As the first week of the ATP Challengers approaches the business end of the tournaments, only the players in strong form will progress into the semi-finals.
(1) Adrian Mannarino defeats (5) Kenny De Schepper 64 61. The all French affair was dominate by Mannarino, breaking five times in stats that make poor reading for De Schepper. Standing at 6’8, the Frenchman struggles to win many free points on serve, and in fact hit more double faults than aces in this encounter, three aces to five double faults. Mannarino won nearly 50% of points on his opponent’s first serve, and nearly 75% against the second in a complete mismatch.
Alejandro Falla defeats Tristan Lamasine 64 63. A real surprise. Falla may have been a finalist at this event last season, but it was the only time that the Colombian impressed in 2016. with his ranking languishing around no.270 in the world, only a title here will be enough to maybe see Falla get entry into Australian Open qualifying. Lamasine will be disappointed that he was not able to back up his impressive wins against Dennis Novikov and Stefanos Tsitsipas.
Nikola Milojevic defeats (8) Mathias Bourgue 36 76 75. If there is a surprise performer in Noumea this week, then Milojevic certainly is that player. The Serbian already took down Bourgue’s compatriot Quentin Halys, and produced a stunning comeback in the second and third sets to shock the eighth seed. A timely run of form for the twenty-one year old.
(2) Roberto Carballes Baena defeats Adrian Menendez Maceiras 76 36 61. Unseeded Menendez Maceiras put up an excellent fight against his fellow Spaniard, ignoring a ranking disparity of nearly one hundred players to fight hard in the first and second sets. Carballes Baena took control of the first set tiebreak, only dropping the single point, and after losing the second set, cruised through the third.
Happy Valley: Note the Happy Valley Challenger is only now at the quarter-final stage. These match summaries represent the overnight second round matches from the bottom half of the draw.
Omar Jasika defeats Alex Bolt 63 63. The teenager continued his surprising good form. After edging Norbert Gombos in the first round, his win over fellow Australian Bolt was far more convincing. Breaking three times, and not facing a single break point against his own serve, the Aussie who many have claimed has excellent talent may be finally beginning to fulfill it. His ranking will not see him get into Australian Open Qualifying on his own merit, but one or both of these players are likely to be afforded wildcards into qualifying.
(4) Peter Polansky defeats Daniel Brands 76 64. This match was always going to be tight on the scoreboard, owing to Brands massive serve. Despite this, Polansky was still able to break three times in two sets (he surrendered two of his own to keep the scores close. Polansky has done well since returning from injury and is perhaps my second favourite for the title.
(8) Marton Fucsovics defeats Ivan Ivashka 64 63. The eighth seeded Hungarian continues to quietly make his way through to the last eight. A potentially tricky tie against a young opponent who has started to show his talent, very well negotiated.
Bangkok: (Again second round):
(1) Yuichi Sugita defeats Marsel Ilhan 62 64. A good win for the top seed against a former Top 100 opponent. Ilhan’s form had fallen dramatically across 2016, and has not started 2017 much better, soundly beaten by the Japanese.
Jeremy Jahn defeats (6) Di Wu 63 36 64. A seed fall as Jahn, more familiar in the European Futures and occasional Challengers, rose to the occasion to defeat China’s Wu. As things stand, this could represent the single biggest tournament success for Jahn.
Blaz Kavcic defeats Amir Weintraub 64 61. The Slovenian eased into the quarter-finals, defeating the Israeli for the loss of just five games. Weintraub had won a previous meeting in the 2014 Davis Cup over five sets, but was soundly beaten in Thailand.
Christian Garin defeats (2) Denis Istomin 36 64 75. The shock of the draw to date. Istomin has immense pedigree as a former regular inside the Top 100, and looked well placed to reach the quarter-finals after winning the first set. Garin however, though better known for his exploits on clay, rallied to drop his serve just once over the final two sets, shocking the second seed.
ATP announces five-week ATP Challenger calendar for 2021
The ATP has issued a five-week schedule for the start of the 2021 ATP Challenger Tour, which is scheduled to launch on 18th January with a 125-event in Istanbul. The Turkish city celebrates its 31st consecutive year on the Challenger Tour.
Turkey will host three consecutive tournaments at the start of the season. Istanbul will host a hard court tournament from 18th January. The tour will move to the seaside town of Antalya, the venue of two clay tournaments on 25th January 2021 and 1st February 2021.
The week of 25 Januray will be the first of back-to-back Challenger events in Antalya and an indoor hard-court tournament in the French town of Quimper.
France will host two more indoor tournaments, the 125-level tournament in Orleans (1 February) and the 28th edition of Cherbourg (8 February).
Cherbourg will be held in the same week as hard-court tournaments in Biella in Italy and Potchefstroom in South Africa. Biella will also host a 125-level tournament in the following week on 15 February. Potchefstroom will host a second consecutive tournament on 15 February. Challenger-level tournaments will feature 32 singles players and qualifying draws with 16 players.
Stefanos Tsitsipas cruises past Kevin Anderson to reach the third round at the Western and Southern Open in New York
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.
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
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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