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Next Stop, Biel/Bienne & Bogota: Strycova & Bertens Headline Internationals

Sun, 04/09/2017 - 7:14pm
Top 20 players' schedules, upcoming tournaments, birthdays and more - check out what's on tap for this week as the WTA players head to Biel/Bienne and Bogota.

Reigning Champ Kasatkina Hits Charleston's Rainbow Row Kasatkina Charleston Photo Shoot

Sun, 04/09/2017 - 7:14pm
Daria Kasatkina stepped out on the town in Charleston on Sunday, with a new friend in tow: the Volvo Car Open trophy.

Hometown Heroines Hingis, Bencic Hold Court at Biel/Bienne Kids' Day

Sun, 04/09/2017 - 7:14pm
Check out the photos as Belinda Bencic and Martina Hingis kicked off the inaugural Ladies Open Biel Bienne with a clinic at Kids' Day.

Ranking Movers: Kasatkina, Ostapenko Lead Youth Surge In Charleston

Sun, 04/09/2017 - 7:14pm
Daria Kasatkina and Jelena Ostapenko rocketed up the rankings after strong showings in Charleston, but they weren't the only ones who had a good week.

Pliskova Scores Vinci Upset In Biel/Bienne

Sun, 04/09/2017 - 7:14pm
Kristyna Pliskova knocked out No.4 seed Roberta Vinci for the second time in two months, becoming one of the first winners at the Ladies Open Biel Bienne.

Goffin Fires Belgium Past Italy

Sun, 04/09/2017 - 3:33pm

BELGIUM 3, ITALY 2
Spiroudome de Charleroi, Charleroi, BEL (hard - indoor)

World No. 14 David Goffin wasted no time in sending Belgium to the Davis Cup semi-finals, ousting Paolo Lorenzi 6-3, 6-3, 6-2 in just one hour and 52 minutes on Sunday.

In front of the partisan Belgian crowd in Charleroi, Goffin sent the host nation back to the semis for the second time in three years, improving to 13-1 in his last 14 singles rubbers. The 2015 runners-up will welcome Australia in September.

"When you see the score it was comfortable, but inside it was not," said Goffin. "You have to stay focused. Especially when you win the first two sets and you think it's the end, but it's not. I'm really happy with how I finished.

"I just give my best on the court. I just want to play for my team and my country. I love to play at home, with the atmosphere in front of my own fans."

Goffin fired a forehand winner - his 29th of the match - to claim victory on Sunday. It was his second straight-set singles win of the tie, having defeated Andreas Seppi 6-4, 6-3, 6-3 on Friday.

In the dead rubber, Alessandro Giannessi defeated Joris de Loore 6-4, 7-6(9).

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FRANCE 4, GREAT BRITAIN 1
Kindarena, Rouen, France (Indoor Clay)

A day after taking an unassailable 3-0 lead, France completed a 4-1 victory over Great Britain. Jeremy Chardy downed Kyle Edmund 6-4, 6-4 on Sunday, after the Brits got on the board with a 6-1, 6-2 win for Daniel Evans over Julien Benneteau.

SERBIA 4, SPAIN 1
Aleksandar Nikolic Arena, Belgrade, Serbia (Indoor Hard)

Spain narrowly avoided a whitewash at the hands of Serbia, with Albert Ramos-Vinolas claiming the dead rubber victory over Nenad Zimonjic 6-2, 6-1. Earlier in the day, Dusan Lajovic rallied past Jaume Munar 2-6, 6-1, 6-4.

Azarenka to make WTA Tour return in July

Sun, 04/09/2017 - 3:07pm
Azarenka to make WTA Tour return in July

Kyrgios Powers Australia Into Davis Cup SFs

Sun, 04/09/2017 - 7:47am

AUSTRALIA 3, USA 2
Pat Rafter Arena, Brisbane, AUS (hard - outdoor)  

Nick Kyrgios guided Australia back into the Davis Cup semi-finals with a 7-6(4), 6-3, 6-4 victory over Sam Querrey on Sunday.

The World No. 16 fired down 21 aces to secure an unassailable 3-1 lead for Lleyton Hewitt’s side at the Pat Rafter Arena in Brisbane.

The United States swapped Jack Sock for Querrey, a move that could have been prompted by the towering 29 year old’s win over Kyrgios en route to taking the Abierto Mexicano Telcel title in February. However, Kyrgios dictated play, fighting back from a 1-4 deficit in the third set to clinch the tie on home soil.

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“It's a lot of relief we got through, a tough third set out there,” said Kyrgios, who won both singles matches this weekend in straight sets against Top 30 opponents. “Obviously a lot of emotions close to the finish line, I’ve been looking forward to this tie for a long time now.”

Later on Sunday, John Isner overcame Sam Groth 7-6(5), 6-3 in the dead fifth rubber.

Australia last made the semi-finals in 2015, losing to eventual champions Great Britain in Glasgow. “There is no greater honour than wearing the green and gold,” said Australia’s captain Hewitt. “I couldn’t be prouder of my boys. They’ve put so much hard work and effort into this campaign. They did absolutely everything we asked of them. The coaching staff too, so many sacrifices made. That’s what representing Australia is all about.”

Houston 2017

Sat, 04/08/2017 - 7:05pm

France, Serbia Advance To Davis Cup Semis

Sat, 04/08/2017 - 4:22pm

FRANCE 3, GREAT BRITAIN 0
Kindarena, Rouen, France (Indoor Clay)

Julien Benneteau and Nicolas Mahut overcame Jamie Murray and Dominic Inglot 7-6(7), 5-7, 7-5, 7-5 on Saturday to secure France's place in the Davis Cup semi-finals.

The French duo gave Les Bleus an unassailable 3-0 lead in their quarter-final tie with Great Britain, surging into the semis for the fifth time in eight years. They advanced when a Murray backhand volley clipped the tape off a Mahut lob, improving to 6-1 in their last seven home ties.

Despite the absence of stalwarts Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Gael Monfils and Richard Gasquet, France dropped just one set in reaching the last four, including straight-set victories for Lucas Pouille and Jeremy Chardy on Friday. Seeking a 10th Davis Cup crown, Yannick Noah's side will face Serbia next.

Great Britain, meanwhile, failed to reach the semi-finals for the first time in three years. The 2015 champions were without the services of World No. 1 Andy Murray, who is recovering from an injured right elbow.

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SERBIA 3, SPAIN 0
Aleksandar Nikolic Arena, Belgrade, Serbia (Indoor Hard)

Nenad Zimonjic and Viktor Troicki rewarded the boisterous home fans in Belgrade, giving Serbia an unassailable 3-0 lead over Spain on Saturday.

Zimonjic and Troicki prevailed in five sets over Pablo Carreno Busta and Marc Lopez, 4-6, 7-6(4), 6-0, 4-6, 6-2. They fired 53 total winners, including 14 aces, while converting six of 13 break opportunities.

For former World No. 1 and 40-year-old Zimonjic, it was his 30th doubles victory in Davis Cup play. "I'm extremely happy," he said. The atmosphere was great and we knew it would be a difficult match. They're great players, a great team.

"I'm proud of all of us. We were amazing the whole week. We had a great atmosphere and we worked really hard."

Serbia will next travel to France for their semi-final tie in September. The only previous meeting between the two nations was in the 2010 final, when the Serbians claimed their first Davis Cup crown.

"He had pressure and he put himself in to play," said Troicki about Zimonjic. "He did a great job. I want to congratulate him for winning again. And I want to thank him for playing with me."

U.S., Italy Keep Davis Cup Hopes Alive With Doubles Thrillers

Sat, 04/08/2017 - 8:17am

AUSTRALIA 2, USA 1
Pat Rafter Arena, Brisbane, AUS (hard - outdoor) 

Steve Johnson and Jack Sock combined to keep the United States in the hunt for a Davis Cup semi-final spot with a 3-6, 6-3, 6-2, 2-6, 6-3 triumph over Australian duo Sam Groth and John Peers.

The hosts led the contest 2-0 following Friday’s singles at the Pat Rafter Arena in Brisbane, but had their advantage halved by Johnson and Sock, who clinched a Bronze Medal together at the Rio 2016 Olympics.

“Jordan (Thompson) played great yesterday, he deserved to win, he was the better player,” said Sock. “But today we were able to regroup and get a win.”

Jim Courier’s American side must prevail in both singles matches on Sunday to progress to the semi-finals for the first time since 2012.

"I'm super proud of these guys today but it still will take a monstrous effort from us on day three,” said Courier.

World No. 16 Nick Kyrgios is scheduled to face Sock in the fourth rubber, before a possible deciding contest between Jordan Thompson and John Isner.

“The way he (Kyrgios) played yesterday, he's going to have a lot of confidence going out there,” said Australia’s captain Lleyton Hewitt. "Whoever he's up against is going to be a tough match. He knows that. He's our leader and we're going to back him to go out there and play well."

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BELGIUM 2, ITALY 1
Spiroudome de Charleroi, Charleroi, BEL (hard - indoor)

Simone Bolelli and Andreas Seppi kept Italy afloat in its Davis Cup quarter-final tie against Belgium, providing the heroics on Saturday in Charleroi. The Italians saved one match point in a deciding tie-break to edge Ruben Bemelmans and Joris De Loore 4-6, 6-3, 6-4, 3-6, 7-6(6).

Bemelmans and De Loore sought to give the host nation an unassailable 3-0 advantage, as Bolelli and Seppi were broken while serving for the match at 5-4 in the fifth set. But the Italian duo extended the tie in dramatic fashion in the ensuing tie-break. They prevailed after three hours and 50 minutes, firing 48 winners and converting four of nine break chances.

"I'm very happy," said Bolelli. "It was a very tough match. On this surface, they're really tough to play. They played really good. For me, we deserved it. We had many chances in the fifth set. We are still alive."

Belgium, runners-up in 2015 to Great Britain, are seeking their second semi-final appearance in three years, while the Italians are bidding for their first since 2014. David Goffin will look to wrap up proceedings when he faces Paolo Lorenzi in Sunday's reverse singles.

Nick Kyrgios 2017

Fri, 04/07/2017 - 11:35pm

Henman helps Evans find feet on clay

Thu, 04/06/2017 - 5:56am
Henman helps Evans find feet on clay

Kyrgios keen on home crowd support

Thu, 04/06/2017 - 3:25am
Kyrgios keen on home crowd support

Top Seven Stories Of 2017 So Far

Wed, 04/05/2017 - 7:29pm
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The season is only three months old but there's already a plethora of storylines to track. Here are the top seven stories of 2017 so far:

1. Roger Federer's Surprise Start

Federer, arguably the greatest player of all-time, has been the story of 2017. The Swiss star is still bringing his love for tennis that has helped millions of fans adore him. But Federer's ability to change might be the most impressive detail about his comeback so far. The right-hander has surprised and impressed most with his new flattened-out backhand, aided by his bigger, 97-inch racquet.

Heck, the fact that Federer still wants to tinker with his game – at 35 years old, in his 20th year on tour and with four kids and Mirka at home – is worth noting as well.

No one expected Federer to sprint to a 19-1 start and to beat Rafael Nadal three times, including during two finals – Australian Open and the Miami Open presented by Itau – and no one knows what the remainder of 2017 will hold for the 26-time ATP World Tour Masters 1000 champion. Maybe No. 1 in the Emirates ATP Rankings?

Federer's Best Starts To A Season

Year W-L Sunshine Double? Year-End Emirates ATP Ranking 2017 19-1  Yes ? 2006
33-1  Yes No. 1 2005
35-1  Yes No. 1
2004
23-1  No No. 1


2. Rafael Nadal's Resurgence

Two of the biggest questions coming into 2017: How would Federer come back, and how would Nadal return after another injury? We know about Federer, and we now know about Nadal as well. The Spaniard has hit top form on the hard courts, reaching three finals – Australian Open (l. to Federer), Abierto Mexicano Telcel (l. to Querrey) and the Miami Open presented by Itau (l. to Federer) – and has posted a 19-5 record to start 2017, tying him with Federer for the most wins to date.

Perhaps most importantly, Nadal feels good about his team's new addition, Carlos Moya, and about his play. “I am at a very high level of tennis and I believe I am ready to win titles,” Nadal said after falling in the Miami final. “I'm playing well [enough] to fight for everything.”

With the clay-court season set to start next week, expect Nadal to be feeling even better about his tennis.

FedEx ATP Win/Loss Index (2017)

Player W-L Roger Federer 19-1 Rafael Nadal
19-5 Jack Sock
18-4 Grigor Dimitrov  17-4  Jo-Wilfried Tsonga  17-4  David Goffin  17-7  Dominic Thiem  17-8 

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3. Nick Kyrgios' Play

His start to the year was hardly what he had imagined: a five-set loss to Andreas Seppi in the second round of his home Grand Slam. But Kyrgios has answered nearly every question that trailed him in Melbourne.

Mental toughness? See back-to-back straight-set wins against Novak Djokovic in Acapulco and Indian Wells. Showing up at every event? His last four tournaments: semi-final in Marseille; semi-final in Acapulco; quarter-final in Indian Wells; and semi-final in Miami.

His attitude? “I feel like my level of tennis, it's always been high, but mentally I'm competing for every point. That's making the difference,” he said after his Miami semi-final loss to Federer, one of the best matches of 2017. “I got a lot of work to do. I'm 16 in the world. There are 15 players better than me.”

4. Jack Sock Climbing The Emirates ATP Rankings

The Nebraska native has more than carried the American flag for the first three months of the season. After not winning a title during all of 2016, Sock has already captured two crowns – Auckland and Delray Beach. At the March Masters, he made his first Masters 1000 semi-final in Indian Wells (l. to Federer) and backed it up with a last-eight showing in Miami (l. to Nadal).

Sock is 18-4 on the season, second behind only Federer and Nadal in wins. The Kansas City resident reached a new career high of No. 15 in the Emirates ATP Rankings this week. At this rate, the 24 year old will crack the Top 10 by the end of the season and become the first American to do so since John Isner in May 2014. Sock is currently No. 7 in the Emirates ATP Race To London.

5. Alexander Zverev Leading #NextGenATP

#NextGenATP players continued to make strides during the first few months of 2017. Russian Daniil Medvedev celebrated his first final at the Aircel Chennai Open (l. to Bautista Agut). Emirates ATP Star Of Tomorrow Taylor Fritz checked off his first Top 10 win by beating Marin Cilic in Indian Wells. But no #NextGenATP player has delivered like Zverev this season.

The 19 year old won his second ATP World Tour title at the Open Sud de France in Montpellier. In Miami, he improved to 2-0 against Stan Wawrinka in their FedEx ATP Head2Head rivalry and made his first Masters 1000 quarter-final (l. to Kyrgios). The strong start has Zverev atop the Emirates ATP Race To Milan, which will determine who qualifies for the inaugural Next Gen ATP Finals, to be held 7-11 November in Milan.

6. Grigor Dimitrov Knocking On Top 10

The Bulgarian already has two titles – Brisbane and Sofia – and returned to the semi-finals of a Grand Slam for the first time since 2014 Wimbledon. Before falling to Nadal in the Australian Open semi-finals, Dimitrov had won 10 consecutive matches. He's 3-1 against Top 10 players and he might be rejoining that elite group soon.

Dimitrov is currently No. 12 in the Emirates ATP Rankings but he's played like a Top 5 player so far this season. His spot in the Emirates ATP Race To London: No. 4.

7. Surprise Beginnings From Andy Murray, Novak Djokovic

They're ahead of Federer in the Emirates ATP Rankings, but No. 1 Murray and No. 2 Djokovic have garnered a small fraction of the attention that Federer has received so far. Djokovic started the year with a memorable run in Doha, beating Murray for the title in one of the best matches of the year. That epic final had tennis fans thinking that this year's battle for No. 1 would again be a two-man affair.

But both Murray and Djokovic suffered early losses in Melbourne. Murray rebounded in Dubai to celebrate his 45th tour-level title, while Djokovic fell to Kyrgios in the Acapulco quarter-finals. In Indian Wells, both fell before the last eight, and they both withdrew from Miami with elbow injuries. With three Masters 1000 tournaments only weeks away, though, both men will be looking to get their season back on track.

Insider Podcast: Charleston Under Siegemund

Wed, 04/05/2017 - 7:13pm
WTA Insider | Laura Siegemund won the match of the day at the Volvo Car Open, saving two match points to upset former No.1 Venus Williams in Charleston.

Charleston Buzz: Upset Wins, Forever Friends

Wed, 04/05/2017 - 7:12pm
Friendship was the theme of the day at a very hectic Volvo Car Open.

'Yes, I Am!' Bouchard, Schiavone, Pavlyuchenkova Star In Monterrey Video

Wed, 04/05/2017 - 7:12pm
Eugenie Bouchard, Francesca Schiavone and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova are the stars of a great video from the Abierto GNP Seguros.

Social Buzz: Aces And Ices For Brit Trio

Wed, 04/05/2017 - 7:12pm
Naomi Broady enjoys the support of Heather Watson - while Johanna Konta awaits a delivery.

Beyond The Numbers: Dimitrov, Kyrgios Leading The Way This Season

Wed, 04/05/2017 - 7:04pm

The first quarter of 2017 is in the books, so let's see who had the hot hand to start the new year.

The big picture clearly shows Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal out in front in the Emirates ATP Race To London. But what about the specifics of serving, returning and elevating in the pressure moments? That’s where the specific metrics of our game step in to paint a clearer picture.

An Infosys ATP Beyond The Numbers analysis of the first quarter identifies four players who are outperforming their peers, laying the foundation for a rise up the Emirates ATP Rankings this season.

No. 1 Service Games Won = Nick Kyrgios 93.3% (208/223)

Ivo Karlovic has been the leader in this category for the past three years, but Kyrgios has knocked the 6’11” Croatian into second place to kick off 2017. Kyrgios defeated Karlovic 6-4, 6-7(4), 7-6(2) in the third round of the Miami Open presented by Itau last week.

Kyrgios broke Karlovic once in the opening set, while the Croatian was not able to break Kyrgios at all, seeing just one break point for the match. The Australian dropped serve twice in his opening-round match in Miami against Damir Dzumhur, and then only dropped serve once (to Federer) during the next 62 service games.

No. 1 Break Points Converted = Daniel Evans 53.7% (51/95)

Evans reached a career high of No. 41 just four weeks ago and currently sits at No. 44. He has a 10-6 record in 2017 after going 9-10 up to this point in 2016. Evans is taking advantage of the big moments so far this season.

He's the only player on the ATP World Tour who has converted more than half of his break points. Evans reached the final of the Apia International Sydney in January, converting an impressive 64.5 per cent (20/31) of his break points.

No. 1 Break Points Saved = Grigor Dimitrov 75.9% (101/133)

Dimitrov has been one of the most dangerous players on tour in 2017, with two titles and a 17-4 record. He played what some think has been the highest quality match so far this season, narrowly going down to Rafael Nadal in five sets during the semi-finals of the Australian Open.

The Bulgarian saved 61.5 per cent (8/13) of his break points in that match, and is saving an astounding 75.9 per cent so far this season. Dimitrov is now up to No. 12 in the Emirates ATP Rankings, from No. 17 at the start of the year, and is knocking hard on the Top 10.

No. 1 Second-Serve Return Points Won = Richard Gasquet 61.1% (225/368)

The 30-year-old Frenchman had a solid February, reaching the final of the Open Sud de France in Montpellier and the semi-finals of the Open 13 Marseille. Gasquet’s career average for winning second-serve points is 51 per cent, so he is clearly crushing that at 61.1 per cent. To give some historical perspective, Spaniard Alberto Berasategui has the career record for second-serve points won at 56.3 per cent.