Frances Tiafoe celebrates winning a crucial point against Grigor Dimitrov during their 4th round clash at the Australian Open
2018 ATP Cincinnati Features the Return of Roger Federer and a Nadal/Djokovic Quarter
Steen Kirby, Tennis Atlantic
The 2018 Cincinnati Masters is the final Masters 1000 of the Summer hard court season and the primary US Open prep for most of the ATP’s best. Here is your look at all the action in Mason, Ohio this week.
Rafael Nadal is in the Rogers Cup final and playing great right now, however fitness could be a concern. He’ll start against a qualifier or Milos Raonic, I like Raonic to pull the upset simply because Rafa should be in need of a rest after Toronto. Look for wild card Frances Tiafoe to benefit in a big way here. Tiafoe has to get past Denis Shapovalov first, but presuming he does that Kyle Edmund/Mackenzie McDonald is beatable right now, and Raonic just lost to Tiafoe in Canada. Look for Tiafoe to emerge as an unlikely quarterfinalist.Embed from Getty Images
Novak Djokovic looks set to ease past Steve Johnson and Adrian Mannarino/Marco Cecchinato. While Djokovic disappointed in Toronto he still looks healthy and focused, that should help him defeat Grigor Dimitrov in the third round after Dimitrov defeats Damir Dzumhur/Mischa Zverev.Embed from Getty Images
Alexander Zverev has had a good summer and it would be made better if he could win Cincy. The young German will start against an in-form Robin Haase or Filip Krajinovic, with most likely Pablo Carreno Busta waiting on deck. Richard Gasquet returns from injury vs. PCB while Max Marterer or a qualifier await in round 2. This is Zverev’s section to lose.Embed from Getty Images
Marin Cilic is playing well, he should defeat Philipp Kohlschreiber or a qualifier, and then John Isner or the Toronto semifinalist Karen Khachanov to reach the quarterfinals. Isner faces Sam Querrey first, while Khachanov drew a struggling Albert Ramos. Cilic over Isner is my pick as Khachanov should be fatigued.Embed from Getty Images
Del Potro’s Quarter:Embed from Getty Images
Juan Martin Del Potro drew either Hyeon Chung or Jack Sock first. That would normally be a tough matchup but under current circumstances JMDP is a heavy favorite as Chung is still rusty and Sock is in the worst form of his career. I’ll back Borna Coric over a qualifier and a struggling Nick Kyrgios/qualifier to reach the third round before falling to Del Potro.
Toronto finalist Stefanos Tsitsipas is slated to face David Goffin first, while the player he defeated in the semis, Kevin Anderson, is in the same section. If Tsitsipas plays I’ll back him to beat a struggling Goffin and then Benoit Paire or a soon to retire David Ferrer before Anderson gets his revenge and wins in round 3. Anderson has to get past Jeremy Chardy/Fernando Verdasco to reach that point.Embed from Getty Images
Federer’s Quarter:Embed from Getty Images
Roger Federer returns to tour and should breeze past Joao Sousa/Peter Gojowczyk before facing Andy Murray round 3. Expect Murray to put up a fight after beating Lucas Pouille and Leonardo Mayer/qualifier, but he shouldn’t be at the level yet to beat Federer.
I’ll back Andrey Rublev to upset Kei Nishikori in round 1, as Nishikori was poor in Toronto. Diego Schwartzman should benefit, I’ll back DSS to defeat Stan Wawrinka and then Rublev to reach round 3 opposite Dominic Thiem. Thiem is struggling and should be on upset alert against Marton Fucsovics/qualifier. I’ll back Schwartzman or Rublev to win the section.Embed from Getty Images
Djokovic d. Tiafoe
Zverev d. Cilic
Anderson d. Del Potro
Federer d. Schwartzman
Zverev should perform well this week while Anderson, Federer, and Djokovic have the inside track to reach the semis.
Zverev d. Djokovic
Federer d. Anderson
This is Federer’s tournament to lose but Zverev or Djokovic should challenge him in the end.
Federer d. Zverev
Cam Norrie and Marcos Baghdatis Spring Upsets at BB&T Atlanta Open
Steen Kirby, Tennis Atlantic
Four singles matches were completed on Thursday at the BB&T Atlanta Open as the quarterfinals were set for 2018. Cam Norrie sprung the upset of the day as the ATP #73 came back from a set down to upset the ATP #43 Jeremy Chardy 5-7 6-4 6-4 in a closely fought battle. Norrie was stronger on a serve in a match that featured few breaks. Chardy erased two break point chances early in the first then broke late to take a one set lead. Norrie finally broke Chardy in the second set then squared things up with a steady performance. In the third Chardy was broken right away and was unable to recover as the fast rising Brit showed the improvements in his game over the last few months.
Marcos Baghdatis has once again posted a good run of results in Atlanta. By a score of 7-5 6-1 Baghdatis crushed young gun American Frances Tiafoe who served up 9 double faults and had an awful serving day. Tiafoe got an early break in the first but things quickly unraveled for the young American. Baghdatis generated 13 break point chances and broke 5 times in the match.Embed from Getty Images
Australians Matt Ebden and Nick Kyrgios also reached the quarterfinals. Ebden was reliable under hot, fast conditions in the noon match as he defeated local favorite Donald Young 6-4 6-4. Ebden won all but 5 of his first serve points as he got late a break in the second set to close the match out and avoid having to spend more time on court than he had to.Embed from Getty Images
Kyrgios needed less than an hour to aggressively dismantle Noah Rubin 7-5 6-2. NK fired 15 aces and won over 80% of his points on serve as Rubin started well but quickly unraveled after surrendering a break in the last game of the first set. Kyrgios moved around the court with ease and was able to hit from attacking positions for most of the match.Embed from Getty Images
Raja/Skupski defeated Norrie and Taylor Fritz in the lone doubles match on the day.
The men’s quarterfinals in singles feature Ebden vs. Baghdatis, John Isner vs. Mischa Zverev, Norrie vs. Kyrgios, and Ryan Harrison vs. Hyeon Chung all taking place tomorrow.
The remaining doubles quarterfinals are Bryan/Tiafoe vs. Harrison/Ram and Arneodo/Chardy vs. Bambridge/O’Mara. Monroe/Smith and Raja/Skupski have already reached the semifinals.
Donald Young and Ryan Harrison Score Opening Match Wins in Atlanta
Steen Kirby, Tennis Atlantic
The conclusion of the opening round of the main draw at the BB&T Atlanta Open 2018 saw five Americans advance into the round of 16, highlighted by local favorite Donald Young. Young recovered from a set down on Monday to win the second and third sets on Tuesday, saving a match point in the third, and also recovering from a break down in the third to prevail 2-6 7-6 7-6 against the veteran Croat. Karlovic’s normally steady serve failed him in the deciding set while Young was clutch to win just his second ATP match of the year.
Ryan Harrison also completed a comeback winning 4-6 7-6 6-1 over James Duckworth. With his wife cheering him on from the sidelines Harrison played a tough second set and a smooth third after struggling in the first, as Duckworth’s game melted in the heat. Taylor Fritz joins Harrison in the round of 16 after a routine 6-4 6-4 victory against Ramkumar Ramanathan. A tired Ramanathan generated no break point chances and struggled with his second serve.Embed from Getty Images
Noah Rubin and Frances Tiafoe were the other Americans to win in straights. Rubin 6-3 6-4 over Thanasi Kokkinakis and Tiafoe 6-4 6-4 over Marius Copil. Neither Copil nor Kokkinakis generated a break in the match, as Rubin saved all three break points he faced.Embed from Getty Images
In the other Tuesday singles matches, Cam Norrie ran away from a frustrated Malek Jaziri 7-5 6-0, Jeremy Chardy was too steady on serve against Ricardas Berankis winning 6-4 6-3. ATP veterans Marcos Baghdatis (6-4 6-1 against Alex Bolt), Mikhail Youzhny (6-2 6-0 against Emil Reinberg) and Mischa Zverev completed the R16 singles field. Zverev had match points in the second set tiebreak vs. Tim Smyczek but had to prevail in 3 sets 6-3 6-7 6-3 with his serve and volley game in a match that lasted over 2 and a half hours.Embed from Getty Images
In doubles Donald Young and Chris Eubanks advanced in a third set tiebreak while Tiafoe/Bryan won in straights.
Tomorrow in singles it will be defending champion John Isner against Alex De Minaur, Hyeon Chung returning from injury against Fritz, Harrison against Lukas Lacko and veterans Youzhny and Zverev squaring off.
Former Champs John Isner and Nick Kyrgios The Top Seeds at ATP Atlanta 2018
Steen Kirby,Tennis Atlantic
The 2018 US Open Series kicks off in Atlanta as top caliber ATP Tennis returns stateside with the 250 stop in the tennis capital of the American South. Here is your full preview, with predictions.
John Isner is seeking a 5th Atlanta Open title, the defending champion is doing so from a career high #8 ranking. His first match should come against Alex De Minaur or lucky loser Hubert Hurkacz, both are promising players, but Isner’s serve on the Atlanta hard courts should be too much for them.Embed from Getty Images
Local favorite Emil Reinberg (University of Georgia), faces tour veteran Mikhail Youzhny in the opening round. Newport semifinalist Tim Smyczek drew Nottingham champion Mischa Zverev with Zverev most likely to go through to face Isner in the quarters, with Isner a heavy favorite.Embed from Getty Images
American young gun Frances Tiafoe will begin against Marius Copil, with Alex Bolt or Marcos Baghdatis waiting on deck. Tiafoe has had the best season of his career already and should ease past Copil and Bolt to reach the quarters.Embed from Getty Images
Now 30, Matt Ebden has gotten himself to the point he’s now a top 4 seed in an ATP tournament. Ebden will have a tough test against either big serving Ivo Karlovic or a struggling Donald Young in round 2. Karlovic is in the twilight of his career and hasn’t had a good season, so Ebden should be a slight favorite in his section with Tiafoe winning their quarterfinal to reach the semis.
Nick Kyrgios won the 2016 title in Atlanta, to reach that stage again he’ll likely have to get past his friend and countryman Thanasi Kokkinakis, presuming Kokkinakis defeats fellow qualifier Noah Rubin in round 1. Kyrgios when healthy is hard to stop so he should get past Kokkinakis and also Jeremy Chardy (or Cam Norrie) in the quarters. Chardy opens with Ricardas Berankis, while Norrie drew a struggling Malek Jaziri.Embed from Getty Images
A finalist last year, Ryan Harrison faces James Duckworth in his opening match this year in dire need of a form boost. Harrison should beat Duckworth but Lukas Lacko presents a tougher challenge. Lacko draws Prajnesh Gunneswaran in round 1. I have Harrison going through to the quarters against Hyeon Chung.Embed from Getty Images
Chung, when fit, has already shown what a dangerous player he can be. The Korean #1 faces Taylor Fritz or Ramkumar Ramanathan in round 2. Fritz should beat a tired Ramanthan but Chung will be favored to reach the semis.
Isner d. Tiafoe
Kyrgios d. Chung
Isner will be a heavy favorite to retain his Atlanta title after the great run at Wimbledon, while Kyrgios, Tiafoe, and Chung look to steel themselves for a good hard court summer in North America.
Isner d. Kyrgios
DENIS SHAPOVALOV AND FRANCES TIAFOE TO FIELD
Next generation of tennis stars join Murray, Wozniacki, Stephens and more at 50th edition of Washington’s Tennis Tradition
WASHINGTON (May 30, 2018) — The next generation of tennis stars are joining a highly accomplished field in this summer’s Citi Open® Tennis Tournament, July 28-August 5, 2018.
The 50th edition of the Washington Tournament will feature World No. 20, 2018 Australian Open semifinalist and 2017 Next Gen ATP Finals champion Hyeon Chung; 2018 Indian Wells Champion Naomi Osaka; youngest player in the Top 50 of the ATP rankings and No. 1 Canadian Denis Shapovalov; and Washington-area native, Frances Tiafoe, who became the youngest American male since Andy Roddick in 2002 to win an ATP World Tour championship when he captured February’s Delray Beach title.
These young stars are hoping to build off sensational wins at this summer’s tournament, joining an incredible field at the Rock Creek Park Tennis Center this summer. Previously announced players include former World No. 1 and 2018 Australian Open Champion Caroline Wozniacki; former World No. 1 and three-time Grand Slam Champion Andy Murray; 2017 U.S. Open Champion and 2015 Citi Open Champion Sloane Stephens; World No. 10 and three-time Citi Open finalist John Isner; 2015 Citi Open Champion Kei Nishikori; World No. 7, 2017 Citi Open and U.S. Open finalist Kevin Anderson; World No. 9 David Goffin; and Bob and Mike Bryan, who clinched their 116th doubles title in Monte Carlo.
“This young, talented group are some of the hottest names in tennis right now. They are quickly rising up the rankings and making headlines with their big performances. What they have been able to accomplish on the court at 19, 20 and 22 years old is incredible,” said Keely O’Brien, Tournament Director. “Their personalities are also quite engaging. From their on-air interviews to their social media, you see bright, humble and often funny individuals sharing their stories from on and off the court. So, while we celebrate 50 years of history here in DC, I hope this Tournament continues to be a storyline in their careers.”
The Washington tournament has been Washington, D.C.’s premier tennis event since 1969 and benefits the Washington Tennis & Education Foundation(WTEF), the tournament’s non-profit owner and beneficiary. The organization provides underserved children in the D.C.-area with a safe environment to learn critical life skills both on and off the courts through academic and athletic enrichment.
Founded by Donald Dell and John Harris, the Washington tournament celebrates its 50th edition in 2018. The Citi Open Tennis Tournament is one of only 13 elite ATP World Tour 500-level events worldwide and the only one held in the United States. The tournament also features a WTA International Tournament, which provides fans the opportunity to watch simultaneous competitions of both world-class men’s and women’s tennis throughout the nine-day event. It is one of only five U.S. tournaments that include both men’s and women’s fields. Main draw matches of the tournament will be broadcast starting Monday, July 30, on Tennis Channel.d
Ticket packages and all single session tickets are available now. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit http://www.citiopentennis.com. Follow the news on http://www.facebook.com/citiopen, @CitiOpen on Twitter, or CitiOpen on Instagram. The Citi Open Tennis Tournament is a Lagardère Sports production, and Citi Open is a registered service mark of its title sponsor Citigroup Inc.
Estoril Open 2018: João Sousa becomes first ever Portuguese champion
Manuel Traquete for Tennis Atlantic
It was a historic day for Portuguese tennis with João Sousa becoming the first Portuguese player to ever win Portugal’s one and only ATP event, after Frederico Gil’s narrow miss back in 2010. This was Sousa’s 3rd ATP title In 10 finals, first in 2018.
It was pretty much a Davis Cup atmosphere in Center Court, with a capacity crowd rowdily supporting Sousa and spurring him on to the biggest achievement of his career thus far. Tiafoe had been on fire in the last couple of days but he wasn’t even close to replicate that level in the final, perhaps a bit intimidated by the extremely pro-Sousa atmosphere on the court.
Sousa broke in the second Tiafoe service game, and although he was broken back he was able to break and then serve out the set despite finding himself in a 0-40 hole. After losing the first set, Tiafoe clearly lose confidence for a bit, frustrated by how many errors he was committing and how many balls Sousa was forcing him to hit in a lot of rallies. Tiafoe was still able to rally back from a double break down in the second and force Sousa to serve it out, but the truth is he could never find the right balance between aggression and consistency and Sousa’s more consistent and metronomic game proved to be too strong for Tiafoe in his first ever clay final.Embed from Getty Images
For Sousa, winning in Portugal has been the fulfillment of a long-held dream. Given how unlikely it is that he wins any bigger tournament, this title will most likely end up being the moment that will forever define Sousa’s career. He could hardly contain his emotion after winning, as shown by his winner’s speech and press conference, it was clear just how much this means to him. Tiafoe was magnanimous in defeat, congratulating Sousa for his victory on home soil and vowing to return to Estoril next year.