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Scouting Report: 10 Things To Watch At Wimbledon

  • Posted: Jun 29, 2018

Scouting Report: 10 Things To Watch At Wimbledon

An executive summary of what every fan should know about the coming week on the ATP World Tour

The ATP World Tour’s best are descending on the All England Club for the third Grand Slam of the season. Roger Federer, the top seed and defending champion, seeks a ninth title at The Championships, while World No. 1 Rafael Nadal pursues a third trophy at Wimbledon. 

But there are plenty of dangerous players throughout the draw looking to earn a title on the grass. Marin Cilic, last year’s runner-up, carries the momentum of a victory at the Fever-Tree Championships, while German Alexander Zverev, former World No. 1 Novak Djokovic and others have their sights set on deep runs. Two-time Wimbledon champion Andy Murray is competing in his first major since undergoing hip surgery in January.

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1) Reunited: Federer, Nadal, Djokovic and Murray have combined to win the past 15 Wimbledon titles. They return this fortnight for the 150th anniversary of the All England Club, marking the first tournament of the season to feature the complete ‘Big Four’.

2) Nine to 99: Federer seeks his 99th title and a record-extending ninth Wimbledon championship. He begins his 20th consecutive campaign at Wimbledon just 99 wins shy of Jimmy Connors’ record 1,256 match victories. Connors is also the only man in the Open Era with more titles than Federer (109) and more Wimbledon appearances (21), though the Swiss owns the most wins at Wimbledon (91).

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3) Nadal Nostalgia: Ten years ago, Nadal survived a furious Federer comeback to win his first of two Wimbledon titles. Nadal reached five finals in as many appearances at Wimbledon from 2006-11. Nadal is one of 12 players in the Open Era to lift the trophy multiple times, capturing glory in 2008 and 2010.

4) Two For One: After swapping the No. 1 ATP Ranking six times this season, Nadal and Federer can both claim to be No. 1. Nadal is atop the ATP Rankings and Federer is the No. 1 seed. Federer will return to World No. 1 on 16 July if he retains the Wimbledon title and Nadal fails to reach the fourth round.

5) One of a Kind: Djokovic is the only player to beat both Nadal and Federer in a Grand Slam final, defeating the Spaniard in 2011 and the Swiss in 2014 and 2015 for his three Wimbledon titles. After ending his 2017 season in the Wimbledon quarter-finals due to a right elbow injury, Djokovic is rounding into form. The Serbian reached the semi-finals in Rome, the quarter-finals at Roland Garros and last week advanced to The Queen’s Club final for the second time (l. to Cilic).

Read: Five Must-See First-Round Matches At Wimbledon

6) Welcome Home: Like Djokovic, Murray did not play again in 2017 after Wimbledon. Unlike Djokovic, he missed the first 24 weeks of 2018 as well. Following right hip surgery on 8 January, Murray will make his Grand Slam return against Benoit Paire, whom he beat at 2017 Wimbledon. The Scot pushed Nick Kyrgios to a third-set tie-break at The Queen’s Club and beat Wawrinka in Eastbourne.

7) Croats on Grass: Marin Cilic and Borna Coric of Croatia arrive at the All England Club after sweeping ATP World Tour 500-level grass-court titles on 24 June. Cilic saved a championship point to defeat Djokovic at the Fever-Tree Championships shortly after Coric denied Federer his 10th title at Halle in the Gerry Weber Open final.

8) Sascha Striving: Alexander Zverev reached his first Grand Slam quarter-final at Roland Garros in his 12th major appearance. The three-time ATP World Tour Masters 1000 champion mounted comebacks from two-sets-to-one down in the second, third and fourth rounds.

9) Lopez Beats Federer: Feliciano Lopez owns an 0-13 FedEx ATP Head2Head record against fellow 36-year-old Federer, but he is ensured a moral victory over the living legend at Wimbledon. When he faces Federico Delbonis, Lopez will break Federer’s all-time record by playing in his 66th straight Grand Slam main draw.

10) Doubles Encore: The Top 2 seeds in doubles are Oliver Marach/Mate Pavic and Lukasz Kubot/Marcelo Melo, who could meet in the Wimbledon final for the second straight year. In 2017, Kubot and Melo defeated Marach and Pavic 13-11 in the fifth set after four hours and 39 minutes.

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Zverev & Lacko to meet in Eastbourne final

  • Posted: Jun 29, 2018

Lukas Lacko, the world number 94, will face Germany’s Mischa Zverev in the Nature Valley International final at Eastbourne on Saturday.

Slovakia’s Lacko, who beat Briton Cameron Norrie on Wednesday, easily came past French Open semi-finalist Marco Cecchinato of Italy 6-3 6-4.

Lacko did not face a break point during the 60-minute match and hit nine aces past his 31st-ranked opponent.

World number 67 Zverev overcame Kazakh Mikhail Kukushkin 7-6 (11-9) 6-4.

Elsewhere, world number one Rafael Nadal fell to a narrow defeat by France’s Lucas Pouille at an exhibition match at Hurlingham.

The Spaniard, who has won two Wimbledon titles, lost 7-6 (10-8) 7-5 to 20th-ranked Pouille in his first grass-court match of the year.

  • Wozniacki to face Sabalenka in Eastbourne final
  • Wimbledon 2018 on BBC TV, radio & online
  • Federer v Nadal – inside story of ‘greatest match ever played’
  • Live scores, schedule and results

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Gonzalez/Demoliner Clinch Maiden Team Triumph In Antalya

  • Posted: Jun 29, 2018

Gonzalez/Demoliner Clinch Maiden Team Triumph In Antalya

The title is Gonzalez’s 12th at tour-level and Demoliner’s first

Marcelo Demoliner and Santiago Gonzalez failed to convert two championship points in the second set of the Turkish Airlines Open Antalya final. But the Brazilian-Mexican duo recovered from the disappointment to beat Dutchmen Sander Arends and Matwe Middelkoop 7-5, 6-7(6), 10-8 to lift the trophy on Friday.

Demoliner and Gonzalez, who were 2-4 as a pair before the week, claim their maiden title as a team. It’s an especially notable victory for Demoliner, as the 29-year-old fell in his first six tour-level finals.

“It’s a very special moment. It was a great match, a tough one,” Demoliner said. “We had one match point in the second set [on which] I missed a very easy smash. I was a little bit nervous. I’m very happy for my first title. Also playing with this guy, he’s a great guy. It’s very nice to play with him. He brings a great energy on the court with me. So I’m very happy to get the title.”

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Demoliner/Gonzalez could have lost the plot in the Match Tie-break, but three mini-breaks carried the team to victory.

“We stayed strong. We are very happy to win our first team title,” said Gonzalez, who now owns 12 tour-level trophies.. “Especially for Demo, this is his first ATP title, so I’m very happy for him.”

The unseeded duo earns 250 ATP Doubles Rankings points and a share of €23,090. The third-seeded Dutchmen, Arends and Middelkoop, fell just short of their maiden team victory. But they add 150 points and a split of €12,140 for their efforts. Arends was attempting to clinch his first tour-level title in his second final. The 26-year-old reached the Bastad final last year with Middelkoop, who is a six-time ATP World Tour champion.

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Both teams played well with their serves under pressure throughout the match. Demoliner/Gonzalez saved seven of eight break points, while Arends/Middelkoop held off seven of nine opportunities. 

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Zverev Moves Closer To First Title

  • Posted: Jun 29, 2018

Zverev Moves Closer To First Title

German will meet Lacko, also pursuing his maiden crown

Mischa Zverev has won 124 tour-level matches in his career. And after beating Kazakh Mikhail Kukushkin 7-6(9), 6-4 in one hour, 59 minutes at the Nature Valley International on Friday, the 30-year-old will have a third chance to lift his maiden ATP World Tour title.

“It was close. It was very tight, especially the tie-break in the first set. It was a lot of back and forth and I think I was very fortunate to win that set,” Zverev said. “It was a very close game, a few points here and there, but luckily I was able to come through.”

The left-handed German won 73 per cent of first-serve points, constantly attacking the net and staving off the World No. 90’s strong returns to reach his third tour-level final. Zverev, who finished runner-up in Metz in 2010 and in Geneva last year, is into his first championship match on grass, on which he holds a 27-25 record according to the FedEx ATP Performance Zone.

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“I like grass,” Zverev said. “It’s great here, especially the courts here are unbelievable. I’m enjoying myself in Eastbourne.”

He will enjoy it even more if he is able to lift his maiden trophy on Saturday. But Lukas Lacko, the 2012 Zagreb finalist who is also competing for his first title, stands in his way. The Slovakian advanced to his first ATP World Tour final for close to six-and-a-half years with a 6-3, 6-4 victory against fourth-seeded Italian Marco Cecchinato, fresh off his semi-final appearance at Roland Garros.

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Lacko, who has grown in confidence since he recorded the biggest win of his career over World No. 11 Diego Schwartzman in the second round, lost just seven of his service points and struck nine aces for victory in 59 minutes at Devonshire Park. Now 7-7 in tour-level matches this season, he has also captured his 12th ATP Challenger Tour crown in Glasgow (d. Vanni). Cecchinato, the Gazprom Hungarian Open titlist (d. Millman), had not won a professional grass-court match prior to this week. He drops to 15-11 in 2018.

Lacko, who currently is World No. 94, is now projected to reach at least No. 73 on Monday, his highest position in the ATP Rankings since November 2013. He can climb even further with a win against Zverev, who won their only previous FedEx ATP Head2Head series meeting on grass in Halle last year.

“I hope it’s going to be a good match,” Zverev said. “This year, everything’s different. We’re meeting in the final, not the first round, and we’ll see what’s going to happen.” 

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Did You Know?
Mischa Zverev has won three ATP World Tour doubles titles, triumphing twice in 2008 and earning a third trophy last year in Montpellier with his brother, Alexander Zverev.

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Wozniacki to face Sabalenka in Eastbourne final – highlights & report

  • Posted: Jun 29, 2018
2018 Nature Valley International on the BBC
Venue: Devonshire Park, Eastbourne Dates: 24-30 June
Coverage: Watch the women’s final live on BBC Two, BBC iPlayer, Connected TVs, the BBC Sport website and app.

Top seed Caroline Wozniacki saved a match point to beat Angelique Kerber and reach the final at Eastbourne for the second year in a row.

The Dane, ranked second in the world, came back to win 2-6 7-6 (7-4) 6-4 against the German fourth seed.

Kerber hit 42 winners to Wozniacki’s 39 but the two-time Grand Slam winner could not overcome Wozniacki’s defence.

Wozniacki will face Aryna Sabalenka in the final, following her 6-3 1-6 6-3 win over Agnieszka Radwanska.

Wozniacki lost 6-4 6-4 to Czech Karolina Pliskova – who went out to Sabalenka this year – in the 2017 final.

The Dane, who won her maiden Grand Slam at the Australian Open in January, grew frustrated in the opening set as she racked up the unforced errors.

At 5-2 down she had a heated on-court conversation with her dad and coach, Piotr, before Kerber served out the first set.

Wozniacki appeared more focused in the second set, racing to a 4-2 lead, before Kerber converted her second break point to force the match back on serve.

The German, a former world number one, had a match point on her service game but Wozniacki forced a tie-break and ultimately a third set.

Wozniacki broke after a regulation first four games and held her nerve as Kerber twice held to love to serve out the match.

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Sabalenka muscles past Radwanska

Sabalenka, ranked 45th in the world, recovered from an error-strewn second set to outmuscle former world number two Radwanska in a match that saw 14 breaks of serve.

“I tried to put the ball in and not go crazy for every shot. I think that was the key,” said Sabalenka, who will be seeking her first WTA Tour title in Saturday’s final.

There were six breaks of serve in the opening six games before Sabalenka took a 4-3 lead over the 2008 champion.

Returning strongly on the Radwanska serve, the Belarusian eventually took the first set in 44 minutes.

A lob winner allowed Sabalenka to break to begin the second set, but the Pole hit back straight away as her opponent’s heavy hitting failed to pay off.

Having not won a game on her own serve in the first set, Radwanska reeled off six consecutive games to force a deciding third set.

Radwanska moved into a 3-2 lead thanks to some clever net play, but Sabalenka found her forehand again to force the match back on serve.

And, despite two double faults in the next game, Sabalenka held serve before securing the vital break to see off the Pole.

Elsewhere, Britain’s Katie Boulter lost to Kirsten Flipkens in the final of the Fuzion 100 Southsea Trophy.

Boulter went down 6-4 5-7 6-3 to the Belgian, who leaves the event having won both the doubles and singles titles.

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Bambridge/O'Mara Complete Dream Week In Eastbourne

  • Posted: Jun 29, 2018

Bambridge/O’Mara Complete Dream Week In Eastbourne

Team making ATP World Tour debut seal title

Wild cards Jonny O’Mara and Luke Bambridge held their nerve to win an all-British final on Friday for their first ATP World Tour doubles title at the Nature Valley International. Three weeks on form beating Ken Skupski and Neal Skupski at the Surbiton Trophy, for their first ATP Challenger Tour trophy, Bambridge and O’Mara won again 7-5, 6-4 in 71 minutes.

“It’s been unbelievable,” said Bambridge. “We started playing together two months ago at a tournament in Mexico. We reached the final there, then continued the good form going into Surbiton. So we were feeling quietly confident going into the grass-court swing. To win eight matches in two tournaments is beyond what I ever dreamed of.”

Bambridge and O’Mara recovered from 2-5 down in the first set of the Eastbourne final, saving four set points from 0/40 at 3-5. They then broke in the seventh game of the second set. It was the first all-British tour-level doubles final since 2012, when Colin Fleming and Ross Hutchins beat Jamie Delgado and Ken Skupski at Devonshire Park on the south coast of England.

Bambridge and O’Mara, who beat top seeds Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah in the quarter-finals, were competing in their first ATP World Tour tournament this week. The Skupskis drop to 11-5 on the year, which includes their first tour-level title at the Open Sud de France (d. McLachlan/Nys).

The victors earned 250 ATP Doubles Rankings points and share €35,830 in prize money, while the Skupskis head to London with 150 points and €18,830.

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Watch the 2018 Wimbledon draw

  • Posted: Jun 29, 2018

The draws for the 2018 Wimbledon Championships have been made and the two-time champion Andy Murray will play Benoit Paire of France providing he’s fit.

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