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Sinner Headlines Strong Cincinnati Qualifying Field

  • Posted: Aug 04, 2020

Sinner Headlines Strong Cincinnati Qualifying Field

Last year’s semi-finalist Gasquet to also compete in qualifying

Jannik Sinner will be among a trio of #NextGenATP stars competing in the Western & Southern Open qualifying draw later this month. The reigning Next Gen ATP Finals champion will make his second ATP Masters 1000 appearance, following his debut at the level at last year’s Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome.

Sinner will be joined in qualifying by fellow #NextGenATP stars Corentin Moutet of France and Spain’s Alejandro Davidovich Fokina. Moutet made a fast start to his 2020 ATP Tour campaign, winning six matches from qualifying to reach his maiden tour-level championship match at the Qatar ExxonMobil Open in Doha (l. to Rublev). Davidovich Fokina, who qualified for last year’s Next Gen ATP Finals, will try to reach his second Masters 1000 main draw.

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Richard Gasquet, who made the 2019 Western & Southern Open semi-finals, will have to qualify this year. The World No. 50 owns a 15-13 tournament record. Two-time quarter-finalist Gilles Simon will aim to make his 12th appearance in the main draw.

Alexander Bublik and Mikael Ymer will attempt to make their main draw debuts at the Masters 1000 event. Bublik will hope to build on his strong start to the year. The 23-year-old has claimed 10 victories from 17 tour-level matches in 2020, highlighted by a run to the Open 13 Provence semi-finals in Marseille (l. to Tsitsipas). Ymer will try to extend his perfect record in qualifying events this year, after reaching main draws in Doha and Auckland in January.

In the women’s qualifying draw, former champions Victoria Azarenka and Vera Zvonareva will compete for a place in the main draw. Former World No. 1 Azarenka defeated Serena Williams to win the 2013 edition of the event, while Zvonareva overcame Katerina Srebotnik to claim the title in 2006.

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Djokovic Leads US Open Field

  • Posted: Aug 04, 2020

Djokovic Leads US Open Field

USTA announces entry list today

Three-time champion Novak Djokovic will lead this year’s US Open playing field, featuring younger ATP Tour stars Dominic Thiem, Daniil Medvedev, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Alexander Zverev, who will be eying an opportunity to make their Grand Slam breakthroughs.

Djokovic, who won the US Open in 2011, ’15 and ’18, will be attempting to win an 18th Grand Slam title. The Serb was on an unbeaten 18-match winning streak to start 2020 before the ATP Tour was suspended due to COVID-19 in March. That run included his eighth title at the Australian Open and him steering Serbia to victory in the inaugural ATP Cup.

Younger ATP Tour stars will look to snap the ‘Big Three’ stranglehold at the majors, with Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer combining to win the past 13 Grand Slam titles. Federer will not play this year’s US Open as he recovers from knee surgery. Nadal was not named on the entry list released today by the USTA.

Thiem is a three-time Grand Slam finalist, having fallen to Djokovic in this year’s Australian Open and to Nadal in the 2018-19 Roland Garros finals. Medvedev reached his first and only Grand Slam final last year in New York, when he pushed Nadal to five sets.

Tsitsipas, the reigning Nitto ATP Finals champion, reached the 2019 Australian Open semi-finals after beating Federer in the fourth round. Zverev, a winner of three ATP Masters 1000 titles, achieved his best Grand Slam result earlier this year at the Australian Open, where he reached the semi-finals (l. Thiem).

Also in the US Open field is Italy’s Matteo Berrettini, who reached the semi-finals last year (l. Djokovic). World No. 10 David Goffin will also be at Flushing Meadows, as will 2014 US Open champion Marin Cilic.

Former finalist Kei Nishikori is also entered, as is 2019 semi-finalist Grigor Dimitrov.

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Djokovic, The King Of Match Point Saves

  • Posted: Aug 04, 2020

Djokovic, The King Of Match Point Saves

Murray and Pouille have also distinguished themselves since 2015

You have to finish off Novak Djokovic. Otherwise, the World No. 1 might not only win that match, but the entire tournament.

The Serbian is a 79-time tour-level titlist. On a record seven of those occasions, he saved at least one match point during the tournament. Djokovic accomplished the feat at 2007 Vienna, 2009 Basel, 2011 US Open, 2012 Shanghai, 2017 Doha, 2019 Wimbledon and 2020 Dubai.

Djokovic returned from the brink to earn a crown in his most recent tournament at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships. In the semi-finals, the top seed saved three consecutive match points before defeating Gael Monfils 2-6, 7-6(8), 6-1. The Serbian rode that momentum to the title by beating Stefanos Tsitsipas.

“It’s like being on the edge of a cliff,” Djokovic said about facing match points. “You know there is no way back so you have to jump over and try to find a way to survive I guess and pray for the best and believe that you can make it.

“That’s one of the things that I feel at the moment. Okay, one point away, one shot away. There is no going back. This is it. I accept the situation and try to make the most out of it.”

ATP Heritage: Milestones. Records. Legends.

Since 2015, players have won 53 tour-level titles after saving match point(s) during the tournament. Djokovic and Lucas Pouille lead the way during that period by winning three different events from match point(s) down.

Pouille has won three of his five ATP Tour titles from the brink of defeat, saving at least one match point at Budapest and Stuttgart in 2017 as well as Montpellier in 2018. Since 2015, seven different players have saved match point(s) in two different matches at the same tournament before lifting the title, led by Dominic Thiem at 2016 Buenos Aires

Players Who Saved Match Point(s) In Multiple Matches, Won Title (since 2015)

 Player  Tournament
 Rajeev Ram  2015 Newport
 Dominic Thiem  2016 Buenos Aires
 Martin Klizan  2016 Rotterdam
 Victor Estrella Burgos  2017 Quito 
 Feliciano Lopez  2017 Queen’s Club
 Bernard Tomic  2018 Chengdu
 Jiri Vesely  2020 Pune

Former World No. 1 Andy Murray has saved at least one match point en route to a title twice since 2015. In the semi-finals of the 2016 Nitto ATP Finals, Murray saved one match point before battling past Milos Raonic 5-7, 7-6(5), 7-6(9). In the championship match, with year-end No. 1 in the FedEx ATP Rankings on the line, Murray beat Djokovic for the title.

Murray also notably saved seven match points in the quarter-finals of the 2017 Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, beating Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-7(4), 7-6(18), 6-1 before lifting the trophy on the weekend. The top seed saved all seven match points in the 38-point second-set tie-break, which lasted 31 minutes.

“It’s obviously a special match to win because of how it went,” Murray said. “I’ll probably never play another tie-break like that again.”

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Mutua Madrid Open Cancelled Due To COVID-19

  • Posted: Aug 04, 2020

Mutua Madrid Open Cancelled Due To COVID-19

Madrid is typically played in May, but was rescheduled due to COVID-19 concerns

Organisers of the Mutua Madrid Open on Tuesday announced the cancellation of the tournament’s 2020 edition due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The ATP Masters 1000 event is typically held in May, but was rescheduled to September because of the virus. Unfortunately, due to ongoing COVID-19 concerns, the tournament made a decision in conjunction with local authorities to cancel the event.

“We have given our all to stage the tournament,” Tournament Director Feliciano Lopez said. “After the first cancellation in May, we got to work on the September date with the hope of being able to enjoy first-class tennis in the Caja Mágica during this year, which has been so hard for everyone. However, the continued instability is still too great to hold a tournament like this in complete safety. Once again, we would like to thank the Madrid City Council and all of our sponsors and suppliers for being by our side during every step we have taken.”

After a spike in COVID-19 cases, the Community of Madrid announced a number of new measures to control the virus’ spread, including a directive that social gatherings are to be reduced to 10 people, both in public and private meetings, further reducing the feasibility of operating the tournament.

The next edition of the Mutua Madrid Open will take place from 30 April to 9 May 2021 in the Caja Mágica. Any fans that decided to keep their tickets after the postponement in May are guaranteed tickets for the same session and seats in 2021.

ATP & WTA Statement:
The ATP and WTA regret to confirm the cancellation of the 2020 Mutua Madrid Open, a decision that has been taken in line with local authorities due to health and safety concerns. We would like to recognise the efforts of the tournament organisers who have gone to great lengths in exploring all options to run this year’s tournament, despite the many challenges presented by COVID-19. Both tours are assessing updates to the 2020 provisional calendars in regards to events following the US Open, and an update will be published in due course.

Andrea Gaudenzi, ATP Chairman, said: “We share in the disappointment that the Mutua Madrid Open will not be able to take place this year. The circumstances concerning COVID-19 are continually evolving and we continue to take guidance from local authorities in our decision-making. I would like to thank the Mutua Madrid Open tournament organisers for their efforts to run this year’s event, which included the rescheduling of their dates from May to September, and we look forward to the event’s successful return in 2021.”

Steve Simon, WTA Chairman and CEO, said: “We are disappointed the Mutua Madrid Open will not be held this year but we are proud of the dedication set forth by Feliciano and the entire tournament team, who have worked tirelessly to consider and facilitate all possible alternatives in making the tournament happen this year. We know how beloved this combined men’s and women’s event is for fans, especially with the anticipation of the Tour’s return to play, but we remain vigilant to ensure health and safety remains our top priority for all.”

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From Quitting To Winning: Agassi's Washington Turnaround

  • Posted: Aug 04, 2020

From Quitting To Winning: Agassi’s Washington Turnaround

American holds tournament record with five titles 

When Andre Agassi made his Citi Open debut in 1987, he was so disgusted with his first-round loss that he gave away all of his racquets and vowed to quit tennis. It’s safe to say he’s glad that never happened.

The American gave Washington, D.C. another shot in 1990 and faithfully returned each year, only missing this event in 2005. His five titles (1990-91, 1995, 1998-1999) remain a tournament record after more than 20 years. looks at Agassi’s five trips to the winner’s circle.

Agassi’s performance in his return to Washington, D.C. was a stark contrast from his debut at this event. The 20-year-old, then No. 4 in the FedEx ATP Rankings, delivered his best tennis from the first point. He cruised to the title without dropping a set, easily dismissing fellow American Jim Grabb 6-1, 6-4 in the championship match.

“You haven’t seen me let up on someone for awhile and I don’t think you’ll see it again for awhile. I’m just different now,” Agassi said. “It seems like every day that goes by, I’m more aware of the ability I’ve been given.”

The American returned the following year to deliver the first successful title defence of his career. He once again raced through five matches without dropping a set and required just 65 minutes in the final to defeat Petr Korda 6-3, 6-4, marking his 14th ATP Tour crown.

“If I don’t rise to the occasion, there’s no telling what will happen,” Agassi said. “But I am playing my best tennis. I went out there focused. I got through the week rather easily.”

Agassi battled Stefan Edberg — and the heat — in what remains one of the most dramatic finals in tournament history.

With the temperature on court reaching 48 degrees Celsius (118 Fahrenheit), the American became ill at 5-3 in the third set and vomited into a courtside flower pot. He felt sick once again at 5-5 and raced to the locker room, explaining afterwards that he “didn’t see an opportune place to puke”.

But while he lost his lunch, he didn’t lose his cool. It was Edberg who wilted in the final game as the Swede hit three consecutive unforced errors to give Agassi a 6-4, 2-6, 7-5 win.

“I haven’t experienced this kind of heat,” the Las Vegas-native said afterwards. “I don’t know if I’ll experience this kind of heat again until next year here. It’s crazy. I don’t know why I keep coming back.”

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Guillermo Vilas, Jimmy Connors and Agassi shared the tournament record for most titles until 1998, when Agassi picked up his fourth crown in breathtakingly dominant fashion. He didn’t drop a set throughout the week and only lost six games combined in his last three matches, winning 11 consecutive games in the final to blitz Scott Draper 6-2, 6-0. The match only lasted 50 minutes and a sheepish Draper apologised to the crowd afterwards, but Agassi was in no mood to do the same.

“If this was disappointing,” Agassi told the crowd, “I hope to disappoint 20,000 people at the U.S. Open this year.”

Agassi’s last Citi Open title followed the trend of his other trophy-winning performances at this event as he once again prevailed without losing a set. He defeated Yevgeny Kafelnikov 7-6(3), 6-1 in the championship match, marking the first time he had won five titles at an individual tour-level event.

“It’s interesting what it feels like to win a fifth title somewhere – I’ve never done that before,” Agassi said. “It seems only fitting that it’s here.”

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Strong Entry Lists Welcome ATP Challenger Tour Restart

  • Posted: Aug 04, 2020

Strong Entry Lists Welcome ATP Challenger Tour Restart

A dozen Top 100 players feature in Prague and Todi

There will be no shortage of star power when the ATP Challenger Tour resumes play in two weeks. After being sidelined since March due to the COVID-19 pandemic, players competing on the Challenger circuit will return to action at clay-court events in Prague, Czech Republic and Todi, Italy.

Scheduled to commence on 17 August, the I.CLTK Prague Open 2020 by Moneta features six players inside the Top 100 of the FedEx ATP Rankings. Top Czech and World No. 65 Jiri Vesely is the highest-ranked player on the entry list and will be joined by Germany’s Philipp Kohlschreiber and Dominik Koepfer, as well as Hungary’s Attila Balazs and Marton Fucsovics.

World No. 71 Pierre-Hugues Herbert is also on the Prague entry list, as well as Finnish No. 1 Emil Ruusuvuori. Sitting one spot off a Top 100 breakthrough, the #NextGenATP star is hoping to join the club immediately. Arthur Rinderknech, the 2020 wins leader on the ATP Challenger Tour, will be in Prague as well. The former Texas A&M University standout won 16 of 20 matches in January and February, before the tour was suspended.

India’s top-ranked player and World No. 127 Sumit Nagal knows it won’t be easy, with such a strong field right out of the gates at the Challenger 125 stop.

“I’m really excited to play matches again and get in that competitive mode,” Nagal told “It’s what we train for. Everyone is feeling the same way. No one wants to be home anymore after all these months. All the players are going to try to play as much as they can. I cannot wait to get on the court and hit the ball again. I’m just really excited.”

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Prague kicks off a four-week swing in the Czech Republic, which opens with a two-week stop in the capital city and weaves to historic events in Ostrava and Prostejov. With the goal of minimizing travel amid the pandemic, it is an important cluster of events planned for the ATP Challenger Tour restart in August.

Another four-week swing will be simultaneously held in Italy, which opens with a Challenger 100 event in Todi. The tournament also features six players inside the Top 100 of the FedEx ATP Rankings. Federico Delbonis (2017 champion), Roberto Carballes Baena and home hopes Gianluca Mager, Andreas Seppi, Stefano Travaglia and Salvatore Caruso are the Top 100 stars on the entry list.

Mager was on a tear prior to the tour’s suspension, reaching his first ATP Tour final in Rio de Janeiro. Seppi also appeared in a Tour-level championship in February, finishing runner-up to Kyle Edmund at the New York Open.

The 2020 edition of the Internazionali di Tennis Citta di Todi is the first in three years, returning after the tournament’s decade-long run came to an end in 2017. Former finalist and World No. 16 Marco Cecchinato is also in the field, as well as #NextGenATP stars Jurij Rodionov and Alexei Popyrin. Rodionov was one of the hottest players on the Challenger circuit in February, winning titles in Dallas and Morelos and posting a 15-2 record.

Following Todi, the tour of Italy swings to Trieste, Cordenons and Parma. Many players competing in Todi are also on the Trieste entry list, including Cecchinato, Popyrin and Rodionov.

ATP Challenger Tour 

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Holding The Ball & Testing The Mind: Soares Leads Consistent Returners

  • Posted: Aug 04, 2020

Holding The Ball & Testing The Mind: Soares Leads Consistent Returners

The newest installment of’s ‘Ultimate Doubles Player’ series looks at the importance of a consistent return

Doubles players don’t necessarily need to return aggressively to return successfully. Sometimes an consistent return placed accurately could be just as effective, forcing the serving team to hit a difficult volley.

Jamie Murray, a former No. 1 in the FedEx ATP Doubles Rankings, points to several players who stand out with their consistent returning, including 2019 year-end No. 1 doubles team Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah.

“The [Colombians] make a lot of returns. Bruno [Soares] is one of the best. He has been for a long time, certainly on the backhand side for sure, and his ability to put the ball in play and start the point is a big talent in itself,” Murray said. “[Ivan] Dodig as well has very good returns. [He has a] backhand money shot, can get the ball in play, but can also hit hard and be aggressive. Can hit both ways as well, which is another skill, to be able to hit down the line and cross-court.”

Soares recently had a group chat with Cabal and Farah in which they discussed who they feel has the best consistent return.

“You have an aggressive backhand, you’re able to generate a lot of power. Let’s keep talking about your forehand,” Soares joked with Farah. “Seb is aggressive with the forehand and he can generate a lot of power, but sometimes he uses the lob, which is tough for the opponents to beat. In terms of consistency, I may be a little bit better throughout the year. Just trying to be honest!”

Farah believes his partner, Cabal, has the best consistent return, but not for the reason you’d expect.

“Just to destroy Bruno’s ego,” Farah joked.

While players unanimously selected Lukasz Kubot as the best aggressive returner, opinion was far more split on who the best consistent returner is. In this installment of the ATP Tour’s ‘Ultimate Doubles Series’, Soares led the way.

Bruno Soares
“He’s very good at holding the ball and he makes you move, and then he goes in the other direction. He’s very good visually.” – Neal Skupski

“He just makes a lot of returns and avoids the net player a lot.” – Joe Salisbury 

Mike Bryan
“Mike is one of the best returners ever. We always had trouble serving against him. He’s always solid, it doesn’t matter forehand or backhand. He always puts the ball back in play.” – Marcelo Melo

“Whenever he has his hands on the ball, he’s going to make you play and you’re going to have to play a tough volley.” – Jurgen Melzer

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Marcel Granollers
“I’ve played a couple matches where I’ve just gone, ‘What’s wrong with this guy?’ Hard, kick, slice, anything and he’s just always had answers for me at times.” – Robert Lindstedt 

“He’s a very good returner, especially off the backhand side. On the forehand side, he can go with the chip lob or he can dink it to your feet. Very crafty. He’s one who you’ve always got to be on your toes against.” – Neal Skupski

Ivan Dodig
“I know something about this. I’ve played with Ivan for a while. I’m the guy who is also shooting [for a poach] and he’s helping me out making tonnes of returns. He’s there every day and his level of return is very, very high.” – Filip Polasek

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Edouard Roger-Vasselin
“I feel like he can play both sides of the court, deuce and ad, he’s been really successful on both. Forehand and backhand alike he can hit the ball down at your feet seemingly every time. Maybe not the biggest return in the world, but he makes you play and you’re feeling just a constant pressure that he’s able to put on you with that quality.” – Rajeev Ram

Jamie Murray
“When it comes to just guys who are good at making balls and I needed a shot to be made… I think there are some who can put the ball low, can put the ball up above you. Jamie Murray finds a way to get a lot of points started and I think he applies pressure in a whole different way. While it might not be necessarily blowing you off the court, he’s testing your mind out there a lot and you’ve got to maintain good balance, because he can get the ball in places that are really tough to deal with.” – Raven Klaasen

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