Rafael Nadal Survives Tsitsipas Marathon To Win Barcelona Again - UBITENNIS
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Rafael Nadal Survives Tsitsipas Marathon To Win Barcelona Again

The king of clay will climb back to No.2 in the world rankings on Monday following his latest triumph.

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BARCELONA, SPAIN - APRIL 25: Rafael Nadal of Spain ATP Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell at the Real Club de Tenis Barcelona on April 25, 2021 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Pedro Salado/Quality Sport Images)

Rafael Nadal has won his 12th Barcelona title after beating the Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas in a epic three set encounter.

The world No.3 held his nerve to prevail 6-4, 6-7, 7-5 in a final that lasted three hours and 38 minutes which is the longest best-of-three match of 2021. Nadal hit 36 winners en route to the win while Tsitsipas hit 39 unforced errors.

 

“I never played a final like this in this tournament against a player like him, he won the title in Monte Carlo and went all the way to the final here without losing a set so it’s an important victory for me,” said Nadal.
I think I have been increasing my level the whole week and this victory confirms it so that’s important. To have the trophy with me at home means a lot but at the same time for the future”

World number five Tsitsipas got off to a good start earning the first breakpoint of the match and breaking to take an early 3-1 lead. On the Spaniard next service game he was forced to save two more breakpoints amid intense pressure from the Greek.

At 4-3 Nadal started applying pressure on the world number five and managed to earn two breakpoints of his very own. Breaking to send the match back on serve at 4-4.

The next game Tsitsipas had two chances to break once again to regain the lead but the Mallorca native would once again come up big, saving both to hold serve. The world number three than went on the offensive getting a look at two set points on his opponent’s serve and managed to break once again to take the first set and win four straight games in the process.

The second set was more of the same with a see-saw battle between both players and it was the Greek once again with the first chance to break and he took full advantage breaking once again to take a 2-1 lead.

At 3-2 the Spaniard pulled off another comeback earning three chances to break to send the set back on serve and it took until his third look to get the break back. With the world number five serving to stay in the match the Spaniard earned two match points but the Greek would save both.

The next game Tsitsipas had three more chances to break but Nadal would save all and the second set would be decided by a tiebreaker. It stayed on serve until 5-4 when the Greek broke to set up two set points at 6-4 but the world number three would win the next two points. Tsitsipas would earn a set point off an untimely double fault from the Spaniard and he would take the second set to force a third and deciding set for the title.

The third set surprisingly stayed on serve until 5-4 when the world number five earned a match point but Nadal was able to save it and hold serve. The very next game the Spaniard had four chances to break and it took him till the fourth one to finally break and serve the match out.

After the match in his post match press conference Tsitsipas spoke out about what positives he can take from the last two weeks winning the title in Monte Carlo and making the final in Barcelona and pushing Nadal to three sets on clay.

“That’s great stuff but I was looking for a win and I felt there was opportunities that I had and for some reason, I didn’t take (it),” he said, “I felt I could have pulled off better tennis but I’m happy that I brought him (Nadal) so close. I was a match point up, that ball was literally two centimetres from winning that match point”

Nadal on the other hand was pleased with the fact he won another title in his home country and was asked how he is able to still compete year after year on such a hard tour.

“It means a lot to me, it’s difficult to manage something like this 10 or 15 years ago but here we are,” he said. “I mean I went through some tough moments in my career with injuries but I always hold the passion and the love for the sport to keep going with a great team and a great family that have been so important for holding the passion and the motivation to help me in those low moments. I am super happy to be where I am today and it’s an important achievement for me”

Nadal will move up to number two in the world on Monday with the win which is also his 12th title in Barcelona.

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Stefanos Tsitsipas sets up blockbuster third round match against Matteo Berrettini in Rome

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Stefanos Tsitsipas edged past Marin Cilic 7-5 6-2 to advance to third round at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome. 

 

Tsitsipas has improved his win-loss record to 28-7 this season, equalling Andrey Rublev for most match wins after Rublev beat Jan-Lennard Struff 6-7 (7-9) 6-1 6-4 earlier today. 

Tsitsipas had to save two break points in the ninth game to hold serve after four deuces. The 2021 Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters winner earned his crucial break in the 12th game to win a hard-fought first set 7-5. 

Tsitsipas was in control of the match and cruised to a 6-2 win in the second set with two breaks in the second and eighth games. 

“Sometimes I need to adjust my game and Marin is someone I respect a lot. I knew he was going to come out here and play his best tennis. He made move a lot. It was quite tricky to adjust to that at the beginning, but towards the very end of the first set I stayed calm and stayed calm and resilient. I had to play deep on the returns and find solutions from the baseline rallies. That worked well for me from 6-5”, said Tsitsipas. 

Tsitsipas set up a blockbuster third round match against last week’s Madrid Mutua Open finalist Matteo Berrettini, who beat John Millman 6-4 6-2 in front of fans, who will return on Thursday. Tsitsipas enjoyed the atmosphere on the Pietrangeli Stadium. 

“The Pietrangeli Stadium is very beautiful. It’s one of the best courts on tour. I feel like the Pietrangeli here is great. We are surrounded by trees in the city and it’s very quiet which is very important for tennis. Honestly, I can’t wait for the fans to come and fill in the stadium”, said Tsitsipas. 

Berrettini missed three consecutive break points in the third game of the opening set and earned his first break in the ninth game to take a 5-4 lead. The Rome-native star served out the first set at 15. Berrettini earned two consecutive breaks to race out to 4-0 lead. Millman saved a break point to hold serve in the fifth game, but Berrettini never looked back in his next two service games to claim the second set 6-2. 

Berrettini has improved with his each appearance in the Rome tournament, reaching the second round in 2018, the third round in 2019 and the quarter final in 2020. 

Tsitsipas beat Berrettini in their only head-to-head match at the 2019 Australian Open. 

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Alexander Zverev eases past Hugo Dellien to set up a third round match clash against Kei Nishikori in Rome

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This year’s Madrid Mutua Open champion Alexander Zverev cruised past qualifier Hugo Dellien 6-2 6-2 on Nicola Pietrangeli Court to move into the third round at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome. 

 

Zverev fired 27 winners and fended off all six of the break points he faced. The German won five consecutive games from 0-1 down with a double break to race out to a 5-1 lead and served out the opening set at 15 in the eighth game. 

Zverev went up a break in the third game to take a 2-1, but he had to save six break points in a 12-game fourth game. Zverev managed to hold serve after seven deuces before breaking serve in the fifth game to open up a 4-1 lead. The German served out the win on on his second match point in the eighth game. 

The  German star will face Kei Nishikori for the second time in two weeks. He beat Nishikori, Dan Evans, Rafael Nadal, Dominic Thiem and Matteo Berrettini last week at the Madrid Mutua Open en route to the fourth ATP Masters 1000 title of his career after claiming three previous trophies in Rome and Canada in 2017 and Madrid in 2018.  

Federico Delbonis didn’t face a break point and converted four of his nine break points in his 6-2 6-1 win over David Goffin. The Argentine player will take on Felix Auger Aliassime, who cruised past last year’s Rome finalist Diego Schwartzman 6-1 6-3. 

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Aslan Karatsev beats Danil Medvedev in all-Russian clash in Rome

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Aslan Karatsev beat his compatriot Danil Medvedev 6-2 6-4 after 1 hour and 18 minutes in an all-Russian match to move into the third round at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia at the Foro Italico in Rome. Karatsev has scored his fifth career win against top 10 opponents.

 

Karatsev has improved his win-loss record to 21-6 in his 27 matches this year, including the ATP 500 title in Dubai, the semifinal at the Australian Open and the final at the Serbian Open in Belgrade. 

Karatsev has scored his second top 5 win in the past month after taking an upset win over world number 1 Novak Djokovic in the semifinal in Belgrade. 

Karatsev earned a double break in the fifth and seventh games to open up a 5-2 lead. The 27-year-old Russian player earned another break in the seventh game with a volley to take a 4-3 lead. He never looked back and served out the win on his first match point in the 10th game. 

Karatsev won 90% of his first serve points and saved just one break point. 

Karatsev faced Medvedev for the first time in his career on the ATP Tour. They teamed up with Andrey Rublev at the ATP Cup in Melbourne last winter helping Russia win the final against Italy. 

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