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Early tests await Serena, Djokovic at US Open

Fri, 08/26/2016 - 1:19pm
Early tests await Serena, Djokovic at US Open

Robson awakes from two-year nightmare

Fri, 08/26/2016 - 12:09pm
Robson awakes from two-year nightmare

Stephens drops out of US Open with foot injury

Fri, 08/26/2016 - 10:45am
Stephens drops out of US Open with foot injury

Nishikori Bags Bonus In US Open Series

Fri, 08/26/2016 - 3:13am

World No. 7 and 2014 US Open finalist Kei Nishikori clinched the 2016 Emirates US Open Series men’s title on Thursday, following Viktor Troicki’s victory over Fernando Verdasco in the quarter-finals of the Winston-Salem Open. Nishikori will now attempt to to claim the largest payout in tennis history at the US Open – $4.5 million; $3.5 million for winning the US Open and a $1 million bonus for winning the US Open as Emirates Airline US Open Series champion.

Nishikori finishes the Bonus Challenge with 85 points – 70 for reaching the Rogers Cup final in Toronto and 15 for advancing to the Round of 16 at the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati. Verdasco was the only remaining player in Winston-Salem who could have overtaken him in the final standings.

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Grigor Dimitrov finishes second in the men’s Bonus Challenge, while 2014 Emirates Airline US Open Series men’s champion Milos Raonic finishes third. Both players tied with 70 points; Dimitrov finishes second based on tie-breaks, having won seven matches in the series this summer, as opposed to Raonic’s five. The second and third-placed finishers will compete for US Open bonus payouts of $500,000 and $250,000, respectively.

Novak Djokovic and Marin Cilic each earned 100 points for their Rogers Cup and Western & Southern Open victories, respectively. Players must earn points in two or more Emirates Airline US Open Series events to be eligible for the final Bonus Challenge standings and US Open bonus prize money.

Millman Upsets Gasquet In Winston-Salem

Thu, 08/25/2016 - 10:02pm
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John Millman scored a milestone win at the Winston-Salem Open on Thursday, downing top seed Richard Gasquet 7-5, 6-3 to move into his maiden ATP World Tour semi-final. The 92-minute win also marked the first time Millman has beaten a player in the Top 15 of the Emirates ATP Rankings. The Aussie, who reached a career-best No. 60 in the Emirates ATP Rankings in May, is currently ranked No. 81.

“No matter what level, every tournament I go in to compete, to do my best and to win,” said Millman, who is taking part in the event for the first time. “To be honest, at the start of the week I was a bit busted physically because of the long weeks at the Olympics and in Cincinnati. But now I’m moving great and I’m hitting the ball really well. It’s a treat to be here. The conditions are great and suit my game well.

“Gasquet is a top player. Playing and beating him is very satisfying. Every week that I’m playing an ATP World Tour event, I gain more confidence that I can compete at this level, and I’m proud of that,” the 27-year-old Millman, who broke the Frenchman five times during the match, said. “Everyone remaining in the tournament is an accomplished player. Every win is a bonus for me right now.”

Millman will next face Pablo Carreno Busta, who topped Andrey Kuznetsov 6-4, 6-3. The Spaniard fired nine aces and saved all seven break points faced to advance in 85 minutes. Millman beat Carreno Busta in the first round of the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 event in Miami earlier this year. It was the pair's lone previous FedEx ATP Head2Head meeting.

No. 2 seed Roberto Bautista Agut is safely through to the semi-finals after beating Yen-Hsun Lu 6-3, 6-2. Bautista Agut did not face a break point in the 61-minute win and broke Lu three times. The Spaniard improved to 3-0 in the pair's FedEx ATP Head2Head rivalry and has yet to drop a set against the man from Chinese Taipei. The 28 year old is seeking a third ATP World Tour title in 2016, having prevailed in Auckland and in Sofia.

Bautista Agut will meet ninth seed Viktor Troicki in the semi-finals after the Serbian battled for nearly two hours to edge Bautista Agut’s countryman Fernando Verdasco. Ninth seed Troicki extended his FedEx ATP Head2Head record against the No. 15 seed to 2-0 with a 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 victory.

Troicki had snapped a five-match losing streak with his second-round win over Kyle Edmund before sending No. 6 Sam Querrey packing. Against Verdasco, he won 85 per cent of first-serve points and twice recovered from a break down in the deciding set before breaking to seal the result on his second match point. 

It marks his third ATP World Tour semi-final of the season and his first since losing the final in Sofia to Bautista Agut in February.

"For the first set and a half I think I had the match under control. I think I played pretty good then my serve disappeared for a while," Troicki said of his quarter-final. "He raised his game, my game when down a little. The start of the third set, I think, was good tennis.

"From the middle of the third set it was very weird. I don’t know what was going on. When I served he just returned everything at full power and then on his serve he lost it a bit. He gave me a lot of presents. I’ll take it, I’m happy to be in the semis."

In doubles, the German-Indian pairing of Andre Begemann and Leander Paes upset top seeds Lukasz Kubot and Nenad Zimonjic to reach the semi-finals. The unseeded duo won 79 per cent of first-serve points against the Polish-Serbian tandem in a 6-4, 6-4 victory. 

They will meet third seeds Robert Lindstedt and Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi after the Swedish-Pakistani pair narrowly held off Croatian-British duo Marin Draganja and Dominic Inglot. The No. 3 seeds held a match point at 5-4 in the second set and managed to fight off three set points before conceding the tie-break 7/4. They clinched the match tie-break on their first opportunity to wrap it up in two hours and 13 minutes.

Watch the latest videos from Winston-Salem

Khachanov Cruises On Day 3 Of US Open Qualifying

Thu, 08/25/2016 - 10:01pm

Day 3 of US Open Qualifying on Thursday saw a NextGen star move within one round of qualifying for his first Grand Slam main draw, while a slew of other notable players also won their second-round qualifying matches.

NextGen star and third seed Karen Khachanov of Russia continued his impressive play with a straight-sets win over Adrian Menendez-Maceiras of Spain, 6-4, 6-3. The 20 year old fired nine aces and won 73 per cent of his first serve points in the match.

“It’s always tough to find your way at the beginning of a tournament and get through the first couple of matches,” said Khachanov. “But I’ve been able to adapt to to the situation, so I’m happy that I get to play again tomorrow.”

Khachanov has advanced to the final round of qualifying this year at the Australian Open and Wimbledon, but has yet to qualify for a Grand Slam in his young career. He’ll next play the winner of the match between NextGen star Noah Rubin of the U.S. and No. 28 seed Michael Berrer of Germany for a chance to make his maiden main draw at a major.

“It would be unbelievable for me to make it into the main draw here,” said Khachanov. “I just have to focus on my game tomorrow and show that I deserve it.”

Several other players also won their second-round qualifying matches to put themselves in contention to make their debut Grand Slam main draw: No. 15 seed Jozef Kovalik of Slovakia, No. 26 seed Saketh Myneni of India, Guilherme Clezar of Brazil, Ilya Ivashka of Belarus, Alexander Sarkissian of the U.S., Jan Satral of the Czech Republic, Marton Fucsovics of Hungary and Henri Laaksonen of Switzerland.

Mid-match showers saw play suspended with half of the 32 second-round qualifying matches still to be completed. Among the players on court when the rain came are No. 12 seed Joao Souza of Brazil, No. 13 seed Dennis Novikov of the U.S. and Rubin.

Players still to come on court for their matches on Thursday include top seed Yuichi Sugita of Japan, NextGen star and No. 14 seed Jared Donaldson of the U.S. and rising American teenager Reilly Opelka.

Top-seeded Gasquet beaten at Winston-Salem

Thu, 08/25/2016 - 9:38pm
Top-seeded Gasquet beaten at Winston-Salem

Nadal: 'I Need To Keep Competing'

Thu, 08/25/2016 - 8:52pm

Rafael Nadal arrived in New York last Sunday to prepare for the US Open, which begins on 29 August at Flushing Meadows. The Mallorcan, who returned to the ATP World Tour in Cincinnati after overcoming a left wrist injury, goes into the tournament excited after his time on the sidelines.

"I need to keep competing and training," explained Nadal in an interview with EL ESPAÑOL. "I went a long time without training. That's the reality. I think that is what I need at the moment."

The 14-time Grand Slam champion had to withdraw from the third round at Roland Garros due to a left wrist injury, which caused him to miss several tournaments including Wimbledon.

"My wrist is fine," said Nadal. "It has held up through many hours of playing. I know I'm going to have some trouble and, in some moments, it will limit me a bit. I need to get my confidence back and get through a few weeks without playing in pain, something that hasn't happened yet.

"It never gets easier to come back,"said Nadal, who has overcome serious injuries to his foot and knees earlier in his career. "I was playing very well when I had to stop in the third round at Roland Garros. You remember the things that you were doing well. The bad thing, of course, is that I had to stop in a moment when I was doing well and which could have helped me have a great season, especially after a good clay-court swing.

"The injury I had is very complicated and delicate," he said. "There are two possibilities: either it gets better with rest or you have to operate. At the moment, it seems everything has gone well, but at the same time it could have turned out differently and I might have had to stop for surgery. I hope things keep going well. So far, after many hours of loading the wrist, it hasn't gotten worse. This is important and very positive. I hope that day by day and week by week the wrist will keep feeling more comfortable and I will feel freer when hitting the ball."

Nadal arrives at the US Open hoping for a good tournament despite not enjoying the same competitive rhythm as his rivals.

"Clearly, I'm arriving with little match practice after an injury in the middle of the season," said Nadal. "All this makes it more difficult. But the excitement is there. I hope my wrist will keep improving, so that it lets me play my forehand more freely.  I am really excited to get back to competing. I feel competitive again. I'm really looking forward to playing and enjoying being on the court."

Raonic Rings Opening Bell At NYSE

Thu, 08/25/2016 - 8:06pm

Milos Raonic visited an iconic New York institution on Wednesday, ringing the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange ahead of his US Open campaign. The NYSE, located on Wall Street, is the largest stock exchange in the world by market capitalisation. The opening bell traditionally kicks off the trading day at the exchange.

Milos Raonic rings the opening bell at the NYSE." src="/~/media/images/news/2016/08/25/20/07/raonic-nyse-2016-us-open.jpg?h=433&w=768&la=en" style="height: 433px; width: 768px;" />

(Photo credit: NYSE)

“To have the opportunity to ring the bell in such an iconic setting is special, especially because I have interest in finance,” Raonic said. “It was nice to see the setup and the procedure of how the floor works. It was definitely a nice experience to be at the NYSE and, who knows, maybe one day after my tennis career I’ll end up here.”

The Canadian, No. 6 in the Emirates ATP Rankings, will take part in the US Open for the sixth time. He reached the third round at Flushing Meadows last year. He reached the fourth round in 2012, 2013 and 2014. Raonic is 42-11 on the year and defeated Roger Federer in the final of Brisbane to earn his eighth ATP World Tour title.

 

Insider Draw Analysis: US Open

Thu, 08/25/2016 - 7:15pm
WTA Insider Courtney Nguyen | What are the biggest storylines to come out of a packed US Open draw? Get the full breakdown right here on wtatennis.com.

Radwanska Runs Past Kvitova In New Haven Radwanska v Kvitova Highlights: WTA New Haven SF

Thu, 08/25/2016 - 7:14pm
Top seed Agnieszka Radwanska dropped just two games in a clinical defeat of defending champion Petra Kvitova at the Connecticut Open, where she'll face Elina Svitolina for the title.

Serena Sets Aside Summer Struggles

Thu, 08/25/2016 - 7:14pm
WTA Insider David Kane | World No.1 Serena Williams discussed her recovery from a shoulder injury as she aims for a record-breaking 23rd Grand Slam title at the US Open.

Kerber Rows Past US Open Pressures

Thu, 08/25/2016 - 7:13pm
WTA Insider David Kane | World No.2 Angelique Kerber took some time to unwind in the city that started it all for the Australian Open champion.

Muguruza's New York Mindset

Thu, 08/25/2016 - 7:13pm
WTA Insider David Kane | Garbiñe Muguruza takes forward momentum and positive vibes into the US Open; can the Spaniard make her first breakthrough in Flushing Meadows?

Serena Begins US Open Against Makarova

Thu, 08/25/2016 - 7:13pm
World No.1 Serena Williams begins her US Open campaign in a 2014 semifinal rematch against Ekaterina Makarova; check out the full draw here!

WTA Stars Enjoy Taste Of Tennis

Thu, 08/25/2016 - 7:12pm
The women of the WTA were dressed to impress at the annual Taste of Tennis event in New York City; check out the best photos here on wtatennis.com!

Svitolina, Larsson advance to New Haven semis

Thu, 08/25/2016 - 6:12pm
Svitolina, Larsson advance to New Haven semis

Fire Burns Bright As Bryans Chase No. 1

Thu, 08/25/2016 - 5:44pm

Victims of their own, unmatched, success, Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan have come under scrutiny in 2016. And that is despite being second in the Emirates ATP Doubles Race To London, with just under three months to go until the World No. 1 spot is decided at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals.

But such is the level of expectation that is placed on arguably the greatest doubles team of all time, by fans, media and most importantly, themselves. Indeed, when you’ve won 16 major titles, 36 ATP World Tour Masters 1000 and finished as year-end World No. 1 team 10 times, nothing less than US Open glory and clinching year-end World No. 1 will constitute a “great” 2016 season for the Bryans.

It is the attitude and outlook that has seen the Bryans win everything there is to win in tennis. But with a bursting trophy cabinet and happy family lives beckoning, what motivates the 38-year-old California natives to keep grinding on the ATP World Tour?

Perhaps their domination of doubles is behind them – due in no small part to the strength and depth on tour now - but the Bryans are confident that they remain a force to be reckoned with as they approach the latter stages of their career.

"We still feel like we have some stuff to do. We don't feel like our journey is over,” Bob told ATPWorldTour.com. “There are goals we want to accomplish. We still love the feeling of working hard and holding up a Grand Slam trophy. We feel like we have those moments left. We're working hard and tinkering with stuff in our game, changing up stuff in the gym and just trying to have one last great run. We're both very confident we can do that.”

This season has seen the Bryans lift three ATP World Tour trophies – in Houston, Barcelona and Rome – while also finishing runners-up at Roland Garros (l. to Lopez/Lopez) for the second year in a row. They go into next week’s campaign at Flushing Meadows looking to win their first major title since the 2014 US Open, which also marked their 100th tour-level team title.

“Looking back on the year there have been some highlights and some lowlights,” said Mike. “It's been a pretty solid year. By our standards, a little bit below par. If we'd won a couple of matches here and there we could have looked back and said we've had a great year.

“For so many years we were dominating,” Mike continued. “If we go into a tournament and we don't win it, then we're disappointed. Sometimes we can get into a little bit of a negative spiral if we're not going in and winning weeks.

“But players would die to have the year we've had this year. They're wondering when the Bryans are going to get back to No. 1 and win slams again. But I think it'll come with just enjoying the game and tinkering with a few things and I still think we have some bright spots on the horizon.”

The changes have rung off the court for the Bryans in recent years. Both are married, with Bob and wife Michelle parents to three children – Richie, the newest addition, born in October 2015. They live on separate coasts now and life has become a balancing act between tennis and family for the 38-year-old twins.

“There are more challenges of staying healthy and just the challenges of having fun and trying to find new things to work on,” said Bob. “I'm balancing a lot of stuff with my family. Our relationship has to stay healthy. We have goals and we're working very hard to achieve them. We're optimistic about this summer.”

But one of the most pivotal changes for the Bryans came last month, when their coaching partnership with David Macpherson came to an end after 11 years. With Macpherson taking up a position at George Washington University, the Bryans have turned to former Serbian player Dusan Vemic as their new coach, a partnership that began with a semi-final showing in Cincinnati last week.

“David's been the rock for so many years. He's a big loss, but we've got some fresh blood. We're excited with whom we picked as our coach. Hopefully it will spark something,” said Mike.

The Bryans have always demanded the best from each other on and off the court. With two such driven individuals, arguments are inevitable, and it had been part of Macpherson’s job to separate the pair and maintain harmony in the team when things got heated after tough losses.

But while it may hurt their relationship, it is that intensity and passion that can largely be credited for the Bryans’ huge success on the ATP World Tour.

“Macca did a great job of coming in between us when we were going at it,” said Bob. “He was a great guy we could talk to, a very calming and a very positive influence. When you lose, you can sometimes think it's the end of the world. But our coach never got into that negative mind frame. He was great at looking forward and never looking back. I think Dusan, our new coach, has that same relaxed, smart, calming influence.

“That helps us because we are very intense. We let each other have it in practice. We expect the most and the best out of each other at all times. That can be harmful on our relationship at times, because we are very tough. It's great to have someone between us.”

Mike added, “Our competitive nature has made us great. We're perfectionists. We want to play perfect every time we step out onto the court - make every shot and win every big point. That's why we've had a high standard for so many years and we still have that high standard. That's why it's disappointing to lose some of these matches and tournaments. We're working harder than ever and we're just as hungry as ever at the ripe age of 38.”

Cue the challenge for the remainder of 2016 – usurp Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut atop the doubles rankings. The French team, champions at Wimbledon, Queen's, Monte-Carlo, Miami and Indian Wells, lead the Bryans by 1,185 points in the year-to-date team standings. With doubles more open than it has been in years, it serves as added motivation for the Bryans to reclaim the top spot and taste more Grand Slam glory at the US Open, where they have lifted the trophy five times.

“The field is a lot more level,” said Bob. “It's a challenge for us to try and reinvent our games and improve stuff that has fallen off a little bit. We're up for this challenge. We would love to make a run at the end of the year and hold up the No. 1 trophy. It's going to be tough. The French guys are playing great tennis. We're going to have to really bring it to beat them.”

“The French guys have a good lead,” agreed Mike. “But it's one slam away to catch them. It's fun to have these rivalries and teams we're butting heads with at the top. There's a ton of teams that are great partnerships and are vying for these big titles every week. London's going to be fun. There are 16 good teams, but only eight qualify. So it's going to get tight there at the end of the year, but hopefully we're in the hunt for No. 1."

Cilic Inspires Kids At Flushing Meadows 2016

Thu, 08/25/2016 - 1:37pm
Former US Open champion Marin Cilic takes time out to inspire a group kids in a special tennis clinic onsite at Flushing Meadows.

Draw analysis: Obstacles aplenty await Serena at the US Open

Thu, 08/25/2016 - 1:26pm
Draw analysis: Obstacles aplenty await Serena at the US Open