HT Image
HT Image

Nadal’s bullish run

The four-time French Open champion chalks one up for Spain over Germany with his 7-6 (3), 6-2, 6-3 win over Nicolas Kiefer in the third round at Wimbledon.
By HT Correspondent | AP, London
UPDATED ON JUN 30, 2008 02:59 AM IST

With the sun setting behind Centre Court, Rafael Nadal was racing to get done so he could concentrate on another important match.

The four-time French Open champion chalked one up for Spain over Germany at 9:12 pm on Saturday with his 7-6 (3), 6-2, 6-3 win over Nicolas Kiefer in the third round at Wimbledon.

But that wasn’t the Spain vs Germany victory that was foremost in his mind immediately after the match — that could come Sunday when the Spaniards take on the Germans at the European Championship final in Vienna, Austria.

The middle Sunday a rest day at Wimbledon, and the last thing Nadal wanted was his third-round contest with Kiefer to be being carried over until Monday if it got too dark to keep playing. “I was a little bit nervous, because for me it was important to finish the match,” said Nadal, stifling a yawn.

It was in the corresponding stage last year when his third-round match with Robin Soderling spanned four days because of rain. Nadal went on to lose in the final to Roger Federer for the second straight year.

So after a first set that lasted 67 minutes and went to a tiebreaker on Saturday, it was getting close to 8 p.m. and he instinctively lifted a gear.

He raced through the second set in 33 minutes, hitting winners off both wings, and was serving for the match at 5-1 at 9:03 p.m. in the third set.

Then he lost his focus for a bit. Kiefer broke him, for the first time in the match, and then held serve for 5-3.

With the stairwell lights in the Royal Box, the occasional camera flash and the scoreboard glow the only artificial lights adding illumination in the shadowy court, Nadal made no mistake next time. He held at love to finish in 2 hours, 22 minutes, then he punched the air, took off both wrist bands and threw them into the crowd. “I had an unbelievable mistake with the volley, the forehand volley at 5-1, and later he has a very good serve,” he said. “Lucky for me, later I played a good game.”

Rafa loves his football and has a bit of pedigree. His uncle, Miguel Angel Nadal a.k.a. “The Beast of Barcelona,” played for Spain in three World Cup campaigns in 1994, ‘98 and 2002. So on Sunday evening, he planned to be kicking back with some of the other Spanish tennis players at his place in Wimbledon Village watching the coverage from Ernst Happel Stadium. Spain will be trying to win its first piece of major football silverware since its 2-1 win over the Soviet Union in the 1964 European Championship final.

Asked if his win was the first of two for the weekend for Spain, Nadal was confident.

“Tomorrow is another history, no? Happy for my win, but tomorrow is very important,” he said.

“If we are not confident right now with this team we’re never going to be confident.” Not that he thought the Spanish team would be using his win over Kiefer as motivation.

“I don’t think I’m going to help nothing, but for sure I’m going to be supporting the Spanish team 100 percent,” he said. After that, the 22-year-old Nadal can re-set his focus on becoming the first man since Bjorn Borg in 1980 to win back-to-back French Open and Wimbledon titles. The likely roadblock is Federer, who has won the last five Wimbledon titles and is on a 61-match grass-court streak.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
app
Close
Khabib Nurmagomedov of Russia in an MMA bout with Dustin Poirier of the US, earlier this month. Nurmagomedov — a legend who has single-handedly boosted the profile of the sport — recently announced that he’s retiring, following the death of his father and coach earlier this year.(Mahmoud Khaled / AP File Photo)
Khabib Nurmagomedov of Russia in an MMA bout with Dustin Poirier of the US, earlier this month. Nurmagomedov — a legend who has single-handedly boosted the profile of the sport — recently announced that he’s retiring, following the death of his father and coach earlier this year.(Mahmoud Khaled / AP File Photo)

UFC chief thinks Khabib Nurmagomedov could return: Report

Reuters
PUBLISHED ON JAN 23, 2021 09:36 AM IST
Despite repeated claims by Khabib Nurmagomedov that he intends to remain retired, UFC president White said Friday that he believes the undefeated UFC lightweight champion -- who stunned the sport by tearfully retiring after his previous match -- "still wants to fight."
Close
Photo of Indian badminton player PV Sindhu(Twitter)
Photo of Indian badminton player PV Sindhu(Twitter)

PV Sindhu bows out of Thailand Open after losing to Ratchanok Intanon

By hindustantimes.com
UPDATED ON JAN 22, 2021 06:33 PM IST
PV Sindu went down in straight games (13-21, 9-21 ) to the fourth seed in Thailand Open on Friday.
Close
Football representational image(HT Image)
Football representational image(HT Image)

Wolverhampton edges past 6th-tier Chorley 1-0 in FA Cup

AP
PUBLISHED ON JAN 23, 2021 08:19 AM IST
  • The Premier League millionaires also only managed a single shot — the goal — against the part-timers from the sixth tier.
Close
interview
File image of Dan Hooker.(Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)
File image of Dan Hooker.(Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

EXCLUSIVE | I think that might go the distance: Hooker on Poirier vs McGregor

By YASH BHATI
UPDATED ON JAN 22, 2021 12:33 PM IST
  • The lightweight division will see another exciting match-up as Kiwi fighter Dan Hooker (20-9) faces former Bellator champion Michael Chandler (21-5).
Close
Paris St Germain coach Mauricio Pochettino with Kylian Mbappe.(REUTERS)
Paris St Germain coach Mauricio Pochettino with Kylian Mbappe.(REUTERS)

Mbappe brace as PSG routs Montpellier 4-0, Pochettino back

AP
PUBLISHED ON JAN 23, 2021 07:46 AM IST
  • PSG moved three points clear of second-place Lille, which can move level on points by winning at fifth-place Rennes on Sunday but has a vastly inferior goal difference.
Close
Manchester City's Kevin De Bruyne Pool (Pool via REUTERS)
Manchester City's Kevin De Bruyne Pool (Pool via REUTERS)

De Bruyne out for up to six weeks due to injury, says Guardiola

Reuters
PUBLISHED ON JAN 22, 2021 08:49 PM IST
De Bruyne, 29, sustained what appeared to be a hamstring injury and was replaced on the hour mark at the Etihad Stadium in Wednesday's 2-0 Premier League win at home to Aston Villa.
Close
Ashwini and Satwik (file)(Twitter)
Ashwini and Satwik (file)(Twitter)

Thailand Open: Satwik-Ashwini in mixed doubles semis, Sameer loses tough fight

PTI
PUBLISHED ON JAN 22, 2021 05:23 PM IST
The unseeded pair of Satwik and Ashwini stunned fifth seeds and world no 6 Peng Soon Chan and Liu Ying Goh of Malaysia 18-21 24-22 22-20 after toiling hard for one hour and 15 minutes in a nail-bitting quarterfinal duel.
Close
Indian cricket team and Triple H.(AP/ WWE)
Indian cricket team and Triple H.(AP/ WWE)

A WWE-scripted level of a comeback: Triple H lauds Team India's win in Australia

By YASH BHATI
UPDATED ON JAN 23, 2021 08:03 AM IST
  • It wasn’t just the Indian fans celebrating but everyone in and around the world lauded the spirit shown by the Indian cricket team in Australia.
Close
Soccer Football - Championship - Derby County v Rotherham United - Pride Park, Derby, Britain - January 16, 2021 Derby County manager Wayne Rooney before the match Action Images/Molly Darlington(Action Images)
Soccer Football - Championship - Derby County v Rotherham United - Pride Park, Derby, Britain - January 16, 2021 Derby County manager Wayne Rooney before the match Action Images/Molly Darlington(Action Images)

Fernandes and Cavani have made Manchester United contenders: Rooney

Reuters
PUBLISHED ON JAN 22, 2021 01:28 PM IST
The pair, who arrived last year, had also taken some of the pressure off Paul Pogba, allowing the French midfielder to play to his full potential, he added.
Close
Chelsea's head coach Frank Lampard waits for the VAR system to be reviewed by the referee during the English Premier League soccer match between Leicester City and Chelsea at the King Power Stadium in Leicester, (AP)
Chelsea's head coach Frank Lampard waits for the VAR system to be reviewed by the referee during the English Premier League soccer match between Leicester City and Chelsea at the King Power Stadium in Leicester, (AP)

Lampard deserves more time at Chelsea, says Arsenal's Arteta

Reuters
PUBLISHED ON JAN 22, 2021 01:23 PM IST
Lampard is under huge pressure at Chelsea after Tuesday's 2-0 loss to Leicester City saw them slip to eighth. They have now lost five of their last eight in the Premier League.
Close
India national coach Igor Stimac.(AIFF)
India national coach Igor Stimac.(AIFF)

There will be lots of changes to the national team: Igor Stimac

By Dhiman Sarkar, Bhargab Sarmah
PUBLISHED ON JAN 22, 2021 07:59 AM IST
  • Before he starts work with a preparatory camp likely to be in Dubai from March, Stimac spoke about why he is happy with what he has seen in ISL this season and more in this exclusive interview.
Close
Burnley's Ashley Barnes, right, runs to celebrate his goal during the English Premier League soccer match between Liverpool and Burnley in Liverpool, England, (AP)
Burnley's Ashley Barnes, right, runs to celebrate his goal during the English Premier League soccer match between Liverpool and Burnley in Liverpool, England, (AP)

Liverpool's 68-match unbeaten EPL home run ended by Burnley

AP
PUBLISHED ON JAN 22, 2021 08:03 AM IST
  • Ashley Barnes scored from the penalty spot in the 83rd minute after the forward was brought down by goalkeeper Alisson Becker as Burnley became the first team to win in the league at Anfield since April 2017.
Close
Barcelona's Martin Braithwaite, second left, celebrates after scoring his side's second goal during a Spanish Copa del Rey round of 32 soccer match between Cornella and FC Barcelona at the Nou Municipal stadium in Cornella,(AP)
Barcelona's Martin Braithwaite, second left, celebrates after scoring his side's second goal during a Spanish Copa del Rey round of 32 soccer match between Cornella and FC Barcelona at the Nou Municipal stadium in Cornella,(AP)

Barca edge past minnows Cornella despite missing two penalties

Reuters
PUBLISHED ON JAN 22, 2021 08:40 AM IST
Barcelona missed two penalties in normal time, with midfielder Miralem Pjanic being thwarted late in the first half by Cornella keeper Ramon Juan before Dembele hit straight at the feet of the 21-year-old in the 80th minute from yet another spot-kick.
Close
Narsingh Yadav is eyeing a Tokyo Olympic berth. (Narsingh Yadav/Instagram)
Narsingh Yadav is eyeing a Tokyo Olympic berth. (Narsingh Yadav/Instagram)

Focus on Narsingh Yadav at freestyle wrestling national championships

By Avishek Roy, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON JAN 21, 2021 08:55 PM IST
  • With big names missing, the focus will be on Narsingh Yadav, who is making a return after serving a four-year doping ban.
Close
Sergio Aguero reacts. (Getty Images)
Sergio Aguero reacts. (Getty Images)

Man City striker Sergio Aguero tests positive for Covid-19

AP, Manchester, England
PUBLISHED ON JAN 21, 2021 08:30 PM IST
  • Sergio Aguero had already been self-isolating after being identified as a close contact of someone infected.
Close
SHARE
Story Saved
OPEN APP