WTA Insider David Kane | The first soundbytes from Singapore featured differing opinions on the speed of the surface at BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global.
Garbiñe Muguruza and Johanna Konta hit the practice courts at the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global; check out the full show as broadcast on Facebook Live.
Jakob Amilon had a literal home court advantage at this week’s $50,000 ATP Challenger Tour event in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The 22-year-old Swede and college tennis star at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas received a main draw wild card into the tournament being held on his campus courts. Amilon put up a strong fight in the latter stages of his opening round against Zhe Li of China before falling in straight sets.
Despite the loss, he was able to take plenty of positives from the experience.
“To get a great tournament like this with all of these pro players is good for our city, for the school and for the program,” said Amilon. “You learn a lot from playing guys at this level, so it’s one of the most fun weeks of the year for me.”
Amilon is in his final year on the men’s tennis team at UNLV and is one of the top players in the region. But while he’s competed against some of the best college tennis players in the country, he admitted that Challenger players are at a level he doesn’t see regularly.
“The serves and returns are the biggest difference,” he explained. “They hit more aces and get more first serves in, so it’s way more difficult to break. And as soon as they get a chance on the second serve, they jump all over it and put pressure on you.”
The Swede will primarily focus on leading the UNLV team to big wins over the next few months, but aims to be competing in pro tournaments regularly when he graduates in May. Although his eventual goal is to be a staple in Challenger events and beyond, he plans on training like a player at this level for the remainder of his senior year.
“The thing you notice most with these guys is the way they practise and the work they put in, their attitude and the effort they put into their tennis. They’re so focused and put 100 per cent into everything,” said Amilon. “It’s really cool to watch.”
After winning his first Challenger title last month on his home courts at Ohio State University, college tennis star Mikael Torpegaard had another big run on a different college campus.
The 20-year-old from Denmark is competing at this week’s $50,000 ATP Challenger Tour event at the University of Las Vegas in Nevada. After receiving a wild card into the main draw, Torpegaard upset sixth seed Denis Kudla and another American in Austin Krajicek to reach the quarter-finals. Although he fell in three sets on Friday to fourth seed Santiago Giraldo of Colombia, he was confident his first trip to Las Vegas wouldn't be his last.
“I’m privileged to have gotten a wild card into the main draw and really grateful for it,” said Torpegaard. “Everything has been organised so well this week and I couldn’t be happier to be here.”
Torpegaard is competing in just the second ATP Challenger Tour event of his career. His first one came last month at the $50,000 event in Columbus, Ohio, where he used his main draw wild card to storm through to the title. The dream week culminated with a win over top seed Benjamin Becker in the final, marking his first victory over a Top 100 player in the Emirates ATP Rankings.
“Winning there definitely gave me a lot of confidence towards moving forward not just in college, but also on the ATP World Tour," said Torpegaard. "It gave me the belief that I can play at this level of tennis, which is really important for me.”
The week in Columbus wasn’t his first time competing against the world’s best players, though. Torpegaard had a memorable Davis Cup debut for Denmark in September 2015, squaring off against both Rafael Nadal and David Ferrer in a tie against Spain. Although he lost both matches, he said the weekend on court was invaluable.
“It was such a cool experience,” said Torpegaard. "Playing against two great champions gave me insight about what it takes to be a top player, how physical tennis is at that level and different aspects of what I need to improve in my game.”
Although Torpegaard will focus mainly on leading Ohio State to another NCAA title this season, he plans to keep his hand in the pro game. The Dane said he will compete in several Challengers this fall and still has an eye towards competing in the world’s biggest events.
“I just want to continue playing these Challengers and building my confidence,” said Torpegaard. “I’m hopeful about building up a head start by the time I’m ready to be on the tour full-time.”
WTA Finals Singapore preview: What's at stake
Norwegian teen Casper Ruud looks back on the fast start to his pro career, as he competes at the ATP Challenger Tour event in Santiago, Chile. Video courtesy Kalveer Biradar, Movistar Open Chile.
Top seed David Goffin, who is currently No. 10 in the Emirates ATP Race To London and in contention for one of the three remaining spots at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, overcame a challenge from qualifier Marius Copil to prevail 5-7, 6-1, 6-3 in the quarter-finals of the European Open on Friday. Copil fought hard until the end, saving five match points before Goffin served out the match.
"He served some bombs," Goffin said. "I really needed to find my footwork and my returns. I tried to make him go for some wrong shots, go for winners from tough positions."
"It will be a tough match tomorrow. He's a small guy like me, who likes to play on the baseline," Goffin said of Schwartzman. "There will be a lot of rallies. It could be a very interesting match."
Third seed Richard Gasquet remains on course to reach his third ATP World Tour final of the season after he beat Jan-Lennard Struff 6-2, 6-4 in 75 minutes. The Frenchman is trying to finish in the Top 20 of the Emirates ATP Rankings for a fifth time in six years (except 2014) and eighth time overall (2005-07). He will meet #NextGen star Kyle Edmund, who comes into the match on a high, having topped Andreas Seppi 6-3, 6-4 to reach his first ATP World Tour semi-final.
”It was a tough match for me against a good player, who won a Challenger a few weeks ago,” said Gasquet. “I knew how dangerous he was, having watched him win against Gilles [Simon] this week. I am very happy with the way I played, particularly in the second set, when he broke me at 4-2. It’s a good victory for me. It’s a great tournament and I hope to reach the final.”
Edmund, who is enjoying a career year, improved to 1-3 in quarter-final appearances at ATP World Tour events this year. He twice fell to Andy Murray (Queen's, Beijing) and lost to Tomas Berdych in Doha.
Nestor/Roger-Vasselin Advance In Doubles
Daniel Nestor and Edouard Roger-Vasselin rebounded to beat Oliver Marach and Fabrice Martin 6-7(5), 6-4, 10-8 in the doubles semi-finals. It was a setback for Marach/Martin, who are 11th in the Emirates ATP Doubles Race To London. They will lose grounds on No. 10 Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah, who are into the Moscow final.
Juan Martin del Potro withstood 12 aces from Ivo Karlovic on Friday at the If Stockholm Open to record his 26th match win of a comeback season, 6-3, 6-4 in 71 minutes. Del Potro moves on to face second seed Grigor Dimitrov. “I was expecting a tie-break in this match,” said del Potro. “But I’m happy to get the rest for tomorrow when I play Grigor.”
Del Potro leads Dimitrov 3-0 in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series, including a grass-court win at this year's MercedesCup.
Dimitrov completed his fifth win in seven meetings against Kevin Anderson 7-6(3), 5-7, 6-2 in two hours and 18 minutes. “It’s never easy when you serve for the match and you lose it,” said Dimitrov, who lost four straight games after he served for the match at 5-3 in the second set. “There was some very poor serving form me today, that’s all I can say. I know Kevin was stepping in on pretty much everything, so the match could have gone either way.”
Fourth seed and #NextGen star Alexander Zverev beat qualifier Tobias Kamke 6-3, 7-6(5) in an all-German quarter-final to reach the final four. Kamke served for the second set at 5-4, but his countryman broke back and secured the win on his second match point. Zverev clinched his first ATP World Tour title earlier this month at the St. Petersburg Open (d. Wawrinka).
"It was a tough match, a good win," said Zverev, a nominee for Most Improved Player of the Year. "Tobias played a very good match and if he keeps playing like this, he will surely return to the Top 100 again.
"The Swedish fans are great. They like to stay up late and come to support us. In Bastad I had a good run a year ago, so I can say that I play well in Sweden."
"Gastao beat Monfils the other day. He's very consistent and makes you play a lot of shots. I was lucky to get through in straights," Sock said. "The court has been playing pretty slow this week, which neutralises the power."
Pavic/Venus Oust Top Seeds
Mate Pavic and Michael Venus beat top seeds Marcelo Melo and Bruno Soares 6-2, 6-4 to move into the doubles final. Soares and regular partner Jamie Murray have already qualified for the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, while Pavic/Venus are No. 15 in the Emirates ATP Doubles Race To London and attempting to qualify for the year-end showdown for the first time.
Kuznetsova targets Kremlin Cup title, WTA Finals
Fabio Fognini got the better of Albert Ramos-Vinolas for the second time in as many weeks. The Italian extended his FedEx ATP Head2Head lead to 8-0 lifetime against the second seed with a 6-2, 6-2 victory on Friday for a place in the VTB Kremlin Cup semi-finals. Fognini, who also beat his Spanish opponent at last week’s Shanghai Rolex Masters, recorded his 25th match win of the year in 76 minutes. He will now challenge third seed Philipp Kohlschreiber, who beat Thomaz Bellucci 6-4, 6-2 in 76 minutes.
A duo of promising Russian teens enjoyed breakthrough runs in Moscow, but were felled by experienced opponents in the final eight. Daniil Medvedev took the second set 6-0 against veteran Stephane Robert, but lost 7-5, 0-6, 6-4 in his maiden ATP World Tour quarter-final. Nineteen-year-old Alexander Bublik pushed No. 6 Pablo Carreno Busta to a deciding tie-break, but succumbed 6-4, 2-6, 7-6(1). Robert and Carreno Busta will face each other for a place in the final.
Cabal/Farah Edge Russian Duo
Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah rallied to beat Konstantin Kravchuk and Andrey Kuznetsov 3-6, 6-2, 10-4 to reach the final. The No. 2 seeds are currently No. 10 in the Emirates ATP Doubles Race To London.
The Austrian partnered Julian Knowle to a 6-1, 5-7, 11-9 victory over Mikhail Kukushkin and Stephane Robert in Moscow. They will next face top seeds Pablo Carreno Busta and Marcel Granollers or wild cards Daniil Medvedev and Andrey Rublev in the semi-finals.
The 35-year-old Melzer has compiled a 347-331 record, including five titles as a singles player, and is now 300-242 lifetime, with 13 trophies, as a doubles competitor.
Watch Hot Shot as Dustin Brown hits a trick shot, just in case. Video courtesy Lagardere Sports.
Watch Hot Shot as Dustin Brown pulls off an improbable get against Jack Sock. Video courtesy Lagardere Sports.
“I talked to the coach and with the Russian players who had already beaten him. They gave me some tips. But, of course, you can’t win just thanks to those tips. Otherwise he wouldn’t be ranked No. 30,” said Medvedev. “I was very glad to see so many spectators cheering for me and this support gave me additional strength. Even though I was tired after the first set, the crowd helped me to win the match.”
The Russian has jumped from No. 329 to No. 123 this year in the Emirates ATP Rankings. Medvedev, who is a contestant in the Tecnifibre’s Young Guns Contest, will now challenge Stephane Robert for a place in the final four.
Joining him in reaching his maiden ATP World Tour quarter-final is wild card and fellow Russian Alexander Bublik. The 19 year old recorded the biggest win of his career by shocking top seed Roberto Bautista Agut, 6-2, 7-5.
“I still don’t believe what I just did. It’s incredible. I played great tennis,” said Bublik. “I had nothing to lose against him. It was my first time out on such a big stage against a top player, so I went out aggressively and tried to enjoy it."
Punching well above his Emirates ATP Ranking of No. 266, Bublik raced out to a 4-0 lead and continued putting pressure on the Spaniard to take the opening set. Bublik showed his sign of nerves when attempting to serve out the match at 5-4, but regrouped in the next game by breaking Bautista Agut with a forehand passing shot. The Russian made good on his second chance by firing an ace on match point and raising both arms over his head in disbelief.
Bublik has jumped nearly 700 spots this season in the Emirates ATP Rankings. He’s won four ITF Futures titles and scored his first win over a Top 100 player last week against Jiri Vesely at the ATP Challenger Tour event in Tashkent. His run in Moscow marks the first time he’s ever won a main draw match on the ATP World Tour.
Third seed Philipp Kohlschreiber beat Dusan Lajovic 7-5, 3-6, 6-3 to reach his ninth quarter-final of the year (also Sofia, Rotterdam, Dubai, Barcelona, Munich, Stuttgart, Halle, Hamburg). He goes on to face Thomaz Bellucci, a 6-3, 3-6, 6-2 victor over eighth seed Andrey Kuznetsov.
Top seed David Goffin made a strong start at his home tournament’s inaugural event with a 7-5, 6-4 win over Florian Mayer on Thursday at the European Open. Goffin stands at No. 10 in the Emirates ATP Race To London and looks to qualify for the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals for the first time.
The 25-year-old Belgian capitalised on five of his nine break point chances in the 74-minute match as he advanced to the quarter-finals, where he will face qualifier Marius Copil. The Romanian advanced to the last eight with a 7-6(3), 6-2 win over home hope Steve Darcis.
NextGen star Kyle Edmund, who is at a career-high No. 43 in the Emirates ATP Rankings, continued his banner year with an upset over second seed David Ferrer. The 21-year-old Brit saved seven of 11 break points faced in his victory over the Spaniard, which took just over two hours. He next faces Italian Andreas Seppi as he bids for a first ATP World Tour semi-final.
Jan-Lennard Struff, who won the title at the ATP Challenger Tour event in Mons two weeks ago, ousted fifth seed Gilles Simon 6-4, 6-4. In his second quarter-final this season (also Kitzbuhel), Struff will face third seed Richard Gasquet.
Top Doubles Seed Advances
Barclays ATP World Tour Finals qualifiers Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut advanced to the semi-finals with a 6-7(4), 6-4, 10-5 win over Federico Delbonis and Diego Schwartzman. They will challenge Dominic Inglot and Andre Sa, 7-5, 3-6, 11-9 winners over Pablo Cuevas and David Marrero.
Watch hot shot from the ATP Challenger Tour, as Brazil's Joao Pedro Sorgi strikes a behind the back flick hot shot in Santiago, Chile.
The WTA is live streaming the singles & doubles draws, practice sessions, press conferences & Future Stars final for the duration of the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global.
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