July 28, 2015

Rafael Nadal wins Argentina Open to Move Up to Fifth Place on All-time Open Era Titles List

(March 1, 2015) Rafael Nadal won his first title since 2014 Roland Garros to claim his first Argentina Open trophy with a 6-4, 6-1 win over friend and doubles partner this week, Argentine Juan Monaco in Buenos Aires.

World No. 4 Nadal claimed his 46th clay court tournament victory, just three titles behind the record of 49, held by tennis hall of famer, Argentina’s Guillermo Vilas, who was in the stadium watching the match.

It’s also Nadal’s 65th ATP trophy for his career moving past Pete Sampras and Bjorn Borg at 64 for sole possession of fifth place on the All-time Open Era list. This is the Spaniard’s first title in Buenos Aires title, in his first tournament appearance in Argentina in 10 years.

The match was delayed for two hours to begin with then delayed again after 1-1 in the first set.

Nadal broke Monaco’s serve in the seventh game of the first set and served out the set for 6-4. Nadal strolled out to a two break lead in the second set to go up 4-0 and never looked back.

“All titles are special, but I’m really happy because I have not been a champion for a long time,” Nadal said. “Against [Monaco], I played my best of the week. That is great news for me because I’m trying to gain more confidence.”

“It was a difficult week at first, but then I took confidence and I think I’m slowly returning to my best,” said Monaco. “That’s why I leave here happy.”

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David Ferrer and Timea Bacsinszky Win Acapulco Titles

Ferrer wins Qatar

(February 28, 2015) David Ferrer and Timea Bacsinszky took home Abierto Mexicano Telcel titles on Saturday in Acapulco.

 

Ferrer won an ATP best third tournament this year with the title and lifted his record to 18-1 with the 6-3, 7-5 win over top seed Kei Nishikori. For the 32-year-old Spaniard, it was his fourth title in Acapulco and his 24th career ATP crown. He won the previous three Acapulco titles on clay, this year’s event was played on hardcourt.

“Tonight I played my best match this week,” said Ferrer. I played very aggressive, without mistakes. I’m very happy. To win here a fourth time is a dream.

“I tried to play my forehand to his forehand and with more energy. In important moments, he made more mistakes and I took my chances. I feel very confident with my tennis now. I’ve won three tournaments this year and we’ve only began the season.”

“There were too many unforced errors,” said Nishikori. I tried to be aggressive but I was missing too much. Especially with this slower surface, he gets everything. I knew I had to step in a little more, but it wasn’t my day.

“I fought hard from 0-3 (in the second set) and tried to come back, but he was too good. It was definitely a great week, I had some tough matches and it’s always a great feeling coming through to a final.”

Just six days ago he captured the title in Rio de Janeiro and in January won the crown in Doha. The world No. 9 took home $343,000 in prize money.

 

Despite the loss, Nishikori, will reach career-high World No. 4 ranking on Monday.

Almost out of tennis, fifth seeded Timea Bacsinszky of Switzerland won her second WTA Tour title, beating third seed Caroline Garcia of France 6-3, 6-0. Dealing with multiple injuries from 2011-2013, she fell as low as 578 in the world. She said that she almost stopped playing the sport in 2013.

“I almost stopped playing in 2013,” said the Swiss. “When I decided to play again, at the French Open in 2013, I got a new team around me – a new coach, new fitness coach, I’ve been working a lot with Swiss tennis. The road was long, and it’ll still be long, but I’ve been working hard. I wasn’t just expecting the results to come right away, I was patient. I knew I needed time to build everything up. I’m really proud. And knowing what I’ve been through, I’m even prouder.”

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Rafael Nadal Reaches Argentina Open Final

Rafael Nadal

(February 28, 2015) Rafael Nadal defeated Carlos Berlocq on Saturday 7-6 (7), 6-2 to reach the final of Argentina Open, where he’ll face Juan Monaco. Should Nadal win the title, he will tie Guillermo Vilas for the most Open era clay court titles with 46. This will be Nadal’s first final of 2015.

World No. 4 Nadal came close to losing the first set against the Argentine Carlos Berlocq, when the Spaniard fell behind 1-6 in the first set tiebreak. The 14-time major champion won eight of the next nine points to shut down the set.

“Evidently, when you recover five points (in a row) as well as playing well you have to have some luck, you can’t do it without luck. Carlos was playing bravely and serving well,” Nadal said to media.

“In the end I managed to be more dynamic and aggressive and place my shots well.”

Earlier in the week, Monaco was Nadal’s doubles partner and close friend, but on Sunday he will be his opponent for the title. The Argentine will be looking for his second title at the Argentina Open, he knocked out Nicolas Almagro of Spain 6-3, 6-7 (6), 6-4 in 2 hours and 28 minutes.

“I’m happy for Pico, who had long since reached a final,” said Nadal to media. “It’s a joy to play this decisive match against a friend and for me it is also very important to play my first final of the year here in Buenos Aires, a place where I feel the affection of the people.

RESULTS – SATURDAY, 28 FEBRUARY 2015

Singles – Semi-Finals
[1] R. Nadal (ESP) d C. Berlocq (ARG) 76(7) 62
J. Monaco (ARG) d N. Almagro (ESP) 63 67(6) 64

Doubles – Semi-Finals
J. Nieminen (FIN) / A. Sa (BRA) d [WC] F. Delbonis (ARG) / A. Molteni (ARG) 26 62 10-6
P. Andujar (ESP) / O. Marach (AUT) d C. Berlocq (ARG) / D. Schwartzman (ARG) 63 62

SCHEDULE – SUNDAY, MARCH 1 2015

ESTADIO BILLOCH CARIDE start 12:00 noon
DOUBLES FINAL – J. Nieminen (FIN) / A. Sa (BRA) vs P. Andujar (ESP) / O. Marach (AUT)
Not Before 2:00 pm
SINGLES FINAL – [1] R. Nadal (ESP) vs J. Monaco (ARG)

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ATP Announces Increase in Prize Money at Challengers

 

(January 8, 2015) The ATP has put out a news release announcing that ATP Challenger events will see an increase in prize money. Bellow is the official announcement:

 

News Release

www.ATPWorldTour.com

8 January 2015

PRIZE MONEY AT ATP CHALLENGERS SET TO INCREASE

LONDON — The ATP announced today significant efforts to enhance the ATP Challenger Tour, including further increases in prize money. The ATP Challenger Tour comprises approximately 150 tournaments each year and serves as a springboard for players to compete on the ATP World Tour.

The increases will take place at the lowest category of tournaments, with minimum prize money levels increasing from $40,000 + Hospitality (paid hotel accommodation for main draw players) to $50,000 + Hospitality by 2017. In addition, and with immediate effect, the ATP is offering all current minimum prize money tournaments a subsidy to move up to $50,000 + H from 2015.

The latest increases mean that prize money at the lowest ATP Challengers is set to increase by 100% inside 10 years. In 2007, minimum prize money levels on the Challenger Tour were $25,000 + H. Minimum levels were already increased from $35,000 + H to $40,000 + H in 2014.

“Men’s professional tennis is enjoying one of the most successful periods in its history, however it is essential that we see growth across all levels of the game,” said Chris Kermode, ATP Executive Chairman & President. “Almost every player earns their stripes on the Challenger Tour before they make it on the ATP World Tour and every bit of extra prize money helps as they look to forge a career in men’s professional tennis. The ATP is committed to making that career path as viable as possible.”

The enhancements at Challenger level come following an extensive strategic review by the ATP’s internal Challenger Tour Management Committee, formed at the beginning of 2014 and led by Alison Lee, ATP Executive Vice President of the International Group region.

“The success and growth of the ATP Challenger Tour is critical to the overall health of our sport and we need to ensure that the lower levels of the professional game do not get left behind,” said Lee. “The enhancements announced today indicate the ATP’s commitment in reinvesting into the lower echelons of the game and supporting these events. It is a delicate step-by-step process, and our strategy is aimed at raising the lower levels of more than 50% of Challenger events, gradually and with assistance until 2017. Prize money is just one part of the equation. We are also pleased with a number of other enhancements set to take place this year, related to calendar flow, medical services, player development, officiating and marketing, all of which will improve the services we are able to provide players at this level.”

The ATP will also provide additional ATP umpires, ATP physiotherapists and Player Relations staff across a number of tournaments, as well as continuing its focus on ensuring that more tournaments are staged in regional swings which complement ATP World Tour tournaments, enabling players to reduce costs and travel time.

Among other enhancements, branded nets will also begin to be featured at ATP Challenger tournaments from 2015. With the majority of Challenger tournaments live streamed across the globe, the net branding will create a unified look for the circuit globally.

“We need to get the right Challenger events in the right weeks, reducing travel costs and improving the medical services, player education, officiating and marketing at these events,” added Kermode. “We are taking a holistic approach as we look to make the time players spend at the Challenger level more sustainable.”

The ATP is also working closely with the ITF relating to planned enhancements at Futures tournaments to ensure a seamless pathway for players from Futures to Challenger level.

ATP CHALLENGER TOUR FACTS:
•    2014 total prize money on the ATP Challenger Tour was $9.2 million.
•    Currently, the different levels of prize money for Challengers are $40,000 + H through to $125,000 + H.
•    Total on-site attendance across Challengers in 2014 was 682,980.
•    The lowest-level Challenger tournaments must provide player hotel accommodation.
•    2014 Challenger breakdown by region: Europe 47%; Asia 21%; South America 19%; North America 13%
•    The Association of Tennis Professionals (prior to the formation of the ATP Tour in 1990) began Challenger tournaments in 1985 with 41 tournaments. (32 events at $25,000, 4 events at $50,000 and 5 events at $75,000). Total prize money was $1.225 million.

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ATP Announces Prize Money Increases Topping $100 Million in 2015

ATP

(December 12, 2014) ATP tour prize money will top $100 million for the first time in 2015. The ATP prize money will increase over the next four years and reach $135 million by 2018.

The Masters 1000 tournaments will see the biggest increases with an overall 14-percent hike over the next four years, while the 250 events will go up by an average of 3.5 percent.

The official ATP news release on the increases:

 LONDON — The ATP has announced significant increases over the next four years that will see overall player compensation on the ATP World Tour reach US$135 million by 2018. Player compensation at ATP World Tour events in 2015 will exceed US$100 million for the first time.

The increases at ATP events are a testament to the sustained success of men’s professional tennis, as well as demonstrating the ATP’s confidence in the strength of its product and projected growth in future years.

The biggest increases in player compensation come at the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 category, with tournaments providing annual increases of 11%, and with the ATP contributing a further 3% increase, resulting in a 14% annual increase in that category through to 2018. Player compensation at the ATP World Tour 250s is set to increase at an average of 3.5% per year during the same period.

The latest decisions at Masters 1000 and 250-level mean that player compensation is now confirmed across all three ATP World Tour tournament categories for a four-year period. Player compensation for a five-year period for the ATP World Tour 500 category was decided at the end of 2013.

In addition to establishing player compensation levels on the Tour, the ATP will soon be releasing its 2016-18 calendars, meaning both these key issues will be accounted for over the next four-year period.

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Federer and Nishikori reign supreme in Group B at ATP World Tour Finals

Roger Federer photo by Christopher Levy @tennis_shots

Roger Federer photo by Christopher Levy @tennis_shots

Chalkdust Chronicles: Federer and Nishikori reign supreme in Group B at ATP World Tour Finals

(November 13, 2014) LONDON – Roger Federer and Kei Nishikori qualified from Group B to advance to the knockout stages of the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals.

 

The Japanese player had to wait for his confirmation, but his win over alternate David Ferrer pushed Federer into the semi-finals. Nishikori was scheduled to face Milos Raonic, who was 0-2 already in the competition, but despite practicing earlier, he pulled out with a quad injury a couple of hours before the match was due to start.

The Canadian explained: “It was just something I sustained during my last match. Through extensive sort of research with the doctor’s team here, we found that I have a slight tear on the vastus medialis on my quad.”

 

On medical advice he was told that taking to the court could mean putting himself out of action for a considerable amount of time.

 

“Losing six to eight weeks of solely rehab sort of means you lose 12 weeks of getting back into shape and everything, those are definitely significant factors in my decision. At some points I didn’t want to accept it and listen to it. But it is what it is. I, alongside my team, all the staff with the ATP, made the best decision I believe.”

 

So it was left to David Ferrer to step in with the scenarios changing, and for the first time the crowd were treated to a three-set match as the Spaniard took advantage of a lapse in Nishikori’s level to edge the first set, but an early break at the start of the second sent the momentum back Nishikori’s way, as he ran away with it in the third set claiming th amtch 4-6, 6-4, 6-1.

 

“It’s never easy playing against David because he’s very consistent from the baseline,” said Nishikori. “If I want to win, I have to do something to break his tennis. From the second set, I was more aggressive. The final set was almost perfect.”

The final match alas did not live up to its promise, as Roger Federer blasted Andy Murray off the court 6-0, 6-1. After holding his first game, Federer went on a tear to win 10 games in a row before the battered Brit finally got a game on the board, only for Federer to wrap up the set in less than an hour.

 

After the match Federer said: “I think if there’s a slight difference of the level from the baseline, hard to get out of it. We’ve seen it all week. The serve doesn’t have that much impact. I didn’t even necessarily serve so well. But you got to play the right way here, use the court to your advantage as much as you can.

 

He continued: “But I had the upper hand from the baseline, which hasn’t always happened against him. But I definitely was able to play on my terms. For me, things went very well. I was able to put Andy under pressure very often, and I think the match couldn’t have gone any better for me really.”

 

 

Coming straight into his post-match news conference Murray admitted: “He played exceptionally well. I can say I’m disappointed with my level tonight. But if I played well, he probably still would have won anyway. He was striking the ball very, very clean. Made very few mistakes. Was hitting the ball off the middle of the racquet on serve, returns.”

 

Murray is on best-man duty for best friend Ross Hutchins next week and has just 14 days before the start of the International Premier Tennis League, where he will be playing in a series of exhibition events, before playing in the Mubadala World Tennis Championships and the Hopman Cup ahead of the start of the season.

 

Tennis Panorama News is covering the ATP World Tour Finals at the O2 Arena in London.  Follow on twitter for live updates on @TennisNewsTPN.

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Bryans, Federer, Murray Honored In 2014 ATP World Tour Awards

From the ATP World Tour – (November 5, 2014) LONDON Bob and Mike Bryan, Roger Federer and Andy Murray have been honoured in the 2014 ATP World Tour Awards presented by Moët & Chandon. While the ATP World Tour No. 1 Presented by Emirates Award is still to be decided between Federer and Novak Djokovic, all the other award winners have been announced today with ceremonies planned to take place during the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals from 9 November.

Federer has been selected by his peers as winner of the Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award for a 10th time and by fans as the ATPWorldTour.com Fans’ Favourite presented by Moët & Chandon for a 12th straight year. Since 2003, Federer has won a record total of 29 ATP World Tour Awards.

Murray is the recipient of the Arthur Ashe Humanitarian Award, having taken part in fundraising exhibitions and campaigns over the past two years, and also raised awareness for the work of Unicef, United for Wildlife and Malaria No More.

The Bryan twins sweep the doubles awards for a sixth straight year, taking home ATP World Tour No. 1 Doubles Team presented by Emirates and ATPWorldTour.com Fans’ Favourite presented by Moët & Chandon for a record 10th time each.

The 17-year-old Borna Coric wins the ATP Star of Tomorrow Award presented by Emirates for being the youngest player ranked in the Top 100, while players have voted Roberto Bautista Agut as the Most Improved Player of the Year and recognised David Goffin as the Comeback Player of the Year.

Players will receive their awards, crafted by Lenox, in on-court ceremonies at The O2 throughout the tournament week.

USA Today’s Douglas Robson is the recipient of the Ron Bookman Media Excellence Award while the ATP Tournament of the Year awards will be announced in 2015.

Visit the ATP World Tour Awards section on ATPWorldTour.com

2014 ATP WORLD TOUR AWARDS presented by Moët & Chandon

ATP World Tour No. 1 presented by Emirates
(determined by Emirates ATP Rankings)
Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer will battle for the year-end No. 1 Emirates ATP Ranking at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals. Both players are previous winners of ATP World Tour No. 1 presented by Emirates (Federer five times and Djokovic twice).

ATP World Tour No. 1 Doubles Team presented by Emirates
(determined by Emirates ATP Doubles Team Rankings)
Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan: The Americans will finish as the No. 1 duo in the Emirates ATP Doubles Team Rankings for a sixth successive year and record 10th time overall (2003, ‘05-07, ‘09-14). The 36-year-old twins won nine titles in 2014 including the US Open and six ATP World Tour Masters 1000.

ATP Star of Tomorrow Award presented by Emirates
(determined by Emirates ATP Rankings)
Borna Coric: This category in its second year, replacing the player-voted Newcomer of the Year, is awarded to the youngest player in the Top 100 of Emirates ATP Rankings as of 3 November. Coric, who began the season ranked outside the Top 300, broke into the Top 100 on 27 October and reached a career-high No. 92 this week. The 17-year-old Croatian reached the Vegeta Croatia Open Umag quarter-finals (l. to Fognini) in July and made his Grand Slam championship debut as a qualifier at the US Open (l. to Estrella Burgos in 2R), prior to beating World No. 3 Rafael Nadal en route to the Swiss Indoors Basel semi-finals in October. He also won one ATP Challenger Tour title.

Most Improved Player of the Year
(voted by ATP players)
Roberto Bautista Agut: The Spaniard climbed from a year-end No. 59 Emirates ATP Ranking last season to a career-high No. 14 in 2014. He claimed his first ATP World Tour title on the grass courts of the Topshelf Open (‘s-Hertogenbosch) in June, triumphed on his transition to clay a few weeks later at the MercedesCup in Stuttgart, and reached the indoor Kremlin Cup by Bank of Moscow hard-court final in Moscow in October. Bautista Agut also made a statement on some of the biggest stages: he reached the fourth round at the Australian Open after coming back to defeat World No. 5 Juan Martin del Potro in five sets in the second round, and advanced to the semi-finals at the Mutua Madrid Open, stopped only by Rafael Nadal. He finished the season with 45 match wins – 19 more than his previous career-high.

Comeback Player of the Year
(voted by ATP players)
David Goffin: After breaking his left wrist in September 2013, the Belgian returned to the courts at the beginning of the 2014 at No. 110 in the Emirates ATP Rankings. By the end of June, he had only recorded two main draw wins but after Wimbledon Goffin couldn’t stop winning. He compiled a 44-4 match record from July onwards (inclusive of matches on the ATP World Tour, ATP Challenger Tour and qualifying). His perfect month of July included three straight Challenger titles and his first ATP World Tour title at the Austrian Open (Kitzbühel), all in back-to-back weeks. He extended his unbeaten streak to 25 matches by qualifying and reaching the Winston-Salem Open quarter-finals. After a third-round run at the US Open (l. to Dimitrov), the 23 year old went on another winning streak of 16 matches – with titles at the Moselle Open and Mons Challenger – prior to a runner-up finish at the Swiss Indoors Basel (l. to Federer). He will finish the season at a career-high of No. 22 in the Emirates ATP Rankings.

Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship
(voted by ATP players)
Roger Federer: Fellow players voted the Swiss as the winner of the Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award for the 10th time and fourth year in a row. He also won the award six straight years from 2004-09. Marin Cilic, Grigor Dimitrov and Kei Nishikori were also nominated in this category.

Arthur Ashe Humanitarian of the Year
(awarded by ATP)
Andy Murray: One of Murray’s best friends, former player Ross Hutchins, was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma, though thankfully his cancer went into remission. Another of Murray’s friends from British tennis, Elena Baltacha, was diagnosed with cancer of the liver and the sport was in mourning this year when she passed away at the age of 30. Wanting to help, Murray took part in fundraising exhibitions for Hutchins and Baltacha at Queen’s Club the past two summers, and this autumn he appeared with comedian Richard Ayoade in ‘Andy Murray: The Movie’, a sketch that was part of Channel 4’s ‘Stand Up To Cancer’ programming. Murray has also raised awareness for the work of Unicef, United for Wildlife and Malaria No More.

ATPWorldTour.com Fans’ Favourite presented by Moët & Chandon (Singles)
(voted by fans)
Roger Federer: The Swiss has been voted ATPWorldTour.com Fans’ Favourite presented by Moët & Chandon for a record 12th straight year, receiving 65 per cent of all votes cast. Rafael Nadal finished second, followed by Grigor Dimitrov, Novak Djokovic and Kei Nishikori.

ATPWorldTour.com Fans’ Favourite presented by Moët & Chandon (Doubles)
(voted by fans)
Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan: The Bryan twins received 45 per cent of votes to be named the ATPWorldTour.com Fans’ Favourite presented by Moët & Chandon for a record 10th time. Wimbledon champions Vasek Pospisil and Jack Sock came in as the second most popular duo, followed by Roland Garros champions Julien Benneteau and Edouard Roger-Vasselin.

Ron Bookman Media Excellence
(awarded by ATP)
Douglas Robson: San Francisco-based Robson has been the lead tennis writer since 2003 for USA Today, one of the largest American newspapers. He has been a journalist for two decades covering a variety of sports, business and general-interest topics.

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Andy Murray Saves Five Match Points to Win Valencia Open

 

Robredo - murray

By Florian Heer

(October 26, 2014) VALENCIA – On Sunday, the 32-man draw at the City of Arts and Science in Valencia was whittled down to just two players when third-seed Andy Murray took on Tommy Robredo in a repeat of last month’s Shenzhen final. Back then, Murray saved five match points en route to his first title in 15 months and same would happen in Sunday’s final in Valencia. In a sublime encounter with spectacular rallies, great emotions and brilliant atmosphere, the Brit emerged victorious winning 3-6, 7-6(7), 7-6(8) after three hours and 20 minutes. Both players basically collapsed on each other at the net.

Tommy Robredo

Tommy Robredo

Robredo flipped Murray the double bird before handshake, which actually explains all. “The next time I’ve match balls against you, I’ll beat you,” the Spaniard’s said right after the longest final on the ATP World Tour this year so far. “We were both very focused in the match but we have different characters. Some players show their emotions on court, others don’t.” Robredo talked about handling the emotions during the game. Murray smashed his racket more than once during the final, whereas the Spanish 32-year-old veteran remained calm in the difficult moments.

The 27-year-old Scot took his third title of 2014 after winning in Shenzhen as well as in Vienna and his 31st title in total. “I feel really tired right now,” Murray said afterwards. “Tomorrow, for sure I will enjoy it but right now my body is pretty sore. I know it was an incredible match. Some of tennis at the end of the third set and also in the second set was extremely high level. I was just lucky to manage to win. Tommy had his chances but I played some good tennis in the right moment.”

Andy Murray

Andy Murray

“I’m leaving for Paris this evening at 11 pm. I would like to have a week off but I’ll take care. Tomorrow, at least I’ll take a day off. I know I just have to win matches to go to London. The other players in Paris behind me in the Race need to play extremely well to knock me out. I have almost done everything I could,” the world No. 10 said. Murray moves to fifth position in the ATP Race to London and two more wins in Paris would guarantee his spot for the ATP World Tour Finals.

DSC_1289-001

Earlier the day, Jean-Julien Rojer and Horia Tecau claimed their eighth doubles title of the season winning 6-4, 6-2 against Kevin Anderson and Jeremy Chardy, who contested their first final as a team. By adding another 500 points, the Dutch-Romanian combination will improve to fifth position in the ATP Doubles Race to London.

“There was a tough line-up with a lot of strong teams here in Valencia at the beginning of the tournament,” Tecau said. “We took advantage of a few seeds, who lost early but we also had some tough matches. We focused on getting one win after another and today we found ourselves winning the title. We are very happy.”

“Good teamwork, great partnership,” Rojer added. “That’s our key to success. We work well together, not only in the matches but also outside the court. We always talk about our matches, what we can improve and how we can improve. There are many little things, which makes a team strong but these are things that had helped us to come along as a team this year. Centre Court here is great. It’s like playing inside a museum. From what we’ve had seen the city is also beautiful. The weather is incredible. Playing an indoor tournament at this time of the year with having sunshine like this, you will not find anywhere else,” both seemed to feel good in Valencia and added that they will stick together as a team in the next season.

Juan Carlos Ferrero

Juan Carlos Ferrero

Juan Carlos Ferrero also spoke to the media. “We are very happy with this week. We had about 180,000 visitors coming to the open Fun Park and about 85,000 tickets were sold,” the tournament director said. “The tournament will remain here as an ATP 500 event for at least two more years. We would like to have it here even longer but for the moment we will keep it like that.”

Florian Heer travels the tennis tour with a focus on ATP Challenger events and the ITF Future Circuit.  Follow his twitter account @Florian _Heer.  He was in Valencia covering the Valencia Open as media for Tennis Panorama.

 

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Murray defeats Ferrer to reach Valencia Final

Murray

By Florian Heer

(October 25, 2014) VALENCIA – Top-seed David Ferrer and the tournament’s No. 3 seed Andy Murray met in a blockbuster semi-final at the City of Arts and Science in Valencia on Saturday. Both met for the 15th time and for the third time within the last three weeks. Ferrer defeated Murray in the third round at the ATP Masters 1000 in Shanghai earlier this month before the Brit hit back in the Vienna final last Sunday, extending his head to head lead over the Spaniard to 8-6 before Saturday’s encounter.

Ferrer gifted the opening game to the British world No.10 by striking two double faults. Murray took the opening set in the tenth game and went two breaks up in the second to gain a 3-0 lead but Ferrer wasn’t done yet. The rallies became longer and more spectacular when the Spaniard made four games in a row heating up the atmosphere on Agora Centre Court. Murray, however, remained calm and gained another break in the eleventh game, saved three break points in the following and eventually served out winning 6-4, 7-5 in just under two hours.

“It was a tough match, even in the first set there were a lot of tough points and long rallies,” Murray said. “In the second set I was ahead and then when David started to come back I got a little bit of nerves but I managed to stay strong at the end and thankfully I got the win.”

“Obviously it is better when the spectators are with you but today there were a lot of important points and the crowd was very engaged, which gives a great atmosphere and it’s nice to play on these conditions,” Murray said. “It’s a nice tournament. The weather is still great, which is good to have a walk around and it’s good for the mind and the body. The people involved with the tournament were very helpful, obviously having experts like Ferrero involved. That always helps because people like him know what the players need and want. The hospitality is very good and convenient. The hotel is just in walking distance to the courts, which is also very nice,” the Scot is happy with the conditions in Valencia. Murray has reached his 45th career final and the third of the season. From all of those, he emerged victorious.

On Sunday, the world No. 10 will face Tommy Robredo for the title. The 32-year-old Spaniard defeated Jeremy Chardy 7-6, 7-6 in two hours and one minute. Robredo staved off a trio of set points in the first set tie-break and then broke the Frenchman when he was serving for the set in the ninth game. In the end, the Spanish veteran reeled off four of the last five games to claim his 500th victory on the ATP Tour.

“It’s only a number, but it’s a special number,” Robredo said. “If somebody told me I would win 500 matches at the beginning of my career, I’d take it. So, I’m here and now I should go for 600,” the Spaniard was happy being the seventh active player (Federer, Nadal, Ferrer, Hewitt, Djokovic and Haas are the others) and the 44th player overall in the Open Era joining the 500 Match Wins Club.

Murray and Robredo have met six times on the ATP World Tour with the Brit leading 4-2. Murray also sealed victory in the last encounter between the two winning the final in Shenzhen in September in three sets.

Florian Heer travels the tennis tour with a focus on ATP Challenger events and the ITF Future Circuit!  Follow his twitter account @Florian _Heer. He is in Valencia covering the Valencia Open as media for Tennis Panorama.

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Ferrer Nets 600th Win to Advance to Valencia Semis Along with Murray

Ferrer 600

By Florian Heer

(October 24, 2014) VALENCIA – The first and third seeds headlined the action on Day 5 at the Valencia Open.

Three-time Valencia champion David Ferrer defeated Tomaz Bellucci in only 67 minutes winning 6-1, 6-2. It was the 600th career win for the Spaniard, who has become the fourth active player to accomplish the feat after Roger Federer (987), Rafael Nadal (706) and Lleyton Hewitt (611). Ferrer was congratulated with a celebratory cake on Centre Court by his nephew and Tournament Director, Juan Carlos Ferrero.

“It’s great to achieve this victory here at home in Valencia in front of the people I love most,” the No. 5 from Javea said and he added that the two greatest victories in his career were winning the Masters final in Paris Bercy in 2012 and defeating Juan Martin Del Potro in the 2011 Davis Cup final.

“Actually I prefer courts, which are a little bit faster. So the surface here will not be an advantage for me tomorrow. It’s going to be a tough match with a long rallies.”

Ferrer is looking forward to another clash with Andy Murray after both had met in Shanghai as well as in Vienna’s final last Sunday and is more than satisfied with Friday’s announcement that the Valencia Open will be part of the ATP Tour calendar for at least another two years. “It’s good news for myself and the people from Valencia that the tournament will remain here for another two years. I’m very happy with this fact,” Ferrer, as one of the tournament’s three owners, told.

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The Valencia Open’s No. 3, Andy Murray, who has won 15 of his last 17 matches, went up against seventh-seeded Kevin Anderson for the fourth time with the Brit edging their head to head 2-1 before Friday’s encounter. After the Scot had lost the opening set in the tie-break, Murray gained the decisive break in the ninth game of the second to take the match the distance, where he began to outplay his opponent more and more. After two hours and 43 minutes, Murray sealed victory winning 6-7, 6-3, 6-4.

It was a very tough match today with a lot of long games and long rallies. I started to serve a little bit better at the end of the second set and I created some chances on his service games. Nonetheless, it was extremely close. Matches like this are tough on the body as well as tough on the mind. A lot of the games could have gone the other way but I managed to get through,” Murray said afterwards.

“The match tomorrow will be an important one, as was last week and also in Shanghai. This tournament is very important to remain the chance of qualifying for London but next week in Paris will be also a deciding factor. Regardless of what is happening now here, I think it was a good decision to play in Valencia. So I have the chance to influence what will happen in the ATP Race. Rather I will play against David (Ferrer) in the semi-finals than someone else. If I win that match, I’ll put myself in a great position,” the Brit said about qualifying for the final showdown.

“Players, who win a Grand Slam deserve to be in the biggest competition at the end of the year. That’s my opinion. But as I said the last few weeks if I worked for the ATP Tour, I would want ATP tournaments to have more value. Of course I would be disappointed if I couldn’t make it to London because I’m playing this many tournaments trying to finish within the top-8. That’s what I want to do. Normally I would play two tournaments in Asia and two tournaments in Europe. Now, there are still ten days left, one more week to London,” Murray explaining about adding a few tournaments to his schedule.

Jeremy Chardy defeated Spanish Wild Card Pablo Carreňo-Busta for a second time in their second meeting winning 6-1, 6-2 in only 51 minutes.

“It was easier than I might have expected,” the 27-year-old Frenchman was happy reaching his second semi-final of the season. “Pablo is a good player. I played against him at the beginning of the year in Vina del Mar and back then it was a tough match but today I was very solid. Maybe Pablo also had to deal with a bit of pressure today playing in front of his home crowd. Nonetheless, since the beginning of the tournament I feel really good.”

“This has been my best year so far. I play very solid and I’m happy with my game. I hope that I can continue playing like this here in Valencia. I really like the court here, it seems to suit my game very well.

The French will battle Tommy Robredo in the semi-finals. The 32-year-old Spaniard beat compatriot Pablo Andújar 7-6, 6-4 in one hour and 52 minutes in the final singles match of the day, recording his first victory in three meetings between the two.

“It was a very intense match today with a lot of ups and downs. Chardy is a great player with a very good serve. It will be a very tough match and I have to plan a good strategy to be successful in the end,” the Spaniard said. On Saturday, Robredo is within reach of another ATP milestone. The world No. 21 is now one match away from his 500th career win.

Florian Heer travels the tennis tour with a focus on ATP Challenger events and the ITF Future Circuit!  Follow his twitter account @Florian _Heer. He is in Valencia covering the Valencia Open as media for Tennis Panorama.

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