Red-Hot Cilic Stuns Rublev

Marin Cilic rolled back the years Saturday to earn just his second Top 10 win since 2018, upsetting World No. 6 Andrey Rublev 7-5, 7-6(3), 3-6, 6-3 to reach the fourth round at the Australian Open.

The Croatian crushed forehands and hammered backhands in a free-hitting display on Margaret Court Arena to end Rublev’s stay in Australia in emphatic fashion, advancing after two hours and 37 minutes.

“It is incredible,” Cilic said in his on-court interview. “I enjoyed every single second of the match. Andrey is an incredible player, we have played several times in the past and it is always difficult. I had so much fun and played great tennis.”

The 33-year-old, whose last Top 10 win came against then-World No. 9 Roberto Bautista Agut at the same stage in Melbourne in 2020, has now advanced to the fourth round at the Australian Open eight times, with his best result a run to the final in 2018.

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Felix Takes Short-Cut Past Evans

Cilic has improved his ATP Head2Head series to 2-4 against the Russian and will next play Felix Auger-Aliassime after the Canadian defeated 24th seed Daniel Evans 6-4, 6-1, 6-1.

“In the evening it is a little bit cooler, so you can go for a bit more on your shots and it really went well for me,” Cilic added. “I served great and that is the way to go against the guys at the top. If you are giving them a chance to hit, you will have trouble, so I was trying to be aggressive and it paid off.”

The 27th seed is one of three former Grand Slam champions left in the draw alongside World No. 2 Daniil Medvedev and 20-time major winner Rafael Nadal. Cilic clinched his only slam trophy at the US Open in 2014.

Cilic was strong on serve against Rublev throughout, firing 24 aces as he won 85 per cent (52/61) of his first-serve points. After a dominant first two sets, where the 20-time tour-level titlist swung freely to hit 34 winners, Rublev rallied from 1-3 in the third set. The 24-year-old won five games in a row, including the last 12 points of the set to claw himself back into contention.

However, the Russian was unable to carry his momentum into the fourth set, with Cilic breaking to lead 3-1. This time the Croatian made no mistake, advancing when he fired down an ace, releasing all the tension in the process.

Rublev was aiming to reach the fourth round in Melbourne for the third time. The fifth seed, who defeated Gianluca Mager and Ricardas Berankis earlier this week, is the highest seed to fall in Melbourne this year.

In other action, Australian Alex de Minaur defeated World No. 83 Pablo Andujar 6-4, 6-4, 6-2 to reach the fourth round in Melbourne for the first time.

The home favourite, who is making his fifth Australian Open appearance, hit 34 winners and broke five times to advance after two hours and nine minutes. The 32nd seed will next face Italian Jannik Sinner after the World No. 10 downed Japanese qualifier Taro Daniel 6-4, 1-6, 6-3, 6-1.

Andrey Rublev v Marin Cilic – Follow Australian Open LIVE coverage

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Singles | Round 3

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Live

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A.Rublev

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5

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22 January 2022.css-amlxws-StyledSmallDivider-StyledSmallDivider{border-right:solid 1px #FFFFFF;opacity:0.25;margin:0 10px;}@media (min-width:700px){.css-amlxws-StyledSmallDivider-StyledSmallDivider{margin:0 13px;}}Margaret Court Arena

Australian Open order of play: Day 4 – Murray, Raducanu lead GB charge, Kyrgios show rolls on

Andy Murray and Emma Raducanu lead the British challenge on a mouth watering day four of the Australian Open, which includes Nick Kyrgios taking on the highest men’s seed, Daniil Medvedev.

Dan Evans and Heather Watson are also in action, while Simona Halep and Garbine Muguruza will be hoping to progress.

Top match Medvedev v Krygios

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Get the popcorn ready, there could be fireworks as men’s favourite Daniil Medvedev takes on Nick Kyrgios and a partisan crowd. The controversial, entertaining and always engrossing Kyrgios has produced the majority of the most talked about moments at the tournament so far, including an extraordinary tweener during his win over Liam Broady. Medvedev is the highest men’s seed with Novak Djokovic not involved and he will be tested by Kyrgios, who short of match practice but capable of anything on his day.

‘It’s going to be a hell of an experience’ – Kyrgios ahead of Medvedev match

Potential upset – Muguruza v Cornet

Third seed Garbine Muguruza began with a fairly comfortable win over Clara Burel, and she has another French opponent to get past next in the experienced Alize Cornet. Their head-to-head is tied at 2-2 and it was Cornet who won their most recent encounter, beating the two-time Grand Slam champion in three sets at a Wimbledon warm-up event in Berlin last year. Muguruza is unlikely to have things all her away in this one.

Muguruza: I’m so happy that this year we have crowds here

Brit watch

Andy Murray will be hoping to build on his epic five-set win over Nikoloz Basilashvili when he takes on Japan’s Taro Daniel – a player who, in theory, should pose fewer problems for the three-time Grand Slam champion. The only question is how much the first-round match has taken out of Murray.

‘Unbelievable’ – Murray wins ‘two huge points’ with amazing effort

US Open winner Emma Raducanu returned to form by beating Sloane Stephens in the opening round and faces world number 98 Danka Kovinic of Montenegro next.

Dan Evans was probably the most convincing of the British players in the opening round with his win over David Goffin, and his reward is a match with Arthur Rinderknech, while Heather Watson takes on 29th seed Tamara Zidansek.

Inspired Raducanu storms to bagel in 17 minutes in astonishing first set

Next Gen watch

Clara Tauson is one of the rising stars of the women’s game and is a former Australian Open junior champion, having beaten US Open runner-up Leylah Fernandez to the title in 2019. The 19-year-old Dane won her first two WTA titles last season and is only just outside of the seeds, making her a threat to sixth seed Anett Kontaveit first up on Margaret Court Arena.

How to watch

You can stream the 2022 Australian Open live and on demand on discovery+. A subscription for discovery+ is now £29.99 for the first year for UK users, down from £59.99.

Order of Play, Singles – Thursday 20 January – from 0000 GMT UK time

Rod Laver Arena (0000 GMT)

Alize Cornet (FRA) v Garbine Muguruza (ESP) 5

Xinyu Wang (CHN) v Aryna Sabalenka (BLR) 2

Kamil Majchrzak (POL) v Alex De Minaur (AUS) 32

From 0800 GMT

Nick Kyrgios (AUS) v Daniil Medvedev (RUS) 2

Simona Halep (ROM) 14 v Beatriz Haddad Maia (BRA)

Margaret Court Arena (0000 GMT)

Anett Kontaveit (EST) 6 v Clara Tauson (DEN)

Hailey Baptiste (USA) v Maddison Inglis (AUS)

Sebastian Baez (ARG) v Stefanos Tsitsipas (GRE) 4

From 0800 GMT

Danka Kovinic (MNE) v Emma Raducanu (GBR) 17

Steve Johnson (USA) v Jannik Sinner (ITA) 11

John Cain Arena (0000 GMT)

Iga Swiatek (POL) 7 v Rebecca Peterson (SWE)

Frances Tiafoe (USA) v Taylor Fritz (USA) 20

Not before 0200 GMT

Shuai Zhang (CHN) v Elena Rybakina (KAZ) 12

Not before 0630 GMT

Andy Murray (GBR) v Taro Daniel (JPN)

Kia Arena (0000 GMT)

Andrey Rublev (RUS) 5 v Ricardas Berkankis (LTU)

Not before 0200 GMT

Sam Stosur (AUS) v Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (RUS) 10

Alejandro Davidovich Fokina v Felix Auger-Aliassime (CAN) 9

1573 Arena (0000 GMT)

Ana Konjuh (CRO) V Danielle Collins (USA) 27

Dan Evans (GBR) 24 v Arthur Rinderknech (FRA)

Roberto Bautisa Agut (ESP) 15 v Philipp Kohlschreiber (GER)

Court 3 (0000 GMT)

Diego Schwartzman (ARG) 13 v Christian O’connell (AUS)

Magda Linette (POL) v Daria Kasatkina (RUS) 25

Grigor Dimitrov (BGR) 26 v Benoit Paire (FRA)

Court 5 (0000 GMT)

After doubles

Sorana Cirstea (ROM) v Kristina Kucova (SLO)

Court 7 (0000 GMT)

Norbert Gombos (SVK) v Marin Cilic (CRO) 27

Not before 0230 GMT

Tamara Zidansek (SLO) 29 v Heather Watson (GBR)

Kaia Kanepi (EST) v Marie Bouzkova (CZE)

Richard Gasquet (FRA) v Botic Van De Zandschulp (NED)

Court 8 (0000 GMT)

After doubles:

Elise Mertens (BEL) 19 v Irina Camelia Begu (ROM)

Court 13 (0000 GMT)

Tomas Machac (CZE) v Maxime Cressy (USA)

Court 17 (0000 GMT)

Marketa Vondrousova (CZE) 31 v Liudmila Samsonova (RUS)

Alex Molcan (SVK) v Pablo Andujar (ESP)

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Cilic Continues Title Pursuit In Adelaide

Marin Cilic continued his impressive start to the season Thursday, moving past American Tommy Paul 6-4, 2-6, 6-3 to reach the semi-finals at the Adelaide International 2.

The fourth seed produced a strong serving performance, firing 14 aces and winning 84 per cent (38/45) of points behind his first delievery to advance after one hour and 56 minutes and improve to 2-0 in their ATPHead2Head series.

The Croatian enjoyed a run to the last four at the Adelaide International 1 last week and will next face World No. 160 Aleksandar Vukic or Australian Thanasi Kokkinakis as he aims to go one step further at the ATP 250 event. The former World No. 3 has now won four of his five matches in 2022.

FOLLOW THIS WEEK’S ACTION

Third-seeded Russian Karen Khachanov, who beat Cilic in Adelaide last week, suffered a surprise defeat against World No. 58 Arthur Rinderknech. The Frenchman overcame Khachanov 7-6(7), 7-5 in one hour and 43 minutes to reach his second tour-level semi-final (Kitzbühel 2021).

Rinderknech broke Khachanov twice en-route to victory and will next play countryman Corentin Moutet after the qualifier moved past lucky loser Thiago Monteiro 6-4, 6-4 in one hour and 45 minutes. It is the third time the World No. 115 has reached the semi-finals at a tour-level event.

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When is the Australian Open draw? Who could Djokovic face?

With the 2022 Australian Open set to start in Melbourne on January 17, we answer all the key questions around the draw, including when it takes place, the seedings, and who could play.

Novak Djokovic, who on Monday hit out at what he called “continuing misinformation” surrounding his Covid status on Wednesday, and Naomi Osaka are set to defend their crowns. But who will they, and Emma Raducanu and Andy Murray face at Melbourne Park at the first Grand Slam of the year?

When is the draw?

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The draw will take place on Thursday, January 13 at 3pm local time (4am GMT).

What are the seedings?

Men’s singles

  • 1. Novak Djokovic
  • 2. Daniil Medvedev
  • 3. Alexander Zverev
  • 4. Stefanos Tsitsipas
  • 5. Andrey Rublev
  • 6. Rafael Nadal
  • 7. Matteo Berrettini
  • 8. Casper Ruud
  • 9. Felix Auger Aliassime
  • 10. Hubert Hurkacz
  • 11. Jannik Sinner
  • 12. Cameron Norrie
  • 13. Diego Schwartzman
  • 14. Denis Shapovalov
  • 15. Roberto Bautista Agut
  • 16. Cristian Garin
  • 17. Gael Monfils
  • 18. Aslan Karatsev
  • 19. Pablo Carreno Busta
  • 20. Taylor Fritz
  • 21. Nikoloz Basilashvili
  • 22. John Isner
  • 23. Reilly Opelka
  • 24. Dan Evans
  • 25. Lorenzo Sonego
  • 26. Grigor Dimitrov
  • 27. Marin Cilic
  • 28. Karen Khachanov
  • 29. Ugo Humbert
  • 30. Lloyd Harris
  • 31. Carlos Alcaraz
  • 32. Alex de Minaur

Women’s singles

  • 1. Ashleigh Barty
  • 2. Aryna Sabalenka
  • 3. Garbine Muguruza
  • 4. Barbora Krejcikova
  • 5. Maria Sakkari
  • 6. Anett Kontaveit
  • 7. Iga Swiatek
  • 8. Paula Badosa
  • 9. Ons Jabeur
  • 10. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova
  • 11. Sofia Kenin
  • 12. Elena Rybakina
  • 13. Naomi Osaka
  • 14. Simona Halep
  • 15. Elina Svitolina
  • 16. Angelique Kerber
  • 17. Emma Raducanu
  • 18. Coco Gauff
  • 19. Elise Mertens
  • 20. Petra Kvitova
  • 21. Jessica Pegula
  • 22. Belinda Bencic
  • 23. Leylah Fernandez
  • 24. Victoria Azarenka
  • 25. Daria Kasatkina
  • 26. Jelena Ostapenko
  • 27. Danielle Collins
  • 28. Veronika Kudermetova
  • 29. Tamara Zidansek
  • 30. Camila Giorgi
  • 31. Marketa Vondrousova
  • 32. Sara Sorribes Tormo

Who could Djokovic face?

With no match practice before the tournament, Djokovic will be hopeful of getting a kind draw in the first week of the Australian Open – if he plays.

Djokovic has been allowed to train in Australia after a judge quashed the decision to deny him a visa. However, there is still a chance that the Australian government will cancel his visa for a second time.

If that happens and he can’t play the Australian Open then Daniil Medvedev will be the top seed with Alexander Zverev the second seed.

If Djokovic plays then he could face a potential quarter-final against sixth seed Rafael Nadal if they are drawn in the same quarter. A repeat of last year’s final between Djokovic and Medvedev would also be on the cards.

Who could still qualify?

Harriet Dart is into the final round of qualifying, where she will face Australian Kimberly Birrell for a main draw spot.

Liam Broady will face American JJ Wolf in the second round of qualifying on Thursday morning GMT.

Katie Swan was beaten 6-0 7-5 in the second round of qualifying by fifth seed Viktoriya Tomova.

Britain’s Liam Broady celebrates winning a point against Argentina’s Diego Schwartzman during their men’s singles second round match on the third day of the 2021 Wimbledon Championships

Image credit: Getty Images

Which British players are in the draw?

Andy Murray will be competing at the Australian Open for the first time since 2019 after getting a wild card.

Murray is a five-time finalist at the tournament but could get a tough draw as he is unseeded.

US Open champion Emma Raducanu will make her Australian Open debut. The 19-year-old, who won just one game in her only warm-up match of the year, will be one of the top 20 seeds on the women’s side.

Cameron Norrie and Dan Evans will both be seeded in the men’s draw.

Who’s not playing?

The biggest names missing on the men’s side are 20-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer and 2020 US Open champion Dominic Thiem.

Stan Wawrinka, Milos Raonic, Kyle Edmund and Kei Nishikori are also not playing.

On the women’s side, Serena Williams will not be competing as she continues to recover from injury.

Williams, 40, has not played since retiring from her first-round match at Wimbledon last summer.

“Following the advice of my medical team, I have decided to withdraw from this year’s Australian Open,” said Williams. “While this is not an easy decision to make I am not where I need to be physically to compete.”

Venus Williams will also not be playing, meaning for the first time since 1997 neither of the Williams sisters will be at the Australian Open.

World No 5 Karolina Pliskova misses out with injury, with Jennifer Brady, Karolina Muchova and Bianca Andreescu also not in action.

Stream the 2022 Australian Open live and on demand on discovery+. A subscription for discovery+ is now £29.99 for the first year for UK users, down from £59.99

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Barty, Kokkinakis earn comeback wins, Sabalenka, Sakkari lose

World No 1 Ashleigh Barty came back from the brink to beat Coco Gauff in her first match of the 2022 season at the Adelaide International.

Barty lost the first set 6-4 and was a point away from falling 5-2 behind in the second set before fighting back to win 4-6 7-5 6-1.

Barty, who was playing her first match in four months, will next face sixth seed Sofia Kenin or fellow Australian Ajla Tomljanovic in the quarter-finals.

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“Midway through the second set I was able to find my rhythm a little bit better on serve and just continued to be aggressive on my forehand,” said Barty.

“I just found execution a little bit more. Serving getting a little bit better, getting a few more cheapies, allowed me to play with a little bit more freedom towards the end of the second set and the start of the third.

“I think it was all in all a good progression. Work to do, without a doubt, but very happy with the level that we started the year with.”

While Barty came through, second seed Aryna Sabalenka and third seed Maria Sakkari both lost.

Sabalenka was beaten 7-6(6) 6-1 by unseeded Kaja Juvan and Shelby Rogers ousted Sakkari 7-6(5) 2-6 6-4.

There was another Australian fightback on the men’s side at the Adelaide International as Thanasi Kokkinakis claimed an impressive win over fourth seed Frances Tiafoe.

Kokkinakis, who has struggled with injuries over the last few years, rallied to win 3-6 7-5 6-1.

He will face Mikael Ymer in his first ATP Tour quarter-final since August 2019.

Former world No 3 Marin Cilic started his season by recording the 550th match win of his career, beating Thiago Monteiro 6-4 7-6(3).

Cilic struck 16 aces and won 41 of 48 first-service points and will next face Laslo Djere in the quarter-finals.

– – –

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Cilic Records 550th Victory In Adelaide

© Sarah Reed/Getty Images

Marin CIlic notches the 550th match win of his career on Wednesday in Adelaide.

Tiafoe and Kokkinakis play during night session

Former World No. 3 Marin Cilic began his 2022 ATP Tour season on Wednesday by recording the 550th match win of his career at the Adelaide International 1.

The third-seeded Croatian defeated Thiago Monteiro of Brazil 6-4, 7-6(3) in one hour and 56 minutes to reach the quarter-finals, where he will meet seventh-seeded Serbian Laslo Djere. Cilic, who lifted the Stuttgart and St. Petersburg titles last year, struck 16 aces and won 41 of 48 first-service points.

Later today, fourth-seeded American Frances Tiafoe plays Thanasi Kokkinakis, an Australian wild card. Kokkinakis beat Tiafoe 7-6(3), 7-6(10) in August 2017 at Los Cabos.

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Serena to win No. 24, no titles for Nadal: Bold tennis predictions for 2022

How many major titles will Novak Djokovic win in 2022? Will Serena Williams finally win her 24th Grand Slam title? Will Naomi Osaka add to her Grand Slam collection? And what’s next for Emma Raducanu?

The 2022 tennis season is shaping up to be an intriguing one.

And with the start of the 2022 Australian Open just weeks away, it’s time to gaze into the crystal ball and make some bold predictions for the year ahead…

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Four different men’s major winners

When was the last time that happened I hear you ask.

You have to go back to 2014 to when Stan Wawrinka, Rafael Nadal, Djokovic and Marin Cilic all lifted majors for one of the few occasions this century that four different men have lifted a Grand Slam trophy in the same season.

So who’s going to win them in 2022?

Daniil Medvedev is going to go one better than last year and win the Australian Open, whether Djokovic is there or not. Stefanos Tsitsipas is also going to get some revenge on Djokovic by winning the French Open, followed by a 21st Grand Slam title for Djokovic at Wimbledon. And the US Open? Alexander Zverev will follow in the footsteps of Medvedev and Dominic Thiem by making his major breakthrough in New York.

Serena will win Wimbledon and then retire

It’s all about No. 24 for Serena Williams, it has been for some time.

Williams has hardly played on the WTA Tour over the last few seasons except for when she has been gearing up for a major. That approach is unlikely to change in 2022 as she is recovering from injury and will be looking to focus all her energy on one last shot at another Grand Slam title.

Her best chance to tie Margaret Court’s record will clearly be at Wimbledon, where she seemed as though she would have a good shot this summer before an unfortunate injury saw her retire in the first round. If Williams does win Wimbledon then that seems as good a place as any to call it a day. Yes there would be the potential carrot of trying to break the all-time record at the US Open, but Williams hasn’t won her home major since 2014, and physically it could be a tough ask. Instead it would be fitting if she called time on her fabulous career with an eighth Wimbledon title, which would make it her most successful Slam.

Serena Williams celebrates winning Wimbledon in 2015

Image credit: Getty Images

Osaka will come back with a bang

A 2021 season that started so well for Naomi Osaka, winning her fourth Grand Slam title at the Australian Open, ended with her uncertainty over her future in tennis.

Osaka played just eight matches after withdrawing from the French Open following her decision not to attend press conferences. She announced after her third-round exit at the US Open that she would be taking an indefinite break from tennis, but looks set to return in Australia.

Osaka has entered an Australian Open warm-up event in Melbourne, where she will be looking to get into form ahead of the first major of the season.

It appears an ideal place for Osaka to get back on court. She has played some of her best tennis at the Australian Open and the media spotlight will not be on her as fiercely at the ‘happy Slam’ as it is at some of the other top-tier events. If Osaka is fit and healthy she will be a contender in Melbourne and that may set her up for a big season.

Raducanu will make a Grand Slam semi-final

With a new coach corner in her corner and a new season coming up, it feels like the start of a fresh chapter for Emma Raducanu.

The 19-year-old will hope to put her post-US Open results firmly behind her – two wins from five matches – and focus fully on her first full year on the WTA Tour. What is reasonable to expect from Raducanu in 2022? If she can find the same level that she showed in New York then there is no doubt she will go deep in tournaments, it will be up to new coach Torben Beltz to help her do that.

There may be less pressure on her at the first two majors of the year as she will be competing at both for the first time, but Wimbledon and the US Open provide the comfort of familiarity. With a hard-hitting game that can cause damage against any opponent, Raducanu will make the last four of one of the Slams this year.

US Open champion Emma Raducanu has won the Sunday Times Sportswoman of the Year prize

Image credit: Getty Images

Murray will make the final of a tournament

Mats Wilander reckons Andy Murray will break into the top 10 again, which is a very bold prediction, but to do that he needs to start making deep runs at tournaments.

So far his attempts to do so have been hindered by tough draws and inconsistent performances, but Murray has shown that he still has the quality to mix it with the very best in the world. This looks as though it will be a pivotal year for him and if he has a strong off-season then he should be able to find another level.

It would be nice to see him in the second week of a Slam again – he hasn’t done that since Wimbledon 2017 – and it would be great to see him challenging for silverware again. He might not get a shot at the biggest prizes but he will make a final next year.

Highlights: Murray wins Battle of Brits over Evans in Abu Dhabi

Federer won’t play at all in 2022

When Federer gave an update on his health last month it was not too surprising that he confirmed he was going to miss the Australian Open.

But his comment that he would be “extremely surprised” to make Wimbledon was…surprising.

Federer has not played since losing to Hubert Hurkacz in the quarter-finals of Wimbledon this year and it was expected that he would target a return at the All England Club after a third knee surgery. However, that now looks uncertain, even if he has made some positives noises about his fitness recently.

Federer will turn 41 next August and seems to be setting himself for a farewell tour. If he doesn’t get back in time for Wimbledon then does not it make sense to return on hard courts in the US and potentially risk further injury? Or will he opt to ensure he is at peak fitness before hitting the tour again for one final time in 2023? The latter option seems most likely.

No titles for Nadal

It’s been pretty much a given over the last 15 years that Nadal would win at least, probably two, clay-court titles a season. But his powers appear to be waning and neither of his two titles on the dirt this year were easy as he was pushed to three sets by Djokovic in the Italian Open final and Tsitsipas in the Barcelona Open final.

While Djokovic still appears to be ahead of the Next Gen, Nadal seems to have slipped back and is now on a par with them. That, combined with uncertainty over his fitness, means that this year could be a difficult one for Nadal.

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