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Bautista Agut Gives Spain Winning Start In Davis Cup Finals

  • Posted: Sep 14, 2022

Bautista Agut Gives Spain Winning Start In Davis Cup Finals

Berrettini & Musetti deliver for Italy against Croatia

Roberto Bautista Agut ensured Spain made a winning start to its Group B campaign on Wednesday in Valencia. The World No. 21 struck 37 winners en route to a 7-6(5), 7-6(5) victory against Miomir Kecmanovic to give Spain a 2-0 lead against Serbia.

In the first match of the tie, Spaniard Albert Ramos-Vinolas clawed past Laslo Djere 2-6, 7-6(5), 7-5 in two hours and 57 minutes. With his win, the 34-year-old has levelled his ATP Head2Head series against two-time tour-level titlist Djere at 2-2.

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Italy Sweeps Past Croatia
Matteo Berrettini rallied past Croatian Borna Coric 6-7(4), 6-2, 6-1 to secure Italy victory in Group A in Bologna.

The 26-year-old fired 15 aces to triumph after two hours and 24 minutes, handing Italy an unassailable 2-0 lead in the tie against Croatia. #NextGenATP star Lorenzo Musetti downed Borna Gojo 6-4, 6-2 in 86 minutes in the first match.

Simone Bolelli and Fabio Fognini completed a clean sweep for the Italians with a 3-6, 7-5, 7-6(3) win against Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic.

Krawietz/Puetz Deliver For Germany
Kevin Krawietz and Tim Puetz defeated Nicolas Mahut and Arthur Rinderknech 6-2, 3-6, 7-6(1) in the deciding doubles rubber to earn Germany a 2-1 win against France in Hamburg.

Jan-Lennard Struff battled past Benjamin Bonzi 6-4, 2-6, 7-5 in two hours and 16 minutes to give Germany a 1-0 lead in the Group C tie. Adrian Mannarino then drew the French level, cruising past Oscar Otte 6-4, 6-3 in their first ATP Head2Head meeting.

What is the format for the 2022 Davis Cup Finals?
The group stage of the 2022 Davis Cup by Rakuten Finals will take place across four cities – Bologna, Glasgow, Hamburg and Valencia – from 13-18 September. The 16 nations will compete in four round-robin groups of four teams. The top two teams in each group will advance to the knock-out stage. The knock-out stage will take place in Malaga from 22-27 November.

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Alcaraz's Rapid Rise From ATP Challenger Tour To Grand Slam Champion

  • Posted: Sep 14, 2022

Alcaraz’s Rapid Rise From ATP Challenger Tour To Grand Slam Champion

Spaniard made Challenger debut in 2019

Perhaps the next big tennis rivalry initially started on the ATP Challenger Tour.

When Carlos Alcaraz made his Challenger Tour debut at 15-years-old, he defeated 17-year-old Jannik Sinner 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 at the Alicante Challenger in 2019. The Spaniard made history that day, becoming the first player born in 2003 to win an ATP match.

This past week, Alcaraz and Sinner met for the fifth time in a thrilling quarter-final match at the US Open, where Alcaraz outlasted the Italian 6-3, 6-7(7), 6-7(0), 7-5, 6-3 in the second-longest match in US Open history (five hours, 15 minutes). The two youngsters produced a high quality of tennis, battling until 2:50 a.m. local time.

Alcaraz and Sinner have split their four ATP Tour-level meetings and the instant classic at Flushing Meadows proved that their matches will be must-watch television for years to come.

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When the two met in a first-round match in Alicante three years ago, it was a display of some of the brightest teenage stars in the sport. It was that meeting on the clay courts of Spain that set that stage for their rivalry and the Challenger Tour is where both players embarked on their professional careers.

“This shows me that I have the level to play with these players,” Alcaraz told in 2019, when speaking about the ATP Challenger Tour. “These matches give me very important experience. I need to continue improving and I’m sure that these matches will only make me better.”

Every player dreams of rising from the Challenger Tour to some day lifting a Grand Slam trophy. Alcaraz has done just that, from collecting his first Challenger title in August 2020 to triumphing at Flushing Meadows approximately two years later.

The Spaniard, who is a four-time Challenger titlist, captured his maiden Grand Slam title at the US Open. Alcaraz broke into the Top 100 after claiming the title at the Oeiras Challenger In May 2021 and after triumphing at Flushing Meadows this past week, the 19-year-old climbed to No. 1 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings. His rise to the top spot was rooted in early success on the ATP Challenger Tour.

The Murcia native advanced through qualifying at the Trieste Challenger in August 2020, winning seven matches in nine days to claim his maiden Challenger title at 17. Rafael Nadal is the only Spaniard who has claimed a Challenger title at a younger age. The 22-time major champion captured his first title in Barletta, Italy as a 16-year-old and was two months younger than Alcaraz when he added a second crown on home soil in Segovia.

Carlos Alcaraz (left) celebrates his first ATP Challenger Tour title with coach and former World No. 1 Juan Carlos Ferrero. Credit: Citta di Trieste Challenger

“There are a lot of points at stake at the Challenger level,” Alcaraz told after winning the Trieste Challenger. “To play at such a high level against really good players… It’s good preparation for when I compete at the biggest tournaments.”

Alcaraz continued building on his success, winning 10 consecutive matches in October 2020, when he captured two Challenger titles at home: Barcelona and Alicante.

Alcaraz made his Tour-level debut at the ATP 500 event in Rio de Janeiro in February 2020, when he defeated countryman Albert Ramos-Vinolas. The teenager was selected by fellow players as the Newcomer of the Year in the 2020 ATP Awards. The following season, Alcaraz triumphed in Umag, Croatia to capture his first ATP Tour title and won the Intesa Sanpaolo Next Gen ATP Finals in November.

Alcaraz boasts five ATP Tour titles in 2022, a season-leading 51-9 match record and is the World No. 1 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings.

Even the highest-ranked player in the sport began his professional journey on the ATP Challenger Tour.

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#NextGenATP Q3 Review: Musetti Shines, Draper & Nakashima Make Moves

  • Posted: Sep 14, 2022

#NextGenATP Q3 Review: Musetti Shines, Draper & Nakashima Make Moves

Lehecka and Tseng boost Milan hopes

With the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Milan heating up, a number of #NextGenATP stars earned standout results in the third quarter of the season to boost their chances of qualifying for the Intesa Sanpaolo Next Gen ATP Finals.

Italian Lorenzo Musetti defeated Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz to lift his maiden tour-level title in Hamburg, while Jack Draper and Ben Shelton made their mark at ATP Masters 1000 events in North America. Brandon Nakashima, who is aiming to compete at the 21-and-under event in November for a second consecutive season, impressed on the Wimbledon lawns and Jiri Lehecka continued his strong season with title success on the ATP Challenger Tour.

Leaders Alcaraz and Jannik Sinner also broke new ground to move further clear in the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Milan, with the 19-year-old Alcaraz capturing his maiden Grand Slam title at the US Open. 

View Latest Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Milan Standings

Alcaraz & Sinner Remain In Front
With the world watching, Alcaraz made history at the US Open, overcoming Casper Ruud in the final to clinch his first Grand Slam crown and secure the No. 1 Pepperstone ATP Ranking.

The Spaniard now holds a standout 51-9 record on the season, having won ATP Masters 1000 titles in Miami and Madrid earlier this year. The 19-year-old is the youngest player to rise to No. 1 in the history of the Pepperstone ATP Rankings (since 1973) and the fourth Spaniard, joining his current coach Juan Carlos Ferrero, Carlos Moya and Rafael Nadal.

Jannik Sinner remains in second in the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Milan after advancing to the quarter-finals at Wimbledon and the US Open. The Italian also captured his first tour-level title of the season in July when he downed Alcaraz in the Umag final.

No. 3 Lorenzo Musetti, 1266 points
After a steady rise over the past 18 months, Musetti enjoyed his best moment on the ATP Tour in July, when he soared to his maiden tour-level title on the clay in Hamburg.

The Italian saved two match points in the first round against Dusan Lajovic, before he produced lights-out tennis, defeating Emil Ruusuvuori, Alejandro Davidovich Fokina and Francisco Cerundolo to reach his maiden tour-level final. With the pressure on, the 20-year-old overcame Carlos Alcaraz in an all #NextGenATP blockbuster to capture the ATP 500 crown.

“For me it’s a dream,” Musetti said after winning the title in Germany. “Obviously I always dreamed about winning a title and I didn’t have any chances before. I think my best result was a semi-final, so I never had the opportunity to play a final. I’m really happy with this week. I think we did an amazing job and now we will celebrate and enjoy it for the next days.”

Musetti, who became the 10th first-time winner of the season, rose to a career-high No. 30 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings at the start of August. Having earned a seed at the US Open, the Italian played with renewed confidence in his second appearance in New York. He edged David Goffin and Gijs Brouwer on the hard courts to advance to the third round.

The 20-year-old is currently third in the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Milan as he closes in on qualification for the Intesa Sanpaolo Next Gen ATP Finals for the second consecutive year.

Read 2022 Next Gen ATP Finals Spotlight Features
Jiri Lehecka
Jack Draper
Holger Rune
Shang Juncheng
Luca Nardi
Dominic Stricker
Chun-Hsin Tseng
Ben Shelton

No. 5 Jack Draper, 925 points
Great Britain’s Draper continued his standout season on the English lawns and the North American hard courts, boosting his Intesa Sanpaolo Next Gen ATP Finals qualification hopes in the process.

The 20-year-old, who won four ATP Challenger Tour titles across the first four months of the season, enjoyed a run to his first tour-level semi-final on the grass in Eastbourne, toppling Top 20-star Diego Schwartzman en route. Draper then made his biggest wave yet in Montreal, where he turned heads by reaching the quarter-finals at the ATP Masters 1000 event.

After coming through qualifying, the lefty earned his maiden Top 10 win in the second round at the hard-court tournament, stunning Stefanos Tsitsipas in straight sets. He then moved past Gael Monfils, before he was stopped by eventual champion Pablo Carreno Busta.

“This is why I put in all the hard work, for nights like this on stages like this,” Draper said following his win against Tsitsipas.

“I just thought I needed to play good tennis to beat Stefanos. He’s at the top of the game for a reason. [He’s] someone I’ve looked up to the last few years. It’s just good to be out here and try to express myself on this stage.”

Draper then rocked up at the US Open and put on a show, dispatching sixth seed Felix Auger-Aliassime to reach the third round on debut in New York.

No. 7 Brandon Nakashima, 592 points
Consistency was the name of the game for Nakashima in recent months on the ATP Tour. The American looked comfortable on the grass at Wimbledon, eliminating Top 20 Canadian Denis Shapovalov en route to his first fourth-round appearance at a Grand Slam.
The 21-year-old, who lost to eventual finalist Nick Kyrgios in five sets, was one of four Americans to reach the last 16, which was the most at SW19 since 1999.

“It felt amazing out there. To play against such a high-level player on one of the biggest stages, it doesn’t get much better than that,” Nakashima said following his maiden Top 20 win against Shapovalov. “The crowd was great out there today.”

Nakashima then made the journey across the North Atlantic Ocean, where he reached consecutive quarter-finals on hard in Atlanta and Los Cabos.

After disappointing first-round exits in Montreal and Cincinnati, the American looked back to his best at the US Open. Nakashima cruised past Pavel Kotov and former World No. 3 Grigor Dimitrov in straight sets, before he ran out of steam during his third-round match against 11th seed Jannik Sinner.

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No. 14 Ben Shelton, 280 points
Shelton has thrown himself into contention to qualify for the 21-and-under event in Milan in November after enjoying a red-hot summer in North America.

The American, who studied at the University of Florida, won the NCAA singles title as a sophomore earlier this year to earn a main draw wild card into the US Open. However, fans were not made to wait until the fourth major of the season to see the 19-year-old in action.

After advancing to his first ATP Challenger Tour final in July, Shelton made his tour-level debut in Atlanta. The lefty swept past Ramkumar Ramanathan to earn his maiden ATP Tour win, before he gave countryman John Isner a scare in a third-set tie-break defeat.

<a href=''>Ben Shelton</a>
Photo Credit: Mike Lawrence/ATP Tour
Shelton then made his ATP Masters 1000 debut in Cincinnati, where he made his biggest mark yet. The home favourite backed up his first-round victory against Lorenzo Sonego by shocking Norway’s Casper Ruud in straight sets.

“If he plays like he did today every match for the rest of his career, I think he will reach very far,” Ruud told “I think it surprised me a little bit how well he played. I knew he was a young, up and coming, great player. But today he was painting lines as we call it and hitting all the spots he needed to. It was really impressive to see.”

Following his third-round defeat against Cameron Norrie, Shelton made the decision to go pro, despite being eligible to study in Florida for another two years. The American is currently 14th in the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Milan and will need a strong finish to the season if he is going to qualify for the Intesa Sanpaolo Next Gen ATP Finals.

Others To Watch
Czech Lehecka is sixth in the Pepperstone ATP Race To Milan, while Chun-Hsin Tseng is eighth. Lehecka lifted his first ATP Challenger Tour trophy of the season in August, while Tseng of Chinese Taipei earned his maiden tour-level match win in Los Cabos.

The 21-year-old Italian Francesco Passaro soared to a Challenger Tour crown on clay in July and is currently ninth, with the 20-year-old Dominic Stricker 10th. The Swiss lefty came through qualifying to reach the second round in Stuttgart, before he clinched his second Challenger Tour title of the year on home soil.

Holger Rune remains fourth in the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Milan following a run to the third round at the US Open.

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Murray Or Nostradamus? Andy Predicted Medvedev & Alcaraz's Rise To No. 1

  • Posted: Sep 14, 2022

Murray Or Nostradamus? Andy Predicted Medvedev & Alcaraz’s Rise To No. 1

The Scot predicted their ascent 13 months ago

It might be time to give Andy Murray a new nickname: Nostradamus.

During an interview with in Cincinnati in August 2021, the former World No. 1 was asked which current player he would pick to reach No. 1 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings.

“Of the current ones Medvedev would be the guy I would expect to get there first. I think maybe he will need to be a little bit more consistent on the clay to get there, but I think he’s got a good chance,” Murray said. “From the young, young ones, I think [Carlos] Alcaraz is really, really good. I think he’s got a good chance at it. I would probably say Alcaraz if I had to pick one from the young guys.”

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Living The Dream: How Carlos Alcaraz Hit No. 1 At 19

Murray’s prophecy has been fulfilled just 13 months later. Medvedev ascended to World No. 1 on 28 February and has held the top spot for 16 weeks over two stints. Alcaraz on Monday became the youngest World No. 1 in Pepperstone ATP Rankings history.

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Alcaraz, Medvedev and many of the game’s biggest stars face plenty of pressure at the top of the sport. What would Murray’s advice be to deal with that?

“I know it’s difficult, but when I reflect a little bit on my own career, I wish I had enjoyed the good moments more,” Murray said. “Tennis sometimes because of the way the schedule is, you go from one tournament to the next and you don’t often have the opportunity to enjoy great results. If you win in Canada, you’re on a flight that night to come here and if you win the tournament here, you’re straight to New York to start preparing for that event.

“I just kind of wish that in those moments that I’d taken a bit of a step back and taken a few days to enjoy the wins more. So much hard work goes into them and it’s what you always dreamed of. But once you’re in it, you’re just always onto the next week. I regret that a little bit.”

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