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2017 State Championships

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Updated: 1 hour 44 min ago

Muller Is Mover Of The Week In Top 100 Of Emirates ATP Rankings

Mon, 01/16/2017 - 10:53am

Gilles Muller moved up to a career-high of No. 28, following his victory at the Apia International Sydney where he lifted his first ATP World Tour title. Competing in his sixth final (1-5), the Luxembourg native defeated Daniel Evans 7-6(5), 6-2 in front of his two sons, Lenny and Nils. He also beat two-time defending champion Viktor Troicki in the semi-finals, ending the Serbian’s 10-match winning streak at the tournament. After being presented the trophy by all-time great Rod Laver, Muller said, “It means a lot. Like you can see, I was pretty emotional out there on the court. For the past two or three years, it was probably my biggest goal to win a title. I always dreamed of that, and I was so close last year... So I was very scared and worried that I was going to be one of those players who never win a title. Now I have it, and it just feels great.” Read & Watch Report

View Latest Emirates ATP Rankings

Jack Sock rose three spots in the Emirates ATP Rankings to a career-high No. 20 after lifting his second ATP World Tour title last week at the ASB Classic in Auckland, where he beat Joao Sousa 6-3, 5-7, 6-3. “I was able to put in a lot of work in the off-season and I think it paid off. I was able to make lots of gains and lots of strides forward. I think it really showed this week.” The 24-year-old Nebraska native added to his 2015 Houston title and improves to 2-4 in tour-level finals. Read & Watch Report

Joao Sousa capitalised on a first-round win over No. 26-ranked Albert Ramos-Vinolas in Auckland en route to his eighth ATP World Tour final (2-6). The Portuguese jumped seven places to No. 37, nine spots off his career-high of No. 28 (16 May 2016).

Evans failed in his attempt to become the first British singles champion in Sydney since Tim Henman in 1997 (d. Carlos Moya), but surged up 16 places to a career-high No. 51. The last time a British trio was ranked in the Top 50 was on 13 March 2006 with Andy Murray at No. 44, Henman at No. 45 and Greg Rusedski at No. 46. The 26-year-old Evans won four three-set matches en route to his first ATP World Tour final, including beating World No. 8 Dominic Thiem in the quarter-finals. It was the first Top 10 win of his career.

Dudi Sela rocketed 20 spots from No. 87 to No. 67 – after he beat Jan-Lennard Struff in Canberra for his 21st ATP Challenger Tour crown. The Israeli reached the Aircel Chennai Open semi-finals in the first week of the 2017 ATP World Tour season. The title puts Sela five titles behind Yen-Hsun Lu for the all-time Challenger lead. Read ATP Challenger Tour Spotlight

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Murray Passes Marchenko Challenge In Melbourne

Mon, 01/16/2017 - 8:36am

Top seed Andy Murray came up against a determined Illya Marchenko on Monday at the Australian Open in Melbourne, but the Brit passed his first-round challenge with a solid 7-5, 7-6(5), 6-2 win.

"I don't think it was the best match, to be honest," said Murray. "The conditions there were pretty different to what we've been practising [in]. Last week's been pretty cool… [I] didn't serve that well either. So you end up having to work really hard on a lot of your service games when it's like that. It just was tough."

Murray was unable to serve out the first set at 5-3, but regrouped by breaking the Ukrainian at 6-5 to grab the early advantage. Marchenko continued to frustrate the top seed, racing out to a 4-2 lead in the second set, but Murray earned the break back to level the score at 4-4. He then stormed to a 4/1 lead in the tie-break and eventually converted on his third set point opportunity.

The third set was one-way traffic for the Brit. He cleaned up his baseline game considerably, hitting 11 winners to just five unforced errors and breaking Marchenko twice to wrap up the hard-fought win in two hours and 47 minutes.

Murray is seeking his first Australian Open title after finishing runner-up here five times (2010, 2011, 2013, 2015, 2016). He also looks to keep his top spot in the Emirates ATP Rankings after this fortnight. Should Novak Djokovic manage to defend his title here, Murray will need to reach at least the semi-finals to maintain his current position.

Next up for the World No. 1 is qualifier and #NextGenATP star Andrey Rublev, a four-set winner earlier in the day over Yen-Hsun Lu. "I know a little bit about him," said Murray. "I never hit with him or played against him, but I've seen him play before and he goes for it. He doesn't hold back. He hits a big ball."

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The breakthrough of the day went to 17-year-old wildcard Alex De Minaur, who thrilled the home crowd on Show Court 3 by saving a match point on the way to scoring his first Grand Slam win against Gerald Melzer, 5-7, 6-3, 2-6, 7-6(1), 6-1. The young Aussie saved the match point on his serve at 4-5 in the fourth set. He began to cramp in the deciding set, but hung tough to race to a 5-0 lead and eventually secure the victory. "Words can't describe how I'm feeling right now," said de Minaur. "It's definitely the happiest moment of my life."

De Minaur opened 2017 by coming through qualifying at the Brisbane International presented by Suncorp, then won his first ATP World Tour main draw match last week at the Apia International Sydney. He has jumped nearly 250 spots in the Emirates ATP Rankings over the past two months to his current standing at No. 301.

Next up for the young Aussie is No. 31 seed Sam Querrey, who rallied from a set down to defeat wildcard and #NextGenATP star Quentin Halys, 6-7(10), 7-6(4), 6-3, 6-4. The Frenchman erased three set points in the opening set tie-break, but Querrey saved a crucial set point on his serve down 4-5 in the second set. The American found the range on his serve in the next two sets, needing just a single break in each to secure the win.

More: Nishikori Prevails In Another Melbourne Five-Setter

One of the biggest upsets of the day came from teenage qualifier Alexander Bublik, who won his first Grand Slam main draw match by recording a stunning 6-0, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 win over No. 16 seed Lucas Pouille. The Kazakhstan-based star fired 16 aces and won 86 per cent of his first serve points in the match. The 19-year-old reached his first ATP World Tour quarter-final this past October at the VTB Kremlin Cup

Next up for Bublik is Malek Jaziri, a straight-sets winner earlier in the day over Go Soeda.

John Isner, the No. 19 seed, fought off a late surge from Konstantin Kravchuk to record a 6-3, 6-4, 6-7(5), 6-1 victory. Isner didn’t drop serve in the match, hammering 33 aces and accumulating 10 break points throughout the contest (converting on four) to prevail in two hours and 23 minutes.

The American now plays Mischa Zverev, a winner earlier in the day over Guillermo Garcia-Lopez. Isner leads their FedEx ATP Head2Head rivalry 2-0, including a win this past November at the BNP Paribas Masters in Paris.

Cilic Survives In Five Over Janowicz

Mon, 01/16/2017 - 7:31am

Seventh seed Marin Cilic fended off a stern opening round test from former Top 15 player Jerzy Janowicz on Monday at the Australian Open in Melbourne, rallying from two sets down to prevail 4-6, 4-6, 6-2, 6-2, 6-3 on Show Court 2.

Both players produced an extraordinarily high level of tennis in the first two sets, with Janowicz hitting 23 winners and just nine unforced errors, while Cilic struck 27 winners and only 15 unforced errors. The Polish player required just a single break of serve late in each set to take a commanding two-sets lead.

But while Cilic was able to keep up his top form, Janowicz saw his level drop slightly. Cilic took full advantage of the opening, hammering down 40 winners to just 14 unforced errors in the final three sets. Cilic didn’t face a break point from the third set on, but broke his opponent five times en route to wrapping up the win in three hours and four minutes.

Next up for Cilic will be Daniel Evans, the runner-up at last week’s Apia International Sydney (l. to Muller), who won 83 per cent of his first service points and 14 aces to defeat Facundo Bagnis 7-6(8), 6-3, 6-1 in one hour and 55 minutes.

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Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, the No. 12 seed and 2008 finalist, fired down 20 aces to beat Thiago Monteiro 6-1, 6-3, 6-7(5), 6-2 in two hours and 23 minutes. He goes on to face Dusan Lajovic, who overcame Stephane Robert 6-3, 6-3, 6-3.

Last week’s ASB Classic titlist, Jack Sock, who is competing in Melbourne at a career-high No. 20 in the Emirates ATP Rankings, knocked out Pierre-Hugues Herbert 6-4, 7-6(4), 6-3. He next challenges #NextGenATP Karen Khachanov, who scored a four-set victory over Adrian Mannarino.

Bernard Tomic, the No. 27 seed, delighted the local crowd on Margaret Court Arena with a convincing 6-2, 6-1, 6-4 win over Thomaz Bellucci. The Aussie didn’t drop serve in the match and won 89 per cent of his first serve points, cruising to victory in just one hour and 37 minutes.

”It was a good match for me,” said Tomic. “I was working hard when everybody was saying I wasn't ready and not fit… It was hot, but I was trying to focus on what I needed to do. It was a very, very quality match from a tough opponent in the first round… I played probably at 60 to 70 per cent. But it just shows you how capable I am of playing well.”

Tomic will now play Victor Estrella Burgos, a four-set winner on Monday over Aljaz Bedene. Tomic leads their FedEx ATP Head2Head rivalry 1-0, but they haven’t faced each other in more than two years.

Federer Going For Fifth Australian Open Title

Mon, 01/16/2017 - 5:40am
Listen to Roger Federer talk about going for his fifth Australian Open title. Rolex is the official timekeeper of the Australian Open. Getty Images photo.

Nishikori Survives Another Five-Setter In Melbourne

Mon, 01/16/2017 - 4:45am

Kei Nishikori showed his deciding-set prowess once more on Monday to start the 2017 Australian Open in Melbourne. The fifth seed survived a mid-day battle against Russian Andrey Kuznetsov 5-7, 6-1, 6-4, 6-7(6), 6-2 in three hours and 34 minutes.

“I didn't quite play great tennis in the beginning, but especially in the fifth set, I think I was really focused and played good tennis,” said Nishikori. “I’ll try not to play a long match like this again. But the fifth set was pretty good, so I think I'm in good shape for the next round.”

Nishikori led the fourth-set tie-break 5-2 before Kuznetsov stormed back, winning six of the final seven points to force a fifth set. But Nishikori, who entered the match with an all-time best record of 100-30 in deciding sets, according to the FedEx ATP Performance Zone, came through again under pressure.

View Deciding Set Records In The FedEx ATP Performance Zone

In the fifth set, Nishikori broke the 25-year-old right-hander to lead 3-1 and finished the match with another break. “It wasn't easy,” he said on court after the match.

The 27-year-old has reached the quarter-finals at Melbourne Park three times – 2012, 2015 and 2016. In the second round, he'll meet Frenchman Jeremy Chardy, who advanced after Nicolas Almagro retired down 4-0.

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Tomas Berdych had to spend only 32 minutes in the Melbourne heat before advancing to the second round. Berdych's opponent, Italian qualifier Luca Vanni, retired because of a hip injury down 6-1.

Berdych has now reached the second round of the Australian Open 12 consecutive years. The 10th seed will next meet American Ryan Harrison, who dismissed Frenchman Nicolas Mahut 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 in two hours and two minutes.

Harrison, No. 82 in the Emirates ATP Rankings, controlled his side of the net, winning almost 80 per cent of his first-serve points. The 24 year old pressured Mahut's serve throughout the match as well, converting six of 14 break points. Harrison last reached the second round in Melbourne in 2013.

Lukas Lacko found himself a set away from defeat against Albert Ramos-Vinolas, but rebounded to score a 4-6, 7-5, 1-6, 6-4, 6-3 victory. Lacko improves his FedEx ATP Head2Head record over Ramos-Vinolas to 2-0. He’ll now play Dudi Sela, who was a 5-7, 6-3, 6-2, 6-0 winner over Marcel Granollers.

Big Four Back Together Again In Melbourne

Mon, 01/16/2017 - 3:32am

Big Four Back Together: The Big Four of Andy Murray, Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer have accounted for 42 of the past 47 Grand Slam tournaments since Roland Garros in 2005 when Nadal won his first of 14 Grand Slam titles. During the current stretch, Nadal has won 14 titles, Federer 13, Djokovic 12 and Murray 3.

The three other players to win a Grand Slam title during the span are Stan Wawrinka, a three-time champion (2014 Australian Open, 2015 Roland Garros, 2016 US Open), Marin Cilic (2014 US Open) and Juan Martin del Potro (2009 US Open).

The Big Four have won past 11 of the past 13 titles in Melbourne since Federer won his first title in 2004. Djokovic leads the way with six titles followed by Federer (four) and Nadal (one). The trio, along with Wawrinka, are the former Australian Open champions in the draw.

Last season, the Big Four played in only three tournaments together. Here is a look at their results:

Player Australian Open Monte-Carlo Rome Murray  Finalist SF Champion Djokovic  Champion 2R (Bye) Finalist Nadal  1R Champion QF Federer  SF QF 3R

Murray Eyes First Title: World No. 1 Andy Murray is the top seed in a Grand Slam tournament for the first time in his career. Murray is the first British man to hold the top seed in a Slam since Bunny Austin at the 1939 Wimbledon.

Murray is making his 12th straight appearance in Melbourne and he’s hoping to duplicate the feat of two of his rivals. Last season Djokovic won his first Roland Garros crown and Wawrinka his first US Open title, both in their 12th tournament appearance.

Murray is trying to capture his first title after reaching the final five times (2010-11, 2013, 2015-16). He is 0-5 vs. Djokovic in Melbourne with his last four runner-up results coming to the Serbian. Murray has reached the final in a career-best six consecutive tournaments going back to last season and his 28-match winning streak came to an end with his final loss to Djokovic in Doha on 7 January.

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Novak Eyes Record: Two-time reigning champion (six overall) Novak Djokovic is trying to become the all-time leader with the most Australian Open singles titles. He is currently tied with Aussie great Roy Emerson with six titles. Djokovic is the No. 2 seed for the first time in a Grand Slam tournament since the 2014 Roland Garros.

Djokovic has won the title in five of the past six years (39-1 record) with his only loss coming to Wawrinka in the quarter-finals in 2014. Overall he has a 57-6 career record in Melbourne. The 29-year-old Serbian, who won titles in 2008, 2011-13, 2015-16, is one of three players to win at least three titles in a row at the Australian Open along with Aussies Jack Crawford (1931-33) and Emerson (1963-67). Djokovic opened the season by repeating his title in Doha (d. Murray).

Roger Returns: Federer is making his 18th straight appearance at the Australian Open and he opens against qualifier Jurgen Melzer. The four-time Australian Open champion has an 80-13 match record. The Swiss superstar will be playing his first tour-level match since 8 July 2016 when he lost in five sets in the semi-finals to Milos Raonic at Wimbledon. He missed the rest of last season with a knee injury.

It is also Federer’s first appearance outside the Top 10 in Melbourne since 2002 when he was ranked No. 12 and his No. 17 seeding is his lowest in a Grand Slam since he came in unseeded at 2001 Roland Garros. Federer finished last season with a 21-7 match record and No. 16 ranking.

His streak of 14 consecutive years in the year-end Top 10 ended, which is second only to Jimmy Connors’ 16. Federer's best result was a runner-up in Brisbane (l. to Raonic) in the opening week of the season.

His streak of 15 straight years with at least one ATP World Tour title also came to an end. Prior to Federer’s knee injury, he was still playing at a high level as indicated in the Infosys ATP Scores & Stats. He would have been in the Top 5 in the following categories if he had played enough matches to qualify:

First Serve Points Won      80%

Second Serve Points Won 56%

Service Games Won          90%

Career Double Slam: Nadal is trying to become the third player in men’s tennis history to win each Grand Slam singles title twice in his career. The 2009 Australian Open champ is a nine-time Roland Garros champion and two-time winner at Wimbledon and US Open.

Aussies Rod Laver and Roy Emerson are the other players to accomplish the feat. Laver won a calendar Grand Slam in 1962 and ’69 while Emerson earned six Melbourne titles and two each at Roland Garros, Wimbledon and US Open.

Nadal is the No. 9 seed, his lowest seed in a Grand Slam tournament since he was No. 10 at 2015 Wimbledon. It is Nadal’s lowest Australian Open seeding since he was unseeded in 2005. Nadal has a 45-10 record in Melbourne, reaching the quarter-finals or better in eight of the previous 11 visits. Last year he lost in the first round for the first time to countryman Fernando Verdasco in five sets.

All-Time Grand Slam Champions: Here are the all-time Grand Slam titles leaders:

                                 W-L

1) Roger Federer   17-10

2) Pete Sampras     14-4

2) Rafael Nadal       14-6

4) Novak Djokovic  12-9

4) Roy Emerson       12-3

6) Bjorn Borg, Rod Laver 11-5 & 11-6

Grand Slam Champions: Six of the seven active Grand Slam champions (except del Potro) are in the main draw, led by six-time Australian Open champion Djokovic and four-time winner Federer. The six players have combined to win 50 Grand Slam singles titles:

Player  Age No. Grand Slam Titles Roger Federer 35 17 2003-07, '09, '12 Wimbledon; 2004, '06-07, '10 Australian Open2004-08 US Open; 2009 Roland Garros Rafael Nadal  30 14 2005-08, '10-14 Roland Garros; 2008, '10 Wimbledon; '09 Australian Open; '10, '13 US Open Novak Djokovic 29 12 2008, '11-'12-'13, '15-16 Australian Open; 2011, '14-15 Wimbledon; 2011, '15 US Open; 2016 Roland Garros Andy Murray  29 3 2012 US Open; 2013, '16 Wimbledon Stan Wawrinka 31 3 2014 Australian Open, 2015 Roland Garros, 2016 US Open Marin Cilic  28 1 2014 US Open

Final Breakthrough: There are six players in the main draw who have reached a Grand Slam final and are still looking to win a Slam title, including No. 3 Milos Raonic, who reached the 2016 Wimbledon final. Here’s a look at the players who have reached a Grand Slam final and are still in pursuit of a Grand Slam title:

Player                                 Grand Slam Tournament Final

No. 3 Milos Raonic              2016 Wimbledon (l. to Murray)

No. 5 Kei Nishikori               2014 US Open (l. to Cilic)

No. 10 Tomas Berdych        2010 Wimbledon (l. to Nadal)

No. 12 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga   2008 Australian Open (l. to Djokovic)

No. 23 David Ferrer             2013 Roland Garros (l. to Nadal)

No. 36 Marcos Baghdatis    2006 Australian Open (l. to Federer)

Lopez Iron Man: Feliciano Lopez is appearing in his 60th consecutive Grand Slam tournament in singles. The 35-year-old Spaniard joins Federer as the only players to compete in 60 or more consecutive Grand Slam singles events. Federer’s record of 65 in a row ended when he withdrew from Roland Garros last year.

Rank Player Consecutive Grand Slam Events Played

1.

2.

Roger Federer

Feliciano Lopez

65 (2000 Aus Open-2016 Aus Open)

60* (2002 Roland Garros-2017 Aus Open)

3.

4.

Wayne Ferreira

Fernando Verdasco

56 (1991 Aus Open-2004 US Open)

55* (2003 Wimbledon-2017 Aus Open)

5.

6.

7.

8.

Stefan Edberg

Tomas Berdych

David Ferrer

Novak Djokovic

54 (1983 Wimbledon-1996 US Open)

52 (2003 US Open-2016 Wimbledon)

50 (2003 Aus Open-2015 Roland Garros)

49* (2005 Aus Open-2017 Aus Open)

 

Guillermo Garcia-Lopez

49* (2005 Aus Open-2017 Aus Open)

10.

Stan Wawrinka

48* (2005 Roland Garros-2017 Aus Open)

Players in main draw in bold, *denotes a streak which is active through 2017 Australian Open

Grand Slam Match Wins Leaders: Federer is the all-time match wins leader (307) in Grand Slam history while Djokovic is No. 3 with 228 wins, Nadal tied for No. 7 (w/Sampras) with 203 wins, and Murray No. 10 with 176 wins. Here are the Top 10 Grand Slam match wins leaders (active players in bold):

                                 W-L     Titles 

1) Roger Federer    307-51   17

2) Jimmy Connors    233-49    8

3) Novak Djokovic  228-36   12

4) Andre Agassi        224-53    8

5) Ivan Lendl            222-49     8

6) Roy Emerson       210-48    12

7) Rafael Nadal       203-31    14

Pete Sampras          203-38    14

9) Stefan Edberg      178-47     6

10) Andy Murray     176-40     3

Kyrgios, Tomic Lead Aussie Hopes: Mark Edmondson is the last Aussie to win the singles title on home soil in 1976 (d. Newcombe). Aussie No. 1 Nick Kyrgios, who reached the quarter-finals two years ago (l. to Murray), leads local title hopes. Kyrgios, who won a career-best three ATP World Tour titles last season, is one of 11 Aussies in the main draw. No. 2 Aussie Bernard Tomic, who is seeded No. 27, is making his ninth straight appearance (15-8 record). His best result is the fourth round in 2012, 2015-16. Wild card Alex De Minaur, 17, the youngest player in the draw, is making his debut.

Brothers In Draw: There are two sets of brothers in the singles main draw for the second straight Grand Slam tournament. Alexander and Mischa Zverev along with Gerald and Jurgen Melzer are in the draw. At last year’s US Open, the Zverevs were joined by Christian and Ryan Harrison. Last week Mischa Zverev improved to No. 50 and it marked the first time a brothers duo ranked in the Top 50 in the same week since 8 May 2006, with Olivier Rochus at No. 29 and brother Christophe No. 42.

Haas is Back: Former World No. 2 Tommy Haas is playing in his first tournament since October 2015 in Vienna. He's the oldest player in the singles draw, less than three months away from his 39th birthday on 3 April. Haas, who is the tournament director at the BNP Paribas Masters in Indian Wells, has a protected ranking of No. 25. Haas has a 26-13 career record at the Australian Open with his best results the semi-finals in 2002 and 2007. His last visit in Melbourne was in 2014.

Radek Going Strong: Radek Stepanek qualified into the main draw. The 38-year-old Czech Republic native is the oldest Grand Slam qualifier since Aussie Mal Anderson (42) at the Australian Open in December 1977. Stepanek is the third-oldest Grand Slam qualifier in the Open Era, behind Anderson and Neale Fraser (40), who qualified at Wimbledon in 1974.

Sascha Leads #NextGenATP Stars: No. 24 seed Alexander Zverev is the youngest player in the Top 50 of the Emirates ATP Rankings. Last season the 19-year-old German became the first teenager to finish in the Top 25 (at No. 24) since Novak Djokovic (No. 16) and Andy Murray (No. 17) in 2006. He reached a career-high No. 20 on 17 October after winning his maiden ATP World Tour title in St. Petersburg. He was the first teenager to win an ATP title since Marin Cilic (19) at 2008 New Haven.

#NextGenATP Stars Shine: There are 15 #NextGen ATP players in the main draw. Here is a look at the young stars (listed in Emirates ATP Rankings order):

Rank                                        Age

No. 24 Alexander Zverev, GER 19

No. 52 Karen Khachanov, RUS 20

No. 59 Borna Coric, CRO 20

No. 63 Daniil Medvedev, RUS 20

No. 93 Taylor Fritz, USA 19

No. 101 Jared Donaldson, USA 20

No. 105 Hyeon Chung, KOR 20

No. 108 Frances Tiafoe, USA (Q) 18

No. 131 Ernesto Escobedo, USA (Q) 20

No. 152 Andrey Rublev, RUS (Q) 19

No. 155 Quentin Halys, FRA (WC) 20

No. 190 Michael Mmoh, USA (WC) 19

No. 200 Noah Rubin, USA (Q) 20

No. 207 Alexander Bublik, KAZ + (Q) 19

No. 208 Reilly Opelka, USA + (Q) 19

+ Will break Top 200 after Australian Open

U.S. Leads Country Count: There are a tournament-high 14 Americans in the main draw, led by No. 19 John Isner and No. 20 Jack Sock, who broke the Top 20 for the first time after his title in Auckland. Five Americans qualified into the main draw, the most since 2007. Half of the Americans in the draw are 20 or younger and part of the #NextGenATP group:

No. 93 Taylor Fritz, USA 19

No. 101 Jared Donaldson, USA 20

No. 108 Frances Tiafoe, USA 18

No. 131 Ernesto Escobedo, USA 20

No. 190 Michael Mmoh, USA 19

No. 200 Noah Rubin, USA 20

No. 208 Reilly Opelka, USA + 19

+ Will break Top 200 after Australian Open

Note: The last Grand Slam tournament seven Americans (20 or younger) were in the main draw was the 2006 US Open.

Doubles Draw: The reigning champions are Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares, last year’s No. 1 team in the Emirates ATP Doubles Team Rankings. Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan, who have finished No. 1 for 10 of the past 14 years, are six-time Australian Open champions. Their six titles are the second-most as a team in tournament history behind Bromwich-Quist (eight).

ICYMI

At 33, Gilles Muller won his first ATP World Tour title in Sydney. Read More

Then Muller celebrated the big win with his two boys. Watch Now

Why 30 Is The New 20 On The ATP World Tour. Read More

Jack Sock earns the perfect start to his 2017 season. Read & Watch

Potential Match Wins Milestones

David Ferrer - 694

Philipp Kohlschreiber - 394

Fabio Fognini - 246

Gilles Muller - 196

Denis Istomin - 194 

Rankings Movers

Dudi Sela 67 (+20)

Daniel Evans 51 (+16) – career high

Joao Sousa 37 (+7)

Gilles Muller 28 (+6) career high

Steve Johnson 30 (+3)

Jack Sock 20 (+3) – career high

Daniil Medvedev 63 (+2) – career high

Nick Kyrgios 13 (+1) – ties career high

Birthdays

17 January - Albert Ramos-Vinolas (29)

19 January - Horia Tecau (32)

20 January - Frances Tiafoe (19)

20 January - Malek Jaziri (33)

20 January - Robert Farah (30)

21 January - Nicolas Mahut (35)

One Day To Go Until 2017 Australian Open

Sun, 01/15/2017 - 10:21pm
We're hours away from the start of the 2017 Australian Open. Go behind the scenes at Melbourne Park.

Shapovalov Talks Training With Günter Bresnik And Next Gen ATP Finals

Sun, 01/15/2017 - 10:19pm
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At age 17, Denis Shapovalov was hoping to merely get his feet wet on the pro circuit, as he entered his first ATP Challenger Tour and ATP World Tour events in 2016. The Canadian phenom got much more than he anticipated, submerging himself in a whirlwind campaign that culminated in a year-end No. 250 in the Emirates ATP Rankings - a stunning 880-spot rise from the start of the year.

The youngest player in the Top 300, Shapovalov cut his teeth against the game's elite. The first player born in 1999 to win a Challenger match, he reached the semi-finals on home soil in Drummondville in March and advanced to the last four once again in Gatineau in August. Also a three-time Futures titlist and junior Wimbledon champion, Shapovalov gained experience at all levels and on all surfaces in 2016.

The Canadian's breakthrough moment came at the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 event in Toronto, where he introduced himself to the tennis world with one of the biggest upsets of the year over World No. 19 Nick Kyrgios. Although his career is in its nascent stages, Shapovalov has set ambitious goals for himself in 2017 as he looks to continue soaring. He sat down with ATPWorldTour.com at the ATP Challenger Tour event in Canberra...

Where did you spend your offseason and who did you train with?
I went to Tenerife (Spain) and spent it with Günter Bresnik, Dominic Thiem's coach. Philipp Kohlschreiber was there, Jerzy Janowicz, Dennis Novak and Dominic too. There were a bunch of good players and I'm starting to work with Günter now, so I had a few good weeks there. It was a great experience for me, because I'm not used to hitting with guys that are Top 10, Top 20. It was a lot of fun for me and I think it helped bring my game to the next level.

Was there anything in particular you focused on?
I was working a lot on my forehand with Günter. He was very technical with my finish. We were there for four hours each day just smacking forehands around and really focusing on it. It's been a big improvement in my game.

Have you thought about the Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan and do you think you'll qualify?
Of course I'd like to go, but I think I'm a long way from it. It's going to involve a lot of work, but it would be a great experience for me to go and test my level against the top players 21 and under. I hope I get there, but I'm focusing on one week at a time.

Looking back on 2016, how would you assess the season?
Last year was pretty incredible for me. I think anyone would wish to have a year like I did, winning three Futures titles, Wimbledon juniors, beating Kyrgios at the Rogers Cup, making a couple semi-finals at Challengers, it was incredible. It's tough to maintain that but I hope to do the same this year and even better.

What's been the main difference between playing in Challengers and Futures?
In the Futures there are a couple guys who are pretty good, but in Challengers every match is difficult and everyone is tough. You really have to fight through it and be prepared.

Have you set any Emirates ATP Rankings goals for 2017?
I would like to be in the Top 150 at the end of the year. This is a transition year for me. It's my first full year as a pro. I'm not playing any junior events. At the same time, I'm changing my strokes, like I did with my forehand and a couple other things. It's going to take some time for my game to click, so it's tough to have any high expectations at the moment.

Talk about playing here in Canberra. Are you enjoying the tournament?
It's incredible, one of the best Challengers I've been to. The accommodations are unbelievable. There are eight guys in the Top 100 playing this tournament and that's very big for a Challenger. I'm very excited to be here.

Toni Nadal Reflects On Rafa's Australian Open Chances

Sun, 01/15/2017 - 12:12am

Toni Nadal believes that Rafael Nadal is gearing up for a successful fortnight at the Australian Open.

Rafa’s uncle and longtime coach closely observed his practise sessions this past Friday. Toni took in the 2009 champion’s training session with Marin Cilic that morning on Rod Laver Arena, then closely observed the afternoon practise on Hisense Arena along with new coach Carlos Moya.

“Rafa is playing great,” declared Toni. “We’re having a really good level during the training sessions and he’s winning all of his sets. This isn’t a reference point for us, but it’s always positive to head into these tournaments with such a great feeling. Once we step onto the court, we need to see if this level is good enough to make a great run here.”

The Mallorcan’s coach also reflected about the main contenders for the first Grand Slam of the season, but said he anticipated the top seeds would make deep runs through the draw.

“I think there’s not much room for surprises. There is a group of players who are the clear favourites to win the title,” said Toni. “We’re at the beginning of the season and some players may feel a bit rusty, but if you take a look at the list of past champions, they are always the same.”

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Toni also spoke about Roger Federer’s return to competition after six months out. The four-time champion Down Under will take the court on Monday against qualifier Jurgen Melzer of Austria.

“Above all, he loves tennis. He loves playing,” said Toni about the 17-time Grand Slam champion. “He doesn’t need to play for money or titles anymore. He’s here because he loves the competition. If he keeps playing, his presence is good for the circuit and for tennis.”

Sela Soars To Canberra Challenger Title

Sat, 01/14/2017 - 11:55pm

A LOOK BACK
East Hotel Canberra Challenger (Canberra, Australia): For the 21st time in his career, Dudi Sela is the last man standing at an ATP Challenger Tour event, rallying past top seed Jan-Lennard Struff in Canberra. The Israeli needed one hour and 49 minutes to dispatch the German 3-6, 6-4, 6-3, maintaining his strong run of form after reaching the semi-finals at the Aircel Chennai Open a week ago. The title puts Sela five behind Yen-Hsun Lu for the all-time Challenger lead, but more importantly sees the 31 year old soar 20 spots to World No. 67 in the Emirates ATP Rankings.

Watch: Sela Championship Point Hot Shot | Sela Post-Match Interview

Buoyed by the boisterous Israeli contingent in Canberra, Sela overcame 11 aces and saved eight of 13 break points faced. He improved to 3-0 in his FedEx ATP Head2Head series against Struff, most recently prevailing in a five-set thriller at the 2015 Australian Open.

Challenger Title Leaders

No.

Player

Titles
 1 Yen-Hsun Lu
26
 2 Dudi Sela
21
 T3 Paolo Lorenzi
18
 T3 Go Soeda
18

Wind Energy Holding Bangkok Open II (Bangkok, Thailand): Janko Tipsarevic could not have asked for a better start to the 2017 season. The former World No. 8 is on the doorstep of a Top 100 return, vaulting 40 spots in the Emirates ATP Rankings to No. 104 with back-to-back titles in Bangkok. A week ago, Tipsarevic did not drop a set en route to his 12th ATP Challenger Tour title. On Saturday, he lifted No. 13, downing China's Zhe Li 6-2, 6-3 in one hour and 32 minutes.

The Serbian rolled to the title, not relinquishing more than three games in a set since dropping the opener of his first-round match against Egor Gerasimov. Tipsarevic is now on an eight-match win streak in Challenger finals, since 2006.

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Other News: Former World No. 62 Somdev Devvarman announced his retirement from professional tennis. The 31 year old reached two ATP World Tour finals, falling to Marin Cilic on home soil in Chennai in 2009 and to Kevin Anderson in Johannesburg in 2011. Devvarman also enjoyed great success on the Challenger circuit, posting a 94-71 record and clinching five titles. He won consecutive crowns in New Delhi from 2014-15 and lifted the trophy in Lexington in 2008, Izmir in 2010 and most recently in Winnetka in 2015.

Starting 2017 on a new note, retiring from pro tennis. Thanks to everyone for the love and support over the years. #newyearnewbeginnings

— Somdev Devvarman (@SomdevD) January 1, 2017

WHAT THE PLAYERS SAID
Sela: “I was a bit lucky today but I’m happy that I won. The experience of this stage that I have been on so many times before helped me a lot.

“It’s nice to see the flag of your country all the way here in Australia. If they were not here today, I’m not sure if I could have had the motivation to come back like that. I didn’t want to let them down.”

A LOOK AHEAD
Koblenz, Germany, hosts the inaugural Koblenz Open, a €43,000 indoor hard-court event. Home favourite Benjamin Becker is in the draw, with Lukas Rosol the top seed.

View Draws & Watch Free Live Streams

ATP CHALLENGER TOUR ON TWITTER: The ATP Challenger Tour has launched a dedicated Twitter account for the latest news and information about players and events. Follow @ATPChallengerTour at twitter.com/ATPChallengerTour.

Begemann Struff Look Back On Canberra Challenger 2017 Doubles Title

Sat, 01/14/2017 - 10:45pm
The German duo of Andre Begemann and Jan-Lennard Struff reflect on clinching the Canberra Challenger doubles crown. Video courtesy Tennis Australia.

Sela Reflects On Canberra Challenger 2017 Title

Sat, 01/14/2017 - 10:44pm
Dudi Sela talks about clinching his 21st ATP Challenger Tour title in Canberra and how he prepared for the 2017 season. Video courtesy Tennis Australia.

First-Time Winner Spotlight: Gilles Muller

Sat, 01/14/2017 - 10:01pm

Gilles Muller beat Daniel Evans 7-6(5), 6-2 on Saturday at the Apia International Sydney to capture his first ATP World Tour title. It was an emotional moment for the 33-year-old Luxembourg native, who had gone 0-5 in his previous ATP World Tour finals.

ATPWorldTour.com spoke to Muller after his victory in Sydney. 

How does it feel to be holding your first ATP World Tour singles trophy at the age of 33?

It feels great for many reasons. I’ve been waiting for this a long time. I’ve lost five finals before, so my biggest dream and goal was to win a title. Finally it’s here, so it’s great. It’s a lot of weight off my shoulders now.

What does it mean to be the first player from Luxembourg to win a title? 

To be honest, it doesn’t mean that much because I’m the first player from Luxembourg to do a lot of things. [Laughs]. It’s obviously nice to win the title and bring the trophy back home to Luxembourg. There are a lot of people who are really happy for me and have been waiting for this for a long time.

What was it like to receive the trophy from Rod Laver?

It was amazing. I wasn’t expecting that. It was like being in a movie, standing there on Centre Court, getting the trophy from Rod Laver, having my boys watch this. It was very emotional and an unbelievable week for me.

You saved a match point at the beginning of the week. How does that play into the victory?

That just shows what you can do when you keep working and keep believing in yourself. I came into the tournament not feeling great, not playing very well. I fought very hard on every point and at the end of the week, I was there with the title.

What were some of the things you worked on during the off-season?

I’m always working hard physically and taking a lot of time to get into really good shape. I was working on my serve, working to be aggressive from the baseline and come into the net. Just the usual stuff. I’m 33, so I’m not going to change stuff at that age.

You finished last season with your best Emirates ATP Ranking of No. 34. Do you have a ranking goal in mind for this season?

For me, it’s important to try my best and give 100 per cent, and then I’m confident I can improve that ranking by the end of the year. I’m already going to improve it anyway after this, but I think I can go even higher.

Is there anybody who has helped you get to this point that you’d like to mention?

There are many people. The only people I’d like to thank are the team I’ve had around me for the past two or three years and have really been helping. My coaches, Alex and Benjamin. My physical trainer, Frank. Both of my agents, Hugo and Jack. And then obviously my family, my wife and my two boys. They’ve always been behind me. It’s very tough sometimes to leave them behind at home for a couple of weeks. They make a lot of sacrifices and it’s nice to give something back to them.

Who were some of the players that you admired growing up?

Andre Agassi was probably the player I followed most. I played him twice in my career and even beat him once, which is a nice moment for me. 

Why 30 Is The New 20 On The ATP World Tour

Sat, 01/14/2017 - 9:41pm

The question has Albert Ramos-Vinolas stumped. Why, nine years after turned professional, is the 28 year old suddenly playing his best tennis?

He didn't switch coaches – Ramos-Vinolas, like Rafael Nadal, still works with his boyhood coach. Ramos-Vinolas didn't drastically change his style of tennis, either.

But there's no question his tennis has improved. In 2016, Ramos-Vinolas won his first title at the SkiStar Swedish Open in Bastad. The left-hander also reached his first hard-court final at the Chengdu Open and hiked to a career-high No. 26 in the Emirates ATP Rankings in October.

“I don't know why this year I had the better results. I cannot tell you one thing,” Ramos-Vinolas told ATPWorldTour.com last season. “Maybe experience but I don't know. I think I'm doing more or less the same from before. It's difficult to explain why now I'm playing better.”

Whatever the reason, the ATP World Tour veteran has company. In recent years, more and more players are finding their best tennis late in their careers. During the 2016 season, the average age of an ATP World Tour champion was almost 29. Ten years ago, it was 24. More proof: Last season, 14 titlists had already celebrated their 30th birthday. In 2006, exactly zero champions had turned the big 3-0.

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The trend can be seen throughout the Top 100. In 2016, a record 39 players aged 30 and older finished in the Top 100. Of those 39 players, nearly a third of them – 12 – were tying or at their career-best year-end Emirates ATP Ranking.

“Being 31 now isn't like 31 10 years ago,” Brad Gilbert, a former Top 10 player and former coach of Andre Agassi, Andy Roddick and Andy Murray, told ATPWorldTour.com.

Gilbert labels the phenomenon “The Agassi Effect”. When the American reached the 2005 US Open final at the age of 35, Gilbert said, “All of a sudden guys were like, 'You know what? If you take care of yourself, you can do good work in your 30s.'”

In the past decade, players have learned how to take care of themselves better, and increased prize money has helped them add crucial members, including physiotherapists and trainers, to their teams. But current and former ATP World Tour champions say there's more to winning late in your career than simply taking better care of your body.

Big-match experience and more confidence helps players win more semi-final Saturday matches. Off the court, players learn how to manage their schedule during an 11-month season that's played on six different continents.

“The experience over the years, it does help being out there, being more relaxed,” said Aussie Mark Philippoussis, who won 11 ATP World Tour titles and reached No. 8 in the world.

Reaching Their Career-Best Year-Ending Emirates ATP Ranking In Their 30s

Player Age 2016 Year-End Ranking Gael Monfils 30 years, 2 months 7 Pablo Cuevas 30 years, 10 months 22 Stan Wawrinka 31 years, 8 months 4* Konstantin Kravchuk 31 years, 9 months 85 Dustin Brown 31 years, 11 months 72 Rogerio Dutra Silva 32 years, 9 months 98 Malek Jaziri 32 years, 10 months 58 Gilles Muller 33 years, 6 months 34 Nicolas Mahut 34 years, 10 months 39 Paolo Lorenzi 34 years, 11 months 40 Stephane Robert 36 years, 6 months 54 Ivo Karlovic 37 years, 9 months 20

*Tied career-best year-end Emirates ATP Ranking 

American James Blake won 10 ATP World Tour crowns, seven of which came after his 26th birthday. One of the biggest differences in Blake's game as he aged was his self-confidence during big moments, he said.

For example, at 5/6 in the third-set tie-break, the 20-year-old Blake might have tried something new to surprise his opponent. But the 26-year-old Blake knew better; he stuck with what had been working all matchlong.

“You know how to handle the pressure. You know your best game,” Blake said. “It's not that you're any more talented at that age, it's just that you've figured out how to get the most out of your talent.”

Older players also don't panic as quickly as less-experienced players, said Andy Roddick, a former World No. 1 and five-time ATP World Tour Masters 1000 champion.

Say someone plays a lights-out first set and wins 6-2 in 25 minutes. A tour newcomer across the net might be a little more impressionable and wide-eyed.

Whereas a more experienced opponent might sit back and think, “OK, let's take his best shot. Let's see if he can keep producing it for another hour and half,” Roddick said. “You learn to get hit in the chin... You're a little bit calmer in the face of adversity.”

Steve Johnson learned a version of that lesson last year during his first ATP World Tour title run. About two weeks before Johnson won the Nottingham crown, he had been hit in the chin by 18-year-old Stefan Kozlov 6-3, 6-4. Kozlov had won one prior ATP World Tour match before beating Johnson in 86 minutes.

But the 26-year-old Johnson didn't panic and start making changes in his game. He trotted out for his next match and upset then-No. 10 Richard Gasquet at The Queen's Club to earn his first Top 10 win and start a 20-7 stretch, which included the Nottingham title.

“I'm just much more calm now,” Johnson said weeks after upsetting Gasquet. “Tennis can change with one point really – the momentum can shift, that's all it's going to take. So I think it's something that I've learned... At least internally, I stay very calm and know that maybe even if I'm down and the guy is serving for the match, I know in my heart that I'm still going to find a way to get through this and find a way to win.”

30 and Older Champions In 2016

Player  Age When Won Title(s) Title(s) Ivo Karlovic 37 years, 5 months; 37 years, 4 months

Los Cabos; Newport

Victor Estrella Burgos 35 years, 6 months Quito Feliciano Lopez  34 years, 10 months Gstaad Paolo Lorenzi  34 years, 7 months Kitzbuhel Nicolas Mahut  34 years, 5 months 's-Hertogenbosch Florian Mayer  32 years, 8 months Halle Philipp Kohlschreiber  32 years, 6 months Munich Fernando Verdasco  32 years, 5 months Bucharest Juan Monaco  32 years, 12 days Houston Stan Wawrinka 

31 years, 5 months; 31 years, 1 month;
30 years, 11 months; 30 years, 9 months

US Open; Geneva;
Dubai; Chennai Tomas Berdych  31 years, 15 days Shenzhen Nicolas Almagro 30 years, 8 months Estoril Richard Gasquet  30 years, 4 months Antwerp Pablo Cuevas  30 years, 1 month Sao Paulo; Rio de Janeiro

The American has also learned how to manage a season on tour. During his first couple of years, towards the latter half of the season, Johnson said he felt burnt out and exhausted. But last year, in August through October, he felt fresh.

“I really feel like I'm starting to really get the feel of it,” he said. “At the end of the year, there's a lot of big tournaments, where there's still a lot of points on the board. So to be fresh and to be healthy at those times is very important.”

All of these explanations together probably explain how Spain's Ramos-Vinolas had his best season last year. But his countryman Alex Corretja, a 17-time ATP World Tour titlist, has a few more reasons why Ramos-Vinolas turned his career around in 2016.

Corretja likely knows best, too. He worked with Ramos-Vinolas for a couple of months during the 2014 off-season. Most parts of Ramos-Vinolas' game have improved, Corretja said, including his serve, forehand and his movement.

But the left-hander has also matured, a common trait among ATP World Tour players who have success later in their careers. “He wasn’t controlling himself as much as he does now, and I think that’s why he feels like he’s a better player,” Corretja said.

It happens to a lot of players, Corretja said: They know what mistakes they're making, they stop repeating those mistakes, and the results follow.

“You’re a better man. You leave the kid behind you,” Corretja said. “It’s a privilege to be a tennis star on the ATP. You need time to realise that. Some of them, they realise that later in their careers. But it’s better late than never.”

Sock Beats Sousa To Win 2017 ASB Classic

Sat, 01/14/2017 - 9:29pm
Watch highlights of Jack Sock beating Joao Sousa to win the 2017 ASB Classic in Auckland. Getty Images photo.

Muller Beats Evans For 2017 Sydney Title Highlights

Sat, 01/14/2017 - 9:08pm
Watch highlights of Gilles Muller beating Daniel Evans at the Apia International Sydney for his first ATP World Tour title. Getty Images photo.

Different Experiences Abound For Murray In Melbourne

Sat, 01/14/2017 - 8:56pm

For several reasons, this year's Australian Open should be a much different experience for Andy Murray than the 2016 edition.

The most obvious reason is the number next to Murray's name: 1. Murray, playing in his 12th Australian Open, is the top seed at a Grand Slam for the first time. The Scot ascended to No. 1 in the Emirates ATP Rankings last season at the BNP Paribas Masters in Paris in November.

Closer to home, Murray should have a more peaceful stay in Melbourne this January. Twelve months ago, his wife, Kim Sears, was pregnant and could have gone into labour at any point during the tournament. She gave birth to their daughter, Sophia Olivia, a week after Murray played in the final.

During the first week of the tournament, Murray's father-in-law, Nigel Sears, collapsed courtside on Rod Laver Arena while watching Ana Ivanovic play. Sears, who was coaching Ivanovic at the time, was OK and later flew home.

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“It was a tough tournament. Obviously the situation with Kim and the baby coming was tough. Then with what happened with Nigel during the event made it really awkward because there was times where I was thinking, I want to go home. But then also my father-in-law was here and in hospital,” Murray said during his pre-tournament press conference. “It was, like, I want to be at home for the birth, but then I'm not just going to sort of leave whilst my father-in-law is also in hospital. It was tough, and certainly not a position I would want to put myself in again, or my wife, or any of my family.”

The situation was so intense that Murray thought about withdrawing from the season's first Grand Slam. “It was certainly something that was talked about a lot, especially the second week of the event,” he said.

All of that is behind Murray and his family now, though, and he's hoping for a healthy and prosperous start Down Under in 2017. Murray has finished as runner-up in Melbourne a record five times, losing to Roger Federer in 2010 and Novak Djokovic in 2011, 2013, 2015 and 2016.

But Murray and Djokovic have split their last two meetings on hard courts. Murray won the final match of 2016 to claim the year-end No. 1 Emirates ATP Ranking at the ATP Finals in London. Djokovic outplayed Murray in the final of the Qatar ExxonMobil Open in Doha earlier this month.

“Doha went well. Played some good stuff, especially at the end of the event,” Murray said.

The Australian Open will have one other new wrinkle for the 29 year old. It's the first Grand Slam since he received a knighthood in Queen Elizabeth II's New Year's Honours list.

Australian broadcaster Channel Seven plans to refer to Murray as “Sir Andy Murray” during its coverage. “I'm more than happy just being Andy. That's enough for me,” he said.

Players have also called Murray by “Sir”. Well, sort of. “Yeah,” he said, “but not genuinely.”

“Sir” or not, Murray opens against Ukraine's Illya Marchenko on Monday.

Sela Closes Out 21st Challenger Title In Canberra 2017

Sat, 01/14/2017 - 6:48pm
Dudi Sela added to his ATP Challenger Tour title haul, notching his 21st crown in Canberra, Australia.

Moët Moment: Jack Sock Wins 2017 ASB Classic

Sat, 01/14/2017 - 5:53pm

American Jack Sock wins the ASB Classic in Auckland for his second ATP World Tour title and 2017's first Moët Moment.

Two Days To Go Until 2017 Australian Open

Sat, 01/14/2017 - 4:47pm
It's two days to go until the start of the 2017 Australian Open. Go behind the scenes at Melbourne Park.