July 30, 2015

Tuesday in “Hotlanta” Sees Mardy Fish Fall in First Round

By Herman Wood

(July 28, 2015) ATLANTA, Georgia – Hotlanta indeed!  Following the directions of ushers to take a seat on Tuesday in Atlanta potentially risked a trip to the burn unit!  It certainly was not comfortable, even in the shade once the sun moved a bit at the Atlanta Open.  Action heated up on the courts as well, with a number of young and experienced Americans in action.  Steve Johnson got by Lukas Lacko 6-1, 6-7, 6-2, dropping a second set tiebreak 7-3.  Austin Krajicek fell to Marco Baghdatis 6-4, 6-0, despite some creative engineering of his frame, reportedly playing with a broken frame for one point.  Qualifier Denis Kudla sent wild card Ryan Harrison home for singles in three sets, 3-6, 6-4, 7-6(5).  Harrison tweeted later, “Fought hard today.  Thank you @BBTatlantaopen for this opportunity to play.  I will get better from this and always be back.  #Bounceback”   Eighteen year old Jared Donaldson took down fellow qualifier Somdev Devvarman 6-1, 3-6, 6-4.  Donaldson is impressive if for nothing else the ability to seriously launch a ball out of the stadium.  Interstate 75 is a possibility!

Australia’s Sam Groth had all he could handle with 17 year old American Frances Tiafoe.  It was a draw until the tiebreaker began for the first set.  The veteran Groth got a service mini-break early and that took some steam out of Tiafoe.  He certainly fought, but Groth kept blasting away.  Fellow American and Georgia Tech team member Chris Eubanks rooted loudly for Tiafoe, encouraging him to keep fighting.  The crowd was fully behind him, exhorting him as well.  He got a bit discouraged after dropping the tie break 7-3 and gave up an early break.  Soon, the racquet was thrown and the crowd got a bit quiet.  The statistics reflected a very even match, but all Groth needed was one tiebreak and one break point converted.  He made it hold up for a 7-6(3), 6-4 win.  Tiafoe won’t find much comfort in the statistics, but he only had one break chance and couldn’t convert it and that was really the difference.

Singles wrapped up for the day with a more mature American, Mardy Fish, who will be calling it a career after the US Open, taking on last year’s finalist – Dudi Sela.  Sela won over the Atlanta crowd last year with fine play and gracious humor.  The crowd appreciated fine play all night, but tried to raise Fish, though there wasn’t as much to cheer for as they might have liked.  Fish managed to hold his first service game, but it was a struggle.   The struggle continued in his second service game, as he was broken by just generally loose play, spraying balls long.  The game was certainly there, especially when the shot required a quick reaction, whether forehand or backhand.  Fish flashed a 131 mph serve at one point, but Sela was more than ready, blunting the attack, blocking backhand after backhand back authoritatively.  Fish managed to get the break back to level the set at four with the help of two net cords, but was promptly undone again, not able to finish points he had most certainly earned.  Sela had to work, holding off a break point, but closed the set 6-4 in his favor.  Fish apparently had an issue with his socks at some point and took advantage of a medical time out by Sela.  Apparently, he gestured to Roddick, who simply removed his socks and sent them to Fish.  That’s a bit more sharing than I think most people want to do with their doubles partner!  After Sela had his wrist attended to, play resumed and stayed on serve.  The length of rallies and level of play improved for both men, until Sela earned a break for 5-4 with a wild Fish forehand.  During the changeover, Sela’s homeland flag of Israel came out on display in the stands and it seemed to inspire him.  He served the set out, winning 6-4, 6-4.  He was gracious afterward, signing and posing with fans.  “If Mardy had played his best, he’d have kicked my ass!”

“If I’m going to play like that, it’s going to be pretty tough,” Fish said in talking about the positives he’d taken from the match. “It’s just it’s nice to finish on my own terms. The sport, my job, was taken from me so abruptly that it took me a long time to get my life back.”

Fish is scheduled to play his last two tournaments of his career in Cincinnati and New York.

I was also able to chat with Chris Eubanks, a 6-7 sophomore from Georgia Tech (about a mile from Atlantic Station).  Eubanks graduated from Westlake High School, also here in Atlanta, and is the number 53rd ranked singles player in the NCAA.  Eubanks played with American Donald Young in the doubles draw, beating Mate Pavic and Michael Venus 6-2, 3-6, 10-5 in the super tiebreaker. Wednesday he’ll play Radek Stepanek in singles.  I asked how I would know if he were playing his best.  “I’ll be getting my first serve in and making my forehand.”  I responded that he had just described about ninety percent of American tennis players, whether on the tour or not.  That drew a laugh.  We also talked about on court demeanor and he shared how important it is that you have to be yourself on the court and express yourself in the way of your own choosing.  Eubanks was very gracious with his time, though he was clearly there to support Tiafoe.

In other singles results, German Benjamin Becker got by fellow German Michael Berrer, 7-5, retired.  In other doubles action, “Popsock”, Vasek Pospisil and Jack Sock fell to Gilles Muller and Colin Fleming 6-4, 4-6,10-6.  Eric Butyric and Artem Sitak took out Matthew Ebden and Adrian Mannarino 6-2, 6-0.  Play continues on Wednesday with the evening matches focusing on doubles.  Fish and Roddick return to action, taking on Murray and Lu.  The Bryan Brothers have big serving Groth partnered up with fellow Australian Chris Guccione.

 

Herman Wood is in Atlanta covering the BB&T Open action from around the grounds for Tennis Panorama News, follow him on twitter at https://twitter.com/hermanewood

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Paire, Stosur, Thiem, Tsurenko and Tomic Win Tennis Titles This Week

Samantha Stosur

Samantha Stosur

(July 26, 2015) Benoit Paire, Samantha StosurDominik Thiem, Lesia Tsurenko and Bernard Tomic were the singles winners on the tennis tour this weekend.

France’s Paire joined the winner’s circle for the first time, claiming the ATP World Tour title at the SkiStar Swedish Open in Bastad when he turned back Spain’s Tommy Robredo 7-6(7), 6-3. Paire is the sixth first-time winner on the men’s tour this year.

“It’s a perfect week,” Paire said. “The conditions today were not easy, but I’m really happy to win against Tommy. He’s a very good player. To play against him in the final and to beat him is a dream, so I’m very happy.

“It was a lot of pressure…  I hope it’s not the last one for me.”

Samantha Stosur rallied to win her second WTA title of the year and eighth overall after defeating Karin Knapp of Italy 3-6, 7-6 (3), 6-2 in the final of the Gastein Ladies on Sunday. The Australian and former US Open champion also won the Strasbourg event back in May.

In a final which featured two unseeded players, Lesia Tsurenko won her first WTA title, besting Urszula Radwanska 7-5, 6-1 to win the Istanbul Cup.

“I’m so happy I could win here and show good tennis,” said the Ukrainian.

“That’s my goal, getting good results and showing good tennis.”

Austria’s Dominik Thiem won his second career ATP World Tour title, besting Joao Sousa of Portugal 6-4, 6-1 to win the Croatia Open

“Today was very special day,” Thiem said. “We were watched by world’s number one Novak Djokovic,” Thiem said. “Usually he is the one who entertains us with great tennis and today we turned it around.”

“It is really special to win here after playing juniors matches in this stadium,” said Thiem who became the first Austrian to win this title since Thomas Muster did it twenty years ago. “I will have a nice dinner with my friends tonight to celebrate. It won’t be a big party for me as I have to drive eight hours to go to Gstaad tomorrow.”

Second seed Bernard Tomic defended his Claro Open Colombia title in Bogota, beating Frenchman Adrian Mannarino 6-1, 3-6, 6-2.

“It’s been a very good year,” Tomic said. “I started at No. 70 and am now close to No. 20. It’s been a good seven months. I’ll try to play well the next three months and have the chance to be in the Top 15.

“Every title you remember. I’m very happy to have won my third title and to defend it here was amazing. I’m really happy with myself… This is my most consistent year.”

The 22-year-old Australian, ranked 29th,  is now 9-0 at the tournament.

 

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The Road to the US Open Begins This Weekend at the BB&T Atlanta Open

BB&TAtlantaOpen

By Herman Wood

(July 24, 2015)ATLANTA, Georgia – The road to the US Open starts in Atlanta with the BB&T Atlanta Open this weekend with qualifying.  The BB&T is a ATP World Tour 250 event, with a 28 player singles and 16 player doubles draw.  Total prize money this year is $585,870.00.  The venue is set in downtown Atlanta, amongst the sky scrapers and shopping of Atlantic Station.  Two time champion and former University of Georgia all-time leader in singles and doubles wins, John Isner returns in search of a historic three-peat.

Arguably the best doubles team of all time, Bob and Mike Bryan make their debut in the BB&T.  They got their first tour win in an Atlanta event in 1998.  Defending doubles champ and singles semifinalist Jack Sock, along with doubles partner Vasek Pospisil, are looking to take another step in their development.  The doubles draw could be very interesting if a showdown between the Bryan brothers and “Popsock” materializes.  It was only a year ago that Pospisil/Sock denied the Bryans the Wimbledon 2014 title.

Marco Baghdatis is already turning heads in the ATL.  As he dropped off his racquets for stringing by the Prince Team at the Serious Tennis tent with Deana Buzzy Mitchell, he was reportedly, “very sweet and winked at me!”  That kind of behavior is sure to make him a fan favorite with at least half of the crowd.  Americans Steve Johnson, Tim Symzek, and Donald Young are also looking to make a statement.   In what could be a big story line, two time champion Mardy Fish is returning to the tour in this tournament.  He has struggled with health issues almost since the last tournament win in Atlanta.  He’ll also be teaming up with another former Atlanta champion, Andy Roddick.  Roddick will not play in the singles main draw, but is playing an exhibition match against another young American, 17 year old Frances Tiafoe on Monday night.  Tiafoe created a stir in the qualifying last year and has been granted a wild card into the main draw.  Other crowd favorites returning include Dudi Sela, last year’s finalist, 2013 finalist Kevin Anderson, and 2012 finalist Giles Muller.  The draw will also include 4 players from a 32 draw qualifying tournament to be played this weekend.

2015 French Open Boys’ champion Tommy Paul and this year’s Wild Card Challenge winner Trent Bryde have accepted two wild card spots into that BB&T Atlanta Open qualifying tournament.  Paul is the No. 5-ranked American junior. Bryde had to make his way through 5 matches in the Wild Card Challenge.  Georgia Tech also is providing a wild card to sophomore Christopher Eubanks.  Eubanks was named all Atlantic Coast Conference as a freshman last spring and finished ranked number 47 in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association rankings.

Ticket sales have been on a record pace according to Tournament Director Eddie Gonzalez.  Atlanta has always been a tennis town, with the largest local doubles league in the United States.  There will be several special events that are part of the tournament scene, including the above mentioned exhibition with Roddick, a kids weekend with special ticket promotions during the qualifying tournament, a Commodores concert, College Night, another concert featuring LoCash, Ladies Day, USTA member appreciation day, and a Family Zone presented by Prince at Atlantic Station where kids can play tennis.

Herman Wood is in Atlanta covering the BB&T Open action from around the grounds for Tennis Panorama News, follow him on twitter at https://twitter.com/hermanewood

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Serena Williams Leads 2015 US Open Women’s Field

2011-US-Open-Tennis-Tournament

From the USTA: White Plains, N.Y., July 22, 2015 – The USTA today announced that world No. 1 and three-time defending champion Serena Williams leads the women’s field for the 2015 US Open Tennis Championships. Williams is joined by 99 of the world’s top 101 women, including world No. 2 and former US Open champion Maria Sharapova, 2014 US Open finalist Caroline Wozniacki, two-time US Open champion and world No. 15 Venus Williams, and former US Open champions Samantha Stosur and Svetlana Kuznetsova.

 

In total, 33 different countries are represented in the women’s field. Eleven U.S. women received direct entry into the main draw – the most of any country – with seven Americans ranked in the Top 50.

 

The 2015 US Open will be played Monday, August 31, through Sunday, September 13, at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing, N.Y. The US Open Women’s Singles Championship is presented by J.P. Morgan.

 

Leading the entry list is world No. 1 Serena Williams, who won her sixth US Open crown in 2014, tying her with Chris Evert for the most US Open women’s singles titles in the Open Era. This year, Williams is also going for the calendar Grand Slam at the US Open, last won in 1988 by Steffi Graf. Williams won her 21st Grand Slam singles title at Wimbledon this month, which ranks third all-time, just one behind Graf (an Open-era record of 22) and Margaret Court (24 all-time).

 

Joining Williams in the field’s top four are world No. 2 Sharapova, of Russia, the 2006 US Open champion who won her fifth Grand Slam singles title last year at the French Open; No. 3 Simona Halep, of Romania, a 2014 French Open finalist and Wimbledon semifinalist; and No. 4 Petra Kvitova, of the Czech Republic, the 2011 and 2014 Wimbledon champion.

 

Following the top four are: No. 5 Caroline Wozniacki, of Denmark, the 2009 and 2014 US Open finalist; No. 6 Ana Ivanovic, of Serbia, the 2012 US Open quarterfinalist and 2008 French Open champion; No. 7 Agnieszka Radwanska, of Poland, the first Polish player to reach a Grand Slam singles final (2012 Wimbledon) and this year’s Wimbledon semifinalist; No. 8 Lucie Safarova, of the Czech Republic, who reached her first Grand Slam singles final at the French Open this year and also won this year’s French Open and Australian Open doubles titles; No. 9 Garbiñe Muguruza, of Spain, who reached the final at Wimbledon this year and has never won a US Open main draw match; and No. 10 Carla Suárez Navarro, of Spain, a four-time Grand Slam quarterfinalist who reached the US Open quarterfinals in 2013.

 

Nine players who have won Grand Slam singles titles in their careers are competing in the US Open this year, including two-time Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka, former world No. 1 and 2008 French Open champion Ana Ivanovic, of Serbia, and 2010 French Open champion Francesca Schiavone, of Italy.

 

Belgium’s Kirsten Flipkens, ranked No. 101, is the last player accepted directly into the women’s field of 128. One player has withdrawn due to a back injury, No. 29 Shuai Peng, of China. Four players are using a special ranking to gain entry into the main draw – No. 56 Petra Cetkovska, of the Czech Republic, No. 58 Laura Robson, of Great Britain, No. 73 Vania King, of the United States, and No. 87 Alisa Kleybanova, of Russia. Sixteen more players will gain entry through the US Open Qualifying Tournament, August 25-28, while the remaining eight spots are wild cards awarded by the USTA.

 

In addition to Serena Williams and Venus Williams, the other American women who received direct entry into this year’s tournament include No. 18 Madison Keys, of Rock Island, Ill., No. 32 Coco Vandeweghe, of Rancho Santa Fe, Calif., No. 34 Sloane Stephens, of Coral Springs, Fla., No. 39 Madison Brengle, of Dover, Del., No. 45 Varvara Lepchenko, of Allentown, Pa., No. 54 Alison Riske, of Pittsburgh, No. 59 Christina McHale, of Englewood Cliffs, N.J., No.  76 Irina Falconi, of West Palm Beach, Fla., and No. 83 Lauren Davis, of Boca Raton, Fla.

 

Several of the young Americans listed above have had breakout performances on the WTA tour this year. Keys, 20, reached the semifinals of the Australian Open and the quarterfinals of Wimbledon, while also reaching one WTA final in Charleston, S.C.; Vandeweghe, 23, reached the Wimbledon quarterfinals; Stephens, 22, reached two WTA semifinals; and Brengle, 25, reached her first career WTA final in Hobart.

 

Among the players competing in the US Open Qualifying Tournament will be the winner of the sixth annual US Open National Playoffs – Women’s Championship, held during the Emirates Airline US Open Series’ Connecticut Open in New Haven, Conn., prior to the US Open Qualifying Tournament. The USTA created the US Open National Playoffs in 2010 to allow players 14 and older, regardless of playing ability or nationality, to vie for a spot in the US Open Qualifying Tournament via one of 14 sectional qualifying tournaments.

 

The July 20 edition of the WTA rankings was used to determine the US Open main draw entry list. Seeds will be determined and announced closer to the start of the event.

 

The 2015 US Open will mark the culmination of the Emirates Airline US Open Series, the North American summer season of seven ATP World Tour and WTA events that begin Monday, July 27.

 

The US Open is the highest-attended annual sporting event in the world. 2015 marks the first year of an 11-year agreement between the USTA and ESPN, which will see the US Open carried on ESPN through 2025. During the 2015 US Open, ESPN and ESPN2 will combine to air more than 130 hours of live match play with more than 1,100 hours of first-to-last ball coverage to be seen on ESPN3, which will also be hosted on the US Open website – USOpen.org.  In an expansion of its US Open coverage, ESPN will feature play from 11 courts.

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Novak Djokovic Headlines the Men’s Field at the 2015 US Open

2011-US-Open-Tennis-Tournament

From the USTA: White Plains, N.Y., July 22, 2015 – The USTA today announced that world No. 1 Novak Djokovic, Wimbledon finalist Roger Federer, and defending champion Marin Cilic lead the men’s singles field for the 2015 US Open Tennis Championships. The field features five former US Open champions, including Djokovic (2011), five-time champion Federer (2004-08), two-time champion Rafael Nadal (2010, 2013), Andy Murray (2012), and defending champion Cilic (2014).

 

Each of the world’s top 99 men received direct entry into the US Open, representing 40 countries.

 

The 2015 US Open will be played Monday, August 31, through Sunday, September 13, at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing, N.Y. The US Open Men’s Singles Championship is presented by Mercedes-Benz.

 

Leading the entry list is Djokovic, the Serbian world No. 1 who has reached the US Open final five times, winning the title in 2011. He won his eighth and ninth major singles titles this year at the Australian Open and Wimbledon.

 

World No. 2 Federer, of Switzerland, is the all-time leader with 17 major singles titles, and was bidding for his eighth Wimbledon title this month before falling to Djokovic in the final. Federer is competing for his sixth US Open title, which would surpass Pete Sampras and Jimmy Connors for the most US Open men’s singles titles in the Open Era.

 

Great Britain’s Murray, the world No. 3, won the US Open in 2012 after winning the Olympic gold medal in London. He also won Wimbledon in 2013, where he became the first British man in 77 years to win the championship, and reached the Australian Open final this year, losing to Djokovic.

 

Stanislas Wawrinka, the Swiss world No. 4 and a 2013 US Open semifinalist, won his first major singles championship at the Australian Open in 2014, joining Juan Martin del Potro (2009 US Open) and Cilic (2014 US Open) as the only men outside the “Big Four” of Djokovic, Nadal, Federer and Murray to win a Grand Slam since the 2005 French Open. Wawrinka also won this year’s French Open title, defeating Djokovic.

 

Filling out the field’s top 10 are: No. 5 Kei Nishikori, of Japan, the 2014 US Open finalist; No. 6 Tomas Berdych, of the Czech Republic, a 2012 US Open semifinalist and 2010 Wimbledon finalist; No. 7 David Ferrer, of Spain, the 2013 French Open finalist and two-time US Open semifinalist (2007, 2012); No. 8 Milos Raonic, of Canada, a 2014 Wimbledon semifinalist; No. 9 Cilic, of Croatia, the US Open defending champion and 2010 Australian Open semifinalist; and No. 10 Nadal, of Spain, the 2010 and 2013 US Open champion and 14-time Grand Slam champion.

 

Italy’s Marco Cecchinato, ranked No. 99, is the last man to receive direct entry into the field of 128. Five players used a protected ranking to gain entry including No. 25 Mardy Fish, of the United States, No. 25 Tommy Haas, of Germany, No. 34 Florian Mayer, of Germany, No. 39 Janko Tipsarevic, of Serbia, and No. 57 Radek Stepanek, of the Czech Republic. Sixteen more players will gain entry through the US Open Qualifying Tournament, held August 25-28, while the eight remaining spots are wild cards awarded by the USTA.

 

American men who received direct entry are No. 18 John Isner, of Greensboro, N.C., No. 31 Jack Sock, of Lincoln, Neb., No. 34 Sam Querrey, of Las Vegas, No. 46 Steve Johnson, of Orange, Calif., No. 55 Donald Young, of Atlanta, No. 75 Tim Smyczek, of Tampa, Fla., No. 86 Rajeev Ram, of Carmel, Ind.; and No. 96 Denis Kudla, of Arlington, Va.

 

Among the players competing in the US Open Qualifying Tournament will be the winner of the sixth annual US Open National Playoffs – Men’s Championship, held during the Emirates Airline US Open Series’ Connecticut Open in New Haven, Conn., prior to the US Open Qualifying Tournament. The USTA created the US Open National Playoffs in 2010 to allow players 14 and older, regardless of playing ability or nationality, to vie for a spot in the US Open Qualifying Tournament via one of 14 sectional qualifying tournaments.

 

The July 20 edition of the Emirates ATP Rankings was used to determine the US Open main draw entry list. Seeds will be determined and announced closer to the start of the event.

 

The 2015 US Open will mark the culmination of the Emirates Airline US Open Series, the North American summer season of seven ATP World Tour and WTA events that begin Monday, July 27.

 

The US Open is the highest-attended annual sporting event in the world. 2015 marks the first year of an 11-year agreement between the USTA and ESPN, which will see the US Open carried on ESPN through 2025. During the 2015 US Open, ESPN and ESPN2 will combine to air more than 130 hours of live match play with more than 1,100 hours of first-to-last ball coverage to be seen on ESPN3, which will also be hosted on the US Open website – USOpen.org.  In an expansion of its US Open coverage, ESPN will feature play from 11 courts.

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USTA and ESPN Expand US Open and US Open Series Coverage

 ustalogo
WHITE PLAINS, N.Y., July 21, 2015 – The USTA today announced that for the 2015 summer tennis season, ESPN will broadcast over 1800 hours of live tennis action across it’s platforms as the exclusive live domestic television and digital media partner for the US Open and Emirates Airline US Open Series.  2015 marks the first year of an 11-year agreement between the USTA and ESPN, which will see the US Open carried on ESPN through 2025.
The unprecedented tennis coverage will feature over 200 hours of live match play on ESPN and ESPN2, with more than 1600 hours to be featured on ESPN3 – ESPN’s live multi-screen sports network, a destination that delivers thousands of hours of exclusive sports annually.
“The opportunity for tennis to be seen across ESPN platforms affords the sport a stage that reaches far beyond the eyes of just the traditional tennis fan and into the homes of all sports fans,” said USTA Chairman of the Board and President Katrina Adams. “The ability to be top of mind throughout the summer is an incredible chance to highlight some of the greatest athletes in the world, including Serena Williams as she continues her historic pursuit of the calendar Grand Slam, and continue to grow the sport throughout the country.”
“We are delighted to work with the USTA to bring tennis fans even more comprehensive coverage of the most important tennis this summer between the Series and US Open over the next seven weeks” said Scott Guglielmino, SVP, Programming and Global X. “We are extremely excited for our first year of exclusive coverage of the US Open, giving us the opportunity to leverage our TV and digital media platforms to further engage fans with more ways and more hours to watch as the game’s greatest athletes compete.”
Over the five week calendar of the Emirates Airline US Open Series, ESPN2 will air nearly 70 hours of live coverage, while ESPN3 will carry more than 500 hours of action.  In total, there will be 34 consecutive days of coverage for these tournaments.  For the first time, fans will be able to access coverage on the Emirates Airline US Open Series main website – emiratesusopenseries.com – as well as the respective tournament websites, through the integration of the ESPN3 Media Player.  ESPN3 is also accessible on line at WatchESPN.com and on smartphones and tablets via the WatchESPN app.
During the 2015 US Open, ESPN and ESPN2 will combine to air more than 130 hours of live match play with more than 1100 hours of first-to-last ball coverage to be seen on ESPN3, which will also be hosted on the US Open website – usopen.org.  In an expansion of its US Open coverage, ESPN will feature play from 11 courts.
“This overarching agreement with and commitment from ESPN is incredibly important to the USTA and to tennis, at large, as it brings the sport to the fans on a larger scale than ever before,” said Gordon Smith, USTA Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer.  “The reach of ESPN is undeniable, and the ability to watch the US Open and Emirates Airline US Open Series throughout the summer, across a number of ESPN’s platforms markedly enhances the experience for the tennis viewer.”
For the 2015 US Open, the men’s singles final will return to its traditional Sunday (September 13) afternoon timeslot and the women’s singles final will be scheduled for Saturday (September 12) afternoon – both finals will air on ESPN.  The men’s singles semifinals will take place on Friday (September 11) afternoon, with the women’s singles semifinals scheduled for primetime on the second Thursday (September 10) night of the tournament. This schedule reaffirms the USTA’s commitment to providing a day of rest for singles competitors between the singles semifinals and singles finals.
Prior to the start of the tournament, ESPN will kick-off its coverage of the US Open on Sunday, August 30 with a broadcast of Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day presented by Hess from 1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. (ET) and a US Open preview show from 2:00 – 2:30 p.m. (ET), both to be broadcast on ESPN2.  Additionally, leading into the men’s singles final, ESPN will televise a 30-minute “Blue Carpet” special, enabling the fans to get an inside look at the excitement, pageantry and celebrity surrounding the day.
In addition to ESPN’s coverage at the Open, Tennis Channel, for the seventh year, will offer pre and post-match coverage, analysis, and match encores throughout the two weeks of the US Open.
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Ram, Schmiedlova and Larsson Win Tennis Titles This Week

Rajeev Ram won the Van Alen Cup for the second time in his career today. The trophy is named for International Tennis Hall of Fame founder Jimmy Van Alen, who invented the tennis’ tiebreak system. Photo by Jennifer Carter

(July 19, 2015)Three surprise winners took titles this week on the tennis tour – Rajeev Ram, who knocked out top seed John Isner on Tuesday took home his second Newport title. The top Swedish woman took home her country’s  title in Bastad while Anna Karolina Schmiedlova knocked out top seed Sara Errani to win in Bucharest.

Ram stopped No. 2 seed Ivo Karlovic 7-6(5), 5-7, 7-6(2), the 31-year-old American ranked 161st coming into this week will move into the top 100 as of Monday. He became the third American to win multiple titles at this ATP World Tour grass-court event, this includes John Isner 2011-12 and Bryan Shelton 1991-92.

“To say that I felt like I’d be the winner at the end of the week… I had no idea,” Ram said. “The first one was more elation, this one is more satisfaction just because I did it again.”

Ram also won in Newport in 2009.
Seventh seeded Anna Karolina Schmiedlova upset No. 1 seed Sara Errani 7-6 (3), 6- to win the Bucharest Open final on Sunday.

The 20-year-old Slovak won the match in 97 degree heat, avenging a loss to the Italian in the Rio Open earlier this year.

“I still cannot believe I won, because it was a really tough match and Sara Errani is an amazing player,” Schmiedlova said to media. ”

“It’s tough to play against her anywhere, but especially on clay.” she said.

Johanna Larsson made her home country proud collecting the title at the Swedish Open, downing defending champion Mona Barthel 6-3, 7-6(2) for her first WTA title.

“I’m extremely happy,” Larsson said after the match. “I think I played really well today and I tried to concentrate on taking it point by point.

“I’m just really living in the moment right now and I’m happy with this victory today. Hopefully this can pay off later in the season, but right now I am just going to enjoy my first career WTA title.”

 

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Fighting talk from the French and the British ahead of the Davis Cup Quarterfinal

314Murrayinpress2-001

 

By Ros Satar

LONDON, England – Arnaud Clement fields a team of players who believes can handle any surface thrown at them, as he prepares to face Great Britain at home at Queen’s club for the quarter-final of the Davis Cup.

 

The team comprising of Wimbledon semi-finalist Richard Gasquet, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Gilles Simon, Nicholas Mahut and Pierre-Hugues Herbert met with the press ahead of the draw, to talk about their preparations.

 

Last year’s finalists may be more traditionally associated with the clay of Roland Garros, but their players are no slouches on the grass, as team captain

 

Arnaud Clement explained: “You know for our team, to play on grass, hard court, indoor court or clay court it’s almost the same. My players are good on all surface and reach finals and won tournaments on all the surface all over the world so for us, I think they chose grass because it’s the best surface for Great Britain.”

 

He may have some early injury worries, as Gilles Simon was spotted limping off court an hour before the press conference, although he played down questions about his condition joking that he was in great shape and had not wanted to play anymore.

 

Conditions have veered between bouts of rain and sun making the rested courts at Queen’s probably a little slick.

 

Gasquet, who bowed out to eventual champion Novak Djokovic after a five set quarter-final against recently crowned French Open champion Stan Wawrinka gave himself a well-earned rest ahead of the tie.

 

He said: “I stopped three days and started again yesterday. I’m feeling great. I like to play on grass and playing well. And I’m in great shape now and ready for the weekend.”

 

With two of the British team also in the latter stages of the tournament, team Captain Leon Smith was quick to point out that no matter how much match research and planning he or Clement had done, it would all come down to the three days, saying: “The players are so well known. Anyway you can plan as much as you want but it will be much more down to what happens on the day and trying to react. These guys are trying to do the most important part, which is playing. It’s going to be up to us to do the best as possible on the day.”

 

That being said, the nature of Andy Murray’s defeat at the hands of Roger Federer on perhaps a flawless day of serving still was weighing heavy on his mind.

 

He said: “I still thought about it most days, yeah. I did say at the time, the guy served over 80% the first and third set. That’s won’t happen to me for the rest of the year.

 

“You have to look at the match and see what’s happened and analyse it a little bit and look at the tournament as a whole, and Queen’s as well and think about those things and see what I can do better in the future. It doesn’t take one day, there’s a lot of preparation goes into those events and you need to take your time. When you are finished you need to analyse what’s gone right and wrong and things you can do to improve in the future.”

 

There was far less bravado from the British side, but their camaraderie and results over the past few ties have helped make them a formidable unite when combined.

 

Murray continued: “I would say in the last couple of years, everyone’s played their part and all of the matches that have been played, obviously James has won some big singles marches. Even though Jamie and Dom didn’t get the win in Glasgow, they played a great match against the Bryan bros and I think over the last couple of years we’ve had some great performances and I think this is our level now, as a team, and this weekend is going to be a tough ask against four top grass court players. They’re all really really good players, it’s going to be a tough challenge for us but we have an opportunity win it with playing our best level.”

 

The draw will take place on Thursday, with play starting at Queen’s Club London on Friday.

 

Ros Satar is a British sports journalist covering tennis, and can also be found at Britwatch Sports.

 

 

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US Open Prize Money Tops $40 Million Dollars for the First Time

 

From the USTA: US OPEN PRIZE MONEY TOPS $40 MILLION FOR THE FIRST TIME

 

TOTAL COMPENSATION INCREASES BY MORE THAN 10 PERCENT

TO REACH $42.3 MILLION

 

Each Round in the Singles Competition Increased by a Minimum of Ten Percent

Doubles Prize Money Increased by More Than Eight Percent

 

Each Singles Champion to Receive $3.3 Million

 

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y., July 14, 2015 – The USTA today announced that the total purse for the 2015 US Open will increase by $4 million dollars, bringing the total purse for the tournament to a record $42.3 million and a 10.5 percent increase over the 2014 US Open.

 

Both the men’s and women’s singles champions will earn $3.3 million, the largest payout in US Open history. Each round of the singles competition will see double-digit percentage increases over last year’s record payouts, with the minimum increase of 10 percent for the champions and up to a 14.4 percent increase in the round of 32. Both the men’s and women’s doubles champions will earn $570,000, the highest in US Open history, and overall doubles prize money has been increased by 8.4 percent. The US Open Qualifying Tournament will now offer more than $1.7 million in prize money, a 12 percent increase over 2014.

 

In the last three years, US Open main draw prize money has increased by 67 percent.

Round-by-round individual prize money for the US Open is as follows:

 

Singles:                                                                Doubles (each team):

Winner:                  $3,300,000                              Winners:                      $570,000

Runner-Up:              1,600,000                              Runners-Up:                  275,000

Semifinalist:                805,000                              Semifinalist:                    133,150

Quarterfinalist:            410,975                              Quarterfinalist:                 67,675

Round of 16:               213,575                              Round of 16:                   35,025

Round of 32:               120,200                              Round of 32:                   21,700

Round of 64:                 68,600                              Round of 64:                   14,200

Round of 128:               39,500

 

“We continue our commitment to ensure that the US Open offers one of the most lucrative purses in all of sports,” said USTA Chairman of the Board and President Katrina Adams. “As we have stated, total player compensation at the US Open will reach $50 million by 2017.”

 

This year’s US Open is scheduled for August 31 through September 13, with the US Open Qualifying Tournament beginning on August 25.

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USTA Girls’ 16s & 18s Nationals to Take Place at Barnes Tennis Center, San Diego, Calif.

gilrs nationals

San Diego, Calif. – (July 14, 2015) – The top junior tennis players from across the United States and Puerto Rico are set to compete in the USTA Girls’ 16s & 18s National Championships scheduled for Aug. 1-9, 2015 at the Barnes Tennis Center,  4490 W. Point Loma Blvd, San Diego, CA, 92107.

The Girls’ 18s division is highlighted by the entry of Tornado Alicia Black of Boca Raton, Fla., and Michaela Gordon of Saratoga, Calif. Both players reached the quarterfinals of the Wimbledon Girls’ Singles competition last week at the All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club in London.

Black, who reached the Girls’ 18s finals last year, is ranked No. 411 in the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) singles rankings, while Gordon is No. 655 in the WTA rankings and No. 22 in the International Tennis Federation (ITF) junior rankings.

Other competitors to watch in the Girls’ 18s field include:

Kylie McKenzie, Anthem, Ariz.                                     Kayla Day, Santa Barbara, Calif.
(2014 Girls’ 16 Champion)                                             (2014 Girls’ 16 Finalist)

Usue Arconada, Rio Piedras, P.R.                              Sofia Kenin, Pembroke Pines, Fla.

Francesca Dilorenzo, New Albany, Ohio                     Raveena Kingsley, Fulton, Md.

Caroline Dolehide, Hinsdale, Ill.                                  Claire Liu, Thousand Oaks, Calif.

Alexa Graham, Garden City, N.Y.                                Ingrid Neel, Bradenton, Fla.

“It’s been fun following recent champions CiCi Bellis (2014 Girls’18s champion) and Sachia Vickery (2013 Girls’ 18s champion), who are now ranked in the Top 200 in the world,” said Co-Tournament Director Lisbeth Blum. “It will be exciting during this year’s tournament to watch some of these stars of the future who will go on to play collegiate tennis or compete professionally.”

The tournament will also feature a strong group of local players, who include:  (Girls’ 18s) – Jessica Failla, Ramona, Calif., (Girls’ 16s) – Julia Deming, Fallbrook, Calif., Paulina Ferrari, San Diego, Julia Haynes, San Diego, Cali Jankowski, Carlsbad, Calif., Nicole Mossmer, La Jolla, Calif., Britt Pursell, Oceanside, Calif., and Hannah Zhao, San Diego.

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

The Girls’ 16s event will begin on Saturday, Aug. 1 and conclude with the singles and doubles finals on Saturday, Aug. 8. The Girls’ 18s tournament will get underway on Sunday, Aug. 2 and conclude with the 18s singles championship on Sunday, Aug. 9. Both divisions will feature 192-player singles draws and doubles draws with 96 teams.

Starting times for each day of the tournament will be as follows:
8:30 a.m. – Saturday, Aug. 1 through Thursday, Aug. 6
9 a.m. – Friday, Aug. 7 and Saturday, Aug. 8
9:30 a.m. –  Sunday, Aug. 9
(All times are PDT)

The Opening Ceremony for the USTA National Girls’ 16s & 18s National Championships is scheduled for 5 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 1 at the Barnes Tennis Center. The guest speaker will be Katrina Adams, Chairman of the Board, CEO and President of the USTA.

Early-round matches will also be played at secondary sites at San Diego State University’s Aztec Tennis Center, 5375 Remington Rd., San Diego, CA, 92115, from Saturday, Aug. 1 through Tuesday, Aug. 4 and University of San Diego’s Skip and Cindy Hogan Tennis Center, 5998 Alcala Park, San Diego, CA 92110, from Sunday, Aug. 2 through Wednesday, Aug. 5.

Admission and on-site parking at the Barnes Tennis Center is free each day of the tournament. For fans watching matches at SDSU and USD, admission is free, but there is a nominal charge for on-campus parking. University parking regulations will be strictly enforced.

The complete list of competitors for each division can be viewed at http://tennislink.usta.com/Tournaments/TournamentHome/Tournament.aspx?T=154061.  A list of seeded players and full draws will be available on the website in late July.

The USTA Girls’ 16s & 18s National Championships will hold a special reunion of former tournament champions and past participants.  Guests will attend the Opening Ceremony and take part in various social functions scheduled during the first weekend of the tournament.

Those expected to attend include Ann Grossman Wunderlick, Anna Maria Fernandez, Barbara Jordan, Cammy MacGregor, Carrie Cunningham Lubitz, Debbie Graham Shaffer, Debbie Spence Nasim, Elly Hakami, Katrina Adams, Laxmi Poruri-Madan, Lea Antonopolis Inoue, Leigh Anne Eldredge Baxter, Marianne Werdel, Melissa Gurney, Shawn Foltz Emmons, Stephanie London Krogiuss, Stephanie Rehe and Susie Mascarin Keane.

Written by Fred Sidhu

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