Nishioka Comes Full Circle With Delray Beach Win

Japanese Yoshihito Nishioka beat American wild card Brandon Nakashima 3-6, 7-6(5), 6-4 in two hours and 26 minutes on Friday to reach the semi-finals of the Delray Beach Open by VITACOST.com. But it was more than just an ordinary win for the 24-year-old.

The victory nearly guarantees that Nishioka will climb past his previous career-high FedEx ATP Ranking of No. 58 on Monday. It’s an emotional accomplishment for the lefty, who achieved that ranking on 20 March 2017. Four days later, he tore his left ACL and he would fall as low as World No. 380 in April 2018.

“That should be my career-high ranking after coming back from my knee surgery,” said Nishioka, currently World No. 63. “I’m very happy for that.”

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Watch Nishioka & More ATP Stars Play DBO Kart In Delray:

Nishioka didn’t need to save a match point against Nakashima, but he was certainly tested. In the third set, Nishioka took a 5-1 lead, but Nakashima brought it back to 5-4 before the Japanese was able to finish off his victory.

“I think he played great tennis today… he played almost perfectly,” Nishioka said of Nakashima, who was trying to reach his first tour-level semi-final in his ATP Tour main draw debut. “He was playing so good from the beginning. I thought I lost today.

“He can hit the ball, he never misses that much. His service games are perfect. It was a very tough match, but I just kept my mind straight and just focussed.”

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Nishioka will next play sixth seed Ugo Humbert, who was efficient in a 6-1, 6-2 win against 2018 champion Frances Tiafoe.

“Big performance today. It’s never easy to play Frances. You have to be at 100 per cent if you want to have a chance to win,” Humbert said. “He’s always dangerous, he has a big serve, big forehand, and I tried to stay focussed on my plan and what I had to do.”

Humbert is into his fifth ATP Tour semi-final, and his second in the United States. The lefty is the first Frenchman to reach the Delray Beach semi-finals since Adrian Mannarino in 2015.

Reilly Opelka, the 2019 New York Open champion, did not face break point in a 6-3, 6-4 win against South Korea's Soonwoo Kwon.

"It was ugly, but that's part of it," Opelka said. "Given the circumstances I served unbelievably. It was one of the windiest matches

Read more: https://www.atptour.com/en/news/raonic-opelka-nishioka-humbert-delray-beach-2020-friday

Unbeaten Djokovic Joins Tsitsipas, Monfils In Dubai; All You Need To Know

Novak Djokovic looks to continue his perfect start to the 2020 season next week at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, an ATP 500 tournament. Djokovic comes to Dubai with a 13-0 match record this season in singles (and 2-0 in doubles). He led Serbia to the inaugural ATP Cup title and won a record-extending eighth Australian Open crown to clinch his return to No. 1 in the FedEx ATP Rankings. He will be looking to reclaim the Dubai title after winning four titles in five years from 2009-11 and '13. 

Two other Top 10 players, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Gael Monfils, also return to Dubai. Tsitsipas defeated Monfils in the semi-finals last year before finishing runner-up to Roger Federer. Monfils enters on a nine-match winning streak, following triumphs at the Open Sud de France (d. Pospisil) and ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament (d. Auger-Aliassime) in February.

The 2020 Dubai field additionally features Fabio Fognini, Roberto Bautista Agut, Andrey Rublev and Karen Khachanov. Rublev, 22, will also be going for his third title of 2020 after winning the Qatar ExxonMobil Open and Adelaide International in the first two weeks of the year. 

Here's all you need to know about the Dubai tennis tournament: when is the draw, what is the schedule, where to watch, who has won and more. 

Established: 1993

Tournament Dates: 24 -29 February 2020

Tournament Director: Salah Tahlak

Draw Ceremony: Saturday, 22 February at 1:00pm at VIP Majlis Dubai Duty Free Tennis Stadium

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Schedule (View On Official Website)
* Qualifying: Saturday at 11:00am and Sunday at 12:00pm
* Main draw: Monday – Wednesday at 2:00pm and 7:00pm, Thursday at 3:00pm and 7:00pm, Friday at 2:30pm and 7:30pm
* Doubles final: Saturday, 29 February at 5:00pm
* Singles final: Saturday, 29 February not before 7:00pm

How To Watch
Watch Live On Tennis TV  
TV Schedule

Venue: Dubai Duty Free Tennis Stadium
Main Court Seating: 5,500

Prize Money: USD $2,794,840 (Total Financial Commitment: USD $2,950,420)

Read more: https://www.atptour.com/en/news/dubai-2020-tennis-atp-500-history-draw-schedule-tickets

Former World No. 1 Kuerten Reflects On 'Most Perfect Match That I Ever Played'

Gustavo Kuerten has been in attendance at this week’s Rio Open presented by Claro, giving his home fans a look at his trademark smile. He has even more reason to smile as he approached the 20th anniversary of when he climbed to No. 1 in the FedEx ATP Rankings for the first time on 4 December 2000.

“As a tennis player, nothing could be higher than becoming No. 1 at the [Tennis Masters Cup], beating Pete and then Andre back to back,” Kuerten said. “This is the highlight of my career by far.”

At the end of the 2000 season, Kuerten competed in Lisbon, Portugal at the Tennis Masters Cup. The Brazilian began the tournament as World No. 2, but he beat Magnus Norman and Yevgeny Kafelnikov in round-robin play to earn a spot in the semi-finals. Then he rallied past Pete Sampras to make the final, where he avenged a round-robin loss against Andre Agassi to win the season finale and climb to World No. 1.

“The most perfect match that I ever played was in the final,” said Kuerten, who beat Agassi 6-4, 6-4, 6-4.

Those are happy memories, but Kuerten is excited to watch today’s stars, especially at his home ATP 500 in Rio de Janeiro. It is the seventh edition of this event.

“Tennis is still very emotional to me. I often go to the court. I also need to be around,” Kuerten said. “It’s important to me to come here, to connect still [with] people, make sure they understand the value of this tournament to Brazilian tennis.

“I think we’ve gotten to a point that everybody knows how good it is to be playing here in Rio. I’m sure in two or three years we’re going to have a Brazilian player with a real chance to build up expectations.”

#NextGenATP Brazilian Thiago Seyboth Wild won a match and pushed Borna Coric to a third-set tie-break. #NextGenATP Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz, at the age of 16, defeated World No. 41 Albert Ramos-Vinolas in the first round. Alcaraz is the youngest player to beat an opponent ranked as high as No. 41 in an ATP Tour match since David Koch defeated No. 41 Fabrice Santoro at 1993 Prague.

"Alcaraz, his age and his potential is just bright. You have to look at Nadal. Even knowing that’s kind of impossible, but the mentality, the way you see, it’s a different human being,” Kuerten said.

Read more: https://www.atptour.com/en/news/kuerten-rio-2020-feature

Garin Ties A Personal Best In Rio de Janeiro

Chilean Cristian Garin tied his personal-best winning streak on Friday, earning his seventh consecutive triumph with a 2-6, 6-3, 7-5 victory against Argentine qualifier Federico Coria to reach the semi-finals of the Rio Open presented by Claro.

"It was a very tough fight. Federico is a player who is improving a lot," Garin said. "I'm very happy to be in the semi-finals. Tough conditions, but I won, so I want to be ready for tomorrow."

Since last April, the third seed has won his first three ATP Tour titles — all on clay — and he is now two wins from lifting tour-level trophy No. 4. Garin, who was victorious in Cordoba earlier this month, has rallied from a set down in five of his past six matches. Against Coria, he battled through the rain to overcome the inspired World No. 116 in two hours and 15 minutes.

Garin appeared in control when he served for the semi-finals at 5-4 in the deciding set. But Coria, the younger brother of former World No. 3 Guillermo Coria, did not hand the Chilean the win. Garin was unable to land a knockout blow, allowing the Argentine back on serve.

[WATCH LIVE 1]

But Garin broke back immediately, crushing an inside-out forehand winner to earn another chance to serve for the match. And this time, he did not let slip his chance, raising his arms in celebration after Coria missed a forehand return long.

Garin, who won 76 per cent of his first-serve points, will next play fifth seed Borna Coric or Italian Lorenzo Sonego.

Read more: https://www.atptour.com/en/news/thiem-garin-coric-rio-2020-friday

Superb Simon Sends Medvedev Packing In Marseille, To Face Felix

Gilles Simon has climbed as high as No. 6 in the FedEx ATP Rankings, captured 14 ATP Tour titles, and he is closing in on 500 tour-level wins. But the Frenchman has had more success at the Open 13 Provence than any other tournament, and on Friday he showed why.

Simon upset top seed and World No. 5 Daniil Medvedev 6-4, 6-0 in just 67 minutes to reach the semi-finals in Marseille. The 35-year-old has now won 29 matches at this tournament (29-11), more triumphs than he has earned at any other event.

Simon: Most Wins By Event

 Marseille 29  Australian Open  25  Wimbledon  22  Roland Garros  21  Metz  21

The World No. 58 leads the Russian star 3-0 in their ATP Head2Head series after winning 91 per cent of his first-serve points in their quarter-final. Simon broke serve five times from six opportunities and only dropped his serve once to reach the last four in Marseille for the fifth time. He will next play #NextGenATP Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime. 

Simon lifted his first ATP Tour trophy in Marseille in 2007, and he also emerged victorious here in 2015. He has won five of his 14 tour-level titles in France, with the other three coming in Metz.

The 35-year-old had not won multiple matches at the same event this season when he arrived in Marseille. But Simon has not dropped a set en route to the semi-finals. Medvedev, who reached nine tour-level finals in 2019, was pursuing his first semi-final of 2020.

[WATCH LIVE 2]

Simon's next opponent, seventh seed Auger-Aliassime, eliminated Pune finalist Egor Gerasimov of Belarus 7-5, 6-2. 

Gerasimov earned his first Top 10 win on Thursday against third seed David Goffin (previously 0-3, 0-7 in sets), so the Belarusian carried plenty of momentum into his battle against Auger-Aliassime. But the Canadian, who saved multiple match points in his first two matches of the tournament, broke serve four times and won 83 per cent of his first-serve points to beat the qualifier in straight sets.

Felix is now one win from reaching his fifth ATP Tour final (0-4). The 19-year-old most recently became the youngest finalist in Rotterdam history, fall

Read more: https://www.atptour.com/en/news/medvedev-simon-marseille-2020-friday

Bryan Brothers Into The Delray Beach Semis

Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan have long enjoyed success at the Delray Beach Open by VITACOST.com, winning the title five times. The American twins got off to a good start on Friday in their final visit to this ATP 250 event.

Bryan and Bryan, who will retire after this year's US Open, battled past Indian Divij Sharan and New Zealand's Artem Sitak 6-2, 4-6, 10-3 in 69 minutes to reach the semi-finals in Delray Beach. The top seeds were strong on serve in their first match of the tournament, winning 86 per cent of their second-serve points and saving four of the five break points they faced.

It is the brothers' eighth trip to the semi-finals at this event, and each time they have made the last four, they have advanced to the final. Bryan/Bryan will next play El Salvador's Marcelo Arevalo and Great Britain's Jonny O'Mara, who have not dropped a set in the tournament. 

In last year's semi-finals, Bryan/Bryan defeated Arevalo and American Jamie Cerretani in straight sets before beating fellow brothers Ken Skupski/Neal Skupski for the trophy.

[WATCH LIVE 3]

Second Seeds Reach Final In Marseille
Second seeds Wesley Koolhof and Nikola Mektic advanced to the Open 13 Provence final with a 6-4, 6-2 win against Denmark's Frederik Nielsen and German Tim Puetz. It will be Koolhof and Mektic's first final as a team. Koolhof won the season-opening Qatar ExxonMobil Open alongside Indian Rohan Bopanna.

Koolhof and Mektic will face the winner between top seeds Kevin Krawietz/Andreas Mies and Nicolas Mahut/Vasek Pospisil for the trophy.

Read more: https://www.atptour.com/en/news/doubles-bryan-brothers-delray-beach-2020-friday

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