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Updated: 12 min 19 sec ago

Monfils Takes Part In Daring Rotterdam Stunt

Wed, 10/02/2016 - 6:26am

Gael Monfils launched the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament in style on Monday as he played his part in a daring stunt in the city of Rotterdam.

The Frenchman, who is seeded fifth at the ATP World Tour 500 indoor hard-court tournament, took to the roof of a hotel to fire balls across the street to suspended stunt “ball kids”, who were dangling in front of a vertical tennis court.

"It was different, it was fun," said Monfils. "It was cool that we tried something new. But they didn't catch the ball, so I'm pretty disappointed! With the wind, it was tough for me to be precise, but I think it's tough for them to catch it. But it was cool. It was a good try."

Monfils was joined in the stunt by Tournament Director Richard Krajicek, who did manage to hit one of the balls into the outstretched hand of the ball kid. "I'm happy I'm on this side of the street, because there was talk that I would be there trying to catch the ball! It was great and a good way to start the tournament."

Monfils opens his campaign on Tuesday evening against qualifier Ernests Gulbis.

Muller, Kohlschreiber Reach Rotterdam Second Round

Wed, 10/02/2016 - 5:41am

Gilles Muller will take on second seed and 2014 runner-up Marin Cilic in the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament second round after beating Andreas Seppi for the first time in their fourth tour-level meeting. Muller, who has already reached two ATP World Tour semi-finals this year, hit 19 aces to beat Seppi 4-6, 7-6(2), 6-4 in two hours and seven minutes on Tuesday. Last week, Muller lost to eventual champion Roberto Bautista Agut in the Sofia semi-finals.

Another player who performed well in the Bulgarian capital, Philipp Kohlschreiber, improved to 6-0 lifetime against Julien Benneteau with a 6-4, 6-4 win in 90 minutes. Benneteau, the 2013 finalist, struck 14 aces. Kohlschreiber goes onto face qualifier Ivan Dodig in the second round.

Marcos Baghdatis recovered from a 2/5 deficit in the third set tie-break to edge past fourth seed David Goffin 6-1, 5-7, 7-6(5). Baghdatis claimed victory only after winning a 41-stroke rally on match point. "It was an amazing point. I was just defending, slicing three metres behind the baseline," Baghdatis said. "I kept putting the ball back and making him do something and eventually he made a mistake."

Flamboyant Frenchman Gael Monfils atoned for a first-round loss last week in Montpellier with a 6-4, 6-4 win over Latvian qualifier Ernests Gulbis to reach the second round. The fifth seed saved the lone break point he faced and broke Gulbis once in each set. He next faces fast-rising Croatian teen Borna Coric.

"That was the key for me, I served great," said Monfils. "I definitely put pressure on his forehand and tried to be alert. We know Ernests can give you one, two, three points in a row. I tried to be ready for anything he was willing to give me."

Looking ahead to his first meeting with Coric, Monfils said, "It's going to be a tough one. He's a young player, strong from the baseline, and runs well. It's tough to hit winners on this court, so tomorrow I'm expecting long rallies. I will try to dictate with my forehand and try to serve good, move him around the court."

Martin Klizan saved all six break points he faced in a 6-2, 6-7(5), 6-3 win over Spanish veteran Tommy Robredo to reach the second round. The World No. 43 Slovak, who went winless in January, has now won four of his past five matches. A semi-finalist last week in Sofia, 26-year-old Klizan will next face Baghdatis.

Elsewhere, 19-year-old Hyeon Chung battled past Guillermo Garcia-Lopez 5-7, 6-4, 6-4. He'll next face Sofia finalist and eighth seed Viktor Troicki or qualifier Andrey Kuznetsov.

Top seed Richard Gasquet withdrew from the ATP World Tour 500 tournament due to viral illness (flu) and was replaced in the main draw by lucky loser Evgeny Donskoy.

Behind The Scenes At Sofia 2016

Wed, 10/02/2016 - 3:56am
ATP World Tour Uncovered goes behind the scenes at the 2016 Garanti Koza Sofia Open, the newest tournament on the ATP World Tour.

Monfils Takes Part In Daring Rotterdam Stunt

Wed, 10/02/2016 - 3:42am
Gael Monfils has the responsibility of firing tennis balls at suspended stunt ball kids in a daring stunt in Rotterdam.

Gasquet Reflects On Consistent Career

Wed, 10/02/2016 - 3:28am
ATP World Tour Uncovered profiles Richard Gasquet, with insight from his coach Sergi Bruguera, who recently won the Montpellier title.

Emirates ATP Rankings 8 February 2016

Wed, 10/02/2016 - 3:21am
See the latest Emirates ATP Rankings as of 8 February 2016.

Monfils Baghdatis WIn In 1R Rotterdam 2016 Highlights

Wed, 10/02/2016 - 1:42am
Watch highlights as Gael Monfils, Marcos Baghdatis, Martin Klizan and Gilles Muller get off to winning starts at the 2016 ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament. Watch live matches at

Monfils Reflects On First Round Rotterdam Win

Tue, 09/02/2016 - 11:24pm
Frenchman Gaels Monfils talks about his first round victory over Ernests Gulbis in Rotterdam. Watch live tennis at

Monfils Reflects On F Rotterdam

Tue, 09/02/2016 - 11:24pm
Frenchman Gaels Monfils talks about his first round victory over Ernests Gulbis in Rotterdam. Watch live tennis at

Baghdatis Discusses Upset Of Goffin In Rotterdam

Tue, 09/02/2016 - 9:03pm
Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis talks about his first round victory over fourth seed David Goffin in Rotterdam. Watch live tennis at

Argentine Greats Unveil Court Central Guillermo Vilas

Tue, 09/02/2016 - 7:50pm

A host of past and present Argentine tennis greats gathered at the Buenos Aires Lawn Tennis Club on Monday to unveil the newly named Court Central Guillermo Vilas.

Argentina’s most decorated player, Vilas reached a career-high No.2 in the world in 1975 and won 62 ATP World Tour titles, including the Tour Finals in 1974. Vilas won four majors – the Australian Open in 1978 and 1979, as well as the French and US Opens in 1977.

"I have spent many years of my life in this club and I have played a lot of matches on this court. I would like to thank a lot of people who were very important to me throughout my career. Firstly, the person who made me into a tennis player – my first coach, Felipe Locicero,” Vilas said. “I would also like to thank my physio Carlos Belfonte, whose training allowed me to win at the Grand Slam level. I feel very happy and it is an honour to have this court named after me, and I'm very grateful".

He was joined on court on Monday by current ATP World Tour player Juan Monaco and former greats, including Alberto Mancini, Guillermo Coria, Gaston Gaudio, Jose Luis Clerc and Martin Jaite as well as former WTA Tour players Paola Suarez, Gabriela Sabatini and Norma Baylon.

Fritz and Tiafoe Among Five American Teens in Memphis

Tue, 09/02/2016 - 7:25pm

A tournament record five American teenagers are competing in this year’s Memphis Open presented by ServiceMaster. Overall there are 13 Americans in the 28-player draw, the most in Memphis since 2010 when there were 14.

Taylor Fritz (18), Tommy Paul (18), Frances Tiafoe (18), Michael Mmoh (18) and Jared Donaldson (19) posed together in front of the Racquet Club’s Memphis Open 40th anniversary  tournament sign. Mmoh and Donaldson qualified on Sunday into the main draw. The other three players are wild cards.

The five American teenagers in the draw surpassed the previous tournament record of four in 1989. That foursome featured future Grand Slam tournament champions Andre Agassi, Michael Chang, Jim Courier and Pete Sampras.

The last time an ATP World Tour tournament featured at least five American teenagers in the main draw was in Stratton Mountain in August 1989 when there were six teenagers: Agassi, Steve Bryan, Chang, Courier, Jared Palmer and Sampras.

For the two teenagers in action on Day 3, their Memphis debuts would end in the first round. Ryan Harrison posted a hard-fought come-from-behind victory over 18-year-old Tiafoe on Monday night. The 23 year old recovered from match point down to wrap up a 6-7(0), 7-6(8), 6-4.

While it was the first FedEx ATP Head2Head meeting between the two, Tiafoe had come out on top on American hard courts once before against his 124th ranked opponent, in Winston-Salem qualifying last year. He dominated the first-set tiebreak without conceding a point in 51 minutes before holding to love to open the second. 

Players traded breaks before forcing the second-set tiebreak, in which Harrison saved a match point to force the decider. Tiafoe looked to have put the disappointment behind him when he broke for 1-0 in the third, but could not consolidate. 

Harrison drew level before his younger opponent threw in his first double fault of the match at the most inopportune time, when serving to stay in it. Harrison broke serve to convert on his first match point to end the two-and-a-half-hour battle.

Earlier, Donaldson fell in a battle of the qualifiers to Japan’s Yoshihito Nishioka 6-3, 6-4. The 19 year old was unable to capitalise on any of the eight break points he brought up, while world No. 130 Nishioka made good on three of the seven chances he had. While this was the pair’s first FedEx ATP Head2Head meeting, Nishioka had beaten his younger opponent in a Challenger event in Aptos last year.

In another all-American battle, fifth seed Denis Kudla scored a 6-4 6-2 win over Rajeev Ram in little under an hour. Kudla was impressive on serve, sending down five aces and winning 79 per cent of points on his first serve. He never faced a break point, while he converted on three of his five opportunities against the world No. 88.

Big-serving Australian Sam Groth was the highest-seeded casualty after falling narrowly, 7-6(4), 7-6(2) to Ukraine’s Illya Marchenko in one hour and 54 minutes. Groth thumped 15 aces and neither player dropped serve in what was their first meeting.

Kazakhstan’s Mikhail Kukushkin landed a 6-4, 7-6(4) win over Italian Luca Vanni. The Kazakh saved the three break points he faced and converted on his sole break point opportunity. 

Nadal Prepares For BA Title Defence

Tue, 09/02/2016 - 6:47pm

Top seed Rafael Nadal has had his first hit out ahead of his Argentina Open title defence, practising with compatriot David Ferrer in Buenos Aires on Monday.

It was the first look at Nadal in action since his first-round exit to another of his countrymen, Fernando Verdasco, at this year’s Australian Open. The Spaniard downed his good friend Juan Monaco to claim last year’s title in the Argentine capital and the pair could be set for a rematch in the second round provided Tandil native Monaco wins his first match.

“I didn’t like at all the defeat in Australia, but that I cannot solve,” Nadal said. “It was a bad tournament. [It] just did not work out despite having prepared very well. So I'm in Buenos Aires to give my best and try to make a better presentation.

“Every season is different, but with the same purpose to fight in every tournament and finish as high as possible in the ranking. I’m happy to return to Argentina, because every time I left this country I did it with a lot of positive energy. They treat me very well here, like few places in the world.”

World No. 5 Nadal has a first-round bye, while Monaco can set up an eighth FedEx ATP Head2Head meeting with his occasional doubles partner should he get past Italian qualifier, Marco Cecchinato. The pair won the 2015 Doha doubles title together, and finished runners-up at Vina Del Mar in 2013.

“Monaco was injured a long time, so we have to wait if he can eliminate Cecchinato,” Nadal said. “I hope that Juan can win because he is my friend and a victory would benefit him after many days without playing. Anyway, it will be a difficult match for me.”

Buenos Aires 2016

Tue, 09/02/2016 - 5:20pm

Rotterdam 2016

Tue, 09/02/2016 - 5:15pm

Zverev Recognised For Rankings Milestone

Tue, 09/02/2016 - 11:39am

Teenager Alexander Zverev was presented with a special award on Monday in Rotterdam, recognising his first year-end Top 100 finish in the Emirates ATP Rankings in 2015.

Receiving his award from ATP Tour Manager, Fernando Sanchez, Zverev said, "It's a big milestone. To get this award at only 18 years of age is big for me. It's a really big stepping stone for any tennis player, finishing the year in the Top 100. I feel good. I've been playing well the past couple of weeks. Coming into this big tournament, I feel comfortable. I can do well here as well."

Zverev was named the 2015 Emirates ATP Star of Tomorrow after finishing last season as the youngest player inside the Top 100. The German comes into the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament at a career-high World No. 70 after reaching the semi-finals in Montpellier last week (l. to Mathieu).

Zverev will open his campaign at this ATP World Tour 500 indoor hard-court tournament against Canada’s Vasek Pospisil.

Almagro Makes Strong Start In Buenos Aires

Tue, 09/02/2016 - 11:03am

Former champion Nicolas Almagro made a strong start to his Argentina Open campaign Monday, beating qualifier Albert Montanes 6-3, 6-3 to reach the second round in Buenos Aires.

In the first meeting between the Spaniards since 2011, Almagro claimed just his second match win of the year after firing 11 aces and saving all four break points faced. He dropped just five points on his first serve (25/30).

The 30-year-old Spaniard, who also finished runner-up to David Ferrer in 2012, improved to 26-9 at the event. He has reached the semi-finals the past three years – 2013 (l. to Wawrinka), 2014 (l. to Ferrer), and 2015 (l. to Monaco).

The former World No. 9, who levelled his FedEx ATP Head2Head record with Montanes at 3-3, is playing his first event since falling in second round of the Australian Open (l. to Thiem). He fell in the first round of Chennai (l. to Pavic) in his only other appearance of 2016.

Buenos Aires local Diego Schwartzman got his campaign off to a winning start with an upset of No.7 seed Alexandr Dolgopolov 5-7, 6-4, 6-3. The 23 year old needed two hours and 10 minutes to defeat the Ukrainian and did so on the back of 11 aces, winning 63 per cent of points on his first serve and 65 per cent on his second serve.

Colombia's Santiago Giraldo posted a 6-1, 7-5 victory over Spaniard Inigo Cervantes in one hour and 27 minutes. Giraldo converted five of 12 break points on his way to the second round.

In an all-Argentine clash, world No. 37 Leonardo Mayer scored his first victory in three FedEx ATP Head2Head meetings with Guido Pella. The 28 year old recovered to secure a 2-6, 6-3, 6-3 result over the world No. 71 in little more than two hours. Mayer hit nine aces and broke serve four times.

Cilic Begins Quest In Rotterdam

Tue, 09/02/2016 - 6:57am

Marin Cilic, the 2014 runner-up, fired down 10 aces and won 90 per cent of his first service points to beat Denis Istomin on Monday for a spot in the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament second round.

"It was a very close match," said Cilic. "Denis is the kind of player that can play really, really well, especially indoors. He's got really good shots from the back of the court. I think it was a strange match today. Both of us were serving extremely well. There were no breaks of serve in the match until the last game. I was threatening a lot in the second set and was close to converting some break opportunities. I had to hang in there mentally. I was moving well and serving well and that was key for me."

Watch Cilic Pre-Tournament Interview

Ivan Dodig saved all four break points he faced to knock out seventh seed Benoit Paire 6-3, 7-6(4) in 90 minutes, while Jiri Vesely hit 11 aces to win an all-Czech clash against Lukas Rosol 6-4, 6-2 in 75 minutes.

Watch Dodig Hot Shot

Borna Coric made it three from three for the Croats when he made a winning debut against local wild card Thiemo de Bakker. The 19 year old saved 10 set points to secure the opening tiebreak and went on to break in the eighth game of the third set, converting his seventh break point of the match.

"It was a very close match. In the end I was a little bit lucky, but also brave," Coric said. "I didn't play very well in my last three tournaments. I didn't feel very well [on the court]. This was my fresh start. I focused on this match a lot and I did play well in the end. I just knew if I broke at that stage in the third that more or less that would be it. I was really digging in there."

French qualifier Nicolas Mahut continued his run of form to down Russian Teymuraz Gabashvili 6-4, 7-6(4). The 34 year old hit six aces and won 77 per cent of first serve points to progress in one hour and 51 minutes.

Cilic Fine Timing In Rotterdam 2016 Hot Shot

Tue, 09/02/2016 - 6:45am
Watch Hot Shot as Marin Cilic hits a well-timed slice to stop an aggressive Denis Istomin in his tracks on Monday in Rotterdam. Watch live tennis at

Dodig And Paire Athleticism In Rotterdam 2016 Hot Shot

Tue, 09/02/2016 - 5:51am
Watch Hot Shot as Ivan Dodig and Benoit Paire showcase superb athleticism on Monday at the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament. Watch live tennis at