The stage is set for the 2017 Aegon Open Nottingham and this year’s edition will be particularly special for the city as it is the first time in 44 years that they will host a combined ATP event with a WTA tournament.
As part of the LTA’s reformed British grass court season, Nottingham’s Aegon Open will host the WTA International and the $150k ATP Challenger Tour event in the same week from the 10th to the 18th of June at the Nottingham Tennis Centre.
British number one and current world number eight Johanna Konta headlines the field at the Aegon Open as the top seed and the sole top 10 representative in the tournament.
The home favourite will have her work cut if she wishes to lift the title on Sunday June 18th as she will face stiff competition from nine other top 50 players in the draw.
Anastasija Sevastova is seeded second in the event and the Latvian is currently up to a career high ranking of 19.
She will be a strong contender alongside world number 26 and third seed Lauren Davis and 22-year-old Yulia Putintseva, ranked at 29 in the world.
Former world number five and four-time Grand Slam doubles champion Lucie Safarova is the other top five seed who will be staking her claim for the title in a stacked field.
The crowd will also be able to cheer on another familiar face in the form of Brit Heather Watson as she looks to begin her grass court season in one of her favourite cities.
The main draw matches get underway on Monday June 12th, featuring 32 players in the singles draw and 16 in the doubles and it certainly promises to be a exciting week as the British grass court season gets underway!
ATP Challenger Event
British number three and current world number 55 Dan Evans headlines the field as the ATP Challenger event returns to Nottingham for the first time since 2014, after the city had the pleasure of hosting an ATP 250 event on the week before Wimbledon for the past two seasons.
Evans reached the third round in the city last year and will be eager to capture the title to return to winning ways after a difficult clay court season.
The Brit broke new ground at the start of the year, reaching his first ATP Tour level final in Sydney before reaching the last 16 of a Grand Slam for the first time at the Australian Open and broke into the world’s top 50.
Standing in the way of the Brit and a first title on home soil are two top 100 players Norbert Gombos of Slovakia and Marius Copil of Romania, ranked at 93 and 94 respectively.
Two former champions also join the field including world number 100 Dudi Sela, who lifted the title in 2011 and Lithuania’s Ricardas Berankis, who won the tournament the year before in 2010.
Former runner-up Go Soeda of Japan and the potentially familiar name for the British public Sergiy Stakhovsky also join the field, with the Ukrainian famous for knocking out Roger Federer at Wimbledon in the second round in 2013.
Another familiar name in recent times for the British crowd, particularly for his headline making at Wimbledon last year is Marcus Willis.
‘Willbomb’, as he is known, has been given a wildcard into the qualifying draw which takes place from Saturday 10th-Sunday 11th June and it is quite possible that with the home crowd behind him the Brit can create more magic, this time on the courts at Nottingham Tennis Centre!
Joshua Coase will be at the Nottingham Tennis Centre throughout the week for Ubitennis, make sure to check the website for the latest news, match reports, press conferences and exclusive player interviews!
Roberto Bautista Agut reaches his second career final in Doha
Roberto Bautista Agut reached the second final of his career at the Qatar Exxon Mobil with a 6-3 6-3 win over defending champion Andrey Rublev.
Bautista Agut broke serve in the fourth game with a forehand winner to open up a 3-1 lead and held on his next service games to close out the first set 6-3 after 29 minutes.
The Spaniard started the second set with an early break. Rublev broke straight back in the second game and won his next two service games to take a 3-2 lead. Bautista Agut saved two break points to hold serve before getting two consecutive breaks to claim the second set 6-3.
Rublev was playing his first match this week after two walkovers. The Russian player claimed the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam last week.
“It was very difficult to play tennis today, with the windy conditions, but I put a lot of pressure on his second serve and played really good tennis. I played a long match yesterday against Dominic Thiem, but I felt fresh and I had a lot of power on the court. This is one of my favourite tournaments. I played one of my best matches here in Qatar two years ago, and I hope I can win one more match tomorrow”, said Bautista Agut.
Bautista Agut set up a final against Nikoloz Basilashvili, who beat Taylor Fritz 7-6 (7-3) 6-1.
Basilashvili, who beat Roger Federer in the quarter final, rallied from one break down to win the tie-break of the first set 7-3. The Georgian player broke twice in the second and sixth games to close out the second set 6-1. “To reach the final means a lot. I am playing well and I am relaxed. It’s great to play in front of a crowd and a nice atmosphere”, said Basilshvili.
Andy Murray defeated in the final of the Biella Challenger
The former world number was runner-up to the Ukrainian Ilya Marchenko. Both will feature in next week’s event in the same location
Andy Murray suffered a surprising defeat in the final of this week’s tournament in Biella. Playing his second Challenger event in 16 years (the other one occurred in Mallorca in 2019 when, limping on a battered hip, he lost against Matteo Viola in the eighth of finals). Before today’s runner-up finish, he had played twice against his opponent, Illya Marchenko from Ukraine (N.212 in the ATP Rankings), both times at the Australian Open, in 2011 and 2017 respectively, winning both times.
But it was the Ukrainian who got off to a flying start, while the Scotsman looked a bit cumbersome and immediately lost his serve, giving a nice boost of confidence to his opponent, who broke his serve once more in the fifth game, taking a 4-1 lead. Murray couldn’t control his changes of pace, while Marchenko was pretty much spotless. The 6-2 score in his favour was the logical consequence, as confirmed by the numbers, which saw him win 83% of points on his first serve (against a meagre 53% for Murray), with no break points allowed.
In the first game of the second set, Marchenko immediately leapt ahead, breaking the Brit’s serve and even earning a chance for a 3-0 lead. Murray managed to stay close and started to play in a more conservative way, with great humility, in an attempt to reduce the number of unforced errors. Murray saved a match point at 3-5 with his second serve, exploiting Marchenko’s clumsiness with the backhand, but couldn’t do the same on the return, conceding defeat at the third match point. must defend with the second. Luckily for him, Marchenko is a bit clumsy in his preparation steps and puts up a not particularly difficult backhand. The former world number one will try to exact revenge in the same location starting tomorrow, as a Challenger 125 will take place once more in Biella, with players like Lorenzo Musetti (the seventh seed), Alejandro Davidovich Fokina (ATP N.54) and Sebastian Korda (N.88).
Report by Massimo Gaiba; edited by Tommaso Villa
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.
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