Nadal Inspires Spain To Sixth Davis Cup Triumph

Spain’s Rafael Nadal (2L) celebrates after defeating Canada’s Denis Shapovalov during the final singles tennis match between Canada and Spain at the Davis Cup Madrid Finals 2019 in Madrid on November 24, 2019.
GABRIEL BOUYS / AFP

 

Rafael Nadal put the finishing touches to his extraordinary year by clinching a sixth Davis Cup title for Spain on Sunday as he beat Denis Shapovalov in Madrid to seal victory over Canada.

Nadal’s 6-3, 7-6 (9/7) win over Shapovalov in front of an adoring home crowd at the Caja Magica gave Spain an unassailable 2-0 lead after Roberto Bautista Agut earlier battled past Felix Auger-Aliassime 7-6 (7/3), 6-3.

The 33-year-old Nadal had been an unstoppable force in Spain’s pulsating semi-final against Britain on Saturday and never looked like letting this chance slip, with King Felipe VI and Real Madrid’s Sergio Ramos watching on, along with Barcelona defender Gerard Pique.

Pique’s marketing company Kosmos have been at the heart of the raft of changes to this 119-year-old competition but Nadal’s brilliance has been familiar, even if this will surely go down as one of the finest seasons of the 19-time Grand Slam champion’s sparkling career.

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He added a fourth Davis Cup final success — three more than Roger Federer — to the ones he claimed in 2004, 2009 and 2011, while capping a remarkable 12 months that has included winning the French and US Opens, and ending the year as world number one.

The Spanish team will also pocket a cheque worth $2.1 million.

Nadal won eight out of eight rubbers played this week and at times on Saturday, as when he stormed to singles and doubles victories against Britain, it was tempting to view Spain’s progress as something of a solo effort.

Spain Boost Revamped Event

But, unlike Canada, Spain have used all five of their squad, with Bautista Agut, Pablo Carreno Busta and Feliciano Lopez all playing at least one singles match, and Lopez and Marcel Granollers joining forces in the doubles.

There has also been the undeniable advantage of the home crowd and although Spain’s success has delivered a huge boost to the event in its inaugural year, some will argue it might have been fairer to find a new venue in 2020, let alone consider keeping it in Madrid until 2021.

Hosting and mixed attendances are among several issues for Pique and the International Tennis Federation to solve in the coming months but on the court, some gripping ties have ensured the new Davis Cup has got off to an encouraging start.

Bautista Agut’s win over Auger-Aliassime was particularly poignant, given the world number nine was returning after withdrawing from the team on Thursday, following the death of his father Joaquin.

Shapovalov, meanwhile, had ousted Nadal at the Canada Masters when they first met in 2017 but he was no match here for the veteran’s power and sheer force of will.

A blistering forehand on the run set up the decisive break in the first set, which Nadal served out when Shapovalov hit long.

The youngster had a breakpoint early in the second but slapped his return into the net and Nadal held on, surviving a nine-minute game when a Shapovalov retrieval plopped out.

Shapovalov opted for more variety with a brilliant touch volley and then a deft drop-shot making things increasingly uncomfortable for Nadal, who came under pressure when serving to stay in the set both at 5-4 and 6-5.

In the tie-break, Shapovalov led early but missed a short forehand for 4-2. Instead, Nadal won four of the next five to tee up two points for the title. He looked sure to convert the first, on serve, but Shapovalov ripped a forehand pass.

Two big serves saw Shapovalov save the second and then create a set point of his own. But Nadal saved it for 7-7 and a return into the net gave him a third championship point.

When a Shapovalov forehand hit the tape, Nadal fell on his back, his arms outstretched.

A tie-break had proven crucial to Bautista Agut’s victory too as two poor shots from Auger-Aliassime, the second a wild forehand long gave his opponent three chances to take the opening set.

Auger-Aliassime threatened a comeback with a break back in the second set but the resistance was brief as Bautista Agut broke again immediately before serving out as a final backhand drifted wide.

AFP

Djokovic Cruises To Fifth Paris Masters Title

 

Novak Djokovic eased to a record-extending fifth Paris Masters title by brushing aside Canadian youngster Denis Shapovalov in Sunday’s final, boosting his hopes of taking the year-end world number one spot.

The top seed claimed a dominant 6-3, 6-4 victory over his 20-year-old opponent, who looked nervous after being the beneficiary of Rafael Nadal’s withdrawal before their scheduled semi-final.

Djokovic will lose top spot in the rankings to Nadal next week, but could still equal Pete Sampras’ record by finishing a sixth year as the world’s best player.

The 33-year-old Nadal is a fitness doubt for the ATP Tour Finals, which start in London on November 10, due to an abdominal muscle strain, while Djokovic has won the season-ending championships five times.

Djokovic, who lost to Russian Karen Khachanov in last year’s Bercy final, saved the only break point he faced as he sealed his fourth win from as many matches against the world number 28 Shapovalov.

The 16-time Grand Slam champion has now won 34 Masters titles, moving to within one of Nadal at the top of the all-time list, and 77 on the ATP Tour in total.

It was Djokovic’s fifth trophy of the season after previous triumphs at Wimbledon and the US Open, as well as at the Madrid Open and in Tokyo.

Stockholm Open: Shapovalov Edges Krajinovic To Lift Maiden ATP Title

Canada’s Denis Shapovalov poses with his trophy after winning the ATP Stockholm Open tennis tournament following his victory against Serbia’s Filip Kranjinovic on October 20, 2019 in Stockholm. Jonathan NACKSTRAND / AFP

 

Rising Canadian star Denis Shapovalov lifted his first ATP title on Sunday after a 6-4, 6-4 win over Filip Krajinovic in the Stockholm Open final.

Shapovalov, 20, did not drop a single set throughout the week in Stockholm and blasted 16 aces to see off the 60th-ranked Krajinovic.

World number 34 Shapovalov became the first Canadian ATP singles champion since Milos Raonic won at Brisbane in January 2016.

Serbia’s Krajinovic, a runner-up at the 2017 Paris Masters, fell short in his bid for a first career title after losing his third ATP final.

AFP

Nadal Eases Past Shapovalov Into Rome Last Eight

Barcelona Open: Nadal Eases Into Final With 400th Clay Court Win
Spain’s Rafael Nadal.                                                                                                        Josep LAGO / AFP

 

Rafael Nadal brushed aside the challenge of Canadian teenager Denis Shapovalov with a 6-4, 6-1 victory to reach the Italian Open quarter-finals on Thursday.

The 31-year-old will face Italian Fabio Fognini in the last eight as he looks to retake the world number one ranking from Roger Federer by winning an eighth Rome title this week.

Nadal has already won his 11th titles in Monte Carlo and Barcelona during the current clay-court season but has lost in the quarter-finals in each of the last three years in Italy.

He was far too strong for Shapovalov, taking the opening set with a break in the seventh game before racing through the second to gain a measure of revenge for his shock defeat by the 19-year-old in Montreal last year.

AFP

Canadian Teenager Shapovalov Stuns Nadal In Montreal

Denis Shapovalov

Canadian teenager Denis Shapovalov delighted his home fans when he battled from a set down to record a stunning upset victory over top seed Rafael Nadal in the third round of the Rogers Cup on Thursday.

The lanky wild card kissed the Montreal court after completing a rousing 3-6 6-4 7-6(4) triumph as the 18-year-old became the youngest player to ever reach the quarter-finals of an ATP Masters 1000 event.

The early exit also denied world number two Nadal a chance to take over from the absent Andy Murray at the top of the rankings, a position the Spaniard would have regained for the first time since 2014 had he advanced to the semi-finals.

Shapovalov showed no sign of nerves in their first ever meeting, the left-hander playing the more aggressive tennis by utilising his huge forehand on roundhouse swings and frequently attacking the net.

The teenager’s quixotic bid looked doomed in the third set tiebreaker when he fell 3-0 behind but the world number 143 refused to buckle and only coughed up one more point in the decider.

As a reward for his unlikely victory, the 2016 Wimbledon junior champion will next face 29-year-old Frenchman Adrian Mannarino in the quarter-finals on Friday.

Results:

Denis Shapovalov (Canada) beat 1-Rafa Nadal (Spain) 3-6 6-4 7-6(4)

Adrian Mannarino (France) beat Chung Hyeon (South Korea) 6-3 6-3

4-Alexander Zverev (Germany) beat 16-Nick Kyrgios (Australia) 6-4 6-3

2-Roger Federer (Switzerland) beat David Ferrer (Spain) 4-6 6-4 6-2

Robin Haase (Netherlands) beat 7-Grigor Dimitrov (Bulgaria) 7-6(3) 4-6 6-1

12-Roberto Bautista (Spain) beat Gael Monfils (France) 4-6 7-6(5) 7-6(2)

Diego Schwartzman (Argentina) beat Jared Donaldson (U.S.) 0-6 7-5 7-5

Kevin Anderson (South Africa) beat Sam Querrey (U.S.) 6-4 6-1