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Rublev Keeps Rolling, Takes Down Tsitsipas In Rotterdam

  • Posted: Mar 06, 2021

Andrey Rublev advanced to his fourth straight ATP 500 final on Saturday with a 6-3, 7-6(2) victory against Stefanos Tsitsipas at the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam.

The World No. 8 struck 34 winners, including 24 on his forehand side, to reach the championship match after one hour and 37 minutes. With his 12th win in 13 matches this year, Rublev levelled his ATP Head2Head series against Tsitsipas at 3-3. The seven-time ATP Tour titlist also gained revenge for his final-set tie-break loss to the Greek at last year’s Nitto ATP Finals, when he failed to convert a match point.

“[I play tennis] to play at the best level, to play at the best tournaments, to try to compete, then to go deep and to try to win them,” Rublev said in an on-court interview. “A final is always special, so I am going to try to do my best tomorrow.”

Rublev’s win extended his winning streak at ATP 500 events to 19 matches. The Moscow native ended 2020 with titles in his final three ATP 500 events of the year in Hamburg, St. Petersburg and Vienna. Since 2009, only Roger Federer (28) and Andy Murray (21) have compiled longer streaks at the level.

Most Consecutive ATP 500 Match Wins (since 2009)

Rank Player Wins Years
1 Roger Federer 28 2014-’16
2 Andy Murray 21 2016-’17
T3 Rafael Nadal 19 2012-’13
Roger Federer 19 2017-’18
Roger Federer 19 2018-Present
Andrey Rublev 19 2020-Present

The 23-year-old will meet Borna Coric or Marton Fucsovics in the championship match. Rublev owns a 4-0 ATP Head2Head record against Coric and is tied at 1-1 against Fucsovics.

Rublev played with aggression on his forehand to make an early breakthrough at 1-1, but the Russian was consistently put under pressure on serve in the first set. Rublev saved all five break points he faced with powerful forehands and net approaches, before clinching a love service break to close the set after 43 minutes.

Neither player was able to earn a break point in the second set, but Rublev immediately made his mark in the tie-break. The fourth seed trusted his forehand and continued to move to the net. On his first match point, Rublev hit a forehand volley winner to book his place in the final. Throughout the match, Rublev won 19 of his 22 points at the net.

“I am happy with my performance. I am happy that I am in a final,” Rublev said. “I won some great matches. Everything is going well. I just want to keep working, keep trying to improve and we will see what is going to happen.”

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Mektic/Pavic Reach Third Final Of 2021

  • Posted: Mar 06, 2021

Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic continued their dream start to 2021 on Saturday, as they defeated Jeremy Chardy and Fabrice Martin 7-6(3), 6-7(11), 10-4 to reach the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament final.

The second seeds were unable to convert three match points in a 24-point second-set tie-break, but they kept their composure to reach their third final from four events this year in just under two hours. Mektic and Pavic, who own a 15-1 record in 2021, will now look to add to the titles they collected earlier this year at the Antalya Open and the Murray River Open.

[WATCH LIVE 1]

Mektic and Pavic have had to survive two Match Tie-breaks en route to the final. In the quarter-finals, the Croatian pair recovered from a set down to beat Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Jan-Lennard Struff 3-6, 6-3, 10-7.

Mektic and Pavic will meet Henri Kontinen and Edouard Roger-Vasselin or Kevin Krawietz and Horia Tecau in the championship match.

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Schwartzman Moves Closer To First Home Title In Buenos Aires

  • Posted: Mar 06, 2021

Diego Schwartzman is now just two wins from claiming his first ATP Tour title on home soil in Argentina.

The top seed beat 2018 Next Gen ATP Finals competitor Jaume Munar 6-2, 7-5 on Friday to reach the semi-finals of the Argentina Open. Schwartzman is into the Buenos Aires semi-finals for the third consecutive year.

“It’s special. It’s an emotional week for me. Obviously it’s a different week. I’m always trying to win, but here I’m always trying to enjoy every single point and I’m really, really happy,” Schwartzman said. “One more time I can be in the semi-finals… I hope to be ready tomorrow.”

[WATCH LIVE 2]

The World No. 9 saved all three break points he faced and won 92 per cent of his second-serve points to triumph after one hour and 51 minutes. Schwartzman had the superior firepower on Court Guillermo Vilas. Although Munar battled incredibly hard, leaving the Argentine in laughter after scrambling to save his fourth match point, the home favourite was too good on the evening.

“At the end I was just smiling with his coach because it was a difficult end. I couldn’t win the point at the end because he was always coming with another ball, another lob, another slice, another passing shot. I think at the end he hit a double fault and made a mistake on a volley,” Schwartzman said. “He didn’t deserve that finish because he was playing very good and always trying to keep pushing.”

Schwartzman now leads the pair’s ATP Head2Head series 3-0. The 2020 Nitto ATP Finals competitor will next play Miomir Kecmanovic, against whom he only lost four games at Roland Garros last year.

Kecmanovic eliminated fellow Serbian Laslo Djere 6-4, 7-6(6) in two hours and 10 minutes. The World No. 42 saved seven of the nine break points he faced.

“He’s very difficult to play on clay. I know him very well, so I knew it was going to be tough, but I just tried not to rush,” Kecmanovic said. “I tried to wait for my chances. I went in thinking, ‘If I have to play five hours, I’ll play five hours.’ But I’m not going to give him anything. It worked pretty well in the end.”

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Rotterdam Showdown: Will Tsitsipas Crack 'Tough Cookie' Rublev?

  • Posted: Mar 06, 2021

Last year Stefanos Tsitsipas called Andrey Rublev a “tough cookie”. Will the red-hot Russian be too tough for the Greek star to crack on Saturday in the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament semi-finals?

Both men enter the blockbuster clash at the Rotterdam Ahoy with plenty of momentum. They are a combined 20-2 this season, but only one will advance to the final at this ATP 500.

“We’ve made each other better,” Tsitsipas said. “I think it’s good for the game to have players like us play against each other.”

The two Top 10 stars have the utmost respect for one another. That mutual admiration dates back to their junior days. Rublev, who was 17, twice played a 16-year-old Tsitsipas in the span of a month towards the end of 2014. Both reached junior World No. 1.

“I was just thinking that he’s really good, he’s very talented. But you cannot predict how and when of if it’s going to happen or not because so many talented guys at my age who were competing in the juniors, they didn’t make it,” Rublev said. “You [didn’t] know how his journey will be.”

Watch 2020 Hamburg Final Highlights: Rublev vs. Tsitsipas

Tsitsipas had a similar evaluation of the Russian: “He was always good in [the] juniors. He had a very good game and he was promising.”

Rublev broke through first on the ATP Tour. The Russian was the top seed at the inaugural Next Gen ATP Finals in 2017. That year, Tsitsipas was an alternate. But in 2018, the Greek won the prestigious 21-and-under event, defeating Rublev in a five-set semi-final. The following year, Tsitsipas won the Nitto ATP Finals.

In 2018, a lower back stress fracture slowed Rublev’s progress, relegating him outside the Top 100.

“A few years ago he got injured and that was a period of time where he was doing okay,” Tsitsipas said of Rublev. “When he came back, I feel like he worked a lot and came back even stronger than he was before.”

Rublev joined the Greek near the top of the game last season, the best of his career. The Russian led the ATP Tour with five titles, one of which came in Hamburg, where he defeated Tsitsipas in the championship match.

Tsitsipas earned revenge shortly thereafter, beating Rublev in the Roland Garros quarter-finals and the Nitto ATP Finals. Stefanos leads the pair’s ATP Head2Head series 3-2, and only one of those meetings has ended in straight sets.

“He has one of the [most] huge forehands on the Tour and he’s very consistent and a hard hitter,” Tsitsipas said. “He doesn’t miss much, so that makes it very difficult playing against him.”

Rublev hits massive groundstrokes. But Tsitsipas, who has a one-handed backhand, likes coming forward to back up his own aggressive game.

“I think he has more skills than me. He goes more often to the net and he’s really good to the net. I’m more of a baseliner,” Rublev said. “But now I’ve started to also improve my volleys and I’m doing better. It’s tough to compare. We both have aggressive styles of the game, but he has more things and I think that’s also good for me, because [it means] I can improve. I can improve volleys, I can improve [my] defence.”

If history is any indication, Saturday’s semi-final will be another tight encounter between the two youngest players in the Top 10. While this certainly won’t be their last clash towards the end of a tournament, they will leave it all out on the court in The Netherlands. Neither will back down.

“It’s going to be a tough match. He has all the pressure,” Rublev said. “Last time he beat me, he has a better ranking than me, so I will just try to fight and to do my best and we’ll see what’s going to happen.”

In the other Rotterdam semi-final, Borna Coric will play Marton Fucsovics. Coric leads their ATP Head2Head series 3-0.

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Francisco Keeps The Cerundolo Roll Going In Buenos Aires

  • Posted: Mar 05, 2021

The “Golden Swing” is turning into the “Cerundolo Swing”.

One week ago, Juan Manuel Cerundolo made a dream run to the Cordoba Open title. On Friday in Buenos Aires, his older brother, Francisco Cerundolo, advanced to his first ATP Tour semi-final. The qualifier rallied past sixth seed Pablo Andujar 1-6, 6-3, 6-2 to reach the last four at the Argentina Open.

“I think it’s been two amazing weeks for me, for my brother, for my family, for Argentine tennis players and fans. I think what my brother did last week was unreal,” Cerundolo told ATPTour.com. “It inspired me and many other players that are coming from lower rankings that we have the level to play these type of matches.”

[WATCH LIVE 2]

Including qualifying, this was Cerundolo’s sixth win of the week. The World No. 137 has upset third seed Benoit Paire and now four-time ATP Tour titlist Andujar in the main draw. But the 22-year-old almost didn’t make it into the main draw at all. He needed three sets in two of his three qualifying matches.

“I’m really happy that I passed the qualies here because it’s always tough to pass the qualies,” Cerundolo said. “Now I’m in the semi-finals.”

Cerundolo began last week’s Cordoba Open without an ATP Tour win, just like his brother, Juan Manuel, who lifted the trophy. But Francisco’s performance during the stretch has been less surprising. He won 17 of his final 19 ATP Challenger Tour matches in 2020, claiming titles in Split, Guayaquil and Campinas.

It’s fitting that his breakout on the big stage has come at home in Buenos Aires. Cerundolo will try to keep it going on Saturday against fifth seed Albert Ramos-Vinolas.

“This is my favourite tournament by far, so it’s a blast to have my family and my friends here because we only play two or three weeks here in Argentina. Having them here, it’s amazing,” Cerundolo said. “It always inspires me and motivates me, so I’m really happy that I can give them some wins and make them happy. I want to continue tomorrow and play my best.”

Earlier in the day, Ramos-Vinolas outlasted first-time ATP Tour quarter-finalist Sumit Nadal 4-6, 6-2, 7-5. The Spanish veteran broke serve four times from five opportunities to advance after two hours and 26 minutes. Ramos-Vinolas reached the Cordoba final last week.

Did You Know?
The Cerundolo Brothers are trying to become the seventh pair of brothers to win singles titles in the Open Era and the first to do so in consecutive weeks.

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Federer's Message To Fans Before Doha Return: 'I'm Very Excited'

  • Posted: Mar 05, 2021

If fans weren’t already excited for Roger Federer’s return at next week’s Qatar ExxonMobil Open, they will be now. The Swiss star sent them a message from the airport on Friday before departing for Doha.

“It’s been a year since my last travel to any event and I’m very excited,” Federer said. “This is the moment where I could maybe thank all the people involved who made this possible. It’s been a long and hard road. I know I’m not at the finish line yet, but it’s good.”

Federer last competed at the 2020 Australian Open, where he reached the semi-finals. The 103-time tour-level champion underwent two right knee surgeries later in the year.

“I feel like I’m in a good place, I’ve been practising very well,” Federer said. “Hope you guys also are going to tune in to watch it and I hope I see you again very soon. Take care everybody.”

The 39-year-old has won three titles in Doha, where he has tallied a 26-3 record.

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Rublev Sets Tsitsipas Clash In Rotterdam

  • Posted: Mar 05, 2021

Andrey Rublev survived a tough test from Jeremy Chardy 7-6(2), 6-7(2), 6-4 at the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament on Friday to book a must-see semi-final clash with Stefanos Tsitsipas in Rotterdam.

The Russian, who held two match points in the second set, held his nerve to claim his third win in four ATP Head2Head matches against the Frenchman after two hours and 39 minutes. Rublev (44) and Chardy (36) struck a combined 80 winners, including 23 forehand winners each.

“It was a really tough match against Jeremy,” Rublev said in an on-court interview. “He is shooting really hard, he is serving really hard… [In the first-set tie-break], I played a bit better than him. He made a couple of mistakes. In the second [set], I didn’t start really well… I managed somehow to come back and then I didn’t make it when I had the chances. I had match points.

“We went to a third set and then I started really well. He played one really good game. I got a bit tight and… to serve for the match is not always easy. There was drama at the end. He had one break point but, in the end, I managed to win so I am really happy.”

Rublev’s victory extended his impressive winning streak in ATP 500 encounters to 18 matches. Alongside Roger Federer, Andy Murray and Rafael Nadal, the World No. 8 is only the fourth player to record 18 or more consecutive wins at the level since 2009.

Most Consecutive ATP 500 Match Wins (since 2009)

Rank Player Wins Years
1 Roger Federer 28 2014-’16
2 Andy Murray 21 2016-’17
T3 Rafael Nadal 19 2012-’13
Roger Federer 19 2017-’18
Roger Federer 19 2018-Present
T6 Roger Federer 18 2011-’12
Andrey Rublev 18 2020-Present

Rublev’s winning run began at last year’s Hamburg European Open. If he is to keep the streak alive this week, he will need to defeat the man he beat in the final of that event in tomorrow’s semi-finals: Tsitsipas.

“I will try to do as much as I can to be ready for tomorrow… Stefanos also had two tough matches [this week],” Rublev said. “Yesterday he had three sets and today he had three sets. Now he has to play doubles. It is not easy.”

Earlier in the day, Tsitsipas survived his second three-set match of the week to reach the last four in Rotterdam. The Greek recovered from 1-3 down in the decider to beat Rublev’s countryman Karen Khachanov 4-6, 6-3, 7-5. Tsitsipas saved a match point to defeat Rublev 6-1, 4-6, 7-6(6) in their most recent ATP Head2Head encounter (Tsitsipas leads 3-2) at last year’s Nitto ATP Finals.

One of the themes of the first set was Chardy’s forehand success. The Frenchman struck 10 winners behind the stroke, with one of those shots earning him a set point at 6-5. Rublev found his best serves when it mattered most to escape danger and he took advantage of two double faults in the tie-break to earn four set points of his own. Rublev only needed one chance, as he forced an error from his opponent with a short backhand slice to seal the set.

Chardy responded emphatically to claim a 3-0 double-break advantage in the second set, but Rublev took the ball early and dominated the centre of the court to draw level at 4-4. From two match points down at 5-6, 15/40, Chardy fired powerful serves, ripped forehand winners and rushed his opponent to win 11 of the next 13 points and force a deciding set.

In similar fashion to the second set, Rublev channelled his frustration from the previous set to gain a 3-0 double-break lead. Chardy recovered one of the breaks with all-out aggression on his return, but Rublev eventually closed the match on his fourth match point with an ace down the T.

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Home Hope Garin Leads Santiago Field: All You Need To Know

  • Posted: Mar 05, 2021

In 2020, the ATP Tour returned to Chile for the first time since 2014 in Vina Del Mar (2001-’09, 2012-’14). This will be the second edition of the Chile Dove Men+Care Open.

The ATP 250 is held in the Chilean capital of Santiago on the Centre Court of Club Deportivo Universidad Catolica. Brazilian Thiago Seyboth Wild won last year’s inaugural event. Then 19, Seyboth Wild claimed his maiden ATP Tour title in thrilling fashion against Norwegian star Casper Ruud.

Cristian Garin, the Chilean No. 1, will be the top seed as he tries to triumph on home soil. 

Here’s all you need to know about the Santiago tennis tournament: what is the schedule, when is the draw, who has won, how to watch and more.

Established: 2020

Tournament Dates: 8-14 March 2021

Tournament Director: Catalina Fillol

Draw Ceremony: TBC

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Schedule (View On Official Website)
* Qualifying: Saturday, 6 March – Monday 8 March
* Main draw: Monday, 8 March – Sunday 14 March

How To Watch
Watch Live On Tennis TV
TV Schedule

Venue: Club Deportivo Universidad
Surface: Clay

Prize Money: $325,270 (Total Financial Commitment $393,935)

View Who Is Playing, Past Champions, Seeds, Points & Prize Money Breakdown

Honour Roll
Most Titles, Singles:
 Thiago Seyboth Wild (1)
Most Titles, Doubles: Roberto Carballes Baena, Alejandro Davidovich Fokina (1)
Oldest Champion: Thiago Seyboth Wild, 19, in 2020
Youngest Champion: Thiago Seyboth Wild, 19, in 2020
Highest-Ranked Champion: No. 182 Thiago Seyboth Wild in 2020
Lowest-Ranked Champion: No. 182 Thiago Seyboth Wild in 2020
Most Match Wins: Thiago Seyboth Wild (5)

2020 Finals
Singles: [WC] Thiago Seyboth Wild (BRA) d [2] Casper Ruud (NOR) 75 46 63 Read More
Doubles:
 Roberto Carballes Baena (ESP) / Alejandro Davidovich Fokina (ESP) d [2] Marcelo Arevalo (ESA) / Jonny O’Mara (GBR) 76(3) 6-1 Read More

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Hashtag: #ChileDoveMenCareOpen
Facebook: @ChileOpenTenis
Twitter: @Chile_Open
Instagram: @ChileOpen

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Federer Returns! Thiem, Rublev Feature In Doha: All You Need To Know

  • Posted: Mar 05, 2021

Roger Federer makes a welcome return to the ATP Tour after a 13-month absence at the 2021 Qatar ExxonMobil Open, where the Swiss superstar is a three-time former titlist.

World No. 4 Dominic Thiem, defending champion Andrey Rublev and 2019 winner Roberto Bautista Agut also headline at the ATP 250 event, which begins on 8 March.

Federer, the 2005-’06 and 2011 Doha champion, has not played competitively since 30 January 2020 in the Australian Open semi-finals (l. to Djokovic). The 39-year-old underwent two right knee surgeries last year and will compete in Doha for the first time since 2012. Federer has a 26-3 match record at the hard-court tournament.

Denis Shapovalov, David Goffin, who captured his fifth ATP Tour title at the recent Open Sud de France in Montpellier (d. Bautista Agut), and former World No. 3 Stan Wawrinka, the 2008 Doha runner-up, will also feature at the Khalifa International Tennis & Squash Complex.

 

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Here’s all you need to know about the Doha tennis tournament: what is the schedule, when is the draw, who has won, how to watch and more. 

Established: 1993

Tournament Dates: 8-13 March 2021 

Tournament Director: Karim Alami

Draw Ceremony: Saturday, 6 March 2021 at 3pm (provisional)

Are You In? Subscribe To Get Tournament Updates In Your Inbox

Schedule (View On Official Website)
* Qualifying: Saturday, 6 March (11am); Sunday, 7 March (3:30pm)
* Main draw: Monday, 8 March-Thursday 11 March (2:30pm); Friday, 12 March (4:30pm), Saturday, 13 March (6pm)
* Doubles final: Friday, 12 March at 4:30pm
* Singles final: Saturday, 13 March at 6pm

How To Watch
Watch Live On Tennis TV
TV Schedule

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Ticketing Information
View On Official Website

–>

Venue: Khalifa International Tennis & Squash Complex
Surface: Outdoor Hard

Prize Money: US$ 787,930 (Total Financial Commitment: US$ 890,920)

View Who Is Playing, Past Champions, Seeds, Points & Prize Money Breakdown

Honour Roll
Most Titles, Singles: Roger Federer (3)
Most Titles, Doubles: Rafael Nadal (4)
Oldest Champion: David Ferrer, 32, in 2015
Youngest Champion: Andy Murray, 20, in 2008
Highest-Ranked Champion: No. 1s Roger Federer in 2005-’06, Rafael Nadal in 2014, Novak Djokovic in 2017
Lowest-Ranked Champion: No. 124 Rainer Schuettler in 1999
Most Match Wins: Roger Federer (26)

2020 Finals
Singles: [2] Andrey Rublev (RUS) d. [Q] Corentin Moutet (FRA) 6-2, 7-6(3) Read More
Doubles: Rohan Bopanna/Wesley Koolhof d. Luke Bambridge/Santiago Gonzalez 3-6, 6-2, 10-6 Read More

Social
Hashtag: #QatarTennis
Facebook: @QatarTennis
Twitter: @QatarTennis
Instagram: @QatarTennis

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Tsitsipas Goes For Marseille Hat-trick; All You Need To Know

  • Posted: Mar 05, 2021

For the past two years, Stefanos Tsitsipas has dominated the Open 13 Provence in Marseille. The Greek claimed eight straight wins — and 16 consecutive sets — to clinch the 2019 and 2020 crowns and he will return in 2021 with his sights set on a Marseille hat-trick.

Tsitsipas is one of three players to win back-to-back titles at the ATP 250, alongside Marc Rosset (1993-’94) and Thomas Enqvist (1997-’98). He will aim to become the first player to win three titles in a row at the event this year.

Tsitsipas is joined by a stellar line-up on the southern French coast. World No. 3 Daniil Medvedev will aim to bounce back from a first-round loss at the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam. Medvedev, who owns five indoor tour-level trophies, will be chasing his 10th ATP Tour crown in Marseille.

Former champion Karen Khachanov (2018), #NextGenATP Italian Jannik Sinner and home favourite Ugo Humbert will also aim to add to their ATP Tour trophy collections. Three-time champion Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (2009, ’13, ’17) and Kei Nishikori will also feature at the ATP 250. 

Here’s all you need to know about the Marseille tennis tournament: what is the schedule, when is the draw, who has won, how to watch and more.

Established: 1993

Tournament Dates: 8-14 March 2021

Tournament Director: Jean-Francois Caujolle

Draw Ceremony: Saturday, 6 March 2021 at 11am

Are You In? Subscribe To Get Tournament Updates In Your Inbox

Schedule (View On Official Website)
* Qualifying: Sunday, 7 March (11am); Monday 8 March (12pm)
* Main draw: Monday, 8 March – Thursday, 11 March (12pm and 5:30pm); Friday, 12 March (1pm and 5:30pm), Saturday, 13 March (12:30pm)
* Doubles final: Sunday, 14 March at 11:45am
* Singles final: Sunday, 14 March at 2:00pm

How To Watch
Watch Live On Tennis TV
TV Schedule

Venue: Palais de Sports de Marseille
Surface: Indoor Hard

Prize Money: €334,240 (Total Financial Commitment €409,765)

View Who Is Playing, Past Champions, Seeds, Points & Prize Money Breakdown

Honour Roll
Most Titles, Singles:
Marc Rosset, Thomas Enqvist, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (3)
Most Titles, Doubles: Martin Damm, Arnaud Clement, Michael Llodra, Julien Benneteau, Nicolas Mahut (3)
Oldest Champion: Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, 31, in 2017
Youngest Champion: Stefanos Tsitsipas, 20, in 2019
Highest-Ranked Champion: No. 3 Boris Becker in 1995
Lowest-Ranked Champion: No. 79 Michael Llodra in 2010
Most Match Wins: Gilles Simon (29)

2020 Finals
Singles: [2] Stefanos Tsitsipas (GRE) d [7] Felix Auger-Aliassime (CAN) 63 64 Read More
Doubles:
Nicolas Mahut (FRA) / Vasek Pospisil (CAN) d [2] Wesley Koolhof (NED) / Nikola Mektic (CRO) 63 64 Read More

Social
Hashtag: #Open13Provence
Facebook: @Open13
Twitter: @Open13
Instagram: @open13marseille

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