Tennis News

From around the world

Day 2 Preview: Nadal Opens Quest For First Finals Crown; Medvedev/Tsitsipas Continue Rivalry

  • Posted: Nov 10, 2019

Day 2 Preview: Nadal Opens Quest For First Finals Crown; Medvedev/Tsitsipas Continue Rivalry

Spaniard continues bid for year-end No. 1 on Monday

The fireworks are sure to fly on Day 2 at the Nitto ATP Finals, as World No. 1 Rafael Nadal battles defending champion Alexander Zverev, while debutants Stefanos Tsitsipas and Daniil Medvedev duel under the lights.

As Nadal enters his Group Andre Agassi opener with a 5-0 FedEx ATP Head2Head lead over Zverev, much is at stake for both competitors. The Spaniard has the year-end No. 1 ATP Ranking to play for this week at The O2, currently leading Novak Djokovic by 640 points in the ATP Rankings.

The top seed controls his own path to a fifth year-end No. 1 finish. If he wins his maiden Nitto ATP Finals title or reaches the final with an undefeated round robin campaign, he is assured of finishing the season at the top. It all starts on Monday for the 33-year-old.

Nadal, who is appearing at the season finale for a ninth time, is in search of his first crown at the prestigious tournament – the lone big title that has eluded the Manacor native. Despite having to pull out of the Rolex Paris Masters a week ago with an abdominal injury, he will take great confidence from another dominant campaign. He carries a 51-6 record into London, boasting titles in Rome, Roland Garros, Toronto and at the US Open.

“I have good hopes to be 100 per cent ready for Monday,” Nadal said. “It’s a tournament [where] you will face the top guys since the beginning, so you need to be 100 per cent ready.”

You May Also Like:

Scouting Report: 8 Key Things About The 2019 Nitto ATP Finals

Meanwhile, Zverev is hoping to return to the winners’ circle with a second straight crown in London. The German, who qualified in the seventh position, is flying under the radar entering the tournament. He owns just one title – on the clay of Geneva – this year and is bidding for his first win over a World No. 1 since the final in London (d. Djokovic) exactly one year ago.

“As everyone probably knows I didn’t have the best season I wanted to have, but I’m still top eight in the world and made London,” said Zverev. “A lot of people would dream of that, so being with these guys is an unbelievable honour and I wanted to come back here and give myself a chance to retain my title. I want to play some good matches as well.”

The reigning champion is peaking at the right time, however, following a final finish at the Rolex Shanghai Masters last month. There, he earned his first Top 5 win of the year over Roger Federer.

Nadal and Zverev have had their fair share of battles over the years, including a five-set clash at the 2017 Australian Open and a tense affair in the Internazionali BNL d’Italia final in 2018. It was in the Rome championship that Zverev held a break lead in the deciding set, before a rain delay disrupted his rhythm and Nadal sprinted to the finish. That was their most recent meeting and both players will be seeking the upper hand as the series shifts to The O2.


Also on Monday is a highly-anticipated clash between fourth seed Daniil Medvedev and sixth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas. Both the Russian and the Greek are making their Nitto ATP Finals debuts on the heels of breakthrough 2019 campaigns.

Medvedev and Tsitsipas have celebrated plenty of crowning achievements and contested many memorable matches this year, including a pair of clashes against each other. While the Moscow native owns a commanding 5-0 lead in their budding FedEx ATP Head2Head rivalry, Tsitsipas has given him a fight in both their 2019 encounters.

In April, Medvedev made a significant breakthrough at the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters, where he survived a rollercoaster 6-2, 1-6, 6-4 battle against Tsitsipas to reach the quarter-finals. It marked just his second Top 10 win at the time.

Six months later, they met once again, but this time on the hard courts of Shanghai. Medvedev emerged victorious in a tight 7-6(5), 7-5 semi-final encounter, en route to his second ATP Masters 1000 crown of the year.

“Hopefully, we’re going to have a lot of matches to come throughout our careers, in the later stages of the tournament,” Medvedev said. “Hopefully we can have a lot of great matches to come.”

Medvedev will look for more of the same in London, following a breakout regular season on the ATP Tour. He has posted a tour-leading 59 match victories and not only lifted his first ATP Masters 1000 trophies in Cincinnati and Shanghai, but also finished runner-up at the US Open. He is already making history for his native Russia, becoming the first from his country to qualify for the Nitto ATP Finals since Nikolay Davydenko in 2009.

On the other side of the net, Tsitsipas is also appearing in London for the first time, having secured his 50th match win of the season a week ago at the Rolex Paris Masters. One year ago, the 21-year-old was hoisting the trophy at the Next Gen ATP Finals. It has been a smooth transition to the big show.

“I am very proud of myself to have put in a lot of effort and work to get here,” said Tsitsipas. “It’s a great transition from the Next Gen ATP Finals to here, both great events. It’s great being part of such a prestigious event with a long history in our sport.”

Source link

Thiem Comes Up Clutch Against Federer

  • Posted: Nov 10, 2019

Thiem Comes Up Clutch Against Federer

Austrian defeats six-time champion on Day 1 in London

Dominic Thiem played with growing confidence throughout his 7-5, 7-5 victory over six-time former champion Roger Federer on Sunday night in Group Bjorn Borg play at the Nitto ATP Finals. It was a first opening group match win for Thiem, who is competing at the season finale for the fourth consecutive year.

“To beat him, everything has to fit together,” said Thiem. “Today, I think was the case again. I played very well. I played a good match in general. Serving, returning well, which is probably the two most important things indoors. Then, probably, also the last game was crucial. I don’t even want to think about what happens if he wins that game and comes back to a tie-break. So I’m very happy that I pulled that through at 6-5.

“In general, it’s a very nice victory for me. I mean, every time I play against him is a big honour. Beating him is even better, and especially on this surface indoors, where he’s feeling well usually.”

Thiem extended his record to 5-2 over Federer in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series, including three wins this year, and will next face Novak Djokovic on Tuesday night at The O2 in London. Djokovic beat Matteo Berrettini 6-2, 6-1 earlier on Sunday. Buy Your Tickets

“I think he’s the best right now. He proved that also in Bercy [at the Rolex Paris Masters] where he didn’t somehow play his best tennis, but still won the title pretty easy. So that’s how good his level is… Probably, right now, it’s the biggest challenge you can face, to play Novak.”

The 26-year-old Thiem, who has won an ATP Tour-best five trophies this year, including his first ATP Masters 1000 crown at the BNP Paribas Open (d. Federer) in March, has compiled a 47-17 match record.

Thiem got off to a fast start, but Federer worked his way back from 0/40 to 30/40, only to mishit a forehand wide and hand Thiem the first break for a 2-0 advantage. However, Thiem’s advantage was short-lived as two games later he was pressurized into striking a forehand wide. Thiem, enjoying a career-best season under the guidance of Nicolas Massu, made inroads again, happy to rally backhand-to-backhand with Federer and bide his time. When Federer shanked a backhand wide at 5-5, 30/40, it was advantage Thiem.

Thiem played a waiting game in the second set, but when it came to the crunch at 5-5, he was quick to step up the court and hit three winners. Federer, pinned back on the baseline, could not pick up a forehand return off his shoelaces. With time running out, Federer pressed but was unable to convert two break points at 5-6 as Thiem kept his nerve.

“I thought he played well,” said Federer. “I mean, the start definitely didn’t help. That put me on the back foot a little bit. But I recovered well, and I thought after that the match was actually pretty even for a long period of time. I had my chances, I felt. I didn’t feel like I was outplayed or anything. Just maybe that first-round hiccups a little bit, not hitting your spots on the serve when you need to, getting into trouble early in the service games which maybe doesn’t happen later on in the tournament.

“I thought also Dominic saved himself real well when he had to, so I thought he played a tough first-round performance today, and my game was probably just not good enough, and the start didn’t help.”

Federer is now 12-5 lifetime in opening matches at the Nitto ATP Finals. He also lost his first group match last year against Kei Nishikori. The 38-year-old won the season finale crown in 2003-04 (Houston), 2006-07 (Shanghai) and 2010-11 (London). He has a record 57-15 match record at the tournament, which was first held in Tokyo in 1970.

Source link

Facts & Figures: 2019 Nitto ATP Finals

  • Posted: Nov 10, 2019

Facts & Figures: 2019 Nitto ATP Finals

Essential information about the ATP Tour season finale at The O2 in London

The Nitto ATP Finals returns to The O2 in London for the 11th straight year and features the top trio of Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer, who first played together at the season finale in 2007. This marks the 50th edition of the year-end championship, which has been held in 14 different cities since the inaugural tournament in Tokyo.

Federer holds a couple distinctions at the Nitto ATP Finals, as the winner of a record six singles titles and as the oldest champion in tournament history. John McEnroe is the youngest champion on the honour roll, having won his first of three titles at the age of 18. He also claimed a record seven doubles titles alongside fellow American Peter Fleming, from 1978-1984 in New York City.

You May Also Like:

Scouting Report: 8 Key Things About The 2019 Nitto ATP Finals

2019 Nitto ATP Finals | Nadal, Djokovic, Federer, Medvedev, Thiem, Tsitsipas, Zverev, Berrettini

Source link

Novak Djokovic beats Matteo Berrettini in opening match of ATP Finals in London

  • Posted: Nov 10, 2019
2019 Nitto ATP Finals
Venue: O2 Arena, London Dates: 10-17 November
Coverage: Watch live coverage of one match per day on BBC TV, BBC iPlayer and online; Listen on BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra; Live text on selected matches on the BBC Sport website and app. Click here for Live Guide.

Novak Djokovic made a winning start at the ATP Finals as he chases a record-equalling sixth title and tries to overhaul Rafael Nadal as world number one.

The Serb was imperious, beating Italian eighth seed Matteo Berrettini 6-2 6-1.

World number two Djokovic can overtake Nadal to become year-end number one this week in London but must reach the final to stand a chance.

Roger Federer plays Dominic Thiem in the same group later on Sunday.

The season-ending championships at the O2 Arena features the top eight players of the year split into two groups.

The group stage is a round-robin format with the top two players progressing to the semi-finals with the final held next Sunday.

Nadal is in Group Andre Agassi but is an injury doubt for the tournament with a stomach muscle issue, although the Spaniard said on Friday he is confident of playing against Alexander Zverev in his opener on Monday.

  • ATP Finals schedule and BBC coverage details

Djokovic makes perfect start

Djokovic is arguably the favourite for the title in London, a title which would equal Federer’s wins at the Tour Finals.

He won the Paris Masters last week and continued his fine form against 23-year-old Berrettini, winning in just 63 minutes.

The Italian, making his debut at the event, played well but could not keep up with the relentless Djokovic.

Berrettini regularly served above 130mph, and landed 71% of his first serves, but Djokovic broke serve twice in the first set and three times in the second.

The 2019 Australian and Wimbledon champion was rarely troubled on his own serve and hit just eight unforced errors.

“It was not easy for him playing his first World Tour Finals match,” Djokovic said.

“I knew he would be a bit more nervous at the beginning. He has got big weapons with the serve and forehand but I managed to play really solid throughout the whole match.”

Briton Salisbury beaten in opener

Earlier, Britain’s Joe Salisbury lost the opening match of the doubles competition with his American partner Rajeev Ram.

The fourth seeds lost 6-3 6-4 to Raven Klaasen and Michael Venus.

Londoner Salisbury, who was a ‘hitter’ at the tournament four years ago, is the only British player in the event.

He and Ram can still progress from the group, which also includes second seeds Lukasz Kubot and Marcelo Melo, and eighth seeds Ivan Dodig and Filip Polasek.

Kubot and Melo beat Dodig and Polasek 4-6 6-4 10-5 in the evening session.

  • Live scores, schedule and results
  • Alerts: Get tennis news sent to your phone

Source link

Djokovic’s Pursuit Of Perfection

  • Posted: Nov 10, 2019

Djokovic’s Pursuit Of Perfection

Serbian moves to 1-0 in Group Bjorn Borg

By all accounts, including the most important – the scoreboard – Novak Djokovic was enjoying a dominating performance to start his 12th Nitto ATP Finals on Sunday afternoon.

The second seed was leading Italy’s Matteo Berrettini 6-2, 4-0, only two games away from a near-flawless performance to begin his bid to recapture the No. 1 ATP Ranking and finish as year-end No. 1 for a record-tying sixth time.

But then Djokovic hit a forehand into the net, and Berrettini had his first break point. Suddenly, things were going terribly. Djokovic shouted and gestured at his coaching team.

He was broken in the next point. But the Serbian recovered quickly to win 6-2, 6-1 in only 64 minutes. So why the outburst?

No other reasonable explanation than trying to play as perfect as possible,” Djokovic said.Everyone is different. Throughout my career, I always intended and always tried to perfect my game and, in the midst of a battle and heat of the moment, sometimes you just get frustrated with certain things regardless of the results.

Sometimes I really don’t mind the results as much as I care about the execution of certain shots or tactics or whatever it is. That’s all it is.”

You May Also Like:

Djokovic Fires Warning With Berrettini Win

The 32-year-old has plenty to be pleased about after improving to 1-0 in Group Bjorn Borg and moving to within 440 points of No. 1 Rafael Nadal in the battle for year-end No. 1 in the ATP Rankings.

Djokovic must reach the final for a chance at finishing in the top spot for a sixth time, which would tie American Pete Sampras’ all-time mark (1993-98). Nadal starts his stay at The O2 on Monday night against defending champion Alexander Zverev in Group Andre Agassi.

The eighth-seeded Berrettini was making his debut at the Nitto ATP Finals, which can be an overwhelming feeling, as Djokovic remembered. The Serbian first played at the season finale in 2007, failing to advance out of his group, which included Rafael Nadal, David Ferrer and Richard Gasquet.

Watch Live

I lost all three matches in the group,” Djokovic said. “I was tense. I was happy that I was there, of course. I was very proud to be part of this elite eight guys, but it’s an environment which is kind of new to you. Even though it’s a tennis court, a tennis match, it’s still different, knowing that you’re there for the first time and that you’re going to play against a Top 10 player every match in the group.

It’s a lot of pressure mentally, that you have to deliver your best, where for us guys that have been playing on the top level for many years, we have the experience. We know how to handle these kind of situations emotionally, mentally.”

Djokovic will rely on that experience all week.

Source link

Djokovic Fires Warning With Berrettini Win

  • Posted: Nov 10, 2019

Djokovic Fires Warning With Berrettini Win

Serbian prevails on opening day in London

Novak Djokovic started his quest for a record-equalling sixth Nitto ATP Finals crown on Sunday, firing a warning shot to his rivals when he beat Italian debutant Matteo Berrettini 6-2, 6-1 over 64 minutes in the Group Bjorn Borg opener.

Djokovic is now 440 points behind Rafael Nadal in the battle to become year-end No. 1 in the ATP Rankings. The Serbian must reach the final for a chance to be year-end No. 1 for a sixth time, which would match the record of Pete Sampras (1993-98). Nadal begins his campaign on Monday against defending champion Alexander Zverev in Group Andre Agassi on Monday night.

The 32-year-old Djokovic has compiled a 54-9 match record this year, including five tour-level titles at the Australian Open (d. Nadal) and Wimbledon (d. Federer), two ATP Masters 1000 events at the Mutua Madrid Open (d. Tsitsipas) and at the recent Rolex Paris Masters (d. Shapovalov), plus one ATP 500-level title at the Rakuten Japan Open Tennis Championships (d. Millman).

Djokovic made the breakthrough in the sixth game, when Berrettini over-hit two groundstrokes to put him under pressure. While the eighth seed saved the first break point, a forehand in the net handed Djokovic a 4-2 lead. Twelve forehand unforced errors in the 28-minute opener cost Berrettini, the first Italian to play singles at the season finale since Corrado Barazzutti in 1978.

From 2-2 in the first set, Djokovic ran through the next eight games for a commanding 4-0 lead in the second set. A double fault from Berrettini gave Djokovic his third service break, but Berrettini was able to gain a single break for 1-4, when Djokovic struck a backhand wide. Djokovic completed victory with a routine forehand winner, close to the net. The 2008, 2012-15 champion is now 36-12 lifetime at the season finale. Berrettini committed 28 unforced errors in total.

Berrettini, who started 2019 outside of the Top 50 in the ATP Rankings, has enjoyed a breakthrough year and compiled a 42-21 match record. He has won two ATP Tour titles at the Hungarian Open in Budapest (d. Krajinovic) and at the MerdedesCup in Stuttgart (d. Auger-Aliassime). He was also runner-up at the BMW Open by FWU (l. to Garin).

Source link

France win deciding rubber to claim Fed Cup in Australia

  • Posted: Nov 10, 2019

France won the deciding doubles rubber to claim a first Fed Cup title since 2003 in Perth, Australia.

Kristina Mladenovic and Caroline Garcia beat Ashleigh Barty and Samantha Stosur 6-4 6-3 to seal a 3-2 victory, denying Australia a first Fed Cup in 45 years.

Earlier, Mladenovic defeated Barty in the singles but Ajla Tomljanovic beat Pauline Parmentier to level.

“I’m the proudest man on the planet. I am going to have a lot of beers,” said French captain Julien Benneteau.

“I’m so proud of my girls and my team. They deserve it because they fought for a long time for this title.”

Mladenovic and Garcia embraced on the floor on the baseline after the winning point, with their team racing to pile on top of them as France won the Fed Cup for a third time.

“I’m not sure I’ve completely realised, because it’s been a crazy weekend for everyone,” Garcia said. “The doubles went very fast, but we played every point so focused, and we played a great match and it was very tense.”

Australia have now lost the last nine Fed Cup finals they have played in.

The final marked the last Fed Cup played under the current format, with an overhaul next year seeing 12 nations compete in a six-day event in Budapest.

That will mean an end to home ties and the atmosphere they bring, with the 26,951 fans turning up over two days in Perth the second-highest Fed Cup attendance on record after Roland Garros (30,000) in 2005.

Source link

Sinner Shines In The Spotlight

  • Posted: Nov 10, 2019

Sinner Shines In The Spotlight

Italian reflects on dream week in Milan

Jannik Sinner’s press conference after defeating Alex de Minaur in Saturday’s title match at the Next Gen ATP Finals was standing room only. Cameras clicked and whirred as the 18-year-old answered questions in English and Italian, signed autographs and gave video messages for fans on social media.

The amount of attention and support he received all week in Milan would likely have been unfathomable to him at the start of the year. Sinner’s rapid progression took him from outside the Top 500 at the start of the year to competing in front of 5,400 fans at the Allianz Cloud, where fellow Italians cheered him on. But instead of shying away, he’s embraced the increased interest.

“I’ve never had this kind of support, even on court. Off court, [I’m] making some media. I’m still young, so now it’s okay,” Sinner said.

His ease at being thrust into the spotlight hasn’t gone unnoticed among his #NextGenATP peers this week. Many of them hadn’t met Sinner since he’s only played a handful of tour-level events. But after practising with him and getting to know him off the court, they’re impressed by what they’ve seen.

”I have seen what a genuine, humble, sort of grounded kid he is, which is great to see,” said De Minaur. “Even though he’s been talked about a lot… he’s taking it exactly the way he should be. I don’t think he’s changing. He’s still the same kid that he was before all of this happened. Hopefully he can keep going that way and I’m sure good things will follow.”

Despite the extra attention, Sinner remained focussed on tennis. He saved his best match for last against De Minaur, erasing all nine break points and winning five of seven deciding points. But what pleased the teenager most is his progression throughout the week.

“I think I played better match after match. That’s the point and that’s the thing we were looking for,” Sinner said. “I played well the first match. Yesterday, I started not perfect, but then it was a great match after. I started today very well… I’m very happy about that.”

When Sinner sat in the stands to watch last year’s event in Milan, the thought of holding the trophy 12 months later never crossed his mind. The soft-spoken Italian admitted that he didn’t expect to take the title this week, but his modesty doesn’t reflect a quiet confidence in his game. If his performance here is any indication, he’ll be standing in the winners’ circle for many years to come.

“I’m surprised because it’s been an unbelievable week. All the players are unbelievable players. If not, they are not here,” Sinner said. “I was the [lowest-ranked] one. I was the [eighth] seed. So I tried to have my chances and, of course, today I’m very happy about my game.”

Source link

Scouting Report: 8 Key Things About The 2019 Nitto ATP Finals

  • Posted: Nov 10, 2019

Scouting Report: 8 Key Things About The 2019 Nitto ATP Finals

An executive summary of what every fan should know about the 2019 season finale

Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer lead the elite eight at the 2019 Nitto ATP Finals, the 50th edition of the year-end championship, from 10-17 November at The O2 in London.The field also includes defending champion Alexander Zverev, four-time qualifier Dominic Thiem and debutants Daniil Medvedev, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Matteo Berrettini.

 Player Age  2019 W-L (Finals)  Appearances  W-L vs 2019 field 
[1] Rafael Nadal (ESP) 33 51-6 (4-1)  9th (qualified
15 times) 
[2] Novak Djokovic (SRB) 32 53-9 (5-1) 12th  7-5 
[3] Roger Federer (SUI) 38 51-8 (4-2)  17th  5-6 
[4] Daniil Medvedev (RUS) 23 59-18 (4-5)  1st  6-5 
[5] Dominic Thiem (AUT) 26 46-17 (5-1)  4th  7-4 
[6] Stefanos Tsitsipas (GRE) 21 50-24 (2-3)  1st  6-9 
[7] Alexander Zverev (GER) 22 42-23 (1-2)  3rd  2-5 
[8] Matteo Berrettini (ITA) 23 42-21 (2-1)  1st  2-5 

Here are eight key things to know about the 2019 Nitto ATP Finals:

1) The Nitto ATP Finals is the 50th edition of the year-end championship on the ATP Tour, which began in Tokyo in 1970. This is the 11th year the tournament has been held in London. The 10-year attendance total at The O2 is 2,561,084. The only city to host the season finale longer is New York, which held the Masters for 13 years from 1977-1989.

2) For the first time in tournament history eight Europeans from eight different countries are represented. Overall eight different countries are represented at the Nitto ATP Finals for the fourth consecutive year.

3) There are three former champions in the field, led by last year’s winner Alexander Zverev, record six-time titleholder Roger Federer and five-time trophy winner Novak Djokovic. The last time there were three former year-end champions in the draw was 2000 Lisbon with Pete Sampras (1991, ’94, ’96-97, ’99), Alex Corretja (1998) and Andre Agassi (1990). 

You May Also Like:

12 Years On, Rafa, Novak, Roger Remain Top Trio; All About The Nitto ATP Finals

4) There have been four different winners the past four years with Zverev, Grigor Dimitrov (2017), Andy Murray (2016) and Djokovic (2015). The last time this occurred was from 1998-2001 with Alex Corretja (1998), Sampras (1999), Gustavo Kuerten (2000) and Lleyton Hewitt (2001).

5) This is the first time since 2009 there are four players 23 & under in the Nitto ATP Finals with Stefanos Tsitsipas (21), Zverev (22), Matteo Berrettini (23) and Daniil Medvedev (23). There are three first-time participants: Tsitsipas, who won last year’s Next Gen ATP Finals; Medvedev, who was a Milan semi-finalist in 2017, and Berrettini, who is the first Italian to qualify for the year-end Finals since Corrado Barazzutti in 1978. In 2009, the foursome was del Potro (21), Djokovic (22), Murray (22) and Nadal (23).

6) This is also the first time since 2003 the Top 5 players in the ATP Rankings all have won at least four ATP Tour level titles during the season with Djokovic (5), Dominic Thiem (5), Federer (4), Medvedev (4) and Nadal (4).

Watch Live

7) The Big 3 of Nadal, Djokovic and Federer are among the Top 3 seeds together in the year-end championship for the fourth time (2007, 2009-10). They were also in the Top 3 coming into the tournament on three other occasions (2008, 2014, 2018) but Nadal withdrew.

8) No. 1 Scenarios: Djokovic must reach the final for a chance to be year-end No. 1. Here is a look:
= 2 RR Wins + SF Win + Nadal earns 0 RR wins.
= 3 RR Wins + SF Win + Nadal only earns 0-1 RR wins.
= 1 RR Win + SF Win + Final Win + Nadal only earns 0-2 RR wins.
= 2 RR Wins + SF Win + Final Win + Nadal does not reach final with 3-4 wins.
= 3 RR Wins + SF Win + Final Win + Nadal does not reach final with 4 wins.

Source link