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Preview: 'Recharged' Berrettini Ready For Montreal Debut

Hace 6 horas 57 mins

Even Matteo Berrettini is surprised that, some five years after making his ATP Tour debut, he had yet to play the National Bank Open Presented by Rogers.

“I’m really looking forward to playing my first match here,” said the 26-year-old Italian ahead of Tuesday’s opener against Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta. “I always joke with my team that I never had the chance to play here.”

Be careful what you wish for. Beyond the 23rd-ranked Carreno Busta lies potential matchups with the likes of Dane Holger Rune and perhaps even countryman Jannik Sinner.

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“In a way, you should expect that in a 1000 like this all the matches are really tough,” said Berrettini, No. 14 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings. “The tricky part is going to be my first opponent. Pablo is a great player. It’s also a new tournament for me. Until you step on the court, you don’t really feel the atmosphere and everything. I’m curious about it.”

Berrettini topped Carreno Busta in their only previous encounter earlier this year in the Round of 16 at the Australian Open, winning, 7-5, 7-6(4), 6-4.

It hasn’t been an easy year for Berrettini. After Indian Wells, he sustained an injury to his right hand that necessitated surgery, forcing him to withdraw from the clay-court swing. Then, just when he was rediscovering his momentum — nine straight wins and back-to-back titles in Stuttgart and London — he tested positive for COVID-19 and was ruled out of Wimbledon.

“I started to think it was like a prank or something, a joke, because I was feeling pretty good,” said Berrettini. “It was really tough…I was by myself. I was quarantined. There wasn’t anybody to hug or watch a movie with. It was just me in my room trying not to think about what would happen, think about the future.”

In the end, Berrettini says he used the time to recharge and mentally prepare himself for the North American hard-court summer.

[FOLLOW ACTION]

Nick Kyrgios recently spoke of that “small window” of opportunity that comes part and parcel with a deep, second-week run at a major, that sudden locker-room swagger that can win you matches before you’ve even stepped out onto the court.

As the surging Canberran heads into the National Bank Open, he’s thrown that window wide open, sash and all.

A first-time Grand Slam finalist at 27, the Wimbledon runner-up is playing the most inspired tennis of his career. In addition to his exploits at SW19, where he became the first unseeded entrant to reach the final since countryman Mark Philippoussis in 2003, he notched consecutive semi-finals in Houston, Stuttgart and Halle, and on Sunday snapped a three-year-long title drought via a 6-4, 6-3 triumph over Yoshihito Nishioka in Washington. He also became also became the first player in the tournament’s 53-year history to sweep the men’s singles and doubles (with Jack Sock) in the same week.

“I felt like I was one of the best players in the world this year by far,” said Kyrgios, who opened 2022 at No. 93 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings, but has since jumped to No. 37. “I feel like I have really kind of reinvented myself this year."

When the Montreal draw was released, all eyes went to a potential second-round convergence between Kyrgios and the reigning World No. 1 and defending champion Daniil Medvedev, who last week bagged a title of his own in Los Cabos. But for that to come to fruition, Kyrgios will first have to get past promising young Argentine Sebastian Baez on Tuesday.

Kyrgios claimed their only previous encounter, a 6-4, 6-0 opener earlier this year in Indian Wells, but the 21-year-old Baez has since gone on to a career-high No. 31, claiming his first ATP title in Estoril (def. Frances Tiafoe, 6-3, 6-2) and reaching the final in Bastad (l. to countryman Francisco Cerundolo, 7-6(4), 6-2).

It’s already been a memorable summer for Brit Cameron Norrie, who in July punched through to his first major semiifinal at Wimbledon, and as the defending champion again reached the Los Cabos final (l. to Medvedev, 7-5, 6-0). Now one spot behind his career-high No. 10 ranking, the former Texas Christian University standout will look to break new ground on Canadian soil, where he has yet to advance beyond the second round.

Norrie will open his campaign when he takes on the talented 21-year-old Brandon Nakashima for the second time in a matter of weeks, having topped the American in the Round of 16 in Eastbourne, 6-4, 6-2, to up his ATP Head2Head advantage to 2-1.

Like Norrie, the former University of Virginia star Nakashima broke new ground at Wimbledon when he advanced to the fourth round of a major for the first time, and followed that with consecutive quarter-finals in Atlanta and Los Cabos.

[NEWSLETTER FORM]

It’s been nearly a decade-and-a-half since 13th seed Marin Cilic made his National Bank Open debut. The two-time quarter-finalist, 33, will open against Borna Coric in an all-Croatian affair on Court 9. He’s a spotless 7-0 versus his compatriot, his most recent win coming in the second round of this same event in 2018. A Roland Garros semi-finalist, Cilic returns to the court after sitting out Wimbledon due to Covid-19.

For the second year in a row at the National Bank Open, Canada’s Vasek Pospisil finds himself matched up against Tommy Paul in the first round. The home favourite hopes to exact revenge from a 6-7(5), 6-2, 6-3 loss to the American in that encounter, their only other meeting at the tour level.

Fellow Canadian wildcard Alexis Galarneau is matched up against 15th seed Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria. American Frances Tiafoe and Frenchman Benjamin Bonzi will go head to head for the second time in 2022, Tiafoe having claimed a tight 7-5, 7-5, 7-6(5) first-round win at Roland Garros.

Other notable matches on the schedule include: Gael Monfils vs. Pedro Martinez, and Newport champion Maxime Cressy vs. Aslan Karatsev, as well as the continuation of the rain-called Denis Shapovalov vs. Alex de Minaur affair, deadlocked at 3/3 in the second-set tiebreak. Originally scheduled for Monday, the much-anticipated match between Andy Murray and Taylor Fritz will kick off the night session on Centre Court.

Evans/Peers Battle Back For Montreal Doubles Win

Hace 8 horas 2 mins

Daniel Evans and John Peers beat the rain on Monday at the National Bank Open Presented by Rogers to down Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares 4-6, 6-3, 10-5.

The British-Australian team completed their comeback with a dominant performance in the Match Tie-break, capitalising on a 4/0 lead to close out the victory. After dropping serve three times in the opening set, the pair claimed the lone break of the second as they turned the match around.

Evans/Peers will next face fifth seeds Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic or the French team of Nicolas Mahut and Edouard Roger-Vasselin.


Bruno Soares and Jamie Murray saved six of nine break points in their Montreal defeat. Photo Credit: Mike Lawrence/ATP Tour

In the only other doubles match to be completed on Monday, Poland's Hubert Hurkacz and Jan Zielinski scored an upset win against sixth seeds Tim Puetz and Michael Venus.

In a 6-3, 7-6(4) victory, the unseeded pairing dominated the opening set then recovered a mid-set break in the second before taking the final three points of the tie-break from 4/4. The Polish duo converted three of six break chances, including two as they opened up a 5-1 lead in the first set.

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They will next face either Karen Khachanov and Denis Shapovalov or Rohan Bopanna and Matwe Middelkoop, with their matchup set for Tuesday.

Two other opening-round doubles matches are scheduled for Day 2 in Montreal, including Wimbledon champions Matthew Ebden and Max Purcell taking on Grigor Dimitrov and Andrey Rublev.

Khachanov Earns 200th Match Win In Montreal

Hace 9 horas 5 mins

Karen Khachanov earned every bit of his 200th tour-level singles win on Monday at the National Bank Open Presented by Rogers. After splitting two sets of razor-thin margins against Francisco Cerundolo, the 26-year-old powered through the decider in a 7-6(4), 5-7, 6-3 victory.

The World No. 28 improved to 200-154 with the result, hitting 22 winners and five aces in the two-hour, 43-minute contest. Khachanov was six of nine on break chances and claimed the only break of the final set in its fourth game. After moving ahead 3-1, he dropped just two points on serve the rest of the way, closing out the win with a love hold.

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A two-time semi-finalst at the ATP Masters 1000 event (2018-19), Khachanov earned his first ATP Tour win in St. Petersburg in 2013 and rose to a career-high of No. 8 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings in 2019. He won three of his four tour-level titles in 2018, including his trophy triumph at the Rolex Paris Masters.

His best result of 2022 is a run to the Adelaide-1 final in January. Now at 26-18 on the season, he will next meet Marin Cilic or Borna Coric in the second round.

In one of the marquee opening-round matchups in Montreal, Alex de Minaur was four points away from victory against home favourite Denis Shapovalov when heavy rain stopped play for the day. The Australian took the opening set 7-5 with a break in its final game, then clawed back an early break in the second to force a tie-break, which is knotted at 3-3.

Atlanta champion De Minaur is seeking his first win in his third appearance at the Canadian event, as well as his first win against a Canadian opponent (0-7). Shapovalov, who was firing up his home crowd throughout the match, is seeking to improve upon a 1-8 run in his last nine matches since defeating Rafael Nadal in Rome.

The Stats Behind Kyrgios' Untouchable Serving Week In Washington

Hace 11 horas 59 mins

Nick Kyrgios made history at the Citi Open on Sunday by becoming the first man to sweep the singles and doubles titles in the 53-year history of the ATP 500 event. But the Aussie also made a bit of history with his flawless serving performance in the singles competition.

With 64 consecutive service holds, Kyrgios was never broken on his title run, saving all 10 break points against him. He hit 96 aces on the week, including a tournament-high 35 in the quarter-finals against Frances Tiafoe — a 6-7(5), 7-6(12), 6-2 victory in which Kyrgios saved five match points.

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The last time a player won an ATP Tour title without dropping serve was in June, when Taylor Fritz won Eastbourne with 51 straight holds. The last player to do so with at least 64 service holds was Kenneth Carlsen, who claimed the 2002 Tokyo title behind 70 consecutive service games won. Ivo Karlovic was the last man to win an ATP Tour title with at least 60 service holds and no breaks; he held 61 times in winning the 2013 Bogota crown.

For the 2022 season, Kyrgios leads the ATP Tour with a hold rate of 94.42 per cent, winning 423 of his 448 service games across 34 matches, according to Infosys ATP Stats. Only John Isner (91.52%), Reilly Opelka (90.83%) and Hubert Hurkacz (90.13%) join him above the 90 per cent threshold.

Kyrgios' 538 aces on the season are fifth on the ATP Tour, while his 79.17 break-point save percentage (95/120) tops the Tour. The Aussie has won 79.25 per cent of his first-serve points on the year (fourth) and 56.35 per cent of his second-serve points (third).

Ruusuvuori Rolls Past Wawrinka In Montreal

Hace 12 horas 11 mins

Emil Ruusuvuori backed up his third-round run in Washington with another impressive performance at the National Bank Open Presented by Rogers on Monday, moving past Stan Wawrinka 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 to reach the second round in rainy Montreal.

The Finn defeated World No. 11 Hubert Hurkacz in Washington last week to earn the biggest win of his season and he played with confidence against Wawrinka, outmanoeuvring the Swiss star to advance after two hours and 12 minutes.

The 23-year-old recovered from squandering a break advantage in the second set as he raised his level in the decider, saving the one break point he faced in the third set to triumph in his first ATP Head2Head meeting against Wawrinka.

“I grew up watching Stan and have huge respect for this guy,” Ruusuvuori said in his on-court interview. “He is still such a tough competitor and he has inspired so many people, so I hope he can continue and bring this level. I really enjoyed this match and it was a dream come true.”

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Ruusuvuori, who is making his second appearance at the Canadian ATP Masters 1000 event, will look to earn a second consecutive victory over Hurkacz when he plays the eighth seed in the second round.

“It was a good match for me last week and not the best from him. I am sure he is going to come hot and he is going to study," Ruusuvuori said when looking ahead to his match against the Pole. "He is a Top 10-level player and I will need to bring my absolute best to beat him.”

The World No. 44's best result this season came in Pune, where he advanced to his first tour-level final.

Wawrinka was seeking his first hard-court win since the 2021 Australian Open. The former World No. 3 was making his eighth appearance in Montreal, with his best result a run to the quarter-finals in 2011.

In other action, Alex Molcan earned victory on his Montreal debut, downing Mackenzie McDonald 7-6(1), 6-4 in one hour and 47 minutes. The Slovakian is now 23-14 on the season, having reached tour-level finals in Marrakech and Lyon. Molcan will next play fourth seed Casper Ruud.

Karen Khachanov edged past Argentine Francisco Cerundolo 7-6(4), 5-7, 6-3 to earn his 200th tour-level win. The 26-year-old, who earned his maiden tour-level victory in St. Petersburg in 2013, will take on Marin Cilic or Borna Coric in the second round.

[NEWSLETTER FORM]

Shang and Zhang Create History On ATP Challenger Tour

Lun, 08/08/2022 - 22:43

Shang Juncheng and Zhang Zhizhen etched their names in the history books on Sunday when they became the first Chinese duo to win ATP Challenger Tour titles in the same week. Following the success of Wu Yibing, who’s won three Challenger titles this year including two weeks ago in Indianapolis, China now has three male players in the Top 250 of the Pepperstone ATP Rankings.

Shang, 17, triumphed on Sunday to become the youngest Chinese champion in Challenger Tour history. The teenager defeated Emilio Gomez, who was on a nine match winning streak, 6-4, 6-4 to capture the Lexington Challenger presented by Meridian Wealth Management title.

En route to the trophy, Shang took out the top seed and recent Nur-Sultan titlist, Roman Safiullin, recovering from a 0-6 first-set shutout to advance to the semi-finals, where he again rallied from a set down to defeat Aleksander Kovacevic. Two weeks ago the American had six championship points against Wu in the Indianapolis final but could not close out the match.

Coached by former World No. 1 and fellow lefty Marcelo Rios, who was in Lexington, Shang is the youngest player to win a Challenger title since Carlos Alcaraz at Alicante in 2020.

Shang Juncheng celebrates his Lexington Challenger title with coach Marcelo Rios.

Since 2010, only four men have won a Challenger title at a younger age: Felix Auger-Aliassime (16 years, 10 months), Alexander Zverev (17 years, 2 months), Carlos Alcaraz (17 years, 3 months), and Nicola Kuhn (17 years, 3 months).

The left-hander rises more than 100 spots in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings, as he reaches a career-high 241. Ecuador’s Gomez, who won the Winnipeg Challenger the previous week, draws closer to a Top-100 debut, climbing to a career-high 114.

Appearing in his third straight Challenger final after runner-up finishes in Luedenscheid and Trieste, Zhang collected his third Challenger title when he triumphed at the Serena Wines Tennis Cup 1881 in Cordenons, Italy. Needing three hours and two minutes to win his first title since 2019, Zhang overcame home favourite Andrea Vavassori 2-6, 7-6(5), 6-3 in the final.

The 25-year-old’s career best mark of 136, reached in 2020, is the highest achieved by a male Chinese player. His Cordenons title lifts him to World No. 161 and reclaims his status from Wu (now 173) as China’s highest-ranked player.

In a busy week on the Italian clay for Vavassori, he teamed with Dustin Brown to win the doubles title. Appearing in back-to-back singles finals in San Bendetto and Cordenons, his recent success propels Vavassori to a career-high 176 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings.

#NextGenATP Jiri Lehecka kept his eyes set on the eight-player Intesa Sanpaolo Next Gen ATP Finals after winning the Svijany Open. Playing at home in Liberec, Czech Republic, the 20-year-old took down Spaniard Nicolas Alvarez Varona 6-4, 6-4 to clinch his first Challenger title of the season and third overall.

The Czech charged to a maiden Tour-level semi-final in February as a qualifier at the ATP 500 event in Rotterdam, a run that included upsetting Lorenzo Musetti, Botic Van de Zandschulp, and Denis Shapovalov.

The former Wimbledon boys’ doubles champion (w/ Jonas Forejtek) climbs to a career-high 59 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings and is sixth in the Pepperstone ATP Live Race to Milan. Alvarez Varona also reaches a career-high 223.

Play Begins In Montreal After Rain

Lun, 08/08/2022 - 20:04

After a four-hour rain delay, played has started at the National Bank Open Presented by Rogers on Monday.

The action was due to commence at 12:00 p.m. local time on all courts, but was delayed due to the weather in Montreal, with play eventually starting at 4:04 pm. Stan Wawrinka, Taylor Fritz and three-time champion Andy Murray are among the stars in action on Day 1 of the Canadian ATP Masters 1000 event, where Daniil Medvedev is the reigning champion.

[NEWSLETTER FORM]

Fresh Data INSIGHTS Provide Fans With Stronger Understanding & Narratives

Lun, 08/08/2022 - 19:19

Tennis Data Innovations (TDI) has partnered with TennisViz to develop a series of next-generation data insights, set to enhance the tennis fan experience.

Following the successful launch of In Attack, Conversion and Steal insights earlier in the season, TDI and TennisViz have revealed their latest tranche of co-developed insights. These leverage TDI’s industry-leading match and tracking data and TennisViz’s next generation Artificial Intelligence, to provide fans with deeper understanding and richer narratives around the action on court.

Designed to present fans with the right data at the right time, insights will be fully integrated into the broadcast of ATP Masters 1000 tournaments and the season-ending Nitto ATP Finals in Turin.

What are INSIGHTS?

We’ve aggregated five key fundamentals of every player’s game:
- Type of shot played (more than 60 different shot types)
- Quality of shot (ranked on a 0-10 scale)
- The situation of player (serving, returning, both back, at the net)
- Phase of play (attack, neutral, defence)
- Tactics and patterns of play (7 tactics and 48 patterns of play)

We’ve used that data to create four brand new INSIGHTS:
- In Attack 
- Conversion Score and Steal Score 
- Shot Quality 
- Playing Style 

This simple shift in perspective will transform the way you see and understand the game, whatever your level of interest or expertise.

And this is just the start. Tennis Data Innovations and TennisViz have other innovative AI data INSIGHTS set to roll out over the coming months.

What sets INSIGHTS apart from other statistics?

- INSIGHTS are unique. Our AI measures aspects of tennis that have never been measured. This includes attack and defence, tactics, and shot quality.

- INSIGHTS deepen every fan’s understanding. Traditional data points often measure who has won or lost. TennisViz INSIGHTS engage fans throughout and after the match, by showing how a player is winning.

- INSIGHTS offer compelling new narratives. All INSIGHTS include player, Tour, and tournament averages. These benchmarks provide a new level of context.

- INSIGHTS are correlated with the likelihood of winning. They show the probability of a player winning or losing based on their current level of performance across the AI-mined differentiating factors.

- INSIGHTS highlight the key to each match. This collection of INSIGHTS has been designed to cover all aspects of tennis. INSIGHTS show the right data for a specific match at the right time.

Kyrgios Back In Top 40, Mover Of Week

Lun, 08/08/2022 - 16:12

Nick Kyrgios’ charge to his second crown at the Citi Open in Washington, D.C. propels the Australian to No. 37 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings, his highest position since February 2020. Yoshihito Nishioka and Mikael Ymer also make big jumps off the back of strong showings in the U.S. capital.

ATPTour.com looks at the movers of the week, as of Monday, 8 August.

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No. 37 Nick Kyrgios, +26
An impressive week in Washington saw Kyrgios lift his seventh tour-level trophy at the Citi Open and the triumph lifts the Australian 26 spots to No. 37 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings. Kyrgios downed four home favourites at the ATP 500 event — including Frances Tiafoe in a quarter-final thriller during which the Australian saved five match points — before dismissing Ymer and Nishioka to claim his first Tour title since 2019. Read Washington Final Report & Watch Highlights.

View Latest Pepperstone ATP Rankings

No. 11 Cameron Norrie, +1
Norrie fell just short of defending his 2021 crown at the Abierto de Tenis Mifel in Los Cabos, but the Briton’s run to the championship match pushes him one spot higher to No. 11 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings. Norrie breezed past Chun-Hsin Tseng and Radu Albot on the west coast of Mexico and battled past second seed Felix Auger-Aliassime in the semi-finals before World No. 1 Daniil Medvedev proved too strong in the final. Read Los Cabos Final Report & Watch Highlights.

No. 24 Frances Tiafoe, +3
Tiafoe’s quarter-final clash with Kyrgios was one of the matches of the 2022 season so far. Although the American was ultimately beaten in a meeting between two of the most exciting shotmakers on the ATP Tour, Tiafoe had already delighted his home fans with strong showings against Christopher Eubanks and Botic van de Zandschulp, wins that move him up three spots to No. 24 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings.

No. 54 Yoshihito Nishioka, +42
Five hard-fought wins in five days, all against Top 40 opponents, carried Nishioka to his maiden ATP 500 final in Washington. The Japanese saw off Jenson Brooksby, Alex de Minaur, Karen Khachanov, Daniel Evans (in a three-hour, 35-minute quarter-final epic) and top seed Andrey Rublev before Kyrgios proved a step too far in the final. Nishioka’s efforts nonetheless see him jump 42 spots to No. 54 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings, just six places off his career high.

Other Notable Top 100 Movers
No. 26 Holger Rune, +2 (Career High)
No. 35 Miomir Kecmanovic, +3
No. 44 Emil Ruusuvuori, +2
No. 52 Sebastian Korda, +2
No. 59 Jiri Lehecka, +6 (Career High)
No. 77 Mikael Ymer, +38
No. 84 J.J. Wolf, +15 (Career High)

Preview: Three-Time Champ Murray To Face Fritz; Shapovalov Aims For Reset On Home Turf

Lun, 08/08/2022 - 06:25

As Day 1 action gets underway at the National Bank Open Presented by Rogers, Andy Murray finds himself back on familiar ground, both in terms of the Pepperstone ATP Rankings and the hard courts of the Great White North.

In June, the Scotsman returned to the Top 50 for the first time since 2018, the year he underwent the first of his two hip surgeries. The former No. 1 is looking to continue that resurgence with a deep run in Canada, where he has raised the ATP Masters 1000 trophy on no fewer than three occasions, most recently in 2015. There’s plenty of incentive with the US Open looming and a chance to be among the 32 seeds at the year-end Grand Slam.

“It’s still possible to do it. I would just need to have a good run in Canada or Cincinnati,” said Murray, whose summer has included a final in Stuttgart and a quarter-final showing in Newport. “It’s pretty straightforward, if I was to make a quarter-final or a semi-final there. I do feel like if I play very well that I could do that.”

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The 35-year-old wild card will have his work cut out for him in the opening round on Monday in a first-time encounter with rising American Taylor Fritz. At No. 13 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings, the baseliner is riding high after defeating Rafael Nadal to capture his maiden Masters 1000 title earlier this year in Indian Wells, and breaking through to his first major quarter-final last month at Wimbledon.

Fritz recalls, as a kid, watching Murray play in Indian Wells, just a few hours’ drive from his Rancho Santa Fe birthplace. (“They had him on, hard to believe, one of the side courts,” he said.) He even chased Murray down for an autograph. But this will be Fritz’s first tour-level meeting with the three-time major titlist. The American has yet to advance beyond the first round in Canada.

[FOLLOW ACTION]

The centre court lineup on Day 1 in Montreal will also feature Stan Wawrinka vs. Emil Ruusuvuori, Diego Schwartzman vs. Alejandro Davidovich Fokina, and an intriguing head-to-head between Canadian Denis Shapovalov vs. Aussie Alex de Minaur.

Shapovalov hopes playing in front of his home fans will prove the spark he needs after a rough stretch that has, since defeating Nadal to reach the quarter-finals in Rome, seen him drop eight of nine matches. The World No. 22 would do well to revisit his career breakthrough win, which came on home soil at this same event in 2017. That’s the year the left-hander, then just 18, stunned then-World No. 2 Nadal to become the youngest-ever Masters 1000 semi-finalist.

Shapovalov is 0-2 in his ATP Head2Head series against De Minaur, who one week ago lifted the ATP 250 title in Atlanta for the second time.

[NEWSLETTER FORM]

Elsewhere, Francisco Cerundolo and Karen Khachanov will kick off the opening-round action on Court Rogers. Cerundolo is in the midst of a breakout campaign that has seen the 23-year-old Argentine crack the Top 100 and overcome countryman Sebastian Baez to capture his first ATP Tour crown in Bastad.

American Jenson Brooksby and Kazakhstan’s Alexander Bublik will meet for the first time in Montreal. Both players find themselves in top form, Brooksby having reached the trophy tilt in Atlanta (l. to De Minaur, 6-3, 6-3), and Bublik having pushed eventual titlist Maxime Cressy to the limit on grass in the Newport final, falling 2-6, 6-3, 7-6(3).

No. 14 seed Roberto Bautista Agut will take on former UCLA standout Marcos Giron of the United States, while Italy’s Fabio Fognini is set to face Denmark’s Holder Rune, who since reaching the Roland Garros quarter-finals has suffered opening-round defeats in six of his past seven events.

History-Making Kyrgios Reaping Rewards For Hard Yards

Lun, 08/08/2022 - 05:24

Nick Kyrgios left the Citi Open with two trophies on Sunday as he became the first man to sweep the singles and doubles titles in the 53-year history of the Washington event. The Aussie defeated Yoshihito Nishioka in the singles final before teaming with Jack Sock to win the doubles crown, both in straight sets and without dropping serve in either match.

"I'm extremely proud of myself and my team," he said in his post-tournament press conference. "It was a really, really good week. It was hard-fought. [I] had some incredibly tough matches. Every practice was really good. I tried to be as professional as I could. I'm just happy to be sitting here, making history along the way."

[ATP APP]

Kyrgios' toughest test came in the singles quarter-finals, when he saved five match points against local favourite Frances Tiafoe before outlasting the American in the third set of a Friday evening thriller. It was the only singles set he dropped on the week as he improved to 11-1 in his past 12 matches dating back to his Wimbledon final run. Now a two-time singles champion in Washington (2019), Kyrgios has reached singles finals in consecutive tournaments for the first time.

"I think it's a reflection of the last six months of how hard I have been working," he added. "I'm just really happy to continue the form after Wimbledon. I think you have got a small window after a Grand Slam that people kind of fear you before they step out on the court. I feel like I made the most of it this week. I'm really happy with my performance."

The 27-year-old credited a strong training block prior to the Australian Open with laying the foundation for his resurgent season.

"Before Oz Open, I decided that I really wanted to put in a good training block, and then things just started falling into place," he explained, later noting the added motivation of providing for his girlfriend. "The rest of my life... just everything was really good. I had a great Australian Open. I felt like the tournaments after the Australian Open I was kind of reinventing myself a little bit on the court. I was incredibly intense, playing some really good matches, had some great results earlier in the year.

"[I] played a great grass-court season, made a couple semi-finals and was right there. I was always knocking on the door of a singles title. I was waiting for it. I felt like I was one of the best players in the world this year by far."

Now up to 21st place in the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Turin, Kyrgios has put himself within touching distance of a spot in the 2022 Nitto ATP Finals. If he can ride his red-hot form all the way to the title at the National Bank Open Presented by Rogers, the Aussie could move as high as ninth place, just outside of the eight qualifying places.

ATP 50: Longform Features On A Game-Changing 50 Years

Lun, 08/08/2022 - 04:38

Game-changing. That is one way to describe the impact of the ATP since its inception nearly 50 years ago.

With the organisation's 50th anniversary rapidly approaching — the ATP was launched as a players' association at the 1972 US Open — ATPTour.com is looking back at a half-century of game-changing finals and comebacks, legends and entertainers, and plenty more, including looks at the evolution of fashion in the sport and the many locations the ATP has travelled to.

From the sport's early rockstars, including Bjorn Borg, to the legends who are carrying the torch today, including Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic, the ATP has changed the game.

Learn more in the immersive longform features below. Check this page every Friday for the newest installation in the ATP 50 longform series.

Fantastic Finals: 10 Memorable Title Matches In ATP History

ATP50: There Will Always Be Hot Shots

ATP 50: 10 Defining Rivalries In ATP History

Featured photo credit: Russ Adams, Clive Brunskill /Allsport, D Dipasupil/Getty Images, Russ Adams, Chuck Fishman/Getty Images, Elichi Kawatei

Alcaraz To Push Closer To Race Lead In Montreal

Lun, 08/08/2022 - 03:29

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.

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.

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

Lun, 08/08/2022 - 03:28

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.

Kyrgios Lifts Doubles Title With Sock To Complete Washington Sweep

Lun, 08/08/2022 - 02:57

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."

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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."

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.

'Transformed' Kyrgios Claims 2nd Washington Title

Lun, 08/08/2022 - 00:07

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.

Alcaraz: 'I Grew Up So Fast'

Dom, 08/07/2022 - 22:11

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.”

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.”

Medvedev Returns To The Winners' Circle In Los Cabos

Dom, 08/07/2022 - 06:05

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.

“The good thing about tennis is that in one week you can turn around your season,” added Medvedev in his post-match press conference. “Coming here I had lost five finals in a row. That’s not nice, I want to do better.

“You never know if it’s going to happen or not, and for sure before this final I was a little bit nervous, a little bit more than usual. But now I’m really happy [to have won one].”

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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 on court. "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.

“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.”

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

Dom, 08/07/2022 - 04:52

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."

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.

Blumberg/Kecmanovic Make Dream Debut, Win Los Cabos Title

Dom, 08/07/2022 - 03:37

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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