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Francisco Keeps The Cerundolo Roll Going In Buenos Aires

  • Posted: Mar 05, 2021

The “Golden Swing” is turning into the “Cerundolo Swing”.

One week ago, Juan Manuel Cerundolo made a dream run to the Cordoba Open title. On Friday in Buenos Aires, his older brother, Francisco Cerundolo, advanced to his first ATP Tour semi-final. The qualifier rallied past sixth seed Pablo Andujar 1-6, 6-3, 6-2 to reach the last four at the Argentina Open.

“I think it’s been two amazing weeks for me, for my brother, for my family, for Argentine tennis players and fans. I think what my brother did last week was unreal,” Cerundolo told “It inspired me and many other players that are coming from lower rankings that we have the level to play these type of matches.”


Including qualifying, this was Cerundolo’s sixth win of the week. The World No. 137 has upset third seed Benoit Paire and now four-time ATP Tour titlist Andujar in the main draw. But the 22-year-old almost didn’t make it into the main draw at all. He needed three sets in two of his three qualifying matches.

“I’m really happy that I passed the qualies here because it’s always tough to pass the qualies,” Cerundolo said. “Now I’m in the semi-finals.”

Cerundolo began last week’s Cordoba Open without an ATP Tour win, just like his brother, Juan Manuel, who lifted the trophy. But Francisco’s performance during the stretch has been less surprising. He won 17 of his final 19 ATP Challenger Tour matches in 2020, claiming titles in Split, Guayaquil and Campinas.

It’s fitting that his breakout on the big stage has come at home in Buenos Aires. Cerundolo will try to keep it going on Saturday against fifth seed Albert Ramos-Vinolas.

“This is my favourite tournament by far, so it’s a blast to have my family and my friends here because we only play two or three weeks here in Argentina. Having them here, it’s amazing,” Cerundolo said. “It always inspires me and motivates me, so I’m really happy that I can give them some wins and make them happy. I want to continue tomorrow and play my best.”

Earlier in the day, Ramos-Vinolas outlasted first-time ATP Tour quarter-finalist Sumit Nadal 4-6, 6-2, 7-5. The Spanish veteran broke serve four times from five opportunities to advance after two hours and 26 minutes. Ramos-Vinolas reached the Cordoba final last week.

Did You Know?
The Cerundolo Brothers are trying to become the seventh pair of brothers to win singles titles in the Open Era and the first to do so in consecutive weeks.

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Federer's Message To Fans Before Doha Return: 'I'm Very Excited'

  • Posted: Mar 05, 2021

If fans weren’t already excited for Roger Federer’s return at next week’s Qatar ExxonMobil Open, they will be now. The Swiss star sent them a message from the airport on Friday before departing for Doha.

“It’s been a year since my last travel to any event and I’m very excited,” Federer said. “This is the moment where I could maybe thank all the people involved who made this possible. It’s been a long and hard road. I know I’m not at the finish line yet, but it’s good.”

Federer last competed at the 2020 Australian Open, where he reached the semi-finals. The 103-time tour-level champion underwent two right knee surgeries later in the year.

“I feel like I’m in a good place, I’ve been practising very well,” Federer said. “Hope you guys also are going to tune in to watch it and I hope I see you again very soon. Take care everybody.”

The 39-year-old has won three titles in Doha, where he has tallied a 26-3 record.

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Rublev Sets Tsitsipas Clash In Rotterdam

  • Posted: Mar 05, 2021

Andrey Rublev survived a tough test from Jeremy Chardy 7-6(2), 6-7(2), 6-4 at the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament on Friday to book a must-see semi-final clash with Stefanos Tsitsipas in Rotterdam.

The Russian, who held two match points in the second set, held his nerve to claim his third win in four ATP Head2Head matches against the Frenchman after two hours and 39 minutes. Rublev (44) and Chardy (36) struck a combined 80 winners, including 23 forehand winners each.

“It was a really tough match against Jeremy,” Rublev said in an on-court interview. “He is shooting really hard, he is serving really hard… [In the first-set tie-break], I played a bit better than him. He made a couple of mistakes. In the second [set], I didn’t start really well… I managed somehow to come back and then I didn’t make it when I had the chances. I had match points.

“We went to a third set and then I started really well. He played one really good game. I got a bit tight and… to serve for the match is not always easy. There was drama at the end. He had one break point but, in the end, I managed to win so I am really happy.”

Rublev’s victory extended his impressive winning streak in ATP 500 encounters to 18 matches. Alongside Roger Federer, Andy Murray and Rafael Nadal, the World No. 8 is only the fourth player to record 18 or more consecutive wins at the level since 2009.

Most Consecutive ATP 500 Match Wins (since 2009)

Rank Player Wins Years
1 Roger Federer 28 2014-’16
2 Andy Murray 21 2016-’17
T3 Rafael Nadal 19 2012-’13
Roger Federer 19 2017-’18
Roger Federer 19 2018-Present
T6 Roger Federer 18 2011-’12
Andrey Rublev 18 2020-Present

Rublev’s winning run began at last year’s Hamburg European Open. If he is to keep the streak alive this week, he will need to defeat the man he beat in the final of that event in tomorrow’s semi-finals: Tsitsipas.

“I will try to do as much as I can to be ready for tomorrow… Stefanos also had two tough matches [this week],” Rublev said. “Yesterday he had three sets and today he had three sets. Now he has to play doubles. It is not easy.”

Earlier in the day, Tsitsipas survived his second three-set match of the week to reach the last four in Rotterdam. The Greek recovered from 1-3 down in the decider to beat Rublev’s countryman Karen Khachanov 4-6, 6-3, 7-5. Tsitsipas saved a match point to defeat Rublev 6-1, 4-6, 7-6(6) in their most recent ATP Head2Head encounter (Tsitsipas leads 3-2) at last year’s Nitto ATP Finals.

One of the themes of the first set was Chardy’s forehand success. The Frenchman struck 10 winners behind the stroke, with one of those shots earning him a set point at 6-5. Rublev found his best serves when it mattered most to escape danger and he took advantage of two double faults in the tie-break to earn four set points of his own. Rublev only needed one chance, as he forced an error from his opponent with a short backhand slice to seal the set.

Chardy responded emphatically to claim a 3-0 double-break advantage in the second set, but Rublev took the ball early and dominated the centre of the court to draw level at 4-4. From two match points down at 5-6, 15/40, Chardy fired powerful serves, ripped forehand winners and rushed his opponent to win 11 of the next 13 points and force a deciding set.

In similar fashion to the second set, Rublev channelled his frustration from the previous set to gain a 3-0 double-break lead. Chardy recovered one of the breaks with all-out aggression on his return, but Rublev eventually closed the match on his fourth match point with an ace down the T.

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Home Hope Garin Leads Santiago Field: All You Need To Know

  • Posted: Mar 05, 2021

In 2020, the ATP Tour returned to Chile for the first time since 2014 in Vina Del Mar (2001-’09, 2012-’14). This will be the second edition of the Chile Dove Men+Care Open.

The ATP 250 is held in the Chilean capital of Santiago on the Centre Court of Club Deportivo Universidad Catolica. Brazilian Thiago Seyboth Wild won last year’s inaugural event. Then 19, Seyboth Wild claimed his maiden ATP Tour title in thrilling fashion against Norwegian star Casper Ruud.

Cristian Garin, the Chilean No. 1, will be the top seed as he tries to triumph on home soil. 

Here’s all you need to know about the Santiago tennis tournament: what is the schedule, when is the draw, who has won, how to watch and more.

Established: 2020

Tournament Dates: 8-14 March 2021

Tournament Director: Catalina Fillol

Draw Ceremony: TBC

Are You In? Subscribe To Get Tournament Updates In Your Inbox

Schedule (View On Official Website)
* Qualifying: Saturday, 6 March – Monday 8 March
* Main draw: Monday, 8 March – Sunday 14 March

How To Watch
Watch Live On Tennis TV
TV Schedule

Venue: Club Deportivo Universidad
Surface: Clay

Prize Money: $325,270 (Total Financial Commitment $393,935)

View Who Is Playing, Past Champions, Seeds, Points & Prize Money Breakdown

Honour Roll
Most Titles, Singles:
 Thiago Seyboth Wild (1)
Most Titles, Doubles: Roberto Carballes Baena, Alejandro Davidovich Fokina (1)
Oldest Champion: Thiago Seyboth Wild, 19, in 2020
Youngest Champion: Thiago Seyboth Wild, 19, in 2020
Highest-Ranked Champion: No. 182 Thiago Seyboth Wild in 2020
Lowest-Ranked Champion: No. 182 Thiago Seyboth Wild in 2020
Most Match Wins: Thiago Seyboth Wild (5)

2020 Finals
Singles: [WC] Thiago Seyboth Wild (BRA) d [2] Casper Ruud (NOR) 75 46 63 Read More
 Roberto Carballes Baena (ESP) / Alejandro Davidovich Fokina (ESP) d [2] Marcelo Arevalo (ESA) / Jonny O’Mara (GBR) 76(3) 6-1 Read More

Hashtag: #ChileDoveMenCareOpen
Facebook: @ChileOpenTenis
Twitter: @Chile_Open
Instagram: @ChileOpen

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Federer Returns! Thiem, Rublev Feature In Doha: All You Need To Know

  • Posted: Mar 05, 2021

Roger Federer makes a welcome return to the ATP Tour after a 13-month absence at the 2021 Qatar ExxonMobil Open, where the Swiss superstar is a three-time former titlist.

World No. 4 Dominic Thiem, defending champion Andrey Rublev and 2019 winner Roberto Bautista Agut also headline at the ATP 250 event, which begins on 8 March.

Federer, the 2005-’06 and 2011 Doha champion, has not played competitively since 30 January 2020 in the Australian Open semi-finals (l. to Djokovic). The 39-year-old underwent two right knee surgeries last year and will compete in Doha for the first time since 2012. Federer has a 26-3 match record at the hard-court tournament.

Denis Shapovalov, David Goffin, who captured his fifth ATP Tour title at the recent Open Sud de France in Montpellier (d. Bautista Agut), and former World No. 3 Stan Wawrinka, the 2008 Doha runner-up, will also feature at the Khalifa International Tennis & Squash Complex.


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Here’s all you need to know about the Doha tennis tournament: what is the schedule, when is the draw, who has won, how to watch and more. 

Established: 1993

Tournament Dates: 8-13 March 2021 

Tournament Director: Karim Alami

Draw Ceremony: Saturday, 6 March 2021 at 3pm (provisional)

Are You In? Subscribe To Get Tournament Updates In Your Inbox

Schedule (View On Official Website)
* Qualifying: Saturday, 6 March (11am); Sunday, 7 March (3:30pm)
* Main draw: Monday, 8 March-Thursday 11 March (2:30pm); Friday, 12 March (4:30pm), Saturday, 13 March (6pm)
* Doubles final: Friday, 12 March at 4:30pm
* Singles final: Saturday, 13 March at 6pm

How To Watch
Watch Live On Tennis TV
TV Schedule


Ticketing Information
View On Official Website


Venue: Khalifa International Tennis & Squash Complex
Surface: Outdoor Hard

Prize Money: US$ 787,930 (Total Financial Commitment: US$ 890,920)

View Who Is Playing, Past Champions, Seeds, Points & Prize Money Breakdown

Honour Roll
Most Titles, Singles: Roger Federer (3)
Most Titles, Doubles: Rafael Nadal (4)
Oldest Champion: David Ferrer, 32, in 2015
Youngest Champion: Andy Murray, 20, in 2008
Highest-Ranked Champion: No. 1s Roger Federer in 2005-’06, Rafael Nadal in 2014, Novak Djokovic in 2017
Lowest-Ranked Champion: No. 124 Rainer Schuettler in 1999
Most Match Wins: Roger Federer (26)

2020 Finals
Singles: [2] Andrey Rublev (RUS) d. [Q] Corentin Moutet (FRA) 6-2, 7-6(3) Read More
Doubles: Rohan Bopanna/Wesley Koolhof d. Luke Bambridge/Santiago Gonzalez 3-6, 6-2, 10-6 Read More

Hashtag: #QatarTennis
Facebook: @QatarTennis
Twitter: @QatarTennis
Instagram: @QatarTennis

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Tsitsipas Goes For Marseille Hat-trick; All You Need To Know

  • Posted: Mar 05, 2021

For the past two years, Stefanos Tsitsipas has dominated the Open 13 Provence in Marseille. The Greek claimed eight straight wins — and 16 consecutive sets — to clinch the 2019 and 2020 crowns and he will return in 2021 with his sights set on a Marseille hat-trick.

Tsitsipas is one of three players to win back-to-back titles at the ATP 250, alongside Marc Rosset (1993-’94) and Thomas Enqvist (1997-’98). He will aim to become the first player to win three titles in a row at the event this year.

Tsitsipas is joined by a stellar line-up on the southern French coast. World No. 3 Daniil Medvedev will aim to bounce back from a first-round loss at the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam. Medvedev, who owns five indoor tour-level trophies, will be chasing his 10th ATP Tour crown in Marseille.

Former champion Karen Khachanov (2018), #NextGenATP Italian Jannik Sinner and home favourite Ugo Humbert will also aim to add to their ATP Tour trophy collections. Three-time champion Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (2009, ’13, ’17) and Kei Nishikori will also feature at the ATP 250. 

Here’s all you need to know about the Marseille tennis tournament: what is the schedule, when is the draw, who has won, how to watch and more.

Established: 1993

Tournament Dates: 8-14 March 2021

Tournament Director: Jean-Francois Caujolle

Draw Ceremony: Saturday, 6 March 2021 at 11am

Are You In? Subscribe To Get Tournament Updates In Your Inbox

Schedule (View On Official Website)
* Qualifying: Sunday, 7 March (11am); Monday 8 March (12pm)
* Main draw: Monday, 8 March – Thursday, 11 March (12pm and 5:30pm); Friday, 12 March (1pm and 5:30pm), Saturday, 13 March (12:30pm)
* Doubles final: Sunday, 14 March at 11:45am
* Singles final: Sunday, 14 March at 2:00pm

How To Watch
Watch Live On Tennis TV
TV Schedule

Venue: Palais de Sports de Marseille
Surface: Indoor Hard

Prize Money: €334,240 (Total Financial Commitment €409,765)

View Who Is Playing, Past Champions, Seeds, Points & Prize Money Breakdown

Honour Roll
Most Titles, Singles:
Marc Rosset, Thomas Enqvist, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (3)
Most Titles, Doubles: Martin Damm, Arnaud Clement, Michael Llodra, Julien Benneteau, Nicolas Mahut (3)
Oldest Champion: Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, 31, in 2017
Youngest Champion: Stefanos Tsitsipas, 20, in 2019
Highest-Ranked Champion: No. 3 Boris Becker in 1995
Lowest-Ranked Champion: No. 79 Michael Llodra in 2010
Most Match Wins: Gilles Simon (29)

2020 Finals
Singles: [2] Stefanos Tsitsipas (GRE) d [7] Felix Auger-Aliassime (CAN) 63 64 Read More
Nicolas Mahut (FRA) / Vasek Pospisil (CAN) d [2] Wesley Koolhof (NED) / Nikola Mektic (CRO) 63 64 Read More

Hashtag: #Open13Provence
Facebook: @Open13
Twitter: @Open13
Instagram: @open13marseille

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Tsitsipas Battles Back To Beat Khachanov In Rotterdam

  • Posted: Mar 05, 2021

Stefanos Tsitsipas came within a point of a 1-4 deficit in the third set, but battled back to beat Karen Khachanov on Friday for a place in the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament semi-finals.

Second seed Tsitsipas improved his perfect record to 3-0 against Khachanov in their ATP Head2Head series after a 4-6, 6-3, 7-5 victory at the Rotterdam Ahoy over two hours and 42 minutes.

“He was playing great tennis and I wasn’t sure if I would be able to compete,” said Tsitsipas. “I had an amazing 5-0 lead in the second set and that brought a lot of confidence into my game. We had great rallies and the quality of tennis was excellent. You need to stay as calm as possible in three-setters. I have won a lot in the past and with experience, it gives me an idea of how to play in these tight moments.”

The 22-year-old Greek star, who hit 28 of 46 winners off his forehand wing, will next play fourth-seeded Russian Andrey Rublev in Saturday’s semi-finals. Tsitsipas leads Rublev 3-2 in their ATP Head2Head series, with three matches coming last year in Hamburg, Roland Garros and at the Nitto ATP Finals.


Tsitsipas started brightly, but Khachanov bounced back from a 0-2 deficit with a high level of tennis. The Russian secured the 46-minute opener after Tsitsipas hit a forehand into the net.

Tsitsipas hit 17 winners in the second set, rushing out to a 5-0 advantage after the Greek tightened up his serve. Khachanov had three points for a 4-1 lead in the third set only to see Tsitsipas recover.

Tsitsipas clawed his way back and his forehand did the damage to break Khachanov at 5-5 in the decider en route to his ninth win in 10 matches this season.

Khachanov is now 7-3 on the 2021 season, having advanced last month to the Great Ocean Road Open semi-finals (l. to Sinner) and the Australian Open third round (l. to Berrettini).

Borna Coric advanced to his first semi-final of the year with a 7-6(2), 7-6(4) victory against Kei Nishikori. The Croat fired 11 aces and saved eight of the 10 break points he faced to become the first unseeded player to defeat Nishikori in an ATP 500 quarter-final (1-8).

Coric has not dropped a set en route to the last four in Rotterdam. The 23-year-old, who claimed wins earlier this week against Botic Van de Zandschulp and Dusan Lajovic, will meet Marton Fucsovics for a spot in the championship match.

The Hunagrian was too solid for Tommy Paul, defeating the American 6-4, 6-3 in one hour and 42 minutes. The qualifier will try to reach his first final since the Sofia Open in 2019.

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Really Kei? You Wanted To Be A Penguin!

  • Posted: Mar 05, 2021

When Dutch children asked the likes of Stefanos Tsitsipas and Andy Murray for memories of their first kiss, you’d think it would produce the most interesting responses of the interview session. But no! Step forward Kei Nishikori, in response to what he wanted to be growing up.

The Japanese star was a little embarrassed to admit, “They look so cute. I just wanted to be a penguin!”

When told about this in Rotterdam, Murray was stopped in his tracks.

“He wanted to be a penguin?” asked the former World No. 1. “Strange… but good.”

Watch the hilarious Rotterdam interview unfold…

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Mektic/Pavic Move Into Rotterdam Semi-finals; Tsitsipas Brothers Play Later

  • Posted: Mar 05, 2021

Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic recorded their 14th win in 15 matches this year on Friday for a place in the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament semi-finals. The second seeds knocked out Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Jan-Lennard Struff 3-6, 6-3, 10-7 in 69 minutes.

Mektic and Pavic will now play Frenchman Jeremy Chardy and Fabrice Martin at the Rotterdam Ahoy. The Croatians started 2021 by lifting two ATP Tour trophies at the Antalya Open (d. Dodig/Polasek) and the Murray River Open (d. Chardy/Martin), prior to a run to the Australian Open final (l. to Dodig/Polasek).

Henri Kontinen and Edouard Roger-Vasselin take on Greek wild cards Petros Tsitsipas and Stefanos Tsitsipas later on Friday for the right to play Kevin Krawietz and Horia Tecau in the semi-finals.

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Roger's Return: School’s Back In Session For This Federer Superfan

  • Posted: Mar 05, 2021

While Roger Federer fans around the world eagerly await their hero’s return in Doha, a 63-year-old retired schoolteacher in Belgium offers a lesson in how patience has its rewards.

Martine Lessire has seen Federer play live 44 times and would be present in Doha this week for his long-awaited return if she wasn’t locked down in Belgium due to the pandemic. But she’s not content to simply watch his matches. She also waits for him, alongside other fans, outside stadiums, practice courts and hotels just to have an opportunity to wish him luck, take a photo, or exchange a few friendly words.

“I don’t know if Roger knows my name by now, but he knows my face for sure,” says Lessire.

After paying €900 for a ticket to Wimbledon in 2016, she camped out to see Roger in 2017, 2018, and 2019, when she slept for an entire week in her tent outside the All England Club. Because there’s nowhere to shower in the queue, she also paid for a room in a nearby bed & breakfast. “You have to run there and back to clean up because you are only allowed to leave the queue for one hour,” she says.

Lessire has no complaints. Camping out for a week was great fun, she says. And so was waiting eight hours in Rome in 2016 in order to give Federer the red envelope — a package full of good luck wishes from his fans around the world. “I wanted to have a good spot so Roger would see me,” she explains. “I don’t mind. We spent more time waiting to see him than watching him play. You must be patient.”

Her most memorable exchange with Federer took place in Rotterdam in 2018 after he returned to No. 1 in the FedEx ATP Rankings. It was freezing cold, and the pack of fans waiting for Roger outside the stadium began to thin out after an hour or so. But Martine wouldn’t budge. “When Roger finally came out, it was just my friend and I so we got to talk to him,” Lessire recalls. “We waited three hours but it was fantastic!”

Lessire treasures her brief interactions with Federer. “Roger is always so kind to us,” she says. The father of four appreciates his fans and is fortunate to have ones as passionate at Lessire, but she insists that it is her and other Federer devotees who are the lucky ones.

“Watching Roger is like a gift for me,” she says. “With no Roger matches to watch this year, it’s been terrible.”

Martine Lessire began supporting Roger Federer in 2008.

Lessire played some tennis as a child but says she wasn’t very good. Before Federer came along she was a fan of her countrywoman Justine Henin and didn’t follow men’s tennis closely. She began to root for Federer in 2008, but her obsession kicked into overdrive after seeing him live for the first time in 2012 at a Davis Cup match. “In person, you can see the power of how he plays, his grace, his movement; everything is different when you see tennis live,” she says.

Since that day, she has watched every Federer match either live or on Tennis TV, which hasn’t always been easy, particularly when she was still teaching.
Her husband, Giancarlo, isn’t much of a tennis fan but that’s okay, she says, because when she streams Roger’s matches — always live, even if they occur in the middle of the night — she prefers to be alone. “I’m too nervous,” she explains. “I don’t want to speak to anyone, but I text with other Federer fans.”

Her fealty is absolute — she says she would support Switzerland over her native Belgium in Davis Cup play if Roger was playing. When she was still teaching, her students knew better than to speak ill of Roger, and one of the parents buttered her up by baking her an RF birthday cake with a tennis racquet in the frosting.

Giancarlo doesn’t mind her Federer fetish — he doesn’t even object to the life-size cutout of Federer in a tuxedo, now with an RF mask on his face in their living room — because her hobby makes her happy and because it has helped her make friends with likeminded Fed fans around the globe.

2020 was a rough year, thanks to the pandemic obviously, but also the fact that Djokovic crept closer to Federer’s 20 majors and Nadal tied it. If one of them has to break his record, Martine would prefer that it be Rafa, since he and Roger are good friends.

Martine hopes she’ll be able to see Roger at the NOVENTI OPEN in Halle, her favourite tournament, this summer. She prefers this tournament because of the set-up — the players’ hotel is across from the stadium and the practice courts are right next door, affording her a multitude of Federer stakeout opportunities. “On a good day, I can see him several times there,” she says.

Federer’s comeback will afford her more opportunities to cheer for him, or cry as she said she did for a full week after he lost to Djokovic in the 2019 Wimbledon final, if things go wrong. Martine says the tears will flow for months the day Roger announces his retirement. But for now, her patience is about to pay off yet again as her hero takes the court in Doha. “It’s always worth it to wait for Roger,” she says. “He never disappoints his fans.”

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