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Sinner Moves Inside Turin Cut With Huge Ruud Win

  • Posted: Oct 29, 2021

Jannik Sinner took a massive step in his pursuit of a spot in the Nitto ATP Finals on Friday evening in Vienna.

In a blockbuster battle between two stars chasing a place in Turin, Sinner defeated Casper Ruud 7-5, 6-1 to reach the semi-finals of the Erste Bank Open. By doing so, the Italian passed Hubert Hurkacz and Rafael Nadal to climb into the eighth and final qualifying spot in the FedEx ATP Race To Turin.

“I think today [there] was not a lot of rhythm, not so many exchanges. I served well today I have to say, especially on the important points,” Sinner said in his post-match interview. “Obviously [there was] a lot of pressure on both sides. I’m happy how I controlled the match emotionally and everything together. I would say it was a good match.”

The 20-year-old has not only moved into qualifying position, but he is also a semi-final victory against Frances Tiafoe from passing Ruud for seventh in the Race. Only two spots remain at the Pala Alpitour from 14-21 November.


Sinner had to battle hard to take a 2-0 ATP Head2Head series lead against Ruud, but he was cool under pressure to triumph after one hour and 38 minutes. The Italian has now won 11 straight indoor matches, and has not lost a set during that streak.

“The past couple of weeks indoors I’ve felt well. Obviously we can see that in the results as well, but every match is different,” Sinner said. “I have to stay focussed, I have a goal in my head. Obviously [there is] a lot of pressure, but it’s all about [the] mental game in this sport and I think I’m doing it in the right way.”

Ruud showed how much he has improved on hard courts with opportunistic play in the opening set, when he snapped Sinner’s streak of 43 consecutive service holds. The Norwegian is 21-7 on the surface this season, but Ruud did not have the firepower to push his opponent off the baseline in the biggest moments.

Sinner struck 10 aces and saved four of the five break points he faced. The 2019 Intesa Sanpaolo Next Gen ATP Finals champion had to overcome adversity, rallying from 15/40 down at 4-1 on his serve in the second set. But after saving two break points in that game, he gave the crowd a big fist pump, a sign that Sinner knew the significance of the encounter.

He then broke Ruud’s serve for the fifth time to set a clash against Tiafoe. Sinner leads their ATP Head2Head series 2-0.

“I’m happy that I can play one more semi-final in an ATP event,” Sinner said. “It’s a huge event, so hopefully I can also play well tomorrow.”

The American dealt with his own challenges against eighth seed Diego Schwartzman. But despite losing five consecutive games from 5-1 up in the second set, Tiafoe held on for a 6-4, 7-6(6) victory to reach his first tour-level semi-final of 2021.

“I was playing great tennis, I was happy where I was at. New balls came and I got a little lackadaisical that game. Then Diego just kind of started locking in,” Tiafoe said. “I started rushing, I started trying to hit everything as hard as I can. It was not fun. I don’t know what to tell you, it was not fun. There was not one part of it that was fun.”

The American, who upset Stefanos Tsitsipas on Thursday, admitted that he accepted the likelihood of a third set. But Tiafoe was able to break the Argentine for the fifth time to force a tie-break, in which he played well under pressure.

“I ended up playing a great game and squeezing out a breaker, so it was a crazy match,” Tiafoe said. “To beat two quality players like that in a row is big for me and a huge step forward.”

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Murray/Soares Soar Into St. Petersburg Final

  • Posted: Oct 29, 2021

Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares continued their bid to qualify for the Nitto ATP Finals on Friday at the St. Petersburg Open, where the overcame Marcus Daniell and Marcelo Demoliner 7-5, 6-3 to reach the championship match.

The top seeds broke four times and won 73 per cent (27/37) of their first-serve points to advance after 81 minutes. Murray and Soares are currently eighth in the FedEx ATP Doubles Team Rankings and in the final qualification spot for the season finale.

They could face Andrey Golubev and Hugo Nys in the final after the fourth seeds defeated Santiago Gonzalez and Andres Molteni 7-6(4), 6-3 to move into the last four.

Cabal/Farah March On In Vienna
Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah booked their spot in the final at the Erste Bank Open on Friday when they battled past Sander Gille and Dominik Koepfer 3-6, 6-3, 10-8 in 77 minutes.

The fourth seeds are into their fourth tour-level championship match of the season. They have now triumphed in three consecutive Match Tie-breaks this week in Vienna.

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Rolex Paris Masters 2021: Draws, Dates, History & All You Need To Know

  • Posted: Oct 29, 2021

World No. 1 Novak Djokovic and Russian Daniil Medvedev will headline the field at the 2021 Rolex Paris Masters in the final ATP Masters 1000 event of the season, while the FedEx ATP Race To Turin nears its conclusion.

Here’s what you need to know: 

When is the Rolex Paris Masters?

The 2021 Rolex Paris Masters will be held from 1-7 November. The indoor-hard ATP Masters 1000 tournament, established in 1986, will take place at the AccorHotels Arena in Paris, France. The tournament director is Guy Forget.

Who is playing at the Rolex Paris Masters?

The Rolex Paris Masters will feature Djokovic, reigning champion Medvedev, Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas, while Turin contenders Casper Ruud, Hubert Hurkacz, Jannik Sinner, Cameron Norrie and Felix Auger-Aliassime are also in action.

When is the draw for the Rolex Paris Masters?

The Rolex Paris Masters draw will be made on Saturday, 30 October at 12:00 p.m.

What is the schedule for the Rolex Paris Masters?

* Qualifying: Saturday, 30 October – Sunday, 31 October at 10:00 a.m Saturday and 11:00 a.m. Sunday
* Main Draw: Monday, 1 November – Sunday, 7 November. Monday – Thursday at 11:00 and 7:30 p.m. Friday at 2:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Saturday at 11:45 a.m.
* Doubles Final: Sunday, 7 November at 12:15 p.m.
* Singles Final: Sunday, 7 November at 3:00 p.m.
*View On Official Website

What is the prize money for the Rolex Paris Masters?

The prize money for the Rolex Paris Masters is €2,603,700 and the Total Financial Commitment is €3,084,450.

Winner: €336,000/ 1000 points
Finalist: €187,000/ 600 points
Semi-finalist: €106,000/ 360 points
Quarter-finalist: €60,000/ 180 points
Round of 16: €36,000/ 90 points
Round of 32: €22,000/ 45 points
Round of 56: €13,700/ 10 points

DOUBLES ($ per team)
Winner: €70,000/ 1000 points
Finalist: €50,000 / 600 points
Semi-finalist: €34,000/ 360 points
Quarter-finalist: €23,300/ 180 points
Round of 16: €15,250/ 90 points
Round of 32: €9,400/ 0 points

How can I watch the Rolex Paris Masters?

Watch Live On Tennis TV
TV Schedule

How can I follow the Rolex Paris Masters?

Hashtag: #RolexPMasters
Facebook: @rolexparismasters
Twitter: @RolexPMasters
Instagram: @rolexparismasters

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Who won the last edition of the Rolex Paris Masters in 2020?

Daniil Medvedev triumphed in the Rolex Paris Masters singles final with a 5-7, 6-4, 6-1 win against Alexander Zverev in the championship match (Read & Watch). Felix Auger-Aliassime and Hubert Hurkacz lifted the doubles trophy in Paris with a 6-7(3), 7-6(7), 10-2 victory against Mate Pavic and Bruno Soares in the final (Read More).

Who holds the Paris record for most titles, oldest champion, youngest champion and more?

Most Titles, Singles: Novak Djokovic (5)
Most Titles, Doubles: Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan (4)
Oldest Champion: Novak Djokovic, 32, in 2019
Youngest Champion: Boris Becker, 18, in 1986
Highest-Ranked Champion: No. 1 Stefan Edberg in 1990, Pete Sampras in 1997, Andre Agassi in 1999, Novak Djokovic in 2014-15, 2019.
Lowest-Ranked Champion: No. 50 Tomas Berdych in 2005
Last Home Champion: Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in 2008
Most Match Wins: Novak Djokovic (37)

View Who Is Playing, Past Champions, Seeds, Points & Prize Money Breakdown

Key Storylines

Djokovic Returns: World No. 1 Djokovic will compete for the first time since he lost to Medvedev in the final at the US Open, which ended the Serbian’s Grand Slam pursuit. Djokovic has lifted the trophy a record five times in Paris.

Turin Contenders: With the FedExATP Race To Turin entering the final stretch, five hopefuls are aiming to capture the final two places. Ruud is currently seventh (3,105 points), while Hurkacz is aiming to book his spot. 

Italian Jannik Sinner will be hoping to make is debut at the Nitto ATP Finals, to be held at the Pala Alpitour in Turin from 14-21 November 2021. Cameron Norrie in 11th (2,875) and Felix Auger-Aliassime in 12th (2,420) will need deep runs in Paris to boost their chances.

Former Champions In Action: Reigning champion Medvedev returns to defend his title as he aims to win his fifth tour-level trophy of the season. Russia’s Karen Khachanov will also be competing and he has fond memories in the French capital, having captured the crown in 2018.

Murray Leads Wild Cards: Former World No. 1 Andy Murray has accepted a wild card and will compete in Paris for the first time since he won the title in France in 2016. The Scot will be joined by Frenchmen Richard Gasquet, Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Arthur Rinderknech.

Did You Know?

Since 2009, the Rolex Paris Masters is the only Masters 1000 event to be played indoors.

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Move In Or Stay Back? Depends Who You Ask!

  • Posted: Oct 29, 2021

Step into the ball. It’s been a part of tennis coaching vernacular for eons, but it is not a panacea that every player employs to win matches in the modern game.

An Infosys ATP Beyond The Numbers analysis of 67 matches on Hawk-Eye data courts at this month’s BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells found that some players succeeded by stepping inside the baseline to hit the ball but others benefitted by staying deeper in the court.

While the macro picture was mixed, important takeaways could be found when drilling down to specific players. Case in point: Taylor Fritz, who reached his first ATP Masters 1000 semi-final in the desert by stepping forward to the ball better than any of his opponents.

Fritz: Percentage Of Shots Contacted Inside The Baseline

Opponent Fritz Inside Opp. Inside
N. Basilashvili 13% 10%
A. Zverev 31% 17%
J. Sinner 21% 15%
M. Berrettini 45% 30%
B. Nakashima 34% 26%
AVERAGE 29% 20%

Fritz made contact with the ball 29 per cent of the time inside the baseline on average, compared to just 20 per cent for his five opponents. His two top 10 victories against No. 4, Alexander Zverev, and No. 7, Matteo Berrettini, were built on stepping forward to attack the ball much more than his higher-ranked opponents. Fritz made contact with the ball 45 per cent of the time inside the baseline against Berrettini and 31 per cent against Zverev. Fritz was well rewarded for taking the ball early and dictating play.

Tellingly, in the match he lost, Fritz contacted the ball just 13 per cent of the time as the power of Nikoloz Basilashvili kept him pinned behind the baseline. That was massively down on his tournament match average of 29 per cent.

Stepping into the ball involves a number of factors, including hitting a deep or forceful shot on the previous ball to elicit a short ball to move forward against. It is also about having the desire and skillset to take the ball on the rise or at the top of the bounce to open up angles of the court and rush the opponent’s preparation for the next shot.

When Fritz defeated Zverev, the German only made contact with his forehand 19 per cent of the time inside the baseline. But Zverev also featured as the leader in the data set with forehands struck inside the baseline, hitting an astounding 51 per cent inside the baseline in his 6-1, 6-3 round of 16 victory against Gael Monfils.

But there are two sides to this coin. Players were also able to succeed by staying back deep in the court.

The three zones of court position are:
Zone 1. 
Inside the baseline
Zone 2. Within two metres behind the baseline
Zone 3. Past two metres behind the baseline

Basilashvili thrived in the very deep zone, farther back than two metres behind the baseline, to reach the final.

Basilashvili: Percentage Of Shots In The Three Zones

Opponent Zone 1 Zone 2 Zone 3
C. Norrie 13% 57% 30%
T. Fritz 10% 47% 43%
S. Tsitsipas 11% 47% 42%
K. Khachanov 15% 42% 43%
A. Ramos-Vinolas 17% 41% 42%
C. Eubanks 9% 37% 54%
AVERAGE 13% 45% 42%

Of the seven matches for the tournament where the player won the match but stepped inside the baseline the least, Basilashvili accounted for four of them.

Basilashvili’s highest-ranked opponent he defeated was No. 3, Stefanos Tsitsipas. The ability to keep the Greek from stepping into the court like he did in previous rounds was a key component of the upset victory.

Stefanos Tsitsipas: Percentage Of Shots In The Three Zones

Opponent Zone 1 Zone 2 Zone 3
N. Basilashvili 5% 53% 42%
A. De Minaur 25% 57% 18%
F. Fognini 22% 59% 19%
P. Martinez 35% 42% 23%
AVERAGE 22% 53% 26%

Tsitsipas contacted the ball on average 27 per cent of the time in his first three matches at Indian Wells, with the standout being 35 per cent in his round of 64 match against Pedro Martinez. But in his loss to Basilashvili, Tsitsipas only made contact with the ball 5 per cent of the time inside the baseline.

That was the smallest amount struck inside the baseline by any player in the tournament. Overall, players were more likely to step inside the baseline to make contact with a forehand over a backhand.

2021 BNP Paribas Open: Forehands v Backhands Contact Points

Match Zone 1 Zone 2 Zone 3
Forehands 26% 50% 24%
Backhands 24% 53% 23%

In general, stepping into the ball and making contact inside the baseline correlated more with winning the match than staying deep behind the baseline. But it’s not a fix-all for all players, as there were still many matches won where the match winner was not the player with the highest percentage of shots inside the baseline.

This metric is best used in a match-by-match comparison, factoring in specific head-to-head playing styles. Horses for courses in the California desert.

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Botic Upsets Rublev In St. Petersburg

  • Posted: Oct 29, 2021

Botic van de Zandschulp’s breakout season is becoming more impressive by the day.

The Dutch qualifier upset top seed Andrey Rublev 6-3, 6-4 on Friday to reach his first ATP Tour semi-final at the St. Petersburg Open. Van de Zandschulp’s win means that there will not be a third consecutive Russian winner at the event.

“First time in the semis. It feels amazing,” van de Zandschulp said in his on-court interview. “I played a great match, played a smart match, [and I am] so happy to be through.”

The No. 69 player in the FedEx ATP Rankings has not lost a set in the main draw in St. Petersburg and he will play 2011 champion Marin Cilic for a place in the championship match.

“He made the final last week in Moscow,” van de Zandschulp said of Cilic. “He’s playing great at the moment, and I think it’s going to be an interesting match.”


Van de Zandschulp announced himself on a global stage at the US Open, where as a qualifier he advanced to the quarter-finals and won a set against eventual champion Daniil Medvedev. The Dutchman has maintained his momentum from that run and looked comfortable in his one-hour, 33-minute victory against Rublev.

The top seed was frustrated throughout, as he struggled to find a middle ground between playing too aggressively and not aggressively enough. His opponent took full advantage, rallying from a break down in the second set to claim his first Top 10 win (1-2).

Marin Cilic
Photo Credit: Formula TX #FORMULATX
One day after clawing past Karen Khachanov, former World No. 3 Cilic battled past third seed Roberto Bautista Agut 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 to reach the semi-finals.

“Today was a difficult match mentally, very, very different from yesterday,” Cilic said in his on-court interview. “During the match I was a lot up and down and I felt that I didn’t have great rhythm. But I felt that continuously I was making chances and I just had to stay mentally in the match.” 

Even in the last game, Bautista Agut put pressure on his opponent. But Cilic hit four consecutive big serves to get out of trouble and advance after two hours and 34 minutes.

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Zverev Sets Alcaraz SF In Vienna

  • Posted: Oct 29, 2021

Alexander Zverev continued his quest for his fifth tour-level title of the season on Friday at the Erste Bank Open, downing Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 to capture his 50th tour-level victory of the season and reach the semi-finals in Vienna.

The second seed, who earned his 300th tour-level win on Thursday when he defeated Australian Alex de Minaur, was strong on serve, winning 80 per cent (40/50) of points behind his first delivery. The German recovered from a dip in the second set as he raised his level in the decider to advance after two hours and six minutes.

“I did make it difficult for myself once again, that needs to stop happening,” Zverev said. “One easy mistake and the second set went away. But I am proud of myself because at the beginning of the second set it could have gone his way easily.”


Zverev now leads Auger-Aliassime 4-1 in their ATP Head2Head series, gaining revenge from his defeat to the sixth seed in the fourth round at Wimbledon in July.

The World No. 4 will face #NextGenATP Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz in the last four after the 18-year-old upset Italian Matteo Berrettini 6-1, 6-7(2), 7-6(5) to reach his first ATP 500 semi-final.

“He [Alcaraz] has improved a lot,” Zverev added. “He has made big steps forward and is a great player, so I am looking forward to that match.”

Zverev is making his second main-draw appearance in Vienna, having enjoyed a run to the quarter-finals in 2017. Earlier this season, the 17-time tour-level titlist triumphed at ATP Masters 1000 events in Madrid and Cincinnati. The German also lifted the trophy in Acapulco and captured the gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics.

After winning 100 per cent (9/9) of his first-service points in the opening set, Zverev moved ahead and looked in control. That was until the eighth game of the second set, when the German missed a volley on top of the net at 30/0. Auger-Aliassime went on to break in that game, before levelling on serve.

However, Zverev regained his focus and composure in the decider and converted on his sixth break point in a mammoth 16-minute sixth game of the decider. Zverev then sealed victory when Auger-Aliassime hit a backhand long

With his defeat, Auger-Aliassime’s bid to qualify for the Nitto ATP Finals suffered a blow. The 21-year-old is 12th (2,420 points) in the FedEx ATP Race To Turin, 535 points behind ninth-placed Hubert Hurkacz. The Pole currently occupies the final qualification spot with eighth-placed Rafael Nadal out for the rest of the season due to a foot injury.

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Alcaraz Upsets Berrettini In Vienna Classic, Reaches SFs

  • Posted: Oct 29, 2021

#NextGenATP star Carlos Alcaraz is just 18 years old, but you would not have thought it on Friday at the Erste Bank Open, where he upset World No. 7 Matteo Berrettini 6-1, 6-7(2), 7-6(5) to reach the semi-finals.

The Spaniard hit 24 winners as he showcased his power from the baseline throughout. Alcaraz mixed his aggressive hitting with great touch to cause Berrettini problems, advancing after two hours and 40 minutes in a high-quality match.


It is the first time Alcaraz has reached the last four at an ATP 500 event, with his victory over Berrettini the second biggest win of his career by FedEx ATP Ranking. The 18-year-old shocked World No. 3 Stefanos Tsitsipas in the third round at the US Open in September.

Alcaraz, who is making his debut in Vienna, overcame British pair Daniel Evans and Andy Murray earlier this week. The Spaniard is aiming to win his second tour-level title, after triumphing in Umag in July.

The World No. 42 will next face second seed Alexander Zverev or Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime in his fourth tour-level semi-final of the season.

In a fast start, Alcaraz quickly clicked into gear as he found his best tennis to pin Berrettini behind the baseline with his flat and accurate groundstrokes, moving ahead after 29 minutes. However, Berrettini began to dig in during the second set and raised his level in the crucial moments, saving all four break points he faced as they moved to a decider.

Alcaraz quickly regained his grip on the match in the third set as he raced 4-1 ahead, but was pegged back to 4-4 after Berrettini produced a strong return
game. The pair then moved to a tie-break, in which Alcaraz raised his game and the roof to secure his victory on his third match point.

Berrettini was bidding to reach his first tour-level semi-final since Wimbledon, where he advanced to the championship match. The third seed reached the last four in
Vienna in 2019 and booked his place at the Nitto ATP Finals in Turin after his first-round victory against Australian Alexei Popyrin on Monday.

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Fritz Storms Into St. Petersburg SFs

  • Posted: Oct 29, 2021

Taylor Fritz produced an impressive performance on Friday at the St. Petersburg Open, overcoming John Millman 6-4, 6-2 to reach his second consecutive tour-level semi-final.

The American, who celebrated his 24th birthday by defeating Tommy Paul on Thursday, rallied from a break down in the first set and won 73 per cent (19/26) of his first-serve points to advance after 74 minutes.

“It feels great. I came out and played really well today,” Fritz said in his on-court interview. “I knew what I had to do and I did it and I played well and I am happy to be in the semi-finals. There was a really important point [at the start of the second set] and I won that point and I carried the momentum from there. It was a really important break.”


Fritz is yet to drop a set in St. Petersburg and arrived at the ATP 250 event in form, having defeated World No. 4 Alexander Zverev en route to his first ATP Masters 1000 semi-final in Indian Wells earlier this month.

The fifth seed now leads Millman 2-0 in their ATP Head2Head series and is into his sixth tour-level semi-final of the season, with the World No. 28 also advancing to this stage in Doha, Cagliari, Los Cabos and Atlanta.

Fritz will next face Jan-Lennard Struff after the German upset second-seeded Canadian Denis Shapovalov 6-4, 6-3 in 81 minutes.

Struff was strong on serve, winning 88 per cent (22/25) of points behind his first delivery to improve to 5-2 in his ATP Head2Head series against Shapovalov. The 31-year-old has fond memories in St. Petersburg, where he also advanced to the last four in 2017.

“Denis is an amazing player, so the victory means a lot to me, to reach the semi-finals here for a second time,” Struff said in his on-court interview. “He beat me pretty easily in Dubai. He played very good and I didn’t play very well, so I knew I had to put a lot of energy into the match today and I did. I was serving well and returning well, so that was the key.”

Earlier this season, the World No. 53 enjoyed a run to his first tour-level final on home soil in Munich.

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Murray/Soares Battle Into St. Petersburg Semi-finals

  • Posted: Oct 29, 2021

Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares, who are eighth in the FedEx ATP Doubles Team Rankings, currently hold the final qualifying spot for the Nitto ATP Finals. This week at the St. Petersburg Open, they are doing well to give themselves breathing room.

The top seeds earned a 7-6(0), 3-6, 10-6 win on Thursday against Australians Luke Saville and John-Patrick Smith to reach the St. Petersburg semi-finals.

The veteran duo will next play New Zealand’s Marcus Daniell and Brazilian Marcelo Demoliner, who were 6-0, 3-6, 10-7 winners against Americans Taylor Fritz and Tommy Paul. Earlier in the day, Fritz defeated Paul in the singles draw.

Canadian Denis Shapovalov, the second seed in the singles field, and partner Rohan Bopanna of India, clawed past Russian stars Karen Khachanov and Andrey Rublev 6-4, 5-7, 10-7.

Gille/Koepfer Upset Top Seeds In Vienna
The three doubles matches played at the Erste Bank Open on Thursday went to a Match Tie-break, and in one, the top seeds were upset.

Lucky losers Sander Gille of Belgium and Dominik Koepfer of Germany stunned top seeds Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic 3-6, 7-6(2), 11-9. 

In other action, second seeds Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury, this year’s US Open champions, eliminated Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime and two-time Roland Garros titlist Andreas Mies of Germany 6-3, 6-7(7), 10-6. Also advancing were third seeds John Peers and Filip Polasek, who ousted Austrian wild cards Oliver Marach and Philipp Oswald 6-7(4), 6-3, 10-4.


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