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Tsitsipas Stuns Nadal To Reach Madrid Final

  • Posted: May 11, 2019

Tsitsipas Stuns Nadal To Reach Madrid Final

#NextGenATP Greek to face World No. 1 Djokovic for the trophy

Next Gen ATP Finals champion Stefanos Tsitsipas earned one of the biggest wins of his career on Saturday, defeating five-time champion Rafael Nadal 6-4, 2-6, 6-3 to reach the final of the Mutua Madrid Open.

“It means the world. I’m really happy that I proved myself today. I played one of my best games this year,” Tsitsipas said. “I’m really happy that I’m fighting, I’m in the zone. I’m enjoying tennis at its fullest potential. It’s really nice to be able to play this way. Today’s victory is just an unbelievable feeling.”

It is the three-time ATP Tour titlist’s second ATP Masters 1000 final, after also making the championship match at the Rogers Cup last year, losing to Nadal. Thanks to his victory, the 20-year-old is projected climb to a career-high ATP Ranking of at least No. 7 on Monday pending his result against World No. 1 Novak Djokovic in the final.

Entering this match, Nadal had won all three of his FedEx ATP Head2Head meetings against Tsitsipas, claiming all seven sets they had played with only two of those sets going past 6-2. But Tsitsipas showed no fear of his opponent or the moment at the Caja Magica, playing aggressively throughout to triumph on his fourth match point after two hours and 34 minutes. He has now won eight consecutive matches.

“You cannot imagine the relief. It’s unbelievable. I don’t want to say this, but it almost felt like I lost hope at some point. [I lost] three in a row [against him],” Tsitsipas said. “I felt in Toronto when I played him I was very close and this match kind of gave me a bit of confidence I can do it in the future, but then it was too much. [I’m] really happy that I overcame this and dealt with it mentally. Beating him on clay makes it even more special”

Nadal held 26 of his 27 service games in Madrid to get to the last four. But Tsitsipas set the tone with an immediate service break, and he broke the Spaniard’s serve three times in the opener to show the second seed and the crowd that he was ready to challenge the five-time champion. Overall, the 20-year-old broke serve six times, while saving 11 of the 16 break points he faced.

“The mental discipline and being tough and being decisive in all those crucial moments I think was the key,” Tsitsipas said. “I had to take all those opportunities. Rafa is a fighter. He doesn’t give you free points. You’ve got to fight and give your best on every single point.”

Nadal dug into the Spanish clay after losing the opening set, winning his first two service games of the second set to love to change the momentum, moving his feet constantly to put himself in a position to thump his forehand and keep Tsitsipas from playing aggressively. The Spaniard broke twice and held all four of his service games to force a decider.

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When many players may have wilted against both the physicality of Nadal’s game or the pressure of the stage, Tsitsipas continued to step into the court, taking the Spaniard’s topspin groundstrokes as early as he could and venturing to net plenty. Although Tsitsipas could not serve out the match at 5-2, he broke for the third time in the set to finish the match, dropping his racquet to the court after Nadal missed a backhand into the net.

Tsitsipas leads the ATP Tour with 27 match wins (27-9) this season, and with his triumphs in Marseille and Estoril, the 20-year-old is one of four players to capture multiple trophies thus far in 2019. Last year, Tsitsipas lost in the first round of the main draw in Madrid as the 40th player in the ATP Rankings. On Sunday, he will look to extend his FedEx ATP Head2Head series lead against Djokovic to 2-0, after also defeating the Serbian in Toronto.

“I have to play the same way. I have to be mentally prepared for a tough match. He’s in a pretty good state of his tennis, so it won’t be easy. He had some good matches coming into the final, so I’m going to have to be ready for that match,” Tsitsipas said. “I’m sure he wants the title as badly as me.”

Nadal was trying to reach his 50th ATP Masters 1000 final, and his ninth final in Madrid. The second seed is still pursuing his first trophy in 2019.

“I didn’t have a good feeling today to do the things I wanted to do and that’s all,” Nadal said. “I was clear what I had to do today, but tonight I wasn’t capable of doing it.”

Did You Know?
Tsitsipas prevailed in the match, but Nadal won six more points than the #NextGenATP Greek.

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Schwartzman/Thiem Cruise Into Madrid Final

  • Posted: May 11, 2019

Schwartzman/Thiem Cruise Into Madrid Final

Unseeded pairing to meet Rojer/Tecau in final

Diego Schwartzman and Dominic Thiem advanced to their second final of the 2019 season on Saturday, beating Guido Pella and Joao Sousa 6-3, 6-2 at the Mutua Madrid Open.

Schwartzman and Thiem, who reached the Argentina Open championship match in February (l. to Gonzalez/Zeballos), saved all four break points they faced to advance after 57 minutes. The Argentine-Austrian tandem dropped just five points behind its first serves (23/28) to set a final meeting with Jean-Julien Rojer and Horia Tecau.

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Schwartzman and Thiem navigated two Match Tie-breaks en route to the last four. The unseeded duo came from a set down to beat David Marrero and Fernando Verdasco 4-6, 6-3, 10-3 in the first round and also rallied to beat sixth seeds Oliver Marach and Mate Pavic 2-6, 6-3, 10-7 in the quarter-finals.

The unseeded duo improves to 9-3 at tour-level as a team. Schwartzman and Thiem first competed as a pairing at the 2017 Rakuten Japan Open Tennis Championships, before back-to-back appearances at the Argentina Open in 2018 and 2019.

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Madrid Open: Simona Halep misses out on number one ranking with final loss to Kiki Bertens

  • Posted: May 11, 2019

Romania’s Simona Halep missed out on regaining the world number one ranking as she lost the Madrid Open final to Kiki Bertens.

A win would have seen Halep overtake world number one Naomi Osaka but she lost 6-4 6-4.

The title is the biggest of Bertens’ career and she will climb to fourth in the rankings on Monday, making her the highest-ranked Dutchwoman in history.

She also becomes the first woman to win in Madrid without dropping a set.

Halep is the fourth Grand Slam champion Bertens has beaten during the tournament and will now been seen as one of the favourites for the French Open, which begins in two weeks.

Both players struggled to hold serve with eight breaks across the two sets – three to Halep and five to Bertens – but the Dutchwoman was the more dominant.

Last year’s runner-up hit 25 winners and four aces with her forehand in particular causing problems.

  • Novak Djokovic beats Dominic Thiem to reach third Madrid Open final

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Djokovic Beats Thiem To Reach Third Final In Madrid

  • Posted: May 11, 2019

Djokovic Beats Thiem To Reach Third Final In Madrid

Djokovic will face Nadal or Tsitsipas for the trophy

World No. 1 Novak Djokovic sent a message loud and clear on Saturday: he is back in top form.

Djokovic reached his third Mutua Madrid Open final by beating fifth seed Dominic Thiem 7-6(2), 7-6(4). The Serbian, who is into his first final since triumphing at the Australian Open, ended the recent Barcelona champion’s eight-match winning streak, eliminating the Austrian after a physical baseline battle that lasted two hours and 22 minutes.

“I played the best match of the clay-court season so far, for me, against arguably the best tennis player in the world on this surface, so far [this season]” said Djokovic. “[Dominic] had an amazing tournament in Barcelona and here he beat Roger yesterday in a thrilling match. So, he was in form… I just managed to hold my nerves and play the best when it was most needed.”

The two-time Madrid champion, who had made just one quarter-final in three tournaments since his Melbourne win, is trying to tie Rafael Nadal’s record of 33 ATP Masters 1000 titles. When Djokovic has won a semi-final at the Caja Magica (2011 and 2016), he has gone on to lift the trophy each time. The Serbian will face World No. 2 Rafael Nadal or reigning Next Gen ATP Finals champion Stefanos Tsitsipas on Sunday.

Early on, Thiem appeared to be riding the momentum from his thrilling quarter-final victory against Roger Federer, using his power to overwhelm Djokovic for an early break. But the top seed remained calm and raised his level to match Thiem’s push, showing incredible defence to earn his first break point. Djokovic didn’t waste the opportunity, as Thiem missed an inside-in forehand from a tough position to give back the break.

Thiem earned two more opportunities to break Djokovic at 4-4, and a second time violation assessed to the Serbian forced Djokovic to defend the first of those chances on his second serve. But the top seed again raised his level to hold serve. And in the eventual tie-break, Djokovic’s defence was too strong, forcing Thiem into unforced errors.

But the physicality of Thiem’s baseline game seemingly began to wear down Djokovic’s defences, as he broke for 4-2 in the second set after a game that lasted more than 10 minutes. But in the next game Djokovic put immediate pressure back on the Austrian with returns that landed near the baseline to get back on serve.

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The twists and turns continued as the World No. 1 served for the match at 6-5, but double faulted his advantage away. However, Djokovic maintained his focus in the tie-break and moved through to the championship match at his first opportunity when Thiem mishit a backhand well out.

Thiem had won the pair’s past two FedEx ATP Head2Head meetings, which both came on clay (2017 Roland Garros and 2018 Monte-Carlo), but Djokovic now has a 6-2 edge in their rivalry.

“I never complain about [reaching an ATP Masters] 1000 semi-final. It’s a very good result,” said Thiem. “I beat three very good players and I lost [in two tie-break sets] to Djokovic… It was a very good tournament and now I will enjoy the doubles [semi-final].”

Did You Know?
Djokovic now owns 199 wins against Top 10 opponents (199-90). That is more victories against the elite group than the other three Madrid semi-finalists combined (189-133).

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Facts & Figures: 2019 Internazionali BNL d'Italia

  • Posted: May 11, 2019

Facts & Figures: 2019 Internazionali BNL d’Italia

Essential information about the #ATPMasters1000 tournament in Rome

The Internazionali BNL d’Italia is the third of three clay-court ATP Masters 1000 tennis tournaments, following the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters and Mutua Madrid Open.

An 18-year-old Rafael Nadal won his first Rome title in 2005 by defeating Guillermo Coria in a memorable five hour, 14 minute final. Last year, the Spaniard lifted the trophy at the Foro Italico for a record eighth time with victory over defending champion Alexander Zverev. 

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Nadal and Djokovic shared 11 straight trophies from 2005-2015, with the Serbian winning four times (2008, 2001, 2014-15).

Read: Rome Draw Preview | What You Need To Know

<a href=''>Internazionali BNL d'Italia</a>, an ATP Masters 1000 tennis tournament in Rome featuring Nadal, Djokovic, Federer, Zverev, Thiem

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Djokovic vs Thiem, Nadal vs Tsitsipas Headline Madrid SFs; Read Preview

  • Posted: May 11, 2019

Djokovic vs Thiem, Nadal vs Tsitsipas Headline Madrid SFs; Read Preview

Thiem also plays doubles semi-final on Saturday

Novak Djokovic battles Dominic Thiem and Rafael Nadal squares off with Stefanos Tsitsipas in a blockbuster semi-final line up on Saturday at the Mutua Madrid Open. The Madrid semi-finals are the first this year to have all four players inside the Top 10 of the ATP Rankings.

Top seed Djokovic was given an extra day of recovery after ninth seed Marin Cilic withdrew from their quarter-final due to food poisoning. The two-time Madrid champion hasn’t dropped a set this week and has started to show the form that has seen him dominate the ATP Tour for nearly a full calendar year. He’s also far more familiar with the business stage of Masters 1000 events than his opponent. The Serbian is competing in his 64th Masters 1000 semi-final, compared to six for Thiem.

Although Thiem trails his FedEx ATP Head2Head rivalry with Djokovic 2-5, he has won their past two matches and both were on clay. The fifth seed dug deep to save two match points in his thrilling quarter-final victory over fourth seed Roger Federer and will be brimming with confidence after his great escape. Having finished runner-up the past two years in Madrid, the Austrian knows what it takes to excel at this event and will be eager to move one step closer to his first clay-court Masters 1000 title.

“He was not at his best [when we last played] and now he is again. He’s won the last three Slams and he is at the top of the [ATP Rankings]. The challenge couldn’t be bigger,” said Thiem. “This is a very tough tournament because I’ve only faced good players and tomorrow is another one. I’ll try to keep up my good momentum which I have now and give my best again.”

Second seed Nadal leads his FedEx ATP Head2Head rivalry with Tsitsipas 3-0 and has claimed all three wins in the past 13 months. The Spaniard has yet to drop a set against last year’s Next Gen ATP Finals champion and will take confidence from his previous success as he pursues his 50th Masters 1000 final. Court Manolo Santana has become backyard territory for Nadal as the five-time champion gets ready for his 11th semi-final at this event.

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Although Nadal arrived in Madrid without a title during the first four months of the season for the first time since 2004, his clay-court prowess has been in full flight this week. He’s dropped just 16 games in three rounds and looked particularly impressive in his quarter-final win over Stan Wawrinka. Nadal has won 96 per cent of his service games (26/27) while leading the tournament in return games won with 40 per cent (10/25).

But eighth seed Tsitsipas has earned a reputation for thriving on playing in big stadiums against the world’s best players. The Greek star has won more matches (26) than anyone else in 2019 and is just one match away from his fourth ATP Tour final of the season.

“He’s a young player. He has a lot of potential, a lot of energy. He’s playing well [and] has won a lot of matches in a row. It’s going to be one of these matches that is an opportunity,” said Nadal. “He’s been playing well recently and it is an opportunity to test my level of game and to confirm those good feelings that I have had today on the court.”

Thiem will also take the court for his doubles semi-final with Argentine Diego Schwartzman as they play the Argentine-Portuguese combination of Guido Pella and Joao Sousa.

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MANOLO SANTANA start 1:30 pm

WTA match
Not Before 4:00 pm
[1] Novak Djokovic (SRB) vs [5] Dominic Thiem (AUT)
Not Before 6:30 pm
WTA match
Not Before 9:00 pm
[8] Stefanos Tsitsipas (GRE) vs [2] Rafael Nadal (ESP)

Dominic Thiem (AUT) / Diego Schwartzman (ARG) vs Guido Pella (ARG) / Joao Sousa (POR)

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