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Zverev Fights Through To Hamburg QF

  • Posted: Jul 25, 2019

Zverev Fights Through To Hamburg QF

Second seed going for his second ATP Tour title of 2019

Alexander Zverev overcame an up-and-down performance on Thursday to reach his eighth quarter-final of 2019 at the Hamburg European Open.

Zverev broke at 5-5 in the second set with aggressive play from the baseline, but the second seed was broken to love while serving for the match at 6-5. Zverev, however, recovered with a consistent tie-break to beat Argentine Federico Delbonis 6-4, 7-6(5).

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I don’t think I played a bad game. I think he played an amazing game, the best game he played of the match. So mostly it was fine,” Zverev said of the 6-5 game in the second set. “The most important thing is that I won the tie-break afterwards quite easily. You will always have games where you lose and games where you get broken, and it’s how you come back from that and I did well today.”

The World No. 5 is playing at his home ATP 500 tournament for the first time since 2016, when he fell in the first round. The 2014 semi-finalist will next meet Filip Krajinovic.

You May Also Like: Opelka Knocks Out Five-Time Atlanta Champ Isner

The Serbian hit 12 aces in a 6-7(6), 7-5, 6-1 win over 2016 champion Martin Klizan, who recovered from 1-4 and 3-5 down to win the first set. Krajinovic won the last six games of the match.

Spain’s Pablo Carreno Busta knocked out seventh seed Jan-Lennard Struff 6-1, 7-6(4) in 85 minutes. Struff served for the second set at 5-3. Carreno Busta will next meet the winner between third seed Fabio Fognini and #NextGenATP German Rudolf Molleker.

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Five Things To Know About Reilly Opelka

  • Posted: Jul 25, 2019

Five Things To Know About Reilly Opelka

American enjoys Grand Slam breakthrough at Wimbledon

Reilly Opelka defeated Stan Wawrinka on Wednesday at Wimbledon to reach the third round of a Grand Slam for the first time. The victory was also his first five-set win. The 21-year-old is enjoying a breakout season that sees him projected to surpass his career-high ATP Ranking of No. 53 when the newest standings are released.

Read Opelka Hangs Tough To Edge Wawrinka takes a look at five things to know about the American.

1. He Already Has A Wimbledon Crown
Opelka is making his Wimbledon debut as a pro, but he’s no stranger to The All England Club. He beat Mikael Ymer to win his only junior Grand Slam title in 2015.

<a href=''>Reilly Opelka</a> won the 2015 <a href=''>Wimbledon</a> boys' singles title

2. His 2019 Season Includes An ATP Tour Title
The American clinched his maiden trophy this February at the New York Open by defeating Brayden Schnur in a third-set tie-break. He also saved six match points against John Isner in a thrilling semi-final clash. Opelka finished the week with 156 aces, including 43 in the championship match, and closed out the tournament with 68 consecutive service holds.

You May Also Like: First-Time Winner Spotlight: Reilly Opelka

“This Five Things To Know About Reilly Opelka is definitely what I’m most proud of,” said Opelka. “I was tough mentally, especially losing a lot of first sets this week, and my first serve really helped me out. I was able to play clutch in those big moments.“

Opelka Wins 2019 <a href=''>New York Open</a>

3. Opelka Is Part Of The “Triple Towers”
At 6’11”, Opelka joins Ivo Karlovic (6’11”) and Isner (6’10”) as the three tallest players on the ATP Tour. The trio also posed for a photo two years ago that could have passed for an NBA roster.

Isner Karlovic Opelka

4. He Gets Mistaken For Isner
Not all tall people look alike, but Opelka finds himself frequently mistaken for the other American giant in tennis. He told ESPN that fans came up to him in France and asked for autographs thinking he was Isner.

“That one I had to play along with,” joked Opelka. He admitted to intentionally spelling Isner’s name wrong at times and signing for fans as “Jon”.

More On The Championships
* Andy & Serena Join Forces In Mixed Doubles
* Fognini Honored For Cracking Top 10
* Kyrgios Looks Ahead To Nadal Clash

5. Opelka Graduated From Challengers
Opelka set up his solid 2019 season with a dominant run last year on the ATP Challenger Tour. He finished the year with back-to-back Challenger titles in the United States and reached the championship match in four of his last six Challenger events.

“Last year was huge for me,” reflected Opelka. “It was the first time I consistently put together a lot of matches in a row. I reached a lot of semi-finals and I think the year before there wasn’t one week where I had won three matches in a row. Being able to play on the Challenger Tour and not as many ATP Tour events, helped me string all those matches together. It gave me a lot of confidence and I learned a lot about myself and my tennis. It allowed me to work on some things that I knew needed to be addressed.”

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Opelka Knocks Out Five-Time Atlanta Champ Isner

  • Posted: Jul 25, 2019

Opelka Knocks Out Five-Time Atlanta Champ Isner

21-year-old going for second ATP Tour title of the season

There were 64 aces, five break points saved and one upset of a five-time BB&T Atlanta Open champion.

American Reilly Opelka beat countryman John Isner for the third time this season on Wednesday, giving the top seed his earliest Atlanta exit in 10 appearances 7-6(2), 6-7(5), 7-6(5).

Opelka saved three break points while serving at 4-5 in the third set, including two consecutively from 15/40 as he served his way out of trouble. The 21-year-old American also beat Isner at the Australian Open and en route to his maiden ATP Tour title at the New York Open in February.

“I was clutch on big moments in the match. First-set tie-break I played unbelievable, pretty much flawless, hit some great shots,” Opelka said. “John is just so consistent with his serve. It’s so hard to play three tie-breaks with him because there’s just so much pressure, there’s so much stress for three hours straight. It’s tough. I’m thrilled to get through.”

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Isner was the two-time defending champion and had reached the Atlanta final in nine of his 10 appearances. He also made the 2012 semi-final. The World No. 14 won his fourth Hall of Fame Open title on the Newport grass on Sunday.

“It’s his tournament. It always will be. Definitely a tough guy to beat in Atlanta,” Opelka said. “I’m really happy that I was able to find a way to win.”

Their New York Open semi-final featured a record number of aces (81) for an ATP Tour three-set match, and while they fell short of a new mark, to the surprise of no one, the mammoth serves of the 6’10” Isner and the 6’11” Opelka dominated play.

Opelka didn’t lose a first-serve point in the opener (17/17), but Isner rallied in the tie-break to force a decider. The top seed saved two match points on his serve from 3/6 in the third-set tie-break. But Opelka had to do more than serve to finish off the crowd favourite.

More About Opelka
Five Things To Know About Opelka
Opelka Edges Wawrinka At SW19
Opelka Crushing Aces, Milestones To Start 2019

Isner returned a second serve well and came in strong behind a forehand approach. But Opelka let loose on a backhand pass and followed it up with a forehand winner for his third win in four tries against Isner in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series. Eleven of their 13 sets have been decided by tie-breaks, including all 10 this year, seven of which have been won by Opelka.

The 2016 Atlanta quarter-finalist will next face Brit Daniel Evans, who saved 15 of 19 break points against Moldovan Radu Albot to advance 7-6(5), 5-7, 6-2. Evans also overcame 10 double faults to reach his third tour-level quarter-final of 2019 (Delray Beach, Eastbourne).

#NextGenATP Aussie Alexei Popyrin beat fourth seed Pierre-Hugues Herbert 7-5, 6-3 to make his first tour-level quarter-final. The 19-year-old Sydney native saved all six break points and will meet Brit Cameron Norrie, who eased past South Korean qualifier Soonwoo Kwon 6-3, 6-4.

Popyrin is currently in 11th place in the ATP Race To Milan, which will determine seven of the eight players who will compete at the Next Gen ATP Finals, to be held 5-9 November in Milan. The eighth spot is reserved for an Italian wild card.

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Atlanta Open: Cameron Norrie and Dan Evans reach quarter-finals

  • Posted: Jul 25, 2019

British pair Cameron Norrie and Dan Evans both won at the Atlanta Open on Wednesday to reach the quarter-finals.

Norrie, 23, enjoyed a straight-sets victory over South Korea’s Kwon Soon-woo, with the British number two beating the world number 117 6-3 6-4.

Evans, ranked one place below Norrie at 55, then triumphed in a hard-fought match with world number 42 Radu Albot.

The 29-year-old, who reached the third round at Wimbledon this month, beat the Moldovan 7-6 (7-5) 5-7 6-2.

  • Dan Evans beats Jason Jung to reach round two

Norrie will now face Alexei Popyrin for a place in the last four after the 19-year-old Australian upset world number 39 Pierre-Hugues Herbert, beating the Frenchman 7-5 6-3.

Evans will play the winner of the last-16 match between Reilly Opelka and American number one John Isner, who won last year’s Atlanta Open.

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Déjà Vu For Ramos-Vinolas In Gstaad

  • Posted: Jul 24, 2019

Déjà Vu For Ramos-Vinolas In Gstaad

Fabbiano defeats fourth seed Sonego

At last week’s Swedish Open, Albert Ramos-Vinolas defeated Fernando Verdasco and Roberto Carballes Baena in back-to-back matches to reach the semi-finals.

The 31-year-old is half way to repeating that feat at the J. Safra Sarasin Swiss Open Gstaad after beating Fernando Verdasco 6-4, 7-6(4) on Wednesday to book another meeting with Carballes Baena.

Ramos-Vinolas recorded his 19th victory in 36 tour-level matches this year after one hour and 42 minutes, winning 72 per cent of service points en route to victory (48/67). The World No. 85 has now claimed four victories from nine FedEx ATP Head2Head clashes against the 2011 runner-up. Carballes Baena advanced to his second quarter-final in as many weeks after overcoming Stefano Travaglia 6-2, 6-4 in 80 minutes.

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Thomas Fabbiano produced a solid service performance to beat fellow Italian and fourth seed Lorenzo Sonego 7-6(2), 3-6, 6-1 in two hours and five minutes for a place in the quarter-finals.

“It is never easy to play against a close friend,” said Fabbiano. “Today was a tough match. Clay and altitude are not my favourite conditions and I’m very happy that I managed to win today. You have to adjust to the conditions every week and I hope that I can go a step further this week.”

You May Also Like: Read & Watch: Five Things To Know About Thomas Fabbiano

Germany’s Cedrik-Marcel Stebe, who is on the comeback trail from another wrist injury and came into the ATP 250 tournament with a 0-4 tour-level record in 2019, booked a place in his first ATP Tour quarter-final for more than two years (2017 Geneva). Stebe kept his nerve to beat Jiri Vesely of the Czech Republic 7-6(3), 4-6, 6-3 in two hours and 14 minutes.

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Thiem Returns To Hamburg Quarter-finals

  • Posted: Jul 24, 2019

Thiem Returns To Hamburg Quarter-finals

Austrian to meet Rublev for semi-final spot

Dominic Thiem made it through to the Hamburg European Open quarter-finals for the second straight year on Wednesday, beating Marton Fucsovics 7-5, 6-1.

On a hot Wednesday afternoon, the top seed fired 20 winners and dropped just two points behind his first serve (26/28) to claim victory in one hour and 36 minutes. Thiem claimed eight of nine games from 5-5 in the first set to triumph in the pair’s first FedEx ATP Head2Head encounter.

Thiem improves to 25-10 this season after reaching the last eight in Hamburg. The World No. 4 has lifted two ATP Tour trophies in 2019, capturing his maiden ATP Masters 1000 crown at the BNP Paribas Open (d. Federer) and the ATP 500 title at the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell (d. Medvedev).

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Thiem quickly found his range on return in front of the Center Court crowd, earning break points in four of Fucsovics’ opening five service games. But the Hungarian remained calm under pressure to reach 5-5.

But, from that point, Thiem reduced his error count and motored to victory. With relentless aggression and depth, the World No. 4 dictated rallies with his forehand and extracted regular errors from his opponent to book a quarter-final clash against Andrey Rublev.

In the opening match on Center Court, Rublev rallied from a set down to defeat #NextGenATP Norwegian Casper Ruud 3-6, 7-5, 6-3. The 21-year-old is through to his first tour-level quarter-final since the Open 13 Provence in February.

Thiem will aim to extend his 2-0 FedEx ATP Head2Head series record against Rublev. The Austrian defeated Rublev in Vienna in 2017 and at last year’s Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters.

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Andy & Jamie Murray To Team Up In Washington Doubles

  • Posted: Jul 24, 2019

Andy & Jamie Murray To Team Up In Washington Doubles

Cabal/Farah, Bryans will also appear at ATP 500 event

Andy Murray and Jamie Murray will join forces for the first time since September 2016 in the doubles draw at next week’s Citi Open.

Andy and Jamie’s most recent appearance as a doubles team came in the 2016 David Cup World Group semi-finals, where they defeated Juan Martin del Potro and Leonardo Mayer in four sets. The Murray brothers own two ATP Tour doubles trophies as a team, following title runs at Valencia in 2010 and Tokyo in 2011.

“I am going to be competing in Washington next week in the doubles with my brother Jamie,” said Murray on Twitter. “[I am] obviously very excited to be on the court with him and also to go back to Washington. It is a city I have always enjoyed visiting, so it should be fun. [I am] hoping to have a good summer over in the States, keep progressing physically and hopefully get back on the singles court soon.”

The 32-year-old’s fourth men’s doubles appearance of the 2019 season is the latest step in his recovery from a second right hip surgery on 28 January. The former singles World No. 1 missed five months of the season before returning to action at the Fever-Tree Championships, where he lifted the doubles trophy alongside Feliciano Lopez. Murray also appeared at the Nature Valley International with Marcelo Melo and Wimbledon with Pierre-Hugues Herbert in men’s doubles and Serena Williams in mixed doubles.

Jamie Murray is bidding to lift his second straight title in the American capital. The 23-time tour-level titlist claimed the 2018 crown alongside Bruno Soares of Brazil. Soares also returns to the tournament alongside Mate Pavic of Croatia.

Joining the Murray brothers in the draw will be the first-time pairing of Stefanos Tsitsipas and Nick Kyrgios. World No. 6 Tsitsipas and five-time tour-level titlist Kyrgios have never met in singles action, but are scheduled to share the same side of the court in Monday’s evening session, pending the doubles draw on 26 July.

Also competing for the trophy will be Wimbledon champions Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah. The Colombian duo, which leads the ATP Doubles Race to London, has lifted four tour-level trophies this season. Four-time champions Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan will be aiming to capture the trophy for the first time since 2015.

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Andy Murray and Jamie Murray to play doubles together at Citi Open in Washington

  • Posted: Jul 24, 2019

Andy Murray will team up with brother Jamie in the doubles at the Citi Open in Washington next week.

The tournament is Murray’s fourth since undergoing hip resurfacing surgery in January and his first on a hard court.

The brothers, 32 and 33 respectively, played together to help Great Britain win the Davis Cup in 2015.

“They called us and said Andy really wanted to come back to DC and wanted to play doubles with his brother,” said Mark Ein, Citi Open manager.

“We’re putting a real focus on doubles at the event – it’s a terrific piece of the competition and entertainment value for fans so we were thrilled he wanted to return.”

The brothers played with different partners in the men’s doubles at Wimbledon, with Jamie and Neal Skupski exiting in the first round while Andy and Pierre-Hugues Herbert reached the second round.

Andy Murray played singles in Washington last year and was reduced to tears after finishing his last-16 win at 03:02 local time.

He withdrew from his quarter-final against Australian Alex de Minaur set to take place later that day, saying it was “unreasonable”.

Earlier this year, Murray said on Instagram he would “probably not” return to Washington after tournament director Keely O’Brien “rinsed him” by saying that as a “global role model” he should show it is “not ok to just give up”.

Jamie Murray won the Citi Open doubles title last year with former partner Bruno Soares – a pairing that also won Australian and US Open titles.

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Five Things To Know About Soonwoo Kwon

  • Posted: Jul 24, 2019

Five Things To Know About Soonwoo Kwon

Kwon will face Norrie for a spot in his first ATP Tour quarter-final

Qualifier Soonwoo Kwon earned his first ATP Tour win on Tuesday at the BB&T Atlanta Open, battling past Indian Prajnesh Gunneswaran 6-7(4), 7-5, 6-0 in two hours and 31 minutes to reach the second round.

“I am really, really happy to win for the first time at an ATP tournament,” Kwon said. “I had lost three times in a row against Gunneswaran, but today I won for the first time against him, so I’m really happy for that.”

Although the pair had never played at tour-level before, Gunneswaran won six of the seven professional sets they had played. Kwon saved all three break points he faced in this meeting.

After the match, caught up with the Korean — who next plays Cameron Norrie — to learn more about the 21-year-old.

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1. The Korean Is Closing On The Top 100, But Is In No Rush
After qualifying in Atlanta and winning his first ATP Tour main draw match, Kwon is projected to reach a career-high ATP Ranking on Monday. His current best is No. 115, which he reached earlier this month.

“I know that I’m really close to the Top 100, but I’m thinking about it step by step,” Kwon said. “It’s no rush. I’m really happy that I’m close to the Top 100, though.”

2. A Loss Against Khachanov At Wimbledon Was A Great Learning Experience
At The Championships, Russian star Karen Khachanov dispatched Kwon 7-6(6), 6-4, 4-6, 7-5 in three hours and seven minutes. Although the Korean did not secure his first Grand Slam main draw triumph, he took a lot out of that defeat, and he believes the experience will help him greatly in the months to come.

“I was losing, but I never gave up in sets and kept trying to fight and come back,” Kwon said. “I learned a lot from that, never giving up on any single point.”

In fact, the 21-year-old wants fans to know one thing about him, it’s that he will always give everything he has every single point.

“I never give up against opponents. I always fight until we have to shake hands,” Kwon said.

3. Kwon Idolises Roger & Rafa
Kwon has not yet gotten to practise with either Roger Federer or Rafael Nadal, but they were his idols growing up. The Korean hopes to play qualifying at the upcoming Coupe Rogers, where he would be ecstatic to work his way into the main draw and compete against Nadal. Federer is not playing that ATP Masters 1000 tournament.

“I’m really close to playing in the same tournaments as them, so I’m really preparing for that,” Kwon said.

4. The 21-Year-Old Is A Video Game Afficionado
Kwon says that he enjoys Playstation, and playing video games after dinner. If he’s not doing that, he added that you can likely find him watching tape of his next day’s opponent.

5. Kwon’s Inspired By Countrymen, Aiming For The Top 10
When Kwon was a junior growing up in Korea, he was not as well-known as some of his countrymen, like Hyeon Chung or Duckhee Lee, who he grew up with. He says they were always more popular, which has motivated him.

“I always try to think about beating them, fighting to get better and better,” Kwon said. “It’s motivation, it gives me a goal to catch up to them.”

Beyond that, Kwon says his ultimate goal is to one day crack the Top 10 of the ATP Rankings.

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World No. 405 King Stuns Dimitrov In Atlanta For First ATP Tour Win

  • Posted: Jul 24, 2019

World No. 405 King Stuns Dimitrov In Atlanta For First ATP Tour Win

Former Georgia Tech standout to face Fritz next

Former Georgia Tech standout Kevin King walked on Stadium Court Tuesday evening in Atlanta without a tour-level victory. The 28-year-old World No. 405 walked off with not just a win, but a victory against 2017 Nitto ATP Finals champion and former World No. 3 Grigor Dimitrov, whom he defeated 7-5, 6-4 to reach the second round of the BB&T Atlanta Open.

“It’s fantastic. Wouldn’t have rather done it at any other place,” King said. “It was a great crowd out there, great energy, so I’m just thrilled to have won that.”

The week has been extra emotional for King, who received a wild card into qualifying before advancing to the main draw. The lefty’s father, William, had not seed him play for two years before qualifying on Saturday due to a stroke.

“It’s very special,” King said. “It’s been a couple years since he’s seen me play, so just happy that he’s able to come out and support me.”

You May Also Like: Opelka-Isner, Round Four Awaits In Atlanta

Before this match, King’s best win came against then-World No. 81 Ernesto Escobedo at an ATP Challenger Tour event in September 2017. Against Dimitrov, an eight-time ATP Tour champion, King earned 23 break points, converting seven of them. The Atlanta resident did well to keep his number of unforced errors down throughout the match.

“It was incredible. It seemed he wasn’t quite at 100 per cent, so it definitely gave me some looks in his service games,” King said. “But I was glad to be able to close it out at the end.”

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For a moment, it appeared the Bulgarian may steal the momentum with his back against the wall. In Dimitrov’s final service game, the World No. 53 struck a backhand volley crosscourt that he thought was wide, and he even shook the chair umpire’s hand. But a challenge revealed that it clipped the line, giving Dimitrov new hope.

“I actually thought it was in when he hit it. I was shocked that he was walking to the bench, so I had a little hope that it might’ve been out,” King said. “I was actually surprised it was that close.”

If Dimitrov held that game to even the second set, it could have gotten sticky for King, who has won just six of 21 Challenger matches this season. But the home favourite forced the Bulgarian to beat him, which Dimitrov did not.

“[I] really was just trying to focus on making the return, not trying to get caught up in the score or the moment,” King said. “Just trying to get started in each point and try to make him work.”

It won’t get any easier for King, who will next face second seed Taylor Fritz. The Americans have never met at tour-level, but Fritz defeated King in three sets at an ATP Challenger Tour event last season. As excited as he is to earn the biggest victory of his career, King knows his tournament is not over yet.

“It’s great to celebrate it a little bit now with my friends and family out there, but I’ll go back, do a little recovery and start focussing on the next match.”

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