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Updated: 7 min 55 sec ago

Bryans Qualify For Barclays ATP World Tour Finals

Mon, 09/05/2016 - 2:40am

Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan have qualified for the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, to be held at The O2 in London from 13-20 November, as a result of reaching the US Open quarter-finals on Sunday. The American twins, who have captured the prestigious season finale crown on four occasions, join Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut as the second team to book their spot.

The five-time former US Open titlists moved a step closer to their 17th Grand Slam championship by beating Spaniards Fernando Verdasco and David Marrero 2-6, 6-3, 7-5. They won the US Open in 2005, 2008, 2010, 2012 and 2014. Now into their 11th US Open quarter-final, the third-seeded Bryans will compete against eighth-seeded Spaniards Feliciano Lopez and Marc Lopez or Brazilians Thomaz Bellucci and Marcelo Demonliner.

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Aussie Chris Guccione and Brazilian Andre Sa also moved into the last eight on Sunday in New York. Guccione/Sa prevailed against Spaniard Nicolas Almagro and Dominican Victor Estrella Burgos 7-6(2), 6-2.

Spaniards Pablo Carreno Busta and Guillermo Garcia-Lopez knocked out Americans Nicholas Monroe and Donald Young 4-6, 7-6(4), 6-3. The Spaniards will face No. 12 seeds Lukasz Kubot of Poland and Alexander Peya of Austria in the quarter-finals. Kubot/Peya received a walkover when Brit Daniel Evans and Aussie Nick Kyrgios withdrew.

Nadal: "I Needed To Create More Pain"

Mon, 09/05/2016 - 1:30am

Staring down three match points on Arthur Ashe Stadium, the improbable comeback in the deciding-set tie-break looked to be on Rafael Nadal’s racquet on Sunday night. Three match points saved and a short three-quarter court ball on his forehand had the two-time champion on the brink of wresting control of the match from 22-year-old Lucas Pouille, a player he had beaten in their only prior FedEx ATP Head2Head encounter.

It would not be Nadal’s day. A netted forehand handed the Frenchman a fourth opportunity to close it out with the two-time US Open champion crashing out in a tense four-hour, seven-minute affair, 6-1, 2-6, 6-4, 3-6, 7-6(6).

“Today the attitude was great,” Nadal said. “In terms of energy, in terms of motivation, I was great. In terms of tennis, I needed more.

“I needed to serve better in some moments. I needed to create more pain on the opponent with my shots. That was something that I didn't make today. He played well … I didn't play bad, but I didn't play well enough.”

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Up a break at 4-3 in the deciding set, Nadal looked to be closing in on his seventh quarter-final at Flushing Meadows. Pouille – who had survived back-to-back five-setters in his two previous rounds – summoned the strength to level the match before closing out his first victory over a player ranked in the Top 5 in the Emirates ATP Rankings.

“If he wants to become a champion he cannot be tight in that moment,” Nadal said. “Especially when you are 22, when you are playing against a player that in theory you have nothing to lose, you have everything to win.

“It is not a moment to be tight. It is a moment to play aggressive. I think he did, and he did very well.”

It marks the first year since 2004 the Spaniard has not reached a Grand Slam quarter-final in a calendar year. Still he was able to draw on the positives a year on from a third-round five-set defeat to Fabio Fognini, which came at a time when his confidence had taken a serious battering.

“This year I didn't have one mental problem,” he said. “I was able to enjoy every practice. I was able to enjoy every match. Last year, not so.

“Last year, for seven, eight months something strange happened in my mind. I was playing with stress. I was anxious. I didn't enjoy it.

“When you are not enjoying doing what you do, then you have a problem. The mental problems didn't allow me to enjoy, and this year I'm enjoying.”

Since winning his second US Open in 2013, Nadal has won just one hard court title (Doha 2014).

Pouille Conquers Nadal In New York

Sun, 09/04/2016 - 11:44pm
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Lucas Pouille uncorked an unplayable forehand down the line, his 59th winner of the match, to see off No. 4 seed Rafael Nadal 6-1, 2-6, 6-4, 3-6, 7-6(6) in the fourth round of the US Open on Sunday. The 22-year-old Frenchman, who collapsed to the ground after his shot landed just inside the sideline, reached the quarter-finals of a Grand Slam event for the second time in a row, and joined countrymen Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Gael Monfils in the last eight. France had not had a trio of male players reach the quarter-finals of a major tournament since Roland Garros in 1947.

“For me, because I worked very hard, I'm feeling very confident, that's why I'm here,” Pouille said. “For Jo and Gael it's the same. They're unbelievable players. They are at this level for many years now.”

Pouille will face Monfils in the US Open quarter-final and try to reach the last four of a Grand Slam for the first time. “He's in very good form. He has won so many matches for the last two months. He's very confident. He hasn't lost a set, so I know it's going to be hard,” Pouille said of Monfils. “But I'm playing well. I have good feelings on the court, so we'll see. I think it's going to be a tough match for me, but for him as well. It's going to be interesting.”

No. 24 seed Pouille lost to Nadal in Monte-Carlo last year in the pair’s lone previous FedEx ATP Head2Head meeting, but the right-hander started the match with no signs of being intimidated by the legendary Spaniard, who won the US Open title in 2010 and 2013. Pouille was a model of controlled aggression from both wings, pushing Nadal deep into the backcourt with angled drives and approaching the net 63 times (38/63). Nadal, too, mustered his best all-court tennis. He fired 52 winners and won 35 of 48 trips to the net.

With still no result at the four-hour mark, the outcome would be decided in the first fifth-set tie-break played on Arthur Ashe Stadium this fortnight. Pouille, who played 19 out of a possible 20 sets this week, showed signs of mental fatigue, dumping a mid-court forehand into the net on the opening point.

However, the rising star righted the ship and was soon up 6/3. On the brink of losing, Nadal showed his resilience by winning the next three points, but also missed a short forehand put-away at 6/6, a shot he has made a living dispatching.

“A big mistake, yeah. But you are six-all in the tie-break. I played the right point. I put [myself] in a position to have the winner and I had the mistake,” Nadal said. “The problem is arriving to six-all on the tie-break of the fifth. I should be winning before.”

The rare misstep from Nadal allowed Pouille to put the finishing touch on a remarkable victory. Pouille has now won three consecutive five-set matches and is No. 5 in the Under Pressure Leaders category of the ATP Stats Leaderboards, powered by the Infosys Information Platform.

“I think because mentally I'm stronger, physically I'm stronger, [that] gave me a lot of confidence before the match,” Pouille said. “I knew if I wanted to win that, it's not going to be like three sets, 6-1, 6-2, 6-2. It would be long. So I was ready for it.”

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Tsonga Sacks Sock, American Hopes At US Open

Sun, 09/04/2016 - 9:10pm

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga ended American hopes at the US Open as he defeated last man standing, Jack Sock, 6-3, 6-3, 6-7(7), 6-2 in New York on Sunday.

The Frenchman had a match point in the third set but Sock saved it and looked to have the American crowd behind him heading into the pivotal fourth set. Tsonga broke the 23 year old twice in the final set to move into his second Grand Slam quarter-final of the season (Wimbledon, l. to Murray).

The Frenchman is looking to mount a late charge in the Emirates ATP Race To London and helped his cause by reaching the quarter-finals at Flushing Meadows for the second year in a row.

Tsonga started the US Open at 16th in the year-to-date standings, just over 1000 points behind eighth-placed countryman Gael Monfils, who also advanced to the quarter-finals earlier with victory over Marcos Baghdatis.

View Emirates ATP Race To London

Tsonga fell in the last eight to Marin Cilic at the US Open last year and will look to reach his first Grand Slam semi-final since he made a run on home soil last year at Roland Garros (l. to Wawrinka).

The 31-year-old Tsonga controlled the contest with Sock during the first two sets, winning 85 per cent of his first-serve points (28/33) and hitting 28 winners to take a two-set lead. Sock rebounded in a packed Louis Armstrong Stadium, though, running around a Tsonga serve to hit a forehand winner and take the third set.

After the clean forehand, the Nebraska native, who was looking to reach his first career Grand Slam quarter-final, lifted his arms to try to rally the crowd. But Tsonga's big-match experience paid off in the fourth as he did not face a break point in advancing. “The experience obviously helps. He's been around for a while, been in those positions,” Sock said.

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Ninth seed Tsonga goes on to face either World No. 1 and defending champion Novak Djokovic or #NextGen star Kyle Edmund. “Don't give him too many free points. That's the most important for me. I will play my game. I will be aggressive, as always,” Tsonga said of a possible match-up with Djokovic. “Most important for me is stay focused on what I have to do and play the right shot.”

Sock, No. 26 seed, said he'll take positives from his best run at the US Open. “As you guys can see, I'm right there. My last match was a straight-set win over a past champion here,” said Sock, who beat 2014 US Open champion Cilic in the third round. “Today, hold a few more times in the first two sets, you never know. I felt obviously right there with him. [I] had chances to make it a different match. These matches later in these tournaments, against higher-ranked guys, it comes down to a few points.”

Sock was trying to become the first homegrown quarter-finalist in the US Open men’s draw since 2011, when Andy Roddick and John Isner reached the last eight.

“I take pride in being the last one here. Obviously [I] wanted to go out there and keep it going not only for myself but for the U.S. as a whole,” Sock said. "Unfortunately couldn't do that today. But I think as everyone knows, I love everything in this country and playing for them. Hopefully in the future I can keep playing these second weeks, representing the best I can.”

Monfils Surges Into US Open QFs

Sun, 09/04/2016 - 5:45pm

Gael Monfils booked his spot in the US Open quarter-finals for the third time after dismissing Marcos Baghdatis 6-3, 6-2, 6-3 on Sunday at Flushing Meadows.

The Frenchman is in keen contention to qualify for the year-end Barclays ATP World Tour Finals at The O2 for the first time. Monfils is currently eighth in the Emirates ATP Race To London and boosted his bid with his fourth straight-sets win of the tournament in New York.

Watch: Improved Monfils In London Contention

The 30-year-old Monfils also reached the last eight at the US Open in 2010 (l. to Djokovic) and 2014 (l. to Federer) and goes on to face either Rafael Nadal or Lucas Pouille. The Frenchman was a quarter-finalist at the Australian Open in January (l. to Raonic) and is bidding to reach his first Grand Slam semi-final since 2008 Roland Garros (l. to Federer).

Playing Baghdatis for the fourth time, Monfils improved to a 3-1 lead in their FedEx ATP Head2Head as he prevailed in just under two hours. The 10th-seeded Frenchman converted seven of his 11 break points and benefitted from 43 unforced errors from Baghdatis’ racquet as the Cypriot’s run came to an end.

“It’s always a pleasure to play against Marcos and you know you always have to play your best,” Monfils said in his on-court interview. “I think I had to be very consistent with my serve because he's a pretty good returner. I was good on my forehand today and I was very fast on the baseline. Everything was good today.”

The 31-year-old Baghdatis posted his best Grand Slam result in seven years after reaching the fourth round of a major for the first time since the 2009 Australian Open. Baghdatis was runner-up in Melbourne in 2006 (l. to Federer).

Lorenzi Reflects On US Open 2016 Run

Sun, 09/04/2016 - 4:25pm
Italy's Paolo Lorenzi is having his best ATP World Tour season at the age of 34.

Wawrinka Back From The Brink

Sun, 09/04/2016 - 2:22am

Stan Wawrinka was a point away from crashing out of the US Open, but came back to win 4-6, 6-3, 6-7(6), 7-6(8), 6-2 against Daniel Evans in the third round on Saturday. Evans held match point at 6/5 in the fourth-set tie-break, but the Swiss hung on and completed the comeback in just over four hours.

"I was frustrated, for sure, to be down two sets to one because I wasn't playing my best tennis. But I still had a chance. So I was trying to find the right way, how to keep fighting; how to stay in the match," Wawrinka said. "He was often coming to the net to try to finish the point. I had to play better, to be a little bit more aggressive."

Wawrinka looked out of sorts after rolling an ankle early in the match. Intervention from the tournament physio allowed the No. 3 seed to continue, but it was the more aggressive Evans who controlled the run of play, approaching the net 63 times in total (41/63) to keep Wawrinka off-balance until the momentum shifted late in the match.

"I had the feeling in the fourth set that I was starting to play a little bit better. He was starting to be down a little bit, but still playing really well on those important points, still being there, still being tough. It wasn't easy to stay calm with myself. But in general, I think that was the key to the match," Wawrinka said.

The two-time Grand Slam champion’s experience and superior conditioning helped him win the day. Wawrinka gutted out the fourth-set tie-break, then broke his opponent three times in the deciding set to move into the second week in Flushing Meadows for the fifth consecutive year.

Next up for the 2015 semi-finalist will be Illya Marchenko, who won when No. 14 Nick Kyrgios retired down 4-6, 6-4 ,6-1. He becomes only the third Ukrainian, after Andrei Medvedev and Alexandr Dolgopolov, to reach the second week at a Grand Slam event. Kyrgios injured his hip in the second set and was limping noticeably before conceding the match after the third set. Wawrinka beat Marchenko 6-3, 6-2 at Indian Wells earlier this year in their lone previous FedEx ATP Head2Head meeting.

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Nishikori Escapes Early Trouble To Reach Round Of 16

Sun, 09/04/2016 - 1:01am

Nicolas Mahut had his opportunity to cause one of the big shocks of the 2016 US Open. The Frenchman had a break point for a set and a break lead in his third-round encounter against Kei Nishikori, but the 2014 finalist dominated the match from then on, reeling off 18 of the last 23 games for the 4-6, 6-1, 6-2, 6-2 victory.

Nishikori cruised to the finish line after two hours and 16 minutes, firing 37 winners and just 28 unforced errors. He executed his return game to near perfection in the final three sets, converting seven of 11 break points, while holding Mahut to 54 per cent first-serve points won.

"It was a tough first set," said Nishikori. "I didn't start quite well today. But I was returning better in the second and third and everything started working well. It was a good match."

The Japanese, who has been pushed to four sets in each of his three matches this week, is into the second week in Flushing Meadows for the third time in eight appearances. He will face 21st seed Ivo Karlovic next, with a spot in the quarter-finals on the line.

"Ivo is always a tough opponent," Nishikori added. "Especially here with the quick surface and high bounce."

Karlovic fired just 14 aces in defeating #NextGen star and American hopeful Jared Donaldson 6-4, 7-6(3), 6-3 on Saturday. The big-serving Croatian hammered 54 winners in total, while facing one break point throughout the two-hour and two-minute affair.

Karlovic set the tone from the start, breaking in the first game of the match and never looking back. He dropped just three points on serve in the opener. After exchanging breaks midway through the second set, Karlovic pounced in the ensuing tie-break and would eventually reach the finish line after breaking for 5-3 in the third.

At age 37, Karlovic is enjoying his most successful fortnight at the US Open in reaching the second week for the first time. He failed to fight past the third round in each of his 12 previous appearances.

In three meetings in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series, the elder statesman owns a 2-1 lead. Their most recent encounter came in the Memphis final two years ago, with Nishikori prevailing in straight sets.

Murray Passes Italian Test

Sat, 09/03/2016 - 9:37pm

Andy Murray was put to the test by Paolo Lorenzi in the third round of the US Open on Saturday, needing four sets to book his spot in the fourth round. He will next face No. 22 seed Grigor Dimitrov for the tenth time (Murray leads their FedEx ATP Head2Head rivalry 6-3).

“He's a very good player," Murray said of his next opponent. "He does a lot of things well on the court. He has good feel, moves well... It will be another tough one in a couple of days' time. I expect it to be very hard. I'll be ready for that. I'll need to play better than today if I want to win that.” 

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The Dunblane native reached the Round of 16 at a major for the 23rd consecutive tournament (DNP 2013 Roland Garros) after topping the 34-year-old Italian 7-6(4), 5-7, 6-2, 6-3. Murray was one of three Brits in the third round of the US Open (also Daniel Evans, Kyle Edmund), the first time this has happened since 1968. 

In the first set, Lorenzi broke Murray for a 5-4 lead, marking just the second time the 2012 champion had been broken in the tournament. But an unforced error from the World No. 40 in the following game gave the second seed the break back. The Scot gained momentum and a mini-break in the eventual tie-break and went on to grab the first set after exactly one hour. 

The pair traded breaks early in the second set, and the Italian, appearing in the third round of a Grand Slam for the first time, went on to break again for a 4-2 lead. But a 42-shot rally ending in Murray’s favour earned the Scot two break points to get back on serve. One chance was all it took as Lorenzi sent a backhand into the net. Up 6-5, Lorenzi benefited from a forehand error from Murray, grabbing the second set 7-5 to level the match. In the third and fourth sets, it was one-way traffic for Murray, who sealed victory with the help of 60 winners after three hours and 16 minutes.

“I expected a tough match. I expected long rallies. I'm just disappointed with the amount of errors I made. I was quite impatient at times. That cost me in the first and second sets. I worked it out, won, got through, and I didn't play well. So I'm happy with that."

Del Potro Tops Ferrer In New York

Sat, 09/03/2016 - 9:15pm

Juan Martin del Potro overcame a slow start and solved the challenge posed by David Ferrer 7-6(3), 6-2, 6-3 on Saturday at the US Open. The 2009 US Open champion is into the second week at a Grand Slam event for the first time since Wimbledon 2013 by prevailing in two hours and 24 minutes. Del Potro has yet to drop a set in Flushing Meadows this year.

"I got stronger mentally after the first set. Against David you never know when the match is going to finish. He never gives up," del Potro said. "It's a pleasure to play against him because he puts me under pressure all the time. I needed to play my best tennis today."

The wily Ferrer came into the match with a specific gameplan and targeted del Potro’s weaker backhand wing during baseline exchanges. Ferrer’s heavy hitting forced the towering Argentine outside of the sidelines and forced him to chip the ball defensively, producing easy put-away volleys for the Spaniard.

Ferrer’s early offensive took him to 5-2 in the opening set, but it was all del Potro thereafter. The former World No. 4 stepping on returns to break back, then won the first-set tie-break without dropping a point on his serve to move ahead for good. The 6’6” del Potro’s serving was a major asset, as he fired five aces in the last two sets (six total) and did not face break point the rest of the way.

"I think I did really well in the second and the third sets. I'm so glad to be in the second week after three years. It means a lot of good things to me," del Potro said. "Of course, I'm looking forward to keep winning. But my next opponent will be really difficult."

With the win, del Potro improved to 4-6 in his FedEx ATP Head2Head rivalry against Ferrer. Next up will be No. 8 seed Dominic Thiem. Del Potro won his lone tour-level meeting with the Austrian on the clay of Madrid earlier this year.

"It will depend on my body, on my game. If I play like I did today, I will have a chance to play a great match against him. But he's playing really well. He's very dangerous. His backhand is so good. His movements are really fast. It will be an interesting match for me."

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Dimitrov Holds Off Sousa Fightback

Sat, 09/03/2016 - 9:00pm

Grigor Dimitrov continued his resurgence Saturday as he booked his place in the fourth round of a Grand Slam for the first time since the 2015 Australian Open. The Bulgarian defeated Joao Sousa 6-4, 6-1, 3-6, 6-2 to reach the last 16 at the US Open.

“I think winning matches always gives you confidence,” said Dimitrov. “I've won quite a few close matches, which just helps me a lot to be solid when I have to. Today [was] that type of a match that I played really smart on the big points, I played good when I had to. Overall it was a decent match, I would say.”

Since teaming up with new coach, Dani Vallverdu, at the Rogers Cup, Dimitrov has gone 10-3, reaching the quarter-finals in Toronto (l. to Nishikori) and the semi-finals at the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati (l. to Cilic) to take his Emirates ATP Ranking from No. 40 to No. 24.

“First of all he's a great guy,” Dimitrov said of his new coach. “We share a lot of the same things. On the court we kind of think similarly. We kind of want to just work right now. That's what it's about.

“I know how to play tennis. Now it's more the strategic way, how you're going to prepare for big matches, big tournaments.”

The 25-year-old Dimitrov is bidding to reach his first major quarter-final since a run to his first Grand Slam semi-final at Wimbledon (l. to Djokovic) two years ago, since which he has endured some turbulent times on the court.  

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The 22nd-seeded Dimitrov tore through the first two sets against Sousa, breaking serve three times. His Portuguese opponent struck back in the third set to bring himself back into contention and kept his momentum up with an early break in the fourth. But his comeback was halted as Dimitrov regrouped to reel off the final six games of the match and claim victory in two hours and 38 minutes.

 Dimitrov goes on to face second seed and 2012 champion Andy Murray. Read More

“Obviously it's going to be a great match. I'm excited to be in the second week. That's just a good start for me. I always like my chances when I get to stages like that in a tournament, especially having to play tough matches early on and [I’m] feeling good and confident… [I’m] just going to take everything onboard with me right now and bring it out on the court.”

Soares/Murray Reach Third Round

Sat, 09/03/2016 - 6:54pm

Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares, the reigning Australian Open champions, dropped just two games to advance to the third round on Saturday at the US Open. The fourth seeds beat Marcin Matkowski and Jurgen Melzer 6-1, 6-1 in 53 minutes. Murray/Soares will next take on Brian Baker and Marcus Daniell for a spot in the quarter-finals. The British/Brazilian pair are currently third in the Emirates ATP Doubles Race To London. They will qualify for the prestigious season finale should they reach the final in Flushing Meadows. 

Fifth seeds Jean-Julien Rojer and Horia Tecau topped Mate Pavic and Michael Venus 6-2, 6-2. The Dutch/Romanian duo hit 13 winners and did not face a break point in the 56-minute victory. Next in the third round, they will face Robert Lindstedt and Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi, who ousted tenth seeds Henri Kontinen and John Peers 7-5, 6-7(7), 6-3, saving four of the six break points they faced in the two-hour, 17-minute match.

Chris Guccione and Andre Sa ousted seventh seeds Raven Klaasen and Rajeev Ram 7-6(5), 2-6, 6-3. They next face Nicolas Almagro and Victor Estrella Burgos, who hit 30 winners to defeat Fabio Fognini and Andreas Seppi 7-6(6), 6-3. 

Eighth seeds Feliciano Lopez and Marc Lopez, who hoisted the Roland Garros trophy in June, beat Marcos Baghdatis and Gilles Muller 6-4, 6-4. Next for them in the third round is the Brazilian team of Thomaz Bellucci and Marcelo Demoliner. Lukasz Kubot and Alexander Peya, the No. 12 seeds, defeated Stephane Robert and Dudi Sela 7-6(5), 6-4 to set a third-round meeting with Daniel Evans and Nick Kyrgios.

Jeremy Chardy and Sam Groth beat Austrian duo Dominic Thiem and Tristan-Samuel Weissborn 7-6(3), 6-4 in 81 minutes. Their next opponents will be top seeds and defending champions Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut. David Marrero and Fernando Verdasco needed two hours and 33 minutes to advance with a a 7-5, 6-7(5), 6-4 win over Andres Molteni and Diego Schwartzman. They will face third seeds Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan in the third round.

Birthday Win Sends Thiem Into US Open Fourth Round

Sat, 09/03/2016 - 6:23pm

There were times on Saturday when Dominic Thiem really wasn't having the best birthday. But it all came together in the end for the 23-year-old Austrian as he defeated Pablo Carreno Busta 1-6, 6-4, 6-4, 7-5 to reach the US Open fourth round.

He was rewarded by a rousing rendition of ‘Happy Birthday’ from his team, led by coach, Gunter Bresnik.

The Austrian is strongly in contention to qualify for the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals at The O2 for the first time, having captured four ATP World Tour titles in 2016. Thiem started the US Open at fifth in the Emirates ATP Race To London, with the top eight to appear at the season finale.

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The in-form Carreno Busta gave Thiem a stern test though, as the Austrian put in an untidy display on Grandstand, committing 49 unforced errors.

Hot on the heels of winning his first ATP World Tour title in Winston-Salem (d. Bautista Agut), Carreno Busta had rallied from two sets down to beat Janko Tipsarevic in the second round at Flushing Meadows and sealed the first set against Thiem in just 20 minutes.

Thiem found his feet in the second set. Despite relinquishing a 5-2 lead, he did enough to level the contest with another break in the 10th game. A break of serve to love in the 10th game of the third set and a run of four straight games appeared to put the Austrian in control. But Carreno Busta hit back, drawing level at 2-2 in the fourth set as Thiem’s frustration mounted.

Thiem broke again for a 3-2 lead. Again, Carreno Busta struck back to level. But after Thiem came through a nervy service game to lead 6-5, saving two break points, the Austrian then broke decisively in the 12th game, clinching his first match point to prevail in two hours and 50 minutes. 

Thiem also survived a battle in the first round, rallying from two-sets-to-one and a break down against John Millman. The right-hander, who reached his first Grand Slam semi-final at Roland Garros earlier in the year (l. to Djokovic), is through to the fourth round in New York for the second time, having also reached this stage in 2014 (l. to Berdych).

Next up for Thiem will be 2009 champion Juan Martin del Potro. The Argentine leads their FedEx ATP Head2Head rivalry 1-0.

Sock Discusses Cilic Upset At US Open 2016

Sat, 09/03/2016 - 4:52pm
American Jack Sock reflects on his upset over 2014 US Open champion Marin Cilic and looks ahead to his fourth-round clash with Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.

Nadal Battles Into Second Week At The US Open

Sat, 09/03/2016 - 1:47am

Rafael Nadal was made to work by Andrey Kuznetsov at the US Open on Friday night, but finished strongly against the Russian in their third-round match, winning 6-1, 6-4, 6-2 in just under two hours. Nadal is now into the second week of a Grand Slam event for the first time since his quarter-final finish at Roland Garros last year, where he fell to Novak Djokovic. He lost in the third round of the US Open to Fabio Fognini last year, but had reached the final in his previous three appearances.

"I think I played well tonight," Nadal said. "Very happy about the way I played. First set, especially, was very high level." 

Nadal was nearly flawless in the opening set, landing 73 per cent of first serves and making only three unforced errors. Realising that consistency was not going to bring him victory, Kuznetsov threw caution to the wind in the second set, attacking Nadal’s second serves with flat forehands. He won 10 of 16 points when the Spaniard failed to land a first serve and broke serve twice. Unfortunately for the Russian, Nadal pursued the same strategy on return games and broke three times to build a commanding lead.

"I lost the serve in the second a couple of games. I was serving badly. When you play against a player like him, who is able to return well and hit a lot of good shots, then you are in big trouble," Nadal said. "The only thing I know is that I am happy. I am excited to play the US Open. For me it's great news that I am on the tour again and that I am playing every day with less pain on the wrist. That's the most important thing."

Relieved to emerge with the second set, Nadal rediscovered his rhythm and cruised to the finish line. Kuznetsov, who had reached the second week of a Grand Slam only once in 14 attempts coming into the fortnight, made a last stand with Nadal serving at 5-2, 40/0. The Russian saved three match points to force deuce, but saw the two-time US Open champion pull off a perfect tweener lob, then convert his fourth match point with an unplayable flat serve.

Nadal, who has yet to drop a set in three matches in Flushing Meadows, should have plenty of physical reserves to make a deep run in the US Open draw. His next opponent will be 22-year-old Frenchman Lucas Pouille, who rallied to beat Roberto Bautista Agut in five sets.

"He is a great player. He is young. He has all the shots: good serve, good forehand, good backhand. He's a tough opponent," Nadal said. "I practiced with him a couple of times and I played him a long time ago. I know he's able to play at a very high level. I'll need to be ready to play my best if I want to keep going."

Pouille, who reached his maiden Grand Slam quarter-final at Wimbledon this year, is playing the best tennis of his life. However, he may also be drained coming into a match against one of the most physically intimidating players in tennis history. Pouille has dropped the first set in every one of his three matches thus far and is coming off consecutive five-set battles.

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Sock, Tsonga Show Off New Moves

Fri, 09/02/2016 - 10:21pm

A fist pump. A leaping punch to the air. A thumbs up. We’ve seen it all in post-match celebrations. Or have we?

American Jack Sock was more like Pirates of the Caribbean’s Captain Jack Sparrow when celebrating his straight-sets win over Marin Cilic on Friday at the US Open to reach the fourth round.

⚔⚔⚔⚔⚔⚔ @JackSock #usopen pic.twitter.com/NnXPx2Z7W4

US Open Tennis (@usopen) September 2, 2016

“I was fencing with my racquet,” Sock explained. “I became good buddies in Rio with one of the fencers, Miles Chamley-Watson. He lives here in New York. I have been trying to get him to come out and watch a match. He was able to come out here today. Kind of on the spot I thought of turning the racquet into… I think it's called a foil… Thought of turning the racquet into one of those and doing something for him for coming out.

“I think people were enjoying it. I have seen the video. It looks pretty funny, actually. So if he's in the box on the next one and I'm able to win, you might see a cleaned up technique and better version of it.”

Sock’s next opponent, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, also did a unique post-win celebration after beating Kevin Anderson on the Grandstand. The Frenchman, often noted for his likeness to the late Muhammad Ali, shadow boxed to celebrate a straight-sets win as he advanced to the fourth round for the third year in a row.

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Fighting his way into the fourth round. @tsonga7 #usopen pic.twitter.com/hpELxetyq4

US Open Tennis (@usopen) September 2, 2016

So which celebration will we see after their fourth round clash on Sunday? We’ll have to wait to find out!

Baghdatis Blast-Off: Cypriot Reaches First Slam 4R In Seven Years

Fri, 09/02/2016 - 9:51pm
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Former World No. 8 Marcos Baghdatis is turning back the clock this week in Flushing Meadows. The Cypriot ousted American qualifier Ryan Harrison 6-3, 7-6(4), 1-6, 6-1 on Friday at the US Open, reaching his first Grand Slam Round of 16 since the 2009 Australian Open.

Baghdatis fired 37 winners, including 10 aces, to prevail after two hours and 52 minutes. He was effective on return as well, converting six break chances. It is the 31-year-old's best result in 11 appearances at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.

"I'm happy I'm in the second week," said Baghdatis. "It's been a long time and I'm happy it came here. I never passed into the second week at the US Open. I don't miss a lot of balls and give a lot of free points. When I need to attack, I do. I'm very happy with the way I'm moving and returning.

"My goal is to finish my career in the Top 20 (of the Emirates ATP Rankings). It's a big challenge and I want to achieve that. I'm putting the right people around me to do it."

Baghdatis will next face 10th seed and two-time US Open quarter-finalist Gael Monfils on Sunday. Monfils, who defeated Nicolas Almagro 6-4, 6-2, 6-4, owns a 2-1 FedEx ATP Head2Head edge over the Cypriot. He most recently earned a straight-set win at the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 event in Cincinnati just last month.

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"The good thing is I played him in Cincinnati," Marcos said about Monfils. "I know what to expect and it's going to be a tough battle, but I'll try my best."

Harrison, meanwhile, capped a strong week at his home Grand Slam, finishing with his best major result. One of four Americans to reach the third round, he notched the biggest win of his career in downing fifth seed Milos Raonic on Thursday.

#NextGen star Kyle Edmund set a high-powered fourth round encounter against top seed Novak Djokovic after stunning No. 1 American John Isner 6-4, 3-6, 6-2, 7-6(5). Edmund, who converted his third match point after two hours and 42 minutes, withstood a serving barrage from Isner that included 27 aces.

The 21-year-old Brit saved six of seven break points for his second upset of a seeded opponent this week. He opened the tournament with a straight-sets victory over 13th-seed Richard Gasquet on Monday.

Making his US Open main draw debut, Edmund has dropped just one set en route to his first major Round of 16. He will face off against Djokovic for the second time this year, having lost in the first round at the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 event in Miami, in March.

After reaching the quarter-finals in 2011, Isner has fallen in the third round in New York in four of five years since. It marked just the American's second defeat to an unseeded player at his home Grand Slam and first since 2008.

Djokovic Short On Match Play Heading Into Second Week

Fri, 09/02/2016 - 8:42pm
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Novak Djokovic has had an easy passage to the US Open fourth round… perhaps a little too easy. The top seed was leading 4-2 in Friday’s third-round meeting with Mikhail Youzhny when the Russian retired with a left-leg hamstring strain.

Having received a walkover from Czech Jiri Vesely in the second round, Djokovic’s biggest concern heading into the second week of the Open will be a lack of match play. Top of mind will be the walkover Djokovic received from Fabio Fognini in the Roland Garros quarter-finals in 2011. At the time Djokovic was on a 43-match winning streak (41-0 on the year), but the disruption to his rhythm was attributed in part to his stumble against Roger Federer in the semi-finals.

Granted permission to remain on Arthur Ashe Stadium to practise after Youzhny’s retirement, Djokovic was trying to remain positive about his unusual path to the second week. “I got an extra hour of practice on the centre court. They were kind enough to allow me to practise. Got to focus on positives,” he said.

“This particular situation I’ve never had in my Grand Slam career. But considering the stage of the season, the amount of matches I've played, what I've been through with my body, I think it's actually good to have some days off and then shorter matches from one side.

“From the other side, sure, as you are approaching second week of the Grand Slam you want to have match play and you want to have time spent on the centre court before you face one of the top players. But I'm not too concerned about my game itself. I've worked hard the last couple days. Health-wise I feel much better than I did at the beginning of the tournament. You know, I'm confident that everything is going in the right direction.”

Djokovic will meet the winner of John Isner and Kyle Edmund in the fourth round.

Djokovic is through to the US Open fourth round for the 10th consecutive year. Djokovic began his quest for a 13th major title on Monday night with a four-set win over Jerzy Janowicz and received a second-round walkover from Vesely, who endured a brutal five-set opening-round match.

Djokovic has reached the Open semi-finals or better for nine straight years, winning the title in 2015 (d. Federer) and 2011 (d. Nadal) along with four runner-up finishes. Djokovic and Federer are the only two men to have won 50 or more matches at all four Grand Slam tournaments.

Djokovic finds his hold on top spot of the Emirates ATP Race To London under threat in New York from Andy Murray. Murray can take the calendar-year Race lead if he wins the title and Djokovic does not make the final. Under that scenario Djokovic would still remain World No. 1 in the 52-week Emirates ATP Rankings. 

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Sock Makes Breakthrough In The Big Apple

Fri, 09/02/2016 - 7:54pm

Jack Sock has come a long way from finding himself in a five-set battle with Taylor Fritz in the first round on Monday. Four days later and the American is through to the US Open fourth round for the first time after upsetting seventh seed and former champion Marin Cilic 6-4, 6-3, 6-3.

The 26th-seeded Sock, who had fallen in the third round twice before, dominated proceedings, winning 28 points more than Cilic and limiting himself to just 15 unforced errors as he prevailed in one hour and 41 minutes.

Sock recorded his first Top 10 win in a major to reach the last 16 at a Grand Slam for the second time, having also done so at Roland Garros last year (l. to Nadal). Looking to reach his first Grand Slam quarter-final, Sock will face Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.

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The 23-year-old Sock is coming off a memorable summer, which saw him clinch a mixed doubles gold medal at the Olympics, alongside Bethanie Mattek-Sands, and bronze in the men’s doubles with Steve Johnson. He was also a quarter-finalist at the Citi Open (l. to Karlovic) and reached the third round in Toronto (l. to Wawrinka). Earlier in the year, the Kansas resident was runner-up in Auckland and Houston.

Cilic was looking for a repeat of his 2014 title-winning run at Flushing Meadows. The Croat, who is playing his first tournament with new coach Jonas Bjorkman, came into the US Open in top form, after winning his first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title in Cincinnati, where he defeated Andy Murray in the final.

Tsonga Boxes Clever For Anderson Win

Fri, 09/02/2016 - 6:26pm

Ninth seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga showcased a new boxing-style celebration as he sealed his place in the fourth round of the US Open on Friday. The Frenchman, oft-likened in appearance to the late Muhammed Ali, defeated Kevin Anderson 6-3, 6-4, 7-6(4) before showcasing his shadow boxing moves on Grandstand.

The 31-year-old Tsonga avoided a fourth set as he fended off a set point in a lengthy 10th game of the third set, before edging Anderson in the ensuing tie-break to claim victory in two hours and 50 minutes.

"It's never easy to play that kind of player," said Tsonga. "He's serving well. He's also moving well from his baseline for his height. Today it was a good challenge for me to beat him. I did it well. It was a good match for me."

A good run at the US Open could see Tsonga mount a late charge in the Emirates ATP Race To London. He is currently 16th, more than 1000 points behind eighth-placed Gael Monfils. Injuries have blighted parts of his season, but the right-hander came back strongly at Wimbledon, where he reached the quarter-finals (l. to Murray).

As he looks to reach the US Open quarter-finals for the third time, Tsonga will face Jack Sock. The Frenchman reached the last eight in 2011 (l. to Federer) and 2015 (l. to Cilic).

No. 10 seed Monfils surged into the second week with a confident 6-4, 6-2, 6-4 win over Nicolas Almagro in the third round. After cruising to a two-set lead, Monfils emerged the winner by taking an unusual third set which featured five consecutive breaks of serve.

The Frenchman only dropped six first-serve points in the one-hour, 49-minute victory and broke Almagro seven times to even his FedEx ATP Head2Head rivalry at 3-3. The explosive Monfils stayed within his comfort zone against the hard-hitting Spaniard, firing 31 winners and only 20 unforced errors. Meanwhile, Almagro hit 18 winners and succumbed after making 42 unforced errors.

In the fourth round, the 2010 and 2014 US Open quarter-finalist will take on Marcos Baghdatis. The Cypriot’s lone victory against Monfils came a decade ago at the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 event in Cincinnati.

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Rising French star Lucas Pouille is into the second week in New York after outlasting Spanish veteran Roberto Bautista Agut 3-6, 7-5, 2-6, 7-5, 6-1. The 22 year old, who reached his first Grand Slam quarter-final at Wimbledon this year, is into the fourth round of a major tournament for the second time. The No. 24 seed broke serve in the final game of a tight fourth set, then raced to a 5-0 lead in the final set against Bautista Agut. He finished with 67 winners, including 14 aces.