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Team Europe seal third straight Laver Cup win in Geneva

  • Posted: Sep 22, 2019

Alexander Zverev won a deciding rubber against Milos Raonic in Switzerland to earn Team Europe a dramatic 13-11 win over Team World in the Laver Cup.

Zverev beat Raonic 6-4 3-6 10-4 for Team Europe’s third victory in a row.

Team World were 7-5 down overnight but John Isner and Jack Sock overcame Roger Federer and Stefanos Tsitsipas 5-7 6-4 10-8 in the doubles to put them 8-7 up.

Taylor Fritz beat Dominic Thiem to make it 11-7 but Team Europe won after Federer beat Isner and Zverev also won.

Fritz secured a narrow 7-5 6-7 (3-7) 10-5 victory over Thiem, while 20-time Grand Slam winner Federer, playing in his home country, claimed a 6-4 7-6 (7-3) win over Isner in Geneva.

Both sides had player withdrawals for injuries on the final day, with Rafael Nadal pulling out for Team Europe and Nick Kyrgios for Team World.

Nadal was supposed to partner Federer in the doubles and face Kyrgios in a singles tie.

The Spaniard was replaced by Tsitsipas in the doubles, while Thiem came in for him in the singles ties – in which Fritz stood in for Kyrgios.

Team World have yet to win the competition since its inception three years ago.

“I’m very proud of my team,” said Team Europe skipper Bjorn Borg. “I’m a very happy captain.”

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Tsonga Makes Metz History

  • Posted: Sep 22, 2019

Tsonga Makes Metz History

Frenchman lifts second title of 2019

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga became the first man to win four titles at the Moselle Open on Sunday, beating Aljaz Bedene 6-7(4), 7-6(4), 6-3.

The 34-year-old improved to 4-1 in championship matches at the ATP 250 event after two hours and 47 minutes, holding each of his 17 service games and dropping just four first-serve points (49/53) en route to victory. Tsonga becomes the ninth French champion in the past 11 editions of the tournament. Since Gael Monfils’ title run in 2009, David Goffin (2014) and Peter Gojowczyk (2017) are the only non-French players to lift the trophy in Metz.

“Mentally, I was very strong. I served really well when I needed to,” said Tsonga. “The match was not easy at all. Aljaz was playing really well and it was a long match, I am definitely happy to win here again.”

Metz Champions Since 2009

Year Champion Runner-up
2019 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga Aljaz Bedene
2018 Gilles Simon Matthias Bachinger
2017 Peter Gojowczyk Benoit Paire
2016 Lucas Pouille Dominic Thiem
2015 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga Gilles Simon
2014 David Goffin Joao Sousa
2013 Gilles Simon Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
2012 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga Andreas Seppi
2011 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga Ivan Ljubicic
2010 Gilles Simon Mischa Zverev
2009 Gael Monfils Philipp Kohlschreiber

Tsonga has now won 10 of his 18 ATP Tour trophies on home soil. The four-time Metz winner also owns three Marseille crowns (2009, ’13, ’17), alongside individual triumphs at the 2008 Rolex Paris Masters, 2017 Open Parc Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes Lyon and this year’s Open Sud de France. The victory comes one year after Tsonga returned to the ATP Tour in Metz, following a seven-month absence due to left knee surgery.

After a tight opening set, Bedene proved the more solid player in the tie-break. The 30-year-old sprinted into a commanding 4/0 lead, capitalising on a series of Tsonga forehand errors before pressuring the Frenchman with trips into the net to claim the set after 57 minutes.

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But Tsonga’s forehand proved to be the crucial factor in the following tie-break, as the Frenchman forced a decider with a series of powerful strikes to level the match. Tsonga carried that attacking mindset into the decider, winning the opening 14 points to charge into a 3-0 lead, before clinching the crown on his first championship point with a crosscourt forehand winner.

“It was a very difficult match. I stayed calm, focussed on doing the basics well and waited for the right moment to change the rallies,” said Tsonga.

Bedene was aiming to capture his maiden tour-level trophy in his fourth championship match. The Slovenian defeated two seeded opponents — Gilles Simon and Benoit Paire — to reach his first final since the Argentina Open last February.

“I only lost serve twice this week, so that is probably the best serving week of my career,” said Bedene. “I had chances today. I had a set, 4-3 and a break point. He served well and I picked the wrong side, but it was close and it could have gone either way. I am disappointed. I wanted to win, but I am also happy with the week.”

Tsonga earns 250 ATP Ranking points and collects €90,390 in prize money. Bedene receives 150 ATP Ranking points and receives €48,870.

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Team Europe Retains Laver Cup Title

  • Posted: Sep 22, 2019

Team Europe Retains Laver Cup Title

Zverev defeats Raonic, Federer defeats Isner on Sunday

Alexander Zverev won the final match for Team Europe in last year’s Laver Cup and put in a repeat effort on Sunday in Geneva. The German defeated Milos Raonic 6-4, 3-6, 10-4 to complete a successful title defence for the home team.

Team Europe defeated Team World 13-11 after three exciting days of play and has won the Laver Cup crown in all three years of the competition. Each winning team member will also receive $250,000.

“It was an unbelievable weekend. Those guys [Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal] were screaming at me in the locker room before the Match Tie-break, saying this is how I could turn my season around. Without all of these guys on the bench, I couldn’t have done it,” Zverev said. “This is very special, especially playing in front of those guys and having them trust me to play the last match.”

Zverev improved to 5-1 in singles, while Raonic fell to 0-2. He also tied his FedEx ATP Head2Head rivalry with Raonic at 2-2.

Zverev laced a forehand winner at 3-3 in the opening set to break Raonic and went on to take the early advantage. Raonic responded in the second set by breaking Zverev at 3-2, then bravely saved four break points on his serve at 5-3 to force a Match Tie-break.

But it was the Canadian who blinked first with the title on the line, hitting a pair of backhand errors to give Zverev a 5/2 advantage. The German nailed a forehand winner on match point and collapsed to the ground in delight after one hour and 29 minutes.

<a href=''>Alexander Zverev</a> defeats <a href=''>Milos Raonic</a> to win the <a href=''>Laver Cup</a> 

Federer kept Team Europe’s title defense alive with a 6-4, 7-6(3) victory over John Isner. Federer leads Isner 8-2 in their FedEx ATP Head2Head rivalry and has won both of their Laver Cup singles matches. The Swiss is undefeated (6-0) in singles at this event, while Isner dropped to 2-4. 

”I’m very excited. What an atmosphere and what a match. I’m thrilled that I was able to give something back to the team after a tough Match Tie-break (in doubles) earlier today,” Federer said. “Team Europe has been amazIng. They’ve fought so hard and played so well.” 

<a href=''>Roger Federer</a> celebrates beating <a href=''>John Isner</a> at the <a href=''>Laver Cup</a>

Federer came out firing and nailed a passing shot winner at 2-2 to earn the lone break of the match. The Swiss remained flawless on serve, winning 83 per cent of his service points (20/24) to grab the opening set.

Both players held serve throughout the second set, but Federer was forced to save a set point at 5-6. He raised his game even further in the tie-break, rifling a forehand winner for a 5/3 mini-break lead and hitting a big first serve to wrap up the match after one hour and 26 minutes.

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Earlier in the day, Team World staged a dramatic comeback as Isner/Jack Sock defeated Federer/Stefanos Tsitsipas and Taylor Fritz won a thrilling battle against Dominic Thiem.

It was also announced that the 2020 Laver Cup will be held in Boston. Team Europe captain Bjorn Borg and Team World captain John McEnroe confirmed that they will reprise their roles next year.

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London-Bound Medvedev Continues Tear With Another Title

  • Posted: Sep 22, 2019

London-Bound Medvedev Continues Tear With Another Title

Russian wins his sixth career title in St. Petersburg

Good luck trying to slow down Russian Daniil Medvedev en route to the Nitto ATP Finals this November. The 23-year-old Russian, who will make his debut at The O2 in London, won his third title of the season on Sunday, ousting Croatian Borna Coric 6-3, 6-1 at the St. Petersburg Open.

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Medvedev was playing in his fifth consecutive final after making title matches in Washington (l. to Kyrgios), Montreal (l. to Nadal), Cincinnati (d. Goffin) and the US Open (l. to Nadal) during the North American hard-court swing.

The World No. 4, who clinched his Nitto ATP Finals berth in New York, has won 24 of his past 27 matches and leads the ATP Tour in wins this season (54-17). His title in St. Petersburg is his first in his native Russia and the sixth of his career. Medvedev is the first Russian to win the St. Petersburg title since Mikhail Youzhny 15 years ago, in 2004.

Coric led their FedEx ATP Head2Head series 4-1, which included two indoor hard-court wins, at the 2018 Rolex Paris Masters and their maiden meeting, at the 2017 Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan. But Medvedev showed how much he has improved in the past couple years as he broke twice in the opening set against the 22-year-old Coric.

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The Croatian tried to keep Medvedev off balance, offering a steady dose of slices to both sides. But the Russian was too consistent and wasn’t bothered by any of it for too long. He broke twice more in the second set. Medvedev never faced a break point.

He will receive 250 ATP Rankings points and $203,410 in prize money. Coric, who was playing in his first final since the Rolex Shanghai Masters last October, will receive 150 ATP Rankings points and $109,990 in prize money.

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Fritz Stuns Thiem At Laver Cup

  • Posted: Sep 22, 2019

Fritz Stuns Thiem At Laver Cup

Isner/Sock shock Federer/Tsitsipas on Sunday

Team World is one match away from taking the Laver Cup after a pair of big wins on Sunday in Geneva. Taylor Fritz outlasted Dominic Thiem 7-5, 6-7(3), 10-5 and John Isner/Jack Sock rallied to defeat Roger Federer/Stefanos Tsitsipas 5-7, 6-4, 10-8, giving Team World an 11-7 lead over Team Europe.

“That was a big match for Team World. We really needed that win. To let my team down the first day and contribute to the team today and give them the win means so much to me,” Fritz said in his on-court interview. “This has to be one of the biggest wins of my career. You’re usually just playing for yourself, but it means so much when you’re playing for other people.”

The singles match was scheduled to be Rafael Nadal against Nick Kyrgios, but Nadal pulled out due to a wrist injury and Kyrgios withdrew due to a shoulder injury. Federer was also scheduled to team up with Nadal in doubles, but Tsitsipas stepped in at the last minute. Team World must now win both of the remaining singles matches on Sunday’s schedule to retain the Laver Cup. Federer takes on Isner and Alexander Zverev faces Milos Raonic.

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Fritz and Thiem traded comfortable holds throughout the first set, but a titanic game with Thiem serving at 5-6 saw Fritz convert on his fifth set point to grab the early advantage. There were no service breaks in the second set, but Federer and Nadal urged Thiem to play with more aggression and assert himself in the rallies.

“Find the right rhythm on your second serve,” Federer said. “Look for the baseline a little bit sooner in the rally if you can.”

The strategy worked as Thiem found a new gear in the second-set tie-break. An overhead winner and forehand winner gave the Austrian a 4/1 lead and he fired a forehand winner to force a Match Tie-break.

Thiem kept his momentum by winning the first two points of the Match Tie-break, but Fritz saved his best tennis for when it mattered most. A barrage of forehand winners and aggressive approaches saw Fritz win eight of the next nine points. The American laced a forehand winner on his second match point and charged over to his team to celebrate prevailing after exactly two hours of play.

<a href=''>Taylor Fritz</a> reacts at <a href=''>Laver Cup</a> 2019

The match marked Fritz’s first win in Laver Cup play. Thiem suffered his first singles loss at this event and dropped to 2-1 Fritz also improved to 1-2 in his FedEx ATP Head2Head rivalry with Thiem.

<a href=''>John Isner</a> and <a href=''>Jack Sock</a> celebrate at 2019 <a href=''>Laver Cup</a>

Federer and Tsitsipas quickly found their footing in their debut outing as a team, with the Swiss knocking off a volley winner on Sock’s serve at 6-5 to take the opening set. Isner/Sock regrouped and grabbed the lone break of the second at 1-1. Isner then fired an ace on Team World’s third set point to set up a Match Tie-break.

A backhand return from Isner at 4/4 gave the Americans a critical mini-break advantage and another strong serve from Isner wrapped up the win after one hour and 47 minutes.

“I like team atmospheres. I grew up playing sports,” Sock said. “I love a loud crowd, whether they are European or for us.”

Both Isner (2-0) and Sock (3-0) have gone undefeated this weekend. Isner is still unbeaten (3-0) in doubles at the Laver Cup, while Sock improved his doubles record to 7-2.

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Lindstedt/Struff Lift Maiden Team Trophy In Metz

  • Posted: Sep 22, 2019

Lindstedt/Struff Lift Maiden Team Trophy In Metz

Unseeded duo defeated three of top four seeded pairings

Robert Lindstedt and Jan-Lennard Struff capped their debut week as a team with a trophy at the Moselle Open on Sunday, beating Nicolas Mahut and Edouard Roger-Vasselin 2-6, 7-6(1), 10-4.

Lindstedt and Struff were forced to come from a set down against the defending champions, who saved all seven break points they faced to boost their hopes of a second straight Metz trophy. But the Swedish-German pairing played with confidence in crucial moments to claim the win against the top seeds after 89 minutes.

Lindstedt and Struff’s title hopes were almost ended in the second round, but the unseeded pairing managed to save three match points against Gilles Simon and Mischa Zverev in a second-set tie-break before prevailing in another Match Tie-break. Lindstedt and Struff’s remaining three wins all came against seeded teams, having also overcome second seeds Luke Bambridge and Ben McLachlan and fourth seeds Santiago Gonzalez and Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi en route to the championship match.

“I am very happy. It was a lot of fun to play with Robert. He is playing very good,” said Struff. “We worked very good as a team this week, with some tight matches earlier in the week… I am really happy that he played this week and I am very, very happy about the win.”

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Lindstedt has now captured 23 trophies from 48 tour-level finals. The former World No. 3 was appearing in his second ATP Tour championship match of the season after a runner-up finish at the Banque Eric Sturdza Geneva Open (w/Ebden) in May.

“It’s been a great week. I am really happy Struff asked me to play… It was a no-brainer for me to say yes,” said Lindstedt. “We had a really good first round with an unbelievable fight in the tie-break. Coming through such a tight match really helped us for the rest of the matches when the points were tight and we played our best tennis at that time.”

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Struff improves to 3-2 in ATP Tour doubles finals. The 29-year-old adds to trophies alongside McLachlan at last year’s Rakuten Japan Open Tennis Championships and the ASB Classic in January.

Mahut and Roger-Vasselin were both bidding to win their fourth titles in Metz. The Frenchmen have lifted the trophy as a team on two occasions (2012, ’18) and also earned two further tournament victories each alongside different partners. Mahut won back-to-back Metz trophies in 2003 (w/Benneteau) and 2004 (w/Clement), while Roger-Vasselin triumphed in 2015 (w/Kubot) and 2017 (w/Benneteau).

Lindstedt and Struff receive 250 ATP Doubles Ranking points and split €29,650 in prize money. Mahut and Roger-Vasselin earn 150 points and share €15,200.

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First-Time Team Zelenay/Sharan Win St. Petersburg Title

  • Posted: Sep 22, 2019

First-Time Team Zelenay/Sharan Win St. Petersburg Title

Slovakian/Indian pairing go 4-0 in Russia

Divij Sharan/Igor Zelenay might have to give this playing doubles together thing a try more often. The Indian/Slovakian pairing, playing together for the first time, won the St. Petersburg Open doubles title on Sunday, beating the all-Italian squad of Matteo Berrettini/Simone Bolelli 6-3, 3-6, 10-8.

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The Italians broke twice in the opener, but Sharan/Zelenay rebounded with a late break in the second and captured their first match point in the Match Tie-break. The team moved to 4-0.

“I really like this tournament,” Sharan said. “It’s great to have lifted the title here.”

Sharan improved to 5-2 in doubles finals, and Zelenay won his first ATP Tour doubles title (1-4). They will receive 250 ATP Doubles Rankings points and split $66,740 in prize money.

“It’s a great feeling because this is my first ATP title. So I was waiting too long for it,” Zelenay said. “We played well all week.

Berrettini/Bolelli were also playing in their first ATP Tour doubles final as a team. Berrettini fell to 2-1 in doubles finals, having won the St. Petersburg title last year with countryman Fabio Fognini and the 2018 Gstaad crown with Italy’s Daniele Bracciali. Bolelli is now 6-6 in ATP Tour doubles finals.

Berrettini/Bolelli will receive 150 ATP Doubles Rankings points and split $34,200 in prize money.

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Murray Trophy: Jamie Murray & John-Patrick Smith lose in doubles final

  • Posted: Sep 22, 2019

Top seeds Jamie Murray and John-Patrick Smith lost in the doubles final of the inaugural Murray Trophy in Glasgow to Ruben Bemelmans and Daniel Masur.

The Belgian-German pair prevailed 4-6 6-3 10-8, sealing victory via a champions tie-break.

Murray, playing with Australian Smith, was the last Briton remaining in the seven-day ATP Challenger tournament he has worked with the LTA to curate.

“It’s been an amazing week of tennis,” the 33-year-old said.

“I wanted to give people the chance to come out and watch tennis in Scotland and get to experience a live professional tennis event.

“I’m disappointed to lose the final but the guys played well, came back strong in the second set and held their nerve well in the tie-break. It was a good level match.”

Later on Sunday, Finland’s Emil Ruusuvuori beat Frenchman Alexandre Muller 6-3 6-1 to win the singles title and claim his third ATP crown of the season.

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Murray doubts he can return to 'very best' after hip surgery

  • Posted: Sep 22, 2019

Britain’s Andy Murray said it would be “naive” and “silly” to think he will ever return to his “very best” following hip surgery.

Murray, 32, has mainly competed in doubles matches this year, and is now playing “pain-free” following career-saving treatment in January.

The three-time Grand Slam champion continues his singles comeback at the Zhuhai Championships in China.

“I’m not expecting to get back to my very best,” he said.

“I think it would be probably a bit naive and silly to think that would be the case.

“I do feel like tennis-wise I can still compete at the highest level in terms of my skill, it’s just whether physically I can get to a high enough level to be competitive right at the top.”

  • Murray makes winning return in doubles at Queen’s
  • Andy Murray column: Hard work starts now for possible singles return

The Scot faces world number 72 Tennys Sandgren in the first round in Guangdong on Tuesday – the first of three tournaments in China in as many weeks – as he steps up his bid to recapture his singles form.

The former world number one, now ranked 413th, admits he still has “quite a way to go” but is “enjoying” his comeback and if he “stops improving” he will make a call on his future.

Murray, who made the quarter-finals of the Cincinnati Masters doubles with partner Feliciano Lopez last month, added: “Tennis has always been a huge part of my life, but I realised that actually my health was the most important thing for a happy life and I had always been worried about what life might look like after tennis, but now I’m not worried.

“I had a glimpse these last few months and it was brilliant – hanging out with friends and family, and it was great. “

After Zhuhai, Murray is set to compete in the China Open in Beijing and the Shanghai Masters, before he returns to Europe to take part in the European Open in Antwerp, which begins on 13 October.

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Murray: 'I Don't Know How Far I'm Going To Get On My Comeback'

  • Posted: Sep 22, 2019

Murray: ‘I Don’t Know How Far I’m Going To Get On My Comeback’

Scot will face Sandgren for the second time in a month in the first round

Andy Murray has reached the highest highs that tennis has to offer, climbing to No. 1 in the ATP Rankings, winning 45 tour-level titles and plenty more. But now, eight months on from hip surgery, the 32-year-old is World No. 413, and he knows he has a long way to go to regain his best form.

“Physically I need to improve if I want to compete consistently at this level whereas, before, I was competing and I was uncomfortable, but I was still playing at quite a high level,” Murray said. “I don’t know how far I’m going to be able to get now on my comeback. I don’t know how much improving I still have to do or if I’m going to be able to. But I’m in no pain just now, so I might as well give it a shot and see how far I will go with the recovery.”

Murray starts a busy month at the inaugural Huajin Securities Zhuhai Championships, the first of four tournaments he will play in four weeks. After this event, the Scot will travel to Beijing, Shanghai and Antwerp to get in as many matches as he can just more than one month after Cincinnati, where he played his first singles match since his hip surgery.

“I think before two or three years ago, I wouldn’t have entered four tournaments in a row because I would have expected to do well in tournaments. Over here in China I’ve always played pretty well, so I wouldn’t have done that in the past. But the position I’m in now is different. I’m not playing at the same level as I was three years ago, and physically I still need to improve,” Murray said. “So between now and the end of the year, I need to play matches and I’m not guaranteed to win matches every single week and I could draw the top seeds in the first round.

“When I’m at the events I get good practice with top players, so my body is getting used to playing at this pace again and this level again… I’d like to try to get 12 to 15 matches between now and the end of the year so my body gets used to competing and playing matches consistently again. I hadn’t done that for two years. It’s been a really long time, so it takes time for your body to build up.”

<a href=''>Andy Murray</a>

Results have not come easily for Murray since his singles return at the Western & Southern Open. Frenchman Richard Gasquet defeated him there in two sets before American Tennys Sandgren, his first-round opponent in Zhuhai, ousted him in straight sets at the Winston-Salem Open.

Murray then competed at an ATP Challenger Tour event for the first time since 2005, reaching the third round of the Rafa Nadal Open by Sotheby’s, held in Mallorca. The Scot showed his grit against Italian Matteo Viola — who went on to make the final — but ultimately fell in a final-set tie-break.

“The second match I played there was quite good. I beat a player ranked 120 in the world in two sets, which was a pretty good win. Then the third match, physically I struggled a lot in that match,” Murray said. “I felt like I was hitting the ball better in the matches [in Spain] than I did over in the States. In terms of that, that was positive.

“I think physically I still have a lot of improving to do if I want to get back to competing on the Tour at the highest level because it showed there that I wasn’t quite ready to play many matches in a row.”

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Although this is the first edition of this ATP 250 event, Murray has long enjoyed success in China, where he has won five titles. Four of the Top 15 players in the ATP Rankings are in the draw in Zhuhai, a tournament Murray has taken a liking to before the first ball has even been struck.

“I really, really like it… it’s a really nice facility for the players. I think the centre court is a nice stadium, the gym, the food on site is really good. It’s very close to the courts. The hotel is obviously a very nice hotel that we get to stay at,” Murray said. “Here everything is very convenient. It’s nice. I’ve liked it so far.”

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