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Federer: "Getting Nine Here In Basel Is Crazy"

  • Posted: Oct 28, 2018

Federer: “Getting Nine Here In Basel Is Crazy”

Federer earns his ninth Basel title and 99th trophy overall

Winning never gets old, not even for Roger Federer. The Swiss 37-year-old was ecstatic on Sunday when he triumphed at the Swiss Indoors Basel for the ninth time, lifting his 99th tour-level trophy. The victory ties a personal record for most titles won at a single event, having also come out victorious in Halle nine times.

“First and foremost for me it’s about winning here. I don’t care about anything else right now,” Federer said. “This win here in Basel means the world to me. It makes me so happy to win in front of my home crowd and make them happy in a way. It was a fantastic week.”

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What perhaps makes it most satisfying is that the Swiss did not arrive in his best form, nor did he sprint on a hurdle-less track in Basel. Federer had lost in the fourth round of the US Open and the semi-finals of the Rolex Shanghai Masters. The top seed then fell down an early break in three of his final four matches in Basel.

But Federer, like he’s done so many times in his career, found a way to win. He now owns 71 match victories at his home tournament, and yet another trophy.

“It’s not always been easy the past few weeks. I’ve played well, but at times also I didn’t play as well, so it’s nice to come back to winning ways. Now we’ll see what happens next,” Federer said. “But obviously getting 99 is a huge, huge number for me. Getting nine here in Basel is crazy. I can’t believe it. It’s a major week for me in terms of all the records, so it’s great.

“Since many years, I don’t know if every title I win might be my last. I don’t know. I’m not saying I’m celebrating like it is my last, maybe I should… Here it’s always emotional, seeing the faces of the ball kids. Seeing myself in their shoes is very touching for me. Getting the standing ovations from the fans touches me a lot as well.”

It certainly helps that this event is where many of Federer’s dreams were born. As a youngster, Federer spent two years as a ball boy in Basel. He remembers the 1994 tournament, won by South African Wayne Ferreira. Every year, the champions gives the ball kids medals. On Sunday, Federer did just that. Twenty four years ago, he was one of those children, just happy to be standing next to one of the best players in the world.

“Walking out for a Basel final was always my dream, or just playing on the centre court was a thrill 21 years ago for the qualies,” Federer said. “So when you sit there and the trophy ceremony is starting and the ball kids walk out, I remember being in their shoes and [it being] me walking out.”

As far as his tennis goes, Federer was surprisingly broken 13 times this week. But he broke his opponents 21 times, winning 35.6 per cent of his return games, which is better than his 23.1 per cent average for the year entering the tournament, according to Infosys ATP Scores & Stats. That improvement might bode well as he gains momentum ahead of the Nitto ATP Finals, to take place at The O2 in London from 11-18 November.

“Maybe I had to win it through good returning, through fighting and all that stuff, so maybe differently than some of my past tournament victories,” Federer said. “But winning is fun, winning gives you confidence and that’s what I’ll need if I want to do well in London and beat the best over there, so I hope that this confidence I gained from here is going to help me there.”

In reflecting on his victory this week, Federer admitted to being nervous at his home tournament. Not only is it his home, but virtually everyone in attendance is there to watch him, hoping he will pull through.

“Of course I have pressure, of course I have nerves, but I try to block it aside and just enjoy it for what it is and moreso think what a privilege it is to be in this position,” said Federer, who celebreated aftwerwards with about 50 family members and friends. “I’ll drive home and sleep in my own bed. It’s going to be great.”

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Paris 2018

  • Posted: Oct 28, 2018

Paris 2018

The content of this article took place at Rolex Paris Masters

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Agassi, Dimitrov Working Together In Paris

  • Posted: Oct 28, 2018

Agassi, Dimitrov Working Together In Paris

Former World No. 1 joins Dimitrov’s team at the season’s final ATP World Tour Masters 1000 event

Former World No. 1 Andre Agassi will help coach Grigor Dimitrov at this week’s Rolex Paris Masters. Agassi flew out early Saturday afternoon and joined Dimitrov on Sunday at the season’s final ATP World Tour Masters 1000 event.

This is at least the second time this year the two have worked together. They were seen practising in July at Georgia Tech University in Atlanta.

Dani Vallverdu, Dimitrov’s coach since mid-2016, is also in Paris. Last year, Vallverdu guided Dimitrov to his best season yet. The Bulgarian won his first Masters 1000 event (Cincinnati) and the biggest title of his career at the Nitto ATP Finals in London. Dimitrov finished 2017 at No. 3 in the ATP Rankings.

Taming The Talent: Why Dimitrov, Vallverdu Make A Good Match

But the 27-year-old Dimitrov has struggled to back up his breakthrough season. After four titles last year, Dimitrov has reached only one final this year, losing to Roger Federer in Rotterdam. Dimitrov is in 22nd place in the ATP Race To London and will not be making a return trip to The O2.

Agassi worked with Novak Djokovic for 11 months, from May 2017 until April 2018, when the two agreed to end their partnership.

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Nadal & Djokovic to wait on Saudi exhibition decision

  • Posted: Oct 28, 2018

Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic will wait to decide whether to play an exhibition match in Saudi Arabia, following the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul.

Turkish officials believe Mr Khashoggi – a critic of the Saudi government – was murdered and his body dismembered.

The world’s top two ranked players are due to meet in Jeddah on 22 December.

Djokovic said: “My team is in touch with Saudi Arabia and we’re all talking to understand the situation better.”

Other sports events have taken place in Saudi Arabia since Khashoggi was killed, such as Brazil’s football international against Argentina on 16 October.

  • Jamal Khashoggi death: the story so far

Serb Djokovic, 31, said: “I don’t like to involve myself in any political exchange or situations. And it’s unfortunate that we are both drawn into this right now.

“Right now we just don’t have obviously enough information, and we have to look into that a bit more and then we’ll make our decision soon.”

World number one Nadal added: “Of course I’m aware of all the situation. But I had a commitment since one year ago to play there. And my team is talking to them, to analyse the things. That’s it.

“It’s terrible that one journalist lost his life. I know something happened very bad inside there. So we are looking about how evolves the situation and I hope the things will clarify as soon as possible.”

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Roger Federer seals 99th tournament victory with ninth Swiss Indoors title

  • Posted: Oct 28, 2018

Roger Federer sealed the Swiss Indoors title for the ninth time with a 7-6 (7-5) 6-4 victory over Marius Copil and is now one short of 100 tournament wins.

The 37-year-old world number three, who first won the Swiss title in 2006, was a break down in each set to Romanian Copil, seeking his first title.

But the Swiss beat the world number 93 in an hour and 34 minutes.

In Vienna, Kevin Anderson qualified for the ATP Finals in London with victory in the Erste Bank Open.

Second seed Anderson beat fifth seed Kei Nishikori of Japan 6-3 7-6 (7-3).

Anderson, 32, who has never previously finished in the end-of-year top 10, is the first singles player from South Africa to play in the Tour Finals since Wayne Ferreira in 1995.

He joins Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Juan Martin del Potro and Alexander Zverev at the eight-man event, to be held at The O2 from 11-18 November.

The two final places will be decided at the Paris Masters, where Federer will attempt to become the first man to reach a century of ATP tournament victories.

He will be the third seed in Paris and has a bye into round two, where he will face Canada’s Milos Raonic or France’s Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.

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WTA Finals: Elina Svitolina beats Sloane Stephens for biggest win of career

  • Posted: Oct 28, 2018

Elina Svitolina beat Sloane Stephens to claim the biggest title of her career at the WTA Finals in Singapore.

The first Ukrainian to be crowned champion, Svitolina recovered from a difficult start to win 3-6 6-2 6-2.

Stephens, the 2017 US Open champion, controlled the first set but Svitolina broke three times in the second.

The 24-year-old then repeated the feat in the decider to become the first player to go unbeaten at the tournament since Serena Williams in 2013.

“It is amazing. I am very pleased with my performance this week,” said Svitolina, who has won her past nine finals on the WTA Tour and not lost one in the last two seasons.

“There were nerves early on but I was just trying to fight for every ball and I think that made the difference in the end.”

American Stephens, the world number six, raced into a 3-0 lead in the opening set and the 25-year-old went on to wrap it up in 46 minutes.

The trend of this tournament suggested the match would go to three sets, however – 10 matches have gone the distance this week, beating the previous high of six – and it duly did so when Svitolina ran away with the second set.

And the world number seven continued her dominance into the final set, breaking three times once more to secure the title.

“Sloane played amazing tennis so I really had to play my best tennis to win,” Svitolina added.

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Stephens, making her debut at the event, won all three of her group matches and then beat Karolina Pliskova in the semi-final.

“It is not the way I wanted to finish but I worked really hard to get here and I can be really proud of my result today so I am really pleased with that,” she said.

The WTA Finals feature the leading eight players of the year, split into two groups of four for round-robin matches before the semi-finals and final. This year, ninth-ranked Kiki Bertens was given a chance after world number one Simona Halep was ruled out with a lower-back injury.

Defending champion Caroline Wozniacki went out at the group stage and has since revealed she was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis in August.

The Finals were held in Singapore for the fifth and final time before moving to the Chinese city of Shenzhen next year.

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Skupski/Salisbury Lift Maiden Team Trophy In Vienna

  • Posted: Oct 28, 2018

Skupski/Salisbury Lift Maiden Team Trophy In Vienna

British duo improves to 6-1 record

Joe Salisbury and Neal Skupski captured their maiden team title on Sunday, defeating Mike Bryan and Edouard Roger-Vasselin 7-6(5), 6-3 at the Erste Bank Open 500.

The British duo, appearing for the first time since its team debut at the 2018 Winston-Salem Open, landed 10 aces and saved both break points it faced to lift the trophy after 76 minutes. Salisbury has now won two tour-level crowns this season after clinching his first title at the Shenzhen Open (w/McLachlan) in September. Having also lifted his first tour-level trophy earlier this year in Montpellier (w/ K. Skupski), the 28-year-old Skupski is also a two-time ATP World Tour champion.

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Like Salisbury and Skupski, Bryan and Roger-Vasselin were appearing in just their second tour-level event as a team. The American-French tandem, which reached the Citi Open final on its team debut this year (l. to Murray/Soares), drops to a 5-2 record after reaching its second tour-level championship match.

World No. 1 Bryan was aiming to lift his fifth tour-level crown of the season and 121st overall. Alongside brother Bob Bryan, the 40-year-old captured the Vienna title in 2011. Winner of trophies in Metz (w/Mahut) and Antwerp (w/Mahut), Roger-Vasselin was bidding to secure his 17th tour-level doubles title.

Salisbury and Skupski gain 500 ATP Doubles Ranking points and split €142,670 in prize money for lifting the trophy. Bryan and Roger-Vasselin receive 300 points and share €69,850.

Did You Know?
Both teams entered the championship match in Vienna with a 5-1 team record.

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