Tennis News

From around the world

#NextGenATP Passaro: 'I Have Grown Up A Lot'

  • Posted: Oct 09, 2022

#NextGenATP Passaro: ‘I Have Grown Up A Lot’

Italian is currently ninth in the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Milan

#NextGenATP star Francesco Passaro is the latest Italian to have made his mark on Tour this season, with the 21-year-old capturing his maiden ATP Challenger Tour title in July before climbing to a career-high No. 122 last month.

Passaro’s strong form has seen him rise into qualification contention for the Intesa Sanpaolo Next Gen ATP Finals, with the Italian currently ninth in the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Milan.

However, life could have been very different for the talented righty had he decided to pursue football over tennis when he was a teenager.

“When I first started playing tennis [aged six], my family was basically living at the club,” Passaro told “My house was just two minutes from the club and for me it was easy to go there. Then when I started to go, I had a lot of friends and it was like my second family. I think I spent more time there than at my home.

“When I was young I also played football. Then when I was 12 years old, I started to only play football, for one year. I stopped practicing tennis and was just playing a few tournaments because it was too much. I was a goalkeeper in football and it was very nice. However, [it made me realise] I just wanted to play tennis.”

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

Passaro’s decision to swap his boots for his racquet has paid off this season, with the 21-year-old enjoying runs to three Challenger Tour finals before he finally tasted glory on home soil in Trieste.

The Italian, who describes himself as mentally strong on court, possessing a powerful serve and forehand, is pleased with how he has performed against higher-ranked opponents on the big stage this season.

Passaro lost to #NextGenATP Dane Holger Rune in the final in San Remo, while he fell to #NextGenATP countryman Lorenzo Musetti in Forli. Both Musetti and Rune will compete in Milan in November.

“Both [finals] I lost in the third set,” Passaro said. “Against Holger, I was 4-2 and break point to go 5-2 up in the third set, so it was not easy after the match but I know I have played well against a big player. I understand my capacity and what I can do. Against Lorenzo, he is a big player, so I just have to stay positive after this loss. The last final I was very focused, I was determined [to win]. There was a little bit of pressure, I lost the first set and was nervous, but in the end, I just tried to play my best tennis.”

Passaro will compete at just his second tour-level event this week in Florence, where has accepted a wild card into the ATP 250 event. It will provide the home fans with an opportunity to watch him in action, with the 21-year-old one of several Italians in the draw.

Eight of the Top 20 players in the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Milan are from the European nation, signifying the strength in depth the country has. Passaro is delighted to travel on Tour with his countrymen and feels their success helps motivate him.

“It is great,” Passaro said. “I am close [with] Matteo Arnaldi. We have played a lot of tournaments together and in doubles, so we are very close friends. Also with Lorenzo [Musetti], with Giulio [Zeppieri], Luca [Nardi] with Francesco [Maestrelli]. With these guys we have played a lot of Challengers together this year, it is something special to play all these tournaments together.

“When one starts to win, I think ‘I can also win a tournament’. So we improve our results every week and with the rankings we want to join each other. A very big help for us is the tournaments [in Italy]. We have the opportunity to play every week in Italy at a big level.”

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

With confidence high, Passaro will be aiming to finish his season in Italy at the Intesa Sanpaolo Next Gen ATP Finals. The 21-year-old, who holds a 29-14 record on the Challenger Tour this season, is excited at the possibility of competing in Milan at an event he has fond memories of watching.

“I watched on TV last year and two years ago when Jannik won,” Passaro said. “I think for me it is a big opportunity because it is in Italy and it is going be of the best under-21 players in the world. It is a very big goal. This year I have grown up a lot. I am now more about myself. The Italian crowd. The energy of the stadium and the atmosphere is very, very nice.”

Source link

Scouting Report: Felix Leads Florence Field, Rublev & Murray In Gijon

  • Posted: Oct 09, 2022

Scouting Report: Felix Leads Florence Field, Rublev & Murray In Gijon

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

Florence and Gijon host indoor hard-court action this week as two strong fields compete in an ATP 250 double-header from 10-16 October.

Felix Auger-Aliassime is the top seed at the UniCredit Firenze Open as the ATP Tour returns to Florence for the first time since 1994. Matteo Berrettini and Lorenzo Musetti are among those hoping to secure a home victory in the Italian city.

Andrey Rublev headlines the draw at the Gijon Open, where Andy Murray and Dominic Thiem will also compete. Pablo Carreno Busta and Roberto Bautista Agut lead the home hopes in north-west Spain. 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: Florence | Gijon


1) Felix To Fire In Florence?: Auger-Aliassime will eye a strong response to his first-round exit in Astana last week as the top seed in Florence. The Canadian has performed well on indoor hard courts in 2022, lifting his maiden ATP Tour crown in Rotterdam in February before reaching the final in Marseille a week later. A straight-sets win against Novak Djokovic at the Laver Cup in London two weeks ago can also give the 22-year-old confidence as he opens against Marton Fucsovics or Oscar Otte in Italy.

A good week in Florence could be key for Auger-Aliassime’s hopes of qualifying for the Nitto ATP Finals for the first time. The Canadian is currently eighth in the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Turin.

2) Berrettini Seeks Turin Boost: Berrettini spearheads the Italian charge as the ATP Tour returns to Florence for the first time since 1994. Like Auger-Aliassime, the second-seeded Berrettini can give his Nitto ATP Finals qualification hopes a welcome boost with a deep run in his homeland. The Italian holds a 29-10 record for the season, a tally which includes grass-court titles in Stuttgart and at the Queen’s Club, and he is currently 15th in the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Turin.


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

3) Seeded Americans: A trio of Americans enjoying strong seasons on Tour will hope to bring their best level to the indoor hard courts in Florence. Fourth seed Maxime Cressy and eighth seed Brandon Nakashima both claimed their maiden ATP Tour titles this season, in Newport and San Diego, respectively, while sixth seed Jenson Brooksby was a finalist in Dallas and Atlanta.

4) Young Italians Look To Impress: Musetti leads a squad of four #NextGenATP Italians looking to make their mark in front of their home fans. The Hamburg champion, who has already qualified for November’s Intesa Sanpaolo Next Gen ATP Finals, is the third seed in Florence. His in-form countryman Lorenzo Sonego, the champion in Metz two weeks ago, is a potential second-round opponent.

You May Also Like:

Musetti & Rune Qualify For Intesa Sanpaolo Next Gen ATP Finals

Francesco Passaro, Giulio Zeppieri and Francesco Maestrelli are the other Italian youngsters in the Florence draw. The World No. 123 Passaro is the highest-ranked of the trio — the 21-year-old has reached five finals (winning one) on the ATP Challenger Tour in 2022 and is currently ninth in the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Milan.

5) Koolhof/Skupski Lead Strong Doubles FIeld: Wesley Koolhof and Neal Skupski are chasing their seventh title of 2022 in Florence, where their rivals include Astana champions Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic. Ivan Dodig/Austin Krajicek, and Wimbledon champions Matthew Ebden/Max Purcell, who are 12th and 13th in the Pepperstone ATP Live Doubles Teams Rankings, respectively, are also seeded in Italy.


1) Rublev Leads Field: The 11-time tour-level titlist Rublev is the top seed as the ATP Tour visits Gijon for the first time. The 24-year-old arrives in north-west Spain in good form, having backed up his run to the quarter-finals at the US Open in September with a semi-final appearance in Astana this week.

Currently sixth in the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Turin, Rublev will seek a strong showing in Gijon as he aims to qualify for November’s Nitto ATP Finals for the third consecutive year.

2) PCB Leads Spanish Charge: Four of the eight seeds in the Gijon draw are home favourites. Second seed Carreno Busta will look to recapture the form that earned him his maiden ATP Masters 1000 crown in Montreal in August, while third seed Bautista Agut is chasing his ninth tour-level hard-court crown — but his first indoors.

Alejandro Davidovich Fokina and Albert Ramos-Vinolas are the sixth and eighth seeds, respectively, while former World No. 12 Feliciano Lopez enters the draw as a wild card.

Ukraine crisis relief

3) Murray Chases First Title Of Year: Despite reaching finals in Sydney and Stuttgart this season, former World No. 1 Murray is still seeking his first ATP Tour title since his 2019 triumph in Antwerp. The British wild card faces a tough start in Gijon, however, where he meets Davidovich Fokina in the first round. It will be the pair’s maiden ATP Head2Head meeting.

4) Thiem To Shine In Spain?: Thiem will look to build on recent signs that he is finding his best form after returning to the Tour in April following a wrist injury. A former champion on indoor hard courts in St. Petersburg and Vienna, Thiem has won his past six first-round matches at ATP Tour events. He will seek to extend that run in Gijon against the Portuguese World No. 62 Joao Sousa.

5) Doubles Teams Chase Turin Spot: Top seeds Marcel Granollers and Horacio Zeballos can consolidate their place in fifth in the Pepperstone ATP Live Doubles Teams Rankings with a strong week in Gijon. The Spanish-Argentine pair is chasing its third consecutive appearance at the Nitto ATP Finals in Turin in November.

Also seeking to boost their hopes of qualifying for the season finale with a successful trip to Spain are second seeds Simone Bolelli and Fabio Fognini (currently ninth in the Race), and Tokyo finalists Rafael Matos and David Vega Hernandez (currently 14th in the Race).

Source link

Djokovic Earns 15th Nitto ATP Finals Qualification

  • Posted: Oct 09, 2022

Djokovic Earns 15th Nitto ATP Finals Qualification

Serbian is the fifth singles player to qualify

Novak Djokovic is the fifth player to qualify for the Nitto ATP Finals, joining Rafael Nadal, Carlos Alcaraz and Casper Ruud. The Serbian will pursue a record-tying sixth title at the season finale from 13-20 November at the Pala Alpitour in Turin.

Djokovic claimed his spot in Turin under the Grand Slam champion provision, which awards entry to a current-year major winner who finishes between 8th and 20th in the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Turin. After lifting the Astana trophy on Sunday, the 35-year-old moved to 10th in the Race and is now guaranteed to be within the Top 20 on 7 November after the Rolex Paris Masters.

The Serbian qualified for the year-end championships for the 15th time, tied for fourth-most qualifications in event history with Andre Agassi. Only Roger Federer (18), Nadal and Jimmy Connors (16 each) have more. Djokovic will attempt to tie Federer’s record of six Nitto ATP Finals titles in November. Djokovic (2008, ’12-’15), Ivan Lendl and Pete Sampras own five trophies each at the season finale.

After losing his first championship match of 2022 on home soil in Belgrade, Djokovic found his footing in Rome, where he claimed a record-extending 38th ATP Masters 1000 title. Despite losing a tight four-setter to Nadal in the Roland Garros quarter-finals, Djokovic bounced back by capturing his seventh Wimbledon trophy and with it, his 21st Grand Slam victory.

Djokovic has also played some of his best tennis during the indoor hard-court swing, capturing his 89th and 90th tour-level crowns in Tel Aviv and Astana, respectively. This is the fifth consecutive year and 12th overall in which Djokovic has captured both a Grand Slam title and ATP Masters 1000 crown. He has lifted four trophies this season, the 14th time he has accomplished the feat.

Djokovic will take a 41-17 Nitto ATP Finals record into the season finale. The Serbian has advanced out of the round-robin stage 10 times, including in eight of his past nine appearances.

Source link

Djokovic Triumphs In Astana

  • Posted: Oct 09, 2022

Djokovic Triumphs In Astana

Serbian captures fourth tour-level title of the season

Novak Djokovic, playing a pure, pristine brand of tennis on Sunday, defeated Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-3, 6-4 to win the third edition of the Astana Open.

It was the ninth consecutive match victory for the fourth seed, who won the title a week ago in Tel Aviv. This was the 90th tour-level title for the 35-year-old and it required only 75 minutes.

For the third-seeded Greek Tsitsipas, it was the ninth time he played in an ATP 500 final – and the ninth time he came up empty. Djokovic now leads their ATP Head2Head series 8-2 and has won the past seven.

As a result of the win, the Serbian star secures himself a Top 20 spot in the Pepperstone ATP Live Race to Turin after the 2022 Rolex Paris Masters, meaning the reigning Wimbledon champion qualifies for the 2022 Nitto ATP Finals as a current-year Grand Slam winner. It was the 90th career tour-level title for Djokovic and the fourth of 2022.

When the on-court interviewer observed that Djokovic probably never dreamed of 90 ATP Tour titles, Djokovic shook his head.

“I dared to dream, actually,” he corrected. “I always hoped that I would be going to have a great career. Obviously, didn’t know the amount of finals I was going to play, the amount of tournaments I was going to win, but my intention was always to reach the highest heights in our sport.”

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

Tsitsipas will return to the Top 5 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings on Monday and the 24-year-old Greek still leads all ATP Tour players with 53 match wins.

Djokovic began the match with an extraordinary level of play, winning the first game at love in a little over one minute. With Tsitsipas serving at 3-4, the 21-time major champion turned up the heat. Employing the drop shot that undid Daniil Medvedev in a semi-final tie-break, Djokovic went on to create the only break point of the first set. After Tsitsipas over-hit a forehand, Djokovic served it out, finishing a flourish – and ace outside.

Djokovic scored another break in the fifth game of the second set when a frustrated Tsitsipas attempted a drop shot that fell into the net. Later, Djokovic converted his third match point with a backhand winner into an open court.

“I’m just very grateful and blessed to be able to play this well at this stage of my life,” Djokovic said. “You know, 35 is not 25. But I think the experience, probably, in these kinds of matches and big occasions helps as well to approach mentally in the right way.”

Did nearly three months away from tennis following his win at Wimbledon make Djokovic hungrier for success?

“Well, it did,” Djokovic said. “I could not ask for a better re-start of the season. I’m super-pumped and motivated to end the season as well as I have done these past couple of weeks.”

For the match, Djokovic won 87 per cent (33/38) of his first-serve points. He did not face a break point, hitting15 winners and committing only seven unforced errors. Tsitsipas, meanwhile, consistently struggled to land his forehand.

This was the 10th all Top-10 final of the year and second at an ATP 500 event after World No. 9 Felix Auger-Aliassime defeated Tsitsipas at the 2022 Rotterdam final.

Source link

Fritz Fires Past Tiafoe To Tokyo Title

  • Posted: Oct 09, 2022

Fritz Fires Past Tiafoe To Tokyo Title

24-year-old American will break Top 10 of Pepperstone ATP Rankings on Monday

Immediately following seven days in hotel quarantine in Seoul, Taylor Fritz completed a perfect five-day stretch in Tokyo on Sunday to claim his third title of a career-defining year.

With a 7-6(3), 7-6(2) victory against countryman Frances Tiafoe in the final at the Rakuten Japan Open Tennis Championships, the third seed became the 10th different American singles champion at the ATP 500 event and the first since Pete Sampras in 1996. Fritz will make his Top 10 debut at No. 8 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings on Monday, and has moved up three spots to seventh in the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Turin this week.

“[It’s] crazy, I don’t even think it’s set in just how fast the last four or five days have been,” said Fritz after the match. “It’s so crazy, and I couldn’t have written it any better. It’s exactly what I needed for the Race, for my ranking, to kind of put me in a good position for the end of the year, so it’s amazing.”

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

Tiafoe carried a streak of 13 straight singles tie-break wins into the title match, but Fritz dominated both on Sunday with big serving and aggressive hitting. He did not drop a point on serve in either tie-break, both times converting on early leads.

“Both tie-breaks, I don’t think I missed a first serve, which is a huge key, coming up with it in the big moments,” said Fritz, who won 78 per cent of points behind his first delivery and 75 per cent on second serve. “I felt extremely calm and I felt like I had a lot of clarity in making decisions on the court. For playing such a big match in a final, that’s huge to not be nervous and feel very calm and locked in.”

The third seed held the upper hand for much of the match, creating eight break chances compared to three for Tiafoe. A trade of breaks in the third and fourth games made for an eventful start, but the drama peaked in final three games of the opening set.

Tiafoe’s 4-5 service game began a run of three games with a break point. Facing a set point at 30/40, he outlasted Fritz in a lengthy rally before firing two big serves to hold. After a brilliant Tiafoe volley brought up his own break chance, Fritz used a drop shot to escape before battling through two deuces to edge back in front.

Fritz nearly converted on his second set point, with his opponent again down 30/40, but the fourth seed defended well, deep in his backhand corner, to turn the point around.

In the tie-break, Fritz claimed an early mini-break by punishing a short Tiafoe slice, then sealed the set with a booming forehand winner.

In set two, Tiafoe saved two break points both 1-1 and 2-2 and then escaped 30/30 in his next two service games. Fritz, who did not face a break point in the set, scored an immediate mini-break in the second tie-break and soon held a 6/1 advantage, with Tiafoe growing frustrated by untimely errors.

Tiafoe unleashed one last big forehand to save one match point but sent a forehand long on the second as Fritz clinched victory, adding to his previous 2022 titles in Indian Wells and Eastbourne.

“He just played well. He played the big points well, played really aggressive,” Tiafoe said of his opponent. “I wasn’t as aggressive as I was the last couple of matches. He played really aggressive, didn’t really miss when it mattered. He just played the bigger points a little better than I did today. It was a tight match and I didn’t play the breakers well enough. Pretty simple.”

Both players entered the final at career highs in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings, and both will break new ground on Monday. Fritz is set to become the first American to crack the Top 10 since Jack Sock in 2017, while Tiafoe will rise two spots to a new high of No. 17.

With the win, Fritz improved to 5-1 in the pair’s ATP Head2Head series and has now won each of their past five matchups, including three this season (Australian Open, Montreal, Tokyo).

The all-American singles final was the first in Tokyo since 1996, when Sampras defeated Richey Reneberg, and the eighth overall at the event. The ’96 championship match completed a run of four consecutive all-U.S. finals in Tokyo and five consecutive American champions (Sampras three times, Jim Courier twice).

This year’s Tokyo final was also the fifth all-American tour-level final of 2022, the most since five in 2002.

After claiming the title in his fourth Tokyo appearance, Fritz joins the entirety of the Big Four — Roger Federer (2006), Rafael Nadal (2010), Andy Murray (2011) and Novak Djokovic (2019) — among Tokyo’s honour roll of champions.

“I came here confident that I could win a round or two and then see how it goes,” Fritz said of his post-quarantine expectations, having entered Tokyo on Wednesday, the day of his opening match. “I felt like if I could get through my first two matches, then I would probably be playing good enough tennis. So I think that was the real question mark, was those first two matches. But I honestly had a lot of confidence that I was going to win those.

“It’s really crazy that I went from being in quarantine, having to fly here, and then winning the tournament. It’s definitely something that I didn’t expect.”

Source link

Mektic/Pavic Clinch Astana Crown

  • Posted: Oct 09, 2022

Mektic/Pavic Clinch Astana Crown

Croatians lift fifth trophy of the season

Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic captured their fifth tour-level title of the season on Sunday at the Astana Open, downing Frenchmen Adrian Mannarino and Fabrice Martin 6-4, 6-2.

The second seeds, who dropped just one set en route to the final, were in control throughout the 66-minute clash in Kazakhstan, firing nine aces and saving all three break points they faced to earn their 46th tour-level win of the season.

“We are very happy. We played a great match today,” Mektic said. “After the grass-court season, this is our first title and we are very happy and confident and motivated for the end of the season. It is a very strong tournament and we are very happy and proud we came out on top.”

“They started off pretty good serving and hit a couple of return winners,” Pavic said. “We saved a break point and from that moment on I would say that we were the much better team on the court.”

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

Following their title, Mektic and Pavic have boosted their hopes of qualifying for the Nitto ATP Finals, to be held from 13-20 November in Turin. The Croatians reached the semi-finals at the end-of-year event last season and are currently fourth in the Pepperstone ATP Live Doubles Rankings.

The pair has now lifted trophies on all three surfaces this year after triumphing on the hard courts at the ATP 500 event in Astana. In May they won consecutive clay-court titles in Rome and Geneva, before they tasted success on grass at The Queen’s Club and Eastbourne.

The 34-year-old Mannarino was competing in his first tour-level doubles final, while Martin was aiming to lift his eighth trophy at this level but first since 2021 when he triumphed in Antwerp with Nicholas Mahut.

Source link

McDonald/Melo Win Tokyo Title in Team Debut

  • Posted: Oct 09, 2022

McDonald/Melo Win Tokyo Title in Team Debut

Mackenzie McDonald and Marcelo Melo completed a dream debut week as a pair by claiming the Tokyo doubles title on Sunday. The American-Brazilian duo won its second Match Tie-break of the week to defeat third seeds Rafael Matos and David Vega Hernandez 6-4, 3-6, 10-4 at the Rakuten Japan Open Tennis Championships.

“It was a long time since I played here in Tokyo,” said Melo, who won the 2015 title in his last appearance at the ATP 500 event, alongside Raven Klaasen. “I always wanted to come back. I’m very happy to get another title here in Tokyo.”

“First doubles title for me,” added McDonald, “so it’s pretty special to do it here in Japan.”

Each of the first two sets were decided by a single, early break. The teams switched ends for the first time in the Match Tie-break knotted at 3/3, before McDonald and Melo won four straight points to take command. Melo dominated at the net to spark the crucial run, with McDonald adding an exclamation point with a return winner for 7/3.

After two big serves from the Brazilian brought up a host of match points, before the pair clinched the title in style. Melo was able to fashion a lob from a defensive reflex volley, and he then put the next ball way to secure the title.

“It was a very tough match,” said Melo, who reached out to McDonald to form the new partnership. “[Matos and Vega Hernandez] are playing very good. They just won a title last week [in Sofia], they’ve played together. I think it was important for me and Mackie to play the same way as we were playing since the beginning, focus on what we have to do.

“Today was tricky. A Match Tie-break, you never know what can happen. But we played very good. Mackie helped a lot, he played very good, as well. We are very happy. It’s not easy to play for the first time.”

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

McDonald, 27, earned his first ATP Tour title in singles or doubles with the victory. He was appearing in his first doubles final, having also competed in the Washington, D.C. singles final in 2021.

“I haven’t played a lot of doubles with doubles guys, so it’s actually really nice playing with him,” he said of the partnership with Melo. “His serve is good, he wants to play ‘I’ formation, he cleans up at the net… He kind of complements where I don’t fill all the holes. It worked out pretty well with that. It’s nice playing with a guy that can win points and put the ball away.”

Melo, 39, clinched his 36th tour-level doubles title — and first since 2020 — in his 70th final. In addition to his 2015 Tokyo title with Klaasen, he also reached the 2014 final with Ivan Dodig.

Following the match, he discussed his love for Japan: “I feel very good here mainly because of the Japanese people,” he said. “They are very respectful, they are very nice. You go in the streets. you see everybody respects each other. The food of course is amazing. I love sushi, I love the food.”

Matos and Vega Hernandez were seeking back-to-back titles after their trophy run in Sofia last week. They have won four titles on the season, with their other victories coming in Marrakech (their team debut), Mallorca and Bastad.

Source link