2014/11/26

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.

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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.

DSC_1059

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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Ferrer and Murray Reach Quarterfinals of Valencia Open

DSC_0938

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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