August 27, 2015

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

Nadal McEnroe at Randalls Island

By Vito Ellison

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

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

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

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

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

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2015 US Open Seeds Announced

Serena Williams

Serena Williams

(August 25, 2015) FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – The USTA has announced the seeds for the 2015 US Open which begins on August 31st. Going for the Grand Slam is top seed Serena Williams for the women and Novak Djokovic aiming for his third major of the year is the No. men’s seed.

 

2015 US Open Women’s Singles Seeds

 

1.    Serena Williams, United States

2.    Simona Halep, Romania

3.    Maria Sharapova, Russia

4.    Caroline Wozniacki, Denmark

5.    Petra Kvitova, Czech Republic

6.    Lucie Safarova, Czech Republic

7.    Ana Ivanovic, Serbia

8.    Karolina Pliskova, Czech Republic

9.    Garbiñe Muguruza, Spain

10.  Carla Suarez Navarro, Spain

11.  Angelique Kerber, Germany

12.  Belinda Bencic, Switzerland

13.  Ekaterina Makarova, Russia

14.  Timea Bacsinszky, Switzerland

15.  Agnieszka Radwanska, Poland

16.  Sara Errani, Italy

17.  Elina Svitolina, Ukraine

18.  Andrea Petkovic, Germany

19.  Madison Keys, United States

20.  Victoria Azarenka, Belarus

21.  Jelena Jankovic, Serbia

22.  Samantha Stosur, Australia

23.  Venus Williams, United States

24.  Sabine Lisicki, Germany

25.  Eugenie Bouchard, Canada

26.  Flavia Pennetta, Italy

27.  Alizé Cornet, France

28.  Irina-Camelia Begu, Romania

29.  Sloane Stephens, United States

30.  Svetlana Kuznetsova, Russia

31.  Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, Russia

32.  Anna Karolina Schmiedlova, Slovakia

 

228 Djokovic being interviewed-001

2015 US Open Men’s Singles Seeds

 

1.    Novak Djokovic, Serbia

2.    Roger Federer, Switzerland

3.    Andy Murray, Great Britain

4.    Kei Nishikori, Japan

5.    Stan Wawrinka, Switzerland

6.    Tomas Berdych, Czech Republic

7.    David Ferrer, Spain

8.    Rafael Nadal, Spain

9.    Marin Cilic, Croatia

10.  Milos Raonic, Canada

11.  Gilles Simon, France

12.  Richard Gasquet, France

13.  John Isner, United States

14.  David Goffin, Belgium

15.  Kevin Anderson, South Africa

16.  Gael Monfils, France

17.  Grigor Dimitrov, Bulgaria

18.  Feliciano Lopez, Spain

19.  Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, France

20.  Dominic Thiem, Austria

21.  Ivo Karlovic, Croatia

22.  Viktor Troicki, Serbia

23.  Roberto Bautista Agut, Spain

24.  Bernard Tomic, Australia

25.  Andreas Seppi, Italy

26.  Tommy Robredo, Spain

27.  Jeremy Chardy, France

28.  Jack Sock, United States

29.  Philipp Kohlschreiber, Germany

30.  Thomaz Bellucci, Brazil

31.  Guillermo Garcia-Lopez, Spain

32.  Fabio Fognini, Italy

 

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Althea Gibson Week 8/25-29: TPN Talks to ALTHEA Filmmaker Rex Miller

Photo of Althea Gibson and Millicent Miller courtesy of Rex Miller

Photo of Althea Gibson and Millicent Miller courtesy of Rex Miller

(August 24, 2015) NEW YORK, NY – With the celebration of what would have been Althea Gibson’s 88th birthday on August 25, it’s Althea Gibson Week. This week not only commemorates her accomplishments at the US Open, where she won singles titles in 1957 and 1958, but also the national broadcast debut of the documentary film ALTHEA, on PBS’ American Masters, Sept. 4th, 2015 at 9 p.m., with an encore on WNET, New York on the morning of the US Open men’s final on September 13th.

 

All over the New York City area, special screenings of the film will be taking place, before its broadcast television debut.

 

Tennis Panorama had the chance to speak with ALTHEA filmmaker Rex Miller about what this week means to him. Miller’s mother played with and against Gibson.

 

“For me it’s all about Althea, and our team, we call ourselves “team Althea,” Miller said.

“I was fortunate enough to get great people fired up about this project, they’ve put up a lot of work and personally my biggest enthusiasm comes from the film. We are going to be having four events in Harlem this week, and that’s real exciting because that’s where Althea grew up. We had a goal of helping althea get re-recognized. We wanted to take her to icon status, that may or may not happen, I think she deserves that. But to have her recognized, especially in Harlem is just awesome, in Queens and Long Island as well.

 

“Althea’s story to me is important on several levels,” Miller said.

“For the tennis fan, obviously it’s a tennis story, and a sports story. But it’s also a civil rights story because Althea achieved all of this in the early 50’s. I mean she broke the color barrier in 1950, then she went on to win the US Nationals, Forest Hills and Wimbledon in 1957 and 58. This is the time of Emmitt Till, Rosa Parks and lynchings in the south. Long before Arthur Ashe, long before Martin Luther King.

“She really was heroic in having to break down barriers during this time, way back in the early 50s. She overcame all of these obstacles and her achievements span across many areas.

 

“Not only did she breakthrough in tennis, she also played pro golf – the first female African American to be on the LPGA tour.

 

“She sang at the Wimbledon Ball, on the Ed Sullivan Show live. She was in a John Wayne film, directed by John Ford.” Gibson also made an album. On top of all of this, Gibson also earned a college degree at Florida A&M.

 

“She’s a role model for kids today of any ethnic group,” Miller said. “So her story is important.”

 

There is also an outreach component to the film in which many schools have had screenings of the film which have been successful. “It has worked so well that we are working with our various outreach partners, including the USTA and setting screenings over the next year.”

“We also plan on renovating two Black history tennis sites” – the backyard courts of Dr. Hubert Eaton in Wilmington, NC and tennis Hall of Famer Dr. Robert W. Johnson of Lynchburgh, VA who coached Arthur Ashe.

 

For more information about the film http://www.altheathefilm.com/ Follow on twitter at https://twitter.com/AltheaFilm

 

Here is a list of scheduled events for Althea Gibson Week:

Aug 25 : Harlem Junior Tennis & Education program

The Harlem Junior Tennis & Education Program will host a viewing of the Althea at the Harlem Armory where Althea trained and competed. Katrina Adams, Dante Brown, Directors. Filmmaker Rex Miller will join the audience for a Q/A following the screening.

For more info please visit hjtep.org

 

DATE: Tuesday, August 25 2015

TIME: 1:00pm to 3:00pm

LOCATION: Harlem Armory – 40 West 143rd Street NY, NY 10037

TICKETS: Open to all – Please RSVP (212) 491-3738

 

Aug 25 : Films at the Schomburg

The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture Presents AMERICAN MASTERS, ALTHEA: Remarks by Neal Shapiro, President & CEO WNET and Michael Kantor, Executive Producer, American Masters, excerpts from the film, a discussion and reception with  The Honorable David N. Dinkins, Art Carrington, and director Rex Miller. Talk-back with guests following the screening.

For more info please visit Films at The Schomburg

 

DATE: Tuesday, August 25 2015

TIME: 6:00pm to 9:00pm

LOCATION: The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture , Langston Hughes Auditorium – 515 Malcolm X Boulevard NY

TICKETS: Seating Limited Registration Required

Registration: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/films-at-the-schomburg-althea-tickets-17953871513

 

Aug 26 : Queens Day at the museum

The Queens Museum presents the Queens Premiere of ALTHEA, as part of Queens Day at the US Open.

For more info Queens Museum/info@queensmuseum.org

 

DATE: Wednesday, August 26, 2015

TIME: 6:30pm

LOCATION: Queens Museum, New York City Building, Flushing Meadows Corona Park Queens, NY 11368

TICKETS: RSVP  info@queensmuseum.org or (718) 592-9700

 

Aug 27: US Open Draw Ceremony

 

DATE: Thursday, August 27 2015

 

Aug 27: ImageNation Cinema Foundation presents a screening of ALTHEA.

Doors open at 6:30pm / Screening at 7pm, Q&A with director Rex Miller to follow.

Free! $5 suggested donation.

Please visit www.imagenation.us to learn about the #iLoveSoulCinema crowdfunder.

 

http://www.imagenation.us/

 

ImageNation’s RAW SPACE,

2031 Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Blvd., New York, NY 10027

(bet. 121st & 122nd)

 

rsvp@imagenation.us

 

Aug 28 : The West Side Tennis Club, Forest Hills

The West Side Tennis Club, Forest Hills, hosts a screening of ALTHEA. Reception and outdoor screening on the grass courts just after sunset. Visit the legendary site of Althea’s groundbreaking 1950 match against Louise Brough, and her 1957/58 US National titles. In the shadow of the grand old stadium, built in 1923 and recently renovated, the film will be viewed after sunset on a 20′ screen. Cocktails available beforehand. Q&A with director Rex Miller to follow. For more info Forest Hills

 

DATE: Friday, August 28 2015

TIME: 8:00pm

LOCATION: The West Side Tennis Club – 1 Tennis Pl, Forest Hills, NY

TICKETS: Open to public, please RSVP as seating is limited

(718)268-2300 Ext 115  Attn: Bob Ingersole

 

Aug 29 : The Jungle: Re-dedication of courts

The David Dinkins Tennis Club at The Jungle presents, “A re-dedication of the Althea Gibson and Sydney Llewellyn courts at The Jungle public courts”, 7th Avenue and 150th St., Harlem, in honor of those who have contributed to the Jungle’s legacy. This year’s inductees will be David Dinkins and tennis great Bob Ryland. The ceremony will start at 10:00 AM. It will be followed by a party for kids and their parents, in conjunction with our weekly “Free 10 and Under Family Tennis/Reading Program.” All are welcome!

For more info please visit The David Dinkins Tennis Club

 

DATE: Tuesday, August 29 2015

TIME: 10:00am

LOCATION: The Jungle public courts – 7th Avenue and 150th St., Harlem NY, NY

*Parking is available up the school’s ramp next to the park at 7th Avenue and 150th St.

TICKETS: FREE – All are welcome!

 

Aug 29 : Long Island Premiere

Long Island Premiere screening of ALTHEA, presented by the Gold Coast Film Festival. Q&A with director Rex Miller to follow.

This premiere is sponsored in partnership with the USTA Eastern Long Island Region.

For more info please visit Gold Coast International Film Festival

 

DATE: Saturday, August 29 2015

TIME: Doors 7:00pm; Screening 7:30pm

LOCATION: Soundview Cinemas, Port Washington, NY

TICKETS: Regular $15 / Student $10

 

TICKETS: http://goldcoastfilmfestival.org/althea/

 

Karen Pestaina for Tennis Panorama

 

Related article:

Althea Gibson Documentary Project “Althea” Selected for Film Festivals

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ATP Completes Review Into Kyrgios Incident, Releases Statement

Kyrgios

(August 24, 2015)

News Release

www.ATPWorldTour.com

24 August 2015

ATP COMPLETES REVIEW INTO KYRGIOS INCIDENT

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, FLORIDA — The ATP has announced that Nick Kyrgios has been found to have committed the player major offence “Aggravated Behavior” after a review of his comments made during his second round match against Stan Wawrinka at the Rogers Cup in Montreal, Canada, on 12 August 2015.

The ATP has imposed a further fine of US$25,000 as well as a suspension for a period of 28 days from any ATP sanctioned event. However, the fine and suspension are withheld on the condition that, over the next six-month period, ending 24 February 2016, the player:

1)     does not incur any fines for verbal or physical abuse at any ATP sanctioned tournament, or;

2)     does not accumulate fines totalling more than US$5,000 for any other offences at ATP sanctioned tournaments.

Once the player has met those conditions the penalties will be formally dismissed. If the conditions are not met the penalties will be invoked after any appeals process is exhausted.

The ATP review analysed information gathered from various sources on-site and also included a submission on behalf of the player.

In handing down the finding, Gayle David Bradshaw, Executive Vice President, Rules & Competition, said: ‘This incident was egregious and reflected poorly on our sport. Nick has expressed regret, and the best result would be that he learns a lesson from this incident and that he understands he is responsible to the Tour and to fellow players for both his actions and his words. It is with these factors in mind I feel he should have the opportunity to ‘earn’ his way out of additional sanctions.”

Kyrgios had already been fined the on-site maximum of US$10,000 for the offence. In addition, he received a US$2,500 fine for Unsportsmanlike Conduct related to a comment made to a ball person during the match.

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Simona Halep Withdraws From Connecticut Open

220 Halep bh-001

(August 23, 2015) Simona Halep has withdrawn from the Connecticut Open presented by United Technologies due to a left thigh injury. She is replaced in the draw by lucky loser Lesia Tsurenko.
“I am very sorry that I have to withdraw from New Haven,” said Halep in a statement. “I love the tournament and obviously have great memories there having won the title before. I have had a tough few weeks that have left me with pain in my left leg and unfortunately I can’t force myself myself to play so close to the US Open.”
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Roger Federer and Serena Williams Defend Cincy Tennis Titles

RFederer821

(August 23, 2015) Serena Williams and Roger Federer became the first women’s and men’s champions to defend their Cincinnati titles since the lat 1930s on Sunday. Williams defeated new No. 2 player Simona Halep 6-3, 7-6(5) for her second Western and Southern Open crowns while Federer stopped top ranked Novak Djokovic 7-6(1), 6-3 for his seventh.

Federer prevented Djokovic from claiming the only Masters 1000 title he has never won.

“The fifth time I’ve been in the title (match) and never won this title, so I guess I have to wait for Roger to retire,” Djokovic said. “I’ve been coming back each year wanting it more.”

“I really hope you can win here someday,” Federer told Djokovic during the trophy ceremony. “He deserves it. C’mon, so close.”

The win puts the 34-year-old Swiss back up to No. 2 in the world and gives him his 24 Masters title and 87th career tournament title. He is 7-0 in Cincinnati finals.

“I think I moved well,” Federer said. “I was explosive moving forward. Volleys were good. I think from the baseline was hitting my forehand very well. I was serving very well this week, don’t get me wrong, but I still think there was a little bit more room for improvement on the serve. I wasn’t always hitting all spots as perfect as I was hoping it to be. In practice I didn’t feel this good, to be quite honest.

“This has always been a good week for me. I think the volunteers make a wonderful tournament with the tournament director, and it’s very fan friendly as well. I get in touch a lot with the fans this week. It’s just a nice venue. Great center court. Good atmosphere. Good court speed for me. So many things for me to like about it.  Those are the reasons I’m sure I play well here.”

“Well, it’s the sport,” the Serbian said of the loss. “You can’t win all the time. I won many matches this year. Of course it’s disappointing at this stage to reflect on the match. Could have done some things better, but I lost to a better player, no question about it. I have to deal with it. US Open is around the corner, and I have to already turn the next page. Hopefully I can do well there.”

Serena Williams heads to New York’s U.S. Open trying to become the first player since Steffi Graf in 1988 win a Grand Slam.

“I’m ready,” Williams said. “I don’t care if I win or lose or break even. I’m ready to start it, get it over with, and be done and go on to the next event. But I’m so ready for New York. Let’s go, right?”

“I know you can do four,” Halep said to Williams during the trophy ceremony.

2012 US Open champion Andy Murray clinched the 2015 Emirates Airline US Open Series men’s title with Roger Federer’s victory over Novak Djokovic in the final of the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati. Murray, who also won the Emirates Airline US Open Series title in 2010, will attempt to set a record for the largest payout in tennis history at the US Open – $4.3 million ($3.3 million for winning the US Open and a $1 million bonus for winning the US Open as Emirates Airline US Open Series champion).

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2015 Connecticut Open Preview

petra kvitova CTOpen15 all access by Jack Cunniff

Petra Kvitova (Photo by J. Cunniff)

By Jack Cunniff

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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Belinda Bencic Wins Rogers Cup in Toronto

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

By Brodie Widdifield

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

And then the match turned again.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

By Charles David Mathieu-Poulin

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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Serena Williams Beaten by Swiss Teen Belinda Bencic in Toronto Semis

 

By Brodie Widdifield

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

 

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

 

But no one saw this coming.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

TORONTO RESULTS, SATURDAY AUGUST 15, 2015

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

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

MONTREAL RESULTS, SATURDAY AUGUST 15, 2015

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

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

TORONTO ORDER OF PLAY – SUNDAY, AUGUST 16, 2015

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

MONTREAL ORDER OF PLAY – SUNDAY AUGUST 16, 2015

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

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

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