Daniil Medvedev sent Rafael Nadal packing after a gruelling slugfest at the ATP Finals in London on Saturday to set up a title match against Novak Djokovic’s conqueror Dominic Thiem.
The Spanish world number two, who has never won the elite event in his illustrious career, faltered when serving for the match in the second set and was beaten 3-6, 7-6 (7/4), 6-3.
Earlier, US Open champion Thiem recovered from 4-0 down in the third-set tie-break against Djokovic to win 7-5, 6-7 (10/12), 7-6 (7/5).
Russian giant Medvedev — who has won nine matches in a row — put Nadal’s serve under intense pressure in the early stages of their evening match at the empty O2 Arena.
But he was unable to make his chances count and a drop in his level allowed the Spaniard to break to love to lead 5-3 before he served out for the set.
Medvedev immediately found his focus at the start of the second set, winning his first service game to love before Nadal, a two-time finalist at the event, double-faulted to give the Russian a 2-0 lead.
Just when it seemed as though Medvedev was cruising, Nadal, 34, broke back twice to take total control and stepped up to serve for the match.
But in another astonishing twist, the 20-time Grand Slam champion played a sloppy game, allowing the Russian back into the match, and Medvedev won the eventual tie-break.
The deciding set hinged on the seventh game — the Russian produced an overhead winner on his third break point, breaking again to beat Nadal for the first time.
The Spaniard entered the match on a 71-match winning streak after taking the opening set, but 24-year-old snapped that run with a gritty mental and physical performance over two hours and 36 minutes.
“I felt really strange until 5-4 for him in the second set, when he was serving for the match,” said the fourth seed, who lost all three of his matches on his debut at the season-ending tournament last year.
Thiem’s victory against Djokovic ended the world number one’s hopes of equalling Roger Federer’s record of six titles at the eight-man event.
The 2019 runner-up faced an uphill battle psychologically after squandering four match points in the second-set tie-break.
But he was quickly back in the groove and rallied from a desperate situation in the final-set tie-break, winning six successive points to earn two match points, taking the second of those.
“It was for sure a mental battle,” said Thiem. “I got so tight in the second-set tie-break, first of all because to play these legends is always going to be something special.”
The Austrian is only the second player in 2020 to win a tie-break against Djokovic, who entered the third-set decider with a 15-1 tie-break record this season.
Newcastle United agree N3.4b deal for Victor Osimhen
Super Eagles and Napoli striker, Victor Osimhen, has reportedly agreed personal terms with English Premier League side, Newcastle United hoping to join them before the end of the summer transfer window, according to report on respected Italian media outlet, La Gazzetta dello Sport.
The deal is reportedly worth twice the amount (4.5m euro) he’s presently earning at Napoli that amounts to N3.4 billion in Nigerian currency.
Further cementing his spot as the highest earning Nigerian player in Europe.
Newcastle United is however yet to agree a deal with Napoli over his transfer fee with the Serie A side holding out for a transfer fee in the region of around 100 million before they can sanction any deal.
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It was gathered that the idea of asking for a 100 million is due largely to the fact that 30% of whatever is gotten from the sale of the forward will go to his former club, Lille as agreed in the deal that’s aw him join Roma two seasons ago.
Similarly, Manchester United is willing to pay Osimhen ₦75million in wages per week if he agrees to join them this summer.
Osimhen has been the subject of numerous transfer talks. Top Premier League sides Liverpool, Arsenal, Newcastle United, and Manchester United have all been linked with a move for the Napoli talisman.
According to teamtalk, Ten Hag wants to bring Osimhen to Manchester. Manchester United faces a challenging task luring the Nigeria international, but the club is looking to entice Osimhen by doubling his current earnings.
Teamtalk reports that Osimhen would earn £146,000(₦75million) per week if he joins the former Premier League champions.
Just in: Jose Peseiro confirmed Super Eagles head coach
The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has confirmed Jose Peseiro as the new head coach of the Super Eagles.
He replaces Austin Eguavoen who was drafted from the technical team to step before the last Africa nations cup after Gernot Roh was sacked.
Paseiro’s appointment is coming months after an initial deal fell through.
His appointment was confirmed in a statement released by the federation on Sunday.
Todd Boehly is new owner of Chelsea FC
Chelsea football club has agreed to a £4.25bn ($5.2bn) sale term of the club to a consortium led by Todd Boehly, co-owner of the LA Dodgers baseball team.
The club was put up for sale before owner Roman Abramovich was sanctioned for his alleged links to Russian President Vladimir Putin following the invasion of Ukraine.
A Chelsea statement said the new owners will pay £2.5bn for the club’s shares. The proceeds will go into a frozen bank account to be donated to charity.
It was in 2019 when Boehly tried to buy the club off Roman Abramovich but a £2.2bn bid was rejected. This approach came shortly after Abramovich decided to withdraw his application for a UK visa and also amid halted progress on Stamford Bridge’s redevelopment.
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The new consortium is led by Boehly but Clearlake Capital, a Californian private equity firm, will own a majority of the shares in Chelsea.
Other investors include US billionaire Mark Walter, also a co-owner of the LA Dodgers, and Swiss billionaire Hansjoerg Wyss.
BBC Sport reports the new owners have agreed to not sell a majority stake in the club until 2032 and have given assurances over dividends and debt.
The consortium said it will provide £1.75bn to invest in the Premier League club, including “investments in Stamford Bridge, the academy, the women’s team and Kingsmeadow and continued funding for the Chelsea Foundation”.
In the statement, Chelsea said the sale was expected to complete in late May. The takeover will require approval from the English football authorities and the UK government.
Chelsea are operating under a special licence from the UK government which ends on 31 May, but last month, Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries said the club were on “borrowed time” to complete the sale.
Any sale can only be signed off by the bidder passing the Premier League’s owners’ and directors’ test.
Todd Boehly was pictured with Chelsea fans outside Stamford Bridge on Friday. Also in the photo is former Chancellor George Osborne, whose firm has signed onto the Boehly bid in an advisory capacity.
Boehly, an American investor and businessman, has a reported net worth of $4.5bn (£3.6bn), according to Forbes.
He is a part owner of the Dodgers – a US baseball franchise – and US women’s basketball outfit the Los Angeles Sparks, and owns a stake in the renowned LA Lakers NBA franchise.
His consortium also includes American PR executive Barbara Charone, British businessman Jonathan Goldstein and British journalist Daniel Finkelstein.
Other consortiums who had been in the running to buy Chelsea have been headed by Sir Martin Broughton and the co-owner of the Boston Celtics, Stephen Pagliuca, but they were told in late April that their bids were unsuccessful.
British billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe – majority shareholder of chemical group Ineos – made a late offer, but it arrived on 29 April, several weeks beyond the initial deadline for bids of 18 March.
Ratcliffe’s bid was dismissed but he said on 4 May that he was “not giving up”.
On Thursday, Abramovich said he has not asked for his £1.5bn loan to Chelsea to be repaid when the club is sold.
A spokesperson said Abramovich “remains committed” to making sure the proceeds from the sale “go to good causes”.
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