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Tennis News • Djokovic And Nadal Win Respective 500-Point Titles In Dubai And Acapulco

By Ricky Dimon

If a member of the Big 3 is playing in a big tournament, you can be quite certain he is going to win it. Such is the nature of the ATP World Tour these days.

More of the same continued this week, when Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal shared 500-point titles. Djokovic secured a fifth title at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, while Nadal triumphed at the Abierto Mexicano Telcel for the third time in his career.

Djokovic’s Dubai run, which extended his perfect record this season to 18-0, was not entirely smooth. The top-ranked Serb saved three match points from 6-3 down in the second-set tiebreaker to overcome Gael Monfils 2-6, 7-6(8), 6-1 in the semifinals. But it was more routine in the final, when Djokovic beat recent Marseille champion Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-3, 6-4.

“I’m trying to embrace the moment and appreciate where I am,” the 32-year-old noted. “I think this has been one of the best starts of all the seasons I had in my career. I feel great on the court. I’ve been playing great tennis on the hard courts. That is my most successful and preferred surface.

“I’m just grateful that I’m playing well, feeling well. I’ve won many matches now in a row. I’ll try to keep that run going. It’s just way too early to speak about how long that run might go, the calculations. I try not to think about predictions. I try to focus on what I need to do with myself and my team in order to thrive every day, in order to try to play as best as I can every single match. That’s the main focus.”

“It’s disappointing trying so hard and not really getting the final result that you want,” said Tsitsipas. “For sure, I would love to see myself holding that trophy. Of course, he gave more than me and he deserves it.”

Similarly, Nadal was by far the best player in Acapulco. The 33-year-old, who lost to Nick Kyrgios in the Acapulco second round last February, defeated Taylor Fritz 6-3, 6-2 on championship Saturday. Nadal’s previous two titles in Acapulco had come on clay.

“I couldn’t be happier,” Nadal assured. “I played a great event from the beginning to the end. Acapulco was the first big title that I won in my career, so to be able to stay here after 15 years is amazing. I can’t thank enough the people who make me feel at home every single time.”

The Spaniard did not lose a set all week or even play a tiebreaker. He won nine of his 10 sets by 6-3 or worse.

“You always wish you could win, but I still have to take positives out of this week,” Fritz explained. “It was an honor to step on the court with Rafa. I’ve played Roger and Novak, the other two people I watched when I was a kid. To play with Rafa, who I’ve watched since I was a kid, it’s pretty crazy when you step back to think about it.”

Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.


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