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Goffin Forced To End His 2018 Early

  • Posted: Oct 03, 2018

Goffin Forced To End His 2018 Early

Belgian is currently No. 11 in the ATP Rankings

David Goffin will end his season early because of pain in his right elbow. The Belgian, No. 11 in the ATP Rankings, last played at the Shenzhen Open last month, falling to Brit Andy Murray in the second round.

Goffin withdrew from this week’s Rakuten Open Japan Tennis Championships 2018 in Tokyo, where he is the defending champion, because of the injury.

“The pain appeared a few weeks ago and it has worsened recently. I have now more information about this injury which is a bone edema,” Goffin shared on his social media channels on Wednesday. “I need at least one month to recover so I am sad to announce that I have to put an end to my season.”

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The 27-year-old reached four semi-finals in 2018, including one at the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 level (Cincinnati, l. to Federer). But Goffin failed to reach a final or win a title. He won his third and fourth titles (Shenzhen, Tokyo) in 2017 and ended his season by playing in the Nitto ATP Finals title match (l. to Dimitrov).

“I am very disappointed not to be able to compete in the next few tournaments. I apologise to all the tournament directors and to all my fans. I will keep you all updated on my progress,” Goffin said. “I need to get some rest and treat myself properly in the hope of starting my preparation for next season as soon as possible.”

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Coric, Chung Are Young And Leading The Way On Return

  • Posted: Oct 03, 2018

Coric, Chung Are Young And Leading The Way On Return

Infosys ATP Beyond The Numbers shows that the two 2017 Next Gen ATP Finals qualifiers are among the best when it comes to returning serve on hard court

You don’t need to search far down an Infosys Return Stats LEADERBOARD to find just how impressive 2018 has been for the youth of our game returning serve on hard courts.

The ATP World Tour calendar has seven more weeks of hard court tournaments to complete the 2018 season, so one final push through Asia and back to Europe can help elevate a good season to a great one.

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An Infosys ATP Beyond The Numbers analysis identifies that the following four players, all aged 22 and under, occupy half of the top eight positions with Return Games Won On Hard in 2018.

Return Games Won On Hard Court Ranking
No. 5 = 22-year-old Borna Coric (27.95%)
No. 6 = 22-year-old Hyeon Chung (27.75%)
No. 7 = 19-year-old Alex de Minaur (27.33%)
No. 8 = 20-year-old Andrey Rublev (27.30%)

Just think about that for a moment…

The average age of the Top 100 of the ATP Rankings this week is 27.4 years of age, but the average age of these four players is just 20.7. Their maturity returning serve on hard court is well beyond their years.

Read More: Who’s The All-Time Best Hard-Court Returner On The ATP World Tour? View ATP Return Stats LEADERBOARD

Below is a breakdown of their current and best ATP Ranking, with both Coric and De Minaur both at their career best this week.

Current & Best Ranking
No, 18 Coric – best ranking No. 18 (this week)
No. 23 Chung – best ranking No. 19 (April 2018)
No. 38 De Minaur – best ranking No. 38 (this week)
No. 68 Rublev – best ranking No. 31 (Feb 2018)

Overall, David Goffin leads the Return Games Won category in 2018, winning 30.08 per cent of his return games. But this quartet of young guns is hot on his heels.

See Who’s Pushing Goffin By Visiting The ATP Stats LEADERBOARDS

Coric’s game exploded on hard courts in March this year, reaching the semi-finals of the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 event in Indian Wells, followed by the quarter-finals at the Miami Open presented by Itau.

The strong showings vaulted his ATP Ranking from No. 49 to No. 28. Coric has averaged winning 39 per cent of his return points this season, but that jumped up to 43 per cent (177/414) at Indian Wells.

When you look at the other side of the ledger – Service Games Won in 2018 – it’s a fresh set of young players who lead this specific category. The following list shows the best four players aged 22 or younger, and their ranking in the specific category of Service Games Won On Hard Court in 2018.

Service Games Won On Hard Court Ranking
No. 7 = 22-year-old Karen Khachanov (87.87%)
No. 14 = 21-year-old Alexander Zverev (84.53%)
No. 22 = 19-year-old Denis Shapovalov (83.19%)
No. 23 = 20-year-old Stefanos Tsitsipas (83.02%)

Roger Federer leads the Service Games Won category in 2018 on hard, winning 92.86 per cent of his service games. More than a third (34) of the Top 100 is thirty years of age or older. These young players are more than holding their own against their more experienced opponents.

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Shapovalov Makes Dream Come True Against Stan

  • Posted: Oct 03, 2018

Shapovalov Makes Dream Come True Against Stan

#NextGenATP Canadian reaches the Tokyo QF

When #NextGenATP Canadian Denis Shapovalov walked on Arena 1 at the Rakuten Japan Open Tennis Championships 2018 to play former World No. 3 Stan Wawrinka, it was more than a tennis match; it was a dream come true.

With his best friend, Shapovalov watched Wawrinka win his three Grand Slam titles. The Swiss was the type of player Shapovalov wanted to be one day. And on Wednesday, the 19-year-old beat Wawrinka 4-6, 6-1, 6-4 to reach the quarter-finals in Tokyo.

“It didn’t even hit me until I walked on the court with him and he was on the other side and I couldn’t help but almost smile in a way. It kind of got to me, I got a little bit tight but I refocused and I thought to myself, ‘Okay it’s not Stan’,” Shapovalov said. “ It was great to be on the court with him. It’s a dream come true. But it’s one of those memories I’m never going to forget. It’s one of those ‘what you live for’ moments. It’s a great day today.”

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But for a moment, it seemed that dream wouldn’t have a fairytale ending. Shapovalov held three match points on Wawrinka’s serve as he led 5-3 in the third set. But those soon disappeared, including one match point on which the left-hander missed a swinging volley with nearly the entire court open.

“I went for a little bit too much, but that’s something I’ve been working on especially the past couple of weeks, just regrouping, refocusing myself and not letting it bother me,” Shapovalov said. “I had my service game and he played a really good first point. But again I didn’t let that affect me. I refocused, went back to the towel and managed to serve some big serves, so I’m really proud with that aspect today.”

Shapovalov missed out on a fourth match point on his own serve, but he closed out the thrilling victory after one hour and 50 minutes. Instead of crumbling, the 2017 Next Gen ATP Finals qualifier rose to the occasion to earn his 33rd tour-level match win of 2018.

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“It’s a sport, it’s a game of tennis, people get tight. It’s normal. We’re all human,” Shapovalov said. “I’m sure even the best in the game get tight so it’s just about managing your emotions and regrouping, which I did really well today.”

He wasn’t the only Canadian to advance in Tokyo on Wednesday, as No. 6 seed Milos Raonic beat home favourite Yosuke Watanuki 6-3, 7-6(2) in one hour and 24 minutes.

The home favourite Watanuki, a qualifier, claimed his first ATP World Tour win against Robin Haase in the first round. But Raonic was too strong on serve, losing just eight service points in the match. The three-time finalist will continue pursuing his maiden title here when he plays in-form Daniil Medvedev.

The Russian ousted fellow qualifier Martin Klizan 6-4, 6-3 in one hour and 23 minutes. Medvedev won his first two tour-level titles this season, triumphing in Sydney and Winston-Salem.

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Del Potro Secures Return To Nitto ATP Finals

  • Posted: Oct 03, 2018

Del Potro Secures Return To Nitto ATP Finals

Argentinean star joins Nadal, Djokovic and Federer in London

Juan Martin del Potro becomes the fourth singles player to qualify for the 2018 Nitto ATP Finals, clinching his place in the elite field for the first time since 2013 — and the fifth year overall — with victory over Karen Khachanov on Wednesday to reach the China Open quarter-finals. The Argentinean will join World No. 1 Rafael Nadal of Spain, Serbia’s five-time former champion Djokovic and six-time former titlist Roger Federer of Switzerland at The O2 in London from 11-18 November

“I’m happy to get in London after five years,” said Del Potro. “It will be an amazing moment for me. I will love to be part of the eight players, to make that event. Of course, it’s a very special tournament for us. I will be excited to do well in London.”

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The 30-year-old Del Potro first qualified for the Nitto ATP Finals in 2008, when the event was held in Shanghai, finished runner-up to Nikolay Davydenko in the championship match the following year in the first edition at The O2, and later clinched his spot again in 2012-13.

Almost nine years after he first broke into the Top 10 of the ATP Rankings, the Tandil native returned to the elite on 15 January 2018. On a run of 15 straight matches, Del Potro beat three Top 10 players en route the Abierto Mexicano Telcel presentado por HSBC crown in Acapulco (d. Anderson) and recorded the 400th match win of his career in the BNP Paribas Open semi-finals (d. Raonic) en route to his first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 trophy in Indian Wells (d. Federer). He also finished runner-up at the ABS Classic in Auckland (l. to Bautista Agut) and the Abierto de Tenis Mifel presentado por Cinemex in Los Cabos (l. to Fognini), prior to moving up to a career-high No. 3 on 13 August.

This year, Del Potro advanced to his second Grand Slam championship final in New York City, nine years on from lifting the 2009 US Open crown (d. Federer). He also reached the Roland Garros semi-finals for a second time (also 2009) and the Wimbledon quarter-finals (l. to Nadal both times).

With four singles spots left up for grabs, Germany’s Alexander Zverev is next in line to qualify for the 2018 Nitto ATP Finals for the second consecutive season, followed by Marin Cilic of Croatia, Dominic Thiem of Austria and South Africa’s Kevin Anderson. Oliver Marach and Mate Pavic, and Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah are the only doubles team to have clinched a place at London in November.

The Nitto ATP Finals welcomes more than 250,000 fans to The O2 arena annually, as well as generating global viewership figures reaching an average of 95 million viewers each year, as the ATP’s best eight singles players and doubles teams compete over eight days at the biggest indoor tennis tournament in the world.

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Del Potro Delivers Gritty Effort To Reach Beijing QF, Qualify For London

  • Posted: Oct 03, 2018

Del Potro Delivers Gritty Effort To Reach Beijing QF, Qualify For London

Argentine clinches spot at the Nitto ATP Finals with QF appearance

Juan Martin del Potro has switched continents, but he’s playing the same type of gritty tennis that carried him to his second Grand Slam final last month at the US Open.

The top-seeded Argentine advanced to the China Open quarter-finals in Beijing on Wednesday, denying Russian Karen Khachanov 6-4, 7-6(4). The 22-year-old Khachanov was slugging evenly with Del Potro for much of the second-round match, but a couple dips in his level cost him a chance at the upset.

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Khachanov was broken to start the match, and Del Potro didn’t face a break point in the opener. The two were even in the second until the 11th game, when Khachanov felt the nerves and netted a backhand on double break point.

The Argentine, while serving for the match at 6-5, 15/40, erased two break points and had a match point. But Khachanov broke for the first time when Del Potro shanked a forehand.

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In the tie-break, though, Del Potro smashed his 11th ace on his second match point to advance. “I think we played a good match. Basically in the second set we played a good tie-break with tough points. Karen is a difficult opponent. He has everything to keep improving. He has a big potential to grow in the [ATP Rankings] very soon. I think I did very good match today,” Del Potro said.

With the win, Del Potro qualifies for his fifth season-ending Nitto ATP Finals, to be held 11-18 November at The O2 in London. Del Potro last qualified for London in 2013.

But this season has marked a return to the top for the Argentine, who leads the ATP World Tour with 34 hard-court wins and reached his career-high ATP Ranking of No. 3 in August. Del Potro, now No. 4, will next meet Serbian Filip Krajinovic, who beat Spain’s Feliciano Lopez 7-6(5), 6-3.

I’m happy to get in London after five years. Will be amazing moments for me. I will love to be part of that eight players, to make that event. Of course, it’s a very special tournament for us,” Del Potro said.

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