Ferrer ends near two-year wait for title

Viet Nam News Tennis BRISBANE — Spanish great Rafael Nadal will be hoping the season-opening Brisbane International gives him the chance to kick-start his career following an injury-plagued 2016. The 30-year-old has won 14 Grand Slam singles titles in a glittering career, the last coming at the French Open in 2014. But his 2016 campaign was ruined by a wrist injury that forced him out of Roland Garros after the second round and saw him miss Wimbledon. He then lost to Frenchman Lucas Pouille in the fourth round of the US Open and slipped to number nine in the world rankings at year end. But the Spaniard says he is fit again and insists he can still challenge for a Grand Slam title. "My idea is to stay here for a few more years and I feel enough motivation to be here," Nadal said after beating Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic 6-0, 6-4 at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship exhibition tournament in Abu Dhabi. "I believe that I can compete for important things in the next three years." Nadal will be making his first appearance at the Brisbane International, a major lead-up tournament to the Australian Open, and one that boasts a high-class field. "I’m ready to play in Brisbane — I hope to be 100 per cent ready to play at a good level," he said. "I feel I’m healthy enough, and I’m very excited to be coming to Brisbane for the first time in my life. I’m…... [read more]

Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal will clash in a French Open quarter-final blockbuster in one of the sport's most-eagerly awaited clashes of recent times. PARIS: Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal will clash in a French Open quarter-final blockbuster on Wednesday in one of the sport's most-eagerly awaited clashes of recent times. World number one and top seed Djokovic eased into the last eight on Monday with a 6-1, 6-2, 6-3 win over France's Richard Gasquet. Defending champion Nadal, seeking a 10th Roland Garros crown, saw off unseeded American Jack Sock, 6-3, 6-1, 5-7, 6-2. It was Nadal's 70th career win at the French Open against just one defeat and his 39th in a row at the tournament he has dominated for a decade. "It's the biggest challenge I can have on clay," said Djokovic, who needs a French Open title to complete the career Grand Slam. "He's lost just once here." On facing Djokovic, sixth seed Nadal said: "I will have to play my best tennis. He's the world number one and is having a great season. It'll be a complicated match." Nadal beat Djokovic in the 2012 and 2014 finals in Paris as well as the 2013 semi-finals and holds a career 23-20 edge in head-to-head meetings. But Djokovic is the overwhelming favourite to break that stranglehold this year after claiming a 26th successive win on Monday. The 28-year-old has lost just twice all year and has not been defeated since February. Against Gasquet, he was almost unplayable. He…... [read more]

Argentina's world number 46 Leonardo Mayer captured his first ATP title when he fought back to defeat top seeded Spaniard David Ferrer, 6-7 (3/7), 6-1, 7-6 (7/4) in the Hamburg final. Argentina's Leonardo Mayer (L, 1st) and Spain's David Ferrer (2nd) pose with their trophies after the final match of the ATP tennis tournament in Hamburg, northern Germany, July 20, 2014. (AFP/Daniel Reinhardt) HAMBURG: Argentina's world number 46 Leonardo Mayer captured his first ATP title on Sunday when he fought back to defeat top seeded Spaniard David Ferrer, 6-7 (3/7), 6-1, 7-6 (7/4) in the Hamburg final. Mayer becomes the lowest-ranked winner of an ATP World Tour 500 tournament since number 54 Radek Stepanek clinched the Washington title in 2011. The 27-year-old Mayer is enjoying one of the best spells of his career. Last month, the right-hander advanced to the fourth round at Wimbledon and made his first ATP World Tour final in Vina del Mar earlier this year. "I can't believe it," said Mayer. "I was able to do it against Ferrer, who is one of the best players on this surface. I'm really happy and it still hasn't sunk in that I won. "At the start of the match, I was a little tense. But I relaxed and started to play better. He also made some mistakes that got me back into the match. I tried to enjoy it and that's why I won, I think." The 32-year-old Ferrer was contesting his 44th tour-level title match and dropped…... [read more]

Rafael Nadal got his season underway with a 6-4, 6-4 loss to fellow Spaniard David Ferrer in the semi-finals of the Mubadala World Tennis Championship exhibition tournament. ABU DHABI: Rafael Nadal got his season underway with a 6-4, 6-4 loss to fellow Spaniard David Ferrer in the semi-finals of the Mubadala World Tennis Championship exhibition tournament in Abu Dhabi on Friday. It was the world number one's first match since losing in straight sets to Novak Djokovic in the final of the World Tour Finals in London on November 11. Playing ahead of the official ATP season-opener in nearby Doha next week, Ferrer looked the sharper from the start, breaking in the ninth game to take the first set. It was more of the same in the second set as Nadal struggled to find his range against an opponent who already had a match under his belt, having defeated Stanislas Wawrinka in the quarter-finals on Thursday. "I think, for a first match to play against a guy who has practised for a month and who played a match yesterday, on a very fast court, I was happy with how I played," Nadal told The National newspaper. "I had a few opportunities, break points, but he played well and he converted the chances better than me. I had a few mistakes but in my opinion I was better than I thought I would be right now." Ferrer goes on to play Djokovic, who was being watched by new coach Boris Becker,…... [read more]

Andy Murray's return to action after a three-month injury lay-off ended in a straight sets defeat to France's Jo-Wilfried Tsonga at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship on Thursday. ABU DHABI: Andy Murray's return to action after a three-month injury lay-off ended in a straight sets defeat to France's Jo-Wilfried Tsonga at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship on Thursday. The Wimbledon champion and world number four went down 7-5, 6-3 to 10th-ranked Tsonga on the opening day of the three-day exhibition tournament. "The courts here are very fast and you have to react quickly," said 26-year-old Murray, who underwent back surgery in September. "Jo was sharper than me today, he served very well. "It's always good fun here. It's great preparation for the season as you have to play against the best in the world. "I have played some of my best tennis in the Middle East." Murray said he was happy with his performance and admitted it will take time to return to peak form. "I moved well in the first set, especially once I got into the rallies," he told The National newspaper. "I didn't feel slow at all. In the second I slowed down slightly, but that's something that is going to get better by playing matches. I can't expect to feel great for long periods of matches straightaway. "But it was a good workout. You want to play your best, but you need to be realistic and patient. I will play better tomorrow than I did today.…... [read more]

Rafael Nadal became the first man to win eight titles at the same Grand Slam tournament when he beat fellow Spaniard David Ferrer in the French Open final Sunday, 6-3, 6-2, 6-3.Nadal broke the men's record for match wins at Roland Garros, where he improved to 59-1, with his lone defeat against Robin Soderling in the fourth round in 2009. For fans enthralled by Nadal's semifinal victory over top-ranked Novak Djokovic, Sunday's final may have seemed anticlimactic. But not for the champion, who hit a fallaway forehand winner on championship point, then tumbled to the clay he loves and covered his face to hide his emotions. Nadal's path to the Roland Garros title was more arduous than usual. He fell behind in each of his first three matches and needed a fifth-set comeback to beat Djokovic. And the latest title was especially sweet for the Spaniard because of his comeback after a seven-month layoff because of knee trouble. Since returning in February, he's 43-2 with seven titles in nine tournaments, and he has won his past 22 matches. With his 12th Grand Slam title, Nadal moved into a tie for third place with Roy Emerson behind Roger Federer's 17 and Pete Sampras' 14. Protesters tried to delay the final in the second set. One man jumped onto the court near Nadal with a fiery flare spurting white smoke, and security personnel pushed the protester to the ground and quickly dragged him away. Other protesters also brandishing red flares climbed to…... [read more]

Five-time champion Serena Williams wasted no time booking her berth in the WTA Miami final by steamrolling Agnieszka Radwanska 6-0, 6-3 to set up a title clash with third seed Maria Sharapova. Russia's Sharapova, a four-time runner-up in Miami, was equally dominant as the newly-crowned Indian Wells winner hammered Jelena Jankovic 6-2, 6-1 in the other semi-final on Thursday. "Today my game wasn't great but I had to keep trying," Williams said. "I am excited because I am in the final. "My family and friends are here so I have to do well. I can't let my friends down." The 31-year-old Williams blasted 12 aces and won 83 per cent of her first serves in the 65-minute match against the fourth-seeded Radwanska of Poland. Williams is bidding to become just the fourth woman in the modern era to win the same event six times, joining Chris Evert, Steffi Graf and Martina Navratilova. Evert is the only player over the age of 30 to win the title, doing so at the age of 31 years, two months in 1986. "She (Sharapova) is playing so well. It will be a great match. We always have great matches," Williams said of facing Sharapova. Sharapova is in her fifth final in quest of her first Miami title. "It would mean so much to me," Sharapova said. "The fans give me so much support here. I love this city. It was the first city I came to in this country when I was a little…... [read more]

Third-seeded Spaniard David Ferrer calmed his early nerves and battled back for a three-set victory over Austrian veteran Jurgen Melzer on Wednesday to reach the semi-finals of the Miami ATP Masters. Ferrer defeated the unseeded Melzer 4-6, 6-3, 6-0 and will face either French 11th seed Gilles Simon or giant-killer Tommy Haas of Germany for a place in the title match. Haas, 34 years old and seeded 15th, toppled world No. 1 and two-time defending champion Novak Djokovic in straight sets on Tuesday to book his quarter-final berth. Djokovic's ouster left Ferrer as the highest seed remaining in the top half of the men's draw, and the Spaniard probably felt the pressure of that status in the first set against Melzer. Ferrer grabbed a quick break for a 2-0 lead, but the Austrian left-hander reeled off the next five games to serve for the set at 5-2. Ferrer gained another break, and held to extend the set, but Melzer fended off two break points in the 10th game to pocket the set. "Well, I started good with 2-0 up, but he played very good and he played with great power with his shots," Ferrer said. "And when he broke me, I played not so good. "I was a little bit nervous in the first set and part of the second, but I tried to fight every point, to be focused, and I had a good feeling in the end of the second set and of course in the third one."…... [read more]

Rafael Nadal's injury comeback gathered pace Thursday as the 11-time Grand Slam champion reached the semi-finals of the Mexican Open and inched closer to a possible title showdown with fellow Spaniard David Ferrer. Nadal, playing his third tournament in four weeks after a seven-month injury layoff, beat Argentina's Leonardo Mayer 6-1, 7-5 in the quarters and will now play Nicolas Almagro. Ferrer, the top seed and three-time defending champion whose world number four ranking puts him one spot higher than Nadal, breezed past Italy's Paolo Lorenzi 6-3, 6-1 to book a semi-final clash with Fabio Fognini. The tournament is one of three Latin American clay court events Nadal tabbed for his comeback from a left knee injury. He opened with a runner-up finish at Vina del Mar -- his first tournament since a surprise second-round exit at Wimbledon in June -- and followed up by lifting the title in Sao Paulo two weeks ago. And he has insisted this week that he is still planning to play the upcoming hard court Masters Series events at Indian Wells and Miami, although he continues to experience pain in his knee. Nadal won the first set against Mayer with relative ease, but the Argentine stepped it up in the second, and had two break chances against Nadal in the third game that he was unable to convert. Mayer was also steadier on his own serve in the second frame, with Nadal unable to gain a chance to break until the 10th game, when…... [read more]

World number four Rafa Nadal has confirmed he will return to competitive action at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship in Abu Dhabi at the end of December after six months out with a knee injury. Grand Slam victories after an interview with Reuters in Madrid, September 18, 2012. Photo: REUTERS The 11-times grand-slam singles champion has not competed since a shock defeat to Czech Lukas Rosol in the second round at Wimbledon in June. The Spaniard was later diagnosed with a partial tear of the patella tendon and an inflammation in his left knee and was unable to defend his Olympic title at the London Games. He also missed the U.S. Open and the season-ending World Tour championships before returning to the practice court on November 20. "Can't wait to get back on court in Abu Dhabi at the end of the month," the 26-year-old wrote on his Facebook page on Tuesday. "I won the Mubadala World Tennis Championship in 2010 and 2011," he added. "Would love to get my hands on the trophy again this year!" Nadal is due to play either world number three Andy Murray of Britain or ninth-seeded Serbian Janko Tipsarevic on December 28 at the event in Abu Dhabi, which is not part of the ATP Tour. World number one Novak Djokovic of Serbia, fifth-ranked Spaniard David Ferrer and number six Tomas Berdych of Czech Republic are also taking part. Nadal said this month he was hoping to be back to full fitness in time…... [read more]

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