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Updated: 4 weeks 3 days ago

Rojer/Tecau Reach Rotterdam SFs

Wed, 02/14/2018 - 5:00pm

Jean-Julien Rojer and Horia Tecau took just 49 minutes to reach the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament semi-finals, on Wednesday, with a 6-1, 6-2 win over Robin Haase and Matwe Middelkoop.

The fourth seeds, bidding for a second title in Rotterdam after success in 2015, secured 80 per cent of points behind their first serves and won 20 of the 41 points contested in their Dutch opponents’ service games to dominate the match. Rojer and Tecau won seven successive games from 1-1 in the first set to take a firm hold of the match and looked comfortable throughout as they notched their 13th win in 16 matches as a team in Rotterdam.

Third seeds Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut reached the quarter-finals in Rotterdam after beating Marcin Matkowski and Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi 6-4, 6-4. The French duo faced only one break point in the 69-minute clash, which they saved, before moving into a last eight meeting against Karen Khachanov and compatriot Lucas Pouille.

Did You Know?
Rojer and Tecau are the only team remaining in the draw to have previously won the title. Former champions Ivan Dodig (2017) and Nicolas Mahut (2014, 2016) both won their titles in Rotterdam while competing with different partners.

Federer Begins No. 1 Bid In Style

Wed, 02/14/2018 - 11:49am
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Roger Federer began his quest to return to No.1 in the ATP Rankings for the first time in over five years with a 6-1, 6-2 win over qualifier Ruben Bemelmans at the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam.

Federer, who will overtake Rafael Nadal at the top of the ATP Rankings if he reaches the semi-finals, moved to within just two wins of the achievement after his 47-minute, first-round win over the World No. 116.

Watch Highlights: Roger's Having Fun Chasing No. 1 In Rotterdam

“[It was] very surprising how good things went today,” admitted Federer. “I think the key was to start off well and put Ruben (Bemelmans) under pressure right away and make him feel like he had to do something special.”

The top seed raced to a one-set lead in just 18 minutes against his Belgian opponent, dropping just four points on serve as he won clinched set point with a put-away forehand winner. The second set continued in much the same vein as the opener, with Federer immediately breaking and consolidating to love for a 2-0 lead. Federer had two break points for a double-break lead in the next game, but the qualifier held firm to keep the deficit to a single break.

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Federer did get the second break in the penultimate game of the match, rifling a backhand passing shot that Bemelmans could only return short before the World No. 2 swatted the ball into the open court. The two-time champion then completed a perfect set on serve, winning 16 out of 16 service points, holding to love for the fourth time in a row to secure his place in the second round.

The 36-year-old has now moved one step closer to becoming the oldest World No. 1 in history, with Andre Agassi currently holding the record. The American last held the top spot on 7 September 2003 at 33. Federer’s is yet to lose a match against his next opponent, Philipp Kohlschreiber. The 20-time Grand Slam champion leads their FedEx ATP Head2Head series 12-0.

“It's a different match, changing from lefty to righty,” said Federer. “I just hope I can play a good match. It is a sprint to the finish.

“The beginning will be crucial tomorrow, you don't want to fall behind, you want to stay focussed all the way. Any lapses could mean that you get in trouble. But, I enjoy playing against Philipp (Kohlschreiber), I played really good against him at the US Open so I hope I can keep that up tomorrow night.”

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Italy's Andreas Seppi pulled the upset of the day at the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament by defeating third seed Alexander Zverev 6-4, 6-3 on Wednesday.

The 33-year-old needed one hour and 17 minutes to dispatch the 20-year-old German. Zverev, a quarter-finalist in 2016, managed to convert just two of his six break point opportunities (4/5 for Seppi).

With the win, World No. 81 Seppi moves to 1-1 in his FedEx ATP Head2Head series against Zverev. He will face the winner of the second-round match between France's Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Russian Daniil Medvedev for a place in the semi-finals.

The Passion And Excitement Of ATP 500s

Wed, 02/14/2018 - 11:43am
Marin Cilic, Dominic Thiem and Tomas Berdych talk about the significance of doing well at ATP 500 tournaments.

Sugita Floors Dimitrov For Rotterdam 2018 Hot Shot

Wed, 02/14/2018 - 11:36am
Watch Hot Shot as Yuichi Sugita turns the tables on Grigor Dimitrov, with great court coverage, before flooring the Nitto ATP Finals champion to earn Hot Shot honours in Rotterdam. Watch live tennis at tennistv.com. Photo: Henk Koster

Dimitrov Battles Past Sugita In Rotterdam Opener

Wed, 02/14/2018 - 11:24am

Grigor Dimitrov began his campaign for a first ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament title with a hard-fought 6-4, 7-6(5) win over Yuichi Sugita on Wednesday.

Watch Hot Shot As Sugita Floors Dimitrov

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The 2013 semi-finalist was made to work hard throughout the one-hour, 46-minute encounter against Sugita, but found his best level at the tail-end of both sets to secure the win. In the first set, Dimitrov broke his Japanese opponent at the perfect time, in a marathon tenth game, to take a one-set advantage. Sugita, who was making his debut in Rotterdam at the age of 29, served to force a deciding set at 5-4, but Dimitrov once again showed his quality in the crucial moments to break serve. The Bulgarian went on to clinch victory on his second match point in the tie-break.

Standing between Dimitrov and a place in the quarter-finals is Filip Krajinovic. The Rolex Paris Masters finalist edged 17-year old Felix Auger-Aliassime 6-2, 3-6, 7-5 on Tuesday.

Montpellier champion Lucas Pouille’s first match after winning his fifth career title ended in defeat, after #NextGenATP star Andrey Rublev shocked the No. 7 seed 7-5, 6-4. On his main draw debut in Rotterdam, Rublev broke the Frenchman on four occasions, after trailing 0-3 in the first set, to secure his place in the second round. The Russian No. 1 will next face Damir Dzumhur who upset another of last week’s success stories, Marius Copil, 6-4, 6-4.

Did You Know?
Grigor Dimitrov made his ATP World Tour main-draw debut and secured his first tour-level win in the Netherlands. In 2008, Dimitrov lost to Igor Andreev in s-Hertogenbosch in his first tour encounter and won his first match at tour-level in 2009 against Tomas Berdych in Rotterdam.

My Title: Mirnyi Remembers 2003 Rotterdam

Wed, 02/14/2018 - 11:14am

The ‘Beast’ is largely remembered these days, in his 25th season as a professional, as one of the finest doubles players of his generation, capable of aggressive, tactically adept play both from the baseline and at the net. But just like every player who aspires to make a living from the sport, you begin your life as a singles player. Max Mirnyi, initially, competed in both singles and doubles competition, his appetite whetted at Nick Bollettieri’s Tennis Academy in Bradenton, Florida, with the likes of Tommy Haas and Andre Sa on tennis and basketball courts.

“My singles career and wins I earned, got me to a combined 1,000 match wins recently,” Mirnyi told ATPWorldTour.com. “A big reason why I was the player I am in doubles, is because I played a lot of both disciplines early in my tennis development. I enjoyed it and I don’t look back, thinking if I hadn’t had played more doubles, then I could have done a bit better in singles.”

Fifteen years ago, Mirnyi arrived at the Rotterdam Ahoy unsure of his chances in a loaded singles draw, fatigued and hoping to figure out a way to work himself into form. “I really had no expectations coming in, so remember thinking I’d take it one match at a time,” said Mirnyi, reflecting on the 2003 ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament.

For one glorious week, his serve and volley, attacking tennis, fluent movement and positive intent guaranteed the Belarusian one of his most memorable periods of his career as he came through a who’s who of ATP World Tour stars for the Rotterdam title.

“The memories are so fresh, as it was the only singles title I could win,” said Mirnyi. “Fifteen years later, it is so vivid and I’m incredibly proud of it. It’s definitely one of the better tournaments on the circuit and being indoors and where it’s played, makes it an historic arena. It’s great to be part of the group that has won in Rotterdam.”

Before Mirnyi in February 2003, stood two future Top 10 stars in Mario Ancic and Ivan Ljubicic, a former World No. 1 in Yevgeny Kafelnikov and a future global leader of the sport, Roger Federer, who was then ranked No. 5 in the ATP Rankings.

“I believe I played Mario Ancic in the first round, which was a tough match [6-7(5), 7-6(5), 6-4], then I had another big Croatian server in the second round, in Ivan Ljubicic,” recalls Mirnyi. “That match got cut short, as he got hurt [at 2-4 in the first set], but it helped me, as afterwards I felt like I was able to spread my wings a bit. I had a bit of a breather and got comfortable playing on the courts.

“Playing against Kafelnikov was like looking up to an older brother, as we’d once shared a house together at Wimbledon. I tried to soak in and learn as much as possible from him, a champion, his daily routines. So playing against him was trickier than playing Roger [in the semi-finals], because I had that connection. It was a tough match [7-6(5), 7-6(4)] and a nervous experience. I definitely wanted to beat him, but I had so much respect for him.”

Then came Federer, Mirnyi's doubles partner in Rotterdam. Not the player who this week seeks to overtake Rafael Nadal and return to No. 1 in the ATP Rankings for a record-extending 303rd week, but a 21-year-old Swiss with a burgeoning reputation and three ATP World Tour crowns to his name.

Mirnyi, speaking with a wealth of experience, following encounters against Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi, through to the current day goliaths, remembers, “Roger wasn’t the player he is now, but he was on the way up and I could feel there was something special about his game.

“These days everyone seems to move the ball around the court with so much ease, but back then Roger stood out by using different spins. I felt guys I’d played up to at that point, the ball was coming at me the same, but with Roger I always started seeing different trajectories of the ball. I wasn’t sure why. Soon after we found out what was up his sleeve. I maybe was a little fortunate, coming in and serving and volleying, taking it to him to win [5-7, 6-3, 6-4].”

The atmosphere for the final was fun, the Dutch fans educated and well versed, but their hearts were with Raemon Sluiter, who was hoping to follow in the footsteps of Tom Okker (1974) and Richard Krajicek (1995, 1997) - the current Tournament Director (since 2004) - as a homegrown champion in Rotterdam.

“Going into the final, playing Sluiter was no easy task, but game wise I knew I could match up well again him. He’d played and beaten me in Challenger matches in the past, but that day I felt the matches that got me to the final, would get me over my hump. He was an offensive player, a tough opponent taking the ball early as I came forward. But I used a lot of body serves and got him moving up the court in order to try to pass me.”

Mirnyi held his nerve to beat Sluiter 7-6(3), 6-4 and was thrilled to win the Rotterdam title. “It was phenomenal.”

Later that day, after a brief rest, Mirnyi returned to the Centre Court and almost made it a double celebration, when he partnered Federer in the doubles final. They lost 7-6(4), 6-2 to Wayne Arthurs and Paul Hanley, but Mirnyi fondly remembers, “It was fun and I treasure that moment today. As Roger and I also played in the doubles that week, his coach at the time, Peter Lundgren, was looking after and helping us both in practice. That weekend, Belarus ice hockey team beat the iconic Swiss, so there was a lot to cheer.”

Four months later, on 9 June 2003, Mirnyi became No. 1 in the ATP Doubles Rankings. For years, the silver Rotterdam trophy took pride of place in his Belarus home, but, gathering dust, he recently took the decision, with his father, Nikolai, to move it – and his 50 doubles crowns, including six Grand Slam doubles titles – to the Max Mirnyi Sports Centre in Minsk and inspire the next generation from Belarus.

One day, Mirnyi will dig out old video tapes, and latterly CDs or USB sticks of his singles matches, and reflect on his career and former glories, but for now the 40-year-old is still out there between the lines.

Anderson Focuses On Continuing His Climb

Wed, 02/14/2018 - 10:43am
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Kevin Anderson spent one week in the Top 10 of the ATP Rankings in October 2016, but then ankle and dental operations, a hip injury and more setbacks kept the right-hander off the court or far from his best. Exactly one year ago he competed at the Memphis Open, losing in the first round as the World No. 74.

A year later, the Memphis event has moved to Long Island and is now the New York Open. The last time the top seed was in the big apple, he advanced to his first Grand Slam final at the 2017 US Open, the culmination of an impressive comeback that saw Anderson thrust himself into contention for a spot at the Nitto ATP Finals. Now, aged 31, the South African is back at No. 11 in the ATP Rankings and determined more than ever to make up for lost time and challenge, once more, for titles.

“It gave me extra motivation to keep pushing myself to get in that position again. It was nice to be there once. I’d love to be there several times and compete for more tournaments at that level,” Anderson told ATPWorldTour.com. “I think there’s so much for me achieve at the [ATP World Tour] Masters [1000] level, have better successes there. I haven’t won any 500 events. I haven’t won a title in a few years. So I think there’s a lot for me to still play for.”

Anderson has finished four of the past five seasons inside the Top 20 of the ATP Rankings, but has won just one ATP World Tour title (2015 Winston-Salem) since 2012 and has captured three tour-level trophies overall. His major goal in 2018 is to qualify for his first season finale at The O2 in London, which will be held from 11-18 November.

But it is only February.

“That’s a longer-term goal that comes on the back of the work you put in day-in and day-out,” Anderson said. “My goal is to challenge and push myself each and every single day.”

That is fitting, as there are few competitors on the ATP World Tour who embrace the daily grind of life as a professional tennis player like Anderson. Brad Stine, who has coached the likes of former World No. 1 Jim Courier, Andrei Medvedev and Mardy Fish, joined the big server’s team this season after Anderson mutually split with Neville Godwin.

One thing has stood out in their short time together.

“Kevin is probably the most focused, intense, professional person I’ve been around since Jim Courier,” Stine said. “What he demands from himself and what he expects from his team when he’s at the office, inside the fences training for his tennis, is very high. I’ve really enjoyed that, actually. That intensity level and that demand, it’s great.”

And that is not just when times are good, as they have been often lately for Anderson — he began the ATP World Tour campaign at the Tata Open Maharashtra in Pune, India with a strong performance, losing in the final against Gilles Simon. But at the Australian Open, Anderson was ousted in the first round by eventual semi-finalist Kyle Edmund in a five-set thriller.

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“I felt I was playing very good tennis going in there off the finals in Pune,” Anderson said. “I came up against a very tough opponent in Kyle Edmund… I would have loved to be there, loved to have done better. Again, my philosophy is to try to learn from it, [even] if it’s sometimes very difficult [to swallow].”

Stine had only spent one week in Delray Beach, Florida working with Anderson and then another week with him at Melbourne Park. But it was the World No. 11's reaction to those losses that showed his coach the most.

“One of the things that I was really impressed with Kevin after the match, not having known him… was his level of maturity and how he dealt with those losses,” Stine said. “Just sitting down and analysing the situations. What were the positives and what were the negatives? What were the things that we need to learn from and improve on?”

And now, Anderson could move forward in New York — where he will open his campaign against 21-year-old American Ernesto Escobedo on Thursday — like he always does, trying to get better each day and with each match.

Even though he is in a very different spot than he was this time a year ago, that does not change Anderson’s mentality.

“The goal is to win the event,” Anderson said. “As I’ve always said, you just have to look at the depth of men’s tennis to know that every round is a tough match. There are no gimmes at all.

“I’ve had a good few weeks now. And I’m excited to begin my U.S. campaign here.”

In-Form Goffin Races Into QFs

Wed, 02/14/2018 - 9:59am

David Goffin, once again, produced a scintillating performance at the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament to beat Feliciano Lopez 6-1, 6-3 and book his place in the quarter-finals on Wednesday.

Goffin who has lost just eight games en route to the last eight, hit nine aces and lost just one point in each set behind his first serve to beat the Spanish left-hander in 55 minutes. The 2017 runner-up raced out to a 4-0 lead in the first set before securing the set on his third set point. The Belgian’s momentum flowed seamlessly into the second set with a crucial fourth break of the Lopez serve proving the key to victory in Rotterdam.

The World No. 7 now leads their FedEx ATP Head 2 Head series against Lopez 3-0 and next faces sixth seed Tomas Berdych in the quarter-finals.

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Berdych advanced to the quarter-finals with a comprehensive 6-1, 6-2 win over Serbia's Viktor Troicki. The Czech took exactly an hour to beat Troicki, breaking his opponent on four occasions, to set up a fascinating last eight clash with Nitto ATP Finals runner-up Goffin.

Robin Haase won the all-Dutch battle on Centre Court to beat countryman Thiemo de Bakker 6-2, 6-2. The 30-year-old lost just six points on serve and faced no break points en route to a 54-minute victory. Haase will meet a second compatriot in as many rounds, after Tallon Griekspoor’s surprise win over Stan Wawrinka on Tuesday.

Qualifier Pierre-Hugues Herbert also made his way through to the second round after Open Sud de France finalist Richard Gasquet was forced to retire. Herbert was leading 3-1 early in the first set when Gasquet called time on the match.

Did You Know?
David Goffin won 25 of his last 33 matches in 2017, including back-to-back titles in Shenzhen (d. Dolgopolov) and Tokyo (d. Mannarino).

Watch: Sugita Changes Pace, Delivers Drop Shot Against Dimitrov

Wed, 02/14/2018 - 9:55am
Watch as Yuichi Sugita puts on the brakes and delivers a drop shot volley during his match against Grigor Dimitrov on Wednesday in Rotterdam. Watch live tennis at tennistv.com. Photo credit: Henk Koster

Federer Eyes Return To No 1 In ATP Rankings At Rotterdam 2018

Wed, 02/14/2018 - 9:01am
Roger Federer is seeking a return to No. 1 in the ATP Rankings with a strong performance this week at the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam.

ATP Rankings Update 13 February 2018

Wed, 02/14/2018 - 5:55am
Take a closer look at the ATP Rankings as of 13 February 2018, after the Open Sud de France in Montpellier, the Ecuador Open in Quito and the Diema Xtra Sofia Open.

Watch: How Seppi Upset Zverev In Rotterdam

Wed, 02/14/2018 - 5:48am
Italian Andreas Seppi talks about his big upset win against Alexander Zverev at the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam. Watch live tennis at tennistv.com.

Watch Highlights: Roger's Having Fun Chasing No. 1 In Rotterdam

Wed, 02/14/2018 - 5:41am
Watch highlights from Wednesday in Rotterdam as Roger Federer rolls in his opening match at the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament. Watch live tennis at tennistv.com. Photo: Henk Koster.

Watch: Federer Smacks Running Overhead Hot Shot Rotterdam 2018

Wed, 02/14/2018 - 4:15am
Watch Roger Federer hit an incredible running overhead at the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam on Wednesday. Watch live tennis at tennistv.com.

Federer Still Amazes Fellow Players With No. 1 Bid

Wed, 02/14/2018 - 2:05am
As he bids to return to World No. 1 this week in Rotterdam, Roger Federer is an inspiration for his fellow pros.

Rotterdam 2018

Tue, 02/13/2018 - 8:16pm

Federer Could Face Wawrinka To Return To No. 1

Fri, 02/09/2018 - 4:25pm

Roger Federer could reclaim No. 1 in the ATP Rankings next week, but the Swiss might have a difficult path to the historic achievement at the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam.

The top-seeded Federer needs to reach the semi-finals to return to the top spot for the first time since 4 November 2012. But the 36-year-old Swiss might have to beat his surging countryman Stan Wawrinka in the quarter-finals.

View Draw

Wawrinka is the fifth seed at the ATP World Tour 500 event, and appears to be well on his way to regaining top form. Wawrinka is in the semi-finals this week at the Diema Xtra Sofia Open in Bulgaria. Federer will face a qualifier in the first round and will meet either German Philipp Kohlschreiber or Russian Karen Khachanov in round two.

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Federer first rose to the top spot 14 years ago on 2 February 2004 and holds the record for most weeks spent at No. 1 (302). If he makes the semi-finals, he will become the oldest No. 1, eclipsing Andre Agassi (33).

Federer moved to within 155 points of World No. 1 Rafael Nadal after claiming his 20th Grand Slam title at the Australian Open last month. The Swiss right-hander has previously played the ATP World Tour 500 tournament in Rotterdam eight times, taking the title in 2005 and 2012.

Oldest World No. 1

Player Birthdate Most Recent Date at No. 1 Age  Andre Agassi 29 April 1970 7 September 2003  33  Rafael Nadal* 3 June 1986 18 February 2018 31 Roger Federer^  8 August 1981 4 November 2012 31 Jimmy Connors 2 September 1952 3 July 1983 30 Ivan Lendl 7 March 1960 12 August 1990 30 

* Nadal is guaranteed to stay No. 1 until at least 18 February 2018.
^ Federer is 36 years old as of 19 February 2018. 

Nadal, who is not scheduled to play again until Acapulco in the last week of February, has held No. 1 for the past 25 weeks (since 21 August 2017). The Spaniard has been No. 1 in the ATP Rankings a total of 166 weeks since first taking over on 18 August 2008. Nadal is seventh all-time in most weeks at No. 1 in the history of the ATP Rankings (since 1973).

First and Last Day at No. 1

Player Debut at No. 1 Most Recent Date at No. 1 Time In Between Rafael Nadal*  18 August 2008 18 February 2018 Nine years, 184 days Jimmy Connors 29 July 1974 3 July 1983 Eight years, 339 days Roger Federer^ 2 February 2004 4 November 2012 Eight years, 276 days Andre Agassi  10 April 1995 7 September 2003 Eight years, 150 days Pete Sampras  12 April 1993 19 November 2000 Seven years, 221 days

* Nadal is guaranteed to stay No. 1 until at least 18 February 2018.
^ 19 February 2018 marks 14 years, 17 days since Federer debuted at No. 1 on 2 February 2004.

Federer has a 23-6 record in Rotterdam. In addition to his two titles, he reached the final in 2001 and semi-finals in 2003. His last appearance at the Rotterdam Ahoy stadium in The Netherlands was 2013, when he lost in the quarter-finals to Julien Benneteau.

Longest Gap Between Stints at No. 1

Player Lost No. 1 Regained No. 1 Time In Between Andre Agassi  12 February 1996 5 July 1999 Three years, 142 days Jimmy Connors  9 July 1979 13 September 1982 Three years, 65 days Rafael Nadal  6 July 2014 21 August 2017 Three years, 45 days Andre Agassi  11 September 2000 28 April 2003 Two years, 228 days

* February 19, 2018 marks five years, 106 days since Federer was last No. 1 on 4 November 2012.

Should Federer make the semi-finals, his path hardly gets easier. Alexander Zverev could await in the last four, and on the opposite side of the draw, fourth seed David Goffin, who beat Federer at the 2017 Nitto ATP Finals, lurks along with World No. 4 Grigor Dimitrov, the second seed at the ATP World Tour 500 event.

Did You Know?
Federer leads all players with an Infosys Under Pressure Rating of 258. Learn more in Infosys Scores & Stats.

Mackie Making His Mark On ATP Challenger Tour

Fri, 02/09/2018 - 12:03pm
American Mackenzie McDonald is surging towards the Top 100 following breakthrough successes on the ATP Challenger Tour and at the Australian Open.

Goffin Cruises Into Final Four In Montpellier

Fri, 02/09/2018 - 10:25am

One year ago this week, David Goffin made his first big run of what would turn out to be many in a career campaign when he advanced to the final in Sofia (l. to Dimitrov). This year, the Belgian is in a different location, Montpellier, but the result looks much the same.

Goffin reached the semi-finals at the Open Sud de France with an impressive 6-4, 6-4 victory against 2017 Next Gen ATP Finals qualifier Karen Khachanov, the World No. 49, on Court Patrice Dominguez on Friday.

It is the first semi-final of the season for the 27-year-old. The right-hander battled to the semi-finals seven times in 2017, winning five of those matches.

Goffin, who entered the match with a 2-1 FedEx ATP Head2Head series lead against Khachanov, did not face a break point, while earning 11 opportunities of his own (2/11).

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The first Belgian to qualify for the Nitto ATP Finals (2017) will face three-time Montpellier champion Richard Gasquet, who extended his record at the event to 21-2 since 2013 by beating fourth seed Damir Dzumhur 6-4, 6-2. 

The home favourite was 1-4 down against the Bosnian in the opening set before storming back to win 11 of the final 13 games in the pair's first FedEx ATP Head2Head matchup. The 31-year-old broke his opponent five times in the match, winning 68 per cent of second-serve return points.

Gasquet will attempt to advance to the Open Sud de France final for the sixth year in a row. He lost his only previous FedEx ATP Head2Head meeting against Goffin in Tokyo last year. The Frenchman has not won a title since 2016 Antwerp.

Third seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga will hope that the third time is the charm after he beat #NextGenATP Russian Andrey Rublev 6-4, 7-6(1) to advance to his third semi-final in Montpellier (2010, 2017). He is in pursuit of his fourth ATP World Tour indoor title since the beginning of last season.

Tsonga's quarter-final victory was simpler than his opening-round match against Nicolas Mahut, in which he was pushed to three tie-breaks. The World No. 19 saved four of five break points and won 60 per cent of second-serve return points to triumph against Rublev, the World No. 36. 

The dynamic Frenchman, who fell 4-6 in the third set at both previous semi-final opportunities in front of his home crowd, will play second seed Lucas Pouille, who ousted compatriot Benoit Paire 6-1, 6-4 in 54 minutes. 

The top-ranked Frenchman (World No. 17) has captured one ATP World Tour title in France (2016 Metz) and reached one final in his home country (2017 Marseille). 

Tsonga leads the pair's FedEx ATP Head2Head series 2-1, but Pouille won their last meeting in the Vienna final last year.

DID YOU KNOW?
Goffin did not win a match in Montpellier before this week. The World No. 7 fell in qualifying in both 2010 and 2012.

Wawrinka Battles Through To Sofia SF

Fri, 02/09/2018 - 8:45am

Top-seeded Swiss Stan Wawrinka continued his bid for a 17th tour-level title on Friday, ousting familiar foe Viktor Troicki, the No. 6 seed, 6-1, 7-6(3) at the Diema Xtra Sofia Open.

"I think my level is getting better," Wawrinka said. "I'm serving and moving better and it's a great win for me."

The Swiss extended his FedEx ATP Head2Head series lead against the Serbian to 9-0, with their most recent match coming in the third round of the 2017 Australian Open. Wawrinka, who is still on the mend after two left knee surgeries last summer, is into the 57th tour-level semi-final of his career (28-28).

After getting pushed to three sets in his opening-round match, Wawrinka appeared in control of his quarter-final. The World No. 15 surged through the opening set, losing just five points on his serve. But in the second set, Troicki found his game and broke the Swiss for a 5-3 lead. And while he could not serve out the set, Troicki also held a 3/0 lead in the ensuing tie-break. Wawrinka was too strong on the day, though.

"I'm doing everything to keep winning, that's for sure," Wawrinka said. "I'm enjoying my time, I'm fighting on the court and that's the most important."

The 32-year-old will next play qualifier Mirza Basic. The Bosnian is into his second ATP World Tour semi-final after dispatching German Maximilian Marterer 6-4, 4-6, 6-3. 

Basic has now advanced to the semi-finals at two of his past three ATP World Tour 250 events, with the previous appearance coming in Moscow, where he lost to compatriot Damir Dzumhur.

In the bottom half of the draw, Romania’s Marius Copil advanced to the first ATP World Tour semi-final of his career by remaining composed in a 6-4, 6-4 victory over third seed Gilles Muller of Luxembourg. One break in the ninth game of each set proved to be enough for Copil, who struck 13 aces and lost eight of his first-service points in the 80-minute encounter. He’d previously lost five quarter-finals and now faces Slovakian qualifier Jozef Kovalik.

Kovalik, who saved one match point in beating countryman Lukas Lacko in the second round, defeated Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis 7-6(2), 6-4 in one hour and 53 minutes.

“I feel amazing and I enjoyed the match today, it was a nice atmosphere,” Kovalik told ATPWorldTour.com. “He is a great mover on the court, has good defence, a very good forehand and serve. I tried to push him and striker winners. Copil will be a different player, very aggressive, but it’s a good chance for both of us to reach our first final.”

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Mektic/Peya Advance To Doubles Final
Second seeds Nikola Mektic and Alexander Peya advanced to their first ATP World Tour final as a team with a 6-2, 6-4 win over third seeds Nicholas Monroe and John-Patrick Smith in 57 minutes. Mektic has a 2-2 record in title matches, with his two trophies coming last year with Brian Baker in Memphis and Hungary. Peya will be looking to improve upon his 15-26 mark in finals. They await the winners of fourth seeds Dutch fourth seeds Robin Haase and Matwe Middelkoop versus Scott Lipsky and Divij Sharan.

Did You Know?
Wawrinka has dropped just three of 23 sets against Troicki in their nine meetings.