Tennis News

From around the world

Ebden/Murray Win Winston-Salem Title In Team Debut

  • Posted: Aug 27, 2022

Ebden/Murray Win Winston-Salem Title In Team Debut

Australian/British pair dropped just one set on the week

New partner, similar success for Matthew Ebden and Jamie Murray. Teaming for the first time this week in Winston-Salem, the pair claimed the title with a 6-4, 6-2 win against Hugo Nys and Jan Zielinski on Saturday.

The third seeds saved all five break points against them in the final as they finished the week with just one set lost. The title is Ebden’s seventh and Murray’s 27th at tour-level.

“When we spoke last week about playing here, I thought immediately it works perfectly,” Ebden said post-match. “Jamie plays on the deuce court, I’ve been playing on the ad [side]. We’ve known each other a long time. First time [playing] together but we’ve known each other, we’ve seen each other around many times.

“You never really know how its going to go, but I like to think we both know what we’re doing out there and we’re lucky we executed a lot of good points and played a lot of big points well. That was the key to the week.”

ATP WTA LIVE | Follow the Pepperstone ATP Race To Turin In Real Time

Ebden and Murray boast three Grand Slam titles between them, with Ebden victorious at Wimbledon this year with Max Purcell and Murray at the 2016 Australian Open and US Open with Bruno Soares.

Thanks to their past success, both men are very familiar with the effort it takes to win a title on the ATP Tour.

“Really happy to win a title,” Murray said. “I think the level is so high on the Tour these days, it’s not easy to win.

“For me it was like, come here, play with Matt, a great partner, enjoy the week, see what we get out of it. We managed to go all the way and got a trophy over our heads.”

While they only dropped one set on the week, the pair saved at least two break points in every match, including seven in the opening round. Both men credited strong serving under pressure for their title run.

“Even the set we did lose, I said to Jamie it wasn’t a bad set,” Ebden noted, reflecting on their quarter-final win against Americans Robert Galloway and Alex Lawson. “We had a break point we didn’t get, they had one they did get. That was it, that’s how it goes.

“To play eight or nine really good sets going into the US Open, it couldn’t be better.”

Source link

Molcan Reflects On Challenger Tour Roots

  • Posted: Aug 27, 2022

Molcan Reflects On Challenger Tour Roots

The Slovakian faces Monteiro in the US Open first round

Alex Molcan enters the 2022 US Open as a Top 40 player, a vast improvement from this time last year, when he advanced through the qualifying as the World No. 138 before reaching the third round at Flushing Meadows (l. Schwartzman). He has not forgotten his roots.

In 2021, the Slovakian spent much of his time on the ATP Challenger Tour and attempting to qualify for Tour-level events. This season, Molcan has made it onto the ATP Tour and has found success that he eagerly awaited.

“I’m not surprised that I’m there (Top 40). I always knew if I can play well and stay healthy, I can be Top 50.” Molcan said. “I wasn’t surprised but I don’t think it came crazy fast. I was trying for many, many years to be Top 100 but I didn’t do it. Last year, it was surprising when I went from 300 to 90 at the end of season.”

The 24-year-old holds two Challenger Tour titles, Liberec and Helsinki, which he won in 2021. After spending several years on the Challenger Tour, Molcan has many fond memories of the annual progress he achieved.

“When I won my first Challenger, that was great. Before that, I was happy when I played some semi-finals, I was like ‘Woah, 30 points!’ and I was so happy. Three years ago, it was a great memory when I played quarter-finals. There are a lot of good memories, every year is some other memory.”

During the clay-court season this spring, Molcan reached a career-high No. 38 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings. Amidst his rise on the ATP Tour, the Presov native has found the margins are slim between the Challenger-level and the ATP Tour.

“The level at Challengers is not easier than the ATP Tour. They play the same speed of serve, same speed of forehand, of course there are some factors why the guys in the Top 20 or 30 are better, but the level is similar.”

In May, Molcan claimed his first win over a Top 10 player when he saved a match point en route to defeating Felix Auger-Aliassime in the second round of the ATP 250 event in Marrakech. The lefty then reached his second Tour-level final before falling short to David Goffin. The following month, the World No. 40 reached another final in Lyon (l. Norrie). Molcan’s first ATP Tour final came in 2021 in Belgrade, where he lost to then World No. 1 Novak Djokovic.

Now, Slovakia’s top-ranked player looks to improve upon his three finals to collect his first ATP Tour title.

“I’m happy with the way I’m playing. I still want to play better. I have very good coaches, every member in my team is very professional in what they do. We understand each other and we believe in each other. I played two finals (this year) at ATP 250s, could be better, because in some other tournaments I lost first or second round. I’m happy anyway with my results and still trying to improve my game.”

Djokovic’s former coach, Marian Vajda, has been working with Molcan since May. Vajda, a fellow Slovakian, spent 15 years with Djokovic. During Molcan’s first tournament teaming with the 2018 ATP Coach of the Year, he felt butterflies in his stomach as the highly rated coach looked on.

“Our first tournament together was Rome. I remember I lost in qualies first round and I was so shaky and nervous because he was there. After that, I just let it be and wasn’t thinking about that at all and since then everything is good. He has a lot of experience, he’s telling me a lot of things.”

Molcan, 26-20 this season, will face Brazil’s Thiago Monteiro in the first round of the US Open on Monday. Monteiro won their only meeting at the 2018 Szczecin Challenger.

Did You Know? Four of the 16 qualifiers from the 2021 US Open are now ranked within the Top 40 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings: Botic van de Zandschulp, Holger Rune, Maxime Cressy, and Molcan.

Source link

From Soda To Stardom: Inside The Rise Of Sebastian Baez

  • Posted: Aug 27, 2022

From Soda To Stardom: Inside The Rise Of Sebastian Baez

Learn how the Argentine has developed the professionalism that has driven his surge up the Pepperstone ATP Rankings

Sebastian Baez met his longtime coach, Sebastian Gutierrez, for the first time when he was 15. He was in Brazil for an ITF event, where Gutierrez was coaching the Argentine players.

It did not take long for them to make a connection, but not on the court. Gutierrez wasted no time commenting on something that some coaches would not do for weeks, if not months.

“I drank Coca-Cola every day, every time. I ate all foods,” Baez recalled. “He looked at me and said, ‘Why do you drink Coca-Cola every time?’”

Baez was already one of the best juniors in Argentina. But being a good junior and a top professional are worlds apart. That first meeting with Gutierrez set Baez on a path to where he is now, the No. 37 player in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings.

“I said, ‘I really like Coca-Cola! It’s the best thing!’ He said, ‘No, you have to drink water.’ I said, ‘Okay’. It was a difficult change in that moment, but I think that was the first thing he told me,” Baez said. “The other coaches from my country just told me how I have to hit the ball and everything. He was focussed outside the court and that is what makes all the difference.”

Some juniors would be fussed if their coach bothered them about enjoying a soft drink at such a young age. Baez realised in that moment Gutierrez was the coach for him. Gutierrez explained that it is important for upcoming players to have good habits, both on and off the court.

“Seba drank a lot of Coca-Cola [and] he liked to eat ice cream for dessert every day,” Gutierrez said. “When they are children, sometimes you have to try to make them understand that in the road, having those good habits will for sure make a difference in the future.”

ATP WTA LIVE | Follow the Pepperstone ATP Race To Turin In Real Time

From then on, Baez shifted his mindset. Now, the Argentine focusses on controlling everything he can in order to get the most out of his game, whether that is nutrition or fitness off the court or maximising his practice time.

“I think one of the keys was to be focussed to be better. Just to focus on me. To say, ‘Okay I have to do these things, I have to do them perfectly’,” Baez said. “If I do that good, okay. But you can do that better than you think. That started me [wanting] to do better every day. That was the big key to be here and of course to be on the top I need to do perfect compared to [what I do] today.”

By the end of Baez’s junior career, he was the junior World No. 1. But it was not easy for him to make the jump to the next level.

“I started to play Futures and everything [as a] professional, from the start to the Futures, it was too different to the juniors. I think that was the worst thing, to change the age and the circuit,” Baez said. “In professionals, you have to start at zero. At the beginning, it was hard.”

Some of it had to do with the level of players he was facing. But it was also the realisation of what it takes to be a professional. Baez bought a stringing machine to save on the expenses of paying for someone to do the job for him.

“I had to learn to string a racquet and in the tournament, we would take the machine [too],” Baez said, before cracking a laugh. “But I didn’t string the racquet any more because my coach said, ‘Now we are in the tournament, I want you to have the racquets good so I will do them. You are terrible!’”

The Argentine cracked the Top 500 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings in October 2019, but five months later his progress came to a halt due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Instead of letting slip his momentum, Baez made even more of a focus on maximising his potential every day.

Ever since, he has been on the rise. Last year, Baez won six ATP Challenger Tour titles — tied for second-most in a season — and qualified for the Intesa Sanpaolo Next Gen ATP Finals. According to Baez, his biggest breakthrough came this clay-court season, when he claimed his first ATP Tour title in Estoril.

“It was a big moment for me and I think I changed a little bit in my mind after that tournament,” Baez said. “I can be there. Of course I have to do better, to win a lot of tournaments to be on the top. But I think I can. Why not me?”

Watch Estoril Final Highlights:

The 5’7” Argentine has drawn comparisons to a countryman of the same height: Diego Schwartzman. Both men agree they are not that similar as tennis players, though.

“I think he is playing very, very aggressive. I’m different. I think he has a very good serve, a fast serve. So he’s improving a lot,” Schwartzman said. “It’s the first year for him playing these kind of tournaments, he’s doing so well. He’s improving. It’s important for our tennis. He’s playing so many different tournaments that he was not playing before, so obviously he is going to change some parts of his game in the future.

“I think we have similar things, but not enough to say we are similar. Maybe because of the size and how we [wear] our hat, we’re similar. But not enough to have a similar game. I think we are a little bit different and that’s a good thing, I think.”

Baez will try to show the world his game in a tough first-round test against third seed Carlos Alcaraz. It will be a rematch of their semi-final clash in Milan last year, which Gutierrez called “a beautiful experience”.

“I think it will be a different match. Seba already has more experience on Tour but at the same time it is a good opportunity to add another great match on his shoulders. Seba is also only 21 years old, he is very young and a match like this can give him a lot to be a better professional,” Gutierrez said. “One of the most positive things of this season is to capitalise on each of these moments, that he has been able to play all the Grand Slams or that he has played in big stadiums, against great rivals.

“Every day he tries to be a little better.”

Source link

'It's Over! It's Over!' Emotional Rollercoaster For Holt & Mom, Tracy Austin

  • Posted: Aug 27, 2022

‘It’s Over! It’s Over!’ Emotional Rollercoaster For Holt & Mom, Tracy Austin

American reflects on his journey to the main draw in New York

After two rain delays, Brandon Holt finally won his final-round qualifying match on Friday at the US Open against Dimitar Kuzmanov 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 to reach the main draw at a Grand Slam for the first time. The American finished it off by rushing into the net to put away a ball that seemingly floated forever.

In the crowd, Holt’s mother put her hands on her head in disbelief, quickly stood up in celebration, sat down again and looked in complete shock. Moments later she shared a special embrace with Brandon. It was one of the most emotional moments of qualifying week at Flushing Meadows.

It just so happens that Holt’s mother knows a thing or two about winning at the US Open. His mom is Tracy Austin, the two-time tournament winner who remains the youngest champion in US Open history, having lifted the trophy aged 16 in 1979.

“It’s over!” Austin told of her immediate reaction. “It’s over!”

Tracy Austin
Photo Credit: Pete Staples/USTA
The former World No. 1 was not the only one who felt that way. Holt led 4-2 in the third set with an opportunity to go up 5-2 when the players were forced inside due to the first rain delay. When play resumed, he earned three match points — two on Kuzmanov’s serve at 5-2 and another at 5-3, 40/15. The Bulgarian played them perfectly to avoid elimination.

On the last of those points, the rain began to fall before the point. Play continued, Holt approached to Kuzmanov’s backhand, and the ATP Cup veteran responded with a tremendous passing shot for a winner. Play was then suspended.

The rain delays were more stressful than the tennis. According to Austin, coach David Nainkin joined Holt in the locker room. Nainkin has worked with several stars over the years including Taylor Fritz, who is Holt’s first-round opponent.

“David Nainkin went in the locker room and we discussed what they would talk about. David went in there and said things we had discussed: his demeanour, his strategy, how to handle those moments,” Austin recalled. “I said a few things on the phone the first time and then there were a lot of texts back and forth.

“I don’t want to complicate it at that point. He’s got to think. You don’t complicate it too much with tactics. He knows how to play. He knows how to finish it off, it’s just about execution.”

Holt added that he nearly fell asleep during one of the delays.

“I was so tired and I was thinking, ‘Man, if I fall asleep and just sleep through my match that would for sure go viral, like, ‘Guy has match point and then gets defaulted because he’s sleeping,’” Holt said. “I just didn’t really look at my phone much because I had a bunch of texts that I didn’t want to start overthinking things. At one point I opened Instagram and the first thing was something like, ‘It would be a huge opportunity for Brandon if he won this’, and I was like, ‘Oh my God, let me put it away’, and then I started laying down more.”

ATP WTA LIVE | Follow the Pepperstone ATP Race To Turin In Real Time

As exhausting as the day was, Holt was rewarded for his efforts with the biggest result of his career. This was his first attempt to qualify for a major, and he did so with three three-set wins.

“He did it. He did it. He handled the moment. He handled the pressure. He won the third time in a row, didn’t have that letdown,” Austin said. “These are big wins for him. It’s a lot of time to think in the locker room. He basically had an hour and a half and [another] hour and a half to think about the last five points, so you’re just so happy that now he’s in the US Open. I still can’t believe it.”

Part of what helped Holt earn his place in the main draw was his fighting spirit. The Court 11 stands were packed with fans hoping the American would move on. It would have been easy for him to feel the pressure after letting slip three match points and having to return inside Arthur Ashe Stadium during the second rain delay.

But the 24-year-old battled until the end and found a way to overcome every obstacle in his way by giving everything he had. That is a trait he has taken from Austin.

“She’s an unbelievable competitor. I think just watching her do day-to-day things, it’s kind of 100 per cent or nothing. I’ve never seen her give anything less than 100 per cent and it’s always that [way], whether she’s doing things for her family — it seems like her favourite thing to do because she’s always there for us,” Holt said. “I think that’s the biggest thing that I’ve learned. Whether it’s in tennis or playing a game of cards. She’s not going to lose. She’ll reach across the table and rip your heart out and then hug you after.”

Inevitably, Holt will be linked to his mother given all she accomplished as a player. However, he is following his own path. Austin won the US Open at 16, while Holt attended college at the University of Southern California, following in the footsteps of players including Steve Johnson, Robert Farah and Emilio Gomez, whom he defeated in the second round of qualifying.

Holt turned professional in 2020 after the Covid-19 pandemic began. Last year, Holt began to feel pain in his hand, which troubled him for months. After several doctor visits, he learned an osteoid osteoma, an extra bone growing on his fourth metacarpal. The American had two options to deal with it, and chose the more invasive, but safer option. After undergoing the operation in August, Holt did not play the rest of 2021.

“When I was going through that I had no clue if my career was going to be over. I had no clue about my injury. Luckily I’m healthy, got some good rehab in and I was able to be pain free for this whole time. Definitely it was touch and go there for a little bit,” Holt said. “It’s just a helpless feeling because I didn’t know what it was, it was hurting like crazy. I wasn’t able to play. Basically I couldn’t run, I couldn’t move because I would feel my heartbeat in my hand.”

The situation gave Holt a new perspective. The home favourite did not know what would happen with his career. One year later, he is into the main draw of a major.

Source link

Banja Luka Celebrates 20th Anniversary On Challenger Tour

  • Posted: Aug 27, 2022

Banja Luka Celebrates 20th Anniversary On Challenger Tour

Srpska Open is the pride of Bosnia & Herzegovina on the ATP Challenger Tour

The ability to watch world-class tennis in a smaller, more intimate setting is one of the core pillars of tennis on the ATP Challenger Tour. That is, witnessing a player’s journey as he fights to establish a career away from the big cities and the bright lights.

It is precisely what makes the Challenger circuit so special to these communities and regions in all corners of the globe. And when that tournament is the lone professional tennis event in the entire country, it provides an additional unique layer to its charm that is unmatched. This is where the city of Banja Luka, Bosnia & Herzegovina, has carved its own identity on the ATP Challenger Tour for the last two decades.

This week, the Srpska Open was honoured for 20 years on the ATP Challenger Tour. Not only is it the longest-running men’s professional tennis tournament in all of Bosnia & Herzegovina, but also the entire Balkan region in southeast Europe. With a population centre of just 138,000, Banja Luka is also one of the smallest cities to host a Challenger tournament for 20 or more years.

It was in 2002 that Milan Radakovic had a vision for the future of tennis in his native Banja Luka. Never before did his city or his country host a tournament of this caliber on the ATP Challenger Tour. But this was Milan’s dream. To bring elite tennis to Bosnia & Herzegovina. Not only did he achieve that very goal, but here we are more than two decades later, and his dream is still being realized.

In 2017, Radakovic passed away at the age of 61, and while he is no longer with us, the light behind his vision burns brighter than ever. He would be proud to witness this moment, as the very tournament he founded celebrates its 20th anniversary on the ATP Challenger Tour. The Srpska Open was honoured on Thursday, with a special ceremony in front of the Bosnian faithful on Center Court at the National Tennis Center.

Radakovic poses with Viktor Troicki and Albert Ramos-Vinolas during the 2014 trophy ceremony.

Situated along the banks of the Vrbas River, with tree-lined fields surrounding the city, Banja Luka is an important cultural and sporting hub in the Balkans. This week, fans have flocked to the National Tennis Center to see local legend Damir Dzumhur sprint into the semi-finals. They blared horns and waved flags in support of Dzumhur, as well as countrymen Mirza Basic and Nerman Fatic. But regardless of where you hail from, Banja Luka feels like home.

“I really enjoyed my time in Banja Luka,” said reigning champion Juan Manuel Cerundolo. “For me, the tournament is very nice, the conditions are similar to Buenos Aires, so I liked it a lot. The people there are also very warm and welcoming and a lot of fans come to watch the tennis. To win there was very significant because it put me very close to the Top 100. But I also feel this tournament gave me the momentum to get to the Top 100 a few weeks later. Congratulations to them for this 20th anniversary.”

Cerundolo celebrates his 2021 Banja Luka title.

Banja Luka has a rich sporting culture, with the Srpska Open comprising its tennis identity. The local government in the Republic of Srpska plays a central role in providing funding for the tournament, recognizing its great impact on the sporting landscape in the region. In 2017, the city was awarded the title of European City of Sport, as one of just 23 European cities to receive this honour.

Times change and several factors result in the ebb and flow of tournaments’ longevity over the years. To withstand this precise test of time and remain a symbol of durability deserves to be applauded. Currently led by tournament director Drasko Milinovic, along with a dedicated team of full-time club workers and part-time volunteers, the tournament has become a beacon on the Challenger Tour and a summer staple in Bosnia & Herzegovina for these 20 years.

Banja Luka
The old Srpska Open site at Tenis Klud Mladost.

In Banja Luka, this moment would not be possible without the hard work and commitment of all the tournament staff, volunteers and sponsors. And the players who have been provided opportunities to take the next step in their careers, acknowledge the tournament’s dedication and commitment to the sport and the Tour.

The ATP Challenger Tour is the springboard to success for the stars of tomorrow and this tournament has been precisely that in the decorated careers of Felix Auger-Aliassime, Diego Schwartzman, Fabio Fognini and Janko Tipsarevic. All competed in Banja Luka, before rising to the Top 10 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings.

From the ATP to the Srpska Open, here’s to another 20 years as part of the Challenger family.

ATP Challenger Tour 

Source link

The Battle For World No. 1 At The US Open Could Come Down To This…

  • Posted: Aug 27, 2022

The Battle For World No. 1 At The US Open Could Come Down To This…

We look at the key matches that could happen at Flushing Meadows

Five players — Rafael Nadal, Daniil Medvedev, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Carlos Alcaraz and Casper Ruud — have an opportunity to finish the US Open as the No. 1 player in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings.

With the release of the draw Thursday, the scenarios have become clearer. There are four situations in which both US Open finalists would be competing for both the season’s final major trophy and World No. 1.

If Nadal plays Medvedev in the championship match or Medvedev, Tsitsipas or Ruud face Alcaraz for the title, the winner will leave New York as World No. 1. Medvedev currently holds top spot, while Nadal is trying to regain it for the first time since February 2020 and Alcaraz is attempting to reach the pinnacle for the first time. With Medvedev defending 2000 points, Nadal will hold a healthy lead over the 26-year-old in the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings Monday.

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

There are also several potential matches that could happen earlier in the tournament that would have major implications on the battle for No. 1.

If Alcaraz eliminates Nadal in the last four, he would give himself a chance to become the youngest No. 1 in the history of the Pepperstone ATP Rankings (since 1973) by winning the title. If Medvedev, Tsitsipas or Ruud are still in the draw, an Alcaraz win against Nadal would guarantee that the 22-time major winner would not leave New York as World No. 1.

You May Also Like:

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

Depending on other results in the tournament, a Tsitsipas-Ruud quarter-final could be pivotal. Not only would the winner still have a chance to claim World No. 1, but the victor could also potentially become World No. 2 depending on other tournament results. Tsitsipas has climbed as high as World No. 3 and Ruud has ascended as high as World No. 5.

It is key to note that even if Nadal loses in the first round, Medvedev, Tsitsipas, Alcaraz or Ruud must advance to at least the final to prevent the 36-year-old from leaving the US Open as World No. 1. The Spaniard will finish the tournament no lower than World No. 3. If Nadal reaches the semi-finals, one of the other four players in contention must win the title to finish on top after the Open.

Medvedev, Tsitsipas and Ruud are all on the top half of the draw, while Nadal and Alcaraz are on the bottom half. View Men’s Singles Draw

The winner of the US Open will receive 2,000 Pepperstone ATP Rankings points, the finalist will leave with 1,200 points and the semi-finalists 720 points.

By the end of the US Open, Medvedev will have held World No. 1 for 16 weeks, 13 of which have come during his current stint.

Source link

Mannarino Races Into First Final Since 2020

  • Posted: Aug 27, 2022

Mannarino Races Into First Final Since 2020

Djere needs nine match points to dismiss qualifier Huesler

Adrian Mannarino has done it the hard way this week. After saving four match points in his opening-round victory at the Winston-Salem Open, he has defeated four seeded players to advance to his first tour-level final since 2020.

The 34-year-old Frenchman raced past second seed Botic van de Zandschulp on Friday night, earning a 6-0, 6-4 win in one hour, 15 minutes. With victory in Saturday’s final against Laslo Djere, Mannarino would become the oldest champion in the ATP 250 event’s history.

“I’m old!” he joked in his on-court interview. “My body is not responding as well as when I was 20, but obviously I’m still up and running well.”

ATP WTA LIVE | Follow the Pepperstone ATP Race To Turin In Real Time

Taking full advantage of 29 unforced errors from van de Zandschulp, including four as he broke in the ninth game of set two, Mannarino was in control from the start but had to fight off a strong charge from the Dutchman in set two.

“I think Botic didn’t start the match so well but then in the second set it was really tight,” said Mannarino, who did not face a break point. “He was serving well, putting a lot of pressure and I was able to keep my nerve and serve well in the key moments. I’m really happy with that.”

Now a 10-time singles finalist on the ATP Tour, the Frenchman last competed in a title match in Nur-Sultan nearly two years ago. His lone tour-level singles trophy came in ‘s-Hertogenbosch in 2019.

Mannarino has moved up 13 places this week to No. 52 in the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings, and would rise to No. 45 with the title.

In the evening’s second semi-final, Djere needed nine match points against Swiss qualifier Marc-Andrea Huesler to seal a 7-6(3), 7-6(5) victory. The Croatian lost out on six match points on return in a marathon eight-deuce game at 4-5, then another at 5-6.

When he finally had a chance on his own delivery in the tie-break, he made no mistake as he advanced after two hours, 17 minutes.


📺 TV Schedule
🎾 Watch Live On Tennis TV
📱 Follow Live Scores On ATP WTA Live
📧 Sign Up For Newsletters

Djere, who saved two match points to edge Richard Gasquet in the quarter-finals, is now 5-1 in tie-breaks this week. His victory against Huesler was the first of his five Winston-Salem matches to be decided in straight sets.

The 27-year-old will seek his third tour-level title in his first final of 2022. Saturday’s match will also be his first career hard-court final on the ATP Tour.

Source link

Wu & Zhang Make Chinese History, Qualify For US Open

  • Posted: Aug 27, 2022

Wu & Zhang Make Chinese History, Qualify For US Open

Americans Eubanks, Holt among other qualifiers

Entering this US Open, no Chinese man had competed in the main draw in the Open Era. This year, there will be two.

Wu Yibing and Zhang Zhizhen battled through qualifying, both earning their way into the main draw on Friday with victories on a rainy day at Flushing Meadows.

Wu, the 2017 US Open boys’ singles champion, was the first to advance when he defeated Frenchman Corentin Moutet 7-6(5), 6-2. This was the 22-year-old’s first attempt to qualify for a major.

“Of course I’m happy. I’m happy to be back here playing here in a major event since 2017, when I won here. It’s pretty special for me, but I’m just trying to play my tennis, show the people or myself that I still can play,” Wu said. “It’s been a tough few years for me. I really suffered from injuries and Covid in China. It seems like I can still play a little bit of tennis.

“I’m happy about what I did here. I love the people here, the crowd. Many Chinese people came to support, I love it.”

Wu would return to the court as a spectator to watch his friend, Zhang, oust Zizou Bergs 6-2, 6-4.

“For him it’s easy because he won the juniors here. Five years he didn’t lose a match at the US Open!” Zhang said, cracking a laugh. “For me, I was surprised I passed the qualies because it’s my first time here of course. I was playing quite good on clay courts after grass. I didn’t expect that I can pass here.”

ATP WTA LIVE | Follow the Pepperstone ATP Race To Turin In Real Time

Before the Open Era, the only Chinese men who competed in the US Open main draw were Kong Paul in 1924, Cheng Guy in 1935 and Choy Wai-Chuen in 1940 and 1941. This is the first time two Chinese men will compete in the tournament’s main draw in the same year.

German Maximilian Marterer extended his US Open qualifying winning streak to nine earlier in the day when he needed just 68 minutes to take down Italian Riccardo Bonadio 6-4, 6-3 and earn a spot in the main draw. Marterer, 27, also qualified for the year’s final major in 2017 and 2021. Now, he sets his sights on getting past the first round at Flushing Meadows for the first time. The lefty also advanced through qualifying to reach the Australian Open and Wimbledon main draws this season. 

Norbert Gombos had to wait patiently for his chance to reach the main draw after rain halted his attempt to serve out his final qualifying round match with Frenchman Hugo Grenier at 5-3 in the final set. When play resumed the Slovakian, who had failed in four previous attempts to win through qualifying in New York, held his nerve to qualify for his third major of the season, winning 6-4, 3-6, 6-3. Gombos was a direct entrant in the main draw in 2017, 2020 and 2021. 

Home favourite Christopher Eubanks qualified for the second consecutive year after rallying from a set down to beat Italian Raul Brancaccio 4-6, 6-1, 6-4. The former Georgia Tech standout advances to his first Grand Slam main draw of 2022 (sixth overall).

Another American, Brandon Holt, defeated Dimitar Kuzmanov 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 to qualify for his first major main draw. Holt, the son of WTA legend Tracy Austin, let slip three match points before the second rain delay of his match, but returned to Court 11 to finish the job on his fifth match point.

Former World No. 33 Argentine Federico Delbonis needed three sets in back-to-back days to reach the main draw, including a third-round victory Friday over Dutchman Jesper De Jong 6-7(4), 6-1, 6-4.

Source link