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Clinical Tsitsipas Back On Track With Cincy Win

  • Posted: Aug 17, 2022

Clinical Tsitsipas Back On Track With Cincy Win

Greek earns first win since Wimbledon

Stefanos Tsitsipas put an emphatic end to a two-match losing streak with a strong opening performance on Wednesday at the Western & Southern Open. The Cincinnati third seed rode a dominant serving performance and clean hitting to a 6-3, 6-3 win against Filip Krajinovic to earn his first victory in two events since Wimbledon.

The Greek was downed by Nick Kyrgios in a memorable third-round encounter on the London lawns and fell victim to an upset bid from #NextGenATP Briton Jack Draper last week in Montreal. But after two tough holds to open his Cincinnati campaign, he found a groove on serve and off the ground to power past Krajinovic behind two mid-set breaks.

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Tsitsipas scored six love service holds, including each of his final four service games, and dropped just three points on first serve in the one-hour, nine minute match. He finished with a pristine 92 per cent (34/37) win rate on first serve while making 76 per cent of his first deliveries.

In a clean match all around, the Greek hit 28 winners (including 14 aces) to just four unforced errors as he outclassed his opponent on Court 3.

The Cincinnati fourth seed will next face 13th seed Diego Schwartzman, who outlasted Aslan Karatsev 7-6(3), 3-6, 6-2 on Tuesday evening.

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Isner Aids Ailing Ball Boy, Felix Helps Fan

  • Posted: Aug 17, 2022

Isner Aids Ailing Ball Boy, Felix Helps Fan

Players quick to step in when help is needed

John Isner was one point from winning the first set of his second-round match at the Western & Southern Open on Wednesday against eighth seed Hubert Hurkacz when he heard murmurs in the crowd. Naturally, the American turned around.

At 6/3 in the tie-break, Isner did not expect to see a ball boy fainting on the other side of the court. Immediately, the 37-year-old ran to help as best he could. Hurkacz and a woman who identified herself as a doctor also pitched in.

“I don’t think I did anything special,” Isner told “I saw Hubi running to the side of the court and it’s a scary thing because he had this ‘he-saw-a-ghost look’ in his face and he collapsed, and luckily someone was there. But I think people need to realise how hard it is what these ball boys and ball girls do. It’s a tough job out there in the heat. We appreciate their effort so much out there.

“From what I hear, the kid is going to be okay and hopefully he’s getting some fluids and in the air conditioning right now resting up. Someone told me that he remembers watching me since he was four years old or something like that, so that’s very cool to hear. But it was definitely a very scary situation and [I am] just glad that he seems to be okay.”

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Isner went on to battle past Hurkacz 7-6(5), 6-7(5), 6-2 in two hours and 32 minutes to reach the third round in Cincinnati. The incident occurred at a pivotal point of the match, but that did not matter to the 16-time ATP Tour titlist.

“It doesn’t really matter what point it’s at,” Isner said. “Tennis is microscopic compared to a scary situation like that, so just glad to see he’s doing okay.”

That was not the only heat-related incident on Wednesday at the Lindner Family Tennis Center. When Felix Auger-Aliassime led Alex de Minaur 2-0, 40/40, play was halted when a fan fell ill.

The players retreated to their chairs at the time. Upon realising what had happened, Auger-Aliassime quickly passed an ice towel through the crowd to the fan and then found a bag of ice as well.

<a href=''>Felix Auger-Aliassime</a>

Felix Auger-Aliassime is a fan favourite in Cincinnati.

“She didn’t look well at all. It was worrying. She didn’t look good and I think that’s the first thing: the health of the crowd, the players, everybody involved. You kind of forget about the match when it comes to that point,” Auger-Aliassime said. “You just hope it was nothing too bad, I was a bit scared for her. But luckily everything went fine.

“I think it’s a normal thing as players. We’re there and if we can help just by giving ice for an ice towel, that’s the minimum we can do. But people also came to help pretty quickly and it’s nice to see people acting like this together.”

As focussed as professional tennis players are, they are aware of their surroundings and do not think twice about doing the right thing under such circumstances.

“At the end I’m a human first. I’m a tennis player after,” Auger-Aliassime said. “I come here, there are people who come and see us play and it’s a pleasure to play in front of them. It’s great to get good words from people, to sometimes share a few words if I have time. It’s good energy. I like to get that support and give whatever I can to the people who come and watch.”

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Serene In Cincinnati: Fritz Flies Past Kyrgios

  • Posted: Aug 17, 2022

Serene In Cincinnati: Fritz Flies Past Kyrgios

Highest-ranked American to take on sixth seed Rublev next

Taylor Fritz’s fast start to the Western & Southern Open continued Wednesday with a rapid 6-3, 6-2 second-round victory against the in-form Nick Kyrgios.

In a clash between two of the biggest servers on the ATP Tour, it was the 11th seed Fritz whose delivery proved impenetrable in his 51-minute win at the ATP Masters 1000 event in Cincinnati. The American powered 16 aces and did not face a break point in his first tour-level meeting with Kyrgios, who received treatment on his knee from the physio during the match.

“It feels great to have [my] game come together today,” said Fritz, who improved his record at Masters 1000 tournaments this season to 15-3 with the win. “That’s the kind of match I really needed to give me a lot of confidence going into the next match, going to the US Open, a lot of things are clicking for sure.”

Fritz defeated Sebastian Baez in just 54 minutes in his opening match in Cincinnati, where he is now into the third round for the first time in five appearances. His opponent there will be 2021 finalist Andrey Rublev.

After an opening five games largely dominated by serve, it was Fritz who carved out the only break point opportunities of the first set as the American capitalised on string of errors from Kyrgios to break for 4-2. Fritz, who did not drop serve once en route to his third ATP Tour title in Eastbourne in June, offered Kyrgios few opportunities to counter as he eased to the opening set.

As Kyrgios’ increased his speed of play and began to struggle with his knee, Fritz was clinical in racing to the second set by staying solid from deep and maintaining his precise serving. He wrapped up the win having won 86 per cent (30/35) of points behind his first delivery.

“I just focussed on myself,” said Fritz when asked about the speed of play in the second set. “He played with the servers pace… I tried to also play to his pace, if that’s the way he wants to play, it’s fine. I can control the pace on my serve, so all I was thinking was, ‘I’m up a break, just focus.’

“It feels good just to have the rest of the day to kind of relax and focus on the next match.”

INSIGHTS Conversion statistics for the match show how effective Fritz was in taking advantage of strong positions. The American won 76 per cent (19/25) of points when attacking, 16 per cent more than Kyrgios.

Fritz Kyrgios INSIGHTS In Attack
Rublev had earlier found a hot streak at just the right moment to grab the momentum in his second-round clash against Fabio Fognini. The World No. 8 reeled off five points in a row from 2/3 to clinch the second-set tie-break and force a decider, and Rublev took charge from that point on, breaking twice in the final set to complete a 6-7(7), 7-6(3), 6-2 victory.

The win moved Rublev into a 6-5 lead in his ATP Head2Head series with Fognini. The 24-year-old reached the final in Cincinnati in 2021, but he enters his third-round matchup with Fritz having fallen to the American at the Masters 1000 events in Paris last November and Indian Wells in March.

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Preview: Nadal Hopes Toolbox Is Full For Cincy Return

  • Posted: Aug 17, 2022

Preview: Nadal Hopes Toolbox Is Full For Cincy Return

Murray vs. Norrie set for Battle of Britain

No one’s more surprised that he still has a shot at No. 1 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings in 2022 than Rafael Nadal himself.

At the tennis-advanced age of 36, the Spaniard hasn’t played a competitive match in nearly a month and a half, an abdominal tear having forced him out of Wimbledon after a five-set quarter-final escape against American Taylor Fritz. Yet here he is, age-defiant, back in Cincinnati for the first time in half a decade, a 36-time ATP Masters 1000 champion who’s apparently still hungry for more.

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Nadal could usurp the top-ranked Daniil Medvedev should he win the title this week, and Medvedev fail to reach the quarter-finals, returning to No. 1 for the first time since January 2020. It’s a battle that will also decide the top seed at the upcoming US Open. 

“It means a lot to me to have that opportunity, something that I never expected could happen again. But here we are,” said Nadal, the No. 2 seed at the Western & Southern Open. “The main thing is to stay healthy and finish the season playing the events that I want to play. I will not play more than what I believe will work well for my body to achieve this goal, but I am going to put all my efforts into every single event that I play. 

“I do that all the time — it doesn’t matter whether I have the chance to be No. 1 or not. But I’m happy to be in this privileged position. If for some reason that happens, it will be amazing.”

The 2013 champion will open against another player fighting his way back into the mix after injury setbacks: 152nd-ranked Borna Coric of Croatia, the former World No. 12 who last year underwent right shoulder surgery. Their ATP Head2Head history stands at an even 2-2, with Coric having claimed a straight-sets, 6-1, 6-3 decision in the fourth round of this same event back in 2016.

“One year ago, I didn’t know if I would ever have a chance to come back to Cincinnati,” said Nadal. “Here I am. I’m excited for that.” 

The Mallorcan, who until his Wimbledon setback had been on track for the ever-elusive calendar-year Grand Slam, having triumphed at both the Australian Open and Roland Garros, says it’s important for him to temper his expectations this week. After all, abdominal tears can be tricky: Every time you reach up for a serve, for an overhead, you’re risking pain, or worse yet, re-injury.

“You need to know that when you come back after a while things aren’t going to be better. You can’t expect to play at an amazing level from the beginning,” he explained. “Knowing that, accepting that, you have to be able to be humble enough to fight with the tools that you have at the beginning to win the first match. In the Masters 1000s, the opponents are very demanding from the beginning.”

The former #NextGen poster boy Coric, 25, has been limited to just 13 tour-level matches in 2022 (5-8). Below that, his best run came on the ATP Challenger Tour, where reached the final in Montechiarugolo-Parma, Italy in June.


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The Day 3 docket also features an intriguing Battle of Britain clash between two-time champion Andy Murray (2008, 2011) and countryman Cameron Norrie. The Davis Cup teammates have only faced each other on one occasion, back in 2019, with Murray claiming a 7-6(6), 6-7(4), 6-1 victory in the Round of 16.

It will mark Murray’s 38th match of 2022, the most he’s played in a season tracing all the way back to 2016.

“It’s not been easy these last few years to stay fit and healthy, and play enough tennis to get matches to learn from and to build confidence and to get my body physically robust enough to compete week in, week out,” said Murray, No. 47 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings. “That’s a positive thing that I got to play lots of matches, or more matches this year. Hopefully, I can continue that through the end of the season.”

The 11th-ranked Norrie is seeking his third title of the year, having prevailed in Delray Beach and Lyon.  When Murray joined the 700-wins club earlier this year in Indian Wells, Norrie observed: “It’s incredible given everything he’s been through, all the setbacks that he’s had, and he’s still waking up every day and going for it, leaving it all on the table. 

“That stands out more — his attitude, his love and passion for the game. For me, it’s more impressive than all those wins. That speaks for itself, all the titles, all those wins, getting to No. 1, finishing No. 1 for the year. That’s sick. He’s a legend of the game. But what’s more outstanding is that attitude that he has and brings on a day-to-day basis.”

Several rising Americans will also be in action at the Linder Family Tennis Center on Wednesday. The BNP Paribas Open champ Fritz will face the streaking Aussie Nick Kyrgios for the first time; Frances Tiafoe will put his perfect 3-0 ATP Head2Head against compatriot Sebastian Korda on the line; and scuffling Canadian Denis Shapovalov will do his best to right his ship (he’s dropped nine of his past 10 matches) against World No. 31 Tommy Paul, who got the best of him earlier this summer in the second round at the Queen’s Club, 6-4, 2-6, 6-4. Paul also took their title clash last year in Stockholm by the same score.

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'Kid In A Candy Store': Coric Ready For Another Nadal Showdown

  • Posted: Aug 17, 2022

‘Kid In A Candy Store’: Coric Ready For Another Nadal Showdown

Croatian reflects on comeback from shoulder surgery

On 24 October 2014, 17-year-old Borna Coric walked onto centre court at the Swiss Indoors Basel. In his first ATP 500 event, the Croatian stood across the net from his idol, Rafael Nadal in the quarter-finals. It was an experience he will never forget.

“It was a full stadium for our quarter-final. I remember I was just enjoying it. I was super happy. I was like a kid in a candy store,” Coric told “It just felt good. I was in the moment, I was living my dream.”

It was a dream for Coric just to face Nadal. The teen did much more than that, defeating the Spaniard 6-2, 7-6(4). He now owns a 2-2 ATP Head2Head record against the legendary lefty, with those four meetings coming between 2014 and 2017.

Five years on from their most recent clash, Coric will get another chance to go stroke-for-stroke with the 36-time ATP Masters 1000 champion at the Western & Southern Open.

“I love those moments,” Coric said. “I love the big stages.”

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This occasion, however, will be different. When Coric played Nadal the first four times, he was a rising star. In 2014, he was the youngest player in the Top 100 of the year-end Pepperstone ATP Rankings. The next year, he was the youngest player in the year-end Top 50.

Coric earned nine victories against Top 5 opponents and climbed to a career-high World No. 12. But in May 2021, he underwent shoulder surgery and missed more than a year. No longer a phenom, Coric is now attempting to climb the tennis ladder again.

“It’s never easy to come back up after a big injury,” Coric said. “I was out for one year and it’s never easy to come back and play good tennis so every win you can get is hugely important also for my confidence and also for my ranking as my ranking is not there yet where I want it to be.”

It took Coric longer than expected to return to the court, and this season he made his comeback in March at the BNP Paribas Open. The Croatian has tallied a 5-8 tour-level record and competed in four ATP Challenger Tour events, winning one in Italy.

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Five Things To Know About Borna Coric

That makes wins like the one he earned on Tuesday against Lorenzo Musetti more special. The match took nearly two hours in the Cincinnati heat, but Coric managed to find a way through.

“You need to enjoy the struggle sometimes as well. That’s why I train a lot in the heat and I try to go as long as possible so in these kind of matches I don’t struggle as much as maybe if I didn’t do [that],” Coric said. “Absolutely you need to respect the battle more if it’s such tough conditions like today to be honest.”

It is not just the tennis Coric needs to worry about. “I’m going to need to think about my shoulder until the end of my career, so I didn’t stop thinking about it,” he admitted.

During tournaments, Coric spends 30-40 minutes working on his shoulder alone. During non-tournament weeks, there are times when he spends 60-90 minutes on it.

“I have to be honest, it very soon became normal to me because if I want to do my job, which is to play tennis, I need to do this, otherwise I cannot play tennis,” Coric said. “I don’t think it’s a huge sacrifice to have an extra 30 minutes of work to get to play tennis. You get to do what you love, it’s not a huge deal. If I usually come one hour before practice, now I need to come one and a half hours. That’s it. It’s not a big deal.

“But I don’t think about it any more when I play to be honest because even if I feel a little bit of pain, which sometimes I do, I know nothing can break. I cannot do any more damage, so sometimes I just need to accept that I will have a little bit of pain and that is fine with me.”

That sounds like the mindset of Coric’s next opponent, Nadal. As much as the Croatian admires the lefty’s physical game, it is his mentality that stands out the most.

“Obviously about his game, I was loving everything. There is nothing wrong in his game, so you can look at each shot and you can try to do that, because he is one of the best on the Tour,” Coric said. “It’s more about the fighting spirit, which I think we can all learn from and he can be our idol.”

Currently World No. 152, Coric knows he is not back to his peak form yet. But that will not stop him from giving Nadal everything he has.

“[I will play] without any pressure. I just get to enjoy it even more now because I didn’t have those kind of matches and the competition in the past two years and I did miss that. I just get to enjoy it even more than when I was 17 or 18,” Coric said. “Since I was out now playing Challengers and all that, I just get to enjoy it even more now.”

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Medvedev Pulls Through 'Tricky' Cincinnati Opener

  • Posted: Aug 17, 2022

Medvedev Pulls Through ‘Tricky’ Cincinnati Opener

Top seed can cement status as World No. 1 through US Open with one more win

Daniil Medvedev rued facing the unseeded Nick Kyrgios so early in Montreal after defeat in his opening match last week. The World No. 1 faced another tough test against Botic van de Zandschulp on Tuesday night as he began his Western & Southern Open campaign.

Playing against the only man to take a set off him in his 2021 US Open title run, Medvedev made a fast start behind an instant break but had to survive a strange second set to secure a 6-4, 7-5 victory and advance to the third round in Cincinnati.

“The second set was not that clean,” said Medvedev, who surrendered a break advantage and saved a set point on serve in the set. “The first set was great. Everything was working. I had three games where I had break points but managed to break in the first game, which was enough.”

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Solid if unspectacular, Medvedev built a lead of a set and a break but immediately surrendered his advantage as van de Zandschulp levelled at 3-3 in the second. After the Dutchman saved three break points to hold for 5-4, it was Medvedev’s turn to save a break point, which doubled as set point. The top seed survived thanks to an error from his opponent, then broke for the third time in the match as van de Zandschulp double-faulted three times on serve at 5-all.

“The second set was going not that bad,” Medvedev said. “He was not serving especially well today, doing a lot of double faults. So I tried to keep pressure, use my chances. Actually on return, I feel like I did a good job. Two breaks on these fast courts is enough to win and I should have done a little bit better on my serve. But the first match is tricky and I’m happy that I managed to go though, and hopefully I will raise my level in the next matches.”


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Serving woes plagues van de Zandschulp all night, as he finished with 11 double faults, including two on break points. But he made one last charge on return, creating his third break point of the match as Medvedev served it out.

“It happens to me some tournaments,” Medvedev said of his opponent’s serving struggles. “You don’t know why, you just cannot put a second serve in and actually I did a few also here today. So maybe there was something with the balls getting a little bit heavy with the humidity.”

Medvedev, who served four double faults himself with a first-serve percentage of 58, did just enough damage in his final service game to close out the match on his third match point. When the 2019 Cincinnati champion did make his first serve, he dominated with an 87 per cent win rate. 

He will next face Montreal quarter-finalist Tommy Paul or Denis Shapovalov, with a potential rematch with Kyrgios looming in the quarter-finals. With one more victory, Medvedev will secure his place atop the Pepperstone ATP Rankings through his US Open title defence.

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Alcaraz Bounces Back With Assured Win In Cincinnati

  • Posted: Aug 17, 2022

Alcaraz Bounces Back With Assured Win In Cincinnati

Spaniard downs McDonald for first Cincy win

Carlos Alcaraz fell victim to an upset bid from American Tommy Paul in his last outing, admitting post-match that he couldn’t handle the “pressure” of being the second seed in Montreal.

The Spaniard did not allow the pressure to build on Tuesday in his second-round match at the Western & Southern Open as he breezed past home hope Mackenzie McDonald 6-3, 6-2 on the Grandstand to earn his first win in his second Cincinnati appearance.

“I’m really happy with the performance today,” he said. “One of the goals in this tournament is to grow with the pressure… to enjoy as I did at the beginning of the year and last year. To enjoy playing great tennis, to try to be relaxed. I think in this round I did it and I’m really happy with it.”

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An ATP Masters 1000 champion in Miami and Madrid already in 2022, Alcaraz improved to 16-3 at that elite level this season and 43-8 on the year, including 13-3 on hard courts. 

The 19-year-old quickly banished any lingering doubts from Montreal by breaking in the very first game against McDonald and he sealed the opening set with authority behind another break. Alcaraz did his damage late in set two as he stormed through its final four games to advance in one hour and five minutes.

“I think this court is fast, the ball slides a lot and it’s difficult to play with that,” he said of the Cincinnati conditions. “I tried to be really focussed with his shots and to be aggressive, that’s all.”

Seeded third in Ohio, he will next face Marin Cilic or Emil Ruusuvuori, who are also playing Tuesday evening.

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