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Djokovic Up And Running In Toronto

  • Posted: Aug 07, 2018

Djokovic Up And Running In Toronto

Four-time champion to meet Polansky in second round

In his first match since winning his 13th Grand Slam title at Wimbledon, Novak Djokovic began his bid for a fifth Rogers Cup crown with a 6-3, 7-6(3) victory over Mirza Basic.

Djokovic hit nine aces and converted three of five break points to overcome the lucky loser in 90 minutes. The Serbian was originally due to face reigning Next Gen ATP Finals titlist Hyeon Chung. But Basic, who fell in the final round of qualifying to American Bradley Klahn, entered the draw after Chung’s withdrawal (back pain).

Djokovic improved to 36-6 at the event and will face wild card Peter Polansky for a place in the third round. The Canadian beat Matthew Ebden of Australia 7-6(3), 6-4 on Monday.

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The former World No. 1 looked solid on serve in the opening set, winning 75 per cent of service points to establish a one-set lead. But, despite earning the first break of the second set at 3-3, Djokovic ran into trouble closing out the match.

In the following game, back-to-back double faults opened the door for Basic, who earned his first break of the match with a ripped backhand winner down the line. The pair traded breaks once more at 5-5, after a series of loose errors, to force a tie-break. It was there that Djokovic re-established control and charged to victory.

#NextGenATP Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas also progressed to the second round by exactly the same scoreline as Djokovic, beating Turkish Airlines Open Antalya champion Damir Dzumhur 6-3, 7-6(3).

“I was serving unbelievably today. I felt very comfortable with my serve from the beginning of the match and it played a big role in my game today,” said Tsitsipas. “I managed to win lots of easy points with my serve.”

Tsitsipas landed 11 aces and dropped only five points behind his first serve to book a second-round clash against seventh seed Dominic Thiem. The Austrian and Tsitsipas have already met on four occasions this season, with the Thiem leading their FedEx ATP Head2Head series 3-1.

“I feel pretty high with my [level],” said Tsitsipas. “I feel like I’m around 80-90 per cent. I feel there’s 10 per cent more which I can for sure improve and beat even higher-ranked players.”

Did You Know?
In 2007, Novak Djokovic defeated Andy Roddick, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer in successive matches to win his maiden Rogers Cup title.

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Johanna Konta beats Jelena Ostapenko at Rogers Cup in Montreal

  • Posted: Aug 07, 2018

British number one Johanna Konta came from behind to beat 11th seed Jelena Ostapenko in the first round of the Rogers Cup in Montreal.

Konta, currently ranked 43rd in the world after starting the year in ninth, prevailed 6-7 6-1 6-2.

She was pegged back from a 3-0 lead in the opening set and lost a tie-break 8-6.

But the unseeded 27-year-old dropped only three more games as she took the next two sets in 68 minutes.

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Serena Williams says motherhood struggles led to Rogers Cup withdrawal

  • Posted: Aug 07, 2018

Serena Williams says she pulled out of this week’s Rogers Cup in Canada after feeling like she was “in a funk” and “not a good mom”.

The American 23-time Grand Slam singles champion initially withdrew from the tournament citing “personal reasons”.

Williams, 36, returned to tennis earlier this year after giving birth in September 2017.

She reached the Wimbledon final in July but last week suffered the heaviest defeat of her career.

Williams’ 6-1 6-0 loss to Britain’s Johanna Konta at the Silicon Valley Classic event was the first time since turning professional in 1995 that she had failed to win at least two games in a match.

In a post on Instagram, Williams explained that she had been struggling with post-natal emotions – but went on to stress such feelings were “totally normal” and urged other mothers not to suffer in silence.

“Last week was not easy for me,” she said. “Not only was I accepting some tough personal stuff, but I just was in a funk. Mostly, I felt like I was not a good mom.

“I read several articles that said postpartum emotions can last up to three years if not dealt with. I like communication best. Talking things through with my mom, my sisters, my friends let me know that my feelings are totally normal.

“It’s totally normal to feel like I’m not doing enough for my baby.

“Most of you moms deal with the same thing. I’m here to say: if you are having a rough day or week – it’s OK – I am, too!”

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Bradley's Best Wins: From Beach Proposal To Masters 1000 Milestone

  • Posted: Aug 07, 2018

Bradley’s Best Wins: From Beach Proposal To Masters 1000 Milestone

Klahn upsets Ferrer in Toronto for first Masters 1000 win

“7/29/18 my best win yet!” Bradley Klahn shared on Instagram ahead of the Rogers Cup, announcing his engagement to Abbie Hageman.

Eight days later, from the beach in Malibu to the tennis courts of Toronto, the 27-year-old American qualifier celebrated another big win. Klahn upset former World No. 3 David Ferrer 7-6(5), 6-4 to record his first main draw win at an ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournament.

“It’s my first tournament as a fiancé,” he told after his match. “It’s been going pretty well.”

By virtue of his victory, Klahn also won the USTA’s US Open Wild Card Challenge, ensuring his place in the main draw of his home Grand Slam for the first time since 2014.

The Stanford graduate had done the maths and knew he had a chance to clinch the US Open wild card during the Rogers Cup. When rain halted play with Klahn leading 6-3 in the first-set tie-break, he killed some time by scrolling through Instagram and saw a comment confirming that a first-round win would be enough to do it.

Facing extra pressure once the match resumed a few hours later, Klahn maintained his composure to go up a set and a break. Though Ferrer got back on serve, Klahn immediately broke back, and two games later, found himself with two match points. Ferrer, the 2012 Rolex Paris Masters champion, saved both chances and a third match point on Klahn’s serve before the American pulled through to complete the 92-minute triumph.

“It was a huge win for me today, beating a guy of his calibre,” said Klahn. “It’s a big step for me, just the career he’s had. I have so much respect and admiration for the way he goes about it and his tenacity and making you earn every ball from first to last.

“For me to stay with it, especially losing the break there in the second, weathering literally a rain delay and battling through some nerves a little bit there and closing it out, I was really pleased.”

Klahn had reached a high of No. 63 in the ATP Rankings in 2014, but sat on the sidelines from February 2015 to November 2016 as he underwent numerous back surgeries. The California native rose back into the Top 200 in January when he reached the Newport Beach final (l. to Fritz) on the ATP Challenger Tour, and continued his steady climb to enter Toronto at No. 116.

Last month, he qualified for Wimbledon and won his first tour-level match in four years when he beat Yuichi Sugita in the first round. In his next tournament, he won the Challenger title in Gatineau, Canada. Now, Klahn will have a chance to take on No. 2 seed and defending champion Alexander Zverev in the Rogers Cup second round.

“It’s another great opportunity for me,” said Klahn. “I’ve been out on tour for a while, but still some amazing experiences are new for me, playing at this level, feeling more comfortable and getting wins under my belt. I’m really excited to test myself against the best, and Sascha has proven he’s one of the best one now.

“When I was lying in bed, not being able to really do much and wondering if I would play tennis again, these are the moments I kept in mind; to kind of keep that cherry out there to work towards.”

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Kyle Edmund suffers crushing defeat by Diego Schwartzman in Toronto

  • Posted: Aug 07, 2018

British number one Kyle Edmund was thrashed 6-1 6-2 by Diego Schwartzman in the first round of the Rogers Cup in Toronto, Canada.

Edmund, who is ranked number 16 in the world, was beaten in an hour by Argentina’s world number 12.

Schwartzman immediately took control of the match by breaking his opponent’s first service game.

Edmund rarely threatened a comeback and was 2-2 in the second set before Schwartzman took the next four games.

The defeat for the Briton comes on the back of being beaten by compatriot Andy Murray at the Washington Open the previous week.

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Five Things To Know About France's #NextGenATP Ugo Humbert

  • Posted: Aug 07, 2018

Five Things To Know About France’s #NextGenATP Ugo Humbert

20-year-old Frenchman is inside the Top 150 of the ATP Rankings after claiming his first Challenger crown in Segovia

(1) Ugo Humbert is the summer star on the ATP Challenger Tour
It might sound cliché, but for Humbert it couldn’t be closer to the truth. If at first you don’t succeed, try again. And again. 

The 20-year-old entered the month of July with just five match wins on the ATP Challenger Tour in his young career, but he would flip the switch with authority. A final appearance on the hard courts of Gatineau, Canada, would be followed by another run to the championship in nearby Granby a week later. 

Humbert was making his Challenger transition look easy, but after falling to Bradley Klahn in Gatineau and to Peter Polansky in Granby, he remained in search of an elusive maiden title. It did not take long for that trend to change. On Sunday, the Frenchman lifted his first trophy, defeating Adrian Menendez-Maceiras in the Spanish veteran’s backyard of Segovia.


“I’m really happy to win my first Challenger title, after two finals lost,” said Humbert. “It means a lot to me. Even if we were in Spain, I have some fans here and I stayed calm, confident and focused on my game.”

Not only did Humbert reach three finals in three weeks, he did so on two continents, streaking to victory in Segovia after flying across the pond. His 13 match wins are the most on the Challenger circuit since the calendar flipped to July.

(2) Ugo and Corentin Moutet are leading France into the future
The future of French tennis is left-handed. Humbert and Moutet, both southpaws, are the lone Top 200 players from the European nation aged 20 & under. 

Following his dominant three-week stretch, Humbert vaulted a combined 116 spots in the ATP Rankings to a career-high No. 141. While Moutet has been firmly entrenched among the #NextGenATP contingent since his Challenger breakthrough in Brest last year, his compatriot has suddenly thrust himself into the conversation. He credits his countryman for driving his own success.

“I know Moutet very well,” Humbert added. “I practise with him often in the French Federation. He’s a good guy and he’s having a great year. When I see him doing well, that makes me think I can have the same success. We are close to the same age, so if he can do it, I can too.

“I am much stronger mentally from last year to this year. I am working on that with my coach (Cedric Reynaud). Now, I know that I can win a Challenger. For me, it’s important. I can be more aggressive with my game and beat good players.”

(3) Ugo is a talented pianist
As gifted as Humbert is with a racquet in his hand, he is perhaps even more skilled in front of a piano. The Frenchman first fell in love with music at the age of five and says it is still an integral part of his life. In fact, he believes that playing piano greatly helps him in his tennis career. The ability to disconnect from what transpires between the lines can be critical to success.

“I love music and I play piano and guitar. It is a big part of my life. When I am at the Federation, they have a piano there for me. It helps me to focus and relax, even on the court. It is important to have something like this outside of tennis.”

Watch Ugo’s piano skills

(4) He made a historic splash at last year’s Rolex Paris Masters.
Last year, a 19-year-old Humbert earned the respect and admiration of his home faithful at the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 event in Paris. A wild card into qualifying, he would stun World No. 73 Thomas Fabbiano, storming back from a set down to claim his first Top 100 win.

At No. 404 in the ATP Rankings, Humbert became just the second player ranked outside the Top 400 to win a match in Paris – qualifying or main draw. 

(5) Ugo is making a charge in the ATP Race to Milan
One month ago, Humbert was sitting in 30th position in his quest to qualify for the Next Gen ATP Finals. But, thanks to his trio of Challenger finals and maiden title, he has emerged as a contender to punch his ticket to Milan.

At No. 11 in the latest ATP Race to Milan standings, Humbert is looking to continue his hot streak and make a serious charge towards the coveted Top 7 positions. A run in New York will go a long way. Humbert will make his US Open qualifying debut in two weeks.

“I will go home and rest for a bit, before preparing for the US Open qualifying. That was one of my first goals for this year. Now, I hope to continue to progress in all parts of my game. If I can do that, I know I can continue winning.”

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