20.06.2021 - 18:24 Uhr
atptour.com
The World No. 5 Dominic Thiem suffered a surprise first-round defeat against Pablo Andujar at Roland Garros. But the Austrian star is keen to get his grass-court season underway with a win at the Mallorca Championships in Spain.“Straight after Roland Garros I was going back on a practice court for almost two weeks on a hard court, still at home, just to fix my shots again, because they were not as they should be in the clay-court season,” Thiem said.“Now I feel well again with my shots, with my footwork. I practised two days in Austria on grass courts and already four days in Mallorca and I feel pretty well. But on grass, you never know what is going to happen. The most important for me was to fix my shots, to improve my footwork, to move well again on the court and that’s what I did in Austria.”Thiem won his first Grand Slam title at the US Open last September (d. Zverev), and admits he struggled for motivation at times after achieving such a big goal of his. However, the Austrian, who is the second seed at the ATP 250 event in Mallorca, is fully focused again. “It’s pretty normal. It happens. You’re working very hard for a certain goal, a big goal and then you finally reach it,” Thiem admitted. “In my case, [it was] after three lost [Grand Slam] finals before, so it was such a huge goal to reach and such a huge relief as well. After that, I started to think a little bit and I had a little bit of a lack of motivation as well.“But with time passing by, it got better and better again. And now, I’m fine again, I’m normal again… I couldn’t play well enough for the French Open. Grass, you never know what’s happening, so you are just trying to gain some confidence, to practise very hard, to play well in matches.”[WATCH LIVE 2]This is the first year of the Mallorca Championships after the tournament, which was originally set to make its debut in 2020, was cancelled due to the global COVID-19 pandemic. Despite this, Thiem has spent time here before and feels comfortable on the Spanish island.“I was here five years ago. I did the coin toss for a WTA final and played an exhibition. Already back then the club was super nice,” Thiem said. “Three years ago I was on holiday here. Two or three months ago I spent one week here, so I really love it. The weather is perfect, the weather is nice. The most important is the grass courts are super good.”Theim, who has a 16-16 career record on grass, will face German Jan-Lennard Struff or World No. 42 Adrian Mannarino in his opening match.
  

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29.07.2021 - 04:21 Uhr
atptour.com

Brandon Nakashima continued his stellar run of form on Wednesday night as he took down top seed Milos Raonic in a nail-biting 5-7, 6-3, 7-6(4) battle to reach the Truist Atlanta Open quarter-finals.The 19-year-old turned heads last week at the Mifel Open in Los Cabos, where he defeated the likes of Sam Querrey and John Isner on his way to his first ATP Tour final (l. to Norrie). He added one more name to his win list after upsetting Raonic, currently No. 22 in the FedEx ATP Rankings, in Atlanta. Nakashima, who sits in ninth position in the ATP Race To Milan for a spot into the Next Gen ATP Finals, won his second three-setter in as many days after rallying from a set down against Raonic. The big-serving Canadian was contesting his first tournament since the Miami Open presented by Itau in March, and he was dictating play early on. But double faults and unforced errors would be Raonic’s undoing against the battle-tested Nakashima. The 19-year-old earned his first break of serve as a result of four double faults from Raonic – interrupted by two aces – in the same game at 4-3 in the opening set. The Canadian was able to recover to take the 50-minute first set, but quickly found himself on the back foot as Nakashima got going in the second set. Nakashima improved his first-serve percentage from 42 per cent in the first set to 72 per cent in the second. The difference showed as Nakashima only lost five points behind his serve, and kept the pressure firmly on Raonic. He earned the decisive break at 3-2, and kept his nose in front to level the match. [WATCH LIVE 2]The normally cool-headed American showed his first sign of nerves as he served for the match at 5-4. He worked his way to two match points at 40/15, but missed two routine backhands to give Raonic a chance to come back. Nakashima regrouped in the tie-break, winning three points in a row from 3/2 and converting his fifth match point to seal the victory. Nakashima will next face Jordan Thompson in the quarter-final, after the Aussie edged past German qualifier Peter Gojowczyk 7-6(4), 6-4 earlier in the day. The 19-year-old is into his third career quarter-final, after reaching the last eight at Delray Beach in 2020 and the final in Los Cabos last week.

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