Tennis News

From around the world

Following US Open, Cabal/Farah Lead Charge In ATP Doubles Race To London

  • Posted: Sep 09, 2019

Following US Open, Cabal/Farah Lead Charge In ATP Doubles Race To London

Several former season finale champions in contention

Colombians Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah are firmly in control of the top spot in the ATP Doubles Race To London after claiming their second Grand Slam title of the season at the US Open. But with seven berths into the Nitto ATP Finals remaining, there is plenty at stake for the world’s best doubles teams.

Cabal and Farah won their second consecutive major on Friday, earning 2,000 points to move their total in the Race to 7,940, which is more than double the second-placed team of Lukasz Kubot and Marcelo Melo (3,445). Last year, the Colombians qualified for the season finale for the first time, and now they are nearing their first finish atop the year-end ATP Rankings.

Doubles Race

Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan, who have won 118 tour-level titles together, are in strong position to earn their 15th Nitto ATP Finals qualification as a team. They are in third place with 3,380 points, just five points ahead of Kevin Krawietz and Andreas Mies, the Roland Garros champions and US Open semi-finalists who seek their first trip to London. Only five points behind the Germans are 2018 qualifiers Raven Klaasen and Michael Venus, who are trying to make the season finale for the second consecutive year.

Typically, the Top 8 teams in the Race automatically qualify for the season finale in London, to be held at The O2 from 10-17 November. But that may not be the case this year.

Frenchmen Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut won the Australian Open, but they are in 11th place with 2,180 points, outside of the cut. If Krawietz and Mies do not fall from the Top 7 and the Frenchmen are outside the top 7, they will qualify based on the Grand Slam winner rule.

If both Krawietz/Mies and Herbert/Mahut do not make the Top 7 and are placed from No. 8-20 in the Race, then only the higher-placed team will make London as the Grand Slam winner rule applies to just one team.

Two pairs which have lifted the trophy at The O2 are currently positioned to return to London. Jean-Julien Rojer and Horia Tecau, the 2015 titlists, are in sixth place with 2,860 points, and two-time winners Henri Kontinen and John Peers are 40 points behind.

Currently rounding out the Top 8 is the first-year team of Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury, who have 2,570 points. The American-British duo was victorious in Dubai earlier this year and has reached two additional finals in 2019.

Source link

Diego Matos: Brazilian tennis player banned for life for match fixing

  • Posted: Sep 09, 2019

Brazilian tennis player Diego Matos has been banned from professional tennis for life and fined $125,000 (£100,600) after being convicted of multiple match-fixing offences.

Matos has also been ordered to repay $12,000 (£9,650) received in winnings in tournaments played in Ecuador.

An independent anti-corruption hearing found that 31-year-old Matos had contrived the outcome of 10 tennis matches played during 2018 at ITF level tournaments in Brazil, Sri Lanka, Ecuador, Portugal and Spain.

In addition to the match-fixing charges, the player was also found guilty of not co-operating with a Tennis Integrity Unit investigation as he refused to comply fully with requests to provide his mobile phone for forensic examination, and failed to supply financial records.

Mato, who had been provisionally suspended from tennis since 6 December, 2018 was ranked 373rd in doubles, with a highest singles ranking of 580th in April 2012.

Source link

Nadal Extends Lead Over Djokovic In Battle For Year-End No. 1

  • Posted: Sep 09, 2019

Nadal Extends Lead Over Djokovic In Battle For Year-End No. 1

Nadal earns 2,000 points with US Open victory

Entering the US Open, first-placed Rafael Nadal led Novak Djokovic by just 140 points in the ATP Race To London, representing the battle for year-end World No. 1. By claiming his fourth trophy in Flushing Meadows, Nadal has significantly increased his advantage.

The 19-time Grand Slam champion extended his lead to 1,960 points, putting himself in prime position to finish the season No. 1 for the fifth time in his career. If the Spaniard accomplishes the feat, he will join ‘Big Three’ rivals Djokovic and Roger Federer, as well as Jimmy Connors, in a tie for the second-most year-end No. 1 finishes. Pete Sampras holds the record of six year-end No. 1 finishes (achieved in consecutive years from 1993-1998).

“If I am able to be No. 1 doing [it] my way, great. But I always say the same: today it’s not my main goal. Of course, it’s great to be in that fight,” Nadal said. “But for me personally, it’s not really a fight. I just try be competitive the weeks that I need to compete, or the weeks that I want to compete… If I am able to play well until the end of the season, I’m going to have my chances. That going to be amazing.” 

Most Year-End No. 1 Finishes

 Player  # of Year-End No. 1 Finishes
 1. Pete Sampras  6
 T2. Roger Federer  5
 T2. Novak Djokovic  5
 T2. Jimmy Connors  5
 T3. Rafael Nadal  4
 T3. Ivan Lendl  4
 T3. John McEnroe  4

View ATP Race To London Standings

The Race is nowhere near over, though, with two months remaining in the season and plenty of points up for grabs. Just last year, Djokovic claimed 2,600 points after the US Open. At the two remaining ATP Masters 1000 events — the Rolex Shanghai Masters and the Rolex Paris Masters — and the prestigious Nitto ATP Finals, a player can add as many as 3,500 points to their total.

Nadal finished as the year-end No. 1 player in 2008, 2010, 2013 and 2017. In the latter three, Nadal won the US Open. Each time he has triumphed a the US Open — in 2010, 2013 and 2017 — the Spaniard has gone on to finish the season atop the ATP Rankings.

Source link

Nadal Ties Federer & Djokovic Atop 'Big Titles' Leaderboard

  • Posted: Sep 09, 2019

Nadal Ties Federer & Djokovic Atop ‘Big Titles’ Leaderboard

Spaniard’s summer hard-court swing reaps dividends

Rafael Nadal has drawn level with Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic on 54 ‘Big Titles’ each by capturing his fourth US Open title on Sunday.

The Spanish superstar was emotional at the end of his epic five-set victory over Daniil Medvedev at Flushing Meadows on Sunday night, when the big screen showed highlights of all of his 19 Grand Slam singles championship crowns — second only to all-time leader Federer (20).

Afterwards, Nadal admitted, “[To] see all the things [that] I went through, [to] be able to still be here is so special for me. I went through some tough moments, physically especially. When you have physical issues, then mentally things became much more difficult. The emotions have been there watching all the success, all the moments that came to my mind in that moment.”

More From The US Open
Nadal Claims Epic Five-Set Win For Fourth Title
Nadal: ‘This Trophy Means Everything To Me’
Nadal At Net: Rafa Finds A New Way To Win Title

Nadal’s fourth ‘Big Title’ of the 2019 season — Roland Garros (d. Thiem), the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome (d. Djokovic), the Coupe Rogers in Montreal (d. Medvedev) and the US Open — also draws him level with Djokovic for conversion rate in Grand Slam championships, Nitto ATP Finals or ATP Masters 1000 tournaments.

Incredibly, both Nadal and Djokovic have won 54 ‘Big Titles’ from 182 events for a conversion rate of 3.4. Federer, at 38 years of age, has also won 54 ‘Big Titles’ but played in more of these events (231) and has a conversion rate of 4.3.

Djokovic, who this week ties Jimmy Connors for third-most weeks all-time at No. 1 (268), has lifted three ‘Big Titles’ at the Australian Open (d. Nadal), the Mutua Madrid Open (d. Tsitsipas) and at Wimbledon (d. Federer). Federer, who lost to Grigor Dimitrov in the US Open quarter-finals, won his fourth crown at the Miami Open presented by Itau in March.

Current and Former Champions’ Big Titles Won (Records Since 1990)

Player Grand Slams Nitto ATP Finals 1000s Total (Avg)
Roger Federer 20/78 6/16 28/137 54/232 (4.3)
Novak Djokovic 16/59 5/11 33/112 54/182 (3.4)
Rafael Nadal 19/57 0/8 35/117 54/182 (3.4)
Pete Sampras 14/52 5/11 11/83 30/146 (4.9)
Andre Agassi 8/61 1/13 17/90 26/164 (6.3)
Andy Murray 3/48 1/8 14/98 18/154 (8.5)
Boris Becker* 2/26 2/6 5/51 9/83 (9.2)
Thomas Muster 1/29 0/4 8/53 9/86 (9.6)
Gustavo Kuerten 3/33 1/3 5/67 9/103 (11.4)
Jim Courier 4/38 0/4 5/71 9/113 (12.6)
Stefan Edberg** 3/28 0/4 1/24 4/56 (14)
Marcelo Rios 0/26 0/1 5/56 5/83 (16.6)
Michael Chang*** 0/50 0/6 7/86 7/142 (20.3)
Marat Safin 2/41 0/3 5/87 7/131 (18.7)
Andy Roddick 1/46 0/6 5/75 6/127 (21.2)

* Becker’s four other Grand Slam titles came before 1990.
** Edberg’s three other Grand Slam titles came before 1990.
*** Chang’s one Grand Slam title came before 1990.

Source link

Berrettini, Zverev Ready To Battle For Nitto ATP Finals Qualification

  • Posted: Sep 09, 2019

Berrettini, Zverev Ready To Battle For Nitto ATP Finals Qualification

US Open run helps to strengthen Nadal’s year-end No. 1 chances

Matteo Berrettini has moved into contention for a spot at the Nitto ATP Finals, to be held at The O2 in London from 10-17 November, after a sensational run to the US Open semi-finals.

The Italian has vaulted from 17th position to ninth (2,160) in the 2019 ATP Race To London, only 20 points behind Kei Nishikori (2,180). The 23-year-old Berrettini has enjoyed a breakthrough year with two ATP Tour titles at the MercedesCup in Stuttgart (d. Auger-Aliassime) and the Hungarian Open in Budapest (d. Krajinovic).

Alexander Zverev will be working hard for a chance to defend his Nitto ATP Finals title, following a run to the US Open fourth round, but he still has work to do if he wishes to compete at the season finale.

The German star produced his best performance at Flushing Meadows in five appearances, losing out to Diego Schwartzman, and added 180 points to sit in 10th position. This season, the 22-year-old has won one ATP Tour title at the Banque Eric Sturdza Geneva Open (d. Jarry), finished runner-up at the Abierto Mexicano Telcel presentado por HSBC (l. to Kyrgios) and reached the Roland Garros quarter-finals for the second consecutive year.

Incredibly, there are four players — Berrettini (2,160 points), Zverev (2,120), David Goffin (2,080) and Gael Monfils (2,080) — are all within 100 points of eighth-placed Nishikori (2,180), who is just 170 points behind Roberto Bautista Agut in seventh position (2,350).

Additionally, first-round exits at Flushing Meadows for Stefanos Tsitsipas (sixth place) and Bautista Agut (seventh place), who are both bidding to qualify for the The O2 in London for the first time, have ensured that the final two months of the regular ATP Tour season will be fascinating.

View Latest ATP Race To London

US Open finalist Daniil Medvedev, who qualified for the Nitto ATP Finals for the first time on 4 September, ended the summer North American hard-court swing with a 20-3 match record, to move up one spot to fourth position (4,805). The Russian is now almost 1,000 points clear of fifth-placed Dominic Thiem (3,845), who lost in the first round in New York City and continues to fight for a place in London for the fourth consecutive year.

The battle for year-end No. 1 has also intensified after Rafael Nadal captured his fourth US Open crown, which marked the 19th major singles championship of his career. Nadal led Djokovic (7,265) by 140 points coming into the tournament, but the Spaniard has since pushed the gap to 1,960 points. Nadal, who will next compete at the Laver Cup and then the Rolex Shanghai Masters, finished year-end No. 1 in 2008, 2010, 2013 and 2017.

Source link

Nadal At Net: Rafa Finds A New Way To Win US Open Title

  • Posted: Sep 09, 2019

Nadal At Net: Rafa Finds A New Way To Win US Open Title

Spaniard hits the net for fourth crown at Flushing Meadows

Want to win the 2019 US Open final? You better serve and volley.

Rafael Nadal defeated Daniil Medvedev 7-5, 6-3, 5-7, 4-6, 6-4 in four hours and 50 minutes, with a combined 49 serve-and-volley points naturally occurring from both players to counter each other’s ruthless baseline patterns of play.

When push came to shove in the deciding fifth set, Nadal served and volleyed seven times, winning six (86%) of those points. Overall, Nadal served and volleyed a jaw-dropping 20 times in the final, winning 17 (85%) points. When all seemed equal from the back of the court, the Spaniard cleverly decided to take the battle forward, and reaped the rewards of his aggressive net rushing tactics.

The following breakdown identifies just how dominant Nadal’s serve-and-volley strategy was in such a closely contested final.

Rafael Nadal: US Open Final Points Won
• Baseline Points Won = 47.0% (96/204)
• Net Points Won = 77.2% (51/66)
Serve & Volley Points Won = 85% (17/20)

Nadal had only served and volleyed five times in five matches to the final, winning all of those points. With Medvedev consistently returning so many crushing baseline shots the Spaniard threw at him, it made perfect sense to move the battle forward to the front of the court to mine a critical advantage in the final.

How did Medvedev answer Nadal’s foray’s forward? By also dominating at the front of the court himself.

Daniil Medvedev: US Open Final Points Won
• Baseline Points Won = 39% (75/194)
• Net Points Won = 68% (50/74)
Serve & Volley Points Won = 76% (22/29)

To the final, Medvedev only served and volleyed five times – all in the first three rounds – winning four of those points. He massively ratcheted up his aggression at the front of the court in the final against Nadal, winning 22 points serving and volleying against the Spaniard, including winning eight of 12 (67%) in the fifth set.

The average rally length in the final was 5.45 shots, which was the longest of any match Nadal played to the final.

Rafael Nadal: Average Rally Length
• Rd 1 vs. J. Millman = 5.1 shots
• Rd 2 vs. T. Kokkinakis W/O
• Rd 3 vs. H. Chung = 4.6 shots
• Rd 4 vs. M. Cilic = 3.7 shots
• Qtr vs. D. Schwartzman = 5.3 shots
• Semi vs. M. Berrettini = 4.1 shots
Final vs. D. Medvedev = 5.5 shots

So why did Nadal and Medvedev combine to serve and volley 49 times in the final when they had only combined to serve and volley 10 times (5 Nadal / 5 Medvedev) through to the final?

The answer is simple. Baseline pressure of the highest order.

Nadal was constantly under attack from the back of the court in the final against Medvedev, only winning 47 per cent (96/204) of points from the back of the court. The final against Medvedev was the only match that the Spaniard dipped below 50 per cent with baseline points won in any match for the past two weeks in New York.

The biggest takeaway from the final is that there were 49 combined serve-and-volley points from two of the strongest baseline players in the game, who combined to win 61 per cent (30/49) of their points immediately rushing the net behind a serve. If you can’t craft an advantage from the back of the court, the front of the court always remains a viable option.

Source link

Tsonga Dominates For Cassis Challenger Crown

  • Posted: Sep 09, 2019

Tsonga Dominates For Cassis Challenger Crown

Revisit the week that was on the ATP Challenger Tour as we applaud the achievements of those on the rise and look ahead to the week to come…

Cassis Open Provence (Cassis, France): To say Jo-Wilfried Tsonga turned in an efficient week in Cassis would be an understatement. The Frenchman did not drop a set all tournament, culminating in a 6-1, 6-0 rout of Dudi Sela for the title on Sunday. At just 43 minutes, it was the shortest completed final in ATP Challenger Tour history.

At the age of 34, Tsonga is targeting a return to his Top 10 form in his comeback from a knee injury. The World No. 65 has now won two titles on home soil this year, adding a Challenger crown in Cassis to his ATP 250 triumph at the Open Sud de France in Montpellier.

ATP Tour & ATP Challenger Tour Champions In 2019

Player ATP Tour title
ATP Challenger Tour title
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
Cassis, France
Lorenzo Sonego
Antalya Genova, Italy
Matteo Berrettini Budapest & Stuttgart Phoenix, USA
Taylor Fritz Eastbourne Newport Beach, USA
Hubert Hurkacz Winston-Salem Canberra, AUS

AON Open Challenger (Genova, Italy): Sunday was a day that Lorenzo Sonego will never forget. In fact, neither will anyone who attended the final in Genova. Sonego successfully defended his crown at the prestigious clay-court Challenger, surviving 20-year-old Alejandro Davidovich Fokina 6-2, 4-6, 7-6(6) in two hours and 46 minutes.

But it was the drama of the day that will be talked about for years to come at the Valletta Cambiaso Park. After a five-hour rain delay, the championship finally kicked off just before midnight local time. After a hard-fought, high-octane battle, Sonego would eventually raise his arms in triumph at 1:29am. Not only did he fight off four break points at 3-4 in the third set, but he stormed back from 0/4 down in the deciding tie-break.

“It’s a great moment for me, for my career,” said Sonego. “To win the same tournament in the same place is not easy. I like being here in Genova and I love this tournament.”

World No. 49 Sonego is the first player to retain the Genova title in the 17-year history of the tournament. In going back-to-back, he joins Taylor Fritz (Newport Beach), Gregoire Barrere (Lille) and Pablo Andujar (Alicante) as repeat champions on the Challenger circuit this year.

Oracle Challenger Series – New Haven (New Haven, Connecticut, USA): Men’s professional tennis returned to New Haven for the first time since 2010, as Tommy Paul clinched the title at the inaugural Oracle Challenger Series event on the campus of Yale University. From 2005-10, the city hosted the Pilot Pen International, an ATP 250 event, and this week it welcomed the Challenger circuit for the first time.

Paul streaked to his biggest title without dropping a set, capped with a 6-3, 6-3 win over countryman Marcos Giron on Sunday. The 22-year-old American will crack the Top 100 with the victory, his third on the ATP Challenger Tour and second this year. Also the champion on the clay of Sarasota, he rises 22 spots to a career-high No. 92 in the ATP Rankings.


Jinan Open (Jinan, China): China has its newest Challenger champion. His name is Zhang Zhizhen. At the age of 22, the Shanghai native claimed his maiden title on home soil in Jinan. He triumphed 7-5, 2-6, 6-4 over Go Soeda on Sunday, marking the conclusion of a magical week.

Zhang, an unseeded wild card, was sitting at No. 397 in the ATP Rankings when he entered the week in Jinan. He would rise a staggering 170 spots to a career-high No. 227, becoming the fourth Chinese winner in Challenger history. All four have come in the past four years, with Wu Yibing, Zhang Ze and Wu Di the previous champions.


A total of six tournaments in three continents highlight this week’s slate. Guido Andreozzi is the defending champion at the Pekao Szczecin Open in Szczecin, Poland, with Albert Ramos-Vinolas, Marco Cecchinato and Philipp Kohlschreiber leading the charge.

At the 32nd edition of the Amex-Istanbul Challenger, Ugo Humbert leads the pack along with Marius Copil and Denis Istomin. And at the 29th edition of the Copa Sevilla, reigning titlist Kimmer Coppejans returns alongside top seed Jaume Munar.

In Shanghai, the Chinese swing continues with Prajnesh Gunneswaran leading the charge, while in Cary, North Carolina, Tommy Paul looks to go back-to-back on home soil. Andreas Seppi is the top seed there.

And in Banja Luka, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Robin Haase is the top seed, with Sumit Nagal also in the field. Just two weeks ago, Nagal battled Roger Federer on Arthur Ashe Stadium at the US Open, taking the first set in his Grand Slam debut.

ATP Challenger Tour 

Source link

Impossible to hold in my emotions – Nadal

  • Posted: Sep 09, 2019

Rafael Nadal said it was “impossible” to hold in his emotions after winning the US Open title in an “unforgettable” five-set battle with Daniil Medvedev.

Nadal, 33, beat Russian Medvedev 7-5 6-3 5-7 4-6 6-4 in four hours 50 minutes in New York to win his 19th Grand Slam.

The Spanish second seed was tearful as a video of his major wins was played on the big screens on Arthur Ashe Stadium.

“This trophy means everything to me today,” said Nadal, who has now won four titles at Flushing Meadows.

“Personal satisfaction of the way that I resisted all these tough moments is very high.

“The emotions have been there watching all the success, all the moments that came to my mind in that moment. Yeah, I tried to hold the emotion, but some moments was impossible.”

  • Nadal wins US Open thriller for 19th Grand Slam
  • Nadal beats Medvedev – as it happened
  • Medvedev wins over ‘amazing’ New York crowd

Nadal was cruising at two sets and a break up before fifth seed Medvedev, 23, fought back to take Sunday’s final into a decider.

But it was Nadal’s intensity and mental resilience that took him over the line, built up throughout a career in which he has now won 83 ATP singles titles.

“The way that the match became very dramatic at the end, that makes this day unforgettable, part of my history of this sport,” Nadal said.

‘I’m not thinking of 20th Grand Slam’

Unsurprisingly, the Spaniard faced questions post-match about trying to equal Roger Federer’s record of 20 men’s Grand Slam titles.

Nadal – five years Federer’s junior – is one behind the Swiss great and three ahead of Novak Djokovic’s 16.

“I don’t look at it that way,” he said. “I always say the same: I would love to be the one who wins more, but I am not thinking [about it].

“I feel honoured to be part of this battle [with Federer and Djokovic]. But I really believe that I will not be happier or less happy if that happens or does not happen.

“I am not going to practice every day or not play tennis for it. I am playing tennis because I love to play tennis.

“I can’t just think about Grand Slams, no? Tennis is more than Grand Slams. I need to think about the rest of the things.

“I play to be happy. Of course, the victory today makes me super happy. But a few weeks ago, I won in Montreal and [that was] an important moment for me, too.

“All the things that I achieved in my career are much more than what I ever thought and what I ever dreamed.”

  • Live scores, schedule and results
  • Alerts: Get tennis news sent to your phone

Source link

Nadal: 'This Trophy Means Everything To Me'

  • Posted: Sep 09, 2019

Nadal: ‘This Trophy Means Everything To Me’

Spaniard defeats Medvedev in instant US Open classic

Rafael Nadal has shown plenty of emotions throughout his legendary 18-year ATP Tour career, but they’ve rarely included tears. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house after the Spaniard prevailed in an epic US Open final on Sunday over Daniil Medvedev, with the 33-year-old sobbing in a mixture of delight and exhaustion when he clinched his fourth title in New York.

The tears even continued during the on-court ceremony. Nadal was overcome by emotion once more when a special video montage was shown on the jumbo screen that highlighted his past triumphs. He’s worked tirelessly throughout his career to overcome difficult injuries and painful defeats, but hadn’t seen the fruits of those efforts in one sitting until that moment.

“In some way that’s good [to] see all the things I went through. Being able to still be here is so special for me,” Nadal said. “I went through some tough moments, physically especially. When you have physical issues, then mentally things became much more difficult.

“The emotions were there watching all the success, all the moments… I tried to hold the emotion, but at some moments it was impossible. I’m just very happy. This trophy means everything to me today.”

Read More: How Rafa Beat Daniil

When a right knee injury forced Nadal to retire from last year’s US Open semi-final against Juan Martin del Potro and ultimately shut down his season, he remained unflinchingly positive. He applied the same attitude when his right knee also forced him to withdraw from his BNP Paribas Open semi-final this year against Roger Federer. Nadal shifted priorities and put his efforts into recovery, focussing only on what he could control.

“I needed to adapt my game to my problems and to my goals,” Nadal said. “When you lose things, you need to add another things to keep being competitive.”

You May Also Like: A Look Back At Nadal’s US Open Title Runs

Positivity his paid off for Nadal. He’s riding a 10-match winning streak and prevailed in 27 of his past 28 matches. The 33-year-old also has a hefty 1,690 point lead over Novak Djokovic in the ATP Race to London.

Although Nadal is currently on track to finish as year-end No. 1 for the fifth time, he’s remaining typically in the moment. He’ll compete next at Laver Cup before heading to Asia for the Rolex Shanghai Masters. But while Nadal can certainly pick up more ATP Tour titles this season if he maintains his current level, nearly two decades on Tour has enabled him to roll with whatever comes his way.

“You can’t predict what’s going to happen in this life,” Nadal said. “You need to be prepared to accept everything.”

Source link

US Open 2019: Daniil Medvedev wins over crowd in defeat by Rafael Nadal

  • Posted: Sep 09, 2019

Daniil Medvedev cupped his ear once again towards the US Open crowd – but this time it was with a smile and the knowledge he had won them over.

His previous ‘bad’ behaviour had been forgiven with a heroic performance in his five-set defeat by Rafael Nadal in the final in New York.

Earlier in the tournament he had been booed, but on Sunday the crowd chanted his name while he fought back from two sets and a break down before succumbing in a five-set thriller.

“I knew I had to leave my heart out there for them,” the 23-year-old Russian said after the 7-5 6-3 5-7 4-6 6-4 defeat.

“I had to do that for myself first of all, but also for them. I think they saw it and they appreciate it. I’m thankful to them for this.”

  • Nadal wins US Open thriller for 19th Grand Slam
  • Nadal beats Medvedev – as it happened

Medvedev has had a tempestuous relationship with the crowd on Arthur Ashe Stadium over the past fortnight, having been booed earlier in the tournament for trolling them with his provocative post-match celebrations and interviews.

He has since looked to shake off the role of pantomime villain and apologised for his behaviour, which included angrily snatching towels from ball people and curtly ‘thanking’ the American fans for jeering him.

And this gutsy display on the biggest stage of his burgeoning career, plus the humour and humility he showed in his runners-up speech, has endeared him to the American fans as well as, no doubt, a much wider audience.

On Ashe, standing ovations greeted him breaking back to level during the third set and again when he held off two break points to hold for 5-4.

A loud chant of “Med-ve-dev, Med-ve-dev, Med-ve-dev” rang around for the first time after he held serve to take a crucial 6-5 lead in the third set and continued to be heard through to the end of the match.

That recognition was testament to the ability and character which has marked out the wiry Russian, set to rise to fourth in the world on Monday, as a star in recent months.

Another prolonged ovation greeted him as he collected his prize.

“I know early in the tournament I said something in a bad way, and now I want to say it in a good way, it is because of your energy I am here,” he told the crowd.

On his earlier post-victory speeches which antagonised the American fans, he added in a later news conference: “I’m not proud of them, but I was being myself.

“But getting the crowd back, which I was surprised about, again I was being myself.

“I was fighting for every point. I think they appreciated it.

“Being a break down in the third, I won the game, and I felt that these guys wanted some more tennis.

“They were cheering me up like crazy.”

Medvedev has been the form player on the ATP Tour in the North American hard-court swing, leading to many tennis fans picking him out as the man most likely to threaten the ‘big three’ at Flushing Meadows.

After losing in the Washington and Montreal finals, Medvedev claimed the title in Cincinnati and continued his winning streak in New York to reach his first major final.

The Russian is only the third man – after Ivan Lendl and Andre Agassi – to reach all four of these finals in the Open era.

Those exertions, plus the efforts he needed to keep Nadal at bay in the physical first set, looked to have caught up with him early in the match, Nadal breaking for a 4-2 lead which was enough to seal the second set, and again for a 3-2 lead in the third.

But after immediately wiping that out to level, Medvedev broke an anxious Nadal’s serve to claw a set back.

That was only the start of the story as the pair slugged it out for another two hours before Medvedev, who also fought back from 5-2 down in the decider, finally succumbed after a match lasting almost five hours.

“Absolutely phenomenal performance from Medvedev,” said Pat Cash, the former Wimbledon champion and BBC Radio 5 Live analyst.

“He has shown how mentally tough he is. His determination is spectacular and he has shown that is an absolute superstar athlete.”

  • Live scores, schedule and results
  • Alerts: Get tennis news sent to your phone

Source link