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Stefanos Tsitsipas claims Open 13 Provence title in Marseille

  • Posted: Feb 24, 2019

Australian Open semi-finalist Stefanos Tsitsipas claimed his first ATP title of the year with victory in the Open 13 Provence final in Marseille.

The Greek top seed recovered from 4-2 down in the second set to beat Mikhail Kukushkin of Kazakhstan 7-5 7-6 (7-5).

Kukushkin survived an early break point but could do nothing when serving to stay in the first set at 6-5.

Tsitsipas lost his serve in the second, but broke back to make it 5-5 and held his nerve in the tie-break.

The 20-year-old, who is now number 12 in the world, beat Roger Federer on his way to the last four in Melbourne, where he lost to Rafael Nadal.

He became the first Greek player to win an ATP World Tour title when he claimed the Stockholm Open in October.

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French Success: Martin/Chardy Triumph In Marseille

  • Posted: Feb 24, 2019

French Success: Martin/Chardy Triumph In Marseille

French pairing capture title in Match Tie-break

Jeremy Chardy and Fabrice Martin captured their second ATP Tour team title on Sunday, defeating Ben McLachlan and Matwe Middelkoop 6-3, 6-7(4), 10-3 at the Open 13 Provence.

The French duo landed 12 aces and saved all three break points it faced to claim victory after 77 minutes. Adding to their maiden trophy at the 2017 Qatar ExxonMobil Open (d. Pospisil/Stepanek), Chardy and Martin are the 12th all-French team to triumph in Marseille since the tournament began in 1993.

This is Chardy’s sixth ATP Tour doubles title. The 32-year-old picked up his fifth tour-level doubles crown last week, alongside Henri Kontinen, at the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam.

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Lifting his first ATP Tour doubles trophy since his title run with Chardy in Doha two years ago, Martin adds a fourth title to his collection. The 32-year-old has won each of his tour-level trophies on hard courts.

McLachlan and Middelkoop were bidding to lift their first team title in their third tournament apperance as a team. The third seeds played well under pressure in Marseille, surviving two Match Tie-breaks to reach the championship match.

Chardy and Martin collect 250 ATP Doubles Ranking points and receive €37,820 in prize money. McLachlan and Middelkoop earn 150 points and share €19,380.

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Auger-Aliassime: I Don't Want To Be Remembered For A Final At 18

  • Posted: Feb 24, 2019

Auger-Aliassime: I Don’t Want To Be Remembered For A Final At 18

#NextGenATP Canadian faces Djere for first ATP Tour title

The tennis world became familiar with #NextGenATP Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime when he was just 14, as he became the youngest player to win a main draw match on the ATP Challenger Tour. On Saturday evening, he advanced to his maiden ATP Tour final at the Rio Open presented by Claro. He is only 18 years old.

But already, Auger-Aliassime presents himself with a veteran’s mindset. Plenty of fans throughout the world will be watching Auger-Aliassime as he tries to lift his maiden ATP Tour trophy against Laslo Djere on Sunday. But the right-hander does not feel any extra pressure.

“It’s something I’ve dealt with for a few years now. You just have to manage it, work on that and focus on what you have to do every day,” Auger-Aliassime said. “For me, [winning the] title or not [winning the] title is not the most important thing today [for me], because at the end I want to have a successful career, every year. I don’t want to be remembered for just a final or just a title when I was 18.”

During Auger-Aliassime’s press conference after the Canadian defeated 2016 champion Pablo Cuevas in the semi-finals, the teenager was asked about how much breaking records means to him. Auger-Aliassime is the youngest ATP 500 finalist since the level was established in 2009. The reporter mentioned how the #NextGenATP star can be in the same conversation as Rafael Nadal, who won his first title at 18.

“It shows that I’m doing good things and I’m on the right track. But I don’t want to compare myself too much,” Auger-Aliassime said. “Nadal is Nadal. He’s an unbelievable player and person. I have a different background, different story. It’s two completely different things. It’s not the same generation at all, and I don’t want to think about it today. I just want to right now enjoy the moment, try to find a way to win tomorrow, and that’s all I’m thinking about.”

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Before the tournament, the wild card owned just seven tour-level victories. But Auger-Aliassime won his first three matches this week in straight sets, including a 6-2, 6-3 triumph against No. 2 seed Fabio Fognini in the first round, his greatest win by ATP Ranking (Fognini is World No. 16). When a former Rio de Janeiro champion in Cuevas battled back to force a decider in the last four, Auger-Aliassime did not fold.

It would have been easy to feel more pressure knowing that no seeds reached the quarter-finals at the ATP 500 event, and that this could be a good opportunity for him. But Auger-Aliassime has remained focused all week.

“You have to put that out of your mind. I think that’s a trap, [if] I think that because the seeds are out, that it’s going to get easier,” Auger-Aliassime said. “These players have also just beaten great players, so sometimes it’s like this and I really put that away because today I was playing Cuevas. He won the tournament here a few years ago, so it was again a tough match. He probably could have been seeded, so that wasn’t in my head at all.”

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The Brazilian crowd got behind Auger-Aliassime as he battled in the third set against the Uruguayan, and the Canadian made a heart with his hands after the match to show his appreciation to the fans.

“It’s been great. Every time you have a breakthrough as a young guy, it’s special moments and the environment is very important,” Auger-Aliassime said. “From the first day I felt like, ‘Yeah, I feel good.’ From the hotel we stayed at to the places I’ve seen and the energy from the people, it’s really strong. I strongly believe that it has pushed me to where I am today this week and maybe I can get one last push with the support of the crowd tomorrow.”

Auger-Aliassime can add his name into the record books again on Sunday by breaking Alexander Zverev’s record as the youngest ATP 500 titlist (19, 2016 Halle). But to him, that’s not what’s most important.

“I’m just looking to play good tennis and go as far as I can.”

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Gonzalez & Jarry Take Rio Doubles Title

  • Posted: Feb 24, 2019

Gonzalez & Jarry Take Rio Doubles Title

All-South American doubles final highlights Saturday play

Maximo Gonzalez of Argentina and Nicolas Jarry of Chile picked up the biggest title of their careers on Saturday at the Rio Open presented by Claro, outlasting Brazilian wild cards Thomaz Bellucci and Rogerio Dutra Silva 6-7(5), 6-3, 10-7 in a thrilling final

Both teams held serve throughout the first set to force a tie-break, but a backhand return winner from Bellucci at 1/1 gave the Brazilians a mini-break and they held the lead for the rest of the set. A double fault from Dutra Silva allowed Gonzalez/Jarry to take a 2-0 lead in the second set and the Argentine-Chilean duo ultimately forced a Match Tie-break.

With the boisterous crowd that included former World No. 1 Gustavo Kuerten loudly cheering Bellucci/Dutra Silva on, the Brazilian pair fought back from being down a mini-break on two occasions. But at 7/8, Bellucci shockingly hit two double faults to hand Gonzalez/Jarry the title after one hour and 43 minutes.

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This is the first ATP 500 title for both Gonzalez and Jarry. Gonzalez has won six ATP Tour doubles titles, including last week at the Argentina Open (w/Zeballos). Jarry earned his second ATP Tour doubles title, with his maiden trophy coming last year in Quito (w/Podlipnik-Castillo).

Despite the loss, Bellucci/Dutra Silva became the first all-Brazilian pair to reach the final in tournament history. They both drop to 1-2 in their individual ATP Tour doubles final records.

Gonzalez/Jarry earn 500 ATP Doubles Rankings points and split $115,940 for their title run, while Bellucci/Dutra Silva walk away with 300 ATP Doubles Rankings points and split $56,750.

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Nadal Faces Potential Kyrgios Blockbuster In Acapulco Second Round

  • Posted: Feb 24, 2019

Nadal Faces Potential Kyrgios Blockbuster In Acapulco Second Round

Top seed chasing his third title at the ATP 500 event

Rafael Nadal has made the final at Abierto Mexicano Telcel presentado por HSBC in each of his three previous appearances. But the Spaniard could face a string of early tests if he hopes to keep alive that streak in Acapulco.

Nadal, competing for the first time since reaching the Australian Open final (l. to Djokovic), opens his tournament against 31-year-old German Mischa Zverev. The top seed has beaten his fellow left-hander in straight sets in two previous FedEx ATP Head2Head meetings, including the first round in Acapulco two years ago.

But looming in the second round could be talented Aussie Nick Kyrgios, who has defeated Nadal twice in their five previous clashes. To set that tantalising encounter, Kyrgios would have to battle past Delray Beach quarter-finalist Andreas Seppi.

Former World No. 3 Stan Wawrinka and seventh seed Steve Johnson are also in Nadal’s quarter of the draw. The Spaniard has won 28 of his 30 sets in Acapulco to earn a 14-1 record at the event, with his most recent match at the ATP 500 event being a straight-sets loss against Sam Querrey in the 2017 final.

Reigning Nitto ATP Finals champion Alexander Zverev, like Nadal, will try to lift his first trophy of the season in Acapulco. The German begins his tournament against a qualifier before facing former World No. 3 David Ferrer or Auckland champion Tennys Sandgren.

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Ferrer, a four-time champion in Acapulco, is retiring after the Mutua Madrid Open in Spain, so this will be his last appearance at this event. If Zverev should clash with Ferrer, the Spaniard has won two of their five battles.

All eyes will be on a potential quarter-final clash between Zverev and #NextGenATP Aussie Alex de Minaur, who is the fifth seed. Zverev has triumphed in all three of their FedEx ATP Head2Head meetings, winning six consecutive sets in their rivalry. De Minaur faces Chilean Nicolas Jarry in the first round.

New York and Delray Beach semi-finalist John Isner will look to stay consistent in Acapulco, beginning his push against Frenchman Adrian Mannarino, whom he defeated in the Delray Beach quarter-finals. Should Isner win, he will face a compatriot in the second round: 2017 champion Querrey or 2018 Next Gen ATP Finals qualifier Taylor Fritz.

Did You Know?
Nadal’s two victories in Acapulco came when the tournament was held on clay courts. The ATP 500 event switched to hard courts in 2014.

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Dan Evans beats John Isner to reach Delray Beach final

  • Posted: Feb 24, 2019

British number three Dan Evans reached the Delray Beach Open final in Florida with 3-6 6-2 6-3 win over world number nine John Isner of the USA.

The 28-year-old world number 148, who returned in April 2018 from a one-year drugs ban, is a qualifier in the event.

He fought back to beat last year’s Wimbledon semi-finalist Isner, 33, in an hour and 32 minutes.

In only his second ATP final he will face an unseeded player, either Mackenzie McDonald or Radu Albot.

American McDonald, 23, is the world number 84 who beat top seed Juan Martin del Potro in the quarter-finals.

Albot of Moldova beat Nick Kyrgios in the round of 16 and is ranked 82.

In his only previous ATP final two years ago, Evans lost at the Sydney International to Gilles Muller.

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