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How Muller Has Overcome Crohn's Disease To Face Djokovic At US Open

  • Posted: Aug 27, 2023

How Muller Has Overcome Crohn’s Disease To Face Djokovic At US Open

Learn about the 26-year-old Frenchman’s background

When Novak Djokovic fulfilled his US Open media responsibilities on Friday, one of his stops was with the tournament’s social media team, which asked him to share a few words about his first-round opponent, Alexandre Muller.

“He’s good looking,” Djokovic said, cracking a laugh. “But that’s not enough.”

“I think it’s true,” Muller quipped to the next day. “I think he doesn’t know me. But maybe he saw some pictures and he thought I was beautiful.”

Muller is far more than that, though. The 26-year-old is enjoying the best season of his career and serving as an inspiration to plenty of people of all ages throughout the world. At the age of 14, the Frenchman was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, a chronic inflammatory bowel disease.

“I was just a little bit sick. I went to the doctor, and he gave me some medicine,” Muller recalled. “I was quite young — 14 years old is young — so I kept it to myself for one year. But it was like an inflammation. So after one year, the inflammation was so big and I couldn’t move anymore. I lost maybe 10 kilos.

“When I came back to my parents for the weekend, during the night, they heard the toilet like 50 times. So they said, ‘Okay, there is something wrong.’ So I went to the hospital, I did all the exams and everything and they said okay, it’s Crohn’s disease.”

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It was a devastating blow for someone who was entering a key moment in his tennis journey. Muller began playing tennis at the age of six, when his family moved to Meyrargues, a small village in France. There was an old hard court at the home they moved to and Muller’s father, Stefan, refurbished it. Nobody in the family had a history in the sport, but Stefan and Alexandre would play at home.

“At the beginning, I was crying because I was losing with my dad,” Muller said. “But after one or two years he was crying.”

Too good for his father, Muller began playing at a local club and quickly showed potential. Having also played football from a young age, he was told it was necessary to focus on tennis in order to train more. The Frenchman moved to a bigger club in Aix en Provence.

But by his early teens, Crohn’s disease was taking its toll on the Frenchman. His future in tennis seemed in doubt.

“It was not easy because the doctor told me if I wanted to be in good shape, I needed to stop tennis and sports in general. Not [playing] the sport, but when you’re a professional tennis player, you practise every day, so it’s very hard. I needed to stop it,” Muller said. “I stopped training for maybe two months, I took a lot of cortisone. It’s the process with this disease. So now I’m trying to manage it.

“I need to do an injection to myself every two weeks, all my life. So it’s not that easy, but I’m trying to manage it.”

Muller explained that it is still “not so easy” even though he is a world-class athlete. “Sometimes I’m feeling quite bad,” he said.

But in 2023, Muller has proven he belongs at the upper levels of the ATP Tour. He began the season at No. 160 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings and has consistently risen, climbing as high as No. 76 last month.

Muller reached the quarter-finals in Doha, where he upset Botic van de Zandschulp and pushed former World No. 1 Andy Murray to three sets. In Marrakech, he upset Richard Gasquet and Lorenzo Musetti en route to his first ATP Tour final and his first step into the world’s Top 100.

“I thought before it was very important for me. But at the moment when I won the matches, it was in Marrakech the semi-final. I was looking at the live rankings and said, ‘Okay, now I’m Top 100,’” Muller said. “But you always want more. When I was 400, I wanted to be in qualies in the Grand Slams. I was qualies in the Grand Slams and then I wanted to be in the main draw. I’m main draw, so now I want to be Top 50.

“You always want more, so I was happy for sure. But I hope it’s not the end of my story in tennis.”

The 2023 season has been a dream-like chapter in his tennis story. At Roland Garros, Muller played Jannik Sinner on Court Philippe-Chatrier. A month later, he faced eventual champion Carlos Alcaraz on Centre Court at Wimbledon. On Monday evening, Muller will try to stun 23-time major winner Novak Djokovic in the first round of the US Open inside Arthur Ashe Stadium.

“I think the most important thing is that I need to enjoy the moment, because I don’t know what’s going to be my career,” Muller said. “But I’m going to play on centre court, night session, Arthur Ashe. I need to enjoy it, play my tennis, we’ll see what happens.”

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Muller has seen Djokovic around at tournaments, but has never spoken to him or trained with the Serbian. But the 26-year-old is very familiar with the three-time US Open champion’s game.

“I think if he doesn’t want to miss the ball, he cannot miss. That’s the thing. But yeah, he’s the man who got the most titles at ATP [Masters] 1000s, Grand Slams,” Muller said. “For the moment he is the biggest player in tennis history if you watch the career. Everybody knows the game of Djokovic. He’s very solid, returns amazing. Moving amazing. So a lot of amazing things. Difficult to say something bad about his game. But I will try my best.”

Just more than a decade ago, a doctor told Muller he needed to stop playing serious tennis. This year he is playing on some of the biggest stages in international sport against the best players on the ATP Tour.

On Saturday morning, he walked onto the court inside Arthur Ashe Stadium for the first time for a practice session with countryman Arthur Fils. Soon when he makes the same walk for his match, 23,000 screaming fans will be watching.

“Life is crazy sometimes. I think it’s very important because I received some messages from [some people] because in France a lot of people know that I have Crohn’s disease and on this planet, on earth, there are a lot of people with this disease,” Muller said. “If I have something to tell everybody… trust yourself, and you can do some beautiful things, even with diseases or something like this. Just try to manage this and you will see beautiful things happen.”

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Guillen Meza, 20, Becomes Youngest Ecuadorian Challenger Champion Since '03

  • Posted: Aug 27, 2023

Guillen Meza, 20, Becomes Youngest Ecuadorian Challenger Champion Since ’03

Taberner wins Challenger 50 event in Germany

Winning the title in just your third ATP Challenger Tour event of the year?

No problem for Ecuador’s Alvaro Guillen Meza, who was crowned champion Saturday at the Lima Challenger, where he defeated Jamaica’s Blaise Bicknell 7-6(3), 6-1 in the final. The 20-year-old, who is one of four Challenger titlists this week, is the youngest champion from Ecuador since Giovanni Lapentti in 2003.

Competing in his eighth Challenger tournament, Guillen Meza’s ability to hold his nerve in pressure moments throughout the week helped him lift the trophy. He fended off 10 of 16 break points faced in the second round to upset fifth seed Gustavo Heide and against the 21-year-old Bicknell, Guillen Meza saved all three break points faced.

“I had to stay focussed all week and I managed to win. The truth was [I was] quite calm, I don’t know why,” Guillen Meza said in Spanish. “It is a very special day for me and I am very happy.”

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Now at a career-high No. 384 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings, Guillen Meza is the first NextGenATP Challenger winner from South America in 2023 and the first Ecuadorian champion this year. He is the second-lowest ranked champion of the season, only behind then-unranked Kei Nishikori, who won the Palmas del Mar Challenger in June.

In other Challenger Tour action, Spaniard Carlos Taberner collected his sixth title at that level when he downed countryman Oriol Roca Batalla 6-4, 6-4 in the Schwaben Open final in Augsburg, Germany.

<a href=Carlos Taberner wins the Challenger 50 event in Augsburg, Germany.” />
Carlos Taberner wins the Challenger 50 event in Augsburg, Germany. Credit: Andreas Schebesta/Schwaben Open

Saturday marked the 26-year-old’s Taberner first Challenger title since March 2022. Last year, Taberner reached a career-high No. 85.

A pivotal moment for Taberner came against Oliver Crawford in the second round, when the Valencia native rallied from 0-4 in the final set to stay alive.

“It’s amazing because to win titles is very, very difficult in tennis because every week, only one guy wins the title,” Taberner said. “It’s a very good feeling for me because not only was it a year-and-a-half since I last won a title, but also that long since I made the semi-finals. So I’m very happy for this week and I just want to enjoy it.”

Frenchman Arthur Weber became the fourth-oldest player to win his maiden Challenger crown at the Hengqin International Tennis Challenger. The 31-year-old survived two deciding-set matches to close the week, defeating Chinese Taipei’s Jason Jung 6-3, 5-7, 6-3 in the final.

At a career-high No. 307 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings, Weber is the oldest player to win a Challenger title in his debut. The lefty came into Zhuhai having won two ITF World Tennis Tour trophies this season.
 <a href=Arthur Weber is crowned champion at the Zhuhai Challenger.” />
Arthur Weber is crowned champion at the Zhuhai Challenger. Credit: Hengqin International Tennis Challenger

Weber is the 15th different Frenchman to add to his home country’s season-leading 20 Challenger titles, within three of tying Argentina’s record from last year.

The Challenger 50 event in Zhuhai marked the first tournament at that level held in China since October 2019. 

German Rudolf Molleker did not drop a set all week to be crowned champion at the IBG Prague Open by Moneta Money Bank. The fourth seed cruised past 17-year-old Frenchman Gabriel Debru 6-2, 6-2 in the final to win his first Challenger title since May 2018.

<a href=Rudolf Molleker (middle) poses during the Prague Challenger trophy presentation.” />
Rudolf Molleker (middle) poses during the Prague Challenger trophy presentation. Credit: IBG Prague Open by Moneta Money Bank

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Sock Announces He Will Retire After US Open

  • Posted: Aug 27, 2023

Sock Announces He Will Retire After US Open

American reached career-high No. 8

Jack Sock on Sunday announced on social media that the US Open will be his final tournament.

“To the 8 year old boy who immediately fell in low with the sport of tennis. I hope I made you proud,” Sock posted on Instagram. “It’s been 14 years of memories I will never forget. From winning four Grand Slams, Olympic Gold and Bronze, Top 10 rankings in singles and doubles and competing on the Davis Cup and Laver Cup teams, it’s been beyond what I could’ve ever dreamed. Without the help of so many people, none of that could’ve happened.”

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The American made his tour-level debut at the US Open in 2010 and went on to win four singles titles, including the ATP Masters 1000 crown in Paris in 2017. The 30-year-old also lifted 17 tour-level doubles trophies, winning the Nitto ATP Finals crown in 2018 with Mike Bryan.

Sock, who reached a career-high No. 8 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings, will compete for the final time at the US Open, where he will play doubles alongside John Isner, who is also retiring following the hard-court major.

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Scouting Report: Can Anyone Stop Alcaraz & Djokovic At US Open?

  • Posted: Aug 27, 2023

Scouting Report: Can Anyone Stop Alcaraz & Djokovic At US Open?

An executive summary of what every fan should know about the hard-court major

The final major of the season commences on Monday at the US Open, where top seed Carlos Alcaraz is the defending champion.

Novak Djokovic will aim to win a record-extending 24th Grand Slam title, while third seed Daniil Medvedev holds fond memories in New York, having lifted the trophy in 2021. looks at 10 things to watch at the hard-court major.

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1) Defending Champion Alcaraz: Twelve months ago, Carlos Alcaraz enjoyed his breakthrough moment in New York, where he captured his maiden major title to climb to No. 1 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings for the first time. The 20-year-old Spaniard returns to the hard-court Slam as the top seed and with two major titles, having defeated Novak Djokovic in an epic Wimbledon final in July.

Alcaraz, who opens against Dominik Koepfer, arrives in New York off the back of a run to the final in Cincinnati, where he lost to Djokovic in an epic three-set battle.

2) Djokovic Chasing 24th Major: After falling one match short of capturing a record-extending 24th Slam at Wimbledon, Djokovic will look to extend his major tally when he competes at the US Open. The Serbian, who will reclaim the No. 1 Pepperstone ATP Ranking if he wins his first-round match against Alexandre Muller, is a three-time titlist in New York (2011, ’15, ’18).

The 36-year-old reached the final in his previous appearance in 2021, when Daniil Medvedev stopped him from becoming the first man since Rod Laver in 1969 to complete the Grand Slam, winning all four majors in the same season.

3) Former Titlist Medvedev: Third seed Medvedev holds fond memories in New York, having lifted his first major title at the event in 2021. The 27-year-old, who has captured five tour-level crowns this year, is chasing his second major and 19th hard-court title, starting against Attila Balazs. Medvedev went 3-2 at ATP Masters 100 tournaments in Toronto and Cincinnati.

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4) Sinner, Rune Threats: The 20-year-old Holger Rune and 22-year-old Jannik Sinner arrive in New York fourth and sixth, respectively, in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings. Rune reached the quarter-finals at Roland Garros and Wimbledon this year, but will be eager to rediscover his best form, having lost in the second round in Toronto and Cincinnati.

Sinner is 41-12 on the season and arrives high in confidence after capturing his first ATP Masters 1000 crown in Toronto earlier this month. The Italian advanced to the quarter-finals at the US Open last season, losing to Alcaraz in one of the best matches of the year. Sinner is seeded to face the top seed at the same stage this fortnight.

With both chasing their first major title, fourth seed Rune opens against Roberto Carballes Baena, while sixth seed Sinner meets Yannick Hanfmann.

5) Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Turin Heats Up: As the third quarter of the season continues, the quest to compete at the Nitto ATP Finals continues. Alexander Zverev, who reached the final in New York in 2020, is in eighth in the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Turin (2,670 points), while ninth-placed Taylor Fritz (2,650 points) will look to banish memories of a first-round defeat at the major last year when he meets Steve Johnson.

Last year’s finalist Casper Ruud, who also advanced to the title match in Turin in 2022, is 10th (2,580 points) and plays American qualifier Emilio Nava first. The Norwegian could meet Rune in the quarter-finals. Australian Alex de Minaur is 11th (2,325 points) after reaching his first Masters 1000 final in Toronto. De Minaur is aiming to make his debut at the prestigious year-end event this season.

Twelve-placed Tommy Paul (2,255), who plays Italian qualifier Stefano Travaglia in the first round, reached the semi-finals at the Australian Open this year. With just 415 points between eighth-placed Zverev and 12th-placed Paul, the opportunity to climb in the Live Race To Turin is high in New York.

6) American Charge: Alongside Fritz and Paul, 10th seed Frances Tiafoe carries home hopes in the United States. The 25-year-old advanced to the last four in New York in 2022, defeating Rafael Nadal in the fourth round. There are 18 Americans in the draw. For John Isner, the major will be his final tour-level event. The 38-year-old, who announced this week he will retire after the US Open, reached the quarter-finals in 2011 and 2018.

7) #NextGenATP Stars In Action: Arthur Fils and Ben Shelton lead a group of five #NextGenATP contenders at this year’s US Open, where the young stars will aim to earn standout wins to boost their chances of qualifying for the Next Gen ATP Finals as Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, prepares to host the event for the first time.

Fils, fourth in the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Jeddah (908 points), makes his US Open debut against Tallon Griekspoor, while fifth-placed American Shelton (735 points) meets Pedro Cachin. Shelton is making his second appearance at the major.

Shelton’s countryman Alex Michelsen, seventh in the Live Race To Jeddah (447 points), meets Albert Ramos-Vinolas. Frenchman Luca Van Assche, currently sixth (587 points), plays 23rd seed Nicolas Jarry. Dominic Stricker, 10th (406 points), advanced through qualifying. The Swiss will play Alexei Popyrin on his main draw debut.


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8) Tsitsipas, Rublev Chasing Best Level: Stefanos Tsitsipas is making his sixth appearance in New York, with his best result being a third-round run in 2020 and 2021. The Greek captured his first tour-level title of the season in Los Cabos earlier this month, but went 1-2 at the Masters 1000 events in Toronto and Cincinnati. The seventh seed faces a tricky opening test in New York against former World No. 3 Milos Raonic.

Rublev enjoyed a strong opening to the season, clinching his first Masters 1000 title on clay in Monte-Carlo. After winning his second trophy of the year in Bastad in July, he failed to win consecutive matches at events in Hamburg, Toronto and Cincinnati. The 25-year-old will be looking to re-find his best level at the US Open, where he is a three-time quarter-finalist (2017, ’19, ’22).

9) Former Champions In Action: Andy Murray, Dominic Thiem and Stan Wawrinka all return to New York as former champions. Murray, 36, lifted the trophy in 2012, while former World No. 3 Wawrinka beat Djokovic in the 2016 final. Austrian Thiem clinched his only major at the event in 2020. All three will hope to roll back the years and enjoy deep runs this fortnight. Murray’s best result this season was a final run in Doha. Wawrinka reached the title match in Umag last month, and Thiem advanced to the final in Kitzbühel three weeks ago.

10) Ram/Salisbury Reigning Champs: Defending champions Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury arrive in New York seeking just their second title of the season (Lyon). The American-British tandem will face stiff competition from top seeds Wesley Koolhof/Neal Skupski and Ivan Dodig/Austin Krajicek. Singles star Stefanos Tsitsipas teams with brother Petros Tsitsipas.

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'It Was Crazy For Me': Brazilian Meligeni Alves Qualifies For First Major Main Draw

  • Posted: Aug 27, 2023

‘It Was Crazy For Me’: Brazilian Meligeni Alves Qualifies For First Major Main Draw

The 25-year-old is the nephew of former World No. 25 Fernando Meligeni

Brazilian Felipe Meligeni Alves struggled sleeping Friday evening. The 25-year-old had too much adrenaline flowing through his veins after qualifying for the main draw of a major for the first time at the US Open.

“I woke up thinking about it. I couldn’t believe it,” Meligeni Alves told “I made it and I’m really happy.”

This was Meligeni Alves’ 11th attempt to qualify for a Grand Slam tournament. Earlier this year, he advanced to the final round of qualifying at Roland Garros and Wimbledon before falling short.

“Honestly, it was crazy for me,” Meligeni Alves said. “[This year] at Roland Garros, at Wimbledon, I lost in the last round of qualies. At Roland Garros, I had the match in my hands and it escaped but yeah, I’m just really happy. It just shows that we are in a good path. We’re doing great work with the team.

“I’ve been struggling a little bit after those defeats in the Grand Slams, and I’m just so happy I could play really good all the matches in the qualifying, the second match especially. Yesterday, I was playing really good. I got a little nervous at the end to close the match. But I’m just really happy that I made it.”

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The Brazilian still felt the pressure of the moment. He led Federico Coria — who earlier this year was inside the Top 50 of the Pepperstone ATP Rankings — 6-4, 5-4 and served for the match. The Argentine broke to love, completely shifting the momentum.

“I just tried to keep calm, to keep playing. I was a bit tired, especially mentally, but I just kept fighting. I was doing everything I could,” Meligeni Alves said. “At the end, I could play a really good level of tennis and it worked. At Roland Garros [in the final round of qualifying] I was up 6-2, 4-2 15/40 and [Timofey] Skatov was serving. I lost that game and I lost the second set and he started playing good and I lost.

“Of course, I was thinking about it in the match when I lost the second set. But the only way that I could go through that was to keep fighting, stop thinking about it.”

Meligeni Alves, who eventually triumphed 6-4, 5-7, 7-5 over Coria, is following in the footsteps of his uncle, Fernando Meligeni, who climbed as high as No. 25 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings. The last major main draw Fernando competed in was at the 2003 Australian Open.

“I’m just so happy and grateful for what I did,” Meligeni Alves said. “It’s been a long time since a Meligeni was in the main draw, so it’s really special for me. I called everyone yesterday, they were really excited, really happy and I’m just looking forward to playing good in the main draw.

“[My uncle is] in Brazil. He called me yesterday, he was crying. He was really happy.”

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Meligeni is not the only Brazilian who is happy. Former doubles World No. 1 Marcelo Melo was pleased with his countryman’s effort and shared a nice moment with Meligeni Alves and WTA star Beatriz Haddad Maia in the media garden Saturday.

“I think he deserves a lot to pass the qualies. I think it’s a recognition of all the practice he puts together. I know his uncle, Fernando, helps him a lot,” Melo said. “This is for sure very good for them and good for [Brazilian] tennis. I hope he continues deep in the draw.

“I think when you pass the qualies like this, you can unlock let’s say some barriers you put in your mind and what you can achieve. So like I said, he’s a very nice guy and it will be good. I hope he can go further and win some matches.”

Meligeni Alves, who competed for his country to begin the season at the United Cup, will make his major main draw debut on Tuesday against former World No. 4 Kei Nishikori, a 12-time ATP Tour titlist who made the US Open final in 2014 (l. To Marin Cilic).

“Yesterday and today is the time to celebrate a little bit because today I had a day off just to recover. But tomorrow we start again,” Meligeni Alves said. “It’s a new tournament I would say. So just keep doing the things that I always do, prepare myself to play at the limit. I’m ready for that.”

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Murray Ready For US Open After Ab Strain

  • Posted: Aug 27, 2023

Murray Ready For US Open After Ab Strain

The Scot returns to Flushing Meadows, where he won the title in 2012

Thee-time major champion Andy Murray is set to make his 17th appearance at the US Open this week. The 36-year-old arrives at Flushing Meadows after suffering an abdominal strain that forced him to withdraw mid-tournament in Toronto. Murray, who will face Frenchman Corentin Moutet in the opening round, has seen positive signs in his health ahead of the season’s final major.

“The radiologist from back home looked at my scans and checked them, I had a small tear, which is healing and the last five or six days of practice have been really good,” Murray said in his pre-tournament press conference. “I’ve not had any issues serving. It’s just obviously been a bit [difficult], you don’t just take a week off from serving and then go full into it, you need to build up a little bit so it’s not been perfect in that sense, but my ab has been okay.”

The Scot has played some of his best tennis at the majors this year. In Melbourne, Murray won two epic five-setters in his opening two matches against 13th seed Matteo Berrettini and Thanasi Kokkinakis. At Wimbledon, he was up two-sets-to-one on fifth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas before the Greek mounted a comeback.

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Despite competing with a metal hip, the 46-time tour-level titlist Murray is motivated to keep playing against the world’s best.

“Some people probably stop and feel like they’ve had enough whether that’s through performance or whether it is through their body hurting and aching and then maybe after an extended period of time away from the sport, they start to miss it again,” Murray said. “Maybe mentally some players just feel like they need a break away from the sport and then to refresh and maybe get another shot. Some people [stop because of] injury.

“I think everyone’s case is a bit different. For me, I came back to play because I felt like I still had more to give but also because physically, I was able to compete at the highest level. That’s why I’m still playing.”

Murray took no consolation from the Wimbledon defeat to then-World No. 5 Tsitsipas, labelling the loss as ‘very disappointing’. He revealed on Saturday that after that heartbreak at the All England Club, he went back to the drawing board and found ways he could still improve.

“I went away on holiday straight afterwards, went away for like six days and then after matches, especially Wimbledon or at majors, when everything is a greater disappointment and greater emotions at any time of the year… I [spoke] with my team about things that I really feel like I need to make a change to certain shots in my game if I wanted to win more of those matches and dictate more of those matches,” Murray said.

“My feeling was I wanted to put in some work technically to allow me to play the way that I want to and the way that my team wants me to.”

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Baez Wins Winston-Salem Crown For Second Consecutive Title

  • Posted: Aug 27, 2023

Baez Wins Winston-Salem Crown For Second Consecutive Title

The 22-year-old is the first Argentine to win three titles in a season since 2013

Sixth seed Sebastian Baez produced a squeaky clean performance Saturday to win the Winston-Salem Open and extend his winning streak to 10 matches after also claiming the ATP 250 event in Kitzbühel three weeks ago.

The Argentine needed just one hour, 34 minutes to defeat fifth seed Jiri Lehecka 6-4, 6-3 and capture his first tour-level title on hard courts and third trophy of the season.

Despite a marathon three-hour, 19-minute semi-final against Borna Coric on Friday night, Baez showed no signs of fatigue as he stayed patient in baseline rallies and struck the ball cleanly. Lehecka, who was competing in his first tour-level final, advanced to the title match after receiving a walkover from third seed Sebastian Korda, who suffered an ankle injury in the quarter-finals. 

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A pivotal moment came when the 22-year-old Baez saved four break points when serving at 5-4 to close a 54-minute opening set. Baez stayed focussed despite trailing by a break early in both sets and won four consecutive games from 0-2 in the second. 

“[My coach told me] to keep going, try and stay focussed on good things,” Baez said. “It was just a bad start, but happy with the result and all of this week.”

Lehecka tried to move forward in the latter stages of the match to apply pressure on the World No. 42, but lacked the consistency needed to down a watertight Baez, who thrilled the crowd with several passing shots to improve to 2-0 in his Lexus ATPHead2Head series with the Czech.

The Buenos Aires native is the first Argentine to win three or more tour-level titles in a single season since Juan Martin del Potro (4) in 2013.

Following his triumph, Baez will move to No. 32 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings on Monday, just two spots shy of tying his career-high. He will next aim to maintain his form at the US Open, where he opens against 25th seed Coric.

“It’s nice to have that confidence, but now I have to think about my recovery after this week, and then after I will think about the US Open,” Baez said. “I have a few days to recover and to focus again on a new tournament.”

Lehecka was aiming to become the first Czech to win a tour-level title since 2020. A finalist at last year’s Next Gen ATP Finals, Lehecka will rise to a career-high No. 30 on Monday. He will face Aslan Karatsev in the first round of the season’s final major.

“Hopefully the next tournament will be a bit more happier for me, but still a good week, positive week ahead of New York. A lot of good memories from here,” said Lehecka.

Did You Know?
In 2023, four players have won three or more tour-level titles: Carlos Alcaraz (6), Daniil Medvedev (5), Novak Djokovic (4) and Baez.

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17-Year-Old Mensik To Make Major Main-Draw Debut At US Open

  • Posted: Aug 27, 2023

17-Year-Old Mensik To Make Major Main-Draw Debut At US Open

Three Americans advance through qualifying

Jakub Mensik continued his breakthrough season Saturday when he qualified for his first major main draw at the US Open. The 17-year-old relied on a rock-solid serving performance, firing 11 aces and winning 84 per cent of points behind his first delivery to down countryman Zdenek Kolar 7-5, 6-4.

Turning 18 on 1 September, Mensik is the second-youngest player in the US Open main draw, behind American Learner Tien. The Czech, who will meet Frenchman Gregoire Barrere in the opening round, ousted tour veteran Fabio Fognini in the first round of qualifying before defeating #NextGenATP Swiss Leandro Riedi and Kolar to advance.

In May, Mensik won the ATP Challenger Tour event in Prague, where he became the youngest Czech Challenger champion in history (since 1978). The 2022 Australian Open boys’ singles finalist was ranked outside the Top 800 of the Pepperstone ATP Rankings last August and has since risen to No. 191.

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Inspired By Berdych, 17-Year-Old Mensik Making Challenger Rise

Three Americans also advanced through qualifying Saturday, with New York native Nicolas Moreno De Alboran leading the way by saving two match points to survive Belgian Joris De Loore 3-6, 7-6(3), 7-6(12). Despite trailing 0/5 in the deciding-set tie-break, the 25th seed mounted a comeback to make his major main-draw debut. Zachary Svajda cruised past Marc Polmans 6-2, 6-1. Emilio Nava led Eliot Spizzirri 6-3, 3-6, 3-1 before his countryman retired.

Frenchmen Hugo Gaston and Titouan Droguet secured main-draw spots. The sixth seed Gaston rallied past Slovakian Lukas Klein 1-6, 6-3, 6-1. Droguet defeated Belgian Kimmer Coppejans 6-1, 1-6, 7-5. Later in the day, Italian Stefano Travaglia ended a possible French trifecta by battling past #NextGenATP Arthur Cazaux 6-7(4), 6-4, 6-1 in three hours, two minutes.

Eighth seed Borna Gojo defeated Czech Tomas Machac 7-6(5), 6-2. Japanese Sho Shimabukuro escaped 10th seed Liam Broady 6-4, 3-6, 6-3.

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