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Rafael Nadal happy to disprove naysayers, ready for Roland Garros

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Rafael Nadal continues to compete at the highest level despite many predicting a short career for the Spaniard owing to his aggressive style of play that has seen him suffer multiple injuries over the years.

The Fiji Times » Rafael Nadal triumphs in 'my toughest final' in Barcelona

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Stuff Sports
26 April, 2021, 12:06 pm
Rafael Nadal of Spain has never lost a final at the Barcelona Open.
ALEX CAPARROS/GETTY IMAGES
Knowing he is still far from his best, Rafael Nadal just kept grinding it out.
He found a way to overcome lost opportunities in the Barcelona Open final on Monday (NZT) and escape defeat while facing a red-hot opponent. Nadal won his first title of the year, squandering a couple of match points and then saving one on his way to beating Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-4, 6-7 (6), 7-5.
Nadal secured his record 12th title at the clay-court tournament by converting on his third match point to cap a satisfying victory. It had been a lacklustre start to the season for the third-ranked Nadal after he didn’t play much last year amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Nadal, Barty back to winning ways on clay

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Author
Matt Trollope
Rafael Nadal and Ash Barty were among the clay-court champions at the weekend after four tournaments concluded on Sunday.
Nadal claimed an incredible 12th Barcelona title with a thrilling win over the in-form Stefanos Tsitsipas, shortly after Barty beat Aryna Sabalenka in three sets to triumph in Stuttgart. 
It marked Nadal’s first clay-court title of the season, while it was Barty’s first red-clay tournament since she won the Roland Garros title in 2019. 
Also notching tournament titles were Matteo Berrettini, who overcame Aslan Karatsev for the Belgrade trophy, and Sorana Cirstea, who captured her first WTA title in 13 years with an upset victory over No.1 seed Elise Mertens in Istanbul.

Karatsev knocks Djokovic out

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Barcelona Open 2021: 3 things we learnt from Rafael Nadal's title run

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Barcelona Open 2021: 3 things we learnt from Rafael Nadal's title run
Rafael Nadal with the Barcelona Open trophy
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Rafael Nadal beat Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-4, 6-7, 7-5 in a grueling final on Sunday to win his 12th Barcelona Open title. It was Nadal’s 87th career title, and his 61st title on clay, underlining both his 'King of Clay' and 'GOAT' credentials.
The greatest claycourter of all time was seriously challenged on his favorite surface by Tsitsipas, but he held his nerve to ultimately get over the line. Notably, this was Tsitsipas' first loss on clay this season; the Greek had managed to win the Masters 1000 title at Monte Carlo, and had come into the Barcelona final riding a nine-match winning streak.

New World No. 2 Rafael Nadal claims he has "room to keep improving", says he "was not perfect" during Barcelona title run


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New World No. 2 Rafael Nadal claims he has "room to keep improving", says he "was not perfect" during Barcelona title run
Rafael Nadal with his Barcelona Open title
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Rafael Nadal clinched his 12th Barcelona Open title on Sunday, beating Stefanos Tsitsipas in a titanic duel. Nadal won 6-4, 6-7(6), 7-5 and with it regained the World No. 2 ranking; the Spaniard had lost that spot to Daniil Medvedev last month.
Nadal was ranked No. 3 coming into the event and needed to win the title to overtake Medvedev. The Russian, of course, withdrew from the Monte Carlo Masters and the Barcelona Open owing to a positive COVID-19 result, which made matters easier for Nadal.

Karatsev Stuns Djokovic To Reach Serbia Open Final


iAfrica
Photo Credit: REUTERS/Asanka Brendon Ratnayake
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Novak Djokovic crashed out of his own tournament after Russia’s Aslan Karatsev beat him 7-5 4-6 6-4 on Saturday to reach the Serbia Open final and avenge the Australian Open semi-final defeat by the world number one.
Djokovic suffered his second successive shock exit on red clay in quick succession after he was beaten by Briton Dan Evans in the third round of the Monte Carlo Masters last week, having failed to convert a barrage of break points against Karatsev.
The Russian will meet either Japan’s Daniel Taro or Italian Matteo Berrettini in Sunday’s final at Djokovic’s tennis centre in downtown Belgrade by the Danube river.

World No. 1 Novak Djokovic suffers shock defeat in Serbian Open semis


A dejected Novak Djokovic walks off the court after being stunned by world No. 28 Aslan Karatsev.
World No. 1 Novak Djokovic has crashed out of his own tournament after suffering a shock defeat against No. 28 Aslan Karatsev in the semifinal of the Serbian Open.
The Russian saved 23 of 28 break points to stun Djokovic 7-5, 4-6, 6-4 and avenge his Australian Open semifinal defeat by progressing through to the tournament decider, played at Djokovic’s own tennis centre in Belgrade.
It was Djokovic’s second successive shock exit on red clay in quick succession after he was beaten by Dan Evans in the third round of the Monte Carlo Masters last week.

Djokovic upset by Karatsev in Belgrade semi-finals

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World number one Novak Djokovic suffered a second surprise loss in as many weeks Saturday as he was knocked out by Russia’s Aslan Karatsev in the Belgrade semi-finals.
The 28th-ranked Karatsev saved 23 of 28 break points to advance to his second final of the year following a 7-5, 4-6, 6-4 victory, gaining a measure of revenge for his defeat by Djokovic in the last four of the Australian Open.
Djokovic was also beaten in the last 16 of the Monte Carlo Masters last week by Britain’s Dan Evans.
Continue reading this article on SportsDesk, the sports website of The Times of Malta

Djokovic not keen on Covid vaccine being compulsory


Photo: PHOTOSPORT
The ATP earlier this month issued new guidelines saying players who have been vaccinated would not be considered a close contact of anybody testing positive.
The governing body of men's tennis also drew up an exemption list for players who have been vaccinated.
Both the ATP and the women's WTA recommended players accept vaccine shots when available.
Djokovic felt there were "a lot of options in terms of vaccines" but still a lack of clarity on whether they would be compulsory.
"I don't think it'll come to that. I hope not, because I've always believed in freedom of choice," he said when asked at the Serbia Open if he had been vaccinated.

Nadal Downs Battling Nishikori To Reach Barcelona Quarter-finals

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Fri 23rd April 2021 | 12:00 AM
Barcelona, (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 22nd Apr, 2021 ) :Rafael Nadal needed to go the distance for the second successive day in Barcelona, defeating Japan's Kei Nishikori to make the last-eight and stay on course for a 12th title at the tournament.
The world number three triumphed 6-0, 2-6, 6-2 over 2014 and 2015 champion Nishikori and next face Britain's Cameron Norrie, a fellow left-hander, for a place in the semi-finals.
Nadal, who suffered a surprise quarter-final exit at the Monte Carlo Masters last week, had also required three sets to beat Belarusian qualifier Ilya Ivashka, ranked at 111, in his Barcelona opener on Wednesday.

Nadal downs battling Nishikori to reach Barcelona quarter-finals


Nadal downs battling Nishikori to reach Barcelona quarter-finals
Issued on:
22/04/2021 - 18:51
Armed force: Rafael Nadal returns the ball to Kei Nishikori Josep LAGO AFP
2 min
Barcelona (AFP)
Rafael Nadal needed to go the distance for the second successive day in Barcelona, defeating Japan's Kei Nishikori to make the last-eight and stay on course for a 12th title at the tournament.
The world number three triumphed 6-0, 2-6, 6-2 over 2014 and 2015 champion Nishikori and next face Britain's Cameron Norrie, a fellow left-hander, for a place in the semi-finals.
Nadal, who suffered a surprise quarter-final exit at the Monte Carlo Masters last week, had also required three sets to beat Belarusian qualifier Ilya Ivashka, ranked at 111, in his Barcelona opener on Wednesday.

Felix Auger-Aliassime battles Stefanos Tsitsipas in Barcelona quarter-finals Friday on TSN

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Auger-Aliassime battles Tsitsipas in Barcelona quarters Friday on TSN
Following his straight-sets win over friend and fellow Canadian Denis Shapovalov, Montreal native Felix Auger-Aliassime turns his sights to battling Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece in the quarter-finals of the Barcelona Open on Friday morning on TSN3.
TSN.ca Staff
Auger-Aliassime on win over Shapovalov: I think it's one of the best I've played against him
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Following his straight-sets win over friend and fellow Canadian Denis Shapovalov on Thursday, Montreal native Felix Auger-Aliassime turns his sights to battling Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece in the quarter-finals of the Barcelona Open on Friday morning.

Nadal struggles past world number 111 Ivashka as Fognini disqualified » Borneo Bulletin Online

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April 23, 2021
BARCELONA (AFP) – Rafael Nadal had to fight back from a set down to defeat Belarus qualifier Ilya Ivashka on Wednesday as the Spaniard survived an early test in his bid to win the Barcelona title for the 12
th time.
The 34-year-old Nadal, who suffered a surprise quarter-final exit at the hands of Andrey Rublev in the Monte Carlo Masters last week, dropped the first set against the world 111 before pulling through 3-6, 6-2, 6-4. It was Nadal’s 62
nd win in the tournament against just
four defeats.
“He played well. He played at a very high level, and I didn’t, especially at the beginning,” said Nadal who has lost only once on clay to a player outside the top 100 and that was 17 years ago.

Rafael Nadal had 'doubts in his mind' after Monte Carlo loss, but ready for next steps

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Rafael Nadal had 'doubts in his mind' after Monte Carlo loss, but ready for next steps
Rafael Nadal is focused on Barcelona, Madrid and Rome with triumph at Roland Garros being the ultimate goal.
April 21, 2021 12:03 BST
Rafael Nadal admitted that he had a few doubts in his mind after he was eliminated in the quarterfinals of the Monte Carlo Masters last week – a tournament he has won on 12 occasions previously.
The Spaniard was playing in only his second tournament of 2021 but his record ensured that he was one of the favourites to take home the crown. However, he suffered a shock defeat to eventual finalist Andrey Rublev in the last eight.

Barcelona Open: Rafael Nadal fights back, Dan Evans loses & Fabio Fognini defaulted

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Barcelona Open: Rafael Nadal fights back, Dan Evans loses & Fabio Fognini defaulted
Last updated on
21 April 202121 April 2021.From the section Tennis
Nadal, an 11-time champion at the Barcelona Open, lost to Andrey Rublev in the Monte Carlo Masters quarter-finals last week
Spanish top seed Rafael Nadal survived a scare before fighting back to beat Belarusian qualifier Ilya Ivashka in the second round of the Barcelona Open.
Nadal, who has not lost on clay to an opponent ranked outside the world's top 100 since 2004, won 3-6 6-2 6-4 against 111th-ranked Ivashka.
British number one Dan Evans was unable to continue his excellent form on clay, losing to France's Corentin Moutet in a spiky second-round match.

Nadal struggles past Ivashka in Barcelona opener

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FILE: Spain's Rafael Nadal celebrates after winning against Argentina's Diego Schwartzman during their men's singles semi-final tennis match on Day 13 of The Roland Garros 2020 French Open tennis tournament in Paris on October 9, 2020. (Photo by MARTIN BUREAU / AFP)
Published 7:09 pm
Rafael Nadal had to fight back from a set down to defeat Belarus qualifier Ilya Ivashka on Wednesday as the Spaniard survived an early test in his bid to win the Barcelona title for the 12th time.
The 34-year-old Nadal, who suffered a surprise quarter-final exit at the hands of Andrey Rublev in the Monte Carlo Masters quarter-finals last week, dropped the first set against the world 111 before pulling through 3-6, 6-2, 6-4.

Djokovic eases past Kwon in Serbia Open last 16 - La Prensa Latina Media

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Djokovic eases past Kwon in Serbia Open last 16
1 minute read
Sports Desk, Apr 21 (EFE).- Top-ranked Novak Djokovic on Wednesday earned a comfortable 6-1, 6-3 victory over Soonwoo Kwon in the Serbia Open round of 16, successfully kicking off his campaign for a third title at his hometown event.
Djokovic, who had received a first-round bye, came out with relentless efficiency and overwhelmed the 85th-ranked South Korean, with his lone hiccup coming when he dropped serve late in the second set.
On the strength of his powerful and precise ground strokes and potent first serve, the Serbian great rolled out to a 5-0 lead with two service breaks in hand.

Struggling Nadal rallies to reach Barcelona Open last 16 - La Prensa Latina Media

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Struggling Nadal rallies to reach Barcelona Open last 16
2 minutes read
Barcelona, Apr 21 (EFE).- Rafael Nadal suffered much more than expected in his opening match at the Barcelona Open, but he overcame a poor start to beat qualifier Ilya Ivashka 3-6, 6-2, 6-4 on Wednesday and book his place in the round of 16.
The uncharacteristically high unforced error count and struggles on serve that led to the world No. 3’s shock Monte-Carlo Masters exit last week carried over into the first set of his match against the 111th-ranked Belarusian.
Ivashka broke serve at the start and end of the first set to stun the 11-time champion, whose nine unforced errors and two winners in the opener got him in trouble against a solid opponent.

Tsitsipas beats Rublev to win Monte Carlo Masters

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“I can’t describe my feelings right now. I am overwhelmed by so many different emotions and nostalgia. It is incredible that I am able to be in the position that I am,” said Tsitsipas after claiming his first title of the season.
“I would consider it as the (best) week of my life so far.”
Fourth seed Tsitsipas was in control throughout the 71-minute final, quickly establishing command when he moved ahead 3-0, his serve and forehand both firing.
That single service break was all he needed to maintain his lead, and after pocketing the opening set he surged 3-1 ahead in the second.

Monte Carlo Masters: Stefanos Tsitsipas shares 2 key factors that helped him win

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Tsitsipas became only the third active player to win a Masters 1000 title without dropping a set.
April 19, 2021 08:39 BST
Stefanos Tsitsipas dedicated his triumph at the Monte Carlo Masters to his coach back in Greece and his mother. The Greek sensation beat Andrey Rublev 6-3, 6-3 to claim his first Masters 1000 title.
It was not just a historic moment on the court for the Tsitsipas family, but also off it after the World No.5 joined his mother on the honour roll at the Monte Carlo Country Club. Thirty years prior to Tsitsipas' victory, his mother, Julia Salnikova had claimed a junior title at the same venue.

Thiem 'fell into a hole' but plans for Madrid

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Thiem 'fell into a hole' but plans for Madrid
Issued on:
19/04/2021 - 19:13
'Already lost': Dominic Thiem said he was not 100 per cent when he lost to Grigor Dimitrov at the Australian Open William WEST AFP/File
2 min
Vienna (AFP)
Dominic Thiem is struggling with pandemic-related "emptiness", but plans to return to the clay-court in Madrid in early May once a knee pain dissipates, he told an Austrian newspaper Monday.
After winning the US Open against Alexander Zverev in September, Thiem said he was full of "euphoria", but "in preparing for this season, I fell into a hole."
"There is a certain emptiness, though it's not dramatic. Last week, I didn't even watch the football Champions League because it's such a tragedy," he said, adding that he "barely followed" the tennis tournament in Monte Carlo, which he had decided to sit out.

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