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Updated: 3 days 15 hours ago

Jared Donaldson: Sleeping at 10,000 Feet

Tue, 04/11/2017 - 1:12pm
NextGenATP American Jared Donaldson gives ATP World Tour Uncovered presented by Peugeot a tour of his house.

Emirates ATP Rankings Update 10 April 2017

Tue, 04/11/2017 - 10:21am
See how the Emirates ATP Rankings look at the start of the European clay season on 10 April 2017.

2017 Clay Court Swing Preview Uncovered

Tue, 04/11/2017 - 10:21am
ATP World Tour Uncovered presented by Peugeot previews the 2017 clay-court swing, featuring 13 tournaments and culminating at Roland Garros.

#NextGenATP Lead Challenger Q1 Storylines

Tue, 04/11/2017 - 5:38am
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#NextGenATP Winners
The #NextGenATP contingent picked up where they left off in 2016, boasting strong performances early in 2017. Denis Shapovalov, Alexander Bublik, Hyeon Chung and Noah Rubin all lifted trophies thus far this season, with Shapovalov and Bublik claiming their maiden crowns.

The quartet are currently Nos. 10-13 in the Emirates ATP Race To Milan and remain in the hunt to qualify for the Next Gen ATP Finals in November.

Back in March, Shapovalov delighted the home crowd with his first Challenger title at the $75,000 Challenger Banque Nationale Drummondville in Canada, defeating fourth seed Ruben Bemelmans of Belgium 6-3, 6-2. He is the youngest Challenger winner this year and the first 17-year-old Challenger titlist since Norwegian Casper Ruud prevailed last year in Seville, Spain. He is also the youngest Canadian to ever win a title.

Drummondville has become a second home on tour for Shapovalov, having won his first Challenger match there in 2016 and then title in 2017. Shapovalov’s Drummondville success pushed him into the Top 200 of the Emirates ATP Rankings.

Rubin was champion at the $75,000 Neville Smith Forest Products Launceston International (Launceston, Australia) in February. The American streaked to his second ATP Challenger Tour title, dominating the final 6-0, 6-1 over countryman Mitchell Krueger. It was the fewest games played in a Challenger final since Moscow 2015.

Building off a promising end to 2016, Chung clinched the $75,000 Sportsmaster Tennis Championship of Maui (Maui, Hawaii), rolling through fourth seed Taro Daniel of Japan 7-6(3), 6-1 in the championship match. The 20-year-old didn’t lose a set throughout the week and dropped an average of less than five games per match to secure an eighth Challenger title.

In October 2016 Bublik was ranked outside the Top 300, but a quarter-final result at the VTB Kremlin Cup in Moscow - his first ATP World Tour main draw - and a run to the second round as a qualifier at the Australian Open, set the stage for his biggest professional title on the hard courts of $50,000 Morelos Open.

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First Time Champions
In addition to Shapovalov and Bublik, fellow teen Omar Jasika lifted the Caterpillar Burnie International (Burnie, Australia) on home soil. Japan's Yasutaka Uchiyama and China's Ze Zhang also won titles. Zhang notched his maiden crown in San Francisco, overcoming Vasek Pospisil 7-5, 3-6, 6-2, to become the second winner from China, joining Di Wu (Maui 2016). Uchiyama's title (Kyoto, Japan) is one of a tour-leading four for Japan after Yuichi Sugita has won two (Yokohama and Shenzhen) and Taro Daniel ruled in Buenos Aires.

2017 Title Leaders

Player No. of Titles Tournaments Won
Aljaz Bedene 2 Irving, U.S.A. & Sophia Antipolis, FRA
Rogerio Dutra Silva 2 Santiago, CHI & Panama City, PAN
Adrian Mannarino 2
Noumea, NC & Quimper, FRA
Jurgen Melzer
2
Budapest, HUN & Wroclaw, POL Yuichi Sugita  2  Yokohama, JPN & Shenzhen, CHN  Janko Tipsarevic  2  Bangkok I, THA & Bangkok II, THA 

Challenger Resurgence For Former Top 10 Stars
The 2017 season has not only provided an opportunity for the Next Generation to shine, but the old guard to stake their claim among the Top 200 in the Emirates ATP Rankings. Six players own multiple titles thus far in 2017, including former Top 10 players Janko Tipsarevic and Jurgen Melzer, who are both returning from injury. Tipsarevic (foot surgery) vaulted back to the Top 100 after titles in consecutive weeks in Bangkok I and Bangkok II. Melzer (shoulder surgery) is back in the Top 200 after victories in Budapest and Wroclaw, Poland. His title in Wroclaw at 35 years, 9 months made him the oldest winner this year.

The other four two-time winners this year are Sugita, Adrian Mannarino, Rogerio Dutra Silva and Aljaz Bedene. Mannarino is the only repeat winner thus far, retaining his Noumea title to open the season.

Harrison's Springboard To Success
Ryan Harrison is closing in on a career-high position in the Emirates ATP Rankings after an impressive start to the season, ignited by a run to the title at the $125,000 event in Dallas. The World No. 50 became the first player to win on the ATP Challenger Tour and ATP World Tour in consecutive tournaments since David Goffin in 2014. He is also the only player to win on both circuits this year as he climbed back into the Top 50 for the first time since peaking at No. 43 in 2012. Harrison's win in Dallas was his fourth Challenger title and the Memphis Open produced his maiden ATP World Tour title.

Moments In The Spotlight

  • Blaz Kavcic leads the Challenger Tour with 19 match wins in 2017, followed by Sugita with 16. Kavcic is a three-time finalist this year on Asian soil in Bangkok I, Kyoto and Shenzhen.
  • Sugita is the only player to save match points in a final, turning aside two in beating Soon-woo Kwon in Yokohama.
  • Zhang (San Francisco), Adrian Menendez-Maceiras (Leon) and Egor Gerasimov (Saint-Brieuc) are a trio of qualifiers to go onto claim the title. Leon witnessed the first all-qualifier final since 2010, where Menendez-Maceiras ended a decade-long title drought to oust Roberto Quiroz.
  • Uladzimir Ignatik became the first Lucky Loser champion of the year in Rennes, France, winning five straight matches after falling in qualifying.
  • Evgeny Donskoy won his 10th Challenger title in Zhuhai, China, returning to Top 100, immediately after stunning the rejuvenated Roger Federer in Dubai.

Haas Prevails In Battle Of Youth vs. Experience

Tue, 04/11/2017 - 2:21am

Former World No. 2 Tommy Haas turned back the clock on Monday night at the Fayez Sarofim & Co. U.S. Men’s Clay Court Championship in Houston, defeating a player 20 years younger in #NextGen ATP American Reilly Opelka 7-6(5), 4-6, 6-3.

The age disparity between 39-year-old Haas and 19-year-old Opelka is the eighth-biggest in an ATP World Tour or Grand Slam match since 1985. The biggest age gap during this period is an 18-year-old Dominic Thiem defeating 44-year-old Thomas Muster in Vienna in 2011.

“It’s nice to win these matches, especially against the young guys who are going to be around for a long time. The nerves when you’re trying to win a match are something you can’t practise. You can run all day on the treadmill, be in the gym a lot, but you can’t substitute that for match play,” said Haas. “Hopefully I can recover well and be ready for Wednesday."

Next up for the 2004 Houston champion is top seed Jack Sock, who received a first-round bye. Haas and Sock are even in their FedEx ATP Head2Head at 1-1, but haven’t played since Auckland in January 2014.

Although Haas is competing in his final season on the ATP World Tour, the German said this is not a nostalgia act and that he’s determined to score an upset over Sock.

“I don’t know any other way, to be honest. If I'm not trying to win the match and play to the best of my ability, then I don't see the point," said Haas. “I just want to be able to finish on my own terms and play the tournaments that I’ve enjoyed one more time.”

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Both players held serve throughout the first set, but Haas rallied from 3/5 in the tie-break and grabbed the early advantage after Opelka missed an overhead smash from the baseline. The American regrouped by grabbing the lone break of serve in the second set at 2-2.

Haas was unable to convert on three break points in Opelka’s opening service game of the final set, but earned another trio of chances at 1-1 and made good after the American sent a backhand wide. The former World No. 2 comfortably held serve the rest of the way to prevail in two hours and 11 minutes.

More: First Time With #NextGenATP American Escobedo

Dustin Brown defeated defending champion Juan Monaco in the evening session 7-6(7), 6-3. The German saved two set points in the opening set, one on his serve at 5-6 and another in the tie-break at 6/7. Brown improves his FedEx ATP Head2Head against Monaco to 2-0 and will now play fourth seed Steve Johnson for a place in the last eight. 

"We've played each other before, so we both knew what to expect. I knew I'd have to be aggressive and am very happy to get the win," said Brown.

Nicolas Kicker advanced after qualifier and #NextGenATP American Noah Rubin retired with a right wrist injury. The Argentine led 5-3 in the first set. Next up for Kicker is the winner between fifth seed Fernando Verdasco and Kevin Anderson.

After 13 Years On Tour, Young Switches It Up

Mon, 04/10/2017 - 10:34pm

Tennis players are known for being creatures of habit, but Donald Young is having a year of new experiences both on and off the court.

The 27-year-old American is enjoying a rich run of form over the past two months on the ATP World Tour, which he credits to loosening up and being more open to trying new things. His changes in routine have played a part in his rapid rise up the Emirates ATP Rankings, jumping nearly 40 spots since February to his current standing of No. 42.

He's seeded seventh this week at the Fayez Sarofim & Co. U.S. Men's Clay Court Championship in Houston and opens his campaign on Wednesday against Thiago Monteiro.

“I’ve just been more relaxed at tournaments this year. I’m checking out the movies, going to see the different sights, leaving my hotel room a little bit more than I used to. It’s definitely paying off,” said Young. “I’ve been playing awhile, so I just thought let’s try something new. You can’t get anywhere new without trying something different. It’s a big deal for me to eat at different restaurants, get out more, being more relaxed in general. I still keep the same routines at the tournament site, but everything off-site has been a big difference.”

Watch: Brown And Tiafoe Get The Dirt At Houston Player Party

Young scored back-to-back semi-final finishes this February in Memphis and Delray Beach, prevailing over players he had been winless against including John Isner (Memphis) and Ivo Karlovic (Delray Beach). Last month, he recorded fourth-round finishes at ATP World Tour Masters 1000 events in Indian Wells and Miami, defeating Top 20 player Lucas Pouille in both events.

“I’ve sporadically had wins over top players throughout my career, but to do it consistently now is great,” said Young. “I want it to continue. This is definitely feeling like high-level tennis.”

Moving into the clay-court season, Young is hoping to keep up his current standard of results. He admitted not having much exposure to clay growing up, with match play limited to one National junior tournament a year on green clay. But not only has he embraced this part of the year, he’s seen the benefits that clay-court tennis can bring to other surfaces.

“We have to do well on clay to get our ranking where we want it. It’s a long, important part of the season,” said Young. “You have a Grand Slam, two ATP World Tour Masters 1000 events, some 500-level events. If you can do well on it, it can set your whole year up and not put so much pressure on the American summer events. And it helps you with all aspects of your game, different spins, movement. It’s a great building block for the rest of the season.

“I’ve made it to the third round at Roland Garros and know I can play on clay. I start to like it once I’m on it, but need time to get there, so hopefully I can get a lot of matches over the next two months,” he added. “And then also just being in these great cities, hopefully I can enjoy it more this year, get out and do something, make the tournament a little more exciting and productive.”

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Young is also excited to share time on the road in Europe with more of his fellow American players. With 12 competing in the singles main draw this week in Houston, he’s optimistic that Americans of all ages will continue pushing each other up the rankings.

“American tennis is doing great. We’re winning tournaments, competing. You have the top guys up there now, but also a lot of really good younger guys coming up who are going to be great players,” said Young. “They’re pushing us and the group I’m in is pushing each other too. We’re all very cool with each other, so it’s enjoyable to have that company and fellowship on the road.”

Robredo Wins Marrakech Opener

Mon, 04/10/2017 - 4:53pm

The Grand Prix Hassan II holds special memories for Tommy Robredo, and the Spaniard made a winning start on Monday in Marrakech as he defeated qualifier Sergiy Stakhovsky 6-4, 6-4 in the first round.

On his only two previous appearances at this ATP World Tour 250 clay-court tournament, when it was held in Casablanca, the 34-year-old Robredo reached the final in 2001 (l. to Canas) and returned in 2013 to win the title (d. Anderson).

Robredo's 10-1 Marrakech record will be put to the test in the second round, where he is set to face top seed Grigor Dimitrov. Robredo leads their FedEx ATP Head2Head series 2-1, winning their most recent contest in Indian Wells two years ago.

Second seed Albert Ramos-Vinolas will open his campaign against qualifier Laslo Djere, who claimed the first tour-level win of his career as he defeated Martin Klizan 7-6(3), 6-3.

In remaining first-round action, Jan-Lennard Struff advanced with a 4-6, 6-3, 6-1 victory over qualifier Taro Daniel, while Radu Albot avenged last year's Marrakech defeat to Nicolas Almagro, prevailing 7-6(6), 6-3.  

Memphis To Relocate To Long Island For 2018

Mon, 04/10/2017 - 2:33pm

The ATP today confirmed that the Memphis Open will relocate to Long Island, New York, from 2018, ensuring the continuation of one of the ATP World Tour’s longest-running tournaments in the United States. The ATP World Tour 250 event will be held from 10-18 February 2018.

GF Sports, a live events and sports media entertainment company, has partnered with Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment (BSE) to move the tournament to the NYCB LIVE, home of the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, which is located on Long Island in New York.

“We are proud to partner with Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment to bring the historic Memphis Open to the new Coliseum,” said Gary Fuhrman, Managing Partner at GF Capital and Board Member of GF Sports. “The spotlight of New York will help to elevate this important tournament and this move is part of GF Sports’ larger goal of re-establishing American tennis as a global powerhouse within the sport.”

“This event diversifies our programming mix at NYCB LIVE’s Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum and further delivers on our promise to bring major sporting events back to Long Island,” said Brett Yormark, CEO of Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment. “I also want to thank Gary Fuhrman and his team for the opportunity to bring world-class tennis to Long Island and for working with Jeff Gewirtz, our Executive Vice President of Business Affairs, to consummate our partnership.”

The New York Metropolitan area has a rich tennis history highlighted by the US Open. The arrival of this ATP World Tour event will add another major tennis event to the New York sports calendar, and marks the first time in its 45-year history that the Coliseum will play host to a sanctioned tennis tournament. The event adds to the Coliseum’s growing line-up of top entertainment and sports events following the unveiling of new first-class amenities for fans, performers, and athletes, as part of top-to-bottom renovations, making it Long Island’s premier entertainment destination.

Chris Kermode, ATP Executive Chairman & President, said, "GF Sports has shown a strong commitment to invest in professional tennis with a particular focus on the United States. They have demonstrated their ability to operate ATP tournaments, including the Memphis Open, with the goal of growing the sport. The relocation of the Memphis Open to New York and to the newly renovated Coliseum is consistent with their vision, and will elevate this tournament, with over 40 years of history, to a new level of excellence."

The Memphis Open was established in 1976 and boasts a roll of honour including Andre Agassi, Björn Borg, Jimmy Connors, Jim Courier, Stefan Edberg, Ivan Lendl, John McEnroe, Kei Nishikori, Andy Roddick and Pete Sampras. In recent years, young American players have emerged at the tournament, including 2017 winner Ryan Harrison and 2016 runner-up Taylor Fritz.

Participants and ticket information for the tournament will be announced at a later date. To stay up to date on all the latest news surrounding the event visit NYCBLIVE.com.

Brown And Tiafoe Put Houston Partygoers In Hot Seat 2017

Mon, 04/10/2017 - 8:16am
Dustin Brown and Frances Tiafoe will partner in doubles this week in Houston, but first the duo caught up with their fellow stars, such as Juan Monaco, Feliciano Lopez and Fernando Verdasco, at the players' party!

When In Marrakech: Dimitrov, Coric Enjoy Dromedary Ride

Mon, 04/10/2017 - 1:47am

Top seed Grigor Dimitrov, #NextGenATP player Borna Coric, Argentine Diego Schwartzman and Ukraine's Sergiy Stakhovsky took time off in Marrakech on Sunday to enjoy a dromedary ride ahead of the Grand Prix Hassan II, which starts on Monday.

Dimitrov, who accepted a late wild card into the ATP World Tour 250 tournament, is visiting Morocco for the first time and enjoyed riding the dromedary, an Arabian one-humped camel. “It's great to discover a new place and I had a great time today,” the Bulgarian said.

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Coric has been to Marrakech before – the 20 year old reached the final last year before falling to Argentine Federico Delbonis. But the Croatian still had a great time during the off-court activity. “This was a new experience for me, and I really enjoyed it,” Coric said after the ride in the Palmeraie district.

Schwartzman, who is playing at a career-high No. 41 in the Emirates ATP Rankings, rode the moodiest dromedary but he couldn't stop smiling and taking pictures, while Stakhovsky took in the architecture of the “red city”. Main draw play kicks off on Monday, with Stakhovsky facing Spaniard Tommy Robredo in the third match on centre court.

Dimitrov, Sock Top Seeds As Clay Season Kicks Off

Mon, 04/10/2017 - 12:16am

Spring Clay Season Commences: After an exciting first three months of action on the ATP World Tour, the red clay circuit swings into full gear with five tournaments in April. The lone clay tournament in North America, the Fayez Sarofim & Co. U.S. Men's Clay Court Championship in Houston, and the only event in Africa, the Grand Prix Hassan II in Marrakech, begin the swing. There are 12 clay court tournaments in the next seven weeks leading into Roland Garros, which begins 28 May.

Emirates ATP Race To Milan Leaders: Six of the Top 12 #NextGenATP players in the Emirates ATP Race To Milan standings (as of 3 April) are in action, led by No. 5 Jared Donaldson, No. 7 Ernesto Escobedo and No. 9 Frances Tiafoe in Houston. Overall there are seven of the Top 20 in the main draw:

1 Alexander Zverev 11 Hyeon Chung - Houston

2 Daniil Medvedev 12 Noah Rubin – Houston (Q)

3 Casper Ruud 13 Alexander Bublik

4 Andrey Rublev 14 Omar Jasika

5 Jared Donaldson – Houston 15 Quentin Halys

6 Taylor Fritz 16 Blake Mott

7 Ernesto Escobedo – Houston (WC) 17 Karen Khachanov

8 Borna Coric – Marrakech 18 Alex De Minaur

9 Frances Tiafoe – Houston 19 Matteo Berrettini

10 Denis Shapovalov 20 Felix Auger-Aliassime

Reilly Opelka – Houston (WC)

Fayez Sarofim & Co. U.S. Men's Clay Court Championship (Houston): This year's tournament will mark the 83rd edition hosted at the River Oaks Country Club. The last five winners are in the 28-player field, including reigning champion Juan Monaco, who also captured the 2012 title. The others are 2015 titleholder Jack Sock, 2014 titlist Fernando Verdasco and 2013 champ John Isner.

Sock is the No. 1 seed for the first time in his career in an ATP World Tour event. The other seeds: No. 2 Isner, No. 3 Sam Querrey, No. 4 Steve Johnson, No. 5 Verdasco, No. 6 Feliciano Lopez, No. 7 Donald Young and No. 8 Thomaz Bellucci. Overall seven players in the Top 50 of the Emirates ATP Rankings are in the draw for the second straight year.

Reigning Champion: Unseeded Monaco comes in as the reigning champion. The 33-year-old Argentine is expected to drop from No. 72 to around No. 128 in the 10 April Emirates ATP Rankings, since the tournament was held one week earlier last year. Monaco missed the first two months of the season with a wrist injury before returning last month.

He has an 0-2 record, losing in the first round of the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 events in Indian Wells and Miami. Last year he came into Houston ranked No. 148 and defeated 2015 champion Sock 36 63 75 in the final. Monaco also won the 2012 title (d. No. 10 Isner). Overall, Monaco has a 14-4 record in Houston.

Sock Top Seed: Sock is the top seed in an ATP World Tour tournament for the first time. The 24-year-old top American is off to a career-best 18-5 start, winning ATP World Tour titles in Auckland (d. Sousa) and Delray Beach (W/O vs. Raonic). He also advanced to his first Masters 1000 semi-final in Indian Wells (d No. 5 Nishikori, l. to Federer) and followed with a quarter-final in Miami (l. to Nadal).

Sock has an 11-3 record in Houston, winning his maiden ATP World Tour title in 2015 (d. Querrey) while unseeded and ranked No. 46. Last year he lost to Monaco 36 63 75 in the final.

#NextGenATP in Draw: There are six #NextGenATP stars in the main draw:

Rank Age
No. 75 Jared Donaldson 20
No. 89 Frances Tiafoe 19
No. 92 Hyeon Chung 20
No. 95 Ernesto Escobedo (WC) 20
No. 169 Reilly Opelka (WC) 19
No. 182 Noah Rubin (Q) 21

Querrey Eyes 300 Wins: Two-time finalist (2010, 2015) and No. 3 seed Querrey is four wins away from joining the 300 Match Wins Club on the ATP World Tour. The 29-year-old California native has a career record of 296-243. Querrey captured his ninth career ATP World Tour title in Acapulco last month, defeating two Top 10 (No. 9 Thiem in QF, No. 6 Nadal in final) and two Top 20 opponents (No. 11 Goffin in 2R, No. 17 Kyrgios in SF) along the way.

Querrey has a 13-7 record in Houston, falling to Juan Ignacio Chela in the 2010 final and to Sock in the 2015 championship. He also advanced to the semi-finals in 2014 (W/O vs. Almagro).

Isner Looks To Jumpstart: No. 2 seed and 2013 champion Isner comes in with a 6-7 match record on the season. The No. 2 American has not won back-to-back matches in the six previous tournaments he’s played in 2017.

His best results are quarter-finals in Auckland and Memphis (after a bye). He is playing in Houston for the 10th straight year (13-8 record) and in addition to his title, he was runner-up in 2012, a semi-finalist last year and quarter-finalist in 2009 and 2011.

Haas Returns: Former World No. 2 Tommy Haas, the oldest player in the singles draw at 39, returns to Houston for the first time since 2013. Haas is playing in his fourth tournament of the season and he’s looking for his first win (0-3). In his previous tournaments, he lost in the first round at the Australian Open (retired due to illness vs. Paire), in Delray Beach (l. to Basilashvili) and the in Miami (l. to Vesely).

Haas, who is the tournament director at Indian Wells, has a protected ranking of No. 25. He has a 14-7 career record in Houston, winning the title in 2004 (d. No. 2 Roddick), reaching the semi-finals in 2006 and quarter-finals three other times (2005, 2007, 2009). If he defeats wild card Reilly Opelka in the first round, he would be the oldest player to win an ATP World Tour singles match since 1995 Halle when 42-year-old Jimmy Connors reached the quarter-finals.

Bryans Back: Six-time champions Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan, who have finished No. 1 on the ATP World Tour in 10 of the past 14 years, are making their 13th appearance in Houston. The reigning champions are the top seeds, and they also won titles in 2007, 2009-10-11, 2014. In their last eight visits (DNP ’08, ’12), they have compiled a 28-2 mark since 2007.

They are looking for their first title of the season at River Oaks for the second year in a row. Their best result so far this season is a runner-up at the Australian Open (l. to Kontinen/Peers). Their last title came in Rome in May 2016. The other seeds are No. 2 Cabal/Farah, No. 3 Baker/Mektic and No. 4 Peralta/Zeballos.

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Grand Prix Hassan II (Marrakech): The only African tournament on the ATP World Tour, the Grand Prix Hassan II, inaugurated in 1986 in Casablanca, takes place for the second year in a row at the Royal Tennis Club de Marrakech. Leading the way is wild card and top seed Grigor Dimitrov, who is making his debut.

The other seeds: No. 2 Albert Ramos-Vinolas, No. 3 Philipp Kohlschreiber, No. 4 Mischa Zverev, No. 5 Paolo Lorenzi, No. 6 Benoit Paire, No. 7 Diego Schwartzman and No. 8 Marcel Granollers. The reigning champion is Argentine Federico Delbonis. Overall seven of the Top 50 players in the Emirates ATP Rankings are in the field.

Grigor Top Seed: For the second time in his career, Dimitrov is the top seed in an ATP World Tour tournament. The previous time was in 2014 Bucharest where he was a wild card entry. He went on to win his first clay court title (d. Rosol).

The 25-year-old Bulgarian comes in with a 17-4 match record on the season after a 14-1 start. He won two of the first three tournaments he played, in the opening week in Brisbane, the first since June 2014 at Queen’s Club/London. He defeated three Top 10 opponents in consecutive matches: No. 8 Thiem (QF), No. 3 Raonic (SF) and No. 5 Nishikori.

Dimitrov then followed by reaching the semi-finals at the Australian Open, where he lost to No. 9 Nadal 6-4 in the fifth set. In February, he won the first-year tournament on home soil in Sofia (d. Goffin). In the first two Masters 1000 tournaments, he lost in the third round in Indian Wells (bye, d. Youzhny, l. to Sock) and second round (after bye, l. to Pella).

Delbonis Reigning Champion: Unseeded Argentine Delbonis is the defending champion (d. Coric). He also reached the semi-finals in 2014 (l. to Granollers). Overall he has a 7-2 tournament record. This season the 26-year-old left-hander has an 8-6 match record with a quarter-final in Sao Paulo (l. to Sousa) and a fourth-round showing in Miami (l. to No. 4 Nishikori).

Spanish Success: A Spaniard has hoisted the tournament trophy in five of the last eight years: Guillermo Garcia-Lopez in 2014, Tommy Robredo in 2013, Pablo Andujar in 2011-12 and Juan Carlos Ferrero in 2009. There are a tournament-high five Spaniards in the draw, including former champions Garcia-Lopez and Robredo.

#NextGenATP Star: Last year’s finalist Borna Coric is the lone #NextGenATP player in the main draw. The 20-year-old Croatian has a 5-8 match record on the season, and he is coming off his best result, a third round at the Miami Open presented by Itau, where he beat No. 8 Dominic Thiem (l to Mannarino).

Strong Doubles Draw: The top seeds in the doubles draw are Indian Wells champions Raven Klaasen and Rajeev Ram. They are No. 4 in the Emirates ATP Doubles Team Rankings. The other seeds are No. 2 Granollers/M. Lopez, No. 3 Bopanna/Matkowski and No. 4 Mergea/Qureshi.

ICYMI

Andy Murray watched his countryman Aljaz Bedene take home an ATP Challenger Tour title. Read More

"Roger Federer deft touch" named March Masters Golden Hot Shot. Watch Hot Shot

First Time With #NextGenATP player Ernesto Escobedo. Read More

Why American Steve Johnson has been picking fish over fries. Read More

First Time With #NextGenATP American Escobedo

Sun, 04/09/2017 - 10:26pm

Next Gen ATP American Ernesto Escobedo cracked the Top 100 in the Emirates ATP Rankings for the first time this month, jumping well over 200 spots since April 2016. The 20-year-old California native talks about the best gift he ever received, the first professional tennis match he ever watched and when he knew he loved the sport.

First moment I realised I loved tennis
When I was about eight years old and started to play in tennis tournaments. I loved being on the court being myself or competing with someone else. I played basketball and soccer, but tennis was always in my heart.

First tournament I played
It was five minutes from my house in West Covina at a club called Pacific Palms. I was eight years old. I played Deiton Baughman and it was the first match I ever played. He won 10-8 in the third-set tie-break and it was just a crazy match.

First coach and most important lesson he/she taught me
My first coach was Fernando Chavez. He taught me how to hit the ball and also just have fun on the court. I found it very stressful to be on the court by myself as a kid and he taught me how to just enjoy the game.

First pinch-me moment on the ATP World Tour
When I won my first-round match last year at the US Open. I couldn’t believe it. It was my first Grand Slam main draw and to get the win there was really special. I had about 15 friends and relatives there cheering me on, so it was just a great moment.

First professional tennis match I ever watched
The first match I ever watched was when Andy Roddick won the US Open in 2003. I watched it from the first point to the last and it gave me so much inspiration to play tennis. Thanks, Andy! [Smiles].

First celebrity crush
I know this one… she was on iCarly, Drake & Josh (Miranda Cosgrove).

First pet
My first pet was a dog we got about five years ago. I had always wanted a dog and my sister just brought him home, without permission. [Laughs]. It was probably one of the best presents ever.

First time I flew business class
It was this year flying back from the Australian Open. It was really fun to be in business class, flying in such a big plane. Just a great experience.

 

Murray Watches As Bedene Takes Sophia Antipolis Title

Sun, 04/09/2017 - 9:15pm

A LOOK BACK

Verrazzano Open (Sophia Antipolis, France): Aljaz Bedene cruised to his second ATP Challenger Tour title of 2017 (Irving, U.S.A.) without dropping a set. The Brit needed just 69 minutes to dismiss top seed Benoit Paire 6-2, 6-2 in Sunday’s final.

A rejuvenated Bedene, who is now 10-0 on the Challenger Tour in 2017 and improves to a staggering 13-2 in career Challenger finals, rises to World No. 76 in the Emirates ATP Rankings.

World No. 1 Andy Murray helped present the trophy to his countryman Bedene. Murray has been training at the tournament venue, the Mouratoglou Tennis Academy, ahead of his return to the ATP World Tour at the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters later this month.

Great week in Sophia-Antipolis @mouratoglouacademy. Nice to receive the trophy from royalty in @andy_murray as well

Marrakech 2017

Sun, 04/09/2017 - 8:34pm

Goffin Fires Belgium Past Italy

Sun, 04/09/2017 - 3:33pm

BELGIUM 3, ITALY 2
Spiroudome de Charleroi, Charleroi, BEL (hard - indoor)

World No. 14 David Goffin wasted no time in sending Belgium to the Davis Cup semi-finals, ousting Paolo Lorenzi 6-3, 6-3, 6-2 in just one hour and 52 minutes on Sunday.

In front of the partisan Belgian crowd in Charleroi, Goffin sent the host nation back to the semis for the second time in three years, improving to 13-1 in his last 14 singles rubbers. The 2015 runners-up will welcome Australia in September.

"When you see the score it was comfortable, but inside it was not," said Goffin. "You have to stay focused. Especially when you win the first two sets and you think it's the end, but it's not. I'm really happy with how I finished.

"I just give my best on the court. I just want to play for my team and my country. I love to play at home, with the atmosphere in front of my own fans."

Goffin fired a forehand winner - his 29th of the match - to claim victory on Sunday. It was his second straight-set singles win of the tie, having defeated Andreas Seppi 6-4, 6-3, 6-3 on Friday.

In the dead rubber, Alessandro Giannessi defeated Joris de Loore 6-4, 7-6(9).

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FRANCE 4, GREAT BRITAIN 1
Kindarena, Rouen, France (Indoor Clay)

A day after taking an unassailable 3-0 lead, France completed a 4-1 victory over Great Britain. Jeremy Chardy downed Kyle Edmund 6-4, 6-4 on Sunday, after the Brits got on the board with a 6-1, 6-2 win for Daniel Evans over Julien Benneteau.

SERBIA 4, SPAIN 1
Aleksandar Nikolic Arena, Belgrade, Serbia (Indoor Hard)

Spain narrowly avoided a whitewash at the hands of Serbia, with Albert Ramos-Vinolas claiming the dead rubber victory over Nenad Zimonjic 6-2, 6-1. Earlier in the day, Dusan Lajovic rallied past Jaume Munar 2-6, 6-1, 6-4.

Kyrgios Powers Australia Into Davis Cup SFs

Sun, 04/09/2017 - 7:47am

AUSTRALIA 3, USA 2
Pat Rafter Arena, Brisbane, AUS (hard - outdoor)  

Nick Kyrgios guided Australia back into the Davis Cup semi-finals with a 7-6(4), 6-3, 6-4 victory over Sam Querrey on Sunday.

The World No. 16 fired down 21 aces to secure an unassailable 3-1 lead for Lleyton Hewitt’s side at the Pat Rafter Arena in Brisbane.

The United States swapped Jack Sock for Querrey, a move that could have been prompted by the towering 29 year old’s win over Kyrgios en route to taking the Abierto Mexicano Telcel title in February. However, Kyrgios dictated play, fighting back from a 1-4 deficit in the third set to clinch the tie on home soil.

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“It's a lot of relief we got through, a tough third set out there,” said Kyrgios, who won both singles matches this weekend in straight sets against Top 30 opponents. “Obviously a lot of emotions close to the finish line, I’ve been looking forward to this tie for a long time now.”

Later on Sunday, John Isner overcame Sam Groth 7-6(5), 6-3 in the dead fifth rubber.

Australia last made the semi-finals in 2015, losing to eventual champions Great Britain in Glasgow. “There is no greater honour than wearing the green and gold,” said Australia’s captain Hewitt. “I couldn’t be prouder of my boys. They’ve put so much hard work and effort into this campaign. They did absolutely everything we asked of them. The coaching staff too, so many sacrifices made. That’s what representing Australia is all about.”

Houston 2017

Sat, 04/08/2017 - 7:05pm

France, Serbia Advance To Davis Cup Semis

Sat, 04/08/2017 - 4:22pm

FRANCE 3, GREAT BRITAIN 0
Kindarena, Rouen, France (Indoor Clay)

Julien Benneteau and Nicolas Mahut overcame Jamie Murray and Dominic Inglot 7-6(7), 5-7, 7-5, 7-5 on Saturday to secure France's place in the Davis Cup semi-finals.

The French duo gave Les Bleus an unassailable 3-0 lead in their quarter-final tie with Great Britain, surging into the semis for the fifth time in eight years. They advanced when a Murray backhand volley clipped the tape off a Mahut lob, improving to 6-1 in their last seven home ties.

Despite the absence of stalwarts Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Gael Monfils and Richard Gasquet, France dropped just one set in reaching the last four, including straight-set victories for Lucas Pouille and Jeremy Chardy on Friday. Seeking a 10th Davis Cup crown, Yannick Noah's side will face Serbia next.

Great Britain, meanwhile, failed to reach the semi-finals for the first time in three years. The 2015 champions were without the services of World No. 1 Andy Murray, who is recovering from an injured right elbow.

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SERBIA 3, SPAIN 0
Aleksandar Nikolic Arena, Belgrade, Serbia (Indoor Hard)

Nenad Zimonjic and Viktor Troicki rewarded the boisterous home fans in Belgrade, giving Serbia an unassailable 3-0 lead over Spain on Saturday.

Zimonjic and Troicki prevailed in five sets over Pablo Carreno Busta and Marc Lopez, 4-6, 7-6(4), 6-0, 4-6, 6-2. They fired 53 total winners, including 14 aces, while converting six of 13 break opportunities.

For former World No. 1 and 40-year-old Zimonjic, it was his 30th doubles victory in Davis Cup play. "I'm extremely happy," he said. The atmosphere was great and we knew it would be a difficult match. They're great players, a great team.

"I'm proud of all of us. We were amazing the whole week. We had a great atmosphere and we worked really hard."

Serbia will next travel to France for their semi-final tie in September. The only previous meeting between the two nations was in the 2010 final, when the Serbians claimed their first Davis Cup crown.

"He had pressure and he put himself in to play," said Troicki about Zimonjic. "He did a great job. I want to congratulate him for winning again. And I want to thank him for playing with me."

U.S., Italy Keep Davis Cup Hopes Alive With Doubles Thrillers

Sat, 04/08/2017 - 8:17am

AUSTRALIA 2, USA 1
Pat Rafter Arena, Brisbane, AUS (hard - outdoor) 

Steve Johnson and Jack Sock combined to keep the United States in the hunt for a Davis Cup semi-final spot with a 3-6, 6-3, 6-2, 2-6, 6-3 triumph over Australian duo Sam Groth and John Peers.

The hosts led the contest 2-0 following Friday’s singles at the Pat Rafter Arena in Brisbane, but had their advantage halved by Johnson and Sock, who clinched a Bronze Medal together at the Rio 2016 Olympics.

“Jordan (Thompson) played great yesterday, he deserved to win, he was the better player,” said Sock. “But today we were able to regroup and get a win.”

Jim Courier’s American side must prevail in both singles matches on Sunday to progress to the semi-finals for the first time since 2012.

"I'm super proud of these guys today but it still will take a monstrous effort from us on day three,” said Courier.

World No. 16 Nick Kyrgios is scheduled to face Sock in the fourth rubber, before a possible deciding contest between Jordan Thompson and John Isner.

“The way he (Kyrgios) played yesterday, he's going to have a lot of confidence going out there,” said Australia’s captain Lleyton Hewitt. "Whoever he's up against is going to be a tough match. He knows that. He's our leader and we're going to back him to go out there and play well."

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BELGIUM 2, ITALY 1
Spiroudome de Charleroi, Charleroi, BEL (hard - indoor)

Simone Bolelli and Andreas Seppi kept Italy afloat in its Davis Cup quarter-final tie against Belgium, providing the heroics on Saturday in Charleroi. The Italians saved one match point in a deciding tie-break to edge Ruben Bemelmans and Joris De Loore 4-6, 6-3, 6-4, 3-6, 7-6(6).

Bemelmans and De Loore sought to give the host nation an unassailable 3-0 advantage, as Bolelli and Seppi were broken while serving for the match at 5-4 in the fifth set. But the Italian duo extended the tie in dramatic fashion in the ensuing tie-break. They prevailed after three hours and 50 minutes, firing 48 winners and converting four of nine break chances.

"I'm very happy," said Bolelli. "It was a very tough match. On this surface, they're really tough to play. They played really good. For me, we deserved it. We had many chances in the fifth set. We are still alive."

Belgium, runners-up in 2015 to Great Britain, are seeking their second semi-final appearance in three years, while the Italians are bidding for their first since 2014. David Goffin will look to wrap up proceedings when he faces Paolo Lorenzi in Sunday's reverse singles.

Nick Kyrgios 2017

Fri, 04/07/2017 - 11:35pm