January 24, 2017

2017 Australian Open – Day 4 Men’s Preview

 

2017 AUSTRALIAN OPEN

DAY 4 MEN’S NOTES

Thursday 19 January

2nd Round Bottom Half

 

Milos Raonic

Featured matches

 

No. 2 Novak Djokovic (SRB) v (WC) Denis Istomin (UZB)

No. 3 Milos Raonic (CAN) v Gilles Muller (LUX)

No. 6 Gael Monfils (FRA) v Alexandr Dolgopolov (UKR)

No. 8 Dominic Thiem (AUT) v Jordan Thompson (AUS)

No. 9 Rafael Nadal (ESP) v Marcos Baghdatis (CYP)

No. 11 David Goffin (BEL) v (Q) Radek Stepanek (CZE)

No. 15 Grigor Dimitrov (BUL) v Hyeon Chung (KOR)

No. 18 Richard Gasquet (FRA) v Carlos Berlocq (ARG)

No. 24 Alexander Zverev (GER) v (Q) Frances Tiafoe (USA)

 

On court today…

 

  • Six-time Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic will look to reach the 3rd round here for the 11th straight year when he takes on wild card and world No. 117 Denis Istomin. Djokovic has only once lost to a player ranked outside the Top 100 in the last seven years – when he fell to No. 145 Juan Martin del Potro in the opening round at the Rio 2016 Olympic Tennis Event last year.

 

  • Hyeon Chung, only the second man from Korea to play in the 2nd round here in Australian Open history, is bidding to break more ground for his nation and become just the first Korean man to reach the 3rd round at a Grand Slam since Hyung-Taik Lee at the 2007 US Open. Standing in his way is the 15th seed and a man in form – this month’s Brisbane champion Grigor Dimitrov.

 

  • Radek Stepanek and Frances Tiafoe are 2 of the 3 qualifiers in action today from the 7 who progressed to the 2nd round here. There haven’t been as many as 3 qualifiers through to the 3rd round here since Marcos Baghdatis, Jean-Rene Lisnard and Bobby Reynolds all reached that stage in 2005.

 

  • On Court 8, No. 20 seed Ivo Karlovic will hope to continue the momentum from his marathon 1st round win over Horacio Zeballos when he takes on Australian wild card Andrew Whittington. At 84 games, Karlovic’s 67(6) 36 75 62 22-20 victory broke the record for most games in a match at the Australian Open since the tiebreak was introduced in 1971, surpassing the 83 games in Andy Roddick’s win against Younes El Aynaoui in the 2003 quarterfinals.

 

2 NOVAK DJOKOVIC (SRB) v (WC) DENIS ISTOMIN (UZB)

Head-to-head: Djokovic leads 5-0

2010     Australian Open           Hard (O)           R32      Djokovic                       61 61 62

2011     Miami-1000                   Hard (O)           R64      Djokovic                       60 61

2013     Montreal-1000               Hard (O)           R16      Djokovic                       26 64 64

2014     Australian Open           Hard (O)           R32      Djokovic                       63 63 75

2014     Dubai                           Hard (O)           R32      Djokovic                       63 63

 

A 6th hard court meeting for the 2 players and their 3rd at the Australian Open. Istomin has taken just one set off Djokovic in their 3 previous match-ups – winning the opening set at 2013 Montreal-1000.

 

Djokovic has lost to a player ranked outside the Top 100 on only one occasion since he retired due to illness against No. 319 Filip Krajinovic at 2010 Belgrade – when he fell to No. 145 Juan Martin del Potro in the 1st round at the Rio 2016 Olympic Tennis Event. The lowest-ranked player he has lost to at the Australian Open is No. 68 Paul Goldstein in the 1st round in 2006.

 

DJOKOVIC                                      v                                        ISTOMIN

 

29                                          Age                                          30

2                                    ATP Ranking                                  117

67                                         Titles                                          1

229-36                     Career Grand Slam Record                      31-34

58-6                         Australian Open Record                         8-10

757-155                              Career Record                              195-209

502-92                         Career Record – Hard                         109-127

6-0                                   2017 Record                                   1-0

6-0                              2017 Record – Hard                              1-0

27-8                          Career Five-Set Record                          12-7

4                         Comebacks from 0-2 Down                         3

211-118                      Career Tiebreak Record                         99-86

3-0                            2017 Tiebreak Record                            0-0

 

  • DJOKOVIC is through to the 2nd round here after defeating Fernando Verdasco 61 76(4) 62 in the opening round on Tuesday night.

 

  • Djokovic is bidding to reach the 3rd round here for an 11th consecutive year. The last time he lost in the 2nd round at any Grand Slam event was at 2008 Wimbledon, when as No. 3 seed he fell to Marat Safin in straight sets. No. 75 Safin is the lowest ranked-player to defeat Djokovic at a major.

 

  • Djokovic is looking to win his 7th Australian Open title and take sole ownership of the record for the most titles here ahead of Roy Emerson, who won 6 Australian titles in 1961, 1963-67.

 

  • Djokovic is bidding to become the 8th man in history to win at least 7 titles at any Grand Slam event and move into joint 2nd place for the most titles at any one major behind Rafael Nadal (9 Roland Garros titles) (see Preview page 2).

 

  • Last year here Djokovic equalled Roy Emerson’s record of 6 Australian titles after defeating Andy Murray 61 75 76(3) in the final. He also won the title here in 2008 (d. Jo-Wilfried Tonga), 2011 (d. Murray), 2012
    (d. Nadal), 2013 (d. Murray) and 2015 (d. Murray). This is his 13th Australian Open and his 49th Grand Slam overall.

 

  • Elsewhere at the majors in 2016, Djokovic won his first title at Roland Garros, defeating Murray 36 61 62 64 in the final to become the 8th man in history to complete the career Grand Slam. Having won the previous 3 majors, he also became the 3rd man in history to complete a non-calendar year Grand Slam after Don Budge and Rod Laver. He finished runner-up as defending champion at the US Open (l. Stan Wawrinka), but Sam Querrey ended his run of 30 consecutive Grand Slam match-wins in the 3rd round on his title defence at Wimbledon.

 

  • Djokovic won 7 titles in 10 finals in 2016. As well as becoming the first man to win the first 2 Grand Slam titles of the year since Jim Courier in 1992, he also won the titles at Doha (d. Nadal), Indian Wells-1000
    (d. Milos Raonic), Miami-1000 (d. Kei Nishikori), Madrid-1000 (d. Murray) and Toronto-1000 (d. Nishikori).

 

  • Djokovic surrendered his No. 1 ranking and fell to No. 2 in the world for the first time since June 2014 when Murray reached the final of 2016 Paris-1000. He missed the chance to reclaim the top spot when he fell to Murray in the title match at the ATP World Tour Finals.

 

  • Djokovic warmed up for the 2017 Australian Open by defeating No. 1 seed Murray 63 57 64 to win the title at Doha. He saved 5 match points against Verdasco in the semifinals before ending Murray’s 28-match Tour-level winning streak in the final.

 

  • Djokovic has been coached by Marian Vajda since June 2006. He announced Dusan Vemic as his assistant coach earlier this month after parting ways with 2-time Australian Open champion Boris Becker in December 2016. His wider team includes physios Miljan Amanovic and Gebhard Phil-Gritsch.

 

  • Wild card ISTOMIN is bidding to reach the 3rd round here for the 3rd time and equal his best Australian Open result.

 

  • Istomin advanced to the 2nd round here after defeating qualifier Ivan Dodig 61 64 36 75 in the 1st round on Tuesday to record his first Australian Open match-win since 2014.

 

  • Istomin’s 1st round win over Dodig was his first Tour-level match-win since he won 2 matches during Uzbekistan’s 3-2 Davis Cup defeat to Switzerland in September’s World Group play-offs.

 

  • Istomin’s best Tour-level result in 2016 was reaching the 3rd round at Wimbledon (l. David Goffin) – the only other time he recorded back-to-back Tour-level match-wins in 2016 along with Davis Cup. He ended a 7-match Tour-level losing streak at the start of the year by reaching the 2nd round at Miami-1000 (l. Andy Murray), and also reached the 2nd round at Marrakech (l. Pablo Carreno Busta), Madrid-1000 (l. Tomas Berdych) and Geneva (l. David Ferrer).

 

  • Also in 2016, Istomin finished runner-up at Challengers in Tashkent (UZB) (l. Konstantin Kravchuk) and Astana (KAZ) (l. Yoshihito Nishioka).

 

  • Istomin dropped out of the Top 100 for the first time since January 2010 after losing in the 1st round as defending champion at 2016 Nottingham. He dropped as low as No. 144 in October – his lowest ranking since July 2008 – but plays here ranked No. 117.

 

  • Istomin’s best Australian Open performance is reaching the 3rd round here in 2010 and 2014, losing to today’s opponent on both occasions. He is contesting his 11th Australian Open and his 35th Grand Slam overall.

 

  • Last year here Istomin fell to Bernard Tomic in the 1st round. He also fell in the 1st round at both Roland Garros (l. Juan Monaco) and the US Open (l. Rafael Nadal).

 

  • Istomin warmed up for the Australian Open at the Bangkok Challenger (THA), where he fell to Christian Garin in the 2nd round.

 

  • Istomin’s best Grand Slam result is reaching the round of 16 at 2012 Wimbledon (l. Mikhail Youzhny) and the 2013 US Open (l. Andy Murray). He is the only Uzbek player (man or woman) to reach the last 16 at a Grand Slam.

 

  • Istomin has won just one of his 33 previous matches against Top 10 opposition, defeating No. 5 David Ferrer at 2012 Indian Wells-1000. He has a 0-10 win-loss record against Top 10 opposition at the majors. His career-best win at a major came against No. 15 Nicolas Almagro at the 2013 US Open.

 

 

  • Istomin broke his leg in a car accident in 2001 while travelling to a Futures event in Tashkent. He spent 3 months in hospital and did not touch a racket in 2 years, with doctors doubting he would ever play competitive tennis again.

 

  • Istomin has received support from the Grand Slam Development Fund, receiving travel grants in 2004.

 

  • Istomin is coached by his mother Klaudiya Istomina.

 

 

 

 3 MILOS RAONIC (CAN) v GILLES MULLER (LUX)

Head-to-head: Muller leads 2-0

2011     Wimbledon      Grass (O)         R64      Muller              2-3 ret. (right hip injury)

2012     Valencia            Hard (O)           R32      Muller              75 76(1)

 

A 3rd meeting for these 2 players, but their first in over 4 years.

 

                           RAONIC                                        v                                        MULLER

 

26                                          Age                                          33

3                             ATP Ranking (16 Jan)                            28

8                                          Titles                                          1

59-23                      Career Grand Slam Record                      28-34

20-6                         Australian Open Record                        10-10

262-121                              Career Record                              202-177

185-76                         Career Record – Hard                         145-118

3-1                                   2017 Record                                   6-1

3-1                              2017 Record – Hard                              6-1

8-5                           Career Five-Set Record                          11-6

1                         Comebacks from 0-2 Down                         5

162-102                      Career Tiebreak Record                       148-115

0-1                            2017 Tiebreak Record                            5-0

 

  • RAONIC is bidding to maintain his record of always having reached the 3rd round here. This is his 7th Australian Open appearance and his 24th Grand Slam overall.

 

  • Raonic advanced to the 2nd round after defeating Dustin Brown 63 64 62 on Tuesday.

 

  • Last year here as No. 13 seed Raonic recorded his best Australian Open result by reaching the semifinals (l. Andy Murray). He was the first Canadian man – and only the 2nd Canadian player after Eugenie Bouchard – in history to reach the semifinals here.

 

  • Raonic recorded his best Grand Slam result at 2016 Wimbledon when, as No. 6 seed, he became the first Canadian man to reach a Grand Slam final, falling to Murray 64 76(3) 76(2). Elsewhere at the Grand Slams last year, he reached the round of 16 at Roland Garros (l. Albert Ramos-Vinolas) but fell in the 2nd round at the US Open (l. Ryan Harrison).

 

  • Raonic won his 8th career title at 2016 Brisbane (d. Roger Federer) to maintain his record of winning at least one title every year since winning his first at 2011 San Jose. All 8 of his career titles have come on a hard court. Also in 2016, he finished runner-up at Indian Wells-1000 (l. Novak Djokovic) and fell to Murray in the final at both Queen’s and Wimbledon. He reached 5 further semifinals.

 

  • Raonic reached a career-high ranking of No. 3 on 21 November 2016 after reaching the semifinals at the ATP World Tour Finals, where he fell to Murray in the longest 3-set match in the tournament’s history at 3 hours 38 minutes. He plays here on the same ranking of No. 3.

 

  • Raonic warmed up for the Australian Open as top seed and defending champion at Brisbane, where he fell to Grigor Dimitrov in the semifinals.

 

  • Raonic became the first Canadian to be seeded in the men’s singles at a Grand Slam event in the Open Era at 2011 Roland Garros. He plays here seeded No. 3 – his highest Grand Slam seeding.

 

  • Raonic was born in Montenegro but moved to Canada in 1994. He started playing tennis aged 8.

 

  • Raonic started working with former Wimbledon champion Richard Krajicek, who reached the semifinals here in 1992, ahead of the 2017 season. He is also coached by Riccardo Piatti.

 

  • Lefthander MULLER is bidding to reach the 3rd round here for the 3rd time. This is his 11th Australian Open appearance and his 35th Grand Slam overall.

 

  • Muller advanced to the 2nd round here for the 3rd consecutive year after defeating Taylor Fritz 76(6) 76(5) 63.

 

  • Last year here, Muller reached the 2nd round, where he lost in 5-sets to John Millman. He has a 12-6 win-loss record in 5-set matches and a 2-1 win-loss record in 5-set matches at the Australian Open.

 

  • Elsewhere at the Grand Slams in 2016, Muller reached the 2nd round at Wimbledon (d. Santiago Giraldo, l. Andrey Kuznetsov), but fell in the 1st round at both Roland Garros (l. Marcos Baghdatis) and the US Open (l. Gael Monfils).

 

  • Muller’s best Grand Slam result is reaching the quarterfinals as a qualifier at the 2008 US Open (l. Roger Federer). His best result at the Australian Open is reaching the round of 16 in 2015 (l. Novak Djokovic).

 

  • Muller warmed up for the Australian Open by winning his first Tour-level title at Sydney. He ended a run of 5 defeats in Tour-level finals by defeating Daniel Evans 76(5) 62. He also reached the doubles final with Sam Querrey, losing to Thanasi Kokkinakis/Jordan Thompson in the title match. He fell in the 1st round at Brisbane (l. Jared Donaldson).

 

  • Muller plays here on a career-high ranking of No. 28, first attained after winning the title at Sydney earlier this month.

 

  • Muller’s best results in 2016 were finishing runner-up at ’s-Hertogenbosch (l. Nicolas Mahut) and Newport (l. Ivo Karlovic). He also reached the semifinals at Sydney (l. Grigor Dimitrov), Sofia (l. Roberto Bautista Agut), Nottingham (l. Pablo Cuevas) and Basel (l. Kei Nishikori) and reached 3 further quarterfinals.

 

  • Muller is bidding to end a 19-match losing streak against Top 5 opposition. He has not beaten a Top 5 player since defeating No. 5 Nikolay Davydenko in the round of 16 at the 2008 US Open. Overall he has a 3-22 win-loss record against Top 5 players – but all 3 of those victories have come at the Grand Slams.

 

  • Muller has played Davis Cup for Luxembourg since 2000. He has played a total of 30 ties and has a 54-17 win-loss record in the competition. He carried the flag for Luxembourg at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

 

  • Muller is the only man from Luxembourg to have competed in Grand Slam tournaments in the Open Era.

 

  • Muller entered the men’s doubles here with Marcos Baghdatis. The pair defeated Cheng-Peng Hsieh/Tsung-Hua Yang 61 64 in the 1st round on Wednesday.

 

  • Muller is a former junior world No. 1 and was named the 2001 ITF Junior World Champion. He won the boys’ singles title at the 2001 US Open (d. Jimmy Wang) and finished runner-up in the boys’ singles at 2001 Wimbledon (l. Roman Valent).

 

  • Muller is coached by Alexandre Lisiecki and Benjamin Balleret. His physical trainer is Frank Eicher.

 

 

6 GAEL MONFILS (FRA) v ALEXANDR DOLGOPOLOV (UKR)

Head-to-head: Monfils leads 3-0

2013     Australian Open          Hard (O)           R128    Monfils             67(7) 76(4) 63 63

2013     Winston-Salem             Hard (O)           SF        Monfils             76(9) 63

2015     Monte Carlo-1000          Clay (O)            R32      Monfils             76(5) 76(6)

 

A 4th career meeting for the pair and their 2nd at the Australian Open. Dolgopolov has won just one set against Monfils – winning the first set of their first meeting here in 2013.

 

                          MONFILS                                       v                                   DOLGOPOLOV

 

30                                          Age                                          28

6                             ATP Ranking (16 Jan)                            69

6                                          Titles                                          2

83-39                      Career Grand Slam Record                      28-25

22-11                        Australian Open Record                          9-6

392-221                              Career Record                              189-175

247-133                        Career Record – Hard                         118-104

1-0                                   2017 Record                                   1-2

1-0                              2017 Record – Hard                              1-2

15-12                         Career Five-Set Record                           7-7

2                         Comebacks from 0-2 Down                         2

158-110                      Career Tiebreak Record                         78-77

0-0                            2017 Tiebreak Record                            1-0

 

  • MONFILS is bidding to reach the 3rd round here for the 9th time.

 

  • Monfils advanced to the 2nd round after defeating Jiri Vesely 62 63 62 in his opening round match on Tuesday. It was his first Tour-level match win since he defeated Kevin Anderson in the 2nd round at 2016 Shanghai-1000 (l. David Goffin). He had previously not played a Tour-level match prior to his opening match here since withdrawing with a rib injury after losing his opening 2 round robin matches at the ATP World Tour Finals.

 

  • Last year here Monfils reached the quarterfinals for the first time on his 11th Australian Open appearance, moving him into join 2nd place with Mark Woodforde on the list for the most attempts before reaching the last 8 here in the Open Era. He fell to Milos Raonic 63 36 63 64. This is his 12th appearance at the Australian Open and his 40th Grand Slam overall.

 

  • Monfils’ best Grand Slam result is reaching the semifinals at 2008 Roland Garros, where ranked No. 59 he lost to Roger Federer 62 57 63 75, and at the 2016 US Open (l. Novak Djokovic).

 

  • Elsewhere in Grand Slam play in 2016, Monfils withdrew from Roland Garros with a virus and fell to Jeremy Chardy in 5 sets in the 1st round at Wimbledon. He has a 15-12 win-loss record in 5-set matches and a 3-3 win-loss record in 5-set matches at the Australian Open.

 

  • Monfils’ 2016 highlight was winning his 6th career title at Washington (d. Ivo Karlovic). He also finished runner-up at both Rotterdam (l. Martin Klizan) and Monte Carlo-1000 (l. Rafael Nadal) and reached 3 further semifinals.

 

  • Monfils reached a career-high ranking of No. 6 on 7 November 2016 and ended the year inside the Top 10 for the first time. He plays here ranked No. 6.

 

  • Monfils is a 2-time Davis Cup finalist, having helped France to the finals in 2010 (l. Serbia) and 2014
    (l. Switzerland). France will play Japan in the World Group first round in Tokyo on 3-5 February.

 

  • Monfils narrowly missed out on achieving the Junior Grand Slam in 2004 after winning the Australian Open, Roland Garros and Wimbledon. His preparation for the junior US Open that year was hampered by a knee injury and he lost in the 3rd round to Viktor Troicki. He was named 2004 ITF Junior Boys’ World Champion. He is one of 6 former junior Australian Open champions to reach the 2nd round from the 7 who started the men’s main draw here.

 

  • Monfils is coached by former world No. 39 Mikael Tillstrom, who reached the quarterfinals here in 1996.
  • DOLGOPOLOV is bidding to reach the 3rd round here for the 3rd time.

 

  • Dolgopolov advanced to the 2nd round here after defeating Borna Coric 63 64 36 76(7) in the 1st round on Tuesday. He is making his 7th straight appearance at the Australian Open and his 26th appearance at a Grand Slam overall.

 

  • Dolgopolov is bidding to record back-to-back Tour-level match-wins for the first time since he reached the quarterfinals at 2016 Nottingham (l. Gilles Muller). His opening round win over Coric here ended an 6-match Tour-level losing streak and was his first Tour-level match-win since he defeated Jordan Thompson to reach the 3rd round at 2016 Washington (l. Sam Querrey) after receiving a 1st round bye.

 

  • Dolgopolov recorded his best Grand Slam result at the 2011 Australian Open where he reached the quarterfinals (l. Andy Murray). He defeated No. 13 seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and No. 4 seed Robin Soderling both in 5 sets to become just the 2nd Ukrainian man to reach the last 8 at a major.

 

  • Dolgopolov’s victory over No. 4 Soderling at the 2011 Australian Open is his only match-win over a Top 10 player at a Grand Slam. He has a 1-5 win-loss record against Top 10 players at the majors overall. He has won just one of his last 10 matches against Top 10 players at Tour-level, with his only win against a Top 10 player in that time coming against No. 8 David Ferrer at 2016 Acapulco.

 

  • At the Grand Slams in 2016, Dolgopolov reached the 2nd round at both the Australian Open (l. Roger Federer) and Wimbledon (l. Daniel Evans). He withdrew from Roland Garros with a left abdomen strain and retired with nausea and fatigue in the 1st round at the US Open while trailing Ferrer 5-6 in the opening set.

 

  • Prior to coming here, Dolgopolov fell in the 1st round at both Brisbane (l. Rafael Nadal) and Sydney (l. Gille Muller).

 

  • Dolgopolov’s 2016 highlights included reaching the semifinals at Acapulco (l. Bernard Tomic) and 4 further quarterfinals – at Sydney (l. Grigor Dimitrov), Rio de Janeiro (l. Nadal), Barcelona (l. Kei Nishikori) and Nottingham (l. Muller).

 

  • Dolgopolov has won 2 career singles titles at 2011 Umag (d. Marin Cilic) and 2012 Washington
    (d. Tommy Haas). He reached a career-high ranking of No. 13 in January 2012, but plays here ranked No. 69 – his lowest ranking since August 2015.

 

  • Dolgopolov has won just one of his last 7 five-set matches with his only 5-set win in that time coming against Jesse Levine in the 1st round at the 2012 US Open. He has a 4-1 win-loss record in 5-set matches at the Australian Open and a 7-7 win-loss record in 5-set matches overall.

 

  • Dolgopolov entered the men’s doubles here with Gerald Melzer. They fell to No. 5 seeds Feliciano Lopez/Marc Lopez 64 36 64 in the 1st round on Wednesday. He has won one career doubles title – at 2011 Indian Wells-1000 with Xavier Malisse.

 

  • Dolgopolov has played tennis since he was 3 years old. His father used to coach countryman Andrei Medvedev, and Dolgopolov used to practice with the former world No. 4.

 

  • Dolgopolov is coached by Felix Mantilla, who reached the quarterfinals here in 1997.

 

 

8 DOMINIC THIEM (AUT) v JORDAN THOMPSON (AUS)

Head-to-head: first meeting

 

THIEM                                         v                                     THOMPSON

 

23                                          Age                                          22

8                                    ATP Ranking                                   76

7                                          Titles                                          0

21-12                      Career Grand Slam Record                        2-6

4-3                          Australian Open Record                          1-3

125-84                               Career Record                                 7-14

57-51                          Career Record – Hard                            6-10

3-2                                   2017 Record                                   4-2

3-2                              2017 Record – Hard                              4-2

3-2                           Career Five-Set Record                           1-3

1                         Comebacks from 0-2 Down                         1

52-50                        Career Tiebreak Record                          2-5

1-1                            2017 Tiebreak Record                            0-1

 

  • THIEM is bidding to reach the 3rd round here for the 2nd straight year and equal his best Australian Open result.

 

  • Thiem advanced to the 2nd round after defeating Jan-Lennard Struff 46 64 64 63 in the 1st round on Tuesday.

 

  • Last year here, Thiem recorded his best Australian Open performance by reaching the 3rd round. As the No. 19 seed, he defeated Leonardo Mayer and Nicolas Almagro before falling to David Goffin in 4 sets. This is his 4th straight Australian Open and his 13th consecutive Grand Slam.

 

  • Thiem recorded his best Grand Slam performance by reaching the semifinals at 2016 Roland Garros (l. Novak Djokovic). He became the 3rd Austrian man in history to reach a Grand Slam semifinal after Thomas Muster and Jurgen Melzer. He also broke into the Top 10 for the first time at No. 7.

 

  • Elsewhere in Grand Slam play in 2016, Thiem reached the round of 16 at the US Open, where he retired with a right knee injury while trailing Juan Martin del Potro 63 3-2, but fell in the 2nd round at Wimbledon (l. Jiri Vesely).

 

  • Thiem won 4 titles in 2016 – at Buenos Aires (d. Almagro), Acapulco (d. Bernard Tomic), Nice (d. Alexander Zverev) and Stuttgart (d. Philipp Kohlschreiber). He was the only player other than Andy Murray to win titles on clay, grass and hard court in 2016. He qualified for the ATP World Tour Finals for the first time, defeating Gael Monfils in the group stage but losing to Djokovic and Milos Raonic.

 

  • Thiem warmed up for the Australian Open by reaching the quarterfinals at both Brisbane (l. Grigor Dimitrov) and Sydney (l. Daniel Evans) after receiving 1st round byes.

 

  • Thiem has never lost a 5-set match on a hard court. He has a 3-0 win-loss record in 5-set matches played on a hard court, and a 3-2 win-loss record in 5-set matches overall. He won both of the 5-set matches he contested in 2016, defeating Gastao Elias in the first rubber of Austria’s Davis Cup Europe/Africa Zone Group I 2nd round tie against Portugal and John Millman in the 1st round at the US Open.

 

  • Thiem is seeded No. 8 here – his joint-highest seeding at a Grand Slam. He was also seeded No. 8 at Wimbledon and the US Open last year.

 

  • Thiem is a former junior world No. 2. He reached the boys’ singles final at Roland Garros as No. 14 seed in 2011, losing to Bjorn Fratangelo 36 63 86 and won the 2011 Orange Bowl (d. Patrick Ofner).

 

  • Thiem is coached by Gunter Bresnik.

 

  • THOMPSON is bidding to reach the 3rd round here for the first time and record his best Grand Slam result.

 

  • Thompson recorded his first match-win at the Australian Open after coming back from 0-2 down for the first time in his career to defeat Joao Sousa 67(2) 46 63 62 61 in the 1st round. It was his first career 5-set match-win and improved his career 5-set win-loss record to 1-3.

 

  • By reaching the 2nd round here, Thompson has equalled his best Grand Slam result. He also reached the 2nd round on his Roland Garros debut as a wild card in 2016, defeating Laslo Djere before falling to Ivo Karlovic in 5-sets.

 

  • Thompson is bidding to record back-to-back Tour-level match-wins for the 2nd time. Prior to coming here, he recorded back-to-back Tour-level match-wins for the first time after reaching the quarterfinals as a wild card at Brisbane, where he fell to Kei Nishikori in his first career meeting with a Top 10 player. He also reached the 2nd round as a wild card at Sydney (l. Philipp Kohlschreiber).

 

  • Thompson’s career-best win came against No. 21 David Ferrer in the 2nd round at Brisbane earlier this month – his first win against a Top 30 opponent. He has a 1-5 win-loss record against Top 30 opposition overall.

 

  • Last year here, as a wildcard, Thompson fell to Thomaz Bellucci in the 1st round. He also lost in the 1st round as a wild card here in both 2014, when he fell to Jerzy Janowicz in 5-sets, and in 2015 (l. Sousa). He failed to qualify here as a wild card into qualifying in 2013.

 

  • Elsewhere at the Grand Slams in 2016, Thompson fell in the 1st round as a direct acceptance at both Wimbledon (l. Roberto Bautista Agut) and the US Open, where he fell in 5 sets to Steve Darcis.

 

  • Thompson’s best results in 2016 were reaching the 2nd round as a wild card at both Sydney (l. Bernard Tomic) and Roland Garros and as direct acceptance at Washington (l. Alexander Dolgopolov). He also won 4 Challenger titles – at Cherbourg (FRA) (d. Adam Pavlasek), Anning (CHN) (d. Mathias Bourgue), Ho Chi Minh City (VIE) (d. Go Soeda) and Traralgon (AUS) (d. Grega Zemlja).

 

  • Thompson broke into the Top 100 for the first time on 2 May 2016 after winning the Anning Challenger. He reached a career-high ranking of No. 75 after reaching the quarterfinals at Brisbane but plays here at No. 76.

 

  • Thompson won his first Tour-level doubles title in doubles as a wild card at Brisbane earlier this month alongside Thanasi Kokkinakis. He entered the men’s doubles event here alongside Luke Saville, falling 62 75 to No. 16 seeds Dominic Inglot/Florin Mergea in the 1st round on Wednesday.

 

  • Thompson played in the boys’ singles event at the Junior Australian Open in 2011 and 2012, losing in the 1st round on both occasions. He finished as runner-up with Nick Kyrgios in the boys’ doubles at the 2012 US Open. He also represented Australia in the 2008 World Junior Tennis Finals and the 2010 Junior Davis Cup by BNP Paribas Finals.

 

  • Thompson is coached by Des Tyson.

 

 

 

 

 9 RAFAEL NADAL (ESP) v MARCOS BAGHDATIS (CYP)

Head-to-head: Nadal leads 8-1

2006     AMS Indian Wells          Hard (O)           QF        Nadal                75 60

2006     Wimbledon                  Grass (O)         SF        Nadal               61 75 63

2007     Dubai                           Hard (O)           R32      Nadal                36 62 63

2007     AMS Madrid                  Hard (I)             R32      Nadal                64 64

2007     AMS Paris                    Hard (I)             SF        Nadal                46 64 63

2009     Beijing                         Hard (O)           R32      Nadal                64 36 64

2010     Cincinnati-1000             Hard (O)           QF        Baghdatis         64 46 64

2011     Madrid-1000                  Clay (O)            R32      Nadal                61 63

2015     Stuttgart                       Grass (O)          R16      Nadal                76(5) 67(4) 62

 

A 10th career meeting for the pair, but their first on a hard court since 2010, when Baghdatis recorded his only career victory against Nadal in 3 sets at 2010 Cincinnati-1000.

 

Nadal won the pair’s only Grand Slam meeting in straight sets in the semifinals at 2006 Wimbledon.

 

                           NADAL                                         v                                     BAGHDATIS

 

30                                          Age                                          31

9                                    ATP Ranking                                   36

69                                         Titles                                          4

204-31                     Career Grand Slam Record                      62-45

46-10                        Australian Open Record                        25-12

809-175                              Career Record                              343-243

384-118                        Career Record – Hard                         223-161

3-1                                   2017 Record                                   4-2

3-1                              2017 Record – Hard                              4-2

17-8                          Career Five-Set Record                          16-8

3                         Comebacks from 0-2 Down                         3

200-131                      Career Tiebreak Record                       142-110

0-0                            2017 Tiebreak Record                            1-0

 

  • 2009 Australian Open champion NADAL is bidding reach the 3rd round here for the 11th time. This is his 12th appearance at Melbourne Park and his 47th Grand Slam overall.

 

  • Nadal advanced to the 2nd round after defeating Florian Mayer 63 64 64 in the 1st round on Tuesday.

 

  • Nadal is bidding to win his 2nd Australian Open title and become the first man in the Open Era – and only the 3rd man in history – to win each of the 4 Grand Slam titles twice. Roy Emerson and Rod Laver are the only players to have won each Grand Slam on two or more occasions [see Preview page 3].
  • Last year here Nadal lost in the 1st round for the first time in his career, falling to Fernando Verdasco in 5 sets. It was just the 2nd time that he had lost in the 1st round at a Grand Slam, having also lost his opening match at 2013 Wimbledon (l. Steve Darcis).

 

  • Elsewhere at the Grand Slams in 2016, Nadal reached the round of 16 at the US Open (l. Lucas Pouille), but gave a walkover in the 3rd round at Roland Garros and missed Wimbledon due to a left wrist injury.

 

  • Away from the majors, Nadal’s best results in 2016 came during the clay court season when we won back-to-back titles at Monte Carlo-1000 (d. Gael Monfils) and Barcelona (d. Kei Nishikori). It was his 9th title at both events, and took his career total to 69 titles. Nadal also reached the final at Doha (l. Novak Djokovic) and the semifinals at 5 other tournaments.

 

  • Also in 2016, Nadal won his 2nd gold medal at the Olympic Tennis Event after clinching the men’s doubles title alongside Marc Lopez at Rio 2016. He narrowly missed out on a medal in singles, falling to Kei Nishikori 62 67(1) 63 in the bronze medal play-off.

 

  • Nadal is looking to win his 15th Grand Slam title and close the gap on Roger Federer in the list of all-time Grand Slam title holders. He is currently joint-2nd with Pete Sampras on the list behind Federer (17). He was one of 7 Grand Slam champions to start this year’s men’s main draw.

 

  • Nadal’s best performance at the Australian Open is winning the title in 2009 (d. Federer). He also reached the final in 2012, losing to Djokovic in the longest men’s Grand Slam final on record at 5 hours, 53 minutes, and in 2014 (l. Stan Wawrinka).

 

  • Nadal is aiming to win his first hard court tournament in over 3 years. He has not won a hard court tournament since defeating Monfils to win 2014 Doha. His total of 16 hard court titles is the 4th highest among active players (behind Federer, Djokovic and Andy Murray).

 

  • Nadal warmed up for the Australian Open by reaching the quarterfinals at Brisbane (l. Milos Raonic). It was his first tournament since October, when he lost to Viktor Troicki at Shanghai-1000, after he pulled out of Basel, Paris-1000 and the ATP World Tour Finals with a wrist injury.

 

  • Nadal has been coached by his uncle, Toni Nadal, for his entire career. He added former Australian Open finalist Carlos Moya to his team ahead of the 2017 season. His fitness trainer is Rafael Maymo.

 

  • BAGHDATIS is bidding to reach the 3rd round here for the 9th time.

 

  • Baghdatis advanced to the 2nd round when Mikhail Youzhny retired due to illness while trailing 63 3-0 in the 1st round on Tuesday.

 

  • Baghdatis is a former Australian Open finalist. He reached the final here in 2006 – his only appearance in a Grand Slam final to date – losing to Roger Federer in 4 sets.

 

  • Last year here, Baghdatis fell to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the 1st round. This is his 13th Australian Open and 46th Grand Slam overall.

 

  • Elsewhere at the Grand Slams in 2016, Baghdatis reached the round of 16 at the US Open (l. Gael Monfils) – his best result at a Grand Slam since he reached the same stage at the 2009 Australian Open. He reached the 2nd round at Roland Garros, where he fell to Tsonga in 5 sets, but fell to John Isner in the 1st round at Wimbledon.

 

  • Baghdatis’s best results in 2016 were finishing runner-up at Dubai (l. Stan Wawrinka) and reaching the semifinals at Newport (l. Ivo Karlovic). He reached 4 further Tour-level quarterfinals – at Montpellier
    (l. Richard Gasquet), Houston (l. Jack Sock), Halle (l. Alexander Zverev) and Nottingham (l. Pablo Cuevas).

 

  • Baghdatis is bidding to end a 9-match losing streak against Top 10 opposition at the Grand Slams. His last victory over a Top 10 opponent at a major came in the round of 16 at 2007 Wimbledon, when he defeated No. 4 Nikolay Davydenko. Overall, he has a 5-13 win-loss record against Top 10 players at the Grand Slams.

 

  • Baghdatis has won 8 of his last 9 matches against lefthanders. His only loss in that time came against Gilles Muller in the 2nd round at 2016 Tokyo.

 

  • Baghdatis is a former Top 10 player. He broke into the Top 10 following 2006 Wimbledon, where he reached the semifinals, peaking at No. 8 in August that year. He ended 2016 ranked at No. 36 – his highest year-end ranking since 2012 – and plays here at the same ranking.

 

  • Baghdatis is one of the 6 Australian Open boys’ singles champions to reach the 2nd round here from the 7 who started the men’s main draw. He won the junior title in 2003, and finished runner-up in the boys’ singles at the US Open in the same year (l. Tsonga). He was named 2003 ITF Junior World Champion.

 

  • Baghdatis entered the men’s doubles here with Gilles Muller. The pair defeated Cheng-Peng Hsieh/Tsung-Hua Yang 61 64 in the 1st round on Wednesday.

 

  • Baghdatis was part of the Grand Slam Development Fund 14&U East European Team in Europe and the 18&U International Team to the Orange Bowl in 1999. He received travel grants to play ITF Junior Circuit events and Pro Circuit events in 2001 and was the recipient of an ITF Olympic Solidarity scholarship in 2004.

 

  • Baghdatis has played Davis Cup for Cyprus since 2000. He holds the record for the most consecutive singles rubbers won in the competition, having won 38 straight singles rubbers.

 

  • Baghdatis is coached by Juan Spina.

 

 11 DAVID GOFFIN (BEL) v (Q) RADEK STEPANEK (CZE)

Head-to-head: Goffin leads 1-0

2012     Roland Garros               Clay (O)            R128    Goffin              62 46 26 64 62

 

A 2nd career meeting for the pair. Goffin recovered from 2-sets-to-1 down to win their only previous encounter at 2012 Roland Garros.

 

Goffin has only once lost to a player ranked outside the Top 100 at a major – when he fell to No. 122 Jared Donaldson on his last Grand Slam outing at the 2016 US Open.

 

GOFFIN                                        v                                      STEPANEK

 

26                                          Age                                          38

11                            ATP Ranking (16 Jan)                            102

2                                          Titles                                          5

26-18                      Career Grand Slam Record                      58-54

5-3                          Australian Open Record                        15-13

144-105                              Career Record                              384-301

93-65                          Career Record – Hard                         214-171

2-1                                   2017 Record                                   3-1

2-1                              2017 Record – Hard                              3-1

8-4                           Career Five-Set Record                         15-24

1                         Comebacks from 0-2 Down                         6

40-46                        Career Tiebreak Record                       162-150

1-1                            2017 Tiebreak Record                            1-0

 

  • GOFFIN is bidding to reach the 3rd round here for the 2nd time. He defeated qualifier Reilly Opelka 64 46 62 46 64 in the 1st round.

 

  • By defeating Opelka in 5 sets in the 1st round here, Goffin improved his 5-set win-loss record to 8-4. He has won 6 of his last 7 five-set matches, with his only defeat in a 5-set match in that time coming against Milos Raonic at 2016 Wimbledon. He has a 1-1 win-loss record in 5-set matches at the Australian Open.

 

  • Last year here, Goffin recorded his best Australian Open result by reaching the round of 16 (l. Roger Federer). He was just the 4th Belgian man to reach the round of 16 at Melbourne Park and the first since Olivier Rochus in 2005. This is his 4th Australian Open appearance and his 19th Grand Slam overall.

 

  • Goffin’s best Grand Slam result is reaching the quarterfinals at 2016 Roland Garros (l. Dominic Thiem). He was just the 2nd Belgian man to reach the last 8 at Roland Garros after Filip Dewulf (1997-98) and only the 3rd Belgian man in the Open Era to reach a Grand Slam quarterfinal after Dewulf and Xavier Malisse (2002 Wimbledon). He rose to a career-high ranking of No. 11 as a result – and plays here on the same ranking.

 

  • Elsewhere at the Grand Slams in 2016, Goffin reached the round of 16 at Wimbledon, where he fell to Milos Raonic in 5 sets, but lost in the 1st round at the US Open (l. Jared Donaldson).

 

  • Goffin’s best results in 2016 are finishing runner-up at Tokyo (l. Nick Kyrgios) and reaching 4 further semifinals, including at back-to-back Masters-1000 events at Indian Wells (l. Raonic) and Miami (l. Novak Djokovic).

 

  • Goffin warmed up for the Australian Open by reaching the 2nd round at Doha (d. Robin Haase, Fernando Verdasco). He also played at the Kooyong Exhbition Event – defeating Bernard Tomic 62 64 and winning a single set against Ivo Karlovic 76.

 

  • Goffin has played Davis Cup for Belgium since 2012. He helped Belgium reach its first Davis Cup Final since 1904 in 2015, which they lost 3-1 to Great Britain in Ghent. Belgium will play Germany in the World Group first round in Frankfurt on 3-5 February.

 

  • Goffin was taught to play tennis by his father, who is a tennis coach at the Barchon Club in Liege.

 

  • Goffin is coached by Thierry Van Cleemput and trains with the Belgian Tennis Federation in Mons.

 

  • At 38 years 63 days old, qualifier STEPANEK is looking to become the oldest man to reach the 3rd round at a Grand Slam since Jimmy Connors (aged 39 years 6 days) reached the semifinals as a wild card at the 1991 US Open.

 

  • By defeating Dmitry Tursunov 62 76(1) 63 in the 1st round here, Stepanek became the oldest man to win a match at the Australian Open since Bob Carmichael (38 years 183 days) and Ken Rosewall (44 years 62 days) reached the 3rd round in 1978.

 

  • Stepanek is bidding to reach the 3rd round here and equal his best Australian Open performance. He has reached the 3rd round on 5 previous occasions – on his debut here in 2003 (l. Lleyton Hewitt), and in 2005 (l. Guillermo Canas), 2007 (l. David Ferrer), 2009 (l. Fernando Verdasco) and 2013 (l. Novak Djokovic).

 

  • As No. 1 seed, Stepanek defeated Sekou Bangoura (USA) 63 67(2) 62, Blaz Kavcic (SLO) 63 67(4) 86 and John-Patrick Smith (AUS) 62 64 in the 3 rounds of qualifying here.

 

  • Last year here as a qualifier, Stepanek reached the 2nd round (l. Stan Wawrinka). It was the first time he had to qualify for a Grand Slam since 2002 Wimbledon. He also reached the final of the men’s doubles event with 43-year-old Daniel Nestor, becoming the oldest team to reach a men’s doubles Grand Slam final (l. Jamie Murray/Bruno Soares).

 

  • Elsewhere at the majors in 2016, Stepanek fell in the 1st round as a qualifier at both Roland Garros (l. Andy Murray) and the US Open (l. Gilles Simon), and as a wild card at Wimbledon (l. Nick Kyrgios).

 

  • Stepanek’s best results in 2016 were reaching the quarterfinals as a qualifier at Stuttgart (l. Philipp Kohlschreiber) and the 3rd round as a qualifier at both Barcelona (l. Andrey Kuznetsov) and Toronto-1000 (l. Djokovic) – the only 3 occasions in which he recorded back-to-back Tour-level match-wins in 2016.

 

  • Stepanek won the mixed doubles bronze medal alongside Lucie Hradecka at the Rio 2016 Olympic Tennis Event (d. Sania Mirza/Rohan Bopanna).

 

  • Prior to coming here Stepanek reached the quarterfinals as a qualifier at Doha (l. Djokovic).

 

  • Stepanek has won just one of his last 15 meetings against Top 20 opposition. His only victory in that time came against No. 13 Marin Cilic at 2016 Stuttgart. He has lost 18 of his last 19 meetings with Top 20 opposition at the Grand Slams, with his only win in that time coming against No. 16 Mikhail Youzhny at 2014 Roland Garros. He has a 4-26 win-loss record against Top 20 players at the majors overall.

 

  • Stepanek’s best Grand Slam result is reaching the quarterfinals at 2006 Wimbledon where as No. 14 seed he lost to Jonas Bjorkman in 5-sets. It was his 3rd straight 5-set match, having come back from 0-2 down to defeat Juan Carlos Ferrero in the 3rd round before defeating Fernando Verdasco in the round of 16. This is his 14th Australian Open and his 55th Grand Slam overall.

 

  • Stepanek is a former Top 10 player having reached a career-high ranking of No. 8 in July 2006. He has won 5 career singles titles, most recently at 2011 Washington (d. Gael Monfils). All 5 of his career singles titles have come on a hard court. He plays here ranked No. 102.

 

  • Stepanek is a 2-time Grand Slam men’s doubles champion having won the 2012 Australian Open and the 2013 US Open titles with Leander Paes. He has won 18 career doubles titles, most recently at 2015 Bogota with Edouard Roger-Vasselin.

 

  • Stepanek lost in the 1st round of the men’s doubles here as No. 12 seed with Vasek Pospisil, falling 62 64 to Australian wild cards Matthew Barton/Matthew Ebden in the 1st round.

 

  • Stepanek is coached by Petr Korda, who won the title here in 1998.

 

 

 15 GRIGOR DIMITROV (BUL) v HYEON CHUNG (KOR)

Head-to-head: first meeting

 

The last time Dimitrov fell to a player ranked outside the Top 100 was at 2016 Shanghai-1000, when he fell to No. 131 Vasek Pospisil. The lowest-ranked player Dimitrov has lost to at a Grand Slam is No. 95 Joao Sousa at the 2013 US Open.

 

DIMITROV                                      v                                         CHUNG

 

25                                          Age                                          20

15                                   ATP Ranking                                  105

5                                          Titles                                          0

34-25                      Career Grand Slam Record                        2-4

12-6                         Australian Open Record                          1-1

222-142                              Career Record                                24-26

135-91                         Career Record – Hard                           18-17

6-0                                   2017 Record                                   2-1

6-0                              2017 Record – Hard                              2-1

5-5                           Career Five-Set Record                           1-1

0                         Comebacks from 0-2 Down                         0

92-76                        Career Tiebreak Record                          3-17

2-0                            2017 Tiebreak Record                            0-0

 

  • DIMITROV is bidding to reach the 3rd round here for the 4th straight year.

 

  • Dimitrov advanced to the 2nd round after defeating wild card Christopher O’Connell 76(2) 63 63 in the 1st round on Tuesday.

 

  • Dimitrov’s best Australian Open result is reaching the quarterfinals here as No. 22 seed in 2014 (l. Rafael Nadal). Last year here he fell to Roger Federer in the 3rd round. This is his 7th consecutive Australian Open appearance and his 26th major overall.

 

  • Dimitrov’s best Grand Slam result is reaching the semifinals at 2014 Wimbledon. He defeated defending champion Andy Murray in the quarterfinals before losing to Novak Djokovic in the semifinals. He broke into the Top 10 for the first time afterwards at No. 9.

 

  • At the Grand Slams in 2016, Dimitrov reached the round of 16 at the US Open (l. Andy Murray) and the 3rd round at both the Australian Open (l. Federer) and Wimbledon (l. Steve Johnson). He fell to Viktor Troicki in 5 sets in the 1st round at Roland Garros. He has a 5-5 win-loss record in 5-set matches and a 2-1 win-loss record in 5-set matches at the Australian Open.

 

  • Dimitrov’s best results in 2016 were runner-up finishes at Sydney (l. Troicki), Istanbul (l. Diego Schwartzman) and Beijing (l. Murray). He reached 4 further semifinals – at Delray Beach, Cincinnati-1000, Chengdu and Stockholm.

 

  • Dimitrov reached a career-high ranking of No. 8 in August 2014. He dropped as low as No. 40 on 18 July 2016 – his lowest ranking since February 2013 – but has since climbed back up the rankings and plays here at No. 15.

 

  • Dimitrov warmed up for the Australian Open by winning his 5th career title – and first since 2014 Queen’s – at Brisbane (d. Kei Nishikori). 3 of his 5 career titles have come on a hard court.

 

  • Dimitrov finished 2008 as 3 in the ITF Junior Rankings after winning the boys’ singles titles at Wimbledon (d. Henri Kontinen) and the US Open (d. Devin Britton).

 

  • Dimitrov has played Davis Cup for Bulgaria since 2008. He has a 16-1 singles win-loss record in Davis Cup and a 20-4 overall win-loss record. Bulgaria will host – and compete in – the Europe/Africa Zone Group III event in Sozopol in April.

 

  • Dimitrov was part of the ITF 14 & Under European Team in Europe in 2004-05 and the ITF 16 & Under European A Team in Europe in 2006, funded by the Grand Slam Development Fund.

 

  • Dimitrov started working with Dani Vallverdu, former coach to Andy Murray and Tomas Berdych, in July 2016. His physio is Azdine Bousnana.

 

  • CHUNG is bidding to become the first Korean man in history to reach the 3rd round at the Australian Open. Hyung-Taik Lee is the only Korean man to reach the 3rd round at a major – reaching the round of 16 at the US Open in 2000 and 2007, and the 3rd round at Roland Garros in 2004 and 2005, at the 2004 US Open and at 2007 Wimbledon.

 

  • By reaching the 2nd round here, Chung has become the 2nd Korean man to reach the 2nd round at the Australian Open after Hyung-Taik Lee, who reached this stage in 2003 and 2008.

 

  • Chung advanced to the 2nd round after defeating Renzo Olivo 62 63 62 for his first Australian Open match-win. This is his 2nd Australian Open appearance and his 5th Grand Slam overall.

 

  • By reaching the 2nd round here, Chung has equalled his best Grand Slam result. He also reached the 2nd round at the 2015 US Open (d. James Duckworth, l. Stan Wawrinka). He fell in the 1st round on his 3 other Grand Slam appearances – at 2015 Wimbledon (l. Pierre-Hugues Herbert), the 2016 Australian Open (l. Novak Djokovic) and at 2016 Roland Garros (l. Quentin Halys).

 

  • Prior to coming here, Chung reached the 2nd round as a qualifier at Chennai (d. Borna Coric, l. Dudi Sela).

 

  • Chung missed 3 months of the 2016 season from June-August due to an abdominal injury. He dropped to No. 146 in October 2016 – his lowest ranking since February 2015. Chung reached a career-high ranking of No. 51 in October 2015 but plays here at No. 105.

 

  • Chung’s best result in 2016 was reaching the quarterfinals at Houston (l. John Isner) – the last time he recorded back-to-back match-wins at Tour-level. He also won 2 Challenger titles at Kaohsiung (TPE) (d. Duck Hee Lee) and Kobe (JPN) (d. James Duckworth) and finished runner-up at Nan Chang (CHN) (l. Hiroki Moriya).

 

  • Chung is bidding to end a 12-match losing streak against Top 30 player The highest-ranked player he has defeated is No. 34 Guillermo Garcia-Lopez at 2016 Rotterdam.

 

  • Chung is a former junior world No. 7. He finished as runner-up in the boys’ singles event at 2013 Wimbledon (l. Gianluigi Quinzi) and reached the boys’ singles quarterfinals at both the 2014 Australian Open (l. Alexander Zverev) and 2014 Wimbledon (l. Stefan Kozlov).

 

  • Chung is coached by Yong-Il Yoon.

 

18 RICHARD GASQUET (FRA) v CARLOS BERLOCQ (ARG)

Head-to-head: Gasquet leads 3-0

2014     Roland Garros               Clay (O)            R64      Gasquet            76(5) 64 64

2015     Australian Open            Hard (O)           R128    Gasquet            61 63 61

2015     Roland Garros               Clay (O)            R64      Gasquet            36 63 61 46 61

 

A 4th meeting for Gasquet and Berlocq, with all of their previous encounters coming at the Grand Slams. Gasquet has won all 3 meetings to date – including in the 1st round here in 2015 – but Berlocq took Gasquet to 5 sets in their most recent meeting at 2015 Roland Garros.

 

                         GASQUET                                      v                                      BERLOCQ

 

30                                          Age                                          33

18                            ATP Ranking (16 Jan)                            90

14                                         Titles                                          2

96-47                      Career Grand Slam Record                      10-30

21-12                        Australian Open Record                          3-7

458-262                              Career Record                              122-164

271-159                        Career Record – Hard                           26-54

1-0                                   2017 Record                                   1-0

1-0                              2017 Record – Hard                              1-0

11-13                         Career Five-Set Record                           3-4

2                         Comebacks from 0-2 Down                         1

159-131                      Career Tiebreak Record                         47-52

0-0                            2017 Tiebreak Record                            2-0

 

  • GASQUET is bidding to reach the 3rd round at the Australian Open for the 9th time. He advanced to the 2nd round after defeating qualifier Blake Mott 64 64 62 in the 1st round on Tuesday.

 

  • Gasquet’s best Australian Open result is reaching the round of 16 on 4 occasions – in 2007 (l. Tommy Robredo), 2008 (l. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga), 2012 (l. David Ferrer) and 2013 (l. Tsonga). This is his 13th Australian Open appearance and his 49th Grand Slam appearance overall.

 

  • Gasquet’s Grand Slam highlight is reaching the semifinals at Wimbledon in 2007 (l. Roger Federer) and 2015 (l. Novak Djokovic), and at the 2013 US Open (l. Rafael Nadal).

 

  • At the Grand Slams in 2016, Gasquet reached the quarterfinals at Roland Garros (l. Andy Murray), where he claimed the record for the most attempts before reaching the last 8 in Paris by reaching the quarterfinals for the first time on his 13th appearance. He reached the round of 16 at Wimbledon, where he retired with a back injury while trailing Tsonga 4-2 in the opening set, but fell in the 1st round at the US Open (l. Kyle Edmund). He missed the Australian Open with a back injury.

 

  • Gasquet’s best results in 2016 are winning the titles at Montpellier (d. Paul-Henri Mathieu) and Antwerp (d. Diego Schwartzman). He also finished runner-up at Shenzhen (l. Tomas Berdych). 8 of his 14 career titles have come on a hard court.

 

  • Gasquet warmed up for this year’s Australian Open by winning the Hopman Cup for France alongside Kristina Mladenovic. He won 3 of his 4 singles matches in Perth, defeating Alexander Zverev, Daniel Evans and Jack Sock but losing to Federer.

 

  • Gasquet has played Davis Cup for France since 2005, compiling a 15-11 overall win-loss record and helping his nation reach the Final in 2014 (l. Switzerland). France will travel to Japan in the 2017 World Group first round in Tokyo on 3-5 February.

 

  • Gasquet was named ITF Junior World Champion in 2002 after winning the boys’ singles at Roland Garros (d. Laurent Recourderc) and the US Open (d. Marcos Baghdatis). He reached the semifinals of the 2002 Australian Open boys’ singles, losing to Todd Reid.

 

  • Gasquet is coached by Sergi Bruguera, who reached the round of 16 here in 1993, and Thierry Champion.
  • BERLOCQ is bidding to reach the 3rd round at a Grand Slam for the first time. He defeated Radu Albot 64 76(4) 57 76(8) in the 1st round on Tuesday.

 

  • By reaching the 2nd round here, Berlocq has equalled his best Grand Slam result. He also reached the 2nd round at Roland Garros in 2007 (l. Potito Starace), 2011 (l. Lukasz Kubot), 2014 and 2015 (losing to today’s opponent on both occasions), and as a qualifier in 2016 (l. David Goffin), at the US Open in 2011 (l. Novak Djokovic) and 2013 (l. Roger Federer) and at the Australian Open in 2012 (l. Ivo Karlovic) and 2013 (l. Kei Nishikori).

 

  • This Berlocq’s 8th Australian Open appearance and his 31st Grand Slam overall. He missed last year’s event here. Having played a limited schedule in 2015, he didn’t start his 2016 singles season until Miami-1000 (where he lost in qualifying) due to a right adductor injury.

 

  • Berlocq’s best result in 2016 was reaching the semifinals at Umag (l. Andrej Martin) – the last time he recorded back-to-back Tour-level match-wins. He recorded just one other Tour-level match-win in 2016 – at Roland Garros – and played mainly on the Challenger circuit, winning the title at Blois (FRA) (d. Steve Darcis) and finishing runner-up at Aix En Provence (FRA) (l. Thiago Monteiro) and Campinas (BRA) (l. Facundo Bagnis).

 

  • Berlocq warmed up for the Australian Open at the Canberra Challenger (AUS), where he reached the quarterfinals (l. Alejandro Falla).

 

  • Berlocq is a former Top 40 player, having reached a career-high ranking of No. 37 in March 2012, but plays here ranked No. 90.

 

  • Berlocq’s best surface is clay. 91 of his 122 Tour-level match-wins have come on the surface as well as both of his career singles titles at 2013 Bastad (d. Fernando Verdasco) and 2014 Oerias (d. Tomas Berdych). Just 26 of his Tour-level match-wins have come on a hard court.

 

  • Berlocq has played Davis Cup for Argentina since 2012, compiling an 8-9 win-loss record in 10 ties played. Defending champions Argentina will host Italy in the 2017 World Group first round in Buenos Aires on 3-5 February.

 

  • Berlocq was a member of the South American 16 & under Team to Europe in 1999, funded by the Grand Slam Development Fund.

 

  • Berlocq is coached by Francisco Yunis. His fitness trainers are Horacio Anselmi and Hernan Rojas.

 

 

 24 ALEXANDER ZVEREV (GER) v (Q) FRANCES TIAFOE (USA)

Head-to-head: first meeting

 

ZVEREV                                        v                                        TIAFOE

 

19                                          Age                                          18*

24                                   ATP Ranking                                  108

1                                          Titles                                          0

7-6                        Career Grand Slam Record                        1-3

1-1                          Australian Open Record                          1-0

63-48                                Career Record                                 3-12

31-26                          Career Record – Hard                            3-9

1-0                                   2017 Record                                   1-0

1-0                              2017 Record – Hard                              1-0

3-2                           Career Five-Set Record                           0-1

0                         Comebacks from 0-2 Down                         0

27-26                        Career Tiebreak Record                          4-8

0-0                            2017 Tiebreak Record                            0-1

*Turns 19 on 20 January

 

  • ZVEREV is bidding to reach the 3rd round here for the first time and equal his best Grand Slam result.

 

  • Zverev advanced to the 2nd round here after defeating Robin Haase 62 36 57 63 62 in the 1st round on Tuesday. It was his Australian Open match-win and improved his win-loss record in 5-set matches to 3-2.

 

  • Last year here on his Australian Open debut, Zverev fell to Andy Murray 61 62 63 in the 1st round. He failed to qualify here in 2015.

 

  • Zverev best Grand Slam result is reaching the 3rd round on his debut at Roland Garros (l. Dominic Thiem) and on his 2nd appearance at Wimbledon (l. Tomas Berdych) in 2016. Also in 2016, he reached the 2nd round at the US Open (l. Daniel Evans). This is his 7th Grand Slam appearance.

 

  • Zverev’s best Tour-level result in 2016 was winning his first Tour-level title at St. Petersburg, where he defeated No. 9 Berdych in the semifinals and No. 3 Stan Wawrinka in the final to become the youngest Tour-level champion since 18-year-old Kei Nishikori at 2008 Delray Beach. He went on to defeat No. 10 Dominic Thiem in the 1st round of his next tournament at Beijing to become the first teenager to defeat three Top 10 players consecutively since Boris Becker defeated 4 in a row at the 1986 year-end championships.

 

  • Also in 2016, Zverev finished runner-up at Nice (l. Thiem) and Halle (l. Florian Mayer), where he defeated Roger Federer in the semifinals to become the youngest player to defeat the Swiss since Rafael Nadal at 2005 Roland Garros. He reached 4 further semifinals at Montpellier, Munich, Washington and Stockholm.

 

  • Zverev reached a career-high ranking of No. 20 on 17 October. At 19 years 6 months, he was the youngest man to reach the Top 20 since No. 13 Novak Djokovic in November 2006. He plays here at No. 24.

 

  • Zverev warmed up for the Australian Open at the Hopman Cup, where he won 2 of his 3 matches – defeating Federer 76(1) 67(4) 76(4) and Daniel Evans 64 63 but losing to Richard Gasquet 75 63.

 

  • Zverev is a former junior world No. 1. He was named 2013 ITF Junior World Champion and went on to win the boys’ singles title at the 2014 Australian Open (d. Stefan Kozlov). He also finished runner-up in the boys’ singles at 2013 Roland Garros.

 

  • Zverev is one of 6 former junior Australian Open champions who have reached the 2nd round here this year from the 7 who started in the draw. Stefan Edberg is the only player to have won both the junior and senior title here in the Open Era.

 

  • Zverev’s brother, Mischa, has already reached the 3rd round, after defeating Guillermo Garcia-Lopez 63 76(5) 64 in the 1st round on Monday and No. 19 seed John Isner 67(4) 67(4) 64 76(7) 97 in the 2nd round on Wednesday.

 

  • Zverev is coached by his father, Alexander Zverev Sr. His fitness trainer is Jez Green and his physio is Hugo Gravil.

 

  • Qualifier TIAFOE is through to the 2nd round at a Grand Slam for the first time on his Australian Open debut.

 

  • Tiafoe recorded his first Grand Slam match-win to reach the 2nd round here, defeating Mikhail Kukushkin 61 67(3) 63 62 on Tuesday. He lost in the 1st round on each of his 3 previous Grand Slam appearances – as a wild card at 2015 Roland Garros (l. Martin Klizan) and as a wild card at the US Open in 2015 (l. Viktor Troicki) and 2016 (l. John Isner).

 

  • As No. 2 seed, Tiafoe defeated Marco Cecchinato (ITA) 63 57 75, Yannik Reuter (BEL) 64 60 and Tim Smyczek (USA) 36 60 75 in the 3 rounds of qualifying here. It was the first time he had qualified for a Grand Slam, having failed to qualify on his previous 4 attempts to qualify for the majors – at the US Open in 2014, and the Australian Open, Roland Garros and Wimbledon in 2016.

 

  • Prior to coming here Tiafoe attempted to qualify at Brisbane, losing to Alex De Minaur in the final round of qualifying.

 

  • Tiafoe’s best results in 2016 came on the Challenger circuit. He won 2 Challenger titles – at Granby (CAN) (d. Marcelo Arevalo) and Stockton (USA) (d. Noah Rubin) – and reached 3 further Challenger finals.

 

  • Tiafoe broke into the Top 100 for the first time, at No. 100, after winning the title at the Stockton Challenger (USA). He plays here at No. 108.

 

  • Tiafoe is bidding to record his first victory against a Top 30 player. He has lost all 4 of his previous meetings with Top 30 opposition. He fell in 5-sets to John Isner in his most recent meeting with a Top 30 player – his only career 5-set match to date.

 

  • Tiafoe is bidding to record back-to-back Tour-level match-wins for the first time in his career. Prior to the 1st round here, he had won just two Tour-level matches in his career, when he reached the 2nd round at 2015 Winston-Salem (d. James Duckworth, l. Thomaz Bellucci) and at 2016 Indian Wells-1000 (d. Taylor Fritz, l. David Goffin).

 

  • Tiafoe had a successful junior career. Aged just 15, he won the 2013 Orange Bowl (d. Stefan Kozlov), becoming the youngest boys’ singles winner in the event’s history. He also reached the boys’ singles semifinals at the 2014 US Open (l. Quentin Halys) and achieved a career-high junior ranking of No. 2. He never competed in the junior event here.

 

  • Tiafoe is coached by Jose Higueras.

*All statistics courtesy of the Grand Slam Media team, Australian Open Men’s Information Team and the International Tennis Federation.

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Serena Williams and Andy Murray Reach Wimbledon Second Round with Straight Set Victories

(June 28, 2016) Defending champion Serena Williams recorded her 80th match win at the All England Club and raised her record in first round major matches to 63-1 when she defeated No. 148 qualifier Amra Sadikovic 6-2, 6-4 on day two of Wimbledon.

The match was more competitive than the scoreline demonstrated. “I never underestimate anyone,” said Williams. “It was a really good match but I don’t think it was tougher than I thought. It was definitely tough, but I always expect the best from everyone.”

“I started fast, that’s about it,” Williams said, evaluating her match.

Her 27-year-old opponent who was making her debut in a major, had retired from the sport in 2014, but was inspired to comeback of her Swiss countrywoman Timea Bacsinszky.

“I’m always shouting at myself and pushing myself, so it’s absolutely nothing different,” she said.

The world No. 1 needs one more major win to equal Steffi Graf’s record of 22 in the Open Era. The 21-time major champion came up short in the finals of the French and Australian Opens.

Williams will face fellow American Christina McHale in the second round.

No. 2 seed and 2013 Wimbledon winner Andy Murray is into the second round. Murray had a 6-2, 6-3, 6-4 victory over British countryman Liam Broady, ranked 235 in the world, who received a wild card into the tournament.

Murray needed just an hour and 42 minutes to complete the match. He’ll face Taipei’s Yen-Hsun Lu, ranked 76th in the world, who beat Russian Alexander Kudryavtsev 6-4, 6-1, 6-4.

Fourth seed Stan Wawrinka fought off American up-and-comer Taylor Fritz 7-6 (4), 6-1, 6-7 (2), 6-4. The two-time major winner will take on 2009 U.S, Open champion Juan Martin del Potro in a tough second round match.

“For sure, I think we  all happy that he’s back on the tour, hopefully without any injury (so) he can play for long now,” Wawrinka said. “He’s always been a great champion, a great player to watch.”

 

Juan Martin del Potro played his first match a a major in over two years, beating Stephane Robert 6-1, 7-5, 6-0. The last time he played at Wimbledon was in 2013 when he lost in the semifinals to Novak Djokovic.

The Argentine ranked 165 due to wrist surgeries is happy to be back on the court.

“I’m enjoying tennis again,” he said. “I’m starting to talk about tennis and (not) about my wrist. 

“I would like to stay here on tour for (a few more) years. I think I’m close to get that goal.”

Del Potro leads in his head-to-head record against Wawrinka 3-2. he last played the Swiss in 2012.

Nick Kyrgios had to fend off 37-year-old veteran Radek Stepanek in four sets on Tuesday – 6-4, 6-3, 6-7 (9), 6-1 .

“To be honest, that’s a nightmare first round for anyone at Wimbledon. No one wants to play Radek here. I could pick 90 guys in the draw that I would rather have played first round,” Kyrgios said to press. “It was a fun match. We’re great friends. I knew it was going to be tough. When I lost the third set, I wasn’t really expecting anything less for him to compete and fight.”

Stepanek was trying to become the oldest man to win a match at a major since Jimmy Commors in 1992.

 

The Australian Kyrgios will get another tricky opponent in the second round when he takes on Germany’s serve-and-volleying  Dustin Brown who survived in five sets against Dusan Lajovic 4-6, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4.  Brown defeated Rafael Nadal last year at Wimbledon in the second round.

Former No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki is still without a win at a major this year. The Dane lost in the first round of Melbourne and did play the French Open due to an ankle injury. She’s fallen in the rankings to No. 45 and will drop further due to her opening round loss to No. 14 seed Svetlana Kuznetsova 7-5, 6-4.

“It’s been uphill,” Wozniacki said of her 11-11 season. “But you just have to keep fighting, keep going at it, keep working hard, and hope eventually that’s going to turn and you’re going to take the chances you’re going to get.”

Wozniacki, chosen to carry the flag for Denmark in the Opening Ceremonies of the Olympic Games in Rio, does not know if she will be eligible to participate. She did not fulfill her Fed Cup requirements due to injury.

 

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Radek Stepanek, Dustin Brown and Laura Robson Among Wimbledon Main Draw Wild Cards

Dustin BRown

Dustin Brown

(June 15, 2016) Radek Stepanek, Dustin Brown and Laura Robson are among the first Wimbledon main draw wild cards announced on Wednesday.

Stepanek from the Czech Republic is a 2006 Wimbledon quarterfinalist. Germany’s Brown, currently ranked at No. 87  was a qualifier when he upset two-time Wimbledon champion Rafael Nadal last year in the second round

British players awarded wild cards include – Laura Robson, a former Wimbledon Junior champion, Liam Broady, Alex Ward, James Ward Tara Moore and Katie Swan.

Other wild cards went to 2002 quarterfinalist Daniela Hantuchova and Marina Melnikova.

Wimbledon begins on June 27.

Here is the official list so far:

Gentlemen’s Singles

  1.    Liam BROADY (GBR)
    2.   Dustin BROWN (GER)
    3.   Radek STEPANEK (CZE)
    4.   Alex WARD (GBR)
    5.   James WARD (GBR)
    6.   To be announced
    7.    To be announced
    8.   To be announced

Ladies’ Singles

  1.     Daniela HANTUCHOVA (SVK)
    2.    Marina MELNIKOVA (RUS)
    3.    Tara MOORE (GBR)
    4.    Laura ROBSON (GBR)
    5.    Katie SWAN (GBR)
    6.    To be announced
    7.     To be announced
    8.    To be announced

Gentlemen’s Doubles

  1.     Dan EVANS (GBR) and Lloyd GLASSPOOL (GBR)
    2.    Brydan KLEIN (GBR) and Alex WARD (GBR)
    3.    Jonathan MARRAY (GBR) and Adil SHAMASDIN (CAN)
    4.    Ken SKUPSKI (GBR) and Neil SKUPSKI (GBR)
    5.    To be announced
    6.    To be announced
    7.     To be announced

Ladies’ Doubles

  1.     Ashleigh BARTY (AUS) and Laura ROBSON (GBR)
    2.    Naomi BROADY (GBR) and Heather WATSON (GBR)
    3.    Jocelyn RAE (GBR) and Anna SMITH (GBR)
    4.    To be announced
    5.    To be announced
    6.    To be announced
    7.     To be announced
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Roland Garros – Top Seeds Williams and Djokovic Dominate in Opening Wins; Murray Survives in Five

Serena Williams

Serena Williams

(May 24, 2016) Top seeds Serena Williams and Novak Djokovic had easy opening victories at Roland Garros on Tuesday. Williams, the defending champion going for her fourth Paris title destroyed No. 77 Magdalena Rybarikova 6-2, 6-0 in 42 minutes. The 21-time major champion hit 25 winners and made only five unforced errrors.

Sister Venus also advanced in straight sets. The ninth seed defeated No. 82 Anett Kontaveit 7-6 (5), 7-6 (4).

Djokovic is seeking to win his first French Open title to complete a career Grand Slam. The Serb defeated No. 95 Yen-hsun Lu of Taiwan 6-4, 6-1, 6-1. Also reaching the second round easily was nine-time champion Rafael Nadal who blasted past Sam Groth 6-1, 6-1, 6-1.

No. 2 seed completed his first round match which was held over due to darkness, surviving qualifier and former Top 10 player 37-year-old Radek Stepanek 3-6, 3-6, 6-0, 6-3, 7-5.

“It’s unbelievable what he’s doing,” said Murray in an on-court interview. “He had an extremely bad injury last year and was our for eight or nine months. At 37 years old and coming out and fighting like that, playing that way, is unbelievable. I don’t expect to be doing that myself at that age! I’m just glad I managed to get through.”
Australian Open champion and third seed Angelique Kerber was the biggest upset on the day. The German suffering from a left shoulder injury lost to No. 58 Kiki Bertens of the Netherlands. 6-2, 3-6, 6-3. Bertens is fresh off winning a title over the weekend in Nürnberg, where she was a qualifier.

Another major surprise on the women’s side saw No. 5 Victoria Azarenka lose to No. 118-ranked Karin Knapp when she was forced to retire with a knee injury down 6-3, 6-7(6), 4-0.

2010 French Open champion, unseeded Francesca Schiavone lost to Kristina Mladenovic 6-2, 6-4. It was announced on court that Schiavone was retiring, but she set the record straight during her news conference.

“Roland Garros announced my retirement but I didn’t.”

“So you can stand up all of you and go back to work in the office because I didn’t say that. I will announce when I will want to stop.”

 

More to follow…

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The US Open Series Begins this Weekend in Atlanta

 

BB&TAtlantaOpen

By Herman Wood

(July 17, 2014) ATLANTA – Preparation for the US Open is underway.  The BB&T Atlanta Open gets things started on Saturday, July 19th for the men.  Qualifying begins at 10 AM.  The BB&T Atlanta Open is an ATP 250 event, with a 28 player draw, four of which come from the qualifying tournament.  The qualifying field will have 32 players.  The doubles draw is a 16 team field.  Last year’s champ, John Isner, is returning, along with fellow Americans Sam Querrey, Wimbledon doubles champ Jack Sock, and Donald Young.  Gael Monfils, Richard Gasquet, Radek Stepanek, Ivo Karlovic, Ivan Dodig, Lleyton Hewitt, and the other half of the Wimbledon doubles championship team, Vasek Pospisil, are also expected in the tournament.  The tournament aspires to be a mini US Open, with the venue set among the skyscrapers of downtown Atlanta at Atlantic Station.  Atlantic Station is a community within downtown that provides homes for 10,000 people integrated with shopping, restaurants, and retailers that make it a hit with the players.  Besides the attractive venue, players will get a jump on the US Open Series Bonus Challenge, where nearly $40 million in prize money is up for grabs.  This is the third year the tournament has been held at Atlantic Station.

It is a familiar place for Americans, with Isner winning last year, Roddick in 2012, and Fish in 2011.  It has also been comfortable for big man tennis- last year Isner, at 6’10”, overcame Kevin Anderson at 6’8” in three tiebreaks.  Fans in the first couple of rows certainly had to pay attention with the huge serves coming their way.  It is especially familiar for Isner, who competed collegiately just an hour down the road for the University of Georgia Bulldogs, leading the team to a national championship and winning every possible team title in 2007.  He’s usually a fan favorite, with at least a couple of barks from Georgia fans in his favor at each match.  Isner may not be the only recipient of barks; University of Georgia player Austin Smith has accepted a wild card into the main draw. The sophomore from Cumming, Georgia excelled this season as the Bulldogs captured the 2014 SEC Championship. Smith finished with a 35-12 record, and went 9-1 in SEC matches. He has won four USTA Pro Circuit matches. A tournament qualifier in 2011, Smith will be playing his debut ATP main draw match.

Another American, Jack Sock, could very well get on a roll at this tournament.  After winning doubles with Pospisil at Wimbledon, he rolled into Newport and eliminated Isner in the Newport Hall of Fame event on grass just a week ago.  Unfortunately for him, he wasn’t able to keep that momentum and was eliminated by the veteran Lleyton Hewitt, who went on to win the tournament.  Hewitt’s feisty shouts of “C’mon!” have endeared him to the Atlanta fans in past years.  Fresh off his renewed success at Newport, he could very well win Atlanta.  The main draw was just rounded out with the addition of Ryan Harrison and Robby Ginepri.  “We’re ecstatic to welcome back two of our fan favorites in Ryan Harrison and Atlanta metro resident Robby Ginepri,” Tournament Director Eddie Gonzalez said. “One of our goals is to highlight American talent and both of these players are great examples of the fine players this country has produced.”  Harrison won the doubles last year, partnering with Matthew Ebden.  Ginepri appears for the fourth time, with a onetime ranking of fifteen.  He is a graduate of Wheeler High School, just a few miles north of Atlantic Station.  He currently resides in Kennesaw, another couple of miles north.

The draw will be finalized over this weekend with the completion of the qualifying tournament.  Promising American junior Francis Tiafoe has accepted his first tournament qualifying wild card. Tiafoe, 16, is a talented young prodigy who rose to No. 2 in the world junior rankings this spring. Georgia Tech’s Nathan Rakitt and Alabama’s Becker O’Shaughnessey have also accepted qualifying wild cards. Rakitt, a Marietta native and All-ACC selectee, is competing again for the second year. O’Shaughnessey of Macon, Ga., led the Crimson Tide in singles wins (22) this season.

Herman Wood is in Atlanta covering the BB&T Open action from around the grounds for Tennis Panorama News, follow him on twitter at https://twitter.com/hermanewood.

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After the Clay, a Pain in the Grass

 

By Wendy M. Grossman

 

(June 13, 2014) LONDON – The most spectacular day of tennis every year is the first day of Queen’s Club. The day before is the French Open final, the culmination of months of looking at crushed-brick courts and players knocking the burnt-orangey dust out of the treads on their shoes. The next morning the courts are bright emerald-green and everything old is new again. It’s grass season.

 

The difficulty of the shift is underlined by the abrupt change in cast. All of a sudden, the tour is awash in tall, skinny beanpoles whopping down serves from the height of a basketball hoop. Physically, even the best-adapted grass-court player pays a price for the change.

 

“My back,” said Kevin Anderson, when asked what body part hurts the most. He explains: the ball stays definitely lower. At 6 foot 8, Anderson has to bend a lot anyway – but the need is more pronounced on grass, and he has to reach more and farther because of the way grass can skid a ball away from you. “I feel it more on grass.” Apparently he’s happy to help dish out the pain, naming the backhand slice, which notoriously stays low and skids off the grass, as the shot he most needs to get in gear for the grass season.

 

Andy Murray, coming off his third-round loss to Radek Stepanek, noted the “little pains” because of the change of surface (while not blaming them for the loss). You use different muscles, and you use them differently, he said, than on clay, where he finds that the sliding makes his quads hurt most. On grass, he says his lower back, butt, and hamstrings “can get a bit stiff”.

 

Stanislas Wawrinka said, “You have to be lower on your feet, and sometimes the knee or the back can be difficult. But this year was OK. I had time to adapt myself.”

 

Grigor Dimitrov, because of his early loss at the French Open, has also had more time to adjust than some of the others. He said he spent last week running 25 miles, which, he says, has added up: “the quads, the glutes”. In general, he says, “I think the part that really hurts the most on grass is the lower back, the glutes, and the adductors. I think those are the parts that always, even if you play the shortest two sets, the next day you’re gonna come back and feel a little funky.”

 

What seems to definitely help is experience. Radek Stepanek, who beat Murray in the third round and followed up by downing Anderson in the quarters, said “I know exactly which muscles are going to hurt me after the first two days on grass. I’m protecting them already before coming here with the prevention exercises.” The issue for him, he said, is glutes and lower back. Despite the preventive work he does, though, he said wryly, “It always comes anyway, but you know, I’m trying to adjust the level of pain, you know, as low as I can.”

 

Leave it to Dimitrov to put the whole thing in perspective: “[I] don’t really care any more, because with or without pain, it doesn’t really matter.”

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Andy Murray Falls to Radek Stepanek in Queen’s Club Third Round

 

 

 

By Wendy M. Grossman

(June 12, 2014) LONDON – “You can tell Andy’s playing, There’s no queue.” Yes: 4pm in London, tea set out with strawberries, cakes, and sandwiches, and no one in sight.

Andy Murray was indeed out playing on the Queen’s Club centre court on a sunny, hot-for-England day (a ball girl had to be led off court and given water). His opponent: Radek Stepanek, the sort of veteran Czech player whose sharp volleys and grass court sense you don’t want to face a few days after making the switch from clay.

In the first set, Stepanek led 5-4, fashioned a break point on the Murray serve, and lost it to a sharp Murray angle into his backhand corner. At 6-2, Murray, in the tiebreak, it seemed clear Murray was going to prevail. And then stuff happened: Murray got hesitant and stopped hitting quite so hard; Stepanek went on playing well. Murray had more set points, at 7-6, and 8-7 (netted the return), and 9-8 (Stepanek into Murray’s backhand corner), and 10-9 (return long). And then Murray sent up a beautiful lob at 10-10, and…well, it was beautiful until it landed long. Stepanek, offered a second set point of his own, promptly scored a nice angled volley winner. Game and first set.

Stepanek scored a break at the beginning of the second set, and never let go after that, eventually winning 7-6(10), 6-2.

“I thought the first set was a pretty high standard,” Murray said afterwards, adding that given the number of set points he’d had, “I’ve only got myself to blame.”

Stepanek called it “a great win for me”, adding that, “you always want to come out and play your best against the best players”.

There aren’t many players left with Stepanek’s serve and volley style. Stepanek would like to see more of it; Murray might too, given that he’s often been successful at using such players as easy targets to pass.

The upshot is that where last year Murray lost early at the French Open and had ten days of grass-court practice in England before the season started, this year he came into Queen’s with only two days to make the shift, and now will go into Wimbledon with only two grass-court matches played. He plans to take the next few days off, then begin again on Sunday with the “Rally for Bally” charity match to raise money in the memory of the late British player Elena Baltacha. He’ll start practicing in earnest Sunday evening, looking to improve his service return and get used to the lower-bouncing balls. “I was too upright on the court, especially when I was rushed,” he said.

 

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Top Seeds Advance in Melbourne Despite Extreme Heat Conditions

Nadal

(January 14, 2014) On a day which saw soaring temperatures, the Australian Open saw top seeds advance on day two of the tennis’ first major of the year. Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray, Roger Federer,  Juan Martin Del Potro, Maria Sharapova and defending champion Victoria Azarenka  moved into the second round despite temperatures which went over 42 Celsius (108 Fahrenheit).

In addition to the heat, the tournament was beset by retirements, not linked to the heat – six in all which included top American John Isner (ankle) the 13th seed, 12 seed Tommy Haas (shoulder) and 21st seed Philipp Kohlschreiber who withdrew before play, Radek Stepanek (neck).

Nadal was only on the court for a set up 6-4 when his opponent Australian Bernard Tomic retired with a groin injury.

“I know how tough is this situation, I had the same a few years ago at this tournament,” Nadal said. “Since the beginning, I saw a little bit he had some problems on the leg.”

“It was sad,” Tomic said.  It’s unfortunate.  You know, this opportunity I had to play against Rafa was huge for me.  Could have used a lot of it.

“Unfortunately, I couldn’t compete.  It was very difficult for me to say sorry to the crowd.  I don’t think they quite knew what was wrong with me.”

Federer began his record 57th consecutive major tournament with a 6-4, 6-4, 6-2 win over Australian wild-card James Duckworth.

Just over a week after beating Federer in Brisbane, Former Lleyton Hewitt fell in his home slam in five grueling sets to No. 24-seeded Andreas Seppi of Italy

Men’s seeds advancing included No. 10 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, No. 11 Milos Raonic, No. 16 Kei Nishikori, No. 22 Grigor Dimitrov and No. 31 Fernando Verdasco.

On the women’s side No. 5 Agnieszka Radwanzka, No. 8 Jelena Jankovic, No. 10 Caroline Wozniacki, No. 11 Simona Halep,  No. 13 Sloane Stephens, No. 16 Carla Suarez Navarro, and No. 20 Dominika Cibulkova.

In the women’s upset of the day, No. 19 seed Svetlana Kuznetsova fell  6-3, 6-3 to Elina Svitolina.

Related Articles:

Players React to the Heat at the Australian Open

Nishikori Wins Five-Set Test Under Scorching Heat in Melbourne

Dimitrov Recovers form to best Klahn at Australian Open

One-on-One with American Tennis Player Tim Smyczek

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Top Seed Del Potro Pushed by Stepanek

Del Potro

By Dave Gertler

(January 9, 2014) We’re into the sharp end of the 2014 Apia International in Sydney, on a Thursday that features men’s quarterfinals and women’s semifinals matches on Ken Rosewall Arena, with a mix of singles and doubles matches being played on Grandstand Court.

The biggest drawcard of the men’s tournament, Juan Martin Del Potro, had to contend with consistent pressure from Radek Stepanek throughout their two hour and eight minute quarterfinal. After Del Potro served well to seal the first set 6-4, the Czech 35-year-old played high-risk tennis which seemed to affect Del Potro’s confidence and energy levels, particularly in the second set, during which Stepanek outplayed his opponent, ranked 40 places above him, to win it 6-3.

After being broken in the second set, Del Potro was visibly frustrated, and experienced a dip in energy, errors frequently coming off his racquet.

Post-match he described a moment when he almost smashed his racquet, saying, “Yeah, I was close, but I can’t do that yet. When I get eight or ten racquets, I will smash all of them. I will talk before with the chair umpire to don’t call me a code violation or something. I have to be allowed to do that after two years maybe.”

The third set provided some of the most entertaining tennis seen so far in the 2014 Apia International, when Del Potro lifted his game to match the swashbuckling net-rushing of the world No.45. Whereas in the second set, Del Potro had faced eight break points, saving only five, he proved the better player on all the big points, only allowing Stepanek one break point, which he saved. Del Potro’s break came early at one game all, and with the help of a small but vocal Argentinian contingent on Ken Rosewall Arena, was able to hold onto the advantage and take the match 6-4, 3-6, 6-3.

Talking about his growing confidence toward the end of the match, he said, “I’m trying to be calm all the time.  I was positive every moment of the match.  Even Radek improve his game during the second set, I was positive, waiting for my chance, and I play a fantastic two pints in the third game of the third set to break his serve. Then I serve okay.  Just doing my job, and I was close the match really calm.”

In the second men’s quarterfinal, Dmitry Tursonov defeated Denis Istomin 7-6, 6-2. Del Potro and Tursonov will meet in Friday’s men’s semifinal.

Dave Gertler is a tennis journalist, player and musician based in Sydney covering the Australian summer of tennis for Tennis Panorama News. Follow his Twitter updates from the tournament @TennisNewsTPN, follow him on his personal Twitter @davegertler,  read his blog,  and listen to his podcast, Tennis Days .

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