Some clutch performances from Dominika Cibulkova and Svetlana Kuznetsova in Wuhan have strengthened their positions on the Road To Singapore leaderboard.
No, really. Simona Halep might play fearlessly on the tennis court, but off of it she's actually terrified of one very popular pet. Find out this and more facts about your favorite Romanian tennis star.
It's semifinal Friday at the Dongfeng Motor Wuhan Open! And we're previewing both matchups right here at wtatennis.com.
Chengdu Open top seeds Rajeev Ram and Raven Klaasen hit with fans at a clinic hosted by the ATP World Tour 250 tournament. Video courtesy: Chengdu Open
Wu was going for more personal history at his home tournament. The Chinese No. 2 celebrated his first ATP World Tour or Grand Slam main draw match win during his 14th try on Tuesday (d. Kravchuk). Against Thiem, Wu was trying to earn his first Top 10 victory.
But the Austrian won almost 80 per cent of his first-serve points and broke Wu four times to reach his 13th ATP World Tour quarter-final of the season. Wu fell to 0-10 against Top 10 foes.
“He was playing very well. My coach knew him so he gave me some very good tips,” Thiem said. “He was serving better than expected... He played a really good match.”
Thiem, who was a finalist in Metz last week (l. to Pouille), is trying to make his seventh final of the season. He's also looking to bolster his chances of qualifying for the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals for the first time. The 23 year old is currently in seventh place in the Emirates ATP Race To London. The top eight qualify for the year-end championships, to be held 13-20 Nov. at The O2 in London.
If Thiem wins the Chengdu title, he would add 70 points to his haul. Right now, sixth-placed Gael Monfils leads him by 150 points.
“He's a great player, and I had to run a lot. The match was so close,” Ramos-Vinolas said. “Very happy [with the win]. It's not easy to play Lu in Asia.”
Defending champion Tomas Berdych stayed undefeated at the Shenzhen Open on Thursday. The top-seeded Czech delivered 16 aces and withstood a tight contest from Kazakhstan's Mikhail Kukushkin to move into the quarter-finals 7-6(7), 7-6(4) in about two hours.
Berdych and Kukushkin both won exactly 84 points during their second-round match but the Czech was more clutch when the match was on the line. Serving at 5/4 in the second-set tie-break, Berdych delivered his 16th ace. Kukushkin netted a backhand on match point to give Berdych his fifth consecutive win in Shenzhen.
“It wasn't easy at all,” said Berdych.
The 31-year-old right-hander is trying to reach his first final of the season. The nine-month drought is the longest Berdych has gone without a final to start a season since 2011, when he won Beijing on 9 Oct. (d. Cilic). The 6'5” right-hander is also attempting to qualify for the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals for the seventh consecutive season.
Berdych is currently No. 9 in the Emirates ATP Race To London, 580 points behind eighth-placed Rafael Nadal. The top eight qualify. But Berdych could cut the Spaniard's lead to 330 points if he repeats in Shenzhen and claims the 250 Emirates ATP Rankings points up for grabs this week.
Berdych will next face countryman Jiri Vesely, who beat Spaniard Inigo Cervantes 7-6(2), 6-3 during Thursday's final match on Centre Court. Berdych leads their FedEx ATP Head2Head series 2-0, including a 6-3, 6-2 victory in the Shenzhen quarter-finals last year.
QUARTER-FINAL PREVIEW: No. 1 seed Tomas Berdych, No. 3 seed Richard Gasquet and No. 4 seed Bernard Tomic are among the stars in quarter-final action at the Shenzhen Open on Friday. The defending champion Berdych will face 23-year-old countryman Jiri Vesely in a rematch of the 2015 quarter-finals. Berdych won 6-3, 6-2 and has never lost a set in Shenzhen. However, his last meeting with Vesely was anything but routine. In a fourth-round match that spanned two days at Wimbledon, Berdych needed five sets, eight match points and three hours, 55 minutes to defeat his fellow Czech. With a win Friday, Berdych would close the gap between him and Rafael Nadal to 490 points in the Emirates ATP Race to London. Berdych and Nadal are playing next week at ATP World Tour 500 events in Tokyo and Beijing respectively.
Qualifier Mischa Zverev, who has not dropped a set in four matches this week, opens play against Gasquet. Zverev’s last semi-final came more than six years ago at Metz, where he advanced to the final as a qualifier. Gasquet reached his only semi-final of 2016 en route to the Montpellier title in his season debut. The Shenzhen Open is Gasquet’s 13th tournament appearance since then. Unseeded players Janko Tipsarevic and Malek Jaziri meet in the second quarter-final. Tipsarevic is seeking his first semi-final since winning the 2013 Chennai title. Jaziri, who earned the biggest win of his career on Wednesday over 14th-ranked David Goffin, played in his only two semi-finals at 2012 Moscow and 2015 Winston-Salem.
Tomic and his quarter-final opponent Thomaz Bellucci have also struggled to reach semi-finals, albeit for different reasons. None of Bellucci’s 15 ATP World Tour semi-final appearances have come on outdoor hard courts. The Brazilian is 0-5 in quarter-finals on outdoor hard courts, including a three-set loss to Nadal at the Rio Olympics. Tomic is a Top 4 seed with a first-round bye for the ninth time in the last 12 months at the ATP World Tour 250 level. He did not reach the semi-finals, or win back-to-back matches, in any of his eight previous attempts. The 23-year-old Aussie did, however, advance to the semi-finals at the season-opening ATP World Tour 250 event in Brisbane, where he was not awarded a bye as the No. 7 seed.
The doubles semi-finals are also on Friday’s schedule, featuring No. 2 seeds Oliver Marach and Fabrice Martin, as well as No. 3 seeds Mate Pavic and Michael Venus. Both teams are battling in the Emirates ATP Doubles Race To London -- Marach and Martin are up to 13th in the race, while Pavic and Venus are 16th. As in singles, only the Top 8 doubles teams will qualify for the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals.
David Goffin plays well on the court but can the Belgian cook? Shenzhen Open photo.
Some Monday mornings are better than others.
Take, for example, 2 February, 2004. On this particular Monday morning, Roger Federer, aged 22, woke up for the first time in his life with the No. 1 ranking beside his name. It was day one at the top of the global tennis tree, courtesy of defeating Marat Safin 7-6(3), 6-4, 6-2 in the final of the Australian Open the day before.
The Swiss legend would go on to hold the coveted year-end No. 1 in the Emirates ATP Rankings in 2004 – the first of five times he would earn that distinction. He held the top spot four straight years, from 2004-2007, and again in 2009.
The 2004 season was a coming out party for Federer. He won three majors, the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals and three Masters 1000s among an 11-title haul and a 74-6 match record. In many ways, 2004 was as good a body of work as he has ever put together.
An Infosys ATP Beyond The Numbers analysis of Federer’s 2004 season showed he elevated his serving and returning and at pivotal moments during matches. The new year-end Infosys No. 1 LEADERBOARD spans 25 years back to 1991, allowing a comparison of the No. 1 player from each year in the categories of serve, return and under pressure.
Federer’s prowess holding serve in 2004 was without peer, and amazingly his average was higher against Top 10 opponents. In 2004 he won 91.6 per cent of his service games, and that bumped up to 92.5 per cent when facing Top 10 opponents. (Fans can filter the LEADERBOARDS by performances against Top 10, Top 20 and Top 50 opponents.)
Service Games Won: Top 5 Years Since 1991Year Player Service Games Won 2004 Roger Federer 91.6% 2003 Andy Roddick 91.4% 1996 Pete Sampras 91% 1997 Pete Sampras 90.4% 2006 Roger Federer 90.2%
On the returning side of the equation, Federer had his best year of returning first serves in 2004, winning 34.8 per cent of first-serve return points. (He achieved the same percentage in 2006). Federer trails category leader Novak Djokovic, 35.7 per cent in 2011, by less than one percentage point. Remarkably, Federer’s return prowess against first serves in 2004 was superior to other notable year-end No. 1 returners, such as Rafael Nadal, Lleyton Hewitt, Andre Agassi, Jim Courier and Djokovic in 2014 and 2015.
Federer’s remarkable level of play in 2004 directly helped him save more break points than any year-end No 1 player. Federer saved 72.6 per cent of break points, edging Pete Sampras’ 1996 season, 72.3 per cent.
Tie-breaks were another key area that helped Federer put together an unparalleled season. He won 80 per cent of the end-of-set shootouts, best among the year-end No. 1s. Dominating tie-breaks has been a calling card of the Swiss. During all five years he finished No. 1, he won at least 70 per cent of the tie-breaks he played.
Federer’s career continues to evolve some 12 years later, but his 2004 season was one for the ages.
Predicting Serena's future success a difficult challenge
Despite an ace count half his opponent’s, Bernard Tomic delivered a composed performance at crucial moments to end qualifier Ryan Harrison’s three-match Shenzhen Open winning streak on Thursday. The Australian No. 4 seed broke in the final game of the match to emerge with a 6-4, 4-6, 7-5 victory in just over two hours.
It marks the 23 year old’s eighth ATP World Tour quarter-final this season and sets up a clash with Brazilian lefty Thomaz Bellucci, an earlier winner over lucky loser Thomas Fabbiano. Tomic withstood 20 aces from Harrison and won fewer first-serve points than the American, 68 per cent to 81 per cent. But the Aussie made bigger inroad’s on his opponent’s second serve to extend his FedEx ATP Head2Head record against Harrison to 2-0. It was the pair’s first clash since 2012.
Bellucci, meanwhile, has yet to drop a set after winning through to the quarter-finals with a narrow 7-6(2), 7-6(4) victory over Fabbiano. The unseeded lefty prevailed on the back of 13 aces to reach the last eight at an ATP World Tour event for the first time this season. He has split two previous FedEx Head2Head meetings with Tomic.
Fabbiano had replaced fifth seed and #NextGen star Alexander Zverev as a lucky loser on Wednesday only minutes before taking the court to defeat Japan’s Yoshihito Nishioka. The 27-year-old Fabbiano fell short of reaching his second quarter-final of the season against Bellucci, who backed up his first-round dismissal of Gastao Elias.
In doubles, third seeds Mate Pavic and Michael Venus posted a 6-4, 6-4 victory over Jonathan Erlich and Santiago Gonzalez. They will take on Fabio Fognini and Robert Lindstedt after the unseeded pair routed Pablo Andujar and Richard Gasquet 6-0, 6-1.
Kevin Anderson fended off two match points to spring the upset on #NextGen star Nick Kyrgios at the Chengdu Open on Thursday. In a battle of big servers, the South African surged back to book a quarter-final showdown with Viktor Troicki, 3-6, 7-6(6), 6-2.
Anderson finished with 24 aces to the second-seeded Australian’s 21 and dropped just eight points on his first serve in the one-hour, 34-minute second-round affair. Anderson trailed a set and was staring down defeat when he dropped consecutive points to fall behind 4/6 in the second-set tie-break. But he then reeled off four straight points to level the match.
Anderson served out the contest to book his fifth ATP World Tour quarter-final of the season. He will carry a 2-1 FedEx Head2Head record into his match with sixth-seed Troicki.
The Serbian won through to his sixth ATP World Tour quarter-final of 2016 after claiming his first win over Marcos Baghdatis in six years. The sixth seed ground out a 6-3, 4-6, 6-2 result in one hour and 47 minutes.
Baghdatis had won four of his previous five FedEx ATP Head2Head meetings with Troicki, including the past three. But he was coming off a three-hour-plus victory over Pablo Carreno Busta from the day before, in stark contrast to the one hour and 13 minutes Troicki had spent seeing off Norwegian wild card Casper Ruud. Troicki finished stronger against Baghdatis in the final set, dropping just one point on serve and breaking twice to seal the result.
Doubles Semi-finals Set
Top seeds Raven Klaasen and Rajeev Ram advanced to the doubles semi-finals with a comfortable 6-1, 6-4 victory over unseeded Kyrgios and Troicki. The South African-American pairing will next meet unseeded Nicholas Monroe and Artem Sitak, who progressed with a 6-4, 6-3 win over Indians Purav Raja and Divij Sharan.
Adil Shamasdin and Andreas Siljestrom also reached the last four with a 6-4, 7-6(4) win over Rohan Bopanna and Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan. They will face fourth seeds Pablo Carreno Busta and Mariusz Fyrstenberg for a place in the final. The Spanish-Polish tandem had a 6-3, 6-4 victory over Dusan Lajovic and Joao Sousa.
Halep overpowers Keys to reach Wuhan semis
Welcome to the 2016 ATP World Tour Awards Presented by Moët & Chandon, where we recognise outstanding players and tournaments. Vote for your favourite players now and come back 17 October to view the nominees for the player-voted categories.
Voting for the ATPWorldTour.com Fans' Favourite Awards Presented by Moët & Chandon closes at 11.59pm GMT on Monday, 7 November.
Voted By FansEnglish
Note: Fans' Favourite candidates are the Top 20 players in the Emirates ATP Race To London and Top 15 teams in the Emirates ATP Doubles Race To London as of 12 September 2016.[ALSO LIKE]
Welcome to the 2016 ATP World Tour Awards Presented by Moët & Chandon, where we recognise outstanding players and tournaments. Nominees for the player-voted categories and the new ATP Coach of the Year award will be revealed 17 October.
Voted By Fans
ATPWorldTour.com Fans' Favourite presented by Moët & Chandon (Singles, Doubles): The singles player and doubles team receiving the highest number of votes from ATPWorldTour.com fans from now through 7 November.
Determined By Emirates ATP Rankings
ATP World Tour No. 1 Presented by Emirates: The player who ends the year as World No. 1 in the Emirates ATP Rankings.
ATP World Tour No. 1 Doubles Team Presented by Emirates: The team that ends the year as World No. 1 in the Emirates ATP Doubles Team Rankings.
ATP Star Of Tomorrow Presented by Emirates: The youngest player in the Top 100 of the Emirates ATP Rankings as of 7 November 2016.
Voted By Players
Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award: The player who, throughout the year, conducted himself at the highest level of professionalism and integrity, who competed with his fellow players with the utmost spirit of fairness and who promoted the game through his off-court activities.
Most Improved Player of the Year: The player who reached a significantly higher Emirates ATP Ranking by year's end and who demonstrated an increasingly improved level of performance through the year.
Comeback Player of the Year: The player who has overcome injury/illness in reestablishing himself as one of the top players on the ATP World Tour.
Tournaments of the Year: The tournament in its category that operated at the highest level of professionalism and integrity and which provided the best conditions and atmosphere for participating players.
ATP World Tour Masters 1000
ATP World Tour 500
ATP World Tour 250
Note: Tournament awards will be announced in 2017
Voted By Coaches
(New for 2016) ATP Coach of the Year: Voted on by fellow ATP coach members, this award goes to the ATP coach who helped guide his players to a higher level of performance during the year.
Chosen By ATP
Arthur Ashe Humanitarian Award: The person who has made outstanding humanitarian contributions. Previous winners include James Blake, Roger Federer, Carlos Moya, former South African President Nelson Mandela and Arthur Ashe.
Ron Bookman Media Excellence Award: The journalist who has made significant contributions to the game of tennis.
In the midst of a resurgent 2016 campaign, Marco Chiudinelli is pushing towards a return to the Top 100 of the Emirates ATP Rankings. The 35-year-old Swiss, who has soared more than 150 spots to World No. 125, has amassed 25 wins this year on the ATP Challenger Tour and owes much of his success to a dominant run in tie-breaks.
Calm under pressure, Chiudinelli established an impressive streak of 13 consecutive Challenger tie-breaks won from January to September. Despite dropping the first set 7-6(3) to eventual champion Marsel Ilhan at last week’s event in Izmir, Turkey, it will go down as the second-longest streak on the circuit since 2000. Only South Africa’s Wesley Moodie has won more tie-breaks in a row, when he strung together 14 straight from 2002-03.
"I have a lot of runs," Chiudinelli told ATPWorldTour.com. "Last year, I had a negative one and this was a pretty positive one. It obviously helps me to stay calm in the tie-breaks. They have gone so well for me this year.
"I lost a pretty big one in Davis Cup, but knowing that I won many this year does help. You just keep believing and it definitely gives me confidence knowing that I've had such a good tie-break run. It doesn't give you any guarantees, but this year it's been good for me."
Chiudinelli, runner-up in Manila in January and titlist on the hard courts of Wroclaw, Poland, a month later, continues to turn back the clock as the season progresses. After reaching the US Open second round as a qualifier, the Swiss carried the momentum into Istanbul, advancing to his fourth Challenger semi-final of the year (l. to Sela). He will look to start a new tie-break streak at this week’s prestigious indoor event in Orleans, France.
Watch American teens Michael Mmoh and Stefan Kozlov show off their fast hands with these volley hot shots in their second round meeting at the Tiburon Challenger.
ATP World Tour stars, including Grigor Dimitrov and Kevin Anderson, visit the pandas at the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding in between tennis at the Chengdu Open. Video/Photo courtesy Chengdu Open.
Grigor Dimitrov, top seed Dominic Thiem and Feliciano Lopez were among the stars to help celebrate the inaugural Chengdu Open on Tuesday night. Photo/Video: Chengdu Open
Simona Halep books her ticket to the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global, becoming the third woman to qualify behind Agelique Kerber and Serena Williams.