Tennis News

From around the world

Doha Honored With ATP 250 Tournament Of The Year Award

  • Posted: Jan 11, 2020

Doha Honored With ATP 250 Tournament Of The Year Award

Players selected tournament in 2019 ATP Awards

The Qatar ExxonMobil Open in Doha concluded another spectacular tournament on Saturday by receiving its Tournament of the Year award in the 250 category from the 2019 ATP Awards. The tournament awards, voted annually by ATP players, recognise the leading standards set across events on the ATP Tour.

The tournament has claimed this award for the third time in five years. Held in the opening week of the ATP Tour season, Doha has set high standards since its inception in 1993 and under the guidance of former player Karim Alami, the tournament continues to build its reputation for its superb facility, world-class hospitality and welcoming fans.

“On behalf of the Qatar Tennis Federation and all the team involved in the organisation of the event, I want to express how delighted we are at being selected once again as the ATP 250 Tournament of the Year,” said Alami. “Our goal has always been to deliver an event that meets the highest organisational standards, while providing players and their support teams, sponsors, officials, guests and spectators with warm conditions and attention to detail that make them ‘feel at home’ during their time in Doha. Winning the ATP 250 tournament award for the third time confirms we have been successful in consistently meeting those standards. It is a great honour that the ATP and ATP players continue to show their recognition and appreciation for the efforts made by everyone involved.

“None of this would be possible without the endless support from our Title Sponsor, ExxonMobil, all our valued sponsors, the support of the Qatar Tennis Federation Board of Directors, the State of Qatar institutions and organisations and the ATP. We promise to continue delivering a very special event and it is our wish that all players come and share a wonderful week with us in Doha year after year.”

The <a href=''>Qatar ExxonMobil Open</a> in Doha claims the Tournament of the Year award in the 250 category in the 2019 ATP Awards.

Source link

Rublev Battles To Doha Title

  • Posted: Jan 11, 2020

Rublev Battles To Doha Title

Russian defeats Moutet in Saturday final

Andrey Rublev couldn’t have asked for a better start to his season. The second-seeded Russian earned his third ATP Tour title on Saturday at the Qatar ExxonMobil Open in Doha with a 6-2, 7-6(3) victory over #NextGenATP Frenchman Corentin Moutet.

“It’s amazing. I’m always really happy to play here. I always enjoy my time here and to finally win the title is something special for me,” Rublev said. “It’s an amazing start to the season for me and I hope I can keep this level.”

Rublev continued his love affair with Doha, improving to 9-2 and surpassing his runner-up showing in 2018 (l. to Monfils). The 22-year-old is the third-youngest champion in tournament history, only trailing Andy Murray (2008-2009). He also joins Nikolay Dayvdenko (2010) as the only Russians to prevail at this event.

The second seed was in top form from the first ball and powered through the draw without dropping a set. He finished the week leading the field in first-serve points won (80%) and return games won (15/37, 41%), and finished second in service games won (33/36, 92%).

Read More: Why Rublev’s Win Over Federer Is The Biggest Upset Of 2019

Despite the loss, Moutet has plenty of positives to take from this week. The French qualifier ousted fourth-seeded Canadian Milos Raonic and top-seeded Swiss Stan Wawrinka en route to clinching his first ATP Tour final appearance. Moutet also showed off his improved fitness by winning back-to-back matches on Friday against Spaniard Fernando Verdasco and Wawrinka to reach the championship match.

“Unfortunately, I couldn’t win tonight because the opponent was too good. But I will remember this all my life,” Moutet said.

Both men will be rewarded for their efforts by achieving career-high FedEx ATP Rankings on Monday. Rublev is projected to make his Top 20 debut and Moutet will crack the Top 75 for the first time.

“There is still much to work on, but I’m happy to become a Top 20 player,” Rublev said. “I think this is a good part of me, that I still have a lot of space to improve. I want to try to arrive to my maximum and then we’ll see what’s going to happen.”

You May Also Like:

How Accepting Losing Has Helped Andrey Rublev Win

The first set was one-way traffic for Rublev, who raced to a 3-0 lead after nine minutes. Moutet started slowly, perhaps feeling the effects from his pair of grueling three-set wins on Friday, while Rublev used his forehand to dictate the baseline rallies. The Russian wrapped up the set with seven winners to just three unforced errors.

It appeared that Rublev would sprint to the title after jumping to another 3-0 advantage in the second set. But Moutet dug deep, adding more height to his shots in the windy conditions and altering the tempo of their exchanges. The Frenchman earned his first pair of break points with Rublev serving at 3-1 and converted after the Russian missed an overhead smash.

A series of comfortable service holds led to a tie-break, where the second seed resumed his dominance and sprinted to a 6/1 lead. A big forehand from Rublev on his third championship point wrapped up the win after one hour and 27 minutes.

Rublev earns 250 FedEx ATP Rankings points and $227,930. Moutet leaves with 150 points and $126,160.

Source link

Rafa v Novak Blockbuster In ATP Cup Final!

  • Posted: Jan 11, 2020

Rafa v Novak Blockbuster In ATP Cup Final!

Team Spain, Serbia to meet in ATP Cup final

Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic have faced off in finals at every Grand Slam and many of the ATP Tour’s leading events, but both men will meet in new surroundings on Sunday at Ken Rosewall Arena.

The World No. 1 and World No. 2 lead their countries into the inaugural ATP Cup final, with both men eager to lift the trophy alongside their countrymen for the first time. Nadal and Djokovic will meet for the 55th time in their ATP Head2Head series (Djokovic leads 28-26) in the tie’s second match, when one player will be able to clinch the title for their team.

“It’s going to be a super tough final against Serbia,” said Nadal. “Novak likes to play here and Serbia has a great team and is playing very well. But Roberto played an amazing match this afternoon and we have a good team, so we are ready for it.”

Visit The Official Website

Nadal has been impressed by the form of his great rival in the build up to their latest encounter. Djokovic owns a perfect 6-0 record at the ATP Cup so far, which includes singles victories against Top 15 stars Daniil Medvedev, Gael Monfils and Denis Shapovalov.

“[It is going to] be a tough match for me, of course. He has been playing some great matches this week,” said Nadal.

“But here I am. I think I finished with positive energy [against De Minaur]. I know I have to be ready to play at my highest level to have my chance [against Djokovic]. I need something else, and I’m looking for it.”

You May Also Like:

Novak & Rafa: The Rivalry

After contesting two matches against Belgium and rallying from a set down to beat Alex de Minaur, Nadal has spent more than six and a half hours on court since arriving in Sydney.

“Physically, I guess he is a little ahead of me. Djokovic plays on a surface that is perhaps his favourite,” said Nadal. “I know I have a complicated game, but if I play at my best level I hope to have my chances. Then, we have other matches in the tie that can help us achieve something important”.

The opening tie of the contest will feature Roberto Bautista Agut and Dusan Lajovic. Top 10 star Bautista Agut enters the contest in top form, having won five matches at this event for the loss of just 19 games.

Lajovic also enters the final with confidence, following his straight-sets victory against Karen Khachanov. The World No. 34, who owns a 4-1 record at this event, will be aiming to record his first win against Bautista Agut in their fourth ATP Head2Head clash. If Lajovic can break new ground, he will hand Djokovic the opportunity to capture the title for Serbia against Nadal.

“I want to give [Dusan] a huge credit for what he has done in this competition so far. He’s won all of his matches except one, and the one he lost was in tight three sets,” said Djokovic.

“His level is getting higher and higher as the competition progresses, which is so good to see [from] him. As a friend and someone that has followed his development for many years, to see him playing this well is fantastic.”

Watch Live


Following the two singles encounters, Nadal and Djokovic will both return to the court in what could prove to be a winner-takes-all doubles contest.

Nadal will partner Pablo Carreno Busta in the final match of the tournament. The Spaniards own a 2-0 record as a pair in this event, which includes a tie-deciding Match Tie-break victory against Sander Gille and Joran Vliegen of Belgium in the quarter-finals.

Djokovic will join forces with Viktor Troicki, who has secured wins in four of his five matches at the ATP Cup. Djokovic and Troicki have also triumphed in a pivotal doubles contest en route to the final, defeating Nicolas Mahut and Edouard Roger-Vasselin of France in a Match Tie-break to secure a 2-1 victory for Serbia in Group A.

With Nadal and Djokovic adding another chapter to their famous rivalry, Spain and Serbia are one tie away from writing the first entry in the ATP Cup history book.

The inaugural ATP Cup champions are ready to be crowned.

Source link

Djokovic On Medvedev Epic: 'Exciting, Exhausting, Joyful, Dreadful All At Once'

  • Posted: Jan 11, 2020

Djokovic On Medvedev Epic: ‘Exciting, Exhausting, Joyful, Dreadful All At Once’

Djokovic will play World No. 1 Nadal when Serbia faces Spain on Sunday

To say Novak Djokovic rode a roller coaster on Saturday would be an understatement. The World No. 2 navigated his way through plenty of ups and downs to squeak past Daniil Medvedev in two hours and 48 minutes.

But it wasn’t the length of the match that made it special; it was the intensity. Djokovic and Medvedev engaged in gut-busting rallies that at times left the Serbian bent over, not because he’s not as fit as they come, but because of the physicality of the points.

“Exciting, exhausting, joyful, dreadful all at once,” Djokovic said. “At one point I think we both refused to miss from [the] baseline, so it was a lot of rallies and it was very exhausting. Very physical battle, but also [a] mental battle.”

In a way, Djokovic was looking himself in the mirror. After the 31-minute first set, in which Medvedev made 12 unforced errors from 46 points, the Russian buckled down and forced the Serbian to do something special to win a point, lengthening the rallies and turning the match into a battle of attrition.

“You have to try to use the various tactics and variations in the game itself, the rotation in the ball, and not really give him always the same look because it seems like he’s a machine,” Djokovic said. “I feel the same when I’m in lockdown, so it was a very physical battle. Some amazing points obviously.

“[It was] definitely one of the most exciting matches I have played against him or any other top player [in the] past few years.”

Visit The Official Website

Djokovic left no doubt that the pro-Serbian crowd inside Ken Rosewall Arena helped push him over the finish line. There were plenty of reasons Djokovic could have become frustrated against the ultra-consistent Medvedev, but there was no way he was letting down his country’s fans.

“I love playing for Serbia and for my country, and team competitions is something that gets me going tremendously,” Djokovic said. “I love it. I love the experiences, the emotions. Nenad [Zimonjic] is our captain. All of the guys on the team are dear friends of mine, some of the best friends I have in my life. I have known them for over 20 years.

“So to get to share these kind of quality moments on and off the court with them, it feels like you’re traveling with a family. That gives you even more reason to keep on playing.

“That’s why I wouldn’t say that I’m really fully focussed on Melbourne. Of course that’s where I want to play my best, but this time is different, because ATP Cup is really, is more special. I really enjoy it because of all of the things that I just stated.”

Watch Live

Djokovic has already overcome plenty of obstacles during the first event of the season, beating the likes of Kevin Anderson, Denis Shapovalov and Medvedev. And now, he will face his biggest challenge yet in World No. 1 Rafael Nadal when Serbia faces Spain for the championship.

It doesn’t take much to get the 77-time tour-level champion going. But he will be keen to extend his 28-26 ATP Head2Head series lead against the lefty legend.

“It’s the beginning of the season, and I’m not the only player that feels and talks this way, but I’m very motivated,” Djokovic said. “I’m inspired to play my best tennis.”

Source link

Williams into Auckland final with 43-minute win

  • Posted: Jan 11, 2020

Serena Williams thrashed fellow American Amanda Anisimova in just 43 minutes to reach the final of the Auckland International.

The 23-time Grand Slam singles champion, searching for her first title since the 2017 Australian Open, hammered the 18-year-old 6-1 6-1.

Williams, 38, will face Jessica Pegula in the final after the unseeded American overcame Williams’ doubles partner Caroline Wozniacki.

Pegula beat the Dane 3-6 6-4 6-0.

  • US Open champion Andreescu out of Australian Open with knee injury
  • ‘We had to wear our masks indoors’ – Swan on preparing for Australian Open during bushfires

Williams will feature in two finals in one day when she and Wozniacki play in the doubles final on Sunday.

Should the American win either, it will be her first title since becoming a mother.

She played aggressively against 2019 French Open semi-finalist Anisimova, hitting five aces, converting all five of her break points and winning 77% of first serves.

“I knew I was playing a really great player and an even better person and I knew I had to come out serious,” Williams said.

“My daughter’s only two – I tend to be really hard on myself but considering everything, I’m doing pretty good.”

  • Djokovic’s Serbia into ATP Cup final
  • Live scores, schedule and results

In the Brisbane International, Karolina Pliskova reached the final with a victory over Australian Open champion Naomi Osaka.

Defending champion Pliskova, who is second in the world rankings, fought back to beat world number four Osaka 6-7 (10-12) 7-6 (7-3) 6-2.

She will play American Madison Keys on Sunday after Keys beat two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova 3-6 6-2 6-3.

World number one Ashleigh Barty will feature in Sunday’s doubles final with Kiki Bertens of the Netherlands.

Barty is donating all her prize money from Brisbane to the bushfire relief fund – she has already donated her A$32,129 (£16,955) second-round singles prize money to the cause.

Barty and Bertens will face Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strycova in the final.

Source link

We had to wear our masks indoors – Swan on Australian Open preparation

  • Posted: Jan 11, 2020

When British number six Katie Swan woke up in Canberra on New Year’s Day, she could smell smoke inside her apartment.

“Because it was still dark we didn’t know what it was like outside, but the news said there had been some really bad fires not far away from us,” Swan told BBC Sport.

“I started Googling ‘air quality in Canberra’ and it was showing off the scale, hazardous air quality that day.

“Then when the sun came up you could see that outside was completely covered in smoke, and ash had settled on top of cars in the street.”

Swan was intending to begin her preparations for the Australian Open with a women’s ITF event in Canberra, the country’s capital city.

Bushfires have been spreading across the country since September 2019 and have destroyed more than 1,200 homes across New South Wales and Victoria.

At least 27 people have died and 10 million hectares of land have been destroyed across the country.

The week that Swan was there, the air quality in Canberra was rated as the worst in the world.

“When we arrived they advised us to get masks because it wasn’t healthy even being outside to breathe in that smoky air,” the 20-year-old said.

“We actually ended up having to wear them inside a couple of times as well because you could feel the smoke even in the apartment.”

  • A visual guide to Australia’s bushfires
  • How the world has responded to the crisis

‘You did not want to breathe that air in’

There were no fires in Canberra but smoke from the neighbouring states was blown across the city, covering it in smoke.

Swan admitted that she had not realised the severity of the problem until she arrived.

“As soon as we walked outside to get some food you did not want to breathe that air in,” she said.

“It was like being at a bonfire, but being stood next to it all the time.

“The wind was coming from all directions and just blowing into Canberra. The air was the worst but no-one was actually injured where we were, thankfully.”

Swan and her team were advised not to go outside, which meant training was impossible.

“I woke up one day with quite a bad headache. I don’t know if it could have been related to it, but I did call a doctor to check we were OK to be there,” Swan said.

“We were concerned about it being safe.”

WTA events are held in China during the Asian swing in the later part of the season and the air pollution in the county is some of the worst in the world.

However, Swan said that she had never experienced anything like the smoke in Canberra.

“In China, you can see that there’s a smog and the pollution, but it was a different feeling in Canberra,” she said.

“You could smell the smoke all the time. It felt like you were at a bonfire and you were standing next to that fire, but for 24 hours straight. It wasn’t ideal.”

Ultimately, the tournament was moved from Canberra to Melbourne, where the air quality was slightly better, and Swan and her team relocated to Bendigo in Victoria.

She had arrived in Australia on Tuesday, 31 December, but she did not get out on a court until Friday afternoon when she arrived in Melbourne.

“It was a relief when we flew to Melbourne and stepped outside and could inhale fresh air, but a lot of people have it way, way worse than us,” Swan added.

“It was tough to manage those three days but people have lost their homes.

“It’s been devastating to hear about all the people who are homeless now and the animals that have died.”

Swan, who reached the second round of the Canberra event, will play in the Australian Open qualifiers from Tuesday.

  • Tennis greats to play bushfire fundraiser

Source link

Hewitt Presents Roche With Tim Gullikson Career Coach Award

  • Posted: Jan 11, 2020

Hewitt Presents Roche With Tim Gullikson Career Coach Award

This award will be presented every two years

Tony Roche, the 74-year-old Australian who once coached the likes of Roger Federer, Lleyton Hewitt, Patrick Rafter and Ivan Lendl, was presented with the Tim Gullikson Career Coach award on Saturday evening before the Australia-Spain ATP Cup semi-final inside Ken Rosewall Arena.

Former World No. 1 Hewitt presented Roche with the award. This is the inaugural Tim Gullikson Career Coach award, recognising coaches who, throughout their careers, have had a major impact on the sport of tennis, both on and off the court. 

“I started with the juniors and worked my way up. The whole thing is, you try to get the best out of your player, have a bit of fun and enjoy,” Roche said. “I was lucky enough to work with some of the great tennis players of all-time and yet still remain very good friends with those guys and that’s very important to me.”

You May Also Like:

2019 ATP Awards Winners Announced

Roche was unanimously selected as the winner of this new award. The recipients will exemplify excellence, leadership, respect, and a true love for the sport of tennis and the art of coaching. Named after the late Tim Gullikson, the award showcases someone who has inspired generations of young players and fellow coaches to grow the sport of tennis.

Source link

Australian Open: Bianca Andreescu withdraws with a knee injury

  • Posted: Jan 11, 2020
2020 Australian Open
Venue: Melbourne Park Dates: 20 January to 2 February
Coverage: Listen on BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra and online; Live text on selected matches on the BBC Sport website and app.

US Open champion Bianca Andreescu has withdrawn from the Australian Open in Melbourne as she continues her recovery from a knee injury.

The Canadian, ranked sixth in the world, picked up the injury at the season-ending WTA Finals in October.

Andreescu beat Serena Williams at Flushing Meadows in September to win her maiden Grand Slam title.

“I have to respect the recuperation plan for my knee and body,” the 19-year-old wrote on Twitter.

“I feel better and stronger every day but the Australian Open is unfortunately too soon in my rehab process.”

Andreescu reached the second round in Melbourne in 2019.

Another absentee from the Australian Open will be Argentine Juan Martin Del Potro, 31.

The 2009 US Open winner has been battling problems with his right knee since June last year when he had surgery.

Del Potro, twice a Melbourne quarter-finalist, was ranked in the top 10 a year ago, but has fallen to 120 in the singles rankings after six months out of action.

  • Williams into Auckland final with 43-minute win
  • ‘We had to wear our masks indoors’ – Swan on preparing for Australian Open during bushfires
  • Live scores, schedule and results

Source link

ATP Cup: Novak Djokovic beats Daniil Medvedev to put Serbia into final

  • Posted: Jan 11, 2020

Novak Djokovic put Serbia into the inaugural ATP Cup final as they beat Russia 3-0 in Sydney.

The world number two overcame US Open finalist Daniil Medvedev 6-1 5-7 6-4 to give Serbia an unassailable 2-0 lead.

Dusan Lajovic had earlier beaten world number 17 Karen Khachanov 7-5 7-6 (7-1) before Viktor Troicki and Nikola Cacic made it a clean sweep in the doubles.

Serbia will play either Spain or Australia in Sunday’s final.

“Medvedev is one of the best players in the world and he showed today why,” Djokovic said after their rubber.

“This was the most difficult challenge I have had so far this year.”

The 19-time Grand Slam champion later withdrew from the ATP event in Adelaide, which begins on 12 January. The Australian Open – the first Grand Slam of the year – starts on 20 January.

  • Live scores, schedule and results

Source link

Nadal Rallies Spain To ATP Cup Final

  • Posted: Jan 11, 2020

Nadal Rallies Spain To ATP Cup Final

Spain to face Serbia on Sunday night

Rafael Nadal endured Alex de Minaur’s very best tennis and clinched Spain an ATP Cup final berth on Saturday night in Sydney.

The World No. 1 was down a set and hadn’t seen a break point all night until De Minaur served to stay in the second set, at 6-4, 5-6. But the Spaniard converted his first break point that game and stepped up from there, breaking three more times in the third to win 4-6, 7-5, 6-1.

Buy Tickets To Sunday’s Final!

Spain will now face Novak Djokovic and Serbia for the inaugural ATP Cup title. Serbia reached the final earlier Saturday behind wins from Dusan Lajovic (d. Khachanov) and Djokovic (d. Medvedev) against Russia.

“It was tough at the beginning of the match as Alex was playing at a very high level and my energy was a little lower than usual. Yesterday was a very long day in heavy conditions,” Nadal said.

“It’s going to be a super tough final against Serbia. Novak likes to play here and Serbia has a great team and is playing very well. But Roberto played an amazing match this afternoon and we have a good team, so we are ready for it.”

Nadal lost to Belgian David Goffin on Friday night, and the Spaniard hadn’t dropped consecutive matches since October 2016, when he fell to Grigor Dimitrov in the China Open quarter-finals and Viktor Troicki at the Rolex Shanghai Masters five days later. Nadal also had never endured back-to-back losses in his 206 weeks as the World No. 1.

But De Minaur was playing the tennis of his life in front of a raucous Aussie crowd. De Minaur broke Nadal to start the match and held to love as he served for the set, taking the opener behind back-to-back forehand winners.

For the first two sets, De Minaur had Nadal on defence, taking the ball early and cutting off the angles to nudge the Spaniard behind the baseline. Nadal controlled his service games but rarely made in-roads on De Minaur’s serve.

Before the 12th game of the second set, the Aussie had dropped only two service points all set. But at 5-6, De Minaur sliced a backhand into the net to give Nadal set point, which the Spaniard converted and just like that, despite De Minaur’s 17 winners that set, they were even.

“You need to have the mind open and clear to find solutions, and I was not able to win many points on the return during all the second set. I needed to change something, and that’s what I did,” Nadal said.

“I think I advanced my position around one metre, one metre and a half on the return, on the Deuce [side] especially, and I take the first point. And then the game change, because then the pressure is on the other side of the court.

“I just tried to change a little bit the dynamic, tried to change a little bit the energy of the match in that moment and tried to make the opponent feel something different that it’s not going the same way that it had been going for the last 30 minutes.”

Visit The Official Website

In the third, Nadal accelerated and De Minaur cooled off as the Spaniard jumped out to a 4-0 lead and quieted the crowd inside Ken Rosewall Arena.

“He changed his game plan a bit more. He started to step up in the court a bit more and not let me dictate as much. Therefore, I felt like I had to push a bit more, and that’s when the mistakes came,” De Minaur said.

“For me to play the match, I’ve got to play a very aggressive game. I’m red-lining for a lot of that match, so a couple missed balls here and there, and he ended up just being too good.”

Earlier, Roberto Bautista Agut dismissed Nick Kyrgios 6-1, 6-4 to give Spain a 1-0 lead.

“Nick is a great talent so to beat him in two sets means I did a great job. My game plan was trying to make him under pressure to play every point and to make him work the whole match,” Bautista Agut said. “Tennis is a tough job. We are used to coming to the court very tired and having to still play and give our best on the court and that’s what Spain does every time.”

Highlights: Bautista Agut Claims Kyrgios Win

Bautista Agut, who improved to 5-0 at the ATP Cup, broke twice to start and led 5-0 after 22 minutes.

During that changeover, Kyrgios received a long talking to from captain Lleyton Hewitt in the Team Zone and seemed rejuvenated, holding three consecutive times. But at 2-2 in the second set, Bautista Agut delivered a second serve return deep to Kyrgios, who shanked a forehand long to give the World No. 10 his third break of the night. The break quieted the home faithful.

We are used to playing these kinds of matches. It’s very nice to play with a full crowd, with a lot of spectators. It feels great to play tennis like this in a big match against Nick,” Bautista Agut said.

Kyrgios finished with 27 unforced errors to 24 winners.

In doubles, Pablo Carreno Busta and Feliciano Lopez secured a 3-0 tie victory for Spain. Carreno Busta and Lopez saved all four break points they faced to beat John Peers and Chris Guccione 6-2, 6-7(6), 10-4.

Highlights: Lopez/Carreno Busta Make It 3-0 For Spain

Source link