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Zverev Beats Medvedev For Final London SF Spot

  • Posted: Nov 15, 2019

Zverev Beats Medvedev For Final London SF Spot

German moves to 5-1 against Medvedev

Alexander Zverev will have a chance at defending his Nitto ATP Finals title this weekend. The seventh-seeded German reached the semi-finals for the second consecutive year on Friday at The O2 in London, beating Daniil Medvedev 6-4, 7-6(4) to finish second in Group Andre Agassi.

Zverev will meet Group Bjorn Borg winner Dominic Thiem on Saturday evening. Stefanos Tsitsipas, also 2-1 in the group, wins Group Andre Agassi and will face Roger Federer on Saturday afternoon for a place in the season finale title match. Rafael Nadal, 2-1 in the group, finishes third and does not advance to the semi-finals.

“The O2 is the most special arena for me. It’s where I play my best tennis,” Zverev said. “The atmosphere here is something we don’t play in anywhere else in the world. It’s so special to us.

“I’ve still got to improve. We’re in the semi-finals now and it doesn’t get any easier from here. I’m going to have to play my best tennis to have a chance.”

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Zverev, who trails Thiem 2-5 in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series, became only the fifth active player, along with Nadal, Federer, Novak Djokovic and Swiss Stan Wawrinka, to make the semi-finals at the season-ending championships in back-to-back seasons.

“[Thiem] has been playing some unbelievable tennis, maybe the best tennis that we have ever seen from him. Actually beating Roger and Novak on this court is very special. Doing it back-to-back is very, very difficult,” Zverev said.

The German improved to 5-1 in his FedEx ATP Head2Head series against Medvedev and, despite knowing he needed to win to advance, played freely against the Russian.

Zverev broke in the opening game and mixed in slices and drop shots to bring Medvedev off the baseline. Medvedev, who was going for his first Nitto ATP Finals win after an 0-2 start, freed up in the second set, hitting the occasional second serve at 131 mph, like he did against Djokovic in the Cincinnati semi-finals en route to his first ATP Masters 1000 title.

But the Russian gambled too much in the tie-break, double faulting at 3/4. Zverev, steady on serve all match, served it out to extend his stay one more day. The German landed 81 per cent of his first serves and won 88 per cent (45/51) of those points.

“[Daniil] had nothing to lose here. For me, this was a must-win situation,” Zverev said. “All credit to Daniil. It’s been an unbelievable season for him, and I think he’s going to be very dangerous next year as well.”

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Nadal Will Be Ready If He Faces Federer In London

  • Posted: Nov 15, 2019

Nadal Will Be Ready If He Faces Federer In London

Spaniard finishes group play 2-1

Rafael Nadal has done his part, beating Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-7(4), 6-4, 7-5 on Friday to finish 2-1 in Group Andre Agassi. Now the World No. 1 waits to learn his weekend fate.

If defending champion Alexander Zverev wins the final Group Andre Agassi match on Friday evening, the German will win the group and Tsitsipas, who is also 2-1, will finish second. But if fourth seed Daniil Medvedev can earn his first win of the tournament and beat Zverev, Nadal will win the group and Tsitsipas will finish second.

“I’m not sure if I’m going to watch the match or not. I don’t know. The only thing that is sure is I have to be ready for anything, so I think I did my work and I did it well,” Nadal said. “[I’m] happy for the victory. Now I have to wait.”

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Should Medvedev win, on Saturday afternoon, Nadal would face Roger Federer, who finished second in Group Bjorn Borg behind Austrian Dominic Thiem. The two would be meeting for the 41st time in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series.

Nadal leads 24-16 and won their last matchup at the Nitto ATP Finals in 2013, but Federer has won six of their past seven, including their Wimbledon semi-final in July.

“It is one of the surfaces that he feels comfortable on. He plays so well. He plays so fast. So I need to play a perfect match tomorrow if I want to have any chance to be in that final,” Nadal said.

“I think I am playing better, but it’s true that Roger yesterday played unbelievable. So he will come to that match with plenty of confidence. So let’s see. I hope to be ready to compete at the highest level possible if that’s the case.”

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Should Zverev win and Nadal not make the semi-finals, however, the Spaniard will leave London feeling positive about his game. After a slow start against the seventh-seeded Zverev on Monday night, the year-end World No. 1 bounced back with two victories, including a comeback win against Medvedev on Wednesday in which Nadal saved a match point at 1-5 in the third set.

“I know how I arrived here. I know the preparation [was] very short for me and not the ideal one after the injury in Bercy,” Nadal said.

“For me, it was important to give [myself] a chance to compete better than what I did the first day. The first day [was] a tough day.

“It’s the worst tournament possible to arrive without the best preparation possible, because in other tournaments sometimes you can be a little bit more lucky with the draw… But here, the first day you play one of the best players of the world on a tough surface. So if you don’t arrive with plenty of confidence on your body and your movements and everything, things become much more difficult. And I think that’s what happened. Then I think I have been improving my tennis every day.”

Nadal was reminded how much he’s improved and achieved this year after his 53rd win when he was honoured on-court with the ATP Tour No. 1 trophy.

“This trophy is the work of the whole year, a great year in all terms. To have this trophy with me is a big personal satisfaction,” Nadal said.

“I think we did a lot of things well during the whole year. Of course the team and the family played a very important role this year, even more than other times because [there] have been some tough moments at the beginning of the season, in terms of physical issues that demoralised me a little bit. So they played a very important role, so I can’t thank all of them enough for all the support.”

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Nadal beats Tsitsipas to keep ATP Finals hopes alive – report & highlights

  • Posted: Nov 15, 2019
2019 Nitto ATP Finals
Venue: O2 Arena, London Dates: 10-17 November
Coverage: Watch live coverage of one match per day on BBC TV, BBC iPlayer and online; Listen on BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra; Live text on selected matches on the BBC Sport website and app. Click here for Live Guide.

Rafael Nadal demonstrated his fighting qualities once again to battle back from behind to beat Stefanos Tsitsipas and keep his ATP Finals hopes alive.

Nadal, who would have been eliminated with a defeat, won 6-7 (4-7) 6-4 7-5 in their final group match in London.

However, the Spanish top seed will still not make Saturday’s semi-finals if defending champion Alexander Zverev beats Daniil Medvedev later on Friday.

With Tsitsipas already through, Zverev can join him at Nadal’s expense.

Nadal, 33, is relying on a favour from Russian fourth seed Medvedev, who has been knocked out of the tournament by the 19-time Grand Slam champion’s win.

Against Tsitsipas, Nadal produced another super-human effort to earn a victory which might ultimately prove fruitless.

After doing the same to beat Medvedev in their second round-robin match on Wednesday, a lifeless performance in his opener against Zverev could prove to be his downfall.

Nadal, who has never won the season-ending ATP Tour tournament, showed the grit, determination and never-say-die attitude that have been the hallmarks of his illustrious career to beat Tsitsipas in two hours and 52 minutes at the O2 Arena.

He was edged out of a tight first set in the tie-break before starting to hit more winners than unforced errors and tip the balance of the match in his favour.

Tsitsipas was the player under all the pressure on serve, facing nine break points in the match with Nadal needing to convert just one in each of the final two sets.

Nadal himself served supremely and did not face a single break point.

“I did all the things I could do, fighting until the end,” Nadal told the crowd.

“If I am able to play in front of you tomorrow against Roger it will be a huge honour. If not, I hope to see you next year.”

  • Federer beats Djokovic in London
  • Salisbury and Ram miss out on doubles semis
  • Live scores, schedule and results
  • Alerts: Get tennis news sent to your phone

Who can qualify for the semi-finals?

With Austrian fifth seed Dominic Thiem having topped the other group and Swiss third seed Roger Federer finishing as runner-up, here are the possible scenarios for Saturday’s semi-finals:

  • If Medvedev beats Zverev, Nadal faces Federer and Tsitsipas plays Thiem
  • If Zverev beats Medvedev, Tsitsipas faces Federer and Zverev plays Thiem

‘I never thought at 33 I’d have this trophy’ – Nadal finishes 2019 as number one

No matter what happened against Tsitsipas, Nadal was already assured of finishing the year as men’s world number one.

The reigning French Open and US Open champion clinched that accolade for the fifth time after nearest rival Novak Djokovic lost to Federer on Thursday, eliminating the Serb from the ATP Finals and therefore meaning he could not overtake Nadal to land the prestigious prize.

As well as the two Grand Slam wins, Nadal also won ATP Masters 1000 titles in Rome and Montreal.

The 33-year-old Spaniard is the oldest player to finish as the year-end number one since the ATP rankings were introduced in 1973.

Following his victory over Tsitsipas, Nadal was presented with a trophy marking the achievement on court at the O2.

“It’s a real honour to receive this trophy. Honestly, what can I say? I am super happy,” Nadal said.

“After all the things I went through in my career in terms of injuries, I never thought at the age of 33-and-a-half I would have this trophy in my hands again.

“It’s something really, really emotional for me, a lot of work.”

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Updates: Nadal Levels Up With Tsitsipas In London

  • Posted: Nov 15, 2019

Updates: Nadal Levels Up With Tsitsipas In London

Friday clash heads to a third set

Rafael Nadal has already clinched year-end No. 1 in the ATP Rankings, but he wants more at the Nitto ATP Finals. The Spaniard grabbed the second set on Friday against Stefanos Tsitsipas and levelled the score at 6-7(4), 6-4 in Group Andre Agassi.

Neither player faced a break point in the opening set. Nadal and Tsitsipas remained even until 4/4 in the tie-break, when the Greek secured a mini-break after Nadal hit a backhand into the net. Tsitsipas closed out the set with an ace two points later. He finished the set with 13 winners and 13 unforced errors.

But Nadal wasn’t ready for his time at The O2 to end. He earned the first pair of break points of the match at 2-2 in the second set, but couldn’t convert. A third break point came and went at 3-3 after a strong first serve from Tsitsipas. But Nadal made good at 4-4 and roared in approval after Tsitsipas launched a forehand wide. The Spaniard comfortably held in the next game to even the score. Nadal produced 11 winners to just six unforced errors in the second set and only lost five points on serve (20/25).

Nadal must defeat Tsitsipas to have a chance at advancing out of round-robin action. Daniil Medvedev must then defeat Alexander Zverev in the night session in order for the Spaniard to secure his place in the semi-finals. The World No. 1 is trying to reach the last four at the season-ending championships for the first time since 2015 and sixth time overall. He is 5-2 in final round-robin matches at this event.

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Tsitsipas On Facing Nadal: ‘I’m Going To Try To Give My Soul’

The Spaniard secured year-end No. 1 in the ATP Rankings after Roger Federer defeated Novak Djokovic on Thursday. It’s the fifth time that Nadal has finished a season in the top spot.

Nadal holds a 4-1 lead in his FedEx ATP Head2Head rivalry with Tsitsipas. All three of their clashes this year took place in the semi-finals. Nadal prevailed at the Australian Open and Internazionali BNL d’Italia, while Tsitsipas scored an upset at the Mutua Madrid Open.

Tsitsipas qualified for the semi-finals on Wednesday by winning his first two matches in Group Andre Agassi. He’ll finish first in the group if he beats Nadal. The Greek is making his debut at The O2.

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ATP And Emirates Renew Premier Partnership

  • Posted: Nov 15, 2019

ATP And Emirates Renew Premier Partnership

Five-year deal beginning in 2021

The ATP and Emirates today announced a renewal of their highly successful partnership, with the award-winning airline signing on as Premier Partner and Official Airline of the ATP Tour for an additional five years, beginning in 2021. The Premier Partnership renewal underscores over a decade-long commitment to the sport by Emirates.

As Official Airline and Premier Partner, Emirates will continue to receive global marketing rights and exposure through iconic on-court net branding at 60 tournaments worldwide. In 2018, ATP tournaments delivered Emirates brand exposure to a cumulative dedicated audience in excess of 1 billion, while the ATP’s worldwide platform also provides Emirates with an outstanding opportunity to showcase their unrivalled hospitality.

“We are delighted to have Emirates extend their Premier Partner status as the ATP Tour continues to soar in popularity as a truly worldwide sport,” said Chris Kermode, ATP Executive Chairman & President. “The Tour looks forward to further enhancing the exceptional partnership that has already been built, and the renewal reinforces the benefits the global platform of the ATP Tour provides to such a highly regarded and established brand in the sports marketing world.”

“We’ve been associated with the ATP since 2013 and it’s been a successful partnership so far and a great fit for our brand. As a global airline serving 158 destinations across 85 countries, and the ATP Tour itself taking place in 30 destinations to which we fly, along with the growing popularity of the tour, it remains a strong platform for us to connect with our customers, hence the decision to continue to being a Premier Partner and the Official Airline of the ATP Tour,” said Boutros Boutros, Emirates Divisional Senior Vice President, Corporate Communications, Marketing and Brand.

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Ghostbuster! Federer Says Djokovic Demons Were A Myth

  • Posted: Nov 15, 2019

Ghostbuster! Federer Says Djokovic Demons Were A Myth

Swiss reaches 16th Nitto ATP Finals SF

Roger Federer insisted that the ghosts of his Wimbledon final defeat to Novak Djokovic, in which Federer lost two match points on his serve in the fifth set, never existed. But even if they did, they would be long gone by now.

Federer extinguished any bad Djokovic memories he might have held, even in the recesses of his brain, with a 6-4, 6-3 win against the World No. 2 on Thursday night at the Nitto ATP Finals. The 38-year-old Swiss ended a five-match losing streak against Djokovic and clinched his 16th semi-final in 17 appearances at the season finale.

[The ghosts] were never really there. There [were] some press guys that made that up. So from my standpoint, I also didn’t know I hadn’t beaten him in a few years, actually. Didn’t feel that way because it was so close in Paris [2018] and in Wimbledon against him,” Federer said.

I felt like I was going to have my chance, to be quite honest… I’m just happy at the level I could play today, and obviously it’s always special beating Novak, even more so [because] of what happened. But I didn’t feel like I had to get rid of the ghosts or anything like that. I feel like I moved on pretty quickly after that.”

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Federer Beats Djokovic To Make London SF

Federer improved to 53-9 on the season and earned his record-extending 59th Nitto ATP Finals win. The Swiss will now go for a record-extending seventh title this weekend. On Saturday afternoon, Federer plays the winner of Group Andre Agassi, which will be determined on Friday.

I have been playing very well this season, and I think this victory proves that today,” Federer said.

The win, Federer’s 23rd against Djokovic (Djokovic leads 26-23) and first since the 2015 Nitto ATP Finals, was a team effort. Together, Federer and coaches Severin Luthi and Ivan Ljubicic, spent about 75 minutes discussing strategy ahead of the match. Federer needed only 73 minutes to execute the plan.

There is a lot that goes into a match like this. I spoke at length to the team before, probably over an hour 15 about all the different possibilities, about what can happen. They told me what they think is going to happen. We shared those feelings. When you walk out, you just don’t know if any of it is going to work out or come the way it will,” Federer said.

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I felt from the get-go I had good rhythm off the baseline and on the serve and that I felt like he was living dangerously if he was not going to play great tennis. That was a good feeling to have, but then again, that doesn’t mean much because Novak has done an unbelievable job in his career to find ways to either make you play bad or to just be better on you on the day or squeeze another victory out like the way he did at Wimbledon.”

This time, however, Federer more than held on as a pro-Swiss crowd at The O2 showered him with chants of “Let’s go, Roger, let’s go!”

I knew the beginning wasn’t key, but I knew it was important. I had a great run on the serve, as well, throughout I think that first set. I was able to keep the pressure going and mix up my game. Because he was playing incredibly aggressive at one point midway through the first set, which surprised me a little bit,” Federer said.

Things just worked very well for me. Tonight was one of those nights where I was clear in the game plan. I got what I kind of expected, and it was a great feeling at the very end.”

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ATP Finals: Matteo Berrettini beats Dominic Thiem in London round-robin

  • Posted: Nov 15, 2019
2019 Nitto ATP Finals
Venue: O2 Arena, London Dates: 10-17 November
Coverage: Watch live coverage of one match per day on BBC TV, BBC iPlayer and online; Listen on BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra; Live text on selected matches on the BBC Sport website and app. Click here for Live Guide.

Matteo Berrettini claimed a consolation victory at the ATP Finals as he beat the in-form Dominic Thiem in his final group match in London.

The Italian could not qualify for the semi-finals but beat a subdued Thiem 7-6 (7-3) 6-3.

Eighth-ranked Berrettini, who began the year outside the top 50, is the first Italian to win an ATP Finals match.

Austria’s Thiem had already qualified for the last four by beating Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic.

Swiss third seed Federer earned a 6-4 6-3 win over Djokovic later on Thursday to reach the semi-finals as group runner-up behind Thiem and eliminate the Serb second seed in the process.

Neither Federer nor Thiem knows the identity of their opponent in Saturday’s semi-finals, with only Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas certain of progressing from the other group but not guaranteed to finish top.

Spanish top seed Rafael Nadal, Russian Daniil Medvedev and Germany’s defending champion Alexander Zverev can all still qualify depending on the outcome of Friday’s final round-robin matches.

The event, which is taking place in London for the penultimate year, features the top eight male players of 2019.

Berrettini claimed a comprehensive win over Thiem, who may have been struggling with the effects of his thrilling three-set win over Djokovic on Tuesday.

The two exchanged breaks in the opening set before Berrettini dominated the tie-break, finishing with 17 winners to fifth-ranked Thiem’s seven.

The second set was a regulation affair, with Berrettini claiming the only break before serving out the win in one hour and 18 minutes.

“I’m not feeling great physically so I’m happy with my performance,” Berrettini said.

“I was able to stay mentally focused even when I lost my serve, and I played a great tie-break.”

  • Live scores, schedule and results
  • Salisbury & Ram’s ATP Finals run over
  • Nadal boosts Finals hopes; Tsitsipas through

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Djokovic On Federer: 'He's A Role Model, Even For Me'

  • Posted: Nov 15, 2019

Djokovic On Federer: ‘He’s A Role Model, Even For Me’

Serbian reflects on Thursday defeat at Nitto ATP Finals

After 49 FedEx ATP Head2Head meetings, Novak Djokovic knows what an outstanding performance from Roger Federer looks like.

Although Djokovic voiced displeasure with his play against Federer during Thursday’s defeat at the Nitto ATP Finals, he tipped his hat to the Swiss for producing a stunning performance. The Swiss finished the night with 23 winners to just five unforced errors and didn’t drop serve. Having saved two championship points in their clash at this year’s Wimbledon final, the capacity crowd at The O2 knew that Djokovic was capable of a Houdini act, but Federer was not to be denied.

The five-time champion at this event also expressed admiration for Federer delivering world-class tennis at age 38. Thirteen years after he beat the Serbian in their first FedEx ATP Head2Head meeting at the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters, he continues to find ways to take Djokovic out of his comfort zone.

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“He was the better player in all aspects and absolutely deserved to win,” said Djokovic. “He served great, moved well, returned my serve very well. From his end, I think he did everything right. From my end, I was just playing too neutral. I couldn’t read his serve well. Just a pretty bad match from my side.

“[But] I have the utmost admiration for him and everything he’s doing on the court. What he has achieved over the years and what he’s still showing on the court is phenomenal. He’s a role model, even for me, and one of the toughest opponents I’ve had in my career. Looking at his career and what he’s still doing just inspires you.”

The loss was a double blow for Djokovic. Not only did it end his week at The O2, but it guaranteed that Rafael Nadal will finish as year-end No. 1 in the ATP Rankings. Djokovic was looking to finish as year-end No. 1 for a record-tying sixth time.

But the Serbian said it wasn’t the first, or likely the last, difficult moment in his storied career. After 16 years on the ATP Tour, he has learned to navigate the highs and lows that can occur in professional tennis and expected to bounce back quickly.

Read More: Nadal Clinches Year-End No. 1 Ranking

“I have lost so many matches in my life that I know how to move on. This is no different,” Djokovic said. “I’ve played Roger almost 50 times now. Played Rafael Nadal [54] times. Every loss is painful, but when you play your biggest rivals, that adds a little bit of an extra flavor to the win or the loss.

“At the end of the day, we’re professionals and I have been privileged to play this sport in the highest level for many years. I think that gives me experience on knowing how to accept things, move on and look for another opportunity.”

Although Djokovic gave full credit to Federer for the win, he admitted experiencing right elbow pain in the second set. The Serbian stretched out and rubbed his elbow in between points, but did not believe it was a reoccurrence of the injury that forced him to retire during this year’s US Open. Djokovic said he expects to still represent Serbia next week during the Davis Cup Finals in Madrid.

“I hope it’s nothing that will make me unable me to play [in] Madrid. The pain was pretty sharp,” Djokovic said. “But I could play the rest of the match. If I had something really serious, I think I wouldn’t be able to hold the racquet. So it was probably just an awkward, quick movement that I did. It did not pose any issues later on.”

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