ATP

Tsitsipas eases through as seeds shine at Western & Southern Open

By Sports Desk August 23, 2020

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  • Australian Open chief Tiley confident Melbourne will play host in 2022 Australian Open chief Tiley confident Melbourne will play host in 2022

    Australian Open chief Craig Tiley is confident tennis' season-opening grand slam will take place in Melbourne next year despite suggestions the tournament may be played overseas.

    The federal government in Australia is sticking to predictions that international borders will be closed until at least the middle of 2022, leaving the feasibility of hosting the Australian Open shrouded in doubt.

    It has even been suggested in a recent ABC report that alternative destinations are being explored, with Dubai and Doha said to be being considered as potential venues.

    But Tiley, speaking to RSN, believes the timeline on opening up borders will be altered in time for the tournament, which traditionally takes place in January.

    "We're talking about two weeks of quarantine and the borders remaining closed until the middle of next year, but I'm an optimist," Tiley said.

    "I think that's going to be too long. I think it's going to be brought forward because we're going to get on top of it with the vaccines and how we manage the virus.

    "If we don't, we're going to be extremely challenged."

    This year's tournament was blighted by logistical issues, with several players forced into quarantine after being exposed to coronavirus on chartered flights into Australia, while just days before the event was due to begin more than 500 players and officials were made to isolate after a worker at an Australian Open quarantine hotel tested positive for COVID-19.

    Novak Djokovic, the men's singles champion in Melbourne, was chief among those critical of the conditions players had to endure.

    "The players have been travelling around the world in a bubble so there's no place in the world anymore where there's quarantine requirements for them and so they're used to certain conditions," Tiley added.

    "We [in Australia] still have this 14-day requirement but of course the positive is we don't have any community transmission of the virus."

  • Nadal knows 'how to handle the pressure' after claiming 10th Internazionali d'Italia title Nadal knows 'how to handle the pressure' after claiming 10th Internazionali d'Italia title

    Rafael Nadal believes his ability to handle pressure was key to a record-extending 10th Internazionali d'Italia win on Sunday.

    Nadal overcame Novak Djokovic 7-5 1-6 6-3 to seal his first Masters 1000 triumph of the year, while improving to 4-2 in the finals he has played against the Serbian at the Foro Italico venue in Rome.

    Victory also gave Nadal a 36th Masters 1000 crown, moving him level with Djokovic's all-time record since the series was established in 1990.

    The 34-year-old king of clay-court tennis was delighted to get his hands on the trophy for a 10th time and said there has been no let-up in his motivation to succeed.

    "It's amazing to have the trophy with me again, one more time here in Rome," Nadal said.

    "I really wanted this 10th here in Rome. After achieving 10 at Roland Garros, 10 in Monte Carlo, 10 in Barcelona, I really wanted this one. It's a super important tournament for me.

    "I went through a lot of things during the week. Some positive, some great moments, some lucky moments, suffering moments. At the end I think I played a very solid week of tennis. It's the right moment to win an important title."

    Nadal added, quoted on the ATP website: "I don't put extra pressure on myself at all. I want to win every day and every tournament that I play. But the passion and the motivation to try is always the same. I know how to handle the pressure."

    Nadal plans to rest for a few days before making minor tweaks to his game ahead of a tilt at a record-breaking 21st grand slam title at the French Open, which starts on May 30.

    "I'll take a couple of days off and then start working," Nadal added. "I think I can work on a couple of things that I can do a little bit better. I think I have been improving this week, but I need to keep going with those improvements, because when you improve, you're able to do it every day for a longer time.

    "I just need to keep going. I know what I need to work on over the next couple of weeks, and I'm going to do it. Work, relax mentally, and work the right way."

    Djokovic spent almost five hours on court on Saturday in his rain-delayed quarter-final against Stefanos Tsitsipas and subsequent semi-final triumph over Lorenzo Sonego.

    However, he insisted fatigue was not behind his defeat.

    "Not at all, I did not feel any fatigue," Djokovic said. "He managed to break my serve and played better, that's it.

    "Until the last shot it was quite close. I had my shot to win it, but it wasn't meant to be. I didn't feel fatigue. Actually, I was very happy with the way I felt on the court. I could have gone for another few hours.

    "I could have easily gone out of this tournament in the quarters. I'm very pleased with my fighting spirit. The level of tennis was higher and higher, actually.

    "Yesterday I played great. Today I thought I also played at a high level. Unfortunately the decisive moments in the first and third sets just went his way. It was a bit unfortunate."

  • Nadal overcomes Djokovic to seal 10th Internazionali d'Italia title Nadal overcomes Djokovic to seal 10th Internazionali d'Italia title

    Rafael Nadal sealed a record-extending 10th Rome Masters title with a 7-5 1-6 6-3 win over Novak Djokovic at the Internazionali d'Italia.

    It marked a first Masters 1000 triumph of the year for Nadal, who improved to 4-2 in the finals he has played against Djokovic at the Foro Italico venue.

    Victory also secured Nadal a 36th Masters 1000 crown, moving him level with Djokovic's all-time record since the series was established in 1990.

    Djokovic spent almost five hours on court on Saturday in his rain-delayed quarter-final against Stefanos Tsitsipas and subsequent semi-final triumph over Lorenzo Sonego, but he showed no signs of fatigue in the opening stages in Rome.

    The Serbian broke in Nadal's first service game to go 2-0 up, although Spaniard Nadal hit back in the next game before levelling matters at 2-2.

    Nadal then broke again, taking advantage of an unconvincing service game from Djokovic at 5-5 on his way to sealing the opening set in one hour and 15 minutes.

    Djokovic survived a break point at 1-1 in the second set, before breaking Nadal in the next game to move 3-1 ahead.

    The Serbian reeled off five games in a row in all, setting up set point with his fifth ace of the match. He forced a backhand error from Nadal to take the second set in 43 minutes.

    Nadal saved two break points at 2-2 in the final set, which provided him with the confidence to break to love and open up a 4-2 lead.

    He sealed victory in two hours and 50 minutes, converting his second championship point when Djokovic sent a backhand long.

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