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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Rival Backs Dominic Thiem To Win Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award

Only two players have won the award since 2004.

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For the past 15 years only two players have managed to get their hands on the prestigious Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award, but one player thinks there could be a brand new winner this year.

 

Diego Schwartzman has lent his support behind world No.4 Dominic Thiem. The award recognizes those who have conducted the highest level of professionalism and integrity on the ATP Tour throughout the season. Established in 1977, Roger Federer has won the honour in 13 out of the past 15 years. The only other player to triumph during that period was Rafael Nadal, who won it in 2010 and 2018.

“I think Thiem can win it, he showed throughout the year a competitiveness and a respect with everyone that was spectacular,” Schwartzman told ole.com. “On top of that he is having great years of his career and this season was even better for the achievements he had.’
“He has a good chance of winning it.” He added.

Schwartzman, who reached the quarter-finals of the US Open earlier this year, has also been shortlisted for the award. Along with regular nominees Federer and Nadal. Only once has an Argentinian player won the title, which was José Luis Clerc back in 1981. At that time it was known as the ATP Sportsmanship award before getting renamed in 1996.

“I learned first (of getting nominated) through social networks rather than the official designation that the ATP sends you by mail.” The 27-year-old revealed.
“It is more spectacular than anything for the players I have next to me. It is a very important prize that recognizes a little what you do off the court, not only hitting the ball.”

Whilst he is dreaming of winning the honour himself, Schwartzman is just happy that he has been nominated.

“If I won this award, it would be spectacular. Now I am on that payroll that is very good and represents the values ​​that I try to maintain on a day-to-day basis and that (my coaching teams over the years) have taught me. It is very nice to be recognized for that. “ He concluded.

The four nominees for the Stefan Edberg Award was shortlisted by the ATP. However, it will be the players who will decide the winner. The result will be revealed later this month.

Multiple winners of the Stefan Edberg/ATP Sportsmanship award

Roger Federer – 13
Stefan Edberg – 5
Pat Rafter – 4
Alex Corretja – 2
Todd Martin – 2
Paradorn Srichaphan – 2
Rafael Nadal – 2

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Kei Nishikori In Doubt For The Australian Open

Asia’s highest ranked male tennis player is contemplating when he should return to the tour following surgery.

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Kei Nishikori (photo by chryslène caillaud, copyright @Sport Vision)

World No.13 Kei Nishikori is refusing to rule out the prospect of skipping the first grand slam event of 2020 as he continues his recovery from surgery.

 

Nishikori hasn’t played a match on the tour since his third round loss at the US Open back in September. A month later he underwent a procedure on his right elbow in a move that brought his season to an early end. Currently undergoing rehabilitation, it is unclear as to when the Japanese player believes he will return to the ATP Tour.

“The prospect of a return from surgery on right elbow in January. Maybe February. In the second half of next year I want to be able to play well.” Nikkan Sports quoted Nishikori as saying.
“I don’t want to overdo it,” he added.

The Australian Open will get underway on January 20th in Melbourne. Should he miss the grand slam, it will be the second time he has done so in the last three years. Nishikori also withdrew from the 2018 edition due to a wrist injury. In January he reached the quarter-finals and therefore has 360 points to defend next year.

During his time away from the court, the 29-year-old has been kept busy making changes to his team. Recently it was confirmed that he has started working alongside Max Mirnyi, who is a former world No.1 doubles player. Mirnyi, who has won 10 grand slam titles in men’s and mixed doubles, will be working full-time with Nishikori alongside existing coach Michael Chang.

“I’m getting closer to retirement. I want to be cured and come back to play good tennis in the second half of next year.” Nishikori stated.

Despite the injury setback, Nishikori has enjoyed success in 2019. Reaching the quarter-finals in three out of the four grand slam tournaments. The first time he has ever done that in his career. He also claimed his 12th ATP title at the Brisbane International. Overall, he won 29 out of 43 matches played.

Nishikori will turn 30 on December 29th.

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Family Of Venezuelan Doubles Star Launches GoFundMe Page For Cancer Treatment

Roberto Maytin was playing on the Challenger tour less than a month ago, but now faces a new battle.

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One of Venezuela’s highest ranked players on the ATP Tour is facing challenges off the court after being recently diagnosed with cancer.

 

Roberto Maytin, who currently has a doubles ranking of 136th, is undergoing treatment for testicular cancer Non-Seminoma. Non-seminomas are made up of different types of tumour, such as teratomas, embryonal tumours, yolk sac tumours and choriocarcinomas. Maytin’s brother Ricardo has launched a GoFundMe page to help cover the costs. The tennis player made $19,441 in prize money this season, which doesn’t factor into account numerous expenses such as travel, accommodation and paying for his coaching team.

“If life gives you a chance to live longer, I think nobody would miss the opportunity. In this plane, we all want to be (alive) for years however we forget that we are with a 50% chance of leaving at any time every day.” The fundraising page reads.
“My brother was diagnosed with testicular cancer NO Seminoma, at 30 years old. He now faces a crucial match that life has put him for growth as an individual, as a man and as an athlete. He is forced to undergo 4 stages of aggressive chemotherapy in order to heal at all and leave no trace of a Cancer that has been moving for months causing some damage.”

A former top 25 junior player, Maytin is one of only two players from his country to be ranked inside the top 200 in either singles or doubles on the men’s tour. This season he has won four Challenger titles across America. However, he has only played in one ATP Tour event since the start of 2018. He achieved a ranking high of 85th in the doubles back in 2015.

Once a student at Baylor University in Texas, Maytin formed a successful partnership with former world No.2 doubles player John Peers. Together they earned All-American honours with a win-loss of 36-5 and reached the quarter-finals of the 2011 NCAA tournament.

Maytin is also a regular fixture in his country’s Davis Cup team. Since 2007 he has played 15 ties and won 10 out of 16 matches played.

“I am also clear that the family is the gift of God for each one of us, so in this way and in whatever way I will put my desire and my energy so that my Brother Roberto Maytin, a Venezuelan professional tennis player, is back to the courts, which is where he belongs as soon as possible.”

Almost $25,000 has been raised so far to fund Maytin’s treatment. Click here to visit his GoFundMe page.

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