American Serena Williams overcomes a scare against Dutch qualifier Arantxa Rus to reach the Western and Southern Open third round.
American Serena Williams overcomes a scare against Dutch qualifier Arantxa Rus to reach the Western and Southern Open third round.
Krawietz/Mies also through on Monday
Lukasz Kubot and Marcelo Melo made a winning start to their Western & Southern Open campaign on Monday, defeating Mate Pavic and Bruno Soares 7-6(4), 3-6, 10-5.
The 2017 semi-finalists improved to 6-3 as a team at the ATP Masters 1000 event after one hour and 44 minutes to book a second-round clash against Steve Johnson and Austin Krajicek. The American pairing dropped just two games to defeat Sander Gille and Joran Vliegen on Sunday.
“We are very happy, first of all, to be playing again in competition,” said Kubot. “We are happy after this long period… to continue playing good. I think today was a very good match, a very tough match against Bruno and Pavic who we have played a couple of times. To be back after five months playing this level makes us very happy.”
Kevin Krawietz and Andreas Mies needed 72 minutes to join Kubot and Melo in the second round. The reigning Roland Garros champions converted five of nine break points to beat Borna Coric and Franko Skugor 6-2, 6-3.
Wesley Koolhof and Nikola Mektic are through to their fourth quarter-final as a team this year. The Open 13 Provence finalists held each of their 10 service games to beat Daniel Evans and David Goffin 7-5, 6-1.
British number one Johanna Konta reaches the third round of the Western and Southern Open, but men’s counterpart Dan Evans is out.
An executive summary of what every fan should know about this week in New York
The ATP Tour returns after a five-month suspension, due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, with the Western & Southern Open. Thiago Seyboth Wild upset Casper Ruud for the Santiago title on 1 March in the last ATP Tour match played. ATPTour.com looks at the storylines to watch out for at the ATP Masters 1000 event:
• Typically, the Western & Southern Open is held in Cincinnati and serves as the seventh of nine ATP Masters 1000 events. In 2020, the event takes place at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York City, home of the US Open. The Western & Southern Open is the first ATP Masters 1000 event of 2020.
• With a new venue, the Western & Southern Open will be held for the 85th straight year and 119th time overall. Since the inaugural edition in 1899, the tournament has been staged every year except 1918, 1921 and 1935.
• World No. 1 Novak Djokovic leads a field that features five former champions and 16 players in the Top 20 of the FedEx ATP Rankings. In 2018, Djokovic defeated seven-time champion Roger Federer for his first Cincinnati title in his sixth final. With that win, Djokovic became the first player to capture all nine different ATP Masters 1000 titles in series history (since 1990).
• Djokovic is 18-0 in 2020 and is assured of tying Pete Sampras on 14 September for the second-most weeks (286) at No. 1 in FedEx ATP Rankings history (since 1973). Though he trails Djokovic by 3,175 points, No. 3-ranked Dominic Thiem could add as many as 3,980 points through Rome by 21 September.
Best Starts to a Season in ATP Tour History (since 1990)
o Novak Djokovic 41-0 2011 (43 straight wins from 2010-11)
o Novak Djokovic 18-0 2020 (21 straight wins from 2019-Present)
o Novak Djokovic 17-0 2013 (22 straight wins from 2012-13)
o Roger Federer 17-0 2018 (17 straight wins overall)
o Pete Sampras 17-0 1997 (20 straight wins from 1996-97)
• Daniil Medvedev defeated Djokovic en route to the 2019 Western & Southern Open title. Cincinnati was the third of six straight finals reached by the Russian, who narrowly fell to Rafael Nadal three weeks later at the US Open.
o Washington l. to Nick Kyrgios
o Montreal l. to Rafael Nadal
o Cincinnati d. David Goffin
o US Open l. to Rafael Nadal
o St. Petersburg d. Borna Coric
o Shanghai d. Alexander Zverev
• Medvedev and Djokovic are joined by fellow former champions Grigor Dimitrov (2017), Marin Cilic (2016) and Andy Murray (2008, 2011). Murray will be playing his first tour-level tournament of 2020. He is 18-12 since undergoing the first of two right hip surgeries in January 2018, highlighted by his 46th tour-level title in October 2019 at Antwerp.
• Andrey Rublev won his first 11 matches of 2020 and 15 straight matches dating back to 2019. Now 15-3 on the year, the Russian returns to the Western & Southern Open at a career-high No. 14. He was a 70th-ranked qualifier at 2019 Cincinnati when he upset Federer in 62 minutes – the Swiss’ quickest loss in over 16 years.
• Another 22-year-old with a career-high ranking is No. 24 Taylor Fritz. The Californian is one of 11 Americans trying to end the longest title drought for the host country in tournament history. Former World No. 1 Andy Roddick is the last American to win both the Western & Southern Open (2006) and the US Open (2003).
• The Western & Southern Open final is 28 August and the US Open begins 31 August, marking the shortest gap between the two tournaments since 1986. That year, Cincinnati ended two days prior to the US Open.
• All 56 main draw players and 36 qualifying losers at the Western & Southern Open are scheduled to play at the US Open. Odds are that one of those 92 players will win the US Open title, but it would be a rarity all the same.
o Stan Wawrinka is the last player to compete the week before a Grand Slam event that he won.
2015 Geneva QF followed by 2015 Roland Garros title
o Patrick Rafter is the last player to win a title the week before a Grand Slam event that he won.
1998 Long Island title followed by 1998 US Open title
German wins sixth ATP Challenger Tour title
After nearly six months, Yannick Hanfmann finally found himself on a court for a competitive tournament on the ATP Challenger Tour. Safe to say, it went even better than he expected.
Hanfmann dropped just one set all week in Todi, Italy, culminating in an efficient 6-3, 6-3 win over Bernabe Zapata Miralles on Sunday evening. He needed just 65 minutes to dispatch his Spanish opponent, winning a dominant 85 per cent of all service points.
It’s never easy to organize the first tournament back amid a global pandemic, but, with stringent safety measures and protocols set up, the team at the Internazionali di Tennis Citta di Todi excelled. As did Hanfmann. It’s equally challenging to lift a trophy after a near-six month break, but the former Top 100 star was not fazed.
“I feel relief,” said Hanfmann after the final. “After a long week like that, it’s always nice to be done. And it’s even better to be done as the last man standing. I played a good final today, had a good week here and I’m really happy. Next week there’s another Italian Challenger. Hopefully I can continue the run.”
The 28-year-old, who rose a career-high No. 99 in 2018, is a former ATP Tour finalist (Gstaad 2017) and has played against some of the best players in the world. As he seeks a return to the Top 100 of the FedEx ATP Rankings, Hanfmann is ready for whatever challenge awaits. The German rose 25 spots to No. 118 with his victory in Todi.
“I have another tournament next week [in Trieste]. I’m going week-by-week and day-by-day. I have a tough match in the first round against Moroni. I played him in the semi-finals here. It’s not going to be easy. Getting a win in the first week back, I’m moving towards the Top 100 a little bit more. But I’m old enough to know that it’s another step to get to that point. I’ll take it tournament-by-tournament and I’m enjoying this, so let’s keep it going.”
Photo: Marta Magni/MEF Tennis Events
Hanfmann lifted his sixth Challenger trophy in total, marking the fourth straight year in which he has emerged victorious on the circuit. Moreover, he is now 8-4 in 2020, having finished runner-up to Taro Daniel in Burnie, Australia, in January.
The former University of Southern California standout will open against Gian Marco Moroni in nearby Trieste, Italy, on Tuesday. Seeded third, he could face #NextGenATP Italian Giulio Zeppieri in the second round, with Mischa Zverev, Antoine Hoang and Jurij Rodionov also looming in his half of the draw. Australia’s Alexei Popyrin leads the field as the top seed.
Twelve months ago, Emil Ruusuvuori was outside the Top 200 of the FedEx ATP Rankings. What a difference a year makes.
The Finn rallied past fellow #NextGenATP star Sebastian Korda 7-6(3), 4-6, 7-5 on Sunday to reach the second round of the Western & Southern Open, earning his first ATP Masters 1000 main draw victory.
“It was a really difficult match, especially mentally. There were a lot of ups and downs. I didn’t play the best at any time in this match. But I survived, that’s the key,” Ruusuvuori, a qualifier, said. “That’s how it goes sometimes. I’m just really happy we got through it.”
Ruusuvuori neared the finish line when he led 7-6(3), 4-2, but in a flash Korda turned the tide to win the second set and move ahead 5-2 in the decider. The Finn didn’t panic, though, remaining solid to win 20 of the final 22 points, advancing after two hours and seven minutes.
“I had him in the second set, there’s no doubt about it,” Ruusuvuori said. “But then it was one of the biggest comebacks in my career.”
The 21-year-old is guaranteed to crack the Top 100 of the FedEx ATP Rankings for the first time when next Monday’s standings are published.
“That was one of the big goals for sure,” Ruusuvuori said. “But it’s just one of the goals. It’s a long season and the career is long. Just one step at a time. Now that’s behind me and then we’ll just go for the next goals.”
Ruusuvuori, who also beat Korda in the 2017 US Open boys’ singles event, is the first Finn to win a match in the Western & Southern Open main draw since Jarkko Nieminen in 2013. He will face a stiff test in the next round against sixth seed Matteo Berrettini.
“He’s one of the best players on Tour at the moment. I’m sure after this break he’s going to come up with some good tennis,” Ruusuvuori said. “I have to show my best tennis if I want to keep up with him and I’m sure it’s going to be a fun match. He’s one of the best players, I have nothing to lose. We’ll see how it goes.”
Ruusuvori practised with Berrettini at Indian Wells this year before the BNP Paribas Open was cancelled due to COVID-19 concerns. His coach, Federico Ricci, is Italian and has known Berrettini for years. The #NextGenATP star is looking forward to the challenge.
“Tomorrow’s the next match,” Ruusuvori said. “We’ll just have to focus on that, do the best we can to recover from this one and show the best tennis we can tomorrow.”
David Goffin reached the final of last year’s Western & Southern Open. Although the ATP Masters 1000 is being held at a different location, the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, the Belgian doesn’t seem to mind.
The seventh seed battled through a back-and-forth opening set Sunday evening before beating Borna Coric 7-6(6), 6-4 to reach the third round.
“It was a big battle until the end of the first set. I think winning the first set was the key because after that, I didn’t lose my serve. I served well until the end,” Goffin said. “The surface is very quick so when you are aggressive and you serve well, it makes a big difference.”
Goffin now leads Coric 5-0 in their ATP Head2Head series, with their most recent meeting coming at 2016 Halle. After clinching his victory, the Belgian waved to the “crowd”, even though the applause just came from his own team, because there are no fans.
“I found it very funny when I saw Andy Murray yesterday. He did the same. It was quite nice to do like normal, like there were a lot of fans,” Goffin said. “I did the same because I know that some people are watching us. It’s quite nice and quite funny, especially when you win.”
The 2017 Nitto ATP Finals runner-up had more than just his own team in the stands, though. Former WTA No. 1 Kim Clijsters supported her countryman, who will next play 12th seed Denis Shapovalov or Jan-Lennard Struff.
“It was nice to see that she was there to support. It was her team, one of my best friends… he is coaching as well on the women’s tour. He was next to Thomas Johansson, my coach, so it was nice,” Goffin said. “There were no fans, but I had the most important fans behind me, so it was good to have their support.”
Zverev to face Murray on Grandstand
World No. 1 Novak Djokovic will begin his Western & Southern Open title bid on Monday, when four of the Top 5 tournament seeds make their returns to the ATP Tour.
The 2018 champion opens his campaign against qualifier Ricardas Berankis of Lithuania in his first match since capturing a fifth Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships crown in February. Djokovic will be hoping to extend his 21-match unbeaten run this week, which includes an 18-0 record in 2020. Each of those victories have come on hard courts, the surface where Djokovic owns the best winning percentage in the history of the sport (0.843).
”I really wanted to restart on a hard court where I feel the most comfortable,” said Djokovic. “That’s the surface that I have the most success on.”
Alexander Zverev and Andy Murray will meet for the second time in their ATP Head2Head series (Murray leads 1-0). In the pair’s only previous encounter, Murray claimed a straight-sets victory at the 2016 Australian Open. At the time, Zverev was aged 18 and ranked No. 83 in the FedEx ATP Rankings.
“[Zverev has] obviously been up at the top of the game for a number of years now,” said Murray. “It will be a good test for me, for sure… He moves well for a big guy, solid off the ground. [He] has struggled at times with his serve. When he’s serving well, he’s obviously one of the top players in the world.”
Defending champion Daniil Medvedev opens play on Grandstand against qualifier Marcos Giron. The World No. 5 dropped just one set en route to the 2019 trophy during a run of six straight final appearances from the Citi Open in Washington, D.C. to the Rolex Shanghai Masters.
“I’m happy to see where my game is at,” said World No. 5 Medvedev. “I always play to win [and] I definitely have the competitive juices flowing. I think there will be a lot of interesting matches and results.”
Second seed Dominic Thiem will also make his first appearance since the resumption of the ATP Tour. The Austrian, who reached his third Grand Slam final at the Australian Open in February, will face Filip Krajinovic for a place in the third round.
Other notable matches include ninth seed Diego Schwartzman’s Court 17 meeting against Reilly Opelka and 12th seed Denis Shapovalov’s second-round match against Jan-Lennard Struff.
ORDER OF PLAY – SUNDAY 23 AUGUST 2020
GRANDSTAND start 11:00 am
 Daniil Medvedev vs [Q] Marcos Giron
Not Before 1:00 pm
 Alexander Zverev vs [WC] Andy Murray
 Novak Djokovic vs [Q] Ricardas Berankis
Not Before 7:00 pm
COURT 17 start 11:00 am
Reilly Opelka vs  Diego Schwartzman
Not Before 7:00 pm
Filip Krajinovic vs  Dominic Thiem
COURT 10 start 11:00 am
[WC] Tennys Sandgren vs  Felix Auger-Aliassime
 Denis Shapovalov vs Jan-Lennard Struff
 Grigor Dimitrov vs [Q] Marton Fucsovics
Click here to view the full Day 3 schedule.
Felix Auger-Aliassime and Milos Raonic are doing double duty at the Western & Southern Open. It is working for them both thus far.
After the Canadians won their first-round singles matches on Saturday, they partnered one another to beat Nicolas Mahut and Jan-Lennard Struff in their opening doubles match on Sunday 6-3, 1-6, 10-0.
Auger-Aliassime and Raonic combined to win just 39 per cent of their service points in the second set. But they quickly turned that around in the Match Tie-break, blitzing the French-German team with power. On match point, Raonic crushed an inside-out forehand return, which Struff could not handle.
Auger-Aliassime and Raonic, who are competing together for the first time, will next play reigning Australian Open champions Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury, who advanced on Saturday. Struff remains in the singles draw after defeating Alex de Minaur in the first round.
Another pair of single stars caused an upset. Pablo Carreno Busta and De Minaur eliminated defending champions Ivan Dodig and Filip Polasek 3-6, 7-6(3), 10-5. The unseeded team did well to work points so that they could use their groundstrokes to their advantage rather than getting involved in volley-to-volley exchanges with the fourth seeds.
Carreno Busta and De Minaur won 79 per cent of their first-serve points against the 2019 Nitto ATP Finals qualifiers. They will next play Hubert Hurkacz and John Isner.
Fifth seeds Marcel Granollers and Horacio Zeballos ousted Rohan Bopanna and Denis Shapovalov 6-4, 7-6(1). They’ll play Taylor Fritz and Reilly Opelka, who won an all-American battle against Sam Querrey and Jack Sock 6-3, 6-7(3), 10-5.
Other teams that advanced to the second round were Nikola Cacic/Dusan Lajovic and Steve Johnson/Austin Krajicek.
Few tennis players know adversity as well as Marcos Giron. The American underwent right hip surgery in December 2015 and left hip surgery in February 2016. More than four years later, he is competing on one of the world’s biggest stages at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, set to play defending champion Daniil Medvedev in the second round of the Western & Southern Open.
“Medvedev has shown he’s one of the best in the world and I know I’m going to have to be out there and play my best to have a chance,” said Giron, who beat good friend Mackenzie McDonald 7-6(2), 7-5 on Sunday in the first round. “I’m excited for it, that’s why we play. We play to compete against the very best in the world.”
Giron’s best win came at last year’s BNP Paribas Open, where he rallied to upset then-World No. 24 Alex de Minaur, reaching the third round of the main draw as a qualifier. The highest-ranked player he has faced was then-World No. 4 Juan Martin del Potro at 2018 Los Cabos.
The qualifier said he will do some research on Medvedev, noting there is an abundance of footage to watch on the World No. 5, whom the American called “an absolute beast”.
“He doesn’t miss. He makes every ball and he chases everything down. He’s got a good serve, he’s got weapons and he doesn’t have any holes. He hits flatter than a lot of opponents, he makes people hit up and he’s good at taking advantage of that and he’s physical,” Giron said. “He’s mentally very tough. I’m going to have to find ways to create offence for myself because he’s super good at neutralising. It’ll be interesting trying to find those match-ups [during points].”
The former UCLA Bruin, who won the 2014 NCAA Singles Championship, is No. 102 in the FedEx ATP Rankings. With his opening-round win, he is on the verge of cracking the Top 100 for the first time, pending results the rest of the week.
“It’s definitely been a journey. Looking back to when I left school in 2014, I always knew I had the game, but I didn’t think it would take this long. Of course there have been some speed bumps with hip surgery,” Giron said. “Especially last year at Indian Wells, making the run there, it really gave me the confidence [I needed].”
Many of the players competing in New York are trying to find their rhythm after more than five months off. But Giron is used to that after missing 10 months due to his hip surgeries. He felt prepared for this time off, except this time he didn’t need to worry about his body.
“I knew what to expect. For me it wasn’t as hard because back then it was like, well, ‘I haven’t put in six months of training or I haven’t put in three months of training. I’ve put in two good months of training on hips that aren’t exactly fresh,’” Giron said. “I wasn’t sure how they were going to handle it. Back then when I was coming back I was kind of like, ‘Let me see how my body is going to handle it.’
“This [time] it almost felt like a boxing match where it was like, ‘Okay, I’ve got two, three months to prepare, let me do everything that I can and just be ready for it.’ It gave me a lot of time to reflect the past five months and I knew I just wanted to be in a good headspace.”