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Paire Fights Back Against Gasquet In Metz

  • Posted: Sep 18, 2019

Paire Fights Back Against Gasquet In Metz

Paire going for third title of 2019

Benoit Paire beat countryman Richard Gasquet for only the second time in their nine-match FedEx ATP Head2Head series on Wednesday at the Moselle Open in Metz.

Paire, a two-time ATP Tour titlist this season, won 86 per cent (36/42) of his service points and fought back to reach the quarter-finals at the ATP 250 tennis tournament 3-6, 6-3, 6-4.

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Gasquet led their head-to-head contest 7-1 before their second-round meeting in Metz. Frenchmen have won eight of the past 10 Metz titles, and Paire will face another Frenchman in Gregoire Barrere, who beat Antoine Hoang 3-6, 7-6(6), 6-2 in a battle of French wild cards, for a place in the semi-finals.

France had a mixed day in the two other singles matches that involved home hopefuls. Three-time champion Gilles Simon dismissed Romanian Marius Copil 6-3, 6-4 and will meet Aljaz Bedene of Slovenia for a place in the quarter-finals.

But #NextGenATP Frenchman Ugo Humbert fell to German qualifier Yannick Maden 6-4, 6-7(8), 6-4. Maden, who lost to Rafael Nadal in the second round of Roland Garros, will next meet second seed Nikoloz Basilashvili. In the final match of the day, Serbian Filip Krajinovic upset fifth seed Fernando Verdasco 3-6, 6-4, 6-3 and will next meet Italy’s Lorenzo Sonego or fourth seed Lucas Pouille of France.

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Nielsen/Puetz Prevail In St. Petersburg

  • Posted: Sep 18, 2019

Nielsen/Puetz Prevail In St. Petersburg

Top seeds Mahut/Roger-Vasselin advance in Metz

Frederik Nielsen/Tim Puetz got off to a strong start on Wednesday at the St. Petersburg Open, easing past Marton Fucsovics/Stefano Travaglia 6-4, 6-4. Awaiting them in the quarter-finals are Italian duo Matteo Berrettini/Simone Bolelli, who needed just 53 minutes to defeat Roman Jebavy/Philipp Oswald 6-2, 6-2.

Divij Sharan/Igor Zelenay rallied to defeat fourth seeds Marcelo Demoliner/Matwe Middelkoop 3-6, 6-2, 10-5. Next up for them are Roberto Carballes Baena/Andres Molteni, who took out Evgeny Karlovskiy/Andrey Rublev 6-7(5), 6-2, 10-2.

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At the Moselle Open in Metz, top seeds Nicolas Mahut/Edouard Roger-Vasselin won an all-French first-round battle over Tristan Lamasine/Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-2, 6-4. Fourth seeds Santiago Gonzalez/Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi also reached the last eight by prevailing in an epic 4-6, 7-5, 11-9 battle over Denys Molchanov/Artem Sitak.

In quarter-final action, Robert Lindstedt/Jan-Lennard Struff saved three match points in the second-set tie-break of their 6-7(5), 7-6(7), 10-7 victory against Gilles Simon/Mischa Zverev. Next up for Lindstedt/Struff are Sander Arends/David Pel, who moved past Marius Copil/Ugo Humbert 6-7(5), 6-3, 10-5.

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#NextGenATP Ruud Scores First Indoor Win In St. Petersburg

  • Posted: Sep 18, 2019

#NextGenATP Ruud Scores First Indoor Win In St. Petersburg

2010 champion Kukushkin advances on Wednesday

#NextGenATP Norwegian Casper Ruud picked up his first win at an indoor ATP Tour event on Wednesday at the St. Petersburg Open. The eighth seed held off a stern challenge from Kazakh Alexander Bublik to advance 6-7(3), 6-4, 6-2.

“Sascha is a good friend among the other guys on Tour. He hits a lot of fast serves and big shots, so I just tried to be ready for that,” Ruud said. “You have to take it match by match because it’s a very strong competition here, but I’ll try to win every match I play.”

Ruud raced through the last five games of the match to advance in two hours and two minutes. Awaiting him in the second round is Salvatore Caruso, who prevailed 2-6, 6-3, 6-3 in an all-Italian battle with Thomas Fabbiano.

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Portuguese Joao Sousa didn’t drop serve in a comfortable 6-2, 6-3 win over Slovakian Jozef Kovalik, setting him up for a second-round clash with second-seeded Russian Karen Khachanov. Hungarian Marton Fucsovics rallied from 1-5 in the opening set and saved five set points en route to a 7-5, 6-1 victory over Russian qualifier Alexey Vatutin. Next up for Fucsovics is fourth-seeded Croatian Borna Coric, who won their lone FedEx ATP Head2Head meeting this year at the Australian Open.

In a battle of former St. Petersburg champions, 2010 winner and sixth seed Mikhail Kukushkin of Kazakhstan defeated 2017 champion Damir Dzumhur of Bosnia 7-6(2), 6-2 to reach the quarter-finals. The other second-round match on Wednesday saw Belarusian qualifier Egor Gerasimov score the upset of the day against seventh-seeded Frenchman Adrian Mannarino 6-3, 6-1. The 26-year-old’s most recent ATP Tour quarter-final also came on Russian soil last October in Moscow.

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Federer: Nadal Is Pumped For Laver Cup

  • Posted: Sep 18, 2019

Federer: Nadal Is Pumped For Laver Cup

Swiss talks ahead of the third edition of the team event

Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal are teaming up again at the 2019 Laver Cup, which starts Friday in Geneva. And Nadal can’t wait to get started.

“He couldn’t be more pumped up for this event,” Federer said on Wednesday. “He just won the US Open. It would have been so easy for him to say, ‘Look, I need a break.’ But he said, ‘No, my break’s coming afterwards. I push it all aside, and I’m doing this because I really believe in the concept of the Laver Cup. And I believe in you guys.’”

The players were welcomed and made a public appearance on the balcony of the Palais Eynard, Parc des Bastions on Wednesday afternoon ahead of the third edition of the Laver Cup, which pits the best of Team Europe against the best of Team World.

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“It’s been energetic, it’s been thrilling, it’s been exciting. The two teams have finally clashed and seen each other. We are all ready to go,” Federer said.

He and Nadal combined forces for Team Europe during the inaugural Laver Cup, in Prague in 2017. The two all-time greats played doubles together, beating Team World members Sam Querrey and Jack Sock 6-4, 1-6, 10-5.

Expect Federer/Nadal to take the court together again as the two practised doubles together on Wednesday against teammates Alexander Zverev and Fabio Fognini. The team competition gets underway on Friday.

<a href=''>Rafael Nadal</a> and <a href=''>Roger Federer</a> practise ahead of the 2019 <a href=''>Laver Cup</a> in Geneva.

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#NextGenATP First-Time Winner: Alejandro Davidovich Fokina

  • Posted: Sep 18, 2019

#NextGenATP First-Time Winner: Alejandro Davidovich Fokina

The 20-year-old Spaniard discusses his dream week in Sevilla

This is what the ATP Challenger Tour is all about. On Sunday, in front of thousands of passionate fans at the Real Club de Tenis Betis, native son Alejandro Davidovich Fokina celebrated his maiden title in Sevilla.

The local Sevillanos filled the club, with a capacity crowd on hand to watch the 20-year-old battle countryman Jaume Munar. And with 400 more on line outside, in search of a coveted seat inside the historic venue, the atmosphere was electric and the drama palpable.

2019 #NextGenATP First-Time Spotlights: Ymer | Sinner | Ruusuvuori

The oldest tournament in Spain celebrated its 29th edition, welcoming a third #NextGenATP champion in the past four years. Casper Ruud (2016) and Felix Auger-Aliassime (2017) would go on to crack the Top 100 and beyond, a milestone that is now well within reach for Davidovich Fokina. The Malaga native is up to a career-high No. 108 in the ATP Rankings and moves to 12th in the ATP Race To Milan.

Davidovich Fokina has been on fire in September, halting a 1-6 mid-summer stretch with an impressive 12-2 run that also included a semi-final finish in Mallorca and final run in Genova. The 20-year-old continues to build off his breakthrough moment from earlier in the year, when he stormed to the semi-finals at the ATP Tour stop in Estoril as a qualifier. There, he upset World No. 18 Gael Monfils to reach the last four.


The Spaniard spoke to following his maiden triumph in Sevilla…

Alejandro, congrats on winning your first Challenger title. How does it feel to lift the trophy?
I have been supported all this week by my family, by the team and by my friends. I am very happy to raise this title in front of them. I think it is well deserved, since last week I lost in the final, but this time I could get it.

The final against Munar was very close. Did you feel nervous today?
Yes, with Jaume there are always those nerves because I know he is a very consistent player. He doesn’t miss any shots. I started a little more nervous, but in the second set I was more explosive and aggressive. I have relied much more on myself and I also wanted to not lose a fourth final.

Recent #NextGenATP Spanish Champions

Player Title Age
Alejandro Davidovich Fokina Sevilla 2019 20 years, 3 months
Nicola Kuhn Segovia 2019 19 years, 4 months
Pedro Martinez Bastad 2018 21 years, 2 months
Jaume Munar Caltanissetta 2018 21 years, 1 month
Jaume Munar Prostejov 2018 21 years, 1 month
Jaume Munar Segovia 2017 20 years, 3 months
Nicola Kuhn Braunschweig 2017 17 years, 3 months

Winning your first Challenger title is not easy. What do you think were the keys during the week?
I have been for three weeks at a very good level. I looked to win the tournament from the beginning. In every game, at every point I went to the maximum. In addition, the confidence I brought from the previous matches carried into the final.

As you say, you had three finals in which you didn’t get the trophy. What did you learn from those experiences?
There were many emotions and I had a lot of pressure. But I prepared for this match very well with my coach Jorge [Aguirre] and I think I solved it very well. We knew there would be a lot of emotion, because we played in Andalusia, very close to home in Sevilla. And also the public would be on my side, which was very important.

You defeated two strong players – Salvatore Caruso and Jaume Munar – in the semis and final. How much confidence do those victories and this trophy give you?
First of all, I’d say not to lose your mind with these victories, because on Wednesday I will start competing in another Challenger. So I’m going to celebrate with my family, I’m going to enjoy my first victory and tomorrow it’s time to go back to work.

It has not been an easy summer for you. How did you prepare yourself to put aside those struggles and have such a successful month?
After Estoril, I did not have it very easy. There were matches that I should not have lost, where I was playing very poorly. In tennis there are always streaks and I know there will be ups and downs. The goal was to move on, never give up.

What have you enjoyed most of your time in Sevilla? It is such a historic tournament and very close to home for you.
Of course not the heat! (Laughs). The people here supported me a lot and the atmosphere is spectacular. Being able to play in Andalusia gives my whole family and my friends the opportunity to come. It is a plus to play in front of them all.

For those of us who don’t know much about you, what do you enjoy doing off the court?
I am a very hyperactive guy, who likes to do many things away from the court. I am very simple, very sociable. In the end, I am from Malaga. I grew up there and I my attitude is like the people there. I just like to have fun with friends and enjoy life.

ATP Challenger Tour 

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Wimbledon: Birmingham grass-court tournament downgraded after WTA event switch to Berlin

  • Posted: Sep 18, 2019

The United Kingdom’s biggest women-only grass-court event is to be downgraded from next summer, with Wimbledon supporting a new tournament in Berlin.

The Nature Valley Classic in Birmingham, a Premier status competition on the WTA Tour since 2014, is to return to being categorised as an International event.

The change means lower prize money and ranking points for players.

Ashleigh Barty become world number one after winning the tournament in June.

The French Open champion was in a field that included Naomi Osaka, Karolina Pliskova and Venus Williams.

The tournament – held two weeks before Wimbledon, putting it up against the men’s event at Queen’s Club – is one that makes significant losses.

Prize money in recent years has not been matched by a similar increases in ticket sales or sponsorship.

The reduction in prize funds for the 38-year-old event represents a drop of about £600,000 from around £800,000 to approximately £200,000 – a significant sum for the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA), which reported a loss of £8.8m in May.

LTA chief executive Scott Lloyd said the event will still “provide opportunities for tennis fans to get closer to the sport”.

“We have worked closely with the All England Lawn Tennis Club on the plans for next year’s grass-court season,” he said.

“The Nature Valley Classic in Birmingham will continue to be one of the LTA’s major events next season.”

Birmingham will now have to compete with Berlin to try to attract players.

Other changes the grass-court season will include a new men’s event in Majorca and a proposed women’s tournament in Bad Homburg, Germany, backed by former Wimbledon champion Angelique Kerber.

The other British tournaments in Nottingham and Eastbourne are unaffected by the changes.

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Mallorca To Host ATP Grass-Court Tournament From 2020

  • Posted: Sep 18, 2019

Mallorca To Host ATP Grass-Court Tournament From 2020

Spain to host an ATP Tour grass-court event

The ATP today announced that the 2020 grass-court swing in the lead-up to The Championships at Wimbledon, will feature a new ATP 250 tournament in Mallorca, replacing the event previously held in Antalya, Turkey, from 2017-2019.

The Mallorca Championships, offering €900,000 in prize money, will be held at Santa Ponca from 20-27 June 2020, in partnership between the AELTC and e|motion sports.

Chris Kermode, ATP Executive Chairman and President, said: “Spain remains a key market for the ATP Tour and we are delighted to see the return of an ATP 250 tournament to Mallorca. The Spanish island has contributed so highly to the history of tennis, notably producing two ATP World No. 1 players, Carlos Moya and Rafael Nadal.

“Bringing a grass court tournament to Spain is an exciting development in the ATP Tour calendar, and we’d like to thank the AELTC [All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club] for their continued investment in the grass court season. The ATP has a longstanding relationship with e|motion, as ATP event owners in Vienna and event Promoters in Stuttgart, and we are pleased to expand our association with them and the AELTC through this new venture in Mallorca. We have no doubt the event will be a success from the outset.”

Event organisers, elmotion sports, also run the MercedesCup in Stuttgart, which switched surfaces from clay to grass courts in 2015, the Erste Bank Open in Vienna, and a WTA event in Berlin.

Edwin Weindorfer, CEO e|motion sports, said: “By organising three tournaments in as many weeks we are facing a big challenge, which we gladly accept. We will continually develop the tournament in Mallorca in the coming years and Santa Ponca is the perfect setting for that. I want to thank Wimbledon for their great support of our tennis commitment in Mallorca and also thank Toni Nadal, who has done great work as tournament director for the women’s tournament. A position he will also assume for the men’s tournament.”

It will be the first time that an ATP Tour tournament has been contested in Mallorca since 2002. Spain currently hosts two clay-court events, the Mutua Madrid Open (ATP Masters 1000) in May and the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell (ATP 500) in April.

Toni Nadal, Tournament Director of the Mallorca Championships, said, “I am very proud, that there will be an ATP tournament in Mallorca after so many years again. We expect to offer the fans a strong line-up in the final week before Wimbledon. After four successful women’s tournaments we are now starting a new, exciting tennis era in Mallorca with this men’s event.”

Philip Brook CBE, All England Lawn Tennis Club Chairman, commented: “The AELTC is pleased to continue the work it began several years ago with e|motion sports in Mallorca as they take on the new ATP 250-level tournament sanction. A strong and successful grass court season is absolutely critical to the future of grass court tennis and thus the future success of The Championships. Having worked to expand the grass court season to create a meaningful gap between Roland-Garros and Wimbledon, we are pleased to be making significant further investments into ensuring that quality grass court tournaments can be provided at all levels of the game with the best interests of the players and the broader tennis family in mind.”

To view the updated 2020 ATP Tour calendar, click here.

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