The stage of the 2018 European Open is closed and the echoes are unanimous: it was an impressive edition. On a sportive note, matches were from the highest quality, with a final apotheosis between Kyle Edmund and Gaël Monfils. More than 24000 spectators assisted to one of the matches, which is significantly more than last year and the number of visitors in the VIP went 35% up.
‘All in all, we had a very strong participant draw, some extra chances for the Belgians with our pre-qualification tournament, a full house during the final weekend but also a lot of animation, atmosphere and a huge crowd during the week’, says tournament director Dick Norman. ‘The result is very satisfying: we had 20% more visitors than last year, and the tournament was followed on TV and online all around the world, even in North America, South America and Asia.’
The organisation would like to thank all the visitors that came to Antwerp for this edition of the tournament. The fourth edition of the European Open will take place from October 13th to October 20th, 2019.
The 2018 edition of the European Open finished today with an exceptional climax. The atmosphere on the court was quite tense because of a very tight game with consistent level from beginning to the end. Kyle Edmund and Gaël Monfils offered to the crowd an unforgettable tennis match. Even if both players deserved the win, it was Kyle Edmund who took the victory, with a score of 3-6, 7-6, 7-6.
For Edmund, 23 years old, it’s his first title of his career. Right after the match, he couldn’t hold back some tears of emotion. ‘I was somewhat nervous before the match. You always realize what’s at stake when you start a final at this level’, explained Edmund after his match. This first title is something I will remember for the rest of my life. You work so hard for it and that’s why I’m emotional, now that I’ve reached it.’
Gael Monfils didn’t manage to succeed to his 2 French compatriots, Richard Gasquet and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who won the two first editions of the tournament.
There was French success earlier today though in the doubles final. Nicolas Mahut and Edouard Roger Vasselin came over Brazilian Marcelo Demoliner and Mexican Santiago Gonzalez. For the French duo, it’s a second victory in a few weeks time. They won the ATP tournament in Metz in September.
The 2018 edition of the European Open is reaching boiling point. This Saturday, the semifinals of the singles and the last double semifinal were played.
The first single semifinal was played between Argentinian Diego Schwartzman, who was aiming to play his third final in a row in Antwerp and Frenchman Gaël Monfils, first time participant. Monfils was playing agressively from the beginning and tried to keep rallies as short as possible. Monfils never gave Schwartzman the opportunity to play his game, which resulted in a 6-3, 6-4 win.
Monfils is looking forward to the final, but was relieved he could finish the job in 2 sets. “At the start of the week, I had a bit of a jetlag and my stomach aches where disturbing my game”, said Monfils. He will try to win his 8th ATP title in Sunday’s final.
But for that, he will need to surpass first seed Kyle Edmund, who beat another Frenchman, Richard Gasquet with the same score of 6-3 and 6-4. Edmund exploited his 2 main arms: his serve and a demolishing forehand to which Gasquet never found an answer.
Kyle Edmund qualifies for his second ATP title and will try to win his first ATP title here in Antwerp. “I knew I had to be agressive from the first point on, and I’m happy I managed to do so”, explained Edmund after his match. “It’s my second final in a year now. I hope I can manage to get the title here.”
There will a be a French touch in the doubles final as well, as Nicolas Mahut and Edouard Roger-Vasselin qualified for it after beating the New-Zealander Sitak and the Indian Sharan with 7-6, 7-5. They will meet Brazilian Demoliner and Mexican Gonzalez in an attempt to clinch the Antwerp doubles title.
The massive crowd that came to the Lotto Arena for the semifinals, also enjoyed an exhibition doubles match, in which tournament director Dick Norman, partnering with Flemish singer Niels Destadsbader, faced former professional player Sabine Appelmans & actor Gùga Baul.
Tomorrow, the final promises to be of the highest level. It will be played at 3pm, after the doubles final that starts at 12.50pm. It’s not too late to live all the action live and on site. Buy your tickets online here, or at the stadium tomorrow.
Today’s matches marked the kick off for the semifinals of the European Open. Several top players aimed for a ticket in the final four in presence of a crowded Lotto Arena. The Argentinian Diego Schwartzman (ATP-17), second seed, was the first one to qualify, with a 6-3 and 6-4 win over the French Gilles Simon.
“I am truly pleased with my performance today and happy to have qualified for the semi’s. We’ll see what comes next, although I really hope to make it the next round!” the finalist of the two previous years, Schwartzman, commented.
Later this day, Kyle Edmund (ATP-15), Gaël Monfils (ATP-38) and Richard Gasquet (ATP-28) secured their place in the semifinals. Gasquet won after a long and challenging match against German Jan-Lennard Struff 6-4, 6-7 (4) en 7-6 (9), while Edmund benefited from a wallk-over. The tournament’s revelation, Ilya Ivashka, had to retire due to an injury on his left thigh.
European Open Party
Today’s Lotto Arena events weren’t only marked by tennis. A true after-tennis party was hosted on Court 1. Every visitor enjoyed free access to the first edition of the European Open party!
Gaël Monfils, the French showman who reached the fourth round at Wimbledon, has confirmed his participation at the European Open. Last year, Monfils couldn’t make it due to an injury, but the 31-year-old Frenchman will be present this season.
Monfils has been a certainty in the top 50 of men’s tennis for years. In 2016 he was even ranked sixth. Furthermore, he is loved on tour for his showy tennis. Diving, tweeners, trick shots, … he can do it all, and he will bring it to Antwerp next October.
Monfils, who will be playing in Belgium for the first time, is very excited. “It’s always great to come back to Europe after a long trip to Asia. I hope I can add the European Open to my tally.”
As such, Monfils will join David Goffin in the Belgian’s home tournament, where they can potentially meet again after their memorable last encounter during this year’s Roland Garros. There, Goffin won a nerve-wracking match in five sets.
A new tournament management, a renewed approach, an attractive list of participants, reduced ticket prices and an increasing importance for Belgian tennis: these numerous ingredients are more than ever necessary to ensure that the European Open continues to put our country on the tennis map.
David Goffin looking forward to winning in his own country
“We are going from a top tennis competition to a top sports event where we will now focus on the experience”, tournament owner and CEO of Tennium Kristoff Puelinckx stated. “For those who still doubted: the European Open is here to stay!” The arrival of Dick Norman as a new tournament director at the end of March was for Tennium, the organizer of the biggest tennis tournament in Belgium, a first step to make this edition of the European Open the best edition ever, with many new strategic choices. Now that Belgian star David Goffin confirms his arrival, fans can expect an edition full of entertainment and top tennis.
European Open on tour
A striking novelty this year is that the European Open itself is going to the Belgian tennis public. For example, from June to September, Tennium organizes a roadshow of promotional visits to more than two hundred tennis clubs. Together with some ambassadors, including Appelmans, there are about twenty European Open Club Days in the pipeline: clinics for Belgian clubs with Norman and Appelmans and/or some Belgian players.
“I am pleased that I can once again contribute to the European Open”, says Appelmans. “This prestigious tournament is invaluable for tennis in our country and going to promote it in the clubs is something I am already looking forward to.”
Open to national stars
At least as surprising is the news that from now on national top players will also have a chance to appear in the main draw of the European Open. The winner of the Belgian Circuit Masters (the eight best players of the Belgian Circuit ranking will play against each other on October 6 and 7) will play the new European Open prequalification tournament on October 12th. In this tournament the winner can compete with the two best Belgian ATP players, who are not selected for the main draw or qualifications of the European Open, and another Belgian player who receives a wildcard from the organization. Who knows, in that way, he will make his way to the main draw of the European Open. By organizing this, the European Open wants to fill the hole that the ATP Challenger of Mons left behind.
“The European Open is the only ATP event in Belgium and with its organization we want to put tennis back on the map in Belgium”, Norman says. “Not only do we involve many tennis clubs this year, but because of the collaboration with the federations and the Belgian Circuit, we also become a platform for Belgian talent to compete with the stars and show themselves to a large audience.”
Attractive field of participants
Meanwhile, a nice name can be seen on the players list. Former Sportsman of the Year David Goffin (ATP-10) has already confirmed his arrival and he’s already motivated to perform in Antwerp: “I really look forward to the European Open. Who doesn’t dream of winning in their own country for the most loyal fans in the stands? This year I will try everything I can to make a place in the final and… to win the title.”
Attractive ticket prices
In addition to the new approach to the tournament and its promotion, ticket prices are also more attractive than ever. “For thirty euros you already have a ticket for the final”, according to event director Ilse Van Parys. “We have lowered the ticket prices so that our tournament is really attractive and accessible to everyone, there are more ticket categories, the ticket prices for the semi-finals and the final are aligned, and with the European Open Membership of 130 euros and the Weekend Pack of 120 euro (and only 99 euro for the early birds) we have two very affordable packages for those who want to experience the tournament in the best possible way.”
Entertainment for everyone
A real experience, with more entertainment for the fans besides the tennis matches: that is what the European Open 2018 should be. On Monday 15 October there will be a Senior Day, on Wednesday a Kids Day will be on the program, on Thursday a Ladies Day and the weekend will be held on Friday 19 October with a bright party. For the VIPs a networking evening with live entertainment is planned for Thursday evening 18 October, a VIP Star Night including meeting with players on Friday 19 October, a VIP Party with Coco Jr and Sandrine on Saturday, October 20, and of course a vip lunch on the final day.
If you list everything, you can not deny the importance and the image of the European Open. That fact doesn’t escape the host city of the tournament. Alderman of Sport Ludo Van Campenhout: “We have been able to enjoy top tennis in Antwerp again with the European Open since 2016. The athletes are true role models for others, so that we make everyone aware of the importance of a healthy lifestyle and encourage our citizens and visitors to more sports and exercise. ”
Also Mayor Bart De Wever is very pleased with the choice for his city: “Initiatives such as the European Open put Antwerp even more firmly on the map as the sporting capital of Flanders, sparkling our city and strengthening the Olympic tradition of Antwerp.”
In general: October promises to be a nice tennis month for both Antwerp and our country.
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga is the winner of the European Open 2017. In the final, the Frenchman was too strong for Diego Schwartzman, beating him 6-3, 7-5 . The duo of Scott Lipsky / Divij Sharan won the doubles earlier in the day.
Tsonga started the final very impressively. With a 3-2 lead he went through Schwartzman’s service. That break was enough to take the first set. The Frenchman played a very solid game based on his exceptionally strong serve. Tsonga continued to dominate at the start of set two and quickly took a lead of 2-0. Schwartzman, who was playing his second final in a row at the European Open then made a comeback. The Argentine won 3 games in a row and even had 2 breakpoints at 4-2. It was a cue for Tsonga to hit two aces and produce some fantastic tennis to take away Schwartzman’s opportunity to break. Then Tsonga broke Schwartzman, but once again Schwartzman showed his great warrior heart and broke Tsonga.
At 5-5, Tsonga went up a gear and Schwartzman’s number of errors became too large. The Argentine lost his service game one more time and then Tsonga served for the match and was victorious at the European Open.
Diego Schwartzman and the European Open appear to be a successful marriage. For the second consecutive year, Argentina is in a position to win the final. In the final (16.15hrs), Jo-Wilfried Tsonga awaits.
Diego Schwartzman finished the second half of the day playing Stefanos Tsitsipas who was a bit too strong for home player David Goffin in the quarterfinals. After a straight 6-3 in the first set, the spectators in the Lotto Arena got to see numerous exciting rallies and high-end tennis in set 2. Only at 5-5 did Schwarzman distance himself from the 19-year-old Greek. For Tsitsipas this was an end to a great week, for Schwartzman it will be his second final in a row at the European Open. Last year he succumbed to Richard Gasquet in the final. Like last year, another Frenchman awaits, this time it is Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.
Tsonga won 6-3 6-3 against Ruben Bemelmans, earlier today.
Second seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who is bidding to capture his 16th ATP World Tour title this week, moved into his eighth quarter-final (or better) this year by beating fellow Frenchman and qualifier Kenny De Schepper 6-4, 6-3 in 88 minutes at the European Open.
Tsonga, who is 30-13 on the season, will next face another compatriot, 35-year-old Julien Benneteau. Tsonga has already lifted silverware in 2017 at the ABM AMRO World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam (d. Goffin), the Open 13 in Marseille (d. Pouille) and the Open Parc Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Lyon in Lyon (d. Berdych).
David Goffin maintained his good form, also advancing to the quarter-finals with a 7-6(1), 6-2 win against #NextGenATP Frances Tiafoe. The Belgian, who won back-to-back titles at the Shenzhen Open and the Rakuten Japan Open Tennis Championships 2017, is in the No. 8 slot in the Emirates ATP Race To London with 2,750 points. He seeks his second appearance at The O2 in London after appearing last year as an alternate, playing Novak Djokovic.
Goffin was broken in just his second service game of the match, but managed to retrieve it immediately. He then staved off four Tiafoe break opportunities later in the set before surging to a 6/0 lead in the tie-break, an advantage he did not relinquish. The 26 year old lost just three points on serve in the second set, winning double the number of points.
The Belgian stalled Tiafoe’s bid in the Emirates ATP Race To Milan. The American is No. 9 in the race with 662 points, currently 110 points behind Daniil Medvedev, who won on Thursday in Moscow to jump into seventh, the final automatic qualifying spot.
One player who also bolstered his chances in the same Race in Antwerp was Goffin’s next opponent, #NextGenATP and Greek qualifier Stefanos Tsitsipas, who booked a spot in his first ATP World Tour quarter-final on Thursday when leading Ivo Karlovic of Croatia 7-6(4), 5-6. Karlovic retired after injuring his left ankle while serving.
Fourth seed and last year’s finalist Diego Schwartzman needed one hour and 41 minutes to beat #NextGenATP American Ernesto Escobedo 6-3, 7-6(5) for a place in the quarter-finals against fifth-seeded Spaniard David Ferrer, who beat Steve Darcis, 7-5, 5-7, 6-3.
Fifth seed David Ferrer fought for more than two hours and 20 minutes on Tuesday to advance at the European Open.
The Spaniard beat 25-year-old Italian Stefano Travaglia 4-6, 6-4, 7-6(3) to move into the second round in Antwerp. Ferrer, a titlist in Bastad earlier this year, will next face German Cedrik-Marcel Stebe or Belgian Steve Darcis.
#NextGenATP American Frances Tiafoe bolstered his chances of reaching the inaugural Next Gen ATP Finals next month in Milan by beating German Florian Mayer 6-3, 6-4. Tiafoe won 47 per cent (28/60) of his return points in the 58-minute victory.
The 19 year old is currently in 10th place in the Emirates ATP Race To Milan. The top seven in the Race will qualify for the eight-player tournament, to be held 7-11 November. The eighth spot is reserved for the winner of an Italian 21-and-under tournament.
Tiafoe has 662 Race points, 98 behind seventh-placed Hyeon Chung of South Korea. Tiafoe faces top seed David Goffin in the second round. The right-hander held two match points against Goffin in their only prior FedEx Head2Head meeting before losing at 2016 BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells.
Two other #NextGenATP players with their hopes set on Milan also advanced in Antwerp. American Ernesto Escobedo, who reached the semi-finals earlier this year in Houston, beat Canada’s Denis Shapovalov in a #NextGenATP battle, 7-6(5), 6-4.
#NextGenATP Greek Stefano Tsitsipas upset sixth seed Pablo Cuevas 6-1, 6-4. Cuevas has now lost nine consecutive matches.
Both Escobedo and Tsitsipas still could qualify for the Next Gen ATP Finals. Escobedo is in 11th place with 497 points, 263 behind seventh-placed Chung. Tsitsipas sits in 13th place with 477 points, 283 behind Chung.
Escobedo next faces fourth seed Diego Schwartzman of Argentina. Tsitsipas will meet Croatian Ivo Karlovic.