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Karlovic Opens Newport Title Defence

Wed, 07/19/2017 - 4:50pm
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Second seed Ivo Karlovic got his title defence off to a strong start on Wednesday at the Dell Technologies Hall of Fame Open as he defeated Denis Kudla 6-4, 6-4 in the second round in Newport.

The Croatian was playing his first match in almost two weeks, since a first-round loss to Aljaz Bedene at Wimbledon, and is looking for a return to winning ways at this ATP World Tour 250 grass-court tournament, where he has made the final the past three years.

After finishing runner-up to Lleyton Hewitt and Rajeev Ram in third-set tie-breaks in 2014-15, Karlovic made it third time lucky last year as he edged Gilles Muller in a decisive third-set tie-break in the final.

The 38-year-old Karlovic notched his 15th win in Newport as he fired 16 aces and broke Kudla three times. He levelled their FedEx ATP Head2Head series at 2-2 as he set a quarter-final clash with German Peter Gojowczyk, who came back to defeat Konstantin Kravchuk 2-6, 6-4, 6-4.

Another German, Tobias Kamke, secured his place in the quarter-finals by ousting third-seeded Frenchman Adrian Mannarino 7-6(5), 7-5. Kamke reached the Newport semi-finals on his one previous tournament appearance in 2011. 

"I had to adjust a little bit [from the first round], because my second-round opponent likes to counter punch," said Kamke. "I like to hit the balls pretty hard, but today I tried to mix it up and not give him too much pace because I know he plays very, very well. It worked out OK."

Top seed and home favourite John Isner cruised through his opening match at the grass-court tournament, kicking off his bid to reclaim the Newport title with a 6-2, 6-4 win over Australian qualifier Sam Groth in 61 minutes. Isner fired 13 aces and dropped a total of nine points on serve as he improved to a 3-0 FedEx ATP Head2Head record against Groth.

Isner won back-to-back Newport titles in 2011 (d. O. Rochus) and '12 (d. Hewitt). He will next face American Dennis Novikov, who defeated Canadian Frank Dancevic 6-3, 6-2.

Fourth seed Pierre-Hugues Herbert saved 11 of 15 break points faced on serve while converting all four of his opportunities in a hard-fought 7-5, 2-6, 6-3 win over Spain's Adrian Menendez-Maceiras. The Frenchman is making his Newport debut this week. 

In remaining second-round action, Bjorn Fratangelo finished strongly against #NextGenATP Australian Akira Santillan to record a 7-6(3), 3-6, 6-1 win in one hour and 49 minutes, while qualifier Matthew Ebden upset sixth seed Lukas Lacko 6-1, 7-6(2).

Top Doubles Seeds Reach Semis

Top seeds Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi and Rajeev Ram raced into the Newport semi-finals as they dismissed Menendez-Maceiras and Miguel Angel Reyes-Varela 6-1, 6-2 in 47 minutes. Ram, who won both his ATP World Tour singles titles in Newport (2009, 2015), announced after his first-round exit on Tuesday that he had likely played his last singles match. The American is bidding to win his 13th tour-level doubles title and his third of the season, after triumphing in Indian Wells and Delray Beach with Raven Klaasen.

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Ferrer Stays Perfect In Bastad

Wed, 07/19/2017 - 4:20pm

David Ferrer maintained his perfect FedEx ATP Head2Head record against Dustin Brown, improving to a 5-0 mark on Wednesday at the SkiStar Swedish Open. In front of Swedish greats, who had come to the beach resort in celebration of the ATP World Tour 250 tournament’s 70th anniversary, the two-time Bastad champion dismissed the German 6-2, 6-3. 

Ferrer had required three sets to defeat Brown in their quarter-final clash last year in Bastad, but the eighth seed cruised through Wednesday's second-round encounter in 55 minutes as he capitalised on all four of his break points. He is looking to reclaim the title following triumphs in 2007 and '12 (d. Almagro both times). 

The Spaniard next faces World No. 100 Henri Laaksonen, who handed third-seeded Uruguayan and 2014 champion Pablo Cuevas his first loss before the Bastad quarter-finals in four visits (9-3 event record) with a 6-4, 6-3 victory over 68 minutes.

“I had to stay aggressive as he is one of the best players on clay,” said Laaksonen, who is through to his first ATP World Tour quarter-final. “I’m really happy to win today. I had to go and try to win it.”

Andrey Kuznetsov recorded his third win in four meetings over Pablo Carreno Busta, capitalising on the Spaniard’s lack of match sharpness. World No. 88 Kuznetsov fought hard from a set and 3-5 deficit to beat the top seed 4-6, 7-6(5), 3-0.

Carreno Busta, who came within two points of victory when he served for his 28th match win of the year at 5-3 in the second set, was attempting to bounce back after a left abdominal muscle fracture had kept him off the grass-court swing. The World No. 18 retired due to a left abdominal injury after two hours and nine minutes of play.

“The key was not to give up until the end,” said Kuznetsov. “I felt that I played during the whole match, in the first and second sets I had 14 break point chances, but converted only one. In the end I played well in the tie-break, then I saw in the third set he couldn’t move or serve that well.”

In the quarter-finals on Friday, Kuznetsov will challenge seventh seed Diego Schwartzman, who reached his fifth clay-court quarter-final of the year when he recorded his 15th match win on red dirt over fellow Argentine Renzo Olivo 6-4, 6-1 in 84 minutes.

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Zimonjic Closes In On Milestone

Nenad Zimonjic, 41, is now one match win away from becoming the 10th player in ATP World Tour history to record 700 doubles victories. The Serbian partnered David Marrero, as second seeds this week, to a 6-7(2), 7-5, 10-3 first-round victory over Andre Begemann and Philipp Oswald in one hour and 40 minutes. They will next play Swedish brothers Elias Ymer and Mikael Ymer.

Wimbledon: Highlights and best bits

Wed, 07/19/2017 - 2:46pm
Wimbledon: Highlights and best bits

Vote For #NextGenATP Shining Shot

Wed, 07/19/2017 - 11:13am

As they battle to secure their place in Milan at the end of the year, the #NextGenATP stars have been lighting it up on the ATP World Tour and ATP Challenger Tour with an array of hot shots.

ATPWorldTour.com has chosen the best five and now it’s up to you, the fans, to decide which is the best hot shot from a #NextGenATP player in the second quarter of the season.

Click through to watch the Top 5 and cast your vote!

Tickets to the Next Gen ATP Finals are on sale now. Get Yours!

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Five early US Open predictions

Wed, 07/19/2017 - 10:56am
Five early US Open predictions

Challenger Chronicles: Tsitsipas' Day Off In Scheveningen

Wed, 07/19/2017 - 10:32am
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Stefanos Tsitsipas is soaring towards the Top 100 of the Emirates ATP Rankings in 2017 and continues his quest for a maiden Challenger title this week at The Hague Open in Scheveningen, Netherlands. Coming off his first main draw appearance at Wimbledon, having emerged from qualifying, the Greek #NextGenATP star is up to a career-high World No. 167 and is poised to continue his ascent towards the Top 100 in Scheveningen. Tsitsipas revealed a day in the life on the ATP Challenger Tour in the Dutch coastal town.

Good morning! Nice to have a day off today to rest and recharge for a big second round match on Wednesday. I love it here in Holland and it's my second year in a row playing in Scheveningen. Looking forward to a great week.

Time for breakfast. Some fruit, eggs and orange juice to get my day started. Most important meal of the day.

Before I go to the practice courts, I get in a good workout in the gym. Stretching and a little yoga helps me prepare for the day and is very important to prevent injuries. Love the view from the window!

Got in a good practice with my team. Nothing too intense. I want to be fresh for my match against Jozef Kovalik on Wednesday and don't want to burn out. The courts here in Scheveningen are great and they do a good job of maintaining them for the players.

Practice is over and now I can relax for the rest of the day. I'm here with my family and having lunch with my sister. Black angus burger with a salad. It's great to travel with my family because it feels like home wherever I am. It's not easy to be away from home all year, so these moments help a lot.

Finishing my day off at the beach. The tournament is a five-minute walk to the beach and it's great to rest and unwind here. They have a boardwalk and nice restaurants and cafes too. I love being near the ocean. It's very peaceful.

Federer Named Among SI's 'Fashionable 50'

Wed, 07/19/2017 - 10:16am

It’s not just on the court that Roger Federer is making waves. The Swiss superstar has been named in Sports Illustrated’s ‘Fashionable 50’ once again, joining the likes of Serena Williams, Tom Brady, Cristiano Ronaldo, Lewis Hamilton and Dwyane Wade.

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SI wrote: “A 19-time Grand Slam champion, 35-year-old Federer keeps getting better with age. His timeless style extends to his looks on and off the court, but he really excels in classic pieces, such as blazers and slim suits. Lately, he's been taking risks with these staples, adding in different fabrics, textures and designs, including a Gucci tuxedo with an embroidered crystal king cobra at the 2017 Met Gala.”

A panel consisting of Sports Illustrated editors, sports and fashion experts came together to select the world’s most stylish athletes, taking into consideration such factors as their attire, endorsements, designer collaborations and social media presence.

The Oklahoma City Thunder’s Russell Westbrook came in at No. 1 on the list, with last year’s winner Victor Cruz. Williams, Federer – at No. 4 – and LeBron James rounding out the Top 5.

Last year, Federer was named as the ‘Most Stylish Man’ in 2016 by GQ Magazine, beating out Thor actor Tom Hiddleston.

Federer won his second Grand Slam title of 2017, and his 19th Grand Slam championship crown on Sunday with victory over Marin Cilic for a record eighth Wimbledon crown.

 

Roddick Or Clijsters: Hall Of Fame Trivia Newport 2017

Wed, 07/19/2017 - 7:14am
See how well Rajeev Ram, Bjorn Fratangelo and Denis Kudla perform in this trivia contest about Andy Roddick and Kim Clijster, two of this year's inductees to the Tennis Hall of Fame. Video courtesy: Dell Technologies Hall of Fame Open

Kozlov And Fritz Paddle Board Newport 2017

Wed, 07/19/2017 - 7:04am
Stefan Kozlov and Taylor Fritz compete in a paddle board race and (narrowly) manage to avoid falling in the chilly water in Newport. Video courtesy: Dell Technologies Hall of Fame Open

Ferrer Starts Campaign For Third Bastad Title

Tue, 07/18/2017 - 11:08pm

Two-time champion David Ferrer successfully transitioned from grass to clay on Tuesday, beating Argentine qualifier Federico Delbonis 6-3, 6-4 to move into the second round at the SkiStar Swedish Open in Bastad.

The eighth-seeded Ferrer, who won the title in 2010 and 2012, is making his 10th appearance in Bastad and improved to 22-7 at the clay-court event. The 35 year old will next meet German Dustin Brown, who defeated Brazil's Thomaz Bellucci 6-4, 6-3.

Two-time finalist (2013, 2016) Fernando Verdasco saved four of five break points to outlast #NextGenATP Swede Elias Ymer 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 in two hours. “I could have been more aggressive but I really felt I played with all my heart,” Ymer said. “I had a lot of energy going into the third set and that is a great feeling, when you know you can play every point with a great mindset and intensity.” 

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Verdasco is also making his 10th appearance at the ATP World Tour 250 tournament and will next face Argentine Facundo Bagnis, who put an end to Tommy Haas’ last campaign in Bastad, firing eight aces to win 6-7(5), 6-3, 6-2 in two hours and 28 minutes.

Ukraine's Alexandr Dolgopolov celebrated his 200th match win by saving both break points to beat Leonardo Mayer 6-3, 6-2. The 28 year old, who reached a career-high No. 13 Emirates ATP Ranking in 2012, has won three ATP World Tour singles titles. Earlier this year, he defeated World No. 5 Kei Nishikori in the Argentina Open final. 

Top seed Pablo Carreno Busta will face Andrey Kuznetsov in his opening match after the Russian defeated Jan-Lennard Struff 6-3, 6-4 in the first round. 

Seventh seed Diego Schwartzman sped into the second round with a 61-minute win over Maximilian Marterer, 6-1, 6-3. Schwartzman’s fellow Argentine Renzo Olivo will be his next opponent after advancing with a 6-2, 6-4 win over Paul-Henri Mathieu.

De Schepper Takes French Battle In Umag

Tue, 07/18/2017 - 10:37pm

French qualifier Kenny De Schepper won 86 per cent of his first-serve points to upset his seventh-seeded countryman Benoit Paire 6-2, 4-6, 6-3 on Tuesday at the Plava Laguna Croatia Open Umag.

The 30-year-old De Schepper will next play Italian Alessandro Giannessi, who beat Aussie wild card Marc Polmans 6-7(3), 6-3, 6-4.

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#NextGenATP Russian Andrey Rublev took advantage of his good fortune to beat Argentine Carlos Berlocq 6-2, 6-4. Rublev, No. 74 in the Emirates ATP Rankings, made the main draw as a lucky loser when sixth seed Borna Coric withdrew because of neck pain.

“I'm really happy that I won today because I know that to beat Carlos you have to play really aggressiave, you have to really give everything on court because he's a really great player and he fights till the end, no matter what the score is,” Rublev said.

The 19-year-old Rublev will next meet Slovakia's Andrej Martin, who beat Uzbekistan's Denis Istomin 6-3, 6-2.

Eighth seed Jiri Vesely erased the only break point he faced to beat Slovakian Norbert Gombos 6-4, 6-0. Birthday boy Aljaz Bedene, who turned 28, also advanced, knocking out two-time Umag champion Joao Sousa of Portugal 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 in two hours and nine minutes.

#NextGenATP Santillan Celebrates Milestone Win

Tue, 07/18/2017 - 9:54pm

#NextGenATP Aussie Akira Santillan made it look easy. Going for his first ATP World Tour win, the 20-year-old right-hander dismissed #NextGenATP American Michael Mmoh 6-1, 6-2 on Tuesday at the Dell Technologies Hall of Fame Open in Newport.

6 Things To Know About Santillan

Santillan won 77 per cent of his first-serve points and broke the 19-year-old Mmoh five times to advance in 53 minutes. The Brisbane resident, fresh off his first ATP Challenger Tour title on Sunday in Winnetka, had been 0-4 in ATP World Tour matches. He will face American Bjorn Fratangelo in the second round.

Expect a lot of aces when Aussie Sam Groth meets top seed John Isner in the second round. Groth set-up the clash by saving a match point and beating qualifier Austin Krajicek of the U.S. 6-7(3), 7-6(2), 6-3. The 6'4” Groth was down 30/40, 5-6 in the second set.

“I snuck a volley over the net there. Quite often in Newport, it's a bit throwback grass court, so quite often making that first volley is enough, and thankfully on that point it was,” said Groth, who finished with 23 aces.

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Sixth seed Lukas Lacko of Slovakia overcame #NextGenATP Reilly Opelka of the U.S. 7-6(7), 6-4. He will next meet Aussie qualifier Matthew Ebden, who needed 65 minutes to prevail against American wild card Rajeev Ram 6-1, 6-4.

After the match, the 33-year-old Ram said the contest was likely his final singles match. Ram's two ATP World Tour singles titles came at Newport (2009, 2015).

“I've played this tournament every year of my career since 2004. There's no better way to cap it off, if it is my last singles match, to play here. Unfortunately it didn't go my way but that's besides the point. I've had so many great memories here over the years,” Ram said.

Konstantin Kravchuk picked up his first grass-court win, 6-4, 6-4, against fifth seed Victor Estrella Burgos of the Dominican Republic. The Russian will next face German Peter Gojowczyk.

What Everyone Overlooks About Federer & Nadal's Game

Tue, 07/18/2017 - 8:26pm

What are Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal doing better than anyone else this year?

Second serves.

Federer and Nadal are the first two players to book their spots at the Nitto ATP Finals, to be held 12-19 November at The O2 in London. The two all-time greats have already qualified by winning a combined nine titles this season, including all three Grand Slam events.

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Nadal leads the Emirates ATP Race To London with 7,095 points to Federer’s 6,545 points. Dominic Thiem is currently in third place, well back with 3,345 points.

See Who's Pushing Nadal, Federer In Emirates ATP Race To London

An Infosys ATP Beyond The Numbers analysis identifies that Federer and Nadal both appear in the Top 10 in 2017 in four specific strategy categories, with second-serve performance being the combined best.

2017 Season: Nadal & Federer Strategy Rankings

Strategy

Rafael Nadal

Roger Federer

Second-Serve Points Won

1st (61%)

2nd (60%)

First-Serve Return Points Won

1st 36%

8th (33%)

Service Games Won

7th (89%)

2nd (92%)

Break Points Saved

4th (69%)

5th (69%)

Return Games Won

2nd (34%)

17th (26%)

First-Serve Percentage

3rd (69%)`

25th (63%)

Second-Serve Return Points Won

3rd (56%)

21st (50%)

First-Serve Points Won

25th (73%)

4th (80%)

Pinpointing where Nadal and Federer have excelled this season is valuable information for the rest of the tour, as it shows exactly how they've climbed to the top. Although Nadal and Federer employ different game styles from the back of the court, it’s clear that owning the second-serve battleground has helped both of them win more matches.

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Nadal and Federer are both ranked in the Top 10 in the following four strategy areas:

  • Second-Serve Points Won

  • First-Serve Return Points Won

  • Service Games Won

  • Break Points Saved

Nadal is amazingly ranked in the top three in five categories, including No. 1 in Second-Serve Points Won and First-Serve Return Points Won. The Spaniard is second in Return Games Won. Federer is ranked second in Second-Serve Points Won and Service Games Won.

Should players at all levels of the game focus more on these areas as well? It certainly wouldn’t hurt, especially since the return of serve is by far the least practised shot in our sport.

Federer found another level at Wimbledon this year with his second serve, bumping up his already high season average of 60 per cent won to a ridiculously high 67 per cent (119/178). At 2017 Roland Garros, Nadal won an even higher percentage, 74 per cent (112/151), of second-serve points as he powered to a 10th title in Paris.

Second serves don’t get the attention and love they deserve on the practice court, but come match day, they are a critical component of ultimately securing victory. Just ask Roger and Rafa.

Eastbourne Uncovered 2017

Tue, 07/18/2017 - 3:12pm
Go behind the scenes with ATP World Tour Uncovered presented by Peugeot at the Aegon International in Eastbourne, where Novak Djokovic starred.

New Tournament In Antalya Uncovered 2017

Tue, 07/18/2017 - 3:12pm
Go behind the scenes at the new ATP World Tour tournament in Antalya, where top seed Dominic Thiem and local favourite, Marsel Ilhan, visited a local historical landmark.

2006 Champion Garcia-Lopez Returns To The Hague Open

Tue, 07/18/2017 - 2:26pm
Eleven years later, former World No. 23 Guillermo Garcia-Lopez looks back on his title at the ATP Challenger Tour event in Scheveningen and discusses his aspirations to return to the Top 100.

10 takeaways from Wimbledon, tennis' gold standard

Mon, 07/17/2017 - 4:07pm
10 takeaways from Wimbledon, tennis' gold standard

Why Federer's achievements defy reality

Mon, 07/17/2017 - 3:05pm
Why Federer's achievements defy reality

Sharapova plays first match in U.S. since ban

Mon, 07/17/2017 - 1:07am
Sharapova plays first match in U.S. since ban

Somehow, Roger Federer keeps pushing the boundaries of greatness

Sun, 07/16/2017 - 5:51pm
Somehow, Roger Federer keeps pushing the boundaries of greatness