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Peers/Venus, Kubot/Melo Set QF Battle In Hamburg

  • Posted: Sep 23, 2020

Peers/Venus, Kubot/Melo Set QF Battle In Hamburg

Frenchman Mahut and Martin advance

John Peers and Henri Kontinen won 13 tour-level titles together, including two Nitto ATP Finals triumphs. But on Wednesday, they were on the opposite side of the net at the Hamburg European Open.

Peers and Michael Venus defeated Kontinen and Fabio Fognini 6-1, 6-4, advancing after one hour. The reigning Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships winners saved the two break points they faced and won 67 per cent of their second-serve return points.

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They will face a tough test in the second round against Lukasz Kubot and Marcelo Melo. The third seeds snapped a three-match losing streak by defeating German wild cards Yannick Hanfmann and Mats Moraing 7-6(6), 1-6, 10-5. 

All four players competing in that quarter-final — Kubot, Melo, Peers and Venus — have won at least one Grand Slam title. It will be the first clash between the two teams.

In the only other doubles match of the day, Frenchmen Nicolas Mahut and Fabrice Martin beat wild cards Frederik Nielsen and Tim Puetz 7-5, 7-5 after one hour and 26 minutes. Martin is fresh off a run to the Internazionali BNL d’Italia final alongside Jeremy Chardy.

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#NextGenATP Korda Nearing Roland Garros Breakthrough

  • Posted: Sep 23, 2020

#NextGenATP Korda Nearing Roland Garros Breakthrough

Karatsev continues red-hot run, Sock survives

#NextGenATP American Sebastian Korda has never played a tour-level match on clay. But the 20-year-old American is one victory from qualifying for Roland Garros.

Korda eliminated 2019 New York Open finalist Brayden Schnur 6-4, 6-4 on Wednesday to reach the final round of qualifying in Paris. This is his first appearance in qualifying at the clay-court Grand Slam.

“I’ve had two good matches under my belt and I’m ready to keep it going here,” Korda told “I’m progressing slowly, but my game and results are definitely going up.”

The former junior World No. 1 won 76 per cent of his second-serve points against the Canadian and he saved the only break point he faced to triumph after one hour and 20 minutes. The Western & Southern Open qualifier, who lost in four sets against Denis Shapovalov in the first round of the US Open, was 1-3 in major qualifying matches before this week.

<a href=Aslan Karatsev” />
Aslan Karatsev is trying to reach his first Grand Slam main draw.
Korda will next face red-hot Russian Aslan Karatsev, the seventh seed, who eased past Australian Open doubles finalist Max Purcell 6-4, 6-1 in 69 minutes.

The 27-year-old has dominated the ATP Challenger Tour since its resumption in August. He has won two Challenger titles and another final during that span. Karatsev’s only loss (17-1) came against former World No. 3 Stan Wawrinka in Prague. The Russian has won 34 of 38 sets and is on a 15-set winning streak as he pursues his first Grand Slam main draw berth.

Fifth seed Marco Cecchinato, the 2018 Roland Garros semi-finalist, beat home favourite Constant Lestienne 6-2, 6-3 to reach the final round of qualifying. The Italian will next play Belgian Kimmer Coppejans, who ousted former World No. 24 Martin Klizan 2-6, 6-2, 6-4.

Dustin Brown, one of the most entertaining players on the ATP Tour, rallied past Frenchman Alexandre Muller 3-6, 6-3, 6-3. The German is trying to reach a Grand Slam main draw for the first time since the 2018 Australian Open.

<a href=Michael Mmoh” />
Michael Mmoh had never won a round in qualifying at Roland Garros before this week.
Brown will have to get by Lorenzo Giustino to accomplish the feat. The Italian needed two hours and 28 minutes to defeat home favourite Hugo Grenier 3-6, 6-4, 7-5.

Former World No. 8 Jack Sock worked hard to win his second qualifying match in Paris, eliminating 24th seed Facundo Bagnis 2-6, 6-2, 7-6(1). The 2017 Rolex Paris Masters champion was at his aggressive best in the final-set tie-break, pushing the lefty deep in the court en route to his two-hour, nine-minute win. Sock will battle Andrey Kuznetsov, who missed nearly three years due to a hip injury, in the next round. The Russian battled past eighth seed Taro Daniel 6-2, 3-6, 7-5.

Other players to advance include second seed Pedro Martinez, American Michael Mmoh and Frenchman Benjamin Bonzi, who defeated 41-year-old Ivo Karlovic 6-3, 7-6(3).

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Musetti's Magic: 18-Year-Old Ousts Tiafoe For Third Top 100 Win In One Week

  • Posted: Sep 23, 2020

Musetti’s Magic: 18-Year-Old Ousts Tiafoe For Third Top 100 Win In One Week

Lorenzo Musetti’s rise continues at the ATP Challenger Tour event in Forli

We’ve seen it many times before. A lower-ranked player has a breakthrough week on the ATP Tour, only to return to the Challenger level and struggle to find the same energy and fire on the court.

Lorenzo Musetti is having no such trouble. The Italian booked his spot in the quarter-finals at the Internazionali di Tennis Citta di Forli on Wednesday, downing Frances Tiafoe 6-4, 5-7, 6-2. He rallied from a break down in the deciding set to topple the top seed and World No. 67. In what has been an unforgettable nine-day stretch for the teenager, he has now secured three Top 100 wins in that span.

“I went on court knowing that the match would be very tough from the beginning,” said Musetti. “Serving at a high level became key right away. He served very well from the start and it was very difficult to break him. However, I felt that I could have my chances in the rallies and I believe I won almost all the longer points. That was a reassuring thought during the match, so even after I lost the second set and fell behind of a break in the third, I had a very positive reaction. I went up a gear and started dictating with my forehand.”

For Musetti, it would be understandable to experience a dip in energy, but he’s picked up right where he left off at the Foro Italico. Last week, in Rome, even the limited fans in attendance created an unforgettable atmosphere for Musetti in his ATP Masters 1000 debut. The 18-year-old native son fed off their passion and enthusiasm to earn his first Top 50 wins over Stan Wawrinka and Kei Nishikori, storming into the Round of 16 at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia.

Musetti captured all the headlines in Rome, earning instant celebrity status as he surged into the Top 200 of the FedEx ATP Rankings. One week later, the #NextGenATP star is suddenly the player to beat as he returns to action on the ATP Challenger Tour in nearby Forli.

“I feel like my shape is really good and my game is following, even the shoulder problem that I had in Rome seems to be gone. I recovered perfectly from last week and I really feel in a good form now and do not fear facing players that are ranked higher than me. Obviously, we will see in the next round.”


Musetti will bid for a fourth Top 100 win in 10 days when he faces countryman Andreas Seppi on Thursday. Fourth seed Salvatore Caruso and sixth seed Lloyd Harris also remain in a stacked top half of the draw.

A first Challenger final appearance remains the top priority for the surging 18-year-old.

“Especially with so many people out here cheering for me, it would be a little dream of mine if it comes true,” Musetti said of potentially winning his first title in Forli. “So obviously, I hope I can win the trophy this week.”

ATP Challenger Tour 

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Bautista Agut Battles Past In-Form Koepfer In Hamburg

  • Posted: Sep 23, 2020

Bautista Agut Battles Past In-Form Koepfer In Hamburg

Spaniard will play Rublev in the quarter-finals

Roberto Bautista Agut battled hard on Wednesday evening at the Hamburg European Open to defeat home favourite Dominik Koepfer 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, setting a quarter-final clash against Andrey Rublev.

Bautista Agut is into the last eight at the ATP 500 in his first tournament as a father. The fourth-seeded Spaniard rallied from a break down in the third set to triumph against the Rome quarter-finalist after two hours and four minutes.

Last week, Koepfer qualified at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia and advanced to his first ATP Tour quarter-final at the Foro Italico. The German was the only player to win a set against World No. 1 Novak Djokovic in Rome, and his confidence showed against Bautista Agut.

The German won three consecutive games from 0-2 down in the decider to lead by a break. But Bautista Agut remained consistent in side-to-side rallies, moving into the forecourt when necessary. The nine-time ATP Tour titlist broke serve seven times from 17 chances. 

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Koepfer got off to a strong start in the match, but Bautista Agut tightened up his game to win five straight games from an 0-2 deficit in the first set. Koepfer once again took early control of the second set by taking a 3-1 lead, but Bautista Agut kept fighting. There were five consecutive service breaks, before Koepfer finally closed out with an unreturned serve.

There were 13 service breaks in the match and the server was broken 48 per cent of the time. Bautista Agut will try to shore that up against Rublev, who earned his 22nd match win of 2020 with a 6-1, 3-6, 6-2 victory over Tommy Paul in one hour and 37 minutes.

Rublev won 33 of his 40 service points, and he will try to maintain that success against Bautista Agut. The Spaniard leads their ATP Head2Head rivalry 2-1.

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Can Bublik Hit, Precisely, A 210kph Serve?

  • Posted: Sep 23, 2020

Can Bublik Hit, Precisely, A 210kph Serve?

The Kazakhstani is into the Hamburg quarter-finals
For a big server like Alexander Bublik, reaching speeds of 210kph (130mph) is achievable. But what about reaching exactly 210 kph; not 1 kph under or 1 kph over? That’s an entirely different challenge.

“To be honest, I usually hit a bit harder,” Bublik joked as he undertook the challenge while Peugeot, an ATP Tour and Hamburg European Open partner, celebrated its 210th anniversary.

“It might take like three hours, but it’s fine,” Bublik joked.

The 23-year-old was not far off. It took the World No. 56 dozens of tries, including several serves within a kilometre or two of 210.

“Are you insane?” 

“Are you sure it’s going to show 210?”

Finally, Bublik accomplished the feat, jumping up and down to celebrate.

“Finally! I mean, I don’t want to serve 35 baskets,” Bublik said, cracking a laugh. “Finally we hit it because my shoulder started feeling it… I’m very happy.”

Bublik, a lucky loser in Hamburg, advanced to the quarter-finals on Wednesday after defeating #NextGenATP Canadian star Felix Auger-Aliassime 6-4, 6-2. He has hit 19 aces through two matches, so perhaps all that serve practice is paying off!

While cars have not been around for 210 years, the Peugeot family dates back to the 19th century fashion revolution – with the steel-wire in the crinoline skirts – and then the mobility revolution, with bicycles and cars. On 26th September 1810, the PEUGEOT Frères Aînés company was officially founded.

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Bublik Fights Off Slow Start For Felix Win In Hamburg

  • Posted: Sep 23, 2020

Bublik Fights Off Slow Start For Felix Win In Hamburg

Rublev moves into quarter-finals

Alexander Bublik is making the most of his second chance at the Hamburg European Open. The Kazakhstani lucky loser, who lost to Tommy Paul in the final round of qualifying, knocked out Felix Auger-Aliassime 6-4, 6-2 in 78 minutes on Wednesday for a place in the quarter-finals.

“When you step on a clay court, which is not my favourite surface, and play someone as great as Felix, you have a little pressure,” said Bublik, in an on-court interview. “Felix got off to a fast start, so I am happy to have found my rhythm and get through.”

The 23-year-old, who reached the Open 13 Provence semi-finals (l. to Tsitsipas) in February, will next meet Cristian Garin at the AM Rothenbaum. Garin became the first player to reach the quarter-finals earlier in the day with a 6-2, 7-6(3) victory over wild card Yannick Hanfmann, who knocked out Gael Monfils in the first round.

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Having trailed 0-3, Bublik recovered to 3-3 and broke Auger-Aliassime for a 5-4 advantage, prior to saving four break points when serving for the 42-minute set. Bublik fired a barrage of deep and powerful forehands to clinch the opener.

From 3-4 down in the first set, Bublik won five straight games for a 2-0 lead in the second set. Bublik’s service consistency did the damage as the match wore on, while Auger-Aliassime struggled — double faulting to hand Bublik a 5-2 lead. The World No. 56 closed out his 12th victory of the season after Auger-Aliassime struck a forehand wide.

Elsewhere, fifth seed Andrey Rublev earned his 22nd match win of 2020 with a 6-1, 3-6, 6-2 victory over Paul in one hour and 37 minutes. Rublev, who won 33 of his 40 service points, now faces fourth seed Roberto Bautista Agut or Dominik Koepfer.

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Tsitsipas Makes Strong Start In Hamburg

  • Posted: Sep 23, 2020

Tsitsipas Makes Strong Start In Hamburg

Garin is the first player into the quarter-finals

Stefanos Tsitsipas played with great focus to beat Daniel Evans 6-3, 6-1 in 59 minutes on Wednesday at the Hamburg European Open. The second seed, who now plays Pablo Cuevas in the second round, hit 17 of his 24 winners off the forehand wing and won 14 of 19 points at the net.

“It’s very satisfying to be playing that level of tennis, as I’ve missed playing on clay,” said Tsitsipas, in an on-court interview. “It helps for my confidence. I’ve watched this tournament on TV since I was very young and I’m delighted to have gotten off to a strong start.”

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Tsitsipas turned defence into attack to force a forehand error from Evans for a 3-1 advantage in the 29-minute first set, which the Greek closed out to love with a forehand volley winner.

Evans was continually pushed deep behind the baseline at the AM Rothenbaum and couldn’t replicate the kind of form that helped him beat Tsitsipas at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships in February.

Tsitsipas broke the Briton in the third game of the second set, with a deep forehand return and forehand approach combination. The World No. 6 was later the recipient of backhand slice errors from Evans when leading 3-1 and 5-1.

Elsewhere, Cristian Garin became the first player to reach the Hamburg quarter-finals after he defeated Gael Monfils’ conqueror, wild card Yannick Hanfmann, 6-2, 7-6(3). Garin led 5-2 in the second set, only to see Hanfmann serve for the set at 6-5 and then lead 3/1 in the tie-break.

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From Iasi To Paris: A Moment Carlos Taberner Will Never Forget

  • Posted: Sep 23, 2020

On Tuesday, Carlos Taberner stood on Court 10 at Roland Garros, celebrating a long-awaited return to the Grand Slam stage. It was the culmination of months of hard work and focus for the 23-year-old, who advanced from the first round of qualifying with a convincing straight-set win over Stefano Napolitano.

Taberner’s successful start on the terre battue of Paris was launched more than 2,000 km away, in the Romanian city of Iasi. The Spaniard arrived for the clay-court slam with a surge of momentum at his back, following the breakthrough victory of his young career. Just two days ago, Taberner lifted his maiden ATP Challenger Tour trophy at the Concord Iasi Open. And the crazy thing is, he did not even know if he’d make the trip in the first place.

Taberner and his coach were unsure of whether they would have enough time to travel to Roland Garros, if he went deep in Iasi. They eventually made the decision to compete at the Challenger 100 event and it turned out to be the best move of his career.

Appearing in his 55th tournament on the circuit, the Valencia native finally put it all together. Taberner was the comeback kid all week long at the Concord Iasi Open. On Thursday, he rallied from a break down in the deciding set to defeat Kacper Zuk. In Friday’s quarter-finals, he stormed back from 1-6 down to oust countryman Adrian Menendez-Maceiras. On Saturday, Taberner overcame a set and a break deficit to defeat another Spaniard, Jaume Munar. And it all culminated in a 6-4, 7-6(4) win over France’s Mathias Bourgue in the championship.

Considering he was three years removed from his two previous Challenger final appearances, in Sibiu and Banja Luka in 2017, this win was extra special. He soared 41 spots to a career-high No. 148 in the FedEx ATP Rankings on Monday.

Looking back on Taberner’s early-season results on the ATP Tour, this comes as no surprise. Competing in the Latin American ‘Golden Swing’, he qualified in both Cordoba and Santiago and earned his first Top 50 win over Fernando Verdasco. Now, Taberner has his sights set on even greater heights as he returns to the scene of his lone Grand Slam main draw appearance. Two years ago, he pushed Stefanos Tsitsipas to four sets in his major debut at Roland Garros.

He will hope to replicate that run with another successful qualifying campaign this week. Taberner faces Argentina’s Leonardo Mayer on Wednesday, with either Nikola Milojevic or Yannick Maden potentially awaiting with a spot in the main draw on the line.


Taberner spoke to following his victory in Iasi…

Carlos, how special is this first Challenger title?
It feels pretty amazing. I am very happy with the level I was able to display last week. The only thing that entered my mind was winning each match. Nothing else. Given the situation with the pandemic, I wanted to get the most from myself as possible. I am very happy to have arrived at the last match and on top of that, to lift the trophy.

How did you celebrate?
There wasn’t much time. After the match, I went straight to the airport in Iasi with my coach and we flew to Bucharest to spend the night. On Monday, we took a flight to Paris to arrive at Roland Garros and practice in the afternoon. On Tuesday, I had my first match, so there were few celebrations. But, I’m feeling great and I’m really looking forward to this tournament.

How do you explain this successful run?
In Iasi, it was a really good week for me because I managed every moment very well. I had a very good level of tennis and above all, I fought for every point as if it were the last. I was very proud of that.

Last week, your countryman Bernabe Zapata Miralles also had his maiden moment, as did Carlos Alcaraz the week before. How motivating was that for you?
We have all been winning tournaments in these weeks. Berni [Zapata] is doing a great job and playing at a high level. He showed that in these past few weeks and, in my case, I have also had some good results. We have to continue working in our own paths with great energy every day and with the goal of making even more progress.

Why were you doubting whether to come to Iasi? What’s the story behind that?
The week before, when we were preparing for the tournament, my coach and I did not know if we could play in Iasi and Roland Garros qualifying. We spoke with the ATP and they confirmed that it was, in fact, possible. So we went from doubting if we could play in Romania to winning the title. We came with great enthusiasm and energy and it couldn’t have been better.

What is your upcoming schedule?
After Roland Garros I am entered in various Challenger tournaments. We’re also looking at different options with ATP Tour qualifying for the upcoming events.

ATP Challenger Tour 

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Laver Cup: Where Team Europe Meets Team World

  • Posted: Sep 23, 2020

Named after two-time Calendar Grand Slam winner Rod Laver, the Laver Cup pits Team Europe against Team World across three days of competition.

The fourth edition of the exciting team tournament was due to be held this week at TD Garden in Boston but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the event has been rescheduled for 24-26 September 2021. looks at five things to know about the event.

A Thrilling Format
Each team consists of six players, with the top three available players from each region, according to the FedEx ATP Rankings, joining three Team Captain picks. Team Europe and Team World are led by Sweden’s Bjorn Borg and the United States’ John McEnroe, respectively.

The competition takes place across three days, with each day consisting of three singles matches and one doubles encounter. Each match win is worth one point on Friday, two points on Saturday and three points on Sunday. The first team to 13 points wins the Laver Cup. In the event of a 12-12 tie at the end of the final day, the tournament will be decided by a one-set deciding doubles clash.

Federer, Nadal Lead Team Europe To Victory
At the inaugural Laver Cup in Prague, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal guided Team Europe to a 15-9 win. On Day Two of the event, both Federer and Nadal won singles matches before returning to the court to compete as a doubles team for the first time.

The pair made a seamless transition from rivals to teammates in the Czech capital, overcoming Sam Querrey and Jack Sock 6-4, 1-6, 10-5. The victory earned Team Europe a commanding 9-3 advantage heading into the final day of action.

“I am very happy with how we played,” said Federer. “It was so much fun. The preparation with Rafa, going through the motions, talking tactics, talking about which side to play on, all these things are very special. I am very happy that the one match we did play so far we did win.”

Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal played their first doubles match as a team at the 2017 Laver Cup in Prague.

Just 24 hours later, Federer entered the final match of the event against Nick Kyrgios with Team Europe leading 12-9. After rallying from a set down, Federer recovered from a 5/8 deficit in the Match Tie-break to claim victory. The Swiss saved a match point at 8/9 and earned the trophy for Team Europe when Kyrgios fired a cross-court forehand into the net. After 172 points, Federer and Kyrgios ended the contest with 86 points each.

“The boys played fantastic all weekend, but we knew it could change very quickly on Sunday,” said Federer. “The Team World boys have been great, in the doubles especially, and we knew it was going to be tough. I was looking at getting ready for a doubles at the very end. I’m very pleased and relieved that we did win the singles and got it done.”


Zverev Earns Victory For Team Europe In Chicago
Matched only by Federer, Alexander Zverev earned five points for Team Europe at the 2018 Laver Cup in Chicago. The German finished the event with a 2-0 singles record, highlighted by his tournament-winning victory against Kevin Anderson on the final day.

Zverev entered his clash against Anderson with Team Europe leading Team World 10-8, but the South African made the quicker start as he attempted to push the contest to a winner-takes-all singles match between Novak Djokovic and Kyrgios. Zverev held his nerve in important moments to turn the match in his favour and clinched the trophy when Anderson fired long with a backhand return in the Match Tie-break.

“It was such a close match all around, not only this one but all weekend, a few points here and there and it could have been different,” said Zverev. “I’m just happy to get the win and we defended the title, that’s the most important thing.”

Team Europe won the 2018 Laver Cup in Chicago.

A European Hat-trick In Geneva
For the first time in tournament history, a winner-takes-all match was needed at the 2019 Laver Cup in Geneva. After two matches on the final day, Team World led Team Europe 11-7 with two singles matches to play. If the visiting team won either match, they would become Laver Cup champions.

Backed by a passionate home crowd, Federer kept Team Europe’s hopes of a third straight title alive with a straight-sets victory against John Isner. That win forced the event to a decisive singles contest between Zverev and Milos Raonic.

For the second straight year, Zverev handled the pressure well to complete a memorable comeback for Team Europe. Zverev and Raonic split the opening two sets, which meant the outcome of the tournament rested on a Match Tie-break.

After receiving words of inspiration from Federer and Nadal in the locker room, Zverev rose to the challenge to claim the trophy under intense pressure. The German earned the title on his first match point with a cross-court passing shot winner.

“It was an unbelievable weekend. Those guys [Federer and Nadal] were screaming at me in the locker room before the Match Tie-break, saying this is how I could turn my season around. Without all of these guys on the bench, I couldn’t have done it,” said Zverev. “This is very special, especially playing in front of those guys and having them trust me to play the last match.”

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