September 3, 2015

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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Lucky Loser Borna Coric Stuns Andy Murray to Reach Dubai Semis

Borna Coric

Borna Coric

(February 26, 2015) DUBAI, UAECroatian teenager and lucky loser Borna Coric upset world No. 3 Andy Murray 6-1, 6-3 on Thursday to become the youngest player ever to reach the Dubai Tennis Championships semifinals.

The 18-year-old was beaten in the qualifying rounds, but received a place in the main draw when 2014 semifinalist Philipp Kohlschreiber withdrew due to illness.

“I was just trying to maintain the level and stay in the rally as long as I can, which I was doing really good, you know. I was also running very good,” said Coric currently ranked No. 84.

“I think I was really lucky with Kohlschreiber pulling out. That’s the life. Sometimes you’re going to get lucky. Maybe next tournament I will have match point and I’m not going to take it. That’s tennis. One week you gonna play good, you gonna be lucky, and it’s those kind of days for you to take opportunities.”

Last year Coric stunned Rafael Nadal in Basel, and caught the eye of Novak Djokovic, who has since practised with him both in Australia and Dubai.

“I try to help him because I see, in a way, myself through him,” said Djokovic. “I’ve never felt that way when I practice with somebody as I felt with him. It’s like playing myself. Very similar game. Great fighting spirit, disciplined, focused, committed, confident, very young but confident, which is important.”

“He didn’t make many errors,” said Murray. “He played very solid and he moved well, made a lot of balls, made it tough. I made way too many mistakes from the beginning of the match right through to the end, early in rallies, rushing points. I don’t think I’m being wrong in saying that I made a lot of basic errors, especially early in the rallies. I don’t know exactly why that was the case.”

Murray made 55 errors with only 15 winners.

Novak Djokovic stopped Turkish qualifier Marsel Ilhan 6-1, 6-1.

“He lacks a little bit of experience and confidence on being in the big stadium. That’s where I used my opportunity from the start,” said Djokovic. “I made double break, and I felt like I was in control of the match. I didn’t allow him to get into the groove. So it was a good performance.”

Roger Federer was on court for only 20 minutes as Richard Gasquet retired with a back injury after losing the first set 6-1.

“I think I played well. I served well,” he said. “Then again, you know, the test was so short that it’s tough to judge on a 20-minute match. But I think I was hitting the ball well again like yesterday. I felt able to play aggressive and do what I was hoping to do, so I was very pleased, actually.”

Tomas Berdych was stretched to three sets winning 6-3, 4-6, 6-2 Sergiy Stakhovsky.

“I think especially in the second set, end of the second set, he come up with some great shots,” said Berdych. “But that’s how it is. You know, you have to know how to deal with those situations. Again, it’s very good that I handled the third set how I did, two breaks.”

RESULTS – THURSDAY, 26 FEBRUARY 2015

Singles – Quarter-finals
[1] N. Djokovic (SRB) d [Q] M. Ilhan (TUR) 61 61
[2] R. Federer (SUI) d R. Gasquet (FRA) 61 ret. (lower back pain)
[LL] B. Coric (CRO) d [3] A. Murray (GBR) 61 63
[4] T. Berdych (CZE) d S. Stakhovsky (UKR) 63 46 62

Doubles – Quarter-finals
D. Inglot (GBR) / F. Mergea (ROU) d [1] B. Bryan (USA) / M. Bryan (USA) 76(6) 26 10-8
[2] J. Rojer (NED) / H. Tecau (ROU) d R. Lindstedt (SWE) / M. Matkowski (POL) 46 75 10-7
[4] R. Bopanna (IND) / D. Nestor (CAN) d [Q] J. Murray (GBR) / J. Peers (AUS) 64 75
A. Qureshi (PAK) / N. Zimonjic (SRB) d J. Chardy (FRA) / L. Rosol (CZE) 61 62

SCHEDULE – FRIDAY, 27 FEBRUARY 2015

CENTRE COURT start 2:30 pm
[4] R. Bopanna (IND) / D. Nestor (CAN) vs [2] J. Rojer (NED) / H. Tecau (ROU)

Not Before 5:00 pm
[LL] B. Coric (CRO) vs [2] R. Federer (SUI)

Not Before 7:00 pm
[1] N. Djokovic (SRB) vs [4] T. Berdych (CZE)
D. Inglot (GBR) / F. Mergea (ROU) vs A. Qureshi (PAK) / N. Zimonjic (SRB)

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Bryans, Federer, Murray Honored In 2014 ATP World Tour Awards

From the ATP World Tour – (November 5, 2014) LONDON Bob and Mike Bryan, Roger Federer and Andy Murray have been honoured in the 2014 ATP World Tour Awards presented by Moët & Chandon. While the ATP World Tour No. 1 Presented by Emirates Award is still to be decided between Federer and Novak Djokovic, all the other award winners have been announced today with ceremonies planned to take place during the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals from 9 November.

Federer has been selected by his peers as winner of the Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award for a 10th time and by fans as the ATPWorldTour.com Fans’ Favourite presented by Moët & Chandon for a 12th straight year. Since 2003, Federer has won a record total of 29 ATP World Tour Awards.

Murray is the recipient of the Arthur Ashe Humanitarian Award, having taken part in fundraising exhibitions and campaigns over the past two years, and also raised awareness for the work of Unicef, United for Wildlife and Malaria No More.

The Bryan twins sweep the doubles awards for a sixth straight year, taking home ATP World Tour No. 1 Doubles Team presented by Emirates and ATPWorldTour.com Fans’ Favourite presented by Moët & Chandon for a record 10th time each.

The 17-year-old Borna Coric wins the ATP Star of Tomorrow Award presented by Emirates for being the youngest player ranked in the Top 100, while players have voted Roberto Bautista Agut as the Most Improved Player of the Year and recognised David Goffin as the Comeback Player of the Year.

Players will receive their awards, crafted by Lenox, in on-court ceremonies at The O2 throughout the tournament week.

USA Today’s Douglas Robson is the recipient of the Ron Bookman Media Excellence Award while the ATP Tournament of the Year awards will be announced in 2015.

Visit the ATP World Tour Awards section on ATPWorldTour.com

2014 ATP WORLD TOUR AWARDS presented by Moët & Chandon

ATP World Tour No. 1 presented by Emirates
(determined by Emirates ATP Rankings)
Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer will battle for the year-end No. 1 Emirates ATP Ranking at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals. Both players are previous winners of ATP World Tour No. 1 presented by Emirates (Federer five times and Djokovic twice).

ATP World Tour No. 1 Doubles Team presented by Emirates
(determined by Emirates ATP Doubles Team Rankings)
Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan: The Americans will finish as the No. 1 duo in the Emirates ATP Doubles Team Rankings for a sixth successive year and record 10th time overall (2003, ‘05-07, ‘09-14). The 36-year-old twins won nine titles in 2014 including the US Open and six ATP World Tour Masters 1000.

ATP Star of Tomorrow Award presented by Emirates
(determined by Emirates ATP Rankings)
Borna Coric: This category in its second year, replacing the player-voted Newcomer of the Year, is awarded to the youngest player in the Top 100 of Emirates ATP Rankings as of 3 November. Coric, who began the season ranked outside the Top 300, broke into the Top 100 on 27 October and reached a career-high No. 92 this week. The 17-year-old Croatian reached the Vegeta Croatia Open Umag quarter-finals (l. to Fognini) in July and made his Grand Slam championship debut as a qualifier at the US Open (l. to Estrella Burgos in 2R), prior to beating World No. 3 Rafael Nadal en route to the Swiss Indoors Basel semi-finals in October. He also won one ATP Challenger Tour title.

Most Improved Player of the Year
(voted by ATP players)
Roberto Bautista Agut: The Spaniard climbed from a year-end No. 59 Emirates ATP Ranking last season to a career-high No. 14 in 2014. He claimed his first ATP World Tour title on the grass courts of the Topshelf Open (‘s-Hertogenbosch) in June, triumphed on his transition to clay a few weeks later at the MercedesCup in Stuttgart, and reached the indoor Kremlin Cup by Bank of Moscow hard-court final in Moscow in October. Bautista Agut also made a statement on some of the biggest stages: he reached the fourth round at the Australian Open after coming back to defeat World No. 5 Juan Martin del Potro in five sets in the second round, and advanced to the semi-finals at the Mutua Madrid Open, stopped only by Rafael Nadal. He finished the season with 45 match wins – 19 more than his previous career-high.

Comeback Player of the Year
(voted by ATP players)
David Goffin: After breaking his left wrist in September 2013, the Belgian returned to the courts at the beginning of the 2014 at No. 110 in the Emirates ATP Rankings. By the end of June, he had only recorded two main draw wins but after Wimbledon Goffin couldn’t stop winning. He compiled a 44-4 match record from July onwards (inclusive of matches on the ATP World Tour, ATP Challenger Tour and qualifying). His perfect month of July included three straight Challenger titles and his first ATP World Tour title at the Austrian Open (Kitzbühel), all in back-to-back weeks. He extended his unbeaten streak to 25 matches by qualifying and reaching the Winston-Salem Open quarter-finals. After a third-round run at the US Open (l. to Dimitrov), the 23 year old went on another winning streak of 16 matches – with titles at the Moselle Open and Mons Challenger – prior to a runner-up finish at the Swiss Indoors Basel (l. to Federer). He will finish the season at a career-high of No. 22 in the Emirates ATP Rankings.

Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship
(voted by ATP players)
Roger Federer: Fellow players voted the Swiss as the winner of the Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award for the 10th time and fourth year in a row. He also won the award six straight years from 2004-09. Marin Cilic, Grigor Dimitrov and Kei Nishikori were also nominated in this category.

Arthur Ashe Humanitarian of the Year
(awarded by ATP)
Andy Murray: One of Murray’s best friends, former player Ross Hutchins, was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma, though thankfully his cancer went into remission. Another of Murray’s friends from British tennis, Elena Baltacha, was diagnosed with cancer of the liver and the sport was in mourning this year when she passed away at the age of 30. Wanting to help, Murray took part in fundraising exhibitions for Hutchins and Baltacha at Queen’s Club the past two summers, and this autumn he appeared with comedian Richard Ayoade in ‘Andy Murray: The Movie’, a sketch that was part of Channel 4’s ‘Stand Up To Cancer’ programming. Murray has also raised awareness for the work of Unicef, United for Wildlife and Malaria No More.

ATPWorldTour.com Fans’ Favourite presented by Moët & Chandon (Singles)
(voted by fans)
Roger Federer: The Swiss has been voted ATPWorldTour.com Fans’ Favourite presented by Moët & Chandon for a record 12th straight year, receiving 65 per cent of all votes cast. Rafael Nadal finished second, followed by Grigor Dimitrov, Novak Djokovic and Kei Nishikori.

ATPWorldTour.com Fans’ Favourite presented by Moët & Chandon (Doubles)
(voted by fans)
Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan: The Bryan twins received 45 per cent of votes to be named the ATPWorldTour.com Fans’ Favourite presented by Moët & Chandon for a record 10th time. Wimbledon champions Vasek Pospisil and Jack Sock came in as the second most popular duo, followed by Roland Garros champions Julien Benneteau and Edouard Roger-Vasselin.

Ron Bookman Media Excellence
(awarded by ATP)
Douglas Robson: San Francisco-based Robson has been the lead tennis writer since 2003 for USA Today, one of the largest American newspapers. He has been a journalist for two decades covering a variety of sports, business and general-interest topics.

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‘Age is Just a Number’ – 34-year-old Victor Estrella Burgos Beats 17-year-old Borna Coric at US Open

estrella burgos 1

(August 28, 2014) From a country more well-known for baseball shortstops than tennis players, Victor Estrella Burgos from the Dominican Republic has advanced to the third round of the US Open.

The 34-year-old Estrella Burgos, playing in his first US Open, took out 17-year-old Borna Coric 7-6 (2), 4-6, 6-4, 6-2.

When I asked about playing someone half his age he said: “He half my half age, is true this. But I know he’s a very good player. I check him some video. I had to do some strategy how to play against him because he’s a really good player, he have a very good future. I need to see so much about how he play. I change my game every time because I know he’s younger. But how I said before, the age is just number. From his mind, is very older, I think.”

Despite this being his debut playing the US Open and being the first player from his country to compete in a Grand Slam event, the 80th ranked Estrella Burgos had plenty of supporters with thousands of Dominicans living in New York City and the surrounding areas – and they made their presence felt with loud cheering and chants.

“People from Dominican, I think they are in the party now,” Estrella Burgos said. “They are very happy. This is very special for me, to be came from very, very long way, you know, very down. Nobody play — I don’t have any idea before when I have 18 years old about this tournament, this kind of tournament. But now I’m enjoy so much. This make me like every day, doesn’t matter if I’m 38 whatever, make me strong. Every time when I get into the court, make me strong.”

“Have a big emotion when I serving for the match, serving match point,’” he said. “I cannot believe I’m in this situation. Like I going to make the third round in US Open. Was little nervous and very, very emotional for me. But thank God I got the point.”

Estrella Burgos first turned pro in 2002, but left the sport after having problems in getting money to play the tour. He returned to tennis in 2006 and thought about retiring after he hurt his elbow in 2012. He became the first Dominican to break into the top 100 back in March.

The win puts Estrella Burgos in the third round, his deepest run at ta Grand Slam event where he will play Canadian Milos Raonic, the fifth seed.

“I think I’m going to play stadium or grandstand, I don’t know where, said the 5-foot-8 Dominican who has played both of his matches on Court 6, a non-televised court.

“I think going to be in bigger court. We talking about like how many Dominicans going to come? Today was full, the court was full. I have like thousand coach because all of them, they coaching me,” he said with a big smile. “We are in the game. We going to take the towel. We hear like what they say every time. I don’t know. I don’t know how to word this, but I think they going to buy the ticket for sure to come Saturday to see me play in the stadium.”

 

Karen Pestaina for Tennis Panorama News

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Dominican Journeyman Victor Estrella Burgos Sets Sights on Career High Ranking as he Topples Eighth Seed Feliciano Lopez at Citi Open

An Interview With: Victor Estrella Burgos

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Q. We saw some tears after the match point. Must have been very emotional. Can you talk a bit about it.

VICTOR ESTRELLA BURGOS: Of course. Have a big emotion when I serving for the match, serving match point. I cannot believe I’m in this situation. Like I going to make the third round in US Open. Was little nervous and very, very emotional for me. But thank God I got the point. After that I get a bigger tear again.

Q. How did it feel coming into the match knowing you were playing someone half your age?

VICTOR ESTRELLA BURGOS: He have my half age, is true this. But I know he’s a very good player. I check him some video. I had to do some strategy how to play against him because he’s a really good player, he have a very good future. I need to see so much about how he play. I change my game every time because I know he’s younger. But how I said before, the age is just number. From his mind, is very older, I think.

Q. I know your story for a long time. Some visitors came to us, from the Dominican Republic. They were celebrating your win as if they were in the finals themselves. They told us you really came from the dust. Do you know what I mean? It’s really an inspirational story you’re coming here.

VICTOR ESTRELLA BURGOS: First, this is make me very strong because I know where I coming from. I came from like very down. I come from Dominican Republic. I think I opening way to another player. This make me more hungry to do better and better. I’m in the winner, not just for today. I’m in the winner, I’m top 100, I have my enter to US Open. I’m a winner already. But now the winner is very different, it’s bigger. I’m in the third round. I’m very happy. People from Dominican, I think they are in the party now. They are very happy. This is very special for me, to be came from very, very long way, you know, very down. Nobody play — I don’t have any idea before when I have 18 years old about this tournament, this kind of tournament. But now I’m enjoy so much. This make me like every day, doesn’t matter if I’m 38 whatever, make me strong. Every time when I get into the court, make me strong.

Q. The crowd was crazy today. Do you expect to play in the stadium your next game?

VICTOR ESTRELLA BURGOS: Really the thing, I was talking with my physical coach, my physical trainer. We talking about if you play again, I think I’m going to play stadium or grandstand, I don’t know where. I think going to be in bigger court. We talking about like how many Dominicans going to come? Today was full, the court was full. I have like thousand coach because all of them, they coaching me, you know (smiling). We are in the game. We going to take the towel. We hear like what they say every time. I don’t know. I don’t know how to word this, but I think they going to buy the ticket for sure to come Saturday to see me play in the stadium.

Q. How much do you think these two matches have taken out of you physically and emotionally?

VICTOR ESTRELLA BURGOS: First physically, too much for me is not nothing. I feel like very good. Emotionally really big. I think is more bigger, emotionally is more bigger than physically. I feeling very good. I think I’m going to be ready for Saturday. I’m going to be so hungry to get into the court to play again.

Q. You had a bad line call that got you a little upset. Also when you took the injury timeout. You stayed focus. Is that one of your main strengths? How do you stay focused with so much distraction between the crowd, the player, the bad line call?

VICTOR ESTRELLA BURGOS: We are professional. We working in that, you know. He call the trainer. He was up 3-0. He call the trainer after I broke him. The match was 3-2. I get in very good time. He call the trainer. I don’t think he have anything because he running like crazy. But I just keeping focus in the court. I saw my coach. He tell me, Move, get focus. That’s the only thing. I don’t thinking what he have, what he doing, just thinking I have to be focus on keeping warm for make the next match.

Q. Why is it happening now at the latter stage of your career? Is there anything different?

VICTOR ESTRELLA BURGOS: I think is happening now because this had to happen now. I think when I have 20 years old, I tell you before, I don’t have any idea about the tournament. Because in Dominican, we don’t have this. I think for me this is the best time. This happen now. I had to get like very good, very simple for me. I think now is now. I cannot go back. I cannot start to thinking why this doesn’t happen when I have 20 or 22 or 24. Now it happening when I have 34, I very happy.

Q. You reached the third round. You’re living the American dream in New York. How do you think this will change your life and how do you want it to change your life?

VICTOR ESTRELLA BURGOS: No, I don’t think this going to change my life. Going the same life. Tennis player. Different level now, of course, because I get my new ranking, going to get very good ranking. But I think going to be the same Victor, the same Victor working every day very hard, happy in the locker. When I have challenger ATP, I going to be the same. Nothing going to change.

Q. I know you have quit your career already a few years ago. Do you feel less used because you were not playing for some years? Secondly, how far do you think you can go in the rankings?

VICTOR ESTRELLA BURGOS: I stop, I quit to play I think for four year and a half, like professional. I didn’t traveling. But I’m keeping in tennis because I play Davis Cup for Dominican. I think my dream was I want to make — with my team we talking about which ranking I want this year. I say I want to be top 50. This is what I want now. After that if I get, I have to start to next step. Now I going to get to the top 50. This is what I want now. I just thinking about that.

Q. Do you feel less used because you were not playing for those four years?

VICTOR ESTRELLA BURGOS: Yes, for sure, because I have like long time. Just play two times per year, like Davis Cup. Also physically I not used so much. I don’t have this before, like traveling 25 week per year. I don’t have this before.

Note: As website-only media covering the US Open as media,  Tennis Panorama News has special permission to post interview transcripts per the USTA.

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