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Djokovic, Nadal, Federer, Murray Reunite In Shanghai; When Is The Draw & More

  • Posted: Oct 02, 2019

Djokovic, Nadal, Federer, Murray Reunite In Shanghai; When Is The Draw & More

All about the ATP Masters 1000 tennis tournament in Shanghai

The Big Four – Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Andy Murray – reunite at the 2019 Rolex Shanghai Masters. Djokovic, Federer and Murray have combined to win all but the first edition of this ATP Masters 1000 tournament, the final stop of the three-week Asian swing. Nadal, a two-time finalist, will be going for a record-extending 36th Masters 1000 title as he aims to increase his lead over Djokovic in the battle for year-end No. 1.

Daniil Medvedev reached back-to-back Masters 1000 finals in the lead to the US Open, finishing runner-up to Nadal in Montreal and triumphing in Cincinnati (d. Goffin), and looks to continue his impressive run in Shanghai. A few weeks ago at the St. Petersburg Open, Medvedev became just the fifth active player to reach five consecutive finals, joining the Big Four.

Nitto ATP Finals hopefuls will look to gain up to 1,000 ATP Race To London points in Shanghai. BNP Paribas Open champion Dominic Thiem, who would qualify should he reach the Beijing final this week, is currently fifth in the Race standings, followed by Stefanos Tsitsipas, Roberto Bautista Agut and Matteo Berrettini. Defending champion Alexander Zverev will look to gain ground with a strong finish in Asia.

Here’s all you need to know about the Shanghai tennis tournament: what is the schedule, where to watch, who has won and more. 

You May Also Like: A Look Back At The 2018 Rolex Shanghai Masters

Established: 2009

Tournament Dates: 6-13 October 2019

Tournament Director: Michael A. Luevano

Draw Ceremony: Saturday, 5 October at 10:30am

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Schedule (View On Official Website)
* Qualifying: starts Saturday, 5 October at 12:00pm
* Main draw: Sunday at 12:00pm, Monday – Friday at 12:30pm and 6:30pm, Saturday at 1:30pm and 8:00pm
* Doubles final: Sunday, 13 October at 1:30pm
* Singles final: Sunday, 13 October not before 4:30pm

How To Watch
Watch Live On Tennis TV 
TV Schedule

Venue: Qi Zhong Tennis Center
Main Court Seating: 13,880

Prize Money: US $7,473,620 (Total Financial Commitment: US $8,322,885)  

Tickets On Sale: Buy Now

View Who Is Playing, Past Champions, Seeds, Points & Prize Money Breakdown

Honour Roll (Open Era)
Most Titles, Singles: Novak Djokovic (4)
Most Titles, Doubles: Marcelo Melo (3)
Oldest Champion: Roger Federer, 36, in 2017
Youngest Champion: Andy Murray, 23, in 2010
Lowest-Ranked Champion: No. 8 Nikolay Davydenko in 2009
Most Match Wins: Novak Djokovic (32)

2018 Finals
Singles: [2] Novak Djokovic (SRB) d [13] Borna Coric (CRO) 63 64   Read & Watch
Doubles: [3] Lukasz Kubot (POL) / Marcelo Melo (BRA) d [6] Jamie Murray (GBR) / Bruno Soares (BRA) 64 62  Read & Watch 

Hashtag: #RolexSHMasters
Facebook: @RolexSHMasters
Twitter: @SH_RolexMasters
Instagram: @1rolexshmasters

Did You Know… In its first five years, 2009-2013, the Rolex Shanghai Masters was named ATP Masters 1000 Tournament of the Year, as voted by ATP players. Before the Rolex Shanghai Masters, Qi Zhong Stadium hosted the season finale, the Tennis Masters Cup, from 2005-08. David Nalbandian prevailed in five sets against Roger Federer in the 2005 final. The Swiss won the title the next two years, followed by Novak Djokovic.  

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Here's When To Pick Berrettini's First Serve Over Isner, Kyrgios & Federer

  • Posted: Oct 02, 2019

Here’s When To Pick Berrettini’s First Serve Over Isner, Kyrgios & Federer

Infosys ATP Beyond The Numbers shows how the Italian brings his best when facing the pressure of a break point on serve

Matteo Berrettini’s first serve is one of the best on Tour. When facing break point, his big hammer simply has no peer.

An Infosys ATP Beyond The Numbers of the 10 best performers so far in 2019 with first-serve points won identifies that the 23-year-old Italian comes in a very respectable eighth best, winning 78.68 per cent (1993/2533) of first-serve points. But when facing break point, his win percentage jumps up 6.58 percentage points to 84.87 per cent (129/152). That improvement is head and shoulders above his competition.

Top 10 Category: First-Serve Points Won; Comparison Of Break Points vs All Other Points



First-Serve Win % – Break Point

First-Serve Win % – All Other Point Scores

Percentage Point +/-


Matteo Berrettini




2 Jan-Lennard Struff 80.00% 78.64% 1.36


John Isner




4 Roger Federer 78.99% 78.82% 0.17
5 Nick Kyrgios 78.79% 79.39% 0.60


Milos Raonic





Benoit Paire 74.12% 77.93% -3.81


Jo-Wilfried Tsonga

76.79% 80.66% .-3.87


Taylor Fritz 73.08% 77.05% -3.97


Reilly Opelka




Berrettini’s sizable jump of 6.58 percentage points is in stark contrast to the rest of the players in the group. The other nine players averaged a 2.06 percentage-point decrease in first-serve points won at break point compared to all other point scores.

When Berrettini reached the semi-finals of the 2019 US Open, his first Grand Slam semi-final, his ability to elevate first-serve performance around break points was clearly on show.

2019 US Open Berrettini First-Serve Performance
Break Points Saved With First Serve = 86.11% (31/36)
All Other Point Scores = 75.25% (307/408)

The Italian rose one spot last week in the ATP Race To London and currently sits in eighth position, with 2,185 points, only five points ahead of ninth-placed Kei Nishikori. But if Berrettini can hold onto that position or improve it in the next four weeks, he will make his debut at the Nitto ATP Finals, to be held 10-17 November at The O2 in London.

Editor’s note: Craig O’Shannessy has worked with Matteo Berrettini as part of an association with the Italian Tennis Federation.

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Fan Gives Andy Murray Mysterious Gift In Beijing

  • Posted: Oct 02, 2019

Fan Gives Andy Murray Mysterious Gift In Beijing

Scot to face Thiem on Friday in Beijing

Former World No. 1 Andy Murray won consecutive matches for the first time in more than 12 months on Wednesday. Off the court, he also experienced a first this week at the China Open in Beijing.

Murray was gifted a “fish fossil”, at least that’s what he thinks it was.

“I got given the other day like a fish fossil. That’s what it was, wasn’t it? It was really, really old. I don’t know how old. I got given that,” Murray said when asked if he’d been given any gifts by fans. “It was just pretty thoughtful. I’ve never been given that before, anything like that.”

Players leave the ATP Tour’s Asian Swing with some cultural experiences, a few wins and losses and usually, as Murray noted, unusual gifts.

“It’s not the case at any of the other tournaments we play at, when we play in Europe and stuff, the fans don’t tend to give gifts. Here, most years you get given a few things to take home,” Murray said.

You May Also Like: De Minaur, Baby Shark & Players’ Love For Zhuhai Fans

Last week in Zhuhai, champion Alex de Minaur received a rabbit that he could wear on his head, and did in a video he shared on social media.

“I actually really like playing here. I think the fans here in China are like nowhere else. They’re really loud. I don’t think anywhere else I get given gifts by the fans,” De Minaur said. “So I really enjoy playing here and it’s always a special feeling once you come out here and you’re able to perform and play at a good level and get the win in front of these fans.”

Murray, who last won back-to-back matches in September 2018 in Shenzhen, will try to follow De Minaur’s lead and make his fans happy by winning the China Open title. The Scot faces top seed and World No. 5 Dominic Thiem on Friday for a place in the ATP 500 semi-finals.

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Skupski/Murray Upset Top Seeds Cabal/Farah In Beijing

  • Posted: Oct 02, 2019

Skupski/Murray Upset Top Seeds Cabal/Farah In Beijing

Britons looking to finish debut season together strong

Jamie Murray/Neal Skupski earned one of the biggest wins of their new partnership on Wednesday, upsetting top seeds Juan Sebastian Cabal/Robert Farah of Colombia 6-4, 6-2 at the China Open in Beijing.

Cabal/Farah, the reigning Wimbledon and US Open champions, had won 11 of their past 12 matches, dating back to the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati in August, where they finished runner-up before winning their second consecutive major title in New York.

But Murray/Skupski, who joined forces in June, knocked off the No. 1 team in the ATP Doubles Race To London, converting five of six break points to reach the ATP 500 semi-finals. Murray/Skupski fell to the Colombians in the semi-finals of the US Open.

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The Britons will next meet the winner of Ivan Dodig/Filip Polasek and Fabio Fognini/Dominic Thiem. Murray/Skupski, despite their late start to the season, have an outside chance of qualifying for the Nitto ATP Finals, to be held 10-17 November at The O2 in London. Murray/Skupski are currently in 17th place, with 1,540 points, 1,030 points behind Rajeev Ram/Joe Salisbury (2,570), who hold the eighth and final qualification spot.

In the only other doubles match of the day, Russians Karen Khachanov/Andrey Rublev ousted John Isner/Alexander Zverev 6-4, 3-6, 10-8 and will meet the winner of Chinese wild cards Mao-Xin Gong/Ze Zhang and second seeds Lukasz Kubot/Marcelo Melo. Kubot/Melo are second in the Doubles Race, with 3,445 points, and are next in line to qualify.

Bopanna/Shapovalov Battle Past 2017 Champ Uchiyama & Martin In Tokyo
Rohan Bopanna and Denis Shapovalov got off to a good start in their doubles campaign at the Rakuten Japan Open Tennis Championships in Tokyo, ousting 2017 champion Yasutaka Uchiyama and his partner Fabrice Martin 6-3, 7-6(3) after one hour and 21 minutes.

Although Uchiyama was the home favourite as a Japanese player, fans cheered loudly throughout for both teams, creating for an exciting atmosphere under the lights of Rakuten Card Arena.

“The fans are amazing here,” Shapovalov said. “We played a guy from Japan, [but] we still had a lot of people cheering for us. For me especially, I feel like it’s really important for my game, it really pumps me up and keeps me in it and it’s the same for Rohan, I’m sure.”

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Bopanna and Shapovalov fell behind 0/3 in the second-set tie-break after failing to serve out the match at 6-5. But they reeled off seven consecutive points to advance to the quarter-finals. And the fans made sure to stick around to show them their appreciation.

“I think it’s fantastic to always play with a good atmosphere, especially when you play somebody from their own country. They want people to come out and watch,” Bopanna said. “I think it was a good match for us.”

You May Also Like: Read & Watch: Thiem Moves Closer To London Qualification

Shapovalov will have to play two matches — one singles and one doubles — on Thursday as he attempts to keep his hopes alive in both draws. In singles, he will face 2017 Tokyo champion David Goffin, and in doubles, the Canadian-Indian duo will battle Nikola Mektic and Franko Skugor, who eliminated top seeds Marcel Granollers and Horacio Zeballos in the first round.

“I’m young, so I’m ready to go,” Shapovalov said, cracking a laugh.

In the other doubles match of the day, second seeds Nicolas Mahut and Edouard Roger-Vasselin moved past Divij Sharan and Artem Sitak 7-6(5), 6-3. The Frenchmen will play fourth seeds Mate Pavic/Bruno Soares or Dominic Inglot/Austin Krajicek for a place in the last four.

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Thiem Moves Closer To London Qualification

  • Posted: Oct 02, 2019

Thiem Moves Closer To London Qualification

Austrian to face Murray for place in SF

Dominic Thiem’s final push for another Nitto ATP Finals appearance continued with comfort on Wednesday. The 26-year-old Austrian knocked out home favourite Zhizhen Zhang 6-3, 6-3 to make the China Open quarter-finals in Beijing.

Thiem needs to reach the ATP 500 final to guarantee his spot for a fourth consecutive year at the season-ending championships, to be held 10-17 November at The O2 in London. He is currently in fifth place in the ATP Race To London (3,935 points), next in line to qualify as the Race leaders – Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Daniil Medvedev – have already booked their spots.

Thiem will next meet former World No. 1 Andy Murray in the Scot’s biggest test of his comeback from a second right hip surgery on 28 January. Murray beat countryman Cameron Norrie 7-6(6), 6-7(4), 6-1 to win consecutive matches for the first time since September 2018 in Shenzhen.

You May Also Like: Murray Extends Beijing Run, Reaches Quarter-finals

The Brit leads his FedEx ATP Head2Head series with Thiem 2-1 and won both of their hard-court meetings (2015 Miami, 2014 Rotterdam).

Thiem, playing his first match since helping Team Europe win its third Laver Cup, broke twice in the opener after an aggressive start from Zhang saw the Chinese right-hander serving and volleying to take advantage of Thiem’s deep return position. The Austrian broke once more during the eighth game of the second set before serving it out to love.

World No. 9 Karen Khachanov fought past Frenchman Jeremy Chardy to secure a place in the quarter-finals, advancing 7-6(0), 7-6(5) in a match that featured no breaks of serve.

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Khachanov won 96 per cent (43/45) of his first-serve points and didn’t face a break point. Chardy saved all three break points faced. The 23-year-old Russian will try to reach his second semi-final of the season (Montreal) against Italy’s Fabio Fognini.

Fognini, who’s still in Nitto ATP Finals contention, improved to 5-1 in his FedEx ATP Head2Head series against Russian Andrey Rublev with a 6-3, 6-4 victory. Fognini saved 10 of 12 break points faced.

The Italian is trying to make his debut at the season-ending championships. The 32-year-old is currently in 13th place (2,055 points) in the ATP Race To London, only 130 points behind countryman Matteo Berrettini (2,185 points), who currently holds the eighth and final qualification spot.

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Uchiyama Strikes Again In Tokyo!

  • Posted: Oct 02, 2019

Uchiyama Strikes Again In Tokyo!

Opelka next for Japanese player

In a flash on Wednesday afternoon, Japanese qualifier Yasutaka Uchiyama trailed Moldovan Radu Albot 0-3 and faced a break point to go down two breaks. But Uchiyama struck a forehand winner and eventually held. Although he did not win the first set, the 27-year-old used that moment to gain a foothold in the match, and that would pay dividends.

Uchiyama rallied for a 6-7(2), 6-3, 6-4 victory at the Rakuten Japan Open Tennis Championships against the World No. 45 after two hours and 25 minutes, advancing to the quarter-finals of an ATP 500 event for the first time.

“It was amazing,” Uchiyama said. “[It is my] first time in the quarter-final of an ATP 500 and especially in my home country, it’s really special.”

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The World No. 136 — who is at his career-high ATP Ranking — had only won one main draw match in Tokyo before arriving here last week for qualifying. But he was undeterred when the gritty Albot jumped out to an early lead.

“I was thinking too much about his defence and his running. He was really quick on the baseline, so I was thinking too much to go for it and I made a few mistakes at the beginning,” Uchiyama said. “After 3-0, I was focussing more on myself, playing like the usual.”

Uchiyama, who made his first tour-level quarter-final this January in Brisbane, saved five of the seven break points he faced and won 62 per cent of his second-serve return points en route to victory. And with the crowd fully behind him, he served out the match at the first time of asking.

“I was really tired at the end of the match. That’s why I wasn’t thinking too much about the win, I was just focussing on every single point,” Uchiyama said. “I think that was a good way to play the last game.”

Uchiyama will play American Reilly Opelka for a spot in his first ATP Tour semi-final. Opelka struck 19 aces in a 7-6(4), 7-6(2) triumph against French veteran Gilles Simon.

“Every single match is a big challenge for me, so I just have to focus on every single match,” Uchiyama said. “I think everyone is missing Kei, but it’s good that Japanese guys are winning matches here. I’m happy to make them happy.”

Did You Know?
Uchiyama was one of four Japanese players to reach the second round in Tokyo this year. This was the first time that happened since 2003.

You May Also Like: Japanese Joy: Home Hopes Make History In Tokyo

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Harris Saves 2 MPs, Ousts #NextGenATP Star De Minaur

  • Posted: Oct 02, 2019

Harris Saves 2 MPs, Ousts #NextGenATP Star De Minaur

Millman beats Mannarino

When Lloyd Harris double faulted to hand eighth seed Alex de Minaur the second set of their first-round match at the Rakuten Japan Open Tennis Championships on Wednesday afternoon, it seemed the South African’s chances of springing an upset over the #NextGenATP Aussie were as long as his second serve.

But Harris stayed the course, saving two match points in a final-set tie-break en route to a 6-3, 6-7(6), 7-6(8) triumph over World No. 25 De Minaur, who has won three ATP Tour titles this year. This was the 22-year old’s best victory by ATP Ranking.

“[It feels] incredible, honestly. I felt like I had chances to close out the second set and it didn’t go my way. In the third set it was just a battle. He was playing at a really high level, giving me no points. I was just getting through my service games and just holding on, trying to get some opportunities,” Harris said. “To see off some match points, play an exciting as heck tie-break, I just feel fantastic after coming through that.”

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Harris has found his best form, having reached his first ATP Tour semi-final last week in Chengdu as a lucky loser. The Cape Town native has won 10 of his 20 tour-level matches this season.

At 5/6, Harris delivered a big first serve that elicited a short ball, which he pounced on with his forehand to force an error from his speedy opponent. Then at 7/8, Harris rocketed another booming serve, which De Minaur was barely able to get his racquet on.

“Every time it was match point I was just like, ‘Big first serve, and strike.’ That was going through my head, ‘Don’t get into the long exchanges,’” Harris said. “He’s unbelievable when you get to the longer end of the rallies, so I was just thinking to be aggressive, go for my serve, back myself.”

The South African No. 2 converted on his second match point. After carefully playing a short backhand, Harris left the line open for a passing shot, but De Minaur missed wide, and the victor dropped his racquet in celebration.

“I was just proud of myself. I was telling myself how big that was because mentally it’s so difficult after having so many chances to finish the match,” Harris said. “I felt I was just clinical in the end and I’m glad to get through it.”

Last year’s Next Gen ATP Finals alternate will next face Aussie John Millman, who rallied past Frenchman Adrian Mannarino 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 after two hours and six minutes. Millman saved four of the five break points he faced and seized the only break chance of the decider to advance to the second round.

The World No. 80 went through qualifying, and now he will have a chance to reach his fourth ATP Tour quarter-final of the season, and his second at an ATP 500 tournament (Acapulco). Millman is making his debut here in Tokyo.

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Djokovic Denies Home Hope Soeda In Tokyo

  • Posted: Oct 02, 2019

Djokovic Denies Home Hope Soeda In Tokyo

Solid service performance helps Serbian star to victory

World No. 1 Novak Djokovic knew on Wednesday he would face an inspired Go Soeda, who was playing in front of his home crowd at the Rakuten Japan Open Tennis Championships, and that’s exactly what the top seed got.

But Djokovic persevered, defeating Soeda, a wild card, 6-3, 7-5 in one hour and 35 minutes to advance to the quarter-finals. It is the ninth time the Serbian has made at least the last eight from 12 tournaments this season.

“[He] made me work for my win today and the atmosphere was really good on the court,” Djokovic said. “I enjoyed it.”

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The Japanese player, who was 0-12 in Tokyo main draws before defeating German Jan-Lennard Struff in the first round, showed plenty of resiliency. Djokovic broke for a 6-3, 5-3 lead with a big forehand return down the middle that Soeda could not handle.

But Soeda did not let his shoulders slump. Instead, the 35-year-old broke back by attacking the Serbian’s forehand. And in the next game, when Djokovic earned three match points, the World No. 133 dismissed them with a forehand volley, an unreturned serve and an overhead winner, respectively.

“I think I played a pretty good tennis match. From the baseline, I was solid, aggressive when I needed to be and taking the ball early. I served very well until that game when I was serving for the match at 5-3. I made some double faults, I missed all my first serves, so I didn’t serve that well that game, allowing him to break back and come back to the match,” Djokovic said. “But there were not too many negatives today, because I had chances constantly. I had match points at 5-4, but he just came up with some very good shots and fought hard and that’s why we give him credit. But from my side, I’m really pleased.”

Djokovic showed why he has been the No. 1 player in the ATP Rankings for the third-most total weeks in history, though, by not getting disappointed himself. The 75-time tour-level titlist cracked a massive inside-out forehand to force a backhand error from Soeda, earning his fourth service break and with it, the match.

The 32-year-old struck 10 aces and won 81 per cent of his first-serve points. He also earned 61 per cent of his second-serve points, which is a better rate of points won than Soeda managed on his first delivery (60%).

“I probably played even on a higher level than the first round,” Djokovic said. “So the game is going in the right direction, that’s for sure.”

Djokovic will next face the winner of fifth seed Lucas Pouille and Japanese No. 2 Yoshihito Nishioka. The World No. 1 owns a 2-0 FedEx ATP Head2Head series lead against Pouille — with those victories coming this year at the Australian Open and in Cincinnati, respectively — and he has never played Nishioka.

Did You Know?
Djokovic is trying to win a tournament on his main draw debut for the 10th time in his career. The last time the Serbian achieved the feat was two years ago in Eastbourne.

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Murray Extends Beijing Run, Reaches Quarter-finals

  • Posted: Oct 02, 2019

Murray Extends Beijing Run, Reaches Quarter-finals

British star next faces Thiem

Andy Murray continued his return to form on Wednesday at the China Open by reaching his first ATP Tour quarter-final for 12 months.

The former World No. 1, who underwent his second right hip surgery on 28 January, fought hard to beat fellow Briton Cameron Norrie 7-6(6), 6-7(4), 6-1 in two hours and 52 minutes. It is the first time Murray has won two consecutive tour-level matches since his operation.

“I’m tired, I just had a sleep before coming,” said Murray. “I’m really tired. That’s the first time I’ve had to do that since I came back… It’s something that I need to kind of get used to again, especially playing at this level and that intensity.

“It was a good step for me. It’s great that I won the match. Whether I’d won or lost it, I was able to come out the following day and be competitive and play some good tennis. But obviously I’m happy I’ve got the day off tomorrow to recover.”

The 32-year-old, who reached the last eight of an ATP Tour event at Shenzhen (l. to Verdasco) in September 2019, will next face top-seeded Austrian Dominic Thiem, a contender for a place at the Nitto ATP Finals, who beat Chinese wild card Zhizhen Zhang 6-3, 6-3.

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Murray, the 2016 Beijing champion, served for the first set at 5-3, but qualifier Norrie regrouped to break back and saved three set points in the tie-break prior to double-faulting at 6/7.

Norrie, 24, took a 5-2 lead in the second set and held a set point at 5-4 on Murray’s serve, but had to dig deep to clinch the tie-break. The decider was one-way traffic, with Murray winning the first five games of the set.

“The good thing about tennis is that you can change strategy and tactics,” said Murray. “I think if you watched the end of the second set, pretty much the whole of the third set, I tried to keep the points short. I started coming to the net a lot more. My feeling was that the average rally length went down by quite a few shots.

“In the third set, I didn’t really feel like out of breath after any of the rallies, whereas in the middle of the second set, I felt like there’s three or four games where we were playing a lot of long points, but he was also dictating the rallies.”

World No. 69 Norrie, who advanced to his first ATP Tour final at the ASB Classic in Auckland (l. to Sandgren) in January, is now 20-22 on the season.

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Former Tokyo Champion Goffin Saves 3 MPs, Ousts Carreno Busta

  • Posted: Oct 02, 2019

Former Tokyo Champion Goffin Saves 3 MPs, Ousts Carreno Busta

Goffin improves to 2-2 against the Spaniard

David Goffin had his back against the wall on Colosseum at Ariake Tennis Park on Wednesday. The Belgian won the Rakuten Japan Open Tennis Championships the last time he was here, but he found himself down a set and trailing 1/5 in the second-set tie-break against Pablo Carreno Busta, last week’s Chengdu champion.

But Goffin’s determination never wavered, riding the crowd’s support and his own rising level to save three match points in a 1-6, 7-6(8), 6-0 victory after two hours and 18 minutes to reach the second round. It’s his second win in the span of a month against the Spaniard.

“It was a little bit of magic because I was down a set and 1/5 in the tie-break,” Goffin said. “Again, I fought on this centre court and it’s another win. I’ve won a lot of matches here.”

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It wasn’t just the tie-break in which Goffin had to overcome a deficit, though. Carreno Busta broke the 2017 Nitto ATP Finals runner-up three times in the second set, and he would seize a 4-2 advantage. But Goffin never let up, giving himself a chance to pounce on his opportunities.

“It was not easy. [It was a] tough first set, he was playing very good and had a lot of confidence going in. He didn’t miss a ball, and it was tough to find a rhythm,” Goffin said. “He’s such a great player, great fighter and he was serving well. He was doing everything well in the first. So I had to just fight, wait a little bit, try to find my timing, my groundstrokes. It came a little bit, I served a little bit better at the end of the second and in the third.”

Even when he fell well behind in the second-set tie-break, the Tokyo crowd never stopped backing its former champion. And that helped keep the Belgian’s spirits up.

“It was a great atmosphere. I’m really happy,” Goffin said. “I’m fighting every time I’m here in Tokyo and I win another match. So I’m very happy, it was amazing to have all the support from the Japanese.”

Goffin will next face #NextGenATP Canadian Denis Shapovalov, who cruised past fellow 20-year-old Miomir Kecmanovic on Tuesday evening. It will be their first FedEx ATP Head2Head meeting.

“He’s very talented, amazing groundstrokes from both sides. When he has time, he hits very hard. He’s serving really well, a lefty, unpredictable sometimes,” Shapovalov said. “I have to play very solid, I have to try to be aggressive, make him miss, because he can miss sometimes. But if he’s on the ball and he sees the ball like a football, he can play very well. I will try to fight like I did today, just play a little bit better, serve well, and we will see.”

Did You Know?
Goffin is the lone former champion in the field. In 2017, which was also his last appearance in Tokyo, Goffin lost just one set en route to his only ATP 500 trophy. In 2016, he reached the final but lost against Nick Kyrgios.

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