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Match Analysis: Why Djokovic ‘Feels Like Karlovic’

  • Posted: Nov 03, 2019

Match Analysis: Why Djokovic ‘Feels Like Karlovic’

Hawkeye provides insight into Djokovic’s serving success

Heading into the Rolex Paris Masters final on Sunday, one of the adaptations top seed Novak Djokovic had to make was going from playing a right-hander like he did in the semi-finals against Grigor Dimitrov to facing a left-hander in the championship against Denis Shapovalov. But the Serbian’s serve did not miss a beat.

The 32-year-old was dominant on serve in his 6-3, 6-4 triumph, helping him collect a record-extending fifth ATP Masters 1000 Paris trophy. Djokovic won 80 per cent of his service points — including 80 per cent of his second-serve points — en route to a 66-minute win.  

Shapovalov managed to put just 35 per cent of his first-serve returns and 64 per cent of his second-serve returns back into play, and Djokovic interestingly used different strategies for each delivery. And Djokovic — who hit just two aces in the match — did not need to rely on a Karlovic-like ace count to hold his serve.

Djokovic bombarded the ‘T’ with his first serve, going to Shapovalov’s forehand 74 per cent of the time in the deuce court, and to the Canadian’s backhand 56 per cent of the time in the ad court. It was the second consecutive match in which he predominantly went to his opponent’s forehand in the deuce court, after hitting 54 per cent of his first serves out wide against Dimitrov. Djokovic won 81 per cent of his first-serve points in the final.

Djokovic Final First-Serve Placement vs. ShapovalovDjokovic First-Serve PlacementDjokovic Semi-final First-Serve Placement vs. DimitrovDjokovic SF First-Serve Placement
“On the rare occasions like today, I do feel like Karlovic,” Djokovic said in recognition of the big-serving 6’11” Croat, who has hit the most aces in history. “It’s quite frustrating to play against a player like Ivo Karlovic, a player that serves very well. But it feels great when you actually can get out of your serve a lot of free points. And that was the case for me, not just today, but throughout this week.”

Djokovic changed it up with his second serve, though. He flip-flopped on the Canadian, going to Shapovalov’s backhand 71 per cent of the time in the deuce court and 57 per cent of the time in the ad court. And of Djokovic’s 14 second-serve points (excluding one double fault), Shapovalov managed to put only 36 per cent of them back into play.

Djokovic Second-Serve Placement vs. ShapovalovDjokovic Second-Serve Placement
Shapovalov barely won any free points with his second delivery, as Djokovic put 92 per cent of his second-serve returns back into play. The lefty targeted the Serbian’s body a majority of the time in both service boxes.

Shapovalov Second-Serve Placement vs. DjokovicShapovalov Second-Serve Placement
“[My] serve was definitely one of the best shots in my game and that allowed me to also feel more comfortable and more confident from baseline,” Djokovic said.

The champion spread the ball around the court, hitting to Shapovalov’s backhand more than anywhere else, doing so at a rate of 43 per cent. He made only nine unforced errors in the match.

Djokovic Shot Placement vs. ShapovalovDjokovic Shot Placement
Shapovalov clearly targeted Djokovic’s backhand, hitting 53 per cent of his shots in that direction. He also hit 58 rally forehands to just 24 backhands. There were only three points of more than nine shots in the match.

Shapovalov Shot Placement vs. DjokovicShapovalov Shot Placement

– Hawkeye data and visuals courtesy ATP Media

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Djokovic Skips The Grunt Work Against Shapovalov In Paris

  • Posted: Nov 03, 2019

Djokovic Skips The Grunt Work Against Shapovalov In Paris

Serbian dominates with serve and return, no long groundstroke rallies needed

Imagine a Novak Djokovic match where more than half the points played featured only a serve and a return. Impossible, right?

Djokovic defeated Denis Shapovalov 6-3, 6-4 in the final of the Rolex Paris Masters on Sunday by dominating the really short points that featured no groundstrokes at all. Of the 104 points played, 56 of them (54%) featured only a serve and return, which played right into the Super Serb’s “first- strike” strategy.

No groundstrokes. No problem for Novak.

It’s important to note that rally length is dictated by balls landing in the court, not shots hitting the racquet. In rallies that lasted either zero (double fault), one or two shots, Djokovic collected 34 points, which represented more than half (56%) of the 61 points he won for the match.

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Djokovic Beats Shapo, Inches Closer To Year-End No. 1 Finish

More than eight points out of 10 in the final saw either player touch the ball a maximum of only two times. Djokovic’s initial touches simply went in the court a lot more than Shapovalov’s.

What mattered most to Djokovic in these ultra-quick exchanges? Extracting an error was the primary focus. Of the 34 points Djokovic won when the rally length was zero, one or two shots, only four were his winners, with 30 being errors from Shapovalov. The Canadian committed only three double faults, but 27 return errors were what sunk the ship.

2019 Paris Final: Rallies Without A Groundstroke

Rally Type

Djokovic Won Point

Shapovalov Won Point

Double Faults






Return Errors



Return Winner



Total Points Won

34 (61%)

22 (39%)

Shapovalov committed 15 forehand return errors and 12 backhand return errors for the match, with most of them (15/27) coming in the Deuce Court. The Canadian made eight forehand return errors from a Djokovic first serve down the T in the Deuce Court, and six on sliders out wide to the backhand. Overall, Djokovic was able to extract 22 return errors from a first serve and five from a second serve.

Shapovalov Errors
Double Faults = 3
Return = 27
Serve +1 = 5
Return +1 = 4
5+ Shot Rallies = 12
Total = 51

Djokovic’s serve was a major asset all week in Paris, and it was his primary weapon in the final. It was tough for me to find a groove just because he was really, really picking his spots on the serve,” Shapovalov said.

We often think of Djokovic as a master of long rallies, but they had no bearing on this match at all, with only four points featuring in the nine-plus shot rally length and only two rallies maturing to double digits.

Total Points Played
0-4 Shots = 84 (81%)
5-8 Shots = 16 (14%)
9+ Shots = 4 (5%)
Total Points = 104

Shapovalov won the three-shot rally length 7-6 and drew even with Djokovic 4-4 in four-shot rallies. But the Canadian was heavily in debt in zero-, one- and two-shot rallies.

The 0-4 Shot Rally Length Broken Down

0-4 Shot Break Down

Djokovic Won Point

Shapovalov Won Point

0 Shots (double fault)



1 Shot



2 Shots



3 Shots



4 Shots






Djokovic’s game has morphed perfectly at the end of the season to excel on indoor hard courts, where striking first is dictated by the faster conditions. It must have been nice to put the lethal groundstrokes on the shelf for a day and let the serve and return collect the silverware.

Editor’s note: Craig O’Shannessy is a member of Novak Djokovic’s coaching team.

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Djokovic On Potential To Finish Year-End No. 1: 'That Would Be Fantastic'

  • Posted: Nov 03, 2019

Djokovic On Potential To Finish Year-End No. 1: ‘That Would Be Fantastic’

Serbian claws closer to Nadal in battle for year-end No. 1

Novak Djokovic’s victory on Sunday at the Rolex Paris Masters was not big just because it was his 34th ATP Masters 1000 title and a record-extending fifth at this tournament. By triumphing instead of finishing runner-up, the Serbian gained an additional 400 ATP Race To London points, pulling him within 640 of leader Rafael Nadal as the battle for year-end World No. 1 heats up heading into the Nitto ATP Finals.

Entering the week, Djokovic could have seen his year-end No. 1 chances slip away. But now, his dreams to claim his sixth year-end No. 1 finish and tie Pete Sampras’ record are very much alive.

“That puts me in a better position after this week. But, again, I have to keep on winning. There’s always a chance that I win all my matches in London, that I play well,” Djokovic said. “I have done it in the past, and I like playing there. But it’s [an] extremely difficult task considering who my opponents are going to be. You’re playing a Top 10 player every single match.

“So that’s a big task on my end that I have to focus on. And as a consequence, if I manage to get the year-end No. 1, that would be, of course, fantastic.”

If he lifted his first Paris trophy, Nadal would have clinched his fifth year-end No. 1 finish, which would have tied Djokovic, Roger Federer and Jimmy Connors for second all-time. But the Spaniard was forced to withdraw in the semi-finals due to an abdominal injury, allowing Djokovic to gain ground.

“I’m sad to see that he’s injured because that’s not what you want to see, not for Rafa, not for any other athlete. I know how that feels. Obviously I went through major injuries in my life as well,” Djokovic said. “I hope he can recover and compete in London. Because with or without him, obviously, also the battle for No. 1 but also the tournament itself is different. He’s a great champion and obviously lots of respect for him.”

Djokovic is not salivating at the opportunity ahead of him in London. Instead, he’s focussing on one match at a time, knowing he needs to go undefeated at The O2 to earn 1,500 points, which would give himself the best possible chance to claim his sixth year-end No. 1 finish.

“It’s not possible for me now to assume anything. It is not a reality. I have to wait and see what happens in London, to see if I can reach that goal,” Djokovic said. “It wouldn’t be correct to presume with regard to Nadal and the others.”

For the moment, Djokovic is ecstatic with his performance in Bercy. At the start of the week, he admitted to being ill. But that did not stop the Serbian from lifting the trophy — his fifth of the year, matching Dominic Thiem for the ATP Tour-lead — without losing a set.

Djokovic extended his FedEx ATP Head2Head series lead against Shapovalov to 4-0 with his 66-minute championship victory. But the Canadian was the second #NextGenATP player to reach a Masters 1000 final in 2019, joining Stefanos Tsitsipas (Madrid). And with 2017 Next Gen ATP Finals competitor Daniil Medvedev winning two Masters 1000 trophies this year, Djokovic recognised that younger players are on the rise.

“I don’t think there’s any big difference in terms of the game. Next Gen guys have won Masters 1000s like Zverev some years ago. And so it has happened and it’s going to happen more,” Djokovic said. “The new generation is already there. And guys like Medvedev and Khachanov and Rublev, the Russians, and Tsitsipas and Zverev and Thiem, and you know, Denis, Felix, this generation, it has already established themselves in the first Top 20 of the [ATP Rankings].

“And now these guys are starting to believe, more and more, that they can actually fight for the biggest trophies with the other guys. So I think it’s a matter of time, it’s a matter of when things come together in terms of experience, in terms of a good given day, I guess, as well.”

But for now, Djokovic, Nadal and Federer maintain the top three slots in the ATP Rankings. And while Nadal will climb to No. 1 on Monday as Djokovic’s 2018 Nitto ATP Finals points drop off, the Serbian will head to London with confidence that he could earn himself an opportunity to take that spot right back.

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A Look Back At The 2019 Rolex Paris Masters

  • Posted: Nov 03, 2019

A Look Back At The 2019 Rolex Paris Masters

Relive the best moments from the ninth ATP Masters 1000 of the season

From Novak Djokovic’s flawless title run to home hopes thrilling the Bercy crowd throughout the week, relive the best moments of the 2019 Rolex Paris Masters.

1. Djokovic Maintains No. 1 Hopes: Djokovic arrived in Paris knowing he would lose his No. 1 ATP Ranking to Rafael Nadal on 4 November, and that, depending on this week’s results, he’d lose his hopes of securing the year-end top spot for the sixth time, too. But the Serbian kept his year-end No. 1 dreams alive with a tremendous run at the season’s final ATP Masters 1000 event, battling to the title without losing a set.

The top seed extended his record to five titles at this tournament, and he also tied John McEnroe for fifth all-time with 77 tour-level crowns.

<a href=''>Novak Djokovic</a>

2. Doubles Champs: Nicolas Mahut and Pierre-Hugues Herbert became the first Frenchmen to win the doubles title in Bercy since Arnaud Clement and Michael Llodra in 2006. The home favourites did not lose a set, defeating Russian singles stars Karen Khachanov and Andrey Rublev in the final.

This year’s Australian Open champions will now turn their attention to the Nitto ATP Finals, where they will compete together for the fifth consecutive year.

<a href=''>Nicolas Mahut</a>/<a href=''>Pierre-Hugues Herbert</a> win their home ATP Masters 1000 title on Sunday in Paris.

3. Shapovalov Shines: The Canadian defeated three Top 15 players en route to his first ATP Masters 1000 final in the French capital. Two weeks after claiming his maiden ATP Tour crown in Stockholm, Denis Shapovalov overcame Fabio Fognini, Alexander Zverev and Gael Monfils en route to the championship match in Bercy.

Following his loss to Novak Djokovic, Shapovalov ends the European indoor swing with an 8-2 record and will break the Top 15 in the ATP Rankings for the first time on Monday. Read More.

<a href=''>Denis Shapovalov</a> is aiming to lift his first ATP Masters 1000 trophy this week.

4. Final Battleground: With two singles and three doubles Nitto ATP Finals qualification positions up for grabs in Paris, the pressure was high for all London contenders. Alexander Zverev claimed the seventh singles spot after five contenders bowed out in second-round action Wednesday, and Italian Matteo Berrettini took his place in the field for the first time after Gael Monfils fell one win short of qualification in the quarter-finals against Denis Shapovalov. Read More

Jean-Julien Rojer/Horia Tecau and Rajeev Ram/Joe Salisbury clinched their positions in the doubles field early in the week. The final spot was taken by Paris semi-finalists Ivan Dodig/Filip Polasek. Read More

The Field Is Set | <a href=''>Nitto ATP Finals</a>

5. French Fever: For the first time since 2012, the crowd at the AccorHotels Arena saw two home players advance to the last eight. Home favourites Gael Monfils and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga provided hope of a first French champion since Tsonga’s triumph in 2008, before Denis Shapovalov and Rafael Nadal recorded straight-sets victories against the duo in Friday’s evening session.

Herbert and Mahut continued to thrill the home crowd all the way through the end of the tournament, becoming just the third all-French team to triumph at this event.


6. Halloween Triple Treat: The stars aligned for a spooky coincidence on Halloween as Djokovic, Nadal and Stefanos Tsitsipas all collected their 50th wins of the season on the same day. Tsitsipas, who reached the milestone for the first time, was the first to join Daniil Medvedev and Roger Federer in this year’s ’50 Club’ with a 6-3, 6-4 win over Australian Alex de Minaur. Djokovic followed next with a 7-6(7), 6-1 win over Briton Kyle Edmund and Nadal completed the hat trick following a 6-4, 6-4 win against Stan Wawrinka. Read More.

50 wins club

7. Chardy Snaps Multiple Medvedev Streaks (And One Of His Own): Jeremy Chardy upset Daniil Medvedev 4-6, 6-2, 6-4  in the second round to end the Russian’s 11-match Masters 1000 winning streak and run of six consecutive tour-level final appearances. The Frenchman saved 14 of 15 break points throughout the match to cut short Medvedev’s bid for a third straight Masters 1000 title.

Medvedev entered the match on a nine-match winning streak and had not lost any of the 18 sets he had contested since falling to Nadal in the US Open final. Chardy also broke a streak of his own, earning a first victory in his 11 most recent matches against Top 10 opposition. Read More

8. Struff Eliminates Defending Champ Khachanov: Jan-Lennard Struff beat defending champion Karen Khachanov 7-6(5), 3-6, 7-5 in the second round to earn the seventh Top 10 win of his career. The German fired 17 aces and won 84 per cent of first-serve points (48/57) to end Khachanov’s hopes of a spot at the Nitto ATP Finals after two hours. Read More

 Khachanov bounced back to end his season on a positive note, advancing to the doubles final with Rublev, his countryman. It was their second Masters 1000 doubles final together, having finished runner-up last year in Miami. 


9. What Battle For No. 1? Although Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal came to the Rolex Paris Masters locked in a battle for year-end No. 1, it didn’t stop the long-time rivals from practising together for the first time in ‘years’, according to Djokovic, ahead of the ATP Masters 1000 tournament.

“It was great. It was a lot of fun. It was very intense and competitive, as you can imagine, obviously, but in a very respectful way,” Djokovic said. “We are rivals but that doesn’t prevent us from being respectful and treating each other in the right way and our teams as well.”  Read More

<a href=''>Novak Djokovic</a> and <a href=''>Rafael Nadal</a> practise together ahead of the <a href=''>Rolex Paris Masters</a>.

10. Newlywed Nadal Returns: Rafael Nadal returned to action for the first time since competing at the Laver Cup, and also, for the first time as a newlywed. 

“The wedding had been a great day for me, for my wife, I think for the guests, too – for all the people that shared this special day with all of us,” said Nadal, ahead of his Paris opener. “Happy to be back here in Paris.” Read More

<a href=''>Rafael Nadal</a> and Maria Francisca Perello wed on 19 October in Mallorca.


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Novak Djokovic beats Denis Shapovalov to win fifth Paris Masters title

  • Posted: Nov 03, 2019

Novak Djokovic recorded his 77th ATP title with a 6-3 6-4 win over Canada’s Denis Shapovalov at the Paris Masters.

The 32-year-old Serb will be replaced as world number one by Rafael Nadal on Monday despite sealing his 34th Masters title, his fifth in Paris and fifth overall ATP victory of the year.

He maintained his record of not losing a set in the week as he wrapped up the match in one hour, five minutes.

It was Djokovic’s fourth win against world number 28 Shapovalov, 20.

In his 50th Masters final, Djokovic took a 3-0 lead against Shapovalov – playing his first – and took the set in 29 minutes.

The Serb, who lost in last year’s Paris final to Karen Khachanov, broke in the seventh game of the second set.

Left-hander Shapovalov won his first ATP title with victory in the indoor Stockholm Open last month and had his only break point of the final in the next game.

However, he was guilty of three consecutive backhand errors as Djokovic held and soon sealed the title, putting him level with John McEnroe in fifth place on the all-time list of ATP winners.

Shapovalov is projected to climb to a career-high 15th in the rankings.

Nadal will become world number one on Monday for the first time in a year, but the 33-year-old Spaniard is a doubt for the ATP Tour Finals starting in London on 10 November after an abdominal muscle strain forced him out of his semi-final with Shapovalov.

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Djokovic Beats Shapo, Inches Closer To Year-End No. 1 Finish

  • Posted: Nov 03, 2019

Djokovic Beats Shapo, Inches Closer To Year-End No. 1 Finish

Serbian looking to finish year-end No. 1 for the sixth time

Novak Djokovic will head to the Nitto ATP Finals in striking distance in the battle for year-end No. 1. The Serbian won his 34th ATP Masters 1000 title on Sunday, beating #NextGenATP Canadian Denis Shapovalov 6-3, 6-4 at the Rolex Paris Masters.

Djokovic was untouchable on serve and took advantage of a nervy start from Shapovalov, who was broken twice in his first Masters 1000 final, to claim a record-extending fifth Paris Masters 1000 title and remain unbeaten against the 20-year-old in their FedEx ATP Head2Head rivalry (4-0).

Djokovic added 1,000 ATP Race To London points to his tally and, with 8,945 points, is only 640 points away from Spain’s Rafael Nadal (9,585), who will become No. 1 on Monday for the first time in a year. Nadal withdrew from his semi-final against Shapovalov (abdominal) but said he plans to do everything to be ready to compete at the Nitto ATP Finals, to be held 10-17 November at The O2 in London.

ATP Masters 1000 Career Title Leaders



Rafael Nadal


Novak Djokovic


Roger Federer


Andre Agassi


Andy Murray


Djokovic climbed to within one of Nadal’s all-time Masters 1000 titles lead and also tied John McEnroe on the all-time titles list with his 77th tour-level crown.

Shapovalov, with new coach Mikhail Youzhny, has been in the form of his life of late, winning his first ATP Tour title at the Intrum Stockholm Open last month and making his first Masters 1000 final in Paris. But the left-hander couldn’t hold off Djokovic, who was in control throughout the final. Shapovalov lifted a forehand long during his first service game to hand the Serbian the early break.

All-Time Leading ATP Title Winners

Player  Titles
Jimmy Connors  109
Roger Federer 103
Ivan Lendl  94
Rafael Nadal  84
John McEnroe 77

Djokovic was hitting his spots on his serve and was never so much as even pushed to Deuce in the opening set. Shapovalov recomposed himself in the second, but another forehand error gave Djokovic the break in the seventh game and a clear path to his fifth title of the season, which ties him with Dominic Thiem for the Tour lead. Djokovic, who will receive €995,720 in prize money, is now 11-1 at the Paris Masters 1000 after reaching the semi-finals.

Shapovalov will receive 600 ATP Rankings points and €995,720 in prize money and is projected to climb to a career-high No. 15 in the ATP Rankings.

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Ruud: 'This Is The Week All Of Us Have Been Waiting For'

  • Posted: Nov 03, 2019

Ruud: ‘This Is The Week All Of Us Have Been Waiting For’

Norwegian is the fourth seed in Milan

Had Casper Ruud converted his match point in the 2017 Rio de Janeiro semi-finals, it might have helped propel him into the Next Gen ATP Finals that year. But more than two years after that match, he’s made it to Milan.

The 20-year-old Norwegian makes his debut at the Allianz Cloud on Tuesday against Serbian Miomir Kecmanovic. Ruud has enjoyed a breakout season that has seen him climb more than 50 spots in the ATP Rankings, recording his first ATP Tour final in Houston alongside a pair of semi-finals in Sao Paulo and Kitzbühel.

“This is the week all of us have been waiting for,” Ruud said. “I did really well in the beginning of 2017 and I was really high up in the [ATP Race To Milan], but I didn’t make it that year or last year. It was a big goal for me to be here this year. This was my last chance, so I guess you could say it will be a nice end to my Next Gen career. (Ruud was born in December 1998, therefore making him ineligible for the 2020 Next Gen ATP Finals, which will accept only players born in 1999 or later.)

“Most of our matches on Tour are against guys who are much older, so it’s fun to measure our powers against each other. Everybody here can beat each other with the [unique] scoring system, so it’s something we should be prepared for. One set can just be a difference of one or two points, so it will be a fun event.”

Read More: How Ruud Plans To Follow In Nadal & Thiem’s Footsteps

But if Ruud had to pick the week that’s had the biggest impact on his fledgling career so far, he still thinks back to the highs and lows of his run in Rio. He arrived that week as an 18-year-old wild card with an ATP Ranking of No. 208, playing just his second main tour-level main draw an first ATP 500 event. But the Norwegian punched well above his weight by shocking a trio of established clay-court experts for his first tour-level semi-final.

“I was the underdog in every match,” Ruud said. “Nobody knew me or how I played, but I had seen all of these guys on TV and knew how they played. They didn’t really know what to expect from me.”

Ruud held a match point in the second set of his semi-final against Pablo Carreno Busta, but the Spaniard won the next nine games to prevail. Had Ruud won, the victory would have propelled the Norwegian into the Top 100 of the ATP Rankings. The magnitude of the moment wasn’t lost on him as he spent much of the year competing on the ATP Challenger Tour, fully aware he’d be in the main draw of many tour-level events if he’d made good on his chance.

Realising that dwelling on the situation wouldn’t help, Ruud made peace with his circumstances. He worked even harder off the court and cracked the Top 100 this March. But what’s most satisfying to the 20-year-old is that he reached the milestone off a consistent body of results, rather than a single flashy run.

“I was one point away from being in the Top 100 as an 18-year-old, which is a big deal. It’s probably something I thought about a little too much after that week. It was tough to know that I was so close and it could have been an unbelievable rest of the season for me,” Ruud said. “[But] this has been my best year on Tour. I feel more steady and grown up in my game and behaviour than I did during that week in Rio.”

Read More: 5 Things To Know About Ruud, Who’s Going To Milan

Ruud credits his father, former Top 50 player Christian Ruud, with his on-court success. He freely admits that Norway isn’t known as a tennis hotbed, so having a parent who played on Tour was an ideal substitute when sparring partners weren’t plentiful growing up. Living under the same roof as the only Norwegian player at the time to crack the Top 100 also gave him firsthand knowledge on how to pursue his dreams of a pro tennis career.

“He’s always been there for me and tried to guide me,” Ruud said. “When you’re 13 or 14, it’s easy to think about other things or want to go out to parties. My dad was strict with me in those ways because he knew you have to be serious from a young age if you want to be a professional tennis player. There were some sacrifices, but it’s paid off.”

Read More: Like Father, Like Son: Ruud Makes His Mark

Competing in Milan is just one of the rewards for his years of hard work. But with his 21st birthday a month away, Ruud is one of the “veteran” #NextGenATP players on Tour. He hopes that a big run this week will serve as a springboard to match the success of younger players at the upper echelons of the ATP Rankings like Alex de Minaur, Felix Auger-Aliassime and Denis Shapovalov.

“I’m not going to say that I feel old, but there are younger players that are doing better than me. It’s something to perhaps gain motivation from,” Ruud said. “I’m a couple of steps behind them now, but I’ve built a good base this year and will hopefully be ready for an even better season next year.”

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WTA Finals: Ashleigh Barty beats Elina Svitolina to win title and record prize

  • Posted: Nov 03, 2019

Ashleigh Barty beat Elina Svitolina in a high-quality match to claim the WTA Finals title and pick up the biggest prize money ever offered in tennis.

The Australian world number one won 6-4 6-3 to take the season-ending title in Shenzhen and a record $4.42m (£3.42m).

Barty, 23, had lost all her five of her previous matches against the Ukrainian defending champion.

But she came through a testing second set, featuring five breaks of serve, to take victory when Svitolina netted.

  • Relive Barty’s victory over Svitolina
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Barty ends stunning year with another major achievement

Whatever happened in the Shenzhen final, Barty’s lengthy list of achievements in a spectacular season would not have been diminished.

But she made sure she capped an extraordinary year by becoming the first Australian to win the WTA Tour finals since her role model Evonne Goolagong Cawley in 1976.

What makes her success even more remarkable is the fact Barty stepped away from the tour following the 2014 US Open, saying she felt tennis was a “lonely sport”.

The Queenslander switched to cricket and played for the Brisbane Heat in the women’s Big Bash.

After rising to the top 20 last year, Barty’s unique mix of power and variety, intelligence and creativity, has taken her to the top of the women’s game with titles on all surfaces.

Her 2019 achievements include:

  • Winning first Premier Mandatory title at the Miami Open
  • Claiming her first Grand Slam singles title at the French Open
  • Winning the Birmingham title to rise to world number one for the first time
  • Finishing the year as the world’s top player
  • Becoming the fifth player to win the WTA Finals on her debut

“It has been a remarkable year tonight was about coming out and fighting to the end. I couldn’t be prouder. It has been an incredible year,” Barty said.

“I’m proud of myself and the team, we tried to put ourselves in the biggest situations and occasions and we managed to do that.”

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Mahut/Herbert Win Home Masters 1000 Title

  • Posted: Nov 03, 2019

Mahut/Herbert Win Home Masters 1000 Title

Frenchmen headed to Nitto ATP Finals

Pierre-Hugues Herbert/Nicolas Mahut won their seventh ATP Masters 1000 team doubles title on Sunday, and it might already be their favourite. The Frenchmen celebrated their first Rolex Paris Masters crown by beating Russians Karen Khachanov/Andrey Rublev 6-4, 6-1.

It was important to win it together because you never know when you can play it again. And being the titleholder in front of the family [is special],” Mahut said.

“After the year that we’ve had together as a duo, it was wonderful. We’ve had a wonderful week on court and off court together. And I think we’ve fulfilled everyone’s expectations.”

The Frenchmen broke in the 10th game of the opener and rolled in the second set, breaking twice. They fended off all four break points faced for the match to win their 14th title as a team.

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Shapovalov On His Surge: ‘I Knew It Was Just A Question Of Time’

Herbert/Mahut became the eighth doubles team to win all four major championships in January at the Australian Open. They didn’t play a full season of doubles together as Herbert opted to focus on his singles for much of the year. But they started and ended their regular season with Big Titles and will next compete at the Nitto ATP Finals, to be held 10-17 November at The O2 in London.

We’re very happy to have managed to talk together and to talk honestly to each other, and this is why we’re strong on court, because we have complicity. We’re close to one another, and we’re ready to give everything to the other,” Herbert said. “This is why we managed to be different. In tennis, we tend to be selfish, I would say. And with Nico, I manage to have someone who shares everything, who is very altruistic, and this is very positive for tennis.”

The Frenchmen will receive 1,000 ATP Doubles Rankings points and split €995,720 in prize money. Khachanov/Rublev were playing in their second Masters 1000 doubles final as a team (2018 Miami, l. to Bryan/Bryan). They will receive 600 ATP Doubles Rankings points and split €503,730 in prize money.

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Zhang Zhizhen Claims Historic All-Chinese Championship

  • Posted: Nov 03, 2019

Zhang Zhizhen Claims Historic All-Chinese Championship

Revisit the week that was on the ATP Challenger Tour as we applaud the achievements of those on the rise and look ahead to the week to come

Shenzhen Longhua Open (Shenzhen, China): This week, the ATP Challenger Tour descended on the affluent Mission Hills Country Club. Home to 20 hard courts, as well as the largest golf facility in the world, with 12 courses, the venue is a sprawling sports complex.

It is only fitting that the prestigious club would host a historic moment for tennis in China. On Sunday, Zhang Zhizhen claimed the first all-Chinese final in Challenger history, defeating countryman Li Zhe 6-3, 4-6, 6-1 in front of a packed crowd at Mission Hills.

It has been quite the impressive four-year stretch for Chinese tennis, with Wu Di becoming its first champion in 2016, followed by its first teenage winner in 2017, Wu Yibing. And in 2018, Zhang Ze became the first to win multiple titles. Now, Zhang Zhizhen joins his countrymen in securing a slice of history.

“I’m really happy,” said Zhang. “I didn’t think I would get it this week, so it’s very nice for me. It’s never easy to play him and he played really good in second set. Barely made any unforced errors in return games. I managed to get the momentum back in the third set and adjust my mindset in the right place.

“I am very happy with this win and it seems like I always play well in Shenzhen. This city has become my special place. This title also helps me reach my goal for this season (Top 150). So lots of pressure released from my shoulder now. It is never easy to win any Challenger title.”

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It was a second title for the Shanghai native nicknamed ‘ZZZ’, having prevailed in Jinan earlier this year. He rises to a career-high No. 141 in the ATP Rankings, sitting one spot off China’s highest-ever ranking, earned by Wu Di three years ago.

The 23-year-old continues to capture the tennis headlines in his homeland, steadily building on a breakthrough quarter-final run at the former ATP Tour stop in Shenzhen in 2017. Just last month he secured two more tour-level victories in Zhuhai and Beijing, including an upset of World No. 34 Kyle Edmund at the China Open.

Li, meanwhile, was competing in his second Challenger final and first since 2017, when he finished runner-up in Bangkok. He will also rise to a career-high in the ATP Rankings, cracking the Top 200 at No. 194.

Chinese Challenger Champions

Player No. of Titles
Tournaments Won
Zhang Zhizhen
2 Jinan 2019, Shenzhen 2019
Zhang Ze 2 San Francisco 2017, Chengdu 2018
Wu Di 1 Maui 2016
Wu Yibing 1 Shanghai 2017

City of Playford Tennis International (Playford, Australia): One year ago, Jordan Thompson took the ATP Challenger Tour by storm in the final weeks of the season, lifting a pair of trophies on home soil and finishing with a tour-leading 52 match wins. This year, it’s his countryman’s turn.

James Duckworth claimed a tour-leading 44th match victory on Sunday, streaking to the title on home soil in Playford. He did not drop a set all week in securing his third trophy of the year, capped by a 7-6(2), 6-4 triumph over Yasutaka Uchiyama. Also the champion in Bangkok and Baotou, the Aussie rises 20 spots to No. 110 in the ATP Rankings. Like Thompson did in 2018, he is hoping to conclude his campaign inside the Top 100. Duckworth enters Kobe, Japan, next week as the fourth seed.

Charlottesville Men’s Pro Challenger (Charlottesville, Virginia, USA): Later on Sunday, it will be the first all-Canadian final outside of Canada in 20 years. Brayden Schnur battles Vasek Pospisil for the title in Charlottesville.

Challenger Eckental (Eckental, Germany): In Eckental, Steve Darcis plays his final match on the ATP Challenger Tour. The Belgian veteran, who announced he will retire from pro tennis in January, is a two-time ATP Tour champion and 10-time winner on the Challenger circuit. He will face Jiri Vesely for the title later on Sunday.

Challenger Ciudad de Guayaquil (Guayaquil, Ecuador): In South America, top seed Hugo Dellien carries a 5-2 record in Challenger finals to the Guayaquil championship. He faces 19-year-old Brazilian Thiago Seyboth Wild, who is competing in his first final.

Four tournaments on four continents highlight this week’s slate. The Slovak Open in Bratislava welcomes a loaded field for the tournament’s 20th edition. Seven players are inside the Top 100 of the ATP Rankings, including top seed Mikhail Kukushkin.

On the indoor hard courts of Kobe, Japan, defending champion Tatsuma Ito returns and is joined by fellow seeded countrymen Yasutaka Uchiyama, Yuichi Sugita, Go Soeda and Hiroki Moriya. James Duckworth and Zhang Zhizhen look to go back-to-back after lifting trophies this week.

In Knoxville, a red-hot Tommy Paul leads the field, with Brayden Schnur and Bradley Klahn. And on the clay of Montevideo, home hope Pablo Cuevas targets a fourth tournament title.

ATP Challenger Tour 

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