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Dodig/Krajicek Complete Nitto ATP Finals Doubles Field

  • Posted: Nov 05, 2022

Dodig/Krajicek Complete Nitto ATP Finals Doubles Field

Season finale to be played from 13-20 November

Ivan Dodig and Austin Krajicek clinched the last spot at the Nitto ATP Finals on Saturday following a late-season surge. The Croatian-American duo will compete at the Pala Alpitour in Turin from 13-20 November.

Since arriving in Florence in October they have won 14 of their 15 matches to earn their place at the season finale. The pair defeated Kevin Krawietz and Andreas Mies in the Rolex Paris Masters semi-finals to guarantee their qualification.

Dodig and Krajicek first partnered in April in Belgrade before triumphing in Lyon. They then advanced to the final at Roland Garros final, where they defeated fellow Turin qualifiers Rajeev Ram/Joe Salisbury and Marcel Granollers/Horacio Zeballos before falling short in the championship match to Marcelo Arevalo and Jean-Julien Rojer.

The new team reached the final in Florence before lifting the trophy in back-to-back weeks in Naples and Basel. In Paris, they are into their first Masters 1000 final as a team.

Dodig and Krajicek join Wesley Koolhof/Neal Skupski, Ram/Salisbury, Arevalo/Rojer, Nikola Mektic/Mate Pavic, Granollers/Zeballos, Lloyd Glasspool/Harri Heliovaara and Thanasi Kokkinakis/Nick Kyrgios in Turin.

Dodig will make his eighth appearance at the season finale with his fourth different partner. Krajicek will make his Nitto ATP Finals debut.

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Rune, On Brink Of Top 10, Faces Djokovic In Paris Final

  • Posted: Nov 05, 2022

Rune, On Brink Of Top 10, Faces Djokovic In Paris Final

Finalists meet for second time

Holger Rune had just broken into the Top 150 of the Pepperstone ATP Rankings before his first meeting with Novak Djokovic at the 2021 US Open. Now, the 19-year-old Dane has a chance to make his Top 10 debut with a win against the Serbian in Sunday’s Rolex Paris Masters final (3pm CET/9am ET).

The #NextGenATP star has shown that the future is now by reaching four straight finals during the indoor season, and he rides an 18-2 record during that stretch into his clash with Djokovic. After snapping Felix Auger-Aliassime’s 16-match win streak in the semis, the Stockholm champion will seek his fifth Top 10 win in as many days in his first ATP Masters 1000 final. He will need to end Djokovic’s twin 13-match winning runs to earn it, with the Serbian streaking both in Paris — where he won the title in both 2019 and 2021 — and overall.

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With wins against Hubert Hurkacz, Andrey Rublev, Carlos Alcaraz and Auger-Aliassime on the week, Rune has soared six spots to No. 12 in the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings. Victory against Djokovic would also move him into 10th place in the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Turin, which would make him the fist alternate at the Nitto ATP Finals.

Defending Paris champ Djokovic, who dropped a set to Rune in their US Open first-round meeting, has seen the Dane’s rise first-hand.

“I know him quite well because we have trained on different surfaces,” said the six-time Bercy titlist. “I really like him. Very nice guy, great family, great team of people around him. Fantastic work ethic that he has, and he deserves his success. I followed him the last three, four years, his uprising through the Challenger level and then getting now to Top 15 in the world.

“No doubt that he’s the future of the sport, along with Alcaraz and some other guys. Hopefully I can [delay] his first title [at a] Masters 1000 event,” Djokovic added with a smile.

While the pair are good friends, the Serbian is prepared for a battle in the final against one of the in-form players on the ATP Tour.

“We get along really well. Good friends off the court. Of course on the court, [we are] competitors,” he said. “I played him only once last US Open, a good battle, four sets. He has improved a lot, no doubt. He physically is a very fit guy. He’s young, so not much to lose. Just swinging through the ball.

“I expect that also tomorrow. I saw him play today. Yesterday, it was just a very impressive game. Kind of reminds me of myself, solid backhand and very good defence and just competitive, every point leaving his heart and his legs out there on the court. It’s nice to see that. I think he’s very good for our sport in general.”

INSIGHTS data shows how closely the finalists stack up in terms of Shot Quality — measured on a 10-point scale — with Rune holding an edge on serve but Djokovic scoring higher on return, forehand and backhand this week. Rune has also played more points In Attack in reaching the final, while Djokovic has recorded a stronger Conversion rate from offensive positions and and a better Steal rate from defence.

  Djokovic Rune
Serve  8.03 8.14
Return 7.85 6.19
Forehand 8.63  7.91
Backhand 8.11 8.02
In Attack 24.6% 27.8%
Conversion 78.1% 76.1%
Steal 37.4% 36%

Rune has not dropped a set in Paris since he lost the opener against Stan Wawrinka in the first round, rising to new heights in a 6-4, 6-2 win against Auger-Aliassime on Saturday. Following his semi-final victory, which he called “an unbelievable match from my side”, Rune singled out his backhand as a key part of his attacking game plan.

“I saw some statistic that [my] backhand is going well in this tournament,” he said. “So I tried to use that a little bit, especially against Felix who has such a great forehand and serve.

“It’s good to play the game more on that side, and that was what I tried to do. To put pressure there, move him around, and it worked really well. I really feel the groundstrokes, the returns were much better than I did the last time I played.”

Djokovic faced a much tougher test in his semi-final against Stefanos Tsitsipas, winning the final four points of the match to clinch a 6-2, 3-6, 7-6(4) victory.

The Serbian is seeking his seventh Paris title and his 56th at the Masters 1000 level, both of which would extend his own records. He has claimed titles in each of his past four ATP Tour tournaments dating back to Wimbledon, winning 21 of his past 22 matches — a Laver Cup defeat to Auger-Aliassime his lone defeat.

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Koolhof/Skupski Into 10th Final Of 2022

  • Posted: Nov 05, 2022

Koolhof/Skupski Into 10th Final Of 2022

Dutch-British team aiming for third ATP Masters 1000 title of the year

Wesley Koolhof and Neal Skupski continued their standout season Saturday at the Rolex Paris Masters, defeating Lloyd Glasspool and Harri Heliovaara in the semi-finals 6-1, 6-7(4), 10-6.

The Dutch-British team on Sunday will look to claim its seventh title this season and strengthen its claim for year-end No. 1 honours in the Pepperstone ATP Live Doubles Teams Rankings.

Koolhof guaranteed his first-time rise Monday to No. 1 in the individual Pepperstone ATP Doubles Rankings one day earlier when the pair won their quarter-final.

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Koolhof and Skupski will aim for their third ATP Masters 1000 title this season (Madrid, Montreal) in Sunday’s championship match, where they will meet either Ivan Dodig and Austin Krajicek or German pair Kevin Krawietz and Andreas Mies. Both teams are in contention to claim the last Nitto ATP Finals doubles spot.

Glasspool and Heliovaara, who have already qualified for the season finale, shift their attention towards a strong run in Turin.

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Djokovic Wins Decisive TB To Continue Dominance Of Tsitsipas In Paris SFs

  • Posted: Nov 05, 2022

Djokovic Wins Decisive TB To Continue Dominance Of Tsitsipas In Paris SFs

Serbian to face Rune in Sunday’s final

Novak Djokovic won his eighth straight match against Stefanos Tsitsipas on Saturday in the Rolex Paris Masters semi-finals, extending his twin win streaks to 13 matches both overall and at the ATP Masters 1000 event — but only just.

In a 6-2, 3-6, 7-6(4) victory, the Serbian won the final four points of the match after falling behind by a mini-break in the decisive tie-break, including a defensive masterclass to bring up match point. Djokovic could not convert two late break points at 4-4, 15/40, and instead needed a dramatic comeback of his own despite making a blistering start to the contest in the opening set.

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“It’s very sweet, obviously, when you win matches like this against one of the best players in the world,” Djokovic said after the victory. “I thought I started the match very well, again, great hitting like yesterday in the quarters. I had chances early on in the second [twice at 30/30], I didn’t break his serve. The momentum shifted, the crowd got into it. I think he elevated his level of tennis.

“Deservedly so, we went into — both of us — into an even battle all the way until the last point, until the last shot. Some incredible points towards the end. I’m just really glad to overcome this challenge.”

The six-time Bercy champion improved to 8-0 in semi-finals at the tournament and 9-2 against the Greek. Djokovic will next face Holger Rune in his record 56th ATP Masters 1000 final as he seeks to claim his third Paris title in as many appearances following triumphs in 2019 and 2021.

In a clean semi-final from both sides, the Serbian fired 36 winners and 12 unforced errors, compared to 27 and 11 from Tsitsipas as both players showed great patience in building points. Djokovic won 84 per cent (41/49) of his first-serve points and did not face a break point in the first or third set.

The 35-year-old made a fast start behind dominant serving, losing just two points in four service games as he claimed the opening set. His consistent returning pressured Tsitsipas and when the Greek tried to attack his way out of 30/30 at 2-3, Djokovic produced two dipping forehands that landed at the feet of his opponent and forced volley errors. After breaking from 30/0 in that game, the Serbian eased to the opening set with a second break.

Tsitsipas zeroed in on return in the second, and after four straight games went to 30/30, it was the Greek who made the breakthrough on a rare Djokovic error to lead 3-2. He capitalised on a lull from Djokovic to run way with the set, using a vicious, dipping forehand of his own to bring up set point.

Momentum shifted again in the third set, with Djokovic again imperious on serve and Tsitsipas hanging in on his own deal. The Serbian dropped just two points in six service games but could not convert on four break points as the match headed to its climax.

The first six points of the tie-break stayed on serve as the tension mounted during the change of ends. Tsitispas struck first to lead 4/3 but then fell victim to a late charge from the Serbian, who scrambled from corner to corner to survive a point Tsitsipas seemed to have won twice over at 5/4.

With another clutch performance, Djokovic improved to 4-0 in third-set tie-breaks in Paris, with all four coming in the semi-finals or final.

Year Opponent Score
2022 SF Tsitsipas 6-2, 3-6, 7-6(4)
2021 SF Hurkacz 3-6, 6-0, 7-6(5)
2018 SF Federer 7-6(6), 5-7, 7-6(3)
2009 F Monfils 6-2, 5-7, 7-6(3)

Tsitsipas was denied a fourth ATP Masters 1000 final on the year after his title run in Monte Carlo and finals in Rome (l. to Djokovic) and Cincinnati.

Despite the defeat, he still has a chance to finish the season atop the Pepperstone ATP Rankings. He trails Carlos Alcaraz by 1,470 points in the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings, with 1,500 points on offer for an undefeated champion at the Nitto ATP Finals, which begins 13 November. The Spaniard announced on Saturday his withdrawal from Turin due to an oblique muscle tear.

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Frank Felix: 'He Exposed Weaknesses In My Game'

  • Posted: Nov 05, 2022

Frank Felix: ‘He Exposed Weaknesses In My Game’

Canadian fell to inspired Rune as 16-match winning streak ended in Paris

After nearly four weeks, three ATP Tour titles, and 16 matches won, Felix Auger-Aliassime was not going to let the disappointment of defeat at the Rolex Paris Masters get to him.

The Canadian fell to an inspired Holger Rune on Saturday in the semi-finals at the ATP Masters 1000 event, his first tour-level loss since the beginning of October, but Auger-Aliassime was keen to emphasise the positives as his remarkable run came to an end.

“Had I won today, had I won tomorrow, I would be in heaven,” said the 22-year-old at his post-match press conference. “It would be great to win. [But] throughout my career, I have always tried to draw lessons from my failures. As I said recently during the US Open, I lost early, it was disappointing, but I managed to overturn this into something positive.”

Auger-Aliassime’s red-hot run earned him more than just trophies in Florence, Antwerp and Basel. The Canadian’s results over the past month were also crucial for securing his spot at the Nitto ATP Finals, to be held in Turin from 13-20 November, for the first time.

“It’s the end of a winning streak,” said Auger-Aliassime. “It’s something that was good that ended. From tomorrow onwards, I will focus my attention on Turin.”

Like Auger-Aliassime, Rune arrived in Paris off the back off three consecutive championship match appearances in ATP Tour events. The 19-year-old Dane again demonstrated the recent strides he has made in downing Top 10 stars Hubert Hurkacz, Andrey Rublev and Carlos Alcaraz en route to the semi-finals, where Auger-Aliassime was also unable to counter Rune’s high-powered game.

“I feel like because of the way he [Rune] was playing and how good he was playing, I have to give him a lot of credit,” acknowledged the Canadian. “He kind of exposed weaknesses in my game. He was just playing so aggressively without missing. I haven’t seen or I haven’t played many players that were this aggressive and hitting that hard, that deep.

“It was just exposing the fact that I couldn’t manage to establish my game plan on the court and feel good and play two, three good points in a row.

“I wouldn’t say my forehand let me down completely,” added Auger-Aliassime, when asked what had gone wrong for him in his second Masters 1000 semi-final. “Of course, I did miss important ones or easier forehands, start of the second set as well getting broken there with two or three mistakes. So not particularly it let me down, but a few things in my game didn’t work because of how he was playing.”

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Rune Rockets Past Felix To Paris Final

If Rune can defeat Novak Djokovic or Stefanos Tsitsipas in Sunday’s championship match, the Dane will enter the Top 10 of the Pepperstone ATP Rankings for the first time on Monday, having only cracked the Top 100 in January. Auger-Aliassime admitted he was surprised by the speed of Rune’s progress but saw similarities with his own rapid rise as a teenager.

“Well, I’m surprised, yes,” said the Canadian. “I knew he had a lot of qualities. We have Carlos [Alcaraz], who is a standout player, for instance… I was in the Top 100 as well at 18. We have a similar career.

“But I’m surprised, and I have to say hats off to him for his wonderful rise in the ranking. He has played very well throughout this season. He’s had also very tough moments, which is not normal for someone who is [so young]. He managed to be in the final in Stockholm, in Basel. It’s very incredible at his age. He hasn’t been much on the Tour. Hats off to him because he’s exceptional.”

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Alcaraz Withdraws From Nitto ATP Finals, Ends Season

  • Posted: Nov 05, 2022

Alcaraz Withdraws From Nitto ATP Finals, Ends Season

Fritz will compete in Turin

Carlos Alcaraz on Saturday withdrew from the Nitto ATP Finals and the Davis Cup Finals because of an internal oblique muscle tear in his left abdominal wall, ending his season. 

“After my withdrawal yesterday and having been evaluated by my medical team, @drlopezmartinez and @JuanjoMoreno_M, unfortunately this is the result of my injury: an internal oblique muscle tear in the left abdominal wall with an estimated recovery time of six weeks,” Alcaraz tweeted. “Unfortunately I won’t make the ATP Finals or the Davis Cup Finals. It is tough and painful for me to miss these two events, which are so important to me, but all I can do is be positive and focus on my recovery. Thank you for the support! 😘”

Alcaraz completes his season with a 57-13 record. On 12 September he became the youngest World No. 1 in the history of the Pepperstone ATP Rankings.

The 19-year-old won five tour-level titles in 2022, including his first two ATP Masters 1000 victories (Miami and Madrid) and his first Grand Slam trophy at the US Open.

Despite his withdrawal, Alcaraz is still in position to finish year-end World No. 1. He leads Rafael Nadal by 1,000 points and Stefanos Tsitsipas by 1,470 points in the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings.

The Spaniard will be replaced in the Nitto ATP Finals field by Taylor Fritz. The American enjoyed a breakout 2022 season, including a run to his first Masters 1000 title in Indian Wells.

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Coming Of Age: Draper On Breakthrough Season

  • Posted: Nov 05, 2022

Coming Of Age: Draper On Breakthrough Season

#NextGenATP Briton is making his debut in Milan

#NextGenATP Briton Jack Draper entered the 2022 season at No. 265 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings with just two tour-level wins to his name.

Fast forward 11 months and the 20-year-old arrives at the Intesa Sanpaolo Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan as the World No. 45, holding a 17-11 tour-level record on the season. Having struggled with injuries in previous years, Draper feels that his ability to stay fit in 2022 has been paramount to his rise.

“It has been the first season I have been able to play lots,” Draper told “With my injuries in the past few years I have not been able to play as much as I would have wanted to, because of some unfortunate injuries. For example, I did some ligaments in my ankle. Just not getting that consistency of practising and competing. I think that is the biggest thing this year, just being able to stay fit and healthy and stay on court. I am ready physically and mentally to put it on court together.”

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Draper, who missed the second half of 2021 due to a ruptured ligament in his ankle, started the season on fire, winning four ATP Challenger Tour titles in the opening four months of the year.

The Briton holds a 24-4 record on the Challenger Tour in 2022 and feels the experiences he has gained at that level have been crucial in his development.

“I think the Challenger Tour is massive for players,” Draper said. “When you come through and start winning tournaments back-to-back at that level it gives you huge confidence you can come on Tour and compete with these guys. Everyone on the Challenger level is hungry to do well because that is what gets you onto the Tour. The Challenger Tour has given me a real base and confidence of coming onto the Tour. It gives you a great platform.”

After a strong opening to the year, Draper, who supports Manchester United Football Club and enjoys listening to rap and grime music, started to gain entry into tour-level events where he quickly made his mark.

The lefty won main draw matches at ATP Masters 1000 events in Miami and Madrid and then soared to his first tour-level semi-final on home soil in Eastbourne. Draper made his biggest splash in North America, though, where he earned his first Top 10 win against Stefanos Tsitsipas en route to the quarter-finals in Montreal before he upset Felix Auger-Aliassime at the US Open.

For Draper, his run to the third round in New York stands out as a highlight.

“I think the most satisfying run was [at] the US Open,” Draper said. “I feel I beat two players in [Emil] Ruusuvuori and Auger-Aliassime who are top players and people I have been watching the past couple of years. The win against Auger-Aliassime gave me confidence that I can play well and really compete with these guys. The Tsitsipas win as well in Montreal. Playing those top players and getting wins and feeling comfortable is crucial.”

Possessing a big forehand, fearsome serve and rock-solid backhand, Draper is now ready to bring his best level to Milan. He will make his debut at the 21-and-under event, to be held from 8-12 November.

“It was a goal [to qualify] from the start of the year,” Draper said. “I have watched the event over the past couple of years and it looks like a very exciting event with lots of great players and young players coming through. I tried not to pay too much attention to qualifying as I know there are so many young players doing great things as well, but I suppose I put in the work and I kept on banking good weeks.

“I think it will be special to be a part of. You don’t get to play many tournaments where there are just eight players competing. They are all guys who are coming onto the scene and are exciting prospects. I think that is the real exciting thing, that you are playing guys who are a similar age and playing great tennis as well and have been consistent throughout the year.”

Draper will be joined at the Allianz Cloud by seven fellow #NextGenATP stars, including Lorenzo Musetti, Holger Rune and Brandon Nakashima. The Briton revealed that he is excited to test his mettle against the trio in Milan as he looks to build long-running rivalries with them.

“Seeing the likes of Musetti, Rune and Nakashima who have had great years. They are probably the guys I am most excited to play,” Draper admitted. “I feel like they have always been really good players and I have grown up in that age gap. Musetti I have always been around at the junior tournaments and it has been good to see him have a bit of a breakthrough year this year.”

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Rune Rockets Past Felix To Paris Final

  • Posted: Nov 05, 2022

Rune Rockets Past Felix To Paris Final

Dane to play Djokovic or Tsitsipas for maiden ATP Masters 1000 title

Holger Rune took his stellar late-season form to another level on Saturday at the Rolex Paris Masters, where the #NextGenATP Dane dispatched Felix Auger-Aliassime 6-4, 6-2 to reach his maiden ATP Masters 1000 final.

Rune took control early in a meeting between two of the in-form players on the ATP Tour, using his aggressive groundstrokes to dictate play wherever possible and heap pressure on the Auger-Aliassime serve. Both players were competing for a spot in their fourth consecutive ATP Tour final, but the 19-year-old Rune converted three of eight break points to wrap a comprehensive 88-minute win.

It was the second meeting between Rune and Auger-Aliassime in the space of six days, following the latter’s straight-sets triumph in the Basel final on Sunday. Yet the Canadian could not match Rune’s intensity or quality in Paris as the Dane convincingly halted Auger-Aliassime’s winning streak at 16 matches.

Rune had been unable to break the Auger-Aliassime serve across two tight sets in Basel but he was able to forge a breakthrough in just the third game of the match this time around. A combination of some smart returning and Auger-Aliassime netting a straightforward forehand drive volley on break point gave the Dane a 2-1 lead, and he held on comfortably to claim a set in which he made 89 per cent (24/27) of first serves.

Despite some flashes of brilliance, Auger-Aliassime struggled to match the level he had shown throughout his remarkable winning streak. The Florence, Antwerp and Basel champion could find no way to regularly counter Rune’s forays to the net, and the Dane raced to a 4-0 lead in the second set en route to completing his 18th tour-level win in 20 matches.

Having moved past Hubert Hurkacz, Andrey Rublev, Carlos Alcaraz and Auger-Aliassime in his past four matches in Paris, Rune will now aim for five Top 10 victories in as many days in Sunday’s championship match. His opponent there will be six-time Paris champion Novak Djokovic or Stefanos Tsitsipas.

More to follow…

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