Tennis News

From around the world

O'Connell Stuns Sinner In Atlanta

  • Posted: Jul 29, 2021

Australian Christopher O’Connell earned the biggest win of his career on Thursday afternoon, stunning second seed Jannik Sinner 7-6(7), 6-4 at the Truist Atlanta Open to reach his first ATP Tour quarter-final.

“I got here last Wednesday, so I’ve been acclimatising for the past week or so. I felt pretty comfortable out there,” O’Connell said in his on-court interview. “Maybe I was a little off early on, but as I got into the swing of the match I felt pretty comfortable.”

Sinner, the 2019 Next Gen ATP Finals champion who made his first ATP Masters 1000 final this year in Miami, earned three set points in the first-set tie-break. But O’Connell showed no fear of the stage or his opponent, hitting critical passing shots under pressure to rally.

“I struggled a little bit with that when I was a bit younger,” O’Connell said of facing higher-ranked opponents. “But I’m 27 now, so I need to start making some inroads. I feel confident at the moment.”

World No. 132 O’Connell, who qualified at this ATP 250, converted the only break point of the match early in the second set and he never looked back. The Aussie triumphed in one hour and 38 minutes to set a clash against five-time champion John Isner or wild card Jack Sock.

Source link

Segovia Celebrates 30 Years On ATP Challenger Tour

  • Posted: Jul 29, 2021

Pedro Munoz had a vision for the future of tennis in Spain. The year was 1991. Spanish tennis was beginning to enter the forefront on the global stage and would soon establish itself as a factory of clay-court stalwarts on the professional circuit.

For decades, tennis on clay has ruled in the European nation. The future stars of the ATP Tour, from Carlos Moya to Juan Carlos Ferrero and Rafael Nadal, would be raised and groomed on dirt across the country. Mastering the clay was a right of passage for those looking to develop their talents and take the next step at the pro level.

As the game continued to grow in popularity and a new generation of Spanish stars hit the courts, it was Munoz who saw an opportunity to take his beloved sport to the next level… on hard courts. The Spaniard was a pioneer in his country, seeking to transform the tennis landscape with the addition of a new tournament in his native Segovia.

This wasn’t your typical Spanish tournament on clay. As Munoz established the Open Castilla y Leon Villa de El Espinar, he introduced an integral aspect that would distinguish the event from all other professional tournaments in Spain. Munoz founded the country’s first premier hard-court tournament.

While preserving the rich culture of Spanish tennis, Munoz sought to bring an enduring hard-court presence to his homeland. And, equally as important, he hoped to integrate the local community of the Castilla y Leon region into the fold.


What started as a Spanish Tennis Federation event in 1986, the Open Castilla y Leon would later debut on the ATP Challenger Tour in 1991. Munoz’s vision was realized and now, after 30 years, the tournament celebrates the milestone anniversary this week. That is, three decades of players and fans witnessing hard-court Challenger tennis in Segovia. Its longevity is not only a testament to Munoz’s ambition, but the many legends who have entered the gates of Villa El Espinar throughout the years.

On Monday, the tournament launched its 30th edition with a special ceremony to honour Munoz, who passed away at the age of 72 in January. Also a former president of the Spanish Tennis Federation (RFET), his legacy remains the heart and the soul of his beloved tournament.

“This tournament has been important for the city of Segovia and the region as a whole,” said tournament director and former WTA No. 1 Virginia Ruano. “In terms of tennis, it contributes a lot to the growth of the sport in Spain. It has helped many young Spanish players, being an important and unique hard-court event for them on the calendar.

“For me, after everything that we have suffered through in the past year, the tournament continues and has survived such a difficult time with the pandemic. We’ve reached our 35th edition in total and 30 on the ATP Challenger Tour. It is, however, sad that we are missing the creator and president of the tournament, Pedro Munoz. I do know that the entire organization is going to work with double enthusiasm to keep his legacy as high as possible, as Pedro would like.”

Segovia enters exclusive territory, as just the fifth tournament to join the ’30-Year Club’ on the ATP Challenger Tour. Last week, the Tampere Open in Finland celebrated its 39th anniversary and is followed by San Luis Potosi, Mexico (34), as well as Istanbul, Turkey (34) and Aptos, California, USA (32). In September, another Spanish tournament – the Copa Sevilla – is poised to also reach 30 years.

Longest-Running Tournaments On ATP Challenger Tour

Years on Tour
Year Founded
Tampere, Finland 39 1982
San Luis Potosi, Mexico 34 1980
Istanbul, Turkey 34 1985
Aptos, USA 32 1988
Segovia, Spain
Sevilla, Spain 29 1991

The Open Castilla y Leon launched its 30th edition with a plaque unveiling on Monday, paying tribute to Munoz. The tournament site was renamed the Pedro Munoz Municipal Tennis Complex in his honour.

“I don’t know where to begin, but what I would like to say is ‘thank you’,” Fernando Verdasco posted on Instagram following Munoz’s passing. “You have always helped and supported me personally and you treated me like a member of your family. Thank you for the wild cards into the Open Villa de El Espinar, which gave me the start of my career. It helped me to get where I am today.”

Officially referred to as the ‘Open Castilla y Leon Villa de El Espinar’, the tournament takes its name from the local region, an aspect that Munoz valued strongly. Castilla y Leon is the province in Spain where Segovia is located and El Espinar is the local municipality.

The tournament site is comprised of public, municipal courts and is located in the middle of the recently transformed ‘Reserva de la Biosfera’ (Biosphere Reserve) in El Espinar. It is 35,414 hectares (87,511 acres) of preserved land, with mountain peaks, pastures, pine forests and vast plains surrounding the tennis facility.

Maintaining the local theme throughout the tournament, the trophy is no exception. Each year, the champion lifts an artisanal crystal bowl made at the Royal Crystal Factory in nearby La Granja. They are unique pieces that are mouth-blown, wheel carved and fire-gilded and based on originals from the 18th century.

The longest-running ATP Challenger event in Spain has also served as a launching pad for the future stars of the ATP Tour. Rafael Nadal won his first career hard-court tournament there in 2003, with fellow World No. 1s Roger Federer, Andy Murray and Yevgeny Kafelnikov also competing in Segovia.

Nadal is joined by Verdasco (2007), Juan Martin del Potro (2006), Pablo Carreno Busta (2013) and Radek Stepanek (1998) as eventual Top 10 players to lift the trophy at the Open Castilla y Leon. And like Nadal, it marked the first hard-court crowns for all of them. Former World No. 3 Sergi Bruguera also won the title in 2000, in the latter stages of his career.

In recent years, the #NextGenATP contingent have made their mark, with current World No. 18 Alex de Minaur reaching the final in 2017 and 28th-ranked Ugo Humbert claiming his maiden Challenger title the following year. Spain’s own Nicola Kuhn is the defending champion, having seized his second Challenger crown at the age of 19 in 2019.

“I think I have some of the best memories in Segovia, because I played in front of the home crowd in late night matches on the center court,” Kuhn told “I loved the attention and the support I was getting from the people. It was an absolute honor to play there. I enjoyed every second of it! Obviously winning a tournament is always special, but this one I will never forget.”

ATP Challenger Tour 

Source link

#NextGenATP Stars Korda, Alcaraz & Musetti Headline Cincinnati Qualifying Field

  • Posted: Jul 29, 2021

#NextGenATP stars Sebastian Korda, Carlos Alcaraz and Lorenzo Musetti headline the qualifying field for the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati. 

Korda will be competing in qualifying at this event for the third time. The American advanced to his first ATP Masters 1000 main draw at last year’s Western & Southern Open, which was held at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

At the time, Korda was No. 225 in the FedEx ATP Rankings. Now, he is World No. 47, just one spot off his career-high FedEx ATP Ranking. The Floridian won his first ATP Tour title in Parma in May.

Alcaraz is another in-form #NextGenATP player. The Spaniard just lifted his first tour-level trophy last week in Umag. This will be the 18-year-old’s first appearance in Cincinnati.

Musetti will also make his Cincinnati debut. The Italian, who pushed Novak Djokovic to a fifth set in the fourth round at Roland Garros, enjoyed impressive hard-court results earlier this year. The 19-year-old advanced to the Acapulco semi-finals and the third round in Miami.

Other players in the qualifying field include Americans Tommy Paul and Frances Tiafoe, 2019 semi-finalist Richard Gasquet and big-hitting German Jan-Lennard Struff.

Source link

Thiem, Wawrinka Withdraw From Cincinnati Due To Injuries

  • Posted: Jul 29, 2021

Former World No. 3s Dominic Thiem and Stan Wawrinka have withdrawn from the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati citing ongoing injuries to the wrist and foot, respectively, the tournament announced Thursday.

Thiem, the 2020 US Open champion, has not competed since 22 June after suffering a detachment of the posterior sheath of the ulnar side of his right wrist at the Mallorca Championships. The 27-year-old reached back-to-back quarter-finals at this ATP Masters 1000 event in 2016 and 2017.

Wawrinka, who owns 16 tour-level titles — including three Grand Slams — has not been in action since Doha in March. The Swiss player underwent left foot surgery that same month, and is continuing his recovery after a second surgery on the same foot on 21 June.

The 36-year-old holds a 3-3 record on the season, and sits at No. 30 in the FedEx ATP Rankings. He made the Cincinnati semi-finals in 2012 and the quarter-finals on three additional occasions.

With Thiem and Wawrinka’s withdrawals, Australian John Millman and Serbian Dusan Lajovic enter the main draw.

Source link

Ruud Saves 1 M.P., Keeps Winning Streak Alive In Kitzbühel

  • Posted: Jul 29, 2021

Top seed Casper Ruud survived a major scare on Thursday at the Generali Open as he saved a match point before defeating Swede Mikael Ymer 3-6, 7-6(5), 6-1 to reach the semi-finals in Kitzbühel.

The Norwegian has been dominant on clay in July, capturing back-to-back titles at the Nordea Open and the Swiss Open Gstaad in the past two weeks. However, hampered by a slight arm injury — for which he called the trainer to court in the second set — Ruud had to show his battling qualities against Ymer to advance in two hours and 28 minutes.

“I am just playing good tennis. [My arm] did not feel so good today, but that is part of the sport,” Ruud said in his on-court interview. “A lot of players have pain here and there. Today the arm was working a little bit better after treatment, so hopefully it can be fully recovered by tomorrow.”

The 22-year-old rallied as Ymer served for the match twice at 5-4 and 6-5 in the second set, squandering a match point in the tenth game. World No. 14 Ruud then played more consistently in the third set to deny his Swedish opponent a first ATP Tour semi-final appearance. The top seed has now claimed 26 clay-court victories this year.

“It was a very very tough match,” Ruud added. “Mikael played very well for two sets, and had the chance to win. I have been a bit lucky this year in a couple of matches where I have saved match points. It is small margins in this sport. Sometimes in tennis, it is not the guy who plays better that wins.”

Ruud will seek a 10th straight win in his next match against Arthur Rinderknech after the Frenchman’s best-ever season continued to go from strength to strength on Thursday. The 26-year-old defeated third seed Filip Krajinovic 6-4, 6-1 in Kitzbühel to reach his first ATP Tour semi-final.

Rinderknech, currently at a career-high No. 91 in the FedEx ATP Rankings, struck the ball with great power and depth throughout to advance in 80 minutes. The Frenchman has now claimed 13 tour-level wins this season, having not won a match at this level before 2021.

“It is amazing, it is such a nice city,” Rinderknech said. “It is such a pleasure to be in the semi-finals. Yesterday, I won 7-6 in the third and it was such a tough match. I went with my friend up the hill and took the cable car and went biking. It is such a nice region. I love it here.”

Rinderknech was competing in his fifth ATP Tour quarter-final on Thursday, having reached the last eight at the Swiss Open Gstaad and Nordea Open earlier this month.

Daniel Altmaier’s strong form continued as the German defeated Gianluca Mager for the second time in as many weeks with a 6-1, 6-7(5), 6-3 victory.


Altmaier, who beat Mager on the way to the semi-finals at the Plava Laguna Croatia Open Umag last week, won 74 per cent (51/69) of his first-service points to advance in two hours and 34 minutes

The World No. 135 will next play Spaniard Pedro Martinez. The 24-year-old backed up his career-best win by FedEx ATP Ranking over countryman Roberto Bautista Agut by defeating qualifier Jozef Kovalik 6-2, 6-2.

Martinez, who upset World No. 17 Gael Monfils at Wimbledon to reach the third round, will be competing in his first ATP Tour semi-final on Friday.

Source link

Djokovic/Stojanovic March Into Tokyo SF

  • Posted: Jul 29, 2021

Serbians Novak Djokovic and Nina Stojanovic produced a dominant display on Thursday at the Tokyo Olympics to defeat Germans Kevin Krawietz and Laura Siegemund 6-1, 6-2 and reach the semi-finals in the mixed doubles.

In singles this week, Djokovic is pursuing the fourth leg of his historic Golden Grand Slam attempt, having captured the first three majors of the season. WTA legend Stefanie Graf completed this achievement in 1988. After defeating Japan’s Kei Nishikori earlier on Thursday, the 34-year-old teamed with Stojanovic to move through in 72 minutes.

View Order Of Play | View 2020 Olympics Results | View Mixed Doubles Draw

The Serbians broke five times to advance. They will next face Aslan Karatsev and Elena Vesnina after the ROC pair overcame Polish duo Lukasz Kubot and Iga Swiatek 6-4, 6-4.

There was also success for the ROC’s Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Andrey Rublev after they battled past Japanese team Ena Shibahara and Ben McLachlan 7-5, 6-7(0), 10-8.

Pavlyuchenkova and Rublev won 72 per cent (46/64) of their first-service points to advance in two hours and one minute.

They will meet Ashleigh Barty and John Peers in the semi-finals after the Australians edged out Greek tandem Maria Sakkari and Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-4, 4-6, 10-6. It is the first time Barty and Peers have teamed since a run to the quarter-finals at the 2014 US Open.

Source link

Djokovic Cruises Past Home Favourite Nishikori

  • Posted: Jul 29, 2021

Serbian superstar Novak Djokovic moved one step closer to a first Olympic singles gold medal on Thursday as he defeated Japan’s Kei Nishikori 6-2, 6-0 to reach the semi-finals at the Tokyo Olympics.

The World No. 1 is aiming to become the first man to win all four majors and a gold medal in a season, having already captured the Australian Open, Roland Garros, and Wimbledon titles this year. WTA legend Stefanie Graf completed this achievement in 1988.

View Order Of Play | View 2020 Olympics Results | View Draw

“Matches are not getting easier, but my level of tennis is getting better and better,” Djokovic told “I know that I’m kind of a player that the further the tournament goes, the better I’m feeling on the court. That’s the case here. [It was] my best performance of the tournament tonight against a very good opponent.

“I know Kei’s game very well. Him playing in Japan, this court where he had lots of success. I knew that he was going to play very quick, and he was not going to give me a lot of time, so I had to be very alert. I feel I had an answer for everything he had.”

Djokovic, who drew level with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal on 20 Grand Slams after his SW19 triumph, played consistently from the baseline and hit with great depth to overcome Nishikori in 72 minutes.

The top seed won 85 per cent (17/20) of his first-service points and was not broken in the match. Djokovic will continue his quest for Olympic glory against fourth seed Alexander Zverev after the German downed Frenchman Jeremy Chardy 6-4, 6-1 in 67 minutes.

Zverev returned well in the match as he stepped inside the baseline to win 67 per cent (14/21) of points on Chardy’s second serve. The World No. 5 is making his Olympic debut this week and has yet to drop a set in Tokyo.

Pablo Carreno Busta also moved into the last four after the Spaniard upset second seed Daniil Medvedev 6-2, 7-6(5) in one hour and 43 minutes.

The sixth seed, who won his first ATP 500 trophy and sixth tour-level title earlier this month at the Hamburg European Open, was a break down in the second set. However, the 30-year-old rallied against the ROC’s Medvedev, hitting 11 winners to advance.

Carreno Busta will next face Karen Khachanov after the 12th seed battled past Frenchman Ugo Humbert 7-6(4), 4-6, 6-3 in two hours and 34 minutes. The 25-year-old hit 10 aces to improve to 3-0 in third sets in Tokyo this week.

“I felt well physically, I felt well mentally,” the ROC’s Khachanov told “I came here to fight for medals and I’m playing good tennis so far. I’m happy that I’m managing to find solutions to the problems as they appear – this is tennis. I’m enjoying [it] so far, and I want to keep going like that.”

Source link

Cilic/Dodig Soar Into Tokyo Final

  • Posted: Jul 29, 2021

Croatians Marin Cilic and Ivan Dodig guaranteed themselves a medal on Thursday at the Tokyo Olympics as they defeated New Zealand duo Marcus Daniell and Michael Venus 6-2, 6-2 to reach the final.

Cilic and Dodig dominated throughout as they fired 27 winners and won 84 per cent (27/32) of their first-service points to advance to the gold medal match in 77 minutes.

View Order Of Play | View 2020 Olympics Results | View Men’s Doubles Draw 

The Croatians are competing in their second tour-level event of the season as a pair, having enjoyed a run to the semi-finals at the MercedesCup in Stuttgart in June. Cilic and Dodig also teamed at the 2012 London Olympics where they advanced to the quarter-finals.

In what was a strong day for Croatian tennis, countrymen Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic also advanced to the final. The top seeds moved past Americans Austin Krajicek and Tennys Sandgren 6-4, 6-4 in 82 minutes.

Mektic and Pavic, who did not face a break point against Krajicek and Sandgren, have won eight tour-level titles together this season in their maiden year together. They became the first doubles team to qualify for the 2021 Nitto ATP Finals in July, having lifted trophies at three ATP Masters 1000s and Wimbledon.

Daniell and Venus, who are competing together for the first time since 2016 this week, will face Krajicek and Sandgren in the bronze medal match on Friday.

Source link

The Last Time With… John Isner

  • Posted: Jul 29, 2021

John Isner has won five titles in the past 10 editions of the Truist Atlanta Open, and he is looking to keep that dominance going this week at the ATP 250 event. The 36-year-old foodie is not shy about dropping his name at tournament cities – including Atlanta – to try to get into a nice restaurant, but when was the last time that it actually paid off?

The big-serving American is the latest player to feature in our popular Q&A series, and he revealed The Last Time… 

I strung a tennis racquet?
Oh that’s a good one… I’ve been very spoiled there, it was in juniors. Maybe 16 years old. Even in college we would have someone who would string our racquets. We were very lucky there. And ever since I turned pro I haven’t had to. But I remember I had an Ektelon Stringing Machine, one of the best stringing machines out there for sure.

Actually, I used to be pretty good. I was quite meticulous about how I went about it. I was very particular. I mean, I dreaded doing it, but it was something my parents made me do simply as a cost-efficiency thing. When you think about how much the stringing fees are, I would say over the course of my whole junior career I definitely more than paid for that thing.

It was a good lesson to learn. My parents bought that machine for me, and they made me do my own racquets, which I guess gave me some discipline as well.  

I shared a hotel room with another player?
Gosh, I guess I’m so spoiled. It had to have been right out of college. I think 2007, in Aptos, California. There was an ATP Challenger [Tour] event out there. That must have been the last one, and luckily I got my ranking up pretty quickly after that and I didn’t have to do that again. 

I paid money to rent a tennis court?
I remember I paid money in Shanghai a couple of years ago. The drive from the hotel to the tennis courts can be pretty far. I had an off day, and I was able to find an indoor court nearby, super close by in the city. I was lucky enough to get a court, even though I had to pay for it. I forget what the conversion rate was, but I swiped my credit card for maybe $20 or $25 [USD] and practised. So it was well worth it to save the hour and a half drive in the car.

I was recognised or dropped my name, and it helped me?
I’ve played the ‘I’m a tennis player’ card trying to get restaurant reservations before in some of the cities we’ve been at. A lot of times it actually doesn’t work and they don’t know who the hell I am. But sometimes it does work… It does work in Atlanta, sometimes.

I remember being in Paris at the famous restaurant, L’Avenue. I like to eat. I don’t spend money on a lot of things, but I do spend money on eating well. So I went to L’Avenue and I dropped a ‘I’m playing at the French Open’ and I was able to get in. I felt… Well, I was pretty shameless, actually! [laughs] 

I asked someone famous for an autograph or selfie?
It’s not a selfie, but I had [U.S.] President George W. Bush sign an autograph for me. I got to meet with him, and got a photo with my wife and daughter with President Bush. He kindly signed it for us, and I thought that was very, very cool. 

Really, only living presidents are about the only people I would ask for an autograph. Whether it’s Jimmy Carter, Barack Obama, George W. Bush, whom I’ve met, or Donald Trump – I think that would be very cool. But honestly that could change as my kids get older. We’ll see who they look up to, whether they’re athletes or entertainers. I would have no shame in asking those people to give my kid an autograph. 


View this post on Instagram

A post shared by John Isner (@johnrisner)

I cooked for friends or family?
That was this morning. In Atlanta, we get these mini-apartments here with a little kitchen. My family is here with me, my wife and kids are here, and I love to cook them breakfast. I do that every day when we’re at home anyways. I’m kind of particular with what I feed my kids, so having a little kitchenette with a grocery store literally right next door has been great. We got eggs, oatmeal, and the cereal that they liked. I definitely love cooking for my kids. 

I went to a music concert?
I think it was a Taylor Swift concert. That was probably about six months before the pandemic set in, so it would have been 2019, maybe right around after the US Open. 

I made my debut at an ATP Tour event?
Last week in Los Cabos. But prior to that… oh man. Good question. Chengdu in 2019. I’m pretty sure that’s the correct answer… 


View this post on Instagram

A post shared by John Isner (@johnrisner)

I visited a city for the first time?
For the first time? It would be… off the top of my head, that would be last year in May. So a little more than a year ago. I went to a place called Alcoba in Wyoming to go trout fishing. It was great, and it was a lot of fun.  

I missed a flight?
Off of my own doing, never. I mean, I’m not one of those people who has to get to the airport crazy early. But I guess I’ve just had good luck, because I’ve never really encountered horrible traffic or a wreck on the way there or anything like that that would hold me up. Off the top of my head, I can’t think of an instance.

Source link