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Felix Ousts Norrie to Reach Rotterdam SFs

  • Posted: Feb 11, 2022

The Felix Auger-Aliassime title charge is building in Rotterdam.

The 21-year-old Canadian took another step towards a first ATP Tour title with a hard-fought 7-5, 7-6(4) win over Cameron Norrie in the quarter-finals of the ABN Amro World Tennis Tournament on Friday.

Third seed Auger-Aliassime produced a solid performance over two hours and seven minutes, coming back from a break down in the second set to reach the semi-finals in Rotterdam for the second time.


After an even start a loose game from Norrie gave Auger-Aliassime a break for 5-3, but the young Canadian immediately let the Brit back in with three double-faults to hand Norrie a break of his own.

Auger-Aliassime recovered from the lapse well, breaking again to take the first set as Norrie struggled to deal with his opponent’s crushing forehand.

BNP Paribas Open champion Norrie entered Rotterdam on a five-match losing streak, a run which included a straight-sets defeat to Auger-Aliassime at the ATP Cup in January. The Brit had impressed in wins over Ugo Humbert and Karen Khachanov to reach the quarter-finals, however, and he showed those same qualities to fight his way to a 4-2 lead in the second set.

The greater power of the Canadian gradually began to tell as he roared back with some strong baseline hitting and to seal victory in a tie-break. The World No. 9 used his big weapons effectively throughout, ending with 46 winners to Norrie’s 14.

Auger-Aliassime’s semi-final opponent will be the winner of the night match between Marton Fucsovics and second seed Andrey Rublev.

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Delbonis Drives Past Fognini at Argentina Open

  • Posted: Feb 11, 2022

Federico Delbonis kept the strong home performance at the Argentina Open going on Friday, crafting an impressive 6-4, 6-4 win over fourth seed Fabio Fognini to reach the semi-finals in Buenos Aires.

Delbonis broke World No. 40 Fognini in the opening games of both sets to ensure the Italian could never find a foothold in the match, staying solid on serve to secure victory in one hour, 36 minutes.

The Argentine had also won the pair’s previous meeting in straight sets at Roland Garros. With his victory, Delbonis has reduced his ATP Head2Head deficit against Fognini to 4-5. 

The break in the opening game of the match was the only one in the first set, with World No. 42 Delbonis staying solid on serve thereafter and taking his first set point with a booming ace.


Fognini showed more resilience in the second set, breaking back to level at 3-3, but he immediately surrendered his serve again to hand Delbonis the advantage he needed to go on to victory. Delbonis particularly raised his game at important moments, converting three out of four break points and was also solid on serve, winning 79 per cent (37/47) of points behind his first delivery.

Delbonis, seeking his third ATP Tour title after winning in Sao Paulo in 2014 and Marrakech in 2016, will next face top seed Casper Ruud in the semi-finals.

The Norwegian overcame the windy conditions and Argentine Federico Coria 6-3, 6-4 in one hour and 33 minutes to book his place in his first tour-level semi-final of the season.

“It was very difficult with the weather,” Ruud said in his on-court interview. “It was not typical weather for Buenos Aires but more like Norwegian weather. On days like this, it is not easy to find your perfect game, so you have to play point by point, building the points. I think I was able to do that well and I am very happy to come through.”

Ruud has fond memories in Buenos Aires, having lifted the trophy at the ATP 250 event on his debut in 2020. In a dominant performance, the World No. 8 moved well throughout against Coria to improve to 2-0 in their ATP Head2Head series. Ruud won their only other meeting in the final in Gstaad last July.

The 23-year-old is aiming to capture his seventh tour-level crown this week, after enjoying a standout 2021 season, when he triumphed five times on the ATP Tour. With his victory, Ruud is now 7-0 at the clay-court tournament in Buenos Aires.

In the draw’s bottom half, third seed Lorenzo Sonego booked his semi-final spot with a 6-4, 7-6(4) win over Spain’s Fernando Verdasco. The 26-year-old Italian, who is one spot off his career-high ATP Ranking at World No. 22, is seeking a second ATP Tour clay-court title after his triumph in Cagliari last season. 

Both men saved four break points in the opening set, with Verdasco saving all four in the set’s sixth game. But the former World No. 7, who entered the Buenos Aires event with a protected ranking, could not save a fifth as he dropped serve to concede the opening set. Sonego looked on course for a routine win as he built a 4-0 lead in the second, but Verdasco clawed back, denying the Italian’s attempt to serve out the match at 5-3 and ultimately forcing a tie-break.

After closing out the two-hour, four-minute victory, Sonego awaits the winner of the day’s last quarter-final — a rematch of last year’s all-Argentine final between second seed Diego Schwartzman against Francisco Cerundolo.

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Brooksby Storms Into Dallas SFs

  • Posted: Feb 11, 2022

Fourth seed Jenson Brooksby maintained his perfect tour-level quarter-final record on Friday at the Dallas Open, cruising past Jordan Thompson 6-3, 6-0 to reach the semi-finals at the ATP 250 event.

The American, who is making his 2022 debut in Dallas, had won all three of his previous quarter-finals matches on the ATP Tour heading into his clash against Thompson. And in a dominant display, Brooksby showcased great variety, combining flat groundstrokes with deft slices to ensure his impressive last-eight record remained intact.

“I am really happy with how I competed today,” Brooksby said in his on-court interview. “I think I made good improvements from the match yesterday. My game felt better and I was more confident and it was a good day.”


The 21-year-old had not competed at a tour-level tournament since October prior to his victory against Andreas Seppi on Thursday. However, the World No. 54 is playing as if he has never been away, with Brooksby also saving all three break points he faced against Thompson to advance after 73 minutes.

Brooksby now leads the Australian 2-0 in their ATP Head2Head series, having defeated the 27-year-old en route to his maiden tour-level final in Newport in July.

The American is aiming to capture his first tour-level crown this week, and his semi-final opponent will be Marcos Giron after the World No. 70 shocked top-seeded Taylor Fritz with a dramatic 6-4, 3-6, 7-6(3) victory.

Top-seeded Fritz had led 4-2 in the third set before a flurry of three breaks in a row led to a deciding tie-break.

Giron then played a series of well-orchestrated points under pressure to win the tie-break and level up his ATP Head2Head series with his fellow American at 1-1.

“I’m not sure how I won because Fritz is an incredible server,” said Giron after the match. “He’s an incredible player and he served for it essentially twice in the third [set]. It was a lot of fun to finish the match like that.”

The Dallas semi-final will be a first ATP Tour meeting with Brooksby for World No. 70 Giron.

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Haase/Middelkoop March On In Rotterdam

  • Posted: Feb 11, 2022

Robin Haase and Matwe Middelkoop continued their title pursuit at the ABN Amro World Tennis Tournament on Friday, downing Belgians Sander Gille and Joran Vliegen 6-4, 3-6, 10-4 to reach the semi-finals in Rotterdam.

The Dutch pair had never been beyond the last eight at the ATP 500 event in three previous appearances together. However, they ensured they changed this record with a strong performance against Gille and Vliegen.

Haase and Middelkoop fired five aces and won 81 per cent (25/31) of their first-serve points to advance after 77 minutes. They will next play Nicolas Mahut and Fabrice Martin after the third seeds received a walkover from Alexander Bublik and Aslan Karatsev.

Gonzalez/Molteni Edge Through In Buenos Aires
Santiago Gonzalez and Andres Molteni extended their winning run to seven matches on Friday at the Argentina Open, overcoming fourth seeds Tomislav Brkic and Nikola Cacic 7-5, 4-6, 10-6.

The Mexican-Argentine tandem lifted the trophy at the Cordoba Open last week and edged closer to another title in Buenos Aires with a hard-fought one-hour and 36-minute victory against Brkic and Cacic to advance to the final.

They will next meet second seeds Fabio Fognini and Horacio Zeballos or third seeds Ariel Behar and Gonzalo Escobar.

Querrey/Withrow Advance To Face Top Seeds In Dallas SFs
Americans Sam Querrey and Jackson Withrow scored a 7-6(4), 7-6(3) victory over Nathaniel Lammons and Andre Goransson to set up a semi-final showdown against top seeds Marcelo Arevalo and Jean-Julien Rojer.

The Dallas singles draw features an all-American final four, and there are now two all-American teams in the double semis as Querrey and Withrow join John Isner and Jack Sock, who advanced on Thursday. Isner is still standing in both draws.

Isner and Sock will face Lloyd Glasspool and Harri Heliovaara in Saturday’s semis, after the British-Finnish duo beat the Mexican pairing of Hans Hach Verdugo and Miguel Angel Reyes-Varela, 6-1, 7-6(4). 

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The Tour – Food Court: Isner On Cooking, Eating Healthy & More

  • Posted: Feb 11, 2022

John Isner is competing at home this week at the Dallas Open, which is being held at the Styslinger/Altec Tennis Complex on the campus of Southern Methodist University.

The American, who is into the quarter-finals, lives within walking distance of the venue. A food aficionado, he is certainly familiar with the local cuisine. caught up with Isner to chat about the best food in the area, how he views his diet as a tennis player, his cooking skills and what he feels is a myth about nutrition.

What are some of the things you enjoy cooking the most?
There is no food I don’t like, so I like to cook everything, or at least I try to. I don’t think I’m the best cook, I just like to cook. I like to stir fry a lot of stuff.

Lately I’ve been making a lot of soup with the weather being cold, whether it’s chili or chicken tortilla soup, white bean turkey chili soup. I’ve just been making a lot of stuff. I have a Big Green Egg, so I like to smoke a lot of stuff on that. It makes it fun, and it’s easy. When you’re smoking it, cooking it indirectly, you just set it, leave it, I can go do whatever for a few hours come back and check on it. It’s fun.

I made a brisket one time that took 14 hours, cooked it overnight. I slept terribly because I was worried about it! I spent like $250 on it because it was a wagyu brisket and I wanted it to be really good. It turned out great. I make a lot of stuff on the grill: chicken, simple stuff. [A simple dish I like to make is] chicken or steak with sweet potatoes or [another] vegetable.

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How much do you enjoy experimenting with your rubs?
I used to, and now I don’t do my own rubs. It stresses me out. I’m always missing one ingredient and I have to go to the store to get it. I just have a tonne of rubs that are already made for me.

As a tennis player, you have to watch your diet. How strict are you with yourself?
I’m pretty strict. I won’t say I’m Novak Djokovic-strict, but at night is when I become more strict. I try to watch what I eat. I try to eat healthy. With three kids at home, sometimes you have to just give in and order a pizza. But that’s only if I don’t have a tournament looming. I’m pretty strict.

I know what to eat, I know what I feel good on, what gives me good fuel and I try to cook that way. We try to cook a lot because going to a restaurant with three young kids can be very stressful. You feel bad and you tip extra because the floor is disgusting.

How different is your diet during a tournament?
During a tournament, when I’m not literally at home [like I am here in Dallas], you’re eating out all the time. It’s almost easier eating healthy when you’re eating out, I think. You just make sure you order healthy.

Don’t order the desserts or pizza. Keep it simple. I guess for me, when I do eat carbs, I try to have them at lunch and try to eat a little bit on the lighter side before I go to bed. That’s how I feel the best in the morning.

What do you eat on the day of a match?
It depends on when I play. It’s just standard chicken and rice. I don’t eat much pasta, so it’s just chicken, rice and veggies before a match. If the match before me is going long, or if I anticipated playing at 3 and it’s 4:30 and I haven’t played yet, I love to eat peanut butter and honey, a little sandwich. 


What’s your go-to cheat meal?
My go-to cheat meal is probably a big burger and fries. You can’t beat that. I do like In-N-Out. There are a couple of In-N-Outs in Dallas. Dallas is renowned for its burgers. Everyone has their favourite burgers. There’s Keller’s, Goff’s, Burger House, Hudson House. It’s unbelievable. Hudson House has an unbelievable burger.

What’s your advice to juniors coming up who don’t know what to do nutritionally as a tennis player?
You can get away with eating like crap at a young age, but you don’t want to get into a habit of that. I think just learn some simple staples. Eating pasta and loading up on carbs the night before a match, I think that’s a myth in my opinion. I don’t think that’s the thing to do.

But learn what’s healthy, the good carbs for me are like a sweet potato. You can’t beat that. It gives you unbelievable energy. Also, try to educate yourself. It doesn’t mean you need to go crazy about it. But try to educate yourself on eating healthy because it will pay dividends in the long run.

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Tsitsipas Powers Past de Minaur to Reach Rotterdam SFs

  • Posted: Feb 11, 2022

Stefanos Tsitsipas doesn’t yet have an ATP 500 title in his trophy cabinet, but the World No. 4 looks to be firing up nicely to address that anomaly in Rotterdam this week.

The 2021 Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters champion produced another destructive performance on Friday to ease past Alex de Minaur 6-4, 6-4 in one hour, 31 minutes in the semi-finals of the ABN Amro World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam.


Tsitsipas had produced some fine ball-striking to see off Ilya Ivashka in the second-round, and he picked up where he left off against de Minaur. His strong start brought him early rewards as he overcame stubborn resistance from the Australian to break with his sixth break point of the fifth game.

The top seed went on to see out the first set comfortably and looked to be running away with the second as he surged to a double-break lead, before World No. 34 de Minaur slowed his march to victory with some trademark grit to reclaim one break.

Tsitsipas’ powerful game was nonetheless too much even for one of the best movers on the ATP Tour, the Greek striking 19 winners and winning 82 per cent (27/33) of points behind his first serve.

Standing in the way of the Greek in the semi-finals will be Czech qualifier Jiri Lehecka, after the World No. 137 continued his dream run in Rotterdam with a three-set win over Lorenzo Musetti earlier on Friday.

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Murray Accepts Dubai Wild Card

  • Posted: Feb 11, 2022

Andy Murray has accepted a wild card into the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, an ATP 500, the tournament announced on social media Friday. The event will be played from 21-26 February.

The former World No. 1 will be competing at the tournament for the seventh time, with his best result a run to the title in his last appearance in 2017, when he defeated Fernando Verdasco in the final.


Earlier this season, the Scot reached his first tour-level championship match since 2019 (Antwerp) at the Sydney Tennis Classic, before he advanced to the second round at the ABN Amro World Tennis Tournament, defeating Open Sud de France victor Alexander Bublik in Rotterdam.

The 34-year-old will be joined at the hard-court event in Dubai by reigning champion Aslan Karatsev, World No. 1 Novak Djokovic and Top 10 stars Andrey Rublev, Felix Auger-Aliassime and Jannik Sinner.

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Lehecka's Dream Run Continues, Reaches First SF In Rotterdam

  • Posted: Feb 11, 2022

Jiri Lehecka’s dream week at the ABN Amro World Tennis Tournament continued Friday as he soared into his maiden tour-level semi-final in Rotterdam.

The 20-year-old Czech qualifier wrote another chapter into his fairytale run at the ATP 500 event, surviving a second-set blip to overcome #NextGenATP Italian Lorenzo Musetti 6-3, 1-6, 7-5.

“[It is an] incredible feeling,” Lehecka said in his on-court interview. “The things I am achieving here are incredible. This is the big stage and I am happy I can be here and play these matches. Today it was another tough match against an incredibly tough opponent. I will now try and rest ahead of tomorrow and we will see.”

The World No. 137 showcased an abundance of grit and quality throughout his two-hour, 10-minute victory against Musetti, combining heavy-hitting with deft drop shots to become the lowest-ranked Rotterdam semi-finalist since then-World No. 225 Omar Camporese reached the last four in 1995.

Lehecka grabbed the spotlight earlier this week when he earned his first tour-level win by stunning World No. 12 Denis Shapovalov. It is a result that would have made his parents very proud, with both his father and mother former professional athletes.

With sporting pedigree in the 20-year-old’s family, Lehecka has always been passionate about competing. The Czech loves to cycle and ski when he is not on court and he will be aiming to slalom his way into the final in Rotterdam when he faces either top seed Stefanos Tsitsipas or Australian Alex de Minaur on Saturday.

The 19-year-old Musetti defeated Swede Mikael Ymer and World No. 11 Hubert Hurkacz en route to the quarter-finals. The Italian was aiming to reach his first tour-level semi-final since he advanced to the last four in Lyon in May.

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Isner/Sock Ride Near-Perfect Serving Into Dallas SFs

  • Posted: Feb 11, 2022

In opposite halves of the Dallas Open doubles draw, two all-American teams took the court for Thursday quarter-final matchups with contrasting results.

Wild cards John Isner and Jack Sock continued their run to the semis with a 6-0, 7-6(2) win over the German duo of Peter Gojowczyk and Oscar Otte, while Marcos Giron and Brandon Nakashima dropped a 6-1, 7-6(4) decision to top seeds Marcelo Arevalo and Jean-Julien Rojer.

Another all-U.S. duo, Sam Querrey and Jackson Withrow, will play Friday for a chance to reach semi-finals.

Isner and Sock stormed through the opening set, then used four consecutive love holds to stay in front in the second. After missing out on a match point on the return at 5-6, the Americans won six straight points to run away with the tie-break and the match.

They did not face a break point in the contest, with their opponents never getting as close as deuce on the return. Isner and Sock dropped just six points on serve in the match (41/47), good for an 87 per cent win rate.

It was a similar start for Arevalo and Rojer, who quickly went up 3-0 against Giron and Nakashima. The second set did not yield a break point, but five of the 11 points in the tie-break went against serve as the duo from El Salvador and the Netherlands advanced.

There was more doubles drama at the Argentina Open, where two of Thursday’s three contests were decided by a Match Tie-break. After saving three match points, second seeds Fabio Fognini and Horacio Zeballos survived with a 5-7, 6-2, 14-12 win over Andrea Collarini and Mario Vilella Martinez.

In another comeback win, fourth seeds Tomislav Brkic and Nikola Cacic defeated Miomir Kecmanovic and Fernando Romboli, 6-7(3), 6-3, 10-7.

In the lone doubles match at the ABN Amro World Tennis Tournament, fourth seeds Wesley Koolhof and Neal Skupski edged Rohan Bopanna and Denis Shapovalov, 6-4, 3-6, 10-7, to reach Saturday’s semi-finals.

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