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Coco Gauff wins in Washington Open qualifying on return after Wimbledon

  • Posted: Jul 27, 2019

American teenage sensation Coco Gauff returned to court for the first time since her memorable Wimbledon run with a win in Washington Open qualifying.

The 15-year-old, who beat Venus Williams on her way to the last 16 at the All England Club, won 6-4 6-2 against fellow American Maegan Manasse.

Gauff will next play either eighth seed Hiroko Kuwata of Japan or fellow American Maria Sanchez.

Another win will see Gauff reach the third main draw of her career.

Although now ranked 143rd in the world after her Wimbledon exploits, she was unsure whether she would even get into Washington qualifying because she had to use her pre-Wimbledon ranking of 313th to gain entry.

Gauff was the youngest woman to reach the second week of Wimbledon since Jennifer Capriati in 1991.

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British Open Wheelchair Tennis Championships: Alfie Hewett, Gordon Reid & Jordanne Whiley lose

  • Posted: Jul 27, 2019

Home pair Alfie Hewett and Gordon Reid lost in the men’s doubles final at the British Open Wheelchair Tennis Championships, while Jordanne Whiley also suffered defeat in the women’s.

Hewett and Reid lost 6-7 (5-7) 6-1 7-5 to fourth seeds Gustavo Fernandez and Shingo Kunieda in Nottingham.

Britain’s Whiley and her Japanese partner Yui Kamiji lost to Aniek van Koot and Diede de Groot in their final.

The Dutch duo battled to a 7-6 (7-4) 6-4 victory.

Britain’s Andy Lapthorne plays Niels Vink of the Netherlands in the quad singles final on Sunday.

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Stebe On Injury Comeback: 'I Felt Like Someone Has A Voodoo Doll Of Myself'

  • Posted: Jul 27, 2019

Stebe On Injury Comeback: ‘I Felt Like Someone Has A Voodoo Doll Of Myself’

German is into the Gstaad final, his first on the ATP Tour

Hip impingement surgery. Lower back ailment. Pubic bone inflammation. Pelvic surgery to insert netting. Stress fracture of the pubic bone. Three separate right wrist surgeries in a 12-month span.

Cedrik-Marcel Stebe is only 28, yet he has been through more injuries over the past six years than most people would like to in a lifetime. Nevertheless, the German has persevered. Despite entering the J. Safra Sarasin Swiss Open Gstaad without a tour-level match win since September 2017, Stebe has battled through three consecutive three-setters to reach his first ATP Tour final.

“It’s unreal, to be honest. I just came here trying to win one match, maybe,” Stebe told “I’d never think I would get this far in this tournament, especially in altitude.”

Stebe showed promise at a young age, reaching a career-high ATP Ranking of No. 71 in February 2012. But he’d miss the end of 2013, all of 2014, and almost the entirety of 2015 due to injury. At the time, the German wondered if he would ever play professional tennis again.

But Stebe never stopped believing, grinding away until he reentered the Top 100 in September 2017 after qualifying for that year’s US Open and winning a round in the main draw. The lefty earned three ATP Challenger Tour titles that year, ascending as high as No. 76. But again, the injury bug struck in early 2018.


“Sometimes I felt like someone has a voodoo doll of myself and was playing around with it and randomly sticking needles into my body parts somewhere. It always felt like I was trying to come back and feeling almost okay, and then something came around again and I had to do surgery again,” Stebe said. “It just feels like some bigger force doesn’t want me to play tennis anymore. But I kept trying and trying and here I am, finally, and I’m playing some good tennis again.”

Life wasn’t easy for Stebe during his most recent bout with injury, as he underwent right wrist surgeries in February and July of 2018, before undergoing another surgery this February due to a torn ECU tendon. He had come all the way back and reestablished himself on the ATP Tour, only to be knocked back onto the shelf.

“To be out for about one and a half years after coming back from injuries that took me out for two and a half years, it wasn’t easy. I knew how to handle it somehow, but mentally, sometimes, I went crazy,” Steve said. “I just had to find other things I could focus on, meet some friends, visit friends that are living far away.

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“I tried to not think about any tennis at all. I also didn’t check any results, because that would make me go even crazier. Seeing people climbing up the [ATP] Rankings and I had to stay home and not play at all, that would have been crazy.”

Stebe returned to action this April in Marrakech, playing 10 matches at all levels before this week’s ATP 250 event in Gstaad. The German’s only two victories came at a Futures tournament. That makes his run in Switzerland even more impressive. And on Saturday, Stebe did double-duty, winning a three-set quarter-final and semi-final in the same day.

“It’s been tough, to be honest, the past couple of months,” Stebe said. “Winning some good matches and also some tight matches gives me confidence and that’s exactly what I need at the moment. It’s just unreal to come through here today, two matches, each three sets.”

Lowest-Ranked ATP Tour Finalists Since 1985

 Player  Year/Tournament  Ranking
 Raemon Sluiter  2009 ‘s-Hertogenbosch  No. 866
 Pat Cash  1990 Seoul  No. 590
 Kevin Ullyett  1999 Nottingham  No. 574
 Lleyton Hewitt  1998 Adelaide  No. 550
 Peter Wessels  2007 ‘s-Hertogenbosch  No. 488
 Nick Brown  1989 Bristol  No. 467
 Cedrik-Marcel Stebe  2019 Gstaad  No. 455

The World No. 455 is the seventh lowest-ranked ATP Tour finalist on record (since 1985), and he can become the second lowest-ranked tour-level titlist if he defeats Spaniard Albert Ramos-Vinolas on Sunday in their first FedEx ATP Head2Head meeting. The only time they’ve played one another came 10 years ago at a Futures event.

“Body-wise, it was of course tough today. I just need to continue focussing on the match tomorrow because the tournament isn’t over yet,” Stebe said. “That’s the most important thing, that I try to stay focussed and don’t be too satisfied with the wins today. I just have to give everything tomorrow and hopefully win the title.”

Stebe was delightfully surprised with his form when he arrived in Gstaad. Last week, he competed at sea-level in Umag, where he lost in the first round against Czech Jiri Vesely. After beating eighth seed Corentin Moutet in the first round here, he avenged that Vesely defeat in three sets and has not looked back.

You May Also Like: Ramos-Vinolas Ousts Former Champion Andujar In Gstaad

“My tennis has been pretty good this week. Since the first day I came here, I remember I arrived in the evening… I kind of felt the ball immediately even though I came from sea-level in Umag. It was strange from the beginning when I felt the ball very good and didn’t miss many balls,” Stebe said. “My coach also said it was looking very good. I don’t want to say it was supposed to be like this now, but I was feeling very well from the start of the week.“

Stebe knows that he hasn’t had the easiest time as a professional tennis player. Far from it. But he also believes that people who watch him persevere can learn from what he’s gone through, not just in tennis, but in life.

“To never give up. What I’ve been through is maybe unique. I don’t know many people who suffered the injuries I had and ever came back playing at a world-class level,” Stebe said. “In my opinion, people shouldn’t give up early. They have the chance to play, keep trying, working hard and eventually it will pay off.”

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Tsitsipas/Kyrgios To Face Top Seeds In Washington Doubles

  • Posted: Jul 27, 2019

Murrays, Tsitsipas/Kyrgios Face Early Tests In Washington Doubles

Wimbledon champions Cabal/Farah are the top seeds

Stefanos Tsitsipas and Nick Kyrgios will share a court on the ATP Tour for the first time in Citi Open doubles action next week, where they will meet top seeds and Wimbledon champions Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah in a loaded draw at the ATP 500 event.

The talented duo, which owns a combined eight tour-level singles trophies, will aim to end Cabal and Farah’s 10-match tour-level winning streak in the American capital. In their two most recent appearances, Cabal and Farah lifted back-to-back trophies on grass at the Nature Valley International and Wimbledon to rise to No. 1 in the ATP Doubles Rankings.

The winner of that encounter will face wild cards Leander Paes and Jack Sock or Aussie duo Alex de Minaur and John Peers in the quarter-finals. Peers lifted the trophy in 2017 alongside Henri Kontinen.

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In the second quarter of the draw, four-time champions Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan will open their campaign for a fifth title against Treat Huey and Denis Kudla. The winning pair will meet 2014 champions Jean-Julien Rojer and Horia Tecau or Mate Pavic and 2018 titlist Bruno Soares in the last eight.

Bruno Soares’ partner en route to the 2018 trophy, Jamie Murray, appears in Washington with a familiar partner. The 23-time tour-level champion is joined by his brother, Andy Murray, for the first time since September 2016.

The Murray brothers open their campaign for a third team title against Wimbledon finalists Nicolas Mahut and Edouard Roger-Vasselin. Andy and Jamie own two ATP Tour doubles crowns as a pairing, following title runs at 2010 Valencia and 2011 Tokyo. Roland Garros champions Kevin Krawietz and Andreas Mies also feature in the third quarter, where they will face 2018 Nitto ATP Finals qualifiers Raven Klaasen and Michael Venus.

The fourth quarter is headlined by two teams battling for a place at this year’s showpiece event at The O2 in London. Lukasz Kubot and Marcelo Melo, currently third in the ATP Doubles Race To London, will meet ninth-placed Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury. Potential second-round opponents Nikola Mektic and Franko Skugor, who lifted the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters title in April, will meet the winning pairing from qualifying in their opening match.

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Rublev Battles Back For First ATP 500 Final in Hamburg

  • Posted: Jul 27, 2019

Rublev Battles Back For First ATP 500 Final in Hamburg

Russian to face defending champ Basilashvili for the title

Andrey Rublev began his week in Hamburg having made just one ATP Tour quarter-final this season. And on Saturday, the 2017-18 Next Gen ATP Finals qualifier was on the brink of elimination when he trailed Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta 4-6, 2-4.

But the Russian battled back to defeat Carreno Busta 4-6, 7-5, 6-1, advancing to the Hamburg European Open final.

It was the second incredible comeback of the day in Hamburg, as Nikoloz Basilashvili, Rublev’s opponent in the championship match, saved two match points en route to ousting reigning Next Gen ATP Finals champion Alexander Zverev. Rublev did not need to save a match point, but he won 11 of the match’s final 13 games to triumph after one hour and 52 minutes.

This will be Rublev’s first ATP Tour final since 2018 Doha, which came in the first week of last season. The Russian won his maiden tour-level trophy two years ago in Umag as a lucky loser.

Rublev, who climbed as high as No. 31 in the ATP Rankings last February, has struggled with injuries over the past year and a half. He missed three months last season due to a lower back stress fracture, and he was out for six weeks this year due to a wrist injury.

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It seemed Carreno Busta, who was pursuing his first final since triumphing in Estoril two years ago, was too solid from the baseline for the powerful Rublev. But the 21-year-old began to find his range, frustrating the Spaniard. And once the World No. 78 got into a rhythm, he rode his momentum to the finish line.

Rublev crushed an inside-out forehand winner to finish the match, turning around to his team and pumping his fist in celebration. The Russian struck 11 aces and broke Carreno Busta’s serve five times.

Basilashvili won his only previous FedEx ATP Head2Head match against Rublev, emerging victorious in straight sets in Doha earlier this year. Rublev will try to lift his first ATP 500 trophy when he battles the defending champion.

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Hamburg Open: Alexander Zverev loses to Nikoloz Basilashvili

  • Posted: Jul 27, 2019

Home favourite Alexander Zverev missed out on his first Hamburg Open final as defending champion Nikoloz Basilashvili fought back from facing two match points to edge an epic semi-final.

Georgian fourth seed Basilashvili recovered to win 6-4 4-6 7-6 (7-5) in three hours and seven minutes.

Basilashvili, 27, will face either Russian Andrey Rublev or Spain’s Pablo Carreno Busta in Sunday’s final.

Hamburg-born Zverev led 5-3 in the decider but could not take his chances.

The world number five, whose split with coach Ivan Lendl was announced by the eight-time Grand Slam winner before Friday’s quarter-final win against Serbia’s Filip Krajinovic, was aiming to reach his third final in 2019.

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Basilashvili Saves 2 M.P., Stuns Zverev In Hamburg

  • Posted: Jul 27, 2019

Basilashvili Saves 2 M.P., Stuns Zverev In Hamburg

Defending champ will compete for his third ATP Tour title on Sunday

Reigning Nitto ATP Finals champion Alexander Zverev was able to battle from the brink of defeat in his quarter-final on Friday against Filip Krajinovic. But the German was on the opposite end of a Harry Houdini act on Saturday against defending champion Nikoloz Basilashvili.

The Georgian saved two match points at 3-5 in the third set en route to a 6-4, 4-6, 7-6(5) victory against the second seed. Basilashvili, who captured his first ATP Tour title in Hamburg last year as a qualifier ranked World No. 81, is now just one victory from retaining his trophy at the ATP 500 tournament.

“I don’t think I was calm. I was really emotional inside. Maybe I didn’t show that much,” Basilashvili said. “I was serving really, really bad in the third set, so that got me very emotional and I got very tight also in the third set. But in general, how I managed to come back from 2/5 in the tie-break was something that I give credit to myself. It doesn’t happen with my tennis that often, so I’m really happy. “

He needed every sliver of mental fortitude he could find in what was a roller coaster battle against the World No. 5. Basilashvili led by a break early in both the second and third sets, but relinquished those leads on both occasions as Zverev locked down defensively, allowing the World No. 16 to make more unforced errors.

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Just as it appeared Zverev would complete his comeback when he had a 5-3 lead in the third set, Basilashvili found some of his best tennis. He saved two match points — first with an inside-out forehand winner and then when he sprinted to the net to swat away a forehand volley — on his own serve before breaking back, ultimately leading to a final-set tie-break.

Despite trailing 2/5 in the tie-break, Basilashvili once again rose to the occasion, going for his shots and landing. On his first match point, the Georgian fired an inside-in forehand that forced Zverev to hit a forehand slice into the net, completing his triumph after three hours and eight minutes.

“In the tie-break, I was really concentrated on the ball and just how to play tennis, how just to play the game,” Basilashvili said. “But inside I think Sascha was also very tight and emotional, and me also because it is one or two points that decide the match.”

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Throughout nearly the entire match, the rallies were on Basilashvili’s racquet, as the Georgian took his typical big cuts at the ball to push Zverev back. That aggression paid dividends as he took the lead. But when he broke early in the second and third sets, unforced errors trickled into his game, allowing Zverev to buckle down defensively and put more pressure on the Georgian.

Even after the disappointment of losing the second set, Basilashvili remained calm and broke for a 3-1 lead in the decider after crushing a forehand winner. But Zverev raised his level to break back with a laser-like backhand pass down the line. He broke in Basilashvili’s next service game, too, that time hitting a backhand winner down the line on a second-serve return.

But the German was unable to complete the victory to advance to his first Hamburg final. Instead, Basilashvili will face Russian Andrey Rublev in the championship match. He owns a 1-0 FedEx ATP Head2Head series lead against Rublev, defeating the 21-year-old this year in Doha in straight sets.

“My mind was calm pretty much,” Zverev said. “I came back yesterday so I knew I could do it again today, and I was close to it… I guess it was a nice atmosphere and it was good for the crowd, but now he is in the final and I lost. So it’s not the nicest feeling in the world.”

Did You Know?
Basilashvili saved 16 of the 20 break points he faced, while converting four of the eight opportunities he had to break Zverev’s serve.

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Ramos-Vinolas Ousts Former Champion Andujar In Gstaad

  • Posted: Jul 27, 2019

Ramos-Vinolas Ousts Former Champion Andujar In Gstaad

Sousa and Stebe seeking second spot in the final

Spaniard Albert Ramos-Vinolas reached his first ATP Tour semi-final of the season last week in Båstad. And this week, he has played even better, advancing to the final of the J. Safra Sarasin Swiss Open Gstaad on Saturday with a 7-6(3), 6-4 victory against 2014 champion Pablo Andujar.

Ramos-Vinolas has won all eight of his sets this week, defeating three of the ATP 250 tournament’s seeds. Entering the semi-finals, the lefty had only emerged victorious in one of seven previous FedEx ATP Head2Head meetings against Andujar, but Ramos-Vinolas claimed 43 per cent of his first-serve return points en route to victory in one hour and 54 minutes.

The 31-year-old is into his first tour-level final since Quito last year. Ramos-Vinolas has made six championship matches, with his lone ATP Tour title coming at Båstad in 2016.

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The former World No. 17 was broken first in the match, giving Andujar a 5-3 lead after Ramos-Vinolas couldn’t stave off a sixth break point of the game. But he broke back immediately, and stormed to a 4/0 lead in the first-set tie-break, never looking back from there. There was a rain delay with two points remaining in the match, but Ramos-Vinolas won two points upon the resumption to go through.

Ramos-Vinolas will face Portugual’s Joao Sousa or German Cedrik-Marcel Stebe in the final. Sousa and Stebe were knotted at 1-1 in the opening set, with Sousa facing two break points at 15/40, when rain suspended play.

Earlier in the day, Stebe defeated Italian Thomas Fabbiano in the final quarter-final. Prior to this week, Stebe had not won a tour-level match since September 2017 in Davis Cup against Sousa.

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Jamie Murray column: Playing with brother Andy, preparing for the hard court season and enjoying sunny Scotland

  • Posted: Jul 27, 2019

In his latest BBC Sport column, Jamie Murray discusses his upcoming partnership with brother Andy in Washington, the hard-court season in the US and his recent holiday back home in Scotland.

My brother Andy and I will be teaming up in the doubles at the Citi Open in Washington next week and I am really looking forward to it.

I couldn’t play in Washington with my partner Neal Skupski because he is playing the World Team Tennis season in the US, which is a three-week commitment after Wimbledon.

I was always looking for someone to play with in Washington so it’s great that Andy is able to do it. I had asked Andy what his plans were for the summer while he was waiting to get some of the feedback from the physical testing he had been doing for his hip. Once he got the all clear, he was able to make a plan.

It’s been a while since we last played together at the Davis Cup in 2016 and a lot of our tennis together around that time was in tournaments like the Davis Cup and the Olympics, so I can’t remember the last time we played together in a normal tournament.

We practised together on Wednesday and we will do more when we get out to Washington – we’ll have a few days in which we can prepare and get ready for the tournament.

During practice, we tend to go through a few strategies and positioning, mainly for Andy’s benefit because he’s not as used to playing doubles. Recently, he’s obviously become more committed to it and he’s a great player who reads the game so well, so I have to just let him be him and play the game that he knows best.

We complement each other well on the court. His return is amazing and that can give me a lot of action up at the net, and when I’m there I can also help him out on his serve.

We know each other’s games and I guess, because we are brothers, we are able to communicate that bit better and have more honesty than other partnerships. At the end of the day, partners can fall out but the difference with us being brothers is that we will always make up, so it makes it a lot easier.

That’s probably the reason the Bryan brothers, who have won 16 Grand Slam titles together, have been so successful over the years, because of that family bond and the natural communication they are able to have.

It’s all fun, I’m really looking forward to it and hopefully we can have a good week there.

‘Neal and I will be successful’ – preparing for the US

I’m really looking forward to the hard-court season starting in the US. I always like this season and I feel like I’ve played good tennis in the last few years.

There are a lot of big tournaments; the Washington doubles field is probably the toughest of the whole year. It’s like a mini ATP Finals in terms of the field because the best 8-10 teams compete plus a few others.

You’ve then got the two Masters tournaments in Montreal and Cincinnati and then it’s all preparation for the US Open, which starts at the end of August.

Once Neal and I hook up in Montreal, it will be full steam ahead for us. It has been a bit stop-start so far but I’m looking forward to getting back on court with him.

Wimbledon was obviously a big disappointment for us when we lost in the first round but I don’t doubt that we will be a successful team, but whether that is in the immediate future or the long term, I’m not sure.

‘It was nice to put the racquets away’ – on taking a break

After Wimbledon, I went up to the west coast of Scotland for five days with my wife Alejandra. We flew to Glasgow and then hired a car to drive up to Oban, Glencoe, then up to Skye and the Outer Hebrides, which was amazing. The scenery was incredible and while there was a lot of driving, we crammed a lot in.

It was good to get away. It was disappointing how Wimbledon finished for me and the first half of the year has been pretty intense, so it was nice to put the racquets away for a while and get away from tennis, and just enjoy a bit of Scotland.

It was nice to spend some quality time with my wife because she works full-time in communications and marketing and so doesn’t travel with me that much. She maybe comes to four or five tournaments a year. I always find that for players’ partners, it’s not that exciting because it’s a lot of hanging around while we train and prepare.

We went back to Dunblane for about a day and a half so it was nice to see some of the family. It’s always good to get home because I don’t get much opportunity to do so during the year.

Jamie Murray was speaking to BBC Sport’s Katie Falkingham

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Read & Watch: 'Rafa, This Is My Place!' Moya Recalls Funny Moment From First Match v. Nadal

  • Posted: Jul 27, 2019

Read & Watch: ‘Rafa, This Is My Place!’ Moya Recalls Funny Moment From First Match v. Nadal

Spaniards faced off 16 years ago in Hamburg

Carlos Moya works closely with Rafael Nadal these days as one of his coaches, hoping to guide the World No. 2 to more big titles. But at the 2003 Hamburg European Open, the pair were on opposite sides of the net for their first FedEx ATP Head2Head meeting.

A 16-year-old Nadal stunned then-World No. 4 Moya 7-5, 6-4 in their second-round clash. Nadal went on to lead their FedEx ATP Head2Head rivalry 6-2, but their Hamburg clash set the stage for what would become one of the greatest careers in ATP Tour history.

“At that time, I was considered the favourite because I was Top 5 in the [ATP Rankings],” recalled Moya in a video posted by Nadal’s academy in Mallorca. “But he was already someone to look out for and we got a glimpse of what his game would become later.”

Moya had established himself as one of the greatest clay-court players of his generation, winning the 1998 Roland Garros title and reaching No. 1 in the ATP Rankings the following year. Meanwhile. Nadal was competing in only his fifth ATP main draw. But despite his inexperience, the teenager already scored a win the previous month over then-reigning Roland Garros champion Alberta Costa at the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters.

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Because many signified the match as a potential changing of the guard in Spanish tennis, Moya felt the attention left both men unable to play their best. An ominous start when they walked on court did little to calm Moya’s nerves.

“In those times, they put the player’s name on the bench. He entered first and went to sit on my bench. He obviously didn’t notice, so I said ‘Rafa, this is my place. You have to go to yours,’” laughed Moya. “It wasn’t the only thing he took from me that day!”

But even as a teenager, Nadal’s humble nature was fully intact. After he scored his first Top 5 win, he apologised to Moya at the net.

“When he beat me, he was very shy. He said, ‘I’m sorry I won’ and I said, ‘No worries’” said Moya. “I understood that it was the first of many times he would win and I knew he was going to be a great player. He’s fulfilled all that he promised at the time.”

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