Defending Champion Alex de Minaur Advances to Mexican Open Final

Alex de Minaur is heading back to the Mexican Open final…

The 25-year-old Spanish & Uruguayan Australian tennis player, the tournament’s defending champion, advanced to the final when Jack Draper retired in the third set on Friday.

Alex de MinaurThe third-seeded de Minaur won the first set 6-3, dropped the second 6-2 and was leading 4-0 in the third when Draper, who was visibly diminished physically, called it quits.

de Minaur will face Casper Ruud, who pulled off an upset by beating second-seeded Holger Rune 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 in the late match.

“I’m happy to be in the final, but I´m hoping that Jack is doing fine. He has a tremendous talent, and hopefully he can recover for the upcoming tournaments,” de Minaur said. “It’s hard to play when your opponent is not OK physically, but you need to remain focused.”

de Minaur won his ninth straight match in Mexico and became the first defending champion to reach the Acapulco final since David Ferrer in 2013.

de Minaur has seven career ATP titles, with last year at Acapulco his most recent.

Draper, from England, was playing in his first semifinal of an ATP 500 tournament.

In the other semifinal, Ruud lost the first set and then was down 3-1 in the third with Rune serving, but he managed a couple of breaks and held his serve to take the win.

“I did not get the best start, and the third set looked really bad. I just tried to stay in there and it seemed like Holger was struggling, and at the end it worked for me,” Ruud said.

Ruud will try to win his 10th career title, the first one in an ATP 500.

Rune, who is No. 7 in the ATP rankings, lost in the Acapulco semifinals for the second year in a row.

Rafael Nadal to Play in “6 Kings Slam” Exhibition Event in Saudi Arabia

Rafael Nadal is headed to the Middle East this fall.

The 37-year-old Spanish professional tennis player, the former World No. 1, is set to play in an exhibition event in Saudi Arabia in October, the kingdom’s latest move into tennis.

Rafael NadalNadal will be joined by Novak Djokovic, Carlos Alcaraz, new Australian Open champion Jannik Sinner, Daniil Medvedev and Holger Rune in what’s being touted as the “6 Kings Slam” in Riyadh.

All but Rune have won at least one Grand Slam title. Djokovic holds the men’s record with 24, followed by Nadal with 22. Alcaraz has two, and Sinner and Medvedev one apiece.

Nadal was recently announced as an ambassador for the Saudi Tennis Federation.

The ATP men’s tour moved its annual tournament for leading players who are 21 and under to Jedda, and the WTA women’s tour is in negotiations to put its season-ending championship in Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia has pumped huge amounts of money into sports, such as soccer, Formula One, boxing and golf, with critics accusing the country of using its Public Investment Fund to engage in sportswashing over its human rights record, including the treatment of women and members of the LGBTQIA+ community.

The kingdom denies accusations of human rights abuses and says it protects its national security through its laws.

Carlos Alcaraz Placed in Red Group for This Year’s ATP Finals

Carlos Alcaraz will be seeing red

The 20-year-old Spanish professional tennis player has been placed in the Red Group for the ATP Tour’s year-end ATP Finals tournament. The draw for the season-ending, eight-man finals was made Thursday.

Carlos AlcarazComing in as the second seed, Alcaraz will face Daniil MedvedevAndrey Rublev and Alexander Zverev in the round-robin stage.

Defending champion Novak Djokovic has been placed in a group with home favorite Jannik Sinner for the ATP Finals in Turin, where he needs to win just one match to end the year as world No. 1.

Djokovic will also face Stefanos Tsitsipas and Holger Rune in the Green Group for the round-robin stage.

The top two from each group advance to the semifinals.

Djokovic is bidding to win the event for a seventh time and has not lost a match since his defeat to Alcaraz in the Wimbledon final in July. He currently shares the record of six victories with Roger Federer.

Zverev has won the tournament twice, while Medvedev and Tsitsipas have one victory apiece.

The tournament starts Sunday, and the final is scheduled for November 19.

Roberto Carballes Baena Upsets No. 4 Seed Holger Rune in First Round of US Open

Roberto Carballes Baena has pulled off a major upset at the US Open

The 30-year-old Spanish tennis player, ranked No. 63 in the world, downed No. 4 seed Holger Rune 6-3, 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, on Monday at Flushing Meadows for his first-ever victory over a top-10 player.

Roberto Carballes BaenaRune, a 20-year-old Dane who cracked the top 5 after reaching the quarterfinals of the French Open and Wimbledon, had complained before the match about being assigned to one of the outer courts, sarcastically posting a map of Flushing Meadows on X, formerly known as Twitter, to help his fans find it.

“I just didn’t expect to play on that court,” Rune said afterward. “That’s obviously disappointing but not going to blame the court on the loss.”

Rune suffered early exits from tuneup events in Toronto and Cincinnati and there were early signs of trouble on Monday as he failed to earn a break point in the first set.

Carballes Baena converted on break point chances in the fifth and ninth games, but his serve lost its firepower in the second set, when Rune finally broke in the third game.

Carballes Baena, who won in Marrakech earlier this year, cleaned up his act in the third set, when he broke Rune to love in the eighth game, and had clear control over the match in the fourth set, when he dropped only a single first-serve point.

The tournament lasts two weeks and wraps up with the women’s singles final on September 9, and the men’s singles final on September 10.

Carlos Alcaraz Defeats Holger Rune to Become Youngest Wimbledon Semifinalist Since Novak Djokovic in 2007

Carlos Alcaraz has advanced to his maiden Wimbledon semifinal…

In a clash between two 20-year-olds, the Spaniard triumphed over Holger Rune on Wednesday, defeating he Dane 7-6(3), 6-4, 6-4, to become the youngest semifinalist at the All England Club since Novak Djokovic in 2007.

Carlos AlcarazAlcaraz’s match against the World No. 6 Rune was the first men’s Wimbledon quarterfinal battle in the Open Era (since 1968) to be contested between two players aged under 21 and both played with youthful freedom on Centre Court to entertain the packed crowd.

They went blow for blow with their destructive shot-making for two hours and 20 minutes, but the World No. 1 Alcaraz had the answers in the big moments.

“It is amazing for me,” Alcaraz said. “It is a dream since I started playing tennis, making good results here at Wimbledon, such a beautiful and great tournament for me. It is a dream to play a semi-final here. I think I am playing at a great level. I did not expect to play at such a great level on this surface. For me it is crazy.”

With his 45th tour-level victory of the season, Alcaraz advanced to his third major semifinal and improved to 2-1 in his ATP Head2Head series against Rune, having defeated the Dane en route to the 2021 Next Gen ATP Finals title.

“It was tough. At the beginning I was really nervous, playing a quarterfinal at Wimbledon and even more against Rune, who is the same age as me,” Alcaraz said. “He plays at a great level and it was tough to play against him. But I have said it a few times, once you take to court you are not friends you have to be focused on your side and I think I did great on that part.”

Standing in the Spaniard’s way from a second major final will be World No. 3 Daniil Medvedev, who earned his 46th victory of the season against Christopher Eubanks on Wednesday, defeating the American in five sets.

Carlos Alcaraz Earns No. 1 Seed at Wimbledon

Carlos Alcaraz is heading into the All England Club as the top seed…

The 20-year-old Spanish tennis player, not four-time defending champion Novak Djokovic was seeded No. 1 for Wimbledon on Wednesday, as expected, because the All England Club adhered to the ATP and WTA rankings.

Carlos AlcarazAlcaraz overtook Djokovic atop the men’s standings on Monday. Djokovic hasn’t played since collecting his men’s record 23rd Grand Slam title at the French Open on June 11 and slid to No. 2, while Alcaraz rose one spot after winning a grass-court tuneup tournament at Queen’s Club on Sunday.

Djokovic has won the championship at Wimbledon each of the past four times it was held — and seven times overall — but he did not benefit from a ranking boost in 2022 because the ATP and WTA withheld all points to protest the All England Club’s decision to ban players from Russia and Belarus because of the invasion of Ukraine.

Those athletes are allowed to compete this year, and Russian player Daniil Medvedev is seeded No. 3 in the men’s field.

The draw to set up the singles brackets will be Friday. The tournament begins Monday.

Casper Ruud is No. 4 of the 32 men’s seeds, followed by Stefanos TsitsipasHolger RuneJannik SinnerTaylor Fritz and Frances TiafoeNick Kyrgios, the runner-up to Djokovic at Wimbledon a year ago, is seeded 31st.

Two-time Wimbledon champion Andy Murray is ranked 39th and is not seeded.

Swiatek has been ranked No. 1 since April 2022 and owns four Grand Slam titles, most recently at the French Open. She has never been past the fourth round at Wimbledon.

In the women’s field, Iga Swiatek is the No. 1 seed, while Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka.

Elena Rybakina, the 2022 women’s champion at the All England Club, is No. 3 among the women’s 32 seeds, followed by Jessica PegulaCaroline Garcia, Ons Jabeur, Coco Gauff, Maria Sakkari, two-time champion Petra Kvitova and Barbora Krejcikova.

From 2002 to 2019, the All England Club based its seedings for the men’s draw on a formula that took into account results on grass at Wimbledon and elsewhere. But after that, the tournament opted to simply follow the rankings to determine all seeds.

Carlos Alcaraz Defeats Sebastian Korda to Reach First Final on Grass at Cinch Championships

Carlos Alcaraz is kickin’ grass

Improving match by match on the grass courts of the Cinch Championships, the 20-year-old Spanish tennis player defeated Sebastian Korda 6-3, 6-4 on Saturday to move into his first final on the surface.

Carlos Alcaraz With a victory against Alex de Minaur in Sunday’s final at The Queen’s Club in London, Alcaraz would reclaim the top spot in the ATP Rankings from Novak Djokovic and secure the No. 1 seed at Wimbledon. Through to his 14th tour-level final, he is seeking his 11th title.

“Right now I feel like I’m playing for 10 years on grass, it’s something crazy for me,” said Alcaraz, who is playing just his third tournament on the surface and entered London with a 4-2 grass-court record. “I didn’t expect to adapt my movement, my game so fast on grass. I’m really happy with that.”

Alcaraz’s win against World No. 32 Korda improved his record to 27-1 against players outside the Top 20 this season. He has reached at least the semifinals in eight of the nine tournaments he’s played on the year.

After winning a dramatic opening set that featured a combined three breaks of serve on 13 chances, Alcaraz won the only break point of the second set. He converted three of his nine break chances overall, saving four of five break points against him in the opening set.

Korda was plagued by six double faults, including several at key moments in the first set. The American’s slice was also punished by Alcaraz, the top seed running around it and crushing forehands at every opportunity.

“I’m playing great, I’m feeling great,” Alcaraz assessed, saying that this was the best match of his young grass-court career. “I’m really happy to play here in Queen’s. Since the first match, I feel the love from the crowd. I would say that it’s impossible to win these kind of matches without them, without the energy they bring to me.”

Alcaraz will again rely on that energy in the final against De Minaur, who beat Holger Rune 6-3, 7-6(2) earlier on Saturday. The pair’s lone previous ATP Head2Head meeting was a classic in last year’s Barcelona semifinals. In a three-hour, 40-minute thriller, Alcaraz saved a pair of match points in a 6-7(4), 7-6(4), 6-4 victory en route to the title on home soil.

“It’s going to be a big challenge for me. His game is really good on grass,” Alcaraz said of the final matchup. “He serves so flat. He’s going to be very dangerous here on grass.

“But I think about myself, I’m thinking about my game. I will try to put my game in the match. I will try not to think about the opponent. Just enjoy the final, enjoy playing here and let’s see what happens.”

De Minaur could reach a new career-high ATP ranking of No. 14 with victory in the final. Korda, behind his run to the semis, will move to a new high of World No. 25 on Monday.

Francisco Cerundolo Defeats Taylor Fritz to Reach Fourth Round at French Open

Francisco Cerundolo is having a moment…

After entering the French Open without a main-draw win at the event, the 24-year-old Argentine professional tennis player has secured his best Grand Slam result by reaching the fourth round in Paris.

Francisco CerundoloCerundolo, the No. 23 seed, defeated ninth seed Taylor Fritz 3-6, 6-3, 6-4, 7-5 on Saturday evening to continue his run, improving to 6-7 against Top 10 opponents with the victory.

Cerundolo was without a win in four Grand Slam main-draw appearances prior to 2023, but reached the third round at the Australian Open before his success at Roland Garros.

His Paris campaign will continue with a showdown against sixth seed Holger Rune on Monday.

Cerundolo, who has moved up three places from his current career-high to No. 20 this week in the ATP Live Rankings, frustrated Fritz with his big forehand to earn the victory on Court Suzanne-Lenglen after two hours and 50 minutes.

After surrendering an early break advantage in a dramatic fourth set, Cerundolo saved a set point on serve at 4-5 with a majestic topspin lob and ultimately won the final three games of the match behind his baseline brilliance.

The back-and-forth match saw a combined 10 breaks of serve, with Cerundolo converting on six of 21 break chances and Fritz claiming four of his 15 break points. Fritz, whose defeat means that five of the Top 10 seeds are out after three rounds at Roland Garros, fired nine aces to Cerundolo’s one. But the American was second-best in many of the neutral rallies as Cerundolo moved him from side to side with power and width.

Cerundolo, a quarterfinalist at the ATP Masters 1000s in Miami and Rome this season, was one of three Argentines in action on Saturday. While Rune breezed past Genaro Alberto Olivieri, Tomas Martin Etcheverry upset 15th seed Borna Coric 6-3, 7-6(5), 6-2 earlier in the day. With the victory, the 23-year-old Etcheverry — who reached his first two ATP Tour finals this season in Santiago and Houston — extended his best major run.

Etcheverry owned just one Grand Slam main-draw win prior to Roland Garros, his victory coming earlier this season at the Australian Open.

Next up for the unseeded Argentine is a fourth-round meeting with 27th seed Yoshihito Nishioka, a 3-6, 7-6(8), 2-6, 6-4, 6-0 winner against Brazilian qualifier Thiago Seyboth Wild on Saturday.

Carlos Alcaraz Wins Opening Match at Next Gen Finals

Carlos Alcaraz is still the man to beat…

The 18-year-old Spanish tennis phenom, the tournament favorite, took just 75 minutes to beat Holger Rune of Denmark 4-3 (6) 4-2 4-0, seeing out the group match with a crosscourt volley to take the final game and set to love at the Next Gen Finals on Tuesday.

Carlos AlcarazAlcaraz has moved more than 100 places up the rankings this season to No. 32 and reached the U.S. Open quarterfinals.

Earlier, Brandon Nakashima  took less than 90 minutes to beat Francisco Cerúndolo of Argentina 4-1 3-4 (3) 4-1 4-0.

All four players are in Group A of the eight-man tournament, which has a round-robin format. The top two in both groups qualify for Friday’s semifinals. The final is on Saturday.

In Group B, Sebastian Korda of the U.S. plays Hugo Gaston of France in the first match of the evening session, followed by home favorite Lorenzo Musetti against Sebastian Baez of Argentina.

It is the fourth edition of the tournament in Milan for the top 21-and-under players on the ATP Tour. The tournament was cancelled last year because of the coronavirus pandemic. The ATP Finals will also be in Italy, in Turin next week.

There are different rules at the Next Gen Finals, including on-court coaching, no-Ad scoring, medical timeout limits, and Hawk-Eye making all the line calls.

The most drastic change is the shorter set, where the first to four games takes the set, with a tiebreak at 3-3.

This year there are also shorter warm-ups, ensuring matches begin just one minute after the players enter the court, while bathroom breaks are timed to three minutes.