Ferrer to face Dolgopolov in Bastad final

David Ferrer is within sight of his first ATP title in more than 18 months after booking his place in the SkiStar Swedish Open final.

The Spaniard's last victory came at the Vienna Open in October of 2015, one of five titles he bagged that year.

It's been lean times for the talented clay-court specialist ever since, but on Saturday he defeated countryman Fernando Verdasco 6-1, 6-7 (3-7), 6-4 to book his place in Sunday's final in Bastad.

Awaiting him in the final is Alexandr Dolgopolov of Ukraine, after he made light work of Russian Andrey Kuznetzov 6-3, 6-2 in the day's other semi-final.

"We had a lot of tight games and he had a number of chances on my serve, but I kept it tight and ran away with it in the second set," said Dolgopolov.

Dolgopolov is gunning for his second title of the year, following his victory at the Argentina Open in February.

On Friday, Ferrer and Dolgopolov both saved two match points in their respective quarter-final victories over Henri Laaksonen and Karen Khachanov.

Kyrgios will 'definitely' play in US Open

Nick Kyrgios insists he will “definitely” compete in the US Open, despite injury bringing a premature end to his Wimbledon hopes.

Kyrgios retired injured during the opening round of Wimbledon after succumbing to the hip issue which had plagued him in the build-up to the tournament.

The 22-year-old is back training in his native Australia, although he hopes to return to action at the Citi Open, which gets underway in Washington, on July 31.

But Kyrgios says his participation in August’s US Open should be in no doubt.

“It’s one of my favourite tournaments, so I’m definitely going to be playing that. I’m working hard at the moment,” said Kyrgios.

“I’ve been back home, putting my head down, doing all the right things to get healthy.

“I’m aiming for Washington in a couple of weeks in the US, so if everything goes well and I keep doing it, there’s no reason why I can’t be playing healthy in the next couple of weeks.”

 

Dolgopolov defeats Khachanov in Bastad thriller

Alexandr Dolgopolov saved two match points before recovering to beat Karen Khachanov 7-6 (7-5), 3-6, 7-6 (7-2) in an epic quarter-final clash at the SkiStar Swedish Open on Friday.

Fifth seed Khachanov looked well on course for victory after recovering from dropping the second set by taking a 3-0 lead in the third.

But the Russian couldn't close the deal, failing to convert match points in the 10th and 12th games, allowing Dolgopolov to clinch victory in the tie-break.

"He was serving at 3-0 [in the third set] with a double break and my leg was troubling me a bit on serve," said Dolgopolov. "But the game went my way and I made a fast break and kept it to just one break. I was just playing my game, relaxed, not expecting anything because I was down a lot. I wasn't being too tough on myself and it just went my way I guess."

Dolgopolov moves on to face another Russian, Andrey Kuznetsov, after he caused another upset by beating seventh seed Diego Schwartzman 6-3, 6-3.

Kuznetsov fired five aces and converted four of seven break point chances.

“It was a good day for me," he said. "I played my best tennis so far this tournament. In these conditions it wasn’t easy, but I think I chose the right tactics and it was working. I didn’t make a lot of mistakes. I feel good on the clay, and we’ll see.”

The second semi-final is an all-Spanish affair between Fernando Verdasco and David Ferrer.

Verdasco beat countryman Albert Ramos-Vinolas 6-3, 6-2, while Ferrer beat Laaksonen 7-5, 3-6, 7-6 (7-3).

Nastase banned after Fed Cup controversy

Former two-time Grand Slam champion Ilie Nastase has been banned from official roles by the International Tennis Federation (ITF) until 2021.

Nastase was banned as a result of his foul-mouthed tirade while serving as Romania's Fed Cup captain in a tie against Great Britain in Bucharest in April.

The former World No 1 swore at an umpire, and also hurled abuse at British No 1 Johanna Konta and her captain Anne Keothavong.

That incident also came after Nastase had made a derogatory comment about Serena Williams' unborn child in a press conference just days earlier.

During the same presser, he also also put his arm tightly around Keothavong and asked for her room number.

Along with the ban, the 71-year-old was also fined $10,000 (£7,700).

The ban only extends to tournaments and events within the jurisdiction of the ITF, not Grand Slams or regular ATP and WTA events.

Roddick and Clijsters to be inducted into Tennis Hall of Fame

Former tennis stars Andy Roddick and Kim Clijsters are set to be inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame on Saturday. 

Roddick earned 32 titles during his 15 years playing on the ATP Tour, with the 2003 US Open title being the highlight of his career. The former world number one also featured in four other grand slam finals, losing them all to Roger Federer. 

"It's really special," quipped the 34-year-old, who now runs the non-profit Andy Roddick Foundation.

"I love this sport and I love being part of it. I'm moved to know that my presence in the sport will be forever part of tennis history and I am just incredibly honoured to be inducted."

Meanwhile, Clijsters won the French Open and Wimbledon back-to-back in 2003, helping her claim the world number one spot where she stayed for three months. 

"I feel very honoured," revealed the Belgian, who has no less than 41 WTA titles.

"It's a huge honour to be amongst a list of so many great tennis players who I admired when I was growing up and some great players who I played with in my tennis career as well."

Joining the pair in the Hall of Fame will be four-time Paralympic wheelchair tennis medalist Monique Kalkman-van den Bosch, tennis journalist and historian Steve Flink and groundbreaking tennis instructor Vic Braden, who died in 2014.

Khachanov back from the brink in Bastad

Rising star Karen Khachanov saved two match points before coming back to beat Ernests Gulbis at the Swedish Open on Thursday.

The young Russian saved match points at 4-5 and 5-6 in the second set before rallying to complete 4-6, 7-6 (7-5), 6-3 victory in two hours and 10 minutes.

Khachanov is currently ranked a career-high 33rd in the world, and is now the leading Russian in the Top 100 of the Emirates ATP Rankings.

He advanced to his fourth ATP World Tour quarter-final, where he will take on Alexandr Dolgopolov, who was a 6-4, 6-4 winner over Horacio Zeballos.

Elsewhere, defending champion Albert Ramos-Vinolas beat Thiago Monteiro 3-6, 6-4, 6-3. 

That set up a quarter-final clash with fellow Spaniard Fernando Verdasco in a repeat of last year's Swedish Open final.

Verdasco ousted Argentina's Facundo Bagnis 6-3, 6-2.

Federer: It would be a joke to win US Open

World number three Roger Federer, who won his 19th grand slam singles title and an eighth at Wimbledon title last week will be heading to the US Open as a favourite to win his 20th slam.

The 35-year-old Swiss star, who turns 36 in August, has had a stunning 2017, having won five tournaments including a fifth Australian Open crown in January. 

The final slam of the year is the US Open in New York from 28 August to 10 September which Federer won five times between 2004 and 2008. 

The tournament has not been dominated by anyone since 2008, with Spain's Rafael Nadal (2010, 2013) and Novak Djokovic (2011, 2015) winning it twice while Juan Martín del Potro, Andy Murray, Marin Cilic and Stan Wawrinka have claimed the title once each. 

In an interview with CNN, when Federer was asked about the possibility of him winning a third slam this year, he replied that it would be a "joke" if he accomplished that feat. 

"That would be a joke if I won three slams this year out of nowhere," quipped the Basel native.

"I know if I stay in shape there are chances for me to do well at the US Open, but to win it? Yeah, at some stage I almost feel like I have to be realistic. I am not 25 anymore. I'm not sure I can win three slams in one year. Winning two is already pretty crazy and plenty good enough for me."

Federer added that he would prepare in his usual way and see what happens in New York.

"I'll definitely try and get myself organised, prepared and ready so that I'll have the best chance to do well at the US Open."

Ferrer breezes past Brown in Bastad

Eighth seed David Ferrer sailed into the quarter-finals of the Swedish Open on Wednesday with a straight sets victory over Dustin Brown.

The Spaniard needed just 57 minutes to secure a 6-2, 6-3 victory over her German opponent and book a last-eight meeting with Henri Laaksonen of Finland, who beat Pablo Cuevas 6-4, 6-3.

Ferrer's world ranking has dropped significantly over the past 12 months as he's struggled to replicate the form that once made him a consistent top 5 player. At present, he's fighting to stay inside the top 50.

The victory over Brown was an encouraging one, however, and Ferrer will be hopeful of carrying that form into future matches this week.

Also counting in Ferrer's favour is the elimination of the tournament's top seed Pablo Carreno-Busta, who was forced to retire in his match against Andrey Kuznetsov.

The Russian was leading 4-6, 7-6 (7-5), 3-0 when Carreno-Busta called it a day.

Also through to the quarter-finals is Argentina's Diego Schwartzman, who defeated Renzo Olivo 6-4, 6-1.

Federer books record breaking spot in ATP Finals

Roger Federer just keeps breaking records, not only did he win a record eighth Wimbledon title on Sunday but he has also secured a place, for a record 15th time, at the year-end ATP Finals taking place in London from 12-19 November.

The news was confirmed by the Association of Tennis Professionals, meaning the 35-year-old six-time ATP Finals champion will join his great rival, 15-time grand slam winner and 2017 French Open victor Rafa Nadal, at the O2 Arena in London come November.

They will be joined by six other players who qualify for the tournament.

Last year Federer was forced to miss the London event due to injury having played 14 consecutive times beginning in 2002.

"I look forward to returning to London in November," Federer said. "I was sad not to be able to compete last year as I love playing there and had not missed the event since 2002."

The Swiss star's form has simply been sublime in 2017, having won five tournaments including a sixth Australian Open crown in January.

Current ATP top 10 rankings: (released on July 17)

1. GBR Andy Murray - 7,750 points
2. ESP Rafael Nadal - 7,465
3. SUI Roger Federer - 6,545
4. SRB Novak Djokovic - 6,325
5. SUI Stan Wawrinka - 6,140
6. CRO Marin Cilic - 5,075
7. AUT Dominic Thiem - 4,030
8. JPN Kei Nishikori - 3,740
9. CAN Milos Raonic - 3,310
10. BUL Grigor Dimitrov - 3,160

US Open making it rain as prize-money reaches new highs

The 2017 US Open singles winners will each receive a record US$ 3.7 million as the tournament increases its prize money.

The Flushing Meadows grand slam has now become the richest event on the calendar, paying out over US$ 50 million in prize money, an overall annual increase of over eight percent.

"Five years ago, we committed to the players that total player compensation for players would reach $50 million at the US Open, and we are honoring that commitment," said USTA President Katrina Adams.

Even making the draw is a high paying event, with first round losers set to pocket US$ 50 000.

The 2017 US Open begins on 28 August in New York.