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Hibino, Nara win in Tashkent Open first round

Mon, 09/26/2016 - 9:10am
Hibino, Nara win in Tashkent Open first round

Haase Wins 13th Challenger Title In Sibiu - Final Highlights

Mon, 09/26/2016 - 6:23am
Watch final highlights from the ATP Challenger Tour event in Sibiu, Romania, where top seed Robin Haase prevailed. Video courtesy Sibiu Open.

ATP Honours St. Petersburg Open

Mon, 09/26/2016 - 5:58am

The St. Petersburg Open was honoured Sunday as one the Tournaments of the Year in the 2015 ATP World Tour Awards presented by Moët & Chandon. World No. 3 and top seed Stan Wawrinka, who finished runner-up to Alexander Zverev in the St. Petersburg final, presented Tournament Director Alexander Medvedev with the trophy.

“In 2015, the St. Petersburg Open Tournament was revived after a year's break,” Mikhael Mirilashvili, owner of the St. Petersburg Open, said earlier this year. “That was a landmark event in the sporting life of the city and the country. We are proud that the work of our big renewed team was appreciated on such a high level. I am sure that in the future the level of the tournament will continue to grow and reach new professional heights.” 

The Tournament of the Year awards, voted annually by ATP players, recognise the leading standards set across the three tournament categories on the Tour.

The St. Petersburg Open was named a joint-winner in the ATP World Tour 250 category alongside the Qatar ExxonMobil Open, held in the first week of the season. The BNP Paribas Open and Aegon Championships won respectively in the Masters 1000 and 500 categories.

Chung Prevails In All-Korean #NextGen Final

Mon, 09/26/2016 - 5:44am

That did not take long. #NextGen star Hyeon Chung is back with a vengeance after missing four months with an abdominal injury. A week after reaching the final in Nanchang, China, the 20 year old lifted his sixth ATP Challenger Tour title on Sunday with a 6-4, 6-2 victory over Duckhee Lee at the OEC Kaohsiung Challenger in Kaohsiung, Taiwan.

Despite lasting just 75 minutes, the final was highly significant for both the growth of tennis in Asia and the continued rise of the Next Generation of ATP stars. Chung, 20, and Lee, 18, provided the first final between Koreans in Challenger history, with the elder countryman successfully defending his title. The second player to retain a Challenger title this year, joining Facundo Bagnis (Santiago), World No. 132 Chung is continuing his push towards a Top 100 return in the Emirates ATP Rankings.

"I am so happy to be back competing after missing most of the summer due to injury and be able to defend my title here in Kaohsiung," Chung told ATPWorldTour.com. "It is a great event and I really like playing here.

"It was a hard week with lots of tough matches including today against Duckhee, who I know very well. I am happy for him to reach his first Challenger final and it was an honour to play in an all-Korean final. I am looking forward to the rest of the Asian swing and will do my best to finish the year strong."

Watch the winning moment in #Kaohsiung, as Hyeon #Chung retains the title with a straight-set victory over Duckhee #Lee. #ATPChallenger pic.twitter.com/3iJsr0iE6s

— ATP Challenger Tour (@ATPChallenger) September 25, 2016

Chung is the 12th #NextGen winner on the ATP Challenger Tour this year, while Lee, who was appearing in his first final, was bidding to become the ninth teenage titlist. Teens are now 8-8 in finals in 2016.

Columbus Challenger (Columbus, U.S.A.): Ohio State University junior Mikael Torpegaard completed a fairytale week on his home campus, streaking to his maiden ATP Challenger Tour title on Sunday. The 22 year old notched his first victory over a Top 100 opponent with a rollercoaster 6-4, 1-6, 6-2 win over Benjamin Becker in the final.

The win was even more remarkable considering Torpegaard was competing in his first main draw on the Challenger circuit. The first Dane to lift a trophy since Kristian Pless in Saint-Brieuc, France in 2007, he is just the sixth player from his country to win a Challenger title overall. Torpegaard is also the second player to win in his Challenger debut this year, joining fellow Scandinavian player Casper Ruud of Norway.

"To win it is unbelievable," said Torpegaard, who was the third-lowest ranked winner this year at World No. 642. "It's just a really good feeling. I came into the tournament as the underdog on paper in every match, but I believed in myself and went in wanting to have some fun and figure out my level to beat these guys.

"I definitely take that I can perform at this level and I'm happy to figure that out this week. It looks more realistic to be a professional after college."

Sibiu Open (Sibiu, Romania): Robin Haase claimed his 13th ATP Challenger Tour title on Sunday in Sibiu, downing Italy's Lorenzo Giustino 7-6(2), 6-2. Top seed and World No. 65 Haase did not face a seeded opponent all week in notching his second victory of the season. Also the champion on home soil in Scheveningen, he is the 25th player to win multiple titles this year.

The feel-good story of the tournament belonged to Tim Puetz, as the 28-year-old German reached the semi-finals in his first main draw in exactly one year following knee surgery. He also won the doubles title alongside Haase.

TEB Izmir Cup (Izmir, Turkey): It was a week of firsts on the ATP Challenger Tour: the first all-Korean final in Kaohsiung and the first all-Turkish final in Izmir. Former World No. 77 Marsel Ilhan added a fourth Challenger title with a 6-2, 6-4 victory over countryman Cem Ilkel on Sunday. Wild card Ilkel had never reached a quarter-final entering the week.

Challenger Chronicles: James McGee

Mon, 09/26/2016 - 3:32am

Following a great week last week where I bagged my first ATP Challenger Tour title in Cary, North Carolina, I’d like to fill you in on the story behind what is a milestone moment in my career.

It’s funny how it all came about but I wasn’t even meant to be playing Cary Challenger! Just a few weeks before, I had qualified into the Winston-Salem ATP World Tour 250 event and it was there that I chose to play three events in China next. I went online to enter three events (Nanchang Challenger, Kaohsiung Challenger and an ATP event in China) and called a friend who coaches in Singapore to see if he could help out one of the weeks in China. He agreed and I went straight into making travel plans, hotel bookings and preparing all the logistics behind the trip. The final thing to sort out was applying for a Chinese Visa and I’d be set. ”Easy” I thought..

A week after applying for my Visa and going through all the administrative details of paperwork, invitation letters, head shots etc. I woke up to a phone call from the Chinese lady I spoke to at the Visa Office. ”Uh, sorry sir but your Visa has been rejected.” I thought she was actually joking as she sort of laughed as she said it but after 20 minutes of questions and answers, I came to learn that there was a G20 Summit in China at the time and apparently the Chinese Consulate in Houston was rejecting applications for foreigner Visas. The timing couldn’t have been worse and there was nothing I could do about it.

Challenger Chronicles I: Amir Weintraub
Challenger Chronicles II: Skupski Brothers
Challenger Chronicles III: Jason Jung

Thankfully, I still had the option of playing a different tournament that week so I decided to sign-in to play the qualifying of Cary Challenger. It was just a six-hour road trip up from Atlanta so myself and my friend Julian Bradley rented a car and headed up there Thursday morning.

I was the first seed in the qualifying event and played my first match on Saturday afternoon on Stadium Court in Cary. I struggled with the feel of the ball and the court surface at first but knew I could work my way into it. I came through my qualifying matches after playing three current and former college tennis players and drew another former college tennis player in the first round of the main draw, Evan King. Evan is a great guy with a big lefty serve and I managed to come through that match, although neither of us played our best tennis on the day. I went on to beat the No. 6 seed, Darian King followed by a quarter-final win over Brayden Schnur, who had some local support as he is a former UNC Tar Heel.

Read the rest of James' entry on his blog

Arruabarrena beats Niculescu to win Korea Open

Sun, 09/25/2016 - 9:36pm
Arruabarrena beats Niculescu to win Korea Open

First-Time Winner Spotlight: Alexander Zverev

Sun, 09/25/2016 - 8:34pm
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How does it feel to be standing here with the trophy, your first ATP World Tour title?
It's great at such a young age as well. It's something that I could only dream of and I'm really proud of myself right now.

Did you ever imagine that at the age of 19 you'd be an ATP World Tour winner?
I got to a few finals where I was really close but before when I was a kid, no I could have not imagined that. It's something really special to be here and getting this trophy for the first time.

Was it your dream growing up to win a title?
Of course. I think for anybody who plays tennis, it's a dream to win a tour title.

Did you go into this final with a different mindset compared to your past two in Nice and Halle?
In Nice, I was quite tired. I think I spent 12 hours on court before that final. I played three-set matches every single match I played. But Halle was a chance that I could have taken and won the final. But the mindset has to be the same. How I handle the situation is different now because I had those two finals before.

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How does it feel to be the first teenage winner on the tour since Marin Cilic in 2008?
Really? I'm the first one. Wow. No, it's great. As I said winning a tour title was always a dream and now it came true and being the first since '08, it's great.

Does it make it special to have beaten two Top 10 players along the way, back-to-back?
Oh yeah it's definitely something special, beating Tomas Berdych in the semis and beating Stan Wawrinka, who's the US Open champion, in the final. It's something even more that I'm proud of.

You didn't lose a set en route to the final. Talk about your exceptional play and what you did well this week.
I played OK. I played pretty well. I was serving pretty good the whole week, which helps on a fast court, indoors. And I was pretty good, pretty solid from the baseline. Obviously I had a few tough opponents but yeah, I was happy with the way I played.

Read More: ATP Launches "Next Generation" Campaign

Now that you've won your first title, have you thought about what's next, your next goals?
Winning another one hopefully.

You and Nick Kyrgios are the first #NextGen players to win an ATP World Tour title this season. Talk about this young group of future stars.
As I said before there's a strong group of guys coming up who all play pretty good tennis. You mention Nick, who's Top 20 now. He's been playing exceptional this year. Other teenagers like Taylor Fritz or Borna Coric, they've been playing pretty good. Some Russian guys are coming through quite well as well, like Karen Khachanov, Daniil Medvedev, Andrey Rublev. They've all been playing quite good tennis this year.

Lastly, when you were growing up, who were the players you followed most closely?
Roger. Quite simple.

Halep Clears Opening Hurdle In Wuhan, Eyes Singapore Qualification Halep v Begu Highlights: WTA Wuhan 2R

Sun, 09/25/2016 - 7:14pm
No.4 seed Simona Halep's opening outing at the Dongfeng Motor Wuhan Open came to a premature end when Irina-Camelia Begu retired midway through their second-round encounter.

Kerber Inspires Halep, Radwanska As Chase For Year-End No.1 Begins In Wuhan

Sun, 09/25/2016 - 7:14pm
WTA Insider Courtney Nguyen | Angelique Kerber kicks off her Asian Swing with the respect of her peers, but is she thinking of the Year-End No.1?

Halep Clears Opening Hurdle In Wuhan Halep v Begu Highlights: WTA Wuhan 2R

Sun, 09/25/2016 - 7:14pm
No.4 seed Simona Halep's opening outing at the Dongfeng Motor Wuhan Open came to a premature end when Irina-Camelia Begu retired midway through their second-round encounter.

Kvitova Makes Flying Start In Wuhan, Konta Cruises Through

Sun, 09/25/2016 - 7:14pm
Former champion Petra Kvitova made a flying start to this year's Dongfeng Motor Wuhan Open, swatting aside Jelena Ostapenko in straight sets, while Johanna Konta was equally impressive in her own first-round outing.

Former Champion Kvitova Makes Flying Start In Wuhan

Sun, 09/25/2016 - 7:14pm
Former champion Petra Kvitova made a flying start to this year's Dongfeng Motor Wuhan Open, requiring barely an hour to swat aside the gifted Jelena Ostapenko.

Ranking Watch: Osaka Big In Japan

Sun, 09/25/2016 - 7:13pm
Caroline Wozniacki may have left Tokyo with the silverware, but she was unable to stop Asian tennis' star in waiting, Naomi Osaka, from becoming the youngest player inside the Top 50.

Hibino Kicks Off Tashkent Title Defense

Sun, 09/25/2016 - 7:13pm
Nao Hibino got her Tashkent Open title defense off to a winning start, powering past local wildcard Komola Umarova in straight sets to secure a spot in the second round.

RTS Update: Radwanska, Defending WTA Finals Champ, Returns To Top 4

Sun, 09/25/2016 - 7:13pm
2015 WTA Finals champion Agnieszka Radwanska moved up to No.4 on the Road to Singapore leaderboard following her run to the semifinals of the Toray Pan Pacific Open.

Wozniacki Strolls Past Stosur, Wins Sixth Straight Match In Wuhan Stosur v Wozniacki Highlights: WTA Wuhan 2R

Sun, 09/25/2016 - 7:13pm
Tokyo champion Caroline Wozniacki maintained her winning ways against Samantha Stosur to move into the second round of the Dongfeng Motor Wuhan Open.

Puig Adjusting To Highs And Lows Of Post-Olympic Life

Sun, 09/25/2016 - 7:13pm
WTA Insider Courtney Nguyen | Olympic Gold medalist Monica Puig remains optimistic and focused on long-term goals after an early loss at the Dongfeng Motor Wuhan Open.

Celebrating Serena: What Williams Means To Celebs, Fellow Players

Sun, 09/25/2016 - 7:12pm
On Serena Williams' 35th birthday, find out what the 22-time Grand Slam champ means to everyone from Usher to Kelly Rowland, from CoCo Vandeweghe to sister Venus herself.

Notes & Netcords: September 26, 2016

Sun, 09/25/2016 - 7:12pm
Caroline Wozniacki capped of a big week in Tokyo with a big jump in the rankings - see who else made even bigger moves right here on wtatennis.com!

Wuhan Monday: Halep Headlines Romanian Derby, Tokyo Champ Wozniacki Debuts

Sun, 09/25/2016 - 7:10pm
Simona Halep kicks off her Asian Swing against compatriot Irina-Camelia Begu, while Toray Pan Pacific Open champion Caroline Wozniacki takes on 2011 US Open winner Sam Stosur.