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Updated: 18 min 7 sec ago

Watch: Nadal Wins 2005 Title In Madrid Classic Moment

Thu, 04/28/2016 - 6:02am
In this Mutua Madrid Open Classic Moment, 18-year-old Rafael Nadal delights Spanish supporters with a 3-6, 2-6, 6-3, 6-4, 7-6(3) victory over Ivan Ljubicic. Watch the Mutua Madrid Open live online at TennisTV.com. Photo: Getty Images

Federer Wins On Blue Clay In 2012 Madrid Classic Moment

Thu, 04/28/2016 - 6:01am
In this Mutua Madrid Open Classic Moment, Roger Federer edges past Tomas Berdych 3-6, 7-5, 7-5 on blue clay in the 2012 final.

Coric And Kyrgios Set #NextGen Clash

Wed, 04/27/2016 - 9:07pm

#NextGen stars Borna Coric and Nick Kyrgios will clash at the Millennium Estoril Open after both won their second-round matches on Wednesday. Coric, the sixth seed, took out Rogerio Dutra Silva 6-3, 4-6, 6-1, while the second-seeded Kyrgios overcame Inigo Cervantes 7-6(4), 7-5.

“It will be an enjoyable match for sure,” said Coric of the upcoming clash against the World No. 20. “[Kyrgios] is the favourite so I have nothing to lose. But I’ll never come into a match with the mindset that I can’t win. I’ll do my best but I’ll be there to win.”

“It’s going to be a tough match,” Kyrgios said. “[Coric] has been playing well.”

Coric, No. 40 in the Emirates ATP Rankings, overcame the loss of the second set to defeat his Brazilian opponent in two hours and eight minutes. The 19 year old improved to 13-11 on the year.

“In the first set I was playing high to his backhand, and it worked perfectly,” Coric said. “In the second set, I was a bit more defensive and he surprised me with his good play. I didn’t feel like I could hurt him.

“[Adjusting] my court position was key. Automatically my shots became more aggressive when I stepped in. In the third set, I was more offensive.”

Kyrgios, who turned 21 on Wednesday, gave himself the gift of a quarter-final berth with a straight-set win over Spaniard Cervantes in the pair’s first FedEx ATP Head2Head meeting. The 2015 finalist served well, landing 75 per cent of first serves and hitting nine aces.

After the match, he was surprised by tournaments organisers, who brought out a cake and showed a tribute video featuring several close friends. “It’s one of the best presents I’ve ever received,” Kyrgios said.

Britain’s Kyle Edmund, the other #NextGen player in the Estoril draw, was eliminated by Frenchman Benoit Paire 6-7(4), 6-3, 6-3.

Home Team Advances In Doubles

Portuguese Gastao Elias and Joao Sousa made a winning start at their home tournament by downing Rogerio Dutra Silva and Guillermo Garcia-Lopez 6-3, 6-0 in under one hour. Elias/Sousa hit five aces and saved all three break points faced. In the quarter-finals, they will face top seeds Lukasz Kubot and Marcin Matkowski.

Second seeds Treat Huey and Max Mirnyi cruised to a 6-2, 6-3 victory against Italians Thomas Fabbiano and Paolo Lorenzi. Huey/Mirnyi, who teamed to win in Acapulco in February, improved to 17-7 on the year.

Day Four Preview

Second round action concludes on Thursday at the Millennium Estoril Open as top seed Gilles Simon, No. 4 seed and Portugal’s top player Joao Sousa and No. 7 seed Leonardo Mayer attempt to reach the quarter-finals.

In the first match on Estadio Millennium, Japanese No. 2 Taro Daniel looks for his first win against Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta, who has won five previous Futures meetings and one Challenger match, all in Spain between 2010-14. Daniel is attempting to reach his second career ATP World Tour quarter-final, the first since Vina del Mar in February 2014 as a qualifier. Carreno Busta is trying to advance to his fourth ATP World Tour clay court quarter-final of the season. In February, he reached his maiden ATP World Tour final in Sao Paulo (l. to Cuevas).

In the second match on, another Spaniard, Nicolas Almagro, squares off with Sousa for the first time. Almagro is trying to even his match record this season (8-9) and advance to his second quarter-final of the year. In February, he was runner-up in Buenos Aires (l. to Thiem). Sousa comes in ranked No. 34, just one spot off his career-high set on Nov. 9 last year. The 27-year-old Portuguese native is looking to advance to his first quarter-final of the season. He has an overall match record of 5-12 (1-3 on clay).

In the third match on, Simon and countryman Paul-Henri Mathieu meet for the fifth time. Mathieu has won three of the previous four meetings, including their only clay match in the 2R at Roland Garros in 2007. Simon, one of five Frenchmen in the Top 25 Emirates ATP Rankings at No. 18, comes in with an 11-8 match record on the season (3-1 on clay). His best result is the quarter-finals at ATP Masters 1000 Miami (l. to Goffin). Mathieu is aiming to reach his third ATP World Tour quarter-final of the season, the second this month after a quarter-final showing in Marrakech. The 34-year-old Frenchman is 8-7 this season (3-3 on clay).

In the final match on, Mayer and Lorenzi meet for the first time on the ATP World Tour although they met twice in South American clay court Challenger finals in 2012 with each player winning once. Lorenzi won the Medellin, Colombia title in three sets before Mayer avenged the loss the following week in Guayaquil, Ecuador. Mayer is attempting to reach his second ATP World Tour quarter-final of the season, the first since the opening week in Doha. Lorenzi is eyeing his fourth quarter-final of the year, the second in as many weeks (Bucharest). The 34-year-old Italian has a 12-7 record on clay this season.

Del Potro Delights In Munich, Dimitrov Enjoys Bosphorus Boat Ride

Wed, 04/27/2016 - 7:25pm

Follow all the latest off-court action on MyATP! Download the app for iPhone or Android or visit MyATP.com.

BMW Open by FWU AG – Munich, Germany

The player party was a jam-packed affair with Dominic Thiem, Gael Monfils, David Goffin, Fabio Fognini, Thomaz Bellucci, Lukas Rosol, Ivan Dodig, Malek Jaziri, Dustin Brown, Alexander Peya, Neal Skupski, Ken Skupski and many more stars in attendance. German comedian Oliver Pocher hosted the event and presented Philipp Kohlschreiber with the Iphitos Award.

Juan Martin del Potro attended a meet-and-greet at the Emirates Suite to post for photos and sign autographs.

Bellucci, Marcelo Melo, Dodig, Victor Estrella Burgos, Denis Istomin, Mikhail Kukushkin, Oliver Marach and Jan-Lennard Struff participated in a pro-am with tournament sponsors. 

Alexander Zverev joined in on the fun at the pro-am dinner party for an interview on stage.

Mischa Zverev, Oliver Marach and Fabrice Martin participated in kids’ day activities, signing autographs and sitting in the hot seat for Q&A sessions.

Millennium Estoril Open – Estoril, Portugal

Borna Coric and Joao Sousa visited the Cascais Lighthouse and the historic Casa Santa Maria on the scenic coastline of Estoril. Watch Video

Sousa also joined Gilles Simon and Nick Kyrgios at the tournament's launch party at the Forte da Cruz. Watch Video

Simon and Kyrgios got their need for speed when they visited the Autódromo do Estoril to test out some sport-tuned Peugeot cars with professional Portuguese drivers. Read & Watch

"It was very nice and the first time on a track like this," said Simon. "It was really impressive how fast the professional drivers could go, especially on the bends and their breaking. At times you think you're doing a U-turn. It's a lot of stress if you're not used to it, but I had a lot of confidence in the driver."

Joao Sousa had the honour of meeting his country’s president, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, when the dignitary visited the site to take in some tennis. Read more

Treat Huey and Max Mirnyi teamed up with two wheelchair tennis players for a doubles match on Stadium 3. Huey and Mirnyi also joined a number or ATP players, including Sousa, Rogerio Dutra Silva, Nicolas Almagro, Fred Gil, Leonardo Mayer and Borna Coric, in autograph sessions and sponsor meet-and-greets.

TEB BNP Paribas Istanbul Open – Istanbul, Turkey

Ivo Karlovic, Grigor Dimitrov, Jiri Vesely, Federico Delbonis, Andres Molteni, Diego Schwartzman, Guillermo Duran, Facundo Bagnis, Wesley Koolhof, Maximo Gonzalez and Adrian Ungur attended the tournament player party, taking a beautiful boat ride on the Bosphorus. View Photo

“I enjoyed the great views of the city and the beautiful sunset,” said Dimitrov. “It was nice to get to know a bit more about the city and see the beautiful houses by the coast." 

Marcel Granollers and Roberto Carballes Baena visited the Peugeot booth to sign autographs and meet fans.

 

Dimitrov Battles For Istanbul QF Spot

Wed, 04/27/2016 - 5:46pm

Grigor Dimitrov got his campaign at the TEB BNP Paribas Istanbul Open off to a winning start on Wednesday when the second seed defeated qualifier Adrian Ungur 7-5, 4-6, 7-5 in two hours and 14 minutes. He is now 16-8 on the year and next challenges sixth seed Jiri Vesely, who saw off Roberto Carballes Baena 6-7(5), 6-2, 6-2. Last year, Dimitrov reached the semi-finals (l. to Cuevas).

Federico Delbonis, the fourth seed, who is two spots off his career-high of No. 34 in the Emirates ATP Rankings, got the better of Dudi Sela 6-3, 2-6, 6-4 and now faces eighth seed Albert Ramos-Vinolas in the last eight. Ramos-Vinolas knocked out ATP Next Generation wild card Karen Khachanov 4-6, 6-1, 6-0.

Sofia Champions Fall In Doubles Opener

Fourth seeds Wesley Koolhof and Matwe Middelkoop, who picked up their first ATP World Tour title at Sofia (d. Oswald/Shamasdin) in February by winning all four of their matches in Match tie-breaks, lost in the first round. Carlos Berlocq and Teymuraz Gabashvili won 7-6(6), 6-7(5), 10-4.

Day Four Preview

It took Bernard Tomic only one week of the 2016 season to reach a career-high No. 17 in the Emirates ATP Rankings. Since then, he has been the No. 1 seed at four ATP World Tour 250 events, including the TEB BNP Paribas Istanbul Open. But life on top hasn’t been easy for the Aussie. He has yet to reach a semi-final as a No. 1 seed, posting his only two wins over players outside the Top 100. Tomic’s challenge will be tougher in Istanbul on Thursday as he meets Diego Schwartzman, who fell to No. 1 seed Roger Federer 26 62 75 in the 2015 Istanbul semi-finals.

Also inside Garanti Koza Arena, No. 3 seed Ivo Karlovic of Croatia faces Dusan Lajovic of Serbia. Karlovic has been stuck on 299 career wins since October, losing eight straight matches while struggling with a left knee injury. Thursday may be his lucky day as he enters with a 3-0 FedEx ATP Head 2 Head record against Lajovic, who is 0-6 lifetime against Croatian opponents.

In-form players open the action on Thursday when Illya Marchenko meets Damir Dzumhur. Marchenko has 10 wins on the season, his most since earning 18 in 2010. Dzumhur has a career-high 12 wins in 2016, highlighted by victories over No. 5 Rafael Nadal and No. 7 Tomas Berdych. Play concludes with No. 5 seed Marcel Granollers against Next Generation star Hyeon Chung.

Best of ATP Stars 2016

Wed, 04/27/2016 - 2:59pm

Del Potro Makes Successful Clay Return

Wed, 04/27/2016 - 2:00pm

Juan Martin del Potro scored his first win on clay in nearly three years at the BMW Open by FWU AG on Wednesday. The Tandil native won 7-6(2), 6-4 against German Dustin Brown and advanced to the second round. Del Potro’s previous clay court ATP World Tour event was Rome 2013, when he fell in the third round to Benoit Paire.

“I’m very happy to win my first match in three years on clay,” del Potro said. “I was quite nervous at the end of the match and didn’t serve as well as I did early in the match. He played better in the end too. But for the conditions, we played a nice match.

“I feel better. I am starting to hit my topspin backhand, which is what I need on this surface. I am looking forward to getting even better and hitting harder on my backhand.”

The Argentine landed 71 per cent of first serves and broke serve three times in the 82-minute win. He will face Jan-Lennard Struff in his next match. The German upset seventh seed Vasek Pospisil 6-7(5), 6-3, 6-2. Del Potro last won consecutive tour-level matches on clay at Roland Garros in 2012 (l. to Federer in quarter-finals).

Third seed Dominic Thiem fired six aces in defeating Santiago Giraldo 7-5, 6-4. The Austrian saved three break points in the 93-minute second-round win and leveled the FedEx ATP Head2Head rivalry with Giraldo at 1-1. The 22 year old will face Ivan Dodig, who beat sixth seed Thomaz Bellucci 7-6(5), 6-3, in the quarter-finals.

Fabio Fognini, the fifth seed and 2014 runner-up (l. to Klizan), required just 57 minutes to beat 20-year-old wild card Maximilian Marterer 6-3, 6-1  for a place in the second round.

Eighth seed Alexander Zverev, an ATP #NextGen player, saved 11 of 12 break points to knock out Malek Jaziri 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 in two hours and 11 minutes in the first round.

Seeded Teams Cruise In Doubles

Second seeds Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah defeated Mariusz Fyrstenberg and Santiago Gonzalez 6-2, 6-2 in 56 minutes to advance to the quarter-finals on Wednesday. The Colombian duo saved both break points faced and remain on track to earn their third clay-court title of the year (Rio and Buenos Aires).

Also into the final eight are third seeds Henri Kontinen and John Peers, who downed German wild cards Kevin Krawietz and Maximilian Marterer 6-4, 6-2 in 53 minutes. Austrians Julian Knowle and Alexander Peya, seeded fourth, beat Germans Gero Kretschmer and Alexander Satschko 6-4, 6-3.

Day Four Preview

The BMW Open by FWU AG has been won by the likes of Roger Federer, Ivan Lendl and Guillermo Vilas, but no player has more victories in Munich than Germany’s own Philipp Kohlschreiber. The two-time champion and four-time finalist makes his 12th tournament appearance Thursday against countryman Florian Mayer. Kohlschreiber, who captured the title in 2007 and 2012, is 24-9 in Munich, ahead of Mikhail Youzhny (21-11) and Tommy Haas (20-11).

The Next Generation of German tennis precedes Kohlschreiber vs. Mayer on Center Court when 19-year-old Alexander Zverev meets Lukas Rosol of the Czech Republic. Zverev is 0-3 in the FedEx ATP Head2Head rivalry against Rosol, including a straight-set loss in the deciding rubber of a Davis Cup tie in March.

No. 1 seed David Goffin plays his first match of the 2016 tournament on Court 1 against Victor Estrella Burgos. Goffin is ranked a career-high No. 13 following semi-final runs at ATP Masters 1000 events in Indian Wells and Miami. But the Belgian is still seeking his first title in more than 19 months. Estrella Burgos has captured two titles in that time, both on the clay courts of Quito.

Drive To Tennis In Estoril 2016

Wed, 04/27/2016 - 1:25pm
Welcome to Millennium Estoril Open with Peugeot and Drive to Tennis! Video: Drive to Tennis

Simon Races Peugeot In Estoril 2016

Wed, 04/27/2016 - 1:25pm
Gilles Simon gets his needs for speed in a sport-tuned Peugeot car at a race track in Estoril. Video courtesy: Drive To Tennis.

Bucharest History Flashback 1996 to 2016

Wed, 04/27/2016 - 1:15pm
Look back at some of the best players to compete at the BRD Nastase Tiriac Trophy from 1996 to 2016.

Wednesday Highlights Estoril Open 2016

Wed, 04/27/2016 - 8:09am
Watch highlights as birthday boy Nick Kyrgios downs Inigo Cervantes before being surprised with an on-court ceremony at the Millennium Estoril Open.

Escobedo Becomes Newest Teen To Excel In Challengers

Tue, 04/26/2016 - 11:06pm

American Ernesto Escobedo reached his first ATP Challenger Tour final last week in Sao Paulo, but the teenager proved he has the tools to ensure it likely won’t be his last.

Standing at 6’1” and with a highly aggressive baseline game, one might assume that Escobedo’s style of play wouldn’t translate to slow clay courts. The 19-year-old proved any doubters wrong by showing off impressively smooth movement and the ability to play defense when necessary. He weathered a marathon second-round match against No. 2 seed Joao Souza before prevailing in another three-set match in the semi-finals against last year’s finalist in Sao Paulo, No. 7 seed Christian Lindell.

Although he lost in the championship match on Sunday to Gonzalo Lama, he became the seventh different American teenager – and 10th in total – to reach an ATP Challenger Tour final since last October.

“I never expected that this tournament would be my first ATP Challenger Tour final,” said Escobedo. “I was playing really aggressive and, to be honest, that’s my game. That result gives me a lot of confidence and now I feel like I can play more freely.”

Although Escobedo grew up in California hard courts and feels most at home on them, he believes he has the ability to enjoy success on all surfaces in the years to come.

“I’ve always thought I could be a really good clay-courter. I’m just not as used to the surface,” said Escobedo. “Americans can play on clay. It’s just a stereotype that we don’t know how to.”

With a new career-high Emirates ATP Ranking of No. 260, Escobedo said he will move on from Futures tournaments and focus primarily on the ATP Challenger Tour as he continues to build his game.

“It’s been such a great experience being on tour,” said Escobedo. “It’s been very important for me because I feel that I can play my game against good players and get good results. Hopefully I can keep improving my game"

Remembering And Explaining Roger Federer's Early Climb

Tue, 04/26/2016 - 9:59pm

It took four years for the potential to be realised. From 1999-2002, Roger Federer's ability was clearly evident, but he was still perfecting his ruthlessly efficient patterns of play. And then is 2003, the Swiss took it to another level.

Federer exploded in 2003 with his first Grand Slam title at Wimbledon. He defeated Andy Roddick 7-6(6), 6-3, 6-3 in the semi-finals and took out Mark Philippoussis 7-6(5), 6-2, 7-6(3) in the final. It was game on for Federer, and game over for pretty much everyone else.

Roddick and Lleyton Hewitt were early yardsticks for Federer. The four years of Federer’s pro apprenticeship from 1999-2002 and the four years after, 2003-06, clearly show defined improvement against Roddick and Hewitt.

Federer had a lopsided losing record (2-5) against Hewitt in the earlier years, but once he flicked the switch in 2003, the next four years yielded a 9-1 record for the Swiss. Federer is 21-3 lifetime against Roddick, pretty much always having his measure.

An Infosys ATP Beyond the Numbers analysis of Federer against Roddick and Hewitt in the four years before 2003 and the four years following provides an insightful look at Federer's rise.

Roger Federer vs. Andy Roddick / Lleyton Hewitt

 Match Statistic 1999-2002 v Roddick/Hewitt  2003-2006 v Roddick/Hewitt   Win/Loss 5-5  18-1  Aces/Match 7.4 11.3  Double Faults/Match 2.7 1.8  Break Points Converted Percentage 31 42  Break Points Saved Percentage 77 79  First Serve Percentage 56 59  First Serve Points Won Percentage 72 77
 Second Serve Points Won Percentage 52 60  First Serve Return Points Won Percentage 28 32  Second Serve Return Points Won Percentage  50 53

Federer’s Super Serve

Against Roddick and Hewitt, Federer bumped his average ace tally from 7.4 in 1999-2002 to 11.3 in 2003-2006. As Federer got better at painting the lines, he also got better at not missing the box on his second delivery. His double faults dropped from an average of 2.7 per match to just 1.8 during the second four-year segment.

Overall in 2002, Federer averaged 2.6 aces for every double fault he hit. By 2006, that had been dialed up to 5.4 aces per double fault.

Federer’s serve has always been the rock he's relied upon to get out of a jam and finish matches. From the first four-year period to the second, his serve developed into an amazing blend of hitting spots on the first serve and generally targeting the backhand jam location of his opponent on the second serve. Federer also made sure to stay clear of the dangers of the singles sideline and the centre line.

His first-serve percentage rose from 56 per cent against Roddick and Hewitt from 1999-2002, to 59 per cent from 2003-2006. Overall in 2001, Federer was making just under 60 per cent of his first serves for the season. By 2005, that number had vaulted to almost 63 per cent. Federer's serve, more than any other shot, has carried him to many a victory over many an opponent.

Tipsarevic Makes Winning Return In Ostrava

Tue, 04/26/2016 - 9:47pm

Janko Tipsarevic made a triumphant return to professional tennis on Tuesday at the $50,000 ATP Challenger Tour event in Ostrava, winning his first match after a seven-month injury layoff.

In front of a packed crowd on Centre Court, the former World No. 8 needed over two-and-a-half hours to dispatch No. 6 seed Hans Podlipnik-Castillo, 7-6(5), 3-6, 6-4. Rallying from a break down in the final set, the win marked his first ATP Challenger Tour victory since Belgrade in 2010, and his first professional win since last year’s ATP World Tour Masters 1000 event in Madrid. 

“The conditions were tough for everyone today because there was a tremendous amount of wind, but I’m happy that I won my first match in seven months,” said Tipsarevic. “It wasn’t a pretty match, but it’s important that I won.”

Tipsarevic has been out this year with right knee patella tendonitis, with his last match coming at the US Open. He returned to the tour last April after sitting out for 18 months with persistent foot issues, specifically in his left heel, which included two surgeries to remove a benign tumor. Simply happy to be healthy now, the 31-year-old said returning to Ostrava, where he won the third ATP Challenger Tour title of his career in 2004, is an ideal way to ease his body back into the rigors of competitive tennis.

“I wanted to be here. There was a chance I could have gotten a wild card into [the ATP World Tour event in] Munich, but this tournament is smaller and I can get some matches in,” said Tipsarevic. “I wanted to test things out and I also have good memories of this tournament from the past.”

The two-time US Open quarter-finalist is keeping his expectations low in Ostrava, but is aiming to play a full schedule for the remainder of the year and get back into the upper echelon of the game in 2017.

“I’m just seeing how my body feels at this tournament because I haven’t played in seven months,” said Tipsarevic. “The goal for this year is to finish in the Top 100 so I don't have to go through qualifying for the big events.”

Garcia-Lopez, Mathieu Win In Estoril

Tue, 04/26/2016 - 8:51pm

Guillermo Garcia-Lopez hung on and Paul-Henri Mathieu played the role of Portuguese spoiler on Tuesday at the Millennium Estoril Open.

Garcia-Lopez was leading by a set and 5-1 in the second against German Michael Berrer. But Berrer crawled back into the match and forced a second-set tie-break, where Garcia-Lopez ultimately prevailed to win the match 6-3, 7-6(3).

“He was playing better and better every point. He felt more free on court, and I was feeling the pressure to close the match,” Garcia-Lopez said.

The No. 5 seed moves into the second round to face French qualifier Stephane Robert for the first time.

Mathieu had the President of Portugal attending his match against Portuguese Gastao Elias, who cracked the Top 100 in the Emirates ATP Rankings for the first time this week. Elias' ranking jumped 23 spots after he won the Torino Challenger in Italy on Sunday. But it was Mathieu who advanced on Tuesday, winning 6-3, 6-4 in one hour and 31 minutes.

“It's never easy to play a player who is from the country of the tournament. He was playing with great confidence,” Mathieu said. “So I'm happy with the victory in two sets.”

The Frenchman will meet his countryman and No. 1 seed Gilles Simon in the second round. Mathieu leads their FedEx ATP Head2Head rivalry 3-1.

#NextGen star Kyle Edmund of Great Britain also advanced on Tuesday, beating Spaniard Daniel Gimeno-Traver 6-3, 7-5. Edmund will face No. 3 seed Benoit Paire of France for the first time. Spaniard Inigo Cervantes also moved into the second round. He beat compatriot Daniel Munoz de la Nava, 6-4, 6-1. Cervantes will play No. 2 seed Nick Kyrgios.

WEDNESDAY PREVIEW

Kyrgios celebrates his 21st birthday Wednesday at the Millennium Estoril Open, site of the first ATP World Tour final of his career. Kyrgios, runner-up to Richard Gasquet in 2015, plays his first clay-court match of the year against Cervantes. The Aussie hasn’t competed since April 1, when he fell to Kei Nishikori in the ATP Masters 1000 Miami semi-finals.

All was not lost for Kyrgios in Miami. After beating Milos Raonic in the quarter-finals, Kyrgios rose to a career-high No. 20 in the Emirates ATP Rankings, solidifying his place as the No. 1 player in the ATP World Tour Next Generation. Kyrgios also became the first Next Generation star to win a singles title when he swept Gasquet, Tomas Berdych and Marin Cilic in February at the Open 13 in Marseille.

Joining Kyrgios in Estadio Millennium are fellow Next Generation players Edmund and Borna Coric. The sixth-seeded Coric takes on Rogerio Dutra Silva. Play begins with a pair of Spaniards in the final first-round match of the draw: No. 8 seed Pablo Carreño Busta versus wild card Fernando Verdasco. In a rain-delayed final at Bucharest on Monday, Verdasco defeated Lucas Pouille for his seventh singles title.

Sousa Meets President Of Portugal In Estoril

Tue, 04/26/2016 - 8:07pm

Joao Sousa, the top player from Portugal at World No. 34, had the honour of meeting his country’s president on Tuesday at the Millennium Estoril Open.

President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa played an influential role in bringing the ATP World Tour to Portugal in 1990. He was gifted with a tennis racquet from Sousa before making his way to Estado Millennium to watch Portugal’s Gastao Elias, who cracked the Top 100 in the Emirates ATP Rankings on Monday, face Paul-Henri Mathieu (the Frenchman won 6-3, 6-4).

"I think it's great for the tournament," Mathieu said after his win. "It's great for tennis. It's an honour to play in front of him."

Sousa, the fourth seed this week, will open his campaign against Nicolas Almagro in the second round.

 

Istanbul 2016

Tue, 04/26/2016 - 6:13pm

Mayer Moves On Before Rain Halts Play In Munich

Tue, 04/26/2016 - 4:57pm

Tournament officials at the BMW Open by FWU AG in Munich can't seem to catch a break from Mother Nature this week. Snow disrupted qualifying matches on Sunday at the outdoor clay-court tournament. On Tuesday, rain was to blame for play being suspended and only three matches reaching completion.

In a battle of German qualifiers, Florian Mayer bested Matthias Bachinger 6-4, 6-4. Mayer, former World No. 18, returned to the ATP World Tour last week at the BRD Nastase Tiriac Trophy in Bucharest after more than seven months off because of a torn right adductor tendon. The 32 year old will face another compatriot in the second round, No. 4 seed Philipp Kohlschreiber, who received a first-round bye.

Mikhail Kukushkin of Kazakhstan also moved into the second round after Russian Evgeny Donskoy retired because of a hip injury down 6-2, 3-0. Kukushkin, No. 88 in the Emirates ATP Rankings, will face No. 5 seed Fabio Fognini of Italy or German wild card Maximilian Marterer.

The Fognini-Marterer match will be first up on Center Court on Wednesday, followed by the completion of the contest between #NextGen star Alexander Zverev and Malek Jaziri of Tunisia. Their match was suspended on Tuesday with Jaziri to serve up 5-4. The World No. 64 beat the German in straight sets last week to reach the quarter-finals of the Barcelona Open BancSabadell.

Three other singles seeds are scheduled to play on Wednesday, including No. 7 Vasek Pospisil, No. 3 Dominic Thiem and No. 6 Thomaz Bellucci. Juan Martin del Potro also is scheduled to continue his comeback against German Dustin Brown.

WEDNESDAY PREVIEW

Following a rainy and snowy start to the BMW Open by FWU AG, the stars come out Wednesday in Munich. Del Potro plays in his first clay-court match since May 16, 2013. Munich marks del Potro’s fourth tournament of 2016, but his first on clay since 2013 ATP Masters 1000 Rome. The former World No. 4 has had three surgeries on his left wrist since then, and his opponent Brown is returning from a wrist injury as well. The dreadlocked German has not played since a Challenger in Jonkoping, Sweden seven weeks ago.

The final two matches scheduled on Center Court are second-rounders. No. 3 seed Dominic Thiem, who is 26-7 with two titles in 2016, meets Santiago Giraldo for a spot in the quarter-finals. Only World No. 1 Novak Djokovic has more wins this season with 28. Also in second-round action, Ivan Dodig faces No. 6 seed Thomaz Bellucci, who ended a seven-match losing streak Monday.

Kyrgios, Simon Get Speedy With Peugeot In Estoril

Tue, 04/26/2016 - 4:13pm

Gilles Simon and Nick Kyrgios visited the Autódromo do Estoril on Monday to test out some sport-tuned Peugeot cars with professional Portuguese drivers.

Simon and Kyrgios, who are the top two seeds at this week's Millennium Estoril Open, took the passenger seat for some very high-speed laps.

"It was very nice and the first time on a track like this," said Simon. "It was really impressive how fast the professional drivers could go, especially on the bends and their breaking. At times you think you're doing a U-turn. It's a lot of stress if you're not used to it, but I had a lot of confidence in the driver."

"It was really fun," said Kyrgios. "To get in a car with professional drivers was scary at first, but when you get used to it you put your trust in them. They did an unbelievable job. It shook me up on the first corner, when he really hit the brakes and started drifting."

Simon then took out one of the cars for a couple of laps under the tutelage of one of the pro drivers. Kyrgios, having only recently passed his test to drive a manual car, decided not to give it a go. "I like driving, but when I'm back home I drive a lot," said Kyrgios.

Simon added, "My turn was slower! I did two laps, the first lap was good and saw how I could do with it. But in the second lap, I lost control on the grass. It's a really nice place though, driving at a former Formula One track."

Former Formula One champions Alain Prost (1984, 1987-88), Ayrton Senna (1985), Nigel Mansell (1990, 1992) and Michael Schumacher (1993) previously won Grand Prix races on the track. Senna won his first Grand Prix in Estoril.

 

Fratangelo Finds Comfort At Har-Tru ATP Challengers

Tue, 04/26/2016 - 3:19pm

Editor's Note: Fratangelo has won the USTA Pro Circuit Roland Garros Wild Card Challenge.

Bjorn Fratangelo didn't set out to become an expert at playing on Har-Tru, the green crushed stone that covers tennis courts across the East Coast of the U.S., including three ATP Challengers in Sarasota, Savannah and Tallahassee. The Pittsburgh native just gradually gained experience on the surface.

Growing up, Fratangelo's father had a friend who taught at a club with Har-Tru courts, and when Fratangelo moved to Florida during high school, the “green clay” was everywhere. “I've played so much on it throughout my whole life,” Fratangelo said last week in Savannah, a long way away from playing Novak Djokovic in Indian Wells. “I'm very used to it.”

His experience has shown.

Earlier this month, Fratangelo made the semi-finals of the Sarasota Challenger before losing to eventual champion Mischa Zverev. On Sunday, Fratangelo won the Savannah Challenger by beating compatriot Jared Donaldson 6-1, 6-3. This week, he'll compete at the Tallahassee Challenger and try to secure a wild card into the Roland Garros main draw.

“It means a lot,” Fratangelo said of winning the Savannah title. “I'm just happy to be playing good tennis. I'm happy to be confident again.”

The 22 year old has had his ups and downs during the past six months.

In August, he looked like he was on the cusp of breaking into the Top 100 for the first time. He had earned a wild card into the US Open main draw with strong showings at three ATP Challengers, including a final in Binghamton, New York and semi-finals appearances in Aptos, California, and Lexington, Kentucky. In mid-August, Fratangelo had reached a career-high Emirates ATP Ranking of No. 106.

But a busy summer of tennis and his grandfather dying left him wanting a break. “After the US Open, mentally I was done,” Fratangelo said in March. “I was playing because I had to, I didn’t really want to anymore.”

To start 2016, he struggled. In January, he lost in the first round of the City of Onkaparinga ATP Challenger in Australia. He then fell in the final round of Australian Open qualifying but was a lucky loser. At the Maui Challenger, No. 4 seed Fratangelo lost in the first round, and in February, he failed to qualify for the Memphis Open and the Delray Beach Open.

In Indian Wells, however, Fratangelo turned his season around. He qualified for the BNP Paribas Open and won his first-round match against World No. 48 Teymuraz Gabashvili 6-4, 6-4. In his fourth try, Fratangelo had earned his first ATP World Tour main-draw win.

In the second round, he grabbed the tennis world's attention by winning the first set 6-2 against World No. 1 Djokovic before falling in three sets. “It was probably the highlight of my year so far,” Fratangelo said last week of Indian Wells. “It was a great experience that I'll never forget.”

Fratangelo has built on that experience by studying his opponents and himself. “You learn from the guys you're playing,” he said. “Gabishvili is obviously Top 50 for a reason and I beat him, and you have to figure out why it happened and how you were able to do it, and what are some things that he's done throughout his career to stay as high as he has.”

The Pennsylvania native also has earned more success by performing more consistently, both physically and mentally. Because of rain last week in Savannah, he had to play his quarter-finals, semi-finals and final matches in a span of 30 hours. His sets record during the stretch: 6-1.

“I've been working hard on my body,” Fratangelo said.

Now he's almost right where he left off last August, when his play at ATP Challengers earned him a spot in a tour-level event. Because of his strong play on Har-Tru, Fratangelo is currently first in the USTA Pro Circuit Roland Garros Wild Card Challenge Standings.

Another deep run this week in Tallahassee will have him back in Roland Garros. Fratangelo won the Roland Garros junior boys' title when he was 17. “If I get the wild card then obviously I'm going to try to use it the best I can,” he said. “But if not it's not necessarily a negative thing, either.”

Either way, Fratangelo feels comfortable about his game again, and rightly so.