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Updated: 10 hours 57 min ago

Nadal Fires Early In Acapulco

Wed, 03/01/2017 - 4:52am

Rafael Nadal is up and running at the Abierto Mexicano Telcel with a convincing first-round outing against Mischa Zverev on Tuesday night. The two-time Acapulco champion saw off his fellow left-hander 6-4, 6-3 as he safely moved through in 76 minutes.

The second seed held break points at 4-3 for the chance to serve for the opening set. Zverev – coming off an outstanding Australian Open campaign in which he stunned top seed Andy Murray en route to his first major quarter-final – confidently saved both as his net-rushing paid dividends to level for 4-4.

Serving to stay in the set, however, the German faltered. He pushed a low forehand volley long to fall behind 0-30 before Nadal brought up two set points when he ripped a forehand pass down the line. The Spaniard took the set on his third opportunity with an off-forehand return winner for 6-4.

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Nadal secured the break for 3-1 in the second set and from there he sustained the advantage. He arrived at two match points when Zverev fired a backhand return long and sealed it on his first with a blistering backhand return pass down the line.

His 28 winners were 15 more than his opponent’s and the result extended his FedEx ATP Head2Head ledger with the German to 2-0 after an earlier win in Brisbane this year. He awaits the winner of Paolo Lorenzi and Yoshihito Nishioka.

Sixth seed Nick Kyrgios joined Nadal in the second round, but it was in contrasting fashion. The Australian survived a slow start to prevail against Israel’s Dudi Sela 3-6, 6-3, 6-3.

Kyrgios' eight aces and three breaks of serve helped him to advance in 93 minutes. American Donald Young is next, after earlier defeating Kyrgios’ countryman, Bernard Tomic.

 Watch Full Match Replays

The point of the night?

Watch Murray Advance In Dubai Opener

Wed, 03/01/2017 - 3:50am
Watch highlights of Andy Murray's opening win and see highlights of Damir Dzumhur upsetting Stan Wawrinka at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships. Watch live tennis at tennistv.com. Photo: Getty Images

Isner, Monfils Serve Their Way Out Of Trouble

Wed, 03/01/2017 - 12:45am

The Top 20 players in the world average a losing record holding serve from the precarious scoreline of 0/30.

The game is potentially half over, and for the majority at this elite level, their chances of holding serve have already dropped below 50 per cent. An Infosys ATP Beyond The Numbers analysis of the Top 20 from the 2016 season at 0/30, and the two nearby scorelines of 15/30 and 0/40, provide a fresh perspective of just how tough it is to hold serve once you fall behind by two points on the scoreboard.

The Top 20 average holding serve 49 per cent of the time from 0/30. American John Isner leads the field, holding a mind-blowing 70 per cent of the time. Others ahead of the pack include Ivo Karlovic (66 per cent), Stan Wawrinka (61 per cent) and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (56 per cent).

The volatility of 0/30 sees a massive 46 percentage-point gap between Isner’s leading 70 per cent, and David Goffin, who managed to win only 34 per cent of his service games when falling behind 0/30.

The Best Among The Top 20 In 2016

Holding Serve From 0/30 Holding Serve From 15/30 Holding Serve From 0/40 John Isner              70% John Isner               80%  Gael Monfils        43% Ivo Karlovic            66%  Ivo Karlovic             76% John Isner           38% Stan Wawrinka       61%  Jo-Wilfried Tsonga  71% Stan Wawrinka    35% Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 56%  Milos Raonic           70% Kei Nishikori        28% 

If the Top 20 won the 0/30 point, their chances of holding serve jumped sharply from 49 per cent to 64 per cent – a significant 15 percentage-point leap that now has every player in the Top 20 statistically favored to hold serve.

World No. 1 Andy Murray was slightly above the Top 20 average from 15/30, holding 65 per cent of the time, as was No. 2 Novak Djokovic (66 per cent), No. 3 Milos Raonic (70 per cent) and No. 4 Stan Wawrinka (68 per cent).

If the Top 20 lost the 0/30 point to drop to 0/40, their win percentage of holding serve plummeted down to 22 per cent. No Top 20 players won more games than they lost from this deep hole.

The best performer of the Top 20 holding serve from 0/40 in 2016 was Gael Monfils, who held 12 of 28 times for a commanding 43 per cent average. Kei Nishikori was another stand-out from 0/40, holding 28 per cent of the time, as was Nick Kyrgios at 25 per cent.

It is interesting to see the sizable fluctuations in players’ fortunes of holding serve from either 15/30 or 0/40. Both Murray and Karlovic had a sizable 55 percentage-point difference of holding between the two scorelines, with Tomas Berdych close at 51 percentage points. The smallest gap by far was Monfils, at only 13 percentage points – 56 per cent at 15/30 to 43 per cent at 0/40.

Tennis is a game of feel and touch, but it’s also a game of patterns and percentages, and the more we know about these crucial scorelines, the easier it will be to successfully navigate them in the future.

Djokovic Fights Through Acapulco Debut

Tue, 02/28/2017 - 11:22pm
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Novak Djokovic shook off the rust and battled for more than 90 minutes to take his debut match at the Abierto Mexicano Telcel in Acapulco on Tuesday evening. The Serbian improved to 3-0 against Slovakian veteran Martin Klizan with a 6-3, 7-6(4) victory at the ATP World Tour 500 event.

“I wasn’t expecting an easy match, that’s for sure," Djokovic said. "I haven’t played an official tour match since Australia, one Davis Cup only.

"So I was looking forward to coming out on the court and playing ... I got Klizan in the first round, who’s well known for playing his best tennis on the big stage against the top players. He’s not afraid.

"Overall it was a good performance. It was a tough second set, up and down. It’s exactly what I needed in this moment to test myself and my game."

It was far from easy for the Serbian, who faced trouble often in the early goings. The World No. 2 had to save four break points during his first three service games, relying on his serves to help him dodge the breaks. Klizan would wince at the missed opportunities, especially when Djokovic converted his own break point for a 4-2 lead and later took the first set.

Klizan, a five-time ATP World Tour champion, didn't depart after the opener, though. The left-hander bludgeoned forehand after forehand and kept Djokovic off-balance by occasionally tossing in a forehand drop shot that Djokovic could often only watch drop inside the service box. Klizan would finish with 25 winners, nearly three times Djokovic's tally of nine. But the Slovakian also delivered 30 unforced errors, compared to Djokovic's 11.

In the second set, Klizan broke for 4-2 and it looked as if the match would head to a third set. But Djokovic broke back immediately and outplayed Klizan in the tie-break for the straight-sets win.

The contest was Djokovic's first tournament match since he fell in the second round of the Australian Open last month, his earliest exit Down Under since 2006 when the Serbian was ranked No. 76. Djokovic accepted a wild card into Acapulco last week. The 29 year old will meet Argentine Juan Martin del Potro, who beat #NextGenATP American Frances Tiafoe in the second round.

"He deserved all the success he’s had, especially because the past couple of years he was not playing much because of injury," Djokovic said of the prospect of facing del Potro. "He brings excitement to tennis because he has a big game, a big serve. He’s somebody we can call a big-match player."

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Marin Cilic earned his first win in Acapulco. The third seed knocked out Buenos Aires titlist Alexandr Dolgopolov 6-3, 4-6, 6-0. Cilic hit 14 aces and won more than 70 per cent of his service points during the 90-minute victory.

The 28-year-old Croatian had lost his opener last year to American Ryan Harrison. Cilic will meet countryman and #NextGenATP player Borna Coric in the second round.

Fognini Reaches Milestone Win In Sao Paulo

Tue, 02/28/2017 - 11:05pm

Fifth seed Fabio Fognini celebrated a milestone 250th victory on Tuesday at the Brasil Open in Sao Paulo. The Italian beat compatriot Marco Cecchinato 6-4, 7-6(4) in one hour and 35 minutes to advance to the second round.

Fognini, who reached the semi-finals here in 2008, was nearly untouchable on his first serve, winning almost 80 per cent of those points. He will next face another Italian qualifier in Alessandro Giannessi, who dismissed home favourite Rogerio Dutra Silva of Brazil 6-4, 6-3.

In an under-20 battle, #NextGenATP player Casper Ruud of Norway beat 19-year-old Akira Santillan of Japan 6-4, 6-4. The 18-year-old Ruud, who reached the semi-finals in Rio last week, will meet seventh-seeded Argentine Federico Delbonis in the second round. Delbonis beat 24-year-old Slovakian Jozef Kovalik 6-4, 7-6(5).

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Free Of Shingles, Murray Advances In Dubai

Tue, 02/28/2017 - 6:58pm

Andy Murray, who won his Dubai opener on Tuesday, wasn't quite sure he had shingles until his mother-in-law got involved. Murray had returned from the Australian Open and had noticed a rash developing on his side.

“I had a little bit of a rash basically like on my bum 'round to kind of my stomach, and it wasn't terrible. But then normally if you have a little bit of a rash and you scratch it, it feels better. But with that, it was really, really painful.

“I didn't think much of it at the beginning, and then it was actually my wife's mum, we were having dinner, and I was, like, 'This is really irritating'. She was, like, 'Pull your pants down. Show me. It might be shingles,'” Murray said to laughs on Tuesday.

“I was, like, 'OK'. Then the next day, got a doctor, and she was right.”

Murray continued, saying his wife's mum probably guessed shingles, or adult chickenpox, because her son Scott had experienced the illness in the past. “It's quite strange,” Murray said of the illness, “because it comes in like an arc and it doesn't go past the centre of your body. It stays on one side.”

Murray fans shouldn't worry, though. He said he took some anti-viral medicine and applied a cream, and that he's all better.

“The rash is completely gone now, and I felt fine when I was training. I don't think I'd be able to do what I was doing out there this evening if [I still had it],” he said. “A lot of people said that afterwards, once the rash is gone, that you can feel very tired for quite a few weeks, a number of weeks afterwards. I was maybe a little bit more tired than usual at the beginning, but I really feel fine now.”

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The top seed looked in good shape on Tuesday at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships. He coasted past Tunisia's Malek Jaziri 6-4, 6-1 in 79 minutes to win their first FedEx ATP Head2Head meeting.

“I have never hit with him or played against him before. It took a little bit of time to get used to his game. But I played better as the match went on,” Murray said.

The Scot landed only 40 per cent of his first serves but overcame the low percentage by defending his second serve well, taking nearly 70 per cent of those points (19/29). Murray was broken once but converted four of his eight break-point opportunities against the 33-year-old Jaziri, who reached the Dubai quarter-finals in 2014.

“The only thing I didn't do well was the first serve... I'm not sure exactly why. Maybe first match under the lights, haven't practised in those conditions since I have been here,” Murray said.

The World No. 1 will next meet Spaniard Guillermo Garcia-Lopez. The Brit leads their FedEx ATP Head2Head series 2-1, but they haven't played since the 2012 BNP Paribas Open.

Dzumhur Discusses Wawrinka Upset Dubai 2017

Tue, 02/28/2017 - 6:53pm
Damir Dzumhur reacts to beating defending champion Stan Wawrinka at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships. Watch live tennis at tennistv.com

Djokovic And Nadal Wow Huge Crowds In Acapuclo 2017

Tue, 02/28/2017 - 5:10pm
Top two seeds Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal receive warm welcomes to Acapulco as thousands attend their practices ahead of the Abierto Mexicano Telcel. Photo: Abierto Mexicano

Emirates ATP Rankings Update 28 February

Tue, 02/28/2017 - 4:16pm
See the latest Emirates ATP Rankings as of 28 February, 2017.

Mature #NextGenATP Rubin With An Appetite To Succeed

Tue, 02/28/2017 - 4:14pm

If the criteria to qualify for the Next Gen ATP Finals were to have an insatiable appetite to learn, and an inner belief and professionalism to attain a desired goal, then Noah Rubin would be a certain participant in Milan later this year. The amiable American is currently among the top seven 21-and-under players in the Emirates ATP Race to Milan, but with nine months to go until the inaugural event there is work to do, and points and matches to be won. “It’s a massive motivation to be involved, particularly with new, young talent already making an impact and looking to press their claims as regulars in the Top 100,” Rubin told ATPWorldTour.com. “I’m self-motivated and keen to improve all the time, so it will be a test, and tough to qualify and get involved in a big tournament.”

Learn About Next Gen ATP Finals

Time spent off the court due to an ankle injury in mid-2016, but also in grueling nine-hour off-season sessions in Boca Raton, where he alternated between the court and gym for three weeks, reaped dividends earlier this month with the Neville Smith Forest Products Launceston International crown. It was his first ATP Challenger Tour title for 15 months (since November 2015 at Charlottesville) and ended a frustrating wait for the dedicated and disciplined right-hander, who recently turned 21.

“Last year, I was mentally off,” said Rubin. “Having turned pro in 2015, I did well at the Australian Open, but then experienced a poor clay swing prior to getting hurt before Wimbledon. I love the sport so much and the life I lead as a professional player, so I didn’t want to enter a negative space. My family and friends help me stay focused, telling me I just needed to practise and improve. By the time I got back on court I was excited and that’s what I’ve carried over into the new year.”

Learn About ATP Challenger Tour

Under the guidance of Stan Boster, the USTA National Men’s Coach, and former World No. 15 Robby Ginepri, Rubin has added to his armoury to become a more destructive force. ”Noah has a high intelligence level and is able to implement information given to him quickly on the court,” Ginepri told ATPWorldTour.com. “He is extremely professional on and off the tennis court.”

Having played Roger Federer at this year’s Australian Open, where he won a match for the second year running, Rubin witnessed first-hand the intensity in preparation and off-court training of the star names. Having played only seven tour-level events, the Long Island native, currently at World No. 172, is fully aware of what he needs to do in order to rise up the Emirates ATP Rankings.

“I try to keep an open mind, have a flexibility in the way I adapt to results and travel,” said Rubin, who won junior Wimbledon in 2014. “I’ve learned a lot about myself and work on a day-to-day basis. I’ve had a good first month to the year, learning a lot about the intensity of playing against Federer in Melbourne and how to raise my own game. With my current ranking, and with only a handful of points to defend between May and September, I am reassured I can push on, stay free from injury and develop my consistency.

“My backhand was already solid, but my forehand has become a major weapon now. My fitness was always good, but now it’s at another level and, importantly, I’ve become more grounded and mature to adapt to what I’m being asked to do by Robby or Stan. But my Dad [Eric], who taught me to play tennis, and also Lawrence Kleger, who coached me from the age of eight and knows the game so well, continue to mentor me. Lawrence, because of his time with me, picks up instinctively, unlike any other person, what I’m doing wrong on the practice or match court.”

Rubin admits that Ginepri, who was 21 when he lifted his first ATP World Tour trophy at 2003 Newport, has been able to adapt to his own style and provide specific guidance since joining his coaching team. Ginepri also “makes each session fun and talkative”.

“I'm able to give insight from my own tennis experiences and can relate on a daily basis on what he is feeling throughout the day,” said Ginepri. “Noah is filled with confidence and his inner belief is second to none. As long as he keeps his relentless attitude towards perfecting his craft, there's no reason why he can't achieve great things in his career.”

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Rio Open Uncovered 2017

Tue, 02/28/2017 - 2:08pm
Go behind the scenes with ATP World Tour Uncovered presented by Peugeot at the Rio Open, where Dominic Thiem was hoping to re-discover his top form.

Challenger #NextGenATP First-Time Winner: Alexander Bublik

Mon, 02/27/2017 - 3:59pm
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Alexander Bublik fought past Nicolas Jarry 7-5, 6-4 on Saturday to claim his maiden ATP Challenger Tour title at the Morelos Open. The 19 year old became the youngest winner on the circuit this year and third #NextGenATP star to lift a trophy, joining Hyeon Chung (Maui) and Noah Rubin (Launceston).

Bublik's march to the title caps an impressive rise to the Top 150 of the Emirates ATP Rankings, ascending to a career-high World No. 137. Just four months ago, the Kazakh was sitting outside the Top 300, but a quarter-final result at the VTB Kremlin Cup in Moscow - his first ATP World Tour main draw - and a run to the second round as a qualifier at the Australian Open, set the stage for his biggest professional title on the hard courts of Morelos.

ATPWorldTour.com spoke to Bublik after his victory:

What was it like to win your first title?
It was a big win. The first title always means a lot. I'm very happy. It gives me a lot of confidence and I'm close to the Top 100 now, but I still need to keep working hard.

In the final, you needed five match points to serve it out. Take us through that and how you finally managed to get it done.
He (Jarry) was playing unbelievable. He passed me twice with incredible shots. I got a little nervous. I was struggling to get there and I said to myself that I needed to win it. I got a first serve and it was over.

You were feeding off the energy from the crowd all week. How did you use that to your advantage?
I was struggling at times and they helped me a lot. They loved me there since the first day, since my first match. They definitely helped me. That's the thing about tennis. When you have a big crowd, I'm in love with it.

You haven't played many Challenger events. This was just your 10th main draw and first final. How have you made the transition look so easy?
It's really not. When I played my first Challenger last year in Kazan, I got past the first round and I thought it was a big first step forward. Then I won a couple of Futures titles and I went back to Challengers and I got some more wins, reaching my first quarter-final. I wasn't rising very fast. I took little steps closer and closer and had a big experience [at the ATP World Tour event] in Moscow at the end of the year.

Having reached the quarter-finals as a qualifier at the VTB Kremlin Cup in October, did that experience give you a boost entering the 2017 season?
Moscow really helped me a lot. That was a big push for me, because I've been working hard for a while. At the same time the year before, I was playing qualies at a Futures event. I worked a lot for it and it showed me that I could compete with these guys. Then I had a great run at the Aussie Open (qualifying and reaching the second round) and I really believed it. This Challenger gave me the confidence that I can not only play well, but win a tournament.

Did you do anything different in the offseason to prepare you for your first full season on tour?
We worked on several things in the pre-season here in Delray Beach. We worked a lot on the physical part because I'm a big guy. That is, building up my strength with my serve. We also changed the way I train, which helped me a lot. Training in Delray is the best. I've been in America since I was 12 years old, living in San Francisco, so I love it here.

You are up to No. 7 in the Emirates ATP Race To Milan. What would it mean for you to qualify?
That's one of the main goals for me this season to qualify. It sounds like a great event and it will be very interesting to play there. I hope to stay healthy so I can make it.

ICYMI - #NextGenATP star @AlexanderBublik claims his first #ATPChallenger title with a splash, soaring to victory in Morelos, Mexico. pic.twitter.com/Adm4qfVGUX

— ATP Challenger Tour (@ATPChallenger) February 26, 2017

Federer Looks Ahead To Dubai 2017

Mon, 02/27/2017 - 3:19pm

Roger Federer is set to play against Benoit Paire on Monday at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, which celebrates its 25th anniversary this year.

“I love playing in Dubai,” Federer told ATP World Tour Uncovered. “I call it my second home because I've spend so much time here practising over the years. The sessions are more sold out than ever, so it’s nice to be a part of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships history.”

Watch the Swiss superstar, a winner of seven Dubai titles, train with Dustin Brown at the Aviation Club on Sunday and look ahead to his 13th appearance at the ATP World Tour 500 tournament.

Federer is playing at his first tournament since capturing his 18th Grand Slam championship at the Australian Open (d. Nadal) on 29 January.

“I’ve been resting myself and have only been back in full training for the past three days at 100 per cent," admitted Federer. "The first round is going to be tough against Benoit Paire, who I know quite well. He’s a dangerous player and it’s a fast court.

“Even though I did win in Australia, I still feel like I’m a work in progress. I feel there is a little of the unknown, I don’t know what to expect myself. Especially if I were to win matches here, how is my body and mind going to react to back-to-back matches? I haven’t done that in seven or eight months. I will try to take it easy and not put too much pressure on myself.”

Kohlschreiber Wins Dubai Opener; Federer, Monfils In Action

Mon, 02/27/2017 - 2:00pm

Philipp Kohlschreiber moved to within two match wins of the 400th victory of his career on Monday by beating eighth seed and last month’s Apia International Sydney titlist Gilles Muller 6-4, 7-6(1) in 88 minutes at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships. “Hopefully I can achieve the mark here in this tournament,” said Kohlschreiber, who now has 398 match wins. “It would be great [and] mean I'm in the semi-finals.” He will next face #NextGenATP Daniil Medvedev or wild card Omar Alawadhi.

Three Spaniards – sixth seed Roberto Bautista Agut, Marcel Granollers and Guillermo Garcia-Lopez – all advanced to the second round during the afternoon session.

Bautista Agut overcame #NextGenATP Russian Karen Khachanov 6-1, 7-6(4) in 85 minutes, while Granollers lost just three of his first service points in beating Jiri Vesely 6-3, 6-2 for a second-round clash against second seed and defending champion Stan Wawrinka or Damir Dzumhur. Garcia-Lopez defeated Viktor Troicki 6-4, 6-3 in one hour and 34 minutes.

Third seed and seven-time former winner Roger Federer and Gael Monfils compete at the Aviation Club in Dubai, venue of the ATP World Tour 500 tournament, later today. The Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships is celebrating its 25th edition this year.

Denis Istomin, Evgeny Donskoy, Marius Copil and Lukas Rosol all booked their spots in the main draw as a result of winning through the final qualifying round.

Watch Full Match Replays

Doubles Seeds Safely Through To QFs

Top seeds and ATP Finals titlists Henri Kontinen and John Peers lost just two of their service points in cruising past Alawadhi and Amirvala Madanchi 6-1, 6-1 in 37 minutes for a place in the quarter-finals. Fourth seeds and 2015 semi-finalists Jean-Julien Rojer and Horia Tecau overcame Mate Pavic and Alexander Peya 7-6(2), 6-1 in 64 minutes.

Tsonga Beats Pouille For Marseille 2017 Title

Mon, 02/27/2017 - 12:56pm
Watch highlights of the 2017 Open 13 Marseille final featuring Frenchmen Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Lucas Pouille. Photo: Yohan Brandt

Acapulco 2017

Mon, 02/27/2017 - 11:01am

Federer Looks Ahead To Dubai 2017

Mon, 02/27/2017 - 10:14am
Watch Roger Federer train with Dustin Brown, look ahead to the 2017 Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships and Benoit Paire, his first round opponent.

Tsonga Returns To Top 10, Mover Of The Week

Mon, 02/27/2017 - 9:57am

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga has broken back into the Top 10 of the Emirates ATP Rankings for the first time since 15 August 2016 (at No. 10) as a result of capturing his second straight ATP World Tour title. The 31-year-old Frenchman jumped four spots to No. 7 – his highest position since 23 May 2016 – as a result of lifting the Open 13 Marseille crown with a 6-4, 6-4 victory over countryman Lucas Pouille in the Marseille final. Tsonga also clinched the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament title (d. Goffin) in Rotterdam eight days ago. Pouille, 23, rose two spots to No. 15, equalling his career-high position that he first attained on 11 November 2016. Read Marseille Final Report

Jack Sock completed another strong week by sealing the Delray Beach Open title – adding to his ASB Classic trophy (d. Sousa) in January – to move up three places to a career-high No. 18 in the Emirates ATP Rankings. The 24-year-old American is now 11-1 on the year. Former World No. 4 Juan Martin del Potro, who also competed at the ATP World Tour 250 tournament, soared 10 spots to No. 32 as a result of reaching the semi-finals (l. to Raonic). Read Delray Beach Report

View Latest Emirates ATP Rankings

#NextGenATP Russian Daniil Medvedev continues his rise up the Emirates ATP Rankings. The 21 year old rose seven positions to a career-high No. 57 with a Marseille quarter-final run (l. to Pouille). Brazilian Thomaz Bellucci, who beat No. 5-ranked Kei Nishikori at the Rio Open presented by Claro also jumped seven spots to No. 69, while his second-round conqueror Thiago Monteiro moved up 11 places to a career-high No. 74.

Nicolas Kicker made his debut in the Top 100 at No. 100 after he qualified for the Rio de Janeiro tournament and reached the last eight (l. to Ramos-Vinolas). The 24-year-old Argentinean vaulted 23 places to his career-high.

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Scouting Report: Djokovic Set For Acapulco Debut

Mon, 02/27/2017 - 5:07am

Strong Fields in Acapulco, Dubai & Sao Paulo: The busiest month of the season comes to a close this week with ATP World Tour 500-level tournaments in Acapulco and Dubai and the final Latin American clay-court stop in Sao Paulo. Eight of the Top 10 players in the Emirates ATP Rankings are in action, including five in Acapulco, led by No. 2 Novak Djokovic, and No. 6 Rafael Nadal. In Dubai, top-ranked Andy Murray, No. 3 Stan Wawrinka and No. 10 Roger Federer lead the way. In Sao Paulo, the top three are Spaniards Pablo Carreno Busta and Albert Ramos-Vinolas and two-time reigning champion Pablo Cuevas of Uruguay.

Emirates ATP Race to Milan Leaders: There are six #NextGenATP players among the Top 20 Emirates ATP Race to Milan (as of Feb. 20) in the main draw and two others in the final round of qualifying in the upcoming tournaments.

View full Race To Milan standings 

ABIERTO MEXICANO TELCEL (Acapulco): One of the favourite destinations on the ATP World Tour is the Acapulco Princess Mundo Imperial, site of the 500-level Abierto Mexicano Telcel. The tournament made the switch from clay to hard courts in 2014 and this year’s field features a tournament record five of the Top 10 players, led by wild card and World No. 2 Novak Djokovic, who is making his tournament debut. The others include No. 6 Rafael Nadal, who returns for the first time since 2013, No. 8 and defending champion Dominic Thiem, No. 9 Marin Cilic and No. 10 David Goffin. Rounding out the seeds are first-time entrants No. 16 Nick Kyrgios and No. 21 Jack Sock. Thiem and Nadal are the only former champions in the draw.

Novak Makes Debut: Djokovic, who accepted a wild card to play in Acapulco for the first time, is playing his first tournament match since his five-set 2R loss to Denis Istomin at the Australian Open on Jan. 19. After Melbourne, Djokovic played in Serbia’ s 1R Davis Cup tie vs. Russia and he defeated #NextGenATP star Daniil Medvedev in the second singles match in four sets (did not play reverse singles). The 29-year-old Serbian is making his Acapulco debut and second career pro tournament appearance in Latin America. Last summer he lost in the 1R at the Rio Olympics (l. to del Potro). Djokovic opened the season by defending his title in Doha (d. Murray). He enters with 758 career match wins and he is four wins away from tying Pete Sampras for 10th place on the Open Era list.

Thiem Reigning Champion: Last year Thiem won the biggest ATP World Tour title of his career in Acapulco, defeating Aussie Bernard Tomic 7-6, 4-6, 6-3. It was the second of a career-high four ATP World Tour titles during the season and the 23-year-old Austrian finished as the youngest player in the Top 10 of the Emirates ATP Rankings at No. 8. On Sunday, Thiem won his first title of the season over Pablo Carreno Busta in Rio.

Nadal Eyes 70th Title: Two-time Acapulco champion Nadal looks to continue his success and remain unbeaten (10-0) in the tournament. In his two previous appearances on clay, Nadal won without dropping a set, capped by final wins in 2005 (d. Montanes) and 2013 (d. No. 4 Ferrer). The 30-year-old Spaniard is playing in his first tournament since reaching the Australian Open final on Jan. 29 (l. to Federer in five sets). He opened the year by reaching the quarter-finals in Brisbane (l. to Raonic). Nadal is not only trying to capture his 70th career title, he is also attempting to break a three-year-plus hard-court title drought. His last hard court title came in Doha in January 2014 (d. Monfils).

Delpo Returns: It’s been 11 years since Juan Martin del Potro played in Acapulco. In 2006, he came in ranked No. 146 and retired in the 1R vs. Albert Montanes trailing 6-2, 5-3. It was only his fifth career ATP World Tour match at the time. Since then the Argentine superstar has won 19 career titles, including the 2009 US Open, and reached a career-high ranking of No. 4. Just over one year ago he came into Delray Beach ranked No. 1,042. This past week he played in his first tournament of the season in Delray Beach and lost in the semi-finals to top seed Raonic. Last year he earned a second ATP Comeback of the Year award (2011). He finished at No. 38 with a 32-12 match record on the season, winning in Stockholm (d. Sock) and earning a silver medal at the Rio Olympics where he beat No. 1 Djokovic in 1R and No. 5 Nadal in SF, (l. to No. 2 Murray). He closed the year by leading his country to a first Davis Cup title with wins over Croatia’s Karlovic and Cilic.

#NextGenATP Stars: There are six #NextGenATP players in the main draw, led by World No. 59 Borna Coric, wild card World No. 113 Ernesto Escobedo and four qualifiers - No. 86 Yoshihito Nishioka, No. 90 Frances Tiafoe, No. 115 Stefan Kozlov, and No. 136 Taylor Fritz, who was last year’s ATP Star of Tomorrow recipient.

Sock Coming to Acapulco: No. 8 seed Sock, a winner over Milos Raonic in the Delray Beach final via walkover, is off to a quick start this season. Sock, the No. 1 American, is off to a career-best 10-1 start, winning his second career ATP World Tour title in Auckland (d. Sousa), reaching the 3R at the Australian Open (l. to Tsonga) and winning a match in the USA's 5-0 Davis Cup 1R win over Switzerland.

Doubles Draw: The top seeds are last year’s World No. 1 duo: Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares. The other seeds are: No. 2 Raven Klaasen and Rajeev Ram, No. 3 Lukasz Kubot and Marcelo Melo and No. 4/last year’s champions Treat Huey and Max Mirnyi, who is aiming for his 50th career ATP World Tour level doubles title.

DUBAI DUTY FREE TENNIS CHAMPIONSHIPS (Dubai): The 25th anniversary of the prestigious 500-level tournament is highlighted by World No. 1 Andy Murray, who is joined by reigning champion Stan Wawrinka and seven-time winner Roger Federer, who is playing his first tournament since his title run at the Australian Open. The other seeds are: No. 4 Gael Monfils, No. 5 Tomas Berdych, No. 6 Roberto Bautista Agut, No. 7 Lucas Pouille and No. 8 Gilles Muller. Prior to last year when Wawrinka captured the title, Djokovic or Federer were champions for a seven-year stretch from 2009-2015.

Murray Top Seed:  Murray is making his first tournament appearance since losing in the 4R at the Australian Open (l. to M. Zverev) on Jan. 22. The World No. 1 opened the season by reaching the final in Doha (l. to Djokovic). He has an 11-4 career record in Dubai, reaching the final in 2012 (l. to Federer) and the quarter-finals in 2008-09 and 2015. Murray is also playing doubles (w/Zimonjic).

Stan Reigning Champion: No. 2 seed Wawrinka is back to defend his title. Last year he returned to Dubai for the first time since 2008 (1R, l. to Hernych). After opening the tournament coming back to beat Stakhovsky in three sets, he did not drop a set the rest of the week, capping it off with a 6-4, 7-6 victory over Baghdatis in the final.  He won two more titles, including his third Grand Slam crown at the US Open (d. Djokovic) to finish No. 4 in the Emirates ATP Rankings for the third straight year. This season he has compiled a 7-2 match record, opening with a semi-final in Brisbane (l. to Nishikori) and following with the same result at the Australian Open (l. to eventual champion Federer in five sets).

Roger Eyes Eighth Title: Federer is making his 13th appearance in Dubai and the 35-year-old Swiss superstar is playing in his first tournament since capturing his 18th career Grand Slam crown at the Australian Open on Jan. 29 (d. Nadal in five sets). Federer owns a 47-5 career record in Dubai with seven titles (2003-05, 2007, 2012, 2014-15). He also was runner-up in 2006 and 2011. He has won 10 straight matches in Dubai since losing to Berdych in the semi-finals in 2013. He is trying to win an eighth title for the first time in his career. He also has captured seven titles in Basel, Cincinnati, Halle and Wimbledon. Last year he played his last match in the Wimbledon semi-finals on July 8, 2016 when he lost in five sets to Raonic. He missed the rest of last season with a knee injury.            

Kohli Eyes 400 Wins: No. 2 German Philipp Kohlschreiber is three match wins away from reaching the 400 wins milestone in his career. He has a record of 397-307, including 8-7 in Dubai, reaching the semi-finals in 2014 (l. to Berdych) and quarter-finals last year (l. to eventual champion Wawrinka).

Berdych Makes 10th Appearance: No. 5 seed Tomas Berdych is making his 11th  appearance in Dubai. The two-time finalist (2013-14), who has reached the quarter-finals or better the past six years, has a 22-10 career record. He began with a 4-4 record but is 18-6 since 2011.

Doubles Draw: The top seeds are Australian Open champions Henri Kontinen and John Peers. The other seeds are: No. 2 Ivan Dodig and Marcel Granollers, No. 3 Daniel Nestor and Edouard Roger-Vasselin and No. 4 Jean-Julien Rojer and Horia Tecau.

BRASIL OPEN (Sao Paulo):  Sao Paulo is the site of one of two Brazilian tournaments on the ATP World Tour (Rio de Janeiro). There are five players in the Top 50 Emirates ATP Rankings in the field, led by top seed, Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta, who finished runner-up in his biggest career ATP World Tour final in Rio on Sunday (l. to Thiem).  The other seeds are No. 2 Albert Ramos-Vinolas No. 3 and reigning two-time champion Pablo Cuevas, No. 4 Joao Sousa, No. 5 Fabio Fognini, No. 6 Diego Schwartzman, No. 7 Federico Delbonis and No. 8 Carlos Berlocq. There are two former winners in the field: Cuevas (2015-16) and Delbonis (2014).

Cuevas Two-Time Defending Champ: Two-time reigning champion Cuevas comes in with a 12-5 career record, having won nine straight matches over 2015-16 in Sao Paulo. The 31-year-old Uruguayan is off to a slow start this season with a 1-4 match record and he has lost his past three opening round matches, including last week in Rio (l. to De Greef). On Saturday, he captured his sixth career doubles title in Rio (w/Carreno Busta). They are the top seeds in Sao Paulo.

Carreno Busta Top Seed: For the first time in his career Carreno Busta is the top seed in an ATP World Tour tournament. The 25-year-old Spaniard lost in Sunday’s singles final in Rio (l. to Thiem). He saved one match point in his 2-6, 7-5 ,6-0 semi-final win over rising Norwegian #NextGenATP star Casper Ruud. Last season Carreno Busta won two ATP World Tour titles (Winston-Salem, Moscow) and reached two other finals (Sao Paulo, Estoril) and finished a year-end best No. 30 in the Emirates ATP Rankings. Last year’s Sao Paulo runner-up is making his third straight tournament visit (4-2 record).

Ruud Newest #NextGenATP Star: The youngest player in the draw is 18-year-old Casper Ruud of Norway. Ruud earned entry into the draw as a special exempt after reaching his first ATP World Tour semi-final in Rio (l. to Carreno Busta after holding match point).  Ruud rose from No. 209 to a career-high of No. 133 in the Emirates ATP Rankings after his breakthrough week. He also moved from No. 16 to No. 3 in the Emirates ATP Race to Milan standings.

Spanish Success: In 2014, Delbonis became the first Argentine tournament winner since Guillermo Canas won in Costa do Sauipe in 2007. Then Uruguayan Pablo Cuevas won the title in 2015-16. Prior to 2014, Spaniards had won six straight titles in Sao Paulo from 2008-13 with Almagro winning three times:          

2013 – Rafael Nadal                                                                                              
2012 – Nicolas Almagro                                                                                        
2011 – Nicolas Almagro                                                                                            
2010 – Juan Carlos Ferrero                                                                                                          
2009 – Tommy Robredo                                                                                      
2008 – Nicolas Almagro

Doubles Draw: The top seeds are Rio champions Pablo Carreno Busta and Pablo Cuevas. The other seeds are: defending champions No. 2 Julio Peralta and Horacio Zeballos, No. 3 Nicholas Monroe and Artem Sitak and No. 4 Marcus Daniell and Marcelo Demoliner.

Thiem Laces On The Run Hot Shot In Rio 2017

Mon, 02/27/2017 - 2:58am
Dominic Thiem produces an incredible shot from an impossible angle against Pablo Carreno Busta in the Rio de Janeiro final. Watch live tennis at tennistv.com.