2014/10/24

Ferrer and Murray Reach Quarterfinals of Valencia Open

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By Florian Heer

(October 23, 2014) VALENCIA – After their meeting in Vienna’s final last Sunday, David Ferrer and Andy Murray continue their pursuit of valuable points for the ATP Race to London on Day 4 at the Valencia Open 500.

The Spanish top-seed, who started his bid for a fourth title crown in Valencia with a straight set victory over Andreas Seppi, went up against his compatriot Fernando Verdasco for the 17th time. Ferrer emerged victorious from all of the last five meetings and was also in command in Thursday’s encounter. The world No. 5 advanced to the quarterfinal after 67 minutes winning 6-3, 6-2 without facing a break point.

“It wasn’t an easy win today but I played very well and consistent without a lot of mistakes,” Ferrer said afterwards. My serve was pretty good and I’m happy with my game today. It was important to win my first match against Seppi. It was difficult as the conditions are different compared to last week in Vienna but of course it is great to play in front of your home crowd with your family and friends courtside.”

The Spanish top-seed will face Tomaz Bellucci next who received a walkover when his opponent Roberto Bautista-Agut wasn’t able to compete in the final match of the day due to abdominal problems.

Vienna champion Andy Murray, who returned to Valencia for the first time since 2010, downed Jürgen Melzer in the opening round 6-3, 6-3 and took on Fabio Fognini for the fourth time. The British wild card lost the final meeting between the two in the Davis Cup earlier this year but was in total control of Thursday’s match. Murray didn’t face one single break point and served out after 72 minutes winning 6-2, 6-4. It was also the Scot’s 100th career win indoors.

“The surface is much slower here compared to Vienna last week,” Murray said. “The balls are much slower, there are more rallies and you have to do a bit of re-adjustment to Vienna. The quality of the tournament has improved. The hospitality for the players has improved a lot since the first year as well as the facilities and I enjoy being here again,” the Scot said about his comeback to Valencia.

“Over the last few months, I have started to get my consistency back and I feel better. It’s normally a good sign that I’m able to win matches, in which I haven’t been playing well. Nonetheless, I think that I can definitely keep improving,” explained Murray, who returned to tenth position in the ATP World Rankings this week after a six-week stint outside the top 10.

Pablo Andújar, who captured his first Top 10 win in more than two years with a straight set victory over second-seeded Tomas Berdych in the opening round continued his streak beating Dusan Lajovic 6-3, 6-2 in 70 minutes.

In the only singles match played outside the Agora Centre Court, Jeremy Chardy advanced to his seventh quarterfinal of the season beating Alexandr Dolgopolov 3-6, 7-6, 7-5 after two hours and two minutes. The Frenchman will play Pablo Carreňo-Busta next.

Florian Heer travels the tennis tour with a focus on ATP Challenger events and the ITF Future Circuit!  Follow his twitter account @Florian _Heer.

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Murray Wins First Title Since 2013 Wimbledon

 

Andy Murray

Andy Murray

(September 28, 2014) Scot Andy Murray came back from a set down and saved five match points to beat Spain’s Tommy Robredo of Spain 5-7, 7-6 (9), 6-1 Sunday to win the Shenzhen Open.

For the Scotsman, who came into the tournament as a wildcard, he broke a tournament win drought dating back to 2013 Wimbledon, the tennis title he won.

“It’s been a long time since I won a tournament, Murray said. “The way that the match was won doesn’t happen very often. It’s rare to win a match like that. I was very close to losing. It was an emotional week for me. I managed to fight my way through it, win the title, and hopefully I can win another one before the end of the year.”

Murray was down 2-6 in the second set tiebreak before rallying.

“I got lucky, basically, at the end of the second set,” Murray said. “I fought hard, tried my best and thankfully managed to turn it round.”

The Scot is trying to qualify for the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, and has moved up to 10th in the ATP Race To London with the addition of 250 points.

“When you finish second in a tournament it’s always great,” Robredo said. “In a match like today that was so close, it’s tough to accept it. But Andy did a great job. He was pushing right till the end and in the end, he deserved it. It was a good experience to learn from. I will keep working and hopefully next time I can win. It was a good week and hopefully next week I can be ready to play as well.”

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Kei Nishikori Wins Malaysian Open

Kei Nishikori

Kei Nishikori

(September 28, 2014) Top seed Kei Nishikori earned his third title of the season, beating fourth-seeded Julien Benneteau 7-6 (4), 6-4 on Sunday to win the Malaysian Open.

The Japanese player was playing in his first tournament since losing in the final of the US Open.

“It was a really tough start, because he was playing so aggressive, “Nishokori said about trailing by a break in the first set. “I was waiting for my opportunity. I had so many break points and I couldn’t take them. In the last game, he got a little bit tight and I took my chance. After that I played much better and I think he was getting a little bit tired in the second set. I tried to raise my level. It wasn’t my best tennis, but it’s good to win like this.”
The Frenchman Benneteau is now 0-10 in finals. This was his third straight Malaysian Open final.

“Kei was simply too good in the key moments,” Benneteau said. “Especially at the end of the first set. I had some chances, but against these kinds of players they are small chances and you have to take them.”

“It was a very good week and today was my best match of the week. Kei was simply too good in the key moments, especially at the end of the first set. I had some chances, but against these kinds of players, they are small chances and you have to take them. I tried to play my best and I almost did it. I’m disappointed with the loss, but very happy with the level of my game.”

Nishikori is now 44-10 for the year.

Nishikori’s win extends his lead ATP Race To London over seventh-placed David Ferrer.

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David Goffin Wins First ATP Title

Austria K champ

By Florian Heer

(August 2, 2014) For almost the entire Friday evening it was raining but the sun returned for Day 6 at the bet-at-home Cup in Kitzbühel featuring the youngest final on the ATP World Tour of the year when fifth-seed Dominic Thiem took on David Goffin for the third time. The 23-year-old Belgian Wild Card emerged victorious from the two previous meetings at the qualifying in Acapulco and on grass at London’s Queens Club. The only 20-year-old from Wiener Neustadt is the youngest player ranked inside the top-50, which helped to create a new tennis euphoria in Austria.

It would become an even affair with Thiem having the better start into the final. The world No. 50 capitalized on his first break point of the match in the opening game when Goffin missed a forehand crosscourt. As in the last couple of matches, Thiem had good length in his baseline shots and put a lot of pressure on the Belgian. The “Dominator” served the first set out after 46 minutes. Goffin, however, regained his strength, saved five of six break points he had to face in the entire match and did not even seem to be impressed by the Davis Cup atmosphere on centre court. The Belgian won 71 % of his first service points and eventually closed the match out winning 4-6, 6-1, 6-3 in one hour and 58 minutes to capture his maiden title on the ATP World Tour.

“I lost against a very strong opponent today,” Theim said. “At the beginning of the second set, I lost my rhythm. I do not know why but of course I also felt a bit tired. Nonetheless, David played very well, took the ball early and hit a couple of great returns. It was a bit similar to my loss against him in Acapulco earlier this year.

“Tomorrow in the morning I’ll fly to Toronto playing my first round match against Gilles Simon on Tuesday. I do not expect very much from this tournament but I hope to get the rhythm for Cincinnati and later I would like to achieve my best Grand Slam result at the US-Open in New York,” the Austrian youngster said.

The winner was understandably happy. “It is an amazing feeling sitting here with the trophy next to me. I think in only a few days, I’ll realize what has happened. I played every point as it was my last. Dominic played very solid but I could make him run and in the end I think he was a bit tired,” Goffin said. “Of course, I had to act like an iceman today on court to cope with this great atmosphere. I’ll take some rest now, go on vacation and then I’ll prepare for the hard court season playing in Winston Salem and then the US-Open,” the Belgian added.

He said that he calls his girlfriend Stephanie after every match. “She is very proud today,” Goffin said and seemed to be really satisfied.

As an all – Finnish combination, Jarkko Nieminen and Henri Kontinen took the doubles title winning the final against Daniele Bracciali and Andrej Golubev 6-1, 6-4 in 58 minutes.

Earlier the day, the final news conference of Kitzbühel’s 70th edition took place. “Since the tournament has been back on ATP World Tour level, it has been growing. You can really feel the enthusiasm of the people here, which is great. The crowd was waiting for a new Austrian tennis star and with Dominic in the final here, this is unbelievable,” tournament director Alex Antonitsch was overwhelmed.

 

“There is no need for us to acquire players like David Ferrer, just to tell that we have a top-10 guy in our draw. Our goal is to have the best players from Austria and Germany participating and that’s what we achieved this year. A long-term contract with Dominic Thiem doesn’t exist but of course he has an emotional association with the tournament and we hope that this will be kept for a long time. He will be pampered by us, the people and the press,” the former world No. 40 said about the tournament’s strategy.

“Although we had a couple of rainy days this week, we will reach our break-even with spectators up to 35.000 attending. The tournament’s development is great and we hope to even get numbers of 50,000 in the future, which also fosters the figure of tourists coming to Kitzbühel. For the players and the ATP the event has already been ranked inside the top-4 worldwide in terms of hotel accommodation and even inside the top-3 concerning the quality of the player parties,” Antonitsch added with a smile.

Florian Heer travels the tennis tour with a focus on ATP Challenger events and the ITF Future Circuit!  Follow his twitter account @Florian _Heer.

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Andújar Claims Gstaad Crown

Gstaad winner

By Florian Heer

(July 27, 2014) GSTAAD – Sunday’s final of Switzerland’s only ATP tournament played on clay took place in front of an almost fully packed Roy Emerson Arena in Gstaad when Pablo Andújar faced Juan Mónaco for the first time. It took eight minutes for the Spaniard to get through the opening game, which could have been considered as a sign for the rest of the match at this early stage but the world No. 71 was in a good shape on Sunday. Andújar converted on his second break point with a precise return long line to take the decisive 5-3 lead. A very faulty performance by Mónaco helped the Cuenca native to close the opening set out after 45 minutes.

The Argentine, who underwent a special experience earlier this week by visiting “Gstaad’s cheese cathedral” of the local dairy factory, raised his level of play only in the beginning of the second frame when he capitalized on his second break point of the match to take a 2-0 lead. Three consecutive service losses later, Andújar shortened Mónaco’s lead to 5-4 and evened score in the following. When the world number 105 from Tandil whiffed on a forehand drive volley, the Spaniard was wide awake to gain the break in the eleventh game. Andújar served the match out by an ace winning 6-3, 7-5 in one hour and 32 minutes to clinch his third ATP career title.

“I am very happy to gain the trophy,” said a very happy winner. “It was a very tough match. I knew that it would physically become a hard fight. I took the opening set by winning the two crucial points of the frame. Juan got the advantage in the second set but finally I played aggressively and the important points well and I made it.”

“I am feeling comfortable with the altitude here. I played well in Madrid last year, which is about 700 m over sea level. I knew that I haven’t got the power like other players and through the altitude here the ball gets a little bit faster and I also knew that I had options, as I had a good last week in Hamburg,” the Spaniard added about winning in Gstaad at 1.050 m over sea level.

He also explained his emotions after converting the match point when he fell on the ground of the centre court. “I saw my parents, my girl-friend and my brother, who were here to support me. It was an amazing moment to finish the match with an ace, which was the only one I made in the entire match,” Andújar laughed.

I have the feeling I wasted too many opportunities,” Monaco said afterwards. Maybe I was playing a little bit more nervous than usual because it was a final. It’s been a while since I played my last one and I need to get used again to play these matches at the defining instances. But overall I want to stress that this has been a great week for me. I won four matches and I proved myself I can still continue to grow and by working harder I am sure I will accommodate my game again and I hope I can start winning more matches.”

“I am a little bit sad because I lost a final and the truth is that it is something it’s going to be there forever. When you retire you are going to remember all the tournaments you won during your career, nobody remembers the finals. That is why I have this bitter feeling right now. But otherwise I have to recall all the things I achieved this week, after lots of injuries and lot of training, coming back to play a final means my game is coming back little by little. Then I need to follow this path and start recovering now for my first match in Kitzbühel next week,” the Argentine added.

Earlier the day the final news conference of the tournament’s 99th edition took place. “It was a very good week with high-class tennis and exciting matches. Unfortunately, we had not the best weather but with about 35.000 spectators, there were a lot of people coming out to watch the tennis. Of course, it is a pity that Stan Wawrinka couldn’t play but the other Swiss players achieved some good results and the people here just love the tennis, even without a top-ten player,” tournament director Jeff Collet told the media. The tournament also received the ATP Heritage Award for being part of the circuit since 1990. “Next year we will try to present something special for our 100th anniversary. I do not think that the shift in the ATP calendar will be a disadvantage for us. We are used to compete with other tournaments, so being in the same week with the ATP 500 in Hamburg next year will not make any difference to us. There are a lot of players on the tour,” Collet added.

 

Florian Heer travels the tennis tour with a focus on ATP Challenger events and the ITF Future Circuit!  Follow his twitter account @Florian _Heer.

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Istanbul To Host ATP World Tour 250 Tournament From 2015

ATP


(July 8, 2014) ATP WORLD TOUR – LONDON — The ATP announced on Tuesday that Istanbul will host an ATP World Tour 250 tournament beginning next year. The first ever ATP World Tour event in Turkey will be played on clay from 27 April – 3 May in 2015.

The Garanti Koza Istanbul Open will be held at the spectacular Koza World of Sports facility, which is promoted as the largest tennis academy in the world. The centre court features a retractable roof and will provide seating for 7,500 people. Two other clay show courts raise available seating to 9,500 and the clubhouse features a fitness centre, spa, swimming pool and restaurant.

Chris Kermode, ATP Executive Chairman and President, said: “We are delighted that the ATP World Tour will be taking place in Turkey for the first time from 2015. This incredible new facility in Istanbul will make a wonderful addition to the many remarkable venues that feature on the ATP World Tour throughout the season. As we add an important market such as Turkey to our global footprint, the ATP World Tour will be set to take place across 62 tournaments in 32 countries in 2015.”

The tournament venue is part of an overall tennis academy that features 15 outdoor clay courts, 20 outdoor hard courts and 28 indoor hard courts and is located within a sporting complex which also has facilities for swimming, basketball, volleyball, soccer and handball. A five star hotel is nearby.

The tournament has been brought to Istanbul by Istanbul Kupasi Tenis Isletmecilik Turizm A.S., a subsidiary of Garanti Koza, one of Turkey’s largest international general contracting companies.

Serhan Baykal, Garanti Koza Board Member, said: “Garanti Koza is thrilled to host an ATP event in Istanbul, giving Turkish tennis fans the opportunity to watch the best players in the world. We look forward to great tennis in Istanbul for many years to come!”

The event will take place in week 17 of the 2015 ATP World Tour, alongside the Portugal Open in Oeiras and the BMW Open by FWU AG in Munich.

The 2015 ATP World Tour calendar can be found here.

ATP WORLD TOUR 2015 SPRING CLAY-COURT CALENDAR

Week Tournament Category
Week 14 (6 April) Casablanca
Houston
ATP World Tour 250
ATP World Tour 250
Week 15 (13 April) Monte-Carlo ATP World Tour Masters 1000
Week 16 (20 April) Barcelona
Bucharest
ATP World Tour 500
ATP World Tour 250
Week 17 (27 April) Istanbul
Munich
Oeiras
ATP World Tour 250
ATP World Tour 250
ATP World Tour 250
Week 18 (4 May) Madrid ATP World Tour Masters 1000
Week 19 (11 May) Rome ATP World Tour Masters 1000
Week 20 (18 May) Dusseldorf
Nice
ATP World Tour 250
ATP World Tour 250
Week 21 (25 May) Roland Garros Grand Slam *Not ATP Member

 

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Djokovic Returns to No. 1, Qualifies for ATP World Tour Finals

 

 

(July 7, 2014) ATP World Tour – LONDON – Novak Djokovic today returns to No. 1 in the Emirates ATP Rankings for the first time since the week of 30 September 2013. And in a double reward for capturing his second Wimbledon title on Sunday, Djokovic has earned the right to play for a fourth Barclays ATP World Tour Finals crown, at The O2 in London from 9-16 November.

In lifting his seventh Grand Slam championship trophy with victory over Roger Federer at the All England Club, Djokovic overtakes Rafael Nadal at No. 1 and begins his 102nd week at the top of men’s professional tennis – the eighth-longest overall reign.

On reclaiming the No. 1 spot and qualifying for the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, Djokovic said, “It feels great not only to win Wimbledon again but also to return to No. 1 in the [Emirates] ATP Rankings. I got to No. 1 for the first time in my career after winning Wimbledon in 2011 so it is nice to do it again here. I can’t wait to return to London to defend the [Barclays] ATP [World Tour] Finals title. I have had a good run there in the past two years. I really enjoy playing at The O2.”

Watch: Djokovic Reclaims No. 1 ; Djokovic Qualifies For London

The 27-year-old Djokovic, who will be making his eighth straight appearance at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, has become the first singles player to qualify for the prestigious season finale. He first won the title in 2008 (d. Davydenko), when the tournament was held in Shanghai, and claimed back-to-back crowns at The O2 in 2012 (d. Federer) and 2013 (d. Nadal).

ATP Executive Chairman and President, Chris Kermode, said, “We are delighted that Novak has become the first player to book his place at this year’s Barclays ATP World Tour Finals at The O2 in London. He is having an outstanding season and is fully deserving of his place as current World No.1. Fans in the UK and around the world will already be looking forward to welcoming back this year’s Wimbledon champion to London in November, where he’ll be looking to win a third successive season-ending title.”

After finishing his 2013 ATP World Tour campaign with four straight titles, Djokovic extended his winning streak to 28 straight matches before a loss to Stan Wawrinka in the Australian Open quarter-finals. He won three ATP World Tour Masters 1000 titles – at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, the Sony Open Tennis in Miami and Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome – and came up just short in his bid for a career Grand Slam, when he finished runner-up to Nadal at Roland Garros in a match with the No. 1 mantle on the line.

Djokovic first ascended to No. 1 in the Emirates ATP Rankings on 4 July 2011, following his maiden Wimbledon triumph, and held the top spot for 53 weeks. He reclaimed the No. 1 ranking from Federer on 5 November 2012, before relinquishing it to Nadal on 7 October 2013. Djokovic was the year-end ATP World Tour No. 1 in 2011 and 2012.

The Barclays ATP World Tour Finals has welcomed more than 1.25 million fans to The O2 arena over the past five years, establishing itself as the biggest indoor tennis tournament in the world since moving to London in 2009. Tickets can be purchased at: www.BarclaysATPWorldTourFinals.com.

Emirates ATP Race To London – Top 15 (as of Monday, 7 July, 2014)

 

Singles
Pos. Name YTD Points
1. N. Djokovic (SRB) 7,250
2. R. Nadal (ESP) 6,645
3. R. Federer (SUI) 4,560
4. S. Wawrinka (SUI) 4,095
5. T. Berdych (CZE) 3,050
6. G. Dimitrov (BUL) 2,785
7. A. Murray (GBR) 2,435
8. K. Nishikori (JPN) 2,405
9. D. Ferrer (ESP) 2,385
10. E. Gulbis (LAT) 2,265
11. M. Raonic (CAN) 2,205
12. M. Cilic (CRO) 1,710
13. F. Fognini (ITA) 1,500
14. A. Dolgopolov (UKR) 1,410
15. J. Tsonga (FRA) 1,365


Bold denotes qualification

 

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Approach Shots: Getting to Know Tennis Umpire Ali Nili

By Wendy M. Grossman

(June 14, 2014) LONDON – “To be close to professional tennis,” says Ali Nili, in explaining his motivation for working as a tennis umpire. Nili is an Iran-born US citizen and one of the ATP’s cadre of ten full-time umpires. This makes him as much of an elite member of his profession as the players whose matches he oversees: only 25 umpires in the world have, like him, earned the profession’s highest qualification, a gold badge. Ten of them work full-time for the ATP, traveling the tour alongside the players.

Umpiring wasn’t what he set out to do. “I wanted to play. I wasn’t good enough.” He sounds comfortable with that.

“It’s just a fun job in general, especially if you’re a tennis fan.” Nili is speaking shortly after umpiring the semifinal between Stanislas Wawrinka and Grigor Dimitrov. It was a match not without incident: down a set and 3-5, Wawrinka crashed his racquet repeatedly on the court and then, apparently dissatisfied with the demolition job, deliberately folded it in half. Nili seems unbothered by that or any suggestion that angry players might be at all scary. “Just because of the fact that I know them, I work with them every week.”

On the other hand… “I would rather deal with any professional player than any junior’s parents. They want their kid to win at any cost, and anybody in their way is an enemy. I realized that early in my career and tried to stay away from it.”

From the sounds of it, umpiring is a more social job than playing: umpires at the top level hardly ever work with anyone they don’t know, and accordingly they have each other as company.

But players do have one advantage. In a long match they can leave the court for bathroom breaks or request medical treatment. Umpires, on the other hand, stay in place throughout, climbing down only when the match ends or, on clay, if someone wants a mark inspected. It’s not surprising, therefore, when Nili says that ,”My only pre-match routine is go to the bathroom.” When he’s working at Wimbledon or one of the other Grand Slams, where the men play five-set matches, he doesn’t drink anything until the end of his last five-set match.

“It’s easier to stay sharp thirsty than when you have to go to the bathroom out there.”

Nili earned his first international certificate in 1998. Like players, umpires start out in the weeds of the game – small, local events or junior matches. As they learn, gain experience, and improve, they move up the ranks through a series of certificates: white, bronze, silver, and, finally, gold. A tournament like Queen’s, with a singles main draw of 56 and a doubles draw of 16, uses six umpires, four from the ATP’s group, the rest contractors.

Nili jokes about preferring women’s matches at the major because they’re only best-of-three sets, but you have to suspect that every umpire would have liked to have been in the chair for the historic 2010 Wimbledon first-round match between John Isner and Nicolas Mahut, which went to 70-68 in the fifth and took more than 11 hours over three days to complete.

“Even he” – meaning the umpire in that match, Mohamed Lahyani – “would tell you that it goes a lot faster than the action time.” In general, he says, “The better the match is, the easier it is to keep your level of concentration. You do a tough five-set match which lasts four hours and when you sit up there it feels like a half an hour.” By contrast, “The opposite is also possible. You might do a match, that might never really pick up, you know, and it’s not the most exciting match in the world and it’s one hour and it feels like three hours. The closer the match is, the tougher the match is, the better the tennis is, the easier it is to concentrate. You get into the flow and the match just drives you along.”

Mistakes still do happen, of course. Umpires are taught not to dwell on them. “We just really always think forward. We always just think about the next call. The more you think about what happened the more chance there is that you’ll miss something else because you’re losing concentration.”

Few mistakes have lasting effects like the one in Venus Williams’ second round match at Wimbledon 2004, when the umpire incorrectly awarded an extra point to her opponent, Karolina Sprem, in the second-set tiebreak. No one corrected the error, and Sprem went on to win the match, though Williams did earn – and lose – three set points along the way.

“Usually, at least in men’s tennis, if you call the score wrong for two points in succession one of the players is going to tell you.” Or, if not the players, a line judge. “It’s not something that happens really often.” Modern technology helps: umpires have tablets that connect directly to the scoreboard so when he punches in the score everyone sees it and it feeds through to TV. A wrong score popping up in those circumstances generally gets a reaction in the stadium.

The hardest thing to learn, Nili says, is “to see the ball well”. Most, though not all, of the top rank of umpires play tennis themselves. “And then communication and not taking things personally.”

One surprising thing to learn is that just as the players must change their games in shifting from clay to grass, so must umpires change their procedures.

“It’s kind of like an art to umpire on clay,” Nili says. “It’s very different. You have to have a better feeling for the match. You have to have done a lot of clay-court matches in order to be a good clay-court umpire.” Years of experience on other surfaces doesn’t automatically translate.

“It’s a lot different.” On other surfaces – hard, indoor, grass – whether or not Hawkeye is available, as soon as a point ends the umpire looks at the loser in case he has questions, comments, or breaks a racquet. “On clay you keep staring at the mark so you don’t lose it.” Obviously. Because: if there’s a disagreement you will have to get down and go check it.

Asked to name the stand-out matches he’s umpired, Nili picks first the 2008 match between Rafael Nadal and Carlos Moya, which stretched to three tiebreaker sets and took two hours, 35 minutes to finish. “The longest three-set match ever played on hard court,” Nili says, and also, “Every point was really amazing. That’s probably the best tennis I would say, I’ve umpired.” Then he names a match from a few months ago: Federer versus Djokovic at this year’s Indian Wells final – “That was a good match.” He umpires comparatively few women’s matches, but obliges with Serena Williams versus Jelena Jankovic in Rome.

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Klizan beats Fognini to win BMW Open Crown

Klizan wins BMW Open

By Florian Heer

(May 3, 2014) MUNICH – Top-seed Fabio Fognini and qualifier Martin Klizan clashed in Sunday’s final at the BMW Open by FWU AG to crown a new champion. The pair met for the fifth time on the ATP World Tour with the Italian leading the head-to-head record 3-1 before the day’s encounter. The only time the Slovakian world No. 111 beat Fognini was in his only previous final in St. Petersburg in 2012 lifting his maiden trophy.

In sunnier and warmer conditions compared to Saturday, the match started with three breaks in a row giving the Italian a 3-1 lead. Fognini took the opening set after only 27 minutes in the eighth game. Klizan seemed to be injured and took a toilet break during changeover. From then on the 24-year-old Slovakian found his rhythm, cruised past the second set by hitting a couple of strong forehand baseline winners. The Italian was annoyed by his game and even received a point penalty after his second warning for breaking his racket. Klizan remained calm as well as focused and eventually served the match out winning 2-6, 6-1, 6-2 in one hour and 28 minutes. The qualifier claimed his second title on the ATP World Tour.

“After Monte Carlo and Barcelona I was a little bit physically down but overall I think this was a good week for me here. I played the final and I feel to be in a good shape with a lot of big tournaments coming up like Madrid and Rome Masters as well as Roland Garros,” Fognini said. “I think that Martin made a bit of a show out of his injury today. I don’t know if it disturbed me or not, actually this is not my problem. I congratulate him because he won the tournament but by the end of the year we will see how many matches he is going to win like this,” the Italian was also a bit upset afterwards but wants to focus on his next tournaments now.

“The final was crazy today but I think it was a great match from both sides,” Klizan said. “After the first set I thought that if he breaks me now, it’ll be time to retire because I don’t want to act like a clown on court. My stomach was cramping all the time. I was also very tired. I had to play a lot of matches during the week coming from the qualification and I didn’t sleep very well last night. Nonetheless, I fought until the end of the match. After I had taken two pills against cramping, I played very well today, tried to kill every ball and in the end I was on fire,” the Slovakian explained.

“Of course he felt that anything was wrong with me. This wasn’t easy for him either because you never know what will happen with your opponent but this wasn’t any show. It’s a final, you cannot do a show,” Klizan told about the seriousness of his injury. “I going to have one week off now, then I try to get into the qualification of the Masters in Rome,” the world number 111 said about his further plans.

J Murray and Ross Hutchins win BMW Open

Earlier the day Colin Fleming and Ross Hutchins were contesting their first ATP World Tour final as a team in 23 months when they took on Jamie Murray and John Peers for the title. The British pair entered the draw by protected ranking and made an impressive run in Munich reaching the final without dropping a set in their only second ever tournament together on clay. Today, however, the third-seeded Australian-British combination was the more solid tandem. Murray and Peers took their first title of the season winning 6-4, 6-2 in 65 minutes.

“It’s nice to be back in a final. We had a great week here in Munich. It’s one of the best ATP 250 events on the calendar and I would also like to thank my partner Ross. It’s nice to have him back on court,” Fleming said. “It’s a real honour to be in a final again and we enjoyed this week here in Munich,” Hutchins added.

“We had a great week, it is a fantastic tournament and we had a lot of fun here. Obviously, it’s nice to win the title, although it was against our friends today. It’s also a great thing to see Ross back on court,” Murray was happy lifting their first trophy in 2014 after the team lost in the semi-finals in their last two tournaments in Casablanca and Bucharest.

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“Between 33.000 and 34.000 spectators attended the matches this week here. It was an exciting tournament with great tennis to watch. We had eight players out of top 30, which is an extraordinary field for a tournament of our category comparing it internationally throughout the year,” tournament director Patrick Kühnen was satisfied with the week in Munich.

“This year’s edition concludes today but we already are looking forward to 2015,” organiser Michael Mronz added. “This will be really special for us, as the tournament will celebrate its 100-years existence. The club MTTC Iphitos is one of the founding members of the ATP World Tour 25 years ago. And from tomorrow on, there are 360 days for us to develop new ideas and improve our tournament continuously hopefully celebrating a great anniversary next year,” Mronz concluded.

 

Florian Heer travels the tennis tour with a focus on ATP Challenger events and the ITF Future Circuit!  Follow his twitter account @Florian _Heer.

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Klizan Upsets Haas to Reach Munich Final Against Fognini

Tommy Haas

Tommy Haas

By Florian Heer

(May 3, 2014) MUNICH – Fabio Fognini and Martin Klizan moved into the Munich final on Sunday. The 28-man draw at the BMW Open by FWU AG had been whittled down to the remaining four players on Saturday. The tournament’s two top-seeds as well as two qualifiers were fighting it out on Saturday for two spots in Sunday’s final. It has been the first time since Sydney in 2012 that two players from the qualifying made it into the semi-final stage at an ATP World Tour event.

In cold conditions (8 degrees Celsius/46 degrees Fahrenheit) with some drizzle, local hero Tommy Haas opened proceedings on Centre Court against Martin Klizan, with the German winning their only previous meeting, a straight sets victory in Hamburg two years ago. The Slovakian made a strong start in the match gaining a break in the opening game and dominated most of the rallies. The second-seeded German on the other hand just produced too many unforced errors and lost his serve for the second time in the fifth game. Klizan took the opening set in only 34 minutes. The weather obviously didn’t suit Haas’ shoulder and during changeover, the German veteran seemed to look for some warmness covering himself with towels. The qualifier was able to take advantage of the situation and broke serve in the fourth game of the second set. A second break in the eighth game, Klizan eventually advanced into his second career final on the ATP World Tour winning 6-3, 6-2 in 63 minutes.

“This is a bitter day for me. Conditions on court couldn’t have been worse for me today,” a disappointed Haas said afterwards. “Nonetheless you have to accept it, although it is not easy to do so. You have to try playing your game as good as possible. Unfortunately it didn’t work out for me today. I’m not that happy at the moment. In particular here in Munich I wanted to reach another final. The crowd’s support was great during the week and I’m sorry that I wasn’t able to play my best tennis today. Who knows, if there will be another chance for me to participate here next year or if this was even my last match in Munich,” Haas said and set off for the ATP Masters 1000 in Madrid starting next week.

“Conditions on court were really tough today but the thing is that we both had to face it. It was a difficult match playing in only about five degrees but the plan was to play aggressively and I think that I was the better player on court today,” said a happy Klizan. “Last year was very tough for me as I struggled with wrist injuries for a couple of months. During this time, I tried to stay positive and worked hard every day. Now I feel fit again and I’m ready to compete in the final,” the world number 111 said and is looking forward to tomorrow’s match and added that he loves fast cars in allusion to might win a new BMW tomorrow.

Top-seed Fabio Fognini and Jan-Lennard Struff met in Munich for the first time. The German advanced to the semifinal for just the second time in his career, recovering from a set down to beat lucky loser Ricardas Berankis in yesterday’s encounter. The 26-year-old Italian has reached the stage of the final four without dropping a set beating Dustin Brown in his opening match and Thomaz Bellucci in yesterday’s quarterfinal. Fognini, who played with long sleeves today, seemed to acclimatize to the cold conditions pretty well and gained his first break in the fifth game when Struff overcooked a backhand baseline shot. In the ninth game the top-seed served the opening set out. Overall, the underdog wasn’t able to really challenge his opponent today. Fognini was in total control and eventually advanced untroubled into his third final of the season winning 6-3, 6-1 in only 62 minutes.

“I had the feeling today that I wasn’t able to hit many winners. Fabio showed some great defensive skills, which forced me to take riskier shots. It was also tough for me to anticipate his forehand. I really couldn’t see in what direction he is going to hit,” Struff analysed the encounter. “Of course I’m disappointed but in general I’m pretty satisfied with my week here in Munich. I also enjoyed my first experience being part of the Davis Cup team and I will work hard for being there again,” the German added and said that he is going to play the ATP Challenger in Heilbronn next as well as the ATP 250 event in Düsseldorf in preparation for Roland Garros.

“Jan played a really good week here beating some tough players like Stakhovsky or López but I was very solid from the baseline today. I’m happy,” Fognini said. “The last time I played Martin in a final, he beat me easily,” the Italian added but also knew that he won all of the last three meetings between the two. “Tonight I won’t do anything special. Just try to sleep and tomorrow I will have to focus on my game and try to win the title,” the top-seed seemed to be confident.

Munich’s finals day will take place without any Germans participating. In the second doubles semifinal, last remaining local Dustin Brown lost with his partner Julian Knowle against Colin Fleming and Ross Hutchins in straight set 3-6, 2-6. The British pair will take on Jamie Murray and John Peers.

Florian Heer travels the tennis tour with a focus on ATP Challenger events and the ITF Future Circuit!  Follow his twitter account @Florian _Heer.

 

 

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