2014/08/23

Djokovic Wins Paris Masters, His 40th ATP World Tour Title

Djokovic winner

By Florian Heer

 

(November 3, 2013) PARIS – The last ATP Masters 1000 tournament of the season featured two of the top three players at the top of the rankings as world No. 2 Novak Djokovic met defending champion David Ferrer for the 16th time. Before Sunday’s final the Serb led 10-5 head-to-head and also won the last four meetings.

 

Sunday’s encounter became and exciting and highly entertaining one with long rallies, particularly at the beginning of the match. Ferrer gained his first break point after 18 minutes in the fifth game and capitalized on it through a beautiful drop shot after one of the week’s longest rallies – 36 shots. The Spaniard saved break points in the following and confirmed the lead. Djokovic was breathing heavily after six games already and it was the Serb, who paid the physical price for the tough rallies in the beginning of the match. From then on, however, Djokovic successfully tried to shorten the rallies. In a very efficient way, the 2009 Paris champion won four games in a row to take the opening frame after 53 minutes.

 

Ferrer grabbed the momentum back with a break in the opening game of the second set, which would become a copy of the first set. Again in the tenth game, the Spaniard couldn’t serve out  the set and Djokovic came back from 3-5 down to even at 5-5 in first place and eventually take the break in the twelfth game and therewith the match. After one hour and 52 minutes of a hard fight, Ferrer seemed to be tired and the “Djoker” took the encounter winning 7-5, 7-5. The Serb gained his sixth title of the season, the 40th in his career, and keeps his hopes alive for finishing No.1 by winning the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in London next week.  “It’s always a pleasure to play against David,” Djokovic told the crowd at the fully packed Palais Omnisports in Bercy in his best French. “Today I was really lucky in the crucial parts of the match. The crowd was really great this week, without the supporters this would not have been possible. I worked really hard to play well here and I’m so happy to gain the title,” the Serb said.

 

“I am definitely playing the best tennis this year now. I’m playing on a very high level and have lots of confidence in myself, in my game.

“I knew that coming into the match I’m going to have to work for my points. He’s a great competitor, one of the most respected guys on tour because he works hard and he’s very humble and he’s a very nice person.

“It was very physical, trust me. But in the last few games of both sets it was mental in the end, just trying to show your opponent that you’re there, that you want to attack, that you want to take your opportunities.

“From tomorrow I’m going to start thinking about London. From tonight, actually. Because on Tuesday night I play Federer already, a huge challenge for me.”

 

“I think it was a really good match, really good rallies,“ Ferrer said. „I played maybe better than yesterday, and I lost.

“I am happy with my game, because the last few tournaments I [played well] and I am happy with myself. Now I want to relax and be with my team, and tomorrow I travel to London for the last tournament of the season.”

 

In the morning the two top-seeded doubles teams consisting of Bob & Mike Bryan as well as Alexander Peya and Bruno Soares, met for the title. In the opening set it was Soares of the Austrian-Brazilian-combination, who lost his serve twice and in the second, it was Peya. Consequently the US-American twins captured their 11th title of the season winning 6-3, 6-3 in one hour.

 

“It was great week for us,“ Bob Bryan said. “We’re very happy with our performance against a team that has had a fantastic year and who is playing with a lot of confidence at the moment. Hopefully this bodes well for the last tournament of the season.

“This city has been good to us during our careers. We appreciate the support from the Parisian crowd and today’s atmosphere was fantastic for doubles. We’ll travel onto London tonight and we look forward to playing at The O2, another venue where the spotlight shines brightly on our sport.”

 

“An extraordinary tournament with all the best players at the top of the game led to a fantastic week,” the tournament director Guy Forget concluded.

 

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Ferrer Defeats Qualifier Janowicz for Paris Masters Title

(November 4, 2012) World No. 5 David Ferrer won his first Masters 1000 of his career by defeating qualifier Jerzy Janowicz 6-4, 6-3 on Sunday for BNP Paribas Masters crown. This was the Spaniard’s fourth masters final.

Poland’s Janowicz, ranked 69th in the world coming into the tournament knocked out five of the top 20 players in the world including No. 3 Andy Murray to advance to the final. His ranking will move up to No. 26 in the world.

Ferrer now leads the tour this year in titles won with seven. Ferrer heads to London to play the ATP World Tour Finals next.

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Why Slowed Down Courts are Hurting Tennis

Britain’s Andy Murray returns the ball to Andy Roddick of the U.S. during the Paris Masters tennis tournament, November 10, 2011. REUTERS/Jacky Naegelen (FRANCE – Tags: SPORT TENNIS)

 

By Tumaini Carayol

Over the last three months, we have watched as Andy Murray and Rafael Nadal have go on the warpath against the various tennis governing bodies. It all started at the US Open when Nadal, Murray and company were put on-court in New York while the conditions were still damp. Following that incident, the pair both threatened strike action as they listed off all the ATP, ITF and USTA’s policies they deemed detrimental to the tour and the players – from the length of the season to the amount of mandatory tournaments, and so on. Interestingly however, neither player mentioned perhaps tennis’ biggest issue in 2011 – surface homogenization and the slowing down of all playing surfaces in sight.

 

The slowing down of certain surfaces is hardly a new issue. For the past ten years, Wimbledon and other grass tournaments have all taken steps to reduce the speed of their courts. The ATP and WTA recognized the All England Club’s steps to slow down their treasured grass courts and followed suit, annexing the carpet surface to nothing but a memory of a distant past. None of the organizations have ever given a concrete reason for the dramatic change we have seen over the years and it has been left up to the masses to speculate – many believe it was to dilute the Federer and Williams dominance of the early-mid 2000s and/or in order to promote the defense-based baseline style of play that is all the rage in 2011.

 

This year in Paris, Bercy, the same has happened. In recent years Bercy has always been the anomaly in the ATP tour, with its super-fast indoor courts often producing surprise champions. But after last year saw Robin Soderling crowned as champion, the organizers made the deliberate decision to slow down the surface allegedly based on complaints from players that the courts were too fast. And not just a little bit either. In his pre-tournament news conference, second seeded Andy Murray described the courts as “very, very slow” with Fernando Verdasco later echoing those thoughts. Moreover, it’s also plain for spectators to see, with the ball bouncing high and moving painfully slowly through the Bercy courts.

 

Of course, many will automatically ask what the problem is. Since most of the players are said to have specifically asked for the courts to be slowed down, surely there’s nothing else to discuss, right? Wrong. Instead, the tour is becoming increasingly backwards as the ATP’s own decision to slow down the courts cripple their very sport.

 

First, there are issues from a purely entertainment and traditional point of view. What makes tennis so unique is the variety of surfaces and the way in which the surfaces compare and contrast against each other. It forces players to come up with different game-plans on different surfaces against different players and means that total domination is next to impossible due to the rigors and difficulty of adapting to each and every surface. Even Federer at his very best was routinely beaten by many a player on his least favorite surface. And it comes as no surprise that Novak Djokovic’s spectacular year – arguably one of the best and most consistent seasons in history – has come in 2011 as most major surfaces have become almost identical.

 

But it is far from just an aesthetic and cosmetic problem. Traditionally, clay is by far the most grueling and toughest surface on the body, and the faster surfaces have always provided a heavy contrast to the red dirt – allowing players to shorten points, attack and somewhat protect and preserve the body. The slowing down of the courts has taken this away, with most courts coming glorified clay court. It means that players are having to put their bodies under immense pressure day in and day out and it’s leading to increasingly more injuries. Again, it’s no surprise that after a long and grueling season, this US Open broke the record for most withdrawals and retirements in a single tournament.

 

Thus, that the players specifically demanded the court surface to be changed is where the biggest problem lies. While many are hailing Murray and Nadal’s decision to speak up against the ATP tour and calling for the players to bond together to have a bigger say in the goings-ons of their tour, the problem is that even those players don’t always make the decision that will best-benefit their bodies and their sport. With the grinding baseliner style of play dominating tennis in 2011, when given the choice – as they were here in Bercy – players will naturally pick the decision that will benefit their own games and tennis results over anything else. And backwards the tour goes.

Tumaini Carayol is in Paris/Bercy covering the BNP Parbas Masters  for Tennis Panorama News. He is a  contributing writer at On The Baseline, and writes about professional tennis at his site Foot Fault. Follow his BNP Paribas Masters coverage here and on our twitter account @TennisNewsTPN. Follow his personal twitter at @FootFault_.

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Bercy – “Roger is Coming!”

By Guillaume Willecoq and Marijo Marugan

The press room is about to crack. Seven cameras and more than twenty photographers are pointing in the direction of the player’s seat for the interviews. The professionals are setting up their microphones and notebooks to prepare for it. The door opens and lets in the man with the red cap with the famous sign “RF” on it, the man with 16 Grand Slams. The flashes start to crackling like a swarm of bees buzzing into your ears. Even if he’s no longer number 1, he still captures a large audience among the media with no doubt.

Q. (Reporter) We are talking a lot these days about the change in the POPB’s surface, what’s your opinion?

A. (Federer) I haven’t really had the opportunity to play on it, but it seems clearly faster. It’s good to see tournaments making the move for faster surfaces. It’s a change. Indoor is supposed to be quite fast. It’s a good thing for the younger players and for tennis.

Q. How do you feel to start this tournament?

A. Pretty well. I’m lacking of feeling on the surface, but I’m feeling well. I took a break after the US open, and another one before Bâle, so I’m in form.

Q. You never had your best results in Bercy. How do you explain this curious anomaly?

A. A lot of things can explain that: the quality of the opponent, some fatigue… (For the record he lost twice to the eventual winner Nalbandian in 2007 and Tim Henman in 2003, and had to withdraw in 2008, lost to the guy on fire Benneteau last year). But there is a question about the size of the center court which I haven’t clearly had time to accommodate to. It’s a bit like Roland Garros, the court is very large with a lot of space behind the lines. You feel that the court is very tiny and you are afraid to hit the ball hard. In Roland Garros, I chose to come earlier at the tournament to adjust to the conditions of play. For Bercy it’s a little harder since I’m playing in Basel the previous week, I’m always coming at the last minute. I simply need to play more matches on that court.

Q. You are taking on Richard Gasquet in the next round, he’s been through some up and down years. How do you look at him, since he beat you in Monte Carlo in 2005?

A. A lot of things change in five years. He must have played more than 200 matches, traveled a lot, been injured, like everyone else. He had some good results, and some bad ones. But the talent is the same. To be honest, I don’t know if he’s ranked 30th or 70th this week, and I don’t care. Richard is a very good player, and could deserve to be in the top10. As far as I’m concerned, it’s always a pleasure to play against him, he has such a good backhand.

Q. these last years, and more globally since the generation of Nadal and Gasquet, the younger players are struggling to come through in the rankings. What is your take on that?

A. Hum… comparing to the beginning of my career, the game has become more physical. It’s not only a question of talent or mental: to break through you need to be strong physically right from the start. For a younger player coming in, it’s a bit harder now.

Q. in France there is a lot of talking about Davis cup lately… can you talk about your debut in that competition?

A. I was lucky for not being thrown in it too fast… I spent a year as, how do you say: “coupeur de citrons? (*It’s a funny expression used in sports, usually football, meaning that he was the extra guy on the bench, he did not play any tie, he was observing and getting the experience of being part of the team !) (Laughing)… it was in 1998, I think. In 1999 I played against Italy. I beat Sanguinetti and it gave a boost to all the team : Marc Rosset and Mezzadri our captain then… It was a huge moment. But my hardest match was during the next tie. It was in Belgium, on clay. It was very hot; it was the first time I cramped during a tennis match. A hard match I lost in five sets against Van Garsse. Davis cup is special. When you play and individual game it’s not easy in the beginning to get under the control of a federation, coaches and other players. It’s difficult to adapt to, when you are a young player. Looking back then, I learn a lot from it.

The French tennis website 15-LoveTennis is covering the Paris Masters tournament as media for Global Village Tennis News. Follow their French language coverage on http://www.15-lovetennis.com/ and their English coverage here on GVTN.

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Bercy – Gilles Simon Looking Ahead

Transcription by Guillaume Willecoq and Marijo Marugan

Q. (Reporter) Gilles you went back to the habit of winning matches after the loss of the first setÂ….

A. (Simon) (Smile) Maybe! I was lucky to go through Golubev. I was afraid it would go all wrong. The surface has so much changed compared to what we knewÂ… there were a lot of doubts before the match. But I’m pretty pleased of my performance today.

Q. at 6/3 4/2 in his favor, you were still that happy?

A. I was hanging on. I don’t know to what, but I was hanging onÂ… (laughing). He was playing better than me, he wasn’t missing, he hit hard. In one of the breaks he takes, I served close to 200KM/h, he returns everything, and makes some winnersÂ… What could I do? He was playing really well. I was hanging on, hoping he would end missing somethingÂ… He hits really hard, but he’s not very consistent. In Hamburg, it all stayed in the court, and he did not lose a set during the tournament! But on the other hand, he doesn’t do that every week!

Q. Last year, you left Bercy with an injury.  Did you thought about it coming here?

A. Not in particular. I was disappointed last year because I was playing well, but that’s all.

Q. the final of the Davis Cup takes place in less than a month: do you feel the need to play matches during this period or do you feel ready?

A. I really need to rest, because I lost a little bit my ability to play several matches and tournaments in a row. But I’m going to have one week of rest after Bercy. Until then, I hope to go the furthest possible. I have to think about my ranking, so I won’t have to play some tough draws like this one! (laughing)

Q.  About your draw, you are playing Robin Soderling in the next round… What do you think about it?

A. Soderling, it’s a stronger version of Golubev. He likes to play on his terms, with big serves and a big forehand. The Issue of the match depends essentially on his state of form, we have to admit it.

The French tennis website 15-LoveTennis is covering the Paris Masters tournament as media for Global Village Tennis News. Follow their French language coverage on http://www.15-lovetennis.com/ and their English coverage here on GVTN.

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Bercy – First Rounds, First Words with Murray and Nalbandian



By Guillaume Willecoq and Marijo Marugan



On Monday, Andy Murray arrived fresh from winning his first title with his brother Jamie, asked if he was ready for Bercy, after winning the doubles title with his brother Jamie in Valencia, he said, “Physically I’m fine, my hand injury is fine! ” (laughing). He was reported to have injured his hand due to excessive playing with his PlayStation. “Mentally, I’m fresh as well. It was very special to win a title with Jamie. Ask the Bryans or the Williams sisters what it is to play together. It’s obviously a great moment”. Asked about his season, and the last remaining challenge of the Masters Cup in London, he said:”Well, I think I can say my season was a bit up and down. It’s a good year overall, even if I hoped for more. I wish I had been more consistent.”

At the end of the season, some players are still motivated to finish the year with a better ranking, so it’s no surprise that Jarkko Nieminen, Fabio Fognini, Benjamin Becker and Santiago Giraldo have managed to pass the first round in the main draw. Giraldo played a 2 hour 46 minute cracker against Tiemo de Bakker 7-6 4-6 7-5. Both are quite explosive and can mix up their games with some volleys here or drop shots there. But most of all they hit big and fast. Giraldo, reminds me of Juan Martin del Potro, he has the same kind of flat forehand, and double handed backhand, he moves with big steps around instead of small steps. Will he follow the Tower of Tandil steps? He’s improved a lot this year beating very good players on clay or hard courts like Juan Carlos Ferrero, Sam Querrey and Philipp Kohlschreiber, and he’s only 22 years old. He plays Jurgen Melzer next, nothing out of hand if he’s still fresh enough after his three matches.

The race for the Masters is over for Mikhail Youzhny. He had to quit against Ernest Gulbis today with a back injury. He played his second best season, cracking into the top ten again. Gulbis, after making some noise at the beginning of the season, winning his first title and beating Federer in Rome, pushing Nadal to lose a set on clay, has been injured and it hasn’t been very easy to come back to his best level. He will have a chance to show his best against Andy Roddick or Nieminen next, since his first two rivals in this tournament had to retire.

Where has Radek Stepanek been hiding? The Czech player made a final in Brisbane at the beginning of the year, and then nothing… apart his big wedding with Nicole Vaidisova this summer. It was a kind of long layoff, he made a good return in New Haven, and the indoor season has confirmed his return with some good results in Tokyo and Bâle last week. The courts in Bercy have always favored his game; he was finalist in 2004, semifinalist in 2005 and last year. An early loss could have cost him his spot in the Top 50 which guaranties the entry for all masters series. Could the Czech fly and sting his volleys again on a court? He did against Nico Almagro, taking out the Spaniard 7-6, 6-4.

David Nalbandian met with the media. He’s known for being an uneasy fellow to interview, check the last questions, typical answers from him. But he seemed to be in a good mood, according to one of the reporters.

Q. (Reporter) David the surface has been speeded up this year, what do you think about it?

A. (Nalbandian) Yes, it’s faster than it was, but its fine for me. I prefer when it’s faster rather than slower. I can adapt on it. But it’s going to be a different kind of tournament for some others (smile)…

Q. After your first round against Granollers (won 6-3 6-1), are you in good form?

A. it was a good first round, I was feeling well. I’m not in the best possible form, but I can play well anyway.

Q. Your next opponent is Andy Murray; you played a big match against him two years ago…

A. Two tight sets if I remember well, it was in the quarters I think… he beat me easily in Toronto this year… every match is different.

Q. Do you have a special tactic against him?

A. and you, what do you think?

Q. There is nothing particularly important in your tactic against him?

A. everything is important.

Q. Can you say more?

A. Murray…. Djokovic, Nadal, Federer are great players. If you do one bad thing, only one and it’s over.

The French tennis website 15-LoveTennis is covering the Paris Masters tournament as media for Global Village Tennis News. Follow their French language coverage on http://www.15-lovetennis.com/ and their English coverage here on GVTN.

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Qualies Weekend in Bercy

By Guillaume Willecoq and Marijo Marugan

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/archive/f/f9/20090622001032!BNP_Paribas_Masters_logo.png

Saturday

While the technicians were finishing setting up the main scene – sponsors’ posters, cable access, strengthening barricades – several players were already coming out to hit on the Central Court. They were laughing and teasing each other. Making fun of Nico Almagro for not yet having a smart phone. Mikhail Youznhy and Juan Ignacio Chela were hitting backhands, Philipp Kohlschreiber is there barely looking at them.

Almost 150 media outlets from all over the world are expected to come to Bercy and squeeze together in the media center for the week. Bercy suffers from lack of space, it’s the big issue. If the main court fits the standard amount of spectators, side courts do not. They improved many things over the years, and it’s no secret that the tournament would like to reduce the playing field.

The players in the qualifying draw are long time usual suspects: the Frenchman Marc Gicquel, the American Michael Russell, the Finn Jarkko Nieminen, the Russian Teimuraz Gabashvili, the Swiss Stephane Bohli (the long time prospect of Swiss tennis before Federer hit the big stage) or the Italian Fabio Fognini, none of them in his prime anymore. Gicquel beats the German Tobias Kamke easily in two sets, he’s in good form after winning his home tournament in Rennes, Fognini beats an unkonwn Spaniard who likes the indoor courts, Bautista-Agut recently semifinalist in Rennes Challenger as well. Fabio “the Italian lover” Fognini seemed to have disappeared this season after his epic match at Roland Garros against Gaël Monfils, but he managed to win three challengers on clay this summer, and he’s back here for the end of the season.

Finally, Benoit Paire: 21 years old, a promising French player. One can say the guy is a little mad and flashy, but in a good sense. He  is refreshing in his attitude; he may not be used to the big stage of the ATP World Tour yet. Last year he was bounced from the French national tennis center for his bad temper, he seemed to have learned the lesson to calm down a little if he wants to succeed and improve. One can sense the long time echoes of GoranIvanisevic in him. Nothing like that here. He really looked like the better player making Marchenko look more ordinary, but the man from Ukraine was simply more solid and took him out in three sets. But during those three sets, you could admire his quality of play, he hits very clean shots, especially on his backhand, he loves to play with the ball going for drop shots, lobs, touch volleys. If he hits a nice shot, he goes for same stroke on the next shot. You can’t fool anyone twice and he usually loses the point. You can see he really enjoys himself on a court, he runs after the services wide, he kicks the ball like a soccer ball between points. He needs to mature, but he’s talented enough to get in the top 50 next year.


Sunday

End of the road for Clement Reix, but it was nice while it last. It’s the Cinderella story of Bercy. Three months ago he was ranked 783rd in the world, next week he’ll be in the top 300. How did he get there? The 27th year old, won three futures tournaments in France during the summer, he beat many players ranked above him during his run. He was granted a wild card to play the qualifying in Bercy. He beat his first top 100 Marsel Ilhan, he was very happy with that win. But how do you get to play your first Masters Series tournament at 27, which is almost too old to crack up into the top 100? From the city of Amiens, like Julie Coin, he went to the United States. He had a scholarship at Clemson University and played for the Tigers, in his best year he was ranked 6th in NCAA Division I play.

He came back home with a degree in 2007, but wasn’t ranked at all. He decided nonetheless to take his chances on the pro tour. He won his first Futures tournament in 2008, and made significant progress this past summer. He played with zero pressure against Josselin Ouanna, going for his shots, he went very close to take the second when he had three set points but Ouanna came back serving big, got the momentum and run away with the last set. Maybe we will see more of him next year, he hopes that too.

The first main draw play day ends with the last players to qualify: Benjamin Becker, Jarkko Nieminen, Fabio Fognini, Santiago Giraldo, Illya Marchenko and Josselin Ouanna. Michael Rusell is the lucky loser of the day, with Janko Tipsarevic withdrawal due to hip injury. The day went quietly with only two matches from the main draw. The first day is only open to the BNP Paribas guests, it’s a smooth way to start up a tournament on a Sunday, and it’s the only one of the nine Master Series events that does this.

The journalists of the French tennis website 15-LoveTennis are covering the Paris Masters tournament as media for Global Village Tennis News. Follow their French language coverage on http://www.15-lovetennis.com/ and their English coverage here on GVTN.

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A Peek Inside the Draw Ceremony at the Paris/Bercy Masters

By Guillaume Willecoq


L-R FFT President Jean Gachassi, Michael Llodra, Tomas Berdych. Photo by
Guillaume Willecoq for 15-lovetennis and GVTNews


Rendezvous at 6:30 p.m. in the headquarters of the French Newspaper “L’Equipe.” The draw ceremony was set with Tomas Berdych and Michael Llodra as former winners of the tournament (Llodra won with Arnaud Clement in doubles in 2006, and Berdych in 2005), the president of the French Tennis Federation Jean Gachassin, the tournament director Jean François Caujolle, and the ATP officials. Everyone looked relaxed, and the president made fun of himself about his height standing next to 6’3′ and 6’5′ tennis players. Llodra was joking about the fact that he may have to pick his own number to be placed in the draw. It became even funnier when only three numbers where left in the end, and finally Berdych picked him and gave him a good comrade look: “OK, I did not do too bad?” Llodra is due to meet Potito Starace in his first round match.

But, the “bomb” that was coming next was totally unexpected – when the first two seeds where announced, Rafael Nadal wasn’t among them. Everyone was muttering about why he was missing, since no one knew about his withdrawal. The Tournament Director did not mention the fact during the draw ceremony. He was interviewed after the draw was done and explained how he received a phone call from the Nadal camp to announce his withdrawal due to illness. Nadal is expected to make an  official announcement in the coming days. He’ll be coming to Paris to see the official doctor of the tournament to validate his withdrawal. In other words, he won’t get blamed officially for not participating in the last Master Series tournament of the year.

Many journalists, some officials from the main sponsor BNP Paribas and the French Tennis Federation attended the ceremony. Jean Gachassin was also interviewed in regard to various Davis Cup Final issues: with Tsonga out of the picture, the captain Forget has still to make picks to make his team competitive.

The tournament director explained that the surface was slightly “speeded up” compared to previous years. He sees Federer, Murray and Djokovic as favorites for the title in Paris.

Find the draws here:
Singles
Doubles
Singles Qualifying


The journalists of the French tennis website 15-LoveTennis are covering the Paris Masters tournament as media for Global Village Tennis News. Follow their French language coverage on http://www.15-lovetennis.com/ and their English coverage here on GVTN.

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