Gutsy Feliciano Lopez Turns Around Turbulent Season By Winning Second Queen’s Title - UBITENNIS
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Gutsy Feliciano Lopez Turns Around Turbulent Season By Winning Second Queen’s Title

The 37-year-old tour veteran has won his first ATP title since 2017.

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LONDON: Feliciano Lopez’s dream week at the Fever-Tree Championships has concluded with a fairytale ending after the wild card prevailed in a marathon battle to claim the title on Sunday.

 

The 37-year-old Spaniard required a tiring two hours and 49 minutes to overcome Gilles Simon, who played the longest match in the tournament’s history since records began earlier in the week. The dramatic encounter saw numerous changes of momentums as both players engaged in some gut-busting rallies from both the baseline and at the net. In the match of fine margins, Lopez eventually prevailed 6-2, 6-7(4), 7-6(2). Saving six out of the seven break points he faced and triggering a large outburst of cheers from the crowd at Queen’s.

“I don’t know how I did that.” The world No.113 said during his on-court interview.
“The whole match was very exciting. I took the early set but then he got better and better. It was tough for me to find a way to win points.
“He was coming up with unbelievable shots and I was a bit desperate.
“I thought the best moment of my career was when I held this trophy in 2017 but it’s not. It’s right now.”

After playing three matches on the court yesterday, it initially appeared as if Lopez would cruise toward his second trophy at the tournament after 2017. During the opening set, the wild card rallied to a double break advantage with little difficulty. Grabbing the first break with the help of two consecutive Simon errors, before sealing his second with the help of a volley at the net. Taking advantage of some mixed play that was coming from across the court, he closed the opener with a 137 MPH serve.

Despite taking the lead, history shows that winning the title at Queen’s is never easy. Prior to this year, seven out of the past eight champions have done so after dropping the opening set. At one stage it appeared as if Simon could follow that trend after fighting his way through the second frame. After exchanging breaks between the two players, the Frenchman managed to turn his fortunes around in the tiebreak. Returning a Lopez serve deep towards the baseline and forcing the error from the Spaniard to revive his title dreams.

With all to play for, a dramatic decider took place. The first four games saw both players face and save break points valiantly. Electrifying the packed 9000-capacity crowd in London. With neither player budging, it was only fitting that another tiebreaker would decide who would win the trophy. It was a duo of errors that cost Simon. A double fault placed him behind 2-4, before a forehand volley into the net on the following point that guided Lopez to glory.

“It was long today. It was long every day. It was tough for Feli and he has another final to play in a few minutes.” Simon said moments after the final.
“It’s tough right now after such an amazing effort to try and stay in this match and come back.
“It’s such an honour and pleasure to play here and have the chance to win the final.”I don’t know how long I can stay on tour. Feli is still fit and he’s a bit older than me so I hope I’ll have the chance to come back again.”

Prior to this week, Lopez had only won three matches on the ATP Tour this season. He is the first wild card to win Queen’s since Pete Sampras back in 1999.

There will be no time for the new champion to rest. He will return to the court alongside Andy Murray in a bid to add the doubles trophy to his collection. Something that was also last achieved by Sampras.

ATP

Official: No Swiss Indoors In 2020 Due To COVID-19

Roger Federer’s home event was set to take place between October 26th and November 1st.

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By Emil Evtimov

The ATP 500 Swiss Indoors tournament in Basel won’t happen in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

The organizers of the Swiss Indoors already hinted a couple of weeks ago that the tournament in Roger Federer’s hometown was unlikely to happen due to the Coronavirus and the financial impact from the restrictions on spectator capacity.

This year’s edition would have been the 50th anniversary of the tournament, but is now out of the ATP calendar. Organizers are already making plans for the 2021 edition between 23 and 31 October.

“Dear tennis friends, As a result of the Corona pandemic, the world’s third largest indoor tournament has been definitively cancelled,” a statement issued by the tournament reads.
“The ATP has now formally approved the request to cancel the Swiss Indoors Basel, after the tournament management of the Swiss Indoors had already declared in mid-June that it would be irresponsible and unfeasible to hold the tournament in view of the medical, social and economic uncertainty.”

Founded by Roger Brennwald, the Swiss Indoors had been held every year since 1970. It became an event on the Grand Prix Circuit in 1977 and has been classed as a ATP 500 tournament since 2009. 20-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer, who is a former ball boy at the event, has won the title a record 10 times.

The latest development leaves another big question mark on the remainder of the 2020 season. ATP president Andrea Gaudenzi spoke frankly during an interview with Sky Sport Italia and admitted that he is still unsure of what the final quarter of the calendar will look like.

“We have no idea how the Asian swing or the European indoor season could go. It might sound obvious, but I can’t predict how the virus will affect us going forward, there are too many variables to consider,”  he said.

As of today, the ATP Tour should restart on 14 August with the Citi Open in Washington, followed by the Cincinnati Masters and US Open. After that the tour goes to Europe for a mini clay season with the two Masters (Madrid and Rome) and Roland Garros.

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France’s Lucas Pouille To Undergo Surgery

The 26-year-old has suffered another setback to his plans for a return to the Tour.

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Lucas Pouille (photo by chryslène caillaud, copyright @Sport Vision)

Two-time Grand Slam quarter-finalist Lucas Pouille says he is hopeful that he will be able to play tennis again this season after announcing plans to undergo surgery.

 

The world No.58 confirmed on Tuesday morning that he will be having an operation on his right elbow later this month in Paris. Pouille has only managed to play one match this year on the ATP Tour due to the injury, which was at the Indian Wells Challenger tournament where he lost in straight sets to Noah Rubin.  The issue has been bothering the Frenchman since last October when he shut down his season early after the Shanghai Masters.

“It’s never an easy decision to take, but I will get surgery on my right elbow this month in Paris. After new medical exams, it appeared it was the best solution in order to finally be able to play pain-free. I still hope to play before the end of the season.” Pouille said in a statement.

Pouille initially looked to be on track to making a return to action after participating in the Ultimate Tennis Showdown in June. An exhibition tournament created by Serena Williams’ coach Patrick Mouratoglou. However, he lost two matches to Feliciano Lopez and Elliot Benchetrit before being forced to withdraw from the competition due to his elbow.

In recent days the coach of the former world No.10,  Loic Courteau, said they will not be travelling to the US Open next month. Although it is unclear if Courteau’s comments were made before or after the decision to undergo surgery was made.

“I will not be in New York, for the good reason that Lucas… is not going to play the tournament,” he told French television.

Pouille has won five ATP titles so far in his career and has earned more than $7 million in prize money. He is currently the eighth highest ranked French player on the ATP Tour.

Pouille’s ATP titles breakdown

2018 1 Montpellier (Indoor/Hard)
2017 3 Vienna (Indoor/Hard)
Stuttgart (Outdoor/Grass)
Budapest (Outdoor/Clay)
2016 1 Metz (Indoor/Hard)

 

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US Open Must Allow Entourages Of Three Or Four People, Says Thiem

The world No.3 says he is feeling good ahead of the return of professional tennis next month.

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Dominic Thiem has come out against proposals to restrict the number of coaching staff that can travel to this year’s US Open amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

This year’s New York major will be held behind closed doors for the first time in history and will be implementing a series of measures to help minimise the threat posed by the virus. Part of their plan is to limit how many people a player can bring with them to the tournament. It was originally reported that only one team member per player would be allowed to travel, but it has emerged that the limit has since been extended to three.

Speaking about the limits, three-time Grand Slam finalist Thiem said the idea of only allowing one member of his team to travel with him would be a risk for some players on the Tour.

*”I do not think so. Three or four people must be allowed. It would be extremely risky to travel without your own physio. You need a local coach for this,’ Thiem told The Kronen Zeitung newspaper on Sunday.

Thiem last played a match on the ATP Tour at the Rio Open in February where he lost in the quarter-finals. However, throughout the lockdown he has still managed to maintain his match fitness by participating in numerous tournaments. In total he has played 24 matches across three different countries, including one named after him called Thiems 7.

“Right now I feel very good,” he said. “I have played a lot of exhibition games in the last two months and I am not tired at all. I really wanted to play tennis again, since my start of the year was very good.’
“During This period of confinement at home I have been crushing myself a lot in the physical aspect and already when I returned to training. I have decided to improve the backhand and the serve a little more.”

The ATP Tour will resume next month with Thiem hoping that he can continue his form generated from earlier this year. At the Australian Open he reached the final for the first time in his career before getting edged out by Novak Djokovic. Although when he returns, tournaments will not be the same as before due to the ongoing pandemic with strict safety measures and reduced crowds in place.

“When the circuit returns, the matches will be exactly the same as we had previously, but the atmosphere will be different,” he said.
“All tennis players will miss playing tournaments where many people travelled to see us every day. In New York, Paris or Melbourne there are between 60,000 and 70,000 people every day in the facilities. That previous life we ​​had will not be the same and we may have to get used to this new normal for a few years.”

Thiem is one of only four men to have already made more than $1 million in prize money so far this year on the ATP Tour.

*NOTE: Since the publication of this article quotes have been edited following a translation mix-up.

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