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Djokovic Eyes Return To Top Form At Indian Wells 2017

Fri, 03/10/2017 - 10:37am
Three-time defending champion Novak Djokovic, a five-time titlist at the BNP Paribas Open overall, is relishing the chance to return to top form at this month's two ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournaments. Watch live matches at tennistv.com.

Dzumhur Battles Past Harrison In Indian Wells

Fri, 03/10/2017 - 10:17am

At four minutes past midnight, Damir Dzumhur held on for a 6-4, 3-6, 7-5 victory over Ryan Harrison in two hours and 10 minutes at the BNP Paribas Open. The Bosnian advanced to a second-round match-up with Albert Ramos-Vinolas as he broke Harrison in the final game of the match, having saved 10 of the 13 break points he faced.

The No. 67-ranked Dzumhur is coming off a run to the Dubai quarter-finals, where he upset Stan Wawrinka in the first round.

 Watch Full Match Replays

Vasek Pospisil battled through to a second-round clash with World No. 1 and 2009 finalist Andy Murray on Thursday evening as he came from behind to defeat Yen-Hsun Lu 6-7(6), 6-4, 6-3 in two hours and 30 minutes.

The Canadian, who came through qualifying, struck 10 aces and converted six of his nine break points to set up the clash with Murray, whom he last played in the 2015 Wimbledon quarter-finals.

Having slipped as low as No. 137 in the Emirates ATP Rankings last November, Pospisil is looking for a good run in the desert as he bids to make a return to the Top 100. The Canadian, who was in the Top 25 three years ago, won the doubles title at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden two years ago with Jack Sock.

Fabio Fognini staged an improbable comeback as he rallied from a 0-6, 2-5 deficit to defeat Konstantin Kravchuk 0-6, 7-5, 6-4 in two hours and 19 minutes. The Italian goes on to face seventh seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.

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One day after facing each other in the final round of qualifying, Yoshihito Nishioka and Elias Ymer crossed paths again in the main draw first round. With Ymer having won Wednesday’s contest 6-3, 6-1, he found Nishioka across the net again after he claimed a lucky loser spot in the main draw and this time it was the Japanese who prevailed, recording a 6-4, 6-1 victory in one hour and 48 minutes.

"Yesterday I wasn't playing that great and I got down on myself mentally pretty quickly," said Nishioka. "I couldn't fight yesterday and that's why I lost so quickly. Today, I could not lose to him again. I had to get revenge. I focused on how to win against him. I fought every point from the first point. I didn't lose my mentality and kept fighting. It was tough for him."

Next up for Nishioka will be 19th seed Ivo Karlovic. The 21 year old is a career-high No. 70 in the Emirates ATP Rankings this week after reaching the quarterfinals (l. to Nadal) as a qualifier last week in Acapulco.

Alexandr Dolgopolov, who beat Rafael Nadal en route to reaching the semi-finals in the desert three years ago, is through to the second round after defeating Viktor Troicki 6-1, 6-4. The Ukrainian ended a five-year title drought last month when he defeated Kei Nishikori to win the Buenos Aires crown on clay.

Jeremy Chardy set a second-round clash with eighth seed Dominic Thiem after beating qualifier Radu Albot 7-6(6), 6-2 in one hour and 47 minutes.

Khachanov Fratangelo In Indian Wells 2017 Thursday Highlights

Fri, 03/10/2017 - 9:38am
Watch Thursday highlights from the 2017 BNP Paribas Open, featuring wins for Karen Khachanov, Bjorn Fratangelo, Dusan Lajovic, Alexandr Dolgopolov and Damir Dzumhur. Watch live matches at tennistv.com.

Zvonareva launches comeback after 2 years

Fri, 03/10/2017 - 9:26am
Zvonareva launches comeback after 2 years

Bryans Jam With Rock Legend In Indian Wells

Fri, 03/10/2017 - 9:11am

The Bryans rock.

Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan have been hitting the right chords for the past 18 years at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden and on Thursday they were on song with entertainment of a different kind.

Fans chanted “Here we go Bryans!” as the American twins rocked out with Counting Crows star percussionist Jim Bogios at the Village Stage. The winningest doubles team in history have demonstrated their musical talents over the years, forming the Bryan Bros. Band and performing with renowned recording artists. As throngs of fans filed in on a warm Thursday evening, the energy emanating from Bob on keyboard and Mike on guitar engulfed the plaza. And when actress Kaley Cuoco of The Big Bang Theory made a surprise appearance, the crowd erupted.

“We’ve known Jim for more than 10 years and for him to come off the tour with the Counting Crows, it makes everyone better and it really means a lot,” said Mike. “To have the energy that Jim gives off and a backbeat that strong is pretty cool. It was another level.

“This gig is our Super Bowl. Just to see the crowd out there and that it was already packed before we started, shows that we’re doing something right. They stayed for every song.”

It marked the sixth straight year the Bryans have performed in Indian Wells. In addition to Bogios, they were joined on stage by Dan DeShara of San Francisco on guitar and vocals and George Holdcroft of Hollywood on sax, keyboard and vocals.

“Tennis comes a little more natural to us,” Mike said, when asked to compare playing tennis in front of thousands of fans or playing a gig on stage. “You have to think a little more here. We do this once a year and you don’t want to mess up. These guys make it look easy, but it’s far from it. When you walk on the tennis court, it flows pretty naturally. This is improving though. It’s getting better and better.”

The Bryans open their quest for a third BNP Paribas Open title and 37th at the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 level against wild cards Nick Kyrgios and Nenad Zimonjic. Seeded second, they are bidding to extend their streak of one Masters 1000 crown in seven consecutive seasons.

 

Novak On Canvas: Djokovic Immortalised In Indian Wells

Fri, 03/10/2017 - 8:48am
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To witness Novak Djokovic lift the trophy at the BNP Paribas Open is a familiar sight for tennis fans in the California desert. For the three-time defending champion, another tradition has become old hat as well.

Every year since 2014, Djokovic has been etched into Indian Wells lore - literally - with the tournament's singles champions honoured with a personalised mural by renowned artist Michael Sullivan. The tournament paid tribute to the World No. 2 on Stadium Plaza on Thursday afternoon.

"Michael is a great artist and I'm really happy that we see each other annually now," said Djokovic. "Hopefully we will keep that tradition going. It's a very nice tradition that Indian Wells is doing to honour the past champions. This tournament has set a high standard with the quality of organisation. It's one of the best in the world."

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Sullivan's masterpiece is acrylic on canvas, transferred onto glossy 12-inch by 12-inch ceramic tiles. The entire process takes an impressive three-to-six weeks, from drawing to installation of tiles, and he produces four portraits in total - two legends and the two defending champions.

"The poses are different, his shirts are different, but Novak has been the constant," said Sullivan. "It's cool that he's won it three years in a row. I'm running out of poses. We've done one where his hands are behind his head with a backhand follow-through and one of a forehand."

Djokovic opens his quest for a fourth consecutive BNP Paribas Open title and sixth overall on Sunday, against either Kyle Edmund of Gastao Elias. A trio of potential blockbuster clashes loom large, with Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Juan Martin del Potro, Nick Kyrgios and Alexander Zverev all lurking in the Serbian's quarter of the draw.

 

Gunter Bresnik: Planning A Practice Session

Fri, 03/10/2017 - 8:15am

If there were a tennis tee-shirt proclaiming ‘Been There, Done That’, Gunter Bresnik would surely wear it. Having spent three decades working as a coach, the Austrian has trained close to 30 players – including a nine-month stint with Boris Becker – in the Top 100 of the Emirates ATP Rankings. As coach to Dominic Thiem for the past 11 years, Bresnik talks to ATPWorldTour.com about the keys to planning a practice session in the first of a new Coaches' Corner series.

What are the main differences between planning the structure of a practice session before a tournament or during a tournament?
Mainly, the practice sessions are before or after a match. Before a match you oversee a warm-up, ensure your player feels all of his shots and maybe draw his attention to a few pointers for the match. After the match, you basically need to pay most attention to the shots he hasn’t done so well, with focus on the next player and what is necessary for the match.

The intensity differs depending on whether you have a match the next day, whether it’s a three or five-setter or an indoors or outdoor tournament. It makes the difference in the physicality of the practice. The intensity in the off-season, when you’re not at tournaments, is much, much higher. Then, you target the shots he’s not doing so well immediately. I pay most attention to the shots he does best and does worst – nothing in between.

How quickly after a match do you get your player back onto a practice court?
Sometimes immediately, in order to get certain things out of the system. If a player loses a match, I never get them on a practice court afterwards. If he won a match, it is possible to practice, but they may need to eat something first or have a little rest. It won’t be intense, only 45 to 60 minutes in total.

If they have another match the next day, how long is the post-match practice session?
I am a bad example, because Dominic was practising very intensely in Nice last year after each of his matches for 90 minutes to two hours. The Tournament Director asked me, ‘Do you want him to lose early?’ He ended up winning the tournament. It’s not always stupid, but it depends on the player’s physicality and mental toughness. How much someone can take. There are a lot of players who worry about 15 minutes of training. I think if someone cannot handle half an hour or one hour of practice after a 90-minute match, then they are not ready for the Tour.

Do you have set times for each drill in practice, or do you adjust the drills based on things you’ve seen from a player?
Both answers are yes. I will set the time, then I will always adjust it depending on how well someone does it. If you conduct a passing shot drill, and someone hits a lot of passing shots in a row then I will stop early. If he isn’t able to do it technically, then I will adjust the drill. You cannot force the players to do things, as they are the people that employ me. If they don’t want to do it, they don’t do it. But it’s a question of how fast you can convince them to do it, because they need to do it to improve.

Do you focus on one main goal per practice or a variety of different areas?
I like to focus on a certain purpose, otherwise I do adjust if something is working really well or it doesn’t make sense. This is common sense.

How much of a say does a player have in planning a practice session?
It depends on the age of the player and also their intelligence and mental capacity. Usually, I have worked with players that have a big say.

When you were coaching Boris, what would he say – I want to do this, that?
It’s a big difference to work with a guy like Boris, particularly as I was a young and inexperienced coach at the time, and now. You had to approach things differently than I do today. In general, all the players who are Grand Slam winners know what to do and understand their needs better than the players who haven’t done that well. This is where you give the player more of a decision.

Tennis has changed in recent decades. Has that meant a change in the structure of the practice session?
I’ve been coaching for 30 years and never knowing how the game is going to change, you do a good job as a coach if you give the player a lot of opportunities. If you say today, we’re going to spin the ball two metres over the net as Mats Wilander did to win Roland Garros, then John McEnroe won Wimbledon and everyone started to take the ball earlier and chip and charge, it won’t work.

First of all you need to think about the needs of the game in general, then look at the abilities of the player. If you work with a 25 year old, then you don’t need to compromise as regards the needs of his tennis, as opposed to a 12 year old, who I would like to hit everything. The ideal player is Roger Federer, who understands the serve and volley game almost as much as the baseline game. It helped him this year winning the Australian Open, playing Mischa Zverev – who beat Andy Murray, and not as used to serve and volley play. Federer understood the serve and volley game, because he played against them early in his career.

The job of a coach is to give a player all the tools possible, if they are able to assimilate the information.

How have you stayed relevant, improved as a coach for 30 years?
Every single player improved me as a coach. Sometimes I benefitted more than the player, regarding my professional development. I’ve work with 27 Top 100 players – left-handers, right-handers, serve and volleyers, baseliners, quiet, charismatic guys.

With this knowledge and experience, it usually helps me to coach any player – when to talk to them, when not to say something, what tournaments to play, where they ought to be in their careers, where they should peak or be in one or two years’ time.

What advice are you offering Dominic right now?
I only want him to improve as a player. There are a lot of areas of his game that are far from his potential, which we are working on. We are not focusing on his [Emirates ATP] Rankings. I say it all the time, it doesn’t matter if he is No. 20 or No. 30, or still Top 10 at the end of the year, if he gets all the components of his game together, then he will play really well.

I can see his potential. If he puts everything together he has the potential to be a Grand Slam champion.

Lajovic Sails Through Opening Indian Wells Test

Fri, 03/10/2017 - 7:33am

Qualifier Dusan Lajovic continued his solid run at the BNP Paribas Open on Thursday, scoring an impressive 6-3, 6-3 victory over wild card and #NextGenATP player Frances Tiafoe in the opening round.

The Serbian dropped just four points in racing to a 4-0 lead in the opening set and continued to hold the momentum, breaking Tiafoe twice more in the second set to secure the win in one hour and 17 minutes. Lajovic will now play No. 30 seed Feliciano Lopez.

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Alexandr Dolgopolov kept up his recent run of form with a convincing 6-1, 6-4 victory over Viktor Troicki. Last month’s Argentina Open champion broke the Serbian twice in each set to wrap up victory in 69 minutes. Next up for Dolgopolov is No. 29 seed Philipp Kohlschreiber.

Fabio Fognini completed a miraculous 0-6, 7-5, 6-4 comeback over Konstantin Kravchuk. The Italian trailed 3-5 in the second set before going on a five-game run and also saved three break points serving at 3-4 in the final set. Fognini’s path only gets tougher when he plays seventh seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the second round.

Read: Federer Unfazed By Difficult Indian Wells Draw

Thursday proved to be a successful day for qualifiers, with Vasek Pospisil continuing his resurgence by scoring a 6-7(6), 6-4, 6-3 win over Yen-Hsun Lu. The Canadian is rewarded for his efforts with a second-round clash against top seed Andy Murray.

Another qualifier, Yoshihito Nishioka, cruised through his opening test against wild card and #NextGenATP player Elias Ymer 6-4 6-1. The Japanese player went on a seven-game run from down 3-4 in the opening set. He will now play No. 19 seed Ivo Karlovic for a place in the last 32.

Other players to advance in first-round matches include Martin Klizan and Jeremy Chardy.

 Watch Full Match Replays

Djokovic: 'Now I'm In A Better Place'

Fri, 03/10/2017 - 3:50am
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He’s hit every high there is in tennis, but in the past few months Novak Djokovic has also had to endure some of the lows. They say the only way is down once you reach the top, but the Serbian insisted on Thursday that he is as hungry as ever and determined to fight his way back to the pinnacle of the sport.

Djokovic was seemingly unstoppable as of June 2016. He finally achieved his lifelong dream of winning Roland Garros, completing the career Grand Slam, and had a healthy lead on his closest competitors in the Emirates ATP Rankings. But a shock third-round loss to Sam Querrey at Wimbledon led to a frustrating second half of the season.

By anyone else’s standards, it was still a hugely successful campaign for Djokovic, winning the Toronto crown and finishing runner-up at the US Open and ATP Finals. But the Serbian admitted he was not himself on court as he surrendered the No. 1 spot in the Emirates ATP Rankings to Andy Murray at the end of the season.

"I don't regret things in life,” said Djokovic, who was in a reflective mood at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden. “Maybe I should have had a longer break after Roland Garros, to have more time to recharge emotionally in every aspect of my being. It didn't happen, I kept on going and I don't regret it because I believe there was a lesson to be learned from that.

“I think having those four or five months in the second half of 2016 was actually very important for me, for my growth as a player and as a human being. I learned a lot. I keep going. I'm obviously motivated to keep playing on a very high level.

“I had a couple of months where I wasn't myself on the court and now I'm in a better place,” the Belgrade native continued. “I hope and believe that I'm heading in the right direction.”

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Djokovic started 2017 on the right note, beating Murray in the Doha final. But despite a second-round exit to Denis Istomin at the Australian Open and defeat to Nick Kyrgios last week in Acapulco, Djokovic is satisfied he has the right feelings again on the tennis court.

"I feel much better in terms of my game, in terms of mental side, than I was some months ago,” said the 29 year old. "Generally, if I see myself with a broader perspective today and comparing myself to the end of last season, I'm a different player. I feel more comfortable, more fresh. I look forward to competing and I feel more confident on the court.

“I had to re-motivate myself and get back on track and I feel like right now it's much better than it was.”

Recalling an analogy that he made 12 months ago at Indian Wells, where he likened himself to the wolf atop the hill, watching the pack approaching, Djokovic said the tables have turned now. "I'm one of the wolves going up now. I'm hungry. But I'm not the only one.

“If I'm not hungry to have success in this sport, I wouldn't be sitting here talking to the media and playing this tournament. I've achieved so much in my career that I'm obviously very content and I could easily stop today and say, 'it's been enough'. But I keep going because I have that drive in me still and I have that flair. As long as that's present, I'll keep on playing."

There are few better places for Djokovic to rediscover his top form than the Indian Wells Tennis Garden, where he has a 47-6 match record and has lifted the trophy five times. But the draw has done the three-time defending champion no favours. He finds himself in the ‘group of death’ – the bottom quarter of the draw, which also features Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer. It’s a challenge the right-hander is embracing.

"I haven't had too many draws like that,” admitted Djokovic, who starts his bid against either Kyle Edmund or Gastao Elias before a potential third-round clash with Juan Martin del Potro. “It’s quite amazing to see that many quality players in one section of the draw. It is what it is. Obviously Nadal and Federer are just starting to re-build their rankings. We'll see what happens in the first few days of the tournament and we'll have some very strong matches. This is probably one of the toughest draws we've had.

"It's a very strong field. This is one of the strongest tournaments we have in the sport. Everyone wants to do well. The draw is something you have to accept and deal with.” 

Watch Hot Shot: Mannarino Finds Stunning Passing Shot In Indian Wells

Fri, 03/10/2017 - 3:22am
Watch Hot Shot as Juan Monaco channels the great Boris Becker before Adrian Mannarino comes up with the goods to break after a marathon rally at the BNP Paribas Open. Watch live matches at tennistv.com. Photo: Ron Angle

Want A Stacked Draw? Check Out Doubles In Indian Wells

Fri, 03/10/2017 - 2:53am

Forget the stacked bottom half of the BNP Paribas Open singles draw for a second. How about the loaded doubles draw in Indian Wells?

In addition to former champions Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan and top seeds Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut, the draw features a plethora of ATP World Tour singles stars. On the top half, three-time defending singles champion Novak Djokovic is pairing with countryman Viktor Troicki. They'll face Indian Rohan Bopanna and Brasil Open singles champion Pablo Cuevas in the first round.

In the same quarter, World No. 6 Rafael Nadal is partnering with Aussie Bernard Tomic. Nadal/Tomic will meet Pablo Carreno Busta of Spain and Joao Sousa of Portugal in their opener.

On the bottom half, top singles seed Andy Murray will play with fellow Brit Daniel Evans. They will face fifth seeds Feliciano Lopez and Marc Lopez in the first round. Murray/Evans could meet Croatians Marin Cilic and Nikola Mektic in the second round.

World No. 3 Stan Wawrinka and No. 13 Grigor Dimitrov should bring plenty of firepower to their first-round contest against Treat Huey and Max Mirnyi, who reached the Delray Beach Open final last month.

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Less than three weeks ago, Belgian David Goffin and Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga played against each other during the ABN Amro World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam. But during the next two weeks, the two Top 15 players will be teammates. They'll meet sixth seeds Raven Klaasen and Rajeev Ram, who won the Delray Beach Open doubles title last month.

Tsonga, who won back-to-back singles titles at Rotterdam and Marseille in February, could meet another 2017 singles titlist on the doubles court in Indian Wells. Rio champion Dominic Thiem is partnering with German Philipp Kohlschreiber, whom Thiem beat last year in the Stuttgart final. Thiem/Kohlschrieber face the Zverev brothers – Alexander Zverev and Mischa Zverev – in the first round.

The most popular team in the doubles draw, though, might be one of the two wild card recipients: Argentine Juan Martin del Potro and Indian Leander Paes. The 43-year-old Paes is going for his 55th career tour-level doubles title.

Top seeds Herbert/Mahut open against Americans John Isner/Jack Sock, and the second-seeded Bryan brothers face Aussie Nick Kyrgios and Serbian Nenad Zimonjic in the first round.

Read More: Murray, Like Fans, Marvels At Other Side Of Draw

Bolelli Soaring In Singles Comeback

Fri, 03/10/2017 - 2:29am

It often takes players a minimum of several tournaments to regain their form when coming back from an injury, but Simone Bolelli is proving to be an exception to that rule.

The 31-year-old Italian is competing at this week’s $50,000 ATP Challenger Tour event in Santiago, Chile, his second foray into singles since last year at Roland Garros. He defeated seventh seed and fellow Italian Alessandro Gianessi in the opening round for his first singles win in 11 months, then went on to beat fourth seed Taro Daniel of Japan in the quarter-finals on Thursday.

Bolelli dealt with left knee issues throughout the first half of 2016 before undergoing an operation in June. After months of intense physical therapy, he is now healthy and eager to climb back up the Emirates ATP Rankings. 

“I’m feeling fine physically and the knee is fine. The process after my surgery was a difficult one because I couldn’t move the way I wanted on court until January, but now I’m happy to be playing without pain,” said Bolelli. “I just need time to adjust, get used to playing singles again and keep working hard.”

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Bolelli returned to the ATP World Tour in February, teaming with fellow Italian Fabio Fognini for semi-final showings at the Argentina Open and Brasil Open. He also took his first step towards a singles comeback, competing in the qualifying draw at the former event. 

The Italian is eager to get back to the level he enjoyed prior to his injury woes. In 2015, he reached seven ATP World Tour quarter-finals and scored Top 10 wins over Milos Raonic and Tomas Berdych. Bolelli also won his first Grand Slam doubles title that same year with Fognini at the Australian Open.

However, Bolelli knows it will likely take time to reach those same heights. He’s committed to building up his ranking in Challengers and focusing first and foremost on staying healthy. 

“I didn’t play a singles match since last April, so I have to be patient. I’m trying not to put extra pressure on myself,” he said. “My first goal everyday is to just go on court, try to improve and enjoy what I do. But the ultimate goal is to finish the year inside the Top 100.”

Bhambri Healthy And Thriving In Zhuhai

Fri, 03/10/2017 - 1:55am

One year after his semi-final run at the ATP Challenger Tour event in Zhuhai, China, Yuki Bhambri of India is enjoying success here once again.

It wasn’t an ideal 12 months in between for him, though. An elbow injury sidelined Bhambri for six months and when he returned in September, he went 0-5 in main draw Challenger matches for the remainder of 2016.

But it seems that the former Top 100 player in the Emirates ATP Rankings is finally over his injury woes in 2017. He qualified for the Aircel Chennai Open in January and won his opening match in the main draw, then reached the final round of qualifying at the Australian Open. This week in Zhuhai, Bhambri has dropped just nine games in reaching the semi-finals, including a convincing second-round win over fifth seed Blaz Kavcic of Slovenia. 

“I’m always trying to make changes to stay healthy now. I’m trying to train harder, but also take more breaks in the schedule throughout the year,” said Bhambri. “The elbow is totally fine now, though. I’m still wearing something for protection, but there’s no pain.”

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In a bid for more match play, Bhambri also competed in ITF Futures events at the end of last year and beginning of this season, compiling a 13-1 record in three tournaments and winning the last two without dropping a set. But while the extra time on court was valuable, he admitted the level of play in Challengers is much higher.

“It’s very different. There are no easy matches in Challengers and some of the toughest Challengers in Asia are in China. Almost all of these guys have played in the biggest tournaments before,” said Bhambri. “Because there are three tournaments in a row this month in China, it also makes it very convenient for players to come and compete here.”

Bhambri is seeking his sixth Challenger singles title this week and first since prevailing in Pune in October 2015. But regardless of how his remaining matches in Zhuhai turn out, the Indian player said he has been enjoying his time here.

“The venue and facilities are top-notch,” said Bhambri. “It’s a great place to come and play tennis.” 

Donskoy Riding Federer Wave In Challengers

Fri, 03/10/2017 - 1:49am

What do you do after you’ve just beaten Roger Federer? If you’re Evgeny Donskoy, you go play a Challenger. 

The 26-year-old Russian caused arguably the biggest upset of the year at last week’s Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, shocking the 18-time Grand Slam champion in a third-set tie-break in their second-round match. Donskoy said the match brought a whirlwind of publicity, but it’s now back to business as usual for him.

“It was the most attention I’ve ever had,” said Donskoy. “Many friends were sending me messages and a lot of tennis players and fans were coming up to me in Dubai. But as the weeks go on, it’s natural for the attention to go away a bit.”

This week, Donskoy is the top seed at the $50,000 ATP Challenger Tour event in Zhuhai, China. He survived a marathon first-round match against Marko Tepevac of Serbia and then defeated local favourite Yan Bai, setting up a quarter-final clash against Joris De Loore of Belgium.

“It’s easier to play against the top guys like Federer because you don’t feel pressure. But if you’re a professional, you have to be ready to compete at any level,” said Donskoy. “Whether it’s a Challenger or a Grand Slam, you can lose every week. There are no easy matches at this level.”

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The Russian’s recent run of form is especially impressive given his struggles prior to it. After winning last July’s $100,000 Challenger in Astana, Kazakhstan, Donskoy posted a 9-18 record prior to last month’s ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam.

But before that tournament, a text message from fellow Russian Mikhail Youzhny led to the guidance that Donskoy needed to turn his game around

“I was losing many first-rounds and he sent me a message saying, ‘I was in this same situation many years ago. If you want to talk, I can help you,’” said Donskoy. “He’s not helping me on the court and telling me what to do, but he’s been helping me like a friend. It’s almost been like a big brother.”

With three weeks of tournaments across China this month, Donskoy is eager to build on his recent success and further boost his current Emirates ATP Ranking of No. 99. He’s also impressed by what he’s seen in Zhuhai and expects this event to stick around for many years to come.

“Everything is organised very well here. I’ve always played well in China, even during the juniors, so I’m enjoying it here,” said Donskoy. “Of course, the goal is to play bigger tournaments and that is my hope for next year, but it’s not a big deal for me to play Challengers. Plus the facilities here are amazing and could easily host an ATP event.”

Tomic upset in first round at Indian Wells

Fri, 03/10/2017 - 12:28am
Tomic upset in first round at Indian Wells

#NextGenATP Khachanov Books First Masters 1000 Win

Fri, 03/10/2017 - 12:05am
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Karen Khachanov claimed his first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 victory on Thursday at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden as he defeated Tommy Robredo 6-1, 7-5 in the first round of the BNP Paribas Open.

The #NextGenATP star is making his debut in Indian Wells and introduced himself to the Stadium 1 crowd in style, firing 12 aces and rallying from 3-5 down in the second set, saving a set point before prevailing in 73 minutes.

“It feels great. It's my first time here in Indian Wells. I've heard a lot about this tournament and I'm really happy that I could get through to the second round. Today I had to be ready from the first point, concentrate 100 per cent and play my game,” Khachanov said. “It's a big tournament, but I didn't even think about it, that it's my first Masters 1000 win. I'm just going step-by-step through the levels.”

 Watch Full Match Replays

The 20-year-old Khachanov is looking to kick start his 2017 campaign and ended a run of four successive first-round defeats. He next goes on to challenge 11th seed David Goffin for the first time.

Third seed Stan Wawrinka will open his campaign against Paolo Lorenzi after the Italian dismissed Robin Haase 6-4, 6-3.

Read: Wawrinka Happy With Build Up

Two American teenagers were left disappointed as Reilly Opelka fell 6-4, 3-6, 6-1 against German qualifier Peter Gojowczyk. But fellow American Bjorn Fratangelo enjoyed success, cruising past Bernard Tomic 6-2, 6-2 to set a second-round clash with 13th seed Tomas Berdych.

In a battle between two qualifiers, Darian King edged Nikoloz Basilashvili 7-5, 7-5. King, of Barbados, was playing his first main draw match at an ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournament and earned a clash with 10th seed Gael Monfils in the second round. Other first-round winners on Thursday included Adrian Mannarino, Mikhail Kukushkin and Joao Sousa.

Stan Lays Out Map For BNP Paribas Open Success

Thu, 03/09/2017 - 9:52pm
Stan Wawrinka is excited to be back at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells. Watch live tennis at tennistv.com.

Tsonga Upbeat At BNP Paribas Open

Thu, 03/09/2017 - 9:51pm
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, a winner of two ATP World Tour titles in February, will try to take his first BNP Paribas Open crown in Indian Wells.

Thiem Looking For More Good Results In Indian Wells

Thu, 03/09/2017 - 9:49pm
Dominic Thiem talks about what turned his season around at the Rio Open presented by Claro. Watch live tennis at tennistv.com.

Nishikori Looks To Bounce Back In Indian Wells

Thu, 03/09/2017 - 9:09pm
Kei Nishikori will look to bounce back from an early loss in Rio at the season's first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournament, the BNP Paribas Open. Watch live tennis at tennistv.com.