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Wimbledon qualifying: Cori Gauff makes history in qualifying aged 15

  • Posted: Jun 27, 2019

American Cori Gauff has at 15 years and 122 days become the youngest player to qualify for the main Wimbledon draw since the Open era began in 1968.

Gauff, ranked 301, beat Belgium’s world 129 Greet Minnen 6-1 6-1 in the final round of qualifying.

The night before the match the youngster took a science test for her school back in Florida.

Gauff will be the first 15-year-old in the main draw since Britain’s Laura Robson in 2009.

“I knew I was the underdog and I was just enjoying it,” she said after her third straight set victory at Roehampton. “I had no expectations really.”

The teenager reached the US Open girls’ final aged 13 in 2017, and a year later won the French Open girls’ singles title.

She said she was inspired to play tennis by 23-time Grand Slam winner Serena Williams.

“Serena is the reason why I play tennis and why my dad decided to get me a racket,” she said.

“Obviously, I don’t care who I play. I’m just happy to be in the draw but I would love to share the court with Serena.”

Gauff, who received a wildcard for qualifying, has played at the All England Club before as a junior.

“Playing against the top players in the world will be a different feel,” she said. “[My first memories] were of watching Serena playing at Wimbledon and she won, though I don’t remember which year, she has won so many times.”

Broady and Murray fail to make main draw

British number eight Liam Broady missed out a place in the main draw of Wimbledon after losing 3-6 0-6 6-2 6-4 6-3 to Frenchman Gregoire Barrere in the final round of qualifying.

He had been two sets up after 50 minutes against Barrere, ranked 170 places higher at 117 in the world.

Broady’s best run at Wimbledon was reaching the second round in 2015.

In women’s qualifying, Britain’s Samantha Murray lost 4-6 6-2 3-6 to Spain’s Paula Badosa.

Germany’s 2013 Wimbledon finalist Sabine Lisicki also failed to make the main draw after she lost 0-6 6-4 6-4 to Lesley Kerkhove of the Netherlands.

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Edmund beats Evans to reach Eastbourne semi-finals

  • Posted: Jun 27, 2019

British number one Kyle Edmund beat his compatriot Dan Evans 1-6 6-3 6-4 to reach the semi-finals at Eastbourne.

British number three Evans, 29, showed the form that has brought him two grass-court titles this month as he dominated the first set.

But Edmund fought back to give himself a confidence boost as he seeks to regain his best form before Wimbledon.

Edmund, 24, will face Taylor Fritz on Friday after the American defeated Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz 6-4 7-6 (7-5).

  • Edmund v Evans: Relive the match as it happened
  • Kerber beats Halep to reach Eastbourne semi-finals
  • The knife attack that changed a champion

World number 65 Evans broke Edmund’s serve in the opening game and followed it up in the fifth as he used his backhand slice to keep his compatriot’s powerful shots at bay.

Edmund, who retired from the French Open last month with a knee injury, could not get into the match and conceded the first set when he blasted a forehand wide.

In the first set Edmund won 44% of points on his first serve but he turned it around with 100% in the second.

That extra power and precision had Evans struggling to return the ball with the same quality and gave Edmund the chance to assert himself.

Having levelled the match, Edmund kept up the intensity in the decider and, with Evans becoming frustrated with his inability to counter his opponent’s power, the world number 31 sealed victory with his fourth match point.

In the other semi-final, American Sam Querrey beat fifth seed Fernando Verdasco 7-6 (7-4) 6-2 and will play Italian Thomas Fabbiano, who defeated Queen’s Club runner-up Gilles Simon 6-4 6-3.

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Fritz Wins Battle Of '18 Milan Qualifiers In Eastbourne

  • Posted: Jun 27, 2019

Fritz Wins Battle Of ’18 Milan Qualifiers In Eastbourne

Querrey into the last four in comeback event

Taylor Fritz first made an ATP Tour final more than three years ago in Memphis, when he was just 18. On Friday, the American will have a chance to reach his second tour-level championship match.

In a battle of 2018 Next Gen ATP Finals qualifiers Thursday, Fritz defeated Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz 6-4, 7-6(5) to advance to the semi-finals of the Nature Valley International.

Fritz failed to serve out his second-round match against top seed Guido Pella Wednesday, later saying, “I just played a really poor game. I didn’t make any first serves. The only way to say it is I really choked that game.”

It was like deja vu against Hurkacz, as Fritz could not serve out the victory at 5-3 in the second set, the Pole earning his first break of the match. But Fritz remained calm and was able to close out his one-hour, 45-minute triumph in the tie-break.

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Fritz will face a Brit in the last four, with third seed Kyle Edmund and in-form Daniel Evans to compete in the last singles match of the day. World No. 65 Evans recently won back-to-back ATP Challenger Tour titles on grass in Surbiton and Nottingham.

Fritz wasn’t the only American to move on, as former World No. 11 Sam Querrey ousted fifth seed Fernando Verdasco 7-6(4), 6-2 in one hour and 37 minutes.

This is Querrey’s first tournament since Houston in April due to an abdominal injury. He will try to reach his first ATP Tour final since the 2018 New York Open when he faces Italian Thomas Fabbiano, who upset Fever-Tree Championships finalist Gilles Simon 6-4, 6-3 to make his maiden tour-level semi-final.

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Fritz saved all seven break points he faced in the first set against Hurkacz, and he only landed 45 per cent of his first serves in the match.

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Bemelmans Makes Wimbledon Qualifying History

  • Posted: Jun 27, 2019

Bemelmans Makes Wimbledon Qualifying History

#NextGenATP Moutet, Popyrin also book places in main draw

Wimbledon doesn’t start until Monday, but Belgian Ruben Bemelmans has already made history at The Championships.

The 31-year-old qualified for an Open Era record sixth time at Wimbledon on Thursday, beating American Donald Young 6-4, 6-4, 6-1. Bemelmans had been tied for the qualifying record with Alejandro Falla, Ken Flach, Edouard Roger-Vasselin and Jimmy Wang.

Next for the Belgian: Reaching the fourth round at SW19 for the first time. Bemelmans made the third round in 2017 (l. to Anderson) and the second round in 2018 (l. to Isner).

View Bemelmans’ All-England Club History

A pair of #NextGenATP players also qualified. Aussie Alexei Popyrin, 19, overcame American Bjorn Fratangelo 6-3, 7-6(6), 6-7(4), 7-6(6). Popyrin, who cracked the Top 100 of the ATP Rankings on Monday, has played in every Grand Slam main draw this year after playing only at the Australian Open last year.

You May Also Like: Popyrin: From In The Crowd To Under The Spotlight

Top seed Corentin Moutet of France qualified with a routine 6-2, 6-4, 6-4 win against Aussie Andrew Harris, who won two boys’ junior doubles titles with Nick Kyrgios in 2012 (Roland Garros, Wimbledon). The 20-year-old Frenchman made the third round in Roland Garros but will be making his Wimbledon debut.

Read More: Moutet Leading France’s #NextGenATP In Paris

Moutet is currently in seventh place in the ATP Race To Milan, which will determine seven of the eight players who compete at the Next Gen ATP Finals, to be held 5-9 November in Milan. The eighth spot will be given to the winner of an all-Italian qualifying tournament to be held just before the 21-and-under event. Popyrin sits in 11th place.

See Who Moutet, Popyrin Are Chasing In The ATP Race To Milan

Italy will have nine men in the main draw after Andrea Arnaboldi and Salvatore Caruso qualified. Arnaboldi battled past Evgeny Karlovskiy 6-4, 6-3, 3-6, 4-6, 6-3. Caruso knocked out Canadian Brayden Schnur, New York Open finalist in February, 6-3, 6-2, 6-1 in only 84 minutes. Italy also had nine in the Roland Garros draw and at 2018 Wimbledon.

American Marcos Giron is continuing the best season of his career. The 25-year-old made the third round at the BNP Paribas Open in March and now will play at Wimbledon for the first time. Giron beat Viktor Galovic of Croatia 7-5, 6-2, 2-6, 6-4.

Read More: Two Hip Surgeries Later, Giron Ready For More Success

Noah Rubin, 2014 Wimbledon boys’ junior singles champion, also will be making his main draw debut. The American beat German Yannick Hanfmann 7-6(5), 6-2, 4-6, 6-2.

Seventh seed Jiri Vesely, who climbed to a career-high of No. 35 in April 2015, beat Tommy Paul of the U.S. 6-2, 6-3, 6-3. Vesely has twice reached the fourth round at SW19. Last year, he fell to World No. 1 Rafael Nadal in the Round of 16, and in 2016, Vesely lost in five sets to countryman Tomas Berdych.

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Kerber beats Halep to reach Eastbourne semis

  • Posted: Jun 27, 2019

Reigning Wimbledon champion Angelique Kerber is through to the semi-finals of Eastbourne after beating Romania’s Simona Halep in straight sets.

Germany’s world number five Kerber, twice a runner-up at Eastbourne, won 6-4 6-3 in one hour and 13 minutes.

Kerber converted five of her seven break points against Halep.

The three-time Grand Slam champion will next face unseeded Tunisian Ons Jabeur – the conqueror of Britain’s Johanna Konta – on Friday.

“I am really happy how I played,” Kerber told BBC Sport. “To play against Simona, you know you have to play the best tennis.”

Czech second seed Karolina Pliskova faces Russian Ekaterina Alexandrova later on Thursday, while Kiki Bertens is currently on court against Aryna Sabalenka in their quarter-final match.

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Kecmanovic Reaches First ATP Tour Semi-final In Antalya

  • Posted: Jun 27, 2019

Kecmanovic Reaches First ATP Tour Semi-final In Antalya

Mannarino, Thompson and Dzumhur in action later today

Miomir Kecmanovic advanced to his first ATP Tour semi-final on Thursday at the Turkish Airlines Antalya Open with a 6-3, 6-4 win over fellow Serbian Viktor Troicki in 72 minutes. Kecmanovic, who reached the BNP Paribas Open quarter-finals (l. to Raonic) in March, is currently in eighth place in the ATP Race To Milan for a spot at the Next Gen ATP Finals in November.

The 19-year-old will next face third-seed Australian Jordan Thompson, the recent Libema Open finalist (l. to Mannarino), or fifth seed and defending champion Damir Dzumhur of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Later today, French 2017 and 2018 finalist Adrian Mannarino challenges Lorenzo Sonego of Italy, while fourth-seeded Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta takes on Bernard Tomic of Australia at the ATP 250 tournament.

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Fed Cup: New finals tournament to be held on clay in Hungary in 2020

  • Posted: Jun 27, 2019

A brand new 12-team Fed Cup Finals will take place on clay in Budapest in Hungary, in April of next year.

As BBC Sport reported in March, 20 teams will have the chance to be crowned world champions each year, with eight qualifying ties taking place in February.

The winners of those ties will join this year’s finalists Australia and France, hosts Hungary and one wildcard nation in the inaugural Finals.

There is an $18m (£14.2m) prize fund.

Of that, $12m (£9.5m) will go to the players, and the other $6m (£4.75m) to their national associations.

Not everyone is happy with the new format, though, with former world number one and French Open champion Simona Halep saying she “won’t play any more”.

“To play home and away is the best feeling,” she said in Eastbourne this week.

“Away, you have to manage the emotions and the pressures. If the Fed Cup is going to change, I won’t play any more because I like the format that it is now. I love it actually. So if there is a change, it will be tough to play.”

Under the current format, the champions need to negotiate three home or away ties. From next year, they will play no more than one.

David Haggerty, the president of the International Tennis Federation which runs the competition, argues the new format remains true to the original.

“The launch of the Fed Cup by BNP Paribas Finals will create a festival of tennis that elevates this flagship women’s team competition to a new level, yet remains loyal to the historic core of the Fed Cup,” he said.

Great Britain will contest a five-match qualifying tie at the end of the first week of February, having secured promotion to the World Group by beating Kazakhstan in London in April.

Potential opponents then include Japan, Romania, the United States, Germany, Spain and the Czech Republic.

If Anne Keothavong’s side are successful, they will feature in the Finals at the Laszlo Papp Budapest Sports Arena from 14-19 April.

The multi-purpose indoor complex, which is named after Hungary’s triple Olympic boxing gold medallist, will stage the Finals until 2022.

Ties will consist of two singles matches, and one doubles. There will be four groups of three teams, with the winners of each group progressing to the semi-finals.

The WTA were keen for the Finals to be played on clay, as the event is sandwiched between two important clay court events in Charleston and Stuttgart.

The Fed Cup, which was founded in 1963, is the largest annual international team competition in women’s sport.

The Davis Cup – the men’s equivalent team competition – has already undergone significant reform.

A $3bn (£2.4bn) 25-year partnership has been agreed with Kosmos, the investment group founded by the Barcelona defender Gerard Pique.

This November, 18 teams will compete for the title and $20m (£15.8m) of prize money in the inaugural finals in Madrid.

There will be some eye watering sums on offer for the women, too. Each team will share $500,000 just for making it to the Finals, with the winning team dividing $3.2m (£2.5m) between the players.

The ITF is also promising an additional $4.9m (£3.9m) for nations competing below the elite level of the competition.

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Aussie Harris, Without Tour-Level Experience, Could Play At Wimbledon

  • Posted: Jun 27, 2019

Aussie Harris, Without Tour-Level Experience, Could Play At Wimbledon

#NextGenATP Popyrin, Moutet, Ymer also advance

Aussie Andrew Harris has never played in a tour-level match, but come Monday, he might be playing at The Championships. The 25-year-old reached the final round of Wimbledon qualifying on Wednesday, beating 17th seed Sergiy Stakhovsky 3-6, 6-3, 6-3.

Stakhovsky famously upset Roger Federer in the second round of the grass-court Grand Slam in 2013. Harris, however, has his own compelling background story. The Melbourne native reached No. 6 in the world as a junior and won the 2012 Roland Garros and Wimbledon junior boys’ doubles titles with countryman Nick Kyrgios.

Harris ended his junior career after winning the Wimbledon title and then played collegiate tennis at the University of Oklahoma under coach John Roddick, brother of former No. 1 Andy Roddick. The Aussie helped the Sooners reach the 2016 National Collegiate Athletic Association final, falling to the University of Virginia Cavaliers.

You May Also Like: Wimbledon: When Is The Draw & More

Harris will next meet top seed Corentin Moutet, who made the third round at Roland Garros. The #NextGenATP Frenchman routed American Tim Smyczek 6-1, 6-3.

Attila Balazs, 30, is one match away from playing in his first tour-level grass-court event. The Hungarian was down 2-6, 1-5 and saved two match points from 4-5 in the second set to beat Illya Marchenko 2-6, 7-6(5), 6-3. Balazs retired in August 2014 and started coaching tennis, but he felt like it was too soon to be on the other side of the net.

Read More: Five Years After Retiring, Balazs Reaches Budapest QF

It was just too boring,” Balazs said in April, when he reached the Hungarian Open quarter-finals. “I said that I’m too young for coaching and felt the motivation in myself to make a comeback. I felt that I had nothing to lose and obviously now I’m very happy with the decision.”

He has put the hip injury that made him miss seven months last year behind him as well. Balazs will next meet Spain’s Marcel Granollers.

In other action, American Noah Rubin, 2014 Wimbledon boys’ singles champion, beat Ecuador’s Roberto Quiroz 4-6, 6-1, 6-2 and will next play German Yannick Hanfmann. #NextGenATP Swede Mikael Ymer knocked out fan favourite Dustin Brown of Germany 7-6(5), 6-2.

Brown upset Rafael Nadal in the 2015 Wimbledon second round and, just two weeks ago, beat No. 5 Alexander Zverev at the MercedesCup in Stuttgart. Ymer, who qualified and won his first Grand Slam match at Roland Garros, will meet Austrian Dennis Novak for a place in the main draw.

Read Feature: Brown Reflects On Zverev Upset In Stuttgart

#NextGenATP Aussie Alexei Popyrin, the fourth seed, will face American Bjorn Fratangelo in the final round as the 19-year-old seeks his Wimbledon main draw debut. The 6’5” Popyrin, who cracked the Top 100 of the ATP Rankings on Monday, beat 27-year-old Mats Moraing of Germany 6-1, 3-6, 6-1.

Fratangelo, who played in the main draw in 2016, reached the third round by edging France’s Quentin Halys 3-6, 6-2, 13-11.

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