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Elias Builds On Top 100 Milestone In Challengers

ATP news - Thu, 23/06/2016 - 3:58am

After an outstanding 12 months on the ATP Challenger Tour, Gastao Elias of Portugal has broken into the Top 100 of the Emirates ATP Rankings and looks to keep climbing.

The World No. 94 has won two ATP Challenger Tour titles this year in Italy, first prevailing in April at the $50,000 event in Turin before following that up a month later at the $50,000 tournament in Mestre. Elias also won back-to-back $50,000 ATP Challenger Tour events last fall in South America, prevailing in Lima, Peru, before winning again in Guayaquil, Ecuador.

The win in Mestre gave Elias his debut in the Top 100 of the Emirates ATP Rankings. He is now comfortably inside that upper echelon at No. 94.

“To reach the Top 100 is an awesome feeling. I think it’s the dream of every tennis player and something you work for all your life,” said Elias. “I tried to just enjoy the moment when I reached it, but remember that it was difficult to sleep. It made me realise that I’m working the right away and gave me the motivation to keep going on.”

Elias is looking to further cement his new status at this week’s ATP Challenger Tour event in Milan, where he is the No. 1 seed. He opened up his campaign in dominant fashion, dropping just two games in his first-round win over Italian qualifier Andrea Basso.

“The tournament in Milan is unbelievable. It’s one of the best clubs I’ve ever seen,” said Elias. “The stadium is nice and I’m feeling good, so I hope it’s going to be a great week.”

After this week, Elias will compete in the main draw of Wimbledon. Having spent six years battling on the ATP Challenger Tour, he’s confident the match play he’s accumulated at these events has prepared him for a big run on grass.

“Since I was young, I knew I had a lot of potential,” said Elias. “I’ve been getting a lot of experience in Challengers and was playing good, but not consistently enough. I knew it was just a matter of time and working hard, so now I’m finally satisfied.”

Donati Thriving In Italian Challengers

ATP news - Thu, 23/06/2016 - 3:57am

Some players feel pressure playing at home, but Matteo Donati of Italy has been feeding off local support on the ATP Challenger Tour.

Two weeks ago at the $125,000 ATP Challenger Tour event in Caltanisetta, Italy, Donati survived four consecutive three-set matches to advance to the final as a wild card. He held championship points before falling to top seed and fellow Italian Paolo Lorenzi, but gained plenty of new fans among the more than 2,000 spectators who came to watch the match.

At this week’s $50,000 ATP Challenger Tour event in Milan, Donati picked up where he left off by dropping just nine games total in his first two matches. His only other Challenger final also came in Italy during last year’s $125,000 event in Napoli.

“I didn’t start well [in Caltanissetta], but raised my level match by match. I lost by just one point against Lorenzi, but am happy because I played a very good level of tennis for that occasion,” said Donati. “I play better in Italy because I feel the people supporting me and feel like I’m at home even if I’m far away from my town. Especially when a match is hard, all the support helps me play better.”

Donati said he put in plenty of work during the off-season to increase his fitness and travels with a physical trainer whenever possible. He’s been continuing to boost his best shots in his serve and forehand, but has also shored up his backhand to make it more of a weapon.

Most importantly, he’s now fully healthy after dealing with injuries at the beginning of the season.

“The most important thing for me is to stay well after these physical troubles,” said Donati. “I’d like to overtake my best ranking this season, but that’s not the point. I’m looking for consistency and believe I’ve reached it the last few weeks.”

Having rediscovered his top form, Donati now hopes to win his first ATP Challenger Tour title in Milan. After receiving a wild card here two years ago, he said the tournament has become one of his favourites.

“I’m happy to play here because it’s less than an hour from my house, so my family is here with me and that makes me feel good,” said Donati. “The tournament is well-organised and the location is beautiful, so I hope to stay here as long as possible.”

Baghdatis Saves 2 M.P. In Nottingham

ATP news - Thu, 23/06/2016 - 3:27am

Marcos Baghdatis reached his fifth ATP World Tour quarter-final of the year on Wednesday at the Aegon Open Nottingham. The ninth seed recorded his second straight win in five meetings over fifth seed and last year's runner-up Sam Querrey 1-6, 7-6(8), 6-4 in one hour and 51 minutes.

Baghdatis, who saved two match points at 5/6 and 7/8 in the second set tie-break, hit 10 aces and saved three of six break point opportunities against Querrey, who struck 12 aces. The Cypriot will next face second seed Pablo Cuevas, who rallied to beat Daniel Evans 6-7(4), 7-6(5), 6-4. Evans served for the match at 5-4 in the second set but was broken at 30.

Top seed Kevin Anderson defeated Fernando Verdasco 6-3, 7-6(6) to reach the quarter-finals, where he will face No. 6 Steve Johnson. The hard-hitting Anderson, who went 14-for-14 on first-serve points in the opening set, never faced break point and fired 18 aces to win consecutive ATP World Tour matches for the first time in 2016. He improved to 2-2 in the FedEx ATP Head2Head against the Spaniard and has only lost to the left-hander on clay.

Johnson edged Vasek Pospisil 7-6(4) 7-6(1). The American struck 12 aces and out-played the Canadian in two tie-breaks in the pair’s first tour-level meeting. Pospisil served for the second set at 5-3, but Johnson converted on his lone break point of the match to get back on serve.

Elsewhere, seventh seed Andreas Seppi avenged his loss to Adrian Mannarino at the Ricoh Open two weeks ago with a 6-2, 6-3 victory in 70 minutes. He now plays Dudi Sela, who was a 6-3, 2-6, 6-4 winner over Benjamin Becker.

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Top Doubles Seeds Advance

Second seeds Dominic Inglot and Daniel Nestor saved all five break points they faced in a 6-4, 7-6(6) victory over Nicholas Monroe and Artem Sitak in 82 minutes for a place in the semi-finals.

Top seeds Ivan Dodig and Marcelo Melo, winners of four tour-level team titles - including at last year's Roland Garros, overcame wild card Jonathan Marray and Adil Shamasdin 6-3, 6-2 for a quarter-final spot.

Johnson FedEx ATP Player Profile 2016

ATP news - Thu, 23/06/2016 - 2:07am
What advice would Steve Johnson give to aspiring pros?

Wimbledon 2016 Seeds Announced

ATP news - Thu, 23/06/2016 - 1:53am

The All England Lawn Tennis Club committee has announced the 32 singles seeds and 16 doubles seeds for The Championships at Wimbledon, which begins on Monday 27 June.

Three-time champion Novak Djokovic, 2013 titlist Andy Murray and seven-time winner Roger Federer are among the top singles seeds.

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Since 2002, The Championships has employed a unique seeding system, where they take into account previous results over a two-year period on grass courts.

•      Take the Emirates ATP Ranking points on 20 June 2016
•      Add 100 per cent of the points earned for all grass court tournaments in the past 12 months
•      Add 75 per cent of the points earned for the best grass court tournament in the 12 months before that

The singles main draw ceremony takes place on Friday.

Singles Seeds
1 Novak Djokovic (SRB)
2 Andy Murray (GBR)
3 Roger Federer (SUI)
4 Stan Wawrinka (SUI)
5 Kei Nishikori (JPN)
6 Milos Raonic (CAN)
7 Richard Gasquet (FRA)
8 Dominic Thiem (AUT)
9 Marin Cilic (CRO)
10 Tomas Berdych (CZE)
11 David Goffin (BEL)
12 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA)
13 David Ferrer (ESP)
14 Roberto Bautista Agut (ESP)
15 Nick Kyrgios (AUS)
16 Gilles Simon (FRA)
17 Gael Monfils (FRA)
18 John Isner (USA)
19 Bernard Tomic (AUS)
20 Kevin Anderson (RSA)
21 Philipp Kohlschreiber (GER)
22 Feliciano Lopez (ESP)
23 Ivo Karlovic (CRO)
24 Alexander Zverev (GER)
25 Viktor Troicki (SRB)
26 Benoit Paire (FRA)
27 Jack Sock (USA)
28 Sam Querrey (USA)
29 Pablo Cuevas (URU)
30 Alexandr Dolgopolov (UKR)
31 Joao Sousa (POR)
32 Lucas Pouille (FRA)

Doubles Seeds
1 Pierre-Hugues Herbert (FRA) / Nicolas Mahut (FRA)
2 Bob Bryan (USA) / Mike Bryan (USA)
3 Jamie Murray (GBR) / Bruno Soares (BRA)
4 Jean-Julien Rojer (NED) / Horia Tecau (ROU)
5 Ivan Dodig (CRO) / Marcelo Melo (BRA)
6 Rohan Bopanna (IND) / Florin Mergea (ROU)
7 Lukasz Kubot (POL) / Alexander Peya (AUT)
8 Vasek Pospisil (CAN) / Jack Sock (USA)
9 Dominic Inglot (GBR) / Daniel Nestor (CAN)
10 Henri Kontinen (FIN) / John Peers (AUS)
11 Raven Klaasen (RSA) / Rajeev Ram (USA)
12 Treat Huey (PHI) / Max Mirnyi (BLR)
13 Juan Sebastian Cabal (COL) / Robert Farah (COL)
14 Radek Stepanek (CZE) / Nenad Zimonjic (SRB)
15 Pablo Cuevas (URU) / Marcel Granollers (ESP)
16 Mate Pavic (CRO) / Michael Venus (NZL)

Phil Gould hammers 'selfish' NSW leadership group after Origin loss

ABC Sport - Thu, 23/06/2016 - 12:22am

Former New South Wales coach Phil Gould appears to take a swipe at Blues captain Paul Gallen after the series-deciding 26-16 State Of Origin loss to Queensland.

Corey Parker farewells Queensland fans in typical style in Origin II

ABC Sport - Wed, 22/06/2016 - 11:32pm

Corey Parker's final State Of Origin in front of the adoring Lang Park fans was not flashy, but he did everything asked of him.

Gagai loving life after explosive hat-trick to win Origin

ABC Sport - Wed, 22/06/2016 - 11:04pm

Queensland's newest hero Dane Gagai praises his star Maroons team-mates after helping himself to an incredible hat-trick in a spectacular Origin win to clinch the series.

Gagai bags hat-trick as Queensland conquers the Blues again

ABC Sport - Wed, 22/06/2016 - 10:23pm

Queensland comes out on top of a tense State of Origin battle, sealing the 2016 series with a 26-16 win in game two at Lang Park.

Clubs scramble to create AFL women's league teams

ABC Sport - Wed, 22/06/2016 - 9:53pm

The creation of the AFL's national women's league next year has been labelled a sporting revolution but some are worried it could be happening too quickly.

Rory McIlroy withdraws from Rio games over Zika fears

ABC Sport - Wed, 22/06/2016 - 7:24pm

Four-times major winner Rory McIlroy will not compete in this summer's Rio Olympic Games, citing health fears over the Zika virus.

As it happened: Queensland secures Origin series with 26-16 win

ABC Sport - Wed, 22/06/2016 - 7:00pm

Queensland clinches its 10th Origin title in the past 11 years, beating NSW 26-16 in game two at Lang Park. Look back at how it unfolded in our live blog.

Origin couple united by opposition mark their first anniversary

ABC Sport - Wed, 22/06/2016 - 6:03pm

As State of Origin fans flock to Brisbane's Lang Park, Robbie Crawford and Helen Baxter mark the first year of their Origin relationship by barracking for opposite teams.

Messi breaks record, Lavezzi breaks arm as Argentina beats USA in Copa America semi

ABC Sport - Wed, 22/06/2016 - 5:16pm

Lionel Messi becomes Argentina's all-time record goal-scorer as the two-time world champions outclassed the United States 4-0 to reach the Copa America Centenario final.

Dockers face injury crisis ahead of Magpies clash

ABC Sport - Wed, 22/06/2016 - 5:11pm

Fremantle's injury list reaches crisis point as the number of sidelined Dockers players balloons to 17 ahead of Friday night's clash with the Magpies.

Cold night forecast for Crows and Kangaroos clash

ABC Sport - Wed, 22/06/2016 - 4:36pm

The Adelaide Crows will face harsh weather conditions when they take on North Melbourne at Adelaide Oval tomorrow night.

Adelaide's Scotson brothers chase Olympic cycling dream

ABC Sport - Wed, 22/06/2016 - 3:55pm

Two brothers from Adelaide and their childhood next-door neighbour are among seven cyclists competing for places on the Australian Olympic pursuit team.

Commentators escape punishment from Triple M over drowning remarks

ABC Sport - Wed, 22/06/2016 - 3:38pm

Triple M issues an apology over on-air comments made about journalist Caroline Wilson, but said it would not take any further action against the three high-profile commentators involved.

Origin II: Blues shutting out memories of Lang Park flogging

ABC Sport - Wed, 22/06/2016 - 2:48pm

As their return to Lang Park nears, the Blues are refraining from talking about last year's record State of Origin loss to the Maroons in Brisbane.

Rising sevens star Hutchison eyeing off Rio selection

ABC Sport - Wed, 22/06/2016 - 12:13pm

Teenager Henry Hutchison has emerged as a rugby sevens star for Australia on the world stage and he is eyeing off Rio Olympics selection.