Rafa Nadal stays unbeaten in 2022 and downs Cameron Norrie to take Acapulco crown - UBITENNIS
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Rafa Nadal stays unbeaten in 2022 and downs Cameron Norrie to take Acapulco crown

Rafael Nadal clinched his third title of the season after beating Cameron Norrie in the Acapulco final.

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Rafael Nadal (@AustralianOpen - Twitter)

Spain’s Rafael Nadal continued his sublime form as he beat Britain’s Cameron Norrie 6-4, 6-4 to win the Mexican Open for a fourth time.

 

After first winning in 2005 against fellow Spaniard, Albert Montañés, as a little-known teenage prodigy, at 35 years of age, Nadal continues to reedify time and logic.

Other victories came again in 2013, against close friend David Ferrer, and two years ago, in 2020, a week before the pandemic began, against American Taylor Fritz.

Nadal was simply too good for Norrie last night, and superior in every department.

The Brit made a good start though, as he held serve, and took the 21-time Grand Slam champion to deuce, in his opening service game.

But Nadal had other ideas, as a hard-fought duel from the baseline was concluded with a now vintage Nadal drop-shot winner.

At 2-2, the Spaniard struck, as a fine crosscourt backhand winner, after a lengthy rally, saw Nadal take a decisive break.

Norrie did his best to stay in touch in the opening set, but Nadal was far too good on serve, mixing it up with some tidy serve and volley skills. An underrated part of his game to say the least.

At 5-3, Norrie was under enormous pressure from Nadal who blasted a huge backhand winner down the line but the Brit held.

Nadal served out the set 6-4 as a thumping forehand from Norrie was eventually called wide by Hawk-Eye.

Even at the beginning of the second set, Nadal continued to produce clutch tennis with some unbelievable winners.

Norrie lost his cool and smashed his racquet, after surrendering the break.

But he refocused well to break back, as the impenetrable Nadal serve finally cracked.

At 2-2, like in the first set, Nadal played some swashbuckling tennis as a precise smash saw him steal the break.

Norrie threw everything he could at the Spaniard, but Nadal broke again for a 5-2 lead.

Things became interesting as the 26-year-old Brit broke back and held serve.

But it was Nadal’s night as he served it out, playing tennis at the highest level he’s played in years, as he continued his fine unbeaten run.

In doing so, he captured an unprecedented 91st tour title, and a third of 2022 after wins in the Melbourne Summer Set Cup, Australian Open and now in Acapulco.

Nadal now stands at a mightily impressive 15-matches unbeaten.

This includes two wins over the new world number one Daniil Medvedev, and if he can avoid injury, 2022 could be a very special year for Nadal.

What they had to say:

Norrie told reporters after the match that Nadal was simply too good.

“Obviously happy to make the final, but disappointed to lose it. I thought I played at a very good level all week,” he said.

“He was too good today on the bigger points. He gave me nothing and that was the difference.

“I can take a lot of positives. I served well, played a lot of physical rallies on my terms and I’ve enjoyed playing here in Acapulco.”

Nadal explained how he was able to pull off the victory.

“I went through some very difficult moments during the match that I was able to save, and then I took advantage when I had the chances.”

Even with all his success, Nadal was in awe of how far he has come in a short space of time, considering he spent much of last year with a toe-injury.

“The energy that the people from Mexico bring to me is very unique. It has always has been a very special place for me,” he said.

“Acapulco is a tournament that started with five of the top six players in the world.

“It was complicated, and I ended up taking the victory. Looking back, a few weeks ago, this would have looked impossible,” the Spaniard added. 

“It’s amazing how things can change in such a short time. From not being able to practice and now to be where I am today.”

After winning the title in Acapulco 17 years ago, Nadal reflected on this memory.

“It’s been a long career. The first time I came here, everything was new for me. Now after all these years, you start to appreciate more each victory than when you were an 18-year-old boy.”

James Spencer (@jspencer28) analysis:

Nadal is simply untouchable right now and continues to crush all before him.

I thought he looked tired and jaded by the heat during his matches against Stefan Kozlov and Tommy Paul, but his tennis simply went to another level against Medvedev and Norrie.

I think he will go back to Spain and spend time with his family and friends, and soak up yet another memorable victory.

https://twitter.com/jspencer28/status/1497967966998126605

As I said in my previous piece, pulling out of Indian Wells and Miami makes logical sense, to conserve vital physical and mental energy.

Statistically, Medvedev might be the number one player in the world, but the way Nadal is playing with so much swagger and confidence, he could surely lay claim to that himself.

Nadal is number one in the singles race for the Turin ATP Finals and if he wins the French Open, he could well be world number one again.

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Novak Djokovic Survives Almighty Sinner Scare to Reach Wimbledon Semis

The dramatic encounter featured a fight back, multiple breaks of serve and even an injury scare.

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Reigning champion Novak Djokovic staged an epic comeback to keep his hopes of winning a seventh Wimbledon title alive after ousting Jannik Sinner in a five-set thriller.

 


Djokovic, who only dropped six games against Sinner in their previous Tour meeting, was forced to battle back from two sets down to prevail 5-7, 2-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-2, in a roller-coaster encounter on Center Court. The triumph marks Djokovic’s 84th win at the tournament which is the joint-second highest tally in history alongside Jimmy Connors. Only Roger Federer has won more.

“Huge congratulations to Jannik today for a big fight. I’m sure that there are going to be a lot of opportunities for him on the big stage. He’s mature for his age and is already an established top 15 player over the last few years,” said Djokovic.
“He was unfortunate today but he has plenty of time.”

Taking on one of the most promising future prospects of men’s tennis, Djokovic’s latest encounter was a match of two halves. Initially, he appeared as if he would suffer a shock loss to world No.13 before he managed to conjure up an emphatic comeback. Breaking Sinner’s spirit who was bidding to become only the third Italian man to reach a Wimbledon semi-final in history.

“We had two different matches. He was the better player for two sets. (Then) I went out for a toilet break, had a little pep talk (with myself) in the mirror,” the 20-time major winner revealed.
“Sometimes in these circumstances where not much is happening positively for you on the court in terms of tennis. These things are necessary – a little break and pep talk to try to recuperate.’
“I was fortunate to start well in the third set by breaking his serve and that gave me the confidence boost. I saw a bit of doubt in his game and my experience of these kinds of matches helped me.”

The first set was a roller-coaster encounter between the two tennis titans on Center Court. Reigning champion Djokovic started out guns blazing by winning seven points in a row before Sinner got onto the scoreboard after prevailing in a 17-shot rally. The top seed looked to be in full control until a double fault on break point enabled his rival to bounce back. Continuing to play some inspired tennis with blistering shot-making, a cross-court winner enabled the Italian to break once again and this time had the chance to serve the opener out. A task he passed with flying colors.

Continuing to take his game to Djokovic, Sinner appeared unfazed about trying to become the youngest men’s semi-finalist at SW19 since 2007. Producing powerful hitting from the baseline, the 20-year-old extended his lead two games into the second frame. A stunning backhand volley followed by a Djokovic error elevated him to a 2-1 advantage. Spurred on by the crowd, the unprecedented onslaught continued with the help of some costly errors from the Serbian. He sealed the double break with the help of a successful Hawk-Eye challenge before securing a two-set lead in his favor with the help of a 122mph service.

Facing a swift exit, Djokovic once again illustrated the fighting spirit that he is renowned for. Capitalizing on a blip in form from Sinner, he cruised through the third set to resurrect his chances. 

Steaming rolling his way into a decider, Djokovic continued his dominance during the fourth frame by winning four straight games. However, closing that set out was full of drama. First, Sinner suffered an injury scare after going over his ankle before continuing. Then Djokovic fended off a break point and squandered two set points before closing it out. 

A stunning sliding passing shot in the decider set Djokovic up with a chance to break and move to a game away from victory. Something he did with the help of a Sinner error which the Italian instantly regretted by putting both his hands on his head. After that mishit, Djokovic ended the clash with a love service game. 

“I’ve been blessed to play professional tennis for 20 years but nevertheless I go through those doubtful moments like everybody else. The inner fight is always the biggest fight. Once you win the fight the external circumstance is more likely to go in your favor. I knew I could turn this match around. I have done that a few times in grand slams.” Djokovic concluded.


 

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(VIDEO EXCLUSIVE) Why Rafael Nadal Faces His Biggest Test Yet

Tennis Hall of Famer Steve Flink joins UbiTennis to reflect on the highs and lows of day 8 of Wimbledon.

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Will the upcoming quarter-final be Rafael Nadal’s hardest match yet? How will Nick Kyrgios’ shoulder recover?

 

The second Monday at Wimbledon was one full of intrigue in the men’s draw. Whilst on the women’s side, Simona Halep was in impressive form against Paula Badosa but tennis commentator Flink explains why he thinks her upcoming clash with Amanda Anisimova will be tougher.

Alongside Ubitennis CEO Ubaldo Scanagatta, Flink also looks at Jannik Sinner’s chances of causing a huge upset against reigning champion Novak Djokovic. 

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WIMBLEDON: Rafael Nadal Coy Over New Injury Speculation

After the foot problems in Paris, there is a strong possibility the Spaniard could be experiencing another injury issue.

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image via twitter.com/atp

There are fresh concerns surrounding Rafael Nadal after he declined to go into the reason why he was wearing abdominal taping during his fourth round match at Wimbledon. 

 

The 22-time Grand Slam winner was seen wearing some kind of protection in the abdominal area after changing his t-shirt during one of the breaks. In recent weeks Nadal has been dealing with physical issues due to a long-term foot condition he has. At the French Open he revealed that he had to undergo injections in order for him to continue playing en route to winning the tournament for a 14th time.

Playing 21st seed Botic van de Zandschulp, Nadal battled his way to a 6-4, 6-2, 7-6(6), win. Speaking to reporters after his latest win at The All England Club, the Spaniard sidestepped a question about a potential abdominal problem he could be experiencing. 

“I am a little bit tired of talking about my body. It’s not that I don’t want to answer your question, but at the same time sometimes I am tired of myself, all the issues that I am having. I prefer to not talk about that now,” he replied.
“I am in the middle of the tournament and I have to keep going. All respect for the rest of the opponents. I am just trying my best every single day. For the moment I am healthy enough to keep going and fight for the things that I want.”

Continuing to stay coy about his form and health, Nadal offered an alternative perspective when asked if he was nearing his best level once again. He has dropped just two sets in four matches played so far at Wimbledon which is his first grass-court event since 2019. 

“It’s always the same here. It’s not about how close I am to the level or not. I don’t know that. I can’t predict what can happen.” He said.
“But the positive thing is the first two matches haven’t been good. Then two days ago I played at a high level for the first time. And today most of the matches, again, at a very positive level.”

The straight sets scoreline failed to tell the true story of Nadal’s roller-coaster win on Center Court. Taking on Zandschulp, a player who burst onto the main scene last year by reaching the US Open quarter-finals as a qualifier, the 22-time major champion engaged in a match of two halves. Nadal looked on the verge of an easy victory after breaking once in the first set, twice in the second and storming to a 5-2 in the third. However, the Dutchman refused to go down without a fight by displaying his best tennis of the match to draw level. 

Now engaged in his first real test, Nadal was under intense pressure to close it out in three. If he didn’t there would have been an inevitable delay for the roof to come on due to poor light. If that occurred, there would be less than two hours of play left before the 11pm curfew began.

Nevertheless, Nadal didn’t need the roof as he squeezed through the tiebreaker. After squandering three consecutive match points, he prevailed on his fourth with the help of a lob that triggered Zandschulp to smash the ball out. 

Nadal is through to his 47th major quarter-final and is only the third man in the Open Era to do so at Wimbledon after celebrating his 36th birthday. In total, he has won 309 main draw matches at Grand Slam tournaments.

In the last eight, the Spaniard has a shot of revenge when he takes on Taylor Fritz who ended his 20-match winning streak earlier this year in Indian Wells. During that match, Nadal had a rib injury and he had beaten the American earlier that month in Mexico. 

“That last match (in Indian Wells) was zero because I had a stress fracture on my rib, and it was difficult to learn many things because the pain was terrible playing that match.” He said. 

As for Fritz, he believes their upcoming clash will be at a higher standard given the form both players are currently in. Fritz is currently on a eight-match winning streak after recently claiming the Eastbourne Open title. 

“It’s going to be a lot different match obviously. Indian Wells was kind of crazy with both of us being extremely beaten up before the final. This time I think we’ll get healthier versions of both of us, we’ll see.” Fritz previewed.

The question for nadal, is how healthy is the current version of him really is? Only time will tell. 

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