Pouille winner in Montpellier

For the third time in 10 months, Lucas Pouille has saved match points en route to an ATP World Tour title. The 23-year-old overcame three-time champion Richard Gasquet 7-6(2), 6-4 at the Open Sud de France to win his fifth tour-level title on Sunday.Pouille saved two match points at 1-6, 3-5 against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in Saturday’s second semi-final before his compatriot was forced to retire with a left hamstring injury. The World No. 17 seized his opportunity in the final with a fine serving performance, scoring an impressive 87-minute win over Gasquet to lift his second title on home soil (Metz, 2016).”I’m very happy with the win today,” said Pouille. “Obviously it was a tough match. Richard is an amazing player and one of the best on tour. The first set was very important and taking the tie-break led me to the victory. I’m very happy with the way I played. It was a great week for me in Montpellier, winning the title in the city where I got my first wild card on tour at 18. It’s a great feeling and I’m very happy with this. I hope to come back next year and defend my title.”

Source: ATP

Federer Claims his 20th Grandslam title in Australia

There were tears, but that was to be expected from Roger Federer at the Australian Open. In the end, the most remarkable part of his 20th Grand Slam singles title was that it came as no surprise. Not even at age 36 in a sport where the spoils have generally been reserved for a much younger crowd. Federer, like Serena Williams, has redefined the limits. After going nearly five years without a major title, he has now won three of the last five in a phase of his career when he insists that he would have been content with just one more. “I’ve won three Slams in 12 months,” he said. “I can’t believe it myself.” On Sunday, under a closed roof in Rod Laver Arena, Federer secured his sixth Australian Open by recovering his mojo in time to hold off Marin Cilic, 6-2, 6-7 (5), 6-3, 3-6, 6-1. Federer is the oldest man to win the Open since one of his role models, Ken Rosewall, in 1972. Though seeded No. 2 behind Rafael Nadal, Federer was the clear favorite coming into this year’s tournament based on his hardcourt results in 2017 and the fragile physical state of his traditional archrivals. Still, he resisted that label. “I don’t think a 36-year-old should be a favorite of a tournament,” Federer said before the Open began. Federer broke down in tears — not for the first time — during the trophy ceremony in Rod Laver Arena as Laver himself was taking pictures with his phone from the front row.

New York Times

Bautista beats Del Potro in Auckland final

Spain’s Roberto Bautista Agut beat former champion Juan Martin de Potro 6-1, 4-6, 7-5 on Saturday to win the ATP Tour’s ASB Classic for the second time in three years. Fifth-seed Bautista Agut, who won the title in 2016, outlasted second-seed Del Potro, the 2009 champion, in a match of remarkable highs and lows. The Spanish player swept through the first set in only 31 minutes as Del Potro seemed to struggle in warm conditions on a packed center court. But Del Potro took advantage of the only break point of the second set to level the match. The advantage in the third set went one way then the other until Bautista Agut broke del Potro to lead 6-5, then saved a break point to win the match in 2 hours, 7 minutes.

Source: Tennis.com

Medvedev wins his first ATP in Sydney

Russian qualifier Daniil Medvedev fought off tigerish Australian youngster Alex de Minaur to win his first ATP Tour title at the Sydney International on Saturday. Medvedev completed a all-conquering week to hit back from losing the opening set to extinguish de Minaur, 1-6, 6-4, 7-5. It was 21-year-old Medvedev’s seventh win this week, giving him solid preparation for next week’s Australian Open in Melbourne where he faces another Australian Thanasi Kokkinakis in the first round.

Source: AFP.com

Monfils celebrates return with Doha title

If 2017 was a struggle, Gael Monfils is back in business in the new year. The Frenchman rode a dominant serving display and dogged defence in claiming the title at the Qatar ExxonMobil Open on Saturday. Monfils raced to his seventh ATP World Tour crown, downing #NextGenATP Andrey Rublev 6-2, 6-3 in 61 minutes. Appearing in his fourth final in Doha, Monfils finally broke through for his first tournament title. Runner-up in 2006 (l. t Federer), 2012 (l. to Tsonga) and 2014 (l. to Nadal), it was fourth time lucky for the Frenchman. He fired a total of 29 winners while striking only 10 unforced errors. One year after making his debut appearance at the Nitto ATP Finals, Monfils saw his year-end position in the ATP Rankings slip to No. 46 as he struggled with his fitness in 2017. The 31-year-old was forced to withdraw from six tournaments with various ailments and concluded his season after the US Open, citing a right knee injury.  But Monfils has rediscovered his top form in the opening week of 2018. The Mikael Tillstrom pupil fought for a pair of three-set victories to open the tournament, defeating Paolo Lorenzi and Jan-Lennard Struff, before ousting Peter Gojowczyk in the quarter-finals. A semi-final walkover over top seed Dominic Thiemprovided ample rest for the Frenchman, who was at his ruthless best in the championship.

Source: ATP

Kyrgios starts new year with Brisbane win

Nick Kyrgios defeated Ryan Harrison 6-4, 6-2 in the Brisbane International final to clinch his maiden tour title on home soil and gain a confidence boost ahead of the Australian Open.Carrying a knee injury, the mercurial Australian made a slow start and was forced to save five break points before he managed to carve out his own first break in the seventh game. The 22-year-old claimed the first set before taking control of the match after his American opponent dropped serve at the start of the second set with a double fault. Kyrgios broke the big-serving Harrison again in a sublime second-set display to close out the match and seal his fourth career title. He thrilled the crowd with his delightful touch at the net, while his ability to crank up the pressure with his groundstrokes threw Harrison off his game.

Source: The Guardian

Chennai title for Simon

Gilles Simon had never beaten South Africa’s Kevin Anderson in three meetings on the ATP tour, though he had taken him to three sets on two of those occasions. However, the 33-year-old from France used the big stage of an ATP 250 Series final to record his first win against Anderson on Saturday. Simon negated Anderson’s booming service with superb returns for a 7-6(4), 6-2 win in the final of the Tata Open Maharashtra to clinch his maiden title in India. This was his 13th ATP tour singles title and earned him 250 ranking points and a cheque of $89,435 while Anderson got 150 points and a cheque of $47,105 for his efforts. Simon, who won his last ATP tour title at Marseille in 2015, was once ranked among top 10 and has slipped to 89 in rankings. But on Saturday, the 6’0” Frenchman seemed to have launched his bid to climb back into the top echelons with a dominating performance against a player ranked 14th in the world.

Source: Hindustantimes

Pancho Segura dies

Pancho Segura, one of the world’s leading players of the 1940s and 1950s, who would later mentor and coach Jimmy Connors, passed away on Saturday aged 96 due to complications of Parkinson’s disease at his home in Carlsbad, California.
At 5’6″, Segura was diminutive in stature, but displayed an imposing game predicated on lightning-fast agility, a lethal two-handed forehand and astute court awareness. Tennis legend Jack Kramer, the ATP’s first Executive Director, once said that he possessed “the single greatest shot in the history of tennis”, as his forehand cut through the court with devastating precision and power.
Upon turning professional in 1947, Segura became an immediate fan favourite with his sharp sense of humour and unorthodox style. He would ascend to No. 1 in the world rankings in 1950 and was an inductee of the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1984, following a successful 20-year career. A three-time U.S. Pro champion from 1950-52, he is the only player to have won the title on three different surfaces.
While Segura earned fame and respect from his peers for his actions between the lines, it was his improbable story of survival that is most remarkable. Born in Guayaquil, Ecuador, as one of seven children, he overcame an impoverished childhood and was plagued by rickets, which resulted in bowed legs, and malaria. But despite the improbable odds, Segura thrived on the tennis court with great athleticism and is regarded as one of the greatest players to hail from South America.
In 1962, Segura launched a successful career as a coach in the United States and was hired as the tennis director at the Beverly Hills Tennis Club, where he became a mentor and coach to Jimmy Connors. In the late 1960s and 1970s, he honed Connors’ game and guided him to multiple Grand Slam crowns.
Segura would later become a citizen of the United States in 1991. His autobiography, Little Pancho: The Life of Tennis Legend Pancho Segura, was published in May 2009.
He is survived by his second wife, Beverley, their daughter, Maria. He had one son, Spencer, from his first marriage.

ATP

Dimitrov wins devaluated season final

Bulgaria’s Grigor Dimitrov became the first man for 19 years to win the ATP Finals on his debut appearance with victory over Belgian David Goffin. Sixth seed Dimitrov, 26, claimed the biggest title of his career as he won 7-5 4-6 6-3 at London’s O2 Arena. The Bulgarian collected £1.9m in prize money for coming through the tournament unbeaten in five matches across the group stage, semi-finals and final. He will end the year ranked third in the world, with Goffin up to seventh. “I’m still trying to think about what I just did,” said Dimitrov, who follows in the footsteps of Spain’s Alex Corretja, who won the season-ending title on his debut in 1998. “This is a great, unbelievable achievement for me, but I still have a lot to give. “One of my main goals is to win a Grand Slam tournament. This has always been a dream of mine. Now, slowly, I think [I’m] getting there.” Injuries to Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic kept two of the sport’s biggest names out of the ATP Finals, while world number one Rafael Nadal was forced to pull out injured after his opening round-robin match and Roger Federer was stunned in the semi-finals by Goffin. But Dimitrov said it was too soon to say a new era was coming to tennis.

BBC

Sock wins Paris Masters title

After being one game away from going home early in the tournament, Jack Sock won the Paris Masters on Sunday to qualify for the season-ending ATP Finals in London. Sock beat Filip Krajinovic 5-7, 6-4, 6-1. It is easily the biggest trophy so far in the 25-year-old American’s career. Before coming to Paris the 16th-seeded Sock didn’t even think of London. But after winning his first Masters title, he will be making the short trip to England to compete against Roger Federer and the other six who made it from the ATP race. “Coming in this week I had no idea I could even make London. It wasn’t in my head,” Sock said. “Incredible week. Hard to describe, honestly. I don’t think it’s really hit or soaked in yet.” Especially as on Wednesday, his mind was drifting way off somewhere. Deep into the third set against Britain’s Kyle Edmund — a tough opponent in the second round — Sock trailed 5-1.

“I was thinking about my holidays … I’m proud of myself for fighting and getting through,” Sock said. “To come back from the deficit I was down and to have this trophy next to me now has been an incredible achievement.” Fast forward to Sunday and he now walks away from Paris with a check worth nearly $1 million and a jump up the rankings to No. 9. Sock already knows how he is going to approach the finals. “I’m going to swing big and play my game, like I always do,” he said. “Just enjoy the moment.” This was his fourth career title. He sealed victory on his first match point when Krajinovic, a Serbian qualifier ranked No. 77, sent a backhand long. Sock fell onto his back with his hands on his face, then jumped into the seating area to celebrate with his team. “I had some anxious sleep last night,” Sock said. “I was able to find that groove in the second and third (sets).” He is the first American winner here since Andre Agassi in 1999; and the first American winner of a Masters tournament since Andy Roddick at Miami in 2010. “I’ve had a rough season pretty much since, since March,” Sock said. “I just wanted to play some good tennis my last week and go start my offseason.” With a wry smile, Sock said he would be celebrating with “just a water on the rocks.” Krajinovic was the first qualifier in a Masters final since Jerzy Janowicz, also here, in 2012.

 

USA Today