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Federer reaches semis in Dubai to close on 100th title

  • Posted: Feb 28, 2019

Roger Federer beat Marton Fucsovics to reach the Dubai Tennis Championships semi-finals and close in on his 100th ATP singles title.

The Swiss was pushed by the Hungarian world number 35 but came through 7-6 (8-6) 6-4 in one hour 57 minutes.

If Federer wins an eighth title in Dubai he will become just the second player to win 100 singles titles after American Jimmy Connors, who won 109.

Federer will play sixth seed Borna Coric of Croatia in the last four.

Coric needed two hours and 27 minutes to see off Georgian Nikoloz Basilashvili 4-6 6-2 7-6 (7-1)

Twenty-time Grand Slam champion Federer, currently seventh in the world, is the highest ranked player remaining in the draw with Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas meeting Frenchman Gael Monfils in the other semi-final.

World number 11 Tsitsipas, who knocked Federer out of January’s Australian Open, beat Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz 7-6 (7-4) 6-7 (1-7) 6-1.

The 20-year-old could break into the world’s top 10 for the first time by progressing in Dubai.

Monfils also needed three sets to beat qualifier Ricardas Berankis, winning 6-1 6-7 (3-7) 6-2.

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Federer Forges Forward In Pursuit Of History In Dubai

  • Posted: Feb 28, 2019

Federer Forges Forward In Pursuit Of History In Dubai

Seven-time Dubai champion two wins away from tour-level title No. 100

Roger Federer faced two set points in an opening-set tie-break on Thursday at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships. But the seven-time Dubai champion stayed calm and eliminated Hungarian Marton Fucsovics 7-6(6), 6-4 in one hour and 56 minutes, continuing his pursuit of a historic 100th tour-level title.

Federer remains undefeated in Dubai quarter-finals, advancing to the last four at the ATP 500 tennis tournament, where he holds a 51-6 record, for the 11th time. He will face sixth seed Borna Coric or two-time ATP Tour champion Nikoloz Basilashvili for a spot in his 10th final at the event.

The 37-year-old Swiss is now just two victories away from earning his eighth Dubai crown and becoming the second player in the Open Era to win 100 tour-level trophies. The only other player to accomplish the feat is Jimmy Connors, who captured 109 titles.

Reaching the semi-finals was not easy, though. Fucsovics did well to maintain his court-positioning for much of the match, using his forehand down the line to keep the Swiss on the back foot and to try to dictate play as much as he could. Federer was never able to consistently dominate rallies, making for a tense affair with entertaining points.

After Federer stormed to a 3/0 lead in the tie-break. Fucsovics won five consecutive points, and then earned two set points at 6/4. But the Hungarian showed some nerves, hitting a couple of forehands into the net to allow Federer to take the lead.

You May Also Like: Tsitsipas, Monfils Extend Winning Streaks, Reach Dubai Semi-finals

But despite Federer breaking early in the second set, Fucsovics battled hard and regained his rhythm on the forehand wing to break back. At 4-4, Fucsovics fended off three break points when a slight rain began to fall, forcing a break in play that lasted less than 10 minutes (the second short rain delay of the match). While Federer could not convert another opportunity he earned after play resumed, Fucsovics could not fend off a fifth chance, missing a forehand down the line wide to give the Swiss a crucial second break in the set.

Federer won just two more points than Fucsovics, but he was able to advance in straight sets for the first time this week. Federer won 45 per cent of return points against the World No. 35.

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Federer now leads Fucsovics 2-0 in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series after also defeating the Hungarian in straight sets at last year’s Australian Open.

Coric defeated Federer twice last year, to win the Halle title and reach the Shanghai final. Federer lost just five games to Basilashvili three years ago in the first round of the Australian Open. 

Did You Know?
If Federer triumphs in Dubai, it will be the fourth tournament at which he has captured eight titles. He has lifted nine trophies in both Basel and Halle, while emerging victorious at Wimbledon eight times.

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GB's Fed Cup play-off with Kazakhstan at London's Copper Box

  • Posted: Feb 28, 2019

Great Britain will play their World Group II Fed Cup play-off against Kazakhstan at London’s Copper Box in April, the LTA has announced.

The team, including British number one Johanna Konta, qualified by winning all four ties against Slovenia, Greece, Hungary and Serbia in Bath.

The play-off against Kazakhstan will take place on 20 and 21 April.

Victory will see GB qualify for the World Group II for the first time since 1993.

  • Konta wins to send GB into Fed Cup play-offs

Britain’s Fed Cup captain Anne Keothavong, who was raised in Hackney near to the Copper Box in Queen Elizabeth Park, said: “Having grown up and started playing tennis here, I never dreamt that one day I would be coming back and leading the British team in what is the world cup of women’s team tennis.”

The GB team that competed in the promotion play-off in Bath was made up of Konta and Katie Boulter, plus doubles players Harriet Dart and Katie Swan.

British number three and experienced Fed Cup player Heather Watson was absent due to injury

It is only the fourth time in 26 home ties the event will he held in the capital.

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Kyrgios: "It’s A Match I Will Never Forget"

  • Posted: Feb 28, 2019

Kyrgios: “It’s A Match I Will Never Forget”

Australian saves three match points to beat Nadal

Nick Kyrgios overcame food poisoning on Wednesday at the Abierto Mexicano Telcel presentado por HSBC to record his biggest match win in two years. In a match, the Australian said he “will never forget”, Kyrgios saved three match points to beat top seed Rafael Nadal at the Acapulco Princess Mundo Imperial for a place in the quarter-finals.

“I love going out and playing the big matches,” said Kyrgios. “It’s one of the best atmospheres that I’ve ever played in. You could tell the crowd was loving every minute of that match,” said Kyrgios. “That’s what we play for. To come to Acapulco, Centre Court, a packed crowd. They were never silent. They were cheering Rafa’s name, cheering my name. It’s a match I will never forget.”

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Kyrgios did not break Nadal’s serve in the match, which lasted two hours and three minutes, but he saved three match points in the third set tie-break to win 3-6, 7-6(2), 7-6(6). The 23-year-old, who also beat Novak Djokovic at the ATP 500 tournament in 2017, later admitted that he had considered not contesting the match due to illness.

“I woke up today and had food poisoning,” said Kyrgios. “The physio gave me some tablets and it helped a bit, but I was feeling a little woozy. I’ve been dealing with a knee injury as well. Before the match, I wasn’t so sure if I was going to go out there. I was in the shower a half an hour before I played and just feeling really average. [But] the more I got into the match, the adrenaline kicked in. I’m just really proud of how I overcame a couple of things tonight and the way I competed.”

Kyrgios, who will face Stan Wawrinka in the quarter-finals on Thursday, added, “I’ve had a pretty shocking year to start… A win like this gives me a bit of confidence in myself. I just want to do my thing and find my way. Just to be able to compete and have fun again is something that’s been lost on me for a long time. To find it again today against a player like Rafa is pretty special.”

Watch Kyrgios vs. Nadal Highlights From Acapulco

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Kyrgios saves three match points to beat Nadal in Mexico thriller

  • Posted: Feb 28, 2019

Australia’s Nick Kyrgios saved three match points before beating Spaniard Rafael Nadal in a dramatic second-round match at the Mexican Open in Acapulco.

World number two Nadal, playing his first tournament since losing to Novak Djokovic in January’s Australian Open final, lost 3-6 7-6 (7-2) 7-6 (8-6).

Kyrgios, 23, saved nine break points in the match and came from 6-3 down in the third-set tie-break.

He will play Switzerland’s Stan Wawrinka in the quarter-finals.

  • GB’s Norrie & Konta reach last eight in Mexico

World number two Nadal, 32, sent a backhand long to seal victory for Kyrgios, who fell to the floor in celebration following a match which lasted three hours and three minutes.

At the end of the first set, Kyrgios complained to a trainer about feeling ill but said he did not want to retire as he was wary of the backlash.

He saved four break points in the ninth game of the second set, and a further five in the sixth game of the final set.

Nadal, a 17-time Grand Slam champion, took only one of his 10 break point chances in the match.

In the women’s draw, American top seed Sloane Stephens suffered a shock 6-3 6-3 defeat by Brazilian qualifier Beatriz Haddad Maia.

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Norrie & Konta reach last eight at Mexican Open

  • Posted: Feb 28, 2019

Britain’s Cameron Norrie and Johanna Konta both progressed to the quarter-finals of the Mexican Open.

World men’s number 64 Norrie claimed a 7-6 (7-5) 4-6 6-3 win over 25th-ranked Argentine Diego Schwartzman.

Women’s number 45 Konta made the last eight after a comfortable 6-4 6-1 victory over Russia’s Varvara Flink.

Meanwhile, British men’s number one Kyle Edmund and compatriot Dan Evans won their matches at a Challenger Series tournament in Indian Wells.

Edmund beat Spaniard Tommy Robredo 6-4 6-4 in the second round to earn his first win of 2019, while Evans claimed a 6-4 6-4 victory over Uzbekistan’s Denis Istomin.

Edmund will next play Czech Lukas Rosol and Evans will face Colombian Santiago Giraldo.

Briton Heather Watson went out of the women’s side of the draw after a 6-4 7-6 (7-4) defeat by China’s Han Xinyun.

At the Brazil Open, there was a win for British doubles pair Luke Bambridge and Jonny O’Mara as they reached the semi-finals with a 6-4 6-4 win over Belgium pair Sander Gille and Joran Vliegen.

In Acapulco, Norrie will play American Mackenzie McDonald, who is ranked 71st in the world, in the quarter-finals, while Konta will play world number 28 Donna Vekic.

Britain’s Katie Boulter went out of the tournament after she was forced to retire from her second-round match. She was trailing Sonya Kenin 6-4 4-1 at the time.

Elsewhere at the Mexico Open, Australian Nick Kyrgios knocked out men’s number one seed Rafael Nadal, of Spain, with a 3-6 7-6 (7-2) 7-6 (8-6) victory.

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Defending champion Del Potro withdraws from Indian Wells

  • Posted: Feb 28, 2019

Defending champion Juan Martin del Potro has withdrawn from next week’s Indian Wells event with a knee injury.

Del Potro played his first tournament since fracturing his kneecap in October at last week’s Delray Beach Open.

The Argentine world number four, 30, says he now needs “regenerative therapy treatment”.

“Unfortunately, I will have to wait for several days before I can get back on court and train,” Del Potro said in a statement posted on Twitter.

The tournament in California begins on 4 March.

Meanwhile, British number three Dan Evans knocked out Uzbek sixth seed Denis Istomin to reach the last 16 of the Oracle Challenger Series at Indian Wells.

The 28-year-old won 6-4-6-4 in one hour 37 minutes and will face Colombia’s Santiago Giraldo next.

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How Does Agassi Invest $31 Million In Career Prize Money?

  • Posted: Feb 28, 2019

How Does Agassi Invest $31 Million In Career Prize Money?

Tennis legend shares investment secrets in new interview

During his ATP Tour career, Andre Agassi played a strategic brand of baseline tennis that always saw him thinking two steps ahead. It’s no surprise that quality has carried into his investment strategies.

The former World No. 1 opened up in a recent interview about how he has invested his more than $31 million in career prize money – plus a hefty sum in endorsement deals – in order to maximise his net worth while positively impacting the lives of others.

“I bet on people, not on things,” said Agassi to the Economic Times. “A good idea can get screwed up and an average idea can become something really special because of people.”

But while Agassi was never afraid to gamble down break point or at 4-4 in a final set, his investment strategy is more conservative. He told the Economic Times that he opts for a clear risk approach that “may not see 10-12 per cent returns every year, but also [won’t] drop in value by 20 per cent.”

Although clear risk strategies are often seen as a hands-off approach, Agassi is far from that when it comes to his finances.

“I have my more high-risk investments that I personally engage with. Outside of that, I am happy to listen to any investment as a passive investor,” he said. “But there are one or two areas that I really connect with – like maybe education or sports – where I take a much more aggressive position [and] invest my time and money.”

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Agassi has been betting on people through education for nearly 20 years. In 2001, his foundation launched the Andre Agassi College Preparatory Academy, a public charter school in his hometown of Las Vegas. He has since teamed with an investment fund and helped finance the building of more than 90 charter schools across America in the past five years.

The tennis legend isn’t shy to admit his eighth-grade dropout status and said he hopes to prevent others, even those with the same athletic aspirations as his, from going down the same path.

“Education endows you with choice. My lack of education was probably the greatest vehicle to my commitment and interest In education,” he said. “[If] you’re successful in sports, but you spent a third of your life not preparing for the remaining two-thirds… that’s not ideal.”

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