2014/10/23

Murray Wins 30th Title with victory over Ferrer in Vienna

murray with trophy

By Florian Heer

(October 19, 2014) VIENNA – In Sunday’s blockbuster final at the Erste Bank Open the tournament’s two top-seeds as well as ATP World Tour Finals contenders, David Ferrer and Andy Murray, faced each other for the title. It was the first time that two wild cards contested an ATP World Tour Final since s’Hertogenbosch in 2004 when Michael Llodra defeated Guillermo Coria.

Ferrer advanced to his fourth final of the season defeating Tobias Kamke, Ivo Karlovic and Philipp Kohlschreiber on Saturday in the longest match of the tournament so far. Murray, who made his Vienna debut, reached the final without dropping a set beating Vasek Pospisil, Jan-Lennard Struff and Viktor Troicki.

Ferrer had the better start in Vienna’s showdown, capitalized on the unforced errors Murray made in the early stage of the encounter by winning the opening set after 64 minutes. Yet, the Scot found his rhythm in the following and took the final the distance. In an even third set with a couple of breaks on both sides, Ferrer couldn’t serve out in the ninth game and suffered the decisive break in the following. After two hours and 41 minutes, Murray kept his nerve, fired an ace at match point and claimed his 30th ATP title, his first on Austrian soil, winning 5-7, 6-2, 7-5.

“It was a tough match with long rallies and long games. Matches against David have never been easy, because he moves and returns well. Mentally the third set wasn’t easy for both of us as we had a lot of ups and downs in our game. Luckily I was more consistent and aggressive at the end,” a happy but also exhausted Murray told afterwards and considered a comeback to Vienna. “I always enjoyed defending my titles. This has already started at the beginning of my career in San José, where I won my very first tournament. Same is valid for St. Petersburg. You prefer returning to a tournament you won than coming back to a spot with bad memories,” the British world number 11 said.

murray ferrer

Ferrer was understandably disappointed but appreciated the great atmosphere in Vienna during this week. “I like this tournament and the centre court. The spectators were great, how they supported all of the players. Of course I’m disappointed but at least I reached another final, that’s positive. In the important moments Andy played more aggressively than me. I wasn’t surprised that he came back in the final set, he has the best return game on the Tour,” the Spaniard analysed. “I still have the chance to qualify for London. There are two more important weeks for me. For sure I prefer winning in London over taking the title at my home tournament in Valencia,” Ferrer added.

Murray will head into the penultimate week of the ATP Race just above cut-off for qualification to London with 3,875 points, 110 points more than Ferrer. Both players will continue their push for a spot at the ATP World Tour Finals at next week’s Valencia Open 500.

Vienna doubles

In the doubles final between two Austrian-German-tandems former Wimbledon and US Open champions Jürgen Melzer and Philipp Petzschner gained their first Tour title since 2011 winning 7-6, 4-6, 10-7 over Andre Begemann and Julian Knowle. “Both of us won the singles title here in Vienna, so we wanted to take the doubles as well. This title is very important to us, as we only had the chance to be in the draw with a wild card,” Melzer told. “This week has been like a comeback for us. It feels like a revival. We both had to cope with a lot of injuries in the past and winning the title in the second tournament we are playing together in over one year is like a dream,” Petzschner added. Julian Knowle suffered another defeat in Vienna and remains uncrowned in Austria’s capital. After 2006, 2009, 2011 and 2013 the Austrian doubles world number 39 lost his fifth final in the Stadthalle.

Earlier the day, the final news conference took place in which the organizers were satisfied with the week here in Vienna. “We have been working hard for six years to develop the tournament and we could present top-stars like Jo-Wilfried Tsonga or Juan-Martin Del Potro in the past. A final with Andy Murray and David Ferrer could also take place at a Masters event or even a Grand Slam. All of the players have always pointed out, how comfortable they felt during their stay here in Vienna. It is an open secret that Stockholm offered more money to Murray but he eventually decided in favour of Vienna,” tournament director Herwig Straka told the press. “In terms of numbers, it was our aim to reach the mark of 50.000 spectators this week and it seems that we are going to meet our goal with today’s final,” Straka added and said that it will be a goal in the long run to establish an ATP 500 event in Austria’s capital in case the numbers of tournaments in this category will be extended.

Florian Heer travels the tennis tour with a focus on ATP Challenger events and the ITF Future Circuit!  Follow his twitter account @Florian _Heer.

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Top Seeds Ferrer and Murray Reach Vienna Open Final

David Ferrer

David Ferrer

By Florian Heer

(October 18, 2014) VIENNA – The final four met on Day 6 at the Erste Bank Open. Top-seeds David Ferrer and Andy Murray continued their push for a spot at the ATP World Tour Finals on semi-final day in Vienna, meanwhile US Open champion Marin Cilic has claimed the fifth spot to make his debut in London this year.

Andy Murray took on Viktor Troicki in the opening match on Centre Court for the sixth time. The world No. 11 had never lost to the Serbian qualifier before and was in total control in Saturday’s match, lost his service only once in the fourth game of the opening set and eventually sealed victory in 82 minutes winning 6-4, 6-3. Murray has reached his only second final of the year after winning the title in Shenzhen earlier this month.

“Every day it’s getting better here,” said the Scot. “I start to get used to the conditions more. All of my last opponents were big servers, so it was not easy to find my rhythm but I managed to get through. Today, it went pretty well but Viktor had his chances in both sets.”

I played well in Rome. I played well at the French Open as well as in Wimbledon with the exception of the match against Dimitrov. I played well at the US Open and in Canada, where I lost to Tsonga with a break up in the third set. I played some decent tennis in Asia and this week has also been good so far. The last three or four months were good,” said Murray reflecting on his performance during the season.

“Ferrer has been playing well for the last few weeks. He has got a lot of motivation because of London, so I expect a close match,” Murray is looking forward to his first final in Vienna. “Getting to thirty (titles) would be a nice number.”

Murray has already been aware of facing Jürgen Melzer in his first round match at the Valencia Open 500 next week. “I played well against Jürgen in the past but we also had some close matches. Normally I have enjoyed playing against left handers throughout my career. My brother is a leftie, so when I grew up, I got used to the spin and the way the play. It has never been a huge issue to me playing against them. Jürgen, however, is a tricky opponent with an unorthodox style hitting a lot of drop shots and he changes the pace of the ball well,” Murray said.

Vienna’s top seed David Ferrer had to fight hard finally overcoming Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-3, 2-6, 7-6(3) after an exciting two hours and 26 minutes. The world No. 5 fought back from being 2-4 down in the final set.

“The tie-break in the third set was obviously the key today,” Ferrer said. I played aggressively and Philipp made more mistakes in the important moments. Step by step I’m getting used to the court here. The balls are very fast and difficult to control. I am still fighting to qualify for London, so it was an important victory for me.

“Tonight I will only have a rest. Playing Andy is always difficult, as he is a very good player. It is irrelevant that I defeated him in Shanghai in our last match. This was outdoors, now we are indoors and I have to serve better than today,” the Spaniard added.

Murray and Ferrer moved up one spot in the ATP Race to London next month. The Scot is now up to eighth and the Spaniard is in ninth position.

Tournament director Herwig Straka is more than happy presenting a “dream-final” to the spectators on Sunday. “Having the first and second seeds clashing each other in the final is great. It is very impressive, how both are playing throughout the week. Despite the nice weather here in Vienna, we hope for a lot of people coming to the Stadthalle tomorrow,” the Austrian said.

Florian Heer travels the tennis tour with a focus on ATP Challenger events and the ITF Future Circuit!  Follow his twitter account @Florian _Heer.

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Murray, Ferrer, Kohlschreiber and Troicki Reach Semis in Vienna

By Florian Heer

Andy Murray

Andy Murray

(October 17, 2014) VIENNA – In a bid for crucial points in the ATP Race to London, David Ferrer and Andy Murray took last minute wild cards into the 40th edition of the Erste Bank Open and both headlined the action on quarterfinal day in Vienna on Friday.

Andy Murray is making his Vienna debut as he continues his push for a Top 8 finish and a spot at the ATP World Tour Finals. It is the first time the Brit has played in four straight post-US Open tournaments since 2008. Murray started his week with a 6-4, 6-4 victory over Vasek Pospisil on Thursday. In the quarterfinal he clashed German youngster Jan-Lennard Struff for the first time. Murray emerged victorious after 86 minutes winning 6-2, 7-5 but had to work hard for his points.

The world No. 11, who didn’t know much about the German before the match, didn’t seem to be surprised facing such a competitive opponent.

“I expected a good match,” Murray said. “He is a big guy, strong with a good serve. Playing against such a player on indoor courts is always difficult. I had to fight hard. Nonetheless, I was more solid than yesterday and made less mistakes. I changed rhythm and the variety in my shots as much as I could and tried to go for the winners,” Murray explained.

 

Top-seed David Ferrer went up against big-serving Croat Ivo Karlovic. The pair has met three times with the Spanish world No. 5 leading their head-to-head record 2-1 before Friday’s encounter. After taking the opening set without any break points, in the tie-break, Ferrer gained the decisive break in the third game of the second and served out by an ace winning 7-6, 6-4 after 84 minutes.

“It was very difficult today because Ivo has the best serve on the Tour,” said the relieved Spaniard afterwards.

“It is very nice to get the support from the people here in Vienna. You feel that the crowd loves tennis and this is very good for us players on the court,” Ferrer said about the Austrian audience, which backed the Spaniard in the important moments of the evening match.

Philipp Kohlschreiber will be the next opponent for the second seed, as he won the first ever all-German encounter against an in-form Benjamin Becker, who reached the stage of the final four in Tokyo two weeks ago, in straight sets winning 6-4, 7-6. The man from Augsburg, who turned 31 on Thursday, hit eleven aces and won 67 percent of his serves to advance to his third semi-final in Vienna after 2008 and 2009.

 

Viktor Troicki

Viktor Troicki

Great Britain’s No. 1 is going to face Viktor Troicki in the next round. The Serbian qualifier has reached his first semi-final since Moscow 2011 winning 7-6, 6-7, 6-2 over Tomaz Bellucci in two hours and 27 minutes.

“I’m happy to reach the semi-finals here in Vienna, a tournament with so many tough players,“ said the Serb. “It has passed a long time since I have reached this stage. I had some pretty close matches here in the qualifying and a long one today. Playing six matches is hard but I’m feeling good and fresh on the court. I felt physically more prepared in the third set. I also felt that Tomaz (Bellucci) was not at 100 per cent, and I took that opportunity to play on the offensive. It worked out well,” Troicki said afterwards.

“Against Andy you have to play smart. You need to play offensive and of course you have to use your chances,” the Serb is looking forward to the match, even though he has never been able to gain a victory against the Brit.”

Florian Heer travels the tennis tour with a focus on ATP Challenger events and the ITF Future Circuit!  Follow his twitter account @Florian _Heer.

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Wozniacki Tops Sharapova, Simon Stuns No. 4 Seed Ferrer at US Open

Wozniacki in press

(August 31, 2014) Caroline Wozniacki in the midst of training for the New York City marathon, used her strength and stamina to stop No. 5 Maria Sharapova 6-4, 2-6, 6-2 in 2 hours, 37 minutes to reach her first major quarterfinal in over two years.

“Well, it means a lot to me,” the Dane said of the win. “You know, the season for me has been a little bit up and down, and it’s so nice to kind of start feeling like I’m playing the way I want to. You know, this hard court season has been amazing for me. I actually started already feeling really good on court since Eastbourne. I have just been building on my game since then. You know, today I just kept thinking to myself, Just stay in there. Try and take the initiative. It was really hard. The wind was blowing a lot from one side of the court. So you kind of had to, you know, adapt a lot.”

“It was quite a long match,” Sharapova commented. “Yeah, making a long story short, I felt like in the end of the first set made a few sloppy errors to lose that first set in the end. Was happy with the way I turned things around and started playing a bit more aggressive. Got in the points with her. In the third set I stopped doing that. Allowed her to get back in those long points, long rallies, and ultimately went for the shots that created errors.

I thought she played really well,” the Russian continued. “She made me hit a lot of balls. That’s always been her strength. But she did extremely well today. She’s a great retriever, especially in these types of conditions. I just felt like I maybe went for a little too much.”

Wozniacki will take on Sara Errani for place in the semis.

 

 

 

 

No. 4 seed David Ferrer became the first major casualty on the men’s side of the draw at the US Open on Sunday when the Spaniard lost to Frenchman Gilles Simon, the 26th seed 6-3, 3-6, 6-1, 6-3 in the third round.

“It was tough match today,” Ferrer said. “There is a lot of humidity, very sun, and it was not easy for me. I was not good with my fitness. Nothing else, no? He was better.”
Ferrer, known for his steadiness had whopping 52 unforced errors. Ferrer is the only man’s top 10 player no longer in the draw, while, have of the top 10 women are already gone.

Asked if he was disappointed with his performance Ferrer said: “I am okay. It’s one match of my career. Don’t worry. Now we have couple of weeks to rest, to stay in home. Nothing else. Enjoy with my family.”

“Gilles is very consistent player; he was top 10 in 2008. He’s a really good player.”

“It was really, really difficult to play today,” Simon said. “I feel it was one of the hardest days for me on the court because it was hot and it was so humid. I never sweat like this in the last ten years, I feel. So it was really difficult. Plus, I was not really prepared because everyone was talking about the cooler day with maybe some rain. I didn’t see it. So, yeah, to play David in this condition is really demanding physically. At one point I was really tired. I felt it would be difficult. But then I had more energy; I felt he was in trouble, also. I mean, it’s not very often that him and me are tired like this just after two hours, but I feel we run a lot and, one more time, the conditions were tough.”

Going into Sunday, none of the top 10 men’s seeds had lost, in contrast to the women’s side, which had lost half of the top 10.

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Bernard Tomic Withdraws from US Open with Hip Injury

Bernard Tomic

(August 29, 2014) FLUSHING MEADOWS – Bernard Tomic withdrew from his match AGAINST David Ferrer due to a left hip injury on Fridayat the US Open. With the withdrawal Ferrer advances to the third round.

Tomic had surgery on both hips back in January.

“I was sick for the last 10 days,” said the 21-yeae-old Australian. “It was difficult having the flu, but my hip’s a little bit not in shape. I’m feeling it inside. So I did the best thing not to play. You know, I don’t want to muck around with that area. For sure something is there. I’ve got to get it checked. Got to get it analyzed the next few days. I’ve got to look into it and see what’s wrong, because I’m definitely feeling something in that area. For me, it’s not good right now. It’s painful.”
Tomic said that the injury flared up during his first round doubles match with Nick Kyrgios. “I can’t afford to get on court and, you know, play against David and cause much more pain to myself, because, you know, I’m going to have to stay with him the whole match,” he said. For me right now I cannot do that. Who knows? I can potentially make it ten times worse. For me it’s the best thing not to go on court today. It’s a very difficult decision for me, but I have to do this.

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Roger Federer Takes Sixth Cincinnati Crown for 80th Career Title

By Dave Gertler

(August 17, 2014) MASON, OHIO – After making the final of four Masters 1000 events this year, Roger Federer has finally broken through to win his first title at that level since 2012. After beating fellow top 10 players Andy Murray and Milos Raonic to reach the final, Federer’s opponent at the Western & Southern Open in Mason, Ohio, was world No. 6 Spaniard David Ferrer, who has troubled the world No .3 lately, but had not beaten Federer in their 15 career matches.

 

Like their quarterfinal played out in Toronto last week, their meeting at the Lindner Family Tennis Center today also went three sets, with 33-year-old Federer giving away the middle set to his 32-year-old opponent.

 

With Federer serving first, both players held easily until Ferrer – serving at 3-4 – double faulted twice to hand Federer the break. Although Federer consolidated for 6-3, it was not before he went down 0-40 and proceeded to save four break points, perhaps a sign of what was coming in the following set.

 

“Let’s not talk about the second set,” Federer joked after the match, perhaps offering some insight into the kind of mentality that brought his title count to 80 today. “I can dwell on it for like 30 minutes if you want and then the press conference is over and we talked about the second set rather than the good stuff.”

 

The second set saw Ferrer tighten up his return game, find his rhythm and apply pressure on Federer’s serve, breaking the Swiss twice for a 6-1 second set. However, said Federer, “I did get some momentum back I think at the end of the second set, even though I did end up losing it 6‑1. I really thought I was feeling better again towards the end of the second set, like he felt better at the end of the first.”

 

Federer, who has reached 8 finals in 2014, compared to a total of 3 in 2013, led with his serve in the third set, when he served 4 of his 6 aces in the match. “The third set he serve unbelievable,” said Ferrer, who was unable to make his opponent save any break points in the final set, while Federer broke him twice for a final score of 6-3, 1-6, 6-2. Federer remains unbeaten in Cincinnati finals, and holds a record 6 titles there.

 

“We’ve never played each other in slams,” said Federer when asked about his one-sided rivalry against Ferrer, “So from that standpoint, like I mentioned the other day, head‑to‑heads don’t mean everything.”

 

Having played ten matches in 13 days, Federer said that on Monday, he considered not playing the Western & Southern Open, in order to conserve energy for next week’s US Open. “I could have just not played here,” said Federer, “And gone into the Open feeling good about my chances, now I feel even better, you know. On the flip coin, what was the other plan? Practice? Take a few days off? But then I have to grind out in the practice. I still believe matches are the best practice right now.”

 

For Federer it was his 80th career singles title.

 

Earlier, Serena Williams beat Ana Ivanovic 6-4, 6-1 to claim her first Cincinnati title, while Bob and Mike Bryan ended Vasek Pospisil and Jack Sock’s 14-match winning streak when they beat them in the doubles final 6-3, 6-2 for their fifth title in Cincinnati. Americans were also winners in the women’s doubles, where Raquel Kops-Jones and Abigail Spears played Timea Babos and Kristina Mladenovic, who retired injured from the match trailing 1-6, 0-2.

 

The Western & Southern Open also set new attendance records, drawing 191, 752 fans over 16 sessions to the Lindner Family Tennis Center in Mason, Ohio.

Dave Gertler is a tennis journalist, player and musician based in Sydney who was covering the Western & Southern Open for Tennis Panorama News. Follow his personal Twitter @davegertler,  read his blog,  and listen to his podcast, Tennis Days

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Serena Williams and David Ferrer Reach Cincinnati Finals

Serena Williams

Serena Williams

By Dave Gertler

 

(August 16, 2014) MASON, OHIO - Serena Williams and David Ferrer are through to their respective finals at the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati, Ohio. To win her first title in Cincinnati after reaching last year’s final, said Williams, “It would mean a lot. I haven’t had an opportunity to win this one. It’s a tournament in the States. It would be great for me and for American tennis.”

 

To reach the final, she had to get past an in-form Caroline Wozniacki in a see-saw match that saw Williams go down a set 2-6 to the 12th seed before swinging the momentum back in her favor and taking the second set 6-2.

 

Williams alluded to some physical wear and tear, perhaps from 12 matches in the last 3 weeks, saying her lower back was feeling ‘super tight’ in the match. “That’s when I really relaxed, to be honest,” said Williams, “By then I was able just to go for more shots and come to the net more and just kind of just not have anything to lose.”

 

“I’m fine,” Williams elaborated about her physical condition leading into the US Open, “Just played a lot of tennis in three weeks. I’ve won one, semis in another. I’ve just been going, going, going, going. So that’s it. Just a little wear and getting my body used to playing matches, because my body is not used to playing a lot of matches anymore this year.”

 

Although she was broken 8 times throughout the match, Wozniacki dropped her serve a total of 8 times, also serving 8 double faults. “I was serving pretty well in the beginning,” said Wozniacki, who also lost to Williams in last week’s Roger’s Cup quarterfinal, “But then I kind of just lost a little bit of timing. Then trying to work my way back in, it’s hard.”

 

Between Williams and Wozniacki, there were only 3 holds of serve in the final set, compared to 7 breaks. “Hopefully my arm will be OK tomorrow. We’ll see.” said Williams, who fired off 4 aces in the final set to take the match, and will face either Maria Sharapova or Ana Ivanovic in the final.

 

Meanwhile David Ferrer has reached his 7th career Masters 1000 by beating Julien Benneteau in the first men’s semi-final. Pleased to be appearing in his debut semi-final at this level, Benneteau lasted 1 hour and 11 minutes on Center Court against his opponent who was long ago dubbed The Wall because of his retrieving abilities. “When he has the ball on the racquet, on the return,” said the 32-year-old Frenchman, outlining the type of stress the Spaniard typically causes most of his opponents, “He doesn’t miss anything. Never, never, never.”

 

Ferrer, known more for his returning than his serving, won 75% of points on first serve, and saved the only break point Benneteau made him face during the match. After winning the match 6-3, 6-2, Ferrer was asked who his preferred opponent would be out of the next semi-final. “Well, you know, with Roger,” said Ferrer, “I never beaten him, so of course I prefer Milos. It’s normal.” Ferrer will be focusing singularly on the Western & Southern Open final to be played on Sunday. “I don’t care the US Open in these moments,” he said, “US Open is going to be in two weeks or one week. This tournament is very important for me and for everybody because. Is one Master 1000.”
While Canadian up-and-comer Milos Raonic has the odds stacked against him in his semi-final, never having beaten Roger Federer in their five meetings, Ana Ivanovic has won her most recent match against Maria Sharapova, although Sharapova leads their rivalry 8 wins to 3.

 

Dave Gertler is a tennis journalist, player and musician based in Sydney covering the Western & Southern Open for Tennis Panorama News. Follow his Twitter updates from the tournament on @TennisNewsTPN, follow him on his personal Twitter @davegertler,  read his blog,  and listen to his podcast, Tennis Days .

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Raonic Sets Up Semifinal Date Against Federer in Cincinnati

Milos Raonic

Milos Raonic

By Dave Gertler

 

(August 15, 2014) MASON, OHIO – After the disappointment of failing to reach the semifinal of his home Masters 1000 last week in Toronto, Milos Raonic has breezed into the Western & Southern Open semifinal today in Cincinnati. While Raonic’s 6-1, 6-0 win over Fabio Fognini might seem ominous, his semifinal opponent will be Roger Federer who defeated Andy Murray 6-3, 7-5 in the evening session.

 

Fognini – who had advanced to his first career quarterfinal in Cincinnati – ran out of luck as he stepped up against the big-serving Canadian. In a match lasting 57 minutes, Raonic’s serve statistics were troubling for his opponent. He only lost 4 points the whole match behind his first serve, and of the 10 he lost behind his second serve, 3 were double faults. “You can’t really control him,” said Raonic of his often erratic opponent, “It can be very sporadic at times. You just focus on yourself and make sure you do yourself and see and adjust to how things are coming from him as you go.”

 

Although the 27-year-old Italian forced Raonic to successfully defend 7 break points in the second set, he had fewer points than that won on his own serve, and was unable to get on the scoreboard. Despite having two game points in the last game of the match, Fognini double-faulted twice. The last play of the match was a Fognini foot-fault, reminiscent of his loss last year in Cincinnati to Radek Stepanek, where he deliberately foot-faulted to lose the match, before being booed off the court.

 

In Friday’s first men’s quarterfinal, Julien Benneteau scored an upset win over 3rd seed Stan Wawrinka in three sets on Center Court. Despite the Swiss racing away to a 6-1 lead, Benneteau drew on the confidence of his winning career record against Wawrinka, and was able to turn the match around, losing only three more games, taking the match 1-6, 6-1, 6-2.

 

“At the end of first set,” said the 32-year-old Frenchman, of how he turned the match around, “I talk to myself and I said, OK, if I don’t change anything it’s going to be 1 and 3 in 50 minutes and you’re going to lose it. So I said that I need to play harder from the baseline and to put a little bit more intensity in my strokes. Even if I miss it’s OK, but I have to play like this. I thought that the two, three first games of the second set are going to be tough. It’s going to be a tough fight, and I prepare myself to resist to that. I say, OK, you have to stay in the game. You have to take the score. And I broke in the first game, on his first service game in the second set.”
Making his first career appearance at a Masters 1000 semifinal, world No.41 Benneteau is looking forward to the opportunity, saying, “Of course it means something. But the tournament is not done, and I still have a lot to do. We will see.” His semifinal opponent will be David Ferrer, who ousted fellow Spaniard Tommy Robredo earlier on Friday.

 

Dave Gertler is a tennis journalist, player and musician based in Sydney covering the Western & Southern Open for Tennis Panorama News. Follow his Twitter updates from the tournament on @TennisNewsTPN, follow him on his personal Twitter @davegertler,  read his blog,  and listen to his podcast, Tennis Days .

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Leonardo Mayer Wins First ATP Title with Upset Over Top Seed David Ferrer

By Florian Heer

 

(July 20, 2014) HAMBURG – Sunday’s final at Hamburg saw top-seed David Ferrer and Leonardo Mayer clash for the second time with the Spaniard having won their only previous meeting in s’Hertogenbosch two years ago.

Sunday’s match was an even affair with a couple of close rallies. Ferrer took the opening set after 58 minutes but lost his service in the fourth game of the second and also a bit of his rhythm. Consequently, Mayer took the match the distance in the seventh game. The Argentine showed an impressive performance with big serves – a lot fired with more than 200 km/h (124 mph) – solid groundstrokes with good length and some hard hitting forehands. The world No. 46 from Buenos Aires fully deserved his maiden title on the ATP World Tour and eventually emerged victorious after two hours and 20 minutes winning 6-7 (3), 6-1, 7-6(4).

“Leonardo was simply better today in the entire match,” Ferrer said. “I was a bit nervous in the important moments and he played more aggressively than me.”

“It was a positive week but I’m sad because I lost the final. I will go back home now and have a rest for a few days before I’ll prepare for the hard court season starting in Toronto and Cincinnati,” the Spaniard said.

Leonardo Mayer

The winner was understandably overwhelmed. “Today is a very special day. So far, I haven’t really realized that I won the match. This is simply unbelievable. I really wanted to win the match. Still on court, I called my girl-friend, my family and my team, who was watching the final on TV,” Mayer told the media in Spanish, as he is still too shy to speak in English. “I promise that I will take a teacher with me next year that I can answer the questions in English. I am able to speak but I’m nervous and I do not feel comfortable,” the Argentine added. “Tomorrow I’ll fly back to Argentina and then I am going to play the US Open,” Mayer said about his upcoming schedule.

In the doubles final the team of Marin Draganja and Florian Mergea beat the tournament’s top-seeds Alexander Peya and Bruno Soares in straight sets winning 6-4, 7-5 in 78 minutes taking their maiden title as a tandem on the ATP World Tour. “We beat a very, very good team today. We were happy to enter the draw and gaining the title here is amazing,” Draganja was happy afterwards.

Earlier the day, tournament director Michael Stich spoke to the media about the 108th edition am Rothenbaum. “We’re very satisfied with this week. With David Ferrer, we had a top-ten player in our field, who made it into the final to face the first Argentine here since Juan Mónaco, which is a very interesting affair. Of course, I would have loved to see the defending champion Fabio Fognini staying a bit longer in the tournament but that’s sports,” the former Wimbledon champion said.

“In the future we will try to present the fans a mixture of top players and the new younger generation. I think there will be generation change on the ATP World Tour and we will see new Grand Slam Champions like Dimitrov or Raonic maybe in two years’ time. That’s why we also made a long-term contract with Alexander Zverev to play here in Hamburg for the next five years. Nonetheless, it will remain our own demand to present players ranked within the top-3,” Stich told and added that around 60,000 spectators came to the venue this year.

 

Florian Heer travels the tennis tour with a focus on ATP Challenger events and the ITF Futures Circuit.  Follow his twitter account @Florian _Heer.

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German Teen Alexander Zverev Reaches Semis in Hamburg

 

Alexander Zverev

Alexander Zverev

By Florian Heer

(July 18, 2014) HAMBURG – It was quarterfinal action on Friday in Hamburg and play started with an all-German clash between Tobias Kamke and Alexander Zverev. The two wild cards, both reside in Hamburg, met only 17 days ago at the ATP Challenger in Braunschweig, where the emerging youngster gained the title. The only 17-year-old Zverev, last year’s junior world No. 1, has been the story of the week so far. The teenager gained his first victories on the ATP World Tour beating Robin Haase, Mikhail Youzhny and Santiago Giraldo to become the first 17-year-old contesting a quarterfinal of an ATP 500 event since Rafael Nadal in Dubai in 2004.

Zverev, however, had a bumpy start into today’s match, lost his first service game and received a warning after only 8 minutes of play due to racket abuse. The youngster acted like an unforced error machine from the baseline and consequently lost the first set in only 21 minutes to love. The world No. 285 made it on the scoreboard in the second game of the second set and from then on he seemed to find his rhythm.

Supported by the majority of the crowd, Zverev became stronger the longer the match lasted. Eventually, the 17-year-old served the match out winning 0-6, 7-5, 6-3 in two hours and four minutes to become the first player of his age to reach a semifinal at an ATP 500 event since Marin Cilic in Gstaad in 2006.

“Tobias played very well in the first set and I really felt that I needed to change some things. So I played more slices to break his rhythm. I would have lost the match for sure, if Tobias continued to play like this in the beginning. It is really nice to reach the semis here and by the start of this week I wasn’t thinking that this could happen,” said a happy Zverev afterwards.

“It is a goal to crack the top 100 but the players inside this ranking are of another level than the players ranked 180 or 190. It will be a huge challenge for me to get inside this group,” the German youngster stated.

“I haven’t had a clue that David Ferrer is in my half of the draw here until a friend told me this morning during practice. I knew that Pablo (Andújar) is still in the draw as well but I really didn’t know my possible opponent in the semi-finals right after the match,” Zverev explained after he wasn’t able to name his two next possible opponents during the on-court interview.

Kamke was disappointed after the match but found some nice words, though, and was full of respect concerning his opponent. “If Alex stays healthy, I’m convinced that he will have a great future without any limits,” Zverev’s former club teammate stated.

Tournament director Michael Stich seemed to be satisfied as well after the youngster’s victory. “Physically he is still very strong and he plays a very solid game throughout the week. He has strong nerves and simply acts really cool on court. Of course I feel a bit sorry for Tobi but I also hope for a full house tomorrow and that a lot of people will come out to watch the new German tennis hope,” the former Wimbledon champion was looking forward to Saturday’s semi-finals.

In a match of two supposed underdogs Leonardo Mayer faced Dusan Lajovic for the first time. The Argentine defeated Austria’s youngster Dominic Thiem the round before and the 24-year-old Serbian reached the quarterfinal after his 3rd round opponent Filip Krajinovic was forced to retire due to illness. Mayer, who is currently ranked at a career high 46, was untroubled and only had to save one break point in the entire match. After 75 minutes the 27-year-old from Buenos Aires served out winning 6-1, 7-5 to reach his second semi-final of the season.

David Ferrer

David Ferrer

It followed an all-Spanish affair with the tournament’s top-seed David Ferrer taking on Pablo Andújar. On Thursday, the world No. 7 extended his head-to-head lead over Andreas Seppi to 8-0 after seeing off the Italian in three sets in almost three hours. Andújar advanced to his third quarterfinal of the season with a comfortable straight set victory over Dustin Brown. Friday’s encounter was one-way traffic in favour for Ferrer. The 32-year-old from Javea controlled the match right from the beginning and Andújar needed 45 minutes to get on the scoreboard in the third game of the second set. Ferrer sealed victory in 66 minutes winning 6-0, 6-2.

“For sure this has been my best match of the week so far. In the first two matches I didn’t really play good tennis in some moments but today it was much better. I made less errors, played more aggressively with my forehand and I’m happy with my game as well as to be in the semi-finals,” the winner said afterwards.

“I’ve never played with Alexander Zverev before but this week was impressive. Of course I respect him like any other player on the tour. He is a really good player with a good serve and a good forehand. He has a bright future, which is a nice thing for the tennis in Germany. He is not having any pressure and my goal will be to stay focused on every point. I hope that the people will enjoy the match tomorrow,” Ferrer said about his next opponent.

In the final match of the day, the second remaining seeded player, Philipp Kohlschreiber, faced Lukas Rosol for the second time within two weeks. The Czech defeated Hamburg’s seventh seed in straight sets at the Mercedes Cup in Stuttgart last week. This time, Kohlschreiber was able to take revenge through a comfortable victory in 77 minutes winning 6-4, 6-4 and advanced into his fourth semi-final of the season.

 

Florian Heer travels the tennis tour with a focus on ATP Challenger events and the ITF Future Circuit!  Follow his twitter account @Florian _Heer.

 

RESULTS – FRIDAY, 18 JULY 2014

Singles – Quarter-finals
[1] [WC] D Ferrer (ESP) d P Andujar (ESP) 60 62
[7] P Kohlschreiber (GER) d L Rosol (CZE) 64 64
[WC] A Zverev (GER) d [WC] T Kamke (GER) 06 75 63
L Mayer (ARG) d D Lajovic (SRB) 61 75

Doubles – Semi-finals
[1] A Peya (AUT) / B Soares (BRA) d [3] M Granollers (ESP) / M Lopez (ESP) 63 64

SCHEDULE – SATURDAY, 19 JULY 2014

CENTER COURT start 13:00
[4] J Murray (GBR) / J Peers (AUS) vs M Draganja (CRO) / F Mergea (ROU)

Not Before 15:30
[7] P Kohlschreiber (GER) vs L Mayer (ARG)

Not Before 18:00
[1] [WC] D Ferrer (ESP) vs [WC] A Zverev (GER)

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