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Djokovic And Murray Win In Paris 2016 Day 3 Highlights

ATP news - Thu, 03/11/2016 - 4:01pm
Watch highlights as Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray win second-round matches in Paris. Watch live tennis at tennistv.com. Photo: Peter Staples/ATP

The Curse ends as Cubs win first World Series in 108 years

ABC Sport - Thu, 03/11/2016 - 3:13pm

The Curse of the Billy Goat is broken, as the Chicago Cubs beat the Cleveland Indians 8-7 in 10 innings to win the team's first World Series in 108 years.

Murray Survives Verdasco Challenge

ATP news - Thu, 03/11/2016 - 11:30am

Andy Murray came through a stern opening test from Fernando Verdasco on Wednesday at the BNP Paribas Masters in Paris, weathering some inspired play from the Spaniard to advance, 6-3, 6-7(5), 7-5.

"It wasn't the best match from my side. I got through it. I will play better tomorrow," Murray said. "I didn't necessarily feel comfortable out there, but I feel like the way the two of us finished the match, I was stronger at the end in the last game when I had my chance."

With the win, Murray remains in contention to unseat Novak Djokovic as World No. 1. He will need to either win in Paris and have Djokovic lose before the final, or finish runner-up and have the Serbian lose before the semi-finals. Djokovic won his second-round match earlier in the day over Gilles Muller.

Next up for the Brit is No. 13 seed and local favourite Lucas Pouille, who prevailed on Wednesday over Feliciano Lopez. Murray leads their FedEx ATP Head2Head series 2-0 and has dropped just seven games against the Frenchman, including a convincing win last month at the Shanghai Rolex Masters.

"He's a big hitter. He takes chances," said Murray of Pouille. "He's quite similar to Fernando, actually, apart from being a righty. Both of them like to go for big first serves and take chances from the back of the court."

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A single break of serve was all Murray needed to take the opening set. Verdasco raced to a 4-1 lead in the second set, but couldn’t serve it out at 5-3 and Murray eventually forced a tie-break. Verdasco took a commanding 6/2 lead and made good on his fourth set point chance to bring the match to a deciding set.

Little separated the two players until the final stages of the third set. Murray saved two critical break point chances at 5-5 and then promptly broke Verdasco in the next game to prevail in two hours and 28 minutes.

Murray now has seven consecutive wins over Verdasco and improves his FedEx ATP Head2Head rivalry over the Spaniard to 12-1. His lone loss to Verdasco came at the 2009 Australian Open.

Jan-Lennard Struff stayed up late to upset No. 3 seed Stan Wawrinka 3-6, 7-6(6), 7-6(1). The German saved a match point and recorded the upset win in two hours and 18 minutes to close out Wednesday play.

Wawrinka saved all nine break points faced in the first set and found himself in a commanding position at 6/5 in the second-set tie-break. However, Struff claimed the next three points to even the match. Struff failed to serve out the match at 5-4 in the deciding set, but won the deciding tie-break going away. The 26 year old, who fired 13 aces, will face John Isner in the third round. 

As it happened: Warner and Starc punish South Africa on day one

ABC Sport - Thu, 03/11/2016 - 11:00am

Australia bowls South Africa out for 242 late on day one of the first Test at the WACA then David Warner shines with the bat.

Stan The Weatherman & More TV Spots In Paris

ATP news - Thu, 03/11/2016 - 10:36am
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Follow all the latest off-court action on MyATP! Download the app for iPhone or Android or visit MyATP.com.

BNP Paribas Masters – Paris, France

Stan Wawrinka was the special guest on the TMC TV show “Quotidien”, speaking about everything from his friendship with Roger Federer to his famous Roland Garros fashion. The Swiss star also did the weather!

Richard Gasquet participated in the draw ceremony for the tournament, live on Canal+.

Lucas Pouille made an appearance on the Canal+ show “Le Grand Journal” and Bein Sports’ live show.

Joao Sousa answered his favourite fan questions, exclusively on MyATP. Watch

Nicolas Mahut, Pierre-Hugues Herbert, Bob Bryan, Mike Bryan, David Ferrer, Fernando Verdasco, Roberto Bautista Agut and John Isner met fans at a photo session.

Milos Raonic visited with sponsors at the Sponsors Welcome Party. 

 

Dimitrov/Qureshi Top No. 2 Seeds In Paris

ATP news - Thu, 03/11/2016 - 9:38am

Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi’s decision to team up with Grigor Dimitrov at the BNP Paribas Masters payed immediate dividends. The new partnership completed a 6-4, 3-6, 10-6 upset of No. 2 seeds Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares in the second round on Wednesday.

Dimitrov/Qureshi served well against Murray/Soares, who are already assured of a place at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals. The new pairing won 89 per cent of first-serve points and only faced one break point in the win. They are into the quarter-finals and await Marcelo Melo and Vasek Pospisil, or Philipp Kohlschreiber and Dominic Thiem.

No. 3 seeds Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan avoided an upset, winning 6-4, 6-4 against French wild cards Quentin Halys and Adrian Mannarino. The Americans did not face a break point and closed out the win in only 50 minutes. Their quarter-final opponents will be Henri Kontinen and John Peers, who downed No. 7 seeds Raven Klaasen and Rajeev Ram 6-4, 7-6(4).

Feliciano Lopez and Marc Lopez topped Frenchmen Julien Benneteau and Edouard Roger-Vasselin 6-3, 6-4 in a meeting of former Roland Garros doubles champions. Benneteau/Roger-Vasselin won the crown in 2014, while Lopez/Lopez claimed it this year.

There is only one of eight doubles berths remaining at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals. Treat Huey and Max Mirnyi lost their opening match to Kontinen/Peers, but will qualify for London unless No. 4 seeds Jean-Julien Rojer and Horia Tecau reach the semi-finals. Rojer/Tecau, the reigning London champions, will open on Thursday against Nicholas Monroe and Jack Sock.

Why you should care about Game Seven of the World Series

ABC Sport - Thu, 03/11/2016 - 9:29am

The world will be watching Game Seven of the World Series between the Cleveland Indians and Chicago Cubs - and so should you.

Dimitrov Renaissance Uncovered

ATP news - Thu, 03/11/2016 - 9:14am
ATP World Tour Uncovered presented by Peugeot profiles Grigor Dimitrov's resurgence in 2016.

FIFA under fire for banning footballers from wearing poppies

ABC Sport - Thu, 03/11/2016 - 9:13am

FIFA's move to prevent England and Scotland wearing the flower during their World Cup qualifying game on November 11 causes enormous uproar in Britain, with even the Prime Minister speaking out.

Soderling Dream Week In 2010 Paris Classic Moment

ATP news - Thu, 03/11/2016 - 8:42am
In this Paris Classic Moment, Robin Soderling captures his lone ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title by beating Gael Monfils 6-1, 7-6 (1) in the 2010 final. Watch live tennis at tennistv.com.

Confident South Africa aiming for third straight WACA Test win

ABC Sport - Thu, 03/11/2016 - 8:25am

South Africa likely to go with all-pace attack for first Test, as Proteas attempt to continue their unbeaten record at the WACA in Perth.

Classroom To The Court: Swedish Teen Making Noise At Charlottesville Challenger

ATP news - Thu, 03/11/2016 - 7:51am
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The University of Virginia has set the benchmark for success at the collegiate level and that prosperity is translating to the professional ranks this week at the Charlottesville Challenger. The contingent of talented Cavaliers, led by freshman Carl Soderlund, are sending a message to the established veterans and surging #NextGen stars on the ATP Challenger Tour.

Senior Ryan Shane and junior Alexander Ritschard took full advantage of their main draw wild cards in snatching sets from top seeds Frances Tiafoe and Jared Donaldson, respectively. Seniors Thai-Son Kwiatkowski and JC Aragone also forced their first-round opponents - Tim Smyczek and Liam Broady - to go the distance.

Shane, who made his tour-level debut at the US Open last year and appeared in qualifying at the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 event in Miami, pushed Tiafoe to the brink, holding break points to serve for the match in the third set. He is not surprised by the team's success and believes it stems from the culture that coach Brian Boland has established over the past two decades.

"It speaks to UVA and Coach Boland a lot," said Shane. "He's developed a lot of players. Thai had a great summer and now he's come through qualifying here, beating some good guys. He took a set off Smyczek who's been Top 100. Even JC qualified and took a set from Broady. You can see guys getting better and it really speaks to what Boland is doing here."

Coach Boland has produced a factory of pro players during his tenure, with Somdev Devvarman and Brian Vahaly reaching the Top 100 in singles and Dominic Inglot and Treat Huey doing the same in doubles. But perhaps one of the best to emerge from Charlottesville is just beginning his journey. Soderlund, a 19-year-old freshman from Stockholm, Sweden, has already made a significant impact against world-class competition.

The Swedish teen entered this week's Charlottesville Men's Pro Challenger, just outside the Top 400 in the Emirates ATP Rankings, and he would score the upset of the tournament: a 7-6(1), 4-6, 6-2 stunner of Sam Groth on Monday evening. Soderlund saved 10 of 13 break points during an intense two-hour and five-minute battle. Groth was riding a surge of momentum following a title run in Las Vegas two weeks ago.

An aspiring economics major, Soderlund came straight from the classroom to the Boar's Head Sports Club for his match.

"It was great to play where my new home is and having all the people seeing me out there," Soderlund told ATPWorldTour.com. "I was just trying to focus. I knew he has a big serve and I was just trying to not think about that too much. I wanted to get as many returns in as possible, because that made it harder for him. I tried to keep it simple. I have good defence with my ground game and it helps me in tough situations a lot."

In July, in his first ATP Challenger Tour main draw in Bastad, Soderlund was the talk of the tournament, reaching the semi-finals. That was immediately followed by his maiden ATP World Tour match win at the SkiStar Swedish Open a week later.

"I like playing in front of a lot of people," Soderlund said about the home-court advantage in Bastad and his adopted new home of Charlottesville. "They give you energy. It was really fun. I knew a lot of people around there. I'm from Sweden, so everyone was cheering for me and it was really nice. It really boosted my confidence. I knew I could beat those players. It was a really important tournament for me."

Arguably the most remarkable aspect of Soderlund's journey is his late start in the sport, due to a rare leg ailment. The Swede was born with a condition where a bone cut into his right quadriceps muscle whenever he would bend his knee. It was a painful ailment, which was eventually resolved with a surgery at age 17 to shave down the bone, followed by a six-month rehab process.

"I was injured for a long time and now I realise how great tennis is and how grateful I am to be playing. I then started looking into colleges and I felt that this was the best way for me to develop as a player. I got in touch with the coaches and I really liked how they work with the players. When I got here, I met the guys on the team and I like them a lot. Everyone is working hard and the competition is really good in practice. I feel like I'm in the best place I can be."

Despite transitioning his development to the United States, Soderlund still has deep roots in his homeland. One of his earliest tennis memories was watching Joachim Johansson stun Rafael Nadal at the 2006 If Stockholm Open and he has trained at Magnus Norman's Good To Great Academy, often hitting with the former World No. 2.

"I practise with Mikael Ymer a lot too," Soderlund said of his fellow rising Swedish teen. "He and Elias [Ymer] are really great guys. When I see them do well, I want to improve. It inspires me. That's good for us."

"I believe he can be a top level pro and a complete player, starting with his serve," said Coach Boland. "There are some areas he can improve over the course of the next couple years. He's extremely fast and defends the court at a high level. Now it's just about developing the rest of his game and he'll be quite dangerous."

Soderlund will look to continue his dream run in Charlottesville when he tangles with fourth seed Denis Kudla on Wednesday night.

Nishikori Secures 300th Win In Paris

ATP news - Thu, 03/11/2016 - 7:49am
Kei Nishikori reflects on his milestone 300th tour-level win. Watch live tennis at tennistv.com.

London Battle: Who Will Qualify?

ATP news - Thu, 03/11/2016 - 7:48am
Who will claim the final two berths for the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals with a strong showing in Paris? Watch live tennis at tennistv.com.

Djokovic Passes Opening Paris Test Over Muller

ATP news - Thu, 03/11/2016 - 7:18am

Three-time defending BNP Paribas Masters champion Novak Djokovic continued his quest to maintain the World No. 1 ranking with a solid 6-3, 6-4 win over Gilles Muller on Wednesday in Paris.

“It was great to start off the way I did today. Not an easy opponent because he serves and volleys, and I found the conditions quite quick,” said Djokovic. “I think I managed to find the right rhythm, right pace from the very beginning… capitalised on the opportunities when they were presented. I was quite pleased with my serve. I think I got a lot of free points there. It was quite a good performance.”

A lone break of serve in each set was all that Djokovic needed to move through in one hour and 20 minutes. The victory over Muller gave Djokovic his 16th consecutive victory in Bercy and his 60th match win of the season, extending his streak of 60 or more match wins to 10 consecutive years. He also improved to 4-0 over the Luxembourg native in their FedEx ATP Head2Head rivalry.

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The Serbian will keep Andy Murray from moving to the top of the Emirates ATP Rankings if he can reach the final in Paris. The Brit also must reach the final in Paris in order to have any chance at taking over the top spot. However, Djokovic said potentially losing his World No. 1 standing wasn't a concern at the moment.

“My attention is on playing match after match and putting quality and value into my game. I know that if that's the case, then I can challenge anybody in the world on any surface and in any conditions,” said Djokovic. “I'm quite pleased with the way things went on the court today. That's all I'm going to focus on.”

More: Murray, Djokovic Battle For No. 1 In Paris

Next up for Djokovic is an intriguing third-round clash against No. 14 seed Grigor Dimitrov. Djokovic leads their FedEx ATP Head2Head rivalry 5-1, but they haven’t played in over two years.

“I think Grigor is obviously a very talented player. He's been on the tour for some years now and he's more experienced. He has a good work ethic and is always trying to improve his game,” said Djokovic. “He can hurt anybody with his big serve and forehand. I’m sure he’s going to be very motivated to play well tomorrow.”

Sock Dents Thiem's London Hopes

ATP news - Thu, 03/11/2016 - 5:33am

Jack Sock scored an upset 6-2, 6-4 second-round win on Wednesday over sixth seed Dominic Thiem at the BNP Paribas Masters in Paris, putting a potential damper on the Austrian’s bid to qualify for the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals.

Thiem is currently No. 8 in the Emirates ATP Race To London with 3,215 points. Marin Cilic (3,180) and Tomas Berdych (2,970) could potentially overtake him for one of two remaining spots in London with strong showings this week. David Goffin (2,780) and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (2,380) are also still in contention to appear at The O2.

Sock put on a dominant serving display, firing eight aces and winning 91 per cent of his first service points. He didn’t face a break point in the contest, while converting on all three of his break opportunities. He improved his FedEx ATP Head2Head record against Thiem to 1-2.

Next up for Sock is No. 12 seed Richard Gasquet. Sock leads their FedEx ATP Head2Head series 2-0, with both wins coming in 2015.

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No. 11 seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga also kept his hopes alive of qualifying for the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals with a 6-3, 6-4 win over Albert Ramos-Vinolas. Tsonga fired 14 aces and didn’t face a break point in the match, while accumulating nine of his own against the Spaniard.

“I’ve won most of my tournaments here in France, so for me it’s good to be here,” said Tsonga. “It’s really positive to be here in front of my home crowd.”

Although Tsonga is still in contention to qualify for the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals with a strong showing in Paris, he said his focus for now is excelling in front of the local crowd.

“I’m not thinking about it all,” said Tsonga. “This is my last tournament of the year for the moment, so I will give my best. I hope to continue to play good tennis and hope to win.”

Next up for Tsonga is No. 5 seed Kei Nishikori. The Japanese star leads their FedEx ATP Head2Head series 5-2, including a win this year at the Australian Open.

More: Cilic Sets Key London Clash With Goffin

Gilles Simon delighted the local crowd by saving three match points to upset No. 10 seed Roberto Bautista Agut, 2-6, 6-1, 7-6(6). The Spaniard led 5-3 in the final set and held three match points on his serve at 5-4, but Simon fought back to force a deciding tie-break. The Frenchman couldn’t convert on a match point at 6/5, but made good on his second chance to wrap up the match.  

Bautista Agut has now been eliminated from contention to qualify for the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals. The Spaniard could have made his debut appearance at The O2 by winning the title in Paris.

Next up in the third-round for Simon is a familiar foe in seventh seed Tomas Berdych. Simon leads their FedEx ATP Head2Head series 7-5. Berdych is still in the hunt to grab one of the two remaining spots for London.

Thiem Improvises Volley Tweener In Paris 2016

ATP news - Thu, 03/11/2016 - 5:33am
Watch Hot Shot as Dominic Thiem has no choice but to hit the flashiest shot in the book against Jack Sock. Watch live tennis at tennistv.com. Photo: Getty Images

Yes you can cheer, but please wear black: Thailand's advice to Socceroos fans

ABC Sport - Thu, 03/11/2016 - 5:27am

The Thai Government will allow Socceroos fans to cheer at the World Cup qualifier match in Bangkok this month, after earlier banning "joyful activities" because of the death of King Bhumibol Adulyadej.

Cilic Sets Key London Clash With Goffin

ATP news - Thu, 03/11/2016 - 3:58am

Ninth seed Marin Cilic set up a key clash with David Goffin in the Emirates ATP Race To London as he overcame fellow Croatian Ivo Karlovic 7-6(7), 6-2 on Wednesday in the second round of the BNP Paribas Masters in Paris.

"I’m really excited and satisfied with my form, especially these past few months," said Cilic. "I’ve been trying for a long time to find that consistency at the big tournaments. That was a goal of mine at the beginning of the season, so I’m just hoping to continue with good tennis here and make it to London."

Cilic will now play eighth seed Goffin, who kept alive his outside chance of playing at The O2 as he defeated Nicolas Mahut 7-6(5), 6-3. Goffin must beat Cilic and win the title at the AccorHotels Arena this week to clinch one of the two remaining spots in the elite eight-player field at the season finale.

"David has been playing very well this season. We just played in Tokyo and it was a tough match," said Cilic. "It’s a battle now between me, him, Berdych and Tsonga. I’m just hoping to continue with my good tennis and find a good way to play him this time."

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With Rafael Nadal out for the rest of the season, ninth-placed Cilic is currently in line to qualify for the eight-man season finale at The O2, but must stay ahead of Tomas Berdych and Goffin this week at the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournament in Paris.

Cilic put himself in a strong position to qualify for the year-end championships for a second time after winning his second ATP World Tour title of the season last week in Basel, where he defeated Kei Nishikori in the final. The Croat first qualified at The O2 in 2014, the same year that he won his lone Grand Slam title at the US Open.

Watch Goffin Feature

Goffin leads his FedEx ATP Head2Head rivalry with Cilic 3-0, recording wins this year in Tokyo, Indian Wells and a Belgium-Croatia Davis Cup tie in March. But the indoor surface in Paris suits the big-serving Cilic, who will likely be able to earn plenty of short points off that shot. This will be the earliest round that they’ve played each other in an ATP World Tour event.

Goffin’s best result to date at an ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournament is reaching back-to-back semi-finals earlier this year in Indian Wells and Miami.

"I'm just focused on what I have to do and I'll play match by match," said Goffin. "I can feel that it's the end of the season and it's never easy when you feel a little bit tired. But it's a big tournament and my goal is to finish the season without any regrets. I'm just going to give everything until the end."