Rafael Nadal’s ATP Cup Mural Unveiled in Perth

Rafael Nadal’s face has found a special home Down Under

The 33-year-old Spanish tennis star, currently ranked No. 1 in the world, is one of the players being honored with a special mural in Perth, Australia.

Rafael Nadal Mural

The inaugural ATP Cupis set to take place between January 3-12 in Sydney, Brisbane and Perth, bringing together some of the world’s leading players in both singles and doubles from 24 countries. 

Weeks before the start of the action, Nodal got his mural in Perth together with Kei Nishikori and other stars, with the organizers welcoming the 19-time Grand Slam champion.

Nadal is among those who’ll fight for the crown together with his teammates, fresh after conquering the first edition of the Davis Cup Finalsin Madrid.

Spain is the favorite to reach the quarters from Group B, battling against Japan, Uruguay and Georgia at RAC Arena in Perth and hoping to continue the competition in Sydney where eight strongest teams continue the quest for the title in the second stage of the event.

Backed by Roberto Bautista AugtPablo Carreno BustaAlbert Ramos-Vinolas and Feliciano Lopez, Nadal is eager to lead Spain towards another team competition crown, shining in front of the home fans in Madrid with eight victories from as many rubbers and delivering the sixth Davis Cup title for Spain.

In what was a wild race towards the finish line, Nadal and Djokovic fought for the year-end no. 1 spot for almost the entire season, with the Spaniard making the deciding move in Montreal and the US Open and keeping the lead in the ATP Raceuntil the ATP Finalswhere they both lost in the round-robin stage.

Rafa and Novak will continue their rivalry at the ATP Cup, joined by Gael MonfilsKei NishikoriDavid GoffinAndy Murray, Grigor DimitrovAlexander ZverevDenis ShapovalovFelix Auger-AliassimeNick KyrgiosAlex de MinaurDaniil MedvedevKaren KhachanovJohn IsnerMatteo BerrettiniFabio FogniniDominic Thiem, Diego Schwartzmanand others.

Rafael Nadal to Face Roger Federer in the BNP Paribas Open Semifinals

Rafael Nadalis set to face one of his biggest rivals…

The 32-year-old Spanish tennis star has advanced to the semifinals of the BNP Paribas Open after defeating Karen Khachanov 7-6 (2), 7-6.

Rafael Nadal

Nadal’s victory sets up his 39th career meeting with Roger Federer, their first meeting in 16 months.

Neither Federer nor Nadal has dropped a set in four matches in the desert. Federer has been broken just once, and Nadal has dropped serve three times, twice against Khachanov.

Nadal stands in the way of Federer’s pursuit of a record sixth title at Indian Wells.

Nadal’s right knee flared up for the first time during the tournament in the second set. He called for a trainer, who applied tape just below the knee. The trainer returned again with Nadal leading 3-2 in the second set.

“My goal and my idea is be ready for tomorrow,” said Nadal, who holds a 23-15 edge in his rivalry with Federer. “I cannot guarantee how I’m going to wake up tomorrow morning.”

Knee problems have dogged Nadal in recent years, and they cut short his 2018 season after the US Openin September.

“I love to play on hard [courts], but probably my body doesn’t love it that much,” Nadal said. “As I say before, is not only about today, is about tomorrow. Maybe we’re going to pay the price at the age of 45 or something. That will be not nice. When I see some old legends walking around the tour, is tough to see.”

Juan Martin del Potro Qualifies for the ATP Finals

Juan Martin del Potro has earned a spot in the last big tournament of the year…

The 30-year-old Argentine tennis player has qualified for the ATP Finals for the fifth time by beating Karen Khachanov 6-4, 7-6 (4) Wednesday at the China Open.

Juan Martin del Potro

del Potro, who reached the US Openfinal this year, last qualified for the season-ending tournament for the top eight players in the world in 2013.

del Potro will next meet Filip Krajinovic in the quarterfinals in Beijing. Krajinovic defeated Feliciano Lopez 7-6 (5), 6-3.

He was the runner-up in 2009, losing to Nikolay Davydenkoin the finals of the ATP World Tour Finals.

David Ferrer Advances to the Semifinals at the ASB Classic

David Ferrer is two wins away from a handful of titles in Auckland…

The 35-year-old Spanish tennis player, a four-time champion at the ATP Tour‘s ASB Classic, has advanced to the semifinals at the tournament for the eighth time after defeating South Korea’s Hyeon Chung 6-3, 6-2 in Thursday’s quarterfinals.

David Ferrer

Ferrer’s semifinal opponent will be another former champion, second-seeded Juan Martin del Potro, who beat Russia’s Karen Khachanov 7-6 (4), 6-3.

del Potro looked in top form ahead of the Australian Open with his second straight-sets victory, having beaten Canadian teenage star Denis Shapovalov 6-2, 6-4 in the second round. In two matches in Auckland, 2009 champion del Potro has yet to concede a break point.

“Of course I’m happy to get through. He’s one of the toughest guys on tour,” del Potro said. “Today’s match was so close. He hits the ball so hard and we play long rallies, big points and I think I took all my chances to win.”

Another former champion, fifth-seeded Roberto Bautista Agut, will face Robin Haase of the Netherlands in the other semifinal. Bautista Agut defeated Jiri Vesely 7-6 (1), 6-1 on Thursday while Haase beat Germany’s Peter Gojowczyk 6-4, 6-4.

Rafael Nadal Wins in Straight Sets to Reach Fourth Round at Wimbledon

It’s on to the next one for Rafael Nadal

The 31-year-old Spanish tennis star beat Russia’s Karen Khachanov 6-1, 6-4, 7-6 (3) on Centre Court to reach the fourth round at Wimbledon.

Rafael Nadal

Nadal is now three matches away from regaining his former ranking as the No. 1 player in the world.

If he reaches the final at the All England Club, the two-time Wimbledon champion will take over from Andy Murray as the top-ranked player in the world.

The fourth-seeded Nadal also extended his Grand Slam winning streak to 28 sets, tying himself for third among men in the Open Era. He also won 28 sets in a row in Grand Slam events in 2010.

Roger Federer holds the record in the Open Era, winning 36 consecutive sets in Grand Slam matches spanning from 2006 into 2007. 

John McEnroe won 35 straight in 1984.

Nadal will next face France’s Gilles Muller in the fourth round.

Zeballos Defeats Karen Khachanov to Reach Barcelona Open Semifinals

Horacio Zeballos is one win away from a long-awaited return to a tournament final… But, he’ll have to take down the defending champion to get there.

The 32-year-old Argentine tennis player didn’t drop a serve in beating Russia’s Karen Khachanov 6-4, 6-1 at the Barcelona Open to reach the semifinals.

Horacio Zeballos

Zeballos, currently ranked No. 84 in the world, will play defending champion Rafael Nadal.

Zeballos is trying to reach his first ATP final since a memorable title run at the Chile Open four years ago.

Zeballos won his first pro title in February 2013 at that same Viña del Mar tournament. In the final, he beat Nadal, becoming one of the only four players (with Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray) to beat the former world no. 1 in a clay-court final.