Khachanov, Simon to compete later today
Qualifier Federico Delbonis, who has a liking for the Rothenbaum, venue of the German Tennis Championships 2017, having reached the 2013 final (d. Federer in SFs, l. to Fognini in final), battled back to knock out the experienced David Ferrer on Thursday.
Delbonis trailed eighth seed and 2014 runner-up Ferrer 1-5 in the first set, and saved two set points at 4-5, in a 7-5, 6-3 win over one hour and 45 minutes for a place in his second ATP World Tour quarter-final of the season (also Sao Paulo). It was his first win in four matches against Ferrer, who lifted his 27th tour-level trophy on Sunday at the SkiStar Swedish Open (d. Dolgopolov).
“I have very good memories of the club in Hamburg,” said Delbonis. “It’s amazing to be back at a place to restore my confidence. I tried to keep battling at 1-5 in the first set, changing my game and slowing down the rallies. It was very fast at the beginning. I kept adopting the same tactic in the second set.” He will next meet third seed and #NextGenATP Karen Khachanov or Aljaz Bedene.
Another seed casualty was fifth seed Benoit Paire, who lost to Nicolas Kicker 6-4, 7-6(7). Paire could not convert one set point opportunity at 7/6 in the second set tie-break. Kicker awaits the winner of fourth seed and 2011 champion Gilles Simon or Philipp Kohlschreiber.
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Top seeds share a laugh in Atlanta
Top seed Jack Sock and second seed John Isner are in opposite halves of the draw at the BB&T Atlanta Open, but the two friends found themselves up close during Isner’s press conference on Wednesday night.
Isner was ready to take a few questions after his win over Vasek Pospisil, but was surprised to find the first one came from a “reporter” with the the Kansas City Star. After answering a question from Sock about the recent change in his game plan, the top seed noted that “like at Shanghai doubles, you’re returning well.” (Sock and Isner teamed up this past October to take the title at the Shanghai Rolex Masters).
“I had a partner who was average in Shanghai last year,” joked Isner. “I had to carry him, so I had to put him on my back and play very well. That partner remains nameless.”
Sock plays his opening match against Dudi Sela on Thursday night and Isner will square off against Lukas Lacko in the quarter-finals on Friday.
It hasn’t been all about tennis for players this week. ATPWorldTour.com provides a recap of the highlights
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German Tennis Championships 2017 – Hamburg, Germany
Hamburg native Tommy Haas visited the Elbphilharmonie (Elbe Philharmonic Hall), a concert hall in Hamburg with his family over the weekend. The Elbphilharmonie is one of the largest and most acoustically advanced concert halls in the world.
“Hamburg is an absolutely special place for me, no question about that. I was born and raised here. I started playing tennis here in the tennis club when my dad was teaching tennis. So everything for me really began here,” said Haas.
Philipp Kohlschreiber assisted with the draw ceremony at Kaisergalerie
Albert Ramos-Vinolas, Pablo Cuevas, Gilles Simon, Daniel Altmaier, #NextGenATP player Karen Khachanov and Haas all participated in Media Day.
J. Safra Sarasin Swiss Open Gstaad – Gstaad, Switzerland
Roberto Bautista Agut met with some of his youngest fans during Kids’ Day.
Mikhail Youzhny and Radu Albot are among the players who participated in the Pro-Am.
Joao Sousa, Henri Laaksonen and Marco Chiudinelli mingled with sponsors and signed autographs for fans.
Florian Mayer, Jiri Vesely, Maximilian Marterer and Haas took part in the Pro-Am.
BB&T Atlanta Open – Atlanta, Georgia
Gilles Muller had a hit with Weather Channel meteorologist Paul Goodloe.
John Isner met with Harlem Globetrotters member Kris “Hi-Lite” Bruton and received a personal jersey with the No. 1 on it.
Bob Bryan visited the Georgia Aquarium with his family.
#NextGenATP Americans Taylor Fritz and Reilly Opelka assisted in the tournament draw ceremony and participated in a Q&A during a charity fundraiser for the YMCA.
Fritz also visited the GT Baseball Field and tried his hand at a different sport.
Muller, Paul advance on Wednesday
Second seed and three-time BB&T Atlanta Open champion John Isner always find a way to bring his best tennis to Georgia, and his Wednesday night match against Vasek Pospisil was no exception. The American won 40 of his 44 service points to record a convincing 6-3, 6-4 victory and book a spot in the quarter-finals.
“I love coming back here,” said Isner. “I’m very comfortable here and enjoy playing this event, so I’m very fortunate this tournament keeps coming back every year.”
Isner prevailed in Atlanta in 2013-2015 and finished runner-up in 2010, 2011 and 2016. He improves to 24-4 at this event with the win over Pospisil.
Next up for Isner is Lukas Lacko, who scored the upset of the day in defeating sixth seed and Atlanta native Donald Young 6-3, 6-1. Lacko didn’t face a break point in the match and is through to his third quarter-final in Atlanta (2010, 2014)
#NextGenATP American Tommy Paul is through to his first ATP World Tour quarter-final after posting an upset 6-7(5), 6-4, 6-3 win over Malek Jaziri. The 20 year old rallied from 1-3 down in the deciding set to secure the win in two hours and 18 minutes.
“It’s definitely a good feeling. I was playing ITF Futures events a month ago and now I’m in the quarter-finals here, so it’s pretty crazy,” said Paul. “I’m excited to get out there again on Friday and keep riding this confidence.”
Paul, currently No. 291 in the Emirates ATP Rankings, came through qualifying and has won four consecutive three-set matches this week. He opened his main draw campaign with a first-round win over seventh seed and fellow #NextGenATP player Hyeon Chung of South Korea.
The American has jumped over 100 spots in the Emirates ATP Rankings over the past month. He’s enjoyed success stateside this season on the ATP Challenger Tour, posting semi-final finishes in Savannah and Winnetka.
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Awaiting Paul in the last eight is third seed Gilles Muller, who weathered a stern challenge from qualifier and #NextGenATP Frenchman Quentin Halys to advance 6-4, 6-7(1), 6-3. Muller, competing in his first tournament since defeating Rafael Nadal to reach the Wimbledon quarter-finals, hammered 20 aces and won 87 per cent of his first-serve points to prevail in two hours and 14 minutes.
“It feels good to win. The most important thing is to be ready to start all over again every day. It’s not like players are just going to give it to me because I made the quarter-finals at Wimbledon You have to work hard,” said Muller. “I am ready to do that now. I am going to wake up every day and try to do my best. At the end of the day, there is a good chance I will win a few matches.”
Harrison/Venus Upset In Opening Round
Andres Molteni and Adil Shamasdin defeated second seeds and Roland Garros champions Ryan Harrison and Michael Venus 6-4, 0-6, 10-7. Next up in the quarter-finals for Molteni/Shamasdin are Wesley Koolhof and Artem Sitak.
Chung and Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan needed 67 minutes to defeat the brother duo of Jack Sock and Eric Sock 6-3, 6-4. Their reward is a quarter-final showdown with top seeds Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan.
ATPWorldTour.com pays tribute to Nenad Zimonjic, who has recorded his 700th doubles match win.
Twenty-three years into his professional career, the body may creak a bit, but the mind of Nenad Zimonjic remains ambitious. A long-time custodian of doubles and its promotion, Zimonjic is a fervent and proud ambassador. Today, in his 42nd year, the Serbian has become the 10th player to record 700 doubles match wins (or more).
The feat encompasses an 18-year span from his first tour-level match win with Nebojsa Djordjevic in a Davis Cup zonal tie in May 1995 to his 700th victory today with Marcin Matkowski in the German Tennis Championships 2017 first round (d. Berlocq-Schwartzman).
“It’s nice to play in Hamburg again, for the first time since 2012, and to achieve the 700th match win in a country of such rich tennis tradition,” Zimonjic told ATPWorldTour.com. “It means a lot to join this ‘Club’, it’s a lot of wins and I want to thank all my partners over the years.”
DOUBLES MATCH WINS LEADERS (Since 1973)
|Career Doubles Match Record||Career Titles|
1) Daniel Nestor (CAN)
2) Mike Bryan (USA)
3) Bob Bryan (USA)
4) Todd Woodbridge (AUS)
5) Mark Knowles (BAH)
|6) Max Mirnyi (BLR)||743-414||49|
7) Leander Paes (IND)
8) Sherwood Stewart (USA)
9) Jonas Bjorkman (SWE)
10) Nenad Zimonjic (SRB)
Zimonjic started playing tennis in Belgrade at the age of nine under a bubble, at two clubs with a total of five courts, often at 11 o’clock at night. “It was freezing cold because that was the only time we could get a court and there were a lot of travel restrictions,” Zimonjic remembers.
For many years, ‘Zimo’ competed as a singles and doubles player, and whilst the Serbian remains proud of his four ATP Challenger Tour titles and his lone Top 10 win over then No. 6-ranked Andre Agassi at 2004 St. Pölten in Austria, it is on the doubles court where he continues to build his legacy.
Zimonjic has ranked among the finest doubles players of the past 13 years, a product of dedication, commitment and longevity, and, most importantly, desire to adapt and evolve. In 10 of the past 12 years he has ranked among the Top 15 in the Emirates ATP Doubles Rankings – including one year-end No. 1 finish in 2008.
“The reason why I still play is definitely because I love the sport and I love tennis,” said Zimonjic. “I still enjoy it and enjoy playing in front of big crowds and having the best opponents on the other side of the net. I love being part of this incredible generation, where tennis has been at the highest level. I love the life and travelling. I would love to keep playing as long as I can, as long as my body lets me.”
Whilst Zimonjic has played successfully with Leander Paes, Fabrice Santoro and Michael Llodra, his greatest achievements came with Canada’s Daniel Nestor between October 2007 and November 2010, when the pair took the team game to new heights in their battles with Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan. Fans still fondly remember how the 2008 Nitto ATP Finals – one of two year-end tournaments that Nestor and Zimonjic won (also 2010) – and the year-end No. 1 went down to the wire with the American twins.
“For three years, we were meeting in a lot of big finals, and it was either us winning the title or them winning the title,” Bob Bryan told ATPWorldTour.com. “In 2008, 2009 and 2010, doubles tennis was pretty much dominated by us and them. We consider him probably one of the two or three biggest rivals of our career.”
During that period, Nestor and Zimonjic captured three crowns (2008-09 Wimbledon, 2010 Roland Garros) from six Grand Slam championship finals and went 22-10 in title matches. Overall, the team won 26 titles – from their first at the 2001 Open Sud de France in Lyon (d. Eagle/Stolle) to the 2014 Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome (d. Haase/F. Lopez).
“We know we always have to bring our best stuff against him, because he always does the same against us,” Mike Bryan told ATPWorldTour.com. “He’s stood the test of time. He’s seen a lot of generations pass, and he’s still out here, 20 years later, which is pretty cool. The longevity is pretty awesome.
“It’s amazing to see. Now guys are lasting until 40, which was unheard of 10 years ago, so he’s kind of set the bar – him, Nestor and Leander – for us to look up to and try to shoot for that mark.”
Zimonjic has harnessed a powerful serve with precise volleys, and an amazing backhand return, to first rise to No. 1 on 17 November 2008. He stayed at the top of the team game for 50 weeks over five stints (through to August 2010) and to date has won 54 titles (54-37 final record). In an age where doubles strategy is often determined by the dexterity of singles players competing alongside experienced doubles exponents, 41-year-old Zimonjic remains ambitious.
“The key for me now is to get back into the Top 30 in order to have a regular partner,” said Zimonjic, who is currently at No. 48 in the Emirates ATP Doubles Rankings. “It would be a great honour to play once with Roger [Federer] or Rafa [Nadal] for one week, but I don’t have any plans to stop yet. I’m having too much fun playing the sport I love.”
2011 semi-finalist Verdasco makes early exit
David Ferrer completed first-round action on Wednesday at the German Tennis Championships 2017 by beating Hamburg debutant Nikoloz Basilashvili 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 in just over two hours. Eighth seed Ferrer, who reached the 2014 final (l. to L. Mayer), captured his 27th tour-level title and third crown at the SkiStar Swedish Open (d. Dolgopolov) on Sunday. The 35-year-old Spaniard will now face Argentinean Federico Delbonis in the second round.
Elsewhere, Jiri Vesely worked his way past Fernando Verdasco, who experienced his third straight first-round loss in Hamburg, in a 7-6(7), 6-7(0), 6-3 win over two hours and 45 minutes. The pair resumed at the start of the third set after rain postponed the match on Tuesday. Vesely now plays Argentinean Horacio Zeballos.
Aljaz Bedene cruised past lucky loser Jose Hernandez-Fernandez, a replacement for Rogerio Dutra Silva, in a 6-1, 6-2 win over 69 minutes. Bedene contested his second ATP World Tour final as a qualifier in Budapest at the Gazprom Hungarian Open (l. to Pouille) in April.
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Florian Mayer, playing at the ATP World Tour 250 tournament for the 12th time, became the first player into the quarter-finals after the German 2011 semi-finalist beat Andrey Kuznetsov 6-3, 4-6, 6-4. Last week, Kuznetsov reached his third ATP World Tour semi-final of the year in Båstad (l. to Dolgopolov). Mayer will face sixth seed Diego Schwartzman of Argentina, who advanced to his sixth quarter-final of the season by outlasting Cedrik-Marcel Stebe 1-6, 6-4, 6-2.
Novak Djokovic’s enforced break through injury will help the 12-time Grand Slam winner recover his best form, says former Wimbledon champion Pat Cash.
Former world number one Djokovic, 30, will not play again in 2017 because of an elbow injury.
Cash said he could now “mentally refresh, get his enthusiasm back, and start back again strongly”.
“We all know how tough and athletic he is, we want to see that again,” the 52-year-old told BBC Radio 5 live.
“It might seem a bit obvious for a tennis player to get tennis elbow and there is literally no cure for it, it just takes time, usually about a year or so, to fix it.
“But it is probably just what the doctor ordered, to take time off. After so many unbelievable years, 2017 has been poor for him.”
Djokovic retired injured during his most recent match, a Wimbledon quarter-final against Tomas Berdych on 12 July.
Earlier in the month, he won the Aegon International at Eastbourne – his 68th career title, but his first since January.
He suffered a shock defeat by world number 117 Denis Istomin at January’s Australian Open, where he was defending champion, and then lost his French Open crown when he was beaten by Dominic Thiem in the quarter-finals in June.
“It will take time for him to get his intensity back,” said Australian Cash, the 1987 Wimbledon men’s singles champion.
“It won’t be like Roger Federer, who was winning Grand Slams straight out of the blocks after he came back [after several months out with a knee injury in 2016], but some time next year he will be playing well again.
“Djokovic’s style is very similar to almost everyone else on the circuit, but he was just that bit fitter, that bit more flexible, that bit more mentally tough.
“He has probably lost two of those three major qualities, but he will be very sensible and make sure he is ready when he does come back. I do think he will be competitive again.”