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This week, the ATP Challenger Tour returned to grass for the first time in two years, as the lawns of Nottingham welcomed players back to the prestigious Viking Open.Frances Tiafoe wasted little time in finding his form on the surface, streaking to his first grass-court title in dominant fashion. The Maryland native ousted close friend Denis Kudla 6-1, 6-3 in just 70 minutes on Sunday, marking the culmination of a week that saw him lose just one set and save 21 of 25 break points faced.The title match marked the first time that two Americans faced off for a grass-court crown on the Challenger circuit. Kudla, who had defeated Tiafoe in their two previous encounters, battled a determined countryman in Sunday's championship."I was waiting for this for a very long time," said Tiafoe during the trophy ceremony. "Denis battled hard all week. I know grass is one of his favourite surfaces, so I hope he wins next week but I'm happy to get this one. I needed it bad. And it's my first title with [coach Wayne Ferreira], so hopefully we'll get some ATPs next."Lastly, I have to say to Denis that I wouldn't be the guy I am without you bro. I've been trying to chase you since I was a kid. It feels good to beat you today but I've always looked up to you and I'm happy for our practices together and our friendship. In all my success in the future, I want to say thank you."Photo: Nathan Stirk/Getty ImagesTiafoe is no stranger to success on grass, having advanced to the quarter-finals at the 2018 cinch Championships at Queen's Club. He would go on to reach the third round at Wimbledon just weeks later. The 23-year-old's victory was also his sixth on the ATP Challenger Tour and first since he prevailed on the clay of Parma in 2020. Tiafoe is making a habit of lifting trophies in recent years, having won seven of his last eight finals on the ATP Tour and Challenger circuit combined. He is projected to rise to No. 65 in the FedEx ATP Rankings on Monday.Kudla, meanwhile, was bidding for his second grass-court crown (Ilkley 2015). The American enjoyed an impressive week himself, stopping #NextGenATP star Tomas Machac in the first round, before defeating home hopes Liam Broady and Daniel Evans and saving a match point against Poland's Kamil Majchrzak in the semi-finals. Evans was the top seed and defending champion at the Challenger 125 event.Both finalists will look to continue their strong form on the turf next week, with Tiafoe traveling to London to compete at Queen's Club and Kudla staying in Nottingham for the second of back-to-back Challengers there. Tiafoe opens against Aljaz Bedene, while Kudla is set to face fourth seed Kevin Anderson.
Spanish teen Carlos Alcaraz moved one step closer to the main draw of Roland Garros with a 6-3, 6-3 win Tuesday over Lukas Lacko in the first round of qualifying. The seventh seed will take on Italy's Andrea Pellegrino in the second round. Alcaraz, an 18-year-old ranked No. 94 in the FedEx ATP Rankings, won his fourth ATP Challenger in Oeiras last week. The title propelled him inside the Top 100 for the first time. He made his Grand Slam debut at this year's Australian Open, where he qualified and won his first round. American Jenson Brooksby lost just one game in a 6-1, 6-0 win over Cedrik-Marcel Stebe and takes on Switzerland's Marc-Andrea Huesler next. Brooksby has accumulated a 19-2 record on the ATP Challenger Tour this year with three titles. The 20-year-old made waves at the US Open in 2019 when he qualified and upset Tomas Berdych in the first round. The highest seed to fall on the second day of qualifying action was third seed Dennis Novak. The Austrian was beaten by Spain's Mario Vilella Martinez, 1-6, 6-2, 6-2. Martinez has qualified for a Grand Slam main draw twice, but never in Paris. Elsewhere, Mackenzie McDonald ended Thanasi Kokkinakis' bid 6-4, 6-4, Denis Kudla dismissed Mikael Torpegaard 6-1, 6-2 and Denis Istomin defeated Damir Dzumhur 2-6, 6-2, 6-1.
In a battle between two first-time ATP Masters 1000 finalists, 26th seed Hubert Hurkacz knows that he will have to put friendship and camaraderie aside for a shot at the Miami Open presented by Itau title.After enjoying an under-the-radar run in Miami, Hurkacz burst into the spotlight on Friday with a stunner over fourth seed Andrey Rublev in straight sets. It was the first time the 24-year-old Pole has won back-to-back matches against Top 10 players in the same tournament, after defeating second seed Stefanos Tsitsipas in the quarter-final. “I think now I'm in the moment,” Hurkacz said in his post-match press conference. “I'm just trying, and obviously super happy to be where I am now, but now we try to prepare as best as we can with [coach Craig Boynton] for that final match on Sunday.”He will meet a familiar face in that championship match – but it’s one that Hurkacz will be more used to seeing on his side of the net, as the Pole is set to take on 19-year-old Jannik Sinner for the first time.Good friends, frequent practice partners and occasionally a doubles team, Hurkacz and Sinner have already shared the court at two tournaments since the start of the year, racking up a 3-2 record on the season.[WATCH LIVE 1]“We played doubles together last week in Dubai,” Hurkacz said, grinning in an on-court interview. “Now we’re playing in the final of a Masters 1000 event, so it’s going to be a fun match.”The #NextGenATP Italian has called Hurkacz one of his best friends on court, and the Pole had some kind words of his own for the fast-rising teen ahead of their battle.“Jannik is a great person. I think like [he’s] super, super calm and super chill, and also he's a good person,” Hurkacz said. “We joke around. We are good friends, so I wish him well.”Hurkacz is looking for his third ATP Tour title and the biggest of his career in Miami. The Pole began the season on a tear, triumphing at the Delray Beach presented by VITACOST.com. But he hit a ‘skid’ in the weeks that followed, and had struggled to return to his best tennis heading into the first Masters 1000 event of the year.Even after a milestone fortnight in South Florida – where he’s racked up a nine-match winning streak, including his run in Delray Beach – the most important moment for Hurkacz came early in the tournament. After a tough battle in the opening round, the Pole sealed more than just a confidence-boosting win over Denis Shapovalov in the second: it was the first time he closed out back-to-back victories in four tournaments.Jeszcze jeden krok w @MiamiOpen do zrobienia Dzięki za wsparcie***Just one more step to take in #MiamiOpen2021 Thx for all your support #MiamiOpen #jazda #Hubi pic.twitter.com/DUOmzjQ616— Hubert Hurkacz (@HubertHurkacz) April 3, 2021“In the first round I beat Denis Kudla, but [it was] obviously… [a] close match [that] I won in the tie-breaker the first set,” he reflected. “But after that, Denis Shapovalov – [he] beat me the week before in Dubai.“I think every single match was very tough. [I am] super pumped I was able to come through all of those matches.”
Während Novak Djokovic seine Teilnahme an den Olympischen Spielen in Tokio bestätigte, musste Juan Martin del Potro seinen Start beim größten Sportereignis der Welt absagen.
Ab dem 28. Juni geht es in Wimbledon um den dritten Grand-Slam-Titel des Jahres. Hier findet ihr alle Infos zum Rasenklassiker in London.
Wimbledon Championships 2021 is one of the most prestigious tennis tournaments on the planet