2015/04/19

Bryan Brothers Keep Hope Alive for US with Five-set Win in Davis Cup

Bryan-Brothers-Tennis-Panorama

(March 7, 2015) GLASGOW, SCOTLAND – If you had asked anyone at the start of the day whether they would expect to be on the edge of their seats once more in Glasgow, you would have been hard pushed to find anyone to agree with you.

For team USA, the Bryan brothers came to play and they ripped through the first two sets in less than an hour, and even had match points to end it all in the fourth set, but somehow the Brits found a way to hang on.

It was not the easiest of comebacks for Jamie Murray, who got the nod to play along with the in-form Dominic Inglot who had already recorded two wins this season over the twins.

Finally holding his serve in the third set, it seemed to spur the Brits on to greater glories as the Bryan’s intensity dropped a little, while Dominic Inglot proved to be on fire at the net and Murray started to paint the lines with burning accuracy,

There was a hint of danger for the scratch pairing in front of an enthusiastic home crowd as the tall rangy Inglot found himself under pressure to hold his serve for the first time but dig himself out of a whole with some very solid serving as Murray dug deep to hold again to force a fourth set tie-breaker.

Two set points came and went for the Brits but they struggled to make it count, and a nifty Bryan poach suddenly brought up match point for the Americans. The threats seemed to come quick and fast for the Brits, and once more the risks paid off for the home team as they forced the decider.

It looked as though this match would be another long one, but at 7-7 a Murray volley found the net to give the Bryans a chance to serve it out, and they took it to set up a thrilling close.

Inglot just catching the edge of his racquet to a stinging return from the Bryan’s spelled danger as they took the mini-break for a 5-3 lead on their serve. A great stretch from Inglot pulled the Brits back on serve as the Brits clung on to bring up their first set point to force a decider. Inglot was poaching once more at the net to bring up their second set point but the pair could not find a way to close once more. A Bryan interception spun the advantage to the visitors, on their serve.

Inglot’s thundering return kept the Brits hanging in and Murray painting the lines brought up a third set point for the Brits, forcing the Americans into a decider.

Despite both Inglot and Murray requiring treatment during the decider, no quarter was being given now by either pairing as the fifth set wound its way on. With the threat of the first break points looming for the Americans on Murray’s serve at 7-7, a nicked edge saved the Brits albeit briefly and Murray’s missed half volley finding the net handing the Bryans a chance to serve for the match as they closed out the visitors’ first win.

The Bryans picked up their first five set win in the Davis Cup, 6-3, 6-2, 3-6, 7-6(8), 9-7, previously having been 0-2, but then they had also never lost in the Davis Cup from two sets up.

They admitted how much it meant to get their first five set win in the Davis Cup, saying: “We lost a couple of heartbreakers in 2013 so if we got this opportunity again, we were actually telling each other let’s erase all that pain and this was a great way to do it, is to win an very emotional match, I thought we played a great match, those guys didn’t give us an inch all day. Jamie returned well and served well. They made a ton of first serves and cleaned up the volleys. We had to bring out best stuff to win.”

“We didn’t let up,” Mike Bryan chimed in. “They hit great returns. They were going for it the whole way. We had been playing well all week and we played a great match today and it came down to a few points. The margins were really small. We had a couple of looks in the fourth set. But, all credit to them. They hit some alley shots and lines and served big when they had to. It came down to the wire.”

“The biggest luxury is having these guys on the team,” said US Davis Cup Captain Jim Courier of the Bryan brothers. “They continue to come through for us.”

John Isner will face Andy Murray in the live fourth rubber in reverse singles on Sunday with Great Britain leading the tie 2-1.

Ros Satar is a British sports journalist and a writer at Livetennis.com.

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James Ward pulls it out of the bag once more as Great Britain takes a 2-0 lead over the USA in Davis Cup

(March 6, 2015) GLASGOW, SCOTLAND – It was always going to be a tough ask for James Ward to come up against John Isner and pull out the same kind of miraculous win he did against Sam Querrey in San Diego.

 

The British No. 2 has been working hard on his fitness, and it showed as he kept pace with Isner in the first set, even building up enough of a head of steam to lead 4-2 in the first set tie-break before the US No. 1 thumped home five points in a row to deny him.

 

The crowd was kept at bay after their noisy enthusiasm in the first match when Isner broke to pick off the second set, and it was sure to be a long way back for the Londoner.

 

But there is something about Davis Cup that brings out the best in James Ward. Jim Courier may have described him as streaky but when he has his good patches, they can be hugely impressive, as he pushed through a third set tie-break and this time there was no relinquishing any advantage.

 

For a time it looked as though Isner would pick up the pace and close this out in the fourth set but somehow Ward found a way to push through again, and from what had looked like a winning position, Isner was facing yet another marathon.

 

Ward seemed to have the fresher legs – Courier had expressed his admiration for Ward’s energy and performance in San Diego even when he was down, whereas Isner looked increasingly more tired. He could barely even stretch for balls but denied suffering from cramp in his post match press conference.

 

Losing 15-13 in the fifth hurt, as he very candidly shared as he faced the media with Jim Courier at his side. After having won the epic match at Wimbledon, he admitted he had lost tough matches before, but this was quite raw.

 

He said: “I’ve lost a lot of tough matches before. They suck. Simple as that. It’s brutal and I’m barely going to sleep tonight. It’s awful.”

 

He continued: “I’m healthy, mentally I’m certainly a bit shaken right now, but I’ve got to be a professional and bring my best on Sunday. Tomorrow I’ll rest. I don’t feel too chipper right now, but as Jim said I’ll let it rip on Sunday if the match is live.”

 

For Ward, the 6-7(4), 5-7, 6-3, 7-6(3), 15-13 win was just as emotional, and he sounded quite choked up as he gave his on-court post-match interview, saying: “This is by far the best atmosphere I’ve ever been part of in the Davis Cup. I would prefer it if I didn’t have to play these five-set matches every time, but the crowd was incredible and really helped.”

 

Great Britain ends day one up 2-0, need just one more victory to clinch the tie. The doubles rubber will be played on Saturday with Bob and Mike Bryan trying to keep tie hopes alive for the US when they face the British team of Jamie Murray and Dominic Inglot.

 

Ros Satar is a British sports journalist and a writer at Livetennis.com.

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Andy Murray Dominates Donald Young to Give Great Britain 1-0 Lead in Davis Cup

(March 6, 2015) GLASGOW, SCOTLAND – In front of a rapturous crowd, Andy Murray’s triumphant homecoming started in fine style as he delivered a four set win over Donald Young in the Davis Cup World Group first round tie against the USA.

Ahead of the tie, he had seemed downbeat and almost wary of the reception he would receive but he needn’t have worried as the crowd roared their approval as he was introduced before the tie began.

From the outset he was moving well, with great range and focus, and Young was little more than a bystander as the first set shot by in 21 minutes, swiftly followed by the second as Murray built up a 6-1, 6-1 lead.

Earlier this week USA Team Captain Jim Courier stressed that the one thing he had learned was to communicate with his team and there was plenty of that going on as he tried to pick the demoralised Young up, and it started to work for him as Murray’s intensity dulled a little in the third set.

Young said: “He started to miss a little more, I kinda loosened up. I was getting whupped pretty good so I started to hit the ball and was able to string some points together in a row an get into his service games which I could not do in the first two sets.”

Murray admitted that although he had let his guard down a little in the third set, he was very happy with the win.

“I had a slight maybe lull in intensity but I couldn’t maintain the intensity I had in the first couple of sets in the whole match, because it was tough, but I was really happy with the way I played.”

It was perhaps more vital to give Young a little more confidence should the tie come down to a live fifth rubber, but Murray lifted his game for the early break at the start of the third set, and did not look back, securing a double break buffer and serving the match out for the win 6-1, 6-1, 4-6, 6-2.

After the match he spoke about the crowd, in the sold-out Emirates Arena.

“It’s the biggest home tie that I’ve played, in front of the biggest crowd. I would say definitely the biggest indoor crowd. When we played at Wimbledon the crowds were big but the stadium also wasn’t full.

“I think that when I played at the Olympics as well it was a similar sort of reception there, and that’s the nice thing about playing in the Davis Cup, is having these home ties that you can play in front of crowds that are right behind you. That’s the best part of the competition.”

Ros Satar is a British sports journalist and a writer at Livetennis.com.

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Davis Cup in Glasgow: Communication Key for Courier

(March 5, 2015) GLASGOW, SCOTLAND – While it was a jolly British team, joking amongst themselves who took to the round of interviews first, it was an altogether more thoughtful Unites States team that offered their thoughts after the Davis Cup first round draw was made.

 

Donald Young will be the first to face the home crowds in Andy Murray’s old stomping grounds, and having scored a famous victory over Murray during his 2011 post-Australian Open final walkabout, Young has hardly troubled the Brit since, but after being pulled in last year in San Diego to replace an injured John Isner, this time he was picked in his own right. His results over the past month have lent some much-needed consistency to his play, and this in turn has given him some confidence.

 

Leading the news conference questions, Young said: “I feel more comfortable and confident than last year. Last year was my first time competing in Davis Cup. I had a ton of nerves starting the match off. It will be a tough match either way because Andy is a great player, but I feel like I am playing well and I look forward to seeing what happens.”

 

With Isner having made some measure of James Ward, as they play the second rubber, he acknowledged that the Brits have chosen a surface and speed to perhaps dull his chances as well as making the transition for Murray a little easier.

 

He said: “It may neutralise my serve a little bit. But I’m happy with the court. The British team chose it, we have no control.”

 

Of course he is the favourite to steam through and put the pressure back on the Brits. While Murray played down his chances of partnering with his elder brother Jamie, Bob and Mike Bryan know that a match up between them and the Murrays is what the Saturday crowd will really want. But while Jamie Murray’s consistent play earned him a spot back in the Davis Cup side over stalwart Colin Fleming, it is Dominic Inglot who has the upper hand so far over the Bryans.

 

Bob said: “Dom Inglot has the hot hand, he’s played us well in the last couple of matches so we’re prepared for him.” Mike agreed, adding, “He’s aggressive, he’s a big guy – not really lob-able. He’s all over the net. He plays with a lot of power, which is the kind of the new age of doubles, the power game. So you’ve got to find a way to break him, which is tough. You know if I was the coach, it would tough to leave a guy who has a hot hand off the team so he’s got a tough decision.”

 

Above all though Courier knows that his communication with the team will be key – something he feels he has learned to improve in every tie.

Courier said: “I think, from my experience with Donald on the bench in San Diego now, we have some communication that we can rely on because we’ve been through a match and the fire together. It’s important he and I are comfortable together because these guys need to feel comfortable because they’re used to playing their whole lives without someone sitting next to them talking to them during the match.

“It’s important that I stay out of their or get in their way when I need to interject and do it at the right times, and that’s a judgment call based on experience.

“Now Donald and I have some, John, Bob and Mike and I have a lot of experience in that realm so far, so I’m feeling more comfortable, I hope they are.”

The time for talking though is now over, and come 1pm in UK time Young will walk out to a ferociously passionate crowd and a home hero in every sense of the word.

Ros Satar is a British sports journalist and a writer at Livetennis.com.

Order of Play for the tie:

Friday, March 6 – 1:00 p.m.   

Singles A: Donald Young (USA) vs. Andy Murray (GBR)

Singles B: John Isner (USA) vs. James Ward (GBR)

Saturday, March 7 – 1:00 p.m.                      

Doubles: Bob and Mike Bryan (USA) vs. Jamie Murray/Dominic Inglot (GBR)

Sunday, March 8 – 1:00 p.m.                         

Singles C: John Isner (USA) vs. Andy Murray (GBR)

Singles D: Donald Young (USA) vs. James Ward (GBR)

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Davis Cup in Glasgow – Can the US overturn Britain’s home advantage?

(March 4, 2015) GLASGOW, SCOTLAND – The pre-draw news conference was really a tale of two confident captains and cautious players, as the teams readied themselves for the Davis Cup World Group first round, as Great Britain plays host to the USA.

 

British Team Captain Leon Smith did a lot of the talking, between dispensing with any discussion about the possible ramifications of Andy Murray’s support for the Scottish Referendum, Yes vote at the eleventh hour, preferring to concentrate on the tennis, but Courier was quick to acknowledge that they were aware of the situation.

 

“We obviously know there’s some political undercurrent here as well, we’re aware of that. I think it just adds a little bit of intrigue and it’s another wrinkle of the element in this competition. We know what it means to everyone to play for their country and maybe a little extra special for Andy and Jamie playing here in Scotland. For us it is business but we’re also aware of that extra little wrinkle.”

 

As much as Smith believed that the US had not used their advantage to its full effect last year, US Captain Jim Courier knows the power his players have to inflict the same result on the hosts.

 

Courier continued: “There’s something beautiful for a player to be able to silence a crowd with a shot if you’re the foreign player and I’m sure Andy and James experienced that in San Diego with us last year, and we’d like to experience it here an there’s something magnificent about that and there’s obviously something incredible when you get the crowd behind you and you’re playing at home. It’s a very different feeling for sure but there’s beauty in both sides.”

 

While US No. 2 Sam Querrey is out with an injury, and more pressing matters as the star of Millionaire Matchmaker in the US, the American No. 1 John Isner is ready to do battle after the disappointment of pulling out injured from his home tie last year.

 

Isner said: “I wasn’t able to compete which was tough to swallow and for me, I’ve played more road matches than home matches so its tough to miss a home match. The venue was beautiful, the crowd was great. It was tough to sit back and watch, but I’m here, I’m healthy and I’m ready to go and ready to help our country this time.”

 

Donald Young is the US No. 2 on this occasion and despite a little tendonitis, he is ready to build on his Davis Cup debut last year. Courier had nothing but praise for his second pick, stating that while Isner and the Bryan brothers were certainties, it was down to either Young or Steve Johnson, who has been speeding up the rankings, in the running.

 

Courier explained: “The second spot was in play this past month in February, and Donald really performed well, semis of Memphis, finals in Delray Beach and Sam suffered a back injury which really took him out of the running, so it came down to Donald and Steve and Donald outperformed and earned the spot.”

 

The draws for the tie will take place on Thursday, and the first singles rubbers will be played on Friday with the often decisive doubles rubber on Saturday and the reverse singles on Sunday. Things could come down to a fifth rubber and the British hero of the hour last year in San Diego, James Ward is ready.

 

Ward said: “Obviously it gave me a lot of confidence to push on for the rest of the year and the probably the biggest moment of my career winning that away from home in such a big tie. As Andy said it’s a completely different tie, Querrey’s not here. Playing John is going to be a different match altogether on a different surface so we’ll see what happens on Friday.”

 

He continued: “I’m looking to play well on Friday and get the win there so it doesn’t come down to it.”

 

Ros Satar is a British sports journalist and a writer at Livetennis.com.

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Lucky Loser Borna Coric Stuns Andy Murray to Reach Dubai Semis

Borna Coric

Borna Coric

(February 26, 2015) DUBAI, UAECroatian teenager and lucky loser Borna Coric upset world No. 3 Andy Murray 6-1, 6-3 on Thursday to become the youngest player ever to reach the Dubai Tennis Championships semifinals.

The 18-year-old was beaten in the qualifying rounds, but received a place in the main draw when 2014 semifinalist Philipp Kohlschreiber withdrew due to illness.

“I was just trying to maintain the level and stay in the rally as long as I can, which I was doing really good, you know. I was also running very good,” said Coric currently ranked No. 84.

“I think I was really lucky with Kohlschreiber pulling out. That’s the life. Sometimes you’re going to get lucky. Maybe next tournament I will have match point and I’m not going to take it. That’s tennis. One week you gonna play good, you gonna be lucky, and it’s those kind of days for you to take opportunities.”

Last year Coric stunned Rafael Nadal in Basel, and caught the eye of Novak Djokovic, who has since practised with him both in Australia and Dubai.

“I try to help him because I see, in a way, myself through him,” said Djokovic. “I’ve never felt that way when I practice with somebody as I felt with him. It’s like playing myself. Very similar game. Great fighting spirit, disciplined, focused, committed, confident, very young but confident, which is important.”

“He didn’t make many errors,” said Murray. “He played very solid and he moved well, made a lot of balls, made it tough. I made way too many mistakes from the beginning of the match right through to the end, early in rallies, rushing points. I don’t think I’m being wrong in saying that I made a lot of basic errors, especially early in the rallies. I don’t know exactly why that was the case.”

Murray made 55 errors with only 15 winners.

Novak Djokovic stopped Turkish qualifier Marsel Ilhan 6-1, 6-1.

“He lacks a little bit of experience and confidence on being in the big stadium. That’s where I used my opportunity from the start,” said Djokovic. “I made double break, and I felt like I was in control of the match. I didn’t allow him to get into the groove. So it was a good performance.”

Roger Federer was on court for only 20 minutes as Richard Gasquet retired with a back injury after losing the first set 6-1.

“I think I played well. I served well,” he said. “Then again, you know, the test was so short that it’s tough to judge on a 20-minute match. But I think I was hitting the ball well again like yesterday. I felt able to play aggressive and do what I was hoping to do, so I was very pleased, actually.”

Tomas Berdych was stretched to three sets winning 6-3, 4-6, 6-2 Sergiy Stakhovsky.

“I think especially in the second set, end of the second set, he come up with some great shots,” said Berdych. “But that’s how it is. You know, you have to know how to deal with those situations. Again, it’s very good that I handled the third set how I did, two breaks.”

RESULTS – THURSDAY, 26 FEBRUARY 2015

Singles – Quarter-finals
[1] N. Djokovic (SRB) d [Q] M. Ilhan (TUR) 61 61
[2] R. Federer (SUI) d R. Gasquet (FRA) 61 ret. (lower back pain)
[LL] B. Coric (CRO) d [3] A. Murray (GBR) 61 63
[4] T. Berdych (CZE) d S. Stakhovsky (UKR) 63 46 62

Doubles – Quarter-finals
D. Inglot (GBR) / F. Mergea (ROU) d [1] B. Bryan (USA) / M. Bryan (USA) 76(6) 26 10-8
[2] J. Rojer (NED) / H. Tecau (ROU) d R. Lindstedt (SWE) / M. Matkowski (POL) 46 75 10-7
[4] R. Bopanna (IND) / D. Nestor (CAN) d [Q] J. Murray (GBR) / J. Peers (AUS) 64 75
A. Qureshi (PAK) / N. Zimonjic (SRB) d J. Chardy (FRA) / L. Rosol (CZE) 61 62

SCHEDULE – FRIDAY, 27 FEBRUARY 2015

CENTRE COURT start 2:30 pm
[4] R. Bopanna (IND) / D. Nestor (CAN) vs [2] J. Rojer (NED) / H. Tecau (ROU)

Not Before 5:00 pm
[LL] B. Coric (CRO) vs [2] R. Federer (SUI)

Not Before 7:00 pm
[1] N. Djokovic (SRB) vs [4] T. Berdych (CZE)
D. Inglot (GBR) / F. Mergea (ROU) vs A. Qureshi (PAK) / N. Zimonjic (SRB)

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Top Four Seeds Djokovic, Federer, Murray and Berdych Reach Dubai Quarters

Djokovic thumbs up-001

(February 25, 2015) DUBAI, UAEThe four top seeds moved into the quarterfinals of the Dubai Tennis Championships on Wednesday, with wins for Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, Andy Murray and Tomas Berdych.

Djokovic defeated Andrey Golubev 6-1, 6-2.

“More comfortable than yesterday, that’s for sure,” said Djokovic. “Basically I didn’t have as much pressure from the opponent’s serve as I did last night. Having one match under my belt helped to feel a bit more comfortable to move around on the court quicker, and I tried to take away the time from my opponent today. I tried to be aggressive, step in.”

223 Dubai Federer in press-001

No. 2 Federer beat Fernando Verdasco 6-4, 6-3. At 1-4 down in the first set, Federer won 20 straight points.

“I’m very happy how the match went,” said Federer. “I think it was a good quality match from my side. I think Fernando played well for spells, but I think I was quite consistent. Fernando is a shot maker and he takes it out of your racquet sometimes. So I’m still very, very pleased the way I played out here tonight.”

 

Murray in press-001

Murray had an easy time with Joao Sousa winning 6-0, 6-2 in 57 minutes.

The Scot won the first eight games against Sousa, giving up just 10 points in the opening set.

“I thought I just picked the right shots and played the right way when he was struggling,” said Murray. “I didn’t give him any free points. I didn’t make, you know, just sort of needless errors. He was getting more frustrated because he couldn’t get any free points and then was going for more and more shots and obviously making more errors because of it.”

 

Berdych2

Tomas Berdych worked hard to claim his 500th career singles victory with a 7-6(7), 5-7, 6-0 win over Simone Bolelli.

“It was a hard day in the office,” said Berdych. “Yeah, it was not easy at all, but then in the end after two sets which were very close, then I took my chances and started to play finally my game and get a bit more to the rhythm, start to serve better. So I need to take the positives from the match, which was definitely the third set. It’s another win.”

Turkish qualifier Marsel Ilhan, had the upset of the day, a 3-6, 7-5, 6-3 win over sixth seed Feliciano Lopez.

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Djokovic, Murray and Berdych Advance in Dubai

Photos by Nida Alibhai

(February 24, 2015) Dubai UAEThe top seeds advanced into the second round of the Dubai Tennis Championships on Tuesday, with wins for Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray and Tomas Berdych.

 

This week not only is Djokovic, looking for a fifth Dubai title, he is aiming for his 50th career singles crown. The 8-time major champion defeated Vasek Pospisil 6-4, 6-4.

 

“Well, first match since Australian Open final, so still looking for that rhythm on the court,” said Djokovic. “But I managed to stay mentally tough. Patient in rallies, I thought. As soon as we get through the rally, I have a better chance of winning. He’s a very flashy player, aggressive, goes after his shots. I just utilized my opportunities.”

 

Andy Murray held off a game Gilles Muller 6-4, 7-5.

“I made him work very hard I think on his service games. That was something I wanted to try to do from early on in the match,” said Murray. “I think the end of both sets I didn’t serve so well, but apart from that I didn’t give him any opportunities really. I thought I played a fairly high quality match.”

 

Tomas Berdych stopped Jeremy Chardy 7-6(2), 6-4. Chardy had a chance to serve out the first set, but failed.

“Some of the things were a little bit on my side that I made it complicated a bit more than usual, but the outcome, it’s important that I won the last point of the match and get through it,” said Berdych. “Not every day it’s going to be perfect.”

 

Sixth seed Feliciano Lopez and seventh seed Roberto Bautista Agut both won, but eighth seed David Goffin was upset 6-2, 7-5 by wild card Marcos Baghdatis. The Cypriot defeated the Belgian for the second time this year, winning the in second round of the Australian Open.

Rising ATP star lucky loser Borna Coric survived Tunisia’s Malek Jaziri 5-7, 6-3, 6-3. He’ll face Baghdatis next.

DUBAI RESULTS – TUESDAY, 24 FEBRUARY 2015

Singles – First Round
[1] N. Djokovic (SRB) d V. Pospisil (CAN) 64 64
[3] A. Murray (GBR) d G. Muller (LUX) 64 75
[4] T. Berdych (CZE) d J. Chardy (FRA) 76(2) 64
[6] F. Lopez (ESP) d [Q] J. Ward (GBR) 64 64
[7] R. Bautista Agut (ESP) d D. Thiem (AUT) 63 62
[WC] M. Baghdatis (CYP) d [8] D. Goffin (BEL) 62 75
[Q] M. Ilhan (TUR) d [WC] A. Zverev (GER) 61 76(4)
S. Bolelli (ITA) d [Q] L. Pouille (FRA) 63 63
S. Stakhovsky (UKR) d L. Rosol (CZE) 46 61 64
[LL] B. Coric (CRO) d M. Jaziri (TUN) 57 63 63
F. Verdasco (ESP) d G. Garcia-Lopez (ESP) 75 61

Doubles – First Round

[2] J. Rojer (NED) / H. Tecau (ROU) d [WC] R. Federer (SUI) / M. Lammer (SUI) 64 76(12)
J. Chardy (FRA) / L. Rosol (CZE) d S. Bolelli (ITA) / A. Seppi (ITA) 60 61
R. Lindstedt (SWE) / M. Matkowski (POL) d [LL] A. Golubev (KAZ) / D. Istomin (UZB) 76(11) 36 10-6
SCHEDULE – WEDNESDAY, 25 FEBRUARY 2015

CENTRE COURT start 2:00 pm
J. Sousa (POR) vs [3] A. Murray (GBR)

Not Before 4:00 pm
[4] T. Berdych (CZE) vs S. Bolelli (ITA)

Not Before 7:00 pm
[1] N. Djokovic (SRB) vs A. Golubev (KAZ)
F. Verdasco (ESP) vs [2] R. Federer (SUI)

COURT 1 start 3:00 pm
[7] R. Bautista Agut (ESP) vs R. Gasquet (FRA)
[Q] J. Murray (GBR) / J. Peers (AUS) vs R. Klaasen (RSA) / L. Paes (IND)
[1] B. Bryan (USA) / M. Bryan (USA) vs R. Bautista Agut (ESP) / J. Sousa (POR)

COURT 2 start 3:00 pm
S. Stakhovsky (UKR) vs D. Istomin (UZB)

COURT 3 start 3:00 pm
[WC] M. Baghdatis (CYP) vs [LL] B. Coric (CRO)

Not Before 4:00 pm
[3] V. Pospisil (CAN) / E. Roger-Vasselin (FRA) vs A. Qureshi (PAK) / N. Zimonjic (SRB)
[Q] M. Ilhan (TUR) vs [6] F. Lopez (ESP)

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USA and Great Britain Name Teams for Davis Cup First Round Tie in Glasgow March 6-8

USDavisCup

(February 24, 2015) The oldest rivalry in the history of Davis Cup will continue the weekend of March 6-8, when Great Britain plays host to the United States in Glasgow, Scotland for a first round tie in the Emirates Arena.

On Tuesday both countries named their teams. Team USA will consist of world No. 20 John Isner, No. 45 Donald Young, and the world’s No. 1 doubles team of Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan.

World No. 3 Andy Murray will lead Great Britain’s team in his native Scotland which includes his brother Jamie, James Ward and Dominic Inglot.

Great Britain’s Captain Leon Smith said: “From a selection point of view we’ve been able to choose our strongest possible team which is of course spearheaded by Andy Murray who is significantly ahead of where he was 12 months ago. The tie will be a huge deal for him personally as he returns to play in Scotland for the first time since winning Wimbledon in 2013. In James Ward we have somebody who has already proven himself against the US Davis Cup team, and I’d back him again to put in another excellent performance after some consistent recent form has seen him on the verge of cracking the top 100 for the first time. I’ve selected our top two doubles players in Jamie and Dom, and again they’ve showed real consistency this year to earn their place in the team. As a group, all the guys deserve this opportunity and I know we’re all excited to get together in Glasgow and get the tie underway.”

Last year, Murray carried his team to a 3-1 victory over the U.S. in the first round last year in San Diego.

For the best of five series, play begins each day at 1 p.m. local time (8 a.m. ET). Friday, March 6, will include two singles matches featuring each country’s No. 1 player against the other country’s No. 2 player. Saturday’s schedule features the pivotal doubles match. And the final day of play on Sunday features the two “reverse singles” matches, when the No. 1 players square off followed by the No. 2 players meeting each other in the final match. All matches are best-of-five sets until one nation clinches the tie. A revised schedule for Sunday may take place if a team clinches in the third or fourth match.

In the Davis Cup competition dating back to 1900, the U.S. is 11-8 all-time against Great Britain

The winner of this tie advances to the World Group Quarterfinal, July 17-19, and will play either France or Germany. Should the U.S. defeat Great Britain, it will travel to Germany or host France. The losing nation will compete in the World Group Playoff, Sept. 18-20, for the right to play in the World Group in 2016.

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Novak Djokovic Wins 5th Australian Open Crown for 8th Major Title

Djokovic

(February 1, 2015) Novak Djokovic won his fifth Australian Open on Sunday with a 7-6(5), 6-7(5), 6-3, 6-0 victory over Andy Murray in 3 hours and 39 minutes. The world No. 1 now has 8 major titles tying him for eighth on the all-time list with Andre Agassi, Jimmy Connors, Ivan Lendl, Ken Rosewall and Fred Perry.

The Serb has won four out of the last five Australian Opens. He now joins Roy Emerson as the only men to win five Melbourne titles and the first to do it in the Open Era.

Djokovic closed out the match winning the last nine games.

Great Britain’s Murray has now lost four Australian Open finals, three to Djokovic (2011, 2013, 2015) and one to Roger Federer (2010).

“I’m so grateful to be standing here as a champion for the fifth time, and to be in the elite group of players… Roy Emerson, Rod Laver and all the legends of our sport,” Djokovic during the trophy presentation.

“I had amazing support again here,” said the four-time runner-up Murray. “It’s been my most consistent Grand Slam of my career. I haven’t been quite able to win, but the support I’ve received here has been amazing. I’ll try and come back next year and hopefully have a slightly different outcome in the final.”

“Novak has won five times here now. There’s no disgrace obviously in losing to him. So, yeah, a lot of positives for me to take from it.”

The first two sets took two hours and 32 minutes, saw break leads vanish for both men. Djokovic broke Murray in the fourth game of the first set, but Murray returned the break to get even. Djokovic broke serve in the eighth game and served for the set, but the Scot put the set back on even terms.

The set eventually went to a tiebreaker, with Murray taking a 2-1 mini-break lead. Djokovic won 5 out of the next 6 points to swing the tiebreaker in his favor.

The second set saw Djokovic save a set point in the 10th game. Murray dominated the second set tiebreaker.

The match was interrupted in the second set during the seventh game when someone protesting Australia’s refugee policies ran on the court and was removed by security.

The pendulum of momentum made its final swing towards Djokovic, when he broke Murray’s serve at love in the eighth game of the third set. Murray showed his displeasure by throwing his racquet and yelling into a towel.

“There were a lot of turning points in the match. As I think everybody predicted, it was going to be a big battle,” Djokovic said. “Of course, Grand Slam finals for both of us, regardless of the record that I have here, and him playing also three times the final not winning a title, regardless of that, we both knew that, you know, we have equal chances to win it. Very similar match to the Australian Open final in 2013 when we played over two hours the first two sets. Tonight two and a half hours the first two sets. Very physical. Very exhausting. We both of course went through some tough moments physically. You could see that I had a crisis end of the second, beginning of the third. Just felt very exhausted and I needed some time to regroup and recharge and get back on track. That’s what I’ve done. I started hitting ball and trying to be a little bit more aggressive coming to the net, shortening the points. I got a very important break of serve at 2-Love for him in the third that got me back in the match mentally, as well. It was a cat-and-mouse fight. It always is. We always try to outplay the opponents with the groundstrokes, with the long rallies, a lot of variety in the games: spin, flat, slice, dropshots. I think both went out with the full repertoire of the shots we have. I hope everybody that watched it enjoyed the finals. From my side it was definitely very exhausting. Just glad that I believed it all the way through. Saved some breakpoints at 3-All in the third set and managed to make that break and win the third. After that I felt huge relief. I felt I could swing through the ball. I felt the momentum was on my side and I wanted to use that. At this level very few points can turn things around on the court as we could see tonight.”

“Obviously had opportunities in the first three sets,” Murray said. “Then the fourth set, I mean, obviously I need to watch it back to see if I played badly. I mean, he was just ripping everything. Returns he was hitting on the baseline, this far from the line all the time. Once he got up a break, he just loosened up and was just going for his shots. I couldn’t recover. So the fourth set wasn’t as frustrating to me. The third set was frustrating because I got a bit distracted when he, like, fell on the ground after a couple of shots. It appeared that he was cramping, and then I let that distract me a little bit. That’s what I’m most disappointed about, not so much the fourth set because I think, especially at the end of it, he was just going for everything, and it was going in. But the third set was more frustrating for me.”

Djokovic appeared to have an issue with his leg in the third set, which looked as though it distracted Murray.

“I have no idea what the issue was,” Murray commented. “He obviously looked like he was in quite a bad way at the beginning of the third set and came back unbelievable at the end of that set. Then obviously the way he was hitting the ball in the fourth and moving was impressive. So, yeah, I don’t know exactly what the issue was for him.

“If it was cramp, how he recovered from it, that’s a tough thing to recover from and play as well as he did at the end. So, yeah, I’m frustrated at myself for letting that bother me at the beginning of the third set, because I was playing well, I had good momentum, and then just dropped off for like 10 minutes and it got away from me. So that’s the most frustrating thing because I thought I obviously had opportunities in the first set. I couldn’t quite get them. I managed to sneak the second. Then obviously was that break up in the third”

 

“I think it has deeper meaning, more intrinsic value now to my life because I’m a father and a husband,” the Serb said of the win. “It’s the first Grand Slam title I won as a father and a husband. Just feel very, very proud of it.

“I try to stay on the right path and committed to this sport in every possible way that I have had in the last couple of years and try to use this prime time of my career really where I’m playing and feeling the best at 27. This is why I play the sport, you know, to win big titles and to put myself in a position to, you know, play also for the people around me. I know how much sacrifice they put in in my own career, and I try to thank them and not take anything for granted. As my life progresses, there are circumstances, situations, events that define these beautiful moments. Getting married and becoming a father in the last six months was definitely something that gave me a new energy, something that I never felt before. And right now everything has been going in such a positive direction in my life. I’m so grateful for that. So I try to live these moments with, you know, all my heart.”

Murray’s ranking will move up to No. 4 in the world when the rankings are released on Monday.

 

 

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