Andy Murray Pondering Return To Challenger Tour Following Winston-Salem Exit - UBITENNIS
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Andy Murray Pondering Return To Challenger Tour Following Winston-Salem Exit

The former world No.1 reflects on his latest tour match as his comeback gains momentum.

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Three-time grand slam champion Andy Murray believes he is heading in the right direction after losing in the first round of the Winston-Salem Open.

 

Murray, who is still on the comeback from injury, went out 7-6(8), 7-5, to Tennys Sandgren. Despite the loss, there were positives in the match as he battled on the court for more than two hours. During the first set he remained unbroken, but was edged out in the tiebreaker. However, in the second the Brit dropped serve three times as Sangren held his nerve to close out the match. Overall, Murray won 72% of his first service points and saved four out of the seven break points he faced against the world No.73.

This week was only the second time Murray had contested a singles match on the ATP Tour since January. The 32-year-old underwent hip resurfacing surgery earlier this season and has said he is now ‘pain-free.’ He began his return in June by focusing on doubles matches to begin with before resuming his singles campaign last week at the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati, where he lost in the first round to Richard Gasquet.

“Some things were a bit better today, I think. I was hitting the ball a bit cleaner than I did in Cincinnati. It’s quite a different match-up, so the movements and the way the points are getting played is quite a bit different to last week, but probably from the back of the court I played a little bit cleaner than I did last week, which was good.” Murray said after his match with Sandgren.
“I feel like I moved fairly well to some drop shots, which maybe last week I wasn’t running to to, so there was some good things there, but there’s also some stuff I’d like to do better.”

It was a later than expected start to Murray’s match. He was scheduled to take on Sangren at 19:00 local time, but rain delayed their match by three hours. In the end, their clash finished at 12:25am.

“I was fine playing tonight, but obviously it was unfortunate with the conditions and stuff like they were today. But it was better for me to play today.” He said.

Eager to return back to his top form, the former world No.1 has hinted that he may return back to the Challenger tour in order to build up his game. Should he do that, it would be the first time he has played at that level since October 2005. An option could be to play a Challenger event prior to the start of the Asian swing.

“I’m quite aware of sort of where I’m at just now and what my level is. It’s competitive at this level but it needs to be better,” Murray told the atptour.com.
“Maybe I need to play a level down to get some matches and build my game up a little bit before I start playing on the Tour again.”

Murray’s conqueror Sandgren will take on second seed Denis Shapovalov in the last 16 on Tuesday.

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Casper Ruud beats Alexander Bublik to win his first indoor match in St. Petersburg

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Norway’s Casper Ruud came back from one set down to beat Alexander Bublik 6-7 (3-7) 6-4 6-2 at the St. Petersburg Open to win his first win at an indoor ATP Tour tournament.

 

Bublik got the first break in the fifth game to take a 3-2 lead. Ruud broke staright back to draw level to 4-4. The first set went on serve until the tie-break which Bublik sealed 7-3 on his first set point. Ruud earned the only break in the third game to win the second set 6-3.

Ruud reeled off the final five games from 1-2 with two consecutive breaks in the fifth and seventh games to set up a second round match against Italy’s Salvatore Caruso, who rallied from one set down to beat his compatriot Thomas Fabbiano 2-6 6-3 6-3.

Mikhail Kukushkin came back from 2-4 down in the first set to beat 2017 St. Petersburg champion Damir Dzumhur 7-6 (7-2) 6-2 to secure his spot in the quarter finals.

Russian qualifier Egor Gerasimov cruised past Adrian Mannarino 6-3 6-1.

Marton Fucsovics came back from 1-5 down in the first set and fended off five set points to beat Alexey Vatutin 7-5 6-1 setting up a match against Borna Coric.

Joao Sousa cruised past Jozef Kovalik 6-2 6-3 6-2 6-3 without dropping a set to set up a second round match against second seed Karen Khachanov.

 

 

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Roger Federer On Davis Cup And Olympic Plans For 2020

The 38-year-old has provided some insight about his schedule for next year.

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World No.3 Roger Federer has played down the chances of him playing in next year’s Davis Cup finals despite having representatives from Kosmos contact his team.

 

Federer is the only member of the Big Three to not be playing in this year’s team tournament, which has undergone a controversial revamp. For the first time in its 119-year history, the finals will take place over one week and feature 18 teams playing in a neutral location. The ties will feature two singles matches and one doubles in what will be a similar format to that of the football World Cup.

Efforts have been made to try and persuade the Swiss Maestro to play in the event. Gerard Pique, who is the founder of Kosmos, recently told Eurosport that attracting Federer to the event is one of his top priorities. Kosmos is the key financial backer of the Davis Cup revamp.

“Our main objective now is to see if he can play in 2020 if Switzerland qualify and he can join us and play Davis Cup.” Pique told Boris Becker on Eurosport.
“This would be great news, but right now as you can understand we are really focused on this event for this year because it will be the first time and want everything to be perfect.”

However, trying to get the Swiss player on board isn’t as easy as that. The 38-year-old once said the new structure has been made for ‘the future generation of players’ and not him. He has also warned against the Barcelona F.C player turning the event into the ‘Pique Cup.’ A term that bemused the Spaniard.

“It’s normal that he (Pique) has to say that. Regarding wildcards you can always talk like that. It is also normal for him to be questioned over and over again and to talk to my management from time to time.” Federer told the Swiss newspaper Tages-Anzeiger.
“But I do not necessarily plan on doing that, I do not necessarily have to play the Davis Cup. There are also no talks in progress, although in between it has been generally discussed.”

Since 1999, Federer has represented Switzerland in 27 Davis Cup ties. Although his last appearance was back in 2015. Along with Stan Wawrinka he helped guide his country to their first and only title in the tournament in 2014.

ATP Cup and Olympic duty

The new ITF-backed Davis Cup is facing rivalry from the ATP, who has brought back their team tournament for the first time since 2012. The ATP Cup is set to launch in January and will take place across three cities in Australia. The event has a prize money pool of $15 million and up to 750 ranking points up for grabs.

“I just hope that the Davis Cup Finals and then the ATP Cup will go well. Then you sit together and see how it goes on. Whether there should be these two cups forever, or whether there could be changes that would do the tennis good.” Said Federer.
“34 of the top 35 have confirmed for the ATP Cup, it also takes place on a good date. The Davis Cup should not be happy.” He added.

It also remains to be seen if Federer will play in the upcoming Tokyo Olympic Games. Under current rules a player is required to play a certain number of Davis Cup ties within an Olympic cycle, which he hasn’t. However, he can potentially enter via appeal or a wild card. Something he will likely get.

“I planned 2020 season till Wimbledon so far, I already brought The Olympics up in the Team, they said, it‘s your decision, it‘s your career, I also talked with Mirka about it, I have a feeling that I will make a decision very soon.“

Federer, who is a four-time Olympian, hasn’t played an event in Japan since winning the 2006 Tokyo Open. Although he could be persuaded to return to the country in the near future by his sponsor Uniqlo. A Japanese clothing manufacturer that signed a 10-year deal with Federer worth millions.

Federer at the Olympic Games
-Sydney 2000 – fourth place in the singles
-Athens 2004 – reach round two in both singles and doubles
-Beijing 2008 – win Olympic gold in the doubles with Stan Wawrinka. Lost in the quarter-finals of the singles tournament.
-London 2012 – clinches a silver medal in the singles.
-Rio 2016 – did not play

In the immediate future, Federer’s focus is on the Laver Cup, which he co-founded. The third edition of the event will take place this weekend in Geneva, Switzerland.

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Mikhail Kukushkin beat Italian Next Gen star Jannick Sinner in St. Petersburg

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Mikhail Kukushkin beat 18-year-old Italian Next Gen rising star Jannick Sinner 6-3 7-6 (7-4) after 1 hour and 40 minutes. Kukushkin fended off nine of the eleven break points he faced.

 

Sinner, who turned 18 last month and received a wild-card to take part at the next November’s ATP Next Gen Finals in Milan, did not convert three break points in the first game, but Kukushkin saved them to hold his first game.

Kukushkin, who won his only title in St.Petersburg in 2010, was the first to break serve in the fourth game to open up a 4-1 lead. Sinner earned three break points but Kukushkin fended them off. Sinner saved a break point in the eighth game but Kukushkin served out the opening set on his first set point.

Kukushkin went up a break in the third game of the second set to take a 2-1 lead, Sinner converted his second break-back point to draw level to 2-2. Kukushkin got a break lead for the second time but Sinner rallied from the break down for the second time to draw level to 4-4. Sinner earned set point at 5-4 to force a decider, but Kukushkin saved it to draw level to 5-5. Kukushkin got a mini-break in the tie-break to win the tie-break 7-4.

Adrian Mannarino, who won his first ATP Tour title in s’Hertogenbosch, beat Stefano Travaglia 7-5 6-2 after 1 hour and 19 minutes. Travaglia held his first two service games at love and broke serve to open up a 4-1 lead. Mannarino converted his first break-back point for 3-4. Both players held their serve to draw level to 5-5. Travaglia saved a break point, but he made two double faults to drop his serve in the 11th game for 5-6. Mannarino served out the first set on his first point.

Travaglia saved a break point at the start of the second set, but Mannarino converted his second chance.

Travaglia earned two break-back points in the second game but did Mannarino saved them to open up a 2-0 lead. Mannarino went up a 3-0 lead. The Frenchman saved a break point in the sixth game to race out to a 5-1 lead and sealed the win on his first match point.

 

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