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Nick Kyrgios and Bernard Tomic were irresistible on Friday, winning all six sets played against Slovakia to put Australia a match away from remaining in the Davis Cup World Group in 2017. #NextGen star Kyrgios opener the tie with a 6-3, 6-2, 6-4 win over Andrej Martin, while Tomic helped the Aussies to a 2-0 lead by dismissing Jozef Kovalik 7-6(5), 6-4, 6-4.
Even without Kei Nishikori, who was rested by captain Minoru Ueda, Japan was able to race to a 2-0 lead in their tie against Ukraine. Taro Daniel edged Sergiy Stakhovsky 7-6(4), 7-6(2), 6-1 in the first rubber before #NextGen player Yoshihito Nishioka beat Illya Marchenko 6-4, 5-7, 6-4, 7-5.
Uzbekistan, hosting Switzerland on outdoor clay in Tashkent, is aiming to reach the World Group for the first time. Denis Istomin helped the home team to an early lead by beating Antoine Bellier 6-3, 6-2, 6-4, but Henri Laaksonen equalised for the Swiss by routing Sanjar Fayziev 6-2, 6-2, 6-2.
Feliciano Lopez was a late Spanish substitution for Rafael Nadal in the first rubber of their away tie against India. Lopez beat Ramkumar Ramanathan 6-4, 6-4, 3-6, 6-1 on an outdoor hard court in New Delhi to give the visitors an early lead. David Ferrer put the visitor a match away from promotion by downing Saketh Myneni 6-1, 6-2, 6-1.
Jan-Lennard Struff earned his first live-rubber singles win and helped the Germans move ahead 1-0 against Poland in Berlin. Struff outlasted Kamil Majchrzak 6-7(8), 6-3, 5-7, 6-2, 6-1. Florian Mayer would double the hosts' lead by beating Hubert Hurkacz 1-6, 7-6(6), 6-4, 7-5.
Frank Dancevic helped Canada to a quick start against Chile by taking down Christian Garin 6-3, 6-7(5), 6-1, 6-4 on a fast indoor court in Halifax. Vasek Pospisil doubled the home team's lead by seeing off Nicolas Jarry 6-1, 5-7, 7-6(2), 6-3.
Andy Murray will put his 14-match Davis Cup winning streak on the line against Juan Martin del Potro, as the Brits hosts the Argentines for their semi-final tie on an indoor hard court in Glasgow this weekend. Leon Smith, the captain of the home team, has selected Kyle Edmund to the other singles slot. The #NextGen star will take on Argentinian No. 1 Guido Pella in the second match of the day.
The first rubber pits the World No. 2 Murray against del Potro, who is putting together a remarkable campaign after coming back from left wrist surgery. The pair most recently played in the final of the Rio Olympics, with Murray taking gold.
“It will be a very tough match. We obviously had a great battle in Rio. It was four hours, lots of ups and downs, a lot of momentum shifts and was mentally and physically a very draining match,” Murray told DavisCup.com. “I think both of us were pretty tired afterwards, and emotional. I think that showed in how we were right after the final point. It will be another intense atmosphere here and I'm looking forward to it.”
Del Potro has not played singles in Davis Cup since 2012, but holds a 12-4 record. All four of his losses have come on indoor courts. Murray is 29-2 when representing his country in singles.
Edmund narrowly lost to Pella in their most recent meeting and is eager to make amends in front of his home crowd.
“I'm obviously excited whoever I was going to play in the Davis Cup, it's always an honour to represent your country. I've enjoyed the last two ties I've played in and had great experiences from it,” the Brit told DavisCup.com. “In terms of playing Pella, I lost 7-5 in the third set [in Indian Wells]. It was a close match. I'm sure he has improved since then. I've definitely improved since then, got a lot of experience and I feel my game has improved. I think what I have been doing the last few months and the run I've got on, it's just trying to replicate that.”
In the other semi-final tie, France will look to take down home team Croatia on an indoor hard court in Zadar. The French are without Gael Monfils and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga due to injuries, while Croatian No. 2 Borna Coric admitted to feeling less than 100 per cent due to problems with his knee. The #NextGen star will play the first rubber against French No. 1 Richard Gasquet.
“My preparations for the tie have been less than ideal because my knee flared up after the Olympic Games in Rio,” Coric told DavisCup.com. “I made the most of the last few days and we will see how it goes. I have never played against Gasquet so I have some homework to do in order to come up with the right game-plan.”
World Group Playoffs: Nadal To Lead Spaniards; Nishikori Gets A Day Off
In World Group play-off action, Rafael Nadal made the trip to India in an attempt to help Spain return to the World Group for the first time since 2014. He will face Indian No. 2 Ramkumar Ramanathan in the opening rubber, while David Ferrer will play Saketh Myneni in the second rubber. Nadal has not lost a Davis Cup singles match since falling in straight sets to Jiri Novak of the Czech Republic 12 years ago. He is 21-0 since.
Kei Nishikori, the top Japanese player in the Emirates ATP Rankings, will not play on Day 1 of the home team’s play-off tie against Ukraine. Instead, Taro Daniel will play Artem Smirnov while #NextGen player Yoshihito Nishioka will face Illya Marchenko, who lost to eventual champion Stan Wawrinka at the US Open.
Elsewhere, Nick Kyrgios and Bernard Tomic will both feature on Day 1 for Australia against Slovakia. The Swiss, sans Wawrinka and Roger Federer, are in Tashkent to take on Uzbekistan. David Goffin and the Belgians host Thomaz Bellucci and Brazil in Ostend. Frank Dancevic and Vasek Pospisil look to fend off Chile in Halifax, Canada. Russia faces Kazakhstan in Mosow, and Germany hosts Poland in Berlin.
Tecnifibre player Constant Lestienne is inspired by Gael Monfils, but seems to have naturally picked up his penchant for flashy hitting. The World No. 183 hit the Hot Shot of the week so far on Wednesday night at the ATP Challenger Tour event in Szczecin, Poland.
With second seed Inigo Cervantes of Spain serving at 3-4 in the opening set of their second-round clash, a strong backhand return from Lestienne set up an easy smash. It appeared he would drive the ball for a winner, but the Frenchman faked out his opponent and instead hit a delicate drop shot. The crowd roared their approval as Lestienne waved his arms to get them even more involved in the match.
“I don’t know where I learned that shot from, but it’s a shot I like to do. When I see an easy ball coming, my mind automatically wants to make a Hot Shot. I’ve tried this one at practice many times,” said Lestienne. “But the best player at these shots is Gael Monfils. I want to do all the same shots as him.”
Lestienne went on the win match, 6-4, 7-6(5). The victory gave him the first Top 100 win of his career. He will play seventh seed Albert Montanes of Spain on Friday for a place in the semi-finals.
Watch Constant Lestienne fake-out Inigo Cervantes with a drop shot winner at the ATP Challenger Tour event in Szczecin, Poland.
Casper Ruud decided to forgo this year’s US Open junior events in order to play his first ATP Challenger Tour tournament. Less than two weeks later, the Norwegian teenager has already graduated to the ATP World Tour.
The 17 year old will make his ATP World Tour main draw debut later this month after receiving a wild card into the Chengdu Open, held from 26 September to 2 October. Ruud’s father, Christian Ruud, competed on the ATP World Tour throughout the ‘90s, reaching a career-high ranking of No. 39 in October 1995.
“You have to take it day by day and I’m just trying my best every day and working hard,” said Casper. “Anything can happen, but I’m going to stay humble and just try to work every day.”
The teenager came through qualifying to win last week’s $75,000 ATP Challenger Tour event in Seville, Spain. He became the fourth youngest player to win an ATP Challenger Tour event in their debut, joining prestigious champions including Michael Chang, Richard Gasquet and Jonathan Stark. Ruud is also the youngest ATP Challenger Tour winner since Alexander Zverev in 2014.
“Given his recent Challenger, it was an easy decision to give him the coveted wild card,” said Tournament Director Nick Freyer. “He was outside the top 1000 in the [Emirates] ATP Rankings at the start of the year, but his results have taken him to a career high ranking of 274 this week. [It’s] outstanding by any measure, especially so given his young age.”
From being the most decorated player in US college history, American Steve Johnson is testament to how hard work and determination can bring success on the ATP World Tour.
The 34-year-old Robredo last competed on the ATP World Tour in February at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, where he fell to Novak Djokovic in the first round. Since then, the Spaniard has endured a tough spell away from the court after having surgery.
"It's been hard," Robredo told ATPWorldTour.com. "Firstly having to make the decision to have surgery, because after Dubai I had a tear in the tendon and I tried to avoid the operating theatre. I spent some time doing rehabilitation, but after a month and a half, we saw that it hadn't mended at all so we opted for the surgery."
After first detecting the injury in Dubai, Robredo initially hoped to return in April at the Barcelona Open BancSabadell. But the doctors confirmed that surgery would be the best way to get back on the court. As such, there followed a lengthy stretch of recuperation and rehabilitation.
"Technically it's been four months of recuperation," said Robredo. “The first two months were hard because you have to come to terms with not training or competing. The third and fourth months, when you know you're getting close, are when you put your foot down a bit. You're excited to get back."
Robredo’s 19 years of experience as a professional, the team he has around him and the people closest to him have been an important part of his recuperation. "The dream of coming back has always been there, working day after day with my team, with the physio, with my coach. It all helps,” said Robredo. “It's all gone well. Also being at home with my family, with my friends, with my girlfriend has meant my return has been faster and more enjoyable.
The Spaniard, who has received a wild card into the Moselle Open, where he lifted the trophy in 2007 (d. Murray), made a tentative comeback on the ATP Challenger Tour last week in Genova. “I was really looking forward to playing again. Now in Metz, I think I will play better."
After playing just six matches so far in 2016, Robredo is keen for as much court time as he can get as the season draws to a close in the coming weeks. "The goal is to play as many matches as possible so that my arm improves and I can start 2017 in top form,” said the Spaniard.
"There are going to be some difficult months ahead because having to start playing with pain is annoying and it isn't easy. The goal is to get back to 100 per cent next year and give my all to see if we can have another great run, another great comeback and get back to where I really want to be on the ATP World Tour."
“No,” laughed Wawrinka, his shiny new trophy on the table next to him. “I won three Grand Slams, but I’m not consistent enough during the year. If you look, Novak [Djokovic] is making a final or winning every tournament that he’s playing. I can play amazing, I can win a Grand Slam, but I’m not playing well enough in the year.”
The buzz of his third major title had yet to lift as the 31-year-old Swiss chatted with the American talk show host about his friendship with compatriot Roger Federer, how he deals with stress, coach Magnus Norman’s influence and what practice is like with World No. 1 Djokovic.
“We push each other in practice… try to improve most of the time,” said Wawrinka. “It’s good fun also because we like each other.”
Wawrinka’s appearance on Charlie Rose was part of a media tour in New York City, which also saw him visit “Live With Kelly” and play Wii Tennis with Jimmy Fallon. Watch
NextGen star Hyeon Chung is back after four months out due to injury, but he’s picking up right where he left off.
Competing in the first tournament of his comeback at the $50,000 ATP Challenger Tour event in Nanchang, China, the 20 year old from Korea has moved into the quarter-finals without dropping a set. Although he admitted that the rehab process took longer than expected, he’s now fully healthy and ready to make another climb up the Emirates ATP Rankings.
“After Roland Garros, I found out after I lost my [first-round] match that I had injured my abs,” said Chung. “I did nothing for two weeks and then slowly began training. I want to see now if I’m able to do everything that I could before.”
“We’re all friends,” said Chung. “Duckhee is playing Davis Cup now, but we all played the same tournaments growing up. We’re all pushing each other to get better.”
Chung made headlines last year for his rapid rise up the Emirates ATP Rankings, climbing from No. 169 to No. 51 in 12 months. He won four ATP Challenger Tour titles in 2015 and finished as runner-up in two other Challenger events. Chung also reached his first ATP World Tour quarter-final that October at the Shenzhen Open.
Having added new weapons to his game during his time away from the court, he’s optimistic about cracking the Top 50 of the Emirates ATP Rankings next year.
“I made a few changes to my serve and my balance on my forehand,” said Chung. “This week was my first match in four months, so it’s not great yet, but I’m going to keep trying. I just want to keep going and play more Challengers.”
Andy Murray, Juan Martin del Potro, Marin Cilic and Lucas Pouille headline the nominations for the Davis Cup World Group semi-finals kicking off on 16 September. Defending champion Great Britain will face Argentina in Glasgow, while the Croatians will host the French in Zadar. Both semi-final ties will be played on indoor hard courts.
The Brits will be represented by World No. 2 Andy Murray, #NextGen star Kyle Edmund and in-form Daniel Evans, who held a match point in the third round of the US Open against eventual champion Stan Wawrinka. Jamie Murray, No. 4 in the Emirates ATP Doubles Rankings and the US Open doubles champion, rounds out the team.
Del Potro, who fell to Wawrinka in the US Open quarter-finals, started the year outside the Top 1000, but is back into the Top 65 on the strength of a 22-10 record since his comeback from left wrist surgery. He is joined by countrymen Federico Delbonis, Guido Pella and Leonardo Mayer on the Argentinian side.
Croatia is looking for its first Davis Cup final since winning the title in 2005 and has named Cilic, #NextGen star Borna Coric, doubles World No. 8 Ivan Dodig and Marin Draganja to its team. They will face a French team composed of Pouille, Richard Gasquet, Nicolas Mahut and Pierre-Hugues Herbert. Mahut/Herbert are the top players in the Emirates ATP Doubles Race To London.
On the same weekend, there will be eight World Group playoff ties to determine which teams will be promoted and relegated next year.
Young Canadian Denis Shapovalov will make his Davis Cup debut against Chile on an indoor hard court in Halifax.
Russia aims to return to the World Group after a four-year absence against Kazakhstan in Moscow.
Rafael Nadal will lead the Spanish contingent against India in New Delhi. The home team’s top singles player, Saketh Myneni, recently qualified for his first Grand Slam event at the US Open.
Germany will attempt to retain its place in the 16-team World Group against Poland in Berlin.
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Watch as Stan Wawrinka makes his New York media tour after winning the US Open. Video courtesy US Open. Photo: Getty Images
Saturday, 10 September was doubly special for ATP World Tour stars as two former Top 20 players walked down the aisle.
Three-time ATP World Tour titlist Andreas Seppi married Michela Bernardi in Oreisei, Italy. The Italian wrote on Instagram, “Every love story is beautiful, but ours is my favourite. Best friends for life… Husband and wife. Mr. & Mrs. Seppi”.
Paul-Henri Mathieu wed his longtime girlfriend, Quiterie Camus, in Bourron-Marlotte, France. The mother of the now Mrs. Mathieu performed the ceremony as Deputy Mayor of the city. The couple’s son Gabriel was also on hand for the beautiful day.
It’s that time of the year again when the attention of the tennis world begins to focus on who will qualify for the season-ending Barclays ATP World Tour Finals.
Only this year’s best eight singles players and doubles teams will qualify to compete for one of the greatest prizes in our sport. London’s iconic O2 arena will again play host to the world’s biggest indoor tennis event from November 13-20.
Players earn their place at the season finale by finishing in the Top 8 of the Emirates ATP Race To London on November 6, when the ATP World Tour regular season concludes after the BNP Paribas Masters in Paris. The Race is a calendar-year points race that starts at the beginning of each season in the first week of January. The players who win titles in Brisbane, Chennai and Doha typically will share the Race lead after the first week of the season.
Throughout the season a player adds his best eligible results from up to 18 tournaments to his Race points tally. Winning a prestigious ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title earns the champion 1000 points. Titles at ATP World Tour 500 and 250 level tournaments return 500 points and 250 points respectively. Players who don’t win the title still earn points based on how far they advance in the draw.
The Race differs from the Emirates ATP Rankings, the historical world rankings. A player’s ranking is determined by his best 18 tournament results over the preceding 52 weeks. A high ranking is needed to get into the world’s best tournaments and rankings also determine if a player is seeded. Novak Djokovic is known as the World No. 1 because he sits atop the rankings. Milos Raonic is known as a Top 10 player because he is No. 7 in the rankings.
More often than not, a player’s Race standing is different to his ranking. For example, Gael Monfils is sixth in the Race but eighth in the Rankings because he has enjoyed relatively more success in 2016 than over the longer time period of the past 52 weeks. Rafael Nadal is eighth in the Race but fourth in the Rankings because his strong post-US Open results from 2015 only count towards his 52-week ranking and not his 2016 Race standing.
In the latter part of the season, a player’s focus turns to his position in the Race because it becomes an accurate predictor of what the player’s year-end ranking will be. And, of course, the Race determines who makes it to London.
Djokovic, Andy Murray and newly minted US Open champion Stan Wawrinka are the three players who have already booked their spots at The O2. Milos Raonic and Kei Nishikori are highly likely to return to London as both already have more points than the 4,035 points earned by Nishikori last year to clinch the final spot.
In sixth and seventh places respectively in the Race, French showman Monfils and 23-year-old Austrian Dominic Thiem both have a strong chance to make their debuts at the season finale. Thiem is just five points clear of Rafa Nadal, but 675 points clear of ninth-placed Czech Tomas Berdych, who missed the US Open due to appendicitis, and 805 points ahead of 10th-placed Marin Cilic, a recent winner of the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournament in Cincinnati.
Thiem boosted his London hopes with a fourth-round showing at the US Open, where he said reaching the season finale was a strong goal. "It would be an unbelievable bonus to an incredible season that I’m having,” he said. “One or two years ago, the [Barclays ATP World Tour] Finals seemed so far away. I didn't know how to amass that many points in one year and now I’m really in the race to it... If I make it, I would be unbelievably happy... I watch it every year and it’s a great tournament."
Can Berdych, Cilic, David Goffin or possibly even Nick Kyrgios and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga make a late bid to break into the Top 8 in the final seven weeks of the season? With 13 tournaments – including two Masters 1000 and four 500s - there are enough points on offer. But each tournament will take on extra significance for the chasing pack as they try to catch the leaders.
In doubles, four teams have booked their spots. No. 2 team Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares qualified en route to winning their second major of the year at the US Open and look set to battle Race leaders Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut for year-end No. 1 honours. The Bryan brothers will be back chasing a fifth title and Spaniards Feliciano Lopez and Marc Lopez also qualified in New York. Defending champions and 2015 year-end No. 1 team Jean-Julien Rojer and Horia Tecau are in ninth position, just 30 points behind Henri Kontinen and John Peers.
Editor’s notes: Strictly speaking, the Race begins in mid November of the preceding season (the week after the BNP Paribas Masters in Paris). Results at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals are excluded, but players competing in late-season ATP Challenger Tour events earn points that count towards the next season’s Emirates ATP Race To London.
Officially, only the Top 7 in the Race are guaranteed places at the season finale. The eighth place is reserved for a Grand Slam champion positioned between 8th and 20th in the Race. Wawrinka, who mathematically is not yet guaranteed to finish in the Top 7 in this year’s Race, qualified for London by winning the US Open. That made him a current-year Grand Slam champion who mathematically cannot fall outside the Top 20 in the Race. If all Grand Slam champions of the current year are positioned in the Top 8 of the Race after Paris, then the Top 8 players in the Race qualify.
The ATP Challenger Tour event in Genova, Italy, was a success on the court with world-class matches and a full Centre Court throughout the week. But its impact will be felt off the court well beyond Sunday’s final and help plenty of people throughout the country.
Tournaments organizers in Genova made the decision to donate all proceeds from the Challenger to earthquake victims in Italy. They collected €38,000 in total for the relief fund. A 6.2-magnitude earthquake struck central Italy on 24 August, causing immense damage to the region.
“Every year the organizing committee of the tournament makes a donation to a charity. The tragic event which hit the centre of Italy in the recent month pushed the organizers to make a bigger gesture by channeling the entire ticket sale revenue to the population seriously affected by the earthquake,” said Mauro Iguera, president of the Genova Challenger committee. “We have contacted several organizations to select the best charty to submit the funds to.”
Approximately 19,500 people attended the Challenger throughout the week, leaving the stadium at full capacity for both day and evening sessions. Former Top 15 player Jerzy Janowicz cemented his comeback from injury by defeating top seed Nicolas Almagro in the final.
If you’re going to have a hitting partner, there isn’t a much better option than Roger Federer.
Rising ATP Challenger Tour player Zhizhen Zhang got to hit with the tennis legend earlier this year during the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 event in Monte-Carlo, and has tried to use that experience to further his game. The 19 year old also has former World No. 4 Ivan Ljubicic on his side as an agent, helping him to navigate the rigours of men’s tennis.
“It was huge for me because I’m such a big fan of Roger. It lasted 90 minutes and I was so nervous before the hitting session. He encouraged me to keep improving and it was such a great experience,” said Zhang. “I love working with Ivan [Ljubicic] as well. He’s helping me be more smart on the court and become a real professional tennis player.”
Competing at this week’s ATP Challenger Tour event in Nanchang, China, Zhang also recorded his first main draw win at a Challenger this year by defeating Blake Mott of Australia in a three-set opening round. After competing regularly in Challengers, he’s developed friendships with many players on tour who were pleased with his win.
“For players competing in Nanchang, I know Fajing Sun and Yecong He, especially Sun. We’ve been friends since we were 10 years old,” said Zhang. “I’m also quite close to Daniil Medvedev, but his [Emirates ATP] Ranking is mucn higher than mine, so I need to keep pushing myself to catch him."
Zhang made headlines last year by coming through qualifying and winning his opening round at the Shenzhen Open. He also scored a Top 100 win the following week over Ricardas Berankis at the China Open.
Just as he was reaching a new level in his tennis, Zhang fractured a bone in his foot during a training session at the end of last year. After two months of rest didn’t help, he underwent surgery at the beginning of this season.
The rising Chinese star admitted he hasn’t played his best tennis for most of this year due to not being able to properly train. But now that he’s fully healthy, he’s ready to regain the form he showed at this time last year and continue making a push towards the Top 100 of the Emirates ATP Rankings.
“Ivan and the Shanghai tennis team are always optimistic for me. They think it’s normal for a young player like me to come across this problem, but I don’t want to disappoint them or myself,” said Zhang. “I’m starting to play better, but the main thing is to not put too much pressure on myself during this upcoming Chinese season.”
Infosys ATP Beyond The Numbers examines two important second serve metrics and five players in the Top 20 who have improved in both areas.
ATP World Tour Uncovered presented by Peugeot looks back on the talking points from the US Open, including the run of three Frenchmen and the new roof.
View the latest Emirates ATP Rankings as of 13 September 2016.
The Swiss was a guest on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon after capturing his third Grand Slam championship at Flushing Meadows on Sunday evening. It was part of a wider media tour through New York City, which saw Wawrinka also visit ‘Live With Kelly’, Charlie Rose and Yahoo! Sports.
Fans at the US Open look back on Stan Wawrinka's win over Novak Djokovic to claim his third Grand Slam title.