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#NextGenATP Fonseca receives wild card for Halle

  • Posted: Jun 14, 2024

Can Joao Fonseca add grass-court success to his breakout year on the ATP Tour?

The #NextGenATP Brazilian will next week compete as a wild card at the Terra Wortmann Open in Halle, the tournament announced Friday. It will be the 17-year-old’s first tour-level appearance on grass.

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Fonseca began the year outside the Top 700 of the PIF ATP Rankings, but is currently at a career-high No. 224 after a strong six months. He has racked up an 11-7 record on the ATP Challenger Tour in 2024, while his 5-5 ATP Tour record this season includes quarter-final runs as a wild card in Rio de Janeiro and Bucharest.


Currently sixth in the PIF ATP Live Race To Jeddah, Fonseca will hope to take advantage of another wild card opportunity at tour-level on the lawns of Halle. He has already notched a grass-court milestone this month: Nine days ago, Fonseca beat former World No. 14 Kyle Edmund in his first ATP Challenger Tour match on the surface in Surbiton. This week, the Brazilian is into the second round at another Challenger event in Nottingham.

World No. 1 Jannik Sinner and No. 4 Alexander Zverev lead the field at the Terra Wortmann Open, where main-draw action runs from 17-23 June. The defending champion is Alexander Bublik.


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Doubles trial at Queen's Club: Less time between points, 'time extensions' & more

  • Posted: Jun 14, 2024

The first tournament that participated in the 2024 ATP Doubles Trial was the Mutua Madrid Open. Now, the Cinch Championships at Queen’s Club will trial a set of changes — with some new tweaks — during next week’s ATP 500 event.

By trialing more changes, the ATP continues to innovate, with foci including in-match time reduction and creating an elevated on-site fan experience.

Changes at Queen’s Club will include less time between points, adjustments to time allowances during changeovers, the use of “time extensions” and more.

Tournament director Jamie Murray, the former No. 1 player in the PIF ATP Doubles Rankings, said: “I’m excited to see the ATP continue to try to test ways to figure out things to try to improve the doubles product and unlock more value for all the different stakeholders: players, fans, tournaments, streaming, TV and broadcasters. We were excited to be a part of that and hopefully, it’s a positive experience for the players and fans that are coming to watch it at Queen’s this week.”


There will be 18 seconds between all points (15+3) and 60-second changeovers with time called after 40 seconds. Each team may request one time extension per set to discuss tactics.

Select doubles matches at the Cinch Championships will be played in the evening to encourage fans to visit the tournament to watch doubles after work. There will also be a doubles-only court.

Like in Madrid, there will be free crowd movement and fan engagement is encouraged.

“Doubles should be marketed as nonstop action and I think reducing a lot of the dead time will improve the product, hopefully a lot,” Murray said. “It’s a good thing going forward.”

The tournament will use standard entry procedures for the doubles draw. However, doubles matches will begin on Wednesday (qualifying to start on Monday). Singles teams will be paired against doubles teams in the first round whenever possible.

Further trials will take place across all categories at events including Gstaad, Hamburg, Kitzbühel, Newport, Toronto, Washington and Winston-Salem.


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Draper hits 31 aces to down defending champ Tiafoe in Stuttgart, Berrettini reaches SFs

  • Posted: Jun 14, 2024

Jack Draper continued to impress on the lawns in Stuttgart on Friday when he clawed past last year’s champion Frances Tiafoe 5-7, 6-4, 7-6(1) to reach the semi-finals at the BOSS OPEN.

The lefty, who is up seven spots to No. 33 in the PIF ATP Live Rankings, produced an explosive display on serve at the ATP 250 event. Draper fired 31 aces, according to Infosys ATP Stats, and backed up pinpoint deliveries with fierce groundstrokes to advance to his sixth tour-level semi-final after two hours and 13 minutes.

“I am incredibly happy,” Draper said. “My last three tie-breaks in the third set I have lost them all, so to come through today is amazing and I am really proud of my level. I am really happy with how I served and it was a really high-quality match.”

Draper is aiming to win his maiden ATP Tour title this week and has looked comfortable on the grass in Germany. The 22-year-old arrived in Stuttgart off the back of three consecutive defeats on clay, but has refound the winning formula this week to improve to 16-12 on the season.

With his victory, Draper improved to 1-1 in his Lexus ATP Head2Head series against Tiafoe, who is 13-13 in 2024. Draper will face Brandon Nakashima in the semi-finals after the American received a walkover from Germany’s Jan-Lennard Struff due to illness.


Later on Friday, Matteo Berrettini improved his perfect record in tour-level quarter-finals on grass to 7-0 by defeating qualifier James Duckworth 6-4, 7-5. A single break of serve in each set was enough for the two-time champion to overcome the World No. 101 Duckworth in the pair’s maiden Lexus ATP Head2Head meeting.

Berrettini is now 12-1 in Stuttgart, where he lifted the trophy in 2019 and 2022. Prior to this week in Germany, he had not competed since early April. Yet the 28-year-old Italian is now into his first grass-court semi-final since his 2022 Queen’s Club triumph.

A former No. 6 in the PIF ATP Rankings, Berrettini will take on his countryman Lorenzo Musetti in the last four. The fifth-seeded Musetti advanced after Alexander Bublik retired from the pair’s quarter-final with the Italian leading 4-6, 6-1, 1-0.


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Korda sinks Paul in 's-Hertogenbosch to reach second SF of season

  • Posted: Jun 14, 2024

Sebastian Korda reached his second ATP Tour semi-final of the season on Friday at the Libema Open, where he defeated fellow American Tommy Paul 6-4, 6-2.

The 23-year-old produced a dominant display on the lawns in ‘s-Hertogenbosch, where he struck 18 winners and won 84 per cent (27/32) of his first-serve points according to ATP Infosys Stats to earn victory after 67 minutes.


With his 18th tour-level win of the season, Korda improved his impressive Lexus ATP Head2Head record against Paul to 4-1, with this their first meeting on grass.

Korda, who also advanced to the last four on grass at the Queen’s Club in 2023, is chasing his first ATP Tour title since 2021, when he won his maiden trophy at this level in Parma. The seventh seed will play defending champion Tallon Griekspoor after the sixth-seeded Dutchman clawed past Aleksander Vukic 4-6, 6-3, 7-6(4) to reach the semi-finals.

Griekspoor has won his past eight matches at the ATP 250, having lifted his second tour-level trophy at the event last. Earlier this season, the No. 23 in the PIF ATP Rankings also reached the semi-finals on home soil in Rotterdam.


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Annacone on the 'big improvement' that could help Sinner cut it on the grass

  • Posted: Jun 14, 2024

Jannik Sinner enters the 2024 grass-court season atop the PIF ATP Rankings for the first time. After winning his first Grand Slam title and debuting at World No. 1 last Monday, can he add his maiden grass-court title to his incredible calendar year?

The 22-year-old owns a 12-8 record on the surface, with his best result a Wimbledon semi-final run last season. He will begin his 2024 grass campaign at the Terra Wortmann Open in Halle, where he reached the quarter-finals last season in his tournament main-draw debut before retiring with an adductor muscle injury.

Five years ago, Sinner first played the ATP 500 event in the 2019 qualifying draw at the age of 17. While he did not pick up a win in the play-in tournament, he gained an invaluable experience by practising with 10-time Halle champion Roger Federer at the event.

Sinner has made great strides since he last competed on grass, and there is no doubt that he has all the tools for success on the unique surface. Paul Annacone, who has coached two of the most accomplished grass-court players of all time in Pete Sampras and Federer, analysed the Italian’s game and grass-court tennis in general ahead of Sinner’s return to the lawns of Halle.

“To me, even though the grass game has evolved, generally, the most effective grass-court players are the ones that are really good at first-strike tennis,” the Tennis Channel commentator, who is currently serving as an advisor to Taylor Fritz, told

Annacone also pointed to one key Sinner stat as a harbinger of grass-court success: his 56 per cent win rate on second serves in 2023, which was good for third on the ATP Tour behind last year’s Wimbledon finalist Novak Djokovic (57.9%) and champion Carlos Alcaraz (56.3%). In the past 52 weeks, Sinner has bumped that figure up to 56.7 per cent, according to Infosys ATP Stats.

“He made a big improvement on second-serve success rate,” Annacone explained. “His first-serve speeds and accuracy are up. So I think when you look at those two things, and you look at his ability to return aggressively, and also first-strike tennis, power tennis, [playing] aggressively in return games… I think that’s going to be a catalyst to drive his success on the grass.”

With the changes of surface throughout each season on the ATP Tour, each player must make a decision as to how to adapt his game to the new conditions. For some, the surface dictates the game plan more than others. But for those at the top of the game, it’s all about small adjustments, according to Annacone.

“I think everybody needs to find their own way on surfaces on how they play, and then how you plug it in on different surfaces,” he said. “The best players do that versus, ‘Oh, I’m going to play on grass, now I’m going to change my whole game around.’ “

In Annacone’s opinion, that holds doubly true for Sinner, who does not possess some of the natural advantages that someone like Alcaraz has on the lawns. 

“Even though he’s moving much, much better, he’s a tall, lanky guy,” he said of the Italian. “I actually think that’s one of the disadvantages, maybe, compared to a mover like Alcaraz who is lower to the ground. He’s much more powerful, he’ll probably move a little bit more nuanced and also subtly more balanced than Jannik will on a grass court, I think. So based on that, you really have to be good off of the first strike. So when you look at [Sinner’s] improvements in the serve, in particular, that’s a huge bonus. He’s a terrific returner. So that’s standard and that is the status quo, but I think serve is going to pay huge dividends for him on the grass this year.”


Another part of that first-strike tennis is Sinner’s ability to finish off points at net. In that area, Annacone has seen improvements not only in the Italian’s technique, but also his positioning in the frontcourt. While one volley is often enough to win a point in the modern game, the world’s best players force you to hit multiple volleys — players like Djokovic, who beat Sinner in straight sets last year at Wimbledon. Sinner’s tolerance for those situations will be key in his bid to win his first title on the grass, says Annacone.

With just 20 tour-level grass-court matches under his belt entering Halle, Sinner is still learning to win on the surface. But winning has been a constant for him in recent months: He owns a 33-3 record this season and finished 2023 in equally scintillating form. After posting an 8-3 record across grass events in ‘s-Hertogenbosch, Halle and Wimbledon last season, the time could be ripe for Sinner to make yet another breakthrough this season on the lawns of Europe.


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