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Estoril Stunner Latest In Cuevas’ Showtime Collection

  • Posted: May 05, 2019

Estoril Stunner Latest In Cuevas’ Showtime Collection

Uruguayan adds another superb hot shot to his growing collection

Lucky loser Pablo Cuevas might have fallen short in the Millennium Estoril Open final against Stefanos Tsitsipas. But the Uruguayan did not go down without showing some flair. With the #NextGenATP Greek up a set and a break, Cuevas pulled off a no-look forward-facing tweener half volley drop shot for a winner.

It’s not the first time that Cuevas sent the crowd in Portugal into a frenzy this week. In the semi-finals, the veteran was left scrambling against #NextGenATP Spaniard Alejandro Davidovich Fokina, but he hit a behind-the-back forehand lob to stay in the rally, eventually winning the point to break serve.

The ‘Uruguayan Magician’ has long been renowned for his hot show prowess, and he joined ATP Uncovered presented by Peugeot last year to break down some of his all-time best shots, from his sensational no-look passing shot against Alexander Zverev in Madrid two years ago to his forward-facing tweener winner against Rafael Nadal in Paris, also in 2017.

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Thiem & Schwartzman Win Madrid Doubles Opener

  • Posted: May 05, 2019

Thiem & Schwartzman Win Madrid Doubles Opener

Dimitrov and Khachanov upset fourth seeds Cabal and Farah

Diego Schwartzman and Dominic Thiem may be known for their efforts on the singles court, but they got off to a good start in doubles on Sunday when they pulled away from Spanish wild cards David Marrero and Fernando Verdasco 4-6, 6-3, 10-3 to reach the second round of the Mutua Madrid Open.

It is the fourth time the Argentine and Austrian have competed together, and it is their first ATP Masters 1000 tournament as a team. Schwartzman and Thiem made the Argentina Open final in February. Against home favourites Marrero and Verdasco, they won 84 per cent of their first-serve points en route to an 80-minute victory.

In the next round, Schwartzman and Thiem will face Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov and Russian Karen Khachanov, who upset fourth seeds Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah 6-2, 7-5. Cabal and Farah, 2018 Nitto ATP Finals semi-finalists, have made the Madrid semi-finals twice, but Dimitrov and Khachanov broke serve four times to advance after 80 minutes, just like Schwartzman and Thiem. 

Juan Martin del Potro and Kei Nishikori will be in doubles action on Monday against Fabio Fognini and Robert Lindstedt, with five-time champions Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan facing 2016 titlists Jean-Julien Rojer and Horia Tecau.

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Madrid Open: Johanna Konta opens with win over Alison Riske

  • Posted: May 05, 2019

British number one Johanna Konta began her Madrid Open campaign with a 6-4 6-1 win over American Alison Riske.

Only a day after losing the Morocco Open final to Maria Sakkari in three sets in Rabat, the world number 47 faced Riske, ranked two places lower.

From 4-1, she was pulled back to 4-4 but took the next five games and sealed the match in an hour and 14 minutes.

In round two, the 27-year-old faces world number three Simona Halep, who beat Margarita Gasparyan 6-0 6-4.

Konta, seeking her fourth WTA title, had won her only previous meeting with 28-year-old Riske and a superb angled forehand return gave her set point, which she duly secured with a backhand of precision into the corner.

A Riske double-fault gave Konta a 2-0 lead at the start of the second set and the Briton sealed victory with an ace at just after 9pm local time.

Unseeded Pauline Parmentier of France eliminated sixth seed Elina Svitolina, who had been struggling with a knee injury, 6-4 7-6 (8-6), while 13th seed Madison Keys lost 3-6 6-4 6-1 to Sorana Cirstea of Romania.

Former world number one and fourth seed Karolina Pliskova saved five match points to deny Ukrainian teenager Dayana Yastremska 5-7 7-6 (7-5) 6-3.

The 11th seed Caroline Wozniacki was trailing 3-0 when she retired with a lower back injury from her first-round match against world number 54 Alize Cornet of France.

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Auger-Aliassime To Face Nadal In Madrid Second Round

  • Posted: May 05, 2019

Auger-Aliassime To Face Nadal In Madrid Second Round

Canadian prevails against friend Shapovalov

Best friend in the first round, best clay-court player ever in the second.

Felix Auger-Aliassime evened his friendly FedEx ATP Head2Head rivalry (1-1) against fellow #NextGenATP Canadian Denis Shapovalov on Sunday at the Mutua Madrid Open, dismissing the 20-year-old 6-2, 7-6(7).

The 18-year-old Auger-Aliassime converted three of his nine break points and clinched his fourth match point when Shapovalov sprayed a forehand wide during their tense second-set tie-break. Shapovalov beat Auger-Aliassime at last year’s US Open during their only prior tour-level meeting.

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Auger-Aliassime improves to 17-9 on the season and continues to excel on clay. The teenager reached his first ATP Tour final at the Rio Open presented by Claro (l. to Djere) in February.

Auger-Aliassime, however, will face his toughest clay-court test yet in the second round when he meets five-time champion Rafael Nadal, the top seed who is 49-11 in Madrid. Nadal will be especially hungry for a deep run in the Spanish capital. He’s coming off of semi-final finishes at the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters and the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell.

In the only other main-draw match on Sunday, German Jan-Lennard Struff knocked out 2016 quarter-finalist Nick Kyrgios 7-6(4), 6-4 and will next meet ninth seed Marin Cilic or qualifier Martin Klizan of Slovakia.

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Pouille Prevails On Home Soil In Bordeaux

  • Posted: May 05, 2019

Pouille Prevails On Home Soil In Bordeaux

Revisit the week that was on the ATP Challenger Tour as we applaud the achievements of those on the rise and look ahead to who’s in action in the week to come

BNP Paribas Primrose Bordeaux (Bordeaux, France): It’s not often that a player reaches a Grand Slam semi-final and follows that with an ATP Challenger Tour appearance just months later. But such was the case for World No. 32 Lucas Pouille this week in Bordeaux. Pouille streaked to the semis at the Australian Open in January, but a subsequent six-match losing streak had him seeking confidence and momentum entering the ATP Masters 1000 stops in Madrid and Rome.

The Frenchman would rediscover his mojo and then some, blasting to the title in front of the home faithful in Bordeaux. The allure of competing in front of the French fans at his country’s oldest tennis club – the 122-year-old Villa Primrose – was too strong and Pouille would eventually take the title 6-3, 6-3 over Mikael Ymer on Sunday.

For the five-time ATP Tour champion, this is not only his first title of 2019, but ironically his first at the Challenger level in his career. Pouille is the first player to win his maiden Challenger title after his first tour-level crown since Kei Nishikori and Sergiy Stakhovsky both did it in 2008. It leaves Milos Raonic as the only current Top 50 player without a Challenger trophy.

It also marks the fourth time in just two years that a player inside the Top 40 of the ATP Rankings has lifted a Challenger trophy. Richard Gasquet (Szczecin 2017), Nishikori (Dallas 2018), Kyle Edmund (Indian Wells 2019) and Pouille have all descended to the Challenger level in search of match wins and confidence.

Vitro Seoul Open Challenger (Seoul, South Korea): For the first time in four years, Korea has a home grown Challenger champion. On Sunday, 21-year-old Soonwoo Kwon lifted the trophy in his home capital of Seoul, defeating Max Purcell 7-5, 7-5 in one hour and 37 minutes. The Sangju native is the first player from his country to win on home soil since Hyeon Chung prevailed in nearby Busan in 2015. It was his second ATP Challenger Tour title, adding to his victory in in Yokohama, Japan in March. The top Korean, Kwon is projected to rise to a career-high No. 134 on Monday.

“I’m happy to win the Challenger title at home,” said Kwon, who admits he was not feeling well during the match, struggling with a runny nose and dizziness. “The crowd came out to support me. Seoul was harder to win than the title in Yokohama. The burden was greater.”

Meanwhile, Purcell capped a dominant week on the hard courts of Seoul with his first singles final since 2016. The #NextGenATP Aussie also notched the doubles title alongside countryman Luke Saville. The duo own a tour-leading five trophies in 2019.


Prosperita Open by Moneta (Ostrava, Czech Republic): Fourth seed Kamil Majchrzak earned one of the more convincing final victories of the year, dominating Jannik Sinner 6-1, 6-0 in Ostrava. The Pole completed the win in just 61 minutes on the Czech clay, capping an impressive week that saw him refuse to drop a set. It was the 23-year-old’s second title of the year, having also won on the hard courts of St. Brieuc, France.

Not only is Majchrzak the seventh player to win multiple titles this year, but he is just the second to triumph on both clay and hard (also Gianluca Mager). He is up to a career-high No. 115 in the ATP Rankings on Monday.

Notably, both Kwon and Majchrzak now sit atop the 2019 win-loss percentage leaders. Both own a record of 22-6 (.786) this year.


Puerto Vallarta Open presentado por La Afición (Puerto Vallarta, Mexico): The 2018 ATP Challenger of the Year returned for a second edition and it was a party all week in Puerto Vallarta. In the end, Sebastian Ofner was the last man standing, taking a 7-6(8), 3-6, 6-3 final over John-Patrick Smith on Sunday. The Austrian was ruthless in reaching the championship, reeling off eight consecutive sets before fighting past Smith for the title. It was the second victory of the 22-year-old’s career, adding to his maiden crown in Astana, Kazakhstan last year.

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St. Joseph’s/Candler Savannah Challenger (Savannah, Georgia, USA): Federico Coria entered the week in Savannah having never reached an ATP Challenger Tour final, but the Argentine would make his mark on the green clay. Coria dominated the field, not dropping a set en route to the championship, where he stunned second seed Paolo Lorenzi 6-3, 4-6, 6-2.

The 27-year-old is the 17th first-time winner on the circuit this year. Moreover, his big breakthrough sees him soar to a career-high No. 216 in the ATP Rankings. Following in the footsteps of older brother and former World No. 3 Guillermo Coria, Federico is beginning to put it all together in his ninth season as a pro.


Top seed Pablo Cuevas leads the charge at the prestigious Open du Pays d’Aix in Aix-en-Provence, France. Cuevas is coming off a final appearance at the ATP 250 event in Estoril on Sunday. Fifth seed Thiago Monteiro lifted the trophy in 2016.

The second leg of the three-week Korean swing moves to Busan, where Ricardas Berankis leads the field. Sergiy Stakhovsky and Brayden Schnur are also in action, with Kwon looking to go back-to-back on home soil. Meanwhile, on the clay of Rome, the prelude to the Internazionali BNL d’Italia is held at the Roma Garden Open. Reigning champ Adam Pavlasek is seeded 14th, with Maximilian Marterer the top seed.

In Braga, the first of a two-week Portuguese swing features Bjorn Fratangelo as the top seed, with Facundo Bagnis and Mitchell Krueger second and third. And on the clay of Shymkent, Kazakhstan, top seed Egor Gerasimov is joined by #NextGenATP stars Jay Clarke and Jurij Rodionov.

ATP Challenger Tour 

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Stefanos Tsitsipas wins Estoril Open for third ATP title

  • Posted: May 05, 2019

World number 10 Stefanos Tsitsipas captured his third ATP title after beating Uruguay’s Pablo Cuevas 6-3 7-6 (7-4) to win the Estoril Open.

The 20-year-old top seed was coasting to the title leading by a set, up a break and serving at 4-3 in the second.

He was broken for the first time, losing nine consecutive points, but saved a set point and went on to wrap up the match in an hour and 43 minutes.

It was his first clay court title, his second this season and first outdoors.

Tsitsipas, who beat Roger Federer en route to the Australian Open semi-finals in January, became the first Greek player to win an ATP World Tour title when he claimed the Stockholm Open in October and he added the Open 13 Provence title in Marseille in February.

Victory in his second meeting with Cuevas maintained his 100% record against the Uruguayan, who was seeking a seventh ATP title.

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Tsitsipas Wins First Clay-Court Title In Estoril

  • Posted: May 05, 2019

Tsitsipas Wins First Clay-Court Title In Estoril

#NextGenATP Greek feeling confident ahead of Madrid, Rome ATP Masters 1000 events

Stefanos Tsitsipas gained vital confidence on the European clay on Sunday, beating Pablo Cuevas 6-3, 7-6(4) at the Millennium Estoril Open for his first clay-court title.

Greece’s #NextGenATP star was too solid from the baseline for Cuevas, a six-time clay-court titlist, and the 20-year-old took advantage of the Uruguayan’s struggles on serve to win his third ATP Tour title and second of the season. Both of Tsitsipas’ previos titles had come indoors – in February at the Open 13 Provence in Marseille, and last October at the Intrum Stockholm Open.

Tsitsipas had won their prior FedEx ATP Head2Head meeting at 2017 Antwerp and was in control for the first set and a half. The two were mired in one-handed backhand baseline battles when Tsitsipas broke in the fourth game as Cuevas launched a forehand long.

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The 33-year-old Cuevas landed only 53 per cent of his first serves in the opener, and the Greek capitalised, running around his backhand to start the point with deep forehands.

Tsitsipas looked to be cruising to the title, up a break and serving at 4-3 in the second. But the reigning Next Gen ATP Finals titlist lost his way and was broken for the first time in the match during a stretch of nine consecutive points won by Cuevas. Tsitsipas saved a set point at 4-5, Ad-Out, however, and the two traded breaks until the tie-break, where the Greek regained his level.

He will receive 250 ATP Rankings points and €90,390. Cuevas, who was a lucky loser, will receive €48,870 and 150 ATP Rankings points.

Tsitsipas heads to back-to-back clay-court ATP Masters 1000 events, the Mutua Madrid Open and the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome, full of belief.

Did You Know?
Tsitsipas is only the second No. 1 seed in the tournament’s five-year history to win the title (Pablo Carreno Busta of Spain in 2017).

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Nielsen/Puetz Win Munich On Team Debut

  • Posted: May 05, 2019

Nielsen/Puetz Win Munich On Team Debut

Danish-German pair played first match together four days ago

Frederik Nielsen and Tim Puetz had never played together entering the BMW Open by FWU. But the Danish-German team is leaving Munich with a trophy.

Nielsen and Puetz defeated Brazilian Marcelo Demoliner and Indian Divij Sharan 6-4, 6-2 on Sunday to triumph after 64 minutes. The unseeded duo broke serve four times while saving two of the three break points it faced to emerge victorious.

“It’s a fantastic feeling. I feel that it’s been a long process this year. I’ve invested a lot in my doubles, especially in clay-court doubles by playing the South American swing and I feel the benefits now,” Nielsen said. “I was lucky to get a really good partner in Tim who I get along with great off the court and I feel we share a similar playing mentality, so it was great.”

It wasn’t that long ago that Nielsen and Puetz, who competed together for the first time just four days ago, appeared destined for defeat, not the final. On Saturday, they trailed Denys Molchanov and Igor Zelenay 3-8 in a Match Tie-Break and saved two match points before battling to the championship match. Nielsen and Puetz also eliminated second seeds Austin Krajicek and Artem Sitak in the quarter-finals.

“Whenever you’re down 8/3 and then two match points, you’re sort of half on the way home already,” Puetz said. “Just to still be here was a bonus and then winning the title is a huge bonus.”

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Nielsen, who triumphed at Wimbledon in 2012 with Jonathan Marray, now owns three tour-level doubles titles, with this his first victory since Chennai five years ago with Johan Brunstrom. Puetz has enjoyed playing at home, winning his only other trophy in Stuttgart last year with Philipp Petzschner. The team will split €29,650 and add 250 ATP Doubles Ranking points.

“For me of course it’s the best,” Puetz said. “I have the crowd support as well and to be at a tournament where people actually recognise you, it seems to work well for me.”

Demoliner and Sharan were also pursuing their first title as a team. The Brazilian-Indian pair, which eliminated top-seeded Rohan Bopanna and Dominic Inglot in the first round, won three Match Tie-breaks to reach the final. Demoliner and Sharan earn 150 points and they will share €15,200.

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