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Goffin Begins Sydney Campaign

  • Posted: Jan 10, 2022

David Goffin earned his first victory in eight months on Monday, downing Facundo Bagnis 6-4, 6-4 to reach the second round at the Sydney Tennis Classic.

The 31-year-old endured an injury-hit 2021 campaign, curtailing his season in September following the US Open due to a knee problem. However, the Belgian showed little sign of rustiness against World No. 71 Bagnis to advance after one hour and 31 minutes. Goffin’s last win came against Salvatore Caruso at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in May.

The five-time tour-level titlist, who broke Bagnis four times en route to victory, will next play Argentine Federico Delbonis or World No. 44 Albert Ramos-Vinolas.

Fifth seed Lorenzo Sonego also booked his place in the second round with a hard-fought 3-6, 6-3, 7-5 win over Frenchman Hugo Gaston.


The Italian was competing for the first time this year. Sonego won 81 per cent (44/54) of his first-serve points and fired eight aces to edge Gaston in two hours and 43 minutes.

The World No. 27 now leads the 21-year-old 2-0 in their ATP Head2Head series and will next face qualifier Christopher O’Connell or #NextGenATP Argentine Sebastian Baez.

Australian Jordan Thompson also moved through at the ATP 250 event on Ken Rosewall Arena, defeating American Marcos Giron 6-4, 6-2 in 83 minutes. The wild card rallied from a break down in the first set to set up a meeting with fourth seed Reilly Opelka in the second round.

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Felix Returns To Top 10, Mover Of Week

  • Posted: Jan 10, 2022

No. 9 Felix Auger-Aliassime, +2 (Career High)
The 21-year-old has climbed two spots to a career-high No. 9 in the ATP Rankings after he helped guide Canada to the ATP Cup title in Sydney. The eight-time tour-level finalist earned victories over Cameron Norrie, Alexander Zverev and Roberto Bautista Agut as Canada won the third edition of the 16-team event. Read ATP Cup Final Report & Watch Highlights

View Latest ATP Rankings

No. 17 Roberto Bautista Agut, +2
The nine-time tour-level titlist has risen two places after he captured four wins at ATP Cup as Spain reached the final in Sydney. The 33-year-old led Spain to top spot in Group A after beating Cristian Garin, Casper Ruud and Dusan Lajovic. Bautista Agut then overcame Top 10 star Hubert Hurkacz in the semi-finals. It is the second time Spain has reached the final at the tournament (2020).

No. 19 Gael Monfils, +2
The Frenchman has returned to the Top 20 after he clinched his 11th tour-level trophy at the Adelaide International 1. The 35-year-old did not drop a set en route to the title, beating Karen Khachanov in the final to earn his first tour-level crown since February 2020, when he triumphed in Rotterdam. Read Adelaide Final Report & Watch Highlights

No. 75 Maxime Cressy, +37 (Career High)
The 24-year-old has soared into the Top 100 of the ATP Rankings for the first time following his dream run at the Melbourne Summer Set. The American came through qualifying at the ATP 250 event and clinched standout wins over Reilly Opelka and Grigor Dimitrov, before losing to Rafael Nadal in the championship match. Read Melbourne Final Report & Watch Highlights

Other Notable Top 100 Movers
No. 31 Ugo Humbert, +4
No. 39 Filip Krajinovic, +3
No. 71 Facundo Bagnis, +5
No. 72 Jaume Munar, +5
No. 74 Alex Molcan, +14 (Career High)
No. 81 Juan Manuel Cerundolo, +9 (Career High)
No. 82 Mikael Ymer, +12

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Team Canada Enjoy Cruise Following ATP Cup Victory

  • Posted: Jan 10, 2022

Felix Auger-Aliassime and Denis Shapovalov led the celebrations on Monday as Team Canada took to the water in Sydney following its ATP Cup triumph.

Canada overcame Spain 2-0 in the final on Sunday to capture the third edition of the 16-team event, with Shapovalov downing Pablo Carreno Busta, before Auger-Aliassime sealed the win by defeating Roberto Bautista Agut.

To celebrate, the Canadian team enjoyed a boat ride on the Parramatta River, cruising past the Sydney Opera House as they held aloft the ATP Cup trophy and Canadian flags.

Photo Credit: Peter Staples/ATP Tour

It was a victory that had looked unlikely earlier in the week after Canada lost its first four matches and could have been eliminated before playing their third Group C tie. However, Auger-Aliassime earned a vital win against Great Britain’s Cameron Norrie to keep them alive, before Canada earned qualification for the semi-finals by moving past Germany 2-1.

A hard-fought semi-final deciding doubles win over Daniil Medvedev’s Russia saw Canada knock out the 2021 champion to set up a meeting with Spain, where Shapovalov and Auger-Aliassime then sealed victory.

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Dominant Down Under: Escobedo, Machac Claim First Challenger Titles Of 2022

  • Posted: Jan 10, 2022

Bendigo International [Bendigo, Australia | Challenger 80]: It had been three long years since Ernesto Escobedo last tasted victory on the ATP Challenger Tour. But that would change on Sunday in Bendigo. The 25-year-old American stormed back to defeat Enzo Couacaud 5-7, 6-3, 7-5 in two hours and 36 minutes, opening the 2022 season with a return to titletown.

After dropping the opening set and having taken a medical timeout early in the second, it appeared that Escobedo would come up short on a sun-kissed Sunday afternoon in Bendigo. But the California native dug deep to find his way to the winners’ circle for the first time since 2019. It marked the fourth Challenger crown of his career.

“The whole week I felt good and I had a great offseason with my coach,” said Escobedo after the final. “I came into the tournament prepared and happy and it all fell into place for me. I think the last champion here was Steve Johnson and he told me it’s a great town and a great tournament, so I was happy to come here and play. It’s been tough conditions in Australia for the past couple years [with the pandemic], so I’m just fortunate to be here competing.”

Escobedo, who rose to a career-high No. 67 in the FedEx ATP Rankings in 2017, has struggled to find his groove on the court over the years. Now, under the tutelage of Javier Nalbandian (brother of former World No. 3 David Nalbandian), he is slowly working his way back towards the Top 100. Escobedo will rise to No. 141 on Monday.

Having reached the quarter-finals at the ATP 250 in Los Cabos last year, followed by a second-round finish at both the US Open and the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, Escobedo has been building towards this moment for many months. He will next seek to qualify for the Australian Open for the first time since 2017, as he kicks off his qualifying campaign on Tuesday.


Traralgon International [Traralgon, Australia | Challenger 80]: If you haven’t already taken notice of Tomas Machac, it’s time to jump aboard the Czech train. The 21-year-old continued his push towards the Top 100 of the FedEx ATP Rankings with yet another Challenger title, emerging victorious on Sunday in Traralgon.

Machac lifted the third trophy of his young career, marking the third straight year in which he has triumphed on the Challenger circuit. He capped a dominant week on the hard courts of the Traralgon International with a 7-6(2), 6-3 win over Bjorn Fratangelo. The Beroun native also rallied from a set down to defeat eighth seed Mikhail Kukukshin in the quarter-finals and notched a straight-set victory over fellow 21-year-old Jesper de Jong in the semis.

The second-highest ranked player from the Czech Republic, behind only Jiri Vesely, Machac rises to a career-high No. 130 on Monday. A succssful qualifying campaign at next week’s Australian Open will go a long way in his Top 100 quest. Seeded 20th in Melbourne Park, he opens against Argentina’s Camilo Ugo Carabelli.


Citta di Forli 1 [Forli, Italy | Challenger 50]: Luca Nardi became the first teenage champion of the 2022 ATP Challenger season, as the 18-year-old prevailed on home soil in Forli on Sunday. Nardi won the Challenger 50 title with a 6-3, 6-1 win over Mukund Sasikumar. The Italian was made to work this week, having rallied from a set down in three straight matches. He overcame Lucas Catarina, Evan Furness and third seed Christian Harrison, before downing Sasikumar for the trophy.

Nardi’s victory marks the fourth straight year in which an Italian teen has won a Challenger title. In 2019 it was Jannik Sinner, followed by Lorenzo Musetti in 2020 and Giulio Zeppieri last year.

Recent Italian Teen Titles

Player Year Title(s) Won
Luca Nardi
2022 Forli
Giulio Zeppieri 2021 Barletta
Lorenzo Musetti 2020 Forli
Jannik Sinner 2019 Bergamo, Lexington, Ortisei

Dove Men+Care Legion Sudamericana Challenger de Tigre [Buenos Aires, Argentina | Challenger 50]: Santiago Fa Rodriguez Taverna claimed his maiden Challenger title on Sunday, prevailing on home soil in Buenos Aires. He won the Challenger 50 event with a 6-4, 6-2 win over countryman Facundo Diaz Acosta, marking his fourth consecutive straight-set victory of the week.

The 22-year-old continues the run of success for Argentine players on the ATP Challenger Tour, with the South American nation coming off a record-tying 20-title haul in 2021.

ATP Challenger Tour 

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From 'Survival Mode' To World Champions: Inside Canada's ATP Cup Victory

  • Posted: Jan 09, 2022

First it was unclear if Canada could field a team at the ATP Cup. Then it appeared the Canadians would be eliminated from semi-final contention before their third Group C tie. But on Sunday evening, Felix Auger-Aliassime capped a dream week for his country by clinching the third edition of the team event.

“Being so close to being out of the group and then coming out, you’re kind of in that survival mode and I think we just carried that all the way through to today,” Auger-Aliassime said. “As the week went on I think we played some really good matches and we got more and more belief, but I think the trust and the belief never went away the whole week for everybody on the team.”

On 26 December Canada’s No. 2 singles player, Denis Shapovalov, announced he had tested positive for Covid-19 and had to quarantine. It was unclear if the 22-year-old would be able to partake in the ATP Cup. Steven Diez was back home awaiting a negative test himself, and he did not arrive in Sydney until 31 December.

Although the Canadians were able to compete, it did not start well. They lost their first four matches and if the United States defeated Great Britain in their third Group C tie, Canada would not have had a chance at reaching the knockout stages. But all the scenarios went in their favour, giving them an opportunity.

“So many things still had to go our way. We needed the teams to all kind of split the ties. It was super tough for us going down 3-0 the first day so we needed [the] U.S. to lose, and they did in a crazy match,” Shapovalov said. “[It] just seemed like the pieces were all kind of falling into place.”

Once into the last four, Canada faced a tough test against defending champion Russia, led by World No. 2 Daniil Medvedev. Medvedev and Roman Safiullin appeared in control of the deciding doubles early in the second set, but once again the Canadians refused to go away.

After battling through a Match Tie-break to reach the championship tie, the Canadians produced their best performance of the week against Spain. Roberto Bautista Agut and Pablo Carreno Busta are as tough as they come, but Auger-Aliassime and Shapovalov had too much firepower and were relentless in pursuit of the crown.

Canadians are champions of the world.

“Really, I hope this inspires kids and people back home in these tough times right now,” Auger-Aliassime said. “A lot of provinces have been going down into lockdown again, not going out much. And I hope this just puts a smile on their face and gives them a little bit of support and hope and then inspires a next generation.”

Steven Diez and Brayden Schnur were an enthusiastic presence in Canada’s Team Zone throughout the competition. They both gave all the credit to Auger-Aliassime and Shapovalov.

“My back’s pretty sore from carrying this team the past eight days,” Schnur joked. “It’s a privilege to be alongside and be team members with these two guys here, and obviously Steven as well. For me it’s just a privilege and to see them working so hard, they’re getting everything they deserve.”

“Being here today with this trophy and this amazing team, I think it’s something amazing,” Diez said. “I’ll be really grateful to these two, they’re the present and the future, and they’ll probably win this trophy a few more times for sure.”

But this run will be remembered as the event in which two childhood friends, Auger-Aliassime and Shapovalov, showed their country what is possible. They were once boys with a dream, and now they have brought Canada to the forefront of world tennis.

“I really hope it was able to be seen in Canada, I’m sure it was. And I hope it just gives belief, more belief to everyone there that we are a summer sport country as well. I just hope a lot of kids will start picking up racquets after seeing us competing,” Shapovalov said. “It’s pretty special, I think, what specifically me and Felix have, playing since we’ve been little, little children at five or six years old, all the way up to here. Just competing alongside and being able to win titles like this together, it’s something truly special.”

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Felix Fantastic To Clinch ATP Cup For Canada

  • Posted: Jan 09, 2022

Felix Auger-Aliassime clinched the ATP Cup title for Canada on Sunday evening with a 7-6(3), 6-3 victory against Roberto Bautista Agut to give his country a 2-0 win against Spain.

Canada lost its first four matches of this year’s competition and could have been eliminated before playing the third Group C tie. But thanks to favourable results, the Canadians still had a chance and they seized their opportunity.

Auger-Aliassime and Shapovalov won a deciding doubles against Russia on Saturday to knock out the defending champions. And with the trophy on the line, they played their best tennis to defeat two-time finalists Spain.

“The emotions are unbelievable. There’s no better feeling than winning. We left everything out there. We came back from far in this competition, losing our first four matches. But we never stopped believing,” Auger-Aliassime said. “I think that’s very important. We trust each other to the highest level. Denis and I, everybody in the team — Brayden [Schnur] played in singles, Steven [Diez] played in doubles and they’ve been supporting us all week. They’ve got a tournament next week, but they’re here every day ready to practise, ready to support us.

“All their egos are aside and we really trusted each other along the way and it came down to the perfect result. I’m super thrilled for everybody in the whole team and myself, of course.”

Auger-Aliassime, who was also his country’s captain, suffered a disappointing defeat at No. 1 singles on Saturday against Daniil Medvedev, losing the final nine games of that match. But the 21-year-old showed no ill effects from that loss, playing with controlled aggression to down the always tough Bautista Agut in two hours and 10 minutes.

Felix double faulted on his first match point. But the Canadian quickly calmed his nerves and elicited a backhand return error on the next point. Shapovalov and the rest of Team Canada quickly rushed the court to celebrate.

Bautista Agut is one of the toughest opponents for everyone on the ATP Tour. The Spaniard is a baseline machine who rarely misses and takes advantage of the smallest openings. But his issue was that Auger-Aliassime never cracked.

Felix Auger-Aliassime
Photo Credit: Peter Staples/ATP Tour
In the first-set tie-break, the World No. 11 hit a sensational forehand passing shot to earn an early mini-break, and he added another with a big forehand from the middle of the court. The Canadian carried that lead through the rest of the tie-break to seal the opener.

With the trophy drawing closer, Auger-Aliassime maintained his composure. Felix saved 10 of the 11 break points he faced and struck 15 aces in his triumph.

“I think the points just come and you try to really dig deep, think about the good things and think how you’re going to win that point. Just on and on and on, I was able to do it every time,” Auger-Aliassime said. “Sometimes it’s a bit of luck and today also I was good in the important moments, so that’s always important. Just tried to stay positive, also.”

Earlier in the tie, Shapovalov captured the No. 2 singles match with a 6-4, 6-3 win against Pablo Carreno Busta, who had led their ATP Head2Head series 4-1.

“Couldn’t have wished for a better start. If it wasn’t for Denis the past two days, we wouldn’t be here right now. I’d like to congratulate him. He’s been unbelievable,” Auger-Aliassime said. “He lost the past few times against Carreno and today he won in straight sets. Not with ease, but the way he can play he won in a good way, so honestly all credit to him.”

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