First blood in the first set went to the three-time defending champion even though at times he looked off kilter as he pounded away in the rallies. Nerves looked to still be with him as he gifted away a set point on Federer’s serve before finally wrapping it up.
There were no SABRs but there were some great rallies, but Federer’s inconsistency tended to lead in and away from moments of brilliance, and that appeared to be the story of his final.
In the second set, even after having to claw his way back from three break points down in a game, he found himself in trouble again and this time, he could not pull off the Houdini act. He saved one match point, but relinquished the other, although he made Djokovic wait for the victory, challenging the line call before conceding the match.
Djokovic now carves out a bit of history for himself – he is the first player to win four titles in a row, and he how equaled his head-to-head records with both Rafael Nadal and Federer in just this week alone.
Speaking on court after his win, he said: “I’m very proud together with my team for the achievements this season,” Djokovic said on court. “It could not have been a better finish. It’s the best season of my life.
“I’d like to congratulate Roger, tough luck today. We’ve played so many matches. I wish you a great next season. Rest well with your family and close ones. I hope we can have many more great matches next season.”
“For some reason or another, I’ve been playing some of my best tennis after the U.S. Open, in Asia and also indoors, both Paris and London.”
Federer could only really concede he had lost to the better player. Also talking during the trophy presentation, he said: “It’s better than not paying at all like last year. I’d just like to say how happy I am that I could play today.
“It was a tough moment last year but this week was great again. I’ve had a fantastic year all round. I tried my best this week, thought I played some great tennis, even in the final. Some of the points were crazy.
“Novak deserved the win today. He’s had a ridiculously good year. This year has been long, grueling, tough. But I loved every moment of it.”
With that loss Federer also loses out on the World No. 2 spot to Andy Murray, who will play in the Davis Cup Final starting Friday November 27 in Belgium.
Djokovic ends 2015 winning 11 tournaments – three out of the four major titles, six Masters Series 1000 trophies in addition to the ATP’s year-end event.
(November 21, 2015) LONDON, UK – In a repeat of a round robin match earlier in the competiton, Novak Djokovic will take on Roger Federer in the final of the ATP World Tour Finals on Sunday.
If there were any lingering doubts about whether Djokovic was ready to mount his offensive for a fourth straight title, at the ATP World Tour Finals, they only had to look at his start in the semi-final.
Swiftly establishing a 3-0 lead, he was the one calling all the shots. Nadal seemed to struggle to even stay with the Serbian, much less even get a look at his serve.
It took just a single break in the first set for Djokovic to keep his advantage, and at the start of the second set he looked like he was going for a mirror image of the first.
While Nadal managed to at least hold that attempt off, he would surrender a break shortly afterwards and in a final indignity, Djokovic broke him to seal the match.
Djokovic said, in his on-court interview: “It was a great performance, no doubt. From the very beginning I pushed to execute my game plan, trying to be aggressive, dictate the play.
“It’s easier said than done when playing as great of a defender as Rafa. He was playing some great tennis earlier this week. I managed to pull out my best game when it was needed the most. Just glad to get through to final.”
For Nadal – it was his best close post-US Open after a disastrous start to the year by his standards, and so he looks forward to 2016 in the hope that he has regained his confidence.
Roger Federer def. Stan Wawrinka 7-5, 6-3
This had the promise of being a hard fought three-setter, and indeed when Wawrinka broke Federer in the middle of the first set, it looked as though this would most certainly go the distance.
A sloppy game at the end of the set though handed it to Federer, and that momentum stayed with him as he quickly jumped out to a 3-0 lead.
Wawrinka was at least able to stop the rot and prevented Federer from breaking him to grab the set, but all to rapidly, Federer served out to love for a most straight forward win.
“He [Djokovic] should be knocked out by now,” Federer joked in his on-court interview. “I’m joking. It’s a great format, the round robin. He’s had a tremendous year, another great semifinal against Rafa [Nadal]. I know it will be difficult tomorrow. I’ll give it all I have, it’s the last match of the season.”
He now sets up the final fans were denied last year, and will face three-time defending champion Novak Djokovic.
(November 20, 2015) La Jolla, Calif. – Former Women’s Tennis Association star Amy Frazier, who was ranked as high as No. 13 in the world, has entered the United States Tennis Association National 40 Hard Court Tennis Championships scheduled for Nov. 30 – Dec. 6 at the La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club.
The 43-year-old Frazier, a resident of Rochester, Mich., won eight career WTA singles titles and four doubles championships. She also reached the quarterfinals of the Australian Open in 1992 and the US Open in 1995.
Frazier, who retired from the women’s professional tennis tour in 2006, is no stranger to San Diego area tennis fans. She scored two of the biggest wins of her career in nearby Carlsbad, Calif., as she defeated Steffi Graf in 1999 and Martina Hingis, who was ranked number-one in the world, in 2000.
“We are very happy to have Frazier playing in our tournament. Spectators are going to have a great time watching a player of her caliber,” said Tournament Director Bill Kellogg. “Both the men’s and women’s fields are very strong this year and we’re looking forward to a great week of tennis.”
In addition to Frazier, other top players entered in the women’s singles draw, include defending champion Dina McBride of Stevenson Ranch, Calif., who also won the singles title in 2012, and 2011 champion Jennifer Dawson of Carlsbad.
The USTA national tournament will feature men’s and women’s singles and doubles divisions as well as a mixed doubles event. Participants will include former touring pros and the nation’s strongest players in this age group.
The tournament’s list of seeded players and draws will be available on Wednesday, Nov. 25 at the following link: http://tennislink.usta.com/Tournaments/TournamentHome/Tournament.aspx?T=153472
Matches will begin at 9 a.m. on Monday, Nov. 30 and 8 a.m. Tuesday, Dec. 1 through Friday, Dec. 4. On Saturday, Dec. 5 and Sunday, Dec. 6, matches are scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. (all times are PST).
Also on the tournament agenda is the USTA National Father/Son and Grandfather/Grandson Hard Court Doubles Championships, which begins Friday, Dec. 4 and concludes Sunday, Dec. 6. The Father/Son championship has been held continuously at the La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club since 1959, and attracts the top father and son tennis teams in the nation. The Grandfather/Grandson Championship is a relatively new competitive division that started at the La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club just a few years ago.
Spectator admission for all divisions is free and on-site parking is available for a nominal fee.
Recently designated one of the Top 100 Tennis Resorts in the world by Tennis Resorts Online, the La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club’s reputation as a top tennis destination started in 1942 when it attracted its first major tournament, the Pacific Coast Men’s Doubles Championship. The Club will be hosting the 127th edition of The Pacific Coast Mens’ Doubles Championships in March 2016, and the USTA National Hard Court Championships for Womens’ 50-90 age groups in May 2016.
Written by Fred Sidhu
(November 20, 2015) LONDON, UK – Is there such a thing as an inconsequential match? On paper, Rafael Nadal had nothing to lose or indeed gain with his final group round robin match, while David Ferrer was playing for sheer pride at the ATP World Tour Finals on Friday
At the start it actually looked like Nadal was on a mission to put his compatriot out of his misery early, but with typical tenaciousness, Ferrer scrapped and scampered his way back into the match, indeed nudging the lead once back on serve. Having reeled off four games in a row, Ferrer kept toe-to-toe with Nadal, forcing a tie-break and running away with it to take the first set off Nadal 7-6(4).
That would get the crowd sitting up, as a highly competitive second set was decided with a late break after Nadal failed to capitalize on an earlier break point.
An epic 14-minute hold at the start of the second set would help maybe speed Ferrer to a face saving win, but once more it was a late break that confirmed Nadal’s resurgence. The world No. 6 went on to win 6-7(4), 6-3, 6-4.
As gritty and as dogged as Ferrer is, it was maybe unfair of him to come away with a 0-3 record, but he is as determined as he is consistent, so do not count out seeing him again this time next year.
Nadal faces three-time defending champion Novak Djokovic next.
“It is very important for me to be finishing the season like this, competing well against the best players,” said Nadal, when he was interviewed on court.
“Novak is playing almost better than impossible. He is achieving almost everything that one player can dream. I have to play to the limit of my best to have a chance.”
The straight shoot-out between Stan Wawrinka and Andy Murray came in the evening session. Prior to the match many felt it would come down to whichever Wawrinka showed up, but in truth while the more aggressive player got the first strike, Murray kept him in check and even built up a solid lead in the resulting first set tie-break which went to the Swiss 7-4.
Therein lay the issue – ahead and looking in control a run of basic errors cost Murray the set, with Wawrinka having to do not very much at all. He continued that streak into the start of the second set with an early break but it was the Swiss’ turn to lose the plot as he served out for the match at 5-2.
Murray looked to be clawing his way back to level terms, but he really had not left enough time, and once some errors swept in giving Wawrinka a 7-6(4), 6-4 win which sets up a rematch of the last year’s prickly semifinal with compatriot Roger Federer.
“It was important to get the first set,” Wawrinka said in his on court interview “It was a tough battle, it’s always tough against Andy. It was an amazing atmosphere, I really enjoyed it tonight.
“It’s going to be an interesting match [against Federer] for sure, we played a crazy match last year, it’s always special against him. I will try to rest and be ready for tomorrow.”
The semifinals start at 12pm GMT on Saturday.
(November 20, 2015) LONDON, UK – With Roger Federer installed at the top of the Stan Smith group at the ATP World Tour Finals, and a tight head-to-head with the Japanese No. 1, it would be interesting to see how this match unfurled. Federer was quick to deliver the first blow, only to be pegged right back.
Kei Nishikori may have had a slow start but he was not going to go quietly into the night, taking the initiative to put Federer on the back foot, only to lose the advantage.
It was a tight finish to the first set, with Federer finally taking it, and the momentum stayed with him as he quickly left Nishikori standing with a 4-1 lead. The comeback from the Japanese player was remarkable, winning the next five games.
Again Federer was the quicker off the blocks in the decider but there is something about that 1-4 score-line that spurred Nishikori into access once more, but this time his three-game run was as far as he would go, with Federer winning 7-5, 4-6, 6-4.
After the match Federer praised his opponent, who last year reached the semi-final on his debut.
Federer said: “It’s amazing what [Nishikori]’s able to produce on the court. Today was another showcase of that. It was impressive. It wasn’t easy, but somehow I got it done.”
Novak Djokovic needed just a single set to advance, having weathered a bearded Federer storm, and put the Czech Tomas Berdych under immediate pressure. While he wasn’t able to hold on to the advantage, there was always a sense that the push would come from the Serbian as he chipped away at Berdych before finally getting a break at the end of the set.
While Djokovic took the early initiative once more, he made pretty hard work for himself, giving Berdych a route back in to the match. Still it was not enough for the Czech, and he blinked first, with Djokovic closing out a 6-3 7-5 win and he will go on to face Rafael Nadal in the semi-final.
“I’ve played him so many times on different surfaces, two or three on this very court,” he said after his victory. “Hopefully I’ll be able to perform my best, that’s what’s needed to compete against him.”
With all eyes on the evening match on Friday, it is a straight shoot out between Stan Wawrinka and Andy Murray for a place to fight Federer.
Play will start for the final day of round robin matches at 12pm.
(November 18, 2015) LONDON, UK – Despite a promising start for the Andy Murray with an immediate break, any signs of nerves from either player was eradicated once Rafael Nadal broke back, and then proceeded to take charge on Day four of the ATP World Tour Finals.
In a slightly more competitive first set, the pair stayed toe-to-toe with each other, but it was always the Spaniard who was hustling more, while Murray at times looked very bothered about everything.
Not even giving himself a haircut could change Murray’s momentum in the match. The Brit gave himself a little trim during a changeover in the first set.
“I had some hair in my eye, and I just wanted to get rid of it,” said Murray. “That literally took two seconds. That was it.”
The non-stop commentary to himself, his team, and engagement with the umpire all served to distract him from the fact that Nadal was very much in control of the set.
With a poor first serve percentage in the first set, things continued to slip away from the Brit rapidly, as nothing seemed to work. The odd occasions he did try to come forward did yield some hope, but it just was not consistent enough and Nadal rightly punished him royally for it soundly defeating Murray 6-4, 6-1, clinching the second spot in the semifinals.
He admitted: “He was hitting the ball extremely well from the back of the court, but I didn’t really help myself. I served poorly at the end of the first set and all through the second. That’s not going to be good enough against him when he’s playing that well.”
It leaves Murray with a dilemma, as all depends on the outcome of the night match against Stan Wawrinka. The Swiss had been listless against Nadal, barely trying at times, with a shocking amount of errors leaking from every point on his racquet, it could make for an entertaining encounter between Wawrinka and Murray on Friday as they make their last bids for semifinal place.
Wawrinka defeated David Ferrer 7-5, 6-2 in the night session, rallying from 2-5 down in the first set. Nadal qualified for the semifinals when Wawrinka claimed the first set.
In all honestly Nadal would look to be coasting towards a 3-0 lead at the head of Group Ilie Nastase and based on Ferrer’s abilities and his having pushed Murray to two tight sets in the opener, it would look to be a straight fight between the elder Spaniard and Murray for the No. 2 spot in the group, earning most likely a semifinal berth against Roger Federer.
He assessed his performance for the media after the match: “It’s an important victory because it puts me in a good position to try to be in the semi-finals, and at the same time I have a big day against a great player on a tough surface.”
Play continues with the final group stages for Group Stan Smith with the opening doubles matches starting at 12pm GMT
(November 17, 2015) LONDON, UK – The World No. 3 Roger Federer became the first player to book his place in the semifinals of the ATP World Tour Finals as he stopped the three-time defending champion and World No. 1 Novak Djokovic 7-5, 6-2 in the evening session at the O2 Arena.
While everyone expected another three-setter, as rallies clocked over 20 shots, there was nothing between them until a lapse from the defending champion to hand Federer the break for the first set.
Surrendering an early break in the second set to the Serbian gave fans hope that a comeback was on the cards, but an immediate break back, and two others to boot, pushed Djokovic down the table, and gave Federer his semi-final berth.
Not even a bold challenge on the second match point could save Djokovic, who now faces Berdych on the verge of a 0-3 drubbing in the group stages when they reconvene on Thursday.
Djokovic said: “The court is playing a little bit slower than maybe US Open or Cincinnati, the last couple times we played against each other. I think that’s where he felt maybe he can spin the ball and wait for a shorter ball from my side and come in, which he did. He tactically played well.”
Even Federer was not expecting the win, even allowing for how competitive he is.
“I wouldn’t have picked it maybe before the tournament, you know, just because of his really good record on the indoors, the year he’s had, especially with the run he’s been on. I focused more on beating (Tomas) Berdych and (Kei) Nishikori and let’s see what happens against Novak.”
The victory by the Swiss halted a number of the Serbian’s streaks – 38 indoor match wins, 23 overall match wins and 15 straight victories at the year-end championships.
Federer has taken back the lead in his head-to-head record against Djokovic at 22-21.
The day session featured the first three-set singles match of the event when No. 8 Kei Nishikori defeated No. 6 Tomas Berdych 7-5, 3-6, 6-3.
Ironically a match with the two players yet to win a round robin match in Group Stan Smith turned out to be one of the most entertaining Singles matches after a couple of says of straight-forward wins.
Both Berdych and Nishikori were searching for their first wins of the tournament, and with the prospect facing them of Novak Djokovic or Roger Federer respectively, a win was absolutely vital.
Certainly the first set was even, with perhaps Nishikori playing a bit more aggressively, nibbling away at the Berdych service game until he was finally rewarded with a timely break at the end of the first set.
It actually looked as though that had broken Berdych’s spirit as he quickly succumbed to another break at the start of the second set, but just as fast picked up momentum after a sloppy game from Nishikori allowed the Czech back in.
Into the first three-set match of the tournament in the Singles, and the pair were evenly matched in the final set, but once more it was Nishikori who was able to make good on his chances for a break point, getting his much needed win on the board.
The Japanese player admitted that everything had been working far better than in his opener against Novak Djokovic.
He said: “It was much better than first match. My serve went in much better than first match. Had a more good percentage for my first serve. Strokes, too. I thought I was being very aggressive. These courts are really slow, have more time to step in. I thought there were many good shots for me. I mean, I had a bad game in second set at 2-1, and after that he started playing better. That was kind of my fault that I give him little bit chance to come back for the match. Third set I tried to stay there all the time, more consistency, less unforced errors for me. Very happy with my game today.”
Play begins on Day 4 at 12pm GMT.
(November 17, 2015) Despite concerns following the Paris attacks, the Davis Cup final between Belgium and Great Britain will go ahead as planned in Ghent, Belgium said the International Tennis Federation.
The Davis Cup final will be held in the Flanders Expo November 27-29.
Great Britain and Belgium named their teams. Great Britain’s team, led by Captain Leon Smith will consist of Andy Murray, Kyle Edmund, Jamie Murray and Dominic Inglot.
“Our GB Davis Cup team is proud to be competing in the Final in Ghent this year,” said Smith. “It is an historic moment in British Tennis and I’m delighted to name these five players for the tie against Belgium. Andy has led from the front throughout this campaign, showing time and again what it means to him to pull on the GB jersey. He shows determination, commitment and passion that inspires the other British players on the bench and our fantastic fans in the stands.
The team has had some incredible results this year, and we know that off the back of defeating the three other Grand Slam nations we carry great momentum going into the final, however we will not underestimate the challenge in front of us. The Belgian team is full of top 100 talent and they will push us all the way.
“While our team will be spearheaded by Andy, the other guys give us strong options in both the singles and the doubles positions. Jamie is having an outstanding year and is firmly established as a top 10 world ranked doubles player. He has played a key part in our ties this year with vital wins against both France and Australia partnering Andy.
“Dom is playing some of the best tennis of his career having reached the semi-finals of the US Open and recently the semi-finals of the Paris Masters Series. He played an outstanding Davis Cup match earlier in the year with Jamie against the Bryan brothers, narrowly losing the fifth set. In James Ward, we have a player who really gets the Davis Cup and has had several big wins over the last few years against top 100 players in this competition. Kyle Edmund has had a very good year on the tour, breaking top 100 for the first time and qualifying at both Australian and French Open.
“The support from our fans has been unbelievable. There is no other word for it. For those making the trip to Belgium it will be more important than ever that they make as much noise as possible and get behind the team”
Belgium will field David Goffin, Steve Darcis, Ruben Bemelmans and Kimmer Coppejans. Johan van Herck is the captain of the Belgian team.
The Draw for the Final will take place on Thursday 26 November at 14:00 local time (13:00 GMT). Both nations came make up to two nomination changes up until one hour before the draw.
(November 15, 2015) LONDON, UK – On day two of the ATP World Tour Finals, the question was whether Andy Murray would make that transition from his clay court preparations to the indoor hard court against an opponent that can be a large thorn in anyone’s side.
Facing David Ferrer for the second time in as many tournaments, it was clear that the Spaniard was up for making this a grueling encounter, putting Murray under pressure immediately.
Chances came and went for Murray later in the set, as he squandered three opportunities to gain an advantage, instead opting for breaking Ferrer for the set.
It is never as clear cut as that with this pair, as Ferrer took off at a sprint at the start of the second set, breaking the Brit, and consolidating easily. Murray was not easily put away though, breaking the Spaniard before repeating his feat from the first set, breaking to win 6-4, 6-4.
This puts him within a win of securing the year end No. 2 spot for the first time in his career.
He said to media, after the match: “First couple of games my timing was a little bit off. But I got it back pretty quickly, which was pleasing. You know, if you’re looking for a little bit of rhythm, he’s also a guy who makes you hit a lot of balls. The rallies are often quite long, so you can get into a rhythm against him. So that was good.”
Murray who will play the Davis Cup final next week against Belgium, was asked about the Paris attacks and if he had any concerns about going to Belgium. “I think everybody right now is concerned about things,” said the Scotsman. “But I do think the best thing that we can do is to live our normal lives, not change too much, because then the terrorists are the ones that are winning.”
“We need to go out there and do what we always do and try not to change too much. That’s all we can do.”
“I don’t want to live my life in fear each time I step on a tennis court. So that’s what I’ll do.”
There were high hopes that the night session match would deliver the first three set singles match of the tournament. There was disappointed because despite an early break by Stan Wawrinka, it was all about Rafael Nadal.
Having been quite defensive pre-tournament about his year, even going so far to reiterate that his slide down the rankings has not been because of injury but down to ‘playing badly,’ or rather a lack of confidence, Nadal looked to exploit an ill-at-ease Wawrinka, whom many thought to be a real contender.
While the first set was at least competitive, a mammoth hold at the start of the second set marked the tone for the remainder of the match. Nothing Wawrinka could do was right, as he sprayed errors thick and fast from his racquet.
Sure Nadal regained some of his trademark swagger, but it was as much about an apparent self-destruct from Wawrinka that set the Spaniard alongside Murray with a win against his name, 6-3, 6-2.
Wawrinka could do little else but acknowledge that he had played poorly, saying: “Just disappointed in general. I don’t think was great level, was great match. You know, when something goes wrong today, everything went wrong. Just everything went the wrong way.”
Nadal may have settled any nerves he had with that performance. He said: “I had a good week of practice here. I think I played the way that I wanted to play. I played aggressive. I played with not many mistakes. Just the thing I can do a little bit better is serving. For the moment I didn’t serve as good as I was doing in the previous days. But for the rest, all the shots worked well: backhand, forehand, good volleys, good smash, no missing the smashes today. So that’s good.”
Nadal and Murray will play in the next round, with Wawrinka and Ferrer each looking to salvage their chances on Day 4.