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Tiafoe fights Dimitrov for AO Quarterfinals

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By Editorial Team

Frances Tiafoe battled his way into the round of 16 after defeating an ailing Kevin Anderson in four sets and edging out Andrea Seppi in strong fashion at the 2019 Australian Open. Frances was able to dig deep in his first round match against Kevin, and that confidence carried over into the second round giving him the edge to pull out a five set victory against Andreas 6-7, 6-3, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3.

Frances’ road to the second week of play does not get any easier as he now faces the well rested and fine tuned 20th seed, Grigor Dimitrov. The last time these two met it was a grind to the finish as Grigor was able to hold off Frances 7-6 in the third set in the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Canada round of 16.

Frances’ game matches up well against Grigor, but he’ll have to match his intensity to continue to pull out consecutive wins over top 20 players. If Frances is able to maintain this high level of play and swing with confidence from both sides of the court anything is possible. For Frances its about maintaining his energy and keeping up his positive momentum as Grigor tries to sprint out to a big lead early in the match. Mental toughness will be the key against the battle tested 20th seed.

Last season ended on a sour note for Frances as he failed to win big matches following a disappointing early round US Open loss. It now seems as if he transitioned coaches and has brought on more close knit family into his camp enabling him to feel more comfortable and play freely. With a few more top wins in January, Frances will be able to get better draws, go on deeper runs in major events and ultimately propel himself into the top 20 this season.

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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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