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Updated: 6 days 1 hour ago

Memphis Triple Towers Dish On Life As Big Men

Thu, 02/16/2017 - 8:29pm

If they were an NBA team, such as the Memphis Grizzlies, they'd probably slow the game down, taking their time on every possession and making sure they fed the ball to the big men in the middle of the lane.

But 6'11” Ivo Karlovic, 6'11” Reilly Opelka and 6'10” John Isner are ATP World Tour players, so they try to play fast, blasting serves that skid off the court and leave fans wondering how they strike so many aces.

The power and athleticism of the tallest players on the ATP World Tour have been on showcase all week long at the Memphis Open, which is played on the indoor courts at The Racquet Club of Memphis. With the aforementioned tall trio, along with 6'8” Kevin Anderson and 6'6” Sam Querrey, the tournament contemplated making last-minute alterations to the club.

“I almost had to go through and adjust all the height rails on our stadium to make sure we could accommodate the guys,” Tournament Director Erin Mazurek said jokingly. “We almost have an NBA roster.”

Karlovic said the diversity of heights shows tennis growing as a sport. “It means that the sport is evolving,” he said. “We bring a little bit of a different game to the sport, which is good.”

The handful of big men in Memphis spoke to ATPWorldTour.com about the advantages and disadvantages of their height, what tactics they'd use to beat a taller player and the future of big men on tour.

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ADVANTAGES

Unsurprisingly, the players all agreed that their serve is their biggest advantage. “It just puts pressure and stress on your opponent, knowing that I'm probably going to hold serve almost every time,” said Opelka, who is a part of the #NextGenATP.

The taller the player, the better their angle to hit the serve, Anderson and Karlovic reminded. Isner said, “Our serves are our biggest weapon, no doubt.”

DISADVANTAGES

It's not all aces, though. Taller players, because of their longer strides, might not move as quickly as shorter guys, which can be especially disadvantageous in tennis, a sport that features countless, abrupt changes of direction.

“I also have to take higher risks from the baseline, go for more because I don't want to get my movement exposed,” Opelka said.

Despite that drawback, Anderson is optimistic about big men going against more nimble opponents. “As you've seen in the last few years, taller guys are moving better and better,” he said. “If you are in position, I think being a bit taller you can create a bit more power, dominate your opponent a bit more.”

TACTICS

So how do you beat a big-serving big man who can roll through a match, sometimes hitting three or four aces a game?

“You're going to get one or two opportunities a set, maybe even a match, and you've just really got make sure you capitalise on those break points or set points,” Querrey said.

Opelka named a scenario that Isner and Karlovic know well: Tie-break. “It just comes down to who is more clutch in those moments and who is serving better,” Opelka said.

FUTURE OF BIG MEN

At the moment, movement might be the top worry for big men. But Anderson doesn't think that will always be the case in tennis. He, like Karlovic, thinks the sport will continue to evolve. The South African points to another international sport, basketball, as an example.

“These days you have guys my height, 6'8”, moving around like guys who are 6”... So it will be interesting to see as the years progress in tennis,” Anderson said. “I think if you had a guy who was 7', who was able to move as well as say Novak or Andy Murray do, you're going to have a heck of a tennis player on your hands.”

Read More: Isner Pushed In Memphis Opener

Cilic Reflects On Tough Coric Test At Rotterdam 2017

Thu, 02/16/2017 - 7:46pm
ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament top seed Marin Cilic was pleased with his mental focus in Rotterdam as he edged past countryman Borna Coric on Thursday. Watch live Rotterdam matches at TennisTV.com.

Finding A Work-Life Balance On The ATP World Tour

Thu, 02/16/2017 - 6:30pm
Stars of the ATP World Tour and ATP Champions Tour talk about how they achieve the right balance between tennis and their families in this episode of ATP World Tour Uncovered presented by Peugeot.

Murray's Motivation Uncovered

Thu, 02/16/2017 - 6:23pm
What keeps motivating Andy Murray? The Scot discusses his ever-changing goals and continuing to challenge himself on the ATP World Tour.

Kozlov Fires Between The Legs Hot Shot At Tempe Challenger 2017

Thu, 02/16/2017 - 6:21pm
NextGenATP star Stefan Kozlov takes it to the next level with this impressive forward tweener and leaping smash at the Tempe Challenger.

Rojer Records 300th Doubles Match Win

Thu, 02/16/2017 - 6:14pm

Jean-Julien Rojer recorded the 300th doubles match win of his career by partnering Horia Tecau to a 6-4, 6-4 victory at the ABN Amro World Tennis Tournament over second-seeded Spaniards Feliciano Lopez and Marc Lopez 

The 2015 champions now go on to face fourth seeds Lukasz Kubot and Marcelo Melo or wild cards Wesley Koolhof and Matwe Middelkoop in the semi-finals.

“I’m super excited about the milestone, 300 wins, it’s a very nice achievement for me. I’m very proud of the 300 wins,” said Rojer, who has clinched 21 ATP World Tour-level doubles titles so far in his career. “Of course, I’d like to thank all of my former partners and my current partner Horia (Tecau). I didn’t think I could achieve this when I started playing doubles, it’s very satisfying.”

Nicolas Mahut won the title in Rotterdam last year partnering Canadian Vasek Pospisil and in 2017 is joined by countryman Pierre-Hugues Herbert as the top seeds.

The Frenchmen prevailed in a Champions tie-break 4-6, 7-6(6), 10-6 to fend off the challenge of sixth seeds Mate Pavic and Alexander Peya.

Ivan Dodig and Marcel Granollers will attempt to oust the top seeds in the final four having dispatched Tomas Berdych and Rohan Bopanna 6-3, 6-4. 

Coric Never Gives Up In Rotterdam 2017 Hot Shot

Thu, 02/16/2017 - 4:27pm
Nothing is a lost cause for Borna Coric. Watch Hot Shot as he burns some serious rubber against Marin Cilic on Thursday at the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament. Watch live Rotterdam matches at TennisTV.com. Photo: Henk Koster

Berdych Pleased With Gasquet Win At Rotterdam 2017

Thu, 02/16/2017 - 2:00pm
Tomas Berdych, the 2014 champion, reacts to beating Richard Gasquet on Thursday at the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam. Watch live Rotterdam matches at TennisTV.com.

Cilic, Berdych Advance To Rotterdam QFs

Thu, 02/16/2017 - 1:09pm
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Top seed and 2014 finalist Marin Cilic won an all-Croatian battle on Thursday against Borna Coric, part of the #NextGenATP, 6-1, 2-6, 6-4 in just under two hours at the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament.

Cilic won the first five games of the pair’s third FedEx ATP Head2Head meeting, ending with 11 aces and losing just 10 of his first service points.

“I think we both played really good tennis. I started to get into a good rhythm at the end of that first set but then I lost my serve in the middle of that second set when he came up with some amazing shots,” said the World No. 7.

Watch Coric Hot Shot

Watch Full Match Replays At Tennis TV

“Obviously, he was showing great fighting spirit and I knew it was going to be tough in that third set. I just tried to be mentally strong. Just a few points decided the outcome.”

Locked at 3-3 in the decider, Cilic managed to fend off five break points before closing out victory. “It proved to be the deciding game. I managed to win that game and I’m really happy I kept my focus.”

He will now play his first ATP World Tour quarter-final of 2017 against sixth seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, the 2011 runner-up. “I’m definitely looking forward to it,” said Cilic, who holds a 5-1 FedEx ATP Head2Head record over the Frenchman.

“It will be a tough match as always. There isn’t much that will separate us. We both have good serves and powerful games. I’ll have to be mentally strong and keep up my good tennis.”

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Fourth seed Tomas Berdych is also through to the last eight after finishing strongly in a 7-6(4), 6-1 win over Richard Gasquet.

"They were two very different sets," said Berdych, who rallied from 1-3 down in the first set. "The beginning wasn't ideal, as Goran [Ivanisevic – coach] said. I didn't show up for the beginning. Luckily I picked up very quickly, found my rhythm, then played a very good and tough first set. It was a solid tie-break for me.

“From the beginning of the second set I started applying more and more pressure, coming to the net more and he felt that pressure and gave me a couple of chances. An early break helps a lot and it snowballed from there. It was a good performance today."

Berdych goes on to face defending champion Martin Klizan. The 31-year-old Czech is bidding to reach the final of this ATP World Tour 500 tournament for the third time, having lifted the trophy in 2014 (d. Cilic) and finished runner-up in 2015 (l. to Wawrinka).

Third seed David Goffin was forced to go the distance for a maiden Rotterdam quarter-final spot in a 5-7, 6-4, 6-4 victory over last Dutchman standing Robin Haase.

Goffin won both previous contests against the wildcard, including in Doha last month at the Qatar ExxonMobil Open, but Haase injected pace into his groundstrokes to surge 4-1 ahead. The Belgian restored parity to edge towards a tie-break, before Haase clinched the opening set with a blistering forehand cross court winner on the run.

A single break was sufficient for Goffin, finalist at the Garanti Koza Sofia Open last week, to level the match by winning 89 per cent of points on first serve.

The duo were tied in the decider until 4-4 when Goffin struck two backhand passing-shot winners to take the initiative. A delicate drop shot sealed his progression into the last eight to face in-form Grigor Dimitrov.

Dimitrov Prevails On Thursday At Rotterdam 2017

Thu, 02/16/2017 - 11:53am
Watch Thursday highlights of wins for Grigor Dimitrov, Dominic Thiem, Marin Cilic, David Goffin and Tomas Berdych at the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam. Watch live Rotterdam matches at TennisTV.com. Photo: Henk Koster

Dimitrov Fights Back Against Janowicz

Thu, 02/09/2017 - 5:35pm

Third seed Grigor Dimitrov delighted the home crowd on Thursday at the Garanti Koza Sofia Open, rallying from a set down to defeat former Top 15 player Jerzy Janowicz in the second round 4-6, 6-3, 7-5.

“The crowd won the match today,” said Dimitrov. “I had tremendous support and everything was amazing. I haven’t played at home in a long time, so I’m pumped for each match here and hope I can repeat this tomorrow.”

Janowicz only needed a lone break of serve to capture the opening set, but the Bulgarian gradually found his footing as the contest wore on. Little separated the two players in the final stages of the match, but Dimitrov grabbed the crucial break at 5-5 in the deciding set and comfortably closed out the match on serve in the next game to prevail in two hours and two minutes.

Dimitrov improves to 11-1 in 2017, prevailing last month in Brisbane and reaching the semi-finals at the Australian Open

Next up for him is ninth seed Viktor Troicki, who scraped through a tight 2-6, 6-4, 7-6(3) match over Robin Haase. Dimitrov and Troicki are even at 2-2 in their FedEx ATP Head2Head rivalry, but the Serbian has won their past two matches.  

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Nikoloz Basilashvili caused the first major upset in Sofia by shocking top seed Dominic Thiem 6-4, 6-4 to reach the quarter-finals. The Georgian player required just a single break of serve in each set. Basilashvili landed 77 per cent of his first serves and saved all three break points against him to wrap up the win in one hour and 18 minutes.

“I think I played really well on the important points and kept focus all the way through the match today,” said Basilashvili. “This is very special and one of the best wins of my career, if not the best one. It will give me a lot of confidence for the upcoming matches.”

Basilashvili picks up his second victory over a Top 10 player, having defeated Tomas Berdych this past October in Vienna. Last July, he became the first Georgian to reach an ATP World Tour final in Kitzbuhel (l. Lorenzi).

Next up for him is eighth seed Martin Klizan, who came alive in the latter stages of his second-round match with qualifier Daniel Brands to prevail 7-6(3), 6-2. Klizan racked up 12 break points to keep the German on defense throughout the contest.

Fifth seed Gilles Muller continued his outstanding season with a 6-3, 7-5 victory over Mikhail Youzhny. Muller ran through the final three games of the match to advance into the last eight, where he’ll play fourth seed and defending champion Roberto Bautista Agut. The Spaniard leads his FedEx ATP Head2Head with Muller 4-1, including a win in the 2016 Sofia semi-finals.

 

Zverev Prevails In Bedene Battle

Thu, 02/09/2017 - 5:12pm

Alexander Zverev was severely tested in a 7-5, 3-6, 6-4 triumph over Aljaz Bedene before booking his quarter-final place at the Open Sud de France on Thursday.

The #NextGenATP teenager fired 10 aces, alongside 10 double faults, and needed two hours en route to victory in his first encounter against the Brit. Zverev won 75 per cent of points on first serve and saved 11/15 break chances.

The top-ranked German reached the semi-finals last year in Montpellier on his main draw debut. To replicate that run the World No. 21 will need to beat Jeremy Chardy in the final eight. The Frenchman was victorious in their only previous meeting back in Kuala Lumpur in 2015.

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Reigning champion Richard Gasquet is safely through to the quarter-finals, having defeated World No. 50 Malek Jaziri 7-5, 6-2. Gasquet, on a nine-match winning streak in Montpellier, will play qualifier Kenny De Schepper in the next round.

2013 finalist Benoit Paire toppled fifth seed Feliciano Lopez 6-4, 7-6(5) to set a contest with Marin Cilic’s conqueror Dustin Brown.

FedEx ATP Performance Zone: Career Clay-Court Records

Thu, 02/09/2017 - 10:58am

Rafael Nadal fans must be counting down the days.

With Nadal's left wrist looking healthy – see 2017 Australian Open – and the Spaniard back in fighting form, his legion of supporters surely cannot wait until the left-hander slides on red dirt again.

The 30 year old has taken multiple tour-level titles on all surfaces since turning pro in 2001, but nowhere has his game been as dominant as it has been on clay. As the European clay-court season approaches, it's worth reminding ourselves of Nadal's most impressive numbers, found in the FedEx ATP Performance Zone.

More: View Best Career Clay-Court Records In FedEx ATP Performance Zone

Nadal has won almost 92 per cent of the matches he's played on clay, a win-loss record of 365-34, tops in the Open Era. Other players have won more matches, including Spaniard Manuel Orantes (501) and Austrian Thomas Muster (422), but Nadal owns the best winning percentage on clay.

The Mallorca native has also captured 49 clay-court tour-level titles, tying him with Argentine Guillermo Vilas for the most clay-court crowns in the Open Era. Nadal could break that record as soon as April when he plays at the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters, an ATP World Tour Masters 1000 event, and goes for his 10th Monte-Carlo crown.

That would mark the first event Nadal has won 10 times. He's also won Roland Garros and the Barcelona Open Banco Sabadell nine times.

“It has been a very important week for me... The victory here confirms that I am better and I am very happy, no? It's a very, very emotional week for me, very important event,” Nadal said last April after winning his ninth Monte-Carlo title. “Probably Monte-Carlo is one of the most important places in my career without any doubt. Win again here after three years is something so special for me. So very happy for that.”

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No other active players have come close to achieving Nadal's mastery on clay, but Swede Bjorn Borg nears Nadal in the all-time ranks in the FedEx ATP Performance Zone. Borg finished his career with 30 tour-level titles and a winning percentage of 86. The right-hander went 251-41 on clay.

American Ivan Lendl, who now coaches one of Nadal's rivals, Andy Murray, ranks third on the all-time list in terms of winning percentage. Lendl won 81 per cent of his clay-court battles, 327-76. The 6'2” right-hander secured 28 tour-level titles on clay, more than a quarter of his career total, 94.

The only active player with a winning percentage worthy of the Top 10 in the FedEx ATP Performance Zone is Novak Djokovic. The Serbian boasts a 176-43 record on clay, giving him a winning percentage of 80, just behind Lendl on the all-time list.

Djokovic trails Nadal in clay-court titles by a wide margin, though. The right-hander has won 13 career clay-court crowns. He will try to repeat as Roland Garros champion in June.

“I'm very proud, very thrilled, obviously,” Djokovic said after winning the Roland Garros title last year. “It's hard for me to reflect on what has happened before and what's going to happen after. I'm just so overwhelmed with having this trophy next to me that I'm just trying to enjoy this moment.”

Milos’ Note To Future Self: “I’m At A Crossroads"

Thu, 02/09/2017 - 2:40am

I am at a crossroads in my career, having fulfilled my original goals in tennis, while remaining short of the accomplishments of my idols … and I find myself learning to process versions of FOMO (fear of missing out) in two separate directions.

Sometimes I wonder if, by focusing on my goal, am I letting the world pass me by? Or is achieving my goal, through sheer persistence and drive, worth the sacrifices I have to make?

My biggest phobia at this point in my life is the possibility that someday I’ll look back and feel like I didn’t realise my full potential as a player. That I didn’t get to No. 1. That I didn’t win the multiple Slams.

That I missed out.

You know the ultimate answer to that question, but I don’t.

… All these years from now, I hope you haven’t forgotten how much you embraced the climb — from being unranked, to cracking the Top 50, to now.

Even if you never reached No. 1, I have faith that you continued to approach everything as meticulously as you do right now. No matter what you ended up doing after tennis, I hope you found something that channelled your passion and competitive spirit. There’s a quote from Steve Jobs, who I’ve been reading a lot about lately, that I hope you kept with you: “If today were the last day of my life,” he said, “would I want to do what I am about to do today? And whenever the answer has been no for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.”

Remember how you dreamt of taking internships across all kinds of industries when you retired? I hope you explored that. I hope you went back to school, in an effort to try and refine all of those deep thoughts you were having all the time — if only so they were less messy. I hope you kept exploring: You grew up in a house where there wasn’t a ton of art and music, but in the last 18 months or so, those two fields have really started to inspire you. Spending time with Jeff Elrod in his studio in New York, and listening to John’s wife, the musician Patty Smyth, were two of the best things you did in the past year.

… Right now, you are No. 4. I wonder how, in your old age, that makes you feel. I wonder what’s going to happen in the future. I wonder if I’ll climb the last three steps to No. 1. There’s a lot I can’t control. I guess that’s why I’m so meticulous about the things I can — my work ethic, my persistence, my energy.

I don’t know what is going to happen next. I just hope that when you read this, you can tell yourself, “I took every step that I thought was right, in the moment.”

If you can say that, you’ll be content, Milos.

Read The Rest Of Raonic's Article In The Player's Tribune

Bellucci Ends Tipsarevic's Charge In Quito

Thu, 02/09/2017 - 1:34am

Top-ranked Brazilian Thomaz Bellucci booked an all-South American quarter-final on Wednesday after he edged past Janko Tipsarevic at the Ecuador Open. The Brazilian fourth seed, a runner-up in Quito last season, saw off the Serbian wild card 7-6(8), 7-6(2) and will next face Argentine Renzo Olivo.

Eighth-seeded Olivo ground out a 7-6(3), 2-6, 6-3 second-round victory over Colombia’s Santiago Giraldo to book his second straight Quito quarter-final berth. Giraldo was bidding to reach his first ATP World Tour quarter-final since Los Cabos in August last year.

In the final first-round clash, two-time defending champion Victor Estrella Burgos won his 11th straight match in the Ecuadorian capital with a 3-6, 6-2, 6-4 win over Slovakian Andrej Martin. The win secures a second-round meeting with top seed Ivo Karlovic on Thursday.

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Spanish qualifier Roberto Carballes Baena brought a close to local favourite Giovanni Lapentti’s career with a 6-3, 6-4 victory. The 34-year-old Lapentti, who bowed out of the doubles alongside brother Nicolas no Tuesday, was contesting his final ATP World Tour tournament and was bidding to reach his first quarter-final since 2005 Scottsdale.

The 23-year-old Carballes Baena will face fellow Spaniard, second seed Albert Ramos-Vinolas, for a place in the semi-finals. In a battle of the lefties, Ramos-Vinolas won the final match of the day when he took down Colombia’s Alejandro Falla 6-2, 7-5. 

Brown Takes Another Top 10 Win In Montpellier

Thu, 02/09/2017 - 12:19am

Dustin Brown added another Top 10 win to his growing tally of upsets on the ATP World Tour. The 32-year-old German toppled top seed Marin Cilic 6-4, 6-4 on Wednesday at the Open Sud de France in Montpellier.

The hard-serving Brown struck eight aces and lost only three first-serve points (22/25) in the hour-long contest. He never faced a break point.

Brown had been 3-11 lifetime against Top 10 players but his trio of victories had come on grass (Nadal, 2014 Halle, 2015 Wimbledon) and clay courts (Isner, 2014 Houston). Brown had been defeated – 0-9 – by Top 10 players on hard courts.

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Cilic suffered an opening loss in Montpellier for the second consecutive year. He lost to #NextGenATP star Alexander Zverev last year. The 28-year-old Croatian is now 1-3 on the season, having lost his Chennai opener and in the second round of the Australian Open last month.

Alexander Zverev's older brother, Mischa Zverev, couldn't reproduce the tennis that saw him reach a Grand Slam quarter-final for the first time last month in Melbourne. The sixth-seeded Zverev fell to French qualifier Kenny De Schepper 6-4, 6-3. In the battle of 35 year olds, Spaniard Feliciano Lopez prevailed against Frenchman Julien Benneteau, blasting 16 aces to win 6-3, 4-6, 7-6(0) in just over two hours. Lopez saved a match point down 30/40, 4-5 in the third set.

De Minaur Eager To Build On Soaring Success

Wed, 02/08/2017 - 11:30pm

Alex De Minaur would be “honoured” to qualify for the Next Gen ATP Finals but is fully focused on rising up the Emirates ATP Rankings with further success on the ATP Challenger Tour.

The 17 year old has shot to prominence with eye-catching performances in his native Australia at the start of 2017. Already at World No. 248, De Minaur clinched another memorable victory at the $75,000 ATP Challenger Tour event in Launceston, where he toppled top seed Go Soeda in the opening round. Edging towards the world's Top 200 and sitting well placed at No. 11 in the Emirates ATP Race to Milan, De Minaur is poised for an exciting 2017.

“It would be a great honour (to qualify for Milan). I haven’t really thought about it, but I’m just going to take it tournament by tournament and if I qualify then I’ll be really proud of myself,” said the Australian teenager.

De Minaur credits his endeavours in pre-season alongside mentor and former World No.1 Lleyton Hewitt for producing his exceptional start to the year.

“I spent my off-season in Australia training with Lleyton and just worked on being very solid, working on my fitness too, so I’m able to withstand the heat and the long matches too,” added the Alicante, Spain, resident. “He’s (Hewitt) been helping me with a lot of advice on court and off court, how to deal with pressure situations and different opponents. I’m just really glad and grateful that he’s been able to help me.”

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To ignite his 2017 campaign, De Minaur navigated past Frances Tiafoe and Mikhail Kukushkin to qualify for the Brisbane International presented by Suncorp, before defeating World No.46 Benoit Paire at the Apia International for a maiden ATP World Tour main draw victory. He then built on those wins to secure a maiden Grand Slam victory in the Australian Open, with a five-sets triumph over Gerald Melzer. De Minaur was surprised with his instant success Down Under.

“They gave me a lot of confidence. I wasn’t expecting to win these matches but I’m really happy that all the work I put in the off-season has helped me through these tournaments,” said De Minaur.

He’s clearly channelling the on-court presence of mentor Hewitt and has picked up a rather apt nickname ‘Demon'.

“I got the nickname a couple of years ago here in Australia. It’s similar to my surname and I think it shows the demeanour I’ve got on court, fighting for every ball and never giving up.”

Karlovic & Co. Tour Historic Sites, Tsonga Tries Handball

Wed, 02/08/2017 - 11:21pm

Follow all the latest off-court action on MyATP! Download the app for iPhone or Android or visit MyATP.com.

Garanti Koza Sofia Open – Sofia, Bulgaria

Top two seeds Dominic Thiem and David Goffin visited Ancient Serdica archaeological complex for a brief hit in the capital’s Ancient Roman complex. Read More

“It’s a special occasion, a special area,” said Goffin. “I didn’t know it was such a special place here in Sofia. I saw this place and I will try to visit more if I have time this week because I heard it’s a very nice city.”

Home favourite Grigor Dimitrov joined Thiem and Goffin to celebrate at the tournament’s players’ party at the Marinela Hotel.

Defending champion Roberto Bautista Agut, Ken Skupski and Neal Skupski participated in kids’ day activities, while Mikhail Youzhny, Viktor Troicki and Martin Klizan met fans on site for autograph sessions.

Open Sud de France – Montpellier, France

Top two seeds Marin Cilic and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga put their handball skills to the test when they met French handball stars Vincent Gerard and Michael Guigou. Gerard and Guigou, who play for the French national team, were fresh off a World Championship win. Read More

Richard Gasquet was among the stars to meet fans and sign autographs.

Ecuador Open – Quito, Ecuador

Ivo Karlovic, Renzo Olivo, Santiago Giraldo and Matthew Ebden toured Quito’s Centro Histórico and learned about the history and the culture of the capital city of Ecuador. Watch

Santiago Gonzalez, David Marrero, Andres Molteni and Guillermo Duran participated in selfie contests with fans on site, while Daniel Gimeno-Traver, Santiago Giraldo, Horacio Zeballos, Nicolas Lapentti and Nicolas Kicker gave fans a treat at autograph sessions.

James Cerretani enjoyed trying out wheelchair tennis at a clinic.

 

Goffin Battles To Take Sofia Opener

Wed, 02/08/2017 - 10:40pm

Second seed David Goffin made a winning debut at the Garanti Koza Sofia Open on Wednesday. The Belgian prevailed past Radu Albot of Moldova 6-2, 6-7(7), 6-3 in two hours.

Goffin was two points away from winning the match in straight sets, tied at 7/7 in the second-set tie-break, but the right-hander regrouped and didn't face a break point in the third set. Goffin will meet Italian Andreas Seppi or countryman Steve Darcis in the quarter-finals.

“I could have finished the match in the second but I didn't,” Goffin said. “It was not easy, the first match here in Sofia. The conditions are really tough. It's not easy to control the ball, and it was not easy to find my rhythm but I'm happy to have another match in two days so hopefully it's going to be better.”

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Defending champion Roberto Bautista Agut joined Goffin in the quarter-finals by dismissing German qualifier Cedrik-Marcel Stebe 7-6(4), 6-3. The Spaniard improved to 10-1 on the season, having won his fifth career ATP World Tour title last month in Chennai and having reached the fourth round of the Australian Open (l. to No. 3 Raonic).

“I think I played very good tennis. I competed very well and I'm happy because it was a really great opponent today,” Bautista Agut said.

Ninth seed Viktor Troicki, a finalist a year ago, needed only 50 minutes to beat Turkish wild card Cem Ilkel 6-3, 6-2. The Serbian didn't face a break point and converted three of four break points. Troicki will meet Dutchman Robin Haase in the second round.

Jerzy Janowicz celebrated a milestone victory after an injury-prone 2016. The 26-year-old Pole dismissed Israeli Dudi Sela 6-4, 6-4 for his first tour-level win since October 2015 in Vienna. Janowicz played only three tour-level matches last season because of back and knee injuries.

“I was injured for a long time. I was struggling with my knee quite heavily,” Janowicz said. “It's always nice to be back on track. Still a long way to go but it's nice to win.”

Janowicz's reward: a second-round meeting with third seed and home favourite Grigor Dimitrov. The two are an even 1-1 in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series. “We used to play in juniors and we always have a huge fight on the court,” Janowicz said. “Tomorrow I think it's going to be a really nice match to watch.”

Meet The #NextGenATP In The Race To Make Milan

Wed, 02/08/2017 - 7:59pm
The Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan will witness the best young talent the game has to offer in this new, exciting tournament. ATP World Tour Uncovered presented by Peugeot takes a look at the stars in contention to qualify.