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Ram/Salisbury Make Winning Start At Roland Garros

  • Posted: May 31, 2023

Ram/Salisbury Make Winning Start At Roland Garros

Dodig/Krajicek escape Argentine pair

Fresh off their first title of the season in Lyon, Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury overcame a slow start Wednesday in their opening-round match at Roland Garros.

The second seeds defeated Hugo Dellien and Guido Pella 2-6, 6-1, 6-4 after winning 29 of 40 first-serve points. Ram and Salisbury are aiming for their fourth major team title this fortnight. In 2022, the American-British duo triumphed in Monte-Carlo, Cincinnati, at the US Open, and at the Nitto ATP Finals. They will next play Lloyd Harris and Raven Klaasen or Roberto Carballes Baena and Jaume Munar.

It was a historic day for Marcelo Melo, who earned his 600th tour-level victory when he partnered John Peers past William Blumberg and Miomir Kecmanovic 5-7, 6-3, 6-4. The Brazilian Melo is the ATP Tour’s active doubles wins leader.

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Fourth seeds and last year’s Roland Garros finalists Ivan Dodig and Austin Krajicek also advanced after they escaped Sebastian Baez and Guillermo Duran 7-6(3), 3-6, 7-6(10-4). The Argentine Baez was returning to court after a three-hour, 47-minute singles marathon Wednesday night, when home favourite Gael Monfils defeated the 22-year-old in a five-setter that went until 12:18 a.m.

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Alcaraz Battles For Second Round Win At Roland Garros

  • Posted: May 31, 2023

Alcaraz Battles For Second Round Win At Roland Garros

Spaniard chasing second major title

Carlos Alcaraz recovered from a mid-match dip at Roland Garros on Wednesday to book his spot in the third round in Paris for the third consecutive year.

After clinching the opening set, the top seed suffered a loss of concentration in the second set against Taro Daniel. However, the 20-year-old quickly improved his level to advance past the Japanese star 6-1, 3-6, 6-1, 6-2.

Alcaraz, who is the top seed at a major for the first time, used his variety to pull Daniel around and showed smooth court coverage to improve to 32-3 on the season after two hours and 25 minutes.

“Taro was playing great. He is a really tough player and this year he has won matches against great players,” Alcaraz said. “The conditions were tough and it was really, really tough, but you have to adjust your game as best as you can. I was really focused on every shot. I played a great level and happy with the win.”

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The World No. 1 is chasing his fifth tour-level title of the year and second major crown in Paris this fortnight. The 2022 US Open champion lifted trophies on clay in Madrid, Barcelona and Buenos Aires earlier this year, while he triumphed on hard in Indian Wells.

The Spaniard, who struck 46 winners against Daniel, will continue his title quest against Denis Shapovalov after the Canadian beat Italian Matteo Arnaldi 6-2, 3-6, 6-3, 6-3.

“It is amazing to play here,” Alcaraz said. “I have felt the support on the first day and today as well. I am really happy to play on Philippe-Chatrier, feeling the energy and the support.”

Last year’s quarter-finalist Alcaraz is currently second in the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Turin. The 20-year-old will climb to top spot if he wins his 11th tour-level title at the clay-court major after Live Race leader Daniil Medvedev suffered a shock first-round defeat on Tuesday.

British lefty Cameron Norrie also advanced, defeating Frenchman Lucas Pouille 6-1, 6-3, 6-3 to reach the third round for the third time. The 27-year-old is a potential fourth-round opponent for Alcaraz.

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Tsitsipas Continues Title Quest At Roland Garros

  • Posted: May 31, 2023

Tsitsipas Continues Title Quest At Roland Garros

Fifth seed improves to 29-8 on season

Stefanos Tsitsipas reached the third round at Roland Garros for the fifth consecutive year on Wednesday when he overcame Spaniard Roberto Carballes Baena 6-3, 7-6(4), 6-2 to earn his 20th win at the clay-court major.

Chasing his first major title, the 2021 finalist Tsitsipas was in control for large periods on Court Suzanne-Lenglen. The Greek demonstrated great footwork to dictate on his forehand, hitting with heavy topspin to force Carballes Baena deep.

“I like the bounces and the way the ball [moves] when it is sunny like this,” Tsitsipas said when asked about the lively conditions. “There were a few instances this year where it rained a little bit and did not suit me as much, but I really enjoy sunny days like this.”

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Tsitsipas overpowered the World No. 57 in the first and third sets, and recovered from dropping serve twice in the second set, winning a tight tie-break. With his two-hour, 16-minute victory, Tsitsipas set a third-round meeting against Diego Schwartzman or Nuno Borges.

“The crowd was great and it is always great on Suzanne-Lenglen,” Tsitsipas said. “I have received a lot of support and love at Roland Garros in the years and it has treated me well.”

The fifth seed now holds a 29-8 record on the season. He arrived in Paris off the back of a run to the semi-finals in Rome, while he advanced to the Barcelona final last month.

Tsitsipas is currently fourth in the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Turin but could climb to top spot if he wins his 10th tour-level title in Paris after Race To Turin leader Daniil Medvedev suffered a shock first-round defeat on Tuesday.

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In other early action on Day 4, Austrian Sebastian Ofner defeated American Sebastian Korda 6-3, 7-6(1), 6-4 to reach the third round in Paris for the first time. The 27-year-old qualifier, up 25 spots to No. 95 in the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings, will next meet Fabio Fognini.

The Italian backed up his win against Felix Auger-Aliassime by defeating Jason Kubler 6-4, 7-6(5), 6-2.

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Schwartzman's Hard Truth: 'I Have A Chasm To Overcome'

  • Posted: May 31, 2023

Schwartzman’s Hard Truth: ‘I Have A Chasm To Overcome’

Argentine reached the semi-finals in Paris in 2020

Editor’s note: This story was translated from

Diego Schwartzman may not be enjoying the season he had hoped for, but on Monday at Roland Garros the Argentine proved he is not about to give up. The No. 95 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings came back to win 1-6, 6-7(5), 6-2, 6-0, 6-4 against 32nd seed Bernabe Zapata Miralles.

“In recent months I haven’t been able to find my game or the wins”, explained Schwartzman. “When I played well, the opponent played even better. When I was bad, they beat me quickly. At tournaments where I was feeling good, I had draws that didn’t help at all, against [Jannick] Sinner twice, [Holger] Rune… With a little bit of luck, I could have won a few more matches and improved my year. But that wasn’t the case and I got even worse.”

For Schwartzman, with a record of 5 wins and 14 defeats and now almost sitting outside the Top 100, the first-round win was a welcome respite that begged a question he has heard a lot in recent times: What’s going on with El Peque?

“Maybe I’ll find an explanation soon,” responded the Argentine. “We try different things in my team, that we all agree on and with the best of intentions. We thought we definitely needed a change. Often, you look to lay blame where there is none.”

Those changes included replacing his second coach, Alejandro Fabbri, with Mariano Monachesi, who also works with Facundo Diaz Acosta, and changing Martiniano Orazi (fitness coach) for Ignacio Menchon, who helped Juan Monaco reach the Top 10.

“I’m still doing things exactly the same. In fact, I’ve had to train tons more days more because I used to win a lot of matches, fortunately. I’ve done so with a good attitude but it’s not working,” he said. “Honestly, I’m a little tired of the daily grind, I’m finding it a bit more difficult. I’ve always been a player who has done things really well off court and reaped the rewards on court. That hasn’t happened and maybe the frustration makes everything more complicated.”

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Not so long ago, Schwartzman had found himself a place among the elite, climbing to No. 8 in the World, reaching the semi-finals at Roland Garros (2020) and he had previously ventured into the quarter-finals at the US Open (2017, 2019) among other notable achievements, including four ATP Tour titles.

“I feel like I belong in a certain place and I got that into my head,” Schwartzman said. “I say this to a lot of Argentines: you have to believe you’re good and able to win. Maybe, when I don’t feel like that… look where we are now. I’ve always said I don’t want to be a player who simply turns up at tournaments.

“I have to accept a year with a tennis slump,” admitted the Argentine. “I don’t know how I would deal with a second or third season having to organise a different schedule. And it’s not about a lack of humility. Each person feels comfortable playing in certain tournaments and in a certain position in the ranking. I’m going to turn 31, hopefully I can keep doing it. I’m going to do everything I can to be as good as possible. To come back I have a chasm to overcome. We’ll have to see how long the desire lasts. If I’m still trying next year and tennis doesn’t give back to me… then we’ll have to see what I do with my daily life.”

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Five Things To Know About Taro Daniel

  • Posted: May 31, 2023

Five Things To Know About Taro Daniel

Learn about Alcaraz’s second-round Roland Garros opponent

Taro Daniel will on Wednesday try to reach the third round at Roland Garros for the first time on his seventh main draw appearance. There is a significant hurdle in his way to a place in the last 32, though.

Daniel will play World No. 1 Carlos Alcaraz, who is pursuing his first trophy at the clay-court major. Before they meet on Court Philippe-Chatrier, looks at five things to know about the 30-year-old Daniel, who is No. 112 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings.

Taro Is A Man Of The World
Daniel is Japanese, was born in New York and trained in Spain for 10 years. His father, Paul, had a job that required the family to travel around the world. 

Taro began playing tennis on clay aged seven, when his father introduced him to the sport. His younger sister, Kana Daniel, played college tennis for the University of Pennsylvania.

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Spanish Roots
Daniel spent 10 years training in Spain, which he credits for the development of his game. After defeating Andy Murray at the 2022 Australian Open, he said in a press conference, “I feel 30 per cent Spanish, a little bit.”

His longtime base was Valencia. Daniel trained at a facility where Spanish great David Ferrer practised, and he was able to learn from the former World No. 3.

He Has Suffered Recent Tragedy
The past year has been a difficult one for Daniel, whose mother, Yasue, passed away on 31 October 2022. The Japanese player took most of November off and struggled for motivation at the beginning of this season.

“I don’t know if the deceased look over tennis,” Daniel said. “I think they’re way beyond tennis or anything. But definitely that was also a great part of my growth for sure, because it was of course very difficult.”


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Big-Match Player
The Japanese star is 1-8 against Top 10 players in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings, but has often risen to the occasion against top opponents on the world’s biggest stages.

In 2018, Daniel stunned Novak Djokovic at the BNP Paribas Open. Last season in Melbourne, he ousted Murray and this year in Acapulco he claimed his first Top 10 triumph over World No. 4 Casper Ruud.

Intriguing Off-Court Interests
Daniel enjoys playing ping pong, listening to classic rock music and watching movies.

The 30-year-old is a fan of Led Zeppelin and Woody Allen movies. Daniel once read one of the books written by John McEnroe and when the American wrote about playing music, he wished he could return to those times to meet rockstars of the day.

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How Medvedev's Roland Garros Loss Impacts Battle For World No. 1

  • Posted: May 31, 2023

How Medvedev’s Roland Garros Loss Impacts Battle For World No. 1

Alcaraz, Djokovic and Tsitsipas still in contention

Daniil Medvedev’s first-round loss at Roland Garros Tuesday has taken him out of the battle for No. 1 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings for the time being. However, the top spot is still up for grabs this fortnight.

World No. 1 Carlos Alcaraz is still in pole position to retain his place after the clay-court major. Even if he loses in the second round to Taro Daniel, a lot would need to happen for him to let slip No. 1.

Round-By-Round Pepperstone ATP Rankings Points

 Player  R1  R2  R3  R4  QF  SF  F  W
 No. 1 Alcaraz  6,465  6,500  6,545  6,635  6,815  7,175  7,655  8,455
 No. 2 Medvedev  6,100  –  –  –  –  –  –  
 No. 3 Djokovic  5,605  5,640  5,685  5,775  5,955  6,315  6,795  7,595
 No. 5 Tsitsipas  4,560  4,605  4,650  4,740  4,920  5,280  5,760  6,560

If Alcaraz loses his next match, he will depart Paris with 6,500 points. World No. 3 Novak Djokovic would need to reach the final at Roland Garros to surpass that mark. World No. 5 Stefanos Tsitsipas would need to win the title to have a chance. If Alcaraz advances to the fourth round, Tsitsipas will be eliminated from contention for World No. 1.

It is possible there will be a blockbuster showdown between Alcaraz and Djokovic in the semi-finals. Should that clash come to pass, there would be implications in the battle for World No. 1.

An Alcaraz win over Djokovic would guarantee his spot atop the Pepperstone ATP Rankings after Roland Garros. If Djokovic wins, he would give himself an opportunity to win the title and with it, World No. 1.

Pepperstone ATP Race To Turin

 Player  Points
 1) Daniil Medvedev  4,310
 2) Carlos Alcaraz  3,500
 3) Novak Djokovic   2,790
 4) Stefanos Tsitsipas  2,635
 5) Jannik Sinner  2,320

Medvedev’s early loss also impacts the calendar-year Pepperstone ATP Race To Turin. The 27-year-old arrived in Paris with a healthy lead in the Live Race and with it, the battle for year-end No. 1.

But now Alcaraz, Djokovic and Tsitsipas have an opportunity to pass Medvedev, or at least make up ground. Alcaraz would need to reach the final in Paris to bump Medvedev from first, while Djokovic and Tsitsipas would both need to win the title.

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Monfils Magic! French Star Surges Past Baez In Roland Garros Epic

  • Posted: May 30, 2023

Monfils Magic! French Star Surges Past Baez In Roland Garros Epic

Monfils will next play sixth seed Rune

Gael Monfils produced a moment of magic in the early moments of Wednesday morning that fans will not soon forget. 

The French star rallied from 0-4, 30/40 down in the fifth set of his first-round Roland Garros clash with Sebastian Baez to triumph 3-6, 6-3, 7-5, 1-6, 7-5 at 12:18 a.m.

The former World No. 6 scrambled throughout to deal with Baez and his aggressive forehand, then battled his body deep into the fifth set, in which he struggled to walk in between points due to cramps. But the Court Philippe-Chatrier crowd propped up the 36-year-old with unrelenting support and urged him to victory after three hours and 47 minutes.

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The scene after Monfils clinched the match with a backhand passing shot up the line — which bounced off the top of the net and in — is one those watching will retain for years to come. Initially he pulled his shirt over his face in disbelief, then revealed a massive smile.

After shaking hands with Baez and the chair umpire, he returned to the court and held his arms out to embrace the thousands of fans who had pushed him to fight on for the previous four hours. The Frenchman, who has long prided himself on performing for the fans, then laid down on his back and began sobbing.

Monfils faced 20 break points in the match and appeared out of gas late in the fourth set and early in the fifth. His Argentine opponent was pummeling forehand after forehand, running the home favourite all around the tournament’s centre court. 

But some how, some way, Monfils found the energy to make another push. Having lost all four of his previous tour-level matches this year as he returned from a right foot injury, the 36-year-old defended beautifully and won critical points to stay within touch.

Once it became a battle of wills, Monfils simply refused to capitulate, no matter what his body told him to do. The Frenchman will next play sixth seed Holger Rune, who defeated Christopher Eubanks on Tuesday.

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