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First-Time Winner Spotlight: Adrian Mannarino

  • Posted: Jun 17, 2019

First-Time Winner Spotlight: Adrian Mannarino

Frenchman lifts his maiden trophy in ‘s-Hertogenbosch

Adrian Mannarino entered Sunday’s Libema Open final having lost his first six ATP Tour championship matches. But the lefty would not be denied, defeating Aussie Jordan Thompson 7-6(7), 6-3 to earn his first crown. The 30-year-old had previously reached two grass-court finals, both in Antalya. But he finally broke through in ‘s-Hertogenbosch against Thompson, a first-time ATP Tour finalist. caught up with Mannarino after his win…

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How does it feel to be holding your first ATP Tour trophy?
That feels pretty good. This is something I’ve been waiting for for a long time now. I’ve been losing many finals before achieving this first title, so it feels pretty good.

Was this a goal that you’ve had as a junior and did you think it would take this long, at age 30, to do it?
Actually I didn’t have a real goal when I was a junior. My ambition was to be one of the Top 100 players. With time I saw that my ATP Ranking was getting better. I was not far from getting a title. Ever since I got my first final in Auckland in 2015 I really wanted a title badly. It took time, but I finally made it and it’s something that I’ll have forever.

Did you go into your seventh final with a different mindset after losing your previous six?
Not really. I wouldn’t say that I’ve been handling my stress better than the other times. I don’t think the quality of the match was the best. But there is always a first time and actually I don’t really care about the way I played. I’m just happy that I finally made it and I feel that if I have to play another final in the future it is going to be way easier after winning a title already.

<a href=''>Adrian Mannarino</a> defeats <a href=''>Jordan Thompson</a> in two hours and one minute to win the <a href=''>Libema Open</a> title on Sunday.

What do you think you did well during the week to put together five wins in a row for the first time?
I’ve been pretty consistent during the whole week. I’ve been playing with some really good players and I was not expecting to beat these kind of players, especially on grass. But I was feeling good on the court, I was enjoying my game and just battling all the time and I finally got through match after match. I don’t really know the reason why I finally won this week, but that’s alright.

You dropped the first set against Verdasco, Goffin and Coric. What does that require from you mentally to come back?
It was not that hard mentally. I was enjoying my game. It was a really cool match, especially against David. I like the way he’s playing. I always have a lot of fun playing against him. It was cool, I was feeling good on court after a couple months on clay courts where I was not playing my best. So I was just happy about the way I was playing and I finally got through some tough matches, but I was not thinking that much. I was just enjoying the moment.

Read More: The Maturation Of Mannarino

Now that you’ve won your first title, what are your next goals?
My goal is to try to do my best day after day, whether in practice or during my matches. I’m trying to be as professional as I can. I don’t think about goals in terms of rankings or tournaments, I’m just going on court every day and trying to do my best. So I’ll stay with that goal and see what the future will bring.

Is there anyone you’d like to acknowledge who has helped you get to where you are today?
There are a lot of people of course, especially when I was a kid growing up playing at a little club. My parents have been doing a lot of sacrificing to get me to this level and also my family. I had a lot of coaches and physical coaches and I’d like to thank all the people who were involved in this project and finally made it possible for me to get a title and maybe more in the future.

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Read & Watch: Mahut Comes To Ballgirl's Aid At The Queen's Club

  • Posted: Jun 17, 2019

Read & Watch: Mahut Comes To Ballgirl’s Aid At The Queen’s Club

Frenchman overcomes slip and Tiafoe in London

Qualifier Nicolas Mahut defeated American Frances Tiafoe 6-3, 7-6(5) on Monday to reach the second round of the Fever-Tree Championships. But one of the most memorable moments of the match came at 5-5 in the second set.

Mahut was deep behind the baseline playing defence against the 2018 Next Gen ATP Finals qualifier when he could not get to a ball in the backhand corner. However, the 37-year-old could not stop his momentum on the grass and eventually slipped and fell into a ballgirl. 

The Frenchman showed little concern about himself, immediately standing up to make sure that the ballgirl was alright. The World No. 191 went on to close out the match in the tie-break, hitting nine aces and winning 52 per cent of his second-serve return points in his one-hour, 22-minute triumph.

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Anderson survives Norrie test in first round at Queen's

  • Posted: Jun 17, 2019
Fever-Tree Championships
Venue: Queen’s Club, London. Dates: 17-23 June
Coverage: Live on BBC TV and online with live text and radio coverage on selected matches.

Second seed Kevin Anderson came from a set down to beat Britain’s Cameron Norrie 4-6 7-6 (7-5) 6-4 in the opening round of the Fever-Tree Championships at Queen’s Club in London.

The South African, who reached the 2018 final at Wimbledon, has had an injury-hit season because of an elbow problem.

Norrie, 23, lost the second set on a tie-break and then had his serve broken in the fifth game of the deciding set.

“Cameron is a tough opponent and it was a very good match,” said Anderson, 33.

“It feels fantastic to be back. It’s always difficult to miss tournaments, it’s been a tough year, but there has been a lot of time and effort put in to get me back out there.

“I’m really pleased with how I served. It feels good now, and it [his elbow] held up well today with a long three-set match. I found a nice rhythm and on the grass that helps.”

Anderson will play Gilles Simon next after the French world number 38 beat British qualifier James Ward 3-6 6-3 7-6 (7-2) in an entertaining match.

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Norrie is ranked 49th in the world, 41 places below his opponent and put in a good performance against his 6ft 8in opponent.

“Kevin served unbelievable, as I expected he would, but I managed to save a lot of break points today and I was really happy with my mentality and how concentrated and how focused I stayed, especially on the big points,” Norrie said.

“I knew there were going to a couple of points in the match and he managed to win them. He served great in the tie-break and in the third set he was flawless.”

However, Anderson served superbly in the deciding set, only losing one point on his serve, as he took the victory.

‘One heck of a performance’ – analysis

John Lloyd, former Great Britain Davis Cup captain on BBC Two

Cameron played really well. Credit to Kevin Anderson, who only lost one point on his serve in that last set.

Cameron looks a total professional and looks like he belongs in this company. I thought he put in one heck of performance and hopefully he starts to get some decent draws.

Wins for Medvedev and Cilic

Russia’s Daniil Medvedev and Croatia’s Marin Cilic both progressed on the opening day of the tournament.

Fourth seed Medvedev gained a routine 6-2 6-4 win over Spain’s Fernando Verdasco before Cilic, the 2018 winner, saw off the challenge of Chile’s Cristian Garin by a 6-1 7-6 (7-5) margin.

World number six Stefanos Tsitsipas is the top seed and plays Britain’s Kyle Edmund on Tuesday.

Fellow Britons Jay Clarke and Dan Evans also play on Tuesday, against Lucas Pouille of France and Switzerland’s Stan Wawrinka respectively.

Tuesday’s order of play

Centre court (from 12:00 BST): Stan Wawrinka (Sui, 7) v Dan Evans (GB), Juan Martin del Potro (Arg, 3) v Denis Shapovalov (Can), Stefanos Tsitsipas (Gre, 1) v Kyle Edmund (GB), Grigor Dimitrov (Bul) v Felix Auger-Aliassime (Can, 8).

Court 1 (from 12:00 BST): Jay Clarke (GB) v Lucas Pouille (Fra), Marton Fucsovics (Hun) v Feliciano Lopez (Esp), Marco Cecchinato (Ita) v Milos Raonic (Cro, 6), Nick Kyrgios (Aus) v Adrian Mannarino (Fra).

There will be live coverage on BBC Red Button and the BBC Sport website from 12:00 BST, with live coverage on BBC Two from 13:00 BST.

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Read & Watch: Zverev Fights Through In Halle

  • Posted: Jun 17, 2019

Read & Watch: Zverev Fights Through In Halle

German looking to reach third Halle final

Down a break at 5-2 in the second set, Alexander Zverev could have cast his eyes to the seemingly inevitable third set against Robin Haase on Monday at the NOVENTI OPEN.

But the German kept his focus on what was in front of him, and didn’t even need to bother with a third set. The two-time Halle finalist (2016, 2017) beat Haase 6-4, 7-5 to make the second round at the ATP 500 event.

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This is probably one of my favourite tournaments and I’m always motivated here. Last year, I played with an injury here and lost first round and this year I really want to do well. I hope this was a good start for a good tournament for me,” Zverev said.

Zverev dug himself out of trouble to serve for the match at 6-5 in the second set, but needed more heroics to stave off the Dutch veteran. The second-seeded Zverev saved two break points while serving at 6-5, including one during a 41-shot rally that Haase ended when he sprayed a backhand wide.

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Zverev fell to countryman Florian Mayer in the 2016 final and Roger Federer in 2017. Federer, a nine-time champion, is again the top seed at the grass-court event.

The 22-year-old Zverev will next face American Steve Johnson, who ended a three-match losing streak by beating Germany’s Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-3, 6-3. Johnson hit 13 aces, won 85 per cent of his first-serve points (29/34) and never faced a break point.

He is someone who has an unbelievable serve, a very good grass-court game. He has won a [couple] tournaments on grass. He has a good forehand and a very good slice. He beat Philipp in straight sets, which also tells a lot,” Zverev said. “It won’t be an easy match but there are no bad players here. Therefore, there aren’t any easy matches here.”

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Kyrgios On Murray Practising: 'I Couldn't Believe What I Was Seeing'

  • Posted: Jun 17, 2019

Kyrgios On Murray Practising: ‘I Couldn’t Believe What I Was Seeing’

Aussie has practised with Murray before the Scot’s return

One year ago, Nick Kyrgios played Andy Murray at the Fever-Tree Championships. This year, the Aussie is cheering for his friend, as the former World No. 1 is making his return from hip surgery on the doubles court alongside Feliciano Lopez.

“It’s great to see him back. I think results don’t matter. Just to see him back healthy and seeing him happy on court is all that matters,” Kyrgios said. “He’s actually the first person I saw yesterday on the court doing doubles drills, and I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.”

Murray last competed at the Australian Open before undergoing right hip resurfacing surgery on 28 January. The Scot did not know if he’d ever be able to return, but he is back on The Queen’s Club grass, where he has captured five singles titles.

“[It’s] unbelievable. He’s a warrior. I hit with him a couple times in London, obviously when I took a spell from the French,” said Kyrgios, who was forced to withdraw from Roland Garros due to a stomach bug. “He’s still hitting the ball unbelievable. I think he’s good enough to do damage in any doubles [match made up] of any players, especially this week with Feliciano. I’d almost pay to watch that match. They’re going to be tough to beat. He’s a legend.”

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Kyrgios, currently No. 39 in the ATP Rankings, is trying to get back on track himself having lost four of his past five matches. At last week’s MercedesCup, the Aussie fell in the first round to eventual champion Matteo Berrettini.

“It’s been good [preparation]. Obviously didn’t get too many matches last week in Stuttgart, but I lost to the eventual winner,” Kyrgios said. “Played a bit of dubs last week and got here and had a hit. Have been feeling good. This is probably my favourite time of the year. Obviously the Aussie summer is pretty good, but just being in London when the weather is like this is pretty hard to beat. Just playing on grass every day, it’s a lot of fun.”

Kyrgios made the semi-finals at The Queen’s Club last year, and he has long enjoyed success on grass, beating Rafael Nadal en route to the Wimbledon quarter-finals in 2014 when he was just 19.

“I definitely feel like I can do damage. I have had a lot of good wins on grass,” Kyrgios said. “Obviously made a quarter-final run [at Wimbledon] when I was a little bit younger, but I think if the stars align, for sure I can do damage there.”

You May Also Like: Murray On Hip Surgery: ‘It’s Been Brilliant, Completely Life-Changing’

The 24-year-old is staying in the present though, only worrying about the challenges in front of him at The Queen’s Club. In the first round, he faces Adrian Mannarino, who lifted his maiden ATP Tour trophy on Sunday at the Libema Open.

“I’ve got a tough match tomorrow against a guy who won a title yesterday,” Kyrgios said. “I want to have a good week here, find my feet.”

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Anderson Survives Tough Test In Return At The Queen's Club

  • Posted: Jun 17, 2019

Anderson Survives Tough Test In Return At The Queen’s Club

South African strikes 19 aces in his three-set win

World No. 8 Kevin Anderson made a successful return to action on Monday, rallying past home favourite Cameron Norrie 4-6, 7-6(5), 6-4 in two hours and 21 minutes to reach the second round of the Fever-Tree Championships.

This is the second seed’s first tournament since Miami three months ago, and just his second event since the Australian Open, as he has been recovering from an elbow injury. The South African won his sixth ATP Tour title to start the season in Pune.

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Anderson struck 19 aces and won all but four of his first-serve points (56/60) to get by World No. 49 Norrie, who was looking for his first main draw win at The Queen’s Club on his third attempt. Anderson reached the final at this ATP 500 tournament in 2015.

Early on, the 2018 Nitto ATP Finals qualifier appeared to be understandably rusty, getting broken in his first service game. But Anderson was not broken the rest of the way. The 33-year-old increasingly worked his way into the Brit’s service games, showing good movement and groundstroke play to back up his booming serve, withstanding Norrie’s 12 aces.

Anderson will next play Frenchman Gilles Simon, who battled past British qualifier James Ward 3-6, 6-3, 7-6(2). He will be looking to build form on the grass, a surface on which he has enjoyed plenty of success. Last year, Anderson made his second Grand Slam final by reaching the championship match at Wimbledon.

Did You Know?
Anderson said before competing this week that his elbow injury has not completely prohibited him from training. The South African has had no limitations with his groundstrokes, only his serve.

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Nature Valley Classic: Margarita Gasparyan beats Elina Svitolina in first round

  • Posted: Jun 17, 2019

Fourth seed Elina Svitolina suffered a shock defeat on the opening day in Birmingham as she lost 6-3 3-6 6-4 to Russia’s Margarita Gasparyan.

The 24-year-old broke the Ukrainian’s serve in the opening game on her way to taking the first set.

Svitolina, also 24, who won the WTA Finals event in 2018, secured an early break in the second set to level it.

But Gasparyan gained a 4-1 lead in the deciding set and held on for the victory.

The Russian, who is ranked 62nd in the world and has recently recovered from a career-threatening knee injury, said: “It was a tough time and I didn’t know if I could play tennis any more but now I’m here in a big tournament so this is something special for me.”

Gasparyan will play either compatriot Ekaterina Alexandrova or Petra Martic of Croatia in the last 16.

British players Heather Watson and Johanna Konta are among those in action later on Monday in the Nature Valley Classic.

There will be a live text page on the BBC Sport website as Konta, who reached the semi-finals of the French Open earlier this month, takes on world number 20 Anett Kontaveit of Estonia.

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The competition is being held at the Edgbaston Priory Club and also includes world number one Naomi Osaka, French Open champion Ashleigh Barty and Karolina Pliskova, ranked third in the world.

In the doubles competition, 22-year-old Briton Harriet Dart partners seven-time Grand Slam singles champion Venus Williams and they face the pairing of Nadiia Kichenok of Ukraine and American Abigail Spears.

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Berrettini Rises To Career-High, Mover Of The Week

  • Posted: Jun 17, 2019

Berrettini Rises To Career-High, Mover Of The Week looks at the top Movers of the Week in the ATP Rankings, as of Monday, 17 June 2019

No. 22 (Career High) Matteo Berrettini, +8
The Italian held each of his 50 service games throughout the week at the MercedesCup en route to the trophy. Berrettini, who has captured each of his three ATP Tour titles in the past 11 months, defeated Nick Kyrgios and Karen Khachanov in his opening two matches. After beating Felix Auger-Aliassime in the championship match, the 23-year-old jumps eight places to a career-high No. 22 in the ATP Rankings. Read More.

No. 34 Adrian Mannarino, +10
The 30-year-old ended his losing streak in ATP Tour championship matches in style at the Libema Open, lifting his first trophy in seven finals after a straight-sets victory against Jordan Thompson. Mannarino overcame three consecutive seeded opponents, Fernando Verdasco, David Goffin and Borna Coric, to reach the final in ‘s-Hertogenbosch. The Frenchman leaps 10 spots to No. 34 in the ATP Rankings. Read More.

No. 46 (Career High) Jordan Thompson, +16
Despite falling short of his first ATP Tour crown, Thompson enjoyed a breakthrough week in the Netherlands. The 25-year-old Australian arrived at the Libema Open, without an ATP Tour semi-final appearance to his name, but defeated sixth seed Frances Tiafoe and third seed Alex de Minaur en route to the championship match. Thompson soars 16 positions to a career-high No. 46 in the ATP Rankings.

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Other Notable Movers
No. 54 Richard Gasquet, -12
No. 63 Daniel Evans, +7
No. 65 Jeremy Chardy, -16
No. 80 Matthew Ebden, -14
No. 86 (Career High) Corentin Moutet, +16
No. 88 Jaume Munar, -14

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