2014/07/10

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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Favorite Canada Lead by Bouchard Take 2-0 Advantage over Serbia in Fed Cup World Group 2 Play

 

Aleksandra Wozniack

Aleksandra Wozniack

By Brodie Elgin

(February 8, 2014) It has been an exciting time for Canada in the past several years. From the break out of Milos Raonic as the first Canadian to win an ATP title and reach the top 10, to the Canadian team’s success in Davis Cup and the emergence of Vasek Pospisil all the way to Eugenie Bouchard‘s semifinal run in the Australian Open – the first Canadian women to advance to the final four of a major tournament in 30 years. After the Canadian team failed to advance past the first round of Davis Cup in Tokyo, the women took center stage as they got under way against Serbia in Fed Cup at in Montreal.

 

The Canadian team looked to be heavy favorites to advance out of the World Group II as Serbia’s top three ranked players, Jelena Jankovic, Ana Ivanovic, and Bojana Jovanovski were all absent. Serbia called upon Vesna Dolonc in the first rubber to take on the previously top ranked Canadian Aleksandra Wozniak in front of a large crowd at the Claud Robillard Sports Complex.

 

Before the match, the crowd appeared ready to cheer on the Canadians, but were quickly stifled as the Serbian raced out to a 5-1 lead. Wozniak, who is still returning from a series of serious injuries, looked a step slow and failed to properly impose herself in the match.

 

However, things quickly changed as the Canadian found her feet and started to find more consistent depth that caused problems for Dolonc. The Serbian did not make matters easier for herself, as she double faulted four times in two service games, including once on break point, and Wozniak fought all the way back, winning six straight games and taking the first set 7-5.

 

A disheveled Dolonc left the court with her coach’s arm around her in an attempt to regain her composure, and it worked as she broke in her first return game, and took the second set decisively, 6-2.

 

The beginning of the third set featured some of the best tennis of the match, as both players raised their level and fought out several long games on serve. But it would eventually be Wozniak who would break in the middle of the set and hold on, taking her first match point and the match, 7-5, 2-6, 6-4.

 

“It was an emotional win for me. I wanted so badly to get back on the Fed Cup team,” said Wozniak, who was brought to tears after her hard fought win. “It was a tough match with a lot of long points, so I had to stay focused. The crowd was amazing and really helped me get through. It’s special to play at home.”

 

Eugenie Bouchard'

Eugenie Bouchard’

Next up was young star Eugenie Bouchard, now ranked at a career high number 19, versus 20 year-old  Jovana Jaksic, ranked 149. Clad in red and featuring a fake Canadian flag tattoo on her right cheek, Bouchard turned the match into an exhibition as she routed the Serbian 6-1, 6-0.

 

The 19 year-old showed off not only why she managed to make the Australian Open semifinals, but why so many are hyping her game for the future. She mixed in plenty of effective net play and her forehand was particularly dominant as she hit 16 winners and won 85% of points behind her first serve en route to a 50 minute victory that puts Canada in a commanding position.

 

Sunday’s matches will include the reverse singles at 11am EST time as Wozniak will now take on Jaksic and Bouchard against Dolonc. If necessary, the doubles will feature Gabriela Dabrowski and Sharon Fichman for Canada against Aleksandra Krunic and Nina Stojanovic for Serbia.

 

All photos by Marc-André Gauthier

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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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Schedule decided for Canada-Serbia Fed Cup tie in Montreal

Eugenie Bouchard (r) and Aleksandra Wozniak (l)

Eugenie Bouchard (r) and Aleksandra Wozniak (l)

By Charles David Mathieu-Poulin | @earthstroke

(February 7, 2014) MONTREAL – The match-ups of the Canada-Serbia World Group II Fed Cup tie were announced earlier today in Montreal, as the local hopefuls will be aiming at getting one step closer to reaching the World Group for the first time since 1994.

Canadian Aleksandra Wozniak, a former top 25 player who is working her way up after a serious shoulder injury, will start things off on Saturday against Serbian number one Vesna Dolonc, ranked 117th. The two have only faced off once, when the Canadian won in two tight sets in the first round of the 2013 US Open a few months ago. Wozniak, the Canadian player with the most ever Fed Cup wins (37), was chosen to play singles over Sharon Fichman, the actual second best Canadian in the WTA rankings. By doing so, Canadian team captain Sylvain Bruneau will surely be hoping to earn the first point of the tie thanks to Wozniak’s experience, as she has been nominated for 15 Fed Cup ties since 2004.

The second singles match will see Canada’s Eugenie ‘Genie’ Bouchard, now ranked at a career high 19th spot, face off against first-time Fed Cup player Jovana Jaksic, also at her best ever ranking (149th). Bouchard, who was named the WTA Newcomer of the Year award in 2013, is expected to draw big crowds in Montreal, as she aims to keep up the form that led her to the semi-finals of the Australian Open in January.

“It’ll be my first home tie so I’m excited to see what it’s going to be like, said Bouchard earlier today. This is the city I grew up in and it’s fun to play back here. I haven’t played here since Rogers Cup 2012, so I’m really excited.”

On Sunday, reverse singles should see Bouchard face Dolonc and Wozniak face Jaksic, though changes in the match-ups are possible. Sharon Fichman and Gabriela Dabrowski, Canada’s highest ranked doubles players, would be scheduled to face the unlikely pair of Alexandra Krunic and Nina Stojanovic in the deciding doubles match.

Saturday February 8th, 2014 – 3pm ET

R1: Aleksandra Wozniak (CAN) v Vesna Dolonc (SRB)
R2: Eugenie Bouchard (CAN) v Jovana Jaksic (SRB)

Sunday February 9th, 2014 – 1pm ET

R3: Aleksandra Wozniak (CAN) v Jovana Jaksic (SRB)
R4: Eugenie Bouchard (CAN) v Vesna Dolonc (SRB)
R5: Gabriela Dabrowski/Sharon Fichman (CAN) v Aleksandra Krunic/Nina Stojanovic (SRB)

 

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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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Gemany Completes 4-1 win over Spain in Davis Cup

_B4H1528-001

By Florian Heer

(February 2, 2014) FRANKFURT, GERMANY – Final day of the first round Davis Cup tie in Frankfurt and Team Germany ran out of players for the last two singles matches. Only Daniel Brands was nominated to take on Roberto Bautista-Agut for the single dead rubber on Sunday. It was officially announced by Team captain Carsten Arriens that Tommy Haas, Florian Mayer and Philipp Kohlschreiber were injured. The spectators in the Fraport Arena answered with catcalls and the following match was played in a weird atmosphere.

Nonetheless the encounter between Brands and Bautista became an interesting affair with tennis on a very high level. In the end it was the German, who had the advantage in the decisive moments. Brands won the first set in the tie-break and gained the only break of the match in the tenth game of the second frame winning 7-6, 6-4 after 80 minutes.

 

“I tried to do my best and put some effort into winning one point for Spain,” Bautista-Agut said afterwards. “Nonetheless it was very difficult for me to go on court today. It was like having zero motivation, as we are still disappointed,” the Spaniard added. “All of our players gave their best but the German team was very strong throughout weekend,” Team Captain Carlos Moya said. “Of course we are disappointed as we wanted to win but there is still an opponent who also has a word to say and Germany played very well,” Moya stated.

Due to the missing third rubber, the German fans were also disappointed and as a consequence the president of the German Tennis Federation, Karl Altenburg, announced that there will be show match in Frankfurt in summer as a compensation for today’s ticket holders.

 

“I really can understand that the fans are angry,” team captain Carsten Arriens told the press after he had been barracked by the fans inside the arena. “I’ll think about the things, which happened in the arena in the next couple of days. We were really surprised by the reactions from the spectators and maybe we also underestimated the situation. Nonetheless I hope that the positive aspects from Friday and Saturday will remain the dominant facts for the fans. I do not want to embellish the situation but Tommy, Flo and Philipp did a great job the last two days and that’s what I want to point out. Unfortunately all three are injured,” Arriens tried to explain. “We had two fantastic days here in Frankfurt and I really want to thank the spectators for creating a great atmosphere and their support, it was something special for me, too, having the tie played in my hometown” the captain said. A very successful weekend for the German team has come to an end but today’s occurrences will probably leave a bland aftertaste.

Germany will play France the first weekend in April for a chance to make the Davis Cup semifinals.

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