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The Quest for Stars & Trophies

2017 State Championships

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Sock's Sense Of Belonging

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Hard work is paying off for Jack Sock, who discusses his Top 10 ambitions and greater sense of belonging among the best players on the ATP World Tour.

Istomin Records Biggest Win, Edges Djokovic In Melbourne

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World No. 117 Denis Istomin played the match of his life on Thursday when he sensationally beat six-time Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic.

The wild card ended Djokovic’s 15-match winning streak at Melbourne Park with a 7-6(8), 5-7, 2-6, 7-6(5), 6-4 victory over almost five hours on Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne.

Djokovic has only previously once lost to a player ranked outside of the Top 100 in the Emirates ATP Rankings over the past seven years – when he fell to No. 145-ranked Juan Martin del Potro in the opening round of the 2016 Rio Olympics.

It was their third meeting at the Australian Open, following 2010 and 2014 clash that both ended in straight sets wins for Djokovic.

More to follow…

Raonic All Business Down Under

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Milos Raonic submitted another business-like performance on Friday at the Australian Open, sending Luxembourg's Gilles Muller home after a 6-3, 6-4, 7-6(4) second-round win. The third-seeded Canadian struck 21 aces and limited the big-serving Muller's count to seven.

”I played well, I was efficient,” said Raonic, who admitted he was suffering from flu. “I got the breaks [and] I faced some scares. I played well in those situations [and ] I stepped up at the end of that third set. He stepped up, as well. I'm happy I was able to finish it out there.

”Then this morning, I felt pretty bad waking up. I didn't warm up much. I just came out with the sort of idea of put everything into the match, try to solve it [and] understand the importance of the mental side of things in that situation.”

Raonic also saved all four break points faced and broke Muller just enough – once in each of the first two sets. The third-seeded Raonic had been 0-2 against Muller in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series, although the two hadn't played since 2012. Muller also entered the Australian Open off his best result ever: His first ATP World Tour title at the Apia International Sydney last weekend.

But Raonic needed less than two hours to reach the third round, where he'll face Frenchman Gilles Simon. The 25th seed needed only 96 minutes to beat Brazil's Rogerio Dutra Silva 6-4, 6-1, 6-1.

”I know a lot about (Simon's) game,” said Raonic. “I've watched him play a lot. I've played him in quite a few important matches. He's going to be there, really trying to get me to play at his speed, his rhythm. Obviously he tries to slow things down, play low. I won't have the opportunity to get too many swings at many shots. I've got to serve well and I've got to be aggressive and I've got to take it to him. The last thing I want to do is get into this sort of game of playing long rallies with him.”

Sixth seed Gael Monfils improved to 4-0 lifetime against World No. 69 Alexandr Dolgopolov after striking 17 aces in a 6-3, 6-4, 1-6, 6-0 victory in just under two hours. He goes on to meet No. 32 seed Philipp Kohlschreiber, who overcame Donald Young 7-5, 6-3, 6-0.

Fifteenth seed Grigor Dimitrov recovered from a set deficit to beat #NextGenATP player Hyeon Chung of South Korea 1-6, 6-4, 6-4, 6-4. Chung, who missed three months last season because of an ab injury, looked fit as he chased balls from side to side, answering everything Dimitrov slapped his way during the first set. Dimitrov hit only three winners to 14 unforced errors in the opener.

Watch Now: Train With Dimitrov, Part One

But the Bulgarian ripped away momentum with a break to start the second set, and improved play followed. Last week's Brisbane champion won 13/15 net points during the next two sets and broke twice in the fourth set to advance in two hours and 34 minutes.

In the third round, Dimitrov will meet 18th seed Richard Gasquet, who had little trouble beating Argentine Carlos Berlocq 6-1, 6-1, 6-1. The Frenchman has won five of his six FedEx ATP Head2Head meetings against Dimitrov, but Dimitrov won their last meeting, 6-4, 6-4 on the Shanghai Rolex Masters hard courts last October.

Watch Now: Pushing The Limits With Dimitrov, Part Two

Who's brave enough to coach Nick Kyrgios?

1 hour 20 min ago
Who's brave enough to coach Nick Kyrgios?

Evans Picks Out Winning Style In Melbourne

2 hours 5 min ago

Daniel Evans, No. 51 in the Emirates ATP Rankings, needed some tennis clothes before playing in his next tournament, the Australian Open.

His contract with his previous clothing supplier, Nike, had ended last December. So Evans, much like a recreational tennis player or even a beginner would do, visited a clothing store – in his case, Uniqlo – and picked up some clothes for his matches.

“I just went to the store and bought a load of clothes the other day, plain clothes,” Evans said on Wednesday when asked about his fashion. The Brit had just beaten seventh seed Marin Cilic in the second round in Melbourne for the biggest win of his career.

The shirts cost him $19.99, Evans said. He didn't recall how much the shorts were. “I didn't look. I just picked the shorts up. I was more worried about the shirts,” he said.

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Evans bought 18 shirts this past weekend and returned to buy some more on Wednesday before his match against Cilic. He doesn't think he'll have to run that errand again, though.

“No, I only wore one shirt today,” he said on Wednesday. “I'm good till Friday. We're good.”

Evans' tennis has also been very good. The 26-year-old Brit matched his best Grand Slam result by beating Cilic and advancing to the third round Down Under.

Before this week, the Birmingham native had never won a match at the season's first Grand Slam. Last year, during his debut as a qualifier, Evans fell to Spaniard Feliciano Lopez in straight sets.

“It was really good,” said Evans, who faces Aussie Bernard Tomic in the third round. “I think I played as well as I can play today. I was really pleased with how I played especially towards the end of the match... Definitely the biggest win.”

 

'I wouldn't last one minute' - Cash won't coach Kyrgios

Wed, 01/18/2017 - 11:11pm
'I wouldn't last one minute' - Cash won't coach Kyrgios

Do Grand Slam wild cards reward mediocrity?

Wed, 01/18/2017 - 10:34pm
Do Grand Slam wild cards reward mediocrity?

Konta wins in straight sets, will face Wozniacki

Wed, 01/18/2017 - 9:49pm
Konta wins in straight sets, will face Wozniacki

Pliskova Blitzes Blinkova To Advance In Australia

Wed, 01/18/2017 - 8:15pm
No.5 seed Karolina Pliskova put on another emphatic performance to dismiss Russian qualifier Anna Blinkova in straight sets at the Australian Open.

Wozniacki Too Solid For Vekic, Sets Up Konta Clash In Round Three

Wed, 01/18/2017 - 8:14pm
No.17 seed Caroline Wozniacki sets up a third round clash with Johanna Konta after a comprehensive straight sets win against Donna Vekic at the Australian Open.

Konta Passes Osaka Test In Melbourne

Wed, 01/18/2017 - 8:14pm
No.9 seed Johanna Konta continued her own impressive form at the Australian Open, dismissing rising star Naomi Osaka in straight sets to reach the third round.

Hingis & Vandeweghe Comfortably Into Second Round

Wed, 01/18/2017 - 8:13pm
No.5 seeds Martina Hingis and CoCo Vandeweghe fought past Jelena Jankovic and Yanina Wickmayer in straight sets to ease into the second round of doubles at the Australian Open.

Mischa Zverev Reacts To His Biggest Win Australian Open 2017

Wed, 01/18/2017 - 4:49pm
Mischa Zverev talks through an emotional five-set victory over John Isner to reach the Australian Open third round for the first time on Wednesday in Melbourne. Photo: Getty Images

Bryans Begin Bid For Seventh Melbourne Crown

Wed, 01/18/2017 - 1:50pm

Third seeds Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan made a speedy start at the Australian Open on Wednesday as the men’s doubles draw action kicked off. The six-time champions did not face a break point to beat the all-French duo of Paul-Henri Mathieu and Benoit Paire 6-3, 6-0 in 43 minutes.

Fourth seeds and reigning ATP Finals champions Henri Kontinen and John Peers fired seven aces to defeat Santiago Gonzalez and David Marrero 7-6(1), 6-4. They next face Marcos Baghdatis and Gilles Muller, 6-1, 6-4 winners over Cheng-Peng Hsieh and Tsung-Hua Yang.

Fifth seeds Feliciano Lopez and Marc Lopez advanced to the second round with a 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 victory over Alexandr Dolgopolov and Gerald Melzer, while No. 9 seeds Ivan Dodig and Marcel Granollers, a new team for 2017, won 6-3, 6-4 over Malek Jaziri and Stephane Robert. Dodig/Granollers next play Robert Lindstedt and Michael Venus, 7-6(6), 7-6(2) winners over Andre Begemann and Jan-Lennard Struff.

Other seeds to advance to the second round: No. 11 seeds Jean-Julien Rojer and Horia Tecau defeated Philipp Petzschner and Mikhail Youzhny 7-6(5), 7-6(3), fifteenth seeds Rohan Bopanna and Pablo Cuevas beat Thomaz Bellucci and Maximo Gonzalez 6-4, 7-6(4) and Dominic Inglot and Florin Mergea, the No. 16 seeds, advanced 6-2, 7-5 over home hopes Luke Saville and Jordan Thompson.

Aussies Matthew Barton and Matthew Ebden scored an upset in front of their home crowd, a 6-2, 6-4 win over No. 12 seeds Vasek Pospisil and Radek Stepanek.

Nishikori's Dream Selfie

Wed, 01/18/2017 - 1:15pm

If given the chance for a dream selfie, some ATP World Tour pros might opt for pictures with other famous athletes, such as David Beckham or Kobe Bryant.

But not Kei Nishikori. Who would Nishikori want to take a selfie with?

“Mickey,” he said on Wednesday after his second-round win against Jeremy Chardy at the Australian Open.

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“Who is that?” the reporter asked.

Nishikori, apparently befuddled by the question, simply repeated his one-word answer. “Mickey,” he said.

The reporter still did not understand, though. “What's Mickey famous for?” the reporter asked.

“Disney World,” Nishikori said to laughs.

To be fair, the Japanese star should know Mickey Mouse and other Disney World characters better than most. Nishikori trains at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida, which is about 160 kilometers from Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida.

Watch Now: Off-Season Training With Nishikori

Nishikori will hope to be the star of his third-round match on Friday. The 27-year-old faces Slovakia's Lukas Lacko, who beat Dudi Sela of Israel 2-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-4.

 

Clinical Murray To Face Querrey At Australian Open

Wed, 01/18/2017 - 1:00pm

World No. 1 Andy Murray suffered an injury scare on Wednesday night at the Australian Open when he rolled his right ankle during a 6-3, 6-0, 6-2 victory over qualifier and #NextGenATP teenager Andrey Rublev.

Murray, a five-time runner-up at Melbourne Park, will next meet American No. 31 seed Sam Querrey, who lost only three of his first service points to beat 17-year-old Australian wild card Alex De Minaur 7-6(5), 6-0, 6-1 in one hour and 48 minutes.

“I played pretty well tonight,” said Murray. “It was better than the first match. I was hitting the ball a bit cleaner [and] I was hitting through the court more. [There were] more winners. I was able to get myself up to net more. I served way better, too. That helps you and allows you to dictate more points. My second serve was harder than the other day. Most things were better tonight, but still think I can improve.”

The 29-year-old Murray needed 63 minutes to open up a two-sets lead, but at 1-1 in the third set he suffered an ankle injury, which the tournament doctor checked. World No. 56 Rublev was competing at his second Grand Slam championship.

“I don't know how bad it is,” said Murray, who received icing on his ankle post-match. “Just normally if it's something like severe, a serious ankle injury, you can't put weight on your foot. [With] ankles, you normally feel a bit worse 20 or 30 minutes after you stop moving around on them. It just a little bit stiff just now. It's okay. I don't think I've done too much damage.

“I haven't played (Querrey) for quite a while. He's obviously a dangerous player. Big serve. Goes for it. Obviously, he had a big win a couple of slams ago against Novak [Djokovic] in the [Wimbledon] third round. I'm aware of that, and I'll be ready.” Murray leads Querrey 6-1 in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series, with their last clash coming in a Davis Cup tie in March 2014.

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Kyrgios, Cilic Suffer Early Exits In Melbourne

Wed, 01/18/2017 - 12:46pm

Andreas Seppi silenced Australian supporters on Hisense Arena when he saved one match point in a comeback victory over local No. 14 seed Nick Kyrgios at the Australian Open on Wednesday night.

World No. 89 Seppi fought back from an 0-2 sets deficit and saved one match point at 7-8, Ad-out, in the deciding set to triumph 1-6, 6-7(1), 6-4, 6-2, 10-8 in three hours and 12 minutes. It was his fifth comeback from 0-2 sets down and his first win over Kyrgios, who had previous beaten Seppi at the 2014 US Open and 2015 Australian Open (8-6 in the fifth set).

“I remember the match from two years ago – it was pretty much the same,” said Seppi. “I knew what's going to happen, what it was going to be like on the court. It's always very, very tough to play in a crowd like this or stadium like this. But it was a great atmosphere.

“I just was focusing on my game. I served for the match before, lost my serve. I just tried to refocus, play like I did before. On match point, it was a big shot (a forehand) down the line. Maybe it was meant to be.”

Kyrgios admitted, ”It's obviously disappointing. But it was ultimately a pretty fun match. He's a great guy and he deserved it, so... I'm not going to beat myself up about it. It could have gone either way, really… I thought he served great today. I have got a lot of respect for him. He fights hard. He deserved it.”

Seppi now challenges Steve Darcis, a 6-3, 6-3, 2-6, 6-4 winner over Diego Schwartzman.

Just five days on from appearing in his first ATP World Tour final, Briton Daniel Evans recorded the biggest win of his career in beating World No. 7 Marin Cilic of Croatia.

Evans, who is currently at a career-high No. 51 in the Emirates ATP Rankings, won 3-6, 7-5, 6-3, 6-3 in just under three hours, hitting 29 winners to Cilic’s 55 winners. It was the first time Cilic had lost to a player ranked as low as Evans at the major since falling to No. 126-ranked Ilija Bozoljac as a qualifier in 2007.

“I was a bit taken aback how hard he hit the ball,” admitted Evans. “So I had to sort of get into the match and hang in at the start of the second [set]… Five sets is the ultimate test, I think. It was really good. I think I played as well as I can play today. I was really pleased with how I played especially towards the end of the match.”

The 26-year-old Evans is through to the third round of a major championship for the fourth time in his career and will now face Australian No. 27 seed Bernard Tomic, who beat Victor Estrella Burgos of the Dominican Republic in four sets.

He beat No. 8-ranked Dominic Thiem en route to the Apia Sydney International final last week, when he lost to Gilles Muller in the title match. Read Report

Golden girl Monica Puig is loving what she does, wants more

Wed, 01/18/2017 - 12:34pm
Golden girl Monica Puig is loving what she does, wants more

Wawrinka Records Johnson Win In Australian Open 2017 Round 2

Wed, 01/18/2017 - 12:08pm
Watch highlights as Stan Wawrinka beats Steve Johnson to reach the third round of the Australian Open on Wednesday. Photo: Getty Images. Video Courtesy Tennis Australia.

Tsonga Tops Lajovic In Australian Open 2017 Second Round

Wed, 01/18/2017 - 12:08pm
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga spends one hour and 45 minutes on court during a 6-2, 6-2, 6-3 rout against Dusan Lajovic at the Australian Open on Wednesday. Photo: Getty Images. Video Courtesy Tennis Australia.