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Thiem Continues London Push, Cruises Past Simon In Paris

  • Posted: Oct 31, 2018

Thiem Continues London Push, Cruises Past Simon In Paris

Defending champion Sock to meet Jaziri in third round

Dominic Thiem boosted his chances of qualifying for the Nitto ATP Finals on Wednesday, beating Gilles Simon 6-4, 6-2 at the Rolex Paris Masters.

The World No. 8, winner of three tour-level trophies this season, required just 84 minutes to return to the third round in Paris, winning 77 per cent of first-serve points. This week, Thiem is bidding to qualify for the Nitto ATP Finals for the third straight year. The 25-year-old currently occupies the eighth and final qualification spot for the elite eight-man event to be held at The O2 in London from 11-18 November.

“[Dominic] was patient and aggressive when he had windows of opportunity,” said Simon. “Every time [we reached 30-30], he made the right decisions. So I couldn’t play the match I wanted.”

With his seventh straight win over Simon, Thiem improves to 8-2 in his FedEx ATP Head2Head series against the 33-year-old Frenchman. The 11-time tour-level titlist will meet Rolex Shanghai Masters finalist Borna Coric for a place in the quarter-finals.

Competing at a career-high No. 13 in the ATP Rankings, Coric defeated Daniil Medvedev 6-4, 6-4 in 74 minutes. The 21-year-old, who will be appearing in the third round for the first time, improves to 4-1 in his FedEx ATP Head2Head series against the Tokyo titlist. 

Defending champion Jack Sock improved his unbeaten FedEx ATP Head2Head record against 2007 semi-finalist Richard Gasquet to four matches, beating the home favourite 6-3, 6-3. The 26-year-old American claimed his 10th victory in 13 matches at the event after 77 minutes, saving all four break points he faced en route to victory.

“I didn’t manage to get the upper hand in the match,” said Gasquet. “I didn’t manage to have the game that I wanted to have… I didn’t manage to push as much as I should have. I didn’t play well.”

The World No. 23, who is defending 80 per cent of his ATP Rankings points this week (1,400/1,760), will next face Malek Jaziri in the third round. Lucky loser Jaziri defeated Spaniard Fernando Verdasco 7-6(5), 1-6, 6-3 after two hours and 24 minutes.

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Bryan/Sock Reach Paris Quarter-finals
Competing for just the second time since capturing their second Grand Slam title as a team at the US Open, Mike Bryan and Jack Sock made swift progress to reach the quarter-finals in Paris. The American team was forced to work hard on serve, saving 14 of 16 break points en route to a 6-4, 6-3 win over Divij Sharan and Artem Sitak. 

John Isner and Neal Skupski needed just 71 minutes to upset seventh seeds Henri Kontinen and John Peers 6-4, 7-5. The American-British duo saved each of the four break points it faced to book a quarter-final meeting with top seeds Oliver Marach and Mate Pavic or Rohan Bopanna and Edouard Roger-Vasselin. Bopanna and Roger-Vasselin beat Robin Haase and Matwe Middelkoop 7-6(3), 5-7, 10-5.

Marcel Granollers and Rajeev Ram also defeated seeded opposition, overcoming fifth seeds Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares 6-3, 6-3. The Spanish-American team dropped only one point behind its first serves (25/26) en route to a 63-minute triumph.

Swiss Indoors Basel titlists Dominic Inglot and Franko Skugor continued their strong run of form, defeating Ben McLachlan and Jan-Lennard Struff 6-3, 6-4. The British-Croatian tandem, which has lifted three tour-level trophies this year, will meet Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut for a place in the quarter-finals.

Aisam Ul-Haq Quereshi and Stefanos Tsitsipas set a second-round clash with Rolex Shanghai Masters champions Lukasz Kubot and Marcelo Melo, beating Gregoire Barrere and Adrian Mannarino 7-6(7), 6-4.

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Paris Masters: Roger Federer into third round without playing

  • Posted: Oct 31, 2018

Roger Federer is into the third round of the Paris Masters after Milos Raonic withdrew with an elbow injury.

It means the Swiss 20-time Grand Slam champion, who had a first-round bye, has made the last 16 without playing.

Earlier, Kei Nishikori had a straightforward 7-5 6-4 victory over Adrian Mannarino and John Isner served up 33 aces as he beat Mikhail Kukushkin 6-3 6-7 (2-7) 7-6 (7-1).

Rafael Nadal faces Fernando Verdasco later on Wednesday.

Japan’s Nishikori, 28, did not face a single break point as he defeated home crowd favourite Mannarino in one hour and 27 minutes to progress.

The 10th seed crucially broke the Frenchman at 5-5 in the first set and 3-3 in the second to set up the win.

He will meet seventh seed Kevin Anderson or Georgian Nikoloz Basilashvili in the next round.

  • Kyle Edmund pulls out of Paris Masters

On Court One, John Isner beat Kazakh Mikhail Kukushkin 6-3 6-7 (2-7) 7-6 (7-1).

Isner’s powerful serving ensured he was not broken all match – hitting 33 aces – but wasted opportunities saw him struggle to break Kukushkin as the game wore on.

The American’s serve only let him down at the second set tie-break, as the world number 54 forced a deciding set.

That went the distance too but this was a different story for Isner, who won early points against the Kazakh’s serve to take the match.

Isner needs to reach the semi-finals in Paris to have any hope of moving up to ninth in the rankings, which would give him a chance of making the season-ending ATP Finals in London in November.

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Later on Wednesday, Alexander Zverev beat Frenchman Frances Tiafoe 6-4 6-4.

The pair traded missed break points in first set before the German, 21, won the final game on Tiafoe’s serve.

In the second set, Zverev broke three times but was broken twice as he wrapped up the eventful match in one hour and 44 minutes.

Ninth seed Grigor Dimitrov is also through after beating Roberto Bautista Agut 7-6 (12-10) 6-4.

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FedEx Brings International Flavour To Ball Kids Programme At Nitto ATP Finals

  • Posted: Oct 31, 2018

FedEx Brings International Flavour To Ball Kids Programme At Nitto ATP Finals

FedEx Ball Kids from ATP tournaments in China and Brazil make up international selection for London

The ATP and FedEx Corp (NYSE: FDX) are strengthening their collaboration by launching the FedEx ATP Ball Kids programme at the Nitto ATP Finals in London, this November. The programme aims to give aspiring youngsters the opportunity to develop new skills through teamwork, sportsmanship and the adoption of a healthy lifestyle.

Twenty-six children, aged 12-16, have been selected to participate as FedEx Ball Kids at the prestigious end-of-season event at The O2 arena, on 11-18 November 2018. The youngsters have been chosen based on outstanding ability and strong dedication, demonstrated during a trial in London in September. All were then given the opportunity to attend a five-day Training Camp in Southampton, from October 22 – 26, to further improve their skills and bond as a team.

This year, the group will be joined by four talented ball kids who have been selected from two other FedEx-sponsored ATP World Tour events: the Rolex Shanghai Masters in China, and the Rio Open presented by Claro in Brazil.

Chris Kermode, ATP Executive Chairman & President, said: “The Nitto ATP Finals is a truly global sporting event. We are delighted that FedEx’s sponsorship of the ball kids programme will enable the impact of this initiative to be felt on an international level. With the inclusion of ball kids from Shanghai and Rio de Janeiro, FedEx is giving talented youngsters from around the world an opportunity to experience world-class tennis at the very heart of the action.”

Brenda McWilliams Piatek, Vice President Marketing Operations, FedEx Express Europe, said: “We are delighted to be able to sponsor the FedEx ATP Ball Kids programme. We know that sport creates many possibilities for youth development and we are excited about bringing this programme to life. Alongside our continued sponsorship of professional ATP tournaments around the world, we look forward to creating exciting opportunities for young people through tennis.”

The ATP, through its digital and social channels and weekly show, will showcase the stories of the FedEx ATP Ball Kids. Fans will be able to follow them on their journey to the Finals, where one youngster will be awarded Ball Kid of the Tournament, prior to the Doubles Final at this year’s tournament.

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Kontaveit beats defending champion Gorges in WTA Elite Trophy

  • Posted: Oct 31, 2018

Anett Kontaveit has beaten defending champion Julia Gorges 6-2 4-6 6-4 at the WTA Elite Trophy in Zhuhai, China.

The Estonian, 22, broke the world number 14 three times to take the opening set.

Gorges, 29, fell heavily on the hard court during the sixth game of the second set, and needed ice to her right leg during the changeover.

The German fought back to win that set, but Kontaveit, 20th in the world, took the decider.

Kontaveit, seeded 10th in the 12 player tournament, has now played both of her group matches, having lost her opener on Tuesday to Belgium’s Elise Mertens, who still has to play Gorges.

At the WTA Elite Trophy, 12 players are divided into four groups of three for round-robin matches. Each group winner progresses to the semi-finals.

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