ATP Challengers: Julien Benneteau into Mouilleron final, Norbert Gombos performs well on home soil - UBITENNIS
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ATP Challengers: Julien Benneteau into Mouilleron final, Norbert Gombos performs well on home soil

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Alex De Minaur is one of the most promising teenagers from Australia at present, along with Oliver Anderson. He produced a good quarter-final showing in Mouilleron this week (Zimbio.com)

The semi-final stages of this week’s Challenger tournaments have now been completed in some events, and with finals now set, we can look back on the results and runs of the week so far.

 

Bratislava: The Slovakian fans will be delighted to see that a home player has reached the final of this year’s event. Because Bratislava does not feature a main ATP event, this challenger marks the country’s single biggest ATP event of the year. Norbert Gombos overcame two tough three-set battles against eighth seed Jozef Kovalik and then Cedrik-Marcel Stebe before growing into the tournament by dispatching Vasek Pospisil in a handy straight sets victory in the quarter-finals. His 6-4, 7-6 win today in the semi-finals against Sergiy Stakhovsky continues his rich vein of form at Challenger level since the US Open.

His opponent will be Marius Copil who is also enjoying a run of good form recently. Copil benefited from a number of high profile exits in the top half of the draw including top seed Florian Mayer’s defeat to Uladzimir Ignatik, and Lukas Rosol’s early exit. Copil accounted for Egor Gerasimov, Lukas Klein and Alexander Kudryavtsev before defeating Daniil Medvedev in today’s semi-final 7-6, 7-6.

Final: Hard to call. Both men are tall servers in good form though Copil wins more free points than his counterpart. Gombos will have the home crowd behind him. Prediction: Gombos in three sets including at least one tie-break.

Mouilleron le Captif: When the draw came out a featured highlight of the first round was the match-up between second seed Mikhail Youzhny and the unseeded Frenchman Julien Benneteau. Benneteau won a close three-set batle and has gone from strength to strength since then, defeating the likes of Alexey Vatutin and Peter Gojowczyk in straight sets. Alex de Minaur’s sepcial exemption has been well earned, as the seventeen year old Australian defeated wildcard Corentin Moutet and fifth seed Radu Albot before losing in the quarter-finals, a promising run for the Australian though.

Benneteau faces the winner of the semi-final between top seed Benoit Paire, who has shown his fluctuating form by dropping sets against Enrique Lopez-Perez and Edouard Roger-Vasselin. At the time of writing he was down a set too Russian youngster Andrey Rublev, who marked a good week regardless of his result against Paire by defeating Calvin Hemery and Constant Lestienne, both of whom knocked out seeds in Nikoloz Basilashvili and Paul-Henri Mathieu before succumbing to Rublev.

Final: I would make Benneteau the favourite against either Paire or Rublev. Paire has shown his form to be consistently inconsistent so far this week against significantly easier opposition than Benneteau. A good week for Rublev but Benneteau is perhaps a step too far at this stage.

ATP

2020 US Open: ATP Players Presented With Three Options, Decision Time Approaches

The USTA explained their working hypotheses: Cincinnati would come at the expense of the qualifying tournament. All players to be hosted in a hotel at JFK airport

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No ground-breaking news were revealed on Wednesday during the conference call organized by the ATP for all its players. Almost 400 members participated to the call, where CEO Andrea Gaudenzi and Chairman Massimo Calvelli presented the various options on the table for the US Open and the Cincinnati Masters 1000.

 

The newly appointed US Open Tournament Director, Stacey Allaster, was invited to present the three options available:

  • The US Open and the Masters 1000 to be played at Flushing Meadows, but this would require the cancellation of the qualifying tournament and the downsizing of the doubles draw to 24 couples;
  • The cancellation of Cincinnati with the US Open maintaining the qualifying draw and a full-size doubles event;
  • The cancellation of both Cincinnati and the US Open.

The US Open prize money will be maintained at 95% of 2019 levels, which still means an increase over 2018; the cancellation of Cincinnati would result in a 2 million dollar saving for the USTA, and the money would likely be distributed among the players who were not allowed to compete in the qualifying tournament.

All players and allowed entourage will be hosted at the TWA Hotel, located near Terminal 5 at JFK Airport. The hotel, opened in May 2019, has been build repurposing the iconic Eero Saarinen building that was Trans World Airlines’ terminal between 1962 and 2001. All 512 rooms will be occupied by players and staff of the US Open, and the property claims to be the hotel with the biggest gym in the world.

The distance between the hotel and Flushing Meadows would be comparable to the distance from the traditional Manhattan hotels, but obviously the ambiance would be significantly different, since players would most likely be “prisoners” of the TWA hotels during their days off and outside their practice sessions.

It has been revealed that each player would be able to designate up to two members of his staff to accompany him, provided these two members share a room at the TWA hotel and only one of them travels with the player to Flushing Meadows.

Players would now need to evaluate the options and communicate their preference to the USTA. ATP President Gaudenzi confirmed during the call that players unwilling to travel to New York would not be penalized ranking-wise should the tournament go ahead.

A final decision is expected by 15 June.

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ATP Challenger

Ten Top-100 Players To Play Indian Wells Challenger Before The Master 1000

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The tournament is part of the Oracle Challenger Series and gives a good chance to get ready for the BNP Paribas Open.

 

The Indian Wells Challenger has been played since 2018 in the venue of the BNP Paribas Open: the Indian Wells Tennis Garden in Southern California. The event has a prize money of $162.480 and offers 125 ATP points to the singles and the doubles champions.

This year, the singles draw shows a huge line-up with all the 16 seeds ranked in the top-117 and names like those of Ugo Humbert, Lucas Pouille, Jannik Sinner and Frances Tiafoe. All the seeded players have a bye and start their campaign in the second round, but many high level first round matches are still on the line.

On Monday, former Australian Open semifinalist Hyeon Chung is set to play his first match of the season, as he faces Thai-Son Kwiatkowski on Stadium 5, while Jack Sock will play against 25 year-old Kaichi Uchida. Other interesting match-ups involve Akira Santillan against fellow 22 year-old Michael Mmoh and Mischa Zverev against JC Aragone.

Two qualifying-draw matches will be played as well, with 39 year-old Stephane Robert and Gage Brymer facing respectively doubles specialists Sem Verbeek and Hunter Reese. The winners will advance to the main draw and will meet Maxime Cressy, who comes from a title and a final in Canada in the last two weeks, and Roberto Marcora.

World’s number 7 Alexander Zverev will surprisingly play doubles with his brother Mischa: they are the 3rd seeds and will play against Sebastian Korda and Mitchell Krueger. The American pair of Nicholas Monroe and Jackson Withrow is at the top of the draw.

 

Indian Wells Challenger, main draw:
Ugo Humbert [1, FRA] bye
Kaichi Uchida (JPN) vs Jack Sock (PR, USA)
Michael Redlicki (USA) vs Zhe Li (CHN)
Evgeny Donskoy [13, RUS] bye
Denis Kudla [11, USA] bye
Maxime Janvier (FRA) vs Bradley Klahn (USA)
Q vs Maxime Cressy (USA)
Jannik Sinner [6, ITA] bye
Cameron Norrie [3, GBR] bye
Roberto Marcora (ITA) vs Q
Keegan Smith (USA) vs Ryan Peniston (GBR)
Marcos Giron [14, USA] bye
Salvatore Caruso [10, ITA] bye
Thai-Son Kwiatkowski (USA) vs Hyeon Chung (KOR)
Liam Broady (GBR) vs Brandon Nakashima (USA)
Yuichi Sugita [7, JPN] bye
Frances Tiafoe [8, USA] bye
Akira Santillan (AUS) vs Michael Mmoh (USA)
Mischa Zverev (GER) vs JC Aragone (USA)
Gregoire Barrere [9, FRA] bye
Christopher O’Connell [15, AUS] bye
Brandon Holt (WC, USA) vs Sebastian Korda (USA)
Mitchell Krueger (USA) vs Dudi Sela (ISR)
Radu Albot [4 WC, MDA] bye
Steve Johnson [5, USA] bye
Govind Nanda (WC, USA) vs Marc Polmans (AUS)
Blake Mott (PR, AUS) vs Mackenzie McDonald (USA)
Taro Daniel [12, JPN] bye
Peter Gojowczyk [16, GER] bye
Marius Copil (ROU) vs Raymond Sarmiento (PR, USA)
Noah Rubin (USA) vs Danilo Petrovic (SRB)
Lucas Pouille [2, FRA] bye

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ATP

Roger Federer Calls For Further Increases In Prize Money For Lower Ranked Players

The former world No.1 shares his opinion on the financial rewards players are receiving.

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Roger Federer, pic from twitter @USOpen

20-time grand slam champion has stated that the focus on prize money needs to switch from the top level to the lower level on the ATP Tour.

 

Federer, who has made more than $126 million during his career, has praised the financial support that has been given to him and his rivals over the years. However, he believes that more needs to be done. Earlier this week it was reported that a petition to boost prize money has been put into place and has been signed by numerous ATP players. The petition reportedly calls for a profit-sharing model to be implemented at all ATP and grand slam tournaments.

There is no information about who has signed this petition and the ATP has remained silent on the issue. Meanwhile, 38-year-old Federer believes the focus on the fight regarding prize money needs to switch direction.

“When I started and won my first Grand Slam in Australia, I don’t remember what the prize money was. I thought it was around 450,000 maybe for the winner and now we’re at 3.6 (million) maybe.” He said during his US Open press conference on Wednesday.
“I think it was important for us just to be able to raise winners’ prize money and come up with that so we can rival also other sports like golf and others so we have a higher prize money for the winners.’
“That went up very quickly, very drastically, which is great. But then it became too big between the winner and first-round loser. So we have that more organized nowadays.”

According to official statistics, 34 men have earned over $1 million in prize money so far this season (as of August 26th 2019). However, players outside the top 100 earned more than 50% less ($455,00 or less). Meanwhile, winners at this year’s US Open will take home $3.85 Million. That equates to what just over 65 players would get for losing in the first round ($58,000 each).

“I do believe the challenger players and also maybe qualifying and second-round loser should get more.” Said Federer. “So I think if there should be increases it shouldn’t be at the top anymore. I feel like we have reached a pretty good level there.’
“I think that’s going to be what we’re going to fight for.’
“It would be nice if the players could also survive on the challenger tour in the lower ranks and not just at the very top.” He added.

Federer’s comments come after he recently returned back to the ATP Player Council, which is headed by Novak Djokovic. He joined to the 10-member panel after months of political tension among the players. With some disagreeing over the decision to remove ATP CEO Chris Kermode from his position. Nadal has also returned back to the council.

“Being back on the council is good because I get all the information. I think that is important for me to give a proper opinion. It also brings Novak, Rafa, and me closer together, naturally, to be in a room.” Explained Federer.

At the US Open world No.3 Federer disposed of Damir Dzumhur in four sets. He will play Dan Evans or Lucas Pouille in the next round.

2019 US Open prize money breakdown

Winner: $3,850,000 (£3.14m)

Runner-up: $1,900,000 (£1.55m)

Semi-finalists: $960,000 (£782,000)

Quarter-finalists: $500,000 (£407,000)

Round of 16: $280,000 (£228,000)

Round of 32: $163,000 (£132,000)

Round of 64: $100,000 (£81,000)

Round of 128: $58,000 (£47,000)

 

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