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Scouting Report: 10 Things To Watch In Paris

  • Posted: Nov 01, 2020

This week’s Rolex Paris Masters is the final ATP Masters 1000 event of the season. There is a lot at stake, with the Nitto ATP Finals singles and doubles fields still to be completed.

World No. 2 Rafael Nadal leads the way as he attempts to win his third title of 2020 and his 87th tour-level trophy overall. If the Spaniard wins his opening match at Paris-Bercy, he will hit the 1,000-win milestone. 

ATPTour.com looks at 10 things you should know ahead of the tournament.

Paris Draws: Singles | Doubles

1) Nadal’s Pursuit: Nadal will try to win his first Rolex Paris Masters title. The Spaniard has enjoyed success in Paris-Bercy, reaching at least the quarter-finals in his seven previous appearances. But he has not yet lifted the ‘Tree of Fanti’ trophy. Nadal can tie Novak Djokovic’s record if he wins his 36th Masters 1000 title. The lefty will begin his run against Serbian Filip Krajinovic or countryman Feliciano Lopez.

2) Super Tsitsipas: Reigning Nitto ATP Finals champion Stefanos Tsitsipas will make his third appearance at this event. The Greek star made the quarter-finals last year before falling short against Novak Djokovic. He will start his pursuit of a first Masters 1000 title against home favourite Ugo Humbert or Norwegian No. 1 Casper Ruud.

3) Red-Hot Rublev: Nobody carries as much momentum into Paris as Andrey Rublev. Since play restarted in August, the Russian has won three ATP 500 titles (Hamburg, St. Petersburg and Vienna) and he leads the ATP Tour with five tour-level trophies in 2020. The fifth seed, who will play Hubert Hurkacz or lucky loser Radu Albot in his opening match, is trying to win his first match at this tournament (0-2).

4) FedEx ATP Battle For London: Only one singles spot remains at the Nitto ATP Finals after Rublev triumphed in Vienna on Sunday to guarantee his spot. Currently in pole position is Argentine Diego Schwartzman, who is trying to earn his first berth in the season finale. The Rolex Paris Masters sixth seed will play Frenchman Richard Gasquet or American Taylor Fritz in his opening match. Italian Matteo Berrettini, who competed at The O2 last year, is 210 points behind Schwartzman.

5) Medvedev Indoors: Third seed Daniil Medvedev has won three of his past five ATP Tour titles indoors. Will he make it four indoor titles by triumphing in Paris? The two-time Masters 1000 champion is 1-2 at Paris-Bercy, but he owns a 63.6 winning percentage indoors. The Russian will begin his tournament against Kevin Anderson, the man who beat him in Vienna, or lucky loser Laslo Djere.

6) Former Champ Khachanov: The only former singles champion in the field is big-hitting Russian Karen Khachanov. In 2018, he lost just one set during a magical run to his maiden Masters 1000 title. Khachanov earned four consecutive Top 10 wins to triumph, culminating with a victory against Djokovic in the final. This year, Khachanov opens against qualifier Alejandro Davidovich Fokina.

7) French Wild Cards: Four French hopes received wild cards into their home Masters 1000 event: Benjamin Bonzi, Hugo Gaston, Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Corentin Moutet. Last year, Moutet, who had qualified, pushed Djokovic to a first-set tie-break in the second round. Herbert will be competing in the main draw for the seventh time.

8) Gaston & Paris: One of the breakout stars in Paris less than two months ago at Roland Garros was #NextGenATP Frenchman Gaston. The 20-year-old lefty thrilled fans from around the world with his drop shots and overall creativity en route to the fourth round, in which he lost a five-set thriller against two-time finalist Dominic Thiem. Gaston won a round in Rolex Paris Masters qualifying last year and he will make his main draw debut this edition against ninth seed Pablo Carreno Busta.

9) Doubles Battle: The FedEx ATP Battle For London is heating up on the doubles side with four spots remaining at the Nitto ATP Finals. The four teams currently in those qualifying positions are all competing in Paris: Wesley Koolhof/Nikola Mektic, John Peers/Michael Venus, Jamie Murray/Neal Skupski and Lukasz Kubot/Marcelo Melo. Kubot/Melo, who beat Murray/Skupski in the Vienna final, could play them again in the second round in Paris.

10) Singles Stars Playing Doubles: Several singles stars have entered the Paris doubles draw, including Tsitsipas, Medvedev, Alexander Zverev, Felix Auger-Aliassime and Alex de Minaur. The top seeds are Robert Farah/Horacio Zeballos and the second seeds are reigning US Open champions Mate Pavic and Bruno Soares.

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Why Heavy-Hearted Rublev Is As Motivated As Ever

  • Posted: Nov 01, 2020

Nobody on the ATP Tour is hotter than Andrey Rublev. With his Erste Bank Open triumph on Sunday, the Russian lifted a Tour-leading fifth title in 2020 and he is now tied with World No. 1 Novak Djokovic for the most victories this season with 39.

Judging by his on-court efforts, you’d never know he’s playing with a heavy heart. Last month, his grandmother passed away.

“This tournament is really special for me because my grandma was also Austrian, so I have Austrian blood,” Rublev said during the trophy ceremony. “It’s a really special title for me.”

Rublev spent a lot of time living with his grandparents growing up, especially during his school years. His grandmother was one of the most important people in his life.

“The school was right next to the house of my grandparents. I was always living with them,” Rublev said. “Grandpa was always driving me to tennis practice and then my mom was coaching me during the tennis practices. Then grandpa was driving me back home and grandma was always preparing the food, doing homework with me. She was one of the main people in my life.”

Rublev was born in Russia and his grandmother moved out of Austria when she was young. But his family connection, especially given her recent passing, made triumphing in Vienna even more special.

“We were thinking to [get] Austrian passports, but when we realised I am able to do it, it was too late, 20 years later, something like that,” Rublev said, cracking a laugh. “In the end it’s nice because my grandma has a sister and they are living in Vienna. It’s a nice story.”

It’s extra motivation for Rublev, who has enjoyed the best season of his career. The 23-year-old began the year with two ATP Tour titles and now he has seven. With his Vienna victory, he guaranteed himself a spot at the Nitto ATP Finals, to take place from 15-22 November at The O2 in London.

“Of course I would not believe it [at the beginning of the season], but in the end it happened and I’m really grateful for that,” Rublev said. “I’m really grateful to all the people who are around me, to my team, all my friends who are always surrounding me because at the end they make me who I am and without them for sure I would not be able to do it.”

The World No. 8 is the fifth Russian singles player to qualify for the Nitto ATP Finals in the event’s 50-year history.

“I’m happy that I will compete in London for the first time. I’m really looking forward [to it],” Rublev said. “There are still so many things I need to improve and it’s going to be a really good challenge for me to see what exactly I need to improve to be at that level, to be able to compete against the top eight players. It’s going to be a great experience for me.”

Rublev has shown he belongs amongst the sport’s elite this season. Just this week, the Russian defeated World No. 3 Dominic Thiem in straight sets at the Austrian’s home event. While he has big dreams like many players, Rublev won’t stray from the formula that has gotten him this far.

“Of course I think for all of us the goal is to be No. 1, to try to win Grand Slams,” Rublev said. “But of course I try to be realistic and now the main thing for me if I want to be a better player is to improve the things I am missing, [the things] that I can do better and I should do better. If I want to be on the next level, I need to improve them.”

The right-hander consistently speaks more about how much he needs to improve compared to discussing the success he is having. Rublev knows that to stay at this level and continue ascending the FedEx ATP Rankings, he cannot rest on his laurels.

“I’m not expecting nothing. I just want to do my job as best as I can, to enjoy tennis, because this is what I really love,” Rublev said. “Of course these results give me confidence that I’m on the right [path], that I’m doing more or less the right things. Of course I can do better and I should do better, but it gives me confidence that me and my team and my friends are moving in the right direction. We’ll see what’s going to happen next. I’m really looking forward [to it].”

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How A Vacation With Giannis Antetokounmpo Inspired Tsitsipas

  • Posted: Nov 01, 2020

Stefanos Tsitsipas has achieved Greek history during his opening years on the ATP Tour and is one of the most recognisable athletes from his country.

But a recent vacation with one of the other leading sports stars in his country — two-time NBA Most Valuable Player Giannis Antetokounmpo — has inspired the Greek ahead of his final events of the year on the ATP Tour.

Tsitsipas and Antetokounmpo spent time together in Athens last month, shortly after the reigning Nitto ATP Finals champion’s semi-final run at Roland Garros. The 22-year-old used the time not only to recover from a leg injury, but also to seek advice from Antetokounmpo about his experiences competing in elite sport.

“I had a really good time with Giannis, and once again, I understood how humble and what a nice guy he is,” said Tsitsipas. “I think there was plenty for me to learn from him. The fact that we are both playing different sports at such a high level [means] we have a lot of things that we [can] relate [to].

“I was very happy to talk with him and discuss the differences of our sports, work ethics and just basically our lives. I had a very good time with him. I met his wife, I met his little son that was born a few months ago. Overall, it was a great experience.”

The 2020 ATP Tour season has proven to be a mental and physical challenge for players. The Tour suspension due to the COVID-19 pandemic halted Tsitsipas’ great run of form, which included back-to-back final appearances in Marseille (d. Auger-Aliassime) and Dubai (l. to Djokovic).

But by taking time away from the sport, like he did recently with Milwaukee Bucks star Antetokounmpo, Tsitsipas has gained a greater understanding of how he can continue to elevate his game during this difficult period.

”I’m still trying to improve in all of departments. I wouldn’t say necessarily I have become better [this year] and that was also something I discussed with Giannis once I was in Greece having my vacation: how sometimes there comes a moment where you feel like you’re reaching your limits, but then there are certain things where you do things wiser and you don’t overtrain.

”Little things like this that [don’t] necessarily make you elevate your game, because, for sure, there is a maximum at some point. You [can’t] be ‘God mode’. It’s impossible for a human being to do that.”

 

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What did i get my self into 😂🙏🏾 #The3Musketeers

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One area where Tsitsipas believes he has clearly improved in 2020 is in his mental approach to the sport. The second seed in Paris has kept his composure in tough moments and earned his first comeback from two sets down against Jaume Munar at Roland Garros in September.

”I think this year my attitude has improved a lot,” said Tsitsipas. “My tranquility and how calm I am on the court has given me a lot of match [wins] and also a lot of confidence [to keep] believing in myself when tough situations show up in a match.”

Tsitsipas is excited to have another opportunity to play on the ATP Tour in Paris. The Athens native is making his third straight appearance at the ATP Masters 1000 event and will open his campaign against Antwerp champion Ugo Humbert or Casper Ruud.

”I feel good. I don’t feel exhausted, because I have not played that many tournaments this year, so I don’t really have a reason to be exhausted,” said Tsitsipas. “The part that makes it more tiring than usual is the virus itself and all the things that keep showing up and the changes that are happening. I would say that is the biggest challenge that we are facing right now.

”But tournaments, I would love to play every single week, honestly. If I could play every single week, I would sign up in a tournament every single week and play. But, for sure, I’m trying to keep my body at a good balance, not overdo it and put emphasis and attention on the important tournaments.”

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First-Time Winner Spotlight: John Millman

  • Posted: Nov 01, 2020

John Millman entered the Astana Open with a 4-7 record since the resumption of the ATP Tour in August. But the Australian battled hard throughout his week in Nur-Sultan to improve with each match and capture his maiden ATP Tour title.

Millman, who was forced to save two match points in his quarter-final victory against Tommy Paul, is the fifth player to capture an ATP Tour trophy in 2020 after standing a point from elimination. The 31-year-old is also the fifth player to capture his maiden tour-level trophy this season, following in the footsteps of Ugo Humbert (Auckland), Casper Ruud (Buenos Aires), Thiago Seyboth Wild (Santiago) and Miomir Kecmanovic (Kitzbühel).

ATPTour.com caught up with the World No. 45 after his victory to talk about his week in Nur-Sultan, his tough journey to success and the key figures who helped him on his way to his first ATP Tour crown.

What does it mean to you to win your first ATP Tour title?
I am so relieved. I am happy. It has been third time lucky for me. That was my third final and I am just thrilled. There are a lot of people back home that have put in a lot of hard work and I am just glad that I can be the accumulation of that work.

Do you think the experience of playing in two previous finals helped you to get across the line today?
Probably not. It probably builds a bit more pressure. [You put] more pressure on yourself. All week, I have played quite free. I have really enjoyed the conditions here and the hospitality that the Kazakhstan Tennis Federation has shown. It has really motivated me to extend my stay and make the most of this experience. I am glad that I won it today. It would have played on my mind if I hadn’t, but it is always tough when you play against Adrian Mannarino.

John Millman owns a 16-11 record this year.

When you faced two match points against Tommy Paul in the quarter-finals, what were you thinking in those moments and how does it feel to be holding your first ATP Tour title after coming so close to defeat?
When I was facing those match points in the quarter-finals, I wouldn’t have thought that a couple of days later I would be lifting the trophy. But it is something that I have built my brand on, I guess. It is the one thing I can control: to never say die and never quit the fight.

I was lucky that I managed to get through that one. I am really lucky. Tommy was playing some good tennis and probably deserved to win, but it is funny. Sometimes when you are so close to going out of a tournament, it is funny how quickly you can turn that around. It just goes to show you are never out of a fight until it is over.

During the ATP Tour suspension, you spoke about not wanting to stagnate as a player. How do you believe you have grown as both a player and a person this year and how satisfying is it to reach this goal after everything that has happened in 2020?
Something that I definitely wanted to do was to win an ATP Tour title. I have obviously won lots of Challengers and I have done well in Tour events and at Grand Slams, but it is a whole other thing to make that breakthrough and to win an ATP Tour title. That was definitely one of the goals, so it is very satisfying to get to that goal.

It has been a testing year and it has been a really trying year… [From] family letting me use their backyard court to do a bit of practice on during the peak of COVID-19 in Queensland to this long slog that we have experienced in this bubble lifestyle. It is not tennis as we know it, but I have appreciated everyone and their efforts for making tennis possible. Whether that is back home in the backyard or over here.

I have always looked to improve. You have to at this level. You can’t stand still. There are so many very talented players knocking on the door and you have got to continue to improve and continually get better. I think the key thing this year is to try to mentally stay with it because you can go a little bit crazy.

It has been a long trip and I haven’t been home since before [the Western & Southern Open] due to the restrictions and quarantine measures that Australia has put in place. It has been a really long trip and it is nice to get the reward after enduring a battle like that.

Could you take a moment to acknowledge some of the key figures in your life and career who have helped you to reach this milestone in your career?
It is definitely my mum and dad, for sure. They never forced me to play tennis at a young age, but they always encouraged me. They have always been such positive role models. Some of my friends and family have been unbelievable supporters and I have been lucky to have supporters outside of my friends and family that not only support you in good times like now, but in tough times when you are coming back from injury or maybe you are not winning so many matches. That, for me, is a true supporter and I have got plenty of them.

I have got to mention the missus, she has been unbelievable. It is a shame because she has been travelling a bit more with me and it is a shame she is not here this week. All the coaches I have had throughout my time, whether that is Milton Rothman or Gary Stickler back in the day when I was growing up or someone like Peter Luczak, who has been doing more weeks on the road with me recently. It is a shame he is not here, because he has been working so hard with me since [the Western & Southern Open] and putting in the hours. This is a sweet moment and I guess we will have a beer when we see each other next week in Bercy.

You were out for almost a year after shoulder surgery in 2013 and also had groin surgery in 2017. Was there a moment in your career where you thought this day might not come?
For sure. I have had two shoulder surgeries and one groin surgery. After the second shoulder surgery, I was working in the city part-time at a brokerage firm. Tennis was one of the last things on my mind and I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to come back, be able to play or be able to get back to any type of level that I was at before.

I have had some really good people around me, whether it was my surgeon, my strength and conditioning coaches or my therapist. They have helped me and have really given me that confidence in myself that I could get back and I could compete at a high level. I am extremely grateful that they have taken part in this journey and I am just hopeful that I have given them some things to cheer about along the way.

We know you enjoy music and other sports. What do you consider to be your biggest passion outside of tennis and can you tell us a little bit about that interest?
My biggest passion changes. I love watching Liverpool, I love watching the Las Vegas Raiders, I love a bit of NFL. During [the pandemic], I have really enjoyed golf. One of my biggest achievements aside from winning the Astana Open was to become the C-Grade club champion at Brisbane Golf Club. My photo is up there as the C-Grade club champion. It is nothing to write home about. I have played a bit of golf during the COVID-19 period and I think it is just really important to get that release outside of tennis.

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Nadal Pursuing First Paris-Bercy Title: 'I'm Going To Keep Trying'

  • Posted: Nov 01, 2020

In his first tournament since winning his 13th Roland Garros title, Rafael Nadal is ready to pursue a record-tying 36th ATP Masters 1000 title at the Rolex Paris Masters.

The Spaniard has never won the title at Paris-Bercy, but he has made at least the quarter-finals in all seven of his appearances. Nadal won’t be thinking about falling short in the past. The top seed will be fully focussed on trying to capture his third trophy of the season.

“That’s part of the game. In some places you have more success and others a little bit less,” Nadal said. “It’s true that of course at the end of the year in the past I arrived sometimes very tired physically and sometimes mentally, too. And at the same time on indoor courts I need to be fresh, I need to be in full condition. It’s probably the surface that I need to be playing better to try to have success.”

Nadal owns a 70.1 winning percentage indoors, including a Masters 1000 title at 2005 Madrid. The World No. 2 will begin his tournament against countryman Feliciano Lopez or Serbian Filip Krajinovic.

“I’m going to keep trying my best as I did all my tennis career and I hope to give myself chances,” Nadal said.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this is only Nadal’s third tournament since February. The legendary lefty reached the quarter-finals at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia and lifted the Coupe des Mousquetaires at Roland Garros.

“I like to play tennis, so I like to play a little bit more than two tournaments every six or seven months,” Nadal said, cracking a laugh. “It was not the ideal situation. Of course normally I like to play a little bit more before important tournaments… It’s because I like to play tennis, I like competition and that’s what I do.”

Nadal has already guaranteed his spot at the Nitto ATP Finals in London. He has qualified for the season finale in a record 16 consecutive seasons.

“It’s part of the history of our game. It’s an important event and is a party of the best players of the season,” Nadal said. “London has been a big success, I think. We enjoyed a lot playing in The O2. It has been a great atmosphere, great crowd. And moving to Turin, I’m sure that will be another success because the Italian fans are at heart enthusiastic.”

For now, Nadal isn’t thinking ahead or worrying about his previous results at Paris-Bercy. He is focussed on trying to capture his first Rolex Paris Masters title.

“When I go to a tournament, I just focus on trying to play my best tennis,” Nadal said. “It’s true that we are in different circumstances than previous years… But I am here to play my best.”

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Rublev Claims Fifth Title Of 2020 In Vienna

  • Posted: Nov 01, 2020

Can anyone stop Andrey Rublev’s incredible run of form?

The red-hot Russian beat Lorenzo Sonego 6-4, 6-4 on Sunday after one hour and 19 minutes to win the Erste Bank Open, lifting his ATP Tour-leading fifth title of the season. The 23-year-old is now tied with World No. 1 Novak Djokovic atop the 2020 match wins leaderboard with 39.

“This tournament is really special for me because my grandma was also Austrian, so I have Austrian blood,” Rublev said during the trophy ceremony. “It’s a really special title for me.”

2020 Match Wins Leaderboard

 Player  W-L
 Novak Djokovic  39-3
 Andrey Rublev  39-7
 Stefanos Tsitsipas  28-11
 Alexander Zverev  23-8
 Diego Schwartzman  23-11
 Felix Auger-Aliassime 23-17 

With the Vienna title, Rublev has qualified for the Nitto ATP Finals for the first time. There is only one singles spot remaining at the season finale, to be held at The O2 in London from 15-22 November.

This was the second title of the year Rublev earned without losing a set (Doha). Perhaps even more impressively, the Russian did not get broken in 38 service games. The last player to lift a trophy without dropping serve was Alex de Minaur in Atlanta last year (42 service games).

2020 ATP Tour Titles Leaderboard

 Player  Titles
 Andrey Rublev  5
 Novak Djokovic  4
 Cristian Garin  2
 Ugo Humbert  2
 Gael Monfils  2
 Rafael Nadal  2
 Alexander Zverev  2

Sonego had only been broken twice entering the final, but Rublev wasted little time making the Italian pay for a short sloppy patch. At 2-2 in the opening set, the lucky loser made back-to-back uncharacteristic forehand errors to give Rublev the break, and the fifth seed never looked back.

Rublev saved two break points when serving for the opening set, staving off one of those chances with a daring second serve. Sonego battled hard in the second set, continuously trying to pump himself up and going after his shots to keep Rublev from running away with the victory. But a critical crosscourt backhand error at 4-4 did in the World No. 42.

Rublev has won 19 of his past 20 matches and owns a 15-match winning streak at ATP 500s. Since the ATP Tour restarted in August, he has triumphed in Hamburg, St. Petersburg and now Vienna. The champion leaves Austria with 500 FedEx ATP Ranking points and €105,240. 

Sonego had a dream week, despite falling short of the trophy. The lucky loser, who replaced Diego Schwartzman in the draw, earned the biggest win of his career in the quarter-finals against Djokovic and backed it up with an impressive victory against tricky Brit Daniel Evans in the last four. The Italian earned 300 points and €85,000.

“This was one of the best tournaments of this year. It was an amazing final for me,” Sonego said. “I like Vienna and thank you for all the support.”

Did You Know?
Rublev is the first Russian to win five ATP Tour titles in the season since Nikolay Davydenko in 2009. Davydenko played 23 tournaments that year, finishing it off by lifting the trophy at the Nitto ATP Finals. The Erste Bank Open was Rublev’s 12th tournament of 2020.

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Rublev Secures First-Time Qualification To Nitto ATP Finals After Career-Best 2020 Season

  • Posted: Nov 01, 2020

Andrey Rublev has qualified for the 2020 Nitto ATP Finals for the first time after he captured an ATP Tour-best fifth title in 2020 on Sunday at the Erste Bank Open title in Vienna. The Russian, who is the seventh singles player to secure his spot, will join Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Dominic Thiem, defending champion Stefanos Tsitsipas, compatriot Daniil Medvedev and Alexander Zverev at the season finale, to be held at The O2 in London from 15-22 November.

The 23-year-old Rublev is the fifth Russian singles player to qualify in the 50-year history of the Nitto ATP Finals, following in the footsteps of 1997 runner-up Yevgeny Kafelnikov (1995-2001), Marat Safin (2000, ’02, ’04), 2009 champion Nikolay Davydenko (2005-09) and Medvedev (2019-20). Russia is the only country with two singles qualifiers in the 2020 field.

“Of course, it’s an amazing feeling. [I’m excited] to play the last year in London, to see the stage and to feel this atmosphere,” Rublev said. “It’s an amazing feeling to play there in the last year [at The O2], so I will do my best there and we’ll see. It’s going to be a great experience for me to see what I need to improve to be able to compete with the top eight players. I’m looking forward to it.”

Rublev has enjoyed a career-best season in 2020, lifting an ATP Tour-best five trophies. Rublev started the year by becoming the first man since Dominik Hrbaty in 2004 to win two trophies in the first two weeks of the season, lifting silverware at the Qatar ExxonMobil Open in Doha (d. Moutet) and the Adelaide International (d. Harris) in January. He has also won three ATP 500 titles at the Hamburg European Open (d. Tsitsipas) in September, the St. Petersburg Open (d. Coric) last month, and in Vienna (d. Sonego). In Grand Slam play, Rublev rallied from 0-2 sets down for the first time in his career to defeat Sam Querrey en route to the Roland Garros quarter-finals (l. to Tsitsipas) and reached the last eight at the US Open for a second time (l. to Medvedev).

Having started a reduced 2020, due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, at No. 23 in the FedEx ATP Rankings, Rublev broke into the Top 10 for the first time on 12 October. He attained a career-high of No. 8 on 19 October and currently has a 39-7 match record.

Argentina’s Diego Schwartzman, a semi-finalist at Roland Garros last month, is next in line to qualify for the Nitto ATP Finals at No. 9 in the FedEx ATP Rankings, with just two tournaments — the Rolex Paris Masters and the Sofia Open — left in the regular ATP Tour season.

In doubles, Wesley Koolhof and Nikola Mektic, and John Peers and Michael Venus are close to securing their team berths in London. Australian Open titlists Joe Salisbury and Rajeev Ram, US Open champions Mate Pavic and Bruno Soares, Roland Garros winners Kevin Krawietz and Andreas Mies, and Marcel Granollers and Horacio Zeballos have already secured their places in the 2020 field.

In line with UK Government guidance, the 2020 season finale is being planned behind closed doors due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The Nitto ATP Finals, featuring the best eight singles players and doubles teams, has been held in London since 2009 and has successfully established itself as one of the major annual sporting events worldwide. The tournament is broadcast in more than 180 territories with global viewership reaching an average of 95 million each year. The event will be held in Turin, Italy, from 2021-2025.

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London Push: Kubot/Melo Win Third Vienna Team Title

  • Posted: Nov 01, 2020

Lukasz Kubot and Marcelo Melo earned a critical win in the FedEx ATP Battle For London on Sunday, defeating Jamie Murray and Neal Skupski 7-6(5), 7-5 to win the Erste Bank Open title.

“It was a very tight match. We knew it would be. They are such a great team,” Melo said. “I think we managed to play as we have been playing since the beginning of the tournament and it was very good. I think the match was decided point-by-point, a couple no-Ads here and there. But I think experiencing all this good energy from Vienna made us get another title.”

It is the third time that the veteran Polish-Brazilian duo has won the ATP 500 as a team and it was their 15th tour-level title together. The 500 FedEx ATP Doubles Ranking points they earned could prove pivotal as they try to qualify for the Nitto ATP Finals for the fourth consecutive year as a pair.
[WATCH LIVE 1]

Kubot and Melo began the week in 11th place in the Battle, but their triumph put them into eighth as they try to earn one of the four remaining qualifying places at the season finale, to be held at The O2 in London from 15-22 November.

The third seeds were broken in their first service game of the match and they failed to serve for the championship at 5-3 in the second set, but they ultimately prevailed after one hour and 55 minutes. In addition to the important 500 points they earned, Kubot and Melo depart Austria with €40,500 to split.

“[This is a] very special place for us. It was another very good week here,” Kubot said. “We are very happy to end it that way and we are looking forward to going to the Masters [1000] in Paris. We are happy with the result we have done and we’ll keep going.”

Murray and Skupski, who began the week in ninth place in the Battle, were trying to win their first ATP Tour title together. Skupski won the 2018 Vienna title alongside Joe Salisbury. The Brits earned 300 points, helping them move into seventh place in the Battle. They will share €32,190 in prize money.

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Millman Earns Maiden Title In Nur-Sultan

  • Posted: Nov 01, 2020

Throughout his career, John Millman has experienced many great moments on a tennis court. But the Australian made a major career breakthrough at the Astana Open in Nur-Sultan on Sunday.

The 31-year-old overcame Adrian Mannarino 7-5, 6-1 to capture his maiden ATP Tour title in his third tour-level championship match. Millman played his best tennis in critical moments, as he saved all six break points he faced and broke serve on three occasions.

“It is incredible. I am so happy and relieved,” said Millman. “I just feel very satisfied. It is just a pure moment of satisfaction… That was my third final, third time lucky I guess. These things aren’t easy to win and to do so at a place where I felt so comfortable all week, in terms of the hospitality, makes it really special. To win the inaugural Astana Open is special. I am so happy. It has been a big team effort and I am pumped.”

Millman extended his unbeaten ATP Head2Head record against Mannarino to 3-0 after one hour and 48 minutes to become the fifth first-time champion on the ATP Tour in 2020. The fourth seed joins Ugo Humbert, Casper Ruud, Thiago Seyboth Wild and Miomir Kecmanovic on the list.

Millman also became the fifth player in 2020 to win an ATP Tour crown after saving match point(s) en route to the trophy. In his quarter-final against Tommy Paul, the World No. 45 saved two match points at 3-5 in the third set and rallied from 0/5 down in a final-set tie-break to beat the American 6-7(5), 6-4, 7-6(5).

2020 Champions To Save Match Point

Player Tournament Opponent Round M.P. Saved
Jiri Vesely Pune Ilya Ivashka
Ricardas Berankis
QF
SF
2 M.P.
4 M.P.
Reilly Opelka Delray Beach Milos Raonic SF 1 M.P.
Novak Djokovic Dubai Gael Monfils SF 3 M.P.
Ugo Humbert Antwerp Daniel Evans SF 4 M.P.
John Millman Nur-Sultan Tommy Paul QF 2 M.P.

Mannarino was appearing in his 10th ATP Tour championship match (1-9). The Frenchman advanced to the final in Nur-Sultan with straight-sets wins against Yuichi Sugita, Mackenzie McDonald and Emil Ruusuvuori.

“If I knew before coming here that I would play the final, I would be happy with that result,” said Mannarino. “I am pretty disappointed with how I managed the final, especially with my emotions, but overall this is still a good week. Congratulations to John who really played tough today, he was fighting so well and he deserved the title.”

Millman was put under pressure late in the first set, but he attacked Mannarino’s backhand and served well to save five break points. The Australian used his forehand to earn his first break point at 6-5 and ripped a backhand winner down the line to take his opportunity.

From 1-1 in the second set, Millman claimed five straight games to charge to the title. The Brisbane native continued to play aggressively with his backhand and attacked his opponent’s backhand to extract a series of errors.

“I thought Adrian was playing great in that first set… Whenever you play Adrian Mannarino, it is always going to be a physical match,” said Millman. “He makes you work for every point and he is so stingy with his errors. You have to be so low and moving really well because his ball is not really getting up. He is a really good indoor hard court player.

”I had to fight off those early break points and I really managed to win that first set against the momentum of the match. After that, I saw the finish line was in sight. That was really pivotal, to fight off those break points and take that one opportunity at the end of the first set. With that, I managed to carry the momentum throughout the match.”

Millman earned 250 FedEx ATP Rankings points and $13,410. Mannarino collected 150 points and $11,210.

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