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Shang and Zhang Create History On ATP Challenger Tour

  • Posted: Aug 08, 2022

Shang and Zhang Create History On ATP Challenger Tour

First Chinese players to share Challenger titles in same week

Shang Juncheng and Zhang Zhizhen etched their names in the history books on Sunday when they became the first Chinese duo to win ATP Challenger Tour titles in the same week. Following the success of Wu Yibing, who’s won three Challenger titles this year including two weeks ago in Indianapolis, China now has three male players in the Top 250 of the Pepperstone ATP Rankings.

Shang, 17, triumphed on Sunday to become the youngest Chinese champion in Challenger Tour history. The teenager defeated Emilio Gomez, who was on a nine match winning streak, 6-4, 6-4 to capture the Lexington Challenger presented by Meridian Wealth Management title.

En route to the trophy, Shang took out the top seed and recent Nur-Sultan titlist, Roman Safiullin, recovering from a 0-6 first-set shutout to advance to the semi-finals, where he again rallied from a set down to defeat Aleksander Kovacevic. Two weeks ago the American had six championship points against Wu in the Indianapolis final but could not close out the match.

Coached by former World No. 1 and fellow lefty Marcelo Rios, who was in Lexington, Shang is the youngest player to win a Challenger title since Carlos Alcaraz at Alicante in 2020.

Shang Juncheng celebrates his Lexington Challenger title with coach <a href=''>Marcelo Rios</a>.
Shang Juncheng celebrates his Lexington Challenger title with coach Marcelo Rios.

Since 2010, only four men have won a Challenger title at a younger age: Felix Auger-Aliassime (16 years, 10 months), Alexander Zverev (17 years, 2 months), Carlos Alcaraz (17 years, 3 months), and Nicola Kuhn (17 years, 3 months).

The left-hander rises more than 100 spots in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings, as he reaches a career-high 241. Ecuador’s Gomez, who won the Winnipeg Challenger the previous week, draws closer to a Top-100 debut, climbing to a career-high 114.

Appearing in his third straight Challenger final after runner-up finishes in Luedenscheid and Trieste, Zhang collected his third Challenger title when he triumphed at the Serena Wines Tennis Cup 1881 in Cordenons, Italy. Needing three hours and two minutes to win his first title since 2019, Zhang overcame home favourite Andrea Vavassori 2-6, 7-6(5), 6-3 in the final.

The 25-year-old’s career best mark of 136, reached in 2020, is the highest achieved by a male Chinese player. His Cordenons title lifts him to World No. 161 and reclaims his status from Wu (now 173) as China’s highest-ranked player.

In a busy week on the Italian clay for Vavassori, he teamed with Dustin Brown to win the doubles title. Appearing in back-to-back singles finals in San Bendetto and Cordenons, his recent success propels Vavassori to a career-high 176 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings.

#NextGenATP Jiri Lehecka kept his eyes set on the eight-player Intesa Sanpaolo Next Gen ATP Finals after winning the Svijany Open. Playing at home in Liberec, Czech Republic, the 20-year-old took down Spaniard Nicolas Alvarez Varona 6-4, 6-4 to clinch his first Challenger title of the season and third overall.

The Czech charged to a maiden Tour-level semi-final in February as a qualifier at the ATP 500 event in Rotterdam, a run that included upsetting Lorenzo Musetti, Botic Van de Zandschulp, and Denis Shapovalov.

The former Wimbledon boys’ doubles champion (w/ Jonas Forejtek) climbs to a career-high 59 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings and is sixth in the Pepperstone ATP Live Race to Milan. Alvarez Varona also reaches a career-high 223.

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Play Begins In Montreal After Rain

  • Posted: Aug 08, 2022

Play Begins In Montreal After Rain

Fritz, Murray & Wawrinka among those in action

After a four-hour rain delay, played has started at the National Bank Open Presented by Rogers on Monday.

The action was due to commence at 12:00 p.m. local time on all courts, but was delayed due to the weather in Montreal, with play eventually starting at 4:04 pm. Stan Wawrinka, Taylor Fritz and three-time champion Andy Murray are among the stars in action on Day 1 of the Canadian ATP Masters 1000 event, where Daniil Medvedev is the reigning champion.

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Fresh Data INSIGHTS Provide Fans With Stronger Understanding & Narratives

  • Posted: Aug 08, 2022

Fresh Data INSIGHTS Provide Fans With Stronger Understanding & Narratives

3 new measures provide a deeper, more engaging dive into tennis data for the benefit and enjoyment of fans

Tennis Data Innovations (TDI) has partnered with TennisViz to develop a series of next-generation data insights, set to enhance the tennis fan experience.

Following the successful launch of In Attack, Conversion and Steal insights earlier in the season, TDI and TennisViz have revealed their latest tranche of co-developed insights. These leverage TDI’s industry-leading match and tracking data and TennisViz’s next generation Artificial Intelligence, to provide fans with deeper understanding and richer narratives around the action on court.

Designed to present fans with the right data at the right time, insights will be fully integrated into the broadcast of ATP Masters 1000 tournaments and the season-ending Nitto ATP Finals in Turin.

What are INSIGHTS?

We’ve aggregated five key fundamentals of every player’s game:
– Type of shot played (more than 60 different shot types)
– Quality of shot (ranked on a 0-10 scale)
– The situation of player (serving, returning, both back, at the net)
– Phase of play (attack, neutral, defence)
– Tactics and patterns of play (7 tactics and 48 patterns of play)

We’ve used that data to create four brand new INSIGHTS:
– In Attack 
– Conversion Score and Steal Score 
– Shot Quality 
– Playing Style 

This simple shift in perspective will transform the way you see and understand the game, whatever your level of interest or expertise.

And this is just the start. Tennis Data Innovations and TennisViz have other innovative AI data INSIGHTS set to roll out over the coming months.

What sets INSIGHTS apart from other statistics?

– INSIGHTS are unique. Our AI measures aspects of tennis that have never been measured. This includes attack and defence, tactics, and shot quality.

– INSIGHTS deepen every fan’s understanding. Traditional data points often measure who has won or lost. TennisViz INSIGHTS engage fans throughout and after the match, by showing how a player is winning.

– INSIGHTS offer compelling new narratives. All INSIGHTS include player, Tour, and tournament averages. These benchmarks provide a new level of context.

– INSIGHTS are correlated with the likelihood of winning. They show the probability of a player winning or losing based on their current level of performance across the AI-mined differentiating factors.

– INSIGHTS highlight the key to each match. This collection of INSIGHTS has been designed to cover all aspects of tennis. INSIGHTS show the right data for a specific match at the right time.

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Kyrgios Back In Top 40, Mover Of Week

  • Posted: Aug 08, 2022

Kyrgios Back In Top 40, Mover Of Week looks at the top Movers of the Week in the ATP Rankings, as of Monday, 8 August 2022

Nick Kyrgios’ charge to his second crown at the Citi Open in Washington, D.C. propels the Australian to No. 37 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings, his highest position since February 2020. Yoshihito Nishioka and Mikael Ymer also make big jumps off the back of strong showings in the U.S. capital. looks at the movers of the week, as of Monday, 8 August.

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No. 37 Nick Kyrgios, +26
An impressive week in Washington saw Kyrgios lift his seventh tour-level trophy at the Citi Open and the triumph lifts the Australian 26 spots to No. 37 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings. Kyrgios downed four home favourites at the ATP 500 event — including Frances Tiafoe in a quarter-final thriller during which the Australian saved five match points — before dismissing Ymer and Nishioka to claim his first Tour title since 2019. Read Washington Final Report & Watch Highlights.

View Latest Pepperstone ATP Rankings

No. 11 Cameron Norrie, +1
Norrie fell just short of defending his 2021 crown at the Abierto de Tenis Mifel in Los Cabos, but the Briton’s run to the championship match pushes him one spot higher to No. 11 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings. Norrie breezed past Chun-Hsin Tseng and Radu Albot on the west coast of Mexico and battled past second seed Felix Auger-Aliassime in the semi-finals before World No. 1 Daniil Medvedev proved too strong in the final. Read Los Cabos Final Report & Watch Highlights.

No. 24 Frances Tiafoe, +3
Tiafoe’s quarter-final clash with Kyrgios was one of the matches of the 2022 season so far. Although the American was ultimately beaten in a meeting between two of the most exciting shotmakers on the ATP Tour, Tiafoe had already delighted his home fans with strong showings against Christopher Eubanks and Botic van de Zandschulp, wins that move him up three spots to No. 24 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings.

No. 54 Yoshihito Nishioka, +42
Five hard-fought wins in five days, all against Top 40 opponents, carried Nishioka to his maiden ATP 500 final in Washington. The Japanese saw off Jenson Brooksby, Alex de Minaur, Karen Khachanov, Daniel Evans (in a three-hour, 35-minute quarter-final epic) and top seed Andrey Rublev before Kyrgios proved a step too far in the final. Nishioka’s efforts nonetheless see him jump 42 spots to No. 54 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings, just six places off his career high.

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Scouting Report: Medvedev Leads The Way In Montreal, Alcaraz Makes Debut

Other Notable Top 100 Movers
No. 26 Holger Rune, +2 (Career High)
No. 35 Miomir Kecmanovic, +3
No. 44 Emil Ruusuvuori, +2
No. 52 Sebastian Korda, +2
No. 59 Jiri Lehecka, +6 (Career High)
No. 77 Mikael Ymer, +38
No. 84 J.J. Wolf, +15 (Career High)

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Preview: Three-Time Champ Murray to Face Fritz; Shapovalov Aims for Reset on Home Turf

  • Posted: Aug 08, 2022

Preview: Three-Time Champ Murray to Face Fritz; Shapovalov Aims for Reset on Home Turf

Schwartzman, Bautista Agut among seeds in action

As Day 1 action gets underway at the National Bank Open Presented by Rogers, Andy Murray finds himself back on familiar ground, both in terms of the Pepperstone ATP Rankings and the hard courts of the Great White North.

In June, the Scotsman returned to the Top 50 for the first time since 2018, the year he underwent the first of his two hip surgeries. The former No. 1 is looking to continue that resurgence with a deep run in Canada, where he has raised the ATP Masters 1000 trophy on no fewer than three occasions, most recently in 2015. There’s plenty of incentive with the US Open looming and a chance to be among the 32 seeds at the year-end Grand Slam.

“It’s still possible to do it. I would just need to have a good run in Canada or Cincinnati,” said Murray, whose summer has included a final in Stuttgart and a quarter-final showing in Newport. “It’s pretty straightforward, if I was to make a quarter-final or a semi-final there. I do feel like if I play very well that I could do that.”

ATP WTA LIVE | Follow Live Scores From Montreal

The 35-year-old wild card will have his work cut out for him in the opening round on Monday in a first-time encounter with rising American Taylor Fritz. At No. 13 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings, the baseliner is riding high after defeating Rafael Nadal to capture his maiden Masters 1000 title earlier this year in Indian Wells, and breaking through to his first major quarter-final last month at Wimbledon.

Fritz recalls, as a kid, watching Murray play in Indian Wells, just a few hours’ drive from his Rancho Santa Fe birthplace. (“They had him on, hard to believe, one of the side courts,” he said.) He even chased Murray down for an autograph. But this will be Fritz’s first tour-level meeting with the three-time major titlist. The American has yet to advance beyond the first round in Canada.


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The Court Central lineup on Day 1 in Montreal will also feature Stan Wawrinka vs. Emil Ruusuvuori, Diego Schwartzman vs. Alejandro Davidovich Fokina, and an intriguing head-to-head between Canadian Denis Shapovalov vs. Aussie Alex de Minaur.

Shapovalov hopes playing in front of his home fans will prove the spark he needs after a rough stretch that has, since defeating Nadal to reach the quarter-finals in Rome, seen him drop eight of nine matches. The World No. 22 would do well to revisit his career breakthrough win, which came on home soil at this same event in 2017. That’s the year the left-hander, then just 18, stunned then-World No. 2 Nadal to become the youngest-ever Masters 1000 semi-finalist.

Shapovalov is 0-2 in his ATP Head2Head series against De Minaur, who one week ago lifted the ATP 250 title in Atlanta for the second time.

Elsewhere, Francisco Cerundolo and Karen Khachanov will kick off the opening-round action on Court Rogers. Cerundolo is in the midst of a breakout campaign that has seen the 23-year-old Argentine crack the Top 100 and overcome countryman Sebastian Baez to capture his first ATP Tour crown in Bastad.

American Jenson Brooksby and Kazakhstan’s Alexander Bublik will meet for the first time in Montreal. Both players find themselves in top form, Brooksby having reached the trophy tilt in Atlanta (l. to De Minaur, 6-3, 6-3), and Bublik having pushed eventual titlist Maxime Cressy to the limit on grass in the Newport final, falling 2-6, 6-3, 7-6(3).

No. 14 seed Roberto Bautista Agut will take on former UCLA standout Marcos Giron of the United States, while Italy’s Fabio Fognini is set to face Denmark’s Holder Rune, who since reaching the Roland Garros quarter-finals has suffered opening-round defeats in six of his past seven events.

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History-Making Kyrgios Reaping Rewards For Hard Yards

  • Posted: Aug 08, 2022

History-Making Kyrgios Reaping Rewards For Hard Yards

Aussie claims first tour-level singles title since 2019

Nick Kyrgios left the Citi Open with two trophies on Sunday as he became the first man to sweep the singles and doubles titles in the 53-year history of the Washington event. The Aussie defeated Yoshihito Nishioka in the singles final before teaming with Jack Sock to win the doubles crown, both in straight sets and without dropping serve in either match.

“I’m extremely proud of myself and my team,” he said in his post-tournament press conference. “It was a really, really good week. It was hard-fought. [I] had some incredibly tough matches. Every practice was really good. I tried to be as professional as I could. I’m just happy to be sitting here, making history along the way.”

ATP WTA LIVE | Follow Live Scores From Montreal

Kyrgios’ toughest test came in the singles quarter-finals, when he saved five match points against local favourite Frances Tiafoe before outlasting the American in the third set of a Friday evening thriller. It was the only singles set he dropped on the week as he improved to 11-1 in his past 12 matches dating back to his Wimbledon final run. Now a two-time singles champion in Washington (2019), Kyrgios has reached singles finals in consecutive tournaments for the first time.

“I think it’s a reflection of the last six months of how hard I have been working,” he added. “I’m just really happy to continue the form after Wimbledon. I think you have got a small window after a Grand Slam that people kind of fear you before they step out on the court. I feel like I made the most of it this week. I’m really happy with my performance.”

The 27-year-old credited a strong training block prior to the Australian Open with laying the foundation for his resurgent season.

“Before Oz Open, I decided that I really wanted to put in a good training block, and then things just started falling into place,” he explained, later noting the added motivation of providing for his girlfriend. “The rest of my life… just everything was really good. I had a great Australian Open. I felt like the tournaments after the Australian Open I was kind of reinventing myself a little bit on the court. I was incredibly intense, playing some really good matches, had some great results earlier in the year.

“[I] played a great grass-court season, made a couple semi-finals and was right there. I was always knocking on the door of a singles title. I was waiting for it. I felt like I was one of the best players in the world this year by far.”

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‘Transformed’ Kyrgios Claims 2nd Washington Title

Now up to 21st place in the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Turin, Kyrgios has put himself within touching distance of a spot in the 2022 Nitto ATP Finals. If he can ride his red-hot form all the way to the title at the National Bank Open Presented by Rogers, the Aussie could move as high as ninth place, just outside of the eight qualifying places.

Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Turin

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ATP 50: Longform Features On A Game-Changing 50 Years

  • Posted: Aug 08, 2022

ATP 50: Longform Features On A Game-Changing 50 Years

Learn more about the 50-year history of the ATP

Game-changing. That is one way to describe the impact of the ATP since its inception nearly 50 years ago.

With the organisation’s 50th anniversary rapidly approaching — the ATP was launched as a players’ association at the 1972 US Open — is looking back at a half-century of game-changing finals and comebacks, legends and entertainers, and plenty more, including looks at the evolution of fashion in the sport and the many locations the ATP has travelled to.

From the sport’s early rockstars, including Bjorn Borg, to the legends who are carrying the torch today, including Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic, the ATP has changed the game.

Learn more in the immersive longform features below. Check this page every Friday for the newest installation in the ATP 50 longform series.

Fantastic Finals: 10 Memorable Title Matches In ATP History

ATP50: There Will Always Be Hot Shots

ATP 50: 10 Defining Rivalries In ATP History

Featured photo credit: Russ Adams, Clive Brunskill /Allsport, D Dipasupil/Getty Images, Russ Adams, Chuck Fishman/Getty Images, Elichi Kawatei

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Alcaraz To Push Closer To Race Lead In Montreal

  • Posted: Aug 08, 2022

Alcaraz To Push Closer To Race Lead In Montreal

Available in ATP/WTA Live App, Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Turin now updates after each match

Rafael Nadal leads the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Turin, but Carlos Alcaraz can make a significant dent in his countryman’s advantage this week in Montreal.

The 19-year-old Spaniard enters the National Bank Open Presented by Rogers in second place in the Race as he tries to qualify for the Nitto ATP Finals for the first time. But with Nadal missing the year’s sixth ATP Masters 1000 event due to an abdominal injury, Alcaraz has an opportunity to close the gap on his countryman for the top spot.

If Alcaraz (4,270 points) claims his third Masters 1000 title of the season (also Miami, Madrid), he will claw to within 350 points of the 36-year-old (5,620). That would give Alcaraz an opportunity to pass Nadal in the Race in Cincinnati.

Fans can track the latest Race movements in real time this week following the launch of the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Turin, which updates after each completed match. The Race is now available in the ATP/WTA Live App, which for the first time also features the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings.

Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Turin Standings

 Player  Points
 1) Rafael Nadal  5,620
 2) Carlos Alcaraz  4,270
 3) Stefanos Tsitsipas  4,010
 4) Casper Ruud  3,315
 5) Daniil Medvedev  2,825
 6) Alexander Zverev  2,700
 7) Andrey Rublev  2,595
 8) Felix Auger-Aliassime  2,475

Just 260 points behind Alcaraz is 2019 Nitto ATP Finals champion Stefanos Tsitsipas (4,010). The Greek is trying to qualify for the season finale for the fourth straight year.

Montreal will be an opportunity for Italians Matteo Berrettini and Jannik Sinner to move closer to a qualifying position. Twelfth-placed Berrettini (1,845) trails eighth-placed Felix Auger-Aliassime (2,475) by 630 points and 14th-placed Jannik Sinner (1,680) is 165 points behind his countryman. Both Italians competed at the Pala Alpitour last year, with Sinner replacing Berrettini, who was forced to withdraw due to injury.

Three-time Nitto ATP Finals qualifier Daniil Medvedev (2,825) further pressed his claim to a spot by winning the Abierto de Tenis Mifel, propelling him from sixth to fifth in the Race. The defending National Bank Open Presented by Rogers champion trails fourth-placed Casper Ruud (3,315) by 490 points.

Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Turin

The only player in the Top 8 in the Race who has not previously earned qualification for the Nitto ATP Finals is Auger-Aliassime (2,475), who currently holds the final qualifying spot in eighth. The Canadian, who will be playing in front of his home crowd this week in Montreal, owns a 370-point advantage over ninth-placed Taylor Fritz.

One of the most in-form players on the ATP Tour is Australian Nick Kyrgios. Having reached back-to-back singles finals for the first time in his career at Wimbledon and Washington, the 27-year-old arrives in Montreal with plenty of confidence. If he defeats Sebastian Baez in the first round, he will face Medvedev in a second-round blockbuster.

Kyrgios (1,195)  is up to 21st in the Race thanks to the 500 points he earned in Washington. If he claims his first Masters 1000 title in Canada, he can soar as high as ninth in the Race, depending on other results. That would put him straight into contention for a place for the season finale.

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