Russia's Nikolay Davydenko (26) upset the form book to win the final of the Miami Masters yesterday with a comfortable 6-4, 6-2 victory against Rafael Nadal, who will join the Spanish squad in Germany later this week for next weekend's Davis Cup quarter final.
The world number two has reached the final of this competition once before - in 2005, when he was beaten in a five-set marathon by Roger Federer.
While the young Mallorcan has nine Masters titles under his belt, Davydenko's only previous success was near two years ago - in 2006, in Paris.
A disappointed Nadal admitted afterwards that he had not really done himself justice, "I think he played at a good level. He played a good match, but I didn't play well today. So when you don't play at a hundred per cent at this level against top players, it's hard to win, especially on a hard surface. So I congratulate him more because he played better than me. He played more aggressive, with more good feelings, forehand, backhand volley, drop shot."
Nadal reaches second final of the season
Saturday, April 5, 2008
Rafael Nadal beat Tomas Berdych 7-6, 6-2 in Miami yesterday to book his place in his second final this season as he seeks to win his first title since Stuttgart last July.
In tomorrow's final, the in-form Spaniard will face Russia's Nikolay Davydenko, who saw off Andy Roddick - who disposed of the world number one in the quarter finals - beating the American 7-6, 6-2 in yesterday's second semi-final.
After yesterday's match, Nadal admitted "I didn't know that this was the first time I've beaten him on a hard court. Berdych played really well, especially in the first set, but I kept my focus and put in some good serves."
He also stressed how crucial the first set tie-break had been in the energy-sapping conditions, "despite making a few mistakes at the start I recovered at the end to clinch it. The humidity levels are making it very hard for all of us playing here. It's terrible, but I'm from Mallorca and it's something I'm used to."
In-form Nadal cruises into Miami semis
Thursday, April 3, 2008
Rafael Nadal lost the first set, but came back strongly to beat James Blake 3-6, 6-3, 6-1 to reach the semi-final of the Miami Masters yesterday.
"It was a great match," said the number two seed, who was knocked out at the same stage in last year's competition."
"Blake started very well, very aggressive, so I tried to concentrate because he is one of the best players in the world, especially on this surface. I had to give everything to win."
"Breaking his serve at the start of the third set was decisive. I had a lot of chances to break his serve at several stages (Nadal won only four out of nineteen break points), but there are times when it's just impossible against a player like him."
"I'm very happy with the victory, and also with the Spanish and Latin support - thank you very much. Miami is one of the places where you can really feel it," concluded the number two seed, who has yet to win a tournament this season so far.
He next faces Tomas Berdych, who beat Igor Andreev 6-4, 6-4.
Nadal returns to Davis Cup team for Germany quarter final
Wednesday, April 2, 2008
After pulling out of the first round of this year's Davis Cup competition against Peru for personal reasons, Rafael Nadal is back in the Spain team for the quarter final against Germany that will be played in Bremen between April 11-13th.
The rest of the team will be made up of David Ferrer as second racket in the singles competition with Feliciano López and Fernando Verdasco pairing up for the doubles.
Since his debut in 2004, the young Mallorcan has won seven out of eight singles matches though just two out of six in the doubles.
Spain and Germany have met thirteen times previously with nine victories for the Spaniards, including the last time the two nations met - in 1997 when Spain ran out 4-1 winners in Cala Ratjada on the island of Mallorca.
The hosts will be without Tommy Haas, which means world number 27 Philipp Kohlschreiber will number one racket with Nicolas Kiefer, Michael Berrer and Philipp Petzschner completing the line-up.
At the Miami Masters yesterday, the world number two booked his place in the quarter finals by beating France's Paul-Henri Mathieu 6-4, 6-4.
Nadal next faces James Blake, who secured his passage with a 6-3, 6-4 win against the Czech Republic's Radek Stepanek.
Almagro exit leaves Nadal flying the flag alone at Miami Masters
Tuesday, April 1, 2008
Murcia's Nicolás Almagro was knocked out of the Miami Masters in an epic, though slightly disturbing, third round three-set classic against Russia's Mikhail Youzhny (second photo), who split his forehead open with his own racket in a chilling display of frustration that left him bleeding profusely.
The Spaniard fought back to take the second set 6-3 having lost the first on a tie-break before the intense Russian 11th seed imposed his will to take the third, also 6-7 after a gruelling 2 hours, 43 minutes.
After earlier third-round defeats for Carlos Moyá, Feliciano López and Juan Carlos Ferrero, Rafael Nadal is now the only Spaniard left in the competition after his comfortable 6-2, 6-4 win against Germany's Nicolas Kiefer. He will battle it out with Paul-Henri Mathieu, who beat Carlos Moyá, later today for a place in the quarter finals.