(January 19, 2016) In the biggest upset of the Australian Open tournament so far on the men’s side, 2009 winner and fifth seed Rafael Nadal lost to his Spanish countryman Fernando Verdasco 7-6 (6), 4-6, 3-6, 7-6 (4), 6-2 in the first round on Tuesday in Melbourne.
The four-hour, 41-minute victory for the 45th ranked Verdasco, avenges a 5-hour, 14-minute five-set semifinal loss to Nadal in 2009, when Nadal went on to win the tournament.
“I think today’s match was kind of like very similar in terms of even games in the sets, going to a five set,” said Verdasco. “But, you know, of course the beginning of the fifth I was for a second thinking about that semifinals. I was like, Please, I don’t want to lose, you know, with a double-fault in 5-4, 30-40.
“He start breaking my serve. After that, I start playing, like, really good, hitting very hard serve, forehand, and don’t making many mistakes. So, you know, very happy with the way that I finished the match.”
Nadal came into the match with a 14-2 head-to-head record against his compatriot, losing 2 out the last three times to Verdasco. Those losses coming in 2012 in Madrid and 2015 in Miami.
After going down a break to open the fifth set and Nadal consolidating it for a 2-0 lead, Verdasco won the next six straight games to seal the victory.
In the tale of the tape, Verdasco hit 90 winners to 91 unforced errors, while Nadal hit 37 winners to 38 unforced errors. Verdasco was 25 for 27 in net points won. Verdasco won a total of 182 points during the match to Nadal’s 180.
“To win against Rafa here coming from two sets down is unbelievable,” Verdasco said on court after the match. “I think I played unbelievable…..the fifth set from the break that he made me, I just started hitting winners. I don’t know how, just, you know I was closing the eyes and everything was coming in and I keep doing it and I was doing well.”
“But I am not happy about the way that I played the first(set),” Nadal said. “In the fourth I was not very bad, but he played better than me, too. I had my chances in the fourth, too, with that Love-30 that he played well. That’s it.
“He played better than me. He played more aggressive than me. He taked more risks than me, and he won.”
“The match is a tough lose for me obviously. Obviously is tough, especially because is not like last year that I arrived here playing bad and feeling myself not ready for it.
“This year was a completely different story. I have been playing and practicing great and working so much. You know, is tough when you work so much and arrives a very important event and you’re going out too early.
“Is tough, but at the same time, I know I did everything that I can to be ready for it. Was not my day. Let’s keep going. That’s the only thing.
“No, no, there is no more things to do than keep practicing hard, keep practicing the same way that I was doing the last four, five months.
“Today I was not ready to compete the way that I was practicing, so not happy with that. That’s it. I hope the next time I can compete better than what I did today, because I was playing good.”
“Honestly, I work hard this pre-season,” Verdasco said. “It was a long one for me. I think I work pretty hard trying to be as best as possible for this season – not only for this tournament, of course. And to be ready to play five-set matches against the best players in the world and be ready for that.
“And today I was feeling very good the whole match physically. Even the fifth set, like I said at the beginning, is the best set of all five that I played, no, after the 2-0.
“Very happy for all the work and all the suffering during that pre-season. Is going to make me enjoy today’s victory even more. But, like I said before, also know that is still only first round and I will have another match Thursday. In 24 hours I will start thinking about that match again.”
For Nadal, the loss marks the first time since 2007 at the Australian Open that a Top 5 seed has lost in the first round. In 2007 No. 4 Ivan Ljubicic lost in the opening round.
Verdasco moves on to the second round where he will play Israel’s Dudi Sela.
Men’s seeds advancing were No. 2 Andy Murray, No. 4 Stan Wawrinka, No. 8 David Ferrer, No. 10 John Isner, No. 13 Milos Raonic, No. 16 Bernard Tomic, No. 18 Feliciano Lopez, No. 23 Gael Monfils, No. 25 Jack Sock, No. 30 Jeremy Chardy, and No. 31 Steve Johnson. advanced, a
Former No. 1, two-time major champion, Australian Lleyton Hewitt, who is playing his 20th and final Australian Open tournament won in straight sets over his countryman James Duckworth.
2016 AUSTRALIAN OPEN
DAY 2 MEN’S NOTES
Tuesday 19 January
1st Round Bottom Half
No. 2 Andy Murray (GBR) v Alexander Zverev (GER)
No. 4 Stan Wawrinka (SUI) v Dmitry Tursunov (RUS)
No. 5 Rafael Nadal (ESP) v Fernando Verdasco (ESP)
No. 8 David Ferrer (ESP) v (Q) Peter Gojowczyk (GER)
No. 13 Milos Raonic (CAN) v Lucas Pouille (FRA)
No. 16 Bernard Tomic (AUS) v Denis Istomin (UZB)
(WC) James Duckworth (AUS) v (WC) Lleyton Hewitt (AUS)
Adrian Mannarino (FRA) v Sam Groth (AUS)
On court today…
- Former Australian Open champions Rafael Nadal and Stan Wawrinka begin their latest Melbourne campaigns today. Nadal faces a repeat of his epic 2009 semifinal against Fernarndo Verdasco, which lasted 5 hours 14 minutes and preceded his only title in Melbourne, in the 3rd match on Rod Laver Arena. Wawrinka, meanwhile, heads to Margaret Court Arena to take on Dmitry Tursunov, who is contesting his first Grand Slam match since the 2014 US Open after 13 months on the sidelines with a foot injury.
- Andy Murray, a 4-time runner-up here in Melbourne, begins his 40th Grand Slam with a 1st round clash against Alexander Zverev in the 2nd match on Margaret Court Arena. The pair met for the first time at the Hopman Cup earlier this month, with the 2-time Grand Slam champion defeating 18-year-old Zverev in straight sets.
- Both the youngest and oldest players to start in the men’s main draw are in action today. Qualifier Taylor Fritz, aged 18 years 95 days, begins his Australian Open campaign against fellow American and No. 25 seed Jack Sock in the 4th match on Court 14. Qualifier Radek Stepanek, aged 37 years 65 days, will bid to become 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) in 1978, when he takes on qualifier Tatsuma Ito in the 4th match on Court 20.
- Lleyton Hewitt begins his final Australian Open against compatriot James Duckworth in the night match on Rod Laver Arena. It’s a 20th straight appearance at Melbourne Park for Hewitt, which puts him in equal-4th place on the list for most appearances at a single Grand Slam. Hewitt and Duckworth are 2 of the 7 Aussies in action today.
NO. 2 ANDY MURRAY (GBR) v ALEXANDER ZVEREV (GER)
Head-to-head: first meeting
2016 Hopman Cup Hard (I) R2 Murray 63 64
MURRAY v ZVEREV
28 Age 18
2 ATP Ranking (18 Jan) 83
35 Titles 0
153-37 Career Grand Slam Record 1-2
39-10 Australian Open Record 0-0
552-165 Career Record 18-24
374-107 Career Record – Hard 5-11
0-0 2016 Record 0-0
0-0 2016 Record – Hard 0-0
18-7 Career Five-Set Record 1-1
8 Comebacks from 0-2 Down 0
157-98 Career Tiebreak Record 8-12
0-0 2016 Tiebreak Record 0-0
- 4-time Australian Open runner-up MURRAY is contesting his 11th straight Australian Open and 40th Grand Slam overall.
- Murray is looking to become the first man in the Open Era to win a Grand Slam title after losing 4 finals at any one Grand Slam. He finished as runner-up to Roger Federer here in 2010, and to Novak Djokovic in 2011, 2013 and 2015. Federer, at Roland Garros, and Ivan Lendl, at the US Open, are the only players to lose 3 Grand Slam finals at one major before winning the title in the Open Era.
- Elsewhere in Grand Slam play in 2015, Murray reached the semifinals at Roland Garros (l. Djokovic) and Wimbledon (l. Federer). He fell to Kevin Anderson in the round of 16 at the US Open – the first time he had lost before the quarterfinals at a Grand Slam since the 2010 US Open.
- Also in 2015, Murray won 4 titles including his first titles on clay at Munich (d. Philipp Kohlschreiber), where he became the first British player to win a Tour-level clay court title since Buster Mottram at 1976 Palma, and Madrid-1000 (d. Rafael Nadal). He also won the title at Queen’s (d. Anderson) and Montreal-1000
- Murray has not lost a 1st round Grand Slam match since the 2008 Australian Open (l. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga).
- Murray warmed up for the Australian Open at the Hopman Cup. He won 2 of his 3 singles matches in Perth, defeating Kenny de Schepper and today’s opponent, but losing to Nick Kyrgios.
- If he wins today, Murray will take sole occupancy of 8th place on the list for the most Australian Open match-wins in the Open Era. He is currently level with Wayne Ferreira on 39 wins at Melbourne Park. If he reaches the final here, he would tie Pete Sampras in 7th place on 45 wins.
- Murray is one of 7 Grand Slam champions to start in the men’s main draw here. Murray won the 2012 US Open title (d. Djokovic) and became the first British man to win the Wimbledon singles title in 77 years in 2013 (d. Djokovic).
- Murray is coached by 2006 Australian Open and Wimbledon champion Amelie Mauresmo.
- ZVEREV is looking to reach the 2nd round here on his Australian Open debut and equal his best Grand Slam performance.
- Zverev is making his 3rd appearance at a Grand Slam. He reached the 2nd round on his Grand Slam debut at 2015 Wimbledon (d. Teymuraz Gabashvili, l. Denis Kudla) and fell in the 1st round as a qualifier at the 2015 US Open (l. Philipp Kohlschreiber). He has attempted to qualify for the majors on 3 other occasions, including unsuccessfully here in 2015.
- Zverev’s best Tour-level result in 2015 was reaching the semifinals at Bastad (l. Tommy Robredo) and the quarterfinals at Washington (l. Marin Cilic). He also won the title at the Heilbronn Challenger (GER)
(d. Guido Pella), breaking the Top 100 at No. 85 for the first time as a result. He reached a career-high ranking of No. 74 in June 2015 but plays here at No. 83.
- Zverev warmed up for the Australian Open at the Hopman Cup, where he won 1 of his 3 matches – defeating Kenny de Schepper but losing to Nick Kyrgios and today’s opponent.
- 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 and helped Germany reach the 2013 Junior Davis Cup Final (l. Spain).
- Zverev is one of 8 former junior Australian Open champions in this year’s men’s main draw. Stefan Edberg is the only player to have won both the junior and senior title here in the Open Era.
- Zverev received the ATP Star of Tomorrow Award in 2015 for being the youngest player in the Top 100. At 2014 Hamburg he became the youngest player ever to reach an ATP 500 semifinal aged 17, falling to David Ferrer.
- Zverev’s brother, Mischa, attempted to qualify for the Australian Open, falling to Taylor Fritz in the final round of qualifying.
- Zverev is coached by his father, Alexander Zverev Sr. His physical trainer is Jez Green, who used to work with Murray.
4 STAN WAWRINKA (SUI) v DMITRY TURSUNOV (RUS)
Head-to-head: tied 1-1
2008 Sydney Hard (O) R32 Tursunov 63 63
2013 Kuala Lumpur Hard (I) QF Wawrinka 26 63 76(3)
A 3rd career meeting between the 2 players. Tursunov won their only meeting in Australia 8 years ago.
WAWRINKA v TURSUNOV
30 Age 33
4 ATP Ranking (18 Jan) –
12 Titles 7
103-41 Career Grand Slam Record 38-40
28-9 Australian Open Record 5-8
397-234 Career Record 229-207
214-128 Career Record – Hard 150-132
4-0 2016 Record 0-0
4-0 2016 Record – Hard 0-0
22-18 Career Five-Set Record 12-8
6 Comebacks from 0-2 Down 3
157-155 Career Tiebreak Record 110-88
0-0 2016 Tiebreak Record 0-0
- 2014 Australian Open champion WAWRINKA has never lost in the 1st round here. This is his 11th Australian Open appearance and his 44th Grand Slam overall.
- The last time Wawrinka lost in the 1st round at a Grand Slam was at 2014 Roland Garros, when as No. 3 seed he was defeated by Guillermo Garcia-Lopez. He was the first reigning Australian Open champion to lost in the 1st round of the subsequent Roland Garros since Petr Korda in 1998.
- Last year here as defending champion Wawrinka reached the semifinals, losing to eventual champion Novak Djokovic 76(1) 36 64 46 60.
- Wawrinka’s best Australian Open result is winning the title in his first Grand Slam final in 2014 (d. Rafael Nadal 63 62 36 63). He was the first player to defeat the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds en route to a Grand Slam title since Sergei Bruguera won 1993 Roland Garros.
- Wawrinka won his 2nd Grand Slam title as No. 8 seed at 2015 Roland Garros. He became the 2nd Swiss player – man or woman – in history to win Roland Garros after defeating No. 1 seed Djokovic 46 64 63 64 in the final. At 30 years 71 days, he was the oldest man to win in Paris since Andres Gomez in 1990.
- Elsewhere at the Grand Slams in 2015, Wawrinka reached the quarterfinals at Wimbledon (l. Richard Gasquet) and the semifinals at the US Open (l. Roger Federer). It was the first time he had reached the quarterfinals at all 4 Grand Slams in a calendar year.
- Wawrinka had a career-best season in 2015. As well as winning his 2nd Grand Slam title at Roland Garros, he also won the titles at Chennai (d. Aljaz Bedene), Rotterdam (d. Tomas Berdych) and Tokyo
(d. Benoit Paire). It was the first time he has won 4 titles in a single season. He also reached 5 further semifinals.
- Wawrinka warmed up for the Australian Open by successfully defending his title at Chennai. He defeated Borna Coric in the final. It was his 12th career title and 4th at Chennai, having also won there in 2011, 2014 and 2015.
- Wawrinka is currently working with Magnus Norman, who reached the semifinals here in 2000.
- TURSUNOV is contesting his first Grand Slam match since the 2014 US Open and is looking for his first Grand Slam match-win since 2014 Roland Garros.
- Tursunov spent 13 months out of the game due to a left foot injury after the 2014 US Open, making his comeback at 2015 Moscow where he failed to qualify in singles but won the doubles title as a wild card with Andrey Rublev. He has played just 2 other events since then, losing in the 1st round at the Ortisei Challenger (ITA) in November 2015 and in the final round of qualifying for the Bangkok Challenger
(l. Frederik Nielsen) prior to coming here.
- Tursunov is bidding to record his first Tour-level match-win since 2014 ’s-Hertogenbosch, when he defeated Bradley Klahn in the 1st round before giving a walkover to Thiemo De Bakker due to a left foot injury.
- Tursunov is bidding to reach the 2nd round here for the 5th time. His best Australian Open performance is reaching the 3rd round as No. 21 seed in 2007 (l. Tomas Berdych). He fell in the 2nd round on his last appearance at Melbourne Park in 2014 (d. Michael Russell, l. Denis Istomin).
- Tursunov’s best Grand Slam performance is 2 round of 16 finishes at Wimbledon in 2005 (l. Sebastien Grosjean) and as No. 27 seed in 2006 (l. Jarkko Nieminen). This is his 9th Australian Open and his 41st Grand Slam appearance.
- Tursunov is bidding to end a 3-match losing streak at the Grand Slams. He has not won a match at a major since reaching the 3rd round at 2014 Roland Garros (l. Roger Federer).
- Tursunov is a former Top 20 player, having reached a career-high ranking of No. 20 in October 2006, after winning his first career title at 2006 Mumbai (d. Berdych). He plays here on a protected ranking of No. 89.
- Tursunov is a 7-time singles titlist. 5 of his 7 career singles titles have come on hard court – with his last title on the surface coming at 2008 Metz.
- Tursunov is on an 8-match losing streak against Top 10 players. The last time he defeated a Top 10 player was at 2013 Cincinnati-1000 when he defeated No. 4 David Ferrer. He is bidding for his 3rd victory over a Top 10 player at a major – and his first since he defeated No. 4 Ivan Ljubicic at 2006 Wimbledon.
- Tursunov entered the men’s doubles here with Alexandr Dolgopolov. The pair will play No. 16 seeds Pablo Cuevas/Marcel Granollers in the 1st round. Tursunov has won 7 career doubles titles.
- Tursunov is coached by Vitaly Gorin at the Gorin Tennis Academy in Sacramento. His fitness trainer is Jason Stacy.
5 RAFAEL NADAL (ESP) v FERNANDO VERDASCO (ESP)
Head-to-head: Nadal leads 14-2
2005 Doha Hard (O) R16 Nadal 62 64
2005 AMS Miami Hard (O) R32 Nadal 62 62
2005 Stuttgart Clay (O) R16 Nadal 63 62
2006 Queen’s Grass (O) R16 Nadal 26 76(3) 76(3)
2007 AMS Indian Wells Hard (O) R32 Nadal 64 64
2008 Roland Garros Clay (O) R16 Nadal 61 60 62
2009 Australian Open Hard (O) SF Nadal 67(4) 64 76(2) 67(1) 64
2009 Rome-1000 Clay (O) QF Nadal 63 63
2009 Madrid-1000 Clay (O) QF Nadal 64 75
2010 Monte Carlo-1000 Clay (O) FR Nadal 60 61
2010 US Open Hard (O) QF Nadal 75 63 64
2011 Cincinnati-1000 Hard (O) R16 Nadal 76(5) 67(4) 76(9)
2012 Barcelona Clay (O) SF Nadal 60 64
2012 Madrid-1000 Clay (O) R16 Verdasco 63 36 75
2015 Miami-1000 Hard (O) R32 Verdasco 64 26 63
2015 Hamburg Clay (O) R32 Nadal 36 61 61
Nadal and Verdasco have met at the Australian Open once before in the 2009 semifinals – their epic 5-set match lasted for 5 hours 14 minutes and is the 2nd longest match (in terms of duration) in Australian Open history. Nadal went on to win his only Australian Open title that year while for Verdasco it is his best Grand Slam performance and saw him break the Top 10 for the first time as a result. This is a 4th Grand Slam meeting for the 2 players but their first since the 2010 US Open.
Nadal leads the head-to-head 14-2 but Verdasco has won 2 of their last 3 match-ups, ending a 13-match losing streak to Nadal at 2012 Madrid-1000. Nadal has also won 6 of their 7 hard court encounters and all of their previous meetings at the majors.
Nadal and Verdasco are 2 of the 16 lefthanders to start in the men’s main draw. Nadal was the last lefthander to win the title here in 2009. They are also 2 of the 15 Spanish men to start in this year’s draw. Spain has the highest representation of any nation here.
NADAL v VERDASCO
29 Age 32
5 ATP Ranking (18 Jan) 45
67 Titles 6
198-29 Career Grand Slam Record 91-50
45-9 Australian Open Record 20-12
771-161 Career Record 430-311
367-108 Career Record – Hard 195-164
4-1 2016 Record 1-1
4-1 2016 Record – Hard 1-1
17-6 Career Five-Set Record 21-18
3 Comebacks from 0-2 Down 5
192-120 Career Tiebreak Record 164-173
0-1 2016 Tiebreak Record 2-0
- 2009 champion NADAL is bidding to maintain his record of always having reached the 2nd round at the Australian Open. This is his 11th appearance at Melbourne Park and his 44th Grand Slam overall.
- 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 2].
- Last year here Nadal lost to Tomas Berdych in the quarterfinals. It ended Nadal’s 17-match winning streak against Berdych which was the joint longest winning streak in a Tour-level head-to-head.
- In 2015, Nadal won 3 titles at Buenos Aires (d. Juan Monaco), Stuttgart (d. Viktor Troicki) and Hamburg
(d. Fabio Fognini). This is the joint fewest titles he has won in a season since 2004 when he won one title. It was also the first year he failed to win a Grand Slam title since 2004.
- At the majors in 2015, Nadal lost in the quarterfinals at Roland Garros to Novak Djokovic. It was just his second defeat in 95 best-of-5 set matches and ended his 39-match winning streak at the French Open. He lost to qualifier Dustin Brown in the 2nd round at Wimbledon and to Fabio Fognini in the 3rd round at the US Open.
- Nadal is looking to win his 15th Grand Slam title and close the gap on 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 was 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 has never lost in the 1st round at the Australian Open. He has only lost in the 1st round at a Grand Slam once before – to Steve Darcis at 2013 Wimbledon.
- Nadal warmed up for the Australian Open at Doha, where he lost in the final to Djokovic.
- Nadal is coached by his uncle, Toni Nadal, and his fitness trainer is Rafael Maymo.
- Lefthander VERDASCO is contesting his 13th consecutive Australian Open and his 51st Grand Slam overall.
- Verdasco recorded his best Grand Slam result here in 2009, when he lost to today’s opponent in the semifinals.
- At the Grand Slams in 2015, Verdasco reached the 3rd round at the Australian Open (l. Novak Djokovic) and at Wimbledon (l. Stan Wawrinka) but fell in the 2nd round at Roland Garros (l. Benjamin Becker) and the US Open (l. Milos Raonic).
- Verdasco’s best results in 2015 were reaching the semifinals at Ecuador (l. Feliciano Lopez) and Houston (l. Sam Querrey). He recorded back-to-back wins at just 6 tournaments and ended the year ranked No. 47, his lowest year-end ranking for 12 years.
- Verdasco warmed up for the Australian Open by reaching the 2nd round at Doha (d. Malek Jaziri, l. Djokovic).
- Verdasco has won 6 career singles titles, most recently at 2014 Houston (d. Nicolas Almagro). 2 of his titles have come on hard court – at 2009 New Haven and 2010 San Jose. He is a former Top 10 player, having reached a career-high ranking of No. 7 in 2009, but plays here at No. 47.
- Verdasco has played at every Grand Slam event since making his debut at 2003 Wimbledon. This is his 51st straight major. Only 2 men have a longer active streak: Roger Federer (65) and Feliciano Lopez (56).
- Verdasco entered the men’s doubles here with Robin Haase. They will play Colin Fleming/Jonathan Erlich in the 1st round. Verdasco has won 7 career doubles titles.
- Verdasco is coached by David Sanchez and Sergio Perez. His fitness trainers are Jesus Rivera-Huidobro and Claudio Soliva.
8 DAVID FERRER (ESP) v (Q) PETER GOJOWCZYK (GER)
Head-to-head: first meeting
FERRER v GOJOWCZYK
33 Age 26
8 ATP Ranking (18 Jan) 223
26 Titles 0
130-51 Career Grand Slam Record 2-5
35-13 Australian Open Record 0-3
659-313 Career Record 10-15
308-166 Career Record – Hard 8-9
2-2 2016 Record 0-0
2-2 2016 Record – Hard 0-0
20-11 Career Five-Set Record 1-2
4 Comebacks from 0-2 Down 0
148-131 Career Tiebreak Record 7-7
1-0 2016 Tiebreak Record 0-0
- FERRER is contesting his 14th successive Australian Open and his 52nd Grand Slam overall.
- Ferrer has not lost in the 1st round at a Grand Slam event since 2005 Wimbledon, where as No. 17 seed he lost to Guillermo Garcia-Lopez. He fell in the 1st round here on his Grand Slam debut in 2003 (l. Hyung-Taik Lee) and again in 2005 (l. David Nalbandian).
- Ferrer’s best Grand Slam result is reaching the final as No. 4 seed at 2013 Roland Garros, where he lost in straight sets to Nadal. At 31 years 68 days, he was the 4th oldest man to reach the Roland Garros final.
- Ferrer’s best Australian Open performance is reaching the semifinals as No. 7 seed in 2011 (l. Andy Murray) and as No. 4 seed in 2013 (l. Novak Djokovic).
- Last year here Ferrer reached the round of 16, losing to Kei Nishikori. Elsewhere at the Grand Slams in 2015, Ferrer reached the quarterfinals at Roland Garros (l. Murray) and the 3rd round at the US Open
(l. Jeremy Chardy). He missed Wimbledon with an elbow injury, ending a run of 50 straight Grand Slam appearances.
- Ferrer warmed up for the Australian Open by reaching the semifinals at Auckland, losing to Jack Sock. He fell in the 1st round at Doha to Illya Marchenko.
- Ferrer finished 2015 at No. 7 in the rankings – the 6th consecutive year he has finished in the Top 10. He won 5 titles in 2015, the most titles he has won in a calendar year since 2012. He won the titles at Doha
(d. Tomas Berdych), Rio de Janeiro (d. Fabio Fognini), Acapulco (d. Kei Nishikori), Kuala Lumpur
(d. Feliciano Lopez) and Vienna (d. Steve Johnson). He played just one event between Roland Garros and the US Open due to an elbow injury.
- Ferrer started working with Francisco Fogues in 2015.
- Qualifier GOJOWCZYK is looking for his first match-win at the Australian Open. This is his 4th appearance at Melbourne Park and his 6th Grand Slam overall.
- Gojowczyk has lost in the 1st round in all 3 of his previous appearances at the Australian Open – as a qualifier in 2012 (l. Donald Young) and 2014 (l. Victor Hanescu), and he retired with cramping as a direct acceptance in 2015 (l. Guillermo Garcia-Lopez). He failed to qualify here in 2013.
- Gojowczyk defeated Brydan Klein (GBR) 75 62, Frances Tiafoe (USA) 63 62 and Alexander Kudryavtsev (RUS) 36 76(3) 62 in the 3 rounds of qualifying.
- The only other Grand Slam event Gojowczyk has contested is the US Open, where he reached the 2nd round as a qualifier in both 2013 (l. Evgeny Donskoy) and 2014 (l. Milos Raonic). At the majors in 2015, he lost in the 1st round at the Australian Open and failed to qualify at Roland Garros, Wimbledon and the US Open.
- Prior to coming here, Gojowczyk fell in the 1st round at the Happy Valley Challenger (AUS) (l. Alexander Sarkissian).
- Gojowyczk’s best results in 2015 came on the Challenger Circuit. He won the title at Nan Chang (CHN)
(d. Amir Weintraub) and reached the semifinals at Ningbo (l. Yen-Hsun Lu). He played in 3 Tour-level events, winning just one match at Chennai (d. Alejandro Falla, l. Roberto Bautista Agut).
- Gojowyczk is looking for his 2nd victory over a Top 10 player, having defeated No. 9 Raonic at 2014 Halle. He has a 1-3 win-loss record against Top 10 players overall.
- Gojowczyk is coached by Lars Uebel. He trains at the Sport-Scheck Allwetteranlage in Munich.
13 MILOS RAONIC (CAN) v LUCAS POUILLE (FRA)
Head-to-head: Raonic leads 1-0
2016 Brisbane Hard (O) QF Raonic 64 64
A 2nd straight meeting in Australia this month for the 2 players. Raonic defeated Pouille en route to winning his 8th career title at Brisbane.
RAONIC v POUILLE
25 Age 21
14 ATP Ranking (18 Jan) 90
8 Titles 0
43-19 Career Grand Slam Record 1-7
14-5 Australian Open Record 0-2
211-103 Career Record 18-23
154-64 Career Record – Hard 12-14
4-0 2016 Record 2-1
4-0 2016 Record – Hard 2-1
5-4 Career Five-Set Record 0-1
0 Comebacks from 0-2 Down 0
137-88 Career Tiebreak Record 13-5
2-1 2016 Tiebreak Record 1-0
- RAONIC is bidding to maintain his record of always having reached the 2nd round here.
- Last year here as No. 8 seed Raonic recorded his best Australian Open result by reaching the quarterfinals (l. Novak Djokovic). This is his 6th Australian Open appearance and his 20th Grand Slam overall.
- Elsewhere in Grand Slam play in 2015, Raonic reached the 3rd round at both Wimbledon (l. Nick Kyrgios) and the US Open (l. Feliciano Lopez). He missed Roland Garros with a right foot injury, which required surgery in May 2015.
- Raonic’s best Grand Slam result is reaching the semifinals as No. 8 seed at 2014 Wimbledon (l. Roger Federer). He became the first Canadian man to reach a Grand Slam semifinal after Robert Powell at 1908 Wimbledon.
- Raonic’s best result in 2015 was winning the title at St. Petersburg (d. Joao Sousa). He also finished as runner-up at Brisbane (l. Federer) and reached the semifinals at Indian Wells-1000 and Rotterdam. He ended his season after Shanghai-1000 in October due to a hip injury.
- Raonic reached a career-high ranking of No. 4 in May 2015 after reaching the quarterfinals at Madrid-1000 (l. Andy Murray). He finished the year in the Top 20 for the 4th straight year and plays here at No. 14.
- Raonic warmed up for the Australian Open by winning his 8th career title as No. 4 seed at Brisbane, avenging his defeat to Federer in the 2015 final with his 2nd career victory over the Swiss. All 8 of Raonic’s career titles have come on a hard court.
- 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. 13 – his lowest Grand Slam seeding since 2013 Wimbledon.
- Raonic was born in Montenegro but moved to Canada in 1994. He started playing tennis aged 8.
- Raonic started working with former world No. 1 Carlos Moya at the 2016 Australian Open. Moya finished runner-up here in 1997 before going on to win Roland Garros in 1998. He is also coached by Riccardo Piatti.
- POUILLE is bidding to reach the 2nd round here for the first time and equal his best Grand Slam result.
- Pouille’s best Grand Slam performance is reaching the 2nd round on his Grand Slam debut as a wild card at 2013 Roland Garros (l. Grigor Dimitrov). It was his first Tour-level match-win.
- Pouille has lost in the 1st round in 6 of his 7 Grand Slam appearances – including as a wild card here in both 2014 (d. Alex Kuznetsov, l. Dusan Lajovic) and 2015, when he fell to Gael Monfils in his only career 5-set match to date. He failed to qualify here in 2013.
- Pouille warmed up for the Australian Open by reaching the quarterfinals at Brisbane (l. today’s opponent). It was just the 6th time he has won back-to-back matches at Tour-level.
- Pouille is bidding to defeat a player ranked in the Top 20 for the 3rd time. Pouille has a 2-6 win-loss record against Top 20 opposition, having defeated No. 20 Fabio Fognini at 2014 Paris-1000 and No. 16 David Goffin for the best win of his career at 2016 Brisbane.
- Pouille’s best results in 2015 were reaching his first Tour-level semifinals – as a lucky loser at Auckland
(l. Adrian Mannarino) and as a qualifier at Hamburg (l. Fabio Fognini). He also reached quarterfinals at St. Petersburg and Moscow, losing to Roberto Bautista Agut on both occasions, and finished as runner-up at the Mouilleron Le Captif Challenger (FRA).
- Pouille reached a career-high ranking of No. 23 on the junior circuit. He reached the quarterfinals of the boys’ event at the 2011 Australian Open and the 2nd round as a wild card at 2010 junior Roland Garros. He was a member of the French team that finished runner-up to USA at the 2008 World Junior Tennis Finals.
- Pouille entered the men’s doubles event here with Adrian Mannarino. The pair will play Victor Estrella Burgos/Santiago Giraldo in the 1st round.
- Pouille is coached by Emmanuel Planque.
16 BERNARD TOMIC (AUS) v DENIS ISTOMIN (UZB)
Head-to-head: Tomic leads 3-1
2012 Brisbane Hard (O) QF Tomic 63 76(4)
2012 Monte Carlo-1000 Clay (O) R64 Tomic 64 63
2013 Davis Cup Clay (I) R4 Tomic 46 62 62 63
2014 Washington Hard (O) R32 Istomin 64 76(6)
TOMIC v ISTOMIN
23 Age 29
17 ATP Ranking (18 Jan) 59
3 Titles 1
30-23 Career Grand Slam Record 28-30
12-7 Australian Open Record 7-9
133-117 Career Record 185-190
99-74 Career Record – Hard 107-119
4-2 2016 Record 0-2
4-2 2016 Record – Hard 0-2
7-2 Career Five-Set Record 11-6
2 Comebacks from 0-2 Down 2
80-64 Career Tiebreak Record 92-79
2-2 2016 Tiebreak Record 0-0
- TOMIC is bidding to record his 100th career hard court match-win today.
- Tomic is bidding to reach the 2nd round at the Australian Open for the 7th time. This is his 8th consecutive appearance at the Australian Open and his 25th Grand Slam overall.
- Tomic’s best Grand Slam result is reaching the quarterfinals as a qualifier at 2011 Wimbledon (l. Novak Djokovic). He was the youngest man since Boris Becker in 1986 to reach the quarterfinals at Wimbledon.
- Tomic’s best Australian Open performance is reaching the round of 16 in 2012 (l. Roger Federer) and 2015 (l. Tomas Berdych).
- Elsewhere at the Grand Slams in 2015, Tomic reached the 3rd round at Wimbledon (l. Novak Djokovic) and the US Open (l. Richard Gasquet) and fell in the 2nd round at Roland Garros (l. Thanasi Kokkinakis).
- Also in 2015, Tomic defended his title at Bogota (d. Adrian Mannarino) and reached the semifinals at Delray Beach (l. Donald Young). All of Tomic’s 3 career singles titles have come on a hard court.
- Tomic warmed up for the Australian Open by reaching the semifinals at Brisbane (l. Milos Raonic) and the quarterfinals at Sydney, where he retired with fatigue and dizziness while trailing Teymuraz Gabashvili 63 3-0. He plays here on a career-high ranking of No. 17.
- Tomic is one of 9 Australians starting in the men’s draw here. He is looking to become the first native champion to win the Australian Open men’s singles title since Mark Edmondson in 1976.
- Tomic is one of 8 former junior Australian Open champions in the draw. He won the 2008 Australian Open boys’ title aged 15 years 3 months, defeating Yang Tsung-Hua in the final. He was the youngest winner of the title since Ken Rosewall in 1950. He also won the 2009 US Open boys’ singles title (d. Chase Buchanan). Stefan Edberg is the only player to have won both the junior and senior title here in the Open Era. He captured the boys’ singles title in 1983, before winning the men’s singles in 1985 and 1987.
- Tomic is coached by his father John.
- ISTOMIN is bidding to reach the 2nd round here for the 6th time.
- Istomin is looking to record his first match-win of 2016. Prior to coming here Istomin lost in the 1st round at both Brisbane (l. Mikhail Kukushkin) and Sydney (Andreas Seppi).
- Last year here Istomin fell to Seppi in 5-sets in the 1st round. He has lost to Seppi in both of his 2 five-set matches at Melbourne Park but has an 11-6 win-loss record in 5-set matches overall.
- Istomin’s best Australian Open performance is reaching the 3rd round here in 2010 and 2014, losing to Novak Djokovic on both occasions. He is contesting his 10th Australian Open and his 31st Grand Slam overall.
- 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’s best result at the Grand Slams in 2015 was reaching the 2nd round at the US Open, where he retired with a right leg injury against Dominic Thiem. He fell in the 1st round at the Australian Open, Roland Garros (l. Nick Kyrgios) and Wimbledon, where he retired with fatigue against Albert Ramos-Vinolas.
- Istomin’s best result in 2015 was winning his first Tour-level singles title at Nottingham (d. Sam Querrey). He reached 3 further quarterfinals at Montpellier, Bastad and St. Petersburg and finished the year ranked inside the Top 100 for the 6th straight year. He plays here ranked No. 59.
- Istomin has won just one of his 14 previous matches against Top 20 opposition at the Grand Slams. His only win over a Top 20 player at a major came against No. 15 Nicolas Almagro at the 2013 US Open. He is on a 4-match losing streak against Top 20 players at Tour-level, with his last win over a Top 20 opponent coming against Ernests Gulbis at 2015 Dubai.
- Istomin entered the men’s doubles here with Aliaksandr Bury. The pair will play No. 14 seeds Treat Huey/Max Mirnyi in the 1st round. Istomin has won 3 doubles titles, including one with Bury in their 2nd tournament together at 2015 Gstaad.
- 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.
(WC) JAMES DUCKWORTH (AUS) v (WC) LLEYTON HEWITT (AUS)
Head-to-head: first meeting
Duckworth and Hewitt are 2 of the 9 Australian men to start in the main draw here vying to become the first homegrown champion since Mark Edmondson in 1976. This is just the 2nd all-Australian 1st round match-up at Melbourne Park since 2004. The most recent one in 2013 also featured Duckworth, who defeated Benjamin Mitchell in 5 sets for his first 5-set match-win.
DUCKWORTH v HEWITT
23* Age 34
129 ATP Ranking (18 Jan) 308
0 Titles 30
4-12 Career Grand Slam Record 147-63
3-4 Australian Open Record 31-19
16-30 Career Record 615-261
12-22 Career Record – Hard 371-157
1-2 2016 Record 0-0
1-2 2016 Record – Hard 0-0
3-4 Career Five-Set Record 32-25
0 Comebacks from 0-2 Down 6
15-15 Career Tiebreak Record 171-157
0-1 2016 Tiebreak Record 0-0
*Turns 24 on 21 January
- Wild card DUCKWORTH is looking to reach the 2nd round here and equal his best Grand Slam result.
- Duckworth earned a wild card into the main draw after winning the Australian Open wild card play-off. His final opponent, Benjamin Mitchell, withdrew ahead of the final to be with his girlfriend for the birth of their first child.
- This is Duckworth’s 5th straight Australian Open appearance and his 13th Grand Slam overall. He has lost in the 1st round in 8 of his 12 previous appearances at the majors, including as a wild card here in 2014
(l. Roger Federer).
- Duckworth’s best Grand Slam performance is reaching the 2nd round at Melbourne Park as a wild card in 2012 (d. Jurgen Zopp, l. Janko Tipsarevic), 2013 (d. Benjamin Mitchell, l. Blaz Kavcic) and 2015 (d. Kavcic,
Richard Gasquet), and as a direct acceptance at 2015 Wimbledon (d. Malek Jaziri, l. Sam Groth).
- Elsewhere at the majors in 2015, Duckworth lost in 5-sets in the 1st round at Roland Garros (l. Andrea Arnaboldi), and at the US Open (l. Hyeon Chung).
- Duckworth’s best results last year came on the Challenger Circuit. He reached the final at Kolkata (IND)
(l. Radu Albot) and the semifinals at San Luis Potosi (MEX) (l. Guido Pella). He reached 2 Tour-level quarterfinals at Brisbane and Nice. He reached a career-high ranking of No. 82 in April but plays here at No. 129.
- Prior to coming here, Duckworth reached the 2nd round as a wild card at Sydney (d. Inigo Cervantes Huegun, l. Jeremy Chardy) and lost in the 1st round as a wild card at Brisbane to Dominic Thiem. He reached his first career doubles final at Brisbane with Chris Guccione, losing to Henri Kontinen/John Peers.
- Duckworth has entered the men’s doubles event here as a wild card with countryman John Millman. The pair will face Lukas Dlouhy/Jiri Vesely in the 1st round.
- Duckworth reached the 2010 Australian Open boys’ singles quarterfinals as a wild card (l. Gianni Mina). He also reached the semifinals of the boys’ singles event at Roland Garros and reached a career-high junior ranking of No. 7 in July 2010.
- Duckworth’s grandmother Beryl Penrose was women’s singles champion at the 1955 Australian Championships.
- Duckworth is coached by Ben Mathias. His physical trainer is Ian Prangley.
- 2005 Australian Open runner-up HEWITT is making his 20th – and final – Australian Open appearance, extending his record for the most Australian Open appearances ahead of Fabrice Santoro (18) [see Preview page 3]. He is in joint-4th place in the list for the most appearances at a single Grand Slam.
- Hewitt is also making his 66th Grand Slam appearance overall, which puts him in 3rd place for the most Grand Slams played in the Open Era after Fabrice Santoro and Roger Federer [see Preview page 5].
- In his 19 previous appearances at Melbourne Park, Hewitt has fallen in the 1st round 7 times.
- Prior to coming here, Hewitt teamed with Jarmila Wolfe as the Australia Gold team at Hopman Cup. Hewitt defeated Jack Sock but lost to Jiri Vesely and Alexandr Dolgopolov in the round-robin.
- At last year’s Australian Open, Hewitt lost in the 2nd round in 5-sets to Benjamin Becker. He is on a 6-match losing streak in 5-set matches. Hewitt has a 7-6 win-loss record in 5-set matches at the Australian Open and a 32-25 5-set win-loss record overall. He hasn’t won a 5-set match at Melbourne Park since defeating Marcos Baghdatis in the 3rd round in 2008 in a match that finished at 4:34am.
- All 3 of Hewitt’s Grand Slam appearances in 2015 ended in 5-set defeats. As well as losing to Becker in the 2nd round here, he lost to Jarkko Nieminen in the 1st round as a wild card at Wimbledon in a match where the final set finished 11-9, and to Bernard Tomic as a wild card in the 2nd round at the US Open. He did not play at Roland Garros.
- Hewitt is a former Grand Slam champion, having won the 2001 US Open (d. Pete Sampras) and 2002 Wimbledon (d. David Nalbandian). He was one of 7 Grand Slam champions to start in the men’s main draw here.
- Hewitt finished runner-up here in 2005, becoming the first Australian to reach an Australian Open final since Pat Cash in 1988. He lost to Marat Safin 16 63 64 64 and had carried a hip flexor injury throughout the whole tournament.
- Hewitt has entered the men’s doubles event here with Sam Groth. The pair will play Dusan Lajovic/Viktor Troicki in the 1st round.
- In Davis Cup play in 2015, Hewitt helped Australia to reach the semifinals for the first time since 2006, where they lost to eventual champions Great Britain 3-2. He has been named as Australia’s Davis Cup captain and his first tie in charge will be against USA in Kooyong on 4-6 March.
- Outside of the Grand Slams and Davis Cup, Hewitt played a limited schedule in 2015, contesting just 6 other tournaments. He won 4 matches all year – 2 at the Grand Slams, one in Davis Cup and one at Washington. He plays here ranked No. 308.
- Hewitt is coached by Tony Roche and Jaymon Crabb.
ADRIAN MANNARINO (FRA) v SAM GROTH (AUS)
Head-to-head: first Tour-level meeting
2007 Great Britain Futures Hard (I) R32 Groth 64 76(4)
2014 Knoxville Challenger Hard (I) FR Mannarino 36 76(6) 64
MANNARINO v GROTH
27 Age 28
48 ATP Ranking (18 Jan) 67
0 Titles 0
16-23 Career Grand Slam Record 6-8
3-6 Australian Open Record 2-3
77-109 Career Record 32-43
54-73 Career Record – Hard 19-32
0-1 2016 Record 0-2
0-1 2016 Record – Hard 0-2
3-3 Career Five-Set Record 1-0
0 Comebacks from 0-2 Down 0
34-47 Career Tiebreak Record 36-29
- 2016 Tiebreak Record 0-3
- Lefthander MANNARINO is bidding to reach the 2nd round and equal his best Australian Open performance. He reached the 2nd round here in 2011 (d. Ryan Harrison, l. Richard Gasquet), 2014
(d. Steve Johnson, l. David Ferrer) and 2015 (d. Blaz Rola, l. Feliciano Lopez). Last year he retired in the 2nd round with illness.
- Mannarino’s best Grand Slam performance is a round of 16 finish at 2013 Wimbledon (l. Lukas Kubot) – one of just 3 times he has advanced beyond the 2nd round at a Grand Slam in 23 previous appearances. This is his 7th appearance at Melbourne Park and his 24th major overall.
- At the majors in 2015, Mannarino reached the 2nd round at the Australian Open, Wimbledon (d. Michael Berrer, l. Gael Monfils) and the US Open (d. Konstantin Kravchuk, l. Andy Murray) but fell in the 1st round at Roland Garros (l. Jurgen Melzer). He led Murray by 2-sets-to-love at the US Open before falling in 5-sets. His 5-set win-loss record is 3-3.
- Elsewhere in 2015, Mannarino reached his first Tour-level final at Auckland (l. Jiri Vesely) and also finished as runner-up at Bogota (l. Bernard Tomic). He reached the semifinals at Delray Beach (l. Ivo Karlovic). He reached a career-high ranking of No. 27 after his run to the final at Bogota and plays here at No. 48.
- Mannarino warmed-up for the Australian Open by winning the Noumea Challenger (CAL) (d. Alejandro Falla) but lost in the 1st round at Sydney to Nicolas Mahut.
- Mannarino is coached by Marc Gicquel, who reached the 3rd round here in 2008. His fitness trainer is Pascal Supiot from the French Tennis Federation.
- GROTH is looking for his first match-win of 2016. He is on a 5-match losing streak having not won a Tour-level match since the 2015 US Open.
- Groth recorded his best Grand Slam performance here last year when he reached the 3rd round
(l. Bernard Tomic). He also reached the 3rd round at 2015 Wimbledon (l. Roger Federer). This is his 4th Australian Open appearance and his 9th Grand Slam overall.
- Also at the Grand Slams last year, Groth reached the 2nd round at the US Open (d. Alexandr Dolgopolov, l. Tommy Robredo) but lost in the 1st round at Roland Garros (l. Pablo Cuevas).
- Groth’s best results in 2015 were quarterfinals finishes at Brisbane (l. Milos Raonic), Stuttgart (l. Viktor Troicki) and Washington (l. Kei Nishikori). He won 2 Challenger titles at Taipei (TPE) (d. Konstantin Kravchuk) and Manchester (GBR) (d. Luke Saville). He reached a career-high ranking of No. 53 in August but plays here ranked No. 67.
- Prior to coming here, Groth lost in the 1st round at both Brisbane (l. Hyeon Chung) and Sydney
(l. Federico Delbonis). His defeat to Delbonis at Sydney ended a run of 5 straight victories over lefthanded players. He has an 8-4 win-loss record against lefthanded players overall.
- Also in 2015, Groth helped Australia reach the Davis Cup World Group semifnals, where they lost to eventual champions Great Britain 3-2. In the quarterfinals against Kazakhstan, he won the doubles rubber with Hewitt and the 1st reverse singles rubber against Mikhail Kukushkin as Australia fought back from 0-2 down to record a historic win.
- Groth has entered the men’s doubles event here with Hewitt. They will play Dusan Lajovic/Viktor Troicki in the 1st round.
- Groth was one of 9 Australian men to start in the main draw here vying to be the first homegrown champion since Mark Edmondson in 1976.
- Groth is coached by Ben Mathias.
All statistics courtesy of Grand Slam Media and the Australia Open Men’s information team.
(January 9, 2016) For Novak Djokovic’s career 2015 season, the only tournament final he did not reach was Doha. He was upset in the quarterfinals by Ivo Karlovic. The No. 1 made up for not reaching the final last year by winning the title this year, dominating Rafael Nadal 6-1, 6-2 for his 60th career title. He has now reached 16 straight finals.
For Djokovic he became just the 10th player in the Open Era to earn 60 titles. He is tied with Andre Agassi and sits just two behind Guillermo Vilas at 62.
This was an Open Era 47th meeting between two players. The victory gives the Serbian a 24-23 edge over the Spaniard for the first time. Djokovic has won 11 straight sets over Nadal since the 2014 Roland Garros final.
“It did feel as close to perfection as it can get,” Djokovic said of the 73-minute match. “Obviously from the first to the last point I managed to impose my own tactical approach and strategy and what I have kind of prepared myself for, and the conditions were played to my favor. I just came out on the court with the right intention, with the right intensity, and with a great deal of confidence, as well, that I carried from the last season playing against him in the last couple of matches as well winning in straight sets.”
“The match is easy to analyze,” Nadal said. “I played against a player who did everything perfect. I don’t know anybody who played tennis like this ever. Since I know this sport I never saw somebody playing at this level. So I just congratulate him and that’s it. I know I can do a few things better, but the real thing is, with these conditions playing during the night and with the feeling of the ball here, it’s so difficult to have chances against him playing like this.”
Djokovic is a dominant 85-5 over the past 52 weeks and is 33-5 against the Top 10 in that time period.
Next stop for both men will be the first major of the year, the Australian Open in Melbourne which begins on January 18.
Over in Chennai, Stan Wawrinka is looking to win a third straight Chennai Open title. He’ll take on Borna Coric in the final on Sunday. Coric, at 19 has become the youngest finalist since Kei Nishikori in 2008 at Delray Beach.
No. 1 Djokovic defeated won his 17th straight contest against a Spanish challenger, stopping Fernando Verdasco 6-2, 6-2 while Nadal sent home Robin Haase 6-3, 6-2.
“I’m very pleased with the way I have started this season, with two matches in straight sets,” Djokovic said after the victory. “Tonight was tougher than the first round. Obviously I expected that. Verdasco is a former Top-10 player, somebody that has a lot of weapons in his game and who can create a lot of power from the forehand side. I wanted to take away the time from him. So I tried to mix it up. I served well in important moments.”
Djokovic will face Leonardo Mayer next for a place in the semifinals. “[Mayer] is a very intelligent tennis player,” Djokovic commented. “He knows how to anticipate well on the court and serves very well, even though he has a very high toss, but he doesn’t make too many double faults.”
Nadal will play Andrey Kuznetsov in his quarterfinal match-up.
Nadal was happy with his performance on Wednesday: “I played at a very high level against a good opponent today.
“My serve was a little bit worse than yesterday, but in general I am happy with the victory and my level of tennis. I hit my returns with a lot of confidence.”
As for the Spaniard’s next opponent: “I played against him at Roland Garros a couple of years ago, and he made some great shots. I hope I’ll be able to play at the same level as today.”
RESULTS – WEDNESDAY, 6 JANUARY 2016
Singles – Second Round
 N. Djokovic (SRB) d F. Verdasco (ESP) 62 62
 R. Nadal (ESP) d R. Haase (NED) 63 62
 T. Berdych (CZE) d D. Dzumhur (BIH) 60 64
 J. Chardy (FRA) d P. Mathieu (FRA) 62 64
 L. Mayer (ARG) d P. Andujar (ESP) 62 64
[Q] K. Edmund (GBR) d D. Muñoz de la Nava (ESP) 57 63 76(3)
I. Marchenko (UKR) d T. Gabashvili (RUS) 64 62
A. Kuznetsov (RUS) d R. Berankis (LTU) 76(6) 61
Doubles – Quarterfinals
 J. Rojer (NED) / H. Tecau (ROU) d T. Gabashvili (RUS) / A. Ramos-Vinolas (ESP) 61 61
 J. Murray (GBR) / B. Soares (BRA) d J. Chardy (FRA) / P. Mathieu (FRA) 76(5) 64
 F. Lopez (ESP) / M. Lopez (ESP) d S. Bolelli (ITA) / S. Stakhovsky (UKR) 62 67(3) 10-6
 P. Petzschner (GER) / A. Peya (AUT) d D. Marrero (ESP) / A. Seppi (ITA) 62 64
SCHEDULE – THURSDAY, 7 JANUARY 2016
CENTRE COURT start 3:30 pm
 J. Chardy (FRA) vs I. Marchenko (UKR)
A. Kuznetsov (RUS) vs  R. Nadal (ESP)
 N. Djokovic (SRB) vs  L. Mayer (ARG)
 T. Berdych (CZE) vs [Q] K. Edmund (GBR)
COURT 1 start 4:00 pm
 J. Rojer (NED) / H. Tecau (ROU) vs  P. Petzschner (GER) / A. Peya (AUT)
 F. Lopez (ESP) / M. Lopez (ESP) vs  J. Murray (GBR) / B. Soares (BRA)
ATP World Tour 250 $425,535
Chennai, India (+6 hours GMT)
4-10 January 2016 Surface: Hard
RESULTS – WEDNESDAY, 6 JANUARY 2016
Singles – Second Round
 S. Wawrinka (SUI) d [WC] A. Rublev (RUS) 63 62
 R. Bautista Agut (ESP) d J. Millman (AUS) 64 61
 G. Garcia-Lopez (ESP) d [Q] A. Pavic (CRO) 76(5) 61
 B. Coric (CRO) d A. Krajicek (USA) 62 75
Doubles – First Round
 O. Marach (AUT) / F. Martin (FRA) d A. Bedene (GBR) / T. Huey (PHI) 46 64 10-5
[WC] N. Balaji (IND) / R. Ramanathan (IND) d  M. Daniell (NZL) / A. Sitak (NZL) 26 76(5) 10-5
[WC] S. Devvarman (IND) / J. Nedunchezhiyan (IND) d N. Monroe (USA) / H. Podlipnik-Castillo (CHI) 46 63 10-5
A. Krajicek (USA) / B. Paire (FRA) d S. Betov (BLR) / M. Elgin (RUS) 67(2) 64 15-13
SCHEDULE – THURSDAY, 7 JANUARY 2016
STADIUM COURT start 5:00 pm
 B. Paire (FRA) vs L. Rosol (CZE)
[WC] R. Ramanathan (IND) vs [LL] A. Kudryavtsev (RUS)
A. Krajicek (USA) / B. Paire (FRA) vs  M. Granollers (ESP) / L. Paes (IND)
COURT 1 start 5:00 pm
[Q] T. Fabbiano (ITA) vs  G. Muller (LUX)
A. Bedene (GBR) vs L. Vanni (ITA)
 O. Marach (AUT) / F. Martin (FRA) vs M. Fyrstenberg (POL) / S. Gonzalez (MEX)
COURT 2 start Not Before 7:00 pm
After Suitable Rest –  R. Klaasen (RSA) / R. Ram (USA) vs L. Rosol (CZE) / I. Zelenay (SVK)
(January 5, 2016) Fourteen-time major champion Rafael Nadal notched his first victory of the season besting his Spanish countryman Pablo Carreno 6-7 (5) 6-3, 6-1.
Carreno gave Nadal a test in the first set. Nadal saved three set points but Carreno closed the set out on a fourth set point.
Nadal captured the next two sets in dominant fashion.
Another of Nadal’s countrymen, David Ferrer the defending champion, lost to Illya Marchenko of Ukraine.
RESULTS – TUESDAY, 5 JANUARY 2016
Singles – First Round
 R. Nadal (ESP) d P. Carreno Busta (ESP) 67(5) 63 61
 T. Berdych (CZE) d S. Stakhovsky (UKR) 75 64
I. Marchenko (UKR) d  D. Ferrer (ESP) 67(8) 63 62
R. Berankis (LTU) d  A. Seppi (ITA) 36 61 64
 L. Mayer (ARG) d [Q] B. Becker (GER) 61 62
F. Verdasco (ESP) d [WC] M. Jaziri (TUN) 76(4) 76(4)
P. Andujar (ESP) d P. Lorenzi (ITA) 64 06 64
P. Mathieu (FRA) d A. Ramos-Vinolas (ESP) 63 46 76(7) – saved 1 M.P.
T. Gabashvili (RUS) d S. Bolelli (ITA) 46 64 61
Doubles – First Round
 J. Rojer (NED) / H. Tecau (ROU) d J. Erlich (ISR) / C. Fleming (GBR) 76(4) 63
 J. Murray (GBR) / B. Soares (BRA) d R. Albot (MDA) / M. Klizan (SVK) 63 63
 F. Lopez (ESP) / M. Lopez (ESP) d W. Koolhof (NED) / M. Middelkoop (NED) 76(5) 64
 P. Petzschner (GER) / A. Peya (AUT) d [WC] M. Zayed (QAT) / M. Zayid (QAT) 61 61
S. Bolelli (ITA) / S. Stakhovsky (UKR) d J. Knowle (AUT) / A. Sa (BRA) 76(6) 61
SCHEDULE – WEDNESDAY, 6 JANUARY 2016
CENTRE COURT start 3:30 pm
 J. Chardy (FRA) vs P. Mathieu (FRA)
Not Before 5:00 pm
 N. Djokovic (SRB) vs F. Verdasco (ESP)
R. Haase (NED) vs  R. Nadal (ESP)
 T. Berdych (CZE) vs D. Dzumhur (BIH)
COURT 1 start 3:30 pm
T. Gabashvili (RUS) vs I. Marchenko (UKR)
R. Berankis (LTU) vs A. Kuznetsov (RUS)
[Q] K. Edmund (GBR) vs D. Muñoz de la Nava (ESP)
COURT 2 start 3:30 pm
P. Andujar (ESP) vs  L. Mayer (ARG)
S. Bolelli (ITA) / S. Stakhovsky (UKR) vs  F. Lopez (ESP) / M. Lopez (ESP)
After Suitable Rest –  J. Rojer (NED) / H. Tecau (ROU) vs T. Gabashvili (RUS) / A. Ramos-Vinolas (ESP)
COURT 3 start 4:00 pm
 P. Petzschner (GER) / A. Peya (AUT) vs D. Marrero (ESP) / A. Seppi (ITA)
After Suitable Rest – J. Chardy (FRA) / P. Mathieu (FRA) vs  J. Murray (GBR) / B. Soares (BRA)
ATP World Tour 250 $425,535
Chennai, India (+6 hours GMT)
4-10 January 2016 Surface: Hard
RESULTS – TUESDAY, 5 JANUARY 2016
Singles – First Round
 G. Garcia-Lopez (ESP) d T. Daniel (JPN) 46 75 62
 G. Muller (LUX) d [WC] K. Khachanov (RUS) 67(3) 76(4) 62
A. Bedene (GBR) d  V. Pospisil (CAN) 75 76(6)
[WC] A. Rublev (RUS) d [Q] S. Devvarman (IND) 63 36 63
L. Rosol (CZE) d S. Giraldo (COL) 63 64
[Q] T. Fabbiano (ITA) d [Q] J. Kovalik (SVK) 16 63 64
A. Krajicek (USA) d R. Ram (USA) 67(0) 64 64
L. Vanni (ITA) d J. Struff (GER) 64 76(5)
[WC] R. Ramanathan (IND) d D. Gimeno-Traver (ESP) 62 60
Doubles – First Round
 M. Granollers (ESP) / L. Paes (IND) d [Alt] T. Daniel (JPN) / J. Millman (AUS) 62 63
M. Fyrstenberg (POL) / S. Gonzalez (MEX) d A. Bury (BLR) / B. Coric (CRO) 64 63
SCHEDULE – WEDNESDAY, 6 JANUARY 2016
STADIUM COURT start 5:00 pm
 B. Coric (CRO) vs A. Krajicek (USA)
 S. Wawrinka (SUI) vs [WC] A. Rublev (RUS)
J. Millman (AUS) vs  R. Bautista Agut (ESP)
COURT 1 start 5:00 pm
[WC] N. Balaji (IND) / R. Ramanathan (IND) vs  M. Daniell (NZL) / A. Sitak (NZL)
[Q] A. Pavic (CRO) vs  G. Garcia-Lopez (ESP)
[WC] S. Devvarman (IND) / J. Nedunchezhiyan (IND) vs N. Monroe (USA) / H. Podlipnik-Castillo (CHI)
COURT 2 start 6:00 pm
 O. Marach (AUT) / F. Martin (FRA) vs A. Bedene (GBR) / T. Huey (PHI)
After Suitable Rest – A. Krajicek (USA) / B. Paire (FRA) vs S. Betov (BLR) / M. Elgin (RUS)
First blood in the first set went to the three-time defending champion even though at times he looked off kilter as he pounded away in the rallies. Nerves looked to still be with him as he gifted away a set point on Federer’s serve before finally wrapping it up.
There were no SABRs but there were some great rallies, but Federer’s inconsistency tended to lead in and away from moments of brilliance, and that appeared to be the story of his final.
In the second set, even after having to claw his way back from three break points down in a game, he found himself in trouble again and this time, he could not pull off the Houdini act. He saved one match point, but relinquished the other, although he made Djokovic wait for the victory, challenging the line call before conceding the match.
Djokovic now carves out a bit of history for himself – he is the first player to win four titles in a row, and he how equaled his head-to-head records with both Rafael Nadal and Federer in just this week alone.
Speaking on court after his win, he said: “I’m very proud together with my team for the achievements this season,” Djokovic said on court. “It could not have been a better finish. It’s the best season of my life.
“I’d like to congratulate Roger, tough luck today. We’ve played so many matches. I wish you a great next season. Rest well with your family and close ones. I hope we can have many more great matches next season.”
“For some reason or another, I’ve been playing some of my best tennis after the U.S. Open, in Asia and also indoors, both Paris and London.”
Federer could only really concede he had lost to the better player. Also talking during the trophy presentation, he said: “It’s better than not paying at all like last year. I’d just like to say how happy I am that I could play today.
“It was a tough moment last year but this week was great again. I’ve had a fantastic year all round. I tried my best this week, thought I played some great tennis, even in the final. Some of the points were crazy.
“Novak deserved the win today. He’s had a ridiculously good year. This year has been long, grueling, tough. But I loved every moment of it.”
With that loss Federer also loses out on the World No. 2 spot to Andy Murray, who will play in the Davis Cup Final starting Friday November 27 in Belgium.
Djokovic ends 2015 winning 11 tournaments – three out of the four major titles, six Masters Series 1000 trophies in addition to the ATP’s year-end event.
(November 21, 2015) LONDON, UK – In a repeat of a round robin match earlier in the competiton, Novak Djokovic will take on Roger Federer in the final of the ATP World Tour Finals on Sunday.
If there were any lingering doubts about whether Djokovic was ready to mount his offensive for a fourth straight title, at the ATP World Tour Finals, they only had to look at his start in the semi-final.
Swiftly establishing a 3-0 lead, he was the one calling all the shots. Nadal seemed to struggle to even stay with the Serbian, much less even get a look at his serve.
It took just a single break in the first set for Djokovic to keep his advantage, and at the start of the second set he looked like he was going for a mirror image of the first.
While Nadal managed to at least hold that attempt off, he would surrender a break shortly afterwards and in a final indignity, Djokovic broke him to seal the match.
Djokovic said, in his on-court interview: “It was a great performance, no doubt. From the very beginning I pushed to execute my game plan, trying to be aggressive, dictate the play.
“It’s easier said than done when playing as great of a defender as Rafa. He was playing some great tennis earlier this week. I managed to pull out my best game when it was needed the most. Just glad to get through to final.”
For Nadal – it was his best close post-US Open after a disastrous start to the year by his standards, and so he looks forward to 2016 in the hope that he has regained his confidence.
Roger Federer def. Stan Wawrinka 7-5, 6-3
This had the promise of being a hard fought three-setter, and indeed when Wawrinka broke Federer in the middle of the first set, it looked as though this would most certainly go the distance.
A sloppy game at the end of the set though handed it to Federer, and that momentum stayed with him as he quickly jumped out to a 3-0 lead.
Wawrinka was at least able to stop the rot and prevented Federer from breaking him to grab the set, but all to rapidly, Federer served out to love for a most straight forward win.
“He [Djokovic] should be knocked out by now,” Federer joked in his on-court interview. “I’m joking. It’s a great format, the round robin. He’s had a tremendous year, another great semifinal against Rafa [Nadal]. I know it will be difficult tomorrow. I’ll give it all I have, it’s the last match of the season.”
He now sets up the final fans were denied last year, and will face three-time defending champion Novak Djokovic.
(November 20, 2015) LONDON, UK – Is there such a thing as an inconsequential match? On paper, Rafael Nadal had nothing to lose or indeed gain with his final group round robin match, while David Ferrer was playing for sheer pride at the ATP World Tour Finals on Friday
At the start it actually looked like Nadal was on a mission to put his compatriot out of his misery early, but with typical tenaciousness, Ferrer scrapped and scampered his way back into the match, indeed nudging the lead once back on serve. Having reeled off four games in a row, Ferrer kept toe-to-toe with Nadal, forcing a tie-break and running away with it to take the first set off Nadal 7-6(4).
That would get the crowd sitting up, as a highly competitive second set was decided with a late break after Nadal failed to capitalize on an earlier break point.
An epic 14-minute hold at the start of the second set would help maybe speed Ferrer to a face saving win, but once more it was a late break that confirmed Nadal’s resurgence. The world No. 6 went on to win 6-7(4), 6-3, 6-4.
As gritty and as dogged as Ferrer is, it was maybe unfair of him to come away with a 0-3 record, but he is as determined as he is consistent, so do not count out seeing him again this time next year.
Nadal faces three-time defending champion Novak Djokovic next.
“It is very important for me to be finishing the season like this, competing well against the best players,” said Nadal, when he was interviewed on court.
“Novak is playing almost better than impossible. He is achieving almost everything that one player can dream. I have to play to the limit of my best to have a chance.”
The straight shoot-out between Stan Wawrinka and Andy Murray came in the evening session. Prior to the match many felt it would come down to whichever Wawrinka showed up, but in truth while the more aggressive player got the first strike, Murray kept him in check and even built up a solid lead in the resulting first set tie-break which went to the Swiss 7-4.
Therein lay the issue – ahead and looking in control a run of basic errors cost Murray the set, with Wawrinka having to do not very much at all. He continued that streak into the start of the second set with an early break but it was the Swiss’ turn to lose the plot as he served out for the match at 5-2.
Murray looked to be clawing his way back to level terms, but he really had not left enough time, and once some errors swept in giving Wawrinka a 7-6(4), 6-4 win which sets up a rematch of the last year’s prickly semifinal with compatriot Roger Federer.
“It was important to get the first set,” Wawrinka said in his on court interview “It was a tough battle, it’s always tough against Andy. It was an amazing atmosphere, I really enjoyed it tonight.
“It’s going to be an interesting match [against Federer] for sure, we played a crazy match last year, it’s always special against him. I will try to rest and be ready for tomorrow.”
The semifinals start at 12pm GMT on Saturday.
(November 20, 2015) LONDON, UK – With Roger Federer installed at the top of the Stan Smith group at the ATP World Tour Finals, and a tight head-to-head with the Japanese No. 1, it would be interesting to see how this match unfurled. Federer was quick to deliver the first blow, only to be pegged right back.
Kei Nishikori may have had a slow start but he was not going to go quietly into the night, taking the initiative to put Federer on the back foot, only to lose the advantage.
It was a tight finish to the first set, with Federer finally taking it, and the momentum stayed with him as he quickly left Nishikori standing with a 4-1 lead. The comeback from the Japanese player was remarkable, winning the next five games.
Again Federer was the quicker off the blocks in the decider but there is something about that 1-4 score-line that spurred Nishikori into access once more, but this time his three-game run was as far as he would go, with Federer winning 7-5, 4-6, 6-4.
After the match Federer praised his opponent, who last year reached the semi-final on his debut.
Federer said: “It’s amazing what [Nishikori]’s able to produce on the court. Today was another showcase of that. It was impressive. It wasn’t easy, but somehow I got it done.”
Novak Djokovic needed just a single set to advance, having weathered a bearded Federer storm, and put the Czech Tomas Berdych under immediate pressure. While he wasn’t able to hold on to the advantage, there was always a sense that the push would come from the Serbian as he chipped away at Berdych before finally getting a break at the end of the set.
While Djokovic took the early initiative once more, he made pretty hard work for himself, giving Berdych a route back in to the match. Still it was not enough for the Czech, and he blinked first, with Djokovic closing out a 6-3 7-5 win and he will go on to face Rafael Nadal in the semi-final.
“I’ve played him so many times on different surfaces, two or three on this very court,” he said after his victory. “Hopefully I’ll be able to perform my best, that’s what’s needed to compete against him.”
With all eyes on the evening match on Friday, it is a straight shoot out between Stan Wawrinka and Andy Murray for a place to fight Federer.
Play will start for the final day of round robin matches at 12pm.