Yen-Hsun Lu has made an art form of winning Challenger titles. The Chinese Taipei player has consistently battled with Israel’s Dudi Sela for the all-time lead in Challenger tournament wins.
Lu is once again in a position to add another title to his collection when he faces Lithuania’s Ricardas Berankis in the Jinan final. Lu defeated 3rd seed Go Soeda 4-6, 7-6, 6-4. Berankis had easy progress into the final after 2nd seed Evgeny Donskoy was forced to withdraw with injury.
Taylor Fritz won the ATP Star of Tomorrow Award last season after he broke into the Top 100 and reached his first ATP final. After his wife gave birth to the couple’s first child earlier this season Fritz took time off. The young American is into the quarter-finals of the Aptos challenger. Fritz defeated Russia’s Konstantin Kravchuk and Austin Krajicek. Krajicek had defeated top seed Malek Jaziri in the first round. Fritz did not play this event last year so has no points to defend.
Tennys Sandgren has dropped just nine games in his first two matches of the tournament and will provide a tough match for Fritz. Sandgren is ranked at No.106, very close to his career high ranking.
In the bottom half of the draw Dennis Novikov took care of the 5th seed Mikhail Kukushkin in the second round. He faces the unpredictable Alexander Bublik in the quarters. Bublik shocked third seed Henri Laaksonen 6-1, 6-1 in the second round. Sam Groth and Akira Santillan feature in the bottom half. Santillan had beaten 2nd seed Jordan Thompson in the first round. Thompson had made the final of his last challenger event, losing to Cameron Norrie in Binghampton.
In Floridablanca Argentina has two players in the semi-finals after top seed Guido Pella defeated Evan King 7-5, 6-4. He is joined by compatriot Facundo Arguello who defeated 8th seed Michael Linzer.
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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