Anderson Survives Tough Test In Return At The Queen's Club

World No. 8 Kevin Anderson made a successful return to action on Monday, rallying past home favourite Cameron Norrie 4-6, 7-6(5), 6-4 in two hours and 21 minutes to reach the second round of the Fever-Tree Championships.

This is the second seed’s first tournament since Miami three months ago, and just his second event since the Australian Open, as he has been recovering from an elbow injury. The South African won his sixth ATP Tour title to start the season in Pune.

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Anderson struck 19 aces and won all but four of his first-serve points (56/60) to get by World No. 49 Norrie, who was looking for his first main draw win at The Queen’s Club on his third attempt. Anderson reached the final at this ATP 500 tournament in 2015.

Early on, the 2018 Nitto ATP Finals qualifier appeared to be understandably rusty, getting broken in his first service game. But Anderson was not broken the rest of the way. The 33-year-old increasingly worked his way into the Brit’s service games, showing good movement and groundstroke play to back up his booming serve, withstanding Norrie’s 12 aces.

Anderson will next play Frenchman Gilles Simon or British qualifier James Ward. He will be looking to build form on the grass, a surface on which he has enjoyed plenty of success. Last year, Anderson made his second Grand Slam final by reaching the championship match at Wimbledon.

Did You Know?
Anderson said before competing this week that his elbow injury has not completely prohibited him from training. The South African has had no limitations with his groundstrokes, only his serve.

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Watch Magic Man Monfils Shock Even Himself With Halle Stunner

Would it be a Gael Monfils match without a highlight-reel shot?

Frenchman Pierre-Hugues Herbert beat his countryman Monfils 7-6(6), 6-4 on Monday at the NOVENTI OPEN, but it was the latter who provided the moment of the match. Herbert sent the veteran running towards the baseline with a lob, but instead of turning around to hit a standard backhand passing shot, Monfils — still facing the back of the court — flicked a crosscourt winner on the forehand side of his racquet.

Monfils immediately held his arms out in celebration, revelling in the crowd's cheers. His friend Herbert cracked a smile and clapped to acknowledge the shot. 

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Cilic Navigates Past Garin At The Queen's Club

In last year's Fever-Tree Championships final, Marin Cilic needed to save championship point before defeating Novak Djokovic to win the title. The Croatian was pushed on Monday, but not quite as far as he began his title defence.

Cilic defeated breakthrough Chilean Cristian Garin 6-1, 7-6(5) in one hour and 17 minutes to reach the second round at The Queen's Club, where the Croat now holds a 30-9 record.

Cilic was in cruise control for most of the match against the 23-year-old, who claimed his first two ATP Tour titles earlier this year on clay. There were few extended rallies early on, with Cilic serving for the match at 5-3 in the second set. But a momentary lapse of concentration allowed Garin to gain confidence, and he took a 4/0 lead in the second-set tie-break. But the Chilean made a series of unforced errors, and Cilic took full advantage.

The fifth seed, who broke Garin's serve four times, has advanced to at least the semi-finals at this ATP 500 tournament in each of his past three appearances, and five times overall. On top of his triumph last year, Cilic was victorious in 2012 and reached two additional finals (2013, ‘17).

This could be the jumpstart of Cilic’s season, as the 30-year-old has made just one quarter-final in 2019. He will next face Argentine Diego Schwartzman, who dismissed qualifier Alexander Bublik 6-2, 6-3 in 52 minutes.

Cilic has won two of the pair’s three FedEx ATP Head2Head meetings, although they have never played on grass. Cilic needed only 72 minutes to beat Schwartzman in Toronto last season.

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The first seeded player Cilic could face is fourth seed Daniil Medvedev, who snapped a five-match losing streak with a 6-2, 6-4 victory against Spaniard Fernando Verdasco. The Russian, who is at a career-high No. 13 in the ATP Rankings, saved all three break points he faced to avoid his fifth consecutive opening-round loss.

Medvedev ranks fifth on the ATP Tour with 26 wins this year, trailing only Rafael Nadal (32-5), Stefanos Tsitsipas (32-13), Novak Djokovic (28-6) and Roger Federer (27-4). He will play Frenchman Lucas Pouille or wild card Jay Clarke next.

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Berrettini Rises To Career-High, Mover Of The Week

No. 22 (Career High) Matteo Berrettini, +8
The Italian held each of his 50 service games throughout the week at the MercedesCup en route to the trophy. Berrettini, who has captured each of his three ATP Tour titles in the past 11 months, defeated Nick Kyrgios and Karen Khachanov in his opening two matches. After beating Felix Auger-Aliassime in the championship match, the 23-year-old jumps eight places to a career-high No. 22 in the ATP Rankings. Read More.

No. 34 Adrian Mannarino, +10
The 30-year-old ended his losing streak in ATP Tour championship matches in style at the Libema Open, lifting his first trophy in seven finals after a straight-sets victory against Jordan Thompson. Mannarino overcame three consecutive seeded opponents, Fernando Verdasco, David Goffin and Borna Coric, to reach the final in 's-Hertogenbosch. The Frenchman leaps 10 spots to No. 34 in the ATP Rankings. Read More.

No. 46 (Career High) Jordan Thompson, +16
Despite falling short of his first ATP Tour crown, Thompson enjoyed a breakthrough week in the Netherlands. The 25-year-old Australian arrived at the Libema Open, without an ATP Tour semi-final appearance to his name, but defeated sixth seed Frances Tiafoe and third seed Alex de Minaur en route to the championship match. Thompson soars 16 positions to a career-high No. 46 in the ATP Rankings.

Other Notable Movers
No. 54 Richard Gasquet, -12
No. 63 Daniel Evans, +7
No. 65 Jeremy Chardy, -16
No. 80 Matthew Ebden, -14
No. 86 (Career High) Corentin Moutet, +16
No. 88 Jaume Munar, -14

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20 Things To Watch In London & Halle

In week two of the grass-court season, the ATP Tour heads to ATP 500 tournaments in London and Halle. Top seed Stefanos Tsitsipas prepares to make his debut at the Fever-Tree Championships, while nine-time champion Roger Federer will be searching for a 10th trophy at the NOVENTI OPEN. Here are 20 things to watch from the ATP 500 events:

10 Things To Watch In London/Queen's Club

1) Fantastic Field: The top players in tennis continue the grass-court season as they head to ATP 500 events in London and Halle. At the Fever-Tree Championships, top seed Stefanos Tsitsipas, 2015 finalist Kevin Anderson, and defending champion Marin Cilic are all in action. Also, Andy Murray returns to the ATP Tour for the first time since the Australian Open, in the doubles draw.

2) Greece Lightning: One year ago, Tsitsipas was at a career-high ranking of No. 35. Since then, he has achieved a new career-high ranking 10 more times, cresting to his current peak of No. 6, having earned three ATP 250 titles. This week's No. 1 seed, who has reached two ATP Masters 1000 finals and made a run to the 2019 Australian Open semi-finals, is seeking his first grass-court title.

Read Tsitsipas: 'I Would Love To See Myself Playing In The O2'

3) Comeback Kevin: No. 2 seed Anderson returns to action after injury has kept him off the Tour since a quarter-final loss to Roger Federer in Miami in March. Anderson has been limited to just three events in the first five months of the season, but will try to come back strong during the grass-court swing. The South African made his second Grand Slam final on the lawns of Wimbledon last year.

4) Champ Cilic: Defending champion Cilic holds a superb 29-9 win-loss record at The Queen’s Club. The Croat won the first of his two London titles in 2012 and also reached the championship match in 2013 and 2017. Cilic, who owns a 9-8 tour-level record this season, will try to kickstart his year after falling to No. 15 in the ATP Rankings, his lowest position since 2014.

5) Determined Delpo: Juan Martin del Potro contested just one event in the first four months of the season. But the Tower of Tandil owns a 5-2 record in his two most recent events, reaching the quarter-finals in Rome and the fourth round at Roland Garros.

6) Russian to the Top: Daniil Medvedev aims to jo

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Del Potro: 'The Chance To Play Well Is Very Big'

The switch from clay to grass can provide players with a difficult challenge in a crucial part of the ATP Tour season, but Juan Martin del Potro is relishing the opportunity to adapt his game and achieve success ahead of the Fever-Tree Championships.

"I like the surface because my game can adapt really well," said Del Potro. "I love the faster points, the aggressive game and I like to move on grass as well. The chance to play well is very big."

Del Potro will need to find his feet on grass quickly if he is to advance beyond the first round at the ATP 500 event. The third seed will meet #NextGenATP Canadian Denis Shapovalov for the third time in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series (1-1) in his opening match.

The 6'6" right-hander is making his first appearance at the grass-court tournament since 2016, following his fourth-round exit against Karen Khachanov at Roland Garros. Del Potro owns a 5-4 record at The Queen's Club, highlighted by his run to the quarter-finals in 2013 (l. to Hewitt).

"I love this tournament," said Del Potro. "Unfortunately, I couldn't play these past few years but this time is a different moment for me. I want to be ready for Wimbledon and this tournament is a special one, so I am very excited to be here."

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Del Potro also shared a positive update on his recovery from the right knee injury which forced him to make only one appearance on the ATP Tour between the Rolex Shanghai Masters in October 2018 and the Mutua Madrid Open last month.

"I think I am getting better after my knee injury," said Del Potro. "I played well in Paris and now we move to a different surface, which I like. This tournament is also a good preparation to see how my body is, and my tennis level, also, and I think I will be fine."

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