Category: Tennis

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.”

Sunday’s final was Sonego’s first on the ATP Tour since Eastbourne in June 2021, but the Italian showed no sign of nerves as he picked up where he left off in Saturday’s semi-final triumph against second seed Hubert Hurkacz. The Italian struck the ball crisply from deep and was once again impressive on serve, winning 82 per cent (36/44) of points behind his first delivery overall.


Bublik had clinched his maiden ATP Tour trophy on French indoor hard courts in Montpellier in February, but the World No. 44 was unable to cap a dream debut week in Metz with a trophy as he struggled to effectively counter against a confident Sonego.

“Big congrats to Lorenzo. It’s always a pleasure to lose against you, as I told you at the net!” joked Bublik at the trophy presentation. “Thanks to my team, thanks to everyone for supporting me and I was happy to be back in the finals in France.”

As well as Bublik, Sonego also defeated seeded players Aslan Karatsev and Hubert Hurkacz in Metz, where he was making his third appearance. Sonego’s run in north-eastern France has propelled the Italian up 21 spots to No. 44 in the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings.

Sonego’s previous Tour titles were won on grass in Antalya in 2019 and clay in Cagliari in 2021. The 27-year-old is the fourth Italian tour-level singles champion of the year, with Matteo Berrettini, Lorenzo Musetti and Jannik Sinner also lifting trophies in 2022.


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“Over a Decade of Incredible Moments” – Djokovic Sends Praise to Federer

The pair had an epic rivalry that spanned 50 matches and 19 finals.
By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Saturday, September 17, 2022

Novak Djokovic sent praise and kind words to his friend and rival Roger Federer after hearing of the Swiss’ imminent retirement this week.

Tennis Express

Djokovic, who won 27 of 50 matches against Federer in a breathtaking rivalry that played out from 2006 to 2020, said it was an honor to know Federer on and off the court.

“Roger it’s hard to see this day and put into words all that we’ve shared in this sport together,” the 35-year-old said. “Over a decade of incredible moments and battles to think back on.”






A post shared by Novak Djokovic (@djokernole)

Djokovic and Federer played 19 ATP finals together, including five at the Grand Slam level.

“Your career has set the tone for what it means to achieve excellence and lead with integrity and poise,” he said. “It’s an honor to know you on and off court, and for many more years to come. I know that this new chapter will hold amazing things for you, Mirka, the kids, all your loved ones, and Roger fans still have a lot to look forward to. From our family to yours, we wish you much joy, health, and prosperity in the future. Looking forward to celebrating your achievements and seeing you in London.”

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Evans, Brooksby Head San Diego Open Draw

Daniel Evans is top seed for next week's San Diego Open.
Daniel Evans headlines the draw for next week's San Diego Open.

The top-seeded Evans enjoys a first-round bye and will face either Taro Daniel or a qualifier in his opener.

A strong group of Americans including second-seeded Jenson Brooksby, Brandon Nakashima, wild card Brandon Holt, Marcos Giron, J.J. Wolf and Denis Kudla highlight the field.

Novak Djokovic

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After a Summer of Struggle, Iga Swiatek Learned to Fly in New York

The Pole's dedication to all elements of her craft saw her through to the title at the 2022 US Open.
By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Saturday, September 10, 2022

Flushing Meadows, NY—Iga Swiatek was struggling mightily on the hard courts this summer, not quite feeling the ball on the hard courts, and in need of confidence and belief to face the biggest challenges that lurked at the US Open.

Tennis Express

So what did she do? She took her time.

“For sure I needed more time,” after claiming her third Grand Slam title on Saturday in New York “That's why Toronto and Cincinnati didn't work probably.”

Since leaving for the US Open, after going 2-2 at Toronto and Cincinnati, losing in the round of 16 both times, Swiatek has dedicated herself to making technical changes to her game so she can thrive–or at least survive–on the faster playing surfaces and with the faster playing ball in New York.

A better way to say it? She survived to thrive.

The Pole rallied from a set down twice in week two, against Jule Niemeier and Aryna Sabalenka, and showed up on Sunday in the final to do what she does best: dominate.

Swiatek was in stellar form on Sunday against fifth-seeded Jabeur, as she earned the 6-2, 7-6(5) victory to stretch her winning streak in finals and against the Top-10 to ten matches.

Swiatek says she finally felt free on Saturday, because all the hard work she had done during the fortnight allowed her to stop thinking about the technical elements of her tennis and just let it fly.

“I didn't need to think about this technical stuff at the end because I did it for already four weeks, so it kind of got a little bit more natural and I used more intuition,” she said. “That was the thing that actually let me be more free.”

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I can play with the best, and I’m capable of winning Grand Slams – Tiafoe Energized after Electric Run in NYC

The 24-year-old wants his breakthrough to be the beginning of something bigger. By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Saturday, September 10, 2022

Flushing Meadows, NY—Frances Tiafoe was edged by Carlos Alcaraz in five thrilling sets in men’s semifinal action in Flushing Meadows on Friday, but the 24-year-old American is upbeat about his future despite the loss.

Tennis Express

“I just proved that honestly, I can play with the best obviously, and I'm capable of winning Grand Slams,” Tiafoe said. “I think everyone knew when I play my best what I could do. But you know how close I can actually be to be one of those guys and to do this consistently.”

Tiafoe has had a reputation for concentration lapses in the past, but in New York this week he showed that he can dial it in and play complete matches from start to finish.

It was one of the things that pleased him the most about his run to the semifinals.

“Obviously through my career I've been pretty sporadic of playing well, veering off for a while. I've always backed myself against the best players in the world. I'm doing it on a consistent basis, starting to beat guys more readily. Ready to take the next step.”

Tiafoe became the first American man to reach the semifinals at the US Open since 2006, and he became the first black man to reach the US Open semis since the legend Arthur Ashe.

He wowed the fans in Flushing and showed how well-suited he is for the big stage.

And he also showed that he has staying power at the Slams. He didn’t just knock off 22-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal in the round of 16, he also backed the win up with a straight sets win over Andrey Rublev to reach his first major semifinal.

“I'm definitely falling in love with the process and doing the work much more,” he said. “I'm working smarter, I'm understanding. I've always, like, tried hard, but get my weaknesses stronger, breaking down my game a lot more, and I am a student of the game again.”

In a way, Tiafoe says, he’s going back to his roots.

“When I was younger, I was a big student of the game. Just get my weaknesses better, just keep trying to get better,” he said. “I always knew to put two weeks together is obviously the toughest thing in the world. That's why only three guys were doing it for so long.”

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Iga Swiatek Might Have Been an Underdog in Week One of the US Open, but Not Anymore

The Pole is starting to look like the player to beat in New York. By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Tuesday, September 6, 2022

Flushing Meadows, NY—Iga Swiatek—she of the 37-match winning streak earlier this year—surprised to be in the semifinals at the US Open?

Believe it, it’s true.

Tennis Express

The World No.1, who defeated Jessica Pegula 6-3, 7-6(3) on Wednesday night in Arthur Ashe Stadium, says that she really didn’t expect to make a big result in New York, based on the way she played in Toronto and Montreal.

“Looking logically at the last tournaments, I just didn't know if this one was going to be possible for me to be consistent and to win so many matches in a row,” she told reporters after her win over Pegula.

Swiatek made headlines when she logged a complaint about the fact that the US Open uses different balls for the men and the women, with the women’s ball playing faster and being more difficult to control.

But she has had time to work through those issues, even if she needed several racquet switches against Pegula, as she tried to find the right tension.

She also said the cooler temperatures helped her.

“I think it helped me a lot. I think also the conditions helped me because it was colder today. The ball wasn't flying as much.”

Now that she’s back in the groove and feeling the ball, Swiatek could be hard to stop this weekend.

Quite a difference, given where she was in terms of form two weeks ago.

If there was a silver lining to Swiatek’s struggles in the US Open lead up events, it is that it allowed her to back away from the pressure and feel like an underdog again.

“I feel like I've been playing better and better every week since the start of this swing,” she said. “It surprised me because after the losses that I had in Toronto and Cincinnati, I just wasn't expecting to play so well here. It gave me actually a lot because I could be kind of an underdog again, not maybe fully, but just not expect from myself that I'm going to win everything right now.”

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New York Heartbreak Hard To Take For ‘Devastated’ Kyrgios

The disappointment of US Open defeat to Karen Khachanov shone through for Nick Kyrgios in the early hours of Wednesday morning. Despite adding a maiden quarter-final appearance in New York to his impressive list of achievements in recent months, the Australian’s desire to go deeper in the draw made it hard for him to take positives from his five-set loss.

“I feel like I’ve let so many people down,” said Kyrgios, who was seeking to back up his run to his maiden major final at Wimbledon in July. “It’s just devastating. Like, it’s heartbreaking. Not just for me, but for everyone that I know that wants me to win.”

Kyrgios fired 31 aces and battled for three hours, 39 minutes against Khachanov inside Arthur Ashe Stadium, but he felt a slow start had cost him dear as the 27th seed outlasted the Australian to reach his maiden Grand Slam semi-final.

“[I] just came out flat,” said Kyrgios. “Physically didn’t feel great. Then I ended up feeling great towards the end of the match.

“I’m obviously devastated. But all credit to Karen. He’s a fighter. He’s a warrior. I thought he served really good today. Honestly probably the best server I played this tournament, to be honest, the way he was hitting his spots under pressure.”

Kyrgios impressed in the opening week in New York, moving past close friend Thanasi Kokkinakis, Benjamin Bonzi and J.J. Wolf before delivering a stunning fourth-round performance to end Daniil Medvedev’s title defence. The 23rd seed came within a set of reaching his maiden semi-final at Flushing Meadows but admitted Khachanov was too good in the key moments.

“He just played the big points well,” said Kyrgios. “[There] really wasn’t anything in it. I’m just devastated obviously. Just feel like it was either winning it all or nothing at all, to be honest. I feel like I’ve just failed at this event right now. That’s what it feels like.”


Having been outside the Top 100 of the Pepperstone ATP Rankings as recently as March, Kyrgios’ run this fortnight has lifted him to No. 19 in the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings, making him the No. 1 Australian. The physical commitment shown by the 27-year-old as he has racked up 26 wins since the start of the grass season in June has been high and he played down fears surrounding his knee after aggravating it during Tuesday night’s match.

“Just [my] knee [is] sore,” said Kyrgios. “Obviously I’ve been playing a lot of tennis the last couple months. Just came out… I just split-stepped and just tweaked it a little bit. Ended up feeling fine. I got some Deep Heat on it. Everyone is carrying a bit of a niggle right now. Nothing major.”

With plans to now return home to Australia for a break from tournament play, Kyrgios can reflect on a highly successful few months on Tour during which he lifted his seventh tour-level singles trophy at the Citi Open ATP 500 event in Washington. He also lifted the doubles title in the U.S. capital alongside Kokkinakis, and the Australian Open-winning pair is still in with a strong chance of qualifying for November’s Nitto ATP Finals. Kokkinakis and Kyrgios currently sit sixth in the Pepperstone ATP Live Doubles Teams Rankings.

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Serena’s Final US Open Match Earns Biggest Tennis Ratings in ESPN History

Serena Williams didn't win the US Open, but made the US Open a big winner.
By Erik Gudris | @ATNtennis | Tuesday, September 6, 2022

Serena Williams did not win this year’s US Open.

Yet she added another incredible statistic to her legendary career with a milestone in television ratings history.

More: Tiafoe Stuns Nadal

Friday night’s third round US Open match between Serena Williams and Ajla Tomljanovic drew historic ratings numbers for host network ESPN in the United States. Despite Tomljanovic prevailing in three sets, ESPN and Williams won the ratings night in a huge way.

According to Sports Media Watch, ESPN’s US Open coverage was the most watched show on any U.S. network for Friday night.

The match averaged 4.8 million viewers – the most watched tennis match on any network since Serena faced her sister Venus Williams in the 2015 US Open quarterfinals. That match occurred during Serena’s quest for the elusive calendar year Grand Slam.

The most recent high was the 2019 US Open women’s singles final where Bianca Andreescu defeated Serena Williams for the title.

Tennis Express

The Friday audience peaked at 6.9 million in the final fifteen minutes. That number exceeded every major singles final since Serena Williams defeated Victoria Azarenka in the 2013 US Open singles final, then broadcast on CBS.

The full ESPN telecast averaged 4.56 million, making it the most watched tennis telecast in the network’s history. The previous high was the 2012 Wimbledon men’s singles final between Roger Federer and Andy Murray.

Overall, US Open coverage averaged 1.1 million viewers through last Friday; that was up 101% from last year and set another record.

Photo credit: Al Bello/Getty

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US Open Day 8 Preview: Nadal Faces Tiafoe Test

Rafael Nadal’s bid for his third Grand Slam title of the season collides with American star Frances Tiafoe on Monday at the US Open, where #NextGenATP stars Carlos Alcaraz and Jannik Sinner are also chasing quarter-final berths in New York. looks at five things to watch on Day 8 at Flushing Meadows.

View Schedule | View Singles Draw | View Doubles Draw


1) Rafa Takes On Home Favourite Tiafoe: After an injury-disrupted build up to the US Open, four-time champion Rafael Nadal appears to be finding his feet once again at Flushing Meadows.

The Spaniard had played just one match during the North American hard-court swing prior to arriving in New York due to an abdominal issue. Three convincing victories later and he looks in good shape to mount a serious title challenge in New York, where he is chasing his third major title of the season and record-extending 23rd Grand Slam crown.

Standing in his way next is Frances Tiafoe, the 24-year-old home favourite capable of some of the most show-stopping tennis on the ATP Tour. Tiafoe saw off Diego Schwartzman in straight sets on Saturday to reach the US Open fourth round for the third consecutive year, and Nadal believes he needs to step things up if he wants to improve his ATP Head2Head series lead against Tiafoe to 3-0 on Monday.

“Second week against a great player like Frances, I need to be ready to play and to raise my level,” said Nadal, the current No. 1 in the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings. “I hope to be able to make that happen. I know it’s the right moment to make an improvement if I want to keep having chances to keep going on the tournament.”

2) Alcaraz Seeks Cilic Hat-trick: Carlos Alcaraz has had the edge against Marin Cilic so far in 2022. The Spaniard defeated Cilic in straight sets en route to his maiden ATP Masters 1000 title in Miami in March and then again in Cincinnati in August to take a 2-1 lead in the pair’s ATP Head2Head series. He now prepares for a third meeting against the Croatian on the hard courts of the United States this year, at the scene of one of Cilic’s career highlights — his 2014 US Open triumph.

Cilic fought hard for a three-hour, 59-minute win against Daniel Evans in the third round to keep his dreams of a second New York crown alive, but in Alcaraz he will face an opponent yet to drop a set this tournament, and one who has the added motivation of knowing a win keeps alive his chances of becoming the youngest No. 1 in the history of the Pepperstone ATP Rankings on September 12.

3) Norrie & Rublev Collide: Cameron Norrie and Andrey Rublev couldn’t have had more diverging paths to the fourth round at Flushing Meadows. The seventh-seeded Briton Norrie has reeled off three comfortable straight-sets victories so far, while ninth seed Rublev has had his mettle tested in a pair of epic five-setters against Laslo Djere and Denis Shapovalov.

Having split their two previous tour-level meetings, resilient lefty Norrie and hard-hitting Rublev meet for the first time at a Grand Slam. Rublev is bidding for his third US Open quarter-final appearance, while Norrie is already treading new ground in New York, where he had not been past the third round in six previous attempts.


4) Sinner Seeks QF Spot: Jannik Sinner’s comeback win against fellow #NextGenATP star Brandon Nakashima on Saturday ensured the Italian has reached at least the fourth round at all four Grand Slams in 2022. The 21-year-old went one step further at both the Australian Open and Wimbledon, and he now attempts to make it three quarter-finals appearances at the majors this season in his maiden ATP Head2Head meeting with Ilya Ivashka.

Ivashka bettered his 2021 run to the third round at Flushing Meadows with an impressive four-set win against Sinner’s countryman Lorenzo Musetti on Saturday. The 28-year-old has only reached this stage of a Grand Slam once before — at Wimbledon 2021 — where he lost to another Italian, Matteo Berrettini.

5) ‘Special Ks To Extend Grand Slam Run?: Thanasi Kokkinakis and Nick Kyrgios have started their maiden US Open doubles campaign in solid fashion but the ‘Special Ks’ face a stern test in the third round as they take on 11th seeds Lloyd Glasspool and Harri Heliovaara.

Glasspool and Heliovaara’s impressive 2022 season has seen them rise to eighth in the Pepperstone ATP Live Doubles Teams Rankings, just two spots behind Australian Open champions Kokkinakis and Kyrgios.  

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China’s Zheng Qinwen, 19, Continues to Strut Her Stuff at the Slams

The 19-year-old has reached at least the third round at three straight majors. By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Thursday Septemeber 1, 2022

Flushing Meadows, NY—The introductions are complete at the Grand Slam stage for China’s Zheng Qinwen, and the talented, sturdy 19-year-old has proven to be a ringer.

Tennis Express

Zheng won her Slam debut in Australian this January, before falling in the second round. At Roland-Garros she proved to be a force on the clay, parlaying a victory over Simona Halep into a run to the round of 16, and at Wimbledon she showed the potential for grass prowess as she reached the third round before falling to eventual champion Elena Rybakina in two very tight sets.

Here in New York the hard-hitting World No.39 is looking like a ringer on the fast-playing surfaces of the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center as well.

She has hammered 32 aces through two rounds, and on Thursday she edged past Russia’s Anastasia Potapova, 7-6(4), 7-6(3).

Afterwards the rising Chinese talked about her hard court game.

“I think I play pretty different on clay and on hard court,” she said. “On hard court was more fast and is more about reaction. When I was playing on clay, I have more time to generate the power and to hit the ball like heavy with topspin. But on hard court, especially girls, most of them they are hitting flat. I am really used to bending my knees and getting the ball well.”

Zheng, who is one of four Chinese women to have reached the third round in New York along with Zhang Shuai, Wang Xiyu and Yuan Yue, will face Germany’s Jule Niemeier in the third round.
The pair met this year in qualifying at the Melbourne 250, with Zheng coming through, 6-4, 6-0.

She knows that Niemeier, who reached the quarterfinals at Wimbledon this year, is a talented and difficult opponent.

“She's a very good player, and I think her ball comes really heavy, with a lot of spin,” she said. “I think when I played against her the last time was in [Melbourne], the qualifying. I beat her in two sets. Of course the next day will be a tough match. She's tough to beat, because it means she arrive in third round, it means she has something.”

Zheng is now 19-14 on the season. She is one of two teenagers remaining in the women’s singles draw in New York, from the 13 who started in the main draw.

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Medvedev: Make No Mistake, Nadal is a Big US Open Favorite

The Russian is 1-5 against Nadal and has lost both his Grand Slam finals against him. By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Thursday Septemeber 1, 2022

Flushing Meadows, NY—Four ATP players have a chance to leave the US Open as the No.1-ranked player, and only one player is the true favorite.

Tennis Express

Before you think it’s top-seeded and defending champion Daniil Medvedev, the Russian wants you to know that there’s a certain four-time champion by the name of Nadal who could be considered the favorite to win it all.

“I don't want to put pressure on anybody, but I think Rafa is a big favorite also,” he said on Wednesday night after easing past France’s Arthur Rinderknech in straight sets to reach the third round. “He won the last time he played here against me actually. He won two slams this year. I think Novak is better on grass, but Rafa didn't play. He actually didn't lose in a Grand Slam this year. He retired, which is not the same.”

Medvedev and Nadal met in the 2019 US Open final, and it was the Spaniard who came through in five sets, even though he nearly squandered a two sets to love lead. Nadal also took down Medvedev in this year’s Australian Open final, rallying from two sets down to claim his 21st major title.

That remarkable victory marked the first time a player had recovered from two sets down to win an Australian Open final since 1965.

The Spaniard also pounded his way past Medvedev at Acapulco, 6-3, 6-3 in February, to increase his head-to-head record against Medvedev to 5-1 overall.

“In my opinion Rafa is big, let's call it like this,” Medvedev said. “I don't want to say favorite, big favorite. He's definitely big figure in this tournament.

“Then for sure there are many other good guys. I'm happy to see my name sometimes in the odds or something like this because I'm like, That's great. That means that I play some good tennis. Being amongst the favorites just brings me more motivation to try to do well.”

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Felix Fends Off Ritschard To Reach Round Two At US Open

Felix Auger-Aliassime has a history of raising his game at the US Open, and the sixth seed needed to do just that to hold off Swiss qualifier Alexander Ritschard in the first round at Flushing Meadows on Monday.

Auger-Aliassime prevailed 6-3, 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 in an absorbing encounter that featured some devastating baseline hitting from both players. Despite some inspired shotmaking from Ritschard, the Canadian was more clinical at big moments, converting four from eight break point opportunities to complete a hard-earned three-hour, four-minute win.

“There were some good and very positive things in the match, but also know I could play better. There’s room for improvement,” Auger-Aliassime said. “But at the end of the day, the most important [thing] is I got through, finishing well. That puts me in a good place. I’m looking forward to the second round and let’s see how it goes, but just happy that I was able to get the win.”


The boys’ singles champion at Flushing Meadows in 2016, Auger-Aliassime reached his maiden Grand Slam semi-final in New York a year ago. He showed flashes of the game that powered that run against Ritschard, with some big serving and trademark heavy striking off his forehand wing. Those weapons were particularly effective under pressure, as the 22-year-old saved 10 from 12 break points he faced.

The sixth seed appeared in control after claiming the solitary break in both the first and second sets on Grandstand, where both he and Ritschard predominately tried to dictate proceedings from deep. Despite Ritschard’s clean hitting taking the Swiss to the third set, the 2021 semi-finalist accelerated to an unassailable 5-1 lead in the fourth as he improved to 37-20 for the 2022 season.

“For sure it’s better to win in three sets, both physically and mentally to feel like you’re in control of everything and you win in three sets. That being said, losing a set, finding a way to win the fourth set, it could be good because these are things that are going to happen in the tournament against tougher players,” Auger-Aliassime said. “To be in that situation in the first round, to dig a little bit deeper, to find different solutions, to lose and then be able to recover and play well again, this is a situation that happens a lot in many tournaments. So that it happened today, now I have a few marks that are better for the rest of the tournament.”

Auger-Aliassime, who lifted his maiden ATP Tour title in Rotterdam in February, currently sits sixth in the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Turin. The Canadian will next face #NextGenATP Briton Jack Draper, who eliminated Finland’s Emil Ruusuvuori 6-4, 6-3, 6-3 after two hours and one minute.

Draper, who is making his US Open debut, hit 20 winners and benefitted from 36 unforced errors off Ruusuvuori’s racquet. The lefty converted all five break points he earned while saving three of the four he faced.

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