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Alcaraz To Push Closer To Race Lead In Montreal

  • Posted: Aug 08, 2022

Alcaraz To Push Closer To Race Lead In Montreal

Available in ATP/WTA Live App, Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Turin now updates after each match

Rafael Nadal leads the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Turin, but Carlos Alcaraz can make a significant dent in his countryman’s advantage this week in Montreal.

The 19-year-old Spaniard enters the National Bank Open Presented by Rogers in second place in the Race as he tries to qualify for the Nitto ATP Finals for the first time. But with Nadal missing the year’s sixth ATP Masters 1000 event due to an abdominal injury, Alcaraz has an opportunity to close the gap on his countryman for the top spot.

If Alcaraz (4,270 points) claims his third Masters 1000 title of the season (also Miami, Madrid), he will claw to within 350 points of the 36-year-old (5,620). That would give Alcaraz an opportunity to pass Nadal in the Race in Cincinnati.

Fans can track the latest Race movements in real time this week following the launch of the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Turin, which updates after each completed match. The Race is now available in the ATP/WTA Live App, which for the first time also features the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings.

Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Turin Standings

 Player  Points
 1) Rafael Nadal  5,620
 2) Carlos Alcaraz  4,270
 3) Stefanos Tsitsipas  4,010
 4) Casper Ruud  3,315
 5) Daniil Medvedev  2,825
 6) Alexander Zverev  2,700
 7) Andrey Rublev  2,595
 8) Felix Auger-Aliassime  2,475

Just 260 points behind Alcaraz is 2019 Nitto ATP Finals champion Stefanos Tsitsipas (4,010). The Greek is trying to qualify for the season finale for the fourth straight year.

Montreal will be an opportunity for Italians Matteo Berrettini and Jannik Sinner to move closer to a qualifying position. Twelfth-placed Berrettini (1,845) trails eighth-placed Felix Auger-Aliassime (2,475) by 630 points and 14th-placed Jannik Sinner (1,680) is 165 points behind his countryman. Both Italians competed at the Pala Alpitour last year, with Sinner replacing Berrettini, who was forced to withdraw due to injury.

Three-time Nitto ATP Finals qualifier Daniil Medvedev (2,825) further pressed his claim to a spot by winning the Abierto de Tenis Mifel, propelling him from sixth to fifth in the Race. The defending National Bank Open Presented by Rogers champion trails fourth-placed Casper Ruud (3,315) by 490 points.

Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Turin

The only player in the Top 8 in the Race who has not previously earned qualification for the Nitto ATP Finals is Auger-Aliassime (2,475), who currently holds the final qualifying spot in eighth. The Canadian, who will be playing in front of his home crowd this week in Montreal, owns a 370-point advantage over ninth-placed Taylor Fritz.

One of the most in-form players on the ATP Tour is Australian Nick Kyrgios. Having reached back-to-back singles finals for the first time in his career at Wimbledon and Washington, the 27-year-old arrives in Montreal with plenty of confidence. If he defeats Sebastian Baez in the first round, he will face Medvedev in a second-round blockbuster.

Kyrgios (1,195)  is up to 21st in the Race thanks to the 500 points he earned in Washington. If he claims his first Masters 1000 title in Canada, he can soar as high as ninth in the Race, depending on other results. That would put him straight into contention for a place for the season finale.

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What Medvedev Must Do To Fend Off Alcaraz's World No. 1 Push

  • Posted: Aug 08, 2022

What Medvedev Must Do To Fend Off Alcaraz’s World No. 1 Push examines the scenarios in the battle for No. 1

Daniil Medvedev will retain his No. 1 spot in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings regardless of how he performs in Montreal this week. However, the ATP Masters 1000 event will play a crucial role in how the battle for World No. 1 develops.

Medvedev arrives in Canada in good form after winning his first title of the season at the Abierto de Tenis Mifel. But he has work to do if he is to prevent Carlos Alcaraz and Rafael Nadal from mounting a challenge to his hold on top spot in Cincinnati.

If Medvedev reaches the final of the Canadian event, he will retain World No. 1 through at least the US Open. If he falls before Sunday’s final, he will open the door for the Spaniards to put pressure on him in Cincinnati.

Alcaraz must reach the Montreal final to have a chance of climbing to World No. 1 after the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati. If the 19-year-old wins his third Masters 1000 title of the season in Canada and Medvedev does not reach the championship match, the battle for World No. 1 will be live between the pair in Cincinnati. If Medvedev fails to reach the Round of 16 in Montreal, Alcaraz will have a shot at No. 1 in Cincinnati by reaching the final in Canada this week.

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Nadal is not competing in Montreal due to an abdominal injury. However, if Medvedev loses before the quarter-finals, the 36-year-old will also have an opportunity in Cincinnati, where he would need to win the title to have a chance to reclaim No. 1 for the first time since January 2020.

Medvedev, who will begin his 12th week at World No. 1 on Monday, does not let the pressure of his position affect him.

“I know what I want to achieve. I know what I do for this, how I work hard for this and that’s what matters to me. I know the people around me support me and for sure I’m really happy as the World No. 1 to get this title,” Medvedev said after triumphing in Los Cabos. “I’m really happy about it, but 4,000 points are coming and I want to get the most possible and that’s what I’m going to try to do.”

Alcaraz is currently at a career-high World No. 4 and while he can insert himself into the battle for No. 1, his sights will first be set on climbing to No. 3. If the 19-year-old reaches the final in Montreal, he will pass Nadal for that spot next Monday.

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Kyrgios Lifts Doubles Title With Sock To Complete Washington Sweep

  • Posted: Aug 08, 2022

Kyrgios Lifts Doubles Title With Sock To Complete Washington Sweep

Australian-American duo wins second title

Nick Kyrgios has owned the spotlight at the 2022 Citi Open, and the Washington singles champion finished the week in style by claiming the doubles title with partner Jack Sock on Sunday evening.

The Aussie brought the event to a fitting conclusion as he served out a 7-5, 6-4 victory against Ivan Dodig and Austin Krajicek, firing the pair’s ninth ace of the contest on match point. With the victory, Kyrgios became the first player to sweep the singles and doubles titles in the 53-year history of the Citi Open.

“I’m really happy to take home both titles,” Kyrgios, who improved to 4-0 in tour-level doubles finals, said during the trophy ceremony. “Hopefully I can keep this momentum going.”

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Kyrgios and Sock revelled in the evening atmosphere as they produced a series of show-stopping points to claim the title against this year’s Lyon champions and Roland Garros finalists. The fan-favourite duo claimed a late break in the opening set when a Kyrgios passing shot caught the edge of the baseline, then struck early in the second set on a Sock return winner — both breaks coming on a deciding point.

“We knew it was always going to be a tough match against you guys,” Sock said, addressing fourth seeds Dodig and Krajicek. “We had to definitely play our best today to have a chance.

“I’ve got to thank Nick for sticking it out. Most guys wouldn’t do that. It’s fairly hot and humid here in D.C. so I wasn’t expecting him to be too fresh for the doubles. He came out with full energy every time, which says a lot about what [he’s] doing on and off the court, prepping.”

Kyrgios spread the love on his end as well: “Sizzle, [you’re] probably my favourite guy to play with,” he told his partner, with apologies to Thanasi Kokkinakis, with whom he won the Australian Open title in January and the Atlanta title last week. “It’s been a hell of a week, singles and doubles. I probably would have pulled out of doubles earlier on if it wasn’t for Jack.”

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‘Transformed’ Kyrgios Claims 2nd Washington Title

Kyrgios/Sock improved to 19-4 as a team (4-1 in 2022) and claimed their second title after their 2018 triumph in Lyon. Their Washington title is Kyrgios’ fourth tour-level doubles crown and Sock’s 17th.

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'Transformed' Kyrgios Claims 2nd Washington Title

  • Posted: Aug 08, 2022

‘Transformed’ Kyrgios Claims 2nd Washington Title

Aussie was not broken at the ATP 500 event

From the lows of his struggles with mental health this time one year ago, Nick Kyrgios has once again risen to become a champion on the ATP Tour. The Aussie claimed a well-deserved reward for arguably the most consistent season of his career by winning the Citi Open title against Yoshihito Nishioka on Sunday.

Playing in the singles final for the second straight event after his breakthrough Wimbledon run, Kyrgios outclassed his Japanese opponent in a 6-4, 6-3 victory, claiming his first title since his 2019 Washington triumph. In an efficient display, Kyrgios converted on his first two break chances to take an instant lead in both sets and broke again on his third match point to secure his seventh tour-level title.

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“It’s just very emotional for me,” he said in a post-match interview. “To see where I was at last year to now, it’s just an incredible transformation. I just came out with great energy. I knew that I had experience on my side today. I love this court, I’ve played so many good matches here, so I’m just really happy with myself.

“I’ve been in some really dark places. Just to be able to turn it around… There are so many people who have helped me get there, but myself, I’ve shown some serious strength to just continue and persevere and get through all those times and be able to still perform and win tournaments like this one.”

The Aussie did not drop serve in the tournament and saved all 10 break points he faced, including one in the final. He saved five match points to get there, all coming in a quarter-final epic against local favourite Frances Tiafoe — the only of his six D.C. matches in which he dropped a set.  

Despite a 48 per cent first-serve percentage in the opening set, Kyrgios maintained his early advantage with strong all-court play and saved the only break point against him at 3-2 with a serve and volley on a heavy-kick second serve.

Kyrgios threatened to run away with the second set but could not find a second break until the very end. One of the points of the match came with Nishioka serving a 2-4, as Kyrgios tracked down a tough volley and ripped a forehand right at the body of his opponent, whose fast hands were up to the task. The exchange drew a smile from Nishioka, though the Aussie was unmoved with his eyes on the prize.

On the very next point, Kyrgios floated a perfect topspin lob. But despite feeling the effects of a gruelling week in the Washington heat, Nishioka stood firm to stay within touching distance. Undeterred, Kyrgios got on top of the rallies in his final return game, ultimately claiming victory when a blasted inside-out forehand return drew an error.

Kyrgios collapsed to the floor after his dominant victory, once again an ATP Tour champion three years on from his last taste of glory. He remains undefeated at 4-0 in his ATP Head2Head against Nishioka.

This week’s performance moved the Aussie up 24 places to No. 21 in the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Turin, and up 26 places to No. 37 in the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings. Kyrgios has won 11 of his past 12 matches, losing only the Wimbledon final in four sets to Novak Djokovic.

He will now turn his attention to the D.C. doubles final, where he will team with Jack Sock against fourth seeds Ivan Dodig and Austin Krajicek. Soon after, he’ll be off to Montreal, where he could face World No. 1 Daniil Medvedev in the second round of the National Bank Open Presented by Rogers.

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Alcaraz: 'I Grew Up So Fast'

  • Posted: Aug 07, 2022

Alcaraz: ‘I Grew Up So Fast’

Alcaraz is seeking his fifth title of the season in Montreal

Carlos Alcaraz is ready to break more ground at the National Bank Open Presented by Rogers as he looks to build on his whirlwind year in Montreal.

The second-seeded Spaniard, who was ranked outside the Top 50 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings last August, will be targeting a Tour-leading fifth title and third ATP Masters 1000 crown of a dream season on debut in Canada.

“I grew up so fast. To be the second seed at a Masters 1000 is amazing and I didn’t expect this at the beginning of the year. Honestly I still can’t believe it right now,” Alcaraz said during his pre-tournament press conference on Sunday. “It is something I wanted at the start of the year, when I was aiming to be at the top and be one of the favourites to win one of the most important tournaments.”

The 19-year-old, who will face Tommy Paul or Vasek Pospisil in his opening match in Quebec, has enjoyed a remarkable rise. Last month, he became the second-youngest player in the 21st century to crack the Top 5 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings, with only countryman Rafael Nadal reaching the landmark faster.

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Now, competing in his first hard-court event since he triumphed in Miami in April, Alcaraz will be looking to adjust to the conditions in Montreal as he plays on his third surface since July. The World No. 4 reached the fourth round on grass at Wimbledon last month, before he advanced to consecutive clay-court finals in Hamburg and Umag, leaving him 42-7 on the season.

“It is tough to change surfaces quickly. In two months, I have played on three surfaces and it is tough. But I consider myself a player who adjusts to a new surface very fast,” Alcaraz said. “The transition from clay to hard is tough, but I did specific work to adjust to hard court and I have come here a lot of days before to get used to this court. [I have been] playing points and sets with the best players.”

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Alcaraz revealed he has been enjoying his time in Montreal since his arrival and has been excited by the support he has received from fans.

The 2021 Intesa Sanpaolo Next Gen ATP Finals champion, who sits second in the Pepperstone ATP Race To Turin, is looking forward to competing in front of the crowds on his debut in Canada.

“I have felt so much love from the people,” Alcaraz said. “That is amazing for me. It is my first time and I didn’t expect that. There are lots of people and it is amazing to have the support and the love of the people here.”

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Medvedev Returns To The Winners' Circle In Los Cabos

  • Posted: Aug 07, 2022

Medvedev Returns To The Winners’ Circle In Los Cabos

World No. 1 does not lose a set en route to the title

Daniil Medvedev claimed his first title of the season on Saturday when he defeated Cameron Norrie 7-5, 6-0 to win the Abierto de Tenis Mifel in Los Cabos.

The World No. 1 did not drop a set all week at the Mexican ATP 250 event to earn his 14th tour-level trophy. It is the 26-year-old’s first triumph since last year’s US Open.

“Every match was very good, but the final is always special,” Medvedev said in his on-court interview. “In the final you play the best player of this week, so it’s always a high-level match and I’m really happy that I managed to show some good level, some good shots in such an important match.”

Entering the match, Medvedev was on a five-final losing streak dating back to last year’s Rolex Paris Masters. But the top seed did not show any nerves, converting six of his 10 break points to storm to a one-hour, 23-minute win.

“It was not easy. Cam is an amazing player, so it was really intense,” Medvedev said. “When you play against Cam, you know that you have to fight for every point.”

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The pivotal moment came at the end of the first set. Medvedev held two set points on his serve at 5-4, 40/15, but relinquished his service break. On the first point of the next game, he scraped his hand on the court trying to hit a ball, and needed treatment from the physio as he had drawn blood.

“First set we broke each other two times to be at 5-all and he actually came back from 40/15 and I didn’t play bad in that game at 5-4,” Medvedev said. “So I knew I just had to stay there. Actually bleeding helped me I think a little bit so I could hold my nerve a little bit more. Since then I just managed to play good and it was enough today.”

But instead of panicking, Medvedev went right back to work. The World No. 1 won the final eight games of the match to complete his first week of competition since Mallorca in June.

Norrie won his first ATP Tour title last year in Los Cabos and fell just one match short of retaining his trophy.

“I fought as hard as I could but Daniil, he was too good,” Norrie said during the trophy ceremony. “Well done to you and your team, definitely deserved it this week.”

Did You Know?
With the 250 points he earned in Los Cabos, Medvedev is up to fifth in the Pepperstone ATP Race To Turin. He is trying to qualify for the Nitto ATP Finals for the fourth consecutive year.

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Nishioka Stuns Rublev, Sets Kyrgios Clash For Washington Title

  • Posted: Aug 07, 2022

Nishioka Stuns Rublev, Sets Kyrgios Clash For Washington Title

Lefty to play for first ATP 500 trophy

Yoshihito Nishioka’s week to remember keeps getting better.

The Japanese lefty continued his impressive run in Washington on Saturday evening when he stunned top seed Andrey Rublev 6-3, 6-4 to reach the Citi Open final. The 26-year-old will play 2019 champion Nick Kyrgios for the trophy.

“I love to play here, I have been here many times. But for tomorrow, everyone loves Nick as well. Hopefully still they… the crowd, [cheers for] me, but just [going to] enjoy the day tomorrow,” Nishioka said in his on-court interview. “[It is my] first time [in a] final in a 500, so [I will] just [try to] play my best and [I am] excited.”

Entering the week, Nishioka had not won a tour-level match since Miami in March. But in July, he won five of his seven matches on the ATP Challenger Tour and carried that momentum into the United States’ capital, where he is now one victory from the biggest trophy of his career.

Nishioka has lost all three of his previous ATP Head2Head matches against Kyrgios. Their most recent clash came in the Round of 16 three years ago, a meeting the Australian won 6-2, 7-5 en route to the title.

“We’ve played many times, but he beat me every time since [we were] 16 years old. It is really tough to play against him,” Nishioka said. “He doesn’t have any pace, he just hits the ball so hard every time and most of his serves [too], which [makes it] very tough to break his service games. The most important thing is I have to focus on my service games.”

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But Nishioka’s confidence is soaring. The Japanese star defeated last week’s Atlanta finalists, runner-up Jenson Brooksby and champion Alex de Minaur in the first two rounds, before eliminating seventh seed Karen Khachanov and 16th seed Daniel Evans to reach the last four.

Nishioka needed three hours and 35 minutes to dispatch Evans on Friday, but physically had no issues going blow-for-blow with Rublev, one of the most powerful players on the ATP Tour.

“Today I felt very tired before the start of the match, and for sure I felt I [couldn’t] do the same thing like I did against Evans and Khachanov,” Nishioka said. “I tried to be a little bit aggressive, because I knew Andrey was going to play aggressive to me. I needed to play a little bit aggressive to him.”

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The top seed struggled to control his forehand against the consistent lefty. Rublev continued to press on that wing knowing how quick Nishioka is behind the baseline, and that continued aggression proved his undoing.

The World No. 8 mishit a forehand facing break point in back-to-back service games to lose his serve. While Nishioka gave the first of those service breaks back, he maintained it the second time and served out the match to advance to his first ATP 500 final.

Did You Know?
World No. 96 Nishioka is up to No. 54 in the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings and will climb to No. 42 if he defeats Kyrgios in the final.

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Blumberg/Kecmanovic Make Dream Debut, Win Los Cabos Title

  • Posted: Aug 07, 2022

Blumberg/Kecmanovic Make Dream Debut, Win Los Cabos Title

Debut tandem defeats veterans Klaasen and Melo for the trophy

William Blumberg and Miomir Kecmanovic will never forget their team debut on the ATP Tour.

The American-Serbian pair defeated fourth seeds Raven Klaasen and Marcelo Melo 6-0, 6-1 on Saturday to win Abierto de Tenis Mifel title in Los Cabos.

“I’m happy to do it with Miomir,” Blumberg said. “We’ve been friends for a really long time. I’ve known him since 14, 15, we were juniors. It’s nice to link up again.”

Blumberg has been Klaasen and Melo’s kryptonite in recent weeks. The former University of North Carolina star teamed with Steve Johnson to defeat the veterans 6-4, 7-5 in the Newport final in July.

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The unseeded Blumberg and Kecmanovic saved all five break points they faced while converting six of their 12 chances to lift the trophy after 53 minutes.

It was an impressive run for the first-time tandem, which needed a Match Tie-Break in the first three rounds. They upset top seeds Santiago Gonzalez and Andres Molteni in the semi-finals.

Blumberg is now a three-time ATP Tour doubles titlist, with his previous two titles both coming in Newport. Kecmanovic is a first-time tour-level doubles champion, having entered the week with a 9-23 doubles record.

“It feels amazing to win a doubles title,” Kecmanovic said. “I [don’t really play much [doubles]. I’m happy that I [was] able to capitalise on the opportunity.”

Did You Know?
While this was their professional debut as a duo, Blumberg and Kecmanovic played a junior doubles event in 2015 together. They lost in straight sets in the first round.

Dodig/Krajicek Reach Washington Final
Ivan Dodig and Austin Krajicek showed their clay-court prowess as a team when they reached the Roland Garros final and won the Lyon title. Now, they are into a hard-court final together.

The fourth seeds defeated Rohan Bopanna and Matwe Middelkoop 7-5, 6-3 to reach the Citi Open final. Their championship match opponents will be Nick Kyrgios and Jack Sock, who were 3-6, 6-2, 10-6 quarter-final winners against Nicolas Mahut and Edouard Roger-Vasselin. The Australian-American duo then proceeded to the final via a semi-final walkover following the withdrawal of Alex de Minaur and Frances Tiafoe.

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