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Updated: 6 days 9 hours ago

Del Potro, Murray, Federer Hit The Beach In Acapulco & Dubai

Wed, 03/01/2017 - 6:58pm
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Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships – Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Roger Federer and Andy Murray kicked off the 25th edition of the tournament with a beach tennis game, the famous Burj Al Arab as their backdrop.

After his first-round win, Federer joined ATP Executive Chairman and President Chris Kermode for an anniversary celebration on court. The ATP recognised the 25th anniversary of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships with the presentation of a crystal plate and cake to mark the celebration.

Stan Wawrinka hopped in a Skydive Dubai gyrocopter for a flight over the Burj Al Arab, Palm Jumeriah and Dubai Marina before making his way back to Skydive Dubai. Watch

“It was really great fun, I really enjoyed it,” said Wawrinka. “It’s nice to fly in a small plane and see things from above.”

Over 1,000 school children from across the United Arab Emirates took to the courts for kids’ day activities with John Peers and Horia Tecau, while Edouard Roger-Vasselin and Daniel Nestor enjoyed an exciting morning with over 80 children at the Dubai Duty Free Special Needs Clinic.

Abierto Mexicano Telcel – Acapulco, Mexico

Rafael Nadal’s first stop when arriving to Acapulco? A photo op on the beach in front of the giant #AMT2017!

Nadal, Marin Cilic, Feliciano Lopez, Mexican doubles star Santiago Gonzalez and more enjoyed the annual white party to celebrate the tournament.

Juan Martin del Potro joined WTA star Genie Bouchard for mini tennis on the beach under the gorgeous Mexican sunshine.

Lopez travelled by helicopter to check out Acapulco cliff diving, while Cilic took a turn on a jet ski.

John Isner and #NextGenATP star Ernesto Escobedo learned how to make the perfect guacamole.

Robert Farah and Juan Sebastian Cabal tried out football golf at the nearby course.

#NextGenATP’s Frances Tiafoe and Borna Coric were among those to meet local fans for photos and autographs.

Brasil Open – Sao Paulo, Brazil

Albert Ramos-Vinolas, Fabio Fognini, Joao Sousa, Andre Sa, Pablo Carreno Busta, Diego Schwartzman, Federico Delbonis, Guillermo Duran, Gastao Elias, Artem Sitak and Nicholas Monroe were among those to enjoy the official players' party at the tournament hotel bar as well as a delicious meal at the tournament dinner, held at NB Steak.

Marcelo Demoliner and Joao Souza met their hometown fans at meet-and-greets, while Orlando Luz was on hand for kids’ day activities.


Monfils Reacts To Evans Win Dubai 2017

Wed, 03/01/2017 - 6:28pm
Gael Monfils reflects on his three-set win over Daniel Evans in the second round of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships on Wednesday. Watch live matches at

Best of ATP Stars 2017

Wed, 03/01/2017 - 5:41pm

Murray Races Through In Dubai

Wed, 03/01/2017 - 5:38pm

World No. 1 Andy Murray surged into the quarter-finals of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships on Wednesday as he defeated Guillermo Garcia-Lopez 6-2, 6-0.

Murray raced through in just 73 minutes, surrendering just eight points on serve and converting five of his nine break points. From 4-2 in the first set, he reeled off eight straight games to beat the Spaniard for the third time in four meetings.

“It was way better than how I played at the beginning of the year, that's for sure,” stated Murray. “Playing aggressive, feeling more solid, when I'm in position to dictate the points, I'm doing it, moving forward.

 Watch Full Match Replays

“I hit my forehand very well in the last couple of matches. I served better today. It's been a good start. Obviously matches will get tougher, but I'm much happier with how I'm playing.”

The Scot, who revealed this week that he has recovered from shingles since his fourth-round exit at the Australian Open (l. to M. Zverev), is looking for his first ATP World Tour title of the season. Murray opened 2017 with a runner-up showing at the Qatar ExxonMobil Open in Doha (l. to Djokovic).

The 29-year-old Murray is making his sixth appearance at this ATP World Tour 500 tournament and reached the final in 2012 (l. to Federer). He goes on to face German Philipp Kohlschreiber, whom he leads 4-1 in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series.


“It will be tough, because every time we have played we have had a lot of close matches,” said Murray. “I think he likes the conditions here. He's played well here the last few years. He keeps coming back to this event, he obviously likes it here.

“It will be a tricky one, he's a talented guy. He uses the angles of the court well. He plays with a lot of spin. And if you let him dictate the points, he makes you move a lot. So I need to play well." 

One day after beating defending champion Stan Wawrinka, Damir Dzumhur booked his spot in the quarter-finals with a 6-3, 6-4 victory over Marcel Granollers. The 24 year old from Bosnia-Herzegovina will contest his second ATP World Tour quarter-final of the season after reaching the last eight in Memphis (l. to Harrison). He will face Robin Haase.

Garcia-Lopez Heads Wide To Hit Dubai 2017 Hot Shot

Wed, 03/01/2017 - 5:20pm
Guillermo Garcia-Lopez manages to turn defence into attack in an instant with this hot shot during a rally at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships against World No. 1 Andy Murray. Photo: Getty Images. Watch live tennis at

Verdasco, Monfils Reach Dubai QFs; Berdych Beaten

Wed, 03/01/2017 - 2:28pm

Former World No. 7 Fernando Verdasco battled to a confidence-boosting win on Wednesday at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, edging fellow Spaniard and sixth seed Roberto Bautista Agut 6-4, 3-6, 7-5 to reach the quarter-finals.

Since reaching the semi-finals in the first week of the season at the Qatar ExxonMobil Open in Doha (l. to Djokovic after holding five match points), the left-hander had won just one match in three tournaments. But he toughed out victory over Bautista Agut in two hours and 26 minutes, breaking in the final game to seal the win.

"With him, until the last point you have to have unbelievable focus and fight every point," said Verdasco. "That's what I did, and I'm very happy that I went through and I'm in the quarter-finals for the first time here.

"Always beating these kind of players gives me confidence. They give you unbelievable rhythm, and it's always good for your game."

The 33-year-old Verdasco goes on to face fourth seed Gael Monfils, who finished strongly to beat Daniel Evans 6-4, 3-6, 6-1 in one hour and 35 minutes. Monfils saved five of the six break points he faced to notch his sixth win of the season, taking him to three wins away from the 400th victory of his career (397-220 record).

Monfils has never lost to Verdasco in their three previous FedEx ATP Head2Head meetings and is bidding to reach his first ATP World Tour semi-final of the season.

 Watch Full Match Replays

One day after Stan Wawrinka’s defeat, another seeded player fell as Robin Haase rallied from a set down to oust No. 5 Tomas Berdych 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 in just over two hours. Berdych was runner-up at this ATP World Tour 500 tournament in 2013 (l. to Djokovic) and 2014 (l. to Federer).

Seventh seed Lucas Pouille kept up his good run of form, defeating qualifier Marius Copil 6-1, 6-4 in 59 minutes. The Frenchman is coming off a runner-up showing at the Open 13 Marseille (l. to Tsonga). He could next face seven-time Dubai champion Roger Federer, should the Swiss beat Evgeny Donskoy.

Philipp Kohlschreiber set a potential quarter-final clash with top seed Andy Murray as he defeated #NextGenATP Russian Daniil Medvedev 6-4, 6-4. Murray faces Guillermo Garcia-Lopez this evening.

Lopez And Cilic Take Trips At Acapulco 2017

Wed, 03/01/2017 - 1:23pm
Feliciano Lopez views Acapulco from the air and also watches divers jump off a 136-foot cliff, while Marin Cilic takes a trip on a jet ski for the first time. Watch live tennis at

Watch Hot Shot: Nadal Threads Passing At Acapulco 2017

Wed, 03/01/2017 - 9:32am
Rafael Nadal comes up with a brilliant passing shot to bring up set points against Mischa Zverev at the Abierto Mexicano Telcel. Photo: Getty Images. Watch live tennis at

Great Sportsmanship From Del Potro Tiafoe At Acapulco 2017

Wed, 03/01/2017 - 9:31am
Juan Martin del Potro wins the match, but there is a great moment of sportsmanship with Frances Tiafoe on Tuesday at the Abierto Mexicano Telcel. Watch what happened... Watch live tennis at Photo: Abierto Mexicano

Watch Hot Shot: Nadal Covers All Corners At Acapulco 2017

Wed, 03/01/2017 - 9:27am
Rafael Nadal and Mischa Zverev cover all corners of the court in this 16-shot rally before the Spaniard claims the point at the Abierto Mexicano Telcel. Photo: Getty Images. Watch live tennis at

Djokovic And Nadal In Acapulco 2017 Tuesday Highlights

Wed, 03/01/2017 - 9:14am
Watch Tuesday highlights of wins for Novak Djokovic and two-time former champion Rafael Nadal at the Abierto Mexicano Telcel. Watch live tennis at Photo: Abierto Mexicano

Del Potro Reflects On Tiafoe Battle At Acapulco 2017

Wed, 03/01/2017 - 8:12am
Juan Martin del Potro discusses how he battled past Frances Tiafoe on Tuesday night at the Abierto Mexicano Telcel. Watch live tennis at

Del Potro Locks In Djokovic Showdown

Wed, 03/01/2017 - 8:05am
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Juan Martin del Potro has set a blockbuster second-round clash with top seed Novak Djokovic at the Abierto Mexicano Telcel on Tuesday night. The Argentine, playing just his second event of 2017, narrowly held off the free-swinging Frances Tiafoe 6-4, 3-6, 7-6(1) to claim his opening match in Acapulco.

The 19-year-old #NextGenATP player Tiafoe grew up idolising del Potro and went close to toppling the former World No. 4 in the Emirates ATP Rankings in the two-hour, 33-minute affair. It was del Potro, a semi-finalist last week at the Delray Beach Open, who started stronger when he broke for 5-4 in the opening set.

The Argentine brought up three set points on a return error from the American qualifier’s racquet. Tiafoe saved one with a big forehand winner down the line before threading a backhand pass to save a second. Del Potro clinched the set with one of his signature running forehand winners.


Unperterbed, Tiafoe landed his first break of the match for 2-0 in the second set and went on to level on his third set point when he rifled a backhand winner down the line for 6-3.

With games staying on serve deep into the deciding set, Tiafoe found himself teetering close to defeat when from 40/0 up at 4-5 del Potro closed to within two points of the match. Again the American found himself just two points from defeat on serve at 5-6 before forcing the tie-break.

Back-to-back off-forehand winners catapulted the Argentine to 3/1 and he brought up five match points when Tiafoe rolled a crosscourt forehand well wide.

Del Potro sealed it on his first opportunity with his ninth ace. Djokovic leads the pair's FedEx ATP Head2Head record 11-4.

Fourth seed Dominic Thiem also advanced to the second round in Acapulco on Tuesday night. The Austrian saw off French veteran Gilles Simon 7-6(7), 6-3.

#NextGenATP qualifier Yoshihito Nishioka, of Japan, took down seventh seed Jack Sock. The American was coming off his second ATP World Tour title of the season at the Delray Beach Open but fell 3-6, 6-2, 6-1.

 Watch Full Match Replays

Djokovic Match Point Celebration Tuesday At Acapulco 2017

Wed, 03/01/2017 - 7:25am
Watch a dramatic end and Novak Djokovic's match point celebration against Martin Klizan on Tuesday at the Abierto Mexicano Telcel. Watch live tennis at Photo: Abierto Mexicano

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.


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 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."


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).


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.”


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.