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Isner, Sock Lead American Charge On Day One

  • Posted: Aug 27, 2018

Isner, Sock Lead American Charge On Day One

A total of 11 American men are in action on Monday at the US Open

The American contingent got off to a strong start at their home Grand Slam on Monday. John Isner and Jack Sock led the charge on Day 1 of the US Open, with both securing straight-set wins.

World No. 11 Isner, the top American in the ATP Rankings, needed one hour and 53 minutes to dispatch countryman Bradley Klahn 7-6(3), 6-3, 6-4. The North Carolina native launched 34 winners, including 20 aces, to blast into the second round. A quarter-finalist in 2011, Isner notched his 25th match win at Flushing Meadows.

Next up for the big-serving 33-year-old is Chile’s Nicolas Jarry, who dismissed Peter Gojowczyk 7-6(4), 4-6, 6-1, 7-5. Jarry is making his US Open debut after scoring his first Grand Slam match win at Wimbledon last month. The grandson of former Top 20 star Jaime Fillol Sr., he will face Isner for the first time.

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Meanwhile, 18th seed Sock got the party started on Monday with an opening 6-0, 7-6(4), 6-2 victory over Argentina’s Guido Andreozzi. The Nebraska native is hoping to rediscover his top form with a strong run in New York. Having won just six of 21 singles matches this year, the 2017 Nitto ATP Finals contestant scored his first victory of the North American hard-court season.

Sock converted six of 14 break chances for his 10th match win at his home major. He will face either Aljaz Bedene or Nikoloz Basilashvili next. 

“I’m relieved,” Sock said. “You guys follow tennis throughout the year, so you know it’s been a tough road for a little bit here. A little bit for nine months (smiling). It hasn’t been my best result, but that’s why you have a good team, good family, good support system around you to keep me positive. 

“And obviously I love the game. I have loved it my whole life. I wouldn’t be here without the support system I’ve had. So they just kept pushing me. It was only a matter of time I think for it to turn around. I know the level of tennis I can play. It hasn’t shown in every match this year, but one week it was going to turn and I’m glad it’s at least started here. Hopefully I can keep it going.”

Meanwhile, qualifier Collin Altamirano wasn’t as fortunate. Making his first main draw appearance in five years, the American fell to Ugo Humbert 6-3, 7-6(4), 6-3. It was the first tour-level match win for the #NextGenATP Frenchman.

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World number one Halep out in US Open first round

  • Posted: Aug 27, 2018

World number one Simona Halep became the first top-seeded woman to lose in the US Open first round, falling to a 6-2 6-4 defeat against Kaia Kanepi.

The 26-year-old Romanian’s serve was broken five times in the first match on the new Louis Armstrong Stadium.

She fought back from a double break down to 4-4 in the second set but the Estonian broke again before Halep sent a forehand long on match point.

Halep also lost her opening match at Flushing Meadows last year.

The French Open champion was beaten by Maria Sharapova in New York in 2017.

Before Monday’s defeat, no women’s top seed had lost in the opening round at the US Open since the professional era began in 1968, the same year that the tournament was given its current name, having previously been known as the US National Championships.

World number 44 Kanepi, 33, reached the quarter-finals at Flushing Meadows last year but has had a succession of injury problems in recent years.

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Kubler's Titanic Top 100 Climb: 841 Spots In One Year

  • Posted: Aug 27, 2018

Kubler’s Titanic Top 100 Climb: 841 Spots In One Year

Aussie set for US Open debut after breaking into the Top 100

It was a scorching late-summer afternoon in New York. The sun set the the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center ablaze, as players continued their final preparations for the 2018 US Open. 

In other words, it was your typical Friday at Flushing Meadows. But, on that day, nothing was ordinary for Jason Kubler.

Three years after making his lone qualifying bid at the hard-court Grand Slam, the 25-year-old Aussie stood inside the gates with his first main draw credential in hand. How did Kubler go from not being able to stand on a hard court to playing in the US Open as a Top 100 player? Not even he knows.

Exactly one year ago, Kubler was outside the Top 900 of the ATP Rankings. Any thoughts of competing here were so distant, they were barely a dream. At the time, the Brisbane native was recovering from a debilitating shoulder injury, the latest setback in his long road to recovery. 

But now, he is a Top 100 player for the first time, up to a career-high No. 98. That’s an 841-spot surge in a span of just one year. For perspective, last year, the biggest boost to the Top 100 was 619 spots by fellow Aussie Matthew Ebden. Literally off the charts.

“The whole year has been full of surprises,” Kubler told prior to his US Open debut. “This is my first full season playing on all surfaces. Last year, imagine someone saying that I would get a wild card into the Aussie Open. And then they say that I would qualify for Wimbledon. And even after that, I’d get a wild card into the US Open and then I’d be Top 100. It’s just crazy.”

With the US Open not even one day old, the tournament already has its feel-good, compelling narrative. A former junior No. 1 whose career was derailed due to a hereditary knee condition that results in weakened meniscus, Kubler was forced to compete exclusively on clay for many years. But, fully healthy, he has finally made the transition to hard courts and the results have been nothing short of extraordinary.

Behind a pair of ATP Challenger Tour titles on home soil in Traralgon and Playford, both as a qualifier, Kubler opened his hard-court career with a 17-1 mark as the 2018 season got underway. With his victory in Playford, he became the first qualifier to win a title without dropping a set in nine years. And thus far, he is the match wins leader in 2018 at 35-14. Moreover, his wins total on clay: zero. From exclusively competing on the dirt to an unstoppable force on hard, not even Kubler has an explanation for his abrupt change in fortune.

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“Traralgon was cool because that was originally where I hurt my knee. That was 10 years ago. Now, 10 years later, I won the title. That was really cool. Then, to win two more titles in Playford and Winnipeg (Canada), there are no words.

“When I was younger, I’d literally touch a hard court and my knee would swell up. Now, I don’t know what’s happening or why it’s happening, but all is fine. I haven’t even gotten any points on clay in more than a year. I’ve played three tournaments this year and I haven’t won a match.”


As for the Top 100 breakthrough itself, the Aussie describes it as a stressful week at the Odlum Brown VanOpen in Vancouver earlier this month. He would reach his third final of the season, saving a match point to defeat Gregoire Barrere 4-6, 7-6(6), 6-2. With Stan Wawrinka concurrently falling to Roger Federer in the Western & Southern Open quarter-finals, the win officially sealed Kubler’s Top 100 fate. 

“I actually thought my quarter-final against JC Aragone was going to put me into the Top 100. That’s what some of the Aussie guys were saying. I woke up a bit stressed that day. I remember I was getting cranky. But then I won the match and I found out I was No. 101, because Wawrinka made quarters in Cincy. And Ilya Ivashka was still in the tournament in Vancouver. If Wawrinka beats Federer and Ivashka stays in the tournament, I was thinking that I would have to win the title. 

“But after I had so much stress in that match, I was thinking that I just had to play my game against Barrere. I didn’t think about it. I worked myself up so much with that Aragone match. And now I can say that when I got into the Top 100, I saved a match point to do it.”

Jason Kubler: Conquering His Comfort Zone

Eight years removed from his tour-level debut at the 2010 Australian Open (l. to Ljubicic), Kubler enters Flushing Meadows in search of his first Grand Slam win. He opens against 19th seed Roberto Bautista Agut on Monday, second on Court 7. 

It will be his first match as a Top 100 player and one that the Aussie is relishing more than any other.

“I’m excited for this. I haven’t played Bautista Agut, but I’ll talk to Jordan Thompson because he did. And I’ll ask some of the Aussie coaches. I’m just excited to play best-of-five matches. I did it for the first time in ages in Australia and then at Wimbledon. I’ve played enough where I’m thinking that it’s not brand new to me. At this point, everything is a bonus. I never expected to be where I am and I’m just going to enjoy it.”

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Medvedev Soars 21 Spots, Mover Of The Week

  • Posted: Aug 27, 2018

Medvedev Soars 21 Spots, Mover Of The Week looks at the top Movers of the Week in the ATP Rankings, as of Monday, 27 August 2018

No. 36 (Career-High) Daniil Medvedev, +21
The Russian captured his second tour-level title of the season at the Winston Salem Open, defeating American Steve Johnson 6-4, 6-4 in the championship match. Medvedev, who also defeated 15th seed Alex de Minaur in a repeat of the Sydney International final, did not drop a set en route to the title. The 22-year-old climbs 21 positions in the ATP Rankings to a career-high No. 36. Read More & Watch Highlights

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No. 31 Steve Johnson, +3
The 28-year-old reached his third tour-level championship match of the season without dropping a set before his loss to Medvedev. Johnson defeated Top 3 seeds Kyle Edmund and Pablo Carreno Busta to reach the final, where he was bidding to become the ninth player since 2010 to claim a tour-level trophy on all three surfaces in one season, and the first American to do so since Sam Querrey in 2010. The American rises three spots to No. 31, with a return to the Top 30, for the first time since 25 June 2017, within touching distance.

No. 42 (Career-High) Nicolas Jarry, +5
The Chilean reached his seventh tour-level quarter-final of the season in Winston-Salem, falling to Taro Daniel of Japan in the last eight. Jarry, who owns a 24-17 tour-level record this season, beat Andreas Seppi and Jan-Lennard Struff in straight sets on his debut in North Carolina. The 22-year-old jumps five places to quickly return to a career-high No. 42 position in the ATP Rankings. Jarry first reached the No. 42 spot on 13 August.

Other Notable Top 100 Movers This Week
No. 53 Ryan Harrison, +3
No. 57 Matteo Berrettini, +3
No. 64 Taro Daniel, +12
No. 92 Bradley Klahn, +3

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Muller's Magical Ride Begins Final Chapter

  • Posted: Aug 27, 2018

Muller’s Magical Ride Begins Final Chapter

Luxembourg star to retire after the US Open

Fourteen years ago, Luxembourg’s Gilles Muller stepped on court at the Citi Open for his first ATP World Tour semi-final. It was like the 21-year-old was living a dream, as childhood idol Andre Agassi stood across the net.

Muller had celebrated only one ATP World Tour win before the D.C. tournament. But when the left-hander curled a forehand winner down the line to clinch his first Top 10 victory, Muller shocked himself and his country, becoming the first player from Luxembourg to reach a tour-level final.

“That was probably the moment I realised that I made it for the first time,” Muller, who was No. 124 in the ATP Rankings at the time, told “When I played against him there, it was kind of a dream come true. I think it was one of the nicest moments of my career.”

Muller would lose to former World No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt the next day, but that was just the beginning of a fruitful career for Luxembourg’s greatest tennis player, who will retire after the US Open. He made his decision public right before leaving for the Dell Technologies Hall of Fame Open in Newport, Rhode Island. But most of all, he was happiest to tell his sons, Lenny (7) and Nils (6).

“It was a nice moment because I’ve been traveling a lot. It’s not easy for the kids. They were very supportive all these years, but I felt that they were very happy when I told them that this would be my last year and that pretty soon I was going to be home all the time,” Muller said. “They were very happy about it and I was very happy also to tell them.”


Now 35, Muller has competed professionally for 18 years. During that time, he has earned 233 tour-level match wins, climbed as high as World No. 21, and won his first two ATP World Tour titles last year (Sydney, ‘s-Hertogenbosch), all records for players from his country. So why stop now?

“It was going through my mind many times. I just felt like I had to make the decision and also be firm on it because I was going back and forth all the time. ‘Maybe I could play another year, maybe I could do this, maybe I could do that’,” Muller said. “But then because I was thinking so much about it, I felt that it was the right time now to do it, to stop and to move on.”

But Muller has not spent the past few months reflecting on what he has done, like earning 12 wins against Top 10 opponents and just a year ago, beating Rafael Nadal to reach the quarter-finals at Wimbledon. Instead, he has maintained his focus to make the most of his remaining time as a professional.

Nadal, Muller

“I think the biggest goal is to cherish every moment. Over the last years, you don’t realise what a chance you have as a professional tennis player to travel around. There comes a point when everything becomes a lot sometimes, traveling around, all the stress and you forget the nice parts about it,” Muller said. “I want to do that again like when I started as a junior, seeing everything for the first time. I want to cherish everything and have fun, be happy and just also give it 100 per cent until the last point is played.”

And really, it’s that focus and determination that has helped make Muller one of the more consistent players of his generation, finishing inside the Top 100 nine times. He has become known for his pinpoint lefty serve and overall toughness on the court, which has helped him trouble some of the best players in the world. Beating Nadal twice at Wimbledon (also in 2005) and ousting Andy Roddick at the 2005 US Open are a few of the wins — besides defeating Agassi — that stick out. Muller also became the second qualifier to reach a US Open quarter-final, achieving the feat in 2008.

“I’m very happy [with my career]. A lot of people that I play with now, those guys are coming from countries where tennis and sports have a big tradition. Where I come from, when you’re like 10 or 12 years old and you say, ‘I want to be a tennis pro’, people kind of laugh at you because nobody believes in themselves,” Muller said. “Nobody thinks that you can do it, so there are many positive things about it, being from Luxembourg.”

And while in hindsight, Muller believes he could have done a few things differently to have enjoyed an even more successful career, he says he does not believe in regrets. The father of two is simply proud of his accomplishments.

“Firstly, I’m proud of what I did for myself, for my family,” Muller said. “I was always very proud to represent Luxembourg in Davis Cup or at the Olympics. One of my nicest memories is going to be when I was the flag bearer at the Rio Olympics. That’s a memory that I will always keep for the rest of my life.”


Muller isn’t sure what’s next for him, and he does not want to rush into anything. However, he’d love to stay involved in tennis, which he loves. “It’s my passion. I would love to help kids fulfill their dreams in any sport in Luxembourg. I think there’s a lot of potential there, but it hasn’t been exploited all the way,” he said.

‘Mulles’, who started playing tennis at age 5, remembers being that kid with big dreams.

“I think I never forgot where I came from,” Muller said. “I think it’s very important to stay with both feet on Earth, and I think I did that pretty well.”

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Rojer/Tecau Attempt Double-Double In New York

  • Posted: Aug 27, 2018

Rojer/Tecau Attempt Double-Double In New York

Sixth seeds captured their 18th tour-level team title in Winston-Salem

One year ago, Jean-Julien Rojer and Horia Tecau won 10 consecutive matches to clinch back-to-back titles in Winston-Salem and New York. This year, the Dutch-Romanian duo returns to the US Open with the same goal in mind, leading the field in the final Grand Slam of the year.

Rojer and Tecau, who recently triumphed in North Carolina, will enter the US Open confident of completing a unique ‘double-double’ in Flushing Meadows. The sixth seeds, who own an 18-7 record this season, are bidding to lift their 19th tour-level title as a team. Rojer and Tecau have won two Grand Slam championships, clinching their maiden major crown at Wimbledon in 2015 before their title run 12 months ago in Flushing Meadows.

Rojer and Tecau, who will face Sander Arends and Antonio Sancic in the first round, have won seven of their nine tour-level encounters so far during the North American hard-court swing. The defending champions share the second quarter of the draw with red-hot pairing Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares. The fourth seeds have lifted titles at the Citi Open and the Western & Southern Open, their maiden ATP World Tour Masters 1000 triumph, en route to New York.

In the third round, Rojer and Tecau could meet 10th seeds Feliciano Lopez and Marc Lopez in a repeat of the 2017 final. The Spanish duo open against Americans Patrick Kypson and Danny Thomas.

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Top seeds Oliver Marach and Mate Pavic will be aiming to reach their third Grand Slam final of the season at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. The Australian Open champions, who also reached the championship match at Roland Garros, meet Leonardo Mayer and Joao Sousa in their opening match. Marach and Pavic have suffered first-round losses in two of their three events since reaching their eighth tour-level final of the season in Hamburg last month.

Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut also feature in the top quarter. The 2015 champions, who defeated Marach and Pavic to win their third Grand Slam crown at Roland Garros in June, enter the US Open having played just one match since Wimbledon, at the Rogers Cup (l. to Anderson/Djokovic).

The Frenchmen are seeded to meet Lukasz Kubot and Marcelo Melo in the third round. Kubot and Melo, who reached the 2017 Nitto ATP Finals championship match, have won just two of their seven most recent tour-level clashes since retaining their Gerry Weber Open title in June.

Headlining the bottom half of the draw are second seeds Henri Kontinen and John Peers. The reigning Nitto ATP Finals champions reached the semi-finals in New York on their event debut as a team last season. Kontinen and Peers enter the US Open in fine form, having lifted their 13th tour-level team trophy at the Rogers Cup earlier this month.

Kontinen and Peers are joined by Colombian duo Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah in the bottom quarter. The fifth seeds, making their seventh US Open appearance, will face Andrey Rublev and Denis Shapovalov in the first round.

Mike Bryan and Jack Sock will be hoping to repeat their Wimbledon heroics in New York. Bryan, who currently shares the all-time record for men’s doubles Grand Slam titles (17) with John Newcombe, is aiming to lift his sixth title in Flushing Meadows.

Read More: Bob Bryan Sitting Out 2018 US Open

Bryan, competing at the US Open for the first time without twin brother Bob Bryan, will aim to improve his 8-3 tour-level record alongside Sock this season with victory over Italians Daniele Bracciali and Marco Cecchinato in the first round.

Bryan and Sock could face Wimbledon finalists Raven Klaasen and Michael Venus in the quarter-finals. Having also reached the Rogers Cup final, Klaasen and Venus will be confident of making a deep run at the final Grand Slam championship of the season. They open their title campaign against Lukas Lacko and John Millman.

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Fiery Ferrer Ready For Nadal Showdown In Final US Open

  • Posted: Aug 27, 2018

Fiery Ferrer Ready For Nadal Showdown In Final US Open

Ferrer won the pair’s only previous meeting here in 2007

Goodbyes are never easy, but saying farewell in New York will be particularly difficult this year for David Ferrer, who announced this will be the last US Open of his career. The 36-year-old Spaniard is one of the most successful players his country has ever produced and while he’s seemed an ageless wonder, the end of the road now seems to be near.

What has motivated Ferrer throughout the 2018 season, aware it may be the last in which he enters a Grand Slam, has been knowing he’ll get the chance to wave goodbye to the crowd in Flushing Meadows come late August, 15 years since the first time he stepped foot onto a court at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center as a professional. His opening-round opponent this year? World No. 1 Rafael Nadal, the same player who denied him a chance at a major title by defeating Ferrer in the 2013 Roland Garros final.

Of course, Ferrer will have plenty of time to go back on his decision and soldier on instead of hanging up his racquet for good, should he so choose. The plan for now is to play at Auckland, Buenos Aires, Acapulco, Barcelona and Madrid in 2019. It’s there, on the clay of “Caja Magica” that Ferrer is planning his last “hurrah” in a decorated career that has seen him earn 27 ATP World Tour titles, another 25 finals, 726 match wins, and a career-high No. 3 in the ATP Rankings.

Ferrer knows himself better than anyone. He’s seen the telltale signs of retirement coming for a while now, and is looking forward to making the stop in Madrid his last. And while he feels his level of play is still up to par, it’s his 36-year-old body that’s betraying him. With that breakdown comes a lack of motivation.

“You notice that you can’t react the way you once did, and that you don’t recover from matches as quickly,” Ferrer told Spanish newspaper El Espanol, where he first announced the news of his imminent retirement. “I’d like to finish the 2019 season, and my career, in front of my people in Spain. It isn’t that I’m not playing good tennis; rather it’s a physical thing. I can’t play more than one or two consecutive matches without feeling the effects.

“I love tennis and I don’t feel like calling it quits, but the level at which I can compete is not fulfilling enough to make the effort to go out and play at lower-level tournaments.”

This season, Ferrer has drifted further from the numbers that distinguished him as one of the tour’s premiere players in the past decade. His record in 2018 is 9-17, dropping him to 148th in the ATP Rankings and placing him out of Top 100 for the first time since he broke into it in July 2002. For a player who has posed as the picture of consistency, it’s all been tough to bear. Still, being the fighter he is, Ferrer is finding ways to compromise.

“It takes its toll at first, but then you learn to deal with it and come to terms with the fact you aren’t the same player,” Ferrer said. “There are characteristics I still maintain to this day, at my age. Run down one more ball, force the opponent to win the point over and over again, hustle from side to side, scrape a shot together when your opponent is already celebrating, defend until the end. I still have that in me.”

There’s no questioning the competitive gene will always be a part of Ferrer’s DNA. It should also provide for a fun and competitive first-round match when Ferrer faces his old foe and countryman Nadal on Monday night. The two have grown on a tennis level over the years and know each other well.

“I want to win, and I’ll play against Rafa with that intention because that’s just part of who I am, it’s in my blood. I’m knocking on the door of retirement, but I won’t go down without a fight,” said Ferrer, who knows what it takes to compete on a stage like Arthur Ashe Stadium.

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What were the 2007 and 2012 semi-finalist’s thoughts when he found out it was the World No. 1 and defending champion he would be facing in the first round?

“In the end I was happy,” Ferrer said. “It’s going to be my last Grand Slam and for me it’s an honour to get the chance to play against Rafa on the grandest stage at the US Open. I’m happy because tennis has given me that gift.”

Ferrer will be playing in his 47th match in Flushing Meadows. He’ll be doing so without the immense pressure of having to win, a pressure that has accompanied him throughout all his previous appearances. This year, he intends on enjoying and savoring every moment, every point and every shot. It’s his last big date in New York and he has nothing to lose. And all of that could wind up making him that more dangerous.

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