Headline News - powered by FeedBurner
Updated: 13 min 5 sec ago
Italian Andreas Seppi kicked off the inaugural European Open in Antwerp on Monday with a 7-6(7), 5-7, 6-3 upset against eighth seed Federico Delbonis. The 32-year-old Seppi will next face Robin Haase, who beat Paul-Henri Mathieu 6-4, 6-2.
Seppi will look to turn around his season in Belgium this week. He has fallen to No. 100 in the Emirates ATP Rankings, his lowest ranking since 9 July, 2007 when he was No. 111.
Spaniard Inigo Cervantes set up a second-round contest with Frenchman Richard Gasquet after outlasting 36-year-old German qualifier Michael Berrer 6-3, 3-6, 6-1 in one hour and 32 minutes. The third-seeded Gasquet is going for his second ATP World Tour title of the season. He beat Mathieu in February for the Montpellier title.
Home favourite David Goffin, Belgium's No. 1, leads the Antwerp field. Goffin has posted a 10-3 record since the US Open, including a semi-final run in Metz, a finalist showing in Tokyo and a last eight appearance at the Shanghai Rolex Masters. If the 25 year old wins his home tournament on Sunday, he'll rise to No. 9 in the Emirates ATP Race To London. The top eight at the end of the season will qualify for the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, to be held 13-20 November at The O2 in London.
The focus for qualification to the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals now shifts to the three-week European indoor circuit, beginning today at the VTB Kremlin Cup in Moscow, the If Stockholm Open and the European Open in Antwerp. Seven players in the Top 20 of the Emirates ATP Race To London are in action, with three singles spots left up for grabs at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals. The season finale will be held at The O2 in London from 13-20 November.
Gael Monfils will step up his bid to qualify for the first time at this week’s If Stockholm Open, where he competes alongside Grigor Dimitrov, Ivo Karlovic and #NextGen’s Alexander Zverev. Monfils, the next in line to qualify, is currently No. 6 in the Emirates ATP Race To London with 3,625 points. He is 325 points ahead of seventh-placed Rafael Nadal (3,300) and has a 420-point advantage over eighth-placed Dominic Thiem.
David Goffin rose one spot to 10th position on 2,645 points, after reaching the Shanghai Rolex Masters quarter-finals, and this week competes at the inaugural European Open in Antwerp, alongside David Ferrer, Richard Gasquet, Pablo Cuevas and Gilles Simon.
Roberto Bautista Agut, one of five players within 1,000 points of Thiem, moved up four spots to No. 13 in the Emirates ATP Race To London on 2,340 points after he reached his first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 final in Shanghai (l. to Murray). The Spaniard, a two-time ATP World Tour titlist this year, headlines this week’s VTB Kremlin Cup in Moscow, where he reached the 2014 and 2015 finals (l. to Cilic both times).
Five-time champion Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray, Stan Wawrinka, Milos Raonic and Kei Nishikori have already qualified for next month’s Barclays ATP World Tour Finals. By winning Shanghai, Murray closed the gap between himself and World No. 1 Djokovic to 915 points in the Emirates ATP Race To London. The season-ending Barclays ATP World Tour Finals could play a pivotal role in deciding who finishes as year-end No. 1.
Four of the Top 16 teams in the Emirates ATP Doubles Race To London are in action led by No. 1 Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut, who are the top seeds in Antwerp. The French duo (7,075) lead Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares by just five points (7,070) as both teams battle to become the year-end No. 1 team.
Fifth-placed Ivan Dodig and Marcelo Melo (4,130 points) secured their fourth straight qualification on Saturday, leaving three places up for grabs. Henri Kontinen and John Peers boosted their qualification chances by reaching the Shanghai final (l. to Isner-Sock), rising one spot to No. 7 in the Emirates ATP Doubles Race to London on 3,310 points, 630 points ahead of ninth-placed Jean-Julien Rojer and Horia Tecau, last year’s Barclays ATP World Tour Finals champions and 2015 No. 1 team.
Andy Murray celebrates winning his 13th ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title in this Moët Moment at the Shanghai Rolex Masters.
Andy Murray celebrates winning his 13th ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title in this Moët Moment at the Shanghai Rolex Masters.
Following the completion of its investigation into Nick Kyrgios’ second round match last week at the Shanghai Rolex Masters, the ATP has announced that Kyrgios has been found to have committed the player major offense ‘Conduct Contrary to the Integrity of the Game.’
The offense means that Kyrgios receives an additional fine of US$ 25,000, and is suspended from ATP tournaments for eight tournament weeks, effective from today, Monday 17 October, 2016, through to Sunday 15 January, 2017.
However, the suspension will be reduced to three tournament weeks upon agreement that the player enters a plan of care under the direction of a Sports Psychologist, or an equivalent plan approved by ATP, meaning Kyrgios could regain eligibility to compete on the ATP World Tour or Challenger Tour from Monday 7 November, 2016.
Kyrgios had already been fined a total of US$ 16,500 for breaches of the ATP Code of Conduct by the ATP Supervisors on-site in Shanghai. He received the on-site maximum fine of US$ 10,000 for violations of the Best Efforts provision in the Code, as well as a US$ 5,000 fine for Verbal Abuse of a Spectator, and a US$ 1,500 fine for Unsportsmanlike Conduct.
Today’s announcement completes the ATP’s investigation into this matter which, following the conclusion of the on-site process, included further review of the match, as well as comments made during Kyrgios’ post-match press conference.
A LOOK BACK
Monterrey Open (Monterrey, Mexico): Fifth seed and American #NextGen star Ernesto Escobedo continued his outstanding second half of 2016 by winning his second ATP Challenger Tour title, defeating fellow American and third seed Denis Kudla, 6-4, 6-4. Ernesto is the 14th #NextGen winner of the year and only the second (joining Frances Tiafoe) to win multiple titles.
Escobedo was ranked outside the Top 500 of the Emirates ATP Rankings when he competed last year in Monterrey, but is now projected to move up to No. 129 on Monday.
Tashkent Challenger (Tashkent, Uzbekistan): Fifth seed Konstantin Kravchuk of Russia won the biggest title of his career by defeating seventh seed and local favourite Denis Istomin, 7-5, 6-4. Kravchuk has reached five Challenger finals this year (2-3) and earned his third career Challenger title with the win. The 31 year old will well surpass his career-high Emirates ATP Ranking of No. 93 on Monday.
Morocco Tennis Tour (Casablanca, Morocco): In a battle of teenagers, qualifier Maxime Janvier won his first Challenger title by defeating World No. 1 junior Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece, 6-4, 6-0. Having never reached a Challenger quarter-final prior to this week, the 19-year-old Janvier won seven matches in eight days as a qualifier. He is the ninth teenager to win a Challenger this year and the eighth player outside the Top 300 of the Emirates ATP Rankings, equaling last year’s total.
Tsitsipas was competing in his second straight Challenger final in Morocco, having also finished as runner-up last week in Mohammedia.
Vietnam Open (Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam): Fourth seed Jordan Thompson of Australia saved a match point to complete an improbable comeback over sixth seed Go Soeda of Japan tand win his third Challenger title of the year, 5-7, 7-5, 6-1. Thompson trailed 3-5 in the second set. He won his first Challenger this February in Cherbourg, France, then repeated the feat in April in Anning, China.
Copa Fila (Buenos Aires, Argentina): In an all-Argentine final, fifth seed Renzo Olivo saved two match points in the second set and went on to defeat seventh seed Leonardo Mayer in a thrilling contest, 2-6, 7-6(3), 7-6(3). Olivo won his first Challenger title last month in Santos, Brazil. Argentina now holds 16 ATP Challenger Tour titles won by nine players throughout 2016, more than any other country.
Francis Ford Coppola Winery Fairfield Men's Pro Challenger (Fairfield, U.S.A.): Santiago Giraldo won a rain-drenched Fairfield final, rallying past #NextGen star Quentin Halys 4-6, 6-4, 6-2 on Monday morning. Giraldo claimed his 10th ATP Challenger Tour title and second of the year, having prevailed in Prague. Halys raced to a 3-1 lead in the first set following a four-hour rain delay on Sunday, but Mother Nature had the last laugh, forcing a Monday finish. It was the third Monday finish on the Challenger circuit this year (Guangzhou and Shanghai).
WHAT THE PLAYERS SAID
Kravchuk: "I worked hard all week and the week before [at the ATP World Tour event] in Beijing. That tournament gave me a boost for this win. I beat good guys there and it built my confidence. I'm happy that I've reached the Top 80 and I can finish this season earlier and rest before 2017, to work even harder. A new chapter will start in my career and I'm looking forward to it."
A LOOK AHEAD
There are four Challengers on the calendar this week, with the $125,000 event in Brest, France, taking top billing. The tournaments returns for the 16th year and features plenty of illustrious champions including Roger Federer and Cedric Pioline. Local favourite Jeremy Chardy is the top seed and Lukas Lacko of Slovakia is the second seed. #NextGen star Halys looks for another big run this week, while Janvier and Tsitsipas aim to continue their form from Casablanca.
The $125,000 Challenger in Ningbo, China, is back for the fourth year. Aussie John Millman is the top seed and two-time Ningbo champion Yen-Hsun Lu of Taipei is the second seed. Thompson and Soeda look for another big run in Asia as the third and fifth seeds, while #NextGen stars Hyeon Chung of Korea and American Stefan Kozlov are the sixth and seventh seeds.
The $50,000 event in Las Vegas, Nevada, returns for the second year. Victor Estrella Burgos of the Dominican Republic is the top seed and American #NextGen star Frances Tiafoe is the second seed. Fifth seed Darian King of Barbados aims for his fourth Challenger title of the year, while sixth seed Kudla and #NextGen player Escobedo also look to continue their form from Monterrey.
Lastly, the $50,000 Challenger in Santiago, Chile, is back for the second year. Last year’s runner-up Horacio Zeballos of Argentina is the top seed, while Thiago Monteiro of Brazil is the second seed. Olivo and Mayer hope to keep up their form from Buenos Aires as the third and seventh seeds, respectively, while defending champion Rogerio Dutra Silva of Brazil is the fourth seed.
ATP CHALLENGER TOUR ON TWITTER: New in 2016, the ATP Challenger Tour has launched a dedicated Twitter account for the latest news and information about players and events. Follow @ATPChallengerTour at twitter.com/ATPChallengerTour.
At the halfway point of the 2016 season, it appeared as if the battle for year-end No. 1 was already decided. Novak Djokovic, who had sat atop the Emirates ATP Rankings in four of the past five years come November, opened a hefty lead over Andy Murray following his maiden title at Roland Garros.
But Murray has not gone down without a fight, and the World No. 2 finds himself in hot pursuit of his longtime rival following back-to-back titles in Beijing and Shanghai. Sunday's Shanghai Rolex Masters champion is now less than 1,000 points behind Djokovic for the top spot in the Emirates ATP Race To London, having surged to a total of 9,685.
The Scot is confident he can overtake the Serbian and he knows that while it won't be easy, this is his best opportunity.
"I have a chance now," Murray said following his 7-6(1), 6-1 victory over Roberto Bautista Agut. "I'm not suggesting I have no chance of getting to No. 1. I'm still aware of how difficult it is going to be to get there. But I believe I can get there. I definitely believe I can get there. These last few months have proved that to me.
"I'll give it my best shot to do it, because I may never get another chance. I may never get another chance to be No. 1, so I'll give it my best shot to do that while I have the opportunity."
At 29, Murray is attempting to become the oldest player to ascend to World No. 1 for the first time since John Newcombe at 30 years, 11 months in June 1974. He will conclude his 2016 ATP World Tour campaign with a trip to the 500 event in Vienna and ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournament in Paris, followed by an eighth appearance at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals. The top spot could be on the line at The O2 in London from 13-20 November.
"I still have to win three more tournaments. That's not an easy thing to do. I have never had success like I have had the last few months in my career, so to keep that going, I'm aware it's going to be a difficult thing to do. I need to keep myself motivated and be smart with my schedule and my time off, as well."
With Djokovic taking time off before returning for the BNP Paribas Masters, Murray will look to pick up critical points at the Erste Bank Open, which begins one week from Monday. He previously lifted the Vienna trophy in 2014.
Week of Oct. 24
Week of Oct. 31
Week of Nov. 13
Novak Djokovic (10,600)
Barclays ATP World Tour Finals
Andy Murray (9,685)
Barclays ATP World Tour Finals
Speaking from the ATP Champions Tour event in Monterrey, Mexico, former World No. 1 Andy Roddick shares the Last Time...
I lost something important?
I used to lose things a lot. I don’t lose them as much anymore, but I lost an iPad when I was travelling two weeks ago. I do a lot of work from there, so I was a little bit stressed out, but we found it quickly.
I paid money to rent a tennis court or buy tennis balls?
I buy tennis balls all the time. I go to the shop and buy them like anyone else would. And then paying for a court, the club I grew up at would charge for indoor courts and because I no longer play at the club, you pay your indoor fee like anyone else. But I don’t have a problem with that. You shouldn’t have to not pay because you were good once. It’s no stress to me.
Being famous helped me?
I don’t remember the last time, but it helps sometimes. It’s nice for restaurant reservations.
I strung a tennis racquet?
Not for a long time. I used to do it in my room at junior tournaments and charge $2 less than what the tournament was charging. I’d travel with this little table top stringer. But I haven’t strung one since 2000.
Visit the ATP Champions Tour website for more of Roddick's Last Time.
Race to London Moves Indoors: After an exciting three weeks of action in Asia, the three week, six tournament European indoor circuit leading into the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals begins with the inaugural tournament in Antwerp along with traditional events in Moscow and Stockholm. Overall, there are seven of the Top 20 players in the Emirates ATP Race to London competing. The top two seeds in Antwerp are Belgian No. 1 David Goffin and David Ferrer. In Moscow, the top seeds are Spaniards Roberto Bautista Agut and Albert Ramos-Vinolas. In Stockholm, the top seeds are former champions Gael Monfils and Grigor Dimitrov.
Emirates ATP Race to London Update: Seven of the Top 20 players in the Emirates ATP Race to London are entered in the final three ATP World Tour 250 tournaments of the season. There are three remaining berths for the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, with four players within 745 points of Dominic Thiem, who holds the eighth and final spot. Here is a look at the updated standings with players entered in the three tournaments:
Gael Monfils - Stockholm
David Goffin - Antwerp
R. Bautista Agut - Moscow
Grigor Dimitrov - Stockholm
Pablo Cuevas - Antwerp
Alexander Zverev – Stock.
David Ferrer – Antwerp
* Qualified for Barclays ATP World Tour Finals (3 spots remain)
Note: With Murray’s title in Shanghai, he reduced Djokovic’s lead from 1,555 points to 915 in the Emirates ATP Race to London.
Top Doubles Teams in Action: Four of the Top 16 teams in the Emirates ATP Doubles Race to London are in action led by No. 1 Pierre-Hugues Herbert/Nicolas Mahut, who are the top seeds in Antwerp. There are three spots remaining for the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in London.
European Open (Antwerp): The newly-sanctioned tournament returns to the ATP World Tour for the first time since the European Community Championship (ECC) was held in 1998. Antwerp was also the host city for the ECC when it took place at Sportpaleis Arena, which is located next to the Lotto Arena, where the European Open will be played. Top Belgian David Goffin leads the field and the other seeds are: No. 2 David Ferrer, No. 3 Richard Gasquet, No. 4 Pablo Cuevas, No. 5 Gilles Simon, No. 6 Joao Sousa, No. 7 Nicolas Mahut and No. 8 Federico Delbonis.
Goffin Eyes Top 10: Goffin is looking to become the first Belgian to reach the Top 10 in the history of the Emirates ATP Rankings (since Aug. 23, 1973). Although the 25-year-old from Liege has not won an ATP World Tour title this season, he has reached the final at the 500 level event in Tokyo (l. to Kyrgios) and advanced to the semi-finals at ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournaments in Indian Wells and Miami. He is coming off a quarter-final at ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Shanghai (l. to eventual champion Murray). He has won a personal-best 45 matches this season. He is No. 10 in the Emirates ATP Race to London.
Streaks at Stake: Ferrer has three tournaments remaining to try and extend his ATP World Tour title streak. The 34-year-old Spaniard has 26 career ATP World Tour titles, including at least one every season since 2010. This year his best result is five semi-finals, the last coming in Beijing. The last time he did not reach an ATP World Tour final in a season came in 2004. Ferrer’s streak of six consecutive Top 10 finishes is also at stake. Coming into Antwerp, he is No. 20 in the Emirates ATP Race to London.
#NextGen Duo: Two of the ATP World Tour’s #NextGen stars are in the draw, 18-year-old Taylor Fritz and 21-year-old Kyle Edmund. Both players will finish with their best year-end Emirates ATP Ranking. In February, Fritz advanced to his first ATP World Tour final in Memphis (l. to Nishikori). He reached a career-high ranking of No. 53 on Aug. 29 (No 71 last week). Edmund has climbed to a career-best ranking of No .48 last week after reaching his third ATP World Tour quarter-final of the season in Beijing (l. to Murray).
Robredo on the Rebound: Former World No. 5 wild card Tommy Robredo is playing in his sixth ATP World Tour tournament of the season (2-5 record). The 34-year-old Spaniard had been sidelined with a right elbow injury for nearly six months before returning to the Genova, ITA Challenger last month (1R). He also played in Metz (1R) and the Orleans, FRA Challenger (2R). Robredo is a 12-time ATP World Tour winner. He is No. 457 in the Emirates ATP Rankings.
VTB Kremlin Cup (Moscow): The VTB Kremlin Cup celebrates the 27th anniversary since the tournament was founded in 1990. Russian players have dominated the event, winning 14 titles, the last by Mikhail Youzhny in 2009. Yevgeny Kafelnikov won a record five straight titles from 1997-2001. The top seed is 2014-15-finalist Roberto Bautista Agut, who lost to Marin Cilic both times. The other seeds are: No. 2 Albert Ramos-Vinolas, No. 3 Philipp Kohlschreiber, No. 4 Viktor Troicki, No. 5 Martin Klizan, No. 6 Pablo Carreno Busta, No. 7 Paolo Lorenzi and No. 8 Andrey Kuznetsov. Troicki, who won the title in 2010, is joined by countryman Janko Tipsarevic, who captured the 2011 title. They are the former champions in the field
Bautista Agut Top Seed: Bautista Agut, who reached the final the past two years (l. to Cilic both times), is the top seed in his fourth Moscow visit. He has a 7-3 career record. The 28-year-old Spaniard is within striking distance of the elite eight at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in London. By reaching his first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 final in Shanghai where he defeated No. 1 Djokovic in the semi-finals, he moved from No. 17 to No. 13 in the Emirates ATP Race to London. He is on course to finish in the Top 15 in the Emirates ATP Rankings for the second time in three years. He has won two ATP World Tour titles (Auckland, Sofia) and won a career-best 48 matches this year.
Russian on the Rise: #NextGen Russian star Karen Khachanov is making his third main draw appearance in Moscow. He made his tournament debut as a 17-year-old ranked No. 808 in 2013 and reached the quarter-finals (d. Ramos-Vinolas, Tipsarevic, l. to Karlovic). His last Moscow appearance was two years ago (1R). The 20-year-old Russian became the ninth first-time winner on the ATP World Tour this season as he captured his maiden crown in Chengdu (d. Ramos-Vinolas). He jumped from No. 101 to a career-high No. 55 in the Emirates ATP Rankings on Oct. 3. He has an 11-7 match record on the ATP World Tour and 26-11 on ATP Challenger Tour with one title this season.
Russian Title Hopes: No. 8 seed Andrey Kuznetsov is one of seven Russians in the main draw, including three qualifiers. Kuznetsov, who is the No. 1 Russian at No. 42 in the Emirates ATP Rankings, is putting together his best season with a personal-best 28 match wins and five ATP World Tour quarter-final results. He is looking to continue his success in his hometown tournament. Last year he reached the quarter-finals (l. to Cilic), his best result after going winless in his first six appearances. Other Russians are Khachanov, Evgeny Donskoy and wild card Konstantin Kravchuk. Donskoy advanced to the semi-finals last year (l. to Cilic) and Kravchuk reached the second round in 2006 and 2012, his last main draw showing. He lost in the final round of qualifying the last three years.
Serb Success: The two former Kremlin Cup champions in the draw are Serbians Viktor Troicki and Janko Tipsarevic. Troicki captured his maiden ATP World Tour title in Moscow in 2010 and reached the final the following year, losing to Tipsarevic.Troicki has a 10-5 career record in Moscow while Tipsarevic is 14-6. Tipsarevic, who also advanced to his first career ATP World Tour final in Moscow in 2009 (l. to Youzhny), reached the semi-finals in 2007 and quarter-finals in 2006. This is his first appearance in Moscow since 2013.
If Stockholm Open (Stockholm) – The If Stockholm Open features six players in the Top 25 Emirates ATP Rankings, led by 2011 champion Gael Monfils, who is No. 6 in the Emirates ATP Race to London. Other seeds are: No. 2 Grigor Dimitrov, No. 3 Ivo Karlovic, No. 4 Alexander Zverev, No. 5 Steve Johnson, No. 6 Jack Sock, No.7 John Isner and No. 8 Marcos Baghdatis. Along with Monfils, other former winners in the field are: Dimitrov, who earned his first ATP World Tour title in 2013, Baghdatis (2009) and Karlovic (2007). Monfils, Karlovic, Zverev and Johnson all have won at least one ATP World Tour this season.
Monfils Top Seed: Monfils returns to Stockholm for the first time since 2012. He ranked No. 10 when he made his debut in 2011 and won the title (d. Nieminen). Monfils is putting together his best season on the ATP World Tour. The 30-year-old Frenchman won the biggest title of his career in July at the 500 level tournament in Washington (d. Karlovic, saved 1 MP). He did not drop a set en route to second career Grand Slam semi-final at US Open (l. to No. 1 Djokovic in 4 sets). Afterwards, he returned to Top 10 on Sept. 12 for first time since week of November 7, 2011. After compiling a 21-9 record through June, he has put together a 23-5 mark since July. He advanced to the semi-finals at ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Toronto (l. to Djokovic) and the quarter-finals at Rio Olympics (l. to No. 7 Nishikori after holding 3 MPs). He is trying to qualify for his first Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in London. He is No. 6 in the Emirates ATP Race to London.
Grigor Eyes Stockholm Success: Dimitrov won his maiden ATP World Tour title three years ago in Stockholm (d. Ferrer) and followed up in 2014 with a runner-up (l. to Berdych). The 25-year-old Bulgarian has a 12-4 record in Stockholm and last year he reached the quarter-finals. He is looking to finish in the Top 20 Emirates ATP Rankings for the second time in three years. He comes in with a 36-23 match record on the season and three runner-up finishes (Sydney, Istanbul, Beijing).
Juan Martin is Back: The leading candidate for ATP Comeback Player of the Year, Juan Martin del Potro, makes his return to Stockholm for the first time since 2011. The 28-year-old wild card is 0-2 in Stockholm, losing in the first round in 2007 and the second round (after a bye) in 2011. This season he has compiled a 23-14 match record and climbed to No. 63 in the Emirates ATP Rankings (as of Oct. 10) after ranking as low as No. 1,045 on Feb. 8. This summer he reached the quarter-finals at the US Open (l. to eventual champion Wawrinka) and earned a silver medal at the Rio Olympics (d. No. 1 Djokovic in 1R, No. 5 Nadal in SF, l. to Murray). He also helped his country to the Davis Cup final by beating No. 2 Murray in five sets in the semi-finals. This is del Potro’s first indoor event since 2014 Rotterdam (QF, l. to Gulbis).
Aces Leaders Eye Milestone: The top two aces leaders in this year’s Infosys ATP Scores & Stats are John Isner and Ivo Karlovic. Both players are looking to reach 1,000 aces this season. Isner comes in with 982 aces while Karlovic has 975. Since 2007, Karlovic has led the ATP World Tour in aces five times (2007-09, ’14-15) and Isner three times (2010, ’12-13).
Swedish Wild Cards: Two of the three wild cards are Swedish brothers Elias and Mikael Ymer. Elias, 20, is the No. 1 Swede ranked No. 155 and part of the #NextGen group of 21 & under players in the Top 200 Emirates ATP Rankings. He reached a career-high No. 118 on May 23. He has a 24-15 match record on the ATP Challenger Tour with a title. Mikael, 18, is ranked No. 547 and he’s played mostly in Futures and Challengers tournaments in his young career.
In Case You Missed It
Murray’s defence was on display in his final win. Read
19 October – Sam Groth (29)
21 October – Bernard Tomic (24)
+42 Mischa Zverev (68)
+23 Konstantin Kravchuk (79) career high
+7 Gilles Simon (25)
+6 Roberto Bautista Agut (13) career high
+5 Kyle Edmund (43) career high
+4 Nicolas Almagro (41)
+3 Viktor Troicki (28)
+2 Milos Raonic (4) ties career high
+2 Jack Sock (23)
+1 Gael Monfils (7) ties career high
Potential Match Win Milestones This Week
The relationship between forehands and backhands is very much like a sword and a shield. Generally, you attack with the forehand (sword) and defend with the backhand (shield), all the time looking to battle from more superior court positioning than your opponent.
Andy Murray defeated Roberto Bautista Agut 7-6(1), 6-1 in the final of the Shanghai Rolex Masters by showcasing one of the most impenetrable shields in the sport. Bautista Agut constantly tested the Murray backhand with his own run-around forehand, but time and time again it was not a big enough weapon to inflict any damage.
Bautista Agut’s Spanish style of play relies heavily on run-around forehands in the Ad Court, rifling them back cross court to his right-handed opponent’s backhand, and then looking to open a hole in the vacant deuce court later in the point.
The problem for Bautista Agut is that strategy will work just fine against almost everyone else in the world except Murray, because of the quality of his shield.
With the first set even at 5-5, Murray would win 19 of the next 21 points to dominate the tie-break and surge to a 2-0 lead in the second set. During that period, Bautista Agut hammered away at the Murray backhand, making the Brit hit 37 backhands, and just 28 forehands.
The problem for Bautista Agut is that Murray made 35 backhands in a row before finally committing an error, which contributed to the World No. 2 being broken for 2-1. From 5-5 in the first set to the end of the match, Murray hit 63 backhands, and only committed three errors. Quite simply, the Bautista Agut strategy was constantly faced with the proverbial brick wall when trying to enforce his favourite patterns of play that got him to his first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 final.
Murray hit 60 per cent backhand groundstrokes (excluding returns and volleys), and 40 per cent forehands for the match, which was forced upon him by the Spaniard’s preferred baseline strategy. His backhands committed only 12 errors in 86 shots - or around an error every seven backhands. Murray’s forehand groundstroke, meanwhile, committed 10 errors form 65 shots, which is an error every six-and-a-half forehands.
In the first set, a part of Murray’s strategy was to counter Bautista Agut’s run-around forehand with run-around forehands of his own. In that opening frame, Murray hit 42 per cent of his forehands as a run-around in the Ad court (27 from the Ad Court / 38 from the Deuce Court), but from 5-5, Murray altered his strategy to only hit three run-around forehands in the last two games and the tie-break, while hitting 20 backhands. In the second set, Murray hit 76 per cent of his forehands (31) in the Deuce court, with just 10 being run-around. Basically, the Brit kept it simple, and relied on his trusty shield a lot more.
While the match had many bruising baseline exchanges, Murray created the majority of his separation in the shorter points. He won the rallies in the 0-4 shot range by 14 points (37-23), created a nine-point advantage in the 5-9 shot range (20-11), and narrowly edged the Spaniard in the longer rallies of 9+ shots, 13-12.
Overall, Murray ran less (1623m to 1779m), committed less unforced errors (19-25), and converted every break point he created (4/4). As he ran away with the match in the second set, he made 41 of 44 backhands, offering no point of attack for Bautista Agut’s probing Ad Court baseline tactics.
The main problem for Bautista Agut is that he was having to adapt and modify his style against Murray, rather than the other way around. That’s a hidden benefit for the World No. 2 in having one of the best shields in our game.
Watch highlights of John Isner and Jack Sock winning their first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 doubles team title on Sunday at the Shanghai Rolex Masters. Watch live tennis at tennistv.com. Getty Images photo.
If a player from Argentina is competing on clay in an ATP Challenger Tour event, they’re a likely candidate to be the last man standing.
Argentina has been the most dominant country when it comes to winning Challenger titles in 2016. Nine players have won a combined 15 singles titles this year, already up from 14 in 2015. Facundo Bagnis has a tour-leading five Challenger titles, followed by Guido Andreozzi (2), Horacio Zeballos (2), Nicolas Kicker, Carlos Berlocq, Leonardo Mayer, Agustin Velotti, Diego Schwartzman and Renzo Olivo. Six of these Challenger wins have come over the past two months.
That number is also guaranteed to increase on Sunday, with the $50,000 Challenger in Buenos Aires fittingly featuring an all-Argentine final between Olivo and Mayer.
“We have a lot of players at a very good level between No. 100 and No. 200 [in the Emirates ATP Rankings],” said Olivo. “Not everyone is playing Masters 1000 Series events, but it’s a level where there are a lot of us pushing each other in that direction.”
With 15 Argentines ranked inside the Top 200 of the Emirates ATP Rankings, it’s common to see a brigade of players from the country competing at Challenger events and making deep runs in the draw. This is particularly true at clay-court events, which is the surface of choice among most Argentine players.
“In Buenos Aires, there are two clay courts for every hard court,” said Andreozzi. “We generally don’t practise on hard courts unless it’s to prepare for a specific tournament. We’re more accustomed to clay and our style is better suited to the surface.”
Luckily for this group of players, there are five consecutive weeks of South American clay-court Challengers ahead on the schedule. But beyond surface preference, Kicker said the reason Argentines have enjoyed so much success is due to their resilience that has helped them through plenty of tough matches.
“We live far from Europe and the United States, so we spend two months at a time away from home. It’s not always easy for us, so we are known for being fighters,” said Kicker. “When we’re on the court, we give everything that we have.”
Watch highlights from the Shanghai Rolex Masters, where Andy Murray beat Roberto Bautista Agut for the title. Watch live tennis at tennistv.com. Photo: Getty Images
Relive the best Hot Shots of the 2016 Shanghai Rolex Masters. Watch live tennis at tennistv.com.
Watch Hot Shot as Andy Murray edges Roberto Bautista Agut after a long rally. Watch live tennis at tennistv.com. Photo: Getty Images
Watch Hot Shot as Andy Murray finds a way past Roberto Bautista Agut's defences. Watch live tennis at tennistv.com. Photo: Getty Images
Andy Murray ratcheted up the pressure on Novak Djokovic in the battle for No. 1 after beating Roberto Bautista Agut 7-6(1), 6-1 during the Shanghai Rolex Masters final on Sunday. The Brit won his second ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title of the season and the 13th of his career. The 29 year old also celebrated his 41st career tour-level title.
“I did feel like I played better this week than last week. In all of the matches I was hitting the ball pretty clean,” Murray said.
The win marked his third Shanghai Rolex Masters championship, tying him with Novak Djokovic for the most Shanghai titles. The Scot will try to reach Djokovic in the Emirates ATP Rankings later this year as well.
By winning Shanghai, Murray closes the gap between himself and World No. 1 Djokovic to 915 points in the Emirates ATP Race To London. Murray has three tournaments remaining on his 2016 schedule. The season-ending Barclays ATP World Tour Finals could play a pivotal role in deciding who finishes as year-end No. 1.
"I believe I can get there. I definitely believe I can get there. These last few months have proved that to me,” Murray said. “I'll give it my best shot to do it, because I may never get another chance.”
The Brit had the look of a player determined to finish the season strong on Sunday against Bautista Agut, who was vying for his first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title. Murray converted his only break point in the first set and looked to have the opener in hand while serving 5-4, 40/15. But Bautista Agut rallied and erased three set points to break the second seed and tie the set at 5-all.
They exchanged holds until the tie-break, which Murray controlled. Bautista Agut sprayed a forehand wide and lifted a tight backhand long to hand Murray a 4/1 lead. Murray blasted a backhand service return winner cross-court to clinch the opener.
The Scot held and broke to start the second set, seizing the match's momentum. He'd spike an overhead on his first match point to celebrate his 10th consecutive win, having won the China Open in Beijing a week ago. Murray last lost a set on 16 September during Davis Cup competition against Juan Martin del Potro.
“Andy is doing everything to get Novak. If he continues playing like this and working like that... He's really focused on getting No. 1," Bautista Agut said.
Murray has now won six tour-level titles in a season for the first time since 2009. By winning his 41st title, the 29 year old ties former Swedish No. 1 Stefan Edberg for 15th place on the Open Era titles list. Murray also passes Aussie Lleyton Hewitt for 20th place on the Open Era match wins list with his 617th career match victory. The Brit will receive 1,000 Emirates ATP Rankings points and $1,043,375.
Bautista Agut was trying to win his first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title and third title of the season (Auckland, Sofia). The Spaniard celebrated the biggest win of his career on Saturday, defeating Djokovic for the first time in six tries and earning his first victory over a player ranked No. 1 in the Emirates ATP Rankings.
The 28-year-old Spaniard climbs to 13th place in the Emirates ATP Race To London, 865 points behind eighth-placed Dominic Thiem. The top eight players at the end of the season will qualify for the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, to be held 13-20 November at The O2 in London.
“I'm going to learn from all the success I had this week,” Bautista Agut said. “It's going well.”
The American duo won their first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 team crown, defeating Henri Kontinen and John Peers 6-4, 6-4 in 62 minutes. Isner/Sock dominated with their serves, as they have all tournament long in the Chinese city. They won 78 per cent of their service points (40/51) and never faced a break point.
Returning serve, Isner/Sock were opportunistic. An Isner overhead handed them their first break for a 3-2 lead in the first set. They converted their second service break for a 4-3 advantage in the second set when an Isner forehand was too much for Kontinen to handle at the net.
“We just had a lot of fun. Laughed a lot. Kept it light out there. I think that's why we played pretty well," Sock said.
The victory gives Sock his second ATP World Tour Masters 1000 doubles crown and his seventh overall ATP World Tour doubles title. He and Canadian Vasek Pospisil took the BNP Paribas Open title last season at Indian Wells. Sock had been 0-3 in doubles finals this season. The 24 year old is the only player ranked in the Top 25 of both Emirates ATP Rankings – No. 25 in singles, No. 23 in doubles.
Isner hadn't played in a doubles final since the 2012 BNP Paribas Open. His last doubles title came when he was playing with compatriot Sam Querrey in 2011 at the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 event in Rome. The 6'10” Isner has now won four ATP World Tour doubles titles. The champions will receive 1,000 Emirates ATP Doubles Rankings points and split $323,100.
“We both definitely prefer singles, but we also have a lot of fun playing with each other in doubles,” Isner said.
They had played together before only twice: In 2014 at Valencia, where they lost in the first round, and last season at the Swiss Indoors Basel, where they also fell in the opening round.
Kontinen/Peers were looking to further bolster their place in the Emirates ATP Doubles Race To London by winning their fourth title of the season. The Finnish/Australian pairing are currently in seventh place, 245 points ahead of eighth-placed Treat Huey and Max Mirnyi. The top eight doubles teams at the end of the season will qualify for the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, to be held 13-20 November at The O2 in London.
Kontinen/Peers had been 3-0 in ATP World Tour doubles finals this season, snagging trophies in Brisbane, Munich and Hamburg. They will receive 600 Emirates ATP Doubles Rankings points and split $158,190.