Juan Martin Del Potro beats Joao Sousa to keep his dream alive to qualify for the ATP Finals - UBITENNIS
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Juan Martin Del Potro beats Joao Sousa to keep his dream alive to qualify for the ATP Finals



Juan Martin Del Potro broke twice in each set to cruise past Joao Sousa 6-2 6-2 in 62 minutes to secure his spot in the third round at the Paris Rolex Masters. Keeping his hope alive of qualifying for the Nitto ATP Finals in London.


Sousa won just 11 points in 8 return points and failed to convert the only break point he created. Del Potro won 50 % of the return points and converted four of his eight break points. Del Potro reeled 16 of of the first 20 points to race out to a 4-0 lead in the first set. He never looked back and held his serve at love to close out the first set. He started the second set with an early break. He went up a double break to open up a 4-1 lead, but missed his only break point in the next game. Sousa fended off two match points on his serve in the seventh game but Del Potro converted his fourth match point to secure his spot in the third round.

Del Potro has improved his win-loss record to 19-4 since the start of last September’s US Open. The Tower of Tandil can overtake Pablo Carreno Busta if he reaches the semifinal in Paris Bercy.

Del Potro will face Robin Haase, who upset Alexander Zverev in three sets. Del Potro leads 3-0 in his previous three head-to-head matches against Haase. Del Potro is projected to meet either Grigor Dimitrov or Richard Gasquet in the quarter finals.

It would be a remarkable achievement for Del Potro, if he qualifies for the season-ending event at the O2 Arena, as he was ranked back in 47th place in the ATP Race to London. He has climbed to number 13th after an impressive second half of the season in which he reached the semifinals at the US Open and in Shanghai, won his second consecutive title in Stockolm and finished runner-up to Roger Federer in the Basel final.

Fernando Verdasco came back from one set down to edge this year’s US Open finalist Kevin Anderson 5-7 6-4 7-5 on the Court 1. Verdasco saved a break point at 1-2 and 2-3 in the third set before breaking serve at love in the 11th game to take a 6-5 lead.

The first set went on serve until the 12th game when Anderson drew the first blood converting the first break point. Verdasco broke in the fourth game of the second set. The Spanish player held his serve to seal the second set, as Anderson failed to convert two break-back points at 4-5. Verdasco reeled off three games from 4-5 with a break at love in the 11th game with two backhands. Verdasco saved a final break point with a serve to secure his spot in the third round, where he will face Dominic Thiem.

Julien Benneteau fought back from one set down to beat Jo Wilfried Tsonga 2-6 7-6 (7-4) 6-2 after overcoming two deuces at 5-6 in the second set and rallying from a 2-4 deficit in the second-set tie-break.

Tsonga got two breaks at deuce in the second and eighth game to win the first set 6-2. Benneateau earned three break points in the ninth game of the second set but Tsonga saved them. The second set went on serve until the tie-break. Benneteau fought back from 2-4 down by winning five consecutive points to take the tie-break 7-4. Tsonga failed to convert a break point in the first game of the decider. Benneateau converted his first break point in the fourth game to take a 3-1 lead and sealed the win with a double break on his second opportunity in the eighth game.

Grigor Dimitrov beat Richard Gasquet 6-4 6-4 in one hour and 22 minutes to clinch his 44th win of the season in the first of two matches of the evening session of the Paris Rolex Masters at the Accorhotels Arena in Paris Bercy.

Gasquet won the first five head-to-head matches he played against Dimitrov between 2011 and 2013 but Dimitrov clinched his third consecutive win to reduce his gap to 3-5.

Dimitrov did not face any break points. Gasquet faced eight break points and dropped serve in the 10th game in both sets.

Both players held serve easily until the 10th game, when Dimitrov hit a smash winner to bring up a set point on return and broke serve, as Gasquet sent his forehand long. The second set started withfive easy holds of serve. Gasquet faced four break points in the 11-minute sixth game. He saved all of them and held serve with a backhand winner. Gasquet went down 0-40 in the 10th game to face three break points. The Frenchman saved the first two chances but Dimitrov sealed the win with a break on his third match match point, when Gasquet sent a forehand long.

In the final match of a packed day David Goffin edged past local favourite Adrian Mannarino 6-2 2-6 6-3 to come within a win of qualifying for the ATP Finals in London. Goffin will face another French player Julien Benneteau.

Mannarino won 8 of the first 9 points to open up a 2-0 lead with an early break. Goffin broke three time in the fourth, sixth and eighth games to win the opening set 6-2. Mannarino opened the second set with an early break. Goffin dropped his serve for the second time to fall behind 2-5. Mannarino served out for the set after saving three break points in the next game. Goffin earned his only break of the decisive set in the fourth game for 3-1 and never looked back to seal the win. after 1 hour and 27 minutes.

Marin Cilic knocked out Borna Coric 6-4 6-3 setting up a third round match against Roberto Bautista Agut, who beat Jeremy Chardy 6-4 6-1.

Lucas Pouille followed up the biggest title of his career last week in Vienna with a 6-3 6-4 win over Feliciano Lopez. Pouille must win the title to keep his dream alive of qualifying for the ATP Finals in London.

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ATP RANKINGS UPDATE: Novak Djokovic, No.1 once more



After the US Open the Serbian champion reclaims top spot. Alexander Zverev is back in the Top 10


By Roberto Ferri

Don’t ever underestimate the heart of a champion”

Rudy Tomjanovich coined this maxim just after his Houston Rockets won the NBA championship in 1995. He was paying homage to Akeem Holajuwon. It perfectly suits the heart of Daniil Medvedev, who proved 99% of tennis fans in the world to be wrong, convinced as they were that he would lose the semifinal to former No 1 Carlos Alcaraz.

But his dream to win a second US Open, after his triumph in 2021, was shattered by another champion, whose heart and class is even greater: that’s Novak Djokovic, who affixes his seal on his return to No.1, equalling Margaret Court Smith’s record of 24 majors.

Djokovic dethroning Alcaraz is not the only change in the top 20: Sascha Zverev is back in the top 10 after almost one year and Ben Shelton, great protagonist of the Us Open, debuts in the top 20 best players in the world.

TOP 20

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A few comments:

Stefanos Tsitsipas, Andrei Rublev and Alexander Zverev gain 2 positions.

Ben Shelton devours 28 positions.

Sinner, Tiafoe, Norrie and Dimitrov lose one.

Casper Ruud and Karen Khachanov, runner up and semi-finalist respectively  at the 2022 US  Open, drop 4 positions.

One step forward for Fritz, de Minaur, Paul, Auger-Aliassime and Hurkacz.


From 12 to 19 November the 8 best players of the ranking based on the points earned in the ongoing solar season will be playing the Nitto ATP Finals in Turin.

Will Novak Djokovic succeed in winning a second straight title? He appears to be heading in the right direction.


Thanks to his triumph at the US Open the Serbian overtakes Alcaraz also in the Race to Turin.

Jannik Sinner holds fourth spot while Andrei Rublev overtakes Stefanos Tsitsipas and is now fifth.

The eighth position is occupied by Alexander Zverev.

Last year runner up, Casper Ruud is currently 10th. This means he would feature in Turin as a reserve.


The Next Gen Finals, dedicated to the best under 21s, (8 effectives and 2 reserves) of the season will take place this year in Gedda, Saudi Arabia.

The 2022 winner, Brandon Nakashima, will not be defending his title, since he was born in 2001.

PositionPlayerCountryPtsYOB ATP rank
6Van AsscheFrance597200469
12Llamas RuizSpain3702002133

Taking for granted that Alcaraz and, most likely Rune, will be playing the ATP Finals, we have included in the chart the 12 current top under 21s.


Besides Ben Shelton, other 11 players have achieved their career highest this week.

We tribute a double applause to the four players who are making their debut in the top 100.

The 25-year-old Croatian Borna Gojo, 22-year-old Australian Rinky Hijkata and the Swiss next gen Dominic Stricker all reap the reward for their brilliant runs at the US Open. Seyboth Wild, the Brazilian who stunned Medvedev in the first round of Roland Garros leaps to No.76 after winning the Challenger in Como last week.

Seyboth Wild76Brazil30

Translated by Kingsley Elliot Kaye

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COMMENT: Novak Djokovic Proves His Greatness At US Open



Love him, or hate him. But respect him.


No tennis player has ever been better than Novak Djokovic.

Even Rafa Nadal and Roger Federer have to take their hats off to Novak, and admire him.

Now that Rafa and Roger have left Djokovic on his own stage at least for now, tennis fans love Novak.


Djokovic’s performance on Sunday evening in the U.S. Open final was simply amazing. Daniil Medvedev also played his heart out, but Djokovic went one step further. He was sensational.

It was a thrill-a-minute three-set match. It lasted well into the night after starting at mid-afternoon. The second set alone lasted 104 minutes.

Djokovic was the winner, 6-3, 7-6 (5), 6-3, but New York still loves 2021 champion Medvedev.


At 36, the oldest U.S. Open men’s champion ever, Djokovic obviously has a special place in his heart for the number four. It’s the number of times he has won this tournament and the 24th time he has won a Grand Slam title.

The number 24 also was displayed prominently on the white jacket. Novak, his team members and family wore for the victory celebration as a tribute to the No. 24 jersey of deceased friend Kobe Bryant.

Djokovic lost his footing at least three times in the tight second set, stumbling to the surface once, apparently due to the length of the rallies.

Djokovic could look like he was almost completely wiped out of it physically one minute, and then play like Superman the next minute.


Both men played great tennis, especially in the thrill-a-second second set in which Medvedev gained one set point in the 12th game before Djokovic recovered to force a tiebreaker.

Medvedev appeared to be in charge after out-playing Novak to win one of his drop shots to take a 5-4 lead in the tiebreaker. The match may have been decided on the next three points, all won by Djokovic on errors by the 6-6 Russian.

The big question now is what happens next January in the Australian Open. Right now, Djokovic probably wants to play . . . and win what has been his favorite tournament as far as success. But things can change quickly for players in their mid-30s. Just ask Roger or Rafa.

James Beck was the 2003 winner of the USTA National Media Award. A 1995 MBA graduate of The Citadel, he can be reached at Jamesbecktennis@gmail.com.

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Alcaraz Fell Victim To Unbeatable Medvedev

Carlos Alcaraz was no match for Daniil Medvedev in the US Open semi-finals.



(@RelevantTennis - Twitter)

A star had to fall. There was no other way.


This time, Carlos Alcaraz was the victim. Daniil Medvedev was unbeatable.

The 6-6 Russian was everywhere, playing almost perfect tennis in a 7-6 (3), 6-1, 3-6, 6-3 win over Alcaraz.

So, one former champion went down while one advanced to Sunday’s final at the U.S. Open.

And then there was Novak Djokovic, another former champion headed for the title match.


The U.S. Open couldn’t lose once Djokovic dominated young American Ben Shelton, 6-3, 6-2, 7-6 (4).

Djokovic appeared to be content with just winning while getting the preliminaries over with. He seemed to be a little miffed by Shelton’s cockiness. There were no hugs or embraces when the match ended. Just a handshake.

Shelton has huge potential, but it’s going to take some time before he’s ready to join the likes of Djokovic, Medvedev and Alcaraz. He’s a better athlete than he is tennis player.

Novak is ready to go for a record 24th Grand Slam title.

Believe it or not, Medvedev will be playing in his fifth Grand Slam final.

Sunday should be a great day in Arthur Ashe Stadium, with two former champs, Djokovic and Medvedev, going against each other.


The women’s final will be interesting. Can Coco Gauff compete with Aryna Sabalenka?

Sabalenka looked helpless against Madison Keys’ big strokes and serves in the first set of their semifinal on Thursday.

Sabalenka couldn’t win even one game in that set. She looked helpless.

But she obviously felt all along that she could beat Keys anytime she wanted. Or why else would the powerful Sabalenka go for broke on almost every shot? And it almost cost her.

Amazingly, Sabalenka waited almost to the final moments to decide to play within her game and stop the wildness.

Once Sabalenka decided to settle down and play to win, Keys went just the opposite way, similarly to her one-sided loss to Sloane Stephens in the 2017 U.S. Open final.

Keys appeared ready to win this time as she held a 6-0, 5-4 advantage over new world’s No. 1 Sabalenka, who seemed to be stumbling all over the court as she repeatedly hit wild shots in every direction.

Just like that, everything changed. Sabalenka started hitting winners everywhere as Keys reversed roles with Sabalenka. Not only did Sabalenka win the second set while dropping just one point in a tiebreaker, she stormed through a decisive 10-point third-set tiebreaker to win the match.

James Beck was the 2003 winner of the USTA National Media Award. 1995 MBA graduate of The Citadel, he can be reached at Jamesbecktennis@gmail.com.

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