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Updated: 9 min 53 sec ago

Djokovic: ‘There Is Another Story To Be Written’

Mon, 09/12/2016 - 2:49am

“Life is a big lesson, it's a big book. We keep writing the stories and there is another story to be written,” Novak Djokovic said after losing the final of the US Open to Stan Wawrinka on Sunday. “I wish that it was a bit different, but again, I think we learn much more from the losses like this than we do from wins.

“The way I see things is that whether or not you win or lose, at the end of the day you have to be very respectful towards the opponent, towards the sport, towards the occasion, to those people who come to see you.”

A sixth US Open final in seven years may not have fallen the way of the defending champion, but defeat does not overshadow another already extraordinary season for the 29-year-old Serbian.

Bidding for his third major tournament title this season after completing the non-calendar year Grand Slam at Roland Garros, Djokovic, who struggled with a left wrist injury earlier in the North American hard-court swing, arrived in New York under a cloud of uncertainty as to whether he would even contest his 12th US Open. He would ultimately come up short against Wawrinka 6-7(1), 6-4, 7-5, 6-3 in the final. It was a run deeper than even he expected.

“It's never easy to lose Grand Slam finals, big matches, playing four hours,” Djokovic said. “Of course everybody wants to be victorious, but at the end of the day, sometimes you win, you lose, and you've got to accept it and let it go. From a larger perspective, I'll take it because I was really in doubt whether or not I was going to come here up to really the last day.

“I struggled the first couple of days with practice and the first match and so forth, and then to get the finals, I mean, it's a big result. I've set up a high standard for myself with the great results I have had in the last couple of years. I'm really successful and I'm grateful for that.

“Of course everybody is playing the sport because they want success in life. What defines success is different for each one of us. For me, success is not just winning tennis matches and winning trophies. It's more than that,” Djokovic said. “I guess my main source of playing tennis, my main source of motivation for playing the sport, is because I really like it.”

Despite the setback, Djokovic will retain the top spot in the Emirates ATP Rankings. However, he will need to quickly refocus, as he will be defending four titles at upcoming tournaments. In 2015, he won the China Open, the Shanghai Rolex Masters and the BNP Paribas Masters before ending the season on a high by capturing the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals for the fourth consecutive year.

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Brain Game: Wawrinka Gets Physical

Mon, 09/12/2016 - 2:12am

Stan Wawrinka outhit the best baseliner in the game to capture the 2016 US Open singles title in New York Sunday evening.

Wawrinka backed himself from the back of the court to defeat Novak Djokovic 6-7(1), 6-4, 7-5, 6-3, crushing 17 forehand and 14 backhand winners along the way to capture Grand Slam silverware for the third time in his career.

Coming into the final, Wawrinka actually had a losing record from the baseline, only winning 48 per cent (401/835), while Djokovic was flying high as a tournament leader in this critical category, winning 58 per cent (240/413).

But in the physical final, the Swiss turned Djokovic’s vaunted baseline game into a losing proposition, lowering its success rate by 10 percentage points to a lowly 46.8 per cent. Wawrinka stayed right around his average, winning 47.8 per cent from the back of the court.

To achieve the unlikely advantage from the trenches, Wawrinka had to run more, but that was a small price to pay to ultimately hold the coveted US Open trophy.

Wawrinka ran 4339 metres in the four sets, while Djokovic was only at 4067 metres. Wawrinka averaged running 15.17 metres per point, while Djokovic was slightly lower at 14.22 metres.

It took Wawrinka a while to figure out the best way to attack Djokovic in the constant baseline battles. The Swiss started Set 1 with very deep court position, which didn’t allow him to make Djokovic uncomfortable as his ball landed short, allowing Djokovic to consistently play off the front foot.

Wawrinka only won 35 per cent (16/46) of his baseline points in the opening set, but that improved to 53 per cent (20/38) in Set 2, 51 per cent in Set 3, and a very healthy 54 per cent (20/37) in the fourth and final set.

Wawrinka wore down Djokovic in the longer rallies of 9+ shots in the first three sets, winning them 28-19. This created doubt in Djokovic’s mind that he could go toe-to-toe with the Swiss as the end of the match rushed fast at both players.

In the deciding fourth set, Wawrinka upped the ante in the shorter rallies, winning the 0-4 rally length 18-13, and the 5-8 shot rally length 12-7. It was a masterful strategic adjustment to put Djokovic away earlier in the point before he could find a way back from a two sets to one deficit.

Serve Patterns

Wawrinka served considerably better in the Ad court throughout the match, making 65 per cent (39/52) of his first serves there, compared to only 48 per cent (26/40) in the Deuce court. In keeping with form, he won 75 per cent of his first serve points in the Ad, and only 65 per cent in the Deuce.

Things flipped with second serve performance, as the Swiss won 57 per cent of his second serve points in the Deuce court, and only 43 per cent in the Ad court.

Break Points

Wawrinka saved a critical 14/17 break points for the match, including coming back from 0-40 leading 3-1 in the second set. He also saved three break points in the opening game of the third set. In the fourth set, with Djokovic threatening a comeback from a 3-1 hole, Wawrinka again saved three break points to hold serve.

On break point, Wawrinka made 10-17 first serves, and saved 5/7 behind his second serve.

Summary

Wawrinka’s comeback victory showed tremendous belief to execute a physically demanding strategy, going head on with Djokovic’s favorite baseline game style. The net was a distant secondary tactic for Wawrinka, only winning 11 points on 20 forays forward.

At the end of the night, Wawrinka won just one more point (144-143) than Djokovic, but he ultimately owned the baseline, stood tall on break points, and kept his head clear when a raucous New York crowd primarily showed their support for the World No. 1.

Beating an opponent on the world’s biggest stage at what they do best takes guts, conviction and outstanding execution over almost four hours of tennis. Wawrinka walked into the lions’ den and not only survived, but stole the show.

Stan The (Big-Match) Man

Mon, 09/12/2016 - 12:51am

Three Grand Slam finals. Three Grand Slam titles. Stan Wawrinka etched his name in the record books with his first US Open crown, stopping top seed and two-time champion Novak Djokovic 6-7(1), 6-4, 7-5, 6-3 on Sunday.

Wawrinka has risen to the occasion in big matches in recent years, moving to 3-0 in major finals and extending his staggering win streak in tour-level finals to 11 straight. All three Grand Slam title runs have included wins over the World No. 1 in the final, having previously defeated Rafael Nadal for the 2014 Australian Open crown and Djokovic in the Roland Garros final last year.

"This is amazing," said Wawrinka during the trophy presentation. "I came here without expecting to win it. When I stepped on the court, I tried to win every match. I did everything today against Novak. The crowd and atmosphere was something I've never had before. It's an amazing night."

With the win, Wawrinka secured qualification for the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, joining Djokovic and Andy Murray at The O2 in London. He will be making his fourth consecutive appearance at the season finale, having reached the semi-finals in each of the past three years. Buy Tickets

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Wawrinka, who fired 46 winners, including three aces, while saving an impressive 14 of 17 break points, prevailed after three hours and 55 minutes. After Djokovic took the first set in a tie-break, the Swiss showed his true mettle, breaking the defending champion early in the second, third and fourth sets. His steely resolve was on full display as he maintained his composure throughout the encounter, eventually triumphing on his second match point. Wawrinka is now 15-6 at the US Open when dropping the opening set.

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"Today I was trying to stay with him," Wawrinka told the assembled media following the match. "I was trying to be tough with myself, trying not to show anything, not to show any pain, not to show any cramps, not to show anything. I was suffering on the court, but I'm happy and proud with what I have achieved today.

"There is no secret. If you want to beat the No. 1 player in the world, you have to give everything. You have to accept to suffer and you have almost to enjoy to suffer. Because I think this Grand Slam was the most painful, physically and mentally that I ever played."

Won First Three Major Finals (Open Era)

Player
Titles
Stan Wawrinka
2014 Australian Open, 2015 Roland Garros, 2016 US Open
Roger Federer
2003 Wimbledon, 2004 Australian Open, 2004 Wimbledon
Gustavo Kuerten
1997 Roland Garros, 2000 Roland Garros, 2001 Roland Garros
Stefan Edberg
1985 Australian Open, 1987 Australian Open, 1988 Wimbledon
Bjorn Borg
1974 Roland Garros, 1975 Roland Garros, 1976 Wimbledon
Jimmy Connors
1973 Australian Open, 1974 Wimbledon, 1974 US Open

Wawrinka became the fifth man in the Open Era to win multiple major singles crowns after turning 30, joining Rod Laver, Ken Rosewall, Andre Agassi and Jimmy Connors. The 31-year-old is the oldest Grand Slam champion since Agassi at the 2003 Australian Open and also became the first man to win his first three majors at different events since Agassi.

Moreover, Wawrinka is the first US Open champion to save a match point en route to the title since Djokovic in 2011. He turned aside one against Daniel Evans in a five-set third round victory. 

Djokovic was bidding for his third US Open title and 13th at the major level. The Serbian's 21st Grand Slam final is second-most in history, only behind Roger Federer (27). He still owns a sizeable 19-5 lead in their growing FedEx ATP Head2Head rivalry.

"He definitely deserves to be mentioned in the mix of top players," Djokovic said about Wawrinka. "He's been around for so many years and he plays best in the big matches.

"I lost my nerves in the important moments. He kept his cool. I think that's what decided the match. I just didn't capitalise at all on my opportunities. I had plenty of them. It was a terrible conversion of the break points. Just terrible from my side.

"In matches like these, if you don't use the opportunities, the other guy comes and takes it. And that's what he did. That's why I said he was more courageous, because he stepped in and played aggressive where I was waiting for things to happen."

Stan Reigns In New York: How The US Open Final Was Won

Sun, 09/11/2016 - 9:11pm

Stan Wawrinka is the 2016 US Open champion, defeating top seed and two-time winner Novak Djokovic 6-7(1), 6-4, 7-5, 6-3 after three hours and 55 minutes.

Wawrinka improved to 3-0 in Grand Slam finals, adding to victories at the 2014 Australian Open and 2015 Roland Garros. The 31 year old became the fifth man in the Open Era to win multiple major singles crowns after turning 30, joining Rod Laver, Ken Rosewall, Andre Agassi and Jimmy Connors.

Here is how the final unfolded...

SET ONE - Djokovic 7-6(1)
Warm and overcast conditions greeted Djokovic and Wawrinka on Sunday afternoon at Flushing Meadows, with the brutal humidity that plagued the tournament earlier in the week dropping significantly as the Serbian and the Swiss took to Arthur Ashe Stadium.

Wawrinka, who had won his past 10 tour-level finals, had his game plan. The World No. 3 hammered his backhand with aplomb in last year's Roland Garros final against Djokovic, breaking down the Serbian's defenses. With this year's US Open courts playing slower than usual, Wawrinka had more time to set up his penetrating groundstrokes, which generated more than double the winners (157-70) throughout the fortnight.

But Djokovic had other plans from the start. Much like he did against Kei Nishikori in the semis, Wawrinka started slow, and the two-time US Open champion took full advantage in the early proceedings.

The World No. 1 broke Wawrinka from 40/15 down in the Swiss' first service game and consolidated for a 3-0 lead. An outrageous point saw Djokovic deny a pair of forehand winners with his elastic defense from well behind the baseline. A lunging backhand stab landed smack on the far tramline and Wawrinka had no response.

Following a hold to love for 5-2, Djokovic looked to wrap up the set in efficient fashion, holding a pair of set points with Wawrinka serving at 5-3. But Wawrinka raised his game to match his counterpart, turning aside both chances and denying Djokovic's bid to serve out the set a game later. The Swiss would hold for 5-all, suddenly turning the tide with a run of 12 of 15 points.

The set would proceed to a tie-break, where both competitors provided arguably the point of the tournament, a 19-shot rally that saw them produce a stunning shotmaking display of precision, power and finesse. Wawrinka would win the point, but that would be all the Swiss could muster in the tie-break as Djokovic took it 7-1 after 58 minutes.

SET TWO - Wawrinka 6-4
With musicians Paul Simon and Tony Bennett, actor James Spader and fashion icon Anna Wintour in attendance on a star-studded early evening in New York, Djokovic looked to extend his lead.

The Belgrade native is 51-0 when winning the first set at the US Open, but after taking a physical opener, he let his guard down early in the second. The scintillating down-the-line backhand in the ad court, that earned Wawrinka the title at Roland Garros over Djokovic last year, produced a moment of magic to break for 3-1. Two Djokovic double faults hurt the Serbian's cause in that service game, and he would fail to capitalise on a 0/40 look at Wawrinka's serve immediately after.

Coach Magnus Norman has brought a surge of mental strength to Wawrinka's game in recent years and the Swiss exhibited that steely resolve during the second set. First, he refused to suffer a lapse of focus after dropping a tight opener. Then, he remained poised after conceding the break midway through the set.

The tide would turn in an instant. Serving up 4-2 30/30, Wawrinka decided not to make an attempt on a Djokovic regulation cross-court forehand that clipped the edge of the tramline. It would prove costly, as Djokovic would take his fourth break chance of the set in the next point and eventually draw level at 4-all.

But Wawrinka stayed the course, holding to love for 5-4 and converting his second set point as an off-balance Djokovic pulled a forehand wide at 30/40 in the next game. The Swiss would fire seven winners in the second set, benefiting from 14 Djokovic unforced errors. One set apiece, with a critical third stanza on the way.

SET THREE - Wawrinka 7-5
Wawrinka wrestled momentum from Djokovic immediately as the third set got underway. It was a quick shift that rattled the Serbian's game, as the two-time champion began to leak unforced errors at inopportune moments.

Djokovic took a less-disciplined approach when facing break point in the second game. The first serve and volley attempt of the match saw the 29 year old roll a first serve into the box, as an aggressive Wawrinka launched his 6'0", 179 lb. frame into the return. Djokovic would net the ensuing volley and Wawrinka seized command.

A blistering backhand pass gave Wawrinka the hold for 3-0 and he would press for another break in the next game with a 0/30 peak at Djokovic's serve.

With both players breathing heavily, yet moving crisply, the court position battle would prove to be even more critical for Wawrinka as the match wore on. Momentary stretches of passive play plagued the Swiss in the first set, but he refused to retreat behind the baseline as the match wore on.

Djokovic would break back and consolidate for 3-all and looked to swing momentum to his side of the net with another break in a lengthy game at 4-all. But Wawrinka emphatically screamed "one more serve" after the third deuce and earned a crucial hold to remain level, sprinting back to his chair on the changeover.

The self talk - and self-belief - kept the Swiss in it and with Djokovic serving to force a tie-break at 6-5, he would claw back from 30/0 down to break and take a two-sets-to-one lead.

SET FOUR - Wawrinka 6-3

In the third set, Wawrinka employed more variety off the ground, often taking pace off his shots. Djokovic thrives when the Swiss injects significant speed into his groundstrokes, but has struggled with his footwork and timing when Wawrinka refuses to oblige. The Lausanne native did exactly that in breaking for the set and carried the momentum into the fourth.

Djokovic is known for outlasting opponents with his superior conditioning, pulling away late in matches and striking the knockout blow physically. But that exact point of pride would let the Serbian down when it mattered most.

A hobbled Djokovic started limping early in the fourth, as Wawrinka reeled off three straight games to open the set. Djokovic, who also appeared to be cramping, took a six-minute medical timeout to treat the big toe on his right foot.

But the momentary stoppage of play did not deter Wawrinka, even when facing three break points that would have brought them back on serve. In total, Djokovic had failed to convert 14 of 17 break points.

Djokovic took another medical timeout for his bleeding toe on the change of ends, but it only delayed the inevitable. Wawrinka put away a volley to give him his second championship point and the Swiss would claim the title as a Djokovic backhand sailed long. Stan Wawrinka is the 2016 US Open champion.

Casper Ruud Reacts To Winning Sevilla Challenger 2016 Title

Sun, 09/11/2016 - 6:43pm
Norwegian teen Casper Ruud looks back on his dream week in Sevilla, Spain, lifting his first ATP Challenger Tour trophy. Interview courtesy of Copa Sevilla.

Like Father, Like Son: Norway's Ruud, 17, Wins Sevilla Title In Challenger Debut

Sun, 09/11/2016 - 6:19pm
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It was July 1993. Pete Sampras was embarking on his 286-week reign atop the Emirates ATP Rankings, having claimed his first Wimbledon title.

On the ATP Challenger Tour, a 20-year-old Christian Ruud put Norway on the tennis map as its first titlist. Ruud won back-to-back crowns in Finland and France and would rise to a career-high World No. 39 just two years later.

Fast forward 23 years and the Ruud name is back in the spotlight. On Saturday, Casper Ruud - Christian's son - rocked the tennis world, capturing his first title in his Challenger debut in Seville, Spain. At 17 years and eight months, he is the fourth-youngest player to win on debut in Challenger history. Only Michael Chang, Richard Gasquet and Jonathan Stark were younger.

Ruud, who opened the season outside the Top 1000, will soar nearly 200 spots in the Emirates ATP Rankings to a projected World No. 273. The former junior No. 1 is the youngest winner on the circuit since Alexander Zverev (17 years, 3 months) in Braunschweig, Germany, in 2014.

Thank u thank u thank u guys!!!! Really I dont know what to say, but I couldn't be more happy right now, amazing week

US Open Final 2016 Preview Experts Analysis

Sun, 09/11/2016 - 4:13pm
Experts look at the keys to the 2016 US Open final between Novak Djokovic and Stan Wawrinka.

Murray and Soares Discuss US Open 2016 Triumph

Sun, 09/11/2016 - 4:09pm
Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares talk about winning their second major of the year, the 2016 US Open doubles title.

Casper Ruud, 17, Completes Stunning Run To Sevilla Challenger Title

Sun, 09/11/2016 - 2:15am
Watch highlights from the final of the ATP Challenger Tour event in Sevilla, Spain, where Norwegian teen Casper Ruud (red shirt) won the title in his Challenger debut.

Rivalry Renewed: Novak, Stan Set For Grand Slam Encore

Sat, 09/10/2016 - 9:28pm
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They say a sequel is seldom as good as the original, but Novak Djokovic and Stan Wawrinka are doing their best to dispel that notion.

A rivalry that has gotten stronger with every passing battle, the Serbian and the Swiss are set to clash for the seventh time in a Grand Slam setting in Sunday’s US Open final. Djokovic owns their FedEx ATP Head2Head series 19-4, but the World No. 1’s sizeable lead is no reflection on the high intensity and drama that has consumed their encounters in recent years.

“I haven't played Stan in some time now,” said Djokovic. “But he’s a big match player. He loves to play on the big stage against big players, because that's when he elevates his level of performance in his game. He gets much better.”

“To play Novak, the No. 1 player, is always really challenging,” Wawrinka said. “But we’ve had some big matches together, especially in Grand Slams… Some amazing matches, for sure. The secret is simple: I have to play my best tennis, my best game. He's the No. 1 player, an amazing fighter and an amazing player. Mentally, he’s a beast. It’s not easy to play him. I'm sure he's going to bring his best tennis for the final.”

View FedEx ATP Head2Head

Glance At The Finalists

Player

US Open W-L (Best)
Grand Slam W-L

Grand Slam Titles

Novak Djokovic

62-9 (Winner: 2011, '15)
228-35

12: Australian Open (6x), Roland Garros (1x), Wimbledon (3x), US Open (2x)

Stan Wawrinka

37-11 (Finalist: 2016)
118-44 2: Australian Open (1x), Roland Garros (1x)

To say that Djokovic and Wawrinka bring out the best in each other’s games on the biggest stages would be an understatement. Four of their past five major meetings have gone the distance, with the lone exception being the 2015 Roland Garros final, where Wawrinka exhibited a stunning shotmaking display to lift the Coupe des Mousquetaires and dramatically deny Djokovic the career Grand Slam.

But it was two years prior, when Djokovic and Wawrinka took the court in a Round of 16 meeting at the 2013 Australian Open that the rivalry truly blossomed. An intense, high-octane battle from first ball to match point, Djokovic would prevail 12-10 in the fifth set after five hours. Wawrinka punctuated the fourth set with a forehand down the line after an outrageous rally and broke to open the decider, but Djokovic would draw level and eventually cap a 20-shot exchange with a backhand pass on his third match point.

Mutual admiration for the heroic performance was on display as both competitors collapsed into each other’s arms at the net. But that was just the beginning. Later that year, Wawrinka would reach his first major semi-final at the US Open and once again he and Djokovic would tangle for five riveting sets, with the Serbian eventually emerging.

“I think the matchup has always been interesting to see because the way we are playing,” Wawrinka added. “I'm trying to be aggressive. I can play really hard. He is an amazing defender. And also, [look back at] where we started. We started with a five-set match in Australia a few years ago. It was 12-10. I was maybe one of the only players who started to dominate in the first two sets and didn't finish it. I was dominating the match.

“And then if you look, I played my first semi-final in a Grand Slam against him here that year and again it went five sets. So for sure the fact that we played some long matches and some crazy battles makes it something different.”

Grand Slam Finals (Open Era)

No.

Player
Finals (W-L)

1

Roger Federer
27 (17-10)

2

Novak Djokovic
21 (12-8)
3 Rafael Nadal
20 (14-6)
4 Ivan Lendl
19 (8-11)
5
Pete Sampras
18 (14-4)

Djokovic reeled off a pair of straight-set victories at the BNP Paribas Masters and Barclays ATP World Tour Finals to conclude the 2013 season, but his surge of momentum would be short-lived. They once again squared off at the Australian Open, this time in the 2014 quarter-finals, and Wawrinka would announce his arrival. The Swiss stunned the Serbian 9-7 in the fifth set, en route to his first Grand Slam title. For Wawrinka, it was the moment that launched him from Top 20 threat to big title contender and catapulted the rivalry to seismic proportions.

“He's such a powerful player,” Djokovic said to the assembled media following his semi-final victory over Gael Monfils on Friday. “He has a big serve and probably the best, most effective one-handed backhand in the world now. He can play it all. He has that variety in his game. He can be very dangerous for everybody.”

Djokovic exacted revenge on Wawrinka at Melbourne Park in 2015, prevailing 6-0 in the fifth set in the semi-finals, before succumbing in the Roland Garros championship. The World No. 1 would have the last word with wins at the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 events in Cincinnati and Paris. That was their last encounter and both are eager to renew the rivalry on Sunday in New York

“When you play Novak, the No. 1 player in the final of Grand Slam, it's the biggest challenge you can have,” Wawrinka said. “I think it’s going to give me confidence to tell myself that I know I can do it, because I did it at the French Open final. He knows that I can play my best tennis in the final of Grand Slam. But it's going to be a completely different match.

“I have enough confidence in myself that when I play my best level, I can beat him.”

Entering with a perfect 2-0 record in Grand Slam finals, Wawrinka is seeking his 15th title at the tour-level. The 31 year old is looking to become the fifth man in the Open Era to win two or more major singles crowns after turning 30, joining Rod Laver, Ken Rosewall, Andre Agassi and Jimmy Connors.

Meanwhile, Djokovic is appearing in his 21st Grand Slam final, passing Rafael Nadal for solo second place on the Open Era list. He is vying for a 13th title, which would put him one behind Nadal and Pete Sampras. The top seed is well aware of what’s at stake.

“The last couple of matches [Wawrinka] is getting in the shape that is winning him big matches. I lost to him in the final of the French Open and I lost to him in quarter-finals of the Australian Open when he won, as well.

“So both of these Grand Slams he won against me on the way. I know right now he believes in himself more. He doesn't get too stressed by the bigger occasion… I want to be able to put myself in position to fight for the trophy. My thoughts are on Sunday's match.”

Roger Reflects: Federer On A Very Big Decision

Sat, 09/10/2016 - 8:41pm
In part five of a special series of interviews with Roger Federer at home in Switzerland, the Swiss talks about how and why he came to make the decision to curtail his 2016 season after Wimbledon.

Dominant Murray/Soares Notch US Open Doubles Title

Sat, 09/10/2016 - 6:42pm
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Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares are hitting their stride at the perfect time, streaking to the US Open doubles crown on Saturday at Flushing Meadows. The fourth seeds downed Spaniards Pablo Carreno Busta and Guillermo Garcia-Lopez 6-2, 6-3 in 78 minutes, firing 27 winners, while converting four of five break chances.

The duo are now nipping at the heels of Frenchmen Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut for No. 1 in the Emirates ATP Doubles Race To London, moving to withing 300 points of the top spot with the title. Earlier in the tournament, Murray and Soares qualified for their first Barclays ATP World Tour Finals as a team.

"I think we were clinical in what we did," said Murray. "We didn't really let them play very much. Bruno returned very well. When he was very aggressive on the return, I could get right on top of the net and the guys didn't have anywhere to play the ball. We did a good job on our serves. After the first game it was big for us to get the break back straightaway and settle ourselves into the match. I think we just did a really solid job.

"I couldn't ask for anything more. I lost two Grand Slam finals last year. I felt like I was ready to win. I felt good about my game, where it was at. I felt like Bruno was a partner that could get me over the line. I think we were validated under our decision to come together."

Murray and Soares claimed their own slices of history on Saturday, with the Brit becoming the first from his country to win the US Open doubles title since Roger Taylor in 1972 and the Brazilian becoming the first ever from the South American nation to lift the trophy.

Carreno Busta and Garcia-Lopez surged out of the gates, breaking in the first game. But the Spaniards' lead would not hold. Two straight breaks for Murray and Soares would swing momentum for good. After capturing the opener 6-2, a Murray volley winner gave them a decisive 2-0 lead in the second set, as the 30 year old lunged to cut off a Carreno Busta forehand at the net. Seven games later, they emerged with the trophy, as Soares sealed the title with a volley winner of his own.

"It means a lot," said Soares. "Every title means a lot. I think this Grand Slam is extra special. For me, New York has been amazing to me. I won the mixed title here twice.

"I had a very tough run in 2013 when Alex (Peya), we won the semis, but he got injured so we weren't able to compete in the final. So for me to be able to come back here and win the whole thing is just an amazing feeling. The year has been incredible, our first year as a team. To win two slams, it's tough to explain how good the feeling is."

The Australian Open champions earned their second Grand Slam title and third of the year at the tour-level, having opened their partnership with a victory on the hard courts of Sydney in January. Runner-up in New York last year with John Peers, Murray improved to 2-2 in major finals, while Soares moved to 2-1. They became the first team to win multiple Grand Slam titles in a season since Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan won three in 2013.

Carreno Busta and Garcia-Lopez, meanwhile, were the first unseeded team to reach the US Open doubles final since Lleyton Hewitt and Max Mirnyi lifted the trophy in 2000. Carreno Busta was appearing in his fourth tour-level doubles final, seeking a second title, while Garcia-Lopez was appearing in his ninth final. He won his third ATP World Tour doubles title two weeks ago at the Winston-Salem Open, with Henri Kontinen.

Lopez/Lopez Punch Tickets To London
Spaniards Feliciano Lopez and Marc Lopez have qualified for the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, to be held at The O2 in London from 13-20 November. Lopez/Lopez, who reached the semi-finals at the US Open, join Murray and Soares, as well as Herbert/Mahut and Bryan/Bryan at the season finale. The Roland Garros champions qualified when Murray and Soares won the title in New York on Saturday, per the Grand Slam Champions rule.

Lopez/Lopez are currently No. 5 in the Emirates ATP Doubles Race To London. In addition to their title run on the clay of Roland Garros, they lifted the trophy in Doha at the start of the season. The Spanish tandem also reached the final at the ATP World Tour 500 event in Dubai in February.

Fans React To Wawrinka SF Victory At US Open 2016

Sat, 09/10/2016 - 2:21pm
Fans at the US Open look back on Stan Wawrinka's semi-final win over Kei Nishikori and predict the outcome of Sunday's final against Novak Djokovic.

Jung Excelling In Chinese Challengers

Sat, 09/10/2016 - 2:12pm

Jason Jung may have grown up in California, but he’s been excelling in China on the ATP Challenger Tour.

The 27 year old, who now plays for Taiwan, has posted an 11-15 record this year in Challenger events outside of China, but is now 14-2 at events within the country. He won his first Challenger title last month at the $125,000 event in Qingdao, helping push his Emirates ATP Ranking to a career high of No. 158.

Jung will reach a new career high Emirates ATP Ranking after his performance at the $50,000 Challenger in Shanghai. Coming in as the No. 6 seed, he upset top seed Jordan Thompson in the semi-finals on Saturday, 6-4, 6-4. He’ll play a rain-delayed final on Monday against No. 3 seed Henri Laaksonen of Switzerland.

“Most of my best results are in China and there are so many Challenger tournaments here, so it’s really good for me,” said Jung. “Especially in Qingdao, there were so many fans who supported me so much during the week. I like to have them get involved and could really feel that they were with me.”

His breakthrough year is particularly noteworthy because pro tennis wasn’t even in the cards for Jung when he graduated from the University of Michigan. He took a job at an oil company back home in Torrance, California, but found himself laid off after three months and unsure about what path to take.

“My friend suggested I play a big money tournament in Seattle. I had not picked up a tennis racquet since I finished at Michigan. But I went there and tuned everyone up,” wrote Jung in his ATP Challenger Chronicle blog last month. “I surprised myself. After that tournament, I decided I would make a run at the professional circuit.”

Slowly but surely, Jung has continued to climb up the Emirates ATP Rankings over the past five years. Now that he’s consistently making deep runs in ATP Challenger Tour events, he has even bigger goals in store for next year.

“My serve and my movement have gotten a lot better this year. I have a friend on my team who gave me some advice in those areas and it helped a lot,” said Jung. “I want to make it the Top 100 by the end of the year, but think I just need to continue to play like I have been.”

Haase Right At Home In Alphen

Sat, 09/10/2016 - 2:00pm

Robin Haase has become a familiar face on the final Sunday of tournaments this summer and his run at this week’s $50,000 ATP Challenger Tour event in Alphen was no exception.

The 29 year old finished as runner-up in July at the J. Safara Sarasin Swiss Open and then followed up that result by winning the ATP Challenger Tour event in Scheveningen. This week, he came in as the top seed in Alphen and again played some of his best tennis on home soil, advancing to the final without dropping a set.

Although he lost the championship match to Jan-Lennard Struff of Germany, Haase still viewed the week in Alphen as a positive experience.

“Tennis is such a tough sport and there are now more competitors on tour than ever, which makes it tough to do well in Challengers. But for me, this is an opportunity to play in the Netherlands more often and also to help promote Dutch tennis,” said Haase. “Because of the Challengers in Scheveningen and Alphen, top Dutch players get a chance to play in the Netherlands more often and I think that’s a good thing."

Haase was making his third appearance in Alphen, but this was his best result at the tournament by far. He attributed the improvements to the facilities over the years as part of the reason why he was able to play some of his best tennis this week.

"I really like being here and the tournament keeps getting better every year. It’s great when you see how the Centre Court has developed over the years with things like the terrace,” he said. “It's very nice here and the atmosphere is great, which makes this a great tournament to play at."

Although some players struggle playing at home, Haase has thrived in the Netherlands. In addition to winning in Scheveningen, he also reached the semi-finals last year at the Ricoh Open.

“I’ve got friends and family that like to come and watch me play, so I want to play well for them and show that I’m continuing to make progress,” said Haase. “You spend a lot of time in hotel rooms throughout the years and you're alone a lot of the time, so it’s nice to be able to see everyone and sleep in your own bed once in a while.”

Roger Reflects Part VI: For The Love Of The Game

Sat, 09/10/2016 - 12:41pm

In the sixth and final part of a special series of interviews with Roger Federer in Switzerland, the 35 year old discusses his burgeoning love for the game.

Federer reveals that it is this passion that makes him more determined and hungry to return to the ATP World Tour, as he looks forward to resuming his career at the start of the 2017 season.

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Rips Happen! Novak On A Tear At US Open

Sat, 09/10/2016 - 3:59am

There are competitive tennis players, and then there's Novak Djokovic.

During his semi-final match on Friday at the US Open, Djokovic was leading Gael Monfils two sets to love. But the top seed had just lost three consecutive break points. So upset was Djokovic that he ripped his shirt.

“These things happen,” he said. “Sometimes you'll see a thrown racquet here and there, a ripped shirt. It's all in the heat of the battle.”

Djokovic would go on to beat Monfils 6-3, 6-2, 3-6, 6-2 to advance to his seventh US Open final. But when he ripped his shirt, the match didn't look so promising.

Monfils was serving at 5-3 in the third set and had momentum. The Frenchman had fallen behind 0/40 but climbed back to deuce. After he won the deuce point to gain the advantage, Djokovic, furious about the missed chances, ripped away.

“I can't blame Uniqlo for that shirt,” he said of his clothing sponsor. “The quality is very good, by the way.”

The Serbian ripped his shirt a little and then tore away at the Uniqlo polo, exposing his chest to the humid air in Arthur Ashe Stadium. “I did rip it once, and then the second time just got out of hand,” he said. “But, you know, it felt nice, because my body could breathe a little bit more.”

Djokovic, a two-time US Open champion (2011, 2015), will face Stan Wawrinka in Sunday's final. It will mark the third time the two have met in Flushing Meadows. Djokovic won both prior meetings in New York and leads their FedEx ATP Head2Head series 19-4. But the third-seeded Wawrinka won their only previous meeting in a Grand Slam tournament final, 2015 Roland Garros.

So whatever happened to Djokovic's shirt? Did it land in the garbage?

“I guess so,” he said. “I haven't seen it ever since.”

Fans' Take: Will Novak Defend Title, One Day Pass Roger?

Sat, 09/10/2016 - 1:41am
Will Novak Djokovic defend his US Open title on Sunday? We ask fans who watched his semi-final match against Gael Monfils.

Murray/Soares And Spaniards Vie For US Open Crown

Sat, 09/10/2016 - 1:36am

A new team will be crowned US Open champion on Saturday when fourth seeds Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares square off against unseeded Pablo Carreno Busta and Guillermo Garcia-Lopez.

For the British-Brazilian pairing, it will be an attempt at a second Grand Slam doubles title of the season after winning the Australian Open. Murray/Soares saw off defending champions Nicolas Mahut and Pierre-Hugues Herbert in the semi-finals and should they triumph in the final, they would become the first team to win multiple Grand Slam titles in a season since Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan won three in 2013.

The Brit/Brazilian duo, who started playing together this season, won the first Grand Slam tournament they played, the 2016 Australian Open. But they lost in the third round  at Roland Garros and fell in the quarter-finals at Wimbledon.

Both have contested finals in New York before, however. Murray finished runner-up at Flushing Meadows last year (w/Peers) while Soares fell in the 2013 final (w/Peya). The Brazilian had previously tasted US Open success with mixed doubles titles in 2012 and 2014.

Their opponents, Spaniards Carreno Busta and Garcia-Lopez, have never progressed past the third round in a Grand Slam tournament. Coming into the US Open, they were 0-2 as a team this season (10-10 lifetime), although both had carried form over from the US hard-court swing. 

Carreno Busta won his first ATP World Tour singles title and Garcia-Lopez won the doubles trophy at Winston-Salem. It would cap a strong turnaround for Garcia-Lopez, who started the season 0-11 in doubles before reaching the semi-finals in Atlanta last month.

Carreno Busta/Garcia Lopez become the first unseeded duo to reach the US Open final since 2000 when Lleyton Hewitt and Max Mirnyi captured the title (d. E. Ferreira/R. Leach).

Djokovic To Feature In Docuseries

Sat, 09/10/2016 - 12:36am

Novak Djokovic is getting real.

The World No. 1 will star in a new documentary series about himself, set to air exclusively on Amazon Prime, it was announced Friday. The docuseries, which will follow the Serbian on and off court, will be available in the United States, United Kingdom, Austria and Japan in 2017.

“My fans have been suffering and celebrating with me from the very beginning of my career on the tennis courts,” Djokovic said in a statement. “Now I want to share with them all my daily life and what’s important to me – my values, my beliefs, and my habits – and also introduce to them all the amazing people that are always next to me.”

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“Novak” (working title), to be co-executive produced by former tennis player Boris Kodjoe, will reveal a behind-the-scenes look at Djokovic’s life. Based on a concept by Alberto Scarpetta and Djokovic, the series will explore his mental and fitness routines and meticulous dietary habits. It will also cover his personal life, including trips to his hometown of Belgrade, Serbia, and his work with the Novak Djokovic Foundation for early-childhood education and with charities such as UNICEF.