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2013 State Championships

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Updated: 10 min 45 sec ago

McDonald Continues Thriving On Home Turf In Stockton

Thu, 10/06/2016 - 11:54pm

Some players struggle to find real world success straight out of college, but that hasn’t been the case for reigning NCAA champion Mackenzie McDonald.

Since turning pro in June after completing his junior year at UCLA, the 21-year-old American has found his footing on the ATP Challenger Tour and is now producing big results in his home state of California. McDonald reached the semi-finals last week at the $100,000 ATP Challenger Tour event in Tiburon, matching his result there last year.

At this week’s $100,000 Challenger in Stockton, McDonald ousted second seed and fellow American Tim Smyczek in the second round, an identical result to the win he produced at last year’s $100,000 Challenger in Sacramento. He’s quickly learned that unlike his college days, he can’t get away with playing a loose point or service game to beat the world’s best players.

“Tennis is really an errors game and the guys make less mistakes at this level than in college or ITF Futures,” said McDonald. “They have a couple of more weapons to help them win free points, so you have to be on for every match.”


College players have been enjoying success this year on the ATP Challenger Tour, with the most recent example being Ohio State University player Mikael Torpegaard winning his first Challenger title last month on his home campus in Columbus, Ohio. Although McDonald said he now faces tougher competition in the pros, he believes his time at UCLA brought him to a place where he can succeed at this level.

“I played a lot of matches and had a lot of wins, which builds confidence,” he said last August. “It was a good stepping stone of playing at a level that’s higher than the juniors, but that also allowed me to get ready for the pros.”

But now that McDonald is able to treat tennis like a job, he’s finding it far easier to shore up the holes in his game while also building on his strengths. With no Emirates ATP Ranking points to defend in the first half of next year, it’s a safe bet that he’ll be making a significant dent on his current standing of No. 374.

“I have way more time on my hands to focus on tennis,” said McDonald. “Before I was taking classes, being social, being with the team. I think I’m improving a lot more quickly now and just really enjoying it.”

Nadal Reflects On Mannarino Challenge

Thu, 10/06/2016 - 5:03pm
Beijing second seed Rafael Nadal talks about his level of play in his second-round win at the China Open and looks ahead to facing Grigor Dimitrov.

Nadal And Dimitrov Move Into Beijing 2016 QF's

Thu, 10/06/2016 - 5:02pm
Watch highlights as Rafael Nadal and Grigor Dimitrov win hard-fought matches on Thursday at the China Open. Watch live tennis at Photo: Getty Images

Nadal Passes Mannarino Test In Beijing

Thu, 10/06/2016 - 3:13pm
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Second seed Rafael Nadal overcame a mid-match surge from Adrian Mannarino on Thursday at the China Open, prevailing in a tight second set to advance in their second-round match under the lights, 6-1, 7-6(6).

“I think I played a fantastic first set. Great level of tennis, serving very good, hitting so good. During the second set, I slowed the rhythm a little bit and he played very well,” said Nadal. “I feel very happy that I won that tie-break. I think I played with the right amount of determination in the tie-break. It’s very important for my confidence to pass through these tough moments.”

The 2005 China Open champion was initially ruthless against Mannarino, breaking the Frenchman three times as he won nine of the first 11 games. But Mannarino rallied from 1-3 in the second set to bring things back on serve at 3-3 and eventually force a tie-break. Nadal was unable to make good on a 5/3 lead or a match point on Mannarino’s serve at 6/5, but earned a mini-break to go up 7/6 and closed out the contest on his second match point.

Nadal has been in top form this week, dropping just nine games in his first two matches. Currently in eighth place in the Emirates ATP Race to London, a title here will go a long way in shoring up his spot at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals.

Next up for Nadal is Grigor Dimitrov, who was two points away from defeat in the second set before clawing back to upset sixth seed Lucas Pouille, 6-7(3), 7-6(0), 6-4. Nadal has dominated their FedEx ATP Head2Head rivalry 7-0, but four of those matches have gone to a deciding set.

“He’s a great player that is playing well. He’s one of the players on tour with high potential,” said Nadal. “I know I have to play my best tennis to win against him, so I’m trying to focus on that.” 

Watch Dimitrov Interview

The Bulgarian was dangerously close to defeat when Pouille served for the match at 5-4, 30/15 in the second set. But the Frenchman faltered and Dimitrov fought his way back into contention, claiming the next three points to level and dominating the ensuing tie-break. A break of serve in the fifth game of the third set proved decisive for Dimitrov as he claimed a hard fought victory in two hours and 26 minutes.

"I just believed today," said Dimitrov. "Especially in the second set, when he was serving for the match. I felt I was playing good tennis. I just missed a few opportunities early on and throughout the second he was playing really good. All I could do was stay composed, try to hit every ball that I could and use every opportunity. They came a bit late, but I'm pretty happy with it."

Dimitrov claimed his 34th win of the season. The Bulgarian has enjoyed a resurgence in the second half of the year, under the guidance of Dani Vallverdu. Since joining forces over the summer, Dimitrov has compiled a 14-5 mark, highlighted by a run to the Cincinnati semi-finals (l. to Cilic).


Through to his ninth quarter-final of the season, Dimitrov is bidding to reach his third final, following runner-up finishes in Sydney and Istanbul.

Dimitrov Talks About His Belief In Beating Pouille

Thu, 10/06/2016 - 1:26pm
Grigor Dimitrov called on all his self belief to get by Lucas Pouille in a second-round tussle at the China Open on Thursday. Watch live tennis at

Melo/Kubot To Face Sock/Tomic In Beijing SFs

Thu, 10/06/2016 - 1:16pm

Second seeds Marcelo Melo and Lukasz Kubot reached the semi-finals of the China Open in Beijing after edging Wimbledon finalists Julien Benneteau and Edouard Roger-Vasselin 5-7, 6-3, 10-8 on Thursday.

The Brazilian/Polish duo are chasing their second title together after victory in Vienna last year (d. Murray/Peers).

“We’re happy to be in the semis here in Beijing,” said Melo. “We played really well today. It was a tough match. The French guys were playing really good. We hope we can continue playing the same way, as aggressive as we were, and we are enjoying the moment.”

They go on to face Jack Sock and Bernard Tomic, who also came from a set down to beat Paolo Lorenzi and Guido Pella 4-6, 6-4, 10-7 in 77 minutes. Both Sock and Tomic are bidding to win their first ATP World Tour doubles titles of the season.

“It’s always fun playing doubles with a good friend and I think that’s why we are doing well,” said Sock, who won the Beijing doubles crown last year with Vasek Pospisil. “We are keeping it light out there and playing good tennis because of it.”

Spicy Surprises In Tokyo, Traditional Garb In Beijing

Thu, 10/06/2016 - 1:03pm
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Follow all the latest off-court action on MyATP! Download the app for iPhone or Android or visit

Rakuten Japan Open Tennis Championships 2016 – Tokyo, Japan

Nick Kyrgios, Gael Monfils, Kevin Anderson, Yoshihito Nishioka, John Peers and more played “sushi roulette” to find out which player gets the lucky (or unlucky?) sushi roll filled with wasabi. The star who got the spicy treat also won a prize! 

Kei Nishikori, Feliciano Lopez, Monfils, Benoit Paire, Marcos Baghdatis, Marin Cilic, Ivo Karlovic, Nishioka, Taro Daniel, Anderson, Yuichi Sugita and Fernando Verdasco were on hand for ATP Sunday Charity Day, a tradition at the Rakuten Open, which sees packed crowds watch players practise ahead of the tournament.

Gilles Muller, Peers and Henri Kontinen helped out at an Emirates Clinic. 

China Open – Beijing, China

Andy Murray, Milos Raonic and Rafael Nadal were among the players to enjoy the China Open Official Government Reception, hosted at Beijing National Stadium, also known as the iconic Bird’s Nest.

Rohan Bopanna and Daniel Nestor helped out at Mercedes Benz Kids’ Day, while Nadal stopped by to take selfies with the children.

Murray, Adrian Mannarino, Lucas Pouille, Dominic Thiem, Edouard Roger-Vasselin, Ze Zhang, Alexander Zverev, Andre Begemann, Florian Mayer, Steve Johnson, Julien Benneteau, Pablo Carreno Busta, Kyle Edmund, Pablo Cuevas, Bob Bryan, Mike Bryan and Roberto Bautista Agut were among the stars to meet fans on-site for selfies and autographs.

Jack Sock, Raonic, Pouille, Sam Querrey and Andreas Seppi spent time on-site with sponsors.

Dimitrov Hits Stunning Forehand On The Run

Thu, 10/06/2016 - 11:17am
This is how to convert a set point in style. Grigor Dimitrov soaks up a barrage from Lucas Pouille before picking off a forehand winner to level the match in their Beijing second-round contest. Watch live tennis at Photo: Visual China

Simon Proud Of His Own Tennis Path

Thu, 10/06/2016 - 10:33am
In an era where bigger, stronger athletes are succeeding on the ATP World Tour, lean and lithe Frenchman Gilles Simon has made a world class career for himself after modelling his game on Michael Chang.

Emirates ATP Race To London 4 October 2016

Thu, 10/06/2016 - 10:25am
See the latest standings in the Emirates ATP Race To London as of 4 October 2016.

This Is How You Lob Ivo Karlovic

Thu, 10/06/2016 - 10:02am

Janko Tipsarevic pulls off an inch perfect lob over 6'11" Ivo Karlovic in their second-round clash in Tokyo on Thursday. Watch live tennis at Photo: Getty Images

Monfils Survives In Tokyo 2016 Thursday Highlights

Thu, 10/06/2016 - 9:56am
Watch highlights as Gael Monfils battles into the Tokyo QFs on Thursday. Watch live tennis at Photo: Getty Images

Monfils Battles Into Tokyo QFs

Thu, 10/06/2016 - 6:19am
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Gael Monfils survived an injury scare, then finished strongly to down fellow Frenchman Gilles Simon 6-1, 6-4 and book a spot in the Rakuten Japan Open Tennis Championships 2016 quarter-finals on Thursday. Monfils earned only his second victory in eight FedEx ATP Head2Head meetings with Simon, and snapped a four-match losing streak against his good friend.

“In the second set, Gilles started to run a lot better. He played really great for four games or so and I knew I needed to be patient for his level to come back down a bit,” Monfils said. “At the same time, I still needed to be the aggressor. I’ve made improvements mentally, physically and technically this year, and that helped me today against Gilles.”

The No. 2 seed started the match well, holding with ease and punishing Simon’s second serves to take a one-set lead. However, Monfils soon felt the brunt of the hot and humid conditions as well as Simon’s tireless retrieving. Down 4-1 in the second set, Monfils’ day took another turn for the worst when he twisted an ankle while following a serve to the net. Monfils hobbled to the sideline and was examined by a tournament physiotherapist before continuing.

“I wanted to see whether I needed to get my ankle taped, but finally there was no need,” Monfils said. “When you’re warm, you can sometimes play on it so I didn’t ask the physio to come back.”

The injury scare, far from hurting Monfils’ cause, actually provided a jolt of adrenaline to his play. He hit an ace to hold for 4-2, then returned to the aggressive brand of baseline tennis which won him the first set. His three and four-shot combinations proved effective in breaking down Simon’s defences and allowed him to sweep the final five games of the match.

Monfils will take on big-serving Ivo Karlovic in the quarter-finals. The towering Croatian took out Janko Tipsarevic 7-6(9), 7-6(5), hitting 24 aces in the process. It was Karlovic’s fifth consecutive tie-break set in Tokyo. He got past Federico Delbonis in a deciding-set tie-break in the first round. Monfils leads their FedEx ATP Head2Head rivalry 3-2 and has not lost to the Croatian since 2009.

“The plan wasn’t to stay back and to hit ground strokes against Janko, but he forced me to do that quite a bit today,” Karlovic said. “Fortunately I was able to win some points that way at critical moments.

“Monfils has been playing much better this year. He made some changes to his service motion, bringing up his right leg, which have helped him. He’s a Top 10 player now and can only go up from here.”

Gilles Muller used his all-court game to good effect in beating Marcos Baghdatis 6-3, 6-4. The left-hander fired 11 aces and saved the lone break point faced and advanced to the quarter-finals in 70 minutes. He will next face #NextGen star Nick Kyrgios, who received a pass into the final eight after Radek Stepanek withdrew due to a back injury.

Cabal/Farah Knock Out Top Doubles Seeds

Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah rallied to defeat No. 1 seeds Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares 1-6, 7-6(5), 10-8 to move into the semi-finals.

“[On big points] we were very much in the moment,” said Cabal, whose side won both deciding points played in the second set to even the contest.

“We slowly got into the rhythm of the match,” Farah said. “We were not playing well at all in the first set. We came back from 0/40 down at 3-3 in the second set, and that gave us a little boost to get into the match and end up winning it.”

Past Experience Key To Mons Challenger Success

Wed, 10/05/2016 - 10:12pm

In order to run a world-class tennis tournament like the $125,000 ATP Challenger Tour event in Mons, Belgium, it helps to have someone in charge that has played in many of them.

Enter Dominique Monami. During her 10-year career, she peaked at No.  9 in the WTA rankings in 1998 and won four singles titles. Since moving on to become the tournament director at the Ethias Trophy, she’s drawn from her time on tour to offer everything that a player could need during their week in Mons.

The tournament debuted in 2005 and with her help, was selected as a 2015 Challenger of the Year (along with events in Braunschweig, Germany, and Monterrey, Mexico). Not only has it become one of the most popular tournaments among players on the ATP Challenger Tour calendar, it’s also a local favourite with nearly 20,000 people turning up every year to watch the tennis.

“I think my past experience helps me to better understand the needs of the players and make a schedule that’s fair for everyone. I’m also working with my team to help the players as much as possible outside the court,” said Monami. “We offer cinema tickets, golf and free food with delicious sweets. My hope is that the players feel good here so they play at their top level and want to come back next year. Many of our players come back year after year.”

One of those players is Belgian No. 2 Steve Darcis, a two-time finalist making his 11th appearance this year at the Ethias Trophy. He regularly practises in Mons and the tournament’s stadium has become familiar territory to him.

“It’s tough to find a better Challenger,” said Darcis. “The stadium is almost full all the time, especially when Belgians play. The atmosphere is very nice, the food is great too and the people working there are doing everything they can for the players.”


The tournament has served as a springboard for several players who went on to reach the highest levels of the sport. Andy Murray reached the quarter-finals in 2005, while former champions Ernests Gulbis (2005), Janko Tipsarevic (2006) and David Goffin (2014) have all gone on to crack the Top 15 of the Emirates ATP Rankings.

For the Belgian players competing here, it also offers a rare opportunity to play in front of a home crowd.

"I have family and friends come all the time because I usually play too far away,” said Darcis. “It's great for me to play in front of the people I love.”

College Grad Verbeek Takes First Pro Steps In Stockton

Wed, 10/05/2016 - 10:03pm

After graduating from college this year, Sem Verbeek is now ready to graduate onto a pro tennis career.

The 22 year old from the Netherlands took another step towards that at this week’s $100,000 ATP Challenger Tour event in Stockton, California. Verbeek received a main draw wild card for his success as a player at Stockton-based University of the Pacific and fittingly drew reigning NCAA champion Mackenzie McDonald in the first round. Although he lost in straight sets on Tuesday, he said the match was an experience that will serve him well.

“Coming home is always a great experience, especially getting to play at this level. There’s a lot to learn, but that’s what makes these matches exciting,” said Verbeek. “Obviously the result sucks, but that’s what makes you more hungry to go out there and work hard.”

The Dutch player rebounded the following day with a big win in doubles. Teaming up with his former college doubles partner, Jose Chamba Gomez of Ecuador, the wild card pairing scored a first-round upset over top seeds Andres Molteni of Argentina and Hans Podlipnik-Castillo of Chile. 

Verbeek completed his senior year on the team with an 18-2 record, earning him a selection as West Coast Conference men’s tennis Player of the Year. But while he hopes to one day have a similar record on the ATP World Tour, he admitted there will be a steep learning curve initially.

“The biggest difference is the base. They hit the ball a little harder and a little bit faster than college players. They reach a level of tennis that I have in me, but find hard to produce consistently now,” said Verbeek. “The opportunities lie in some very small corners and these guys take advantage of them because they’re professionals.”

Verbeek kicked off his pro career last month and has played four tournaments so far, all in California. He’ll now head back to the Netherlands to train and figure out his next tournaments, but is optimistic that this is the beginning of a long career.

“There are some mental and technical errors that I can’t make anymore at this level, so that’s what I’m working on now to make these types of matches mine,” said Verbeek. “I’m excited to get this process started and get to work. It’s going to take a lot of improvement on my part, but I’m ready for it. This is what I want to do.”

Cilic Marches On in Tokyo 2016

Wed, 10/05/2016 - 2:57pm
Watch highlights of Marin Cilic, Kei Nishikori and others in Wednesday action at the Rakuten Japan Open Tennis Championships. Watch live tennis at Getty Images photo.

Dimitrov Hits Soft Hands Hot Shot Beijing 2016

Wed, 10/05/2016 - 2:56pm
Watch Hot Shot as Grigor Dimitrov shows incredible feel around the net against Steve Johnson. Photo: Visual China

Querrey Rifles Running Hot Shot Beijing 2016

Wed, 10/05/2016 - 2:55pm
Watch Hot Shot as Sam Querrey goes from defense to offense in the blink of an eye against Richard Gasquet. Photo: Visual China

Murray And Zverev March On In Beijing 2016

Wed, 10/05/2016 - 2:49pm
Watch highlights of Andy Murray, Alexander Zverev and others in Wednesday action at the China Open. Watch live tennis at Photo: Getty Images

Murray Reflects On Reaching Beijing QFs

Wed, 10/05/2016 - 1:40pm
Beijing top seed Andy Murray rates his performance in the second round of the China Open. Watch live tennis at