September 3, 2015

2015 US Open Women’s Contender Profiles

serena williams with trophy

(August 30, 2015) Profiles of the top Women’s Singles contenders for 2015 U.S. Open. Note: Grand Slam records for main draw matches only.  – by Jack Cunniff     http://twitter.com/jrcunniff

 

Serena Williams

2015 Record: 48-2

Grand Slam Record: 280-39

U.S. Open Record: 79-9

U.S. Open Best Result: Won (1999, 2002, ’08, ’12, ’13, ‘14)

Fast Fact: Besides trying to become the 3rd woman to win the calendar year Grand Slam, Serena also trying to become the 3rd player to win five consecutive Grand Slam titles (Graf, 1988-89; Navratilova 1983-84).

 

Simona Halep

2015 Record: 40-11

Grand Slam Record: 32-21

U.S. Open Record: 7-5

U.S. Open Best Result: 4R (2013)

Fast Fact: Eighty percent of Halep’s 2015 wins have come on hard courts (32-5 on hard, 8-6 on other surfaces).

 

Maria Sharapova

2015 Record: 34-7

Grand Slam Record: 179-43

U.S. Open Record: 32-9

U.S. Open Best Result: Won (2006)

Fast Fact: Since winning the 2006 U.S. Open, Sharapova has made it past the 4R only once at the event (2012, SF).

 

Caroline Wozniacki

2015 Record: 34-17

Grand Slam Record: 84-34

U.S. Open Record: 28-8

U.S. Open Best Result: RU (2009, ‘14)

Fast Fact: Between September 2014 – April 2015, Wozniacki reached the finals in 5 of the 14 events she played, but since then she has missed the finals in 9 consecutive events.

 

Petra Kvitova

2015 Record: 30-10

Grand Slam Record: 71-27

U.S. Open Record: 12-7

U.S. Open Best Result: 4R (2009, ‘12)

Fast Fact: Kvitova lost consecutive 1R matches in Toronto and Cincinnati, the first time since March 2011 that she’s suffered back-to-back 1R defeats.

 

Lucie Safarova

2015 Record: 31-16

Grand Slam Record: 51-41

U.S. Open Record: 11-10

U.S. Open Best Result: 4R (2014)

Fast Fact: Safarova is currently ranked No. 6 in both Singles and Doubles, giving her the highest combined ranking (12) of any player on tour.

 

Ana Ivanovic

2015 Record: 21-14

Grand Slam Record: 103-42

U.S. Open Record: 20-10

U.S. Open Best Result: QF (2012)

Fast Fact: In 2015, Ivanovic has defeated only one Top 20 player (Makarova, French Open).

 

Karolina Pliskova

2015 Record: 42-18

Grand Slam Record: 10-13

U.S. Open Record: 2-2

U.S. Open Best Result: 3R (2014)

Fast Fact: In August, Pliskova became the third player in WTA ranking history to reach the Top Ten without ever having made the 4R of a Grand Slam event (Manuela Maleeva, Catarina Lindqvist).

 

Garbine Muguruza

2015 Record: 27-15

Grand Slam Record: 23-11

U.S. Open Record: 0-2

U.S. Open Best Result: 1R (2012, ’14)

Fast Fact: Muguruza has a 14-2 record vs. lower ranked opponents at Grand Slams.

 

Carla Suarez Navarro

2015 Record: 35-17

Grand Slam Record: 47-27

U.S. Open Record: 11-7

U.S. Open Best Result: QF (2013)

Fast Fact: In her last four losses at Grand Slam events, Suarez Navarro has won a total of eighteen games, averaging 4.5 games per match.

 

Angelique Kerber

2015 Record: 39-15

Grand Slam Record: 52-31

U.S. Open Record: 14-7

U.S. Open Best Result: SF (2011)

Fast Fact: Over the last 5 months, Kerber has compiled a 31-6 record, winning 4 titles in the process.

 

Belinda Bencic

2015 Record: 33-18

Grand Slam Record: 11-7

U.S. Open Record: 4-1

U.S. Open Best Result: QF (2014)

Fast Fact: Since the French Open, Bencic has defeated 10 of the players seeded at the U.S. Open, including 4 of the top 8 seeds, while compiling a record of 23-5.

 

Ekaterina Makarova

2015 Record: 23-14

Grand Slam Record: 57-32

U.S. Open Record: 15-8

U.S. Open Best Result: SF (2014)

Fast Fact: She first played a Grand Slam event in 2007, but more than half of Makarova’s Grand Slam match wins (29) have come in the last nine events.

 

Agnieszka Radwanska

2015 Record: 32-20

Grand Slam Record: 98-37

U.S. Open Record: 17-9

U.S. Open Best Result: 4R (2007, ’08, ’12, ‘13)

Fast Fact: Radwanska has defeated a higher ranked opponent only once in 2015 (def. Pliskova, Eastbourne).

 

Victoria Azarenka

2015 Record: 29-11

Grand Slam Record: 110-35

U.S. Open Record: 28-9

U.S. Open Best Result: RU (2012, ’13)

Fast Fact: Since 2008, 22 0f the 27 matches Azarenka has lost in Grand Slam events were to players who have reached a Grand Slam final, including 10 losses to Serena Williams.

 

Venus Williams

2015 Record: 24-10

Grand Slam Record: 227-59

U.S. Open Record: 64-13

U.S. Open Best Result: Won (2000, ’01)

Fast Fact: Venus is appearing in her 68th Grand Slam event, passing Martina Navratilova for the 2nd most appearances in the Open Era; she will become No. 1 in Grand Slam events played if she appears in all four of the majors in 2016 (Amy Frazier, 71),

 

 

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2015 US Open Men’s Contender Profiles

Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic

(August 30, 2015) Profiles of the top Men’s Singles contenders for the 2015 U.S. Open. Note: Grand Slam records for main draw matches only.  – by Jack Cunniff     http://twitter.com/jrcunniff

 

 

Novak Djokovic

2015 Record: 56-5

Grand Slam Record: 200-34

U.S. Open Record: 50-9

U.S. Open Best Result: Won (2011)

Fast Fact: With his losses to Murray (Montreal) and Federer (Cincinnati), Djokovic lost in consecutive events for the first time in a year (2014 Cincinnati – 2014 Toronto).

 

Roger Federer

2015 Record: 45-7

Grand Slam Record: 291-48

U.S. Open Record: 72-10

U.S. Open Best Result: Won (2004, ’05, ’06, ’07, ’08)

Fast Fact: With a win in the opening round, Federer will tie Ivan Lendl with 73 match wins at the U.S. Open, 3rd most in Open era history; he could tie for No. 2 with a U.S. Open title (Connors – 97, Agassi – 79).

 

Andy Murray

2015 Record: 56-9

Grand Slam Record: 150-36

U.S. Open Record: 37-9

U.S. Open Best Result: Won (2012)

Fast Fact: Since 2011, Murray is 83-1 at Grand Slams against opponents ranked outside of the Top Ten (l. Dimitrov, 2014 Wimbledon).

 

Kei Nishikori

2015 Record: 46-10

Grand Slam Record: 45-23

U.S. Open Record: 13-6

U.S. Open Best Result: RU (2014)

Fast Fact: Nishikori hasn’t defeated a Top 5 player since beating Djokovic in the 2014 U.S. Open Semifinals.

 

Stan Wawrinka

2015 Record: 36-12

Grand Slam Record: 98-40

U.S. Open Record: 26-10

U.S. Open Best Result: SF (2013)

Fast Fact: Before even playing at the U.S. Open, Wawrinka has won more matches at 2015 Grand Slam events (16) than he has had in any other year of his career.

 

Tomas Berdych

2015 Record: 42-14

Grand Slam Record: 114-48

U.S. Open Record: 28-12

U.S. Open Best Result: SF (2012)

Fast Fact: After reaching the semifinals in 7 of his first 8 events of the year, Berdych has failed to reach that stage in his last six events.

 

David Ferrer

2015 Record: 36-9

Grand Slam Record: 128-50

U.S. Open Record: 28-12

U.S. Open Best Result: QF (2007, ‘12)

Fast Fact: When he withdrew from Wimbledon, Ferrer ended his streak of appearances in 50 consecutive Grand Slam events, dating back to the 2003 Australian Open.

 

Rafael Nadal

2015 Record: 42-14

Grand Slam Record: 196-28

U.S. Open Record: 41-8

U.S. Open Best Result: Won (2010, ‘13)

Fast Fact: Nadal has won 20 of his last 21 matches at the U.S. Open, with his only loss in the last five years coming to Djokovic in the 2011 Final (did not compete in 2012 or 2014).

 

Marin Cilic

2015 Record: 18-13

Grand Slam Record: 70-29

U.S. Open Record: 20-5

U.S. Open Best Result: W (2014)

Fast Fact: Cilic is the lowest ranked and lowest seeded defending U.S. Open champion in the Open era.

 

Milos Raonic

2015 Record: 25-13

Grand Slam Record: 41-18

U.S. Open Record: 9-4

U.S. Open Best Result: 4R (2012, ’13, ‘14)

Fast Fact: Raonic reached the quarterfinals in 7 of his first 9 events this year, but has won only two matches in his last three events.

 

Gilles Simon

2015 Record: 34-18

Grand Slam Record: 65-37

U.S. Open Record: 16-8

U.S. Open Best Result: 4R (2011, ‘14)

Fast Fact: Simon has a 3-15 record vs. Top Ten players at Grand Slam events, but two of those wins have come in the last 4 majors (d. Ferrer, 2014 U.S. Open, d. Berdych, 2015 Wimbledon).

 

Richard Gasquet

2015 Record: 30-11

Grand Slam Record: 84-43

U.S. Open Record: 21-9

U.S. Open Best Result: SF (2013)

Fast Fact: Of Gasquet’s eleven losses in 2015, nine have been to higher-ranked players, and eight have been to Top Ten opponents.

 

John Isner

2015 Record: 34-19

Grand Slam Record: 42-29

U.S. Open Record: 17-8

U.S. Open Best Result: QF (2011)

Fast Fact: Isner has defeated only two top ten opponents in the last two years (2-19), and both wins were at 2015 Miami (Nishikori, Raonic).

 

Kevin Anderson

2015 Record: 35-18

Grand Slam Record: 38-26

U.S. Open Record: 7-5

U.S. Open Best Result: 3R (2010, ’11, ‘14)

Fast Fact: If Anderson wins his opening round match at the U.S. Open, it will be the longest ATP match win streak of his career (6).

 

Gael Monfils

2015 Record: 31-15

Grand Slam Record: 73-35

U.S. Open Record: 17-8

U.S. Open Best Result: QF (2010, ‘14)

Fast Fact: Before losing to Jerzy Janowicz in the 1R of Cincinnati, Monfils had won 24 consecutive opening round matches (2014 Miami, l. to Garcia Lopez).

 

Grigor Dimitrov

2015 Record: 26-16

Grand Slam Record: 25-20

U.S. Open Record: 3-4

U.S. Open Best Result: 4R (2014)

Fast Fact: Since defeating Andy Murray in the 2014 Wimbledon quarterfinals, Dimitrov hasn’t defeated a Top 50 opponent at a Grand Slam event.

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Nadal, McEnroe, Hewitt Keep Focus On Tennis at JMTP Benefit

Nadal McEnroe at Randalls Island

By Vito Ellison

(August 26,2015) NEW YORK, NY -With drawing cards like 14-time major champion Rafael Nadal, 2001 US Open champion Lleyton Hewitt and the legendary John McEnroe himself, it’s no surprise that the Johnny Mac Tennis Project drew a near-capacity crowd to Randall’s Island on a balmy Wednesday evening for the fifth edition of his Johnny Mac Tennis Project (JMTP) exhibition. The event was held to raise funds used to provide financial assistance to qualified young tennis players.  Sportime Clubs, home of last night’s event and McEnroe’s eponymous tennis academy and the JMTP, have already provided over $2 million in scholarships and assistance in part paid for by this annual event.

Long considered an iconoclast in the sometimes hidebound world of tennis, McEnroe’s mellower side was on display at last night’s event.  He was effusive in thanking his guests, particularly Nadal, of whom he said “He’s done me a huge favor and I owe him one big time,” said McEnroe.  “He’s come here for nothing and it is very, very much appreciated.” In another exchange he added, “When you get to be stature of Rafael Nadal, you expect people to come up to you, even the older players, to pay respect to you. Rafael’s never been that type.”

While McEnroe’s was unguardedly positive about Nadal he adopted a different, more protective stance regarding Nick Kyrgios. With McEnroe’s desire to keep the event and crowd focused on the good work of the JMTP, Kyrgios, who to his credit honored his commitment to attend, was largely relegated to the background. With Kyrgios still under heavy fire in the court of public opinion for his comments in a match against Stan Wawrinka two weeks ago, McEnroe announced to the gathered press that the Aussie would not be playing singles against Nadal as initially scheduled. “Nick Kyrgios is going to be playing doubles with me, along with my brother [Patrick] and Jonas Bjorkman,” McEnroe started. “I made a decision based on some of the ongoing stuff. While I want to be supportive of Nick and think he’s a tremendous talent…It would be better served for him at this particular time to maybe take a step back.”

Top draw Rafael Nadal would instead square off against another former World No. 1 in Lleyton Hewitt for an eight-game pro set.  The match, though just an exo, was typical of the Spaniard’s two steps forward/two steps back season-to-date. Nadal flashed vintage moments including an well-placed ace that helped him dig out of a love-40 hole on serve and a screaming backhand down-the-line winner that brought a big smile to his face and a 4-1 lead on the scoreboard.  The sparkling moments were tempered though by frustrating periods of imprecision.  He gave the net tape a workout at points and seemed to guide more shots than usual long.  The inconsistency left Nadal, who opened up a 6-3 lead in the eight game pro set scrambling to keep the lid on Hewitt in an 8-7(5) win that was closer than the early going would have indicated.

The exhibition was held in advance of the year’s final major, the US Open which commences Monday.

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2015 Connecticut Open Preview

petra kvitova CTOpen15 all access by Jack Cunniff

Petra Kvitova (Photo by J. Cunniff)

By Jack Cunniff

(August 23, 2015) NEW HAVEN, Connecticut – For the first time since 2006, the field at the 2015 Connecticut Open features five of the world’s top ten women’s players, and that depth should make for an unpredictable event. Here are some highlights of this year’s top entrants:

 

Simona Halep (No. 2) 2013 New Haven champion was the top seed, and she has played well this summer, coming off of back-to-back finals in Toronto and Cincinnati. She withdrew from the tournament on Sunday night.

 

Second seeded Petra Kvitova (No. 4), the defending champion, also receives an opening round bye. Kvitova has not won a match since Wimbledon, and she recently disclosed that she was diagnosed with mononucleosis, which helps to explain her recent listless form. The good news for Kvitova is that she thrives in the laid-back environment of New Haven, having reached three consecutive finals here, and is one of two players to have defeated top ranked Serena Williams in 2015.

 

Caroline Wozniacki (No. 5) is a four-time winner in New Haven, and seeded third at this year’s event. She was not initially planning to play the Connecticut Open, but early round losses in Stanford, Toronto, and Cincinnati have her looking for more match play before the U.S. Open, which begins August 31st. In pre-tournament interviews, Wozniacki has proclaimed herself fit and ready for action.

 

Lucie Safarova (No. 6) had the best result of her career in advancing to the 2015 French Open final, where she battled Serena Williams for three sets before losing. That result has catapulted her into the top ten for the first time in her career. Safarova has had mixed results since Paris, including a first round exit in Toronto to Daria Gavrilova, who she will face in a re-match in her opening round in New Haven.

 

A year ago, Karolina Pliskova (No. 7) was ranked 69th and won only two games in her first round qualifying match in New Haven. Much has changed in the last 12 months for the 23-year old Czech. She has reached eight WTA finals, winning three of those (Seoul, Linz, Prague). Success has evaded Pliskova in the Grand Slam events, but she has proven to be a consistent threat at the other tour stops.

 

Other players that could contend at the Connecticut open include: a pair of Wimbledon finalists, 2012 runner-up Agnieszka Radwanska (No. 15), and 2014 runner-up Genie Bouchard (No. 24); another major finalist in 2012 French Open runner-up Sara Errani (No. 16), former top ten player Flavia Pennetta (No. 26), rising young American Madison Keys (No. 19) who reached the 2015 Australian Open semifinals, the Swiss veteran Timea Bacsinszky (No. 14) who reached 2015 French Open semifinals, and Elina Svitolina (No. 20) a 20-year-old Ukranian who has risen quietly up the rankings in 2015.

Jack Cunniff is covering the Connecticut Open for Tennis Panorama News. Follow his updates on twitter @TennisNewsTPN. His personal twitter is @JRCunniff.

 

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Belinda Bencic Wins Rogers Cup in Toronto

Belinda Bencic photo courtesy of the LTA by Ben Hoskins/Getty Images for LTA

By Brodie Widdifield

(August 16, 2015) TORONTO, Canada – Nothing about Sunday’s final between Simona Halep and Belinda Bencic was ordinary.

 

While everyone would have reasonably expected to see the second seeded Romanian Halep in the final, no one saw the fairy tale run of 18 year old Belinda Bencic coming. The young Swiss eliminated a whos who of top WTA players – Bouchard, Wozniacki, Lisicki, Ivanovic and finally Serena Williams Saturday night.

 

The dramatic turns of the match itself were befitting to what has been a dramatic week of tennis in Canada overall. With the sun beating down, the players traded five consecutive breaks to kick things off. Both players were changing directions often, creating many long, intriguing rallies from the baseline.

 

And then, the crowd. While there has been a large contingent of vocal Romanians in the crowd all week, they were the most vocal for the final. At one point, chair umpire Marija Cicak even said the Romanian word for thank you, “mulțumesc”, in order to try and quiet the crowd, which was met with an eruption from the crowd’s Romanian fans.

 

For all their cheering, Bencic was unfazed as she squeaked out the opening set in a tiebreak, 7-6(5), in well over an hour. “It’s amazing that the atmosphere is so great even if it’s against me. The people are very excited, and really, I feel like it’s the right thing. I think some people in some other tournaments should take an example from here.”

 

And then the match turned again.

 

Halep began receiving treatment for her left thigh, which seemed to be impeding her movement. Later in the set she had blood pressure taken, was wrapped in ice and drinking liquids in an attempt to keep her energy up. “We both were fighting so hard,” said Bencic. “We had long rallies, so it was obvious that we were very exhausted, both.” Amazingly, she took the second set in a tiebreak, barely reacting and simply hanging her head as she walked slowly back to her chair.

 

In the end, Halep was spent and decided to end the match, giving the title to Belinda Bencic 7-6(5), 6-7(4), 3-0 ret. “I was thinking that I need a miracle to finish the match, but at 3-0 I said it is no sense to continue, and I stopped.”

 

“I had great victories,” said Halep. “So I take only the positives. I’m thinking to play Cincinnati, then I am entered on the New Haven tournament. And then US Open. So I don’t change anything right now. So I will see next days.”

 

This is the second title of Bencic’s season, and without a doubt the biggest week of the 18-year-old’s career. “I just feel like I improved myself, also in the game, but also in how I understand the game and know the opponents well and try to think on teh court and what I need to do. And I’ve also grown as a player. I think my service improved a little bit. And I feel like I still have potential to go better, to play better and to serve better and just everything.”

 

“Obviously it’s very big boost for your confidence. Now I actually feel like I belong here, and that I can be really one of the top players. It’s an amazing feeling.”

 

Brodie Widdifield is the author of the tennis web site mindtheracket.com. You can also follow him on Twitter at @MindTheRacket. He was covering the Rogers Cup in Toronto for Tennis Panorama News.

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Rogers Cup Day 6 – Djokovic, Murray to Face Off in Montreal Final

228 Djokovic being interviewed-001

Rogers Cup Day 06: Djokovic, Murray to Face Off in Montreal Final

By Charles David Mathieu-Poulin

 

(August 16, 2015) MONTREAL, Canada – The No. 1 and 2 seeds with face off in the Rogers Cup final for the first time since 2004, as Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray both won in straight sets on Saturday. While Djokovic won 6-4 6-4 against surprising Frenchman Jeremy Chardy, Andy Murray streamrolled through 4th seed Kei Nishikori 6-3 6-0.

 

The head-to-head between Chardy and Djokovic couldn’t have been more one-sided: the Serb was leading 9-0, never having lost a set. The No. 1 was also looking to get his 30th win in a row in Masters 1000 tournaments, while Chardy was reaching the semifinals at this level for the first time. It showed right from the get-go: Chardy, obviously nervous, started with two double faults in a row and got broken right away. Despite some pain in his elbow which required a medical timeout, Djokovic never looked back to win the set 6-4.

At one point, Djokovic seemed more troubled by a certain smell in the stadium than by his opponent…the smell of marijuana: ‘Somebody’s really enjoying his life around the tennis court and he was probably on the seventh sky somewhere’, Djokovic said in his post-match interview. ‘I felt I was playing better as I was inhaling (laughter).’

 

The second set followed a similar pattern. While Chardy was at times overplaying, Djokovic remained solid throughout, breaking once. The Serb served quite well, never giving Chardy a look at a break point. In the end, the 6-4 6-4 match was somewhat unmemorable.

 

Djokovic knows he’ll need to raise his level in the final against Murray: ‘I played better than I did yesterday, but still I need to get at least a level or two higher tomorrow in order to win the title’. Indeed, Murray was flawless in his match against in-form Nishikori, as the Brit only dropped three games.

 

The start of the match was close, as both players exchanged breaks. The match became a one-way street when, down 4-3, Nishikori got broken despite being up 40-0. Murray never looked back, winning the last 9 games of the match. ‘Once I got the first set, obviously that was the end of the match really. Didn’t really play any rallies at all in the second set. He wasn’t moving much’, the second seed analyzed.

 

Murray and Djokovic will face for the 28th time, with the Serb leading 19-8. Murray hasn’t won against Djokovic since the 2013 Wimbledon final and already has lost 4 matches to the world number one in 2015. On the other hand, Djokovic (only) leads 6-5 in finals.

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Serena Williams Beaten by Swiss Teen Belinda Bencic in Toronto Semis

 

By Brodie Widdifield

(August 15, 2015) TORONTO, Canada – It started quietly, but it ended in fireworks.

 

Belinda Bencic has been a name of the lips of many WTA fans this year. It started with a coaching partnership with fellow Swiss Martina Hingis, and her impressive win over Agnieszka Radwanska at Eastbourne gave her a first WTA title. She kicked off her hard court swing in Toronto with a series of impressive wins over Eugenie Bouchard, Caroline Wozniacki, Sabine Lisicki and Ana Ivanovic.

 

But no one saw this coming.

 

Bencic took on world No. 1 Serena Williams Saturday night and it quickly looked like match might not be anything more than an exhibition of the American’s ability to change angles and attack. Williams raced out to a 5-1 lead in just 33 minutes, taking the set 6-3.

 

The young Swiss player did manage to construct some better points at the end of the set, and she managed to get a foot hold in the match. The players traded serves, but Serena’s serving quickly began to deteriorate, eventually ending with her being broken in the middle of the set and taking her frustration out violently on her racquet. “I think I played really crappy today. And I don’t think you would disagree,” said Williams. “I was just really struggling with my serve today and everything wasn’t right with it.”

 

Belinda failed to close out the second set at first, but eventually broke at 5-6 as the lights got brighter and the noise from the crowd grew louder. “Obviously she wasn’t serving as great as she normally does,” said the Swiss. “But I think I tried to read her serve also I read it better in the end, and I was returning sometimes very good on the big points.”

 

The struggles continued for Serena into the third set and Belinda raced to a 4-0 lead. Williams fought back to get things on serve. “I was very nervous in that moment, but I told myself today is my chance and I really have to stay focused and be mentally tough, even if I didn’t do it on the first try.” But the Swiss completed the upset, breaking at 4-5 and taking the match 3-6, 7-5, 6-4.

 

“In the end it was just so loud, and I didn’t think anything.”

 

The win was undoubtedly the biggest of her young career. “I can’t describe the feeling right now. I was very overwhelmed from the situation on the court, but I’m just so happy the forehand landed in and she couldn’t reach it anymore. It was an incredible feeling. I have no words.”

This was just the second loss on the year for the 33-year-old Serena Williams.

 

The 18-year-old Bencic will take on Romanian Simona Halep in Sunday’s final. Halep defeated Sara Errani 6-4, 6-4 earlier in the day. “She’s an amazing player. She’s so consistent all of the year and definitely going to be a hard match, but I think today I have to enjoy this victory and tomorrow I will look what I can do against her.”

 

Brodie Widdifield is the author of the tennis web site mindtheracket.com. You can also follow him on Twitter at @MindTheRacket. He is covering the Rogers Cup in Toronto for Tennis Panorama News, follow @TennisNewsTPN for updates.

 

TORONTO RESULTS, SATURDAY AUGUST 15, 2015

Singles – Semifinals
B. Bencic (SUI) d [1] S. Williams (USA) 36 75 64
[2] [WC] S. Halep (ROU) d [15] S. Errani (ITA) 64 64

Doubles- Semifinals
[4] C. Garcia (FRA) / K. Srebotnik (SLO) d [1] M. Hingis (SUI) / S. Mirza (IND) 63 62
[3] B. Mattek-Sands (USA) / L. Safarova (CZE) d K. Mladenovic (FRA) / K. Pliskova (CZE) 64 76(5)

MONTREAL RESULTS, SATURDAY AUGUST 15, 2015

Singles – Semifinals / Demi-finales
[1] N. Djokovic (SRB) d J. Chardy (FRA) 64 64
[2] A. Murray (GBR) d [4] K. Nishikori (JPN) 63 60

Doubles- Semifinals / Demi-finales
[1] B. Bryan (USA) / M. Bryan (USA) d [6] A. Peya (AUT) / B. Soares (BRA) 67(7) 64 10-7
D. Nestor (CAN) / E. Roger-Vasselin (FRA) d [PR] N. Djokovic (SRB) / J. Tipsarevic (SRB) 36 61 10-4

TORONTO ORDER OF PLAY – SUNDAY, AUGUST 16, 2015

CENTRE COURT start 1:00
B. Bencic (SUI) vs [2] [WC] S. Halep (ROU)
[4] C. Garcia (FRA) / K. Srebotnik (SLO) vs [3] B. Mattek-Sands (USA) / L. Safarova (CZE)

MONTREAL ORDER OF PLAY – SUNDAY AUGUST 16, 2015

COURT CENTRAL start 12:30 pm
[1] B. Bryan (USA) / M. Bryan (USA) vs D. Nestor (CAN) / E. Roger-Vasselin (FRA)

Not Before 3:00 pm
[1] N. Djokovic (SRB) vs [2] A. Murray (GBR)

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Rogers Cup Day 5 – Djokovic, Chardy Save Match Points to Set Semifinal Clash

228 Djokovic being interviewed-001

Rogers Cup Day 05: Djokovic, Chardy Save Match Points to Set Semifinal Clash

By Charles David Mathieu-Poulin

 

(August 14, 2015) MONTREAL, Canada – Both Novak Djokovic and surprising Frenchman Jeremy Chardy had to manage Houdini-esque escapes on Friday to reach the semifinals. While the world No. 1 saved two match points against former-top-10-player-now-qualifier Ernest Gulbis, Chardy saved an astonishing seven match points against big serving John Isner.

 

Isner and Chardy were the first on court, about two hours late due to afternoon rain. It was clear from the start that not much was separating the two: Isner is having a spectacular summer with a title in Atlanta and a final in Washington, while Chardy boasted a surprising 3-0 record against the American. Without much of a surprise, both players held serve until the tiebreak, where Isner was the first to draw blood. Chardy fought well to save a few set points, had one of his own, but Isner scraped through a spectacular 11-9 tiebreak.

 

When Isner broke early in the second, it seemed like things were in control. But Mother Nature decided to play a role in the match and interrupted play for about an hour. Chardy made the best of the switch in rhythm, as he won the first three games after the return. Both players then served their way to the tiebreak, which turned out to be the longest, and arguably the most exciting, of the tournament. Isner once again took the lead and get to match point, only to see Chardy stay toe-to-toe with him and get set points of his own. The American was the first one to get the chance to have a closing point on his serve, only to see Chardy drive a backhand return winner. This back-and-forth went on until 13-13 in the tiebreak, and seven match points saved later, Chardy ended the set on a service winner.

 

Isner, who has played a lot of tennis in the past three weeks, looked physically drained at the start of the third set. Nevertheless, he concentrated his energy on his main asset, his serve, which helped him keep points short and get to yet another tiebreak. This time, Chardy was the first to get a mini-break at 5-4, kept it until the end, and completed one of the best wins of his career.

 

With this win, Chardy reaches his first ever Masters 1000 semifinal. ‘It is a very important moment in a career when you are able to play well in major tournaments’, Chardy discussed. ‘Tennis is all about the Grand Slams and the Masters. If you have good results in those tournaments, it’s a good reward because that’s why you’re practicing.’ Asked about the crowd, who was cheering for him for most of the match, he replied: ‘I believe the Canadians love French players, and we love them, too. Now there are no longer any Canadian players anymore in this tournament, we are their favorite now.’

 

In the second quarterfinal of the day, Novak Djokovic was a clear favorite against qualifier Ernest Gulbis, who saw his ranking drop from the top 10 in 2014 to 87 at the start of the tournament. Nevertheless, the Latvian is known for his shotmaking and undeniable talent, and the five wins he had so far this week have been a proof of that.

 

From the get go, you could tell Djokovic was in an off-day: the Serb, a three time champion was missing early in rallies and looked a bit out of sorts. Gulbis took advantage, playing aggressive tennis to get the first set 7-5. The Latvian even got up a break in the second set, only to see the Number One fight back to force a tiebreak. Gulbis took an early 3-0 lead and looked to be creating the biggest surprise of the tournament when he got to match points at 6-4. But he got a bit tense, lost the next four points and the set. Gulbis never managed to get back in the match and Djokovic strearolled through the third set 6-1. When signing the camera after his win, Djokovic wrote the following two words: ‘Very Lucky’.

 

This was Djokovic’s 29th straight match win in Masters 1000, an incredibly feat. He will be looking to get to 30 against Chardy; it will be the tenth match between the two, with Djokovic never losing a set. ‘I will go on court and I have to try something new, Chardy said. Anyway, if I didn’t succeed, it will be just one more loss (laughter).’

 

In the other half, 4th seed Kei Nishikori played a near flawless match to beat 7th seed Rafael Nadal 6-2 6-4. He will face 2nd seed Andy Murray, who defeated 2014 winner Jo-Wilfred Tsonga 6-4, 6-4 in a very, very late match in Montreal. Murray leads the head-to-head 4-1, but Nishikori has won their last encounter earlier this year in Madrid.

 

RESULTS – FRIDAY, 14 AUGUST 2015

Singles – Third Round
[1] N. Djokovic (SRB) d [Q] E. Gulbis (LAT) 57 76(7) 61 – saved 2 M.P.
[2] A. Murray (GBR) d [10] J. Tsonga (FRA) 64 64
[4] K. Nishikori (JPN) d [7] R. Nadal (ESP) 62 64
J. Chardy (FRA) d [16] J. Isner (USA) 67(9) 76(13) 76(4) – saved 7 M.P.

Doubles – Quarter-finals
[1] B. Bryan (USA) / M. Bryan (USA) d R. Nadal (ESP) / F. Verdasco (ESP) 63 67(5) 10-8
[6] A. Peya (AUT) / B. Soares (BRA) d [3] J. Rojer (NED) / H. Tecau (ROU) 62 64
D. Nestor (CAN) / E. Roger-Vasselin (FRA) d [5] M. Matkowski (POL) / N. Zimonjic (SRB) 64 62
[PR] N. Djokovic (SRB) / J. Tipsarevic (SRB) d [7] J. Murray (GBR) / J. Peers (AUS) 63 67(5) 10-7

SCHEDULE – SATURDAY, 15 AUGUST 2015

COURT CENTRAL start 3:00 pm
[1] N. Djokovic (SRB) vs J. Chardy (FRA)

Not Before 6:00 pm
[1] B. Bryan (USA) / M. Bryan (USA) vs [6] A. Peya (AUT) / B. Soares (BRA)

Not Before 8:00 pm
[4] K. Nishikori (JPN) vs [2] A. Murray (GBR)

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In Topsy-Turvy Match, Simona Halep Bounces Back to Reach Toronto Semis

221 Dubai Halep celebration3 -001

By Brodie Widdifield

(August 14, 2015) TORONTO, Canada – When trying to determine what we should expect from a match we often look to the players’ past matches against each other and how their styles of play compare and contrast. No one would have predicted the topsy-turvy, entertaining affair that took place Friday afternoon in Toronto at the Rogers Cup.

 

Simona Halep and Agnieszka Radwanska played each other three times in 2014. All three were straight set matches on hard courts, with Halep taking two of three. With the Romanian battling through a grueling three set match with Angelique Kerber on Thursday, it looked like she may fail to even win a game.

 

“It was difficult, because I was a bit tired when I started the match, and I didn’t have time to warm up very well before because it was raining, and the schedule was a little bit complicated,” said Halep. The world No. 3 won just 13 of 40 points in the first set, and Radwanska rolled to a 6-0 lead.

 

Halep managed to finally get a service hold and slowly the match began to change. The Romanian took some pace off of her shots which slowed the rallies and allowed her to play with more angles and spin in the slow, grey conditions of Toronto. “After that set I said that I have to change something. I was hitting the balls very strong, and it was not a good idea playing against Radwanska because she knows how to make you run during the point. I just tried during the point to make her run, like with short cross. I think I did a good change, and that’s maybe why I won.”

 

The second set quickly started to look like Halep’s match against Kerber as the length of rallies increased, including some thrilling ones that ended at the net. A particularly crazy game at 3-3 proved to be the turning point, as after Halep won it, the match was essentially over. She won eight of the following nine games and rolled to a 0-6, 6-3, 6-1 victory to make her first semifinal in Canada.

 

“I think played my best tennis since Miami. I come from bad results in the French Open and Wimbledon, but players always have ups and downs and I just wanted to stay focused to still believe in myself that I can do some results this year.”

 

The Romanian continued to thank her wild Romanian fans both on the court and in press after the match. “Today when I was down 0-5, they were supporting me like I was up 5-0. It was amazing, and they gave me power just to stay there, still fighting for the victory.”

 

Halep will face Sara Errani in the semifinals, who defeated qualifier Lesia Tsurenko 6-4, 6-4 later in the day. Halep will also attempt to become the second straight Romanian to make the final of the WTA version of the Toronto event after Sorana Cirstea made it all the way to Sunday in 2013. Halep leads the head to head, 2-1, and won their only meeting this year in Stuttgart, 6-4, 6-4.

 

Brodie Widdifield is the author of the tennis web site mindtheracket.com. You can also follow him on Twitter at @MindTheRacket. He is covering the Rogers Cup in Toronto for Tennis Panorama News, follow @TennisNewsTPN for updates.

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Montreal Rogers Cup Day 4 – KyrgiosGate

Kyrgios

Montreal Rogers Cup Day 4: KyrgiosGate

By Charles David Mathieu-Poulin

 

(August 13, 2015) MONTREAL, Canada – There are days when the actual tennis results become secondary, and today was one of them. While multiple matches were going on all around the grounds of the Montreal Rogers Cup presented by National Bank, only one person was on everyone’s mind: Nick Kyrgios.

 

The Australian rarely leaves anyone indifferent. For example, he came to Montreal with a new hairdo, a Mohawk that’s bleached on one side and bright pink on the other. Some like his showmanship, some believe that he should let his tennis do the talking. But on Wednesday night, everyone agreed that he stepped over the line in his match against Stan Wawrinka.

 

Right after finishing the first set, Kyrgios and Wawrinka got in a small argument over the Australian’s serving rhythm: Wawrinka felt like Kyrgios would not let him have enough time between serves. Up 30-0, Kyrgios hit an unreturnable serve, got back to the wall, and under his breath, monologued on the intimate past of Wawrinka alleged girlfriend, WTA player Donna Vekic. The comment was picked up by the television microphone, and uproar exploded right away on social media.

 

Asked about the comment by local television in his post-match interview, Kyrgios justified himself on the ‘heat of the moment’. Later on, Wawrinka deemed the comments as ‘inexcusable’, said he confronted Kyrgios in the locker room and hoped that the ATP would sanction his opponent. And they did.

 

Indeed, on Thursday, the ATP announced that they fined Kyrgios for the on-site maximum of 10,000$ for insulting comments, as well as an additional fine of 2,500$ for unsportsmanlike conduct related to a comment made to a ballkid during the match. They also gave Kyrgios a ‘Notice of Investigation’, which opens up the possibility of further penalties such as monetary fines and/or suspension from ATP events.

 

Many wondered how the Rogers Cup fans would react to this situation. When Kyrgios stepped on Court Banque Nationale late on Thursday afternoon for his third round, he was welcomed with insistent booing from the crowd. On the other hand, his opponent John Isner, was strongly applauded. Isner, who had defeated Canadian player Vasek Pospisil the night before, went from the bad guy to the good guy in a matter of hours. And, as the saying goes, the good guy always wins, as Isner got through 7-5 6-3.

 

Except for a release on his Facebook page, which screamed PR crisis management, Kyrgios had not commented on the situation before his match. Everyone was therefore waiting for the post-match interview to get his side of things. But they didn’t get much, as Kyrgios was obviously closed and not talkative. ‘I just lost’, he said to explain his lack of answers. ‘Is that the only reason? Is the drama over for you?’ a journalist replied. ‘Yeah, yeah’.

 

It was also obvious that journalists would use other post-match interviews to get the players’ opinion on the subject. Novak Djokovic showed some signs of wisdom: ‘I’ve been here for about a decade, and it’s important to have respect between the players and towards the sport. He has to learn how to deal with that.’ Andy Murray linked the comments to Kyrgios’ age: ‘He’s a young guy who is growing up in the spotlight. There’s been a lot of negativity towards him over the last few months, that isn’t easy to deal with. People need to give him a little break; he’ll learn from it and become a better person.’ Rafael Nadal was a lot less apologetic: ‘Age is not an excuse. Most of the players started the tour very early, it is just about respect. The world of tennis, I think we should be an example for a new generation of kids, obviously yesterday was not one of these moments.’

 

This story filled up a day which was, tennis-wise, pretty uneventful, as all the favorites got through somewhat comfortably. The quarterfinals will feature number one player Novak Djokovic, who only dropped three games against Jack Sock, against qualified Ernest Gulbis. Isner will face surprising Frenchman Jeremy Chardy, while two blockbuster matches will happen in the bottom half, with 7th seed Rafal Nadal facing 4th seed Kei Nishikori and 2nd seed Andy Murray facing 10th seed and defending champion Jo-Wilfred Tsonga.

RESULTS – THURSDAY, 13 AUGUST 2015

Singles – Third Round
[1] N. Djokovic (SRB) d J. Sock (USA) 62 61
[2] A. Murray (GBR) d G. Muller (LUX) 63 62
[4] K. Nishikori (JPN) d [13] D. Goffin (BEL) 64 64
[7] R. Nadal (ESP) d [Q] M. Youzhny (RUS) 63 63
[10] J. Tsonga (FRA) d B. Tomic (AUS) 76(7) 63
[16] J. Isner (USA) d N. Kyrgios (AUS) 75 63
[Q] E. Gulbis (LAT) d [Q] D. Young (USA) 64 64
J. Chardy (FRA) d I. Karlovic (CRO) 46 76(1) 64

Doubles – Second Round
[1] B. Bryan (USA) / M. Bryan (USA) d F. Lopez (ESP) / M. Mirnyi (BLR) 75 64
D. Nestor (CAN) / E. Roger-Vasselin (FRA) d [2] I. Dodig (CRO) / M. Melo (BRA) 64 62
[3] J. Rojer (NED) / H. Tecau (ROU) d F. Fognini (ITA) / T. Robredo (ESP) 76(4) 63
[5] M. Matkowski (POL) / N. Zimonjic (SRB) d G. Monfils (FRA) / J. Tsonga (FRA) 75 75
[7] J. Murray (GBR) / J. Peers (AUS) d A. Murray (GBR) / L. Paes (IND) 64 76(9)

SCHEDULE – FRIDAY, 14 AUGUST 2015

COURT CENTRAL start 12:30 pm
[16] J. Isner (USA) vs J. Chardy (FRA)

Not Before 2:30 pm
[1] N. Djokovic (SRB) vs [Q] E. Gulbis (LAT)

Not Before 6:30 pm
[7] R. Nadal (ESP) vs [4] K. Nishikori (JPN)
[10] J. Tsonga (FRA) vs [2] A. Murray (GBR)

BANQUE NATIONALE start 2:30 pm
[3] J. Rojer (NED) / H. Tecau (ROU) vs [6] A. Peya (AUT) / B. Soares (BRA)

Not Before 4:00 pm
[5] M. Matkowski (POL) / N. Zimonjic (SRB) vs D. Nestor (CAN) / E. Roger-Vasselin (FRA)
After Suitable Rest – [7] J. Murray (GBR) / J. Peers (AUS) vs [PR] N. Djokovic (SRB) / J. Tipsarevic (SRB)
After Suitable Rest – [1] B. Bryan (USA) / M. Bryan (USA) vs R. Nadal (ESP) / F. Verdasco (ESP)

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