2014/07/31

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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Top Two Gstaad Seeds Mikhail Youzhny and Marcel Granollers Fall

 

Fernando Verdasco

Fernando Verdasco

By Florian Heer

(July 25, 2014) GSTAAD – Welcome to Gstaad – a town, which is considered by many people as the real Switzerland. Its local population is equal parts people and cows. Indeed, Gstaad’s direct vicinity has around 7,500 permanent residents alongside around 7,500 cows. Despite becoming an increasingly popular winter and summer tourism destination, farming is a major part of Gstaad’s identity and once a year, the ATP World Tour is making a stop amidst the impressive scenery of the Bernese Oberland for an event of the 250 category with total prize money of € 488.760,-.

The two top seeds of the Crédit Agricole Suisse Open, Mikhail Youzhny and Marcel Granollers, led the way on quarterfinal’s day 5. The Russian took on Robin Haase in a repeat of the 2013 Gstaad final, when Youzhny ran out a winner in straight sets. The world No. 19 from Moscow also had the better start today but the Dutch, who gained his first victory over the Russian in the last meeting between the two in Bucharest this year, stabilized his game and fought back winning 3-6, 6-1, 6-4 in one hour and 56 minutes, although it became really close in the end.

“Until 5-2 in the third set, I felt good,” said Haase. “But two net cord winners and one unbelievable backhand smash from Mikhail changed things. At 5-4 and a 40-0 lead, you think it is done. I double faulted and lost my rhythm but I knew I could beat him. Compared to last year’s match, it was very good.”

Marcel Granollers took on compatriot Pablo Andújar for the fourth time with the latter leading 2-1 in head to head before Friday’s meeting. After a close opening set, Andújar was in control of the encounter in the following. Through a solid baseline game and good returns the 28-year-old from Cuenca closed the match out in 75 minutes winning 7-5, 6-3.

In an all-South-American-affair Argentine Juan Mónaco faced Tomaz Bellucci. The Brazilian was making his fifth appearance in Gstaad and lifted two of his three career titles in Switzerland winning in 2012 and as a qualifier in 2009 but today Mónaco emerged victorious winning 7-6, 6-1 in 90 minutes to reach his first semi-final of the season.

Viktor Troicki

Viktor Troicki

In the final match of the day Viktor Troicki, who has returned to competitive action this week for the first time in 12 months after he had failed to submit a sample during Monte Carlo event in April 2013, which resulted in a suspension due to anti-doping violation, took on Fernando Verdasco. Earlier the day, the Spaniard had to complete his yesterday suspended second round match through a three set victory over Jan-Lennard Struff. In the evening encounter, it was the Spaniard’s forehand, which made the difference against Troicki. The 28-year-old Serbian, who dropped down to 847th position in the ATP rankings, felt obviously uncomfortable with the leftie’s game. Verdasco took advantage serving the match out in two hours and four minutes winning 6-4, 6-7, 6-1.

“This morning against Jan-Lennard, I just tried to win and finish the match in a good way because he served really well and I only had few chances to break,” the 30-year-old from Madrid said after his second victory of the day.

“This afternoon I felt the ball better and I played a really good first set, almost my best level. Unfortunately I made a couple of mistakes in the second set. Then I had a 4-1 lead in the tie-break and I became very upset after losing the set. It was mentally pretty hard for me. So I went to the toilet and I started screaming all the time, which helps when you are in a stressful moment. After ten or fifteen big screams, I started from zero and I was calm again and played the level of the first set,” Verdasco explained the ups and down in his match. “With the altitude here it is not easy to play from the baseline because you have to hit the ball in a perfect way otherwise it will be a miss. Viktor, however, served really well today. I have a good relationship with him outside the courts, so I’m happy that he is back,” the Spaniard said about Troicki’s return to the tour.

Stan Wawrinka

Stan Wawrinka

Earlier the day world No. 4, Stanislas Wawrinka, who represents the tournament’s ambassador, talked to the press. The 29-year-old from Lausanne should actually be Gstaad’s top-seed but after losing to Roger Federer in the quarterfinal of Wimbledon, he decided to take some time for recovery. “I took three weeks off, practiced and did some work with my fitness coach to become ready for the last four months of the year, which will be a tough one and a big challenge with the US-Open and the Davis Cup,” Wawrinka said. “It will be difficult to be better in in the second half of the season compared to the first but if I hold my level, I will achieve some good results,” the current Australian Open champion said and added that he will leave for Toronto in a few days.

Florian Heer travels the tennis tour with a focus on ATP Challenger events and the ITF Future Circuit. He is in Gstaad this week.  Follow his twitter account @Florian _Heer.

Results

Singles – Quarterfinals
[7] R Haase (NED) d [1] M Youzhny (RUS) 36 61 64
P Andujar (ESP) d [2] M Granollers (ESP) 75 63
[4] F Verdasco (ESP) d [WC] V Troicki (SRB) 64 67(7) 61
J Monaco (ARG) d T Bellucci (BRA) 76(1) 61

Singles – Second Round
[4] F Verdasco (ESP) d J Struff (GER) 36 63 76(3)

Doubles – Quarter-finals
[3] A Begemann (GER) / R Haase (NED) d P Marx (GER) / B Rola (SLO) 61 64
R Junaid (AUS) / M Mertinak (SVK) d [4] J Brunstrom (SWE) / N Monroe (USA) 76(5) 36 14-12

SCHEDULE – SATURDAY, 26 JULY 2014

CENTRE COURT start 11:30 am
[7] R Haase (NED) vs J Monaco (ARG)

Not Before 3:00 pm
[4] F Verdasco (ESP) vs P Andujar (ESP)
After Suitable Rest – R Junaid (AUS) / M Mertinak (SVK) vs P Andujar (ESP) / J Monaco (ARG)

COURT 1 start 1:00 pm
After Suitable Rest – F Bagnis (ARG) / F Delbonis (ARG) vs [3] A Begemann (GER) / R Haase (NED)

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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.

DSC_0884-001

“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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Tommy Haas Moves into Munich Semis

Tommy Haas

By Florian Heer

(May 2, 2014) MUNICH – The remaining eight players were all in action for the quarterfinals on Friday at the BMW Open by FWU AG. Unfortunately the weather changed its mind from Thursday’s sunshine to a cloudy sky over Munich.

Nonetheless matches started on time on Centre Court with Denis Istomin facing Martin Klizan for the third time. The Uzbek led 2-0 in head to head record before the day’s encounter. After reaching the stage of the last eight in Sydney, Montpellier as well as last week in Bucharest, Istomin contested his fourth quarterfinal of the season here in Munich. Today the world No. 55, however, couldn’t confirm his good shape of the last couple of weeks. Klizan made the better start winning the opening set in the tie-break. The Slovakian qualifier took a short break in the second frame but got back to his rhythm in the final set winning 7-6, 1-6, 6-1 in one hour and 49 minutes. Klizan advanced into his first semifinal of the season.

“I think, it was a very good match from both of us today. It was perfect tennis for the crowd,” the first qualifier since 2008, who reached the stage of the last four in Munich told afterwards. “Winning the third set was very important for me and of course I’m very happy. I’m still fit and I have enough power after playing six matches here in Munich. I like it here in Germany, everything is really good and I appreciate it playing the semis tomorrow,” the 24-year-old Slovakian added.

Tommy Haas continued his title defence against seventh-seeded Andreas Seppi. The pair met three times before on the ATP World Tour with the German running out the winner on two of those occasions. The last and only previous meeting on clay was also won by the German in straight sets at the ATP Masters in Madrid last year. This time Munich’s local hero had to fight harder. In an exciting match but with also a lot of unforced errors on both sides, Haas was the more solid player in the end. The second-seed prevailed winning 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 after one hour and 56 minutes to reach his third semifinal of the season.

Top-seed Fabio Fognini was next up on Centre Court when he took on Tomaz Bellucci for the second time. The Italian’s best performances this season came on clay by reaching at least the stage of the final eight in his three events on Latin America’s “Golden Swing” earlier this year. In his fourth quarterfinal in 2014 in Munich today, Fognini confirmed yesterday’s performance against Dustin Brown and defeated a visible tired Brazilian qualifier in straight sets winning 6-2, 6-2 in only 68 minutes.

“In the beginning I felt the ball really good today and I’m happy about my performance,” the winner was satisfied afterwards. “I played really well from the baseline. Tomaz seemed to have some physical problems by the end of the first set but I tried to stay focus and continued to play my game,” Fognini added. “I went to the doctors again but I feel ok. I happy to be in the semi-finals and I will go back to the hotel tonight and have some rest,” the top-seed told about his physical condition.

In the final match of the day another qualifier, Jan-Lennard Struff faced lucky loser Ricardas Berankis for the third time. The seventh highest ranked German emerged victorious in the two previous meetings on the ATP Challenger Tour and also today, Struff had the better ending winning 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 in two hours to advance into his second career semi-final.

“This really feels good. In the beginning of today’s match I wasn’t dominant enough on the court. My shots were too short and Ricardas put a lot of pressure on my game. In the second and third set I was able to get my rhythm and I could dictate more of the rallies,” the German qualifier analyzed and was looking forward to tomorrow’s match against the top-seeded Italian.

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

RESULTS – FRIDAY, 2 MAY 2014

Singles – Quarter-finals
[1] F Fognini (ITA) d [Q] T Bellucci (BRA) 62 62
[2] T Haas (GER) d [7] A Seppi (ITA) 63 36 63
[Q] J Struff (GER) d [LL] R Berankis (LTU) 46 63 64
[Q] M Klizan (SVK) d D Istomin (UZB) 76(3) 16 61

Doubles – Semi-finals
[3] J Murray (GBR) / J Peers (AUS) d [1] E Butorac (USA) / R Klaasen (RSA) 76(3) 62

Rudi Berger Cup 2014 – Quarter-finals
[1] S Prechtel (GER) d M Engshuber (GER) 61 63
[2] T Sandkaulen (GER) d A Erler (AUT) 64 64
V Gunther (GER) d C Franzen (GER) 62 64
J Schnaitter (GER) d M Oettle (GER) 61 63

SCHEDULE – SATURDAY, 3 MAY 2014

CENTRE COURT start 1:00 pm
[Q] M Klizan (SVK) vs [2] T Haas (GER)
[1] F Fognini (ITA) vs [Q] J Struff (GER)
D Brown (GER) / J Knowle (AUT) vs [PR] C Fleming (GBR) / R Hutchins (GBR)

SZ start 12:00 noon
[1] S Prechtel (GER) vs V Gunther (GER)
J Schnaitter (GER) vs [2] T Sandkaulen (GER)

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Top Seeds Advance in Munich

Fabio Fognini

By Florian Heer

(May 1, 2014) MUNICH – Thursday’s action at the BMW Open by FWU AG started in partly cloudy conditions with the second meeting of Andreas Seppi and Albert Ramos. The Spaniard won the only previous match between the two during the qualifying at the Paris Bercy Masters in 2010. Here in Munich, the Spaniard needed to battle through the qualification tournament and posted his first ever win in Munich when he defeated Lleyton Hewitt in first round on Tuesday. The tournament’s No. 7, Seppi, opened with a straight set victory over lucky loser Michael Berrer and is one out of only three remaining seeded players in the draw. The 30-year-old Italian was in control of the first set and even recovered from being two breaks down in the second. Seppi was often successful with his drop shots and capitalized on his break point chances winning 6-3, 6-4 in one hour and 27 minutes.

“I played in Munich two or three times before but I have never showed my best tennis here, so I often chose to play another tournament in the past. This year I wanted to give it another try and it seems to look better for me this time,” the happy Italian said afterwards. “I knew that I had to play aggressively today trying to hit close to the line. I think that this worked well in the opening set. In the beginning of the second, I made a couple of unforced errors but eventually I was able to find my rhythm back,” Seppi analysed today’s encounter.

The longer the day lasted, the better became the weather. Moreover, the 1st of May is Labour Day in Bavaria and the right time for local hero Tommy Haas to kick off his title defense in Munich. The German made his comeback to the court after a six-week injury. It is Haas’ eleventh appearance at the BMW Open with his debut dates back in 1998. On a fully packed Centre Court, the second-seeded German took on Alejandro Falla for the very first time on clay. All previous meetings between the two took place on hard courts with Haas leading head to head records 4-1 before the match. The German veteran was the more solid player throughout the encounter, capitalized on five of his seven break points, on the other hand the Colombian’s game was simply not efficient enough. Consequently, the 36-year-old from Hamburg advanced into the quarterfinal winning 6-2, 6-4 in 74 minutes.

“It was an important match and test for me today to see how it works on court with my shoulder and everything seems to be ok,” Haas said. “It was really nice today. Sun was shining, court was packed, my family is here and I won the match, so it couldn’t have been better. I’m very pleased with my performance today.

Seppi is a solid player, who has continuously improved over the years. I know that I have to get out there and I need to play good tennis but the outcome will depend on my own performance,” Haas said about his upcoming quarterfinal match against the Italian on Friday.

Top-seed Fabio Fognini was also in action on Day 4. The Italian, who is making his debut in Munich, has compiled a 16-4 record on clay this season, went up against another hometown hope Dustin Brown, for the first time. The encounter was highly-expected but only delivered from time to time. In the end, the world No. 13 showed his strength in the decisive moments and that he is the more complete player winning 7-6, 6-2 in only 65 minutes.

“Playing the first match at a tournament is always difficult. As I said yesterday playing against Dustin doesn’t make it easier. Sometimes he plays unbelievable and the other time, he misses a lot. Especially in the tie-break of the opening set, it was tough today with a lot of good rallies. He hit some unbelievable shots and then he gave me some points for free, that’s his game,” Fognini said afterwards.

 

“It was really nice playing out there, as it was bank holiday and many people came here to watch. It is my first time here in Munich. I went to the football stadium, did some things in the city and the weather is still nice. Hopefully it will remain like this for the next days as well,” the Italian said about Bavaria’s capital and added that in terms of football, he supports the team from his home town in Genoa.

Fognini’s next opponent was found in the match between Federico Delbonis and Tomaz Bellucci. Both players had met three times before always seeing the 23-year-old Argentine as the winner. On Thursday, it was only the second time that a match between the two went the distance and it was the first time, the Brazilian emerged victorious winning 5-7, 6-3, 6-2. Bellucci needed two hours and six minutes to advance into his second quarterfinal of the season.

Wednesday’s suspended match between Ricardas Berankis and Jürgen Melzer was completed. The Lithuanian saved two match points in the tie-break of the final set winning 7-6, 3-6, 7-6 in two hours 25 minutes.

Florian Heer travels the tennis tour with a focus on ATP Challenger events and the ITF Future Circuit!  Follow his twitter account @Florian _Heer.
RESULTS – THURSDAY, 1 MAY 2014

Singles – Second Round
[1] F Fognini (ITA) d [WC] D Brown (GER) 76(4) 62
[2] T Haas (GER) d A Falla (COL) 62 64
[7] A Seppi (ITA) d [Q] A Ramos (ESP) 63 64
[Q] T Bellucci (BRA) d F Delbonis (ARG) 57 63 62
[LL] R Berankis (LTU) d J Melzer (AUT) 76(5) 36 76(6) – saved 2 M.P.

Doubles – Quarter-finals
[1] E Butorac (USA) / R Klaasen (RSA) d R Junaid (AUS) / J Nieminen (FIN) 63 64
[3] J Murray (GBR) / J Peers (AUS) d L Dlouhy (CZE) / M Pavic (CRO) 46 76(1) 10-6
D Brown (GER) / J Knowle (AUT) d L Hewitt (AUS) / M Matosevic (AUS) 64 63

SCHEDULE – FRIDAY, 2 MAY 2014

CENTRE COURT start 11:00 am
D Istomin (UZB) vs [Q] M Klizan (SVK)

Not Before 12:55 pm
[7] A Seppi (ITA) vs [2] T Haas (GER)
[1] F Fognini (ITA) vs [Q] T Bellucci (BRA)

Not Before 5:00 pm
[LL] R Berankis (LTU) vs [Q] J Struff (GER)

SZ start 11:00 am
Rudi Berger Cup – J Schnaitter (GER) vs M Oettle (GER)
Rudi Berger Cup – [1] S Prechtel (GER) vs M Engshuber (GER)

Not Before 3:00 pm
[1] E Butorac (USA) / R Klaasen (RSA) vs [3] J Murray (GBR) / J Peers (AUS)

MATCH COURT 3 start 3:00 pm
Rudi Berger Cup – V Gunther (GER) vs C Franzen (GER)
Rudi Berger Cup – A Erler (AUT) vs [2] T Sandkaulen (GER)

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Youzhny Upset in Munich

Mikhail Youzhny

Mikhail Youzhny

By Florian Heer

(April 30, 2014) MUNICH – There were four second round matches in action on Wednesday in Munich with third-seed Mikhail Youzhny leading the way. The Russian, who has returned to the BMW Open by FWU AG for the eleventh time opened his campaign against Martin Klizan with the Slovakian leading head to head record 1-0 before the match. Klizan, who was making his debut in Munich, battled his way through the qualifying and reached the second round gaining a straight set victory over Dudi Sela yesterday. In their only previous meeting in Moscow two years ago, the Slovakian won in three sets. Back then, Klizan took the match by winning a tie-break in the final set. The outcome as well as the ending would be the same. The 24-year-old qualifier advanced into the quarterfinal winning 6-7, 6-2, 7-6 in two hours and 49 minutes.

“Last time we met it was one of the longest matches in history. We played three hours and 49 minutes, now we played just one hour less. It was an extreme fight today but I’m still fit,” Klizan was understandably happy afterwards. “The last time I faced Denis Istomin, I was only able to win two games. He was much better than me. This time, however, we will meet on clay here, the surface on which I think I’ll be better. It is going to be a tough match,” the world number 111 looked ahead to his next opponent.

In the opening match on Centre Court, Denis Istomin met Marinko Matosevic for the third time. Uzbekistan’s top player posted his first ever victory in Munich on Tuesday defeating two-time champion Philipp Kohlschreiber in the first round by saving eleven of the fourteen break points he had to face. Today’s match would be a close affair with Istomin winning 6-7, 6-3, 7-5 in two hours and eleven minutes.

This match was followed by Sergiy Stakhovsky facing Jan-Lennard Struff for the second time on the ATP World Tour. Both players met in Bastad last year with the better ending for the German winning in straight sets. Struff was able to repeat this victory in Munich through clean shots and a solid baseline game. The 24-year-old qualifier needed only 72 minutes to defeat the Ukrainian 6-3, 6-3 reaching his second career quarterfinal.

“I think I made a strong start into today’s match gaining an early 3-0 lead. In the second set I felt that he (Stakhovsky) found his way into the match. He started to play better and my service games became closer than in the beginning. So it was important that I could get another break,“ Struff said afterwards. “In the end I felt a bit tired, although it was only in two sets. I think it’s good for me that I will not have to play singles tomorrow,” the German qualifier added.

In the final match of the day Ricardas Berankis took on Jürgen Melzer. The Lithuanian was granted a lucky loser spot in the main draw after Gael Monfils withdrew due to an ankle injury. The Austrian advanced to the second round through a straight set victory over junior world No. 1 Alexander Zverev yesterday. At quarter past eight, the match was suspended at 2-2 in the final set due to darkness.

Earlier the day, the tournament’s top-seed, Fabio Fognini, talked to the media. The Italian has won two out of his three career titles on German soil. “For sure Germany is a special place for me. I will always remember winning my first title in Stuttgart last year and even take a second one in the following week in Hamburg,” Fognini said. “Nonetheless, firstly I have to play my opening match here in Munich. Another possible title can be focused on Sunday. I have to be careful tomorrow because my opponent is a bit crazy but he plays really good tennis, so it is going to be really difficult. He is a tall guy, serving really big and mixing it up with serve and volley. I hope that a lot of people will come out tomorrow, watch the match and have fun,” the top-seed said about his first opponent at the BMW Open Dustin Brown. “I have already practiced a few days here in Munich. I really feel better. Maybe I need a bit more time to recover really well but tomorrow is the time to go on court and I’ll try to do my best and I hope to survive tomorrow,” Fognini added about his physical condition after he had to retire in his last match in Barcelona last week.

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

RESULTS – WEDNESDAY, 30 APRIL 2014

Singles – Second Round
[Q] M Klizan (SVK) d [3] M Youzhny (RUS) 67(5) 62 76(2)
[Q] J Struff (GER) d S Stakhovsky (UKR) 63 63
D Istomin (UZB) d M Matosevic (AUS) 67(6) 63 75

Doubles – Quarter-finals
[PR] C Fleming (GBR) / R Hutchins (GBR) d [2] J Cabal (COL) / R Farah (COL) 61 64

Doubles – First Round
[3] J Murray (GBR) / J Peers (AUS) d [WC] A Satschko (GER) / J Struff (GER) 64 63
L Hewitt (AUS) / M Matosevic (AUS) d [4] T Bednarek (POL) / M Draganja (CRO) 64 75
R Junaid (AUS) / J Nieminen (FIN) d [WC] M Bachinger (GER) / K Krawietz (GER) 62 64
SCHEDULE – THURSDAY, 1 MAY 2014

CENTRE COURT start 11:00 am
[7] A Seppi (ITA) vs [Q] A Ramos (ESP)
[LL] R Berankis (LTU) vs J Melzer (AUT) 76(5) 36 22

Not Before 12:55 pm
A Falla (COL) vs [2] T Haas (GER)
[1] F Fognini (ITA) vs [WC] D Brown (GER)
F Delbonis (ARG) vs [Q] T Bellucci (BRA)

SZ start 12:00 noon
[1] E Butorac (USA) / R Klaasen (RSA) vs R Junaid (AUS) / J Nieminen (FIN)
[3] J Murray (GBR) / J Peers (AUS) vs L Dlouhy (CZE) / M Pavic (CRO)
TBA – D Brown (GER) / J Knowle (AUT) vs L Hewitt (AUS) / M Matosevic (AUS)

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