Sunday, 29 April 2018

Lucky loser in Budapest final / Rafa 400

Rafa Nadal (1) was down a break 0-2 in the opening set in his semi final against David Goffin (4).  However, the Spaniard is determined to win his 11th Barcelona title and proceeded to win twelve of the next 

fourteen games, winning 6-4 6-0, to be in the final once again.

Three of the players Nadal has beaten in Barcelona finals have been Juan Carlos Ferrero, Guillermo Cañas and Robin Söderling.  These past champions played their last matches in 2012, 2010 and 2011 respectively.  And Nadal is still virtually untouchable on clay as another generation comes along.

18 successive matches on clay, 44 successive sets on clay, and now 400 match wins on the surface, just the fourth man to achieve that remarkable feat.  He joins Guillermo Vilas (659), Manuel Orantes (502) and Thomas Muster (422). For clay titles, though, Rafa is top of the tree with 54, Vilas 49 and Muster 40.  Of those 10 have been Grand Slam titles at Roland Garros for Nadal, whereas Vilas and Muster raised the French Open trophy just once each.

Probably expecting to meet fellow Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta (5) in the final, Rafa may have been surprised, as most were, to see the unseeded Greek player Stefano Tsitsipas dismiss another seed (the fourth that he has beaten so far) 7-5 6-3, and earn the right to face Rafa in the final.

Unlikely to cause much damage to Nadal, at least Tsitsipas has proved himself a quality player, and his career high ranking will have improved from 63 to 44, irrespective of what occurs in the final.

In Stuttgart semi final action , wildcard CoCo Vandeweghe has knocked out Caroline Garcia (6) in another excellent display 6-4 6-2.  This on the back of her thrashing world number one Simona Halep, gives Vandeweghe the confidence of winning the tournament.

Karolina Pliskova (5) will provide stiff competition, if her performance against Anett Kontaveit is any guide.

The straight sets victory 6-4 6-2 came after a quality quarter final match with Jelena Ostapenko (4), and Pliskova winning 36 of 41 points off her serve gave Kontaveit no chance to enter the contest.

The Budapest final has one confirmed contestant - lucky loser from qualifying Marco Cecchinato.  He outlasted Andreas Seppi (8) 5-7 7-6(4) 6-3

Darkness prevented the finish of the other semi final, with John Millman and Aljaz Bedene (5) at a set apiece 2-6 7-6(3).

Millman had earlier completed his unfinished quarter final against lucky loser in qualifying Yannick Maden 2-6 6-1 6-4

In Istanbul the finalists were determined:

Pauline Parmentier defeated Irina-Camelia Begu (7) 6-3 6-4

Polona Hercog defeated Maria Sakkari 6-4 6-2

Parmentier will jump 30 spots in the rankings by making the final, 46 if she takes the title.

Hercog will rise 13 spots by making the final, 20 if she raises the trophy.

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