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The Quest for Stars & Trophies

2013 State Championships

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#NextGen Kozlov Wins Maiden Challenger In Columbus

Mon, 11/28/2016 - 1:23am

A LOOK BACK

Columbus Challenger (Columbus, Ohio): Fourth seed and #NextGen star Stefan Kozlov picked up his first Challenger title by defeating sixth seed and fellow American Tennys Sandgren, 6-1, 2-6, 6-2. The 18-year-old’s victory marks the third time in the past four weeks that an American teenager has won their maiden Challenger title, with Reilly Opelka prevailing in Charlottesville and Michael Mmoh winning in Knoxville. This is the 13th time a teenager has won a Challenger this year and Kozlov is now the 17th #NextGen winner overall. Kozlov rises 30 spots to a career-high Emirates ATP Ranking of No. 116.

American Teen Finalists In 2016

Player

Age
Tournament
Result
Taylor Fritz
18 yrs, 2 mos
Happy Valley (AUS)
Won title
Stefan Kozlov
18 yrs, 2 mos
Le Gosier (GP)
Runner-up
Frances Tiafoe
18 yrs, 3 mos
Tallahassee (USA)
Runner-up
Frances Tiafoe
18 yrs, 5 mos
Winnetka (USA)
Runner-up
Frances Tiafoe 18 yrs, 6 mos
Lexington (USA)
Runner-up
Frances Tiafoe
18 yrs, 6 mos
Granby (CAN)
Won title
Frances Tiafoe
18 yrs, 8 mos
Stockton (USA)
Won title
Michael Mmoh
18 yrs, 8 mos
Tiburon (USA)
Runner-up
Stefan Kozlov
18 yrs, 9 mos
Suzhou (CHN)
Runner-up
Stefan Kozlov
18 yrs, 9 mos
Columbus (USA)
Won title
Michael Mmoh
18 yrs, 10 mos
Knoxville (USA)
Won title
Reilly Opelka
19 yrs, 2 mos
Charlottesville (USA)
Won title
Jared Donaldson
19 yrs, 6 mos
Savannah (USA)
Runner-up
Ernesto Escobedo*
19 yrs, 10 mos
Sao Paulo (BRA)
Runner-up

*Escobedo won first Challenger title less than a month after turning 20 in July, in Lexington (USA)

Sandgren’s best two Challenger results this year have come in Columbus, with the 25-year-old reaching the semi-finals at the $50,000 event here in September.

Astana Challenger Capital Cup (Astana, Kazakhstan): Top seed and #NextGen star Yoshihito Nishioka of Japan won his second Challenger title of 2016 in a marathon final over second seed Denis Istomin of Uzbekistan, 6-4, 6-7(4), 7-6(3). The win also marks the first time two #NextGen stars have won Challenger tournaments in the same week. The 21-year-old Nishioka clinched his maiden Challenger title in July in Winnetka, Illinois. His win also ensures he will finish the year inside the Top 100 of the Emirates ATP Rankings.

Andria E Castel Del Monte Challenger (Andria, Italy): Fourth seed Luca Vanni won back-to-back Challenger titles in Italy by defeating fellow Italian and wild card Matteo Berrettini, 5-7, 6-0, 6-3. Vanni also prevailed last week on home soil in Brescia.

Despite the loss, the week was a career breakthrough for Berrettini, who had never reached a Challenger quarter-final prior to this week. The 20-year-old Italian jumped from No. 680 to No. 433 in the Emirates ATP Rankings with his performance in Andria.

WHAT'S AHEAD

That’s a wrap for the 2016 ATP Challenger Tour season. The circuit will be on a five-week hiatus before resuming with events in Australia, Thailand and New Caledonia in January.

Biggest Upsets Of 2016: Sevastova vs Muguruza

Sun, 11/27/2016 - 8:14pm
Each day this week we're counting down the biggest upsets of 2016, starting with Anastasija Sevastova's colossal win over No.3 Garbiñe Muguruza at the US Open.

Halep, Gibbs & More: Who Had The Best Mannequin Challenge?

Sun, 11/27/2016 - 8:13pm
The WTA season is over but the Mannequin Challenge is here to stay - at least for now. Simona Halep, Nicole Gibbs, Daria Kasatkina and more stars gave the social media craze a try - whose do you like best?

Caroline Wozniacki's Best Shots Of The Year Wozniacki Best Shots 2016

Sun, 11/27/2016 - 8:13pm
Caroline Wozniacki's late-season resurgence made headlines during the Asian Swing, but her spectacular shotmaking was on song all season long. Watch all her best shots of 2016!

Argentina Rallies For First Davis Cup Title

Sun, 11/27/2016 - 7:35pm

CROATIA 2, ARGENTINA 3
Arena Zagreb, Zagreb, Croatia
Davis Cup Final 

Argentina completed an improbable comeback to claim its first Davis Cup title, storming back from the brink of elimination to defeat Croatia on Sunday.

The South American nation was one set from defeat in the fourth rubber, with Marin Cilic leading Juan Martin del Potro two sets to love, and they would mount a historic rally to lift the trophy. Del Potro turned in his first career two-set comeback 6-7(4), 2-6, 7-5, 6-4, 6-3, followed by a clutch 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 win for Federico Delbonis over Ivo Karlovic.

Argentina is the eighth nation to rally from 1-2 down and first since Serbia completed the comeback in 2010. Having captured road ties against Poland, Italy, Great Britain and now Croatia, they are just the second country to win the title with four wins away from home.

"We played with our heart and tried to do the best," said Delbonis. "This is amazing."

Led by captain Daniel Orsanic, Argentina silenced a partisan Arena Zagreb crowd. Del Potro, the Comeback Player of the Year in the 2016 ATP World Tour Awards Presented by Moët & Chandon, joined Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray, Milos Raonic, Nick Kyrgios and Cilic as the only players with at least six Top 10 wins this year.

"We did what we had to do," said Orsanic. "We could have lost, but the guys were amazing today. Juan Martin won an incredible match and Federico played the best match of his life. I dreamed for this so many times. I think tennis is very traditional at home and we deserve it."

Cilic struck first blood in Sunday's fourth rubber, breaking to love in the second game and reeling off 12 of the first 14 points to surge ahead 3-0. Del Potro would later break back for 4-4, but his Croatian opponent was too strong in the eventual tie-break, taking it 7-4.

Cilic looked to be in cruise control after snatching the second set 6-2 and denying a pair of break chances early in the third with consecutive clutch aces. The shot of the match came in the opening game of the third set, when Del Potro struck an improbable baseline-to-baseline tweener lob. They would remain on serve until the 12th game, when Del Potro surged to a 0/40 lead. Cilic turned aside the first two set points, but a lunging backhand volley winner would give the Argentine the third.

Another clutch late break leveled the match at two sets apiece, as Del Potro grabbed the fourth 6-4 and he would overcome a quick break to open the decider, reeling off six of the last eight games to complete the improbable comeback. He sealed the win on his first match point when Cilic netted a backhand return, extending his FedEx ATP Head2Head lead to 9-2.

"It's tough for me to speak, but I did my best and this is amazing," said an emotional Del Potro, who overcame 34 aces to prevail after four hours and 53 minutes.

While it was the first two-set comeback in Del Potro's career, it marked the third time Cilic had relinquished a two-set lead in 2016 alone. He had fallen to Jack Sock in Davis Cup play and to Roger Federer in the Wimbledon quarter-finals.

Delbonis, meanwhile, overturned an 3-9 record in tour-level matches on indoor hard courts. In stunning fashion, he broke Karlovic's serve four times, limiting the big-serving Croatian to 14 aces and just 67 per cent first serve points won. He captured the first live fifth rubber in the Davis Cup Final since 2012 and '13, when Radek Stepanek won consecutive live deciders against Spain and Serbia, respectively.

Following four final defeats - in 1981, 2006, 2008 and 2011 - it was a dramatic first title for Argentina. Croatia was bidding for its second crown after prevailing in 2005.

How Argentina finally broke its Davis Cup drought

Sun, 11/27/2016 - 7:23pm
How Argentina finally broke its Davis Cup drought

Delpo, Argentina rally to win first Davis Cup title

Sun, 11/27/2016 - 2:45pm
Delpo, Argentina rally to win first Davis Cup title

No panic for Delpo, Argentina heading into Cup finale

Sat, 11/26/2016 - 10:32pm
No panic for Delpo, Argentina heading into Cup finale

Bellis Storms To Inaugural Hawaii Open Title

Sat, 11/26/2016 - 8:15pm
Catherine Bellis completed a memorable week by upsetting top seed Zhang Shuai to lift the inaugural Hawaii Open.

Bellis Storms To Hawaii Title

Sat, 11/26/2016 - 8:15pm
Catherine Bellis completed a memorable week by upsetting top seed Zhang Shuai to lift the inaugural Hawaii Open.

Radwanska Headlines Shenzhen Field

Sat, 11/26/2016 - 8:14pm
Agnieszka Radwanska will be joined by fellow Top 10 players Simona Halep and Johanna Konta at the 2017 season curtain-raiser in Shenzhen.

Dodig/Cilic Put Croatia Ahead 2-1

Sat, 11/26/2016 - 6:06pm

CROATIA 2, ARGENTINA 1
Arena Zagreb, Zagreb, Croatia
Davis Cup Final

Croatia is one win from claiming their second Davis Cup crown after Marin Cilic and Ivan Dodig provided the heroics in Saturday's doubles rubber. In front of a sold out Arena Zagreb in the Croatian capital, Cilic and Dodig defeated Juan Martin del Potro and Leonardo Mayer 7-6(2), 7-6(4), 6-3 to put the host nation ahead 2-1 after Day 2 of competition.

Dodig, No. 13 in the Emirates ATP Doubles Rankings, led the charge in claiming his fifth straight Davis Cup doubles rubber since 2015. He has won three in a row this year with Cilic.

“This is a once in a lifetime experience and I have to thank the fans for creating a fantastic atmosphere,” Dodig said. “We will be rooting for Marin to finish the job tomorrow.” 

The Croatian duo prevailed after two hours and 42 minutes when a Mayer backhand return sailed long. They fired 33 total winners, including six aces, while taking 85 per cent of first serve points.

In Sunday's reverse singles, Cilic and Del Potro will return to the court for a critical fourth rubber. The Argentine leads the FedEx ATP Head2Head 8-2, having claimed their previous five encounters, including a 6-1, 6-2, 6-1 rout in the 2012 Davis Cup quarter-finals. This will be their first meeting in three years.

Croatia is eyeing its second Davis Cup trophy after emerging victorious in 2005. Argentina, a four-time finalist, is seeking to rally for its first title, having finished runners-up in 1981, 2006, 2008 and 2011.

THePETEBOX Pens Exclusive Track For London Finale 2016

Fri, 11/25/2016 - 8:23pm
Meet world renowned Loop Pedal Beatbox artist, THePETEBOX, who wrote an exclusive track to be played for the singles walk-ons at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals.

Bellis Eases Into Honolulu Final

Fri, 11/25/2016 - 8:14pm
Catherine Bellis moved smoothly into the Hawaii Open final with a straight-set win over Jacqueline Cako on Saturday.

Croatia, Argentina Level In Davis Cup Final

Fri, 11/25/2016 - 5:51pm

CROATIA 1, ARGENTINA 1
Arena Zagreb, Zagreb, Croatia
Davis Cup Final

Croatia, the 2005 champion, is level with four-time former finalist Argentina at 1-1 on Friday in the Davis Cup final at the Arena Zagreb. Argentina has previously defeated Croatia in quarter-final ties in 2002, 2006 and 2013.

Marin Cilic handed Croatia the early lead when he used his big-match experience to beat Argentina’s Federico Delbonis 6-3, 7-5, 3-6, 1-6, 6-2 in three hours and 30 minutes. Cilic, who improved to a 49-23 record on the season, won 77 per cent of his first service points and struck 17 aces. World No. 41 Delbonis, who had recovered from 0-2 sets deficit against Serbia’s Viktor Troicki in last year’s quarter-finals, hit 25 winners and is now 4-3 lifetime in singles rubbers.

"The crowd helped me to stay in there, it was not easy," said Cilic, who is now 22-9 in singles rubbers. "Federico played a great tennis from the middle of the third set to the end of the fourth. Just at the beginning of the fifth, I tried mentally to stay in there and get that break, and it was a huge difference." Cilic completed 2016 at a career-high year-end No. 6 in the Emirates ATP Rankings.

Argentina’s Juan Martin del Potro levelled the scoreline when he defeated 37-year-old Ivo Karlovic 6-4, 6-7(6), 6-3, 7-5 over three hours and 18 minutes in the second rubber. World No. 20 Karlovic, the oldest player to feature in a singles rubber in a final tie for 96 years (43-year-old Australian Norman Brookes in 1920), won four straight points from a 4/6 deficit in the second set tie-break. He hit 35 aces, but also 12 double faults.

Del Potro, the Comeback Player of the Year in the ATP World Tour Awards presented by Moët & Chandon, lost just eight of his first service points (68/76) and converted three of his seven break point opportunities. The World No. 38, now 31-12 on the season, will meet Cilic in the first reverse singles rubber on Sunday.

Croatia’s Ivan Dodig and Franko Skugor are scheduled to compete against Argentineans Leonardo Mayer and Guido Pella in the doubles rubber on Saturday.

Murray Meets Two Millionth Fan At The O2

Thu, 11/24/2016 - 10:52pm
After winning the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, Andy Murray meets the two millionth fan to have attended the season finale.

Daniil Medvedev Climbs The O2 London 2016

Thu, 11/24/2016 - 10:30pm
Meet Russian NextGen star Daniil Medvedev, who took the opportunity to walk over The O2 on his visit to the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, after being named Tecnifibre Young Gun on the Road in 2016.

Fun, Hot Shots & Bloopers At The O2

Thu, 11/24/2016 - 10:22pm
Relive the fun moments, bloopers and hot shots from the 2016 Barclays ATP World Tour Finals.

Emirates ATP Rankings 21 November 2016

Thu, 11/24/2016 - 9:48pm
See how the Emirates ATP Rankings look after the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals.

Best Matches Of 2016: Kuznetsova vs Radwanska Radwanska v Kuznetsova Highlights : WTA Singapore 1R

Thu, 11/24/2016 - 8:15pm
Each day this week wtatennis.com is looking back at one of 2016's most memorable matches; Svetlana Kuznetsova's battle against Agnieszka Radwanska in Singapore was a cut above all the rest…