Rafael Nadal Outlasts Pedro Cachin to Reach Round of 16 at Madrid Open

Rafael Nadal’s optimism is on the rise…

After spending more than three hours on court and earning a hard-fought win, the 37-year-old Spanish professional tennis star is feeling optimistic.

Rafael NadalNadal’s body withstood its toughest test yet at the Madrid Open as he needed three sets to get past 91st-ranked Pedro Cachin on Monday.

Nadal didn’t show any signs of physical limitations as he won 6-1, 6-7 (5), 6-3 to make it to the round of 16 at the clay-court tournament where he is the record five-time champion.

“It’s positive, now I don’t feel that something went wrong on my body, but I need to wait until tomorrow, being 100% honest,” he said. “I am trying my best to keep dreaming. Tomorrow is another day to keep dreaming. To keep playing in front of this amazing crowd and, to me, that means everything.”

Nadal will next face 31st-ranked Jiri Lehecka.

He said he needs “to find a way to be able to play days in a row and still be competitive.”

“I don’t know if I am in that moment yet,” the 22-time Grand Slam champion said. “Let’s see what can happen tomorrow. But I going to try. I going to do the things the right way to try to be ready for tomorrow.”

Nadal is trying to get in shape for next month’s French Open. Since his latest injury layoff, he’s had two matches in Barcelona and was pessimistic about his physical condition after arriving in Madrid. But he’s won three more times in the capital.

Nadal again looked comfortable early on against Cachin. The Argentine fought back in the second set but was broken twice while serving for the set. Cachin eventually prevailed in the tiebreaker.

Nadal didn’t look as loose in the final set, but did look tired. He wasn’t as consistent with his shots but picked up three breaks to seal the victory to the delight of the local crowd in the Caja Magica.

“I took more risks in the third set, but it’s hard after so many months without competing,” Nadal said. “I hadn’t played a match like this in a long time. Let’s see how it goes tomorrow. I don’t know how I’m going to wake up. But I’m already happy for having won three matches in a row.”

Cachin asked for Nadal’s shirt after congratulating him at the net, and received the gift moments later

Alex de Minaur Stuns Novak Djokovic to Help Australia Advance to Semifinals at United Cup

Alex de Minaur has pulled off a major upset…

The 24-year-old Uruguayan & Spanish Australian tennis player used a superb defense and a dominant serve to beat Novak Djokovic 6-4, 6-4 in the quarterfinals of the United Cup on Wednesday.

Alex de Minaur Djokovic continued to struggle with his wrist injury as Australia stunned Serbia with a 3-0 win.

Djokovic, who has had a problem with his right wrist during the tournament, found a way past Jiri Lehecka in Serbia’s previous Group E match against the Czech Republic.

But Djokovic, ranked No. 1 in the world, was clearly in discomfort against world No. 12 de Minaur and was twice treated by the physio during the first set.

It was Djokovic’s first defeat in Australia since he lost his quarterfinal at the Australian Open in 2018.

Ajla Tomljanovic followed up by giving Australia an unassailable 2-0 lead when she won 6-1, 6-1 against Natalija Stevanovic, who had stepped in for Olga DanilovicMatthew Ebden and Storm Hunter then completed the rout by combining for a 6-3, 6-3 triumph over Serbian mixed doubles duo Dejana Radanovic and Nikola Ćaćić.

“It’s extra special,” de Minaur said as Australia sealed its maiden appearance in the semifinals. “Novak is an unbelievable competitor and what he’s done for the sport is pretty special. It feels surreal, amazing, and I’m very happy to do it here in Perth.

“When you go up against Novak you have to go out and enjoy it and back yourself, and no matter what keep fighting until the end. Today was my day and I’m happy that I was able to get the win.”

Sebastian Baez Defeats Jiri Lehecka to Claim Winston-Salem Open Title

Sebastian Baez’s winning streak continues…

The 22-year-old Argentine tennis player produced a squeaky clean performance Saturday to win the Winston-Salem Open and extend his winning streak to 10 matches after also claiming the ATP 250 event in Kitzbühel three weeks ago.

Sebastian Baez Baez, the tournament’s sixth seed, needed just one hour, 34 minutes to defeat fifth seed Jiri Lehecka 6-4, 6-3 and capture his first tour-level title on hard courts and third trophy of the season.

He’s now the first Argentine to win three titles in a season since Juan Martin del Potro (4) in 2013.

Despite a marathon three-hour, 19-minute semifinal against Borna Coric on Friday night, Baez showed no signs of fatigue as he stayed patient in baseline rallies and struck the ball cleanly. Lehecka, who was competing in his first tour-level final, advanced to the title match after receiving a walkover from third seed Sebastian Korda, who suffered an ankle injury in the quarterfinals.

A pivotal moment came when Baez saved four break points when serving at 5-4 to close a 54-minute opening set. Baez stayed focussed despite trailing by a break early in both sets and won four consecutive games from 0-2 in the second.

Sebastian Baez “[My coach told me] to keep going, try and stay focused on good things,” Baez said. “It was just a bad start, but happy with the result and all of this week.”

Lehecka tried to move forward in the latter stages of the match to apply pressure on the World No. 42, but lacked the consistency needed to down a watertight Baez, who thrilled the crowd with several passing shots to improve to 2-0 in his ATPHead2Head series with the Czech.

Following his triumph, Baez will move to No. 32 in the ATP Rankings on Monday, just two spots shy of tying his career-high. He’ll next aim to maintain his form at the US Open, where he opens against 25th seed Coric.

“It’s nice to have that confidence, but now I have to think about my recovery after this week, and then after I will think about the US Open,” Baez said. “I have a few days to recover and to focus again on a new tournament.”