ATP To Increase Main Draw Size In Challenger Tournaments As Part Of Shake-Up - UBITENNIS
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ATP Challenger

ATP To Increase Main Draw Size In Challenger Tournaments As Part Of Shake-Up

Changes are coming to the men’s tour next year.

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The ATP has confirmed a series of new measures will be implemented on the Challenger tour from 2019 in a bid to enhance the ‘player pathway.’

After an extensive review carried out by the governing body of men’s tennis, the draw size of tournaments on the Challenger tour will be increased from 32 to 48. The increase is set to result in a rise of roughly 2400 professional job opportunities. All tournaments will also be required to provide hotel accommodation for all of the players involved in the main draws. An initiative that the ATP estimates will result in an additional 20,000 rooms being provided to players throughout the season.

The reason for the increase in the tournament size is so that more players will be eligible to receive prize money. Next year the highest-level tournament will have a prize pool of US$162,480. In the past men’s tennis has been criticised for the disparity in tournament earnings between players. In the year-to-date prize money rankings, Rafael Nadal leads with earnings of $6,717,922. This is almost 20 times more than the 100th highest ranked player (Ernests Gulbis has earned $351,895 so far in 2018).

“These are significant changes that will lead to a real enhancement of the ATP Challenger Tour, particularly as we seek to provide more earning opportunities for players at the entry level into men’s professional tennis.” ATP President Chris Kermode said in a statement.
“A big priority for us is to ensure we have a healthy player pathway and that we improve the viability of a career in men’s professional tennis. These changes represent an important step in the right direction for our sport.”

Similar to the world tour, tournaments will be split into five categories (ATP Challenger 70, 80, 95, 110 and 125). Each category represents how many ranking points will be up for grabs. For example an ATP Challenger 70 event means that there will be a maximum of 70 ranking points available to the winner.

Fans will also see a rise in online streaming of the tournaments. The ATP has said that they ‘intend’ to show all main draw matches on the Challenger Tour. Doubling the current number of matches that are currently broadcast online. Streaming platform Livestream.com broadcasts all events around the world.

The changes come ahead of 2020 when ranking points will no longer be awarded at any event that is ranked lower than a Challenger. The ITF will introduce a transition tour that seeks to create an easier pathway between junior and professional competitions. Their goal is to reduce the number of professionally ranked players from roughly 3000 to 750.

ATP Challenger

Danielle Collins beats Caroline Garcia to reach the second semifinal of her career in Miami

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Danielle Collins beat Caroline Garcia 6-3 6-2 in 80 minutes to reach her second semifinal at the Miami Open. Collins became the first qualifier to reach the semifinal in the history of this tournament. 

Collins achieved her third win against a seeded player in five matches over the past seven days. 

Collins dropped just 11 points in nine service games against Garcia and hit 22 winners to Garcia’s 12. 

Collins earned a break in the eighth game and held serve to seal the first set 6-3. The US player broke serve in the third game of the second set and never looked back to close out the match in 1 hout and 19 minutes. 

Collins has extended her record to 4-0 in her head-to-head matches against Garcia and has not lost a set to her French opponent. 

Collins set up a semifinal match against the winner of Wednesday night’s match between Jessica Pegula and Elena Alexandrova, who beat world number one player Iga Swiatek in the fourth round.  

Collins won two WTA titles in Palermo and San José in 2021 but she has not reached a WTA Tour level final since losing to Ashleigh Barty in Melbourne in 2022. 

“I think Caroline Garcia comes out here and fights her butt off. She hits some really strong shots. I don’t think the set scores are a reflection of how close the match really is”, said Collins. 

Garcia beat Naomi Osaka and Coco Gauff to reach the quarter finals in Miami for the first time in her career. The French player was troubled by an injury to her right shoulder and received treatment early in the second set. 

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ATP Challenger

Dominic Thiem To Return At Marbella Challenger, Joins Wawrinka In Stacked Field

Dominic Thiem will be joining Stan Wawrinka in making his return to action at the Marbella challenger next week.

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Stan Wawrinka and Dominic Thiem (@SK_Tennis - Twitter)

Dominic Thiem will finally make his return to the ATP tour at the Marbella challenger next week.

The Austrian hasn’t played a tennis match since retiring at the grass court event in Mallorca last June due to a wrist injury.

Despite being scheduled to play at the Australian Open and at the Indian Wells-Miami swing, Thiem had to postpone his return as he wasn’t quite ready to compete in matches.

However now Thiem has decided to return as he will begin his clay court swing next week at the Marbella Challenger.

The former Roland Garros finalist took to Instagram to announce the news as he looks to climb back up the rankings.

The world number 50 will face tough competition with former Roland Garros champion Stan Wawrinka also making his comeback at the event in Spain next week.

At the blockbuster event there will also be the likes of Holger Rune, Pablo Cuevas, Jaume Munar and Lucas Pouille competing.

The winner of the event will receive 125 ranking points but much more importantly for Thiem and Wawrinka much needed match practice ahead of a busy European clay-court swing.

Thiem will be the top seed while Wawrinka will be unseeded with their being a possibility of the two heavyweights meeting in the opening round.

Play will start on Monday with Jaume Munar being the defending champion.

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ATP Challenger

Roberto Bautista Agut reaches his second career final in Doha

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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. 

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