|UK Tennis Live News|
|Hot Shot: Super Shapovalov Forehand Stuns Klizan In St. Petersburg|
|Sat, 22 Sep 2018 14:27:00 Z|
|Watch as #NextGenATP Canadian Denis Shapovalov strikes a forehand winner down the line off his back foot in the quarter-finals of the St. Petersburg Open against Martin Klizan. Video and photo courtesy of the St. Petersburg Open.|
|Hot Shot: Bautista Agut Strikes Tweener In St. Petersburg|
|Sat, 22 Sep 2018 14:04:00 Z|
|Watch as Roberto Bautista Agut and Marco Cecchinato produce a thrilling point during the St. Petersburg Open quarter-finals. Video courtesy of St. Petersburg Open.|
|Hot Shot: Medvedev Soars For Twirling Volley In St. Petersburg|
|Sat, 22 Sep 2018 14:03:00 Z|
|Watch as Daniil Medvedev connects on a spinning overhead winner in his quarter-final encounter with Dominic Thiem in St. Petersburg. Video courtesy of St. Petersburg Open.|
|Klizan Overcomes Wawrinka; Into Second St. Petersburg Final|
|Sat, 22 Sep 2018 13:57:00 Z|
Martin Klizan reached his seventh tour-level final on Saturday, recovering from a set down to beat 2016 finalist Stan Wawrinka 4-6, 6-3, 7-5 at the St. Petersburg Open.
The 2012 champion extended his unbeaten record to nine matches at the Russian event, winning 80 per cent of first-serve points and converting three of four break points en route to victory. Klizan made the decisive move at 5-5 in the decider, breaking serve with a backhand drop volley before clinching victory after two hours and 17 minutes.
The World No. 65, who fell to No. 181 in the ATP Rankings on 26 February, improves to 19-6 this season and earns his first victory over Wawrinka in their four-match FedEx ATP Head2Head series.
Tied with Ernests Gulbis for most tour-level final victories without a loss (6), Klizan will attempt to lift his second tour-level trophy of 2018 in Sunday's final. The 29-year-old, who captured his sixth ATP World Tour crown two months ago at the Generali Open in Kitzbuhel (d. Istomin), will meet Dominic Thiem or Roberto Bautista Agut. Klizan owns a 3-0 FedEx ATP Head2Head record against World No. 8 Thiem, but Bautista Agut leads the Slovakian 4-1 in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series.
Former World No. 3 Wawrinka was bidding to reach his first tour-level final since Roland Garros last year. The Swiss, who also made it to the Diema Xtra Sofia Open semi-finals in February, drops to 6-2 in St. Petersburg.
Did You Know?
|Highlights: Bautista Agut Beats Cecchinato In St. Petersburg|
|Sat, 22 Sep 2018 13:08:00 Z|
|Watch as Roberto Bautista Agut beats Marco Cecchinato in straight sets at the 2018 St. Petersburg Open. Video courtesy of St Petersburg Open. Photo credit: St. Petersburg Open.|
|Highlights: Thiem Edges Medvedev In St. Petersburg Thriller|
|Sat, 22 Sep 2018 12:59:00 Z|
|Watch highlights as Dominic Thiem outlasts home favourite Daniil Medvedev at the 2018 St. Petersburg Open. Video courtesy of St Petersburg Open. Photo credit: St. Petersburg Open.|
|Highlights: Klizan Rallies Past Shapovalov In St. Petersburg|
|Sat, 22 Sep 2018 12:56:00 Z|
|Watch as Martin Klizan defeats Denis Shapovalov in three sets at the 2018 St. Petersburg Open. Video courtesy of St Petersburg Open. Photo credit: St. Petersburg Open.|
|Highlights: Wawrinka Overcomes Defending Champion Dzumhur In St. Petersburg|
|Sat, 22 Sep 2018 12:36:00 Z|
|Watch highlights as Stan Wawrinka defeats defending champion Damir Dzumhur at the 2018 St. Petersburg Open. Video courtesy of the St. Petersburg Open. Photo credit: St. Petersburg Open.|
|Hot Shot: Wawrinka Cracks Vintage One-Handed Backhand In St. Petersburg QF|
|Sat, 22 Sep 2018 10:24:07 Z|
|Watch as former World No. 3 Stan Wawrinka shows some of his vintage form by cracking a laser-like one-handed backhand down the line for a winner in the St. Petersburg Open quarter-finals against Damir Dzumhur. Video and photo courtesy of the St. Petersburg Open.|
|Five Surgeries Later, Duckworth Makes Triumphant Return|
|Sat, 22 Sep 2018 03:41:00 Z|
It has been a banner year for the Australian contingent on the ATP Challenger Tour. Never before has the proud tennis nation experienced such an impressive run of domination.
In 2016, five different Aussies lifted trophies. The same happened last year. But, thus far in 2018, they have made a strong statement with a total of 12 different players celebrating titles. From surging teen Alex de Minaur to 30-year-old veteran Matthew Ebden, a dozen players have put their stamp on the Challenger campaign. In fact, 10 of the 11 Aussies in the Top 200 of the ATP Rankings have reigned on the circuit this year.
Many comeback stories have captured imaginations and grabbed headlines, as a bevy of Aussies have returned to the winners' circle in their return from surgeries. The tales of John Millman, Jason Kubler and Thanasi Kokkinakis have been well-documented, but that of James Duckworth has flown under the radar.
Hard work both on and off the court has paid dividends for this comeback quartet and Duckworth is no exception. At the age of 26, the Sydney native knows this all too well. When the body fails, perseverance prevails.
Not one or two, but FIVE surgeries later, Duckworth is not only on the mend, but thriving once again. A former Top 100 stalwart, he is coming off his first title in two years after prevailing at the Atlantic Tire Championships in Cary, North Carolina on Sunday.
Duckworth's story is truly one of unyielding determination. Where many would acquiesce to defeat after undergoing three foot surgeries, as well as shoulder and elbow operations - all in the span of 13 months - the Aussie refused to stop believing that he could resurrect his career.
What began as a right foot stress fracture in early 2017, resulted in a significant operation to insert two pins in the bone. Duckworth would only play in one tournament that season, suffering a first-round defeat at the Australian Open.
"It took a long time to heal, since there is not a great blood supply to that part of the body," Duckworth told ATPWorldTour.com. "It was a really frustrating process."
As the 2018 season started, Duckworth was still experiencing pain and discomfort while competing in Brisbane and Melbourne. Weeks later, he would go under the knife twice more, to remove bone spurs in both his foot and right elbow.
"In January, my elbow started getting sore after the Aussie summer when I started to play again. I had a scan and they said I was developing some bone spurs, which needed to be taken out. They were impinging me whenever I would extend for a serve or slice backhand.
"And the foot still wasn't right when I played Brisbane and the Aussie Open. I knew it needed to be done after that. I didn't start feeling good physically until two months ago, with no injury worries. Fingers crossed I can maintain my health for an extended period of time."
The long and arduous process, which included rigourous rehab, made the 26-year-old question whether he would ever return to the court and compete at his top level again.
"It was my third foot surgery. There were quite a few times that I thought I would never run and jump pain-free again. It's pretty rough to play tennis without doing those two things. There were big doubts, especially after this last one.
"I went through the progression with all my rehab and got through the strength and power, which gave me confidence. Now it's been pretty good. I started to feel pain free six to eight weeks after and I started to trust the movement more in practice, but it wasn't until I played quite a few matches that I wouldn't think about it on court.
"You see guys like Jason [Kubler] and John [Millman] doing well and it's inspiring. I actually speak to an AFL (Australian Football League) player, who plays for the Brisbane Lions. He had the same foot surgery as me. I had a few chats with him and he was really helpful with some ideas. Just setting little goals was important, to get you through it."
Duckworth not only survived eight matches as a qualifier in Cary, but overcame torrential rain and rapidly changing conditions thanks to Hurricane Florence.
The devastating hurricane was responsible for widespread flooding, power outages and more than 40 deaths, but fortunately spared the Cary Tennis Park. However, the threat of the storm was enough to force a rare mid-tournament schedule change, which saw play cancelled on Friday and the quarter-finals played the day before. Play was then moved indoors for the weekend.
"The hurricane didn't really affect us," Duckworth added. "We were a few hours inland in Cary. It was raining constantly but that's about it. It was more on the coast where people were impacted. I started hearing about the hurricane on Monday, during my last round of qualies. I didn't really think about it too much, but then people started talking about it more. It ended up being six matches in a row before I had that day off. I was just playing decent tennis and was able to get through it in the end."
After entering the tournament with seven wins to his name this year, Duckworth more than doubled that in one week. He would rally from a set down in both the final round of qualifying and the first round of the main draw, before reeling off 10 sets in a row to lift the trophy. A convincing 7-6(4), 6-3 victory over big-serving #NextGenATP American Reilly Opelka secured the title.
"It was really nice. It was actually the first Challenger I played since November 2016. To come through qualies and win eight matches was pretty big for me. I don't think I've ever won eight matches in a week before. It was a really good feeling and I'm happy to have won. I got some important ATP Ranking points, so hopefully I don't have to play too many more Challenger qualies.
"I served really well. The conditions, both outdoors and indoors, were good serving conditions. I was able to hold serve pretty confidently. I think that was the key, especially in the final against Riley. If you get broken, the set is pretty much over against him."
Australian Challenger Winners In 2018
Foot surgery can always be tricky to recover from, both physically and mentally. Tennis players rely on their footwork and movement as much as any athlete. But for Duckworth, it did not take long to find his agility. He says that everything came together during the U.S. hard-court summer, starting with a third-round appearance at the Citi Open and culminating with a gritty four-set defeat to Andy Murray at the US Open.
"I lost a close three-set match to Ryan Harrison in Atlanta and then I had the great result in Washington. I was even more comfortable at the US Open. I played a four-set match with Murray and it was nearly 4.5 hours. Against a quality player, that one gave me confidence. It was a pretty good match and I'm happy with how I went out there and competed. How I was able to last physically after such a long time away. And then of course winning quite a few matches last week in Cary was big. It all snowballed a bit and the combination of those things definitely helped."
Now, up to No. 289 in the ATP Rankings thanks to his sixth ATP Challenger Tour title, Duckworth is surging towards a Top 100 return. Having resided outside the Top 1000 just four months ago, every win is progress.
"I have no goals, other than to stay healthy. If that happens, I know the results will take care of itself. I know what I'm capable of."
|Defending Champs Jebavy/Middelkoop Back In St. Petersburg Final|
|Fri, 21 Sep 2018 19:59:00 Z|
Roman Jebavy and Matwe Middelkoop lifted their first ATP World Tour trophy as a team at last year's St. Petersburg Open. And one year later at the same event, the pair is one victory away from retaining that crown.
Third-seeded Jebavy and Middelkoop battled past second seeds Julio Peralta and Horacio Zeballos 7-6(4), 1-6, 10-8 on Friday in a rematch of the 2017 championship match, advancing to the final after 76 minutes. Last season, the clash was far more straightforward, with the victors triumphing in straight sets.
But this time around, the Czech-Dutch duo won 12 fewer points than its opponents. However, Jebavy and Middelkoop landed eight of their nine first serves in the Match Tie-break to pressure the Chilean-Argentine team, winning five of the last six points to clinch the victory. Jebavy and Middelkoop will next face Max Mirnyi/Philipp Oswald or Matteo Berrettini/Fabio Fognini, who compete Saturday.
Mirnyi and Oswald, who earned titles in New York and Houston earlier this year, beat home favourites Evgeny Donskoy and Karen Khachanov 7-6(2), 7-6(1) on Friday to reach the last four.
Skupski/Skupski Into Metz Final
In the final, they will clash against top seeds Nicolas Mahut and Edouard Roger-Vasselin or third seeds Wesley Koolhof and Andres Molteni.
|Highlights: Medvedev Masterful Against Kukushkin In St. Petersburg|
|Fri, 21 Sep 2018 16:37:00 Z|
|Watch highlights as Russian Daniil Medvedev, the No. 8 seed, defeats Kazakh Mikhail Kukushkin at the 2018 St. Petersburg Open on Thursday. Video and photo courtesy of the St. Petersburg Open.|
|Highlights: Thiem Tames Struff In St. Petersburg 2018 Opener|
|Fri, 21 Sep 2018 16:36:00 Z|
|Watch highlights as top seed Dominic Thiem advances to the quarter-finals of the 2018 St. Petersburg Open with a straight-sets victory against German Jan-Lennard Struff. Video and photo courtesy of the St. Petersburg Open.|
|Hot Shot: Medvedev Mashes Forehand Winner In St. Petersburg|
|Fri, 21 Sep 2018 16:36:00 Z|
|Watch eighth seed Daniil Medvedev lace a forehand past Mikhail Kukushkin for a winner at the St. Petersburg Open on Thursday. Video courtesy of the St. Petersburg Open.|
|Hot Shot: Thiem Thrashes Forehand Winner In St. Petersburg|
|Fri, 21 Sep 2018 16:35:00 Z|
|Watch as top seed Dominic Thiem uncoils and strikes a ferocious forehand past Jan-Lennard Struff in the first-set tie-break of their match at the St. Petersburg Open. Video courtesy of the St. Petersburg Open.|
|Highlights: Youzhny's Career Comes To An End Against Bautista Agut In St. Petersburg|
|Fri, 21 Sep 2018 16:34:00 Z|
|Watch highlights as Roberto Bautista Agut beats Mikhail Youzhny at the St. Petersburg Open in the final match of the Russian's career. Video and photo courtesy of the St. Petersburg Open.|
|Hot Shot: Youzhny Blasts Forehand Winner In Final Match|
|Fri, 21 Sep 2018 16:34:00 Z|
|Watch Mikhail Youzhny battle in the final match of his career, blasting a forehand winner past Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut at the 2018 St. Petersburg Open.|
|Nishikori Inching Closer To First Title Since 2016|
|Fri, 21 Sep 2018 16:22:00 Z|
Kei Nishikori continued his climb back toward the Top 10 of the ATP Rankings on Friday, battling past fifth-seeded Georgian Nikoloz Basilashvili 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 to reach the semi-finals of the Moselle Open.
"It was a tough, tough match today, but somehow I fought through and I'm happy to be in the semi-finals tomorrow," Nishikori said. "He was playing better in the second [set]. I thought I played almost perfect game in the first set and I almost had it, but he came back. It was tough. He was up 3-1 in the third, and I had to refocus again and rebuild my confidence and had to play a little bit better in the end. It wasn't an easy game."
The Japanese star dropped as low as World No. 39 in April and was No. 28 as recently as July. But since, the 28-year-old has found form reminiscent of his days inside the Top 5. Nishikori, who advanced to the US Open semi-finals, is now just two wins from lifting his first ATP World Tour trophy since 2016 Memphis. He is currently in 10th position in the ATP Race To London for a place at the Nitto ATP Finals, to be held at The O2 in London from 11-18 November.
The top seed faced a stiff test against the free-swinging Basilashvili, who advanced to the fourth round at Flushing Meadows (l. to Nadal) and claimed his maiden tour-level title in Hamburg. But the 28-year-old won 83 per cent of first-serve points and won five of eight break points to reach the last four, where he will face qualifier Matthias Bachinger, who beat German Yannick Maden 6-3, 2-6, 6-4.
Bachinger arrived in Metz with just one tour-level match win in 2018. But not only did he reach his first ATP World Tour quarter-final since 2014 in Stockholm, the German can now advance to his first tour-level final.
Two-time former champion Gilles Simon broke an eight-match losing streak against Richard Gasquet, the fourth seed and 2004 finalist, with a 7-6(4), 6-2 victory over one hour and 34 minutes. The pair first clashed in June 2006 at Nottingham (Gasquet leads Simon 8-1).
Simon had come into the event having lost five of his past six matches, but with victory over Gasquet, the 33-year-old is one win away from his 21st ATP World Tour final (13-7 record). He won the Tata Open Maharashtra crown (d. Anderson) in the first week of the year, and also finished runner-up at the Open Parc Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Lyon (l. to Thiem) in May.
Moldova's Radu Albot advanced to his first ATP World Tour semi-final, where he will challenge 2010 and 2013 Metz titlist Simon, after beating Ricardas Berankis of Lithuania 7-6(4), 6-4 in one hour and 42 minutes.
Did You Know?
|Stan Surging In St. Petersburg|
|Fri, 21 Sep 2018 12:37:00 Z|
Former World No. 3 Stan Wawrinka continued his return to form on Friday, ousting defending champion Damir Dzumhur 6-3, 6-4 to reach the semi-finals of the St. Petersburg Open. It is the Swiss' first trip to the last four of any event since February, when he did so at the Diema Xtra Sofia Open in Bulgaria.
"I think it was a great match," Wawrinka said. "I adapted a little bit my game. I found exactly what to do. I think in general, the level was great. I was mixing a lot the speed, I'm moving well, I've been aggressive when I needed to, some good defence. I think it was a complete match, and I'm really happy with the high level today."
Before the Western & Southern Open in August, Wawrinka had not won three matches at a single tournament all season. But he has now done so twice in the span of just more than a month.
It appeared the 33-year-old would face a stern test when Dzumhur, who beat him in the pair's only previous FedEx ATP Head2Head meeting last year in Dubai, broke early on. But from there, the World No. 88 showed glimpses of his vintage shotmaking to blast past the sixth seed after 72 minutes. Wawrinka saved three of the four break points he faced and won 71 per cent of service points en route to his triumph.
In the next round, he will face Slovakian Martin Klizan, the 2012 champion who recovered from a set and 3-5 down to knock out seventh-seeded Canadian Denis Shapovalov 3-6, 7-5, 6-3 in two hours and four minutes.
Klizan, who beat second seed Fabio Fognini in the second round, is playing in his first ATP World Tour tournament since lifting his sixth crown at the Generali Open in Kitzbuhel (d. Istomin) on 4 August. The 29-year-old has a perfect 6-0 record in tour-level finals and will look to reach a seventh championship match when he faces Wawrinka, who owns a 3-0 lead in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series.
Top seed Dominic Thiem guaranteed that there will not be a Russian champion in St. Petersburg for the 13th consecutive edition, as the Austrian battled past home favourite Daniil Medvedev 6-2, 3-6, 7-6(2).
“I’m very sorry that I beat a Russian guy, but I think it was a great match from the beginning until the end,” Thiem said. “[A] tie-break in a deciding set is always lucky, so I’m lucky that I won.”
Thiem utilised strong tactics in the match's crucial third-set tie-break, slicing his backhand repeatedly to keep the pace of the rally slow until he could explode and hit a heavy forehand to take control of the point. The World No. 8 only converted three of 15 break points in the clash, but he struck 10 aces in his two-hour, seven-minute victory.
He will next face fifth seed Roberto Bautista Agut, who overcame a tough opening set to defeat third seed Marco Cecchinato 7-6(0), 6-3. It has been a strong bounceback week for the Spaniard, who arrived in Russia on a three-match tour-level losing streak. Bautista Agut has won all three of his FedEx ATP Head2Head meetings against Thiem.
"So far I have no idea how to beat him," Thiem said. "He won all three matches, so I have to put up something new. But we practise often together, he’s a really nice guy, so I’m looking forward to facing him in a great semi-final.”
Did You Know?
|So Close, Yet So Far Away: Remembering Tennis' Best Near Misses|
|Thu, 20 Sep 2018 23:09:00 Z|
To an outsider, it seems like an unfortunate ending to an outstanding career. Russia's Mikhail Youzhny played his final match on Thursday at the St. Petersburg Open, losing to Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain 7-6(3), 3-6, 6-3. The 36-year-old Youzhny, No. 110 in the ATP Rankings, will retire stuck on 499 wins, two sets away from becoming only the second Russian to earn 500 victories (Kafelnikov 609).
Youzhny, however, does not seem perturbed. “It’s just statistics,” he said. “I can think about a lot of things. I never made the final of a Grand Slam. I never made the semi-finals of an [ATP World Tour Masters] 1000 event. Many, many things I didn’t do in tennis.”
'The Colonel' should not despair; he has plenty of company. Other players, including former World No. 1s Roger Federer, Andy Roddick and Andy Murray, have come tantalizingly close to landmark achievements only to fall just short. ATPWorldTour.com remembers some memorable close calls:
2005 Nitto ATP Finals F, David Nalbandian d. Roger Federer 6-7(4), 6-7(11), 6-2, 6-1, 7-6(3)
1984 Roland Garros F, Ivan Lendl d. John McEnroe 3-6, 2-6, 6-4, 7-5, 7-5
2003 Coupe Rogers SF, Andy Roddick d. Roger Federer 6-4, 3-6, 7-6(3)
Roddick, however, was the man to beat during that North American hard-court swing, as he showed by winning the 2003 US Open. Federer, though, got Roddick back a few times, 17 to be exact. At the time, Federer led their FedEx ATP Head2Head series 4-1. Federer now leads their series 21-3.
2006 Internazional BNL d'Italia F, Rafael Nadal d. Roger Federer, 6-7(0), 7-6(5), 6-4, 2-6, 7-6(5)
Read More: Roger & Rafa: The Rivalry
2009 Wimbledon F, Roger Federer d. Andy Roddick 5-7, 7-6(6), 7-6(5), 3-6, 16-14
2013 US Open Doubles SF, Leander Paes/Radek Stepanek d. Mike Bryan/Bob Bryan 4-6, 6-3, 6-4
2013 Kuala Lumpur F, Joao Sousa d. Julien Benneteau 2-6, 7-5, 6-4
2004 Roland Garros F, Gaston Gaudio d. Guillermo Coria 0-6, 3-6, 6-4, 6-1, 8-6
Other Notable Near Misses