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Updated: 1 week 2 days ago

Read & Watch: RBA Goes All The Way

Sat, 08/26/2017 - 6:51pm

Roberto Bautista Agut captured his second title of the season on Saturday, beating first-time finalist Damir Dzumhur of Bosnia-Herzogovina 6-4, 6-4 to win the Winston-Salem Open crown.

The Spaniard fell in the Winston-Salem final last year to compatriot Pablo Carreno Busta, but he came through on the big stage on Saturday to match his career-best season in titles won.

"I'm so happy; It's been a great week. I didn't drop a set and I played very good tennis,” the Spaniard said. "It was a tough final. He's playing very smart, he changes the rhythm and plays very tricky. I was very focused and very solid.

"After he broke back in both sets I needed to manage the nerves, stay calm and be focused. I was a bit nervous after losing my serve but I managed it well.”

Bautista Agut, who won the Aircel Chennai Open in January (d. Medvedev), also hoisted two trophies last year and in 2014. He has now won six career crowns.

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The Spaniard raced to early leads in both sets before Dzumhur climbed back. Bautista Agut led 4-1 in the first and 3-1 in the second before the scrappy Dzumhur rallied. But Bautista Agut, who didn't drop a set all tournament, was too solid for Dzumhur. The Spaniard clinched the title when the Bosnian lifted a forehand long on Bautista Agut's first match point. Bautista Agut will receive 250 Emirates ATP Rankings points and $89,280 in prize money.

"I wanted to make the final and get the title, so it's been a fantastic week for me. It's been a great year for me," Bautista Agut said.

"I feel good playing here on this court. It's a great tournament and great preparation for the US Open. I have to enjoy the title but then get focused for my first match Tuesday.”

Dzumhur was the first player from Bosnia-Herzogovina to reach an ATP World Tour final. Saturday's final was his 11th match in the past 12 days. He played in the final of the ATP Challenger Tour event in Santo Domingo last weekend (l. to Estrella Burgos).

Dzumhur will receive 150 Emirates ATP Rankings points and $50,830 in prize money.

“Best week for me so far. I really enjoyed playing in Winston-Salem. It was an unexpected good week for me and definitely one that I will always remember,” Dzumhur said.

“I fell behind 0-3 in both sets and it’s not easy to win sets from there, especially against a player like Roberto, who didn’t drop a set all week... He played the big points so well, especially at 4-all in both sets. I made some good points but he hit some great passing shots. I just didn’t have a lot of chances in those two games.

“He was a little better today. My legs were giving up in a few points, but I was trying to fight till the end.”

US Open 2017

Sat, 08/26/2017 - 6:34pm

Zverev Eyes Deep Run At US Open

Sat, 08/26/2017 - 6:25pm

At 20, is Alexander Zverev ready to become a Grand Slam champion? Perhaps so. The next two weeks at Flushing Meadows will tell for sure.

Despite not reaching a Grand Slam quarter-final, Zverev will start among the tournament’s favourites and is the highest seed in the bottom half of the draw following the withdrawal of No. 2 Andy Murray. Two ATP World Tour Masters 1000 titles this season – Rome and Montreal – are proof that he has what it takes to win the big titles. A Grand Slam crown is the next step.

In New York, the fourth seed is attempting to become the second-youngest US Open champion in the Open Era behind 19-year-old Pete Sampras in 1990.

“I played great on the hard courts so far, won two tournaments, Montreal and Washington back to back, which are two huge events,” Zverev said Saturday. “I felt like I could compete and beat anyone during this period of time.

“I think [the Masters 1000 titles] really showed me that I can beat those [top-ranked] guys on a daily basis. I mean, I have won two Masters events this year, which is something new I think the tour hasn't seen for quite a long time apart from the ‘Big 4’. You know, everything is starting to come together and hopefully can continue.”

Zverev opens his campaign against Barbados’ Darian King. He is seeded to meet Kevin Anderson in the third round, Jack Sock in the fourth round and John Isner in the quarter-finals.

Zverev began the year at No. 24 in the Emirates ATP Rankings but has surged to No. 6, enough to earn him the fourth seed with the injured Novak Djokovic and Stan Wawrinka not entered into the draw. Asked if his progress had exceeded expectations, Zverev said: “You probably expect me to be super surprised. Obviously I wouldn't have expected it, but I know what kind of work I have done in the off-season, what kind of work I have done throughout the season, and that me and my whole team are all working towards something like this, and something hopefully even bigger.

“Obviously I'm super happy the way things are going, but I'm not going to be satisfied with just being the No. 4 seed. Doesn't really matter at the end of the tournament what seed you were. It only matters how far you went and what matches you have won.”

The US Open begins Monday.

Dimitrov Gets Better Of del Potro In Cincinnati Heat

Thu, 08/17/2017 - 12:58pm

Grigor Dimitrov recorded his first win in his sixth match against Juan Martin del Potro on Thursday for a place in the Western & Southern Open quarter-finals.

Seventh seed Dimitrov advanced to his eighth ATP World Tour Masters 1000 quarter-final (or better) with a 6-3, 7-5 victory over del Potro, who struggled due to the intense heat in the closing stages of the pair’s sixth meeting that lasted one hour and 39 minutes.

Dimitrov will now look to reach the Cincinnati semi-finals for the second straight year when he challenges Japan’s Yuichi Sugita.

Dimitrov got off to the best possible started by opening up a 3-0 lead against del Potro, who was unable to convert one break point on his Bulgarian opponent’s serve at 3-5, 30/40. Del Potro mirrored Dimitrov by winning the first three games of the second set and could not convert three set point chances at 5-4, before the Argentinean physically began to struggle. A doctor was called at the 6-5 changeover, with del Potro insisting he had to finish the match.

Dimitrov is now 31-14 on the season, which includes two ATP World Tour titles, and improves his chances of rising up from his current position of No. 9 in the Emirates ATP Race To London for a debut appearance at the Nitto ATP Finals, to be held at The O2 in London from 12-19 November. Del Potro, the 2012-13 Cincinnati semi-finalist, is now 18-11 on the year.

Sugita, five spots off his career-high of No. 43 in the Emirates ATP Rankings, reached his first Masters 1000 quarter-final in a career-best year with a 6-7(0), 6-3, 6-3 victory over #NextGenATP Russian Karen Khachanov in two hours.

Two months ago, the 28-year-old Japanese No. 2 captured his first ATP World Tour title at the Antalya Open (d. Mannarino), adding to three ATP Challenger Tour crowns won in 2017.

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Nadal Delights Cincy Fans, #NextGenATP Brave Kings Island

Thu, 08/17/2017 - 9:51am
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Follow all the latest off-court action on MyATP. Download the app for iPhone, Android and visit MyATP.com

Western & Southern Open - Cincinnati, U.S.A.

Rafael Nadal, Milos Raonic, Dominic Thiem, Juan Martin del Potro, Alexander Zverev, Stefan Kozlov and Tommy Paul were among the stars to meet fans at autograph sessions.

ATP World Tour Uncovered took #NextGenATP Americans Jared Donaldson and Kozlov for a morning of fun at Kings Island. The duo brought along some friends and went on three rides before heading back to site for practice. Both had been a little nervous before the roller coasters, but they loved it.

Sam Querrey gave up two hours of his day off to visit the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. The American joined WTA player Nicole Gibbs for an appearance at Seacrest Studios. The duo were joined by hospital patients for a fun-filled hour of Dad Jokes, Head’s Up and Nerf Basketball, which was played over the hospital radio and television stations.

 

ATP And Infosys Launch New PlayerZone

Thu, 08/17/2017 - 9:06am

ATP, the governing body of men’s professional tennis, in association with Infosys, a global leader in consulting, technology and next-generation services, today announced the launch of a new ‘PlayerZone’ app and website. The revamped PlayerZone, an extranet portal for ATP players, their support teams, coaches, and others in the ecosystem, allows users to engage with each other and access information across a wide range of operational aspects related to life on Tour.

The PlayerZone is developed with best-in-class technology to be intuitive and more convenient, offering biometric login on the app. It also provides information on tournament entries and withdrawals, automated updates on match scheduling and results, rules and regulations, all the way to hotel information, transportation, visa requirements, and more. Besides simplifying the life of players on Tour, PlayerZone will also feature new prize money and taxes data to ease tracking of earnings and facilitate compliance.

The new app will increase engagement with the next generation of players, provide a central portal of information as players’ progress through different stages of their career, as well as offer a forum to engage with the players’ support teams in a private and secure digital environment.

“The ATP World Tour is a truly global business, taking place in over 30 countries across six continents, and with players from over 100 countries,” said Chris Kermode, ATP Executive Chairman & President. “We live in a world where immediacy and connectivity is integral to the success of our daily operations. With that in mind, we’re delighted to launch the new PlayerZone, in partnership with Infosys, which will not only greatly enhance our direct communication with our players and their support teams, but also help players navigate the demands of everyday life on Tour in the most efficient way possible.

“With the launch of this new app, we believe we have set a new benchmark in offering the best player extranet in sport, connecting our players, their agents, coaches, teams and family to the ATP World Tour wherever they might be, from any device of their choice,” added Kermode.

According to Rajesh Murthy, President, Infosys, “Over the last two years, innovation has been a key part of the Infosys-ATP partnership. It started with re-imagining 25 years of tennis data and 12 million data points, and today we are using best in class digital technology to power the PlayerZone portal. Everything within the new PlayerZone is available in simple dashboards and within a few clicks. We are delighted to have successfully launched this portal, a first in the digital space in the sports industry for us. This was no mean task as players have specific requirements, and the ATP has numerous rules which needed to be incorporated. As part of our partnership, we developed a joint vision for ATP to become one of the most innovative and digitalized sporting organizations in the world and we are excited to be enabling them in this time of change.”

Nadal Stays Perfect Against Gasquet In Cincinnati

Wed, 08/16/2017 - 11:05pm

Rafael Nadal extended his FedEx ATP Head2Head series dominance to 15-0 against Richard Gasquet to start his Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati on Wednesday. The top-seeded Spaniard saved his only break point faced and converted just the right amount of break points – two – against the Frenchman to advance 6-3, 6-4.

Nadal improved to 21-10 at the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournament and looked prime to fight for his second Cincinnati title this week (also 2013, d. Isner). After Gasquet erased a match point at 30/40, 3-5 in the second set, Nadal served out the match to love.

“I think I played a solid match. I think Richard has a great backhand, and his best shot probably goes against my best shot, too. That probably can make the difference,” Nadal said when asked about his undefeated FedEx ATP Head2Head record against Gasquet.

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Regardless of what happens this week, Nadal will return to No. 1 in the Emirates ATP Rankings on Monday because of Roger Federer's withdrawal from Cincinnati (back injury). The Spaniard will be No. 1 for the first time since 6 July 2014. It will mark the fourth different time in his career that the 31 year old has ascended to the top Emirates ATP Ranking.

Nadal will next face countryman Albert Ramos-Vinolas, who toppled Nadal's Wimbledon conqueror 16th seed Gilles Muller 5-7, 6-4, 6-4.

“I work every day to play better. It's obvious that was an important start for me, a good one. Now I have another opportunity tomorrow to go on court and play another match. I hope to be ready to play well tomorrow. I think I can do it, because I have been practising well,” Nadal said.

Adrian Mannarino also knocked off a seeded player to reach the third round. The Frenchman beat 15th seed Sam Querrey 6-2, 7-6(4). Mannarino is coming off his first Masters 1000 quarter-final last week at the Coupe Rogers (l. to Shapovalov). He will next play third seed Dominic Thiem.

Bryans Open Bid For Sixth Cincinnati Crown

Wed, 08/16/2017 - 9:45pm

Fourth seeds Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan began their campaign for a sixth Western & Southern Open crown on Wednesday in Cincinnati as they defeated Feliciano Lopez and Marc Lopez 6-2, 6-3.

The American twins improved to a 39-14 record at this ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournament as they dismissed their Spanish opponents in 53 minutes. They last won the title in 2014 (d. Pospisil/Sock), having won their first crown in 2003 (d. Arthurs/Hanley).

Third seeds Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares also advanced with victory over a Spanish pairing, beating Pablo Carreno Busta and Fernando Verdasco 6-3, 6-3 in 61 minutes. The British/Brazilian duo are looking for their fourth title of the season, to add to trophies in Acapulco, Stuttgart and The Queen’s Club.

Second seeds Lukasz Kubot and Marcelo Melo are through to the quarter-finals after beating Diego Schwartzman and Mischa Zverev 7-5, 6-2. Kubot and Melo currently lead the Emirates ATP Doubles Race To London halfway through what has been a stellar season, highlighted by winning the Wimbledon title (d. Marach/Pavic). They are chasing their third Masters 1000 crown of the year, following victories in Miami and Madrid.

Seventh seeds and last week’s Montreal finalists Rohan Bopanna and Ivan Dodig will open their Cincinnati campaign against Juan Sebastian Cabal and Fabio Fognini, after the Colombian/Italian duo defeated American wild cards Jack Sock and Jackson Withrow 7-6(5), 6-4.  

Zverev Feeling Positive Despite Cincy Loss

Wed, 08/16/2017 - 9:34pm

It's only mid-August, but it has already been quite the U.S. summer for Alexander Zverev, whose 10-match win streak was snapped at the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati on Wednesday against #NextGenATP American Frances Tiafoe.

The #NextGenATP German has captured two ATP World Tour titles, including the Citi Open in Washington, D.C., his first hard-court crown, and the Coupe Rogers, his second ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title.

So while Zverev was hoping to a third ATP World Tour Masters 1000 crown this week, he accepted the loss in context.

“It's been great. I won back-to-back weeks, two big events. Visiting Montreal was very, very special, as well. It's been a positive summer so far,” said Zverev, who handed Roger Federer his first loss in a final this year (5-1 record). “I beat a lot of Top 10 players and have beaten a lot of great players, a lot of tough matches.”

The match could be one tennis fans see dozens of times during the coming years. Zverev, 20, has quickly ascended the Emirates ATP Rankings, reaching a career-high No. 7. Tiafoe, 19, is No. 87 but has reached No. 60. The American celebrated his first win against Zverev during the third FedEx ATP Head2Head meeting.

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“He's good. He keeps improving. I played him three times now, two times in Grand Slams, which I won. He plays very well. Hopefully there's going to be a lot of tough and fun matches against him,” Zverev said.

The 6'6” German will next compete at Tiafoe's home Grand Slam, the US Open, where many will be watching to see if he can replicate his hard-court success in Flushing Meadows.

“I think Roger and Rafa are the strongest ones and a few guys coming after that. I think I am involved in that group. I am in that small group of players. Obviously the two favourites are Roger and Rafa,” Zverev said.

“So I feel very confident the way I was playing in the last two weeks. I feel very confident how I am playing right now. And I think going into the US Open, I feel the best I have ever felt maybe going into a Slam. That gives me a lot of confidence, and hopefully I can show that on court, as well.”

My Masters 1000: Michael Chang

Wed, 08/16/2017 - 6:16pm

Only three players have won all four ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournaments on North American soil. Michael Chang was the first, with titles at each stop – Canada (1990), Indian Wells (1992, ’96-97), Miami (1992) and Cincinnati (1993-94) – by the age of 21. The American was alone in the exclusive club before Andre Agassi and Roger Federer completed their sets, respectively in 2001 and 2005. 

One of Chang’s most memorable runs came at the Rogers Cup in 1990, the year the Masters 1000 series was introduced. The 18 year old posted back-to-back wins over Andre Agassi and Pete Sampras before prevailing against another American, Jay Berger, in a third-set tie-break to clinch his first Masters 1000 crown.

Now 45, Chang shares his Masters 1000 memories and looks back on that week in Toronto.

What are your first memories of the Masters 1000s?
My first memories, we didn’t call it Masters 1000s back then. I think just being really excited to play. Just knowing that every match was tough from the get-go. The draws were always intriguing because you’ve got the best 56 players, or 64 players... People were excited to watch these great matches and I think especially for me and playing in tournaments like Indian Wells, where I’ve got a lot of family and friends coming to watch, it’s just exciting to come out and play my best tennis. 

Do you think the BNP Paribas Open being your home tournament led to your success there?
Yeah, it was definitely a part of it. I grew up playing in southern California, so I’m very familiar with the conditions here and the courts… I just feel very comfortable. And obviously great crowd support too, that’s always part of it. Having the crowd behind you and supporting you definitely helps you out. 

You first played in that tournament when you were 15. Do you remember that well?
I do; I was an amateur. I had just turned 15 and Charlie Pasarell, the Tournament Director, was kind enough to give me a wild card to play in the qualies. I won two matches, and lost in the third round. But it was a great experience. I came back the next year and played the main draw, so I have a lot of fond memories. And obviously having won a few times also brings back great memories. 

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You’re one of the few players who has won all four North American Masters 1000 tournaments. How were you able to accomplish this, particularly at such a young age?
For me, just playing in the United States and Canada not being very far. This is a surface that I grew up on, so it’s the surface I’m most familiar with. There aren’t a whole lot of tournaments that I didn’t do well at here in North America. The only exception from that list is the US Open in which I got to the final. It’s been great; it’s been a lot of fun to play these events. When you feel very comfortable and feel very much at home, the tennis comes pretty easily. 

Is there a particular match that stands out in your memory, or title run?
I have a lot of great memories. The Canadian Open (Rogers Cup) in Toronto is one tournament that does stand out quite a bit, in 1990, beating Pete in the quarters and cramping against Andre there and beating him 7-5 in the third set, and then having a really tough match with Jay Berger and winning that one 7-6 in the third. That was a great tournament for me, a tournament that I still remember in many instances. It’s great to be a part of tough matches. Some you win, and some you lose. And you hope you win a few more than you lose, but the experiences have all been great. 

Is there a certain player that you would consider the toughest competitor in Masters 1000 history?
It’s hard to say because the depth of men’s tennis was so great back then. There weren’t just four or five guys that could win some of these championships. You would have like 10-12 guys that, if their game was on during that week, they were very dangerous to play. I can’t say that it was one guy, there were just so many tough guys to play against. 

What makes the Masters 1000s special?
There’s just so many reasons why the Masters 1000 series tournaments are so special. For one, it’s really like a miniature grand slam. It’s not as big of a draw, but you’ve got all the top players. The venues are tremendous, whether it’s on hard, whether it’s on clay, whether it’s indoor. The intensity of each of the matches is so tough. To be able to come out and to win one of these events is certainly not easy. All the guys realise that they need to be playing their best tennis in order to do well. 

How much do you think has changed since you were a player?
Definitely events have changed. Some draws have changed a little bit. The venues have improved tremendously… When I won [the BNP Paribas Open] back in the day the venue was great, but nothing compared to what it is now. They’ve done such a tremendous job, always improving the events, making it better and better for not only the players, but the media, for the sponsors, for all the fans. It’s great for the sport of tennis.

Tiafoe Ends Zverev's Winning Streak

Wed, 08/16/2017 - 6:02pm
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American wild card Frances Tiafoe recorded the biggest win of his career - and only his second Top 50 victory - on Wednesday to stop in-form fellow #NextGenATP player Alexander Zverev at the Western & Southern Open.

The World No. 87 ended the 10-match winning streak of Zverev, currently at a career-high No. 7 in the Emirates ATP Rankings, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 in Cincinnati.

“These are wins that definitely can change your career the right way,” Tiafoe said. “This is a big relief for me. We grew up together playing junior Grand Slams, playing Under-12s, Under-14s. I have known him for forever. Seeing him rise like that, I was, like, 'Maybe I can do the same'. Then he beat me twice, and I was, like, 'All right, maybe I can't'. So me beating him today made me feel pretty good.”

Tiafoe improves to 1-2 in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series. Zverev had previously won 28 of his past 29 best-of-three-set matches when winning the first set, but in clutch situations - Wednesday - it was 19-year-old Tiafoe who found a way to complete just his fifth tour-level victory of 2017.

Tiafoe played with power and invention to capitalise on Zverev’s fatigue and open up a 3-0 lead in the second set, before growing in confidence for a third-round clash against compatriot John Isner.

“Strategy was just keep him out there. He has to be tired. He's played a tough couple of weeks, tough matches. A lot of night matches, too. Quick turnaround to play the next day,” Tiafoe said.

“I was just, like, if I can keep the rallies long and just keep making balls, just run down a lot of balls and keep making him play an extra ball, even if I barely get it over the net, just keeping the balls in. And he was getting pretty frustrated. There were times where he acted like he wasn't going to be there and he would step up. It was a roller-coaster match. I was happy to get it over the line.” 

Tiafoe is hoping to join Zverev as a qualifier at the inaugural Next Gen ATP Finals, to be held in Milan from 7-11 November, by moving up from his current position of No. 9 in the Emirates ATP Race To Milan for a spot at the eight-player 21-and-under event.

“I think it's big for all of us,” Tiafoe said of the inaugural tournament. “It's an honour to be in the Race. Hopefully I can make it.” 

Zverev, a winner of five ATP World Tour titles this year, came into the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournament on the back of two straight hard-court crowns at the Citi Open (d. Anderson) and last week’s Coupe Rogers (d. Federer). The 20-year-old German is now 47-14 on the season (21-7 on hard courts).

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Two other #NextGenATP players, Russian Karen Khachanov and American Jared Donaldson, also booked their spots in the third round.

Khachanov reached the third round of an ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournament for the first time in beating lucky loser Thomas Fabbiano 6-2, 6-2 in 72 minutes. The Russian No. 1 now meets Japan's Yuichi Sugita, who defeated qualifier Joao Sousa 3-6, 7-6(5), 6-1.

Donaldson withstood 12 aces and the serve-volley game of Indian lucky loser Ramkumar Ramanathan 4-6, 6-2, 6-4 in just under two hours for a meeting against Georgian Nikoloz Basilashvili, a 6-3, 6-3 victor over lucky loser Christian Harrison.

Zverev, Kyrgios React To Nadal's Return To No. 1 In Emirates ATP Rankings

Wed, 08/16/2017 - 4:32pm
ATP World Tour stars, including Alexander Zverev and Nick Kyrgios, reflect on Rafael Nadal returning to No. 1 in the Emirates ATP Rankings on 21 August 2017.

Krueger Gets Out Of Trouble In Cincinnati 2017 Hot Shot

Wed, 08/16/2017 - 4:31pm
Watch Hot Shot as Mitchell Krueger gets out of trouble in fine style against Juan Martin del Potro on Wednesday at the Western & Southern Open. Watch live matches at tennistv.com. Photo: Peter Staples/ATP World Tour

Kyrgios, Ferrer Reach Cincinnati Third Round

Wed, 08/16/2017 - 3:30pm

Nick Kyrgios will look to his reach his fifth ATP World Tour Masters 1000 quarter-final (or better) on Thursday when he challenges big serving Croatian Ivo Karlovic at the Western & Southern Open. Kyrgios leads 3-0 in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series, with five of their nine sets going to tie-breaks.

The Australian, who continues to struggle to overcome a hip injury, struck 20 winners – including 15 aces – on Wednesday in a 6-3, 7-6(6) victory over Ukrainian Alexandr Dolgopolov, who committed 36 unforced errors, in the 86-minute encounter. Dolgopolov reached the 2015 Cincinnati semi-finals (l. to Djokovic).

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Former World No. 3 David Ferrer, rebuilding his form and confidence with the SkiStar Swedish Open crown in recent weeks, found a way past lucky loser and former World No. 8 Janko Tipsarevic in a 6-4, 6-7(5), 6-1 win over two hours and 25 minutes. In a match featuring 13 breaks of serve, Ferrer let slip a 5-2 lead in the second set.

“It was a difficult match, because I was 6-4, 5-2 serving for the match three times,” Ferrer told ATPWorldTour.com. “So I didn't make it [easy for myself] and I tried in the third set to play consistently point-by-point, and finally my feelings and performance was better than Janko’s. The difference was that I still played consistently all the match. He played inconsistently. When up 6-4, 5-2, I was nervous in the important moments, and he came back into the match. But I think it was my fault.”

Ferrer now faces his Spanish compatriot Pablo Carreno Busta, who recorded a 6-3, 7-6(2) win over Mischa Zverev in one hour and 33 minutes.

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Solid Dimitrov Beats Lopez In Cincinnati

Wed, 08/16/2017 - 12:49pm

Grigor Dimitrov recorded his 30th match win of the year on Wednesday for a spot in the Western & Southern Open third round.

The seventh-seeded Bulgarian hit 27 winners to knock out Spain’s Feliciano Lopez 7-6(5), 6-4 in 90 minutes and will now prepare to face Juan Martin del Potro of Argentina. Del Potro has a perfect 5-0 record in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series, with their last meeting coming at the Internazionali BNL d'Italia in May.

Dimitrov was reliable on serve in the opening set and almost broke Lopez on three occasions, prior to a strong start in the tie-break that he secured on his third set point chance. The 26 year old broke Lopez for a 2-1 lead in the second set and although he could not convert a match point opportunity on the Spaniard’s serve at 3-5, 30/40, in the next game he secured his third win in five meetings. The Bulgarian beat Lopez 5-7, 6-3, 7-6(6) in the Cincinnati second round last year.

""I think early on, he was serving very well," said Dimitrov. "I think it was just important for me to stay in the game and just put as many returns in as I could in order to get in the rally because as soon as that was happening I felt I had a pretty good chance of winning every point.

"I felt early on I had almost too many break points. All of them were pretty well served from him. I couldn't do much else, but I think as soon as the tie-break started, I felt a bit more comfortable. I think actually my confidence was very high, especially in those tight moments. So that's a good sign for me."

Dimitrov got off to a strong start to the year going 16-1 with two ATP World Tour titles in Brisbane (d. Nishikori) and Sofia (d. Goffin). He is now 30-14 overall and will be hoping to better last year’s run to the Cincinnati semi-finals (l. to Cilic). Currently at No. 9 in the Emirates ATP Race To London, Dimitrov is hoping to qualify for the first time to the Nitto ATP Finals, to be held at The O2 in London from 12-19 November.

Del Potro, the 2012 and 2013 semi-finalist, broke serve at the end of both sets to defeat American qualifier Mitchell Kruger 6-4, 6-4 in a hard-fought encounter over one hour and 40 minutes. Del Potro, appearing at the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournament for the first time since 2013, saved five break points at 3-3 in second set and clinched his 18th victory of the year on his fourth match point opportunity.

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Nadal Thiem Dimitrov Reflect On Zverev Success

Wed, 08/16/2017 - 12:42pm
Alexander Zverev is riding on the crest of a wave with two straight ATP World Tour hard-court titles. The #NextGenATP German and other stars, including Rafael Nadal, reflect on his year.

Highlights Tiafoe Ousts Zverev Nadal Dimitrov Advance Cincinnati 2017

Wed, 08/16/2017 - 11:33am
Watch highlights as Rafael Nadal, Grigor Dimitrov Frances Tiafoe and Nick Kyrgios secure spots in the Western & Southern Open third round in Cincinnati. Watch live matches at tennistv.com. Photo: Peter Staples

Nishikori Ends 2017 Season With Right Wrist Injury

Wed, 08/16/2017 - 10:37am

Kei Nishikori announced on Wednesday that he will miss the rest of the 2017 ATP World Tour season in order to recover from a right wrist injury.

The Japanese star flew to Cincinnati, but withdrew from the Western & Southern Open when he felt a sharp pain in his right wrist during a practice session on Sunday at the Lindner Family Tennis Center.

A statement from Nishikori's manager read, “Two days ago during practice in Cincinnati, Kei hit a serve and heard a 'pop' in his wrist. We went straight to the hospital to take an MRI. Yesterday, we went to see a very renowned wrist specialist, who works with many of the MLB baseball pitchers.

“We saw another specialist today to get a second opinion. On top of that we have sent MRI results to three other wrist specialists to ensure we get several independent opinions from specialists. After consulting with all of them, it has become clear that Kei has a tear in one of the tendons in the right wrist.

“At this stage, we have elected not to do surgery and Kei is in a cast. After the swelling comes down in the next weeks, we will evaluate next steps. Kei will withdraw from all the 2017 tournaments and work hard to be ready for next year.”

Nishikori, who is currently No. 9 in the Emirates ATP Rankings, ends 2017 with a 30-13 match record, including two final runs at the Brisbane International presented by Suncorp in January (l. to Dimitrov) and the Argentina Open in February (l. to Dolgopolov).

Recently, Novak Djokovic (right elbow) and Stan Wawrinka (knee) also announced their decision to recuperate from injury and return in 2018.

 

Tiafoe Discusses Victory Over Zverev Cincinnati 2017

Wed, 08/16/2017 - 8:59am
#NextGenATP star Frances Tiafoe discusses the biggest win of his career after his victory over fellow #NextGenATP star Alexander Zverev on Wednesday. Watch live matches at tennistv.com.

Broady Bounces Back With Fresh Focus

Wed, 08/16/2017 - 7:08am

Expectations are high when a young prospect makes Junior Grand Slam finals. Those expectations are only amplified when said prospect is from a nation with as rich a tennis history as Great Britain.

For Liam Broady, a run to the second round at Wimbledon in 2015 catapulted him to a career-best No. 158 in the Emirates ATP Rankings. It came after reaching his first ATP Challenger Tour final in the preceding November where he had fallen to James Duckworth in Charlottesville.

Progress since his been jittery at best and the 23 year old Stockport native is the first to admit it. But a first Challenger final in three years in Aptos, California, on Sunday, went a long way to restoring belief that a revitalised focus was reaping rewards.

Broady went down in straight sets to Kazakhstan’s Alexander Bublik in the final. It was an impressive run, though, having won through qualifying to get there.

“I’ve always believed that I’m capable of competing and living with these guys. It’s telling me my work’s paying off and I’m back,” Broady told USTA Pro Circuit broadcaster Mike Cation. “I’ve been here before. I was probably overwhelmed the first time around but I feel comfortable with these guys and ... it’s just showing people what I can do.”

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Broady strung together seven straight match wins for the loss of just one set en route to the decider. Better still, the surprise run shot his Emirates ATP Ranking up 80 spots to No. 256, which meant he could avoid having to play Futures events and coming through Challengers qualifying.

“I was actually going to play a $25,000 [Futures event] in Illinois this week. Dave said ‘Do you want to play qualies in Aptos because it’s looking so strong or do you want to play a 25 in Illinois?’,” Broady said. “I said ‘Dave, look, I’m not sure I’m going to be able to carry on playing tennis if I go to a Futures in Illinois on my own when I know Aptos is going on because it’s one of the best tournaments that I play’ so he said ‘OK, I trust you to go play it’. I think the tennis gods responded and gave me a final out of this.”

The Brit admitted to frustrations as he made the transition from juniors to the professional ranks. His ranking was not rising anywhere near the rate he wanted it to, or as fast as the British public expected it to given his standout results, which took him as high as No. 2 in the junior world rankings.

“I’ve always felt pressured to get there as quick as I can, especially seeing my peers getting there so fast and kids younger than me now like Zverev, Kyrgios even Shapovalov,” Broady said. “I was playing Shapovalov a couple of months ago on the Challengers and it put such pressure on me not seeing my ranking going up as quick as those guys.

“But one of the big things for me over the last year or so is learning everyone’s path is different. Everybody gets to where they want to get to at different times. You can’t rush that. I think that’s one of the things that’s kind of matured in me.”