Challenger Tour: Tim Smyczek continues title defence in Dallas, Kyle Edmund and Dan Evans reach quarter-finals - UBITENNIS
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Challenger Tour: Tim Smyczek continues title defence in Dallas, Kyle Edmund and Dan Evans reach quarter-finals



Tim Smyczek managed to replicate his 2015 form at the Australian Open, but still has some way to go to retain the Dallas crown (Image via

Technically there were two major shocks in Dallas on Wednesday, though one was only a shock in ranking. Dan Evans and Grega Zemlja both defeated seeded opponents to reach the quarter-finals, whilst Tim Smyczek recovered from a second set slip to move within three matches of defending his crown.


Though Dan Evans beating eighth seed Bjorn Fratangelo 6-2, 6-3 must go down as shock, it isn’t really. Evans now leads the head-to-head 4-0 after the result in Dallas. The Briton broke twice in the first set and once in the second to oust the twenty-two year-old American in just over an hour.

Second seed Kyle Edmund joined Evans in the quarter-finals as he eased past Irishman James McGee 6-3, 6-4. The players traded breaks early in each set, but it was Edmund who managed to find the additional break required in both to move forward.

Tim Smyczek had raced into an early lead against compatriot Ryan Harrison, with the defending champion scoring a bagel in the opening set. Harrison, to his credit, fought back and broke the fourth seed in the final game of the second set. Smyczek eventually recovered recovered in the third to win 6-0, 5-7, 6-4.

Francis Tiafoe followed his excellent win against Sam Groth with a good win over tricky Russian Mikhail Vaks. The qualifier matched Tiafoe through the first set before Tiafoe pounced in the last game. Vaks produced his own break in set two, but gave two up, allowing the American to set up a meeting with sixth seed Tatsumo Ito, who ensured that Henri Laaksonen’s poor start to the season continued. The Swiss has only one win on the year, from his first round encounter with Marek Michalicka.

Marinko Matosevic continued his comeback from injury, benefiting from an error-strewn display from Argentine Marco Trungelliti to win 6-4, 6-3, though Matosevic did appear to receive treatment for a groin injury. Finally, Grega Zemlja scored the other upset as he beat seventh seed John-Patrick Smith 4-6, 6-3, 6-4. Zemlja did not earn quite as many aces as he enjoyed in his first round meeting with Jason Jung (33) but did enough to oust the Australian.

Benjamin Becker takes on Ernesto Escobedo in the final second round match in the evening session.

Quarter final Analysis and Picks (in bold):

Grega Zemlja vs Kyle Edmund: The Briton is in good form having not dropped a set in his opening two matches, and will be a stronger returned than Zemlja has faced through his first two matches. Edmund is looking to gain some points and regain his Top 100 ranking. Given that he earned no points in this week last year, he looks on course to do just that.

Francis Tiafoe vs Tatsumo Ito: Tiafoe appears to very much be the danger-man of this draw. Unseeded, he has already taken out top seed Sam Groth, and negotiated an in-form qualifier. Ito has had a mixed start to the year, and will have to be at his very best to battle with Tiafoe.

Benjamin Becker OR Ernesto Escobedo vs Dan Evans: A hugely important match takes place before we even know who Evans faces, and the personalities could be very different. He could end up facing a tour veteran, or a young up-and-comer. I’m inclined to back Evans over either player though.

Marinko Matosevic vs Tim Smyczek : The Australian was lucky against Radu Albot and beat a clearly below-par Marco Trungelliti. Defending champion Tim Smyczek is likely to be a step too far at this stage of his comeback, with the American in decent but not amazing form as his second set collapse against Ryan Harrison evidenced. Be wary as well Matosevic received treatment for an apparent groin injury in the second set against Trungelliti and if that continues to bother him, it could be a very short match.


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Hamad Medjedovic wins the Next Gen Finals title in Jeddah



Hamad Medjedovic came back from one set down to beat Arthur Fils 3-4 (6-8) 4-1 4-2 3-4 (9-11) 4-1 after 2 hours and 11 minutes at the Next Gen ATP Finals at King Abdullah Sports City in Jeddah. 


Medjedovic hit 38 winners to 21 unforced errors. 

The first set went on serve en route to the tie-break. Medjedovic earned a mini-break to take a 3-2 lead and held two set points at 6-4, but he was not able to convert them. Fils won four consecutive points to win the tie-break 8-6. 

Medjedovic earned a break in the second game to win the second set 4-1. 

Medjedovic becomes the sixth Next Gen ATP Finals champion, joining top 10 players Stefanos Tsitsipas, Jannik Sinner and Carlos Alcaraz. The 20-year-old Serbian player is the lowest-ranked champion in tournament history. 

Medjedovic started the third set with an early break in the first game. The Serbian player held on his serve to seal the set 4-2. 

Medjedovic recovered from squandering two match points at 6-4 in a thrilling tie-break of the fourth set at 5-6 and 7-8. Fils saved both chances on second serves and won four of the next five points to win the tie-break 11-9 forcing the match to a deciding set. 

to win the first five-set final in tournament history. The Serbian player won 88% and converted his third match point to clinch the biggest title of his career so far. 

Medjedovic earned a break in the second game of the fifth set. Fils earned himself a penalty point for a smash of his raquet and went down 0-3. Medjedovic held on his next service games and converted his third match point. 

“Two of us from Serbia. Djokovic won the big Masters, the real one, and I won the Next Gen. Obviously it’s a huge thing and I am happy to follow in his footsteps in some way. I can’t believe I have won this title. It’s going to give me a lot of confidence for 2024. Arthur is an amazing player. He is top 40 for a reason”, said Medjedovic. 

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Elena Rybakina headlines a strong line-up in Adelaide



Elena Rybakina, Zheng Qinwen, Carolina Garcia and Angelique Kerber will highlight the Adelaide International, a WTA 500 tournament.


Rybakina reached the final at the Adelaide International on her tournament debut in 2022, losing to now retired Ashleigh Barty. Rybakina went on to win her first Grand Slam title at Wimbledon later last year. The Kazakh player finished runner-up to Aryna Sabalenka in the Australian Open final in 2023. 

Zheng won her first WTA 500 title in Zhengzhou and reached the final in Zhuhai, ending the 2023 season at a career-high of world number 15. 

Angelique Kerber will make her come-back to the WTA Tour at the United Cup before playing her first WTA draw in Adelaide. Kerber gave birth to her daughter Liana last February. The German player won titles at the 2016 Australian Open and in Sydney 2018 and reached in Sydney 2014 and in Brisbane 2018. 

Kerber is one of the three former number 1 players, who are making her come-back on the WTA Tour after giving birth to their children. 

Caroline Wozniacki lost to eventual champion Coco Gauff in the Round of 16 at the US Open in her third tournament back. 

Four-time Grand Slam champion Naomi Osaka is planning to make her return next January after giving back to her child Shai last July. 

“It’s definitely way more tournaments than I used to play. So I think some people will be happy with that. I realized that I don’t know how the beginning of the year is going to go for me. I don’t know the level of player and I think I have to ease into it. At the very least, I will set myself up for a very good end of the year”, said Osaka.

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Arthur Fils beats Luca Van Assche in all-French semifinal at the Next Gen ATP Finals in Jeddah



World number 36 Arthur Fils beat his friend Luca Van Assche 2-4 4-1 4-3 (7-1) 4-3 (8-6) in an all-French clash after 1 hour and 37 minutes to reach the final at the Next Gen ATP Finals in Jeddah. 


Van Assche, who was born in Belgium but moved to Belgium when he was three years old, broke serve in the fifth game to take a 3-2 lead and served out the first set to 15. Van Assche won 12 of the last 14 points. 

Fils hit a couple of big forehands to earn three break points at 2-1 15-40. Van Assche saved one break point with a volley, but Fils converted his second chance to open up a 3-1 lead, as Van Assche netted a backhand. Fils served out with a hold at 15 to level the match at one set apiece. 

The first five games of the third set went on serve. Van Assche led 2-3 30-40 on Fils’serve to earn two set points. 

Fils saved them before racing out to a 5-0 lead. Van Assche won his first point with a forehand. Fils earned five set points and closed it out when Van Assche netted a backhand. 

Fils won 22 consecutive points on his first serve until 2-1 in the fourth set. Van Assche faced a match point at 2-3, but Van Assche saved it to force another tie-break. Fils opened up a 4-1 with a mini-break. Van Assche won three points to 4-4 before saving two match points at 4-6 and 5-6. Fils hit a forehand to earn a fourth match point and converted it when Van Assche sent a backhand over the baseline. 

Van Assche beat Fils in the boys’ singles final at 2021 Roland Garros. Fils won his first title in Lyon last May. 

“I played every point trying everything with my forehand, moving very good. I was very happy with the tie-break. Today was a tough match against a great friend. We have known each other since we were nine, so it was a little bit tough and I am happy with the win. I came onto the court with the mindset that I can win. The first set was tough, he was playing very good and defending so well, running very fast. I kept my focus and I am really happy with the win”, said Fils. 

Fils set up a final clash against Hamad Medjedovic, who advanced to the championships match, when Dominic Stricker was forced to withdraw in the second set due to a back injury in the semifinal. 

Medjedovic was leading 4-3 (7-5) 2-1 when Stricker walked to the net and ended the match. 

Medjedovic hit 12 winners to 3 unforced errors. The Serbian player won three matches in the round-robin group. 

Medjedovic won 93% of his first serve points in the first set. Stricker did not drop a point on his first serve. Medjedovic earned his only mini-break to seal the tie-break 7-5. 

Medjedovic earned an early break in the third game of the second set to take a 2-1 lead before Stricker retired from the match. 

Medjedovic reached two semifinals in Gstaad and Astana. He is coached by Viktor Troicki. Stricker advanced to the semifinals at the 2022 Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan. 

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