ATP Race to London Update - UBITENNIS
Connect with us

ATP

ATP Race to London Update

Who has already qualified for the ATP Finals, and who is in position to claim the remaining spots?

Published

on

With the ATP Finals in London just six weeks away, half of the eight qualifying spots for the singles event have already been secured.  But with two Masters 1,000 events and four 500-level events left to be played, there are a lot of points at stake for the players competing for the remaining spots.

Here’s a look at the current year-to-date standings heading into the China and Japan Opens this week, starting with the players that have already officially qualified for the WTA Finals and the points they’ve accumulated this year (their 2019 titles are in parenthesis).

1) Rafael Nadal, 9,225 points (Roland Garros, US Open, Rome, Montreal)

2) Novak Djokovic, 7,265 points (Australian Open, Wimbledon, Madrid)

3) Roger Federer, 5,510 points (Miami, Dubai, Halle)

4) Daniil Medvedev, 4,875 points (Cincinnati, Sofia, St. Petersburg)

The following players have not officially qualified, but most likely will, as accumulating more than 3,000 points is usually enough.

5) Dominic Thiem, 3,845 points (Indian Wells, Barcelona, Kitzbuhel)

6) Stefanos Tsitsipas, 3,160 points (Marseille, Estoril)

If none of these six players withdraw from the ATP Finals, that leaves just two spots open.  However, with Nadal, Djokovic, Federer, and Tsitsipas all battling injuries of late, there’s a good chance that not all of them will compete in London, which would open up some extra space.  After the top six in the race, there are six players separated by just 315 points. Here’s a look at those players, their current form, and their chances of qualifying.

7) Roberto Bautista Agut, 2,395 points (Doha) – It’s been a career year for the Spaniard, who finds himself inside the top 10 for the first time in his career.  His 2019 was strong right from the start, defeating Novak Djokovic in his way to the Doha title in the first week of the season.  He then made the quarter-finals of the Australian Open with three five-set victories. And Roberto would reach his first Major semifinal at Wimbledon.  And he’s still playing well, having reached the semis this past week in Zhuhai. Knowing he’s currently in qualifying position to make his ATP Finals debut, can he maintain his form and hold off the competition?

8) Matteo Berrettini, 2,185 points (Budapest, Stuttgart) – The 23-year-old Italian is currently in the eighth and final qualifying position, boosted by his recent run to his first Major semifinal in New York.  This is new territory for Berrettini, who a year ago was ranked outside the top 50. With four players nipping at his heels, with 105 points or less separating the players ranked from eighth to 12th in the race, Matteo can ill afford a let-down if he wants to make his ATP Finals debut.  In the opening round of Beijing this week, he has a challenging opponent by the name of Sir Andy Murray.

9) Kei Nishikori, 2,180 points (Brisbane) – Nishikori is only five points outside the top eight in the race, but that will change quickly as Kei has pulled out of the Japan Open and Shanghai Masters due to right arm and elbow issues.  He plans to return later in October, and will likely need at least a few match wins in Vienna and Paris in order to move into qualifying position.

10) Gael Monfils, 2,125 points (Rotterdam) – Here’s a bizarre yet true statement: Monfils has been one of 2019’s most consistent performers.  He’s reached the quarter-finals or better at eight events this season. He’s vying to qualify for the ATP Finals for the second time.  In the first round of Beijing, he faces a man who is rarely fun to play: John Isner.

11) Sascha Zverev, 2,120 points (Geneva) – It’s been a tough season for the ATP Finals champion of a year ago, filled with off-court distractions.  Much like the reigning WTA Finals champion Elina Svitolina, he’s in danger of missing this year’s event as the defending champion.  But perhaps clinching the Team Europe victory at the Laver Cup for the second straight year will be exactly what he needs to get him back on track.   Zverev gets Frances Tiafoe in the opening round of Beijing, whom he defeated in five sets at the US Open.

12) David Goffin, 2,080 points – Two years ago, Goffin was the runner-up at the ATP Finals, and defeated both Nadal and Federer on his way to the final.  However, since a few freak injuries in 2018, David has struggled to rediscover his form. Goffin is playing in Tokyo this week, and takes on Pablo Carreno Busta in his first round match.

Beyond those current top 12, there’s Fabio Fognini (1,965 points) and Diego Schwartzman (1,850 points) who are both within striking distance with one good run this fall.  The next two weeks will go a long way in determining who goes to London, with two 500-level events this week (Beijing and Tokyo) and the Shanghai Masters next week.  And the only two legitimate threats to end the year as world No.1 are Nadal and Djokovic. Considering Rafa’s 2,000-point lead, and the shoulder injury Novak has been nursing, Nadal is the favorite to claim his fifth year-end crown.  This would tie him with both Djokovic and Federer in that category, further muddying the GOAT argument waters.

ATP

Jack Draper Wins In Stuttgart, Potentially Faces Andy Murray in Round Two

Published

on

Jack Draper – ATP Monaco di Baviera 2024 (foto via Twitter @atptour)

Britain’s Jack Draper tight first round win headlined the opening day’s results at the Boss Open 2024 in Stuttgart – and possibly faces a second-round match with Andy Murray who takes on Marcos Giron tomorrow.

Less than 24 hours from the last ball being hit at Roland Garros, the ATP Tour had already switched surfaces onto the grass, and 22-year-old Draper was well tested but ultimately came through in two tie-breakers over Sebastian Ofner.

The sixth seed’s 7-6, 7-6 win contained just one break of serve each, both coming in the second set, as serve dominated proceedings on the faster grass courts in Germany.

While the Austrian won 75% on his first serve, Draper won a whopping 89% behind his first delivery as well as hitting eight aces. These kind of service stats will surely take him far during the grass court season.

“I thought it was a really good match,” Eurosport quoted Draper saying after his match. 
“Both of us played really clean tennis, executing really well.
“When it came down to it, I’m glad I competed really well and got over the line – it’s good to be back on the grass as well.”

There were also wins for Germany’s Yannick Hanfmann who won 6-3, 6-3 over wildcard Henri Squire, while compatriot Dominik Koepfer won in three sets over China’s Zhizhen Zhang 4-6, 7-6, 7-6. 

Continue Reading

ATP

Carlos Alcaraz Still Owns A Magical Racket

Published

on

The legend of Carlos Alcaraz and his magical racket lives on.

The 21-year-old Spaniard executed one magical shot after another with his racket and legs  Sunday afternoon in the French Open final. That bit of magic spelled defeat for Germany’s Alexander Zverev.

This was a final to remember, one of the great matches of all the Grand Slams. It just wasn’t in the cards for the 26-year-old Zverev to finally win a Grand Slam title.

HE HAD IT, THEN HE DIDN’T

Both players seemed to play a game of “he had it and then he didn’t.”

Alcaraz appeared to have everything under control in the first set, but Zverev rushed through the second set and then made a comeback from 5-2 down in the third set to win five straight games.

Zverev had everything going for him when he started the fourth set with a two-set advantage. It appeared that all the 6-6 Zverev had to do was to continue playing his masterful game of big serves and mighty ground strokes.

But Zverev couldn’t get started in the fourth set until he was down 4-0. So much for a smooth and easy ride to a Grand Slam title. By then, the magic of Alcaraz was heating up.

MAGIC OF ALCARAZ HEATING UP

Zverev still had his chances, even when he fell behind 2-1 in the fifth set. He had to feel pretty good about his chances when he took a triple break point lead against Alcaraz’s serve and appeared ready to even the set at 2-2. Even after Carlos came up with a winner to bring the  game score to double break point.

Zverev still was ready to even the entire match.

That’s when everything seemed to go haywire for the German, while all the while, Alcaraz was able to repeatedly come up with his magical shots as the Spaniard made critical shots that looked almost impossible to make.

ALCARAZ HEADED FOR GREATNESS

Everything for Zverev was lost in the magical racket of Alcaraz.

What was then initially called a game-ending Alcaraz double fault and a 2-2 deadlock quicky reversed itself and Alcaraz stayed alive by winning the next three points while taking a 3-1 advantage.

Zverev did get back to a 3-2 deficit and had a break point in the sixth game, but that was it for the hopes of Zverev. The last two games went rather easily in favor of Alcaraz to wrap up a 6-3, 2-6, 5-7, 6-1, 6-2 victory for Alcaraz.

That moved the Spaniard to a higher level of success on the ATP Tour. He became the youngest man to win Grand Slam titles on all of the different surfaces, clay, grass and hard courts.

Carlos Alcaraz and his magical racket appear to be headed for greatness.

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

Continue Reading

ATP

Tsitsipas Brothers Hit With Trio Of Fines At French Open

Published

on

Stefanos Tsitsipas and his brother Petros have been fined more than 20,000 euros for multiple violations of the coaching rules at this year’s French Open. 

The brothers received a financial penalty during three different matches that they played in. Two of those were in the second and third rounds of the men’s doubles tournament. Furthermore, Stefanos was also penalised during his singles quarter-final match against Carlos Alcaraz, which he lost in straight sets. According to French newspaper L’Equipe, all three of those fines were issued as a result of coaching rules being broken.

Ironically, coaching is allowed during matches at the French Open but certain rules must be followed. ‘Verbal’ coaching can only be issued from the coaches and their team if they are sitting in the designated player’s box. Instructions must be limited to a few words and can only be given if the player is in the same half of the court as their coach. Although non-verbal coaching is allowed regardless of what side the player is on. Finally, players can’t start a conversation with their coach unless it is during a medical break, a bathroom break or when their opponent is changing clothes.

However, the Tsitsipas brothers have been found in violation of these rules, which is likely due to their animated father in the stands who is also their coach. Apostolos Tsitsipas has been given coaching violations in the past at other events, including the 2022 Australian Open. 

The value of the fines are €4,600 and €9,200 for the Tsitsipas brothers in the doubles, as well as an additional €7,400 just for Stefanos in the singles. In total, the value of their fines is €21,200. However, the penalty is unlikely to have an impact on the duo whose combined earnings for playing in this year’s French Open amount to roughly €495,000. 

So far in the tournament, the highest single fine to be issued this year was against Terence Atmane who hit a ball out of frustration that struck a fan in the stands. Atmane, who later apologised for his actions, managed to avoid getting disqualified from the match. Instead, he was fined €23,000. 

Continue Reading

Trending