Tag Archive | "Nadal"

No Doubt on Clay:  Nadal Carries Barcelona Title for the Sixth Time

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No Doubt on Clay: Nadal Carries Barcelona Title for the Sixth Time

Last year, Rafael Nadal made the painful decision to skip his home tournament, the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell. This season though, Nadal was determine not to disappoint his loyal hometown fans. Taking on compatriot David Ferrer for the second consecutive week in a final, Nadal fought off Ferrer 6-2, 6-4 to capture the championship and his 45th career title.

At the Monte Carlo Rolex Masters seven days ago, Ferrer forced Nadal to work hard to claim the title. Thus, nothing less was expected in this match.

Ferrer was the first to earn a break point when Nadal netted a forehand. However, by sending a return long, Ferrer wasted that opportunity. On the other hand, when Nadal obtained double break point on a Ferrer backhand miscue, he connected with a forehand up the line winner for a 2-1 lead.

After consolidating, Nadal broke Ferrer at love to widen his advantage to 4-1. Yet, Ferrer narrowed the gap to a single break by breaking right back.

Still following a bevy of errors by Ferrer, Nadal retook a double break lead for 5-2. Then, after dismissing double break point, Nadal bedded the set.

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Still at Home in Monte Carlo: Nadal Records Seventh Straight Title

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Still at Home in Monte Carlo: Nadal Records Seventh Straight Title

After six time defending champion Rafael Nadal was pushed in the semifinals by Andy Murray to three sets lasting two hours and fifty-eight minutes, the question was whether the world number one would have enough left in the tank to get over the finish line.

In today’s final at the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters, compatriot David Ferrer made sure the “king of clay” did it the old fashion way. Nadal prevailed 6-4, 7-5 over Ferrer to earn his seventh successive trophy.

For the second year in a row, two Spaniards clashed in the final at this event. Last year, Nadal destroyed Fernando Verdasco 6-0, 6-1. Consequently, it was imperative for Ferrer to make his presence felt early on in the competition.

Subsequent to a forehand up the line winner to hold in the opening game, Ferrer produced a backhand crosscourt return winner for double break point. However, Nadal eventually overcame the deficit to guard serve.

Next, with Ferrer netting a backhand crosscourt, Nadal had double break point. On a second consecutive backhand miscue by Ferrer, Nadal seized the break for 2-1. Yet, with Nadal attempting to consolidate at 40-15, Ferrer provoked a few mistakes and got to deuce. Later, with a dropshot forehand winner, Ferrer broke to level the first set.

But, with a forehand down the line winner, Nadal had triple break point. On his third break opportunity, Nadal struck a forehand crosscourt winner to bag the break for 3-2.

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Novak Djokovic Hits A Winner

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Novak Djokovic Hits A Winner

Novak Djokovic hits a winner against Rafael Nadal during the finals of the 2011 Sony Ericsson Open.

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Djokovic Edges Nadal in Sony Ericsson Open Final

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Djokovic Edges Nadal in Sony Ericsson Open Final

Novak Djokovic kept his winning streak and perfect season alive today. Djokovic defeated Rafael Nadal in the final of the Sony Ericsson Open 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 to win his second title in Miami and his fourth consecutive of the season.

It was the second week in a row that Nadal and Djokovic, world number one and two respectively, were meeting in a Masters 1000 final. The last time the top two players clashed for the title at this tournament in1995, number two Andre Agassi beat number one Pete Sampras in a third set tiebreaker.

With a backhand up the line pass for a winner on his second break point opportunity, Nadal obtained a 2-1 advantage. It was the first time, Djokovic had dropped serve this tournament.

After going down double break point, Nadal found the equalizer. The Spaniard survived another break point before consolidating for 3-1.

Then, Nadal captured a second break for 4-1. The Spaniard salvaged another break point before widening his lead to 5-1. Nadal dropped serve trying to close out the set the first time around. But, despite difficulties, on his second attempt Nadal banked the set.

After wasting multiple break points in the initial set, Djokovic aided by errors from Nadal seized the break for 2-0 in the second. Subsequent to wiping out a break point, Djokovic consolidated for 3-0 when Nadal’s slice backhand found the net.

Djokovic pressured Nadal on serve while having an easier time himself. At 40-0, Djokovic sent a beautiful lob for a winner to stretch his gap to 4-1. Ultimately, with an ace on triple set point, Djokovic threw the gauntlet for a deciding set.

The opening game of the third, Nadal overcame love-30 to hold. Serving at 1-2, Djokovic battled a similar predicament and got to 2 all. As the set progressed, despite a few 15-30 or 0-30 games, neither manufactured a break point. Fittingly, the championship was settled by a tiebreaker.

The first four points of the tiebreaker, neither competitor maintained serve. When Nadal double faulted, Djokovic had a mini-break at 3-2. With Nadal’s next two strokes sailing wide, Djokovic had a 5-2 cushion.

Following, Djokovic struck a forehand winner down the line for 6-2 and four championship points. Although Nadal won the next two points, on his third opportunity, Djokovic connected on forehand winner to pocket the trophy.

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Can’t Stop Him: Djokovic into Fourth Successive Final

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Can’t Stop Him: Djokovic into Fourth Successive Final

In the semifinals of the Sony Ericsson Open, Mardy Fish hoped to pull an April fools’ surprise on Novak Djokovic with an upset. Unfortunately for Fish, the Serb was not game. Djokovic dominated Fish 6-3, 6-1 to reach his fourth straight final of the year and extend his winning streak to 25 matches.

Fish was the first to have double break point in the initial set. Yet, Djokovic took care of those to salvage the game. Then at 2 all and Djokovic serving at 15-30, the rain came.

Once the court was dried and the players picked up where they left off, Djokovic guarded serve and went ahead 3-2.

Soon, with Fish burying a volley into the net from a low forehand by Djokovic, the Serb had break point. Although Fish won the next point for deuce, with Djokovic connecting on backhand crosscourt pass for a winner, Fish faced the third break point of the game. When Fish netted a forehand in an extensive rally, Djokovic pocketed the break for 4-3.

Then, with Fish sending a return wide, Djokovic consolidated for 5-2.

Serving for the set, Djokovic dumped a forehand into the net to hand Fish double break point. Still, with Fish misfiring on forehand shot and backhand volley, Djokovic got to deuce and later shut the first set.

By double faulting in the opening game of the second set, Fish donated break point to his adversary. After saving one break point, Fish gifted another with a forehand volley error. With Fish’s forehand landing wide, Djokovic broke.

After comfortably consolidating and getting a 3-1 lead, Djokovic found himself with double break point when Fish’s backhand volley went wide. On Fish’s second backhand volley mistake in a row, Djokovic had his second break and a 4-1 advantage.

Subsequent to erasing a break point to get to 5-1, Djokovic provoked a series of miscues from Fish to arrive at double break point. By breaking Fish for the third time in the set, Djokovic clinched a berth into the final.

Fish was trying to defeat Djokovic for the maiden time in six attempts. Considering that Djokovic is unbeaten, it was perhaps an impossible task.

Maybe the tone of the match would have been different had Fish converted on his break point chances. Fish said “those were huge points. It was extremely disappointing. . . I thought I played well. . .down 63, 51 you look at the total points won and he’s only won like eight more points. I [just] didn’t win any of the big points. . . I left a lot shots out there today.”

Again, Fish confirmed that fellow competitors are amazed by what Djokovic has done so far “He’s not losing games. He’s crushing us. . . He doesn’t give you much out there at all. . . The matches are so long you’re bound to lose focus here and there. . . Sometimes for guys it’s games, for him it’s maybe a point or two at the most right now. He zones in pretty well”.

Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer play tonight for a place in the final. In terms of Nadal or Federer being able to vanquish Djokovic, Fish cited “I think those guys are at another level than myself. . . [They] have played in matches like this before all the time. . . Certainly both guys can beat him; they came close at Indian Wells. . . You have to favor [Djokovic but] he’s got to lose sometime”.

After the match, Djokovic stated that he was glad for the rain delay “after I came back from the locker room. . . I felt different on the court. [The] first couple of games were quite strange. The wind was blowing, it was quite humid, just different conditions. . . I came into the match not really moving well, just lucky enough not to go a break down”.

Djokovic has yet to be broken this tournament and it’s been a difficult task for his competitors this year. The Serb was asked the secret to guarding serve in those pressure situation.

Djokovic responded “any time I was down break points. . .I served really well. That’s something that makes me happy. You [need] some luck as well in some moments”.

The last time Federer claimed a victory over Djokovic was at 2010 Barclays ATP World tour final. Federer’s three knockdowns this year have come at the hand of Djokovic. Nadal has met Djokovic once this year at Indian Wells and was the runner-up.

With a good hardcourt record against Nadal but having yet to surrender a match to Federer this season, does Djokovic have a preference as to whom he sees in the final? Djokovic answered “I don’t really know how to answer. Both have played great tennis over the years regardless of the surface. They’re such great competitors and tennis players that it doesn’t matter really. They always play at a very high level”.

Further, Djokovic said “in order for me to win the final. . . . I will have to be at the top of my game against either of those two players”.

On Sunday, Djokovic, the 2007 champion in Miami, will attempt to hold the Indian Wells and Miami titles simultaneously. An achievement that was last realized by Federer. Federer did it twice in 2005 and 2006.

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It’s official: Nadal and Federer in the Semifinals at the Sony Ericsson Open

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It’s official: Nadal and Federer in the Semifinals at the Sony Ericsson Open

Tonight in the quarterfinals at the Sony Ericsson Open, world number one Rafael Nadal collided with 2010 finalist Tomas Berdych. Nadal staved off Berdych 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 to get to the semifinals against archrival Roger Federer.

With Nadal winning nine of the twelve meetings against Berdych and the last eight, the contest at first seemed a formality. Particularly the manner in which Nadal got out of the gates.

Nadal raced to a 3-0 advantage in the primary set by taking Berdych’s first two games. Then, by provoking a backhand miscue from Berdych padded his lead to 4-0.

With Berdych serving, Nadal hit an awesome forehand crosscourt pass off a backhand overhead by Berdych which summed up the miserable time that Berdych was having. Still, Berdych held to make the score respectable at 4-1.

While Nadal had no trouble carrying the set, the next couple of games, Berdych demonstrated that he finally awoke.

In the opening game of the second set, Berdych overcame double break point to maintain serve. Subsequently, when Nadal double faulted and had a forehand go long, Berdych had double break point. With a forehand up the line winner, Berdych grabbed the break for 2-0.

Then, Berdych consolidated for a 3-0 lead. During the changeover, Nadal called for the trainer and the Spaniard had his shoulder and neck attended to. After the treatment, Nadal held for 3-1.

Nadal received treatment again during the second set. In the eighth game, Nadal fought off two set points to guard serve for 5-3. However, with strong serving, Berdych closed the set with a love game.

Prior to the commencement of the third set, Nadal was manipulated by the trainer for the third time. By slicing a backhand long, Nadal stared at triple break point.

A mistake by Berdych and three consecutive aces gave Nadal game point. The Spaniard finished the game with a forehand volley winner.

Both players had relatively fast service games with no break point until the eighth game.

When Berdych dumped a forehand into the net after Nadal’s penetrating stroke, the latter had double break point. Nadal went up 5-3 when Berdych again netted a forehand.

As a result of a winner, Nadal arrived at triple match point. With Berdych’s backhand sailing long, Nadal wrote his name opposite Federer’s in the semifinals.

A conspicuously disappointed Berdych said “to break after winning the second set, that would have been a great chance for me. But, he just served unbelievably well. . . You can expect three or four aces from somebody like [Andy] Roddick or [Ivo] Karlovic. But from Rafa [not really], just too good for him”.

Still, Berdych said there are positives to take away from this encounter when asked by MiamiTennisNews.com “the matches since the last time I beat him, I had not won a set against him. . . I was trying something different today. Until maybe the last service game it was working pretty well and I had a good run”.

After the match, Nadal cited that it was unusual that his serve actually saved the match. Something that would not have been possible probably four years ago.

As far the right shoulder injury, Nadal stated that he felt a pinched nerve, something that had never occurred before. The Spaniard expressed that he just blocked out the injury in the third set. After all, it’s the quarterfinals of a Masters Series one of the most important tournaments.

Nadal felt confident that he would be well for the challenge of playing Federer tomorrow night. In their head to head, Nadal leads Federer 14-8.

Speaking of Federer, Nadal iterated that it’s always nice and “special” to play Federer. Over the years, they’ve developed a friendship and he does not view it as a “rivalry”. The two have battled in so many finals and he has great respect for Federer.

Nadal is in his second straight semifinal in Miami. In 2005 and 2008, Nadal advanced to the final but was stopped by Federer the first time, then surprised by Nikolay Davydenko the second.

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Federer Gets a Pass into Sony Ericsson Open Semifinal

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Federer Gets a Pass into Sony Ericsson Open Semifinal

The tantalizing prospect of a Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal semifinal at the Sony Ericsson Open was given a leg up by Gilles Simon. This afternoon, the Frenchman retired down 0-3 giving Federer a virtual walkover into the next round.

Simon produced three successive errors to hand Federer triple break point in the opening game. Then, with a forehand winner, Federer took the game.

After Federer had no problem on his service game, at double break point, Simon dumped a volley into the net. Consequently, Federer had another break and a 3-0 lead.

During the change over, Simon consulted the trainer. Following a brief discussion, Simon shook hands with Federer conceding the match.

The Frenchman was forced to retire due to a stiff neck. Simon explained that “ in the morning’s warm-up, I felt it. It’s a pain I have sometimes. I had it in Rotterdam one month ago. I couldn’t play either. . . sometimes I just wake up like that and cannot turn my head very much. . . I tried everything, anti-inflammatory [medications], hot cream. . . After the second forehand I tried to hit very hard; I felt [pain] very hard also. I knew I had no chance today”.

Simon stated that it’s a problem which dates back at least six or seven years. In fact, the first time it presented itself on tour was at a tournament in Madrid. Simon withdrew from the qualifying rounds.

Simon cited that the issue was not a consequence of the grueling fourth round match against Janko Tipsarevic. He was disappointed particularly having battled a knee injury last year which caused him to miss part of the season.

Moreover, Simon had a 2-1 record versus Federer coming into today. In fact, Simon pushed Federer to a fifth set at this year’s Australian Open after being behind two sets to love.

Considering their previous encounters, when Federer was asked “nice way to into the semis”. Federer responded “No, no. It’s not a whole lot fun honestly because you see the guy being booed off the court which he clearly doesn’t deserve. . . I think we played only fifteen points, so it’s not great”.

Federer continued by saying “we’ve played some funny matches against each other. The five setter this year. . . The second time around in Shanghai I came off a back injury and I couldn’t really play properly as well. The first time in Toronto which was basically a normal match. . . I don’t know what to say. I’m just happy to be in the semis at this point”.

Nadal and Federer have not played on U.S. soil since the ATP Masters in Miami in 2005, the first of two titles for Federer at this venue. Thus, the two meeting in the semifinals would be special.

On the topic Federer stated “If I play Rafa, we have many memories from playing amazing matches against each other. It’s not even that unusual that we play each other in the semis because it happened at the World Tour finals back in Shanghai”.

Also Federer iterated “I’m happy that I’m already a step further [than last year]. . . I would love to play Rafa clearly. I think it would be electric out there tomorrow night”.

Tomas Berdych and Nadal clash tonight for the a place in the semifinals.

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Nadal Dissects 4th Round Win at Sony Ericsson Open

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Nadal Dissects 4th Round Win at Sony Ericsson Open

Rafael Nadal sat down with the media after his fourth round win over Alexandr Dolgopolov. Nadal answered questions about today’s rain delay, the conditions out on the court due to the high humidity and his next round match with Tomas Berdych. Here is his interview with the media.

Q. The weather today, did that cause you any disruptions, or just you know what you have to do in those sort of situations? ​

RAFAEL NADAL: No, you know, be calm and wait. That’s all. Nothing else. You can’t do a lot of things in days like today. Relax in the players’ lounge, be with the friends. That’s it. ​It’s nothing new. It’s something that happen a lot of times in the tennis. ​

Q. Playing Alexandr today, did you feel that he was maybe a little bit tired having to finish off against Tsonga today? ​

RAFAEL NADAL: I don’t know. I don’t know if he was tired or not, but you can ask him, I think. But maybe is possible, no? But I think when we play matches, fiveset matches in Grand Slam is more than what he had. ​So I think probably is not easy play end of the match and after start of the match. That’s sure. But that’s part of the game, no? It happen to me a few times, and I think in general I played at very good level, no? ​Probably he had more mistakes than usual, but I don’t know if because he was little bit tired or not. ​

Q. Did you find the conditions heavy because of the rain from earlier on? ​

RAFAEL NADAL: No, heavy, very humid. That’s why I am sweating a lot. ​

Q. What about playing Tomas in the next round? ​

RAFAEL NADAL: Difficult match always, no? We know each other. We played a lot of times, and I know just play my best tennis I gonna have chances against him, no? ​He can play very, very good, and I have to play very solid all the time with my serve and wait a chance on the return. ​

Q. One question about being an ambassador for Bacardi. I was just wondering, was that a difficult decision, seeing that alcohol and sponsorship for alcohol might be a little strange for some people? Or was it more you saw the good it can do with the company? ​

RAFAEL NADAL: Did you see the campaign? ​

Q. Yeah. ​

RAFAEL NADAL: So, I mean, I am not presenting alcohol party, you know. It’s a responsible campaign, a social campaign. ​Anyway, I think alcohol is inside our lives, so is nothing new, no? But the campaign is not against alcohol but about be responsible when you go out. ​So wasn’t difficult decision, because I think is very important social campaign, and I believe in this campaign. So it was a very easy decision, because I think is very good thing to do for Bacardi.

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Nadal Moves On to the Fourth Round at the Sony Ericsson Open

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Nadal Moves On to the Fourth Round at the Sony Ericsson Open

In the third round at the Sony Ericsson Open, Rafael Nadal faced fellow Spaniard Feliciano Lopez. Nadal eased his way into the fourth round with a solid 6-3, 6-3 triumph.

After a few comfortable holds by Lopez, Nadal got the critical break to go ahead 4-3. Subsequent to promptly consolidating, Nadal arrived at triple break point. Although Lopez fought back to deuce, Nadal eventually secured the break to claim the first set.

In the second set, with a forehand down the line winner, Nadal manufactured double break point. Nadal then won the next point to take a 4-2 advantage.

Again, Nadal quickly consolidated for 5-2. Despite Lopez guarding serve the next game, with a volley that threaded the needle, Nadal had double match point. With a forehand winner, Nadal progressed to the fourth round.

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Nadal Weathers Nishikori, Defending Champ Roddick Ousted

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Nadal Weathers Nishikori, Defending Champ Roddick Ousted

Despite being tested by Kei Nishikori, Rafael Nadal managed to close out his second round match at the Sony Ericsson Open in straight sets. Nadal overcame the talented Japanese 6-4, 6-4 to get to the third round where he will face fellow Spaniard Feliciano Lopez.

After Nishikori wasted a couple of break points which have given him a 3-1 lead, Nadal manufactured double break point. Nadal converted when Nishikori buried a backhand into the net. Nadal subsequently consolidated at love for 4-2.

Later on, Nishikori had double break points with Nadal serving at 4-3. Once more, this was to no avail. Nadal maintained the one break advantage to seal the first set.

In the second set, Nadal seized the break in the first game and guarded the advantage despite Nishikori’s formidable resistance. With triple match point, Nadal aced his rival to punctuate the set.

Nadal was particularly hampered by the serve in the final of BNP Paribas Open last week. Consequently, MiamiTennisNews.com inquired as to the changes he made to fix this problem “I tried to remember what I did when I served well. I slowed down the speed a little bit. . . Because I served 117 to 124, 25 miles almost every time. That’s enough speed if you put the right percentage inside and. . .the balls close to the lines. I think that worked well.”

Furthermore, Nadal said “Nishikori is a good returner. His returns are fast, deep and difficult. . . I have to improve a little bit on the second serve. The speed was [at times] 85, 88, 89, 90, 92. . . But in general, I am very happy with the match of tonight”.

Never one to take his opponent for granted. Despite a 6-2 mark versus Lopez, Nadal’s assessment of the upcoming match when asked by MiamiTennisNews.com was “[it’s] important for me to play my best tennis. . . He has a very good serve, volleys well and he’s an aggressive player. Very dangerous, but if I play very well, I have my chances”.

In addition, Nadal stated “I have to play aggressively with my forehand, try to move him and get to the net when I have the chance. The match will be similar [to the past ones in some ways]. Still, every match is [also] different and always difficult”.

Pablo Cuevas came into the tournament with a record under 500 at 6-7. With defending Andy Roddick across the net, Cuevas must have thought that his week at its end in the second round. To the contrary, Cuevas surprised Roddick 6-4, 7-6.

Cuevas caught a break in finding Roddick not at 100%. After Roddick erased a break point, he manufactured double break point the very next game. However, Cuevas found a way to turn him away.

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