Rafael Nadal loses to Gasquet at Kooyong, optimistic about Australian Open

World No.1 Rafael Nadal made a shaky start at the Kooyong Classic facing defeat at the hands of Richard Gasquet with a 6-4, 7-5 score. However, despite losing his first match of the year, Nadal expressed pleasure on facing no issues with his knee.
Nadal’s recurring knee pains forced him to withdraw from Brisbane International and proved to be an obstruction to the ending of his season in 2017. Rafa is also expected to play a match for a Tie Break Tens tournament in Melbourne Park on the 10th of January.
His opponent, on the other hand, had been forced out of Kooyong because of physical ailments but was obviously happy to have beaten the Spaniard even if informally. Nadal historically has beaten the Frenchman 15 times to none on the ATP tour.
The first set saw a rusty Nadal with Gasquet who relied on a solo break at 5-4 and took it. The second set started with Gasquet leading 3-0. The Spaniard came back with full force and equalled the score at 3-3. But Gasquet eventually won with a smash winner.
In the women’s game, German Andrea Petkovic beat Aussie Destenee Aiava 3-6, 6-3, 6-2 despite the strong winds.
Sources – The Guardian, New Indian Express

Sweet 16 for Rafael Nadal at US Open

Rafael Nadal was never supposed to succeed at the Flushing Meadows, he was born for clay and he had conquered the red dirt ruthlessly. But there he was, the Spanish Bull, marching his way and clinically removing his opponents to win the third US Open title, his 16th Major (just three behind Roger Federer).

In Rafa’s way he’s “very happy, no?” A year which turned out to be one of the best seasons for him. Biter of two Grand Slams and appearance in three finals, Rafa Nadal couldn’t have asked for a better season after two years of intermittent injuries. But this is Nadal we are talking about, he finds a way, he always has. His passion for the game prevails, his hunger for slams prevails and his motivation to play with confidence prevails.

The 2017 US Open promised another Fedal epic, as both Rafa and Roger were placed in the same draw and were set up to meet in the semi-final. But then came along Juan Martin del Potro (2009 winner) who aggressively defeated Federer and crushed the hopes of first ever Fedal match up in the US Open. When Nadal met del Potro in the semifinal, it took four sets including a bagel for Rafa to eliminate the Argentine. In the final, though not a thrilling one, Nadal comfortably defeated 28 seeded Kevin Anderson 6-3, 6-3, 6-4.  Such was his dominance that only in the last game did Rafa reach deuce on his serve.

The year has been extra emotional for the Spaniard. Rafa thanked his uncle Toni, who was watching his last slam with him as coach. “Without him I would never be playing tennis. It is great I had someone like him pushing me all the time. He had great motivation to practise with me since I was a kid. He is for sure one of the most important people in my life.” Uncle Toni, as all the fans love to call him, has been with Rafa since the age of three. He has been the maestro behind Nadal’s psyche, character and all in all the Rafa we see today.

2017 season was the year of Fedal resurgence. The last slam had provided a golden opportunity for the new kids like Alexander Zverev, Denis Shapovalov, Dominic Thiem, Borna Coric but all failed to cover the distance. This also makes us question us how the future of tennis will look like when the two legends finally bid goodbye to the game. But for now, the two are happy, neatly splitting the four majors among themselves.

Del Potro disrupts Fedal semifinal at the US Open

The moment US Open men’s draw was put up, tennis fans had their eyes and minds on just one match. A potential first Fedal match up in the US Open. Both were placed in the same half of the draw and could have met in the semi-final.

Then came along 2009 champion Juan Martin del Potro, who played the match of the tournament in the fourth round against Dominic Thiem to face Roger Federer in the quarterfinal. Nadal had already played his part by defeating 19-year-old Rublev in his quarterfinal match.

Federer was looking forward to take revenge of 2009 final lost against del Potro but boy oh boy, what took place in Arthur Ashe Stadium, saw a complete dismantle of Federer. The quarterfinal score read 7-5, 3-6, 7-6 (8), 6-4.

Well aware that he was the only one stopping from a Fedal match up, the Argentine gave his all. This is the second time del Potro has stood in the way of a Fedal matchup at the US Open. He also did it in 2009 when he beat Nadal in a semi-final and went on to win the Championship against Federer in a five-set final.

“I played my best match of the tournament,” del Potro said in an on-court interview. “I did everything well. I served so good and hit my forehand as hard as I can.”

News Sources- US Open, The New York Times

 

Nadal Federer in the same half Sharapova to take the centre stage

The last Grand Slam of the year US Open will start from Monday 28 August. The draw ceremony for the same took place at US Open Experience in Manhattan’s Seaport District on Friday.

The tournament will see the return of former World No.1 Maria Sharapova. The 2006 US Open Champion will start the tournament against the No.2 seeded Simona Halep. The tournament could potentially witness a first US Open matchup between Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer.

Let’s have a close look at the draw

Current World No.1 Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer are both placed in the top half of the draw and could invite a thrilling semi-final if both manage to stay in the tournament. This could be the first meeting between the two at the Flushing Meadows.

Nadal will start the tournament against Serbian’s Dusan Lajovic and could potentially face No. 26 seed Richard Gasquet in the third round and No.15 seed Tomas Berdych in the Round of 16.

No. 3 seeded Roger Federer will face Frances Tiafoe in the first round and could possibly face No. 14 seed Nick Kyrgois in second round and No. 17 seed Sam Querry in the fourth round. By the looks of it, Federer has a tough road on his way to capture his 20th Grand Slam. The Swiss master could face Juan Martin del Potro in the quarter final.

Second seeded and former World No.1 Andy Murray is placed in the bottom half of the draw and will face Tennys Sandgren in his first round. If all goes well for the former 2012 US Open Champion, hewill be up against either Lucas Pouille or David Ferrer in the Round of 16 and a quarter-final set up against No.8 seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.

In the women’s draw former Champion Maria Sharapova will attract attention as she will be returning to a Grand Slam after her 2016 Australian Open appearance followed by her ban over substance abuse. She will start her tournament against No.2 seed Simona Halep.

No.1 seeded Pliskova is up against Poland’s Linette and is placed in the upper half of the draw. The potential quarterfinals in the bottom half could be Johanna Kontana against Sharpova or Halep, Grabine Muguruza against Caroline Wozniacki or ten time major Champion Venus Williams.

The absence of Victoria Azarenka, Serena Williams, Novak Djokovic and Wawrinka will help open up the tournament but also give an opportunity for the youunger players to step up.

Sourced from US Open

Muller trumps Rafa in Wimbledon fourth round

World No. 2 Rafael Nadal, lost to 26th ranked Gilles Muller in the fourth round of Wimbledon, in a match that lasted for over four and a half hours.
The Spaniard fought back from being two sets down before Muller took a fifth match point to win 6-3 6-4 3-6 4-6 15-13 in the longest Wimbledon clash. Nadal led the head-to-head series 5–1 against his opponent with Muller’s only win coming in the second round at Wimbledon way back in 2005.
As reported by BBC, Muller, who will play his first Grand Slam quarterfinal since the 2008 US Open, exclaimed, “That was a very tough game. In the last two match points I just gave it a hundred percent.” The Luxembourg ace was pushed to his limits by Nadal in the last set, which alone lasted for about two hours.
Rafa, the 15-time major champion who has been in fine form this year, was in contention of replacing Andy Murray as the top-ranked player in the world, had he managed to reach the final.
On the other hand, veteran Muller is enjoying a rebirth of sorts in the later half of his career, finding some of his best form in a 16-year long professional stint. This year alone he has been the player who has won the most number of grass court matches, with Nadal being his eleventh.
The southpaw’s confidence will be sky high before facing Croatian Marin Cillic in the quarterfinal on Wednesday.
Sources: BBC, The Hindu

Google celebrates 140 years of Wimbledon with a doodle

With the Wimbledon all set to kick off, Google with its Doodle is celebrating the 140th anniversary of the world’s oldest tennis tournament.

Wimbledon that is organised at the All England Club and the Croquet Club is considered to be one of the most prestigious tennis tournaments around the world and goes on for a span of two weeks in late June – early July.

It all began on June 9, 1877 with the announcement in the leisure magazine called ‘The Field’ that read, “The All England Croquet and Lawn Tennis Club, Wimbledon will now hold a lawn tennis meeting which will be open for all new/ old tennis players, on Monday July 9 and following days.”

The Google doodle shows two tennis rackets representing tennis players taking a shot of victory in the court. While the ‘l’ of Google hangs up as a referee and the other alphabets as excited audience.

Wimbledon has drawn crowds since the dawn of professional tennis, when the players used handmade wooden rackets. This tournament is amongst the four major annual tennis tournaments known as the ‘Grand Slams’ and is the only one which is still played on outdoor grass courts.

This year’s championship will witness Roger Federer’s eighth title while without Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova there will be a lack of star power in the women’s event.

Sources: NDTV, Financial Express

Image Source: Screengrab

Venus Williams breaks silence on car crash

Earlier this month, tennis star Venus Williams was of causing an accident that killed the 78 year old Jerome Barson. She finally broke her silence on the matter with a pubic announcement saying, “Ms. Williams entered the intersection on a green light.” Authorities have not issued Ms Williams with any citations or traffic violations.

“This is an unfortunate accident and Venus expresses her deepest condolences to the family who lost a loved one.” stated William’s lawyer Malcolm Cunningham. The police later confirmed the case, saying “[Venus] is at fault for violating the right of way of [the other driver].” They also said that there was no evidence of drugs, alcohol or texting when the incident took place.

The victim had been discovered with severe brain damage and trauma. Mr. Barson was immediately taken to the hospital but he passed away two weeks after the accident.

Williams was allegedly driving at 5 mph when she entered the intersection and was rammed into by Jerome Barson’s car, which was being driven by his wife at the time. According to the ABC Legal expert, Areva Martin, she said it would be improbable for Williams to face any criminal charges.

Sources: Fox Sports, ESPN