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Lopez/Murray Draw Top Seeds Cabal/Farah At Queen's Club

  • Posted: Jun 15, 2019

Lopez/Murray Draw Top Seeds Cabal/Farah At Queen’s Club

Defending champions Kontinen/Peers also feature in top half of draw

Andy Murray was handed the toughest of challenges on his return to ATP Tour action, alongside Feliciano Lopez, in the Fever-Tree Championships doubles draw on Saturday.

Competing for the first time since undergoing right hip surgery on 28 January, Murray and Lopez will face top seeds Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah in one of many blockbuster first-round clashes at the Queen’s Club.

View Queen’s Club Doubles Draw

Joining Murray and Lopez in the top quarter of the draw are #NextGenATP talents Felix Auger-Aliassime and Alex de Minaur, who face Daniel Evans and Ken Skupski. Juan Martin del Potro is also featuring in the doubles draw, partnering fellow Argentine Horacio Zeballos against defending champions Henri Kontinen and John Peers in the first round. Jamie Murray and Neal Skupski, who made their tour-level team debut at the Libema Open, open against Nicolas Mahut and Edouard Roger-Vasselin.

You May Also Like: Del Potro To Face Shapovalov Test At Queen’s Club

In the bottom half of the draw, second seeds Mate Pavic and Bruno Soares will meet Lucas Pouille and Stan Wawrinka. Five-time champions Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan, bidding to lift the trophy for the first time since 2013, face wild cards Luke Bambridge and Jonny O’Mara. The winner of that match will meet defending singles champion Marin Cilic and partner Ivan Dodig or the winning team from the doubles qualifying draw in the second round.

View Halle Doubles Draw

Kubot/Melo Bid For Third Straight Title In Halle
Lukasz Kubot and Marcelo Melo will open their campaign for a third straight NOVENTI OPEN title against Wesley Koolhof and Matwe Middelkoop. The two-time defending champions are joined in the top half of the draw by Roland Garros champions Kevin Krawietz and Andreas Mies and two-time finalists Alexander Zverev and Mischa Zverev. Kubot and Melo have defeated the Zverev brothers in the past two championship matches in Halle.

Second seeds Raven Klaasen and Michael Venus are aiming to end a 16-month title drought, dating back to last year’s Open 13 Provence. The pair has reached two ATP Tour championship matches this season, with runner-up finishes at the ASB Classic and Internazionali BNL d’Italia. Third seeds Nikola Mektic and Franko Skugor will be hoping to add to their title collection, after lifting their first trophy as a team at the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters in April.

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Cilic Joined By Modric & More Croatian Stars At Successful Charity Event

  • Posted: Jun 15, 2019

Cilic Joined By Modric & More Croatian Stars At Successful Charity Event

Thirty Croatian athletes support Cilic’s ‘Game, Set, Croatia’ 

Game, set and match, Croatian children. The Marin Cilic Foundation hosted ‘Game, Set, Croatia’ on 12 June, bringing together 30 of Croatia’s most celebrated athletes for a charity tournament at Zagreb’s Šalata Sports Complex — the birthplace of Croatian tennis — to raise funds to build a multi-functional sports playground for children from Tordinci Elementary School, who currently have neither an indoor gymnasium nor an outdoor playground.

“The idea came about last summer while I was training on Korčula. Luka Modrić and Mateo Kovačić were there and we joked how we were missing a fourth player for a doubles match. I posted a photo on Instagram and invited Dejan Lovren and Šime Vrsaljko to join us,” Cilic said. “A flood of messages came from athletes and that is how the story began.”

You May Also Like: Cilic Receives Arthur Ashe Humanitarian Award

Footballer Mario Mandžukic and his doubles partner, 14-year-old Croatian junior player Patrik Jurina, beat Čilić and footballer Luka Modrić in the final, which was live streamed by a Croatian national television network. But for all of the tennis stars and other Croatian athletes in attendance competing, it was about raising money to support the children.

“We want to give our kids in Croatia a chance to experience the joys of sport,” Cilic said. “The project ‘Game, Set, Croatia’, which I hope will be held every year, will help build sports courts in the most crucial regions.” 

Cilic charity event
Photo Credit: envy croatia/Julien Duval/Marko Vukas/Mihael Kukavcic
Cilic has long enjoyed philanthropical work, and he was honoured with the Arthur Ashe Humanitarian Award in 2016.

“This one [wasn’t for tennis] but I feel it’s the most prestigious one. It’s the one I’m going to value the most,” Cilic said at the time. “It’s something that we all love to do… to give back to the community, especially to children.”

Through education, sport and encouragement programs, the Marin Čilić Foundation seeks to provide children and youth with the space and financial support to explore their passions and turn their dreams into reality.

Croatian Athletes In Attendance
Soccer: Luka Modrić, Mateo Kovačić, Mario Mandžukić, Andrej Kramarić, Ante Rebić, Dejan Lovren, Ivan Perišić, Ivan Klasnić
Rowers: Valent and Martin Sinković
Tennis: Ivan Dodig, Mate Pavic, Franko Skugor, Nikola Mektis, Ivan Ljubicic, Mario Ancic, Lovro Zovko, Mate Delic, Ana Konjuh, Iva Majoli, Tena Lukas, Jelena Kostanic Tošic
Basketball: Bojan Bogdanović and Dario Šarićand
Sara Kolak (javelin), Dina Levačić (swimming) Tin Srbić (gymnastics) Marijo Možnik (gymansitcs) Lovre Miloš (waterpolo)

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Thompson Serving For First ATP Tour Final, Play Suspended In 's-Hertogenbosch

  • Posted: Jun 15, 2019

Thompson Serving For First ATP Tour Final, Play Suspended In ‘s-Hertogenbosch

Coric saved two match points, locked in deciding tie-break with Mannarino

Both Libema Open semi-finals were on the verge of completion Saturday evening, but rain pushed them back to Sunday.

Aussie Jordan Thompson was serving for a spot in his first ATP Tour final with a 7-5, 5-3 30/40 lead against defending champion Richard Gasquet when play was suspended in ’s-Hertogenbosch.

Thompson, who eliminated third seed Alex de Minaur in the quarter-finals, had never made a tour-level semi-final before this event. But he is just three points from defeating the former World No. 7. Thompson has struck 11 aces and earned 13 break points against the French veteran, converting three of those opportunities. The World No. 62 has broken serve 16 times this week.

You May Also Like: Jordan Thompson Is On A Tear

The other semi-final between second seed Borna Coric and Frenchman Adrian Mannarino was suspended during a final-set tie-break, with Mannarino leading 3/2. Coric won the first set 6-4 before Mannarino took the second 6-3.

Coric saved one match point en route to a final-set tie-break victory in the quarter-finals against Cristian Garin, and he has saved two match points on his own serve against the Frenchman.

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Mannarino increasingly frustrated Coric in baseline rallies, earning two match points at 5-3 in the decider with the Croat serving. But Coric played aggressively to fend off those chances, breaking in the next game.

If Mannarino and Thompson both advance to the championship match, that would guarantee that there will be a first-time ATP Tour champion in ‘s-Hertogenbosch. Mannarino is 0-6 in tour-level finals.

Did You Know?
If Thompson finishes off Gasquet, he will be projected to crack the Top 50 of the ATP Rankings for the first time on Monday.

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Krajicek/Inglot Lift 's-Hertogenbosch Trophy

  • Posted: Jun 15, 2019

Krajicek/Inglot Lift ‘s-Hertogenbosch Trophy

American-British duo earns 250 ATP Doubles Rankings points

Austin Krajicek and Dominic Inglot claimed their first team trophy on Saturday at the Libema Open, beating Marcus Daniell and Wesley Koolhof 6-4, 4-6, 10-4.

“I was really happy with the win today,” said Inglot. “The last month or so has been a difficult time for me, I haven’t had a lot of wins, but this was a first tournament playing with Austin and I thought this tournament we really gelled well.”

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Competing for the first time as a team this week, Krajicek and Inglot won 74 per cent of first-serve points (31/42) and saved four of six break points to edge Daniell and Koolhof in 85 minutes. Inglot and Krajicek also needed a Match Tie-break in their 5-7, 6-3, 10-3 second-round victory against top seeds Lukasz Kubot and Marcelo Melo.

“It was a big help to get an early break before the rain in the first set but then all the rain delays made it very tricky to get that momentum and keep going… In the second set, those guys really upped their level and it just came down to a [Match] Tie-break and who put a few extra returns in court,” said Inglot.

“In that [Match Tie-break] we managed to just be a little bit more consistent and step up a little bit more when we needed to. I think we are both really happy and that will give us a lot of confidence going into the rest of the grass-court season with Halle and Wimbledon coming up.”

Inglot has now won 12 doubles crowns from 22 tour-level championship matches. It is Krajicek’s second tour-level title, following his maiden triumph alongside Rajeev Ram at the VTB Kremlin Cup last year.

”It was great to get a win today,” said Krajicek. “Obviously, starting with a new partner, it is really good to start off that way. I think we did a lot of things well this week that we can build off of, but it feels really good to be back on the grass.”

Daniel and Koolhof were bidding to pick up their second team title of the season. The unseeded pairing, which defeated second seeds Raven Klaasen and Michael Venus in the second round, earned its first team trophy at the Brisbane International in January.

Krajicek and Inglot gain 250 ATP Doubles Ranking points and split €35,960 in prize money. Daniell and Koolhof earn 150 points and share €18,430.

Bopanna/Shapovalov Pass Aussie Test

Rohan Bopanna and Denis Shapovalov advanced to their first ATP Tour doubles final as a team at the MercedesCup. The unseeded duo, which defeated Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan in the first round, needed just 48 minutes to move past Nick Kyrgios and Matt Reid 6-3, 6-4.

Bopanna and Shapovalov entered the event with a 3-2 team record, having competed together at the BNP Paribas Open and Miami Open presented by Itau in March. The Indian-Canadian tandem will meet top seeds John Peers and Bruno Soares in the championship match.

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Del Potro To Face Shapovalov Test At Queen's Club

  • Posted: Jun 15, 2019

Del Potro To Face Shapovalov Test At Queen’s Club

Tsitsipas, Anderson and Wawrinka open campaigns against British opposition

You won’t have to wait long for the first blockbuster match at the Fever-Tree Championships this year.

Third seed Juan Martin del Potro will face #NextGenATP Canadian Denis Shapovalov in his opening match of the 2019 grass-court season. The World No. 12 , making his fifth appearance at the Queen’s Club (5-4), will be aiming to take the lead in his FedEx ATP Head2Head series against Shapovalov for the first time. The Canadian upset Del Potro in their first meeting at the 2017 Coupe Rogers, en route to his first ATP Masters 1000 semi-final, before Del Potro levelled the series at the 2018 ASB Classic.

Del Potro and Shapovalov share the second quarter of the draw with sixth seed Milos Raonic and 2017 winner Feliciano Lopez. Raonic opens against Marco Cecchinato, while Lopez will meet Marton Fucsovics of Hungary.

View Queen’s Club Draw

Headlining the top half of the draw with Del Potro is top seed and World No. 6 Stefanos Tsitsipas. The #NextGenATP Greek will meet British No. 1 Kyle Edmund for a spot in the second round. Tsitsipas will be aiming to regain sole ownership of the lead for most wins on the ATP Tour this week, a mark he currently shares with 12-time Roland Garros champion Rafael Nadal. They both own 32 victories this season.

In Tsitsipas’ quarter, #NextGenATP Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime, seeded eighth, faces a tough opening test against 2014 champion Grigor Dimitrov. Auger-Aliassime will arrive in London with confidence, after reaching his third ATP Tour championship match of the season at the MercedesCup in Stuttgart. Nick Kyrgios and Jeremy Chardy also feature in the top quarter of the draw. 

In the bottom half of the draw, second seed Kevin Anderson will end his three-month absence from the ATP Tour, due to a right elbow injury, against British No. 2 Cameron Norrie. The South African, who last competed at the Miami Open presented by Itau in March, owns an 8-2 record from his opening three tour-level events of the season. The World No. 8 opened his 2019 campaign by lifting his sixth ATP Tour trophy at the Tata Open Maharashtra in Pune (d. Karlovic).

Another seeded player facing British opposition in his first match is Stan Wawrinka. The 2014 semi-finalist (l. to Dimitrov) will face Daniel Evans in the first round of an ATP Tour event for the second time this year. At the BNP Paribas Open in March, Wawrinka recovered from a set down to overcome Evans 6-7(4), 6-3, 6-3.

You May Also Like: Murray Optimistic About Return To Singles Action This Season

Fourth seed Daniil Medvedev and defending champion Marin Cilic both feature in the third quarter. Medvedev opens against 2011 quarter-finalist Fernando Verdasco and Cilic will meet two-time ATP Tour titlist Cristian Garin. Last year, Cilic saved one championship point to defeat Novak Djokovic in the final.

The doubles draw marks the return of five-time singles champion Andy Murray. The former singles World No. 1 is not immune to the theme of British players facing seeded opposition, as he and partner Feliciano Lopez open against top seeds Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah. Murray has not appeared on the ATP Tour since the Australian Open in January, after undergoing right hip surgery on 28 January.

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Nottingham Challenge: Dan Evans into semi-final

  • Posted: Jun 15, 2019

Britain’s Dan Evans is into the last four of the second-tier Nottingham Challenge event after beating Dominik Koepfer in a lengthy three-setter.

Evans, 29, took a 62-minute opener in a tie-break, before losing the second to German Koepfer on another shootout.

The British number three eventually prevailed 7-6 (8-6) 6-7 (6-8) 6-4 in two hours and 41 minutes.

Evans will play Japan’s Go Soeda later on Saturday for a place in Sunday’s final after a week of rain delays.

Thirty-four year-old Soeda will also be playing his second match of the day after overcoming Czech 16th seed Lukas Rosol 6-4 6-4.

World number 70 Evans is climbing the rankings after serving a year’s ban for cocaine use. He is on a steak of eight successive victories after lifting the title in Surbiton last week.

  • Evans focused on the future

In the Nature Valley Open event being held at the same venue, Croatia’s second seed Donna Vekic recovered from losing the first set to sweep into the final with a 5-7 6-0 6-0 win over Germany’s Tatjana Maria.

She will play either top seed Caroline Garcia of France or Jennifer Brady of the United States.

Tournament officials in Nottingham have been criticised by Sascha Bajin, the current coach of French player Kristina Mladenovic who has also worked with Naomi Osaka and Serena Williams, for how they have handled the week’s weather conditions.

The German tweeted on Friday that “many bad decisions have been made here in Nottingham”.

However, Great Britain Davis Cup captain Leon Smith and the Lawn Tennis Association’s director of international events Stephen Farrow were among those to defend the organisation.

“Our great team in Nottingham have dealt with five complete washouts in the past seven days,” Farrow said.

“This is unprecedented for any tennis event in the UK. Easy to criticise but in the circumstances they’ve done an outstanding job.”

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Federer Trying To Set Personal Record In Halle

  • Posted: Jun 15, 2019

Federer Trying To Set Personal Record In Halle

Swiss star is a nine-time champion in both Halle and Basel

Roger Federer can make personal history next week at the NOVENTI OPEN. The nine-time titlist in Halle can lift his 10th trophy at an ATP Tour event for the first time.

Federer has triumphed nine times at both the NOVENTI OPEN and the Swiss Indoors Basel, which is his home event. Last year, the Swiss superstar was just one set from accomplishing the feat in Halle, but he fell in the final against Borna Coric.

You May Also Like: Federer Handed Tough Path In Quest For 10th Halle Trophy

Federer’s Most Titles By Tournament

 Tournament  Titles
 Swiss Indoors Basel  9
 Wimbledon  8
 Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships  8
 Western & Southern Open  7

The 37-year-old owns a 63-7 record in Halle, and the last time he did not reach the semi-finals was 2001. This will be his 15th appearance since then. In the 16 times he has competed on the Halle grass, Federer has always advanced to at least the quarter-finals.

Six of the seven players Federer has lost to at this ATP 250 event have cracked the Top 5 of the ATP Rankings in their careers. 

Roger On Grass
Federer owns the best tour-level grass-court record in the Open Era, having won 87.1 per cent of his matches on the surface (176-26). He has claimed 18 titles on grass, which is eight more than Pete Sampras, the second player on the list. View FedEx ATP Performance Zone

Did You Know?
Nobody other than Federer who competed in the 2000 Halle draw, which was the Swiss star’s first appearance, remains active. Federer’s coach Ivan Ljubicic lost in the second round to eventual champion David Prinosil.

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Federer Handed Tough Path In Quest For 10th Halle Trophy

  • Posted: Jun 15, 2019

Federer Handed Tough Path In Quest For 10th Halle Trophy

Defending champion Coric joins Federer in top half

Roger Federer will have the chance to gain revenge in his opening match at next week’s NOVENTI OPEN in Halle.

The nine-time champion’s campaign for a 10th title at the ATP 500 event will begin against John Millman, the man who ended his 2018 US Open campaign with a gruelling four-set victory under the lights of Arthur Ashe Stadium. Federer will be looking to add to his 63-7 record at the grass-court tournament, following an impressive run to the Roland Garros semi-finals (l. to Nadal). The World No. 3 is aiming to lift his first title in Halle since 2017, after losing to Borna Coric in three sets in last year’s championship match.

View Halle Draw

If Federer overcomes Millman for the second time in three FedEx ATP Head2Head meetings, his path to the trophy does not get any easier. The 37-year-old would meet former World No. 5 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga or in-form Frenchman Benoit Paire in the second round.

Tsonga has defeated Federer in six of their previous 17 FedEx ATP Head2Head encounters, which includes a five-set comeback victory in their only previous clash on grass at Wimbledon in 2011. Paire also arrives in Halle in good form, after winning two ATP Tour titles on clay this year in Marrakech (d. Andujar) and Lyon (d. Auger-Aliassime).

Federer shares the top quarter of the draw with seventh seed Roberto Bautista Agut and former World No. 7 Richard Gasquet. Bautista Agut has reached the quarter-finals or better in both of his previous two appearances in Halle, while Gasquet owns three ATP Tour trophies on grass, including last year’s Libema Open title (d. Chardy).

You May Also Like: Federer Trying To Set Personal Record In Halle

There will be no repeat of last year’s final after defending champion Coric landed in the same half as Federer. The World No. 14 dropped only one set en route to the title last year, which included victories against Federer and second seed Alexander Zverev. Coric opens against Jaume Munar of Spain and headlines the second quarter of the draw alongside fifth seed Gael Monfils.

Second seed Alexander Zverev will meet Robin Haase in his opening match. The two-time runner-up (2016, 2017) will be hoping to earn his first win on grass this year after falling in his opening match at the MercedesCup to Dustin Brown in three sets. Zverev is joined in the bottom quarter by eighth seed Guido Pella, David Goffin and 2011 champion Philipp Kohlschreiber.

The third quarter of the draw sees third seed Karen Khachanov and sixth seed Nikoloz Basilashvili open against players who have enjoyed success on grass. Khachanov will meet last year’s Turkish Airlines Open Antalya winner Damir Dzumhur, while Basilashvili will face MercedesCup finalist Matteo Berrettini.

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Berrettini To Play Felix In Stuttgart Final

  • Posted: Jun 15, 2019

Berrettini To Play Felix In Stuttgart Final

Italian has not been broken this week

Matteo Berrettini had never reached an ATP Tour semi-final on grass before this week’s MercedesCup, but you’d never know it by his play.

The No. 2 Italian defeated home favourite Jan-Lennard Struff 6-4, 7-5 on Saturday to reach his third championship match of the season and his first-ever on this surface. Berrettini has held all 39 of his service games this week. And although he faced his first two break points of the ATP 250 tournament, he was not phased.

“This week I’m playing really well. I’m feeling really comfortable on the court,” Berrettini said. “Since last year I think I’ve improved a lot on grass. Last year I didn’t like it so much. That was the key.”

Berrettini will play #NextGenATP Canadian sensation Felix Auger-Aliassime for the title after former World No. 3 Milos Raonic withdrew before their semi-final due to a lower back injury. In their first FedEx ATP Head2Head meeting, Berrettini will try to lift his third ATP Tour trophy and Auger-Aliassime will attempt to capture his first in his third final of the year.

“He’s a great player. He’s in his third final this year and for sure he’s playing really well,” Berrettini said. “I’m really looking forward to seeing what’s going to happen. I never played him, I just practised once [with him] here for the first time. I think it’s going to be a great game and I’ll try to do my best.”

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Berrettini faced a tough test in Struff, who was fresh off a run to the fourth round at Roland Garros. The German has also earned three of his five Top 10 wins this year. But the Italian won all but four of his first-serve points (33/37) to set the tone, breaking once per set to secure his triumph after one hour and 14 minutes.

Berrettini also reached the final in Munich on clay earlier this year, and he will try to lift his first trophy in Germany on Sunday.

“I like Germany. This is my second final here this year,” Berrettini said. “The crowd was for sure helping [Struff], but it was helping me also. I really enjoyed it.”

Auger-Aliassime will try to win his first ATP Tour title when he faces the Italian, having fallen just short in the Rio de Janeiro and the Lyon finals.

“It’s just tough to see Milos having to withdraw. He’s one of the best guys on Tour. He’s always been great to me since I first arrived on Tour when I was a junior,” Auger-Aliassime said on court. “It’s tough to see him go out that way but at the same time it is what it is and I have to try and get ready for tomorrow’s final as best as I can.

“It’s been an unbelievable week for me. I’ve been playing good tennis. I got through on the edge yesterday and to be in another final, it’s unbelievable. So I think I’ll try to enjoy it and give everything also because it’s obviously my third final this year, so I’ll try to give it my all to maybe get my first title.”

Raonic was disappointed to not be able to compete, and he apologised to the crowd on court.

“I’m very sorry and apologetic that I’m unable to compete today. I was hoping for the best after my match yesterday,” Raonic said. “I woke up this morning not feeling my best. I wanted to come out here and give it a try. And after looking at it very diligently with my team, and the way I was feeling with my back, I found it was not possible for me to compete without taking any greater risk.”  

Did You Know?
This is Auger-Aliassime’s first professional grass-court tournament, and when he reached the semi-finals he became the youngest player to reach the last four at tour-level on three or more surfaces in a season since 1999 when Lleyton Hewitt did it.

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Johanna Konta to open against Anett Kontaveit in Birmingham

  • Posted: Jun 15, 2019
Nature Valley Classic
Venue: Edgbaston Priory Club Dates: 15-23 June
Coverage: Live text commentary on selected matches

Johanna Konta has been handed a testing first-round match against Anett Kontaveit at the Nature Valley Classic in Birmingham.

Estonia’s Kontaveit is ranked 20th in the world, two places below French Open semi-finalist Konta.

World number one Naomi Osaka plays Greek Maria Sakkari, while French Open champion Ashleigh Barty faces Croat Donna Vekic.

Wildcard Heather Watson takes on Czech Barbora Strycova.

Fellow Briton Harriet Dart plays Kazakhstan’s Yulia Putintseva.

Five-time Wimbledon champion Venus Williams, who is making her debut at the event aged 38 after accepting a wildcard, faces Belarusian Aliaksandra Sasnovich.

  • Murray & Lopez to face Queen’s top seeds

Konta has risen from 47th in the world at the end of April after a run of clay-court form that carried her to finals in Rabat and Rome, before making the last four at Roland Garros.

However, she has not been beyond the second round in six attempts at Edgbaston’s Priory Club, losing to Petra Kvitova in the first round last year.

Play in the main draw begins on Monday.

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