Rafael Nadal Knocked Out By Dominic Thiem; Taylor Fritz Frenzy Continues In Memphis
by Staff | February 14th, 2016, 12:26 am
  • 46 Comments

Defending champion Rafael Nadal’s title hopes came to a crashing end today in Buenos Aires where the Spaniard was stunned by Dominic Thiem 6-4, 4-6, 7-6(4) in the semifinals.

Nadal, who hadn’t lost a set all week, beat Thiem at the French Open almost two years ago. But the powerful and much-improved 22-year-old wasn’t shy and took advantage of an error-filled tiebreak to earn his first career win over a Big 4 player.

“It was an amazing match for me,” said Thiem who saved a matchpoint at 4-5 in the third. “It was very tight from the beginning. It’s special to play against the big guys, and to beat one is a dream come true. In the third set, Nadal really stepped up but I was able to counter-attack and play incredible shots.

“You have to be aggressive against him, because once you get on the defence, you have no chance,” Thiem added. “I had to play close to the lines and avoid long rallies, because [against Nadal] the longer the rally, the lower my chances of winning.”

Thiem punctuated the win on facebook: “Bamos defeated Vamos! I can not believe it! It were intense 3 hours on the court today, I fought off a match-point and managed to gain a win over one of the best clay courters. To beat such a player is insane, I will never forget that moment in my life. There won’t be much time for me to celebrate, because tomorrow at 2 o’clock I will start into the grande final here in Buenos Aires, fully motivated! Greetings from a very happy Dominic!”

Nadal heads to Rio still searching for answers and his game in 2016.

“It was a tough match. I had a chance to win and missed it but Thiem played well,” Nadal said. “I’m not worried. I just lacked consistency and need to make fewer unforced errors, but that’s nothing.”

In the final, Thiem will meet Nicolas Almagro. Almagro ended a 15-match losing streak to David Ferrer beating his countryman 6-4, 7-5.

Earlier in the day Ferrer won a 3-set match over Pablo Cuevas to reach the semifinals where the fresher Almagro proved too tough in the heat.

“I’m very happy,” said Almagro. “This is the reward for many months of hard work, but there’s no time to celebrate. I have to focus on tomorrow’s match and hopefully I can play at the same level.”

In Rotterdam, the final will put Gael Monfils against Martin Klizan. Monfils defeated Philipp Kohlschreiber while Klizan saved three matches points against Nicolas Mahut.

In Memphis, the Taylor Fritz story continued on Saturday. The 18-year-old sensation reached his first career ATP final coming back to beat Ricardis Berankis in a topsy-turvy 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 win.

“It’s the best feeling in the world,” said Fritz. “To be here and think that it’s the final is crazy. I’m really excited that I got to this level and I’ve proven myself that I belong here.

“It’s amazing to have this support. I feel so loved here. It’s the best feeling in the world. I owe a lot to the crowd pumping me up.”

Fritz was crushed early but earned a break mid-way through the second. In the third, the two traded several breaks and nearly another before Fritz was able to close out the match on his fifth matchpoint.

“I honestly felt he was unbeatable in the first set,” Fritz added. “He was making me look awful. I didn’t think there was much I could do. I tried to change things up in my game. He was returning my serves and putting me on defence. In the second set, I told myself that the way I was serving wasn’t going to cut it. I needed to crank it up a lot. I started hitting my serves 5-10 miles per hour faster. That was the biggest difference. Once I was holding my serve, it put pressure on him. That’s what allowed me to play my game more and allowed me to win.”

Fritz becomes the youngest American man to reach a tour final since Michael Chang won Wembley in 1989. The world No. 145 also moves on the edge of the Top 100 in the rankings.

Fritz will now have to deal with his first real test tomorrow in 3-time defending champion Kei Nishikori. The top seed beat Sam Querrey in three sets to reach his fourth straight Memphis final.

“We practised a lot in California,” Nishikori said of Fritz. “We’ve never played in a match, but I know he has a great serve and he’s a little like Sam. He hits a big forehand, backhand and serve. You can see he’s playing great here and I have to have good tactics for tomorrow.”


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46 Comments for Rafael Nadal Knocked Out By Dominic Thiem; Taylor Fritz Frenzy Continues In Memphis

skeezer Says:

“Bamos defeated Vamos!”
Lol, best quote ever!


Pauly Says:

Thiem is gonna be future number 1


AndyMira Says:

“I’m not worried,i just lacked consistency and need to make fewer unforced errors,but that’s nothing”

This is the simptom of denial..rafa clearly has no clue why he lacked consistency and made tons of unforced errors!God..someone help him please..


AndyMira Says:

“I’m not worried,i just lacked consistency and need to make fewer unforced errors,but that’s nothing”

This is the simptom of denial..rafa clearly has no clue why he lacked consistency and made tons of unforced errors!God..someone help him please..


AndyMira Says:

God..double post again,can’t believe it..


Margot Says:

@AndyMira
I don’t know why it’s happening because tennisx wont let me post twice.
Obviously want to stop me posting too much about Andy………;)


AndyMira Says:

@Margot,that means they’re care more about you..and not so much about me!it’s not something to be proud of to post it twice..


J-Kath Says:

Hello Andy and Kim
You’re obviously having trouble deciding your baby’s. What about “Kandy” ….K for Kim and the rest is obvious.


J-Kath Says:

…oops missing the word “name”


J-Kath Says:

@ Margot

Well done Wales…just make sure you beat England by a bigger score.


Pauly Says:

Watched the higlights
Nadal vs Thiem

Nadal played poorly but Thiem is good
Wow how far back was Thiem standing ?
Looked like he was copying Nadal


AndyMira Says:

@J-kath,how about “kimdy”?At least it sound a little bit feminine and not too “sweet”..


J-Kath Says:

@ AndyMira

How about AndyKim – based on your good self?
They are certainly taking their time …it’s a week since the baby was born…what are they waiting for?


AndyMira Says:

@J-kath..not hurt either as long as they don’t confuse it with ANDYMIRA..on second thought,”kimdy” is okay on her parents or other people’s lips but if it’s on great grandma’s lips,it’s highly concern to change the sound to “kimchi”!so..AndyKim it is..


AndyMira Says:

@j-kath..if it’s up to me..i will name it RAFAEL NADAL MURRAY..how’s that sound..


Margot Says:

Thanks Kath, think we’ll beat France and Italy but fall to the “auld enemy.” Bloody hell, have you noticed that Wales, like Andy, usually start really slowly! So bad for the nerves.
AndyMira: that sounds like one heck of a bruiser to me and some of us Murray fans are rather hoping the babe takes after her darling mother………


J-Kath Says:

AndyMira

Same on you girl!!!! – at least you could have feminised “it” ….anyway I’ll pass on your suggestion – so look out for Andy on Twitter…spluttering and cussing……and even worse- he’ll punish Rafa at the FO. How’s that sound?


James Says:

Thiem is 6 foot 1, right handed, with a one-handed backhand. Ranked 19. If he can beat Nadal on clay, why can’t another 6 foot 1, right handed player with a one-handed backhand do the same – with 17 slam titles?

Amazing game from Thiem. Though this is Rafa -3.0 version – or Rafa Vista version, hardly a shadow of how he played in 2008 (his peak year I think in terms of pure level of play).

Perhaps age has something to do with it? Thiem is 7 years younger than Nadal. Younger matters, ha? Ask Fed.


AndyMira Says:

@Margot..he!he!in that case..we just name her MARMIRKATH MURRAY SEARS..how’s that?


AndyMira Says:

@J-Kath..he!he!chill..i could only imagine andy and kim combine their cussing together that will make nick kyrgios green on his face..in that case how about the name i gave it up there..cool ha..


J-Kath Says:

Andy & Kim….please, please, please name your child and put a stop to ANDYMIRA’s imagination.


Margot Says:

@Kath
Seconded….what on earth will she come up with next? :0 When I first read it thought she was suggesting “Mirka.!”
I thought Sophie had been “leaked” but that was ages ago, so probably not.


AndyMira Says:

J-kath,ha ha..ok ok..we have to stop andy and kim cussing now..anyway..i think they just want you and margot got crazy with this waiting..please,please,please don’t fall to their trap..


AndyMira Says:

Hey MARKATH,you think what’s AndyKim will look like?Andy’s dna were quite strong..mom,brother all got the same look,i’ll say she will take andy side..although i hope she will not take grandma’s hair at the moment..


J-Kath Says:

AndyMira

She’ll be beautiful like Kim.

Am off to do my VAT now.
Keep cool
K


AndyMira Says:

J-kath,chill ok..of course she will take her mom side..physical and everything..i shaken to my toes when imagine our AndyKim spluttering and cussing when sucking on her thumb!


jane Says:

thiem wins in buenos aires. fritz soon to play nishikori in memphis final. klizan won in rotterdam. wow. young guns. who says there’s no youth in men’s tennis. maybe someone will break through this year? thiem seems good on clay.


jane Says:

i guess klizan isn’t a young gun per se. he’s more in kei’s and raonic’s ballpark. but still, i think it was his first title?


Humble Rafa Says:

People with small brains don’t understand why they should pray for Humble to play better in the clay court season.

Serb Slam (sounds like what any fine restaurant should have on their menu) will be a reality before long and your “God” will be downgraded to a mere “also played in the same era” status.

#supportHumble


Django Says:

The name Charlotte seems to be the new hot name some are saying Freya tho I never heard of that one.


Dave Says:

James,

The reason why Federer can’t beat Rafa at the French is because his one handed backhand isn’t as hard as Thiem’s or Wawrinka’s and also because Thiem was hitting his backhand before the ball could bounce to high, therefore he didn’t lose power by taking it early. Nadal is also in Federer’s head and not in Thiem’s. So those are a few of the major factors. Even Rafa in this form isn’t losing to Federer in a best of 5 set match on not just clay, but hardcourts I would add to that list as well. Rafa owns Roger at the majors with the exception of Wimbledon, the only major that he has lost to Federer in.


NK Says:

Dave, sorry to disagree. Based on their current forms and confidence, Federer will beat Nadal on every surface, except perhaps clay.


Dave Says:

You can disagree. That’s totally fine with me. I don’t see it at the Australian Open either. Their matches there have only been more and more lopsided with time. 5 sets, 4 sets, straight sets. It isn’t even about current form with Federer and Nadal. It’s a huge mental issue for Federer against Nadal. Federer barely beat Nadal on fast indoor hard courts at Basil during Nadal’s worst season. In a best of 5, I don’t see it. I used to believe Federer could overcome Nadal in a best of 5 set match, not anymore. I’m actually curious to know when the last time he beat Nadal in a 5 set match was. 2007 at Wimbledon, unless he beat him in a best of 5 set final in a masters 1000, before they changed the format. I don’t remember them playing each other in Davis Cup. So if that’s true, it’s been 9 years since Federer beat Nadal in a 5 set match.


SG1 Says:

Rafa didn’t get blown out and Thiem is a powerful young player. But, I think there are reasons to become a little concerned going forward. A peak (prime) or whatever Rafa would have put the boots to Thiem on clay.


SG1 Says:

Off topic but does anyone (…other than me) think that Klizan and Novak look a lot alike?


Wog Boy Says:

jane,

It’s not Klizan’s first title, I remember few years ago winning title in Germany and new Mercedes that he almost smashed trying to drive on the court:) I remember he was playing pretty sick but somehow managed to win, I am not sure if he had Kohl on the other side of the net and pretty sure it was clay.


Dave Says:

It’s his 4th title. He is 4 for 4 in finals.


AndyMira Says:

Off topic..but Thibaut Courtois[chelsea keeper]also looks like novak’s twin..just saying..


James Says:

I agree Dave.

Have always been frustrated why Fed really never changed his backhand to take it more on the rise, instead of letting the ball kick up. I still think losing the Rome 2006 final in 5 hours in the 5th set after holding match point really did him in. Mentally, had he won that won, things might have been different. Then age also matters – both in speed and stamina. Nadal could outrun and outlast anyone until Djoke gave up gluten. That also created a mental pressure on opponents. Now that is not there.

I do agree that Fed should have won easier in Basel. Even on that fast indoor court, Nadal made it close.

Anyway, now their matches are in the “senior” category. Neither of them is anywhere near their peak. I think Fed might win a few against Nadal going forward just because there is less at stake now.

And ya, if Djoke does the slam, he is GOAT, no doubt. He certainly has a chance to exceed 17 slams, since he doesn’t have any younger great players on his heels.


Dave Says:

James,

It’s still a bit of mystery about how Federer will return from this injury. I felt like he had a chance to win a major at Wimbledon or the U.S. Open in 2016 and possibly 2017(if Djokovic was upset by someone else). But until I see how he comes back from this injury, and if age does decide to actually hit Federer, which I haven’t seen much indication yet, I really don’t know at this point. A lot is up in the air with Federer. Every person is different in how they respond physically, psychologically. It’s a complex thing when you also factor in age and mileage on the tennis court. 1300 plus matches is a lot for anyone.


Dave Says:

I never saw the 2006 Rome 5 set match against Nadal. He had match point? That would be tough to lose, especially after 5 hours. I did notice that at Wimbledon, Rafa grew in belief every year. Lost in 4 sets, than 5 sets, than finally won in 5. If Federer comes back and wins that match, that could have also changed things a bit.


Dave Says:

Having said that, Federer easily could have lost that wimbledon Final against Roddick. That was one match that I actually thought Federer was going to lose when I was watching it live.


chrisford1 Says:

SG1 – You are right. Klizan – blondish guy with many facial features of Djokovic. Looks more like Nole than middle bro Markus does. Youngest bro Djordje does look like a younger Novak.


SG1 Says:

Glad I’m not the only one.

James…I don’t think Federer struggled with Rafa’s topspin because he didn’t take the ball early (…though this may have helped). Rafa’s ball is moving across the court quite furiously and often lands near the baseline and kicks even more furiously deep and high. I don’t think you can expect to Fed to play Rafa from between the baseline and service line. Unfortunately for Federer, the mechanics of his backhand don’t lend themselves well to contending with massive kicking topspin. A guy like Wawrinka, who doesn’t take the ball any earlier than Federer, handles Rafa’s high ball to the backhand just fine. Wawrinka uses his upper body and legs better than Federer does from the backhand wing so the high kicking ball is less of a problem.


James Says:

Well, Fed is history now. Whatever little chance there was of him winning the 18th is now gone due to knee surgery.

Nadal seems done too – though its a bit early, theoretically he could rebound a bit. But his game is so much more predicated on movement, speed and stamina that 30 is not a good number for him in terms of age at all. And mentally I think whenever he steps on the court against Djokovic, its like Fed stepping on the court against him on clay. The match is lost before its played.


Robin Says:

Hope Rafa returns to being Rafa this week.
Vamos Rafa.

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