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Erlich/Vasilevski Reach Belgrade Final

  • Posted: May 27, 2021

Jonathan Erlich reached his first ATP Tour doubles final in Newport 21 years ago. On Thursday in Belgrade, the 44-year-old Israeli made his 44th tour-level championship match.

Erlich and Andrei Vasilevski defeated Serbia Open winners Ivan Sabanov and Matej Sabanov 6-3, 3-6, 13-11 to reach the final of the Belgrade Open at the Novak Tennis Center. The duo will compete in their third ATP Tour final together (also 2020 Pune, 2021 Montpellier).

Erlich and Vasilevski will play Andre Goransson and Rafael Matos for the trophy. The Swedish-Brazilian team battled past Britons Luke Bambridge and Dominic Inglot 7-6(3), 1-6, 10-4.


Arneodo/Paire Beat Fourth Seeds
Romain Arneodo and Benoit Paire advanced to the semi-finals of the Emilia-Romagna Open on Thursday with a 6-2, 7-5 victory against fourth seeds Marcelo Arevalo and Matwe Middelkoop.

The unseeded team will play Oliver Marach and Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi for a place in the final. Marach and Qureshi defeated Matt Reid and Michael Venus 6-3, 6-4. In the other doubles match in Parma, Simone Bolelli and Maximo Gonzalez ousted 2020 Australian Open finalists Max Purcell and Luke Saville 6-3, 6-3.

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Roland Garros: Six First-Round Matches To Watch

  • Posted: May 27, 2021

With Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal all landing in the same half of the Roland Garros draw, the second Grand Slam of the year is already bringing plenty of drama and promising epic clashes. 

But further down the draw, there are plenty of popcorn matches in the early rounds as heavyweights are set to meet rising stars and top players clash with unseeded threats. 

Here are the top six first-round matches to watch at Roland Garros – and a few potential second-round meetings to keep an eye on this fortnight in Paris. 

Six First-Round Matches To Watch

Alexander Bublik vs [2] Daniil Medvedev
Daniil Medvedev already shook up the draw by claiming the second seed position, but he’ll have his work cut out for him as he seeks his first victory at Roland Garros (0-4). The Russian got one of the toughest first-round challenges in the field as he will start against an unseeded Alexander Bublik.

Tennis fans will enjoy the clash between two talented players with unorthodox styles. Bublik will arrive in Paris at a career-high FedEx ATP Ranking of World No. 37, and has claimed wins over Matteo Berrettini, Alexander Zverev and Aslan Karatsev in 2021. 

Australian Open finalist Medvedev owns the 1-0 advantage in ATP Head2Head, but their lone meeting was back in 2016 at St. Petersburg, an indoor hard-court event. The Russian won comfortably 6-4, 6-0 on home turf, but could be in for a bigger battle in Paris.

[3] Rafael Nadal vs Alexei Popyrin
Defending champion Rafael Nadal will start his quest for a record-extending 14th Roland Garros title against Aussie Alexei Popyrin. The Spaniard will pit the weight of his 100-2 record at this event against Popyrin, who has reached the second round once in two appearances. 

But 21-year-old Popyrin has shot up the FedEx ATP Rankings in 2021, peaking at World No. 61 after claiming his maiden tour-level title in Singapore. Nadal, who was pushed to five sets in his opening match against John Isner in 2011, will be aiming to neutralise the Aussie’s own big serve to avoid a repeat in their first-round battle.

Nadal has a 1-0 ATP Head2Head lead, and will be contesting his second match of the season against Popyrin. The third seed claimed a comfortable 6-3, 6-3 victory last month at the Mutua Madrid Open on his way to the quarter-finals. 

Rafael Nadal

Lorenzo Musetti vs [13] David Goffin
The 2016 Roland Garros quarter-finalist David Goffin will get his first look at the fast-rising #NextGenATP Italian Lorenzo Musetti in the first round. 

The 19-year-old will make his Roland Garros debut after turning heads elsewhere on French soil. He will arrive in Paris with momentum on his side after reaching the Lyon semi-finals (l. Tsitsipas). It was the third tour-level semi-final of Musetti’s career, and his second on clay (also 2020 Sardinia). 

Goffin won his fifth ATP Tour title on the indoor hard-courts of Montpellier earlier in the season, but has struggled to get going during this clay season. He reached the quarter-finals in Monte-Carlo (l. Evans) with a win over Alexander Zverev along the way.

[15] Casper Ruud vs Benoit Paire
Casper Ruud will arrive in Paris at a new career-high World No. 16 in the FedEx ATP Rankings after capturing his second ATP Tour title in Geneva. As a result, the Norwegian will enjoy his highest seeding yet at a Grand Slam, but he could have his work cut out for him in the first round as he faces the mercurial Benoit Paire. 

Ruud has the 1-0 lead in their ATP Head2Head record after defeating the Frenchman last year in Hamburg 6-3, 2-0 (ret). Like his father, Christian Ruud, Casper has reached the third round at Roland Garros twice. But he’ll be looking to go one step further and book a place into the second week at a Grand Slam for the second time in a row (also 2021 Australian Open).

Jannik Sinner

[18] Jannik Sinner vs Pierre-Hugues Herbert
#NextGenATP Jannik Sinner has done anything but slow down since reaching his maiden ATP Masters 1000 final in Miami. The 19-year-old Italian posted a semi-final run in Barcelona (l. Tsitsipas) and it took Djokovic and Nadal to defeat him in the second rounds of Monte-Carlo and Rome, respectively. 

Sinner, who reached the Roland Garros quarter-finals last year (l. Nadal), will face home favourite Pierre-Hugues Herbert in his opening match. It will be the pair’s second tour-level meeting, with the Italian prevailing comfortably on the indoor hard-courts of Cologne a year ago. 

Jan-Lennard Struff vs [7] Andrey Rublev
Seventh seed Andrey Rublev has taken great strides on clay this year after reaching his first ATP Masters 1000 final in Monte-Carlo (l. Tsitsipas) and backing it up with quarter-final appearances in Rome and Barcelona. Last year, in only his second appearance at Roland Garros, Rublev powered his way into the quarter-finals before falling to Tsitsipas. 

Rublev will begin his Roland Garros campaign against Germany’s Jan-Lennard Struff, and he’ll take a 2-1 ATP Head2Head lead into their third encounter of the year. The Russian triumphed on hard courts at the ATP Cup and on clay in Rome to improve his record against Struff, but both matches were battling, three-set marathons. 

Roger Federer, Marin Cilic

Two Potential Second-Round Matches To Watch:

[8] Roger Federer vs Marin Cilic: Federer, who landed in the same quarter as top seed Novak Djokovic, will start his Roland Garros campaign against a qualifier, and could meet big-serving Marin Cilic in the second round should he navigate past local wild card Arthur Rinderknech. It would be Federer and Cilic’s sixth meeting at a Grand Slam, and a rematch of the 2017 Wimbledon final and 2018 Australian Open final (both won by Federer). 

[5] Stefanos Tsitsipas vs Sebastian Korda: Fifth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas, who starts against Frenchman Jeremy Chardy, has been one of the players to beat during the clay-court swing after lifting his maiden ATP Masters 1000 trophy in Monte-Carlo. He could meet Lyon semi-finalist Sebastian Korda for the first time in the second round, should the #NextGenATP American take down Pedro Martinez. 

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Taberner Steamrolls Into Roland Garros Main Draw

  • Posted: May 27, 2021

With a decisive 6-1, 6-0 win over Joao Menezes, Carlos Taberner moved into the main draw of Roland Garros on Thursday. Taberner has lost just six games across three matches to qualify, spending a total of three hours and 16 minutes on court. 

The 23-year-old Spaniard beat Martin Klizan 6-1, 6-2 and Thomas Fabbiano 6-2, 6-0 before taking out Brazil’s Menezes. The World No. 137 has appeared in the main draw of a Grand Slam once before, at Roland Garros in 2018. Earlier this year, he picked up his second ATP Challenger Tour title in Antalya. 

Bjorn Fratangelo became one of eight men to qualify on Thursday when he topped Australia’s Aleksandar Vukic 6-2, 7-6(3). 

Paris is a special place for the 27-year-old American. He won the junior event in 2011 and five years later, after reaching the second round, he cracked the Top 100 in the FedEx ATP Rankings for the first time. Aside from Delray Beach and Miami, Fratangelo has played on the ITF and ATP Challenger Tour for most of the season, winning the title in Cleveland (d. Brooksby) and reaching the final in Tallahassee (l. to Brooksby). 


Fifth seed Taro Daniel booked his place in the main draw with a 7-6(7), 6-1 win over France’s Quentin Halys. Japan’s Daniel has reached the second round in Paris on two occasions (2016 and 2017). 

Germany’s Maximilian Marterer dismissed Brazil’s Felipe Meligeni Rodrigues Alves 6-2, 6-1. Marterer made a run to the fourth round of Roland Garros in 2018 (l. to Nadal). Oscar Otte, a 27-year-old from Germany, had little trouble ousting No. 12 seed Hugo Dellien 6-2, 6-0. At Roland Garros in 2019, Otte reached the second round for his best major performance (l. to Federer). 

The final day of qualifying is Friday with Spanish teenager Carlos Alcaraz facing Chile’s Alejandro Tabilo, American Jenson Brooksby taking on France’s Evan Furness and both Cerundolo brothers in action: Juan Manuel Cerundolo faces Switzerland’s Henri Laaksonen and Francisco Cerundolo plays Italy’s Alessandro Giannessi.

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Cincinnati, Winston-Salem To Welcome Fans At Full Capacity

  • Posted: May 27, 2021

Two North American ATP Tour tournaments will welcome the colour and excitement of full crowds this summer following guidance from local and state health officials.

Both the Western & Southern Open (14-22 Aug.), an ATP Masters 1000, and the Winston-Salem Open (21-28 Aug.), the ATP 250 played the week before the US Open, have announced plans to allow full-capacity crowds. The development is in contrast to last year when due to COVID-19 the Winston-Salem Open was cancelled and the Western & Southern Open was played behind closed doors at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York in the week before the US Open.

“In keeping with the guidance from local government officials, we are eager to welcome fans back to the Western & Southern Open,” said Tournament Chief Operating Officer Katie Haas. “The fans bring so much energy and excitement to our event, and we dearly missed them last year. We look forward to returning to Cincinnati and welcoming our fans at this year’s tournament.”

Returning to its traditional home at the Lindner Family Tennis Center in Mason, Ohio, the Western & Southern Open will open all ticket sales, including full series, mini-plans, single session and hospitality packages, next Thursday, 3 June at 10 a.m.

New in 2021, the event will move to a fully digital ticket operation which will allow for quick entry to the venue as well as easy transfer of tickets to family, friends and clients. In addition, the entire venue will be cashless, with on-site transactions to be made with credit or debit cards. Reverse ATMs, which allow cash to be loaded onto a gift card, will be available at the venue.

Western & Southern Open ticket information can be found at

After postponing its 10th anniversary during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Winston-Salem Open at Wake Forest University will return to the Piedmont Triad 21-28 August. The tournament will operate at full capacity, given that North Carolina’s government has lifted mass gathering restrictions. Tickets, including individual session tickets, packages, box seats, and group sales, will go on sale later this summer.

“We’re so excited to announce the 2021 Winston-Salem Open. It was disappointing for everyone to have to step aside last year, but we knew it was the right thing to do for tennis. We know, though, our fans have a long history of being incredibly loyal and supportive of the tournament, and we can’t wait for play to begin on August 21,” Winston-Salem Open Tournament Director Jeff Ryan said.

For ticket information, please visit

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Nadal Statue Revealed At Roland Garros

  • Posted: May 27, 2021

Roland Garros revealed a statue of 13-time champion Rafael Nadal on Thursday before the start of the season’s second Grand Slam championship.

Nadal was there for the unveiling with French Tennis Federation President Gilles Moretton, Tournament Director Guy Forget and Jordi Diez Fernandez, the statue’s sculptor. The piece of art is located next to the general public entrance and the Jardin des Mousquetaires.

Diez Fernandez built the statue, which is made of steel, to stand three metres tall, nearly five metres wide and two metres deep. Nadal is pictured hitting his signature lefty forehand, which has helped him to a 100-2 record at the clay-court major.

The third seed will begin his pursuit of a 14th Coupe des Mousquetaires against Aussie Alexei Popyrin. World No. 1 Novak Djokovic and eighth seed Roger Federer are also on Nadal’s half of the draw.

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Korda Sets All-American Parma SF Against Paul

  • Posted: May 27, 2021

Sebastian Korda set an all-American semi-final against Tommy Paul after taking down eighth seed Yoshihito Nishioka on Thursday at the Emilia-Romagna Open.

The #NextGenATP American dropped serve only once en route to a 6-3, 6-3 victory. After defeating Andreas Seppi and top seed Lorenzo Sonego in the opening rounds, Korda has now booked his spot into his first tour-level clay-court semi-final in Parma. 

“I played a great match. I know he has been playing really good tennis, he reached the semi-final in Lyon [last week],” Korda said in an on-court interview. “But it’s my first semi-final on clay and I’m super happy.”

Korda stayed aggressive throughout the match, and took control of the rallies with his big serve. He created nine break opportunities across both sets, converting on four occasions. In the first set, he took a 3-0 lead with an early break and never looked back. 

But Nishioka, who defeated #NextGenATP Lorenzo Musetti on his way to the quarter-finals, struck back in the second set after once again dropping his first service game. He levelled the score at 1-1, but it would be his only look at break points during the match. Korda lost only two points on his serve in the next seven games, and reeled off the last four games to seal the victory after an hour and 21 minutes. 

Korda will meet Paul in the semi-finals after the sixth seed took down Jan-Lennard Struff 6-2, 6-4. It will be the pair’s second tour-level meeting after Korda came back from a set down to win their Delray Beach battle in January on his way to the final (l. Hurkacz).


“I’m really good friends with Tommy,” Korda said. “We practise together a lot. It’s going to be a really fun match. He’s been playing great, so hopefully it will be a fun one.”

Elsewhere in Parma, Jaume Munar and Italian wild card Marco Cecchinato will meet for a spot in the final after cruising through their own quarter-final battles. 

Munar, who reached a final in Marbella (l. Carreno Busta) last month, only dropped two games against fifth seed Richard Gasquet en route to a 6-1, 6-1 win. Munar didn’t face a break point, and won 96 per cent of points behind his first serve (22/23) and 100 per cent of his second serves (6/6).

Wild card Cecchinato served up seven aces in his 6-3, 6-1 victory over lucky loser Norbert Gombos. He will be seeking his fourth tour-level title in Parma, and will try to improve his 0-1 ATP Head2Head record against Munar. 

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