2018 Yearbook

Nominate a Tennis Star from Your Community

Social Media

Facebook Instagram Twitter YouTube

The Quest for Stars & Trophies

2017 State Championships

Submit Your Award Nominations Today

News
Syndicate content
Headline News - powered by FeedBurner
Updated: 1 week 2 days ago

Hot Shot: Shapo's Rocket Passing Shot At London Queen's Club 2018

Mon, 06/18/2018 - 10:57am
Watch as #NextGenATP Canadian Denis Shapovalov rockets a passing shot past Gilles Muller at the Fever-Tree Championships. Watch live tennis at tennistv.com.

Stan Smoothly Through At The Queen's Club

Mon, 06/18/2018 - 10:40am
.videoWrapper { position: relative; padding-bottom: 56.25%; /* 16:9 */ padding-top: 25px; height: 0; } .videoWrapper iframe { position: absolute; top: 0; left: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%; }

Stan Wawrinka earned a confidence-boosting victory at the Fever-Tree Championships on Monday when he defeated British wild card Cameron Norrie 6-2, 6-3 in just 56 minutes.

The Swiss, who continues to take baby steps in his rehabilitation from two knee surgeries, won four of the first five games in each set, hit 13 aces and lost just four of his first-service points. He avoids a third straight first-round exit at The Queen’s Club.

"Generally [it was] a good match. I felt quite good. It was a bit windy, but I have been happy with the practice," Wawrinka said. "I was really happy [with] the way I was playing on the grass, the way I was playing points, the way I was moving. For me it's a great start and I'm happy to play another match."

Are You In? Subscribe To Get Tournament Updates In Your Inbox

The 2014 semi-finalist, with a 5-7 record on a protracted season, will next face fifth-seeded American Sam Querrey, who beat home favourite Jay Clarke, a British wild card, 6-3, 6-3.

The 2010 titlist won 87 per cent of his first-serve points and broke twice to record his 19th win in 28 matches at The Queen's Club. Querrey, who reached the inaugural New York Open final in February, will look to overcome a 1-5 FedEx ATP Head2Head series deficit against Wawrinka.

Did You Know?
Stan Wawrinka has a 28-26 record on grass courts, according to the FedEx ATP Performance Zone. Since reaching the Diema Xtra Sofia Open semi-finals in February, the 33-year-old has won two of his past seven matches.

Cilic Cruises Through Queen's Opener

Mon, 06/18/2018 - 10:22am
.videoWrapper { position: relative; padding-bottom: 56.25%; /* 16:9 */ padding-top: 25px; height: 0; } .videoWrapper iframe { position: absolute; top: 0; left: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%; }

Top-seeded Croatian Marin Cilic recorded his 25th match win at the Fever-Tree Championships (25-9) on Monday with a 6-3, 6-4 victory over Fernando Verdasco of Spain.

The 2012 champion lost just four service points — including just one on first serve (28/29) — in the 67-minute encounter, his fourth straight win over Verdasco (leads 9-5 in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series). The 29-year-old Cilic, who beat David Nalbandian in the 2012 final, also finished as runner-up in 2013 (l. to Murray) and 2017 (l. to Lopez).

"I felt I prepared really well for the match, considering on the other side of the net was Fernando, a great quality player," Cilic said. "I lost to him few times already, and that just pushed me to be ready from the first point. I got into the match really well. I served well straightaway from the beginning... Really pleased with today, and I knew obviously if Fernando is hot, he can play great tennis, so I'm pleased to win it in straight sets."

In the next round, the World No. 5 will face a stiff test in grass-court standout Gilles Muller, who needed two tie-break sets to overcome #NextGenATP Canadian Denis Shapovalov 7-6(7), 7-6(6).

The World No. 46 saved one set point at 6/7 in the first set tie-break and needed three match points in a tense second-set decider to secure victory after one hour and 41 minutes.

Muller hit 13 aces in the first-round clash and dropped just two points behind his serve (45/47) en route to victory. The 2017 semi-finalist trails his FedExATP Head2Head series against Cilic 0-3, which includes losses last season at the Fever-Tree Championships and Wimbledon.

Daniil Medvedev upset sixth seed Jack Sock 7-5, 6-3 in 70 minutes on Court One. The Sydney International titlist fired nine aces and won 88 per cent of first-serve points to advance.

Medvedev snapped a five-match losing streak at the Libema Open last week before falling to Spain's Fernando Verdasco in the Round of 16. The Russian will face Tim Smyczek or Jeremy Chardy in the second round.

#NextGenATP American Frances Tiafoe also advanced, beating countryman Jared Donaldson 6-4, 7-6(4). The Delray Beach Open champion converted both his break point opportunities and won 76 per cent of first-serve points to progress after 86 minutes.

Did You Know?
Gilles Muller is bidding to reach the quarter-finals or better at the Fever-Tree Championships for the fourth consecutive year. The World No. 46 reached back-to-back quarter-finals in 2015 and 2016, before a semi-final run last year (l. to Cilic).

Murray Discusses Return At London Queen's Club 2018

Mon, 06/18/2018 - 10:01am
Watch as Andy Murray shares his thoughts ahead of his first match in 11 months at the Fever-Tree Championships, held at London's Queen's Club. Watch live tennis at tennistv.com.

Hot Shot: Struff's Slip and Volley Halle 2018

Mon, 06/18/2018 - 9:28am
Watch Hot Shot as Jan-Lennard Struff recovers from a mid-rally slip to outfox Roberto Bautista Agut at the 2018 Gerry Weber Open.

Nishikori Slides Through Grass-Court Season Opener

Mon, 06/18/2018 - 9:28am

Two-time Gerry Weber Open semi-finalist Kei Nishikori started his grass-court season with a convincing 6-3, 7-6(3) win against German qualifier Matthias Bachinger on Monday in Halle.

[ALSO LIKE]

The seventh-seeded Nishikori, who reached the last four in 2014-15, won 70 per cent of his second-serve points (19/27) and broke three times to advance in 82 minutes. Nishikori will next meet German Mischa Zverev or Karen Khachanov of Russia.

“I think I played very solid this match today. He’s never an easy player, especially I think on grass, he can be dangerous. He was coming to the net really well and if he got that second set... you never know what is going to happen in the third,” Nishikori said.

Spain's Roberto Bautista Agut saved all four break points and overcame big-hitting German Jan-Lennard Struff 6-4, 6-1. The fourth seed feasted on Struff's second serve, winning 72 per cent (18/25) of those points.

Are You In? Subscribe To Get Tournament Updates In Your Inbox

Bautista Agut, who made the quarter-finals last year, will next face Dutchman Robin Haase, who evened his FedEx ATP Head2Head series with Portugal's Joao Sousa (2-2) with a 4-6, 7-5, 6-4 victory. Haase and Sousa have split their two FedEx ATP Head2Head meetings (1-1).

Highlights: Gasquet Beats Chardy For 2018 's-Hertogenboch Title

Mon, 06/18/2018 - 4:21am
Watch final highlights of the 2018 Libema Open in 's-Hertogenbosch, featuring Richard Gasquet versus fellow Frenchman Jeremy Chardy. Photo: Libema Open

Federer: 'I Am A Winner... I'm Here To Win' In Halle 2018

Mon, 06/18/2018 - 2:17am
Roger Federer, fresh off his victory at the MercedesCup, looks ahead to his title defence at the Gerry Weber Open. Watch live tennis at tennistv.com.

Watch Highlights: Thiem, Nishikori Slide Through Grass-Court Openers In Halle 2018

Mon, 06/18/2018 - 2:07am
Watch highlights as Dominic Thiem and Kei Nishikori advance on Monday at the Gerry Weber Open in Halle. Watch live tennis at tennistv.com. Photo: Thomas Starke/Getty Images.

ATP Rankings Movers: Roger Returns To No. 1

Mon, 06/18/2018 - 2:05am

Six months into the 2018 ATP World Tour season and No. 1 in the ATP Rankings has changed on five occasions. Rafael Nadal began the year in the top spot – and has held the position for 17 weeks, over three stints in 2018 – with Roger Federer gained No. 1 for six weeks from 19 February and one week from 14 May. The Swiss wrestled No. 1 back today.

The five changes at No. 1 this season are the most since 2003, when there were also five. The all-time record for most changes is 10, which happened in 1983, when John McEnroe, Jimmy Connors and Ivan Lendl battled for the top spot.

No. 1 Roger Federer, +1
The 36-year-old is back at No. 1 in the ATP Rankings for a 310th week, which extends his own record, after capturing the 98th tour-level title of his career over Milos Raonic in the MercedesCup final. Today marks the sixth occasion he has risen to No. 1, having first attained the ranking on 2 February 2004. Federer guaranteed his return to the summit of men’s professional tennis on 15 June with a hard-fought 6-7(2), 6-2, 7-6(5) victory over Nick Kyrgios in the Stuttgart semi-finals. The Swiss has also won two other titles this season at the Australian Open (d. Cilic) and the ABN Amro World Tennis Tournament (d. Dimitrov).

Since Federer trailed Nadal by just 100 ATP Rankings points leading into Stuttgart last week, where the Swiss had zero points to defend due to an opening-round loss last year, he needed to reach the final to retake the top spot. By lifting the trophy, Federer earned 250 points, putting him 150 points ahead of the Spaniard this week. 

[ALSO LIKE]

No. 25 Richard Gasquet, +5
The talented Frenchman has returned to his highest ranking since 29 May 2017 (No. 25) with a five-place rise to No. 25 following a title run at the Libema Open. The 31-year-old beat compatriot Jeremy Chardy in the final for his 15th ATP World Tour crown (15-15), and his first since October 2016 at the European Open (d. Schwartzman). Gasquet also finished runner-up in February at the Open Sud de France (l. to Pouille).  

View Latest ATP Rankings

No. 61 Jeremy Chardy, +11
The 31-year-old extended his grass-court form, which includes his sixth ATP Challenger Tour trophy at the Surbiton Trophy (d. de Minaur), with a run to the Libema Open title match (l. to Gasquet). Chardy, who was a career-high No. 25 on 28 January 2013, moved up 11 positions to No. 61, his highest ranking since 29 August 2016 (No. 55). The Frenchman has a 1-2 record in ATP World Tour finals and his run on Dutch grass, was his first tour-level championship match since Stuttgart in 2009. 

No. 78 Alex de Minaur, +18
The Australian, who began the year at No. 208 in the ATP Rankings is now at a career-high No. 78. Over the past three weeks, the 19-year-old Australian has moved up from No. 105 after two ATP Challenger Tour final appearances in Surbiton and his first crown at the Nature Valley Open in Nottingham (d. Evans). De Minaur is also in the hunt to qualify for the Next Gen ATP Finals in November at No. 5 in the ATP Race To Milan.

Read: #NextGenATP First-Time Winner Interview    

Other Notable Top 100 Movers This Week
No. 35 (Career High) Stefanos Tsitsipas, +2
No. 60 (Career High) Matthew Ebden, +9
No. 87 (Career High) Jaume Munar, +17

#NextGenATP First-Time Winner: Alex de Minaur

Sun, 06/17/2018 - 10:15pm
.videoWrapper { position: relative; padding-bottom: 56.25%; /* 16:9 */ padding-top: 25px; height: 0; } .videoWrapper iframe { position: absolute; top: 0; left: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%; }

Some achievements taste even sweeter when you have to wait for them. Just ask Alex de Minaur.

The 19-year-old Aussie claimed his maiden ATP Challenger Tour title on Sunday on the lawns of Nottingham, overcoming a stern test from home hope Daniel Evans 7-6(4), 7-5. De Minaur enters the winners' circle for the first time after falling in all four of his previous finals.

The teenager is thriving on the grass this year, posting a 9-1 record with a runner-up finish in Surbiton and victory in Nottingham. And De Minaur was not discouraged after succumbing to Jeremy Chardy a week ago in the Surbiton championship, proceeding to drop just one set en route to the title at the Nature Valley Open in Nottingham.

With his sights now set on even more Challenger silverware, the Aussie could draw inspiration from fellow #NextGenATP star Frances Tiafoe, who dropped his first five final appearances on the ATP Challenger Tour before reeling off four consecutive wins.

2018 #NextGenATP First-Time Winner Spotlight: Molleker | Polmans | Hurkacz | Rodionov

Now firmly in the Top 100 of the ATP Rankings at a career-high No. 78, De Minaur is also in the hunt to qualify for the Next Gen ATP Finals in November. He is up one spot to fifth place following his triumph on Sunday.

De Minaur spoke to ATPWorldTour.com following his victory in Nottingham... 

Alex, congrats on winning the title. How does it feel to get your first Challenger trophy?
It feels great. It's something that's been a long time brewing. I've made a few finals that haven't gone my way, but I'm happy that I've finally done it.

The crowd was in Dan's corner, but you stayed mentally strong. How did you outlast him today?
I knew that it was going to be the case coming in, but I was just trying to be mentally stable and focus on the positives throughout the whole match. I think that's what really got me the win today.

It was another impressive week for you. What went right for you on the court?
I've been playing some great tennis and feeling confident on the court. The body is feeling great and I'm moving well. In the end, what made the difference is being mentally tough. I had that when I needed it and that's all I can ask for in myself.

What lessons did you take from your four previous final losses that helped you today?
I just try to see the positives throughout the whole match. It's a goal of mine before the match started. Obviously there were stages when I started to get a bit nervous, but I calmed myself down and stayed relaxed and took it point by point. 

You go from cracking the Top 100 last week to now lifting your first trophy. Does June feel like a dream month?
It feels amazing. And there's no surface I'd rather do it on. I love the grass and I love this time of year. I couldn't be prouder of myself.

You've reached back-to-back finals on grass. What is it about the surface that complements your game?
I've always loved it, even before I ever hit on the surface. I made my mind up that I was going to love the grass. Something about the low bouncing that suits my game. I like to stay flat on the ball and I really enjoy it.

It's been a great year for you so far. Talk about your experiences competing on the ATP Challenger Tour.
It's something that you go through, to make it to the top. You have to be mentally tough. Each match the other guy wants to beat you. There are no easy matches. You have to be focused throughout and can't let any dip in concentration. I think my attitude and the way I've handled those situations over these two weeks have been great.

Where do you go from here? What's next?
I have a week off, which is very important for my body to recover.

What are your goals for the rest of the year going forward?
At the start of the year, my goal was to finish the year in the Top 100. I've managed to do that, so I now hope to get into the Top 50. I'm going to try to get as high as I can. But at the end of the day, it's all about personal growth and trying to get better each day.

Felix Discusses Historic Challenger Title Defence In Lyon

Sun, 06/17/2018 - 9:54pm
At the age of 17, Felix Auger-Aliassime is the youngest player to retain an ATP Challenger Tour title. He spoke about the historic victory at the Open Sopra Steria in Lyon.

Felix Claims Historic Challenger Title Defence In Lyon

Sun, 06/17/2018 - 9:04pm
.videoWrapper { position: relative; padding-bottom: 56.25%; /* 16:9 */ padding-top: 25px; height: 0; } .videoWrapper iframe { position: absolute; top: 0; left: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%; }

Another week, another history-making performance by Felix Auger-Aliassime.

On Sunday, the Canadian teenager retained his title at the ATP Challenger Tour event in Lyon, France, storming back from a set and a break down to defeat home hope Johan Tatlot 6-7(3), 7-5, 6-2. Tatlot served for the championship at 5-3 in the second set, but Auger-Aliassime would not be denied, reeling off 10 of the next 12 games to emerge victorious.

The victory was extra special for the Montreal native, who became the youngest player in ATP Challenger Tour history to successfully defend a title. One year ago, he lifted his maiden trophy at the Open Sopra Steria at the ripe age of 16 years and 10 months. And on Sunday, he would replicate the feat in front of a packed crowd in Lyon.

"This one was pretty special compared to last year when I won in straight sets," said Auger-Aliassime. "This one was much more complicated. I had to find ways to win, with him serving for the match at 5-3 in the second set. It tastes even sweeter. It's honestly one of the best Challengers during the year."

One year later, same result.

Felix Auger-Aliassime is the youngest player to successfully defend an #ATPChallenger title, retaining the

Delpo 1, Reporter 0

Thu, 05/31/2018 - 3:45pm

Do not test Juan Martin del Potro's knowledge of Roland Garros history. The Argentine, always prepared on the court, has been doing his homework off the court as well, as he showed on Thursday during his press conference.

Q. This is not a question about the match, but I wondered, do you know who Roland Garros was?
Del Potro: Yes.

Q. Can you tell us?
Del Potro: He was an aviator. A-ha. You're surprised?

Q. You're the first person in here that's got that.
Del Potro: Because they asked me a few days ago and I Google it.

Del Potro was also sharp on the court on Thursday, winning his second-round match against Frenchman Julien Benneteau, who was playing his final match in Paris. The Argentine will next meet Spaniard Albert Ramos-Vinolas, who beat #NextGenATP Norwegian Casper Ruud. Read Report

ATP Firsts: Fabio Fognini

Thu, 05/31/2018 - 2:53pm

Italian Fabio Fognini has troubled the greatest of players on a clay court. Fognini has beaten Rafael Nadal twice, and pushed the Spaniard to three sets earlier this month in Rome.

Italy's No. 1, though, hasn't let the close call at the Internazionali BNL d'Italia slow him down. The 18th seed is through to the third round at Roland Garros for the second consecutive year. Fognini sat down with ATPWorldTour.com to talk about his "ATP Firsts." 

First pinch-me moment on the ATP World Tour
[In 2006], I was playing qualies at Buenos Aires, and I made it through the main draw and I was playing [Carlos] Moya and I lost 6-4 in the third, and then he won the tournament.

First thing I bought with prize money
I live in Italy, so I bought a house first of all, because I think it's the most important thing in your life, and after that a car, nothing else... It's a nice apartment, it's 125, 130 metres squared.

More ATP Firsts: Donaldson | Schwartzman | M. Zverev

How fast have you gone in your car?
Well, I can't tell you right now because...

Only up to the speed limit?
Of course.

First autograph/photo I got
When I was young, because I was living close to the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters... with the school, we went there to watch the tournament. I had a picture with [Goran] Ivanisevic.

[ALSO LIKE]

First pet
I had one when I was really young, when I was 4-15. I had one in Italy and when he died, I was really, really sad. I have a tattoo of him also. When he died, I made one. Good memory. Ralph.... [The tattoo is] on my hip... 'Never Without You' or something.

First time I flew first class
I think when I was Top 100. That was my goal. I had never flown business class because I had to do something before flying business class. So I think when I was Top 100, and it was the end of the year, I was No. 95, No. 94 and the next flight I flew to Australia main draw, I flew business... It was nice. Of course it's a long trip, so it's a lot of hours inside the plane. So it was nice.

Difficult Times For Emotional Bautista Agut

Thu, 05/31/2018 - 2:11pm

Following his second-round win at Roland Garros (d. Giraldo 6-4, 7-5, 6-3), Roberto Bautista Agut didn't avoid the media. He also didn't dodge questions about his mother who passed away on 21 May, or the toll it's taken on him at Roland Garros. The Spaniard is set to play 20th seed Novak Djokovic for a place in the fourth round.

"Honestly, being here helps take my mind off everything that's happened over the past several days. I'd rather be playing here at Roland Garros than sulking at home," Bautista Agut said. "I need to keep pushing on. Tennis is my life, these tournaments are my life. As soon as I was able, I got back to my usual routine and that's helped so much. I played really well against Santiago and I felt great doing so. They say it isn't good to bring your personal life or feelings on to the court and I agree, but I'm playing well so that's all that matters."

It's hard to believe the 13th-seeded Bautista Agut is even competing at Roland Garros, let alone at the level he has performed so far. His determination has never been questioned, but the Spaniard has demonstrated the ultimate amount of heart so far in Paris.

"What has happened to me has been a terrible thing and it takes time to overcome," Bautista Agut said. "All the support I've had from back home, from friends of my parents, from acquaintances ... everyone is helping me through this. I've gained strength from their support. I'm thankful, from the bottom of my heart."

Several of Bautista Agut's comrades have rallied behind him during these difficult times, including fellow Spaniards Pablo Carreno Busta, Fernando Verdasco and Feliciano Lopez. The players sent their condolences, along with a flower wreath in a show of support. They also praised Bautista Agut's courage to play and show a brave face when others might have folded.

"Things that happen off the court have an effect on a player when he steps on the court," Carreno Busta explained. "People don't realise it or consider it as a factor during a match, but a personal issue affects how a player performs and the outcome of a match. I've never gone through what Roberto is going through right now so I can't say 'I know how you feel.' All I can say is he's won a lot of support by soldiering on. I'm always happy for him, but even more so considering how much he has suffered."
[ALSO LIKE]
Verdasco credits Bautista Agut's work ethic and will power as the reasons he's been able to perform despite playing with a heavy heart.

"Honestly, if I put myself in his place, I don't know if I'd be able to show up and play at Roland Garros," Verdasco said. "Roberto is a very disciplined professional with solid routines and I think that helps him get into this 'bubble' and just detach from his personal issues. His mental fortitude is worthy of admiration."

Lopez found himself in a similar situation as Bautista Agut a year ago.

"I do not know how I would have reacted," Lopez said. "When I went through something similar when Casper [Fernandez] passed away, I was playing at Wimbledon. (Lopez's father taught tennis to Fernandez in Spain.) I found out that he was very sick, that he had days to live, just as I was about to play a doubles match. I was lucky to be able to say goodbye to him, even though he was sedated. Every case is different and I wasn't related by blood to Casper, but for me it was very hard. Right about now, he'd be sending me a text asking what I'm up to or just something about whatever. But now he's gone."

Bautista Agut is doing his best to stay focused on the task at hand, and is well aware he'll need to perform at his best against Djokovic, whom he trails 1-6 in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series.

"Everything that has happened is taking its toll on me," Bautista Agut said. "In the end, everything is linked to our profession. What we eat, how much we rest, the family issues ... all that is linked to the life of the tennis player and when there are problems off the court, you have to put in that much more effort to achieve good results on the court.

"My match [against Djokovic] is obviously a difficult one, even more so considering the circumstances. All I can do is leave it all on the court."

Murray/Soares Begin Campaign; Kontinen/Peers Win

Thu, 05/31/2018 - 1:12pm

Fourth seeds Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares defeated Dusan Lajovic and Florian Mayer 6-1, 7-5 in the Roland Garros first round on Thursday. The British-Brazilian team now play South Americans Maximo Gonzalez and Nicolas Jarry.

Third seeds Henri Kontinen and John Peers needed just 42 minutes to beat Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Mirza Basic and Damir Dzumhur 6-1, 6-2 for a place in the third round. Kontinen and Peers, who have a 10-1 record in tour-level finals, including the 2017 Australian Open (d. Bryan-Bryan) and 2016-17 Nitto ATP Finals, lost just six of their service points. They will next play Italians Daniele Bracciali and Andreas Seppi, who ousted British brothers Ken Skupski and Neal Skupski 3-6, 6-3, 6-2.

Wesley Koolhof and Artem Sitak, finalists at three ATP World Tour tournaments this year — the New York Open, the Brasil Open and the Millennium Estoril Open — knocked out ninth seeds Ivan Dodig and Rajeev Ram 5-7, 7-5, 6-4 in two hours and 12 minutes. The duo awaits the second-round winners of fifth-seeded Colombians Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah, and Argentines Guido Pella and Diego Schwartzman.

Tenth seeds Raven Klaasen and Michael Venus were solid on first serve in overcoming French pair Jonathan Eysseric and Hugo Nys 7-6(2), 6-3 in one hour and 31 minutes. Klaasen is now on 198 doubles match wins. They will next challenge Nikoloz Basilashvili and John Millman, or Nikola Mektic and Alexander Peya in the third round.

Feliciano Lopez and Marc Lopez, the 2016 champions and No. 12 seeds, improved to 8-1 as a team at Roland Garros with a 6-3, 6-4 second-round victory over Marcelo Demoliner and Santiago Gonzalez in 67 minutes. The Spaniards now meet Leonardo Mayer and Joao Sousa, who overcame Evgeny Donskoy and Miguel Angel Reyes-Varela 6-2, 6-4.

Visit Official Roland-Garros Website

Déjà Vu For Delpo: No. 5 Seed Ousts Benneteau

Thu, 05/31/2018 - 12:57pm

It was like dêjà vu for Juan Martin del Potro at Roland Garros on Thursday. For the second time in three days, he was competing in front of an energetic Parisian crowd that was cheering on a home favourite. There was something else that remained the same: Del Potro came out on top.

The No. 5 seed moved past Julien Benneteau 6-4, 6-3, 6-2 to advance to the third round on the terre battue for the second consecutive year. Previously, the Argentine had not competed at the French Grand Slam since 2012.

"I feel better than in the first round. I was able to make more winners, to run better," Del Potro said. "The level of my game was a bit higher. So this made me feel good, and I'm happy to know that I'm improving day after day, and that the day after tomorrow I have another match to try and feel good."

The victory gives Del Potro his 25th match triumph of the season (25-6), and his win rate of 80.6 per cent in 2018 is third best on the ATP World Tour behind just Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer,according to the FedEx ATP Performance Zone. The 29-year-old’s first-round win against Nicolas Mahut made him just the third Argentine to earn 80 Grand Slam match wins (Guillermo Vilas (139) and David Nalbandian (86)).

Del Potro returned to the Top 10 of the ATP Rankings on 15 January for the first time since August 2014 after reaching the Auckland final, and his season has only gotten better. The 'Tower of Tandil' captured his maiden ATP World Tour Masters 1000 crown at the BNP Paribas Open, ending Federer's 17-0 start to the season. And now, he is looking to make his best run yet at the clay-court Slam — Del Potro reached the semi-finals in 2009. 

After beating Benneteau in the Frenchman's final Roland Garros, Del Potro moves on to face 2017 Monte-Carlo finalist Albert Ramos-Vinolas, who ousted #NextGenATP Norwegian Casper Ruud 6-4, 6-2, 6-4. The Spaniard arrived in Paris with a 15-15 record on the season, and with just one Round of 16 showing at the three clay-court Masters 1000 events.

"As he's left-handed, his forehand is his best stroke," Del Potro said. "The Spaniards, they like to play long matches, so it's going to be a difficult challenge."

It appears to be one that Del Potro is ready for. Benneteau said that the Argentine simply played too well for him at his home Slam.

"Facing such a powerful opponent, you have to really dominate the ball, and I didn't have the power, neither physically nor mentally," Benneteau said. "As the match was unfolding, he was playing stronger and faster. His shot was stronger. He returned more along the line. And even though I tried to place the shot, he was already always on top of things."

Another Argentine also moved through without problem on Thursday. No. 11 seed Diego Schwartzman rolled past Czech Adam Pavlasek 6-1, 6-3, 6-1 in one hour, 27 minutes. Schwartzman won 65 per cent (89/137) of points in the match to reach the third round in Paris for the second consecutive year. 

Schwartzman will face a stern test as he seeks his best result at the year's second major, playing Croatian Borna Coric next. The 21-year-old, who is two wins away from 100 at tour-level, overcame an early hiccup to beat Italian Thomas Fabbiano 4-6, 6-2, 6-1, 6-1 in two hours, 14 minutes.

Coric has dominated his FedEx ATP Head2Head rivalry against Schwartzman, winning both of their previous matches in straight sets. None of the four sets have gone past 6-3 in favour of the 2017 Next Gen ATP Finals semi-finalist. One of those meetings was on the clay of Marrakech last year, when Coric earned his maiden ATP World Tour title.

Did You Know?
Del Potro is now 9-0 against opponents competing at their home Grand Slam. He is 6-0 against Frenchmen at Roland Garros (2-0 this year) and 3-0 against Americans at the US Open.

Visit Official Roland-Garros Website

Five Things Munar Learned In Paris

Thu, 05/31/2018 - 12:48pm

Jaume Munar's time at Roland Garros might be over, but he leaves Paris having learned some invaluable lessons. The #NextGenATP Spaniard earned his first victory at a Grand Slam by defeating David Ferrer 3-6, 3-6, 7-6(3), 7-6(4), 7-5 in the first round before losing to Novak Djokovic 7-6(1), 6-4, 6-4 in the next round. Both matches served as proving grounds for the 21-year-old and helped raise his self-confidence.

Munar broke down five things he learned during his time at Roland Garros.

1. A Step Forward
From my first qualifying match here (d. Auger-Aliassime 6-3, 6-3) through Wednesday, I've made strides and I'm happy with my progress. I know I wasn't at my best against Novak but I also didn't play poorly. I was competitive from start to finish, which is what matters. Nole showed why he's a player of the highest level in the first set tie-break; he took it up a notch and that proved the difference. I need to convince myself I can do the same. The most positive thing I can take away from the loss is that even when I'm not at my best, I can still compete and that's progress.

2. Room For Improvement
I'm not trying to sound boastful, I'm just being realistic here; I didn't play my best (against Djokovic). That's just constructive criticism. I'm aware that there are areas in my game I need to improve. If I'm going to win a set, I'm going to have to break my opponent's serve while holding my own. That requires consistency and today I wasn't consistent. That's the difference between Nole and me, and why he's so much better than me.

There are about a million things I need to work on to get to the next level, and despite that, I'm still able to compete against some of the best players on tour. I played really well throughout the three rounds of qualifying and I defeated David [Ferrer] in the first round -- someone I revere. And holding my own against Djokovic, who has won everything there is to win in tennis, this gives me confidence that I'm doing the right things so far. I'm going to improve a lot of aspects of my game and come back with high expectations for myself.
[ALSO LIKE] 
3. Advice From Nadal
Rafa told me above everything, stay calm and worry about the things I can control. I'm taking that advice from now on. I knew it was going to be next to impossible to beat Novak because he's Novak, and I'm Jaume. We're on different levels at the moment. Rafa told me to look at my own game and at things I can do better, not analyse things from Nole's side of the court because I can't control what he's going to do or what plan he's coming with once he steps on the court. I guess I'm guilty of not following that advice but it's advice I'm taking with me going forward.

4. Reasons To Be Proud
Maybe I lucked out a few times here; I nearly lost in the last round of qualifying (d. Lee 6-7[3], 6-0, 7-6[1]) and I had to come back from two sets down against David. I was almost out in that match as well. That was some mountain to climb, more mentally than anything else. David dominated the first two sets and I had to shake that off. Now I know I can overcome my nerves when I'm faced with adversity.

5. Back To ATP World Tour Challenger Events
I'll be playing ATP World Tour Challenger events with a different outlook from now on. Tennis is my life now and everything revolves around me being a player. I'm going to train for a few days and then play some upcoming Challenger events with the intent to win. I'm hopeful about improving my game; I want to continue growing as a player and keep achieving positive results.

Nadal Brings Tsunami To Advance At Roland Garros

Thu, 05/31/2018 - 11:58am
.videoWrapper { position: relative; padding-bottom: 56.25%; /* 16:9 */ padding-top: 25px; height: 0; } .videoWrapper iframe { position: absolute; top: 0; left: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%; }

Once it starts, it comes quickly, that Rafael Nadal tsunami of momentum and forehands. For 57 minutes, the 10-time champion's efforts to race through the opening set at Roland Garros were stymied again and again by Guido Pella. The Argentine saved six break points in the opener.

But Nadal, on his fifth set point, broke through and the games flowed from there as the Spaniard coasted to a 6-2, 6-1, 6-1 win on Court Suzanne-Lenglen.

“I'm happy about the things that happened this afternoon, of course. I played a solid match, and it's true that during the match I improved the level. The forehand, especially after the first set, I think it starts to go quicker and find more of the right spots, playing more inside the court and hitting many more winners,” Nadal said.

“So just happy for that and happy about the concentration that I was able to hold all the time, the right focus on the match to keep doing things better and better.”

[ALSO LIKE]

The Spaniard had been 26-3 against left-handers at Grand Slams, a small but possible opening for the lefty Pella, considering Nadal's current Roland Garros record of 81-2. But Nadal had no trouble striking his forehand often against the Argentine, and he's again through to the Round of 32 in Paris, where the No. 1 player in the ATP Rankings will meet a familiar foe in France's Richard Gasquet.

The Frenchman denied Malek Jaziri's attempt at Tunisian history 6-2, 3-6, 6-3, 6-0. The 2016 quarter-finalist won almost 60 per cent of his second-serve points (16/28) to make the third round for the eighth consecutive year. Jaziri was attempting to become the first Tunisian man to reach the Roland Garros third round in 55 years. 

“It was a long match with some strong moments, weak moments. I knew I had to pick up at the beginning of the third set. I knew that it was important at that moment. Otherwise it would have been very difficult,” Gasquet said.

Read More: Déjà Vu For Delpo

“There were a lot of difficult rallies... I was glad to get 6-3, 6-0, because at the end of the second set I wasn't sure I was going to win like that.”

Nadal and Gasquet were rivals during junior tennis. On the tour-level, they've played 15 times, but Nadal has won all of them in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series, including a third-round match at Roland Garros in 2005.

“I have a great relationship with him always, since we were kids. We met each other for the first time when we were 12. First thing is he's a very good person, no? He's a very normal guy. We practised hundreds of times together. He came to Mallorca,” Nadal said. “He always has a positive attitude... It will be a good match against a good friend in the most important place in my career, and for him a very special place, too.”

Watch: Gasquet Reflects On Playing Nadal As A Junior

They last played at the 2017 Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati (6-3, 6-4). Gasquet last won a set against Nadal at the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 event in Canada, 10 years and 11 FedEx ATP Head2Head matchups ago.

“I'll try to do my best, because unless there is a disaster, as you said, he has a good chance of winning... He's extraordinary. We all know he is,” Gasquet said. “I'm just going to get on the court and try to play a good match... It's a great draw for me. It will be on the centre court. There will be [a lot of] people. I intend to have a good match.”

Did You Know?
Gasquet won his 500th tour-level match last month at the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters, the same tournament where Gasquet won his first tour-level contest in 2002. Read Tribute

Visit Official Roland-Garros Website