Rafael Nadal beats Novak Djokovic at French Open for record tying 20th major
Rafael Nadal beats Novak Djokovic at French Open for record tying 20th major
In this unusual, surreal 2020, Rafael Nadal carved out a remarkable piece of history by reaching a landmark 20 in tennis terms.
More specifically, winning a 20th grand slam title to equal pal and fellow “Big Three” member Roger Federer’s men’s all-time record.
He did so by beating the other member of the elite group, Novak Djokovic, 6-0 6-2 7-5, under the roof on Philippe Chatrier Court amid Paris’ late afternoon autumnal chill.
Rafael Nadal bites the winning trophy after claiming the French Open title for the 13th time with a straight sets victory over Novak Djokovic.
Nadal sunk to his knees after an ace on championship point in what was a surprisingly lopsided finale to the fortnight.
But this is indeed Nadal on clay. He said the tournament’s new balls and cool weather don’t favor his spin heavy game — the coronavirus pandemic prompted organizers to move the event from its usual late May start — but the 34-year-old Spaniard overcame the conditions to tally a 13th French Open crown without dropping a set and 100th Roland Garros match victory.
He elevated his game to oust his conqueror in his lone warmup tournament, Diego Schwartzman, in the semifinals before stepping it up another notch Sunday.
Nadal compiled 31 winners to only 14 unforced errors to hand the 17-time grand slam winner the worst loss in any of his 27 grand slam finals. Nadal has never lost a French Open final but Djokovic certainly seemed to present danger for him in the finale.
He had won their last three grand slam matches and they were huge blows to Nadal — including in the quarterfinals at Roland Garros five years ago.
Novak Djokovic plays through pain to reach French Open semifinals
The Serb had only suffered defeat in one match in 2020 — that default at the US Open last month against Pablo Carreno Busta — and benefited from more buildup matches in the past two months than his rival.
Djokovic suffered neck and shoulder issues in his rematch with Carreno Busta on Wednesday, when he donned long sleeves, and one couldn’t help but wonder if something was bothering the world No. 1 again.
The long sleeves were back, two days after he sported short sleeves in his semifinal against Stefanos Tsitsipas that started in the evening and ended around 10:30 p.m. local time. He reverted to the short sleeves after he fell behind by two sets.
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He lost a set 6-0 at a major for only the fourth time in his grand slam career according to website Tennis Abstract and even though Djokovic has used the drop shot extensively on the clay, he attempted an eye-catching four in the first game.
His unforced error tally soared to 52.
Nadal was dominant throughout the final at Roland Garros.
He was broken from 40-15 in the opening game to give Nadal the best possible start in front of the limited number of fans in attendance. They were capped at 1,000 amid the pandemic.
The duo exchanged several extended rallies that saw both players well outside the doubles lines, Nadal habitually coming out on top.
Djokovic was given a small glimmer of hope by saving a trio of break points to begin the second yet the respite didn’t linger.
In his next service game, Nadal did break through for a 2-1 advantage.
With Djokovic unable to put away a shot near the net, Nadal crushed a forehand down the line to rub salt in the wounds.
Djokovic’s play was a clear marker that he wouldn’t be the first man in 83 tries to rally from two sets down against Nadal at Roland Garros and an inevitable break came at 2-2 in the third after Nadal continued to knock on the door.
However, it wasn’t straight forward from there.
Nadal was broken for the first time and Djokovic got the crowd going with his emphatic celebration.
It kickstarted a brief renaissance as he went ahead 4-3 in the third.
Djokovic was now moving better and launching himself into shots but Nadal met the challenge and yelled “come on” to hold for 4-4. Finally it was a contest.
Djokovic fended off a break point thanks a gutsy second serve, backhand combination, but cracked at 5-5 on a double fault wide.
Nadal then served it out to love, capping the historic contest with the ace out wide to seal another French Open victory.
“No Way Back For You In Man United Squad, Spoilt Brat” – Darren Bent Slams Ronaldo
Darren Bent, a former Charlton, Tottenham and Sunderland striker, has suggested that the end of Cristiano Ronaldo has come at Manchester United.
The former England man said he sees no way the former Real Madrid star can come back from this.
Ronaldo has been widely criticised for disrespecting his manager, Erik ten Hag, teammates and fans by leaving early and also refusing to go on.
Erik ten Hag’s team defeated Tottenham 2-0 on Wednesday, and their success was somewhat overshadowed by Cristiano’s early departure from the stadium.
The Portuguese have since been punished. He won’t be taking any part in the game against Chelsea on Saturday and has been banned from training with the first team.
Bent told talkSPORT Drive: “What he did… I thought was really disrespectful to his teammates.” I thought he let himself down.
“The club is trying to go in the right direction and I think Erik ten Hag is doing a good job.”
“It was their performance of the season and it has been overshadowed by Ronaldo’s being upset because he didn’t come on.”
“It was like a spoiled brat.” There’s no way back for him.
“We know how good he’s been. He’s one of the best to ever do it, but we are talking about the here and now.”
“He’s been petulant and disrespected his teammates who have worked hard.” They’ve put in the performance of the season and he’s just left”
Cristiano Ronaldo sought to leave Old Trafford last summer but was said to have been prevented by the Dutch manager.
Ten Hag had, on more than one occasion, said that Ronaldo was in his plans for the club for the season and was going nowhere. And at the beginning of the season, he used fitness as an excuse for not starting him, saying the Portugal captain had not taken part in the club preseason tour of Asia and Australia.
Ronaldo, who scored 24 goals in all competitions last season, has netted just two this term, majorly due to a lack of game time.
D’Tigress beat Mali to retain African title for third straight triumph
By Gistflash News
Sept 26, 2021
Nigeria’s senior national women basketball team, D’Tigress, on Sunday emerged champions of the 2021 FIBA Women’s AfroBasket Championship by defeating Mali 70-59 in Yaounde.
D’Tigress’s victory in the Cameroonian capital city makes it the third consecutive one for them, having won the championship the 2017 and 2019 editions.
The team, who are now unbeaten in three championships, led from the beginning of the game and but for a few moments never looked back in dominating game proceedings.
They won the first quarter 22-11, but lost the second one 9-13, even though they still led the game with seven points into the long break.
D’Tigress returned from the break to win the third quarter 28-14 to extend their lead to 21 points.
It meant they could afford to remove their foot from the throttle in the fourth quarter, which they lost 11-21, and still maintain an 11-point lead to win the game.
Victoria Macaulay was their top performer with 15 points, three rebounds, one assist and three blocks, while Ify Ibekwe recorded 10 rebounds and Ezinne Kalu four assists.
Earlier in the day, hosts Cameroon had won the third-place match by beating Senegal 53-49.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the title win has earned D’Tigress qualification for the 2022 FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup in Sydney, Australia.
Fernandes misses late penalty kick as Aston Villa stun Manchester United
By Gistflash News
Sept 25, 2021
Bruno Fernandes blazed a stoppage-time penalty kick over the crossbar as Aston Villa earned a shock 1-0 victory at a below-par Manchester United in the English Premier League on Saturday.
Kortney Hause’s 88th-minute header had put Aston Villa on course for their first league win over Manchester United since 2009.
But the defender’s handball gifted United an opportunity to steal a point, only for Fernandes to miss the target.
Since Cristiano Ronaldo re-signed for Manchester United, there has been much debate over who will take penalty kicks and free-kicks this season —- Fernandes or his fellow Portuguese.
It was Fernandes who took the first direct free-kick on Saturday, firing into the wall, with Ronaldo getting the next one.
Fernandes, following Hause’s handball, never looked back as he placed the ball on the penalty kick spot in the 92nd minute.
But last season’s top goalscorer missed only his second penalty kick for the club to the dismay of an expectant crowd.
“First of all, the way they (Aston Villa players) get round the penalty kick spot, get round Bruno and that, that’s not to my liking,” Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said.
“Bruno is usually very good in those positions and unfortunately he missed this one.”
In truth, Manchester United got what they deserved.
Aston Villa had two great opportunities to break the deadlock in the first half with full-back Matt Targett blazing over from two metres out.
That was before Ollie Watkins was denied by a fine save from Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea.
The home side, encouraged by a frustrated Old Trafford crowd, stepped it up late in the match.
But Hause climbed highest to stun the hosts before Fernandes’ miss and Manchester United tasted league defeat for the first time this season.
That second successive home loss in all competitions means Manchester United dropped to fourth in the standings on goal difference, with the top four sides all on 13 points.
Aston Villa climbed to seventh.
Solskjaer called for a fast start from his side in his programme notes, having seen his team often struggle to get going.
And that is exactly what he got as Fernandes wasted a great chance inside two minutes.
However, the hosts tailed off and really should have gone behind at half-time as Targett and Watkins missed great opportunities.
The home fans were getting restless as the Premier League’s top goalscorers struggled to create clear-cut chances.
It was just two headers as close as Manchester United came to breaking the deadlock before the break.
The game opened up as the second half wore on with Mason Greenwood going close, before De Gea denied Watkins with another fine save.
But the Spanish goalkeeper could do nothing as Hause powered his header home, sparking wild scenes of celebration in the away end.
The headlines, however, went to Fernandes, as his miss gave Aston Villa a famous and thoroughly deserved success.
“It (an Aston Villa win at Old Trafford) has been a long time coming,” Aston Villa coach Dean Smith said. “Our performance levels have been good the last couple of times we’ve been here.
“What that does is it gives an awful lot of belief to the players now.”
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