Tennis News

From around the world

Monfils Continues Resurgence In Cincinnati

  • Posted: Aug 15, 2023

Monfils Continues Resurgence In Cincinnati

Davidovich Fokina, Musetti advance

Gael Monfils backed up his quarter-final run in Toronto on Tuesday with a first-round victory at the Western & Southern Open, where he overcame physical issues and Briton Cameron Norrie 3-6, 6-4, 6-3 in Cincinnati.

The 36-year-old Frenchman received treatment on his left calf in the first set, but did not let that stop him, producing an energetic display in the lively conditions in the second and third sets to advance after two hours and three minutes.

“I tried to keep it very simple with my game. I think the ATP physio came on the court and did a great job, not only the treatment but he managed to secure my head,” said Monfils, who missed Roland Garros with a wrist injury and last year’s US Open with a foot injury. “He said it would be fine and this meant the world for me. With what I have been through, it is always tough to give up with injury. But I fought. Felt good and had good wins last week and had the confidence to do it.”

Monfils arrived in Washington at the start of the month with just one tour-level win to his name this year. However, he has started to rediscover his best level during the North American hard-court swing, with his victory against Norrie lifting him to 6-2 in August. Last week he defeated World No. 4 Stefanos Tsitsipas in Toronto.

The former World No. 6, whose best result in Cincinnati was a quarter-final run in 2011, will next meet Toronto finalist Alex de Minaur or American J.J. Wolf.

In other action, Alejandro Davidovich Fokina continued his good form by dispatching Tomas Martin Etcheverry 6-3, 6-3. The Spaniard reached his second Masters 1000 semi-final in Toronto last week and will next play Novak Djokovic in Cincinnati. Davidovich Fokina upset the Serbian en route to the Monte-Carlo final in 2022.

Lorenzo Musetti also advanced, moving past Washington champion Daniel Evans 6-4, 6-3. The 21-year-old Italian plays third seed Daniil Medvedev in the second round. Evans suffered first-round exits at Masters 1000 events in Toronto and Cincinnati after winning Washington.

Source link

Murray/Venus Deny Djokovic Winning Return In Cincinnati

  • Posted: Aug 15, 2023

Murray/Venus Deny Djokovic Winning Return In Cincinnati

Serbian and partner Cacic fall at first hurdle at ATP Masters 1000

Jamie Murray and Michael Venus delivered a rock-solid display Tuesday to ease past Nikola Cacic and Novak Djokovic and kick-start their campaign at the
Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati.

The British-Kiwi pairing converted three of four break points they earned to prevail 6-4, 6-2 against Cacic and Djokovic, who was playing his first competitive match since his Wimbledon final defeat to Carlos Alcaraz. Murray and Venus crucially saved three break points en route to the first set before accelerating to a 65-minute first-round triumph at the hard-court ATP Masters 1000 event.

<a href=Nikola Cacic/Novak Djokovic” />
Nikola Cacic in action on Tuesday alongside Novak Djokovic, who was competing in Cincinnati for the first time since 2019. Photo: Peter Staples/ATP Tour

Their next assignment in Ohio is a second-round clash with top seeds Wesley Koolhof and Neal Skupski. Murray (who won the 2018 Cincinnati crown alongside Bruno Soares) and Venus have enjoyed a strong first season together so far, lifting ATP Tour titles in Dallas, Banja Luka and Geneva.

Currently 12th in the Pepperstone ATP Live Doubles Teams Rankings, Murray and Venus can propel themselves into stronger contention for Nitto ATP Finals qualification by continuing their good form in Cincinnati.

Source link

Inside Alcaraz vs. Djokovic Battle For World No. 1 In Cincinnati

  • Posted: Aug 15, 2023

Inside Alcaraz vs. Djokovic Battle For World No. 1 In Cincinnati

Djokovic has an opportunity to retake top spot

Carlos Alcaraz is in control of his own destiny this week in the battle for No. 1 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings at the Western & Southern Open.

If the Spaniard reaches the Cincinnati final, he will retain No. 1 leading into the US Open. Otherwise, Novak Djokovic will have an opportunity to reclaim top spot.

If the 20-year-old Alcaraz advances to the semi-finals, he will force the Serbian to make the final to take back World No. 1. Djokovic must reach the championship clash to have a chance.

Cincinnati Points Breakdown Per Round

 Player  R2  R16  QF  SF  F  W
 Alcaraz  9,225  9,305  9,395  9,575  9,815  10,215
 Djokovic  8,805  8,885  8,975  9,155  9,395  9,795

There is the possibility of a tie, too. If Djokovic makes the final and Alcaraz reaches the quarter-finals, they both will have 9,395 points. Djokovic would reclaim World No. 1 in that scenario because he holds more combined Pepperstone ATP Rankings points from the mandatory tournaments (Grand Slams, ATP Masters 1000 mandatory tournaments and Nitto ATP Finals).

If Djokovic retakes World No. 1 this week, he will retain it at least through the US Open, where Alcaraz is defending 2,000 points. No matter what happens in Cincinnati, Djokovic will arrive in Flushing Meadows with an opportunity. to leave with No. 1.

Alcaraz has already held World No. 1 for 33 weeks since first ascending to the top after winning last year’s US Open. The Spaniard has spent more weeks in the position than 12 other former World No. 1s, including Mats Wilander, Daniil Medvedev, Andy Roddick and his coach, Juan Carlos Ferrero. He is trying to earn ATP Year-End No. 1 presented by Pepperstone honours for the second consecutive year.

Djokovic owns the record for weeks at World No. 1 (389) and year-end No. 1 finishes (7). The 36-year-old most recently was No. 1 in June.

Source link

Zoned-In Zverev Eases Past Dimitrov In Cincinnati

  • Posted: Aug 15, 2023

Zoned-In Zverev Eases Past Dimitrov In Cincinnati

2021 champion to meet Nishioka in second round at ATP Masters 1000

In a battle of former Western & Southern Open champions, it was Alexander Zverev who roused his best level Tuesday in Cincinnati.

The 16th-seeded German downed Grigor Dimitrov 6-2, 6-2 to extend his winning streak at the ATP Masters 1000 in Ohio to six matches. Zverev needed little time to reacquaint himself with the centre court at the Lindner Family Tennis Center on his first appearance there since his 2021 title run, converting four of eight break points he earned against Dimitrov for a 72-minute win.

“I think I adjusted to the conditions a bit better and maybe was a bit more patient than him as well, but always when you play against Grigor, especially in the early rounds, it’s very dangerous,” said Zverev. “He’s somebody that hits the ball very hard, a very aggressive player, and you have to be there all the time. I was, from start to finish, and I’m very happy with that.”

Zverev particularly targeted Dimitrov’s second serve throughout the pair’s sixth Lexus ATP Head2Head encounter. The German won 75 per cent (21/28) of points against the Bulgarian’s second delivery, and he later acknowledged that had been key to his victory in windy conditions on the fast Cincinnati courts.

“I think patience is one thing, but the other is people struggle with their serve a bit more [in the wind], so you have to keep focusing on the games that you are in. Especially against Grigor, he’s serving 135 or 140 mile per hour serves, there are a lot of games that he will just go through and you have no chance. So being patient and just focusing on yourself [is key].”

It was Zverev’s first hard-court win against a Top 20 opponent in four attempts this season. The two-time Nitto ATP Finals champion is 10th in the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Turin as he seeks a sixth appearance at the prestigious season finale. His reward for downing the World No. 19 Dimitrov in Cincinnati is a second-round encounter with Japan’s Yoshihito Nishioka.

Source link

How Ruusuvuori Is Learning To Play Against His Personality

  • Posted: Aug 15, 2023

How Ruusuvuori Is Learning To Play Against His Personality

Learn more about the Finnish star

Three years ago, Emil Ruusuvuori played in his first ATP Masters 1000 event at the Western & Southern Open, which was held in New York that year because of the Covid-19 pandemic. In just his third ATP Tour main draw, the Finn was facing American Sebastian Korda. After leading by a set and a break late in the second set, Ruusuvuori found himself in trouble in the decider.

But in a flash the Helsinki native won 20 of the final 22 points to secure the biggest win of his career and guarantee his place in the Top 100 of the Pepperstone ATP Rankings.

“That was an epic match and it was actually the match that made me go to the Top 100, so it was also a big match, big win for me coming 5-2 down in the third,” Ruusuvuori told “I believe I won like 15 points in a row or something. We both have come a long way from there.”

On Monday, Ruusuvuori was again playing in the Western & Southern Open, this time in its traditional home of Cincinnati. The Finn cruised to a 6-4, 6-2 win over Corentin Moutet to set a second-round clash with Monte-Carlo champion Andrey Rublev.

When Ruusuvuori first broke through at the tournament, he was brand new on the scene. Now he is a well-established star who reached a career-high World No. 37 earlier this year. It has been a long journey since he moved his training base to the now-closed Jarkko Nieminen Tennis Academy in Helsinki as a 14-year-old. His longtime coach, Federico Ricci, was director of the academy.

“I remember that summer, he had a bad summer. I think he lost badly in the European Championships first round it the Under 14s and didn’t want to play and his parents were questioning a little bit his commitment to it, even the commitment to join the Academy,” Ricci said. “They were like, ‘I don’t know if he’s ready to play that much tennis.’ He didn’t want to really play after the loss in the European Championships.

“He was about to quit, even picking up other sports and stuff like that. I remember talking to his parents that summer and then he ended up starting at the end of August and it started from there.”

<a href=Emil Ruusuvuori” />
Ruusuvuori, far right, celebrates a junior title. Photo: Federico Ricci
Ruusuvuori is the first to admit that he is not as fiery as some of his competitors, especially off the court. The Finn is one of the most laid back players on the ATP Tour.

“If you think he is shy now, he was extremely shy then,” Ricci said.

But on the court, Ruusuvuori’s game speaks for itself. He is one of the biggest ball-strikers on Tour and in recent years, he has been working with Ricci to find the right mix between his powerful strokes and more consistent play, being more selective about when to go after the ball and setting himself up to use his power. But it is not just about his physical game, according to the Italian coach.

“Of course, we’re working on a lot of things on his tennis, and on his physical [side], but also the resilience and accepting a little bit the life he has chosen, and making sure that that you get the most out of it, even in terms of enjoyment, and being really part of it,” Ricci said. “Sometimes he’s missing his quiet and easy life in Finland. And of course, here it is a lot more hectic.

“Every day, there is something on the line. Every day he has a chance to improve. You have pressure and you have to stay strong, and you have to be resilient in the way you go from tournament to tournament, trip to trip, losses to wins, wins to losses. And of course, sometimes you feel like, ‘Ah, it was so nice to stay sitting by the lake with no worries.’ You have to keep working on that, because then if you keep working on that, then it’s so much easier for me to make him improve as a tennis player.”

The Official App Of Tennis | Download ATP WTA Live App

Ruusuvuori has learned plenty of lessons in his first few full seasons on the ATP Tour. Some of the most valuable ones have nothing to do with technique or tennis itself.

“I can’t say for everybody, but at least for me, those things that you might struggle with outside the court, you are the same person still on court,” Ruusuvuori said. “It’s a little different, but still, it has some effect for sure. So understanding that I think was big, but then also you have to work on it.

“I’m a very aggressive player, but maybe off the court I’m not the most aggressive or the most social. Maybe the person doesn’t really match [the player] in that sense on the court, so that’s something that I have to work on also off the court and maybe need a little bit more aggression off the court to become more aggressive also on the court.”

<a href=Emil Ruusuvuori” />

Ricci explained that it has always been a little bit of a challenge for the Finn to “play against his personality”.

“But I think he grew into what he is, or who he is as a player. He’s also always been somebody that likes to strike the ball his own way,” Ricci said. “If he wants to strike the ball big, he strikes it big, regardless of what the other guy does. It is at times a challenge, especially in moments of perhaps less confidence and stuff like that. But we are working through it, and also working through it for him to be more comfortable.”

As successful as Ruusuvuori’s start on the ATP Tour has been, he has learned there is always a new hurdle to overcome and he continues to work hard to leap over each one.

“You always get new challenges, new things that you have to overcome, but you also learn and hopefully also get better all the time,” Ruusuvuori said. “So it’s just a never-ending cycle almost. There is no such thing that. ‘You have made it.’ It’s just constant work and that’s something that I’ve learned now in the past couple years.”

Source link

Fritz Wins Thrilling Tie-Break En Route To Win, Defending Champ Coric Advances In Cincinnati

  • Posted: Aug 15, 2023

Fritz Wins Thrilling Tie-Break En Route To Win, Defending Champ Coric Advances In Cincinnati

Paul & Wawrinka reach second round

Taylor Fritz came through a thrilling 19-minute tie-break on Tuesday at the Western & Southern Open en route to a 7-6(14), 6-2 first-round victory against Czech Jiri Lehecka in Cincinnati.

The American saved five set points in the first-set tie-break before he was gifted the set on his seventh opportunity when Lehecka double faulted. After winning the tie-break 16/14, Fritz dropped just one of his 13 first-serve points in the second set to triumph after one hour and 44 minutes in hot and lively conditions.

“It was probably as hard as I had, just putting the ball into court,” Fritz said when asked about the fast conditions. “The courts are fast and bouncy… everything wants to fly and on top of that, everything is super windy. I was just trying to put the ball in court.

“I just had to feel it out at the beginning. As much as I wanted to pull the trigger on big points, if it is not there, it is not there, so you have to do what you feel comfortable and hit the ball you feel you can make under pressure.”

The Official App Of Tennis | Download ATP WTA Live App

Fritz, who reached the semi-finals at the Nitto ATP Finals last year, is currently ninth (2,515 points) in the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Turin. Aiming to close the gap on eighth-placed Casper Ruud (2,605) and seventh-placed Holger Rune (3,045 points), he will be eager for a deep run in Cincinnati, where he reached the quarter-finals last year. Ruud and Rune both have first-round byes in Ohio.

Fritz now leads 2022 Next Gen ATP Finals runner-up Lehecka 3-0 in their Lexus ATP Head2Head series and will next play Lorenzo Sonego or qualifier Alexander Shevchenko.

The 25-year-old holds a 29-8 record on hard courts this season, highlighted by title runs in Delray Beach and Atlanta. The 21-year-old Lehecka’s best result this year was a quarter-final run at the Australian Open.

Follow The Cast Of ATP Tour | Break Point

Reigning champion Borna Coric made a winning start to his title defence when he overcame American Sebastian Korda 7-6(5), 6-4 in a match that was played over two days.

“I was a little nervous coming into the match as I know I need to defend my title, so I put a little more expectation on myself,” Coric said. “I have watched many of [Korda’s] matches at the Australian Open and know him quite well.”

After rained ended play on Monday night with Coric 7-6(5), 4-3 ahead, the Croatian came back and finished the job emphatically, holding twice to reach the second round. Last year, Coric came into Cincinnati at No. 152 and posted five Top 20 wins, including Rafael Nadal, Felix Auger-Aliassime and Stefanos Tsitsipas in the final to lift his first ATP Masters 1000 trophy. The World No. 16 will next meet Hubert Hurkacz or Thanasi Kokkinakis.

Former World No. 3 Stan Wawrinka was also on the verge of victory when play stopped on Monday night. The Swiss star, who led Brandon Nakashima 5-2 in the deciding set when they came off, sealed a 6-3, 6-7(5), 6-3 win in his first match since reaching the Umag final last month.

Tommy Paul joined countryman Fritz in the second round when he downed Miomir Kecmanovic 7-5, 7-6(2) in one hour and 54 minutes.

The American advanced to the semi-finals in Toronto last week and played with confidence against Kecmanovic, striking 24 winners and saving both break points he faced.

The 26-year-old, currently at a career-high No. 13 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings, holds a perfect 9-0 record in first-round hard-court matches this season. Paul will next face Ugo Humbert after the lefty defeated #NextGenATP Frenchman Arthur Fils 6-4, 3-6, 6-2.

Source link

Exclusive: Why Overcoming Tough Moments Has Proven Key For Sinner

  • Posted: Aug 15, 2023

Exclusive: Why Overcoming Tough Moments Has Proven Key For Sinner

Italian reflects on his Toronto triumph

After Jannik Sinner won his opening match last week in Toronto against Matteo Berrettini, he was happy with more than just his performance in the match. The Italian was pleased with his form overall.

“My confidence level from last year has increased,” Sinner told at the time. “I feel much better on the court, more comfortable.”

That became clear when the 21-year-old ended the week by lifting his first ATP Masters 1000 trophy. Sinner lost just one set en route to the biggest title of his career.

It was a week in which nearly everything went well. As top seeds Carlos Alcaraz and Daniil Medvedev suffered quarter-final upsets, Sinner weathered a Gael Monfils storm in the last eight and did not find himself in trouble the rest of the week.

“When you go through tough moments throughout the whole week and you’re able to manage them in the best possible way,” Sinner said. “I think that’s the best feeling.”

Watch Toronto Final Highlights:

Sinner has been one of the best ball-strikers in the world since he first began his journey on the ATP Tour. Said Alex de Minaur, his opponent in the Toronto final: “He’s got some of the hardest groundstrokes I’ve probably ever dealt with, to be honest.”

Now in fourth place in the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Turin, Sinner is in good position to qualify for the Nitto ATP Finals, where he competed as an alternate in 2021. But there have been tough moments this year for the former junior skiing sensation, too.

At Roland Garros, Sinner lost a gruelling five-hour, 26-minute clash to Daniel Altmaier in the second round. Having entered the tournament with high hopes, the upset was a stunner.

It was not that Sinner did not have the game to win the match that day. It was more about the mental side of his game.

“[I realised it] a little bit during the match, but during I didn’t have the strength to change it,” Sinner said. “After the match we talked, me and my team together, and I feel like we found a good solution, how to find the right way. And as I said, in Toronto, I think I had a very good attitude throughout the whole week and hopefully I can show this also here.”

The Official App Of Tennis | Download ATP WTA Live App

To Sinner, his mentality is just as important if not more of a key than his strokes on court. Although that was a blip in the season, he attributes his overall confidence in work during the offseason with coaches Darren Cahill and Simone Vagnozzi to execute both physically and mentally.

“We made a lot of good work during the offseason, which is for me very, very important,” Sinner said. “I felt like I was getting stronger also physically. Mentally I was ready to compete also when I was not feeling at 100 per cent. And I think that made me feel like I was ready to compete.”

Flying higher than ever, Sinner will try to capitalise on his momentum this week in Cincinnati and in the future.

“For sure you have to be happy because it’s a good achievement,” Sinner said. “But in the other way I also know that I can still improve my tennis and just look forward to the work. And so hopefully I can keep going, keep practising in the way we do and then we’ll see.”

Source link

Andy Murray Withdraws From Cincinnati

  • Posted: Aug 15, 2023

Andy Murray Withdraws From Cincinnati

Former World No. 1 cites an abdominal strain

Andy Murray withdrew from the Western & Southern Open late Monday night due to an abdominal strain.

The former World No. 1, who last week withdrew ahead of his third-round match in Toronto against Jannik Sinner because of the same injury, will not take the court against 11th seed Karen Khachanov. He will be replaced in the draw by a lucky loser on Tuesday.

The Official App Of Tennis | Download ATP WTA Live App

The 36-year-old showed his fighting spirit in Canada when he won a two-hour, 47-minute battle in the second round against Max Purcell. After withdrawing at that event, he travelled to Cincinnati, but is not ready to compete.

Murray is the No. 36 player in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings and owns a 12-11 record this season.

Khachanov has not competed since losing in the Roland Garros quarter-finals to Novak Djokovic. The 27-year-old, who will now play a lucky loser instead of Murray, has been out because of a groin injury.

Source link