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Wawrinka Sets Sights On Rome

  • Posted: May 04, 2018

Wawrinka Sets Sights On Rome

Swiss star practising with former coach Magnus Norman

Stan Wawrinka, recovering from a calf injury, is eyeing the Internazionali BNL D’Italia in Rome as his return event.

The 32-year-old said he withdrew from next week’s Mutua Madrid Open, where he was a finalist in 2013 (l. to Nadal), to ensure a full recovery. Wawrinka also confirmed he has been practising with former coach Magnus Norman in preparation for his return.

“I gave up on returning to Madrid next week as a sheer precaution. I lost 10 days of training due to a calf injury,” Wawrinka said. “Now I’m on a block of two weeks of training with the help of Magnus Norman. My goal is to get back to my best. I think I can do it in the long run. I’m training at 100 per cent. The knee is okay. I’m sure I’ll see the end of the tunnel.”

Wawrinka’s last match was at the Open 13 Provence in Marseille, where he retired against Ilya Ivashka in the second set. The former World No. 3 was also forced to withdraw from the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells and the Miami Open presented by Itau in order to continue his recovery from a knee injury that required two surgeries in August 2017.

Wawrinka confirmed Friday he’ll play at the J. Safra Sarasin Swiss Open Gstaad in July for the first time since 2013.

The Swiss finished his 2017 season with a 26-11 record, including one ATP World Tour title in Geneva (d. M. Zverev). He also reached the final at the BNP Paribas Open (l. to Federer) and at Roland Garros (l. to Nadal).

If his recovery remains on track, Wawrinka added that he may take a wild card into another event ahead of Roland Garros.

“If I have the feeling that I need more matches I could ask for a wild card in Geneva or Lyon,” Wawrinka said.

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Djokovic, Nishikori Set For Madrid Blockbuster

  • Posted: May 04, 2018

Djokovic, Nishikori Set For Madrid Blockbuster breaks down the draw for the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournament

Get the popcorn ready! Two-time former champion Novak Djokovic, who is looking to return to top form, is set to face in-form Kei Nishikori in a blockbuster first-round match-up at the Mutua Madrid Open.

Djokovic, reunited with his long-time coach Marian Vajda for the clay-court swing, will have to be immediately match-sharp at the Caja Mágica when he meets Nishikori, the recent Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters finalist (l. to Nadal). Djokovic, leads Nishikori 11-2 in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series, but their last red dirt meeting went to three sets at the 2016 Internazionali BNL d’Italia, which Djokovic won 2-6, 6-4, 7-6(5) for a place in the final.  Nishikori has reached the Madrid quarter-finals (or better) in each of the past five years, including a 2014 runner-up finish.

Tenth seed Djokovic, who captured the 2011 and 2016 Madrid titles, and Nishikori have been drawn in the bottom half. The winner could potentially meet eighth seed David Goffin in the third round and third seed Grigor Dimitrov in the quarter-finals. After a first-round bye, Goffin will meet Robin Haase (on 199 match wins) or Hyeon Chung, who is through to this week’s BMW Open by FWU semi-finals. Dimitrov will challenge Milos Raonic or a qualifier in his first match. World No. 5 Dimitrov has won three of his four matches against Raonic, including a 7-6(7), 6-2 victory at the Brisbane International presented by Suncorp. 

In another tasty first-round clash, 2012 runner-up and No. 14 seed Tomas Berdych squares off against Richard Gasquet, who returned to form last month in Monte-Carlo with a quarter-final run (l. to Zverev 7-5 in the third set). Berdych leads Gasquet 9-7 in their series. Fernando Verdasco, a two-time quarter-finalist, will go for the 500th match win of his career against Paolo Lorenzi. 

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In the top half of the draw, Dominic Thiem and Juan Martin del Potro could potentially be roadblocks in Rafael Nadal’s attempt to clinch a sixth title in Madrid, which will help him to retain No. 1 in the ATP Rankings. The Spanish superstar, who has reached the Madrid final on nine previous occasions, could meet 2017 runner-up Thiem in the quarter-finals and Del Potro in the semi-finals.

Nadal, who has already swept to 11th titles at both the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters (d. Nishikori) and Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell (d. Tsitsipas) in recent weeks, is riding a 19-match winning streak on clay and has been drawn to meet Gael Monfils or a qualifier in the second round. The 31-year-old is 45-7 lifetime in Madrid, with title runs in 2008, 2010, 2013-14 and 2017, in addition to runner-up finishes in 2007, 2009, 2011 and 2015.

Fourth seed Del Potro, appearing in Madrid for the eighth time, is competing for the first time since John Isner ended his 15-match winning streak in the Miami Open presented by Itau semi-finals. The Argentine, who will play Julien Benneteau or Damir Dzumhur in the second round, captured back-to-back ATP World Tour titles at the Abierto Mexicano Telcel (d. Anderson) and the BNP Paribas Open (d. Federer). He has advanced to the Madrid semi-finals on two occasions (2009 and 2012).

Fifth seed Thiem, who last year contested four clay-court matches against Nadal during the spring European clay swing (Barcelona, Madrid, Rome and Roland Garros), will be hoping to return to top form, starting with a second-round tie against Mischa Zverev or a qualifier. Three weeks ago, Nadal beat Thiem 6-0, 6-2 in the Monte-Carlo quarter-finals.

Second seed Alexander Zverev, who reached the quarter-finals last year (l. to Cuevas), will play in-form #NextGenATP Stefanos Tsitsipas, the recent Barcelona runner-up, or a qualifier. Seventh seed John Isner, winner of his first Masters 1000 crown in Miami, goes up against Guillermo Garcia-Lopez or compatriot Ryan Harrison in the second round.

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Estoril Open: Kyle Edmund beaten in quarter-finals by Joao Sousa

  • Posted: May 04, 2018

British number one Kyle Edmund is out of the Estoril Open after losing in the quarter-finals to Joao Sousa.

Edmund, ranked 23rd in the world, was beaten 6-3 1-6 6-0 by the Portuguese world number 68 in 88 minutes.

The two will meet again on Saturday, however, when Edmund and Cameron Norrie play Sousa and Argentina’s Leonardo Mayer in the men’s doubles semi-finals.

Sousa will go on to play Greek world number 44 Stefanos Tsitsipas in the singles semi-finals in Portugal

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Jaziri, Chardy Advance To Istanbul Semi-finals

  • Posted: May 04, 2018

Jaziri, Chardy Advance To Istanbul Semi-finals

Daniel through to first tour-level semi-final

Malek Jaziri is one match win away from reaching his first ATP World Tour final at the TEB BNP Paribas Istanbul Open. The 34-year-old knocked out seventh-seeded Czech Jiri Vesely 3-6, 6-4, 6-1 in one hour and 55 minutes on Friday.

“It was a really important win, as I didn’t feel that I was playing good tennis,” admitted Jaziri. “I didn’t feel good or comfortable right from the start. He served well and played good tennis, so I was making more mistakes. I tried to put more balls in court and competed for every point. I began to feel better and when I broke back at the end of the second set the match completely changed.”

The Tunisian, who recorded the second Top 10 win of his career on Thursday with victory over top seed and defending champion Marin Cilic in the second round, sets up a first-time meeting against fifth-seeded Italian Paolo Lorenzi or Laslo Djere of Serbia.

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France’s Jeremy Chardy is close to ending a nine-year wait for a shot at a tour-level singles title after he defeated Thomas Fabbiano 6-2, 6-2 in 77 minutes. The 31-year-old Chardy contested two finals in 2009, winning the Mercedes Cup in Stuttgart (d. Hanescu) and finishing runner-up at Johannesburg (l. to Tsonga).

He’ll now challenge Japan’s Taro Daniel, who fought back from an 0-4 deficit in the deciding set to beat Rogerio Dutra Silva of Brazil 1-6, 6-1, 6-4 in two hours and five minutes for a place in his first ATP World Tour semi-finals. Two months ago, as a qualifier, World No. 114 Daniel recorded the biggest win of his career over Novak Djokovic in the BNP Paribas Open third round.

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Malek Jaziri dropped to No. 118 in the ATP Rankings on 12 February, but with a run to the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships semi-finals (d. Dimitrov in 1R, l. to Bautista Agut) he began his climb. The World No. 78 achieved his career-high of No. 47 on 13 February 2017.

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Nadal Surging In ATP Race To London

  • Posted: May 04, 2018

Nadal Surging In ATP Race To London

Leader Federer and second-placed Del Potro ahead of the Spaniard

Rafael Nadal has once again hit top form on European clay and over the next two weeks — at the Mutua Madrid Open and at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia — and he may, potentially, complete a clean sweep of red dirt titles to take the lead in the 2018 ATP Race To London.

Just three weeks ago, the Spanish superstar sat at No. 40 in the ATP Race To London (360 points), but with 11th titles at both the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters (d. Nishikori) and the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell (d. Tsitsipas), Nadal has risen to third place (1,860 points).

The 31-year-old is now behind first-placed Roger Federer (3,110 points) and second-placed Juan Martin del Potro (2,120), ahead of two ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournaments. Nadal has won Madrid, where he has a 47-10 record, on five occasions and Rome, where he is 51-6 overall, seven times.

With a maximum of 1,500 ATP Rankings points from two clay-court events this year, it’s worth highlighting that in 2017, Nadal accrued 2,680 points in four tournaments between 10 April and 22 May 2017. So, on the eve of Roland Garros, which begins on 27 May, there is a chance that he will lead the ATP Race To London.

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While there are three clear leaders at the top, look a little further down the standings and the Race is really close, with Alexander Zverev, in fifth place (1,285), leading 16th-placed Fabio Fognini (800) by less than 500 points. A big run in Madrid or Rome will give up to 12 players an opportunity to firmly embed themselves in the Top 10, and a chance to secure a spot at the Nitto ATP Finals, to be held at The O2 in London from 11-18 November.

Defending champion Grigor Dimitrov sits in seventh position on 1,255 points, while 12th-placed Kyle Edmund (945 points), a Briton bidding to qualify for the first time, has started the season strongly with an Australian Open semi-final run (l. to Cilic) and a runner-up finish at the Grand Prix Hassan II (l. to Andujar).

A familiar face, Kei Nishikori, who has competed at the season finale on three previous occasions (2014-16), is bouncing back after overcoming a right wrist injury. Three months ago, Nishikori captured the sixth ATP Challenger Tour title of his career at The RBC Tennis Championships of Dallas. Now, after a run to the Monte-Carlo final, the Japanese star is 15th in the ATP Race To London (835 points). He reached his first of four Masters 1000 finals at Madrid in 2014 (l. to Nadal).

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Zverev Moves Into Munich Semi-Finals, Chung Next

  • Posted: May 04, 2018

Zverev Moves Into Munich Semi-Finals, Chung Next

Bautista Agut, Kohlschreiber in action on Friday

A crying baby momentarily distracted Alexander Zverev between serves on his second match point on Friday at the BMW Open by FWU as he set up a semi-final clash against Hyeon Chung, the Next Gen ATP Finals champion.

Despite the distraction, top seed and defending champion Zverev wrapped up his 19th match win of the year by hitting a second-serve ace to complete a 6-3, 6-2 victory over fellow German Jan-Lennard Struff in 62 minutes.

Chung leads Zverev 2-0 in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series with victories at the 2017 Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell and the 2018 Australian Open.


Earlier in the day, Chung advanced to the Munich semi-finals for the second successive year to continue his quest for a first tour-level trophy. The fourth-seeded South Korean defeated Slovakian qualifier and 2014 champion Martin Klizan 6-3, 6-4 in 79 minutes for his 20th match win of the season (20-7).

“I’m really happy to make the semi-finals two years in a row,” said Chung. “It was really tough against a lefty, tough from the baseline and it forced me to focus all the time.”

The 21-year-old Chung beat Klizan in the Munich quarter-finals for the second successive year, breaking on occasions in the first set. Serving at 4-5, 30/30 in the second set, Klizan hit a double fault and then struck a forehand long.

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Hewitt/De Minaur, Top Seeds Go Down In Estoril

  • Posted: May 04, 2018

Hewitt/De Minaur, Top Seeds Go Down In Estoril

Kubot and Melo continue resurgent week in Munich

#NextGenATP Aussie Alex de Minaur and his mentor, former World No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt, gave it a good go at the Millennium Estoril Open this week, but their intriguing run has come to an end. Britain’s Kyle Edmund and Cameron Norrie ousted De Minaur and Hewitt, who came out of retirement to play doubles, 6-4, 7-6(4), in one hour, 25 minutes. De Minaur and Hewitt battled from a 1-4 deficit in the second set to 4-4 and saved two match points while serving down 4-5, but were unable to complete the comeback, as the Brits advanced to the semi-finals. 

There was a significant upset in Estoril, as Jonathan Eysseric and Joe Salisbury defeated top seeds John Peers and Jean-Julien Rojer 6-4, 7-6(4). Dutchmen Robin Haase and Matwe Middelkoop were also beaten Thursday. Leonardo Mayer and Joao Sousa dismissed this year’s Pune and Sofia champions 6-2, 6-4 in just 56 minutes. 

Kubot/Melo Finding Stride In Munich
Lukasz Kubot and Marcelo Melo, who are No. 1 and No. 2 in the ATP Doubles Rankings, respectively, are finding some of their best form. The duo reached their first semi-final since the Sydney International in January by beating Mirza Basic and Marton Fucsovics 6-1, 6-1 at the BMW Open by FWU on Thursday. The Polish-Brazilian team won 70 per cent of points in the match to clinch victory in 40 minutes. 

And while No. 2 seeds Ivan Dodig and Rajeev Ram advanced to the final four in Munich with a 6-3, 3-6, 10-7 win over Ivo Karlovic and Nenad Zimonjic, another seeded team was surprised. Home favourites Tim Puetz and Jan-Lennard Struff took down this year’s New York and Houston champions, No. 4 seeds Max Mirnyi and Philipp Oswald 7-5, 7-5.

Nestor Advances To 1st SF Since 2017 Tokyo
Forty-five year-old Daniel Nestor, the former World No. 1 in the ATP Doubles Rankings, is still kicking. The Canadian partnered American Jamie Cerretani on Thursday to a 6-4, 4-6, 10-4 victory against Romain Arneodo and Hugo Nys at the TEB BNP Paribas Istanbul Open. Nestor/Cerretani are now into the semi-finals, Nestor’s first trip to that stage of a tour-level event since Tokyo last year. 

In the only other doubles match of the day in Istanbul, last week’s Budapest titlist Dominic Inglot and his partner, Robert Lindstedt, moved past fourth seeds Ken Skupski and Neal Skupski 7-6(3), 6-3.

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