ATP Challenger Tour: Happy Valley, Noumea, and Bangkok start the new season - UBITENNIS
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ATP Challenger Tour: Happy Valley, Noumea, and Bangkok start the new season

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Adrian Mannarino is the highest ranked player taking part in Challengers in the first week of the 2017 season (Image via Zimbio.com)

The ATP Challenger Tour is back in action next week, with three tournaments starting the new season in 2017.

 

Noumea: The top seed is Adrian Mannarino, who returns to the tournament he used as his starting point for the 2016 season. The World No.60, who is also the defending champion has World No. 756 Aleksandar Vukic as his first assignment.

Seeds first-round matches (descending down the draw, picks in bold).

(1) Adrian Mannarino vs Aleksandar Vukic

Jose Hernandez-Fernandez vs (5) Kenny de Schepper

(3) Duckhee Lee vs Cameron Norrie

Tristan Lamasine vs (6) Dennis Novikov

(8) Mathias Bourgue vs Mitchell Krueger

Romian Bosquet vs (4) Quentin Halys 

(7) Stefano Napolitano vs Adrian Menendez-Maceiras

Jake Delaney vs (2) Roberto Carballes-Baena.

Look out for: Noah Rubin who started strongly at last year’s Australian Open, only to be curtailed by injury through much of 2016 is in the draw, as is young Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas. Alejandro Falla is under pressure with a weak ranking and is defending finalist points from this event last year.

Happy Valley: Top seed Donald Young will be looking to arrest a ranking slide by winning in Happy Valley. Defending champion Taylor Fritz is absent from this year’s draw, as is last year’s finalist Dudi Sela.

Seeds first round matches (descending through the draw, picks in bold).

(1) Donald Young vs Rueben Bemelmans

Michael Mmoh vs (7) Grega Zemlja

(3) Denis Kudla vs Uladzimir Ignatik

Alexander Sarkissian vs (6) Darian King

(5) Norbert Gombos vs Omar Jasika

Marc Polmans vs (4) Peter Polansky

(8) Marton Fucsovics vs Marcelo Arevalo

Matthias Bachinger vs (2) Joao Souza

Bangkok: Yuichi Sugita features as the top seed in Bangkok, with former Top 10 star Janko Tipsarevic also in action.

Seeds first round matches (descending through the draw, picks in bold).

(1) Yuichi Sugita vs Qualifier

Chayanon Kaewsuto vs (6) Di Wu

(4) Henri Laaksonen vs Sekou Bangoura

Qualifier vs (5) Janko Tipsarevic 

(7) Maximillian Marterer vs Qualifier

Warit Sornbutnark vs (3) Marius Copil

(8) Yannik Reuter vs Blaz Kavcic

Congsup Congcar vs (2) Denis Istomin

My pick for the title: Henri Laaksonen

 

 

 

 

ATP

Stefanos Tsitsipas cruises past Kevin Anderson to reach the third round at the Western and Southern Open in New York

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Last year’s ATP Finals champion Stefanos Tsitsipas cruised past two-time Grand Slam finalist Kevin Anderson 6-1 6-3 after 69 minutes to advance to the third round at the Western and Southern Open in New York. 

 

Tsitsipas came into his match against Anderson with a a 2-1 lead in their three previous head-to-head matches in 2018. The young Greek player beat his South African rival in the Round of 16 in Estoril (6-7 6-3 6-3) and in the Rogers Cup semifinal (6-7 6-4 7-6 after saving a match point). Anderson scored his only win in the Round of 16 in Shanghai (6-4 7-6). 

“I think the fact that I kept my serve very aggressive and I remained aggressive with my groundstrokes helped a lot and I am pleased that I was able to maintain my game throughout the entire match, the same intensity. It was an excellent first set. It was great”, said Tsitsipas. 

Tsitsipas broke four times and fended off three break points he faced. Tsitsipas broke three times in a row to win the first set 6-1. At 2-2 in the second set Tsitsipas went down 0-40 on his serve. Anderson hit a forehand return, but Tsitsipas recovered with a passing shot. Tsitsipas saved three break points to hold his serve at love in the fifth game and broke serve at 15 in the eighth game after Anderson made a double fault. 

“The fifth game was crucial. Being able to come back there and maintain the focus that I focus that I needed to be back in the match and not be a break down, that was a very good effort from me. It was my fighting spirit that turned on and my service points there were incredible”, said Tsitsipas. Tsitsipas will face either John Isner or John Millman in the third round. 

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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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