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De Minaur Downs Home Favourite Caruana

  • Posted: Nov 06, 2018

De Minaur Downs Home Favourite Caruana

Australian notches first victory in Milan after 55 minutes

Alex de Minaur made a strong opening statement in the last match of Tuesday’s opening day of play at the Next Gen ATP Finals. The Aussie moved past Italian wild card Liam Caruana 4-1, 4-1, 4-2 in 55 minutes.

De Minaur has now won 25 tour-level matches in 2018, which is impressive considering he began the year with just two. The second seed in Milan saved both break points he faced against Caruana, and won 51 per cent of return points to move to 1-0 in Group B play.

“It was fun. The whole week I was really looking forward to playing with this new format and it was great,” De Minaur said. “I actually didn’t feel too much of a difference. I enjoyed every second out there. The atmosphere was great and I couldn’t think of a better way to start.”

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In the match prior, Frances Tiafoe was up two quick sets against Hubert Hurkacz before being pushed in a tight four-setter. But De Minaur, who reached the championship match in Sydney and Washington, D.C., earlier this season, took care of business, finishing off the lone straight-sets victory of the day.

The 19-year-old’s opponent, Caruana, carried plenty of momentum into Tuesday evening, after winning three matches in three days last week against fellow Italian 21-and-under players. But De Minaur proved too solid from the back of the court.

De Minaur will face Andrey Rublev on Wednesday and if he defeats the Russian, who he beat in the Citi Open semi-finals, in three or four sets, the Aussie will guarantee his spot in the last four in Milan. Caruana will look to join the winners’ column in a match against longtime friend Taylor Fritz.

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Big Foe Earns Big Win Against Hurkacz

  • Posted: Nov 06, 2018

Big Foe Earns Big Win Against Hurkacz

American joins Tsitsipas at 1-0 in Group A

Frances Tiafoe missed direct qualification for the 2017 Next Gen ATP Finals by one spot. Not being able to compete stung, motivating him to book his spot in Milan. And now that the American is at the Fiera Milano, he is taking advantage of the opportunity.

Tiafoe defeated Polish No. 1 Hubert Hurkacz 4-1, 4-2, 2-4, 4-3(10) to move to 1-0 in Group A play. The 20-year-old saved six of the seven break points he faced en route to his one-hour, 22-minute triumph.

“The tie-break was very interesting. He just kept coming with heat. He had no nerves. I’m happy for him, he’s had a great year. He was pretty low-ranked, he got into the Top 100, he snuck in here winning [the] Brest [Challenger]. I played him earlier this year, I knew it was going to be tough and I came out playing well.”

Early on, Tiafoe appeared to be in control, cruising through the first two sets without getting broken. Hurkacz on the other hand only managed to win 47 per cent (7/15) of his first-serve points through those first two sets, with three of those points coming on aces.

So after losing the second set, Hurkacz spoke through his headset to his coach, Rene Moller, trying to figure out how he could battle his way back into the match.

“Hey man, you’re competing, just keep working and you’ve got to try to be a little more aggressive here,” Moller said. “You’ve got to be willing to gamble a little bit if you want to take this title, so let’s red-line it here for the next three sets.”

That strategy paid off, as Hurkacz took the third set and would even earn two set points in the fourth-set tie-break. But Tiafoe found a way to battle through the 22-point tie-break and avoid going to a deciding set.

“He was coming up with the goods so I had to really step it up,” Tiafoe said. “Luckily I did.”

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Andy Murray: Britain's former number one to play Open Sud de France in Montpellier

  • Posted: Nov 06, 2018

Andy Murray will play at the Open Sud de France in Montpellier in February.

The ATP 250 event takes place between 3 and 10 February, one week after the Australian Open.

Britain’s former world number one ended his 2018 season early in September, having only played 12 matches after returning from hip surgery in June.

He said he wanted to get “in the best shape possible for the beginning of the 2019 season” and “get back competing for the biggest tournaments”.

Murray, 31, is expected to play at the Australian Open.

Last month the tournament director of the Marseille Open announced the Scot would be playing at that French event, which starts two weeks after Montpellier.

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2010 Flashback: Federer Draws Level With Sampras, Lendl

  • Posted: Nov 06, 2018

2010 Flashback: Federer Draws Level With Sampras, Lendl looks back at the Swiss stars perfect week in 2010

Roger Federer was at his magnificent best in November 2010, when the Swiss superstar captured his fifth Nitto ATP Finals crown, to draw level with the title hauls of Pete Sampras and Ivan Lendl.

One of the sport’s greatest indoor players beat five of the Top 7 players for his fifth title of the season, leaving the Swiss superstar clearly delighted. “I’m really thrilled the way I played all week,” said Federer. “To win a fifth time is obviously amazing, for the third time in a different place [also Houston and Shanghai]. I’m just really happy the way I was able to finish the season in style, playing some of my best tennis, really saving the best for last.”

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On a cold week in London, Federer beat World No. 1 Rafael Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 6-1 in one hour and 37 minutes for the 66th tour-level trophy of his career. In their first meeting in London since their 2008 Wimbledon final, Federer’s victory ended Nadal’s run of seven victories in eight previous matches.

Nadal, who had beaten Andy Murray over three hours in the semi-finals a day earlier, praised Federer, saying, “At the beginning he was unplayable. I don’t want to say I lost because I was tired. I lost to a very good Roger Federer. I had chances but it was not enough.”

Federer served immaculately against Nadal in the first set, but then lost his only set of the week. He broke Nadal with relative ease in the anti-climatic decider for his fifth year-end championship crown (also 2003-04, 2006-07). In a year when he experienced 13 losses and became the first father to win a Grand Slam title since Andre Agassi at the 2003 Australian Open, Federer completed his ninth final of 2010 for his 65th victory.

“As long as I can, as long as I’m healthy, eager, motivated, which I clearly am, [I will continue to play],” said Federer. “I’ve played 10 full seasons. Nine of them I made the [Nitto ATP] Finals, so I’ve always had long and exhausting seasons. But I seem to enjoy it. I take pleasure out of travelling the world, playing against the best, challenging myself.

“So it’s been an amazing career for myself. At the moment I have no plans at all of stopping, quitting, whatever you want to call it. I hope I can play for many more years to come. It’s a goal anyway. I think it’s possible.”

Federer dominated throughout the week, taking a 4-0 lead in just 15 minutes against David Ferrer en route to a 6-1, 6-4 victory in their opening round-robin match. The Swiss then earned a 6-2, 6-2 win over Murray and went on to extend his FedEx ATP Head2Head record against Robin Soderling to 15-1 with a 7-6(5), 6-3 victory. His ball striking was equally as assured in a routine 6-1, 6-4 semi-final win over Novak Djokovic.

In 2010, Federer finished in the Top 2 of the ATP Rankings for a record eighth straight season.

The Nitto ATP Finals is celebrating its 10th edition at The O2 in London from 11-18 November 2018.

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