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Nadal beats Medvedev again to reach Acapulco ATP final



Rafael Nadal beat Daniil Medvedev 6-3, 6-3 on Friday to reach the final of the ATP Mexico Open and insure the Russian will not celebrate his rise to number one with the Acapulco trophy.

Medvedev was unable to avenge his loss to Nadal in the Australian Open final, where the Spaniard rallied from two sets down to triumph in five and claim a record-setting 21st Grand Slam singles title.

But the 26-year-old Russian departs Mexico knowing he’ll move to number one in the world on Monday. He was assured of reaching the summit when Serbian star Novak Djokovic fell in the quarter-finals at Dubai on Thursday.

Nadal pushed his perfect 2022 record to 14-0, but it wasn’t as simple as the scoreline might suggest.

He powered through the first set without facing a break point and broke Medvedev in the opening game of the second.

But the 35-year-old world number five found himself in trouble in the fourth game, fighting off four break points to preserve his advantage.

Medvedev pushed him again in a marathon sixth game but failed to convert any of his seven break chances.

“I played some amazing points on the break points,” said Nadal, who used everything in his arsenal to fend off Medvedev — from his classic powerful forehands to aggressive forays to the net.

“The second set was very emotional,” Nadal said. “Daniil was playing very aggressive — drop shots, winners. It was a very difficult set.

“I feel lucky to win that set, because he had a lot of chances.”

Serving to extend the match at 5-3, Medvedev took a 40-0 lead before a spate of errors, including his seventh double fault of the contest, gave Nadal an opening and allowed him to wrap it up on his second match point.

In Saturday’s final, Nadal will face Cameron Norrie, who pushed his winning streak to eight straight matches with a 6-4, 6-4 victory over Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece.

Britain’s 12th-ranked Norrie, who lifted the trophy at Delray Beach last week, broke in the ninth game of each set and calmly served them out.

Tsitsipas, who reached the Rotterdam final earlier this month, had not dropped a set all week until he ran into the in-form Briton — who faced just one break point in the match.

Nadal has won all three of his career meetings with Norrie — at the Australian Open, Barcelona and Roland Garros in 2021.

But he said Norrie has made big strides since then.

“His level of tennis is huge,” Nadal said. “He improved a lot at the beginning of last year, and this year he continues.

“It’s going to be a big challenge, but we are in the final of a 500 here in Acapulco, so can’t expect an easy opponent. I’m excited about being in the final.”

Nadal is seeking a fourth Acapulco title. He won his first two, in 2005 and 2013, when the tournament was played on clay, and added a third in 2020 after it had moved to hardcourts.


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Juventus give Arsenal three players in exchange deal for Giorgio Chiellini’s replacement



Juventus are so desperate to land defender, Gabriel Magalhaes this summer and will offer Arsenal three players, according to Corriere dello Sport.

The Old Lady have identified Gabriel as a possible successor to Giorgio Chiellini, who will leave Turin this summer, and are keen to reach a quick agreement with Arsenal.

It is understood that the three players Juventus will offer Arsenal to force the deal for their 24-year-old centre-back are Arthur Melo, Weston McKennie and Moise Kean.

The report added that Juventus sporting director Federico Cherubini has travelled to London for talks with Arsenal over a deal for Gabriel.

Juventus are in the market to replace Chiellini, who is leaving the Serie A giants this summer after 17 years.

However, it’s claimed that Arsenal are demanding at least £42.4million for Gabriel.

Gabriel joined the Gunners from Lille in a £27million deal in 2020.

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EPL: Man Utd warn Barcelona over De Jong transfer



Manchester United have made it clear to Barcelona, they will not meet their £70 million asking price for Frenkie De Jong, according to Daily Mail.

The Premier League side are keen on signing De Jong, as Paul Pogba is set to leave on a free transfer this summer.

The Barca midfielder has already been identified by incoming manager, Erik Ten Hag, as a potential option having already managed him at Ajax.

Barcelona are open to a deal, as they are also seeking funds to put together a deal for Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski.

However, United have informed the LaLiga club that they do not want to spend a significant part of their summer budget on signing De Jong.

Barca are looking to recoup the £65 million they spent on signing the 25-year-old from Ajax in 2019.

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Aubameyang announces retirement



Gabon and Barcelona striker, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, on Wednesday, announced his retirement from international football.

Aubameyang has decided to focus on his club career.

The former Arsenal captain represented his nation for over ten years and also wore the captain’s armband

The 32-year-old appeared 72 times for Gabon, scoring 30 goals.

In a letter to the Gabonese FA, Aubameyang wrote, according to Mundo Deportivo: “After 13 [thirteen] years of pride in representing my country, I announce that I’m ending my international career.

“I would like to thank the Gabonese people and all those who have supported me in the good and the bad times.

“Sharing it with all the people was an unforgettable moment. I thank our President, his Excellency Ali Bongo Ondimba who has always supported the Panthers and has always worked for football to evolve in our country.

“I would also like to thank all my coaches, staff and the players that I have come across during this career.

“Finally, I thank my father who gave me the desire to do like him, hoping to have made him proud by wearing our colours.”

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