Tennis News

From around the world

Demoliner/Middelkoop Claim St. Petersburg Semi-final Spot

  • Posted: Oct 15, 2020

Marcelo Demoliner and Matwe Middelkoop edged closer to their second Russian ATP Tour title as a team on Thursday, beating Taylor Fritz and Cameron Norrie 6-4, 6-4 at the St. Petersburg Open.

The Brazilian-Dutch pairing converted three of the four break points it created to reach the semi-finals at the ATP 500. Last year’s Moscow champions are through to their third semi-final of the year, after claiming the Cordoba Open trophy and reaching the last four at the Argentina Open in February.

Demoliner and Middelkoop will face Alexander Bublik and Reilly Opelka for a place in the championship match. Bublik and Opelka saved three match points to defeat Karen Khachanov and Andrey Rublev on Wednesday.

Jurgen Melzer and Edouard Roger-Vasselin rallied from a set down to book their place in the semi-finals. Attempting to reach their first final as a pairing, the second seeds clinched a 4-6, 6-1, 10-8 win against Russian wild cards Daniil Golubev and Evgenii Tiurnev after 64 minutes.

Melzer and Roger-Vasselin will face Ben McLachlan and Franko Skugor in the semi-finals. The unseeded duo beat Adrian Mannarino and Fabrice Martin 7-5, 6-4.

Herbert/Mahut Reach Cologne Semi-finals
Nicolas Mahut and Pierre-Hugues Herbert were clinical at the bett1HULKS Indoors on Thursday. The Frenchmen saved 12 of 13 break points and converted four of their five break chances to move past Aussies John Millman and Jordan Thompson 6-3, 6-3.


The second seeds are chasing their second indoor hardcourt title of the year. Mahut and Herbert captured the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament trophy in February. The pair will next face New York titlists Dominic Inglot and Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi, who beat fourth seeds Santiago Gonzalez and Ken Skupski 7-6(7), 2-6, 10-5.

Daniell/Oswald Book Place In Sardinia Final
Marcus Daniell and Philipp Oswald played with confidence behind their first serves to claim their spot in the Forte Village Sardegna Open championship match. The third seeds dropped just five points behind their first serves (25/30) to beat John Peers and Michael Venus 6-4, 6-3.

Simone Bolelli and Maximo Gonzalez also advanced in Sardinia, reaching the semi-finals with a 6-2, 6-4 victory against Lorenzo Sonego and Andrea Vavassori 6-2, 6-4. The Italian-Argentine tandem will face top seeds Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah for a place in the final.

Source link

Opelka Strikes Late, Downs Medvedev In St. Petersburg

  • Posted: Oct 15, 2020

After dropping serve twice in the first set, Reilly Opelka produced a clinical comeback performance to eliminate defending champion Daniil Medvedev 2-6, 7-5, 6-4 at the St. Petersburg Open.

The 6’11” American saved four break points in the deciding set, before ripping a crosscourt forehand winner on his first break opportunity to complete the biggest win of his career. Opelka claimed breaks in the final games of the second and third sets to complete a one-hour, 55-minute victory and improve his record to 6-6 against Top 10 opponents.

“It was ugly for the first set-and-a-half. I felt like I barely won any points on his serve, but part of that is just because of my opponent… Daniil is an absolute nightmare to play, especially for a guy like me because he just runs every ball down,” said Opelka in an on-court interview.

The Delray Beach champion entered the tournament on a three-match losing streak, but has raised his game in crucial moments on the indoor hard courts to reach his fourth quarter-final of the year. In the first round, the 23-year-old survived a second-set tie-break before completing a three-set victory against Nino Serdarusic.

“It is always a tough match, playing one of the best players in the world in general, but especially at [his] home. [It is] a great win for me,” said Opelka.

All of Opelka and Medvedev’s ATP Head2Head meetings have been contested in the United States or Russia. On each occasion, the home player has been defeated. Opelka lost both his previous matches against the World No. 6 in final-set tie-breaks at the 2017 Citi Open in Washington, D.C. and the 2019 Miami Open presented by Itau.


“It was ugly for the first set-and-a-half. I felt like I barely won any points on his serve, but part of that is just because of my opponent… Daniil is an absolute nightmare to play, especially for a guy like me because he just runs every ball down,” said Opelka.

The World No. 36 will next face last year’s runner-up Borna Coric in the quarter-finals. Coric booked his place in the last eight with a 6-3, 7-5 win against Russian wild card Roman Safiullin 6-3, 7-5. Opelka battled from a set down to beat Coric in their only previous ATP Head2Head encounter at last year’s Western & Southern Open.

Fourth seed Karen Khachanov survived a scare against countryman Aslan Karatsev. The World No. 17 was forced to recover from a set down to beat the 27-year-old 4-6, 7-5, 6-3 on Centre Court. Khachanov dropped just six points behind his first serve in the final two sets (36/42) to turn the match in his favour.

Karatsev was attempting to continue his strong run of form since the resumption of the ATP Tour in August. The World No. 117 returned to action on the ATP Challenger Tour and won 15 of his 16 matches across three weeks in the Czech Republic to claim trophies in Prague and Ostrava. Karatsev’s only loss during that period came against Stan Wawrinka.

Khachanov will face Milos Raonic for the first time in the quarter-finals. The Canadian saved all four break points he faced to beat Alexander Bublik 6-3, 6-2 in 66 minutes.

Source link

Zverev Makes Strong Start In Cologne

  • Posted: Oct 15, 2020

Alexander Zverev began his title bid at the bett1HULKS Indoors with a 6-4, 6-1 victory against Fernando Verdasco on Thursday.

Chasing his third ATP Tour trophy on home soil, the two-time Munich champion was dominant on serve against the former World No. 7. Zverev fired seven aces and won 84 per cent of his service points (32/38) to improve to 4-2 in his ATP Head2Head series against Verdasco after 63 minutes.

“It is nice to be done in just over an hour, especially against Fernando because playing a first match back on hard courts against Fernando can always be tricky,” said Zverev in an on-court interview. “He is one of the most powerful opponents that you can have. I am happy to get the win and happy to be in the quarter-finals.”


Zverev is attempting to claim his first ATP Tour trophy since the Gonet Geneva Open in May 2019. The 6’6” German, who owns a 16-8 record in 2020, advanced to his first final of the season at last month’s US Open (l. to Thiem).

The top seed will meet South Africa’s Lloyd Harris for a semi-final spot. Harris claimed his place in the quarter-finals with a 7-6(5), 7-6(2) win against Steve Johnson on Wednesday.

“[Harris] is a young guy as well, similar to my age… My brother played him once so I am going to ask my brother a few questions. It is going to be interesting,” said Zverev.

Felix Auger-Aliassime has reached finals at two indoor hard-court events this year.

Third seed Felix-Auger Aliassime continued his strong run of indoor form this year. The #NextGenATP Canadian, who finished as runner-up in Rotterdam and Marseille in February, did not face a break point en route to a 6-4, 6-1 win against Swiss qualifier Henri Laaksonen.

Auger-Aliassime will attempt to reach his fourth semi-final of the season when he faces Radu Albot in the quarter-finals. The Moldovan outlasted Oscar Otte 6-4, 5-7, 7-5 on Wednesday.

“[Radu] is quick. He puts a lot of balls back,” said Auger-Aliassime. “[He is] among the shorter guys on Tour, so not the biggest serve, but I am sure he can place it very well. It is going to be tricky because maybe my approaches are going to come back more than today… I am going to have to play one, two, three or more balls, so I am going to be ready for that challenge.”

Roberto Bautista recorded just his second win in seven ATP Head2Head encounters against Gilles Simon, beating the Frenchman 6-4, 7-6(5). The second seed was forced to save two set points at 6-5 in the second set, before completing victory in two hours and 19 minutes.

Bautista Agut will attempt to clinch his 20th victory of the season (19-7) when he faces Hubert Hurkacz in the quarter-finals. The sixth seed claimed a 6-4, 6-3 win against Mischa Zverev on Wednesday.

Alejandro Davidovich Fokina recovered from 3-6, 0-2 down to battle past eighth seed Marin Cilic. The #NextGenATP Spaniard reached his first quarter-final of the year after two hours and 22 minutes, withstanding 12 aces to record a 3-6, 7-6(3), 6-2 victory.

Davidovich Fokina will meet Dennis Novak for a place in the semi-finals. The Austrian defeated fourth seed Benoit Paire 6-3, 6-4 on Wednesday.

Source link

Nitto ATP Finals Contenders Rublev, Shapovalov Advance In St. Petersburg

  • Posted: Oct 15, 2020

Andrey Rublev strengthened his chances of qualifying for the Nitto ATP Finals for the first time on Thursday by reaching the St. Petersburg Open quarter-finals.

Third seed Rublev improved to a 31-7 record in a career-best 2020, which includes three ATP Tour titles, with a 4-6, 6-4, 7-5 victory over Ugo Humbert of France in two hours and 13 minutes at the ATP 500-level event. He will next play Briton Cameron Norrie.

Rublev, who is currently No. 10 in the FedEx ATP Rankings, has 3,009 points in the battle to clinch one of the two remaining singles berths at the season finale, to be held at The O2 in London from 15-22 November. But No. 9-ranked Matteo Berrettini, who sits in the final automatic qualification berth, has 3,075 points and will lose 200 points on 9 November from a round-robin win at the 2019 Nitto ATP Finals.



Denis Shapovalov, who is also a contender for a first-time spot in London, is through to the St. Petersburg quarter-finals for the second time in three years after overcoming Belarusian qualifier Ilya Ivashka 6-1, 6-4 in 66 minutes.

The Canadian is currently No. 12 in the FedEx ATP Rankings with 2,740 points — 335 points behind Berrettini. Shapovalov will next challenge fifth-seeded Swiss Stan Wawrinka. The pair has a 1-1 ATP Head2Head record with Wawrinka winning their last match 6-4, 7-6(4) at the 2019 ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam.

Source link

#NextGenATP Musetti Reaches First ATP Tour Quarter-final In Sardinia

  • Posted: Oct 15, 2020

Lorenzo Musetti continued his recent strong form on Thursday, reaching his first ATP Tour quarter-final at the Forte Village Sardegna Open.

The Italian wild card powered his way past compatriot and qualifier Andrea Pellegrino 6-2, 6-1 in just 60 minutes, losing 12 service points and converting four of his five break points.

Since beating Stan Wawrinka and Kei Nishikori en route to the Internazionali BNL d’Italia third round in Rome last month, Musetti has gone on to capture his first ATP Challenger Tour title in Forli, where he overcame four Top 100 players: Frances Tiafoe, Andreas Seppi, Lloyd Harris and Thiago Monteiro.

Having been No. 363 in the FedEx ATP Rankings on 20 January, Musetti is now up to a career-high No. 143. The 18-year-old will now prepare to face Germany’s Yannick Hanfmann in the Sardinia quarter-finals.

Hanfmann, who earned the biggest win of his career over then No. 9-ranked Gael Monfils in the Hamburg European Open first round on 22 September, booked a place in his second ATP Tour quarter-final with a 6-2, 6-1 victory over in-form third seed Casper Ruud of Norway.

The World No. 101, who reached the Generali Open final, saved all eight break points he faced against Ruud, who has put together a 17-6 clay-court match record this year, including his first ATP Tour title at the Argentina Open in Buenos Aires (d. P. Sousa) and a final run at the Chile Dove Men+Care Open in Santiago (l. to Seyboth Wild).


Italian wild card Marco Cecchinato, who saved one match point in his first-round win over Gianluca Mager, worked hard to beat seventh seed Tommy Paul of the United States 7-6(1), 6-4 in 88 minutes. Cecchinato, who led 3-0 in the first set before Paul fought back, won 35 of his 39 first-service points.

He will next challenge fourth-seeded Spaniard Albert Ramos-Vinolas, who knocked out Corentin Moutet of France 6-0, 6-3 in 80 minutes.

Source link

Why Shapovalov & Youzhny Are Making A Winning Team

  • Posted: Oct 15, 2020

Denis Shapovalov lost five of his last six matches before the COVID-19 pandemic caused the suspension of the ATP Tour. But since returning in August, the Canadian has been on a tear, reaching his first Grand Slam quarter-final at the US Open as well as making the Internazionali BNL d’Italia semi-finals. There’s something that at the very least has contributed to his success.

Nearly five months ago, Shapovalov began working with a sports psychologist named Vadim. The lefty’s coach, Mikhail Youzhny, suggested doing so to help improve the mental side of his game.

“He really recommended him so for me it was really exciting to start,” Shapovalov said. “I felt like it was a big part of my game and overall something I can really improve on. I feel like he’s helped me just unbelievably. He’s really helped me get rid of all the anger and emotions I have in the matches and just let myself play freely and it lets me just play my game at all times.”

Shapovalov’s game is dynamic. At full flight, his big serve, forehand and one-handed backhand are dangerous for any opponent to deal with. The 21-year-old is capable of controlling points with unrelenting aggression. Youzhny, who began working with Shapovalov before last year’s US Open, saw there was room for improvement, and he was glad his charge was open to new ideas.

“When you work with a player like Denis, who wants to improve his game [and] who is ready to try some new things, this is a good thing,” Youzhny said. “You would like to work with this guy. This is why I’m feeling well and for me it’s really interesting.”


Shapovalov’s power and shotmaking skills have never been a secret. At 18, he defeated Rafael Nadal and Juan Martin del Potro en route to the Montreal semi-finals. But Youzhny has helped refine those skills to make Shapovalov a more complete, well-rounded player.

“I think he just made me a smarter player. I’ve always had the flashy shots: the big serve, the big forehand,” Shapovalov said. “But he’s definitely helped me implement my net game and returns and just making myself a trickier player to play against and making it harder for other opponents to play against me.”

That was the type of tennis Youzhny played on the ATP Tour. The Russian never had the weaponry Shapovalov does, but he always mixed things up and found ways to trouble even the best players in the world. The former World No. 8 has enjoyed working as a coach, two years after completing his career at the St. Petersburg Open, where Shapovalov is the second seed this week.

“I don’t have too much experience as a coach because being a tennis player is a little bit of a different career,” Youzhny said. “But for me it’s interesting to learn day by day. Also with Denis, I think he has a good future, but you need to improve and you need to work day by day.”

Shapovalov will try to continue doing just that when he plays Ilya Ivashka in the second round.

Source link

Bublik/Opelka Save 3 M.P., Oust Khachanov/Rublev In St Petersburg

  • Posted: Oct 15, 2020

Alexander Bublik and Reilly Opelka saved three match points on Wednesday to rally past Karen Khachanov and Andrey Rublev 6-3, 1-6, 11-9, reaching the semi-finals of the St. Petersburg Open.

The Kazakh-American team trailed 6/9 in the Match Tie-break, but their Russian opponents missed two consecutive returns in the net. With Rublev serving at 9/8, Bublik and Opelka nearly bumped into each other while going after a mid-court ball. Opelka ended up lightly pushing a backhand to Rublev, who struck a backhand of his own into the net.

Rublev missed a forehand on the next point and Opelka clinched the match with a big first serve. Bublik and Opelka are competing together for the first time.

In first-round doubles matches at the St. Petersburg Open, Ben McLachlan/Franko Skugor ousted reigning Australian Open finalists Max Purcell/Luke Saville 6-3, 6-2 and Adrian Mannarino/Fabrice Martin defeated Jonathan Erlich/Andrei Vasilevski 6-3, 5-7, 10-8 .


Kubot/Melo, Herbert/Mahut Advance In Cologne
The top two seeds in the bett1HULKS Indoors doubles draw reached the second round on Wednesday. Top seeds Lukasz Kubot/Marcelo Melo eliminated Felix Auger-Aliassime/Robert Lindstedt 7-5, 7-5 and second seeds Pierre-Hugues Herbert/Nicolas Mahut defeated Divij Sharan/Jackson Withrow 6-3, 6-3.

Fourth seeds Santiago Gonzalez and Ken Skupski were made to work hard in Cologne, battling past Frederik Nielsen and Tim Puetz 4-6, 6-1, 10-5. Fernando Verdasco, who beat former World No. 1 Andy Murray in singles on Tuesday, partnered Alejandro Davidovich Fokina past Daniel Masur and Rudolf Molleker 3-6, 6-1, 10-8.

Cabal/Farah Into Sardinia Semi-finals
Three of the top four doubles seeds at the Forte Village Sardegna Open advanced to the semi-finals on Wednesday. Second seeds John Peers/Michael Venus and third seeds Marcus Daniell/Philipp Oswald earned straight-sets victories in the quarter-finals.

Top seeds Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah beat Sander Arends and David Pel 6-4, 7-5 in the first round. Frances Tiafoe (who was partnering Tommy Paul) withdrew from doubles due to a right leg injury, sending Cabal and Farah into the semi-finals. Fourth seeds Simone Bolelli and Maximo Gonzalez won their first-round match 6-1, 6-4 against Ariel Behar and Gonzalo Escobar.

Source link