Excellent day for Americans as they go five for five on the second day of Australian Open Qualifying - UBITENNIS
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Excellent day for Americans as they go five for five on the second day of Australian Open Qualifying

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Tim Smyczek was one of five Americans that won their second round matches in Australian Open Qualifiying (Image via Zimbio.com)

It was a special day if your were an American in action in the Men’s Qualifying draw on the second day of Australian Open Qualifying 2017. All five scheduled to feature in the first day of second round action progressed to the final round.

 

(18) Denis Kudla defeats Darian King 46 64 64. The eighteenth seed Kudla looked down and out when he went down a break at four-three in the final set. The former Top 50 player recovered to win the final three games of the set and the match to move within a win of the main draw.

(6) Bjorn Fratangelo defeats Stefanos Tsitsipas 46 61 63. An excellent win for the former Roland Garros junior champion, who has struggled at times to improve that junior record at tour level. Tsitsipas like Fratangelo, is a junior prodigy trying to make it in the main tour. The young Greek took the first set but from then on was always second best, Fratangelo breaking immediately in the second set, and also winning the third set by a double break margin.

(2) Frances Tiafoe defeats Yannik Reuter 64 60. No such problems for second seed Tiafoe, as in contrast to his aforementioned compatriots, Tiafoe eased into the final round, dropping just four games as he beat Yannik Reuter. A much easier win for Tiafoe after his close first round encounter with Marco Cecchinato.

(25) Tim Smyczek defeats Mohamed Safwat 64 63. Tim Smyczek is defending full qualifying and main draw second rounds points from 2016. Australia however, is a happy hunting ground for Smyczek, and he continued his fine form by defeating Safwat. Smyczek has not yet dropped a set in his first two matches, but someone will go out when he faces compatriot Frances Tiafoe in the final round.

(21) Ernesto Escobedo defeats Tatsuma Ito 61 63.  Escobedo was the final American in action on day two, and he raced through his match with Tatsuma Ito in straight sets for the loss of just four games. Escobedo qualified for the Brisbane event last week, losing two tie break sets to Kyle Edmund, but will be a favourite now to qualifying for the main draw.

(10) Lukas Lacko defeats Maximo Gonzalez 46 62 62. Tenth seed Lacko rebounded from the loss of the first set to secure a double break in each of the next two to knock out the Argentinian. He will face eighteenth seed Denis Kudla in a section that went with the seedings.

Di Wu defeats Miljan Zekic 64 62. Zekic’s marathon win over Benjamin Becker in the first round became little more than a gift for the Chinese, as the Serbian was unable to back up the win. Wu was comfortable and pulled away in the second set.

Marco Trungelliti defeats Peter Gojowczyk 50 ret. A real shame for Gojowczyk, as the German had been flying in the early part of 2017, winning the Happy Valley Challenger, and dropping just two games in his first round match against Saketh Myneni. He was troubled throughout in this one though, and Trungelliti, who reached the third round of the main draw after qualifying last year, is still alive in this year’s event.

John-Patrick Smith defeats Kenny De Schepper 64 63. De Schepper was another player who struggled through a long first round match in his dismantling of the twenty-seventh seed Norbert Gombos. Smith struggled in 2016, but is in the final round of qualifying and will certainly fancy his chances.

Ivan Dodig defeats Laslo Djere 63 16 62. The Croatian veteran overcame a second set blip to make the final round. Dodig now splits his time between the singles tour and the doubles tour, and his powerful serve returned in the final set to blow away Djere.

Andre Ghem defeats Yuya Kibi 26 63 61. The Japanese started the first set as he had finished against Brian Baker, in excellent form but the defensive persistence of Ghem eventually told, drawing more and more errors through the last two sets to back up his win against Joao Souza and make the final round.

Yuki Bhambri defeats Pedja Krstin 63 64. Bhambri backed up his superb win over Stefan Koslov with another straight sets win, this time against Krstin. He will look to increase the Asian contingent in the main draw but will face the tough task of defeating Ernesto Escobedo if he is to do so.

 

 

 

 

 

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Carlos Alcaraz: “It means a lot for me to be part of tennis history”

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Carlos Alcaraz enjoyed a record-breaking year in 2022. Alcaraz has become the first teenager and the youngest ever year-end number 1 player. He started the year at world number 32 and finished it as world number 1 after winning his first Grand Slam title against Casper Ruud in the final of the US Open, two Masters 1000 titles in Miami and Madrid and two ATP 500 tournaments in Rio de Janeiro and Barcelona. 

 

Carlos Alcaraz: “It means a lot to me to receive the Number 1 Trophy, to be part of tennis history, along with a lot of legends. It’s an amazing feeling. All the hard work pays off”. 

Alcaraz becomes the youngest Grand Prix men’s champion since Rafael Nadal at 2005 Roland Garros and US Open men’s champion since Pete Sampras in 1990.  He is the youngest player to beat both Nadal and Djokovic and the first to achieve this feat at the same clay-court tournament, beating them on back-to-back days en route to winning his second Masters 1000 title in Madrid 2022. 

Alcaraz becomes the first player outside the Big Four of Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray to finish the year at number 1 since Andy Roddick in 2003. The Spanish player won the joint most ATP Tour titles along Novak Djokovic. 

It is the first time since 1996 that two players from the same country have finished number 1 and 2. US stars Pete Sampras and Michael Chang were the last players to achieve this feat. 

Alcaraz is one the three new players in the year-end top 10 along world number 6 Felix Auger Aliassime and and Taylor Fritz. Alcaraz and Rune are the first pair of teenagers to finish in the top 15 since 1990. 

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The Ultimate Tennis Showdown returns in 2023

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The Ultimate Tennis Showdown plans to return in 2023. The tennis league was founded by coach Patrick Mouratoglou in 2020 when the ATP and the WTA Tours were shut down during the coronavirus pandemic. 

 

The UTS announced that it will hold exhibition matches in July, September, November and December in the United States, Europe, Asia and the Middle East. 

The league introduces a series of innovative rules, including four 8-minute quarters, no second serves, relaxed code of conduct, sudden death tie-breaks, bonus cards and mid-match interviews with players, player nicknames. The goal is to attract a larger and younger tennis fanbase. 

The first edition of the Ultimate Tennis Showdown was held without spectators in Southern France in June 2020 to give players the chance to play matches when the ATP and WTA tournaments were not held during the covid-19 pandemic. Stefanos Tsitsipas, Matteo Berrettini, Felix Auger Aliassime, Danil Medvedev and Dominic Thiem highlighted the inaugural edition. 

Patrick Mouratoglou: “I cannot give too much away, but the roster will be impressive. Our first approach with Ultimate Tennis Showdown was to validate the proof of concept. Then in 2022 we raised capital to run the events in front of a real crowd”.

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Carlos Alcaraz, Holger Rune and Jack Draper are nominated in three categories for the 2022 ATP Awards

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The ATP has announced the Awards Nominees for the 2022 season for five categories: Comeback Player of the Year, the Most Improved Player of the Year, Newcomer of the Year, Stefan Edberg Sportsmanships Award and Coach of the Year. 

 

Carlos Alcaraz and his coach Juan Carlos Ferrero have received a total of three nominations. Alcaraz has been nominated for the Most Improved Player of the Year alongside Maxime Cressy, Jack Draper and Holger Rune. This award will be given to the player who reached a significantly higher ATP Ranking by year’s end and who showed an improved level of performance through the year. 

Alcaraz is the youngest and first teenage player in ATP Rankings history since 1973, rising to top spot at the age of 19 after his US Open title after ending the 2021 season at world number 32. He beat Casper Ruud in the 2022 US Open final, becoming the youngest Grand Slam men’s champion since Rafael Nadal won the 2005 French Open, and the youngest US Open champion since Pete Sampras in 1990. 

Former world number 1 junior player Holger Rune broke into top 100 in January 2022 and ended the season in the top 10 after winning his first Masters 1000 title in Paris Bercy. 

French-born American born Maxime Cressy broke into Top 100 in January 2022 and achieved a career-high of world number 31 in August 2022. 

Jack Draper and Holger Rune have been nominated in both the Most Improved Player of the Year and Newcomer of the Year categories.

Draper started the 2022 season outside the top 200 and broke into the top 50 reaching world number 45 last October. During the 2022 season Draper reached his first ATP Tour semifinal in Eastbourne as wild card. He earned the biggest win of his career over world number 5 Stefanos Tsitsipas en route to reaching the quarter final at the Montreal Masters 1000 as qualifier and beat Felix Auger Aliassime to reach the US Open third round. 

Alcaraz has also been nominated for the Stefan Sportsmanship Award for the first year alongside Felix Auger Aliassime, Rafael Nadal, Casper Ruud and Frances Tiafoe. The player, who conducted himself at the highest level of professionalism and integrity, who competed with the utmost spirit of fairness and who promoted the game through his off-court activities.

The nominees for the Comeback Player of the Year are are Borna Coric, Dominic Thiem, Stan Wawrinka and Wu Yibing. The player who has overcome serious injury in re-establishing himself as one of the top players on the ATP Tour. 

Coric beat world number 3 Rafael Nadal as world number 152 en route to his title in Cincinnati, becoming the lowest-ranked champion in Masters 1000 series history. 

Thiem fell out of top 300 last June after losing to Hugo Dellien at Roland Garros, but he returned to good form last autumn when he reached the semifinals at the 2022 European Open after beating Hubert Hurkacz. The Austrian player beat Tommy Paul in a tight three-set match with two tie-breaks after saving two match points. 

Wawrinka returned to his best form last October, when he beat world number 3 Casper Ruud and Brandon Nakashima at the Swiss Open in Basel, climbing 15 positions up to the top 150 in the ATP Ranking. 

Wu Yibing did not play from March 2019 to January 2022 due to injuries, rising from 1869 in March 2022 to career-high number 173 in August 2022 after winning titles at Orange Park, Orlando Challenger, Rome, USA Challenger and Indianapolis Challenger. 

The candidates for the the Newcomer of the Year are Holger Rune, Jack Draper, Jiri Lehecka, Ben Shelton, Chun-Hsin Tseng. The Newcomer of the Year is the Next Gen player who broke into the top 100 for the first time in 2022. 

Lehecka broke into the top 100 in February 2022 before reaching his career-high of world number 59 in August 2022 and qualified for the Intesa San Paolo Next Gen Finals. The Czech player world number 12 Denis Shapovalov for his first ATP Tour Main Draw win en route to reaching the semifinal at the ATP 500 tournament in Rotterdam as a qualifier. 

Shelton achieved his career-high of world number 165 at the age of 19 last August, becoming the third highest-ranked teenager behind Alcaraz and Rune. He beat world number 5 Casper Ruud to reach the third round in Cincinnati in his Masters 1000 debut, becoming the youngest US player to beat a top 5 opponent since Andy Roddick at Montreal in 2001. 

Chun-Hsin Tseng broke into top 100 last June and reached a career-high of world number 83 last August. He qualified for the Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan. 

The nominees for the Coach of the Year Award are Juan Carlos Ferrero (Carlos Alcaraz), Frederic Fontang (Felix Auger Aliassime), Goran Ivanisevic (Novak Djokovic), Michael Russell (Taylor Fritz) and Christian Ruud (Casper Ruud). 

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