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Updated: 7 min 38 sec ago

Khachanov Ousts Sousa In Chengdu

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#NextGen star Karen Khachanov powered into the second round of the Chengdu Open on Tuesday as he ousted seventh seed Joao Sousa 7-6(3), 6-3.

The 20-year-old Russian advanced in 77 minutes, firing seven aces and converting two of his three break points. “It’s a very good match for me," said Khachanov. "I’m very happy with my performance. I like the court, I like the crowd, so I was enjoying playing the match."

Khachanov reached a career-high No. 81 in the Emirates ATP Rankings earlier this month after qualifying at the US Open and progressing to the second round (l. to Nishikori). The right-hander also reached his second ATP World Tour quarter-final in July in Kitzbuhel.

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Khachanov goes on to face Adrian Mannarino, who battled past qualifier Denis Kudla 6-4, 6-7(2), 6-4 in two hours and 33 minutes.

Kevin Anderson set a second-round clash with No. 2 seed Nick Kyrgios as he dismissed another Australian, Jordan Thompson, 6-2, 6-4. The South African will face Kyrgios for the first time as he bids to reach his fifth ATP World Tour quarter-final of the season.

Meanwhile, third seed Grigor Dimitrov will open his Chengdu campaign against Dusan Lajovic after the Serbian rallied from a set down to beat Federico Delbonis 1-6, 6-3, 6-4. 

Stars Smitten By Chengdu Pandas

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A host of ATP World Tour stars turned selfie-taking spectators on Tuesday, taking part in an excursion to the famous Giant Panda Breeding and Research Base in Chengdu.

Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov, South African Kevin Anderson, Argentinian Diego Schwartzman and the New Zealand-American doubles pairing of Artem Sitak and Nicholas Monroe were fortunate to visit on a day when the weather was co-operating, allowing the baby pandas to also be brought out of their rooms. Third seed Dimitrov was taken by the cute black and white baby mammals.

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“It’s amazing to see all those little ones and some of the big ones,” Dimitrov said. “It’s pretty rare to do that in the middle of a tournament, but we all enjoyed it a lot.”

Chengdu has long been famous for its pandas, and Panda Bay (as the research base is known) was set up in 1987 in an effort to conserve the population of China’s native mammal.

Vesely Stifles Spaniard's Comeback

1 hour 50 min ago

Jiri Vesely has made a winning return to the ATP World Tour in his first match since the US Open. The eighth seed saw off Pablo Andujar 6-2, 7-6(8) to advance to the second round of the Shenzhen Open.

The 23-year-old Czech lefty registered 13 aces, losing just six points on his first serve and breaking three times to secure his second FedEx ATP Head2Head victory over the Spaniard. It was a welcome return after he was forced to withdraw with a left arm injury ahead of his second-round clash with top seed Novak Djokovic at Flushing Meadows.

It had been an even longer spell between ATP World Tour matches for the 30-year-old Andujar, who was playing his first since undergoing right elbow surgery in March. He entered on a protected Emirates ATP Ranking having fallen to No.436 from a career-high of No.32 last July. Vesely next meets the winner of Spaniard Inigo Cervantes and Japanese wild card Akira Santillan.

American qualifier Ryan Harrison joined Vesely in the second round. The 24 year old defeated last year’s Shenzhen Open runner-up Guillermo Garciz-Lopez 7-5, 6-4. Harrison’s win sets up a meeting with fourth-seeded Bernard Tomic. The Australian has won the pair’s only prior FedEx Head2Head encounter four years ago at the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Cincinnati.

Sixth seed Benoit Paire needed two hours to get past Nikoloz Basilashvili 6-7(5), 7-5, 6-3 in a tight tussle. Next up for the Frenchman will be Janko Tipsarevic, who continued his comeback with a 7-6(3), 6-4 victory over Chinese wild card Ze Zhang.

Tunisian Malek Jaziri booked a second round clash with No.2 seed David Goffin. Jaziri hit eight aces and broke three times on his way past Frenchman Stephane Robert 6-3, 7-6(5).

Top Seeds Upset

Fabio Fognini and Robert Lindstedt upset top seeds Treat Huey and Max Mirnyi 5-7, 7-6(2), 10-8 in the first round of the Shenzhen Open

It was a double setback for Huey and Mirnyi, who started the week at sixth in the Emirates ATP Doubles Race To London, bidding to qualify for the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals as a team for the first time.

Fognini and Lindstedt go on to face Pablo Andujar and Richard Gasquet, who battled back to beat Andres Molteni and Hans Podlipnik-Castillo 1-6, 6-1, 10-5.

Fourth seeds Chris Guccione and Andre Sa advanced to the quarter-finals with a 4-6, 6-3, 10-4 victory over Thomas Fabbiano and Bernard Tomic.

Tiafoe Fires Stunning Running Hot Shot At Tiburon Challenger 2016

6 hours 42 min ago
American teen Frances Tiafoe shows off his great agility and reflexes in earning hot shot honours at the ATP Challenger Tour event in Tiburon.

Tiafoe Eyes Top 100 Finish To 2016

Mon, 09/26/2016 - 8:17pm
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After an outstanding 2016 season, #NextGen star Frances Tiafoe is looking to put the final pieces of the puzzle together to crack the Top 100 of the Emirates ATP Rankings by the end of the year.

The 18 year old American has climbed more than 50 spots to reach his current career-high Emirates ATP Ranking of No. 121. He won his first ATP Challenger Tour title last month at the $100,000 event in Granby, Canada, and finished runner-up at three Challenger events on U.S. soil. With the exception of Granby, all five of his other Challenger finals have come in the U.S.

Tiafoe is hoping for a repeat moment at this week’s $100,000 Challenger in Tiburon, California, where he is the fourth seed. He plays fellow American Alexander Sarkissian in the opening round.

“I don’t know why, but I always find myself playing so well in the U.S. It’s almost too easy here,” said Tiafoe. “You know everyone who works at the tournaments and know your way around. I feel more comfortable at them and that’s when I play my best tennis. But I’m also trying to change that and start to feel more comfortable playing abroad as well.”

The American has emerged as a promising standout on the ATP Challenger Tour, but introduced himself to a broader audience at this year’s US Open. Competing against John Isner in the opening round, he held two match points before falling in a fifth-set tie-break in front of a packed house on the Grandstand.

“It was an atmosphere I’ve never experienced before. The crowd was going absolutely wild,” said Tiafoe. “To be able to play like that on a court like that against one of the best Americans gave me a tremendous amount of confidence. I just want to run with that now.”

But while Tiafoe played without pressure last season, he’s now being touted as one of the favourites to win at every Challenger he plays. Although he admitted it took getting used to initially, being a top contender has quickly become a natural role for someone who thrives on playing big matches in front of packed crowds.

“It’s a different feeling. This summer was the first time I’ve been seeded in Challengers and now I’m supposed to be going deep every time I play,” said Tiafoe. “But at the same time, that means I’m playing well and getting closer to the Top 100. This is what I want.”

Players Excited For Inaugural Chengdu Open In China

Mon, 09/26/2016 - 7:12pm
Nick Kyrgios, Kevin Anderson, Grigor Dimitrov and Feliciano Lopez are all excited for the inaugural Chengdu Open in China. Video courtesy of Chengdu Open.

Ruud, #NextGen Khachanov Play Tourist In Chengdu

Mon, 09/26/2016 - 4:07pm
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Russian #NextGen star Karen Khachanov and 17-year-old Norwegian Casper Ruud, in China for the Chengdu Open, visited one of Chengdu’s unique attractions, Kuanzhai Alley, which translates as Wide and Narrow Alley, on Monday.

Located in one of the oldest parts of Chengdu, dating back to the Qing Dynasty, Kuanzhai Alley offers a unique glimpse into the architecture at the time. The players tried some of the city’s most popular snacks, while being entertained by a traditionally attired Sichuan opera performer.

“The culture here is very unusual and it is very interesting to see,” said Khachanov. “I’m very excited to be here. I like it.”

“The architecture here is very nice and very different from anywhere else,” said Ruud. “It’s nice.”

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Tea For Two In Chengdu

On Sunday morning, ATP World Tour players Kevin Anderson of South Africa and John Millman of Australia also took time to experience the Chengdu culture. The two visited the historic Wenshu Monastery, located in the centre of Chengdu city.

They received a crash course in the art of “Chang Zui Hu”, the ancient Chengdu practice of pouring tea out through an extremely long spout. Combining martial arts with technical ability, this unique practice was created as a form of entertainment in local tea houses many hundreds of years ago. “It was really cool,” said Anderson. “Just the whole architecture and this whole place is incredible.”

“I enjoyed it. It's pretty special to be able to experience the cultures of such an old country like China,” said Millman. “It was a lot of fun. It was something different. I'm always up for new, exciting experiences.”

This is the first year of the Chengdu Open, an ATP World Tour 250 level tournament.

Monaco, Schwartzman Win Chengdu Openers

Mon, 09/26/2016 - 3:38pm

Former World No. 10 Juan Monaco required 66 minutes to beat qualifier Hiroki Moriya 6-1, 6-2 on Monday at the Chengdu Open. Monaco will next face fourth seed Feliciano Lopez, whom he beat in the Houston semi-finals en route to his ninth ATP World Tour title (d. Sock) in April.

Diego Schwartzman, who lifted his first ATP World Tour trophy in Istanbul (d. Dimitrov) earlier this year, knocked out Rajeev Ram 6-4, 7-5 in 87 minutes. He awaits the winner of eighth seed Paolo Lorenzi or John Millman. “The first match is always tough for the players,” said Schwartzman. “I feel great, so it’s good to win… I try to improve every week.”

In doubles, fourth seeds Pablo Carreno Busta and Mariusz Fyrstenberg defeated wild card Yan Bai and Di Wu 6-2, 6-7(2), 10-6 in 89 minutes, while Nicholas Monroe and Artem Sitak lost just seven of their first service points in a 6-3, 1-6, 10-4 victory over Federico Delbonis and Lorenzi in 63 minutes.

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DAY 2 PREVIEW: Di Wu etched his name in the record books on 31 January when he upset top seed and current World No. 54 Kyle Edmund in Maui, USA to become the first ATP Challenger Tour singles champion from China. The Chinese No. 2 hopes to break through again at the Chengdu Open on Tuesday when he meets Konstantin Kravchuk. Wu is 0-13 lifetime in ATP World Tour and Grand Slam main draw matches, coming closest to his first victory when he held a match point against Marin Cilic at the 2015 ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournament in Shanghai. All 17 of Wu’s tour-level wins have come as a member of China’s Davis Cup team.

Also in first-round action is Czech qualifier Radek Stepanek, who turns 38 on 27 November. By defeating Japanese players Takuto Niki and Go Soeda over the weekend, Stepanek qualified for the eighth time on tour in 2016, tying him for the lead with Shenzhen Open qualifier Mischa Zverev. Stepanek won his main draw opener at five of the previous seven tournaments in which he qualified. His opponent Tuesday is Yen-Hsun Lu, who extended his own record with his 23rd and 24th Challenger titles at grass-court events in June.

Among the other matches scheduled for Stadium Court is the first meeting between World No. 36 Marcos Baghdatis and World No. 39 Carreno Busta. Both are coming off strong showings at the US Open, where Baghdatis reached the fourth round of a major for the first time since 2009. As for Carreno Busta, the 2013 ATP World Tour Most Improved Player of the Year is again a contender for the award. He’s reached the first seven tour-level finals of his career in 2016 (3 singles, 4 doubles), highlighted by the Winston-Salem Open singles title and a US Open runner-up finish with countryman Guillermo Garcia-Lopez in doubles.

Taking to the outer courts are No. 5 seed Albert Ramos-Vinolas, Lorenzi and 17-year-old wild card Casper Ruud. Ramos-Vinolas (Bastad) and Lorenzi (Kitzbuhel) won the first tour-level titles of their respective careers in July, while Ruud is making his ATP World Tour debut after winning the Seville, ESP Challenger title on 10 September. In doubles, No. 1 seeds Raven Klaasen and Rajeev Ram continue their quest for qualification at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals against Yecong He and Fajing Sun.

Fognini Advances In Shenzhen

Mon, 09/26/2016 - 2:39pm

Fabio Fognini recorded his 20th match win of the season on Monday when the seventh seed defeated Dudi Sela 6-4, 6-1 in 78 minutes on his debut at the Shenzhen Open. He’ll next face qualifier Mischa Zverev who struck eight aces and won 96 per cent of his first service points to oust wild card Zhe Li. Zverev leads Fognini 2-1 in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series.

Andrew Whittington saved four match points in the second set tie-break to force a third set and beat fellow qualifier Luca Vanni 2-6, 7-6(10), 6-2 in two hours and 20 minutes. The 23-year-old Australian, making his ATP World Tour main draw debut, will next face third seed Richard Gasquet in the second round.

In doubles, Jonathan Erlich and Santiago Gonzalez saved one match point at 8/9 in the Match Tie-break to knock out Lukas Rosol and Jiri Vesely 6-7(5), 6-2, 11-9 in one hour and 46 minutes.

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DAY 2 PREVIEW: The No. 1 Chinese player in the Emirates ATP Rankings comes home on Tuesday for his first ATP World Tour match of 2016. Ze Zhang is 4-0 on tour this season, with all four wins coming in Davis Cup Group I. The 26 year old from Nanjing is in a unique position against Janko Tipsarevic of Serbia, whom he defeated at a Challenger event in Chengdu last month. For just the second time in 20 ATP and Grand Slam main draw matches, Zhang is ranked higher than his opponent. Tipsarevic, a former World No. 8, is 45 spots below Zhang at No. 224 after missing seven of the past 12 months with foot and knee injuries.

Also in first-round action on Centre Court is No. 6 seed Benoit Paire. The Frenchman enjoyed a breakout season in 2015, winning five titles in eight finals across the ATP World Tour, ATP Challenger Tour and ITF Futures Circuit. Playing exclusively at tour-level events in 2016, Paire has yet to reach a final and fallen from a career-high No. 18 on 11 January to No. 38 this week. Paire has suffered five losses this season to players ranked outside of the Top 100. His opponent on Tuesday is 103rd-ranked Nikoloz Basilashvili.

Play begins on Centre Court with 2015 Shenzhen Open runner-up Guillermo Garcia-Lopez taking on American qualifier Ryan Harrison. Garcia-Lopez has not reached a singles final since falling to Tomas Berdych here last year, but he did play in back-to-back doubles finals earlier this season. He won the Winston-Salem Open title with Henri Kontinen and fell in the US Open final with fellow Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta.

Among the players competing on the outer courts are Pablo Andujar of Spain and 19 year old Akira Santillan of Japan. Andujar is appearing at his first ATP event since undergoing right elbow surgery on 17 March, while Santillan will be playing the second tour-level match of his career. The wild card fell to Jan-Lennard Struff at Kitzbuhel on 19 July. In doubles, No. 1 seeds Treat Huey and Max Mirnyi continue their quest for qualification at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals against Fognini and Robert Lindstedt.

Pouille Tops Thiem In Metz For First ATP Title

Mon, 09/26/2016 - 2:05pm

Watch Frenchman Lucas Pouille top Dominic Thiem in Metz for his first ATP World Tour crown. Photo. A. Briand - Moselle Open.

Zverev Beats Wawrinka In St. Pete For Maiden ATP Title

Mon, 09/26/2016 - 1:54pm

Watch highlights of 19 year old Sascha Zverev beating Stan Wawrinka at the St. Petersburg Open for his maiden ATP World Tour title. Photo: St. Petersburg Open.

Anderson And Millman Attend Chengdu Tea Party

Mon, 09/26/2016 - 1:08pm
Kevin Anderson and John Millman join a tea party during the Chengdu Open.

Ruud & Khachanov Visit Kuanzhai Alley

Mon, 09/26/2016 - 12:44pm
Go behind the scenes as Karen Khachanov and Casper Ruud visit one of Chengdu’s unique attractions, Kuanzhai Alley, which translates as Wide and Narrow Alley.

Haase Wins 13th Challenger Title In Sibiu - Final Highlights

Mon, 09/26/2016 - 6:23am
Watch final highlights from the ATP Challenger Tour event in Sibiu, Romania, where top seed Robin Haase prevailed. Video courtesy Sibiu Open.

ATP Honours St. Petersburg Open

Mon, 09/26/2016 - 5:58am

The St. Petersburg Open was honoured Sunday as one the Tournaments of the Year in the 2015 ATP World Tour Awards presented by Moët & Chandon. World No. 3 and top seed Stan Wawrinka, who finished runner-up to Alexander Zverev in the St. Petersburg final, presented Tournament Director Alexander Medvedev with the trophy.

“In 2015, the St. Petersburg Open Tournament was revived after a year's break,” Mikhael Mirilashvili, owner of the St. Petersburg Open, said earlier this year. “That was a landmark event in the sporting life of the city and the country. We are proud that the work of our big renewed team was appreciated on such a high level. I am sure that in the future the level of the tournament will continue to grow and reach new professional heights.” 

The Tournament of the Year awards, voted annually by ATP players, recognise the leading standards set across the three tournament categories on the Tour.

The St. Petersburg Open was named a joint-winner in the ATP World Tour 250 category alongside the Qatar ExxonMobil Open, held in the first week of the season. The BNP Paribas Open and Aegon Championships won respectively in the Masters 1000 and 500 categories.

Chung Prevails In All-Korean #NextGen Final

Mon, 09/26/2016 - 5:44am

That did not take long. #NextGen star Hyeon Chung is back with a vengeance after missing four months with an abdominal injury. A week after reaching the final in Nanchang, China, the 20 year old lifted his sixth ATP Challenger Tour title on Sunday with a 6-4, 6-2 victory over Duckhee Lee at the OEC Kaohsiung Challenger in Kaohsiung, Taiwan.

Despite lasting just 75 minutes, the final was highly significant for both the growth of tennis in Asia and the continued rise of the Next Generation of ATP stars. Chung, 20, and Lee, 18, provided the first final between Koreans in Challenger history, with the elder countryman successfully defending his title. The second player to retain a Challenger title this year, joining Facundo Bagnis (Santiago), World No. 132 Chung is continuing his push towards a Top 100 return in the Emirates ATP Rankings.

"I am so happy to be back competing after missing most of the summer due to injury and be able to defend my title here in Kaohsiung," Chung told ATPWorldTour.com. "It is a great event and I really like playing here.

"It was a hard week with lots of tough matches including today against Duckhee, who I know very well. I am happy for him to reach his first Challenger final and it was an honour to play in an all-Korean final. I am looking forward to the rest of the Asian swing and will do my best to finish the year strong."

Watch the winning moment in #Kaohsiung, as Hyeon #Chung retains the title with a straight-set victory over Duckhee #Lee. #ATPChallenger pic.twitter.com/3iJsr0iE6s

— ATP Challenger Tour (@ATPChallenger) September 25, 2016

Chung is the 12th #NextGen winner on the ATP Challenger Tour this year, while Lee, who was appearing in his first final, was bidding to become the ninth teenage titlist. Teens are now 8-8 in finals in 2016.

Columbus Challenger (Columbus, U.S.A.): Ohio State University junior Mikael Torpegaard completed a fairytale week on his home campus, streaking to his maiden ATP Challenger Tour title on Sunday. The 22 year old notched his first victory over a Top 100 opponent with a rollercoaster 6-4, 1-6, 6-2 win over Benjamin Becker in the final.

The win was even more remarkable considering Torpegaard was competing in his first main draw on the Challenger circuit. The first Dane to lift a trophy since Kristian Pless in Saint-Brieuc, France in 2007, he is just the sixth player from his country to win a Challenger title overall. Torpegaard is also the second player to win in his Challenger debut this year, joining fellow Scandinavian player Casper Ruud of Norway.

"To win it is unbelievable," said Torpegaard, who was the third-lowest ranked winner this year at World No. 642. "It's just a really good feeling. I came into the tournament as the underdog on paper in every match, but I believed in myself and went in wanting to have some fun and figure out my level to beat these guys.

"I definitely take that I can perform at this level and I'm happy to figure that out this week. It looks more realistic to be a professional after college."

Sibiu Open (Sibiu, Romania): Robin Haase claimed his 13th ATP Challenger Tour title on Sunday in Sibiu, downing Italy's Lorenzo Giustino 7-6(2), 6-2. Top seed and World No. 65 Haase did not face a seeded opponent all week in notching his second victory of the season. Also the champion on home soil in Scheveningen, he is the 25th player to win multiple titles this year.

The feel-good story of the tournament belonged to Tim Puetz, as the 28-year-old German reached the semi-finals in his first main draw in exactly one year following knee surgery. He also won the doubles title alongside Haase.

TEB Izmir Cup (Izmir, Turkey): It was a week of firsts on the ATP Challenger Tour: the first all-Korean final in Kaohsiung and the first all-Turkish final in Izmir. Former World No. 77 Marsel Ilhan added a fourth Challenger title with a 6-2, 6-4 victory over countryman Cem Ilkel on Sunday. Wild card Ilkel had never reached a quarter-final entering the week.

Challenger Chronicles: James McGee

Mon, 09/26/2016 - 3:32am

Following a great week last week where I bagged my first ATP Challenger Tour title in Cary, North Carolina, I’d like to fill you in on the story behind what is a milestone moment in my career.

It’s funny how it all came about but I wasn’t even meant to be playing Cary Challenger! Just a few weeks before, I had qualified into the Winston-Salem ATP World Tour 250 event and it was there that I chose to play three events in China next. I went online to enter three events (Nanchang Challenger, Kaohsiung Challenger and an ATP event in China) and called a friend who coaches in Singapore to see if he could help out one of the weeks in China. He agreed and I went straight into making travel plans, hotel bookings and preparing all the logistics behind the trip. The final thing to sort out was applying for a Chinese Visa and I’d be set. ”Easy” I thought..

A week after applying for my Visa and going through all the administrative details of paperwork, invitation letters, head shots etc. I woke up to a phone call from the Chinese lady I spoke to at the Visa Office. ”Uh, sorry sir but your Visa has been rejected.” I thought she was actually joking as she sort of laughed as she said it but after 20 minutes of questions and answers, I came to learn that there was a G20 Summit in China at the time and apparently the Chinese Consulate in Houston was rejecting applications for foreigner Visas. The timing couldn’t have been worse and there was nothing I could do about it.

Challenger Chronicles I: Amir Weintraub
Challenger Chronicles II: Skupski Brothers
Challenger Chronicles III: Jason Jung

Thankfully, I still had the option of playing a different tournament that week so I decided to sign-in to play the qualifying of Cary Challenger. It was just a six-hour road trip up from Atlanta so myself and my friend Julian Bradley rented a car and headed up there Thursday morning.

I was the first seed in the qualifying event and played my first match on Saturday afternoon on Stadium Court in Cary. I struggled with the feel of the ball and the court surface at first but knew I could work my way into it. I came through my qualifying matches after playing three current and former college tennis players and drew another former college tennis player in the first round of the main draw, Evan King. Evan is a great guy with a big lefty serve and I managed to come through that match, although neither of us played our best tennis on the day. I went on to beat the No. 6 seed, Darian King followed by a quarter-final win over Brayden Schnur, who had some local support as he is a former UNC Tar Heel.

Read the rest of James' entry on his blog

First-Time Winner Spotlight: Alexander Zverev

Sun, 09/25/2016 - 8:34pm
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How does it feel to be standing here with the trophy, your first ATP World Tour title?
It's great at such a young age as well. It's something that I could only dream of and I'm really proud of myself right now.

Did you ever imagine that at the age of 19 you'd be an ATP World Tour winner?
I got to a few finals where I was really close but before when I was a kid, no I could have not imagined that. It's something really special to be here and getting this trophy for the first time.

Was it your dream growing up to win a title?
Of course. I think for anybody who plays tennis, it's a dream to win a tour title.

Did you go into this final with a different mindset compared to your past two in Nice and Halle?
In Nice, I was quite tired. I think I spent 12 hours on court before that final. I played three-set matches every single match I played. But Halle was a chance that I could have taken and won the final. But the mindset has to be the same. How I handle the situation is different now because I had those two finals before.

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How does it feel to be the first teenage winner on the tour since Marin Cilic in 2008?
Really? I'm the first one. Wow. No, it's great. As I said winning a tour title was always a dream and now it came true and being the first since '08, it's great.

Does it make it special to have beaten two Top 10 players along the way, back-to-back?
Oh yeah it's definitely something special, beating Tomas Berdych in the semis and beating Stan Wawrinka, who's the US Open champion, in the final. It's something even more that I'm proud of.

You didn't lose a set en route to the final. Talk about your exceptional play and what you did well this week.
I played OK. I played pretty well. I was serving pretty good the whole week, which helps on a fast court, indoors. And I was pretty good, pretty solid from the baseline. Obviously I had a few tough opponents but yeah, I was happy with the way I played.

Read More: ATP Launches "Next Generation" Campaign

Now that you've won your first title, have you thought about what's next, your next goals?
Winning another one hopefully.

You and Nick Kyrgios are the first #NextGen players to win an ATP World Tour title this season. Talk about this young group of future stars.
As I said before there's a strong group of guys coming up who all play pretty good tennis. You mention Nick, who's Top 20 now. He's been playing exceptional this year. Other teenagers like Taylor Fritz or Borna Coric, they've been playing pretty good. Some Russian guys are coming through quite well as well, like Karen Khachanov, Daniil Medvedev, Andrey Rublev. They've all been playing quite good tennis this year.

Lastly, when you were growing up, who were the players you followed most closely?
Roger. Quite simple.

First-Time Winner Spotlight: Lucas Pouille

Sun, 09/25/2016 - 6:57pm

How does it feel to win your first ATP World Tour title in Metz?
I’m very happy. It’s a big honour to win my first ATP World Tour title in France, in front of family and friends. It’s even more special to win when they are here, since I can share the happiness with all of them. Winning a title is something I’ve dreamed about since I was a kid watching tennis on television. I’ve played to win since I was young so this one means a lot.

What did you do differently this time, compared to your first final in Bucharest?
This time I knew what time the match was starting, since in Bucharest it was raining quite a bit and the match had to be postponed. Today I did all I could to play my game and to go for that first title.

What did you do well during the week to win the title?
I had some difficult moments, down break points or set points. But I never let up and that helped me win the title.

You beat the top two seeds, No. 1 Dominic Thiem in the final and No. 2 David Goffin in the semi-finals. How were you able to put together those big wins?
I’ve had wins in the past against those two players. I was feeling well physically and mentally so I knew that if I gave 100 per cent, I had a chance to win.

Which players did you admire and pattern your game after?
Growing up I admired Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. I didn’t copy the way they played, but I tried to emulate their attitude on the court and their mental strength.

Did you have a goal for the end of the season?
I would love to end the year in the Top 16 [of the Emirates ATP Rankings], so that I can have a good seeding at the Australian Open.

What have you improved this season to break into the Top 20?
I’ve changed the way I worked off the court to be better prepared physically. All the little changes clicked for me in Miami, and since then I’ve been a different player.

Who would you like to acknowledge for helping you to your first title?
I wouldn’t be here today without the help of my coach Emmanuel Planque. He’s the person I would most like to thank for my career to date.

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Baghdatis Excited About New Chengdu Event

Sun, 09/25/2016 - 5:38pm
Marcos Baghdatis shares his excitement at the inaugural Chengdu Open. Photo: Chengdu Open