UK Tennis Live News
Roger Won't Let No. 100 Get In His Head
Fri, 16 Nov 2018 00:42:00 Z

Entering Thursday at the Nitto ATP Finals, there was a chance Roger Federer would fail to reach the semi-finals at the season finale for just the second time in 16 appearances. But one impressive straight-sets win against fourth seed Kevin Anderson later, and the 37-year-old is through round-robin play atop Group Lleyton Hewitt.

Suddenly, a major milestone is within reach. If Federer wins two more matches, he will lift his 100th tour-level trophy, with Jimmy Connors (109 titles) the only other player who has achieved the feat.

“Personally I'm still not thinking of the number, 100. I won't let that get in my head, make me go crazy because it should be something I'm excited about and not something I should feel extra pressure [to earn],” Federer said. “It's just going to be hard to finish it. I'm happy I gave myself the opportunity. I'm happy that I'm raising my level of play throughout this week. This is what I hope to do. It's exciting to be in this situation now, of course, no doubt.”

Just four days ago, the Swiss lost a round-robin match at the Nitto ATP Finals in straight sets for the first time, so he knows that he has to take it one step at a time. That is part of what makes this tournament so special; every match poses a major challenge.

“I think regardless of the numbers, this is a massive tournament for the players. Of course, I can only speak for myself, but I've loved being part of the Tennis Masters Cup, today [the Nitto ATP] Finals,” Federer said. “I've always tried to pace myself in a way… that I would have something left in the tank, that I would peak at this event.”

And Federer has gotten better with every match at The O2 in 2018. After an exchange of breaks in the first set against tournament debutant Anderson, Federer used his backhand slice well to throw off the game of the South African, who had not faced break point in the entire event. Federer broke him four times.

“I'm feeling great,” Federer said. “I'm very happy that I still have energy left in the tank. Mentally, I feel fresh.”

And Federer’s secret sauce continues to work. The second seed took a day off of practice after losing to Kei Nishikori on Sunday. And that strategy has not failed him since.

“Look, I'm a big believer in vacation. I'm a big believer in taking time off sometimes. When I go to work, I go hard, I go the right way, I go professional about it with my team,” Federer said. “I didn't think of taking a day off, to be honest, after the Nishikori match. I thought, ‘What are we going to do? Where are we going to train?’”

But Federer’s team suggested taking a day off, and the Swiss heeded their advice. He did not practice on Wednesday after beating Dominic Thiem on Tuesday, and Federer says he doubts he will hit balls on Friday. Why change something if it’s not broken?

“It's one of the first times I've done it like that,” Federer said. “I'm happy it's paying off so far. But I’ve got to be very, very focused the moment I step on court for the practice, the warm-up. I think that's key, as well.”

And Federer will look to remain focused regardless of his opponent in the semi-finals. Novak Djokovic leads Group Guga Kuerten after two matches, with Marin Cilic, John Isner and Alexander Zverev still hoping to advance. Federer, this year’s Australian Open, Rotterdam, Stuttgart and Basel titlist, is now 57-14 at the Nitto ATP Finals. And while he’s triumphed at the tournament six times, the Swiss seeks his first victory since 2011.

“I'm happy that this is another week like this. Didn't look like it maybe 72 hours ago,” Federer said. “But I was able to come back and play good tennis.”

Highlights: Federer Books His Spot In Semis Of The Nitto ATP Finals
Thu, 15 Nov 2018 22:26:00 Z
Watch highlights as Roger Federer defeats Kevin Anderson in straight sets to top Group Lleyton Hewitt at the 2018 Nitto ATP Finals. Dominic Thiem also dismisses Kei Nishikori. Photo Credit: Peter Staples/ATP World Tour. Watch live tennis at tennistv.com.
Roger That: Federer Books His Spot In The Semis
Thu, 15 Nov 2018 21:33:00 Z

Roger Federer walked onto Centre Court at The O2 on Thursday knowing he needed a strong performance if he wanted to advance to the semi-finals at the Nitto ATP Finals for the 15th time.

And Federer responded in a big way, defeating fourth seed Kevin Anderson 6-4, 6-3 to not only guarantee that he would move on to the last four in London, but that he would win Group Lleyton Hewitt with a 2-1 record.

The week might not have started off well for the 37-year-old Swiss, who shockingly fell in his opening match against Kei Nishikori in straight sets, the first time he has fallen in two sets at the event in round-robin play. But Federer bounced back to beat Dominic Thiem and now Anderson without dropping a set.

"We’re used to you lose, you leave and you don’t hang around. So from that standpoint, I think it was more straightforward for me today," Federer said on court after his win. "I’ve always wanted to go out with a bang today and win the match. If I go through, great, if I don’t well I don’t deserve to be through and that’s okay, too. I’m happy I’m still alive."

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Federer came out focused early against Anderson, who was 2-0 in his Nitto ATP Finals debut, breaking first. But the second seed played a sloppy service game and struggled to pinpoint his serve like usual to give that break back.

From there, though, Federer locked down his game, and did well to win 68 per cent of second-serve return points against the big-serving Anderson to triumph in 77 minutes. The 99-time tour-level champion did everything in his power to keep Anderson from getting in a rhythm, hitting dagger-like backhand slices short in the court to elicit mishits from his opponent, and to bring Anderson into the net without the 6'8" right-hander necessarily wanting to journey into the forecourt.

"Unfortunately I had a rocky service game myself after that [first service break. I didn't let that frustrate me or disappoint me. I kept on plugging away, kept on trying," Federer said. "I think my attitude was good today. I think I had an aggressive playing mindset, a good variation as well with my slice. I think it was just a good match from my side."

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With Thiem’s victory over Nishikori in straight sets earlier in the day, Anderson was already guaranteed to become the first South African to move into the semi-finals at the season finale since the tournament began in 1970. So Federer will face the second-placed competitor in Group Guga Kuerten, while Anderson will clash against that group’s winner.

"I’m very happy. First match was tough against Kei, never got going. And with the back against the wall, maybe it’s easier for me to play, I’m not sure. But I fought hard," Federer said. "In the end, I played some good tennis today and I’m very happy. Kevin’s had a wonderful year, and so have the other two guys. It’s been a fun group, with many different kinds of players in the group. I’m thrilled. Thanks for the support, of course, and I’m excited to be in the semis."

The win is even sweeter for the Swiss, as Anderson came from two sets and a match point down against Federer in this year’s Wimbledon quarter-finals to earn perhaps the biggest win of his career en route to the final at SW19. Federer now leads Anderson 5-1 in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series.

Did You Know?
Federer broke Anderson four times in the match. The South African had not faced a break point in his first two matches at the season finale.

Cabal/Farah Share Thoughts After Reaching Semi-finals At The Nitto ATP Finals
Thu, 15 Nov 2018 21:22:00 Z
Watch as Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah discuss beating Raven Klaasen and Michael Venus to qualify for the semi-finals at the Nitto ATP Finals. Watch live tennis at tennistv.com.
Hot Shot: Federer Follows Finesse With Power At The Nitto ATP Finals
Thu, 15 Nov 2018 21:16:00 Z
Watch Hot Shot as Roger Federer brings Kevin Anderson to net with a forehand drop shot before ripping a backhand passing shot up the line at the Nitto ATP Finals. Watch live tennis at tennistv.com.
Marach vs. Pavic: The Nitto ATP Finals Can Challenge
Thu, 15 Nov 2018 21:00:00 Z
Watch as year-end No. 1 doubles team Oliver Marach and Mate Pavic compete against each other in the 2018 Nitto ATP Finals Can Challenge.
Popyrin Climbs The O2 At The Nitto ATP Finals
Thu, 15 Nov 2018 20:58:00 Z
Watch as Australian Alexei Popyrin takes time out from his ATP University studies to scale The O2 and enjoy a panoramic view of London.
ATP University Stars Take On The Nitto ATP Finals Scavenger Hunt
Thu, 15 Nov 2018 20:53:00 Z
Watch as Jaume Munar, Corentin Moutet and fellow ATP University stars take part in a scavenger hunt at The O2 in London.
Cabal/Farah Beat Klaasen/Venus For SF Berth
Thu, 15 Nov 2018 19:24:00 Z

First-time qualifiers Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah booked their places in the semi-finals at the Nitto ATP Finals on Thursday. The second-seeded Colombians completed Group Llodra/Santoro play with a 2-1 record to finish in second position after a 6-3, 7-6(5) victory over sixth seeds Raven Klaasen of South Africa and New Zealand’s Michael Venus in 84 minutes.

Cabal and Farah improved to a 39-22 match record on the season, which includes their first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia (d. Carreno Busta/Sousa) from four finals.

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Cabal and Farah made the breakthrough in the third game, when Klaasen hit a backhand volley in the net. Klaasen and Venus, who beat the Colombian pair in Match Tie-breaks at the BNP Paribas Open and Citi Open this year, struggled to create an opening and won just three points on return of serve in the first set. Quick hands by Cabal and Farah at 5-3 saw them break Venus’ serve to 30 and earn the 28-minute first set.

In a run of 11 straight points from 0-1, aggressive returning from Klaasen and Venus saw them break Cabal to love in the second set en route to a 3-1 advantage. But the Colombians recovered to 3-3 courtesy of Venus hitting a double fault in the sixth game. At 5-6, Klaasen rallied from 0/30 on serve for a tie-break that saw Cabal and Farah step up on return. Klaasen and Venus saved four match points, but Cabal closed out with an ace.

Klaasen and Venus finish the week with a 1-2 record in round-robin play and a 39-25 record on the season, including the Open 13 Provence title (d. Daniell/Inglot) in February and four runner-up finishes, including at Wimbledon (l. to M. Bryan/Sock).

Murray/Soares Reflect On Unbeaten Group Run At The Nitto ATP Finals
Thu, 15 Nov 2018 18:59:00 Z
Watch as Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares discuss their three-set win over two-time reigning champions Henri Kontinen and John Peers at the Nitto ATP Finals. Watch live tennis at tennistv.com.
Challenger Vault: Marin Cilic
Thu, 15 Nov 2018 18:18:00 Z
In this edition of the Challenger Vault, Marin Cilic discusses the importance of the ATP Challenger Tour and reflects on one of his two titles, in Rijeka, Croatia.
Day 6 Preview: Sascha, Big John Eye London SFs
Thu, 15 Nov 2018 17:39:00 Z

Novak Djokovic, who has won his first two matches in Group Guga Kuerten at the Nitto ATP Finals, has already guaranteed his spot in the semi-finals at the season finale in London. But there is one more spot up for grabs in the group, with three hungry players eager to move into the last four.

Alexander Zverev and John Isner will meet during Friday’s day session in a rematch of the Miami Open presented by Itau final, won by Isner.

“Everyone knows how good he is. We've played quite a few times, as well. It will be a very tough match. There are definitely some things I need to improve. I'll try to do that and implement them on Friday,” Isner said. “He does so much well. He serves very well, his groundstrokes are incredible. He's a very tough out... This isn't your everyday tournament. It will be very tough. But I'm going to come out fired up.”

All five of the pair’s FedEx ATP Head2Head meetings have come at ATP World Tour Masters 1000 events, with Zverev leading their series 4-1. But perhaps the most important match of the bunch was in Miami, where Isner became the oldest first-time winner at a Masters 1000 event. And this time around, if Isner wins in straight sets and Djokovic beats Marin Cilic, the Nitto ATP Finals debutant will go through to the semi-finals at The O2.

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“It's very weird, to think I've lost twice but still have a shot. I guess that's the advantage of having a guy like Novak in your group,” Isner said. “We'll see if I can do it. It's going to be very tough, no doubt.”

Zverev lost to Djokovic in straight sets on Wednesday, at points getting frustrated by errors he was making. But the German knows that he must refocus in order to push for his second victory of the week. If the 21-year-old triumphs, he will move on.

“I don't want to think about it too much because in two days' time I will give myself the best chance I can to be in the semi-finals. That's where I think I'll take it as a normal quarter-final match at a normal tournament,” Zverev said. “To be in the semi-finals here would mean a lot to me. For that, I have to play good tennis.”

In the evening session, Djokovic will look to finish round-robin play at the Nitto ATP Finals undefeated for the fifth time when he clashes against Cilic. The Croatian needs to beat the World No. 1 and for Isner to defeat Zverev if he wants to advance in London for the first time in his fourth appearance.

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While Cilic knows he faces a tough task — Djokovic leads their FedEx ATP Head2Head series 16-2 — the 30-year-old has tested the Serbian in all three of their meetings this year. Just two weeks ago, Cilic pushed the eventual runner-up to three sets in the Rolex Paris Masters quarter-finals. And in their first meeting of 2018 at The Queen’s Club, Cilic saved match point against Djokovic in the final en route to lifting the ATP World Tour 500 trophy.

“It was a great match, tough one in Paris, similar conditions to here,” Cilic said. “I feel that Novak is playing really good tennis and I just have to keep playing well. Obviously to serve well is going to be critical and I hope I’m going to be ready and have another great match.”

Hot Shot: Santillan Goes Full Extension In Kobe
Thu, 15 Nov 2018 17:19:00 Z
Watch as Akira Santillan soars for a stunning dive volley at the ATP Challenger Tour event in Kobe, Japan.
Thiem Discusses Nishikori Win, Qualification Scenarios At The Nitto ATP Finals
Thu, 15 Nov 2018 16:45:00 Z
Watch as Dominic Thiem shares his thoughts after notching his first Group Lleyton Hewitt win at the Nitto ATP Finals with a place in the semi-finals still hanging in the balance. Watch live tennis at tennistv.com.
Lendl Lesson Highlights ATP University Sessions In London
Thu, 15 Nov 2018 16:34:00 Z

For the eight players competing at the Nitto ATP Finals, this week represents the culmination of their journey towards the top of the sport. But for 26 players who participated at ATP University in London this week, the journey is just beginning.

Those 26 players graduated in this year’s London sessions across the river at the Marriott County Hall, adding to the total number of rising stars who have gone through the tutorial on life on the ATP World Tour, which surpassed 1,000 graduates last year.

World No. 1 and five-time Nitto ATP Finals Champion Ivan Lendl spoke to the group on Tuesday morning and offered advice based on his own journey. The players also listened and participated in presentations during the week covering: Overview of the ATP, Rules and Officiating, Savings and Investments, Communicated Threats, ATP Marketing & Social Media, Medical Services, ATP Communications, Media Relations, Anti-Doping, Anti-Corruption and Player Relations.

Lendl

Outside of the classroom, the players enjoyed group dinners and a trip to the Nitto ATP Finals on Tuesday evening and, of course, a fun night of miniature golf.

“I’ve had a good time in London. In my opinion, ATP is doing a very good job with the University. It’s important for us to understand how everything is working from behind and get advice about some of the most important subjects we have on Tour,” said Jaume Munar, who competed at the Next Gen ATP Finals last week in Milan. “Most of the information will be useful and helpful for us in the future. And the activities were fantastic, it’s always nice to share moments with guys who normally are opponents and be together for a couple of days, away from tennis.”

At the end of the three days of sessions, the ATP IQ test was won by 29-year-old German Yannick Maden, who claimed the coveted GoPro 7 prize.

It was an exciting week for Next Gen ATP Finals runner-up Alex de Minaur, who honoured on Centre Court Tuesday at The O2 as the Newcomer of the Year in the 2018 ATP World Tour Awards Presented By Moët & Chandon. But the Aussie also got a lot out of ATP University’s presentations.

“It was definitely better than I expected with a couple of very interesting lectures that I learned a lot from, especially the one having to do with social media and how to better manage that, and how to be able to engage with all your fans and followers,” De Minaur said. “The investment one was also very interesting, learning how to use your money, the smart things to do with it... I really enjoyed myself and thank you for everything.”

The London 2018 graduates included Sander Arends, Matteo Berrettini, Alex De Minaur, Egor Gerasimov, Antoine Hoang, Miomir Kecmanovic, Evan King, Yannick Maden, Pedro Martinez, Ben McLachlan, Andreas Mies, Mats Moraing, Bradley Mousley, Corentin Moutet, Jaume Munar, Ricardo Ojeda Lara, Jonny O'Mara, Oscar Otte, Hsien-Yin Peng, Alexei Popyrin, Ramkumar Ramanathan, Christopher Rungkat, Nino Serdarusic, Aldin Setkic, Lorenzo Sonego and Alexey Vatutin.

Highlights: Thiem Maintains SF Hopes With Win Over Nishikori At The Nitto ATP Finals
Thu, 15 Nov 2018 16:29:00 Z
Watch highlights as Dominic Thiem defeats Kei Nishikori in straight sets to earn his first Group Lleyton Hewitt victory at the Nitto ATP Finals. Watch live tennis at tennistv.com. Photo credit: Peter Staples/ATP World Tour.
Hot Shot: Nishikori Saves Break Point With 'Forecourt Magic' At The Nitto ATP Finals
Thu, 15 Nov 2018 16:18:00 Z
Watch Hot Shot as Kei Nishikori is rewarded for coming forward behind his serve, saving break point with a series of volleys against Dominic Thiem at the Nitto ATP Finals. Watch live tennis at tennistv.com.
Lendl Lesson Highlights ATP University London Class Of 2018
Thu, 15 Nov 2018 16:00:45 Z
Go behind the scenes with ATP University's London Class Of 2018 as the players learn valuable lessons about life on the ATP World Tour, and even get to hear from former World No. 1 Ivan Lendl as he discusses his experiences.
Thiem Maintains SF Hopes With Win Over Nishikori
Thu, 15 Nov 2018 15:52:00 Z

Coming into his final Group Lleyton Hewitt match, Dominic Thiem knew anything other than a straight-sets win over Kei Nishikori would bring an end to his ambitions of reaching the semi-finals at the Nitto ATP Finals.

On Thursday, the sixth seed delivered that result, beating the Japanese star 6-1, 6-4 to remain in the hunt for a place in Saturday's semi-final line-up. Thiem saved all four break points he faced to record his 54th win in 74 match tour-level matches this season after 84 minutes.

"I didn't come into the match with too much pressure," said Thiem in his on-court interview. "I just wanted to show to myself and all the spectators the real Dominic Thiem."

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Roger Federer's straight-sets win over Kevin Anderson on Thursday night confirmed the Swiss will top Group Lleyton Hewitt with a 2-1 record. Anderson, who qualified as a result of Thiem's victory, also advances with two wins from three round-robin encounters.

Thiem started well, racing out to a 3-0 lead after breaking serve in the second game of the match. The Austrian stood back in the court, hitting with depth on his backhand side and conviction on his forehand to unsettle Nishikori and extract errors.

After surviving a tight fourth game, the Japanese No. 1 quickly found his feet and soon threatened to retrieve the break of serve. But Thiem found his best level when it mattered, serving himself out of trouble and firing backhands at full pace to save three break points. A second service break for Thiem soon followed, before the World No. 8 served out the set after 41 minutes.

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After failing to convert a break-point opportunity at 2-2, back-to-back errors from Nishikori gifted Thiem a second chance just two games later. The Roland Garros runner-up seized his opportunity, pushing Nishikori into his backhand corner before unleashing a backhand up the line to secure a crucial break. Three games later, Thiem served out the match to love to earn his first win of the week.

"I just went into that match and wanted to show my real self again basically because two days ago was really bad," said Thiem. "I wanted to have a much better game again today. That's what I did.

"I made some adjustments. I tried to have a higher first-serve percentage. Some things definitely paid off. Of course, I'm happy that I got the win."

[BODY IMAGE]

Thiem

Nishikori was hoping to advance to the semi-finals for the third time in four appearances at The O2. The seventh seed, who owns a 20-8 record since the start of the US Open, has reached three tour-level championship matches this season after making his comeback from a right wrist injury on the ATP Challenger Tour in January.

"There were too many unforced errors for me," said Nishikori. "I think I made it really easy today. He was also playing well.

"But I think I gave him too many free points... He was playing solid, too. There were not too many chances for me today."

Thiem

Did You Know?
This is the first time Thiem has won his final round-robin match at the Nitto ATP Finals. In his previous two appearances at The O2, the Austrian ended the group stage with losses to Milos Raonic (2016) and David Goffin (2017).

Chris Kermode Discusses Launch Of ATP Cup In 2020
Thu, 15 Nov 2018 13:53:24 Z
Chris Kermode, the ATP Executive Chairman and President, discusses the concept of the ATP Cup, a team competition to begin in 2020. Watch live tennis at tennistv.com.

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