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Dodig/Krajicek On 13-Match Winning Streak, Reach Eastbourne Final

  • Posted: Jun 29, 2023

Dodig/Krajicek On 13-Match Winning Streak, Reach Eastbourne Final

Harris in Mallorca singles semi-final, doubles final with Bhambri

Top seeds Ivan Dodig and Austin Krajicek extended their winning streak to 13 consecutive matches Thursday after they advanced to the final at the Rothesay International.

Dodig and Krajicek, who triumphed at Roland Garros and last week at The Queen’s Club, ousted Australians Matthew Ebden and John-Patrick Smith 7-5, 4-6, 10-7 in the Eastbourne semi-finals. They will next meet fourth seeds Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic in Friday’s final after the Croatians cruised past second seeds Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury 6-2, 6-2.

Mektic and Pavic will be aiming for their third title of the season while Dodig and Krajicek look to extend their run by collecting a fifth trophy in 2023.

Top Seeds Fall In Mallorca
After booking a ticket into the Mallorca Championships singles semi-finals, Lloyd Harris returned to court with partner Yuki Bhambri to upset top seeds Santiago Gonzalez and Edouard Roger-Vasselin 6-4, 7-6(2) and reach the ATP 250 doubles final. Bhambri and Harris fended off 10 of 12 break points faced to advance.

In quarter-final action, Robin Haase and Philipp Oswald downed Argentines Maximo Gonzalez and Andres Molteni 7-5, 6-4 after one hour, 29 minutes. The Dutch-Austrian team will next face Americans Nathaniel Lammons and Jackson Withrow for a spot in the championship match.

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Arnaldi Qualifies For Wimbledon Debut

  • Posted: Jun 29, 2023

Arnaldi Qualifies For Wimbledon Debut

Top 10 qualifying seeds Albot, Machac, Stricker also through

After qualifying at Roland Garros and picking up a win in his major main-draw debut, Italy’s Matteo Arnaldi has once again come through the qualifying draw at Wimbledon. On Thursday, the 22-year-old secured his first appearance at the All England Lawn Tennis Club with a 7-5, 6-4, 6-4 victory against Frederico Ferreira Silva.

As the top seed in qualifying, Arnaldi lost the opening set of his campaign against Shang Juncheng, but then won seven sets in a row. 

The Italian competed in the Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan last season and finished 2022 at No. 134 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings. He since reached a career-high of World No. 72 after winning his fourth ATP Challenger Tour title earlier this month in Heilbronn, Germany.

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Three other Top 10 qualifying seeds also booked their places in the main draw with Thursday wins. Fifth seed Radu Albot was a 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, 7-6(6) winner against Felipe Meligeni Alves, sixth seed Tomas Machac advanced past Lucas Pouille via a second-set retirement, and 10th seed Dominic Stricker beat Mattia Bellucci 6-3, 1-6, 6-3, 6-4. Stricker also competed at the Next Gen ATP Finals in 2022, reaching the semi-finals.

No other seeded players were among the 16 to advance to the Wimbledon main draw.

Four five-setters were contested on Thursday, with Wimbledon switching to the familiar best-of-five format for the final round of qualifying. A seeded player was upset in all four such matches.

Third seed Fabian Marozsan, who made headlines with an upset of Carlos Alcaraz in Rome last month, was beaten by Maximilian Marterer, with the German claiming a 7-5, 6-4, 6-7(5), 5-7, 7-5 result. Belgium’s Kimmer Coppejans upset fourth seed Taro Daniel 6-3, 4-6, 4-6, 6-4, 6-2; France’s Laurent Lokoli outlasted 13th seed Michael Mmoh 2-6, 7-6(2), 6-3, 2-6, 6-2; and Chile’s Tomas Barrios Vera downed 21st seed Thiago Seyboth Wild 6-4, 6-7(3), 2-6, 6-3, 6-2.

Sho Shimabukuro, Oscar Otte, Dennis Novak, Gijs Brouwer, Enzo Couacaud, Hamad Medjedovic, Harold Mayot and Shintaro Mochizuki also qualified for the main draw with Thursday wins.

The advancing players will find out their opening main-draw opponents during Friday’s draw, which is set for 10 a.m. local time.

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‘We Don’t Mind Getting A Bit Dirty’: Kyrgios On The Aussie Love For Grass

  • Posted: Jun 29, 2023

‘We Don’t Mind Getting A Bit Dirty’: Kyrgios On The Aussie Love For Grass

28-year-old notched Tour-leading 12 wins on the surface in 2022

How do you post consistent results on a surface that is anything but?

Nick Kyrgios believes a sense of on-court freedom is key to mastering the grass-court game. The 28-year-old Australian, who racked up a Tour-leading 12 wins on the surface in 2022, is renowned for enrapturing fans with his unpredictable, imaginative strokeplay.

“I think just the ability to take one hand off the racquet [is vital on grass],” Kyrgios told last week. “Volleys, slicing, blocking returns, all the intangibles. You get so many bad bounces on grass, and [you have to be] able to slice and drop shot and bring so many different aspects to the game.”

Kyrgios’ homeland has a deep-rooted culture of grass-court tennis. The Australian Open was held on the surface until 1987, and the country’s ATP Tour stars continue to live up to that history. This year has been no exception, with Jordan Thompson (‘s-Hertogenbosch) and Alex de Minaur (at the Queen’s Club) both reaching ATP Tour finals across the opening two weeks of the grass-court season.

“I think you look at some of the best grass-court players in the world, someone like Roger [Federer] was so good because he was able to adapt and hit so many different shots,” said Kyrgios. “I think Aussie’s don’t mind getting a bit dirty and trying to find different ways to win. So that’s why you see so many of us having some good results on [grass].

“Pretty much as soon as we played tennis there were national tournaments in Australia on grass. Under 10s, 12s, 14s. So we all grew up on and we were all very comfortable on it. There’s no surprise when I see other Aussies having good results on it. We all feel really comfy on it.”

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Kyrgios announced himself on the world stage as a 19-year-old in 2014 when he downed then-World No. 1 Rafael Nadal en route to the Wimbledon quarter-finals. Eight years later, the Australian charged to his maiden major final at SW19, where he was unable to prevent Novak Djokovic from winning his fourth consecutive title. Despite falling just short of a dream major trophy, Kyrgios holds fond memories of his exploits in London a year ago.

“It was amazing. The fact that it’s only been a year. It’s been crazy,” he said. “Everything off the court and all the attention obviously… It is a tournament where I think every tennis player wants to do well. People that don’t play tennis know about Wimbledon.

“I think it’s the fact that you’ve done all the work over your life to actually post the result of that tournament, that’s going to be remembered for the rest of your life. It’s a pretty special feeling. I think every tennis player, at the end of day, works so hard to have one of those results at a Grand Slam.

“I was one short but I’m not sad about saying I lost to the greatest player of all time and gave him a real match. It’s going to be good walking there for the first time [this year] and there’s going be a lot of media attention around it as well. So let’s see how it goes.”

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Break Point Episode 7 Recap: Kyrgios’ Wimbledon Breakthrough

After missing the first five months of the 2023 season following knee surgery, Kyrgios made his comeback to the ATP Tour in Stuttgart earlier this month. Ongoing issues with his left knee mean his defeat to Wu Yibing in Germany will be his only competitive match before Wimbledon. Far-from-ideal preparation, but Kyrgios is not concerned about any raised expectations on him this time around.

“I think if anything it’s going to help me, the fact that I’ve already posted such a good result there and I know that Centre Court so well,” said Kyrgios, who holds a 20-8 record at the grass-court major. “I know what I need to do to be successful. I think all the pressure is off me, to be honest.

“I think that people always say once you have results, that’s when the pressure starts kicking in. But for me, it’s been the reverse my whole career. When I’ve won tournaments or when I’ve done really well, it’s almost the opposite. It’s almost like you’ve proven yourself and now you can actually just relax and have some fun with it.

“I don’t think I’ve got anything left to prove in my career to be honest. I’ve beaten some amazing players, won some really big tournaments, [made the] final of a Grand Slam, won a doubles Grand Slam. I feel like now, this is why you work. So you can actually have fun and just enjoy it.”

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Kyrgios is bidding to follow his countrymen Rod Laver, John Newcombe, Pat Cash and Lleyton Hewitt in lifting the men’s singles trophy on Centre Court during the Open Era (since 1968). Regardless of how far he goes this year, the seven-time ATP Tour titlist will relish being back on one of the most historic sites in tennis at the All England Club.

“I think it’s just Wimbledon in general,” said Kyrgios, when asked about what made him so passionate about the grass-court major. “Just the accommodation, in terms of staying right next to the courts, to just stepping foot on that site. You just feel like that’s tennis.

“Every other tournament is tennis, obviously, but there’s something about Wimbledon that just breathes it. There’s so much culture there and that’s where it kind of began. So, I think I’m really happy that my best result ever at a singles Grand Slam was at Wimbledon. I think that’s just an incredible thing to [be able to] say.”

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Feliciano Lopez: The Atypical Spaniard Says ‘Adios’

  • Posted: Jun 29, 2023

Feliciano Lopez: The Atypical Spaniard Says ‘Adios’

‘Feli’ retires in Mallorca with more wins on grass than any other Spaniard

One of the longest careers in the history of the ATP Tour has reached its conclusion. Feliciano Lopez has said goodbye to the circuit at 41 years of age after 26 seasons as a professional, having lost on Thursday to Yannick Hanfmann at the Mallorca Championships.

He did so at home, surrounded by his family, his fans, and many of the players he has competed with for so long. Fittingly, Lopez’s final match came on the surface that has given him the most joy in his career: He has claimed more wins on grass than any other Spaniard.

Most Tour-level Wins On Grass By Spaniards

Player Wins
Feliciano Lopez 87
Rafael Nadal 76
Andres Gimeno 53
Fernando Verdasco 51
Roberto Bautista Agut 44
David Ferrer 44

Watch Highlights Of Lopez’s Final Match:

That achievement came by virtue of his unique brand of tennis, which came about despite having learnt the game in the same conditions as his fellow Spaniards in a system designed to produce clay specialists. However, his serve, his volleying and an innate touch at the net made him into a more classical grass-court player.

“I was a different player without trying to be, because of my identity as a player, my style and my serve,” Lopez told “But I didn’t train to have that style of tennis. I grew up like most Spaniards. I trained in Barcelona, but naturally decided to be this type of player, different to the rest.”

That ‘strange player’ – as he describes himself – was destined to make history. Since picking up his first main draw singles win at a Grand Slam at Roland Garros in 2002, he didn’t miss a single main draw in the category for 20 straight years, until Roland Garros 2022, giving him the all-time record of 79 straight major appearances.

“I feel very proud of having been able to make it through 20 years as a professional without missing one, but also of having left a good impression on my fellow players and on the people I have spent time with,” the Toledo native explained.

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Lopez in action against Lleyton Hewitt during his first Wimbledon quarter-final in 2005. Photo: Phil Cole/Getty Images.
It was on the grass of Wimbledon that Lopez produced his first big result at a major with a fourth-round run in 2002. The London major is the only one where he reached the quarter-finals three times. His ability to find a way to win on grass, more than any of his countrymen, earned him his first call up for Spain’s Davis Cup team in 2003.

“I made my debut in a final against Australia, because it was played on grass and at that time I was practically the only player who had good results on the surface,” he revealed. “They dropped a player who had been playing on the team all year and picked me. The experience gave me so many wonderful feelings.”

He enjoyed what he calls his “best week” on the ATP Tour on the same surface. It came in 2019, when he was crowned champion of the singles and doubles at the Cinch Championships at The Queen’s Club.

“It’s impossible to beat something like that,” Lopez said. “At almost 40 I managed to win a tournament like Queen’s, also in doubles, playing 15 hours of tennis in three days. At that age [37], and with Andy [Murray] who had just had a hip operation, in his home country and at a tournament that’s special to me. Everything that happened that week is impossible to replicate any other time.”

There is one statistic that is etched into Lopez’s mind after so long among the ATP Tour’s elite; breaking the 500-win barrier. “I’m not someone who constantly looks at statistics and numbers, but when I saw the list of players who had achieved it, I felt proud because when you see those names you think how amazing it is to be on that list with those people,” Lopez said. “There are players you admire from every era.”

Lopez reached the mark last year in Mallorca, on the same stage where he today hung up his racquet with almost a thousand matches under his belt and a career record of 506-490.

The Spaniard is delighted to have been able to choose how to say goodbye. “I didn’t want to retire with people feeling sorry for me, or playing a level that I wouldn’t have felt comfortable with,” he revealed. “I’m very happy to be able to play how I have so far. I feel competitive and that’s what I wanted.”

<a href=Feliciano Lopez” />

Lopez lifted his third ATP Tour title — his first of four on grass — in Eastbourne in 2013. Photo: Ben Stansall/AFP via Getty Images.
Acapulco, the ATP Challenger Tour event in Murcia, Barcelona, Stuttgart, Queen’s and Mallorca were the six stops in his own personal swan song. “I prepared diligently in every sense,” Lopez said. “I was on a diet, losing weight, even training in the afternoons on some days.

“When I went to Acapulco, I was a little scared, because even if you’ve been playing tennis your whole life, when you stop playing so much it’s a bit frightening. But I was pleasantly surprised, because I competed well and I beat [Christopher] Eubanks. I lost a good match against [Frances] Tiafoe, and that gave me peace of mind for the other tournaments, because I felt competitive and that’s what I wanted.”

On Thursday 29 June, 2023, Feliciano Lopez brought his long career to an end. He leaves the Tour with seven singles titles to his name and a further six in doubles – one of them a major (2016 Roland Garros with Marc Lopez). ‘Feli’ has reason to smile as he says his final goodbye.

“Of course, not everyone loves me,” Lopez said. “That’s normal and not something I aspire to, but I’m proud to have left positive memories, to have been a courteous person, and a bit of a different tennis player.”

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Eubanks Advances To First ATP Tour SF In Mallorca

  • Posted: Jun 29, 2023

Eubanks Advances To First ATP Tour SF In Mallorca

American to meet Harris in the last four

Christopher Eubanks’ breakthrough season hit a new height on Thursday in Spain.

The American reached his first ATP Tour semi-final by defeating French lucky loser Arthur Rinderknech 7-6(5), 7-6(4) in the last eight of the Mallorca Championships.

“My serve really came up pretty clutch when I needed it to. I was broken twice today. It was the first time I think I was broken in the tournament, so I had to kind of regroup a little bit after that,” Eubanks said in his on-court interview. “But I was able to kind of regain my composure, get back to playing the way that I can play, playing aggressive, and I think it worked out in the end.

“As far as Mallorca, I’ve been able to get a lot of support here, which has been surprising, so I really appreciate you guys for coming out. I know some of the big names have gone on to Wimbledon, but for you guys to still come out in this type of heat and humidity to support us really means a lot.”

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It was Eubanks’ third tour-level quarter-final and he took advantage of his opportunity on the grass. The 27-year-old hit 10 aces and won 82 per cent of his first-serve points to move on after one hour and 58 minutes.

Eubanks is up to a career-high No. 58 in the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings and has an opportunity to continue climbing. At the beginning of the season, he was World No. 123 and had not yet broken into the Top 100.

Next up will be South African Lloyd Harris, whom Eubanks defeated in three sets last month at a hard-court ATP Challenger Tour event in Gwangju, South Korea.

“It’s going to be fun. Lloyd and I know each other pretty well. We actually played each other a few weeks ago in Korea in the first round of a Challenger,” Eubanks said. “So I think if you had told both of us that we’d be playing in the semi-finals of a 250, we both would take it.”

Harris, a qualifier, eliminated lucky loser Pavel Kotov 7-5, 6-2. The former World No. 31 will try to reach his first ATP Tour final since Dubai in 2021.

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