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Sport Thiem faces tough French Open start as Nadal, Serena pursue records

15:25  28 september  2020
15:25  28 september  2020 Source:   msn.com

Back on favoured clay, Thiem wary of New York hangover

  Back on favoured clay, Thiem wary of New York hangover Back on favoured clay, Thiem wary of New York hangoverThe Austrian stylist seized his opportunity to win the U.S. Open this month -- beating Alexander Zverev in a gripping final.

Rafael Nadal , who is seeking a record -extending 13th French Open title, was handed a relatively tough path to this year's final at Roland Garros when the draw was made on Thursday. Nadal then faces a possible semi-final clash against last year's runner-up and U.S Open winner Dominic Thiem .

Dominic Thiem in four sets to claim a record -extending 12th French Open title at Roland - Garros . But the setback merely served to fire up Nadal , who broke the Austrian at the start of the third set before Thiem cotinued to battle valiantly but was powerless in the face of Nadal 's onslaught as the

Newly-crowned US Open champion Dominic Thiem must confront his emotions and a testing first-round opponent at Roland Garros on Monday as Rafael Nadal and Serena Williams begin their assault on Grand Slam records.

a man holding a racket: Rafael Nadal has played just three times on clay this season heading into the French Open © Clive Brunskill Rafael Nadal has played just three times on clay this season heading into the French Open

Thiem, the runner-up to Nadal here the past two years, captured his maiden Slam in New York and will try to become the only man in the Open era to win his first two majors at successive tournaments.

Thiem aces tough French Open test as Nadal, Serena pursue records

  Thiem aces tough French Open test as Nadal, Serena pursue records US Open winner Dominic Thiem navigated a testing first-round French Open tie against former major champion Marin Cilic on Monday, with Rafael Nadal and Serena Williams set to begin their assault on Grand Slam records. Thiem, the runner-up to Nadal in Paris the past two years, defeated 2014 US Open champion Cilic 6-4, 6-3, 6-3 in their second encounter at a major this month. Having captured his maiden Slam in New York, Thiem is trying to become the only man in the Open era to win his first two majors at successive tournaments.

The Scot will take on the Swiss at Roland Garros , with Serena Williams facing Kristie Ahn. While Rafael Nadal , who is seeking a record -extending 13th French Open title, was handed a Nadal then faces a possible semi-final clash against last year's runner-up and U.S Open winner Dominic Thiem .

Players practice at Roland Garros ahead of French Open . Silva says age not a problem as he starts his Chelsea career.

Dominic Thiem holding a microphone: Dominic Thiem won his first Grand Slam title at the US Open after three defeats in major finals © AL BELLO Dominic Thiem won his first Grand Slam title at the US Open after three defeats in major finals

He has been dealt a challenging draw though, with 2014 US Open Marin Cilic -- who Thiem beat on his title run at Flushing Meadows -- first up on the French Open clay.

a person standing in front of a crowd: Serena Williams loss to Sofia Kenin in the third round of Roland Garros last year © Anne-Christine POUJOULAT Serena Williams loss to Sofia Kenin in the third round of Roland Garros last year

"It's now a tournament coming up where I did great the last four years, where I really want to do great as well this year," said Thiem.

"I'll see how I handle all the emotions, also all the physical challenges which happen in New York," he added.

"In the past I was not that great playing the tournaments after big titles like Indian Wells last year or Vienna.

Serena Williams had her earliest exit from a Grand Slam in 6 years due to an injury, and now it might shut her down for the rest of the year

  Serena Williams had her earliest exit from a Grand Slam in 6 years due to an injury, and now it might shut her down for the rest of the year "I don't know if I'll be able to play another tournament this year," Serena Williams said after withdrawing from Roland-Garros in the second round. Susan Mullane-USA TODAY Sports Serena Williams was forced to withdraw from the French Open when she aggravated her Achille's injury. The timeline for her recovery suggests that she might not be able to play again until 2021. Visit Insider's homepage for more stories. Serena Williams has pulled out of the French Open, and now the remainder of her 2020 campaign could be in jeopardy.

PARIS (Reuters) - Rafael Nadal , who is seeking a record -extending 13th French Open title, was handed a relatively tough path to this year's final at Roland Garros when the draw was Nadal then faces a possible semi-final clash against last year's runner-up and U.S Open winner Dominic Thiem .

Both start their campaigns on Sunday, with Nadal seeking his 13th French Open title and Thiem hoping to win his second Serena Williams, chasing a record -tying 24th Grand Slam singles title, is least comfortable on the red clay of Roland Garros — she has won only three of her major titles there.

"I've always played not that great the following week. I try to do it different here in Paris, try to be on top of my game from Monday on."

World number two Nadal embarks on what he has described as his "most difficult ever Roland Garros" in his quest to match Roger Federer's record 20 major titles.

The Spaniard, who won the first of his 12 French Open titles in 2005, arrives short of preparation and unhappy with the French Open's choice of new balls.

"The conditions here are probably the most difficult conditions for me ever at Roland Garros for so many different facts," said Nadal.

"The ball is completely different. It is super slow, heavy. It's also very cold, slow conditions."

Nadal has been beaten just twice in 95 matches at the tournament but now must adjust to the unusual autumnal chill following the coronavirus crisis that pushed the event back from its traditional May-June time slot.

Tennis umpires are making match-defining calls by tracking marks in the clay, and stars say it's time to go digital

  Tennis umpires are making match-defining calls by tracking marks in the clay, and stars say it's time to go digital Denis Shapovalov, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Dominic Thiem, and other stars want shot-tracking technology such as Hawk-Eye implemented at Roland-Garros. AP Photo/Christophe Ena Tennis pros — including Denis Shapovalov, Stefanos Tsitsipas, and Dominic Thiem — are calling on the French Open to introduce shot-tracking technology such as Hawk-Eye and FoxTenn at Roland-Garros. Stars at the Grand Slam have grown increasingly frustrated with umpires making match-defining — and sometimes incorrect — decisions based off of marks in the clay and the naked eye alone.

Ruthless Nadal beats Thiem to win record -extending 12th French Open . Thiem and other players must have been buoyed when Nadal -- coming off another knee injury -- began the Reeling, Thiem dropped serve, the game highlighted by Nadal chasing a fine Thiem drop shot and then replying with

French Open 2020. Dates: 27 September - 11 October Venue: Roland Garros , Paris. Coverage: Selected radio and text commentaries on Nadal is seeded second behind Serbia's Novak Djokovic and has been put in the same side of the draw of recently crowned US Open champion Dominic Thiem .

a close up of a brick building: Bad weather prevented play from starting on time on all but the enclosed Court Philippe Chatrier © Anne-Christine POUJOULAT Bad weather prevented play from starting on time on all but the enclosed Court Philippe Chatrier

The competition began Sunday amid steady drizzle in temperatures struggling to reach 10 degrees (50F), conditions branded "ridiculous" by US Open finalist Victoria Azarenka.

- Rain holds up play again -

Play on Monday was delayed by more persistent rain. Twice Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova defeated Oceane Dodin 6-3, 7-5 in the only match to start on time under the new roof on Court Philippe Chatrier.

The heavier atmosphere could negate some of Nadal's lethal topspin as he heads into the event without a clay title under his belt for the first time.

The second seed is not pleased the French Open has switched to a new ball supplier and even believes it could pose physical problems for the players.

"I really believe that the organisation needs to take a look at that for the next couple of years, for the health of the players, too, because the ball is super heavy and becomes dangerous for the elbow and for the shoulders," said Nadal.

Thiem admits tough fight ahead to replace 'Big Three'

  Thiem admits tough fight ahead to replace 'Big Three' US Open champion Dominic Thiem admitted Monday that he faces a stiff challenge to keep tennis high up in the public consciousness once Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic call it quits. Thiem, 27, captured his maiden Slam title in New York with a breathtaking five-set win over Alexander Zverev earlier this month, the first major final in six years not to feature at least one of the 'Big Three'. However, US broadcaster ESPN said that ratings for that championship match were down 48%.Both Federer and Nadal opted not to play the US Open while Djokovic was disqualified in the last 16.

Nadal once again gets the better of Federer at Roland Garros in this epilogue to their wonderful rivalry. Federer gets a standing ovation as he walks off court and Nadal , ever the gentleman, is also applauding.

RAFAEL NADAL smashed another record at Roland Garros today when he won his 12th French Open title – the most by any player in one Grand Less than 24 hours later, he was back on Court Philippe-Chatrier facing the toughest task in tennis. Rafael Nadal has now won 18 Grand Slams and

However a first-time meeting with Egor Gerasimov, the world number 83 from Belarus, is unlikely to trouble him.

In the women's draw, Williams launches another attempt to clinch an elusive 24th Grand Slam title on her least successful surface.

She has not gone beyond the last 16 in Paris since her defeat to Garbine Muguruza in the 2016 final.

The former world number one skipped Rome after sustaining an Achilles injury in her US Open semi-final loss but is confident of making a challenge for a fourth Roland Garros crown.

"I wouldn't be playing if I didn't think I could perform," said Williams, who turned 39 on Saturday.

"I'm not at 100% physically. But I don't know any athlete that ever plays physically when they're feeling perfect. That's just something I think as athletes we have to play with."

Williams takes on American Kristie Ahn in a repeat of their US Open first-round tie, and is playing at Roland Garros for the 18th time, having made her debut in 1998.

Her last major came at the 2017 Australian Open while pregnant. Since giving birth to baby Olympia, she has reached four finals in nine attempts without being able to land an elusive 24th Slam to equal Margaret Court.

Overall prize money at this year's event is down 11 percent at 14,491,000 euros, but players beaten in the first round will receive 60,000 euros -- a 30 percent increase compared to 2019.

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Gallery: Best photos from the 2020 French Open at Roland Garros (USA TODAY SPORTS)

a person hitting a ball with a racket: Day 1: Top seed Simona Halep of Romania returns the ball to Spain's Sara Sorribes during her 6-4, 6-0 win in her opening match.

French Open champ Swiatek rises to 17th; Djokovic, Nadal 1-2 .
French Open champion Iga Swiatek joined the Top 20 for the first time Monday by rising 37 spots in the WTA rankings to a career-best No. 17. Rafael Nadal’s 6-0, 6-2, 7-5 victory over Novak Djokovic on Sunday for a 13th championship at Roland Garros and 20th Grand Slam trophy in all — tying Roger Federer’s record for men — did not change the top of the ATP rankings. Djokovic, who won the Australian Open in February for his 17th major title, is still No. 1, with Nadal at No. 2, followed by U.S. Open champion Dominic Thiem and Federer.The 19-year-old Swiatek entered the French Open at No.

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