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Garanti Koza Sofia Open – Sofia, Bulgaria

Viktor Troicki, Roberto Bautista Agut and Daniel Brands were among those to attend the inaugural Sofia Open players' party, also attended by Tournament Director Erhan Oral and the Bulgarian minister of youth and sports.

Troicki also appeared on “The Slavi’s Show”, the biggest and longest-running late night show in Bulgaria. View Photo

Philipp Kohlschreiber stopped by NJOY and Z-Rock, two of the biggest Bulgarian radio channels.

Andreas Seppi helped out at a kids' clinic for U12 national teams. View Photo

Open Sud de France – Montpellier, France

Top seed and defending champion Richard Gasquet was joined by Borna Coric for the 2016 Open Sud de France draw ceremony before meeting with the media ahead of his 2016 campaign. View Photo

On Monday, Gasquet met with fans at an autograph session at Polygone Beziers. On Tuesday, Gilles Simon signed autographs at Polygone Montpellier.

Edouard Roger Vasselin had a meet and greet with sports representatives of the city of Montpellier.

Benoit Paire was on hand for the launch of the football match between Montpellier and Marseille, the latter being his favourite team. View Photo

Ecuador Open Quito – Quito, Ecuador

Top two seeds Bernard Tomic and Feliciano Lopez kicked off the Ecuador Open Quito by playing mini tennis at 2,500 meters above sea level at Mirador de Guapulo. The pair rallied with two balls at a time before hitting a ball deep into the valley of Cumbaya. Read More

Lopez also joined Inigo Cervantes for a kids' clinic. View Photo

Fernando Verdasco gave his time to hit with 50 kids at Parque La Carolina, encouraging the local children, signing autographs and posing for photos. View Photo

Third seed Thomaz Bellucci played on a customised green grass court at El Panecillo and rallied with local contest winner Pablo Suarez, who won a 16-player tournament at Club Jacaranda for the chance to face an ATP World Tour star. View Photo

Alejandro Falla, Austin Krajicek, Albert Ramos-Vinolas and Pablo Carreno Busta met with fans and posed for photos at autograph sessions in Quito. 

Seventh seed Martin Klizan was first to reach the Garanti Koza Sofia Open quarter-finals. The Slovakian advanced with a 6-3, 2-6, 7-6(4) win over Lukas Rosol in two hours and four minutes on Wednesday. Klizan awaits the winner of fourth seed Andreas Seppi and Thiemo de Bakker.

Eighth seed Adrian Mannarino advanced to the second round with a 6-2, 7-5 win over Evgeny Donskoy. The Frenchman, who leveled his Head2Head record with the Russian at 1-1, saved all three break points faced in the 83-minute match to advance. He next faces Marius Copil for a spot in the last eight.

Second seed Viktor Troicki will open his Sofia campaign in the second round against qualifier Daniel Brands, a 7-6(5), 6-3 winner over Thomas Fabbiano.

In doubles, Lukas Dlouhy and Sergiy Stakhovsky reached the quarter-finals with a 6-3, 7-6(5) win over Hyeon Chung and Matt Ebden.

Roger Federer has undergone arthroscopic knee surgery in Switzerland to repair a torn meniscus, his Team8 agent Tony Godsick has confirmed. Federer sustained the injury the day after his semi-final loss to Novak Djokovic in the semi-finals of the Australian Open.

In a media release Federer said that he would be forced to withdraw from two upcoming ATP World Tour 500 events, the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam and the Dubai Duty Free Tennis championships in Dubai.

“I am so disappointed to have to miss Rotterdam and Dubai as they are two of my favorite tournaments on the ATP World Tour," Federer said. "While this is an unfortunate setback, I feel grateful that up until now I have remained mostly healthy throughout my career. My doctors have ensured me that the surgery was a success and with proper rehabilitation, I will be able to return to the Tour soon.”

Think Frances Tiafoe has given up on this point against Sam Groth? Think again!

Watch the 18-year-old American channel his inner Gael Monfils with this 'fake & bake' hot shot to clinch the first set of their encounter at the ATP Challenger Tour event in Dallas.

Flashback: Watch Monfils Monte-Carlo 2015 Hot Shot

Tiafoe would turn the tables on the top-seeded Aussie, advancing to the second round with a 6-3, 6-3 upset in just 66 minutes. It was his first victory over a player in the Top 90 of the Emirates ATP Rankings.

Seventh seed Albert Ramos-Vinolas moved through to the second round of the Ecuador Open Quito on Tuesday as he defeated Dusan Lajovic 6-4, 7-6(7). The Spaniard converted the only break point of the match to prevail in one hour and 31 minutes.

Next up for Ramos-Vinolas is American Rajeev Ram, who beat Horacio Zeballos 6-4, 7-6(6) in 82 minutes.

Defending champion Victor Estrella Burgos is in action later on Tuesday against Guido Pella.

Former World No. 12 Paul-Henri Mathieu reached the second round of the Open Sud de France on Tuesday in Montpellier as he dismissed 19-year-old qualifier Elias Ymer, 15 years his junior, 6-1, 6-4.

The Frenchman advanced in 78 minutes, saving the seven break points he faced. Mathieu reached his ninth ATP World Tour final last year in Kitzbuhel, finishing runner-up to Philipp Kohlschreiber. For a place in the quarter-finals at this ATP World Tour 250 indoor hard-court tournament, Mathieu will face fourth seed Benoit Paire.

Two seeded players suffered first-round exits. Belgium's Ruben Bemelmans upset No. 6 Joao Sousa 6-4, 3-6, 6-4, while Michael Berrer of Germany ousted No. 7 Borna Coric 7-6(5), 6-2.

There was more German success in the first round as Jan-Lennard Struff defeated Nicolas Mahut 6-3, 7-5 and qualifier Dustin Brown edged Steve Darcis 7-5, 7-5.

Frances Tiafoe has given up on this point Tuesday at the Dallas Challenger... or has he? Watch the 18 year old turn the tables on Sam Groth.

Fifth seed Phiipp Kohlschreiber made a strong start at the inaugural Garanti Koza Sofia Open, beating Sergiy Stakhovsky 6-2, 6-2 on Tuesday in the first round.

The German improved to a 2-1 FedEx ATP Head2Head lead over Stakhovsky as he converted six of his 12 break points and won 70 per cent of points behind his first serve.

"The key today was my return of serve, breaking early in each set," said Kohlschreiber. "The Centre Court is a little bit slow, so you can take advantage of the short ball. I think I played a very good match."

Kohlschreiber goes on to face Damir Dzumhur of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The No. 79-ranked Dzumhur rallied from the loss of the second set to beat Jiri Vesely 6-3, 3-6, 6-3.

Romanian qualifier Marius Copil took advantage of his extra matches in the altitude of Sofia to defeat 19-year-old Korean Hyeon Chung 6-2, 6-3 in one hour. Meanwhile, Thiemo de Bakker set a second-round clash with fourth seed Andreas Seppi after dismissing Matthew Ebden 6-4, 6-1.

The most influential points to the final outcome of a tennis match are break points.

Taking care of your own serve is the first priority, and saving those precious break points goes a very long way to winning matches, and defining careers. But all break points are not created equal.

An Infosys ATP Beyond the Numbers analysis of players who finished in the year-end 2015 Emirates ATP Rankings shows that there is a big difference when players attempt to save a break point with a first serve or a second serve.

Let’s start with year-end World No.1, Novak Djokovic. Djokovic made his first serve in play two times out of three (66 per cent) when facing a break point in the 2015 season, and won a healthy 73 per cent of those critical points. But if Djokovic missed his first serve, the winning percentage dropped down to only 59 per cent.

The primary reason is the power of the first serve. Djokovic typically averages right around 192 km/h (119mph) with his first delivery, and 156 km/h (97mph) with his second serve.

Basically, the difference in speed means the returner is initially playing defense against Djokovic’s first serve, but switches to offence against the comparatively slower second serve.

Year-end World No. 2, Andy Murray has more of a spread saving break points, making it even more imperative that he makes his first serve when facing break point. Murray is very close to Djokovic saving break points on first serves at 72 per cent, with the Serb only one percentage point higher. But when Murray misses his first serve, he is only saving 53 per cent on second serves - a substantial six percentage points lower than Djokovic.

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga’s metrics really stand out in this area, having the largest spread between break points saved on first serves and second serves: 39 percentage points. Tsonga led the year-end Top 10 in break points saved following a first serve at a staggering 83 per cent. But curiously, he was at the bottom of the Top 10 list in saving break points on second serves, at only 44 percent.

Tsonga won 53 per cent of all second serve points in the 2015 season. Finding an under-performing area like this is actually good news for a player because they learn exactly where to spend their time on the practice court.

When you average out the Top 10 players in the 2015 season, they are saving break points 72 per cent of the time when making a first serve. On average, that drops to 53 per cent with second serves. That 19 per cent difference is one of the most important, hidden metrics in our sport.

One would imagine that making a slightly slower first serve - even one that looks and behaves a little bit more like a second serve - would be beneficial, because the returner is in a defensive mindset, simply trying to get back to neutral in the rally after returning a first serve.

Rafael Nadal’s year-end ranking dipped from No. 3 in 2014 to No. 5 in 2015, and that may be due in part to his performance on break points. Along with Kei Nishikori, Rafa had the lowest percentage of break points saved with a first serve, at 67 per cent. Nadal joined Tsonga as the only two Top 10 players below 50 per cent (at 49 per cent) saving break points on their second serves.

The Swiss connection in the Top 10 provides perfect symmetry in this statistical category for Roger Federer and Stan Wawrinka. Both are saving 77 per cent (equal second) of break points on first serves, and a very respectable 55 per cent on second serves.

Nishikori’s aggressive game style yields the smallest spread between saving break points on first and second serves. He is winning 67 per cent of break points on first serves, and a Top 10-leading 62 per cent on second serves.

Nishikori is three percentage points better with his second serve performance than Djokovic, and seven percentage points better than the next best in order, being the Swiss duo.

It stands to reason that these numbers would wash right through all levels of our sport. There is a lot to learn from these metrics for recreational players all over the world: Pay extra attention to making a first serve when facing the pressure of break points.


2015 Ranking Player Serving % First Serve Serving % Second Serve
1 Novak Djokovic 73% 59%
2 Andy Murray 72% 53%
3 Roger Federer 77% 55%
4 Stan Wawrinka 77% 55%
5 Rafael Nadal 67% 49%
6 Tomas Berdych 73% 53%
7 Kei Nishikori 67% 62%
8 David Ferrer 68% 50%
9 Richard Gasquet 74% 52%
10 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 83% 44%
  AVERAGE 72% 53%
Robert Bautista Agut and Viktor Troicki, the top two seeds at the Garanti Koza Sofia Open, both explain how they are looking to continue their strong starts to the 2016 ATP World Tour season.
Guillermo Garcia-Lopez, who is bidding to defend 250 Emirates ATP Rankings points this week, is hopeful of a strong performance at the Garanti Koza Sofia Open.
Gilles Muller is feeling looked after at the Garanti Koza Sofia Open, where he is looking forward to starting the European indoor swing.
Andreas Seppi reveals its special to visit a new country and play at the Garanti Koza Sofia Open.