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Tsitsipas Earns Shot At Djokovic In Paris SFs

  • Posted: Nov 04, 2022

Tsitsipas Earns Shot At Djokovic In Paris SFs

Greek seeks second Masters 1000 title of season

Stefanos Tsitsipas has set up a blockbuster semi-final showdown with Novak Djokovic in Paris after dismissing American Tommy Paul Friday night to capture his 60th match win of the year.

The fifth-seeded Greek, who still has an outside shot at finishing the year No. 1 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings, saved all seven break points he faced in the 6-2, 6-4 win while converting all three break opportunities that came his way.

“It was a very good match,” Tsitsipas said. “I was able to get ahead in some of his service games, which gave me good energy. I wish I could have avoided some of the situations where I had to save break points, but I dealt with those situations very professionally and I was able to hold serve. My forehand is my confidence shot and has allowed me to get into the corners to open up the court. It’s a weapon of mine on these courts.”

The 2021 and ’22 Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters champion is attempting to win multiple ATP Masters 1000 titles in the same season for the first time, but that road runs through Djokovic. The Serbian owns a record 38 titles at this level, and has triumphed in Paris a record six times, including in his two most recent appearances in 2019 and 2021. Djokovic has also beaten Tsitsipas seven straight times and boasts an overall 8-2 lead in their ATP Head2Head series.

Asked how he would snap his losing streak to Djokovic, Tsitsipas said that he would fight the urge to overplay against the man who spent a record 373 weeks as World No. 1 during his career. “I need to show the same consistency. I have weapons that I can use. But in the past I feel I have used too much spin or power. It’s important that I stay at a medium level and not overdo it. It will be a physical match and I will need to move well.”

Tsitsipas, who won the Intesa Sanpaolo Next Gen ATP Finals in 2018 and the Nitto ATP Finals in 2019, has claimed 50 match wins in a season in three of the past four years. He will be returning to Turin again this year for the season finale from 13-20 November.

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Here Come The Italians: Passaro Aiming To Replicate Sinner's Success In Milan

  • Posted: Nov 04, 2022

Here Come The Italians: Passaro Aiming To Replicate Sinner’s Success In Milan

Italian swapped football for tennis aged 12

#NextGenATP Italian Jannik Sinner broke new ground in 2019 when he triumphed on home soil at the Intesa Sanpaolo Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan.

The then-18-year-old, who sat No. 95 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings, defeated Alex de Minaur in the championship match to give Italy its first home champion at the 21-and-under event.

Next week, Francesco Passaro will aim to replicate his countryman and soar to success on debut at the Allianz Cloud, with Sinner’s victory providing him with belief and motivation.

“I watched on TV last year and three years ago when Jannik won,” Passaro told “I think for me the event 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 [going to be] very, very nice.”

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In 2019, Passaro was ranked outside the Top 1000 and was aiming to make his first moves in the sport. The 21-year-old, who describes himself as mentally strong on court with a powerful serve and forehand, has climbed quickly since and as of today is one of 10 Italians inside the Top 200 aged 21 or under.

Passaro will be joined in Milan by Lorenzo Musetti, who has captured two tour-level titles in a standout season. With countrymen Matteo Arnaldi and Luca Nardi only narrowly missing out on qualification, the depth of the men’s game in Italy has never been stronger.

Passaro feels that the relationships he has forged with his fellow Italians and the competitive edge they bring is serving him well.

“It is great,” Passaro said when analysing Italian tennis. “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.” 

Passaro has enjoyed a standout year, rising from No. 605 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings to his current career-high No. 122. He captured his first ATP Challenger Tour title in Trieste in July and earned a tour-level main draw win in Florence last month.

The 21-year-old also faced #NextGenATP Dane Holger Rune in the final in San Remo, while he played Musetti in Forli. Passaro feels he gained valuable experience from the matches despite defeat in both as he aims to gain revenge in Milan.

“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. In 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.”

Photo Credit: Città di Trieste Challenger

Victory in Milan would put the icing on the 2022 cake for Passaro, who first picked up a racquet aged six. 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 was young I also played football. Then when I was 12 years old, I started to only play football, for one year. I stopped practising 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.”

Passaro will look to become the fifth champion in Milan, after Hyeon Chung, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Sinner and Carlos Alcaraz.

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Not Clowning Around: Rune Primed For ‘The Big Top’ In Milan

  • Posted: Nov 04, 2022

Not Clowning Around: Rune Primed For ‘The Big Top’ In Milan

Dane will compete at Intesa Sanpaolo Next Gen ATP Finals for second time

Holger Rune may have had a busy 2022 season developing his game on court, but that hasn’t stopped the Dane from also finding time to work on a slightly different set of skills.

“I can juggle three balls, for sure. With four, it’s rusty, but I’m trying,” Rune, whose coach Lars Christensen used to work as a circus artist, recently told “It’s nice, it’s fun… He (Christensen) showed me [how to do a] handstand, but it takes a lot of work. I can do it against a wall, but it’s very tough to do.”

The 19-year-old Dane believes that Christensen’s background brings a unique perspective to his team as he looks to finish his stellar year in style at the Intesa Sanpaolo Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan.

“He’s told me a little bit [about the circus] and I’ve seen a few videos of it,” said Rune, who has worked with Christensen since childhood. “It’s obviously another kind of thing to tennis, but he’s taught me a few tricks… It’s good, because he has an understanding of all the fitness also, because he did a lot of work to be able to do what he did.

“Obviously, all the things with the balls help. The coordination, and he also has some good drills on the court that maybe other coaches wouldn’t have because he has been in that business. For me, it is nice to have a guy not only with a tennis background, but a different background.”

Whatever Christensen’s methods, they are working. Rune’s impressive year has seen the Dane rack up a 37-24 record on the ATP Tour and lift his first tour-level titles in Munich and Stockholm. In between those triumphs, the 19-year-old surged to his maiden Grand Slam quarter-final at Roland Garros, a run that included a fourth-round win against Stefanos Tsitsipas.

“I think that [was probably the biggest win] because it was at a Grand Slam in the fourth round,” said Rune of his four-set win against the Greek. “It was probably the biggest win as I really wanted to reach the quarter-finals and it was a huge battle, so I would say [it stands out].”

It didn’t take long for Rune to be reminded of the reality of life on the ATP Tour after his breakthrough run in Paris, however. The 19-year-old endured a difficult stretch on the grass and the North American hard courts, but he rediscovered his form with aplomb during the European indoor season as he reached the final in Sofia before defeating Tsitsipas again to claim the Stockholm crown.

“I think when you are young, you have to learn all the time,” said Rune. “It is not easy to play week after week on the highest level and this is what you need to learn. If you can do that already now then it is amazing, but I am working on it and trying to show more and more consistency.”

Rune is one of a number of #NextGenATP stars who have enjoyed recent success on Tour. As well as the Dane, Carlos Alcaraz, Jannik Sinner, Lorenzo Musetti and Brandon Nakashima all lifted at least one tour-level trophy in 2022, and Rune is optimistic that there is plenty more to come from the ATP’s latest batch of young talents.

“I think it is going to be a really exciting time,” he said. “As we know, there are a lot of young guys coming up the rankings. Of course, I think it is exciting because I am young, but I think it is exciting for the Tour that we get some next guys up there. We are just fighting every day, so let’s hope we can get there.”

Rune faced both Alcaraz and Nakashima in the group stage at last year’s Intesa Sanpaolo Next Gen ATP Finals and took on Sinner in the semi-finals in Sofia, while he is yet to meet Musetti at Tour level. He is excited at the prospect of ATP Tour fans having the chance to witness rivalries that have existed since juniors.

“I have played Alcaraz tons of times, when we played juniors,” said Rune. “We always have great battles. Then me and Musetti have played two or three times, so I would say those two [stand out].”

<a href=''>Holger Rune</a> & <a href=''>Carlos Alcaraz</a>

Holger Rune & Carlos Alcaraz in 2021 in Milan. Photo Credit: Peter Staples/ATP Tour.

Home favourite Musetti joins Rune in this year’s Milan lineup for what will be a second consecutive Intesa Sanpaolo Next Gen ATP Finals appearance for both. Rune has only positive memories of the 21-and-under season finale from 2021, when he narrowly missed out on a semi-final spot with a 1-2 group-stage record.

“My strongest memory was that it was an unbelievable event and to be able to play that for the first time was crazy,” said the Dane. “I watched it as a kid, so to grow up and be able to play it was really great. I was very privileged to be able to qualify.”

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Koolhof Secures No. 1, Paris SF Slot

  • Posted: Nov 04, 2022

Koolhof Secures No. 1, Paris SF Slot

Glasspool/Heliovaara qualify for Turin

Dutchman Wesley Koolhof had two reasons to celebrate at the Rolex Paris Masters Friday after teaming with Neal Skupski to reach the semi-finals with a victory that guarantees his rise to No. 1 in the Pepperstone ATP Doubles Rankings on Monday.

Koolhof and Skupski cruised to a 6-3, 6-4 victory over Rohan Bopanna and Matwe Middelkoop to move to within two victories of their seventh title of the season.

“It’s a dream to become World No. 1 individual,” Koolhof said. “But we still have a semi-final, hopefully a final to play here, we still have Turin. There’s still a lot to play for.

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“It means everything, obviously. I think the first goal you have when you start playing tennis is you want to become World No. 1. I didn’t know until I opened the live rankings on Monday, because I saw the Nitto ATP Finals points drop off for Ram and Salisbury. [I] needed to make semi-final here [Paris] to be No. 1. It feels great to reach the goal.”

The second seeds will next face Lloyd Glasspool and Harri Heliovaara, who secured their place at the coveted Nitto ATP Finals after ousting Matthew Ebden and Jamie Murray 6-3, 7-6(6). Saturday’s semi-final clash will mark Glasspool and Heliovaara’s third meeting with the Dutch-British pair this season (1-1).

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Glasspool/Heliovaara To Make Nitto ATP Finals Debut

Only one doubles qualification spot remains at the season finale Nitto ATP Finals, which is held 13-20 November.

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Djokovic's Dozen: Serbian Extends Win Streaks To Reach Paris SFs

  • Posted: Nov 04, 2022

Djokovic’s Dozen: Serbian Extends Win Streaks To Reach Paris SFs

Defending champ awaits Tsitsipas or Paul in semis

Novak Djokovic gave #NextGenATP Italian Lorenzo Musetti a rude welcome to his first ATP Masters 1000 quarter-final as the Serbian eased to victory on Friday at the Rolex Paris Masters. In a 6-0, 6-3 win, Djokovic did not allow the 20-year-old a game point in the first seven games, then quickly overturned a break deficit to run away with the second set and the match.

Seeking his seventh Paris crown, the defending champion extended his dual win streaks to 12 matches both overall in Bercy, where he won titles in his past two appearances in 2019 and 2021. With victory in what was his 90th Masters quarter-final, Djokovic advanced to his 74th semi-final at the prestigious level and will next face Stefanos Tsitsipas, a 6-2, 6-4 winner against Tommy Paul in the day’s final match. The 74 semi-finals stand at second-most all-time, behind Nadal’s 76.

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The Serbian was particularly dominant with his forehand against Musetti, firing eight winners off that wing as he controlled play throughout. For the match, he received a forehand Shot Quality grade of 9.2 on a 10-point scale. (Learn more about Shot Quality.)

Shot Quality: <a href=''>Novak Djokovic</a>

Musetti was unable to follow up the biggest win of his career, against World No. 4 Casper Ruud on Thursday, with another upset against Djokovic. Despite the defeat, the Italian has enjoyed a strong final stretch this season, winning his first hard-court title last month in Naples and winning nine of his past 12 matches. 

After falling to 0-3 in his ATPHead2Head against Djokovic, he will next turn his attention to the Intesa Sanpaolo Next Gen ATP Finals, set for 8-12 November in Milan.

Djokovic, bidding for his fifth title of the 2022 season, improved to 36-6 on the year. He will need to complete a successful title defence in Paris to maintain his World No. 7 Pepperstone ATP Ranking ahead of the Nitto ATP Finals, which begins on 13 November in Turin.

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Rune Reaches Paris SFs After Alcaraz Retirement

  • Posted: Nov 04, 2022

Rune Reaches Paris SFs After Alcaraz Retirement

Dane faces semi-final clash with Auger-Aliassime

Holger Rune advanced to his maiden ATP Masters 1000 semi-final on Friday at the Rolex Paris Masters after Carlos Alcaraz was forced to retire from the pair’s quarter-final clash.

After charging to the opening set, Rune held firm to force a tie-break as World No. 1 Alcaraz stepped up his level in the second. Having had treatment on an abdominal muscle at 6-5, however, Alcaraz was forced to retire with Rune leading 3/1 in the second-set tie-break at 6-3, 6-6 .

“I thought it was a great match. [It’s] unlucky for him,” said Rune. “I think we both played very well and I was super focused. It was an amazing crowd, amazing tennis, so I’m super pleased with how I handled everything today.”

The #NextGenATP Dane Rune will next take on Felix Auger-Aliassime in his maiden ATP Masters 1000 semi-final. The eighth-seeded Canadian earlier downed Frances Tiafoe 6-1, 6-4.

More to follow…

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Alcaraz Meets Red-Hot Rune In Paris QFs

  • Posted: Nov 04, 2022

Alcaraz Meets Red-Hot Rune In Paris QFs

Djokovic meets Musetti for third time

One year ago, Carlos Alcaraz and Holger Rune met in the group stage of the 2021 Intesa Sanpaolo Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan. Since then, both 19-year-olds have rocketed up the Pepperstone ATP Rankings, Alcaraz rising to World No. 1 and Rune reaching a career high of No. 18.

The future has arrived, and fans at the Rolex Paris Masters will see it first-hand on Friday as Alcaraz and Rune square off for a second time in the quarter-finals. 

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The unseeded Rune — a finalist in each of his past three events, including a run to his second career title in Stockholm — has had the more challenging path to the final eight. He edged Stan Wawrinka in a third-set tie-break in the first round before impressive straight-sets wins against 10th seed Hubert Hurkacz and seventh seed Andrey Rublev. The Dane has won 16 of his past 18 matches, including wins against Jannik Sinner and Stefanos Tsitsipas.

Alcaraz has yet to drop a set in Paris as he’s rounded into form with wins against Yoshihito Nishioka and Grigor Dimitrov. 

“I would say I played better,” he said following a 6-1, 6-3 win against Dimitrov on Thursday. “I’m more used to playing here in this court, in these conditions. I’m happy with the performance, and of course really happy with be able to play my first quarter-final here in Bercy.”

The Spaniard reached the second round last year at the ATP Masters 1000, while Rune is making his tournament debut.


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Also in the draw’s top half, Felix Auger-Aliassime will seek to extend his 14-match win streak when he takes on US Open semi-finalist Frances Tiafoe, who has won all six sets he’s played this week. The Canadian is seeking his fourth straight title after triumphs in Florence, Antwerp and Basel.

Defending champion Novak Djokovic will look to stay perfect against #NextGenATP Italian Lorenzo Musetti in their bottom-half matchup, with the Serbian 2-0 in their previous ATP Head2Head meetings. Six-time Paris titlist Djokovic has progressed to the quarters with straight-sets wins against Maxime Cressy and Karen Khachanov, while Musetti upset third seed Casper Ruud 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 to advance on Thursday.

Djokovic is riding an 11-match win streak after titles in Tel Aviv and Astana, and has claimed 12 straight victories in Paris dating back to his trophy runs in 2019 and 2021. The Serbian has also won 19 of his past 20 matches since the start of Wimbledon – losing only to Auger-Aliassime at the Laver Cup — but is taking nothing for granted against Musetti.

“He’s definitely a much-improved player on [hard courts],” Djokovic said of his 20-year-old opponent. “He has had some big wins this week, his first [hard-court] title a few weeks ago [in Naples].

“He’s so talented, he’s got everything in his game. He can play in the court, he can defend well, he’s got great movement, but I know his game well and I’m looking forward to a good challenge.”

Stefanos Tsitsipas and Tommy Paul will contest the fourth quarter-final, with the American bidding to knock out a third seeded opponent in succession. Paul knocked out a trio of Spaniards to reach the quarters, including a comeback, three-set upset of second seed Rafael Nadal in the second round. He also blitzed past Roberto Bautista Agut in the opening round and 14th seed Pablo Carreno Busta on Thursday.

The fifth-seeded Tsitsipas joins Djokovic, Alcaraz and Tiafoe with an undefeated set record on the week following wins against Daniel Evans and home favourite Corentin Moutet. The Greek won both prior meetings with Paul in straight sets, in Washington, D.C., in 2019 and Lyon in 2021.

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