Mar 272017
Nadal rallies to reach fourth round at ATP Miami Open

Rafael Nadal came back from an awful first set to defeat Germany’s Philipp Kohlschreiber 0-6, 6-2, 6-3 and advance to the fourth round of the Miami Open on Sunday. The Spaniard, playing his 1,000th ATP match, suffered just the 14th 0-6 set of his career, claiming just 33 percent of first serve points won and making a string of unforced errors. After looking badly out of sorts, Nadal was able to rediscover his form in the second set and in the end ran out a comfortable winner. Nadal said that there was little he could do against Kohlschreiber’s outstanding play in the opening set. “He was doing everything good. So that’s sport, as I said hundred of times and when somebody is playing the way that he was playing the first set … he was playing too good. That’s it,” said Nadal. “The positive thing is I handled the pressure very well after a very tough first set. I resisted well the first few games of the second, and then I think I played a great second and third set,” he said. Nadal said the key to his comeback had been his ability to change the tempo and rhythm of the match. “It was obvious that the points had been too quick. He was able to return so quick and to hit every ball as hard as he could. So I needed to play a little bit longer points. “It’s not about being more or less aggressive, it’s about changing [Read More…]

Jan 232017
Nadal, Williams into Australian Open quarter-finals

MELBOURNE: Rafael Nadal struggled into his first Grand Slam quarter-final since 2015 at the Australian Open on Monday, as Serena Williams accelerated towards a record title and the number one ranking. Nadal, searching for a revival after injuries wrecked last season, was tested by France’s Gael Monfils before winning 6-3, 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 to book a last-eight clash with Milos Raonic. Nadal, 30, was also pushed to five sets by Alexander Zverev, 19, in round three, but he has survived to reach his first major quarter-final since the 2015 French Open. The Spanish world number nine now has an excellent chance to add to his 14 Grand Slam titles after world number one Andy Murray and title-holder Novak Djokovic were both knocked out. “I’m very happy being in the quarter-finals of a Grand Slam after a couple of years without being there,” he said. “It’s very special for me, especially here in Australia where I feel (it’s) a little bit like home.” A day after defending women’s champion and top seed Angelique Kerber also fell by the wayside, Williams beat Barbora Strycova 7-5, 6-4 to set up a last-eight meeting with Johanna Konta. The American great would gain much from winning in Melbourne, as she would overtake Steffi Graf’s Open-era record of 22 Grand Slam titles and end Kerber’s short reign as world number one. In hot afternoon conditions, she fought off the Czech Republic’s Strycova in two tight sets, following her sister Venus into the quarter-finals without dropping a [Read More…]

Aug 292016

NEW YORK: Defending champion Novak Djokovic overcame an arm injury scare and long-time rival Rafael Nadal shone in 33-degree heat as the US Open showcased its $650 million upgrade on Monday. World number one Djokovic, also the 2011 winner in New York and chasing his third major of the year, defeated Jerzy Janowicz of Poland 6-3, 5-7, 6-2, 6-1. Nadal, the 2010 and 2013 champion and seeded to face Djokovic in the semi-finals, eased to a 6-1, 6-4, 6-2 win over Denis Istomin of Uzbekistan. In the women’s event, second seeded Angelique Kerber, the Australian Open champion, needed just 33 minutes to progress but Roland Garros winner Garbine Muguruza required three sets and a visit from the doctor before she survived. Djokovic had admitted that he was “not 100 percent” after suffering a wrist injury on the eve of the Olympics where he was a first-round loser. US Open: In-form Murray eyes best-ever shot at fourth major title But it was the upper right arm that bothered the Serb on Monday night as he played his first Grand Slam match since his shock third round exit at Wimbledon. The 29-year-old needed treatment after just five games of the first set but eventually pulled through against Janowicz who had played just two matches all year due to a knee injury. “It was hard to follow Phil Collins,” joked Djokovic in reference to the lengthy opening ceremony which featured the veteran English rocker under the new $150 million roof on Arthur Ashe Stadium. [Read More…]

Jul 142016

PARIS: The Davis Cup quarter-finals take place this weekend but are missing the superstar pulling power of Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray and potentially overshadowed by Rafael Nadal’s last-ditch attempt to get to the Rio Olympics. World number one Djokovic and newly crowned Wimbledon winner Murray had been expected to play in the quarter-final between Serbia and defending champions Great Britain. But Djokovic pulled out of the tie after his shock Wimbledon third-round exit to America’s Sam Querrey, the Serb’s earliest loss at a Grand Slam event in nine years. Murray, the world number two, is still officially listed in the British team for the Friday-Sunday tie on outdoor clay in Belgrade. Queen’s Club: Murray cruises into quarter-final However, the 29-year-old is expected to watch from the sidelines as he rests after his Wimbledon triumph and ahead of a packed summer schedule which includes the Olympics next month as well as the US Open. “Andy has to look after his body and his mind. He’s got his eyes set on getting some rest and really making a big push for the Olympics, US Open and beyond,” Britain team captain Leon Smith told the BBC. The British challenge will be led instead by world number 67 Kyle Edmund and the 240th-ranked James Ward. In the absence of Djokovic and Serb number two Viktor Troicki, world number 81 Dusan Lajovic will lead 2010 champions Serbia. Murray downs Nadal to reach Madrid Masters final Fourteen-time major winner Nadal and his Spanish team do not [Read More…]

May 272016
Nadal pull-out stuns French Open but show goes on

PARIS: Rafael Nadal went down fighting on his favourite battleground a year ago but this time his quest for an unprecedented 10th French Open title ended sitting glumly in front of a microphone. With third-round action in full swing out on the Roland Garros claycourts, Nadal dropped a bombshell midway though a sunny afternoon when he announced he was withdrawing because of an injury to his left wrist. For one of the game´s fiercest fighters, it was a lame way to go – especially after he had dropped only nine games in reaching the third round where he had been due to play compatriot Marcel Granollers on Saturday. The Spaniard´s hastily convened news conference which caught everyone on the hop cast a pall over the tournament, especially after 17-times grand slam champion and 2009 French winner Roger Federer withdrew last week due to a back injury. There was still some notable action on Friday, however, as seeded players began colliding. Men´s defending champion Stan Wawrinka eased into the last 16 by beating Frenchman Jeremy Chardy 6-4 6-3 7-5, second seed Andy Murray defused Ivo Karlovic´s rocket serve and home favourite Richard Gasquet had fans on Philippe Chatrier Court drooling as he took out Australian maverick Nick Kyrgios. Agnieszka Radwanska, the women´s second seed, and Spain´s fourth seed Garbine Muguruza also advanced in the sunshine as did Australian Sam Stosur who beat 2015 runner-up Lucie Safarova to set up a match with another former finalist Simona Halep. Ordinarily, 10th seed and [Read More…]

May 262016

PARIS: Nine-time French Open champion Rafael Nadal on Thursday became just the eighth man to win 200 Grand Slam matches when he defeated Argentina’s Facundo Bagnis to reach the last 32 at Roland Garros. Nadal, 29, dropped the first two games against the world number 99 but then won 18 of the next 22 to ease through 6-3, 6-0, 6-3. French Open: Wawrinka back in groove, wins in straight sets He next plays either Spanish compatriot Marcel Granollers or Nicolas Mahut of France. “It was a difficult start, but after that I was very solid and happy to win on Court Philippe Chatrier which has been the most important court in my career,” said Nadal. “This has been a better year than last year. I have been playing well this year against some of the best players in the world. Flawless Nadal races into French Open second round “I wanted to be competitive again at Roland Garros, which is very special to me.” Roger Federer, missing from the French Open this year, tops the all-time list of Grand Slam matches won on 302. The post French Open: Nadal wins 200th Grand Slam match appeared first on The Express Tribune. Click for detailed story

Jan 192016

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA: Fernando Verdasco sent shockwaves through the Australian Open on Tuesday by defeating Rafa Nadal 7-6(6) 4-6 3-6 7-6(4) 6-2 to send the former world number one crashing out in the tournament’s opening round.The first-round exit was 2009 champion Nadal’s first at Melbourne Park and only his second at a grand slam.Down 2-0 in the final set, Verdasco dragged himself off the canvas with a barrage of booming forehand winners, breaking Nadal twice to storm to a 5-2 lead.Djokovic, Nadal to meet for 47th time in Qatar Open finalHe broke his compatriot a third time, sealing the match with a cross-court winner that left the Rod Laver Arena crowd stunned late in the day session.“I just hit everything. I think I played unbelievable in the fifth set from the break,” Verdasco said in a courtside interview. “I just started hitting winners. I don’t know how. I was closing the eyes and everything when I was coming in.Australian Open: Djokovic, Serena declared top seeds“I kept doing it so it went well.” Said Verdasco after shaking hands with his opponent and the chair umpire Nadal strode quickly off the court, barely pausing to acknowledge the crowd with a wave.The post Nadal crashes out of Australian Open appeared first on The Express Tribune. Click for detailed story

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