Nadal overcomes Zverev in gripping contest

first_imgFORMER champion Rafael Nadal overcame rising star Alexander Zverev a gripping contest to reach the fourth round of the Australian Open.The Spaniard, who won the title in 2009, came through 4-6 6-3 6-7 (5-7) 6-3 6-2 in four hours and six minutes.Zverev, 19, had recovered a break early in the final set before requiring treatment for cramp.Nadal, 30, goes on to face France’s Gael Monfils, who beat German Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-3 7-6 (7-1) 6-4.Canadian third seed Milos Raonic made it through to the last 16 with a 6-2 7-6 (7-5) 3-6 6-3 win over Frenchman Gilles Simon.Zverev has long been touted as a future world number one and it appeared as though he would make his Grand Slam breakthrough against Nadal.The teenager’s big serve and brilliant backhand earned him a 2-1 lead after three sets, only for ninth seed Nadal to battle his way back in characteristic fashion.It is almost three years since Nadal won his 14th major title at the 2014 French Open, and that was the last time he got past the quarter-finals at a Grand Slam.Injuries have taken their toll, but it was Zverev whose fitness failed him in the closing stages on Rod Laver Arena.The German won a gruelling 37-shot early in the final set but the damage was done as he could not recover fully, despite treatment from the trainer.“I won by fighting and running a lot,” said Nadal. “I think everybody knows how good Alexander is. He’s the future of our sport and the present too.“It’s been a very tough match for me. I didn’t start playing my best and I was not feeling very well because I was losing too much court. When I felt I was feeling better I had more time to control from the baseline.“It was a close one but he deserved to play a little more aggressive than me. I had to fight for every point.”Denis Istomin, the qualifier from Uzbekistan who stunned Novak Djokovic in round two, produced another superb effort to beat Spanish 30th seed Pablo Carreno Busta 6-4 4-6 6-4 4-6 6-2.He will next play 15th seed Grigor Dimitrov after the Bulgarian produced a stunning performance to beat French 18th seed Richard Gasquet 6-3 6-2 6-4.Belgian 11th seed David Goffin impressed with a 6-3 6-2 6-4 win over Croatia’s Ivo Karlovic, setting up a clash with Austrian eighth seed Dominic Thiem, who beat Frenchman Benoit Paire 6-1 4-6 6-4 6-4.Thirteenth seed Roberto Bautista won the all-Spanish battle with 21st seed David Ferrer 7-5 6-7 (6-8) 7-6 (7-3) 6-4 and next faces Raonic.(BBC Sport)last_img read more

Becoming a starter for Syracuse football has given Christopher Fredrick a ‘taste’ of what he came to SU for

first_imgAs training camp finished, Christopher Fredrick didn’t like having to look up on the depth chart as a safety-turned-cornerback. He saw four players ahead of him. That’s not exactly the way he wanted to start his redshirt freshman year.“I was kind of struggling, frustrated with that,” Fredrick said.So he went to safety Rodney Williams and cornerback Juwan Dowels for advice. “Don’t focus on it too much,” Fredrick said of what they told him. “Just go to practice every day just working on getting better every day so that when my time does come I’ll be ready.”The time came against then No.17-Virginia Tech on Oct. 15 — Syracuse’s biggest win of the year. A secondary decimated by injuries lost cornerback Cordell Hudson before the game, thrusting Fredrick into his first starting role. Fredrick has now started at corner for SU (4-5, 2-3 Atlantic Coast) each of the last three weeks. Hudson came off the injury report last week but didn’t play, leaving Fredrick to start once again in his place.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textThough he’s had an up and down first year, Fredrick is determined to hold on to the starting role that he got the chance to grab.“It is a great feeling actually working hard and finally getting to display what you’ve been working toward,” Fredrick said. “It’s really satisfying.”His playing time through the first six games consisted mostly of special teams and garbage time work. He recorded one tackle, on a kickoff in the first quarter against Louisville, but that was it.Then the Orange lost Dowels for the season in Week 2 and Hudson, who has yet to return, heading into Week 7. Fredrick leap frogged over Carl Jones, who had been the third option at corner, when Hudson went out.Fredrick packed on the pounds in the last year, bumping up from 173 when he first got to Syracuse to about 194 now. His long arms help in press coverage and knocking down balls and improving his footwork to pick up the slack. He’s spent extra time in the film room, starting with before the VT game, to figure out where he’s supposed to be on plays and what he’s supposed to do.“He’s just been sitting back, staying the course, keep working hard,” Williams said after the win over Virginia Tech. “… Going forward I think he’ll give us a really good chance to win.” There’s been the good: a four-tackle outing against the Hokies that started off with a tackle behind the line on a reverse. Fredrick delivered several big hits, including a key stop on third down. The run defense is where he thinks he’s performed the best.Then there’s the bad: allowing touchdown passes against Virginia Tech and Clemson. VT’s was a 12-yard fade to Isaiah Ford that Fredrick was in position for but didn’t look up when the receiver did. Fredrick went for Ford’s hip instead as the ball floated overtop. At Clemson, Fredrick was the victim of a 65-yard pass down the sideline. The receiver got in his blind spot, he said, and sped by.“Not good at all,” Fredrick said of his game against Clemson.Fredrick insists he took a step back in his performance against Clemson. But he’s trying to make sure he doesn’t slip too far away from where he now is.He’s focused on open field tackling heading into the game against North Carolina State and keeping players out of his blind spot.For the most part, though, he’s happy with where he’s at.“You know where you were at before,” Fredrick said. “Now you’re getting the taste of what you really came here for. You got to keep going. Keep getting better so you won’t be back at that place you were before.” Comments Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on November 10, 2016 at 11:47 pm Contact Jon: | @jmettuslast_img read more