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Simona Halep beats Sloane Stephens to win Rogers Cup in Montreal

  • Posted: Aug 12, 2018

Romanian world number one Simona Halep beat American Sloane Stephens in three sets to win the Rogers Cup in Montreal.

Halep, who beat Stephens in the French Open final in June, eventually came out on top 7-6 (8-6) 3-6 6-2.

Halep took a dramatic first set in a tie-break after three breaks of service apiece, but lost the second before recovering in the decider.

Meanwhile, unseeded Stefanos Tsitsipas, on his 20th birthday, is playing Rafael Nadal in the men’s final in Toronto.

Halep, who also won the Rogers Cup in 2016, emerged victorious after a marathon encounter lasting two hours and 41 minutes in sweltering conditions.

Both players were regularly doubled up, struggling for breath, amid some punishing rallies in the gruelling heat.

“I just didn’t give up during the tournament, I fought until the end,” said Halep.

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De Minaur's Rise Shows It's All About Winning The Right Points, Not Every Point

  • Posted: Aug 12, 2018

De Minaur’s Rise Shows It’s All About Winning The Right Points, Not Every Point

Infosys ATP Beyond The Numbers shows how not every point is created equal

In July 2017, Alex de Minaur was grinding his way through $15K Futures tournaments in Portugal. The 18-year-old Australian was learning the game, earning his stripes, and laying the foundation for his pro career.

Fast forward to July 2018 and the 19-year-old from Sydney is now one of the hottest players on the ATP World Tour. He has jumped from No. 244 to No. 45 in 12 months, and has only 30 ATP Rankings points to defend through the rest of the 2018.

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Look out world.

An Infosys ATP Beyond The Numbers analysis of De Minaur’s meteoric rise up the ATP Rankings once again uncovers that all points are not created equal in our sport. 

Consider these 2018 metrics the next time you get disappointed about losing a point in your match:

De Minaur’s win/loss record is a healthy 16-13.

Read More: Belief, Hewitt’s Advice, Propel #NextGenATP De Minaur

He has won $609,891 in prize money.

He made the finals of the Citi Open, an ATP World Tour 500-level event, in Washington last week, and also reached the finals of the Sydney International, an ATP World Tour 250-level event, in January.

He has actually lost 14 more points than he has won (2210 won / 2224 lost).

In 2018, De Minaur’s ATP Ranking has climbed from No. 208 to No. 45, but you would never know it from looking at the amount of points he has won and lost.

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The reality of tennis is that the margins between winning and losing are razor thin. A point or two won at the right time in Washington can help launch a career. A point or two lost in Cincinnati can stop momentum in its tracks.

De Minaur is excelling more on the return side of the game than serving so far. He is currently ranked No. 47 on the Infosys ATP Return LEADERBOARD, powered by Infosys Nia Data, but drops down to No. 64 when serving.

ATP Race To Milan

What De Minaur does do well is perform under pressure. He is 18th best on tour in the past 52 weeks in winning tie-breaks at 61.5 per cent, and 15th best with deciding sets won, at 66.7 per cent.

De Minaur is currently in third place in the ATP Race To Milan, behind Alexander Zverev and Stefanos Tsitsipas. The top seven will qualify automatically for the Next Gen ATP Finals, to be held 6-10 November in Milan, while the eighth spot will be reserved for the winner of an all-Italian qualifier tournament to be held just prior to the prestigious 21-and-under event.

Who knows how much further his Race position is going to climb when that tournament kicks off on 6 November.

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Unseeded Tsitsipas sets up Nadal final on his 20th birthday

  • Posted: Aug 12, 2018

Unseeded youngster Stefanos Tsitsipas saved a match point before beating Kevin Anderson to set up a final against Rafael Nadal at the Rogers Cup.

The Greek, who turns 20 on the day of Sunday’s final in Toronto, overcame the South African 6-7 (4-7) 6-4 7-6 (9-7).

The world number 27 also beat Dominic Thiem, Novak Djokovic and Alexander Zverev in previous rounds.

In the women’s final, Romanian world number one Simona Halep will play American Sloane Stephens in Montreal.

Halep beat Australian Ashleigh Barty 6-4 6-1, while Stephens was a 6-3 6-3 winner against Ukraine’s Elina Svitolina.

‘I can’t believe what just happened’

Tsitsipas, who will be the the first unseeded finalist in Canada since Germany’s Nicolas Kiefer in 2008, will be contesting his first ATP Masters 1000 final after his win over Anderson.

“I didn’t even have this in my head,” said Tsitsipas.

“I thought winning a couple of rounds would be amazing but I’m in the final already. I can’t believe what just happened,

“I didn’t aim that high and I think with low expectations I managed to pull out my best tennis.”

World number one Nadal beat Russia’s Karen Khachanov 7-6 (7-3) 6-4 to reach his 116th ATP final.

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Nadal vs. Tsitsipas: History Will Be Made

  • Posted: Aug 12, 2018

Nadal vs. Tsitsipas: History Will Be Made

The pair is meeting in a final for the second time in 2018

World No. 1 Rafael Nadal became the first player to guarantee his spot at the Nitto ATP Finals on Friday. And now, the Spaniard has a chance to lift his fifth trophy of the year on Sunday in the Rogers Cup final. But it will not be easy for the top seed, with red-hot #NextGenATP Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas trying to earn his maiden tour-level crown.

History will be made regardless of the outcome. The Spaniard will extend his record count of ATP World Tour Masters 1000 titles to 33, or Tsitsipas will claim his fifth consecutive victory against a Top 10 opponent. Since the inception of the ATP Rankings on 23 August 1973, no player has claimed an ATP World Tour title by beating five Top 10 opponents outside of the Nitto ATP Finals.

View FedEx ATP Head2Head for the Rogers Cup & vote for who you think will win! 
Nadal vs Tsitsipas


It’s fitting that the pair’s first and only previous FedEx ATP Head2Head meeting came in a final earlier this year at the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell, which was Tsitsipas’ first championship match at tour-level. Albeit on clay, Nadal asserted his authority, breaking five times in a 78-minute beatdown.

“Tsitsipas has an amazing future,” Nadal said after the match.

But even the Spaniard wouldn’t have expected the Greek, whose 20th birthday is today, to rise so quickly. The week he reached the final in Spain, Tsitsipas was No. 63 in the ATP Rankings. Less than four months later, he will climb to at least No. 15 on Monday, with only 16 points to defend through the US Open.

Tsitsipas can also become the youngest Masters 1000 champion since Novak Djokovic (19) triumphed at Miami in 2007 and the first player to claim his maiden tour-level trophy at this level since Albert Portas (2001 Hamburg). But the Greek is not overthinking the opportunity at hand. He’s maintaining the same approach that has helped him come to a simple conclusion after saving match point to beat South African Kevin Anderson in a third-set tie-break in the semi-finals: ‘I’m living the dream’.

“[It’s] just another day at the office. Doesn’t matter. It’s a final. I will not see it as a final. I will just think of it as just another match here in Toronto in a beautiful city,” Tsitsipas said. “I’m doing my routines every single day. So just one more day, the last day… [I’ll give it] my best shot, go for it 100 per cent and see what happens.”

It certainly won’t be an easy task against Nadal, who is trying to join Jimmy Connors, Roger Federer and Ivan Lendl as the only players in the Open Era with 80 titles (79-36 in finals). The 32-year-old can also win his fourth Rogers Cup, a feat he has never accomplished at any other hard-court event. Nadal has triumphed at the US Open, the Canadian Masters 1000 event and the BNP Paribas Open three times each.

But that’s not all that’s at stake for the left-hander. After exchanging World No. 1 with Roger Federer six times in the first six months of the season, Nadal has an opportunity to strengthen his lead, which was 2,230 points over the Swiss entering the week. Federer, who did not compete this week, was defending 600 points from his runner-up finish in Canada last year, while Nadal earned just 90 points in 2017 for reaching the third round (l. to Shapovalov).

It will be interesting to see how Nadal reacts to Tsitsipas’ powerful and accurate inside-in forehand, which has done the most damage for the Greek in wins against Dominic Thiem, Novak Djokovic, Alexander Zverev and Anderson. Nadal is as fleet of foot as they come, but this meeting is on a much quicker surface than the red dirt they played on earlier in the year.

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“He’s a complex player. He has everything. He’s young, he has passion for the game. He has a great forehand, great backhand, good serve, so he’s not about one thing. He’s about everything,” Nadal said. “These kind of matches you need to play very well to win, and that’s what I’m going to try.”

After their last clash, in the Barcelona final, Tsitsipas said, “I knew the chances to win were small.”

It is clear the gap has narrowed since. But will it be enough for the #NextGenATP star to conquer one of tennis’ toughest tests?

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Nadal Survives Rain, Khachanov To Reach Toronto Final

  • Posted: Aug 12, 2018

Nadal Survives Rain, Khachanov To Reach Toronto Final

World No. 1 will face Stefanos Tsitsipas for Rogers Cup title

It has been five years since Rafael Nadal last won an ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title on hard courts. The World No. 1 looks primed to end the streak right now in Toronto.

Following a two-hour rain delay on Saturday, Nadal did not waste any time in dismissing Karen Khachanov 7-6(3), 6-4 under the lights in Toronto. The Spaniard will next face Stefanos Tsitsipas, with a fourth Rogers Cup crown and an unprecedented 33rd at the Masters 1000 level on the line.

Nadal, whose last hard-court Masters 1000 title came in Cincinnati in 2013, is into his first Rogers Cup final since that impressive summer stretch five years ago, which saw him complete the Canada-Cincy double and win the US Open. He is 3-0 in finals in Canada, also prevailing in 2005 and 2008.

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After enduring a slow start in his quarter-final win over Marin Cilic on Friday, Nadal experienced no early struggles on Saturday. Khachanov did well to disrupt his opponent’s rhythm with potent strikes off his mammoth forehand, but Nadal never lost control. He overcame a 0/30 deficit at 4-all in the first set and later rallied from a mini-break down in the ensuing tie-break, snatching the opener by the slimmest of margins.

As strong as Khachanov’s forehand is, it leaked 23 unforced errors during the one-hour and 49-minute affair. Nadal would grab a stranglehold on proceedings in the second set, with a quick break in the third game. And his serve did not come under pressure from there, eventually prevailing on his first match point with a leaping smash that soared over the Russian’s head.

“He’s a great server,” Nadal said of Khachanov. “Hits big shots from the baseline. He has an especially great backhand and he can hit the forehand very strong too. It’s true with the forehand sometimes he has mistakes too, but he plays very aggressive and he hits the ball very strong.

“I needed to resist and play aggressive. When I was able to move him, I think I was a little bit more in control. But it’s difficult to make that happen because he hits the ball very strong.”

Nadal’s Most Successful Hard-Court Tournaments

No. of Titles Tournament
3 Toronto/Montreal
3 Indian Wells
3 US Open
2 Beijing

Khachanov concludes a dream week which has seen the 22-year-old Russian reach his first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 semi-final. He did not drop a set in four matches entering the semis, including his first Top 10 victory in more than a year (d. No. 9 Isner). The Moscow native will reap the rewards in the ATP Rankings, rising to a career-high No. 26 on Monday.

Nadal carries a 79-36 record in tour-level finals into Sunday’s championship clash against Tsitsipas. He is hoping to cap a magical week, which has already seen him qualify for the Nitto ATP Finals in London, by becoming the fourth player in the Open Era with 80 titles.

It will be déjà vu for Nadal and Tsitsipas, following their final encounter at the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell in April. The match, which was the Greek’s first ATP World Tour final, resulted in a straight-set victory for the Spaniard. But, with a different surface and Tsitsipas in the form of his life, fans will be treated with an intriguing championship clash on Sunday.

“Tomorrow is a day to play a great match against a very tough opponent,” Nadal added. “And I hope to be ready for it. It’s another Masters 1000 final. But still a lot of work to do. If it happens, it’s going to be great news of course. Canada is a tournament that I play well a lot of times in my career. And it’s a very important result for me to be back here where I am.”

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Scouting Report: 10 Things To Watch In Cincinnati

  • Posted: Aug 12, 2018

Scouting Report: 10 Things To Watch In Cincinnati

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

One year ago, Grigor Dimitrov earned what was his biggest title, defeating Aussie Nick Kyrgios to lift his maiden ATP World Tour Masters 1000 trophy. But he faces a tough task if he wants to triumph at the Western & Southern Open again, with the top 13 players in the ATP Rankings in the draw.

Roger Federer and Andy Murray, who have combined to win the tournament in nine of the past 13 years, could face one another in the third round, while 2013 champion and World No. 1 Rafael Nadal will look to add a second victory at the event to his resumé. This is also the only Masters 1000 event that 69-time tour-level titlist Novak Djokovic has not won. He has reached the final here five times.

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1) Reunited:
It’s been more than a year since Nadal, Federer, Djokovic and Murray have competed together at a tournament. For the first time since Wimbledon last year, the complete ‘Big Four’ will take to the same court for the Western & Southern Open, an ATP World Tour Masters 1000 event.

2) Nadal-Federer No. 1 Update: Nadal and Federer exchanged the No. 1 ATP Ranking six times in the first six months of 2018. It cannot change hands in Cincinnati and Nadal is ensured the No. 1 seed at the US Open. Nadal defeated Federer en route to his lone Cincinnati title in 2013. He added the US Open title three weeks later and is the only man to sweep Cincinnati and the US Open since Federer in 2007.

3) Swisscinnati: Federer is 41-4 since starting his career 1-4 in Cincinnati. The Swiss missed the tournament the past two years, yet his seven titles remain a tournament record. He also owns the most titles in tournament history at Halle (9), Wimbledon (8), Basel (8), Dubai (7), the Nitto ATP Finals (6), Doha (3) and Rotterdam (3). Federer is seeking the 99th tour-level championship of his career.

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4) Golden Masters: Nadal, Federer and Djokovic have all earned a career Grand Slam. This week, Djokovic can outdo Nadal and Federer by becoming the first player to own trophies from all nine Masters 1000 events. Djokovic is 0-5 in Cincinnati finals and is appearing at the event for the first time since 2015.

5) Murray 2.0: Murray missed 11 months with a hip injury before returning for two events in June. The Scot earned three wins in three sets to reach the Washington quarter-finals two weeks ago in his third tournament back. The 31-year-old Brit is a two-time Cincinnati champion.

6) Finally No. 3: Juan Martin del Potro achieved a career-high No. 4 in the ATP Rankings on 11 January 2010. Four wrist surgeries and nearly nine years later, the Argentine will climb to No. 3 for the first time on Monday.

7) Betterer than Federer: Zverev’s next ATP World Tour title will be the 10th of his career. The German has until 20 April 2019 to join Nadal, Djokovic and Murray among the players to win 10 championships before turning 22. Federer captured his 10th title at 2003 Vienna — 65 days after his 22nd birthday.

8) The Champ is Here: Dimitrov did not drop a set, and only once dropped his serve, en route to the 2017 Cincinnati title. The Bulgarian held in 52 of 53 service games for the biggest title of his career at the time. Dimitrov went on to win the Nitto ATP Finals in November.

9) All He Does is Win: #NextGenATP player Stefanos Tsitsipas lost eight straight matches last year to begin his ATP World Tour career. He’s a new man in 2018, cracking the Top 20 on Monday thanks to his efforts at the Rogers Cup, where he is into his maiden Masters 1000 final. The Greek has beaten four straight Top 10 players, becoming the youngest player to do so since the ATP World Tour was established in 1990.

10) Different Socks: Wimbledon doubles champions Mike Bryan and Jack Sock will team up again in Cincinnati, after reaching the quarter-finals together in Toronto. Sock is 26-9 in doubles this season, winning four doubles titles with four different partners in 2018.

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