Alex de Minaur Earns First Win Over Rafael Nadal in United Cup Play

Alex de Minaur has finally claimed a win against a tennis legend…

For the first time in his career, the 23-year-old Uruguayan & Spanish Australian professional tennis player defeated Rafael Nadal at the United Cup mixed team tournament Monday, as concerns about the world No. 2’s early-season form grew ahead of his Australian Open title defense.

Alex de Minaur, It was de Minaur’s first win against Nadal in four attempts.

Nadal showed glimpses of brilliance during his opening loss to Cameron Norrie following his return to action after an injury-plagued 2022 season, and he looked set to respond against de Minaur, only to fall again as de Minaur won 3-6, 6-1, 7-5.

Nadal, a 22-time Grand Slam champion, has now won only one of his past seven matches on the ATP tour — a dead rubber round-robin stage victory over Casper Ruud at the ATP Finals. His other losses have come against Felix Auger-AliassimeTaylor FritzTommy Paul and Frances Tiafoe.

Nadal will next be in action at the season’s first Grand Slam at Melbourne Park starting January 16, giving him time to iron out flaws.

Spain and Australia not being in contention for the next stage of the inaugural $15 million prize money event had dulled the edge of their meeting slightly, and de Minaur’s quest for his first win over Nadal looked set to continue as he fell behind.

However, he rallied from a set and a break down to secure the biggest victory of his career as Nadal surrendered his serve in the 11th game and de Minaur closed out the victory to spark emotional scenes and delight the raucous Sydney fans.

Carlos Alcaraz Defeats Sebastian Korda to Claim Next Gen ATP Finals Title

Carlos Alcaraz has ended his brilliant season with a bang…

The 18-year-old Spanish tennis player defeated Sebastian Korda of the United States to win the Next Gen ATP Finals on Saturday.

Carlos AlcarazThe top-seeded Alcaraz seemed to take a while to find his proper rhythm and had to save a number of break points in his first two service games. But he found his stride there was no turning back as he saw off Korda 4-3 (5), 4-2, 4-2 in 82 minutes.

Alcaraz had seen two championship points saved by Korda in the fifth game of the third set but that only delayed the inevitable as he won on his third, with a smash at the net.

The victory made Alcaraz the youngest player to earn 32 tour-level wins in a season since Andrei Medvedev went 32-11 in 1992 when he was 18.

Alcaraz has moved more than 100 places up the rankings this season to a career-high No. 32 and reached the U.S. Open quarterfinals.

Both Korda and Alcaraz had won all four of their matches in the tournament for the top 21-and-under players on the ATP Tour. Alcaraz had only dropped one set all week – in the third group game, after he had already secured a semifinal spot.

The ATP Finals will also be in Italy, in Turin next week.

There are different rules at the Next Gen tournament, including on-court coaching, no-Ad scoring, medical timeout limits, and Hawk-Eye making all the line calls.

The most drastic change is the shorter first-to-four set, with a tiebreaker at 3-3.

Carlos Alcaraz Advances to Final at This Year’s Next Gen ATP Finals

Carlos Alcaraz is one win away from proving he’s nex-gen ready…

The 18-year-old Spanish tennis player defeated Argentina’s Sebastian Baez on Friday to reach the final round at the Next Gen ATP Finals.

Carlos Alcaraz Alcaraz dominated from the start in semifinal to win 4-2, 4-1, 4-2 in just 62 minutes.

The only time Alcaraz appeared to struggle was in the penultimate game of the match, when he faced three break points. But he responded with three serves of speeds over 133 mph – including two aces.

He’ll next face American Sebatian Korda, who beat compatriot Brandon Nakashima in five sets on Friday to become the first American to reach the final at the Next Gen ATP Finals.

Both Korda and Alcaraz won all three of their matches in the round-robin group stage.

It is the fourth edition of the tournament in Milan for the top 21-and-under players on the ATP Tour. It was canceled last year because of the coronavirus pandemic. The ATP Finals will also be in Italy, in Turin next week.

There are different rules at the Next Gen tournament, including on-court coaching, no-Ad scoring, medical timeout limits, and Hawk-Eye making all the line calls.

The most drastic change is the shorter first-to-four set, with a tiebreaker at 3-3.

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.

Rafael Nadal Wins Opening Group Match at ATP Finals

Rafael Nadal has started his ATP Finals experience on a winning note…

The 34-year-old Spanish tennis star made easy work of Andrey Rublev in Sunday’s late match, beating the Russian 6-3, 6-4 in just 1 hour, 17 minutes inside a largely empty O2 Arena.

Rafael Nadal

Nadal is hoping to cap off a season in which he earned his record-equaling 20th Grand Slam title and 1,000th match win on tour by capturing his first-ever trophy at the ATP Finals. He has qualified for the season-ending event for a record 16 straight years, but has lost in the final twice and missed six editions because of injuries.

Nadal steered the evening match in his direction from the start, losing just five points on his serve in the first set. He broke for a 4-2 lead when Rublev sent a shot long, and the Russian then slammed his racket into the ground in frustration.

Rublev entered the tournament as one of the hottest players on tour, having won five titles this season, but looked unsettled against Nadal and continuously gesticulated and shouted to himself between points.

Nadal broke in the opening game of the second set as well and never faced a break point of his own. He served out the win on his second match point when Rublev’s return sailed long.

This is the 12th and last year that the ATP Finals is played at the 02 Arena before moving to Turin, Italy, next year. Because of the coronavirus pandemic there are no fans inside the 20,000-capacity venue this time — meaning the normally raucous atmosphere has been replaced by an eerie silence interrupted only by muted applause from the players’ boxes between points.

There are also no line judges, as the tournament is using electronic line calling for the first time. The system means players can no longer challenge whether a ball was in or out as those calls get made automatically. However, they can request a video review for other disputed situations, such as double bounces.

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’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.

Roberto Bautista Agut Defeats Guido Pella at Wimbledon to Earn a Spot in His First Grand Slam Semifinal

It’s a special first for Roberto Bautista Agut… 

The 31-year-old Spanish tennis player recovered from a third-set lapse at Wimbledon on Wednesday to book a place in his first Grand Slam championship semifinal.

Roberto Bautista Agut

Bautista Agut, the No. 23 seed, lost his first set, but won 7-5, 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 over Guido Pella, the No. 26 seed, in three hours and eight minutes on No. 1 Courtat the All England Club.

“I think I played a great tournament,” said Bautista Agut. “I was playing very good in the first week of the tournament. And today, it was a very difficult match. Guido Pella is a good opponent, has won really good matches this week [and] he was really tough to beat… I’m very happy.”

Bautista Agut is the sixth Spanish man to reach the semifinals at The Championships, following in the footsteps of Manuel Alonso-Areyzaga (1921), Manuel Santana (1963, 1966), Andres Gimeno (1970), Manuel Orantes (1972) and Rafael Nadal (2006-08, 2010-11, 2018).

Bautista Agut will now prepare to meet ATPWorld No. 1 and four-time champion Novak Djokovic on Friday for a place in the Wimbledon final. 

By improving to a 28-11 match record in 2019 with a place in the Wimbledon semi-finals, Bautista Agut moves up to seventh position in the ATP Race To London for one of eight spots at the prestigious ATP Finals, to be held at The O2in London from 10-17 November. 

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.

Juan Martin del Potro Wins Stockholm Open for Second Straight Year

The drought has ended for Juan Martin del Potro

The 29-year-old Argentinean tennis star has won the Stockholm Open for the second consecutive year — his first ATP title since his success at the Swedish tournament last year.

Juan Martin del Potro

del Potro produced a ruthless performance to beat top seed Grigor Dimitrov 6-4, 6-2 at The Royal Tennis Hall and help his case in making the ATP Finals in London.

del Potro broke Dimitrov three times over the course of an impressive display — saving all four of the break points Dimitrov created to keep his own serve unbroken throughout.

In the wake of clinching his 20th career ATP title, fourth seed del Potro said: “I played the best match of the week against Grigor today. Unlucky for that, sorry Grigor.

“It’s amazing to come back and hold this big trophy and hopefully I can come next year as well.

“I love to be in Stockholm. I like the city a lot. I like the Swedish people and you treated me very, very good this week and I would like to thank everyone.”