Nadal & Roger Federer to Play Doubles Together at Next Year’s Laver Cup

Rafael Nadal is joining forces with one of his biggest rivals…

The 30-year-old Spanish tennis star, who recently earned a gold medal in Men’s Doubles at the 2016 Rio Games, and Roger Federer say they plan to play doubles together when the Laver Cup debuts next year.

Rafael Nadal & Roger Federer

With a combined 31 major titles, Nadal and Federer have committed to the inaugural event, which is an attempt to create a tennis version of golf’s Ryder Cup.

Named for Australian tennis great Rod Laver, the competition was first announced in January.

A team of European players will face off against a group from the rest of the world September 22-24, 2017, in Prague.

Former rivals Bjorn Borg (Europe) and John McEnroe (world team) were announced Wednesday as captains.

Ramos-Vinolas Claims First-Ever ATP Title at the Swedish Open

Albert Ramos-Vinolas will always remember Sweden…

The 28-year-old Spanish tennis player defeated countryman Fernando Verdasco 6-3 6-4 in the Swedish Open final to win his first ATP World Tour singles title.

Albert Ramos-Vinolas

Ramos-Vinolas, seeded No. 3 in the tournament, triumphed in 86 minutes to end a three-match losing streak against fifth-seed Verdasco and lift the winners’ trophy, which was presented to him by former world No 1 Bjorn Borg.

Ramos-Vinolas, ranked No. 35 in the world, never looked back after racing to a 4-1 lead in the opening set courtesy of breaks in the third and fifth games. Despite dropping serve in the sixth, he broke Verdasco again to take it 6-3.

Verdasco squandered three break points in the second set before being broken for a fourth time to trail 5-3 and although Ramos-Vinolas dropped his serve in the next game, he broke again to seal the set 6-4 and take the title.

Ramos-Vinolas is expected to compete in singles at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio.

Ferrer Beats Dustin Brown to Advance to Swedish Open Semifinals

David Ferrer continues to roll…

The 34-year-old Spanish tennis player battled past Dustin Brown 6-1, 4-6, 6-4 to reach the semifinals of the Swedish Open on Friday.

David Ferrer

Ferrer, the top seed and two-time champion at the tournament, improved his head-to-head record versus the German player to 4-0 following the 92-minute win, which was watched in the stands by Swedish tennis legend Bjorn Borg.

Ferrer will next face his compatriot, third seed Albert Ramos-Vinolas.

“He’s playing his best tennis of this season so I’m going to have to play very good and very consistent to have a good chance to be in the final,” said Ferrer of his opponent.

Ramos-Vinolas reached his second semifinal of 2016 as he defeated Andrea Arnaboldi. The Spaniard saved six of the 11 break points he faced to outlast the Italian 5-7, 7-5, 6-0 in what was their first tour-level meeting.

Fifth seed Fernando Verdasco eased into the last four in Bastad with a 6-2, 6-1 win over Facundo Bagnis in 68 minutes. The Spaniard will continue to bid for his eighth ATP World Tour singles title when he faces Gastao Elias.

“It’s great for me to be in the semifinals here again. Today I’m one step closer and hopefully tomorrow I will keep playing as good as today or even better,” said Verdasco. “I’m feeling pretty good. I’ve been playing better and better every day. Tomorrow I will face a Portuguese player and they are both playing good this week. I know that it’s going to be difficult.”

Elias reached his first ATP World Tour semifinal by upsetting second seed Joao Sousa 6-2, 6-2.

The 25-year-old Portuguese tennis player capitalized on five of his seven break point chances to notch his first win over his compatriot (Sousa now leads rivalry 2-1) in 62 minutes.

Nadal Wins Historic Seventh Title at the French Open

After an emotional two-day adventure, Rafael Nadal is officially in seventh heaven…

The 26-year-old Spanish tenista won a record seventh French Open title on Monday, returning to Roland Garros a day after rain postponed play to defeat world No. 1 Novak Djokovic 6-4, 6-3, 2-6, 7-5.

Rafael Nadal

The victory by “The King of Clay,” as he’s been called, helped Nadal surpass the record he shared with Bjorn Borg, who claimed six titles on the red clay at Roland Garros. Nadal ties Chris Evert on the women’s side, who was the first player to win the French Open seven times.

“This is my favorite tournament of the world,” Nadal told the French crowd during his on-court interview.

It’s Nadal’s 11th Grand Slam title, moving him into a tie for fourth all time with Rod Laver and Borg. He now trails only Roger Federer (16), Pete Sampras (14) and Roy Emerson (12).

Rafael Nadal

He also ends Djokovic’s streak of three consecutive Grand Slam titles, denying the 25-year-old Serbian tennis star a chance to become the first since Laver to own all four Grand Slam titles at the same time. Djokovic had defeated Nadal in the three previous Slam finals, including a nearly six-hour match at the Australian Open in January.

Nadal runs his record at Roland Garros to 52-1.

Meanwhile, this was the first French Open to not end on Sunday since 1973, when Ilie Nastase wrapped up his title on a Tuesday.

Nadal & Ferrer to Play an All-Spanish French Open Semifinal

Its official… a Spaniard will compete in the French Open Men’s Championship for the 10th time in 12 years after Rafael Nadal and David Ferrer won their quarterfinal matches on Wednesday.

David Ferrer & Rafael Nadal

Nadal scored his 50th match victory at Roland Garros – one more than Swedish great Bjorn Borg’s tally and six short of the all-time record held by Argentina’s Guillermo Vilas – by defeating his countryman Nicolas Almagro 7-6 (7-4), 6-2, 6-3 in two hours and 46 minutes.

More importantly, the win put him within two victories of a record seventh French Open title; Nadal currently shares the mark with Borg.

Shortly afterward, the 30-year-old Ferrer reached the semifinals at tennis’ biggest clay-court event for the first time ever with his 6-4, 6-7 (3-7), 6-3, 6-2 victory over Scotland’s Andy Murray.

Rafael Nadal
Even though Nadal’s victory was never really in question, the 26-year-old tenista was forced to play his first tiebreaker of this year’s tournament in the first set against Almagro, who put the world No. 2 on his heels at times by unleashing powerful blasts off both forehand and backhand.

But when it mattered most in the tiebreaker, Almagro made a costly error on a drop shot and later lost a 34-ball rally to fall behind 4-0, eventually losing that first-set decider by a score of 7-4.

The rest of the match was then practically a formality considering Nadal’s record at the French Open when winning the first set was 46-0 coming into the contest, although Almagro’s potent shot-making brought out the best in Nadal’s defensive skills.

“You cannot expect to win an easy match in (the) quarterfinals of a Grand Slam, (the) quarterfinals of Roland Garros,” Nadal said in the post-match press conference. (It) was a tough one, but I am through and I am very happy.”

He also looked ahead to his semifinal against good friend Ferrer. Nadal holds a 12-1 career edge in their meetings on clay but he’s expecting a difficult challenge on Friday.

“We (have) played each other a lot of times. His game bothers everybody because he’s one of the best players in the world on every surface – on clay especially,” Nadal said. “He’s a complete player. It’s very difficult to play against him, because his movement is probably the best in the world and he’s able to hit the ball very early a lot of the time.”

David Ferrer
Meanwhile, Ferrer used his forehand to dictate most of the rallies in his grueling, three-hour, 45-minute slugfest Wednesday against Murray, shrugging off a second-set hiccup and a half-hour rain delay at the start of the third set.

The world No. 6 wore a big smile after a Murray backhand went wide on match point, thrilled to finally reach the final four of this Grand Slam event after several disappointing losses in previous years.

“My first time in semifinal in Roland Garros, so I feel good,” Ferrer said after his win. “It was a very tough match, and I’m very happy. Maybe it was in important moments I played better than him. I played very good with my forehand.”

Referring to the daunting task that awaits him in the next round, Ferrer said he will “try and play a beautiful match, my best tennis.”

With Wednesday’s results, Spain will be represented in the French Open final for the 10th time in the last 12 years; 2004 and 2009 were the only exceptions.

The victor in the Nadal-Ferrer match will play the winner of Friday’s other semifinal, which will pit world No. 1 Novak Djokovic of Serbia and world No. 3 Roger Federer of Switzerland.

Orantes Elected to International Tennis Hall of Fame

Rafael Nadal won his first and only U.S. Open title in 2010… But fellow Spaniard Manuel Orantes claimed the U.S. Open crown some 35 years before. And, now he’ll be forever immortalized in Newport, Rhode Island.

The 63-year-old Spanish tennis legend has been elected to the International Tennis Hall of Fame in the master player category.

Manuel Orantes

Along with winning the 1975 U.S. Open by beating Jimmy Connors in straight sets in the final, Orantes was the runner-up to Bjorn Borg at the 1974 French Open.

Orantes reached No. 2 in the rankings in 1973, and he was in the year-ending top 10 for five consecutive years.

Along with Orantes, this year’s inductees will include former world No. 1 Jennifer Capriati and former French Open champion Gustavo Kuerten.

The induction ceremony will be held on July 14, 2012 at the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, Rhode Island.