2014/11/27

Serena Williams Upset in Dubai Semis by Alize Cornet

 

Serena in press 2

Serena Williams

(February 21, 2014) DUBAI – No. 26 in the world Alize Cornet prevented an all-Williams Dubai Tennis Championships final when she stunned the world’s top player Serena Williams 6-4, 6-4 in the semifinals on Friday. Earlier in the day Venus Williams defeated stopped 8 seed Caroline Wozniacki 6-3, 6-2.

Serena Williams talked about the loss:

“I’m a wee bit embarrassed,” she said with laughter.

“She played really well.  I just, you know, I didn’t play today.  I tried, though.  I just kept hitting errors.  I don’t think I have made that many errors in a match in I think at least three years, maybe four years.”

“I have been playing really, really solid for a long time.  Today just wasn’t my day.

“You know, she played a solid match.  She knew someone was going to hit balls in the stands and just didn’t get the ball in play, kind of.  I think she did that really well.

“I think I just, out of a 10, I was at like a ‑283,” Serena said. “Wow.”

AlizeCornet

Alize Cornet

“I was so excited about this match coming up to tonight, and now that I beat Serena, it’s a dream comes true,” said a stunned yet happy Cornet.  “It’s definitely the biggest win of my career.

“I did it in such a good way, such a good match.  Very, very strong and smart till the end.

“I didn’t try to be more powerful than her, because, anyway, it’s impossible.  I just tried to play with my weapon.  Wow, 6‑4, 6‑4.  I didn’t expect that definitely, and I’m really, really happy and proud of myself.”

“I haven’t felt good this whole week, to be honest, just from my first match,” Williams said.  “I felt I played good yesterday.  I had to play well.  If I’d have played like that today, I probably would have been ‑‑ I don’t know if I would have won, because I think Alize, she played really well, but I definitely think the scoreline would have been a little better.

“I started out extremely slow.  I have been actually looking at a turtle every day.  I think it’s so cute.  Maybe I was too influenced about by it.  It’s a really cute turtle in the hotel.

“I need to be able to play better than that if I want to be playing on this tour, on the professional tour.  Maybe I can go to amateurs.”

“If you don’t pretend to be confident against Serena, she just works on you,” said Cornet.  “I mean, when I won the first set I was 2‑Love up in the second, and then I felt that she wanted to put more pressure on me, to impress myself a little bit, and she started to scream louder on the shots and to hit harder.

“And at one point I looked at my coach.  I was like, She want to impress me, but it’s got going to be like that.  I’m going to put some more myself, too.

“And that’s what I did.  I broke her after.  I just didn’t let myself, you know, beaten by Serena.  From the beginning, I just tried to follow the tactic I did with my coach before.  And like a robot, just following the tactic.  That’s it.  Don’t think about anything else.”

“Now that I beat Serena, it’s a dream comes true.  It’s definitely the biggest win of my career.” This was Cornet’s first win over a current No. 1 player.

Cornet will try to become only the eighth player to beat both Williams sisters in the same tournament when she plays Venus in Saturday’s final. Venus is looking to win her 45th WTA title while Cornet wants to win her fourth.

“Before this match, I was telling my coach that she impress me the whole week, Venus,” Cornet explained.  “She’s, wow, she’s back to her top level.

“I think she feels a little bit at home here in Dubai because she won twice, and I lost against her here in 2009, so it’s going to be the revenge, and, wow, I can’t wait for it.  I don’t know what time is the final tomorrow, but I can’t wait to be there and just try to win the title.”

“I mean, not a lot of French players won here.  I think Amélie (Mauresmo) won and that’s it.  I hope to be the next one.”

Venus Williams has won all three career matches against Cornet.

Related article:

Venus Williams over Wozniacki

Venus Williams Moves into Dubai Final

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Simona Halep Retires with Injury in Dubai Opening Match

Halep Retires

(February 18, 2014) DUBAI – Fresh off her title victory in Doha on Sunday, Simona Halep was forced to retire with a right Achilles injury from her first round match trailing Alize Cornet 6-1, 1-1 at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships on Tuesday.

No. 9 Halep received treatment after Cornet had taken to lead 4-1.

“I have an inflammation at my Achilles. So when I jump with my serve and when I stop at the rallies, I feel the pain,” said Halep. “I wanted to try, because I like to try to fight for my chance, but here I couldn’t. After one set I realized that it is dangerous to continue.”

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Sloane Stephens Crashes Out in Opening Round of Dubai

sLOANE sTEPHENS dUBAI

(February 17, 2014) DUBAI – World No. 18 Sloane Stephens is now winless (0-2) in non-major events this year following a 6-3, 7-5 loss to Lucie Safarova in the first round of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships on Monday. Last year Stephens also lost in the opening round of Dubai and last week, the American also fell in her first match in Doha last week.

Stephens told media that she needs to improve her results at Premier-Level events.

“I think it’s just something I need to work on, Stephens said. “I obviously need next year to try to do better here, and that’s what I need to do.”

She is 3-1 in majors this year and 0-2 in other events. Last year she was 15-4 in Majors and 24-19 on the WTA tour and Fed Cup. Stephens recently hired former Roger Federer and Pete Sampras coach Paul Annacone as her own.

“It was a tough match. She’s a great player and she played really well,” Stephens said. “I didn’t really get a good rhythm today, and she was playing some really good tennis at the end of the match.”

“Last year was a really long year,” she said. “It was tough towards the end, but I came through like a champ, and I think I did pretty well,” she said. “I think being obviously American, it’s a much bigger deal because sports is really big in the US, and either way I think the whole thing was a learning experience and it was what it was.”

Also into the second round is recent Pattaya winner Ekaterina Makarova, who overcame a challenge from Alisa Kleybanova to win 6-4, 6-7, 6-4. She’ll face No. 1 Serena Williams next.

Also in the day session in the final round of the qualifying matches, Australian Open semi-finalist and world No. 19 Eugenie Bouchard was beaten 6-1, 6-4 by Annika Beck.

Others to advance to the main draw were 2013 US Open semi-finalist Flavia Pennetta, who beat Yvonne Meusburger 6-1, 6-3, Karolina Pliskova, who defeated Camila Giorgi 7-5, 6-2, and Maryna Zanevska rebounded from losing the first five games to defeat Mona Barthel 7-6, 6-4.

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Knapp Sacks Riske: Italy Advances in Fed Cup Over USA

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By Steve Fogleman

(February 9, 2014) Karin Knapp followed up on her win over Christina McHale yesterday with a clinching 6-3, 7-5 victory today over Alison Riske in the first round of the 2014 Fed Cup season in Cleveland, Ohio. The Italians defeated the American team in all three live rubbers.

Knapp did had some trouble closing it out over Riske, who was a last-minute replacement for Madison Keys in an effort by Captain Mary Joe Fernandez to get some momentum for the US. Riske acquitted herself well. She elevated her game in the second set, and after drawing even with the Italian, she was broken at 5-5 in the next game. Knapp served it out from here.

Overall, the match was more competitive than it might appear.

“It’s not easy because she came back. I got a little bit nervous. I got a little bit of emotion.”

Knapp told the press that the team made a pact to jump in the Cleveland snow if they won the tie.

“After this, we will all put the jacket on, the scarf on and we will jump in the snow!”, she said.

No word on when and where that photo opportunity will occur, but the snowy tundra of Cleveland Public Square is conveniently located between the venue and the Fed Cup hotel.

The snow didn’t stop the crowd from arriving to cheer on the US team, but it did slow them down. There were many empty seats at the start of the tie, but the fans filled in to create a boisterous cheering section by the beginning of the second set. The Public Auditorium was noticeably louder than yesterday.

Riske

Riske

Riske had a “big group of people from Pittsburgh” to join her for the event. She called the tie “an unbelievable experience” and noted the “awesome” support from the fans.

She’ll be in training in the two weeks leading up to Indian Wells.

Madison Keys and Lauren Davis won the inconsequential doubles rubber 6-2, 6-3 over Nastassja Burnett and Alice Matteucci.

Italy will advance to the quarterfinals, while the US will be attempting to simply avoid relegation from the World Group in their next outing.

Steve Fogleman is Editor of TennisEastCoast.com, a Mid-Atlantic based tennis website. He is in Cleveland, Ohio covering the Fed Cup tie between USA and Italy for Tennis Panorama News.

Related article:

Catching Up with Alison Riske at Fed Cup in Cleveland

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Marin Cilic Stops Top Seed Tommy Haas to Win Fourth Zagreb Title

 

Marin Cilic-001

By Florian Heer

(February 9, 2014) ZAGREB – Top seed Tommy Haas and the tournament’s number five Marin Cilic faced each other in the final of the ninth edition of the PBZ Zagreb Indoors. The German had won two of the previous three meetings, including their last encounter in the semi-finals of Hamburg in 2012. It was also the eighth time in the nine-year history of Zagreb that a Croat has reached the final. The tournament’s “dream-final” led to an almost fully packed Dom Sportova with about 5,000 spectators attending the match.

Both players hit a couple of unforced errors in the beginning of the match and consequently lost each of their opening service games. Cilic gained another break in the sixth game when Haas overcooked two forehand shots from the baseline and eventually served the first set out after 35 minutes of play.

In the second set, it was again the German veteran, who struggled to hold his serve and Cilic gained the decisive break through a nice forehand long line winner in the seventh game. The Croat, who is coached by former world number two and ace-hitting-machine Goran Ivanisevic, served big in the following to consolidate the advantage and eventually closed the match out winning 6-3, 6-4 after 80 minutes. Cilic won his fourth ATP title in Zagreb – the tenth in his career – without dropping a set in the entire week and is now holding a tournament best 22-4 win-loss record.

Tommy Haas-001

During the on-court ceremony Tommy Haas, who normally always thanks all the linesmen and umpires at the end of a week, criticized the absence of the Hawk Eye System in Zagreb.

“The hawk-eye was missing,” the top-seed still said on court. “I don’t say that every time I complain about a call that I’m right. It’s tough out there watching the lines all the time but only a few millimetres can be crucial. Hawk Eye just helps to see if a shot was in or out and you’re used to it now as so many tournaments now have it,” Haas added at the news conference.

“Congratulations to Marin, I think he played a very solid match and served very well when he had to,” Haas said about the match. “I wasn’t able to play my best tennis today, in particular at the beginning. Marin played the big points better and deserved to win. Overall I was very happy and excited to be in the final here and now I try to build up from here and to continue staying healthy, which is the most important thing for me,” the 35-year old stated.

The winner was more than happy afterwards. “Today I played really well, probably the best tennis this week. Another positive thing is that I haven’t lost too much energy this week as I played all the matches in two sets. For my next two tournaments, which are in a row it’s an important thing,” Cilic said.

Doubles finalists-001

In the doubles final second seeded team of Jean-Julien Rojer and Horia Tecau won their first title together. Both started their campaign as a new pairing in Brisbane this season and played their fourth tournament in 2014. They defeated another new tandem on the Tour in persons of Philipp Marx and Michal Mertinak, who made their debut as a team. Rojer and Tecau fought back winning the match 3-6, 6-4, 10-2 after 68 minutes. The Dutchman took his tenth ATP World Tour Doubles title and the Romanian won his seventeenth tournament. The pair share € 23.000 in prize money.

 

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

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Tennis Canada honors Rene Simpson Collins during Fed Cup tie

(L-R, Valerie Tetreault, Stephanie Dubois, Rene Simpson Collins, Sharon Fichman and Aleksandra Wozniak)

(L-R, Valerie Tetreault, Stephanie Dubois, Rene Simpson Collins, Sharon Fichman and Aleksandra Wozniak)

By Charles David Mathieu-Poulin | @earthstroke

(February 8, 2014) MONTREAL – As part of the World Group II Fed Cup tie between Canada and Serbia held in Montreal this weekend, Tennis Canada paid a touching tribute to Rene Simpson Collins, former Fed Cup player and captain, who passed away last October after a relentless one-year fight with cancer.

The Canadian tennis world was deeply saddened in the fall of 2012 when her illness was announced. Multiple words of hope and support were shared by players, journalists and fans, notably through the Inspired By Rene website (http://www.inspiredbyrene.com), where Rene and her husband Jason shared thoughts and news on her on-going battle.

Wozniack patch

Players, as well as staff from both Tennis Canada and the ITF, also found their own way of honoring Simpson Collins on Saturday by wearing patches with the name Rene. It was also announced that a Rene Simpson Collins award will be created and given yearly by Tennis Canada to a player that showed promise, determination, courage, and pride.

Known for her determination, gritty attitude and incomparable fighting spirit, Rene went as high as No. 70 in the world in singles, while her biggest success came in doubles where she won three WTA events and reached a career high ranking of 32. She also took great pride in representing Canada by playing in 24 Fed Cup ties over 11 years and participating in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics both in singles and doubles.

As a Fed Cup captain between 2001 and 2009, Simpson Collins became an inspiration to an entire generation of Canadian tennis players. Stephanie Dubois, who has played numerous Fed Cup events since 2004, had great words for her former captain: ‘Rene was a great leader and a source of inspiration to all of us. We have lost a great part of Canadian tennis, and it was an honor to represent Canada with her as a captain’.

The greatest tribute would certainly come on the court from the Canadian Fed Cup team, who is aiming at reaching the World Group for the first time in twenty years.

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Marin Cilic and Tommy Haas to Meet in Zagreb Final

Marin Cilic

Marin Cilic

By Florian Heer

(February 8, 2014) ZAGREB – Top seed Tommy Haas and the tournament’s number five seed Marin Cilic led Saturday’s semi-final line-up at PBZ Zagreb Indoors. They were joined by qualifier Björn Phau and lucky loser Daniel Evans. This special situation of having a qualifier and a lucky loser in the semi-finals of an ATP World Tour event has been the first one since Prague 1999.

 

In the first match of the day Marin Cilic took on Björn Phau. The defending champion seemed to be in good shape and hasn’t dropped a set yet this week. The German qualifier, No. 358 in the world, competed in his first semi-final since Houston five years ago and is the eighth player in the past five years ranked outside the top 300 to reach the stage of the last four on the ATP World Tour. Cilic made a nervous start to this match. Some shaky serves and a couple of unforced errors led to break points for the underdog in the beginning of the encounter. However, Phau wasn’t able to convert and eventually it was the Croat, who capitalized on his single break point opportunity in the eighth game of the opening set to take the frame in the following.

With Phau losing his opening service game in the second set, Cilic began to dictate the pace but the German, quick on his feet, immediately broke back by running the baseline from coast to coast. In the end, the fourth seeded Croat was the more consistent player and broke Phau’s serve three times in a row. Cilic advanced to guarantee a Croat in the final for the eighth time in nine years in Zagreb winning 6-3, 6-4 in 84 minutes.

“I have never played or practiced with Björn before,” Cilic said afterwards. “It was difficult for me to read his game and in particular at the beginning I was a bit struggling to get into the match but later on I felt much better on the court,” the Croat analysed. “Overall I think, from both of us, the match wasn’t on the best level, especially in the second set with a lot of unforced errors and service losses. Nonetheless I was trying to force the pressure and I really wanted to make into the final. In the end I managed to finish the job, no matter how,” Cilic stated. “Tommy has a pretty good record in the finals, so I think it would be better to face Evans tomorrow,” the local told about his possible opponent for the final.

 

Tommy Haas

Tommy Haas

In the second encounter Tommy Haas faced Daniel Evans for the very first time. The German veteran gained his first victories of the season here in Zagreb after falling in the second round after a bye in Auckland and a first round defeat at the Australian Open. Evans has become the first British player other than Andy Murray to reach the semis in an ATP World Tour tournament since James Ward advanced to the semi-finals at London’s Queen Club in 2011. Haas outclassed his opponent in the first two games of the match and the Englishman needed to wait six minutes to make his first point of the match in the third game. From then on Evans found his way into the match by getting the early break back. The Brit made it an even affair, gained a break in the eleventh game to take the first set in the following. At this point it became clear, that this should become harder work for Haas than he may expected. Nonetheless, Haas remained patient waiting for his chance to break in the tenth game of the second set and therewith took the frame. The 35-year-old German improved his play in the final set, gained the decisive break in the sixth game to eventually reach his 28th career final winning 5-7, 6-4, 6-3 in one hour and 59 minutes.

“I didn’t know much about Daniel,” Haas said afterwards. “But what I saw today was very nice to see. I like his game a lot. He plays with a good slice on his backhand and he also has a good serve. It’s always difficult to play against qualifiers, who won a couple of matches before and gained confidence,” Haas admitted Evan’s performance this week. “I’m very excited to be in another final. It’s great to play against an opponent, who is a big star in this country here and he obviously likes it here. A lot of things speak for Marin to do well here again but of course I’ll try everything to make his run stop tomorrow,” Haas said.

 

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

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Catching Up with Alison Riske at Fed Cup in Cleveland

.@RISKE4REWARDS: Close to Home, But Still Not Messin’ Around With Those Cleveland Browns
By Steve Fogleman

(February 7, 2014) CLEVELAND – Alison Riske grew up in Pittsburgh, a mere two hours from Cleveland, but this week marks the first time the 23-year-old has ever been to this nearly-neighboring fair city.

As a die-hard Pittsburgh Steelers fan, Riske is jovial and simultaneously serious about her love of the Steelers spoiling her desire to camp out in Cleveland.

“Never came. It is Browns territory, so I’m like ‘I’m not setting foot over there’.

I wouldn’t want to come to Cleveland for any other occasion than Fed Cup.”

browns

The World No. 46 admitted this without hesitation when I caught up with her outside of the Grand Ballroom of the Marriott at Key Center on the eve of her maiden Fed Cup voyage as a player.

Riske was a designated hitting partner six years ago as a 17-year-old at the US Fed Cup tie in Moscow and appreciated the experience.

“I got my feet wet. I think that was the whole point of being a ‘Future Fed Cupper’.

US Fed Cup Team 2014 Cleveland

Riske joins Cleveland native Lauren Davis in the fifth and final rubber on Sunday in doubles against Alice Matteucci and Nastassja Burnett. It could be crucial.

Fed Cup Doubles: Alison Riske, Lauren Davis, Nastassja Burnett, Alice Matteucci

Though she can cross ‘Fed Cup’ off of the old Bucket List for now, she says she’ll gladly come back and play singles anytime.

FUN FACT: Riske is the only regarded WTA player who lists Washington, DC as her address. But she’ll be filling out a change of address form sometime soon.

She’ll head to Toronto to rejoin her coach, Yves Boulais, who she followed to the Junior Tennis Champions Center in College Park, Maryland a year ago. She will train full-time in Canada. Boulais left Maryland and returned to College Park late last year. She credits him for much of her success.

“I feel like my game has transformed into something I can build on. It’s really exciting and I think the best is yet to come.”

Steve Fogleman is Editor of TennisEastCoast.com, a Mid-Atlantic based tennis website. He is in Cleveland, Ohio covering the Fed Cup tie between USA and Italy for Tennis Panorama News.

Alison Riske photo by Steve Fogleman

Alison Riske photo by Steve Fogleman

Related articles:

Draw Set for US-Italy Fed Cup in Cleveland

Draws and Results for Fed Cup for February 7, 2014

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Dan Evans Stuns Philipp Kohlschreiber in Zagreb to Reach Semis

Dan Evans

Dan Evans

By Florian Heer

(February 7, 2014) ZAGREB – After an exciting opening month of the season in Australia and Asia as well as the first round of the Davis Cup, ATP World Tour action returns to Europe. Leading the way at the PBZ Zagreb Indoors is world number twelve Tommy Haas, who is making his tournament debut and world number fourteen Mikhail Youzhny. Four of the top five seeds were in action on Friday at Dom Sportova. Two unseeded quarterfinalists met in the first encounter of the day when Dudi Sela took on Björn Phau for the fourth time. The German qualifier could only win one match before between the two but seems to be on a roll at this tournament. Phau advanced into the stage of the final eight by battling through the qualification and with victories over Ante Pavic and Mikhail Youzhny. The German is playing his first ATP World Tour event since falling in third round at Indian Wells in March last year losing to Juan Martin Del Potro. This is the German’s first quarterfinal since Stuttgart in July 2012. Sela, who played one quarterfinal this year before in Chennai was without any chance today. Phau, who already reached some good indoor results on Challenger level in the past, took the match winning 6-4, 6-3 in 69 minutes

 

The second match of the day guaranteed a Croatian semi-finalist for the eighth time in nine years in Zagreb when three times champion Marin Cilic faced Ivan Dodig. Cilic fired down fourteen aces on his way to victory over compatriot Mate Delic in the first round and he hit another twelve aces in a straight sets win over Serbian Dusan Lajovic in second round. Fourth-seeded Dodig opened his campaign with a 7-6, 6-3 win over countryman Ivo Karlovic but today he had to accept the fact that Cilic was the more consistent and luckier player in the decisive moments winning 7-5, 6-4 after one hour and 32 minutes.

 “Today against Marin it was a different match compared to yesterday,” Dodig said. “For me it was a little bit tough today to adopt Marin’s game. Unfortunately it didn’t work out for me, especially with my serve I am not happy at all today,” the fourth-seeded added. Cilic on the other hand celebrated his eighteenth victory out of his last nineteen matches in Zagreb. “I think that the key points were going on my side,” the winner analysed. “Especially in the end of the first set and at the beginning of the second when Ivan was not able to confirm his break. After that game we had new balls and it was tougher for him to gain the break back and in the final stage of the match I was also a bit lucky,” the defending champion admitted. “Of course playing with Ivan involve a lot of emotions, which sometimes is tough to deal with but I think I handled it very well today,” Cilic was satisfied with his performance as well as his mental strength.

 

A very first meeting took place with the match between Philipp Kohlschreiber and Daniel Evans. The German, who made his Zagreb debut yesterday defeating Andrey Golubev in straight sets, had to face a highly motivated British number two. The world number 147 entered the main draw by replacing the tournament’s seventh seeded Radek Stepanek, who withdrew due to a right heel injury. From then on Evans cruised past Jan Hajek and defeated qualifier Michael Berrer. The 23-year-old from Birmingham also made the better start into today’s encounter breaking Kohlschreiber’s serve in the third game to eventually take the set in tenth. The man from Augsburg, fought his way back into this match, breaking serve in the fourth and eighth game to take the encounter into a decider. Here again, the Brit was wide awake right from the beginning when he capitalized on his first break point opportunity in the final set. Evans didn’t become flustered, defended his advantage until the end of the match and served out in the tenth game winning 4-6, 6-2, 6-4 after two hours to reach his first ever semi-final on the ATP World Tour. “I enjoy every day here in Zagreb. I only found out the day when main draw started that I will have to play on Tuesday,” the lucky loser said. “So I had the chance to play a lot of matches this week, which is always good and it is a big achievement for me to reach the semis here,” Evans said. “For me Davis Cup is still one of my favourite things to do and so this is a big goal for me to play for my country. That I wasn’t selected for the tie on clay last weekend is a difficult decision but there are some players in Britain, who ran the same level and eventually the captain has to decide. It’s normal in sports that from time to time someone has to be left out,” the Englishman explained. In the end this decision might have become a lucky one for Evans as otherwise he may not to be here in Zagreb.

 

In the final match of the day top-seed Tommy Haas met Andrey Kuznetsov for the very first time. The 35-year-old German made his Zagreb debut yesterday winning in three sets against countryman Benjamin Becker. The Russian battled his way through the qualification, defeated 2008 champion Sergiy Stakhovsky and Heilbronn finalist Igor Sijsling to appear in his third ATP World Tour quarterfinal. The the first set in was even affair without any break points. Haas eventually took the set in the tie-break 8-6. The German veteran improved his play with the start of the final frame. Haas capitalized on the first break point of the match in the opening game of   the final set after 47 minutes. The top-seed served out by an ace winning 7-6, 6-4 in 85 minutes. “We both served well, the tie-break was hard fought and I think it was important for the momentum to win it,” the top-seed said afterwards. “It is always dangerous to play qualifiers at a tournament, who have already played a couple of matches before. Daniel beat with Philipp a top-player today and I have to focus on my game tomorrow but I expect another tough match,” Haas stated about his semi-finals task.

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

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Murray Beats Querrey to Send Great Britain to the Davis Cup Quarterfinals

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By Vito Ellison, Special to Tennis Panorama News

 

(February 2, 2014) SAN DIEGO – With the Americans’ place in the 2014 Davis Cup World Group on the line, Sam Querrey ran neck and neck with Andy Murray today.  Unfortunately, he only kept pace with the 2-time major champion for two sets. Of those, he won just one. Therein lies the story of the match.  After a valiant effort, Querrey succumbed 7-6 (5), 6-7 (3), 6-1, 6-3 in 2 hours and 54 minutes at Petco Park In San Diego.  Such is the challenge of playing against a member of the modern game’s “Big Four.”

 

“I had some ups and downs definitely,” Querrey said reflecting on the weekend. “Still bummed I lost that first one…but I’m proud of myself for putting it behind me and coming out strong today.” While Querrey was miles more competitive today than he managed to be on Friday versus James Ward, his loss clinched the tie for Great Britain.

 

Andy Murray, all but singlehandedly wiping the negative recent history of British tennis, guaranteed his side their first berth in the World Group quarterfinals for 28 years.  For your reference, Murray is 26 years old.

 

Despite the loss, US captain Jim Courier found positives in his team’s performance.  “We kept our heads together,” he said.  “I was proud of Sam and the way he competed.  I think Donald (Young) got some valuable experience…. Of Course Bob and Mike (Bryan) did that they do so well, which is compete hard and typically get us the win.”

 

Despite the unpredictable way in which the tie ultimately played out: Isner’s injury, Querrey’s flat opening performance and two ruthless displays by Murray, one questionable call may have played a major part in writing the final script, the Americans’ choice of a red clay surface.  Courier defended the choice at every turn throughout the week, pointing to strong prior performances by his squad on the terre battue. For his part at least, Murray was skeptical, “I was surprised they put it on clay, to be honest,” he said, even noting that the surface may have been helped Britain to victory.  “Yeah, obviously, it did have a bearing in the tie, for Sam especially.  I think his best surface is hard courts….I don’t know if they thought I wasn’t going to play because I had problems on clay last year with my back and coming off surgery.  So I don’t know”

 

Oddly enough, the road for the advancing team, Great Britain, on paper at least, becomes presumably easier than that for the losing American squad.  The Brits will play their next World Group tie away versus an Italian team headlined by Andreas Seppi and Fabio Fognini.  The United States, in falling to the World Group playoffs for the first time since 2010, could potentially face three teams headlined by major champions: (Spain, Serbia and Argentina) or our surging neighbor to the north, Canada, just to stay in the World Group for 2015.

 

By Vito Ellison, Special to Tennis Panorama News

Murray’s not quite thinking about the next tie just yet.  Still in the midst of recovery, the Dunblane native is still working his way back to playing his best ball.  “I’m proud of the way I’m playing just now because I had to do a lot of work to get back to where I wanted to be,” said Murray. “I’m still not quite there yet, but winning matches of that length and quality so soon after the surgery is good.”

With a tough challenge behind him and Murray’s mood lightening, he added “I’ll have done 13 weeks consecutively without a break of training and I’m playing tournaments to try and get myself back.  I need a break now, so I’ll take some days off after I get home, because I deserve it.”

 

Related articles:

Motivated Murray Dismisses Young

Expectations, Or The Lack Thereof; Ward Upsets Querrey

Teams On The Edge

 

 

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