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Djokovic, Nadal & Thiem To Suit Up For Doubles In Indian Wells

  • Posted: Mar 08, 2020

Djokovic, Nadal & Thiem To Suit Up For Doubles In Indian Wells

Wawrinka/Zverev, Schwartzman/Goffin among the notable teams

The doubles draw at the BNP Paribas Open has historically been filled with the world’s best doubles teams and intriguing pairings featuring all-star singles players, and this year will be no exception.

The top three seeds in singles this year will all hit the doubles court in California. Novak Djokovic/Viktor Troicki reunite for the first time since clinching the inaugural ATP Cup in January for Team Serbia, while two-time champions Rafael Nadal/Marc Lopez (2010, 2012) look for a hat trick in the desert. Dominic Thiem/Grigor Dimitrov will make their debut outing as a team.

Other notable singles players teaming up include Stan Wawrinka/Alexander Zverev and Felix Auger-Aliassime/Fabio Fognini. Karen Khachanov/Andrey Rublev look for their first ATP Masters 1000 title after runner-up showings at the 2018 Miami Open presented by Itau and 2019 Rolex Paris Masters. Diego Schwartzman/David Goffin also add to the stacked field.

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Juan Sebastian Cabal/Robert Farah hold the top seeds this year and last year’s finalists Lukasz Kubot/Marcelo Melo are the second seeds. Kubot/Melo saved two championship points to defeat Cabal/Farah for the title last week in Acapulco.

Two-time champions Bob Bryan/Mike Bryan (2013, 2014) look for a storybook ending to their time in Indian Wells as they continue their final season on tour. Jack Sock/Vasek Pospisil, who prevailed at this event in 2015, round out the entry list as they team up for the first time in four years.

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Kenin beats Friedsam to win inaugural Lyon Open

  • Posted: Mar 08, 2020

Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin beat Anna-Lena Friedsam 6-2 4-6 6-4 in the final of the inaugural Lyon Open.

Kenin, 21, is the first player on the WTA Tour to win two titles in 2020 but a number of unforced errors gave unseeded Friedsam, 26, the second set.

The United States’ world number five regrouped in the final set, earning a double break before clinching victory on her third championship point.

“It’s such a tough tournament, it could have gone either way,” Kenin said.

German Friedsam was in her first final since 2015 as she continues her comeback from a shoulder injury.

“You’ve come back from injury and you’re doing well and I wish you all the best for your upcoming tournaments,” Kenin added.

It was the fifth title of Kenin’s blossoming career after her three triumphs last year in Hobart, Mallorca and Guangzhou – before beating Garbine Muguruza in the Australian Open in January.

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Players asked not to give towels and sweatbands to fans

  • Posted: Mar 08, 2020

Tennis players will be asked not to hand out used towels and sweatbands to fans as part of further action to try to combat the spread of coronavirus.

The ATP and WTA have jointly announced precautionary measures to be implemented at tournaments including Indian Wells and the Miami Open.

Players will also not accept pens, tennis balls or other items from fans for autograph signing.

In a joint statement, the ATP and WTA said health and safety is “paramount”.

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“As the outbreak of COVID-19 continues, these are common sense precautions for us to take,” the statement added.

“We continue to monitor this closely on a daily basis, working with our players and tournaments, as well as public health authorities as the situation evolves globally.”

Other measures implemented include:

  • Players and mascots will not hold hands when walking out on court
  • Ball boys and girls will be provided with gloves to wear on court
  • Ball boys and girls will not handle player towels and drinks during matches

The measures will be implemented at all ATP and WTA tournaments during the 2020 spring season with “a further review to follow”.

Indian Wells organisers had previously introduced precautionary measures, with qualifying for the tournament starting on Monday in California.

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Familiar Foes Johnson, Sock Set For Indian Wells Final

  • Posted: Mar 08, 2020

Familiar Foes Johnson, Sock Set For Indian Wells Final

Steve Johnson and Jack Sock will meet for the 11th time on Sunday

There will be no secrets in Sunday’s final at the ATP Challenger Tour event in Indian Wells. Close friends and longtime foes Steve Johnson and Jack Sock are set for an all-American showdown under the desert sun, with both vying for a critical victory ahead of the BNP Paribas Open.

The championship at the Oracle Challenger Series – Indian Wells, pits the 30-year-old Johnson against the 27-year-old Sock, in what will be the 11th meeting between the pair. They will clash on Stadium 5 at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden, not before 12:30pm PST.

Together, the Americans tasted victory at the 2016 Rio Olympics, earning the bronze medal in men’s doubles. But they have also had their fair share of encounters on the singles court. Overall, they both own five victories in their longtime rivalry, with Johnson most recently emerging with a 6-4, 5-7, 6-1 win at the ATP Tour event in Delray Beach last month.

The Southern California native claimed two of their three ATP Challenger Tour meetings, including their most recent clash at the Sarasota Open in 2013, while Sock owns a 4-3 lead in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series at the Tour-level. The Nebraska native most notably triumphed in straight sets at Roland Garros in 2014.

Thus far, 2020 has been a resurgent season for both competitors and Sunday’s final will serve as a highly important test. After struggling with form and confidence last year, a piece of silverware will go a long way for both Johnson and Sock.

Johnson, who opened his campaign with a title at another Challenger 125 event – the Canberra International in Bendigo, Australia – also reached his first ATP Tour quarter-final of the year at the Delray Beach Open by He has been a force all week in Indian Wells, dropping just one set en route to the title match. The World No. 75 is projected to rise to at least No. 66 in the FedEx ATP Rankings on Monday.

“I always enjoy being out in the desert and competing,” said Johnson. “This is pretty much my home tournament. It’s my favourite event and doing well here is always important.

“I thought I played the break points well today. It definitely was an improvement from the last couple of days. It’s great to have another match out here in Indian Wells. We’ll go from there. Tonight I’ll have a nice dinner and focus on tomorrow’s match when it comes.”

Photos: Oracle Challenger Series/Jared Wickerham

Sock, meanwhile, is in the midst of a long journey back to the top of the men’s game, after thumb surgery and a subsequent dip in form saw him endure a combined 10-match losing streak at the Tour-level and Challenger circuit. The former World No. 8 entered Delray Beach without a ranking, but a victory over Radu Albot – his first in singles (non-Laver Cup) since 2018 – would set the stage for a big week in California.

The Nebraska native is into his first final since 2017, when he lifted his biggest trophy at the Rolex Paris Masters. He earned his way to the championship, stunning top seed Ugo Humbert in the second round, before defeating Evgeny Donskoy, Denis Kudla and 18-year-old Brandon Nakashima. In fact, four of his five wins came in deciding sets, including a comeback victory over Nakashima in Saturday’s semi-finals.

Regardless of the result, it will be a positive week for Sock, who rises nearly 400 spots in the FedEx ATP Rankings to at least World No. 384. He would ascend to the Top 300 with a win on Sunday.


Mannarino To Face Vukic In Monterrey Final
At the Challenger 100 event in Monterrey, Mexico, top seed and World No. 41 Adrian Mannarino will look to extend his winning streak in finals when he faces Aleksandar Vukic on Sunday. The title match at the Abierto GNP Seguros will feature the 13-time Challenger champ Mannarino against Australia’s Vukic, who is making his final debut.

The French veteran has not lost in a Challenger final since 2013, owning eight straight wins when competing for a trophy. His most recent Challenger title came on home soil in Quimper in 2017, before picking up his maiden ATP Tour title on the grass of ‘s-Hertogenbosch last year.

Vukic, meanwhile, is enjoying a breakthrough week on the hard courts of Monterrey, with five wins in six days. He stunned second seed Feliciano Lopez on Wednesday for first win over a Top 60 opponent, before striking a career-high 31 aces to edge Ernesto Escobedo in Saturday’s semis. The 23-year-old, a former University of Illinois standout, is projected to crack the Top 200 for the first time on Monday.

In their lone previous encounter, Mannarino registered a convincing 6-1, 6-2 victory at the ATP Challenger Tour stop in Noumea in 2017.

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Nadal To Challenge Djokovic For World No. 1 In Indian Wells

  • Posted: Mar 08, 2020

Nadal To Challenge Djokovic For World No. 1 In Indian Wells

Spaniard needs to win the title to have a chance at returning to the top spot

Novak Djokovic enters the BNP Paribas Open, the first ATP Masters 1000 event of the season, with the No. 1 FedEx ATP Ranking, and the Serbian knows what he needs to do if he wants to keep it after Indian Wells.

Djokovic can guarantee that he’ll remain World No. 1 on 23 March if he reaches the semi-finals on the California hard courts, where he is a five-time champion. If last week’s Dubai champion does not advance to the last four, he will open the door for World No. 2 Rafael Nadal to return to the top spot for the first time since the Australian Open. Nadal must win the BNP Paribas Open to have a chance to climb to World No. 1.

Three-time champion Nadal (2007, 2009, 2013) holds a 54-10 record in the desert and has reached at least the semi-finals in 10 of his past 13 appearances. He advanced to the semi-finals last year before being forced to withdraw from his clash with Roger Federer due to a right knee injury, but arrives this year in perfect health. He stormed to his first title of the season last week in Acapulco (d. Fritz) without dropping a set.

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Djokovic currently leads Nadal by 370 points in the FedEx ATP Rankings. But since Djokovic lost against Philipp Kohlschreiber in the Indian Wells third round last year and Nadal made the semi-finals, Djokovic is defending 315 fewer points at the Masters 1000 tournament.

With their 2019 Indian Wells points dropped, Djokovic leads Nadal by 685 points. Therefore, World No. 1 will be at stake in the desert. But Djokovic also will have an opportunity to extend his advantage and put himself in a strong position for Miami and then the clay season.

If Djokovic lifts his sixth Indian Wells trophy, he will extend his lead over Nadal by a further 400 points (should Nadal reach the final) and much more if Nadal does not make it to the championship match.

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It is a critical month for both men in the battle for No. 1. If Nadal does not retake top spot during the ‘March Masters’, he will be hard-pressed to make up ground on clay, where he is defending 3,900 points and Djokovic is defending 2,500 points.

The Serbian (280 weeks) is chasing Pete Sampras (286 weeks) for the second-most weeks at World No. 1 in FedEx ATP Rankings history. If Djokovic maintains his spot, he will surpass Sampras on 20 April, and then set his sights on record-holder Roger Federer, who was World No. 1 for 310 weeks.

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Djokovic is off to an 18-0 start in 2020, including a perfect 7-0 record against opponents inside the world’s Top 10. Nadal, last week’s Abierto Mexicano Telcel presentado por HSBC champion, is 13-3.

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ATP And WTA To Implement Precautionary Health Measures In Indian Wells And Miami

  • Posted: Mar 08, 2020

ATP And WTA To Implement Precautionary Health Measures In Indian Wells And Miami

Measures follow advice from medical experts

As the outbreak of COVID-19 continues to cause concern on a global scale, the ATP and WTA have jointly announced a series of precautionary health measures that will be implemented on-site at upcoming events including the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, the Miami Open presented by Itaú and WTA’s Volvo Car Open in Charleston.

Following medical advice by health experts, the precautionary measures, which are taken in the interest of the health and safety of players, staff, fans and the wider tennis community, are as follows:

– Players and mascots will not hold hands when walking out on court
– Ball kids will be provided with gloves to wear on court
– Ball kids will not handle player towels during matches
– Ball kids will not handle player drinks during matches
– Players will be instructed to not distribute used towels, headbands, shirts, sweatbands, etc. to fans following matches or practice
– Players will not accept pens, tennis balls or other items to hold for autograph signing

“The health and safety of our players, fans, staff and tournament personnel is paramount and, as the outbreak of COVID-19 continues, these are common sense precautions for us to take,” said the ATP and WTA in a joint statement. “We continue to monitor this closely on a daily basis, working with our players and tournaments, as well as public health authorities as the situation evolves globally.”

The precautionary health measures will be implemented across all WTA events and ATP Tour and ATP Challenger Tour events through the 2020 spring season, with a further review to follow.

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Johanna Konta loses Monterrey semi-final to Marie Bouzkova

  • Posted: Mar 08, 2020

Johanna Konta saw her Monterrey Open bid end with a 6-3 6-4 semi-final defeat against Czech Marie Bouzkova.

The 28-year-old world number 16 was contesting her first semi-final since June’s French Open, and had reached the last four after saving two match points against Anastasia Potapova on Friday.

Bouzkova, 21, ranked 41 places below second seed Konta, took the first set after breaking in the sixth game.

In her first meeting with the Briton, she won in an hour and 41 minutes.

The ninth seed will play top seed Elina Svitlova or Arantxa Rus of the Netherlands in Sunday’s final.

Konta had a break point to reduce her deficit to 5-4 in the first set but was unable to take it as Bouzkova claimed three consecutive games.

After a medical timeout between sets to assess a knee injury, Konta twice had a break point for a 5-3 lead in the second, but it was Bouzkova who broke in the next game.

Konta saw two more break point chances slip away in the 10th game before the Czech sealed victory on her first match point.

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