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Arnaldi Pushing For 2022 Goals On Challenger Tour

It’s been a dream year for Italian Matteo Arnaldi.

In May, the 21-year-old practised with his longtime idol Novak Djokovic at the ATP Masters 1000 event in Rome. It must've prepared them both well. Djokovic went on to capture a record-extending 38th ATP Masters 1000 crown in Rome while Arnaldi collected his maiden ATP Challenger Tour title the following week in Francavilla al Mare.

“It was incredible,” Arnaldi said. “I played the week before in Rome, my first Masters 1000 event (l. Cilic). My coach and I didn’t know whether to go to Francavilla or not, I was also in qualies at the Geneva ATP event. We decided to go to the Challenger and I played very well the whole week, I didn’t drop a set until the final.”

[ATP APP]

The Sanremo native took down countryman Francesco Maestrelli 6-3, 6-7(7), 6-4 to triumph on home soil, claiming the title at the C.T. Francavilla Sporting Club. That was just the start of Arnaldi’s breakthrough on the ATP Challenger Tour. Now, after reaching four Challenger semi-finals this season, including San Marino, where he was a finalist (l. Kotov), the World No. 157 is nearing his 2022 goal.

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Kovacevic Stuns Kecmanovic On Tour Debut In Seoul

When the time came for his ATP Tour main draw debut, things couldn’t have gone much better for Aleksandar Kovacevic.

The 24-year-old American stunned seventh seed Miomir Kecmanovic 6-4, 6-4 at the Eugene Korea Open Tennis Championships on Monday. Kovacevic had fallen in the final round of qualifying at the ATP 250 hard-court event in Seoul, but he took advantage of a lucky loser spot in style as he broke the World No. 32 three times en route to an impressive 93-minute first-round victory.

“[It is] a little bit surreal,” said Kovacevic, who will meet Christopher O’Connell or Chun-Hsin Tseng in the second round. “I watch these matches on TV every day. I consider a lot of these guys my peers and I feel like I’m playing at a pretty good level, but just being out there in an ATP event in the main draw… I thought that I needed a little more experience to be honest before I did well.

“I played really well out there. There’s something about big matches for me. For Miomir this is obviously not a huge moment because he’s been here for a while, but for me it is a big deal, so it brings out some of my best tennis. [I’m] really glad for this one, but hoping to continue it during the week. Definitely happy to get this first one, but not fully satisfied yet.”

Welcome to the ATP Tour ?

Lucky Loser @kova_aleks storms past Miomir Kecmanovic 6-4 6-4 on his ATP debut. #KoreaOpen pic.twitter.com/6uhtHNJuix

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Felix Remains In Turin Contention, Mover Of Week

With just seven weeks to go until the Nitto ATP Finals, the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Turin is heating up.

Following their standout seasons, Carlos Alcaraz and Rafael Nadal have already booked their spots at the end-of-year finale, leaving six remaining places. ATPTour.com looks at those in contention to join the Spaniards as we enter the last week of September.

View Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Turin Rankings

No. 7 Felix Auger Aliassime
The Canadian is currently seventh in the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Turin and will be aiming to build on his strong recent form over the next month as he looks to qualify for the Nitto ATP Finals for the first time. Auger-Aliassime defeated World No. 1 Alcaraz at the Davis Cup Finals earlier in September, before he downed Novak Djokovic to help guide Team World to Laver Cup glory at the O2 in London.

No. 3 Casper Ruud
The 23-year-old can strengthen his position in the Race To Turin with a deep run this week at the Eugene Korea Open Tennis Championships in Seoul, where he is the top seed. The Norwegian, who reached his second Grand Slam final at the US Open in September, advanced to the semi-finals on debut at the Nitto ATP Finals last year and is on the brink of qualifying again this season.

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First-Time Winner Spotlight: Brandon Nakashima

Brandon Nakashima dropped just one set last week at the San Diego Open, where he claimed his first ATP Tour title with a 6-4, 6-4 victory against fellow American Marcos Giron in Sunday's final. The trophy, which came following his third tour-level final, was made even sweeter by the setting in Nakashima's home city.

After notching five wins on the week, the 21-year-old returned to the Top 50 and reached a new career-high of No. 48 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings on Monday.

ATPTour.com caught up with the American as he reflected on the milestone win.

What does it mean to you to win your first ATP Tour title?
It’s a super special feeling for me. Playing in two finals last year and losing at both of them, I never thought this moment was going to happen again, to be in a final... let alone in my hometown of San Diego. To be able to win my first title is super special. This whole week I played at a high level. I’m super proud of myself for all the hard work. 

How does it feel to win it in San Diego?
It feels amazing. It’s an unbelievable feeling just to come out here and have an ATP tournament here where I grew up, where I learned the game of tennis.

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Hometown Hero: Nakashima Wins First ATP Title In Native San Diego

Third time's the charm for Brandon Nakashima. The 21-year-old completed a dream week in his home city by winning his first ATP Tour title on Sunday at the San Diego Open.

Playing in his third ATP Tour final, and his first of 2022, the San Diego native defeated third seed Marcos Giron 6-4, 6-4 in an all-American final. It was a fitting finale at the ATP 250 event, with Giron also hailing from Southern California and living in San Diego in recent years.

"It feels like a dream out here," Nakashima said post-match after hugging family and friends courtside. "My first ATP title in my hometown. To be able to capture my first title here, it's unbelievable. Amazing atmosphere out here tonight, and I just really want to say thank you for coming out and showing your support."

[ATP APP]

Nakashima has moved up 21 places this week to No. 48 in the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings, setting himself up for a new career-high. The American also solidifed his poisition in the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Milan, moving up one place to sixth as he seeks to return to the Intesa Sanpaolo Next Gen ATP Finals. Nakashima reached the semi-finals at the year-end showcase last season.

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Lammons/Withrow Claim First ATP Tour Title In Dan Diego

Second seeds Nathaniel Lammons and Jackson Withrow made the most of their home advantage this week at the San Diego Open to claim their first ATP Tour title as a team.

The Americans — Lammons from Texas and Withrow from Nebraska — earned a 7-6(5), 6-2 victory against Australians Jason Kubler and Luke Saville in Sunday's final at the ATP 250. The pair made a slow start in its first title match as a team, dropping serve in the opening game. But the champions did not face another break point as they improved throughout the contest.

"Nate and I have teamed up a little bit last year and rolled into this year," Withrow said post-match.

"[We're] looking for this to kind of be a steady partnership that we can continue to grow and continue to get better. We feel like, after we've had some hard talks over the summer, we're on the right path and ready to continue the rest of the year and hopefully end on a high note."

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McEnroe On Team World's Win: 'We Kept Battling'

Team World arrived in London this week having lost the previous four editions of the Laver Cup. However, John McEnroe's side showed quality and grit to turn the tables and triumph 13-8 against Team Europe on Sunday in a victory that left the American captain delighted.

“The difference [this year] was that we kept battling,” McEnroe said in Sunday’s press conference. “The format is a format that things can change in a hurry. Jack [Sock] has been awesome for us. You could see how close it was, the doubles.

“Felix, I've got to say, stepped up big time. Thank you so much for that. That was awesome. But there was a great team spirit. So we were battling from the beginning. I think we felt that it is the ‘Big Four’, but obviously the circumstances are a little different than they could have been 10 years ago, five years ago. So we knew we had a shot at it, but it was an uphill battle. Thank god World won.”

[ATP APP]

Team World entered the final day of the three-day event trailing 4-8. However, Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime did double duty to move his side ahead, before Frances Tiafoe defeated Stefanos Tsitsipas to seal victory.

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Borg: 'It Was Very Special To Have This Team'

Team Europe captain Bjorn Borg revealed that he was proud of his squad’s efforts this week at the Laver Cup despite losing against Team World in London. John McEnroe's side battled back on Sunday to defeat Team Europe 13-8 in Roger Federer’s final tour-level event at The O2.

“For me, it was very special to have this team, this great team,” Borg said during Sunday’s press conference. “Of course right now we are a little disappointed because we lost, but the tennis has been great, good matches, close matches. But to have the ‘Big Four’, and they are different from the younger generation, the players here, it's been fantastic. Roger here, one of the greats, retiring from tennis, stepped away, and we are all a little bit sad about that.

“But we had a good time. Of course we wanted to win. I mean, that's why we are here. It's a great event. Players like it. We were here to try to defend our title but we didn't. They had a good three days. This time they were better than us. But we will definitely be back.”

[ATP APP]

The curtain came down on Federer’s career on Friday night, when he teamed with Rafael Nadal to play his last tour-level match on a historic occasion. Despite the send-off, the Swiss star, who won 103 tour-level titles, was disappointed Team Europe was unable to capture its fifth Laver Cup title.

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Scouting Report: Djokovic Headlines In Tel Aviv, Ruud In Seoul & Sinner In Sofia

A host of top names head to Seoul, Sofia and Tel Aviv this week on the ATP Tour as a trio of ATP 250 hard-court events host the action from 26 September to 2 October.

World No. 2 Casper Ruud competes at the Eugene Korea Open Tennis Championships in Seoul, where he is looking to back up his run to the US Open final with a strong showing on the outdoor courts in the South Korean capital.

Jannik Sinner and Novak Djokovic head indoors as the top seeds at the Sofia Open and Tel Aviv Watergen Open, respectively. Grigor Dimitrov will also seek to impress his home fans in Sofia, while Marin Cilic and Dominic Thiem join Djokovic in the Tel Aviv draw.

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

[ATP APP]

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Federer's Farewell: Ljubicic & Luthi Share Their Favourite Roger Memories

Roger Federer played the final match of his legendary career at the Laver Cup alongside Rafael Nadal. His two coaches, Ivan Ljubicic and Severin Luthi, were in the crowd at The O2 supporting their charge one last time.

Ljubicic and Luthi both wrote for ATPTour.com about working with Federer, the friendship they shared and their favourite memories.

Ivan Ljubicic
I first met Roger when we were both playing Futures tournaments, making our start on the circuit. I was 17 and he was 15. Roger was a talented, emotional kid.

But we actually got to know each other a bit later, in the early 2000s. We both won our first ATP Tour title in 2001, when he took a trophy in Milan before and I did the same in Lyon later in the year. We were already sharing jokes about that back then.

Speaking of jokes, I only have funny memories of Roger — there are not many serious ones! Roger privately is a very goofy and funny guy. We’ve had a lot of fun.

Ivan Ljubicic, Severin Luthi and Roger Federer
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Silky Sonego Charges To Metz Title

Lorenzo Sonego’s perfect week at the Moselle Open is complete.

The Italian downed seventh seed Alexander Bublik 7-6(3), 6-2 in the championship match in Metz on Sunday to claim his first ATP Tour title of 2022. The 27-year-old’s 87-minute victory ensured he will depart France not having dropped a set at the ATP 250 indoor hard-court event.

“I improved my tennis every day, and I’m really happy for this match and this tournament," said Sonego after the match. "I like the atmosphere here, it was unbelievable today and yesterday and this week. It’s really tough to play against Alexander, because he is an unbelievable player with an amazing serve, good talent, and it is always tough to play him.”

Appearing in his fifth tour-level final, Sonego crucially recovered 0/40 to hold in the fifth game of the match before edging Bublik in a hard-fought opening set by raising his level in the tie-break. The Italian then kept his composure as Bublik produced an array of trick shots in the second set to seal the win and extend his ATP Head2Head series lead against the Kazakh to 4-0.

“This is an emotional moment for me, because I had a tough year," said Sonego, who is now 23-24 for the 2022 season. "Now I’m going to enjoy this moment.”

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From Foe To Friend: Nys/Zielinski Take Maiden Title In Metz

On Sunday, Hugo Nys and Jan Zielinski took to court to play in the championship match at the Moselle Open for the second consecutive year.

Unlike in 2021, however, this time the pair was on the same side of the net in Metz, and it proved effective, with the tandem downing second seeds Lloyd Glasspool and Harri Heliovaara 7-6(5), 6-4 to claim its maiden ATP Tour title at the indoor hard-court event.

“Really, really happy to win the first title together as a team,” said Nys after the 84-minute championship match win. “Funny story, last year I played the final against Jan and Hubert [Hurkacz], and I lost to them. This year we are back together, one year later, and we won together, so it’s a very nice story.

“First title. We made a final in Winston-Salem, and then the quarter-finals in the US Open. We were playing well. It was a very, very good week. All the matches were a very high level.”

[ATP APP]

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The Story Of Roger Federer's Career

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Felix & Sock Give Team World Hope

Felix Auger-Aliassime and Jack Sock delivered for Team World on Sunday at the Laver Cup, edging Team Europe’s Matteo Berrettini and Andy Murray 2-6, 6-3, 10-8. Team Europe now leads Team World 8-7 with three matches to go. Each clash on Sunday is worth three points.

In an entertaining battle at the O2 in London, Auger-Aliassime and Sock held their nerve when it mattered, finding first serves and deep returns in the Match Tie-break to triumph after one hour and 37 minutes.

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[ATP APP]

The American Sock has now won four points for his side, having teamed with Frances Tiafoe to defeat Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal in the Swiss star’s final tour-level match on Friday night. Auger-Aliassime will look to move Team World into the lead when he takes on former World No. 1 Novak Djokovic in the second match.

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Giron Upsets Evans In San Diego, Reaches First ATP Final

Marcos Giron reached his first ATP Tour in style on Saturday. 

The American upset top seed Daniel Evans 6-3, 7-5 in one hour and 46 minutes to reach the championship match at the San Diego Open. The third seed will face fifth seed Brandon Nakashima or Australian Christopher O'Connell for the trophy.

[ATP APP]

Giron, who underwent right hip surgery in 2015 and left hip surgery in 2016, is now one victory from tour-level glory. The 29-year-old saved all three break points he faced against Evans to earn the opportunity.

In a battle between two players who enjoy long points at the back of the court, Giron was the more aggressive competitor. He also hit 11 aces and won 80 per cent of his first-serve points, while showing a willingness to finish rallies at the net.

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The Emotions Of Federer's Final Match

It was an unforgettable scene in the early minutes of Saturday morning in London at the Laver Cup. Team Europe and Team World stood on court inside The O2 with mournful eyes, some players’ flowing with tears. Roger Federer had just played the final ATP Tour match of his career.

But soon those sad looks turned to smiles, as all the stars lifted Federer on their shoulders, celebrating the 41-year-old. Only four players were on court for the match — Federer, Rafael Nadal, Jack Sock and Frances Tiafoe — but everyone inside the arena felt part of it.

Matteo Berrettini struggled to sleep, but he had the duty of playing in Saturday’s first match for Team Europe.

“One of the reasons why I couldn't sleep is, like, Roger was crying on my shoulder. Like what did I do to deserve this, you know?” Berrettini wondered. “I kept reminding myself that I had to be focussed in the match, otherwise my feelings, emotions, would be too much to handle.”

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Nadal On Federer's Retirement: 'An Important Part Of My Life Is Leaving Too'

It is often said that a picture is worth a thousand words. The image of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal sitting together in tears on their Team Europe bench in the early moments of Saturday morning was worth a million.

For years, Federer and Nadal have contested one of the most captivating rivalries in all of sports. But with their competition has come a great mutual respect and with that, friendship. That showed before, during and after their doubles match on the first day of the Laver Cup.

Nadal explained after the match, the last of Federer’s career, why the moment meant so much to him.

“At the end everything became super emotional. For me, [it has] been [a] huge honour to be a part of this amazing moment of the history of our sport, and at the same time a lot of years sharing a lot of things together,” Nadal said. “When Roger leaves the Tour, an important part of my life is leaving too because [of] all the moments that he [has] been next [to] or in front me in important moments of my life.

“[It] has been emotional see the family, see all the people. Difficult to describe. But, yeah, [it was an] amazing moment.”

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The Master: Roger Federer At The ATP Masters 1000s

Between 2002 and 2019, Roger Federer won 28 ATP Masters 1000 titles, lifting the singles trophy at eight different events. His 28 triumphs trail only Big Three rivals Novak Djokovic (38) and Rafael Nadal (36) on the all-time list.

Federer won 20 Masters 1000 titles on outdoor hard courts — including his last eight— as well as six on outdoor clay and two on indoor hard courts. He completed the Sunshine Double with back-to-back titles in Indian Wells and Miami on three occasions (2005-06, 2017) and won at least one title at the prestigious level in 13 individual years, compiling a 381-108 match record.

The Swiss won four Masters 1000 titles in both 2005 and 2006, capping off his stellar '06 campaign with another crown at the year-end Tennis Masters Cup in addition to three Grand Slams. Federer's happiest hunting ground was Cincinnati, where he won seven titles.

ATPTour.com looks back at Federer's sterling record across the Masters 1000s.

Indian Wells (5 Titles: 2004-06, 2012, 2017)


Roger Federer lifts the 2017 Indian Wells title. Photo Credit: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Federer frequently enjoyed a strong start to the ATP Masters 1000 season with high-class performances at the BNP Paribas Open. His five titles in the California desert are his second-most at any Masters 1000 event.

Roger Federer
Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal
Roger Federer
Roger Federer
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Berrettini Blasts Team Europe Back In Front

Matteo Berrettini fired Team Europe back in front against Team World on Saturday at the Laver Cup. The Italian edged Felix Auger-Aliassime 7-6(11), 4-6, 10-7 to move his side into a 4-2 lead in London.

In a hard-fought battle, the Italian caused damage with his aggressive forehand, while he hit his backhand slice with great depth to keep the Canadian at bay. The World No. 15 saved one break point in the first set, before raising his level on serve in the Match Tie-break to seal his victory after two hours and 15 minutes.

“It is always a great fight against Felix,” Berrettini said in his on-court interview. “We played for two and 15 minutes and he is a hell of a player. I had to play my best tennis in the [Match] Tie-break to win. I am really happy because I didn’t win just for me but for the team.”

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Sonego Outserves Hurkacz To Reach Metz Final

Lorenzo Sonego was taking on one of the ATP Tour’s biggest servers in Hubert Hurkacz on Saturday afternoon at the Moselle Open. Yet it was the Italian’s delivery which proved impenetrable as he upset the 2021 champion to reach the final at the ATP 250 event in Metz.

In a semi-final clash with few opportunities on return, it was Sonego who held his nerve to advance to his fifth tour-level final with a 7-6(5), 6-4 win. He stayed consistent to claim the first-set tie-break before converting the sole break point of the match at 3-3 in the second set to wrap a 99-minute victory.

“I’m really happy, because this is my first final this year, and I’ve played so well day after day,” said Sonego after the match. ”I’m really happy for that. Hubi is a great server, and it’s very tough to return the ball, but today I played so well and I enjoyed every moment on court.”

[ATP APP]

Sonego won 84 per cent (38/45) of points behind his first serve against the second seed Hurkacz, who in comparison won 72 per cent (31/43) on his first delivery. The win moves Sonego into a 3-2 lead in his ATP Head2Head series against the Pole, while the Italian’s run in Metz has propelled him up 13 spots to No. 52 in the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings.

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