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Fan's Favourites' Bryan/Sock Open London Account

Mon, 11/12/2018 - 3:38pm

Mike Bryan and Jack Sock got their Nitto ATP Finals campaign off to a winning start on Monday night at The O2 in London. The fifth seeds, winners of the Wimbledon and US Open crowns, saved one set point in the second set en route to defeating last year’s finalists and third seeds Lukasz Kubot and Marcelo Melo 6-3, 7-6(5) in 87 minutes.

Last week, Mike Bryan and Sock were named the ATPWorldTour.com Fans’ Favourites presented by Moët & Chandon in the 2018 ATP World Tour Awards. Bryan, who previously won this award with his twin brother Bob Bryan from 2005-17, and Sock have a 17-5 record together since teaming up in mid-June at the Fever-Tree Championships.

Bryan and Sock broke Kubot to love for a 3-1 lead in the first set, which was dominated by the forehand firepower of Sock, who last year competed in the singles competition at The O2. Kubot and Melo settled into a repeat of the US Open final in September, returning aggressively and rushing the net to create opportunities in the second set. Deciding deuce points went begging on Sock and Bryan’s serves in the sixth and eighth games of the set, before Melo survived two break points at 4-4.

Mike Bryan saved one set point on Sock’s serve at 4-5, on a deciding deuce point, with a reaction volley that Kubot couldn’t scramble up. In an inevitable tie-break, a fitting conclusion for such a competitive set, Bryan and Sock broke clear at 2/2, but Melo – who had been hit with a fizzing forehand from Sock midway through the second set – produced his own groundstroke power to keep the Brazilian/Polish team in the match. But Kubot double faulted on match point.

Kubot and Melo, the 2017 year-end No. 1s in the ATP Doubles Team Rankings, were attempting to record their 40th match win in 60 matches this season. The pair has picked up ATP World Tour crowns at the Sydney International (d. Struff/Troicki), the Gerry Weber Open in Halle (d. Zverevs), the China Open in Beijing (d. Marach/Pavic) and the Rolex Shanghai Masters (d. Murray/Soares).

Day 3 Preview: Can Roger Bounce Back Against Thiem?

Mon, 11/12/2018 - 3:19pm
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Will Roger Federer bounce back?

That will be the leading story on Tuesday as Group Lleyton Hewitt contests its second of three round-robin matches at the Nitto ATP Finals.

On the opening day of play, No. 7 seed Kei Nishikori stunned Federer, dealing the six-time champion his first straight-sets defeat in group play at the season finale. In fact, Federer had lost just three round-robin matches since the tournament moved to The O2 in London in 2009.

So now, Federer will look to get back on track when he faces Dominic Thiem, who also lost against Kevin Anderson in straight sets in his first match. Interestingly, Thiem leads his FedEx ATP Head2Head series against Federer 2-1, with all three of their matches coming in 2016.

“We haven't played in a while,” Federer said. “I haven't thought about the match, to be honest. I haven't had enough time. I wasn't even thinking who I'm going to play next. I just know I need to do better than today. That's pretty much it.”

Thiem will take confidence into the encounter knowing that while it’s been more than two years since he has shared a court with the 99-time tour-level titlist, the Austrian saved two match points to beat Federer in Stuttgart in their most recent match-up. But the sixth seed knows he will have to get off to a quicker start against Federer than he did against Anderson, as he faced seven break points in the opening set against the South African.

“I didn't have a good start,” Thiem said. “I was in trouble almost every service game. So the first set was not really good.”

While that will be the singles match during the evening session, Sunday’s two winners will battle it out to stay undefeated during the day session. Nishikori takes a 5-3 FedEx ATP Head2Head series lead into his meeting against Anderson, as they compete against one another for the fourth time this year and the third time in less than three weeks.

Anderson was impressive in his first-ever match at the season finale, dismissing Thiem, who is competing at The O2 for the third time.

“I think it was important going out there and getting off to a good start,” Anderson said. “I definitely felt a little bit nervous. But I was able to settle very quickly and find a really good rhythm, taking care of my serve games nicely.”

Anderson will hope to serve well against Nishikori, too. The 32-year-old has beaten the Japanese superstar at both of the events he has won this season, ousting Nishikori in the New York Open semi-finals and beating him to win the Erste Bank Open 500 in Vienna.

But Nishikori is also in excellent form, having won 20 of his past 26 matches, reaching the quarter-finals or better at his final six tournaments of the year. It’s easy to forget that Nishikori played two ATP Challenger Tour events to begin his season as he came back from a wrist injury.

“I'm happy for him because he started [2018] playing Challengers. That was a bold decision early on,” Federer said after his loss to the Japanese. “That deserves credit and respect. I think we all have that for Kei because he's a great fighter.”

Nishikori will hope that fight is enough to take out Anderson as he pursues his third semi-final showing at the Nitto ATP Finals in four appearances. If the seventh seed beats Anderson and Federer takes down Thiem, Nishikori will move through. The same goes for Anderson if he wins on Tuesday, and Thiem stuns Federer.

Did You Know?
Federer has only lost two round-robin matches at the Nitto ATP Finals once in his career, in 2008. That was the only time in 15 previous appearances that the Swiss did not advance to the semi-finals.

Hot Shot: Sock Dismisses Melo Serve With Rocket Forehand At The Nitto ATP Finals

Mon, 11/12/2018 - 3:16pm
Watch Hot Shot as Jack Sock fires a forehand return past Lukasz Kubot at the Nitto ATP Finals. Watch live tennis at tennistv.com.

ATP Supporting UNICEF At The Nitto ATP Finals 2018

Mon, 11/12/2018 - 3:02pm
Find out about the partnership between the ATP and UNICEF at the 2018 Nitto ATP Finals. Photo Credit: Julian Finney/Getty Images.

ATP Supporting UNICEF At The Nitto ATP Finals

Mon, 11/12/2018 - 2:52pm

The ATP is once again supporting UNICEF, working together to try to make the world a better place for children. 

For every ace hit at the 2018 Nitto ATP Finals in singles and doubles, the ATP will donate £100. In 2017, the ATP donated £30,400 for the 304 aces struck at the season finale to help protect children in danger around the world. And since 2016, the Nitto ATP Finals has helped raise more than £300,000 for the world's leading children's organisation.

The ATP has also given fans a chance a special opportunity in 2018 to buy a limited number of tickets to round-robin play for just £10 and an accompanying booking fee, from which £10 for each ticket is being donated to UNICEF.

Entering this year’s Nitto ATP Finals, the tournament’s eight singles competitors had hit 4,860 aces in 2018, with six London contenders in the Top 12 on the ATP World Tour in the category this season, according to Infosys ATP Scores & Stats. John Isner (1,173) and Kevin Anderson (1,058), the eighth and fourth seeds at The O2, respectively, are the only players who have passed the 1,000-ace mark this year.

Anderson Looks To Remain Undefeated At Nitto ATP Finals Against Nishikori

Mon, 11/12/2018 - 2:01pm
Watch a preview of Tuesday's match at the 2018 Nitto ATP Finals between Kevin Anderson and Kei Nishikori. Watch live tennis at tennistv.com.

Federer Hopes To Bounce Back Against Thiem At Nitto ATP Finals

Mon, 11/12/2018 - 2:00pm
Watch a preview of Tuesday's match at the 2018 Nitto ATP Finals between Roger Federer and Dominic Thiem. Watch live tennis at tennistv.com.

Zverev Discusses Cilic Victory, Court Speed At The Nitto ATP Finals

Mon, 11/12/2018 - 1:57pm
Watch as Alexander Zverev shares his opinion on his straight-sets win over Marin Cilic and the speed of the court at The O2. Watch live tennis at tennistv.com.

Hot Shot: Zverev Earns Match Point With 'Thunderbolt' Backhand At Nitto ATP Finals

Mon, 11/12/2018 - 1:46pm
Watch Hot Shot as Alexander Zverev rips a backhand up the line to move one point from victory against Marin Cilic at the Nitto ATP Finals. Watch live tennis at tennistv.com. Photo credit: AFP/Getty Images.

Pella Powers To Uruguay Open Title

Mon, 11/12/2018 - 1:34pm
Rain forced Guido Pella to win two matches on Sunday to claim his 13th ATP Challenger Tour crown and second in Montevideo. Video courtesy of Uruguay Open.

Highlights: Zverev Extends Winning Record Over Cilic To Start His Nitto ATP Finals

Mon, 11/12/2018 - 1:13pm
Watch highlights as Alexander Zverev battles through two tie-breaks to beat Marin Cilic in Group Guga Kuerten's first match at the 2018 Nitto ATP Finals. Oliver Marach and Mate Pavic also defeat Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut. Photo Credit: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images. Watch live tennis at tennistv.com.

Zverev overcomes Cilic at ATP Finals

Mon, 11/12/2018 - 12:38pm
Alexander Zverev won two tiebreaks as he opened his ATP World Tour Finals campaign with a straight-sets win over Marin Cilic in London on Monday.

Zverev Extends Winning Record Over Cilic

Mon, 11/12/2018 - 12:19pm

After a slow start, Alexander Zverev moved to 1-0 in Group Guga Kuerten after beating Marin Cilic 7-6(5), 7-6(1) at the Nitto ATP Finals on Monday.

Having faced two break points to trail 0-4 in the opening set, Zverev fought hard to earn an ATP World Tour-leading 55th victory of the season (55-18). The 21-year-old won 75 per cent of first-serve points to clinch the win after two hours and six minutes. Zverev improves to 5-5 against Top 10 opposition in 2018 after notching his sixth straight win over Cilic in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series (Zverev leads 6-1).

After navigating a tough opening service game, Cilic attacked Zverev's forehand to extract errors and move into a 2-0 lead. This year's Fever-Tree Championships titlist soon created three more break-point opportunities to open up a double-break lead, but was unable to convert.

When serving for the set at 5-3, Cilic was made to pay for his missed opportunities. With consecutive backhand errors and a double fault, Cilic handed Zverev a lifeline back into the set. In the tie-break, Zverev opened a 6/3 lead and converted his third set point with great variety to complete the comeback.

If Cilic was guilty of failing to take his opportunities in the opener, the same could be said of Zverev early in the second set. After saving break points at 0-1 and 2-3, Cilic moved into a 4-3 lead following a series of groundstroke errors from his opponent.

But Zverev found his way back into the set immediately, following mistimed forehand attacks from Cilic. The 30-year-old was soon forced to save one match point at 4-5 (30/40) before reaching a second tie-break.

Once again, Zverev was able to find his best level when it mattered most. The German took the initiative on his forehand side and benefitted from multiple unforced errors to open up a 5/1 lead at the change of ends. From there Zverev increased his aggression, closing the match with a pinpoint backhand up the line and an unreturned serve.

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After early losses in Tokyo, Shanghai and Basel, Cilic appeared to have rediscovered his best form after snapping Novak Djokovic's 30-set winning streak at the Rolex Paris Masters two weeks ago. The World No. 7, who has enjoyed considerable success across the city at the Fever-Tree Championships and Wimbledon, drops to 1-9 at the Nitto ATP Finals.

"I had a very good start to the match at 3-0 [with a] break-point," said Cilic. "So I was close to having the double break in the first set. After that, when I lost my serve, I missed a few balls from a couple of unforced errors.

"I [hit] one double fault and gave him an opportunity to come back... After that, I felt that he started to play a bit better. He served, towards the end of the set, quite good and the tie-break was tight. I think it could have gone both ways and just, generally, I felt that I was playing well. I was not capitalising on my chances."

In Monday's evening session, World No. 1 Novak Djokovic and tournament debutant John Isner will aim to join Zverev at 1-0 in Group Guga Kuerten. Djokovic leads their FedEx ATP Head2Head series 8-2, winning each of their past five tour-level meetings.

Mahut Nasty Fall Nitto ATP Finals

Mon, 11/12/2018 - 10:53am
Nicolas Mahut showed a little too much passion in trying to chase down this ball. But after an injury time out he returned to finish the match. Watch Nitto ATP Finals streams on Tennis TV. Photo credit: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images.

Pavic/Marach Off To Strong Start In London

Mon, 11/12/2018 - 10:07am

Oliver Marach and Mate Pavic got off to a winning start at the Nitto ATP Finals on Monday. The top-seeded Austrian/Croatian team recorded their first win in their fourth meeting against eighth-seeded Frenchmen Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut 6-4, 7-6(3) over one hour and 47 minutes in their first Group Knowles/Nestor match. It was a repeat of 2018 finals at the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam and at Roland Garros.

Marach and Pavic improved to a 52-17 record on the season, which included three straight titles – in Doha, Auckland and the Australian Open – and a 17-match winning streak at the start of the year. The pair also won the Geneva title and finished as runner-up at five other tournaments. They will be presented the year-end ATP World Tour Doubles No. 1 trophy later this week.

Herbert came under immediate pressure in the first game, with Mahut saving a deciding deuce point with a volley poach. However, two games later, Mahut’s serve was broken on a deciding point as Marach and Pavic started to dominate at the net.

But with Pavic serving at 30/30 in the seventh game of the first set, Mahut chased down a ball close to the advertising boards and fell into the line judges chair. The 36-year-old required on-court treatment and strapping to his left ankle/shin. Play resumed after a nine-minute delay, but the French pair left the arena after Herbert held for 4-5. After a further six minutes, Herbert and Mahut returned, but could not save the set.

Herbert double-faulted on the deciding deuce point at the start of the second set, then Mahut — in his first service game since his treatment — earned a confidence-boosting hold on a deciding deuce point in the third game. One break of service looked to be enough for the top seeds, but Pavic lost his at 4-3 in a run of three games for the Frenchmen. But Marach and Pavic, who served as alternates at the 2017 season finale, regrouped and took early control of the tie-break.

Herbert and Mahut, who had been bidding to earn their third win in nine matches at the Nitto ATP Finals, dropped to a 20-10 record on the year. They have qualified for the tournament for a fourth year running.

Hot Shot: Epic Rally For Marach/Pavic v Herbert/Mahut In London

Mon, 11/12/2018 - 9:29am
Watch Hot Shot as Oliver Marach and Mate Pavic battle hard with Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut at the net in an epic rally on Monday at the Nitto ATP Finals. Photo: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images. Watch live tennis at tennistv.com.

Hot Shot: Marach/Pavic vs Herbert/Mahut Great Rally In London

Mon, 11/12/2018 - 9:29am
Watch Hot Shot as Oliver Marach and Mate Pavic battle hard with Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut at the net in an epic rally on Monday at the Nitto ATP Finals. Watch live tennis at Tennis TV. Photo: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Bryan/Sock Voted As Fans' Favourite In First Season Together

Mon, 11/12/2018 - 7:37am

A new pair – Americans Mike Bryan and Jack Sock – has been crowned the ATPWorldTour.com Fans’ Favourites presented by Moët & Chandon in the 2018 ATP World Tour Awards. Bryan previously won this award with his twin brother Bob Bryan from 2005-17.

“It feels great to win the Fans’ Favourite,” said Bryan. “It’s been a fun season with Jack. This guy is a human highlight reel so I think the fans love watching the replays of the tweeners and those huge forehands.

“Thanks to the ATP for this award. Thanks for all the fans that voted.”

Sock added: “I think the only reason I’ll have that award at home is because of this guy and what he and his brother have done for so many years. I think they’ve won it 60 years in a row, so I’m glad I could just fill in for one year and tag along.”

With Bob sidelined with injury since Madrid, Mike Bryan and Sock teamed up during the grass-court swing and won the Wimbledon title in only their second tournament together. They followed with a second Grand Slam title at the US Open.

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Kelsey Anderson Diaries: Inside Player Gift Bags At The Nitto ATP Finals 2018

Mon, 11/12/2018 - 3:43am
Watch as Kelsey Anderson provides a sneak peek into the gifts husband Kevin Anderson has received during the Nitto ATP Finals.

Challenger Q&A: Opelka Nears Top 100 With Knoxville Crown

Mon, 11/12/2018 - 12:35am

Reilly Opelka is quietly making a significant charge towards a Top 100 debut. The 21-year-old American entered the US Open at No. 173 in the ATP Rankings, and he is now projected to rise to a career-high No. 116 following his latest ATP Challenger Tour title in Knoxville.

Opelka was a machine all week on the campus of the University of Tennessee, not dropping a set en route to the final. There, he overcame a stern test from countryman Bjorn Fratangelo, eventually prevailing in a deciding tie-break 7-5, 4-6, 7-6(2). He fired 26 aces in one hour and 59 minutes. 

In five tournaments since the US Open, he has reached a pair of finals in Chicago and Cary and claimed a championship in Knoxville. It has been a career-year for the rising Michigan native, who also added a clay-court crown in Bordeaux, France, in May. He is the sixth player to win on both clay and hard in 2018.

One week after close friend Tommy Paul reigned in Charlottesville, Opelka became the seventh #NextGenATP American winner this year. 

'Big O' spoke to broadcaster Mike Cation after the final on Sunday...

Champion at @KnoxChallenger... Reilly Opelka!

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