me also. This is for them 100 per cent.”

Prior to Bublik, Popyrin also scored a win over former US Open champion Marin Cilic in the semi-finals. The breakthrough continues what has been an encouraging start to the season for the Next Gen star. At the Murray River Open in Melbourne he took Grigor Dimitrov to three sets before losing in the third round. Then at the Australian Open he knocked out top 20 player David Goffin.

Meanwhile, Bublik is left wondering what might have been. It was the second time the Kazakh has reached a Tour final this season after Antalya where he had to retire due to injury.

“His first final, his first title, I have four finals, which hurts now but just congratulate you and next time we’ll see if we can face in the final,” Bublik said.

Popyrin will rise to a ranking high of 82nd when the standings are updated on Monday.

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