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Schwartzman, Who Faces Djokovic, Turned Around His Season With Double Duty In Rome

  • Posted: May 17, 2019

Schwartzman, Who Faces Djokovic, Turned Around His Season With Double Duty In Rome

Argentine will face Djokovic in SF

Don’t misunderstand him: Diego Schwartzman was not excited about playing two matches in one day in Rome. A complete washout forced every Internazionali BNL d’Italia quarter-finalist to play two matches on Thursday.

But the unfortunate double duty might have been what turned around Schwartzman’s week and his season at the ATP Masters 1000 tournament in Rome.

A year ago, the Argentine was closing in on the Top 10, week after week setting new career-highs in the ATP Rankings. He won the ATP 500 title at the Rio Open presented by Claro, his biggest title yet, and, by mid-May, he had risen to No. 12.

But heading into Rome this week, Schwartzman was struggling. His ATP Ranking had doubled from a year ago, to No. 24, and he was low on confidence and without a title. Despite the European clay-court swing nearing its end, Schwartzman, a two-time clay-court titlist, hadn’t reached a quarter-final since February at the Argentina Open.

I was not playing my best tennis. I was not doing a great job with my mind… I think I lost a little bit of confidence at the beginning of the season,” Schwartzman told

In the Italian capital, however, the 26-year-old has had one of the best weeks of his career. On Friday, he beat No. 6 Kei Nishikori for the first time in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series (1-3) and reached his first Masters 1000 semi-final. Schwartzman had been 0-15 against Top 6 players.

“I didn’t start the clay season well, and I needed two matches in a row of playing good tennis,” Schwartzman said. “I’m very happy to get back [my confidence], to feel good again. It was really important for me. [Thursday] was a big day for me.”

You May Also Like: Schwartzman Too Strong For Nishikori In Rome

In truth, the Argentine made the overtime shift. He won four sets – 7-6(5), 6-1 against Spain’s Albert Ramos-Vinolas, and 6-3, 6-4 against Italian Matteo Berrettini – in three hours and 10 minutes. Schwartzman also won his first-rounder in straight sets, and after his 6-4, 6-2 win against Nishikori, he is yet to drop a set in Rome.

Maybe if you see just the scores it looks like an easy day, but it was really tough after the first match… The match against Ramos was really important. And after that I had a headache, and I slept for 35 minutes in the locker room, trying to recover well and be fine for the second match,” Schwartzman said. “Then I think I did a great job. Maybe Matteo was a little bit nervous in the match… because he’s from Italy… so I took every chance.”

Before this week, it wasn’t as if Schwartzman was having a terrible year; the 5’7” Argentine just wasn’t meeting the high standards his 2018 set for himself, especially on clay.

It was just hard for him to have good tournaments and be more regular. This week everything is happening. He returned to his level,” said Juan Ignacio Chela, former No. 15 in the ATP Rankings and Schwartzman’s coach for the past three years.

I think what changed the most was his confidence. He was working but, although you train very well every day, there are things that are achieved only by winning matches. Winning the matches here, the first and the second round, that gave him a lot of confidence and today he played his best tennis.”

Watch Hot Shot: Schwartzman’s Sweet Timing Against Nishikori In Rome

Everything worked for Schwartzman against Nishikori. He won 55 per cent of his second-serve points, eight percentage points higher than his season average (47.13%, 59th on Tour). Schwartzman, one of the Tour’s best returners, also won 50 per cent of his return points, seven percentage points more than his season average (43%).

“Today he played the best match of the tournament. He was very solid and very firm from the baseline. He was also aggressive. Against this level of a player [Nishikori], it is not enough to be solid. You have to hurt them. Diego did very well, and he served very well,” Chela said.

Normally he is fast and moves very well. But today, in addition to moving and reaching the balls, he was very precise. He hit several important passing shots, at key moments of the match. Today he did everything impeccable.”

Schwartzman had reached two Masters 1000 quarter-finals and two Grand Slam quarter-finals (2017 US Open, 2018 Roland Garros) before Friday, but never a semi-final at either level.

You always want to be overcoming and passing certain barriers. This is one and a very important one. More than anything because he beat a top player,” Chela said.

The 5’7” Argentine will face Novak Djokovic, who beat Juan Martin del Potro 4-6, 7-6(6), 6-4, for a place in the Masters 1000 final. Schwartzman is 0-2 against Djokovic, including a five-set third-round match at 2017 Roland Garros. But, as Schwartzman showed this week, he’s not one to dwell on the past.

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Konta surges into Italian Open last four but Osaka out with hand injury

  • Posted: May 17, 2019

British number one Johanna Konta reached the semi-finals of the Italian Open with a 6-3 3-6 6-1 win over Czech teenager Marketa Vondrousova.

On her 28th birthday, Konta, who sealed the last of her three WTA titles in 2017, won in an hour and 53 minutes.

She faces Kiki Bertens in the last four after the Dutch player advanced because world number one Naomi Osaka pulled out with a hand injury.

Karolina Pliskova beat another former world number one, Victoria Azarenka.

Czech Pliskova’s semi-final opponent will be Greece’s Maria Sakkari, who won 11 of the last 12 games to beat Kristina Mladenovic of France 5-7 6-3 6-0.

Victory for world number 39 Sakkari, who overcame Konta in the final to claim the Morocco Open title this month, means there will be a qualifier in the final four in Rome for the first time since Daria Gavrilova in 2015.

With Vondruosova showing the effects of two three-set matches the day before, Konta quickly took control and sealed the opening set with a deft drop volley at the net.

But after an emotional discussion with her coach, the 19-year-old left-hander, who won their only previous meeting on the hard courts of Indian Wells last year, seized on a loose game from Konta to break in the fifth game of the next.

A wild forehand from the Briton went wide and long to take the match to a decider.

Konta, who also played two matches on Thursday, saved a break point in the second game with a backhand that clipped the line and then broke in the next in a run of six successive games.

Osaka will remain world number one next week, following Simona Halep’s second-round exit to Vondrousova on Thursday.

Pliskova recorded her 500th career win with a 6-7 (5-7) 6-2 6-2 victory over Azarenka, levelling their head-to-head record at 4-4.

She wrapped up victory in two hours 26 minutes to avenge a loss to Azarenka – who also has 500 career wins – in their most recent meeting on the indoor clay-courts of Stuttgart last month.

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BBC Sport has launched #ChangeTheGame this summer to showcase female athletes in a way they never have been before. Through more live women’s sport available to watch across the BBC this summer, complemented by our journalism, we are aiming to turn up the volume on women’s sport and alter perceptions. Find out more here.

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Heilbronn Receives 2018 'Challenger Of The Year' Award

  • Posted: May 17, 2019

Heilbronn Receives 2018 ‘Challenger Of The Year’ Award

The NECKARCUP celebrates in front of the home fans in Heilbronn

Two years. Back-to-back awards.

It is not an easy feat to earn ‘Tournament of the Year’ honours on the ATP Challenger Tour. It takes years of hard work, dedication and commitment to growing the game and providing a world-class experience for the players and fans.

That said, to take home the award on multiple occasions is an extraordinary accomplishment. The NECKARCUP in Heilbronn, Germany, did just that in 2017 and 2018, culminating with a special celebration on Thursday evening at the TC Heilbronn Trappensee E.V. 1892.

In front of a packed crowd on Center Court, ahead of the Day 4 night session, the tournament was presented with the 2018 Challenger of the Year award. Tournament founders and directors Metehan and Mine Cebeci received the crystal trophy along with event organiser Tom Bucher.

“It’s a pleasure for us to get the award for the second time,” said Metehan. “We work all year for this tournament and it’s especially nice that the players acknowledge this. Our efforts are for them and the NECKARCUP team as well.”

“To receive this award is really emotional for us and we’re really proud of it,” Mine added. “From the beginning, we planned everything really well. When players and the ATP provides feedback, we always work with them to find a solution. We’ve increased the prize money step by step and improved the ambiance of the centre court. It’s very important for us to make it better every year.”

Last year’s doubles finalists and this year’s top seeds Kevin Krawietz and Andreas Mies were also on court during the ceremony. With impressive crowds all week and a pristine facility, it’s easy to see why the tournament has become a favourite among all competitors. The Cebecis have put the players first, providing a massive indoor area, including a lounge, private areas for warm-up and cool down, dining centre and activities (table tennis, billiards, darts, etc.). And with a premier fan experience, featuring top food vendors from the region and live entertainment every night, it’s truly a world-class event top to bottom.

A 45 minute drive north of Stuttgart into the sprawling German countryside will lead you to the TC Heilbronn am Trappensee, a tennis club founded in 1892. Over a century has passed but the 600-member club is steeped in tradition in the tranquil rural surroundings.


The Challenger Awards are a recognition of excellence, selected by players from the global Challenger Tour of 160 events staged in 40 different countries. In its sixth edition, the NECKARCUP was once again recognised as being outstanding in terms of facilities, organisation, imagination, promotion and player welcome.

The commitment and hard work of the tournament team, the support of the municipality, local authorities, sponsors, the press and the public produced a wonderful week of professional tennis. Moreover, the tournament joined the Sparkassen Open in nearby Braunschweig, as well as the Odlum Brown VanOpen in Vancouver, Canada, and the former Ethias Trophy in Mons, Belgium in winning the award on multiple occasions.

In 2018, three tournaments were recognised with the Challenger of the Year award, with Heilbronn accompanying the Puerto Vallarta Open presentado por La Aficion in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, and the Odlum Brown VanOpen in Vancouver, Canada, in the winners’ circle. Puerto Vallarta was presented with their trophy two weeks ago, with Vancouver holding their ceremony in August.

ATP Challenger Tour 

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Nadal through to Italian Open semis as Federer withdraws

  • Posted: May 17, 2019

Defending champion and eight-time winner Rafael Nadal beat fellow Spaniard Fernando Verdasco 6-4 6-0 to reach the Italian Open semi-finals.

Nadal, who has lost in the semi-finals of his past four tournaments, came from 2-0 down to win in one hour 38 minutes.

He next faces 20-year-old Stefanos Tsitsipas, who went through following the withdrawal of Roger Federer.

World number three Federer, a four-time finalist in Rome, was unable to compete because of a right leg injury.

Nadal, a 17-time Grand Slam winner, conceded only two games in his matches against Jeremy Chardy and Nikoloz Basilashvili on Thursday, but had to save a point to prevent a 3-0 deficit against fellow left-hander Verdasco.

He survived three break points at 4-4 in the first set but needed only 36 minutes to win the second.

Argentina’s world number 24 Diego Schwartzman secured his place in the semi-finals with a 6-4 6-2 win over Japan’s Kei Nishikori in one hour 28 minutes.

Schwartzman will face compatriot Juan Martin del Potro or Serbia’s world number one Novak Djokovic for a place in Sunday’s final.

Federer was competing in the Italian Open for the first time since 2016.

The Swiss, 37, saved two match points to defeat Borna Coric 2-6 6-4 7-6 (9-7) on Thursday, having beaten Joao Sousa in straight sets earlier in the day.

“I am disappointed that I will not be able to compete today,” said the 20-time Grand Slam champion.

“I am not 100% physically and after consultation with my team, it was determined that I not play.

“Rome has always been one of my favourite cities to visit and I hope to be back next year.”

  • Naomi Osaka withdraws from quarter-final
  • Nick Kyrgios forfeits after storming off court
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Consistent Schwartzman Too Strong For Nishikori In Rome

  • Posted: May 17, 2019

Consistent Schwartzman Too Strong For Nishikori In Rome

Argentine to play Djokovic or compatriot Del Potro

Diego Schwartzman, competing on his favourite surface, out-hit fellow baseliner Kei Nishikori on Friday at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia for a place in his first ATP Masters 1000 semi-final.

In a match of several momentum shifts, Schwartzman used his forehand to great effect in a 6-4, 6-2 win over the sixth-seeded Japanese star, who had reached the 2016 semi-finals at the Foro Italico in Rome. It was Schwartzman’s first win over Nishikori in their fourth FedEx ATP Head2Head meeting.

The former World No. 11 will now look to advance to his second ATP Tour final of the season (after the Argentina Open in Buenos Aires) on Saturday when he faces World No. 1 and four-time former champion Novak Djokovic or his Argentine compatriot, seventh seed Juan Martin del Potro.

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Schwartzman capitalised on Nishikori’s willingness to attack the net to take a 5-0 lead, breaking serve on his fourth break point chance in the second game, then to 15 in the fourth game. However, in hot, but windy conditions, Nishikori returned to his natural baseline game, posing a greater threat on his forehand and the short mis-court balls to win 18 of the next 22 points to leave Schwartzman sweating with a 5-4 advantage. Soon, Nishikori let his concentration slip with a forehand into the net on Schwartzman’s second set point to clinch the 48-minute opener.

Greater depth of groundstrokes from Schwartzman caught out Nishikori in the sixth game of the second set, when Nishikori’s mis-timed a forehand wide at 15/40. There was to be no respite from Schwartzman, who was moving well on the dry clay and powered his way to an 18th victory of 2019. Nishikori over-hit two forehands in the final game, and struck his second double fault to end the 87-minute match.

Nishikori, who broke a nine-final losing streak in January at the Brisbane International, where he captured his first ATP Tour title in 51 tournaments with victory over Daniil Medvedev. The 29-year-old is now 19-9 on the season.

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Open Parc Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes Lyon: When Is The Draw & More

  • Posted: May 17, 2019

Open Parc Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes Lyon: When Is The Draw & More

All about the ATP 250 tennis tournament in Lyon, France

The Open Parc Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Lyon, held the week before Roland Garros, is one of five ATP Tour events held in France, along with Montpellier, Marseille, Metz and Paris. 

Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga won the inaugural edition, and will look to reclaim the Lyon crown in 2019. Tsonga will be joined in the field by John Isner, Nikoloz Basilashvili, Roberto Bautista Agut and #NextGenATP Canadians Denis Shapovalov and Felix Auger-Aliassime.

Here’s all you need to know about the Lyon tennis tournament: when is the draw, what is the schedule, where to watch, who won and more. 

Established: 2017

Tournament Dates: 19-25 May 2019 

Tournament Director: Thierry Ascione

Draw Ceremony: Friday, 17 May

Are You In? Subscribe To Get Tournament Updates In Your Inbox

Schedule (View On Official Website)
* Qualifying: Saturday & Sunday from 10:30am
* Main draw: Sunday at 10:30am, Monday – Thursday at 11:00am, evening matches at 5:45pm, Friday at 12:30pm
* Doubles final: Saturday, 25 May at 12:15pm
* Singles final: Saturday, 25 May not before 2:30pm

How To Watch
Watch Live On Tennis TV 
TV Schedule

Venue: Parc de la Tete d’Or
Main Court Seating: 3,500

Prize Money: €524,340 (Total Financial Commitment: €586,140) 

Tickets On Sale: Buy Now

Get Tickets for 2019 Lyon tennis tournament

View Who Is Playing, Past Champions, Seeds, Points & Prize Money Breakdown

Honour Roll (Open Era)
Most Titles, Singles: Dominic Thiem, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (1)
Most Titles, Doubles: Nick Kyrgios, Jack Sock, Andres Molteni, Adil Shamasdin (1)
Oldest Champion: Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, 32, in 2017
Youngest Champion: Dominic Thiem, 24, in 2018
Lowest-Ranked Champion: No. 13 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in 2017
Most Match Wins: Gilles Simon (6)

2018 Finals
Singles: [1] Dominic Thiem (AUT) d Gilles Simon (FRA) 36 76(1) 61   Read & Watch
Doubles: Nick Kyrgios (AUS) / Jack Sock (USA) d Roman Jebavy (CZE) / Matwe Middelkoop (NED) 75 26 11-9 – saved 1 MP  Read More

Hashtag: #OpenParc
Facebook: @openparcauvergnerhonealpes
Twitter: @OpenParcARA
Instagram: @openparcara

Did You Know… Lyon hosted an indoor hard-court event from 1987-2009, before returning to the ATP Tour calendar as a clay-court tournament in 2017. 

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Banque Eric Sturdza Geneva Open: When Is The Draw & More

  • Posted: May 17, 2019

Banque Eric Sturdza Geneva Open: When Is The Draw & More

All about the ATP 250 tennis tournament in Geneva, Switzerland

The Banque Eric Sturdza Geneva Open returned to the Swiss city in 2015 for the first time since 1991. Swiss players have won the event on four occasions, with Stan Wawrinka notably claiming back-to-back titles in 2016 and 2017.

Wawrinka will look to win his third Geneva title in 2019. He faces a field that includes Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters champion Fabio Fognini, Daniil Medvedev, Laslo Djere and defending champion Marton Fucsovics. 

Here’s all you need to know about the Geneva tennis tournament: when is the draw, what is the schedule, where to watch, who won and more. 

Established: 1980

Tournament Dates: 19-25 May 2019 

Tournament Director: Thierry Grin

Draw Ceremony: Friday, 17 May at 6:30pm

Are You In? Subscribe To Get Tournament Updates In Your Inbox

Schedule (View On Official Website)
* Qualifying: Saturday at 10:00am, Sunday at 11:00am
* Main draw: Sunday at 11:00am, Monday – Thursday at 12:00pm and 6:00pm, Friday at 1:00pm
* Doubles final: Saturday, 25 May at 1:00pm
* Singles final: Saturday, 25 May not before 3:30pm

How To Watch
Watch Live On Tennis TV 
TV Schedule

Venue: Tennis Club de Geneve Eaux-Vives
Main Court Seating: 3,700

Prize Money: €524,340 (Total Financial Commitment: €586,140) 

Tickets On Sale: Buy Now

Get 2019 Geneva tennis tickets

View Who Is Playing, Past Champions, Seeds, Points & Prize Money Breakdown

Honour Roll (Open Era)
Most Titles, Singles: Stan Wawrinka, Mats Wilander (2)
Most Titles, Doubles: Tomas Smid, Balazs Taroczy (2)
Oldest Champion: Stan Wawrinka, 32, in 2017
Youngest Champion: Aaron Krickstein, 17, in 1984
Lowest-Ranked Champion: No. 157 Marc Rosset in 1989
Most Match Wins: Tomas Smid (18)

2018 Finals
Singles: Marton Fucsovics (HUN) d Peter Gojowczyk (GER) 62 62   Read & Watch
Doubles: [1] Oliver Marach (AUT) / Mate Pavic (CRO) d [2] Ivan Dodig (CRO) / Rajeev Ram (USA) 36 76(3) 11-9 – saved 1 MP  Read More

Hashtag: #banqueericsturdzagenevaopen
Facebook: @genevaopen
Twitter: @genevaopen
Instagram: @banque_eric_sturdza_genevaopen

Did You Know… The ATP 250 tournament is staged at the Tennis Club de Genève at the Parc des Eaux-Vives, the oldest and largest tennis club in Switzerland. 

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