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Kohlschreiber, Baghdatis Advance In St. Petersburg

Mon, 09/18/2017 - 12:43pm

Sixth-seeded German Philipp Kohlschreiber, a quarter-finalist at the St. Petersburg Open 10 years ago, booked his place in the second round on Monday with a comprehensive 6-1, 6-3 victory over Russian wild card Evgeny Tyurnev in 61 minutes. Kohlschreiber, now 29-17 on the season and seeking his first ATP World Tour indoor title, will next face fellow German and qualifier Daniel Masur or Ricardas Berankis of Lithuania.

Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis, a former World No. 8 who is currently at No. 122 in the Emirates ATP Rankings, struck 18 aces to knock out 2009 runner-up Horacio Zeballos of Argentina 7-5, 6-4 in one hour and 52 minutes. He’ll now challenge Damir Dzumhur, who defeated sixth-seeded Italian Paolo Lorenzi 7-5, 7-5 in just under two hours.

John-Patrick Smith, Ernests Gulbis, Liam Broady and Masur all booked their places in the main draw as a result of coming through the qualifying competition.

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Coric & Donskoy Visit Historic St. Petersburg Sight

Mon, 09/18/2017 - 11:47am

#NextGenATP star Borna Coric and local favourite Evgeny Donskoy marked the launch of the St. Petersburg Open on Monday with a visit to Peter and Paul Fortress, founded by Peter the Great in 1703.

The duo took a guided tour of the cathedral and grounds before setting off the cannon to mark midday in the Russian city.

“It was very, very nice,” said Coric. “This is my first time here. I heard from many people that it’s actually a very nice city. I’ve been really enjoying it. I think this is one of the best 250’s in the whole year.

“I feel quite good. I’ve had a week and a half of preparation. I’m in very good shape and I’ve been playing very well. I hope I can play well here.”

“It was pretty nice,” said Donskoy. “This is my favourite city and I’m from Moscow! I’ve never been to this place and seen these things. I really enjoyed it. My favourite part was firing the cannon.

“It’s a local tournament for me and it’s my favourite tournament because they really do a good job. I really like the city. I have some of my friends here. I’m feeling good in practice, enjoying the place and preparing for the tournament. I’m just trying to do my best. I enjoy being here every year,” added Donskoy, who is making his sixth main draw appearance at this ATP World Tour 250 indoor hard court tournament.

Belgium ousts Australia, will face France in Davis Cup final

Sun, 09/17/2017 - 10:40pm
Belgium ousts Australia, will face France in Davis Cup final

Fyrstenberg Announces Retirement

Sun, 09/17/2017 - 10:03pm
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After 17 years on the ATP World Tour, doubles specialist Mariusz Fyrstenberg has decided to call it a career.

At the ATP Challenger Tour’s Pekao Szczecin Open in Poland, Fyrstenberg announced on Sunday that he would be retiring from professional tennis, having completed a successful doubles career, most notably competing beside fellow Pole Marcin Matkowski in the pairing best known as “Polish Power”.

“This is a special place for me, because in Szczecin I started my doubles career,” said Fyrstenberg. “I won here three times and always love the atmosphere at this tournament and the people, who always support me. I stopped playing tennis half a year ago, but I decided to announce it in Szczecin. I’ve never thought about any other place to finish my career.”

After officially turning pro in 2001, the left-handed Fyrstenberg developed a greater penchant for doubles over singles, a discipline in which he only peaked at No. 317 in the Emirates ATP Rankings. Deciding to focus on doubles exclusively in 2007, the Pole, who hails from Warsaw, reached a career-high of No. 6 in August of 2012 and won 18 ATP World Tour doubles titles in a career spanning two decades.

Career title triumphs for the 37-year-old Pole include a maiden ATP Challenger doubles title on home soil in Szczecin in 2001, followed by a first ATP World Tour doubles title – also at home – in Sopot. (2003), and Masters 1000 crowns in Madrid (2008, 2012), all with Matkowski.

"Looking into the past, I can say that victories in Szczecin and in Sopot gave me the biggest happiness, although the biggest success was reaching the final in 2011,” reflected Fyrstenberg.

Alongside Matkowski, Fyrstenberg reached the US Open final in 2011, falling just short to Jurgen Melzer and Philipp Petzschner. As a result, team “Polish Power” qualified for their fifth and final appearance at the Nitto ATP Finals in London, where they made it all the way to the championship match before bowing out to Max Mirnyi and Daniel Nestor.

Representing Poland in Davis Cup, Fyrstenberg produced some of his best results, posting a record of 29 wins and 14 losses across 28 tie nominations. With a 22-7 record overall in doubles, he and Matkowski (19-6 together) combined for the best doubles team in Poland’s Davis Cup history.

The Pole played his last match this past February, reaching the semifinals of the Garanti Koza Sofia Open with partner Martin Klizan.

What’s next for Fyrstenberg? His wife Marta Fyrstenberg had an idea. “I’m glad that Mariusz said 'goodbye' to professional tennis,” she said. “Now he will be often at home!”

Gasquet Rediscovers Winning Ways In Poland

Sun, 09/17/2017 - 9:24pm

A LOOK BACK

Pekao Szczecin Open (Szczecin, Poland): Frenchman Richard Gasquet capped a brief return to the ATP Challenger Tour with a triumph in the Szczecin final, defeating former World No. 18 Florian Mayer 7-6(3), 7-6(4). Gasquet had entered the event to pick up some valuable match play having struggled recently with injuries. It was his first appearance in Szczecin since 2004 and improved his record in Challenger finals to 9-1. This was Gasquet’s first Challenger title since Bordeaux 2010. The Frenchman had saved a match point to beat Guido Andreozzi in the quarter-finals on Friday and did not drop a set thereafter. The World No. 30 is the highest-ranked Challenger winner since then No. 20 Benoit Paire won in Mouilleron le Captif, France, in 2015.

.@richardgasquet1 closes out the title at @PekaoSznOpen with back-to-back winners, defeating Florian Mayer 76(3) 76(4) in Sunday's final. pic.twitter.com/ZFcVfYTe8U

— ATP Challenger Tour (@ATPChallenger) September 17, 2017

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Road To The Shanghai Rolex Masters (Shanghai, China): A week after lifting the US Open junior singles and doubles trophies, Wu Yibing made history on home soil, becoming the youngest Chinese champion on the Challenger circuit. Chinese Taipei’s Yen-Hsun Lu was bidding for a record 30th ATP Challenger Tour title but was forced to retire with a right shoulder injury after Yibing won the first set in a tie-break, 7-6(6). The Chinese teenager did not drop a set all week and is projected to rise 177 spots to a career-high No. 319 in the Emirates ATP Rankings. He is the 12th teenage winner of the year and fourth aged 17 and under, joining Denis Shapovalov, Felix Auger-Aliassime and Nicola Kuhn.

Learn More About Yibing's Victory

American Express Istanbul Challenger (Istanbul, Turkey): Top-seeded Tunisian Malek Jaziri won four straight three-set matches to successfully defend his Istanbul crown. After defeating Israel’s Dudi Sela in last year’s final he repeated his triumph with a 7-6(4), 0-6, 7-5 victory over Italy’s Matteo Berrettini in what was the tournament’s 30th edition. Jaziri becomes the fourth repeat winner this year on the ATP Challenger Tour.

Malek Jaziri goes back-to-back in Istanbul, defeating Matteo Berrettini 76(4) 06 75 to retain the title in the tournament's 30th edition. pic.twitter.com/CWD56dQkfh

— ATP Challenger Tour (@ATPChallenger) September 17, 2017

Banja Luka Challenger (Banja Luka, Bosnia & Herzegovina): German Maximilian Marterer picked up the third Challenger title of his career with a routine 6-1, 6-2 result over 20-year-old Spanaird Carolos Taberner. The 22-year-old Marterer needed 59 minutes to claim his first title of the season, converting all four break chances. He did not drop a set all week. Taberner was appearing in his first Challenger final.

Maximilian Marterer claims his third #ATPChallenger title and first of the year, streaking past Carlos Taberner 61 62 in Banja Luka. pic.twitter.com/aBJ4prO1VJ

— ATP Challenger Tour (@ATPChallenger) September 17, 2017

Atlantic Tire Championships (Cary, U.S.A.): Kevin King’s comeback continues to gather steam with the American winning his first Challenger title. Having missed the entire 2016 season due to hip surgery, the 26 year old defeated Brit Cameron Norrie 6-4, 6-1 in what was his maiden appearance in a Challenger final. King had beaten top seed Ernesto Escobedo in the second round for his biggest career win. His triumph makes him the sixth different American Challenger winner of 2017, joining Frances Tiafoe, Tennys Sandgren, Ryan Harrison, Noah Rubin and Michael Mmoh. Victory also ensures he will surge 181 spots up the Emirates ATP Rankings to a career-high No. 253.

What a week for Kevin King! World No. 434 stuns Cam Norrie 64 61 for his first #ATPChallenger title at the @AtlanticTireCh in Cary. pic.twitter.com/CFp0yqw12m

— ATP Challenger Tour (@ATPChallenger) September 17, 2017  

 

20 Things To Watch In St. Petersburg & Metz

Sun, 09/17/2017 - 6:00pm

The ATP World Tour is back in action this week at the St. Petersburg Open, where Roberto Bautista Agut is the top seed, and the Moselle Open in Metz, where Pablo Carreno Busta leads the charge and Lucas Pouille returns to defend his title.

View Draws: St. Petersburg | Metz

10 THINGS TO WATCH IN ST. PETERSBURG
(1) Into the Indoors: As the season changes from summer to fall, the ATP World Tour transitions from outdoor to indoor hard courts with the St. Petersburg Open and Moselle Open. One million dollars is on the line in St. Petersburg, the third-largest purse of the 40 ATP World Tour 250 events behind the season-opener in Doha ($1,237,190) and next week’s tournament in Chengdu ($1,028,885).

(2) #NextGenATP Duo: Russian Daniil Medvedev and Croat Borna Coric are among the Top 7 players in the Emirates ATP Race to Milan. But No. 8 Hyeon Chung is only 22 points behind Medvedev and 181 points behind Coric among the 21-and-unders trying to qualify for the Next Gen ATP Finals. Medvedev and Coric will look to gain ground on Chung this week in St. Petersburg.

(3) Milestone Year: Medvedev, 21, reached his first final at Chennai, while Coric, 20, won his first title at Marrakech. Both earned Top 10 wins at Grand Slams, with Medvedev ending Stan Wawrinka’s year at Wimbledon and Coric upsetting Race to Milan leader Alexander Zverev at the US Open.

(4) Simply the Best: Medvedev’s countryman Mikhail Youzhny returns as the winningest player in St. Petersburg Open history. Youzhny is 33-13 and making his 16th straight appearance at the tournament (2001-13, 2015-17), which did not take place in 2014. The former World No. 8 is the last Russian finalist (2010) and champion (2004), also reaching the final as a 20-year-old in 2002.

(5) Hero’s Welcome: Jo-Wilfried Tsonga makes his St. Petersburg debut as a wild card and the No. 2 seed. Tsonga swept Laslo Djere and Dusan Lajovic of Serbia this past weekend to lead France into the Davis Cup final. The 32-year-old has won titles at Rotterdam, Marseille and Lyon in 2017.

(6) Consistency is Key: No. 1 seed Roberto Bautista Agut has also captured multiple titles this year (Chennai, Winston-Salem). The 29-year-old Spaniard is 41-16 in 2017, surpassing 40 wins for the fourth straight season. Bautista Agut is up to a career-high No. 13 in the Emirates ATP Rankings.

(7) Trio to Watch: No. 3 seed Fabio Fognini, No. 4 seed Adrian Mannarino and No. 5 seed Philipp Kohlschreiber are in form entering St. Petersburg. Fognini won the Gstaad title on July 30 and Kohlschreiber captured the Kitzbuehel title six days later. Mannarino is 16-7 since June 26.

(8) Record-Setter: No. 6 seed Paolo Lorenzi made history at the US Open earlier this month. The 35-year-old Italian became the oldest player in the Open Era to reach the fourth round of a Grand Slam for the first time. Lorenzi is also the oldest first-time champion in ATP history (2016 Kitzbuehel).

(9) On the Rise: Lorenzi’s first-round opponent Damir Dzumhur is 22-7 overall since June 19, highlighted by his first ATP World Tour final at Winston-Salem, second semi-final at Los Cabos and seventh Challenger title at Blois, France. Dzumhur also advanced to the US Open third round.

(10) Double the Russians: The only Russians in the doubles draw will meet in the first round when Youzhny and Evgeny Donskoy face fellow wild cards Mikhail Elgin and Alexander Kudryavtsev.

10 THINGS TO WATCH IN METZ
(1) Into the Indoors: As the season changes from summer to fall, the ATP World Tour transitions from outdoor to indoor hard courts with the Moselle Open and St. Petersburg Open. Frenchmen have won seven of the past eight Metz titles and nine of 14 overall since the inaugural event in 2003.

(2) Heroes’ Welcome: No. 3 singles seed Lucas Pouille and No. 1 doubles seeds Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut arrive in Metz from Lille, where they helped France beat Serbia in the Davis Cup semi-finals. After Pouille lost the opener, Herbert and Mahut earned the doubles win. Pouille defeated Dominic Thiem to capture his first of three ATP titles at the 2016 Moselle Open.

(3) Enemy of the State: France will host Belgium, led by No. 2 seed David Goffin, in the Davis Cup final. Goffin is 19-3 in Davis Cup singles matches, including victories over John Millman on Friday and Nick Kyrgios on Sunday. The Belgian has not won an ATP title since the 2014 Moselle Open.

(4) French Seeds: Frenchmen Richard Gasquet, Benoit Paire and Gilles Simon are seeded sixth, seventh and eighth respectively. Gasquet returned to the ATP Challenger Tour last week for the first time since 2010, capturing his ninth Challenger title in Szczecin, Poland. Simon, the 2010 and 2013 Metz champion, has not reached an ATP World Tour final since the 2015 Moselle Open.

(5) Eye on London: No. 1 seed Pablo Carreno Busta broke into the Top 10 of the Emirates ATP Rankings on September 11 after reaching the US Open semi-finals. The Spaniard is eighth in the Emirates ATP Race to London, with the Top 8 finishers assured a spot at the Nitto ATP Finals.

(6) Career Year: Also receiving a first-round bye is No. 4 seed Gilles Muller of Luxembourg. Muller reached a career-high No. 21 on July 31 after capturing his first two ATP World Tour titles at Sydney and ’s-Hertogenbosch, then upsetting two-time champion Rafael Nadal at Wimbledon.

(7) Career Year, Too: Like Muller, No. 5 seed Mischa Zverev broke into the Top 25 this season for the first time. The 2010 Moselle Open finalist reached the third round at Wimbledon, fourth round at the US Open and quarter-finals at the Australian Open, where he upset then-No. 1 Andy Murray.

(8) Veteran Presence: Three 35-year-old Frenchmen are in the field: Mahut, Julien Benneteau and Paul-Henri Mathieu. Benneteau and Mahut won the inaugural Metz doubles title in 2003, while Mathieu reached the Metz singles final in 2008. Mathieu plans to retire at the end of the season.

(9) Double the Frenchmen: Eleven Frenchmen are in the doubles draw, including the teams of Herbert/Mahut, Mathieu/Paire and Pouille/Simon. Also in the field are Benneteau and Edouard Roger-Vasselin, who lost to Herbert and Mahut in a historic All-French final at 2016 Wimbledon.

(10) Wild Cards Again: Romain Arneodo of Monaco and Hugo Nys of France are playing their first tour-level event as a team since Monte-Carlo in April, when they upset Grand Slam champions Jean-Julien Rojer/Horia Tecau and Jamie Murray/Bruno Soares en route to the semi-finals.

Tsonga leads France to Davis Cup final

Sun, 09/17/2017 - 12:09pm
Tsonga leads France to Davis Cup final

Sharapova quiets critics, claims she's moved on

Thu, 09/14/2017 - 4:31pm
Sharapova quiets critics, claims she's moved on

Stephens has shown she has what it takes

Mon, 09/11/2017 - 5:28pm
Stephens has shown she has what it takes

ICYMI at US Open: Rafa tastes sweet 16th Slam

Mon, 09/11/2017 - 2:06am
ICYMI at US Open: Rafa tastes sweet 16th Slam

Rafa's resurgence couldn't have come at a worse time

Mon, 09/11/2017 - 2:05am
Rafa's resurgence couldn't have come at a worse time

Kevin Anderson's US Open loss a minor setback in the greater picture

Sun, 09/10/2017 - 11:20pm
Kevin Anderson's US Open loss a minor setback in the greater picture

Why this is the most fulfilling season of Rafael Nadal's career

Sun, 09/10/2017 - 11:19pm
Why this is the most fulfilling season of Rafael Nadal's career

Hingis, J. Murray secure second Slam as team

Sun, 09/10/2017 - 9:08pm
Hingis, J. Murray secure second Slam as team

ICYMI at US Open: Sloane Stephens wins it all

Sat, 09/09/2017 - 10:21pm
ICYMI at US Open: Sloane Stephens wins it all

Sloane Stephens' title just the beginning of U.S. renaissance

Sat, 09/09/2017 - 10:20pm
Sloane Stephens' title just the beginning of U.S. renaissance

Serve it up: A food guide to the US Open

Tue, 09/05/2017 - 4:58pm
Serve it up: A food guide to the US Open

Only in New York: Taking the 7 train to US Open

Tue, 09/05/2017 - 4:57pm
Only in New York: Taking the 7 train to US Open

World's best wheelchair tennis players converge for US Open

Mon, 09/04/2017 - 8:28pm
World's best wheelchair tennis players converge for US Open

US Open masseur rubs shoulders with American tennis greats

Mon, 09/04/2017 - 7:21pm
US Open masseur rubs shoulders with American tennis greats