Julien Cagnina, Open du Nord 2016

The Open du Nord is a Futures level tournament held each year in Lille, Northern France since 1991. Past champions include Ronald Agenor, Greg Rusedski and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. Playing this year: veteran journeymen, young hopes like Corentin Moutet and Corentin Denolly, but also a former top 50 player, Andreas Beck. Ranked 33 in 2009 and finalist in Gstaad, he is now ranked 321 and is looking forward to improve his ranking, following a back injury.
Singles champion in 2014 and defending champion in doubles, Yannick Mertens is the first seed this year. Karen Khachanov – then ranked 363 – captured the title last year. He since moved up to rank 154.

L’Open du Nord est un tournoi Futures qui a lieu à Lille chaque année depuis 1991. Ronald Agenor, Greg Rusedski et Jo-Wilfried Tsonga figurent parmi les anciens vainqueurs. On retrouve cette année dans le tableau à la fois des vétérans des tournois Challengers et Futures, des jeunes espoirs comme Corentin Moutet et Corentin Denolly, mais aussi un ancien top 50, Andreas Beck. 33ème mondial en 2009 et finaliste à Gstaad, il est aujourd’hui 321ème et cherche à retrouver son meilleur niveau suite à une blessure au dos.
Vainqueur en simple en 2014 et tenant du titre en double, le Belge Yannick Mertens est la tête de série numéro un cette année. L’an dernier c’est le Russe Khachanov, alors classé 363ème mondial qui l’avait emporté. Il a depuis gagné 200 places au classement.

Antal Van Der Duim defeats Andreas Beck

A surprising win by Van Der Duim over the tournament’s favorite, Andreas Beck. Van Der Duim breaks early and wins the first set 6-4. Beck reacts and breaks early in the second set. Van Der Duim dominates the game from the baseline and breaks back, but a bad tiebreak costs him the set. The level of play rises in the decider, and the Dutch wins 6-4 6-7(2) 6-3. A good match and a deserved victory for the Dutch who also qualifed for the doubles final (pairing with countryman David Pel, he lost to the Russian pair of Denis Matsukevitch and Daniil Medvedev).

Victoire surprise de Van Der Duim sur le favori du tournoi, Andreas Beck. Un break en début de set suffit à Van Der Duim pour empocher le 1er set 6-4. Beck réagit en breakant en début de 2ème set. Van Der Duim domine du fond de court et débreak, mais un mauvais tiebreak lui coûte le set. Le niveau de jeu s’élève lors de la dernière manche, et le Néerlandais l’emporte 6-4 6-7(2) 6-3. Un très bon match et une victoire méritée pour Antal Van Der Duim, aussi qualifié pour la finale du double (associé à son compatriote David Pel il perdra face aux Russes Denis Matsukevitch and Daniil Medvedev).

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Doubles final, Memphis Open

Check out our pictures from Mariusz Fyrstenberg and Santiago Gonzalez victory over Steve Johnson and Sam Querrey in the final of the Memphis Open, read the report here.

Fysternberg and Gonzalez enter


After the coin flip

Stadium court before the doubles final
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Kei Nishikori, Memphis Open

Kei Nishikori defeated first time ATP finalist Taylor Fritz to capture his fourth consecutive Memphis Open title, his 11th career title. Read the recap of the match, and check out our complete Memphis Open coverage.

2016 Memphis Open final

2016 Memphis Open final

2016 Memphis Open final

2016 Memphis Open final
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Taylor Fritz a,d Kei Nishikori handshake, Memphis Open 2016

Championship Sunday coincided with Valentine’s Day this year, which provided the tournament with a theme for several promotions, including a “Treat Your Love to Valentine’s Brunch” and a tableful of chocolate truffles in shiny red boxes.

truffles for St. Jude

The truffles, glasses of prosecco, and tickets to a drawing for a $2,500 necklace (compliments of Memphis’s James Gattas Jewelers, whose current Twitter avatar [@GattasJewelers] currently features a photo of Gattas with Kukushkin and Kudla) were sold to raise funds for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Ushers handed out ServiceMaster towels, which emcee Andrew Krasny would later encourage fans to wave during his exhortations to “MAKE MORE NOISE!”

Servicemaster towels

Robin Soderling was scheduled to sign autographs in The MO at 1 p.m., which was also the starting time of the doubles final. On Stadium Court, Beg to Differ, an a cappella group from Memphis University School, performed a selection of pop standards, and then the national anthem:

National anthem
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Extract from Andy Murray: Tennis Ace by John Murray

The early January tournaments were warm-ups for the main event of the month, which was the first Grand Slam of the year – the Australian Open. With a ranking well inside the top 100, Andy was guaranteed entry into all the Grand Slams and didn’t have to worry about qualifying any more. But his debut appearance in Melbourne was short lived, ending in a first-round defeat to Juan Ignacio Chela. With that, his Australian adventure was over until the following year.

His next tournament took him all the way back to Europe – nearly 10,000 miles away – to Zagreb, Croatia. The draw wasn’t kind to him: he was up against wold No. 5 and local favorite Ivan Ljubicic, and lost in three sets.

It had been a long way to go for another first-round defeat, but that was part and parcel of being a professional tennis player. Sometimes things don’t go your way, sometimes they do – as Andy was to find out in his next event. After he had travelled another 6,000 miles to get there, of course!

Andy had a new travel companion for his trip to the SAP Open in San Jose, California. Normally he went to tournaments with his coach at the time, Mark Petchey, or his mum, Judy, and sometimes both. Neither had made the journey across the Atlantic this time; instead he was accompanied by his girlfriend, Kim Sears.
Kim, also 18, had first met Andy at the previous year’s US Open. A student at the University of Sussex, she had an artistic side, having studied drama, music and art for her A-levels at school. Yet while Kim might not have been a fellow tennis pofessional, she certainly had the sport in her blood. Her father Nigel was a top British tennis coach (in 2011 he became the coach of former world number one Ana Ivanovic).

This was the first time Kim had travelled with Andy to a tournament. Could she be a good-luck charm as he tried to win his fist ATP title? It cerrtainly appeared that way in the early rounds as her boyfriend beat Mardy Fish for the loss of only four games and was no less dominant against Jimmy Wang, conceding six games. Robin Soderling won the first set of their quarter-final clash, but Andy bounced back to book a spot in the last four.
He would need more than just good fortune to advance to the final, however, as he was up against a formidable foe in Andy Roddick – the player with probably the most lethal serve in the world. The top-seed was the highest-ranked opponent he had faced since Federer, but that didn’t bother Andy. he refused to wilt under pressure and won 7-5 7-5. It was the highest-profile victory of his career so far.

Admittedly, not many of Australia’s Grand Slam titles had come in the past 20 years, but one player who had taken home a couple was facing Andy on the other side of the net. In 2001, the year he had won the US Open, Hewitt had become the youngest ever world No.1, aged 21.
The Australian, who was now ranked 11, had not won a tournament since 2003. He began the final with the drive of someone who wanted to change that – fast. Hewitt took the first set 6-2. Murray then gave him some of his own medicine, winning the second set 6-1 to level the match.
The third was much closer. Hewitt showed incredible resolve at 4-5 and 5-6 to hold off two championship points, both times finding a thunderous serve when he needed it most. That took the match to a tie-break, where it was third time lucky for Andy: he grasped the opportunity on his third match point and became the youngest ever Brit to win an ATP Tour title.

After shaking hands with his opponent and the umpire, it was time to thank his biggest supporter all week. He went and gave Kim a kiss.