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Updated: 2 weeks 2 days ago

ATP Rankings Update 3 September 2018

Tue, 09/04/2018 - 8:39am
Take a look at the ATP Rankings midway through the US Open on 3 September 2018.

Social Media Reacts To Millman's Victory Over Federer

Tue, 09/04/2018 - 8:29am

John Millman upset five-time former champion Roger Federer on Monday night to become the first Australian man to reach the US Open quarter-finals since Lleyton Hewitt in 2006. Twelve months ago, Millman was ranked No. 235 in the ATP Rankings and is now assured of a Top 40 breakthrough.

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The tennis world reacted on social media to Millman’s big win, a match that ended close to 1 a.m. local time on Tuesday morning.

A night to remember forever. Well played @johnhmillman. An amazing and inspirational journey that led to this moment. #moretocome

How Isner & Top 20 Stars Perform When Games Go To Deuce

Tue, 09/04/2018 - 6:38am

Seven players in the current Top 20 of the ATP Rankings have had at least one out of every three service games extended to Deuce this season. For John Isner, who features in the US Open quarter-finals, the stat is considerably less.

A common perception is that players at the elite level of the sport are very dominant with their service games, but being extended to Deuce happens a lot more than we think.

An Infosys ATP Beyond The Numbers analysis shows that the Top 20 are being taken to Deuce, on average, in 30 per cent (3229/10830) of their service games, with seven of the Top 20 being extended to Deuce, on average, 37 per cent (1218/3311) of the time.

The following table breaks down how many times Top 20 players (as of 20 August 2018) have been extended to Deuce so far in the 2018 season.

TOP 20 (20 AUGUST): SERVICE GAMES TAKEN TO DEUCE IN 2018

ATP Ranking Player Total Deuce Games Total Service Games % Taken To Deuce 13 Diego Schwartzman 205 524 39.1% 18 Jack Sock 105 273 38.5% 12 Pablo Carreno Busta 204 548 37.2% 17 Lucas Pouille 166 454 36.6% 14 Fabio Fognini 223 610 36.6% 19 Roberto Bautista Agut 163 460 35.4% 10 David Goffin 152 442 34.4% 8 Grigor Dimitrov 175 528 33.1% 16 Kyle Edmund 169 539 31.4% 1 Rafael Nadal 158 510 31.0% 9 Dominic Thiem 191 617 31.0% 6 Novak Djokovic 168 572 29.4% 15 Stefanos Tsitsipas 183 647 28.3% 20 Borna Coric 116 420 27.6% 3 Juan Martin del Potro 164 609 26.9% 4 Alexander Zverev 172 677 25.4% 7 Marin Cilic 149 604 24.7% 5 Kevin Anderson 159 689 23.1% 2 Roger Federer 96 499 19.2% 11 John Isner 111 608 18.3% - Total/Average 3229 10830 29.8%

Diego Schwartzman has been extended to Deuce the most of the Top 20 this season, with 39.1 per cent (205/524) of his service games reaching Deuce. That is more than twice as much as Isner, who has only had 18.3 per cent (111/608) of his service games extended to Deuce.

What’s interesting is that if the service game involves one Deuce, or multiple Deuces’, the win percentage for the server is identical, down to one tenth of a per cent.

Top 20: Percentage Chance Of Holding Serve With:

  • One Deuce = 75.8% (1698/2241)
  • 2+ Deuces = 75.8% (749/988)
  • When there was just one Deuce involved in the service game, John Isner led the Top 20 in holding 90.6 per cent (77/85) of the time. World No. 1 Rafael Nadal surged to second place, holding 82.5 per cent (85/103) of his service games. Both Fabio Fognini and Pablo Carreno Busta have played the most games with one Deuce involved in 2018, at 147.

    Carreno Busta is second only to Isner (92.3%) holding serve when the game has 2+ Deuces involved, holding 91.2 per cent (52/57) of the time. Fognini has also played the most service games that have gone to 2+ Deuces, with 223 - more than double Roger Federer at 96.

    Being extended to Deuce on serve is an inevitable part of the sport. For some players in the Top 20, it actually happens twice as much as others.

    Millman: "I'll Remember This For A Long, Long Time"

    Tue, 09/04/2018 - 5:16am

    Seventy minutes after the biggest win of his career over Roger Federer at the US Open, John Millman was still in a daze as he faced the tennis world’s media shortly after 2 a.m. local time.

    “This is a little bit new to me, a quarter-final of a Grand Slam,” said Millman, after taking an ice bath following his first Top 10 win. “It's very new. I'm just trying to just keep to those routines that I've been doing. It's a late finish, but I'll try to get plenty of sleep.

    “Hopefully I create a few more memories. I'll obviously remember this [win] for a long, long time. I hope the people who are watching here and back home remember it, too. I think that's all part of tennis, sharing the experiences with those close to you. It's extremely special.”

    His 3-6, 7-5, 7-6(7), 7-6(3) victory over Federer broke a 10-match losing streak against players in the Top 10 of the ATP Rankings.

    “I always was of the opinion that I was in the fourth round for a reason,” said Millman. “I've never played anyone's reputation. That's been a constant with me... because I think if you do that, then you start behind the eight-ball straightaway.

    “At the start, I was deer in the headlights a little bit. It's a different environment. But as the match went on, I felt very comfortable in terms of my mental state. [I] felt very relaxed. That obviously helped me tonight.”

    “I started to find my feet a little bit, I think, in that second set, when he served for it. I managed to break back [and I] started to get a lot more comfortable in the surroundings.”

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    Millman, who overcame two shoulder surgeries in 2013 and groin surgery in 2016, will now break into the Top 40 of the ATP Rankings for the first time on 10 September, following the conclusion of the US Open.

    “It’s tough to start all over again a few times,” said Millman, who was as low as No. 235 just 12 months ago. "But you do it. And you do all those moments in rehab, you do all that for something like this. It all becomes a little bit more rewarding.”

    Read Feature: Adversity Aside, Millman Finding His Stride

    He will now prepare to meet two-time former US Open champion Novak Djokovic on Wednesday. When asked whether he could cause another upset, the 29-year-old said, “Yeah, why not? I think it's a disservice to who I am if I go out there and don't have that belief."

    The World No. 55 is now 18-15 on the season, which includes a runner-up finish in his first ATP World Tour final at the Gazprom Hungarian Open (l. to Cecchinato) on 1 April.

    Federer: "I Struggled In The Conditions"

    Tue, 09/04/2018 - 3:34am

    Five-time former champion Roger Federer said that the hot and humid conditions at the US Open got the better of him on Monday night, but he was also full of praise for John Millman after the Australian’s fourth-round victory.

    “I just thought it was very hot tonight,” said Federer, who lost 3-6, 7-5, 7-6(7), 7-6(3) on Arthur Ashe Stadium. “[It] was just one of those nights where I guess I felt I couldn't get air. There was no circulation at all. For some reason I just struggled in the conditions tonight. It's one of the first times it's happened to me.

    “John was able to deal with it better. He maybe comes from one of the most humid places on earth, Brisbane. I knew I was in for a tough one. Maybe when you feel like that, as well, you start missing chances, and I had those. That was disappointing. But at some point, also, I was just happy that the match was over.”

    The Swiss superstar suffered his earliest exit at a Grand Slam championship since a third-round loss at the 2015 Australian Open (l. to Seppi). “I've trained in tougher conditions," said Federer. "I've played in the daytime at 120ºF. Some days it's just not the day where the body can cope with it."

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    Millman booked a place in his first major quarter-final by breaking a 10-match losing streak against Top 10 players in the ATP Rankings (now 1-10 lifetime). Federer had led 6-3, 5-4, 40/15 on his serve, but he was unable to convert two set points. Millman will now prepare to meet two-time former US Open champion Novak Djokovic on Wednesday.

    “I thought the match was tough, said Federer. "I wish I could have led two sets to love and then maybe the match would be different and I would find a way. Because I did have my chances all the way till the end. It was just tough. I thought John played a great match in difficult conditions.

    “I love his intensity,” added Federer, who had trained with 29-year-old Millman for a few days ahead of the grass-court swing in June. “He reminds me of David Ferrer and those other guys that I admire a lot when I see them; when I see how they train [and] the passion they have for the game.

    “He's got a positive demeanour about himself on and off the court. I think he's got a great backhand that he can protect very well down the line and cross-court. When you attack there in the wrong way, he will punish you every time for it. He has options, now especially where it's a bit slower, to return in and return back. I think against Novak, he just has to bring it again [and] try to worry Novak.”

    Federer, who currently in second position in the ATP Race To London for a spot at the Nitto ATP Finals, to be held at The O2 in London from 11-18 November, is now 36-6 on the season, which includes three titles.

    Highlights: Millman Delivers US Open Upset To Federer

    Tue, 09/04/2018 - 1:56am
    John Millman produces a career-changing victory over Roger Federer in the fourth round of the US Open. Video not available in U.S.A. Photo: Julian Finney/Getty Images

    Chicago Celebrates Challenger Debut

    Tue, 09/04/2018 - 12:04am

    This week, the ATP Challenger Tour welcomes a new member to the family, as the Oracle Challenger Series Chicago celebrates its inaugural edition.

    For the first time in Challenger history, the circuit  descends on Chicago proper, with the state-of-the-art XS Tennis Village playing host to the $150,000 event. It marks the return of professional tennis to the third-largest city in the United States after a 20-year hiatus. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Chicago hosted an ATP World Tour event, with John McEnroe and Boris Becker among its champions. It was the last title of McEnroe's career.

    On Sunday, Bjorn Fratangelo helped kick off the hard-court event with a game of mini-tennis at one of the city's most famous landmarks - The Bean. The 25-year-old American joined WTA player Lauren Davis to mark the launch of the tournament and bring attention to its debut. 

    A public sculpture by British artist Sir Anish Kapoor, The Bean is located in Millennium Park in downtown Chicago and is made of 168 stainless steel plates welded together.

    "Chicago is great, it's my first time here," said Fratangelo. "It feels like I'm still in New York. Just walking around the downtown area with tons of people. It's nice and we don't get to do it too much. It's not often that a Challenger is so close to a big downtown area, so it's cool to check it out."

    The recently-opened $15 million, 13-acre XS Tennis Village features 13 outdoor hard courts, 12 indoor hard courts, four clay courts, a track and turf field and a 10,000 square-foot gym. It is the second Challenger tournament in the greater Chicago area, with the northern suburb of Winnetka celebrating its 27th anniversary in July.

    "The centre is unbelievable," Fratangelo added. "It's brand new and pretty cool with a basketball court and boxing ring. I've never seen that before in a gym. It's a different kind of tennis venue and I think it's really nice."

    Fratangelo is on the comeback trail after tearing his rectus femoris (quadriceps muscle) at the Mutua Madrid Open in May. In the second set of his qualifying match against Nikoloz Basilashvili, he came down awkwardly on a serve. Weeks after qualifying at the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 event in Miami and 500-level stop Barcelona, the injury would cost him the rest of the clay season.

    At the time, Fratangelo was pushing towards a return to the Top 100 of the ATP Rankings. But with his momentum halted, the Pittsburgh native has stumbled in recent months and is seeking a return to form as the calendar flips to September.

    "It's no question that I've had a rough year, with bad form and the injury I suffered in the clay season. It's just been pretty rough. I took a month and a half to two months to recover and I think that starting back up on grass wasn't the smartest thing I've done in my life. But I'm happy now and I'm starting to find my game again. It's going to take some time. 

    "I lost some trust in my movement. When you tear a muscle in your leg, it takes time to get that trust back. But going right to grass from there, where movement is tougher, I was probably more scared than I normally am. Just from that, losing matches on the grass hurt my confidence a bit. But I'm starting to practise better and play better."

    Fratangelo opens against fourth seed Viktor Troicki. Top seed Andreas Seppi leads the field, with Denis Istomin second. The strong field also includes #NextGenATP stars Michael Mmoh, Reilly Opelka, Alexei Popyrin and Tommy Paul. Main draw play begins Tuesday.

    Highlights: Djokovic Beats Heat, Sousa To Reach QFs

    Mon, 09/03/2018 - 7:01pm
    Novak Djokovic enjoys as straight-sets win over Joao Sousa to reach the US Open quarter-finals. Watch more video at usopen.org. Video not available in U.S.A. Photo: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

    Cilic Books Nishikori Quarter-Final Showdown

    Mon, 09/03/2018 - 6:59pm

    Marin Cilic will face Kei Nishikori in a quarter-final rematch of the 2014 US Open final after a convincing straight-sets routing of Belgian David Goffin at Flushing Meadows on Monday. Having emerged victorious from two sets down in a four-hour battle to deny #NextGenATP Aussie Alex De Minaur in his previous match, there were few such problems for the No. 7 seed against Goffin. 

    A champion at Flushing Meadows four years ago, the Croatian had lost 11 of his past 12 matches against Top 10 opponents. But against the No. 10 in the ATP Rankings he ran out a 7-6(6), 6-2, 6-4 victory. Despite falling behind a break of serve in the opening game of the match, Cilic soon settled and began to find his rhythm against the recent Western & Southern Open semi-finalist. 

    The Croatian managed to break as Goffin served for the set at 5-4 and it proved the turning point of the match. Having forced the tie-break, Cilic secured the opening set on his second set point when the Belgian wildly misfired on a backhand down the line.

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    Despite only landing 33 per cent of his first serves midway through the second set, Cilic still managed to fend off break points to hold for 4-2 and after that escape he rammed home the advantage, cracking a crisp crosscourt backhand winner to secure the double break and served it out when Goffin fired long on the return.

    Surging comfortably towards a quarter-final berth, Cilic received a time violation warning when serving for the match at 5-4, 0/30, but it merely served to fire him up. He thumped back-to-back aces and steadied to whip a crosscourt forehand winner on his third match point.

    Nishikori will carry an 8-6 FedEx ATP Head2Head lead into the quarter-final showdown. The Japanese No. 21 seed claimed their most recent clash in a quarter-final on clay in Monte-Carlo this season.

    Nishikori: 'I Don't Have Any Pressure'

    Mon, 09/03/2018 - 6:43pm
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    This time last year, Kei Nishikori didn’t want to watch the US Open. The Japanese star was sidelined with a right wrist injury, missing his first Grand Slam since 2012 Roland Garros.

    “I saw maybe the final,” Nishikori said. “I didn't really want to see any matches, because I know if I saw, I wanted to play. After Cincy, I took maybe a month doing nothing and just doing rehab. I think I started watching at the end of the year last year. I started to have more time, and at that time I was starting hitting some sponge balls, playing some tennis. That's when I start watching tennis again.”

    And less than a year later, the 2014 finalist at Flushing Meadows is into the quarter-finals at this event for the third time. While it’s no surprise that Nishikori has the level in him, considering he has climbed as high as No. 4 in the ATP Rankings, it might not have been easy to foresee considering the 28-year-old began his season playing two ATP Challenger Tour events as he continued his recovery.

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    “I was playing one match at a time, because I didn't have any confidence and I was still worried about my wrist,” Nishikori said. “I still had pain a couple tournaments after coming back.”

    There were no thoughts of an ATP World Tour Masters 1000 final in Monte-Carlo, his first quarter-final at Wimbledon or this performance in New York.

    “We didn’t have any expectations. I think that’s important for us, that we didn’t have any expectations,” said Nishikori’s coach Dante Bottini. “We just were working day by day, trying to be as healthy as possible and try to go match by match and the results would come along. So I think if you expect too much of yourself, and too quickly, that can mess around a little bit with your confidence and with your head.“

    And in a way, Nishikori has flown under the radar. He was inside the Top 10 for nearly three consecutive years, from the Monday after his runner-up finish at the US Open four years ago until last August. But he fell as low as No. 39 this April as he searched for form after his injury. In a way, that has helped.

    “This year is easy for me, because I don't expect any big results. I try to play one match at a time,” Nishikori said. “This week it's been great. You know, every match I’ve been playing really good tennis, and, well, maybe I had more pressure a few years ago. I wanted to keep [my ATP Ranking in the] Top 10 every year, and that gave me a little bit of pressure.

    “I kind of reset last year. Took six months off and this year, it's been great. Right now I don't have any pressure, but I’m also enjoying playing every match and enjoying playing tennis again a little more than before.”

    With his run to the quarter-finals, Nishikori is projected to climb back into the Top 15. But more than anything, Bottini is happiest with the way his charge has been dictating play on the court, and how offensive he has been with his tactics. This tournament could have gone wrong considering the 11-time ATP World Tour titlist lost three of four matches before arriving in Flushing Meadows. But a small mindset change has helped.

    “Just keep being positive, keep swinging, keep trying to look for the point. That’s his game, so he needs to keep doing it,” Bottini said. “I like the way that he’s playing right now. I like the way that he’s focusing. We don’t know if he’s going to reach No. 4 or No. 3. But we’re working for that. I like the way we are in this moment. He still needs a couple more wins and more matches under his belt, but he’s looking good.”

    There is no pressure. Nishikori is simply having fun and giving it his all. And while he still has niggles here and there, his wrist is doing well.

    “Monte-Carlo was really surprise for me to going final again. Even though I had some pain, I played through and that gave me a lot of confidence,” Nishikori said. “Clay-court season was great. First time going to quarter-finals in Wimbledon and everything, it's going well this year.”

    And it might even get better when he faces Marin Cilic in a rematch of their 2014 championship match.

    Millman Shocks Federer

    Mon, 09/03/2018 - 5:29pm

    John Millman shocked the tennis world on Monday evening at the US Open, ousting five-time champion Roger Federer 3-6, 7-5, 7-6(7), 7-6(3) in the fourth round. The World No. 55 had never previously beaten an opponent inside the Top 10 of the ATP Rankings (0-10).

    Five-time winner Federer had missed the quarter-finals in Flushing Meadows just once in his past 13 appearances, and he had never lost against an opponent outside the Top 50 at the event. 

    "I felt like a deer in the headlights to begin with; Roger had it on a string, he was manipulating me around the court, but I got out of a tough second set and really found my feet," Millman said on court after the match. "I started to be more aggressive and I started to serve well and capitalised a little bit on Roger having an off service day."

    Federer later admitted that he struggled in the 83 per cent humidity. “I just thought it was very hot tonight. [It] was just one of those nights where I guess I felt I couldn't get air. There was no circulation at all. For some reason I just struggled in the conditions tonight. It's one of the first times it's happened to me.”

    Read Reaction Stories
    Millman: "I'll Remember This For A Long, Long Time"
    Federer: "I Struggled In The Conditions"

    The 29-year-old Aussie, who is projected to crack the Top 40 for the first time on 10 September regardless of his quarter-final result against two-time champion Novak Djokovic, made just 28 unforced errors to Federer’s 77, defeating the Swiss in three hours and 35 minutes. He also won an impressive 51 per cent (90/177) of the points he played from the baseline, while Federer, who came to the net 81 times, was victorious in just 40 per cent of points he contested from the baseline.

    "I've got to control the controllables, I said that before I went out and played," Millman said. "The one thing I can control is the fight in me. I have always done that."

    It's a tremendous result for a player who underwent groin surgery last February and had previously undergone two shoulder surgeries. Toward the end of 2017, the Aussie was concerned about staying healthy. And now, he is one of just eight players remaining in the season's final major. Before the tournament, Millman practised with Andy Murray, taking the court in Arthur Ashe Stadium for the first time. 

    "To be honest with you, coming into this tournament, my expectations were pretty low," Millman said after his third-round win. "So maybe the time I thought I was going to be playing on Ashe was that practice session I had with Andy.”

    Millman is now 18-15 on the season, which includes a runner-up finish in his first ATP World Tour final at the Gazprom Hungarian Open (l. to Cecchinato) on 1 April. He was ranked as low as No. 235 in the ATP Rankings just 12 months ago.

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    Federer led 6-3, 5-4, 40/15 on his serve, but he was unable to convert two set points. The Aussie took advantage of a lackluster serving night by the Swiss, who appeared to struggle with the brutal humidity. The 37-year-old also had a set point in the third-set tie-break, but was unable to take advantage of a Millman second serve.

    Federer broke in the fourth set in an effort to force a decider. But Millman got right back on serve when the No. 2 seed missed a forehand long. And in the tie-break, the Aussie took a 6/1 lead and he did not let the pressure of the moment get to him, converting his third match point. 

    The pair had only met once before, with the Swiss prevailing in three sets at the Brisbane International presented by Suncorp in 2015 en route to the title. Millman will now face Djokovic, against whom he won just three games at the Fever-Tree Championships earlier this year. 

    Federer, who currently in second position in the ATP Race To London for a spot at the Nitto ATP Finals, to be held at The O2 in London from 11-18 November, is now 36-6 on the season, which includes three titles.

    Did You Know?
    Federer had lost just once to a player ranked outside the Top 50 at a Grand Slam after winning the first set. That defeat came at the hands of Sergiy Stakhovsky at Wimbledon in 2013.

    Djokovic Downs Sousa; Into 11th US Open Quarter-final

    Mon, 09/03/2018 - 4:36pm

    Novak Djokovic reached his 11th US Open quarter-final on Monday, moving past Joao Sousa 6-3, 6-4, 6-3 in a humid day session on Arthur Ashe Stadium.

    Djokovic, who will face Roger Federer or John Millman in the last eight, advanced after one hour and 59 minutes to maintain his unbeaten record in fourth-round matches at the year's final Grand Slam (11-0).

    Meeting for the second time in five FedEx ATP Head2Head encounters at Flushing Meadows, Djokovic converted five of six break points and hit 23 winners to progress. In their first meeting, at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in 2013, Djokovic dropped just four games, overpowering Sousa 6-0, 6-2, 6-2.

    “I felt like in the first couple rounds, I was still struggling a little bit with the level. I wasn't that consistent,” Djokovic said. “Then last match against Gasquet, and also today, was pretty good. So I'm really pleased with where my game is at at the moment. Getting into quarter-finals, ready to perform well.”

    The two-time champion, who improves to 28-0 in New York against players outside the Top 50 of the ATP Rankings, is bidding to lift his third US Open title on his first visit to the tournament since reaching the 2016 final (l. to Wawrinka). The Serbian also remains undefeated at the quarter-final stage in Flushing Meadows (10-0).

    Five-time winner Roger Federer or John Millman of Australia will look to stop Djokovic from reaching an 11th US Open semi-final. In August, Djokovic beat the Swiss for the 24th time in 46 FedEx ATP Head2Head meetings to capture the Career Golden Masters in Cincinnati. Djokovic defeated Millman in their only previous FedEx ATP Head2Head encounter at the 2018 Fever-Tree Championships.

    "At the earlier stages of my professional career, I've lost to Roger more than I have won in terms of those big matches,” Djokovic said ahead of a potential 47th instalment in his rivalry with Federer. “He was just always so good in the most important matches, most important tournaments.

    "He never seemed to drop a level of his tennis. To me, at the beginning of my career, professional career, I was struggling to have that consistency of the high level.

    "That's where, you know, I had to sit down with the team and figure out the way what it takes to win against him, what do I need to improve in my game, my mental approach, mental strength, just ability to cope with the pressure in those moments and try to prevail. That was probably one of the ultimate challenges that I've ever had in my career.”

    Following comfortable holds in their opening service games, Djokovic made the first move in an extended third game. The 70-time tour-level titlist, after failing to convert his first break point, fired a cross-court backhand passing shot, beyond a stranded Sousa at net, to move ahead. Three service holds later, Djokovic played with consistency, while Sousa struggled to find holes in his opponent's defence. The World No. 68 dropped his serve to love, on a double fault, to hand Djokovic a one-set advantage.

    After trading breaks early in the second set, Djokovic covered the court well, playing with great depth, to extract errors from his opponent. Under score line pressure, serving at 4-5 (30/30), Djokovic's reliability worked wonders. The Serbian soaked up the pressure, extracting two forehand errors to close in on his 11th quarter-final appearance in New York.

    A tighter third set ensued, with neither man able to manufacture a break-point opportunity through eight games. But, at the business end of the set, Djokovic discovered his top form. The Wimbledon champion took control on his backhand side, firing winners to earn three break points at 0/40. Djokovic converted his first chance with an overhead down the centre of the court before serving the match out to 30. 

    Sousa, the first Portuguese player to reach the fourth round at a Grand Slam, was aiming to defeat his third Top 20 opponent in four rounds at the US Open. Despite entering the tournament on a seven match losing streak at tour-level, the 29-year-old won back-to-back matches against Pablo Carreno Busta and Lucas Pouille to create Portuguese history.

    Did You Know?
    Novak Djokovic has reached the semi-finals or better on his past 10 US Open visits.

    Day 9 Preview: Nadal, Thiem Meet On Unfamiliar Ground

    Mon, 09/03/2018 - 2:34pm

    It is not often that two players can establish a fierce rivalry, spanning 10 matches at some of the biggest events in the sport, without meeting on the most common surface: hard-courts. But that can be said for Rafael Nadal and Dominic Thiem, who across the past five seasons, have contested a series of gripping contests on clay.

    Nadal, an 11-time Roland Garros champion, has dominated on clay throughout his career, with few opponents capable of standing up to the challenge presented by the Spaniard on the red dirt. But recently, Thiem has presented the biggest conundrum for the Manacor native. The 25-year-old Austrian is the only man to defeat Nadal on the surface since Roland Garros in 2015, and has done so in each of the past two seasons, in Rome and Madrid, respectively.

    At the Mutua Madrid Open in May, Thiem ended Nadal's 50-set winning streak on clay - an Open Era record for any single surface - at the quarter-final stage; his third clay-court victory over Nadal. Only two other men have managed that feat, Novak Djokovic (7) and Gaston Gaudio (3).

    After meeting for the first time in a Grand Slam final at Roland Garros in June, the familiar foes will commence another new chapter in their rivalry on Tuesday, when they collide for the first time on a hard-court in the US Open quarter-finals.

    "It is a different kind of match than on clay," said Nadal. "But it is still a tennis match. It is a different thing, but in some way, I know how he plays. He knows how I am playing. [It is] going to be an interesting one, a tough one, hopefully for both of us."

    Nadal, who leads Thiem 7-3 in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series, will be aiming to reach the semi-finals in Flushing Meadows for the seventh time. The 32-year-old owns a 57-10 record in New York, winning each of his past six quarter-finals after losing to Mikhail Youzhny on his last-eight debut in 2006.

    "[It is] going to be a tough one," said Nadal. "He is a very powerful player and he knows how to play these kinds of matches. I need to play my best match of the tournament if I want to keep having chances to stay in the tournament."

    Thiem, making his Grand Slam quarter-final debut outside of Paris, is looking forward to the change in surface as he prepares to notch a fourth victory over the World No. 1. The 10-time tour-level titlist, who owns a 15-4 record at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Centre, has equalled or improved on his best result in New York with each visit he has made.

    "It's going to be the first time on a hard-court which is a completely new experience... On clay, I think it's one of the biggest challenges in sports to beat this guy or to compete with this guy. I hope that it's a little bit more comfortable on a hard court, but I'm not sure,” said Thiem.

    The Lyon champion's experience of beating Nadal on his favourite surface will come into play when he enters Arthur Ashe Stadium. Thiem's knowledge that he can overcome Nadal in the toughest circumstances provides clarity to his game plan, even if he admits the strategy is high-risk.

    "I think that I have very powerful ground strokes, and I can even hurt him with them," said Thiem. "But the key is to play really fast and powerful. But at the same time, not make too many mistakes.

    "Yeah, I did it sometimes against him, but it's a risky game style also, because it can happen that I make too many mistakes."

    Big Men Clash On Ashe During Day Session 
    Fighting for a place to meet the winner of the Nadal-Thiem encounter will be 2009 champion Juan Martin del Potro and home favourite John Isner. Del Potro, the only man yet to drop a set in the top half of the draw, owns a 7-4 FedEx ATP Head2Head series record against the big-serving American.

    But Isner has won their past two hard-court meetings, famously denying Del Potro a spot at the 2017 Nitto ATP Finals, in Paris, before triumphing at this year's Miami Open presented by Itaú, en route to the biggest title of his career.

    "It will be a tough test for me, for sure... It's a match-up that I sort of enjoy," said Isner. "He's one of the best players in the world. [You have] got to step up your game against a player like that... The last time we played on a hard-court was in Miami and I played exceptionally well there. [I will] try to draw a lot of positives from that.

    "We all know his weapons… We all know about his serve. Of course, we all know about his forehand. But he's added a really, really good slice backhand to his game."

    With Del Potro triumphing in straight sets in their first Grand Slam encounter at Roland Garros this year, the Argentine, competing at a career-high No. 3 in the ATP Rankings, will hope to emerge victorious once again as he bids to lift his second US Open crown.

    The 2009 champion, who defeated Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer in back-to-back matches to lift the trophy nine years ago, shares a unique bond with the New York crowd and can expect to receive solid support, regardless of his opponent.

    "I love to play with this energy from the crowd, from the people. They make me feel special... I [have] reached another quarter-final in my favourite tournament, which is something special to me," said Del Potro.

    "Hopefully [I will] keep playing at the same level to go far. But it will be a good challenge for both in the next round with John. I don't know what could happen in that match."

    Nishikori Rolls Into Third US Open Quarter-final

    Mon, 09/03/2018 - 1:33pm

    Kei Nishikori experienced few problems on Monday as he booked his place in the US Open quarter-finals for the third time (also 2014 and 2016). Nishikori overcame late resistance from Philipp Kohlschreiber in a 6-3, 6-2, 7-5 victory over two hours and 15 minutes in hot and humid conditions on Louis Armstrong Stadium.

    "I think I played good tennis to [make sure he did] not play his tennis," said Nishikori. "I think he was playing good, too, but I think I was playing a little better and tried to step in a lot and play aggressive... the way I wanted to."

    He will next face seventh-seeded Croatian Marin Cilic, the player he lost to in the 2014 final, or No. 10 seed David Goffin of Belgium. The pair plays later today on the same show court.

    “He didn't make many mistakes,” said Kohlschreiber. “He pushed me around. He was too much in control of the game. I maybe did not [have] my best day today… I think Kei is just not the best match-up for me.”

    Kohlschreiber, who beat fourth seed Alexander Zverev in the third round, converted his first break point chance in the third game, but was then unable to break down Nishikori’s game. The German had won just 12 further points on the Japanese star’s serve, prior trailing 4-5 in a competitive third set. But a double fault from Nishikori let Kohlschreiber a route back to 5-5. Nishikori kept calm and immediately broke prior to closing out their third FedEx ATP Head2Head meeting (Nishikori 3-0).

    Did You Know?
    Nishikori competing at the US Open for the ninth time, reached the 2014 final (l. to Cilic) and the 2016 semi-finals (l. to Wawrinka). He didn’t compete in the tournament last year due to a right wrist injury.

    Highlights: Del Potro Too Much Firepower For Coric

    Mon, 09/03/2018 - 11:50am
    Juan Martin del Potro fires up his big forehand in a straight-sets fourth-round win over Borna Coric at the US Open. Watch more video at usopen.org. Video not available in U.S.A. Photo: AFP/Getty Images

    Murray/Soares Make It Seven On The Run

    Mon, 09/03/2018 - 8:30am

    Fourth seeds Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares show no signs of letting up with their rich vein form during the North American summer gathering further momentum on Monday. The British-Brazilian duo won its seventh straight match with a 7-6(4), 6-4 victory over Dutchmen Matwe Middelkoop and Robin Haase to reach the US Open quarter-finals.

    Murray and Soares are yet to drop a set in their Flushing Meadows campaign. The 2016 US Open champions have now claimed 11 of their past 12 matches, including titles in Washington, D.C. and Cincinnati leading in. They will bid to reach their first Grand Slam semi-final of 2018 when they meet the unseeded Radu Albot of Moldova and Tunisian Malek Jaziri.

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    Runners-up to Murray/Soares in Cincinnati, Colombian duo Robert Farah and Juan Sebastian Cabal also continued their recent run of hard-court form on Monday. The No. 5 seeds, champions in Rome and runners-up at this year’s Australian Open, ground out a 6-2, 2-6, 6-3 victory over 11th seeds Ivan Dodig and Marcel Granollers.

    It sets a quarter-final clash with No. 15 seeds Rohan Bopanna and Edouard Roger-Vasselin. The Indian-French pairing eked out a 7-6(6), 4-6, 6-3 result over Frenchmen Fabrice Martin and Jeremy Chardy.

    Wimbledon champions and No. 3 seeds Mike Bryan and Jack Sock upped their bid for back-to-back major titles together on Monday. The Americans posted a 6-2, 6-4 triumph over No. 16 seeds Franko Skugor and Dominic Inglot. They next meet unseeded South Americans Maximo Gonzalez and Nicolas Jarry for a semi-final berth.

     

    Kid Reporter 'Chill-axes' With Marin Cilic

    Mon, 09/03/2018 - 7:09am
    Former US Open champion Marin Cilic learns the finer points of flossing with kid reporter Brenna Sherman.

    Tomic The 11th Different Aussie Titlist In 2018

    Mon, 09/03/2018 - 1:01am

    A LOOK BACK
    Rafa Nadal Open Banc Sabadell (Mallorca, Spain): As Rafael Nadal continues his title defence at the US Open, his academy in Mallorca hosted an inaugural €43,000 event on the ATP Challenger Tour. On Sunday, sixth seed Bernard Tomic lifted his first trophy at any level since 2015, defeating Matthias Bachinger 4-6, 6-3, 7-6(3).

    Tomic rallied from a set and a break down to beat Bachinger, completing an impressive week on the hard courts of the Rafa Nadal Academy by Movistar. The 25-year-old continues a stunning campaign for Aussies on the Challenger circuit, which has seen 11 different players capture titles. In fact, there have been four winners in the past month alone, with Thanasi Kokkinakis, Alexei Popyrin and Maverick Banes also triumphing in August.

    Torneo Citta di Como (Como, Italy): The scenic Italian town of Como welcomed players and fans for the 13th time, with home hope Salvatore Caruso celebrating his first ATP Challenger Tour title. Nestled in the foothills of the Alps and situated along the shores of Lake Como, the tournament is one of the more picturesque events on the circuit.

    Caruso, aged 25, defeated Christian Garin 7-5, 6-4 for his maiden crown, capping a strong week on the clay. It was his second win of the day after persistent rain forced both the semi-finals and final to be held on Sunday. Caruso is projected to return to the Top 200 of the ATP Rankings one week from Monday.

    Two matches in one day... no problem for Salvatore Caruso.

    The

    Top 5 Challenger Hot Shots Of August 2018

    Mon, 09/03/2018 - 12:07am
    Watch the five best Hot Shots from the ATP Challenger Tour in the month of August, featuring Thanasi Kokkinakis, Alexei Popyrin, Daniel Brands, Patrik Rikl and Collin Altamirano.

    The Streak Continues For Delpo At The '18 US Open

    Sun, 09/02/2018 - 11:17pm
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    Juan Martin del Potro walked onto the court in Arthur Ashe Stadium on Sunday evening having never lost a fourth-round match at the US Open. And when the ‘Tower of Tandil’ walked off the court, that record remained firmly intact.

    Del Potro defeated No. 20 seed Borna Coric 6-4, 6-3, 6-1 to reach the quarter-finals in Flushing Meadows for the third straight year. He is the only player in the top half of the draw who has yet to lose a set. The 2009 champion's average match length has been just two hours and 11 minutes, setting him up for a strong run in the second week of the season's final major.

    "I think to win in straight sets every match is important for the body, for the legs, for the physical condition. But in the end every match is a new battle, and you must be 100 per cent for that moment," Del Potro said. "It doesn't matter if I win in three sets or five sets, in the next round it will be a new match."

    A year ago in the fourth round, Del Potro played a very different match. He trailed Dominic Thiem two sets to none, and would face two match points in the fourth set before coming back to stun the Austrian in one of the most memorable matches of the year.

    Sunday evening’s contest had no such drama. The No. 3 seed broke his opponent’s serve six times, saving the only break point he faced in the two-hour, five-minute clash.

    "I think I played solid tennis from the beginning till the end," Del Potro said. "I held all my service games, [which is] the most important for my game. I felt good with my forehands, too."

    Del Potro will face a stiff test in the last eight against this year's Miami champion and Wimbledon semi-finalist John Isner, who battled past former World No. 3 earlier in the day in five sets. The Argentine leads their FedEx ATP Head2Head series 7-4, but the home favourite triumphed in their most recent hard-court match, which came in the Miami semi-finals.

    "It will be a good challenge for both in the next round with John. I don't know what could happen in that match," Del Potro said. "John has a very good shape to play that match. It will be a really tough one."

    Coric was appearing in the fourth round of a Grand Slam for the first time, backing up his Flushing Meadows upset last year of Alexander Zverev. The Croatian, despite the loss, is in strong form, currently at a career-best No. 20 in the ATP Rankings.