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Updated: 1 week 2 days ago

Ando Escapes Pablo At Roland Garros

Thu, 05/31/2018 - 11:31am
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Ever since losing in the first round of this year’s Australian Open, Kevin Anderson has been on a tear. The South African won his first tour-level title since 2015 in New York and advanced to at least the quarter-finals at four more events, including three at the ATP World Tour Masters 1000-level (Indian Wells, Miami, Madrid). The run has helped him surge to a career-best No. 7 in the ATP Rankings.

Anderson continued his hot run Thursday on the terre battue, defeating six-time ATP World Tour clay-court champion Pablo Cuevas 6-3, 3-6, 7-6(5), 6-4 to advance to the third round, where he will face German Mischa Zverev. The left-hander beat Ukrainian Sergiy Stakhovsky 6-3, 6-7(7), 7-6(2), 6-1, despite having never won a main draw match at Roland Garros in six previous appearances.

Anderson leads the pair’s FedEx ATP Head2Head series 1-0, but that win came by virtue of a first-round retirement. The No. 6 seed seeks his fourth appearance in the Round of 16 at Roland Garros. One year ago, when Anderson made the fourth round for the third time, he was in a very different place. The 6’8” right-hander arrived in Paris the World No. 56, still working his way back from a myriad of injuries.

But this time around, the four-time ATP World Tour titlist, who reached the 2017 US Open final, is playing the best tennis of his life. Anderson is inching closer to 300 tour-level match wins, earning his 293rd against Cuevas (293-209).

For a moment, it appeared the Uruguayan was ready to earn his first FedEx ATP Head2Head win against Anderson in three attempts. Cuevas gained a 5/2 lead in the third-set tie-break, but the Top 10 stalwart won the next five points to gain the advantage, and carried the momentum into the fourth set. Anderson broke in the fifth game and dropped just three service points the rest of the way to claim his 22nd match win of 2018.

According to Infosys ATP Scores & Stats, John Isner moved ahead of Anderson for the No. 1 spot on the ATP World Tour in aces this season, hitting 38 to beat Argentine Horacio Zeballos 6-7(8), 7-6(4), 7-6(2), 6-2 on Thursday. The American now has 476 aces in 2018, while the South African is right behind with 470. 

Isner, whose best efforts in Paris came in 2014 and 2016 when he reached the Round of 16, will face one of two Frenchman Pierre-Hugues Herbert for a spot in the fourth round. Herbert beat compatriot Jeremy Chardy 2-6, 6-3, 6-2, 3-6, 9-7 to advance.

" I might surprise you, but I think he's going to serve well," Herbert said. "I expect a match with maybe rallies that are not too long. But it's very hard mentally, because when you have someone who serves well, you have to be there mentally."

The Miami Open presented by Itau champion, Isner, will feel confident, as he has not been broken in six sets at Roland Garros. The No. 9 seed did not face a break point against Zeballos. 

Despite losing the opening-set tie-break, Isner won tie-breaks in the second and third sets to take a commanding lead before rolling to a 4-0 advantage in the final set, a double-break edge he did not relinquish.

Did You Know?
When Kevin Anderson cracked the Top 10 of the ATP Rankings for the first time on 12 October 2015, he managed to stay in the elite group for just one week. Since he reached his then-career-high ranking of No. 9 on 19 February 2018, he has stayed in the Top 10 for 13 consecutive weeks.

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Marterer Fights Back To Beat Shapovalov; Thiem Advances

Thu, 05/31/2018 - 8:53am

Germany’s Maximilian Marterer caused an upset at Roland Garros on Thursday in an all-lefty match against #NextGenATP Canadian star Denis Shapovalov, the 2017 ATP Most Improved Player of the Year.

Shapovalov led by a set and 3-0, but Marterer fought back to triumph 5-7, 7-6(4), 7-5, 6-4 for a place in the third round of a Grand Slam championship for the second time (also 2018 Australian Open).

Shapovalov, the No. 24 seed, who like Marterer had been making his Roland Garros debut this year, struck 14 winners and lost just one of his first service points in the 45-minute opener. Although he won the first three games, the 19-year-old he was forced to save three break points. He ended his 31st match of the year (18-13 record) with 82 unforced errors.

“I went up a set and a break, feeling good, [but then] I let him back into the match a little bit,” said Shapovalov. “After that, I was struggling a little bit with my serve. I could have served much better. But aside from that, I feel like that was the only real difference between us today. We both played really well off the ground. He's playing really good tennis, especially in the big points today. Credit to him, if he keeps playing like this, I'm sure he can go far.”

World No. 70 Marterer, who reached this month’s BMW Open by FWU semi-finals (l. to Kohlschreiber), tightened up his serve and waited for the error — breaking twice in the second set, then in the final games of the third and fourth sets — for the second Top 30 win of his career.

“The plan was to serve well and be tough in my service games, so that he didn’t get too many chances to break," said Marterer. "That was key today. He plays with a really heavy, heavy forehand, so I tried to keep [the ball] a little on his backhand. I think I managed [the plan] really well after losing first set, especially. It was good that I could raise the quality of my return, so he also had some problems in his service games after this.”

Marterer will next challenge Estornian lucky loser Jurgen Zopp, who recovered from two sets down to beat Ruben Bemelmans of Belgium 4-6, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 in three hours and 35 minutes.

Shapovalov reached his second ATP World Tour Masters 1000 semi-final at the Mutua Madrid Open (l. to A. Zverev), after winning the first tour-level clay-court match of his career earlier in the week.

Just more than a month ago, No. 7 seed Dominic Thiem lost to #NextGenATP Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas in 80 minutes at Barcelona. At the time, it was the Austrian’s third loss of the season on clay in which he won five games or less, a shocker for one of the best clay-court players in the world.

But the two-time Roland Garros semi-finalist got his revenge against Tsitsipas on Thursday. Despite the match getting suspended Wednesday evening after taking a two-sets-to-one lead, Thiem finished off the Greek 6-2, 2-6, 6-4, 6-4 to advance to the third round for the seventh consecutive Grand Slam.

“It was a very good match,” said Thiem. “The key was, for sure, that I went home yesterday with a one-set lead. It was really important. The first set today was very, very good tennis from me. I was very focused.”

Thiem will next face Italian Matteo Berrettini, who has won his first two Grand Slam main draw matches this year on the Parisian terre battue. The World No. 96 has played just one match against a Top 10 opponent, a loss earlier this month against Alexander Zverev. This will be his first FedEx ATP Head2Head meeting against Thiem.

Lucas Pouille also completed victory in a second-round match carried over from Wednesday. The No. 15 seed, who led two sets to one overnight, delighted French supporters on Philippe-Chatrier Court when he defeated Cameron Norrie of Great Britain 6-2, 6-4, 5-7, 7-6(3) in two hours and 43 minutes. He will now prepare to meet Russia’s Karen Khachanov.

Visit Official Roland-Garros Website

Cilic Raises His Game At Roland Garros

Thu, 05/31/2018 - 8:09am

Marin Cilic played with greater confidence on Thursday at Roland Garros, but experienced a tough route into the third round after he failed to convert one match point chance in the third set.

The third-seeded Croatian recorded his 20th match win of the season (20-8) by beating past 21-year-old Polish qualifier Hubert Hurkacz 6-2, 6-2, 6-7(3), 7-5 in two hours and 50 minutes.

"I felt that I just took my foot off the gas and just gave him a little bit more room to breathe," Cilic said. "I felt like I was constantly close to breaking. I just felt like I was not returning as good as I can and just missed some returns, especially in some critical moments. And then the fourth set he was serving well... there were not many opportunities, but luckily I finished it in a good way."

Having lost just five of his first-service points through the first two sets, Cilic committed 38 of his 48 unforced errors in the next one hour and 45 minutes. He will next look to raise his game against American Steve Johnson, who moved past Jan-Lennard Struff of Germany 4-6, 7-6(5), 6-2, 6-2.

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Cilic saved the first break point of the match against No. 188-ranked Hurkacz in the fifth game, prior to breaking for a 4-2 lead. Having hit nine winners in the opener, Cilic broke twice in the 32-minute second set and lost just six of his service points.

Hurkacz served better in the third set, and a lapse in concentration by Cilic led to a service break for a 3-2 lead. The Croatian star bounced back immediately and could not convert one match point opportunity when leading 6-5, with Hurkacz serving at 30/40. Cilic paid the price in the tie-break, then, almost 50 minutes later, he raised his game to convert his eighth break point of the fourth set for a 6-5 advantage.

The lowest-ranked player that Cilic has lost to at a Grand Slam championship is France’s Thierry Ascione, who was No. 168 in the ATP Rankings, at Roland Garros in 2007. The 29-year-old recently reached his first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 clay-court semi-final at the Internazionali BNL d'Italia (l. to A. Zverev).

"I'm playing well. I'm feeling great on the court. The results in [the] past 12 months have showed that I have that ability to win Grand Slams," Cilic said. "So I'm really looking forward to the rest of the tournament and hoping that I'm going to continue to play well and challenge the best guys."

Elsewhere, Italian No. 18 seed Fabio Fognini hit 27 winners to earn his 24th match victory of the season (9-5 on clay), defeating Elias Ymer of Sweden 6-4, 6-1, 6-2 in just under two hours. He will next challenge British No. 16 seed Kyle Edmund.

Edmund won 82 per cent of his first-service points to beat Hungary’s Marton Fucsovics, last week's Banque Eric Sturdza Geneva Open champion, 6-0, 1-6, 6-2, 6-3 in two hours and 16 minutes.

Did You Know?
Marin Cilic has won two of his 17 tour-level titles on clay courts at the 2012 Plava Laguna Croatia Open Umag (d. Granollers) and the 2017 TEB BNP Paribas Istanbul Open (d. Raonic).

Visit Official Roland-Garros Website

Highlights: Goffin Wins 15 Straight Games In Paris

Thu, 05/31/2018 - 2:27am
Watch highlights of how eighth seed David Goffin won 15 straight games en route to victory over wild card Corentin Moutet at Roland Garros on Wednesday. Video courtesy of Roland Garros. Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images

Highlights: Djokovic Overcomes Gutsy Munar At Roland Garros

Thu, 05/31/2018 - 2:27am
Watch highlights as 2016 champion and No. 20 seed Novak Djokovic finds a way past qualifier Jaume Munar on Wednesday at Roland Garros. Video courtesy of Roland Garros. Photo Credit: Peter Staples/ATP World Tour.

Highlights: Nishikori Survives Paire Scare In Paris

Thu, 05/31/2018 - 2:27am
Watch highlights as No. 19 seed Kei Nishikori battles past Benoit Paire at Roland Garros on Wednesday. Video courtesy of Roland Garros. Photo Credit: Getty Images

Del Potro, Nadal Lead Thursday's Second-Round Play

Wed, 05/30/2018 - 6:40pm

Regarding Juan Martin del Potro's chances at Roland Garros, where were we?

The Argentine, despite his subpar play on clay so far this year, was one of a limited number of men who could think about challenging Rafael Nadal on the red dirt. But then Del Potro injured his groin against David Goffin on 17 May in Rome.

On Tuesday, however, the fifth-seeded Del Potro let everyone resume the conversation as he dismissed Frenchman Nicolas Mahut in four sets. Del Potro showed that he's healthy, back and – although clay isn't his favourite surface – eager for more.

He'll face another Frenchman on Thursday in Julien Benneteau. The 36-year-old is playing at Roland Garros for the final time after announcing that he will retire later this season. Del Potro leads their FedEx ATP Head2Head series 2-0, both hard-court wins.

The Tandil native will try to reverse his country's second-round luck. Seven Argentine men reached the Round of 64 – the most since 2009, when there were also seven – but three lost on Wednesday.

Rafael Nadal has lost only twice at Roland Garros. Ever. The Spaniard improved his incomprehensible Paris record to 80-2 with his straight-sets win against Italian Simone Bolelli. Nadal next faces Del Potro's countryman Guido Pella, a left-hander, (third on Court Suzanne-Lenglen). The 28-year-old Pella has fared well against lefties, winning six of his past seven matches, but not against Nadal (0-1, 2017 Indian Wells).

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Nadal, the No. 1 player in the ATP Rankings, hasn't lost a Grand Slam match to a player ranked as low as Pella, No. 78, since losing to No. 102 Dustin Brown in the second round of 2015 Wimbledon. The 31-year-old is going for title No. 11 in Paris.

Before Del Potro and Nadal, though, third seed Marin Cilic, first on Court Philippe-Chatrier, will look to continue his under-the-radar clay-court run against #NextGenATP Hubert Hurkacz of Poland. Cilic reached his first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 clay-court semi-final in Rome. #NextGenATP Canadian Denis Shapovalov, the 24th seed, will kick off play on Court 1 against German Maximilian Marterer in a battle of Roland Garros debutants.

Malek Jaziri will go for Tunisian history against 2016 quarter-finalist Richard Gasquet (second on Court Suzanne-Lenglen). If Jaziri wins, he'll become the first Tunisian man to make the Roland Garros third round in 55 years (Mustapha Belkhodja, 1963).

Sixth seed Kevin Anderson will try to get a step closer to matching his best Roland Garros showing (Round of 16; 2013, 2017) against six-time clay-court titlist Pablo Cuevas of Uruguay. John Isner, another big-serving Top 10 player, also faces a South American comfortable on the clay in Argentine Horacio Zeballos. Diego Schwartzman, a clay-court titlist earlier this year in Rio, will meet Czech Adam Pavlasek.

Elsewhere, Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Jeremy Chardy will contest the 79th all-Frenchmen singles battle at Roland Garros; Swede Elias Ymer will try to win his second Grand Slam match against 18th seed Fabio Fognini of Italy; and top Brit Kyle Edmund, the 16th seed, will meet Banque Eric Sturdza Geneva Open champion Marton Fucsovics.

Kei, Grigor, Sascha Survive Wild Wednesday

Wed, 05/30/2018 - 3:58pm

Three of the ATP World Tour’s biggest stars needed to dig deep Wednesday to reach the third round of Roland Garros.

Second seed Alexander Zverev, who has won three ATP World Tour Masters 1000 titles but never reached a Grand Slam quarter-final, looked to be headed for more heartbreak at the majors when he trailed Serbian Dusan Lajovic two sets to one. But the leader of the ATP Race To London powered home, winning 12 of the last 15 games of the match to win 2-6, 7-5, 4-6, 6-1, 6-2. It was his 18th win from his past 20 matches. Read Report

“In the fourth and fifth sets, I really felt good out there even though I was a little bit tired and a little bit fatigued,” said Zverev, who next faces Bosnia’s Damir Dzumhur.

Reigning Nitto ATP Finals champion Grigor Dimitrov also rallied from two sets to one down to win a drama-filled four-hour, 20-minute marathon with 21-year-old American Jared Donaldson 6-7(2), 6-4, 4-6, 6-4, 10-8. Dimitrov’s fitness was a telling factor in the victory and on match point he kissed his legs for underpinning his victory. “I could have played another two hours,” he told Tennis Channel. Later, he said: “It's great to win a match in five sets. I think it stays with you, you keep it, and especially on clay and out here.” Read Report

Dimitrov next faces veteran Spaniard Fernando Verdasco, who himself is known for his ironman efforts, including two epic five-set duels with Rafael Nadal at the Australian Open.

Although Kei Nishikori won the first set in his second-round battle with enigmatic Frenchman Benoit Paire, the former US Open finalist also needed to rally from two sets to one down to advance to the third round. The Japanese won 6-3, 2-6, 4-6, 6-2, 6-3. Read Report

Ranked No. 1 in the FedEx ATP Performance Zone for his all-time leading deciding set win percentage (75.9), Nishikori battled past the Frenchman in just under three hours on Court Philippe-Chatrier. With his second win over French opposition in as many rounds, the World No. 21 improves to 5-2 against home players at the clay-court Grand Slam championship. Nishikori defeated wild card Maxime Janvier in three sets in his opening match.

Did You Know?
Another top-ranked player, Dominic Thiem, could also be headed for a second-round five-setter. Pitting his single-handed backhand against that of young Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas, Thiem pulled ahead two sets to one - 6-2, 2-6, 6-4 - as darkness suspended play Wednesday night.

Thiem Locked In A Battle With #NextGenATP Tsitsipas

Wed, 05/30/2018 - 3:22pm

Dominic Thiem will take a two sets to one lead to sleep on Wednesday night as his second-round match at Roland Garros with #NextGenATP Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas was suspended because of darkness 6-2, 2-6, 6-4.

Thiem is trying to reach his third consecutive semi-final at Roland Garros and is a favourite to challenge 10-time champion Rafael Nadal in Paris. The Austrian, though, has been pushed by the 19-year-old Tsitsipas, who beat Thiem last month in straight sets at the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell.

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Thiem raced through the opening set but Tsitsipas rebounded well, breaking three times to even the match. Thiem, however, powered his way past the Greek to take the third set.

The winner of Thiem-Tsitsipas will next meet Italian Matteo Berrettini, who beat 2014 semi-finalist Ernests Gulbis of Latvia 6-2, 3-6, 6-4, 6-3.

Mahut Records 300th Doubles Win

Wed, 05/30/2018 - 3:01pm

Nicolas Mahut clinched his 300th doubles match win on Wednesday at Roland Garros, saving two match points alongside Pierre-Hugues Herbert to defeat Robert Lindstedt and Marcin Matkowski 6-4, 3-6, 7-6(6).

The home favourites secured victory after two hours and five minutes, winning four consecutive points from 4/6 down in the final-set tie-break to secure the win. Mahut and Herbert dropped only eight points behind their first serves and fired seven aces to reach the second round at their home Grand Slam.

Mahut, who turned professional in 2000, owns 23 doubles wins from 40 matches on the Parisian clay and is aiming to win his first Roland Garros title on his 18th attempt. The 36-year-old's best result came in 2013 when he reached the final with Michael Llodra. The French duo fell to Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan in a final-set tie-break.

Mahut and Herbert will face Dutchmen Robin Haase and Matwe Middelkoop in the second round.

Top seeds Lukasz Kubot and Marcelo Melo safely navigated their opening round clash, defeating Marco Cecchinato and Marton Fucsovics 6-4, 7-5. Kubot and Melo saved all three break points they faced to progress.

Second seeds Oliver Marach and Mate Pavic also clinched a straight-sets win to open their campaign in Paris. The Banque Eric Sturdza Geneva Open champions dropped just four games to book their place in the second round, breaking serve on five of their eight break points. The Australian Open champions lead the way in the ATP Doubles Race To London, having won four titles already this year.

Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell champions Feliciano Lopez and Marc Lopez needed just 79 minutes to confirm their place in the second round. The No. 12 seeds beat Guillermo Duran and Andres Molteni 6-3, 6-4, saving all five break points they faced.

Lopez/Lopez will meet Marcelo Demoliner and Santiago Gonzalez in the second round. Demoliner and Gonzalez squeezed past Roman Jebavy and Andrei Vasilevski 7-6(5), 6-7(8), 7-6(2).

Evgeny Donskoy and Miguel Angel Reyes-Varela scored a surprise win, defeating seventh seeds Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi and Jean-Julien Rojer 6-7(2), 7-6(5), 6-4. The Russian-Mexican tandem converted three of nine break points and won 77 per cent of first-serve points to progress after two hours and 36 minutes.

Ninth seeds Ivan Dodig and Rajeev Ram came from a set down to beat Hans Podlipnik-Castillo and Jackson Withrow 4-6, 6-4, 6-1. Dodig and Ram created 15 break point opportunities, converting four, en route to the first-round win.

 

Internazionali BNL d'Italia semi-finalists Pablo Cuevas and Marcel Granollers continued their strong form, defeating Jeremy Chardy and Daniel Nestor 7-5, 6-2 in 71 minutes. The No. 11 seeds won 64 per cent of second-serve return points.

Marcelo Arevalo and Jamie Cerretani upset Australian Open semi-finalists Ben McLachlan and Jan-Lennard Struff 6-7(4), 7-6(3), 6-3. Arevalo and Cerretani won 68 per cent of points behind their second serves, securing the win after two hours and 33 minutes.

Visit Official Roland-Garros Website

Dimitrov Escapes Past Cramping Donaldson

Wed, 05/30/2018 - 1:03pm
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Grigor Dimitrov might not have had the clay-court season he had envisioned before Roland Garros – the Bulgarian reached just one semi-final, at the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters. But the fourth seed has fought his way through the early rounds in Paris.

Dimitrov withstood an aggressive effort from American Jared Donaldson on Wednesday, coming back from two sets to one down to beat the 21-year-old 6-7(2), 6-4, 4-6, 6-4, 10-8 in four hours and 20 minutes. The Bulgarian served from behind in the fifth set, but kept his focus as Donaldson struggled with cramps and took his chances while returning.

“It's great to win a match in five sets. I think it stays with you, you keep it, and especially on clay and out here at [Roland Garros]... It was one of those matches that I didn't play my best, but I managed a way to win. And when one thing wasn't going well, the physical part was great,” Dimitrov said.

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He reaches the Round of 32 for the third time in Paris, matching his best showing (2013, l. Djokovic; 2017, l. Carreno Busta). Dimitrov also celebrates Grand Slam match win No. 50. He'll go for his first fourth round in Paris against Fernando Verdasco.

The Spaniard spent four hours and 22 minutes on the court during his first-round match, beating Japan's Yoshihito Nishioka 6-7(4), 6-4, 6-3, 6-7(3), 7-5. But on Wednesday, the 34-year-old Verdasco took the quick route to the Round of 32, sweeping Guido Andreozzi of Argentina 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 in two hours. Verdasco will try to reach the Round of 16 for the second consecutive year and the seventh time overall (2007-10, '14, '17).

Watch Dimitrov Push The Limits During Off-Season Training

Donaldson, a 2017 Next Gen ATP Finals qualifier, had never won a match at Roland Garros before this fortnight, having lost on his debut last year (Herbert). He had been 0-3 against Top 5 opponents as well.

But aggressive returning and attacking tennis had given him a two-sets-to-one lead as he rifled returns at Dimitrov's feet. Donaldson won 73 per cent of Dimitrov's second-serve points in the third set.

But Dimitrov earned the early break in the fourth – the only break point of the set – when Donaldson hit a forehand long, and the Bulgarian sailed the rest of the way to force a decider.

Dimitrov had played four times as many five-setters as Donaldson (12 to 3). But Donaldson had won his first five-set match on Sunday against Brasil Open finalist Nicolas Jarry, and the American didn't fade.

Read More: Donaldson, A Future Investment Banker?

He was two points from the match – leading 6-5, 30/0 against Dimitrov's serve – but the Bulgarian won four straight points to tie it up again. Cramping soon hampered Donaldson.

At 6-6, 40/30, the American, reminiscent of countryman Michael Chang against Ivan Lendl in the 1989 Roland Garros fourth round, underarmed his serve to Dimitrov. It worked – Dimitrov sailed the return long – and Donaldson, struggling to push off his left leg, saw the trainer.

“I know how it is to feel like you're cramping. So I guess he just wanted to find some other way, and that was that. I think it was very smart for him to do that,” Dimitrov said of the underarm serve, which he had tried himself when he was a junior.

Donaldson had spurts of good play, but he couldn't sustain them during the final stretch. Dimitrov served for the match at 8-7, and Donaldson broke back. But Dimitrov then won the final two games, clinching the second-round match with a hold to love.

Visit Official Roland-Garros Website

Nishikori Survives Paire Scare

Wed, 05/30/2018 - 12:49pm

Kei Nishikori once again proved his quality in deciding sets, coming from two sets to one down to beat France’s Benoit Paire 6-3, 2-6, 4-6, 6-2, 6-3 at Roland Garros on Wednesday.

Ranked No. 1 in the FedEx ATP Performance Zone for his all-time leading deciding set win percentage (75.9), Nishikori battled past the Frenchman in just under three hours on Court Philippe Chatrier. The Japanese star now owns a 17-6 record in deciding fifth sets after his second win over French opposition in as many rounds. The World No. 21 also moves to 5-2 against home players at the clay-court Grand Slam championship. Nishikori defeated wild card Maxime Janvier in three sets in his opening match.

"It was a good win," said Nishikori. "I don't think I played 100 per cent today, but, [in the] important points I think I'm able to do what I have to do. I think [in the] fourth and fifth set I played decent and played good tennis again."

Nishikori withstood 49 winners, including 14 aces, to defeat Paire for the third time in the Parisian capital (3-0). The Japanese No. 1 also moves 4-2 ahead in his overall FedEx ATP Head2Head series with the talented Frenchman.

"It was a beautiful match, a beautiful fight," said Paire. "I did what I could and I really did my best. Of course, I would have preferred winning. You can't win every single match".

The Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters finalist will, once again, meet French opposition in his next encounter, with Gilles Simon securing a 1-6, 7-6(3), 6-4, 6-1 victory over Sam Querrey. Simon converted five of seven break point chances to reach the Round of 32 for the seventh time in his past eight visits.

Did You Know?
Kei Nishikori has now reached the third round at Roland Garros for the fourth consecutive year. Nishikori owns an overall 17-7 record at the event.

Visit Official Roland-Garros Website

Relief For Zverev, Survives A Scare In Paris

Wed, 05/30/2018 - 12:12pm

Alexander Zverev, one of the best performers on clay courts this year, survived a scare on Wednesday at Roland Garros.

In a match of momentum shifts, the second-seeded German did not play his best tennis in the second round, but recovered from a set and 1-3 deficit to work his way past Dusan Lajovic of Serbia 2-6, 7-5, 4-6, 6-1, 6-2 in three hours and 24 minutes.

Zverev struck 42 winners, but committed 53 unforced errors and was broken five times to equal his best performance in the French capital (2014). He has now won 18 of his past 20 matches and is one victory away from 150 career wins (149-78).

“This is important, because I'm still in the tournament – so I have a chance to still play here,” said Zverev. “Obviously Dusan, at the moment and during the clay-court season, he's [been] playing unbelievable. I knew it was not going to be an easy match. I didn't play my best the first three sets, I thought. Once I found my range and rhythm, I felt good out there.

“I'm very happy to be here with a five-set win, somebody who has beaten great opponents during the clay court season. Obviously, it was not my best. I know that. There are still a few things I need to work on. Actually, in the fourth and fifth sets, I really felt good out there even though I was a little bit tired and a little bit fatigued. My serve started working better. I started playing from the baseline much better.”

The 21-year-old will next prepare to face Bosnia and Herzegovina’s No. 26 seed Damir Dzumhur on Friday. Dzumhur fought back from a 2-4 deficit in the fifth set to beat Radu Albot of Moldova 6-3, 6-3, 5-7, 1-6, 7-5 in three hours and 47 minutes.

Lajovic barely put a foot wrong in the opener, hitting seven winners and clinching all four of his net points. He bounced back from 0/40 at 5-2, then broke Zverev en route to a 3-1 lead in the second set.

But Zverev began to find his rhythm, particularly on his double-handed backhand, and capitalised on mental fatigue from Lajovic. Zverev let out a celebratory scream upon securing the set – courtesy of a Lajovic groundstroke error.

Lajovic regrouped impressively, and, after an early exchange of breaks, won four out of five games from 2-3 to seize control. Incredibly, Zverev triggered back into life and from 1-1 in the fourth set, the German won the next nine games for a 4-0 lead in the decider.

Zverev has a 32-8 match record on the year, including two successive titles – the BMW Open by FWU (d. Kohlschreiber) and his third ATP World Tour Masters 1000 crown at the Mutua Madrid Open (d. Thiem). He also finished as runner-up during the European clay-court swing at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia (l. to Nadal).

His best showing in 11 previous Grand Slam championship appearances is a fourth-round exit at Wimbledon in 2017.

Lajovic, who beat Jiri Vesely in the first round, recently advanced to his first Masters 1000 quarter-final at the Mutua Madrid Open, which included victories over Richard Gasquet and Juan Martin del Potro.

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Did You Know?
Alexander Zverev made his Grand Slam championship debut at Wimbledon in 2015. With a 16-11 overall match record at the majors, his best performance came last year at S.W.19 when he fell to Milos Raonic in the fourth round.

The German leads the 2018 ATP Race To London for one of eight spots at the Nitto ATP Finals, to be held at The O2 in London from 11-18 November.

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15-Love, Goffin Storms Into Third Round

Wed, 05/30/2018 - 11:50am

At 2-5 down in the first set, many fans on Court Suzanne Lenglen could be forgiven for thinking that David Goffin was in for a second titanic battle in as many rounds at Roland Garros.

But the Belgian had other ideas, reeling off 15 consecutive games to turn the tables on French wild card Corentin Moutet, before securing his place in the third round, for the fourth consecutive year, with a 7-5, 6-0, 6-1 victory.

"Little by little, I realized what [Moutet] did well and what he didn't do that well," shared Goffin. "I was able to counter him and adjust myself and get into the match."

Goffin, who recovered from two sets to love down to beat Robin Haase in the first round, broke serve on eight occasions and hit 33 winners in the two-hour, four-minute contest. The 2016 quarter-finalist has now recorded 13 victories at Roland Garros, tying Xavier Malisse in third place on the all-time list for most match wins by a Belgian man at the event.

The Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell semi-finalist will face France's Gael Monfils for a place in the last 16. "This is probably the tournament [Monfils] is best at... He will have the public with him on a large court. He's very difficult to control and to handle and to overcome," said Goffin.

Goffin owns a 2-1 FedEx ATP Head2Head series lead over Monfils, who defeated Slovakia's Martin Klizan 6-2, 6-4, 6-4. The No. 32 seed, who reached the semi-finals in 2008, won 81 per cent of net points (9/11) throughout the one-hour, 55-minute match.

"We call him the geometer," Monfils said of Goffin. "He's super accurate, stronger physically, much stronger than many people think. As I say, he is a solid player in the Top 10. He has shown it, and he's probably not the best third-round opponent you can get."

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Pablo Carreno Busta booked his place in the third round at Roland Garros on Wednesday, overcoming Argentina's Federico Delbonis 7-6(0), 7-6(2), 3-6, 6-4.

The 2017 quarter-finalist hit 41 winners and won 75 per cent of first-serve points to advance after three hours and 17 minutes. Carreno Busta improves to 10-4 on European clay this season, building on his recent run to the last eight at the Internazionali BNL d'Italia.

After defeating Delbonis for the second time at Roland Garros (2016), Carreno Busta narrows his FedEx ATP Head2Head series deficit to against the Argentine to 2-4.  

The No. 10 seed will meet Gazprom Hungarian Open champion Marco Cecchinato for a spot in the Round of 16. The Italian won 54 per cent of return points to beat lucky loser Marco Trungelliti 6-1, 7-6(1), 6-1.

Did You Know?
On his Grand Slam debut at 2012 Roland Garros, David Goffin became the first lucky loser to reach the Round of 16 at a Grand Slam since countryman Dick Norman (1995 Wimbledon). At the time, only eight lucky losers in the Open Era had reached the Round of 16 at a Grand Slam.

Family Affair: Pros Combine Play With Dad Duties

Wed, 05/30/2018 - 11:37am

What would have been an uncommon sight just a few years ago has become somewhat the norm: children of professional players are regularly part of the "action" in the players' tournament lounges.

As the average length of player’s career is stretched, the rate of players combining their professional careers with parenthood rises with it. The list of examples is headed by World No. 2 Roger Federer, father of twin girls Myla and Charlene (born 23 July 2009) and twin boys Leo and Lenny (born 6 May 2014). Another Top 10 player, John Isner, is expecting his first child with wife Madison.

For a few years now, Novak Djokovic has proven he can be both a doting father and a force to be reckoned with on the ATP World Tour. The Serbian has two children: Stefan, age 4, and eight-month-old Tara. Three-time Grand Slam winner Andy Murray welcomed first daughter Sophia Olivia into his life two years ago and his second daughter in November. Stan Wawrinka, also a three-time Grand Slam champion, is raising eight-year-old Alexia.

Roland Garros is no stranger to the tour's "baby boom" and children accompanying their professional fathers in the players' lounge. David Ferrer, who lost in the first round in Paris, is one of the latest players to become a dad after his wife, Marta, gave birth to their first son, Leo, on 4 May.

"Everything has changed since I became a father," Ferrer told ATPWorldTour.com. "It's a totally different life now; you experience something new and special every day. It's a great feeling. Of course, not everything is perfect and it makes me laugh when parents only talk about the bright stuff. Being a player and a father takes a lot of sacrifice, especially at the level in which we compete on the tour."

Pablo Cuevas, who advanced to the second round at Roland Garros by defeating Aljaz Bedene 6-4, 6-3, 6-2 on Tuesday, shares Ferrer's sentiments, but also has a bit of advice on how to balance paternity with tour play.

"Of course it's hard [being a father and a pro player]," said Cuevas, a father of two. "I'm more experienced in that department than David. I saw him here [at Roland Garros] before his first match and he told me he was having a hard time getting some sleep. I told him it's all about adapting to this new life and that he'll get  to it with time."

Cuevas knows a little about adjusting to life as a father. The Uruguayan had to shift his entire living space in order to get a good night of rest after his second child was born.

"I live in a two-story apartment and I sleep on the second floor," Cuevas explained. "The first floor is for the children. My younger child wakes up in the middle of the night, just like my daughter would do when she was very young. My wife knows the routine, and she also knows how important it is that I get enough rest. Being a father can be tiring, but it also can be energising in a weird way."

In a few days, Horacio Zeballos will be a father for the second time. The Argentine, who plays ninth seed John Isner in the second round, has noticed the trend of players balancing their careers with fatherhood and links the two with longevity.

"These days, a player's career can last well into his mid- to late 30s," the 33-year-old explained.

Zeballos never thought twice about traveling to events with his two-year-old daughter Emma and wife Sofia.

"If you get the opportunity to travel with your wife and children, you should go for it," Zeballos said. "There are ways to make it an enjoyable experience. Last year, out of the seven months I was on the road, I spent five of those months with my family.

“It's comforting to me and I feel I play better when my family accompanies me to matches. There are more important things in life than just a tennis career. My wife is expecting our second child and even though I'm a little nervous, I'm also excited that soon we'll be able to travel as a family again."

That's just a small sample of players who balance their day-to-day lives on the tour with paternal duties. Top players like Fabio Fognini, Gilles Muller, Gilles Simon, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Pablo Andujar, David Marrero, Carlos Berlocq, Federico Delbonis and Leonardo Mayer are other names that make up the player/father list. Mayer's one-year-old son, Valentino, is a prime example of a child that might be seen roaming the players' lounge under his father's watchful eye.

"He just started walking, and that's opened a whole new world to him," Mayer said. "He sees a racquet and he walks over to grab and swing it. He's a pretty strong toddler; he'll hurl the racquets sometimes. You won't see me throwing my racquet, I avoid that kind of behavior, but Valentino is a different story."

Del Potro/Thiem Beaten On Doubles Debut

Mon, 05/07/2018 - 2:58pm

Pablo Cuevas and Marcel Granollers were solid on serve on Monday to get the better of Juan Martin del Potro and Dominic Thiem 6-3, 7-6(8) in 87 minutes at the Mutua Madrid Open.

Cuevas and Granollers won the first three games of the match, then, towards the end of a competitive second set, won the first four points of the tie-break. Del Potro and Thiem recovered to lead 5/4 and, having saved one match point at 5/6, could not convert one set point of their own at 7/6 as del Potro returned a backhand long.

Cuevas sealed victory with an unreturned served for a place in the second round against top seeds and defending champions Lukas Kubot and Marcelo Melo.

In the other only doubles match on day two, Dutch pair Robin Haase and Jean-Julien Rojer knocked out Santiago Gonzalez and Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi 7-5, 6-3 in 74 minutes. They now face fifth seeds Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares.

Did You Know?
In the first 13 editions of the Mutua Madrid Open (2002-2014), only three winning doubles teams did not feature Daniel Nestor, Bob Bryan or Mike Bryan. Nestor won three of the first four championship matches in Madrid alongside Mark Knowles and also triumphed with Nenad Zimonjic in 2009 and 2014, while Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan won the event on five occasions between 2006 and 2013.

Hot Shot: Nishikori Showcases Impressive Reaction Times

Mon, 05/07/2018 - 1:20pm
Watch as Kei Nishikori anticipates the direction of Novak Djokovic's overhead before striking a backhand winner up the line. Watch live tennis at tennistv.com.

Inside The 2018 Madrid Player Party

Mon, 05/07/2018 - 12:44pm
Watch as Dominic Thiem, Grigor Dimitrov and David Goffin enjoy the 2018 Mutua Madrid Open pre-tournament player party. Credit: Mutua Madrid Open.

Aggressive Djokovic Beats Nishikori In Madrid Blockbuster

Mon, 05/07/2018 - 12:25pm

Two-time former champion Novak Djokovic went after the second serve of Kei Nishikori on Monday to win 7-5, 6-4 in the standout first-round match of the Mutua Madrid Open.

Djokovic took a big step in the right direction by hitting 26 winners in long baseline rallies to improve to 12-2 lifetime against 2014 finalist Nishikori, who had reached the Madrid quarter-final (or better) in each of the past five years.

The 10th seed will next play on Wednesday in an encounter with Sydney International champion Daniil Medvedev of Russia or Great Britain’s Kyle Edmund.

In an error strewn first set that saw Djokovic broken to love at 2-2, the Serbian played with great aggression and, after an accumulation of pressure, broke down Nishikori’s second serve to clinch the 66-minute opener. Djokovic saw two set point chances elude him at 4-5, on Nishikori’s serve, but at 5-6, when Nishikori hit a crosscourt backhand wide at 30/30, the former World No. 1 then struck a forehand return winner to seal the set.

Having saved one break point in the first game of the second set, Djokovic’s placement and groundstroke length tested Nishikori’s reserves. While the 30-year-old couldn’t break Nishikori’s serve, the pressure did, and in a 12-point 10th game, the Japanese star committed his 26h unforced error – a backhand long – to hand Djokovic the two-hour match.

After the match, Djokovic admitted it felt weird facing a player of Nishikori's calibre in the first round.

"It was strange, I must admit, playing Kei in the first round," Djokovic said. "Our rankings dropped due to injuries and everything else that was happening the last year. I mean, it can happen and it did happen here.

Of course, I've played Kei on big occasions, in many of the big tournaments, finals and semi-finals," Djokovic said. "It was different to play him in the first round. It was a big test for both of us.

"I'm glad that match went my way, but it could have gone his way as well. It was a very few points that really decided a winner today. I managed to play the right shots in the important moments. In both first and second set I made breaks, you know, to win both sets at the really final stages of both sets."

Feliciano Lopez extended his FedEx ATP Head2Head series lead to 2-1 against Pablo Andujar with a 7-6(4), 6-3 victory. The 36-year-old lefty landed 12 aces against his countryman before clinching the match in one hour and 39 minutes.

Did You Know?

Novak Djokovic’s win over Rafael Nadal in the 2011 Mutua Madrid Open final was his first win on clay against his rival. The 30-year-old has since beaten Nadal on six further occasions on clay, which accounts for 20 per cent of the Spaniard’s total career losses on the surface (35).

Hot Shot: Nishikori Showcases Impressive Reaction Speed

Mon, 05/07/2018 - 11:57am
Watch as Kei Nishikori anticipates the direction of Novak Djokovic's overhead before striking a backhand winner up the line. Watch live tennis at tennistv.com.