2014/04/16

Teams On The Edge

Courier and Bryans

By Vito Ellison, Special to Tennis Panorama News

(February 1, 2014) SAN DIEGO – With the Southern California sun finally making an appearance and a partisan crowd finally making their presence both seen and heard, it was clearly a new day in this US vs. Great Britain Davis Cup World Group tie.  Nonetheless, the American team was still haunted by yesterday’s failures at Petco Park in San Diego.

 

For a doubles pairing that had just kept the American side alive in this Davis Cup, the Bryan Brothers were in no mood for celebrating—or even smiling—about their win today, neither was US Davis Cup Captain Jim Courier.  The Bryans raised their record as a team to 21-4 in the competition on the back of a decisive 6-2, 6-3, 3-6, 6-1 victory over Dominic Inglot and Colin Fleming. Yet, it was clear from the beginning of their press conference that the twins had other things on their minds.

 

“Always feels bad to let the team down,” Bob said.  He was responding to the first question raised.  While the query was about winning this match following two uncharacteristic, five-set Davis Cup losses a season ago, Bryan’s allusion wasn’t lost on anyone.  Bob was as much referencing the still-stinging memories of their 2013 Davis Cup campaign as he was yesterday’s upset loss by Sam Querrey at the hands of James Ward.

 

The Bryans had little mercy on their opponents today, avenging their teammate’s defeat by drawing 45 forced errors from the British pair in a match that didn’t reach the two-hour mark.  Their only hiccup, a loose game on Bob’s serve in the third set, that cost the USA a straight sets triumph. “I think they just take it to you every time,” said Inglot about his opponents. “They always ask a question of you and they’re never going to give you any free points.” “The match can rush away from you,” Fleming added.  “When we got behind in sets, it can become a blur against them.”

 

As uncharitable as the Bryans were on-court, Courier matched in the pressroom.  When asked about Querrey’s chances of springing an upset of 2-time major champion Andy Murray tomorrow, Courier fired with little hesitation, “He’s going to have to play significantly better than he did yesterday to stand a chance.” The British squad, while realistic, wasn’t taking anything for granted.  When asked about Andy Murray’s chances against a player who had just suffered a disappointing loss, another thinly veiled reference to Querrey, British captain Leon Smith stifled the rumor of a smile breaking out on his face and replied “Very good.  Yeah, very good.”

Vito Ellison is in San Diego, California covering the Davis Cup tie between the USA and Great Britain for Tennis Panorama News. Follow his updates on the site’s twitter @TennisNewsTPN, on his personal twitter @vblacklabel. and visit his site Blacklabeltennis.com.

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Expectations, Or The Lack Thereof; Ward Upsets Querrey

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Expectations, Or The Lack Thereof; Ward Upsets Querrey

James Ward

James Ward

By Vito Ellison, Special to Tennis Panorama News

(January 31, 2014) SAN DIEGO – “Yeah, from London, Arsenal fan, see myself as a pretty normal bloke,” that’s how James Ward described himself to the assembled press following what was a rather abnormal moment in his career.  On a temporary red clay court constructed in the outfield of a baseball field, 175th ranked James Ward stunned No. 49 Sam Querrey 1-6, 7-6 (3), 3-6, 6-4, 6-1 in 3 hours and 10 minutes at Petco Park in San Diego.

 

Querrey opened the match in ominous form.  Although he only served 52% in the frame, he stormed to a 6-1 lead in 26 minutes.  This US Davis Cup team’s alpha male was doing the expected versus a presumably outmatched opponent and without much help from his most vaunted weapon.  Asked about moving on from that first set in his post match presser, Ward deadpanned “I thought I couldn’t play much worse than I did in the first set anyway.”

 

With Ward unable to inflict much scoreboard pressure early, he waited for his chances, fully knowing that the situation should ultimately reward him with a few. “They’re one rubber down,” Ward noted. “He’s expected to beat me on paper.  He’s not in an easy position.” After splitting the first six games of the second set though, it looked as if Querrey were about to re-establish his authority on the match. Ward engineered an unlikely comeback from 0-40 down on his serve to hold for 4-3 on serve.  The set went to a tiebreak and it was in that pressure cooker that the big-serving Californian first lost his grip on the match.

 

Sam Querrey

Sam Querrey

It was a topsy turvy affair for the next two sets, Querrey opening the 3rd set strongly, riding newfound momentum to a 6-3 win, backed up by a 4-2 lead in the 4th.  From there, with the expectations shifted back to Querrey, the American, up two sets to one, with a break in the fourth, would only win one more game.  “You know, I think he started to gain some momentum and get some reads on my serve,” Querrey said reflecting on the match.  “You know, kudos to him for making some big shots in the latter part of the match.”

 

The crowd, which had largely been out of the matches all afternoon, in part thanks to Andy Murray’s suffocating victory over Donald Young in the first rubber, began desperately cheering for Querrey to right the ship, but to no avail.  The American No. 1 found himself in a fifth set, a place where he had a 2-7 record; in Davis Cup where he had a 4-6 record.  He wouldn’t improve any of those numbers tonight and his loss leaves the Americans with yet another stat line to try to reverse, 0-2.  The Americans are down 0-2 to Great Britain and will begin trying to take the long road back, starting with the Bryan Brothers tomorrow.  With Murray up next for Querrey, it’ll be the American’s turn to play with no expectations.

 

Vito Ellison is in San Diego, California covering the Davis Cup tie between the USA and Great Britain for Tennis Panorama News. Follow his updates on the site’s twitter @TennisNewsTPN, on his personal twitter @vblacklabel. and visit his site Blacklabeltennis.com.

Related article:

Motivated Murray Dismisses Young

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Isner, Querrey and the Bryan Brothers to represent US in Davis Cup

john isner and sam querrey(courtesy of the USTA)

(January 20, 2014) WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. — The USTA and U.S. Davis Cup Captain Jim Courier  announced that top-ranked American and world No. 13 John Isner, world No. 51 Sam Querrey and the world’s No. 1 doubles team of Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan will represent the United States in the 2014 Davis Cup by BNP Paribas First Round tie against Great Britain. The best-of-five match series will be played on a temporary clay court in left field at Petco Park in San Diego January 31-February 2.

 

Reigning Wimbledon champion Andy Murray is expected to compete for Great Britain. The United States-Great Britain rivalry is the oldest in Davis Cup history, dating back to the first competition in 1900. The U.S. holds an 11-7 record against Great Britain in Davis Cup play, winning the last four ties.

 

The best-of-five match series begins Friday, January 31, at 11 a.m. PT, with two singles matches, featuring each country’s No. 1 player against the other country’s No. 2 player. Saturday’s schedule features the pivotal doubles match at noon. The final day of play on Sunday, also beginning at 11 a.m. PT, will feature two “reverse singles” matches, when the No. 1 players square off followed by the No. 2 players meeting each other in the final match. All matches are best-of-five sets until one nation clinches the tie. A revised schedule for Sunday may take place if a team clinches in the third or fourth match.

 

The U.S. is 110-17 all-time in Davis Cup ties played at home and has played in 78 different venues in 34 states. The U.S. Davis Cup team is 17-2 in the state of California and is undefeated in six matches in the San Diego area (1-0 in San Diego and La Jolla; 4-0 in Carlsbad). The winner of this tie will play the Italy-Argentina winner in the Quarterfinals.

 

Isner, 28, is ranked No. 13 and won his eighth ATP World Tour singles title earlier this month in Auckland, New Zealand. Isner will be competing in his ninth Davis Cup tie; he is 6-7 in singles and 2-0 in doubles. In 2012, Isner defeated Roger Federer in the U.S. Davis Cup team’s first round win at Switzerland, one of the biggest wins of his career. Isner went 1-2 in singles in two Davis Cup ties last year, with one of the defeats coming to then-world No. 1 Novak Djokovic. The tallest player in U.S. Davis Cup history, at 6-foot-10, Isner made his Davis Cup debut in the 2010 World Group First Round in Serbia, where he became the first U.S. player to compete in three live rubbers in the same tie since James Blake in the 2003 first round.  Isner represented the U.S. in the 2012 Olympics in London, reaching the quarterfinals before losing to Federer. He turned professional after an outstanding four-year career at the University of Georgia, leading the Bulldogs to the 2007 NCAA team title as a senior.

 

Querrey, 26, was ranked as high as No. 18 last year and was the top-ranked American man for the United States’ Quarterfinal tie against Serbia, when he beat Viktor Troicki and fell to Djokovic in four sets. Querrey, who will be competing in his seventh Davis Cup tie, played in his first Davis Cup tie at home and on a hard court in the 2013 first round in Jacksonville and clinched the tie for the U.S. in the fifth-and-decisive rubber, defeating Thiago Alves, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4, 7-6(3). It was the first time a U.S. Davis Cup match came down to the final match since Pete Sampras defeated Slava Doesedel of the Czech Republic in the 2000 quarterfinals in Los Angeles. Querrey had not won a live singles match prior to that weekend and ended up with two wins, also winning the opening rubber. Querrey now holds a 4-6 Davis Cup singles record (3-1 at home). He made his Davis Cup debut against then-world No. 1 Rafael Nadal on clay in Madrid in the 2008 World Group Semifinal, losing in four sets. Querrey holds seven career ATP singles titles and has been ranked as high as No. 17 in the world.

 

Bob and Mike Bryan, 35, hold a 20-4 doubles record together in U.S. Davis Cup competition. The 20 wins are first all-time in U.S. Davis Cup history for a tandem, and they are the only brothers to pair in victory for the U.S. Bob and Mike also hold the all-time Open era record of most Grand Slam men’s doubles titles (15) and ATP doubles titles (93). In addition, the Bryan brothers won the gold medal in doubles at the 2012 Olympics in London, where they completed a career Golden Slam by winning all four Grand Slam titles and an Olympic gold medal. The Bryans ended 2013 as the No. 1-ranked doubles team in the world, finishing as the top-ranked doubles team in the world for a record ninth time in 11 years.

 

Bob holds a 21-4 doubles record in Davis Cup competition and is also 4-2 in singles (all in dead rubbers). Mike holds a 22-4 record in Davis Cup doubles matches, playing without Bob just twice in his Davis Cup career. Bob did not compete in in the 2012 first round match at Switzerland due to the birth of his daughter, Micaela, teaming with Mardy Fish to defeat 2008 Olympic doubles gold medalists Federer and Stanislas Wawrinka to clinch the tie. Mike also partnered with Fish in the 2008 semifinal against Spain. In 2013, the Bryans lost consecutive Davis Cup doubles matches for the first time in their careers, including a 7-6 (5), 7-6 (1), 5-7, 4-6, 15-13 loss to Serbia in a near-record 4 hour, 23-minute match.

 

Additionally, Captain Courier also announced the practice partners for the U.S. Davis Cup team – 2013 USTA Boys’ 18s national champion Collin Altamirano and 2013 French Open junior quarterfinalist Noah Rubin. Altamirano, 18, won the USTA Boys’ 18s national title last August, becoming the first unseeded player to win the title in the 71 years the tournament has been in its current location in Kalamazoo, Mich. For the victory, Altamirano received a singles main draw wild card into the US Open, where he lost to Philipp Kohlschreiber. He also advanced to the quarterfinals of the US Open Junior Championship. Rubin, 17, has been ranked as high as No. 6 in the world among all juniors ages 18 and under and represented the U.S. in the 16-and-under Junior Davis Cup. Rubin trains at the John McEnroe Tennis Academy in New York and has been described by McEnroe as having Top-50 potential “at minimum.”

 

Founded in 1900, Davis Cup is the world’s largest annual international men’s team competition with 130 nations competing this year.  The U.S. leads all nations with 32 Davis Cup titles. The United States holds a 213-66 all-time Davis Cup record and owns the longest uninterrupted run in the World Group, dating back to 1989. For more information, including access to player and historical Davis Cup records, please go to www.usta.com/daviscup or www.daviscup.com.

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USTA NorCal Honors Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe

(L-R) Golden State Warriors legend Alvin Attles, USTA NorCal President Michael Cooke, Beyond the Baseline Icon Award recipient Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe, and D.A. Abrams, Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer

(L-R) Golden State Warriors legend Alvin Attles, USTA NorCal President Michael Cooke, Beyond the Baseline Icon Award recipient Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe, and D.A. Abrams, Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer

By Kevin Ware

(November 12, 2013) SAN FRANCISCO – Rarely has the word ‘legacy’ seemed so inadequate when used to describe the life of a legend like tennis great Arthur Ashe. But such was the case last week at the USTA Northern California’s “Beyond the Baseline: USTA Honors the Legacy of Arthur Ashe and Community Tennis” event in San Francisco.

The word legacy often implies a lingering and often benign effect from past actions. If last week was any indication, however, Arthur’s legacy is alive and well with an active impact on youths in communities across the country.

Most know of Arthur’s notable on-court achievements; like the fact that he was the first African-American US Open champion in the Open Era, or that he was also the first (and as of yet, only) African-American gentlemen’s champion at both Wimbledon and the Australian Open.

What many may not realize is that Arthur was also a visionary who believed in bringing change to the world through sports and education. Through programs like National Junior Tennis & Learning (NJTL), Arthur used tennis as a means to teach kids about sport and much more.

Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe, Arthur’s widow, put it best: “The purpose of the NJTL wasn’t in teaching kids how to play tennis. It was about getting them to come out and play sports. And then after you got them playing sports you could teach them about life, and life lessons. That was the important lesson of NJTL.”

Since Arthur’s death in 1993, Jeanne has expanded upon the work begun by her late husband with the Arthur Ashe Learning Center (AALC). As stated on their website, the AALC focuses on education, health and wellness, citizenship and self-reliance. By doing so, the AALC attempts to foster “empowerment and leadership in the individual and the community, elevating their sense of purpose and quality of life.”

For her tireless efforts in pursuit of Arthur’s vision, Jeanne was presented the “Beyond the Baseline Icon Award”.  Jeanne graciously made it a point to take pictures with all of the honorees as well as the many young people and fans in attendance. It’s clear to anyone who sees her in action that she finds great purpose in the AALC’s work, and does whatever she can to spread Arthur’s philosophy of sports, education, and empowerment.

When asked how it felt to see the positive effects of Arthur’s work on so many lives over the years, including myself, she stated, “It’s amazing. Simply amazing.” Truer words were never spoken on an evening where many of the local honorees spoke of their beginnings in the NJTL, with some going on to run programs. For a program that was started in 1969, the impact of Ashe many within the tennis community is far-reaching.

Likewise, Jeanne was quick to remind us that Arthur was just a man, not a deity, and that his message of personal empowerment through sports was one that could be spread by all of us. She also reminded us that even though Arthur was the first African-American man to achieve Slam success, the most important aspect of his wins was the fact that he was, first and foremost, an American.

“It wasn’t an Australian that won (the US Open), nor a Spaniard, or German, or Englishman. It was an American. Arthur was an American.”  Though his presence understandably inspired many African-Americans, Arthur’s legacy goes well beyond race. His aim was global, and his intent was to help as many as possible.

Thankfully for us all, Jeanne is here to make sure that we all continue to do our part in carrying that message forward.

In addition to Moutoussamy-Ashe’s Icon Award, USTA NorCal presented awards to ten Bay Area “Beyond the Baseline” Honorees. The local recipients included Michael Applegate, David Van Brunt, Cassandra Borjon, Henry and Connie Chang, Christine Costamagna, Don Johnson, Barbara Lewis, Michael London, and Susan Pretel.

All were honored for their efforts and commitment on behalf of tennis in their own communities. The evening was hosted by Ted Robinson, “The Voice of the 49ers” and frequent tennis announcer.

Kevin Ware is a blogger, writer, and tennis-loving USTA official living in San Francisco.  You can visit his website at www.sftennisfreak.com, and follow him on twitter @SFTennisFreak.

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USTA Selects Petco Park as site for US vs Great Brtitain Davis Cup Tie

Opening Day Petco Field

(November 5, 2013) WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. – The USTA and U.S. Davis Cup Captain Jim Courier announced today that San Diego’s Petco Park has been selected as the site for the 2014 Davis Cup by BNP Paribas first round match between the United States and Great Britain, January 31-February 2. The matches will be played on a clay court in a temporary stadium built in left field, which will have an expected capacity of approximately 8,000.

 

It will be the first time Davis Cup is played in an open air baseball stadium in the United States and the first time the U.S. Davis Cup team hosted a tie on clay since the 1992 semifinals (U.S. def. Sweden, 4-1 in Minneapolis).

 

Reigning Wimbledon champion Andy Murray is expected to compete for Great Britain.

 

The event is being organized, staged and promoted by the USTA. Tickets will go on sale to the general public on December 6 (a USTA member pre-sale begins December 4).  For more information, fans can call the U.S. Davis Cup hotline at (888) 484-8782 or visit www.usta.com/daviscup.

 

“Our squad is ready to go up against a tough adversary in the British squad,” said U.S. Davis Cup Captain Jim Courier.  “Andy Murray is one of the strongest players in the sport and we expect our home crowd to come out and support us in what will be a thrilling Davis Cup tie.”

 

The best-of-five match series begins Friday, January 31, with two singles matches, featuring each country’s No. 1 player against the other country’s No. 2 player.  Saturday’s schedule features the pivotal doubles match, and the final day of play on Sunday includes two “reverse singles” matches, where the No. 1 players square off followed by the No. 2 players going head-to-head.  All matches are best-of-five sets until one country wins three matches.

 

“We are proud to bring Davis Cup to San Diego and tennis to Petco Park,” said Padres President & CEO Mike Dee. “This ballpark was built on the promise of being a multi-use venue that would bring year-round events to San Diego. We look forward to seeing the transformation of left field into a state-of-the-art clay court tennis venue.”

 

The U.S. is 110-17 all-time in Davis Cup ties played at home and has played in 78 different venues in 34 states.  The U.S. Davis Cup team in 17-2 in the state of California and is undefeated in six matches in the San Diego area (1-0 in San Diego and LaJolla; 4-0 in Carlsbad).

 

“Having Davis Cup return to the area allows us to showcase San Diego to a global audience,” said Mike McDowell, President,San Diego Sports Commission.  “We expect a large, patriotic crowd to come to Petco Park to support the U.S. team.”

 

The United States-Great Britain rivalry is the oldest in Davis Cup history, dating back to the first competition in 1900, when the U.S. defeated Great Britain in Boston. The U.S. last faced Great Britain in the 1999 World Group first round in England and won that tie, 3-2, when Courier rallied in the fifth and decisive match to defeat Greg Rusedski in the fifth set, 8-6. Courier also won a five-set match on the opening day of that tie, defeating Tim Henman in 4 hours, 12 minutes.

 

The U.S. holds an 11-7 record against Great Britain in Davis Cup play, winning the last four ties.  Great Britain’s last win in the series came in 1935. The 1999 first round tie was the only meeting between the two nations under the current World Group format.

 

This will be the third consecutive home tie for the U.S. Davis Cup team after hosting the 2013 Davis Cup first round and quarterfinal in Jacksonville, Fla., and Boise, Idaho, respectively.

 

Tennis Channel will present live daily coverage of the U.S. vs. Great Britain Davis Cup match. The winner of the United States and Great Britain tie will play either Italy or Argentina in the quarterfinals, April 4-6.

 

The site selection is subject to final approval by the International Tennis Federation

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AP Reports That Petco Park Will Host Davis Cup Tie Between the US and Great Britain

USDavisCup

(November 4, 2013) The Associated Press is reporting that first-round Davis Cup tie between Britain and the United States will take place at Petco Park in San Diego, California from Jan. 31-Feb. 2, 2014. Petco Park is the home of Major League Baseball’s San Diego Padres.

According to AP, the tennis court is expected to be placed in the outfield.

An official announcement from the United States Tennis Association is expected on Tuesday.

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Cibulkova Beats Radwanska in Dramatic Fashion at Stanford

Cibulkova wins BOTWC

By Kevin Ware

(July 28, 2013) STANFORD, CA – The last time Dominika Cibulkova faced Agnieszka Radwanska on a tennis court, it ended in a 6-0, 6-0 drubbing in Sydney.  In today’s Bank of the West final, she erased that brutal memory with a dramatic 3-6, 6-4, 6-4 comeback victory for her third career title, and her first win over her Polish opponent.

But it wasn’t easy.

The first set went on serve until the fifth game, with Cibulkova broken at love in a game that ended emphatically with a jumping over-the-shoulder overhead by Radwanska. She had a chance to break back three games later but was unable to convert the one break point she managed to get against Radwanska’s impressive defense.

Having missed that lone opportunity for a break, she was broken again at love in the next game to hand Radwanska the set, along with a fair bit of momentum heading into the second set.

Cibulkova administered a measure of payback and broke Radwanska at love for 4-3 lead in the second set. That one break was all she needed to take the match into a decisive third.

After dropping the second set, Radwanska left court to regroup with a bathroom break. Cibulkova took this opportunity to call for a coach visit.  When asked afterward why she called him after winning the set, Cibulkova had this to say:

“(I called him) because I felt it’s the right time, you know, and he also wanted to tell me something. He told me to stick with my game, and he told me some extra things that I can do. And he calmed me down. He said everything was fine and I’m playing well. Just to keep it up and do a little small changes.”

The brief off-court break initially appeared to help Radwanska at the start of the third set. She began with a strong service hold, including two aces, and regained vital momentum as she raced to a 3-1 lead after another break of the Cibulkova serve.

Cibulkova, however, had other ideas and started working her way back into the match with fearless hitting. She plays with an aggressive “High risk, high reward” strategy, because she’s a big believer in putting fate into your own hands. After her semifinal match against Sorana Cirstea, she said: “I’d rather lose it myself than she hit the winner!”

At times it looked as if the risks were greater than rewards. But as the third set progressed and the breaks of serve from Radwanska’s side mounted (three total for the set), the payoff was evident.  A final break of serve for 5-4 gave Cibulkova a chance to serve for the match.

Closing a match is never easy, and this one was no exception. Nerves got the best of Cibulkova on her first three match points as she sent each of three nervous forehands beyond the baseline. The fourth match point featured a thrilling stab drop volley winner by Radwanska on a strong Cibulkova passing shot.

Cibulkova finally won on her fifth match point with a screaming backhand cross court winner that the exhausted Radwanska could only watch. She dropped to her back and savored the well-earned victory.

Radwanska had chances but wasn’t able to convert when it mattered. Her first serve percentage was lower than Cibulkova’s (52% vs. 56%), and was a major reason she faced 14 break points in the match.

Afterward, she talked about some of the issues she faced this week with the court conditions at Stanford, which she never really got used to, and how they affected her game. “I didn’t play my best tennis at all today. I think everything was a problem for me. I couldn’t feel the ball well – actually I couldn’t feel the ball the whole tournament.”

The dramatically different daytime conditions for the final were also problematic for Radwanska, who’d played all of her previous matches as the evening headliner.

“When I played at night it was much slower so I could try something else and mixing up and be in the match. Here it was different, the sun and the heat and everything.”

Apart from a precautionary wrapping of ice on her Achilles, Cibulkova was all smiles after the match.  She was jokingly asked about the Sydney final, and whether this was how she responds to a love-love loss.

“The difference between Sydney and today was that I made the first game. And after the first game I looked at my coach and was like, “Here we go. I’m here and it’s gonna be good today.”

It was a good day for Cibulkova, but it could also have been a good day for Radwanska. In a match with 205 total points, Cibulkova won 104 to Radwanska’s 101. Three points separated the two over the course of a 2:30 match. It doesn’t get much closer than that.

When asked if she was going to treat herself to anything special after such a big win, Cibulkova had to think long and hard for a reply. “I don’t know. I bought myself a new car (a Range Rover Sport) before the tournament, so I don’t know. I’ll save some money.”

Kevin Ware was covering the Bank of the West Classic as media for Tennis Panorama News.  Follow his personal twitter @SFTennisFreak and site kevware.com/tennis/.

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Seeds Cibulkova and Hampton Overcome Inspired Opponents

DSCN8179

By Kevin Ware

Dominika Cibulkova [3] defeats Stephanie Voegele 7-5 7-6(5)

(July 25, 2013) STANFORD, CA – Worries about fitness and the lingering effects of an Achilles injury fell by the wayside for Dominika Cibulkova after she overcame Stephanie Voegele of Switzerland 7-5 7-6(5) in the first match of the day on stadium court.

She showed no signs of slowness or hesitation, but did sport a layer of physio tape on her lower leg. “The tape is for prevention. My Achilles will always be tough to deal with because I have this problem with the bone. That’s why my physio has to take good care of it so that I can keep playing.”

Though her leg was fine, the rust in her game was another matter. She struggled to close out the first set after leading 5-2, only doing so after breaking the Voegele serve in the eleventh game to take it at 7-5.

With the first set under her belt, Cibulkova looked poised to close out the second in more direct fashion. Voegele had other ideas, once again working her way back into the match after Cibulkova had lead 5-2.

Fittingly, the second set ended in a tiebreaker that Cibulkova won with fearless hitting from her forehand at 5-all, before serving it out on her first match point.

When asked afterward if she’d expected such a tough match from her Swiss opponent, Cibulkova was very complimentary of her Voegele’s abilities.

“I expected a really tough match because she’s playing really well at this time. I played her long time ago but remember how she’s playing close to the lines.”

“I just made it tough for myself. In the end I made it, but it could be easier for me.”

Hampton wins

Jamie Hampton [4] defeats Nicole Gibbs 7-5 6-7(5) 6-3

Fourth-seed Jamie Hampton had her hands full overcoming her own “rust”, as well as the inspired play of Nicole Gibbs; who was making her professional debut at this tournament after a stellar career at Stanford.

Rust on Hampton’s part was understandable, since this was Hampton’s first match of the tournament after receiving a first round bye as one of the top 4 seeds. “I’ve been here for a week now and I haven’t played. And I’ve never done anything like that before.”

The lack of sharpness in Hampton’s game was less of an issue, however, than the dogged determination shown by Gibbs.

Hampton might hit a harder ball than Gibbs, but Gibbs showed no sign of intimidation as she moved her opponent from side-to-side to keep the ball out of Hampton’s wheel house, and to expose any footwork weaknesses.

The first set was tightly-contested until a loose game by Gibbs at 5-all gave Hampton the crucial break, and allowed her to serve it out at 7-5.

The second set, won by Gibbs in a tiebreak, was an equally tight affair; made more so because of Hampton’s mounting unforced error total as she mixed winners and unforced errors interchangeably throughout.

After the match, Hampton was asked specifically about her serving difficulties on the day when she offered this assessment of her overall play: “To be honest, I just felt like I was struggling in general today.”

In spite of the efforts of her Stanford football team cheering section, Gibbs game began to unravel. The third set saw Hampton draw upon her experience as pro to serve bigger and hit bigger on shots that finally started to find their mark. There was little Gibbs could do than just say “too good”.

Gibbs managed a brief comeback (after falling behind 0-4) to get back on serve at 3-4. But she couldn’t sustain the momentum, and gave up one final break for 3-5. Hampton quickly closed out the match for the win.

Gibbs was remarkably upbeat after the match, and happy with the fight she showed on court. “The biggest takeaway is that I can play at this level, and that’s really exciting for me!”

Madison runs for a forehand

Other Match Notes

Daniela Hantuchova lost two straight tiebreakers to hand Urszula Radwanska a 7-6(3) 7-6(3) victory, and her second straight appearance in the Bank of the West quarterfinals. This loss is sure to stick with Hantuchova for because of the seven straight points she lost in the second set tiebreaker after leading 3-0.

Vera Dushevina beat American Madison Keys in the evening match on stadium court. Keys was unable to get any aspect of her ground game on track during the match, and was also done in by Dushevina’s strong service returns.

Keys is widely touted as one of the top prospects for future US slam success. And while it’s true that she has an immense amount of talent, she also still has a long way to go in terms of developing a more complete game to compliment her strong serve and ground strokes.

Kevin Ware is covering the Bank of the West Classic as media for Tennis Panorama News. Follow his live updates on twitter @TennisNewsTPN.  Follow his personal twitter @SFTennisFreak and site kevware.com/tennis/.

All photography by David Sweet.

BANK OF THE WEST CLASSIC
Stanford, CA, USA
July 22-28, 2013
$795,707/Premier
Hard/Outdoors

Results – Thursday, July 25, 2013
Singles – Second Round
(3) Dominika Cibulkova (SVK) d. Stefanie Voegele (SUI) 75 76(5)
(4) Jamie Hampton (USA) d. (WC) Nicole Gibbs (USA) 75 67(5) 63
(7) Urszula Radwanska (POL) d. Daniela Hantuchova (SVK) 76(3) 76(3)
(Q) Vera Dushevina (RUS) d. Madison Keys (USA) 76(0) 62

Doubles – Quarterfinals
(1) Kops-Jones/Spears (USA/USA) d. Cako/Pluskota (USA/USA) 63 62
(2) Goerges/Jurak (GER/CRO) d. Grandin/Rosolska (RSA/POL) 06 62 105 (Match TB)
Order Of Play – Friday, July 26, 2013
Stadium (from 12.00hrs)
1. Sorana Cirstea vs. Olga Govortsova
2. Urszula Radwanska vs. Dominika Cibulkova
3. Jamie Hampton vs. Vera Dushevina (NB 15.30hrs)
4. Agnieszka Radwanska vs. Varvara Lepchenko (NB 20.00hrs)
5. Hantuchova/Raymond vs. Muhammed/Will

Court 6 (NB 16.30hrs)
1. Govortsova/Kudryavtseva vs. Chan/Dushevina (after suitable rest)

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WTA Stanford – Monday Schedule

BOTW-V-WHITE

BANK OF THE WEST CLASSIC
Stanford, USA
July 22-July 28, 2013
$795,707/Premier
Hard/Outdoors

Order Of Play – Monday, July 22, 2013
Stadium (from 10.00hrs)
1. Olga Puchkova vs. Vera Dushevina (Singles Q Final)
2. Julia Goerges vs. Olga Govortsova (NB 11.30hrs)
3. Mallory Burdette vs. Francesca Schiavone (NB 13.00hrs)
4. Sorana Cirstea vs. Ayumi Morita
5. Stefanie Voegele vs. Ajla Tomljanovic
6. Madison Keys vs. Magdalena Rybarikova (NB 19.00hrs)
7. Kiki Bertens vs. Nicole Gibbs

Court 6 (from 10.00hrs)
1. Michelle Larcher de Brito vs. Natalie Grandin (Singles Q Final)
2. Alla Kudryavtseva vs. Sacha Jones (Singles Q Final)
3. Sharon Fichman vs. Coco Vandeweghe (Singles Q Final)

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Bartoli Pulls Out of Stanford

MarionBartoli

(July 18, 2013) Three-time Stanford finalist and reigning Wimbledon champion Marion Bartoli has announced that she is withdrawing from the 2013 event due to a hamstring strain.

“During Wimbledon I developed a strain in my hamstring which has not healed over the past two weeks,” said Bartoli. “I have been receiving therapy and was optimistic that I would be able to participate in the Bank of the West Classic as it is one of my favorite tournaments on the circuit.  Unfortunately, the injury has not completely healed and I will be unable to participate.”

With the withdrawal former Stanford All-American Mallory Burdette automatically moves into the main draw. Burdette, who turned professional shortly after last year’s Bank of the West Classic, reached the third round of last year’s US Open and has risen quickly up the world rankings. She is currently No. 78.

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