Rafael Nadal Leads Spain to Davis Cup Title Over Canada

Rafael Nadalhas helped Spain win big…

The 33-year-old Spanish tennis star, ranked No. 1 in the world, risked injury by playing eight matches — five singles, three doubles — in six days at the Davis Cup Finals, the new World Cup of tennis.

Rafael Nadal

Nadal won all of them, leading Spain to its sixth Davis Cup title after a 2-0 win over first-time finalist Canada on Sunday.

But in Nadal’s view, the only hero for Spain was grieving teammate Roberto Bautista Agut. He sent Spain on its way to victory by winning the first singles match on Sunday, three days after the death of his father.

“I’ve won the eight matches but the person who was vital in this Davis Cup was Roberto,” Nadal said. “For me, what he did was something almost inhuman. I don’t know how to explain it. It will be an example for the rest of my life. He had to leave, then his dad died, then he came back and practiced with us yesterday, and today he was ready again to play at a very high level. It was something incredible.”

Spain Davis Cup

Before Nadal defeated Denis Shapovalov 6-3, 7-6 (7) to clinch the title — Spain’s first since also winning at home in 2011 — Bautista Agut had given Spain a 1-0 lead by beating Felix Auger-Aliassime7-6 (3), 6-3.

Bautista Agut pointed his finger to the sky after winning the final point in his match, and was in tears while speaking briefly to the crowd, which chanted his name. And he was the Spanish player lifting the cup in the title celebrations.

Bautista Agut’s father died on Thursday — a day after his son had defeated Nikola Mektic of Croatia — with his health deteriorating quickly after an illness that stemmed from a 2016 accident.

Bautista Agut, No. 9 in the world, played as teammates Pablo Carreno Busta and Marcel Granollers nursed injuries entering the final.

As for Nadal, he considered himself lucky to be able to play all matches.

“It’s true that I held up, but we know that playing so many matches in this [hard-court] surface is risky for me, something can happen at any time,” Nadal said. “That’s how it’s been in the past, but luckily I held up.”

Spain’s Granollers and Feliciano Lopezhad been scheduled to face Shapovalov and Vasek Pospisilin the now-canceled doubles match, although Nadal was likely to play if the title had been at stake. Nadal played in the decisive doubles on Friday and Saturday.

Voted the tournament’s best player, Nadal sealed the title with his 29th straight Davis Cup singles win, igniting the home crowd’s celebrations.

Tournament organizer and Barcelona soccer star Gerard Pique, his wife Shakira — who performed in the closing ceremony — and Spanish King Felipe VI were among those celebrating Spain’s triumph.

Spain’s other Davis Cup titles were in 2000, ’04, ’08, ’09 and ’11.

The new Davis Cup Finals is the result of a 25-year partnership between the International Tennis Federation and the Kosmos group co-founded by Pique.

Nadal & Marc Lopez Win the Men’s Doubles Gold in Tennis at the 2016 Rio Games

2016 Rio Games

Rafael Nadal has taken full advantage of a golden opportunity…

The 30-year-old Spanish tennis star has added a second Olympic tennis gold medal to all of his Grand Slam trophies, teaming with childhood friend Marc Lopez to win the men’s doubles championship for Spain at the 2016 Rio Games.

Rafael Nadal & Marc Lopez

Nadal and Lopez came back from a break down in the third set and claimed the last three games to beat Florin Mergea and Horia Tecau of Romania 6-2, 3-6, 6-4 in the final Friday.

Nadal, a 14-time champion at major tournaments, also won an Olympic title in singles at the 2008 Beijing Games after defeating Chile’s Fernando González. This is the first medal for Lopez.

The silver for Mergea and Tecau is the first tennis medal for Romania in Olympic history.

The bronze went to Steve Johnson and Jack Sock of the United States. They beat the Canadian team of Daniel Nestor and Vasek Pospisil 6-2, 6-4 earlier Friday.

It was another busy day for Nadal, who won his singles quarterfinal in three sets earlier Friday.

Nadal does not play doubles often on tour, focusing on a singles career that has included stints at No. 1 in the rankings and a record nine French Open titles.

Of his nine previous doubles championships, four came with Lopez as his partner, although they hadn’t played even one match together this year until arriving in Brazil.

Lopez won his first Grand Slam doubles title at the French Open in June, pairing with Feliciano Lopez to beat American twins Bob and Mike Bryan in that final.

Bautista Agut Outlasts Steve Johnson to Reach Valencia Open Final

It wasn’t easy, but Roberto Bautista Agut has reached his sixth ATP World Tour final.

The 27-year-old Spanish player saved six match points before defeating American Steve Johnson 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (8) Saturday to reach the final of the Valencia Open.

Roberto Bautista Agut

Johnson had his first match point in the 12th game of the deciding set and then led 6-3 in the tiebreaker without being able to clinch the win.

Bautista Agut then set up his first match point with a backhand return winner and converted it when Johnson sent a backhand long.

He’ll next play Joao Sousa in the final after the Portuguese player beat Canada’s Vasek Pospisil 6-4, 6-4.

“It was an incredible match,” Bautista Augut said. “It was really tough and I was really close to losing. I think today I could win, I could lose — anything was possible on the court.”

Bautista Agut is hoping to clinch his first title of the year.

Cuevas Upsets Bernard Tomic to Reach Valencia Open Quarterfinals

Pablo Cuevas has pulled off a big upset…

The 29-year-old Uruguayan tennis player upset third-seeded Bernard Tomic 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 on Wednesday to reach the quarterfinals of the Valencia Open.

Pablo Cuevas

Cuevas landed just 38 percent of his first serves in the first set but saved six of the seven break points he faced in the second and then earned the only break in the decider to clinch the win in 1 hour, 48 minutes.

Vasek Pospisil also reached the quarterfinals by beating Britain’s Aljaz Bedene 6-3, 6-4, while American Steve Johnson set up a second-round meeting with second-seeded Feliciano Lopez by ousting Martin Klizan 6-3, 6-4.

Monaco Claims 300th ATP Tour-Level Win at Shenzhen Open

Juan Monaco is part of Argentina’s Magnificent Seven

The 30-year-old Argentine tennis player, a former World No. 10, claimed his 300th tour-level win on Wednesday at the Shenzhen Open as he battled past Vasek Pospisil 7-5, 2-6, 6-3 in just under two hours.

Juan Monaco

“It’s amazing. 300 victories is a lot,” said Monaco, who has eight career titles. “It’s a gift and it gives me a boost of power for my next matches. I’m really happy.”

Monaco has become the seventh Argentine player in the Open Era to win at least 300 singles matches on the ATP World Tour, joining an illustrious group that includes tennis legend Guillermo Vilas (928 wins), as well as David Nalbandian (383) and Juan Martin del Potro (312).

Additionally, Monaco becomes the 26th active member on the ATP World Tour (sixth this season) to win at least 300 career matches.

Monaco’s first tour-level win came on home soil in Buenos Aires in 2004 against Nicolas Lapentti. Speaking to ATPWorldTour.com, he hailed his greatest win as being his victory over Tommy Haas in the 2012 Hamburg final.

“I think the most important victory in my life was the match I won in Hamburg. It was really important for me because I knew before the match that if I won, I’d break into the Top 10. Also it was the final of an [ATP World Tour] 500, in Germany, against Tommy. It was incredible and the best day of my life for sure.”

Here’s a look at Monaco’s achievements By The Numbers

ARGENTINA’S 300 WINS CLUB

Player Match Wins No.
  1. Guillermo Vilas
929
  1. David Nalbandian
383
  1. Jose-Luis Clerc
375
  1. Juan Ignacio Chela
326
  1. Juan Martin del Potro
312
  1. Martin Jaime
301
  1. Juan Monaco
300

 

Falla Reaches the Final at the Claro Open Colombia

Alejandro Falla is one step closer to winning his first-ever ATP Tour title… And, he could earn it at home.

The 29-year-old Colombian tennis player, a Bogota resident, beat Canada’s Vasek Pospisil 6-7 (4), 6-3, 6-4, to advance to the Claro Open Colombia final.

Alejandro Falla

To reach the semifinals, Falla defeated the tournament’s top seed, Croatia’s Janko Tipsarevic.

The hometown favorite will face Croatia’s Ivo Karlovic on Sunday in the hard-court tournament at Centro de Alto Rendimiento in Bogota.

Karlovic beat second-seeded Kevin Anderson of South Africa 6-4, 6-7 (4), 6-3.

Falla Defeats Top Seed to Reach Claro Open Colombia Semifinals

Alejandro Falla is living up to his “hometown hero” designation…

The 29-year-old Colombian tennis pro defeated top-seated Janko Tipsarevic of Serbia 3-6, 6-2, 6-3 on Friday night to advance to the Claro Open Colombia semifinals in his native country.

Alejandro Falla

Falla, a Bogota resident, is seeking his first ATP Tour title

Falla will next face Canada’s Vasek Pospisil on Saturday in the hard-court tournament at Centro de Alto Rendimiento. Pospisil beat Italy’s Matteo Viola 3-6, 6-3, 6-2.

Falla, currently ranked No. 122 in the world, has yet to reach the finals in a tournament. He’s now just one win away from doing so, and on his home turf no less.

In the afternoon quarterfinals, second-seeded Kevin Anderson of South Africa beat sixth-seeded Santiago Giraldo of Colombia 6-3, 6-3, and Croatia’s Ivo Karlovic topped fifth-seeded Adrian Mannarino of France 7-6 (5), 7-6 (3).