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Superb Sinner Sinks Medvedev To Reach Dream Final In Turin

  • Posted: Nov 18, 2023

Superb Sinner Sinks Medvedev To Reach Dream Final In Turin

Home favourite will play Djokovic or Alcaraz in championship match

Jannik Sinner’s late-year surge has taken him to the brink of Nitto ATP Finals glory.

The Italian delivered a gutsy semi-final display Saturday at the prestigious season finale to overcome Daniil Medvedev 6-3, 6-7(4), 6-1 and book his spot in the championship match. Faced with an elite opponent and the expectations of an adoring home crowd, Sinner delivered a largely ice-cool display packed with clean baseline hitting to extend his unbeaten week in Turin.

“[It is an] incredible feeling,” said the 22-year-old Sinner. “It was a really tough match today. I felt that he was playing more aggressively, especially in the first set. Somehow I made the break and from that point I felt better. The second set was really tight but then he played a very good tie-break. In the third set I just tried to stay a bit more aggressive and mixing up my game a little bit. I am happy to be in the final.”

Sinner needed to stay at his best throughout the two-hour, 29-minute clash to down the typically resilient Medvedev. Crucially, the 22-year-old reacted superbly to the disappointment of losing the second-set tie-break, as he marched through the decider to cap a victory in which he won 83 per cent (50/60) of points behind his first serve.

After not beating Medvedev in the pair’s first six tour-level meetings, Sinner is now 3-6 in their Lexus ATP Head2Head series, having also defeated his rival to become champion in both Beijing and Vienna in October. The turnaround of his matchup with Medvedev has been part of a wider streak of red-hot form for Sinner, who is 17-2 since the US Open.

Awaiting Sinner in Sunday’s final will be Novak Djokovic or Carlos Alcaraz, who meet in another blockbuster semi-final on Saturday night inside the Pala Alpitour. The Italian won his most recent Lexus ATP Head2Head clash with both of his potential championship-match opponents — he defeated World No. 1 Djokovic for the first time in four tour-level meetings in a group-stage clash on Tuesday in Turin, while he prevailed against Alcaraz in the Beijing semi-finals in October.

Should Sinner go on to beat Djokovic or Alcaraz and lift the trophy, he will become the first Italian winner in the 54-year history of the Nitto ATP Finals. He would also take home US$4,801,500, the biggest payday in tennis history, by becoming undefeated champion in Turin.

“It is a privilege to have this kind of pressure,” said Sinner, when asked about his home support. “Even the week before this event I felt really good on this court. It is quite fast. The crowd has given me so much energy.”

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‘Let’s Go, Jannik!’ Mascots Walk On With Sinner & Co. At Nitto ATP Finals

It was Medvedev who settled more quickly into Saturday’s afternoon semi-final. The World No. 3 dominated the early baseline exchanges and carved out the first break point of the match in the third game. Sinner held firm, however, and then found a high-quality moment in the next game that appeared to flick a switch inside him.

Medvedev was serving at 40/0 when Sinner crushed a huge backhand down-the-line winner, and the home favourite reeled off the four following points to clinch a crucial break. The Italian, who also broke from 40/0 down against Djokovic earlier this week, dialled in on serve and looked untroubled as he went on to take the opening set having won 89 per cent (17/19) of points behind his first delivery.

Despite that disappointment, Medvedev continued to push Sinner with his trademark consistency and deep groundstrokes into the second set, but the Italian showed few signs of cracking. At 3-4 and 15/30 down on his own serve, Sinner beat Medvedev at his own game for two crucial points in a row, outlasting the World No. 3 in extended baseline rallies. Although he still faced a break point at 40/A, the Italian dug deep to escape the game.

Medvedev’s persistence was finally rewarded in the second-set tie-break, however, as he capitalised on a fast start to force a decider and dampen the spirits of the home fans. Yet the 26-year-old was unable to maintain that momentum into the third set. He saved two break points from 0-1, 15/40 but, when faced with a third in the same game, he gambled on a big second serve and went long to gift Sinner an early advantage in the decider.

From there, Sinner took command and offered an increasingly frustrated Medvedev few opportunities to mount a comeback. The Italian clinched a second break of the set in the sixth game before serving out to love and raising his arms to the joyous home crowd.

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Granollers & Zeballos Cut Path From Challenger To Turin Final

  • Posted: Nov 18, 2023

Granollers & Zeballos Cut Path From Challenger To Turin Final

Duo also in contention to finish the year as No. 1 team

On 1 May this year, while the Mutua Madrid Open was in its final week, Marcel Granollers and Horacio Zeballos were busy elsewhere, winning their first-round clash in Aix-En-Provence, a tournament on the ATP Challenger Tour. This Saturday, when the Spanish-Argentine duo progressed to the decisive match of the Nitto ATP Finals, they could not help but remember that turning point in their season, which may now end in the best possible way if they are crowned champions in Turin.

“We did go through a difficult spell in terms of results, but it made us stronger,” remembered Granollers. “We spoke more during that time, spent more time together, trained more to see how we could improve. Basically, we had to get through it,” he added. “We went to play in a Challenger, convinced that we had to play some matches. And here is our reward; we came through the difficult times, and we’re getting some big results.”

That ‘difficult spell’ Granollers spoke about, stretched from Buenos Aires to Aix-En-Provence, time during which the team suffered eight defeats and only picked up one win, a record that is difficult to accept for a duo with plenty of experience among the elite.

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Playing in that ATP Challenger Tour event, as well as doubling down on training and the conversations off court, had an almost instant effect: The pair reeled off semi-finals in Rome, the final in Geneva, semi-finals at Roland Garros, the Wimbledon final, semi-finals in Canada, and the title in Shanghai, among other results. Hence their qualification for the Nitto ATP Finals.

“This week we’re both playing very well,” exclaimed Zeballos. “We’re a stable pair, the years are going by and I feel very comfortable with him and I think Marcel does too. So we have to keep having fun, both on and off the court,” continued the Argentine.

“At the end of the day, you come here, you know all the matches are going to be very tough,” Granollers continued. “We’re playing against the best teams on a fast court, and indoor. You expect difficult matches, and that’s what we’re getting. Everything is decided in the key moments and on the finer details.”

Despite that, Granollers and Zeballos are unbeaten in their run at the Nitto ATP Finals and have only dropped one set along the way (on day one, against Santiago González and Edouard Roger-Vasselin).

Granollers has already won the Nitto ATP Finals (in 2012, alongside Marc López), and Zeballos has also played in big finals (two at Wimbledon – 2021 and 2023 – and another at the 2019 US Open).

“We’ve played in many finals and we’re trying to approach it as if it were the first round,” explained Zeballos. “Particularly here, I keep saying that every match is a final. Tomorrow that’s actually true, but we’re going to keep treating it the same,” continued the Argentine. “We’ll try to do everything that’s in our hands: control the tennis and our minds. Hopefully then we’ll get the result we want.”

“We have to continue doing the same,” agreed Granollers. “Of course, it’s a final, but we’ve played important finals already and we have to concentrate on the level we’re producing and on doing our own thing,” he said. “We’ll see what happens.”

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Bopanna & Ebden Face Off In Lexus ATP Head2Head Scavenger Hunt

  • Posted: Nov 18, 2023

Bopanna & Ebden Face Off In Lexus ATP Head2Head Scavenger Hunt

Watch the video from Turin below

Rohan Bopanna and Marcel Granollers have formed a formidable partnership on court this season. They have won two tour-level titles and reached the semi-finals at the Nitto ATP Finals.

This week in Turin they had to put teamwork to one side, though, as they faced off in the latest ATP Head2Head Scavenger Hunt.

Bopanna and Ebden had 40 minutes to find a number of sites and items across Turin, ranging from the famous clock tower to tennis balls and postcards. With the loser facing a forfeit, the pressure was well and truly on.

Watch the full Lexus ATP Head2Head Scavenger Hunt below to find out who came out on top.

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Andy Murray To Miss Davis Cup Final 8 Due To Injury

  • Posted: Nov 18, 2023

Andy Murray To Miss Davis Cup Final 8 Due To Injury

Briton has minor shoulder problem

Andy Murray has withdrawn from the Great Britain squad for the Davis Cup Final 8, the former World No. 1 has confirmed.

The 36-year-old Murray has picked up a minor shoulder injury which has ruled him out of his country’s quarter-final clash with Serbia, which is scheduled to take place in Malaga on Thursday.

Murray played a major role in Great Britain’s run to the Davis Cup title in 2015. Captain Leon Smith can still fall back on a strong squad for the nation’s quarter-final tie, however. Cameron Norrie and Jack Draper will likely lead the singles charge against a Serbia team led by World No. 1 Novak Djokovic, while Smith also has Joe Salisbury and Neal Skupski available for doubles selection.

The 2023 Davis Cup concludes in Malaga from 21-26 November, when The Final 8 teams compete in a knockout format to decide the winner of the annual teams event.

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‘Let’s Go, Jannik!’ Mascots Walk On With Sinner & Co. At Nitto ATP Finals

  • Posted: Nov 18, 2023

‘Let’s Go, Jannik!’ Mascots Walk On With Sinner & Co. At Nitto ATP Finals

Mascot kid programme presented by Nitto is in its seventh year

Like many ATP Tour stars, Jannik Sinner’s pre-match routine is meticulously planned out. The World No. 4 employs a team of top professionals to ensure he is in the best shape — physically, mentally, and tactically — to step on court and face some of the best players in the world.

Yet the last words spoken to the home favourite prior to his Nitto ATP Finals clash with Holger Rune on Thursday evening didn’t come from either of his coaches, Simone Vagnozzi or Darren Cahill. Instead, it was Matteo Testai, a seven-year-old who accompanied Sinner on court as part of the mascot kid programme presented by Nitto, who gave the Italian a final pre-match boost.

“He was a funny kid, [it was a] funny moment,” Sinner later told when asked about young Matteo’s words as the pair walked on court together at the Pala Alpitour. “He said, ‘Let’s go, let’s go, Jannik. We are all rooting for you’.

“It was really nice. Getting these young kids the opportunity to go out, not only with the player but seeing the court from the inside and everything, it’s really nice.”

Sinner went on to defeat Rune in a three-set thriller to the delight of a raucous home crowd in Turin. The 22-year-old has spoken a lot this week about relishing the chance to compete at the prestigious season finale in his home country, and he acknowledged that taking to court with a young fan was another aspect that makes the Nitto ATP Finals experience unique.

“I think it makes it special for the players,” said Sinner of the mascot programme, which was launched by Nitto in 2017. “We have so many times in the year that we walk on alone. Here it is a little bit different with the mascot, so it’s nice.”

The walk-on mascots at this year’s Nitto ATP Finals are all from Casa UGI, a a Turin-based volunteer organisation that supports children who are battling cancer and their families, doctors, nurses and volunteers. The children participating have either struggled with an illness or have a family member who is battling one.

<a href=Novak Djokovic and a Nitto ATP Finals mascot” />

World No. 1 Novak Djokovic is accompanied onto court by a Nitto ATP Finals mascot. Photo: Nitto/Siobhan Hennessy

The organisation’s President, Dr. Enrico Pira, was happy that Casa UGI could be part of the programme, in which a child accompanies every singles player on court for each of their matches at this year’s season finale.

“Participating with an active role in such an event as the Nitto ATP Finals is a source of joy and great pride for our children and for the entire organisation of Casa UGI,” said Pira. “Entering the court with the best players in the world and experiencing this unique role of mascot provides the children with a moment of strength and positive energy that remains in their hearts and minds while they are engaged with their families in the fight against the disease.

“Our thanks go to Nitto and this big family for the friendship and support they show us on this special occasion.”

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Alcaraz vs Djokovic: The Rivalry

  • Posted: Nov 18, 2023

Alcaraz vs Djokovic: The Rivalry

Relive the pair’s Lexus ATP Head2Head rivalry

World No. 1 Novak Djokovic and World No. 2 Carlos Alcaraz will meet on Saturday in a tantalising semi-final showdown at the Nitto ATP Finals. Since their first clash at the 2022 Mutua Madrid Open, the stars have shown their games and fighting spirits make for memorable matchups.

Before their Turin battle, looks back at all four of their previous Lexus ATP Head2Head meetings.

Madrid 2022, SF, Alcaraz d. Djokovic 6-7(5), 7-5, 7-6(5)
The 2022 Mutua Madrid Open was where Alcaraz showed he was more than just a talented player on the rise. After a memorable win against countryman Rafael Nadal in the quarter-finals, his tournament did not get any easier against top seed Djokovic.

In the pair’s first Lexus ATP Head2Head encounter, Djokovic received a full taste of what Alcaraz is capable of. The home favourite brought a selection of power and finesse to the Caja Magica.

Alcaraz hit 51 winners compared to 24 for Djokovic, and sent the Serbian scrambling with plenty of drop shots. When it came time to seal the match, the teen did it in style with a booming forehand winner to upset the World No. 1 after three hours and 36 minutes and become the first player to beat Nadal and Djokovic at the same clay-court tournament.

“I know that I played a really good game,” Alcaraz said. “For the rest of the season I think I am able to play against the best players in the world and beat them as well, so it gives me a lot of confidence.”

<a href=Carlos Alcaraz” />
Photo: Corinne Dubreuil/ATP Tour
Roland Garros 2023, SF, Djokovic d. Alcaraz 6-3, 5-7, 6-1, 6-1
When the 2023 Roland Garros draw came out, all eyes were on the potential of a semi-final blockbuster between Djokovic and Alcaraz. After their scintillating clash in Madrid, would Alcaraz be able to replicate his level against the World No. 1 across five sets?

Djokovic seemed in command early, but Alcaraz worked hard to win the second set and when he did, a classic seemed in the works. But instead, the Spaniard began suffering from cramp early in the third set and was never able to physically recover.

Djokovic was left to polish off an ailing Alcaraz and he did so without issue, ending their first meeting at a major without tension.

“I told him at the net. He knows how young he is. He’s got plenty of time ahead of him, so he’s going to win this tournament I’m sure many many times,” Djokovic said. “He’s an unbelievable player, an incredible competitor and a very nice guy, so he deserves all the applause and all the support.”

Alcaraz was open about his feelings after the loss to the eventual champion. He said: “I’m disappointed in myself honestly, and in a match like this, coming to this match with great feelings, feeling great physically, and cramping at the end of the second set, beginning of the third set, it was really disappointing. But these kind of things happen, and I have to deal with that.”

Caros Alcaraz/<a href=Novak Djokovic” />
Photo: Getty Images
Wimbledon 2023, F, Alcaraz d. Djokovic 1-6, 7-6(6), 6-1, 3-6, 6-4
Alcaraz did not need to wait long to take his shot at revenge against Djokovic. But entering the Wimbledon final, all eyes were on the Serbian’s chase for history. Just two years after coming within one match of winning the Grand Slam (capturing all four majors in the same season), Djokovic was again in good position, having triumphed at the Australian Open, Roland Garros, and being back in the Wimbledon final.

After the pair’s semi-final in Paris, Djokovic was the firm favourite at SW19. Not only had he demonstrated he was up for his younger rival’s challenge, but he was a seven-time Wimbledon champion, while Alcaraz had played just two grass-court tournaments in his career before 2023.

When the 23-time major winner stormed through the opening set, he appeared well on his way to extending his winning streak at the event to 35. Djokovic earned set point at 6/5 in the second-set tie-break but missed a neutral backhand into the net, changing the course of the match and history.

Alcaraz sprang to life, eventually winning a four-hour, 42-minute battle to earn his second major title.

“It’s a dream come true for me,” Alcaraz said. “As I said before, of course it’s great to win, but even if I had lost, I would be really proud of myself with this amazing run. Making history in this beautiful tournament, playing a final against a legend of our sport.”

Cincinnati 2023, F, Djokovic d. Alcaraz 5-7, 7-6(7), 7-6(4)
Fresh off a classic Wimbledon final, fans were once again in for a treat in the final of the Western & Southern Open, the pair’s first match on hard court.

Just a few months after Alcaraz was physically out of sorts at Roland Garros, it was Djokovic who did not look like himself in the Cincinnati final. Alcaraz firmly controlled the match up a set and a break as he looked to dial up his charge for ATP Year-End No. 1 presented by Pepperstone.

Had Alcaraz put together two service holds from 4-3 in the second set, the match might have been forgettable. But instead, he gave his opponent an opening and Djokovic turned their clash into a classic. He saved championship point at 5/6 in the second-set tie-break to force a thrilling decider.

Both men raised their levels and Alcaraz showed resolve of his own to break back when Djokovic served for the championship in the third set. Ultimately it was the 36-year-old who emerged victorious after three hours and 49 minutes, the longest best-of-three final in ATP Tour history (since 1990).

“Just overall, one of the toughest and most exciting matches I was ever part of and these are the kinds of moments and matches that I continue to work for day in day out,” Djokovic said. “I was never in doubt that I can deliver the ‘A’ game when it mattered the most and [I am] just thrilled.”

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‘I Enjoyed My Journey’: Recently Retired Stars Honoured At Nitto ATP Finals

  • Posted: Nov 18, 2023

‘I Enjoyed My Journey’: Recently Retired Stars Honoured At Nitto ATP Finals

Former Top 40 stars Chardy, Bellucci, Gojowczyk among those recognised

All good things must come to an end.

A host of singles and doubles stars announced the end of their professional playing careers in 2023. On Friday at the Nitto ATP Finals in Turin, the ATP Tour took the time to honour some of those who played their final match this season.

ATP Chairman Andrea Gaudenzi welcomed Pablo Andujar, Thomaz Bellucci, Jeremy Chardy, Peter Gojowczyk, Treat Huey, Malek Jaziri and Oliver Marach with a speech in the player lounge at the prestigious season finale. The seven players also later participated in an on-court ceremony at the Pala Alpitour.

“It’s something special,” said Chardy, who reached a career-high of No. 25 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings. “You work hard your whole life. When you were young, your dream was to become a tennis player, and from the moment you start to play on the ATP Tour, the time flies so fast. It went really quick, a lot of hard work, a lot of good memories on the court, off the court with other players, all the people from the ATP.

“I enjoyed my journey so much and I have no regrets. I just finished and I’m already coaching, I’m still on Tour. It means I really love tennis!”

Another former Top 25 player, Brazil’s Thomaz Bellucci, added: “I feel great. I ended my career last year, but I played my last tournament this year in Rio, in my country. I’m very happy of what I achieved in my career and I’m very proud of it. I just want to thank all my fans and my family, and I’m very happy to have [this celebration]. Something more in tennis, but in a different way.”

Retiring players ceremony Turin

Jeremy Chardy, Oliver Marach, Thomaz Bellucci, Malek Jaziri, Peter Gojowczyk, Treat Huey and Pablo Andujar on court at the Pala Alpitour. Photo: Corinne Dubreuil/ATP Tour

Peter Gojowczyk was the most recently retired of the group in Turin. The German played his final match as a professional in Metz just two weeks ago.

“It’s been an honour to be here in Turin and to celebrate my career here,” said Gojowczyk. “I have good memories on Tour and I was thinking about when to retire. I had a good opportunity to come here to Turin… I’m happy with my career, I have good memories and to celebrate here in Turin is awesome.”

“It’s amazing,” concurred Jaziri, who hit a career high of No. 42, the highest Pepperstone ATP Ranking by a Tunisian. “You have a flashback over many years. It’s the culmination of lots of years of work, dedication and it’s like a family. The players and all the people who work in the ATP as well.

“This is the end of a career as a tennis player and hopefelly we have a good career and success in life after tennis as well. Tennis gave me a lot of opportunities and I’m very glad to be part of the ATP family.”

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Doubles specialists were represented by Oliver Marach and Treat Huey in Turin. Marach was a six-time competitor at the Nitto ATP Finals.. That personal history made Friday’s ceremony particularly touching for the Austrian.

“For me it’s very special,” he said. “I have big emotions around this tournament. This is my first time in Turin, but I played four times in London. For me it has always been next to the Grand Slams as the biggest tournament in the world, I love to come here. They treat the players specially, and the best players get together in a final clash of the year. I always enjoyed the tournament and I’m happy to have my retirement here.”

The eight-time tour-level titlist Huey, another former competitor at the season finale, was also happy to be back.

“It’s absolutely incredible,” said the Filipino. “It’s a dream come true being back here. It was my dream all those years to make it here once, and I was able to in 2016, so to be invited here for a retirement ceremony with some of the other players I’ve looked up to and who became my colleagues over the years, it’s truly special.”

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Zverev Claims 55th Match Win Of Year, But Misses Turin SFs

  • Posted: Nov 17, 2023

Zverev Claims 55th Match Win Of Year, But Misses Turin SFs

Two-time champ finishes Red Group with 2-1 record but misses knockout stage

Alexander Zverev ended his impressive 2023 comeback season in victory despite missing the semi-finals of the Nitto ATP Finals, defeating Andrey Rublev 6-4, 6-4 Friday night in Turin to finish the year with 55 match wins and as World No. 7.

Having missed more than half of the 2022 season following his horrific ankle injury in the 2022 Roland Garros semi-finals, Zverev will be well satisfied with what he achieved during the season, which began with just three wins from his first nine matches.

The German finished the Red Group with a 2-1 record but missed the knockout stages of the season finale because group rivals Carlos Alcaraz and Daniil Medvedev had superior sets-won records.

“I have to look back on the week in a positive way. I beat Alcaraz and I beat Rublev,” said Zverev, who won 64 per cent of points on Rublev’s second serve.

“After the injury that I had, to be back here with the top eight players in the world, winning two matches, gives me great hope. I’m as motivated as I’ve very been for next year.”

The two-time Nitto ATP Finals champion opened the tournament with a three-set win over Alcaraz, but his straight-sets loss to Medvedev in his second match proved costly.

It was a disappointing return to the Pala Alpitour for Rublev, who failed to win a match after last year reaching the semi-finals. But the red head can still be proud of his season. He will finish inside the Top 5 with a 56-25 record on the year and two titles from six finals, including his maiden ATP Masters 1000 crown in Monte-Carlo.


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