Rafael Nadal Defeats Defending Champion Stefanos Tsitsipas to Advance to ATP Finals Semifinals

Rafael Nadal is still in the running… 

The 34-year-old Spanish tennis star has advanced to the semifinals at the ATP Finals for the first time in five years after knocking out the defending champion Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-4, 4-6, 6-2 Thursday at the O2 Arena.

Rafael Nadal

It is the sixth time in 10 appearances that Nadal has reached the semifinals of the season-ending tournament, which is the biggest title he has yet to win in his illustrious career.

Tsitsipas won it on his first try last year, but exited after a second loss of the group stage, done in by a shaky serve in the third set, during which he was broken three times.

Nadal never looked threatened on his serve against Tsitsipas until the final game of the second set, when he double-faulted to hand the Greek player a way back into the match.

“I think I was winning my serves quite comfortably until that moment,” Nadal said. “After that, everything changed.”

Suddenly, neither player could hold serve as the third set started with three straight breaks, with Nadal taking a 2-1 lead. The Spaniard finally held and broke again for a 5-2 lead before clinching the win on his second match point.

Nadal, who improved to 6-1 against Tsitsipas, will play Daniil Medvedev in the semifinals on Saturday.

Diego Schwartzman to Face Novak Djokovic in First Group Stage Match at Maiden ATP Finals

Diego Schwartzman is preparing for the big dance…

The 28-year-old Argentine professional tennis player, who clinched the final spot at the prestigious season-ending ATP Finals, will play ATP Tour World No. 1 Novak Djokovic in his first group stage match.

Diego Schwartzman

Schwartzman, competing in his first-ever ATP Finals, will be the first Argentine player to compete at the tournament since Juan Martin del Potro in 2013.

Schwartzman is the eighth singles player from Argentina to feature in the 50-year history of the tournament, following in the footsteps of 1974 titlist Guillermo Vilas (1974-77, ’79-82), Jose-Luis Clerc (1980-83), Guillermo Coria (2003-05), 2005 champion David Nalbandian (2003, ’05-06), Gaston Gaudio (2004-05), Mariano Puerta (2005) and 2009 runner-up del Potro (2008-09, ’12-13).

Schwartzman joins fellow debutant Andrey Rublev of Russia, alongside former qualifiers  Djokovic of Serbia, Spain’s Rafael NadalDominic Thiem of Austria, Russia’s Daniil Medvedev, defending champion Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece and Germany’s Alexander Zverev in the 2020 singles field.

There will be four players aged 24 and under at the ATP Finals for the second straight year. The last time this happened in back-to-back years was in 2008-09.

Schwartzman broke into the Top 10 of the ATP Rankings for the first time at No. 8 on 12 October after a run to his first Grand Slam championship semi-final at Roland Garros (l. to Nadal). A few weeks earlier, the Buenos Aires resident beat  Nadal en route to his first ATP Masters 1000 final at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome (l. to Djokovic).

As the first Argentine in the Top 10 since del Potro in May 2019, Schwartzman also finished runner-up at two ATP 250 events in a reduced 2020 season — at the Cordoba Open (l. to Garin) in February and at the bett1HULKS Championship runner-up in Cologne (l. to Zverev) in October.

At 5’7”, Schwartzman is the shortest player in the Top 10 since 5’6″ Harold Solomon, whose last week in the Top 10 began on 27 July 1981.

Rafael Nadal to Take Part in ‘Rally for Relief’ Charity Event to Raise Funds for Australian Bushfire Relief

Rafael Nadalis ready to swing his racquet for a good cause…

The 33-year-old Spanish professional tennis player, currently ranked No. 1 in the world, will take part in a charity event ahead of the Australian Open that will have a new air quality policy as organizers grapple with issues related to the bushfire crisis.

Rafael Nadal

Tennis Australia chief Craig Tiley announced on Wednesday that the Rally for Relief will be held onRod Laver Arena on the evening of January 15 with proceeds going to the Victorian Bushfire Appeal.

Nadal will take part alongside Roger FedererSerena WilliamsNick KyrgiosNaomi OsakaCaroline Wozniaki and Stefanos Tsitsipas.

“For a period of about two-and-a-half hours we’re going to be showcasing the game, but also coming together as a community to play our part in the relief effort,” Tiley said

“I’m really proud of the playing group because the number of calls and emails I’ve got with everyone stepping forward and either giving money or making themselves available.

“The format is going to be pretty cool … it’s going to be a combination of fun and seriousness.

“We’ll see some doubles, we’ll see some singles, some target hitting and opportunities to raise more money on the night.

“We’ll see the players having a lot of fun.”

Tickets are available from Ticketmaster with all proceeds going to bushfire disaster relief charities.

Tiley also confirmed the Open will go ahead as scheduled with an air quality policy in place after concerns had been raised about the potential for smoke from bushfires burning in Victoria’s east to affect the health of players and fans.

“This is a new experience for not only us but across the world in this sport,” Tiley said.

“But we lead the world with the extreme heat policy and we expect to do the same around air quality.

“We do have three stadiums with roofs so play will always continue.

“But what will be new is that we will have some real-time (air quality) monitoring on-site … and we’ll use that analysis to make some decisions around the safety and well-being of players and fans.

“… I think the players understand that this is not something that we can do anything about and they’ve been gracious and very cooperative.

“They want to play.”

Rafael Nadal Outlasts Stefanos Tsitsipas to Win Record Fifth Title at Mubadala World Tennis Championship

Rafael Nadal is ending the year with a bang…

The 33-year-Spanish tennis star and current World No. 1 capped off 2019 by defeating Stefanos Tsitsipas in a marathon final at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship.

Rafael Nadal

In the process, Nadal became the first player to win the championship five times as he overcame Tsitsipas 6-7 (3-7) 7-5 7-6 (7-3) in a dramatic final.

Having beat Novak Djokovicon Friday, ATP Finalschampion Tsitsipas looked well on his way to capping off a brilliant 2019 with a maiden triumph in the exhibition event in Abu Dhabi when he came from a break down to win the first set.

But it was Nadal who rallied to claim the title on a tie-break at the culmination of a thrilling encounter which lasted over three hours.

Nadal saved two break points in each of his first two service games and another three to thwart the Greek and level at 3-3.

It was Nadal who claimed the elusive first break to go 5-4 up, but he failed to serve out the set, making a string of errors as Tsitsipas got back on serve.

The momentum was with the world number six, who charged into a 5-2 lead in the tie-break and took the set when Nadal netted a forehand, having been disgruntled when he was forced to replay a point he had on his racket when Tsitsipas challenged.

Nadal started the second set with a hold to love and the two served up high-quality rallies, but break-point opportunities were not forthcoming until Tsitsipas had two chances to go 5-4 up.

A battling Nadal stood firm with a defiant hold, before capitalising on his first break point to level proceedings.

Tsitsipas passed up another two chances to break at the start of the decider and Nadal made him pay, breaking to go 4-2 up, only for the youngster to immediately break back.

Yet Tsitsipas’ efforts ultimately proved fruitless, with Nadal, who took a 4-1 lead in the tie-break before losing successive points, holding his nerve to secure victory on his first match point.

Alex de Minaur Reaches Final at the Next Gen ATP Finals

Alex de Minaur is one win away from claiming his Next

The 20-year-old Uruguayan and Spanish-Australian tennis phenom, the top seed at this year’s Next Gen ATP Finals, has reached the finals at the tournament.

Alex de Minaur

de Minaur defeated Frances Tiafoe4-2, 4-1, 0-4, 4-2, continuing his unbeaten run at the tournament.

It was a clinical performance from de Minaur who’s had a stunning week at the tournament. 

He capped off a comprehensive performance in the group stage, defeating Casper Ruud in the final match. 

But he saved his best tennis for Tiafoe, who put up a good fight in the semifinal. 

de Minaur converted all four of the breakpoints he had in the 73-minute match. The final breakpoint was the one that secured his passage through to the final. 

de Minaur also clamped down on his unforced errors, hitting 25 winners to his 15 errors. 

His forehand was his biggest weapon though, as he managed to dominate play and cramp up Tiafoe’s usually powerful hitting. 

It’s the second consecutive year that de Minaur has reached the final of the Next Gen ATP Finals tournament. 

He made the final in 2018, only to lose to current World No. 6, Stefanos Tsitsipas.

de Minaur will face Jannik Sinner in the finall. 

He’ll also face the biggest payday of his career if he wins the final on Saturday. de Minaur will receive $429,000 if he wins the tournament. 

Pablo Cuevas Reaches Estoril Open Final

Pablo Cuevasis back in a final…

The 33-year-old Uruguayan professional tennis player beat Alejandro Davidovich Fokina 3-6, 6-2, 6-2 on Saturday to reach the Estoril Open final.

Pablo Cuevas

It’s Cuevas’ first final appearance since the 2017 Brasil Openand the 10th of his career.

Cuevas has won 11 of his last 13 matches on clay court. And he has now won three or more matches in two of his last four tournaments. 

He’ll face top-seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas, who defeated David Goffin 3-6, 6-4, 6-4.

Rafael Nadal Dispatches Stefanos Tsitsipas to Reach Australian Open Final

Rafael Nadal has punched his ticket to the finals at the Australian Open.

The 32-year-old Spanish tennis star made quick work of 20-year-old Stefanos Tsitsipas in Thursday’s semifinal, cruising to a 6-2, 6-4, 6-0 to earn his fifth trip to the finals in Melbourne.

Rafael Nadal

Nadal hit 28 winners and never faced a break point until the final game in dispatching the Greek phenom in one hour, 46 minutes on a sweltering night.

“It was a great match, and it’s been a great tournament,” said Nadal, who won the Australian Open in 2009. 

“I’ve played well every day. After a lot of months without playing, it’s probably this court, this crowd, that is giving me that unbelievable energy.”

Nadal pounced on Tsitipas from the jump, breaking him twice in the opener. The Spaniard served notice early that Tsitsipas, who ousted Roger Federerfrom the tournament, wasn’t going to repeat that feat.

“It felt like a different dimension of tennis completely,” Tsitsipas said. “He gives you no rhythm. He plays just a different game style than the rest of the players. He has this, I don’t know, talent that no other player has. I’ve never seen a player have this. He makes you play bad.”

Nadal awaits Friday’s other semifinal between world No. 1 Novak Djokovic and first-time Grand Slam semifinalist Lucas Pouilleto find out who his opponent will be on Sunday.

Alex de Minaur Named the ATP World Tour’s Newcomer of the Year

He may be new to the ATP World Tour, but Alex de Minaur is definitely getting notices…

The 19-year-old Spanish & Uruguyan-Australian tennis playerhas been named the ATP World Tour Newcomer of the Year, sharing year-end honors with Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.

Alex de Minaur

de Minaur earned the honors after a stunning breakout season, climbing from No 208 to 31st in the rankings.

He’s all but guaranteed an Australian Open seeding after last year winning his way into the tournament through the wildcard playoff.

The baseliner’s effort to reach the final of the Next Gen ATP Finals decider is yet another milestone for de Minaur.

His progress this year has been so sustained, he has claimed a career-high ranking on 15 separate occasions.

As semifinalist and finalist in Brisbane and Sydney, respectively, in January, de Minaur became the first 19-year-old to reach successive ATP semifinals since Rafael Nadal in 2005. Nadal achieved the feat at Monte Carlo and Barcelona.

de Minaur and Ashleigh Barty are expected to fight out the Newcombe Medal later this month from John Millman and Jason Kubler.

Djokovic was voted by ATP peers as Comeback Player of the Year, overcoming elbow surgery to return to No 1.

Djokovic’s coach Marian Vajda is Coach of the Year after returning to the Serb’s camp as part of an incredible rebuild.

Nadal was chosen by his fellow players as recipient of the Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award.

Federer was voted Fans’ Favorite for the 16th successive year.

Mike Bryan and Jack Sock were voted Doubles Fans’ Favorites.

Stefanos Tsitsipas claimed Most Improved Player of the Year honors.

Oliver Marachand Mate Pavic secured the ATP world No 1 Doubles Team Award, while Spain’s Tommy Robredo earned the Arthur Ashe Humanitarian Award.

Alex de Minaur Advances to the Finals of the Next Gen ATP Finals

Alex de Minaur is one win away…

The 19-year-old Spanish & Uruguyan-Australian tennis player, the youngest player at the Next Gen ATP Finals, has advanced to the finals of the tournament.

Alex de Minaur

de Minaur, ranked No. 31 in the world, ousted the No. 7 seed Jaume Munar of Spain 3-4, 4-1, 4-1 3-4, 4-2 in two hours for the place in the title match, where he’ll face Stefanos Tsitsipas.

It’s his fourth win this week in Milan.

de Minaurwas the better player on the court, playing with aggression and keeping the points on his racquet, despite missing several chances to finish the match earlier.

He served at 72% and had 10 aces, saving all five break points he faced to keep the pressure on Munar, who gave his best to stay in touch with the better-ranked rival and reach the fifth set, defending 13 out of 17 break points he faced and saving the first five match points he had to play against.

de Minaur blasted fire from his forehand to hit 43 winners and 20 unforced errors, while Munar stayed on 19 winners and 24 errors, missing too many forehands and losing the edge in the shortest points where de Minaurmade the crucial difference.

Alex de Minaur Rolls Into the Next Gen ATP Finals Semifinals

Alex de Minaur is on a roll…

The 19-year-old Spanish & Uruguyan-Australian tennis player, the youngest player at the Next Gen ATP Finals, has stormed into the semifinals undefeated after securing a straight sets win over Taylor Fritz in Milan Thursday.

Alex de Minaur

de Minaur, the tournament’s No.2 seed, overcame Fritz, ranked No. 47 in the ATP rankings, 4-3(8), 4-1, 4-2 to secure his spot in the semifinals on Friday.

He’ll now face Jaume Munar after the Spaniard defeated Frances Tiafoe 4-1, 4-3(3), 4-1 to finish second in Group A.

Topping the group was Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas, after he overcame Hubert Hurkacz 4-1, 4-3(3), 4-1.

Tsitsipas will face the runner up of Group B, Andrey Rublev, after the Russian defeated Liam Caruana in straight sets.