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Ferrer To Become Barcelona Tournament Director

  • Posted: Sep 25, 2019

Ferrer To Become Barcelona Tournament Director

Spanish legend to stay involved on the ATP Tour

David Ferrer said that when he retired in May, he would stay involved in tennis; he just didn’t know how. It didn’t take long for him to decide.

The former World No. 3 on Wednesday was named the Tournament Director at the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell, succeeding former Spanish great and 2002 Roland Garros champion Albert Costa in the role.

Costa, who won 12 tour-level titles as a player, has served as the tournament director for the past 11 years at the ATP 500 and is taking a position with Davis Cup.

<a href=''>David Ferrer</a> reacts during his retirement ceremony in Madrid.

It has been an honour to have directed this great tournament, without a doubt the one I love the most because I also had the opportunity to win it on one occasion. That Monday when I lifted the trophy on the centre court of the RCTB, which we now call the Rafa Nadal court, will always be in my memory,” Costa said.

From these 11 years, I have great memories, like seeing Rafa Nadal win eight times here. It has been something extraordinary. I want to thank the two boards of directors for the trust they have had in me and, above all, the phenomenal professional team behind them.”

Ferrer competed in the 2019 edition of the Barcelona tournament, falling to 11-time champion Nadal in the third round. The 37-year-old Ferrer retired at the Mutua Madrid Open after falling to Alexander Zverev and was honoured with an emotional on-court tribute.

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Ferrer won 27 tour-level titles, including the 2012 Rolex Paris Masters, his biggest title, and he finished inside the Top 20 11 consecutive seasons.

Taking over the sports direction of the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell is an unimaginable achievement and a great exciting challenge in my life as an athlete and tennis lover,” said Ferrer, who fell to Nadal in all four of his Barcelona finals. “It is a double challenge to give continuity and evolve the professional legacy given by my friend Albert Costa, whom I can only congratulate and thank for his valuable collaboration in the transition.”

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Read & Watch: Bublik Surprises With Underarm Serve In Chengdu

  • Posted: Sep 25, 2019

Read & Watch: Bublik Surprises With Underarm Serve In Chengdu

Both Bublik, Fritz left laughing after the entertaining point

It wasn’t the first time Alexander Bublik deployed his underarm serve, but it was definitely one of the funniest times.

The Kazakh, facing Taylor Fritz at the Chengdu Open on Wednesday, was serving 4-6, 7-5, 2-2, 40/0 when he tried to catch the American off guard with the quick underarm motion.

Fritz, however, was not fooled, and rushed forward, hitting an aggressive backhand at Bublik. An entertaining rally ensued, and, during the changeover, both players were left laughing at the exchange.

Most recently, Bublik hit an underarm serve match point down against John Isner in July in the Hall of Fame Open final.

Watch Hot Shot: Bublik Hits Underarm Serve In Chengdu

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Read & Watch: Felix, Dimitrov, Garin Visit Panda Base In Chengdu

  • Posted: Sep 25, 2019

Read & Watch: Felix, Dimitrov, Garin Visit Panda Base In Chengdu

Auger-Aliassime: ‘Definitely a must-see if you’re in the region’

Felix Auger-Aliassime, Grigor Dimitrov and Cristian Garin took part in a Chengdu Open tradition by visiting the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding. 

“It was good. It was the first time here and seeing pandas,” said Auger-Aliassime, the No. 2 seed at the ATP 250 tournament. “I got to see different types as well, even the newborns. Overall, it’s a good day. Definitely a must-see if you’re in the region.”

The players enjoyed a stroll through the forest and caught glimpses of several large pandas lounging on their tree platforms and chewing bamboo, prompting the trio to take numerous photos, videos and selfies. Two baby pandas were on their morning run and were seen cuddling with each other in the light rain. They also saw several red pandas, two of which were playfully fighting with each other and putting on a show for the visitors.

You May Also Like: Read & Watch: Felix, Hyeon Go Back To School In Chengdu

“I’ve never seen red pandas that close,” said Dimitrov, who had previously visited the Chengdu Panda Base in 2016. “I’ve been here before but seeing them that close – it was pretty different, I’m not going to lie. I almost felt like a part of them. I wish we could actually go in and touch them, but I don’t know if it’s a great idea. It was a great way to start the day.”

An official guide was on hand to offer interesting facts about the heritage and habits of the creatures.

“It’s my first time seeing the pandas,” added Garin. “It’s amazing, doesn’t look real. I’m very happy to be here and hear the crazy story of these animals. It’s very beautiful here.”

Auger-Aliassime and Dimitrov both open their Chengdu Open campaigns on Thursday. The 19-year-old Auger-Aliassime, who is currently second in the ATP Race To Milan, will face Portugal’s Joao Sousa as he looks to reach the Chengdu quarter-finals for a second straight year. Fourth seed Dimitrov, playing in his first tournament since upsetting Roger Federer en route to the US Open semi-finals, will meet Great Britain’s Daniel Evans.

Watch: Dimitrov, Lajovic Go On Jinjiang River Cruise

Earlier this week, Dimitrov also joined Serbian Dusan Lajovic on a scenic cruise on the Jinjiang River through the Chengdu city centre. The night cruise ferries passengers on old-style wooden boats and offers them a glimpse of iconic sights in the city, including the 339 TV Tower, the Lan Kwai Fong nightlife district and Hejiang Pavilion.

“Exploring all this is marvelous I would say,” he said. “I didn’t expect that at all. Especially when we stopped to take a picture at the bridge, then all of a sudden these animations came out on the walls. It’s pretty intriguing too. We travel a lot and often to the same places every year so it’s nice to get a different feel for the cities that we go to and explore more and more. It will be nice to come back with friends and family.”

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How Sword-Swallowing & Virtual Reality Helped Coric & Tsitsipas Prep For Zhuhai

  • Posted: Sep 25, 2019

How Sword-Swallowing & Virtual Reality Helped Coric & Tsitsipas Prep For Zhuhai

Tsitsipas is the top seed and Coric the fourth seed at this ATP 250 event

Typically it’s the stars of the ATP Tour who entertain a city’s people at tournaments throughout the world. But on Wednesday, a Zhuhai attraction entertained top seed Stefanos Tsitsipas and fourth seed Borna Coric ahead of their debuts at the Huajin Securities Zhuhai Championships.

The Top 15 stars visited Lionsgate Entertainment World, a new theme park in Zhuhai where visitors can enjoy virtual reality experiences. And not only that, but the two former Next Gen ATP Finals qualifiers watched as an entertainer swallowed a sword and a metal ball.

“I was actually shocked. I’ve seen that on YouTube but I never thought I would be able to see it live,” Tsitsipas said. “This man, I can say he has guts.”

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Coric had never been to a place like this before. But the Croatian, who faces Chinese wild card Di Wu in the second round on Thursday, was stunned by what he saw.

“This was definitely one of the most cool experiences I’ve ever done. All of these things, the ball and the sword, I never thought I’m going to see something like that,” Coric said. “I can say that it was pretty awesome and I enjoyed my time there.”

As the pair toured the facility, they partook in various virtual reality activities in which they made motions that were replicated in a game. In one case, they hopped on a motorbike that remained still, but virtual reality goggles made it feel as if they were actually riding around.

Coric Tsitsipas

“I really liked the experience of the VR. In some parts I thought it was a bit blurry, but despite that it was still a very nice way to feel things from a different perspective,” Tsitsipas said. “The motorbikes made it feel super realistic, all the vibrations and all the movements. I might try it again in the future.”

It wasn’t the first time Tsitsipas had tried his hand at virtual reality. But before he plays Frenchman Adrian Mannarino for a spot in the Zhuhai quarter-finals, this year’s Marseille and Estoril champion was happy to get out into the city and have fun with the experience.

“Our sport is a virtual reality itself, so I play it every single day of my life,” Tsitsipas said. “But I’ve tried it in the past a couple of times. It’s interesting to experience things that are virtual and you don’t have access to them, so I actually like it.”

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Read & Watch: Airborne Monfils Delivers Hot Shot Show In Zhuhai

  • Posted: Sep 25, 2019

Read & Watch: Airborne Monfils Delivers Hot Shot Show In Zhuhai

Frenchman did it all en route to the ATP 250 QF

World-class defence. Airborne smashes. Never-say-die attitude.

Gael Monfils had it all working on Wednesday during his 5-7, 6-3, 6-4 win against Cameron Norrie at the Huajin Securities Zhuhai Championships. The Frenchman started slowly and had to adjust to the conditions in his first match at the ATP 250. But he found a way, and he put on a show in the process. Read Report

Watch Hot Shot: Monfils Goes Airborne For Smash

Watch Hot Shot: How Many Metres Does Monfils Cover In This Point?

Watch Hot Shot: Monfils Shows Off Speed With ‘Outrageous Gets’

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Cameron Norrie beaten by Gael Monfils in Zhuhai Championships

  • Posted: Sep 25, 2019

British number three Cameron Norrie was beaten by France’s Gael Monfils in the second round of the Zhuhai Championships in China.

Third seed Monfils, 33, won 5-7 6-3 6-4 and will play Spain’s Albert Ramos Vinolas in the quarter-finals.

Australian sixth seed Nick Kyrgios lost his first-round match to world 74 Andreas Seppi 7-6 (7-5) 6-1.

Britain’s three-time Grand Slam champion Andy Murray faces Australian Alex de Minaur on Thursday.

Former world number one Murray recorded his first singles victory at Tour level since January by beating American Tennys Sandgren in the first round.

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Tsitsipas: 'My Goal Was & Is To Make It To London'

  • Posted: Sep 25, 2019

Tsitsipas: ‘My Goal Was & Is To Make It To London’

Greek star is the top seed in Zhuhai

Stefanos Tsitsipas finished 2018 with a bang, claiming the Next Gen ATP Finals crown. That helped him finish the season No. 15 in the ATP Rankings, and it didn’t take the Greek star long to dream even bigger.

“My goal was to make it to London and it still is to make it to London,” Tsitsipas said of his 2019 aspirations. “But if you would have told me that I’m No. 6 in the Race… obviously I would be happy to know that I would be in that position. But I have plenty of things to prove until then.”

Tsitsipas arrives at the Huajin Securities Zhuhai Championships on a four-match losing streak at tour-level tournaments. So the 21-year-old knows that even though he is in sixth place in the ATP Race To London, he has to finish the season strong, starting here in Zhuhai.

“First I need to do well to qualify. It would mean a lot of things to me if I could qualify,” Tsitsipas said. “I really hope I make it.”

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Tsitsipas showed good form to start his North American hard-court summer at the Citi Open, where he made the semi-finals only to lose to Nick Kyrgios in a final-set tie-break. But three-set losses in his Montreal and Cincinnati openers followed by a four-set defeat in the first round of the US Open brought that momentum to a halt.

“I didn’t really have great results since [the]… beginning of August, I didn’t do much,” Tsitsipas said. “I hope to make a few changes and adapt to the new changes that I’ve made in my game in order to perform better and not be so tight and so close with the London entry.”

Tsitsipas is not making any major changes to his game during this Asian Swing. It’s not as if he hasn’t had a strong year: winning titles in Marseille and Estoril, reaching finals in Dubai and Madrid as well as another ATP Masters 1000 semi-final in Rome. But the top seed in Zhuhai wants to make slight adjustments to get back on track.

“[I need to make] technical changes and micro-adjustments that might be invisible but it’s also [about] my way of thinking on the court,” Tsitsipas said.

When Tsitsipas competed in China one year ago, a fan gave him what has become a ‘lucky figure’ with his name on it, which he keeps on the outside of his bag. Tsitsipas always feels the love in Asia, and he’s excited to be back in this part of the world again, as well as for the fan support in Zhuhai.

“[I’m going to bring] my best performance, my best behaviour, attitude on the court and the best version of Stefanos,” Tsitsipas said. “So I would appreciate it if this would spread out and have a lot of tennis fans come out to the centre court to back me up.”

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Kwon, Seppi Cause Upsets In Zhuhai

  • Posted: Sep 25, 2019

Kwon, Seppi Cause Upsets In Zhuhai

Pouille, Kyrgios lose early

France’s Lucas Pouille and Australia’s Nick Kyrgios both made first-round exits on Wednesday at the Huajin Securities Zhuhai Championships.

South Korean qualifier Soonwoo Kwon lost six of his first-service points (35/41) to account for fifth seed Pouille 7-6(4), 6-2 in one hour and 32 minutes. Kwon, who broke into the Top 100 of the ATP Rankings on 5 August and is now 6-5 on the season, will now play Bosnia and Herzegovina qualifier Damir Dzumhur.

Andreas Seppi avenged February’s Acapulco loss to sixth seed Kyrgios with a 7-6(5), 6-1 win over 64 minutes. Kyrgios led 4-1 in the first set and could not convert three set points at 5-3. Seppi, who hit eight aces and is now 15-21 on the year, will next play Chinese wild card Zhizhen Zhang.

You May Also Like: Zhang & Wu: The Chinese ‘Brothers’ Making Noise In Zhuhai

Spain’s Albert Ramos-Vinolas saved four set points in the first set en route to a 7-6(2), 6-3 win over Miomir Kecmanovic of Serbia in one hour and 43 minutes for a place in the quarter-finals. Kecmanovic had served for the first set at 5-4, leading 40/0.

Ramos-Vinolas will next play third-seeded Frenchman Gael Monfils or Cameron Norrie of Great Britain, who play during Wednesday’s night session.

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Nitto ATP Finals Contenders Rojer/Tecau Advance To Quarter-finals
Top seeds Jean-Julien Rojer and Horia Tecau, who have compiled a 19-8 record in tour-level team finals, overcame Kyrgios and Matt Reid 6-3, 3-6, 10-7 in 57 minutes for a place in the quarter-finals. Rojer and Tecau are currently in sixth position in the 2019 ATP Doubles Race To London for a spot at the Nitto ATP Finals, to be held at The O2 from 10-17 November.

Second seeds Luke Bambridge and Ben McLachlan beat Divij Sharan and Artem Sitak 7-6(2), 6-4, while third seeds Marcus Daniell and Philipp Oswald swept past Di Wu and Zhang 6-2, 6-1 in 50 minutes.

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Shapovalov Moves Into Chengdu Second Round; Sousa, Bublik Advance

  • Posted: Sep 25, 2019

Shapovalov Moves Into Chengdu Second Round; Sousa, Bublik Advance

Thompson comes through tense finale against Pospisil

Denis Shapovalov saved all nine break points he faced in a solid service performance against Ricardas Berankis on Wednesday at the Chengdu Open. The eighth-seeded Canadian, who struck 16 aces to beat Berankis 6-4, 6-3 in 72 minutes for a place in the second round, is currently in fourth position in the 2019 ATP Race To Milan for a spot at the Next Gen ATP Finals in November. Shapovalov will next face American qualifier Bradley Klahn.

You May Also Like: Read & Watch: Felix, Dimitrov, Garin Visit Panda Base In Chengdu

Earlier in the day, Portugal’s Joao Sousa worked his way back from a fast start by wild card Hyeon Chung to record a 1-6, 6-3, 6-4 victory. Last week’s St. Petersburg Open semi-finalist will face second-seeded Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime. Chung, the 2017 Next Gen ATP Finals champion, was playing only his second tour-level event since February due to a back injury.

“It was a great match,” said Sousa. “He started very well and very aggressive while I was trying a little bit to get used to the conditions here. I didn’t have much time since arriving from St. Petersburg so it was a little bit tough for me in the beginning. But after that I was able to change a little bit tactically and I was more aggressive and I was able to win.” 

Watch Hot Shot: Athletic Bublik Hits Underarm Serve

Watch Hot Shot: Bublik’s Brilliant Volley At Chengdu 2019

Kazakhstan’s Alexander Bublik struck 25 aces and won 83 per cent of his first-service points to grind past sixth-seeded American Taylor Fritz, this year’s Nature Valley International champion, 4-6, 7-5, 7-5 in one hour and 46 minutes.He will now challenge Australia’s Jordan Thompson, who led Vasek Pospisil of Canada 4-1 in the deciding set before holding on for a 6-3, 3-6, 7-5 win in two hours and 29 minutes. 

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Comedians apologise for Osaka 'bleach' remark

  • Posted: Sep 25, 2019

A Japanese comedy duo have apologised after they reportedly said Australian Open champion Naomi Osaka “needed some bleach” during a live event.

Japanese Osaka, 21, won her first Pan Pacific Open title in her hometown Osaka on Sunday – her first trophy since January’s Melbourne win.

The duo, known as ‘A Masso’, also reportedly said “she is too sunburned”.

Their management company, Watanabe Entertainment, says they have been severely warned following the remarks.

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Both women apologised for making “inappropriate, hurtful remarks”, though they did not name two-time Grand Slam winner Osaka.

“We sincerely apologise for making the specific person feel uncomfortable, as well as for everyone else connected to the event,” comedian Ai Murakami said.

“We also sincerely apologise for causing trouble. Though we should have thought about it, we made remarks that hurt many people, something we will never do again.”

In January, Japanese noodle company Nissin was accused of “whitewashing” the mixed-race Osaka in a manga drawing.

Former world number one Osaka is Haitian-Japanese and was born in Japan before moving to the United States when she was young.

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