Stan Wawrinka Wins Third Chennai Open Crown

Stan Warinka Chennai

(January 11, 2015) Stan Wawrinka claimed his third Chennai Open title and 8th career tournament win on Sunday, notching a 6-3, 6-3 victory over Slovenian qualifier Aljaz Bedene. It’s the Swiss’ second straight Chennai crown.

“It’s amazing to win again, to start the year with a trophy,” Wawrinka said. “I’m very happy with my level. It was a great final. He (Bedene) has been through the qualifier, beating a lot of seeds and it’s been good for him too.”

The No. 156 Bedene, who had a career week, became the first qualifier to reach the Chennai final.

“Stan played amazing today,” Bedene said. “It’s been a great week. I guess hard work has paid off for me. This is now my favorite tournament for three years and I’ll be back here next year.”

“I don’t want to stop here. I just want to raise my level to the level of Stan’s game.”

“I’m looking forward to the Australian Open,” said Wawrinka the defending champion. “It’s going to be a strange feeling to come back as the defending champion in a Grand Slam. But right now, I want to enjoy this trophy. It’s not every week you win a trophy and it’s really tough to win on the ATP Tour.”

“I feel really happy. It’s tough to win tournaments on the ATP [World] Tour. I feel good, with more confidence [and] feeling well with my game. I’m happy with my game in general, but it’s just the beginning of the season and I hope I can play well all [of] the season.”

The Australian Open, the first tennis major of the year begins on January 19.


Roger Federer Wins 1000th Match, Claims Brisbane Title

(January 11, 2015) Roger Federer gained entrance into the exclusive “1000 win club” on Sunday when he defeated Milos Raonic 6-4, 6-7(2), 6-4 to claim the Brisbane International title, his 83rd career tournament crown.

The 33-year-old Federer is the third player in the Open Era to earn this achievement, joining Jimmy Connors with 1253 wins and Ivan Lendl with 1071 victories.
“It feels very different to any other match I’ve ever won. 1000 means a lot because it’s such a huge number,” Federer said. “Just alone to count to 1000 is going to take a while. It’s funny emotions right now, but clearly very proud and happy.

“Looking back it’s almost nicer winning this way, through a tight match with nerves and humid conditions against a great player in a final. It means so much more than just running away with it with the score maybe 6-4, 6-4, which was looking very likely at one stage. I guess I was much more happy having to go three sets in the end rather than winning in straight.”

“It was a great tennis match,” said Raonic, who was seeking his 7the ATP World Tour title. “I stayed out there, competed, gave it my all. I gave myself a chance after being down a set and a break. I think it just shows the development I’ve been able to make over the last little while. You put me in that same situation few months and weeks ago and I think I could be out of that stadium pretty quickly.

“Give and take few situations, I couldn’t have asked for a better way to go into the Australian Open. The progress I’ve been making, especially over the last six weeks from physically as a tennis player, technically, and just the way I go about things even mentally, I’m happy with that. I feel like I’m just going to get better over the next eight or nine days.”

Rod Laver and Roger Federer photo courtesy of Tennis TV

Rod Laver and Roger Federer photo courtesy of Tennis TV

Tennis Hall of Famers by Rod Laver and Roy Emerson joined Federer during the trophy ceremony which included ballboys held up 1,000 in big, white numbers near the net. Laver presented Federer with a framed montage of images with the words “Congratulations Roger, 1,000 match wins,” while Emerson handed Federer the trophy named after him.

Next stop for Federer is the Australian Open which begins January 19. The Swiss says he is aiming for more major titles. “Clearly I do believe I have a shot in Melbourne, otherwise I would go home.”


Stars Descend On Sydney for the Apia International

Julien Benneteau and Ken Rosewall at Sydney International draw ceremony

Julien Benneteau and Ken Rosewall at Sydney International draw ceremony

By Dave Gertler

(January 10, 2015) SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – Stars of the tennis world have been descending upon Sydney over the last days, while qualifying heats have been contested at the Apia International in Sydney. Last year’s women’s champion Tsvetana Pironkova, who qualified and won eight matches in a row at the 2014 Apia International, has had to navigate through qualifying again – albeit as top seed this year – and will make it into the main draw if she defeats American Nicole Gibbs on Sunday. Despite lifting her ranking from outside the top 100 a year ago to where it is now at No.37, that Pironkova still needed to qualify is testament to the depth of the women’s draw at this year’s event.

The tournament’s top seed Simona Halep will arrive in Sydney on Sunday, from Shenzhen, China where she won the tournament.
Petra Kvitova lost in the semi-finals of Shenzhen.
Caroline Wozniacki  arrived at Sydney Airport last night from Auckland, losing her Auckland final to Venus Williams.
Poland’s Agnieszka Radwanska will complete the Apia International’s top four seeds when she arrives in Sydney from Perth, where she and Jerzy Janowicz – who will also feature strongly on the men’s side of the Sydney tournament – have won the Hopman Cup in an eventful final against USA’s John Isner and Serena Williams.

Janowicz will continue to be a headline act of Australia’s Summer of Tennis, as he plays young Australian giant-killer Nick Kyrgios in their first round match, which was allotted yesterday during a draw ceremony whose guests of honour included Ken Rosewall and Lesley Bowrey. 2005 Sydney finalist Sam Stosur, as well as 2012 Sydney finalist Julien Benneteau, were also in attendance for their respective WTA and ATP draw ceremonies.


While the men’s draw is less stacked than a women’s draw which boasts six top-10 players, Benneteau called the men’s draw, “Very compact,” saying, “Maybe there is not top 10 players, but from the top seeds to the end of the draw, there are tough players between 20, 30, 40, very good players, so I really think that anyone can win on Saturday.”

The men’s top two seeds, Fabio Fognini and David Goffin, will fly surprisingly under the radar at this tournament given that last year’s champion Juan Martin Del Potro, has chosen this event to stage his comeback from injury that has left him sidelined for almost a year. Del Potro flew in on Thursday night and has been using the days since to practice on Ken Rosewall Arena, with some light strapping on his wrist.


Ken Rosewall predicted a big year for the new Australian men’s No. 1, saying, “Because of his rapid improvement and his performance at Wimbledon and other senior events, there’ll be a lot of players who’ll be wanting to be in top form when they play against him. Hopefully Nick can remain physically clear without any problems, and he’ll be in good form. But I think there’ll be extra pressure on him this time to kind of stand up to being the number one player in Australia.”


At the women’s draw ceremony, Lesley Bowrey, winner of the French Open in 1964 and 1965, had some timely and compassionate words of wisdom for Sam Stosur, who is known for her struggles to win matches on home soil. “I just want to wish Sam all the best,” said Bowrey, “And just go out there and be free and easy, really, and not worry, as you say about everyone else, and what they’re telling you, just play your own game and do what you want to do.” Stosur has been drawn to face Lucie Safarova, the Czech world No.15 to whom she has lost their last six matches.


“Look, sometimes when I used to lead in matches, and I used to lose them too,” continued Bowrey, perhaps referring to Stosur’s loss last week in Brisbane to Varvara Lepchenko, after having a match point at 5-1 in the deciding set, “We all do that, it’s nothing new, you just have to find a way. What I used to do is just say, well, if I’m leading 5-1 or 5-2 or 5-3, I’d just tell myself I’m down that, and just take the pressure right off myself. That’s how I used to handle it, just tell myself I’m not leading, I’m down. Tennis is a tough game, it’s a tough sport.”

Dave Gertler is a tennis journalist, player and musician based in Sydney and is covering the Australian summer of tennis for Tennis Panorama News. Follow his personal Twitter @davegertler,  read his blog,  and listen to his podcast, Tennis Days .


Ferrer Beats Berdych for Qatar Open Title

David Ferrer

(January 10, 2015) David Ferrer claimed his 22nd career ATP title after defeating Tomas Berdych 6-4, 7-5 in the Qatar Open final on Saturday.

Berdych hadn’t lost his serve in 34 service games through the semifinals of Doha, but had his serve broken four times during the match.

“I’m very happy,” said Ferrer during the trophy ceremony on court following the match. “I put in hard work this preseason. It’s special winning this tournament. I was ready to play tonight’s match against Berdych … a Top 10 player.”

“First of all, it’s a disappointment to lose the final,” said Berdych. “But on the other hand, it’s been a very solid week. It’s been a couple of good matches. I was not able to execute the right way (today), but I think it’s a good start for me.”

“First of all, David is never tired,” Berdych said. “Not after the match he played yesterday after two-and-a-half hours. I have seen him playing five hours and then he played the next day.”

“In important points I got a little bit lucky,” Ferrer said. “I tried to be confident in the bad moments. I played very good in those moments.”

The 32-year-old Ferrer became the second Spaniard to win the Doha title, the first being Rafael Nadal last year.


Warwrinka Reaches Fourth Chennai Final

Stan Wawrinka

Stan Wawrinka

(January 10, 2015) Stan Wawrinka will defend his Chennai Open title against Aljaz Bedene of Slovenia, the first qualifier to reach the final in the tournament’s 20-year history.

Wawrinka knocked out David Goffin of Belgium 7-5, 6-3, while Bedene beat the third seed Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 (8) saving four match points in the semifinals on Saturday.

This will be Wawrinka’s four final, looking for his third title on Sunday.

“I lost against him here some years ago and he played amazingly then,” Wawrinka said of his loss to the Slovenian in the 2013 quarterfinals “It’s going to be a really good match, an interesting one for sure.”

For Bedene he is the first Slovenian to make an ATP final since October 2012.

“I’ve worked hard and have been playing well this week,” Bedene said.


Singles – Semi-finals
[1] S Wawrinka (SUI) d [4] D Goffin (BEL) 75 63
[Q] A Bedene (SLO) d [3] R Bautista Agut (ESP) 36 63 76(8)  – 4 M.P. saved

Doubles – Semi-finals
Y Lu (TPE) / J Marray (GBR) d P Raja (IND) / A Shamasdin (CAN) 57 63 10-8


STADIUM start 5:00 pm
[1] S Wawrinka (SUI) vs [Q] A Bedene (SLO)
[1] R Klaasen (RSA) / L Paes (IND) vs Y Lu (TPE) / J Marray (GBR)


Sydney and Hobart Schedules for January 11, 2015


USD 731,000
9-17 JANUARY 2015

KEN ROSEWALL ARENA start 12:00 noon
WTA – M Keys (USA) vs S Kuznetsova (RUS)
WTA – [WC] D Gavrilova (RUS) vs B Bencic (SUI)
WTA – L Safarova (CZE) vs S Stosur (AUS)
WTA – A Petkovic (GER) vs [WC] J Gajdosova (AUS)

GRAND STAND start 12:00 noon
WTA – Qualifying – T Pironkova (BUL) vs N Gibbs (USA)
WTA – Qualifying – [Alt] J Konta (GBR) vs K Mladenovic (FRA)
WTA – [WC] A Rodionova (AUS) / O Savchuk (UKR) vs A Medina Garrigues (ESP) / Y Shvedova (KAZ)
WTA – M Erakovic (NZL) / A Parra Santonja (ESP) vs [PR] B Mattek-Sands (USA) / S Mirza (IND)

COURT 3 start 11:00 am
WTA – Qualifying – E Rodina (RUS) vs L Tsurenko (UKR)
WTA – Qualifying – P Hercog (SLO) vs T Babos (HUN)
WTA – A Kudryavtseva (RUS) / A Pavlyuchenkova (RUS) vs [4] H Chan (TPE) / K Peschke (CZE)

COURT 4 start 11:00 am
ATP – Qualifying – M Kukushkin (KAZ) vs D Kudla (USA)
ATP – Qualifying – J Souza (BRA) vs E Roger-Vasselin (FRA)
ATP – Qualifying – V Troicki (SRB) vs N Jarry (CHI)

COURT 5 start 11:00 am
ATP – Qualifying – T Gabashvili (RUS) vs J McGee (IRL)
ATP – Qualifying – S Travaglia (ITA) vs Y Sugita (JPN)
ATP – Qualifying – T Kamke (GER) vs I Sijsling (NED)

COURT 9 start 12:00 noon
ATP – Qualifying – J Smith (AUS) vs A Golubev (KAZ)
ATP – Qualifying – Z Zhang (CHN) vs J Nieminen (FIN)


$ 250,000
11-17 JANUARY 2015

CENTRE COURT start 11:00 am
M Puig (PUR) vs K Kanepi (EST)
M Niculescu (ROU) vs [5] S Stephens (USA)
K Nara (JPN) vs [6] K Koukalova (CZE)
M Adamczak (AUS) / O Rogowska (AUS) vs A Tomljanovic (CRO) / H Watson (GBR)

QUALIFYING – Qualifying – J Larsson (SWE) vs P Ormaechea (ARG)
QUALIFYING – Qualifying – B Krejcikova (CZE) vs K Kozlova (UKR)
J Cepelova (SVK) / A Rosolska (POL) vs C Chuang (TPE) / E Hrdinova (CZE)
After suitable rest – K Bertens (NED) / J Larsson (SWE) vs [2] K Jans-Ignacik (POL) / A Klepac (SLO)
C Chan (TPE) / O Kalashnikova (GEO) vs [4] L Arruabarrena (ESP) / I Olaru (ROU)

COURT HEART FM start 10:00 am
QUALIFYING – Qualifying – L Zhu (CHN) vs R Hogenkamp (NED)
QUALIFYING – Qualifying – S Soler-Espinosa (ESP) vs M Brengle (USA)


Sharapova Wins Brisbane; Federer a Victory Away from 1000

Sharapova fh

(January 10, 2015) Maria Sharapova won her 34th career title with a 6-7 (4), 6-3, 6-3 victory over Ana Ivanovic at the Brisbane International on Saturday. The battle lasted for two hours and 38 minutes.

Sharapova let a 4-1 first set lead slip to the Serbian who came back to win the first set.

“She was doing a lot of things better in the first set, and she deserved to win the first set, but I hung in there,” Sharapova said. “It was important to get that break, and the third set came down to a few points, really. I’m just happy that I managed to get it in three.”

“She had some great comebacks”, ” Ivanovic said. “She got back the balls that I thought weren’t coming over the net. That’s why she’s where she is, and that’s why she’s such a great champion.”

The victory gives the Russian a chance to overtake Serena Williams for the No. 1 ranking depending on the results at the Australian Open, which begins on January 19. Sharapova is within 681 points of Williams.

“I played four good matches against very different types of opponents. Couldn’t have asked for better preparation,” Sharapova said. “Now that I won a tournament, maybe I have a better chance of going higher in the rankings. Right now I am No. 2; the next spot is 1.”

Roger Federer (2)-001

Roger Federer is aiming to become just the third male player, behind Jimmy Connors (1,253) and Ivan Lendl (1,071) to win 1000 career matches on Sunday when he takes on Milos Raonic in the final of Brisbane.

Federer took down Grigor Dimitrov in the semifinals on Saturday 6-2, 6-2 in 53 minutes while Raonic won an intense battle against Kei Nishikori 6-7(4), 7-6(4), 7-6(4).
“I was able to play straightforward tennis, like yesterday, just really aggressive,” said Federer. “Against a really good player, it’s a great result. Happy I didn’t waste much energy like this. I’m fresh for the finals. Probably got a slight advantage over Milos in that regard.”

“It’s a goal for the season, so I still have time to get to a thousand,” Federer said in a post-match interview. “I mean, it’s a really big number, no doubt about it. Love to get it tomorrow. If not tomorrow, I hope it happens at the Australian Open. It would definitely be an incredible milestone to reach.”



WTA Singles – Finals
[1] M Sharapova (RUS) d [2] A Ivanovic (SRB) 67(4) 63 63

WTA Doubles – Finals
M Hingis (SUI) / S Lisicki (GER) d [4] C Garcia (FRA) / K Srebotnik (SLO) 62 75

ATP Singles – Semi-finals
[1] R Federer (SUI) d [4] G Dimitrov (BUL) 62 62
[3] M Raonic (CAN) d [2] K Nishikori (JPN) 67(4) 76(4) 76(4)

ATP Doubles – Semi-finals
J Murray (GBR) / J Peers (AUS) d S Johnson (USA) / S Querrey (USA) 76(3) 76(2)


PAT RAFTER ARENA start 4:30 pm
ATP – J Murray (GBR) / J Peers (AUS) vs A Dolgopolov (UKR) / K Nishikori (JPN)

Not Before 7:00 pm
ATP – [1] R Federer (SUI) vs [3] M Raonic (CAN)



Top Four Men’s Seeds Reach Brisbane Semis: Sharapova and Ivanovic to Face off in Final

(January 9, 2015) The top four men’s seeds have reached the semifinals of the Brisbane International 2015 as No. 1 seed Roger Federer will face 4th seed Grigor Dimitrov and No.2 seed Kei Nishikori will play third seed Milos Raonic.

Federer cruised past No. 125 James Duckworth 6-0, 6-1, Dimitrov won 6-3, 6-4 over Martin Klizan, Nishikori dominated Bernard Tomic 6-0, 6-4, and Raonic battled past Sam Groth -6 (3), 3-6, 7-6 (2).

On the ladies side top two seeds Maria Sharapova and Ana Ivanovic have reached the finals of the Brisbane. No. 1 seed Sharapova beat Elina Svitolina 6-1, 6-3, and No. 2 Ivanovic defeated Varvara Lepchenko 7-6 (2), 6-4.

In Auckland it will be Caroline Wozniacki versus Venus Williams in the final. Wozniacki battled for two hours and 35 minutes to get past No.4 seed Barbora Zahlavova Strycova, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 while Williams had a much easier time blasting past Lauren Davis 6-0, 6-3.

In Shenzen, No. 2 seed Petra Kvitova fell to No.8 seed Timea Bacsinszky in straight sets, 6-4, 6-4 in the semifinals. Bacsinszky will play top seed Simona Halep for the title. Halep stopped Zheng Saisai in straight sets, 6-2, 6-3.


$ 250,000
5-10 JANUARY 2015

Singles – Semifinals
[1] C Wozniacki (DEN) d [4] B Zahlavova Strycova (CZE) 46 63 64
[3] V Williams (USA) d L Davis (USA) 60 63

Doubles – Semifinals
[4] S Aoyama (JPN) / R Voracova (CZE) d [2] A Hlavackova (CZE) / L Hradecka (CZE) 63 63

CENTRE COURT start 12:00 noon
[1] S Errani (ITA) / R Vinci (ITA) vs [4] S Aoyama (JPN) / R Voracova (CZE)

Not Before 2:30 pm
[1] C Wozniacki (DEN) vs [3] V Williams (USA)



USD 1,000,000
4 – 11 JANUARY 2015

Singles – Semifinals
[1] M Sharapova (RUS) d E Svitolina (UKR) 61 63
[2] A Ivanovic (SRB) d V Lepchenko (USA) 76(2) 64

Doubles – Semifinals
[4] C Garcia (FRA) / K Srebotnik (SLO) d [1] S Hsieh (TPE) / S Mirza (IND) 46 76(1) 10-8
M Hingis (SUI) / S Lisicki (GER) d M Krajicek (NED) / K Pliskova (CZE) 76(3) 63

PAT RAFTER ARENA start 12:00 noon
ATP – J Murray (GBR) / J Peers (AUS) vs S Johnson (USA) / S Querrey (USA)

Not Before 1:00 pm
ATP – [3] M Raonic (CAN) vs [2] K Nishikori (JPN)

Not Before 3:00 pm
ATP – [1] R Federer (SUI) vs [4] G Dimitrov (BUL)

Not Before 7:00 pm
WTA – [1] M Sharapova (RUS) vs [2] A Ivanovic (SRB)
WTA – [4] C Garcia (FRA) / K Srebotnik (SLO) vs M Hingis (SUI) / S Lisicki (GER)

Shenzhen logo

$ 500,000
3-10 JAN, 2015

Singles – Semifinals
[1] S Halep (ROU) d S Zheng (CHN) 62 63
[8] T Bacsinszky (SUI) d [2] P Kvitova (CZE) 64 64

Doubles – Semifinals
C Liang (CHN) / Y Wang (CHN) d C Buyukakcay (TUR) / K Knapp (ITA) 63 62

CENTRE COURT start 1:00 pm
Singles Final – [1] S Halep (ROU) vs [8] T Bacsinszky (SUI)
Doubles Final – C Liang (CHN) / Y Wang (CHN) vs L Kichenok (UKR) / N Kichenok (UKR)



Djokovic is Stunned by Karlovic at Qatar Open

Ivo Karlovic

(January 8, 2015) Croat Ivo Karlovic earned his second win over a No. 1 player on Thursday when he rallied past Novak Djokovic 6-7(2), 7-6(6), 6-4 to reach the semis of the Qatar Open on Thursday.

Karlovic, who surpassed the 9000 ace mark earlier in the week, fired 21 aces past his Serbian opponent, along with 49 winners. His career ace count is now up to 9,062.

“It was unbelievable,” said Karlovic in an on-court interview. “When I arrived here, I didn’t expect that one. He wasn’t able to show his full range because it was windy. I just focused on my game and in the end I was a little luckier.”

Karlovic last defeated a No. 1 player back in 2008 when he stopped Roger Federer at the Western & Southern Open.

Karlovic will face off against David Ferrer in his semifinal.


ATP Announces Increase in Prize Money at Challengers


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


News Release


8 January 2015


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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