Nadal Sinks Vesely, Faces Cuevas Friday In Hamburg; Isner Breaks Stepanek In Atlanta
by Staff | July 31st, 2015, 12:46 am

Rafael Nadal kept youngster Jiri Vesely winless against Top 10 foes, taking down the 22-year-old 6-4, 7-6(2) in a sloppy display Thursday in the Hamburg.

“I think I played a good match,” said Nadal who was broken twice. “Something that I am proud of today, very happy with, [is] my attitude and [I’m] very happy with the way that I played. I just need a little bit more consistency.”

Nadal served for the match in the second but double faulted twice.

The win sets up Nadal to play clay specialist Pablo Cuevas on Friday in the quarterfinals.

“He’s one of the best players of the world, especially on clay,” said Nadal who won Hamburg the last time played in 2008. “It’s a big match and I know I have to play well if I want to be in that semi-finals. I’m going to fight for it.”

The Uruguayan Cuevas advanced with a 6-3, 4-6, 6-2 victory over Jerzy Janowicz. Cuevas lost to Nadal in Rio in February in match that ended at 3:18am. He’s also just 1-5 lifetime against Top 10 players.

In the other quarters, Lucas Pouille battles Benoit Paire in a match-up of two shotmakers. Paire has won his last seven matches. Fabio Fognini will look improve his record to 6-0 against Brit Aljaze Bedene and in an all-Italian affair, Andreas Seppi meets Simone Bolelli with the winner to potentially face Nadal on Saturday.

In Atlanta, American ace John Isner upped his Atlanta win streak to nine after turning away Radek Stepanek 7-6, 7-6. The match featured four breaks of serve, two apiece.

“I played a pretty nervous match to be honest,” said Isner who cracked 33 aces. “My first match here I’ve had close matches every year, and tonight was no different. I’ve generally played better as the tournament goes on and I hope that’s the case tomorrow.”

The two-time defending Atlanta champion will face Ricardas Berankis in the quarterfinals. Also, 2014 runner-up Dudi Sela meets Denis Kudla, Marcos Baghdatis faces Vasek Pospisil and Go Soeda gets Gilles Muller.

In Gstaad, the top 8 seeds all made the quarters with No. 1 David Goffin and No. 2 Feliciano Lopez leading the way on the Swiss clay. It’s the first time since Montreal in 2009 that all 8 seeds made the quarters.

CENTER COURT start 11:30 am
[Q] L. Pouille (FRA) vs B. Paire (FRA)
Not Before 1:30 pm
[8] F. Fognini (ITA) vs A. Bedene (GBR)
[1] [WC] R. Nadal (ESP) vs [5] P. Cuevas (URU)
Not Before 4:45 pm
[4] A. Seppi (ITA) vs S. Bolelli (ITA)

CENTRE COURT start 10:30 am
[8] S. Giraldo (COL) vs [2] F. Lopez (ESP)
[7] P. Carreno Busta (ESP) vs [3] D. Thiem (AUT)
Not Before 3:00 pm
[4] P. Andujar (ESP) vs [5] T. Bellucci (BRA)
Not Before 5:00 pm
[1] D. Goffin (BEL) vs [6] J. Sousa (POR)

You Might Like:
Rafael Nadal To Face Jiri Vesely In Hamburg; 2-Time Defending Champ John Isner Opens In Atlanta
Roddick, Davydenko Headline Atlanta, Hamburg this Week on ATP
Fish Forges Ahead in Atlanta, Faces Harrison in SF; Almagro v. Simon in Hamburg Final
Isner Joins 3-Peat Club at Atlanta
Kyrgios Ends Isner’s 3-Year ATP Atlanta Run in Final

Don't miss any tennis action, stay connected with Tennis-X

Get the FREE TX daily newsletter

22 Comments for Nadal Sinks Vesely, Faces Cuevas Friday In Hamburg; Isner Breaks Stepanek In Atlanta

sienna Says:

of Cuevas is one of the best players in the world. What for sport does Rafa mean. I really dont get it why he says things like that. I already know he doesnot under estimate any player, so why say stuff like that.

jalep Says:

Heard that comment too, sienna.

I think he actually meant it. When Rafa is/was on top #1 or #2, or had just stormed the clay season and won, it really sounded disingenuous and falsely humble when he made those type of comments. But I give him the benefit of doubt now, after a bad season so far by his own reckoning.

Cuevas is very great on clay but a bit rich to say best player in the world.

sienna Says:

the problems are over….He just beat one of the best players in the world with breaks to spare in each set.
funny stuff.

Giles Says:

He said “one of the best players in the world on clay”. What’s wrong with that statement??

jalep Says:

yeah, I forgot to add in the words, “one of the best…”, you are right Giles. And it reflects as a sincere comment from Rafa in light of his less than usual stellar season.

He’s on clay in Hamburg and I got to watch his and other matches this week from Hamburg, thanks to Tennis Channel. Rafa is looking more comfortable by the match, I’d say. Tomorrow, Seppi. Seppi is about on the same level as Cuevas and not an easy out on clay. Rafa should win pretty comfortably but Seppi does have one career win over him, as you already know. Nothing to worry about.

Poor Paire was tired maybe. I don’t know much about Pouille, but will be cheering for Fabio tomorrow because a Rafa v Fabio final will could be fun.

Daniel Says:

One of the best if you consider 20 players because Nadal, Djoko, Federer, Murray, Wawa, Ferrer, Fognini, Monaco, Tsonga, Monfils, Robredo, Berdych, Nishikori, etc all have more pedigree than Cuevas on clay. This guys at least one more titles and reached Clay finals so…

Saw that Sepoi got a walkover from Bolleli and will play Nadal next and Fognini is in the other side semis. It would be nice a rematch of Nadal and Fognini, he lareasy avenge his 2 straight losa with Verdasco, now is time to set the score with Fabio😜

Daniel Says:

“one” should be “won”..

jalep Says:

Hi Daniel, yep I imagine Rafa will avenge his loses to Fabio, if he gets the chance. Fabio, if in the mood, could make it a good match but you never know!

jalep Says:

Can’t help but admire Fabio’s ball striking, balance and posture. If he’s on, he is simply fabulous. But lots of ‘if’s’ there.

Margot Says:

Pouille is next generation French hopeful. Only 21.
Has beaten Thiem somewhere or other. Like him a lot, but generally like French tennis players anyway. All so different, so much flair between them.
No tennis, sausage machine in France, thank goodness.

jalep Says:

In Gstaad, Goffin isn’t playing as sharp as usual today. Sousa (Por), his opponent, might be the reason. ;) If Sousa can remain calm he could win.

It’s too hot to go outside here. Best for me to stay in where the a/c is on. So on my day off, get to watch some tennis. Thiem v Lopez is already set. Bellucci awaits the winner of Sousa v Goffin.

Sousa out-powering Goffin at the moment but it’s tight in the 1st set tiebreak!

jalep Says:

oh yes, me too. In general, my favorite players are French. It’s their panache; or what’s referred to as souplesse in cycling.

I was following Pouille some but lost track. Pierre Hugues-Herbert another one but he’s already 24 and out of the top 100.

jalep Says:

Might have to do with their names, too lol…love the language.

My wee bird lost the first set. Joao Sousa (Por) is easy on the eyes. Good match!

jalep Says:

Oh man. Goffin loses his serve again. They have traded breaks of serve. But commentators say the altitude is a factor in Gstaad, Switzerland. Goffin is off his usual mark, missing easy shots, missing the lines and missing the court even – unusual to see.

Goffin had 2 match points on Sousa serve and missed both chances I’d say, more that he missed the chances than Sousa saved those points. A strength of his game, impeccable timing is off, is Goffin’s.

They are fighting it out to play Bellucci in the semi-final.

Into the tie-break

jalep Says:

Now Joao’s has a mini tantrum, not good. arrgh…

…nerves and emotions. It was terrible flubs and flops from poor Joao.

Goffin sneaks through that terribly played tb with the win.

Margot Says:

Do you like thrillers/police/crime? If yes, there’s a wonderful French, police drama called, “Spiral.” Fantastic female lead, Laure.
Also being treated to a weird French thriller, “Witness” at mo. J’aime beaucoup les flics :)

jalep Says:

Yes, love a good thriller/police, crime drama, Margot. Thanks for the tips will look into “Spiral” and “Witness”

A couple I’ve recently seen:

“Le Bonheur” – not for everyone, for sure, and not a thriller or crime drama.
“Lancombe, Lucien” – set a southwestern town/region in France during WW2. A side of the war not depicted in any movie I’d seen. Dark though.

Venturing away from French:

A Polish film saved on my DVR is “Knife in the Water” and a Russian film “Ivan’s Childhood”

Another old film about WW2 I recently watched was Polish and forgetting the title, but it was too true to bear or want to see twice. Didn’t save it. It was another about WW2, set in Warsaw. Left a deep impression. Mostly I get interested in the languages and the contrast these films are from Hollywood movies.

Nitesh Says:

Nasal about to bagel seppi

jalep Says:

Omg. Rafa serving for what was to be a 61 61 cruise into final double faults on break point.

Let’s see if Seppi can hold.

Rafa had a medical time out. Not sure what that was about.

jalep Says:

Okay. Very good win. I only watched the 1st set – it wasn’t really a match. Just a hiccup from Rafa closing out his serve. Congrats Rafa and Rafa fans.

Fognini – Pouille match was close 2nd set but I get my wish:

Rafa v Fabio Hamburg

Thiem v Goffin Gstaad

Gypsy Gal Says:

Thanks Jalep,Rafa in the final yay,been a dissapointing year,so i hope he at least puts in a good performance for ther final win or lose….

jalep Says:

yeah, it must feel good, GG. I know all about disappointing years as a sport fan.

My money would be on Rafa for the title. Just hope Fabio shows up in the mood to compete – not just act like he doesn’t care :D he always acts that way but doesn’t always mean it, is what I’m saying—-part of his artistry.

Top story: Djokovic, Nadal, Alcaraz All On Brutal Half Of French Open Draw