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#NextGenATP Seyboth Wild Captures Maiden Title In Santiago

  • Posted: Mar 01, 2020

#NextGenATP Seyboth Wild Captures Maiden Title In Santiago

Brazilian defeats Ruud on Sunday

#NextGenATP Brazilian Thiago Seyboth Wild arrived at the Chile Dove Men+Care Open hoping to gain more match experience on the ATP Tour. The wild card finished it by making history for Brazil, stunning second-seeded Norwegian Casper Ruud 7-5, 4-6, 6-3 for his maiden tour-level crown in Santiago.

The 19-year-old became the youngest Brazilian titlist in ATP Tour history and the youngest champion during the Golden Swing since an 18-year-old Rafael Nadal prevailed in 2005 Acapulco. He’s also the first #NextGenATP champion of this season and the first teenager to lift a tour-level title since a 19-year-old Alex de Minaur triumphed in 2019 Sydney.

At No. 182 in the FedEx ATP Rankings, Seyboth Wild is the lowest-ranked tour-level winner from Brazil in ATP Tour history. He’ll move to a new career-high standing on Monday when he leaps to No. 113.

The Brazilian has also put himself in prime position to grab one of the seven qualifying spots for this year’s Next Gen ATP Finals, held from 10-14 November at the Allianz Cloud in Milan. Seyboth Wild leaped from 14th to second in the year-long ATP Race to Milan with his victory in Santiago.

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Seyboth Wild weathered a challenging draw in Santiago, ousting fifth-seeded Argentine Juan Ignacio Londero in the second round before advancing past top seeded Cristian Garin when the Chilean retired due to a left leg injury. The teenager started the week with just two tour-level wins to his name.

Despite the loss, Ruud can be satisfied with his run in Santiago and start to the season. The 21-year-old Norwegian finished the Golden Swing with an 8-2 record and captured his maiden tour-level title two weeks ago in Buenos Aires (d. Sousa).

“He played amazing tennis all week. I can’t be too upset about my loss,” Ruud said. “He proved that he deserved his wild card and took very good care of his opportunity. Even though I’m not that experienced myself, I can see that he’ll be around for many more years. Hopefully we can play many more finals together in the future.”

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Perhaps experiencing nerves in his first tour-level final, Seyboth Wild mistimed several forehands to drop his first two service games. But the Brazilian’s fighting spirit was on full display even when his peak form wasn’t. He saved five break points to hold serve at 1-3, earned the break back in the next game with a return winner and erased two more break points at 3-3.

Seyboth Wild was rewarded for his resistance in the final game of the set. With Ruud serving at 5-6, the second seed shanked a forehand on set point to give the Brazilian the early advantage.

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The wild card maintained his momentum early in the second set, cruising through his service games while Ruud was twice forced to battle back from 0/30. With Seyboth Wild’s ATP Tour crown just two games away at 4-4, the magnitude of the occasion finally affected his tennis. He lost eight consecutive points with a stream of unforced errors to set up a decider.

Seyboth Wild quickly recovered from his patch of bad form, letting out a roar as a forehand error from Ruud gave him an early break and a 2-0 lead in the final set. The slight advantage was all he required. Seyboth
Wild collapsed to the ground in delight after Ruud sent a backhand wide to end play after two hours and 17 minutes.

Seyboth Wild earned 250 FedEx ATP Rankings points and $101,285. Ruud picked up 150 points and $56,065.

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Mexican Open: Rafael Nadal wins third title after beating Taylor Fritz

  • Posted: Mar 01, 2020

World number two Rafael Nadal has won his third Mexican Open title after cruising past Taylor Fritz 6-3 6-2 in the final.

Top seed Nadal did not lose a set all tournament and powered past Fritz at Acapulco to win his 85th singles title, and his first of the season.

“I couldn’t be happier, I played great from beginning to end,” Nadal said.

“Acapulco was the first big title that I won in my career, so to be able to stay here after 15 years is amazing.”

The Spaniard’s first two Mexican titles were on clay in 2005 and 2013, but he completed his hat-trick on hard court.

  • Britain’s Watson wins Mexican Open
  • Djokovic beats Tsitsipas in Dubai final

World number 35 Fritz was facing Nadal for the first time, despite playing in his fifth ATP Tour final, and the 22-year-old American said his opponent is one of the “best ever”.

“He’s one of the best players to ever play the game and he showed me why that is tonight,” Fritz said.

“This is one of my favourite tournaments to come to every year. I’m just glad that I could have a good week at one of my favourite events.”

Nadal joins David Ferrer and Thomas Muster as the only players to win at least three singles titles at the event.

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Watson wins Mexican Open for fourth WTA Tour title

  • Posted: Mar 01, 2020

Britain’s Heather Watson has won the Mexican Open by beating Canada’s Leylah Fernandez 6-4 6-7 (8-10) 6-1.

Watson, 27, claimed victory with her 10th championship point, having withstood a second-set fightback from the 17-year-old, to win her fourth career title and the first since 2016.

Victory for the world number 69 will see her re-enter the Top 50 of the WTA singles rankings on Monday.

“It was so up and down but I’m so happy to get my fourth title,” said Watson.

  • Mexican Open: Rafael Nadal wins third title after beating Taylor Fritz

“It’s been a few years, so I’m just really, really happy I came through that match.”

Watson lost her first five championship points in the second set tie-break before regaining her composure to only lose one game in the final set.

“I had those [match] points in the second set, and I wasn’t able to win that, but I was really pleased with how I stayed in the moment, and won that third set,” she added.

Watson’s last title also came in Mexico when she won in Monterrey four years ago, after previous victories in Osaka (2012) and Hobart (2015).

She is the first British player to reach the Acapulco final and victory will move her closer to her career-best position of 38, which she reached in January 2015.

Her opponent, the current world number 190, will also rise up the rankings after reaching her first quarter-final, semi-final, and final this week.

“I’ve played Leylah two times before this and I knew what to expect,” said Watson.

“She’s a great player, and I knew it would be really tough, but the thing I notice about her the most is the head on her shoulders.

“She’s very, very mature for her age and I think it’s her mental toughness that really stands out.”

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Nadal Completes Acapulco Hat Trick

  • Posted: Mar 01, 2020

Nadal Completes Acapulco Hat Trick

Top seed defeats Fritz on Saturday

Rafael Nadal’s first two titles at the Abierto Mexicano Telcel presentado por HSBC (2005, 2013) were clinched on red clay. On Saturday, the top-seeded Spaniard completed his Acapulco hat trick on a hard court with a convincing 6-3, 6-2 victory against American Taylor Fritz.

”I couldn’t be happier. I played a great event from the beginning to the end,” Nadal said. “Acapulco was the first big title that I won in my career, so to be able to stay here after 15 years is amazing. I can’t thank enough the people who make me feel at home every single time.”

Nadal Acapulco 2020 Saturday sombrero

Nadal secured his 85th ATP Tour singles title and his first of the season. He stormed through the draw without dropping a set and lost an average of five games per match. Nadal moved to 20-2 in Acapulco, joining David Ferrer and Thomas Muster as the only players to win at least three singles titles at this event.

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The 33-year-old proved to be particularly dangerous this week in return games. He led the tournament in return games won (54%, 22 of 41) and converted 22 of 35 break points (63%).

”After not competing since Australia, it’s an important week for me and an important moment,” Nadal said. “I played solid, with the right intensity and the right passion, and my forehand worked well.”  

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Despite the loss, Fritz can be pleased with reaching his fifth ATP Tour final (1-4) and his first at an ATP 500 event. He and 2017 champion Sam Querrey are the only Americans to reach the singles final in tournament history. The 22-year-old will move to a new career-high FedEx ATP Ranking of No. 24 on Monday.

”He’s one of the best players to ever play the game and he showed me why that is tonight,” Fritz said. “This is one of my favourite tournaments to come to every year. I’m just glad that I could have a good week at one of my favourite events. I felt a lot of love all week.”

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Both players exchanged service holds throughout most of the first set. But while Nadal exhibited flawless serving and only dropped three points on serve during the set (20/23), Fritz found himself battling in nearly all of his service games.

With Fritz serving at 3-4, the American finally caved to Nadal’s relentless pressure. As the Spaniard scampered around the baseline and tracked down balls that would be winners against most players, Fritz began to overcook his shots. He hit a pair of forehand errors to hand Nadal a break and the top seed clinched the early advantage in the next game with a forehand winner.

Nadal continued to pour it on the second set, breaking Fritz at 2-2 as the American’s frustrations began to boil over. The 22-year-old earned his lone opportunity on Nadal’s serve with a break point in the next game, but it was promptly removed by the Spaniard with a forehand winner.

Another aggressive forehand from Nadal at 4-2 gave him an insurance break and a big serve on his first championship point ended play after 75 minutes. The top seed finished the night with 14 winners to just eight unforced errors.

Nadal earned 500 FedEx ATP Rankings points and $372,785. Fritz picked up 300 points and $187,110.

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Melo/Kubot Save 2 M.P. In Epic Acapulco Doubles Final

  • Posted: Mar 01, 2020

Melo/Kubot Save 2 M.P. In Epic Acapulco Doubles Final

Second seeds defeat top seeds Cabal/Farah on Saturday

After finishing 2019 with a disappointing 1-5 record in championship matches, Lukasz Kubot/Marcelo Melo emphatically reversed the trend on Saturday at the Abierto Mexicano Telcel presentado por HSBC. The second seeds saved two championship points to defeat top seeds Juan Sebastian Cabal/Robert Farah 7-6(6), 6-7(4), 11-9 and take the title in Acapulco.

”Me and Kubot are happy to win this title in Acapulco. This title means a lot to us,” Melo said. “We were able to put our best tennis together. The match was very tough and it was decided by one or two points.”

Kubot/Melo picked up their 13th ATP Tour team doubles title and the first of this season. Both men had previously prevailed in Acapulco with different partners. Kubot won this event in 2010 (w/Marach) and 2013 (w/Marrero), while Melo took the title in 2015 (w/Dodig). Kubot/Melo improved to 3-4 in their ATP Head2Head series with Cabal/Farah.

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Cabal/Farah were seeking their 17th ATP Tour team doubles title and the first since prevailing last September at the US Open (d. Granollers/Zeballos). The top seeds surpassed their best result in Acapulco after recording semi-final finishes in 2015 and 2016.

The early stages of the opening set were highlighted by four service breaks in the first five games. Kubot/Melo were down for much of the set, but fought back from 1-3 and saved a set point on their serve at 4-5 to force a tie-break. The second seeds let slip a set point at 6/5, but converted their second chance for a commanding advantage.

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Both teams traded comfortable service holds throughout the second set. But this time, it was Cabal/Farah who raised their level in the tie-break. With the score tied at 4/4, the top seeds went on a three-point run to set up a Match Tie-break.

Cabal/Farah moved to 9/7 in the Match Tie-break and held two championship points, but the second seeds shocked the crowd by going on a four-point run to prevail after two hours and 32 minutes.

Kubot/Melo picked up 500 FedEx ATP Doubles Rankings points and split $119,750. Cabal/Farah earned 300 points and split $58,620.

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How Harnessing The Fire Within Is Paying Dividends For #NextGenATP Seyboth Wild

  • Posted: Mar 01, 2020

How Harnessing The Fire Within Is Paying Dividends For #NextGenATP Seyboth Wild

Learn more about the 19-year-old, who is rapidly rising up the FedEx ATP Rankings

Twelve days ago, Thiago Seyboth Wild stared down three match points on his serve during the second set of his first-round match at the Rio Open presented by Claro against 2019 Next Gen ATP Finals competitor Alejandro Davidovich Fokina. On the first of those points, he ripped an inside-in forehand that clipped the tape and bounced up in the air before trickling over. If that ball fell in the other direction, Seyboth Wild would have departed the ATP 500 after a straight-sets defeat and with just one tour-level win to his name.

But the #NextGenATP Brazilian went on to win in three hours and 50 minutes, topping the length of any best-of-three set match in 2019. When Davidovich Fokina made a final error to end the clash, Seyboth Wild fell to his back in celebration. Seyboth Wild lost a final-set tie-break in the next round against former World No. 12 Borna Coric, but he’d certainly shown that despite being 19, he has plenty of game and guts to compete on the ATP Tour.

“I think that every match you win at an ATP Tour event, it gives you so much confidence, it gives you so much strength to believe in yourself, to play better as the matches go by,” Seyboth Wild told “I think it had a pretty good [impact] on what I’m doing this week.”

One week later, Seyboth Wild became the youngest Brazilian finalist in ATP Tour history (since 1990) at the Chile Dove Men+Care Open in Santiago. If he beats Norwegian sensation Casper Ruud on Sunday, he will become the youngest ‘Golden Swing’ titlist since Rafael Nadal lifted the trophy in Acapulco 15 years ago. Nadal is the teen’s idol.

“I honestly don’t even know where to start… it’s just amazing,” Seyboth Wild said. “Rafa is a player, I don’t think anybody is going to do in 200 years what he’s done on clay or even reach his tennis level or win the tournaments he won and be the person he is. But if I could accomplish like 15, 20 per cent of what he’s done in his life, it would be amazing.”

For those who haven’t seen last year’s Guayaquil Challenger champion play, he believes his strengths are his forehand and his serve. But more than any physical tool, Seyboth Wild thinks the passion he brings on court and his desire to win are what will help him compete against the best players in the world. That’s also what he wants fans to take away from watching him.

“[It’s my] passion of playing tennis, how much I like the sport and how much I like to compete,” Seyboth Wild said. “I think it’s a thing that all South American players have. We’re just more emotional than Europeans. Maybe we’re like Australians, like Lleyton Hewitt was. It’s something different that we have. Not necessarily better, but different.”

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At times, those emotions haven’t actually helped him, but hindered him.

“I’ve controlled that a lot the past few years,” Seyboth Wild said. “I think that most times that it happened, when I overloaded myself with emotions, it made me lose concentration. It made me lose matches that I should not have lost, and most of the time it made me step back instead of stepping forward.”

Seyboth Wild won the 2018 US Open boys’ singles title, and last November he cracked the Top 300 of the FedEx ATP Rankings for the first time following his triumph in Guayaquil.

“I’ve had a lot of ups and downs over the past two years,” Seyboth Wild said. “But that happened actually a little fast for me and it’s really good because when I can keep a streak of two, three, four great weeks of practice, it just makes me play better and feel better on court, and that’s what gives me the happiness of playing tennis.”

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Seyboth Wild can make national history on Sunday, as he tries to become the first Brazilian since Thomaz Bellucci at 2015 Geneva to lift an ATP Tour trophy. And at World No. 182, a win will make him the lowest-ranked Brazilian to capture tour-level glory.

“Playing in an ATP event, being Brazilian, you don’t have the culture of having top players all the time,” Seyboth Wild said. “It’s just really good, it’s just amazing, it makes me feel like I can do better. It makes me feel like I actually have the potential to go on and use my strengths to keep going in the season.”

The good news that comes with Seyboth Wild’s early ATP Tour success is that he’s only going to get better. He admits there are plenty of plarts in his game to improve.

“I think that’s the good thing about being 19, because I’m already in an ATP Tour event final and I still have a lot to develop. So I still have a lot of space to grow, I still have a lot of things to develop in my game,” Seyboth Wild said. “We can always do something better every day. The fact that I know that and the fact that tennis players know that, it’s what moves us, it’s what makes us wake up every day and want to go practise and want to beat ourselves every day.

“That’s what keeps Roger Federer winning tournaments every day. He’s behind Nadal [right now], but we can’t all be Nadal, we can’t all be Federer. It’s just the motivation that we have.”

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Seyboth Wild is projected to climb to a career-high World No. 131 if he loses in the Santiago final, and he will soar into the Top 115 with a title. Between next Monday and the last week of October, the 19-year-old will only have 109 points to defend, giving him plenty of room to climb even higher.

But he is not concerned with that now. First, he’s focussing on playing Ruud. Then he’ll worry about his next practice, and then the practice or match after that. That hunger to do the best he possibly can in the present allowed Seyboth Wild to find a way to win a three-hour, 50-minute marathon last week in Rio de Janeiro. And that’s what will continue propelling him forward.

“I want to be the best player I can be,” Seyboth Wild said. “Better than I am every day. I don’t have a goal of titles, I don’t have a goal of ranking. I just want to do my best and be happy on court.”

Did You Know?
If Seyboth Wild wins the Santiago title, he is projected to rise to second place in the ATP Race To Milan on Monday. If he loses, he will climb to sixth.

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Ruud On A Roll In Santiago, 19-Year-Old Seyboth Wild Reaches Maiden Final

  • Posted: Mar 01, 2020

Ruud On A Roll In Santiago, 19-Year-Old Seyboth Wild Reaches Maiden Final

Norwegian will play for second ATP Tour title in a month on Sunday

The ‘Golden Swing’ in South America has proven a successful stretch on the calendar for Casper Ruud throughout his young career. Last season, he broke into the Top 100 of the FedEx ATP Rankings during this time. But this year has been even better.

Ruud defeated Spaniard Albert Ramos-Vinolas 7-6(5), 6-2 in one hour and 51 minutes on Saturday to reach the Chile Dove Men+Care Open final. The 21-year-old, who two weeks ago became the first Norwegian to win an ATP Tour singles title in Buenos Aires, is into his second tour-level final of the month.

“I feel good. Santiago is the last tournament of this South American swing. I enjoy coming to South America so much. It’s been a special place for me, really,” Ruud said. “Last year I broke into the Top 100, now I’m playing two finals. It’s been a very solid trip for me. This is very nice to end the swing here.”

If Ruud defeats #NextGenATP Brazilian Thiago Seyboth Wild on Sunday, he is projected to climb to a career-high World No. 28 on Monday. Ruud became the highest-ranked Norwegian in FedEx ATP Rankings history by reaching No. 34 earlier this month.

The 2019 Next Gen ATP Finals competitor used his forehand to control play against Ramos-Vinolas. Although the Spaniard has reached an ATP Masters 1000 final on clay — doing so at the 2017 Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters — he struggled to find anything in his game to wrestle away rallies from Ruud.

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Ruud crushed a return winner in the first-set tie-break to earn a fourth set point, which he converted when Ramos-Vinolas failed to return his serve. The Norwegian did not let slip his momentum, pummeling an inside-out forehand winner to break for 3-2, and earning another break when the Spanish lefty hit a forehand into the net.

Ruud has been highly complimentary of Santiago throughout the week, and it has shown in his game as he has not lost a set in three matches.

“Norway and Chile are very far away from each other on the map, but the nature and the climate are not that different,” Ruud said. “You have the mountains and the sea, also. I also heard that further south there are some fjords and some really nice landscape. I think it’s a nice place for me to be. I wish I could visit more of Chile.”

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The second seed’s opponent in the final, Seyboth Wild, cruised past Argentine qualifier Renzo Olivo 6-1, 6-3 in 79 minutes to reach his first ATP Tour final.

Entering the week, World No. 182 Seyboth Wild only owned two tour-level wins. But the 19-year-old now has a chance to become the youngest player to win a title during the ‘Golden Swing’ since Rafael Nadal at 2005 Acapulco.

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Seyboth Wild, the 2018 US Open boys’ singles champion, is already the youngest Brazilian finalist in ATP Tour history (since 1990), and he can become the second teen to win an ATP Tour title since 2017 Umag, joining 19-year-old Alex de Minaur, who won his first trophy in Sydney last year.

The Brazilian showed no fear of the moment against World No. 297 Olivo, using his forehand to push the qualifier back and to get out of trouble when under pressure. Seyboth Wild saved all three break points he faced while earning 14 break points of his own — converting four — to earn the biggest win of his career.

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