Challenger Reform: New System And Entry Lists Announced - UBITENNIS
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Challenger Reform: New System And Entry Lists Announced

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The Challenger Tour undergoes a big reform, as the ITF Tour introduces a new world’s ranking. 

 

The 2019 season will see some crucial changes happening in the tennis tour, expecially in the Challenger and the ITF Tours. The aim is to reduce the number of the truly “professional” players (in the ATP World Tour ranking) and to give them enough money to make a living.

Chris Kermode, ATP Executive Chairman & President, said: “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. 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.”

From 2020, the ITF Tour will no longer award ATP points, so the Challenger Tour will be the first stage of professional tennis. That will cut a lot of players from the ATP ranking, which will be made of 600-700 players, compared to about 2000 ones before. Still, from 2019 there will be a new ranking called “ITF World Tennis Ranking”, which will be used to enter ITF and Challenger tournaments, together with the ATP Ranking.

The changes in the Challenger tournaments will affect draw-size, tournament schedule, prize money and on-site facilities. Also, every main draw singles match will be streamed online. The events will last seven days, from Monday to Sunday.

The singles main-draw will host 48 players, compared to 32 before, who will have a guaranteed prize-money. Furthermore, the qualifying tournament will be radically cut, from 32 to only 4 players (2 qualifiers advancing to main draw), while the doubles draws will still feature 16 teams.

The new entry lists will consider both ATP and ITF rankings, reserving 4 main-draw places and 3 qualifying places to the highest-ranked ITF players. There will be two alternate lists, one for each ranking. The first challenger tournaments with the new system will be those of Noumea, Playford and Orlando, taking place from the 31st of December to the 6th of January.

 

Challenger Noumea (New Caledonia, Hard), entry list:
80 Delbonis, Federico (ARG)
128 Halys, Quentin (FRA)
135 Rubin, Noah (USA)
146 Sugita, Yuichi (JPN)
159 Caruso, Salvatore (ITA)
164 Barrere, Gregoire (FRA)
166 Baldi, Filippo (ITA)
175 Milojevic, Nikola (SRB)
189 Rola, Blaz (SLO)
196 Robert, Stephane (FRA)
197 Janvier, Maxime (FRA)
198 De Schepper, Kenny (FRA)
202 Robredo, Tommy (ESP)
213 Coppejans, Kimmer (BEL)
216 Horansky, Filip (SVK)
219 Lee, Duckhee (KOR)
223 Giustino, Lorenzo (ITA)
224 Galovic, Viktor (CRO)
231 Brown, Dustin (GER)
233 Clezar, Guilherme (BRA)
OUT Kwon, Soonwoo (KOR)
239 Sakharov, Gleb (FRA)
242 Harrison, Christian (USA)
249 Young, Donald (USA)
256 Ymer, Mikael (SWE)
259 Masur, Daniel (GER)
275 Chung, Yunseong (KOR)
276 Benchetrit, Elliot (FRA)
291 Marcora, Roberto (ITA)
297 Kwiatkowski, Thai-Son (USA)
303 Brkic, Tomislav (BIH)
OUT Setkic, Aldin (BIH)
310 Lamasine, Tristan (FRA)
311 Altamirano, Collin (USA)
OUT Gomez-Herrera, Carlos (ESP)
327 Takahashi, Yusuke (JPN)
OUT Crepatte, Baptiste (FRA)
ITF25 Barrios Vera, Marcelo Tomas (CHI)
OUT Torebko, Peter (GER)
OUT Petrone, Alessandro (ITA)
OUT Hossam, Youssef (EGY)

ITF132 Sinclair, Colin (NMI)
ITF141 Wang, Tak Khunn (FRA)
ITF144 Simon, Tobias (GER)
(WC)
(WC)
(WC)
(WC)
(WC)
Qualifying:
OUT Ornago, Fabrizio (ITA)
OUT Tokuda, Renta (JPN)
OUT Niklas-Salminen, Patrik (FIN)
OUT Simon, Tobias (GER)

ITF157 Blancaneaux, Geoffrey (FRA)
ITF180 Niki, Takuto (JPN)
ITF209 Arconada, Jordi (USA)
(WC)
Alternates (ITF):
OUT Lock, Benjamin (ZIM) ITF101
OUT Hossam, Youssef (EGY) ITF 125
IN Sinclair, Colin (NMI) 132
OUT Celikbilek, Altug (TUR) ITF133
OUT Bortolotti, Marco (ITA) ITF134
IN Wang, Tak Khunn (FRA) ITF141
IN Simon, Tobias (GER) ITF144
OUT Jahn, Jeremy (GER) ITF147
OUT Avidzba, Alen (RUS) ITF150
Blancaneaux, Geoffrey (FRA) ITF157
OUT Hassan, Benjamin (GER) ITF160
OUT Piros, Zsombor (HUN) ITF179
Niki, Takuto (JPN) ITF180
Arconada, Jordi (USA) ITF209
1. Giner, Marc (ESP) ITF210
2. Pla Malfeito, Jaume (ESP) ITF211
3. Huesler, Marc-Andrea (SUI) ITF236
4. Escoffier, Antoine (FRA) ITF245
5. Korda, Sebastian (USA) ITF290
Alternates (ATP):
IN Smith, Roy (USA) 329
IN Olivo, Renzo (ARG) 332
OUT Wang, Tak-Khunn (FRA) 334
OUT Tokuda, Renta (JPN) 338
OUT Piros, Zsombor (HUN) 339
IN Grenier, Hugo (FRA) 342
1. Harris, Andrew (AUS) 344
OUT Vukic, Aleksandar (AUS) 349
2. Escoffier, Antoine (FRA) 356
OUT Saville, Luke (AUS) 363
OUT Wu, Tung-Lin (TPE) 366
3. Huesler, Marc-Andrea (SUI) 372
4. Statham,Rubin (NZL) 374
5. Caruana, Liam (ITA) 381

 

 

 

Challenger Playford (Australia, Hard), entry list:
107 Sonego, Lorenzo (ITA)
112 Ruud, Casper (NOR)
127 Harris, Lloyd (RSA)
129 Menendez-Maceiras, Adrian (ESP)
133 Travaglia, Stefano (ITA)
145 Moutet, Corentin (FRA)
149 Ito, Tatsuma (JPN)
151 Moraing, Mats (GER)
152 Lestienne, Constant (FRA)
160 Dutra Silva, Rogerio (BRA)
OUT Giannessi, Alessandro (ITA)
162 Koepfer, Dominik (GER)
163 Bublik, Alexander (KAZ)
OUT Smyczek, Tim (USA)
168 Otte, Oscar (GER)
169 Vanni, Luca (ITA)
170 Laaksonen, Henri (SUI)
172 Krstin, Pedja (SRB)
178 Majchrzak, Kamil (POL)
181 Nedovyesov, Aleksandr (KAZ)
OUT Quiroz, Roberto (ECU)
185 Safwat, Mohamed (EGY)
188 Escobedo, Ernesto (USA)
192 Moriya, Hiroki (JPN)
193 Evans, Daniel (GBR)
195 Watanuki, Yosuke (JPN)
200 Napolitano, Stefano (ITA)
201 Pavlasek, Adam (CZE)
203 Paul, Tommy (USA)
204 Donati, Matteo (ITA)
205 De Greef, Arthur (BEL)
206 Troicki, Viktor (SRB)
208 Molleker, Rudolf (GER)
209 Zhang, Ze (CHN)
210 Kolar, Zdenek (CZE)
211 Gaio, Federico (ITA)
212 Gutierrez-Ferrol, Sergio (ESP)
ITF19 Zhurbin, Alexander (RUS)
OUT Bega, Alessandro (ITA)
ITF71 Doumbia, Sadio (FRA)
OUT Eriksson, Markus (SWE)
ITF108 Lopez-Perez, Enrique (ESP)
ITF130 Li, Zhe (CHN)
(WC)
(WC)
(WC)
(WC)
(WC)
Qualifying:
OUT Ornago, Fabrizio (ITA)
OUT Banes, Maverick (AUS)
OUT Lock, Benjamin (ZIM)
ITF134 Bortolotti, Marco (ITA)
ITF155 Tseng, Chun Hsin (TPE)
ITF210 Giner, Marc (ESP)
(WC)
Alternates (ITF):
IN Lopez-Perez, Enrique (ESP) ITF108
IN Li, Zhe (CHN) ITF130
OUT Sinclair, Colin (NMI) ITF 132
OUT Celikbilek, Altug (TUR) ITF133
Bortolotti, Marco (ITA) ITF134
OUT Wang, Tak Khunn (FRA) ITF141
OUT Simon, Tobias (GER) ITF144
OUT Jahn, Jeremy (GER) ITF147
OUT Avidzba, Alen (RUS) ITF150
OUT Ilkel, Cem (TUR) ITF151
Tseng, Chun Hsin (TPE) ITF155
OUT Blancaneaux, Geoffrey (FRA) ITF157
Giner, Marc (ESP) ITF210
1. Pla Malfeito, Jaume (ESP) ITF211
2. Look, Michael (AUS) ITF229
3. Saville, Luke (AUS) ITF230
4. Fancutt, Thomas (AUS) ITF232
5. Escoffier, Antoine (FRA) ITF245
Alternates (ATP):
IN Kamke, Tobias (GER) 214
IN Soeda, Go (JPN) 215
IN Hemery, Calvin (FRA) 217
OUT Lopez-Perez, Enrique (ESP) 220
1. Moroni, Gian Marco (ITA) 227
2. Griekspoor, Tallon (NED) 232
3. Davidovich Fokina, Alejandro (ESP) 238
4. Li, Zhe (CHN) 278

 

 

Challenger Orlando (USA, Hard), entry list:
198 Marchenko, Illya (UKR)
199 King, Darian (BAR)
OUT Galan, Daniel Elahi (COL)
229 Krueger, Mitchell (USA)
243 De Bakker, Thiemo (NED)
244 Peliwo, Filip (CAN)
248 Gombos, Norbert (SVK)
251 Ignatik, Uladzimir (BLR)
252 Cid Subervi, Roberto (DOM)
255 Aragone, JC (USA)
258 Novikov, Dennis (USA)
262 Bonzi, Benjamin (FRA)
263 King, Kevin (USA)
264 Elias, Gastao (POR)
265 Serdarusic, Nino (CRO)
266 Bourgue, Mathias (FRA)
267 Zapata Miralles, Bernabe (ESP)
270 Tatlot, Johan (FRA)
271 Mager, Gianluca (ITA)
273 Ojeda Lara, Ricardo (ESP)
274 Broady, Liam (GBR)
280 Coria, Federico (ARG)
282 Uchida, Kaichi (JPN)
283 Oliveira, Goncalo (POR)
284 Taberner, Carlos (ESP)
285 Couacaud, Enzo (FRA)
286 Miedler, Lucas (AUT)
287 King, Evan (USA)
288 Grigelis, Laurynas (LTU)
OUT Viola, Matteo (ITA)
293 Choinski, Jan (GER)
294 Safranek, Vaclav (CZE)
295 Griekspoor, Scott (NED)
300 Pavic, Ante (CRO)
301 Collarini, Andrea (ARG)
302 Sarkissian, Alexander (USA)
OUT Przysiezny, Michal (POL)
ITF11 Reboul, Fabien (FRA)
ITF14 Souza, Joao (BRA)
ITF22 Jomby, Tom (FRA)
ITF24 Sels, Jelle (NED)
(WC)
(WC)
(WC)
(WC)
(WC)
Qualifying:
ITF28 Ortega-Olmedo, Roberto (ESP)
ITF31 Menezes, Joao (BRA
ITF38 Brouwer, Gijs (NED)
(WC)
Alternates (ITF):
OUT Boluda-Purkiss, Carlos (ESP) ITF42
1. Mertens, Yannick (BEL) ITF51
2. Gomez, Emilio (ECU) ITF54
3. Muller, Alexandre (FRA) ITF75
OUT Rinderkneck, Arthur (FRA) ITF79
4. Dougaz, Aziz (TUN) ITF112
5. Hoyt, Evan (GBR) ITF114
Alternates (ATP):
IN Giron, Marcos (USA) 309
IN Gonzalez, Alejandro (COL) 313
IN Blanch, Ulises (USA) 314
1. Kozlov, Stefan (USA) 317
2. Ortega-Olmedo, Roberto (ESP) 320
3. Song, Evan (USA) 322
4. Fanselow, Sebastian (GER) 324
OUT Smith, Roy (USA) 329
5. Torpegaard, Mikael (DEN) 331

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Intriguing Team-Ups Lure Eyes Doubles’ Way. Will They Stay For The Problems, Too?

Will the recent surge in high-profile double partnerships have any impact on the long term future of the discipline?

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Cincinnati Open, Western and Southern Open, Andy Murray, Feliciano Lopez
Photo Credit: ATP Tour Twitter

In one of his press conferences at the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati, Andy Murray said he would not be playing the US Open. His announcement came a day or so after his initial declaration that he would be playing only the two doubles events in the final Major of the season. A few things came out of Murray’s remarks. The first and the obvious was that the former world no. 1 was ready to give it his all (yet again) to play singles. The second, the understated aspect, was that doubles while seeming easy vis-à-vis singles required just as much focus, if not more. Then, there was a third.

 

In tennis’ continuity though, the relevance of the doubles game is not a recent epiphany. However, the last few tournaments of the 2019 season that featured some eclectic partnerships – Stefanos Tsitispas and Nick Kyrgios, Andy Murray and Feliciano Lopez, the Pliskova twins, Andy and Jamie Murray, and so on – has made doubles slightly more prominent than singles.

Singles has become monotonous with the same set of players making it to the final rounds. On the other hand, doubles has brought in more verve to the existing status quo of the Tour, with each player’s individuality adding to the dynamics of the team. After his first outing as Kyrgios’ doubles partner at the Citi Open in Washington in July, Tsitsipas pointed this out.

“It’s the joy of being with a person who thinks differently and reacts differently. I would characterise him (Kyrgios) as someone who likes to amuse. I’m very serious and concentrated when I play, but he just has the style of speaking all the time. It’s good sometimes to have a change,” the Greek had said.

These changes – as seen with Murray’s recent decision – may not extend for a longer period. The culmination of these short-term team-ups does – and should – not mean the end of the road of doubles piquing attention, per se. At the same time, these transitory partnerships also reroute the discussion back to the financial side of the doubles game.

In a recent interview with Forbes, Jamie Murray – a doubles specialist – shared how conducive it had become for players to take up doubles as the sole means of a tennis career these days, as compared to in the past.

“Because the money is always increasing in tennis, it is a much more viable option to go down the doubles route a lot earlier than previous generations. Before, people would play singles and then when their ranking dropped, they played an extra few years of doubles. Now it is a genuine option to start off much younger and have a career in doubles,” the 33-year-old said.

Despite Murray’s upbeat attitude, these increases have not exactly trickled towards doubles, especially at the Slams including the upcoming edition of the US Open. For 2019, the USTA showed-off yet another hike in the prize-money coffer. The men’s and women’s singles champions will be awarded $3.8 million. In comparison, the men’s and women’s doubles teams winning the respective title will get $740,000. This sum gets further diluted for the mixed-doubles’ titlists who will get $160,000 as a team.

This is the third and final takeaway that emerged from Murray’s US Open call. For several of these singles players, intermittent doubles play is an option. For those who play only doubles, that is the only option they have. The doubles game requires similar effort – travel, expenses and fitness – the costs continue to outweigh the benefits. These momentary team formations are a gauge revealing the disparity of tennis’ two sides, visible yet obliviated beyond tokenism.

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Svetlana Kuznetsova upsets Ashleigh Barty in Cincinnati to reach the 42nd final of her career

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Russian wild card Svetlana Kuznetsova edged top seed this year’s Roland Garros champion Ashleigh Barty 6-2 6-4 in the semifinal of the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati to reach the 42nd final of her career.

 

Two-time Grand Slam champion Kuznetsova, who is now ranked world number 153, scored her third win against top 10 players this week  after beating former US Open champion Sloane Stephens and Karolina Pliskova.

Barty missed her chance to regain world number 1 spot from Naomi Osaka, who was forced to retire from her quarter final.

Barty earned the first break of the match in the second game of the opening set, when Kuznetsova netted a backhand. Kuznetsova broke back in the third game with a smash winner and earned another break at 2-2 when Barty netted a backhand. Kuznetsova hit a return winner to build up a 5-2 lead. Barty asked a medical time-out to treat he right leg. Kuznetsova held serve at 15 to close out the opening set after 30 minutes.

Kuznetsova went up a break in the first game of the second set. Barty won just three points on return in the second set. Kuznetsova closed out the second set with three winners in the 10th game.

“I am really happy. I am not really an analyzing person, but on my intuition, I am doing so much better, not repeating so many of my mistakes, just playing smarter and wiser now. It’s been so many different things when I was off, so I just enjoyed time off. Honestly, I was not missing at all the travelling and all the stress when you play tournaments, but now I have missed it and I feel good. I feel joy staying here and being here. It definitely helped me to have some time off to see other things outside tennis”, said Kuznetsova.

 

Kuznetsova set up a final against Madison Keys, who beat Sofia Kenin in straight sets. The Russian 34-year-old veteran player has qualified for her first final since last year, when she beat Donna Vekic in Washington.

 

“Madison is extremely tough. When she is on fire, it is really hard to play against her. It’s going to be a difficult match-up”, said Kuznetsova.  

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David Goffin reaches his first Masters 1000 in Cincinnati

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David Goffin beat Richard Gasquet 6-3 6-4 on an overcast afternoon to reach the first Masters 1000 final of his career and his 13th title match at ATP Tour level at the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati. Goffin has dropped just one set en route to the final.

 

Goffin is returning to his best form this summer under the guidance of former Swedish player Thomas Johansson. He reached the final in Halle and his first quarter final at Wimbledon. He received a walkover after Yoshihito Nishioka was forced to withdraw from the match due to food poisoning.

The Belgian player started the match with two consecutive holds before breaking at love to open up a 4-1 lead with a backhand winner down the line.

Goffin held his next service games to seal the opening set 6-3. Gasquet earned an early break to open  2-0 lead, but Goffin won five of the next six games with two breaks. The 2017 Nitto ATP Finals runner-up served out the win at love in the 10th game after 1 hour and 16 minutes, as Gasquet sent his backhand long.

Goffin reached the semifinal in Cincinnati last year, but he was forced to retire due to an arm injury.

“I am very happy. It’s a tournament I like and I have played the best tennis in the past few years. I am really happy to reach my first Masters 1000 final here. It’s a great moment for me.”

 

 

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