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Federer Looking For ‘Goldilocks’ Forehand In Halle

  • Posted: Jun 18, 2019

Federer Looking For ‘Goldilocks’ Forehand In Halle

Nine-time champion speaks of finding range on grass after opening win

Roger Federer often makes tennis look easy. But even the Swiss star found himself in a ‘Goldilocks’ situation during his 7-6(1), 6-3 victory against John Millman in the first round of the NOVENTI OPEN on Tuesday.

“I am aware that there were way too many errors there. I’ve got to find the right sort of power on the forehand,” Federer said. “Not too soft, not too hard. I’ve got to find the middle ground.”

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Federer made an uncharacteristic number of unforced errors off the forehand wing during his first match of the grass-court season. And the 37-year-old knows he’ll need to make adjustments to the relatively lower bounce on this surface compared to when he was competing on clay.

“I was looking for it throughout [with] different balls [compared] to the past few weeks in Paris,” Federer said. “Grass plays different, how much spin I need to put on the ball, how flat I need to go through the ball. So I often played maybe a little bit on the aggressive side in the beginning because I always knew I can pull back a little bit. So of course that shot can only get better. It can’t get worse. There is a level I believe I have on my forehand.”

To be fair to the nine-time Halle champion, he did not play poorly against Millman, who defeated him at last year’s US Open. Federer won 90 per cent (38/42) of his first-serve points and saved the only break point he faced. In the first-set tie-break, the top seed dropped just one point to take command of the match.

“There were definitely some good moments there,” Federer said. “From the baseline all that stuff is only going to get better from here on. So I’m confident there.”

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The grass-court season is different than it has been for the past few years for Federer, who competed at the MercedesCup from 2016-18, as he did not play Roland Garros. But after returning to clay for the first time since 2016, Federer is playing a slightly different schedule on grass.

“This is my first match back on the grass. It used to always be here in Halle, my first rounds. It was like back in the days. I always think any way you get through is a good way because the next match will always feel different or better and all that stuff,” Federer said. “Plus I think with this fact of John having beaten me at the US Open, I knew it was going to be tough. So thankfully I wasn’t too nervous.”

Federer now has a 64-7 record in Halle, and he will try to reach his 17th quarter-final at the ATP 500 tournament when he faces former World No. 5 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga next.

The Frenchman has won their past two FedEx ATP Head2Head meetings, at 2016 Monte-Carlo and 2014 Canada. But Federer leads their rivalry 11-6, and he has never failed to advance to the last eight at this event.

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Brown/Puetz Upset Reigning Roland Garros Champions

  • Posted: Jun 18, 2019

Brown/Puetz Upset Reigning Roland Garros Champions

McLachlan/Struff, Goffin/Herbert advance

German wild cards Dustin Brown/Tim Puetz knocked out reigning Roland Garros champions Kevin Krawietz/Andreas Mies on Tuesday at the NOVENTI OPEN in Halle.

Brown/Puetz saved four of five break points to advance 6-4, 7-5 and reach the quarter-finals at the ATP 500 event. Krawietz/Mies, the fourth seeds, were playing their first match since winning the season’s second Grand Slam. In Paris, the Germans were playing in just their second major together.

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They won their maiden ATP Tour doubles team title in February at the New York Open. Brown/Puetz will next meet Ben McLachlan/Jan-Lennard Struff, who beat Matthew Ebden/Denis Kudla 6-4, 6-4.

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In other action, third seeds Nikola Mektic/Franko Skugor won 83 per cent of their first-serve points and beat Robin Haase/Frederik Nielsen 6-3, 6-3; David Goffin/Pierre-Hugues Herbert routed Guido Pella/Joao Sousa 6-1, 6-3; and Austrians Oliver Marach/Jurgen Melzer squeaked past Marcelo Demoliner/Divij Sharan 7-5, 7-6(5).

Rain washed out all singles and doubles play on Tuesday at the Fever-Tree Championships in London.

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In four sets of singles and doubles play on Tuesday, Goffin won 24 of the 30 games he played against Pella. The Belgian defeated the Argentine 6-1, 6-1 in singles.

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Murray's Queen's comeback delayed until Thursday

  • Posted: Jun 18, 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.

Andy Murray’s return to competitive action has been delayed until Thursday after rain washed out Tuesday’s play at Queen’s Club.

The 32-year-old is playing in the doubles alongside Feliciano Lopez after five months out and a hip operation.

The pair’s match against Colombia’s Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah was due to be played on Wednesday.

However, Kyle Edmund’s match against Stefanos Tsitsipas is one of several to take its place in the order of play.

British number one Edmund had expected to get his Queen’s campaign underway on Tuesday, only to be thwarted by persistent rain.

British number three Dan Evans’ match against Stan Wawrinka was also carried over until Wednesday.

Juan Martin del Potro, Nick Kyrgios and Grigor Dimitrov are among the other players to have their schedules disrupted.

More rain is forecast for Wednesday, although with drier spells in the afternoon.

It is only third time in the tournament’s 18-year history that an entire day’s play has been lost to rain.

The tournament’s showpiece court was briefly revealed midway through the afternoon but more rain brought the covers back across.

The day’s play at the Nature Valley Classic in Birmingham, which features some of the world’s best women’s players, was brought to an early end by rain.

Wednesday’s Centre Court order of play:

Juan Martin del Potro (Arg) v Denis Shapovalov (Can)

Stan Wawrinka (Swi) v Dan Evans (GB)

Stefanos Tsitsipas (Gre) v Kyle Edmund (GB)

Grigor Dimitrov (Bul) v Felix Auger-Aliassime (Can)

Matches to start at 12:00 BST

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Halle Open: Roger Federer sets up Jo-Wilfried Tsonga clash with win over John Millman

  • Posted: Jun 18, 2019

Roger Federer will meet Jo-Wilfried Tsonga next after beginning his grass-court season with a 7-6 (7-1) 6-3 win over Australia’s John Millman in Halle.

Federer, 37, lost to Millman at last year’s US Open and was given a thorough work-out by the world number 57.

Neither offered up any break points in the first set and, after Federer had swept the tie-break, the Swiss secured the only break of the second set.

Tsonga beat Federer in an epic five-set comeback at Wimbledon in 2011.

The French world number 77, who overcame compatriot Benoit Paire 6-4 7-5 in his own first-round match, also beat Federer in the pair’s two most recent matches.

In total, Federer leads their head-to-head record by 11 wins to six.

“It is always important to win your first game on grass, because otherwise the grass season can be very short,” said Federer, a 20-time Grand Slam champion, after his win.

  • Queen’s action wrecked by rain delays
  • Osaka battles past Sakkari in Birmingham
  • Andy Murray column: Meeting Royal surgeon proved pivotal
  • Live scores, schedule and results
  • Alerts: Get tennis news sent to your phone

German Alex Zverev, who hurt his knee in his win over Robin Haase on Monday, has withdrawn from the tournament’s doubles draw.

The second seed however remains in the singles and will take on American Steve Johnson on Thursday.

Defending champion Borna Coric coasted to a comfortable 7-6 (7-2) 6-3 win over Spain’s Jaume Munar and will play Portugal’s Joao Sousa next.

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Federer One Step Closer To 10th Halle Title

  • Posted: Jun 18, 2019

Federer One Step Closer To 10th Halle Title

Swiss will next face Tsonga at the ATP 500 event

Nine-time champion Roger Federer played steadily enough to start his grass-court season on Tuesday at the NOVENTI OPEN in Halle.

The 37-year-old Swiss avenged his 2018 US Open fourth-round loss to John Millman to make the second round in Germany, beating the Aussie 7-6(1), 6-3.

Read More: Federer: ‘The Pressure Is High For Me Too’

Federer didn’t face a break point until he served for the match, and he saw only two on Millman’s racquet, both in the sixth game of the second set, when Millman hit a forehand off his back foot long to give Federer the break.

The top seed fell behind 0/30 in the next game but escaped danger by winning four straight points. Federer is making his 17th Halle appearance and is trying to secure his first double-digit title haul at a single event.

Federer has also won nine titles at the Swiss Indoors Basel, his hometown tournament. Rafael Nadal is the only man in the Open Era to reach double-digit titles at a single event, with 12 Roland Garros titles and 11 trophies in Monte-Carlo and Barcelona.

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Federer will next face Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who beat countryman Benoit Paire 6-4, 7-5 to improve to 4-1 in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series. Federer leads his rivalry with Tsonga 11-6, but the Frenchman has won their past two matchups – at 2016 Monte-Carlo and 2014 Canada. The two have played on grass only once, a five-set win for Tsonga in the 2011 Wimbledon quarter-finals.

Germany’s Jan-Lennard Struff picked up his first win at his home ATP 500 tournament (1-6), beating Serbian Laslo Djere 6-4, 6-4. Struff, playing at a career-high No. 35 in the ATP Rankings, improved to 22-14 this season and will next meet third-seeded Russian Karen Khachanov.

Read More: The Difference For Struff? He Has An Opinion

France’s Richard Gasquet, a three-time grass-court titlist, won 81 per cent of his service points and beat German Peter Gojowczyk 6-3, 6-4 in only 70 minutes. Gasquet will next play seventh seed Roberto Bautista Agut. The Spaniard didn’t face a break point and beat American Taylor Fritz 7-6(10), 6-0

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'I got lucky a little bit' – Osaka battles past Sakkari in Birmingham

  • Posted: Jun 18, 2019

World number one Naomi Osaka came through a tricky test against Greece’s Maria Sakkari to reach round two at the Nature Valley Classic in Birmingham.

Osaka, who before the tournament said she was “not really that comfortable” on grass, had looked in early control before battling to a 6-1 4-6 6-4 win.

The Japanese 21-year-old will face Yulia Putintseva next after the Kazakh beat British wildcard Harriet Dart.

“I was kind of screaming on the inside during that entire match,” Osaka said.

“I got lucky a little bit I guess. I knew she was going to be a very difficult opponent.”

US and Australian Open champion Osaka found herself 0-40 on her serve at 2-2 in the final set but, after saving six break points in a near 10-minute game, finally held.

It proved pivotal as she went on to break the Greek world number 33 in the following game before holding to love and then going on to seal victory on her first match point as the clock ticked past two hours.

Britain’s Dart was well beaten by Putintseva, who is ranked 114 places above the British world number 157, losing 6-1 6-4.

The 22-year-old Briton had a glimmer of hope when she broke early in the second set but could not match Putintseva’s consistency.

Eighth seed Julia Gorges is also through to the second round after coming from behind to beat Ukrainian Dayana Yastremska 3-6 6-4 6-3.

British number one Johanna Konta, who beat Anett Kontaveit on Monday, found out her second-round opponent will be former French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko after the Latvian took just 52 minutes to beat Polish qualifier Iga Swiatek 6-0 6-2.

Seven-time Grand Slam champion Venus Williams is in action later on Tuesday against Belarusian Aliaksandra Sasnovich, although play was suspended at the Edgbaston Priory Club soon after Osaka’s win.

The weather has also disrupted Tuesday’s schedule at the men’s grass-court event at Queen’s, where no tennis had been played by 16:15 BST.

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Learn The Secret To Kubot & Melo's Success

  • Posted: Jun 18, 2019

Learn The Secret To Kubot & Melo’s Success

Polish-Brazilian team leads the field in Halle

Lukasz Kubot and Marcelo Melo have won 10 tour-level titles since beginning their full-time partnership in 2017. And not only have they qualified for the Nitto ATP Finals in both of their seasons together, but they are currently the highest-ranked ATP Doubles Team.

The secret to their success is not a specific skill, but that they are not satisfied.

“I think the most important thing is to keep improving and to keep changing. New teams are playing, they’re playing differently. We cannot be playing the same way always because they know what we’re going to do,” Melo told “I think the key is to keep improving and changing and looking what other teams are doing for us to keep doing good results.”

This is the Polish-Brazilian duo’s third full season as a team, but they showed signs of what they are capable of even before that. In 2015, they competed together for the first time in Vienna, while Melo was still partnering Ivan Dodig. They won that tournament.

The following year, Melo and Dodig decided to end their five-year partnership, so Melo approached Kubot about playing some tournaments together late in 2016 to see how it would go. Melo and Kubot triumphed in Vienna again, making the decision to become a full-time team easy.

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But the wins did not pile up as easily early in 2017, as they lost five of their first nine matches that season, winning multiple matches at an event just once through five tournaments.

“Normally when you start a team you want to play a lot together. You put a lot of pressure on yourselves and want the results tomorrow. Sometimes it’s not like that,” Melo said. “You need to get used to how each other plays and we started not so great, but after two, three months we started playing better together, playing as a team.”

Kubot and Melo won six tour-level titles that year, including three ATP Masters 1000 trophies and a Wimbledon victory. They finished the season as the year-end No. 1 ATP Doubles Team. But even after qualifying for the season finale at The O2 again last year, they are still looking for more ways to improve.

“We know our patterns and our opponents know our patterns, so we still look forward to improving our games every day and trying to be better,” Kubot told “Every time we sit down, we talk and we always look for ways to improve and look for something new we can add to our games.”

Melo noted that with the increasing presence of singles players competing on the doubles court, it can be tough given that there is plenty of film and statistics on them, and not always as much on their opponents. But they continue to adapt, reaching at least the semi-finals at three of this year’s first five Masters 1000 tournaments.

“I think we play different, me and Kubot. I have one way to play, Kubot has another way. So we are always changing. We don’t play the same way. We can change a lot during the matches,” Melo said. “We play very good Match Tie-breaks normally and in doubles today it’s very important to play very good Match Tie-breaks.”

Kubot and Melo hold a 41-17 record in Match Tie-breaks during their partnership, a winning rate of more than 70 per cent. After splitting sets, the Match Tie-break could go either team’s way, given it’s the first pair to win 10 points. But Melo doesn’t see it that way.

“I don’t agree that it’s a coin flip. I think no-Ad it is, but not Match Tie-breaks. Those are 10 points, so if sometimes you start down 4/1, 5/2, you still have a chance to come back,” Melo said. “You have to be always mentally strong to play Match Tie-breaks and even if you are up, you need to finish and if you are down, you have a chance to come back.”

It doesn’t hurt that they enjoy the pressure of those big moments, and they are never afraid to be aggressive when it counts the most.

“I think Marcelo has, for me, maybe, the best reactions of all the players at the moment on Tour, so his reactions are very good, he’s very quick at the net. He has very good volleys,” Kubot said. “He’s a player who’s made for the big shots, so he likes when there is more pressure on the court because he likes to take the responsibility on his shoulders.”

Kubot and Melo are the top seeds at this week’s NOVENTI OPEN, where they will try to win a third consecutive title. The top seeds begin their campaign against Dutchmen Wesley Koolhof and Matwe Middelkoop.

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Paire & Tsonga Pause For Mid-Game Football Match In Halle

  • Posted: Jun 18, 2019

Paire & Tsonga Pause For Mid-Game Football Match In Halle

Tsonga wins to reach the second round

For a moment, you would have thought that Benoit Paire and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga were playing a game of football rather than a tennis match on Stadion Court at the NOVENTI OPEN on Tuesday.

Serving at 1-1 in the second set, Paire let slip his racquet after striking a serve. But instead of watching in disappointment as Tsonga’s return bounced past him, the World No. 28 got his feet involved, continuing the rally by playing foot-tennis. Eventually, Paire went for and missed a bicycle kick, but the crowd erupted with applause anyway. 

There was still business to get to, and Tsonga won the match 6-4, 7-5 to take a 4-1 lead in the pair’s FedEx ATP Head2Head series. The former World No. 5 will next play nine-time champion and top seed Roger Federer or Aussie John Millman.

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Tsitsipas, Del Potro Wait On Queen's Club Rain; Start Delayed Tuesday

  • Posted: Jun 18, 2019

Tsitsipas, Del Potro Wait On Queen’s Club Rain; Start Delayed Tuesday

Six first-round singles matches were played on Monday

Rain at The Queen’s Club, venue of the Fever-Tree Championships, is delaying the start of play on Tuesday.

The first of the day’s 10 singles and two doubles matches were scheduled to begin at 12 noon local time, but covers remain on the grass courts. At 2:30 p.m., tournament organisers revised the schedule.

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CENTRE COURT start 3:30 pm
[7] S. Wawrinka (SUI) vs [WC] D. Evans (GBR) 
[1] S. Tsitsipas (GRE) vs K. Edmund (GBR) 
G. Dimitrov (BUL) vs [8] F. Auger-Aliassime (CAN) 

COURT 1 start 3:30 pm
[WC] J. Clarke (GBR) vs L. Pouille (FRA) 
[3] J. del Potro (ARG) vs D. Shapovalov (CAN) 
N. Kyrgios (AUS) vs A. Mannarino (FRA) 

COURT 5 start 3:30 pm
M. Fucsovics (HUN) vs [WC] F. Lopez (ESP) 
M. Cecchinato (ITA) vs [6] M. Raonic (CAN) 

COURT 6 start 3:30 pm
J. Chardy (FRA) vs M. Kukushkin (KAZ) 
A. de Minaur (AUS) vs [Q] A. Bedene (SLO) 

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