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#NextGenATP Zeppieri Earns Maiden Tour Win In Umag

  • Posted: Jul 25, 2022

#NextGenATP Zeppieri Earns Maiden Tour Win In Umag

Galan upsets 2016 champ Fognini in Croatia

At the fifth time of trying, Giulio Zeppieri is a main draw winner on the ATP Tour.

The #NextGenATP Italian rallied to a 3-6, 6-1, 6-4 first-round victory against Pedro Cachin at the Plava Laguna Croatia Open Umag on Monday. The 20-year-old needed five match points to complete his victory, but kept his cool to serve out for a one-hour, 54-minute win against the World No. 90.

“It’s a very emotional moment for me, my first win on the ATP Tour,” said Zeppieri in his on-court interview. “I’m very proud of myself because I beat a very good guy in Pedro, and I’m very happy.”


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Zeppieri showed good form on clay earlier this year, defeating Alex Molcan and Maxime Cressy to qualify for the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome before qualifying for his first Grand Slam main draw at Roland Garros.

He also came through qualifying in Umag at the weekend, seeing off 14-time Tour titlist Gilles Simon and Elias Ymer to reach the main draw in Croatia. Zeppieri won 84 per cent (42/50) of points behind his first delivery in a solid serving display against Cachin to secure the main draw win that had previously eluded him.

A potential second-round clash between Zeppieri and his more experienced countryman Fabio Fognini was scuppered by Daniel Elahi Galan. The Colombian upset the seventh-seeded Fognini, who lifted the trophy in Umag in 2016, 6-3, 5-7, 6-3.

The 26-year-old Galan celebrated cracking the Top 100 of the Pepperstone ATP Rankings for the first time on Monday by prevailing in a two-hour, 43-minute battle. He consistently challenged in return games, converting seven of 14 break points in his first ATP Head2Head meeting with Fognini.

Also on Monday, Roberto Carballes Baena defeated Henri Laaksonen, 6-4, 7-5 to set a second-round meeting with fifth seed Alex Molcan or home wild card Duje Ajdukovic.

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Lehecka Holds Firm For Kitzbühel Debut Win

  • Posted: Jul 25, 2022

Lehecka Holds Firm For Kitzbühel Debut Win

Sousa also advances, Coria ousts Garin at ATP 250 event

After starting the year with some top-class displays on hard courts, has the time come for Jiri Lehecka to make a breakthrough on the clay?

The #NextGenATP Czech may have done things the hard way in his 7-6(6), 6-4 first-round victory against Thiago Monteiro at the Generali Open in Kitzbühel on Monday, but a dominant serving performance ultimately helped the 20-year-old seal a debut win at the ATP 250 event in Austria.

Lehecka let slip a 3-0 lead in the first set and later had to fend off a Monteiro set point at 5/6 in a close-fought first-set tie-break, but he retained his composure to complete a one-hour, 46-minute win, having fired 10 aces and won 82 per cent (31/38) of points behind his first delivery.


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The 20-year-old charged to a maiden tour-level semi-final in February as a qualifier at the indoor hard-court ATP 500 event in Rotterdam, where he upset Denis Shapovalov, Botic van de Zandschulp and Lorenzo Musetti. Lehecka, who currently sits sixth in the Pepperstone ATP Race To Milan, will hope for a similarly deep run in Austria to boost his chances of qualifying for November’s Intesa Sanpaolo Next Gen ATP Finals.

Lehecka’s second-round assignment is a first ATP Head2Head meeting with Joao Sousa, after the eighth seed brushed past Czech qualifier Vit Kopriva, 6-1, 7-5. Sousa broke Kopriva’s serve five times in a 90-minute victory, his first tour-level win since Roland Garros in late May. Sousa has enjoyed success in Kitzbühel before, reaching the final in 2017 before falling to Philipp Kohlschreiber.

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Federico Coria extended his winning streak against recent Wimbledon quarter-finalist Cristian Garin to three with a 6-4, 7-5 victory. The Argentine dropped just two games against Garin in the pair’s most recent meeting in Rio de Janeiro in February, and Coria was clinical with his chances to prevail once again in Austria, where he converted four from eight break point opportunities to clinch the win on tournament debut.

Coria will next face seventh seed Pedro Martinez or wild card Nicolas Jarry in the second round as he chases a fifth tour-level quarter-final appearance of 2022.

A pair of home wild cards enjoyed impressive starts to their campaigns in Kitzbühel, as both Filip Misolic and Jurij Rodionov completed straight-sets first-round wins. Misolic defeated Daniel Dutra da Silva, 6-2, 7-6(6), while Rodionov saw off Argentine qualifier Hernan Casanova 6-4, 6-2.

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Thiem & Nishikori Accept Winston-Salem Wild Cards

  • Posted: Jul 25, 2022

Thiem & Nishikori Accept Winston-Salem Wild Cards

ATP 250 to be played from 21-27 August

Former Top 5 stars Dominic Thiem and Kei Nishikori have accepted wild cards into the Winston-Salem Open, an ATP 250 event to be played from 21-27 August.

Thiem will compete in the main draw of the hard-court tournament for the first time. In 2012, the Austrian attempted to qualify in North Carolina, but was unsuccessful.

Now 28, Thiem will try to add to his hard-court resumé, which includes titles at the US Open and the BNP Paribas Open as well as two runner-up finishes at the Nitto ATP Finals. The former World No. 3 is continuing his comeback from a wrist injury, which he began in March.

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Nishikori has not been in action since last October’s BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells. The former World No. 4 underwent arthroscopic left hip surgery in January.

The Japanese star last played the Winston-Salem Open in its debut edition in 2011. That year, Nishikori qualified before advancing to the Round of 16.

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Musetti Breaks Into Top 50, Mover Of Week

  • Posted: Jul 25, 2022

Musetti Breaks Into Top 50, Mover Of Week looks at the top Movers of the Week in the ATP Rankings, as of Monday, 25 July 2022

After clinching his maiden ATP Tour title at the Hamburg European Open, #NextGenATP Italian Lorenzo Musetti has broken into the Top 50 of the Pepperstone ATP Rankings for the first time. Musetti’s championship match opponent, Carlos Alcaraz, has become the second-youngest player in the 21st century to crack the Top 5 with his run to the final in Germany. looks at the movers of the week, as of Monday, 25 July.

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No. 31 Lorenzo Musetti, +31 (Career High)
Musetti’s run to the title in Hamburg propels him into the Top 50 of the Pepperstone ATP Rankings, cutting in half his ranking to No. 31. The 20-year-old overcame Alcaraz in a thrilling #NextGenATP clash on the clay at the ATP 500 event in Germany, where Musetti’s run also included wins against Alejandro Davidovich Fokina and Francisco Cerundolo. Read Hamburg Final Report & Watch Highlights.

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No. 5 Carlos Alcaraz, +1 (Career High)
Despite losing to Musetti, Alcaraz’s upwards trajectory continues. The Spaniard’s run to the final has made him the second-youngest player in the 21st century to crack the Top 5 of the Pepperstone ATP Rankings, after countryman Rafael Nadal. Alcaraz’s week included wins against Karen Khachanov and Alex Molcan before he fell to Musetti in a roller-coaster three-set final.

No. 24 Francisco Cerundolo, +6 (Career High)
After lifting his first ATP Tour title in Bastad a week ago, Cerundolo backed that up with another strong display on the European clay that lifts him six spots to a career-high No. 24 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings. The 23-year-old Argentine upset second seed Andrey Rublev with the loss of just six games in the second round in Hamburg, where he went on to reach his fourth semi-final of 2022 before falling to eventual champion Musetti.

No. 199 Dominic Thiem, +75
Former World No. 3 Thiem returns to the Top 200 of the Pepperstone ATP Rankings after reaching the semi-finals at the EFG Swiss Open Gstaad. The Austrian backed up his quarter-final run in Bastad a week prior with victories against Hugo Gaston, Federico Delbonis and Juan Pablo Varillas in the Swiss Alps, a further sign that the 17-time tour-level titlist is rediscovering his best form after returning to action in March following a nine-month layoff due to a wrist injury.

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Scouting Report: Alcaraz, Isner & Thiem Headline Umag, Atlanta & Kitzbuhel

Other Notable Top 100 Movers
No. 23 Karen Khachanov, +3
No. 38 Alex Molcan, +10 (Career High)
No. 49 Pedro Martinez, +3
No. 54 Fabio Fognini, +7
No. 59 Jaume Munar, +4
No. 88 Peter Gojowczyk, +5
No. 99 Daniel Elahi Galan, +14 (Career High)

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Wu Saves 6 Championship Points To Take Indy Challenger Title

  • Posted: Jul 25, 2022

Wu Saves 6 Championship Points To Take Indy Challenger Title

Francesco Maestrelli becomes sixth Italian #NextGenATP Challenger Tour title winner of the year

China’s highest-ranked men’s player Wu Yibing continued his sizzling run on the ATP Challenger Tour Sunday when he saved six championship points to claim the Rajeev Ram Foundation Indy Challenger. Wu erased the match points in the second set en route to a 6-7(10), 7-6(13), 6-3 victory over Aleksandar Kovacevic in 2 hours and 54 minutes. The win lifts Wu to a career-high 174 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings.

“Today means a lot. I was crying like a baby after the match,” said the former junior No. 1.

In a big week for Chinese players, Zhang Zhizhen also reached the final at the Citta di Trieste Challenger in Italy.

Wu is the first Asian-born men’s player to win three titles in the same season since Alexander Bublik in 2019. Boasting an 18-2 record on the Challenger Tour this season, he is attempting to become the first Chinese man to reach the Top 100.

The on-court battle proved to be both physically and mentally exhausting. Wu’s remarkable effort to save six match points is the most in a Challenger final since Marcos Giron saved six against Ivo Karlovic in Houston in 2019. “Both tie-breaks were more mental than (about) tennis,” Wu said.

The 22-year-old has relied on his mental toughness and perseverance throughout his young career. In 2017, he was crowned the boys’ singles and doubles champion (with Hsu Yu-hsiou) at the US Open and won his first Challenger title in Shanghai. However, the past three years Wu has been sidelined due to various injuries and the pandemic.

The inaugural Rajeev Ram Foundation Indy Challenger is hosted by doubles World No. 2 Rajeev Ram and his foundation.

Home favourite Francesco Passaro became the sixth Italian #NextGenATP player to win an ATP Challenger Tour title this season when he defeated China’s Zhang Zhizhen 4-6, 6-3, 6-3 in the final of the Citta di Trieste Challenger.

The 21-year-old strengthened his hold on ninth place in the Pepperstone ATP Race To Milan by claiming his maiden Challenger title, as he looks to book a place at the Intesa Sanpaolo Next Gen ATP Finals in November.

Passaro is the 20th #NextGenATP winner in 2022. After falling short in his first two Challenger finals earlier this year, he now joins Lorenzo Musetti, Luca Nardi, Francesco Maestrelli, Flavio Cobolli, and Matteo Arnaldi as Next Gen Italian champions this season. The title in Trieste propels Passaro to a career-high 144 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings.

On the hard courts in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan, Roman Safiullin rallied from a break down in the deciding set to defeat home hope Denis Yevseyev 2-6, 6-4, 7-6(2) and capture the President’s Cup. The 24-year-old, who first came onto the scene by winning the boys’ singles at the 2015 Australian Open, is now 2-0 in Challenger finals and his latest title run will move him to a career-high 119 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings.

Safiullin has played some of his best tennis this season. He earned a pair of victories at the season-opening ATP Cup and the following month he achieved his career-best win by defeating Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-4, 6-4 in Marseille before falling to Felix Auger-Aliassime in the semi-finals.

<a href=''>Zsombor Piros</a> wins the 40th anniversary <a href=''>Tampere Open</a> in Finland.

Photo: Zsombor Piros claimed his first Challenger Tour title when he won the 40th anniversary edition of the Tampere Open in Finland. Credit: Tampere Open.

Hungary’s Zsombor Piros claimed his first Challenger Tour title when he won the 40th anniversary edition of the Tampere Open in Finland, by defeating former junior No. 1 Harold Mayot 6-2, 1-6, 6-4.

The 22-year-old became the fifth Hungarian champion in Challenger history. Piros will launch to a career-high 139 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings. The 2017 Australian Open Boys’ Singles Champion is the second-highest ranked Hungarian men’s player, behind Marton Fucsovics.

“I am extremely happy on my first ATP Challenger title. This has been a long journey from juniors to this moment. When I won the Australian Open juniors title in 2017, I thought the transition would be faster and easier than it has been. I have worked so hard and now I just hope more will come,” Piros said.

In Pozoblanco, Spain, Frenchman Constant Lestienne produced a dominant performance by winning the title without dropping a set, defeating countryman Gregoire Barrere 6-0, 7-6(3) in the final to win the Open Tenis Ciudad de Pozoblanco trophy. Lestienne now holds five Challenger titles, three coming in Spain.

The Frenchman has been on a hot streak, winning 10 of his past 11 matches, including last month’s Malaga Challenger. In Pozoblanco, he won five of 10 sets 6-1 or better. The 30-year-old today climbs to a career-high 105 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings.


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Alcaraz Makes History, Cracks Top 5: 'It's Pretty Amazing'

  • Posted: Jul 25, 2022

Alcaraz Makes History, Cracks Top 5: ‘It’s Pretty Amazing’

Spaniard climbs one spot after reaching Hamburg final

Nineteen-year-old Carlos Alcaraz made history on Monday when he climbed to No. 5 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings, becoming the second-youngest player in the 21st century to crack the top five.

The only player who has achieved the feat at a younger age since 2000 is Rafael Nadal, who did it in May 2005 as an 18-year-old. Alcaraz had an opportunity to reach World No. 4, but settled for No. 5 after falling short in the Hamburg European Open final against Lorenzo Musetti.

“It means a lot. The hard work that I put in every day for reaching my dreams, [No.] 1, and little by little I’m reaching my dream,” Alcaraz said. “Top five for me is pretty amazing and I will keep going to be [No.] 1.”

Five Youngest Players To Crack Top Five (since 2000)

 Player  Ranking  Date  Age
 Rafael Nadal  No. 5  9 May 2005  18y, 11m, 6d
 Carlos Alcaraz  No. 5  25 July 2022  19y, 2m, 20d
 Novak Djokovic  No. 5  30 April 2007  19y, 11m, 8d
 Lleyton Hewitt  No. 5  25 June 2001  20y, 4m, 1d
 Alexander Zverev  No. 4  11 September 2017  20y, 4m, 22d

Alcaraz began his season at World No. 32, but has quickly surged towards the top of the sport. Alcaraz, Nadal and Novak Djokovic are the only three players this millennium who have broken into the top five as teens.

Rounding out the top five on the list of youngest players to reach the top five in the 2000s are Lleyton Hewitt and Alexander Zverev. They both reached the milestone aged 20.

Alcaraz and Nadal are tied for the most ATP Tour titles this year with four each. Alcaraz has lifted his first two ATP Masters 1000 trophies (Miami and Madrid) and his first two ATP 500 crowns (Rio de Janeiro, Barcelona) in 2022.

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Musetti Stuns Alcaraz In Hamburg For His First ATP Tour Title

The 19-year-old is keen to continue his push. This week, he will attempt to retain an ATP Tour title for the first time as the top seed at the Plava Laguna Croatia Open Umag.

“Of course Umag is a special tournament for me. I got my first title there, so I’m defending the title this year,” Alcaraz said. “But I’m going to try to play my best and of course take lessons from here.”

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