Dutch tandem Sander Arends and David Pel overcame second seeds Andre Goransson and Frederik Nielsen 6-2, 6-2 to reach their second tour-level semi-final (Open 13 Provence in Marseille) of the season.
They won 74 per cent (20/27) of their first-service points. They will next face third seeds Pablo Cuevas and Fabrice Martin after they fought past Filip Bergevi and Markus Eriksson 6-3, 3-6, 10-6.
Albano Olivetti and Andre Begemann also sprung a surprise on a day of upsets, as they fought back to topple top seeds Andres Molteni and Andrea Vavassori 3-6, 6-4, 10-3 and reach the semi-finals. The German-French duo hit five aces to record victory in 84 minutes.
Elsewhere, at the Hamburg European Open, Andrey Golubev and Aleksandr Nedovyesov defeated Ariel Behar and Gonzalo Escobar 6-4, 6-4 to reach the semi-final. Golubev enjoyed a run to the final at Roland Garros last month with Alexander Bublik
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They will next play Michael Venus and Tim Puetz after the second seeds received a walkover against Filip Krajinovic and Dusan Lajovic. James Cerretani and Hans Hach Verdugo also advanced with a 6-4, 6-3 victory over Croatians Ivan Sabanov and Matej Sabanov.
At the Hall of Fame Open in Newport, Joao Sousa and Jordan Thompson advanced to the semi-finals with a 6-3, 7-6(5) victory over Japanese pair Yoshihito Nishioka and Yasutaka Uchiyama.
Washington, D.C. fans will celebrate the return of the Citi Open in full voice next month after Thursday’s announcement that the tournament will be held at 100 per cent fan capacity.
After last year’s event was cancelled due to the pandemic, MDE Sports took great delight in also announcing that the tournament would pay full prizemoney. The ATP 500 tennis tournament will be held 31 July-8 August at Rock Creek Park Tennis Center. The announcement comes after the National Park Service (NPS), which manages Rock Creek Park, issued updated guidelines to enable full capacity for Citi Open Fans.
“We are thrilled to be able to invite fans back to Rock Creek Park at full capacity,” said Mark Ein, Citi Open chairman and CEO of MDE Tennis. “This is an exciting development, not just for tennis fans, but the whole DC community. We are grateful to the National Park Service for their long partnership with the event and enabling full capacity for the 2021 Citi Open.”
The development has also enabled organisers to restore full tournament prize money. In order to hold the event at the initial 50 per cent fan capacity limit, players agreed to a 40 per cent pay reduction. With all fan restrictions lifted and before any additional tickets are sold, MDE Sports increased the total 2021 Citi Open prize money by $750,000, returning the tournament purse to pre-pandemic levels.
“We are especially pleased to be able to pay the players full prize money after a difficult period of time for many on tour,” added Ein. “It is all something we never thought possible just a few months ago. To do this and welcome back fans without any restrictions is a testament to the resilience of this city and our community. We can’t wait to see the faces and hear the roar of full crowds once again. It will be a very special moment in the history of this great tournament.”
“To see this event bounce back from challenges of the last year and announce full prize money for 2021 is fantastic news,” said ATP Chairman Andrea Gaudenzi. “It sends a positive message of recovery for our entire sport. We would like to recognise Mark Ein and the Citi Open team for the hard work and ambition that made this possible.”
The news follows the recent announcement that Rafael Nadal will begin his bid to win a record-setting 21st Grand Slam at the 2021 Citi Open in his Washington debut. With fan attendance originally restricted to 50 per cent capacity, tickets were already substantially sold out before the announcement of Nadal’s commitment. The news topped 1.2 billion media impressions worldwide and has led to overwhelming demand for tickets to see the Spaniard win his 89th ATP title at the historic US Open Series event in DC’s Rock Creek Park.
The tournament’s waitlist for tickets exceeded 6,800 names before fan restrictions were lifted Thursday morning. The revised capacity guidelines have allowed tournament officials to release approximately 3,000 additional daily seats to meet the unprecedented demand at the box office for the event. These tickets will be made available first to fans currently on, or who join, the waitlist on a full tournament basis. To provide greater accessibility, the tournament has reserved a small number of individual session tickets that will be available for sale next week.
In addition to Nadal, the 2021 Citi Open will also feature a star-studded player field comprised of two Top 10, six Top 20, and 11 Top 30 players, including recent Wimbledon semi-finalists Hubert Hurkacz and new world No. 10 Denis Shapovalov, Wimbledon quarter-finalists Felix Auger-Aliassime and Karen Khachanov, and defending 2019 Citi Open champion Nick Kyrgios, as well as US Olympic team stars Coco Gauff, Jennifer Brady, and Jessica Pegula, who will headline the inaugural Citi Open Women’s Invitational.
World No. 1 Novak Djokovic has confirmed he will participate at this month’s Tokyo Olympics as he looks to continue his dominant season in Asia.
Posting on Twitter, the Serbian star said: “Cannot disappoint my little friend Koujiro. I booked my flight for Tokyo and will proudly be joining #TeamSerbia for the Olympics.
“I am very proud to pack for Tokyo and join our national team in the fight for the brightest medals on the Olympic arenas. For me, the game for Serbia has always been a special joy and motivation and I will do my best to make us all happy! Let’s go.”
The 34-year-old has won the year’s first three majors at the Australian Open (d. Medvedev), Roland Garros (d. Tsitsipas) and Wimbledon (d. Berrettini), keeping alive a historic opportunity to become the first man to ever to complete a golden Grand Slam. (WTA Tour legend Steffi Graf won a gold medal and all four majors in 1988.)
By winning his sixth Wimbledon title last Sunday, Djokovic joined Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal with 20 Grand Slam singles titles.
Djokovic, who became the first singles player to qualify for the 2021 Nitto ATP Finals this month, claimed a bronze medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics (d. Blake).
Second seed Pablo Carreno Busta began his quest for a second ATP Tour title of the season by moving past countryman Carlos Taberner 7-5, 6-3 at the Hamburg European Open on Thursday.
The Spaniard, who lifted the trophy at the AnyTech365 Andalucia Open in Marbella (d. Munar) in April, broke Taberner’s serve five times to advance in one hour and 46 minutes.
”I knew that it was very important at the beginning of the match because it was his fourth match here and it was my first one, so it can be difficult,” Carreno Busta said. “I was very focused on my game, I tried to be aggressive all the time.
”Carlos then started to play more aggressive from 1-4 and hit more winners, so I continued fighting and I am happy as it is important [to get through] the first match.”
Carreno Busta suffered a surprise first-round defeat at Wimbledon to Sam Querrey in June. However, he bounced back on his return and has now recorded 14 wins on clay this year.
The World No. 13 made a strong start as he raced 4-1 ahead against Taberner, playing consistent and composed tennis from the baseline to dictate. While the Spanish qualifier managed to break and then draw level at 4-4, Carreno Busta regained his focus and committed just five unforced errors in the set to move ahead.
Taberner began the second set well and broke as he fired an array of forehand winners past Carreno Busta. However, the second seed crucially saved a break point to stay in touch at 1-2 and then reeled off four straight games as he effectively stepped into the court to dominate. He closed out victory on serve when Taberner pushed a return wide.
Carreno Busta will next face fifth seed Dusan Lajovic after the Serbian booked his spot in a second quarter-final of the season by overcoming qualifier Alex Molcan 6-4, 6-7(2), 6-3. Lajovic, who also reached the last eight on home soil at the Belgrade Open (l. Martin) in May, won 66 per cent (54/82) of his first-service points to advance in two hours and 57 minutes.
[WATCH LIVE 1]
Argentine Federico Delbonis improved to 6-2 in his ATP Head2Head Series against fourth seed Albert Ramos-Vinolas with a 6-3, 7-6(4) victory. The 30-year-old notched his best-ever Grand Slam result with a run to the fourth round at Roland Garros last month. He will next play eighth seed Benoit Paire or Peruvian Juan Pablo Varillas.
Third seed Nikoloz Basilashvili received a walkover against Argentine Sebastian Baez and will next face Laslo Djere.
Los Angeles-based Czech fashion photographer Radka Leitmeritz turned her lens to the grass courts in Halle for a series of behind-the-scenes portraits featuring ATP Tour players at the NOVENTI OPEN.
Leitmeritz, whose work has previously featured in the pages and covers of international fashion magazines including Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, L’Officiel and Elle, followed top seed Andrey Rublev as he navigated the draw to reach his first grass-court final. Along the way, she snapped portraits of the Russian player in private moments on the practice court, player dining and hotel room.
Her keen lens also caught Karen Khachanov and Sebastian Korda behind the scenes, home favourite Jan-Lennard Struff in training, and captured doubles players including Michael Venus and Tim Puetz, and more.
Click through the gallery above to view all the player portraits and see more #ShotByRadka moments in Halle.
Top seed Casper Ruud began his Nordea Open campaign in style as he eased past wild card Holger Vitus Nodskov Rune 6-0, 6-2, on Thursday to reach the quarter-finals in Bastad.
The Norwegian hit six aces and did not drop a point (11/11) on his first serve in the opening set to claim victory in 66 minutes. He will next face either home favourite Elias Ymer or Henri Laaksonen.
“I am very happy today. It is a surface I have had the most success of my career, it is great to be back here in Bastad,” Ruud said. “The tournament is so nice as always. There is a bit of extra pressure [being the top seed]. In a match like this against a fellow Scandinavian younger player, it is even more.
“I think I was very professional in my mindset today. I played a match without any errors really from the first to the last point. It is a nice feeling being the top seed but also pressure. I felt great crowd support, it is nice to feel that energy.”
Ruud has now claimed 18 clay-court wins this season, having clinched the Geneva Gonet Open title (d. Shapovalov) in May and enjoyed a run to the semi-finals at the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters (l. to Rublev) and the Mutua Madrid Open (l. to Berrettini).
The 22-year-old dominated from the start, racing ahead as he overpowered Rune with his heavy groundstrokes, pushing the 18-year-old back behind the baseline. After sealing the set in 24 minutes, Ruud was then tested for the first time at the start of the second set as the Dane began to play with greater freedom.
Rune struck the ball with more aggression, but could not convert either break point as Ruud reeled off a seventh straight game. The World No. 211 did hold to get onto the scoreboard in the fourth game of the second set, but struggled to build on this as Ruud raced to the finish line.
Spaniard Roberto Carballes Baena also advanced as he upset third seed Fabio Fognini 6-3, 1-6, 6-4 to reach his third tour-level quarter-final of the season in Bastad.
[WATCH LIVE 1]
The World No. 97, who also reached the last eight at the Chile Dove Men+Care Opena and the Belgrade Open, defeating Gael Monfils en route, broke the Italian four times to secure victory in two hours and six minutes.
Carballes Baena will next face Slovakian Norbert Gombos, who improved to 3-0 in his ATP Head2Head Series against eighth seed Emil Ruusuvuori with a 6-2, 6-4 victory. Gombos won 85 per cent (33/39) of his first-service points and was not broken as he reached his fourth quarter-final of the year.
Five #NextGenATP stars have continued to impress on the ATP Tour this season, with the quintet all in strong contention to qualify for the Intesa Sanpaolo Next Gen ATP Finals in November.
Two Italians, Jannik Sinner and Lorenzo Musetti, sit in first and fourth place respectively in the ATP Race To Milan, with both building on their early season success with successful results on clay at Roland Garros and ATP Tour events. The 18-year-old Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz broke into the Top 100 for the first time in May after claiming a fourth ATP Challenger Tour title in Portugal.
The talented teenager sits one spot behind Musetti as he bids to compete in Milan from 9-13 November. North American stars Felix Auger-Aliassime and Sebastian Korda enjoyed strong grass-court swings and also remain in strong contention to qualify.
ATPTour.com takes a look at the five men who lead the Milan qualification race at the conclusion of the second quarter of the 2021 season:
View Latest ATP Race To Milan Standings
No. 1 Jannik Sinner, 1520 points
Jannik Sinner’s season has gone from strength to strength after his strong start to the year when he became only the fourth teenager to reach the Miami Open presented by Itau final (l. to Hurkacz) in the tournament’s 36-year history.
The Italian experienced further success at the start of the clay swing as he reached his second tour-level semi-final at the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell in April. The 19-year-old defeated Top 10 stars Roberto Bautista Agut and Andrey Rublev in straight sets before falling to Stefanos Tsitsipas in Catalonia.
Fuelled with confidence after saving a match point against Pierre-Hugues Herbert in the first round at Roland Garros, Sinner marched past countryman Gianluca Mager and Mikael Ymer to reach the fourth round on the Parisian clay.
Despite then falling to Rafael Nadal, the 2019 Next Gen ATP Finals champion looks well on course to qualify for the Intesa Sanpaolo Next Gen ATP Finals again.
No. 2 Felix Auger-Aliassime, 1365 points
The Canadian built on his impressive start to the season by adding Toni Nadal to his coaching team before the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters in April. Auger-Aliassime was delighted to join forces with the Spaniard, who formerly coached nephew Rafael Nadal to 16 Grand Slam titles before stepping down in 2017.
“I feel super privileged and lucky to have Toni in my team,” Auger-Aliassime said in May. “He’s been around for a long time and has won everything the sport has to give as a coach so it’s extremely motivating to have him by my side.”
The impact has already shown, with the 20-year-old advancing to his eighth ATP Tour final, and second of the season (Murray River Open), at the MercedesCup in Stuttgart at the start of June. He did not drop a set en route to the final before falling to Croatia’s Marin Cilic.
Auger-Aliassime then backed this up as he recorded a fifth Top 10 victory of his career at the time against 10-time NOVENTI OPEN champion and long-time idol Roger Federer in the second round in Halle. The World No. 19 went on to reach the semi-finals (l. to Humbert) in Germany.
The 20-year-old then overcame World No. 6 Alexander Zverev in five sets at Wimbledon as he advanced to his first quarter-final at a Grand Slam.
Read More: Felix Says Uncle Toni ‘Adds Calm & Confidence, Not Pressure’
No. 3 Sebastian Korda, 1045 points
Sebastian Korda broke new ground in May as he capped off a great week at the Emilia-Romagna Open with a 6-2, 6-4 victory over home favourite Marco Cecchinato to win his first ATP Tour trophy. The 21-year-old did not drop a set en route to the title and became the first American since Sam Querrey in 2010 at the Serbia Open (d. Isner) to win a trophy on European Clay.
“This is something that I’ve dreamed of. I really thought I was going to get it done in Delray Beach [earlier this year], and I was a little heartbroken,” Korda said after the tournament.
“But I stayed positive. I took a couple of days off, recharged my batteries, and had a really good practice week in Prague with my dad and my coach. I came back hungrier, and I’m playing some really good tennis now.”
Korda, who defeated World No. 9 Diego Schwartzman at the Miami Open in March, then secured a second Top 10 win of his career over Roberto Bautista Agut at the NOVENTI OPEN in June.
The American continued to flourish on grass at Wimbledon, advancing to the fourth round on his debut at The Championships. He impressively defeated seeded duo Alex de Minaur and Daniel Evans in London.
No. 4 Lorenzo Musetti, 811 points
Along with Sinner, Musetti is another rising Italian star who is aiming to qualify for the Intesa Sanpaolo Next Gen ATP Finals in November.
The 19-year-old reached a career-high No. 58 in the FedEx ATP Rankings in June after impressive results on clay. Musetti, now at No. 62, advanced to his second semi-final of the season at the Open Parc Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes Lyon (l. to Tsitsipas). The Italian defeated fellow #NextGenATP stars Auger-Aliassime and Korda in France.
He then had a dream run at Roland Garros on his Grand Slam debut, as he reached the fourth round in Paris. Musetti toppled 13th seed David Goffin in straight sets in the opening round and led by two-sets-to-love against World No. 1 Novak Djokovic in the round of 16 before the Serbian Superstar fought back.
“For me [it] was a fantastic experience. I think I was playing my best tennis, for sure. I have never played like today,” Musetti reflected after his defeat to Djokovic. “Now I know how can I play, how far I am from the biggest [players on] the Tour, like Nole, so I know that if I play good I can stay at this level.”
No. 5 Carlos Alcaraz, 529 points
The youngest #NextGenATP star on the list is 18-year-old Carlos Alcaraz. The Spaniard reached his first-tour level semi-final at the AnyTech365 Andalucia Open trophy in Marbella (l. to Munar) in April, defeating Norway’s Casper Ruud en route to the last four.
Alcaraz then enjoyed a memorable May as he became the youngest match-winner in the history of the Mutua Madrid Open, breaking 18-year-old Rafael Nadal’s record from 2004 when he overcame Adrian Mannarino in the Masters 1000 event.
One month later, Alcaraz became one of just seven players to win four ATP Challenger Tour trophies at the age of 18 & under when he lifted the Oeiras Open 125 trophy in Portugal.
Having cracked the Top 100 with this victory, he then became the youngest man to reach the third round at Roland Garros since 17-year-old Andrei Medvedev in 1992 on his debut in Paris.
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