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Updated: 1 day 34 min ago

Watch Highlights: Dolgopolov Routs To Reach Brisbane QFs 2018

Wed, 01/03/2018 - 12:51pm
Watch highlights as Alexandr Dolgopolov faces Argentina's Horacio Zeballos at the 2018 Brisbane International presented by Suncorp. Video courtesy Tennis Australia. Visit www.BrisbaneTennis.com.au for more video. Playback not available in Australia. Photo: Getty Images.

Watch Highlights: #NextGenATP American Knocks Out Seed In Brisbane 2018

Wed, 01/03/2018 - 12:51pm
Watch highlights as #NextGenATP American Michael Mmoh faces German Mischa Zverev at the 2018 Brisbane International presented by Suncorp. Video courtesy Tennis Australia. Visit www.BrisbaneTennis.com.au for more video. Playback not available in Australia. Photo: Peter Staples/ATP World Tour

Kyrgios, Tecau, Lopez Among 'ATP ACES For Charity' Grant Recipients For 2018

Wed, 01/03/2018 - 9:52am

Nick Kyrgios’ NK Foundation and Fundatia Curtea Veche, supported by 2017 Arthur Ashe Humanitarian Award recipient Horia Tecau, are among nine recipients to have been selected for the 2018 ATP ACES for Charity grant programme. Grants of $/€15,000 will be awarded to a total of nine charitable causes, nominated by ATP World Tour players, tournaments and alumni.

This year’s grant recipients aim to make a difference to the lives of many through their work in sport, disability and education. Through access to sport and reading materials respectively, both the NK Foundation and Tecau’s campaign will look to improve the lives of children and young people from underprivileged backgrounds. Other grant beneficiaries include Stop War Start Tennis, Fundación Emilio Sánchez Vicario, Futuros para el Tenis, The Champions Volunteer Foundation, Dubai Autism Centre, Academia Dos Champs and Hand in Hand Foundation.

The ATP ACES For Charity program, which launched in 2011, is a global initiative aimed at giving back to communities where ATP World Tour events are played, as well as recognising and supporting tournament, player and alumni charitable initiatives. Since 2011, the grant programme has awarded 85 grants totalling more than $1,000,000 in donations.

More about ATP ACES For Charity

The recipients of the 2018 ATP ACES For Charity grants are:

Nick Kyrgios: The NK Foundation strives to increase access and provide sport to underprivileged and disadvantaged youths. With the motivation to give every child who dreams of playing sport the opportunity they dream of, NK Foundation plans to build a sports centre in Melbourne complete with dormitories for those who may also need to take shelter. The ATP ACES for Charity grant will be used to contribute towards the cost of building a centre which will feature four tennis courts, two basketball courts, a gym, a swimming pool and 10 self-contained dormitory facilities.

Feliciano Lopez & Emilio Sanchez: Fundación Emilio Sánchez Vicario works to enhance personal development and social skills of individuals through sports and education. The grant will be used to fund activities and education for disabled people with four tennis schools and a paddle tennis school dedicated to those who suffer from physical, sensory and intellectual disabilities all set to benefit. Lopez and Fundación Emilio Sánchez Vicario will also support a special cause in honour of Casper Fernandez, a mutual friend and student at Academia Sánchez-Casal in Florida, who recently died of bone cancer.

Hans Podlipnik-Castillo: Futuros para el Tenis aims, through tennis and education, to help young children at social risk, in Chile, obtain university scholarships around the world. Founded in 2003, Futuros para el Tenis has set up a tennis school with two hard courts, a hitting wall and a small club house and now works with 220 children aged 4-18. The Foundation will use their ATP ACES for Charity grant to pay for a full year’s tennis programme for children in the most critical state of social risk covering coaching, equipment, tournament and educational costs. There are also plans for an English language programme to help increase the probability of achieving a university education in later life.

Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi: Stop War Start Tennis aims to promote peace through tennis, helping victims of war resume an active lifestyle. Qureshi’s foundation works to build bridges in communities where there have been walls and has served as a vehicle for official visits to countries suffering from the effects of conflict. The ATP ACES for Charity grant will help to supply equipment such as prosthetic limbs, wheelchairs and hearing aids while also funding a book donation project and the acquisition of expert instructors to specifically help those with disabilities and special needs.

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Horia Tecau: Fundația Curtea Veche contributes to the well-being of future adults by improving children’s education through reading. Promoting reading as a fun, spare-time activity, the association organises interactive reading workshops and enables children from underprivileged backgrounds to gain access to books through book clubs and donation schemes. The ATP ACES for Charity grant will support the ‘Life in the Rhythm of Tennis’ book donation campaign which will combine reading and sports featuring lessons from Tecau’s children’s book. The grant will be used to fund visits to 10 Romanian cities where 5000 children can learn new skills or improve on existing ones with support from a strong sporting infrastructure.

Gazprom Hungarian Open (Budapest): Hand in Hand Foundation works for a tolerant society in which individuals with disabilities can live with dignity. The Foundation helps disabled people and their families and carers through various aspects of life such as education, health and family care, employment and recreation. The Gazprom Hungarian Open and Hand in Hand Foundation will specifically use the ATP ACES for Charity grant to kick-off a large-scale event for 300 children aged 6-10 during the 2018 tournament. This event will include a wheelchair tennis clinic for both disabled and able-bodied children and a mini-tennis clinic involving ATP players and top Hungarian wheelchair tennis players. The grant will also provide four new junior-sized sports wheelchairs.

Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships: Dubai Autism Centre, founded in 2001, encourages a better understanding of autism and provides specialist services for those who have autism and the people who care for them. With focused efforts to increase social awareness, Dubai Autism Centre aims to successfully integrate children with autism into the local community through a holistic approach to intervention and therapies. With a strong belief in the importance of involving the entire community during the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, the ATP ACES for Charity grant will fund this year’s ‘Special Needs Kids Day’ during next month’s tournament. The day will provide the children with an opportunity to interact with their favourite players and to also enjoy the event from the stands with tickets and meals provided.

Millennium Estoril Open: Academia Dos Champs teaches tennis as an innovative tool to instil strong, positive guidelines in underprivileged children and young adults. The academy promotes the benefits of sport and how it transcends social classes, backgrounds and life circumstances while rewarding effort and dedication. With over 260 students across 10 centres, Academia Dos Champs has held 10,058 lessons since 2009 and now over half of their overall student population will benefit from 1108 tennis lessons funded by the ATP ACES for Charity grant. The lessons will be held at three centres in the Cascais municipality, home to the Millennium Estoril Open.

BNP Paribas Open (Indian Wells): The Champions Volunteer Foundation raises and redistributes funds to the local community through other organisations that support but are not limited to youth, recreational, educational and well-care programmes. The Foundation, which provides more than 1200 volunteers for the BNP Paribas Open every March, centres their attention on non-profit organisations in the Coachella Valley who support the most vulnerable and marginalised members of the community. The ATP ACES for Charity grant allows the foundation to increase the number of grants they can award to keep up with the growing demand from the local area for financial assistance.

#NextGenATP Stars Upset Seeds In Brisbane

Wed, 01/03/2018 - 9:06am

#NextGenATP contender Alex de Minaur continued his impressive start to the season with a stunning 6-4, 6-4 upset win over fourth seed Milos Raonic at the Brisbane International presented by Suncorp on Wednesday.

The 18-year-old Australian backed up his first round win over Steve Johnson in impressive style to topple 2016 champion Raonic in one hour and 34 minutes. Describing the win as a ‘tremendous high’, de Minaur pointed to his levels of self-belief as a key factor in pulling off such a great win.

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“You've got to into every match believing that you can win,” said de Minaur. “I just go out to every match the same, trying to play my game and leave it all out there.

“That way you're going to get yourself into a lot of matches and get yourself a lot of opportunities. It's all about taking those small opportunities, which I feel like I did today, and it helped me get the biggest win in my career.”

The wildcard took full advantage of his opportunity with three breaks of the Raonic serve to secure his place in the final eight where he will meet fellow #NextGen ATP talent Michael Mmoh.

“I played him (Mmoh) in juniors. I know him quite well. It's going to be a very fun match [with] two young guys battling it out. [It] can't get much better than that. I'm really looking forward to it and we'll see what happens,” said de Minaur.

Riding high off the confidence of his first ATP World Tour victory in the first round, American Mmoh upset eighth seed Mischa Zverev 6-2 5-7 6-4. The 19-year-old started well, cruising through the first set, but he didn’t have it all his own way as Zverev fought back to take a tense second set before establishing a lead in the decider.

Mmoh would not shy away from the challenge though, fighting back from break point down at 1-3 to level at 3-3 before breaking in the tenth and final game of the match to clinch a landmark victory.

“It was a rollercoaster of a match,” said Mmoh. “[There were] a lot of ups and downs and emotions and it was a battle the whole way through. I’ll never give up. I’m a great competitor and I’ll fight until the last point and that is going to be something you will see as long as I am playing tennis.”

Now, with no seeded players remaining in the bottom half of the draw, Mmoh is well aware of his chance to make a first ATP World Tour semi-final appearance and will look to reverse the fortunes of his loss to de Minaur in the 2015 US Open juniors.

“You don’t play an 18-year-old in the quarter-finals of ATP World Tour 250 event too often. It’s going to be a good match.”

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Disappointed Raonic Looks To Get Match Sharp

Wed, 01/03/2018 - 8:36am

Milos Raonic was left “heavily disappointed” on Wednesday by his second-round exit at the Brisbane International presented by Suncorp, which marked his return to the ATP World Tour after a three-month absence. But the Canadian believes through good practise he’ll be ready for his next tournament.

“I am heavily disappointed,” said Raonic, after his 6-4, 6-4 loss to Australian wild card Alex de Minaur. “I was hoping to do better.

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“It’s normal, you don’t expect to have everything clicking [in the first match of the year], you expect to go out there and have to fight and hopefully put things together, and I wasn’t able to do that today."

It was Raonic’s first competitive match since he was forced to pull out of the Rakuten Japan Open Tennis Championships with a right calf muscle tear in October last year.

“The main thing [now] is just get myself really sharp with my game and that’s going to be done through good practise rather than matches," he added.

The 27-year-old will now head to Melbourne to prepare for the Australian Open, which begins on 15 January. Raonic reached the 2016 semi-finals (l. to Murray) at the first major of the year.

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Nick To Andy: Sorry Buddy, I Can't Practise THAT Early

Wed, 01/03/2018 - 5:57am

All seemed well for Andy Murray when he spoke to Nick Kyrgios at the Brisbane International presented by Suncorp earlier this week to arrange a practice session.

The British No.1 spoke to Kyrgios, hoping to arrange an early morning hit ahead of the start of the 2018 ATP World Tour season but the 22-year-old, sensing an opportunity for competition, quickly fired back with his own request.

“He was actually trying to organise a hit for me at 8am,” revealed Kyrgios. “I [said], Andy, I'm not going to make that hit."

The initial response from the World No. 21 gave Murray food for thought but with both men standing strong, negotiations eventually broke down.

“I offered him 9am. I thought 9am is pretty good and then he said 8am. I [said] no, you're going to have to find someone else.”

The light-hearted standoff between the two friends eventually took an unfortunate turn with Murray being forced to withdraw from the tournament.

“I saw him the next day and he told me he pulled out,” said Kyrgios. “It's pretty sad; he's definitely a fan favourite. He brings a lot of the people to all these tournaments and he's a good friend of mine.

“It's never good seeing a guy like that get injured, especially because he's just good for the sport. He's a good guy as well.”

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Raonic Discusses Art And ATP Comeback Brisbane 2018

Wed, 01/03/2018 - 4:44am
Milos Raonic tours an art gallery in Brisbane and looks ahead to his first match back on tour in almost three months. Video courtesy Tennis Australia. Visit www.BrisbaneTennis.com.au for more video.

Challenger Season Preview: 10 To Watch In 2018

Wed, 01/03/2018 - 3:16am
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The 2018 ATP Challenger Tour season is underway, with a trio of tournaments - in Bangkok, Noumea and Playford - kicking off the new year. Many players are looking to carry the momentum from strong 2017 campaigns, while others are eyeing a fresh start as the calendar turns.

Last year, 14 players broke into the Top 100 and will look to translate their Challenger success to the ATP World Tour. A total of 33 others tasted victory for the first time and are hoping to continue to plot their ascents up the ATP Rankings.

New opportunities await the stars of tomorrow, as the sun rises on 2018. Who will shine in the new year? We look at the players poised to break through.

Felix Auger-Aliassime [No. 161]: It has been quite the ride for the Canadian since crashing onto the scene as a 14-year-old. One history-making performance after another has Auger-Aliassime closing in on joining close friend and countryman Denis Shapovalov in the Top 100. One of the more precocious young talents in the modern era, the Montreal native boasts an electric game that saw him lift his maiden Challenger trophies in Lyon, France and Sevilla, Spain. Coming off his first full season as a professional, Auger-Aliassime has already cemented himself in the record books. Over the past 20 years, only three players younger than the 17-year-old had made their Top 200 debut: Rafael Nadal, Lleyton Hewitt and Richard Gasquet. With time to continue to grow and mature, expect the World No. 161 to be a serious threat on the ATP Challenger Tour in 2018.

Yannick Hanfmann [No. 119]: Alexander Zverev is leading the German revolution on the ATP World Tour, with eight players occupying spots in the Top 100. That number could swell into double digits this year. Hanfmann, 26, and Oscar Otte, 24, quietly charged up the ATP Rankings in 2017, steadily improving as the year progressed. Hanfmann tasted the most success, rising nearly 200 spots behind a run to his first ATP World Tour final as a qualifier in Gstaad (l. to Fognini) and maiden Challenger crown on home soil in Ismaning. Otte, meanwhile, opens the year at No. 131 after soaring 379 spots, notching his maiden title in Lisbon. Both players' ascents have been nothing short of stunning, having combined to post a 3-16 record in Challenger main draws entering 2017.

Nicolas Jarry [No. 113]: It won't be long before Chile's No. 1 graduates from the ATP Challenger Tour. Jarry became the first Top 100 player from the South American nation since 2011 after claiming the title on home soil in Santiago in November. In fact, he mounted the third-biggest climb to the year-end Top 100 of the ATP Rankings, vaulting a total of 300 spots. Two years after suffering a broken wrist and falling outside the Top 600, the 22-year-old is realizing his potential. He captured three trophies last year and qualified for his first Grand Slams at Roland Garros and Wimbledon. The big-hitting Jarry wrote about his experiences on the Challenger circuit and his emotional journey in the latest edition of the Challenger Chronicles.

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Miomir Kecmanovic [No. 207] & Alex de Minaur [No. 208]: As the only players outside the Top 200 on this list, teens Kecmanovic and De Minaur might be considered long shots to crash the Top 100 party in 2018, but they have earned their places here regardless. Kecmanovic, an 18-year-old Serbian, became the youngest from his country to win an ATP Challenger Tour title since Novak Djokovic in 2005, prevailing in Suzhou, China. De Minaur, an 18-year-old Aussie, reached his second Challenger final in Segovia, Spain, and is coming off an impressive season-opening victory over World No. 44 Steve Johnson at the ATP World Tour stop in Brisbane. With their careers just beginning, look for Kecmanovic and De Minaur to continue to gain experience and develop their games on the circuit in 2018.

Soon-woo Kwon [No. 172]: Hyeon Chung is certainly the talk of Korean tennis after notching the Next Gen ATP Finals title, but countryman Soon-woo Kwon is not far behind. The 20-year-old became a Top 200 mainstay last year after posting a 27-17 record on the ATP Challenger Tour, reaching his first finals in Yokohama and Seoul. Kwon has already launched his 2018 campaign in strong fashion, winning the Asia-Pacific Australian Open wild card tournament. He will make his tour-level debut at Melbourne Park and continues his pursuit of his first Challenger crown this year.

Michael Mmoh [No. 175]: The American contingent of #NextGenATP stars is thriving, with Frances Tiafoe leading a strong group that also includes Mmoh, Taylor Fritz, Reilly Opelka, Tommy Paul and Stefan Kozlov. Mmoh is on the comeback trail after struggling with an abdominal injury in 2017. Despite the ailment, he captured his second ATP Challenger Tour title in Lexington and rose to a career-high No. 141 in the ATP Rankings. Now down to No. 175, the 19-year-old is looking to stay healthy in the new year as he continues his Top 100 quest. One of the more athletic young talents on the Challenger circuit, Mmoh is a threat in any tournament he enters. His 2018 campaign is already off to an auspicious start, having claimed his first ATP World Tour match win in Brisbane after coming through qualifying.

Corentin Moutet [No. 155]: The lone French teenager in the Top 200 of the ATP Rankings, Moutet quietly emerged on the #NextGenATP scene in 2017. Despite competing on the ATP Challenger Tour for only half the year, the 18-year-old's game matured at a rapid pace. Having opened his campaign at No. 533, few could have predicted his titanic ascent to a career-high No. 154. A late-season surge saw him storm to a pair of Futures titles and stun the field in Brest, France, for his maiden ATP Challenger Tour crown. With the poise and patience of a veteran, the unseeded wild card won a trio of three-set matches en route to the title. He is the youngest Frenchman to lift a trophy since Richard Gasquet in 2005.

Cameron Norrie [No. 114]: The 22-year-old former Texas Christian University standout was one of the most dominant performers on the ATP Challenger Tour in 2017. Norrie quickly earned the respect of his fellow competitors after opening the year at No. 276 in the ATP Rankings. A maiden title in Binghamton in July set the stage for a ruthless run to the finish, posting a combined 31-8 stretch to cap the year. He would add consecutive crowns in Northern California (Tiburon, Stockton) after reaching the US Open second round as a qualifier. It won't be long before Norrie joins Andy Murray and Kyle Edmund as Brits in the Top 100 and becomes a fixture on the ATP World Tour.

Stefano Travaglia [No. 134]: When Travaglia surged onto the scene at the US Open, marching into the second round as a qualifier, his incredible story of tragedy to triumph came to the forefront. The Italian, who suffered a career-threatening accident in 2011 when he fell down a flight of stairs and crashed through a pane of glass, underwent years of rehab for nerve and tendon damage. It made his 2017 rise even more stunning. The 26-year-old finally broke through with his first ATP Challenger Tour title in Ostrava, Czech Republic and first Top 50 win (d. Fognini) at Flushing Meadows. Up to No. 134, Travaglia has already picked up where he left off, qualifying for the 2018 season-opening Qatar ExxonMobil Open in Doha.

Elias Ymer [No. 142]: The addition of a new coach can be the catalyst a rising player needs to take the next step. For Ymer and Robin Soderling, the duo are hoping that their great chemistry and growing partnership continues in the new year. Two years after emerging as the next generation of Swedish tennis, the 21-year-old is putting it all together with the former World No. 4. Titles on the clay of Cordenons, Italy, and indoor hard courts of Mouilleron-le-Captif, France, saw him leap more than 150 spots to year-end No. 142. With a more attacking and offensive mentality, he is hoping the change in philosophy will pay dividends in 2018.

Kyrgios Recovers From Set Down In Brisbane

Wed, 01/03/2018 - 2:41am

An injury scare interrupted Nick Kyrgios' 2018 debut, but the Aussie didn't take the easy way out on Wednesday at the Brisbane International presented by Suncorp.

The third seed recovered from a set down and overcame pain in his left knee to oust his veteran countryman Matt Ebden 6-7(3), 7-6(5), 6-2 in his first match of the 2018 ATP World Tour season.

“I was a bit rusty in my first match of the year. I played a great doubles match yesterday with my great mate Matt Reid and that gave me that bit of confidence,” Kyrgios said. “I was just happy to get through today.” 

It took Kyrgios about a set and a half to find his world-class level. The 22-year-old hadn't played a match since 10 October, at the Rolex Shanghai Masters. Kyrgios missed the remainder of the 2017 season because of a recurring hip injury.

“It took me a while to get used to playing a match again. I've been training here for so long and training on centre court, it kind of didn't feel like a match to start. The longer the match went, the better I played, the looser I got. I knew it was going to be tough day today. He's a tough competitor.”

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It looked as if injuries might derail his 2018 start as well. At 4-5 in the first set, Kyrgios received a medical timeout for sharp pain in his left knee. Two games later, the trainer again treated Kyrgios during the changeover.

But the World No. 21 gradually played more freely, and Ebden's game dipped just slightly. The 30-year-old had hit almost 90 per cent of his first serves in the opening set, but that dropped to just above60 per cent in the second, and Kyrgios was able to even the match in the tie-break.

Kyrgios pulled away in the third, breaking Ebden for the first time at 1-1 and again in the seventh game. The third seed, who is making his Brisbane debut, will meet Ukraine's Alexandr Dolgopolov in the quarter-finals. Dolgopolov routed Argentina's Horacio Zeballos 6-1, 6-2 in only 64 minutes.

“I played him (Dolgopolov) last year in Cincinnati," said Kyrgios. "I beat him there but it was a tough match. I remember it was very hot and similar conditions. He's been on tour for a long time now. He definitely knows his way around the tennis court. So I know it's going to be tough.”

View Thursday Schedule: Dimitrov Starts Campaign

Highlights Hewitt Falls Just Short In Return At Brisbane

Tue, 01/02/2018 - 8:42pm
Watch highlights as Lleyton Hewitt, playing in his first professional match in a year and a half, falls just short alongside Jordan Thompson against Grigor Dimitrov and Ryan Harrison in Brisbane. Video courtesy Tennis Australia. Visit www.BrisbaneTennis.com.au for more video. Playback not available in Australia. Photo: Peter Staples/ATP World Tour

Highlights Istomin Upsets Dzumhur In Opener At Brisbane

Tue, 01/02/2018 - 8:30pm
Watch highlights as Denis Istomin battles back to upset Damir Dzumhur at the Brisbane International presented by Suncorp. Video courtesy Tennis Australia. Visit www.BrisbaneTennis.com.au for more video. Playback not available in Australia. Photo: Peter Staples/ATP World Tour.

Haase Safely Through In Pune

Tue, 01/02/2018 - 2:24pm

Fifth seed Robin Haase manoeuvred his way through a testing season opener to beat Blaz Kavcic 7-6(6), 7-5 at the Tata Open Maharashtra on Tuesday.

Kavcic put up a fight against the World No. 42 breaking the Dutchman's serve three times in the match, but it was Haase who had the answers in the important moments at the conclusion of both sets. Haase will face Chile’s Nicolas Jarry in the second-round.

Laslo Djere took two hours and 25 minutes to book his place in the second round after a titanic 5-7, 6-4, 7-5 battle with Marius Copil. The Serbian won 16 of 18 points on his first serve in the final set to help set a meeting with seventh seed Mikhail Kukushkin, who advanced on Monday.

Qualifier Thiago Monteiro ended singles action with a remarkable 6-7(4), 6-3, 7-6(8) win over Ruben Bemelmans. The Brazilian saved two break points early in the deciding set before eventually closing out the match on his fifth match point to move to the next round, where US Open finalist Kevin Anderson awaits.

There were also straight-set wins for Yuki Bhambri and Ilya Ivashka. Bhambri, competing in front of an adoring home crowd, saw off compatriot Arjun Kadhe 6-3, 6-4. Ivashka won a battle of qualifiers, topping home favourite Sumit Nagal 6-3, 6-3.

View Wednesday Schedule: Cilic And Bautista Agut Begin Pursuit Of Pune Title

Defending Champions Through In Doubles Openers

The defending doubles champions, fourth seeds Rohan Bopanna and Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan, did not have an easy draw in six-time event titlist Leander Paes and his partner, Purav Raja. But the duo moved a step closer to retaining their title nonetheless with a 6-3, 6-2 victory in 57 minutes. 

Top seeds Robert Lindstedt and Franko Skugor also moved on with relative ease, saving the two break points they faced to advance past Marton Fucsovics and Mikhail Kukushkin, 6-4, 6-1. Stunningly, the Swedish-Croatian duo won 52 per cent of points on their opponents' first serves to claim the triumph.

And in a matchup of intriguing pairings, three-time Nitto ATP Finals doubles participant Pierre-Hugues Herbert and his partner, Gilles Simon, ousted 2017 US Open finalist Kevin Anderson and his partner, Jonathan Erlich, 3-6, 6-3, 10/5.

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Highlights Mmoh Beats Delbonis For First ATP Win Brisbane 2018

Tue, 01/02/2018 - 1:18pm
Watch highlights of Michael Mmoh winning his first ATP World Tour match, beating Federico Delbonis of Argentina. Video courtesy Tennis Australia. Visit www.BrisbaneTennis.com.au for more video. Playback not available in Australia. Photo: Peter Staples/ATP World Tour.

Tsitsipas Focused On Key Targets In 2018

Tue, 01/02/2018 - 12:51pm

It’s been quite the ride for Stefanos Tsitsipas, who rose from No. 210 to No. 91 in the ATP Rankings, reached an ATP World Tour 250 semi-final and recorded a Top 10 victory over the past 12 months.

Having narrowly missed out on a qualification spot at the inaugural Next Gen ATP Finals, the #NextGenATP Greek has set his heart on starting strong in the 2018 ATP World Tour season.

“I would like to win enough points to be in the Top 3 in the Race to Milan for the Next Gen ATP Finals by March,” said Tsitsipas. “I also expect to make at least the third round of the Australian Open and hopefully win an ATP World Tour 250 title by around March or April.”

Having taken part in an exhibition match against Alexander Zverev in November 2017 at the Next Gen ATP Finals, 19-year-old Tsitsipas saw first-hand the dedication and commitment it took for his youthful contemporaries to qualify for the Milan event.

“All the Next Gen ATP players are giving me motivation to do better,” said Tsitsipas. “I see them, the way they do things and I want to do the same things they do. I want to stay high in the ATP Rankings and follow their footsteps. It’s tough, what they are doing [and] they are the stars of tomorrow.”

Having spent much of his pre-season in France, practising alongside Viktor Troicki and Alexandr Dolgopolov, Tsitsipas comes into the 2018 season feeling positive and with new ideas.

“It went really well this year compared to last year’s preparation,” said Tsitsipas. “It was more organised, everything was in order. I had my own private fitness coach this year, my tennis coach working with me for many hours on the court. I had a physio at the [Mouratoglou] academy that took care of me every single day to prevent injuries.

“I want to be more offensive, to press more with my forehand, which should be a bigger weapon. [I worked] mostly on my offensive game, durability on the court and playing smart with my coach. I am also developing my fitness, which is obviously very important nowadays.”

After a solid first-round win over Florian Mayer this week at the Qatar ExxonMobil Open, Tsitsipas spoke of his three main targets for the season.

“I’d like to make the fourth round of a Grand Slam, reach the Top 50 in the ATP Rankings and to qualify for the Next Gen ATP Finals in November. These are the main goals. We’ll see how the year goes. If it goes better then I’ll set new ones, but I’d like to start with that.”

Having beaten David Goffin at the European Open in October 2017, Tsitsipas believes with hard work and the right mentality he will succeed in his ambition to automatically qualify for all ATP World Tour and Grand Slam events in 2019.

“I don’t believe that I should have any pressure because I am just starting on the ATP World Tour and I just need to keep playing my game the way I have been for all these years and improve myself,” said Tsitsipas.

“There is nothing that will put pressure on me; it’s the wrong way of thinking. It is only me and my goals. I sometimes don’t really see who my opponent is and that is important. I’d rather just concentrate on myself and my tennis and not what people say or expect from you.”

Coric Survives Battle, Ousts Carreno Busta

Tue, 01/02/2018 - 11:56am

Pablo Carreno Busta finished 2017 on a high, playing two matches in the Nitto ATP Finals as an alternate. And the Spaniard appeared he would begin the new ATP World Tour campaign strongly as well Tuesday. He twice served for his season-opening match against Borna Coric at the Qatar ExxonMobil Open in the third set, before holding three match points in the eventual tie-break.

But Coric had the courage to step into the court in the big moments and seize the victory from second seed Carreno Busta, surviving the two-hour 41-minute battle 5-7, 6-2, 7-6(8). How did he manage to find his way past the No. 10 player in the ATP Rankings?

“To be honest I don’t know,” Coric said. “It was such a tough match. I think he was serving two times for the match and I was just thinking to myself [that] I was playing good for the whole match and that was my main focus.”

While Coric faced match points at 5/6, 6/7 and 7/8, in the third-set tie-break, he took full advantage of his first opportunity, whipping a forehand approach shot that Carreno Busta could not handle. That shot clinched his fourth Top 10 win since March 2017.

“I think it’s actually quite normal to play better when you’re playing against better players,” Coric said.

That was not the only match to go to a third-set tie-break in Doha on Tuesday, as eighth-seeded Feliciano Lopez snuck past fellow Spaniard Guillermo Garcia-Lopez 6-4, 5-7, 7-6(3) to set up a second-round meeting against qualifier Mirza Basic.

Lopez’s victory was not quite as up-and-down as Coric’s. While the left-hander did have a match point on his opponent’s serve at 5-4 in the third set, he cruised through the tie-break, taking advantage of his second opportunity to clinch the battle.

View Wednesday Schedule: Kyrgios Begins Campaign And Raonic Returns Against Home Favourite

And if that third-set tie-break was not enough, there was a third in Doha. Jan-Lennard Struff earned the fifth Top 20 win of his career by defeating third seed Tomas Berdych 6-4, 1-6, 7-6(4) in two hours, eight minutes. 

Berdych, who had not played since October due to a back injury, won nine more points than Struff in the match. But it was the German who played the more courageous tennis in the end, converting on his second match point. He will next face wild card Gael Monfils, who battled past Italian veteran Paolo Lorenzi 6-3, 3-6, 6-4. 

Sixth-seeded Filip Krajinovic, who made waves by advancing to the Rolex Paris Masters final as a qualifier, also was upset. Peter Gojowczyk, the 2017 Moselle Open champion, broke five times to beat the Serbian 6-4, 6-1 in 66 minutes.

One player who got through unscathed was French fifth seed Richard Gasquet, who outclassed World No. 83 Victor Estrella Burgos 6-0, 6-2 in 51 minutes.  

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Dimitrov Shrugs Off Passport Problems

Tue, 01/02/2018 - 10:34am
World No. 3 Grigor Dimitrov puts passport troubles behind him as he looks forward to starting 2018 in the same form he ended 2017.

Players Share Hard Offseason Work On Social Media

Tue, 01/02/2018 - 9:08am
The stars of the ATP World Tour work hard in the offseason to prepare for the new campaign, and they shared their experiences at the end of 2017 with the fans through social media.

Murray Makes Heartfelt Statement To Fans

Tue, 01/02/2018 - 6:52am

Andy Murray has released a heartfelt statement to his social media followers after withdrawing from the Brisbane International presented by Suncorp on Tuesday.

The two-time champion at the Queensland event was hoping to make his long-awaited return to the ATP World Tour this week after a hip injury has seen him spend six months on the sidelines. Murray, who hasn’t played a competitive match since July 2017 at Wimbledon, apologised to the tournament and fans before providing an update on the status of his injury via Instagram.

“Firstly I want to apologise [to the tournament] for withdrawing at late notice and to everyone who wanted to come along to watch me play. The organisers couldn't have been more understanding and supportive and I'll always remember that," said Murray.

“I've obviously been going through a really difficult period with my hip for a long time and have sought council from a number of hip specialists. Having been recommended to treat my hip conservatively since the US Open I have done everything asked of me from a rehab perspective and worked extremely hard to try get back on the court competing.”

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Murray revealed he had not been happy with his level when playing practice sets against fellow players in Brisbane and now has to take time to assess his options moving forward with the injury.

“I have to reassess my options," said Murray. "Obviously continuing rehab is one option, giving my hip more time to recover. Surgery is also an option but the chances of a successful outcome are not as high as I would like, which has made this my secondary option and my hope has been to avoid that. However this is something I may have to consider but let's hope not.”

The former World No. 1 revealed how the injury lay-off has affected him mentally and given him a greater understanding of how much he loves the sport.

“The little kid inside me just wants to play tennis and compete," he added. "I genuinely miss it so much and I would give anything to be back out there. I didn't realise until these last few months just how much I love this game. Every time I wake up from sleeping or napping I hope that it's better and it's quite demoralising when you get on the court it's not at the level you need it to be to compete at this level.”

Other players reached out to Murray on his social media post to send their best wishes.

"Andy, we miss you and we hope to see you back soon! Get well my friend!" World No. 1 Rafael Nadal wrote.

"Andy, thank you for genuinely sharing your thoughts and emotions with everyone," Novak Djokovic wrote. "I can imagine how bad it feels. We all send you support and strength to get through this tough circumstances. God Bless."

With short term decisions to be made as the Australian Open looms large, Murray revealed he will soon make a decision on his participation at the first Grand Slam of 2018. “I'm going to be staying in Australia for the next couple of days to see if my hip settles down a bit and will decide by the weekend whether to stay out here or fly home to assess what I do next.”

Competitive Hewitt Falls Just Short in Doubles Return

Tue, 01/02/2018 - 5:43am

Lleyton Hewitt made a surprise return to the ATP World Tour at the Brisbane International presented by Suncorp on Tuesday.

Teaming up with compatriot Jordan Thompson in doubles, his first tour-level event since 2016 Wimbledon, the Australian pairing lost a tight first-round encounter as Grigor Dimitrov and Ryan Harrison emerged victorious 6-3, 1-6, 10-5. Dimitrov and Harrison were clinical down the stretch, managing to win five of eight points on return in the Match Tie-break.

The Bulgarian-American duo will next meet another Australian team, as Nick Kyrgios and Matt Reid rallied from a set down to defeat fourth seeds Marcus Daniell and Dominic Inglot 4-6, 6-1, 10-7.

No decider was needed for Leonardo Mayer and Horacio Zeballos who took just 52 minutes to race into the second round. The all-Argentine team punished their opponents Diego Schwartzman and Mischa Zverev on every second serve return (12/12) on their way to a comfortable 6-2, 6-0 victory.

At the Qatar ExxonMobil Open in Doha, the seeded pairs in action moved through with little difficulty.

Second seeds Oliver Marach and Mate Pavic, who in 2017 won the title in Stockholm and advanced to the Wimbledon final, cruised past two-time Doha winner Daniel Nestor and his partner, Philipp Oswald, 6-2, 6-2 in their 51-minute season opener. The Austrian-Croatian pair did not face a break point in the match.

Ivan Dodig and Fernando Verdasco, the fourth seeds, were broken twice but still beat 2007 Doha champion Nenad Zimonjic and his partner, Florin Mergea, 6-1, 6-4. 

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Highlights Edmund Beats Shapovalov At Brisbane 2018

Tue, 01/02/2018 - 5:33am
Watch highlights of Kyle Edmund versus Denis Shapovalov at the Brisbane International presented by Suncorp on Tuesday. Video courtesy Tennis Australia. Visit www.BrisbaneTennis.com.au for more video. Playback not available in Australia. Photo: Getty Images