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Tsonga's Four Days Of Shock & Awe In Canada

  • Posted: Aug 04, 2019

Tsonga’s Four Days Of Shock & Awe In Canada

Frenchman reflects on five-year anniversary of his stunning title run at the Rogers Cup

It was four days of shock and awe.

Five years ago, at the 2014 Rogers Cup in Toronto, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga produced tennis that equaled or exceeded the best of his career. The Frenchman, then 29, claimed four Top 10 scalps over four consecutive days to win his second – and most recent – ATP Masters 1000 title.

One by one, World No. 1 Novak Djokovic, No. 9 Andy Murray, No. 8 Grigor Dimitrov and No. 3 Roger Federer fell victim to the rampaging Tsonga.

Although Tsonga returns to the ATP Masters 1000 tournament in Montreal next week rather than Toronto, memories of his dramatic run in Canada five years ago will surely give him extra confidence as he looks to continue his steady climb back up the ATP Rankings after his 2018 knee surgery.

“That was amazing for me,” Tsonga said of the title run. “All those guys have given me a hard time in my career. It was tough for me because I came along at the same time as them and they are among the best players in history. To be able to beat them in a row, at one tournament, was a good reward for me.”

Coming into the 2014 Rogers Cup, Tsonga was looking for his first title in almost 18 months (Marseille 2013). His big-tournament lead-in form had been solid – fourth-round defeats to Novak Djokovic at Roland Garros and Wimbledon – but hardly suggestive of what was to come. And it started with a bang against Djokovic, who had won their previous nine matches and 18 sets.

“The win over Djokovic was a little strange because I won 6-2, 6-2. It’s never been like that with him. The win over Andy was the most difficult for me. It was a big match with a lot of intensity that was tight in the third. I was very proud to win that because he’s such a fighter. With Roger I played the perfect final. It was amazing.”


Round Opponent Result
 Final Roger Federer 75 76(3)
 SF Grigor Dimitrov 64 63
 QF Andy Murray 76(5) 46 64
 R4 Novak Djokovic 62 62
 R3 Jeremy Chardy 76(6) 64
 R2 E. Roger-Vasselin 76(3) 61


After beginning 2019 at No. 239 in the ATP Rankings, Tsonga had worked his way back inside the Top 70 coming into this week’s Citi Open in Washington, D.C, helped in large part by winning his 17th title in Montpellier in February.

“That Tsonga's Four Days Of Shock & Awe In Canada was very emotional because it happened quickly. When I came back last September, I told myself I would give myself a lot of time to play good tennis. I was surprised how quickly it came.

“At this stage of my career the most difficult part of the comeback was to be motivated. Motivation is the main thing in tennis. You need to be 100 per cent to be at the top. When you make so many sacrifices and have had so many good results, and you know that it will take time and additional sacrifice to get back to the top, it can be difficult.

“But I was ready to make the sacrifice to get back on court and give my best.”

Heading into the Coupe Rogers, Tsonga in 2019 boasts an impressive 23-12 record, which includes a three-set win over World No. 8 Karen Khachanov in Washington.

“I’m feeling really good and just happy to be on court again playing good tennis. Hopefully that can continue through the season. I expect to reach my best level.”

When Tsonga won his first ATP Masters 1000 title in Paris in 2008, he beat three Top 10 players (Djokovic, Roddick and Nalbandian) and World No. 11 Blake.

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Evans beats Granollers to reach main Rogers Cup draw

  • Posted: Aug 04, 2019

British number two Dan Evans qualified for the main draw of the Rogers Cup in Montreal with a 6-3 6-3 victory against Spain’s Marcel Granollers.

The 29-year-old world number 51 beat the world number 103 in their only previous match in Sydney two years ago.

He wrapped up another win in an hour and 21 minutes to ensure three British players in the main draw.

Kyle Edmund faces Washington finalist Nick Kyrgios while Cameron Norrie will take on Hungary’s Marton Fucsovics.

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Joking Kyrgios entertains crowd on way to reaching Washington final

  • Posted: Aug 04, 2019

Nick Kyrgios said he is playing “one of the best tournament weeks of my life” as he produced an entertaining display to defeat top seed Stefanos Tsitsipas and reach the Washington Open final.

For a second successive match, Kyrgios asked a spectator where to serve on match point as he closed out to win 6-4 3-6 7-6 (9-7), having earlier helped to deliver new shoes to his opponent.

The 24-year-old Australian collected a bag from the stands before kneeling to present it to Tsitsipas, much to the amusement of the Greek and the crowd.

“This week has been awesome. I’ve really enjoyed myself,” said Kyrgios, who will play Russian Daniil Medvedev in Sunday’s final (22:00 BST).

“I’m just doing the right things. I’m having the same routine every day. I’m trying to improve on a lot of little habits, and it’s paying off. Five days in a row competing, I’m pretty happy with myself.”

On seeking advice from the crowd, the world number 52 added: “I feel like it’s very easy when someone just tells you where to serve. I feel like you just go all in on that spot. That’s all you’re focusing on. It’s worked two days in a row. Hopefully I get the chance to do it tomorrow.”

Kyrgios, contesting a first singles tournament since losing a fiery second round encounter to Rafael Nadal at Wimbledon, survived a second set dip which saw him slam his racquet in anger.

But, treating onlookers to between-the-legs shots and under-arm serves, he was able to see the funny side of Tsitsipas’ shoe malfunction and returned to his swashbuckling best in the third set.

“I’m pretty happy with myself the way I tried to drag it back from a dark place,” said Kyrgios – who ran to high-five the spectator after the match.

“I just left it all out there and gave myself a chance to win the match. I’m pretty happy the way I somehow just battled in and dug deep.”

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Teenager Gauff wins Washington Open doubles title alongside McNally

  • Posted: Aug 04, 2019

American teenager Coco Gauff has won her first WTA title with victory in the Washington Open women’s doubles.

The 15-year-old, whose stunning form at Wimbledon saw her reach the fourth round, won with compatriot Catherine McNally, 17.

The pair beat Hungary’s Fanny Stollar and American Maria Sanchez 6-2 6-2 in a match that lasted 65 minutes.

“I think for me, and I think for both of us, [the title] means a lot,” Gauff said.

“Obviously we want to do well in singles, but I think we just love competing in general, so whether it’s singles or doubles, we want to win no matter what.

“We get as nervous in doubles as we do in singles because we just want to make the other one proud.”

The tournament was Gauff’s first main-draw appearance since Wimbledon, where she beat Venus Williams on her way to the last 16.

Her run at SW19 made her the youngest woman to reach the second week at the All England Club since Jennifer Capriati in 1991.

She was beaten by Kazakhstan’s Zarina Diyas in straight sets in the first round of the Washington Open singles before going on to win in the doubles.

McNally reached the semi-finals of the singles before losing 7-6 (7-5) 6-2 to Italy’s Camila Giorgi.

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ATP Tour Stars Marvel At NHL Players' Skills In Montreal

  • Posted: Aug 04, 2019

ATP Tour Stars Marvel At NHL Players’ Skills In Montreal

Current and former hockey pros beat ATP players 4-2 in ball hockey

When ATP Tour players ‘lace them up’, that is usually in reference to their sneakers before a match. But on Saturday, several stars put on shin guards, hockey jerseys, and grabbed sticks to try their hand at a different sport ahead of the Coupe Rogers in Montreal.

Hubert Hurkacz, Kevin Krawietz, Oliver Marach, Jurgen Melzer, Andreas Mies, Brayden Schnur partnered with members of the Montreal Canadiennes women’s hockey team against current and former NHL players in an exciting game of ball hockey.

“It was fun. Honestly the skills they have, it’s just amazing to see what they could do with a stick and a ball. You feel very untalented next to them. It was a fun experience,” Melzer said. “It wasn’t my first time. I haven’t improved since the last time, unfortunately, but I would do it again.”

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The ATP Tour players tried their best to position themselves in front of the net in hopes of scoring on former Montreal Canadien centre Steve Begin, who was playing goalkeeper. But they could not overcome an early deficit, with the NHL stars winning the game 4-2.

“It was crazy. Those guys were amazing. It was really amazing. It was really tough because when we were close to the ball, the guys would just put their stick [and knock it away]. It wasn’t easy, but it was fun,” Hurkacz said. “It’s something different. It’s a lot of fun to do something different apart from tennis.”


Even though the game didn’t go the way of the tennis players, they all wore wide smiles across their faces throughout. Not only did they enjoy competing, but they took time to get to know players from the other team afterwards, learning about their own lives as professional athletes.

“They scored four goals very quickly, so we were happy to score two,” Melzer said. “In the end it’s not about winning, it’s about having fun.”


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Schwartzman Digs Deep To Take Los Cabos Title

  • Posted: Aug 04, 2019

Schwartzman Digs Deep To Take Los Cabos Title

Argentine defeats Fritz on Saturday

Third seed Diego Schwartzman stepped up when it counted most on Saturday at the Abierto de Tenis Mifel presentado por Cinemex in Los Cabos. The Argentine saved three set points en route to clinching his first title of the year over fifth-seeded American Taylor Fritz 7-6(6), 6-3.

Schwartzman earned the third ATP Tour title of his career and his first on hard courts. The 26-year-old’s other highlights this season include a runner-up finish in Buenos Aires (l. to Cecchinato) and his first ATP Masters 1000 semi-final at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia. Schwartzman now leads 2-1 in his FedEx ATP Head2Head rivalry with Fritz.

Despite the loss, the 21-year-old Fritz can be pleased with another strong result. He’s won 13 of his past 16 matches, including his first ATP Tour title in June at the Nature Valley International (d. Querrey) and a runner-up finish last week at the BB&T Atlanta Open (l. to De Minaur). Fritz sits at a career-high ATP Ranking of No. 28, but is projected to crack the Top 25 when the newest standings are released on Monday.

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It appeared that Fritz would dominate in the opening stages of the match. A baseline error from Schwartzman gifted the American an early break to lead 3-1 in the first set, but the Argentine settled down and increased his margins in the rallies to earn the break back. Serving at 5-6, 0/40, Schwartzman bravely saved three set points with a barrage of big serves and forehands to force a tie-break.

A double fault from Fritz gave Schwartzman a 6/3 advantage in the tie-break, but Fritz launched his own comeback to even the score. At 6/6, Fritz’s serve let him down again with another double fault and Schwartzman made good on his fourth opportunity to close out the set.

Schwartzman grabbed an early break in the second set due to Fritz receiving a point penalty and led 3-1, but the magnitude of the occasion appeared to get to the Argentine. Schwartzman began to decelerate on his forehand and allowed Fritz to get the break back at 4-2, but regrouped brilliantly in the next game and broke Fritz for a 5-3 advantage. The third seed fell to the ground in elation after a forehand sent wide from Fritz wrapped up the match after one hour and 43 minutes.

Schwartzman picked up 250 ATP Rankings points and $131,430. Fritz walked away with 150 ATP Rankings points and $71,065.

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Felix On Budding Canadian Rivalries: 'We're Not At War Here'

  • Posted: Aug 04, 2019

Felix On Budding Canadian Rivalries: ‘We’re Not At War Here’

The teen could face a fellow Canadian in each of the first two rounds in Montreal

#NextGenATP Canadian star Felix Auger-Aliassime arrived on site for his first practice at this year’s Coupe Rogers on Friday evening. The 18-year-old did not expect any fans to be there with qualifying yet to begin.

“It was full, and everybody was happy to come watch me practise. That’s a different feeling. I’d be lying if I said that I’m going on the court and it just feels like any other tournament,” Auger-Aliassime said. “It feels special. Hopefully I can use that energy and that support in a good way.”

This will be the World No. 22’s first time competing at the Canadian ATP Masters 1000 tournament when it’s been held in his birthplace: Montreal. Auger-Aliassime debuted in the main draw last year in Toronto.

But Felix is not the same player he was then. At 17, he was a wild card ranked World No. 133. Auger-Aliassime lost in a final-set tie-break in the second round against current Top 10 star Daniil Medvedev.

This year, Auger-Aliassime could potentially become the Canadian No. 1 with a strong performance at his home Masters 1000 tournament. Prior to this season, he owned just six tour-level wins. He has 29 already in 2019, including trips to his first three ATP Tour finals and the semi-finals of the Miami Open presented by Itau. Auger-Aliassime was already a hot commodity in Toronto last year, and that’s only increased over the past 52 weeks.

“For sure the trap is that there’s a lot of attention and I’m going to put maybe more pressure on myself,” Auger-Aliassime said. “I think you have to put that aside and like every other tournament, try and focus as much as I can on what I have to do prior to my first round and then the rest of the week.”

There will always be an electric crowd in Canada whenever Auger-Aliassime competes on home soil. But that will be the case even moreso when he faces countryman Vasek Pospisil, a former Montreal semi-finalist, in the first round. Auger-Aliassime leads their FedEx ATP Head2Head series 2-0, including a victory at Wimbledon this year.

“I just laughed. I saw it coming. I was talking with my physio earlier that day and I was like, ‘I think something’s going to happen. I’m going to play Denis or Vasek.’ I felt like something was going to happen and it did,” Auger-Aliassime said. “Honestly, no big reaction. That’s just how it is. We’re good friends, we get along well, but once we step on court we’re going to compete at our best like we did at Wimbledon and we’ll see who the winner is. But I think we’re good competitors and we’re good people, so we’re able to put our friendship aside for the time of the match and just compete at our best.”

Another #NextGenATP Canadian who will be under the spotlight is Denis Shapovalov, who went on a magical run in Montreal two years ago, defeating Juan Martin del Potro and Rafael Nadal en route to his first Masters 1000 semi-final. A reporter asked Auger-Aliassime if the nature of this event will alter the pair’s friendship at all this week, and the teen said there was no chance of that happening.

“I’m going to ignore him. No, come on, it’s not like that. We’re not at war here. It’s cool. We talk normally. Even with Vasek, I texted him yesterday. When we saw the draw, we just laughed, like how crazy was that? But once we step on court, then we forget friendship, we just play our match,” Auger-Aliassime said. “But my friendship with Denis hasn’t changed and it’s not going to change because of this week, because of any week. I think that’s two completely different things. There’s the friendship outside the court and there’s the competition. That’s for sure not going to change anything.”

Auger-Aliassime is adamant that he does not want to look too far ahead. But if he defeats Pospisil, he could potentially face former World No. 3 and Montreal finalist Milos Raonic, who faces Lucas Pouille, in the second round.

“For sure that’s crazy. If Vasek wins, it’s going to be the same thing. He’s going to play another Canadian in the second round,” Auger-Aliassime said. “That’s like Indian Wells last year. It’s pretty crazy that it has to happen here in Montreal.”

After Auger-Aliassime ousted Pospisil at last year’s BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells, he fell in straight sets against Raonic. But the veteran has seen Felix develop in the past year, watching his game develop as his countryman’s ATP Ranking has ballooned as high as No. 21.

“I think it’s just consistency. Last year when we practised, he’d always be able to play at a really high level and then there’d be a game each set… where he’d just sort of spray a few balls and lose the handles of it a little bit for a moment. I think that’s the biggest thing that’s changed, he doesn’t really have those little spurts anymore,” Raonic said. “Obviously physically, he’s incredibly developed for a guy of his age. I think he’s really mature in that way and the way he approaches his tennis. But I think it’s just those spurts, that he minimised them. And when they do happen, I think they happen for much shorter periods of time.

“I think when you play the way he does, aggressively, he does a lot of things well, you just keep constantly putting pressure on your opponent and that creates some openings for himself.”

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Arneodo/Nys Save 2 M.P., Celebrate First Title In Los Cabos

  • Posted: Aug 04, 2019

Arneodo/Nys Save 2 M.P., Celebrate First Title In Los Cabos

30-point Match Tie-break decides ATP 250 final

Romain Arneodo and Hugo Nys clinched their first ATP Tour doubles title in dramatic fashion on Saturday at the Abierto de Tenis Mifel presentado por Cinemex in Los Cabos. The unseeded duo saved two championship points to topple top seeds Dominic Inglot and Austin Krajicek 7-5, 5-7, 16-14.

“We’ve been working a lot so now we can just enjoy. I think we deserved it. It was a tough week, and we ended up with the trophy so we’re very happy,” Nys said.

Arneodo/Nys fought back from 2-5 down in the opening set, but Inglot/Krajicek rallied from being an early break down in the second set to force a Match Tie-break. Five championship points came and went for Arneodo/Nys in the Match Tie-break before they saved two against them at 11/12 and 12/13. The unseeded pair couldn’t convert a sixth opportunity at 14/13, but closed out the match on their seventh try after one hour and 58 minutes.

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“Finals are always tough. We have to be ready also for the tension. The emotional part is very big in this kind of match, and we have to deal with it. We’re also very proud of what we’ve done mentally because we lost a few match points and came back. It feels even better, because mentally we were strong,” Arneodo said.

The duo from Monaco needed a Match Tie-break in all four of their victories this week. They have primarily played on the ATP Challenger Tour this season, with both Arneodo and Nys picking up three titles.

Inglot/Krajicek were seeking their second consecutive ATP Tour doubles title after saving two championship points to prevail last week at the BB&T Atlanta Open (d. Bryan/Bryan). They won their first tour-level title as a team this June in ’s-Hertogenbosch (d. Daniell/Koolhof).

Arneodo/Nys picked up 250 ATP Doubles Rankings points and split $43,120. Inglot/Krajicek earned 150 ATP Doubles Rankings points and split $22,100. 

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Match Point Teamwork: Kyrgios Asks D.C. Fans, Where Should I Serve?

  • Posted: Aug 04, 2019

Match Point Teamwork: Kyrgios Asks D.C. Fans, Where Should I Serve?

Aussie asks a fan where to serve on match point for second consecutive night

Guests on the hit game show “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?” could “phone a friend” if a question stumped them. Nick Kyrgios, when serving on match point, uses “ask a fan”.

For the second match in a row on Saturday night, Kyrgios, before stepping to the line to serve on match point, asked a fan where he should direct his serve.

And for the second consecutive match, the strategy worked as Kyrgios belted a first serve out wide to Stefanos Tsitsipas and then smacked a forehand winner to move into the Citi Open final in Washington, D.C, his second ATP 500 title match of the season (Acapulco, d. Zverev).

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Kyrgios and his clutch adviser celebrated with a strong handshake on Saturday night, which was a more muted celebration than the one Kyrgios and his female coach shared on Friday evening.

Before serving on match point against Slovakian Norbert Gombos, Kyrgios asked a fan, “Where should I serve this one?” He followed her advice, sliding an ace out wide on the Deuce Court as Gombos was leaning toward the T.

Kyrgios jogged back to his coach, who kissed the Aussie on the cheek and hugged him.

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“I feel like it’s very easy when someone just tells you where to serve. I feel like you just go all in on that spot and try to hit the spot. That’s all you’re focusing on,” Kyrgios told on Saturday night. “It’s worked two days in a row. Hopefully I get the chance to do it tomorrow. “

Kyrgios also sought some fan support earlier in his semi-final against Tsitsipas. The 24-year-old cooly sliced a backhand volley to go up 4-2 in the opening set, and the Aussie shared fist bumps with fans as he walked to the back of the court.

Kyrgios will face Russian Daniil Medvedev in Sunday’s final as the Aussie goes for his first Citi Open title. Fans in the front row will want to pay extra attention should the match rest on Kyrgios’ racquet, although it’s not as if the Aussie has needed any extra help this week in the U.S. capital. Through five matches, he has hit 93 aces and dropped only one set.

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