Zverev Withdraws After A Catastrophe Tumble As Nadal Reaches His 14th French Open Final - UBITENNIS
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Zverev Withdraws After A Catastrophe Tumble As Nadal Reaches His 14th French Open Final

Zverev withdraws after a catastrophe tumble and Nadal reaches his fourteenth final at French Open

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Nadal RG 2022 by Night (foto @RolandGarros)

By Kingsley Elliot Kaye

The most dreaded ending for a tennis match is a withdrawal owing to injury.  

 

We watched, heartbroken, aghast, Zverev hopper up in crutches to the umpire and then tearfully embrace Nadal.   

Ten minutes earlier, lugging to hit a forehand winner down the line, Zverev had stumbled and his ankle was anchored in the clay for a fatal instant, and ruinously twisted to follow his falling body. It was the twelfth game of the second set, which seemed to be heading, as the former, towards a tiebreak. 

It had been a spectacular match, crammed with emotions, remarkable shots. One of those matches you wish could go on forever, deserving not to be refrained by any super tiebreak.

It was the match in which Zverev showed the world he had found an inner equilibrium. Not eradicating his doubts, his anxiety, his sudden failings, but able to accept them without falling into despair, to leave them behind and resume his towering game time after time.  

“It’s not easy to talk after what happened. The only thing that I can say is I hope he’s not too bad. Hopefully nothing is broken,” said Nadal. “It has been a very, very tough match. I think he started the match playing amazing. I know how much means to him, fight to win his first Grand Slam. For me it’s a dream to be in the final of Roland Garros, of course that way is not the way that we want it to be.”

THE MATCH

The closed roof resulting in lower bounce was believed to be detrimental to Nadal. His shots would be numbed, and more easily aggressed.    

Indeed Zverev proved, from the very first game, to have the power to hit through Nadal’s defence. He broke immediately, then strode off with excellent serving and winners of both groundstrokes.

In the early stages Zverev was positioned closer to the line than usual, while Nadal seemed to be moving less sharply. Zverev was alternating lifted balls and heavy strikes, whereas Nadal was hitting short and his spin appeared muffled.

Nadal struggled on his second game on serve, his shots landing too short, and was 15-30 after the German drilled a backhand crosscourt. But two netted returns allowed the Spaniard to keep up.

At 4-2 Zverev stats were thriving: 95% of first serves in 6 games and 11 winners. A first lapse occurred in the eighth game at 40-30 Zverev squandered the chance to rise 5-3 by spraying a long forehand, then doublefaulted, hauling a second serve over speed limits, 209 kph, and conceded a breakpoint. He saved it by winning a 20-shot rally in which he was always putting pressure and Nadal finally netted a forehand. Incredibly Zverev mishit an easy forehand on the next point just a couple of feet from the net, so badly that his racquet flew out of his hands. The second break point was fatal: Zverev missed a comfortable crosscourt backhand after an excellent first serve and Nadal caught up and shortly overtook holding serve. 

At 5-4 a netted forehand by Zverev meant set point for Nadal. But the German effaced it with a proficient serve. The game turned into a battle, and Zverev faced two other setpoints before holding with a low dropshot volley.

In the eleventh game Nadal went 0-30 down but surfaced with two dropshots. Zverev still got a breakpoint with an angled crosscourt backhand and Nadal saved with serve and volley, his most celebrated tactic in crucial moments. And he deployed the same scheme to save a second break point. He was clearly flaring up. He eventually held and so did Zverev; 6-6 and tiebreak.

Zverev gifted a minibreak missing an easy open court forehand but Nadal netted his own forehand immediately after and returned the favour.

Zverev got a second minibreak with a forehand passing shot on a slightly tentative foray to the net by the Spaniard, determined to mix it up.

A crosscourt forehand acceleration after a baseline rally and Zverev led 4-2, then 5-2 thanks to an angled crosscourt backhand after a 205 kph first serve.

He earned a second minibreak accelerating with his forehand and had a 4-setpoint portfolio at 6-2.

Nadal erased the first with an ace.  Zverev missed an easy backhand volley on the second.

A crosscourt passing forehand down the line on the run by Nadal elated the crowd and obliterated the third, whereas after running side to side for the whole point he scrambled to save the fourth, forcing Zverev to play and miss a tough high backhand volley on the stretch.

Nadal conquered his first set point with a forehand down the line.

Zverev saved it placing a backhand on the line. But then dumped a backhand in the net. This time Nadal had set point on serve, but his backhand flew out long.

A drop shot brough up a third set point. After a first serve had opened the court up Zverev recklessly hit a forehand again to Nadal’s forehand and was passed. 10-8 and 1 hour and 31 minutes of rollercoaster battle.  

The second set opened up with Nadal enticing Zverev to the net with a dropshot, then passing him. A second dropshot earned him 0-30. Two unforced errors by Zverev offered him an immediate break. 

When his was up 40-15 on serve, the match seemed about to take a crucial and perhaps decisive turn. But surprisingly Nadal tightened up and lost serve. 

Zverev was now struggling to finish off points as effectively as in the first set. And Nadal was constantly thrusting in that extra shot.  Unforced errors by the German yielded two break points and Nadal converted the second when Zverev overhit a crosscourt passing backhand after an extenuating breath-catching 44-shot rally. 

Zverev could have paid toll but Nadal hit three unforced errors and immediately returned the break.

Zverev saved a break point in his next service game with a winning crosscourt backhand. With some struggle he nosed ahead 3-2. His effort was rewarded because a blasting crosscourt forehand won him another break.  

Nadal immediately fought back and grabbed a break point by hitting two lobs over Zverev after trapping him at the net with dropshots. A double fault followed and surrendered the break.

Zverev was unshattered and responded to Nadal’s raid at the net by leaping into the stands to hit a lob. Nadal missed the smash and conceded a break point. He ended up losing service a second tima

Zverev served for the set at 5-3 up but was grounded by three double faults and lost his lead.

Nadal was getting more and more aggressive, also because Zverev was striking with less power. In the tenth game when Nadal soared to 0-30 hitting a crosscourt forehand winner on the run, sprinting down the whole baseline, it could have been the final blow. Zverev responded again by firing a backhand down the line. And followed it up to hold.

Nadal served to reach a second tiebreak. He climbed to 40-15. He came to the net but was passed by a crosscourt forehand. The score was 40-30. The clock read 3 hours and 3 minutes. 

Then it happened.  

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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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