Tennis News

From around the world

Herbert/Mahut Dash Home Hopes In London

  • Posted: Jun 16, 2021

Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut made a strong start to the grass-court swing with a victory over the British duo of Liam Broady and Ryan Peniston at the cinch Championships in London. 

The fourth seeds have now reached the quarter-finals at five of their past six events. After back-to-back ATP Masters 1000 quarter-final appearances at Monte-Carlo and Madrid, the Frenchmen reached a final on home soil in Lyon. They took it one step further in Paris, where they claimed their second Roland Garros doubles trophy (d. Bublik/Golubev).

They were tested in their opening match at The Queen’s Club by Broady and Peniston, who enjoyed the partisan crowd’s support. But Herbert and Mahut quickly found their footing after dropping the first set, having held a set point at 6/5 in the tie-break. 

The Frenchmen won 80 per cent (36/45) of points behind their first serves, saved all three break points they faced en route to a 6-7(6), 6-2, 12-10 victory. 

Second seeds Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah also defeated an all-British team in their Queen’s Club opener, taking down Luke Bambridge and Dominic Inglot 6-4, 6-4 to reach the quarter-finals. Reilly Opelka and John Peers fought their way past eighth-seeded Brits Ken Skupski and Neal Skupski 6-7(6), 7-6(4), 10-2. 

In fact, of the nine British men in doubles action on Wednesday, only one advanced: Cameron Norrie, who partnered with Aussie Alex de Minaur on the way to a 5-7, 6-1, 12-10 victory over American-British duo Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury, the third seeds.


Top Seeds Toppled In Halle
In Halle, both of the top two seeded teams were upset at the NOVENTI OPEN. 

Austin Krajicek and Sam Querry authored the first upset on Tennispoint Court, rallying from a set down against first seeds Ivan Dodig and Filip Polasek. The Americans broke three times from four opportunities on route to a 5-7, 6-1, 10-6 victory. 

Later in the day, it was the Indian team of Rohan Bopanna and Divij Sharan who scored another big surprise against Lukasz Kubot and Edouard Roger-Vasselin, the second seeds. Bopanna and Sharan saved three set points – including two in a nail-biting tie-break – to record a 7-6(11), 6-4 win.

Third seeds Kevin Krawietz and Horia Tecau managed to avoid the upset bug in their match against Tomislav Brkic and Nikola Cacic, winning 7-6(3), 6-3. 

Source link

Draper Used To Watch Murray At Queen’s Club; Now The 19 Y.O. Is Shining

  • Posted: Jun 16, 2021

What a week it’s been for Jack Draper.

Playing in just his second ATP Tour main draw, the 19-year-old wild card made a splash in his 7-6(6), 7-6(2) stunner over #NextGenATP Jannik Sinner to claim his first tour-level win at the cinch Championships. But he didn’t stop there, taking down Alexander Bublik in similar fashion, clinching a 7-6(5), 7-6(0) win to reach the quarter-finals. 

In both matches, the Brit showed his mental fortitude to deny his opponents set points. Against Sinner, he saved two to deny the Italian the first set after trailing 4/6 in the tie-break. Against Bublik, Draper trailed by 5-6, 40/Ad in the second set as the Kazakh threatened to take them the distance – but he recovered emphatically to reel off seven points in a row and book a place into the last eight. 

“I wouldn’t say nerves, but it was a bit of a come-down mentally because I had worked so hard to get the break of serve,” Draper said of his second-set wobble against Bublik. “And then to not quite serve it out, giving the opportunity back and [being] back on equal terms in the second set was difficult. I was definitely feeling it in the second-set tie-break.

“Maybe Bublik helped me out a little bit toward the end of it, but I still put in three great points to start the tie-break. I’m glad that I was able to play it out today.”

That’s not all for Draper, who reached the final of the Wimbledon boys’ singles event in 2018. The 19-year-old started his day with a win before he even hit the court at The Queen’s Club: he was among the five wild cards announced today by the All England Club, joining two-time champion Andy Murray and #NextGenATP Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz.

It won’t just be the Brit’s Wimbledon debut, it will also be his first Grand Slam main draw at the senior level. 

“I’m very grateful… It’s one of the biggest tournaments in the world,” Draper said. “To be a Brit playing there is always special. Same as this week, I’m very proud to be in the draws and I just hope that I can show the same level as I’ve shown here. It will be my first time competing at five sets also, so it will be a big challenge for me.”

Currently No. 309 in the FedEx ATP Rankings, Draper will be poised for a sharp rise as he continues to tick off ‘firsts’ in London. He will next face countryman Cameron Norrie for a spot in the semi-finals.

Draper remembers tuning into the tennis action at the cinch Championships as a promising junior, and watching his heroes on the lawns of Queen’s Club. 


Now, he’s determined to keep making a name for himself at the same venue.

“When I was younger, I used to come here and watch [Andy] Murray. I remember I’ve got a photo on my phone with the trophy – I remember, it’s quite a big trophy. It was almost bigger than me when I was eight years old,” he joked.

“But definitely, I used to watch this tournament and get very inspired by the top Brits who were playing here and all the other great players. To be in the quarter-finals at such a prestigious event like Queen’s is a very big achievement for myself.” 

Editor’s Note: This article has been adjusted to reflect that Draper reached the Wimbledon boys’ singles final in 2018. He did not win the title.

Source link

Federer On His Comeback: 'It’s A Huge Challenge For Me'

  • Posted: Jun 16, 2021

Roger Federer failed to reach the quarter-finals at the NOVENTI OPEN for the first time in 18 appearances with his three-set loss against Felix Auger-Aliassime on Wednesday. Afterwards, the Swiss legend, who is now 5-3 on the season, admitted that coming back from the two right knee surgeries he had last year has not been easy.

“It’s a huge challenge for me. Everybody who has been in multiple surgeries or a tough surgery knows what I’m talking about,” Federer said. “Things don’t come simple, they don’t come easy. You second-guess yourself rather quickly unfortunately, and that’s sometimes the biggest worry: the worry of pain or the worry of how you’re going to feel the next day or when you wake up, the first steps, how did they feel? All this stuff, it takes a little bit of a toll on you sometimes.”

Federer battled through a tight first set against the 20-year-old, and looked good in taking the lead. But the 10-time Halle champion made a lot of errors and showed uncharacteristic frustration in the third set. The former World No. 1 faced 15 break points in the match.

“Of course I know Felix is a great player and he was better today. I would have maybe lost anyhow. But it’s a tough court to play on, so it makes me really happy looking back at how grateful I can be about how well it’s gone here in Halle and how difficult it is to win here,” Federer said. “This type of third set I cannot accept. The first two are totally okay, no problem there. But I guess it happens and it’s all good from my side.”

The 103-time tour-level titlist said he has “felt overall very good” over the past year as he has rehabbed and attempted to work his way towards his best tennis. This was his fourth tournament since the 2020 Australian Open.

“I didn’t mind the whole rehab process and all that stuff. It has been one that I have also enjoyed, something different. I was able to stay home with the family and that was nice from that standpoint,” Federer said. “But then of course once you get back on the court you want it so badly like you used to, and then you get disappointed with a performance or shots or a feeling you have or negativity that creeps in. You just are [like] ‘That’s too bad. Why is that happening?’ And you’re just trying to figure that out.

“But I think that’s why I’ve always explained throughout this process, I need to take every match as information, I need to figure it out. I need to understand why it’s going on.”

Federer was especially pleased with how he played in the first set, but he felt his level quickly slip away in the decider.

“I just think the consistency point for point has not been easy for me in the comeback, and I knew that’s what it is going to take,” Federer said. “The good thing coming out of a match like this against a great player is I know what I need to think about moving forward. Clearly I need to do a bit better, but overall I thought also Felix played a great match. He stayed mentally very solid. He showed that he wanted to win and he was better at the end.”

The World No. 8 was most disappointed with his attitude, which he felt contributed to the third set going the way it did. But after absorbing what happened in the match, the 39-year-old is confident that he can now move forward, work on his game and turn the page to Wimbledon.

“I realised it was not going to be my day. There was nothing I can do. I started to get really negative and this is not normally how I am by any means,” Federer said. “I think this is not something I’m happy about and proud about, but at the same time, if I look at my 1,500 matches I’ve played, these things happen. The good thing is that I know it will not happen the next time around and the next time and the next time.”

Source link

Felix On Beating Federer: ‘I Was Locked Into The Moment’

  • Posted: Jun 16, 2021

Felix Auger-Aliassime has long idolised Roger Federer. And on Wednesday afternoon, the Canadian defeated the Swiss legend 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 in their first ATP Head2Head clash at the NOVENTI OPEN.

“It was pretty cool. When we got to the court, when the match started it was a pretty cool moment. But then as the match went on, I was just really zoned in and locked into the moment and the match,” Auger-Aliassime said. “At the end of the third set, even though I was up by two breaks and I felt like things were going [my way] — he was missing a little more — I still had to maintain my focus.

“Against players like him and other top players, you never know how quickly things can turn around, so I had to really maintain my focus.”

This wasn’t the first time they have spent time on the same court together. When Felix was younger, Federer invited him to train together in Dubai. But that did not play a role in the #NextGenATP star’s victory.

“When we just started to play points together in practice, we were at 3-3 and I got hurt, I twisted my ankle,” Auger-Aliassime said. “I played six games with Roger a couple years ago in practice, so it wasn’t much, but for sure a match is completely different.

“I think I just understood how good he was and how much he can make players struggle against him. [It was good] to just face him face-to-face, [see] how he serves so precisely and how he mixes up the spins. It was good. It was a good experience to see that and I think with the win I’ve also learned a lot facing Roger.”

Auger-Aliassime has spoken about watching Federer when he was younger. Earlier in the week, he recalled recording the 2008 Wimbledon final between the Swiss and Rafael Nadal, which he watched repeatedly. So what was different about actually playing the 39-year-old in a match?

“You feel the pressure that he puts on you with his movement, with his shots,” Auger-Aliassime said. “When he serves and comes in behind his serve to volley, whenever he comes into the net, you feel that pressure way more than when you’re on the outside. [When you watch on television] you just think, ‘Oh, the player could have played there, or he could have played there.’ It seems so easy.

“But when you’re facing him, things change quickly. Things are much more difficult than they look from the outside, but I was able to really deal with that well today and I think that’s one of the reasons why I was able to get the win.”

It was a confidence-boosting victory for the 20-year-old, who is into the quarter-finals in Halle. Auger-Aliassime, who made the final last week in Stuttgart, will next play American qualifier Marcos Giron.

“I had a good time [on grass] two years ago. Again, the past few days have been good,” Auger-Aliassime said. “I have to keep going that way, but for sure I feel confident in my chances of winning more matches in the weeks to come.”

Source link

Felix Stuns 'Idol' Federer To Reach Halle QF

  • Posted: Jun 16, 2021

Felix Auger-Aliassime rallied from a set down to claim a statement win against former World No. 1 Roger Federer on Wednesday, triumphing 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 to reach the quarter-finals at the NOVENTI OPEN in Halle. 

The 20-year-old Canadian was calm and confident against his childhood idol, even after narrowly dropping the opening set on one of Federer’s favoured courts. The two-time Stuttgart finalist completed the comeback to secure his fourth Top 10 victory (4-15) and one of the biggest wins of his career. 

“It’s an amazing win, and I for sure didn’t expect this. Of course you come into the match wanting to win, but Roger was my idol, like many of us growing up,” Auger-Aliassime said, grinning in an on-court interview. “It was a huge honour to play him before he retired, and to beat him is something amazing that I will always cherish.” 

Federer, who has lifted the trophy in Halle a record 10 times, was playing against the 20-year-old for the first time. The pair share the same birthday, 8 August, but are separated by 19 years – the biggest age difference in Federer’s 1,521 career matches.

Auger-Aliassime will next face the winner of Jan-Lennard Struff, who toppled the No. 1 seed Daniil Medvedev in the first round, or American qualifier Marcos Giron. 

Federer, who came into the matchup with a 32-0 record in first and second rounds in Halle, was seeking his 18th quarter-final appearance. He made a confident start as he controlled the rallies in the opening set, drawing Auger-Aliassime in with smart approach shots and passing him at the net. The Swiss converted his lone break opportunity with a blazing backhand down the line at 4-3, and comfortably closed out the set. 

But Auger-Aliassme refused to wilt away, and changed his tactics in the second set to target Federer’s backhand with his strong serves. The Canadian earned attackable chip returns and had Federer under pressure, creating five break points across two games as a result and converting one for a 4-2 lead. 

The Canadian continued his charge into the third set, taking advantage of a dip in Federer’s first serve percentage – from 73 per cent of first serves in the first set to 58 per cent in the third – to go up a double break. Auger-Aliassime, who only faced one break point in the match, opened up a 4-0 lead and kept his nose in front to close out the victory in an hour and 45 minutes.


“I was a little bit [nervous], but I was playing really well. I was serving well and protecting my serve, I know I served amazingly in the third set,” Auger-Aliassime said. “It was tough in the first set. I thought I was playing so good, as good as I can play, and I lost 6-4. I was [thinking], when he was in his prime and No. 1 in the world, that must have been scary. 

“But I still believed in my chances, and I wanted to see what I could do further in the match. And it went my way, so it’s really great.”

Fifth seed Federer was seeking his 70th match win in Halle, and his 18th quarter-final at this event in as many appearances. The defeat against Auger-Aliassime now brings his record on the season to 5-3.

Source link