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Djokovic takes center stage, reaches semifinals

Wed, 07/11/2018 - 12:08pm
Three-time champion Novak Djokovic is one step away from playing for a fourth title at Wimbledon, beating Kei Nishikori to reach the semifinals at the All England Club.

Highlights: Djokovic Battles Past Nishikori, Through To SF At Wimbledon 2018

Wed, 07/11/2018 - 11:21am
Watch highlights as three-time champion Novak Djokovic earns his eighth semi-final appearance by defeating Kei Nishikori in four sets at Wimbledon on Wednesday. Photo Credit: Julian Finney/Getty Images. Video courtesy of Wimbledon. Video not available in U.K. U.S.A, Italy, Austria, Germany, Spain and South America.

Live: Nadal vs. Del Potro

Wed, 07/11/2018 - 11:13am

Two-time former champion Rafael Nadal, the second seed, leads fifth seed Juan Martin del Potro of Argentina 7-5 on Wednesday in the quarter-finals of The Championships.

Nadal leads Del Potro 10-5 in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series, including a four-set victory at Wimbledon in 2011. The winner of the Centre Court clash will take on No. 21 seed and three-time former titlist Novak Djokovic, who is returning to peak form after beating No. 12 seed Kei Nishikori of Japan earlier in the day.

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Nadal needed to bide his time in a brilliant first set, which lasted 54 minutes and was full of long rallies. Del Potro was, at times, predictable in his service patterns and although he struck 14 winners, Nadal was patient. Del Potro recovered from 15/40 at 3-4, but hit a backhand into the net in the 12th game on Nadal's second set point opportunity.

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Events copy US Open with serve, warmup clocks

Wed, 07/11/2018 - 10:08am
Events in Washington, San Jose, Montreal, Toronto, Cincinnati, New Haven and Winston-Salem will also have 25-second serve clocks and a strict, seven-minute warmup period.

Live: Federer vs. Anderson

Wed, 07/11/2018 - 9:43am

Roger Federer and Kevin Anderson are locked at 6-2, 7-6(5), 5-7, 4-6, 11-11 on No. 1 Court at Wimbledon. The eight-time champion appeared to be cruising to a straight-sets win after equalling his record for most consecutive sets won at Wimbledon (34) to take a two-set lead. But Anderson had other ideas after saving match point in the third set and edging a tightly contested fourth set.

As was the case in his fourth-round triumph over Adrian Mannarino, Federer made a quick start. The defending champion varied his returns, blocking and attacking Anderson's serve with depth, to earn breaks in the first and seventh games. Having lost just one point on serve throughout his opening three service games, Federer then held serve to love, for the third time, to take a one-set lead.

Federer's streak of 85 consecutive games won on serve ended abruptly early in the second set, as Anderson stepped in on his return. The South African mixed power and precision, especially on his forehand side, to extract errors from Federer, who was forced to retreat behind the baseline.

But Federer responded well, retrieving the service break in the fifth game before coming from a mini-break down in the tie-break to secure a two-set advantage. Federer's forehand dictated proceedings late in the tie-break, with powerful shots and uncharacteristic errors deciding points, before converting his third set point.

Federer appeared to be heading towards a straight-sets victory as he manufactured a match-point opportunity at 5-4 Ad Out. But Anderson responded emphatically, charging the net and forcing Federer into a backhand error before holding serve.

Anderson capitalised on forehand errors to earn break point in the 11th game, which he converted with a confident backhand return up the line. The New York Open champion then dug himself out of a tricky situation, winning his fifth consecutive point from 0-40 down with an ace up the 'T' to force a fourth set.

With both men holding serve with relative ease in the fourth set, Anderson made the crucial move in the seventh game. While Federer faltered on his forehand, Anderson fired his into the corner to earn two break point opportunities. A fortunate backhand return for Anderson, which hit the net cord, forced Federer into another forehand error. That moment proved to be the decisive moment of the set as Anderson held serve, after saving break point, in the tenth game to ensure a deciding set.

Federer is bidding to reach the final four at a Grand Slam event for the 16th time since turning 30, while Anderson is aiming to become the sixth man representing South Africa, and the first since Kevin Curren in 1983, to reach the semi-finals at Wimbledon.

The winner will face John Isner or Milos Raonic for a place in the semi-finals. Raonic was the last man to beat Federer at Wimbledon, in the 2016 semi-finals.

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Did You Know?
Roger Federer is aiming to reach his 44th Grand Slam semi-final. The Australian Open (14) has been his most successful Grand Slam in terms of reaching the final four, with Wimbledon (12), the US Open (10) and Roland Garros (7) also providing regular success for the 98-time tour-level titlist.

Djokovic Back In Business, Reaches Eighth Wimbledon Semi-final

Wed, 07/11/2018 - 9:17am

Three-time former champion Novak Djokovic moved into his eighth semi-final at The Championships on Wednesday with a 6-3, 3-6, 6-2, 6-2 victory over Kei Nishikori, the No. 24 seed from Japan, in two hours and 35 minutes.

The Serbian, who retired in the 2017 Wimbledon quarter-finals with a right elbow injury against Tomas Berdych that resulted in a six-month injury lay-off, is returning to peak form at just the right time. Djokovic lost just eight of his first-service points (52/61) and won 18 of his 20 points at the net against Nishikori.

He will next face second-seeded Spaniard and two-time titlist Rafael Nadal or fifth seed Juan Martin del Potro, the 2013 semi-finalist, from Argentina. Djokovic leads Nadal 26-25 in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series and leads Del Potro 14-4.

Through to his 32nd Grand Slam championship semi-final — second only to Roger Federer (44) — Djokovic also recorded his 63rd match win (63-10) at the All England Club, the same number as 1993-95, 1997-2000 Wimbledon winner Pete Sampras (63-7).

Djokovic came into the grass-court major on the back of a runner-up finish at the Fever-Tree Championships — his first ATP World Tour final for 12 months. He has a 23-9 record on the season, which includes two other victories over Nishikori at the Mutua Madrid Open and the Internazionali BNL d'Italia, two ATP World Tour Masters 1000 events.

Djokovic highlighted his growing confidence and tremendous athleticism from the front and back of the Centre Court, in the fourth game at 15/30, when a forehand down the line left Nishikori lunging for the ball. Two points later, Nishikori mis-timed a deep backhand, which clipped the baseline, to give Djokovic a 3-1 advantage. But the Serbian struck a double fault in the next game to hand the break back to Nishikori.

Nishikori, who set up his favoured backhand stroke down the line with serves out wide, particularly on the Ad-court, got back to 3-3, but subtle changes of groundstroke pace by Djokovic reaped dividends in the eighth game. The 38-minute set ended with Nishikori committing a backhand error.

Nishikori came through a 10-minute first game in the second set, then began to change his approach by coming to the net against one of the sport’s greatest returners. He earned a confidence boost by recovering from 0/40 at 1-1, much to the frustration of Djokovic, who received a code violation for racquet abuse.

Having battled to two service holds in 17 minutes, Nishikori was gifted a 3-1 lead, courtesy of his Serbian opponent attempting to hit a sliced drop shot into the net. Djokovic tightened up his game, putting Nishikori under pressure, but could not make the breakthrough.

Djokovic proved to be adept at the net and quick on approach in the third set, when he highlighted his mental capabilities and flexibility in recovering from 0/40 at 2-2. The 31-year-old capitalised on early fatigue from Nishikori, letting out a roar when he broke the Japanese for 30 for a 4-2 advantage and won eight of the next nine points to dominate.

“I think that was the biggest chance I had,” said Nishikori, when asked about the fifth game of the third set. “But he played three great points. Maybe things change if I got the game. I mean, he was also playing great tennis. I know it's not going to be easy holding my serve, even after I break him, but after that he was playing better. I think he was playing more aggressive and didn't give me any free points.”

Nishikori bounced back by breaking in the first game of the fourth set, but it only heightened Djokovic’s motivation and soon the Serbian couldn’t miss, forcing Nishikori to strike one extra ball in their baseline rallies. From 0-1, a fired up Djokovic won 16 of the next 20 points with exceptional hitting. Djokovic struck his 39th winner - a forehand - on approach to the net for victory.

Nishikori had been bidding to become the first Japanese man to reach the Wimbledon semi-finals since Jiro Satoh in 1931. The 28-year-old is now 20-10 on the year.

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Who Leads The Way On Return At Wimbledon?

Wed, 07/11/2018 - 8:38am

You would think winning points returning serve on Wimbledon’s grass courts would be a tougher task on average than normal.

Not so for the eight men who booked their spots into the quarter-finals.

An Infosys ATP Beyond The Numbers comparison of the 2018 season leading into The Championships and the performance of the eight quarter-finalists through the first four rounds shows that overall return performance is improving at SW19 for the players that are still alive in the tournament.

Return Points Won vs. First Serve

Roger Federer and Milos Raonic have shown the biggest improvement with return points won at Wimbledon against first serves with an eight percentage point jump over their 2018 season average leading into The Championships.

Wimbledon Quarter Finalists: Return Points Won vs. First Serve

Player 2018 Season To Wimbledon 2018 Wimbledon Percentage Point +/- Roger Federer 31% 39% 8 Milos Raonic 26% 34% 8 John Isner 25% 28% 3 Kevin Anderson 28% 30% 2 Novak Djokovic 36% 38% 2 Rafael Nadal 39% 40% 1 Juan Martin del Potro 29% 27% -2 Kei Nishikori 31% 27% -4 - 30.6% 32.9% 2.3

Six of the eight players all improved in this category, with only Juan Martin del Potro (-2 percentage points) and Kei Nishikori (-4 percentage points) faring worse against their 2018 season average.

Rafael Nadal only improved one percentage point, which seems like a nominal gain for one of the best returners in our sport. But when you compare his metrics against the field, you see that he is actually leading the tournament with return points won against first serves at 40 per cent (84/209).

The majority of play in 2018 for these eight players has been on hard courts and clay courts, where conventional wisdom says it should be easier to win more return points than on grass. Two possible explanations are that Wimbledon’s pristine grass courts are not as hard to return on as we think, and/or these eight players have currently uncovered an improved vein of good form returning this year.

Return Points Won vs. Second Serve

Novak Djokovic and Juan Martin del Potro have shown the biggest improvement with return points won against second serves at Wimbledon, with Djokovic improving a substantial nine percentage points the past week and a half against his 2018 average.

Wimbledon Quarter Finalists: Return Points Won vs. Second Serve

Player 2018 Season To Wimbledon 2018 Wimbledon Percentage Point +/- Novak Djokovic 53% 62% 9 Juan Martin del Potro 53% 59% 6 Roger Federer 50% 55% 5 John Isner 40% 45% 5 Kevin Anderson 45% 49% 4 Kei Nishikori 53% 53% 0 Milos Raonic 50% 46% -4 Rafael Nadal 60% 52% -8 - 50.5% 52.6% 2.1

Out sport may need a timely paradigm shift of just how successful players can really be winning points when returning serve at Wimbledon.

Julia Goerges, in a regimen change, set to see Serena Williams in semis

Wed, 07/11/2018 - 8:19am
High-level tennis players are creatures of habit, Julia Goerges changed some of those habits for the better.

Pressure? What pressure? Composure key to Serena's latest Wimbledon win

Wed, 07/11/2018 - 8:19am
She was cool, calm and collected, which explains why Serena Williams was able to come back as strong as she did in the Wimbledon quarterfinals.

Follow live: Federer, Djokovic kick off men's quarterfinals

Wed, 07/11/2018 - 8:00am
On and on they go. Deep in the fifth set, either Roger Federer or Kevin Anderson will reach the Wimbledon semifinals , Rafael Nadal and Juan Martin del Potro are all also action.

USTA, ATP & WTA Implement Rules Innovations At Events Throughout Summer

Wed, 07/11/2018 - 6:00am

The USTA, ATP and WTA today announced that a series of in-game innovations will be implemented at a number of events taking place within the United States and Canada throughout the summer, including at the 2018 US Open. These rule changes were a result of collaboration and consultation between all three organizations, and are aimed at increasing pace of play and ensuring a consistent set of enforcement standards.

The following innovations will be instituted:

• Warm-Up Clock

o A one-minute clock will begin when the second player/team entering the court arrives at their chair(s). If at the end of that one minute, a player is not at the net, they will be notified by the Chair Umpire and subject to a post-match fine. This will not be a time violation.

o A five-minute time clock will begin following the coin-toss and begin the warm-up period. During this time, the Chair Umpire will make announcements informing the players of the 3-minute, 2-minute, 1-minute, 30-seconds, and end-of-warm-up marks. Following the conclusion on the five-minute warm-up period, a one-minute countdown will commence. At the end of this one-minute countdown, a player must be ready to play. If a player is not ready at this juncture, the Chair Umpire will announce a “Start of Match Violation” and the player will be subject to a post-match fine. This will not be a time violation.

• Serve Clock

o The server will be given up to 25 seconds to serve. This will be enforced in the following ways:

 During a game • Following the point, the score will be entered, the Chair Umpire will announce the score, and then start the 25 second-clock. If the player has not started the service motion at the completion of the 25-second countdown, the Chair Umpire will issue a time violation.

 After even-numbered games • The Chair Umpire will start the clock when the balls are all in place on the server’s end of the court. If the player has not started the service motion at the completion of the 25-second countdown, the Chair Umpire will issue a time violation.

o The receiver is responsible for playing to the server’s reasonable pace

***The Chair Umpire will have the ability and discretion to pause the clock. The Chair Umpire will have the ability to resume the clock from the same time or reset the clock to 25-seconds.

Although the exact location has yet to be determined, a “clock” will be placed in a position visible to players, fans and the Chair Umpire.

Along with the US Open, the following events will incorporate the innovations: Citi Open (Washington, D.C.), Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic (San Jose, Calif.), Rogers Cup (Montreal and Toronto, Canada), Western & Southern Open (Cincinnati, Ohio), Connecticut Open (New Haven, Conn.), and Winston-Salem Open (Winston-Salem, N.C.).

In 2017, the US Open utilized both a Serve Clock and a Warm-Up Clock in the Men’s and Women’s Qualifying Tournaments, as well as the Junior Tournament, Wheelchair Competition, American College Invitational, and Champions Invitational. The ATP also featured a Shot Clock at the inaugural Next Gen ATP Finals at Milan in 2017.

Mike Bryan Clinches No. 1 By Reaching Wimbledon SF With Sock

Tue, 07/10/2018 - 5:43pm

It hasn't been the same for Mike Bryan at Wimbledon this fortnight. The American is playing without his twin brother Bob (hip injury) for the first time at the All England Club.

But with countryman Jack Sock, Mike has forged ahead, and he even secured himself some history on Tuesday. Bryan/Sock advanced to the semi-finals, beating Indian Divij Sharan and Artem Sitak of New Zealand 7-6(4), 7-6(5), 6-7(3), 6-4.

With the win, Mike Bryan guaranteed that he will return to No. 1 in the ATP Doubles Rankings on Monday, when the new rankings are released. He will become the oldest No. 1 in the history of the ATP Rankings and ATP Doubles Rankings. Mike will be 40 years, 78 days old on Monday.

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Daniel Nestor previously held the record. He was 40 years, five days old when he was last No. 1 on 9 September 2012.

Mike Bryan isn't finished at SW19 yet, either. The seventh seeds will next face Dominic Inglot of Great Britain/Franko Skugor of Croatia. Inglot/Skugor, the 15th seeds, beat Dutchman Robin Haase and Robert Lindstedt of Sweden 6-3, 6-7(2), 7-6(1), 6-4.

Frederik Nielsen of Denmark and Brit Joe Salisbury stopped 14th seeds Ben McLachlan of Japan and German Jan-Lennard Struff from reaching their second Grand Slam semi-final of the season (Australian Open) 7-6(6), 4-6, 7-6(2), 7-6(4). Nielsen/Salisbury will meet 13th seeds Raven Klaasen of South Africa and Michael Venus of New Zealand, who beat fifth seeds Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares 6-7(5), 7-6(5), 5-7, 7-6(4), 6-4.

Wimbledon No Longer 'House of Horrors' For Isner

Tue, 07/10/2018 - 5:33pm

For years, John Isner's results at Wimbledon read like stuck vinyl: first round, second round, second round, first round, second round, third round, third round, third round, second round. Ten years, and not one trip to the fourth round at the All England Club.

He had his high moments: Namely 2010, when he won that match against France's Nicolas Mahut 70-68 in the fifth. But there have been far more disappointments than triumphs at SW19 for Isner.

The past three years, he lost in the fifth set. In 2015, he fell 12-10 to Marin Cilic; in 2016, he lost 19-17 to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga; and last year, Isner led Israel's Dudi Sela two sets to one but lost 6-7(5), 7-6(5), 5-7, 7-6(5), 6-3.

“This tournament, since that long match, has sort of been a house of horrors for me. I've lost a lot of close ones since that match in 2010, a lot of very, very close ones,” Isner said.

“There was certainly some doubt. When you have left this tournament the last nine, 10 years pretty disappointed with my result, gone home sort of hanging my head a little bit. But not the case this year.”

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The ninth seed has built upon what had been his best start to a season, which was highlighted in April with his first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title at the Miami Open presented by Itau.

Isner has continued his aggressive return strategy, and he's also been quick to attack the net on the London grass. During his fourth-round match against Greece's #NextGenATP star Stefanos Tsitsipas, Isner charged forward 33 times, winning almost 70 per cent of his tries (22/33).

“When I find myself in a good place on the court mentally, not getting frustrated when I miss a chance, things just generally turn out well for me. That was the case (on Monday),” Isner said.

Read More: SW19 QF Preview: Federer, Nadal Look To Keep Marching Onwards

His thundering serve, as always, has helped. The 6'10” right-hander hasn't been broken yet, having erased all six break points he's faced. He leads the Wimbledon field with 134 aces.

“I've always told myself, 'Just keep doing what you do, keep giving myself more chances.' I want to keep coming to this event feeling good, playing well. That was the case this year. I've made good on that,” Isner said.

He has more than a standing chance of advancing to his first Grand Slam semi-final as well. Isner leads his FedEx ATP Head2Head series against Raonic 3-1.

“It's going to come down to a few points here and there. It's strength on strength, for sure. He serves exceptionally well. He does other things very well, too. He attacks well. He looks for his forehand a lot, which is effective on this surface,” Isner said. “If one of us gets a crack, a few chances, we're going to have to take it.”

Uncovered: The Service Stat That Puts Isner In A League Of His Own

Tue, 07/10/2018 - 5:17pm
ATP World Tour Uncovered presented by Peugeot uses an Infosys ATP Beyond The Numbers analysis to look at the statistics that show why John Isner's serve, especially when closing out a match, is in a league of its own.

ICYMI at Wimbledon: An insane rally, Pimms for Drake, Andy Murray returns

Tue, 07/10/2018 - 4:44pm
Epic rallies, Serena Williams the mentor and the return of a hometown hero. Yeah, it was that kind of day at the All England Club.

Wimbledon QF Preview: Federer, Nadal Look To Keep Marching Onwards

Tue, 07/10/2018 - 3:27pm

ATPWorldTour.com previews Wednesday's quarter-final matchups, as top seed Roger Federer, three-time champion Novak Djokovic and World No. 1 Rafael Nadal all look to secure semi-final spots at Wimbledon.

(1) Roger Federer vs. (8) Kevin Anderson
Federer leads
FedEx ATP Head2Head series 4-0

Lose a set? Roger Federer first might have to lose a game on serve, and if not that, at least be pushed to a tie-break before he drops a set at Wimbledon. But neither have happened so far at the All England Club as the eight-time champion has coasted into the quarter-finals.

The top-seeded Federer has faced only four break points – erasing them all – and has won 81 per cent of his service points (223/274). Frenchman Adrian Mannarino, who lost to Federer 6-0, 7-5, 6-4 on Monday, fared the best against the Swiss' serve, earning the quartet of break opportunities.

[GROUP POLL]148[/GROUP POLL]

.chant_polling_widget {height: 590px !important; border-radius: 5px; box-shadow: rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.4) 1px 1px 6px 0px;} .is-mobile .chant_polling_widget{ height:590px !important; max-width:360px !important;} The 36-year-old has now won 81 consecutive games on serve at SW19. The last time Federer was broken at Wimbledon was during the eighth game of his 2017 semi-final against Tomas Berdych. Federer has also now won 32 consecutive sets at the All England Club, just two shy of his record, which he set between the third round in 2005 and the 2006 final. At the time, Federer was in the midst of a Wimbledon five-peat (2003-2007).

“I feel like these streaks just happen. You can't plan for them anyway because one point can change the outcome of a set. If you break it down, it could be one shot really. That's not something you can always control,” Federer said.

“Of course, if you give yourself maximum chances, you're playing well, you have super focus, then these streaks are kind of possible. Look, I'm equally happy if I would have won all the matches in four sets. That it happened to be in straights, it helps me for the season... It helps me to save energy for the rest of the tournament.”

Kevin Anderson has never beaten Federer, but the 6'8” South African has made it a habit of overcoming tall odds the past 12 months. He reached his first Grand Slam final at the 2017 US Open, and before his fourth-round match against Gael Monfils on Monday, the 32-year-old Anderson stared down two unfavourable streaks: 0-10 in fourth-round matches at Grand Slams outside the U.S., and 0-5 against Monfils in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series. Make that 1-11 and 1-6, thank you very much.

Anderson will face his biggest challenge yet, though, against Federer and will need to deliver a high percentage of first serves and rely on his big forehand to hold consistently. Face trouble on his serve, though, especially early, and it could be another Federer rout as the Swiss has not felt generous at SW19.

“I'm going to have to really take it to him, also at the same time try to treat it like another tennis match... The more I can just treat it like another tennis match, the better for me,” Anderson said. “I feel like I'm playing some of the best tennis of my career. When I'm doing that, I think I'm a very dangerous player.”

Read More: Why Anderson Says 'Come On' More Than Ever

(13) Milos Raonic vs. (9) John Isner
Isner leads 
FedEx ATP Head2Head series 3-1

When Milos Raonic and John Isner, two of the game's best and biggest servers, play, you can expect two things: a flurry of aces and tie-breaks. Isner and Raonic lead the Wimbledon field with 134 and 117 aces, respectively.

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Of the nine sets the two have played, seven have finished in a tie-break. Raonic, although six years Isner's junior, will have the Wimbledon experience edge. The 6'5” Canadian reached the 2016 final (l. to Murray) and will play in his fourth Wimbledon quarter-final (2017, 2016, 2014). Isner will be competing in his first quarter-final at the All England Club and only his second at the Grand Slam level (2011 US Open, l. to Murray).

But he, like Federer, has yet to be broken, having erased all six break points he's faced, including two that were match points in the second round against Ruben Bemelmans of Belgium. Expect this quarter-final to come down to a few points here and there, the break points and whoever can get a mini-break in the expected tie-breaks.

“It's going to be coming down to those moments, about being sharp in the right moments, who is going to be able to step up, be the one that's able to dictate, putting more pressure on the other guy,” Raonic said.

Isner has been returning more aggressively than ever, which has helped him avoid, save for the Bemelmans match, the lengthy five-setters that used to sap his energy before the second weeks of Grand Slams. And at 33, even though it's his first Wimbledon quarter-final, surely Isner will play with nothing to lose, knowing that he may never get back to this stage. “If one of us gets a crack, a few chances, we're going to have to take it,” Isner said.

Raonic, though, has also done well to keep his matches tidy, having dropped just two sets so far, and as he showed in the 2016 semi-finals by beating Federer, the Canadian, if his serve is on, can play grass-court tennis better than almost anyone.

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(12) Novak Djokovic vs. (24) Kei Nishikori
Djokovic leads FedEx ATP Head2Head series 13-2

When Novak Djokovic and Kei Nishikori met two years ago this month at the Rogers Cup in Toronto, it was No. 1 vs. No. 6 for an ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title. Djokovic claimed the hard-court contest for his 30th Masters 1000 crown, and since, the Serbian has won all three FedEx ATP Head2Head meetings against Nishikori.

In fact, Djokovic has won their past 12 meetings, and he has looked close to his best as he steamrolled his way into his 10th Wimbledon quarter-final, beating American Tennys Sandgren, Horacio Zeballos of Argentina, top Brit Kyle Edmund and Karen Khachanov of Russia.

“I felt like in the last month and a half, the level of tennis has been very close to where I would like it to be, where I'm used to having it,” Djokovic said.

Read More: Djokovic Remembers Sweet Taste of Success

Nishikori, however, like Anderson, has never played better at the All England Club. The 28-year-old is through to his first quarter-final at SW19 and had to beat 15th seed Nick Kyrgios and Latvian Ernests Gulbis, who upset Alexander Zverev, to make the last eight.

How healthy is Nishikori feeling, though? The right-hander seemed to be bothered by his right arm during his fourth-round match against Gulbis, and he'll need to be at full strength to disrupt Djokovic.

The two play similar styles, consistent and aggressive from the baseline but happy to charge the net and end the point early. During their FedEx ATP Head2Head series, though, Djokovic has just done it better, so it will be up to Nishikori to somehow find a way to bother the three-time Wimbledon champion.

“I don't have a good result, a good record with him, but I always enjoy playing him. He's one of the best players on the Tour,” Nishikori said.

(5) Juan Martin del Potro vs. (2) Rafael Nadal
Nadal leads
FedEx ATP Head2Head series 10-5

Rafael Nadal, who sped through his fourth-round match in straight sets on Monday (d. Vesely), surely didn't mind that Juan Martin del Potro and Gilles Simon played the longest match of The Championships, a two-day and four-hour, 24-minute match that finished Tuesday afternoon, with Del Potro winning three tie-breaks to advance 7-6(1), 7-6(5), 5-7, 7-6(5).

As if the No. 1 player in the ATP Rankings needed help! Nadal, the 2008 and 2010 champion, is back into the quarter-finals for the first time since 2011 and has yet to drop a set at SW19. The Spaniard is looking to win his third Roland Garros – Wimbledon double and tie Bjorn Borg's record.

“It's true that I have not been in that quarter-finals or in farther rounds, but I played good tennis here. I lost a couple of matches that I could win. Sometimes a few points change the final result,” Nadal said.

Read More: Coach Roig's Takeaways After Nadal's Win Against Vesely

It's the third Grand Slam in the past nine months in which Nadal and Del Potro have met (2017 US Open SF, 2018 Roland Garros SF). Nadal has won their past six sets after dropping the opener at the 2017 US Open. A matchup on grass, however, might be Del Potro's best chance.

The Argentine is through to his first Wimbledon quarter-final since 2013, when he lost to Novak Djokovic in the semi-finals, and his flat forehand has skidded nicely on the Wimbledon turf. Del Potro will want to play as aggressively as he can against the Spaniard, who, no doubt, will be happy to keep the Argentine chasing balls from side to side behind the baseline.

“It will be a different match [than] we played in Paris few weeks ago. I will try to hold my service games most of the time. If I want to beat him, I have to come to the net very often and play hard with my forehands, with my backhands, and try to take all the chances,” Del Potro said.

Murray reveals comeback schedule on TV debut

Tue, 07/10/2018 - 2:25pm
Andy Murray will continue his comeback from injury by playing in the Citi Open in Washington before turning his attention to the US Open.

Braunschweig Venue Steeped In Centuries Of History

Tue, 07/10/2018 - 2:06pm

This week, the Sparkassen Open in Braunschweig, Germany, welcomes players and fans for the 25th time. Last year, Spanish teen Nicola Kuhn lifted his first ATP Challenger Tour trophy, joining Alexander Zverev as recent 17-year-old champions.

The prestigious event has set the standard on the circuit for years and is celebrating a fourth straight Tournament of the Year award. The honour is representative of the clay-court event’s steadfast commitment to growing the game in a world-class environment.

Under the watchful eye of tournament director Volker Jäcke, the tournament has greatly evolved and is considered a top destination for players and fans. The Sparkassen Open founded the concept of ‘Tennistainment’, which refers to the notion that premier tennis and off-court entertainment create a first-rate experience with a festive atmosphere. It continues to be the soul of the tournament, with nightly concerts on the grounds.

The event began with a small Centre Court and one catering tent, and the main stadium has since been upgraded to hold a capacity crowd of 2,000 patrons, with a big stage for the concerts and over 50 concession tents for catering and exhibitions. But while the tournament’s famous entertainment scene has garnered much attention, it is its rich and storied history that is arguably its most intriguing aspect.

The Sparkassen Open is played at the Braunschweiger Tennis und Hockey Club on the grounds of the Bürgerpark. Today, it is a large expanse of public land, but many centuries ago, it was the sprawling home of Duchess Augusta, wife of Duke Karl Wilhelm Ferdinand. The estate included the duchess’ residence, known as Schloss Richmond (Richmond Castle) and the tennis courts. The wall that enclosed the city was removed and in 1901, the park opened to the citizens of Braunschweig and the tennis club was officially founded.

“This was the missing link at the time, to open the city and make the Burgerpark for all the citizens of the city to come and rest,” said club president Ralf Hinrichs. “It’s an open space with different flowers and trees. They took different types of trees from all over the world and brought them here. They make it a very special place for the citizens of Braunschweig. It’s a gift to the people here. That was in 1900 and the club was founded a year later.”

During World War II, Braunschweig became a stronghold for the Nazis and the city was destroyed. The club partially survived the bombings, as the front gate, two small cabins on either side of the gate and many stone statues that lie around the main entrance and inside the club remain. So does the front facade of the former castle, with a series of Roman-style columns left undamaged from the time of the duke and duchess. The unique rococo style of the 1700s remains a constant reminder of pre-war Germany, when an architecture movement swept through the country.

After the war ended, for more than 50 years, the German National Championships were hosted at the Braunschweiger Tennis und Hockey Club, featuring a teenage Boris Becker and Steffi Graf, before the ATP Challenger Tour staked its claim to the historic venue in 1994. The Sparkassen Open was born.

"I don't feel like it's a Challenger, it's more like an ATP World Tour event," said Germany's Oscar Otte, No. 166 in the ATP Rankings. "The hotel is not that far and it's amazing. You walk through the park to get there. The Centre Court gives you a nice feeling playing in front of many people from your country."

In its 25-year history, the tournament has boasted Top 10 players Gaston Gaudio, Tomas Berdych and Zverev as champions, with former World No. 2 Michael Stich serving as tournament director in the early 2010s.

“What makes the tournament so special is that after the tennis there are a lot of activities there," Zverev told ATPWorldTour.com after winning in 2014. “It's like the [ATP World Tour] events in Umag and Bastad where there's a lot of nightlife and the players really like it. It's great fun for the players and the fans.”

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