Roberto Bautista Agut to Headline the Three-Event Series ‘UTR Pro Series-Spain’

Roberto Bautista Agut is heading back to the court…

The 32-year-old Spanish professional tennis player will headline the UTR Pro Series-Spain, a three-event series that’ll be played on successive weekends beginning July 10 in Barcelona.

Roberto Bautista Agut

Conspicuous in his absence: ATP No. 2 ranked Rafael Nadal, who hasn’t taken part in any of the growing number of “re-opening” events tennis entrepreneurs and officials have staged during the suspension of ATP and WTA tennis due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Spanish events will feature Bautista Agut, ranked No. 12 in the world, No. 25 Pablo Carreno Busta, and Albert Ramos-Viñolas, who is No. 41. Two of the other committed players are well-known veterans Fernando Verdasco and Feliciano Lopez, both of whom are still ranked in the Top 100.

The UTR Pro Series tournament format is modeled on the wildly popular exhibition event created by Roger Federer, the Laver Cup (this year’s event, scheduled for Boston in late September, has been canceled due to a conflict with the postponed French Open). 

The eight participants in the UTR showdown will be divided into two teams. The matches will be best-three sets, but with a match tiebreaker in lieu of a third set.

UTR, or Universal Tennis Rating, is an organization built on the foundation of a rating system that differs substantially from the formal ATP ranking system. It rates all players, including top pros, solely on the basis of their results against each other in recent matches recognized by UTR. It’s already widely used in junior play and by college recruiters, and has sponsored a number of exhibitions in recent months.

Federer is out of action for the rest of the year due to an aggravated knee injury. Novak Djokovic made his first appearance as a player during the coronavirus pandemic in late June, but the four-tournament Adria Tour he conceived turned into a debacle due to an outbreak of coronavirus. Djokovic was among those who tested positive for Covid-19.

Nadal has kept his distance from the exhibition circuit, and has also expressed disappointment at the prospect of playing without fans in attendance at the upcoming US Open. He hasn’t yet decided if he’ll defend his title in New York.

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 Compete at the ATP Cup in January

Rafael Nadalwill be spending the New Year Down Under

The ATP says all top 10 ranked players, including the 33-year-old Spanish tennis star and recent US Open championNovak Djokovic and Roger Federer, have committed to play in the inaugural ATP Cup in Australia in January.

Rafael Nadal

The organization said the top 18 ranked countries and Australia, as the host-country wild card, will be among the qualifiers for the tournament to be held in Brisbane, Perth and Sydney from January 3-12. Serbia leads the current rankings, with Spain second, Switzerland third and Russia fourth.

The ATP said the top two players for each country have committed to play, subject to change based on the ATP Rankings at the second entry deadline on November 13, when remaining team members — up to an additional three players — will qualify.

Five additional countries also will qualify to compete at the 24-country tournament based on the ranking of their No. 1 singles player.

Countries will be drawn into one of six groups Monday when the official draw is held at the Sydney Opera House.

The group stages of the ATP Cup will be hosted in Brisbane, Perth and Sydney over six days. Eight countries will then play at the ATP Cup Final Eightin Sydney that will feature quarterfinals over two days, semifinals and a final. Each match will be two singles and one doubles.

Maria Camila Osorio Serrano Becomes First Colombian to Win US Open Girls’ Singles Title

Maria Camila Osorio Serrano has saved the best for last…

Competing in her last Grand Slam as a junior at Flushing Meadows, the Colombian tennis player put forth a near-perfect performance to defeat American qualifier Alexandra Yepifanova, 6-1, 6-0, to claim her maiden Grand Slam title, while becoming the first Colombian to win the girls’ singles title at the US Open.

Maria Camila Osorio Serrano

“It’s unreal,” Osorio Serrano said told reporters after the match. “It’s been a really great week for me—I’m just so happy and thankful for this, I can’t believe I won.”

The No.4-seed was large and in charge from the start of Sunday’s final on Court 17, opening the match with an ace to serve notice that she wasn’t experiencing any fatigue from Saturday’s double-header in Queens. The same could not be said for Yepifanova, who struggled to find her footing after battling through two three-setters to reach the final on Saturday in New York.

Osorio Serrano would break for 2-0 in the opening set with a forehand volley winner into the open court that was met with a cacophony of cheers from a lively crowd of Colombian spectators.

Yepifanova broke in the third game with a crosscourt backhand winner to close to 2-1, but it would prove to be the only game she would win in the final. 

Osorio Serrano rolled through the next 10 games as the Colombians’ cheers from the bleachers inside Court 17 only grew louder.

Osorio Serrano won 60 of 93 points in the final and broke Yepifanova in all six of her service games.

“There was a lot of people from Colombia cheering for me,” Osorio Serrano said of the support she received all week from her fans. “I’m really thankful for this and I want to thank them because the whole week they have been supporting.”

Osorio Serrano, who’s coached by formerATPpro Alejandro Falla,  joins a select group of US Open girls’ singles champions that includes Victoria AzarenkaMarion Bartoli, Lindsay DavenportJennifer Capriatiand Amanda Anisimova.

Rafael Nadal Outlasts Daniil Medvedev to Win U.S. Open & Claim 19th Grand Slam Title

Rafael Nadalis back in the winner’s circle at the US Open

The 33-year-old Spanish tennis star survived a late surge from Daniil Medvedev to win the men’s title at Flushing Meadows and earn his 19th Grand Slam trophy.

Rafael Nadal

Nadal’s latest Grand Slam went from inevitable to suddenly in doubt in a thrill-a-minute final.

What had all the makings of a crowning morphed into a real contest Sunday thanks to Medvedev, a man a decade younger and appearing in his first major title match. Down by two sets and a break, Medvedev shifted styles, upped his level against a rattled Nadal — and even received an unexpected boost from Arthur Ashe Stadium spectators.

Truly tested for the only time in the tournament, the No. 2-seeded Nadal managed to stop Medvedev’s surge and hold off his historic comeback bid, pulling out a 7-5, 6-3, 5-7, 4-6, 6-4 victory in 4 hours, 50 minutes of highlight-worthy action and Broadway-worthy drama to collect his fourth championship at Flushing Meadows.

“An amazing final. Seems that I had, more or less, the match under control,” said Nadal, who covered his face with his hands while crying when arena video boards showed clips from each of his Slam triumphs. “One of the most emotional nights of my tennis career.”

Now at 19 majors — a total Medvedev called “outrageous” — Nadal is merely one away from rival Roger Federer‘s record for a man.

Add the Spaniard’s haul in New York to his 12 titles at the French Open, two at Wimbledon and one at the Australian Open, and the 20-19 gap between Federer and Nadal is the closest it’s been in 15 years. Federer led 1-0 after his breakthrough triumph at the All England Clubin 2004, and he had four by the time Nadal got his first, at Roland Garrosin 2005.

Federer, who lost in the quarterfinals at the US Open, is 38, while Nadal is 33 — making him the oldest male champion at Flushing Meadows since 1970. He’s also the first man to win five majors after turning 30.

Nadal says he wants to finish his career at No. 1 in the Grand Slam standings — ahead of Federer and Novak Djokovic, in third place currently with 16 — but also insists he won’t base his happiness on how it all shakes out in the end.

This particular match ended the way he wanted it to. The journey just took more detours 

Juan Sebastian Cabal & Robert Farah Make History After Winning US Open Men’s Doubles Title

Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah are making it a habit…

The 33-year-old Colombian professional tennis player and his 32-year-old compatriotdefeated Marcel Granollers and Horacio Zeballos 6-4, 7-5 in the final on Friday to become the first Colombian men’s team to win the doubles title at the US Open.

Juan Sebastian Cabal & Robert Farah

Cabal and Farah were already the first men’s doubles pairing from Colombia to win a Grand Slam trophy and to be ranked No. 1 after they won Wimbledonthis year

They followed their Wimbledon championship with another strong run through the US Open and won their fifth doubles title of the season.

They became the sixth team to win Wimbledon and the US Open in the same year in the Open era.

Cabal and Farah celebrated Friday a year after they were knocked out in the semifinals by eventual champs Mike Bryan and Jack Sock.

Diego Schwartzman Given Men’s Sportsmanship Award at the US Open

He may have lost to Rafael Nadalin the US Open quarterfinals… But Diego Schwartzman is still a winner.

The 27-year-old Argentine professional tennis player has been given the men’s 2019 US Open Sportsmanship Award.

Diego Schwartzman

The way Naomi Osaka consoled Coco Gauff after beating the 15-year-old American in the US Open’s third round was admired by many. On Thursday, Osaka was given the women’s 2019 US Open Sportsmanship Award.

Both get a trophy and a $5,000 donation to a charity of their choice.

Todd Martin, the former player who is co-chair of the committee that chooses the recipients, said the two “demonstrated a level of sportsmanship that is even more impressive than their play on the court.”

Diego Schwartzman Defeats Alexander Zverev to Reach Quarterfinals at the US Open

Diego Schwartzman has pulled out a major upset at the US Open…

The 27-year-old Argentine professional tennis player defeated No. 6 seed Alexander Zverev at Flushing Meadows 3-6, 6-2, 6-4, 6-3 to advance to the quarterfinals at the Grand Slam event for the second time.

Diego Schwartzman

Zverev doubled-faulted 17 times in the losing effort, and he ended up losing his serve eight times, won just 32% of second-serve points and amassed 65 unforced errors. He also was hit with a point penalty for swearing in the final set to put Schwartzman up 5-2.

“My first serve is still fine. My second serve needs to be worked on,” Zverev said. “But I’ll deal with it.”

The 20th-seeded Schwartzman, meanwhile, went about his steady baseline and retrieving game, taking the majority of long rallies in a match when some points went on for as many as 35 strokes.

Schwartzman, who reached the quarterfinals at the French Openlast year and at Flushing Meadows in 2017, next takes Rafael Nadal.

Alex de Minaur Defeats Kei Nishikori at US Open to Reach Fourth Round at a Grand Slam for First Time

It’s a major first for Alex de Minaur

The 20-year-old Uruguayan & Spanish Australian tennis player upset No. 7 seed Kei Nishikori to book his spot in the fourth round at the US Open.

Alex de Minaur

de Minaur, currently ranked No. 36 in the world, moved into the second week of a Grand Slam for the first time in his career, advancing to the Round of 16 at Flushing Meadows with the 6-2, 6-4, 2-6, 6-3 win. 

The victory carries extra significance for de Minaur, who snapped an 0-11 record against Top 10 opponents. He defeated Nishikori in two hours and 48 minutes.

“The crowd support was amazing,” De Minaur, who claimed his maiden ATP Tour title at the Sydney International in January, said after the match. “I had a bit of a thrill last year against [Marin] Cilic. Was two-sets-to-love up again and I’m glad I could finally get the win.”

In search of a second straight appearance at the Next Gen ATP Finals, de Minaur is looking to build on his third-place standing in the ATP Race To Milan

He’ll next face Grigor Dimitrovon Sunday.

de Minaur had previously reached the third round at Wimbledon and the Australian Open.

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.”