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Millman Makes Fast Start In Sofia

  • Posted: Nov 08, 2020

John Millman made a winning start to his Sofia Open campaign on Sunday, as he cruised past Bulgarian wild card Adrian Andreev 6-3, 6-1.

The Nur-Sultan titlist converted four of his six break points to book his place in the second round after 73 minutes. Millman, one of five first-time ATP Tour titlists in 2020, improved to 17-12 this season with his first-round win in Sofia.


Millman will face Gilles Simon or Andrej Martin for a place in the quarter-finals. The Australian lost his only previous ATP Head2Head contest against Simon in Sydney last year and is yet to meet Martin at tour-level.

Radu Albot also earned a quick first-round win on Sunday. The Moldovan won 82 per cent of his first-serve points (23/28) to beat Yuichi Sugita 6-4, 6-1 in 76 minutes.

The 2019 Delray Beach Open by titlist will meet top seed Denis Shapovalov in the second round. Shapovalov, who is making his debut in Sofia, is attempting to finish an ATP Tour season inside the Top 10 in the FedEx ATP Rankings for the first time.

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Medvedev: 'I’m Really Trying To Make My Opponent Crazy'

  • Posted: Nov 08, 2020

Daniil Medvedev plays tennis unlike anyone else at the top of the ATP Tour. The Russian’s shots aren’t smooth like Roger Federer’s or overwhelming like Rafael Nadal’s. He can’t make his body appear elastic the way Novak Djokovic does, either. But the 24-year-old finds ways to win, and part of the secret to his success is how he views his game.

“I’m really trying to make my opponent crazy,” he said.

Medvedev did that once again on Sunday to win the Rolex Paris Masters, capturing his third ATP Masters 1000 title by battling from a set down to defeat Alexander Zverev.

“I’m really happy with the final, with the win here, especially my level of game was really top-level this week. I think it’s not easy for guys to play against me when I play like this,” Medvedev said. “Today was a really tight match… after the first set I didn’t know actually what to do, because I had zero break points. I didn’t feel good returning his serve. He serves amazing. I lost my serve. Got a little bit tight. I was feeling like the match could slip [out] of my hands.”

Medvedev does not blow opponents off the court, but he continuously claws his way into matches and frustrates opponents, physically wearing them down. Perhaps most importantly, he has a good sense of the moments he needs to seize. As the Russian put it, he was “fighting like an animal” early in the third set and that proved critical in his victory.

“I have been working on my mental strength for a long time. I think I have done a lot of progress, because even if you see me still doing meltdowns, it’s nothing compared to what I was when I was a junior,” Medvedev said. “I worked a lot on it, and I’m really happy with how I’m performing with my mental strength many times.”

At last year’s Nitto ATP Finals, Medvedev led Rafael Nadal 5-1 in the third set of their round-robin match and he even earned a match point. But Medvedev let slip that match. Zverev was playing lights-out tennis early in their Rolex Paris Masters final, but this time it was the Russian who turned the tables to overcome a deficit in a big match.

“You will not all your life just be there crying about this match. [It] was almost [the] last match of the season for me,” Medvedev said. “I knew I had to leave it behind, just learn from it and learn how, ‘Okay, if you’re up 5-1 and you lose even your serve on 5-2, you should not go crazy, because you are still up.’”

This was Medvedev’s first final of the season. Last year, he led the ATP Tour by making nine championship matches. But towards the end of his victory in Bercy, the Russian appeared back at his best.

“It’s something that it’s tough to control. And I think if you succeed to control it, then you’re going to be an even better player, because many times you’re going to have days where you step on the court and you don’t feel the ball so well, can miss some shots,” Medvedev said. “Here even [in the] third set when I saved those three break points… [I just went] to the net, made volleys, all this stuff. You know that you almost cannot miss. And to beat you he needs to make a winner.

“When it’s like this, it’s really tough to play guys. That’s what top players are capable of doing. Hopefully I can do this many more times.”

Medvedev will try to maintain his momentum at the Nitto ATP Finals, where he went 0-3 last year.

“For sure [I am] coming [in] better shape than last year. Last year [I] was really exhausted, lost [my first match] in Paris. That’s when you lose your confidence. When you lose first round you always lose your confidence,” Medvedev said. “[I] just won this tournament, [I’m] going to have a few days off. [I will] come to London, practise good. Hopefully [I] can get some wins there.”

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Korda's Maiden Moment: 20-Year-Old Claims First Pro Title

  • Posted: Nov 08, 2020

Victory is even sweeter for those who wait. Just ask Sebastian Korda.

On Sunday, the #NextGenATP American claimed his first professional title at the ATP Challenger Tour event in Eckental, Germany. Korda dominated as the week progressed, dropping just one set at the Challenge Eckental. It all culminated with a 6-4, 6-4 win over Ramkumar Ramanathan in the championship.

“I’m super happy to pull through,” said Korda after the match. “It was a tough match today and it wasn’t easy.  He serves and volleys on carpet, but I’m happy with the way I stayed calm and finished it off.”

It was a long time coming for Korda, who had dropped his first eight finals as a professional. Since concluding his junior career with a victory at the Australian Open in 2018, he lost six title matches on the ITF circuit and two at the Challenger level, in Nur-Sultan and Champaign last year.

But, 2020 has proven to be a rebirth for the 20-year-old. After coming so close in the Champaign final exactly one year ago, holding a championship point against J.J. Wolf, Korda has been more determined than ever to finally flip the switch. He has been on a mission in recent months, reaching the Round of 16 as a qualifier at Roland Garros and winning 13 of 15 matches since the start of that memorable fortnight.

“In the past, I’d get frustrated in finals. Every little mistake would weigh on me, but today I was able to stay calm through the whole match. The way I finished it off made me super happy.”

Following such a big result at a Grand Slam, players often struggle to rediscover their rhythm in their return to the ATP Challenger Tour. Even as he moved from clay to carpet, Korda made the transition look seemless. He would carry the momentum to Germany, reaching the quarter-finals in Ismaning and then lifting the trophy in Eckental.

“Ever since the US Open, I’ve felt comfortable and confident, especially against the bigger guys. I’m pretty skinny and tall, so during the [COVID-19] break, I worked to get stronger and sort of grow into my body. The way I’m playing, it has helped a lot.”

American #NextGenATP Winners (since 2015)

Year Winners
2020 Sebastian Korda
2019 J.J. Wolf
2018 Taylor Fritz, Reilly Opelka, Michael Mmoh, Tommy Paul
2017 Frances Tiafoe, Stefan Kozlov, Noah Rubin, Mmoh
2016 Ernesto Escobedo, Tiafoe, Kozlov, Fritz
2015 Jared Donaldson, Fritz, Rubin

At the age of 20 years and four months, Korda is the youngest winner from the United States in 2020. In fact, his victory marks the sixth straight year in which an American aged 21 & under has won a title. A year ago, Wolf achieved the feat and was preceded by 15 other #NextGenATP winners since 2015.

Korda is projected to rise 20 spots to a career-high No. 116 in the FedEx ATP Rankings. He will continue his push towards the Top 100 when he concludes his 2020 campaign at the Orlando Challenger in two weeks.

“I have a flight tomorrow morning at 6am, going back to the States, but I’ll definitely celebrate tonight.”

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Medvedev Completes Comeback, Earns Third ATP Masters 1000 Crown

  • Posted: Nov 08, 2020

Daniil Medvedev became the fourth Russian to capture the Rolex Paris Masters title on Sunday with a 5-7, 6-4, 6-1 comeback victory against Alexander Zverev.

In a repeat of last year’s Shanghai final, the 24-year-old stepped in and raised his game in the second set to turn the match in his favour. Medvedev entered the contest with a 1-5 ATP Head2Head record against his rival, but saved six of seven break points to earn his third ATP Masters 1000 crown from four finals. The World No. 5 earned his first service break at 4-4 in the second set and charged to the title from that point by winning eight of the final nine games.

“It is great. I am really happy,” said Medvedev in an on-court interview. “I don’t show this after the match, but I am really happy to win matches. Before the tournament, I was not in my best form, playing not so bad with zero finals this year. I was complaining to my wife like, ‘Oh my god, I don’t have the level. I don’t even have one final. I am playing so bad.’ Finally, I am the winner of Bercy, a tournament that I love.”

Medvedev joins countrymen Marat Safin, Nikolay Davydenko and Karen Khachanov on the Paris honour roll. The Russian, who was appearing in his first final of the year, improves to 23-10 in 2020. 

Russian Rolex Paris Masters Champions

 2020  Daniil Medvedev
 2018  Karen Khachanov
 2006  Nikolay Davydenko
 2004  Marat Safin
 2002  Marat Safin
 2000  Marat Safin

Medvedev entered the tournament with wins in just three of his previous eight matches. But the Russian No. 1 found his level in Paris to defeat two former Wimbledon finalists — Kevin Anderson and Milos Raonic — and two of this year’s Nitto ATP Finals qualifiers — Diego Schwartzman and Zverev — to end a 13-month title drought. Medvedev will now turn his attention to the Nitto ATP Finals in London, where he will be making his second straight appearance from 15-22 November.

“I was playing really good in this tournament, especially today,” said Medvedev. “After the first set, I could [have] given up because Sascha was serving well and playing well. I just stayed there and at one moment I raised my level higher and higher and started to put pressure on him and it worked. It broke his level a little bit.”

Zverev was attempting to win three consecutive ATP Tour titles for the first time. The German, who defeated Rafael Nadal in the semi-finals, arrived in Paris after back-to-back title runs at indoor hard court events in Cologne last month.

Zverev was also bidding to follow in the footsteps of his coach David Ferrer by winning the tournament. The Spaniard captured the biggest title of his career at the Accor Arena in 2012 with a straight-sets win against Jerzy Janowicz.

“Credit to him. He’s a great player,” said Zverev. “It’s his first tournament win of the season. I know his season wasn’t the easiest one, whereas I have to say my season [has] actually [been] going quite well.

“We will see how it goes with London. I’m happy with my tennis. I just need to maybe recover a little bit physically.”

Medvedev Paris 2020 Final Rally Hit Points

Zverev Paris 2020 Final Rally Hit Points
Hawkeye data courtesy ATP Media

The first set appeared to be heading to a tie-break, as neither man created a break point in the opening 11 games. But Zverev made a late move at 6-5 to move one set from the title. The Hamburg-native played with aggression on his forehand and capitalised on backhand errors to earn three consecutive set points. Zverev converted his third opportunity when Medvedev failed to control an attempted forehand down the line.

Zverev served powerfully and covered the net with great skill to hold a 15-minute service game at 1-1 in the second set. But Medvedev raised his game at 4-4 to win eight of the final nine games and the trophy. 

The Russian took advantage of short balls and capitalised on volley errors from Zverev to break to love at the start of the deciding set. Medvedev ground Zverev down from the baseline in extended rallies to increase his lead and decrease his opponent’s energy levels. The eight-time tour-level titlist claimed the trophy when Zverev committed his third double fault of the match.

Medvedev receives 1000 FedEx ATP Ranking points and earns €225,210 in prize money. Zverev gains 600 ATP Ranking points and collects €150,000.

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Felix & Hurkacz Save 5 M.P. To Lift Paris Trophy

  • Posted: Nov 08, 2020

Felix Auger-Aliassime and Hubert Hurkacz saved five championship points on Sunday to capture their first team title at the Rolex Paris Masters.

The unseeded pair recovered from the brink of defeat to upset second seeds Mate Pavic and Bruno Soares 6-7(3), 7-6(7), 10-2 in one hour and 52 minutes. Auger-Aliassime and Hurkacz faced championship point at 5-6, deciding point in the second set and rallied from 3/6 and 6/7 down in the second-set tie-break en route to victory.

”It is huge [to win this title]. Felix played unbelievable,” said Hurkacz in an on-court interview. “Bruno and Mate are great doubles players and they played unreal. We had no chances throughout the sets. We kept ourselves in the tie-breaks and we are so happy to win.”


Auger-Aliassime and Hurkacz were competing for just the second time as a team in Paris this week. The Canadian-Polish tandem, which owns a 6-1 team record, reached the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament quarter-finals on its team debut in February.

”We didn’t expect before this week that we were going to play on Sunday,” said Hurkacz. “[I am] a bit surprised, but happy to finish the season like this.”

Auger-Aliassime and Hurkacz defeated four seeded teams en route to their first doubles trophy. Prior to their win against Pavic and Soares, the Top 40 singles stars also beat top seeds Robert Farah and Horacio Zeballos in the second round, seventh seeds John Peers and Michael Venus in the quarter-finals and Lukasz Kubot and Marcelo Melo in the semi-finals.

”I enjoy my time with him and I have to say Hubert is a really nice person and he has a really good heart,” said Auger-Aliassime in an on-court interview. “He gives everything out there, he has fun and he is always smiling. It is a joy to play with him and be around him. We have known each other since we were juniors a little bit… This was so unexpected. We started with a great match and just kept playing better and better… Everything went on our side this week.”

Pavic and Soares were attempting to capture their second ATP Masters 1000 title as a team. Last year’s Shanghai titlists did not drop a set en route to the championship match. Pavic and Soares will now travel to London to compete as the top seeds at the Nitto ATP Finals, which will be held at The O2 in London from 15-22 November.

Auger-Aliassime and Hurkacz earn 1000 FedEx ATP Doubles Ranking points and share €91,665 in prize money. Pavic and Soares collect 600 points and split €69,000.

Did You Know?
Auger-Aliassime and Hurkacz are the first team ranked in the Top 50 in singles to win the Paris doubles title since Frenchmen Nicolas Escude (No. 41) and Fabrice Santoro (No. 35) in 2002.

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