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Touchdown In Dallas! Mmoh, Wolf Take Tennis To Cowboys’ Stadium

Michael Mmoh and J.J. Wolf spent Sunday in true Texas fashion as they enjoyed time at AT&T Stadium, home of the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys.

Mmoh and Wolf, who are both competing in this week’s Dallas Open, got an inside look at the 80,000-capacity stadium before throwing tight spirals to each other on a replica turf field. And the fun did not stop there.

The Americans then switched to a more familiar playing ground, indulging in a friendly rally of mini tennis. Following Mmoh and Wolf’s third-round clash at the Australian Open just two weeks ago, Sunday’s meeting was all about soaking in time away from the court before competing at the ATP 250 event in Dallas. 

“It was cool to see the stadium without a game being played,” Mmoh said. “You could see the stadium a little more rather than just watching a game. The jumbotron is insane.”

Mmoh added: “I’ve been to two games there before when I’ve been in town. The first time the [Washington Commanders] were playing the Cowboys, division rivalry, I had to go. The Commanders are my favourite team. The second time [the Cowboys] were playing the Patriots and Tom Brady. It was like eight years ago and it was a cool experience.”

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Coric Beats Thiem To Clinch Croatian Victory

Borna Coric fired Croatia through to the Davis Cup Finals for a fourth time after ending Austria’s hopes of a final day fightback in their 2023 Qualifier in Rijeka.

The World No. 23 saw off former World No. 3 Dominic Thiem 7-6(3) 6-2 in one hour and 45 minutes to prevent Jurgen Melzer’s visiting side from gaining any further momentum after Lucas Miedler and Alexander Erler recorded a surprise triumph over the home side in the doubles.

“It was not easy, but I knew that this is Davis Cup, and this is tennis, and that anything can happen," said Coric of ending Austria's resurgence. "I was ready after the doubles match. I was pretty nervous, but I had time to prepare myself for the match. I came out on the court and I was playing great tennis today."

Austrian's doubles pair upset Nikola Mektic and Ivan Dodig, the doubles World No. 8 and No. 11, respectively, 6-3 7-6 (11) in one hour and 50 minutes to deny a Croatian clean sweep after the two Borna’s – Borna Coric and Borna Gojo – had won their singles on the opening day.

That left Thiem with an opportunity to take the contest to a deciding fifth match on Sunday afternoon, but the 2020 US Open champion, still on the comeback trail from a wrist injury, struggled for consistency against Coric.

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Tstisipas: 'I Plan To Push Boundaries'

To stay at the top of the ATP Tour, you need to be able to adapt and develop. With new stars emerging and a range of styles being implemented, the Tour provides numerous tests.

For Stefanos Tsitsipas, who will star in season one of Netflix's Break Point, the desire to improve is constant.

“I really plan to push boundaries and try and improve, even during games. [I am] aggressive, slightly creative. I am never really satisfied by doing the same thing over and over again,” Tsitsipas told ATP Uncovered in 2022. “I was trying to find new creative ways to perform certain tasks and play in any condition.”

The Greek has continued to adapt, winning titles every season since he captured his maiden crown in 2018. The ability to stay mentally strong and trust his game in crucial moments has been key to his success, with Tsitsipas highlighting this when reflecting on his title run at the Nitto ATP Finals in 2019.

“Serving at 6/4 at the Nitto ATP Finals in London in the tie-break, I think I missed my first serve by very few centimetres. I go for an unpredictable second serve towards Dominic’s forehand. I felt it was the right thing to do, it was kind of instinct. Do the opposite of what he would have expected in such a crucial important moment,” Tsitsipas said.

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Dominant Dutch See Off Slovakia To Advance In Davis Cup

Netherlands are through to the Davis Cup Finals for the third time after beating Slovakia 3-0 in Groningen.

The foundations for the victory were laid on Saturday when Tallon Griekspoor and Tim van Rijthoven both stepped up to deliver singles points and put the Netherlands 2-0 ahead.

Those wins left the Dutch team in an incredibly strong position, not least because they could rely on the doubles duo of World No. 1 Wesley Koolhof and No. 19 Matwe Middelkoop to lead them out on Sunday, and they didn’t disappoint, beating Alex Molcan and Lukas Klein 6-3 6-3 to clinch the tie.

Middelkoop and Koolhof - with a combined age of 72 - have now won four of their six Davis Cup doubles matches together, and they were a class apart throughout the one-hour, eight-minute clash.

[ATP APP]

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Stunner In Seoul! South Korea Overhauls Belgium For Famous Davis Cup Victory

On a sensational Sunday in Seoul, South Korea dismantled Belgium’s 2-0 lead in the 2023 Davis Cup Qualifiers by winning the doubles and both singles. It is the first time the nation has overturned such a deficit in the history of the prestigious team event.

The hero of the day was World No. 237 Seong-chan Hong, who kept his cool to defeat Zizou Bergs 6-3, 7-6(4) in the deciding fifth rubber. Even when nerves were a factor for Hong, who is 122 places below the Belgian in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings, he held firm to complete a famous victory for his country.

"I tried to show my strengths as much as I could and tried to frustrate my opponent," said Hong after the match. "As soon as I started, I thought it was working well today. The atmosphere was good before the game. Of course, I was very nervous, but I was also very excited. After the match point, I thought I showed it."

The decider was needed after Belgian No.1 David Goffin failed in his bid to wrap up the tie, with Soonwoo Kwon coming from behind to take the match 3-6, 6-1, 6-3, serving up 11 aces in the process.

“It was not an easy game, but I think I could win thanks to the fans who came to see the game today,” Kwon said. “In the first set, there were a lot of errors because I had too many thoughts,” he added. “But from the second set, I tried to find composure and played well as I thought about the practice game with Goffin.”

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Scouting Report: Rune, Fritz & Schwartzman Headline Montpellier, Dallas & Cordoba Fields

An ATP 250 triple-header this week features a host of top stars eyeing early-season success. Cordoba, Dallas and Montpellier play host to tournaments from 6-12 February.

Diego Schwartzman leads the draw at the opening clay-court event of the 2023 season at the Cordoba Open, while Taylor Fritz and Frances Tiafoe bring Top 20 quality to the hard courts at the Dallas Open. The hard-hitting Holger Rune and Jannik Sinner spearhead the field at the Open Sud de France – Montpellier.

ATPTour.com looks ahead at five things to watch at each event.

[ATP APP]

View Draws: Cordoba | Dallas | Montpellier

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Norrie Sends Great Britain Through To Davis Cup Finals Group Stage

Cameron Norrie completed a Davis Cup double on Saturday to clinch victory for Great Britain against Colombia in a 2023 Qualifier.

After scoring the visitors' first point with a win against Nicolas Barrientos on Friday, the World No. 11 earned his team a decisive third point with 6-4, 6-4 victory against Nicolas Mejia on Day 2 of the tie. In Saturday's opening match in Cota, the doubles duo of Daniel Evans and Neal Skupski gave Great Britain a 2-1 lead with a 6-4, 6-4 result against Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah.

[ATP APP]

"Feelings are one of immense pride for what the boys have done, and the support team," said British captain Leon Smith. "Everyone's committed a lot of time to this, but hats off to the players. They came down to Colombia, most straight from Melbourne, came earlier than we'd ever normally do for Davis Cup, which is a big commitment from them. But we did that to prepare best for what happened these past two days and it's definitely paid off.

"There's a lot of work that the players have done to be able to adapt in a short space of time, and they went out and they fought really hard... It needed a lot of grit and determination. The important thing is we got a win, which gives us a chance to keep being successful this year. Really looking forward to September now."

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Stan's The Man: Wawrinka Completes Swiss Comeback In Germany

Stan Wawrinka rolled back the years to fire Switzerland into the group stage of the Davis Cup by Rakuten Finals for the first time as the visitors completed a stunning 3-2 turnaround triumph against Germany in Trier.

The Germans had looked destined to win the 2023 Qualifier tie when Tim Puetz and Andreas Mies gave the hosts a 2-1 lead earlier on Saturday after beating Wawrinka and Dominic Stricker in the doubles, with world No. 14 Alexander Zverev waiting in the wings to polish off the tie.

But Swiss No. 1 Marc-Andrea Huesler tore up the script, perfectly executing his gameplan to stun Zverev in straight sets and give 37-year-old Wawrinka — a 2014 Davis Cup champion — the chance to secure Switzerland’s progress to the group stage in September.

“I’m happy I won one point and the last one was the most important,” said Wawrinka. “[Marc] played super well against Zverev. He put us back in the tie after losing the doubles.”

??✨Stan-ning tennis ✨??

Stan Wawrinka wins the tie for Switzerland with a match point drop shot ?#DavisCup | @stanwawrinka | @swiss_tennis pic.twitter.com/iw8w3Afw6p

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Humbert Ensures France Survives Hungarian Scare In Davis Cup Qualifiers

France fought back from 2-1 down for the first time since 2014 to defeat Hungary at the Tatabanya Arena on Saturday and seal victory in the 2023 Davis Cup Qualifiers.

It was a far from comfortable triumph for Sebastien Grosjean’s team. Nicolas Mahut and Arthur Rinderknech were outplayed by the unheralded doubles duo of Fabian Marozsan and Mate Valkusz in the first match on Saturday, falling 6-2, 7-6(4) as the home team moved 2-1 in front.

With their backs against the wall, the French knew they had to be faultless in the reverse singles if they were to ensure safe passage to September’s Davis Cup Finals Group Stage.

Grosjean made a tactical change, switching out his No. 1 player Benjamin Bonzi in favour of the lefty Adrian Mannarino to face Hungary’s highest-ranked player Marton Fucsovics, and the decision proved to be a wise one. Mannarino clinched a tight opening set tie-break before racing away with the second set against Fucsovics.

The Frenchman, who didn’t lose a point on his own serve in the second set, said: “Whoever won the first set was going to get a huge advantage. I wasn’t thinking about the score. I was going on court and giving my best and all my team were cheering for me, so it was easy for me to push myself a bit more.”

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Krajieck/Ram Clinch USA Davis Cup Victory Against Uzbekistan

“Bring out the broomsticks,” the USA’s Tommy Paul said on Friday following his first-day singles win in the United States Davis Cup Qualifier against Uzbekistan. “A sweep would be nice”.

And a sweep it was, as Austin Krajicek and Rajeev Ram's doubles win against Uzbekistan made it three from three for the USA before Denis Kudla beat Amir Milushev in the fourth rubber of the tie to complete a 4-0 victory.

Captain David Nainkin's men have now secured a spot in the 2023 Davis Cup Finals Group Stage, as the nation bids for a 33rd title in the competition.

Krajicek and Ram were never in any real danger against Uzbekistan’s Sanjar Fayziev and Sergey Fomin. The American pair sped to a 6-2, 6-4 victory in just 52 minutes in a clinical display at the Olympic Tennis School, Tashkent.

“I was excited to see Raj and Austin play today,” Nainkin said. “They’ve practised well all week, they had five great days of preparation and as anticipated they came out really sharp and got the early break in the first set. After that it was like two freight trains, there was no stopping them.”

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Why Bouncing Back Is Key For Berrettini

“In my career it always happens. After a tough loss, I [get] better.”

Netflix’s Break Point tracked Matteo Berrettini’s run to his maiden Australian Open semi-final at the start of the 2022 season. He fell to a heartbreaking four-set defeat against eventual champion Rafael Nadal in the last four in Melbourne, but the Italian’s mental approach has always set him up well to process disappointments and, crucially, learn from them.

“Once you feel that every day you are putting in the effort, improving the best that you can in everything you are doing, I think at the end of the day you can go to sleep and feel satisfied,” Berrettini told ATP Uncovered in 2021. “It’s not about winning or losing, it’s not about a trophy or no trophy, it’s about if you are enjoying what you are doing, your life, or not.”

View Berrettini’s Break Point Player Profile

Even stepping inside Melbourne’s Rod Laver Arena to take on ATP Tour icon Nadal was reward for years of hard work for Berrettini, who bounced back from his disappointment in Australia by winning titles in Stuttgart and at The Queen’s Club in London later in 2022.

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Djokovic & Medvedev Inspired Former Junior World No. 1 Vallejo In Turin

For aspiring stars on the ATP Tour, the opportunity to spend time with those at the top of the game is a dream come true. Just ask 18-year-old Daniel Vallejo, who rubbed shoulders with Novak Djokovic, Daniil Medvedev and other stars at the Nitto ATP Finals in November.

The Paraguayan spent two weeks as a hitting partner in Turin, where he watched and practised with those competing at the prestigious year-end event.

“These two weeks have been amazing,” Vallejo said. “You learn a lot and you get a lot of rhythm with the players. This court is amazing, it is one of the biggest courts I have been to. I have been hitting here. It has been cool to play here and to watch all the matches that have been played here. When you step in and hit it is a completely different feeling to hitting [on] a normal court.”

[BREAK POINT]

The World No. 581 first picked up a racquet when he was a six-year-old in the Paraguayan capital of Asuncion. His desire to play professionally quickly grew, with his two older brothers a source of inspiration after they went to play college tennis in the United States.

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Norrie Draws Great Britain Level After Mejia Magic For Colombia

It's all square for Great Britain and hosts Colombia after Friday's Davis Cup Qualifier action in Bogota.

After Colombia's Nicolas Mejia earned his first Top 100 win with a 6-2, 2-6, 6-4 result against Daniel Evans, Cameron Norrie levelled the tie at 1-1 by beating Nicolas Barrientos 6-2, 7-5.

Mejia clinched his milestone victory with a break in the final game against Evans, a blazing backhand passing shot sparking wild celebrations in the Colombian capital. After the competitors split a pair of one-sided sets, the 22-year-old fended off three break points in the first game of the decider before piling on the pressure late.

While he could not convert on two break chances as Evans held in a marathon game to level the set at 4-4, Mejias responded with a love hold before clinching victory with his third break of the two-hour, 31-minute contest.

"The key to victory? The attitude, dedication, not getting nervous more than necessary," he said post-match. "I have also learned a lot from previous defeats.

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Huesler, Zverev Win To Leave Switzerland Vs. Germany Level At 1-1

Alexander Zverev picked an opportune moment to record his second competitive win in eight months, defeating Stan Wawrinka 6-4 6-1 to draw Germany level with Switzerland in their Davis Cup Qualifier in Trier.

Zverev, whose return to competitive action after ankle ligament surgery yielded three defeats from four matches in Australia at the turn of the month, looked much more like his old self in a commanding victory over the three-time Grand Slam champion.

The world No. 14 saw off Wawrinka in an hour and 36 minutes to cancel out Marc-Andrea Huesler’s battling 2-6 6-2 6-4 triumph over Oscar Otte earlier in the day.

“I think it’s important to go into tomorrow’s ties with a 1-1 [scoreline],” said Zverev. “Obviously I’m very happy with my game. I think that was the best match since my injury. It’s going in a positive way, and I hope I can continue progressing.”

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McDonald, Paul Give USA Decisive Davis Cup Start Against Uzbekistan

The United States signalled winning intentions Friday in their Davis Cup Qualifier against Uzbekistan, taking a 2-0 lead after the first singles matches.

Debutant Mackenzie McDonald, fresh from an Australian Open outing that saw him take down Rafael Nadal in Melbourne, defeated Uzbekistan’s No.1 Sergey Fomin in the opening rubber of the tie. The 21-year-old Fomin, the No.366 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings, delighted the vocal Uzbekistani supporters with flashes of brilliance but the World No.63 McDonald held firm for a 6-4, 6-1 win.

“It’s been amazing,” said McDonald of his first Davis Cup experience so far. “I’d say it’s really nice playing a team event. It’s not something you get to do a lot throughout the year… I’m very excited to be on the Davis Cup team.”

World No.19 Tommy Paul then faced No.480-ranked Khumoyun Sultanov in the second singles match.

After taking the first set 6-1, Paul faced a renewed onslaught from the Uzbek, who leapt to an early 4-0 lead before being reeled back in. The pair then went toe to toe before Paul edged the tie-break for a final score of 6-1, 7-6(6).

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How Ruud Followed In The Footsteps Of Nadal, Thiem

Netflix's Break Point chronicled the clay-court exploits of Casper Ruud during the 2022 season, culminating in his meeting with Rafael Nadal in the Roland Garros final. Court Philippe Chatrier was a fitting venue for the Norwegian's first major final, played on a surface on which he has won eight of his nine ATP Tour titles.

[BREAK POINT]

Ruud claimed his first tour-level trophy in Buenos Aires in 2020, then broke into the Top 10 of the Pepperstone ATP Rankings behind five 2021 titles, including four on clay. In 2022, he rose to a career high of World No. 2 with a big helping of hard-court success. While he won three more titles on the dirt last season, Ruud also reached marquee finals at Miami, the US Open and the Nitto ATP Finals to flash his hard-court credentials at the highest level.

View Ruud's Break Point Player Profile

Speaking with the ATP Tour in late 2021 — a year in which he won three straight clay titles in July — Ruud discussed his confidence level on clay and hard courts.

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Cleveland Challenger: Springboard For American Stars

If you’re looking for players who can add to the next generation of top-level American tennis talent, chances are you can find them competing at this week's Cleveland Challenger.

The indoor hard court event has been a stepping stone for Americans such as Sebastian Korda, Jenson Brooksby (‘21 Cleveland finalist), J.J. Wolf, Brandon Nakashima, Maxime Cressy (‘19 Cleveland champion) and Marcos Giron. All six of those men are currently Top-60 players.

The Cleveland Open has also earned visits from Miomir Kecmanovic, Yoshihito Nishioka, and 2022 Next Gen ATP Finals participant Dominic Stricker, who triumphed at last year’s edition.

 

“We’ve had an exceptional alumni base that we’ve built in only four years,” tournament director Alex Guthrie said. “We had 17 players in the main draw of the Australian Open [that have been to the Cleveland Challenger in years prior]. It’s really cool that the community of Cleveland can get behind this event because it’s been a pipeline to get players on the ATP Tour and become Top 50 or even higher. It’s cool to see the transition, they come through Cleveland and soon enough they are cracking on the ATP Tour as a regular customer.”

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Flashback: Fritz's Sampras Surprise On 18th Birthday

Netflix's Break Point showcased the biggest moment of Taylor Fritz's ATP Tour career, when the American won the 2022 BNP Paribas Open title in his native Southern California. By claiming the Indian Wells crown, Fritz followed in the footsteps of his idol, Pete Sampras, who won the ATP Masters 1000 event twice.

The victory also made Fritz the No. 1 American in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings — an honour he still holds today, and one that Sampras held for much of his legendary career.

View Fritz's Break Point Player Profile

Long before he was chasing the biggest titles in the game, Fritz was just cutting his teeth at the professional level and hoping for an opportunity to meet the man who spent 286 weeks as World No. 1. In a 2018 interview, Fritz recalled a special birthday surprise from Sampras years earlier at an ATP Challenger Tour event in Monterrey.

"I had just started doing well on the pro Tour so I thought maybe I had a chance of talking to him or maybe he would want to talk to me," Fritz said, recalling that Sampras was in town for an ATP Champions Tour event.

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Paul Leads USA, Coric & Thiem In Action In Davis Cup Matches To Watch

Last week, Tommy Paul enjoyed the best run of his career at the Australian Open, where he reached his maiden Grand Slam semi-final. The 25-year-old is looking to maintain his momentum this week in the 2023 Davis Cup Qualifiers, where he leads the United States against Uzbekistan.

Paul takes on the host nation's No. 2 Khumoyun Sultanov in his opening singles match on Friday in Tashkent after his countryman Mackenzie McDonald opens against Uzbekistan's top player Sergey Fomin. The singles matchups will then be reversed on Saturday afternoon, after the solitary doubles match of the best-of-five-rubbers tie, with the winner qualifying for September’s Davis Cup Finals Group Stage.

Sultanov is ranked No. 480 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings and Fomin at No. 366, but despite his higher ranking Paul knows he needs to stay focused in unfamiliar conditions in the Uzbekistani capital. Yet the American admitted he may have at least one source of outside help as he prepares for his maiden tour-level meetings against Sultanov and Fomin.

“When the [Australian Open] started I was texting Reilly [Opelka] a bunch about the players I was playing and he was giving me the scouting reports,” said Paul, who reached his maiden Grand Slam semi-final in Melbourne. “Every morning when I’d wake up for a match, he was sending me a long paragraph about what to do against certain players… maybe I’ll hit him up tomorrow!”

[ATP APP]

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Davis Cup Qualifiers: Great Britain's Norrie & Austria's Thiem Among Stars In Action

Twenty-four nations will start their quest to be crowned 2023 Davis Cup Finals champion this week when 12 qualifying ties take place around the world from 3-5 February.

Cameron Norrie and Daniel Evans will try to deliver for Great Britain in its tie against Colombia, with #NextGenATP star Jack Draper and Top 5 doubles pair Neal Skupski and Joe Salisbury rounding up the squad.

Croatia has reached the championship match in 2021 and the semi-finals last year. They are at full strength once again for their tie against Austria, with singles stars Marin Cilic and Borna Coric and doubles duo Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic in action. Former World No. 3 Dominic Thiem will lead Austrian hopes in his first Davis Cup appearance since 2019.

[ATP APP]

Tommy Paul, Mackenzie McDonald, Rajeev Ram and Austin Krajicek make up a strong United States team for its tie against Uzbekistan, while two-time Nitto ATP Finals champion Alexander Zverev headlines for Germany against neighbours Switzerland.

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