Nadal, Barcelone 2017

Rafa Nadal, Dominic Thiem and Alexander Zverev on the men’s side, Simona Halep, Elina Svitolina and Kristina Mladenovic on the women’s side have dominated the clay court season; while world number ones Andy Murray and Angelique Kerber appeared in big trouble. Here’s our recap of who won what.

Men

Marrakech: Borna Coric

Runner-up in Marrakech last year, Borna Coric came back from the brink, saved 5 match points to overcome Philip Kohlschreiber and capture his maiden ATP title.

Monte Carlo: Rafael Nadal

Rafa‘s reign in Monte Carlo continues: he defeated fellow Spaniard Ramos-Vinolas, who stunned Andy Murray en route to his maiden Masters 1000 final. With that victory, Nadal became the first man in the Open Era to win 10 titles at a tournament, and the first to win 50 clay-court titless, surpassing Guillermo Vilas (49).


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Nicolas Almagro, Estoril Open 2016

Former top 10 Nicolas Almagro defeated Pablo Carreno Busta in an all Spanish final in Estoril. It’s his first trophy since his victory in Nice in 2012. The match was indecise till the very last games: Almagro lost the first set on tiebreak, then served several times for the second set and finally went on winning 6-7 7-6 6-3.

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Estoril Open, 01.05.2016
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Juan Martin Del Poto, Munich 2016

Juan Martin Del Potro won his first match on clay in nearly three years and advanced to the second round of the BMW Open by beating Dustin Brown 7-6 6-4. He then defeated Jan-Lennard Struff to reach the quarterfinal, where he lost to Philipp Kohlschreiber. The German will face Dominic Thiem in the final tomorrow.

Plagued with wrist injuries over the last years, the 2009 US Open champion made his comeback to the tour in February at the Delray Beach Open. He will play the Madrid Masters next week and will probably receive a wild card for the upcoming French Open.

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Davis Cup 1985: Sweden defeat West Germany

For the first time since Fred Perry led Britain to four successive victories in the 1930’s, a European nation retained the Davis Cup when Sweden defeated West Germany 3-2 at the Olympiahalle in Munich. The year was immensely satisfying because it saw the consolidation of the finest and most powerful all-round Davis Cup team since Neale Fraser was able to call upon the likes of Rod Laver, Ken Rosewall and John Newcombe in the early 1970’s. Hans Olsson‘s men are a true credit to tennis, not merely for their abundant and varied skills but for the refreshing spirit of camaraderie and sportsmanship that they bring to a game badly in need of it. In marked contrast to Gothenburg 12 months before, when the referee, Alan Mills, had to consider defaulting Jimmy Connors, Patrick Flodrops, the French referee in Munich, found himself pleasantly under-employed. Olsson was not so very far from the mark when, in reply to a flippant question about the need for code of conduct agreements, he replied “My boys are so good they don’t even need umpires”.

For Boris Becker, too [the Davis Cup in 1985] had become a whirl of triumph which remained quite untarnished by West Germany’s defeat in Munich. He could, it is true, have done better in the doubles but his performance in both singles, first in beating Stefan Edberg on the Friday, and then in keeping the tie alive for the Germans by outplaying as solid a competitor as Mats Wilander on the Sunday, were performances that required an extraordinary level of determination and self-belief. But not even Becker could beat the Swedes on his own. Proving their amazing versatility and depth of talent, Olsson’s team were able to shrug off the loss through illness of Anders Jarryd, their no. 2 singles player and doubles expert, and still win on a German-made carpet that was really too fast for good quality tennis. It was a tribute to the skills of all the players that we saw anything other than one-shot rallies.

Olsson’s remark after beating Australia in Malmo –

“Germany can choose whatever court they want; I have the players for it”

– was not the statement of an over-confident captain. It was merely the truth. With Wilander beating Westphal in the first rubber despite the young German’s 19 aces; Wilander and the brilliant Joakim Nystrom taking advantage of Maurer‘s service weakness to win the doubles; and Edberg overcoming his nerves (and another 22 aces from Westphal) to prove that he now has the character to match his talent, Sweden’s right to retain the Cup was never questioned either by impartial observers or even by the Bavarian crowd who devised a new form of noisy support for their players by clapping rhythmically between every point. The best team won, and, to their credit, the Germans were the first to recognise it. Now they have beaten such stalwart opposition on an alien court, with a new no.2 singles player and a reserve doubles team, it is difficult to see how anyone is going to take the Cup away from the Swedes in the foreseeable future. But in Davis Cup who knows?

By Richard Evans, World of Tennis 1986