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Glasspool/Heliovaara Move Into Maiden ATP Final In Marseille

  • Posted: Mar 13, 2021

Lloyd Glasspool and Harri Heliovaara are into their first ATP Tour doubles final after a confident victory over Matthew Ebden and Matt Reid, 6-2, 6-3 on Saturday at the Open 13 Provence. 

Glasspool, of Great Britain, and Heliovaara, of Finland, linked up at the end of last season and reached the final in their first tournament together at the ATP Challenger Tour event in Maia. Their success continued in 2021, with Glasspool and Heliovaara reaching three finals (all Challenger-level) and lifting the trophy at the Gran Canaria Challenger event.

They’ve been in fine form in Marseille as well, dropping only one set en route to the final. Glasspool and Heliovaara, who are unseeded, took down wild cards Petros Tsitsipas and Stefanos Tsitsipas in the opening round. The British-Finnish duo was pushed to a Match Tie-break in their biggest test of the week against the top seeds Ken Skupski and Neal Skupski but prevailed 2-6, 6-4, 10-8 in the quarter-finals.

They wasted no chances, and converted all four of the break points they created against Ebden and Reid. Glasspool and Heliovaara combined for nine aces, and fought back from a 1-2 deficit in the second set to seal the victory in 52 minutes.

Glasspool and Heliovaara will face Sander Arends and David Pel in the Marseille final. The all-Dutch team advanced after a 6-1, 7-6(4) victory over Nathaniel Lammons and Jackson Withrow on Friday.

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Why Herbert Was Thrilled With A 4:40 a.m. Wakeup In Marseille

  • Posted: Mar 13, 2021

A 4:40 a.m. wakeup is not usually ideal for a tennis player the morning of an ATP Tour semi-final. But Pierre-Hugues Herbert wouldn’t have it any other way right now.

The Frenchman’s fiancée, Julia Lang, gave birth to their first child, Harper, last September. It has been a life-changing six months for the No. 93 player in the FedEx ATP Rankings, who beat countryman Ugo Humbert on Saturday to reach the Open 13 Provence final.

“It’s been for sure an exciting time. Having a baby changes your life. I didn’t know that before having one, but for sure it changes your view of life and also you need to adapt,” Herbert said. “For me, this week is pretty special because the beginning of the year has been hard. I’ve been away from family [for] five weeks in Australia, again away from family in Rotterdam. I didn’t see them a lot and I’m just so happy to have them right now with me at this tournament.”


That’s why getting woken up in the middle of the night did not bother Herbert.

“I was just happy to be woken up, almost. It didn’t go long, it was just to be fed and then go back to sleep so I could recover,” Herbert said. “I’m just so happy to be in this situation where I live those things. It’s life. It’s just amazing.”

Herbert will play top seed Daniil Medvedev for the Marseille trophy. The 29-year-old has been in top form at this ATP 250, where he has already defeated Top 10 star Stefanos Tsitsipas and former World No. 4 Kei Nishikori.

“I’m really happy about my match [against Humbert] and how I managed to come back on court after my win yesterday against Tsitsipas and still play a good match,” Herbert said. “I’m really proud of that and about the final, I play Daniil, third in the world, second [next week]. [He is] a player I’ve played already and a big champion. For sure it’s going to be an interesting final. I’m so happy to be in it and to be able to play such a final.”

Herbert has won all four Grand Slam championships in doubles with Nicolas Mahut, and he has previously reached three ATP Tour singles finals. If he upsets Medvedev on Sunday, Herbert will earn his first tour-level singles crown. Regardless of the result, the Frenchman is happy to be competing in front of his son.

“It’s a pretty special place where I’m at right now,” Herbert said. “I still have goals with my tennis and right now I’m just happy to be on court, happy to be with my family, so maybe you feel it when I’m on court.”

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Basilashvili Caps Dream Week With Doha Crown

  • Posted: Mar 13, 2021

Nikoloz Basilashvili entered the Qatar ExxonMobil Open with just two wins from his past 16 matches, but the Georgian found his best level in Doha to clinch his fourth ATP Tour title.

The World No. 42 did not face a break point, as he powered through heavy winds on Saturday to defeat Roberto Bautista Agut 7-6(5), 6-2. Basilashvili, who saved a match point to defeat Roger Federer in the quarter-finals, has now won his past four ATP Tour championship matches (4-2).

“I am somehow managing to play good in tougher conditions and tougher matches,” said Basilashvili. “This tournament was one of the toughest ATP 250s I have ever seen, probably. We had three Top 10 players. It is interesting [to ask] why I am playing good in the big tournaments and big matches. [It is] surprising. At the same time, [I am] happy.”

Basilashvili entered the final with a 1-3 ATP Head2Head record against Bautista Agut, but he improved to 2-0 against the fifth seed on hard courts with his victory in the final. Both of the 29-year-old’s wins against Bautista Agut have come in the Middle East. Basilashvili also defeated the Spaniard at the 2019 Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships.

“[I am] super happy. I was not expecting that but, at the same time, I was working a lot,” said Basilashvili. “I was feeling good on the court. I was playing the last half a year with a lot of stress in my body. I was not able to put 100 per cent on the court in any matches. This week, I somehow found a way to deal with the stressful moments. I am very happy to get through [to the title].”

In windy conditions on Centre Court, both players needed time to adjust to the conditions. The set was dominated by serve, but the opening six points of the tie-break were won by the returning player. Basilashvili was rewarded for taking risks on his backhand side, as he punished short balls to strike winners and force his opponent into errors.

Basilashvili earned the first two break points of the match at 3-2 in the second set, and he took his chance to close in on victory. The four-time ATP Tour titlist ripped two cross-court backhand winners to take a 4-2 lead and, two games later, he earned a second break to capture the title.

“[There were] very strong gusts today, but I had good mindset. From the beginning, I was accepting things very good,” said Basilashvili. “I was concentrated on just playing the game and just looking at the ball and moving a lot. It was tough physically, as well, because for sure you have to move twice as hard and I managed that.”

Bautista Agut was attempting to lift his 10th ATP Tour title. The 32-year-old entered the championship match on a nine-match winning streak at the ATP 250, dating back to the start of his title run in 2019. Bautista Agut defeated top seed Dominic Thiem and third seed Andrey Rublev in back-to-back matches to reach his 18th tour-level final (9-9).

“I don’t like to lose. I think I could have played a better but, today, it was his final. I want to congratulate Basilashvili,” Bautista Agut said in an on-court interview. “He played great. He played very aggressive. Now it is time to recover, to keep working, to keep improving and hopefully I can come back next year and try to get the title again.”

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Medvedev To Play For First Marseille Title

  • Posted: Mar 13, 2021

Could the third time be the charm for Daniil Medvedev in Marseille?

In his third main draw appearance at the Open 13 Provence, the Russian star will have a chance to win his first title at the ATP 250. Medvedev led Matthew Ebden 6-4, 3-0, 40/15 when the Australian retired due to injury.

It was a competitive match in the early going, with Ebden’s aggressive play and frequent serve-and-volleying putting the top seed off his game at times. But Medvedev, who saved three break points in the opener, broke for 5-4 and never looked back.


After that game, Ebden left the court for a medical timeout, and his movement was severely limited from there. The qualifier, who is No. 287 in the FedEx ATP Rankings, was the lowest-ranked semi-finalist in tournament history by nearly 100 spots.

Medvedev will play a home favourite, Ugo Humbert or Pierre-Hugues Herbert, on Sunday for the title. The Russian is pursuing his first individual title of the season after leading his country to ATP Cup glory in February.

Did You Know?
Medvedev will climb to a career-high No. 2 in the FedEx ATP Rankings on Monday, becoming the first player outside the Big Four — Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray — to hold a top two spot since July 2005 (Lleyton Hewitt).

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Rublev Headlines Packed Section Of Dubai Draw

  • Posted: Mar 13, 2021

Andrey Rublev is chasing his fifth straight ATP 500 title next week, but he will need his best level from the early rounds to navigate an in-form section of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships draw.

The eight-time ATP Tour titlist, who has not lost an ATP 500 match since his appearance at this event last year, shares the bottom section of the draw with two players who brought their best level this week at the Qatar ExxonMobil Open in Doha: Nikoloz Basilashvili and Taylor Fritz.

View Dubai Singles Draw

Rublev will face Australia’s Jordan Thompson or a qualifier in his first match of the tournament. If he wins that match, he will meet the winner of Basilashvili and Fritz’s second-round clash. Basilashvili defeated Fritz to reach the Doha championship match on Friday.

Rublev is joined in the bottom quarter of the draw by sixth seed Pablo Carreno Busta and 11th seed Dusan Lajovic. Former champions Roberto Bautista Agut (2018) and Stan Wawrinka (2016), 2020 semi-finalist Daniel Evans and #NextGenATP Italian Jannik Sinner also feature in the bottom half.

Dominic Thiem leads the way in Dubai as the top seed. The US Open champion, who will face a qualifier in the second round, is joined by David Goffin, Borna Coric and Filip Krajinovic in the top quarter. Goffin awaits the winner of one of the standout first-round matches between Kei Nishikori and Reilly Opelka.

Third seed Denis Shapovalov and eighth seed Karen Khachanov are the top two seeds in the second quarter. The 2017 Next Gen ATP Finals qualifiers share that section with the first two players to collect tour-level trophies this season: Alex de Minaur (Antalya) and Hubert Hurkacz (Delray Beach).

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Medvedev Reflects On Djokovic's Record & Federer's Return

  • Posted: Mar 13, 2021

Daniil Medvedev will make history on Monday when he climbs to a career-high No. 2 in the FedEx ATP Rankings, becoming the first player outside the Big Four of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray to hold a top two spot since July 2005. This week, another player earned a career milestone.

Novak Djokovic set the all-time record for most weeks at World No. 1 with his 311th week, surpassing Federer’s 310.

“First of all, it’s an unbelievable achievement. For sure I think in the world of tennis we talk about Grand Slams more than anything else. But this is also a small competition, [and] I’m sure he’s really happy about it,” Medvedev said. “The way he’s played, he’s definitely capable of catching 400 weeks. We’re going to try to not let him do this.

“I didn’t manage to do anything in the Australian Open final, but that is what sport is about. Nobody is going to give him an easy pass, he’s going to have to earn it.”

Watch Medvedev-Sinner Highlights:

Medvedev tried to dethrone Djokovic at Melbourne Park in the Australian Open final, but the Serbian was at his ruthless best last month to capture his ninth title at the season’s first major. The Russian has great respect for what the World No. 1 and his greatest rivals, Federer and Nadal, have accomplished.

“As I’ve always said about the Big Three, they are unbelievable. The records they have set [are] probably not going to be beaten maybe in 100 years,” Medvedev said. “It’s very rare that you see this in sports. I don’t think you can say that other players were not good enough in this era, it’s just that they were unbelievable and there’s nothing for others to be ashamed of.”

Federer, who is 39, returned to action this week for the first time since the 2020 Australian Open due to two right knee surgeries he had last year. Medvedev wasn’t able to catch much of the 103-time tour-level titlist’s matches in Doha, but he saw some of the Swiss’ win against Daniel Evans.

“As we were talking with some other players here, many, many players would go out on the court after more than one year not playing and he would lose two and two without being able to put two balls in a row in the court,” Medvedev said. “He’s almost 40, didn’t play for one year and is still capable of winning matches. It’s amazing.”

Medvedev has played Federer three times, losing on each occasion. Their most recent ATP Head2Head clash came at the 2019 Miami Open presented by Itau.

“I would definitely like to play Roger. He’s one of the three best in tennis history, it’s always great playing him,” Medvedev said. “I lost three times, I was not at the level that I am right now. But it’s still Roger, so it would be nice to play a few matches against him. [It’s] not only [about] winning, but every time you step out on the court against the Big Three, it’s a special feeling.”

Medvedev will play Matthew Ebden on Saturday in the Marseille semi-finals.

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Sinner Says Slow Down! ‘I’m Not In A Rush’

  • Posted: Mar 13, 2021

As one of the brightest young talents on the ATP Tour, Jannik Sinner has many people wondering how quickly his journey towards the very top of the tennis world will continue. But don’t count him among the impatient prognosticators.

“I’m not in a rush,” Sinner said. “I just want to improve as much as I can every day.”

The 2019 Next Gen ATP Finals champion is focussed on learning. Although he lost against reigning Nitto ATP Finals champion Daniil Medvedev in straight sets on Friday in the quarter-finals of the Open 13 Provence, Sinner is not overly disappointed. The Italian knows he has to continue pushing to reach the level of a player like Medvedev, who will climb to a career-high World No. 2 on Monday.

“I think right now he’s the better player than me, honestly. He’s consistent in every single shot: serve, forehand, backhand. It’s not easy playing against him,” Sinner said. “I was not even playing that bad, honestly. It was a good match from my side… Today I’ve seen I have to learn so, so many things. I have a long, long way and I’m looking forward tomorrow already to trying to improve. That’s my main goal of the season: trying to improve.”

Sinner believes that he has plenty to improve, but two things in particular are his serve and net game. Against the best in the world, free points are few and far between, so players need to earn everything. Against Medvedev, the teen only won 57 per cent of his service points.

“I’m not getting so many points on my serve… I have to improve everything, try to move forward to the net, especially my net game I have to improve,” Sinner said. “At 19 or 20 years old, you only can improve. Luckily I have a great team behind me, they know what you have to do, I know what I have to do: wake up every morning and get better.”

When Medvedev was Sinner’s age, he had just cracked the Top 400. What does the Russian believe it will take for his younger colleague to continue his climb?

“Definitely tough practice hours, but I think from what I know from him he’s capable of doing it and already doing it. [It will take] some luck for sure and a lot of consistency. You need to start winning big titles to get higher,” Medvedev said. “The further you climb the [FedEx ATP] Rankings, the more you need to show in these big tournaments and that’s what it takes to be Top 10.

“You can never say 100 per cent who’s going to make it and who is not. He definitely has the game to be at the top, but he’s still very young, so [he has] a lot of time in front of him and let’s see if he manages to do it.”

As Sinner said, he’s not in a rush. The two-time ATP Tour titlist is enjoying the process.

“It takes time, it takes time. I’m looking forward to taking this challenge to improve day after day and looking forward to getting better day after day, which for me is the most important thing,” Sinner said. “But I cannot tell you when exactly I am on that level. If [I could], everything would be too easy.”

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