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Isner Powers Into Delray Beach SF

  • Posted: Feb 22, 2019

Isner Powers Into Delray Beach SF

Evans prevails on Friday

Second seed John Isner remained untouchable on serve on Friday at the Delray Beach Open by The American fired 24 aces and stormed into the semi-finals with a 7-6(2), 6-4 victory over eighth seed Adrian Mannarino of France.

“I thought Adrian was playing well today. Those three break points I saved in the first set felt like set points,” said Isner. “I was able to get the one break in the second set and sometimes that’s all you need.”

Isner saved three break points at 3-4 in the first set and secured the lone break of the match at 2-2 in the second set to wrap up the win in one hour and 33 minutes. He improves his FedEx ATP Head2Head against Mannarino to 7-1 and has won their past six matches.

The American has held in all 31 of his service games this week and hasn’t dropped a set. He’s into his fourth Delray Beach semi-final (2012-2014, 2019), but is looking for his final. Should Isner take the title, it would mark the 400th match win of his career.

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Next up for the American is British qualifier Daniel Evans, who continued his top form with a 6-4, 6-4 win over sixth seed Andreas Seppi. Evans raced to a 5-1 lead in the first set and maintained control of the baseline rallies to move into his first ATP Tour semi-final since the 2017 Sydney International.

“I played pretty well today and thought it was a clean match. My game style matches up well to his,” said Evans. “Playing in the qualifying this week definitely helped me. I’m not there yet, though, and there’s still plenty of work to do.”

The World No. 148 has jumped nearly 45 spots in the ATP Rankings since the start of 2019. He opened this season by qualifying for the Australian Open and advancing to the second round, then finished runner-up earlier this month at the ATP Challenger Tour event in Quimper. The Brit recorded the first big upset of the week in Delray Beach by defeating third seed Frances Tiafoe in the opening round.

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Zhuhai To Host ATP Tour Event In 2019

  • Posted: Feb 22, 2019

Zhuhai To Host ATP Tour Event In 2019

Hengqin Tennis Center will showcase world’s best players

China will host a new ATP Tour event in September, with the city of Zhuhai serving as host for the Zhuhai Open from 23-29 September.

The 250-level event, offering US $1,000,000 in prize money, will be held at the custom-designed, state-of-the-art Hengqin Tennis Center. It will be played the week before the China Open in Beijing and joins the Chengdu Open as the opening stops of the three-week Asian swing held in September and October.

“On behalf of the ATP, we welcome the city of Zhuhai to the ATP Tour in 2019,” said Alison Lee, ATP International Executive Vice President. “I am sure the players will enjoy their time in the city and playing at the magnificent Hengqin Tennis Center.”

Zhuhai has held an ATP Challenger Tour event in March for the past three years at the Hengqin Tennis Center. The Challenger began as a $50,000 event in 2016 and was upgraded last year to a $75,000 event.

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Zhuhai is located on the southern coast of China, at the heart of the Greater Bay Area and near Hong Kong and Macau. It has been selected as “China’s Most Livable City” by the Chinese Academy of Social Services since 2015. The Hong Kong-Macau-Zhuhai bridge was opened in October 2018, making Zhuhai directly and easily accessible by road from Hong Kong.

“With the opening of the new Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge, it is easier for players traveling from Hong Kong to Zhuhau,” said Tournament Director Leon Sun. “As the only ATP Tour tournament in Southern China, we warmly welcome all the fans, including from Hong Kong and Macau, to enjoy great tennis in this new and modern venue. We look forward to seeing you there in September.”

“Huafa Sports is excited to present a first-class ATP Tour event, providing high-quality services to players, officials, sponsors and tennis fans locally and afar. A grand and colourful tennis carnival will be staged in Zhuhai in September,” said Peter LV, Executive Director of Huafa Sports, the tournament promoter and operator. “Since 2015, Zhuhai has started its endeavour in promoting tennis both at the professional and amateur level…and has garnered a stellar reputation in event operation and management, with strong support from the local government and local tournament promoter Huafa Group. The Zhuhai Open will become a new boost for local tennis development and undoubtedly a highlight on the ATP Tour.”

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Briton Evans reaches first semi-final since drugs ban

  • Posted: Feb 22, 2019

Britain’s Dan Evans reached his first ATP Tour semi-final for over two years by beating Italian Andreas Seppi in their Delray Beach Open quarter-final.

Evans, 28, won 6-4 6-4 as he continues to rebuild his career following a drugs ban last year.

Ranked inside the top 50 two years ago, he has climbed back to 148th and will rise into the top 120 next week.

He will play either American John Isner or France’s Adrian Mannarino, who meet later on Friday, in the last four.

Evans made a quick start against 35-year-old Seppi, who was once ranked inside the world’s top 20, by breaking in the first game and going on to claim a 4-0 lead.

Despite Seppi briefly rallying, Evans saw out the opening set and earned a decisive break in the third game of the second set.

He served out victory on his first match point with an ace out wide, reaching the third ATP semi-final of his career and the first since returning to the sport last April.

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Dubai Tennis Championships: Petra Kvitova to meet Belinda Bencic in final

  • Posted: Feb 22, 2019

World number four Petra Kvitova continued her fine start to the 2019 season by beating Hsieh Su-wei in Dubai to reach her third final of the year.

The 28-year-old Czech, who won the Sydney title before losing to Naomi Osaka in the Australian Open final, won 3-6 6-2 6-4 in Friday’s semi-final.

Kvitova will play Swiss youngster Belinda Bencic, who beat Ukraine’s Elina Svitolina, in Saturday’s final.

Bencic, 21, trailed 5-3 in the deciding set before winning 6-2 3-6 7-6 (7-3).

“I think from 3-5, I just completely zoned out. Basically I stayed in the zone, even in the tie-break,” said Bencic, who has been mentored by five-time Grand Slam singles champion Martina Hingis.

“I was barely breathing, just playing automatic. You are not thinking any more. It’s where the instincts just guide you through it.”

The world number 45 beat a top-10 ranked player for the third successive match, having also fought back from behind to see off Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka and Romania’s world number two Simona Halep.

She missed three match points at 6-5 before taking her fourth opportunity in the tie-break.

Bencic dropped down the rankings after suffering a serious wrist injury two years ago, but continued a fine week by reaching her first Premier final on the WTA Tour since 2016.

Bencic faces Kvitova again after she lost 6-1 6-4 to the two-time Wimbledon champion in the third round in Melbourne last month.

“There she was on a roll. She crushed us all,” Bencic said. “It will be a tough final.”

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Delray Beach Open: Juan Martin del Potro reaches quarter-finals in Florida

  • Posted: Feb 22, 2019

Top seed Juan Martin del Potro eased through to the quarter-finals of the Delray Beach Open with a 6-4 6-4 win against American Reilly Opelka.

The Argentine, playing his first tournament since breaking his kneecap at October’s Shanghai Masters, held serve to love in the final game to wrap up victory in one hour 13 minutes.

The 30-year-old will face American Mackenzie McDonald in the last eight.

Fourth seed Steve Johnson of the USA beat Italian Paolo Lorenzi 7-5 7-5.

He will meet Radu Albot in Friday’s quarter-finals after the Moldovan beat Australia’s Nick Kyrgios 6-2 3-6 6-3.

Elsewhere, Britain’s Dan Evans takes on sixth seed Andreas Seppi of Italy, while American second seed John Isner faced France’s Adrian Mannarino.

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Del Potro Ends Opelka's Run In Delray Beach

  • Posted: Feb 22, 2019

Del Potro Ends Opelka’s Run In Delray Beach

Johnson, Albot, McDonald prevail on Thursday

Juan Martin del Potro said it would take time for him to build confidence after a four-month injury layoff, but it could be a speedy process for the Argentine after the tennis he displayed on Thursday night at the Delray Beach Open by

The top seed struck his forehand with authority and held his nerve in crucial moments to end the six-match winning streak of Reilly Opelka with a convincing 6-4, 6-4 victory. Del Potro didn’t face a break point and booked a quarter-final spot for the fourth time in five appearances in Delray Beach.

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Del Potro has always been methodical about his comeback attempts, waiting until he’s fully ready to return rather than rushing back too soon. His performance on Thursday indicated that if his right knee continues to hold up, he can pick up where he left off at the end of last year.

A forehand error from Opelka at 1-1 in the opening set gifted del Potro an early break and the top seed held that momentum to take the early advantage. Little separated the two players in the second set, but a backhand error from Opelka on break point at 4-4 allowed the Argentine to serve out the match after 73 minutes.

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Next up for del Potro is another American in Mackenzie McDonald, who required just a single break in each set to defeat Guillermo Garcia-Lopez 7-5, 6-4. This is the second ATP quarter-final for McDonald, who also accomplished the feat last June at the Ricoh Open.

Radu Albot of Moldova held off Nick Kyrgios of Australia to advance 6-2, 3-6, 6-3. The 29-year-old was especially tidy on serve in the deciding set, winning 80 per cent (20/25) of his service points to advance in one hour and 24 minutes. Albot is playing some of his best tennis, having reached his second ATP Tour semi-final earlier this month in Montpellier.

He’ll take on fourth seed Steve Johnson in the quarter-finals after the American held off Italian Paolo Lorenzi 7-5, 7-5. Johnson saved all six break points he faced and broke Lorenzi in the final game of each set to pick up the win after one hour and 57 minutes.

“I was having a hard time being accurate with my shots, so I’m glad I served well today,” said Johnson. “I’m happy I have a chance to play another competitive match tomorrow and hopefully clean things up.”

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#NextGenATP Ruud Upsets Sousa In Rio

  • Posted: Feb 22, 2019

#NextGenATP Ruud Upsets Sousa In Rio

Cuevas, Ramos-Vinolas, Djere advance on Thursday

#NextGenATP Norwegian Casper Ruud continued to excel at the Rio Open presented by Claro on Thursday. Having reached his maiden ATP semi-final at this event in 2017, the 20-year-old defeated fifth seed Joao Sousa 6-3, 3-6, 6-4 to put himself into the quarter-finals again in Rio de Janeiro.

“I always play far away from home, but Rio always makes me feel very welcome,” said Ruud. “I feel the atmosphere here and it’s great to have the crowd on my side.”

Sousa dug deep after facing a break point to trail 1-5 in the final set, but Ruud hung tough to advance after two hours and 11 minutes. The Norwegian, currently No. 135 in the ATP Rankings, will make his Top 100 debut on Monday if he defeats Laslo Djere of Serbia on Friday.

“It’s a great chance for another 500-level semifinal,” said Ruud. “[Djere] is maybe the favorite in the [ATP] Rankings, but I’ve shown some good tennis before here and hopefully I can again.”

Ruud enjoyed success on the ATP Challenger Tour last year by finishing runner-up at $50,000 events in Braga and Francavilla. He also excelled on bigger stages by reaching the quarter-finals last July at the Swedish Open and coming through qualifying at the Australian Open, Roland Garros and US Open, advancing to the second round at the first two majors of the year.

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Djere, who defeated top seed Dominic Thiem in the opening round, continued his inspired tennis with a 6-4, 6-2 victory over Taro Daniel of Japan. The World No. 90 didn’t face a break point against Daniel and won 83 per cent (20/24) of his first-serve points.

Pablo Cuevas of Uruguay produced a statement win over recent Cordoba Open winner Juan Ignacio Londero of Argentina 6-1, 6-4. The 2016 champion wasted no time getting down to business on Quadra Guga Kuerten, dropping just one point on serve (16/17) in the opening set. He continued to dominate the baseline rallies in the second set and secured the win after just 68 minutes.

Awaiting Cuevas in the quarter-finals is Albert Ramos-Vinolas of Spain, who scored an impressive 3-6, 7-5, 6-3 comeback victory over Federico Delbonis of Argentina. Delbonis served for the match at 5-4 in the second set, but Ramos-Vinolas rallied to advance after two hours and 20 minutes.

The Spaniard improves his FedEx ATP Head2Head against Delbonis to 2-3. Ramos-Vinolas trails his FedEx ATP Head2Head with Cuevas 1-6 and the Uruguayan has prevailed in their past five matches.

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