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Coco Gauff reaches Citi Open main draw in Washington

  • Posted: Jul 28, 2019

American teenage sensation Coco Gauff continued her stunning run by easing into the Washington Open main draw with a dominant win in final qualifying.

Gauff, 15, needed only an hour and five minutes to beat Japan’s Hiroko Kuwata in a 6-1 6-2 win.

It will be her third WTA main draw appearance after Miami and Wimbledon.

After her SW19 exploits, where she beat Venus Williams on her way to the last 16, Gauff’s qualifier was watched by a near sell-out crowd in the US capital.

And she received a standing ovation after clinching victory with a wonderful cross-court winner against 28-year-old Kuwata.

Now ranked 143rd in the world after her success at the All England Club, Gauff was unsure whether she would even get into Washington qualifying because she had to use her pre-Wimbledon ranking of 313th to gain entry.

The Washington Open, a combined WTA and ATP event, is one of the key warm-events on the American hard-court swing which culminates in next month’s US Open.

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

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Vliegen/Gille Can't Be Beaten In Gstaad, Win Second Title In A Row

  • Posted: Jul 28, 2019

Vliegen/Gille Can’t Be Beaten In Gstaad, Win Second Title In A Row

Belgian pairing has won eight consecutive matches

Fourth seeds Sander Gille/Joran Vliegen hadn’t reached an ATP Tour final before July. Now they’re two-time champions.

The Belgian duo won back-to-back ATP Tour titles on Sunday, upsetting top seeds Philipp Oswald/Filip Polasek 6-4, 6-3 to win the J. Safra Sarasin Swiss Open Gstaad. Gille/Vliegen won the Swedish Open doubles title, another ATP 250 clay-court event, last week in Bastad.

“To be here for the second time in a row, it’s just unreal. We’ve been playing really good, and we kept it up this week,” Gille said.

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Gille/Vliegen didn’t face a break point and converted three of their eight chances against the Austrian/Slovakian pairing, who were playing as a team for the first time at tour-level.

“We both started off quite well, and they had maybe a bad service game. So we took the break in the first set, and after that we just kept pushing and we kept the energy high,” Vliegen said.

Before Bastad, their best showing at tour-level had been the semi-finals at the inaugural Cordoba Open in February.

The team will receive 250 ATP Doubles Rankings points and split €29,650 in prize money. Oswald/Polasek will receive 150 ATP Doubles Rankings points and share €15,200 in prize money.

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Ramos-Vinolas Relentless To Win Second Title In Gstaad

  • Posted: Jul 28, 2019

Ramos-Vinolas Relentless To Win Second Title In Gstaad

Spaniard improves to 2-6 in ATP Tour title matches

Too steady. Too persistent. Too experienced.

Spaniard Albert Ramos-Vinolas was all of the above on Sunday against Germany’s Cedrik-Marcel Stebe to win his second ATP Tour title 6-3, 6-2 at the J. Safra Sarasin Swiss Open Gstaad.

The 2017 Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters finalist tracked down everything and was more than happy to stay in rallies with Stebe, who was playing in his first ATP Tour final after winning two matches on Saturday because of earlier rain.

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The two had to wait about four and a half hours to take the court for the final because of more rain, and Stebe broke to start. The German, No. 455 in the ATP Rankings, was looking to become the second lowest-ranked tour-level titlist.

But Ramos-Vinolas quickly settled down, breaking twice in the opener, including for 4-2 when Stebe sailed a forehand wide to finish an 11-point game.

The 31-year-old Spaniard broke twice more in the second set, including in the opening game when he tracked down a drop shot and delivered a backhand winner on the slide. Ramos-Vinolas didn’t drop a set all tournament.

“The conditions were tough today. Albert was rock solid as he was all week. He deserves to win,” Stebe said. “It was an amazing week for me here in Gstaad, I played very good tennis. Of course, it wasn’t easy to play two matches yesterday. I gave everything today, but it wasn’t enough. That’s tennis.”

Stebe, who used a protected ranking to enter the tournament, will receive 150 ATP Rankings points and €48,870 in prize money. Ramos-Vinolas, who reached a career-high ATP Ranking of No. 17 in May 2017, improved to 2-6 in ATP Tour finals and will receive 250 ATP Rankings points and €90,390 in prize money.

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Lapthorne loses British Open Wheelchair final to Dutch teen Vink

  • Posted: Jul 28, 2019

Home hope Andy Lapthorne’s wait for quad singles success at the British Open Wheelchair Tennis Championships continues after he lost to 16-year-old Dutchman Niels Vink in the final.

Lapthorne was beaten 7-5 3-6 6-2 in a hard-fought contest in Nottingham.

The 28-year-old has lost five of the past six finals at the LTA event.

Despite this defeat, Lapthorne has enjoyed an excellent summer on home soil having won the Wimbledon doubles and reached the singles final.

Lapthorne was beaten in straight sets by Australia’s Dylan Alcott in the first quad wheelchair singles final at the All England Club, the day after the pair combined to win the quad doubles title.

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Melzer/Marach Capture Maiden Team Trophy In Hamburg

  • Posted: Jul 28, 2019

Melzer/Marach Capture Maiden Team Trophy In Hamburg

Austrians did not drop a set at the ATP 500 event

After failing to convert two championship points to lift their maiden ATP Tour team title at the Plava Laguna Croatia Open Umag last week, Oliver Marach and Jurgen Melzer needed just eight days to go one step further at the Hamburg European Open on Sunday.

The Austrian tandem defeated Robin Haase and Wesley Koolhof 6-2, 7-6(3) to take the trophy after 84 minutes, saving both break points faced en route to victory. Marach and Pavic improve to 15-9 at tour-level as a team, dating back to their first appearance together in 2011.

“I think we can be very happy with our performances this week,” said Melzer. “We have played good tennis, especially when it mattered. It is never easy to come back after a tough loss the week before in a final. To not lose a set the week after and win an ATP 500, I am very happy about that.”

Marach has now captured the Hamburg crown on two occasions from three final appearances, following his 2011 title run (w/Peya) and a runner-up finish last year (w/Pavic). Melzer adds to 2019 trophies in Marrakech (w/Skugor) and Sofia (w/Mektic).

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Marach has now won 23 titles from 50 tour-level championship matches. Melzer adds a 16th tour-level doubles trophy to his collection.

“Hopefully we can take our run with us now [to Kitzbuhel]… We will have already, on Tuesday or Wednesday, our next match. We will rest tomorrow a little bit and then start the tournament,” said Marach.

Haase and Koolhof were bidding to capture their first ATP Tour title in only their third event as a team. At the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters in April, the Dutch duo also finished as the runner-up pairing (l. to Mektic/Skugor).

Marach and Melzer earn 500 ATP Doubles Ranking points and share €111,490. Haase and Koolhof gain 300 points and split €54,570.

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Basilashvili emulates Federer with Hamburg Open defence

  • Posted: Jul 28, 2019

Georgian world number 16 Nikoloz Basilashvili became the first player to defend the Hamburg Open title since Roger Federer in 2005 with a three-set win over Russian Andrey Rublev.

Basilashvili, 27, hit 26 forehand winners in a 7-5 4-6 6-3 victory.

Rublev’s serve came under pressure in the first and third sets, Basilashvili converting four of 15 break points.

Despite victory, Basilashvili has lost ranking points as he won last year’s event after going through qualifying.

Basilashvili went on to secure the title at the ATP Tour 500 clay-court event after saving two match points in his semi-final against Hamburg-born world number five Alexander Zverev.

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Basilashvili Claims Second Straight Hamburg Crown

  • Posted: Jul 28, 2019

Basilashvili Claims Second Straight Hamburg Crown

Georgian extends Hamburg main-draw win streak to 10 matches

Nikoloz Basilashvili arrived at last year’s Hamburg European Open at No. 81 in the ATP Rankings with a place in the qualifying draw.

On Sunday, the Georgian lifted his second straight trophy at the ATP 500 event with a 7-5, 4-6, 6-3 victory against Andrey Rublev. Basilashvili hit 26 forehand winners to claim his 12th straight win in Hamburg, which includes 10 main-draw victories. He improved to 2-0 in his FedEx ATP Head2Head series against the 21-year-old.

“When you have achievements, people want more and expect more,” said Basilashvili. “Everybody is writing to me, everybody is happy. I have a lot of support from home and it is a great feeling.”

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The fourth seed has now lifted three tour-level trophies, with each title run coming at the ATP 500-level. Basilashvili also triumphed at last year’s China Open, defeating Juan Martin del Potro in the championship match. The World No. 16 is the first player since Roger Federer in 2005 to claim back-to-back Hamburg crowns.

“It looks like I am playing my best tennis here… Just to see my name next to [Roger and Andrei Medvedev who also defended titles here] means a lot to me,” said Basilashvili.

The 27-year-old, who owns 20 victories from 36 tour-level clashes this season, was forced to save two match points in his semi-final meeting against Alexander Zverev. Basilashvili trailed 3-5 in the deciding set before claiming his second Top 5 win (2-6) after three hours and eight minutes.

“I was really happy how I stayed mentally stable in both matches and did not give up,” said Basilashvili.

Rublev made a quick start to his first ATP 500 final, breaking his opponent in the third game after an extended forehand battle. The Russian changed direction well to find Basilashvili’s backhand corner with pace and precision to take the lead.

But three games later, Basilashvili settled into the match. The Georgian found his range on his forehand to dictate rallies, before firing a forehand winner up the line on his fifth break point. With Rublev serving to stay in the set at 5-6, Basilashvili punished his opponent with a series of aggressive returns to take the set after 55 minutes.

Once again, it was Rublev who broke first in the second set. The Russian stepped up the court to take time away from his opponent and move into a 4-3 lead. After just over 90 minutes, Rublev captured the second set as Basilashvili committed back-to-back forehand errors.

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Basilashvili continued to dictate points with varied success at the start of the decider, with both men trading service breaks in the opening three games. But Basilashvili trusted his strategy, moving in behind his return to earn a second straight break and a 3-1 advantage. The Georgian maintained his advantage, holding serve to love to clinch the title as Rublev’s backhand floated beyond the baseline.

“I really like playing on the Centre Court here, I see the ball very well… I played my best tennis here and I will come back next year, for sure,” said Basilashvili.

Rublev was aiming to lift his second ATP Tour title, following his maiden triumph as a lucky loser at 2017 Umag. The Russian defeated top seed Dominic Thiem to earn his first Top 5 win en route to the championship match.

“It was a good week for me. For the moment, my best week,” said Rublev. “Of course, it is always disappointing to lose in a final, but Nikoloz was playing really well and he deserves it. To win two years in a row here is amazing. It is really hard. It is really tough mentally and he did it. It is unbelievable.”

Basilashvili receives 500 ATP Ranking points and collects €354,845 in prize money. Rublev gains 300 ATP Ranking points and receives €178,220.

Did You Know?
Basilashvili is the first seeded player to lift the Hamburg trophy since Martin Klizan in 2016. Lucky loser Leonardo Mayer won the title in 2017, while Basilashvili was a qualifier when earned his maiden crown last year.

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Cameron Norrie: British number two loses Atlanta Open semi-final to Taylor Fritz

  • Posted: Jul 28, 2019

British number two Cameron Norrie has narrowly missed out on a place in the final of the Atlanta Open for the second year in a row.

The world number 54 lost 1-6 6-3 3-6 to American Taylor Fritz in the last four, the same stage he reached last year.

Fritz broke twice to take the first set in 25 minutes, but Norrie, 23, managed to win the second to level the match.

The Eastbourne champion broke again in the sixth game of the third and secured victory with his second match point.

Fritz, the world number 32, will play Australian Alex de Minaur in Sunday’s final.

“To get to two finals in a month really shows that my level has gone up and that the first time wasn’t a fluke,” said Fritz, “I know I’m improving, so it feels really good.”

Norrie lost to American Ryan Harrison in the semi-finals at Atlanta in 2018.

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#NextGenATP De Minaur Survives Opelka Ace Parade To Reach Atlanta Final

  • Posted: Jul 28, 2019

#NextGenATP De Minaur Survives Opelka Ace Parade To Reach Atlanta Final

Fritz to play Norrie in second semi-final

#NextGenATP Aussie Alex de Minaur and American Reilly Opelka have been dinner buddies this week at the BB&T Atlanta Open. The third seed may want to foot the bill tonight after holding off 28 aces from Opelka on Saturday to reach the final with a 7-6(4), 6-7(5), 6-3 win.

At age 20, De Minaur is the youngest finalist in tournament history. He’s through to his first ATP Tour final since winning the Sydney International in January (d. Seppi) and the fourth of his career. Although the Aussie endured a string of early exits on clay and grass while dealing with a groin injury, he’s 14-4 on hard courts this season and has looked confident since stepping back on his best surface.

“I’m really proud of where I am after suffering a tough injury. I’m back where I want to be,” said De Minaur. “I felt like I’ve been playing some great tennis, but not getting the wins that I wanted. I knew that sooner or later, I’d have a good result again.”

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There were no service breaks in the first two sets of his semi-final with Opelka. De Minaur raced through the last three points of the first-set tie-break, but Opelka hung tough in a wild second-set tie-break that saw him lose three mini-break advantages before levelling the score.

After more than two hours of play, De Minaur earned the first break of the match to lead 3-2 in the deciding set. Buoyed by snapping Opelka’s streak of 47 consecutive service holds this week, the third seed broke once more to close out the match after two hours and 29 minutes. He improved to 2-0 in his FedEx ATP Head2Head rivalry with Opelka, having defeated the American this year in Sydney.

De Minaur will play second-seeded American Taylor Fritz or Brit Cameron Norrie in the final. The Aussie has never played Norrie, but defeated Fritz last year in the Next Gen ATP Finals.

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