Rafael Nadal Ousts Medvedev In Epic To Win 21st Grand Slam Title At Australian Open - UBITENNIS
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Rafael Nadal Ousts Medvedev In Epic To Win 21st Grand Slam Title At Australian Open

The 35-year-old Spaniard staged one of the most dramatic comebacks of his career to set a new record at Melbourne Park.

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Image via twitter.com/australianopen

Rafael Nadal produced an audacious comeback to win his first Australian Open title in 13 years after outlasting Daniil Medvedev in a five-set thriller at Melbourne Park.

 

The world No.5 was trailing the final by two sets and was two games away from defeat before fighting back to prevail 2-6, 6-7(5), 6-4, 6-4, 7-5, after more than five hours of pulsating play. It is the first time he has won a match from two sets down since 2007. Nadal’s latest victory has made him the most successful male player in Grand Slam history with a total of 21 titles. He is also only the second player in the Open Era to have won each of the four major events at least twice after Novak Djokovic.

It’s just amazing. One-and-a-half months ago I didn’t know if I would be able to be back on the Tour playing tennis again,” said Nadal.
“Today I am in front of all of you with this trophy with me and you really don’t know how much I fought to be here (in Melbourne).’
“I can’t thank enough all of the support I have received.” He added.

Nadal’s rollercoaster win over Medvedev featured more twists and turns than the infamous Lombard Street in San Francisco. In total there were a staggering 44 break points with 31 of those being converted. Nadal produced a total of 69 winners against 68 unforced errors, as well as winning 67% of his first service points.

“Daniil you’re an amazing champion. I have been in this position (runner-up) a couple of times in this tournament. Having chances to have the trophy with me but I don’t have any doubt that you will have this trophy a couple of times in your career because you are amazing,” Nadal said to Medvedev.
“It has been one of the most emotional matches of my tennis career. To share the court with you is just an honour.”

Taking to the court both men had a shot of making history in the sport. Nadal was seeking to become the first male player to win a 21st Grand Slam title, which would have moved him past rivals Roger Federer and Djokovic. Meanwhile, Medvedev was aiming to become the first male player in the Open Era to win their second major title immediately after claiming their first.

With so much at stake, the final started with a fierce tussle between the two on what was a hot and humid evening in Melbourne Park. Best illustrated by Nadal who was sweating profusely after just three games played. Medvedev was relentless throughout the opener as he continuously applied pressure onto the Nadal serve as he claimed five games in a row. The Russian struck his first blow in the fifth game after a backhand error from his rival granted him his first break of the match to move ahead 3-2. Gaining in momentum Medvedev went on to seal a double break with relative ease due to a surge in unforced errors from Nadal who hit two double faults and a forehand unforced error during his third service game where he got broken to love. The world No.2 sealed the opener after just 42 minutes of play when a serve out wide was returned into the net by his rival.

Nadal, who had beaten Medvedev in three out of their four previous meetings, managed to regain his rhythm in the second frame. A gut-busting 40-shot rally concluded with a flawless slice winner which rewarded the Spaniard his first break points of the match. He went on to convert thanks to a mistake coming from across the court to move ahead 3-1. Triggering an eruption of cheers on the Rod Laver Arena.

Nadal then moved to four points away from leveling the match but failed to serve the second set out during what was a dramatic game which was briefly halted due to a security scare. A member of the crowd went on the court when the Spaniard was facing a break point before being detained. The individual was carrying a banner protesting against refugee detention in Australia.

The drama continued into the tiebreaker with both players demonstrating some electrifying tennis. Twice the Spaniard managed to get a mini-break before being pegged back by a resilient Medvedev who never looked intimidated by the pro-Nadal crowd. A carefully placed drop shot followed by a backhand volley moved him to set point which he converted with the help of a winning backhand passing shot.

The comeback

Playing in only his second tournament since returning from a foot injury and having the odds stacked firmly against him, Nadal refused to go down without a fight as he staged a blockbuster comeback which electrified the Melbourne crowd. The momentum change started at 4-4 in the third set after a blistering backhand winner granted him a break and the opportunity to serve out the match to revive his title hopes which he did with relative ease.

Continuing to weather the storm, Nadal attacked Medvedev’s serve throughout the fourth frame. It was becoming evident that the Russian was tiring and at times he struggled to push off from his leg to return shots. Nadal broke twice in a row as he took proceedings into a decider. Doing so with a love service game that concluded with the help of an unreturned serve from Medvedev.

Incredibly, it wasn’t until four hours and 40 minutes into the match when Nadal had an overall lead after hitting a forehand winner which painted the sidelines to break early on in the fifth set. Admirbally, Medvedev continued to fight on court but it was not enough to deny his opponent.

Nadal failed to serve the match out on his first attempt when leaving 5-4 before managing to work his way to another opportunity two games later. An ace, which was only his third in the match, earned him three championship points. He triumphed on the first of those with the help of a backhand volley at the net. Prompting the tennis giant to drop his racket out of delight.

“This has probably been one of the most emotional (tournaments) in my tennis career. Having the huge support during the past few weeks is going to stay in my heart for the rest of my life,” said the 21-time Grand Slam winner.
‘One-and-a-half months ago I was saying maybe this would be my last Australian Open but now this is plenty of energy to keep going.’
“I really can’t explain the feelings that I have right now but I’m going to keep trying my best and keep coming.”

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Wimbledon: Quarter-Finalist Cristian Garin loves The Event But Not So much The Surface

The South American reacts to reaching his first major quarter-final.

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Cristian Garin (CHI) - Credit: AELTC/Ben Solomon

Just over a week ago, Cristian Gain admitted that he was ‘upset’ when he saw his draw for Wimbledon this year. 

 

The world No.43 was set to take on the formidable Matteo Berrettini in the first round who has won two grass-court titles in a row in recent weeks. However, the Italian was forced to withdraw after testing positive for COVID-19. Instead, his opponent was the much lower-ranked Elias Ymer from Sweden who he defeated in straight sets. Since then, Garin hasn’t looked back.

On Monday at The All England Club, he staged an audacious comeback to defeat Alex de Minaur 2-6, 5-7, 7-6(3), 6-4, 7-6(10-6). Not only did Garin bounce back from two sets down, he also saved two match points in the process. Becoming the first player from his country to reach the last eight of the tournament since Fernando Gonzalez in 2005 and only the fourth in history to do so. 

“It is something very special for me. Wimbledon is my favorite tournament. Every time that I play this tournament is something special I feel,” said Garin.
“To be in the quarterfinals is a dream. I will try to enjoy it. I will try to give my best in the next round.”

Ironically Garin comes from a country where there are no grass courts. This year is his fifth appearance at Wimbledon and it was at the event where he made his Grand Slam debut back in 2017. However, like many other South Americans, clay is still his preferred surface.

“I said Wimbledon is my favorite tournament, not my favorite surface,” he jokes. 
“I think the grass is very fun for me. I have to change a little bit the way that I play. I think here on this surface you have to be aggressive.

Garin is one of only five ATP players from Chile currently ranked in the world’s top 500. Since April he has been coached by Pepe Vendrell who previously worked as a mentor to Roberto Bautista Agut and served as Spain’s captain in the ATP Cup. 

The next test for Garin will be a showdown against the formidable Nick Kyrgios who defeated Brandon Nakashima in his fourth round match.

“He is for me one of the guys that I like to watch. He’s very good for tennis,” he said of Kyrgios.
“In these rounds, you play the best. For me, Nick is obviously one of the best on grass.”

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Last Brit Standing Cameron Norrie Urges Fans ‘To Get Behind Him’ At Wimbledon

The Brit says he is feeling more comfortable on the Tour.

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Cameron Norrie (GBR) - Credit: AELTC/Simon Bruty

Cameron Norrie had the pressure of being the British No.1 at Wimbledon this year and now even more eyes will be on him following his milestone win. 

 

The world No.12 defeated Tommy Paul 6-4, 7-5, 6-4, in his fourth round match on Sunday to reach the last eight of a major for the first time at the age of 26. In doing so he remains the only home player left in the singles draw of either men’s or women’s draws. Heather Watson lost her last 16 match earlier in the day to Jule Niemeier 6-2, 6-4.

“To play the way I did and to handle the occasion, I felt really comfortable the way I was hitting the ball this morning. Definitely more comfortable than my other matches.” Said Norrie.
“It was good to get through that one in the fashion that I did. I was up the whole match, which definitely helped.”

Norrie’s run is the best by a British man at The All England Club since Andy Murray back in 2017. He is coached on the Tour by Facundo Lugones who first got acquainted with him at college in America. The two were teammates with Lugones being a senior and Norrie a freshman. Last year he achieved a win-loss record of 52-25 and won the biggest title of his career in Indian Wells.

A solid top 20 player on the Tour, Norrie’s popularity back home is steadily increasing. Even more so in recent days due to Wimbledon. Now he is the last Brit standing there is added pressure but he is taking it all in his stride.

“I’m the last one standing. But I think it’s even more reason for everyone to get behind me,” he said. “Even the atmosphere was great today and definitely helped me get over the line there. Especially on that last game, I was obviously pretty nervous. I was serving for my first quarterfinal of a slam. I wanted to get it done there. They definitely helped me a lot.”

Norrie will be hoping the crowd will out in full force for his upcoming clash with former top 10 player David Goffin who defeated Francis Tiafoe in five sets. Goffin has reached the quarter-finals of a major on three previous occasions, including Wimbledon three years ago.

“He’s a very experienced player. He really likes the grass. He’s played a lot of big matches. It’s going to be tough,” Norrie previewed.
“He’s a great competitor, a really good athlete. He’s got a very complete game. He must be playing very well, so it’s going to be a tricky one.’
“One thing for sure, I know that I’m going to get into a lot of rallies with him. He’s not going to come and serve me off the court, which is good. It’s going to be another physical match, which is great for me.”
“I’m looking forward to competing. It’s going to be another huge challenge.”

The only time Norrie played Goffin was last year in Barcelona when Goffin was forced to retire from their match in the second set. 

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Roger Federer Hopes To Play One Last Wimbledon As Icons Mark Center Court Anniversary

The Swiss Maestro said it is ‘great to be back’ after attending a special centenary event alongside other greats of the sport.

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Image via https://twitter.com/Wimbledon/

On the 100th anniversary of Center Court, a special celebration took place on Sunday that saw the return of Roger Federer.

Past and present champions congregated on the premier court during a special 30-minute presentation with a couple of notable absences. Nine-time winner Martina Navratilova and Pete Sampras were absent. Each walking on one by one, the biggest cheer occurred when it was Federer’s turn to take to the stage.

The former world No.1 hasn’t played a professional match since his quarter-final loss at SW19 12 months ago due to knee surgery. He has already outlined his plans to return to action later this season at the Laver Cup and Swiss indoors. Speaking on court, Federer said he hopes to play at Wimbledon again as he unexpectedly hints at retiring in the near future. 

 

“I’ve been lucky to play a lot of matches here. Different type of role, but it’s great to be here. This court has given me my biggest moments,” said Federer.
“I hope I can come back one more time.”
“I’ve missed it here. I knew walking out here last year, it was going to be a tough year ahead. I maybe didn’t think it was going to take this long to come back – the knee has been rough on me.
“It’s been a good year regardless of tennis. We’re happy at home. I didn’t know if I should make the trip but I’m happy standing here right now.”


Federer is the only man in history to have ever won the Wimbledon title eight times and was undefeated between 2003-2007. 

One player closing in on that record is Novak Djokovic who is seeking to win his seventh title this year. Speaking about Center Court, the Serbian said the venue has a special place in his heart that dates back to his childhood.

“This court has been truly special from my childhood and the first image of tennis I’ve seen when I was four or five-years-old I saw Pete Sampras winning his first Wimbledon,” said Djokovic.
“This is where dreams come true and I was blessed in 2011, probably the highlight of my career, to win the tournament and so when I step out on this court I relive these memories. Truly an honor.”

As for the female champions of the tournament, Venus Williams, Simona Halep, Angelique Kerber and Margaret Court were all in attendance. So was Billie Jean King who is the co-founder of the WTA Tour and has won all three Wimbledon events on multiple occasions (singles – 6, doubles – 10, and mixed doubles – 4). 

“I played my very first match at Wimbledon as a 17-year-old. We started late so I had two days on this court. It was magical and wonderful and I knew I belonged here,” said King.
“I love history and I love the fact we have so many people here. Martina [Navratilova] could not be with us and she won nine women’s singles so I’d just like to say I’m sorry she can’t be here.”

In 1922 Center court was officially opened for the first time after taking just nine months to construct. At the time it was the largest-ever reinforced concrete structure. The addition of a roof didn’t occur until 2009.

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