2015/04/26

Novak Djokovic Wins Monte Carlo for 23rd Masters Series Tournament Victory

(April 19, 2015) Novak Djokovic made some ATP history on Sunday in claiming his second Monte Carlo Masters tournament win. He defeated Czech Tomas Berdych 7-5, 4-6,6-3.

The world’s No. 1 tennis player has become the first player to sweep the opening three Masters Series events in a season. The 27-year-old Serb who resides in Monte Carlo took home trophies in Indian Wells and Miami as well. He is has won the last four Masters tournaments going back to Bercy in the fall of 2014.

“The fact that now I won three Masters in a row, that nobody ever has done that, that has given me, even this week, more motivation,” said the winner.

The win also extended Djokovic’s winning streak to 17 straight boosting his overall record on the year to 30-2. He is now 19-2 against Berdych.

“Obviously I’m experiencing the time of my life on the tennis court, and also private life is very good,” Djokovic said. “I became a father. I’m just trying to sometimes pinch myself and say, ‘Where am I at this point in my life?’ I’m very grateful for this, for everything that I have. That’s the kind of philosophy.

“I won this match with my heart and with battle. That’s how I feel like I won it. I don’t think I played at the level that I wish to play and that I have played throughout the whole week. But also credit to Tomas because he has played very aggressively, staying close to the line, pushing me back. So I had to defend a lot of times.”

Djokovic is now more than 5000 ranking points ahead of No. 2 Roger Federer. He has now equaled Federer in the number of Masters tournament wins at 23, four behind Rafael Nadal who holds the record.

The one major trophy which has eluded his grasp has been Roland Garros, the French Open. After defeating nine-time French Open champion Nadal in the Monte Carlo semifinal on Saturday, the 8-time major champion discussed the rest of the season.

“I think the most important period of the year is coming up right now,” Djokovic said. “Obviously Roland Garros and Wimbledon are the priority. That’s where I want to perform my best. But we’ll take it step by step and see how far I can go.”

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US Falls to Italy in Fed Cup World Group Play-off

Flavia Pennetta

Flavia Pennetta

(April 19, 2015) Italy has now won five straight Fed cup ties against the United States with their 3-2 win on Sunday in the World Group playoff in Brindisi, Italy.

No. 1 Serena Williams had to fight her way back against Sara Errani to take the first match of the day 4-6, 7-6 (3), 6-3 to give the U.S. a 2-1 lead over Italy.

“Today has been a big eye opener,” Williams said. “I need to go home and train.  I am totally not ready for clay court season as I thought I was.  This was a great match for me, even if I had lost, I think it would have been a wonderful match.  That is one good thing about playing Fed Cup and things like this it gives you the practice that you normally would not get.”

 

In the second match, hometown girl Flavia Pennetta demolished Christina McHale 6-1, 6-1 to even up the tie at 2-2.

The final rubber of the tie which was the doubles, saw Williams lost her first match of her Fed Cup career when she paired with Alison Riske and fell to Pennetta and Errani 6-0, 6-3 which sealed the tie for Italy.

Williams is now 13-0 in Singles and 3-1 in doubles in Fed Cup competition.

On playing against Pennetta and Errani in doubles, Williams said: “They are a very solid team and obviously, they have both been No. 1 in doubles.  I have been No. 1, so I felt like I had the opportunity to take some chances and do the best I can.  They were the better team today and ultimately, they got the win, which they deserved since they played better.”

Italy will return to the World Group and can compete for the Fed Cup trophy in 2016 while the U.S. will fall to World Group II.

Asked about the future of the U. S. Fed Cup team, Captain Mary Joe Fernandez said: “I think it is a big challenge.  We have to work harder.  We came close today and just keep plugging away.  The good news is that we have a lot of players in the Top 100 and hopefully, we can get two wins next year and get back into the World Group.”

 

The 2016 Fed Cup draw will be made in June.

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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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