2014/08/21

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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Djokovic Beats Federer in Three Sets, Ferrer Stuns Nadal in Straight Sets to Reach Final of the BNP Paribas Masters

 

Roger Federer

Roger Federer

By Florian Heer

(November 2, 2013) PARIS – Super Saturday at the BNP Paribas Masters featured the top three players in the ATP World Tour Rankings. Three of the semi-finalists are former champions of Bercy and the other is a runner-up. It is the first time at the Palais Omnisports de Paris since 1989 that the top-three seeds are in the semis. Back then, the names were Boris Becker, Stefan Edberg and John McEnroe.

 

In the first singles match of the day fifth-seed Roger Federer, and the tournament’s No. 2 in person of Novak Djokovic, met for the 30th time. The Swiss was holding a 16-13 head to head advantage and it was their first meeting since last year’s encounter at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in London with the Serb winning in straight sets. Djokovic gained his first break point in the opening game of the match after only two minutes but couldn’t capitalize on it. Federer was backed by the majority of the spectators, dictated the encounter in the first frame and took the first set after 46 minutes in the tenth game. It was also the Swiss, who broke serve in the opening game of the second set but this time Djokovic was able to gain the re-break. The world number two found his groove, broke serve in the sixth game and took the second frame in the ninth game. From then on Djokovic was in command of the match. The Serb broke Federer’s serve twice the third and seventh game of the final set to finally close the match out winning 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 after two hours. After the encounter, Djokovic gave some tennis lessons to Zlatan Ibrahimovic, famous football player of local club Paris St. Germain, who attended the tennis match. “No pressure, there are only 15.000 people watching you,” Djokovic encouraged the Swede to participate. The key was just to hang in there and stay with Roger in the match,” said Djokovic about today’s semi-final. “I knew that he (Federer) was going to be very aggressive from the start coming to the net. He used his opportunities really well. He was very efficient at the net. Then I tried to decrease the number of unforced errors and step in when it’s needed. I did pretty well in the second and the third,” the Serb concluded.

 

David Ferrer

David Ferrer

In the second semi-final, world No. 1 Rafael Nadal brought a 20-4 head to head record against defending champion David Ferrer. However, today it was the man from Valencia dictating the match right from the beginning. Ferrer broke serve in the third game, hitting great groundstrokes with a good angle and eventually took the opening frame in the ninth game. Ferrer saved four break points in the second game of the second set and refused letting Nadal settle any sort of rhythm. The world number three won more points from the baseline, avoided Nadal’s forehand as much as possible and had the opportunity to serve for the match in the tenth game of the encounter. Nadal broke service but wasn’t able to hold his serve on his own and eventually Ferrer closed the match out in the twelfth game winning 6-3, 7-5 in 98 minutes. It was Ferrer’s first win over Nadal since the Australian Open in 2011 and probably his best performance of the season. Moreover, Ferrer has reached a positive record on hard court against the Spanish number one, leading 4-3. “I’m very happy. I’m in the final again in Paris Bercy,” said Ferrer. “It was a very good match for me. I played maybe my best match this season. I was very aggressive with my forehand and with my shots. Paris is very special for me. I made my first final of a Grand Slam in Roland Garros and last year I won my first Masters 1000 title. Now I’m in the final again in Paris,” the 31-year-old Spaniard said.

 

RESULTS – SATURDAY, 2 NOVEMBER, 2013

Singles – Semi-finals
[3] D Ferrer (ESP) d [1] R Nadal (ESP) 63 75
[2] N Djokovic (SRB) d [5] R Federer (SUI) 46 63 62

Doubles – Semi-finals

[1] B Bryan (USA) / M Bryan (USA) d [4] I Dodig (CRO) / M Melo (BRA) 64 75
[2] A Peya (AUT) / B Soares (BRA) d M Mirnyi (BLR) / H Tecau (ROU) 36 62 10-3

SCHEDULE – SUNDAY, 3 NOVEMBER, 2013

COURT CENTRAL start 12:15 pm
[1] B Bryan (USA) / M Bryan (USA) vs [2] A Peya (AUT) / B Soares (BRA)

Not Before 3:00 pm
[3] D Ferrer (ESP) vs [2] N Djokovic (SRB)

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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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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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