February 25, 2017

Davis Cup: U.S. Clinches Quarterfinal Berth; Sock and Johnson defeat Switzerland In World Group First Round Tie

DAVIS CUP: U.S. CLINCHES QUARTERFINAL BERTH

Sock and Johnson defeat Switzerland In World Group First Round Tie

 

 

By Junior Williams

 

(February 4, 2017) BIRMINGHAM, Alabama – For the clincher, United States Davis Cup Captain Jim Courier called on the 2016 Olympic bronze medal doubles team.

Jack Sock and Steve Johnson delivered for the U.S. with a 7-6(3), 6-3, 7-6(5) victory over Switzerland’s Adrien Bossel and Henri Laaksonen. The win gives the Americans an insurmountable 3-0 lead in this World Group first round tie, advancing to the quarterfinals, where they’ll face Australia on the road for a second consecutive year.

Both Courier and Swiss Captain Severin Luthi switched up their originally scheduled lineups: Jack Sock replaced Sam Querrey for the Americans, while Luthi went with Laaksonen instead of Antoine Bellier. Laaksonen had an impressive return of serve during Friday’s second singles rubber, despite losing to John Isner in four sets.

The U.S. took the lead in the first set, winning a tiebreak capped by a Steve Johnson forehand winner up the sideline to go up 6-3, followed by a Johnson forehand that was hit long by the Swiss. The Americans won 85-percent of their first serve points in the set.

Serving in the first game of the second set, Jack Sock vehemently disputed a lineman’s foot fault call, but to no avail. As the game went on the U.S. found itself in a 0-40 hole, but eventually staved off those three break points and held serve. The Americans broke the Swiss in the next game, which ended with a thrilling rally punctuated by a Sock winner at net — bringing fans at the Legacy Arena at Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex to their feet.

Both teams exchanged breaks of serve later in the set, but the U.S. went on to win it on a Sock service winner. A stellar performance at the net by Johnson also a major factor contributing to the Americans’ two set lead.

Switzerland refused to go quietly. Spurred on by their fans chanting “Hop Suisse,” the Swiss team broke the U.S. to go up 3-1 in the third set on a Laaksonen overhead smash at net. But the visitors blew a golden opportunity when the Americans staved off three set points and broke Switzerland to get the set back on serve at 5-4.

The U.S. closed out the rubber and clinched the tie by winning a third set tiebreak, which ended with the Swiss at net hitting the ball past the baseline. After each team shook hands, the American team took a victory lap around the court with the U.S. flag, cheered on by the home crowd.

Despite being heavy underdogs without their top guns Roger Federer and Stan Wawrinka, the Swiss have given the U.S. a good fight – and will attempt to remain in Davis Cup’s top tier when they compete in the World Group Play-offs this coming September.

“If you lose, it’s disappointed that you lost,” noted Swiss captain Severin Luthi. “I mean, I’m never like happy when we lose or if I lose. Even if it’s card games or whatever, I’m never happy.

“So disappointed. But, again, I have to say the same as yesterday. It wasn’t the performance of the players at all, you know. I thought they gave everything. They were, yeah — they had chances first and third set, and unfortunately we just couldn’t make it.”

Australia will be hosting team USA for a second straight tie, however, the visitor will have choice of ground – hardcourt. Normally nations alternate hosting ties, but the U.S. and Australia played consecutive ties in U.S. in 1997 and 1999, in order for the U.S. to host the 100th anniversary of Davis Cup at the Longwood Cricket Club in Chestnut Hills, Mass., the site of the first-ever Davis Cup tie.

“We’re looking forward to the opportunity to go back and battle those guys (Australia) again,” said U.S. Davis Cup Captain Jim Courier. “They came through pretty comfortably as well. Hugely talented team. Passionate Davis Cup nation. Had a lot of fun playing down in Melbourne with them.

“Obviously got the result we wanted which makes it a lot more fun, but they’re a knowledgeable crowd and they have won a ton of Davis Cups, so they know what it’s all about.

“It will be exciting for us to go down. We’re already talking about it, looking forward to it. We have work to do tomorrow. We’re not your overlooking the matches on Sunday. We will be ready to play tomorrow for sure, even though this thing is decided.

“I think I can speak for all of us when I say we’re anxious to get down there and battle on. We really want to get out to the semifinals and see what we can do this year.”

Two dead rubbers are scheduled for Sunday – and we have yet to see Querrey and Bellier play in this tie.

Junior Williams is a long-time journalist and tennis fan. At a moment’s notice, he can give you a list of all the Davis Cup match-ups that would give the USA home ties. He is in Birmingham, Alabama covering the Davis Cup first round World Group tie between the United States and Switzerland for Tennis Panorama News.

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Davis Cup: Home Cookin’ in the Deep South; Sock, Isner Give U.S. 2-0 Lead Over Switzerland In First Round

 

DAVIS CUP: HOME COOKING IN THE DEEP SOUTH

Sock, Isner Give U.S. 2-0 Lead Over Switzerland In First Round

 

By Junior Williams

 

(February 3, 2017) BIRMINGHAM, Alabama – The heavily favored United States team lived up to expectations as Jack Sock and John Isner won their respective singles rubbers against Switzerland, giving the Americans a 2-0 lead in the first round of Davis Cup Cup World Group competition at Legacy Arena at Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex.

 

Switzerland is playing this tie without its two top players – world No. 3 Stan Wawrinka and No. 10 Roger Federer who won the Australian Open last week.

 

Isner’s victory over world No. 127 Henri Laaksonen was far from a cakewalk. It took two hours and 44 minutes for the American to win the rubber 4-6, 6-2, 6-2, 7-6(1).

 

In the first set, Isner’s powerful service game was blunted by Laaksonen executing solid returns and winning long rallies. Isner saved three break points to knot the set at 4-4, but the Swiss went on to win the set by breaking the world No. 23.

Isner committed 21 unforced errors during the set and backhanded numerous shots into the net.

 

The 31-year old Isner seemed to find his rhythm in the second set after breaking Laaksonen to go up 3-2, helped by a more effective service game — striking seven aces during the set and winning 84-percent of his first serve points. On the flip side, Laaksonen committed three double faults, including one that gave the U.S. a 5-2 advantage. Isner won the next game, closing it out with his 12th ace of the match.

John Isner

The American got off to a fast start in the third set. He broke the Swiss in the first game with a winning forehand passing shot as Laaksonen approached the net. Isner held in the second game, but not before staving off three break points. In this set it was Laaksonen with 21 unforced errors helping Isner cruise through the remainder of the set.

 

The fourth set was a tight affair as both players battled. Isner was visibly frustrated by the 24-year old Laaksonen’s returns and defensive play. But when tiebreak time came around, it was all Isner. After a mini-break on the first point — followed by two service winners — victory came five points later when Laaksonen double faulted. During the on-court post-match interview, Isner admitted to being nervous at times during the match.

 

“I’ll take the film of that first set and just throw it in the fire, delete that one,” Isner said in his post-match news conference. “I think more than anything I was a little bit nervous, and that was affecting my footwork quite a lot. With me being so big and when my footed work is not sharp, it can be ugly. It was in the first set.”

 

Jim stayed on me to stay positive, even though I wasn’t feeling very positive out there. I think that’s actually what tilted the match in my favor a little bit. Certainly could have been cleaner, but Davis Cup you ties throw out rankings and whatnot, it’s tough touch out there in these matches, so I’m happy to get the win.

 

In the first rubber, it took just under two hours for No. 1 American Jack Sock to defeat Marco Chiudinelli — ranked 146 in the world — 6-4, 6-3, 6-1. Things were pretty even until Sock won the first set by breaking Chiudinelli with an overhead lob that was retrieved but hit just wide of the sideline.

 

“There are always few extra nerves I think playing Davis Cup,” Sock said. “When you’re playing for your country, being a part of a team, maybe at a normal event, normal tournament, you come out swinging a little bit more.

“I think I was a little hesitant at the beginning; maybe too conservative playing when obviously my game is to kind of play big and hit big forehands and be aggressive.”

Sock continued to put pressure on the 35-year old Swiss by stepping up his aggressive play, with solid ground strokes and serves with some net play in the mix. For the match, Sock had 29 total winners to Chiudinelli’s eleven. The Nebraska-born 24-year old was never broken in four attempts.

 

The U.S. can clinch the tie by winning Saturday’s doubles match-up — scheduled to be Sam Querrey and Steve Johnson versus Switzerland’s Antoine Bellier and Adrien Bossel. Bellier’s heroics kept the Swiss in the top tier of Davis Cup, courtesy of his 2016 World Group play-off win in the deciding rubber against Uzbekistan back in September.

 

Team USA is not taking anything for granted. They had a 2-0 lead back in July and lost in the quarterfinals to Croatia.

 

Jack Sock

 

“I think as a whole, as a team, like I said, we’re not taking anyone lightly,” Sock noted. “But at the same time, we’re confident in our squad and our four guys in the matchups this weekend.

“We’re going to go one match at time and get one point at time.”

 

A victory would earn the Americans a quarterfinal trip to Australia — a rematch of last year’s first round tie won by the U.S. at Kooyong. Australia clinched their tie against the Czech Republic with a doubles win to give them a 3-0 lead.

 

—–

 

EXTRAS:

 

John Isner notched his 500th Davis Cup ace during the fourth set of his match against Henri Laaksonen.

 

Isner was not aware of this upcoming milestone: “I was wondering, because I heard them say 500. I was wondering what that was. Thank you for clarifying that. I had no idea I was close to that in Davis Cup play.

“You know, I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to play in a lot of singles matches on the Davis Cup team. I guess that’s a pretty cool number to achieve.

“More than anything, I’m just happy I was able to get the win today. I thought the crowd was great, and we’re up 2-0. We’re in a pretty good spot.”

 

“But Davis Cup anything can happen. You see it every year. Every tie almost you see some kind of crazy things happen.”

 

Unusual for a Davis Cup tie in the U.S. to have a serve speed clock deliver results in kilometers per hour instead of miles per hour. Fans in the stands were trying to guess the actual MPH.

 

Junior Williams is a long-time journalist and tennis fan. At a moment’s notice, he can give you a list of all the Davis Cup match-ups that would give the USA home ties. He is in Birmingham, Alabama covering the Davis Cup first round World Group tie between the United States and Switzerland for Tennis Panorama News.

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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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