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Murray/Venus Reach Cincinnati Final

  • Posted: Aug 19, 2023

Murray/Venus Reach Cincinnati Final

Gonzalez/Molteni save match points to advance

Jamie Murray and Michael Venus moved to within one win of capturing their fourth tour-level title together this season on Saturday when they advanced to the Western & Southern Open final.

The British-Kiwi pair overcame Santiago Gonzalez and Edouard Roger-Vasselin 6-3, 6-4 to reach their first ATP Masters 1000 title match as a team. Murray and Venus were strong on serve in the crucial moments in Cincinnati, saving all six break points they faced to advance after 77 minutes.

With their victory, they have jumped two spots to 10th in the Pepperstone ATP Live Doubles Teams Rankings. Murray and Venus, who clinched trophies in Dallas, Banja Luka and Geneva earlier this year, can rise to seventh if they lift the title on Sunday.

Murray, 37, is aiming to triumph in Cincinnati for the second time, having won the crown with Bruno Soares in 2018. Venus, 35, is seeking his second Masters 1000 title. He lifted the trophy in Paris in 2021 with Tim Puetz.

Murray and Venus will face Maximo Gonzalez and Andres Molteni in the final.

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The Argentines saved two match points en route to a 7-6(6), 1-6, 15-13 victory against second seeds Ivan Dodig and Austin Krajicek.

Gonzalez and Molteni, who are sixth in the Live Doubles Teams Rankings, rallied from 4/7 in the Match Tie-break, saving match points at 9/10 and 11/12 before converting on their fourth opportunity to reach their fifth tour-level final of the season as a team after two hours and four minutes.

Earlier this year, Gonzalez and Molteni triumphed in Cordoba, Rio de Janeiro, Barcelona and Washington. Prior to Cincinnati, their best result together at a Masters 1000 event this year was a quarter-final showing in Miami.

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Klahn Calls It A Career: 'Incredibly Fortunate & Grateful'

  • Posted: Aug 19, 2023

Klahn Calls It A Career: ‘Incredibly Fortunate & Grateful’

The American is an eight-time ATP Challenger Tour champion

Bradley Klahn’s career is a raw story of persevering in spite of obstacles to achieve a childhood dream.

Turning 33 on Sunday, the American retired from pro tennis this week at the ATP Challenger Tour event in Stanford, California. Klahn hangs up his racquets after soaking in every minute of his 11 years on Tour.

“It never felt like a job to me to have to go and hit tennis balls and try to improve,” Klahn told “I’ve been very lucky for 11 years to play professionally. Not many people get to take their childhood passion and turn it into a professional thing. I am fortunate that I can say I did it.”

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An eight-time ATP Challenger Tour champion, Klahn climbed to a career-high No. 63 in 2014. Some of the lefty’s fond memories include playing on Centre Court at Wimbledon in 2018 and the adrenaline rush he felt when a home crowd was chanting, ‘U-S-A!’ as he won a five-setter to secure his first major main-draw victory at the 2012 US Open.

A light-hearted moment that Klahn will never forget is the time he hitched a ride with an airport mechanic — following a cancelled flight in Binghamton, New York — to catch a flight in Scranton, Pennsylvania. With the clock ticking and Klahn heading to Florida for training after a quarter-final run at the Binghamton Challenger, it was an introduction to the whirlwind of pro tennis for the California native.

“11 years seems like a long time and it also seems like it went by in the blink of an eye. I’m proud of what I was able to accomplish,” Klahn said. “I’m incredibly fortunate and grateful that I’ve surrounded myself with family and friends who pushed me to get the most out of myself and they have been there every step of the way with me.”

Klahn turned professional in 2012, after graduating with a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics at Stanford University, where he won the 2010 NCAA singles title.

Things began to change for Klahn when he was a senior at Stanford. A recurring back injury forced him to have three surgeries throughout his career, the first coming in 2011.

<a href=Bradley Klahn is crowned champion at the 2019 Winnetka Challenger.” />
Bradley Klahn is crowned champion at the 2019 Winnetka Challenger.

The end looked near for Klahn in 2020, when he retired from a match for the first and only time in his career at the Split Challenger. Klahn was physically unable to serve. The back injury resurfaced, requiring a third surgery and 20 months away from competition.

“It’s consumed me, unfortunately so much of my energy has been spent trying to figure out what the root cause is and trying different treatments, workout programs,” Klahn said. “At the end of the day, it’s still allowed me to do some pretty amazing things.

“Despite it all, I was able to reach the Top 100 multiple times and live some of these experiences that I could never have dreamed of when I was an 11 year old starting to play tennis and watching it on TV. So you have to count your blessings and understand that there are ups and downs, but it’s been an amazing career.”

Klahn’s retirement was a multi-year process of debating when the right time was to say goodbye. One thing was for sure, he did not want his career to end while lying on a hospital bed. When he returned to action in 2022, retirement seemed inevitable, but he felt relatively healthy to keep going.

It was only fitting that Klahn concluded his career Monday at the Stanford Challenger.

“I still get emotional thinking about it. That place is special to me,” Klahn said. “The feelings I get when I step foot on campus, no other place can recreate it, as much for me personally as tennis. Stanford shaped me in more ways than one. It’s the place where it really solidified in my mind that I want to play professional tennis and see how good I can get and leave it all out there.”

Klahn first began playing tennis at age 11 and it quickly took off. He recalled a ‘terrible’ first-tournament experience, catching his opponent’s serve mid-air because it was sailing long, before Klahn was told that is illegal, “I didn’t know the score or anything, it’s pretty funny to see how far I’ve come,” he said, while cracking a laugh.

Though tennis is deemed as an individual sport, the 32-year-old credits his army of people who have supported him since day one, most notably his parents, Dennis and Nancy, who would often wake up at 4:30 a.m. on weekends to take Klahn to tournaments.

“I had to make sacrifices, but a lot of other people had to make sacrifices because they believed in me and my dream,” Klahn said. “You realise how much your family sacrifices just for you and it feels a little selfish at times. But it means a lot to look over and know that they are there and now it’s nice to have an opportunity to give back to them and be that supportive figure for them that they were for me for so many years.”

While Klahn may not be competing on court anymore, he will not be far from the game. He is looking forward to more commentating opportunities for Tennis Channel. Klahn also wants to help young athletes understand the business side of professional sports. He wants to leave a lasting impression that is more than just wins and losses.

“I think that further than any on-court result, I want to be known as Bradley the person more so than Bradley the tennis player,” Klahn said. “Being a guy that people enjoyed having around and who was well respected.”

<a href=Bradley Klahn faces Kyle Edmund on Centre Court at Wimbledon in 2018.” />
Bradley Klahn faces Kyle Edmund on Centre Court at Wimbledon in 2018. Credit: Michael Steele/Getty Images

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Scouting Report: Coric, Griekspoor, Korda Headline Winston-Salem

  • Posted: Aug 19, 2023

Scouting Report: Coric, Griekspoor, Korda Headline Winston-Salem

An executive summary of what every fan should know about the coming week

The North American hard-court swing continues this week at the Winston-Salem Open, where Borna Coric is the top seed at the ATP 250 event.

After consecutive ATP Masters 1000 events in Toronto and Cincinnati, the Tour moves to North Carolina ahead of the US Open. looks at five storylines to watch over the coming week.

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1) Coric Top Seed: Twelve months ago, Coric captured the biggest trophy of his career during the North American hard-court swing when he soared to his first ATP Masters 1000 title in Cincinnati. This year, the Croatian is still searching for his best form on hard, having suffered a first-round defeat in Toronto and a second-round exit in Cincinnati. Making his third appearance in Winston-Salem, the top seed will be eager for a deep run to build confidence ahead of the US Open.

2) Griekspoor Targets Third Title Of Year: Second seed Tallon Griekspoor has enjoyed a career-best season. The Dutchman, who will compete in North Carolina at a career-high No. 25 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings, has won tour-level titles in Pune and ‘s-Hertogenbosch. Having advanced to the final in Washington earlier this month, the 27-year-old will be eager to put aside disappointing first-round exits in Toronto and Cincinnati and get back to winning ways in Winston-Salem.

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3) Next Gen ATP Finals Alumni Compete: Several former Next Gen ATP Finals competitors will be in action in Winston-Salem. Last year’s Next Gen ATP Finals champion Brandon Nakashima will aim to snap a three-match losing streak when he faces Jason Kubler in the first round, while 2021 finalist Sebastian Korda is the third seed in North Carolina. On hard courts, the American Korda reached the final in Adelaide and the last eight at the Australian Open earlier this season.

Jiri Lehecka, who lost to Nakashima in Milan last November, is 28-8 on the season. The Czech fell in the opening round in Winston Salem in 2022 and is seeded sixth at this year’s event. British lefty Jack Draper makes his return to Tour after two months out with a shoulder injury. The 21-year-old, who reached the semi-finals in Milan in 2022, starts against Nuno Borges.

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4) Thiem In Action: Dominic Thiem reached his first tour-level final since 2020 earlier this month, when he advanced to the title match on clay in Kitzbühel. The Austrian earned three three-set victories en route to the final and will hope to transfer his form onto hard in Winston-Salem, where he reached the second round last year. It will be the first time since March that the World No. 3 has competed on the surface.

5) Can Fils, Van Assche & Michelsen Boost Qualification Hopes? As the third quarter of the season continues, a set of #NextGenATP hopefuls will look to boost their Next Gen ATP Finals chances with deep runs. Frenchman Arthur Fils, who is fourth in the Pepperstone ATP Live Next Gen Race, came through qualifying in Cincinnati last week.

Countryman Luca Van Assche, currently sixth, is set to compete in his fourth tour-level hard-court event of the season. The 19-year-old reached the quarter-final on clay in Hamburg in July. American Alex Michelsen is eighth in the Live Race after he rose into qualification contention following a final run in Newport. The 18-year-old won an ATP Challenger Tour crown on hard in Chicago last month. All three are making their debuts in Winston-Salem.

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Ready To Roll, Draper Set For Return In Winston-Salem

  • Posted: Aug 19, 2023

Ready To Roll, Draper Set For Return In Winston-Salem

Briton last competed on Tour at Roland Garros in May

Jack Draper returns to the ATP Tour this week at the Winston-Salem Open after spending two months sidelined by a shoulder injury. The British lefty sustained the injury in his opening match at Roland Garros in May, forcing him to miss the grass swing.

“At the French Open I hurt my shoulder. I thought it was quite insignificant at the time but when I came back preparing for the grass it turned out it was a bit of a tear that went into my tendon, so I had to take about a month and a half out,” Draper told ahead of the ATP 250 event.

“A tear in my shoulder isn’t the best. It didn’t take too long, but still one month to two months out of the Tour, so I am trying to come back and stay injury free from now.”

Draper reached the semi-finals at an ATP Challenger Tour event in Winnipeg last week in his first tournament back. The 21-year-old is eager to increase his match load in the coming weeks, but stressed the importance of managing expectations.

“I think with these sorts of injuries, especially the tendons, you need to be careful with them,” said Draper, who also missed large periods of the 2021 season with injury. “It takes time and you have to rehab them properly. I wouldn’t say I am completely out of the woods, I have to keep on doing the right things for it and hopefully it will be ok and keep improving week by week.

“I didn’t serve for about a month and a half after I did it. I am sort of getting my rhythm back on my serve. Last week I played my first tournament back and hit quite a few double faults, so I am trying to get my confidence back in my body and my tennis. Hopefully this week in Winston-Salem I can do that.”

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Draper is currently No. 123 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings but rose as high as No. 38 in January. The Briton enjoyed a breakthrough 2022 season, winning four Challenger Tour titles, advancing to the quarter-finals at the ATP Masters 1000 event in Montreal and the semi-finals in Eastbourne. He also reached the last four at the 2022 Next Gen ATP Finals.

The 21-year-old lefty is hoping to use that experience to climb again.

“Last year I had a great year and brought that confidence into this year,” Draper said. “But now I have had so much time off the court, it is almost like I have a fresh start. I have got to build my momentum and confidence all over again and that is fine because this is sport. There are ups and downs, but I am trying to build up that confidence in practice and with my coach and hopefully week by week I can keep improving.”

Since Draper’s injury, the young stars on the ATP Tour have hit the headlines. The 20-year-old Carlos Alcaraz clinched the Wimbledon title, while Jannik Sinner lifted his maiden Masters 1000 trophy in Toronto. Holger Rune advanced to the quarter-finals at majors in Paris and London, before jumping to a career-high No. 5 this week.
The Briton has followed their recent success and revealed it has provided him with further motivation.

“I think there are a lot of amazing young players doing well on Tour. They are really getting to new heights, achieving every week. It is really motivating to watch them and see them as a benchmark,” Draper said. “Hopefully I can be there soon if I put in right the work and do all the right things for my body and my tennis.”

While Draper may dream of future title runs, for now, his aims for 2023 are simple.

“It is about staying consistently on the court,” Draper said. “I have only played six to seven tournaments this year. It has been a real challenge just to get the fitness right and stay on the tennis court. My number one goal is to stay injury free as I know my tennis is good enough when I stay on court to do well.”

Draper, who is 10-7 on the season, highlighted by a fourth-round run in Indian Wells, will face Portugal’s Nuno Borges in the first round in Winston-Salem.

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Djokovic Joins Alcaraz At 2023 Nitto ATP Finals

  • Posted: Aug 19, 2023

Djokovic Joins Alcaraz At 2023 Nitto ATP Finals

Serbian qualifies for the 16th time

Novak Djokovic on Friday evening became the second player to qualify for the Nitto ATP Finals, joining Carlos Alcaraz at the Pala Alpitour in Turin from 12-19 November. Djokovic guaranteed his spot at the season finale when he defeated Taylor Fritz in the Western & Southern Open quarter-finals.

The Serbian has qualified for the Nitto ATP Finals 16 times, tied for third-most qualifications in tournament history with Jimmy Connors. Djokovic has only failed to earn his place in the prestigious event once since 2007 (in 2017).

One year ago, Djokovic tied Roger Federer’s record of six Nitto ATP Finals trophies. He will now have the opportunity to take the record by himself in Italy.

Djokovic has largely dominated at the majors this season, winning the Australian Open and Roland Garros, while also reaching the Wimbledon final, where only Alcaraz was able to stop him. The 36-year-old owns a 36-5 record in 2023, including an 8-3 record against Top 10 opposition.

A three-time titlist this season — he also triumphed in Adelaide — Djokovic is in contention to claim a record-extending eighth ATP Year-End No. 1 presented by Pepperstone honour. He is second behind only Alcaraz in the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Turin.

Djokovic will try to improve on his 46-17 record at the Nitto ATP Finals, where only Federer (59-17) has more match wins. The 36-year-old has advanced to at least the semi-finals at the season finale in 11 of his previous 15 appearances.

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Djokovic Outclasses Fritz, Sets Zverev Showdown In Cincinnati SFs

  • Posted: Aug 19, 2023

Djokovic Outclasses Fritz, Sets Zverev Showdown In Cincinnati SFs

Serbian will meet Zverev in Saturday’s semi-finals

After improving to 19-0 in his Lexus ATP Head2Head against Gael Monfils on Thursday, Novak Djokovic made it a perfect 7-0 against Taylor Fritz with a victory against the home favourite on Friday night at the Western & Southern Open.

The Serbian dominated early and late in a 6-0, 6-4 win against the American, battling back from an early break deficit in set two to advance to the Cincinnati semi-finals. The World No. 2 will next face Alexander Zverev on Saturday.

“Every match is a new match, a new challenge for both of us,” Djokovic said of his perfect record against Fritz. “We never faced each other here. Obviously being the No. 1 American, he gets a lot of crowd support.

“I just managed to get off the blocks really strong, played an almost perfect, flawless first set. Then I started off really poorly in the second and handed him the break, but from 2-4 down I played really four solid games in the second. Just overall a great performance.”

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Djokovic could reclaim the top spot in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings this week if he wins the Cincinnati title and current No. 1 Carlos Alcaraz loses to Hubert Hurkacz in the semi-finals.

Playing in his first tournament on U.S. soil since 2021, Djokovic is bidding for his third title at the Western & Southern Open (2018, 2020) and a record-extending 39th ATP Masters 1000 singles crown. By reaching his 75th ATP Masters 1000 semi-final, he moved within one of Rafael Nadal’s record at the prestigious level.

Most ATP Masters 1000 SFs

Player  SFs
Rafael Nadal 76 
Novak Djokovic 75
Roger Federer 66
Andy Murray 33
Andre Agassi  32
Pete Sampras 32

Against Fritz, the Serbian won an extraordinary opening set in just 21 minutes, but then double faulted twice to start set two and found himself behind 0-2. From 2-4, the Serbian rediscovered his peak form to race through the final four games and into the semis in just over an hour.

With crisp ball-striking throughout, Djokovic dominated the baseline rallies and never allowed Fritz to stamp his authority on the match with his powerful backcourt game. Outside of a brief purple patch at the start of the second set, the American could not produce his best tennis in the face of Djokovic’s relentless prodding.

The Serbian, who has not lost more than four games in a set in his three wins this week, continues to raise his level with each match.

“That’s something I’m wishing for, that every day I raise the bar slightly more, the level of tennis,” he said. “That’s what’s happening during the tournament. I played three great matches and each day has been a better feeling on the court overall. So hopefully the same trajectory can continue.”

Fritz’s defeat saw him fall to 3-6 in ATP Masters 1000 quarter-finals. He was stopped short in his bid to become the first American champion in Cincinnati since Andy Roddick in 2006.

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Zverev Stays Perfect vs. Mannarino With Cincinnati QF Win

  • Posted: Aug 19, 2023

Zverev Stays Perfect vs. Mannarino With Cincinnati QF Win

German awaits Djokovic or Fritz in Saturday’s semis

Alexander Zverev extended his perfect Lexus ATP Head2Head record against Adrian Mannarino to 8-0 with a comfortable victory on Friday night at the Western & Southern Open. Zverev cruised through a 6-2, 6-3 win in just one hour, 12 minutes to set up a semi-final showdown with Novak Djokovic or Taylor Fritz.

“I feel like the matches that we played, we had a lot of tough battles. I’ve always played him at tournaments when I’ve been playing well,” Zverev said of his unblemished record against the Frenchman.

“I know I have a pretty big game and when I’m feeling well on the court, there’s just a lot of things I can do. That was maybe the reason. If I would have played him at a tournament where I’m not feeling well, if I’m not playing well, he’s beaten a lot of great players in his career. It’s just more about the days that I’ve played him.”

The result also stretched Zverev’s Cincinnati winning streak to eight matches following an 0-6 start in the Queen City, with the German back at the ATP Masters 1000 event for the first time since he won the 2021 title. After winning his first ATP Tour crown since the 2021 Nitto ATP Finals last month on home soil in Hamburg, Zverev is now through to his first Masters 1000 semi-final since the ankle injury he suffered last year at Roland Garros.

The 26-year-old’s quarter-final win lifted him two places into the all-important eighth spot in the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Turin, though Fritz could reclaim the position with a win against Djokovic later on Friday evening. Zverev is also up five places this week to No. 12 in the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings, and will re-enter the Top 10 with the Cincinnati title.

“My tennis is coming along quite well,” he said of his recent form. “Obviously it was very important for me after Toronto, where I had a really bad week, to come out here and compete and play some good tennis. I’m happy to be in the semi-finals here.”

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The German dominated Mannarino from the start, racing out to a 3-0 lead in both sets and never facing a break point. His most stressful service game came in the final game of the match, when he escaped 15/30 with three unreturned serves. Mannarino did not produce a single winner in the opening set in the face of Zverev’s aggressive game, and while the Frenchman improved in set two, it was never enough to trouble his 16th-seeded opponent.

The win continues a strong week for Zverev, who recorded his first Top 10 win of the season on Thursday against World No. 3 Daniil Medvedev.

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Murray/Venus Move Into Cincinnati SFs

  • Posted: Aug 19, 2023

Murray/Venus Move Into Cincinnati SFs

Gonzalez/Roger-Vasselin down Eubanks/Shelton

Jamie Murray and Michael Venus toughed out a narrow victory Friday to reach the Western & Southern Open semi-finals.

The British-Kiwi duo defeated Italian wild cards Lorenzo Musetti and Lorenzo Sonego 7-6(5), 7-6(7) after one hour, 59 minutes. Murray and Venus saved a set point in each set to reach the last four, where they will meet sixth seeds Santiago Gonzalez and Edouard Roger-Vasselin after the Mexican-French team stopped home hopes Christopher Eubanks and Ben Shelton 7-5, 6-7(5), 11-9 in front of a jam-packed Court 3.

Murray and Venus, who are aiming for their fourth tour-level title of the season, defeated Serbians Nikola Cacic and Novak Djokovic in the opening round before upsetting Wimbledon champions Wesley Koolhof and Neal Skupski. Should they capture their maiden ATP Masters 1000 crown as a team, Murray and Venus would rise inside the Top 8 of the Pepperstone ATP Live Doubles Teams Rankings, strengthening their bid to qualify for the Nitto ATP Finals.

In other doubles action, Argentines Maximo Gonzalez and Andres Molteni cruised past Nikola Mektic and John Peers 6-4, 6-4 after winning 31 of their 35 first-serve points. They will face second seeds Ivan Dodig and Austin Krajicek or Marcelo Melo and Alexander Zverev in the last four.

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