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Updated: 19 min 32 sec ago
Feliciano Lopez hopes to be another Spanish player to hoist the trophy in Gstaad. Video courtesy of J. Safra Sarasin Swiss Open Gstaad
Both players struggled on serve in the early stages of the opening set, with Martin and Berlocq recording six breaks in the first eight games. The pair traded service holds from 4-4 on to force a tie-break, where the Slovakian raced to a 4/0 lead. Martin then closed out the set on serve with his second set point.
The second set started with three straight service breaks as Berlocq used the early advantage to build a 4-2 lead. But just when it appeared the match would head to a third set, Martin reeled off four consecutive games to move into the final.
Martin, currently ranked No. 124 in the Emirates ATP Rankings, saved five match points on Thursday in his second-round win over seventh seed Martin Klizan. He will play fourth seed Fabio Fognini, who prevailed against Portugal's Gastao Elias 6-3, 6-3 in an hour and five minutes. Fognini was nearly perfect with his serve, never facing a break point and winning nearly 90 per cent of the time he landed his first serve (23/26).
The 29-year-old Italian will play in his second Umag final (l. to Robredo) and his 11th career ATP World Tour final (3-7). He last took home a title in February 2014 (Vina del Mar, d. L. Mayer).
Paolo Lorenzi beat Nikoloz Basilashvili 6-3, 6-4 on Sunday at the Generali Open in Kitzbuhel to capture his first ATP World Tour title. At 34 years, seven months, the Italian became the oldest first-time winner in ATP World Tour history. It was his second ATP World Tour final, having finished runner-up in Sao Paulo in February 2014.
ATPWorldTour.com spoke to Lorenzi after his victory in Kitzbuhel.
How does it feel to be holding your first ATP World Tour singles trophy at the age of 34?I think it’s great to win an ATP trophy. I don’t look at the age. I can say that I’m really happy and I don’t mind if it’s happening at 34.
When you were growing up, was it a goal of yours to win an ATP World Tour event?When I was younger, I think the dream is to become No. 1 and win a Grand Slam, but of course it’s not so easy and only a few players can do this. But a goal of this year was to win one trophy, so this is great for me.
Did you have a different approach for this final compared to your other one in Sao Paulo in 2014?I think I had a different approach because I already made it to one final. In Sao Paulo, I was one set up. Today, I was one set and one break up, but I was just thinking about playing my best tennis.
What are your goals for the rest of the season?My goal was to play the Olympics for Italy, so I will go to Rio now. Afterwards, I will try to play more big tournaments with my ranking and try to do my best.
When you look at this season, what do you think has improved the most in your game?I’m changing a lot. I’m still too far behind the baseline sometimes, so I need to be more aggressive. We’re working every day to try and do something more. I need to improve a lot of things, so this is just the start.
What do you think are the strengths of your game?I think my mentality. During the match, I’m just thinking about what I have to do and trying to do my best on every point.
Who are the players you looked up to growing up?Growing up, I liked Boris Becker because my brother was for Stefan Edberg, so we need to fight each other. I’m not enjoying the tennis like before because now when I see a player, I’m trying to study them. But before, it was Boris.
What do you like to do for fun?When I have time, I read a lot. I read almost a book a week. And when I have a few days off for a holiday, I always go to the sea with my girlfriend.
Who has helped you through your career to get where are you today?My family. My parents, my brother and in the last year my girlfriend have helped me so much, so I have to say thanks to them.
It was a night of firsts for Vasek Pospisil on Friday in Toronto as he threw out the first pitch at the Blue Jays’ game against the Seattle Mariners.
“That was the first time I’ve ever thrown a baseball in my life so I’m pretty happy with how it went,” said Pospisil. “It’s also the first time I’ve ever been to a baseball game so I’m really pumped.”
The Canadian is in Toronto ready to compete at the Rogers Cup, the sixth ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournament of the season, which begins on Monday.
Pospisil is looking for a return to form at the tournament where he made his breakthrough three years ago, when it was held in Montreal, by reaching the semi-finals (l. to Raonic). The 26 year old opens his bid against Jeremy Chardy and also competes in the doubles alongside countryman Daniel Nestor.
Top seeds Wesley Koolhof/Matwe Middelkoop won their second ATP World Tour title of the year on Saturday at the Generali Open in Kitzbuhel, saving a championship point to prevail over wild cards Dominic Thiem/Dennis Novak, 2-6, 6-3 11-9.
"We had a few tough matches [this week]," said Middelkoop. "We won with four match tie-breaks. We learned how to deal with pressure and dealt with it in a good way."
The Austrian pair opened the match by breaking serve and converted on both of their break point chances in the opening set. But the Dutch pair fought back, earning the lone break of serve in the second set to lead 3/1 and holding onto the momentum to force the championship into a match tie-break.
Thiem/Novak rallied from 4/8 down in the match tie-break to win five straight points, but couldn’t convert on their championship point at 9/8. Koolhof/Middelkoop won the final three points to take the title.
“To play against Dominic Thiem in such a big court and at such a big event is a dream come true," said Middelkoop. "It was a big honour to play for that crowd.”
Koolhof added, "This was the first time I played in front of a big crowd like that [with 5,500 people in the stadium]. It was a great atmosphere.”
Koolhof/Middelkoop won their first-ever ATP World Tour doubles title February at the Garanti Koza Sofia Open in February. They split €25,070 in prize money and earned 250 Emirates ATP Doubles Rankings points.
Thiem was appearing in his first ATP World Tour doubles final and Novak in his first ATP World Tour final of any kind. They split €13,170 and 150 points.
Fourth seed Paolo Lorenzi became the oldest first-time winner on the ATP World Tour by prevailing on Saturday at the Generali Open in Kitzbuhel. The Italian played his best match of the tournament in defeating Nikoloz Basilashvili, 6-3, 6-4.
“I think it’s great to win an ATP World Tour trophy,” said Lorenzi. “I don’t look at the age, so I don’t mind if it’s happening at 34.”
Lorenzi’s only other ATP World Tour final came in Sao Paulo in March 2014 (l. Delbonis). At 34 years, 7 months, he surpassed the record set by Victor Estrella Burgos in February 2015 for oldest first-time winner on the ATP World Tour (Quito; 34 years, 6 months). Lorenzi is the third-oldest winner this season on the ATP World Tour, only behind Ivo Karlovic (Newport; 37 years, four months) and Estrella Burgos (Quito; 35 years, 6 months).The Italian is the first player this year to win both an ATP World Tour and ATP Challenger Tour title, having prevailed this year at Challengers in Canberra and Caltanissetta.
“Winning one trophy was a goal for this year, so it’s great for me. I hope this is not the last,” said Lorenzi. “I’m changing a lot. I need to be more aggressive and improve a lot of things, so this is just the start.”
Despite the loss, Basilashvili broke ground by becoming the first player representing Georgia to reach an ATP World Tour final.
“I couldn’t handle my nerves today. I was very tight, very nervous,” said Basilashvili. “I couldn’t handle the pressure, but I think I played great this week and we’ll see for the future.”
In the first set, Lorenzi won 90 per cent of his first serve points and was especially impressive in return games by winning 46 per cent of total points (compared to 26 per cent for Basilashvili). He opened the match by breaking Basilashvili’s serve and then broke once more at 5-3 to take the opening set.
It appeared that Lorenzi would run away with the match when he broke the Georgian to take a 3-1 lead, but Basilashvili fought back to break Lorenzi to love in the next game. The pair traded holds until 5-4, when Lorenzi broke Basilashvili on his first match point opportunity to win his maiden ATP World Tour title.
Ivo Karlovic, Steve Johnson, Gael Monfils, and Sascha Zverev win to complete the semi-finals at the Citi Open in Washington. Watch live tennis at tennistv.com. Getty Images photo.
Gael Monfils returned to some of his best tennis at the Citi Open on Friday, dazzling the Washington crowd with absurd angles and holding back a solid showing from American Sam Querrey 6-4, 3-6, 6-1. Monfils advanced to the Washington semi-finals for the third time in as many tournament appearances.
“I think I just fight. I compete well,” Monfils said. “I wasn’t playing great tennis for myself. I think I could serve better, I could be more aggressive… It was tough for me to impose my game.”
The second seeded Frenchman will face #NextGen star Alexander Zverev, who swept Frenchman Benoit Paire 6-1, 6-3 in Friday's last match on Stadium at the Rock Creek Park Tennis Center. Monfils leads their FedEx ATP Head2Head series 2-0, with both wins coming on indoor hard courts (Marseille 2015, Rotterdam 2016).
“I really like him. I’ve known him for a little while now,” Monfils said. “He’s a young gun. He’s very solid, very talented.”
Facing Querrey, Monfils grabbed the early advantage with a break in the seventh game to go up 4-3. The 29-year-old right-hander cruised on his serve during the first set. Querrey, though, stepped up his play and broke Monfils in the early stages of the second set, marking the first time Monfils had lost his serve in Washington.
But Monfils took back the momentum and led 3-0 in the third set before taking the match. He last reached the Washington semi-finals the last time he played at the tournament: 2011, en route to the final (l. to Stepanek). Monfils also reached the last four in 2007 (l. to Isner).
Zverev, the 2015 ATP Star Of Tomorrow presented by Emirates, needed only 57 minutes to dominate an out-of-sorts Paire and reach his fifth ATP World Tour semi-final of the season. The 19-year-old German grabbed the opener in 18 minutes after Paire landed only 35 per cent of his first serves and committed four double faults.
The 27-year-old Paire showed more resiliency in the second set but Zverev still coasted, saving both break points and benefiting from Paire's 31 unforced errors in the match.
Gael Monfils discusses reaching the Citi Open semi-finals for the third time in as many appearances. Watch live tennis at tennistv.com.
Sascha Zverev expects an entertaining semi-final contest with Gael Monfils at the Citi Open in Washington. Watch live tennis at tennistv.com.
Ivo Karlovic talks about his win against Jack Sock at the Citi Open in Washington. Watch live tennis at tennistv.com.
Croatian Ivo Karlovic matched his best showing at the Citi Open in Washington on Friday with a 7-6(4), 7-6(6) quarter-final win against American Jack Sock. The 6'11” right-hander struck 26 aces and erased all four break points against Sock, who was trying to achieve his best result in Washington by making the semi-finals.
"Hopefully I can use this confidence to continue to play well," Karlovic said.
The 23-year-old Sock, who also had reached the quarter-finals last year, exhibited some strong serving to match Karlovic. Sock erased the lone break point faced and dialed up 12 aces. Neither player faced a break point in the first set, but Karlovic gained one more mini-break in the tie-break to take the opener.
In the second set, Sock had opportunities to break at 0-0, 3-3 and 4-4 but couldn't convert any of them, and Karlovic was again a mini-break better in the tie-break. For the match, Karlovic actually won five fewer points than Sock (79 to 84).
“I feel like I scrap pretty well and can get a lot of returns back and I still can’t break the guy,” Sock said. “No matter who he plays in any round, any tournament, it comes down to a point here and there.”
Karlovic, who last reached the semi-finals in 2007, will face another American in Steve Johnson in the semi-finals. Johnson moved past compatriot John Isner 7-6(7), 7-6(15) in one hour and 57 minutes.
“He’s another big server with a completely different game than John,” Johnson said of Karlovic. “I’m going to go out and try and take care of my serve, first and foremost… after that try and get into as many return points as I can.”
The fifth seed Johnson erased six break points to beat Isner for only the second time in six meetings. Isner also had five set points in the first set and seven in the second set, including two on his racquet, but failed to convert any of them. At 15/15 in the second-set tie-break, the World No. 16 double faulted to give Johnson his sixth match point and the first on his racquet.
“I had countless chances today, and I put a lot more pressure on him than he put on me,” Isner said. “But it didn’t quite pay off, so credit to him. I got tentative on my forehand, and it was super frustrating.”
Steve Johnson discusses his quarter-final win over compatriot and friend John Isner at the Citi Open in Washington. Watch live tennis at tennistv.com.
Gael Monfils finds an incredible angle on a forehand pass against Sam Querrey during their quarter-final match at the Citi Open in Washington. Watch live tennis at tennistv.com. Getty Images photo.
Milos Raonic is swiping through his phone. We’re in a booth at a Miami steak house, picking at shrimp-and-quinoa salads, talking about athletes and writing, when he finds Kobe Bryant’s retirement poem, a love letter to basketball. “You’re a writer,” he says to me. “I want to hear your literary take.” This is typical. Not so much the poetry part as the seeking-out opinions.
Last year, while recovering from back spasms, the 25-year-old Canadian asked himself, “What is the stuff I like to do the least and can it help me?” One answer? Writing. Now every night Raonic, currently ranked seventh, jots down “ideas, emotions” in a leather notebook. He’s been reading books like The Art of Learning, by the chess prodigy Josh Waitzkin.
Tennis is a game of slim margins, especially at the top. Every player is looking for that something to close the gap. Commentator Justin Gimelstob believes one of Raonic’s strengths is “he isn’t afraid to be great.”
Now through 30 September, enter to win the Peugeot “Let’s Fly To London” Contest!
Jack Sock tries to lob the 6 foot, 11 inch Ivo Karlovic at the Citi Open in Washington. Watch live tennis at tennistv.com.
The Argentinean won 84 per cent of his first serve points and converted on four of nine break point opportunities. From 5-4 in the opening set, Berlocq reeled off six consecutive games as Chardy was left looking for answers. Berlocq’s only hiccup came when he tried to serve out the match at 5-0 in the second set, but made good on his next service game to close out the win.
Berlocq is into his first ATP World Tour semi-final since Buenos Aires in February 2015. He also evened his FedEx ATP Head2Head rivalry with Chardy to 1-1.
Next up for Berlocq is Andrej Martin, who continued to show off his fighting spirit this week in winning his quarter-final over second seed Joao Sousa, 6-3, 4-6, 6-2. Martin saved five match points on Thursday in defeating seventh seed Martin Klizan.
The Slovakian is now into his first ATP World Tour semi-final. He's jumped over 75 spots in the Emirates ATP Rankings this year to his current standing at No. 70. Berlocq leads their FedEx ATPHead2Head rivalry 1-0, with their only previous meeting being a first-round in Umag in 2014.
Earlier in the day, Gastao Elias scored another upset win over by defeating sixth seed Pablo Carreno Busta in their quarter-final, 6-4, 6-4. The Portuguese player was more efficient in all areas than his opponent, winning more service points (56 per cent to 46 per cent ) and return points (53 per cent to 43 per cent).
Elias saved a match point on Thursday in his second-round win over top seed and defending champion Pablo Cuevas. He is now into his second ATP World Tour semi-final of the year, having accomplished that feat last week at the SkiStar Swedish Open.
Elias will play fourth seed Fabio Fognini, who found his top form after dropping the first set in his quarter-final against Damir Dzumhur to move into the final four, 4-6, 6-1, 6-1. The veteran Italian is into his second ATP World Tour semi-final of the year, with his previous effort coming in April in Munich. All three of his previous ATP World Tour titles have come on clay.
Croatians Mektic/Sancic Advance To Doubles Final
Fourth seeds Nikola Mektic/Antonio Sancic delighted the local crowd by advancing to their first ATP World Tour doubles final over second seeds Nicholas Monroe/Artem Sitak, 7-5, 6-2. They'll play Martin Klizan/David Marrero, who defeated Thomas Fabbiano/Franko Skugor, 6-4, 6-1. Klizan/Marrero won together in Umag in 2013 and Marrero also prevailed here in 2012 (w/Verdasco). Both players are seeking their first ATP World Tour doubles title of 2016.
Doubles player Michael Venus tries a traditional Swiss food, taking part in a fondue tasting in Gstaad.