August 24, 2016

Novak Djokovic Beats Kei Nishikori for Toronto Title and 30th Masters Series Trophy

26-Djokovic Kisses trophy

 

(July 31, 2016) Novak Djokovic won his fourth Rogers Cup title on Sunday in Toronto beating Japan’s Kei Nishikori 6-3, 7-5. For the Serb, the world’s top player it’s his 30th Masters Series title on the ATP World Tour, adding to his Masters title record. In the event which rotates between Toronto and Montreal, Djokovic also won titles in 2007, 2011 and 2012.

Djokovic, who has nine straight wins against Nishikori, is now 33-1 on hard courts for the year.

“I think he stepped it up,” said Nishikori. “He raise his level I think a lot from these couple days, couple days ago.

“He played really deep, and he didn’t give me any, like, free points. Especially he was serving really well, so I didn’t have many, you know, chance for my return game. So I was really feeling the pressure every game.

“Maybe second set maybe I had some chance, but there was too many unforced errors from me. Well, also he was playing good, but I couldn’t play good tennis today.”

 

“I think, like I said, I had too many unforced errors especially during important points. Yeah, he was returning really well today, I think. I was hitting some good first serves, but he was making return in deep.

“I hope I can step it up a little more and winning some titles, but I think still Novak is biggest challenge for me to win against him. Especially on hard court he’s been beating me. You know, not easy but two sets. Miami, here, especially big match like here in final.

“So I think I need more experience, you know, of these kind of matches, but I think this is a great week even though I lost Novak. It was second time this year in the final, Masters. I think getting closer and closer. So hope I can get a Masters title as soon as possible.

“I think that’s going to give me a lot of confidence for winning the Grand Slams and those big tournaments.

This is Djokovic’s seventh title of the year which includes victories at two majors – the Australian Open and the French Open with Masters titles at Indian Wells, Miami, Madrid and Toronto, as well as a tournament in Doha.

Djokovic, whose next stop is Rio de Janiero for the Olympic Games was asked about his participation and if he has concerns about playing there.

“No, no. Really, again, I think it’s all in our minds,” he said about people having reservations about playing in Rio. “Depends how you really approach things. I really don’t think about negative stuff and stuff that might cause a fear or concern or something like that, like viruses or security issues.

“Surely they are there. We have to be, in a way, cautious. But I try to look at things from the brighter side. I’m part of the Olympic Games. You know, it’s a very exciting city and country that is very passionate for sports. You know, millions of people will be there. You know, so many other millions will watch it on the TV. That’s the kind of vibe that I feed on, and I look forward to the Olympic Games because I approach it in that way. So I can’t wait to be there.”

Asked about the importance of winning a gold medal to his legacy he commented:

“Well, there is going to be a lot going on with the Olympic Games, and as you mentioned, different sports and different events.

“Well, it’s the biggest sports event in the history of the sport, so to be part of it is already a huge privilege and honor that I will cherish, as I did in Beijing and London Olympic Games.

“I had an honor of carrying the flag for my country in London back in 2012, and that was one of the most unique and unforgettable moments of my life. So I look forward to that, honestly, just being part of it.

“Approaching the Olympic Games as any other tournament, really. Trying to respect the same kind of preparation and routine that I have with my team and that I have respected for so many years, and that has worked well for us this week and as most of the other weeks the last couple of years.

“So of course the overall sensation is not going to be the same as the other tournaments, because it’s Olympic Games. You know, of course you represent your country. You know, you get to feel that you’re part of something much larger than just the tennis event. I look forward to that. I’m going to try to extract that positivity out of that huge attention and energy that will be directed into the Olympic Games and hopefully put myself in a position to battle for a medal.”

“After Grand Slams, these are the biggest events we have in sport of tennis,” Djokovic continued. “Naturally I’m going to be very disciplined, committed, and focused to do well.

“But, you know, obviously Grand Slams you value those, you know, the most because in the history books they count the most. But in the other hand, you know, I love playing in Masters tournaments throughout my career. I have had plenty of success in this particular category of events, and I’m very grateful for that because I always value them as much as I value Grand Slams.

“So, you know, I try to approach every single day, whether it’s a match day or practice day, with the right mindset and knowing that this will eventually pay off down the road.”

Djokovic captured the bronze medal at the 2008 Olympic games.

 

All photos by Nida Alibhai.

 

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Rogers Cup Results, Schedules and Photo Gallery

(July 30, 2016) TORONTO – All photos by Nida Alibhai from Saturday.

 

TORONTO RESULTS, SATURDAY JULY 30, 2016

Singles – Semifinals
[1] N. Djokovic (SRB) d [10] G. Monfils (FRA) 63 62
[3] K. Nishikori (JPN) d [2] S. Wawrinka (SUI) 76(6) 61

Doubles – Semifinals
[2] J. Murray (GBR) / B. Soares (BRA) d [6] D. Nestor (CAN) / V. Pospisil (CAN) 64 67(5) 10-7
[3] I. Dodig (CRO) / M. Melo (BRA) d [5] F. Mergea (ROU) / H. Tecau (ROU) 64 63

MONTREAL RESULTS, SATURDAY JULY 30, 2016 

Singles – Semifinals 
[5] S. Halep (ROU) d [2] A. Kerber (GER) 60 36 62
[10] M. Keys (USA) d [Q] K. Kucova (SVK) 62 61

Doubles – Semifinals
[4] E. Makarova (RUS) / E. Vesnina (RUS) d C. Mchale (USA) / A. Muhammad (USA) 64 62
[WC] S. Halep (ROU) / M. Niculescu (ROU) d A. Klepac (SLO) / K. Srebotnik (SLO) 63 26 10-6

TORONTO ORDER OF PLAY – SUNDAY JULY 31, 2016 


CENTRE COURT start 1:20 pm 

[3] I. Dodig (CRO) / M. Melo (BRA) vs [2] J. Murray (GBR) / B. Soares (BRA)

Not Before 4:00 pm 
[1] N. Djokovic (SRB)  vs [3] K. Nishikori (JPN)

MONTREAL ORDER OF PLAY – SUNDAY JULY 31, 2016

CENTRAL start 1:00 pm
[10] M. Keys (USA) vs [5] S. Halep (ROU)
After Suitable Rest – [4] E. Makarova (RUS) / E. Vesnina (RUS) vs [WC] S. Halep (ROU) / M. Niculescu (ROU)

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Toronto Results, Schedule and Photo Gallery

 

Raonic and Monfils

 

(July 29, 2016) TORONTO – All photos by Nida Alibhai from Friday.

 

 

 

 

 

Rogers Cup
Toronto, Canada

RESULTS – FRIDAY, 29 JULY 2016

Singles – Quarter-finals
[1] N. Djokovic (SRB) d [5] T. Berdych (CZE) 76(6) 64
[2] S. Wawrinka (SUI) d K. Anderson (RSA) 61 63
[3] K. Nishikori (JPN) d G. Dimitrov (BUL) 63 36 62
[10] G. Monfils (FRA) d [4] M. Raonic (CAN) 64 64

Doubles – Quarter-finals
[5] F. Mergea (ROU) / H. Tecau (ROU) d [1] B. Bryan (USA) / M. Bryan (USA) 63 63
[2] J. Murray (GBR) / B. Soares (BRA) d [7] R. Klaasen (RSA) / R. Ram (USA) 36 75 10-4
[3] I. Dodig (CRO) / M. Melo (BRA) d [8] H. Kontinen (FIN) / J. Peers (AUS) 36 64 10-8
[6] D. Nestor (CAN) / V. Pospisil (CAN) d T. Berdych (CZE) / R. Stepanek (CZE) 63 76(6)

SCHEDULE – SATURDAY, 30 JULY 2016

CENTRE COURT start 12:20 pm
[5] F. Mergea (ROU) / H. Tecau (ROU) vs [3] I. Dodig (CRO) / M. Melo (BRA)

Not Before 3:00 pm
[3] K. Nishikori (JPN) vs [2] S. Wawrinka (SUI)

Not Before 5:50 pm
[6] D. Nestor (CAN) / V. Pospisil (CAN) vs [2] J. Murray (GBR) / B. Soares (BRA)

Not Before 8:00 pm
[1] N. Djokovic (SRB) vs [10] G. Monfils (FRA)

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Toronto Results, Schedule and Photo Gallery

(July 28, 2016) TORONTO – All photos by Nida Alibhai from Wednesday.

 

 

 

 

 

Rogers Cup
Toronto, Canada

RESULTS – THURSDAY, 28 JULY 2016

Singles – Second Round
[1] N. Djokovic (SRB) d [Q] R. Stepanek (CZE) 62 64
[2] S. Wawrinka (SUI) d [16] J. Sock (USA) 76(3) 62
[3] K. Nishikori (JPN) d R. Ram (USA) 63 64
[4] M. Raonic (CAN) d [Q] J. Donaldson (USA) 62 63
[5] T. Berdych (CZE) d [Q] R. Harrison (USA) 64 67(2) 64
[10] G. Monfils (FRA) d [7] D. Goffin (BEL) 76(5) 26 64
K. Anderson (RSA) d [12] B. Tomic (AUS) 46 63 64
G. Dimitrov (BUL) d I. Karlovic (CRO) 63 75

Doubles – Second Round
[1] B. Bryan (USA) / M. Bryan (USA) d M. Matkowski (POL) / M. Mirnyi (BLR) 64 64
[2] J. Murray (GBR) / B. Soares (BRA) d B. Tomic (AUS) / V. Troicki (SRB) 63 62
[6] D. Nestor (CAN) / V. Pospisil (CAN) d N. Kyrgios (AUS) / J. Sock (USA) 76(4) 01 Ret. (Sock arm)
[7] R. Klaasen (RSA) / R. Ram (USA) d [WC] P. Bester (CAN) / A. Shamasdin (CAN) 64 76(4)
[8] H. Kontinen (FIN) / J. Peers (AUS) d G. Dimitrov (BUL) / S. Wawrinka (SUI) 76(4) 62

SCHEDULE – FRIDAY, 29 JULY 2016

CENTRE COURT start 12:30 pm
K. Anderson (RSA) vs [2] S. Wawrinka (SUI)
G. Dimitrov (BUL) vs [3] K. Nishikori (JPN)

Not Before 6:30 pm
[1] N. Djokovic (SRB) vs [5] T. Berdych (CZE)
[4] M. Raonic (CAN) vs [10] G. Monfils (FRA)

GRANDSTAND start 11:00 am
[1] B. Bryan (USA) / M. Bryan (USA) vs [5] F. Mergea (ROU) / H. Tecau (ROU)
[7] R. Klaasen (RSA) / R. Ram (USA) vs [2] J. Murray (GBR) / B. Soares (BRA)
[3] I. Dodig (CRO) / M. Melo (BRA) vs [8] H. Kontinen (FIN) / J. Peers (AUS)

Not Before 7:30 pm
After Suitable Rest – [6] D. Nestor (CAN) / V. Pospisil (CAN) vs T. Berdych (CZE) / R. Stepanek (CZE)

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Hometown Bouchard Flawless in 6-2 6-0 Win over Cibulkova

Eugenie Bouchard

Eugenie Bouchard

Hometown Bouchard Flawless in 6-2 6-0 Win over Cibulkova

by By Charles David Mathieu-Poulin
(July 27, 2016)MONTREAL – Following her spectacular win in a third set tiebreak against Lucie Safarova on Tuesday, Eugenie Bouchard was facing another difficult test on WEdnesday in 11th seed Dominika Cibulkova. In arguably one of the best performance of her career, the hometown favorite was nearly flawless and handed her opponent a mere two games to reach her maiden third round at the Rogers Cup.
Cibulkova and Bouchard had some history; they were facing for the 4th time in the past year, with Bouchard winning two tight three-setters at the US Open and Hobart, while Cibulkova was superior a few weeks ago in Wimbledon. Right from the get-go, you could see Bouchard wanted to avenge that loss: ‘The match in Wimbledon was a disappointment for me. She was dominating then, and I knew I had to change that’. And she did: the Canadian came out firing, moving as well as ever, answering back to all of Cibulkova’s trademark power off the ground. She managed to turn defense into offense, and use the crowd’s energy in her favor. Bouchard broke on a Cibulkova double fault in the first game and never looked back, reeling off the last nine games to win with a surprisingly easy 6-2 6-0 scoreline.

Bouchard will face another Slovakian player in the third round, as surprising qualifier Kristina Kucova defeated 8th seed Carla Suarez-Navarro in three tough sets. While Bouchard mentioned she barely knew anything about her opponent, die-hard tennis fans will remember their infamous Fed Cup encounter in 2014, where Eugenie Bouchard refused to participate in the usual pre-tie picture of opponents shaking hands, describing the routine as ‘lame’. This was repeated in a subsequent tie against Romania and has been the cause of many critics on the Canadian’s media etiquette.
Bouchard will be the last Canadian standing, as her fellow Montreal native Françoise Abanda couldn’t follow on her impressive first round win. Facing 17th seed Elina Svitolina, the local player led 6-5 in both sets, but couldn’t conclude in a 7-6(2) 7-6(3) loss.
Other winners of the day included Venus Williams, Agnieszka Radwanska, Angelique Kerber, Madison Keys, in-form Johanna Konta and Roberta Vinci.

COUPE ROGERS PRÉSENTÉE PAR BANQUE NATIONALE – MONTREAL, CAN
$2,714,413
25 / 31 JULY / JUILLET 2016

RESULTS – JULY 27, 2016
Women’s
Singles – Second Round

[2] A. Kerber (GER) d M. Lucic-Baroni (CRO) 63 46 63
[4] A. Radwanska (POL) d M. Niculescu (ROU) 61 75
[6] V. Williams (USA) d B. Strycova (CZE) 63 60
[7] R. Vinci (ITA) d [Q] C. Giorgi (ITA) 26 63 64
[Q] K. Kucova (SVK) d [8] C. Suárez Navarro (ESP) 36 64 64
[9] S. Kuznetsova (RUS) d [Q] A. Kudryavtseva (RUS) 75 60
[10] M. Keys (USA) d M. Brengle (USA) 64 63
E. Bouchard (CAN) d [11] D. Cibulkova (SVK) 62 60
[12] P. Kvitova (CZE) d A. Petkovic (GER) 62 64
D. Kasatkina (RUS) d [13] S. Stosur (AUS) 76(1) 63
[14] K. Pliskova (CZE) d S. Errani (ITA) walkover
[15] J. Konta (GBR) d [Q] V. King (USA) 75 61
[16] A. Pavlyuchenkova (RUS) d [LL] C. Mchale (USA) 62 75
[17] E. Svitolina (UKR) d [WC] F. Abanda (CAN) 76(2) 76(3)

Women’s
Doubles – Second Round

[WC] S. Halep (ROU) / M. Niculescu (ROU) d K. Bondarenko (UKR) / O. Savchuk (UKR) 61 63
First Round
D. Jurak (CRO) / A. Rodionova (AUS) d [6] Y. Xu (CHN) / S. Zheng (CHN) 64 63
N. Broady (GBR) / S. Rogers (USA) d E. Hozumi (JPN) / M. Irigoyen (ARG) 63 62
N. Hibino (JPN) / A. Rosolska (POL) d J. Ostapenko (LAT) / E. Svitolina (UKR) 46 75 10-6
[WC] D. Gavrilova (AUS) / S. Stosur (AUS) d C. Chuang (TPE) / A. Pavlyuchenkova (RUS) 46 63 10-8
A. Groenefeld (GER) / K. Peschke (CZE) d [Alt] M. Brengle (USA) / T. Moore (GBR) 60 64

ORDER OF PLAY – THURSDAY, JULY 28, 2016
CENTRAL start 12:30 pm
[14] K. Pliskova (CZE) vs [5] S. Halep (ROU)

Not Before 2:30 pm
[4] A. Radwanska (POL) vs [16] A. Pavlyuchenkova (RUS)

Not Before 6:30 pm
[10] M. Keys (USA) vs [6] V. Williams (USA)
E. Bouchard (CAN) vs [Q] K. Kucova (SVK)

BANQUE NATIONALE start 12:30 pm
[7] R. Vinci (ITA) vs D. Kasatkina (RUS)

Not Before 2:30 pm
[9] S. Kuznetsova (RUS) vs [12] P. Kvitova (CZE)

Not Before 4:30 pm
[17] E. Svitolina (UKR) vs [2] A. Kerber (GER)

Not Before 6:30 pm
[LL] V. Lepchenko (USA) vs [15] J. Konta (GBR)
B. Mattek-Sands (USA) / H. Watson (GBR) vs [3] H. Chan (TPE) / Y. Chan (TPE)

COURT 9 start 12:30 pm
C. Mchale (USA) / A. Muhammad (USA) vs [7] R. Atawo (USA) / A. Spears (USA)
[1] M. Hingis (SUI) / S. Mirza (IND) vs N. Broady (GBR) / S. Rogers (USA)
After suitable rest – [WC] D. Gavrilova (AUS) / S. Stosur (AUS) vs [8] K. Pliskova (CZE) / B. Strycova (CZE)
A. Groenefeld (GER) / K. Peschke (CZE) vs [2] C. Garcia (FRA) / K. Mladenovic (FRA)

COURT 5 start 3:00 pm
D. Jurak (CRO) / A. Rodionova (AUS) vs A. Klepac (SLO) / K. Srebotnik (SLO)
After suitable rest – [4] E. Makarova (RUS) / E. Vesnina (RUS) vs N. Hibino (JPN) / A. Rosolska (POL)

 

Rogers Cup
Toronto, Canada

RESULTS – WEDNESDAY, 27 JULY 2016

Singles – Second Round
[1] N. Djokovic (SRB) d G. Muller (LUX) 75 76(3)
[3] K. Nishikori (JPN) d [Q] D. Novikov (USA) 64 75
[4] M. Raonic (CAN) d Y. Lu (TPE) 63 63
K. Anderson (RSA) d [6] D. Thiem (AUT) 41 ret. (hip pain)
[7] D. Goffin (BEL) d S. Querrey (USA) 64 21 ret. (low back)
I. Karlovic (CRO) d [8] M. Cilic (CRO) 64 76(3)
[Q] R. Harrison (USA) d [9] J. Isner (USA) 76(3) 67(4) 64
[10] G. Monfils (FRA) d V. Pospisil (CAN) 76(6) 60
[12] B. Tomic (AUS) d [WC] S. Diez (CAN) 63 76(4)
R. Ram (USA) d [13] L. Pouille (FRA) 64 76(5)
[16] J. Sock (USA) d D. Young (USA) 64 63
[Q] R. Stepanek (CZE) d [WC] P. Polansky (CAN) 76(5) 64
[Q] J. Donaldson (USA) d F. Fognini (ITA) 63 36 63
G. Dimitrov (BUL) d [WC] D. Shapovalov (CAN) 64 63

Doubles – Second Round
[3] I. Dodig (CRO) / M. Melo (BRA) d [PR] M. Cilic (CRO) / M. Draganja (CRO) 76(3) 67(4) 10-5
T. Berdych (CZE) / R. Stepanek (CZE) d [4] R. Bopanna (IND) / J. Rojer (NED) 61 64
[5] F. Mergea (ROU) / H. Tecau (ROU) d J. Isner (USA) / A. Zverev (GER) 76(1) 60

Doubles – First Round
M. Matkowski (POL) / M. Mirnyi (BLR) d L. Kubot (POL) / A. Peya (AUT) 63 76(5)

SCHEDULE – THURSDAY, 28 JULY 2016

CENTRE COURT start 11:00 am
R. Ram (USA) vs [3] K. Nishikori (JPN)
Not Before 1:00 pm
[16] J. Sock (USA) vs [2] S. Wawrinka (SUI)
[1] B. Bryan (USA) / M. Bryan (USA) vs M. Matkowski (POL) / M. Mirnyi (BLR)
Not Before 6:30 pm
[4] M. Raonic (CAN) vs [Q] J. Donaldson (USA)
[1] N. Djokovic (SRB) vs [Q] R. Stepanek (CZE)

GRANDSTAND start 11:00 am
K. Anderson (RSA) vs [12] B. Tomic (AUS)
Not Before 12:30 pm
[10] G. Monfils (FRA) vs [7] D. Goffin (BEL)
I. Karlovic (CRO) vs G. Dimitrov (BUL)
[Q] R. Harrison (USA) vs [5] T. Berdych (CZE)
[6] D. Nestor (CAN) / V. Pospisil (CAN) vs N. Kyrgios (AUS) / J. Sock (USA)

COURT 1 start Not Before 2:00 pm
After Suitable Rest – B. Tomic (AUS) / V. Troicki (SRB) vs [2] J. Murray (GBR) / B. Soares (BRA)
[7] R. Klaasen (RSA) / R. Ram (USA) vs [WC] P. Bester (CAN) / A. Shamasdin (CAN)
G. Dimitrov (BUL) / S. Wawrinka (SUI) vs [8] H. Kontinen (FIN) / J. Peers (AUS)

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Toronto Results, Schedule and Photo Gallery

(July 26, 2016) TORONTO – All photos by Nida Alibhai.

 

 

Rogers Cup
Toronto, Canada

RESULTS – TUESDAY, 26 JULY 2016

Singles – Second Round
[2] S. Wawrinka (SUI) d M. Youzhny (RUS) 76(3) 76(8)
[5] T. Berdych (CZE) d B. Coric (CRO) 46 61 64

First Round
[10] G. Monfils (FRA) d J. Sousa (POR) 63 63
[13] L. Pouille (FRA) d [Q] E. Gomez (ECU) 67(8) 64 75
[Q] R. Stepanek (CZE) d [14] B. Paire (FRA) 61 63
F. Fognini (ITA) d [15] S. Johnson (USA) 64 64
Y. Lu (TPE) d A. Zverev (GER) 75 63
[Q] J. Donaldson (USA) d J. Millman (AUS) 64 43 ret. (left wrist)
V. Pospisil (CAN) d J. Chardy (FRA) 76(3) 00 ret. (right foot)
I. Karlovic (CRO) d T. Fritz (USA) 67(9) 76(5) 62
R. Ram (USA) d E. Gulbis (LAT) 64 62
[Q] D. Novikov (USA) d F. Delbonis (ARG) 64 63
D. Young (USA) d A. Dolgopolov (UKR) 76(6) 64

Doubles – First Round
J. Isner (USA) / A. Zverev (GER) d R. Lindstedt (SWE) / S. Querrey (USA) 76(4) 63
[PR] M. Cilic (CRO) / M. Draganja (CRO) d J. Benneteau (FRA) / E. Roger-Vasselin (FRA) 63 64
N. Kyrgios (AUS) / J. Sock (USA) d G. Muller (LUX) / B. Paire (FRA) 64 62
[WC] P. Bester (CAN) / A. Shamasdin (CAN) d N. Djokovic (SRB) / N. Zimonjic (SRB) 75 46 10-2
B. Tomic (AUS) / V. Troicki (SRB) d [WC] F. Auger Aliassime (CAN) / D. Shapovalov (CAN) 64 63

SCHEDULE – WEDNESDAY, 27 JULY 2016

CENTRE COURT start 11:00 am
[Q] D. Novikov (USA) vs [3] K. Nishikori (JPN)
Not Before 1:00 pm
[1] N. Djokovic (SRB) vs G. Muller (LUX)
T. Berdych (CZE) / R. Stepanek (CZE) vs [4] R. Bopanna (IND) / J. Rojer (NED)
Not Before 6:30 pm
[4] M. Raonic (CAN) vs Y. Lu (TPE)
G. Dimitrov (BUL) vs [WC] D. Shapovalov (CAN)

GRANDSTAND start 11:00 am
[9] J. Isner (USA) vs [Q] R. Harrison (USA)
[6] D. Thiem (AUT) vs K. Anderson (RSA)
[8] M. Cilic (CRO) vs I. Karlovic (CRO)
[10] G. Monfils (FRA) vs V. Pospisil (CAN)
[3] I. Dodig (CRO) / M. Melo (BRA) vs [PR] M. Cilic (CRO) / M. Draganja (CRO)

COURT 1 start 11:00 am
[WC] P. Polansky (CAN) vs [Q] R. Stepanek (CZE)
[WC] S. Diez (CAN) vs [12] B. Tomic (AUS)
[16] J. Sock (USA) vs D. Young (USA)
M. Matkowski (POL) / M. Mirnyi (BLR) vs L. Kubot (POL) / A. Peya (AUT)

COURT 4 start 11:00 am
[13] L. Pouille (FRA) vs R. Ram (USA)
S. Querrey (USA) vs [7] D. Goffin (BEL)
[Q] J. Donaldson (USA) vs F. Fognini (ITA)
J. Isner (USA) / A. Zverev (GER) vs [5] F. Mergea (ROU) / H. Tecau (ROU)

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Wildcard Denis Shapovalov Knocks Out 11th Seed Nick Kyrgios in First Round of Toronto Masters

Denis Shapovalov

Denis Shapovalov

(July 25, 2016) Coming off the Junior Boys’ singles title at Wimbledon, 17-year-old Denis Shapovalov received a wildcard into the Rogers Cup in Toronto, his home tournament. The youngest player in the tournament made good use of his entry by upsetting 11th seed Australia’s Nick Kyrgios 7-6(2), 3-6, 6-3 in the first round on Monday night.

The winner could hardly believe that he won the match when he spoke to media.

“Nick is an incredible tennis player,” he said. “He’s top 20 in the world. Maybe even future No. 1 in the world.

“So obviously I didn’t expect to win. But like I said before, I’m just going to go fight for every point. That’s what I did. The outcome was very good today.”

“My whole family was there, my whole team, my sponsor, my physio. Couple of very close friends to me were there.”

“On the on-court interview, this girl, she was interviewing me and she asked me, Do you want me to pinch you?”

“I said, Yeah. Frankly I actually didn’t feel the pinch. I might be dreaming still. Yeah, it’s still hitting me. It’s going to be crazy, but there’s a next match and I have got to get ready for tomorrow.”

“I just didn’t play great,” Kyrgios said.

“He played well. You know, obviously he was excited playing in front of his home crowd. I know what it feels like obviously to come off one of your biggest junior results and then play in one of your home tournaments. I know that feeling. It’s great. I hope he enjoys it and rests up and does well.

“Yeah, I’m not going to tell you what I did or didn’t do to prepare for this match,” the eleventh seed said to reporters. “I just played pretty bad, but he played great and he earned it.”

Shapovalov said that he made the request to play on Centre Court.

“I thought it would be fun with all the fans,” he said. “I love playing on a big stage. I love, you know, impressing people. So, yeah, it was very fun for me.”

“So, you know, they really helped me a lot. And I think just the atmosphere really carried me forward today.”

Shapovalov will face former Top Ten player Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria in the second round. “Tournament is not over,” Shapovalov commented. “I could celebrate my win from Nick after the tournament but now I’m going to focus for Dimitrov.”

RESULTS – MONDAY, 25 JULY 2016

Singles – First Round
[9] J. Isner (USA) d D. Sela (ISR) 46 63 62
[WC] D. Shapovalov (CAN) d [11] N. Kyrgios (AUS) 76(2) 36 63
[12] B. Tomic (AUS) d [Q] A. Gonzalez (COL) 64 76(1)
[16] J. Sock (USA) d D. Kudla (USA) 62 62
G. Muller (LUX) d [PR] D. Tursunov (RUS) 76(5) 61
[WC] P. Polansky (CAN) d [Q] T. Smyczek (USA) 46 63 60
[Q] R. Harrison (USA) d A. Kuznetsov (RUS) 63 61
B. Coric (CRO) d I. Dodig (CRO) 57 64 62
S. Querrey (USA) d [WC] F. Dancevic (CAN) 76(5) 64
G. Dimitrov (BUL) d Y. Sugita (JPN) 57 76(5) 64
K. Anderson (RSA) d V. Troicki (SRB) 76(4) 63
[WC] S. Diez (CAN) d K. Edmund (GBR) 36 63 62
M. Youzhny (RUS) d S. Robert (FRA) 63 76(6)

Doubles – First Round
G. Dimitrov (BUL) / S. Wawrinka (SUI) d L. Pouille (FRA) / D. Thiem (AUT) 46 76(2) 12-10
T. Berdych (CZE) / R. Stepanek (CZE) d F. Martin (FRA) / J. Sousa (POR) 61 36 11-9

All photos by Nida Alibhai

 

 

 

 

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Just Breathe: Johanna Konta Wins Maiden WTA Title at Bank of the West Classic

Williams and Konta

By Curt Janka

(July 24, 2016) STANFORD, California –  British No. 1 Johanna Konta earned her first WTA title by battling past top seed Venus Williams 7-5, 5-7, 6-2. This match was Konta’s first final while Williams was playing her 80th final. That said, Konta played with poise and control. She hit her spots and capitalized on opportunities.

 

Venus Williams

Venus Williams

Williams put up a valiant fight. Despite going down a set and two breaks in the second set, she never gave up. “Just because it’s 4-1 doesn’t mean the match is over” Williams said. She couldn’t quite come back in the third set, however, and gave lots of credit to her opponent. “She had a lot of great shots. She came up with a lot of winners. She just played a great match.”

Johanna Konta

Johanna Konta

After her semifinal, Konta said controlling her breathing helped her win. She was asked if it helped again today. “Breathing! Revolutionary, guys” she laughed, then explained further, “It helps with my train of thought. The more simple you keep things, the more clarity you have and the less dumb you play.“

So, how was her breathing near the end of the second set when Venus came back from two breaks? More laughs, “Yeah I probably did forget to breath there.”

In the third set, Konta said she went back to keeping things simple. “Coming into that third set it was about just putting things behind you and really breaking it down. Every single point was a battle and you try to win as many battles as possible.”

Along the way, Konta said she found herself wanting to learn from Williams.  “I was thinking a lot in that third set,” she explained “about how many times Venus has been in this position. And just really appreciating that and understanding the magnitude of that. How lucky am I to play against one of the best players in the sport that I’m a part of. Just being grateful of that just makes things lighter and puts things in perspective. Hopefully one day I’ll be as experienced as she is.”

She is indeed learning from one of the best and climbing up the rankings along the way.  Both Konta and Williams will be moving up – as of Monday Konta will be No. 14 in the world with Williams up a notch to No. 6.

 

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Johanna Konta Serves Her Way Into Her First WTA Final

Johanna Konta

Johanna Konta

By Curt Janka

(July 23, 2016) STANFORD, California – Johanna Konta lost just six points on her serve as she toppled Dominika Cibulkova 6-4, 6-2 in the first semifinal of the Bank of the West Classic. The win earns Konta her first WTA final and it’s the first time a British player has played for the trophy here since Virginia Wade in 1981.

The third seed Konta served a total of nine games and held at love for six of them. Cibulkova, the second seed and 2013 champion, is arguably one of the better returners on tour, so what made Konta’s serve so tough today? “She was placing the serve so well and it was hard for me to do something with it,” the Slovak Cibulkova answered. “She was changing the directions of the serve, so that was the main thing. Today she was just serving too well.“

The 25-year-old British woman, currently ranked No. 18,  backed up her serve with solid ground strokes and returns, breaking her higher-seeded opponent three times. After the match, she was pleased with her performance. “I’m really happy to have come through that and to be into my first final,” Konta said. “I thought I served well and did a good job in the end of staying in the present. She [Cibulkova] is an incredible competitor, so I knew going into the match that I was going to have to be there for every single point. I achieved that, so I’m feeling very grateful and looking forward to my next match tomorrow.”

Konta was also playing in the doubles semifinal with her partner, Maria Sanchez, against Darija Jurak and Anastasia Rodionova. Konta will play Venus Williams in the final. The two-time Stanford winner beat Alison Riske in the night session.

“I’m really happy to have come through that and to be into my first final,” Konta said after her win.

 

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Venus Williams Playing Like The Top Seed She Is At The Bank Of The West Classic

Venus Williams

Venus Williams

By Curt Janka

(July 22, 2016) STANFORD, California –  A relaxed Venus Williams played composed tennis as she breezed to a 6-4, 6-1 win over 17-year-old wildcard Catherine Bellis at the Bank of the West Classic on Friday night. While it may have taken three sets for Williams to get by her previous opponent, there was no sign of tension in her play on Friday night. Experience may have been the key against her younger opponent.

When asked why she looked so at ease on the court she said, “I just felt like I had a lot of experience and as a young person she has to go for a lot more than I ever have to go for because I understand the game more. So I felt just comfortable that I could control the match.”

“After Wimbledon I was really pumped,” the 36-year-old Williams said. “I was like, ‘I can’t wait to play.’ That felt good. It felt good to be eager.”

When asked what else she is looking forward to this summer, the two-time Stanford winner replied, “There’s so much to look forward to! The semifinals tomorrow is like my main focus. The Olympics I’ve been waiting for four years. As soon as the last one was over I was ready to go again. It’s getting closer and it feels surreal but when I get there it’s gonna be real. And after that you just turn right back around and play the Open.”

CiCi Bellis

CiCi Bellis

Despite a quick second set, Bellis did make the first set very competitive. “I learned a lot,” she said. “I think mainly I just have to focus on the key points. There are a couple points in the first set that I think if I played a little bit more aggressive I could have won them. But, you know, she’s obviously the number one seed here, so it’s unbelievable to be on the court with someone like her.“

Asked about her short-term goals, Bellis smiled and said, “Yesterday, actually, I committed to Stanford. I’m just going to see how the next year goes in my pro career.” She explained that after another year on tour, she would start her college career at Stanford.

Top seed Williams will face Alison Riske in the semifinals on Saturday. Riske advanced when her quarterfinal opponent fourth seed Coco Vandeweghe suffered an ankle injury and had to retire.

In the bottom half of the draw, second seed Dominika Cibulkova came back from two early breaks to win 7-5, 6-0 over Misaki Doi. Cibulkova will next face third seed Johanna Konta, who beat her quarterfinal opponent, Zheng Saiai 6-2, 4-6, 6-3.

 

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