John McEnroe, Mats Wilander, Sergi Bruguera and Henri Leconte headline the ATP Champions Tour in Verona and Modena - UBITENNIS
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John McEnroe, Mats Wilander, Sergi Bruguera and Henri Leconte headline the ATP Champions Tour in Verona and Modena

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The second edition of the ATP Champions Tour event in Italy will be held this week-end in Verona (Friday 20th November) and Modena (22nd November). The Italian leg of the Champions Tour will be highlighted by John McEnroe, Mats Wilander, Henri Leconte and Sergi Bruguera (who will replace Yannick Noah who picked a shoulder injury).

 

The “Big Challenge” will be the chance to cheer on four tennis legends who have remained in the heart of many tennis fans.

Italy hosted the ATP Champions Tour last year when John McEnroe, Michael Chang, Goran Ivanisevic and Ivan Lendl entertained the Italian fans in Genua and Milan for two days of memorable tennis.

Verona will host the first day which features the two semifinals. Henri Leconte will play the first semifinal match against twice Roland Garros champion Sergi Bruguera, the coach of Richard Gasquet. In the second semifinal McEnroe will take Wilander in a match between two former Grand Slam winners and now TV tennis pundits.

McEnroe won seven Majors (three wins at Wimbledon in 1981, 1983 and 1984 and four wins in New York in 1979, 1980, 1981 and 1984). Wilander, who now works for Eurosport, won the Roland Garros three times (1982, 1985 and 1988), the Australian Open three times (1983,1984 and 1988) and the the US Open once (1988). Sergi Bruguera won two consecutive editions of the Roland Garros in 1993 and 1994, the silver medal at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta (where he lost against André Agassi) and reached the final in 1997 in Miami after beating Pete Sampras in the semifinal. Henri Leconte reached his best result at Grand Slam level at the Roland Garros in 1988 when he lost the final against Mats Wilander

 

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Russia opens the Davis Cup campaign with a 3-0 win over Croazia

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Russia beat defending champions from Croatia 3-0 thanks to the two singles wins of Andrey Rublev and Karen Khachanov on Centre Court of the Caja Magica in Madrid.

 

Rublev cruised past Borna Gojo 6-3 6-3 in the opening match before Karen Khachanov came back from one set down to beat Borna Coric 6-7 (4-7) 6-4 6-4.

Khachanov and Rublev returned to the court to beat specialists Ivan Dodig and Nikola Mektic 7-6 (7-3) 6-4 to give Russia a 3-0 win.

“It was important to start well. I had some opportunities and took them. I am really happy we won this tie”, said Khachanov.

Belgium (two-time finalists) beat Colombia 2-1 on Court 3. In the opening match Davis Cup specialist Steve Darcis cruised past Santiago Giraldo 6-3 6-2. David Goffin came back from one set down to beat Daniel Elahi Galan 3-6 6-3 6-3. Last week’s ATP Finals semifinalists Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah won the doubles match for the Colombian team beating Sander Gillie and Joran Vliegen 6-7 (5-7) 6-4 7-6 (7-3).

“The challenge was to fight against myself. It was not easy. Sometimes you have to fight. I am happy the way I fought. I did not give up. That’s the most important thing because I am playing for my country”,said Goffin.

 

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Jannik Sinner beats Antoine Hoang to reach the final in Ortisei

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Last week’s Next Gen ATP Finals champion Jannik Sinner beat Frenchman Antoine Hoang 6-3 7-6 (7-4) to reach the final at the ATP Challenger in Ortisei.

 

Sinner won the first set 6-3 with his only break in the fourth game. The Italian 18-year player went down a break to trail 1-4 in the second set, but he won three consecutive games to draw level to 4-4. Hoang earned three set points in the 12th game on Sinner’s serve, but he did not convert them. Sinner won the tie-break 7-4 with his only mini-break. Sinner is projected to improve his best ranking to world number 83 and could reach the 78th place, if he wins the Ortisei title in front of his fans.

Sinner will face Austria’s Sebastian Ofner, who beat Luca Vanni 7-6 (7-4) 7-6 (7-3). Vanni did not face any break points but he was not able to convert eight break points, including five set points in the second set.

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Pierre Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut set up doubles final against Raven Klaasen and Michael Venus at the ATP Finals

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Raven Klaasen from South Africa and Michael Venus from New Zealand battled past top-seeded players Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah 6-7 (5-7) 7-6 (12-10) 10-6 after 2 hours and 9 minutes to secure their spot in the doubles title match at the ATP Finals at the ATP Finals in London. Klaasen and Venus came back from 0-4 down and fended off two match points in the tie-break of the second set.

 

Farah and Cabal earned the first break of the match at 5-5 in the first set, when Klaasen hit a backhand volley into the net. Klaasen broke straight back at 30 in the next game to set up a tie-break. Klaasen and Venus took a 5-4 lead in the tie-break. Farah missed a forehand on Farah’s serve in the next point. Farah hit a backhand return down the line on the first set point at 6-5.

Klaasen fended off a deciding point at 1-2 in the second set. Klaasen and Venus came back from 0-4 in the tie-break of the second set by winning six of the next eight points. Cabal and Farah earned two match points in the tie-break. They did not convert their first chance at 6-7 when Venus hit a forehand volley winner. Cabal hit a forehand return down the line into the net on the second match point. Klaasen and Venus earned their fourth set point of the tie-break, when Klaasen made a double fault at 10-10 and converted it when Farah hit a forehand wide.

Klaasen and Venus reeled the first point of the Match Tie-Break and sealed their 35th win of the season, when Venus hit a smash winner.

Klaasen and Venus set up a final against Pierre Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut, who beat 2017 finalists Lukasz Kubot and Marcelo Melo 6-3 7-6 (7-4) reaching their third final this year.

Herbert and Mahut did not convert their first break point, but they clinched their second chance in the sixth game to claim the opening set 6-3. Kubot and Melo got the break to take a 4-3 lead but they were not able to hold on their serve. Herbert and Mahut broke back in the eighth game to force a tie-break. The French specialists converted their second match point to secure their spot in the final.

Herbert and Mahut are bidding to win the first French team to win the ATP Finals title since Michael Llodra and Fabrice Santoro’s title in Shanghai in 2005. In last year’s ATP Finals title match Herbert and Mahut finished runner-up to Mike Bryan and Jack Sock.

Herbert and Mahut have not lost a set in the four matches they played this week.

“It is going to be a tough battle. Klaasen and Venus played amazing in the group stage and they did a really good match today, winning the important points. It’s going to be a tough final, but we are going to try our best and give everything”, said Herbert.

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