Tennis News

From around the world

Kokkinakis & Kyrgios Lead Tokyo Doubles Draw

  • Posted: Oct 02, 2022

Kokkinakis & Kyrgios Lead Tokyo Doubles Draw

Wimbledon champions Ebden and Purcell also in action

Two Grand Slam-winning teams headline the doubles draw at the 2022 Rakuten Japan Open Tennis Championships.

Australian Open champions Thanasi Kokkinakis and Nick Kyrgios lead the way as the top seeds, followed by Wimbledon winners Matthew Ebden and Max Purcell. The Australian teams met in January in the Australian Open final, and will need three more wins each to book a rematch in the Tokyo final.

The Tokyo event is the seventh this season for Kokkinakis and Kyrgios as a team. The ‘Special Ks’ will open against Japanese wild cards Yoshihito Nishioka and Kaichi Uchida in the draw’s top half as they seek their third title of 2022.

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

Alex de Minuar and Frances Tiafoe are also in the top half and loom as potential semi-final opponents for Kokkinakis and Kyrgios. Teaming for just the second time, the duo will face Mackenzie McDonald and Marcelo Melo in the first round.

Fourth seeds Daniel Evans and John Peers round out the top half, with the British-Australian pairing meeting Sweden’s Andre Goransson and Japan’s Ben McLachlan in Monday’s lone doubles match.

In the draw’s bottom half, second seeds Ebden and Purcell face Alexei Popyrin and Ramkumar Ramanathan, while third seeds Rafael Matos and David Vega Hernandez play Hans Hach Verdugo and Miomir Kecmanovic.

The Japanese wild card duo of Toshihide Matsui and Kaito Uesugi will open against qualifiers Sander Gille and Joran Vliegen of Belgium.

Source link

Five #NextGenATP Challenger Tour Players To Watch In October

  • Posted: Oct 02, 2022

Five #NextGenATP Challenger Tour Players To Watch In October

Intesa Sanpaolo Next Gen ATP Finals will take place 8-12 November

Just over a month from now the world’s Top-8 21-and-under players will compete at the coveted Intesa Sanpaolo Next Gen ATP Finals. Held in Milan, Italy, players dream of using the tournament as a launching pad for their career and this year is proving to be a close battle on who will qualify.

Just under 150 points separate 10th and 20th in the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Milan, leaving the margins slim as players dash to collect the maximum points in the coming weeks. looks at five Challenger Tour players to watch in October as they strengthen their hopes of being in Milan.

Ben Shelton (USA)

The lefty has been building upon his NCAA singles title in May, reaching four semi-finals of the five Challenger Tour events in which he has competed. Shelton, 19, finished runner-up at the ATP Challenger 80 events this summer in Rome, Georgia and Chicago, Illinois.

In July, the teenager cruised to victory for his maiden Tour-level win in Atlanta, defeating Ramkumar Ramanthan before pushing countryman John Isner to a third-set tie-break. Shelton was given a wild card into the ATP Masters 1000 event in Cincinnati, Ohio, where he upset then-World No. 5 Casper Ruud in straight sets.

Boasting a 14-5 Challenger match record in 2022, Shelton is due to play the next two weeks at the ATP Challenger 80 tournaments in California: Tiburon and Fairfield. The American is 16th in the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Milan.

<a href=''>Ben Shelton</a> delivers a serve at the 2022 <a href=''>US Open</a>.
Ben Shelton delivers a serve at the 2022 US Open. Credit: Al Bello/Getty Images

Luca Nardi (ITA)
The 19-year-old is the only #NextGenATP star with three or more Challenger titles this season: Forli-1, Lugano, and Mallorca. Nardi, who climbed to a career-high No. 142 in August, is the youngest (19 years, one month) of the 18 Italians ranked within the Top 200 of the Pepperstone ATP Rankings. At the beginning of the year, Nardi made new commitments to himself, which have helped him achieve success this season.

“I started training harder and with more intensity. I also started a diet and eating better,” Nardi told in May. “Everything is going better from that. I’m trying to be as professional as I can. In general, it is the same training, with maybe some extra work on the forehand and backhand, but the intensity is much different. That is the difference.”

Nardi, who is 13th in the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Milan, this weekend will attempt to qualify for the ATP 500 event in Astana, Kazakhstan.

Luca Nardi prevailed on home soil to win the Forli-1 Challenger in January. Credit: NEN Events

Matteo Arnaldi (ITA)
The 21-year-old has reached two Challenger finals this season, including in Francavilla al Mare, where he claimed his maiden Challenger title. At the San Marino Challenger in August, the World No. 157 didn’t drop a set until the final, falling short to Pavel Kotov. Arnaldi also reached the semi-finals at the Split and Como Challengers.

Arnaldi is one of six Italian #NextGenATP youngsters who have claimed a Challenger title in 2022: Nardi, Lorenzo Musetti, Flavio Cobolli, Francesco Maestrelli, and Francesco Passaro have also triumphed this season. Now inching closer to his 2022 goal of being ranked in the Top 150, Arnaldi is aiming to play in front of a home crowd in Milan.

“The Next Gen Finals is my goal for the rest of the year,” Arnaldi told “But I don’t like to check the points every week. I just like to play and do my best.”

The Sanremo native, who is 14th in the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Milan, will next play the Alicante and Saint-Tropez Challengers.

<a href=''>Matteo Arnaldi</a> in action at the Como Challenger.
Matteo Arnaldi in action at the Como Challenger. Credit: Bettina Musatti

Shang Juncheng (CHN)
In August, the Beijing native became the youngest Chinese champion in Challenger Tour history. During a nine-match winning streak, the 17-year-old triumphed at the Lexington Challenger and finished runner-up in Granby, Canada (l. Diallo). He is the youngest player to win a Challenger title since Carlos Alcaraz at Alicante in 2020.

Shang is one of three Chinese players ranked inside the Top 200, alongside Wu Yibing and Zhang Zhizhen.

Shang, 13-8 at the Challenger level this year, is 22nd in the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Milan. The teenager will join fellow lefty Shelton at the Tiburon and Fairfield Challengers as he looks to qualify for Milan.

Shang Juncheng claims the Lexington Challenger at 17.
Shang Juncheng claimed the Lexington Challenger in August. Credit: Lexington Challenger presented by Meridian Wealth Management

Filip Misolic (AUT)
The Austrian, who is 11th in the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Milan, surged onto the Challenger scene in May, when he advanced through qualifying en route to capturing the Zagreb Challenger title. The next week, Misolic continued his hot streak as he reached the semi-finals at the Tunis Challenger (l. Brouwer).

In July, the 21-year-old made the best possible use of a wild card at the ATP 250 event in Kitzbuehel. Competing in his first Tour-level event, Misolic made a run to the final on home soil, falling short to Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut.

Misolic, who began the season ranked outside the Top 350, reached a career-high No. 136 in August. He is set to compete the next two weeks at the Parma and Saint-Tropez Challengers.

Filip Misolic triumphed at the Zagreb Challenger in May. Credit: Inga Cuzic/Zagreb Open

The fifth edition of the Intesa Sanpaolo Next Gen ATP Finals will take place 8-12 November. The previous champions are Hyeon Chung (2017), Stefanos Tsitsipas (2018), Jannik Sinner (2019), and Carlos Alcaraz (2021).

ATP Challenger Tour 

Source link

Scouting Report: Alcaraz & Djokovic Headline Astana, Ruud Leads Tokyo Field

  • Posted: Oct 02, 2022

Scouting Report: Alcaraz & Djokovic Headline Astana, Ruud Leads Tokyo Field

An executive summary of what every fan should know about the coming week

A hard-court ATP 500 double-header lights up the ATP Tour this week as Astana and Tokyo play host to some of the world’s finest players.

World No. 1 Carlos Alcaraz headlines the field at the Astana Open, where Daniil Medvedev and Novak Djokovic are also competing in a stacked field at the indoor event in Kazakhstan.

Casper Ruud is the top seed outdoors at the Rakuten Japan Open Tennis Championships, where the World No. 2 seeks his first hard-court title of the season and the first ATP 500 trophy of his career. Nick Kyrgios is also in action in Japan, where the Australian is trying to add to his 2016 victory at the tournament. looks ahead at five things to watch at each event.

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

View Draws: Astana | Tokyo

1) World No. 1 Alcaraz Returns: Alcaraz is set to compete in his first ATP Tour event since becoming the youngest World No. 1 in the history of the Pepperstone ATP Rankings with his triumph at the US Open in September.

The 19-year-old will face Sunday’s Sofia finalist Holger Rune on tournament debut in Kazakhstan as the Spaniard chases his third ATP 500 crown of the season following. Earlier this year Alcaraz triumphed on clay in Rio de Janeiro and Barcelona.

2) Medvedev Pursuing Indoor Groove: Second seed Medvedev is also taking to the hard courts of Astana for the first time this week. The 26-year-old is currently fifth in the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Turin as he seeks to qualify for November’s season-ending Nitto ATP Finals for the fourth consecutive year.

Despite falling to Stan Wawrinka in his first indoor match in 2022 in Metz 10 days ago, Medvedev can look to the fact that he has won six of his 14 tour-level titles on indoor hard courts for confidence as he prepares to take on Albert Ramos-Vinolas in the first round in Astana.


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

3) Dialled-In Djokovic: Djokovic made a strong start to his indoor hard-court season in Tel Aviv this week, with the Serbian set to take on Marin Cilic in Sunday’s final in Israel. Djokovic will then head to Astana, where he will be the fourth seed on tournament debut as he chases his first ATP 500 crown since his 2020 triumph in Dubai.

4) Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Turin: With Alcaraz and third seed Stefanos Tsitsipas already qualified for the Nitto ATP Finals, a host of top names arrive in Astana seeking to bolster their chances of reaching the season-ending showpiece, to be held in Turin from 13-20 November.

Andrey Rublev (sixth) and Felix Auger-Aliassime (seventh) both currently occupy qualification spots, while Hubert Hurkacz (ninth) could overtake both with a title run in Kazakhstan depending on their results. All three are making their Astana debuts this week.

You May Also Like:

Felix Ready To Continue Success In Astana

5) Can Top Seeds Puetz/Venus Boost Turin Hopes?: Dubai champions Tim Puetz and Michael Venus seek their second ATP 500 crown of 2022 in Astana, where a strong run will also boost their Nitto ATP Finals hopes.

The German-Kiwi pairing are currently eighth in the Pepperstone ATP Live Doubles Teams Rankings. Their rivals in Kazakhstan this week include second seeds Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic (fourth in the Doubles Teams Race), and Marcel Granollers and Horacio Zeballos (fifth in the Doubles Teams Race). Santiago Gonzalez, who triumphed in Astana in 2021 alongside Andres Molteni, plays with Lukasz Kubot.

1) Ruud Headlines Field: Top seed Ruud arrives in Tokyo chasing his maiden ATP 500 crown. The Norwegian has excelled on hard courts in 2022, reaching finals on the surface in Miami in March and at the US Open in September. The 23-year-old will hope to maintain that form when his bid for his fourth ATP Tour title of the season begins against Jaume Munar.

2) Fritz & Tiafoe Lead American Charge: This week in Tokyo could be crucial for Taylor Fritz’s hopes of joining Ruud in qualifying for November’s Nitto ATP Finals. The 23-year-old is 10th in the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Turin, but has not won a match in three previous main-draw appearances in the Japanese capital.

Fritz’s countryman, Frances Tiafoe, is seeded fourth in Tokyo, where he returns to action for the first time since he defeated Stefanos Tsitsipas to clinch the Laver Cup for Team World in London a week ago. Brandon Nakashima, Mackenzie McDonald and Steve Johnson are the other contenders looking to become the first American to triumph in Tokyo since Pete Sampras in 1996.

3) Former Champ Kyrgios: Kyrgios lifted his maiden ATP 500 crown in Tokyo in 2016 and the show-stopping Australian is seeded fifth for his first appearance at the event in four years. The 27-year-old has been in red-hot form in recent months and holds a 35-10 record for the season, which includes a title run in Washington and his maiden Grand Slam final appearance at Wimbledon.

4) Home Hope Nishioka: Yoshihito Nishioka could not have asked for a better lead-in to his home tournament. The top-ranked Japanese player in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings downed Denis Shapovalov to lift his second ATP Tour title in Seoul on Sunday. Nishioka takes on Miomir Kecmanovic in the first round as he attempts to become the first home winner in Tokyo since Kei Nishikori won the event for the second time in 2014.

5) ‘Special Ks’ Top Seeds: Kyrgios and Thanasi Kokkinakis will begin their campaign for their third tour-level doubles title of the season against the home pairing of Nishioka and Kaichi Uchida in Tokyo. The Australians are currently seventh in the Pepperstone ATP Live Doubles Teams Rankings as they seek to reach the Nitto ATP Finals for the first time.

Among Kokkinakis and Kyrgios’ rivals in Tokyo this week are Wimbledon champions Matthew Ebden and Max Purcell, while two-time champion and home favourite Ben McLachlan, who won in 2017 (w/Uchiyama) and 2018 (w/Struff), partners Andre Goransson.

Source link

Medvedev, Auger-Aliassime Enjoy Hit At Astana Landmark

  • Posted: Oct 02, 2022

Medvedev, Auger-Aliassime Enjoy Hit At Astana Landmark

Medvedev seeded second, Auger-Aliassime seeded eighth

The Astana Open is an ATP 500 event played indoors at the National Tennis Center, but two of its top stars were hitting outdoors on Sunday.

For one day only, though.

Daniil Medvedev and Felix Auger-Aliassime, the second and eighth seeds, respectively, exchanged leisurely strokes as part of a pre-tournament activity at the city’s famous Baiterek observation tower.

Looking on was the president of the Kazakhstan Tennis Federation, Bulat Utemuratov, and he would have been pleased with the feedback from both players.

“They set up a full-size tennis court in the heart of the city so it’s a great effort from them to make everything nice,” said Auger-Aliassime, who posted victories over new World No. 1 Carlos Alcaraz and Novak Djokovic in back-to-back weeks in September. “And I think it shows how much they have [had] attention to detail.

“From the first moment we got here as players, they’ve been really meticulous with every detail of the tournament. I’m glad we’re here and I’m glad we had the chance to play on this court.”

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

Medvedev, last year’s US Open champion, recalled that he played an ATP Challenger Tour event in Astana six years ago. Back then he was ranked No. 174 and made the quarter-finals, defeated by Denis Istomin.

“I have to say I love Kazakhstan,” said Medvedev. “It’s really close to my culture. I can speak my language here. I’m always happy to come back here, and as Felix said, the tournament is doing a really great job.”

Auger-Aliassime, who did not compete in Astana when it hosted an ATP 250 the previous two seasons, was also impressed with the capital.

“Not too far from Europe but also Asia, so I think we have a bit of mix of cultures, and it’s a beautiful city,” the Canadian said.

Visitors to Astana often flock to the Baiterek, which Lonely Planet partially describes as “a white latticed tower crowned by a large glass orb. This embodies a Kazakh legend in which the mythical bird Samruk lays a golden egg containing the secrets of human desires and happiness in a tall poplar tree, beyond human reach.”

It stretches 97 metres above the ground.

Who will be flying highest on the court this week remains to be seen.

Medvedev begins against Spain’s Albert Ramos-Vinolas and Auger-Aliassime meets another Spaniard, Roberto Bautista Agut. Alcaraz and Djokovic are part of the impressive field, too.

Medvedev and Auger-Aliassime have battled in the past in the latter stages of the Australian Open and US Open, Medvedev winning on both occasions.

They could duel again in the quarterfinals this week, with the stakes higher than on Sunday at the Baiterek.

Source link

Nishioka Sinks Shapo For Seoul Crown

  • Posted: Oct 02, 2022

Nishioka Sinks Shapo For Seoul Crown

26-year-old triumphs in South Korean capital to lift second ATP Tour trophy

Yoshihito Nishioka produced a stunning counter-punching display against Denis Shapovalov at the Eugene Korea Open Tennis Championships on Sunday to claim his second ATP Tour title in style at the ATP 250 event in Seoul.

The 26-year-old Japanese downed the fourth seed 6-4, 7-6(5) with a performance full of blistering shotmaking from deep. Despite Shapovalov finding improved rhythm behind his serve and powerful forehand as the match wore on, Nishioka’s movement and stoic defence proved key as he rallied from a 1-3 deficit in the second set before staying solid in the tie-break to secure a one-hour, 55-minute victory.

“This week was amazing for me,” said Nishioka after the match. “I played very well on the court, my mentality and attitude. I just focused on the play, which was very important I think. A couple of matches it was very close, but I played very well, tried to figure out how to beat the opponent, and every match I fought. I needed to play like this in all the matches [so that] I had a chance to beat each of the players.”

A pivotal hold from 0/40 in the seventh game of the match was an early demonstration of the sort of resilience that had taken Nishioka past Daniel Evans and Casper Ruud en route to the final in Seoul. The Japanese appeared to garner confidence from that recovery as his lightning movement around the court made it difficult for Shapovalov to hit through him. After Nishioka carved out his first set point at 5-4, 30/40, the Canadian netted a relatively straightforward forehand volley for Nishioka to move ahead.

Shapovalov responded well to that disappointment, firing a series of blazing forehand winners to lead 3-1 in the second, but Nishioka once again used his defensive abilities to engineer an impressive comeback and force a tie-break. The unseeded Japanese was the more solid player from then on, ultimately sealing victory despite only hitting 14 winners to Shapovalov’s 38.

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

“I think my returning was great today,” said Nishioka, who now leads Shapovalov 2-0 in the pair’s ATP Head2Head series. “I know he has a big serve and a big forehand, but I didn’t need to worry about that if it was too good. I just focused on playing many balls and putting pressure on him, and if I had chances to just go for it. But first of all, just make a lot of balls, and hit a lot to his backhand, and try to move him.”

Nishioka lifted his maiden ATP Tour title in Shenzhen in 2018 and was appearing in his second championship match of 2022 at that level after reaching the Washington final in August, a run that included wins against Alex de Minaur, Karen Khachanov and Andrey Rublev. His triumph in Seoul lifts the 26-year-old 15 spots to No. 41 in the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings.

“First and foremost, congrats to Yoshi. I mean you’re playing incredible this year. You’re super annoying to play,” joked Shapovalov when addressing Nishioka at the trophy presentation ceremony. “it was super frustrating for me, I tried to find a way and I think I did everything I could, so congrats, and to your coach as well, you guys deserve it.”

Source link