June 28, 2017

Petra Kvitova Eases Into Birmingham Quarterfinals

Petra Kvitova photo courtesy of Aegon Classic Birmingham

(June 21, 2017) Two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova advanced into the quarterfinals of the Aegon Classic Birmingham with a 6-2 6-2 victory over British No.2 Naomi Broady at the Edgbaston Priory Club on Wednesday.

Kvitova, who was playing only her fourth match since returning to competition, said a relaxed attitude was the key. “I think I do have a clear mind, which is very important for tennis players. Everybody knows forehand and backhand and how to play, but it’s always about a few things in the match. And you can’t learn it. You just need to experience it and then play what comes into mind in that point of the match. And I think I do have a little bit different view of tennis right now. When I’m playing, I’m just a little bit more relaxed, I think, and I’m not as nervous as I was before, even before the matches.”

Broady said: “Petra is one of the best grass court players and it was a really tough match. It’s not necessarily her power, any soft ball or slow ball she nails it and you’ve got no chance.

“In terms of going forward I’m going to watch her and see what she’s doing because she makes you feel so uncomfortable on court and it’s hard to know where to hit it to not give her a winning shot.”

Thursday’s Ladies Day crowd has a packed day of tennis ahead with British No.1 Johanna Konta’s clash with big-hitting American Coco Vandeweghe among the highlights on the Ann Jones Centre Court.

Sixth seed Garbine Muguruza takes on tricky grass-court competitor Alison Riske in another of Thursday’s marquee matches, while talented Frenchwoman Kristina Mladenovic plays China’s Shuai Zhang for the chance to play Kvitova in Friday’s quarter-finals.

Away from the court, Ladies Day guests can also enjoy live music, food and drinks or visit the Explore Wimbledon attraction in what is forecast to be another sunny – though slightly cooler – day.

 

AEGON CLASSIC BIRMINGHAM – BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND
$885,040
JUNE 19 – 25, 2017

RESULTS – JUNE 21, 2017
Women’s
Singles – Second Round

[7] [WC] P. Kvitova (CZE) d [WC] N. Broady (GBR) 62 62
A. Barty (AUS) d [8] B. Strycova (CZE) 63 36 61
[9] D. Gavrilova (AUS) d K. Siniakova (CZE) 75 26 64
L. Safarova (CZE) d N. Osaka (JPN) 62 64

Women’s
Doubles – First Round

[2] A. Spears (USA) / K. Srebotnik (SLO) d N. Kichenok (UKR) / O. Savchuk (UKR) 63 61
S. Aoyama (JPN) / Z. Yang (CHN) d [3] G. Dabrowski (CAN) / Y. Xu (CHN) 63 60
H. Chan (TPE) / S. Zhang (CHN) d A. Cornet (FRA) / Y. Putintseva (KAZ) 57 63 10-3
R. Atawo (USA) / C. Mchale (USA) d [WC] N. Broady (GBR) / H. Watson (GBR) 62 26 10-7

ORDER OF PLAY – THURSDAY, JUNE 22, 2017
ANN JONES CENTRE COURT start 11:30 am
[Q] C. Giorgi (ITA) vs [2] E. Svitolina (UKR)
[6] G. Muguruza (ESP) vs A. Riske (USA)
[5] K. Mladenovic (FRA) vs S. Zhang (CHN)
C. Vandeweghe (USA) vs [4] J. Konta (GBR)

COURT 1 start 2:00 pm
[1] L. Safarova (CZE) / B. Strycova (CZE) vs J. Cako (USA) / A. Naydenova (BUL)
R. Atawo (USA) / C. Mchale (USA) vs [2] A. Spears (USA) / K. Srebotnik (SLO)

Not Before 4:30 pm
[4] A. Barty (AUS) / C. Dellacqua (AUS) vs D. Cibulkova (SVK) / G. Muguruza (ESP)

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Brent Salazar to Join USTA Player Development as Director of Performance

BRENT SALAZAR TO JOIN USTA PLAYER DEVELOPMENT

AS DIRECTOR OF PERFORMANCE

 

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y., June 21, 2017 – The USTA today announced that it has hired veteran NFL strength and conditioning coach Brent Salazar to be its new Director of Performance, based at the USTA National Campus at Lake Nona in Orlando, Fla.

 

In this new position, Salazar will be responsible for the continued development and integration of Player Development’s “Performance Team” model, to optimize the support that the USTA provides American players. Salazar will report to Paul Lubbers, Senior Director of Coaching Education & Performance, and will oversee Player Development’s Strength and Conditioning team.

 

“I’m thrilled to be joining the USTA and its team of exceptional strength and conditioning coaches,” Salazar said. “I believe in Team USA, and I’m committed to developing champions. I applaud the USTA’s leadership for its emphasis on its players’ physical development, mental toughness and well-being.”

 

Salazar was the head strength and conditioning coach for the NFL’s Minnesota Vikings during the 2016 season, and before that spent nine years as an assistant strength coach for the Kansas City Chiefs. A native of Denver, Salazar played college tennis at the University of New Mexico, from which he graduated with an Exercise Physiology degree in 2003. He also served as the assistant director of athletic performance at the University of the Pacific in 2006, and did strength and conditioning internships with New Mexico (2002-03), the Denver Broncos (2005) and UNLV (2005).

 

“It is not often that a National Governing Body has the opportunity to bring in someone as uniquely skilled as Brent Salazar,” said USTA Player Development General Manager Martin Blackman. “Brent’s experience in tennis, strength and conditioning and performance team support makes him the perfect person for this position.

 

“Brent understands that developing champions begins with developing human beings, and that means coaching character first,” Blackman added. “Brent is a natural leader and is a perfect fit for our world class team of Strength & Conditioning experts, including Satoshi Ochi, Rodney Marshall, Gabriel Echeverria, Jen Fallon, Gena Ball and Craig Acker.”

 

In January, USTA Player Development relocated its headquarters from Boca Raton, Fla., to the USTA National Campus at Lake Nona in Orlando, where its adidas Performance Center features eight outdoor hard courts, six European red clay courts and six indoor hard courts, as well as a state of the art athletic training area and a player lodge, which can house up to 40 players participating in Player Development programs. Additionally, the National Campus features a ‘Team USA’ area, where coaches and players from each of the USTA’s 17 sections can utilize to work collaboratively with Player Development.

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USTA Girls’ 16s and 18s National Championships Set for August 5-13 in San Diego

USTA GIRLS’ 16s & 18s NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS SCHEDULED
FOR AUGUST 5-13, 2017 AT SAN DIEGO’S BARNES TENNIS CENTER
18s Singles and Doubles Champions to Receive US Open Main Draw Wild Cards

San Diego, Calif. – (June 21, 2017) – The United States Tennis Association Girls’ 16s & 18s National Championships, which will feature the top junior players in the country, will be played August 5-13, 2017 at the Barnes Tennis Center, located at 4490 W. Point Loma Blvd., San Diego, CA, 92107.

Over 400 girls aged 16 and 18 and under will compete for the title of National Champion, as well  as a wild card entry into the Women’s Singles main draw of the US Open (for the 18s Champion) and a wild card into the US Open Junior Championships (for the 16s Champion).  The 18s Doubles Champions will also receive a wild card into the US Open Women’s Doubles main draw.

The USTA has named San Diego resident Lornie Kuhle as the new Tournament Director of the Girls’ 16s & 18s National Championships. Kuhle is the current Tournament Director of the ADIDAS Easter Bowl at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden in Indian Wells, Calif.

“We are working on making significant upgrades and improvements to this year’s event at the Barnes Tennis Center that will not only enhance the tournament experience for players, but for spectators as well,” said Kuhle. “We really want to make these USTA National Championships a fan-friendly event that San Diegans can attend and enjoy a unique tournament atmosphere.”

The Girls’ 16s event will begin on Saturday, Aug. 5 and conclude with the singles and doubles finals on Saturday Aug. 12. The Girls’ 18s tournament will get underway on Sunday, Aug. 6 and conclude with the 18s singles championship on Sunday, Aug. 13. Both divisions will feature 256-player singles draws with the top 32 players receiving a first-round bye. There will also be 128-team doubles draws with the top 16 teams getting first-round byes.

The starting time for each day of the tournament will be announced in July. The Opening Ceremony for the USTA National Girls’ 16s & 18s National Championships is scheduled for 5 p.m. (PDT) on Saturday, Aug. 5 at the Barnes Tennis Center.

Early-round tournament matches will also be played at San Diego State University’s Aztec Tennis Center, 5375 Remington Rd., San Diego, CA, 92115 and the Balboa Tennis Club, 2221 Morley Field Drive, San Diego, CA 92104 from Saturday, Aug. 5 through Wednesday, Aug. 9.

Admission and on-site parking at the Barnes Tennis Center is free each day of the tournament. For fans watching matches at SDSU and the Balboa Tennis Club, admission is free. There is a nominal charge for on-campus parking at SDSU. Parking regulations at the university will be strictly enforced. Parking is free at the Balboa Tennis Club.

A player entry list will be available in mid-July. To view the official tournament website, please go to: http://www.ustagirlsnationals.com/.

About USTA Girls’ 16s – 18s Nationals:
The USTA Girls’ 16 & 18s National Championships are the premiere hard court tennis tournaments for amateur and professional American girls aged 18 and 16 and under in the United States. In 2010, both age groups began playing their events concurrently at San Diego’s Barnes Tennis Center. Tournament participants, who represent nearly every state in the United States, have been endorsed by their respective USTA Section or have received USTA special exemptions based on their results in qualifying tournaments, junior rankings, or results on the WTA Tour or International Tennis Federation Junior Circuit.  Past tournament champions include Chris Evert, Tracy Austin, Andrea Jaeger, Zina Garrison, Mary Jo Fernandez, Jennifer Capriati and Lindsay Davenport.

About George E. Barnes Family Junior Tennis Center:
The Center is owned and operated by Youth Tennis San Diego. It was built in 1995 and completed in 1997. The $4.5 million junior tennis facility was made possible with generous public and private donations and is named after the lead donor family – the “George E. Barnes Family Junior Tennis Center.” The Center, which is dedicated to the youth of San Diego, offers children 18 and under court priority over adults with advanced reservations.

About Youth Tennis San Diego:
Youth Tennis San Diego is a non-profit 501 (c)(3) organization that has been in existence since 1952.  In 2016, Youth Tennis San Diego was recognized with the USTA Organization Member of the Year Award. The  award  is  given  annually  to  an  organization  that  provides  outstanding  service  to its members and  to the  local  community. YTSD was honored at the 2016 USTA Annual Meeting and Conference at the Omni La Costa Resort & Spa in Carlsbad, Calif.  

The YTSD Mission is:  “To promote the educational, physical, and social development of all youth through organized tennis and educational activities.” Their community programs encourage youth participation, personal integrity, leadership, and competitive spirit in a friendly environment that builds responsible citizens.  YTSD provides thousands of youngsters each year the opportunity to play tennis after school at their neighborhood school. The After School Tennis program provides a safe haven for hundreds of youngsters who are not supervised after school. Through tennis, the children learn the success skills which will give them the confidence and self-esteem needed to confront the negative influences so often found on the streets where they live.

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Novak Djokovic Takes Wildcard Into Eastbourne Tournament

Novak Djokovic

NOVAK DJOKOVIC ACCEPTS AEGON INTERNATIONAL EASTBOURNE WILDCARD

 

(June 21, 2017) Three-time Wimbledon champion Novak Djokovic will take to the grass courts of Devonshire Park for the Aegon International Eastbourne, 23 June-1 July, having accepted a main draw wildcard.

 

World No.4 Djokovic comes into the event as the tournament’s top seed ahead of No.2 Gael Monfils (FRA), No.3 John Isner (USA) and No.4 Steve Johnson (USA). It’s the first time the former world No.1 has played a grass court event between Roland Garros and Wimbledon since 2010.

 

“This will be my first trip to Eastbourne, I have heard great things about the tournament,” said 12-time Grand Slam champion Djokovic. “I am looking forward to fine tuning my grass court game there ahead of Wimbledon.”

 

Tournament director Gavin Fletcher said he was delighted to welcome Djokovic to the Aegon International.

 

“The quality of the men’s and women’s entries is already incredibly high, and the addition of Novak will take the event to an even higher level,” said Fletcher.

 

Djokovic joins an already star-studded line-up that includes world No.15 Gael Monfils, two-time Eastbourne champion Feliciano Lopez, 2010 Wimbledon hero John Isner, and a hat-trick of British stars; Kyle Edmund, Aljaz Bedene and Dan Evans.

 

The Aegon International men’s ATP 250 event runs in parallel to the women’s WTA Premier tournament which this year boasts seven of the world’s top 10 ranked players including world No.1 Angelique Kerber, world No.3 Karolina Pliskova, 2016 champion and world No.6 Dominika Cibulkova, 2009 champion and world No.7 Caroline Wozniacki, and Eastbourne’s own world No.8 Johanna Konta.

 

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Tennis Results and Schedules for Birmingham, Halle, London and Mallorca

 

 

AEGON CLASSIC BIRMINGHAM – BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND
$885,040
JUNE 19 – 25, 2017

RESULTS – JUNE 20, 2017
Women’s Singles – First Round
L. Safarova (CZE) d [3] D. Cibulkova (SVK) 57 76(7) 75
[4] J. Konta (GBR) d L. Tsurenko (UKR) 63 76(6)
[5] K. Mladenovic (FRA) d Y. Duan (CHN) 63 76(2)
[6] G. Muguruza (ESP) d [Q] E. Kulichkova (RUS) 63 36 64
[7] [WC] P. Kvitova (CZE) d [LL] T. Smitkova (CZE) 62 63
[9] D. Gavrilova (AUS) d [Q] S. Hsieh (TPE) 64 64
K. Siniakova (CZE) d N. Hibino (JPN) 75 75
S. Zhang (CHN) d M. Linette (POL) 75 75
A. Riske (USA) d D. Vekic (CRO) 62 76(2)
C. Vandeweghe (USA) d C. McHale (USA) 64 62
A. Barty (AUS) d [Q] M. Vondrousova (CZE) 75 76(1)
[Q] C. Giorgi (ITA) d N. Vikhlyantseva (RUS) 63 76(4)

ORDER OF PLAY – WEDNESDAY, JUNE 21, 2017
ANN JONES CENTRE COURT start 11:30 am
K. Siniakova (CZE) vs [9] D. Gavrilova (AUS)
[WC] N. Broady (GBR) vs [7] [WC] P. Kvitova (CZE)
[8] B. Strycova (CZE) vs A. Barty (AUS)
L. Safarova (CZE) vs N. Osaka (JPN)

COURT 1 start 11:30 am
S. Aoyama (JPN) / Z. Yang (CHN) vs [3] G. Dabrowski (CAN) / Y. Xu (CHN)
H. Chan (TPE) / S. Zhang (CHN) vs A. Cornet (FRA) / Y. Putintseva (KAZ)
N. Kichenok (UKR) / O. Savchuk (UKR) vs [2] A. Spears (USA) / K. Srebotnik (SLO)

Not Before 4:30 pm
R. Atawo (USA) / C. Mchale (USA) vs [WC] N. Broady (GBR) / H. Watson (GBR)

 

Gerry Weber Open

Halle, Germany

Singles – First Round
[1] R. Federer (SUI) d *[LL] Y. Sugita (JPN) 63 61
[3] K. Nishikori (JPN) d F. Verdasco (ESP) 67(7) 63 64
[4] A. Zverev (GER) d P. Lorenzi (ITA) 63 62
[6] L. Pouille (FRA) d J. Struff (GER) 16 63 64
[7] R. Bautista Agut (ESP) d C. Berlocq (ARG) 60 46 62
M. Zverev (GER) d [Q] L. Lacko (SVK) 64 64
F. Mayer (GER) d B. Paire (FRA) 60 64
K. Khachanov (RUS) d G. Simon (FRA) 62 67(2) 63
[Q] M. Youzhny (RUS) d I. Karlovic (CRO) 63 76(6)
B. Tomic (AUS) d [WC] T. Haas (GER) 64 64
R. Haase (NED) d D. Ferrer (ESP) 36 75 63

Doubles – First Round
[2] R. Klaasen (RSA) / R. Ram (USA) d G. Monfils (FRA) / G. Simon (FRA) 64 61
R. Bautista Agut (ESP) / D. Ferrer (ESP) d S. Gonzalez (MEX) / M. Pavic (CRO) 75 16 10-6
F. Martin (FRA) / A. Ramos-Vinolas (ESP) d P. Kohlschreiber (GER) / D. Thiem (AUT) 76(3) 64

*[LL] Y. Sugita (JPN) replaced Y. Lu (TPE) – right arm

SCHEDULE – WEDNESDAY, 21 JUNE 2017

STADION start 12:00 noon
R. Gasquet (FRA) vs B. Tomic (AUS)
[7] R. Bautista Agut (ESP) vs [WC] D. Brown (GER)
P. Kohlschreiber (GER) vs [4] A. Zverev (GER)
Not Before 5:30 pm
R. Haase (NED) vs [2] D. Thiem (AUT)

COURT 1 start 12:00 noon
[1] L. Kubot (POL) / M. Melo (BRA) vs K. Nishikori (JPN) / F. Verdasco (ESP)
After Suitable Rest – R. Gasquet (FRA) / L. Pouille (FRA) vs [Q] A. Begemann (GER) / T. Puetz (GER)
After Suitable Rest – [3] J. Rojer (NED) / H. Tecau (ROU) vs [WC] D. Brown (GER) / J. Struff (GER)
After Suitable Rest – A. Zverev (GER) / M. Zverev (GER) vs B. Baker (USA) / A. Peya (AUT)

 

Aegon Championships
London, Great Britain

RESULTS – TUESDAY, 20 JUNE 2017

Singles – First Round
*[LL] J. Thompson (AUS) d [1] A. Murray (GBR) 76(4) 62
F. Lopez (ESP) d [2] S. Wawrinka (SUI) 76(4) 75
[WC] T. Kokkinakis (AUS) d [3] M. Raonic (CAN) 76(5) 76(8)
[4] M. Cilic (CRO) d J. Isner (USA) 75 63
S. Querrey (USA) d [WC] C. Norrie (GBR) 61 64
G. Muller (LUX) d N. Basilashvili (GEO) 64 67(17) 64
[Q] S. Kozlov (USA) d S. Johnson (USA) 36 61 61
V. Troicki (SRB) d J. Tipsarevic (SRB) 57 76(5) 76(6)
[Q] J. Benneteau (FRA) d [WC] J. Ward (GBR) 62 62
D. Medvedev (RUS) d N. Mahut (FRA) 67(3) 64 64
[Q] J. Chardy (FRA) d *[LL] L. Broady (GBR) 64 64

Doubles – First Round
[4] B. Bryan (USA) / M. Bryan (USA) d G. Dimitrov (BUL) / J. Tsonga (FRA) 76(5) 76(5)
R. Bopanna (IND) / I. Dodig (CRO) d [WC] K. Edmund (GBR) / T. Kokkinakis (AUS) 63 67(5) 10-7

*[LL] J. Thompson (AUS) replaced A. Bedene (GBR) – wrist
*[LL] L. Broady (GBR) 64 64 replaced [LL] P. Herbert (FRA) – back

SCHEDULE – WEDNESDAY, 21 JUNE 2017

CENTRE COURT start 12:00 noon
V. Troicki (SRB) vs D. Young (USA)
G. Muller (LUX) vs [5] J. Tsonga (FRA)
[6] G. Dimitrov (BUL) vs [Q] J. Benneteau (FRA)
[7] T. Berdych (CZE) vs [Q] D. Shapovalov (CAN)

COURT 1 start 12:30 pm
F. Lopez (ESP) / M. Lopez (ESP) vs R. Harrison (USA) / M. Venus (NZL)
After Suitable Rest – [LL] N. Monroe (USA) / D. Young (USA) vs M. Cilic (CRO) / M. Matkowski (POL)
G. Muller (LUX) / S. Querrey (USA) vs [3] J. Murray (GBR) / B. Soares (BRA)

COURT 2 not before 5:00 pm
TBA – [1] H. Kontinen (FIN) / J. Peers (AUS) vs R. Bopanna (IND) / I. Dodig (CRO)

 

MALLORCA OPEN – CALVIA, SPAIN
$250,000
18 – 25 JUNE 2017

RESULTS – JUNE 20, 2017
Women’s Singles – First Round
[1] A. Pavlyuchenkova (RUS) d [WC] S. Sorribes Tormo (ESP) 46 75 64
[3] C. Garcia (FRA) d J. Jankovic (SRB) 64 64
C. Bellis (USA) d [4] C. Suárez Navarro (ESP) 63 75
[WC] S. Lisicki (GER) d [5] K. Bertens (NED) 62 36 00 Retired
[6] R. Vinci (ITA) d [LL] S. Errani (ITA) 62 61
[7] A. Konjuh (CRO) d [Q] O. Jabeur (TUN) 76(1) 46 63
J. Goerges (GER) d L. Arruabarrena (ESP) 61 62
S. Rogers (USA) d [Q] B. Haddad Maia (BRA) 76(4) 63
M. Barthel (GER) d [Q] A. Kalinskaya (RUS) 76(6) 64
[WC] F. Schiavone (ITA) d E. Bouchard (CAN) 67(5) 64 63
[Q] K. Flipkens (BEL) d M. Minella (LUX) 36 63 62
[Q] J. Cepelova (SVK) d P. Parmentier (FRA) 62 60
V. Lepchenko (USA) d [Q] V. Cepede Royg (PAR) 36 63 76(4)

Women’s Doubles – First Round
M. Duque-Mariño (COL) / M. Irigoyen (ARG) d [2] T. Babos (HUN) / A. Hlavackova (CZE) 63 75
E. Mertens (BEL) / D. Schuurs (NED) d R. Olaru (ROU) / R. Voracova (CZE) 63 63
N. Melichar (USA) / A. Smith (GBR) d A. Pavlyuchenkova (RUS) / Y. Wickmayer (BEL) 63 67(6) 12-10

ORDER OF PLAY – WEDNESDAY, JUNE 21, 2017
PISTA CENTRAL start 12:30 pm
[WC] F. Schiavone (ITA) vs Kr. Pliskova (CZE)

Not Before 1:30 pm
R. Ozaki (JPN) vs [WC] V. Azarenka (BLR) 36 64 54
C. Bellis (USA) vs M. Barthel (GER)

Not Before 5:00 pm
[1] A. Pavlyuchenkova (RUS) vs J. Goerges (GER)

Not Before 7:00 pm
S. Rogers (USA) vs [WC] S. Lisicki (GER)

PISTA 3 start 12:30 pm
J. Jankovic (SRB) / A. Sevastova (LAT) vs J. Moore (AUS) / V. Wongteanchai (THA)
[3] A. Groenefeld (GER) / K. Peschke (CZE) vs A. Parra Santonja (ESP) / S. Soler-Espinosa (ESP)

Not Before 3:00 pm
Possible Court Change – [1] Y. Chan (TPE) / M. Hingis (SUI) vs [WC] V. Cepede Royg (PAR) / S. Sorribes Tormo (ESP)

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Topsy–Turvy Tuesday Sees Top Three Seeds Murray, Wawrinka and Raonic Lose at Queen’s Club

Andy Murray

By Wendy M. Grossman

LONDON (June 20, 2017) Many seemingly easy finishing shots are missed in tennis because the player is thinking a split-second ahead to its safe landing. That fractional percentage point of lost concentration can make the difference between the tournament winner and the first-round loser. The smart tennis player learns to focus as much as possible on the now, taught to be mindful before it was a thing.

 

This makes for a serious mismatch between players and the journalists who cover them. Journalists this week are vying to read the tea leaves for prospective Wimbledon winners, while the players are just trying to get through their first-round matches here at Queen’s.

 

By tea time on Tuesday journalists’ ideas had collapsed. Aljaz Bedene withdrew with a wrist injury, leaving Andy Murray to play lucky loser Jordan Thompson, an Australian player so obscure that no one knew anything about him; Milos Raonic, last year’s Queen’s and Wimbledon finalist, was up against Thanasin Kokkinakis, freshly returned from injury; and Stan Wawrinka was facing 2014 Queen’s finalist Feliciano “the grass Spaniard” Lopez.

 

On Sunday, Stan Wawrinka said he wanted only to think about adapting to grass in time for this match, his first round here at Queen’s. But no: how did he think about his chances of becoming the ninth player in history to have won all four Grand Slam titles in a couple of weeks’ time? Wawrinka felt that was a long way away: “To win a Grand Slam is very tough. There are many things to do.” Or becoming number one? That, he suggested, is an even longer way away and much more difficult, if you look at the Race numbers. And then this, re Wimbledon: Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray haven’t been displaying particularly good form this year so far, and Rafael Nadal is complaining about his knees…so a better opportunity?

 

“And Roger?” Wawrinka asked, laughing? Um, well, he lost first round at Stuttgart, right? Wawrinka finally conceded that the draw might be more open this year, while still downplaying it as a better chance for him personally.

 

Raonic, who said on Sunday that he needed to be “more exertive energy-wise” when playing last year’s Wimbledon final, dropped his first set in a tiebreak after failing to take advantage of eight break point chances. Twelve games later, he had three set points, the first two on the Kokkinakis serve. The first disappeared into a wide-serve/down-the-line combination, the second to a service winner. At 6-5, on his own serve, Raonic slapped the third set point into the net. It took Kokkinakis three tries to fashion a match point on his own serve – and that one he took to win 7-6,7-6.

 

Despite the vastly different result, Raonic commented afterwards that he didn’t think this match was much different from his first-round match last year. In that match, too, he struggled to take advantage of his opportunities, though he managed to find a path through in a way he didn’t this year. “I wasn’t efficient in those moments,” he said, explaining this. Overall, “I was a bit too passive.” Kokkinakis, jubilant over the “best win of my career”, said his strategy was simple: “Get on top of the point before he can.” Also, he admitted, “A lot of it is hoping  he misses first serves, and he did a couple of those when it mattered.”

 

We were hearing a lot more about Kokkinakis a couple of years ago. Since then, the list of injured body parts reads like an ER inventory of a crash victim: “Obviously the shoulder was the big one. I tore my oblique, I had osteitis pubis, I tore my pec, I had an elbow issue, and I’m still dealing with my groin and shoulder issues, and my back is stiff.” His injury count dates back to the juniors: he missed seven months at 15, and another seven months at 17. A player of this fragility will struggle to win seven best-of-five matches in a row, as Kei Nishikori could tell him. Kokkinakis’ fellow Australian, Nick Kyrgios, similarly dropped his first set to Donald Young after an alarming slip-and-fall, and then retired with a wrist injury.

 

Wawrinka faced the toughest customer, as Lopez was fresh off the Stuttgart final two days ago. Lopez won in two tight sets, 7-6,7-5. Afterwards, Wawrinka said he thought he was serving well, and that for a first match on grass it “wasn’t that bad”.

 

But, Murray! Bidding for his sixth title here, three-time defending Queen’s champion, number one in the world, and defending Wimbledon champion…playing a guy ranked number 90  in the world who only got into the draw by signing in and hanging around just in case. On Sunday, Murray had been talking about how valuable he finds the week between the French Open and Queen’s that debuted last year after 20 years of negotiation.

 

“It’s so much better having the extra week to let your body get used to grass again,” he said. His game, he said, is better now than it was before the French Open but is still far from where he wants it to be. “You have to be doing everything well to win Slams.”

 

Thompson, however, seemed to view the occasion as an exciting lottery win and went all out to celebrate with aces, service winners, and solid play. Murray, who appeared to be in a somewhat sour mood, meanwhile obliged by knocking forehands long, not returning as well as he can at his best, and never taking charge for more than a point or two in a row. Once Thompson took the first set tiebreak, he stayed in charge, winning the contest 7-6,6-2.

 

Murray called the loss “a big blow”. When asked what happened, he said, “He played better than me.”

 

While the loss of the top three seeds leaves giant holes in the draw, it doesn’t leave it without serious grass contenders. There are still three former Queen’s champions left: Sam Querrey (2010), fourth seed Marin Cilic (2012), and Grigor Dimitrov (2014), plus (besides Lopez) former finalists Nicholas Mahut (2007) and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (2011, also a two-time Wimbledon semi-finalist), and 2010 Wimbledon finalist Tomáš Berdych. All of their next matches appear to be winnable; the most interesting are Querrey, who plays Thompson next, and Berdych, who faces this season’s dark horse, Denis Shapovalov.

 

It might be worth keeping your eye on that one. Shapovalov is last year’s Wimbledon junior champion. Just two months past his 18th birthday, he has a big serve and a wicked one-handed backhand. Against 44th-ranked Kyle Edmund, he was able to place serves that kicked so high that Edmund, 6’2″, couldn’t reach them. Queen’s is only his fourth ATP tournament, and the first where he qualified instead of getting a wild card – so he’s already won three matches in a row on a surface he never had the opportunity to play on growing up in Canada.

 

Murray’s, Wawrinka’s, and Raonic’s losses all have one thing in common: all pitted top players in their first competitive grass-court match since last year’s Wimbledon against players who had already found this year’s footing. Thompson lost in the second round of qualifying, but he won four matches (the first over Shapovalov) last week at the Surbiton Challenger, where he lost in the final and he’d played (and lost) a qualifying match at ‘s-Hertogenbosch. Shapovalov lost first round in the main draw at Surbiton, but had won three qualifying matches to get there, plus a qualifying match he lost at Nottingham. The same might be said of Federer’s second-round loss to Tommy Haas at Stuttgart: Haas had to play and win his first round, where Federer had a bye.

 

So, two comments. First, Berdych, playing Shapovalov next, has already played two grass-court matches this year, losing to Lopez in the second round at Stuttgart. If Shapovalov wins this match it may really mean something. Second, don’t write off any of these top guys come the first week of Wimbledon. The year so far appears to be Federer’s and Nadal’s, but you can bet neither of them is thinking that far ahead.

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Tennis Results and Schedules for Birmingham, Halle, London and Mallorca

AEGON CLASSIC BIRMINGHAM – BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND
$885,040
JUNE 19 – 25, 2017

RESULTS – JUNE 19, 2017

Women’s Singles – First Round
[2] E. Svitolina (UKR) d [WC] H. Watson (GBR) 62 57 63
[8] B. Strycova (CZE) d Y. Putintseva (KAZ) 63 63
N. Osaka (JPN) d L. Davis (USA) 61 26 76(4)
[WC] N. Broady (GBR) d A. Cornet (FRA) 76(3) 60

 

Women’s Doubles – First Round
[4] A. Barty (AUS) / C. Dellacqua (AUS) d D. Gavrilova (AUS) / K. Siniakova (CZE) 75 61
S. Mirza (IND) / C. Vandeweghe (USA) d D. Jurak (CRO) / An. Rodionova (AUS) 62 64
D. Cibulkova (SVK) / G. Muguruza (ESP) d N. Hibino (JPN) / A. Rosolska (POL) 62 64

 

Women’s Qualifying Singles – Third Round
Qualifying – [1] M. Vondrousova (CZE) d [6] T. Smitkova (CZE) 46 75 63
Qualifying – [2] C. Giorgi (ITA) d [8] J. Fett (CRO) 63 64
Qualifying – [3] S. Hsieh (TPE) d [7] I. Soylu (TUR) 63 63
Qualifying – [5] E. Kulichkova (RUS) d [4] S. Vickery (USA) 60 62

 

ORDER OF PLAY – TUESDAY, JUNE 20, 2017

ANN JONES CENTRE COURT start 11:00 am
[LL] T. Smitkova (CZE) vs [7] [WC] P. Kvitova (CZE)
L. Tsurenko (UKR) vs [4] J. Konta (GBR)
[3] D. Cibulkova (SVK) vs L. Safarova (CZE)
[6] G. Muguruza (ESP) vs [Q] E. Kulichkova (RUS)

 

COURT 1 start 11:00 am
N. Hibino (JPN) vs K. Siniakova (CZE)
[Q] S. Hsieh (TPE) vs [9] D. Gavrilova (AUS)
[5] K. Mladenovic (FRA) vs Y. Duan (CHN)

Not Before 4:00 pm
D. Vekic (CRO) vs A. Riske (USA)

COURT 2 start 11:00 am
[Q] C. Giorgi (ITA) vs N. Vikhlyantseva (RUS)
[Q] M. Vondrousova (CZE) vs A. Barty (AUS)
C. McHale (USA) vs C. Vandeweghe (USA)
S. Zhang (CHN) vs M. Linette (POL)

Gerry Weber Open

Halle, Germany

 

RESULTS – MONDAY, 19 JUNE 2017

Singles – First Round
[2] D. Thiem (AUT) d [Q] M. Marterer (GER) 75 63
R. Gasquet (FRA) d [5] G. Monfils (FRA) 36 64 63
[WC] A. Rublev (RUS) d [8] A. Ramos-Vinolas (ESP) 67(1) 75 64
[WC] D. Brown (GER) d [Q] V. Pospisil (CAN) 61 67(3) 76(4)
P. Kohlschreiber (GER) d J. Sousa (POR) 36 64 64

Doubles – First Round
B. Baker (USA) / A. Peya (AUT) d [4] F. Mergea (ROU) / A. Qureshi (PAK) 36 76(3) 10-8
A. Zverev (GER) / M. Zverev (GER) d [WC] F. Mayer (GER) / P. Petzschner (GER) 64 61

 

SCHEDULE – TUESDAY, 20 JUNE 2017

STADION start 12:00 noon
[3] K. Nishikori (JPN) vs F. Verdasco (ESP)
[WC] T. Haas (GER) vs B. Tomic (AUS)
P. Lorenzi (ITA) vs [4] A. Zverev (GER)
Not Before 5:30 pm
[1] R. Federer (SUI) vs Y. Lu (TPE)

COURT 1 start 12:00 noon
[Q] L. Lacko (SVK) vs M. Zverev (GER)
R. Haase (NED) vs D. Ferrer (ESP)
B. Paire (FRA) vs F. Mayer (GER)
J. Struff (GER) vs [6] L. Pouille (FRA)

COURT 2 start 12:00 noon
[7] R. Bautista Agut (ESP) vs C. Berlocq (ARG)
K. Khachanov (RUS) vs G. Simon (FRA)
F. Martin (FRA) / A. Ramos-Vinolas (ESP) vs P. Kohlschreiber (GER) / D. Thiem (AUT)
I. Karlovic (CRO) vs [Q] M. Youzhny (RUS)

COURT 3 start 2:30 pm
After Suitable Rest – G. Monfils (FRA) / G. Simon (FRA) vs [2] R. Klaasen (RSA) / R. Ram (USA)
After Suitable Rest – R. Bautista Agut (ESP) / D. Ferrer (ESP) vs S. Gonzalez (MEX) / M. Pavic (CRO)

 

 

Aegon Championships
London, Great Britain

 

RESULTS – MONDAY, 19 JUNE 2017

Singles – First Round
[5] J. Tsonga (FRA) d A. Mannarino (FRA) 62 62
[6] G. Dimitrov (BUL) d R. Harrison (USA) 63 61
[7] T. Berdych (CZE) d S. Darcis (BEL) 75 63
D. Young (USA) d [9] N. Kyrgios (AUS) 76(3) 00 ret. (left hip)
[Q] D. Shapovalov (CAN) d K. Edmund (GBR) 76(4) 46 64

Doubles – First Round
[1] H. Kontinen (FIN) / J. Peers (AUS) d J. Isner (USA) / S. Johnson (USA) 76(10) 76(6)
[Q] M. Daniell (NZL) / M. Demoliner (BRA) d [2] P. Herbert (FRA) / N. Mahut (FRA) 46 53 ret. (Herbert – back)
J. Benneteau (FRA) / E. Roger-Vasselin (FRA) d D. Nestor (CAN) / M. Raonic (CAN) 62 76(3)
SCHEDULE – TUESDAY, 20 JUNE 2017

CENTRE COURT start 12:00 noon
[WC] T. Kokkinakis (AUS) vs [3] M. Raonic (CAN)
F. Lopez (ESP) vs [2] S. Wawrinka (SUI)
[1] A. Murray (GBR) vs A. Bedene (GBR)
[4] M. Cilic (CRO) vs J. Isner (USA)

COURT 1 start 12:30 pm
[Q] J. Benneteau (FRA) vs [WC] J. Ward (GBR)
[4] B. Bryan (USA) / M. Bryan (USA) vs G. Dimitrov (BUL) / J. Tsonga (FRA)
[LL] P. Herbert (FRA) vs [Q] J. Chardy (FRA)
[WC] C. Norrie (GBR) vs S. Querrey (USA)

COURT 2 start Not Before 5:00 pm
TBA – [WC] K. Edmund (GBR) / T. Kokkinakis (AUS) vs R. Bopanna (IND) / I. Dodig (CRO)

COURT 5 start 12:30 pm
S. Johnson (USA) vs [Q] S. Kozlov (USA)
V. Troicki (SRB) vs J. Tipsarevic (SRB)
N. Basilashvili (GEO) vs G. Muller (LUX)
D. Medvedev (RUS) vs N. Mahut (FRA)

 

 

MALLORCA OPEN – CALVIA, SPAIN
$250,000
18 – 25 JUNE 2017

 

RESULTS – JUNE 19, 2017
Women’s Singles – First Round
[2] A. Sevastova (LAT) d E. Mertens (BEL) 76(2) 57 61
K. Pliskova (CZE) d [8] T. Babos (HUN) 62 36 63

Women’s Doubles – First Round
[4] A. Klepac (SLO) / M. Martínez Sánchez (ESP) d O. Kalashnikova (GEO) / L. Kichenok (UKR) 62 62
J. Goerges (GER) / X. Knoll (SUI) d [WC] E. Bouchard (CAN) / S. Lisicki (GER) 64 46 10-6

 

Women’s Qualifying Singles – Second Round
Qualifying – [11] A. Kalinskaya (RUS) d [1] C. Witthoeft (GER) 64 76(3)
Qualifying – [8] J. Cepelova (SVK) d [2] S. Errani (ITA) 64 63
Qualifying – [3] K. Flipkens (BEL) d V. Kudermetova (RUS) 46 60 64
Qualifying – [4] V. Cepede Royg (PAR) d [12] T. Martincova (CZE) 36 64 63
Qualifying – [9] O. Jabeur (TUN) d [5] Y. Wickmayer (BEL) 62 62
Qualifying – [7] B. Haddad Maia (BRA) d S. Kenin (USA) 63 64

 

ORDER OF PLAY – TUESDAY, JUNE 20, 2017

PISTA CENTRAL start 11:00 am
J. Goerges (GER) vs L. Arruabarrena (ESP)

Not Before 12:00 noon
To be finished – [1] A. Pavlyuchenkova (RUS) vs [WC] S. Sorribes Tormo (ESP) 46 75 32
[WC] F. Schiavone (ITA) vs E. Bouchard (CAN)

Not Before 5:00 pm
[4] C. Suárez Navarro (ESP) vs C. Bellis (USA)

Not Before 7:00 pm
R. Ozaki (JPN) vs [WC] V. Azarenka (BLR)

 

PISTA 3 start 11:00 am
[6] R. Vinci (ITA) vs A. Kontaveit (EST)
J. Jankovic (SRB) vs [3] C. Garcia (FRA)
[Q] A. Kalinskaya (RUS) vs M. Barthel (GER)
[WC] S. Lisicki (GER) vs [5] K. Bertens (NED)
[7] A. Konjuh (CRO) vs [Q] O. Jabeur (TUN)

 

PISTA 2 start 11:00 am
R. Olaru (ROU) / R. Voracova (CZE) vs E. Mertens (BEL) / D. Schuurs (NED)

Not Before 3:00 pm
After suitable rest – A. Pavlyuchenkova (RUS) / Y. Wickmayer (BEL) vs N. Melichar (USA) / A. Smith (GBR)

 

PISTA 1 start 11:00 am
P. Parmentier (FRA) vs [Q] J. Cepelova (SVK)
[Q] K. Flipkens (BEL) vs M. Minella (LUX)
[Q] B. Haddad Maia (BRA) vs S. Rogers (USA)
V. Lepchenko (USA) vs [Q] V. Cepede Royg (PAR)
M. Duque-Mariño (COL) / M. Irigoyen (ARG) vs [2] T. Babos (HUN) / A. Hlavackova (CZE)

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Sneak Peek – Frances Tiafoe Profiled on Tuesday’s REAL SPORTS on HBO

 

REAL SPORTS WITH BRYANT GUMBEL, debuts TUESDAY, JUNE 20

(10:00-11:00 p.m. ET/PT), exclusively on HBO

(Frances Tiafoe speaking with Mary Carillo photo courtesy of HBO)

 *American Dream.  It has been 14 years since an American man hoisted a tennis Grand Slam trophy, but a revival looks to be underway with nine U.S. players ranked in the ATP’s Top 100, none more promising than the youngest person on that list, 19-year-old tennis star Frances Tiafoe. The son of refugees who escaped a war-torn Sierra Leone, Tiafoe’s family made a new home in Maryland. When Frances was still a toddler, his father took a job as a maintenance man at a local tennis academy. It proved fateful, as Frances would spend countless hours at the club, quietly picking up the sport. Before long, the maintenance man’s son was beating the academy’s top talent and winning national tournaments.

 

REAL SPORTS correspondent Mary Carillo goes one-on-one with the Hyattsville-native as he prepared for the French Open to find out how he is dealing with the pressure of bringing American tennis back to the forefront.

 

Producer: Chapman Downes.

 

The executive producers of REAL SPORTS WITH BRYANT GUMBEL are Rick Bernstein and Joe Perskie.

 

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With Andy Murray Seeking a Sixth Queen’s Club Crown, Tournament Expands Capacity

By Wendy M. Grossman

 

LONDON, England (June 18, 2017) Tournament infrastructure tends to follow champions. As the percentage of American top players has fallen so has the number of United States-based tournaments. This may seem counter intuitive because three of the year’s biggest events are still held in the US, but the many middle-tier events that used to populate the calendar have been traded to Asia and Eastern Europe, where the game is growing. Similarly, several tournaments with long histories vanished from post-Becker/Graf Germany, Somehow, Queen’s survived despite the 77-year wait for a British Wimbledon champion – or a British Queen’s Club champion. The shortness of the grass season and the proximity of Queen’s Club to Wimbledon means this tournament has never wanted for top players. Even so: the principle is arguably visible here: the tournament, which was upgraded to a 500 event while shrinking the draw from 56 to 32 in 2015, has added 2,500 seats this year that will accommodate fans wanting to see Andy Murray, the winningest player in Queen’s history, win his sixth title.

Besides Murray there are four other British players in the singles draw: Aljaz Bedene and Kyle Edmund are in by virtue of their rankings, and James Ward and Cameron Norrie were granted wild cards. At least one of these five will be eliminated before the second round: Murray opens against Bedene. Probably at least one more will exit, since the first round pits Norrie against Sam Querrey, Ward against qualifier Julien Benneteau, and Edmund against qualifier Shapovalov. In the doubles draw, Kyle Edmund shares a wild card with Thanasi Kokkinakis, Domoinic Inglot does the same with Nick Kyrgios, and Jamie Murray appears with Bruno Soares, fresh off their title win in Stuttgart, as the third seeds.

In the singles, Murray is of course the top seed; with Nadal’s withdrawal Wawrinka (whose best showing here is the 2014 semifinal) is second, Raonic (last year’s finalist) third, and Cilic (a two-time former finalist) fourth.

Increasing seating capacity by about a third is an interesting trick for a tennis club situated in the middle of one of London’s more expensive districts. Years ago, Wimbledon, facing a similar problem, was able to expand by annexing adjacent Aorangi Park. Queen’s, like Miami (for legal reasons), the French Open, and many other events, has no such option. Homeowners in London facing such a conundrum have lately been upsetting their neighbors by burrowing underground to create the enlarged spaces they crave. Tennis players prefer open skies. They might be equally resistant to being asked to play on courts stacked like 3D chess boards, although for us it would be a fascinating spectacle. So growth, if it’s going to happen, will have to be squeezed into the existing premises.

Most of the expansion appears to have extended the seating upwards around the Centre and Number 1 Courts. The price seems to be narrower passageways. On Court 5 this afternoon, where Stefan Kozlov was playing a qualifying match against Pierre-Hugues Herbert, spectators were limited to a between-courts walkway so narrow that a steward was heard to fret because someone had deployed a folding seat.

Watching qualifying matches is always instructive, and a wise parent with children who aspire to become tennis pros would do better to take them to watch events on the lower rungs of the ITF circuit and qualifying events than to stake them to seats at Grand Slam finals. This week, Kozlov is the 150th-best person in the world at what he does and Herbert is 75th – and yet there they are, having spent their own coin to get here, trying to produce their best stuff to get into this tournament in front of perhaps 30 people. And these guys are the lucky ones. Hundreds of others have practiced just as much and aspired just as much and been repaid with much *less* success.

Years ago, Alicia Molik attributed her rise from the top 30 to the top ten to realizing that every match turned on just a few points. Win those, and…and in this afternoon’s error-strewn match Kozlov seemed to prove this contention. Serving at 3-5 in the first set, Herbert double-faulted to give his opponent two break points, and although he went on to save three set points you had the sense that Kozlov had, very slightly, the edge in holding his nerve. At 5-4, Kozlov had to save a break point, but three points later took the set with a service winner and another shot long from Herbert. Not much later, the match was over, 6-4,6-2 to Kozlov, who now gets to play Steve Johnson, probably on Tuesday.

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Donna Vekic Beats No. 8 Johanna Konta for Nottigham Title

NOTTINGHAM, ENGLAND – JUNE 18: Donna Vekic of Croatia lifts the trophy after victory in her Women’s Singles Final match against Johanna Konta of Great Britain during day 7 of the Aegon Open Nottingham at the Nottingham Tennis Centre on June 18, 2017 in Nottingham, England. (Photo by Jordan Mansfield/Getty Images for LTA)

(June 18, 2017) World No. 70 Donna Vekic of Croatia came from a set down to beat No. 8 Johanna Konta 2-6, 7-6(3), 7-5 in the Aegon Open Nottingham final and collect her second WTA title.

 

The 20-year-old Vekic upset the WTA International tournament top seed and British No. 1 in just under two-and-a-half hours.

 

After lifting the Elena Baltacha Trophy, which is named after the late former British No. 1, Vekic said: “It is something I have been dreaming of since I got my first title and something that kept me going, because this feeling is amazing. There’s no way to describe it. It just keeps me motivated to work even harder.

 

“To be honest, I really didn’t expect to win today. I was just hoping to get into the match, especially after the first set because I was struggling to find rhythm. I was just trying to focus on myself, serve as well as I can and try to be aggressive.”

 

“It’s pretty amazing. I’m really happy. The last time I won a final, I wasn’t allowed to have champagne.”

 

“Credit to her for playing incredibly well, especially at the end,” Konta said. “I’m very happy that I got to play five great matches on the grass. We just want to get as much time on the surface as possible heading into Wimbledon. I’m really happy that I got to come back and play here in Nottingham.

 

“Overall, I think I fought and played the best that I could today. There are things that I would have liked to have done better, but I think the majority of the credit has to go to Donna. She continuously raised her level as the match went on. She served better and better so I do think she definitely won it in the end.”

 

For Vekic, it’s her second WTA tournament title. She won her first back in 2014 in Kuala Lumpur. It’s also her second win over a Top Ten player.

 

Brits Laura Robson and Jocelyn Rae lost 6-4, 4-6, 10-4 in the WTA International doubles final to Australians Monique Adamczak and Storm Sanders.

 

In the ATP Challenger singles final, Israeli third seed Dudi Sela came from a set down to defeat fourth seed Thomas Fabbiano of Italy 4-6, 6-4, 6-3.

 

In the Netherlands, unseeded Anett Kontaveit of Estonia won her first title on the WTA tour, beating Natalia Vikhlyantseva 6-2, 6-3 to win the Ricoh Open at ‘s-Hertogenbosch.

The win moves her ranking up to No. 36, a career high for her.

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