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Anderson Withdraws From US Open

  • Posted: Aug 24, 2019

Anderson Withdraws From US Open

South African reached maiden Grand Slam final at 2017 US Open

Kevin Anderson has withdrawn from next week’s US Open due to a right knee injury.

The 33-year-old South African, who has been limited to five tournaments this season, was aiming to return to action for the first time since Wimbledon. After also struggling with a right elbow injury earlier in the year, Anderson was bidding to add to his 11-4 record in the coming fortnight in Flushing Meadows.

Anderson reached his first Grand Slam final at this event in 2017 and has compiled a 22-9 record at the hard-court Grand Slam since his main draw debut in 2010. The six-time ATP Tour titlist will be replaced in the draw by lucky loser Paolo Lorenzi of Italy.

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Konta says exchange with journalist was 'new experience'

  • Posted: Aug 24, 2019

British number one Johanna Konta says she received more recognition for her exchange with a journalist at Wimbledon last month than she got for reaching the semi-finals at SW19 two years ago.

Konta, 28, was frustrated by questions about her mentality after her quarter-final defeat by Barbora Strycova.

The incident in July sparked fierce debate but Konta says she tried to ignore the reaction.

“It’s hard to not notice the traction it got,” she said before the US Open.

“I was walking down the street and one woman shouted down from a balcony, ‘Good on you’,” she said.

Keen to put the exchange with the journalist behind her, a laughing Konta added: “That was a new experience.

“I got a lot of recognition after that. I got more recognition after this Wimbledon than 2017 when I had a massive viewership for my quarter-final so I don’t know why.”

  • Konta and Edmund lead British hopes at US Open
  • Federer feels ‘best in years’ after caravan holiday

Konta, speaking before her first-round match against Daria Kasatkina at Flushing Meadows on Monday, has had opening-round defeats in Toronto and Cincinnati since Wimbledon.

The US Open is the only Grand Slam where she has not reached the semi-finals, having gone as far as the last 16 in 2015 and 2016.

“If you take a zoomed in look at it I haven’t played many matches since Wimbledon. However, if you take the season as a whole I’ve played over 50 matches,” said Konta, who reached clay-court finals in Rabat and Rome earlier this year.

“So I’ve played a lot of matches and won quite a lot of them as well, which is a good position to be in.”

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Konta & Edmund lead British hopes at US Open

  • Posted: Aug 24, 2019
2019 US Open
Venue: Flushing Meadows, New York Dates: 26 August-8 September
Coverage: Live text and radio commentary on selected matches on the BBC Sport website and app

World number ones Novak Djokovic and Naomi Osaka will seek to defend their titles at a US Open that Britain’s Andy Murray has chosen to miss.

The Scot, who had hip surgery in January, had planned to play doubles but is focusing on singles elsewhere.

In his absence, the country’s number ones Johanna Konta and Kyle Edmund will carry British hopes in New York.

Roger Federer and Serena Williams will be again chasing records at the final Grand Slam tournament of the year.

Swiss great Federer, 38, is seeking a record sixth men’s US Open singles title that would also make him the oldest men’s Grand Slam singles champion in the Open era.

Meanwhile, 37-year-old American Williams – whose defeat by Osaka in last year’s final was marred by her angry outbursts at the umpire – is hoping to equal the all-time record of 24 Grand Slam singles titles.

The tournament at Flushing Meadows, where singles winners take home $3,850,000 (£3.17m), features day and night sessions (16:00 BST and 00:00 BST) for most of the rounds.

  • Williams faces Sharapova in US Open first round
  • Federer feels ‘best in years’ for US Open
  • Live scores, schedule and results

Konta and Edmund lead British hopes

At 16th in the world, Konta is the highest ranked Briton in the singles at Flushing Meadows and the 28-year-old will be seeking to translate her excellent form from earlier in the year into success here.

But the French Open semi-finalist, who also reached the last eight at Wimbledon, has had back-to-back first-round exits in her warm-up events. She plays Russia’s Daria Kasatkina at 16:00 on Monday.

Konta was the only British woman to have direct entry to the main draw, with Harriet Dart making it through qualifying to face Romanian Ana Bogdan, also at 16:00 on Monday.

British men’s number one Edmund, whose best result at the US Open was reaching the fourth round in 2016, is joined by Dan Evans and Cameron Norrie.

Edmund will open his campaign on Tuesday against Spaniard Pablo Andujar while Evans and Norrie both face Frenchmen on court 10 on Monday. Evans plays Adrian Mannarino before Norrie takes on Gregoire Barrere.

Jamie Murray will be among the Britons in the doubles, with the six-time Grand Slam champion seeking a maiden title with new partner and compatriot Neal Skupski.

Murray’s brother Andy will be playing at a Challenger event in Mallorca – the Rafa Nadal Open – from Monday as he steps up his recovery from career-saving hip surgery with more singles matches.

  • The pioneering champion America forgot
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Williams has chance of redemption and record

Last year’s women’s final will be remembered for Williams’ outbursts, where she called umpire Carlos Ramos a “thief” and “liar” after he docked her a game before later accusing him of “sexism”.

Organisers are ensuring the pair will not cross paths this year, with Ramos not officiating any matches featuring Williams or her sister Venus.

Although Williams congratulated Osaka at the net at the end of the match and also later apologised to her, the events overshadowed the 21-year-old becoming the first Japanese to win a Grand Slam and left her in tears.

There are question marks over the fitness of Williams, who has retired or withdrawn from all five of her non-Grand Slam events this year.

The American, who is seeking to equal Margaret Court’s record of 24 Grand Slam singles titles, missed this month’s Cincinnati Masters with the back problem that forced her to pull out of the Rogers Cup final a few days earlier.

She faces a blockbuster first-round match against Russian five-time Grand Slam champion and long-time rival Maria Sharapova, which opens day one’s night session on Arthur Ashe Stadium. Sharapova has played just six matches since January because of a shoulder injury.

Since returning to tennis after giving birth in September 2017, Williams has reached three Grand Slam finals but has lost in all of them, including July’s Wimbledon defeat by Simona Halep.

Can Osaka handle the pressure?

After sealing her maiden Grand Slam last September, Osaka followed it up with an Australian Open victory that propelled her to the top of the world rankings.

But since then she has struggled with injury, poor form and says she “hasn’t enjoyed” tennis since that Melbourne triumph in January.

After her surprise third-round exit from the French Open in June, she said it was “probably the best thing that could have happened” and that she was suffering headaches from the “stress” of being the top seed.

Since then she briefly lost the world number one ranking to Australia’s Ashleigh Barty but has now regained it and, assuming she shakes off a recent knee injury, will once again need to prove she can handle the pressure of being the player to beat.

Among those seeking to capitalise if she falters will be world number three Karolina Pliskova, who, like Barty, could oust Osaka from the top with a good run.

The Czech 27-year-old, runner-up in 2016, has won three WTA titles this year and reached the semi-finals of the Cincinnati Masters.

Wimbledon champion Halep will be chasing a third Grand Slam title although her preparations have been hampered by an Achilles problem, while Cincinnati champion Madison Keys arrives at her home Grand Slam in good form as she seeks to improve on her runner-up finish from 2017.

Will Gauff build on Wimbledon run?

Two months after charming Wimbledon, American 15-year-old Coco Gauff will be aiming to build on that stunning run to the last 16 that included a first-round victory over seven-time Grand Slam singles champion Venus Williams.

In June she became the youngest player in the Open era to qualify for the main draw at Wimbledon and her exploits earned her a wildcard into the main draw at Flushing Meadows.

Victory alongside 17-year-old Catherine McNally in the Washington Open doubles final this month can give Gauff extra confidence before her US Open campaign, where she faces Russian world number 76 Anastasia Potapova in the first round.

  • High hopes for Gauff after astonishing Wimbledon run

Djokovic favourite to defend title

World number one Djokovic is the overwhelming favourite to defend his title and win a 17th Grand Slam crown, which would leave him just one behind Rafael Nadal and three behind leader Federer on the all-time list of men’s champions.

The 32-year-old Serb has won four of the past five Grand Slams and, after reaching the Cincinnati semi-finals, said: “I like my chances [at the US Open]. I feel good. I love playing in those conditions there on centre court.”

He will hope that conditions are less humid than last year when a series of players were forced to retire in the opening days because of heat-related issues and Djokovic himself said he had “struggled”.

The big three of Federer, Nadal and Djokovic have won the past 11 Grand Slam titles and it is hard to see beyond them once again at Flushing Meadows.

Time is, however, increasingly against Federer. The Swiss great turned 38 earlier this month and the most recent of his five US Open titles was 11 years ago. He was also surprisingly beaten in straight sets by 21-year-old Russian qualifier Andrey Rublev in the third round at Cincinnati this month.

But having held two championship points against Djokovic at Wimbledon just six weeks ago, he may feel he has some unfinished Grand Slam business.

“The way I played at Wimbledon is going to give me some extra confidence,” Federer said. “This is probably the best I’ve felt in years coming into the US Open, which is encouraging.”

Nadal, meanwhile, has warmed up by defending his Rogers Cup title – the first time he has retained a non-clay title.

The key for the 33-year-old Spanish world number two will be staying fit, having retired from his semi-final in New York a year ago with a knee problem that has caused him problems throughout his career. He withdrew from Cincinnati two weeks ago because of fatigue.

Last year’s runner-up Juan Martin del Potro is absent, having re-fractured his kneecap during Queen’s in June.

Who can challenge the ‘big three’?

It is the question that is posed before every Grand Slam and the one the next generation have so far been unable to answer with any conviction.

Germany’s Alexander Zverev and Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas are among the players in their early twenties who are in the top 10 but have lost momentum in their bid to challenge the ‘big three’.

Since beating Djokovic to win the prestigious ATP Finals last November, Zverev has reached just one Grand Slam quarter-final, while Tsitsipas followed up his Australian Open semi-final in January with a first-round exit at Wimbledon.

Russian 23-year-old Daniil Medvedev, who has risen to a career-high number five in the world rankings after his Cincinnati triumph, is the in-form player having reached three successive finals this month and could be one to watch.

Meanwhile, the spotlight will also be on Australian 24-year-old Nick Kyrgios, who oscillates between the talent that won him the Washington title this month and the behaviour that cost him $113,000 (£93,254) in fines less than a fortnight later.

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Re-making Polasek After Five-Year Retirement: 'The Only Thing That’s The Same Is My Name'

  • Posted: Aug 24, 2019

Re-making Polasek After Five-Year Retirement: ‘The Only Thing That’s The Same Is My Name’

In the newest installation of’s My Point series, Slovak Filip Polasek details his retirement, spending five years away from the sport, and the crazy journey that not only led him back to professional tennis, but immediate success

Did this guy have too much whiskey?

That’s what I was thinking when I got a call one Thursday evening at around 10 pm last May. I was home in Slovakia, where I was set to play some club matches to practise for some other club matches in Germany. It had been more than four years since I’d retired from pro tennis at 28 due to injury.

“We have a great player for your Monday club match. It’s Bryan,” the head coach of the club told me. I was laughing and I was like, “Which Bryan?”

He didn’t know. I figured the guy was going crazy and I dropped the phone. The next day I asked a manager at the club what the guy was talking about. She thought he was drunk, too.

But the next day I was at the club they said, “Are you ready to hit with Bryan?” I told them I’m always ready for anything, but I was still confused. I played my club match, and then I was shocked. Mike Bryan showed up. The Mike Bryan, the doubles legend. It was really funny. The guy wasn’t drunk after all.

<a href=''>Filip Polasek</a> <a href=''>Mike Bryan</a>

Mike was in town because his girlfriend is Slovakian, so we hit the ball around a bit. I didn’t feel that great. But he was like, ‘You hit well!’ I wasn’t so sure.

He stayed for a week and we hit another two or three times. We even played a doubles match with a couple of other guys. That was like putting a kid in water without knowing how to swim and letting him swim because there were a lot of things going on. Those club matches were the first time I was really playing tennis since I retired.

It took years after I hung up my racquets to be able to do any physical activity without pain. But my body was alright that week. It wasn’t responding like it had been since I retired. I didn’t need to hold my leg down to keep it from throbbing uncontrollably. I was hitting with one of the best players in the world. I didn’t play amazing, but that week was the first time I realised, “Okay, I can still play.”

But if you told me that 15 months later I’d be sitting here as an ATP Masters 1000 champion, I would have told you that you’re crazy. I would never ever bet even a dollar on it. It’s been an incredible journey. But after everything I’ve been through, this is just the beginning.
* * * * *
In 2013, I retired from professional tennis at 28. I’d won 11 doubles titles on the ATP Tour and made 13 more finals. But physically, I couldn’t continue.

I had a nerve issue in my back, and I had loose discs in my spine. My leg would jump after matches. I’d get to the locker room and I simply couldn’t control the nerves in my left leg. If I didn’t physically hold it still with my hands, it would jump sometimes for as long as 15 minutes. To say it was bad is an understatement. I knew my career was over.

But even without playing tennis, the pain wasn’t going away.

I started coaching an Aussie player who was competing at the Futures level and I had to stop after nine or 10 months because the pain was almost the same as when I was playing. I said, “This is useless.”

I think part of it was that I was a bit tired of travelling — the long flights were not good for my body. About a year and a half after I retired, I still didn’t feel right.

So I took a job as head coach of a small club with six outdoor courts and two indoor courts in Piestany, Slovakia. But there was a problem: I couldn’t even hit with the older teenagers. I started working with younger kids, from eight to 14. The pain was getting a bit better, but it still wasn’t great. I had some nice, easy hits with other coaches for only 40 minutes just for the sake of striking the ball, but when I’d get home at night my leg would cramp from my toes through my calves.

Just to try some sort of physical activity, I started playing on a floorball team with other tennis players. The matches were serious, but they were also for fun and for me it was a chance to get sweaty and keep in shape, maybe even so I could have a beer after and it would taste better. After doing that three of four times, I couldn’t do it anymore because it was more painful than enjoyable.

That’s when I decided I couldn’t do anything anymore. It was between two and three years after I retired, and I knew my body still wasn’t holding up. The only thing I was doing was ski touring, which wasn’t strenuous. I’d go with my girlfriend and other friends in the Slovakian mountains for a weekend, moving from one chalet to another.

<a href=''>Filip Polasek</a>

At that point, I was happy. I wasn’t missing life as a professional tennis player. In November 2017, I became a father, too. I was living a completely different life.

But as the kids I was coaching got older, things began to change. One guy who turned 16 started playing better tennis and he enjoyed baseline games with me. When I’d compete with him, I felt okay. But he was still only 16. For two and a half years, I wasn’t testing my body at all.

In 2017, an amateur I gave lessons to was a very good friend of the president of a German tennis club. They asked me to play club matches there. I figured, “Why not?”, and they were so excited, so we arranged that I would play a few matches. At the same time, the club where I used to play before I retired asked me to play some Slovak club matches for them, which was a week before the German ones started. I thought it was a great opportunity to prepare for the German matches, so I said yes.

Then by coincidence, I got that late night phone call from the guy who I thought drank too much whiskey. I hit with Mike Bryan that week and I had a decision to make. This was just more than a year ago.

I was still waiting for the pain to come back. I knew it would. I had to drive seven hours by car to some German club matches. I would play singles, doubles, sit down in the car without stretching, go back home and I knew that it would definitely get worse the next day. But somehow when I got home I told my girlfriend there wasn’t pain. Weird, right?

After the third or fourth match, it still wasn’t coming. At that point I started thinking about giving pro tennis another shot. I hadn’t had a break from coaching at the academy for three years, so I said I’ll take a month off to go play some tournaments. They were fine with it, telling me I could come back any time. I had no fitness preparation or anything, I just went and played. I threw my body to the water because I knew my body wasn’t ready for it.

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But somehow, it was. I started playing some local Futures and then Challengers and I was doing pretty well. I was surprised with how well my body held up. I had some trouble, but it was different. My muscles were sore and they were not that flexible, but that was it. It wasn’t anything close to what it was before. After a little more than a month, I decided to keep pushing. And by the end of the September, I was inside the Top 200. That was just four months after I started competing again.

It only got better this year, winning six of my first 11 Challenger events. After lifting the trophy in Ostrava, Rome and Lisbon, I felt a bit destroyed. But since then it’s been getting better and better. I’m really staying healthy.

I played with Ivan Dodig for the first time in Antalya and then Wimbledon came. There was a lot of tennis for the doubles guys, playing best of five. After battling through our first match in five sets, we really got in a groove, winning three in a row in straight sets to reach the semi-finals. But still, each of those matches took around two and a half hours. And there was a lot more going on.

Between fitness and practice, the time added up. Thirty minutes of warm-up before the warm-up, then another 30 minutes before the match, and then taking care of my body after the match. Surprisingly, my body held up. I’d made one quarter-final in 23 Grand Slams before I originally retired and somehow, I was into the semi-finals.

That was an incredible feeling, but it also helped me realise that I had a good level. We lost a tough match against two of the best doubles players out there, but it made me hungry. If I could make the semis, what else I could do?

Then in Cincinnati, a dream came true. Before the tournament, I had never made the quarter-finals of an ATP Masters 1000 event in 18 tries. But we beat the top two seeds as well as Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan en route to the trophy. The feeling was amazing. It’s just an unbelievable story, and I’m enjoying it as much as I can.

I decided to go for one more shot in the middle of last year. I was wearing one shirt, starting at Futures events. This is almost unreal.

Dodig Polasek
* * * * *
A lot of people thought it would be impossible to come back to this level after my injuries and being away from competing for so long, but I love doing impossible things.

What’s even crazier is that my game is completely different. I have a different body and a different body weight. I play with different racquets and different string. The only thing that’s the same is my name.

I lost the freedom that players have when you’re 23 and you think you’re the best in the world by far and you play without thinking. Now I’m thinking too much sometimes. But before I was playing too fast and now I see the game much clearer as I play and as I practise. I’m still improving my technique and it’s helping me. I’m hitting much better from the baseline than I was before. I can see and feel the ball much better than before.

But to me, this hasn’t been a comeback. It’s a new career. I’ve built myself up from scratch.

I always dreamt big. I always dreamt about winning Masters 1000s, maybe even a Slam. Fifteen months ago, all of that seemed so incredibly far away. Yet here I am. I’ve learned to never give up on your dreams. I didn’t, and neither should you.

But I’m not overly excited about where I am. I’m really pleased with the way we’ve done the past couple of months. But I have no plans of slowing down. Now I believe I can push harder than ever, and I want to go as far as possible.

– as told to Andrew Eichenholz

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John Millman Reflects On Federer US Open Stunner Before Facing Nadal

  • Posted: Aug 24, 2019

John Millman Reflects On Federer US Open Stunner Before Facing Nadal

Aussie was 0-10 against Top 10 opposition before upsetting the five-time champ

In the first round of the US Open, John Millman will have his work cut out for him against three-time champion Rafael Nadal, the second seed. In their only previous meeting, at Wimbledon two years ago, Nadal conceded only six games against the Aussie. But the 30-year-old has defied the odds before.

Millman shocked the world here in New York just last year when he ousted five-time champion Roger Federer 3-6, 7-5, 7-6(7), 7-6(3) to reach the quarter-finals. Federer had missed the last eight in Flushing Meadows just once in his previous 13 appearances. But when the Swiss superstar launched a forehand well long on match point, the Aussie calmly removed his cap and walked to the net to shake hands as the victor.

“I think one of the most important things about your tennis career and what I want to take away from it when I’m finished is a couple of little pictures that you store away in the memory bank,” Millman told “I still store away that match point when I won that one and it’s something I’ll hopefully take with me long after tennis.”

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Before last year’s tournament, Millman hit with former World No. 1 Andy Murray inside Arthur Ashe Stadium. After the pair tried launching 20 to 30 balls towards the scoreboard, the Aussie didn’t necessarily expect to play on the court again during the fortnight. But after three victories, there he was walking onto a court with the capacity for more than 23,000 fans to sit layered above him, watching him upset a worldwide fan favourite.

“You’re just trying to tell yourself when you’re walking onto that court in that warm-up to try to get the feet going and try to just familiarise yourself with your surroundings as quickly as possible because it’s different,” Millman said. “It’s a massive stadium and it’s one of those places you watched as a kid.”

Then World No. 55, Millman had never previously beaten an opponent inside the Top 10 of the ATP Rankings (0-10). But Federer did not have it easy in their first FedEx ATP Head2Head meeting three years prior in Brisbane, needing three sets and more than two hours to triumph. So Millman wasn’t totally uncomfortable in the moment.

“I’m lucky probably that I’d faced him before and I faced him in Brisbane where there was a fair bit of pressure on me because you’re playing at home and the last thing you want to do is get whipped in front of your home crowd and home support,” Millman said. “So I felt as if I’d played him under a bit of pressure before and that definitely helped going into that match.”

It’s easy to forget that Federer was in control against the Aussie, making Millman feel like a “deer in headlights” at the beginning of the match. The Swiss, who admittedly struggled with the humidity, led by a set and served for the second set at 5-4 with two set points, but couldn’t convert. Millman bided his time, maintained a steady level, and never dropped his chin, hanging in there until he was able to find an opening and barge through it.

“Against some pretty good players I’d put myself in a position on pretty decent stages,” Millman said. “But the hardest thing is actually running through that finish line… when I finished there was probably a bit of relief and just a little bit of satisfaction and at the same time I acknowledge the fact that I got Roger on not his best day and that was my opportunity and I took it.”

Once Federer’s final forehand flew long, a whirlwind of a journey began for Millman. First, he endeared himself to the fans who stayed up late that evening by telling them he planned to wake up in mere hours for a fantasy football draft with friends.

“Literally the next day was the last time we could do it because Thursday Night Football was right around the corner. My mind was also on the draft, and you need to have those little things in tennis, too. Especially as an Australian, because we have to be away for a long, long time. And you need those little escapes,” Millman said.

The following day, Millman was a man in demand, completing a media tour. A friend had flown in after he defeated Mikhail Kukushkin in the third round, and a couple more booked tickets after he defeated Federer to watch their buddy take on Novak Djokovic. Millman earned a massive triumph, but he wasn’t ready for his dream run to be over.

“Obviously when you’re a kid, you don’t imagine just winning the one-off match,” Millman said. “You imagine winning the whole thing.”

Millman lost in the next round against the eventual champion, Djokovic. But for a player who had never previously made the fourth round of a Grand Slam, it was an unforgettable tournament. It was made even more special because of how much New York has meant to Millman. In 2010, he visited the city for the first time when his parents got him an early birthday present, booking him accommodations in Manhattan after losing at an ATP Challenger Tour event in Tallahassee in 2010.

Millman watched as soon-to-be drafted athletes entered Radio City Music Hall for the NFL Draft, and he also went to see a show. The Aussie loved the city. But little did he know that nearly a decade later he would captivate the city’s attention himself.

“That’s tennis, and that’s what’s beautiful about tennis. You start off regardless of who you play, it’s 0-0. It’s a game for the next two, three, four hours. It’s you versus the other person and anything can happen,” Millman said. “Very rarely do you have those games where everything goes right and you feel amazing. It doesn’t happen, so you’ve got to be there to capitalise when they’re not having one of those special days.”

Millman will try to cause another upset against Nadal.

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Longtime Friends Chung & Kwon Lead South Korean Hopes Into US Open Main Draw

  • Posted: Aug 24, 2019

Longtime Friends Chung & Kwon Lead South Korean Hopes Into US Open Main Draw

South Koreans carry a nation’s hopes in Flushing Meadows

Hyeon Chung and Soonwoo Kwon, 23 and 21 years old, respectively, have known each other for more than a decade, or as Chung described it, since they were “little kids”. They’re good friends off the court and part of the same group chat where they talk about things that have nothing to do with tennis.

But Friday was an extra special day on the court for them, as both South Koreans won their matches in the third round of qualifying in Flushing Meadows, earning berths into the main draw of the US Open.

“We practised a lot because we’re good friends,” Chung told “He played really good the past few weeks and this year so far, so I’m really happy to see him playing well.”

For Chung, it’s been a strong return to form over the past month after missing more than five months of the season due to a lower back injury. The World No. 151 played his first tournament since Rotterdam at the ATP Challenger Tour event in Chengdu, China, which he won. After competing in two more Challenger events, Chung arrived in New York with momentum, winning all three of his qualifying matches in straight sets.

“I’m really happy to be back on the Tour and I’m really happy to be through to the main draw,” Chung said. “I was injured the past few months, so I’m just trying to stay positive and enjoy every moment.”

At home Chung would have the same daily routine: training in the morning and treatment in the afternoon as he tried to heal and get himself into playing shape. The 2017 Next Gen ATP Finals champion, who made waves just two months later by reaching last year’s Australian Open semi-finals, had missed the sport.

“I’m just trying to focus on every moment and think of a good future,” Chung said. “I’m just trying to be back at tour-level as soon as possible. But these are the first tournaments, so I’m trying to stay healthy first.”

Chung tried to qualify at the US Open in 2014, and both the Australian Open and Roland Garros in 2015, but fell short on all three occasions. So the former World No. 19 is understandably excited to get through to the main draw.

“I missed Grand Slams,” Chung said. “I’m just focussed on every match because it’s not easy after a six-month injury.”

It’s even more special to be able to enjoy that success again alongside his friend, Kwon. While Chung has proven his abilities on the ATP Tour, Kwon first broke into the Top 100 of the ATP Rankings on 5 August, and he is currently at a career-high No. 90. This will be the first time he competes in the main draw of the US Open.

“I’m so grateful to play such a big tournament with Chung. We just want to congratulate each other because we’re both so happy to be here in the main draw,” Kwon told “It’s very impressive to see him playing so well after a long period of time not being on the court. Since I know Chung really well, it’s so encouraging to see him playing so well now.”

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Kwon has been checking off new milestones weekly of late. At the BB&T Atlanta Open, he earned his first ATP Tour win. The next week at the Abierto de Tenis Mifel presentado por Cinemex, Kwon advanced to his maiden tour-level quarter-final. And now, he will compete in the US Open main draw for the first time against Bolivian Hugo Dellien.

“I’m excited about having so many goals and accomplishing them. I’m getting even more excited than ever before,” Kwon said.

The fan of hard courts has also been inspired by watching Chung rise on the ATP Tour. Although Chung has struggled physically since his big Australian Open run last year, Kwon had a close eye on his success nonetheless.

“That really motivates me to play even harder,” Kwon said of Chung’s early success. “It’s very impressive to see him playing so well after a long period of time not being on the court.”

Kyu Tae Im, Kwon’s coach, climbed as high as No. 160 in the ATP Rankings in November 2009. At the time, he was the only South Korean in the Top 200. So he understands the importance of having two players from his country in the main draw of a Grand Slam.

“This means a lot to both the players and Korean tennis. Soonwoo and Hyeon have a very healthy relationship; huge competition on court, but they are very supportive of each other and their team,” Im said. “I hope this would be a nice stepping stone for Korean tennis. I hope to see tennis gaining more popularity and young kids playing tennis.”

<a href=''>Soonwoo Kwon</a>
A young Soonwoo Kwon
Im began working with Kwon this March, and he believes that playing qualifying at various tour-level events — and advancing to the main draw five times dating back to Wimbledon — has helped his pupil significantly.

“I never expected he would step up this fast. I always focussed on building an accountable relationship and finding strengths rather than focusing on weaknesses, and it worked,” Im said. “I think it was a smart decision to play more tour-level qualies, which helped Kwon build confidence. I am fortunate to work with such a smart player. He would pick up something during practice and apply them right away in the next match.”

After his first ATP Tour match win in Atlanta, Kwon was itching to crack the Top 100. Not only has he done so, but now he has a chance to shine on one of the sport’s biggest stages.

“Just being in the Top 100 has always been my dream since I’m very young and since I’ve already accomplished that goal, I’m getting bigger dreams more and more,” Kwon said. “It’s just incredible to have those dreams.”

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Hurkacz To Face Paire In First ATP Tour Final

  • Posted: Aug 24, 2019

Hurkacz To Face Paire In First ATP Tour Final

Pole to face three-time ATP Tour champion Paire

Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz will play for his first ATP Tour title on Saturday at the Winston-Salem Open. The 2018 Next Gen ATP Finals qualifier beat 20-year-old Denis Shapovalov 6-3, 6-4 behind two breaks of serve on Friday evening to reach his maiden ATP Tour final.

“It feels great. It was a long day but it was a really nice day for me,” said Hurkacz, who, like the other semi-finalists, played two matches in one day because of Thursday rain. “The goal for me with Craig [Boynton], my coach, and my team is to improve every day, to be a better player. I’m very happy that we are able to improve our game, and obviously playing in the final is a huge success for me.”

The 22-year-old Pole broke Shapovalov at 4-4 in the second set and served out the match to love. Hurkacz landed only 47 per cent of his first serves, but won 80 per cent of his second-serve points. Shapovalov saw all four of his break points in the fourth game of the second set, but Hurkacz erased them all.

“That was a crucial moment, [when] I stayed positive and held my serve there. So then the pressure was on his side,” Hurkacz said.

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#NextGenATP Shapovalov was also trying to reach his first ATP Tour final and fell to 0-2 in semi-finals this year (Miami). Hurkacz will try to become the first Polish tour-level winner since Wojtek Fibak captured the WCT Chicago title on 5 December 1982.

“I’m happy that Polish tennis is improving… I hope I’ll play a good match tomorrow,” Hurkacz said.

He will meet top seed Benoit Paire, who will put his perfect ATP Tour final record in 2019 on the line. The 30-year-old Frenchman sprinted to the finish in his semi-final against American Steve Johnson 1-6, 6-0, 6-0.

The veteran won 76 per cent of his first-serve points and saved six of eight break points to improve to 3-0 in ATP Tour semi-finals this year. It will be his first FedEx ATP Head2Head meeting against Hurkacz.

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“First set I was not feeling very well, and Stevie was playing good. It was not easy. But after I was feeling better, I served better. So it was important for me to stay with myself. I was moving really well. I’m really happy with my win today,” Paire said.

The Frenchman has won three clay-court ATP Tour titles: the 2015 Swedish Open in Bastad and two earlier this year in Marrakech and Lyon. He’ll be going for his first hard-court title and first in the U.S.

Did You Know?
Hurkacz is the first Polish player to reach an ATP Tour final since Jerzy Janowicz at the 2014 Winston-Salem Open (l. to Rosol). He also could become the season’s 14th first-time champion.

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Sinner, Chung Lead US Open Qualifiers

  • Posted: Aug 24, 2019

Sinner, Chung Lead US Open Qualifiers

Italian, Korean punch tickets to the main draw in New York

On Friday, the dream became reality for 16 players at the US Open. As the qualifying competition concluded under cloudy skies, some booked their spots in the main draw for the first time, while others confirmed their return to the big show at Flushing Meadows.

Rain delayed the start of play by two hours, but that did not deter Jannik Sinner. At the ripe age of 18, the Italian made a statement in fighting through to the main draw. One day after he saved two match points, rallying from a break down in the third set against Viktor Galovic, he cruised past Mario Vilella Martinez to qualify.

The surging #NextGenATP star prevailed 7-6(1), 6-0 in just 72 minutes, carrying an impressive run of form to New York after capturing his second ATP Challenger Tour title in Lexington earlier this month. Having turned 18 just one week ago, he is the youngest player in the US Open main draw.

“It feels good,” said Sinner. “I’m really happy to reach the main draw in the US Open. I’ve been trying to improve my game and make new experiences and I’m just really happy to make it through the qualies. Today I was playing much better than yesterday. I played my game and controlled the match.”

Sinner opens against Stan Wawrinka, joining American Jenson Brooksby as teenage qualifiers. The 18-year-old Brooksby, a native of Sacramento, California, is the lone American to emerge from qualifying after ousting Pedro Martinez 6-3, 6-7(4), 6-3.


Also punching his ticket was Hyeon Chung. The former World No. 19 is on the comeback trail after returning from a six-month injury absence (back). He would cruise into his fourth US Open main draw, not dropping more than three games in a set all week.

Watch Feature: Chung Making Most Of Challenger Comeback

Chung, who lifted the trophy at the Chengdu Challenger in his comeback debut, is a staggering 11-1 since returning to action at the start of the month. He will open against Ernesto Escobedo after dismissing Mikael Ymer 6-1, 6-3 in Friday’s qualifying finale. Chung joins Soon-woo Kwon as Koreans in the main draw of the US Open after his countryman overcame Steven Diez 4-6, 6-3, 6-3 on Court 13.

In other action, Dominik Koepfer continued his strong run of form, defeating Yasutaka Uchiyama 6-3, 6-4 to make his US Open debut. The 25-year-old German, who teamed up with former pro Rhyne Williams at the start of the year, is making a Top 100 push after claiming his maiden Challenger title in Ilkley and winning a round at Wimbledon. He is up to a career-high No. 113 in the ATP Rankings and will face Jaume Munar in the first round.

Watch Feature: Koepfer Soaring Towards Top 100


In addition to Sinner, other first-time Grand Slam qualifiers include Egor Gerasimov of Belarus and Sumit Nagal of India. Nagal will be thrown into the spotlight against Roger Federer in Monday’s night session after overcoming Joao Menezes 5-7, 6-4, 6-3. He stormed back from a set and 0-3 down to qualify on Court 4.

“It feels amazing,” said Nagal. “The last three Grand Slams I played I was in qualies and I didn’t win a round. Here was also very difficult with many players who used to be Top 100. I played a long first round against Tatsuma Ito and once I won the first set it got better. Yesterday I played Peter Polansky, who can do anything on the court. He’s so tough. And everyone was feeling the humidity.

“Today it was a rollercoaster. I was telling myself to hold on and stay there. Fight for a game. He was hitting good shots and I wanted to stay close and wait for my moment to break. When he starts missing shots, he keeps missing and missing. Playing main draw of a Slam feels great.”

Guillermo Garcia-Lopez will make his 13th US Open appearance, joining Santiago Giraldo, Marco Trungelliti, Evgeny Donskoy, Tobias Kamke, Gregoire Barrere, Jiri Vesely, Ilya Ivashka and Elliot Benchetrit as other qualifiers. Vesely defeated Paolo Lorenzi in a deciding tie-break after a marathon three hours and 34 minutes.

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Kubot/Melo Celebrate First Team Title Of 2019

  • Posted: Aug 24, 2019

Kubot/Melo Celebrate First Team Title Of 2019

Top seeds build momentum ahead of US Open

Top seeds Lukasz Kubot/Marcelo Melo went two-for-two on Friday at the Winston-Salem Open to win their first ATP Tour team title of 2019. The Polish-Brazilian pairing beat American wild cards Nicholas Monroe/Tennys Sandgren 6-7(6), 6-1, 10-3 on Friday evening to claim the ATP 250 championship, their 13th doubles crown together.

Kubot/Melo dismissed Brits Jamie Murray/Neal Skupski 6-2, 6-3 earlier in the day. Both doubles semi-finals were postponed until Friday because of rain on Thursday.

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Kubot/Melo, four-time titlists together in 2018, were 0-2 in title matches this season (Indian Wells, Halle) coming into the final. But the veteran pairing saved all five break points faced in the second set and ran away with the Match Tie-break. They’ll receive 250 ATP Doubles Rankings points and split $40,600 in prize money.

Monroe/Sandgren were playing in their second tournament together after falling in the first round of the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati last week. They beat Belgians Sander Gille/Joran Vliegen 7-6(1), 6-4 to reach the title match. The Americans will receive 150 ATP Doubles Rankings points and split $20,800 in prize money.

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Britain's Dart makes US Open main draw for first time

  • Posted: Aug 24, 2019
US Open 2019
Venue: Flushing Meadows, New York Dates: 26 Aug – 8 Sep
Coverage: Live text and radio commentary on selected matches on the BBC Sport website and app

Great Britain’s Harriet Dart is through to the main draw of the US Open for the first time following victory over Chinese teenager Wang Xiyu.

Dart, 23, won 6-2 5-7 6-3 in a tense final qualifying match in New York which involved 36 break points.

The British number three converted two of 11 break points in the first set but Wang broke late for a third time to win the second.

Dart recovered well and won the last four games in the final set.

The world number 140 joins British number one Johanna Konta in the women’s main draw but compatriots Heather Watson and Katie Swan lost in the first round of qualifying.

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Dart reached the third round at Wimbledon this year and qualified for the Australian Open in January.

The US Open, the final Grand Slam of the year, starts on Monday.

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