May 27, 2017

Lucky Loser Borna Coric Beats No. 1 Andy Murray at Madrid Open

Lucky Loser Borna Coric Beats No. 1 Andy Murray at Madrid Open

 

Andy Murray

(May 11, 2017) No. 1 Andy Murray lost to lucky loser Borna Coric of Croatia in the third round of the Madrid Open on Thursday 6-3, 6-3. Coric became the first person to reach the quarterfinals as a lucky loser in Madrid. Coric reached the main draw after losing in the qualifying tournament when Richard Gasquet withdrew.

“After one match of the qualies where I lost and I was booking my flight back to home, it is surprise for sure,” Coric said of the win.

“But in last two matches, I’ve been feeling pretty good, like I was feeling good like back in Marrakesh.

“I was expecting to play good, but I was not sure how it was going to end. But I was playing really good today.”

Borna Coric

“It’s a huge win, for sure,” the No. 59 ranked Coric continued. “It’s going to mean to me a lot. Also regarding my confidence, which is very important in tennis, obviously, and especially when you are a player like me. So the confidence does play I would say a very big role in my tennis.

“Also it’s going to help me in my ranking. It’s always easier when you’re a little bit higher in the ranking. I don’t know where this is going to put me exactly, but for sure I’m going to be a little bit higher. I can play now a little bit more, let’s say, free. I don’t need to defend many points. I can only earn points.”

 

As for Murray, he has failed to make it past the semifinals of the three clay court events in which he has participated this year.

“Well, most things weren’t working particularly well,” Murray said. “Yeah, wasn’t great. I mean, I started the match okay, but when I started to go behind, I didn’t find any way to improve my game or to make it more difficult for him. I just kind of let the same things keep happening, making mistakes very early in a lot of the rallies. I wasn’t building any points really.

“You know, I didn’t help myself sort of find a way into the match to start playing better. That was disappointing because, you know, you’re not always going to play your best tennis, but you can still find ways to make it difficult for your opponent, and I didn’t do that at all today.”

“It actually felt quite similar to the match I played against him in Dubai. You know, he serves well. He moves extremely well. You know, he never gives matches away. He makes a lot of shots. He’s very consistent.

“You know, if you’re not on your game, and he’s moving well, making a lot of balls, he can make it very, very tough for you.”

Coric will play his quarterfinal against Dominic Thiem of Austria, who  saved five match points to beat Grigor Dimitrov 4-6, 6-4, 7-6 (9).

Novak Djokovic

 

Defending Novak Djokovic champion beat Feliciano Lopez 6-4, 7-5 to reach the final eight.

“Level was definitely very high today I thought from both players,” said the Serb. “I think Feliciano played really well, especially in the second set. I wasn’t winning too many points on his service games until the last one where I managed to return many balls back in play and then win the match.

“One break was enough, 5-4, 6-5, both sets. But, as I said, it was quite a solid performance from both players, high quality. I was enjoying very much.

“Of course, in the end, you know, 5-All, Love-30, a couple of really long points. I was in trouble, and I managed to get my way out of it, as I said, with some great gets. That pumped me up obviously.

“You know, you’re trying to hold your composure and always find the right balance between pumped up and having great intensity on the court, but at the same time having calm and concentration.”
Djokovic will take on Kei Nishikori next. The 2014 U.S. Open finalist defeated David Ferrer 6-4, 6-3. Nishikori is playing his first tournament since March, he’s been nursing a right wrist injury.

Rafael Nadal

In the night match, Rafael Nadal gave Nick Kyrgios a lesson in clay court play when he demolished the Australian 6-3, 6-1 for his tour leading 31st win of the year.

“I think I played really well tonight,” said the four-time Madrid winner. “Since the beginning of the match, I committed just a few errors. I think I returned the ball very well, even better than normally.

“I think I served very well, committed very few errors. I think I made a step forward compared to yesterday. Of course, to be able to win 6-3, 6-1, whatever the second was, I can’t remember, I think it’s great news. I think it’s not normal to win against an opponent like this because Nick is a really good opponent.”

Nadal will play ninth-seeded David Goffin who won 6-4, 6-2 over fifth-seeded Milos Raonic.

In women’s play Simona Halep, the highest seed left in the women’s draw dismissed Coco Vandeweghe 6-1, 6-1 to reach the semifinals.

“I was a little bit nervous, to be honest, before the match, because she has a big serve,” Halep said.

The Romanian will face Anastasija Sevastova next.

Kristina Mladenovic will play Svetlana Kuznetsova in the other semifinal.

Two-time major winner Kuznetsova stopped Eugenie Bouchard’s run 6-4, 6-0.

RESULTS – THURSDAY, 11 MAY 2017

ATP

Singles – Third Round
[LL] B. Coric (CRO) d [1] A. Murray (GBR) 63 63
[2] N. Djokovic (SRB) d F. Lopez (ESP) 64 75
[4] R. Nadal (ESP) d [16] N. Kyrgios (AUS) 63 61
[9] D. Goffin (BEL) d [5] M. Raonic (CAN) 64 62
[6] K. Nishikori (JPN) d D. Ferrer (ESP) 64 63
[8] D. Thiem (AUT) d [12] G. Dimitrov (BUL) 46 64 76(9) – saved 5 M.P.
A. Zverev (GER) d [11] T. Berdych (CZE) 64 64
P. Cuevas (URU) d B. Paire (FRA) 75 06 61

Doubles – Second Round
[7] I. Dodig (CRO) / M. Granollers (ESP) d F. Fognini (ITA) / T. Huey (PHI) 67(4) 75 10-6
[8] F. Lopez (ESP) / M. Lopez (ESP) d [PR] T. Haas (GER) / M. Mirnyi (BLR) 63 64

WTA

Singles – Quarterfinals
[3] S. Halep (ROU) d C. Vandeweghe (USA) 61 61
[8] S. Kuznetsova (RUS) d E. Bouchard (CAN) 64 60
[14] K. Mladenovic (FRA) d [WC] S. Cirstea (ROU) 64 64
A. Sevastova (LAT) d K. Bertens (NED) 63 63

Doubles – Quarterfinals
[3] Y. Chan (TPE) / M. Hingis (SUI) d A. Groenefeld (GER) / K. Peschke (CZE) 46 63 10-8
I. Begu (ROU) / S. Halep (ROU) d [4] S. Mirza (IND) / Y. Shvedova (KAZ) 63 36 10-6
[5] T. Babos (HUN) / A. Hlavackova (CZE) d K. Bertens (NED) / J. Larsson (SWE) 62 64
[WC] A. Parra Santonja (ESP) / S. Soler-Espinosa (ESP) d [6] L. Hradecka (CZE) / K. Siniakova (CZE) 62 63

SCHEDULE – FRIDAY, 12 MAY 2017

MANOLO SANTANA start 12:00 pm
ATP – [6] K. Nishikori (JPN) vs [2] N. Djokovic (SRB)
Not Before 2:00 pm
WTA – [3] S. Halep (ROU) vs A. Sevastova (LAT)
Not Before 4:00 pm
ATP – [9] D. Goffin (BEL) vs [4] R. Nadal (ESP)
Not Before 8:00 pm
WTA – [8] S. Kuznetsova (RUS) vs [14] K. Mladenovic (FRA)
Not Before 9:30 pm
ATP – [LL] B. Coric (CRO) vs [8] D. Thiem (AUT)

ARANTXA SANCHEZ VICARIO start 12:00 pm
ATP – [7] I. Dodig (CRO) / M. Granollers (ESP) vs [4] L. Kubot (POL) / M. Melo (BRA)
Not Before 2:30 pm
ATP – P. Cuevas (URU) vs A. Zverev (GER)
ATP – [3] J. Murray (GBR) / B. Soares (BRA) vs [6] N. Mahut (FRA) / E. Roger-Vasselin (FRA)
ATP – [1] H. Kontinen (FIN) / J. Peers (AUS) vs [8] F. Lopez (ESP) / M. Lopez (ESP)
ATP – N. Kyrgios (AUS) / J. Sock (USA) vs [2] B. Bryan (USA) / M. Bryan (USA)

ESTADIO 3 start 2:00 pm
WTA – [3] Y. Chan (TPE) / M. Hingis (SUI) vs [WC] A. Parra Santonja (ESP) / S. Soler-Espinosa (ESP)
WTA – TBA after rest – [5] T. Babos (HUN) / A. Hlavackova (CZE) vs I. Begu (ROU) / S. Halep (ROU)

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Schiavone, Coric, Vondrousova and Johnson win Tennis Titles This Week

Borna Coric

(April 16, 2017) Francesca Schiavone, Borna Coric, Marketa Vondrousova and Steve Johnson claimed titles on the tennis tour this week.

Francesca Schiavone

In her final season on tour, 2010 French Open champion Francesca Schiavone won her eighth career title with a 6-4, 7-5 win over fourth seed Lara Arruabarrena at the Claro Open Colsanitas on Saturday.

The 36-year-old Italian veteran had not won a main tour match all season.

Winning on Bogota ups this former world No. 4 to 168th in the world as she tries to gain direct entry into the French Open.

“I’m not thinking about retirement,” she said. “I’m enjoying tennis.”

 

Borna Coric

Croatia’s Borna Coric saved five match points to win his first ATP World Tour title on Sunday beating German Philipp Kohlschreiber 5-7, 7-6 (3), 7-5 in the Grand Prix Hassan II final. Last year’s finalist became this year’s winner in 2 hours, 38 minutes – the longest final this year according to the ATP.
The 20-year-old Coric is the third first-time winner on the ATP World Tour this year, joining Gilles Muller who won Sydney and Ryan Harrison who claimed the Memphis title.

“I would say that’s my biggest comeback, I’ve never saved five match points,” noted Coric. “Especially in such an important match, I served very well in the big points. It’s an awesome feeling. I didn’t know what to expect when I came here and I wasn’t in the best shape. But I’ve been working very hard the past three or four months and now it’s paying off.”

“It’s one of those days where you have many good opportunities,” explained Kohlschreiber. “It was a big fight and great drama in the end. Losing a match with match points and to be so close to the title is always very difficult. But it was a very good week for me. I played great tennis this week and I’m looking forward to more clay-court matches.”

Steve Johnson survived late cramps to win the U.S. Men’s Clay Court Championship, besting Brazil’s Thomaz Bellucci 6-4, 4-6, 7-6 (5) on Sunday at River Oaks Country Club. For the 27-year-old Johnson, this is his second ATP Tour title, he won Nottingham last year.

“A lot goes into cramping. For me today, it was the nerves of trying to close out the title. I haven’t been there enough to feel very comfortable.”

“To win on U.S. soil and win when you’re not feeling great is a testament to my willpower and competitiveness,” Johnson said.”
“My body has just physically run out of gas after this week… I was very fortunate to get out of that.”

“He was playing unbelievably… I’m a little bit sad because I think I could have won, but I’m happy to make another final, Bellucci said”

Johnson beat two former champions on the way to the title, Fernando Verdasco (2014) in the quarterfinals and American Davis Cup teammate Jack Sock (2015) in the semifinals, to reach his third career final.

“Both players were very tired in the third set and we were missing more shots than before,” Bellucci said. “I’m happy for my week but today I am disappointed. I (thought) I could win because I was a little better than him physically. He deserved it more than me.”

Seventeen-year-old Marketa Vondrousova won her first WTA Tour title on Sunday, surprising Anett Kontaveit of Estonia 6-4, 7-6 (6) in the Biel Ladies Open final.

Rankled at 233rd in the world, the Czech captured the first edition of the Swiss indoor hard-court tournament.
The southpaw will be part of the Czech Fed Cup team next weekend as they take on the United States in Tampa, Florida.

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Borna Coric Beats Jack Sock to Complete Croatia Comeback from 0-2 to Send Team to Davis Cup Semis

Borna Coric

Borna Coric

(July 17, 2016) BEAVERTON, Oregon – Croatia came back from an 0-2 deficit for the first time to beat the United States 3-2 to reach the Davis Cup semifinals on Sunday at the Tualatin Hills Tennis Center.

Nineteen-year-old Borna Coric  ranked No. 54 in the world, beat No. 26 Jack Sock in a fifth and deciding rubber 6-4, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 to seal the victory.

Croatia will host France in the semifinals September 16-18.

The United States came into day three of their Davis Cup quarterfinal tie against Croatia leading 2-1. Friday saw the U.S. get two singles wins and on Saturday the Bryan brothers lost for only their fifth time in Davis Cup play on Saturday.

Borna Coric served with confidence in the first set, Sock barely winning any points against his opponent’s serve. The Croatian went up a break but was challenged in the tenth game, having to save a break point before closing out the set 6-4.

The Croatian teen won 86 percent of first serve points and 100 percent of second serve points with three aces in the opening set.

In the second set Sock seemed to gain some momentum breaking Coric for a 4-2 lead. In the critical seventh game which lasted over 11 minutes, Sock saved five break points to hold for 5-2. He won the set 6-3.

Coric went up 3-0 to start the third set, Sock getting back on serve at 2-3 only to lose serve again to fall to 4-2. Coric held on to take a two sets to one lead by taking the third set 6-3.

Coric kept up his confidence breaking serve n the opening game of the fourth set. Sock went on a three game run. to reach 3-2. Coric made the crucial break in the ninth game and served out the match to win 6-4, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4.

Jack Sock on Borna Coric: “I mean, he played a pretty solid match I thought overall. Obviously I had chances and opportunities that I didn’t really convert.

“I mean, that’s tennis. Some days it’s firing and feels great; some days they’re missing a little bit. Credit to him. He played a great match. First point to last played solid and deserved it today.”

Coric lost the second singles rubber to John Isner in straight sets on Friday and he was in a much better mood on Sunday.

“It’s completely different mood, honestly,” Coric said. “I have to be thankful for the Marin and also to the Ivan. They played unbelievable match in doubles. No one was expecting that really.

“Also Marin today winning in straight sets. He was playing for the three days. He played nine sets in two days, which is really not easy.

“To play like that today was unbelievable, and the effort from him. I was feeling good coming in the match. I was practicing a lot on the Saturday, doing some work on some things which I was not happy, you know.

“Today I was playing very good.”

What was the key to his better play on Sunday? “I think I was much more relaxed.” said Coric.  “You know, I was hitting the ball. I was going for the points. I just wasn’t waiting for him to miss, because I knew I cannot play like that because he’s going to kill me with the forehand.

“You know, that was my tactic basically, you know, just to maybe try to stay as close as I can on the line and make good tempo, which I was doing very well.”

Coric has now won ties for Croatia in back to back fifth set rubbers.

“It’s not easy to play in a fifth match obviously,” he said. “You know, I have to be honest, I like that kind of situation. I like it more than playing on the Court 27 somewhere, you know, somewhere far away from the crowd, the people.

“I just like big stage more, when it’s more important. When I have more pressure, you know, when the expectations are big, I like those occasions. I think that’s what we’re training for. That’s what I like. That’s what I enjoy.

“Obviously that’s when I play best. At least for now. I hope it’s going to stay like that.”
Earlier in the day, Cilic, who coming into Sunday had a 5-0 record against the American, would deny the U.S. from closing the tie in the reverse singles. Cilic extended his perfect record over Isner to 6-0 with a 7-6(9), 6-3, 6-4 victory forcing a fifth and deciding rubber later on Sunday.

Isner gave all credit to his opponent.

“I felt like he played pretty well, to be honest,” Isner said to media. “The first set was critical. Felt like I definitely was the better player in the first set.

“Didn’t get paid off, but that’s on me. He came up with the goods when he needed it. That gave him a lot of confidence I think. He got his legs underneath him even more after the first set as well.

“I knew it was going to be a tough task. He was going to be feeling pretty confident because he played very well yesterday in the doubles. I felt like he carried that over today in the singles.”

“I felt from the beginning of the match that John (Isner) start(ed) extremely well, Cilic said in his post-match news conference. “He was not missing much; he was very aggressive; making a lot of returns back.

“He was covering most of the court. I was, in my service games, in trouble for a lot of times in that first set. I felt that I had to be every point very focused, very aggressive as much as I can to stay in there, not to have any loose points.

“I was just hoping that I’m going to get to the tiebreak to give myself a chance there to try to do something.

“During the first set I didn’t have any opportunities on his serve, and I felt that he played probably the best set in all of our encounters from the past. That was definitely a tough task, but I stayed in there mentally. I was very, very focused.”

For Cilic this was his third straight day playing, losing his opening singles on Friday to Jack Sock, after leading 2 sets to none, pairing with Dodig to win the doubles on Saturday and winning in reverse singles on Sunday.

Asked if his doubles victory gave him some confidence for Sunday’s singles, Cilic replied: “I just took some positives out of that match. I was very emotionally involved yesterday. I was very motivated. When you are losing that kind of match like I did on Friday, things can go negatively and you can go down.

“I tried to just lift myself up with the team. I was very much emotionally focused to be positive throughout yesterday’s match, and also today I felt it helped me to lift my game in critical situations.

“Especially when you play three days in a row you can get a little bit tired also towards the end and you can miss some balls that you are not regularly missing.

“So I was trying to be very focused with those emotions to stay in there throughout all the match.”

“It’s really unbelievable,” said Croatia’s Captain Zeljko Krajan of the comeback. “We are still, I mean, I would say shocked from this win. Looking back on Friday and being 2-Love down and then playing against Bryans yesterday, didn’t look very positive for us.

“I have to say honestly after yesterday’s win I was believing we have a good chance today, because I knew that Marin and Borna are for sure going to raise their level from Friday. Friday was much tougher.

“We been here just four days, and it’s tough to have four days to prepare for these conditions and time difference and everything.

“Today I knew they going to bring the quality on the court and it would be very tough for your team to win.”

This win for Croatia marked only the fourth time that the United States lost with a 2-0 lead. They are now 157-4.

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Jack Sock Rallies From Two Sets Down to Beat Marin Cilic; John Isner Also Wins, Gives USA 2-0 Lead in Davis Cup Quarterfinal

Jack Sock

Jack Sock

(July 15, 2016) BEAVERTON, Oregon – The United States is off to a 2-0 lead against Croatia in quarterfinal action in Davis Cup play on Friday at  the Tualatin Hills Tennis Center in Beaverton, Oregon.

In the first rubber of the United States versus Croatia Davis Cup quarterfinal, 2014 US Open champion and No. 12 Marin Cilic took on No. 26 Jack Sock.

Sock rallied from two sets down to beat Cilic  4-6, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 to give the USA a 1-0 lead.

The first set saw little difference between both competitors, but Cilic sealed the break in the tenth game to claim the set 6-4.

The second set saw Cilic took advantage of three break point opportunities to take the set 6-3. Sock contributed 16 errors to his opponent’s cause in the set. Cilic had a medical time out after the seventh game of the set.

Sock drastically reduced his unforced error count in the third set, making only four while upping his first serve percentage making 16/17 to win the third set 6-3.

In the fourth set both men stayed even until the the ninth game, when the 23-year-old American broke serve at 30. Sock served out the set to even the match at 2-sets all.

Cilic broke Sock with a drop volley winner in the American’s first service game of the fifth set and consolidated for a 3-0 lead to start out the fifth set. Sock bounced back with a break in the fifth game to get to 2-3.

“Well, I wasn’t very happy down 3-0,” Sock said. Once again, just stayed the course. Having such an experienced player in Jim Courier on the bench with
you, you can’t ask for much more. He just kept me level headed and kept telling me to do the right things,which I had been doing for a few sets to get back.”
In the seventh game, Sock failed to take advantage of three break points and Cilic held off the inspired American to hold for 4-3.

Sock broke through in in the eighth game, setting up a break point on a drop volley winner for break point. Cilic hit a backhand volley wide to give team USA the break and a 5-4 lead.

As the old Ringo Star song goes “It Don’t Come Easy.” Sock had to fend off two break points in the tenth game to seal the three-hour and 13 minute match win. Final score 4-6, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4, 6-4.

What made the difference in the match for Sock?

Sock said: “I mean, I had a ton of chances in the second. I didn’t get blown off the for two sets. I was up a break twice in the second. Struggled on my serve a little bit.

“But just maybe made a few smarter decisions on the serve. Made a lot more first serves to kind of put it in
the spots where I could get forehands, start the rally.

“Returning the whole time I felt like I could get in a lot of his games. The court is slow enough I could get back
on the serve and make it neutral.

“Just stayed the course really and was lucky enough to get the win.”

For Sock this was his first match on home soil in his Davis Cup career, he talked about this win being one of his career accomplishments.

“Haven’t played a ton of five-setters in my career. Haven’t come back from two sets to love down. To do that today, in front of
the home crowd for the team, it almost feels extra special today. Maybe if I had done it in another tournament – obviously playing individually there – to do it today for the team in this, the first match to get us off to a good start, feels unreal.”

“I was just a little bit unfortunate in the beginning of the third to lose my serve at the beginning, and then Jack started to serve really well from the beginning of the third,” Cilic said.

“Obviously I think he served much, much better in the fourth and fifth set. He was not giving me too many
chances on the return games. I had a break in the fifth that’s a little bit unfortunate to lose it. I was 3-1 up, 15-Love, and easy forehand in the middle of the court.

“Yeah, a little bit disappointed with that, just to lose that opportunity of getting that lead in the fifth set to make
that extra step to closing the match.

“You know, when I gave him a chance to come back I felt that he started to play also really well. He was very aggressive. Obviously last game I had 15-40 also to come back. You know, just one point where I went for a shot, missed a little bit.

“Overall, I think he played pretty good tennis in the last three sets. It’s not that I played so bad. I felt that
maybe I could have served better today. I was not serving as good as I can. Just from the game, obviously he’s very dangerous.
He can play very, very fast tennis. He’s got big forehand, so that was I think working well for him today.”

Tennis Panorama asked U.S. Davis Cup Jim Courier about he said to Sock after he went down two sets.

“Well, the second set Jack was up a break twice and was having trouble holding serve,” Courier said.

“Both of them were for that matter.

“But I felt like Jack was in a good position once the rallies got started. He just needed to execute.
“I though he was actually playing pretty well from a tactical standpoint in the second set. He just needed to lift his level a little bit and stay in there mentally and just be there.

“We also recognize that Marin had a tough loss in Wimbledon. He had chances to take out Roger Federer. Sometimes players coming off matches where they had match point and didn’t close a player out can be a little susceptible, too.

“So I was using that as a little bit of a carrot to keep Jack in there, too. Jack stayed in there point for point and fought hard and made it physical. He did a lot of great things out there today that will hopefully carry him to new places in his career.

“First time he’s come from two sets down. I think he learned a lot about himself out there. He deserves all the credit for it. He would’ve stayed in there I am pretty sure. He started to make that transition in the last month and a half or so mentally to sticking in there a little bit better.

“Today was just a manifestation of the work he’s been doing with Troy Hahn, his coach. Today it paid off for the team; certainly paid off big for him, too.”

On a day which saw top players Simona Halep and Milos Raonic withdraw from the Olympics due to concerns about the Zika Virus, both Cilic and Sock are looking forward to participating in the Olympic Games in Rio.

“Yeah, it’s really exciting” Sock commented. As a kid you grow up watching a lot of the Olympics – not only tennis, but a lot of the sports. Kind of a bucket list for every athlete I feel like to be able to represent your country on the biggest stage possible”

“I am very excited to get down there and rep the U.S., ” Sock an excited Sock. “Hopefully I can play some good tennis and wear the
colors proud. Definitely beyond happy.”

As for Cilic, “I’m going to play. A lot of guys have concerns about that (Zika virus), but I hope it’s going to be fine.”

Coric also commented on the Olympics: “As far as I’m concerned I’m going to play. I don’t have problems with Zika. Yeah, it’s going to be great experience for me. Going to be my first Olympics. I’m really looking forward to it.

“Obviously it’s very big thing. I’m only 19 and I’m going to be already there. Not many people can say that. So I’m just very proud of that. Obviously I’m just looking forward to it”

John Isner

John Isner

In the second rubber Borna Coric had no answers to John Isner’s serve, as the American nailed 23 aces in a 6-4, 6-4, 6-3 win over the teenage Croatianin a minute less than two hours.

The last of Isner’s aces came on match point.

Isner said that Sock’s comeback win helped his own momentum in his match.

“Oh, it helps a lot, he said. “I’m just sitting right here and he’s down two sets to love and things aren’t looking too good. He won the third set. I saw that he had a lot of positive energy on his side.

“Then he wins that fourth set, and I’m getting really animated in the locker room in the fifth set. He was able to pull it out playing incredible tennis.

“For me, it helps a lot. I feel like it takes a bit of pressure off me as well, knowing that regardless of what I do out there on the court, we’re not going to be losing. At worst, we’ll be 1-1.

“I was in a good spot going out there today thanks to Jack.”

Coric was pretty downcast after his loss to Isner.

“I lost, he said. “That’s what happened. I didn’t use my chances in the first two sets obviously. I had many chances to break him, and then on 5-4 in both sets I played really poor game. It was basically not much to say honestly.”

The USA is 0-3 against Croatia in Davis cup play, vying for a place in the semifinal round of Davis Cup.

The U.S. is 157-3 all-time when leading 2-0 after the first day of play and 40-1 when leading 2-0 since the World Group format began in 1981.

The doubles rubber will take place on Saturday with Bob and Mike Bryan of the USA going up against Croatia’s Ivan Dodig and Marin Draganja.

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Jack Sock Leads Off First Davis Cup Home Tie Against Marin Cilic

Jack Sock

(July 14, 2016) PORTLAND, Oregon – The draw for the USA versus Croatia quarterfinal Davis Cup tie took place in Pioneer Courthouse Square in downtown Portland on Thursday.

Jack Sock will lead off play Saturday against 2014 U.S. Open winner Marin Cilic. Cilic comes off a five-set loss in the quarterfinals of Wimbledon to Roger Federer, when the Croatian was leading two sets to none.

For the 23-year-old American Sock, ranked 26th in the world, this will his first Davis Cup tie played in the United States. This is the first time the U.S. has played at home since 2014.

Asked if he felt any added pressure, he said: “I mean, not necessarily any pressure.
“I’m more excited, honestly, to be playing on home soil. I love being a part of the team with these guys. They have a lot more experience than me out here.

“Yeah, I mean, maybe when I go out there, it will be a different feeling than when I played in Uzbekistan and Australia. But more excited than anything to be able to play in front of some home fans, some family and friends. Obviously playing in front of my country and these guys as well.

“Definitely more excited than nervous.”

The second match on Friday pits, No. 1 American John Isner, ranked 16th in the world, against No. 2 and No. 54 in the world, Croatian Borna Coric. They are playing each other for the first time.

The doubles rubber on Saturday will feature Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan of the United States against Ivan Dodigand Marin Draganja of Croatia.

Reverse singles will be played on Sunday with the No. 1’s battling in the first match, followed by the fifth rubber face-off between the No. 2’s.

Croatia comes into the tie having never lost to the United States with a 3-0 record. The U.S. last lost to Croatia in the 2009 World Group Quarterfinal in Porec, Croatia, in which Croatia won 3-2 with Cilic and Ivo Karlovic leading the team. The U.S. also played Croatia in the 2005 World Group First Round in Los Angeles and in the 2003 World Group First Round in Zagreb, Croatia.

The winner of the tie faces the winner of France-Czech Republic in the World Group semifinals.

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Davis Cup Notes and Quotes: USA vs Croatia, Pre-Draw News Conferences

(July 12, 2016) The United States plays host to Croatia in Beaverton, Oregon at the Tualatin Hills Tennis Center, July 15-17, on an outdoor hard court in the quarterfinal round of the World Group in Davis Cup. Tuesday saw both teams have pre-draw news conferences.

 

U.S. Captain Jim Courier, John Isner, Jack Sock, Mike Bryan and Bob Bryan took questions from the media about the Davis Cup tie. Here are a few of the highlights from the news conference:

 

On the short turnaround from Wimbledon:

JACK SOCK: Yeah, I mean, obviously we were all in

London for a while, even playing warmup tournaments,

some of the guys.

 

We were all excited to get back in the States for sure.

Our favorite time of the year is to play in front of the

home crowd here in the States.

 

Especially for me, it’s my first home tie. I played two

ties kind of far away. For me, it will be nice to play in

front of a home crowd and be on a team with all these

guys. I think we’re all looking forward to it.

 

Asked if the team could change the trend of not having a Top 10 player and still winning the Cup.

CAPTAIN COURIER: Well, I think Davis Cup is also

pretty unique in that the home-field advantage can play

a big role. We’ve played a lot of tough teams, some

home, but a lot on the road as well.

 

For us to have a chance now to play here against a

tough team in Croatia, and should we get through this

weekend, which we obviously are here to do, and hope

to, we’d have a home match against France or the

Czechs.

 

You pay your dues in Davis Cup. You go on the road

and try and get your wins, but you also earn the

chance to play at home by playing those matches, too.

Draws matter. Team chemistry and makeup matters.

We have four guys here that love to play for their

country. I have a lot of confidence in them as the

captain, which is why we’re sitting here. I believe we

can win this Davis Cup.

 

I think this year is a really good opportunity for us. We

can’t go more than one step at a time, but it certainly

looks promising if we can get through this weekend.

 

On the debate about the Davis cup format and whether it should be changed.

CAPTAIN COURIER: Davis Cup format has been a

discussion point for the players since Open tennis

began. You can go back and get quotes from Stan

Smith on the challenges that the Davis Cup schedule

puts on the players.

 

When you put it in an Olympic year, like this year, you

look at the calendar, you see why Andy Murray and

Novak Djokovic are both declining to play this week for

their countries, and they’re players who typically play a

lot of Davis Cup. You can see why those challenges

still exist in a pretty crowded calendar.

 

The new president of the ITF, Dave Haggerty, was

president of the US Tennis Association. He’s very

progressive, and I think you’ll see change. It will be

incremental change. It won’t come tomorrow. But I

think you’ll see the ball start to roll towards a new look

in Davis Cup that is a little bit more of the times.

You have to remember the Davis Cup started in 1900,

long before the Masters, long before many massive

sporting events like the Ryder Cup.

 

Davis Cup will need to change if it wants to get more

attention. It’s still a wonderful event. It will be a

tremendous event here this weekend. The people in

attendance will absolutely love it. We’ll love it. But

there will be a lot of people on the east coast of

America that won’t be aware that it’s taking place,

which is one of the things that I think a change in

format would bring for Davis Cup, more attention, not to

mention it would make more money, which for the ITF

would do wonders for the growth of the game.

I have a lot of thoughts on it. It’s on the record. You

can look up my comments from years and years and

years ago on Davis Cup. But I’m sitting here because I

love to be a part of it, even in its current format.

Davis Cup succeeds largely in spite of the format, not

because of it.

 

Asked about strategy against Croatia.

CAPTAIN COURIER: Look, it’s pretty clear what our

strengths are. Bob and Mike on the court are just so

complete. They move in sync. They make it very

difficult for other teams to hit winners. They extract a

lot of errors. Bob and Mike will do their normal dance

out there, which is a thing of beauty to watch. It’s been

incredible to be a captain and witness what they’re able

to do for us.

 

Jack and John, although the heights are a little bit

different, the style and the strengths are very similar.

Serves and forehands are the shots. They’re the ones

that will cause opponents to lose sleep.

 

That gives me great comfort as a captain because that

was my bread and butter, too. I think I have a pretty

good understanding of how they need to play and what

they do on the court well.

 

The other team, just to give you a quick overview,

Marin Cilic, big server, solid off both wings on the

ground, moves pretty well for a big guy. Obviously has

tasted sweet success at slams and tasted some

frustration last week at Wimbledon when he had three

match points against Federer.

 

How will that impact him here? We’ll only know come

Friday when he gets back on the court, because that’s

the only way to figure that out.

 

Coric, probably a better backhand than forehand.

Moves well. Very hungry, very professional for a 19-

year-old. He’s a rising star who won the fifth match for

these guys earlier this year. Has good Davis Cup

experience.

 

Not sure what we’ll face doubles-wise. We know Ivan

Dodig is a terrific doubles player. He has been one of

the top doubles players for a long time. So not sure

who he’ll match up with. Not sure what the

composition of their team will be come Thursday when

they have to tell us, because they have another player

named Skugor, who has played for them, who is also

here with them on site. So they have five players.

There is a lot of unknowables right now on the doubles

format. Cilic is a good doubles player. He could find

himself on the court on Saturday, too.

That’s my overview.

 

Asked about what he needs to do to jump up in the rankings.

JACK SOCK: That was an incredible win by Sam(Querrey). I

think everyone sitting here, everyone in this room, is

very happy for him.

 

Yeah, I mean, obviously the consistency from Novak

and those other guys at the top is what separates

them. I mean, they’re doing it week in, week out,

winning a majority of the tournaments, majority of the

slams.

 

Yeah, I mean, the skill level could be very slim and

anyone can kind of beat anyone on any given day. It’s

probably the little things, the preparation and

everything that goes into it, might be a couple levels

better, a hair better. That can make the difference.

For myself personally, obviously everyone here,

everyone’s always trying to improve and do the little

things the best they can. Doing that week in, week out

can only help us. Hopefully that gap will close sooner

than later.

 

JOHN ISNER: Jack said it. It’s about consistency.

Myself and Jack are very capable of having some very

good weeks on the tour, going deep into some big

tournaments. But these guys do it week in and week

out. That’s really what separates them from everyone

else. It’s what makes them the toughest out in tennis.

You know when you step on the court against them,

you’re going to be up against a very high level of talent

and dedication. Also these guys mentally are so

strong and have been doing it for so long, always have

a lot of confidence because they have a lot of wins

behind them.

 

It’s all about being consistent. It’s what those guys do

remarkably well. As Jack eluded to, we see these guys

in the locker room, on the practice courts. They’re

extremely professional. It’s one of the reasons they’re

top in the world, is because they do absolutely

everything right.

 

 

Team Croatia which included Captain also handled questions from the press with Captain Krajan, Marin Cilic, Borna Coric and Ivan Dodig in attendance.

Asked if members of the team remember Croatia winning the Davis Cup in 2005 and how important it was to their country.

BORNA CORIC: I’m the youngest, so I’m going to

answer first.

 

Basically I started playing even more serious when that

happen. I was very young at that time and I wasn’t

sure if I’m going to try to go pro or not. This was big

thing for the Croatia, as well, and also for me.

It gave me some boost to go forward. It was

unbelievable.

 

MARIN CILIC: Generally it has definitely huge impact

on tennis, in general, especially for a country that small

like Croatia. It was one of the country’s best

achievements in the history. So that’s definitely huge.

I think it gave also a little bit of financial help for the

young ones. Obviously winning it, it’s a big thing. It

attracted few more sponsors for the Federation and

obviously gave a little bit more opportunities for the

young ones.

 

We of course would like that it is still a bit more. But at

that time I think for the young ones was pretty good,

and they could, you know, just look up to the best guys

and follow their lead. That’s, for sure, big motivation.

 

Asked if perfect 3-0 record against the US gives the team confidence.

CAPTAIN KRAJAN: I mean, for sure it gives you

confidence when you are playing against somebody

that you are already 3-Love ahead, better than if you’re

3-Love down.

It’s different because it’s different players, different

times. It’s not the same teams. From that side it is

different.

 

Again, probably there is something that suits us playing

States. We are pretty positive about this tie also.

 

Why is the Croatian team so good?

CAPTAIN KRAJAN: I mean, simply they’re good,

they’re very good. You all know Marin, and you know

what he achieved here in the States. I think you all

remember what he did in New York.

 

You know Borna, what kind of potential. He’s one of

the youngest, best players at his age in the world.

Ivan, great singles player, winning slam in the doubles.

I think they all top players in the world. As I said, that’s

why we are strong and we are looking forward for this

tie.

 

Asked about what it feels like to be a

Grand Slam champion.

IVAN DODIG: Yeah, I think it’s really special moment

for every athlete. For us is to win Grand Slam. It’s

obviously like you feel all the work you put into it, it’s in

the end rewarded. I think every player who start to play

tennis, dreaming about big things, is to win Grand

Slam.

 

Me and Marin had this great feeling. I hope I can still

continue in doubles, do some great results. Still I’m

motivate and hope I can get more Grand Slam. As well

for all our guys here, for Marin, Borna, other Marin. I

think we have great potential and will still have great

moments, as well.

 

MARIN CILIC: Tennis is a very difficult sport looking

mentally. You are all year round going up and down

with your emotions. You’re wondering if you are going

to achieve your best potential, if you’re doing the best

things possible for yourself.

 

Obviously winning a Grand Slam is a part for yourself

that you achieve for all your career, all your life.

Everything you’ve put into it is suddenly worth it. For

me, you have different view on tennis, on your career.

You are obviously more relaxed, but as well on the

other side you are more motivated as you know your

potential, as you know what you can do, what you can

achieve.

 

To be especially in this time, in this era with great

tennis players, the ones that are breaking so many

records, it’s definitely very challenging. It carries a

bigger weight to win a Grand Slam. So it’s definitely a

huge, huge motivation for me to continue on this path.

It’s a sign for all the other guys that are not achieving

their best potential yet, you know, that they can see

with hard work, with dedication, you can of course

believe and achieve these big things.

 

 

The Official Draw Ceremony for the U.S. vs. Croatia Davis Cup World Group Quarterfinal will take place at 1:00 p.m. PT on Thursday, July 14, at Pioneer Courthouse Square in Portland. The ceremony will be open to the public.

Croatia is set to play its tenth tie away from home in its last 11 Davis Cup ties, while the United States is seeking to get back to the semifinals for the first time since 2012. The U.S. last won the Davis Cup in December 2007 in Portland, Oregon.

Singles play begins at 11:30 a.m. PT on Friday, July 15, and Sunday, July 17. Doubles play begins on Saturday at 1:30 p.m. PT. Tennis Channel will have television coverage.

Davis Cup Quarterfinals and Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony on Tennis Channel

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Federico Delbonis Wins Grand Prix Hassan II for Second Career ATP World Tour Title

(April 10, 2016) Federico Delbonis defeated Borna Coric 6-2, 6-4 to win Grand Prix Hassan II for his second career ATP World Tour title on Sunday.

The 25-year-old Argentine, who was the fourth seed, did not lose a set all week in Marrakech. He adds this title to his 2014 Sao Paulo crown.

The third seed and rising star Coric, ranked at 48th in the world lost his second career final. The 19-year-old Croat lost his first final to Stan Wawrinka earlier this year in Chennai.

“I’m very happy to win again on the ATP World Tour,” Delbonis said. “I played at a great level today and it’s great to lift the trophy here. I took my chances, but it was not easy. In the end, I did my job and got the victory. This is what I work for. To win at this level, you have to be mentally focused the whole match.”

“It was a tough match for me today,” noted Coric. “I didn’t find any solutions. I had an opportunity in the second set but unfortunately I couldn’t break him. Nevertheless, I’m happy with my start in the clay season and I’m looking forward to Monte-Carlo next week.”

With the win, Federico Delbonis will return to the Top 40 of the ATP World Tour rankings.

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Stan Wawrinka Three-peats in Chennai

(January 10, 2016) Stan Wawrinka completed the first three-peat in tournament history when he bested Borna Coric in the final of Chennai 6-3, 7-5. For the world No. 4, it’s his fourth Chennai title and 11th career ATP title. The Swiss now has a 12-match winning streak in Chennai.

For the 19-year-old Coric, he was the first teenage finalist since Marin Cilic in 2008 at New Haven.

“I’m really happy to win the match the way I played today,” said the 30-year-old. “Again it was in two sets as it has been all tournament. The crowd was amazing. They give amazing support every year.

“I’m always trying to improve. I’m trying to move better, trying to play more aggressive with a better forehand and serve better. I’m very happy with my serve this week. I’m happy to get the trophy again. It’s a great feeling.”

“It was a great week for me here,” the world No. 44 Coric said. “I arrived a couple days before the event and got some great practice in the heat.

“Obviously facing Stan in my first final was a tough challenge. Nevertheless I’m very happy with my week and the start into the season.”

“It was my first final so I was bound to make some mistakes,” said the young Croatian. “Stan played an unbelievable match.”

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Serena Williams Advances Easily While Fourth Seed Nishikori Falls on Day 1 of US Open

SerenaWilliamsFaceoff6

(August 31, 2015) FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – Last year’s US Open men’s finalist and fourth seed Kei Nishikori lost in the first round on Monday while several women’s seeds tumbled out on the first day of Flushing Meadows.

No such drama for the No. 1 seed Serena Williams seeking the US Open to complete a calendar Grand Slam. She moved a step closer to history with an easy win over 86th ranked Vitalia Diatchenko of Russia who retired from the match trailing 6-0, 2-0. She said that she felt a sharp pain hitting a backhand during a point.

“It was definitely different and bizarre,” the 33-year-old Williams said. “But at the same time, I was still focused. I kept thinking: Just stay focused; don’t lose it. You never know what can happen.”

Williams march to completing the first Grand Slam since 1988 seems to have been made easier when a deluge of seeds from her half of the draw lost. They included: No. 3 Maria Sharapova who withdrew on Sunday with an injured right leg, No. 7 Ana Ivanovic, No. 8 Karolina Pliskova and No. 10 Carla Suarez Navarro, No. 21 Jelena Jankovic, No. 29 Sloane Stephens (who beat Williams in the quarterfinals of the Australian Open in 2013) and No. 30 Svetlana Kuznetsova.

The 21-time major champion will play the Netherlands Kiki Bertens. “I think she’s playing well, Williams said. “She does a lot of things well. She has a big serve. It’s definitely something that I look forward to. See what happens.”

“I’m not a person that usually looks at the draws,” Williams said. “I just take it as it comes and as it goes.”

Kei Nishikori was the only shock on the men’s side when the fourth seed fell to France’s Benoit Paire Nishikori’s 6-4, 3-6, 4-6, 7-6 (6), 6-4 despite having two match points in the fourth set tiebreak.

“It’s very sad to lose always first round, but I think he was playing good tennis,” Nishikori said. “So, I mean, I don’t think I played bad. Didn’t play great, but still, it’s never easy first match. He’s a good player.

“You know, try to think about next one, and I hope I can come back strong next year.”

“Today for me, when I come on court I know I can beat Nishikori,” Paire said. “I place twice time; I lost two time, but very tough match.

“So when I come on the court, I say, come on. You can beat Kei. He has a game — it’s not like if I play against Roger Federer. For me it’s different because he has good serve.

“Against Kei I know I can play, and for sure some volleys. For me it’s important because I know I don’t put a lot of pressure on myself. I say, Okay, for sure you can break him.

“So the most important thing is to feel good and to have fun. I think today that’s the most important thing.”

The man Nishikori lost to in last year’s final had few problems in his 6-3, 7-6, 7-6 win.

“I think this tournament is giving me the best chance to play the best over here,” Marin Cilic said. Even before last year, in the past years I was always playing pretty well and reached few times quarterfinals. Even in those matches had some chances. Close to making it to the semis.

“Coming this year again is definitely very special moment for me in my whole career. This experience of, you know, defending the Grand Slam title for the first time is something that I’m going to learn for sure a lot from.”

No. 1 Novak Djokovic destroyed  Brazil’s Joao Souza 6-1, 6-1, 6-1 in 71 minutes.

“I couldn’t ask for a better opening of this year’s US Open,” Djokovic said.” Hopefully I can continue in that rhythm.”

Sixteenth seed Gael Monfils retired from his match with a back against Illya Marchenko while trailing 2-6, 6-4, 5-0, 30-0.

Eighth seed Rafael Nadal, playing in the Flushing Meadows for the first time since 2013, beat teenager Borna Coric 6-3, 6-2, 4-6, 6-4 in second night match on Arthur Ashe Stadium. “Very happy to be back,” Nadal said, “and to be through.”

“I think I played great. The first two sets I played a very high level of tennis. Seriously, then I get a little bit tired. I had some problems. I was sweating a lot. I lost little bit — you know, I don’t feel enough strong after that, no?

“I had little bit of stomach problem so I felt not perfect, physically perfect then.

“But then in the fourth I recovered little bit. I played again more aggressive. Finally was important victory for me. Happy the way that I played when I was, you know, physically good.”

RESULTS – AUGUST 31, 2015
Women’s
Singles – First Round

(1) Serena Williams (USA) d. Vitalia Diatchenko (RUS) 60 20 retired (Left ankle injury)
Dominika Cibulkova (SVK) d. (7) Ana Ivanovic 63 36 63
(Q) Anna Tatishvili (USA) d. (8) Karolina Pliskova 62 61
Denisa Allertova (CZE) d. Carla Suarez Navarro (ESP) 61 76(5)
(12) Belinda Bencic (SUI) d. Sesil Karatantcheva (BUL) 61 62
(13) Ekaterina Makarova (RUS) d. Teliana Pereira (BRA) 63 63
(15) Agnieszka Radwanska (POL) d. Katerina Siniakova (CZE) 62 63
(17) Elina Svitolina (UKR) d. (Q) Elizaveta Kulichkova (RUS) 61 64
(18) Madison Keys (USA) d. Klara Koukalova (CZE) 62 64
(WC) Oceane Dodin (FRA) d. (21) Jelena Jankovic (SRB) 26 75 63
(23) Venus Williams (USA) d. Monica Puig (PUR) 64 67(7) 63
(25) Eugenie Bouchard (CAN) d. Alison Riske (USA) 64 63
CoCo Vandeweghe (USA) d. (29) Sloane Stephens (USA) 64 63
Kristina Mladenovic (FRA) d. (30) Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS) 63 75
(31) Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (RUS) d. Magdalena Rybarikova (SVK) 64 75
(Q) Kiki Bertens (NED) d. Mirjana Lucic-Baroni (CRO) 36 64 62
(WC) Bethanie Mattek-Sands (USA) d. (Q) Kateryna Kozlova (UKR) 64 63
Tereza Smitkova (CZE) d. Andreea Mitu (ROU) 76(4) 62
Magda Linette (POL) d. Urszula Radwanska (POL) 76(3) 61
Misaki Doi (JPN) d. Daniela Hantuchova (SVK) 63 63
Irina Falconi (USA) d. (WC) Samantha Crawford (USA) 64 62
(Q) Anett Kontaveit (EST) d. Casey Dellacqua (AUS) 75 62
Madison Brengle (USA) d. Saisai Zheng 62 57 75
(LL) Daria Kasatkina (RUS) d. Daria Gavrilova (AUS) 62 46 75
Ana Konjuh (CRO) d. Tatjana Maria (GER) 64 64
Bojana Jovanovski (SRB) d. Lara Arruabarrena (ESP) 62 62
Kaia Kanepi (EST) d. Anna-Lena Friedsam (GER) 61 61
Lauren Davis (USA) d. Heather Watson (GBR) 76(3) 76(0)
Roberta Vinci (ITA) d. Vania King (USA) 64 64
Mariana Duque-Marino (COL) d. (WC) Sofia Kenin (USA) 63 61
Polona Hercog (SLO) d. Zarina Diyas (KAZ) 62 75
(Q) Jessica Pegula (USA) d. Alison Van Uytvanck (BEL) 75 63

Men’s singles

Novak Djokovic (SRB) [1] d. Joao Souza (BRA) 61 61 61
Benoit Paire (FRA) d. Kei Nishikori (JPN) [4] 64 36 46 76(6) 64 – saved 2 MP
Marin Cilic (CRO) [9] d. Guido Pella (ARG) 63 76(3) 76(3)
Milos Raonic (CAN) [10] d. Tim Smyczek (USA) 64 76(8) 61
David Goffin (BEL) [14] d. Simone Bolelli (ITA) 64 61 62
Grigor Dimitrov (BUL) [17] d. Matthew Ebden (AUS) 64 62 64
Feliciano Lopez (ESP) [18] d. Nikoloz Basilashvili (GEO) 76(5) 61 63
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA) [19] d. Jarkko Nieminen (FIN) 63 61 61
Andreas Seppi (ITA) [25] d. Tommy Paul (USA) 64 60 75
Tommy Robredo (ESP) [26] d. Michael Berrer (GER) 62 62 64
Jeremy Chardy (FRA) [27] d. Ryan Shane (USA) 62 61 67(6) 62
Mardy Fish (USA) d. Marco Cecchinato (ITA) 67(5) 63 61 63
Fernando Verdasco (ESP) d. Tommy Haas (GER) 36 61 67(3) 63 61
Mikhail Kukushkin (KAZ) d. Yen-Hsun Lu (TPE) 63 63 30 ret.
Sergiy Stakhovsky (UKR) d. John Millman (AUS) 61 36 76(3) 64
Marcel Granollers (ESP) d. Lukas Lacko (SVK) 62 63 61
Evgeny Donskoy (RUS) d. Lucas Pouille (FRA) 62 67(3) 62 64
Marsel Ilhan (TUR) d. Radek Stepanek (CZE) 60 26 64 32 ret,
Ricardas Berankis (LTU) d. Joao Sousa (POR) 62 62 46 26 76(4)

Karen Pestaina for Tennis Panorama News at the US Open

 

 

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Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer to Face-off in Dubai Final Again

 

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Photos by Nida Alibhai

(February 27, 2015) DUBAI, UAE – In a rematch of last year’s final No. 1 Novak Djokovic will take on defending champion No. 2 Roger Federer in the final of the Dubai Tennis Championships.

Djokovic defeated fourth seed Tomas Berdych 6-0, 5-7, 6-4 while Federer had a much easier time with lucky loser 18-year-old Borna Coric 6-2, 6-1 in 56 minutes.

“Even after the first set that went as perfectly as possible and when I was break up I knew that the match is not over,” said Djokovic. “I just wanted to stay on that level, but it was hard.

“I started making some unforced errors, backed up a little bit, less first serves in. Then he stepped in. From that moment on it was an even match, a lot of unforced errors from my side. Just wasn’t feeling the ball great in the third but somehow managed to hang in there.”

“From that moment on it was an even match, a lot of unforced errors from my side. Just wasn’t feeling the ball great in the third but somehow managed to hang in there.”

“I don’t know his game very well. Maybe I was a bit tentative in the beginning,” Federer said of being broken early in the match, “But I was still able to get off to somewhat of a good start, not being broken early, then breaking him right away. I felt like after five games I knew more or less what to expect, and I realized what had worked until that point and what had not.”

“I can see why he has so far caused difficulties for some of the top guys and he still has a lot of room for improvement in his game,” said Federer. “He does a really good job for a big guy. It’s unbelievable how in the past 10 years we have seen so many big guys moving well from the baseline. I think he returns very well, especially off second serves, and that’s such a huge part of today’s game, I believe.”

“Yeah, I was. I was. I was nervous,” Coric said. “I knew that it’s going to be very tough, you know. But when you come on the court and actually feel the ball and feel the pressure which he’s making, it’s actually been tougher than when you’re watching it on the sofa in front of the TV.

“You know, he was just way too good for me. I was feeling so rushed. I didn’t have any time to play my game plan. I was just trying to hold in the rally as long as I can, and it was basically only thing what I could do.”

For the 33-year-old Federer, it will be his ninth final, he’s won the tournament six times. Djokovic is trying to win Dubai for the fifth time.

Between Djkokovic and Federer they have claimed the Dubai trophy in 10 of the last 12 years dating back to 2003, with only Rafael Nadal in 2006 and Andy Roddick in 2008.

“When you play Roger, it’s always a great challenge,” said Djokovic about the final against Federer. “If you want to win you have to play your best tennis, especially against Roger in the final of any event, but here particularly. Because I feel like this is the kind of a surface and conditions that it suits his game the best.”

Federer holds a 19-17 career edge over Djokovic. The final will be their fourth meeting in Dubai and second in the final.

RESULTS – FRIDAY, 27 FEBRUARY 2015

Singles – Semi-finals
[1] N. Djokovic (SRB) d [4] T. Berdych (CZE) 60 57 64
[2] R. Federer (SUI) d [LL] B. Coric (CRO) 62 61

Doubles – Semi-finals
[4] R. Bopanna (IND) / D. Nestor (CAN) d [2] J. Rojer (NED) / H. Tecau (ROU) 46 76(9) 11-9
A. Qureshi (PAK) / N. Zimonjic (SRB) d D. Inglot (GBR) / F. Mergea (ROU) 67(2) 64 11-9

SCHEDULE – SATURDAY, 28 FEBRUARY 2015

CENTRE COURT start 5:00 pm
A. Qureshi (PAK) / N. Zimonjic (SRB) vs [4] R. Bopanna (IND) / D. Nestor (CAN)
Not Before 7:00 pm
[1] N. Djokovic (SRB) vs [2] R. Federer (SUI)

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