2015/04/19

Novak Djokovic Defeats Rafael Nadal to Reach Monte Carlo Final

(April 18, 2015) Novak Djokovic extended his current winning streak to 16 matches with a 6-3, 6-3 victory over Rafael Nadal in the semifinals of the Monte Carlo Masters on Saturday in one hour and 37 minutes.

No. 1 Djokovic will meet Tomas Berdych in final on Sunday. Berdych dismissed Gael Monfils 6-1, 6-3 earlier in the day

The Djokovic – Nadal semifinal was much closer than the score indicated. In the first set Djokovic had to rebound from 0-2 with points to go down 0-3, taking six of the last seven games to claim the first set.

In the second set, Djokovic broke serve in the seventh game, after the 8-time Monte Carlo champion Nadal led 40-0. The Serb ended the match with a second break of serve in the set.

Djokovic hit 23 winners to 19 unforced errors in match to the Spaniard’s 20 winners and 20 errors.

Djokovic is now 10-1 against Top ten opponents in 2015. Djokovic has improved his head-to-head record against Nadal to 20-23.

Djokovic will be looking to claim his fourth straight Masters Series title and second Monte Carlo crown on Sunday.
RESULTS – SATURDAY, 18 APRIL 2015

Singles – Semi-Finals
[1] N. Djokovic (SRB) d [3] R. Nadal (ESP) 63 63
[6] T. Berdych (CZE) d [14] [WC] G. Monfils (FRA) 61 64

Doubles – Semi-finals
[1] B. Bryan (USA) / M. Bryan (USA) d [4] M. Matkowski (POL) / N. Zimonjic (SRB) 64 62
S. Bolelli (ITA) / F. Fognini (ITA) d [2] I. Dodig (CRO) / M. Melo (BRA) 76(6) 63

SCHEDULE – SUNDAY, 19 APRIL 2015

COURT CENTRAL start 11:30 am
[1] B. Bryan (USA) / M. Bryan (USA) vs S. Bolelli (ITA) / F. Fognini (ITA)

Not Before 2:30 pm
[1] N. Djokovic (SRB) vs [6] T. Berdych (CZE)

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U.S. and Italy End Day One at 1-1 in Fed Cup

Serena+Williams+BNP+Paribas+Open+Day+4+smeQToASxcPl

(April 18, 2015) After day one, the United States and Italy are ties at 1-1 in the Fed Cup World Group Playoff being played at Circolo Tennis Brindisi in Brindisi, Italy.

World No. 1 Serena Williams led off the day holding off world No. 36 Camila Giorgi, 7-6(5), 6-2, raising her Fed Cup singles record to 12-0.

“The first set was tough,” said Williams. “I needed to stay calm and make more shots, especially the deeper ones. I think I was hitting them short. So once I started hitting deeper, things worked out.”

“Camila played really well and had a great game plan. That is the player she is. She goes for it a lot. I love to watch her play because she is so feisty on the court. I love her game how she hits so hard.  I know her game really well, so it was not a surprise.”

Sara Errani leveled the tie in the next match, demolishing Lauren Davis, making her singles debut for the United States 6-1, 6-2 in 70 minutes.

“It was a good experience for me,” Davis said.  “I thought I handled myself well.  Sara played very well and was solid and consistent. Given the situation, I think I did okay.”

“Lauren competed really well,” said US Fed Cup captain Mary Joe Fernandez. “It is a tough match-up on clay.  Sara has so much experience and defends so well and is also very aggressive.  I thought there were a few games where Lauren had opportunities where it was deuce or break point.  Against a player of that caliber, you have to win those games and then maybe you have a chance.  Sara played really well under pressure and those points very well.”

The winner of the tie this weekend will return to World Group 1 and can compete for the Fed Cup next year while the loser will fall back into World Group II.

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Serena Williams Leads US Fed Cup Team Against Italy

usfedcup2

(April 17, 2015) For the fifth time in the last seven years the U.S. and Italy face-off in Fed Cup. Italy has won the last four contests, but the U.S. leads overall 9-4. The teams last faced each other last year in the World Group Quarterfinal in Cleveland, where Italy won, 3-1.

 

The United States will take on Italy in the Fed Cup World Playoff on the outdoor red clay court at Circolo Tennis Brindisi in Brindisi, Italy. Play begins Saturday at 1:00 pm local time (7:00 am ET).

 

No. 1 Serena Williams and world No. 36 Camila Giorgi will open the tie on Saturday. Williams is a perfect 11-0 in singles record in Fed Cup competition for the United States. She represented the USA earlier this year in the World Group II First Round against Argentina in Buenos Aires.

 

“Every time I step on the clay, I feel refreshed,” Williams said after the draw ceremony on Friday. “I love playing on the clay and my clay court game feels great.  It’s a great surface for me. I feel good playing one, two, or three matches this weekend.”

 

This will be the fourth straight Fed Cup tie for Giorgi where she’s 2-2 in singles. She made her debut in Fed Cup last year in the World Group Quarterfinal against the U.S. in Cleveland, where she beat Madison Keys.

 

“We all know from Cleveland last year that Camila is very dangerous,” said USA Fed cup Captain Mary Joe Fernandez. “She hits the ball extremely hard and flat and goes for it. You have to be ready for anything playing Giorgi. She is coming off a good week by reaching a WTA final last week, so it will be tough.”

 

The second match on Saturday will feature the Fed Cup singles debut of American Lauren Davis, ranked No 57 in the world Davis will take on world No. 15 Sara Errani.

 

“I am very excited and love being a part of this team of three great girls,” Davis said. “This will be my first singles match for Fed Cup, so it will be a great experience for me and great opportunity to play for my team.”

 

Errani has played in 16 Fed Cup ties for Italy and has an 11-8 singles record. Errani leads Davis 2-1 in head-to-head competition.

 

“With Errani, you have to work and earn your victory, especially on clay, since she is so consistent,” Fernandez said. It comes down to discipline, constructing your points, and being patient with her. We are going to have two tough matches. Hopefully we can get quick starts and keep it up throughout the weekend.

 

The winner of this tie advances to the World Group in 2016 for a chance to compete for the Fed Cup trophy. The losing nation will fall back to World Group II in 2016.

 

ORDER OF PLAY

Saturday, 1:00 p.m.

Singles A: Serena Williams (USA) vs. Camila Giorgi (ITA)

Singles B: Lauren Davis (USA) vs. Sara Errani (ITA)

Sunday, 11:30 a.m.

Singles C: Serena Williams (USA) vs. Sara Errani (ITA)

Singles D: Lauren Davis (USA) vs. Camila Giorgi (ITA)

Doubles: Doubles: Alison Riske/Christina McHale (USA) vs. Flavia Pennetta/Karin Knapp (ITA)

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Maria Sharapova Pulls Out of Fed Cup

Maria Sharapova

Maria Sharapova

(April 14, 2015) Maria Sharapova is withdrawing from playing for Russia in the Fed Cup semifinals this weekend against Germany with a leg injury. Sharapova posted a message about her withdrawal on her Facebook page:

 

Maria Sharapova

Athlete · 14,627,224 Likes

· 5 hrs ·

Withdrawing from this weekend’s Fed Cup was no easy decision. You probably haven’t seen me post any pictures on court, that is simply because there haven’t been many. I just started a couple of days ago and going to work myself up to creating a good healthy base.

I will be following the girls on my live stream this weekend, cheering them on, as I try to be ready for next week’s tournament in Stuttgart.

Withdrawing from this weekend’s Fed Cup was no easy decision. You probably haven’t seen me post any pictures on court,…

Posted by Maria Sharapova on Tuesday, April 14, 2015

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Venus Williams Withdraws From Fed Cup Tie Against Italy

Venus Williams

(April 14, 2015) Venus Williams has pulled out of this weekend’s Fed Cup playoff in Italy due to “a personal matter.”

The United States Tennis Association (USTA) announced that Williams will be replaced by No 57 Lauren Davis.

No. 1 Serena Williams will lead team USA which also includes No. 45 Alison Riske and No. 65 Christina McHale.

The Italian team consists No. 15 Sara Errani, No. 26 Flavia Pennetta, No. 36 Camila Giorgi and No. 55 Karin Knapp.

The United States will face Italy for the fifth time in seven years in the Fed Cup World Group Playoff, held at Circolo Tennis Brindisi on an outdoor red clay court, this weekend April 18-19. The winner of best-of-five series will move into the World Group in 2016 for a chance to play for the Fed Cup title. The losing nation will fall back to World Group II.

The U.S. leads the overall series against Italy 9-4, losing the last four ties.

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Kerber Takes Home Family Circle Cup

Angelique Kerber

(April 12, 2015) Angelique Kerber rallied from 1-4 down in the third set, winning six of the last seven games to defeat Madison Keys and win the Family Circle Cup in Charleston 6-2, 4-6, 7-5 on Sunday.

For the German Kerber, this was her fourth career WTA title, her first since capturing Linz in 2013.

“It’s unbelievable,” Kerber said. “To win here after the really difficult weeks I had, I’m feeling great. Last year I had four finals and I didn’t win any of them, so it’s great that I actually won this one today. It’s just been a great week for me here. Everybody is so nice, and I’m really happy about my game.”

“Coming off tough losses at Indian Wells and Miami, I’m happy I kept a great attitude this week, and I was just fighting as hard as I could today,” said the 20-year-old American Keys. “I could have gone either way after the first set, but I dug deep and still put myself in a position to win. But she just wasn’t making any mistakes at the end.”

The win for Kerber was a bit of revenge – last June Keys defeated Kerber in three-sets in the final of Eastbourne for her first WTA title.

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Sania Mirza Becomes First Woman from India to top the Doubles Rankings

Miami Open Tennis - Day 14 Hingis and Mirza

(April 12, 2015) On Sunday Sania Mirza has become the first woman from India to reach the top of the WTA double rankings.

The 28-year-old Mirza reached No. 1 by virtue of teaming with Martina Hingis to win the Family Circle Cup title, beating Casey Dellacqua and Darija Jurak 6-0, 6-4. The victory marks three straight title wins for the pair – Inidan Wells, Miami and now Charleston.

“It’s a dream for every kid to be No.1 one day,” Mirza said. “I can’t think of a better person to do it with. When we came here we had one thing in mind, to get No.1, and she really helped me get there. She helped me through some tough moments this week. She’s just a great person and a great player. We also become the No.1 team in the world today with this.

 

“I hope we have many, many more tournaments and end the year on a high as well.”

 

This is the 26th title of Mirza’s career. Mirza was the first woman from India to win a WTA singles title,  the first to reach the third and fourth rounds of a major, the first to surpass $1 million in career prize money, and the first to win a Grand Slam title of any kind when she claimed the 2009 Australian Open mixed doubles title with countryman Mahesh Bhupathi.

 

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Anna Karolina Schmiedlova Takes Katowice Open for First WTA Title

(April 12, 2015) World No. 67 and eighth seed Anna Karolina Schmiedlova of Slovakia defeated Italy’s Camila Giorgi 6-4, 6-3 to win the Katowice Open for her first WTA title.

The third seed Giorgi moved into the final with an upset victory in the semifinals over top seed and Poland native Agnieszka Radwanska on Saturday. En route to the final Schmiedlova dismissed defending champion and second seed Aliza Cornet

“I started out nervous today,” said the first-time WTA title winner. “I lost my serve straight off in the first game. But then it was better. I wasn’t nervous after that and was just taking it point by point. Usually I don’t like playing aggressive players like her as much, because I can’t play as aggressively as them and I feel like I’m always defending, but I did very well. It was maybe one of the best matches I’ve played.

“It’s something special. I still can’t believe it – it will take a long time for me to believe it.”

Schmiedlova is the seventh Slovak to win a WTA title. No. 31 Giorgi is now 0-3 in finals.

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Martin Klizan Wins Casablanca for Third ATP Title

(April 12, 2015) Slovak Martin Klizan beat Daniel Gimeno-Traver 6-2, 6-2 to win the Casablanca Grand Prix Hassan II title on Sunday, his third ATP World Tour trophy.

The No. 41 player Klizan took advantage of his experience against first-time ATP finalist Gimeno-Traver ranked 95th in the world. The Slovak built a 5-1 lead in the first set and never looked back against the Spaniard.

Klizan who is now a perfect 3-0 in finals dedicated his victory to his grandfather, who died last week.

“It’s an amazing feeling right now,” Klizan said. “Every time I am in Morocco, I have played a lot on Centre Court and seen the list of all the names. I wished to be a champion and today I am. I am very proud and excited now. The crowd was unbelievable, they always support me.”

“I would like to dedicate the trophy to my grandfather, who passed away last week, and also to those who died in a bus crash [on Friday] in southern Morocco.”

“Today, was a difficult match for me,” Gimeno-Traver said. “I played a long match yesterday [against Jiri Vesely] and I didn’t feel very well today. Martin played a great match and deserved to win. I will always remember this week and I’m very happy that I reached my first final here.”

For Gimeno-Traver, before this year he had never won match in Casablanca in 2011 and 2013.

Klizan no adds Casablanca to his previous titles came in 2012 in St. Petersburg and in Munich last year.

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Americans Blumberg and Kenin Win 18s Singles Titles At USTA International Spring Championships

William Blumberg Photo by Cynthia Lum / USTA

William Blumberg Photo by Cynthia Lum / USTA

CARSON, Calif., (Sunday, April 5, 2015) – Playing in his third ITF junior final this year, top-seeded William Blumberg used his experience to beat 15-year-old IMG Academy talent Miomir Kecmanovic of Serbia on Sunday to win the Boys’ 18s singles title at the ITF Grade 1 USTA International Spring Championships played at StubHub Center.

 

Sixteen-year-old Sonya Kenin from Pembroke Pines, Fla., also got the better of another IMG Academy prospect, as she needed three sets to beat fellow Florida resident Fanni Stollar, 16, of Hungary to capture the Girls’ 18s title, 6-3, 6-7 (7), 6-0.

 

Kenin held a 4-2 lead in the second-set tiebreaker, but couldn’t clinch it on two match points as Stollar played several huge points to stay alive, including a clutch down-the-line backhand winner down 5-6.

 

“She set the point up really good; it’s not like I just missed,” said Kenin, the No. 2 seed, who had another chance at the win up 7-6 but was unable to convert.

 

The fourth-seeded Stollar served tough to make it 8-7 and then Kenin served and hit a backhand wide to send it to a third set. Kenin didn’t think Stollar could keep up the high level of play and overpowered her to win the third set easily.

 

“I didn’t want to lose the whole match just because I had lost two match points,” said Kenin, visibly shaken and distraught heading into the third set. “It was really upsetting.”

 

Kenin will now try and pull off the double Carson and ASICS Easter Bowl 18s titles, something accomplished players Melanie Oudin (2007) and CiCi Bellis have done (2014) in recent years.

 

“I want to try and win the Easter Bowl,” said Kenin, who spoke to her mother by phone after the win. “She won’t even watch the live scores. She just sits there and won’t do anything. She gets too nervous.”

 

Stollar said she will return home to Budapest, Hungary, and begin training on red clay for the Junior French Open. “It wasn’t my day and my serve wasn’t on,” she said.

 

Blumberg played solidly and kept more balls in plan than his opponent, despite the windy conditions. For the past six months I’ve really been working on being way more aggressive and cutting off the angles on the forehand,” Blumberg said. “I did a good job of doing that yesterday against Nathan (Ponwith). I can be scrappy; I can play defense.”

 

Said Kecmanovic: “He made me miss a lot today. The conditions were OK. It was a good experience and I was glad I made it all the way to the final.”

 

For the complete final draws, go to:www.usta.com/isc.

 

Boys’ 18 Singles (Semifinal Round)

William Blumberg (1) (Greenwich, CT) def. Miomir Kecmanovic (2) (Boca Raton, FL)  6-2, 6-4

 

Girls’ 18 Singles (Semifinal Round)

Sonya Kenin (2) (Pembroke Pines, FL)  def.  Fanni Stollar (4) (Bradenton, Fla.) 6-3, 6-7 (7), 6-0

Written by Steve Pratt

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