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From around the world

17-Year-Old Leo Borg To Make ATP Qualifying Debut In Marbella

  • Posted: Mar 16, 2021

Leo Borg, the son of former World No. 1 Bjorn Borg, has received a wild card into qualifying at next month’s AnyTech365 Andalucia Open, with the main draw scheduled for 5-11 April in Marbella.

The 17-year-old Swede has also been awarded a main draw wild card into an ATP Challenger Tour event at the same venue the week before. The tournaments will be played at Club de Tennis Puente Romano, which opened in 1979 under the management of Bjorn Borg as part of Hotel Puente Romano.

Leo made his professional debut last February at an ATP Challenger Tour event in Bergamo, Italy, where he lost against former World No. 1 Chun-hsin Tseng. The Swede is now the No. 12 junior in the world after winning a Grade 1 tournament in Porto Alegre, Brazil.

Borg posted on social media last year that he spent three weeks training at the Rafa Nadal Academy by Movistar. 

Leo Borg
Photo Credit: Antonio Milesi

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Harris Shocks Thiem In Dubai

  • Posted: Mar 16, 2021

Lloyd Harris earned the biggest win of his career on Tuesday, when he stunned top seed Dominic Thiem 6-3, 6-4 at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships.

The South African served with confidence to eliminate the US Open champion after 72 minutes. This is Harris’ first win against a Top 5 player. The 24-year-old claimed his first Top 20 win at last week’s Qatar ExxonMobil Open against Stan Wawrinka.


Harris was happy to engage in backhand-to-backhand rallies early in the first set. The South African proved the more consistent player on the stroke to earn the first break points of the match at 2-1 and he converted his second chance with a cross-court backhand winner.

Throughout the match, Harris held serve without being forced to deuce. The World No. 81 earned the only break of the second set at 3-3, when he rushed Thiem with deep backhand returns and capitalised on two double faults. Harris closed the match with a powerful first serve into Thiem’s backhand.

Harris will meet 14th seed Filip Krajinovic for a quarter-final spot. The Serbian saved all four break points he faced to defeat Alejandro Davidovich Fokina 7-5, 6-4 in 80 minutes.

Kei Nishikori extended his unbeaten ATP Head2Head record against David Goffin to 4-0 with a 6-3, 7-6(3) win. The Japanese, who reached the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament quarter-finals earlier this month, will face Aljaz Bedene in the third round. Bedene landed 10 aces and won 92 per cent of his first-serve points to beat Lorenzo Giustino 6-4, 6-3.

Karen Khachanov also advanced to the third round on Tuesday. The Russian outlasted Singapore champion Alexei Popyrin 6-4, 3-6, 7-6(4) in two hours and 16 minutes. Khachanov will meet Jeremy Chardy for a place in the quarter-finals.

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Nishikori Enjoying New Journey: 'My Goal Is To Return To Top 10'

  • Posted: Mar 16, 2021

The abiding memory of Kei Nishikori at his very best is taking his aggressive baseline game to the world’s premier players. But since finishing in the year-end Top 10 of the FedEx ATP Rankings for the fourth time in 2018, the Japanese superstar has experienced a catalogue of injuries — notably to his right wrist, right elbow and right shoulder.

Now aged 31, Nishikori is working harder than ever to return to his peak performance days, under the guidance of Michael Chang and Max Mirnyi, who both relied upon superb conditioning during their own careers.

“If I want to come back to my level before, I have to be tough,” said Nishikori at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships on Tuesday. “You have to think more, and you have many more expectations. But the way I think now, is [that] this is my second [career] journey.

“I had elbow surgery two years ago, a shoulder injury last year and couldn’t play three or four months. I’ve had many injuries. I have to be happy, and I’ve been playing well [over] the past two weeks. My goal is to return to the Top 10, [the] Top 5 hopefully. I think it will be a long way back, because everyone is playing well. I have to step up more against Top 50 opponents, but I’ve been enjoying the challenge.”

Nishikori, who is currently No. 41 in the FedEx ATP Rankings, admitted to nerves in battling past fifth-seeded Belgian David Goffin 6-3, 7-6(3) over one hour and 53 minutes on Tuesday for a place in the Dubai third round.

“I was a little bit tight, especially the match points [at 6-5 in the second set],” said Nishikori. “He started to play much better from the middle of the second set. I was under pressure in my service games. There were many Deuces and at the end of the second set he was much more aggressive and he made me more defensive. I made a couple of easy mistakes, which made the games tougher.”

Nishikori will next play Slovenia’s Aljaz Bedene at the Aviation Club in Dubai. He is competing in just his ninth tournament since returning to the ATP Tour after a 12-month absence in August 2020.

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Nadal Announces Miami Withdrawal

  • Posted: Mar 16, 2021

Rafael Nadal announced on Tuesday that he will not compete in this year’s Miami Open presented by Itau.

“Sad to announce that I won’t be playing in Miami, a city that I love,” Nadal wrote on Twitter. “I need to fully recover and get ready for the clay-court season in Europe. Special message to my fans in the US and in particular to the great Spanish speaking community FL, who always give me a great support!”

The Spanish star owns a 40-12 record in Miami, where he has reached the final five times. Nadal most recently competed at the ATP Masters 1000 event in 2017, when he fell against Roger Federer in the championship match.

The tournament sent Nadal its best wishes, tweeting: “Miami loves you back! Best of luck in your recovery – hope to see you back on the court soon!”

The World No. 3 began his season by reaching the quarter-finals of the Australian Open.

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Shapovalov Surges Past Struff On Dubai Debut

  • Posted: Mar 16, 2021

Denis Shapovalov dominated right from the start against Jan-Lennard Struff in a 6-1, 6-3 second-round victory over 61 minutes on Tuesday at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships.

Third seed Shapovalov, who was making his debubt at the ATP 500 event, saved two break points in his opening service game and went on to win the first five games. The Canadian hit 26 winners and committed just six unforced errors to snap a four-match losing streak against Struff.

“It definitely wasn’t an easy win, as I’ve struggled against Struff in the past,” said Shapovalov. “I was a little bit nervous at the beginnning, but I got through those emotions and I’m very happy with the win. I picked my spots on serve and made as many returns as I could. The courts are quick, so it suits my game.”

The Canadian will next play Hubert Hurkacz, who struck 11 aces and lost nine of his service points (40/49) to defeat Richard Gasquet 6-3, 6-4 in 67 minutes. Gasquet recorded the 550th tour-level match win of his career on Monday at the Aviation Club in Dubai.


Aslan Karatsev continued his fine run of form by beating 2020 semi-finalist Daniel Evans 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 in two hours and 22 minutes. Evans, who lifted his first ATP Tour title at the Murray River Open (d. Auger-Aliassime) last month, recovered from 2-4 down in the second set, but Karatsev won the first two games of the deciding set.

The Russian, who qualified for last month’s Australian Open and advanced to the semi-finals (l. to Djokovic), recovered from 15/40 when serving for the match and now plays Italian No. 17 seed Lorenzo Sonego, who beat Spanish qualifier Bernabe Zapata Miralles 6-2, 6-2.

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The Nomadic Life With… Emil Ruusuvuori

  • Posted: Mar 16, 2021

Emil Ruusuvuori will try to earn one of the biggest wins of his career on Tuesday when he plays red-hot Russian Andrey Rublev in the second round of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships. The Finnish No. 1 has already upset a top star this year when he ousted World No. 11 Gael Monfils in the first round of the Australian Open. caught up with Ruusuvuori to learn more about the 21-year-old’s life on Tour.

What is your craziest travel story?
I don’t have any that crazy compared to the older guys who have been on Tour for a longer time. One is when I won my first Challenger title in Uzbekistan [in 2019] and we had to leave pretty much right away from the final. I played and we took the same taxi with my opponent to the train station and he forgot something at the hotel. He had to go back and his taxi got pulled over by police and then he barely made it to the train.

We didn’t have time to eat after the final, so we ate some burger on the train in Uzbekistan. That was kind of crazy after a final. I didn’t even really have time to celebrate, so that was a special story.

Do you enjoy travelling the world or consider it just something that needs to be done to be a pro tennis player? If you do enjoy it, what do you enjoy about travelling?
It has ups and downs, positives and negatives. At the moment it’s not easy with all the restrictions… You get to see so many places, you get to meet so many people from different countries and different backgrounds. I find it interesting.

It will be nice [once the pandemic is over]. Already there are some places that this is the second or third time [I will] go, then you get familiar with the place and that’s always nice. You feel like you know the place and every time it’s not something new. There are so many places, even tournaments I haven’t been to. There’s much more to see.

What are two essential non-tennis items you always pack for trips?
Nowadays I have my PlayStation with me all the time. We spend so much time in the room, so we have to have something else to do and it’s a fun way to connect with all my friends, play some games and stuff. [I play] with people from home. Then [I take] earphones. I’m always flying, so those need to be with me. 

Emil Ruusuvuori

What is your favourite tournament city to visit and why?
I think Melbourne is actually one of my favourites. The city is very nice. It works well there and from the winter in Finland to go there to the warm weather [is nice]. It’s really far, you can’t go there too often, but once I get there that’s one of my favourites.

Is there a tournament you haven’t played that you want to because it’s a city you want to visit?
I’ve heard a lot about Shanghai, about the food and hotel and everything. That seems like a pretty good tournament, so that’s one I want to go to for sure.

Where is your favourite vacation destination?
I have a lot to explore still! Last year we just stayed in Finland, went to the north. Before that we did go to California, but there are many places that I would like to go to for vacation. But there just aren’t too many chances during the year.

Max two, normally one. You have to plan it well and see what you want to see. Maybe Maldives will be next on the list. But for us, if you’re on vacation, then you don’t really want to do too much. But if it wasn’t only resting, there are a lot of cities. Normally for us resting is the main point of it, so that for sure would be a good option.  

How do you try to overcome jet lag and acclimate to the local time zone?
I recently was in Kazakhstan for four days, and it’s only five hours to Marseille [where I was last week]. But before that I came from Australia. I’m sure it’s easier when you’re younger, but still you feel it. On the way you either go with the time of the destination or you just go without sleep for such a long time that you’re so tired that you catch up with the jet lag and you try your best.

Got any tips to get comfortable on a flight? And how do you pass the time?
The goal for sure is to play so well that you can fly the long ones always in business. For Australia, we’ve been trying to upgrade the long flights. It’s so much help in the long run. Personally, I can’t really sleep in the normal seat. It’s pretty terrible when you arrive. You try to upgrade so you can sleep normally. That I think is a huge advantage.

Are you someone who gets to the airport with lots of time to spare or do you cut it fine?
It depends a lot where you are. In Finland we cut it close every time because there are no people and if you have a gold card, you can just drop off your bags. There we just know how long it takes and we cut it really close.

Last time [I left Finland] I was going to Kazakhstan and there was more of a queue than we thought, so we were really close. But usually it goes pretty fast. In some countries you don’t want to cut it that close and you take the extra time.

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Zverev Conquers #NextGenATP Alcaraz In Acapulco

  • Posted: Mar 16, 2021

Second seed Alexander Zverev has stamped his authority on #NextGenATP contender Carlos Alcaraz in Acapulco on Monday night. The German pulled clear of the precocious 17-year-old 6-3 6-1 as he reached the second round of the Abierto Mexicano Telcel presentado por HSBC.

In Alcaraz’s first showdown against a Top 10 opponent, the Spaniard broke first for 2-0 and while unable to consolidate, he stood toe-to-toe with the World No.7 to 3-all. On his fourth opportunity, however, Zverev landed what proved to be a pivotal break for 4-3 in the opening set.

He ended up claiming nine of the last 10 games to secure his passage after 84 minutes. There was a moment of all-court brilliance from Alcaraz when he drilled groundstrokes from corner to corner before he closed to pull off a deft drop-shot winner, serving at 1-4 in the second set.


However, it was all too brief, as Zverev landed the fifth break of the match and  served it out on his 11th ace. He dropped just four points on his first serve.

The German will meet Laslo Djere for a place in the quarter-finals after the Serbian posted a 6-2, 6-3 victory over American Steve Johnson. In a dominant night on serve, Djere claimed 89 per cent of his first-serve points and dropped only four points on his second-serve points. The World No. 54 did not face a break point.

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Felix Overcomes Hiccup To Advance In Acapulco

  • Posted: Mar 16, 2021

The sixth time was the charm on Monday evening for Felix Auger-Aliassime.

The 20-year-old failed to serve out his match against Tennys Sandgren at 5-4 in the second set. But the seventh seed held his nerve in the ensuing tie-break, converting his sixth match point to complete a 6-3, 7-6(8) victory against the American in the first round of the Abierto Mexicano Telcel presentado por HSBC.

Less than seven months ago, Sandgren outlasted Auger-Aliassime in a two-hour, 50-minute battle that ended in a third-set tie-break at the Western & Southern Open. Their second ATP Head2Head didn’t go as long, but there were still twists and turns.


The double-fault bug crept into Auger-Aliassime’s game late in the second set, when he hit two double faults while serving for the match. The Canadian let slip a 6/3 lead in the tie-break, but he never relented on Estadio in Mexico. Auger-Aliassime let out a roar of “Allez!” after crunching a service winner on his sixth match point of the tie-break.

Auger-Aliassime will next play former World No. 3 Marin Cilic or #NextGenATP American Sebastian Korda.

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