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Guga On No. 1: 'Highlight Of My Career By Far'

  • Posted: Aug 27, 2020

Guga On No. 1: ‘Highlight Of My Career By Far’

The Brazilian is the only South American to finish an ATP Tour season as year-end World No. 1

In the latest profile on the 26 players to rise to No. 1 in the FedEx ATP Rankings, looks back on the career of Gustavo Kuerten. View Full List.

First week at No. 1: 4 December 2000
Total weeks at No. 1: 43
Year-End No. 1: 2000

At World No. 1
By lifting his fifth trophy of 2000 at the Tennis Masters Cup [now named the Nitto ATP Finals] in Lisbon, Gustavo Kuerten overtook Marat Safin to become World No. 1 in the FedEx ATP Rankings for the first time on 4 December. The Brazilian, who almost retired from the event with severe thigh spasms and back pain, recorded back-to-back wins against Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi to lift the trophy and secure the year-end World No. 1 position. Across three stints between December 2000 and November 2001, Kuerten held the top position for a total of 43 weeks. The Florianopolis-born star, known affectionately as ‘Guga’, captured his third and final Grand Slam title as World No. 1 at Roland Garros in 2001.

Grand Slam Highlights
Kuerten enjoyed his greatest major championship success on the terre battue of Roland Garros. The smiling Brazilian captured the hearts of many French fans at the clay-court Grand Slam championship, where he lifted the title on three occasions (1997, 2000-’01). Making only his third appearance at a Grand Slam event, the World No. 66 defeated each of the three most recent champions in Paris – Yevgeny Kafelnikov (1996), Thomas Muster (1995) and Sergi Bruguera (1993-’94) — to capture his maiden Grand Slam title. Kuerten also triumphed in Paris in 2000 and 2001, beating Magnus Norman and Alex Corretja, respectively. Only 12-time champion Rafael Nadal and six-time winner Bjorn Borg have earned more Roland Garros crowns than the Brazilian in the Open Era. Kuerten moved past Goran Ivanisevic and Norman to reach his first US Open quarter-final in 1999, an achievement he would later match in 2001 with a straight-sets win against Albert Costa. The 6’3” right-hander also reached the last eight at Wimbledon in 1999, falling to eventual runner-up Agassi. Kuerten’s best result at the Australian Open was a run to the third round in his final appearance at the event in 2004.

<a href=Gustavo Kuerten beat Alex Corretja in four sets to win his third Roland Garros crown in 2001.” />

Nitto ATP Finals Highlights
The three-time Grand Slam champion made three consecutive appearances at the Nitto ATP Finals from 1999 to 2001. On his tournament debut in Hanover, Kuerten beat Nicolas Lapentti in straight sets, but lost matches against eventual finalists Sampras and Agassi. In his second appearance, Kuerten arrived in Lisbon as the No. 2 player in the FedEx ATP Rankings behind Safin. His hopes of leapfrogging the Russian appeared slim after losing his opening match to Agassi and struggling with physical issues. Unsure if he would be able to take to the court for his second match against Norman, Kuerten spent 12 hours in the physio room and did not get to sleep until 5am. The next day, the Brazilian returned to the court with a fresh outlook and charged to the trophy. Kuerten claimed wins against Norman, Kafelnikov, Sampras and Agassi to claim the title and become World No. 1 for the first time. “The most perfect match that I ever played was in the final,” said Kuerten. The 2000 year-end World No. 1’s final appearance at the elite eight-man event ended at the round robin stage in Sydney.

ATP Masters 1000 Highlights
Kuerten captured five ATP Masters 1000 trophies from 10 finals between 1999 and 2003. The Brazilian earned two crowns at the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters, battling from a set down twice in both title runs in 1999 and 2001. One month after his first success in the Principality, Kuerten also triumphed at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia. The 22-year-old beat World No. 1 Kafelnikov, No. 7 Corretja and No. 4 Rafter en route to the trophy. It marked the first of three straight final appearances in Rome, with Kuerten finishing as runner-up in 2000 and 2001. In a thrilling five-set final, the 20-time tour-level titlist outlasted Safin to win the 2000 Hamburg European Open. Kuerten earned his final Masters 1000 trophy at the 2002 Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati, beating six Top 30 players to take the title.

Biggest Rivalries
Between 1999 and 2003, Kuerten claimed seven wins from 10 ATP Head2Head matches against Norman. The pair’s rivalry reached its peak with four meetings in 2000, including Kuerten’s four-set triumph In the Roland Garros championship match. Kuerten won three of those clashes, following Norman’s own four-set win in the Internazionali BNL d’Italia final in Rome. The Brazilian earned four victories from seven matches against the Swede on clay and did not drop a set to Norman across three clashes on hard courts.

Kuerten is the only South American to finish an ATP Tour season as year-end World No. 1 in the FedEx ATP Rankings. The 1999 and 2000 Brazilian Athlete of the Year is one of the greatest players in Roland Garros history, winning three trophies across five years to cement his place in the tournament’s record books. Kuerten won 14 of his 20 tour-level crowns on clay, but the Brazilian also enjoyed success on hard courts with title runs at the 2000 Tennis Masters Cup and the 2002 Western & Southern Open. The 2012 International Tennis Hall of Fame inductee, who underwent arthroscopic right hip surgery in 2002, contested 52 matches for his nation in Davis Cup (34-18) and guided his country to its second World Group semi-final in 2000. The cheerful, popular Brazilian is considered an icon in his home country and acts as an inspiration to current and emerging Brazilian tennis stars. Kuerten was placed on a Brazilian postage stamp in 2001 and was awarded the Brazilian Cross of Merit in 2003. In 2016, Kuerten received two special honours in Rio de Janeiro. The Rio Open presented by Claro named its Centre Court after the former World No. 1 and, just a few months later, Kuerten was handed the responsibility of carrying the Olympic torch into the world-famous Maracana Stadium at the 2016 Rio Olympics opening ceremony.

Overall Match Win-Loss Record: 358-195
Overall Titles/Finals Record: 20-9

<a href=Gustavo Kuerten carries the Olympic flame into the Maracana Stadium at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.” />

Memorable Moment
As the defending champion at Roland Garros in 2001, Kuerten experienced his most memorable moment on a tennis court against American Michael Russell in the Round of 16. The Brazilian found himself one point from a straight-sets defeat at 3-5 in the third set, before charging back for a dramatic 3-6, 4-6, 7-6(3), 6-3, 6-1 victory after three hours and 25 minutes. At the end of the match, Kuerten drew a heart with his racquet into the clay, before kneeling in the middle of it and blowing kisses to the crowd on Court Philippe-Chatrier. “In terms of emotions, it’s the finest moment of my career. Nothing compares to that moment,” said Kuerten. “It’s the match – the one that I would take with me if I could choose only one. My connection with the fans was so strong… This heart was my way of thanking them for their support and for the emotions that we were going through together at that moment. If I could have hugged each and every one of them, I would have. By rights, I should have lost that match. But nothing much ever went to plan at Roland-Garros.” Three matches later, Kuerten defeated Corretja for his third and final Roland Garros crown. The Brazilian celebrated by carving a second heart into the clay, repeating the gesture he made after beating Russell.

Muster on Kuerten
”He had a big serve, great forehand, good backhand down the line and was able to cover the court because of good footwork. He really had a good all-round game, which was boosted by a large amount of confidence built up over the years. He was a tremendously fit guy, a great player and always had an ability to win the big points.”

Kuerten on Kuerten
“As a tennis player, nothing could be higher than becoming No. 1 at the [Tennis Masters Cup], beating Pete and then Andre back-to-back. This is the highlight of my career by far.”

Broadcaster/Journalist Graeme Agars
When Gustavo Kuerten used his racquet to carve a heart into the terre battue on Court Philippe-Chatrier to celebrate his third and final triumph at Roland Garros, he was carving his legacy into the game at the same time.

Guga, as he became universally known, was an ever-smiling, warm and popular player who was a true clay-court specialist. Nonetheless, Kuerten was able to expand his game to win on hard courts, but never on grass, which always remained a mystery surface for him.

His greatest year was 2000, when he won five ATP Tour titles, including the season- ending Tennis Masters Cup, which has since been renamed the Nitto ATP Finals, in Lisbon. With a powerful backhand and extraordinary stamina, Guga was a hard man to beat and was an entertaining player for his many fans to watch. Unfortunately, his time at the top of the game was limited because of frequent hip problems.

He was, and still is, a hero in his native Brazil. He carried the Olympic Torch into the Rio Olympics in 2016 and even had a stamp minted to commemorate his Roland Garros successes with an image of the Eiffel Tower in the background. He is also well known for his humanitarian work and was the recipient of the Arthur Ashe Humanitarian Award in 2003.

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US Open Draw Preview: Thiem Faces Treacherous Path

  • Posted: Aug 27, 2020

US Open Draw Preview: Thiem Faces Treacherous Path

Top seed Djokovic begins against Dzumhur

Dominic Thiem will need to be on from the first ball if he wants to win his maiden Grand Slam title at this year’s US Open. The second seed stares down a treacherous quarter of the draw that includes red-hot eighth seed Roberto Bautista Agut, along with former US Open champions Andy Murray and Marin Cilic.

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Thiem begins his campaign against Jaume Munar and holds a flawless (3-0) record in their ATP Head2Head rivalry. Cilic, the No. 31 seed, looms as a potential third-round opponent and No. 15 seed Felix Auger-Aliassime or 2012 champion Murray could await in the fourth round. Thiem has an opportunity to consolidate his spot in the Top 3 with only 10 points to defend after last year’s opening-round defeat in New York, but will need to recalibrate after a shocking opening-round loss at the Western & Southern Open.

The Austrian could meet Bautista Agut in the last eight and has historically struggled against the tenacious baseliner. Bautista Agut leads their ATP Head2Head series 3-1, but Thiem won their most recent clash at 2018 St. Petersburg.

The 32-year-old Spaniard is in top form this year on hard courts. He went undefeated (6-0) at the ATP Cup and is currently in the semi-finals of the Western & Southern Open. Bautista Agut also faces a challenging path and could meet fellow Western & Southern Open semi-finalist Milos Raonic, the No. 25 seed, in the third round.

Top seed Djokovic starts his fortnight against Damir Dzumhur and could face home favourite and No. 16 seed John Isner in the fourth round. Isner trails 2-10 in their ATP Head2Head series, but both of those victories came on North American hard courts. Seventh seed David Goffin sits in the opposite side of Djokovic’s quarter and faces a dangerous opening test in big-serving Reilly Opelka, who reached his first ATP Masters 1000 quarter-final this week.

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Third seed Daniil Medvedev also aims to capture his first major championship. Last year’s US Open finalist (l. to Nadal) begins against Federico Delbonis. Medvedev defeated Grigor Dimitrov in their US Open quarter-final clash last year and could meet the No. 14 seed once again in the fourth round. But the Bulgarian must first get revenge for this year’s Australian Open defeat to Tommy Paul when they face off again in the first round. Eighth seed Matteo Berrettini might also await in the last eight and has plenty of positive memories to lean on after reaching his maiden Grand Slam semi-final here last year.

Fourth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas begins against Albert Ramos-Vinolas. His path doesn’t get easier with a possible fourth-round clash against No. 13 against Cristian Garin, who picked up a pair of tour-level titles this February in Rio de Janeiro and Cordoba. Tsitsipas could have a potential popcorn clash in the quarter-finals with fifth seed Alexander Zverev, but will take confidence in having won the past five matches (5-1) in their ATP Head2Head series.

Zverev faces perhaps the most challenging opening-round test in the draw when he meets 2017 US Open finalist Kevin Anderson. The German has won all five matches in their ATP Head2Head rivalry, but the former World No. 5 has taken a set in three of those clashes.

Other intriguing first-round battles include No. 11 seed Karen Khachanov squaring off with reigning Next Gen ATP Finals champion Jannik Sinner and a battle of the ages as 38-year-old Paolo Lorenzi meets 19-year-old Brandon Nakashima. Murray starts against Yoshihito Nishioka and might face Auger-Aliassime in the second round.

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Tribute: Farewell Bob & Mike, Doubles Giants

  • Posted: Aug 27, 2020

Tribute: Farewell Bob & Mike, Doubles Giants pay tribute to the legendary American twins, who announced their retirement from professional tennis on 27 August 2020

The legacy of Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan isn’t just about their record-breaking achievements on the court; of their much-loved chest-bumping celebrations and energy, but it is also how they helped further popularise and promote the sport to new audiences in the 21st century.

In announcing their retirements today, tennis has lost two of its greatest ambassadors. Professional and personable, the Bryans did everything with a smile: whether you were a fan looking for an autograph or photo; a reporter with a late interview request, a wide-eyed youngster attending an ATP Tour tournament for the first time, or a sponsor seeking a meet-and-greet. Through their on-court performances, their character and integrity, the Bryans ensured everyone’s tournament experience was memorable.

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It was an ethos instilled into the Californian twins by their tennis-loving father, Wayne, who, throughout their legendary careers conducted clinics and pro-ams to rusty racquets or first-timers across the globe. From their very first professional tournament at the 1995 US Open, when, as 17-year-olds, they were mistaken by opponents for ball kids and not initially given accreditation badges, to 119 titles and 1,108 match wins later, the Bryans promoted doubles as a fun, social pursuit that taught key life skills. It was never about draws or prize money, but about doing their best at every tournament they played.

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Appearing on the scene when another set of American brothers, Luke Jensen and Murphy Jensen, were entertaining fans with their brand of ‘grunge’ tennis, the Bryan twins took high-tempo, high-intensity tennis to new levels in the new millennia. Intrinsically, through their numerous achievements: 16 Grand Slams, 39 ATP Masters 1000s, four Nitto ATP Finals, 438 weeks at No. 1, the 2012 Olympic gold medal and 2007 Davis Cup triumph, the Bryans have influenced every professional doubles player of the past 20 years — and millions of amateur hackers globally. How many amateur club lefties now play on the Deuce court, mimic Bob’s athleticism or Mike’s net skills?


Team / Match Wins (Winning %) / Titles)
1) Bob Bryan / Mike Bryan 1,108-359 (.755) 119

2) Todd Woodbridge / Mark Woodforde 508-137 (.787) 61

3) Mark Knowles / Daniel Nestor 464-179 (.722) 40

4) Sergio Casal / Emilio Sanchez 448-215 (.676) 44

5) Robert Lutz / Stan Smith 380-138 (.691) 37


Match Win No. / Tournament (Round)

No. 1 – 1996 Atlanta 1R d. Mark Keil / Dave Randall 76 76

No. 100 – 2002 Scottsdale 1R d. Felix Mantilla / Albert Portas 61 64

No. 200 – 2004 Sydney SF d. Yves Allegro / Rainer Schuettler 52 ret.

No. 300 – 2005 Washington F d. Wayne Black / Kevin Ullyett 64 62

No. 400 – 2007 Houston 1R d. James Auckland / Stephen Huss 62 62

No. 500 – 2008 Wimbledon 3R d. Frantisek Cermak / Jordan Kerr 64 64 62

No. 600 – 2010 Delray Beach SF d. Taylor Dent / Ryan Harrison 67(6) 75 10-4

No. 700 – 2011 Montreal 2R d. Feliciano Lopez / Fernando Verdasco 63 76(3)

No. 800 – 2013 Houston SF d. Johan Brunstrom / Jesse Levine 63 64

No. 900 – 2014 Shanghai 2R d. Lukasz Kubot / Robert Lindstedt 63 76(1)

No. 1,000 – 2016 Vienna QF d. Pablo Cuevas / Viktor Troicki 64 46 10-7

No. 1,100 – 2019 Cincinnati 1R d. Jeremy Chardy / Fabrice Martin 76(4) 36 10-7

No. 1,108 – 2020 Davis Cup Qualifier 1R d. Sanjar Fayziev / Denis Istomin 63 64

Fifteen years ago, when the ATP went in search of new audiences, and a better way of packaging doubles to appeal to more fans and television audiences, the Bryans — among other leading teams — were key to the introduction of the new doubles scoring system in 2006 and proponents of a grander vision for the team discipline.

Doubles is now watched by fans on stadium show courts far more than when the Bryans started their careers. It has extended the careers of players, who would normally have retired in their early 30s, and, importantly, the system of two sets to six (tie-break at 6-6), no-Ad games and a Match Tie-break (first to 10 points, win by two), has filtered down to club tennis across the world. Meaning, more than ever, amateur players have a link to the pros, and the pressure of not getting off to a good start in a Match Tie-break! It’s no surprise that the Bryans were presented the Fans’ Favourite award on (another record) 14 occasions.

As flag bearers, universally known for their prowess since they first ascended to No. 1 in the FedEx ATP Doubles Rankings on 8 September 2003, the Bryans helped to develop team professionalism and the general level of play. Their 10 year-end No. 1 finishes as a team (2003, 2005-07, 2009-2014), mainly in partnership with their long-time coach David Macpherson, would never have been possible if they hadn’t evolved and forced their rivals to work harder year-on-year. There was no easing into a match against the Bryans, they intimidated with their energy and their astonishing achievements kept doubles in the spotlight. Because of their sustained excellence, the Bryans ran up all their titles in spite of playing with a target on their chests for the majority of their careers.

Father Time waits for no one, but in a season when the COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc globally, there was some hope that the 42-year-old Bryans may reconsider their decision at the end of 2019, to lay down their racquets at the 2020 US Open. Today, though, they sign off on their own terms with records — number of Grand Slam titles, Masters 1000 titles and year-end No. 1 finishes — that may stand the test of time. Like other legendary teams of the past: John Newcombe and Tony Roche, Peter Fleming and John McEnroe, Todd Woodbridge and Mark Woodforde, they are in a very special pantheon.

Bryan Brothers By The Numbers
15,110 ATP points collected during the 2013 season
1108 match wins
439 weeks at No. 1
178 ATP Finals
119 ATP titles
61 ‘Big Titles’ (Grand Slams, Nitto ATP Finals, ATP Masters 1000s)
39 Masters 1000 titles
30 Grand Slam finals
25 Davis Cup wins
20 consecutive years winning an ATP Tour title
16 Grand Slam titles
15 consecutive years making a Grand Slam final
14 time ATP Fan Favorite Doubles Team
10 years as year-end No. 1
10 consecutive years winning at least one Grand Slam title
7 consecutive Grand Slam finals
6 Masters 1000s titles in one season (2014)
4 consecutive Grand Slam titles
2 Olympic medals
1 Career Golden Masters
1 Davis Cup title
1 Olympic gold medal

A Winning Combination (November 2011)
100 Team Titles, A Remarkable Achievement (September 2014)
Bryans Complete Career Golden Masters (October 2014)
Bryan Brothers Clinch 1,100th Match Win (August 2019)

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Bryan Brothers Announce Retirement, Ending Legendary Doubles Partnership

  • Posted: Aug 27, 2020

Bryan Brothers Announce Retirement, Ending Legendary Doubles Partnership

Record-breaking twins call it a career

Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan have announced the end of their historic doubles partnership just days ahead of the US Open, scene of their major championship debut in 1995.

As the most accomplished team in doubles history, the Bryan brothers captured an Open Era record 119 trophies in 26-season careers, including all four Grand Slams, all nine ATP Masters 1000s, Nitto ATP Finals (four titles) and Olympic gold medal. They also hold the all-time team records for Grand Slam titles (16 from 30 finals) and ATP Masters 1000 crowns (39 from 59 finals).

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“We’re most proud of the way we devoted ourselves completely to the game and gave our full effort every day,” said Bob Bryan of their decision to retire. “Our loyalty toward each other never wavered and we are leaving professional tennis with zero regrets. We’ll miss the competition and camaraderie amongst the players. We’ll also miss the excitement of gearing up for a big match and playing for the roar of the fans.”

“We feel it’s the right time to walk away,” Mike Bryan said. “We’ve given over 20 years to the tour, and we are now looking forward to the next chapter of our lives. With that said, we feel very blessed to have been able to play the game of doubles for so long. We are grateful to have had the opportunities in the beginning of the year to play and say our goodbyes to the fans. Winning our final event in Delray Beach and clinching the Davis Cup tie in Honolulu are moments we’ll forever remember and cherish.”

Andrea Gaudenzi, ATP Chairman, said: “As the most successful men’s doubles team of all-time, Bob and Mike have rewritten the record books throughout their phenomenal careers. It’s difficult to put into words what they have brought to the game, not only on the court but also off it. As flag bearers for men’s doubles, they have been a model of consistency and excellence for the past 20 years, winning more matches, titles, and holding more weeks at No. 1 than any team in history. Hugely popular wherever they have played across the globe, they’ve been exemplary role models and done more for the promotion of doubles than anyone could have imagined. On behalf of the ATP, I would like to thank them for everything they have done for the sport. The Tour will miss them greatly, and we wish them all the best as they embark on the next chapter of their lives.”

The Bryans were the standard bearers for doubles for more than 17 years, since they first ascended to No. 1 in the FedEx ATP Doubles Rankings on 8 September 2003. They spent 438 total weeks and ended 10 seasons as the No. 1 team [2003, 2005-07, 2009-2014]. Mike, who became the oldest doubles No. 1 at age 40 on 16 July 2018, also spent the most weeks at the summit of the team game (506). Bob, who underwent hip surgery in August 2018, spent a total of 439 weeks at No. 1.

Bringing their own energy and charisma to the court, they endeared themselves to the public throughout the world and significantly helped grow the sport’s popularity, appearing in 178 tour-level finals (119-59) and lifting trophies in 34 different cities. They also helped the United States win the Davis Cup in 2007 and at the 2012 London Olympics won the gold medal, adding to their 2008 Beijing Olympics bronze medal.

During a career-best season in 2013, the Bryan brothers compiled an 11-4 record in tour-level finals, including three Grand Slams and five Masters 1000 titles, to earn 15,110 FedEx ATP Doubles Rankings points. The twins, who also won six ATP Masters 1000 titles in 2014, reached seven straight Grand Slam doubles finals between 2005 Australian Open and 2006 Wimbledon. From 2005 to 2017, and again last year for the 14th time, the Bryans were presented the ATP Tour Fans’ Favourite Team award. They earned the Arthur Ashe Humanitarian of the Year award in 2015.

Bob underwent right hip surgery on 2 August 2018, but the Bryan brothers reunited at the start of the 2019 season and went on to lift two ATP Tour titles. They claimed their 1,100th team match win at the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati on 13 August 2019, and on 23 February 2020 – in what proved to be their last tournament – captured a sixth crown at the Delray Beach Open by, marking the 20th consecutive year they had lifted an ATP Tour title. They finish their legendary careers with a 1,108-359 team record overall.

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Statement On Pause in Play Of The Western & Southern Open

  • Posted: Aug 27, 2020

Statement On Pause in Play Of The Western & Southern Open

Play will be suspended Thursday

As a sport, tennis is collectively taking a stance against racial inequality and social injustice that once again has been thrust to the forefront in the United States. The USTA, ATP Tour, and WTA have decided to recognise this moment in time by pausing tournament play at the Western & Southern Open on Thursday, August 27. Play will resume on Friday, August 28.

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Raonic Saves MP, Rallies Into W&S Open Semis

  • Posted: Aug 27, 2020

Raonic Saves MP, Rallies Into W&S Open Semis

The Canadian will face Tsitsipas in the semi-finals

Milos Raonic saved a match point to defeat Filip Krajinovic 4-6, 7-6(2), 7-5 on Wednesday evening, advancing to the semi-finals of the Western & Southern Open.

Krajinovic, who made the final of the 2017 Rolex Paris Masters, acquitted himself well, serving for the victory at 6-4, 5-4. But Raonic raised his aggression and eventually triumphed after two hours and 43 minutes.

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Krajinovic held match point at 5-4 in the decider, with Raonic serving at 30/40. The former World No. 3 missed his first serve, but he backed up his second serve with a series of punishing forehands to stave off defeat.

Raonic will next play reigning Nitto ATP Finals champion Stefanos Tsitsipas, whom he defeated in straight sets at this year’s Australian Open. That was the pair’s only previous ATP Head2Head meeting.

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