Tag Archives: Alexander

Rafael Nadal addresses Italian Open injury scare after Alexander Zverev win – 'Dangerous'

Rafael Nadal labelled the Italian Open court as “dangerous” after he suffered a brief injury scare in his quarter-final win over Alexander Zverev at the Masters 1000 event in Rome on Friday.
Nadal got revenge on his Madrid Open loss to the German in the last eight last week and snapped a three-match losing streak against Zverev, winning 6-3, 6-4. 

But the 20-time Grand Slam champion, looking to add to his Barcelona Open triumph with victory in Rome ahead of the French Open at the end of the month, suffered a fall on his left shoulder in the first set against Zverev.

The Spaniard was in visible pain but recovered to see out the match comfortably enough in two hours at Foro Italico, saving all eight break points he faced in the second set.

His victory sets him up with a semi-final against American Reilly Opelka as he continues his bid for a 10th Italian Open triumph.

Speaking to Amazon Prime Video after beating Zverev, he said: “It was very clear what happened. Some lines are higher than the rest of the court so when you touch the line it’s dangerous. That’s it.”

The ‘King of Clay’ added: “Yeah I’m happy. I think I played a very solid match with not many mistakes, playing the way I have to. Important victory for me again against a great player.

“I’m happy. Semi-finals here in Rome one more time, confidence for myself and another victory against a great player so very pleased.

“I think I played more solid than in Madrid. At the same time conditions are different.

“In Madrid he was able to create a lot of damage with his serve and then with the first shot here, the situation is a little bit different, a little bit more normal conditions on the clay.

“I was able to control the game a little bit more than in Madrid where the ball was flying a lot and it was difficult to be under control. At the same time the main thing is that I played well.”

Pundit and former British No 1 Greg Rusedski reflected: “Sascha will definitely be kicking himself about those break point opportunities but the start of the match was huge.

“You don’t spot Rafa four-love. He’s not going to lose a set with that. The first set was so key.

“We were all concerned in the first set when Rafa fell down on his left shoulder, ‘Is he alright?’ There was a huge concern the way he grimaces on the ground but he was alright.

“He played the key points that much better.”

Daniela Hantuchova added: “He had to be really good because Sascha was like in Madrid playing his best tennis. Ten break point opportunities and only using one, he’s going be to disappointed.

“Other than that I thought he played brilliant. In a couple of the rallies I felt he should have gone for it a little earlier because the longer the rallies the more the advantage for Rafa but I thought it was such a quality match.

“Rafa will be pleased with that. He’s not going to lose to the same player twice in back-to-back weeks.”

Nadal has never played the big-serving Opelka before and knows he could take on Novak Djokovic in the final, if the Serbian beats Stefanos Tsitsipas in his quarter-final.

The fourth and final last-eight tie sees seventh seed Andrey Rublev take on Italian Lorenzo Sonego, who will have huge support from the local fans.

They will take on the winner of Djokovic vs Tsitsipas for the honour of facing either Nadal or Opelka in Sunday’s final.

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This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Sport Feed

Rafael Nadal fuming with Madrid Open ‘disaster’ after crushing Alexander Zverev defeat

Rafael Nadal was not a happy man after Alexander Zverev overcame the Spaniard in straight sets to reach the Madrid Open semi-finals on Friday afternoon. The 34-year-old has earned a formidable reputation on clay over the course of his career, but he was unable to prevent his German opponent from sealing a famous victory with a hugely impressive showing in the Mediterranean sun.
Zverev struggled to get going at the start of the match, with Nadal storming to a 4-2 advantage in the opening set, but recovered well to break his opposite number twice and claim the early spoils.

He followed up with a cultured showing in the second to keep the Manacor native at arm’s length, sealing a 6-4 6-4 win and booking his place in the last four of the Madrid Open.

Zverev will face reigning US Open champion Dominic Thiem in their semi-final clash on Saturday.

The result marked the 24-year-old’s third straight win over Nadal, who will see his lacklustre defeat as a crushing blow ahead of the French Open later this month.

The latter admitted after the match that he was hugely disappointed with his own performance, lamenting his capitulation in the first set that ultimately decided the momentum of the tie.

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“I was in control [of] the first six games,” explained Nadal. “When I served at 4-2, I made a disaster and then [had] another bad game.

“If that happens to you with one of the best in the world and with a court at this speed, it is difficult to keep up.

“Being better than him in the first set, I lost 6-4. It is a complicated thing to understand and more in me that sometimes I win sets [despite] being inferior to the rival.

“I have made unjustifiable mistakes when you didn’t have to do them. It is a difficult week for me.

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“I am climbing a ladder and today I have taken a step back. In the moments of truth I have done everything wrong.

“Serving for 5-3 I have made several mistakes, and then at 4-3 I missed a parallel forehand on break point. I’m sad about the defeat because it’s a missed opportunity.”

Nadal made a number of uncharacteristic errors during Friday’s match that allowed Zverev to take control and deservedly progress to the semi-finals in Madrid.

Although his performance was far from acceptable for a player of his standards, the Spaniard will be hopeful of clinching a 21st Grand Slam title at this year’s French Open.

Before travelling to Paris, Nadal will try his luck at the Italian Open in order to find some positive momentum.

He revealed in his post-match press conference that another trophy will be the target in Rome, underlining his desire to build on last month’s triumph in Barcelona.

“Where the clay season stands is very simple: quarters, champion and quarters,” said Nadal. “And now comes Rome. That’s all there is.

“I’ve been able to reach the quarter-finals in Monte-Carlo, win in Barcelona and reach the quarter-finals here, and I feel like I’ve been moving forward.

“We’ll see what happens in Rome. For me, the objective before Roland Garros is to go to Rome and win it. That’s the truth.”

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This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Sport Feed

‘He doesn’t seem right’: Concern for Alexander Povetkin as Russian warrior is knocked out in boxing rematch with Whyte (VIDEO)

There was no repeat of his stunning knockout of Dillian Whyte in the UK as Alexander Povetkin was rocked in Gibraltar by the Brit’s revenge mission, leading to concerns that the toughman looked out of sorts in a four-round defeat.

Russian hero Povetkin engaged in a slugfest with Whyte during the high-tempo brief fight, with the unusually ripped-looking Londoner intent on revenge for the shuddering finish that curtailed his title hopes in the fifth round of their first fight in August.

Although he is not known for his showmanship, Povetkin seemed somewhat behind from the outset, with many fans on social media suggesting that he appeared short of his concussive best.

The referee eventually called the fight off with seconds to go in the fourth as a reeling Povetkin absorbed a series of dangerous shots from Whyte, performing admirably to stay on his feet while looking increasingly unsteady before sinking against the ropes.

The result handed durable Povetkin only the second TKO defeat of his celebrated 40-fight career and meant he lost the WBC interim belt he picked up by beating Whyte.

His only previous premature defeat came against a man who also saw off Whyte, losing to multi-belt champion Anthony Joshua in 2018.

At 41, there will be inevitable questions about his future in the sport, as well as talk over whether he was affected by the Covid-19 infection that hospitalized him at the end of last year and delayed the rematch Whyte craved.

“I’m just sad I didn’t get it finished in the first round,” Whyte told Sky Sports afterwards, speaking at the makeshift venue where around 500 fans were allowed to watch under restrictions as a result of the pandemic.

“I could have. I tried, but he’s a tough guy. Obviously you have to be careful because last time I put him down twice, but I thought I could finish it early.”

Many expect Whyte to now turn his attentions to the likes of Joshua, but he is open to a trilogy fight with Povetkin.

“I’m ready to run it back if he wants it again,” he said. “If he wants the rematch… for the right money, I will fight him again because I shouldn’t have lost first time.

“I’m just annoyed: it’s one of those things, I’m mad at myself because I shouldn’t have lost the first time.

“All I had to do was be a bit smarter. I made a silly mistake and I paid for it. From the first round [tonight] I was on to him.

“I was tempted to go hell-for-leather but he’s an Olympic gold medalist, a former world champion and he’s only lost to Joshua and [former champion Wladimir] Klitschko.”
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Alexander Zverev will finally get Roger Federer wish after weeks of complaints

Ahead of the Miami Open, the 23-year-old added: “I know what I would change, but it doesn’t really matter because I’m not the one deciding.

“The ATP or whoever is in charge, I don’t think they really completely care about my opinion, to be honest.

“No offense to anyone, but I think there’s other players that they might listen to more, they might listen to their opinions more because they are just greater champions and they deserve to be listened to more.”

Zverev then asked the Miami Open press conference room if he should be ranked above Federer.

Alexander Zverev takes another shot at Roger Federer during Miami Open

Alexander Zverev complained about being behind Roger Federer in the world rankings last week and the problem is still bugging the towering German. Zverev reached the US Open final last year, where he lost to Dominic Thiem after surrendering a two-set lead.
The 23-year-old also made it through to the semi-finals of the Australian Open last month.

However, he remains at No 7 in the world rankings because the ATP changed their system due to coronavirus.

Points accumulated over 24 months are temporarily used to rank players, rather than the traditional 12-month period.

That means Federer, who had not played a competitive match for over a year, sits one place above Zverev.

Last week the youngster fumed: “I am the biggest Roger Federer fan, but he has not played for a year and is ranked higher than me.

“I played a Grand Slam final, a Masters 1000 final. The system is just a disaster.”

After arriving at the Miami Open, where he is one of the favourites to win the title following Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic’s withdrawal, Zverev refused to let the issue lie.

“I know what I would change, but it doesn’t really matter because I’m not the one deciding,” Zverev said.

“The ATP or whoever is in charge, I don’t think they really completely care about my opinion, to be honest.

“No offense to anyone, but I think there’s other players that they might listen to more, they might listen to their opinions more because they are just greater champions and they deserve to be listened to more.”

Zverev then asked the Miami Open press conference room if he should be ranked above Federer.

“I could ask you guys this back. Do you think I should be seven in the world with how I recently played?” he said.

“You think I should have not moved one spot up maybe? Maybe one spot, two spots, three spots?

“There should be some movement otherwise the rankings are just the same kind of. It’s very difficult to surpass someone.”

On the upcoming Masters 1000 event, Zverev said: “I’m looking forward to Miami.

“I’m looking forward to the upcoming weeks. I hope I can build on my recent form and continue to play even better.”

Alexander Zverev takes aim at Roger Federer following injury return – 'It's a disaster'

Alexander Zverev has launched a scathing attack on the revised ATP ranking system, claiming that he should be placed above Swiss legend Roger Federer as a result of the latter’s inactivity over the past year. The 39-year-old was sidelined for the vast majority of 2020 after undergoing two knee operations, returning to action earlier this month at the Qatar Open.
He won his first match in over 13 months against British No 1 Dan Evans, but was knocked out of the tournament by eventual winner Nikoloz Basilashvili at the quarter-final stage.

Despite his injury woes, a number of alterations to the ranking system have kept Federer in the top six, with Zverev one place behind him in seventh.

The ATP opted to freeze the rankings between March and August last year as a result of the disruption caused by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

In October, it was announced that the leaderboard would be reflective of the previous 24 months, as opposed to the usual 12-month format.

The temporary system, which has come under fire from fans, pundits and players alike, will be in place until August.

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Zverev has become the latest tennis star to lash out at the ATP for their handling of the situation, suggesting that Federer should not be ranked as highly as sixth after taking an enforced 13-month hiatus.

“I am the biggest Roger Federer fan, but he has not played for a year and is ranked higher than me,” said Zverev.

“I played a Grand Slam final, a Masters 1000 final. The system is just a disaster.”

The ranking changes have been widely criticised for carrying major implications with regards to lesser-fancied players boosting their hopes of competing at the Olympic Games in Tokyo later this year.

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Federer himself was recently the target of a wild claim by Dirk Hordorff, vice-president of the German Tennis Federation, who suggested that the Swiss star had a hand in altering the system to benefit his own position.

“Roger Federer simply changed the ranking method to protect himself, it is irresponsible and quite simply incorrect,” Hordorff told Tennisnet in December.

“In my opinion, he takes advantage of his position on the Players’ Council. It must nevertheless be said that without the change in ranking system, Roger Federer would not be in the top 50.”

Federer has only dropped three places since the changes came into effect, but would have been ranked at around 29th at the end of last year under the previous system.

He was scheduled to appear at this week’s Dubai Tennis Championships but withdrew last week after opting to focus on his training ahead of a return to the Grand Slam circuit.

The Swiss veteran admitted that he is not yet pain-free after struggling with a shoulder problem during the defeat to Basilashvili in Qatar.

“I honestly expected to feel this way,” Federer told reporters. “The whole shoulder, I feel the muscle pain around that. I didn’t expect that.

“I’d been serving the whole time but I think that comes with the pressure. In matches you just go that extra five per cent.

“Overall, the body is actually fine. I’m happy. I felt fine, a little stiff in the morning but that’s totally normal, I think.”