Rafael Nadal Ousts Frustrated Kyrgios In Dramatic Clash At Indian Wells - UBITENNIS
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Rafael Nadal Ousts Frustrated Kyrgios In Dramatic Clash At Indian Wells

The showdown was full of drama with Kyrgios receiving a point penalty, arguing with the umpire and at one stage involved Ben Stiller in another argument he had with a member of the crowd. Nevertheless, Nadal held his nerve to prevail in what was an enthralling encounter.

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Image via https://twitter.com/BNPPARIBASOPEN

Rafael Nadal narrowly avoided suffering his first loss of the season after outlasting Nick Kyrgios in a marathon quarter-final encounter at the BNP Paribas Open.

The 21-time Grand Slam champion was forced to save a series of break points early in the decider before going on to win the match 7-6(0), 5-7, 6-4, after almost three hours of play. Extending his perfect start to the season to 19-0. Against Kyrgios, Nadal won 77% of his first serves and hit a total of 10 aces. He improves his head-to-head record against the Australian to 6-3.

“It was a good tennis match, I think,” said Nadal. “I’m happy to win, of course. Being in the semifinals is great news for me again. I’m happy about that third set because it wasn’t easy after the end of the second. It was terrible for me.”
“But I held it emotionally, and mentally, I think I was ready to keep fighting. So (I’m) happy with the victory and of course happy with the level of the set.”

The rollercoaster encounter saw continuous changes of momentum. After coming through a tough opener where he had to claw his way back from a 1-3 deficit, Nadal was pushed to his limits by his rival. In the second set 11 games in a row were played without a break point opportunity occurring. However, as the Spaniard served at 5-6, Kyrgios seized the moment and was able to level the match. Then in the decider Nadal managed to break midway through which gave him enough of a margin to seal the win.

As it usually is with matches involving Kyrgios there was also plenty of drama involved. During the third set a fan called out which bemused the Australian who shouted back at the fan, who was sitting near to actor Ben Stiller. He had earlier complained about the noise of the crowd.

Kyrgios: ‘Are you good at tennis?’
Heckler: ‘No.’
Kyrgios: ‘Exactly, so don’t tell me how to play. [Pointing at Stiller and his wife who were sitting nearby] Do I tell him how to act? No.’

Kyrgios also received a point penalty at the end of the first set for swearing at a member of the crowd. He also entered into an argument with the umpire over the crowd behavior and was heard saying ‘’Look at the f***ing score … it’s your job to control [heckling fans], no one else’s.’

I think Nick had a great attitude during the whole match in terms of fighting spirit, and of course he has his personality, his character. Sometimes he does things that from my personal understanding, I don’t like, but I respect (that) because of different characters,” Nadal said of his opponent.
“Different kinds of points of view, and different kinds of education sometimes. I’m not saying that in a negative way at all, just different kinds of points of view.” He added.

The drama continued after the last point was played. Frustrated with his defeat, Kyrgios slammed his racket on to the ground which rebounded and ended up almost hitting a ball kid who had to duck away.

“I just want to apologise to that ball kid at the end of the match,” Kyrgios later wrote on Instagram. “It was a complete accident and was frustrated at the end of the match.
“My racquet took a crazy bounce and was never my intention. If anyone knows who that ball kid is, send me a message and I will send a racket to him. I’m glad he’s OK!”

Since the incident, Kyrgios has managed to track down the ball kid and personally apologize.

Awaiting Nadal in the semi-finals will be rising star Carlos Alcaraz who continues to blossom on the Tour. The 18-year-old knocked out defending champion Cameron Norrie 6-4, 6-3, to become the second-youngest male semi-finalist in Indian Wells history. The youngest was Andre Agassi who achieved the milestone at the age of 17 in 1988.

“I think he’s unstoppable in terms of his career. He has all the ingredients. He has the passion. He’s humble enough to work hard,” Nadal said of Alcaraz.
“He reminds me of a lot of things from when I was a 17- or 18-years-old kid. I think he has passion. He has the talent and the physical component that it’s great.”

Nadal is just two victories away from winning his fourth Indian Wells title and first since 2013.

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Jack Draper Wins In Stuttgart, Potentially Faces Andy Murray in Round Two

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Jack Draper – ATP Monaco di Baviera 2024 (foto via Twitter @atptour)

Britain’s Jack Draper tight first round win headlined the opening day’s results at the Boss Open 2024 in Stuttgart – and possibly faces a second-round match with Andy Murray who takes on Marcos Giron tomorrow.

Less than 24 hours from the last ball being hit at Roland Garros, the ATP Tour had already switched surfaces onto the grass, and 22-year-old Draper was well tested but ultimately came through in two tie-breakers over Sebastian Ofner.

The sixth seed’s 7-6, 7-6 win contained just one break of serve each, both coming in the second set, as serve dominated proceedings on the faster grass courts in Germany.

While the Austrian won 75% on his first serve, Draper won a whopping 89% behind his first delivery as well as hitting eight aces. These kind of service stats will surely take him far during the grass court season.

“I thought it was a really good match,” Eurosport quoted Draper saying after his match. 
“Both of us played really clean tennis, executing really well.
“When it came down to it, I’m glad I competed really well and got over the line – it’s good to be back on the grass as well.”

There were also wins for Germany’s Yannick Hanfmann who won 6-3, 6-3 over wildcard Henri Squire, while compatriot Dominik Koepfer won in three sets over China’s Zhizhen Zhang 4-6, 7-6, 7-6. 

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Carlos Alcaraz Still Owns A Magical Racket

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The legend of Carlos Alcaraz and his magical racket lives on.

The 21-year-old Spaniard executed one magical shot after another with his racket and legs  Sunday afternoon in the French Open final. That bit of magic spelled defeat for Germany’s Alexander Zverev.

This was a final to remember, one of the great matches of all the Grand Slams. It just wasn’t in the cards for the 26-year-old Zverev to finally win a Grand Slam title.

HE HAD IT, THEN HE DIDN’T

Both players seemed to play a game of “he had it and then he didn’t.”

Alcaraz appeared to have everything under control in the first set, but Zverev rushed through the second set and then made a comeback from 5-2 down in the third set to win five straight games.

Zverev had everything going for him when he started the fourth set with a two-set advantage. It appeared that all the 6-6 Zverev had to do was to continue playing his masterful game of big serves and mighty ground strokes.

But Zverev couldn’t get started in the fourth set until he was down 4-0. So much for a smooth and easy ride to a Grand Slam title. By then, the magic of Alcaraz was heating up.

MAGIC OF ALCARAZ HEATING UP

Zverev still had his chances, even when he fell behind 2-1 in the fifth set. He had to feel pretty good about his chances when he took a triple break point lead against Alcaraz’s serve and appeared ready to even the set at 2-2. Even after Carlos came up with a winner to bring the  game score to double break point.

Zverev still was ready to even the entire match.

That’s when everything seemed to go haywire for the German, while all the while, Alcaraz was able to repeatedly come up with his magical shots as the Spaniard made critical shots that looked almost impossible to make.

ALCARAZ HEADED FOR GREATNESS

Everything for Zverev was lost in the magical racket of Alcaraz.

What was then initially called a game-ending Alcaraz double fault and a 2-2 deadlock quicky reversed itself and Alcaraz stayed alive by winning the next three points while taking a 3-1 advantage.

Zverev did get back to a 3-2 deficit and had a break point in the sixth game, but that was it for the hopes of Zverev. The last two games went rather easily in favor of Alcaraz to wrap up a 6-3, 2-6, 5-7, 6-1, 6-2 victory for Alcaraz.

That moved the Spaniard to a higher level of success on the ATP Tour. He became the youngest man to win Grand Slam titles on all of the different surfaces, clay, grass and hard courts.

Carlos Alcaraz and his magical racket appear to be headed for greatness.

James Beck was the 2003 winner of the USTA National Media Award  for print media. A 1995 MBA graduate of The Citadel, he can be reached at Jamesbecktennis@gmail.com. 

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Tsitsipas Brothers Hit With Trio Of Fines At French Open

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Stefanos Tsitsipas and his brother Petros have been fined more than 20,000 euros for multiple violations of the coaching rules at this year’s French Open. 

The brothers received a financial penalty during three different matches that they played in. Two of those were in the second and third rounds of the men’s doubles tournament. Furthermore, Stefanos was also penalised during his singles quarter-final match against Carlos Alcaraz, which he lost in straight sets. According to French newspaper L’Equipe, all three of those fines were issued as a result of coaching rules being broken.

Ironically, coaching is allowed during matches at the French Open but certain rules must be followed. ‘Verbal’ coaching can only be issued from the coaches and their team if they are sitting in the designated player’s box. Instructions must be limited to a few words and can only be given if the player is in the same half of the court as their coach. Although non-verbal coaching is allowed regardless of what side the player is on. Finally, players can’t start a conversation with their coach unless it is during a medical break, a bathroom break or when their opponent is changing clothes.

However, the Tsitsipas brothers have been found in violation of these rules, which is likely due to their animated father in the stands who is also their coach. Apostolos Tsitsipas has been given coaching violations in the past at other events, including the 2022 Australian Open. 

The value of the fines are €4,600 and €9,200 for the Tsitsipas brothers in the doubles, as well as an additional €7,400 just for Stefanos in the singles. In total, the value of their fines is €21,200. However, the penalty is unlikely to have an impact on the duo whose combined earnings for playing in this year’s French Open amount to roughly €495,000. 

So far in the tournament, the highest single fine to be issued this year was against Terence Atmane who hit a ball out of frustration that struck a fan in the stands. Atmane, who later apologised for his actions, managed to avoid getting disqualified from the match. Instead, he was fined €23,000. 

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