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Updated: 6 hours 4 min ago

Mike Bryan Clinches No. 1 By Reaching Wimbledon SF With Sock

Tue, 07/10/2018 - 5:43pm

It hasn't been the same for Mike Bryan at Wimbledon this fortnight. The American is playing without his twin brother Bob (hip injury) for the first time at the All England Club.

But with countryman Jack Sock, Mike has forged ahead, and he even secured himself some history on Tuesday. Bryan/Sock advanced to the semi-finals, beating Indian Divij Sharan and Artem Sitak of New Zealand 7-6(4), 7-6(5), 6-7(3), 6-4.

With the win, Mike Bryan guaranteed that he will return to No. 1 in the ATP Doubles Rankings on Monday, when the new rankings are released. He will become the oldest No. 1 in the history of the ATP Rankings and ATP Doubles Rankings. Mike will be 40 years, 78 days old on Monday.

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Daniel Nestor previously held the record. He was 40 years, five days old when he was last No. 1 on 9 September 2012.

Mike Bryan isn't finished at SW19 yet, either. The seventh seeds will next face Dominic Inglot of Great Britain/Franko Skugor of Croatia. Inglot/Skugor, the 15th seeds, beat Dutchman Robin Haase and Robert Lindstedt of Sweden 6-3, 6-7(2), 7-6(1), 6-4.

Frederik Nielsen of Denmark and Brit Joe Salisbury stopped 14th seeds Ben McLachlan of Japan and German Jan-Lennard Struff from reaching their second Grand Slam semi-final of the season (Australian Open) 7-6(6), 4-6, 7-6(2), 7-6(4). Nielsen/Salisbury will meet 13th seeds Raven Klaasen of South Africa and Michael Venus of New Zealand, who beat fifth seeds Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares 6-7(5), 7-6(5), 5-7, 7-6(4), 6-4.

Wimbledon No Longer 'House of Horrors' For Isner

Tue, 07/10/2018 - 5:33pm

For years, John Isner's results at Wimbledon read like stuck vinyl: first round, second round, second round, first round, second round, third round, third round, third round, second round. Ten years, and not one trip to the fourth round at the All England Club.

He had his high moments: Namely 2010, when he won that match against France's Nicolas Mahut 70-68 in the fifth. But there have been far more disappointments than triumphs at SW19 for Isner.

The past three years, he lost in the fifth set. In 2015, he fell 12-10 to Marin Cilic; in 2016, he lost 19-17 to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga; and last year, Isner led Israel's Dudi Sela two sets to one but lost 6-7(5), 7-6(5), 5-7, 7-6(5), 6-3.

“This tournament, since that long match, has sort of been a house of horrors for me. I've lost a lot of close ones since that match in 2010, a lot of very, very close ones,” Isner said.

“There was certainly some doubt. When you have left this tournament the last nine, 10 years pretty disappointed with my result, gone home sort of hanging my head a little bit. But not the case this year.”

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The ninth seed has built upon what had been his best start to a season, which was highlighted in April with his first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title at the Miami Open presented by Itau.

Isner has continued his aggressive return strategy, and he's also been quick to attack the net on the London grass. During his fourth-round match against Greece's #NextGenATP star Stefanos Tsitsipas, Isner charged forward 33 times, winning almost 70 per cent of his tries (22/33).

“When I find myself in a good place on the court mentally, not getting frustrated when I miss a chance, things just generally turn out well for me. That was the case (on Monday),” Isner said.

Read More: SW19 QF Preview: Federer, Nadal Look To Keep Marching Onwards

His thundering serve, as always, has helped. The 6'10” right-hander hasn't been broken yet, having erased all six break points he's faced. He leads the Wimbledon field with 134 aces.

“I've always told myself, 'Just keep doing what you do, keep giving myself more chances.' I want to keep coming to this event feeling good, playing well. That was the case this year. I've made good on that,” Isner said.

He has more than a standing chance of advancing to his first Grand Slam semi-final as well. Isner leads his FedEx ATP Head2Head series against Raonic 3-1.

“It's going to come down to a few points here and there. It's strength on strength, for sure. He serves exceptionally well. He does other things very well, too. He attacks well. He looks for his forehand a lot, which is effective on this surface,” Isner said. “If one of us gets a crack, a few chances, we're going to have to take it.”

Uncovered: The Service Stat That Puts Isner In A League Of His Own

Tue, 07/10/2018 - 5:17pm
ATP World Tour Uncovered presented by Peugeot uses an Infosys ATP Beyond The Numbers analysis to look at the statistics that show why John Isner's serve, especially when closing out a match, is in a league of its own.

Wimbledon QF Preview: Federer, Nadal Look To Keep Marching Onwards

Tue, 07/10/2018 - 3:27pm

ATPWorldTour.com previews Wednesday's quarter-final matchups, as top seed Roger Federer, three-time champion Novak Djokovic and World No. 1 Rafael Nadal all look to secure semi-final spots at Wimbledon.

(1) Roger Federer vs. (8) Kevin Anderson
Federer leads
FedEx ATP Head2Head series 4-0

Lose a set? Roger Federer first might have to lose a game on serve, and if not that, at least be pushed to a tie-break before he drops a set at Wimbledon. But neither have happened so far at the All England Club as the eight-time champion has coasted into the quarter-finals.

The top-seeded Federer has faced only four break points – erasing them all – and has won 81 per cent of his service points (223/274). Frenchman Adrian Mannarino, who lost to Federer 6-0, 7-5, 6-4 on Monday, fared the best against the Swiss' serve, earning the quartet of break opportunities.

[GROUP POLL]148[/GROUP POLL]

.chant_polling_widget {height: 590px !important; border-radius: 5px; box-shadow: rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.4) 1px 1px 6px 0px;} .is-mobile .chant_polling_widget{ height:590px !important; max-width:360px !important;} The 36-year-old has now won 81 consecutive games on serve at SW19. The last time Federer was broken at Wimbledon was during the eighth game of his 2017 semi-final against Tomas Berdych. Federer has also now won 32 consecutive sets at the All England Club, just two shy of his record, which he set between the third round in 2005 and the 2006 final. At the time, Federer was in the midst of a Wimbledon five-peat (2003-2007).

“I feel like these streaks just happen. You can't plan for them anyway because one point can change the outcome of a set. If you break it down, it could be one shot really. That's not something you can always control,” Federer said.

“Of course, if you give yourself maximum chances, you're playing well, you have super focus, then these streaks are kind of possible. Look, I'm equally happy if I would have won all the matches in four sets. That it happened to be in straights, it helps me for the season... It helps me to save energy for the rest of the tournament.”

Kevin Anderson has never beaten Federer, but the 6'8” South African has made it a habit of overcoming tall odds the past 12 months. He reached his first Grand Slam final at the 2017 US Open, and before his fourth-round match against Gael Monfils on Monday, the 32-year-old Anderson stared down two unfavourable streaks: 0-10 in fourth-round matches at Grand Slams outside the U.S., and 0-5 against Monfils in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series. Make that 1-11 and 1-6, thank you very much.

Anderson will face his biggest challenge yet, though, against Federer and will need to deliver a high percentage of first serves and rely on his big forehand to hold consistently. Face trouble on his serve, though, especially early, and it could be another Federer rout as the Swiss has not felt generous at SW19.

“I'm going to have to really take it to him, also at the same time try to treat it like another tennis match... The more I can just treat it like another tennis match, the better for me,” Anderson said. “I feel like I'm playing some of the best tennis of my career. When I'm doing that, I think I'm a very dangerous player.”

Read More: Why Anderson Says 'Come On' More Than Ever

(13) Milos Raonic vs. (9) John Isner
Isner leads 
FedEx ATP Head2Head series 3-1

When Milos Raonic and John Isner, two of the game's best and biggest servers, play, you can expect two things: a flurry of aces and tie-breaks. Isner and Raonic lead the Wimbledon field with 134 and 117 aces, respectively.

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Of the nine sets the two have played, seven have finished in a tie-break. Raonic, although six years Isner's junior, will have the Wimbledon experience edge. The 6'5” Canadian reached the 2016 final (l. to Murray) and will play in his fourth Wimbledon quarter-final (2017, 2016, 2014). Isner will be competing in his first quarter-final at the All England Club and only his second at the Grand Slam level (2011 US Open, l. to Murray).

But he, like Federer, has yet to be broken, having erased all six break points he's faced, including two that were match points in the second round against Ruben Bemelmans of Belgium. Expect this quarter-final to come down to a few points here and there, the break points and whoever can get a mini-break in the expected tie-breaks.

“It's going to be coming down to those moments, about being sharp in the right moments, who is going to be able to step up, be the one that's able to dictate, putting more pressure on the other guy,” Raonic said.

Isner has been returning more aggressively than ever, which has helped him avoid, save for the Bemelmans match, the lengthy five-setters that used to sap his energy before the second weeks of Grand Slams. And at 33, even though it's his first Wimbledon quarter-final, surely Isner will play with nothing to lose, knowing that he may never get back to this stage. “If one of us gets a crack, a few chances, we're going to have to take it,” Isner said.

Raonic, though, has also done well to keep his matches tidy, having dropped just two sets so far, and as he showed in the 2016 semi-finals by beating Federer, the Canadian, if his serve is on, can play grass-court tennis better than almost anyone.

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(12) Novak Djokovic vs. (24) Kei Nishikori
Djokovic leads FedEx ATP Head2Head series 13-2

When Novak Djokovic and Kei Nishikori met two years ago this month at the Rogers Cup in Toronto, it was No. 1 vs. No. 6 for an ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title. Djokovic claimed the hard-court contest for his 30th Masters 1000 crown, and since, the Serbian has won all three FedEx ATP Head2Head meetings against Nishikori.

In fact, Djokovic has won their past 12 meetings, and he has looked close to his best as he steamrolled his way into his 10th Wimbledon quarter-final, beating American Tennys Sandgren, Horacio Zeballos of Argentina, top Brit Kyle Edmund and Karen Khachanov of Russia.

“I felt like in the last month and a half, the level of tennis has been very close to where I would like it to be, where I'm used to having it,” Djokovic said.

Read More: Djokovic Remembers Sweet Taste of Success

Nishikori, however, like Anderson, has never played better at the All England Club. The 28-year-old is through to his first quarter-final at SW19 and had to beat 15th seed Nick Kyrgios and Latvian Ernests Gulbis, who upset Alexander Zverev, to make the last eight.

How healthy is Nishikori feeling, though? The right-hander seemed to be bothered by his right arm during his fourth-round match against Gulbis, and he'll need to be at full strength to disrupt Djokovic.

The two play similar styles, consistent and aggressive from the baseline but happy to charge the net and end the point early. During their FedEx ATP Head2Head series, though, Djokovic has just done it better, so it will be up to Nishikori to somehow find a way to bother the three-time Wimbledon champion.

“I don't have a good result, a good record with him, but I always enjoy playing him. He's one of the best players on the Tour,” Nishikori said.

(5) Juan Martin del Potro vs. (2) Rafael Nadal
Nadal leads
FedEx ATP Head2Head series 10-5

Rafael Nadal, who sped through his fourth-round match in straight sets on Monday (d. Vesely), surely didn't mind that Juan Martin del Potro and Gilles Simon played the longest match of The Championships, a two-day and four-hour, 24-minute match that finished Tuesday afternoon, with Del Potro winning three tie-breaks to advance 7-6(1), 7-6(5), 5-7, 7-6(5).

As if the No. 1 player in the ATP Rankings needed help! Nadal, the 2008 and 2010 champion, is back into the quarter-finals for the first time since 2011 and has yet to drop a set at SW19. The Spaniard is looking to win his third Roland Garros – Wimbledon double and tie Bjorn Borg's record.

“It's true that I have not been in that quarter-finals or in farther rounds, but I played good tennis here. I lost a couple of matches that I could win. Sometimes a few points change the final result,” Nadal said.

Read More: Coach Roig's Takeaways After Nadal's Win Against Vesely

It's the third Grand Slam in the past nine months in which Nadal and Del Potro have met (2017 US Open SF, 2018 Roland Garros SF). Nadal has won their past six sets after dropping the opener at the 2017 US Open. A matchup on grass, however, might be Del Potro's best chance.

The Argentine is through to his first Wimbledon quarter-final since 2013, when he lost to Novak Djokovic in the semi-finals, and his flat forehand has skidded nicely on the Wimbledon turf. Del Potro will want to play as aggressively as he can against the Spaniard, who, no doubt, will be happy to keep the Argentine chasing balls from side to side behind the baseline.

“It will be a different match [than] we played in Paris few weeks ago. I will try to hold my service games most of the time. If I want to beat him, I have to come to the net very often and play hard with my forehands, with my backhands, and try to take all the chances,” Del Potro said.

Braunschweig Venue Steeped In Centuries Of History

Tue, 07/10/2018 - 2:06pm

This week, the Sparkassen Open in Braunschweig, Germany, welcomes players and fans for the 25th time. Last year, Spanish teen Nicola Kuhn lifted his first ATP Challenger Tour trophy, joining Alexander Zverev as recent 17-year-old champions.

The prestigious event has set the standard on the circuit for years and is celebrating a fourth straight Tournament of the Year award. The honour is representative of the clay-court event’s steadfast commitment to growing the game in a world-class environment.

Under the watchful eye of tournament director Volker Jäcke, the tournament has greatly evolved and is considered a top destination for players and fans. The Sparkassen Open founded the concept of ‘Tennistainment’, which refers to the notion that premier tennis and off-court entertainment create a first-rate experience with a festive atmosphere. It continues to be the soul of the tournament, with nightly concerts on the grounds.

The event began with a small Centre Court and one catering tent, and the main stadium has since been upgraded to hold a capacity crowd of 2,000 patrons, with a big stage for the concerts and over 50 concession tents for catering and exhibitions. But while the tournament’s famous entertainment scene has garnered much attention, it is its rich and storied history that is arguably its most intriguing aspect.

The Sparkassen Open is played at the Braunschweiger Tennis und Hockey Club on the grounds of the Bürgerpark. Today, it is a large expanse of public land, but many centuries ago, it was the sprawling home of Duchess Augusta, wife of Duke Karl Wilhelm Ferdinand. The estate included the duchess’ residence, known as Schloss Richmond (Richmond Castle) and the tennis courts. The wall that enclosed the city was removed and in 1901, the park opened to the citizens of Braunschweig and the tennis club was officially founded.

“This was the missing link at the time, to open the city and make the Burgerpark for all the citizens of the city to come and rest,” said club president Ralf Hinrichs. “It’s an open space with different flowers and trees. They took different types of trees from all over the world and brought them here. They make it a very special place for the citizens of Braunschweig. It’s a gift to the people here. That was in 1900 and the club was founded a year later.”

During World War II, Braunschweig became a stronghold for the Nazis and the city was destroyed. The club partially survived the bombings, as the front gate, two small cabins on either side of the gate and many stone statues that lie around the main entrance and inside the club remain. So does the front facade of the former castle, with a series of Roman-style columns left undamaged from the time of the duke and duchess. The unique rococo style of the 1700s remains a constant reminder of pre-war Germany, when an architecture movement swept through the country.

After the war ended, for more than 50 years, the German National Championships were hosted at the Braunschweiger Tennis und Hockey Club, featuring a teenage Boris Becker and Steffi Graf, before the ATP Challenger Tour staked its claim to the historic venue in 1994. The Sparkassen Open was born.

"I don't feel like it's a Challenger, it's more like an ATP World Tour event," said Germany's Oscar Otte, No. 166 in the ATP Rankings. "The hotel is not that far and it's amazing. You walk through the park to get there. The Centre Court gives you a nice feeling playing in front of many people from your country."

In its 25-year history, the tournament has boasted Top 10 players Gaston Gaudio, Tomas Berdych and Zverev as champions, with former World No. 2 Michael Stich serving as tournament director in the early 2010s.

“What makes the tournament so special is that after the tennis there are a lot of activities there," Zverev told ATPWorldTour.com after winning in 2014. “It's like the [ATP World Tour] events in Umag and Bastad where there's a lot of nightlife and the players really like it. It's great fun for the players and the fans.”

Highlights: Del Potro Downs Simon, Sets Nadal QF Clash At Wimbledon 2018

Tue, 07/10/2018 - 12:56pm
Watch highlights as Juan Martin del Potro defeats Gilles Simon in four sets to reach his second Wimbledon quarter-final. Photo Credit: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images. Video courtesy of Wimbledon. Video not available in U.K. U.S.A, Italy, Austria, Germany, Spain and South America.

Del Potro Downs Simon, Sets Nadal QF Clash

Tue, 07/10/2018 - 9:39am

With one spot in the quarter-final line-up remaining, Juan Martin del Potro and Gilles Simon returned to No. 2 Court on Tuesday with both men aiming to reach the last eight at Wimbledon for the second time.

Del Potro, who led Simon by two sets to one before play was suspended on Monday night, needed 70 minutes on Tuesday to advance at The All England Club, recovering from a break down in the fourth set to clinch a 7-6(1), 7-6(5), 5-7, 7-6(5) victory. The fifth seed fired 78 winners, including 27 aces, to become the third Argentine (also Guillermo Vilas and David Nalbandian) to reach the quarter-finals of each Grand Slam on multiple occasions.

"[Reaching the quarter-finals] is a good signal for myself," said Del Potro. "I'm having a good season already. I'm very proud to be in the last eight players of this tournament. Everybody wants to be there."

The BNP Paribas Open champion, who recently matched his career-high ATP Ranking of No. 4, is projected to rise to a career-best No. 3 on 16 July if he reaches the final four. Del Potro also reached the semi-finals at SW19 in 2013, falling in five sets to Novak Djokovic in the longest Wimbledon semi-final in history. Del Potro's four-hour, 24-minute victory over Simon also marks the longest match of the tournament.

The 29-year-old appeared to be heading towards a straight-sets victory on Monday, after he recovered from a 1-4 deficit to 4-4 in the third set with aggression on his forehand side. But, despite a third consecutive tie-break looking inevitable, Simon broke serve to send the match to a fourth set. The Frenchman converted a set point when Del Potro misjudged Simon's return of serve, which landed right on the chalk.

After a slow start to play upon the resumption, Del Potro found himself trailing by a break at 1-3. But the Agrentine immediately responded, breaking serve after forcing Simon into a forehand error, in a marathon fifth game, to reset the balance. Both men struggled to find their best form throughout the set, but Del Potro earned a potentially crucial break of serve in the ninth game as Simon fired wide on his backhand side.

A nervy tenth game followed, with neither player able to capitalise on their opportunities. The No. 5 seed watched as four match points passed him by, and despite saving one break point with a perfectly timed forehand up the line, the Argentine was unable to deny Simon on his fourth break point. The Frenchman gambled on his return, in the 18th point of the game, finding the baseline with aggression to level the score.

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Once again, a tie-break was needed to decide the outcome of the set and Del Potro, as was the case on Monday, rose to the occasion. The 2013 semi-finalist recovered from a mini-break down at 1/3 before winning three consecutive points at 4/5 with steady play on his forehand and solid serving.

"After three sets, three hours of the match, you get frustration," admitted Del Potro. "But then we came back today and I played another tie-break. I was lucky that he made mistakes in important moments of the match. I think that was the key."

Simon was bidding to return to the quarter-finals at SW19 after a last-eight run in 2015. Only six Frenchmen have reached multiple Wimbledon quarter-finals in the Open Era.

"I had a couple of great results this season, so I feel competitive again," said Simon. "The problem is I still have the same problem [that I had] before. I need to believe a bit more that I will win [these] matches. It's too often that I lose to a player like him, even if he's super good. I always feel I have a chance... I have to believe a bit more in myself."

Del Potro improves to 5-3 over Simon in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series, and has now triumphed in each of their four grass-court encounters. The Tower of Tandil will meet World No. 1 Rafael Nadal for a spot in the semi-finals on Wednesday. The Spaniard leads their FedEx ATP Head2Head series 10-5, which includes their past two encounters in the final four at Roland Garros in June and the 2017 US Open.

"It will be a different match [from the one] that we played in Paris a few weeks ago," said Del Potro. "I will try to hold my service games most of the time. If I want to beat [Nadal], I have to come to the net very often and play hard with my forehands, with my backhands, and try to take all the chances."

Did You Know?
Only Dominic Thiem (36), Alexander Zverev (36) and Rafael Nadal (34) have won more matches in 2018 than Juan Martin Del Potro. The BNP Paribas Open champion has reached the quarter-finals or better at six of his 10 tour-level events this season.

ATP Rankings Update 9 July 2018

Tue, 07/10/2018 - 6:30am
View the latest ATP Rankings as of 9 July 2018, midway through The Championships at Wimbledon.

Roig's Takeaways After Nadal's R4 Win

Tue, 07/10/2018 - 5:38am

Francisco Roig, coach of World No.1 Rafael Nadal, will be breaking down the two-time champion's performances at Wimbledon for ATPWorldTour.com. Nadal hopes to lift the trophy for a third time.

On Monday, Nadal defeated Jiri Vesely 6-3, 6-3, 6-4 to set up a quarter-final showdown against fifth seed Juan Martin del Potro or Gilles Simon, who will conclude their match on Tuesday after they were forced to halt their fourth-round showdown due to darkness. Roig lists five key takeaways from Nadal’s win over Vesely, and what the 17-time Grand Slam champion will need to do if he is to reach the semi-finals at SW19 for the first time since 2011.

Solid Performance Once Again
Rafa is playing top-level tennis and looks in fine form. He's serving well, returning well, attacking the net, his forehand and backhand are on point and he's using his slice backhand intelligently. Vesely is dangerous on grass and we didn't want to give him any openings. If we're really picky and need to find one aspect to improve, it would be Rafa's play toward the end of the match. We noticed Vesely was starting to control the pace, committing less errors and doing some damage. Rafa was sitting back during those moments and not taking charge of the court, but that happens. Maintaining the intensity he had for two hours takes its toll.

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Focus Factor
Concentration was key in today's match more than any other throughout this tournament. Rafa understood going into the match that if he dropped serve, it wasn't going to be easy to break back, even if he managed to do so a few times. That makes every point even more crucial. This proves that what we are working on during training is reflecting on the court.

A Different Style Matchup
Vesely doesn't serve and volley, and that allows Rafa to take command from the back of the court. There were moments during the match when Rafa could have pulled ahead even further, but he failed to do so. He knows better than to waste those chances because opponents pick up on those sort of things.

Why Reaching The Last Eight Is A Great Feeling
Making it to the quarter-finals here is a bonus for us. Now, each win is a little more sweet, and we can enjoy it that much more. On top of that, each victory gives us confidence going into the following match, and makes us believe in what we can ultimately achieve.

The Best Version Of Nadal?
Rafa was playing at this same high level last year, but he had two difficult sets in the same match (l. Gilles Muller 6-3, 6-4, 3-6, 4-6, 15-13) and that ultimately cost him a chance at the title. It's not fair to say he's better this year at Wimbledon than he was in 2017. It's a different version of himself, equipped with different tools. We've been watching a lot of video, obviously. Compared to years ago, a younger Rafa was brutally fast with awesome mobility, but the 2018 version of Rafa is a more well-rounded player.

Highlights: Confident Djokovic Hitting Top Form At Wimbledon

Mon, 07/09/2018 - 5:11pm
Watch highlights as Novak Djokovic defeats Karen Khachanov to reach the Wimbledon quarter-finals. Photo Credit: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images. Video courtesy of Wimbledon. Video not available in U.K. U.S.A, Italy, Austria, Germany, Spain and South America.

Confident Djokovic Hitting Top Form At Wimbledon

Mon, 07/09/2018 - 3:54pm

At the business end of The Championships, Novak Djokovic is growing in confidence at just the right time. The Serbian was quick to move up the court and struck 29 winners on Monday as he continued to dream of a fourth trophy at the All England Club.

The former World No. 1, winner in 2011 and 2014-15 at Wimbledon, has shown flashes of a return to peak form in recent weeks and on Monday he played with great discipline to overcome the power of Russia’s Karen Khachanov 6-4, 6-2, 6-2 for a place in the quarter-finals.

"I'm really happy with the way I played tonight. I managed to win in straight sets against a player in form. I was really pleased with my second and third set. Really, really pleased," Djokovic said. "I made him play a lot. I served accurately, picking my spots, not really forcing the serve too much, trying to get easier first shots in the rally. Just overall, I felt good in these difficult conditions."

Djokovic recorded his 248th match win at Grand Slam championship just as daylight faded on No. 1 Court and will now prepare to challenge Japanese No. 24 seed Kei Nishikori, who beat Latvian qualifier Ernests Gulbis. Djokovic leads Nishikori 13-2 in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series, but the pair has not met on grass.

"I like my chances in the match against Nishikori. I played very well at Queen's coming into Wimbledon. So far, four matches have been really, really good for me. I haven't spent too much time on the court. I feel physically, mentally ready, fit, positive," Djokovic said. "Now the matches are only going to get tougher. I've been in this position and situation before many times. I don't want to look ahead too much. I'm just focusing on Nishikori for now."

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The No. 12 seed committed just 12 unforced errors against Khachanov, showcasing his great retrieval skills for his 22nd victory of the year in one hour and 46 minutes. Broken once at 4-2 in the first set, Djokovic bounced back immediately and tightened up his game in the pair's first meeting.

Two weeks ago, 31-year-old Djokovic finished runner-up to Marin Cilic at the Fever-Tree Championships, which was his first ATP World Tour final since capturing the Nature Valley International crown in June 2017.

Khachanov came out firing by putting Djokovic under immediate pressure, but it was the experienced Serbian who gained the first break in the second game. Although Khachanov recovered to 3-4, in a game of four errors for Djokovic, the 22-year-old was unable to dominate and paid the price in hitting three straight groundstroke errors at 4-5.

Djokovic won 12 of the first 15 points in the second set, building up his service fluency and taking control of the shorter points. At 2-5, 30/40, Khachanov slipped when playing a forehand and Djokovic struck a forehand into space. The former champion lost just four of his service points in the third set, breaking serve in the sixth and eighth games.

The 22-year-old Khachanov had been bidding to become the fifth Russian man to reach the Wimbledon quarter-finals. He is now 23-14 on the season.

"Honestly, he was too good today. Too good," Khachanov admitted. "He had an answer for everything I did. Okay, of course I could maybe do some things better, like serve, for example. But I don't know, he was returning everything. I felt like the ball was always coming back."

Did You Know?
Djokovic joins Jimmy Connors with 41 major championship quarter-final appearances, which is second only to Roger Federer with 53.

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Delpo's QF Charge Put On Hold

Mon, 07/09/2018 - 3:26pm

Juan Martin del Potro will return to the court on Tuesday just a set away from earning a spot in his second Wimbledon quarter-final. The Argentine’s fourth-round match against French veteran Gilles Simon was suspended due to darkness Monday evening with the fifth seed leading 7-6(1), 7-6(5), 5-7. The winner will face World No. 1 Rafael Nadal in the last eight. 

Del Potro is attempting to become the third Argentine (also Guillermo Vilas and David Nalbandian) to earn a spot in the quarter-finals of each Grand Slam multiple times. This year’s BNP Paribas Open champion recently matched his career-high ATP Ranking of No. 4. And if he is able to navigate to the semi-finals at the All England Club, will climb to a career-best No. 3.

It appeared that the 29-year-old would be able to move into the quarter-finals with a straight-sets victory, after he recovered from a 1-4 deficit to 4-4 in the third set using his powerful forehand. But despite a third consecutive tie-break looking inevitable, Simon earned a set point on his opponent’s serve. Del Potro let an innocent-looking return deep down the middle go without making an attempt at it, and the Tata Open Maharashtra champion’s shot landed right on the chalk, sending the match to a fourth set.

Simon is pursuing his second quarter-final at SW19, which would make him the seventh Frenchman to advance to multiple Wimbledon quarter-finals in the Open Era.

Del Potro leads the pair's FedEx ATP Head2Head series 4-3, and has triumphed in all three of their grass-court meetings. In their first match since the 2016 MercedesCup, both players have struggled to convert their break-point chances, with the Argentine breaking twice from 15 opportunities and Simon going three of 10. 

The Frenchman has done a good job frustrating Del Potro at times with his flat counter-punching, eliciting 47 unforced errors. But he will have to do a better job protecting his second serve against the powerful groundstrokes of the Argentine, who has captured 61 per cent of those points. If the match should go to a fifth set, Del Potro is 7-9 in five-setters, while Simon is 19-12.

Did You Know?
If Del Potro advances to the quarter-finals, it will be the first time he reaches back-to-back major quarter-finals since 2012 when he did it at the Australian Open and Roland Garros.

Highlights: Isner Advances To Quarter-finals

Mon, 07/09/2018 - 3:22pm
Watch highlights as John Isner defeats #NextGenATP Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas to reach the quarter-finals at Wimbledon for the first time. Photo Credit: Michael Steele/Getty Images. Video courtesy of Wimbledon. Video not available in U.K. U.S.A, Italy, Austria, Germany, Spain and South America.

Q&A: On The Line With Steve Johnson

Tue, 06/26/2018 - 1:07pm

American Steve Johnson won his maiden ATP World Tour title at the Nature Valley International in 2016. This week, the 28-year-old has returned to the grass-court ATP World Tour 250 event, looking for his fourth title after back-to-back triumphs in Houston.

In another edition of "On The Line", an occasional question-and-answer series from ATPWorldTour.com, Johnson talks about why Davis Love III's autobiography was such a hard read, the person he admires most and what he wants to do after his playing career.

What's your biggest passion outside of sport and why?
I really love to golf. I like to spend a lot of time on the golf course, just walk around. It's really peaceful and relaxing to me, and it's just a fun way to get away and just have some fun and do something else other than tennis every once and a while.

What was the last book you read?
The Davis Love III autobiography (Every Shot I Take). It was a book given to me by a friend, with his circumstances very similar to mine, so it was a great book to read but also a tough one to read.

Davis lost his father when he was a young professional, and he was really close to him because he was his coach. (Davis Love Jr., a former pro and well-known golf instructor who taught Davis Love III how to play golf, died in a 1988 plane crash when Davis Love III was 24.)

It meant a lot. It was definitely tough to read but it was good.

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Your favourite book of all time and why?
I really liked Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell. He puts everything into perspective, what you need to do, how you need to work, and how circumstances can really affect your status in certain areas of life... Nobody got to where they are, this high in life – Roger, Rafa – they didn't get there by accident; they worked hard. It doesn't matter if you're a surgeon, doctor, lawyer; you spent the time, you hit it hard and you maybe had a few extra benefits along the way but you don't get somewhere by chance.

Person whom you admire the most?
My wife (Kendall Bateman). She's somebody that's stuck with me on this Tour, through some tough times and some great times... I owe a lot to her. She's always got my back regardless of the outcome, so for her to always be my side is really special.

My tennis career will be a success if I ________________.
My tennis career is already a success in my eyes. I've had some great memories. I just want to know that when I look back, I did everything possible in my power to maximise my game. And I feel like I've done that to this point, so if I can just keep getting better and better every day, whenever I do hang up the racquet and look back, I'll know that I'm very happy with my career.

After my tennis career, I want to _____________.
I'd love to be the coach at USC (University of Southern California, where Johnson ended his career on a 72-match win streak). I've talked about it a lot with the coach there now, Peter Smith, who was my coach there. I said one day there will come a time when I'm ready to kind of kick you out, so hopefully he's ready for that. Not right now, we got some time, but I love Peter to death. He's a big reason why I'm here today. He's like a second father to me.

How does he feel about you wanting his job?
He laughs. I think he knows I'm serious but he laughs. Hopefully it all works out and the timing's great. But he's been phenomenal for not only my career but so many others who have gone to USC. They've got a great team and a great program. I'm super happy for them. I love to get back to campus whenever I can and just watch them and just enjoy being on this side of the team atmosphere.

Haase Returns To Defeat Youzhny In Antalya

Tue, 06/26/2018 - 11:08am

After splitting two tie-break sets before play was suspended on Monday night, Robin Haase overcame fellow Turkish Airlines Open Antalya debutant Mikhail Youzhny 7-6(4), 6-7(5), 6-4 on Tuesday.

Haase, a two-time tour-level titlist, dropped just three points on serve in the final set and secured a vital break of serve, in the penultimate ninth game, to progress. The World No. 44 will face Spain's Guillermo Garcia-Lopez in the second round.

Jiri Vesely scored his second win over third seed Fernando Verdasco in as many FedEx ATP Head2Head meetings, prevailing 6-3, 7-5 to reach the last eight. The 24-year-old reached his third quarter-final of the season after 77 minutes, winning 80 per cent of first-serve points.

The Czech improves to 9-11 this season after falling to his lowest ATP Ranking (No. 106) in over four years on 11 June. Vesely will play Nikoloz Basilashvili for a semi-final spot. The Georgian beat eighth seed Dusan Lajovic 6-4, 2-6, 7-5 in one hour and 53 minutes.

Diema Xtra Sofia Open finalists Mirza Basic and Marius Copil also made it through to the second round. Sofia titlist Basic defeated Paolo Lorenzi of Italy 6-3, 6-3 in 70 minutes, while Copil, the 2018 runner-up in the Bulgarian capital, fired 11 aces en route to a 6-4, 7-6(5) victory over home favourite Cem Ilkel.

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Mirnyi/Oswald Reach Antalya QF
Second seeds Max Mirnyi and Philipp Oswald booked their spot in the quarter-finals, edging Federico Delbonis and Miguel Angel Reyes-Varela 7-6(2), 7-5.

Mirnyi and Oswald, who lifted titles in New York and Houston earlier this year, progressed after one hour and 34 minutes after saving six of eight break points in the first-round encounter.

Andres Molteni and Hans Podlipnik-Castillo cruised past Tuna Altuna and Konstantin Kravchuk 6-4, 6-2. The fourth seeds converted 100 per cent of their break point opportunities (4/4) to advance after 58 minutes.

Radu Albot and Guido Pella needed a Match Tie-break to confirm their quarter-final place, overcoming Antonio Sancic and Andrei Vasilevski 7-6(5), 2-6, 10-8. Guillermo Garcia-Lopez and Joao Sousa defeated Turkish wild cards Koray Kirci and Ergi Kirkin 6-3, 6-4 in 67 minutes.

Did You Know?
Mikhail Youzhny, who celebrated his 36th birthday on Monday, is just three wins shy of reaching 500 match wins at tour-level. Yevgeny Kafelnikov, with 609 wins, is the only Russian to reach the milestone.

Uncovered: Murray Makes Long-Awaited Comeback

Tue, 06/26/2018 - 10:58am
Watch ATP World Tour Uncovered presented by Peugeot as Andy Murray makes his comeback after an 11-month injury absence. Hear from Murray and fellow ATP World Tour stars about his return, in front of home fans, at The Fever-Tree Championships.

Mayer Continues Grass Form In Eastbourne

Tue, 06/26/2018 - 9:09am

After notching his second win over Top 10 opposition against Kevin Anderson at the Fever-Tree Championships last week, Leonardo Mayer continued his run of fine form at the Nature Valley International on Tuesday.

The Argentine, seeded fifth in Eastbourne, beat 2013 runner up Gilles Simon 6-4, 7-6(4) in one hour and 50 minutes to set a second-round clash with Australia's John Millman.

Mayer played well under pressure to notch his 15th win of the season, saving seven of nine break points en route to his first victory in three FedEx ATP Head2Head encounters against the Frenchman.

The World No. 36 is bidding to reach the quarter-finals for the third time in four appearances at the ATP World Tour 250 event, having also made it to the last eight in 2009 and 2015.

Seventh seed Steve Johnson, who defeated Pablo Cuevas to lift the title in 2016, needed 75 minutes to beat Russia's Daniil Medvedev 6-2, 6-4.

The World No. 42 won 29 of 32 first-serve points and converted each of his three break point chances to progress. Johnson improves to 18-12 this season and will meet Mischa Zverev in the second round. Zverev, who reached the Gerry Weber Open doubles final last week (w/ A. Zverev), came from a set down to beat Chilean 22-year-old Nicolas Jarry 3-6, 6-1, 6-4.

Mikhail Kukushkin cruised past in-form Next Gen ATP Finals contender Alex de Minaur 6-1, 6-2. The 30-year-old won 69 per cent of second-serve points and saved all seven break points he faced to defeat De Minaur in 63 minutes.

De Minaur arrived on the British south coast after reaching back-to-back finals at British ATP Challenger Tour grass-court events in Surbiton (l. to Chardy) and Nottingham (d. Evans), but could not make an impression in the first-round contest. The 19-year-old Australian won just 46 per cent of points on serve and was broken four times to drop to 9-9 at tour-level this season.

Kukushkin will face David Ferrer for a quarter-final spot. Ferrer ended a three-match losing streak on Monday to defeat Italian qualifier Matteo Berrettini in straight sets.

Slovakia's Lukas Lacko also advanced, defeating qualifier Roberto Quiroz 6-4, 7-6(2). Lacko converted his only break point in the 77-minute clash to set a second-round meeting with top seed Diego Schwartzman.

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Dodig/Ram Pass Italian Test

BMW Open by FWU champions Ivan Dodig and Rajeev Ram survived a major scare in their first-round match at the Nature Valley International on Tuesday, defeating Italian duo Marco Cecchinato and Andreas Seppi 6-4, 6-7(5), 13-11.

Dodig and Ram led by a set and a break at 4-3 in the second set before the Italians grabbed the momentum and forced a Match Tie-break, but the second seeds regained control, eventually securing the win on their fourth match point. Dodig and Ram will face Marcus Daniell and Wesley Koolhof or American duo Ryan Harrison and Nicholas Monroe for a semi-final spot.

British duo Scott Clayton and Joe Salisbury upset fourth seeded Americans Mike Bryan and Jamie Cerretani 7-6(6), 6-3. Clayton and Salisbury saved two set points at 4/6 in the first-set tie-break before clinching the only break of the second set, at 4-3, en route to victory. The wild cards will meet Robert Lindstedt and Edouard Roger-Vasselin in the quarter-finals.

Did You Know?
Mikhail Kukushkin entered the Nature Valley International on a five-match losing streak at the ATP World Tour 250 event. The 30-year-old's only previous victory at the tournament came in 2011, when he reached the second round (d. Lu, l. to Tipsarevic).

Murray Confident He Can Compete With The Best

Mon, 06/25/2018 - 5:30pm

Andy Murray has reached No. 1 in the ATP Rankings, owns 101 victories against opponents inside the Top 10, and has won 45 tour-level titles. But a hip injury kept the Scot from competition for 11 months.

You would think that the time away might plant seeds of doubt in the Scot's mind, but after defeating former World No. 3 Stan Wawrinka in 77 minutes at the Nature Valley International on Monday to earn the first triumph of his comeback, Murray showed no such apprehension.

“From the amount of practice that I have had and how I have played in the matches, I'm pretty positive that maybe not this week or next week, but given a bit of time, I can still compete with the best players again,” Murray said.

Last week, Murray made his return against Aussie Nick Kyrgios, who is now 16-6 on the season. The former World No. 1 showed signs of what he’s capable of, playing gritty defence and battling all the way through to push the talented Kyrgios to a third-set tie-break.

“I think I have done pretty well,” Murray said, “I probably expected it to be harder, but I am only two matches in, as well.”

Murray’s opponent, Wawrinka, is on the same comeback boat, himself recovering from a knee injury. The Swiss was full of praise after their match on Monday, saying the Scot moved and played well in their 19th FedEx ATP Head2Head encounter (Murray leads 11-8).

“A player like Andy will never lose his tennis, that's for sure. Being out of the Tour for so long, then it's about putting the physical aspect again back on the match,” Wawrinka said. “It's tough to really say where his level is because he didn't need more today. I think in general, his game will always be there. Now it's going to be hopefully good to see him healthy and build on that, and see how he's going to improve the next few weeks.”

Murray will face yet another tough test early on his road back to form, when he plays No. 2 seed Kyle Edmund, with whom he practised ahead of the tournament. While the Scot said the British No. 1 label is not all that important to him, he will play the man who took the tag from him this March after a nearly 12-year run.

“It's a really good test for me. I would have played in the space of a week, ten days, three excellent players. Obviously Stan's had his injury problems, as well, but he's still a top player,” Murray said. “For me to get another match against someone as good as Kyle is a really positive thing for me. Hopefully I'm going to go out and perform well and win the match and do my best to do that.”

All in all, Monday’s victory was a good step in the journey for Murray. But he knows that at World No. 156 in the ATP Rankings, there are still many steps left to return to the top of the sport.

“I guess that's one of the problems with being a professional athlete and having competed at the top of the game. You have expectations and stuff,” Murray said. “I always thought like when I came back that I would be more pumped for every single win. But the reality was it's the first round of an event and it was obviously great, great to get through it, but [I] obviously want to do more than that.”

Wimbledon Qualifying: Kokkinakis Not Pretty, But A Winner

Mon, 06/25/2018 - 4:08pm

Thanasi Kokkinakis showed his potential at the Miami Open presented by Itau, defeating top seed Roger Federer in the second round, before pushing veteran Fernando Verdasco to a third-set tie-break in the Round of 32. But due to injury troubles, he has gone 2-4 since, with only one of those matches (l. to Khachanov in Monte-Carlo) coming in a tour-level main draw match.

The Australian got back on track in the first round of Wimbledon qualifying on Monday, defeating No. 28 seed Marcelo Arevalo 3-6, 7-6(3), 6-4.

“It wasn’t pretty. It was pretty ugly, I came out really flat,” Kokkinakis told Wimbledon.com. “I wasn’t sure if I was going to play a couple of days ago [due to a quad strain]. I just went point by point and, hopefully, the body held up. It was ugly, but I got there in the end so I’ll take it.”

Watch Qualifying Live

The 22-year-old will have a chance to move into the final round of qualifying against Pole Kamil Majchrzak, who beat Indian Sumit Nagal 6-2, 6-0 in less than an hour. But Kokkinakis was not the only Aussie to advance on the first day of play.

Former World No. 17 Bernard Tomic, who reached the 2011 Wimbledon quarter-finals and the Round of 16 twice more (2013, 2016), beat Italian Matteo Donati 7-6(1), 6-3 in one hour. Tomic is attempting to compete in the grass-court Grand Slam’s main draw for the ninth consecutive year.

The Australian was not the only player who has enjoyed success at the event to move through. Former World No. 8 singles player and 2010 Wimbledon doubles champion Jurgen Melzer overcame a second-set hiccup to beat Slovak Jozef Kovalik 6-3, 6-7(3), 6-2. The left-handed Austrian, who has played the singles main draw on the London grass 14 times, next plays Japan’s Go Soeda, who beat No. 9 seed Hugo Dellien 6-4, 6-2. Another former Top 10 player in the ATP Rankings, Ernests Gulbis took down 2012 Wimbledon Boys' Singles champion Filip Peliwo 7-5, 6-2. 

Leading the #NextGenATP charge on Monday was No. 11 seed Hubert Hurkacz, who came back to defeat Frenchman Kenny De Schepper 3-6, 7-6(3), 7-5. Michael Mmoh beat compatriot Noah Rubin 7-6(6), 6-2, and another American, Reilly Opelka, ousted countryman Mitchell Krueger 5-7, 6-3, 6-4.

The top seed and fellow #NextGenATP player, Jaume Munar, suffered a tough loss. Argentine Andrea Collarini beat the Spaniard 7-6(8), 5-7, 10-8. A familiar face at Wimbledon, Dustin Brown — who beat Rafael Nadal at the tournament in 2015 — also fell. Stefan Kozlov beat the German 6-3, 6-1.

Andy's Arrival: Murray Beats Wawrinka, Earns First Win Of Comeback

Mon, 06/25/2018 - 12:44pm

If former World No. 1 Andy Murray is rusty after missing 11 months due to a hip injury, he is not showing it. One week after pushing talented Aussie Nick Kyrgios to a final-set tie-break in his return match at the Fever-Tree Championships, the Scot made a statement at the Nature Valley International.

Murray defeated former World No. 3 Stan Wawrinka 6-1, 6-3 on Monday to set a second-round matchup against British No. 1 Kyle Edmund.

"Very happy to get the win. I thought the first set I played well, second set was a little bit patchy at times, a bit nervous towards the end," Murray said. "Obviously when you've not played for the best part of a year, closing out the match against someone like Stan, who I've had lots of great matches with — tough, tough guy to play against — was tough. But delighted to get the win."

The 31-year-old’s 2017 season came to an end after losing in the Wimbledon quarter-finals. And after deciding against a comeback at the start of the year in Australia, Murray underwent hip surgery. The Scot got off to a quick return on the grass, despite the tough draw against a former Top 5 foe like Wawrinka, breaking the Swiss star four times to triumph. 

"I looked at someone like a [Juan Martin] del Potro, who has come back from multiple injuries and some of the draws you get are really difficult," Murray said. "You have to just try to accept it, try and deal with it as best as you can and hopefully start winning some of those matches soon. I didn’t know if that was going to come today, but I was okay with it. It’s good to get a competitive match against a top player. "

The World No. 156's movement looked sharp in his second match back. Especially in the first set, Murray did a good job retrieving many aggressive shots by Wawrinka deep in the court, keeping the Swiss from hammering away at short balls and putting pressure on him to go for more, leading to unforced errors.

But when Wawrinka began to find more of a rhythm in the second set, Murray had no issues being more aggressive. While up a break at 4-3, Murray saved the only four break points he faced in the match, all by taking initiative in the rallies. 

Wawrinka is also on the comeback trail, having missed the end of last season after Wimbledon due to a knee injury. This was the 16-time tour-level champion's ninth tournament of the season.

Murray has won both of his previous FedEx ATP Head2Head meetings against Edmund. But those matches were two years ago. The 23-year-old has since climbed into the Top 20 of the ATP Rankings. Nevertheless, he’s impressed with what he has seen from Murray.

“I think [at] Queen's he played really pretty well for his first match, for sure,” Edmund said on Monday. “He’s looking good, like, pretty normal to me.”

Murray has been impressed with his compatriot, too.

"Kyle’s been fantastic. Not just this year, but the end of last year as well. He’s a great player, he’s improving all the time," Murray said. "I’m expecting a tough one. I’ll try and play my best."

In other action in the bottom half of the draw, American Jared Donaldson edged #NextGenATP countryman Taylor Fritz 6-7(8), 6-3, 7-6(3) to set a meeting with third seed Denis Shapovalov.

The 21-year-old landed 11 aces and won 81 per cent of first-serve points to book his place in the second round. Donaldson is bidding to reach his second tour-level quarter final this season after a semi-final run at the Abierto Mexicano Telcel presentado por HSBC in February.

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Did You Know?
Andy Murray is making just his second appearance at the Nature Valley International. The former World No. 1 reached the quarter-finals on his debut in 2006 at Nottingham, losing in three sets to Italy's Andreas Seppi.