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Steely Sinner Rallies Past Alcaraz To Umag Crown

  • Posted: Jul 31, 2022

Steely Sinner Rallies Past Alcaraz To Umag Crown

#NextGen ATP Italian lifts first trophy of 2022 at ATP 250 event in Croatia

It may have been a long time coming, but Jannik Sinner has an ATP Tour title in 2022.

The Italian prevailed in a heavyweight #NextGenATP championship match clash against Carlos Alcaraz 6-7(5), 6-1, 6-1 victory at the Plava Laguna Croatia Open Umag on Sunday.

Sinner has been one of the most consistent players on Tour this season and had reached six tour-level quarter-finals in 2022 prior to the clay-court ATP 250 event this week in Umag. The second seed had to be at his resilient best against Alcaraz, especially after the Spaniard had clinched a tight opening set in a tie-break. Yet the Italian began to dictate the baseline exchanges and saved nine from nine break points to complete a two-hour, 26-minute victory.

“I am obviously very happy,” said Sinner after the match. “I have [had] a tough year until now, I had some unfortunate moments, but we worked every time to play better, to be a better player, to be a better person. So, I’m very happy to be finally lifting a trophy this year, but I know that I still have a lot of things to improve… It’s all about the process.”

The win was Sinner’s second against Alcaraz in four weeks, after the Italian was a four-set winner in the pair’s fourth-round clash at Wimbledon.

A vital hold of serve in the second game of the second set was crucial to Sinner’s victory. The Italian fended off six break points to frustrate Alcaraz, going on to break the Spaniard’s serve immediately in the next game.

“That was a crucial point [of the match],” said Sinner. “I knew I had to stay there. He made some unforced errors, and I was very happy that I won this game. Then I returned well and raised my level a little bit, and I think I found a solution then.”

The match was the third tour-level meeting in a burgeoning rivalry between two of the ATP Tour’s brightest young stars, and the opening set lived up to the billing as both players produced some clean hitting and electric movement along the baseline. It was Alcaraz who made his move in the tie-break, which he led 5/1 before converting his third set point after a stunning defensive forehand forced Sinner to net a tricky half-volley.

Once Sinner had resisted the Alcaraz charge to hold his serve and level at 1-1 in the second set, however, the Italian took centre stage. Sinner was a constant threat in return games and he broke Alcaraz’s serve five times across the second and third sets to move into a 2-1 lead in the pair’s ATP Head2Head series.

Before this final, Sinner’s six previous ATP Tour championship matches had come on hard courts. His triumph in Umag is the World No. 10’s sixth title, and the victory against Alcaraz improved Sinner’s record against Spanish players in 2022 to 8-0.

It was Alcaraz’s second championship match loss in as many weeks after he fell to Lorenzo Musetti in Hamburg last Sunday. Despite the disappointment of defeat, the Spaniard’s run in Umag this week to a Tour-leading sixth final of the year will lift him above Stefanos Tsitsipas to a career-high No. 4 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings on Monday.

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Scouting Report: Rublev & Kyrgios Headline Washington, Medvedev Returns In Los Cabos

  • Posted: Jul 31, 2022

Scouting Report: Rublev & Kyrgios Headline Washington, Medvedev Returns In Los Cabos

An executive summary of what every fan should know about the coming week

All of this week’s action will be on North American hard courts with an ATP 500 event in Washington and an ATP 250 in Los Cabos.

Andrey Rublev is the top seed at the Citi Open, where other players include 2019 champion Nick Kyrgios and former World No. 1 Andy MurrayDaniil Medvedev, the current No. 1 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings, returns to action at the Abierto de Tenis Mifel. looks at what you should watch at each event.

View Draws: Washington | Los Cabos

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1) Rublev Top Seed:
The top seed in the United States’ capital, Rublev will try to claim his fourth ATP Tour title of the season. The 24-year-old, who has already triumphed in Marseille, Dubai and Belgrade this year, is no stranger to Washington. Rublev advanced to the semi-finals at the ATP 500 in 2018 as a 20-year-old. He will try to improve his 32-11 season record when he faces #NextGenATP Briton Jack Draper or American wild card Stefan Kozlov in the first round.

2) Fritz & Opelka Lead American Charge: The top two Americans in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings, Taylor Fritz and Reilly Opelka, lead a strong contingent from their country at the Citi Open, where they are seeded third and fourth, respectively. Fritz has enjoyed the best season of his career, winning his first ATP Masters 1000 title at the BNP Paribas Open, and he is ninth in the Pepperstone ATP Race To Turin as he tries to qualify for the Nitto ATP Finals for the first time. Opelka, a champion in Dallas and Houston this year, could face countryman and close friend Tommy Paul, the 14th seed, in the third round.

Other Americans to watch include 13th seed Maxime Cressy, the recent Newport titlist, who is seeded to face Rublev in the third round. Frances Tiafoe, who will have the local support because he is from nearby Maryland, is the 10th seed.

3) Nick Back For More: One of the best runs of Kyrgios’ career came in 2019 at the Citi Open, where he defeated Daniil Medvedev and Stefanos Tsitsipas in back-to-back matches to claim his second ATP 500 trophy. In his first singles appearance since reaching the Wimbledon final — he withdrew from singles in Atlanta due a left knee injury — Kyrgios will try to emerge victorious again in Washington. The Australian will open against American Marcos Giron, with the winner playing Paul in the second round.

4) Murray On The March: At the start of the season, Murray was No. 134 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings. On Monday, he will be World No. 50 and eager to climb higher with a good performance in Washington. The former World No. 1 owns a 7-2 record at the Citi Open, where he advanced to the final in 2006 and made the quarter-finals in 2018, his most recent appearance. Murray, who has made finals this year in Sydney and Stuttgart, will face Swede Mikael Ymer in the first round, with the winner facing 15th seed Aslan Karatsev.

<a href=''>Andy Murray</a>
Photo Credit: Richard Kessler/Citi Open
5) Star-Studded Doubles Field: The top seeds in the Washington doubles draw are Rajeev Ram and Horacio Zeballos, who will play together for the second time after losing in the first round at Roland Garros in 2015. The field is loaded with talent, with unseeded teams including 2019 year-end No. 1s Juan Sebastian Cabal/Robert Farah, 2016 year-end No. 1s Jamie Murray/Bruno Soares, Nick Kyrgios/Jack Sock and Nicolas Mahut/Edouard Roger-Vasselin. The second seeds, Wesley Koolhof and Neal Skupski, have won five titles together this year and lead the Pepperstone ATP Doubles Team Rankings.

1) Medvedev Back In Action: World No. 1 Medvedev will compete for the first time since June in Mallorca when he takes to the court in Los Cabos, where he is making his debut. The 26-year-old will try to earn his first ATP Tour title of the season having already reached three finals, including one at the Australian Open. Medvedev will be happy to be back on hard courts, on which he has lifted 12 of his 13 tour-level trophies. He opens his tournament in Mexico against wild card Rodrigo Pacheco Mendez or a qualifier.

2) Felix Seeded Second: Medvedev is not the only Top 10 player in the draw, as Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime is seeded second. Another debutant, Auger-Aliassime will try to snap a three-match losing streak when he faces Australian John Millman or Mexican wild card Alex Hernandez in the second round. The 21-year-old has shown great consistency this year, reaching nine quarter-finals and helping his country to the ATP Cup trophy in January.

3) Norrie Defending Champion: Cameron Norrie has taken the ATP Tour by storm over the past year, and it all started in Los Cabos. In 2021, the British lefty began his week at the ATP 250 without a title to his name. After lifting the trophy, he claimed an ATP Masters 1000 crown at Indian Wells, competed in the Nitto ATP Finals, cracked the Top 10 of the Pepperstone ATP Rankings this April and clawed into his first major semi-final at Wimbledon. Norrie returns to Los Cabos to defend his title as the third seed. He will play #NextGenATP Chun-hsin Tseng or a qualifier in the second round.

<a href=''>Cameron Norrie</a>
Photo Credit: Abierto Los Cabos
4) Nakashima Rising: #NextGenATP American Brandon Nakashima advanced to his first tour-level championship match in Los Cabos last year and will try to secure his maiden crown at the same event this week. The 20-year-old, who turns 21 Wednesday, is eighth in the Pepperstone ATP Race To Milan and is trying to qualify for the Intesa Sanpaolo Next Gen ATP Finals for the second consecutive year. Nakashima, the sixth seed in Los Cabos, will play a qualifier in the first round.

5) Wimbledon Champs Headline Doubles Field: Australians Matthew Ebden and Max Purcell headline the Los Cabos doubles draw in their second tournament together since winning Wimbledon. The second seeds will try to bounce back after a quarter-final loss in Atlanta against countrymen Jason Kubler and John Peers. The top seeds in Los Cabos are Santiago Gonzalez and Andres Molteni, who have earned four ATP Tour titles together in the past 10 months.

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Bolelli/Fognini Save 8 MPs To Win Umag TItle In 'Craziest Match'

  • Posted: Jul 31, 2022

Bolelli/Fognini Save 8 MPs To Win Umag TItle In ‘Craziest Match’

Italians trailed Glasspool/Heliovaara 0/6 in second-set tie-break

Simone Bolelli and Fabio Fognini saved two matchs point on serve at 5-6 in the second set of Saturday’s Plava Laguna Croatia Open Umag final — but the Italian heroics were just getting started after their 13th break-point save.

The top seeds trailed Lloyd Glasspool and Harri Heliovaara 0/6 in the second-set tie-break, but stormed back with a miraculous eight straight points for force a Match Tie-break. The Italians stretched that run to 12 points to open up a 4/0 lead in the decider en route to a scarcely believable 5-7, 7-6(6), 10-7 victory.

“This is maybe the craziest match ever,” Bolelli said after winning his second Umag title with Fognini. “We were down 0/6 in the second tie-break. We were just playing. The guys missed some [shots] but we played good. We tried to stay focussed in the Match Tie-break.

“Tennis is like this; doubles is crazy sometimes. But I am very happy for this victory and my second title here in Umag with Fabio.”

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The familiar pairing claimed its second title of 2022 (Rio de Janeiro) and fifth overall, improving to 106-57 at tour-level and 24-6 on the year.

“We are really happy for sure about this victory,” Fognini added. “Crazy, an incredible match. Six match points [in the tie-break]. Well, that’s the sport. Thank you Simone for letting me enjoy another time this great title here in Umag after 11 years.”

Glasspool/Heliovaara were denied their second title of the season (Hamburg) in their fifth final.

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Comeback Kid: De Minaur Returns To Atlanta Final

  • Posted: Jul 31, 2022

Comeback Kid: De Minaur Returns To Atlanta Final

Aussie awaits Tiafoe or Brooksby in final

Alex de Minaur battled back from a set down for his second consecutive match on Friday at the Atlanta Open to reach his second final at the ATP 250 event. The third seed dominated the final two sets in a 5-7, 6-2, 6-2 victory against Ilya Ivashka, repeating the formula he used in his quarter-final win against Adrian Mannarino one day prior.

“I just found a way to get through,” De Minaur said. “It wasn’t an ideal start but these things happen. You adapt, you move on and try to do the best that you can.”

The Aussie let an 0-3 lead slip early in the match, with Ivashka surging to the opening set after a lengthy rain delay at 5-5. De Minaur then fought off two break points to open the second set as he began to reassert himself with his steady baseline game. He again erased a pair of break points to start the deciding set before his pressure told.

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De Minaur broke serve on five of seven chances, doing his damage with a 62 per cent win rate on second-serve return points.

The 2019 champion has enjoyed strong support all week in Atlanta, but is not expecting to be the crowd favourite in the final against the winner of the all-American semi-final between Frances Tiafoe and Jenson Brooksby.

“It’s going to be a fun match,” De Minaur said. “I feel like I might not have the crowd on my side tomorrow since I’m playing an American. But I’m looking forward to [the final].”

By improving to 8-1 in Atlanta, the Aussie is through to his first tour-level final of 2022 after three previous semi-final runs. He is seeking his sixth title and his first since winning Eastbourne last June.

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Murray's Ukrainian Relief Efforts Get Boost At Citi Open

  • Posted: Jul 30, 2022

Murray’s Ukrainian Relief Efforts Get Boost At Citi Open

Andy Murray’s campaign to help the children of war-ravaged Ukraine was boosted Saturday when Citi Open Chairman Mark Ein pledged to match the Scot’s prize money donation from next week’s ATP 500 tournament in Washington, D.C. A winner of 46 tour-level titles, Murray also took the opportunity to speak about Ukraine with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who visited the Rock Creek Park Tennis Center.

Murray, a father of four and ambassador for Unicef U.K., has been donating 100 per cent of his prize money since the beginning of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells in March, shortly after Russia invaded Ukraine. That amounts to more than US$300,000 in donations and he has pledged to keep doing so throughout the end of the season.

“That really inspired us and we’re announcing today that whatever Andy makes here and donates to UNICEF, we’re going to match it,” Ein said. “We’re also going to create a fan portal called Match Ukraine, where fans can get involved. They can give by the match. They can be part of Andy’s journey. In fact, we’ll extend it through the year. People can be part of Andy’s mission here to make a real difference in something in the world that’s horrible and really deserves all of our support.”

Murray could earn another $342,800 should he win next week’s tournament, which would then be matched by the Mark and Sally Ein Foundation and the Citi Open.

Murray, a 14-time ATP Masters 1000 champion, told reporters Saturday that as the war dragged on, it was important to keep driving awareness and fundraising efforts, and thanked Ein and the Citi Open for the matching donation for his efforts next week.

“It’s brilliant. Thanks a lot to Mark and all the team here for supporting that. It shows that when the players and the tournaments work together, that really good things can happen. Hopefully I can have a good run and lots of the fans can get involved, too, raise a lot of money this week.

“You can’t just forget about this. It’s still going on. People are still getting killed, children are still having to flee their homes, and are in really, really tragic situations. It’s important that the media continues to shine a light on it, keep talking about it.”

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Murray is making his fourth appearance at the Citi Open. He reached the final on debut in 2006 (l. Clement) and in his most recent outing in 2018 he reached the quarter-finals after an epic third-set tie-break win over Marius Copil than concluded after 3 a.m.

The World No. 50 opens his 2022 campaign against Swede Mikael Ymer.

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Sinner Sets Dream Final Against Alcaraz In Umag

  • Posted: Jul 30, 2022

Sinner Sets Dream Final Against Alcaraz In Umag

Italian cruises past countryman Agamenone

Four weeks after their four-set Wimbledon showdown, #NextGenATP stars Jannik Sinner and Carlos Alcaraz will meet again in Sunday’s final at the Plava Laguna Croatia Open Umag. Sinner set up the showdown with a 6-1, 6-3 win against qualifier Franco Agamenone on Saturday evening, after Alcaraz won a three-setter against Giulio Zeppieri.

The championship match will be the third ATP Head2Head meeting between Umag’s top seeds, with the Spaniard winning their first encounter last November at the Rolex Paris Masters. The pair also met on the ATP Challenger Tour in 2019, when Alcaraz claimed a three-set win on the clay of Alicante.

“The final is very tough. Everyone was expecting that [matchup].” Sinner said in his on-court interview. “Today I played quite well. Also Carlos is playing well. I’ll try to play some good tennis. I have to raise my level if I want to win, so I will try to prepare in the best possible way.”

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Alcaraz Survives Zeppieri Charge To Reach Umag Final

Sinner’s 6-1, 6-4, 6-7(8), 6-3 win against Alcaraz at Wimbledon was a thrilling encounter between two of the hottest prospects on the ATP Tour. The two youngsters’ transitions from talented juniors to Top 10 stars have been remarkably similar, with both triumphing at the season-ending Intesa Sanpaolo Next Gen ATP Finals (Sinner in 2019, Alcaraz in 2021) and both having clinched five ATP Tour titles at a tender age.

Sinner claimed four of his tour-level crowns in a standout 2021 and Alcaraz has matched that tally this year with wins in Rio de Janeiro, Miami, Barcelona and Madrid. Those successes have lifted No. 5 Alcaraz above No. 10 Sinner in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings, but despite being yet to pick up a trophy in 2022 Sinner’s form has remained consistent — the Italian holds a 34-9 match record this season and had reached six tour-level quarter-finals prior to this week in Umag.

“I played against him a couple of times,” said Alcaraz of Sinner on Saturday. “Tough matches against him. I know that I have to play my best to beat him and I will try to go for the final and show my best tomorrow.”


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In Saturday’s semi-final against Agamenone, Sinner raced to a 5-0 lead in the opening set, saving an early break point as he used his baseline superiority to build the advantage against his countryman. He used a four-game run from 1-2 in the second set to move to the brink of victory before Agamenone claimed his first break of the match to extend the contest. Undeterred, Sinner closed out the victory with his fifth break.  

“I tried to play well in the important moments and the beginning of the sets,” Sinner said. “I’m very happy to be in the final. Umag is a special place for me. It’s [where I had] one of my first ATP [match] wins. So I really enjoy to play here.”

Sinner is through to his eighth ATP Tour final and enters with a stellar 6-1 record in his previous title matches. Alcaraz was a perfect 5-0 in finals before his defeat to Lorenzo Musetti last week in Hamburg. The defending Umag champion is 8-0 at the Croatian ATP 250 event.

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Alcaraz Survives Zeppieri Charge To Reach Umag Final

  • Posted: Jul 30, 2022

Alcaraz Survives Zeppieri Charge To Reach Umag Final

Win lifts Spaniard to No. 4 in Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings

After opening his Plava Laguna Croatia Open Umag campaign with a pair of comfortable straight-sets wins, Carlos Alcaraz’s title defence was given a stern semi-final test on Saturday evening at the ATP 250 event in Croatia.

The top seed prevailed 7-5, 4-6, 6-3 in an absorbing #NextGenATP battle against Giulio Zeppieri to reach a Tour-leading sixth final of 2022. Alcaraz overcame a nasty roll of his right ankle in the second set before triumphing in a dramatic decider as Zeppieri struggled with cramp soon after reeling off three games in a row to level at 3-3.

“It’s amazing to be in a final here again,” said Alcaraz in his on-court interview. “I enjoy playing here in Umag and I’m really happy with the win today.”

With the win, Alcaraz rose above Stefanos Tsitsipas to No. 4 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings — setting him up to reach a new career-high on Monday — and improved his record in Umag to 8-0. He will face another Italian, second seed Jannik Sinner or qualifier Franco Agamenone, in Sunday’s championship match. It will also be Alcaraz’s 100th tour-level match, and the 19-year-old was confident his ankle would be in good shape to compete.

“At the moment it is good,” said Alcaraz. “I don’t feel too much right now. Let’s see tonight or tomorrow morning, but I am going to say I will be ready for the final.

“It would be amazing in my 100th match to get the win, and of course it is amazing to be No. 4 on Monday. It’s something great for me, but right now I am just focussed on the final.”

A close encounter in the Croatian heat saw some spectacular exchanges between Alcaraz and Zeppieri, with both crushing heavy balls from the baseline and enjoying plenty of success in return games. Alcaraz converted six from 15 break points and Zeppieri four from 13, as both players stayed aggressive throughout.

After Zeppieri rallied to level in the deciding set, however, the Italian’s physical exertions in Umag, where he was playing his fifth three-set match across qualifying and main draw competition, appeared to catch up with him. Alcaraz was clinical in reeling off the three games he needed for a two-hour, 56-minute win.

Until that point Zeppieri, roared on by a large contingent of Italian fans, went toe-to-toe with Alcaraz in a performance that belied the fact he had not won an ATP Tour match prior to this week. Despite just falling short in Saturday’s semi-final, the 20-year old’s run in Umag lifts the Italian 33 spots to No. 135 in the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings.

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Wu Yibing Ready To Get Back In The Fast Lane

  • Posted: Jul 30, 2022

Wu Yibing Ready To Get Back In The Fast Lane

Rising star has lit up the ATP Challenger Tour this season

Former junior World No. 1 Wu Yibing reached a career-high of No. 174 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings this week behind his second straight ATP Challenger Tour title. But the 22-year-old from China has his sights set on the Top 100, with one eye on a particular number.

“The highest-ranked Chinese player ever is No. 136,” he said in an exclusive interview with, alluding to Zhang Zhizhen. “I think I have a pretty good chance to break it this year. I’m going to trust myself and have a high standard.”

It’s an ambitious goal for the six-footer, who played exclusively on a domestic circuit in China in 2020-21 after recovering from elbow surgery. But Wu is already the Chinese No. 1, having passed Zhang earlier this month. In 2020, Wu had a piece of bone removed from his elbow. (“It sounds terrifying, but I made it,” he says.)

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Wu and the 25-year-old Zhang are both in the Top 200, with the 17-year-old Shang Juncheng and 20-year-old Yunchaokete Bu representing China inside the Top 400. 

But Wu’s recent form on the Challenger Tour has tilted the spotlight his way. 

He returned at the ITF level in January but twisted his ankle badly in his first tournament back in Cancun, an injury he likened to Alexander Zverev’s gruesome incident at Roland Garros. Wu won his next event, an April ITF event in Florida, and has since won three Challenger titles in the United States, including back-to-back trophy runs this month in Rome, Georgia and Indianapolis.

His four career Challenger titles make him the most decorated Chinese player in the circuit’s history.

In his Indianapolis triumph, he saved six match points to defeat American Aleksandar Kovacevic 6-7(10), 7-6(13) 6-3 in an epic final. He’s also earned a pair of Top-100 victories this season, beating Aussie Jordan Thompson and Germany’s Peter Gojowczyk.

“Those matches gave me a lot of confidence, especially the match against Jordan Thompson,” Wu said of his 1-6, 7-6(5), 6-2 victory in Zagreb. “Especially being down a set and struggling in the second set and fighting through it. It gave me confidence that I could compete with Top 100 players.”

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After testing himself against international opposition, Wu feels like a more mature player than he was before his elbow injury. He is still as aggressive as ever, but no longer finds himself rushing in his attempts to generate power.

While he is happy with his overall game, particularly his enhanced return, Wu is keying on his first-serve percentage and net skills as areas for improvement.

“In general, the Chinese players, we’re working a lot on the baseline,” he explained. “We’re missing some shots like slicing, like volleys. So this is something I’m missing from my junior time of practising, which I’m looking forward to improving.”

Wu is also eager to improve his fitness in order to compete on the ATP Tour.

“I think mentally I am ready to overcome all the injuries I might come across in the near future,” he said. “My body is not strong enough like other players, so I am ready to put more effort in the gym and stretching room. One of the important lessons I have to learn is how to prevent injury. I have talked to my physio quite a lot lately about this subject.”

Fortunately, he has a team to help guide him — a rarity for players at the Challenger level.

“I’m lucky being Chinese. I get a lot of support from my federation and also my agency,” he explained. “They’re helping me to find these great coaches and physios and fitness coaches. They’re doing a great job so far this year.

“I’m not going to take all the credit myself. Tennis is a lonely sport. I don’t have many friends on the Tour — I missed a few years of these tournaments. My coaches and my physio, they have to keep me up, keep me hungry about playing matches and keep me fit. All these little things make a team.”

Wu Yibing
Wu at the ATP Challenger Tour event in Indianapolis. Photo Credit: Larry Lawrence

Wu’s status as one of China’s top tennis prospects has also given him the opportunity to meet international sporting superstars like golf great Tiger Woods and basketball legend Yao Ming, who he called “The Great Wall of China”. He also met Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons when the Philadelphia 76ers visited Shanghai in 2018.

A big NBA fan, Wu enjoyed a nice side-benefit from his time in the United States earlier this season during the playoffs. Due to the time difference, the games are on TV in the morning in China, which conflicted with Wu’s practice schedule. In the U.S., he was able to watch the playoffs in prime time.

“Here, I can chill after a long day of practice,” said Wu, who calls Kevin Durant his favourite player. “I can just chill on my bed and watch some great games.”

Music is Wu’s other passion off the court, and he credited Taiwanese artist Jay Chou’s newly released songs for spurring him on to his recent success.

“I’m going to give him a little credit for winning these tournaments, listening to his music,” Wu said with a laugh.

A celebrity in his own right, Wu also enjoys live streaming on Chinese social media and speaking directly with his fans.

“I do it because I have some free time and I want to talk to someone,” he shared. “Instead of playing video games, I choose to do the live streaming and interact with all the Chinese fans. Maybe some junior players will get inspired by it.

“Interacting with fans brings some light to my life on Tour. I guess gaining some supporters is never a bad thing.”

As he sets his sights on the ATP Tour, Wu can also draw from the experience of meeting and competing with many of the game’s top players. He was a hitting partner at the 2017 Nitto ATP Finals, and took a set off Kei Nishikori as a wild card at the 2018 Rolex Shanghai Masters.

Thanks to his rapid rise up the Pepperstone ATP Rankings, Wu has booked himself a return to the big stage in August, when he will make his senior Grand Slam qualifying debut at the US Open — the site of his junior singles triumph in 2017.

“I actually pictured it quite a lot in my head,” Wu said of his return to the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. “Taking some pictures there, and to check out if they put my name on the wall… all the things that a normal person would think of.

“But I don’t want to overthink too much about the emotional stuff, because I’m going to New York to play tennis, not to be nostalgic about the good old times. I hope I can turn this emotion into some positive energy to be helpful for my matches.

“It will be a very special feeling to be back. I finished my junior career at the US Open and now my professional career might start a new chapter there. It does feel like destiny in some way. But I know I still need to focus and bring out the best tennis on court.”

– with reporting assistance from Michael Chen

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Bautista Agut Ends Misolic Dream, Clinches Kitzbühel Title

  • Posted: Jul 30, 2022

Bautista Agut Ends Misolic Dream, Clinches Kitzbühel Title

Spaniard defeats #NextGenATP Austrian to seal 11th ATP Tour crown

Despite facing a home favourite riding a wave of momentum, Roberto Bautista Agut showed all his class at the Generali Open in Kitzbühel on Saturday.

The third seed ended #NextGenATP Filip Misolic’s dream run at the clay-court ATP 250 event in Austria with a 6-2, 6-2 championship match victory to lift his 11th ATP Tour title.

“I enjoyed the final, I think I managed the pressure very well,” said Bautista Agut after the match. “I knew I was a little bit the favourite today, but he had so many good wins this tournament and I knew it was going to be difficult. I played a very good match.”

The 20-year-old Misolic had earlier kept his cool to reach the final in his first tour-level event by edging Yannick Hanfmann after the pair’s rain-delayed semi-final clash resumed with the Austrian leading 1/0 in the third-set tie-break. Upon returning to court for the championship match, however, Misolic had no answer to Bautista Agut’s consistent ballstriking as the Spaniard triumphed in one hour and 33 minutes.

“I want to congratulate Roberto,” said Misolic, whose exploits this week in his homeland have lifted him 70 spots to No. 135 in the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings. “I have watched you on television [before] and to play here against you in the final is an honour for me.”

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Bautista Agut broke Misolic’s serve twice in each set as he dictated play throughout the final, firing a series of searing winners from deep and staying solid behind his own delivery to win his second Tour crown of the season following his victory in Doha in February.

It was the Spaniard’s second tour-level title on clay, and he was pleased to reach the winner’s circle on the surface for the first time since his triumph in Stuttgart in 2014.

“It was a very long time since I won a title on clay,” said Bautista Agut. “It’s very special for me, because I’ve done a lot of good work on this surface.”

Bautista Agut also defeated Jurij Rodionov, Jiri Lehecka and Albert Ramos-Vinolas on his second appearance in Kitzbühel this week. The triumph has lifted the Spaniard two spots to No. 18 in the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings.

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Martinez/Sonego Upset Puetz/Venus To Clinch Kitzbühel Crown

  • Posted: Jul 30, 2022

Martinez/Sonego Upset Puetz/Venus To Clinch Kitzbühel Crown

Spanish-Italian pair lifts trophy in just third tour-level event together

Pedro Martinez and Lorenzo Sonego may have done things the hard way this week at the Generali Open, but the unseeded duo’s nerves held to the very end as they lifted a first ATP Tour title together in Kitzbühel.

Martinez and Sonego defeated top seeds Tim Puetz and Michael Venus 5-7, 6-4, 10-8 in a dramatic championship match in Austria, their second Match Tie-break victory of the week. Martinez and Sonego’s other two victories at the clay-court ATP 250 event each required two tie-break sets.

“I’m really happy because I played with a friend and that is really nice,” said Sonego. “I expected nothing from my doubles, but I really enjoyed every moment on court with Pedro. He played so well, and we could do something good in the future.”

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Sonego and Martinez led 4-1 early in the Austrian Alps, but Puetz and Venus showed their experience to roar back to claim the first set and place their unseeded opponents under pressure. Yet Martinez and Sonego held firm for a one-hour, 58-minute victory having saved six from eight break points they faced.

“We are both good fighters,” said Martinez. “After having a lot of chances in the first set, we had two opportunities to get a double break and we couldn’t do it. We had to keep believing we could win the match. In doubles, anything can happen.

“I’m happy to play with Lorenzo, we enjoy it a lot on the court and we are happy to get the win.”

Martinez and Sonego first teamed at the Miami Open presented by Itau in March, and the duo now holds a 6-2 match record for 2022. The victory in Kitzbühel is Martinez’s first ATP Tour doubles title and Sonego’s second, after the Italian triumphed in Cagliari in 2021 alongside Andrea Vavassori.

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