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#NextGenATP Alcaraz Overcomes Pouille In Umag Debut

  • Posted: Jul 20, 2021

Seventh seed Carlos Alcaraz rallied from a set down for just the second time in his ATP Tour career to take down Lucas Pouille on Tuesday and make a winning start at the Plava Laguna Croatia Open Umag.

In his first outing as a seeded player at a tour-level event, the #NextGenATP Spaniard was overpowered in the first set by Pouille, a former Top 10 player currently No. 103 in the FedEx ATP Rankings. But the 18-year-old raised his level and came back in the second and third sets to win 3-6, 6-2, 6-2.

“I don’t feel different being a seed, because I still come to these tournaments with the goal of growing and playing these kinds of matches,” Alcaraz said. “In the end, it’s the matches that count and give you experience and that you learn from. I come to these tournaments to learn from the really great players.”

Alcaraz, who sits one spot away from his career-high World No. 72 ranking, won 70 per cent (35/50) of his first-serve points and broke the Frenchman three times en route to victory. He improved to 7-5 on clay courts on the season, as he looks to build on his run to the Marbella semi-finals in April. 

He will next face Andrej Martin, who needed two hours and 36 minutes to fight back after dropping the first set to lucky loser Renzo Olivo. Martin saved 14 of the 20 break points he faced as he clinched a 1-6, 6-2, 7-6(1) victory.


Also in action, Marco Cecchinato took down fifth seed Aljaz Bedene 6-1, 6-4 to improve to 2-3 in their ATP Head2Head. Cecchinato, a finalist in Parma in May, is now 14-12 on clay in 2021 and will next face Damir Dzhumur, who scored a 6-4, 6-3 win over qualifier Filip Horansky.

Local wild card Duje Ajdukovic gave Croatian fans plenty to cheer for after defeating Argentine qualifier Andrea Collarini 6-3, 6-2 to claim his first-ever tour-level main draw win. The 20-year-old booked a second-round clash with top seed Albert Ramos-Vinolas as a reward.

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Now Top 10 In The Race, Ruud Ready For Gstaad Debut

  • Posted: Jul 20, 2021

Could Casper Ruud make a push to qualify for the Nitto ATP Finals, to be held in Turin from 14-21 November? The Norwegian star will continue to stake his claim this week at the Swiss Open Gstaad, where he is making his tournament debut.

The 22-year-old moved into 10th place in the FedEx ATP Race To Turin thanks to his triumph at last week’s Nordea Open in Bastad. Ruud trails ninth-placed Aslan Karatsev by just 15 points, and the Russian cannot add to his total this week since he is competing in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics

FedEx ATP Race To Turin Standings (19 July)

 Player  Points
 1) Novak Djokovic  7,170
 2) Stefanos Tsitsipas  4,660
 3) Matteo Berrettini  3,505
 4) Andrey Rublev  3,250
 5) Alexander Zverev  3,195
 6) Daniil Medvedev  3,020
 7) Rafael Nadal  2,940
 8) Hubert Hurkacz  2,190
 9) Aslan Karatsev  1,785
 10) Casper Ruud  1,770

Ruud, however, arrived in Switzerland with momentum and an opportunity to add to his total. The Next Gen ATP Finals alumnus did not lose a set last week in Bastad, and did not drop more than four games in a set.

“It was an incredible week, maybe the best week of my life,” Ruud said after winning the title.

The Norwegian is the third seed this week at the Swiss ATP 250, where he will play Austrian Dennis Novak in the second round. The top seed is Denis Shapovalov and Roberto Bautista Agut, the 2018 Gstaad finalist, is the second seed.

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Thiem Is Back On Court… But Lefty!

  • Posted: Jul 20, 2021

Dominic Thiem is back on court after suffering a right wrist injury last month. Well, sort of.

The Austrian posted on Instagram on Tuesday that he is “finally back on court”. However, the World No. 6 is not back to full tennis activites. Thiem hit lefty forehands, one-handed lefty backhands, lefty volleys and completed a series of footwork drills. He did not use his right hand.


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A post shared by Dominic Thiem (@domithiem)

The two-time Nitto ATP Finals runner-up suffered a detachment of the posterior sheath of the ulnar side of his right wrist during his match against Adrian Mannarino at the Mallorca Championships on 22 June. A statement from his team two days later said he would wear a splint for five weeks, and he was still wearing one in his new video.

Thiem owns a 9-9 record on the season, with his best result coming at the Mutua Madrid Open, where he advanced to the semi-finals. The 17-time tour-level champion made the biggest breakthrough of his career last year at the US Open, where he lifted his first Grand Slam trophy.

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Del Potro 'Increasing The Intensity'

  • Posted: Jul 20, 2021

Juan Martin del Potro is ramping up his training as he continues to recover from his fourth right knee surgery, which he underwent in March.

The Argentine has not competed since the 2019 cinch Championships, which were played just more than two years ago. The 32-year-old captioned his video: “New training sessions, increasing the intensity.”


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A post shared by Juan Martin del Potro (@delpotrojuan)

Del Potro is one of the biggest fan favourites on the ATP Tour. The 22-time tour-level titlist has climbed as high as No. 3 in the FedEx ATP Rankings, but he has struggled with injuries in recent years.

Currently World No. 746, the 32-year-old wrote in June that, “It’s frustrating and painful not to achieve the goals, but it would hurt much more not to try. That is why I am here once again.”

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Nakashima Q&A: Learning From Djokovic & Dreaming Of Playing With…

  • Posted: Jul 20, 2021

#NextGenATP American Brandon Nakashima earned his first tour-level win on Monday evening in Los Cabos, where he defeated countryman J.J. Wolf to reach the second round of the Mifel Open.

We caught up with Nakashima about his music playlist, what he has learned from Novak Djokovic, what he would want to do with Roger Federer and more.


Who do you text the most?
The person I text with the most would probably be my younger brother Bryce, especially when I’m travelling a lot and not at home, just to keep in touch with him every day.

What is currently on your music playlist?
I listen to a little bit of everything. I’d probably say right now, a little bit more of the pop, maybe the top hits going on.

What other sport do you enjoy?
My favourite other sport to watch would probably be baseball, whether it’s going to the games or watching on TV. I always like to watch it during my free time.

What have you learned from spending time with Novak Djokovic, who you have trained?
The biggest thing I’ve learned from practising from Novak Djokovic would probably be just the way he goes about everything. It’s how he’s super-focused, pays attention to all the little details both on the court when he’s practising and during the matches as well.

What is the last thing you watched on Netflix?
The last thing I watched on Netflix would probably be the Formula 1 documentary [Drive To Survive]. It was such a good show and got me really into it right now.

What is your favourite account to follow on Instagram?
One of my favourite teams that I like to follow on Instagram would probably be the San Diego Padres. It’s a baseball team located in my hometown, so I always like to follow their results and their games.

What’s your most-used emoji?
The laughing and crying emoji!

Who would your dream doubles partner be?
My dream doubles partner would probably be Roger Federer, just because he’s a legend of the sport and it would be a real honour to play with him.

Which country would you like to visit and why?
Probably one of the top countries I would like to visit that I haven’t been to before is Australia. I’ve never been there before, and I’ve always heard great things about it.

What is your favourite cheat meal?
My favourite cheat meal would probably be a good In-N-Out Burger from Southern California.

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Djere, Delbonis Safely Into Gstaad Second Round

  • Posted: Jul 20, 2021

Laslo Djere experienced few problems at the Swiss Open Gstaad on Tuesday when he knocked out Brazilian Thiago Seyboth Wild 6-4, 6-3 in 79 minutes. The seventh-seeded Serbian won 22 of 26 first-service points to record his 15th clay-court win of the season. He now plays Belgian Zizou Bergs in the second round.

Fifth seed Federico Delbonis lost five of his first-service point (29/34) in a trouble-free 6-3, 6-3 victory over Swiss wild card Leandro Riedi in 76 minutes. The Argentine, who has reached three ATP Tour clay-court semi-finals this year, including at last week’s Hamburg European Open (l. to Carreno Busta), next challenges Hugo Gaston.

The Frenchman recorded a 6-4, 6-2 win over Delbonis’ compatriot, Juan Manuel Cerundolo, this year’s Cordoba Open titlist (d. Ramos-Vinolas) in 79 minutes.


Elsewhere, Arthur Rinderknech, who this week competes at the ATP 250 event at a career-high No. 100 in the FedEx ATP Rankings, defeated Swiss wild card Dominic Stephan Stricker 6-4, 6-4 in 81 minutes. The Frenchman now prepares to face second-seeded Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut, the 2018 runner-up (l. to Berrettini).

Dutchman Tallon Griekspoor struck 14 aces in a 7-5, 4-6, 7-6(1) win over Juan Ignacio Londero of Argentina in two hours and 14 minutes to set-up a clash against sixth seed Benoit Paire of France.

Second Seeds Beaten In Doubles Opener
Dustin Brown and Tristan-Samuel Weissborn caused an upset in the doubles first round by scraping past second seeds Ariel Behar and Gonzalo Escobar 6-4, 3-6, 10-7. Behar and Escobar are 2-3 in ATP Tour team finals this year and currently in ninth position in the FedEx ATP Doubles Team Rankings.

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Raonic Accepts Atlanta Wild Card, Kyrgios/Sock To Play Doubles

  • Posted: Jul 20, 2021

Former World No. 3 Milos Raonic has snapped up the last main draw singles wild card into a stacked field at the Truist Atlanta Open, the tournament announced on Tuesday.

The big-serving Canadian, currently No. 22 in the FedEx ATP Rankings, will be seeking his ninth career title and his first since 2016 as he makes his tournament debut at the ATP 250 event.

“Milos is the consummate professional and a great addition to our player field,” said tournament director Eddie Gonzalez. “His record speaks for itself and Atlanta tennis fans are in for a treat when Milos is on the court.”

Raonic will be joined by five-time Atlanta champion John Isner, as well as #NextGenATP Jannik Sinner and 2016 champion Nick Kyrgios in the loaded singles field. 

American Jack Sock, who also received a singles wild card, will make his return to the Atlanta doubles draw after accepting a wild card with Kyrgios. Sock lifted the Atlanta doubles trophy back in 2014, partnered with Vasek Pospisil. 

Elsewhere, Wimbledon juniors champion Samir Banerjee will get his first taste of ATP Tour action after receiving a qualifying wild card. The 17-year-old, who has committed to playing collegiate tennis for Columbia University, turned heads with his aggressive, all-court game in London. He has earned a career-high junior ranking of World No. 2.

Did You Know? 
Since 2010, an American or Australian has won every edition of the Truist Atlanta Open. John Isner has won a tournament-leading five titles, including a three-peat in 2013-15. 

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Kudla Beats Kokkinakis Late-Night In Los Cabos

  • Posted: Jul 20, 2021

Denis Kudla found a way past Australian wild card Thanasi Kokkinakis at the Mifel Open in Los Cabos, completing a 4-6, 7-6(4), 7-6(3) victory on Tuesday morning at 1:16am local time.

The American, who was outplayed for large parts of their second ATP Head2Head meeting, hit seven double faults and twice came within two points of losing to Kokkinakis, who struck 23 aces. But a strong performance in the deciding-set tie-break helped the 28-year-old to just his fifth match win of the year.


Kudla dug himself out of danger from 1-1, 0/40 in the second set, and saved three break points from 15/40 at 0-1 in the decider against Kokkinakis, the 2017 finalist (l. to Querrey), for victory in three hours and 11 minutes.

World No. 107 Kudla, who reached the Wimbledon third round (l. to Djokovic), will next challenge a fellow American — eighth seed Mackenzie McDonald or qualifier Ernesto Escobedo — in the second round.

Elsewhere on day one, sixth-seeded American Steve Johnson fired 15 aces to overcome Gerardo Lopez Villasenor, a Mexican wild card, 7-6(4), 6-2 in one hour and 41 minutes. Johnson awaits the winner between Japan’s Yasutaka Uchiyama and American qualifier Alexander Sarkissian.

Alex Bolt lost the first seven games of the match against seventh seed Andreas Seppi of Italy before the Australian battled back to win 0-6, 6-2, 6-3 in one hour and 36 minutes. He will next play Ecuador’s Emilio Gomez or Colombian qualifier Nicolas Mejia.

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Isner Looking For Lift-off In Los Cabos: ‘This Is A Good Chance To Prove Myself’

  • Posted: Jul 20, 2021

John Isner is feeling right at home at the Mifel Open in Los Cabos, and that’s not just because he leads a stacked field of 10 Americans at the ATP 250 event. 

The 36-year-old, who is joined by countrymen Taylor Fritz, the 2019 finalist, and 2017 champion Sam Querrey, is set to make his debut at the hard-court event in Mexico on Thursday. He will be contesting just his seventh tournament of the year, after reaching the quarter-finals in Delray Beach (l. to Korda) and Madrid (l. to Thiem).

The second seed, currently No. 39 in the FedEx ATP Rankings, was keen to keep his expectations in check as he looks to build up some momentum in his favourite part of the year: the North American summer hard-court swing.

“I think this summer is a good chance for me to prove myself, because my ranking has dropped a little bit. That’s because I haven’t played much, in my opinion,” Isner said in a pre-tournament press conference. “So I think I need to try to prove myself, that I can get back to the level that I’ve been at for the past decade, which has been a very consistent Top 20 player. I’m looking forward to getting back to that level, and I believe I can do it.

“I don’t expect too much out of myself [this week], but I know that I can play very well if I do the right things on the court.”

Isner was supposed to make his Los Cabos debut last year, when the tournament was not held due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Since the tour’s restart, he has played an abbreviated schedule and has made it a top priority to continue spending quality time with his family: wife Madison, and their two young children.

The Isner brood is set to expand, as the American announced that he and his wife are expecting another baby. The couple welcomed daughter Hunter Grace in 2018 and son John Hobbs in 2019.

“I haven’t played much since the Tour shut down last year. The Tour has looked different since we started coming back, and I have a family and a wife who is pregnant again,” he revealed. “There has been stuff at home within the past nine to 12 months that I have felt has been more important than tennis.

“But this time of year is a time that I really enjoy. I love playing on the hard courts in North America. I’m here doing that again – I’m going to play a lot this summer and I hope I can do well.”

Isner will begin his Los Cabos campaign in doubles on Tuesday, partnering with Mexico’s Hans Hach Verdugo against third seeds Divij Sharan and Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi. In singles, he awaits the winner of Jason Jung and Evgeny Donskoy in the second round.

Top seed Cameron Norrie leads the field in Los Cabos, and the Brit will play the winner of Australian qualifier Matthew Ebden and Elias Ymer after receiving a bye into the second round.

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