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Shelton Turns Pro Ahead Of US Open

  • Posted: Aug 23, 2022

Shelton Turns Pro Ahead Of US Open

#NextGenATP American has soared into the Top 200

Ben Shelton, the #NextGenATP American who reached the third round of last week’s Western & Southern Open, announced on social media Tuesday that he is turning professional. The 19-year-old won the NCAA Singles Championship last year while competing for the University of Florida.

“After sitting down with my parents this weekend, I have decided to forgo my last two years of eligibility and turn pro. While this wasn’t an easy decision, I’m excited for the next chapter in my career,” Shelton wrote. “I want to thank the University of Florida for two incredible years. It has been a once in a lifetime experience to become part of the Florida Family, and to compete for National Championships. These are memories I’ll cherish forever.

“I have made brothers for life. I’m grateful for my teammates, coaches, and support staff at UF who have been there for me my whole collegiate career, and helped shape me into the person I am today. I would also like to thank my family, who have always taught me to BELIEVE in God, and myself, while pushing me to stay balanced in everything I do. God is good.

“With that, I am going to continue my finance degree online while travelling on tour. I can’t wait to get out there, expand my horizons, and see what this next chapter has in store. Gator Nation, I will be repping all over the world! I’m pumped to see everyone at the US Open. CHOMP CHOMP 🐊”

The lefty began the year at No. 573 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings. Shelton climbed to a career-high No. 171 after his run in Cincinnati, where he stunned Casper Ruud in the second round. He has also earned a 14-5 record on the ATP Challenger Tour this season, including runs to the championship match in Rome, Georgia and Chicago, Illinois.

Shelton, who received a wild card into the main draw of the US Open, is 13th in the Pepperstone ATP Race To Milan. The teen will try to qualify for the Intesa Sanpaolo Next Gen ATP Finals, which will be played in Milan from 8-12 November.

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Hard-Worker Tseng Aiming To Make Long-Term Mark

  • Posted: Aug 23, 2022

Hard-Worker Tseng Aiming To Make Long-Term Mark

#NextGenATP 20-year-old is eighth in the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Milan

Asia has a new star in the making. His name? Chun-Hsin Tseng.

The #NextGenATP player from Chinese Taipei has soared to new heights over the past year, capturing three ATP Challenger Tour titles, including two this season. That has helped propel him to a career-high No. 83 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings.

Through a combination of hard work and natural talent, Tseng is now enjoying success around the world on a weekly basis. However, the road to the top has been far from easy, with the 21-year-old negotiating a series of obstacles to get to this point.

“In the beginning, it was tough, because we didn’t know anybody to play with [in Chinese Taipei],” Tseng admitted. “I learned to play in school. But the [National] Federation helped me to meet coaches and visit academies and clubs and I began to travel more and more. I went to an academy for three months every year during summer vacation. It was getting better and better, and then, when I was 13, I won the Les Petits As junior tournament and the Mouratoglou Academy found me and I trained there for four years.”

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Tseng first picked up a racquet aged five, when he played with his father, Yu Te (known as Ed), at local courts in Chinese Taipei. With opportunities limited, the 21-year-old had to lean on the support of his parents, both of whom worked hard and made sacrifices to help their son achieve his dreams.

“My mom and my father owned a food stand at the Lehua night market in Taipei, selling a dessert made of fruit and sugar. My mom was still doing the night market when I started my career and it was really difficult for her to do it alone,” Tseng recalled. “It was so much work and took a lot of time. She was doing it from 5 p.m. to 12-1 a.m. When I was young, my brother and I helped there, but when I got older and was traveling, there was no chance to do both.”

With Tseng’s mother helping provide for him and his family off the court, it was the World No. 83’s father who supported Tseng on it.

“My father is my biggest influence. There was one time when I picked up the racquet myself and hit the ball over the net, and he was so surprised. He slowly began taking me to the courts every day and we played more and more,” Tseng said. “Now, my father travels with me and is always by my side.”

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Having established himself in the Mouratoglou Academy by the age of 17, Tseng began to take his first major steps into the game, making his ATP Challenger Tour debut in 2018 on home soil in Taipei.

The results quickly followed at Futures level, with Tseng capturing three Futures titles in 2018. His results left him inside the Top 500, before he went 60-42 across all levels in 2019 and 2020 to leave him inside the Top 300.

However, the route to the top is never simple and so it proved for Tseng, who struggled to find his consistent best in 2021, prompting him to make a change.

“In October and November 2021, I was very down on myself,” Tseng admitted. “I played four weeks in a row and lost every match with at least two match points. I was struggling with my ranking too. I was around 280 [in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings] for two years already. But I changed my coach in October, to Benny (Benjamin Ebrahimzadeh), who was the head coach at the Mouratoglou Academy.

“He was with me before and we started again in October at his new academy in Germany. From there, my game was getting better and I felt more comfortable on the court. I was more aggressive and relaxed and we did a short training to prepare for the last two tournaments of the year in Maia, Portugal. That’s where I won my first Challenger title. If you don’t have an obstacle or a difficult time, you don’t know how it feels. It helped me to know myself better on the court and off the court. It was a very important period.”

With confidence and momentum restored, Tseng has pushed on in 2022. The 20-year-old is currently eighth in the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Milan and looks on course to make his debut at the Intesa Sanpaolo Next Gen ATP Finals in November if he can continue to perform strongly.

He feels the experiences he has had throughout the season have put him in good stead to continue his progression in the coming months.

“After my first title in a Challenger in Maia, I believed that I could do something on the Tour and I started to know my game better and use my weapons better,” Tseng said when discussing his game. “I found my rhythm and I knew that I could break through. This Challenger I will remember the most, because it helped my confidence when I was really down, and that was very important mentally.

“I was happy to get the wild card to the [2022] Australian Open, but I had COVID right before and did seven days quarantine before my match. That was not so good an experience for the first time in the main draw of a Grand Slam. But I enjoyed the atmosphere there. And I was happy to win my next tournament at the Challenger in India [in Bengaluru]. I believed in myself that I could do it, and on the clay too, when I won in Murcia in Spain. I didn’t expect this, but I just work as hard as I can and do my best on the court.”

With Tseng eyeing main draw appearances at tour-level events in the future, he looks set to follow in the footsteps of Japan’s Kei Nishikori and become a consistent presence for Asian tennis on the Tour for years to come. 


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A post shared by Tseng Chun Hsin 曾俊欣 (@tseng_chun_hsin)

Get to Know Tseng
Tennis Idol: Kei Nishikori. Both of us are Asian and he’s one of the best players in Asia. And I think we have a very similar playing style. When I was young, I really looked to be like him and to play like him.

Hobbies: During COVID, before the tournaments started again, I tried to learn piano. I like the music and my mom has a very good friend who is a piano teacher. She said that if I don’t want to play tennis, that I would be a very good piano player. I learned for only seven days and I could already play a song, so I’m not bad.

Favourite Food: In Taiwan, the food is amazing and so cheap. If you want different styles, we have everything. Hot pot is my favourite. It’s a hot soup with meat and vegetables inside. I like chicken curry too.

Biggest Passion Outside Tennis: I like every sport. Basketball, baseball, badminton, snooker, table tennis. I like baseball a lot. It is difficult to play, because you need 18 people, but I like to throw. I travel with a glove and I throw with [countryman] Tony Wu when we are together. The Rakuten baseball team in Taiwan is my favourite and Shohei Ohtani is my favourite athlete. The only sport I do not like is golf. I was terrible.

Invite Two Famous People To Dinner: Chinese singers Jay Chou and G.E.M. My favourite music is Chinese pop.

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Thiem Saves 2 MPs, Wins Rain-Delayed Winston-Salem Opener

  • Posted: Aug 23, 2022

Thiem Saves 2 MPs, Wins Rain-Delayed Winston-Salem Opener

#NextGenATP Tseng, Edmund and Fognini advance

Dominic Thiem’s first hard-court match since March 2021 featured a one-hour, 52-minute rain delay, two match points against and plenty of drama, but the Austrian found a way to advance on Monday evening at the Winston-Salem Open.

The former World No. 3 worked hard to defeat J.J. Wolf 6-7(5), 7-5, 7-6(6) after three hours and 10 minutes. Thiem will play 2017 Nitto ATP Finals champion Grigor Dimitrov, the top seed, in the second round.

“First of all I’m super happy to get that win, [my] first win on hard courts since a very long time, since March ’21, I guess. It was not easy at all today with the rain delay, coming back out there at 11:15 p.m. It was very late. I had trouble [getting] into the match again,” Thiem said. “But luckily I raised the level a little bit in the third-set tie-break and compared to Kitzbühel, where similar stuff happened with the rain, the luck was on my side today.”

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After the lengthy rain delay at 3-2 in the third set, the players served their way into a tie-break, which Thiem led 4/1. When Wolf won five consecutive points to take a 6/4 lead, the home favourite was in good position to move on.

But Thiem found his best tennis when it mattered most, crushing a backhand winner on the first match point he faced and a forehand winner on the second to get out of trouble before curling a forehand passing shot to clinch his victory.

“I told myself, ‘It’s 4/6, now or never,'” Thiem said. “I released a little bit and it went perfectly. Four winners in a row from 4/6 to 8/6.” 

Thiem showed some inconsistency early on, making uncharacteristic errors. In the crucial moments of the first set, Wolf was able to take control of rallies and capture the first-set tie-break.

But 2020 US Open champion Thiem also flashed his trademark brilliance on Stadium Court, blasting one-handed backhands down the line and threading the needle with perfect passing shots on his main draw debut at the ATP 250.

In the same section of the draw, former Top 10 star Fabio Fognini defeated Dusan Lajovic 7-5, 7-5 in a rematch of the 2019 Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters final. The Italian will next play 13th seed Jack Draper.

Earlier in the day, #NextGenATP standout Chun-Hsin Tseng clawed past lucky loser Marton Fucsovics 6-1, 1-6, 6-3 to earn a clash against 15th seed Jaume Munar.

There were two opening-round matches that went to final-set tie-breaks. Adrian Mannarino outlasted Christopher O’Connell 7-6(4), 6-7(3), 7-6(3) after three hours and 31 minutes, while James Duckworth rallied past Thanasi Kokkinakis 4-6, 6-3, 7-6(5) after two hours and 15 minutes.

Kyle Edmund continued his comeback from left knee surgery with a 6-2, 7-5 win against Greek ATP Cup team member Michail Pervolarakis 6-2, 7-5. The Briton will next challenge 10th seed Benjamin Bonzi.

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Top Seeds Advance In Doubles Draw
Croatians Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic have won four titles this year. On Monday, the top seeds began their charge for a fifth trophy in 2022 with a 6-4, 6-3 victory against Aleksandr Nedovyesov and Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi in Winston-Salem.

The second seeds’ day did not go as smoothly. Simone Bolelli and Marcelo Melo eliminated Ivan Dodig and Austin Krajicek 6-4, 7-6(3). In a battle of Americans, Robert Galloway and Alex Lawson defeated Nathaniel Lammons and Jackson Withrow 6-3, 5-7, 10-6.

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Nadal, Medvedev Lead Five-Way Battle For No. 1 At US Open

  • Posted: Aug 23, 2022

Nadal, Medvedev Lead Five-Way Battle For No. 1 At US Open

Alcaraz has chance to become youngest No. 1 in history

Daniil Medvedev enters the US Open as the No. 1 player in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings but there will be fireworks at Flushing Meadows, where five players have a chance to claim the top spot.

When players next Monday drop their 2021 US Open points, Nadal will be in pole position to recapture World No. 1 for the first time since 2 February 2020. Medvedev, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Carlos Alcaraz and Casper Ruud need deep runs to challenge him.

Since Nadal did not compete last year in New York, he is not defending any points. When 2021 champion Medvedev drops the 2,000 points he is defending, Nadal will be No. 1 in the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings with 5,630 points. 

Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings Points (as of 29 August)

 Player  Points
 1) Rafael Nadal  5,630
 2) Alexander Zverev  5,040*
 3) Daniil Medvedev  4,885
 4) Stefanos Tsitsipas  4,800
 5) Carlos Alcaraz  4,740
 6) Casper Ruud  4,650

*Zverev is not competing in the US Open due to an ankle injury
The 36-year-old lefty will have a 590-point lead over Alexander Zverev, who does not have a chance to claim No. 1 because he is not competing at the US Open due to an ankle injury. Medvedev, who has held World No. 1 since the week of 13 June, will be 745 points behind. 

Medvedev, Tsitsipas, Alcaraz and Ruud will all need to at least reach the US Open final to have an opportunity to leave New York as World No. 1.

Tsitsipas will be confident after reaching the Western & Southern Open final. However, the Greek has not moved past the third round at Flushing Meadows in four previous appearances.

Alcaraz, who defeated Tsitsipas at last year’s US Open en route to the quarter-finals, has a chance to make history. If the 19-year-old Spaniard climbs to World No. 1 on 12 September, he will become the youngest No. 1 in Pepperstone ATP Rankings history, breaking the record Lleyton Hewitt set in November 2001 as a 20-year-old.

Ruud, who has climbed as high as World No. 5, can become the first Norwegian in Pepperstone ATP Rankings history to reach World No. 1.

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