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Pro Tour

Tiafoe defies the odds… again

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By Editorial Team

Frances Tiafoe has overcome obstacles his entire life, but his 2019 Australian Open run has been a classic for the ages. As the only US men’s player remaining in the AO, Frances has carried the American flag without hesitation and edged out each of his top seeded opponents round after round.

No one imaged Frances being able to defeat Kevin Anderson and Grigor Dimitrov consecutively in a major. What are the odds of that? Playing flawless tennis with little errors or weaknesses under the new coaching direction of Zack Evenden has lifted his confidence to another level.

In a tight match that could have gone either way, Frances was very well composed. Lightening fast in running down wide balls, terrific transitioning to the net, good serving and a much improved backhand were all clicking today for Frances as he defeated Grigor 7-5, 7-6, 6-7, 7-5.

Frances must now face Rafael Nadal tomorrow in the quarter finals and he will need everything and more to defeat the 17 time grand slam champion. The odds are heavily against Frances again in this match as a big underdog; 10/1.04 for a Tiafoe victory over Nadal. If fans continue betting on Frances they could stand to 10X their money, but the well may have run dry for him down the stretch as he must now overcome a well rested Rafa who seems to be at the top of his game.

Although these two have never played before, Frances believes that he can pull off another major upset and advance to his first grand slam semifinal. There is no fear, but excitement coming from Frances as he spoke on his pending Rafa match, “I’m so excited to play Rafa. We’re going to have some fun, going to have some long rallies. I hope I can play on Laver. That would be cool. I guess all the matches are on Laver now, right? Yes. Yeah, that’s just an honor playing on that court. Obviously playing Laver Cup a couple times. Getting to know Rod a little. Obviously he’ll be there. Playing arguably one of the greatest tennis players of all time, yeah. Just have some fun out there.”

Also during the recent post match interview Frances explained his current motivation, “I mean, yeah, it’s crazy, man. Obviously if you guys know anything about me, the story in tennis, I obviously wasn’t a normal tennis story. The beginning of my career, I was playing for them, trying to do everything for my family. Obviously now I put them in a great place. Now I’m trying to do it for me.”

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Pro Tour

Monfils wins Rotterdam title

BT Media Group

By Editorial Team

Gael Monfils pulled out a gutsy performance against a peak performing Stan Wawrinka with steady play from the baseline and a big high percentage service game.

Gael has definitely taken note from being off almost half the 2018 season with multiple injuries. With a wrist injury that forced him to play a one-handed backhand, Gael kept up his spirits and continued to “just have fun” on the court.

After doing it his way in Rotterdam with a new coaching staff, fans can expect more great results from the Frenchman in the coming months heading into the US hardcourt season.

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Pro Tour

Monfils set for ABN AMRO World Tennis Title

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By Editorial Team

Gael Monfils has stormed his way back from a slow start in Melbourne to reach the semifinal round at the Sofia Open and now the finals of the ATP Master 500 ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam where he must now face Stan Wawrinka to secure his first title since January 2018.

Gael showed plenty of fight against the younger Daniil Medvedev while coming back from being down a set to eventually pull out the upset win 6-4 in the third set. Gael’s first serve percentage exceeded 80%, and he also won 73% of his 2nd serve points. To say say that the serve made a difference for Monfils is an understatement.

With a booming and consistent serve Gael will definitely have a chance against a resurging Stan “The Man.” Gael must be able to get on the offensive early on in the match to keep Stan on his heels. As momentum shifts he will also need to remain mentally engaged, fight to the end and allow Stan to make the errors down the stretch.

The finals can be seen on the Tennis Channel at 6:30am PST.

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Baptiste captures $25K Florida title

BT Media Group

By Editorial Team

Hailey Baptiste was able to win her first $25K title this weekend in Plantation, Florida after rising through the qualifying rounds. Hailey’s game took off tremendously last year as she went deep in a few $60K and $80K events as a qualifier. With impressive results (including straight beat-downs on top ranked junior Caty McNally), her ranking has skyrocketed into the top 300.

Hailey did not experience the highs of the ITF World Junior circuit, but she was able to excel in doubles at the 2018 US Open Juniors where she reached the finals with partner Dalayna Hewitt.

Her former junior counterpart, Cori Gauff, received a wildcard this week in the Midland $100K event where she plays fellow American and teenage wildcard Ashley Kratzer (top 200 ranked) in the first round. Plus, Cori is scheduled to play the $25K in Surprise, AZ in early February where she received the main draw junior exemption (JE).

Expect to see more of Hailey on the WTA Pro circuit as she blows up draws sheets, whether main draw or qualifying. With a limited number of US based ITF events it is imperative that she continue to push forward in every tournament to accumulate points within the newly developed ITF World Tennis Tour.

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