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Nadal, Djokovic In Same Half At Roland Garros

10 hours 36 min ago

In-form Rafael Nadal faces a major test if he is to claim ‘La Decima’, a 10th title at Roland Garros this year. The Spanish superstar has been drawn in the same half of the draw as defending champion Novak Djokovic, Milos Raonic and Dominic Thiem, the player who beat him in last week's Internazionali BNL d’Italia quarter-finals.

Fourth seed Nadal will meet France’s Benoit Paire in the first round as he looks to add to his incredible 72-2 record at the clay-court Grand Slam championship, where he has clinched the 2005-08, 2010-14 crowns. Nadal could meet No. 31 seed Gilles Simon in the third round, with a potential quarter-final against fifth seed Raonic, who begins his quest against Steve Darcis.

Nadal, who will celebrate his 31st birthday on 3 June, has already captured his 10th title at both the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters and Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell in 2017. Two weeks ago, he also won a fifth crown at the Mutua Madrid Open.

Second seed Djokovic, who completed the career Grand Slam with his first Roland Garros title in 2016 (d. Murray), will take on Marcel Granollers in the first round. The Serbian, who has a 12-9 record in Grand Slam championship finals, has started to work with Andre Agassi this week as he seeks his first tour-level title since clinching the Qatar ExxonMobil Open crown (d. Murray) in January.

Djokovic, who also finished runner-up on Parisian clay in 2012, 2014 (l. to Nadal both times) and 2015 (l. to Wawrinka), could meet No. 16 seed Lucas Pouille in the fourth round, before a potential quarter-final against sixth seed Dominic Thiem or No. 10 seed David Goffin. Djokovic beat Thiem in the Rome semi-finals, but was ousted by Goffin in the Monte-Carlo last eight in April. Thiem, who opens his bid against Bernard Tomic, lost to Djokovic in last year’s Roland Garros semi-finals. The Austrian has won six ATP World Tour clay-court crowns and is 17-4 on the surface in 2017.

World No. 1 Andy Murray, who became the first Briton to reach the Roland Garros final since Bunny Austin in 1937, on the back of a title run at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia (d. Djokovic), has been working hard in Paris this week with his coaches Ivan Lendl and Jamie Delgado. Murray, who has a 16-7 record in 2017, including the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships trophy (d. Verdasco), opens his campaign against Andrey Kuznetsov. Murray may face a tricky third-round encounter against No. 29 seed Juan Martin del Potro, who opens against a qualifier.

Murray or del Potro could then challenge No. 13 seed Tomas Berdych, who recorded the 600th match win of his career last week in Rome. #NextGenATP German Alexander Zverev, the ninth seed and winner of his first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 trophy in The Eternal City last week, begins his quest for glory against Fernando Verdasco. Zverev may then face No. 22 seed Pablo Cuevas in the third round, with a possible fourth-round tie against eighth seed Kei Nishikori.

Nishikori, who competes at Roland Garros for the seventh time hoping to better his 2015 quarter-final run (l. to Tsonga in five sets), plays Australian Thanasi Kokkinakis, who is on the comeback trail from a shoulder injury. The Japanese star may meet No. 27 seed Sam Querrey, this year’s Abierto Mexicano Telcel champion in the third round.

Stan Wawrinka, currently competing at the Banque Eric Sturdza Geneva Open, where he is the defending champion, is 18-8 on the year, but will be hoping to evoke memories of his 2015 Roland Garros title run. Last year’s semi-finalist, who competes in Murray’s half of the draw, opens against a qualifier with a third-round test against Fabio Fognini in prospect. Seventh seed Marin Cilic, No. 12 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, No. 15 Gael Monfils, No. 18 Nick Kyrgios, No. 24 Richard Gasquet all feature in Wawrinka's second quarter of the draw.

By the numbers: A look at Rafael Nadal's clay greatness

10 hours 46 min ago
By the numbers: A look at Rafael Nadal's clay greatness

Rafael Nadal again aiming to knock Roger Federer off his throne

10 hours 47 min ago
Rafael Nadal again aiming to knock Roger Federer off his throne

French draw has Djokovic-Nadal clash in semis

11 hours 50 min ago
French draw has Djokovic-Nadal clash in semis

ATP Announces New Name And Extended London Stay For Nitto ATP FInals

Thu, 05/25/2017 - 10:17pm
During a press conference from the Shard, the ATP announces that under a new title sponsorship with the Nitto Denko Corporation, the Nitto ATP Finals will stay in London a further two years through to 2020.

#NextGenATP Tsitsipas Qualifies For Roland Garros

Thu, 05/25/2017 - 6:39pm

#NextGenATP's Stefanos Tsitsipas is one of eight players who qualified for the main draw of Roland Garros with final-round qualifying wins on Thursday. Among those also reaching their first Grand Slam main draw are Nicolas Jarry and Stefano Napolitano.

Tsitsipas encountered few problems moving past Oscar Otte of Germany 6-3, 6-2. The 18-year-old Greek player has never played the main draw of a Grand Slam before. He showed promise on clay by reaching back-to-back ATP Challenger Tour finals on the surface last October in Morocco.

Nicolas Jarry had never won a round at a Grand Slam prior to this week, but the Chilean is through to the main draw after defeating #NextGenATP American Reilly Opelka 7-6(4), 3-6, 6-3. The 21 year old has reached two Challenger finals this year.

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Stefano Napolitano was also winless in Grand Slams before his dream run this week, taking out #NextGenATP player Alexander Bublik of Kazakhstan 6-4, 6-7(5), 6-2. The 21-year-old Italian won his maiden Challenger last November on home soil in Ortisei.

The remaining final-round qualifying round winners on Thursday were all established veterans. The winners were ninth seed Santiago Giraldo, 13th seed Guido Pella, 21st seed Sergiy Stakhovsky, Teymuraz Gabashvili and Simone Bolelli.

All eight remaining final-round qualifying matches will be contested on Friday, with former Top 15 player Paul-Henri Mathieu and #NextGenATP Russian Andrey Rublev among those in action.

Shvedova retires hurt in Nuremberg quarters

Thu, 05/25/2017 - 6:13pm
Shvedova retires hurt in Nuremberg quarters

Nitto ATP Finals To Stay In London Through 2020

Thu, 05/25/2017 - 5:44pm
The new-look Nitto ATP Finals will remain at London's iconic O2 arena through 2020. Only the world's best eight singles players and eight doubles teams make the cut.

Nitto ATP Finals Will Showcase World's Best

Thu, 05/25/2017 - 5:43pm
The world's best eight players and doubles teams will again light up The O2 arena in London during the Nitto ATP Finals from 12-19 November.

Garcia survives scare in Strasbourg QFs

Thu, 05/25/2017 - 5:14pm
Garcia survives scare in Strasbourg QFs

Raonic, Tsonga advance to Lyon semifinals

Thu, 05/25/2017 - 5:14pm
Raonic, Tsonga advance to Lyon semifinals

Nishikori Saves 3 M.P. In Thrilling Comeback

Thu, 05/25/2017 - 4:25pm

Second seed Kei Nishikori withstood a stern challenge from Kevin Anderson on Thursday at the Banque Eric Sturdza Geneva Open, surviving three match points to reach the semi-finals 2-6, 6-4, 7-6(6).

“There haven’t been too many times that I’m down match point and win, so it’s great for me,” said Nishikori. “He had more chances, but I served a little bit better in the end. It’s important to win some matches like this.” 

The Japanese star rallied from 2/4 in the final set tie-break and earned a match point at 6/5 with a backhand passing shot winner. Anderson erased it with a forehand winner, but Nishikori responded with a forehand return winner in the next point. The second seed hit another winner off that wing at 7/6 to wrap up the match after two hours and 29 minutes.

Nishikori improves his FedEx ATP Head2Head against Anderson to 4-1 and reaches his first ATP World Tour semi-final on clay this season. He’s seeking his first title since winning Memphis in February 2016 (d. Fritz).

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He’ll next play qualifier Mischa Zverev, who continued his run through the draw by defeating fifth seed Steve Johnson 6-4, 7-5. Zverev won all 14 of his first serve points in the opening set and 81 per cent in the match. The German moves into his maiden ATP World Tour semi-final of the season and first since last October in Basel.

“It’s my first [ATP World Tour] semi-final on clay, so I can be very happy with that,” said Zverev. “It took six or seven tournaments on clay, but now I’m finally finding my game on this surface.”

Top seed Stan Wawrinka was down a set and an early break to an in-form Sam Querrey, but delighted the home crowd by fighting back to win 4-6, 7-5, 6-2. Wawrinka improves to 4-3 on clay this season and is through to his maiden ATP World Tour semi-final on the red dirt this year. He defeated Marin Cilic in last year's final for his first title on home soil. The Swiss star also boosts his FedEx ATP Head2Head against Querrey to 5-1.

Awaiting Wawrinka in the semi-finals is Andrey Kuznetsov, who prevailed against lucky loser Cedrik-Marcel Stebe 6-2, 1-6, 7-5. Kuznetsov moves into his second ATP World Tour semi-final of the season after also reaching the final four this January in Sydney. He is even with Wawrinka in their FedEx ATP Head2Head rivalry at 1-1 and won their most recent match in March 2016 at the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 event in Miami. 

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DOUBLES

Both doubles quarter-finals on Thursday didn’t make it to court due to withdrawals. Scott Lipsky and Leander Paes advanced past Rogerio Dutra Silva and Paolo Lorenzi due to a right ankle injury sustained by Dutra Silva. Lipsky/Paes will face top seeds Jean-Julien Rojer and Horia Tecau on Friday.

Wild cards Johan Nikles and Tim Puetz moved past third seeds Treat Huey and Robert Lindstedt after Lindstedt pulled out with a groin injury. Nikles/Puetz also received a walkover in their opening round. They will take on second seeds Juan Sebastian Cabal/Robert Farah for a place in the final.

Dynamic duo? Agassi and Djokovic prepping for Paris

Thu, 05/25/2017 - 3:44pm
Dynamic duo? Agassi and Djokovic prepping for Paris

Nishikori, Wawrinka advance to Geneva semis

Thu, 05/25/2017 - 2:42pm
Nishikori, Wawrinka advance to Geneva semis

Tsonga, Raonic Remain On Course In Lyon

Thu, 05/25/2017 - 12:40pm

Second seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga continued his quest for a third ATP World Tour title of the season with a 6-0, 6-4 quarter-final victory over #NextGenATP Karen Khachanov in 64 minutes at the Open Parc Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Lyon. The Frenchman lost just six points on serve to improve to a 20-5 match record in 2017.

“I am really pleased that after playing two-and-a-half hours yesterday, I was feeling great today and didn’t have any pain with my shoulder. This is key for me. I need to be healthy,” said Tsonga. “Today was definitely a better match. I hope that I will keep this rhythm for the upcoming matches.”

Tsonga, a winner of two indoor trophies at Rotterdam and Marseille this year, will now face Nikoloz Basilashvili, who is one victory away from reaching his third ATP World Tour final after the Georgian knocked out Argentinean qualifier Nicolas Kicker 6-3, 6-1 in 65 minutes. Basilashvili, with a 16-10 match record on the season, finished runner-up to Ryan Harrison in the Memphis final in February.

“I’m really happy with how I performed. I’m playing much better than in the previous tournaments on clay,” said Basilashvili. “I’m looking forward to the next round and will need to play well.”

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Top seed Milos Raonic, competing for the fourth straight week on the ATP World Tour, moved into his fourth semi-final (or better) this year after he defeated qualifier Gastao Elias 6-4, 6-3 in one hour and 33 minutes. Raonic has won eight of his past 11 clay-court matches, including a runner-up finish in Istanbul (l. to Cilic). The Canadian is looking to capture his first trophy since Brisbane 2016

“I hope to keep playing better and better,” said Raonic. “The main objective is to win and to be efficient on court, which I was today."

Raonic will next play third seed Tomas Berdych. who scored a convincing 6-4, 6-0 against fifth seed Gilles Simon. Berdych saved all five break points he faced and won the final seven games to advance in 76 minutes. 

The Canadian leads his FedEx ATP Head2Head with Berdych 5-2, including a straight-sets win last week at the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 event in Rome.

“It will be another big challenge. I played Milos last week and it wasn’t a good match on my side, so I’m going to try and do better than that,” said Berdych. “I’ll need to be focused on my game, serve well and bring pressure in his return games.”

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 Watch Full Match Replays

Daniell/Demoliner Reach Doubles Final

Marcus Daniell and Marcelo Demoliner will bid to capture their first ATP World Tour team title on Saturday after they knocked out Australians Nick Kyrgios and Matt Reid 6-3, 6-1 in a 47-minute semi-final encounter. Daniell and Demoliner finished as runners up at Bastad (l. to Granollers-Marrero) in July 2016 and at Sao Paulo (Dutra Silva-Sa) in March this year. They await the winners of third seeds Oliver Marach and Mate Pavic or Andres Molteni and Adil Shamasdin.

In quarter-final action, Molteni and Shamasdin needed just 53 minutes to defeat Carlos Berlocq and Andreas Seppi 6-2, 6-3.

London to host ATP World Tour Finals until '20

Thu, 05/25/2017 - 10:09am
London to host ATP World Tour Finals until '20

What was happening the last time Serena Williams missed a major?

Thu, 05/25/2017 - 10:07am
What was happening the last time Serena Williams missed a major?

Will this be the most exciting women's French Open ever?

Thu, 05/25/2017 - 10:07am
Will this be the most exciting women's French Open ever?

ATP Extends Season-Ending Finale In London Through 2020 With New Title Partner Nitto Denko Corporation

Thu, 05/25/2017 - 9:37am

The ATP announced today that its season-ending tournament will continue its extremely successful stay in London a further two years through to 2020, under a new title sponsorship with one of Japan’s leading innovation companies, the Nitto Denko Corporation. The tournament, first staged in London in 2009, will now be renamed the Nitto ATP Finals.

“We’re delighted to extend our stay in London and to have Nitto come on board as title sponsor over the next four years,” said Chris Kermode, ATP Executive Chairman & President, who was joined for the announcement, held at The View from The Shard in London, by special guests including the likes of Boris Becker, a three-time former champion. “It’s fantastic news to have such an ambitious and innovative company partner with our season-ending showcase in what is unquestionably one of the most exciting times in men’s professional tennis in recent memory. We look forward to a successful partnership and to the continued growth of our season finale in London,” added Kermode.

Get Your Tickets

Nitto is Japan’s leading materials manufacturer offering over 13,500 diversified materials to more than 70 business fields such as electronics, automobiles, ecology and life science. In 2018, the company will celebrate its 100-year anniversary and the Nitto ATP Finals will form an integral part of their strategic initiatives for increased business and brand value to their next century.

Hideo Takasaki, Nitto President, CEO & COO, said: “We are very proud to become the title sponsor of the ATP Finals. Featuring the world’s top men’s professional tennis players, the ATP Finals fits very well with Nitto’s philosophy, where we challenge ourselves to gain top share by utilizing our unique technology both locally and on a global level. As title sponsor, we hope to accelerate our global brand promotion this year, and for our 100th anniversary in 2018, and beyond. By sponsoring the ATP Finals, we at Nitto also aim to further increase the popularity of tennis, and we look forward to the emergence of new star players competing in the event.”

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Andy Murray, the reigning World No.1 who captured the season-ending title last year, said: “The crowds throughout the week for both the singles and doubles are second to none, and that makes this one of the most special events for the players. It’s an amazing atmosphere and a great tournament to cap off the year.”

Alex Hill, Chief Operating Officer of AEG Europe, said: “The ATP’s season finale has established itself as one of the most popular annual events on the UK sporting calendar.  The O2 has successfully showcased the best that men’s tennis has to offer in a unique and special way, delighting some two million tennis fans since 2009. We’re obviously thrilled to continue our partnership with ATP through to 2020, remaining as the home of this great event.”

The Nitto ATP Finals welcomes more than 250,000 fans to The O2 arena each year, as well as generating a global TV viewership of more than 100 million, as the ATP’s best eight singles players and doubles teams compete over eight days for the biggest indoor tennis tournament in the world. This year the tournament will be held from 12 to 19 November.

450 not out: Stosur's incredible record

Wed, 05/24/2017 - 8:53pm
450 not out: Stosur's incredible record