Nadal pulls out of Rotterdam event; Ebden stuns Millman at Singapore Open - GulfToday

Nadal pulls out of Rotterdam event; Ebden stuns Millman at Singapore Open


Rafael Nadal

Rafael Nadal announced on Thursday that he was pulling out of next week’s ATP tournament in Rotterdam to recover from the back problems that hampered him in Australia.

The world number two withdrew from the ATP Cup in Adelaide before the Australian Open, in which he struggled with back pain before losing to Stefanos Tsitsipas in the quarter-finals earlier this month.

“It is with great sadness that I have to forfeit from Rotterdam,” Nadal said in a statement from the tournament organisers.

“As most of the fans know, I suffered some back problems in Australia that started in Adelaide and continued during Melbourne.

“We found a temporary solution that allowed me to play without pain in the second week of the tournament. Once I got back to Spain I visited my doctor and together with my team they’ve advised not to play this upcoming week.”

The 20-time Grand Slam champion was due to be playing in Rotterdam for the first time since 2009.

His absence leaves Australian Open runner-up Daniil Medvedev as the top seed, with Tsitsipas, Alexander Zverev and Andrey Rublev also in the draw.

“I was really looking forward to coming back to Rotterdam and the Netherlands,” added Nadal.

Meanwhile, Australian wildcard Matthew Ebden upset compatriot and second seed John Millman in straight sets, 6-4, 6-1, Thursday to advance to the quarter-finals at the Singapore Open.

Fresh off his first round victory over India’s Yuki Bhambri, Ebden continued his winning ways by taking down the world number 39 in 72 minutes.

Ebden got off to a flying start after breaking Millman’s serve in the third game. He then served for the set at 5-4 and held his nerve to deny Millman the opportunity to break back by closing out the first set 6-4 in 41 minutes.

The world number 316 again broke Millman’s serve in the first game of the second set before racing to a 4-0 lead.

He put pressure on Millman’s serve at 5-1 and completed the tournament’s upset after a back-to-back double fault by his compatriot ended the contest.

France’s Adrian Mannarino lived up to his top seed billing and looks forward to seeing the return of fans after defeating Italy’s Roberto Marcora 6-3, 7-5.

Moldova’s Radu Albot beat Germany’s Yannick Hanfmann 6-7 (2/7), 7-6 (9/7), 6-3 while South Korea’s Soonwoo Kwon also advanced after a 6-3, 6-4 win over Japan’s Yasutaka Uchiyama in the day’s other singles matches.

The players have been playing to an empty gallery during the week because of coronavirus restrictions, but organisers said that up to 250 fans a day will be allowed to watch the weekend’s semi-finals and finals in person.

All spectators must take a mandatory Covid-19 test and will only be allowed into the venue if their result is negative. They must wear masks at all times and will not be allowed to mingle between groups.

Elsewhere, second seeded Belinda Bencic saw off Australian Storm Sanders to set up a semi-final against 16-year-old American Coco Gauff at the Adelaide International on Thursday.

Bencic reached her first semi-final since the WTA Finals in November 2019 when she defeated the tricky left-handed Australian 6-2, 6-4.

Despite winning in straight sets, Sanders pushed the Swiss world number 12 all the way, Bencic eventually winning in one and a half hours.

Bencic said she was looking forward to taking on Gauff, who had to win through qualifying just to make the main draw.


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