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Rojer/Qureshi Reach Stuttgart QF

  • Posted: Jun 13, 2018

Rojer/Qureshi Reach Stuttgart QF

Inglot/Skugor book SF spot in ‘s-Hertogenbosch

Top seeds Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi and Jean-Julien Rojer booked their place in the MercedesCup quarter-finals on Wednesday, defeating John Millman and Guido Pella 7-6(3), 6-4 in Stuttgart.

Qureshi and Rojer won 53 per cent of return points and broke serve on three occasions to advance after 74 minutes. The Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell finalists headed into Stuttgart on a three-match losing streak after their final loss in Catalonia and back-to-back opening-match defeats at the Banque Eric Sturdza Geneva Open and Roland Garros.

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Qureshi and Rojer will face Nick Kyrgios and Jackson Withrow for a spot in the semi-finals. The Australian-American duo defeated German wild cards Matthias Bachinger and Yannick Maden 7-5, 7-6(7).

Third seeds Max Mirnyi and Philipp Oswald took just 65 minutes to win their first-round clash against Hugo Nys and Denis Shapovalov 7-5, 6-3. Mirnyi and Oswald won 85 per cent of first-serve points (34/40) to confirm a quarter-final clash with Robert Lindstedt and Marcin Matkowski.

Inglot/Skugor Reach Semi-finals
Gazprom Hungarian Open champions Dominic Inglot and Franko Skugor scored another straight-sets victory in ‘s-Hertogenbosch, defeating Fabrice Martin and Purav Raja 7-6(6), 7-5.

The British-Croatian duo advanced after 89 minutes, saving all five break points they faced in a tense quarter-final encounter. Inglot and Skugor had lost their past two matches prior to entering the tournament, but have refound the level that saw them lift their first team title in the Hungarian capital in April.

Inglot and Skugor will meet top seeds Lukasz Kubot and Marcelo Melo or Dutch duo Sander Arends and Matwe Middelkoop for a place in the championship match.

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Raven Klaasen and Michael Venus ended the challenge of Alex Bolt and Lleyton Hewitt 7-5, 7-5. The Open 13 Provence titlists won 63 per cent of points behind their second serves and converted five of six break points to overcome the Australian duo in 74 minutes.

Klaasen and Venus will meet Matthew Ebden and Malek Jaziri in the quarter-finals. The unseeded pairing edged America’s Jamie Cerretani and Antonio Sancic of Croatia 5-7, 6-3, 10-4.

Did You Know?
Only one team has ever successfully defended their title at the MercedesCup or the Libema Open. Colin Dowdeswell and Frew McMillan are the only back-to-back Stuttgart titlists (1979-1980), while Martin Damm and Cyril Suk stand alone in ‘s-Hertogenbosch with three consecutive triumphs (2002-2004).

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Maria Sharapova withdraws from Birmingham to be fully fit for Wimbledon

  • Posted: Jun 13, 2018
Wimbledon 2018 on the BBC
Coverage: Watch live on BBC TV, BBC iPlayer, BBC Red Button, Connected TVs, the BBC Sport website and app from 2-15 July.

Maria Sharapova has withdrawn from next week’s WTA event in Birmingham in order to be fully fit for her return to Wimbledon after a three-year absence.

The 31-year-old 2004 Wimbledon champion, has not played at the All England Club since 2015.

She served a doping ban in 2016 and was injured in 2017 when she was planning to play in the qualifying tournament.

“I need to take care of my body,” said the Russian. “Sometimes that means you have to take tough decisions.”

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The two-time champion of the Wimbledon warm-up event added: “I have good memories of Birmingham so I’m disappointed not to be able to play this year.”

The former world number one fell to 262 in the world last April when she returned from her 15-month ban. She is now ranked 23rd and reached the French Open quarter-finals last week where she was defeated by Spain’s Garbine Muguruza.

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Read & Watch: Pouille Breaks QF Streak In Stuttgart

  • Posted: Jun 13, 2018

Read & Watch: Pouille Breaks QF Streak In Stuttgart

Shapovalov stunned by qualifier Gunneswaran; Raonic advances

Lucas Pouille improved to 5-1 at the MercedesCup in Stuttgart on Wednesday as the Frenchman advanced past #NextGenATP German Rudolf Molleker 6-3, 6-4. The second seed hit 10 aces and dropped only five points on his first serve (31/36) in the 49-minute victory.

Pouille became the fifth active Frenchman to crack the Top 10 of the ATP Rankings on 19 March, but the 24-year-old hadn’t reached a quarter-final since the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, where Pouille reached the final on 3 March. He won the 2017 Stuttgart title, beating Spaniard Feliciano Lopez for his first grass-court crown. In the Stuttgart quarter-finals, Pouille will face Ubzekistan’s Denis Istomin. Molleker, 17, celebrated his first tour-level win on Monday.

Read & Watch: Molleker, 17, Celebrates Maiden Tour-Level Win

Germany’s Maximilian Marterer continued his strong run of form, coming from a set down to beat lucky loser Viktor Galovic 3-6, 6-4, 6-1. Marterer saved five of six break points as he notched his 15th tour-level victory of the season after one hour and 34 minutes. The German is competing at a career high No. 50 in the ATP Rankings after reaching the Round of 16 at Roland Garros (l. to Nadal).

The 22-year-old will meet Nick Kyrgios for a quarter-final spot. The Australian has not played a singles match on the ATP World Tour since his quarter-final loss to Ivo Karlovic at the Fayez Sarofim & Co. U.S. Men’s Clay Court Championship in April.

Prajnesh Gunneswaran, competing in just his fourth tour-level match, produced a big upset to defeat #NextGenATP Canadian Denis Shapovalov 7-6(6), 2-6, 6-3. Gunneswaran, ranked No. 169, twice recovered from a break down to take a one-set lead before securing victory, on his fifth match point, after one hour and 49 minutes. The Indian qualifier will face Argentina’s Guido Pella for a spot in the quarter-finals.

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Seventh seed Milos Raonic saved two set points in the first set before safely progressing to the second round, beating fellow Stuttgart debutant Mirza Basic 7-6(8), 6-2.

The Canadian fired 15 aces and only lost one point behind his first serve to move past the Diema Xtra Sofia Open champion in 83 minutes. Raonic will meet Banque Eric Sturdza Geneva Open titlist Marton Fucsovics in the second round.

Watch Highlights: Home Favourite Marterer Comes Back

Benoit Paire also progressed to the second round, beating #NextGenATP American Taylor Fritz 6-7(4), 6-3, 6-2. The Frenchman hit 15 aces and converted five of eight break point chances.

Did You Know?
Lucas Pouille is looking to become just the second man in MercedesCup history to successfully defend his title. The only man to ever retain his title in Stuttgart is Austria’s Thomas Muster (1995-1996).

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Mercedes Cup: Roger Federer beats Mischa Zverev on return to tennis

  • Posted: Jun 13, 2018

Roger Federer made a winning return to tennis as he beat Mischa Zverev in the second round of the Mercedes Cup.

He won 3-6 6-4 6-2 in Stuttgart after sitting out the clay-court season.

“Three months [out] is a long time, it’s longer than the year-end break,” said Federer.

“I’m very happy returning on good terms on to the tour. It’s difficult, missed some chances maybe in the first set, he connected well at the right times. Then I found my rhythm.”

He added: “I’m super happy to be back on tour – it’s been a great start.”

During his two and a half months out, Federer has dropped to second in the world rankings, behind Spain’s Rafael Nadal.

But the 36-year-old will regain top spot if he reaches the final in Germany and faces either Guido Pella or Prajnesh Gunneswaran in the last eight.

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Federer, who has won 20 Grand Slam titles, was playing for the first time since losing to Australia’s Thanasi Kokkinakis in the second round of the Miami Open on 24 March.

The Swiss, who had a bye in the first round, made a poor start against German Zverev, 30, losing his first set on grass since a defeat by Tommy Haas in this competition last year.

But the reigning Wimbledon champion took the second set and broke Zverev’s serve twice in the deciding set to move into the quarter-finals.

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This is only the fifth tournament Federer has played this season. He won the Australian Open in January, the ABN Amro World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam in February and reached the final of Indian Wells in March.

Federer has won Wimbledon eight times and this year’s tournament starts on 2 July.

India’s Gunneswaran, ranked 169th in the world, caused an upset on Wednesday with a 7-6 (8-6) 2-6 6-3 victory over sixth seed Denis Shapovalov of Canada, the world number 23.

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GB's Evans into Nottingham quarter-finals

  • Posted: Jun 13, 2018

Great Britain’s Dan Evans moved into the quarter-finals of the Nottingham Open thanks to a 7-5 7-6 (7-2) victory over seventh seed Sergiy Stakhovsky.

Evans, 28, is continuing his comeback after a year’s ban for taking cocaine.

This latest victory comes after he reached the semi-finals of the Surbiton Trophy last week and the last 16 of the Loughborough Trophy at the end of May.

Unseeded Evans, who is ranked 530th in the world, plays 22-year-old Canadian Brayden Schnur in the last eight.

The Brit, who reached the third round of Wimbledon in 2016, gained a career-high ranking of 41 in March 2017, a month before he tested positive for cocaine at an event in Barcelona.

In the women’s doubles, Britain’s Heather Watson and Romania’s Mihael Buzarnescu moved into the quarter-finals with a 1-6 6-2 10-4 win over the pairing of Ukraine’s Lyudmyla Kichenok and Russia’s Alla Kudryavtseva.

But Laura Robson, along with Chinese Taipei’s Chan Hao-ching, were eliminated at the last-16 phase, losing 7-6 (8-6) 7-6 (7-1) to Lizette Cabrera of Australia and Irina Falconi of the United States.

A number of British women were in action in the last 32 of the women’s singles at the Manchester Trophy.

Seventh seed Naomi Brady lost 7-6 (7-5) 6-1 to Ons Jabeur of Tunisia and Samantha Murray was beaten 6-1 6-3 by Thailand’s Luksika Kumkhum.

But Harriet Dart is into the last 16 after a 6-3 3-6 6-1 win over fellow Brit Emma Raducanu, with Sarah Beth Grey also winning 6-3 7-6 (7-4) over compatriot Eden Richardson.

Katy Dunne won the first set against American fourth seed Nicole Gibbs but then suffered a 6-3 5-7 5-7 loss, while Emily Appleton lost 7-6 (9-7) 6-1 to Marie Bouzkova of the Czech Republic.

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Fever-Tree Championships: Rafael Nadal withdraws from Queen's Club event

  • Posted: Jun 13, 2018
2018 Fever-Tree Championships on the BBC
Venue: Queen’s Club, London Dates: 18-24 June
Coverage: Watch live on BBC Two, BBC iPlayer, BBC Red Button, Connected TVs, the BBC Sport website and app.

World number one Rafael Nadal has apologised for having to withdraw from next week’s Fever-Tree Championships at the Queen’s Club in London.

Nadal won his 11th French Open title on Sunday and said he needed to rest before next month’s Wimbledon.

“I have spoken to my doctors and need to listen to what my body is telling me,” the 32-year-old Spaniard said.

“I would like to say sorry to the tournament organisers and the fans that were hoping to see me play.”

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Nadal won the Queen’s Club title 10 years ago, but his last appearance at the tournament was in 2015, when he lost in the opening round to Russia’s Alexandr Dolgopolov.

“Queen’s is a great event, I have happy memories of winning the title in 2008 and I wanted to come back this year,” added Nadal. “But it has been a very long clay-court season for me with great results.”

The Fever-Tree Championships start on 18 June and will be covered throughout by BBC television, radio and online.

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Earlier this week, Novak Djokovic announced he would play at the Queen’s Club for the first time in eight years.

The former world number one had said he may skip the grass-court season after losing in the French Open quarter-finals to Marco Cecchinato.

But the 12-time Grand Slam champion has now accepted a late wildcard for Queen’s and said it would be “great preparation for Wimbledon”, which begins on 2 July.


Russell Fuller, BBC tennis correspondent

Nadal won 26 of his 27 clay-court matches this year, having missed the whole of February and March to rest a leg injury.

He very much believes he can add another Wimbledon title to his haul of 17 Grand Slams, and clearly thinks his hopes will be best served by not rushing back into competition.

And as he remarked in Paris – at the ripe old age of 32 – the transition from clay to grass is not quite as straightforward as it used to be.

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Federer Enjoys A Happy Return In Stuttgart

  • Posted: Jun 13, 2018

Federer Enjoys A Happy Return In Stuttgart

Swiss had fallen to Haas during his Stuttgart opener last year

Roger Federer showed some rust but the Swiss legend ultimately settled enough into his first match in nearly three months to advance on Wednesday at the MercedesCup in Stuttgart.

The No. 2 player in the ATP Rankings came back to beat home favourite Mischa Zverev 3-6, 6-4, 6-2 in front of, as customary, a pro-Federer crowd.

“Three months is a long time, it’s longer than the year-end break. So I’m very happy returning on good terms onto the Tour,” Federer said. “It was difficult, missed some chances maybe in the first set… He connected well at the right times.

“And then I found a way, I found my rhythm… I’m very happy with how I played. I’m super happy to be back on Tour. It’s been a great start.”

Federer can reclaim the No. 1 ATP Ranking from long-time rival Rafael Nadal with a run to the championship match in Stuttgart. The 36-year-old lost to Aussie Thanasi Kokkinakis on 24 March during his opening match at the Miami Open presented by Itau before skipping the entire European clay-court swing for the second year in a row.

But the Swiss has long favoured the grass. Seventeen – nine at the Gerry Weber Open in Halle and eight at Wimbledon – of Federer’s 97 tour-level titles have come on the surface, and he’s won 87 per cent (165/189) of his grass-court matches.

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Zverev, though, covered the net well and landed enough first serves to take advantage of a slow start from the Swiss. Federer had four break chances during Zverev’s first three service games, but the German erased them all and then broke Federer to love in the eighth game. The German had never won a set against Federer in their five prior FedEx ATP Head2Head meetings, including three on grass, but he clinched the opener with a drop volley.

But Federer cranked it up a level in the second set, twice breaking Zverev to force the decider. Federer began to pick apart the lefty’s serve-and-volley tactics even more in the third set, breaking again the fourth and eighth games.

“It feels good to win again. I’ve lost my last two matches,” said Federer, who lost to Juan Martin del Potro in the Indian Wells final before playing in Miami. “It’s nice to get a fresh start here.”

The top seed had fallen to Tommy Haas in his Stuttgart opener last year. Federer will next meet Argentine Guido Pella or Indian Prajnesh Gunneswaran.

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Ex-Wimbledon champion Bartoli ends comeback attempt

  • Posted: Jun 13, 2018

Former Wimbledon champion Marion Bartoli has abandoned her attempt to return to competitive tennis.

Bartoli, 33, retired six weeks after winning Wimbledon in 2013 and three years later contracted an unknown virus that caused dramatic weight loss and left her “fearing for her life”.

But in December she announced she intended to return to the WTA Tour.

“To my dismay I must unfortunately stop my comeback attempt,” the Frenchwoman wrote on Twitter.

“The necessary increase of training doses to try to find my best level caused pain again to my right shoulder, which become incompatible with a recovery at the highest level.

“I want to thank everyone who accompanied me on this wonderful human adventure. I will now take the time to reflect on the various professional projects available to me.

“Nevertheless, I have a deep desire to transmit all that the very high level has taught me, and I therefore want to invest myself in the training of a player to help her maximise her potential.”

Bartoli, who worked as a commentator during the French Open, had initially targeted the Miami Open in March for a return before switching her efforts to the American hard-court season this summer.

She won eight WTA titles and reached a career-high world ranking of seventh in 2012. She was also Wimbledon runner-up in 2007.

Bartoli won her first Grand Slam at the 47th attempt – the longest wait in women’s tennis – by beating Germany’s Sabine Lisicki 6-1 6-4 in the final.

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