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Berrettini, #NextGenATP Sinner Set For Queen's Club Debuts

  • Posted: May 19, 2021

Matteo Berrettini and Jannik Sinner lead a stacked field at the cinch Championships as Top 10 favourites, #NextGenATP stars and more prepare to descend on The Queen’s Club.

Berrettini, ranked World No. 9 in the FedEx ATP Rankings, will be making his tournament debut in London. He recently reached the Mutua Madrid Open final, won the title at the Serbia Open in Belgrade and helped Italy to the ATP Cup final at the start of the year. The Italian has some pedigree on grass also, having won the MercedesCup title in Stuttgart in 2019.

“I have a heard a lot about the cinch Championships at Queen’s and always wanted to play there,” said Berrettini. “I have played some good tennis so far in 2021, and hope that I can bring my best game to the grass. If I do, I think I can go far on the surface.”

Joining Berrettini in London for the first time will be countryman Sinner. The #NextGenATP star was just seven years old when Andy Murray won his first title at The Queen’s Club, but like Murray he is achieving big things at a very young age.

The 19-year-old Italian is No. 17 in the FedExATP Rankings, has already won two tour-level titles (Sofia and Melbourne), and reached the final of the ATP Masters 1000 event in Miami. 

“I’m really excited to be competing at Queen’s for the first time,” said Sinner. “So many great players from the past have won the tournament, I heard the quality of the grass courts is incredible, and I can’t wait to play on them.”

 

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They are joined by Top 10 player Diego Schwartzman, three-time Grand Slam title winner Stan Wawrinka, Denis Shapovalov, 2016 runner-up Milos Raonic, and previously announced British stars Andy Murray and Daniel Evans. In-form Aslan Karatsev, who reached the Australian Open semi-finals, and British No.2 Cameron Norrie have also entered.

Tournament Director Luiz Carvalho said, “To add new players like Matteo and Jannik to our player field is really exciting, and I know our ticket-holders will enjoy watching them. With so many fan favourites also entering, we are looking forward to the start of the cinch Championships more than ever.”

The doubles and qualifying lists will be announced in the coming weeks.

The cinch Championships will be able to accommodate approximately 25 per cent of its normal full capacity, and the event will be socially distanced, in line with the current safety protocols required by the UK Government and the ATP Tour.

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Dimitrov, Ruud Beat The Rain To Book Geneva QF Spots

  • Posted: May 19, 2021

As dark clouds descended at the Gonet Geneva Open, fourth seed Grigor Dimitrov was in a hurry to get off the court. But the storm was coming from the other side of the net, as qualifier Ilya Ivashka threatened to turn around a 6-4, 5-0 deficit and take them the distance. 

The No. 20 player in the FedEx ATP Rankings managed to hold his nerve when it mattered most to edge past Ivashka 6-4, 6-4 and reach his fourth quarter-final of the year in Geneva. 

“Today was honestly just a good day for me, I was very pleased with the way I fought,” Dimitrov said in his post-match press conference. “I’ve been quite misfortunate in my past two or three matches that I’ve played in Madrid and Rome. I felt that I fell short with a few points here and there and therefore lost the matches.

“That can be very discouraging, but I’m very thankful that I actually got the opportunity to compete here again. Getting a wild card meant a lot to me, so I really wanted to execute every chance that I have when I’m out there on the court.”

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Dimitrov awaits the winner of French wild card Arthur Cazaux and qualifier Pablo Cuevas, whose match was suspended due to rain. Cuevas was leading 6-2, 4-3 and was serving with a break to the good when the rain came. 

Also in action, 18-year-old Dominic Stephan Stricker took down Marton Fucsovics 7-5, 6-4 to reach his first tour-level quarter-final in his main draw debut. The Swiss wild card saved eight of 11 break points he faced and weathered two rain delays en route to victory.

“It feels great to be here, to beat two of these guys,” Stricker said. “I’m very happy with my performance today. I played a good match. It was hard with these rain delays, but I just tried my best. I’m pretty happy with what I did today and I’m just looking forward to my match tomorrow and just trying my best.”

Earlier in the day, third seed Casper Ruud claimed a spot in the quarter-finals with a 7-5, 6-2 victory over Tennys Sandgren. 

The Norwegian arrived in Geneva on the back of a strong run of form that included semi-final appearances at the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters, BMW Open (Munich) and Mutua Madrid Open.

The 22-year-old took that momentum into his opening match against Sandgren, who is No. 67 in the FedEx ATP Rankings. The American was looking for a win in their first tour-level meeting, having fallen to Ruud in the qualifying rounds of Auckland in 2018.

Ruud came out swinging against Sandgren in their Centre Court clash, creating his first break opportunity in the fifth game and keeping pace with the American from the baseline. The third seed raised his level as the set wound to a close, dropping only one point in his final three service games to keep the pressure on Sandgren before breaking to love at 5-5. Ruud got out to an early break in the second set, and converted his fourth match point to seal the victory in an hour and 24 minutes.

Into his sixth consecutive quarter-final appearance, a streak dating back to Acapulco in March, Ruud will next face Dominik Koepfer after the German defeated Feliciano Lopez 7-5, 6-7(1), 6-3. 

Second seed Denis Shapovalov will have to wait to face Marco Cecchinato on Thursday after their match was rescheduled due to rain. The winner will face either sixth seed Fabio Fognini or Laslo Djere in the quarter-finals. Djere was on serve and leading by a break 6-3, 6-7(2), 2-0 when their match was suspended. 

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Thiem: 'I Am Still Trying To Find My Form'

  • Posted: May 19, 2021

Dominic Thiem is still searching for his best tennis this clay-court season, and the Austrian hopes he can make a step in the right direction as the top seed at this week’s Open Parc Auvergne-Rhone Alpes Lyon.

“I am still trying to find my form. I’m not playing as well as I did in 2019 [at Roland Garros], when I played my best tennis, or as good as in 2018. But I am a better player now,” Thiem said. “I will try and practise well and work hard in Lyon, then work myself into the tournament. My preparation hasn’t been ideal this year, I won’t lie about that. But I am certain I will play well there.”

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The World No. 4 has played two events on clay, reaching the semi-finals in Madrid and the third round in Rome. The two-time Roland Garros finalist (2018 and 2019) had not played since March in Dubai before those two events.

“Madrid and Rome were good steps in the right directions, with the semi-finals [in Madrid] and a loss to Sonego [in Rome] in three hours and 20 minutes. I had match point [and lost] 7-6 in the third and after [that] he beat Rublev then played an amazing match against Novak,” Thiem said. “I liked the way I played there and I hope I can take this positive direction into Lyon and get some matches.”

The good news for Thiem despite those losses is that he feels there is plenty of room for improvement in his game.

“In Madrid and Rome there was some per cent missing in my shots. My first serve wasn’t doing enough damage and when I had an easy forehand, I wasn’t hitting in the right direction or placement,” Thiem admitted. “The transitions from offence to defence weren’t good. To go really deep in tournaments, I need to improve these areas of the game and I intend to do so in Lyon this week.”

Thiem has proven that he is a force on clay when on form, winning 10 of his 17 tour-level titles on the surface. After taking nearly two months off to reset following in Dubai, the 27-year-old is eager to continue ramping up his level.

“I was far away from tennis, but tried to get hungry again and get back on Tour,” Thiem said. “I needed to disconnect from the job and I am happy to be back on Tour.”

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Following Federer’s Advice, Stricker Serves Up Geneva Breakthrough

  • Posted: May 19, 2021

#NextGenATP Dominic Stephan Stricker has been serving up surprises at the Gonet Geneva Open, his debut ATP Tour event. In his first tour-level main draw, he took down US Open champion Marin Cilic in straight sets, and he backed it up with a victory over Marton Fucsovics to reach the quarter-finals on Wednesday.

In both matches, one shot has stood out from the 18-year-old’s arsenal: Stricker’s serve has been booming in Geneva. In the opening round, he managed to out-ace big-serving Cilic with nine aces to four, and against Fucsovics he saved eight of the 11 break points he faced.

“I think everything is working pretty well. I’m serving good here, and I improved a lot on that,” Stricker said in his post-match press conference. “I’m just trying to do my game style: being [on the] offense, but also if I need to I can stay in the rallies. I’m just trying my best and working hard every day here in Switzerland and I think it’s all good.”

The serve has been the shot that the Swiss teen has been working hard to improve, ever since receiving a bit of helpful advice from a practice partner – none other than Roger Federer.

Stricker and Federer shared a practice court for three weeks in Dubai during the pre-season, and the former Roland Garros junior champion was sure to take notes as he worked with the former World No. 1 up close. 

“He told me some stuff, like how the serve is important and it’s the only shot in tennis that you can do by yourself,” Stricker recalled. “You can’t learn it too much, so I just worked really hard on this shot. It’s getting better and I’m winning many points on serve.”

Federer was in the stands on Tuesday to witness the 18-year-old wild card’s upset over Cilic. While they have not gotten much time to catch up in Geneva as the Swiss great contested only his second tournament of the year on home soil, Stricker has felt the support from the 20-time Grand Slam winner. 

“We saw [each other] here and we were talking a little bit, just saying hello but not too much,” Stricker said. “We didn’t practise here but we practised a lot at the start of the year. 

“For sure that helps me to see how good he is and just to see that I’m actually close to his level – maybe not at his level, but I’m just trying to get there. It helps me to see it. I’m getting better and trying to get to this level where these guys are.”

[WATCH LIVE 1]

Stricker will have another chance to test his level again – and perhaps earn some revenge on behalf of his practice partner. The 18-year-old will face Pablo Andujar, the player who upset top seed Federer, in the quarter-finals.

“It feels great to be here, to beat two of these guys,” Stricker said. “I’m very happy with my performance today. I played a good match. It was hard with these rain delays, but I just tried my best. I’m pretty happy with what I did today and I’m just looking forward to my match tomorrow and just trying my best.”

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Tsitsipas Brothers Fall In Lyon Opener

  • Posted: May 19, 2021

Greek brothers Petros Tsitsipas and Stefanos Tsitsipas battled hard on Wednesday but fell to Australians Matthew Ebden and John-Patrick Smith 7-6(3), 6-3 in a busy day at the Open Parc Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes Lyon.

Ebden and Smith will next play second seeds Henri Kontinen and Edouard Roger-Vasselin, who were 6-2, 7-6(4) victors over Andres Molteni and Frederik Nielsen.

Top-seeded Frenchmen Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut, who have an 18-7 record in tour-level finals, started their campaign with a comprehensive 6-1, 6-1 win over British duo Cameron Norrie and Jonny O’Mara. They will now challenge Artem Sitak and Joao Sousa, who edged past Marc Lopez and Fabrice Martin 6-4, 6-7(6), 11-9.

Elsewhere, fourth seeds Hugo Nys and Tim Puetz defeated Sander Arends and Divij Sharan 3-6, 6-2, 10-1 for a quarter-final against Lorenzo Musetti and Tommy Paul or Andre Goransson and Andrei Vasilevski.

[WATCH LIVE 1]

At the Gonet Geneva Open, which was also affected by rain, Tomislav Brkic and Nikola Cacic knocked out top seeds Oliver Marach and Mate Pavic 7-6(6), 6-2 for a last-eight clash against Simone Bolelli and Maximo Gonzalez, who overcame Australians Max Purcell and Luke Saville 7-6(3), 7-6(2).

Third seeds Raven Klaasen and Ben McLachlan defeated British pair Luke Bambridge and Dominic Inglot 6-3, 7-6(4). They now face Marin Cilic and Andrey Golubev, who came through 7-6(5), 6-3 against wild cards Arthur Cazaux and Hanwen Li.

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Coric Undergoes Shoulder Surgery In New York

  • Posted: May 19, 2021

Borna Coric announced on Instagram Wednesday that he underwent surgery on his right shoulder on Tuesday.

“I have been dealing with shoulder pain for some time now and despite trying a whole range of recovery techniques, it was clear a more permanent solution was needed,” Coric wrote. “After talking to leading doctors together with my team, I decided the best option was to have surgery.”

 

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Coric had the surgery at the Hospital For Special Surgery’s Sports Medicine Institute in New York. 

“The operation went extremely well, I am very thankful to the HSS Sports Medicine Institute team and especially doctor David Altchek,” Coric wrote. “Now it is time to recover and work hard to be back on court soon 💪🏻. Thank you for all the support as always.”

The former World No. 12 last competed in Rotterdam this March. Coric also played the Murray River Open and the Australian Open this year, tallying a 6-3 record in those three tournaments.

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Sinner Beats Fellow Nitto ATP Finals Hopeful Karatsev In Lyon

  • Posted: May 19, 2021

Jannik Sinner came through a tough test against Aslan Karatsev on Wednesday for a place in the Open Parc Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes Lyon second round.

The Italian, who sits in 10th place in the FedEx ATP Race To Turin for a spot at the Nitto ATP Finals in November, beat seventh-placed Karatsev 0-6, 6-3, 6-4 victory over two hours and 32 minutes. Sinner now plays French lucky loser Arthur Rinderknech.

“It was tough,” said sixth seed Sinner, who lost to Karatsev in three sets at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships in March. “He is a great player, especially this year with some big results. I dug deep today and I am happy to have won today. It’s definitely good to have the support of the crowd in order to come back from Aslan’s fast start.”

[WATCH LIVE 1]

Karatsev won the first six games, saving three break points along the way, before Sinner began to find his range. The Italian raced to a 4-0 lead in the second set and while he was broken in the fifth game, Sinner saved three break points in a hold for 5-2.

The match was suspended for 70 minutes when Karatsev led 2-1 in the decider and upon the resumption of play both players came under pressure. Sinner drew Karatsev to the net at 4-4, and broke decisively prior to completing his 21st win of the season with a big serve (21-9).

Sinner, 19, captured his second ATP Tour title in February at the Great Ocean Road Open (d. Travaglia). He also advanced to his first ATP Masters 1000 final at the Miami Open presented by Itau (l. to Hurkacz) last month.

Rinderknech converted four of nine break points to defeat Swedish qualifier Mikael Ymer 6-3, 6-7(4), 6-2 in two hours and 22 minutes. It was just his fourth ATP Tour match win.

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Dallas To Host ATP 250 Beginning 2022

  • Posted: May 19, 2021

The ATP Tour will return to Dallas, Texas, for the first time in more than 30 years next season when one of America’s longest-running tournaments takes anchor in the Lone Star state as the Dallas Open. The ATP 250, the only indoor tour-level event in the United States, will be held at the Styslinger/Altec Tennis Complex at Southern Methodist University.

The tournament, which will be held from 6-13 February 2022, had been played in New York for the past three years. It has a storied history, with former champions including legends John McEnroe, Pete Sampras, Andre Agassi, Andy Roddick, Michael Chang, Andy Murray and Kei Nishikori.

The Dallas Open marks the return of ATP Tour tennis to Dallas for the first time since 1989. The World Championship of Tennis Finals was held in Dallas from 1971-89.

“GF Sports & Entertainment is proud to bring the Dallas Open, an elite ATP Tour tournament, to the premier Styslinger/Altec Tennis Complex in Dallas, beginning in 2022,” Tournament Director Peter Lebedevs said. “The Dallas Open will shine a global spotlight on the city and be much more than a one-week tennis tournament. In addition to entertainment programming and unique experiential opportunities throughout the tournament, our partnership with SMU and commitment to the community will be year-round and include business, community, tennis initiatives and events. We would like to thank the City of Dallas, our partners at SMU and the ATP for the incredible support during this process to help us bring this world-class tennis event to a world-class city.” 

The Isner Family Foundation, established by 15-time ATP Tour Champion John Isner and his family, will serve as a non-profit partner for the event. The Isner Family Foundation provides financial support for qualified families to obtain necessities, such as meals, clothing, transportation, convenient lodging, car seats and medical supplies, while their children are under the care of Children’s Health, one of the largest and most prestigious pediatric health care providers in the country and the leading pediatric health care system in North Texas.

“I am excited to have an ATP Tour event in my home city and to show off Dallas to the other players on the Tour. The Styslinger/Altec Tennis Complex is a premier venue. The players are really going to enjoy playing there in front of a knowledgeable tennis crowd,” said Isner, who was on hand for Wednesday’s announcement. “I am also proud to have the Isner Family Foundation be one of the non-profit partners for the Dallas Open, and I am looking forward to the positive impact the event will have on the local community.”

ATP Chairman Andrea Gaudenzi said, “It’s exciting to have ATP Tour tennis coming to Dallas, a city with such a rich sporting culture and strong roots in tennis. This is an important opportunity for tennis to continue engaging its passionate American fanbase and we look forward to watching the Dallas Open establish itself in its new home from next season.”

The waitlist for Dallas Open premium hospitality and tickets is now live. Fans can visit www.dallasopen.com to join the priority waitlist, and follow the event on social media @DALOpenTennis for all future updates.

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