2014/07/23

Atlanta Open Tuesday Wrap

 

(July 22, 2014) ATLANTA – It was college night here at Atlantic Station!  There were Panthers, Owls, Yellow Jackets, and Bulldogs – Oh My!  At the USTA Family Zone, Kennesaw State University, Georgia State, and Georgia Tech mascots all helped to promote tennis this afternoon with some fun and games for fans.  The University of Georgia Pep Band serenaded the crowd with some tunes and tried to fire them up for the evening.

Speaking of UGA, in his news conference this afternoon, former Bulldog John Isner elaborated on his college experience; “I wouldn’t be where I am today.  Coach Diaz was so instrumental to me!  It was perfect.  There’s no hurry at 17, 18 years old to get out on the tour.”  He feels that almost every young player could benefit from the experience of playing in college and being part of a team experience.  When asked about multiple withdrawals and the pressure of being the marquee name in the tournament, Isner said, “It’s disappointing not to have those guys in the field this year.  It’s a very tough field.  I hope the fans come out as they always do.”  He went on to talk often being the last American standing in tournaments and that he doesn’t he feel any special pressure.  “It’d be better if we had more guys with more success.”  He’s really looking forward to the hard court season and indicated it was critical to his year.  Atlanta gets that all started in a place where he likes the surface and it is just an hour down the road from Athens where he spent four great years.  He will take on another tour veteran in his second round match.  It will be a match with lots of local interest, as local Robby Ginepri came through in three sets today.

Ginepri took on Sergiy Stakhovsky.  The first set was a tight affair, as Ginepri let a few nerves help Stakhovsky earn a break at two all.  He had a few chances to break back, as Stakhovsky had six double faults, most to the ad court in the opening set alone, but Ginepri finally drew even and earned his way into a tie break.  He owned the breaker, closing it out 7-3.

Ginepri served to open the second set and was broken early.  Stakhovsky ran out to a 4-0 lead with another break and it looked like Ginepri was ready to concede the set when Stakhovsky got a little loose and Ginepri got one of the breaks back.  It almost looked as if Stakhovsky was trying to extend the set to tire Ginepri, though he finally hung on to force the third set.

Turned out it was Ginepri who was saving himself.  He called on his veteran poise and settled in, winning all of the points on his first serve in the deciding set.  He never faced a break point.  It did not hurt that he converted all of his break points and 9 of Stakhovsky’s 10 second serve points.

The feature match was a decidedly collegiate affair.  A few players from Kennesaw State University, Georgia State University, and Georgia Tech tossed a few shirts into the crowd to get everyone fired up.  After some loud barking, University of Georgia great and Heisman Trophy winner Herschel Walker came out to do the coin toss for the Lukas Lacko v Nathan Pasha match.  Pasha is a player for Coach Manuel Diaz at Georgia.  He had a very good year, but had been taking some time off to rest and only got word four days ago that he had a wild card.  Despite some nerves, Pasha came out serving hard with a 135 MPH ace in the first game.  Unfortunately, he was soon broken and the set was Lacko’s, 6-2.  The second set was a much more even affair until Pasha earned a break to put him up 5-3, serving for the set.  Four double faults undid what he had earned and Lacko got a firm handle on the doorknob that Pasha could not find and slammed the door shut for a 6-2, 7-5 win.  Pasha showed lots of game and lots of promise.

In other action, Ryan Harrison fell to Tim Smyczek 6-0, 6-2.  Harrison was broken on his first two service games and never got on track.  Reports indicate he is dealing with some sort of foot injury.  Blisters, a stress fracture, and a broken foot have all been speculated, though no confirmation on any of those was available.  He has partnered with Robby Ginepri and they already completed their first round match, so a withdrawal would certainly be another disappointment for the tournament.

In other first round action, Marinko Matosevic made short work of Victor Estrella Burgos 6-0, 6-2.  John Patrick Smith fell to Illya Marchenko 6-4, 6-4.  Jack Sock beat Alejandro Gonzalez for the first time of the day 6-2, 6-4.  Rajeev Ram lost to Denis Istomin 6-1,6-4 and Benjamin Becker beat Mattew Ebden 6-4, 6-2.

The evening concluded with an entertaining doubles match on stadium court.   Colombians Alejandro Conzalez and Juan-Carlos Spir took on Vasek Pospisil and Jack Sock.  Unfortunately for Gonzalez, he couldn’t take advantage of the second chance.  Sock earned an early break with an outlandish overhead off a smash.  Yes, an overhead off of a smash – the ball was slammed into the court so hard it came down like a lob and Sock timed it right back forcing a volley error.  That was all they needed to claim the set, as the only other break point was saved by Pospisil/Sock.  The second set only had 4 break points, with Pospisil/Sock saving both of theirs while converting one of the Colombians’ pair.  The final point of the match had a short delay, as a ball girl was the recipient of a rather hard Sock service fault.  It was one very well earned tattoo and rewarded with the ball autographed.  Sock apologized profusely, but play continued and they closed it out 6-4, 6-4.

Wednesday’s play will feature Sam Querrey facing Dudi Sela for the 7 PM match.  Here is the rest of the order of play:

ORDER OF PLAY – WEDNESDAY, JULY 23, 2014
STADIUM start 2:00 pm
[3] C Guccione (AUS) / J Smith (AUS) vs J Erlich (ISR) / R Ram (USA)
[Q] M Venus (NZL) vs J Sock (USA)

Not Before 7:00 pm
[9] S Querrey (USA) vs D Sela (ISR)
YACHT ROCK REVUE CONCERT

AJC GRANDSTAND start 2:00 pm
N Barrientos (COL) / V Estrella Burgos (DOM) vs S Ratiwatana (THA) / S Ratiwatana (THA)
[Q] I Marchenko (UKR) vs [4] V Pospisil (CAN)
After Suitable Rest – M Ebden (AUS) / Y Lu (TPE) vs [2] S Gonzalez (MEX) / S Lipsky (USA)

COURT 3 start 3:00 pm

[7] Y Lu (TPE) vs [LL] A Kuznetsov (USA)
L Lacko (SVK) or [WC] N Pasha (USA) vs [6] D Istomin (UZB)

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Querrey Opens with a Win in Atlanta

By Herman Wood

(July 21, 2014) ATLANTA -  The US Open Series officially is underway!  Fittingly, Americans Sam Querrey and Steve Johnson got things going.  The doubles partners, and good friends, played a very tight match, with Querrey winning out 7-6(3), 7-5.  Querrey fired 20 aces while saving the only break point he faced.  He converted 1 of 2 break points and that was all the difference.  Johnson only won 22% of the points Querrey served.  The two will take on Denis Istomin and Marinko Matosevic later in the doubles portion of the tournament.

 

After an impressive opening ceremony honoring our military, another American, Donald Young took on Dudi Sela.  Unfortunately for Young, Sela had his number.  It was not Young’s best night, as he struggled with consistency and could never get control of the match.  The second set really seemed to get away from him, as Sela closed him out 6-3, 6-0.  The crowd warmed up to Sela and gave him a nice hand as he left the court.

 

In doubles play, the paring of Becker/Moser dominated Lovett/OShaughnessey 6-2, 6-0.  The featured doubles match in the stadium was a much tighter and entertaining affair.  The British brothers Ken & Neal Skupski (via LSU) took on Ryan Harrison, who partnered up with local Robby Ginepri.  Each side broke serve only once, splitting sets, forcing a tiebreak to decide the match.  Harrison hit the shot of the tournament so far, with a screaming forehand around the net post for a winner.  The match kept the crowd on the edge of its seat all evening.  Ginepri/Harrison saved two match points, one with a clutch forehand passing shot, overcoming the Skupski bros 4-6, 6-3, 11-9.  It was a new pairing, and both men seemed very pleased with the pairing.  Ginepri said “Love playin’ here in the ATL.”

 

As of this writing, matches scheduled for Tuesday are below.  The evening match on stadium court will feature Nathan Pasha of the University of Georgia.  Herschel Walker, UGA football great, will be on hand to get things underway.  Expect barking – lots of barking.

 

RESULTS – MONDAY, 21 JULY 2014

Singles – First Round
[9] S Querrey (USA) d S Johnson (USA) 76(3) 75
D Sela (ISR) d D Young (USA) 63 60

Doubles – First Round

[WC] R Ginepri (USA) / R Harrison (USA) d [4] K Skupski (GBR) / N Skupski (GBR) 46 63 11-9
B Becker (GER) / F Moser (GER) d [WC] K Lovett (USA) / B O’Shaughnessey (USA) 62 60


SCHEDULE – TUESDAY, 22 JULY 2014

STADIUM start 2:00 pm
T Smyczek (USA) vs [WC] R Harrison (USA)
[WC] R Ginepri (USA) vs S Stakhovsky (UKR)
D Sharan (IND) / D Young (USA) vs K King (USA) / M Venus (NZL)
Not Before 7:00 pm
L Lacko (SVK) vs [WC] N Pasha (USA)
[1] V Pospisil (CAN) / J Sock (USA) vs A Gonzalez (COL) / J Spir (COL)

AJC GRANDSTAND start 2:00 pm

[LL] R Ram (USA) vs [6] D Istomin (UZB)
J Sock (USA) vs A Gonzalez (COL)
[Q] J Smith (AUS) vs [Q] I Marchenko (UKR)
S Johnson (USA) / S Querrey (USA) vs D Istomin (UZB) / M Matosevic (AUS)

COURT 3 start 1:00 pm

V Estrella Burgos (DOM) vs [8] M Matosevic (AUS)
[Q] S Diez (CAN) vs [LL] T de Bakker (NED)
M Ebden (AUS) vs B Becker (GER)

 

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Monday Dispatch from Atlanta – Withdrawals Provide Opportunities

BB&TAtlantaOpen

By Herman Wood

(July 21, 2014) ATLANTA- Qualifying wrapped up on Monday in Atlanta at the BB&T Open, with the weather finally cooperating. Qualifying dodged rain all weekend, with the second round ending up under the lights last night.  Unfortunately, the qualifying matches today were almost an afterthought with the main draw withdrawals.

Radek Stepanek withdrew due to an injury over the weekend.  He posted on his twitter account “Sad to pull out of the @BBTatlantaopen this week but had fun talking to the media here and signing some autographs :)” along with a picture of a young fan.  Gael Monfils and Richard Gasquet also withdrew, leaving the tournament in a bad spot.  Of the 24 players entered in qualifying, seven will make the main draw, apparently with one directly advancing to the second round.

There was some other ball played this afternoon, with Wimbledon doubles champ Jack Sock getting some basketball tips from Atlanta Hawk Demarre Carroll at a hoop set up by the team just off the USTA YouthTennis court.  Turned out Carroll got schooled in a game of HORSE.  Sock returned the favor with a tennis lesson for Carroll on the court afterwards and then had a press conference with his Wimbledon partner, Vasek Pospisil.  The two will be the top seed in the doubles draw.

Young Americans have quite an opportunity with the withdrawals.  Scheduled matches today feature world number 61 Sam Querrey playing number 64 Steve Johnson.  Official opening ceremonies will follow and lead into local Donald Young playing Dudi Sela.  Another local, Robby Ginepri, will team up with Rhyne Harrison to take on the British duo of Ken and Neal Skupski in the opening round of doubles once the singles match concludes.

 

Herman Wood is in Atlanta covering the BB&T Open action from around the grounds for Tennis Panorama News, follow him on twitter at https://twitter.com/hermanewood.

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Wozniacki Captures Istanbul Title

 

(July 20, 2014) In a match-up between the top two seeds, Caroline Wozniacki destroyed second seed Roberta Vinci 6-1, 6-1 in 67 minutes on Sunday to win the Istanbul Cup. The title gave the Dane her first tournament victory of 2014.

Wozniacki said:”I’m happy to have won my 22nd WTA title – it’s a great feeling! I’m happy how the final went today. I served well and pushed her around the court, and I really dictated the match.”

“I tried to play aggressively like always but made a lot of mistakes, Vinci said. “It’s tough to play like that against Caroline because she puts everything back in the court, and it was tough for me to stay in the rallies today. But I’m happy with my week and Caroline just played much better than me.”

World No. 15 Wozniacki has captured at least one title each year since 2008. She has 22 tournament wins in her career.

The 24-year-old Wozniacki has the fourth-most WTA titles among active players, trailing Serena Williams, Venus Williams and Maria Sharapova.

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Leonardo Mayer Wins First ATP Title with Upset Over Top Seed David Ferrer

By Florian Heer

 

(July 20, 2014) HAMBURG – Sunday’s final at Hamburg saw top-seed David Ferrer and Leonardo Mayer clash for the second time with the Spaniard having won their only previous meeting in s’Hertogenbosch two years ago.

Sunday’s match was an even affair with a couple of close rallies. Ferrer took the opening set after 58 minutes but lost his service in the fourth game of the second and also a bit of his rhythm. Consequently, Mayer took the match the distance in the seventh game. The Argentine showed an impressive performance with big serves – a lot fired with more than 200 km/h (124 mph) – solid groundstrokes with good length and some hard hitting forehands. The world No. 46 from Buenos Aires fully deserved his maiden title on the ATP World Tour and eventually emerged victorious after two hours and 20 minutes winning 6-7 (3), 6-1, 7-6(4).

“Leonardo was simply better today in the entire match,” Ferrer said. “I was a bit nervous in the important moments and he played more aggressively than me.”

“It was a positive week but I’m sad because I lost the final. I will go back home now and have a rest for a few days before I’ll prepare for the hard court season starting in Toronto and Cincinnati,” the Spaniard said.

Leonardo Mayer

The winner was understandably overwhelmed. “Today is a very special day. So far, I haven’t really realized that I won the match. This is simply unbelievable. I really wanted to win the match. Still on court, I called my girl-friend, my family and my team, who was watching the final on TV,” Mayer told the media in Spanish, as he is still too shy to speak in English. “I promise that I will take a teacher with me next year that I can answer the questions in English. I am able to speak but I’m nervous and I do not feel comfortable,” the Argentine added. “Tomorrow I’ll fly back to Argentina and then I am going to play the US Open,” Mayer said about his upcoming schedule.

In the doubles final the team of Marin Draganja and Florian Mergea beat the tournament’s top-seeds Alexander Peya and Bruno Soares in straight sets winning 6-4, 7-5 in 78 minutes taking their maiden title as a tandem on the ATP World Tour. “We beat a very, very good team today. We were happy to enter the draw and gaining the title here is amazing,” Draganja was happy afterwards.

Earlier the day, tournament director Michael Stich spoke to the media about the 108th edition am Rothenbaum. “We’re very satisfied with this week. With David Ferrer, we had a top-ten player in our field, who made it into the final to face the first Argentine here since Juan Mónaco, which is a very interesting affair. Of course, I would have loved to see the defending champion Fabio Fognini staying a bit longer in the tournament but that’s sports,” the former Wimbledon champion said.

“In the future we will try to present the fans a mixture of top players and the new younger generation. I think there will be generation change on the ATP World Tour and we will see new Grand Slam Champions like Dimitrov or Raonic maybe in two years’ time. That’s why we also made a long-term contract with Alexander Zverev to play here in Hamburg for the next five years. Nonetheless, it will remain our own demand to present players ranked within the top-3,” Stich told and added that around 60,000 spectators came to the venue this year.

 

Florian Heer travels the tennis tour with a focus on ATP Challenger events and the ITF Futures Circuit.  Follow his twitter account @Florian _Heer.

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Top Seed Ferrer Ends German Teen Zverev’s Run in Hamburg

David Ferrer

David Ferrer

 

By Florian Heer

(July 19, 2014) HAMBURG – The 48-man draw in Hamburg has been whittled down to just four players, who stepped into action on Saturday for the semi-finals.

In the highly expected match of the day top-seed David Ferrer took on talented youngster Alexander Zverev, who is enjoying a breakthrough week in his home city. The 17-year-old German has already become the youngest player ever to reach the semi-final at an ATP 500 event but the world No. 7 was too strong in this match. Most of the longer rallies went in favour for Ferrer and Zverev was only able to win 50% of his first service points. The 32-year-old Spaniard served the match out in only 55 minutes winning 6-0, 6-1 and booked his place for his second final of season after he had taken the title in Buenos Aires.

“Today I played point by point and remained focused on my serve. When I won the third game of the second set, Alex lost a bit of his focus. He played a lot of matches this week. Maybe he was also a bit tired. Nonetheless, he will have a very good future. He has a very good service and plays in a pretty intelligent way,” Ferrer said.

“With every day more here in Hamburg, I gained more confidence with my game. In the first two matches this week, I only played well in some moments but yesterday and today I was more consistent,” said the Spaniard about his game.

“Taking on Leonardo will be tough for sure. He is playing a good week with a lot of confidence, even maybe his best tennis ever. I try to do my best in tomorrow’s final.”

Alexander Zverev

Alexander Zverev

“It was a great experience taking on a top ten player but David was simply too good for me today” Zverev said. “Nonetheless, I’m still proud that I reached the semis in Hamburg. I’m only 17, so I don’t think it is a shame to be within the last four at an ATP 500 event.”

The teen, who already knew that he will crack the top 200 with a place around 160 on Monday in the ATP World Tour rankings, said: “I hope that I can hold this level for Umag next week. So there won’t be a lot of time to celebrate, as I will fly to Croatia tomorrow for practice sessions in the evening,” the German teenager revealed.

 

Seventh-seeded Philipp Kohlschreiber went up against an in-form Leonardo Mayer in the first match of the day. Before Saturday’s match, the German had not been able to gain a single set against the man from Buenos Aires in two previous meetings and the match in Hamburg should not become an exception. Kohlschreiber lost his serve four times and two of the breaks he suffered took place at unpleasant moments for the German. The first occurred on set point in the twelfth game of the opening frame and the other one on match point in the tenth of the second set. After one hour and 28 minutes, Mayer sealed victory winning 7-5, 6-4 to advance into his second final of the year after Viňa del Mar in February but his first on ATP 500 level.

Consequently, the winner was in a good mood afterwards. “I’m satisfied with my performance today. My service worked very well and I played the points very fast. I’m very happy to reach the final here tomorrow, which will be a nice thing but also a difficult match,” Mayer said. “I beat Philipp two times before, so I knew how to play against him. It was also the revenge for the World Cup final Argentina versus Germany,” the Hamburg finalist laughed.

“Of course I’m disappointed that I couldn’t make it into the final today,” Kohlschreiber said. I tried everything but sometimes I just made the wrong decision. Leonardo made it very difficult for me to get into the match. He was very dominant on court today and it was very hard for me to read his service and his game in general. He put a lot of variety in his second service, which was well placed and with good speed. I think that this gave him the necessary confidence for his return games.”

“Nonetheless, I played a good tournament with some great matches and now I take a rest and in two weeks’ time I will play my last clay court tournament in Kitzbühel,” the 30-year-old German said about his future schedule.

Florian Heer travels the tennis tour with a focus on ATP Challenger events and the ITF Future Circuit!  Follow his twitter account @Florian _Heer.

Results for July 19, 2014

Singles – Semi-finals
[1] [WC] D Ferrer (ESP) d [WC] A Zverev (GER) 60 61
L Mayer (ARG) d [7] P Kohlschreiber (GER) 75 64

Doubles – Semi-finals

M Draganja (CRO) / F Mergea (ROU) d [4] J Murray (GBR) / J Peers (AUS) 61 63

SCHEDULE – SUNDAY, 20 JULY 2014

CENTER COURT start 12:30 pm
[1] A Peya (AUT) / B Soares (BRA) vs M Draganja (CRO) / F Mergea (ROU)

Not Before 15:00
[1] [WC] D Ferrer (ESP) vs L Mayer (ARG)

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German Teen Alexander Zverev Reaches Semis in Hamburg

 

Alexander Zverev

Alexander Zverev

By Florian Heer

(July 18, 2014) HAMBURG – It was quarterfinal action on Friday in Hamburg and play started with an all-German clash between Tobias Kamke and Alexander Zverev. The two wild cards, both reside in Hamburg, met only 17 days ago at the ATP Challenger in Braunschweig, where the emerging youngster gained the title. The only 17-year-old Zverev, last year’s junior world No. 1, has been the story of the week so far. The teenager gained his first victories on the ATP World Tour beating Robin Haase, Mikhail Youzhny and Santiago Giraldo to become the first 17-year-old contesting a quarterfinal of an ATP 500 event since Rafael Nadal in Dubai in 2004.

Zverev, however, had a bumpy start into today’s match, lost his first service game and received a warning after only 8 minutes of play due to racket abuse. The youngster acted like an unforced error machine from the baseline and consequently lost the first set in only 21 minutes to love. The world No. 285 made it on the scoreboard in the second game of the second set and from then on he seemed to find his rhythm.

Supported by the majority of the crowd, Zverev became stronger the longer the match lasted. Eventually, the 17-year-old served the match out winning 0-6, 7-5, 6-3 in two hours and four minutes to become the first player of his age to reach a semifinal at an ATP 500 event since Marin Cilic in Gstaad in 2006.

“Tobias played very well in the first set and I really felt that I needed to change some things. So I played more slices to break his rhythm. I would have lost the match for sure, if Tobias continued to play like this in the beginning. It is really nice to reach the semis here and by the start of this week I wasn’t thinking that this could happen,” said a happy Zverev afterwards.

“It is a goal to crack the top 100 but the players inside this ranking are of another level than the players ranked 180 or 190. It will be a huge challenge for me to get inside this group,” the German youngster stated.

“I haven’t had a clue that David Ferrer is in my half of the draw here until a friend told me this morning during practice. I knew that Pablo (Andújar) is still in the draw as well but I really didn’t know my possible opponent in the semi-finals right after the match,” Zverev explained after he wasn’t able to name his two next possible opponents during the on-court interview.

Kamke was disappointed after the match but found some nice words, though, and was full of respect concerning his opponent. “If Alex stays healthy, I’m convinced that he will have a great future without any limits,” Zverev’s former club teammate stated.

Tournament director Michael Stich seemed to be satisfied as well after the youngster’s victory. “Physically he is still very strong and he plays a very solid game throughout the week. He has strong nerves and simply acts really cool on court. Of course I feel a bit sorry for Tobi but I also hope for a full house tomorrow and that a lot of people will come out to watch the new German tennis hope,” the former Wimbledon champion was looking forward to Saturday’s semi-finals.

In a match of two supposed underdogs Leonardo Mayer faced Dusan Lajovic for the first time. The Argentine defeated Austria’s youngster Dominic Thiem the round before and the 24-year-old Serbian reached the quarterfinal after his 3rd round opponent Filip Krajinovic was forced to retire due to illness. Mayer, who is currently ranked at a career high 46, was untroubled and only had to save one break point in the entire match. After 75 minutes the 27-year-old from Buenos Aires served out winning 6-1, 7-5 to reach his second semi-final of the season.

David Ferrer

David Ferrer

It followed an all-Spanish affair with the tournament’s top-seed David Ferrer taking on Pablo Andújar. On Thursday, the world No. 7 extended his head-to-head lead over Andreas Seppi to 8-0 after seeing off the Italian in three sets in almost three hours. Andújar advanced to his third quarterfinal of the season with a comfortable straight set victory over Dustin Brown. Friday’s encounter was one-way traffic in favour for Ferrer. The 32-year-old from Javea controlled the match right from the beginning and Andújar needed 45 minutes to get on the scoreboard in the third game of the second set. Ferrer sealed victory in 66 minutes winning 6-0, 6-2.

“For sure this has been my best match of the week so far. In the first two matches I didn’t really play good tennis in some moments but today it was much better. I made less errors, played more aggressively with my forehand and I’m happy with my game as well as to be in the semi-finals,” the winner said afterwards.

“I’ve never played with Alexander Zverev before but this week was impressive. Of course I respect him like any other player on the tour. He is a really good player with a good serve and a good forehand. He has a bright future, which is a nice thing for the tennis in Germany. He is not having any pressure and my goal will be to stay focused on every point. I hope that the people will enjoy the match tomorrow,” Ferrer said about his next opponent.

In the final match of the day, the second remaining seeded player, Philipp Kohlschreiber, faced Lukas Rosol for the second time within two weeks. The Czech defeated Hamburg’s seventh seed in straight sets at the Mercedes Cup in Stuttgart last week. This time, Kohlschreiber was able to take revenge through a comfortable victory in 77 minutes winning 6-4, 6-4 and advanced into his fourth semi-final of the season.

 

Florian Heer travels the tennis tour with a focus on ATP Challenger events and the ITF Future Circuit!  Follow his twitter account @Florian _Heer.

 

RESULTS – FRIDAY, 18 JULY 2014

Singles – Quarter-finals
[1] [WC] D Ferrer (ESP) d P Andujar (ESP) 60 62
[7] P Kohlschreiber (GER) d L Rosol (CZE) 64 64
[WC] A Zverev (GER) d [WC] T Kamke (GER) 06 75 63
L Mayer (ARG) d D Lajovic (SRB) 61 75

Doubles – Semi-finals
[1] A Peya (AUT) / B Soares (BRA) d [3] M Granollers (ESP) / M Lopez (ESP) 63 64

SCHEDULE – SATURDAY, 19 JULY 2014

CENTER COURT start 13:00
[4] J Murray (GBR) / J Peers (AUS) vs M Draganja (CRO) / F Mergea (ROU)

Not Before 15:30
[7] P Kohlschreiber (GER) vs L Mayer (ARG)

Not Before 18:00
[1] [WC] D Ferrer (ESP) vs [WC] A Zverev (GER)

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The US Open Series Begins this Weekend in Atlanta

 

BB&TAtlantaOpen

By Herman Wood

(July 17, 2014) ATLANTA – Preparation for the US Open is underway.  The BB&T Atlanta Open gets things started on Saturday, July 19th for the men.  Qualifying begins at 10 AM.  The BB&T Atlanta Open is an ATP 250 event, with a 28 player draw, four of which come from the qualifying tournament.  The qualifying field will have 32 players.  The doubles draw is a 16 team field.  Last year’s champ, John Isner, is returning, along with fellow Americans Sam Querrey, Wimbledon doubles champ Jack Sock, and Donald Young.  Gael Monfils, Richard Gasquet, Radek Stepanek, Ivo Karlovic, Ivan Dodig, Lleyton Hewitt, and the other half of the Wimbledon doubles championship team, Vasek Pospisil, are also expected in the tournament.  The tournament aspires to be a mini US Open, with the venue set among the skyscrapers of downtown Atlanta at Atlantic Station.  Atlantic Station is a community within downtown that provides homes for 10,000 people integrated with shopping, restaurants, and retailers that make it a hit with the players.  Besides the attractive venue, players will get a jump on the US Open Series Bonus Challenge, where nearly $40 million in prize money is up for grabs.  This is the third year the tournament has been held at Atlantic Station.

It is a familiar place for Americans, with Isner winning last year, Roddick in 2012, and Fish in 2011.  It has also been comfortable for big man tennis- last year Isner, at 6’10”, overcame Kevin Anderson at 6’8” in three tiebreaks.  Fans in the first couple of rows certainly had to pay attention with the huge serves coming their way.  It is especially familiar for Isner, who competed collegiately just an hour down the road for the University of Georgia Bulldogs, leading the team to a national championship and winning every possible team title in 2007.  He’s usually a fan favorite, with at least a couple of barks from Georgia fans in his favor at each match.  Isner may not be the only recipient of barks; University of Georgia player Austin Smith has accepted a wild card into the main draw. The sophomore from Cumming, Georgia excelled this season as the Bulldogs captured the 2014 SEC Championship. Smith finished with a 35-12 record, and went 9-1 in SEC matches. He has won four USTA Pro Circuit matches. A tournament qualifier in 2011, Smith will be playing his debut ATP main draw match.

Another American, Jack Sock, could very well get on a roll at this tournament.  After winning doubles with Pospisil at Wimbledon, he rolled into Newport and eliminated Isner in the Newport Hall of Fame event on grass just a week ago.  Unfortunately for him, he wasn’t able to keep that momentum and was eliminated by the veteran Lleyton Hewitt, who went on to win the tournament.  Hewitt’s feisty shouts of “C’mon!” have endeared him to the Atlanta fans in past years.  Fresh off his renewed success at Newport, he could very well win Atlanta.  The main draw was just rounded out with the addition of Ryan Harrison and Robby Ginepri.  “We’re ecstatic to welcome back two of our fan favorites in Ryan Harrison and Atlanta metro resident Robby Ginepri,” Tournament Director Eddie Gonzalez said. “One of our goals is to highlight American talent and both of these players are great examples of the fine players this country has produced.”  Harrison won the doubles last year, partnering with Matthew Ebden.  Ginepri appears for the fourth time, with a onetime ranking of fifteen.  He is a graduate of Wheeler High School, just a few miles north of Atlantic Station.  He currently resides in Kennesaw, another couple of miles north.

The draw will be finalized over this weekend with the completion of the qualifying tournament.  Promising American junior Francis Tiafoe has accepted his first tournament qualifying wild card. Tiafoe, 16, is a talented young prodigy who rose to No. 2 in the world junior rankings this spring. Georgia Tech’s Nathan Rakitt and Alabama’s Becker O’Shaughnessey have also accepted qualifying wild cards. Rakitt, a Marietta native and All-ACC selectee, is competing again for the second year. O’Shaughnessey of Macon, Ga., led the Crimson Tide in singles wins (22) this season.

Herman Wood is in Atlanta covering the BB&T Open action from around the grounds for Tennis Panorama News, follow him on twitter at https://twitter.com/hermanewood.

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Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal to Headline U. S. Open

2011-US-Open-Tennis-Tournament

White Plains, N.Y., July 17, 2014 – The USTA announced that world No. 1 Novak Djokovic and defending champion Rafael Nadal lead the men’s singles field for the 2014 US Open Tennis Championships. The field features six former US Open champions, including Djokovic (2011), two-time champion Nadal (2010, 2013), five-time champion Roger Federer (2004-08), Andy Murray (2012), Juan Martin del Potro (2009) and Lleyton Hewitt (2001).

Each of the world’s top 104 men received direct entry into the US Open, representing 36 countries.

The 2014 US Open will be played August 25 through September 8 at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing, N.Y. The US Open Men’s Singles Championship is presented by Mercedes-Benz.

Leading the entry list is Djokovic, the Serbian world No. 1 who has reached the US Open final every year since 2010. He won his seventh major title earlier this month at Wimbledon, beating Federer in five sets, after which he reclaimed the world No. 1 ranking from Nadal.

Nadal, the world No. 2, defeated Djokovic in four sets last year to win his second US Open championship, joining Federer (2007) as the only men to win the Emirates Airline US Open Series and US Open titles in the same year. This spring, the Spaniard won his record ninth French Open title, giving him 14 Grand Slam singles championships, tied with Pete Sampras for second all-time.

World No. 3 Federer, of Switzerland, is the all-time leader with 17 major singles titles, and was bidding for his eighth Wimbledon title this month before falling to Djokovic in the five-set final. Federer is competing for his sixth US Open title, which would surpass Pete Sampras and Jimmy Connors for the most US Open men’s singles titles in the Open Era.

Stanislas Wawrinka, the Swiss No. 4 and a 2013 US Open semifinalist, won his first major singles championship at the Australian Open this year, joining del Potro (2009 US Open) as the only men outside the “Big Four” of Djokovic, Nadal, Federer and Murray to win a Grand Slam since the 2005 French Open.

Filling out the field’s top 10 are No. 5 Tomas Berdych, of the Czech Republic, a 2012 US Open semifinalist and 2010 Wimbledon finalist; No. 6 Milos Raonic, of Canada, a 2014 Wimbledon semifinalist; No. 7 David Ferrer, of Spain, a French Open finalist (2013) and two-time US Open semifinalist (2007, 2012); No. 8 and 2009 US Open champion Juan Martin del Potro, of Argentina; No. 9 Grigor Dimitrov, of Bulgaria, a 2014 Wimbledon semifinalist; and No. 10 Andy Murray, the 2012 US Open champion and 2013 Wimbledon champion.

American men who received direct entry are No. 12 John Isner, of Greensboro, N.C., No. 62 Sam Querrey, of Las Vegas, Nevada, No. 64 Steve Johnson, of Orange, Calif., No. 69 Jack Sock, of Lincoln, Neb., No. 70 Donald Young, of Atlanta, and No. 77 Bradley Klahn, of Poway, Calif.

Germany’s Dustin Brown, ranked No. 104, is the last man to receive direct entry into the field of 128. No players used protected or special rankings to gain direct entry. Sixteen more players will gain entry through the US Open Qualifying Tournament, held August 19-22, while the eight remaining spots are wild cards awarded by the USTA.

Among the players competing in the US Open Qualifying Tournament will be the winner of the fifth annual US Open National Playoffs – Men’s Championship, held during the Emirates Airline US Open Series women’s event in New Haven, Conn., prior to the US Open Qualifying Tournament. The USTA created the US Open National Playoffs in 2010 to allow players 14 and older, regardless of playing ability or nationality, to vie for a spot in the US Open Qualifying Tournament via one of 13 sectional qualifying tournaments.

The July 14 edition of the Emirates ATP World Tour rankings was used to determine the US Open main draw entry list. Seeds will be determined and announced closer to the start of the event.

The 2014 US Open will mark the culmination of the Emirates Airline US Open Series, the North American summer season of eight ATP World Tour and WTA events that begin this Monday, July 21. The US Open is the highest-attended annual sporting event in the world and will again be televised domestically on CBS Sports, ESPN and Tennis Channel, with international coverage reaching more than 180 countries.

The 2014 US Open will be played from Monday, August 25 through Monday, September 8. Tickets can be purchased: at USOpen.org; by calling Ticketmaster at 1-866-OPEN-TIX; at all Ticketmaster outlets; at the box office at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.

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Serena Williams Leads U.S. Open Women’s Field

2012 US Open

 

U.S. Tennis Association -White Plains, N.Y., July 16, 2014 – The USTA  announced that world No. 1 and two-time defending champion Serena Williams leads the women’s field for the 2014 US Open Tennis Championships. Williams is joined by 103 of the world’s top 105 women, including reigning French Open and former US Open champion Maria Sharapova, Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova, two-time US Open champion Venus Williams and former US Open champions Samantha Stosur and Svetlana Kuznetsova.

In total, 36 different countries are represented in the women’s field. Eleven U.S. women received entry into the main draw – the most of any country – with nine Americans ranked in the Top 50.

The 2014 US Open will be played August 25 through September 8 at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing, N.Y. The US Open Women’s Singles Championship is presented by JPMorgan Chase.

Leading the entry list is world No. 1 Serena Williams, who won her fifth US Open crown in 2013, trying her with Steffi Graf for the second-most US Open women’s singles title in the Open Era, trailing only Chris Evert, with six. Williams has won 17 Grand Slam singles titles overall, which ranks sixth all-time, just one behind Evert and Martina Navratilova (18).

Joining Williams in the field’s top four are world No. 2 Li Na, of China, Asia’s first and only Grand Slam champion, who won her second major singles title at the 2014 Australian Open; No. 3 Simona Halep, of Romania, a 2014 French Open finalist and Wimbledon semifinalist, and No. 4 Kvitova, of the Czech Republic, who won her second Grand Slam and Wimbledon singles title earlier this month.

Following the top four are No. 5 Agnieszka Radwanska, of Poland, the first Polish player to reach a Grand Slam singles final (2012 Wimbledon); No. 6 Sharapova, of Russia, the 2006 US Open champion who won her fifth Grand Slam singles title this year at the French Open; No. 7 Eugenie Bouchard, of Canada, who reached her first Grand Slam singles final this summer at Wimbledon and also advanced to the semifinals of the French Open and Australian Open this year; No. 8 Angelique Kerber, of Germany, a two-time US Open semifinalist (2011-12); No. 9 Jelena Jankovic, of Serbia, a former world No. 1 and US Open finalist (2008), and No. 10 Victoria Azarenka, of Belarus, a former world No. 1 and two-time Australian Open champion (2012-13) who has been the US Open runner-up to Williams each of the last two years.

Ten players who have won Grand Slam singles titles in their careers are competing in the US Open this year, including former world No. 1 and 2008 French Open champion Ana Ivanovic, of Serbia, and 2010 French Open champion Francesca Schiavone, of Italy.

France’s Virginie Razzano, ranked No. 105, is the last player accepted directly into the women’s field of 128. Two players have withdrawn due to injury, No. 82 Alisa Kleybanova, of Russia, and No. 90 Victoria Duval, of the United States, who is undergoing treatment after being diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. One player is using a special ranking to gain entry into the main draw – No. 40 Romina Oprandi, of Switzerland. Sixteen more players will gain entry through the US Open Qualifying Tournament, August 19-22, while the remaining eight spots are wild cards awarded by the USTA.

In addition to Serena Williams, the other American women who received direct entry into this year’s tournament include No. 22 Sloane Stephens, of Coral Springs, Fla., No. 25 Venus Williams, of Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., No. 27 Madison Keys, of Rock Island, Ill., No. 41 Coco Vandeweghe, of Rancho Santa Fe, Calif., No. 43 Alison Riske, of Pittsburgh, No. 44 Lauren Davis, of Gates Mills, Ohio, No. 49 Varvara Lepchenko, of Allentown, Pa., No. 51 Christina McHale, of Teaneck, N.J., No. 76 Vania King, of Monterey Park, Calif., and No. 104 Shelby Rogers, of Charleston, S.C.

Several of the young Americans listed above have had breakout performances on the WTA tour this year. Keys, 19, and Vandeweghe, 22, each won their first WTA singles titles on the same weekend this June, the first time in 12 years two American women won WTA titles in the same week. Rogers, 21, and McHale, 22, both made their first WTA final appearances, while Davis, 20, advanced to the third round of both Wimbledon and the Australian Open this year.

Among the players competing in the US Open Qualifying Tournament will be the winner of the fifth annual US Open National Playoffs – Women’s Championship, held during the Emirates Airline US Open Series event in New Haven, Conn., prior to the US Open Qualifying Tournament. The USTA created the US Open National Playoffs in 2010 to allow players 14 and older, regardless of playing ability or nationality, to vie for a spot in the US Open Qualifying Tournament via one of 13 sectional qualifying tournaments.

The July 14 edition of the WTA rankings was used to determine the US Open main draw entry list. Seeds will be determined and announced closer to the start of the event.

The 2014 US Open will mark the culmination of the Emirates Airline US Open Series, the North American summer season of eight ATP World Tour and WTA events that begin this Monday, July 21. The US Open is the highest-attended annual spring event in the world and will again be broadcast domestically on CBS Sports, ESPN and Tennis Channel, with international broadcasts reaching 180 countries.

The 2014 US Open will be played form Monday, August 25 through Monday, September 8. Tickets can be purchased: at USOpen.org; by calling Ticketmaster at 1-866-OPEN-TIX; at all Ticketmaster outlets; at the box office at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.

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