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Nadal withdraws from Cincinnati Masters

By Sports Desk,

Tennis World number one Rafa Nadal has withdrawn from the Cincinnati Masters as he adjusts his schedule to retain fitness ahead of his U.S. Open title defence.

The 32-year-old Spaniard swept aside Greek youngster Stefanos Tsitsipas to claim his 80th career title with victory at the Rogers Cup in Toronto on Sunday.

“I am very sorry to announce that I won’t be playing in Cincinnati this year,” Nadal wrote on Twitter late on Sunday.

“No other reason than personally taking care of my body and trying to keep as healthy as I feel now.

“I am very thankful to my friend Andre Silva, Tournament Director of the Cincinnati tournament, who after speaking to him on the phone understood what I said and understands the situation.”

“I am sure the tournament will be a success and I wish him and his team all the best.

“I am also sad for those amazing fans in Cincy and around who always gave me great support. I am sure I’ll see them next year and I am sorry I won’t be with them this year.

“Thanks for all the support as always.”

Nadal’s withdrawal leaves world number two Roger Federer, who skipped the Toronto event, as the highest seed in Cincinnati.

The U.S. Open starts on Aug. 27 in New York.

Murray & Soares win Washington Open doubles title

By Sports Desk,

Britain’s Jamie Murray and Brazil’s Bruno Soares won the Washington Open doubles title.

The fourth seeds beat Mike Bryan and Edouard Roger-Vasselin 3-6 6-3 10-4 in the final.

It is the pair’s second success this year, following the successful defence of their Acapulco crown in March.

Murray, 32, and Soares, 36, have now won eight titles since they joined forces in 2016, including the Australian Open and US Open.

American Bryan, 40, is ranked the number one doubles player in the world but has been playing with an array of different partners since his twin brother Bob was injured earlier this year.

Djokovic defeats Rafael Nadal to reach Wimbledon finals

By Sports Desk,

Rafael Nadal said he was proud and had nothing to reproach himself for after losing a top-quality Wimbledon semi-final to great rival Novak Djokovic on Saturday.

The two-day, five-hour-15-minute match of breathtaking shotplay and tiny margins between two giants of modern tennis ended 6-4 3-6 7-6(9) 3-6 10-8 in Djokovic’s favour.

“Nothing to complain. I think I played a great match. I have not much more inside me. I give it my best,” the 32-year-old Spanish world number one said.

“I think I did a great work. Is difficult to come back after injuries for a long time and have these kind of results, so I am proud of myself.”

Nadal, who won the French Open for the 11th time last month, spent much of 2016 out of action with a wrist injury.

He has won the Wimbledon title twice but last reached the final in 2011 and has since struggled at the All England Club with a series of losses to lower-ranked players.

It was his 52nd match against Djokovic, 31, a rivalry dating back to 2006. Serb Djokovic leads the head-to-head 27-25.

“I can say he deserve (the win), because he deserve it. In my opinion, he deserve it. I deserve it, too. Both of us deserve it,” Nadal said wearily.

“As I say the other day against Del Potro, anyone could win. Today I say the same. The other day was for me, today was for him. That’s it.”

Argentine Juan Martin del Potro stretched Nadal to five sets in the quarter-finals.

“These kind of matches between probably two great players, playing so well both of us, anything could happen. That’s it. Today was for him. Well done,” Nadal said.

“Played great. Semi-finals, after a while without being there. Winning some great matches, especially in that quarter-finals against Del Potro. Today was another great match.”

Nadal said he regretted losing an opportunity to win another major title.

“But that’s it. Nothing else. I go for holidays proud of the things that I’m doing.”

Serena Williams beats Julia Gorges, faces Kerber in Wimbledon finals

By Sports Desk,

For Serena Williams it was like a walk in the park as she reached her first Grand Slam final as a mother just 10 months after giving birth.

The seven-time champion marched into her 10th Wimbledon title match with a 6-2, 6-4 rout of Julia Goerges on Thursday.

On 20-match winning streak at Wimbledon, Williams will face German world number 10 Angelique Kerber on Saturday in a repeat of the 2016 showpiece won by Williams.

In only her fourth tournament since the arrival of her daughter Olympia in September, the 23-time Grand Slam champion is closing in on her first major title since becoming a parent.

German 13th seed Goerges was sent packing in only 70 minutes on Centre Court.

It was a cathartic moment for the 36-year-old, who endured severe labour complications that left her needing life-saving operations.

“It’s crazy. I don’t even know how to feel. I didn’t expect to do this well in my fourth tournament back,” Williams said.

“I had a really tough pregnancy delivery. I had to have multiple surgeries and almost didn’t make it to be honest.

“I’m just enjoying every moment of this. This was not inevitable for me.”

The American star will have history in her sights against Kerber as she tries to equal Margaret Court’s record of 24 Grand Slams singles titles.

An eighth Wimbledon title would also move her past Steffi Graf into second place on the list of female Wimbledon champions, behind nine-time winner Martina Navratilova.

Serena will go into her 30th Grand Slam final — her first since winning the 2017 Australian Open — holding a 6-2 lead in her head to head record against Kerber.

“She is clearly a really good grass-court player. But whatever happens it’s a great moment for me and incredible motivation to keep going for the rest of my career,” Serena added.

After all the controversy about the decision to seed Williams 25th at Wimbledon despite her position at 181 in the WTA rankings, she has proved the tournament’s officials were actually too conversative.

Williams, who missed Wimbledon last year due to her pregnancy, won the grass-court Grand Slam on her previous two visits in 2015 and 2016.

Twenty years after making her Wimbledon debut as a precocious teenager and 16 years since her first title at the All England Club, Serena remains the pre-eminent force in the women’s game.

In a testament to her remarkable longevity, the former world number one has now made at least one Grand Slam final for the last 12 years.

Serena had lost only one of her 10 previous Wimbledon semi-finals and the 11th followed a familiar script.

When a panicked Goerges error wrapped up the first set, Serena’s dominance was so total that the American, whose emotions are usually on full display, barely acknowledged the moment.

By the time a Goerges drop-shot drifted into net to present Serena with the decisive break in the sixth game of the second set, the contest had already been sapped of any drama and moments later the title favourite was waving to the crowd in celebration.

Earlier, Kerber raced into her second Wimbledon final and fourth Grand Slam showpiece as the German crushed former French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko 6-3, 6-3 in 67 minutes.

The 30-year-old hit only 10 winners but that was all it took to get the job done as Latvian 12th seed Ostapenko shot herself in the foot with 36 unforced errors.

“I was just trying to move good and take my chances. I’m so excited,” Kerber said.

“It’s such a great feeling to be back in the final. Playing on Centre Court is always great.”

Referencing her dismal form last year, Kerber added: “2017 is over and I’m really happy about that. We are in 2018!

“I’m really happy and proud to be in a Grand Slam final. These are the matches I was working for since I was a kid.”

It will be Kerber’s first Grand Slam final since she won the second of her two major titles at the 2016 US Open.

Kerber, who also won the Australian Open in 2016, is bidding to become the first German woman to win Wimbledon since Graf in 1996.

Nadal win over Vesely, eases way to quarters

By News Desk,

World number one Rafael Nadal reached his first Wimbledon quarter-final since 2011 with a straight-sets win over unseeded Czech Jiri Vesely.

The second seed, 32, converted his third match point to win 6-3 6-3 6-4.

The Spaniard is still on track to meet top seed Roger Federer – on the 10th anniversary of their epic 2008 final – in Sunday’s men’s singles showpiece.

Nadal will play either Argentine fifth seed Juan Martin del Potro or France’s Gilles Simon in the last eight.

The 17-time Grand Slam champion is playing his first tournament since winning an 11th French Open title last month after pulling out of Queen’s – a move that appears to be paying dividends.

Nadal looks refreshed and in peak condition both mentally and physically having not dropped a set on his way to the quarter-finals.

“It is an important moment for me. I’m happy to be where I am and playing well,” he told BBC Sport.

“They have been four positive matches, I haven’t played on grass for a year and I’m hoping to keep enjoying it.”

Nadal has won Wimbledon twice – in 2008 and 2010 – but has also suffered some shock defeats on what is his least natural surface.

Since finishing runner-up to Novak Djokovic in 2011, Nadal has been knocked out by four players ranked outside the world’s top 100 – Lukas Rosel, Steve Darcis, Nick Kyrgios and Dustin Brown – as well as a surprise defeat by Luxembourg’s Gilles Muller last year.

But there was never any danger of that happening against world number 93 Vesely.

Nadal moved into a 3-1 lead in the opening set when Vesely coughed up a double fault on the first break point of the match, an error that proved significant given the underdog was unable to make a dent on Nadal’s service game.

Indeed the 24-year-old, aiming for his first Grand Slam quarter-final, won just two points on Nadal’s serve in an opening set that lasted 31 minutes.

A single break was also enough for Nadal to move into a two-set lead shortly after the hour mark and, with the Majorcan having only ever lost one Grand Slam match from that position, it looked unlikely Vesely would cause a shock.

Cilic suffers defeat to Guido Pella in second round

By News Desk,

Third seed Marin Cilic let a two-set lead slip as he was knocked out in the second round of Wimbledon by Argentina’s Guido Pella.

Last year’s beaten finalist was well in control before rain halted proceedings on Wednesday evening.

But, on the resumption, Pella improved and wrapped up the third set and took the fourth on a tie-break.

And the world number 82 held his nerve to convert his fourth match point and win 3-6 1-6 6-4 7-6 (7-4) 7-5.

It is the biggest win of Pella’s career and he is now in the third round of a Grand Slam for the first time.

“The rain coming helped me a lot,” the 28-year-old, who had not won a match at Wimbledon in his two previous visits, told BBC Sport.

“Yesterday he was playing so, so well and I couldn’t do anything.

“Today, I started to play more aggressively and fight for every ball and that is why I won. Grass isn’t my favourite surface but I started to feel more confident and served a lot better.”

On Friday, Pella will play American world number 103 Mackenzie Mcdonald who will also be making his first appearance in the last 32 of a major.

“Every time you win a match in a Grand Slam it is a good feeling,” he added.

“Tomorrow is a different match and we will both have pressure so it will be a tense match but I will try to be calm and win.”

Three-time Grand Slam winner Stan Wawrinka was another to be eliminated. The Swiss, who has dropped to 224 in the world after a series of injuries, lost 7-6 (9-7) 6-3 7-6 (8-6) to Italian qualifier Thomas Fabbiano.

But US Open finalist and eighth seed Kevin Anderson advanced after a 6-3 6-7 6-3 6-4 victory over Fabbiano’s compatriot Andreas Seppi.

American ninth seed John Isner sent down 64 aces in his four-set success against Belgian qualifier Ruben Bemelmans – the third-highest number of aces in a match at Wimbledon after the 113 and 110 managed by Isner and Nicolas Mahut respectively in their record-breaking marathon encounter in 2010.

Murray wins first match 2yrs after Wimbledon

By Sports Desk,

Britain’s tennis star, Andy Murray, has won his first match in almost a year with an impressive display against fellow three-time Grand Slam champion Stan Wawrinka in Eastbourne.

Murray, 31, looked sharp and confident in a 6-1 6-3 win in the opening round of the Nature Valley International.

The Scot was playing only his second competitive match since Wimbledon last year following hip surgery.

He will now face Kyle Edmund, who replaced him as British number one.

“Obviously I am very happy to get the win,” said Murray. “I thought the first set I played well, but the second set was patchy and I was a bit nervous.

“When you haven’t played for the best part of a year and you face someone like Stan it is tough.”

Murray and Wawrinka, who is making his own recovery from long-term injury, last faced each other as the world number one and number three in last year’s French Open semi-final at Roland Garros.

At Eastbourne they met in the first round of the ATP 250 event ranked 156th and 225th respectively.

While the stage was not quite as grand, the match was still equally important for two players who find themselves in a very different stage of their successful careers.

Wawrinka, 32, was missing for six months before returning at the Australian Open in January, then needed another three months out before coming back in Rome last month.

He is further along the recovery cycle than the Briton – but you could not tell on a scorching day on the south coast.

Murray was patient and precise throughout, forcing Wawrinka into a number of wild errors.

The Briton won the opening set in less than half an hour after two breaks of serve, taking Wawrinka’s serve again early in the second and saving four break points to lead 5-3.

That edgy service game showed even someone of Murray’s class and stature still has nerves when it comes to closing out what is an important milestone in his recovery.

Although he missed his first match point in the next game, Wawrinka coughed up a double fault to leave Murray beaming as he celebrated his first win since beating France’s Benoit Paire in the Wimbledon last 16.

Croatian star ends Federer’s winning streak at Halle Open final

By NewsDesk,

Croatian Borna Coric ended Roger Federer’s 20-match winning streak on grass, beating him 7-6(6) 3-6 6-2 in the Halle Open final on Sunday.

He also brought to a halt the Swiss maestro’s reign as world number one and Federer was denied a 10th title in German grasscourt tournament as Coric handed the 36-year-old his first setback on an otherwise serene road towards defending his Wimbledon title.

The defeat meant that Rafa Nadal will return to the top of the world rankings on Monday.

Coric, playing in his first grasscourt final, showed great mental toughness and determination to fend off two set points before clinching the opening set after 57 minutes.

Federer responded by applying further pressure on Coric’s serve in the second set before converting a break point in the eighth game to force a decider.

The 21-year-old then broke Federer in the sixth game of the final set when the Swiss sliced a backhand long, before claiming only his second ATP title.

Halep to miss Eastbourne over Achilles problem.

By Sports Desk,

French Open champion Simona Halep would be missing next week’s Wimbledon warm-up at Eastbourne after suffering an Achilles problem.

Halep won her first Grand Slam title earlier this month after lifting the silverware at Roland Garros with a three-set final victory over Sloane Stephens.

It was an emotional moment for Halep, who had lost her three previous Grand Slam finals and trailed by a set and a break against Stephens before fighting back.

But the Romanian world number one will go into Wimbledon, which gets under way on July 2, without a competitive match on grass.

“I’m very sorry to announce that I’m withdrawing from next week’s Nature Valley International,” Halep tweeted.

“I was experiencing Achilles tendon pain and inflammation during the French Open and it has yet to fully recover.

“I’ve been advised by my doctors that it needs more rest while continuing treatment.

“I loved competing at Eastbourne last year and hope to see you at this wonderful event next year.”

Halep’s withdrawal leaves four top-10 players in the Eastbourne event, including last year’s champion Karolina Pliskova and runner-up Caroline Wozniacki.

Federer returns World top ranking after Raonic during Stuttgart open final

By SportDesk,

World tennis star, Roger Federer, has celebrated his return to top of world rankings by defeating Milos Raonic in the final of the Stuttgart Open on Sunday and lifting the 98th tour-level title of his garlanded career.

The 36-year-old, who by reaching the final had already guaranteed his return to world No.1, supplanting Rafael Nadal when the new rankings are released on Monday, continued his domination over the Canadian with a 6-4 7-6(3) victory.

Federer’s 78-minute win, sealing his first Stuttgart triumph, was the perfect tonic for the Swiss in the build-up to defending his Wimbledon crown, having extended his unbeaten 12-month sequence in grass court matches to 16.

Federer, who beat Raonic en route to winning Wimbledon last year, broke the Canadian’s powerful serve just once in the third game but with his own delivery proving unbreachable, it was enough for him to win the first set.

In a decisive tiebreak after no breaks in the second set, a double fault from Raonic paved the way for Federer, playing his first tournament in 11 weeks after giving the claycourt campaign a miss, to claim victory.

On Monday, Federer will begin a record-extending 310th week at the top of the rankings before seeking to defend his Halle grasscourt crown. If he manages to do so, he will then seek a landmark 100th career title at Wimbledon