Shanghai: Novak Djokovic said on Wednesday that he was “embracing” the pressure of being world number one and reigning champion at the Shanghai Masters this week. The 32-year-old from Serbia made a fast start to his title defence, easing past young Canadian Denis Shapovalov 6-3, 6-3 with minimum fuss. Fresh from winning career title 76 in Tokyo, Djokovic will play big-serving American John Isner in the last 16 in China. The 16-time Grand Slam champion said he had no pain from the shoulder injury that forced him out of the US Open last 16 and is “confident that I can perform at my best”. Djokovic said that sky-high expectations are “part of what we do”. “But it’s also a privilege and a sign or kind of an indicator that you’re doing something that is important and that you’re doing well,” he said. “I think when you feel pressure you’re doing well. It’s something that is inevitable so you might as well embrace it and accept it.” Also in action on Thursday will be Roger Federer, who faces Belgium’s David Goffin, and third seed Daniil Medvedev. The Russian faces Canadian qualifier Vasek Pospisil. Zverev’s flying racquetTwo rising stars of men’s tennis went toe-to-toe when Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece and Felix Auger-Aliassime clashed. Tsitsipas defeated the 19-year-old 7-6 (7/3), 7-6 (7/3) for his first victory over the Canadian stretching all the way back to their junior days. The 21-year-old Tsitsipas, who plays Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz in the last 16, said that he had always been behind Auger-Aliassime in his physical development — until now. Standing 6ft 4ins (193cm), the seventh-ranked Greek insists he is still not as strong as some on the ATP Tour.Also Read | Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal primed to tighten Wimbledon grip “I think something that probably I’m trying to cover that deficiency that I have is not concentrate too much on my power and my strength and how hard I can hit,” he said. “Maybe play smarter and play more with my mind and not with my physical power.” Another of the new generation hoping to usurp the likes of Djokovic and Federer is the 22-year-old Alexander Zverev.Also Read | Novak Djokovic eyes historic Grand Slam calendar year sweep, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal eye French Open gloryThe young German had a bout of dizziness during an incident-packed victory over French underdog Jeremy Chardy, 7-6 (15/13), 7-6 (7/3). Zverev apologised to a television cameraman after he accidentally hit a ball square into his jaw in winning a point. Zverev was also seen by a doctor in the first set and in another colourful moment he smashed his racquet on the floor during the mammoth first-set tie break. The second-set tie break had a lighter moment — Zverev losing his grip while hitting a shot, his racquet flying into the crowd. “It was definitely interesting,” smiled Zverev, who plays Russia’s Andrey Rublev. For all the Latest Sports News News, Tennis News News, Download News Nation Android and iOS Mobile Apps.
By Martyn HermanLONDON (Reuters) – Rafael Nadal produced an incredible fightback to beat Russian Daniil Medvedev and keep his ATP Finals hopes alive on Wednesday, saving a match point at 1-5 down in the decider before winning 6-7(3) 6-3 7-6(4).The 33-year-old looked beaten as 23-year-old debutant Medvedev broke serve twice in the decider to stand on the brink of a first career victory over the Spaniard he pushed to five sets in an epic U.S. Open final in September.For once world number one Nadal’s trademark fighting spirit seemed to have ebbed away but he saved a match point at 1-5 with a superb drop shot and was suddenly re-energised.Twice Medvedev served for the match, at 5-2 and 5-4, but he tightened up and world number one Nadal, roared on by the 02 Arena crowd, needed no second invitation to take advantage. Nadal has never won the ATP Finals title, the only gap on a CV that includes 19 Grand Slam titles and Olympic gold.He was beaten by German defending champion Alexander Zverev for the first time on Monday in his opening round-robin match and defeat by Medvedev, who he had also never lost to before, would have left him on the brink of elimination. After an astonishing recovery, however, he will go into his final group game against Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas, another rising force in the sport, with everything to play for as he bids to not only win the title for the first time but also seal the year-end world number one ranking.Nadal had arrived in London with worries about an abdominal injury, but even when not at his sharpest he remains one of the hardest players to finish off on Tour.“Honestly I’ve been super lucky,” he said on court. “For Daniil it’s a tough loss. He was playing much better than me in the third set of course but it was one of these days when you have a one in a thousand chance to win.” The deceptively powerful Medvedev dropped only six points on serve in the opening set and comfortably bagged the tiebreak.His focus dipped at the start of the second though, allowing Nadal a quick break and when the Spaniard broke again to take the set it seemed the momentum was with him. Medvedev played superbly in the deciding set though — until 5-1. A dreadful Nadal backhand slice gave the Russian a first break and when he chased down a drop shot to flick a winner past Nadal on his way to a 4-0 lead he was in total command.From 1-5 down Nadal reeled off five straight games and when Medvedev trailed 0-30 at 5-6 he seemed to be a spent force.Medvedev regained his composure in the nick of time to hold serve with an ace and looked dangerous again in the tiebreak.
Wisconsin (26-1-1-0, 17-0-1-0 Big Ten) will play games against conference foe Ohio State on Friday and Saturday in Columbus, Ohio.The No. 1 University of Wisconsin Women’s Hockey team has been an unstoppable force this season.Of course, that isn’t exactly a surprise. Every season they are consistently the class of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association and the NCAA as a whole.But still, their undefeated conference record and nine shut-outs thus far in the season indicate something special — even by the Badger’s standards.Badger women’s hockey alumni poised for Olympic runThe 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang will feature four former Badger Women’s Hockey players representing the USA Olympic Team. Forwards Read…Coming up this weekend the team will put their record to the test against Ohio State in Columbus for a two-game series that begins their last six-game stretch of the season.The Buckeyes are third in the WCHA, with a conference record of 10-4-4-3, which shows they may be a bit under-ranked, as they suffer from four shootout losses. Though OSU may be better than their record, it doesn’t seem like there is much evidence they can hang with Wisconsin.Ohio State has barely outpaced their opponents in scoring this season. Their in-conference goal differential is only eight goals. Wisconsin boasts a differential six times that at a monstrous 48.It truly is futile to go down the laundry list of statistics Wisconsin blows every other team out of the water in. But hockey is hockey, and you don’t win games on paper.Women’s Hockey: Wisconsin sweeps weekend series against St. Cloud StateIn a weekend double-header in Madison, the No. 1 University of Wisconsin Women’s Hockey Team showed two sell-out crowds at Read…Despite the apparent Wisconsin advantage, Ohio State still lays claim to two of the preeminent point scorers in the conference in Emma Maltais and Tatum Skaggs.Maltais leads the conference in points per game, averaging 1.27, and is tied for the lead in total assists with Wisconsin’s Abby Roque (22). She comes into the weekend with eight points in her last six games.Skaggs leads the conference in goal-scoring (18), just edging out Wisconsin’s Claudia Kepler (17), and also has eight points in her last six games.Women’s hockey: No.1 Wisconsin to end fall campaign against St. CloudThe University of Wisconsin women’s hockey team will close out their 2017 fall campaign in St. Cloud, Minnesota. The Badgers Read…Though Wisconsin may come into the series confident, as they should be, it would be a mistake to not recognize the potential windfalls of down-playing their opponent’s scoring abilities.Puck drop will be at 5 p.m. Friday and 2 p.m. Saturday afternoon in Columbus.