Britain’s Male Players Shine At US Open - UBITENNIS
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Britain’s Male Players Shine At US Open

Cam Norrie and Dan Evans enjoy comfortable wins and join Andy Murray and Jack Draper. Like in 2020, four British men players make second round of US Open



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By Kingsley Elliot Kaye

Cameron Norrie – Benoit Paire 60 76 60


Can a match be over after the first game? Well, if the most erratic player is up against the most consistent it can happen. If the first has also recently been taking a break off tennis, while the latter has been thriving since his Wimbledon run to the semifinals, it comes as no surprise that one game can tell the story of a whole match.

Paire lost serve in the first game of the match. In spite of scoring three points with his first serve he undid it all with unforced errors pouring in from every domain. Neither were the errors spurred by attempts to construct points. It was just unforced errors, often coming from sluggish moving. It appeared clear that Norrie just had to keep the ball in play and wait. When Paire did try a shift in tactics in the second game, charging to the net, Norrie did not blink and hit a comfortable passing shot down the line. After 20 minutes the set was over. 

But there are many kinds of Benoit Paire and a different one started the second set. The one endowed with a unique tennis genius. More enterprising and error-free, he held serve and was unleashing unretrievable backhands down the line as well as mixing up pace. Slightly unsettled Norrie fended off a break point in the fifth game but surrendered his serve two games later, the Frenchman pressuring from the baseline and with forays into the net. However he tightened up when serving the set out and let Norrie back in. No more twists occurred and it was tiebreak time. Benoit Paire set up a glamorous stop volley to win the first point, then gave the floor to his former self and was no longer a match for a buoyed Norrie, who won seven straight points to secure the tiebreak, and the next six games to pocket the match. 

“It’s tricky, especially how Benoit plays. He obviously plays with a lot of flare, he can come forward very well and serve well at times.  And he’s dangerous. So for me, I was just trying to concentrate and stay locked in,” said Norrie. “It was a tough second set. He played really, served well, and returned. That one game, I didn’t make many first serves and he took it to me and broke me Norrie said after the match.  In the third set it was all going very quickly, but I’ll take it. You know, it was pretty hot out there, and nice to get it done in straight (sets).”

Norrie will take on Portugal’s Joao Sousa in the second round.

Dan Evans – Jiri Vesely 

Dan Evans has been playing some dream tennis throughout his American summer, underpinning his shot variety with consistency and physical brilliance. Opposed to Jiri Vesely, ranked 68 he displayed remarkable ease and closed the match in three comfortable fuel-saving sets, 64 61 61.  He continuously mixed up service placement and did not concede breakpoints.  However it must be said that the Czech never came up with the tennis he stunned Djokovic with in Dubai, when he put away the number one of the world in two sets, one of the greatest upsets of the season. 

In the first set both players exhibited enjoyable and airy tennis. Evans earned his first chances in the opening game, effectively steering his lifted backhands to elicit errors or set up winners. However Vesely saved four breakpoints and held, assisted by his first serve and opening up the court for winning groundstrokes. 

Evans breezed through his first service game and snatched the break soon after, with two deep returns which Vesely couldn’t cope with. From then on Evans maintained his lead, never conceding breakpoints, and sealed the first set 64.

The match had taken its turn. Evans rushed away with an early break in the second set. Vesely proved unable to endure long rallies and was missing within few shots, most often when trying to hit through the Brit’s lifted, floating backhands. Evans gained two further breaks and won the second set 61.

Evans never relented pressure and focus on every point. The way he celebrated when an exquisitely delicate inside out forehand set up two match points, witnesses his determination and self-belief.  An eleventh ace closed off the third set 61. 

“I played very well. It was nice to get back on the match court. It’s been quite a while since Cincinnati but it was nice to get out and I played very well,” said Evans.
“I played well the week before and I didn’t play great in Cincinnati but it’s the first round and the start of a new tournament and you have to start building again.
“I didn’t do too much running, I served well and dictated pretty well.”

His next opponent will be Aussie James Duckworth and it will be their first ever encounter.


The Year-End Rankings: The Rise Of Alcaraz And The Eternals, Djokovic and Nadal

Image via ATP Twitter



By Roberto Ferri

Let’s start our last article on the ATP rankings by quoting the words which are said to be the last of emperor Augustus: “The play is over, applaud”.


We cannot but applaud Novak Djokovic, six-time ATP Finals winner just like Roger Federer. And we applaud the season, which, for good or ill, has been unique. Just consider the most striking events: Carlos Alcaraz rising to No. 1, Roger Federer’s retirement, all the issues involving Djokovic and the Wimbledon affair.  

The top positions of the ranking have been significantly impacted by Djokovic’s absence from two Majors (Australian Open and US Open), four Masters 1000 (Indian Wells, Miami Open, Canadian Open, Cincinnati) and by ATP’s decision to not award points for Wimbledon.

If we compare the ATP rankings published after the ATP Finals in 2021 and 2022, this fact is clearly noticeable. 

22 NOVEMBER 2021

19Bautista AgutSpain2260
20Carreno BustaSpain2230

14 NOVEMBER 2022:

13Carreno BustaSpain2495

Novak Djokovic ended 2021 with 4720 points more than Carlos Alcaraz; also Medvedev and Tsitsipas earned more points than the Spaniard, who would not have reached 7000 points even counting the 135 points he wasn’t awarded at Wimbledon.

A few comments on the 2022 rankings:

  • Casper Ruud, the ATP Finals finalist, concludes his excellent year in third place, overtaking Stefanos Tsitsipas with an impressive final rush.
  • Novak Djokovic and Rafa Nadal are the only top 10 players born in the 80s; the other 8 were born in the second half of the 90s.
  • Cameron Norrie and Pablo Carreno Busta are the survivors of the lost generation, born between 1990 and 1995 and that was most overpowered by the Big Four dominance. 
  • Only North America, beyond Europe, is represented at the very highest: Auger Aliassime, Fritz, Shapovalov and Tiafoe.
  • Holger Rune has gained 92 positions since the start of the year. Carlos Alcaraz “just” 31.
  • A final note: Kei Nishikori ends 2022 without a ranking. Does this suggest he’s going to retire?


Owing to earned and dropped points, as well as results in the Challenger events, five players in the top 100 have achieved their career highest this week:

Emil Ruusuvuori – 40

Quentin Halys – 64

Christopher O’Connell – 79

Roman Safiullin – 89

Nuno Borges – 91

A special applause for the 20-year old Ben Shelton, a bright prospect for USA tennis, who has made his debut in the top 100. Thanks to his victory in the Champaign-Urbana Challenger he’s now ranked 97.

Is that all? Not yet! Just a quiz for everybody: which was the last year which saw the first two places in the rankings occupied at the end of the season by two players of the same nationality?

That’s really all for now. We’ll be back in 2023.

Translated by Kingsley Elliot Kaye

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ATP Finals Daily Preview: Novak Djokovic Faces Casper Ruud in the Championship Match



Novak Djokovic on Saturday in Turin (

The biggest ATP non-Major final of 2022 takes place on Sunday in Turin, Italy.


2022 has been a bizarre year in the career of Novak Djokovic.  It started with his deportation from Australia, forcing the unvaccinated Djokovic to miss the first Major of the year.  That would be one of six prominent events that Novak would miss this season due to COVID-19 entry rules (Australian Open, Indian Wells, Miami, Montreal, Cincinnati, US Open).  Yet Djokovic was still able to accumulate a record of 41-7, and win his 21st Slam at Wimbledon.  He is now 17-1 at indoor ATP events this fall, and will end the year as the World No.5  With a win on Sunday, he would tie Roger Federer for most all-time ATP Finals titles.

2022 has been a groundbreaking year in the career of Casper Ruud.  He had already established himself as a top 10 player, but prior to this season, was predominantly thought of as a clay court specialist, with five of his six ATP titles coming on that surface.  Yet that all changed this season, starting in Miami when he reached his first Masters 1000 finals.  Casper would go on to also reach his first two Major finals, in Paris in New York.  He is now 51-21, and into his fourth big final of the year.

Sunday’s action in Turin starts at 4:00pm local time with the doubles championship match, featuring Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic (4) vs. Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury (2).  Both teams are an undefeated 4-0 this past week.  This is Ram and Salisbury’s second consecutive year in the final, having lost a year ago to Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut.  Mektic won this title two years ago alongside Wesley Koolhof, while this is Pavic’s first appearance in the final of this event.  These teams have not met since the semifinals of this tournament last year, when Ram and Salisbury prevailed.

Casper Ruud (3) Novak Djokovic (7) – Not Before 7:00pm

Ruud is 3-1 this past week, with his only loss coming in a dead rubber against Rafael Nadal.  Prior to his three top 10 victories across the last seven days, Casper only had two all season (Zverev, Auger-Aliassime).  And he is yet to win a title above 250-level in his career, with the aforementioned three losses this year in big finals.  Ruud was a semifinalist here a year ago in his ATP Finals debut.

Djokovic is an undefeated 4-0 this week, which includes an arduous effort to defeat Daniil Medvedev on Friday in a dead rubber.  Novak is now 10-3 against top 10 opposition in 2022, having taken nine of his last 10 against the top 10.  He is 4-2 in finals this year, though he lost his most recent one, two weeks in Bercy, to Holger Rune.  Djokovic is an eight-time finalist here, though he hasn’t won this title since 2015.

Djokovic has played a lot more tennis across the last two days than Ruud.  On Friday, Novak spent over three hours on court, while Ruud had the day off.  But Djokovic still looked plenty fresh for his semifinal on Saturday against Taylor Fritz, and was able to prevent the American from extending that tight contest to a third set.  Novak is 3-0 against Casper, which includes a straight-set victory at this same event a year ago.  And considering Ruud’s poor record in significant finals, Djokovic is a considerable favorite to win his sixth title at the ATP Finals on Sunday.

Sunday’s full Order of Play is here.

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ATP Finals: Fritz Close But No… Final, Djokovic Advances

Novak Djokovic beats Taylor Fritz in two tie-breaks and is just one win away from his sixth title at Nitto ATP Finals



Novak Djokovic - 2022 Nitto ATP Finals Turin (photo Twitter @atptour)

[7] N. Djokovic b. [8] T. Fritz 7-6(5) 7-6(5)


Even when physically not at his best, Novak Djokovic can still count on his incredible ability to play the most effective tennis in the most important moment. Of course, it doesn’t hurt if the opponent misses an easy shot while attempting to close out the set, but the pressure Djokovic puts on whomever is on the other side of the net makes even the easiest shot look a little bit harder.

The former world no. 1 has put together a clinical display of efficiency during the first semifinal of the Nitto ATP Finals in Turin edging Taylor Fritz by two points in the tie-breaker of each set to reach his eighth finals in the end-of-year Championship.

It was not the best Djokovic, and it was not the best match: lots of errors on both sides, and a huge opportunity for Fritz to take the match to the distance when he served at 5-4 in the second set and then missed an easy backhand sitter to go a set-point up at 40-30, blaming an idiot spectator who indeed shouted in the middle of the point, when he really should have been able to put away that point blindfolded.

Fritz did not start the match in the best possible way: 10 unforced errors during the first five games, a break conceded at love at 2-2 and Djokovic appeared destined for a relatively quiet afternoon. But it was not going to be that easy: errors started flowing also on the Serbian side, and Fritz was able to equalize at 3-3. A tie-break was then needed to decide the winner of the first set, and the deciding point was a laser forehand down the line by Djokovic who swept point and set at 6-5 and headed off to the toilet for a comfort break after taking a one-set advantage.

But the break did not do him much good: unforced errors kept coming from the baseline, and Fritz blitzed 2-0 up with a break. At 4-3, the American wowed the Italian crowd with a magical backhand stop-volley to recover a service game where he found himself down 0-30, but when it was time to serve out the set, he missed that easy backhand we described earlier to give Djokovic another chance to close out a match in two sets.

And another chance is the last thing Djokovic should be gifted, although on a day like today, with Christmas time upon us, gift trading became the thing of the match. Two great points at 4-4 in the tie-break warmed the 12,000-strong crowd at Pala Alpitour to what could have possibly been a great end of the set, but Djokovic first earned a match point to be played on his serve with a good action from the baseline closed by a volley and then squandered it all with a very unusual unforced error on a routine backhand. But on his second match point, just a minute later, Fritz badly missed an inside-out forehand putting an end to the match and gifting Djokovic a chance to win his sixth title at the Nitto ATP Finals, the first in Turin.

On Sunday he will face either Casper Ruud or Andrey Rublev: he has never lost to Ruud in three previous matches (3-0) and the only time he did not beat Rublev (2-1) was last spring in Belgrade in the final of the tournament organized by his family.

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