Rafael Nadal Routs Novak Djokovic to Win French Open for Record-Tying 20th Men’s Grand Slam Title

Rafael Nadal has lived to slay on clay another day…

The 34-year-old Spanish tennis star produced a nearly flawless performance against World. No. 1 Novak Djokovic in the French Open final on Sunday to tie Roger Federer with 20 Grand Slam titles.

Rafael Nadal

 

Nadal equaled long-time rival Federer for the most major singles tennis championships won by a man and added to his own record at Roland Garros with No. 13 on the red clay, courtesy of a surprisingly dominant 6-0, 6-2, 7-5 victory over Djokovic.

“What you are doing in this court is unbelievable. Not just this court — throughout your entire career, you’ve been a great champion,” Djokovic told Nadal during the trophy presentation. “Today you showed why you are King of the Clay.”

Rafael NadalWhen Nadal ended it with an ace, he dropped to his knees, smiled widely and pumped his arms. It’s the fourth time he has won his favorite tournament without ceding a set.

“The love story that I have with this city, and with this court, is unforgettable,” Nadal said.

He deflected a question during the on-court post-match interview about catching Federer, saying his focus remained squarely on the French Open.

“[To] win here means everything to me, no? It’s not the moment, honestly … [to] think today about the 20th,” Nadal said. “Roland Garros means everything to me. I spent, here, the most important moments — or most of the most important moments — in my tennis career, no doubt about that.”

Nadal, No. 2 in the rankings, improved to 100-2 at the French Open, including a combined 26-0 in semifinals and finals, and picked up his fourth consecutive title in Paris. He previously put together streaks of four French Open championships from 2005 to ’08, then five in a row from 2010 to ’14, to go alongside his four trophies at the US Open, two at Wimbledon and one at the Australian Open.

Nadal is now even with Federer for the first time since each man had zero Slams to his name in 2003. Federer’s first arrived at Wimbledon that year; Nadal, naturally, earned his first in France in 2005, by which point he trailed 4-0.

Federer reacted to Nadal’s win on Twitter, congratulating his “greatest rival.”

“I have always had the utmost respect for my friend Rafa as a person and as a champion,” Federer said in his post. “As my greatest rival over many years, I believe we have pushed each other to become better players. Therefore, it is a true honor for me to congratulate him on his 20th Grand Slam victory.

“… I hope 20 is just another step on the continuing journey for both of us. Well done, Rafa. You deserve it.”

Nadal is the oldest French Open champion since 1972, and the more than 15 years between his first and most recent Grand Slam titles is the longest such span for a man.

Nadia Podoroska Becomes First Qualifier in Open Era to Reach French Open Women’s Semifinals

Nadia Podoroska continues to surprise while making history at Roland Garros

The 23-year-old Argentine tennis player knocked out Elina Svitolina, the French Open‘s third seed on Tuesday, becoming the first qualifier to reach the women’s semifinals at the French tournament in the Open era.

Podoroska threw her racket in the air, tilted her head back and pumped both fists after stopping Svitolina from reaching a third semifinal in her past four Grand Slam tournaments.

Ranked 131st in the world, Podoroska had never won a main draw Grand Slam match before last week, and she could hardly believe it when she won 6-2, 6-4 on Court Philippe Chatrier.

Podoroska is only the third female qualifier to get to the semifinals at any major tournament in the Open era, which began in 1968, and the first since Alexandra Stevenson at Wimbledon in 1999.

Afterward, she was asked whether she was pinching herself to make sure it wasn’t all just a dream.

“No,” Podoroska replied. “I don’t want to wake up.”

Serving at 5-4 down, Svitolina saved two match points, the second with an audacious slice at the net to end a 27-shot rally.

But on the third match point, Podoroska hit a crisp forehand winner and then chucked her racket up toward the blue sky.

Podoroska, who is from the same city in Argentina as soccer superstar Lionel Messi, said she considered quitting tennis altogether a couple of years ago after “too many injuries,” including to her right wrist.

She was off the tour for eight months; her ranking dropped; she didn’t have enough money to travel to tournaments; she split with a coach she’d been working with for a decade.

“I didn’t know what to do,” Podoroska said.

She stuck with it, though, and now has a new team around her, based in Spain. And, by far, the best results of her career.

Svitolina, though, blamed herself for this outcome.

“Lots of things were not going my way,” Svitolina said. “I was not 100 percent mentally on it today, and that was really disappointing.”

In the semifinals, Podoroska will face unseeded 19-year-old Iga Swiatek.

Garbine Muguruza Defeats Simona Halep to Reach First Australian Open Final

Garbine Muguruzais one win away from her third Grand Slamtitle…

In a battle of former World No. 1 players, the 26-year-old Spanish-Venezuelan tennis playerbeat No. 4 seed Simona Halepin straight sets on Thursday to reach the Australian Openfinal for the first time.

Garbine Muguruza

Muguruza’s 7-6 (8), 7-5 victory sends her to the title match against 14th-seeded Sofia Keninof the United States. Kenin beat No. 1 Ash Barty7-6 (6), 7-5.

Muguruza, unseeded at Melbourne Park, fended off four set points in the opener of her semifinal and wound up defeating Halep in a matchup of players who’ve won Wimbledonand the French Openbut not the Australian Open.

It was a streaky contest: Muguruza led 5-3 in the first set before Halep took 15 of 17 points to earn a pair of set points. Muguruza then took seven consecutive points. And so on, until Halep put a shot in the net to relinquish that set, then smashed her racket and sat on the sideline, shaking her head.

“I wasn’t thinking I was down,” Muguruza said. “You keep going.”Muguruza may have won the French Open in 2016 and Wimbledon in 2017, but she came to Melbourne Park as an unseeded player at a Grand Slam tournament for the first time in six years.

Garbine Muguruza Reaches First-Ever Australian Open Semifinals

Garbine Muguruzais back in a Grand Slamsemifinal…

The 26-year-old Spanish-Venezuelan tennis player and former world No. 1 defeated No. 30 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 7-5, 6-3 to reach the semifinals at the Australian Open for the first time in her career.

Garbine Muguruza

Muguruza, a two-time Grand Slam champion, took a little more than 1 1/2 hours to eliminate Pavlyuchenkova, with both players struggling with their serves with the sun shining brightly at one end. 

It’s Muruguza’s first spot in a Grand Slamsemifinal since Roland Garrosin ’18.

After struggling for form following her 2017 Wimbledontriumph, Muguruza has looked like a player reborn at Melbourne Parksince reuniting with former coach Conchita Martinez.

Last November, Muguruza climbed Mount Kilimanjaro, and got away from it all. She didn’t want to dwell on two relatively barren seasons since her Wimbledon win in 2017.

Her time on the mountain was “definitely was a life-changing experience,” Murgurza said, although she couldn’t explain how because it’s too complicated in a tournament environment.

“But it definitely had an impact on me, not as a tennis player, but just in general,” she said. “Being through such a tough challenge, I think, yeah, did many things inside of me.”

She’ll next face Simona Halep, both have already won at Wimbledon and the French Openand have been ranked No. 1, and are bidding for their first Grand Slam title on a hard court.

Conchita Martinez Elected to International Tennis Hall of Fame

Conchita Martinezhas earned her placed among tennis’ greats…

The 47-year-old Spanish former professional tennis player has been elected to the International Tennis Hall of Fame.

Conchita Martinez



The Class of 2020 was announced Tuesday at the Australian Open, where Martinez and fellow honoree Goran Ivanisevic are coaching players who reached the quarterfinals.

Martinez, a baseliner, was the first Spanish player to win the women’s singles title at Wimbledon, where she beat Martina Navratilovain the 1994 final. 

Martínez was also the singles runner-up at the 1998 Australian Open and the 2000 French Open. She reached a highest world ranking of No. 2 in October 1995 and finished the season in the Top 10 for nine years. Martínez won 33 singles and 13 doubles titles during her 18-year career, as well as three Olympic medals.

The induction ceremony will be July 18 in Newport, Rhode Island, where the Hall is located.

Ivanisevic helps coach Novak Djokovic, while Martinez works with Garbine Muguruza.

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.

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 Joins the ATP Player Council

Rafael Nadal is heading to the board room…

The 33-year-old Spanish tennis star is joining Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer on the ATP Player Council, bringing the Big Three together to reshape a board that has been roiled by conflict.

Rafael Nadal

The governing body of men’s tennis announced Thursday that Federer and Nadal were elected along with doubles specialist Jurgen Melzer. They will fill spots vacated after Robin HaaseJamie Murray and Sergiy Stakhovsky resigned from the board before Wimbledon.

Djokovic addressed his frustration with the player council in pre-tournament comments at Wimbledon. He said the ATP‘s governance structure prevented players from making “significant changes.” Stan Wawrinka has also criticized the ATP’s leadership, saying in a published letter that it was plagued by “political chaos” and “numerous conflicts of interest.”

The power struggle on the council included its decision in March not to renew the contract of ATP CEO Chris Kermode, who has clashed with Djokovic. Board member Justin Gimelstob resigned after he was sentenced to probation in April for attacking a former friend in Los Angeles.

Former ATP executive Weller Evansfilled Gimelstob’s seat. The position of coaches’ representative on the council remains open.

Juan Sebastian Cabal & Robert Farah Become First Colombian Players to Win a Grand Slam Men’s Doubles Title at Wimbledon

Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah are coming home as heroes…

In their 31st Grand Slam appearance as a team, the 33-year-old Colombian tennis player and his 32-year-old compatriot became the first Colombian players to win a Grand Slam men’s doubles title on Saturday at Wimbledon.

Juan Sebastian Cabal & Robert Farah

Cabal and Farah,the second seeds at the All England Club, defeated Nicolas Mahut and Edouard Roger-Vasselin 6-7(5), 7-6(5), 7-6(6), 6-7(5), 6-3 to lift their first major trophy after four hours and 57 minutes, extending their tour-level winning streak to 10 matches. 

Before claiming their maiden grass-court tour-level title at the Nature Valley International last month, Cabal and Farah had never earned more than two straight tour-level match wins on the surface as a team.

“For Colombia, it’s huge… We just won Wimbledon for Colombia,” said Cabal. “It’s huge. I don’t know how to explain it, but it’s huge for our country. I hope everybody enjoys us.”

The Colombian pairing, which improves to 34-10 this season, has now clinched four tour-level crowns this season following title runs in BarcelonaRomeand Eastbourne

Cabal and Farah own 15 team trophies from 31 championship matches.

Cabal and Farah receive 2000 ATP DoublesRanking points and split £540,000 in prize money. 

“To do this for Colombia… it’s just crazy. I mean, to be part of it is just amazing,” said Cabal.