2014/09/24

Ivanovic, Goffin, Pliskova and Niculescu Take Tennis Titles This week

Ana Ivanovic

Ana Ivanovic

(September 21, 2014) Ana Ivanovic, David Goffin, Monica Niculescu and Karolina Pliskova won tournaments this weekend on the WTA and ATP tennis tours.

In Tokyo in a battle between two former WTA number ones, third seed Ana Ivanovic won her fourth title of the year defeating recent US Open finalist Caroline Wozniacki for the Pan Pacific Open.

The Serb was dominant the first set, at one point winning 17 straight points, she did not drop a set in the tournament.

“The key for me was coming forward to the net,” Ivanovic said.”She is a great offensive player and gets a lot of balls back so it was important for me to come forward and play well at the net.”

“Caroline played a great match today,” said the current world No. 8, who is set to move to No. 5 in the rankings and 6th in the Race to Singapore standings. “It was a really good battle out there – there were some very tough moments, especially in the second set. But I just tried to take it one point at a time, and I’m really happy to make it through. It’s just an amazing feeling to win this title.”

For Ivanovic, it’s her 15th career title. She is now 52-14 on the year, the most number of wins on the women’s tour this year.

Belgium’s David Goffin took his second career title, claiming the Moselle Open in Metz , France with a 6-4, 6-3 win over Joao Sousa of Portugal on Sunday.

“This is very special because my family was here today,” Goffin said. “That’s the advantage of playing close to home. Winning my second title feels just as good as the first one. I’m very happy.

“I had to play aggressively today, dictate the game. The tactics worked out well and I served well. I was able to focus until the end.”
“This is very special because my family was here today. That’s the advantage of playing close to home,” Goffin said. “Winning my second title feels just as good as the first one.”

“I have to congratulate David on a fantastic week,” Sousa said. Even if I lost today, it was a great week for me as well, reaching the final. I hope that I can come back next year and hopefully go one step further.”

The 23-year-old Goffin, who began the year ranked at 100, will move to No. 35 in the world when the rankings come out on Monday.
Also winning the second title of her career was Monica Niculescu. The Romanian upset second seed Alize Cornet 6-4, 6-0 to win the Guangzhou International tournament.

“I was so happy to finish in the end because it was very hot and very humid, and I was very, very tired,” Niculescu said. “But to finish so strong was amazing for me. I have many emotions right now, but most of it is joy and confidence. It’s my second WTA title and that’s just an amazing feeling.”

Niculescu joins Romanians Virginia Ruzici, Irina Spirlea, Ruxandra Dragomir-Ilie, Alexandra Dulgheru and Simona Halep to win multiple WTA titles.

Second seed Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic defeated Varvara Lepchenko of the United States, 6-3, 6-7 (5), 6-2 to win the Korea Open. For the Czech, it’s her second WTA crown.

This was Pliskova’s fourth WTA final this year.

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Li Na Announces Retirement

Li Na

Li Na

(September 19, 2014) After much speculations over the past few months, China’s Li Na has officially retired from tennis. The 32-year-old called it quits due to recurring knee injuries. She announced her retirement in a letter posted on social media on Friday.

 

 

Friday, September 19, 2014

My dear friends,

For close to fifteen years, we’ve been a part of each other’s lives. As a tennis player representing China on the global stage, I’ve trekked around the world playing hundreds of matches on the WTA tour, for China’s Fed Cup team, at the National Games and at several Olympic Games. You’ve always been there for me, supporting me, cheering me on, and encouraging me to reach my potential.

Representing China on the tennis court was an extraordinary privilege and a true honour. Having the unique opportunity to effectively bring more attention to the sport of tennis in China and all over Asia is something I will cherish forever. But in sport, just like in life, all great things must come to an end.

2014 has become one of the most significant years in my career and my life. This year was full of amazing highlights, which included winning my second Grand Slam singles title at the Australian Open and sharing the extraordinary experience with my country, my team, my husband and my fans. It was also a year filled with difficult moments, such as having to deal with the inevitable – making the decision to end my professional tennis career.

The amazing moment in Australia was filled with joy, happiness and extraordinary sense of accomplishment. The task of finally making a decision to hang up my racquet felt a lot more difficult than winning seven matches in a row in the Australian heat. It took me several agonizing months to finally come to the decision that my chronic injuries will never again let me be the tennis player that I can be. Walking away from the sport, effective immediately, is the right decision for me and my family.

Most people in the tennis world know that my career has been marked by my troubled right knee. The black brace I wear over it when I step on the court has become my tennis birth mark. And while the brace completes my tennis look, the knee problems have at times overtaken my life.

After four knee surgeries and hundreds of shots injected into my knee weekly to alleviate swelling and pain, my body is begging me to stop the pounding. My previous three surgeries were on my right knee. My most recent knee surgery took place this July and was on my left knee. After a few weeks of post-surgery recovery, I tried to go through all the necessary steps to get back on the court. While I’ve come back from surgery in the past, this time it felt different. One of my goals was to recover as fast as I could in order to be ready for the first WTA tournament in my hometown of Wuhan. As hard as I tried to get back to being 100%, my body kept telling me that, at 32, I will not be able to compete at the top level ever again. The sport is just too competitive, too good, to not be 100%.

Winning a Grand Slam title this year and achieving a ranking of World No.2 is the way I would like to leave competitive tennis. As hard as it’s been to come to this decision, I am at peace with it. I have no regrets. I wasn’t supposed to be here in the first place, remember? Not many people believed in my talent and my abilities, yet I found a way to persevere, to prove them (and sometimes myself!) wrong.

I’ve succeeded on the global stage in a sport that a few years ago was in its infancy in China. What I’ve accomplished for myself is beyond my wildest dreams. What I accomplished for my country is one of my most proud achievements.

In 2008, there were two professional women’s tennis tournaments in China. Today, there are 10, one of them in Wuhan, my hometown. That to me is extraordinary! Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova and Venus Williams – with thirty Grand Slam singles titles among them – are coming to my hometown to play tennis for the fans of China! Just as I didn’t think I could ever be a Grand Slam champion, never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that some of the best female athletes in the world could play tennis in Wuhan, in my backyard.

My contributions to the growth of the sport in China are very special to me. But I don’t want to stop here. Together with IMG, my management company, we are putting together various plans on how we will continue to grow the sport of tennis in China. These plans include opening the Li Na Tennis Academy, which will provide scholarships for the future generation of Chinese tennis stars. I will also stay involved in the Right to Play, an organization dedicated to helping underprivileged children overcome challenges through sport. My philanthropic work will expand in scope as I continue to dedicate myself to helping those in need. What was once just a dream in China today is a reality.

On a personal side, I look forward to starting a new chapter of my life, hopefully having a family and reconnecting with those I did not have the luxury of spending a lot of time with while playing. I can’t wait to revisit all the amazing places I played tennis in and see the world through a new set of eyes. I look forward to slowing down and living my life at a new, slower, relaxed pace.

Tennis is an individual sport and as players, our job is to spend a lot of time focusing on ourselves. But no player can ever become a champion alone and nobody knows this better than me. There isn’t enough space here to thank everyone who has travelled on my journey with me and contributed to my success. But I must thank those that have stuck with me through the highs and the lows and have helped me become the person that I am today.

Thank you to:
• My mother – for your never-ending support. Through the laughs and the tears, you’ve always been there for me.
• My father – you were taken away from me way too early and I haven’t been the same since. You’ve remained the sunshine in my life and I am who I am because of you.
• Jiang Shan – you’ve been by my side for 20 years. You are my everything and I am grateful to have shared my life with you.
• My first coaches Ms. Xia Xiyao and Ms. Yu Liqiao – for putting me on the tennis path.
• Madame Sun and the Chinese Tennis Association – thank you for being trailblazers for tennis in China.
• Mr. Hu Dechun and the Hubei Sports Bureau – for understanding me and supporting me through the years.
• Women’s Tennis Association – for your passion for women’s tennis and hard work growing it around the world.
• Mr. Chan Hongchang – for supporting me when I first decided to become a professional tennis player in 2008. You helped me make up my mind.
• Thomas Hogstedt – for introducing me to professional tennis.
• Michael Mortenson – for helping me win my first Grand Slam.
• Carlos Rodriguez – for pushing me beyond the limits I thought I could reach.
• Alex Stober – for taking care of me all of these years and pulling me together when I was falling apart.
• Erich Rembeck and Johannes Wieber – for finding a way to make me pain free, over and over again.
• Fred Zhang and the Nike team – you’ve been my guiding light, my support system and my biggest cheerleader. I will never forget it.
• To Max Eisenbud and the entire IMG Team – for being the best management company in the world and for taking care of me every day.
• To all the sponsors that have supported me through every stage of my career.
• To my relatives, friends, and everyone who has helped me throughout my career – for always being there for me and for your never-ending support.
• To my fellow tennis players – for being a part of my journey all of these years. I have so much respect for all of you.
• To everyone in the media who’s covered my career and helped the growth of tennis in China and around the world.
• To the amazing tennis fans around the world – for your unyielding support of our sport and for playing every tennis match along with me.
• And lastly, to tennis fans in China – for getting on the bandwagon and staying on it! I am grateful to each and every one of you for pushing me to be my best, embracing me and loving me unconditionally. There is no limit to how far we can take the sport of tennis in China, together.

When I started playing tennis, I was just a neighbourhood kid with an afterschool hobby, not realizing what magical journey lay ahead of me. If I only knew what a vehicle the sport of tennis, along with my success, would become for my beloved China. While my journey hasn’t been easy, it has been rewarding. I’ve seen change happening in front of my eyes, young girls picking up tennis racquets, setting goals, following their hearts and believing in themselves. I hope that I’ve had the opportunity to inspire young women all over China to believe in themselves, to set their goals high and pursue them with vengeance and self-belief.

Whether you want to be a tennis player, a doctor, a lawyer, a teacher or a business leader, I urge you to believe in yourself and follow your dream. If I could do it, you can too! Be the bird that sticks out. With hard work, your dreams will come true.

LI NA

WTA Announcement on LI Na’s Retirement

ST PETERSBURG, FL, USA – Chinese tennis trailblazer and reigning Australian Open champion Li Na today brought down the curtain on a glittering 15-year professional career with the announcement of her official retirement from the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA). Winner of nine WTA singles titles, two doubles titles and a two-time Grand Slam champion, the 32-year-old marks the end of a career that saw her become one of the very best and most popular players in the history of women’s tennis.

 

“Li Na has been a fun, powerful, and wonderful player on the WTA tour and, along with her fans, I am sad to hear that she has retired,” said WTA Chairman & CEO Stacey Allaster. “In addition to her amazing tennis abilities and her warm and humorous personality, she is a pioneer who opened doors to tennis for hundreds of millions of people throughout China and Asia.  It’s hard to be a household name in a nation with 1.4 billion people, but that’s what Li Na is.  Thanks to all she has achieved and contributed, her legacy is immense and I have no doubt that her contributions to the WTA will be seen for decades to come in China, throughout Asia and the rest of the world.  I wish her the best of luck in this next chapter in her life.  I will miss her, and I know that while she may be retired from competition, she still will play a big role in the growth of our sport around the world.”

 

Li etched her name in the history books at Roland Garros in 2011 when she became the first Asian player to win a Grand Slam singles title, defeating Top 10 rivals in each of her last four matches. Earlier in 2011 she was the first player from the region to reach a major final, finishing runner-up to Kim Clijsters at the Australian Open. After another run to the final at the Australian Open in 2013, when she was edged by Victoria Azarenka in a dramatic three-setter, Li captured her second Grand Slam title at Melbourne Park in January this year – just the second woman aged over 30 to win the title in the Open Era, after Margaret Court. The victory helped propel Li to World No.2 on February 17, 2014 – the highest ranking ever attained by an Asian player.

 

Over the course of her career, particularly in later years as her success reached its crescendo, Li’s powerful game delivered against the very best. Her 21 wins over Top 5 opponents included two over reigning World No.1s – Serena Williams at Stuttgart in 2008 and Caroline Wozniacki at the 2011 Australian Open. In total she reached 21 WTA singles finals (going 9-12 in those) and in addition to her wins at the Australian Open and Roland Garros was a semifinalist at the US Open and quarterfinalist at Wimbledon.

 

Along the way, Li established a string of breakthroughs for Chinese tennis, alongside her Grand Slam title triumphs. She was the first to win a WTA singles title (2004 Guangzhou) and first to win a WTA Premier title (2011 Sydney); first to reach a Grand Slam singles quarterfinal (2006 Wimbledon); first to compete in singles at the WTA Finals (2011-13, finishing runner-up to S.Williams on her most recent appearance); and first to crack the singles Top 20 (August 14, 2006), Top 10 (February 1, 2010) and Top 5 (June 6, 2011). As wfaell as representing her country in Fed Cup competition in eight different years she was a three-time Olympian for China (Sydney 2000, Beijing 2008 and London 2012). She also played countrywoman Zheng Jie in the first All-Chinese WTA singles final at Estoril in 2006 (won by Zheng) and earlier this year won the second All-China final in WTA history at Shenzhen, defeating Peng Shuai for the title.

 

Li steps away from the game with a career singles win-loss record of 503-188 and prize money earnings of $16,709,074. She is currently ranked No.6.

 

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2015 Davis Cup Draw Announced

(September 18, 2014) The ITF announced the draw for the 2015 Davis Cup by BNP Paribas in Dubai.

This year’s finalists France and Switzerland will both travel away to European opposition with Les Blues opening their campaign against Germany. Switzerland will travel to Belgium after David Goffin inspired his nation to retain its place in the World Group in last weekend’s play-offs.

One of the stories of the draw was the coupling of great Latin American rivals Brazil and Argentina. The tie, which will be held in Argentina, will be the first meeting between the two nations since 1980. The two sides have never met in the World Group.

For the second consecutive year, Great Britain and USA have been drawn to face each other in the first round. After colliding in San Diego this year, the two nations will meet on British soil with the visitors keen to avoid another loss to their great Davis Cup rivals.

Third and fourth seeds Czech Republic and Serbia will both begin their campaigns with home ties. The Czechs, drawn in the same half as France, will host Australia while Serbia will host neighbors Croatia.

The full draw can be found below:
World Group

First round (6-8 March)

Germany [c] v France [s]

Great Britain [c] v USA [s]

Czech Republic [s] [c] v Australia

Kazakhstan [c] [*] v Italy [s]

Argentina [s] [c] v Brazil

Serbia [s] [c] v Croatia

Canada [s] [c] v Japan

Belgium [c] v Switzerland [s]
Americas Zone Group I

First round (6-8 March)

Colombia [s] v Bye

Uruguay v Bye

Barbados [c] v Dominican Republic

Ecuador [s] v Bye
Asia/Oceania Zone Group I

First round (6-8 March)

Uzbekistan [s] v Bye

Thailand [c] v Korea, Rep.

China, P. R. v Chinese Taipei or New Zealand

India [s] v Bye
Europe/Africa Zone Group I

First round (6-8 March)

Spain [s] v Bye

Russia [c] v Denmark

Netherlands [s] v Bye

Austria v Latvia or Sweden

Slovakia [c] [*] v Slovenia

[c] Romania v Israel [s]

Poland [c] v Lithuania

Ukraine [s] v Bye
Americas Zone Group II

First round (6-8 March)

Venezuela [s] [c] [*] v Costa Rica

Puerto Rico [c] v El Salvador [s]

Mexico [s] [c] [*] v Bolivia

Chile [s] [c] v Peru
Asia/Oceania Zone Group II

First round (6-8 March)

Chinese Taipei or New Zealand [s] v Lebanon

Philippines [s] [c] v Sri Lanka

Iran v Indonesia [s] [c]

Pakistan [s] [c] v Kuwait

 

Key
[s] = Seeded nation
[c] = Choice of ground
[*] = Choice of ground decided by lot

The home nation is listed first for each tie.

Read more at

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Davis Cup Results for September 14, 2014

 

davis_cup_logo_

(September 14, 2014) France will be at home to Switzerland in the 2014 World Group Final on 21-23 November, with details of the venue confirmed later this month.

 

Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Croatia and USA all won their World Group play-off ties to qualify for the 2015 World Group. The World Group play-off losers, Colombia, Israel, Netherlands, Slovakia, Spain, Ukraine and Uzbekistan will contest their respective Zone Group I competitions in 2015.

 

The World Group play-off tie between India and Serbia in Bangalore has been suspended overnight due to rain and will resume at 12:00 local time (06:30 GMT) on Monday.

 

The Draw for the 2015 Davis Cup by BNP Paribas will be held during the ITF AGM in Dubai on Thursday 18 September at 19:00 local time (15:00 GMT). The draw will be live streamed on www.daviscup.com.

 

There is still one tie to be played in both Asia/Oceania Zone Group I and Europe/Africa Zone Group I in October. An announcement will be made on Monday on whether the draws for 2015 Asia/Oceania Zone Groups I and II, and Europe/Africa Zone Groups I and II can be held on 18 September.

 

The seeds for the 2015 Davis Cup Draw will also be announced on Monday. The top two seeds in the 2015 World Group will be the two finalists from 2014, while the remaining seeds will be based on the new Davis Cup Nations Ranking of 15 September.

 

 

WORLD GROUP SEMIFINALS

 

FRANCE defeated CZECH REPUBLIC 4-1

Venue: Roland Garros, Paris, FRA (clay – outdoor)
Richard Gasquet (FRA) d. Tomas Berdych (CZE) 63 62 63
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA) d. Lukas Rosol (CZE) 62 62 63
Richard Gasquet/Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA) d. Tomas Berdych/Radek Stepanek (CZE) 67(5) 64 76(5) 61

Jiri Vesely (CZE) d. Julien Benneteau (FRA) 64 63
Gael Monfils (FRA) d. Lukas Rosol (CZE) 57 64 75

 

SWITZERLAND defeated ITALY 3-2

Venue: Palexpo, Geneva, SUI (hard – indoor)
Roger Federer (SUI) d. Simone Bolelli (ITA) 76(5) 64 64
Stan Wawrinka (SUI) d. Fabio Fognini (ITA) 62 63 62
Simone Bolelli/Fabio Fognini (ITA) d. Marco Chiudinelli/Stan Wawrinka (SUI) 75 36 57 63 62

Roger Federer (SUI) d. Fabio Fognini (ITA) 62 63 76(4)
Andreas Seppi (ITA) d. Michael Lammer (SUI) 64 16 64

 

WORLD GROUP PLAY-OFFS

 

SERBIA level with INDIA 2-2

Venue: KSLTA Tennis Stadium, Bangalore, IND (hard – outdoor)

 

Dusan Lajovic (SRB) d. Yuki Bhambri (IND) 63 62 75
Filip Krajinovic (SRB) d. Somdev Devvarman (IND) 61 46 63 62

Rohan Bopanna/Leander Paes (IND) d. Ilija Bozoljac/Nenad Zimonjic (SRB) 16 67(4) 63 63 86

Somdev Devvarman (IND) d. Dusan Lajovic (SRB) 16 64 46 63 62

Filip Krajinovic (SRB) leads Yuki Bhambri (IND) 63 4-4 (play suspended due to rain)

 

BRAZIL defeated SPAIN 3-1

Venue: Ginasio Estadual Geraldo Jose de Almeida, Sao Paulo, BRA (clay – indoor)

 

Roberto Bautista Agut (ESP) d. Rogerio Dutra Silva (BRA) 60 61 63
Thomaz Bellucci (BRA) d. Pablo Andujar (ESP) 36 67(6) 64 75 63

Marcelo Melo/Bruno Soares (BRA) d. Marc Lopez/David Marrero (ESP) 63 75 75

Thomaz Bellucci (BRA) d. Roberto Bautista Agut (ESP) 64 36 63 62
Rogerio Dutra Silva (BRA) v Pablo Andujar (ESP) not played

 

 

ARGENTINA defeated ISRAEL 3-2

Venue: Sunrise Tennis Club, Sunrise, FL, USA (hard – outdoor)

 

Leonardo Mayer (ARG) d. Bar Tzuf Botzer (ISR) 64 36 62 61

Dudi Sela (ISR) d. Carlos Berlocq (ARG) 63 67(5) 62 62
Jonathan Erlich/Andy Ram (ISR) d. Federico Delbonis/Horacio Zeballos (ARG) 63 36 61 36 63

Leonardo Mayer (ARG) d. Dudi Sela (ISR) 62 61 64
Carlos Berlocq (ARG) d. Bar Tzuf Botzer (ISR) 62 63 60

 

CANADA defeated COLOMBIA 3-2

Venue: Halifax Metro Centre, Halifax, Canada (hard – indoor)

 

Vasek Pospisil (CAN) d. Santiago Giraldo (COL) 63 76(2) 63
Milos Raonic (CAN) d. Alejandro Gonzalez (COL) 63 63 62
Juan-Sebastian Cabal/Robert Farah (COL) d. Daniel Nestor/Vasek Pospisil (CAN) 76(4) 76(7) 64
Milos Raonic (CAN) d. Santiago Giraldo (COL) 61 76(2) 75
Alejandro Gonzalez (COL) d. Frank Dancevic (CAN) 46 75 62

 

 

USA defeated SLOVAKIA 5-0

Venue: Sears Centre Arena, Chicago, IL, USA (hard – indoor)

 

John Isner (USA) d. Norbert Gombos (SVK) 76(5) 64 62
Sam Querrey (USA) d. Martin Klizan (SVK) 76(6) 63 63
Bob Bryan/Mike Bryan (USA) d. Norbert Gombos/Lukas Lacko (SVK) 61 62 61
John Isner (USA) d. Lukas Lacko (SVK) 63 60
Sam Querrey (USA) d. Norbert Gombos (SVK) 64 46 64

 

AUSTRALIA defeated UZBEKISTAN 5-0

Venue: Cottesloe Tennis Club, Perth, AUS (grass – outdoor)

 

Nick Kyrgios (AUS) d. Denis Istomin (UZB) 64 75 64

Lleyton Hewitt (AUS) d. Farrukh Dustov (UZB) 64 64 62
Chris Guccione/Lleyton Hewitt (AUS) d. Farrukh Dustov/Denis Istomin (UZB) 63 76(5) 62

Samuel Groth (AUS) d. Temur Ismailov (UZB) 63 62

Nick Kyrgios (AUS) d. Sanjar Fayziev (UZB) 61 61

CROATIA defeated NETHERLANDS 3-2

Venue: Ziggo Dome, Amsterdam, NED (clay – indoor)

 

Mate Delic (CRO) d. Igor Sijsling (NED) 46 64 75 62

Robin Haase (NED) d. Borna Coric (CRO) 76(4) 61 64
Marin Cilic/Marin Draganja (CRO) d. Robin Haase/Jean-Julien Rojer (NED) 62 36 63 64

Robin Haase (NED) d. Mate Delic (CRO) 36 46 64 61 64

Marin Cilic (CRO) d. Thiemo de Bakker (NED) 67(4) 64 62 75

 

BELGIUM defeated UKRAINE 3-2

Venue: Tere Tennis Centre, Tallinn, EST (hard – indoor)

 

Sergiy Stakhovsky (UKR) d. Steve Darcis (BEL) 67(5) 64 62 62
David Goffin (BEL) d. Illya Marchenko (UKR) 76(1) 63 61
Ruben Bemelmans/Olivier Rochus (BEL) d. Sergei Bubka/Sergiy Stakhovsky (UKR) 62 63 26 36 62
David Goffin (BEL) d. Sergiy Stakhovsky (UKR) 63 61 62
Illya Marchenko (UKR) d. Steve Darcis (BEL) 76(2) 64

AMERICAS ZONE GROUP I – SECOND ROUND PLAY-OFF

URUGUAY defeated VENEZUELA 4-1
Venue: Cancha Central, Caracas, VEN (hard – outdoor)

Pablo Cuevas (URU) d. Jesus Bandres (VEN) 63 62 61
Martin Cuevas (URU) d. Ricardo Rodriguez (VEN) 75 62 63
Martin Cuevas/Pablo Cuevas (URU) d. Luis David Martinez/Roberto Maytin (VEN) 75 62 62
Ricardo Rodriguez (VEN) d. Ariel Behar (URU) 2-1 ret.
Rodrigo Senattore (URU) d. Jesus Bandres (VEN) 46 75 63

ASIA/OCEANIA ZONE GROUP I – FIRST ROUND PLAY-OFF

KOREA, REPUBLIC defeated CHINESE TAIPEI 3-1
Venue: Kaohsiung Yangming Tennis Courts, Kaohsiung City, TPE (hard – outdoor)

Lim Yong-Kyu (KOR) d. Hung Jui Chen (TPE) 62 62 60
Chung Hyeon (KOR) d. Wang Chieh Fu (TPE) 64 75 62
Chen Ti/Peng Hsien Yin (TPE) d. Chung Hyeon/Lim Yong-Kyu (KOR) 76(3) 36 16 75 63
Chung Hyeon (KOR) d. Chen Ti (TPE) 60 36 67(3) 63 3-0 ret.
Wang Chieh Fu (TPE) v Lim Yong-Kyu (KOR) not played

EUROPE/AFRICA ZONE GROUP I – FIRST ROUND PLAY-OFF

ROMANIA defeated SWEDEN 3-1
Venue: Arenele BNR, Bucharest, ROU (clay – outdoor)

Christian Lindell (SWE) d. Adrian Ungur (ROU) 75 76(2) 64
Marius Copil (ROU) d. Elias Ymer (SWE) 62 63 62
Florin Mergea/Horia Tecau (ROU) d. Isak Arvidsson/Johan Brunstrom (SWE) 76(2) 76(5) 63
Adrian Ungur (ROU) d. Elias Ymer (SWE) 36 64 76(4) 63
Marius Copil (ROU) v Christian Lindell (SWE) not played

AUSTRIA defeated LATVIA 4-1
Venue: Vidzemes Olimpiskaos Centrs, Valmiera, LAT (hard – indoor)

Martin Fischer (AUT) d. Andis Juska (LAT) 63 63 62
Jurgen Melzer (AUT) d. Janis Podzus (LAT) 63 61 64
Ernests Gulbis/Mikelis Libietis (LAT) d. Philipp Oswald/Alexander Peya (AUT) 75 76(3) 64
Jurgen Melzer (AUT) d. Mikelis Libietis (LAT) 62 62 64
Martin Fischer (AUT) d. Janis Podzus (LAT) 76(6) 64


EUROPE/AFRICA ZONE GROUP I – SECOND ROUND PLAY-OFF

RUSSIA defeated PORTUGAL 4-1
Venue: Olympic Stadium, Moscow, RUS (hard – indoor)

Andrey Kuznetsov (RUS) d. Gastao Elias (POR) 62 64 64
Evgeny Donskoy (RUS) d. Joao Sousa (POR) 76(7) 64 36 61
Konstantin Kravchuk/Andrey Rublev (RUS) d. Gastao Elias/Joao Sousa (POR) 63 64 64
Rui Machado (POR) d. Konstantin Kravchuk (RUS) 67(4) 64 61

Andrey Rublev (RUS) d. Frederico Ferreira Silva (POR) 64 64

AMERICAS ZONE GROUP II – THIRD ROUND

BARBADOS defeated MEXICO 3-2
Venue: National Tennis Centre, St Michael, BAR (hard – outdoor)

Tigre Hank (MEX) d. Haydn Lewis (BAR) 75 64 63
Darian King (BAR) d. Miguel-Angel Reyes-Varela (MEX) 64 64 62
Santiago Gonzalez/Tigre Hank (MEX) d. Darian King/Haydn Lewis (BAR) 64 64 36 46 64
Darian King (BAR) d. Tigre Hank (MEX) 62 62 75
Haydn Lewis (BAR) d. Lucas Gomez (MEX) 26 63 61 63

ASIA/OCEANIA ZONE GROUP II – THIRD ROUND

THAILAND defeated PAKISTAN 4-1
Venue: The National Tennis Development Center, Nonthaburi, THA (hard – outdoor)

Pruchya Isarow (THA) d. Aisam Qureshi (PAK) 36 63 63 62
Danai Udomchoke (THA) d. Samir Iftikhar (PAK) 60 64 61
Sanchai Ratiwatana/Sonchat Ratiwatana (THA) d. Aqeel Khan/Aisam Qureshi (PAK) 75 62 62
Danai Udomchoke (THA) d. Muhammed Abid (PAK) 60 61
Samir Iftikhar (PAK) d. Pruchya Isarow (THA) 46 63 1-1 ret.

EUROPE/AFRICA ZONE GROUP II – THIRD ROUND

LITHUANIA defeated BOSNIA/HERZEGOVINA 3-2
Venue: Mojmilo Sports Hall, Sarajevo, BIH (hard – indoor)

Ricardas Berankis (LTU) d. Mirza Basic (BIH) 57 36 64 64 64
Damir Dzumhur (BIH) d. Laurynas Grigelis (LTU) 67(5) 61 61 1-0 ret.
Ricardas Berankis/Laurynas Grigelis (LTU) d. Mirza Basic/Tomislav Brkic (BIH) 63 63 76(4)
Ricardas Berankis (LTU) d. Damir Dzumhur (BIH) 64 64 64
Nerman Fatic (BIH) d. Lukas Mugevicus (LTU) 67(6) 63 64

DENMARK defeated MOLDOVA 3-2
Venue: Bramdrupdam Hallerne, Kolding, DEN (carpet – indoor)

Radu Albot (MDA) d. Martin Pedersen (DEN) 75 63 62
Frederik Nielsen (DEN) d. Maxim Dubarenco (MDA) 62 62 63
Thomas Kromann/Frederik Nielsen (DEN) d. Radu Albot/Maxim Dubarenco (MDA) 62 64 64
Radu Albot (MDA) d. Frederik Nielsen (DEN) 75 63 63
Martin Pedersen (DEN) d. Maxim Dubarenco (MDA) 36 76(1) 64 36 75

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DAVIS CUP: U.S. SHUTS OUT SLOVAKIA – Isner, Querrey victories give Americans a 5-0 win in the World Group Play-off

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DAVIS CUP: U.S. SHUTS OUT SLOVAKIA
Isner, Querrey victories give Americans a 5-0 win in the World Group Play-off

By Junior Williams

(September 14, 2014) HOFFMAN ESTATES, Illinois – John Isner and Sam Querrey closed out the Davis Cup World-Group Play-off by winning their respective matches, giving the United States a 5-0 victory over Slovakia at Sears Center Arena in suburban Chicago.

Both matches were dead rubbers, since the U.S. clinched a spot in the World Group for 2015 courtesy of Bob and Mike Bryan’s doubles victory on Saturday.

In the first match, Isner – the No. 1 American and 16th ranked player in the world – defeated Lukas Lacko 6-3, 6-0 in only 42 minutes, converting four out of eight break points and posting 22 total winners to Lacko’s four.

In the post-match interview, Isner said he was happy the match went “pretty quickly” and was looking forward to watching some football.

In the second match, Slovakia’s Norbert Gombos did his best to prevent his team from being shut out, but the world’s 126th-ranked player was outlasted by Sam Querrey 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 in a hard-hitting, fast-serving contest.

After Gombos broke Querrey to win the second set — the only set Slovakia won during the three days of competition — the number-two American broke Gombos to go up 4-3 in the third set, and went on to close out the match with a service winner.

Here’s how close the match was: Querrey scored 96 points, Gombos 92.

Despite Gombos’ three defeats (including one to Isner in singles, another to the Bryans in doubles) , U.S. Davis Cup captain Jim Courier had nothing but good things to say about the Slovak during the post-match interview, expressing how impressed he was with Gombos’ play.

The U.S. victory marks the first time the Americans shut out their opponent in a Davis Cup tie since 2012 — a first-round victory in Switzerland against a team featuring 17-time major champion Roger Federer, and Stan Wawrinka — who has since gone on to win the 2014 Australian Open.

Slovakia is now 0-3 against the U.S. in Davis Cup competition and is headed back to Europe/Africa Zone Group I. Both countries will learn about their next opponents when the Davis Cup draw for 2015 takes place Thursday in Dubai.

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Mirjana Lucic-Baroni Beats Venus Williams to Win Quebec City

(September 14, 2014) Croatia’s Mirjana Lucic-Baroni won her first WTA title since 1998, beating former world No.1 Venus Williams 6-4, 6-3 to win the Quebec City tennis tournament in 83 minutes.

In the battle between 30-somethings, Lucic-Baroni 32 and Williams 34, the Croatian had last been in a final in 1998.

Lucic-Baroni reached the Wimbledon semifinals back in 1999. After a hiatus off the tour, she came back in 2007 and at the US Open reached the fourth round.

“It was so long ago, I don’t even remember what it’s like to hold a trophy in my hands,” Lucic-Baroni said. “It’s just incredible. I’m still in a little bit of shock because I was so focused today, but oh my goodness, it’s just an amazing feeling right now.”

Venus Williams who was looking to win her 46th title said: “My opponent played too well against me today. She swung as hard as she could on every shot and hit so many lines. It’s not typical that when you go for every shot they almost all go in. I think I played pretty well, but she just played better than me.”

Lucic-Baroni added the doubles crown to her titles list on Sunday, teaming with Lucie Hradecka to win the doubles, her first doubles title since 1998. For Hradecka it was her 17 WTA doubles title.

Baroni is just the second player to win the singles and doubles titles at the same event this year after Caroline Garcia in Bogotá.

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France to Host Switzerland in Davis Cup Final

 

(September 14, 2014) For the first time in 22 years, Switzerland is in the Davis Cup final. No. 1 singles player from Switzerland, Roger Federer clinched the tie versus Italy on Sunday, defeating Fabio Fognini 6-2, 6-3, 7-6 (4) for an unassailable 3-1 lead in Geneva.

France will play host to Switzerland in the Davis Cup final November 21-23. France clinched their berth in the final on Saturday, winning the doubles rubber to take a 3-0 lead. They completed the tie on Sunday 4-1 over the Czech Republic at Roland Garros, site of the French Open.

“It’s nice sharing the emotions with your fans and team members,” Federer said in an on-court interview after the match.

“It was a pretty quick court, so if you’re not serving so well there are always going to be errors – it wasn’t the best performance for either of us.

“Some of the best match-ups I’ve had have been against France, but we’re very pleased to be in the final.”

The French team is looking for their first Davis Cup title since 2001, while Switzerland is seeking their first-ever Davis Cup crown.

Team France says they are ready for the challenge.

“Everybody speaks about a dream final against Switzerland, but for me the dream is just that France will be there,” said French Davis Cup captain Arnaud Clement said. “With Federer and Stan Wawrinka, It’s obviously a big contest but the important thing is that we are in the final.”

“Federer is a monument of tennis, this is a dream final,” said Richard Gasquet in press on Sunday.

“There is no need for motivation when you are in the final, but hosting Federer adds an extra something to a sumptuous final,” Julien Benneteau said.

Although not official, it’s been reported that the northern French city of Lille will host the final.

The French have a 10-2 record versus Switzerland in Davis Cup play.

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Davis Cup Results for September 13, 2014

davis_cup_logo_

(September 13, 2014) France, who clinched a spot in the final on Saturday – and the winner of the other semifinal between Switzerland and Italy – will contest the 2014 World Group Final on 21-23 November. The winners of the eight World Group play-offs will qualify for the 2015 World Group, while the losers will contest their respective Zone Group I competition in 2015.

Australia and the United States have secured places in the World Group.

WORLD GROUP SEMIFINALS

FRANCE defeated CZECH REPUBLIC 3-0

Venue: Roland Garros, Paris, FRA (clay – outdoor)

Richard Gasquet (FRA) d. Tomas Berdych (CZE) 63 62 63
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA) d. Lukas Rosol (CZE) 62 62 63
Richard Gasquet/Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA) d. Tomas Berdych/Radek Stepanek (CZE) 67(5) 64 76(5) 61

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA) v Tomas Berdych (CZE)
Richard Gasquet (FRA) v Lukas Rosol (CZE)

SWITZERLAND leads ITALY 2-1

Venue: Palexpo, Geneva, SUI (hard – indoor)

Roger Federer (SUI) d. Simone Bolelli (ITA) 76(5) 64 64
Stan Wawrinka (SUI) d. Fabio Fognini (ITA) 62 63 62
Simone Bolelli/Fabio Fognini (ITA) d. Marco Chiudinelli/Stan Wawrinka (SUI) 75 36 57 63 62

Roger Federer (SUI) v Fabio Fognini (ITA)
Stan Wawrinka (SUI) v Simone Bolelli (ITA)

WORLD GROUP PLAY-OFFS

SERBIA leads INDIA 2-1

Venue: KSLTA Tennis Stadium, Bangalore, IND (hard – outdoor)

Dusan Lajovic (SRB) d. Yuki Bhambri (IND) 63 62 75
Filip Krajinovic (SRB) d. Somdev Devvarman (IND) 61 46 63 62

Rohan Bopanna/Leander Paes (IND) d. Ilija Bozoljac/Nenad Zimonjic (SRB) 16 67(4) 63 63 86

Somdev Devvarman (IND) v Dusan Lajovic (SRB)

Yuki Bhambri (IND) v Filip Krajinovic (SRB)

BRAZIL leads SPAIN 2-1

Venue: Ginasio Estadual Geraldo Jose de Almeida, Sao Paulo, BRA (clay – indoor)

Roberto Bautista Agut (ESP) d. Rogerio Dutra Silva (BRA) 60 61 63
Thomaz Bellucci (BRA) d. Pablo Andujar (ESP) 36 67(6) 64 75 63

Marcelo Melo/Bruno Soares (BRA) d. Marc Lopez/David Marrero (ESP) 63 75 75

Thomaz Bellucci (BRA) v Roberto Bautista Agut (ESP)
Rogerio Dutra Silva (BRA) v Pablo Andujar (ESP)

ISRAEL leads ARGENTINA 2-1

Venue: Sunrise Tennis Club, Sunrise, FL, USA (hard – outdoor)

Leonardo Mayer (ARG) d. Bar Tzuf Botzer (ISR) 64 36 62 61

Dudi Sela (ISR) d. Carlos Berlocq (ARG) 63 67(5) 62 62
Jonathan Erlich/Andy Ram (ISR) d. Federico Delbonis/Horacio Zeballos (ARG) 63 36 61 36 63

Dudi Sela (ISR) v Leonardo Mayer (ARG)
Bar Tzuf Botzer (ISR) v Carlos Berlocq (ARG)

CANADA leads COLOMBIA 2-1

Venue: Halifax Metro Centre, Halifax, Canada (hard – indoor)

Vasek Pospisil (CAN) d. Santiago Giraldo (COL) 63 76(2) 63
Milos Raonic (CAN) d. Alejandro Gonzalez (COL) 63 63 62
Juan-Sebastian Cabal/Robert Farah (COL) d. Daniel Nestor/Vasek Pospisil (CAN) 76(4) 76(7) 64
Milos Raonic (CAN) v Santiago Giraldo (COL)
Vasek Pospisil (CAN) v Alejandro Gonzalez (COL)

USA defeated SLOVAKIA 3-0

Venue: Sears Centre Arena, Chicago, IL, USA (hard – indoor)

John Isner (USA) d. Norbert Gombos (SVK) 76(5) 64 62
Sam Querrey (USA) d. Martin Klizan (SVK) 76(6) 63 63
Bob Bryan/Mike Bryan (USA) d. Norbert Gombos/Lukas Lacko (SVK) 61 62 61
John Isner (USA) v Martin Klizan (SVK)
Sam Querrey (USA) v Norbert Gombos (SVK)

AUSTRALIA defeated UZBEKISTAN 3-0

Venue: Cottesloe Tennis Club, Perth, AUS (grass – outdoor)

Nick Kyrgios (AUS) d. Denis Istomin (UZB) 64 75 64

Lleyton Hewitt (AUS) d. Farrukh Dustov (UZB) 64 64 62
Chris Guccione/Lleyton Hewitt (AUS) d. Farrukh Dustov/Denis Istomin (UZB) 63 76(5) 62

Lleyton Hewitt (AUS) v Denis Istomin (UZB)

Nick Kyrgios (AUS) v Farrukh Dustov (UZB)

CROATIA leads NETHERLANDS 2-1

Venue: Ziggo Dome, Amsterdam, NED (clay – indoor)

Mate Delic (CRO) d. Igor Sijsling (NED) 46 64 75 62

Robin Haase (NED) d. Borna Coric (CRO) 76(4) 61 64
Marin Cilic/Marin Draganja (CRO) d. Robin Haase/Jean-Julien Rojer (NED) 62 36 63 64

Robin Haase (NED) v Mate Delic (CRO)

Igor Sijsling (NED) v Borna Coric (CRO)

BELGIUM leads UKRAINE 2-1

Venue: Tere Tennis Centre, Tallinn, EST (hard – indoor)

Sergiy Stakhovsky (UKR) d. Steve Darcis (BEL) 67(5) 64 62 62
David Goffin (BEL) d. Illya Marchenko (UKR) 76(1) 63 61
Ruben Bemelmans/Olivier Rochus (BEL) d. Sergei Bubka/Sergiy Stakhovsky (UKR) 62 63 26 36 62
Sergiy Stakhovsky (UKR) v David Goffin (BEL)
Illya Marchenko (UKR) v Steve Darcis (BEL)

AMERICAS ZONE GROUP I – SECOND ROUND PLAY-OFF

URUGUAY defeated VENEZUELA 3-0
Venue: Cancha Central, Caracas, VEN (hard – outdoor)

Pablo Cuevas (URU) d. Jesus Bandres (VEN) 63 62 61
Martin Cuevas (URU) d. Ricardo Rodriguez (VEN) 75 62 63
Martin Cuevas/Pablo Cuevas (URU) d. Luis David Martinez/Roberto Maytin (VEN) 75 62 62
Ricardo Rodriguez (VEN) v Pablo Cuevas (URU)
Jesus Bandres (VEN) v Martin Cuevas (URU)

ASIA/OCEANIA ZONE GROUP I – FIRST ROUND PLAY-OFF

KOREA, REPUBLIC leads CHINESE TAIPEI 2-1
Venue: Kaohsiung Yangming Tennis Courts, Kaohsiung City, TPE (hard – outdoor)

Lim Yong-Kyu (KOR) d. Hung Jui Chen (TPE) 62 62 60
Chung Hyeon (KOR) d. Wang Chieh Fu (TPE) 64 75 62
Chen Ti/Peng Hsien Yin (TPE) d. Chung Hyeon/Lim Yong-Kyu (KOR) 76(3) 36 16 75 63
Hung Jui Chen (TPE) v Chung Hyeon (KOR)
Wang Chieh Fu (TPE) v Lim Yong-Kyu (KOR)

EUROPE/AFRICA ZONE GROUP I – FIRST ROUND PLAY-OFF

ROMANIA leads SWEDEN 2-1
Venue: Arenele BNR, Bucharest, ROU (clay – outdoor)

Christian Lindell (SWE) d. Adrian Ungur (ROU) 75 76(2) 64
Marius Copil (ROU) d. Elias Ymer (SWE) 62 63 62
Florin Mergea/Horia Tecau (ROU) d. Isak Arvidsson/Johan Brunstrom (SWE) 76(2) 76(5) 63
Adrian Ungur (ROU) v Elias Ymer (SWE)
Marius Copil (ROU) v Christian Lindell (SWE)

AUSTRIA leads LATVIA 2-1
Venue: Vidzemes Olimpiskaos Centrs, Valmiera, LAT (hard – indoor)

Martin Fischer (AUT) d. Andis Juska (LAT) 63 63 62
Jurgen Melzer (AUT) d. Janis Podzus (LAT) 63 61 64
Ernests Gulbis/Mikelis Libietis (LAT) d. Philipp Oswald/Alexander Peya (AUT) 75 76(3) 64
Andis Juska (LAT) v Jurgen Melzer (AUT)
Janis Podzus (LAT) v Martin Fischer (AUT)

EUROPE/AFRICA ZONE GROUP I – SECOND ROUND PLAY-OFF

RUSSIA defeated PORTUGAL 3-0
Venue: Olympic Stadium, Moscow, RUS (hard – indoor)

Andrey Kuznetsov (RUS) d. Gastao Elias (POR) 62 64 64
Evgeny Donskoy (RUS) d. Joao Sousa (POR) 76(7) 64 36 61
Konstantin Kravchuk/Andrey Rublev (RUS) d. Gastao Elias/Joao Sousa (POR) 63 64 64
Andrey Kuznetsov (RUS) v Joao Sousa (POR)
Evgeny Donskoy (RUS) v Gastao Elias (POR)

AMERICAS ZONE GROUP II – THIRD ROUND

MEXICO leads BARBADOS 2-1
Venue: National Tennis Centre, St Michael, BAR (hard – outdoor)

Tigre Hank (MEX) d. Haydn Lewis (BAR) 75 64 63
Darian King (BAR) d. Miguel-Angel Reyes-Varela (MEX) 64 64 62
Santiago Gonzalez/Tigre Hank (MEX) d. Darian King/Haydn Lewis (BAR) 64 64 36 46 64
Darian King (BAR) v Tigre Hank (MEX)
Haydn Lewis (BAR) v Miguel-Angel Reyes-Varela (MEX)

ASIA/OCEANIA ZONE GROUP II – THIRD ROUND

THAILAND defeated PAKISTAN 3-0
Venue: The National Tennis Development Center, Nonthaburi, THA (hard – outdoor)

Pruchya Isarow (THA) d. Aisam Qureshi (PAK) 36 63 63 62
Danai Udomchoke (THA) d. Samir Iftikhar (PAK) 60 64 61
Sanchai Ratiwatana/Sonchat Ratiwatana (THA) d. Aqeel Khan/Aisam Qureshi (PAK) 75 62 62
Danai Udomchoke (THA) v Aisam Qureshi (PAK)
Pruchya Isarow (THA) v Samir Iftikhar (PAK)

EUROPE/AFRICA ZONE GROUP II – THIRD ROUND

LITHUANIA leads BOSNIA/HERZEGOVINA 2-1
Venue: Mojmilo Sports Hall, Sarajevo, BIH (hard – indoor)

Ricardas Berankis (LTU) d. Mirza Basic (BIH) 57 36 64 64 64
Damir Dzumhur (BIH) d. Laurynas Grigelis (LTU) 67(5) 61 61 1-0 ret.
Ricardas Berankis/Laurynas Grigelis (LTU) d. Mirza Basic/Tomislav Brkic (BIH) 63 63 76(4)
Damir Dzumhur (BIH) v Ricardas Berankis (LTU)
Mirza Basic (BIH) v Laurynas Grigelis (LTU)

DENMARK leads MOLDOVA 2-1
Venue: Bramdrupdam Hallerne, Kolding, DEN (carpet – indoor)

Radu Albot (MDA) d. Martin Pedersen (DEN) 75 63 62
Frederik Nielsen (DEN) d. Maxim Dubarenco (MDA) 62 62 63
Thomas Kromann/Frederik Nielsen (DEN) d. Radu Albot/Maxim Dubarenco (MDA) 62 64 64
Frederik Nielsen (DEN) v Radu Albot (MDA)
Martin Pedersen (DEN) v Maxim Dubarenco (MDA)

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Davis Cup: U.S. Remains in the World Group, Bryan twins clinch for Americans in straight sets over Slovakia

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DAVIS CUP: U.S. REMAINS IN WORLD GROUP

Bryan twins clinch for Americans in straight sets over Slovakia

 

By Junior Williams

 

(September 13, 2014) HOFFMAN ESTATES, Illinois — World No. 1 doubles team Bob and Mike Bryan made quick work of Slovakia’s Norbert Gombos and Lukas Lacko, winning 6-1, 6-2, 6-1 in one hour 16 minutes — giving the United States an unassailable 3-0 lead in the Davis Cup World Group Play-off at Sears Centre Arena in suburban Chicago, assuring the Americans will remain in the World Group in 2015.

 

Early in the first set, the Bryans broke Slovakia to go up 2-1 after Gombos hit a backhand volley wide. After that, it was full steam ahead for the U.S team, which won 21 out of 26 points at the net and 83-percent of its first-serve points.

 

Slovakia captain Miloslav Mecir went with Gombos instead of the originally scheduled doubles specialist Michal Mertinak.

 

The Bryans capped off their victory with an ace, to the delight of the U.S. fans in the crowd.

 

For Slovakia, it’s wait ’til next year as the team will once again attempt to re-join the Davis Cup elite for the first time since 2006.

The Bryans just came off winning their 16h major and 100th title by capturing the US Open doubles title said that Saturday’s win felt better than the US Open..

“It feels like it’s all part of the same summer,” Mike Bryan said.  “We had our goals, which was to win the US Open and come in here and help the team get to the World Group.
“Just feels it’s all one emotion.  We can kind of exhale and kind of enjoy it.  Yeah, when we won the Open it was great, but we shifted our focus very quickly to this tie.
“We never really relaxed.  Now we can exhale and enjoy the next couple weeks before we go over to Asia.
“But this is a really sweet feeling to finish the summer like this.”

 

Sunday’s dead rubber matches are scheduled to feature number one American John Isner versus Martin Klizan, and Sam Querrey versus Gombos. But with U.S. having clinched the tie, it is unlikely those pairings will hold.

 

===========

 

EXTRAS: After their victory, the Bryans celebrated by hitting lots of autographed balls in the crown, and also engaged in a mini-exhibition match with two of the “Team Bryan” kids. Bob and Mike’s dad Wayne Bryan served as the umpire.

 

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 US home ties. He is in Illinois covering the Davis Cup first round World Group Play-off tie between the United States and Slovakia for Tennis Panorama News.

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DAVIS CUP: U.S. IN CONTROL OVER SLOVAKIA Isner, Querrey lead Americans to 2-0 lead in World Group Play-off

john isner and sam querrey(courtesy of the USTA)
DAVIS CUP: U.S. IN CONTROL OVER SLOVAKIA
Isner, Querrey lead Americans to 2-0 lead in World Group Play-off
By Junior Williams

(September 12, 2014) HOFFMAN ESTATES, Illinois – Hours before the United States took on Slovakia at the Davis Cup World Group Play-off, U.S. captain Jim Courier was upbeat about his team’s prospects – telling a fan, “We’re ready for battle.”

Courier’s confidence in John Isner and Sam Querrey paid off, as both players achieved straight sets victories at Sears Centre Arena – giving the Americans a commanding 2-0 lead, putting them one win away from securing another year in the World Group.

Isner defeated Norbert Gombos – the 126th-ranked player in the world – 7-6 (5), 6-4, 6-2. Many were surprised Slovakian captain Miloslav Mecir went with Gombos in the first match instead of 86th-ranked Lukas Lacko. Gombos battled Isner early in the first set, returning the American’s powerful serves and taking him to a tiebreak. But a Gombos volley at the net came up short, giving Isner a mini-break at 6-4. The former University of Georgia Bulldog won the set after Gombos’ return of serve went long.

Isner’s serve became a more potent weapon in the second set – including a “perfect game” with four aces that put him up 5-3. The world No. 16 finished the match with 29 aces.

“Going into a match like this three-out-of-five set match, it’s not surprising that I didn’t lose my serve,” said Isner. “I’ve done that before, for sure. Always going to be the biggest part of my game and it’s going to be the part of my game that I lean on the most.”

Gombos said of the 6-foot-9 Isner, “I know that he’s serving perfect from the Eiffel Tower, you know … I never returned a serve like his because it’s quite different from like the other players because he’s really tall. The ball is bouncing so high. It’s totally different like from the other players.”

The second match between Querrey and Slovakian Martin Klizan – ranked 51st and 57th in the world, respectively — started off as quite a battle. The first set lasted 66 minutes. It was Querrey’s serve versus Klizan’s powerful groundstrokes, which were low enough to cause problems for the 6-foot-6 American.

But it was Klizan’s serve that would prove to be the Slovakian’s undoing, with eleven double faults in the match. Serving for the first set up 5-4, he was broken after double faulting to end the game. Querrey won the first set tiebreak 8-6 after staving off a set point — and winning the final three points with the help of two aces.

“It was tough,” said Querrey. “But my serve is my biggest weapon. I just buckled down and I think I hit an ace at that 5-6 point. Just put the pressure right back on (Klizan).”

The American won the match 7-6 (6), 6-3, 6-3, hitting 20 aces in the process.

When asked about failing to serve out the first set up 5-4, Klizan replied: “I wasn’t nervous. I was just pissed off of the line umpire because was a huge mistake from him the first point. Could be different story then, the game. But anyway, Sam was the better player on the court and I think he was better, so he won.”

In Saturday’s doubles match, the Americans will be counting on world number ones Bob and Mike Bryan to deliver the clincher. Fresh from winning the 2014 U.S Open Championship – their 100th – title. the twins are scheduled to face Lukas Lacko and Michal Mertinak, but there’s always the possibility that captain Mecir could alter his lineup.

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 US home ties. He is in Illinois covering the Davis Cup first round World Group Play-off tie between the United States and Slovakia for Tennis Panorama News.

 

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