Tag: Rafael Nadal

Australian Open: Nadal rejects illness fears after shock Melbourne exit

Rafael Nadal crashed out in the quarter-finals of the Australian Open after suffering a straight-sets defeat to Tomas Berdych.

It was the Czech’s first win over the Spaniard in 18 matches dating back to 2007, with Berdych triumphing 6-2 6-0 7-6(5) win, handing Nadal his first ‘bagel’ since 2006 at Wimbledon and only the third at a grand slam in his career.

Television cameras also showed Nadal taking a pill early on in the third set, but he insisted he was not suffering form any illness.

Coming into the Australian Open, Nadal had played only eight matches since last June because of a right wrist injury and appendix surgery in November.

He also battled through cramp to secure a five-set win over Tim Smyczek in the second round last week.

Berdych showed little emotion throughout the match, maintaining a familiar focus. He said he planned to continue to play in that style.

“If this keeps me going through, I’m going to keep doing the same,” Berdych said.

He added: “I was ready for everything and I think that was the difference. I started pretty well, but when you’re playing Rafa you have to keep going to the last point.”

Nadal saved two match points in the 12th game of the final set, sending it to a tiebreaker. Berdych led 5-2 and finally ended the match on his fourth match point when Nadal netted a return of serve.

Berdych will next meet Andy Murray or local hope Nick Kyrgios, who were to play the other men’s quarter-final set for later Tuesday.

Read more at ESPN

Australian Open: Nadal claims ‘special’ win to set up Berdych clash

Rafael Nadal won his first match against a top-20 opponent in almost a year and gushed about his “special” victory in what he describes as a “tough period”.

Nadal said he could not work out what was wrong with his body when he was taken to five sets by world No.112 Tim Smyczek on Wednesday, but there were no such worries for the third-seeded Spaniard as he overcame Kevin Anderson 7-5 6-1 6-4 to reach the quarter-finals of the Australian Open.

Nadal, who had not beaten a top-20 opponent since edging Novak Djokovic out of the French Open last year, had to save a break point in the fifth game of the first set and five more in the 11th before finally getting a chance to break the big-hitting Anderson, who netted a simple volley to give Nadal the set.

From that point there was only going to be one winner and the 14-time grand slam champion said in his on-court interview: “It’s very special to be in the quarter-finals after a tough period of time for me, it’s a fantastic result.

Nadal will face Tomas Berdych in the last eight after he saw off Bernard Tomic 6-2 7-6(3) 6-2.

Nadal has an 18-3 record against the seventh-seeded Czech, who won three of their first four meetings but has lost the last 17 in a row – but believes it will count for nothing when the pair meet for a 22nd time.

“It doesn’t matter what happened in the past. It is a different story this time,” Nadal said. “A different moment for me, different moment for him. The way we arrive to that match is not going to affect what happens in the match. I’m sure of that.

“He’s a great player. I have success against him, but I have the chances to lose against him. I remember in 2012 I had a very, very tough match against him here [also in the quarter finals]. I was close to being two sets to love down. He’s a player that is top level.”

Berdych hopes new coach Dani Vallverdu, who formerly worked with Andy Murray, will provide an effective scouting report on Nadal.

“He is very good on that,” he said. “He knows how to put up the plan before the match and how to prepare the player. That’s what I was looking for and what I needed.”

Read more at ESPN

Australian Open: Nadal avoids repeat of Melbourne drama

Rafael Nadal shook off the illness and injury problems he suffered on Wednesday night to ease into the last 16 of the Australian Open with a commanding 6-1 6-0 7-5 win against Dudi Sela on Friday.

Having battled through cramp, dizziness and nausea during his second-round win over Tim Smyczek, Nadal looked back to his best as he raced through the first two sets in under an hour.

Sela put up more resistance in the third set, and even had break points at 5-5, but the world No.3 rallied to hold his serve before breaking his opponent to close out the match.

“The last match was one of my toughest moments on court,” Nadal said. “I was lucky to [win]. It’s difficult to compare. I played much better.”

He added in his press conference: “Yesterday was OK. In terms of legs, I wake up in the morning better than what I thought. I was still a little bit dizzy. I lost lot of fluids the other night. But in general I was not very, very bad.

“Happy the way I was physically on court tonight. Obviously happy the way I played the first two sets. Then the third play with more mistakes, but all is part of the process that I am doing. It’s normal to play every day with a little bit more ups and downs when you are out for a while.”

Nadal will now face big-hitting Kevin Anderson of South Africa in the fourth round, and admits he will need to be more aggressive if he is to avoid the kind of upset suffered by world No.2 Roger Federer, who lost to unseeded Andreas Seppi on Friday.

“When you are on the confidence, you feel that that shots comes without thinking,” added Nadal. “For two sets I was able to adjust very well the balls, playing some very good forehands down the line.

“If I want to have chances to keep being competitive in this tournament, I need to play this way. I need to play more aggressive. I need to play with that determination.

“I really hope the suffer of the other night and then the way that I played today going to help me for the next round.

“Going to be a big opponent, no? Big server. Kevin is very aggressive player. Going to be a big, big test for me. Very tough match.”

Read more at ESPN

Australian Open: Nadal driven ‘crazy’ by cramp as he battles to five-set win

An exhausted Rafael Nadal said he did not know what went wrong with his body as he battled past a spirited Tim Smyczek in the second round of the Australian Open.

Nadal sought treatment from the tournament doctor early in the third set and looked physically drained as he failed to serve out the set at 5-4.

But after taking a break and talking to his trainer, Nadal came back to win the final two sets and complete a 6-2 3-6 6-7(2) 6-3 7-5 victory that lasted a little more than four hours.

“It was a very tough night for me,” he said in an on-court interview. “It was a little bit humid today. I felt very tired after the first set and through the whole match. I don’t know what was going on.

“I had some cramps around the body in different places so that says I was not in perfect shape. It’s not normal after an hour.

“At the end of the first set, I started to feel my body was very bad, very tired. I was worrying like crazy. Then I was serving for the third and almost threw up. It was a terrible feeling.

“I was suffering a lot. Too much. Obviously it’s a very positive thing that finally I have the chance to win, but I hope to recover myself.”

Nadal has never lost to a qualifier in a grand slam but looked on course to suffer a shock defeat to Smycek, the world number 112, on Rod Laver Arena.

After Nadal called for the doctor, the American Smyczek then raced through the tie-break to take a two sets to one lead, producing a wide variety of winners that left Nadal shaking his head, including several leaping backhands struck with both feet well off the ground.

However, Nadal dug deep to force a decider and raised his game to pile the pressure on Smyczek, who saved break points in the first and seventh games to keep his nose in front.

That pressure finally told as Nadal broke for a 6-5 lead, but there was still time for more drama as a spectator shouted out just as the left-hander was serving at 30-0. The resulting fault looked set to stand, only for Smyczek to tell the umpire to replay the point.

Nadal won it to claim three match points, but was dragged back to deuce before finally getting over the line to complete a gutsy 6-2 3-6 6-7 (2/7) 6-3 7-5 win in four hours and 12 minutes.

Read more at ESPN

Australian Open 2015: Rafael Nadal through, Ana Ivanovic out

Third seed Rafael Nadal returned to Grand Slam action with a comprehensive win over Russia’s Mikhail Youzhny.

The Spaniard, 28, won 6-3 6-2 6-2 in his first match at a Grand Slam since Wimbledon following injury and illness.

Nadal beats Youzhny in straight sets
Ivanovic one of eight women's seeds to lose
Federer & Sharapova through to second round
Teenager Kokkinakis beats 11th seed Gulbis

Second seed Roger Federer outclassed Yen-Hsun Lu 6-4 6-2 7-5 while sixth seed Andy Murray beat India’s Yuki Bhambri 6-3 6-4 7-6 (7-3).

Women’s fifth seed Ana Ivanovic suffered a shock 1-6 6-3 6-2 defeat by Czech qualifier Lucie Hradecka.

The Serb was one of eight seeds to lose but second seed Maria Sharapova, third seed Simona Halep and sixth seed Eugenie Bouchard all advanced in straight sets.

Nadal happy with Slam return

Nadal, who is a 14-time Grand Slam winner, had only played eight matches since a shock defeat by Australian teenager Nick Kyrgios at Wimbledon last year.

Before the tournament, he played down his chances of winning a second Australian Open title but showed glimpses of his best against world number 49 Youzhny.

nadal-beats-youzhny

“I was a little bit under doubt before, but I think I played without making too many mistakes and the only way to get better is to win more matches so it will probably help me,” said Nadal.

“In general I was working well, returning well and I just need to build a little bit, such as being more dynamic with the movements sometimes. But for the rest I am more or less happy.”

Ivanovic one of eight seeds ousted

Serbia’s Ivanovic appeared close to tears as she dissected her shock first-round exit against Hradecka in front of the post-match media.

“I think the whole match I didn’t really feel like myself out there. I had some issues. You know, it’s probably the worst thing that could happen,” she said.

But the 2008 runner-up was not the only seeded female to suffer an opening-day exit, with a quarter of the seeds falling.

Two-time Grand Slam champion Svetlana Kuznetsova, former Wimbledon finalist Sabine Lisicki, ninth seed Angelique Kerber, 16th seed Lucie Safarova, Swiss teenage sensation Belinda Bencic, Spain’sCarla Suarez-Navarro and Russia’s Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova also saw their hopes ended.

Read more at BBC Sport

Australian Open: Andy Murray is sixth seed, Novak Djokovic No 1

Andy Murray, will be seeded sixth for the Australian Open, with Novak Djokovic the number one seed.

Five-time champion Serena Williams is top seed for the women’s event while Britain’s Heather Watson will have no protection in Friday’s draw.

Former champion Victoria Azarenka, who is ranked 41st in the world after an injury-hit 2014, is also unseeded.

The tournament, the first Grand Slam of the year, begins on Monday.

The seedings mirror the world rankings.

Spain’s David Ferrer is the ninth seed in the men’s draw after the withdrawal of US Open champion Marin Cilic, while world number 12 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga’s absence with a forearm strain means Ernests Gulbis moves up to 11th seed.

Britons Kyle Edmund and Liam Broady are two matches away from reaching the main draw after wins in the first round of qualification.

Men’s top 16 seeds

1. Novak Djokovic (Ser)
2. Roger Federer (Swi)
3. Rafael Nadal (Spa)
4. Stan Wawrinka (Swi)
5. Kei Nishikori (Jpn)
6. Andy Murray (GB)
7. Tomas Berdych (Cze)
8. Milos Raonic (Can)
9. David Ferrer (Spa)
10. Grigor Dimitrov (Bul)
11. Ernests Gulbis (Lat)
12. Feliciano Lopez (Spa)
13. Roberto Bautista Agut (Spa)
14. Kevin Anderson (SA)
15. Tommy Robredo (Spa)
16. Fabio Fognini (Ita)

Women’s top 16 seeds

1. Serena Williams (US)
2. Maria Sharapova (Rus)
3. Simona Halep (Rom)
4. Petra Kvitova (Cze)
5. Ana Ivanovic (Ser)
6. Agnieszka Radwanska (Pol)
7. Eugenie Bouchard (Can)
8. Caroline Wozniacki (Den)
9. Angelique Kerber (Ger)
10. Ekaterina Makarova (Rus)
11. Dominika Cibulkova (Svk)
12. Flavia Pennetta (Ita)
13. Andrea Petkovic (Ger)
14. Sara Errani (Ita)
15. Jelena Jankovic (Ser)
16. Lucie Safarova (Cze)

Read more at BBC Sport

Tennis: Nadal stunned in Doha as Djokovic cruises

Defending champion Rafael Nadal was upset by German qualifier Michael Berrer 1-6 6-3 6-4 in the first round of the Qatar Open in Doha.

This was Nadal’s first match since losing in the Basel quarterfinals to 17-year-old Borna Coric of Croatia in October. The Spaniard spent much of the autumn recovering from an appendectomy on November 3.

“These things happen after long time without being on the road, being on rhythm, being in competition,” Nadal said. “I was playing with more nerves because after long time [away] I wanted to win.

“When you are back from an injury, that takes time.”

Nadal also was sidelined for three months with a right wrist injury after Wimbledon. He briefly returned to the game at Beijing in late September and reached the quarter-finals. The following week in Shanghai, he lost in the opening round to compatriot Feliciano Lopez.

Nadal had three break points on Berrer’s serve in the final game but couldn’t convert on those opportunities to draw the third set even at 5-5.

Despite the disappointing loss, Nadal expects to get back on track once he starts playing more matches.

“I’m going to work hard to try to make it less tough as possible,” he said. “My motivation and my hunger to keep doing things well is still the same.

“So I am sure that I’m gonna come back to my best. I hope to be soon.”

The 127th-ranked Berrer broke Nadal to go ahead 3-1 in the second set and in the first game of the third set.

Berrer had never before beaten a top-five player. The 34-year-old father of two has already announced he is retiring at the end of the year.

“It’s really unbelievable,” Berrer told the crowd after his win. “It’s my last season, so I’m just going for it. Why not?”

Nadal had won their previous two matches with ease, never dropping more than three games in either match.

There were no such problems for Novak Djokovic, who started his 2015 season with a swift 6-2 6-1 win over fellow Serbian Dusan Lajovic.

Djokovic needed just 59 minutes to see off his compatriot, putting 72 percent of his first serves in play and succeeding with five of six break-point opportunities.

The world No.1 is making his first appearance at the Doha tournament. Historically, he hasn’t played a sanctioned tournament in the first week of the year.

Djokovic withdrew from the Abu Dhabi exhibition final last week with the flu – handing victory to Andy Murray – but showed no lingering signs of illness against Lajovic.

Third-seeded Tomas Berdych also advanced to the second round with a 6-1 6-4 win over Denis Istomin, while fourth seed David Ferrer needed more than two hours to see off qualifier Thiemo de Bakker 6-7(4) 6-4 6-3.

Also on the receiving end of an upset was fifth seed Philipp Kohlschreiber, who went down to compatriot Jan-Lennard Struff 7-6(3) 4-6 6-1, while Mikhail Youzhny was beaten by qualifier Nikoloz Basilashvili 7-5 6-2.

Eighth seed Leonardo Mayer is also out, beaten 5-7 7-6(4) 7-6(4) by Andreas Seppi.

Read more at ESPN

Tennis: Murray wins first trophy of 2015 after Djokovic withdrawal

Andy Murray picked up his first trophy of the season at the World Tennis Championship after Novak Djokovic withdrew from their final in Abu Dhabi due to illness.

World No.1 Djokovic saw off Stanislas Wawrinka in the semi-finals of the exhibition event on Friday but revealed he has been suffering from a fever and conceded the title to Murray.

However, the Scot is set to undergo a scan after feeling pain in his shoulder during his 6-2 6-0 win over Rafael Nadal.

“I don’t know exactly what happened. I’ve never had anything happen to my left shoulder before,” said Murray.

“It’s pretty sore and at the end of the match when I was reaching out to sign autographs it was quite painful.

“I’m going to have an ultrasound scan to check and see if there’s anything there or not then I’ll see what happens after that.”

Murray is due to continue his build-up to the Australian Open at the Hopman Cup in Perth next week, where he will represent Great Britain alongside Heather Watson in the mixed team event against France.

After collecting his trophy on court in Abu Dhabi, Murray told Eurosport: “It’s unfortunate that Novak wasn’t feeling well. It happens.

“I go over to Australia tonight to play my next event and hopefully I can keep it going.”

Nadal claimed third place in the tournament by defeating Wawrinka 7-6(1) 6-3.

Read more at ESPN

Tennis: Andy Murray beats Rafael Nadal in Abu Dhabi

Andy Murray beats Rafael Nadal 6-2 6-0 in the semi-final of the Mubadala World Tennis Championship in Abu Dhabi.

The Scot, 27, was too strong for Nadal, who displayed signs of rust in his first match since October.

He faces Novak Djokovic, who he beat to win Wimbledon, in Saturday’s final.

Murray said: “It was closer than the score suggests. While he had a lot of break points I won the important ones.

“You never know how you will get on until it comes to match conditions, but it seems that all the pre-season hard work is paying off.”

The six-man exhibition event is the unofficial season opener with top seeds Nadal and Djokovic receiving byes to the semi-finals.

Murray had beaten another Spaniard, Feliciano Lopez, 7-6 5-7 6-4 in Thursday’s opening match and that outing clearly benefited the world number six, who looked far sharper than his opponent.

Nadal was playing his first match since losing to 17-year-old Borna Coric in the Swiss Open, and his lack of game time was evident as he failed to convert any of his 12 break points.

Murray raced into a 3-0 lead and broke Nadal twice as he comfortably took the first set.

The Scot broke again in the second game of the second set and after saving five break points in the next game, broke again to take a 4-0 lead.

He was struggling with his first serve, but Nadal again failed to convert another four break points in the next game before Murray broke the Spaniard for a fifth time to seal victory.

In the other semi-final, world number one Djokovic played his first game in six weeks but continued his impressive 2014 form as he restricted last year’s Australian Open winner Stan Wawrinka to just three games in an impressive 6-1 6-2 victory.

Read more at BBC Sport

Tennis: US Open: Nadal withdraws

Rafael Nadal will not defend his US Open title in New York after failing to recover from a wrist injury.

The 28-year-old Spaniard sustained the injury in practice last month and had been training with a cast on his right wrist, forcing him to miss the Rogers Cup in Toronto and last week’s Cincinnati Open.

“I am very sorry to announce I won’t be able to play at this year’s U.S. Open,” the world number two said on Facebook on Monday.

“I am sure you understand that it is a very tough moment for me since it is a tournament I love and where I have great memories from fans, the night matches, so many things.

“Not much more I can do right now other than accept the situation and, as always in my case, work hard in order to be able to compete at the highest level once I am back.”

The 14-times grand slam winner also triumphed at Flushing Meadows in 2010.

Read More on Yahoo Sport