Schnur Shining Under The New York Spotlight

Arriving at the New York Open, Brayden Schnur had never won a tour-level match (0-5). In fact, the Canadian had only played three matches at ATP Tour events. To make matters worse, Schnur has had the flu for the two weeks.

But none of that has stopped the 23-year-old from playing some of the best tennis of his life. On Wednesday evening, Schnur defeated World No. 34 Steve Johnson for his first victory against an opponent inside the Top 50 of the ATP Rankings, advancing to the quarter-finals of the ATP 250 event.

“It feels great, I’m really happy. I’m really looking forward to going back and calling my parents and celebrating this win with them, and obviously my coach because I’m here alone this week, so I can’t celebrate with anyone here,” Schnur said. “It’s been a long road and I’ve had some really close battles with some Top 50 guys and I didn’t quite get over that hump. So today being down 5-3 in the third and saving some break points at 3-0, sometimes my mind can wander, but I hung tough and stayed in there. I’ll probably just tell them I love them and thanks for always supporting me.”

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For a moment, it appeared Schnur would fall short of his big moment. First, Johnson served for the match at 5-3 in the decider. Then Schnur faced two match points on his own serve at 5-6. But calmly, he dismissed the first with an ace and the second with another big first serve, which elicited a return error.

“It’s a hard one. I’m just thinking about taking it one point at a time and in that specific situation I knew I had to make first serves,” said Schnur, who hit 18 aces in the match. “I was serving really well today.”

Schnur’s serve might not be the most orthodox on the ATP Tour, as he doesn’t bounce the ball and his toss is higher than most players’. But it was effective against Johnson, landing 72 per cent of his first serves and winning 76 per cent of those points.


While the qualifier will have his first day off of the tournament after playing matches on four consecutive days, his run is not over yet. Schnur has an opportunity to continue forward against 37-year-old Paolo Lorenzi. The Italian has climbed as high as No. 33 in the ATP Rankings.

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In-Form Tsonga And Medvedev To Meet In Rotterdam Quarter-finals

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga set up a Rotterdam quarter-final against another player who picked up an ATP Tour title last week, Daniil Medvedev, on Thursday. Medvedev beat Tsonga 7-6(6), 6-2 in the Brisbane International semi-finals last month. The pair is 1-1 in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series.

Tsonga, the Open Sud de France champion on the comeback trail from a left knee injury, wore down the spirited, power game of Dutch wild card Tallon Griekspoor 7-6(5), 6-1 in 76 minutes at the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament.

World No. 221 Griekspoor saved four set points on serve in an evenly match first set, before 2017 champion Tsonga finally clinched the 54-minute opener with an unreturned serve. Tsonga turned up the pressure in the third game of the second set, securing a break when Griekspoor struck two consecutive forehand errors. Tsonga broke serve for a third time with a backhand return winner to stretch his winning streak to seven matches.

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Medvedev maintained his own impressive start to the 2019 ATP season by beating Spain’s Fernando Verdasco 6-2, 7-5 in one hour and 34 minutes. The fourth-seeded Russian, who captured his fourth ATP Tour trophy at the Sofia Open (d. Fucsovics) on Sunday, has now won 13 of his 15 matches in 2019.

“Fernando is a really great player and conditions are slow here, so to find a tactic to win points was difficult,” said Medvedev. “My goal was just to put the ball back in the court and I’m happy to have won.”

Medvedev won the first three games against Verdasco — who struck 42 unforced errors in total — and broke with a backhand winner, off a drop shot, in the 11th game of the second set. Medvedev wrapped up the victory by serve-and-volleying for the first time in the match.

Earlier in the day, Damir Dzumhur, winless this year prior to arriving at the ATP 500-level tournament, is through to his first ATP Tour quarter-final for six months (2018 Shenzhen Open) after he beat Mikhail Kukushkin of Kazakhstan 6-4, 7-6(3) in one hour and 43 minutes. He will next play France’s Gael Monfils.

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