ATP Tour: The 2015 Grass season in full swing at Halle and Queen’s - UBITENNIS
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ATP Tour: The 2015 Grass season in full swing at Halle and Queen’s

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TENNIS – The grass season is in full swing this week with two historic tournaments, the AEGON Championships at Queen’s Club in London and the Gerry Weber in Halle, Germany. Both tournaments have been upgraded this year to ATP 500 and have attracted 16 of the top 20 players in the ATP Ranking. Diego Sampaolo

 

Five of the top 10 players will be in action at the Queen’s Club: Top-seed Andy Murray, Roland Garros champion Stan Wawrinka, Milos Raonic, Marin Cilic, Rafa Nadal and defending champion Grigor Dimitrov.

Murray won the Queen’s Tournament three times in 2009, 2011 and 2013. He is making his 10th appearance at the Queen’s Club. In 2013, he scored the Queen’s/Wimbledon double as he won both titles. He is in good form as he won his first two clay tournaments in Munich and Madrid and reached the semifinals at Roland Garros. Murray will take on Yen Hsun Lu on Tuesday.

Nadal won the Queen’s in 2008 some weeks before winning the epic final against Roger Federer at Wimbledon for his first of two Wimbledon titles. He has won his first grass title since Wimbledon 2010 last weekend in Stuttgart. Nadal will open against Aleksandr Dolgopolov.

Wawrinka will make his return to the court after his triumph at the Roland Garros couple of weeks ago. Last year he lost against Grigor Dimitrov in the semifinal and lost the quarterfinal against Federer at Wimbledon.

Queen’s first round match round-up:

Grigor Dimitrov rallied from a break down against Sam Querrey to win the second set with 6-3 after losing the first set with 6-4. However, because of poor lighting, the match was suspended and will be on Tuesday. Dimitrov is the defending champion at these championships.

Milos Raonic, who is making his first appearance after undergoing foot surgery which forced him to miss the French Open. He had a tough test in his opening match as he had to fight back from a set down to edge past James Ward with 5-7 6-3 6-2.

Ward played a solid first set in which he won 81 percent of his first serve points and broke serve in the 11th game. The British player came close to breaking serve early in the second set. However, it was Raonic who converted on his break point opportunity to take the 2nd set 6-3 winning the decider with 6-2.

“It’s past me. I am just trying to make the most of being back on court”, said Raonic

Raonic will face Richard Gasquet who cruised past Italian Simone Bolelli 6-1 6-2 to clinch his 400th career win. The Frenchman has become the 13th player and the third player from his country after Yannick Noah and Fabrice Santoro to reach the milestone 400th win. Gasquet broke serve four times in the first set. The Frenchman won 73 percent of his service points

Also noteworthy at these championships is the fact that Australian Lleyton Hewitt lost his last match on his 16th and final appearance at the Queen’s Club against Kevin Anderson with 7-6 5-7 2-6.

The match was a hard fought contest as Anderson faced 5 break points in the opening set saving all of them to force the set to be decided in a tiebreaker. Hewitt got a mini-break at 2-0 en route to winning it with 7-5 points. The second set went on serve until the 7th game when Hewitt broke Anderson’s serve to love. The Aussie player had a match point at 5-4 in the second set but Anderson saved it and went on to win the set 7-5. In the third set Anderson stepped up his game to clinch the decider with 6-2.

“This has been one of my favourite tournaments. I am going to have so many memories in this tournament”, said Hewitt, who won the Queen’s four times in 2000, 2001, 2002 and 2006. In 2002, Hewitt also won Wimbledon.

Fernando Verdasco fought back from a set down and saved three match points to win the all-Spanish first round match against Roberto Bautista Agut with 3-6 7-5 7-6(4). Bautista Agut broke serve for 3-1 and dropped just four points on his serve en route to winning the first set with 6-3.

Bautista saved the first break points of the second set in the seventh game but he dropped his serve in the 11th game with a double fault. Verdasco clinched the second set 7-5 forcing the match to the second set.

The third set remained on serve and thus the match had to be decided by the tie-break where Verdasco maintained his early lead to take it 7-4 points and thus the match.  Guillermo Garcia Lopez beat Pablo Andujar 7-6 (7-3) 6-2 in another all-Spanish match.

Halle Gerry Weber Open: Federer opens with a hard-fought win against Kohlschreiber

Roger Federer fought back from a second-set loss and a mini-break down to battle past another Gerry Weber former champion Philipp Kohlschreiber 7-6(8) 3-6 7-6(5). Federer, who is playing for the 13th time in Halle, went up a break for 4-2 but Kohlschreiber broke straight back to force the first set to the tie-break.

Federer had to fend off two set points in the tie-break of the first set before clinching a hard-fought set 10-8 points.

Kohlschreiber converted his second break point chance in the 8th game and held his serve to love in the next game to win the second set 6-3 forcing the match to the third set.

The German fought off two match points at 4-5 in the 9th game of the third set. As neither player broke in the decisive set, another tiebreaker was needed to decide the match. The German player got the early mini-break for 3-2. Federer rallied from 4-5 in the breaker by reeling off the final three points. He converted the match point to clinch the match after two hours and 11 minutes.

Federer will play either against Sergiy Stakovskiy (who beat the Swiss player and then defending champion in the 2nd round of Wimbledon in 2013) or Ernests Gulbis.

Roger Federer won the Gerry Weber Open a record seven times. He reached the final in Rome and the quarterfinal at the Roland Garros on his less favourite clay surface but he is determined to add more titles in Halle and Wimbledon. Federer is projected to play against Bernard Tomic in a possible quarter final.

The Halle line-up features Tomas Berdych who is making his return to the Gerry Weber Open for the first time since 2012. He has been drawn in the same quarter as rising stars Borna Coric won his first match on grass with his 6-4 3-6 6-3 over Donald Young and Alexander Zverev.

The second seed is Kei Nishikori who will face a tough first round match against Dominic Thiem before a possible quarterfinal against this year’s Istanbul finalist Pablo Cuevas.

Gael Monfils, who reached the semifinal in Stuttgart, could face a potential quarter final against Tommy Robredo.

“I am looking forward to Halle and Wimbledon. It’s a big goal. I want to win it and I feel like my game is good. It’s been solid. It’s been positive and I have just got to keep it up”, said Federer

Dustin Brown, a German player of Jamaican origin who plays very well on grass and beat Rafa Nadal last year in Halle, beat Andreas Haider-Maurer 7-5 6-2 after losing just six of his first service points. German rising star Aleksander Zverev beat Jarkko Nieminen 6-4 6-4. Florian Mayer edged Jan Lennart Struff 6-2 0-6 7-6 (7-4).

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REPORT: Japanese Tennis Association To Lose One Billion Yen In 2020

The loss of a key men’s event in the country has resulted in millions of dollars being loss in revenue.

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Venue of the 2019 Mens Japan Open (image via https://twitter.com/rakutenopen)

The cancellation of a premier tennis event in Japan due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is set to have a massive financial impact on the country’s governing body.

 

Last month organisers made the decision to scrap the Rakuten Japan Open Tennis Championships this year amid fears of a second wave of the virus in October when the it is set to take place. The tournament is currently categorised as an ATP 500 event and has been held annually since 1973. In 2019 Novak Djokovic won the tournament for the first time in his career without dropping a single set throughout. Other previous winners also include Roger Federer (2006), Rafael Nadal (2010) and Andy Murray (2011).

“Given concerns about a second wave of the infection both in Japan and overseas, we came to the anguished conclusion that we had to cancel,” organisers said in a statement.

It has been estimated that as a result of the move, the Japanese Tennis Association (JTA) will lose millions of dollars in revenue. National news agency Kyodo has estimated the loss to be at least 1 billion Yen ($9.4 million) based on this event alone and no others.

JTA executive director Naohiro Kawatei told Kyodo that moving athletes in and out of the country is problematic due to the current situation. Tokyo has recently raised it’s Coronavirus alert level to the top of a four-point scale after there have been more than 100 new daily cases of the virus in the city for six days in a row. Furthermore, The Bank of Japan has revised down their growth forecasts.

“In addition to players coming from overseas, it is the responsibility of organizers to facilitate their departure, so there are some differences between our sport and others,” said Kawatei.

At present the women’s top tournament in the country is still on the 2020 schedule. The Pan Pacific Open, which is classed as a Premier event, is currently set to take place during the week commencing November 2nd.

Recently the Asian swing of the tennis season has been thrown into jeopardy after the Chinese General Administration of Sports recommended that no sports events take place in the country unless they are related to Olympic qualification. Although sports federations, including both the ATP and WTA, are seeking clarity from officials before they make their next move. China is usually where the majority of Asian tennis events are played, including the WTA Finals.

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Official: No Swiss Indoors In 2020 Due To COVID-19

Roger Federer’s home event was set to take place between October 26th and November 1st.

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By Emil Evtimov

The ATP 500 Swiss Indoors tournament in Basel won’t happen in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

The organizers of the Swiss Indoors already hinted a couple of weeks ago that the tournament in Roger Federer’s hometown was unlikely to happen due to the Coronavirus and the financial impact from the restrictions on spectator capacity.

This year’s edition would have been the 50th anniversary of the tournament, but is now out of the ATP calendar. Organizers are already making plans for the 2021 edition between 23 and 31 October.

“Dear tennis friends, As a result of the Corona pandemic, the world’s third largest indoor tournament has been definitively cancelled,” a statement issued by the tournament reads.
“The ATP has now formally approved the request to cancel the Swiss Indoors Basel, after the tournament management of the Swiss Indoors had already declared in mid-June that it would be irresponsible and unfeasible to hold the tournament in view of the medical, social and economic uncertainty.”

Founded by Roger Brennwald, the Swiss Indoors had been held every year since 1970. It became an event on the Grand Prix Circuit in 1977 and has been classed as a ATP 500 tournament since 2009. 20-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer, who is a former ball boy at the event, has won the title a record 10 times.

The latest development leaves another big question mark on the remainder of the 2020 season. ATP president Andrea Gaudenzi spoke frankly during an interview with Sky Sport Italia and admitted that he is still unsure of what the final quarter of the calendar will look like.

“We have no idea how the Asian swing or the European indoor season could go. It might sound obvious, but I can’t predict how the virus will affect us going forward, there are too many variables to consider,”  he said.

As of today, the ATP Tour should restart on 14 August with the Citi Open in Washington, followed by the Cincinnati Masters and US Open. After that the tour goes to Europe for a mini clay season with the two Masters (Madrid and Rome) and Roland Garros.

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France’s Lucas Pouille To Undergo Surgery

The 26-year-old has suffered another setback to his plans for a return to the Tour.

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Lucas Pouille (photo by chryslène caillaud, copyright @Sport Vision)

Two-time Grand Slam quarter-finalist Lucas Pouille says he is hopeful that he will be able to play tennis again this season after announcing plans to undergo surgery.

 

The world No.58 confirmed on Tuesday morning that he will be having an operation on his right elbow later this month in Paris. Pouille has only managed to play one match this year on the ATP Tour due to the injury, which was at the Indian Wells Challenger tournament where he lost in straight sets to Noah Rubin.  The issue has been bothering the Frenchman since last October when he shut down his season early after the Shanghai Masters.

“It’s never an easy decision to take, but I will get surgery on my right elbow this month in Paris. After new medical exams, it appeared it was the best solution in order to finally be able to play pain-free. I still hope to play before the end of the season.” Pouille said in a statement.

Pouille initially looked to be on track to making a return to action after participating in the Ultimate Tennis Showdown in June. An exhibition tournament created by Serena Williams’ coach Patrick Mouratoglou. However, he lost two matches to Feliciano Lopez and Elliot Benchetrit before being forced to withdraw from the competition due to his elbow.

In recent days the coach of the former world No.10,  Loic Courteau, said they will not be travelling to the US Open next month. Although it is unclear if Courteau’s comments were made before or after the decision to undergo surgery was made.

“I will not be in New York, for the good reason that Lucas… is not going to play the tournament,” he told French television.

Pouille has won five ATP titles so far in his career and has earned more than $7 million in prize money. He is currently the eighth highest ranked French player on the ATP Tour.

Pouille’s ATP titles breakdown

2018 1 Montpellier (Indoor/Hard)
2017 3 Vienna (Indoor/Hard)
Stuttgart (Outdoor/Grass)
Budapest (Outdoor/Clay)
2016 1 Metz (Indoor/Hard)

 

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