Djokovic Beats Federer To Reach Paris Masters Final

Serbia’s Novak Djokovic celebrates after winning against Switzerland’s Roger Federer at the end of their men’s singles semi-final tennis match at The AccorHotels Arena in Paris, on November 3, 2018. Photo: Anne-Christine POUJOULAT / AFP

 

Novak Djokovic defeated Roger Federer in a thrilling semi-final at the Paris Masters on Saturday to extend his winning run to 22 matches ahead of his return to world number one next week.

The Serb outlasted Federer in just over three hours to prevail 7-6 (8/6), 5-7, 7-6 (7/3).

He will meet Russia’s Karen Khachanov in Sunday’s final as he looks to pull level with Rafael Nadal on 33 career Masters titles.

Djokovic, who will replace an injury-plagued Nadal at the top of the rankings on Monday, now leads Federer 25-22 overall and has not lost to the Swiss since 2015.

“Novak is obviously on a roll. You can feel it. At the end it came down to a few things here and there,” said Federer, who returned to play in Paris this week for the first time in three years.

“But overall I’m happy with my game. It’s better than last week in Basel. There I won the tournament and here I played in the semis and it needed somebody of Novak’s calibre to beat me.

“So that’s all right. And I’m looking forward to a rest now and a good preparation for London (ATP Finals).”

Djokovic will go in search of a fifth Paris trophy after denying Federer a shot at a historic 100th title, although the Wimbledon and US Open champion was pushed all the way by his 37-year-old rival.

Djokovic watched four break points, one of which Federer saved with a magnificent reflex volley, go by as he led 4-3 in the opening set, before saving a set point on his serve in the tie-break.

A Federer backhand drifted wide to hand Djokovic the lead, although two more break points passed the Serb by in the first game of the second set with the Swiss on the ropes.

The missed opportunity proved costly when Federer conjured up just a second break point of the contest at 6-5, converting in style as he gambled on Djokovic going cross-court before batting a winner down the line to force a decider.

Federer fended off two more break points to open the third set as Djokovic hit the deck when his ankle appeared to catch in the surface.

The Serb threw his racket down in frustration as Federer again escaped from 15-40 down to move 5-4 ahead, but the 20-time Grand Slam champion’s magic fizzled out as the final set headed to a tie-break.

Djokovic reeled off six successive points to bring up five match points, clinching victory at the third attempt when Federer picked out the net to end a tense concluding rally.

Serbia’s Novak Djokovic (L) and Switzerland’s Roger Federer shake hands at the end of their match. Photo: Anne-Christine POUJOULAT / AFP

Khachanov breaks new ground

Earlier, the 22-year-old Khachanov advanced to his first Masters final after beating Austrian sixth seed Dominic Thiem 6-4, 6-1.

“I’m really happy to achieve this, to make it to the finals. But the tournament is not over. I mean, I’m looking forward to play finals tomorrow,” said the 18th-ranked Khachanov.

Going into the Paris Masters, Khachanov had won just three of his 19 matches against players in the Top 10 but it took him just 71 minutes to add the scalp of world number eight Thiem to those of John Isner (9) and Alexander Zverev (5) whom he beat earlier in the week.

The 1.98m Khachanov dominated from the baseline and attacked the Thiem service, breaking the Austrian in his final five service games of the match.

The Russian number two now has 15 match wins at this level this year, including a trip to the semi-finals of the Rogers Cup in Toronto.

Khachanov has also won two ATP World Tour titles in 2018 with triumphs in Marseille and at the Kremlin Cup.

“I am very happy with the way I have been playing,” said the Russian who is assured of climbing at least to 12th in the ATP rankings when they are published on Monday.

AFP

Federer Stunned By 13th Seed Coric In Shanghai Semis

Switzerland’s Roger Federer hits a return against Croatia’s Borna Coric during their men’s singles semi-finals match at the Shanghai Masters tennis tournament on October 13, 2018.

 

Roger Federer was turfed out of the Shanghai Masters semi-finals on Saturday by 13th-seeded Borna Coric, the Croatian stunning the Swiss great 6-4, 6-4.

The 21-year-old Coric will face Novak Djokovic in Sunday’s final after the Serb thrashed Alexander Zverev 6-2, 6-1, leapfrogging Federer to number two in the world rankings.

The 20-time Grand Slam champion Federer has not been at his brilliant best all week, dropping sets in the two opening matches of his wobbly title defence.

The 37-year-old top seed was more like his old self on Friday, defeating eighth seed Kei Nishikori of Japan 6-4, 7-6 (7/4).

But he made a slow start against Coric, ranked 19 in the world, getting broken in the first game in an error-strewn performance.

There was a subtle shake of the head when Federer similarly lost his serve at the start of the second set.

In contrast, Coric — who is into his first Masters 1000 final — was largely untroubled on his serve.

Federer won the Australian Open at the start of this year but has had a mediocre season by his sky-high standards.

He exited the US Open in the last 16 at the hands of unheralded Australian John Millman, ranked 55th, and only made the quarter-finals at Wimbledon.

Coric, who has only two career titles to his name, has now beaten Federer twice — the previous time was in the final at Halle this year.

Federer Hails ‘Super-Inspiring’ Nadal For Spain’s Flood Help

Spanish tennis player Rafa Nadal (C) observes a minute of silence on October 11, 2018 with students and workers of the “Rafa Nadal Academy” in Manacor to honour the victims of the flash flood that affected the Spanish Balearic island of Majorca. JAIME REINA / AFP

 

Roger Federer hailed old rival Rafael Nadal as “super-inspiring” after the world number one joined in the clean-up operation after flash floods killed 12 people on the Spanish holiday island of Majorca.

Spanish tennis star Nadal, 32, was pictured wearing boots and white gloves, mopping up the floor of a warehouse on Wednesday on the island where he lives.

The 17-time Grand Slam champion, currently sidelined through injury, has also offered to open up his sports centre and tennis academy to people made homeless by the floods.

“I know how important Majorca is to Rafa and I have been in touch with him to see if I can help with anything,” Federer said in a video message recorded in Shanghai where he is currently competing.

“I have seen him helping in the village where he comes from and to see that is super-inspiring. Rafa, you have our support.

“We are thinking of all the people in Majorca. We wish you strength in these difficult times and I hope to be back on Majorca soon.”

Fellow rival Novak Djokovic, also taking part in Shanghai, said he hoped Nadal’s efforts would inspire others.

“A big hug and friendly regards to Rafa and well-done amigo for helping out,” said the reigning Wimbledon and US Open champion.

“I invite anyone to give their support in any way they can. Gracias.”

US Open Loss: ‘I Struggled To Breathe’, Says Federer

AFP

 

Roger Federer revealed he struggled to breathe during his shock 3-6, 7-5, 7-6 (9/7), 7-6 (7/3) defeat to world number 55 John Millman at the US Open on Monday.

The 37-year-old five-time champion laboured to his earliest loss at the tournament in five years with his challenge sinking in the crushing humidity on Arthur Ashe Stadium.

“I just thought it was very hot tonight. Was just one of those nights where I guess I felt I couldn’t get air. There was no circulation at all,” said 20-time major winner Federer who was bidding to clinch the US Open for the first time in a decade.

“I just struggled in the conditions. It’s one of the first times it’s happened to me.

“It’s uncomfortable. Clearly just kept on sweating more and more and more and more as the match goes on. You lose energy as it goes by.

“But John was able to deal with it better. He maybe comes from one of the most humid places on earth, Brisbane!”

It was Federer’s first loss against a player outside the top 50 in 41 meetings at the US Open.

He finished with 77 unforced errors and 10 double faults but had a host of chances to take wrap up matters in straight sets, squandering set points in the second and third sets.

He had also been a break to the good at 4-2 in the fourth but the errors just kept piling up.

Monday’s result meant there would be no quarter-final showdown with old rival Novak Djokovic who will now face Millman instead on Wednesday.

“I knew I was in for a tough one. Maybe when you feel like that, as well, you start missing chances, and I had those,” said the Swiss.

“That was disappointing. I was just happy that the match was over.”

Federer believes the decision to build a roof on Arthur Ashe Stadium contributed to his problems.

The roof was open Monday, but the space above the cavernous arena has been reduced by the wings which help support the structure.

“I do believe since the roof is on that there is no air circulation in the stadium. I think just that makes it a totally different US Open,” said the world number two.

“Plus conditions maybe were playing slower this year on top of it. You have soaking wet pants, soaking wet everything.

“It was just tough. I thought John played a great match in difficult conditions.”

Federer said he did not regret his decision to invite Millman to come and train with him after the Australian had suffered a first-round loss at Roland Garros.

The pair spent a few days on the court before the Wimbledon warm-up event at Stuttgart.

“I didn’t know he had a girlfriend in Stuttgart. Just Severin (Luthi — his coach) asked him. He was like, Yeah, absolutely, I’m ready to come. We had a great few days, a good time together.”

Federer said he admired Millman’s fighting spirit, forged from suffering a series of injuries in his career.

He has undergone two surgeries on his shoulder and one on his groin.

As a result of his injury toils, his ranking slumped to 1,101 in August 2014 but recovered to 71 just 12 months later.

After a groin operation, Millman was slipping again with his ranking at 235 in August last year.

“I love his intensity,” said Federer.

“He reminds me of David Ferrer and those other guys that I admire a lot when I see them, when I see how they train, the passion they have for the game.

“He’s got a positive demeanour about himself on and off the court.”

Federer, Serena Return In Cincinnati

Switzerland’s Roger Federer and Serena Williams take part in a press conference on the eve of the 2018 Wimbledon Championships at The All England Tennis Club in Wimbledon, southwest London, on July 01, 2018

 

Roger Federer will make a delayed start to the hardcourt season as the main draw of the Cincinnati Masters gets underway Monday with Serena Williams poised to return in the ATP-WTA event.

The last major tune-up prior to the August 28 start of the US Open gives men and women a final chance to polish their form before the final major of the season.

Former world number one Williams will be back on the court a fortnight after the worst loss of her career, with the 23-time Grand Slam champion playing unseeded, opening against Australian Daria Gavrilova.

The Wimbledon finalist continues to try and balance motherhood with a return to tennis almost a year after giving birth to her daughter.

Federer opted out of the Toronto stop on the ATP, preferring to concentrate his pre-Open energies on lifting an eighth Cincinnati title after taking the honours at four of the last six editions.

The event played at a venue on a motorway exit deep in the American flatlands will also serve as the re-entry point for Britain Andy Murray.

The Scot broke down in tears during a late-night, three-hour battle at the Washington ATP event but was unable to muster the strength to return the same day for a quarter-final.

Murray has been making a cautious return after his January hip surgery and refuses to push his luck.

“I need to be careful and to listen to my body as I come back from a long-term injury,” the 31-year-old said after withdrawing in the US capital.

The number 375 will begin against French 16th seed Lucas Pouille, Murray’s eighth match since returning in June.

Federer, top seed Rafael Nadal and the rest of the men’s top eight have byes into the second round.

Federer follows Nadal, with Toronto quarter-finalist Alexander Zverev on third ahead of Juan Martin del Potro, forced to pull out in Canada with a wrist problem.

Nadal, who come back from injury again this season, is pleased with how he is holding up on the cement which he has never favoured.

“I know I am playing well since I came back from the injury. I need to play well now on hard again – so let’s make that happen,” the US Open holder said.

Women’s number one Simona Halep, who lost the 2017 Cincinnati final to Garbine Muguruza takes the top seeding, ahead of Australian Open winner Caroline Wozniacki.

Muguruza is seeded seventh after failing to start matches in both California and Montreal due to injury. She comes onto the cement cold and will wait for an opponent in the second round.

US Open winner Sloane Stephens is seeded third, followed by Wimbledon champion Angelique Kerber, a first-round loser in Canada.

Stephens made it to the weekend in Canada as her form falls into place.

“When you’re playing good matches in big tournaments, I don’t think it’s peaking too soon,” she said. “It’s just getting confidence and playing good tennis.”

AFP

Nadal Ousts Federer To Regain Top Spot

File: JEAN-FRANCOIS MONIER / AFP

 

Spain’s Rafael Nadal regained the top spot in the men’s ATP rankings from old rival Roger Federer on Monday after the latter’s surprise final loss on the grass in Halle.

Nadal had slipped down to number two despite his 11th French Open success after Federer, 36, took the Stuttgart Cup to bag the number one ranking for the sixth time in his career and bask in a record 310th week at the summit.

But his Halle loss to Borna Coric cost him not only a 99th career title but his pole position as Nadal moved back above him by 50 points as the countdown to Wimbledon nears its end.

Coric’s win lifted him 13 places meanwhile to a career-high 21st.

Queen’s Club champion Marin Cilic moved up a spot to fifth after his win over Novak Djokovic, who moves back into the top 20.

ATP rankings as of June 25:

1. Rafael Nadal (ESP) 8770 pts (+1)

2. Roger Federer (SUI) 8720 (-1)

3. Alexander Zverev (GER) 5755

4. Juan Martín Del Potro (ARG) 5080

5. Marin Cilic (CRO) 5060 (+1)

6. Grigor Dimitrov (BUL) 4780 (-1)

7. Dominic Thiem (AUT) 3835

8. Kevin Anderson (RSA) 3635

9. David Goffin (BEL) 3110

10. John Isner (USA) 3070

11. Diego Schwartzman (ARG) 2435

12. Pablo Carreno (ESP) 2145

13. Sam Querrey (USA) 2130

14. Roberto Bautista (ESP) 2120 (+2)

15. Jack Sock (USA) 2110 (-1)

16. Fabio Fognini (ITA) 2030 (-1)

17. Novak Djokovic (SRB) 1965 (+5)

18. Kyle Edmund (GBR) 1950 (-1)

19. Nick Kyrgios (AUS) 1855 (+2)

20. Lucas Pouille (FRA) 1835 (-2)

Nadal Reclaims ATP Top Spot As Federer Slips

FILE PHOTO Rafael Nadal of Spain returns a shot to Richard Gasquet of France during day 5 of the Western & Southern Open at the Lindner Family Tennis Center in Mason, Ohio. MATTHEW STOCKMAN / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / AFP

 

Rafael Nadal reclaimed top spot in the men’s ATP rankings on Monday a day after Swiss rival Roger Federer crashed out in Miami to American John Isner.

Nadal, who hasn’t hit a ball in anger since pulling out of the Australian Open quarter-finals in January, saw Federer take over the top spot on February 18.

The Swiss veteran, however, slipped 10 points behind his Spanish rival and into second place after a second-round defeat to Isner that saw the towering American leap eight places to ninth thanks to his eventual victory Sunday in the Masters 1000 event.

Isner thus equals his previous best ranking of ninth, reached in April 2012, while beaten finalist Alexander Zverev of Germany moved up one place to fourth.

South Korea’s Hyeon Chung meanwhile continued to chip away at the rankings, the 21-year-old breaking into the top 20, to 19th, for the first time in his fledgling career thanks to his quarter-final appearance in Miami.

ATP rankings at April 2(change in ranking in brackets):

1. Rafael Nadal (ESP) 8.770 pts (+1)

2. Roger Federer (SUI) 8.670 (-1)

3. Marin Cilic (CRO) 4.985

4. Alexander Zverev (GER) 4.925 (+1)

5. Grigor Dimitrov (BUL) 4.635 (-1)

6. Juan Martin Del Potro (ARG) 4.470

7. Dominic Thiem (AUT) 3.665

8. Kevin Anderson (RSA) 3.390

9. John Isner (USA) 3.125 (+8)

10. David Goffin (BEL) 3.110 (-1)

11. Lucas Pouille (FRA) 2.410 (-1)

12. Pablo Carreno (ESP) 2.395 (+7)

13. Novak Djokovic (SRB) 2.310 (-1)

14. Sam Querrey (USA) 2.265

15. Diego Schwartzman (ARG) 2.220 (+1)

16. Jack Sock (USA) 2.200 (-5)

17. Roberto Bautista (ESP) 2.175 (-2)

18. Tomas Berdych (CZE) 2.140 (-5)

19. Hyeon Chung (KOR) 1.897 (+4)

20. Fabio Fognini (ITA) 1.840 (-2)

AFP

Federer Wins First Set Of Australian Open Final

Roger Federer of Switzerland 
TONY ASHBY / AFP

Roger Federer won the first set of the Australian Open men’s final 6-2 against Marin Cilic as he attempts to claim a 20th Grand Slam title on Sunday.

With the roof closed on Rod Laver Arena due to extreme heat, the Swiss defending champion broke Cilic’s opening serve and again for a 3-0 lead and there was no way back for the sixth-seeded Croat.

The set was over in just 24 minutes.

AFP

Federer Keeps Hunt For Slam Number 20 On Track

Switzerland’s Roger Federer reacts after beating Slovenia’s Aljaz Bedene in their men’s singles first round match on day two of the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne on January 16, 2018.
PETER PARKS / AFP

Defending champion Roger Federer continued his dominance over Richard Gasquet to reach the round of 16 at the Australian Open on Saturday and keep his quest for a 20th Grand Slam title on track.

The Swiss star beat the Frenchman 6-2, 7-5, 6-4 in just under two hours in a night match on Rod Laver Arena.

Federer has unheralded Hungarian and one-time training partner Marton Fucsovics up next and a potential quarter-final with Tomas Berdych, who upset Juan Martin Del Porto in straight sets earlier Saturday.

Federer, rated the favourite to win his 20th major even at the venerable age of 36, progressed to the fourth round at the Australian Open for the 16th time.

The Swiss have only lost twice to the stylish Frenchman in their 19 meetings, winning all their four Grand Slam encounters.

Significantly, Gasquet hasn’t won a set against Federer since 2011, a run of 22 sets to the Swiss.

“I was able to stay more on the offensive than he was and maybe I was protecting my own serve better than him,” Federer said.

“I was hoping I could play at that level. I’m very happy that I was able to rise to a level that I needed to beat Richard.

“It was tough. The score shows it, as well. I could have done it maybe a bit faster.

“At the same time, I’m happy to have done it the way it happened. I was pleased. I think I had some good shots. I was happy the way I played. I also thought we both played a good level again, so it was fun.”

Federer, who did not face a break point in 26 games, lost his only serve in the match late in the third set on his second break point, such was his dominance.

“I like to see the way he saved match point. The first one was a backhand down the line,” Federer said of Gasquet late resistance.

“Feels like he can do that in his sleep. I admire that. I take pleasure out of him making that shot even though for a second I thought that this could have been the match point I had and end up losing the match.”

The Swiss legend broke Gasquet’s serve five times and hit 42 winners with 30 unforced errors.

He improved his Australian Open record to 90-13.

Federer is coming off an extraordinary 2017, when he won a fifth Australian Open title and a record eighth at Wimbledon, after returning from an injury lay-off.

It was in Melbourne a year ago where he lit the fuse on his late-life tennis renaissance, beating Berdych, Kei Nishikori, Mischa Zverev and Stan Wawrinka before downing great rival Rafael Nadal in a five-set final classic.

AFP

Federer Lauds Hingis Influence After Hopman Win

Federer Lauds Hingis Influence After Hopman Win
Roger Federer (L) and Belinda Bencic of Switzerland hoist the Hopman Cup after defeating Alexander Zverev and Angelique Kerber of Germany in the mixed doubles final on day eight of the Hopman Cup tennis tournament in Perth on January 6, 2018. TONY ASHBY / AFP

 

Roger Federer paid tribute to the influence of countrywoman and former Hopman Cup team-mate Martina Hingis on his career after guiding Switzerland to their third success in the mixed teams tournament in Perth on Saturday.

Federer looked primed for his Australian Open title defence when he came from a set down to beat world number four Alexander Zverev in the men’s singles before Angelique Kerber accounted for Belinda Bencic in straight sets to level the tie against Germany.

The Swiss duo then claimed the tournament with a straight-sets win in the deciding mixed doubles.

For the 36-year-old Federer, it was a second title in Perth, having also been part of Switzerland’s previous victory back in 2001, when he teamed with Hingis.

At that time, Federer was just 19 and was yet to win at an ATP event. He said the time spent with Hingis in Perth had a profound effect on his career, which now includes 19 Grand Slam singles titles.

Hingis was the youngest ever Grand Slam champion and world number one, spending 209 weeks at the top of women’s tennis and winning five Grand Slam singles titles.

Federer visited Perth with Hingis twice, once as a hitting partner and then in 2001 as her team-mate, and said it shaped his career.

“I could look up to her and think, wow, how is she being so mentally strong and so consistent at such a young age,” the Swiss star recalled.

“It made me also believe with hard work and dedication you get really far because I didn’t believe it that much at that point when I was younger, I thought it was more all talent,” he added.

“Definitely she helped me to become the player I am today.”

Federer was thrilled to add a second Hopman Cup to his glittering resume and said it was a very different feeling to the first.

“It is totally different to when I won it with Martina because I was the apprentice and she was the master,” he said.

Unbeaten in his three singles matches in the tournament prior to the final, Federer dropped the first set against the 20-year-old Zverev but recovered to win in three sets, 6-7 (4/7), 6-0, 6-2.

Zverev beat Federer at the Hopman Cup last year and came out all guns blazing on Saturday in a high-intensity first set where both players produced moments of brilliance and each holding multiple breakpoints.

Federer’s frustration was obvious as the set slipped away, dropping his racquet after missing an easy volley and then launching a ball towards the roof.

However, he turned the match around by approaching the net more often and using drop shots to catch Zverev napping.

The frustration changed sides of the net as the German copped a code violation for an audible obscenity after disputing the chair umpire’s decision to replay one of his serves during the second set.

Zverev’s serve, and resolve, was broken in the third game of the third set and fittingly it was a Federer drop shot which sealed the win.

Kerber, who is ranked 21st after starting last year at number one, then maintained her perfect singles record during the event to beat Bencic 6-4, 6-1 to level the tie.

Bencic, who was ranked seventh in the world before injuries stalled her progress, started brightly but Kerber soon took control and raced through the second set with breaks in the fourth and sixth games.

That set the scene for the mixed doubles, where Bencic produced some stunning returns on the Zverev serve and teamed superbly with Federer to claim the title with an emphatic 4-3 (5/3), 4-2 win under the Fast4 format.

AFP

Federer Cruises Towards Australian Open With Another Hopman Cup Win

Roger Federer of Switzerland hits a return against Karen Khachanov of Russia during their men’s singles match on day four of the Hopman Cup tennis tournament in Perth on January 2, 2018.
TONY ASHBY / AFP

Roger Federer took another impressive step towards his Australian Open title defence on Tuesday with a straight-sets win over Russian Karen Khachanov at the mixed teams Hopman Cup, as many of his main rivals faltered due to injury.

Around the time Federer was warming up for his match with the 45th-ranked Russian, Andy Murray announced he was pulling out of the Brisbane International, while Novak Djokovic a few days earlier withdrew from his season opener in Abu Dhabi.

Rafael Nadal, Stan Wawrinka, Milos Raonic and Kei Nishikori are also under injury clouds, while world number eight Jack Sock succumbed to a hip problem earlier in the day in Perth, forcing him to retire from his singles match.

But there were no such dramas for the elder statesman Federer, who 12 months ago stunned the tennis world by ending an almost four-year Grand Slam drought with a victory at the Australian Open, after also preparing at the Hopman Cup.

The 36-year-old was too good for Khachanov, making it two straight-sets wins from as many singles matches this week as Switzerland beat Russia 3-0 in their Group B tie in front of a record Hopman Cup crowd.

Federer was stretched by Khachanov, particularly in the second set when the pair traded powerful groundstrokes.

The Russian held a set point in the tie-breaker and also saved two match points held by Federer, before the Swiss champion prevailed after Khachanov hit a forehand perilously close to the line.

It was called in by the linesman, but Federer challenged and was rewarded when replays showed the ball was out by millimetres, handing the 19-time Grand Slam champion a 6-3, 7-6 (10/8) win.

“I thought the intensity was great and the level high too,” Federer said.

“It was a good match overall and I was happy with my performance.”

The 74-ranked Belinda Bencic, on the comeback trail after injuries stalled her promising career, then upset world number 15 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in three sets, 6-1, 3-6, 6-3 in just under two hours to clinch the tie for the Swiss.

In the dead mixed doubles rubber, the Swiss completed a clean sweep with a three-set win under the Fast4 format.

 Pat Cash’s return 

Both Switzerland and the United States’ pairing of Sock and CoCo Vandeweghe, who beat Japan 2-1 in contentious circumstances earlier in the day, have won their opening two ties.

The victor in their clash on Thursday will advance to Saturday’s final and Federer said he expected Sock to be fit for that tie.

Sock retired early in the second set of his men’s singles clash with Japan’s Yuichi Sugita, having injured his hip during a first set tie-breaker.

The Group B tie ended with an exhibition mixed doubles match featuring the return of 52-year-old former Wimbledon champion Pat Cash to the court to team with Vanderweghe, who he coaches.

Cash also played in the inaugural Hopman Cup in 1989.

Prior to Sock’s injury, Japan’s Naomi Osaka had withdrawn from her singles match with Vandeweghe due to illness.

The end result of the injury and illness for both sides was the United States being given an intriguing 2-1 win, as Japan was ruled to have forfeited the women’s singles and mixed doubles before the Sock injury.

However, the fitness of Sock for the remainder of the tournament, and more importantly the upcoming Australian Open, was in doubt after he limped off the court.

Vandeweghe and Sock were beaten by the French team of Kristina Mladenovic and Richard Gasquet in last year’s decider.

AFP

Federer Snubs Paris As Nadal Aims Year-End No1 Spot

FIle photo: Roger Federer

Roger Federer has pulled out of next week’s Paris Masters, virtually ensuring old rival Rafael Nadal will end 2017 on top of the world rankings as the 19-time Grand Slam champion insists his body needs a break.

Federer, 36, withdrew from the final event of the regular season after battling past Juan Martin del Potro 6-7 (5/7), 6-4, 6-3 to win his eighth Swiss Indoors title in Basel.

Federer, winner of a 95th career title which puts him into second on the all-time list behind the 109 of Jimmy Connors, had said all week that he would make a late decision depending on his post-Basel fitness.

“My body is asking for a break,” said the Swiss legend. “Basel takes a lot out of me emotionally. I had five matches in six days. I feel sorry and sad for Paris.

“I love to play at Bercy, it’s a few times now that I’ve not played there. It’s a tough one but they have to understand that it’s for the cause of staying injury-free and healthy.

“I’d like to be fully fit for London (the World Tour Finals) and for 2018.”

According to ATP calculations, Nadal can clinch the year-end number one status by winning his opening second-round match in Paris.

The Spaniard will open his campaign at Bercy against either German serve-and-volleyer Mischa Zverev or Hyeon Chung, the promising South Korean.

Federer last played Paris in 2015 and won the title in 2011.

“I did think about the ranking, but I’m so far back in the points race that it was almost out of the question,” added Federer.

“I asked myself what I would do if the ranking (issue) was not there. I want to stay injury-free, not push it and maybe get hurt next week and then miss London.

“It would be a snowball. It was not really about the ranking to be quite honest. If I was closer in the points race (to Nadal) it might have been.”

On Sunday, Federer claimed his first success against del Potro in a Basel final, after the South American beat him in both 2012 and 2013.

He now has won a Tour-leading seven titles this season after beating Nadal in the Shanghai Masters final a fortnight ago.

Federer has also captured the Australian Open and Wimbledon titles in 2017.

He admitted frustration after failing to win the opening set on Sunday.

“Being up two breaks should be enough to beat almost anyone. I was also up in the breaker. I had way too many wasted opportunities,” he explained.

“I didn’t have the best serving day, I struggled. It was mental and physical, I’m glad I found a way somehow.”

Del Potro will be playing for a fourth successive week in Paris after coming back earlier in the season from wrist problems, as he looks to snatch a late place for the eight-man event in London.

The 29-year-old reached the Shanghai semi-finals and won in Stockholm earlier this month before his run in Basel.

Federer lost only two sets during the week as he improved his head-to-head record to 17-6 over del Potro, with a third win in four matches against the former US Open champion in 2017.

“It’s unbelievable how well Roger is playing,” said del Potro. “I hope to be in such shape when I’m his age. But I doubt I will be.”

AFP