Cilic Wins Delray Beach; Bryan Brothers Win 94th Doubles Crown

Marin Cilic

Marin Cilic


(February 23, 2014) Marin Cilic won the Delray Beach Open on Sunday, his 11th ATP World Tour title and second tournament win in three weeks, beating Kevin Anderson 7-6 (6), 6-7 (7), 6-4 in 3 hours, 8 minutes.

“It feels awesome, especially after waiting for a long time last night and finishing after 1am,” Cilic said. “Then, today to come back and win it, I’m really happy with this victory.”

“It wasn’t easy for my nerves, for Goran’s nerves especially. In the final some nerves can get into your body and you have to deal with it in the end. Luckily I found a way.”

“In the third [set], I just didn’t put down the clamps of getting back in the match and giving myself a chance,” Anderson said. “He was going to take one of his chances. He had a fair amount. If I would have capitalized a little more I would have put myself in a better position to win the title. I was happy making the final, but a little disappointed right now.”

Cilic leads the men’s tour with 18 match wins this season. He along with Rafael Nadal and Stanislas Wawrinka lead the tour with tournament titles in 2014 with two.

No. 1 Bob and Mike Bryan won the doubles final, beating Frantisek Cermak and Mikhail Elgin 6-2, 6-3 for their third Delray Beach Open title.

“[100 titles] is our next big goal,” said Bob Bryan. “We’re very happy to kick start the year here in Delray. Get that first [title] of the season, get that confidence flowing and take it into the next couple of Masters 1000s. It’s been a few years since we won the Miami tournament, so we want to put in a good showing there.”

The Bryans were congratulated after the match by golfer Jack Nicklaus, a winner of 18 major trophies.

“[Nicklaus] is a good friend,” said Mike Bryan. “He’s been to watch us at Wimbledon a few times. He loves tennis. Bob won his tournament last year. He’s a great, great guy to know. We’re huge fans of him. It was good to see him in the front row.”


Tennis – Results Round-Up for February 20, 2014

atp wta

Delray Beach


Singles – Second Round
[2] J Isner (USA) d D Sela (ISR) 36 61 76(5)
T Gabashvili (RUS) d [3] K Nishikori (JPN) 42 Ret. (left hip)
[7] M Cilic (CRO) d [WC] R Harrison (USA) 63 64
[Q] R Williams (USA) d [WC] M Baghdatis (CYP) 67(7) 64 62

Doubles – Quarter-finals
[WC] R Harrison (USA) / J Sock (USA) d [3] S Gonzalez (MEX) / S Lipsky (USA) 64 75
S Groth (AUS) / M Mirnyi (BLR) d [Alt] S Bangoura (USA) / V Mirzadeh (USA) 76(5) 64


CENTRE COURT start 12:30 pm
[4] K Anderson (RSA) vs M Matosevic (AUS)

Not Before 2:30 pm
[Q] S Johnson (USA) vs [6] F Lopez (ESP)

6:30 pm
[7] M Cilic (CRO) vs T Gabashvili (RUS)

Not Before 8:30 pm
[Q] R Williams (USA) vs [2] J Isner (USA)

Dubai, UAE
February 17-February 22, 2014

Results – Thursday, February 20, 2014
Singles – Quarterfinals
(1/WC) Serena Williams (USA) d. (5) Jelena Jankovic (SRB) 62 62
(8) Caroline Wozniacki (DEN) d. Sorana Cirstea (ROU) 61 62
Alizé Cornet (FRA) d. Carla Suárez Navarro (ESP) 75 63
(WC) Venus Williams (USA) d. (Q) Flavia Pennetta (ITA) 63 75

Doubles – Quarterfinals
Kops-Jones/Spears (USA/USA) d. (1) Errani/Vinci (ITA/ITA) 64 61
Kudryavtseva/Rodionova (RUS/AUS) d. (2) Makarova/Vesnina (RUS/RUS) 64 64
Hlavackova/Safarova (CZE/CZE) d. Raymond/Zhang (USA/CHN) 63 75
(WC) Pennetta/Stosur (ITA/AUS) d. Groenefeld/Rosolska (GER/POL) 63 75

Order Of Play – Friday, February 21, 2014
Centre Court (from 14.00hrs)
1. Hlavackova/Safarova vs. Kudryavtseva/Rodionova
2. Caroline Wozniacki vs. Venus Williams (NB 17.00hrs)
3. Serena Williams vs. Alizé Cornet (NB 19.00hrs)
4. Kops-Jones/Spears vs. Pennetta/Stosur



Singles – Second Round
[3] E Gulbis (LAT) d R Bautista Agut (ESP) 63 57 64
M Llodra (FRA) d [4] A Seppi (ITA) 76(3) 64
[5] I Dodig (CRO) d T Kamke (GER) 67(4) 60 63
[6] E Roger-Vasselin (FRA) d S Stakhovsky (UKR) 76(2) 64
J Struff (GER) d [7] J Benneteau (FRA) 46 76(3) 63
[8] N Mahut (FRA) d [Q] R Berankis (LTU) 76(5) 63

Doubles – Quarter-finals
[2] J Benneteau (FRA) / E Roger-Vasselin (FRA) d H Kontinen (FIN) / M Kowalczyk (POL) 64 64
P Hanley (AUS) / J Marray (GBR) d [Alt] J Cerretani (USA) / A Shamasdin (CAN) 64 76(3)


COURT CENTRAL start 12:00 noon
P Hanley (AUS) / J Marray (GBR) vs M Draganja (CRO) / M Pavic (CRO)

Not Before 2:00 pm
[1] R Gasquet (FRA) vs [5] I Dodig (CRO)
[3] E Gulbis (LAT) vs [8] N Mahut (FRA)

Not Before 6:30 pm
[6] E Roger-Vasselin (FRA) vs [2] J Tsonga (FRA)

Not Before 8:30 pm
J Struff (GER) vs M Llodra (FRA)

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Results – Thursday, February 20, 2014
Singles – Second Round
(5) Kurumi Nara (JPN) d. Anna-Lena Friedsam (GER) 60 76(3)
Lourdes Domínguez Lino (ESP) d. Chanelle Scheepers (RSA) 26 76(7) 61 (saved 3mp)
Teliana Pereira (BRA) d. Patricia Mayr-Achleitner (AUT) 62 76(5)
(Q) Irina-Camelia Begu (ROU) d. (Q) Veronica Cepede Royg (PAR) 63 57 61

Doubles – Quarterfinals
(1) Zahlavova Strycova/Zakopalova (CZE/CZE) d. Kichenok/Kichenok (UKR/UKR) 63 62
Begu/Irigoyen (ROU/ARG) d. (3) Babos/Gajdosova (HUN/AUS) 64 75
Domínguez Lino/Duque-Mariño (ESP/COL) d. Kania/Solovyeva (POL/RUS) 64 36 104 (Match TB)
Larsson/Scheepers (SWE/RSA) d. Olaru/Panova (ROU/RUS) 46 62 103 (Match TB)

Singles – Second Round
[1] R Nadal (ESP) d A Montanes (ESP) 61 62
[3] F Fognini (ITA) d [PR] P Cuevas (URU) 76(1) 46 63
J Sousa (POR) d A Ramos (ESP) 76(6) 26 63
A Dolgopolov (UKR) d [Q] F Bagnis (ARG) 67(4) 62 76(4)

Doubles – Quarter-finals
[1] A Peya (AUT) / B Soares (BRA) d J Chardy (FRA) / L Dlouhy (CZE) 64 61
[2] D Marrero (ESP) / M Melo (BRA) d [PR] P Cuevas (URU) / H Zeballos (ARG) 61 64
J Cabal (COL) / R Farah (COL) d [3] M Granollers (ESP) / M Lopez (ESP) 63 75
D Bracciali (ITA) / F Fognini (ITA) d [Q] F Delbonis (ARG) / L Mayer (ARG) 64 46 10-8


CENTER COURT start 11:00 am
ATP – [1] A Peya (AUT) / B Soares (BRA) vs J Cabal (COL) / R Farah (COL)

Not Before 1:00 pm
WTA – T Pereira (BRA) vs [Q] I Begu (ROU)

Not Before 3:00 pm
ATP – A Dolgopolov (UKR) vs [3] F Fognini (ITA)
ATP – [WC] T Bellucci (BRA) vs [2] D Ferrer (ESP)

Not Before 5:00 pm
ATP – [4] T Robredo (ESP) vs [8] P Andujar (ESP)
ATP – [1] R Nadal (ESP) vs J Sousa (POR)

COURT 1 start 11:00 am
WTA – [5] K Nara (JPN) vs L Dominguez Lino (ESP)
WTA – [1] K Zakopalova (CZE) vs K Piter (POL)
WTA – [Q] N Burnett (ITA) vs [3] P Ormaechea (ARG)

Not Before 3:30 pm
ATP – after suitable rest – D Bracciali (ITA) / F Fognini (ITA) vs [2] D Marrero (ESP) / M Melo (BRA)

COURT 2 start 2:00 PM

Not Before 2:00 pm
WTA – after suitable rest – L Dominguez Lino (ESP) / M Duque-Marino (COL) vs J Larsson (SWE) / C Scheepers (RSA)
WTA – after suitable rest – [1] B Zahlavova Strycova (CZE) / K Zakopalova (CZE) vs I Begu (ROU) / M Irigoyen (ARG)


Delray Beach and Marseilles Results

ATP World Tour 250
Delray Beach, U.S.A. (-5 hour GMT)
17-23 February 2014 Surface: Hard


Singles – First Round
[1] T Haas (GER) d [Q] W Odesnik (USA) 62 61
[2] J Isner (USA) d M Russell (USA) 46 76(3) 64
[3] K Nishikori (JPN) d [Q] G Elias (POR) 61 57 62
[4] K Anderson (RSA) d T Smyczek (USA) 46 61 63
[8] L Hewitt (AUS) d B Klahn (USA) 63 61
[Q] S Johnson (USA) d M Kukushkin (KAZ) 64 63
I Karlovic (CRO) d [LL] S Groth (AUS) 76(4) 63
M Matosevic (AUS) d D Goffin (BEL) 62 64
[WC] R Harrison (USA) d Y Lu (TPE) 46 10 ret. (neck)
T Gabashvili (RUS) d M Ebden (AUS) 26 63 62
[Q] R Williams (USA) d A Falla (COL) 63 40 ret. (back)
[WC] M Baghdatis (CYP) d J Vesely (CZE) 36 62 61
D Sela (ISR) d A Bogomolov Jr. (RUS) 60 62

Doubles – First Round
[3] S Gonzalez (MEX) / S Lipsky (USA) d C Guccione (AUS) / L Hewitt (AUS) 67(3) 62 10-5
B Klahn (USA) / T Smyczek (USA) d [4] N Monroe (USA) / S Stadler (GER) 46 63 12-10
F Cermak (CZE) / M Elgin (RUS) d T Gabashvili (RUS) / M Kukushkin (KAZ) 75 61


CENTRE COURT start 11:00 am
[7] M Cilic (CRO) vs B Becker (GER)
Not Before 12:30 pm
[4] K Anderson (RSA) vs I Karlovic (CRO)
Not Before 2:30 pm
[1] B Bryan (USA) / M Bryan (USA) vs [WC] A Mannarino (FRA) / M Russell (USA)
6:30 pm
[1] T Haas (GER) vs [Q] S Johnson (USA)
Not Before 8:30 pm
M Matosevic (AUS) vs [8] L Hewitt (AUS)

COURT 1 start 11:00 am
A Mannarino (FRA) vs [6] F Lopez (ESP)
[Alt] S Bangoura (USA) / V Mirzadeh (USA) vs [2] E Butorac (USA) / R Klaasen (RSA)
Not Before 2:00 pm
A Bogomolov Jr. (RUS) / D Sela (ISR) vs B Becker (GER) / F Lopez (ESP)
Not Before 4:30 pm
Possible Court Change – [WC] R Harrison (USA) / J Sock (USA) vs T Bednarek (POL) / I Karlovic (CRO)
F Cermak (CZE) / M Elgin (RUS) vs B Klahn (USA) / T Smyczek (USA)


ATP World Tour 250 € 549,260 (€ 621,560 Total Financial Commitment)
Marseille, France (+1 hour GMT)
17-23 February 2014 Surface: Indoor Hard


Singles – First Round
[5] I Dodig (CRO) d [WC] A Olivetti (FRA) 75 62
[6] E Roger-Vasselin (FRA) d [Q] A Pavic (CRO) 36 76(5) 75
T Kamke (GER) d [WC] K Edmund (GBR) 75 61
S Stakhovsky (UKR) d [Q] D Evans (GBR) 36 76(4) 64
N Davydenko (RUS) d I Sijsling (NED) 64 64

Doubles – First Round
D Brown (GER) / A Krajicek (USA) d [4] J Huta Galung (NED) / J Peers (AUS) 36 76(4) 10-6
P Hanley (AUS) / J Marray (GBR) d [WC] H Lee (TPE) / C Wang (TPE) 64 63
M Draganja (CRO) / M Pavic (CRO) d R Junaid (AUS) / P Marx (GER) 76(6) 67(4) 10-8
G Kretschmer (GER) / A Satschko (GER) d J Erlich (ISR) / M Mertinak (SVK) 67(6) 63 10-5
H Kontinen (FIN) / M Kowalczyk (POL) d K Skupski (GBR) / N Skupski (GBR) 76(3) 46 10-2


COURT CENTRAL start 10:30 am
[Q] D Guez (FRA) vs J Struff (GER)
L Lacko (SVK) vs M Llodra (FRA)

Not Before 2:00 pm
K De Schepper (FRA) vs [8] N Mahut (FRA)

Not Before 4:00 pm
N Davydenko (RUS) vs [2] J Tsonga (FRA)

Not Before 6:30 pm
[7] J Benneteau (FRA) vs J Huta Galung (NED)

Not Before 8:00 pm
[1] R Gasquet (FRA) vs B Kavcic (SLO)

COURT 1 start 12:00 noon
D Brown (GER) vs R Bautista Agut (ESP)
J Hajek (CZE) vs [Q] R Berankis (LTU)
After Suitable Rest – G Kretschmer (GER) / A Satschko (GER) vs D Brown (GER) / A Krajicek (USA)
After Suitable Rest – [1] M Llodra (FRA) / N Mahut (FRA) vs [WC] P Herbert (FRA) / A Olivetti (FRA)
[PR] C Fleming (GBR) / R Hutchins (GBR) vs M Draganja (CRO) / M Pavic (CRO)



Monday Schedules for Delray Beach, Dubai, Marseilles and Rio


atp wta

ATP World Tour 250
Delray Beach, U.S.A.  (-5 hour GMT)
17-23 February 2014   Surface: Hard


CENTRE COURT start 11:00 am
Qualifying – S Johnson (USA) vs S Groth (AUS)
Not Before 12:30 pm
Qualifying – R Ginepri (USA) vs G Elias (POR)
Not Before 2:30 pm
[WC] J Sock (USA) vs A Mannarino (FRA)
Not Before 6:30 pm
S Groth (AUS) / M Mirnyi (BLR) vs M Matosevic (AUS) / F Moser (GER)
Not Before 8:30 pm
S Querrey (USA) vs [6] F Lopez (ESP)

COURT 1 start 12:00 noon

Qualifying – R Williams (USA) vs B Phau (GER)
Not Before 1:30 pm
Qualifying – W Odesnik (USA) vs M Zverev (GER)   


Dubai, UAE
February 17-February 22, 2014

Order Of Play – Monday, February 17, 2014
Centre Court (from 14.00hrs)
1. Sloane Stephens vs. Lucie Safarova
2. Carla Suárez Navarro vs. Nadia Petrova
3. Venus Williams vs. Elena Vesnina (NB 19.00hrs)
4. Sorana Cirstea vs. Roberta Vinci

Court 1 (from 14.00hrs)
1. Alisa Kleybanova vs. Ekaterina Makarova
2. Chan/Huber vs. Kops-Jones/Spears
3. Raymond/Zhang vs. Pliskova/Pliskova
4. Dushevina/Parra Santonja vs. Groenefeld/Rosolska

Court 2 (from 12.30hrs)
1. Camila Giorgi vs. Karolina Pliskova (Singles Q Final)
2. Maryna Zanevska vs. Mona Barthel (Singles Q Final)

Court 3 (from 12.30hrs)
1. Eugenie Bouchard vs. Annika Beck (Singles Q Final)
2. Flavia Pennetta vs. Yvonne Meusburger (Singles Q Final)


ATP World Tour 250 
Marseille, France  (+1 hour GMT)
17-23 February 2014   Surface: Indoor Hard


COURT CENTRAL start 11:00 am
Qualifying – D Evans (GBR) vs H Laaksonen (SUI)
Qualifying – R Berankis (LTU) vs J Ward (GBR)
Qualifying – T Schoorel (NED) vs D Guez (FRA)
Not Before 4:30 pm
[3] J Brunstrom (SWE) / J Knowle (AUT) vs [PR] C Fleming (GBR) / R Hutchins (GBR)
Not Before 18:30
M Cecchinato (ITA) / A Seppi (ITA) vs [2] J Benneteau (FRA) / E Roger-Vasselin (FRA)
Not Before 7:45 pm
B Kavcic (SLO) vs [WC] T Kokkinakis (AUS)

COURT 1 start 11:00 am

Qualifying – A Pavic (CRO) vs M Basic (BIH)


ATP World Tour 500
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil  (-3 hours GMT)
17-23 February 2014   Surface: Clay


CENTER COURT start 10:00 am
WTA – S Soler-Espinosa (ESP) vs [WC] L Pigossi (BRA)
Not Before 12:00 pm
ATP – G Garcia-Lopez (ESP) vs [Q] M Klizan (SVK)
ATP – [WC] J Souza (BRA) vs [Q] F Bagnis (ARG)
Not Before 4:30 pm
WTA – K Piter (POL) vs [WC] B Haddad Maia (BRA)
Not Before 7:00 pm
ATP – S Giraldo (COL) vs [WC] T Bellucci (BRA)
ATP – [WC] G Clezar (BRA) vs F Delbonis (ARG)

COURT 1 start 11:00 am

WTA – [6] M Torro-Flor (ESP) vs [Q] N Burnett (ITA)
ATP – R Haase (NED) / C Kas (GER) vs J Chardy (FRA) / L Dlouhy (CZE)
Not Before 2:00 pm
ATP – F Volandri (ITA) vs [Q] D Lajovic (SRB)
Not Before 3:30 pm
ATP – [1] A Peya (AUT) / B Soares (BRA) vs [WC] J Monaco (ARG) / A Sa (BRA)
WTA – [Q] N Gibbs (USA) vs [3] P Ormaechea (ARG)

COURT 2 start 11:00 am

WTA – J Larsson (SWE) vs [Q] A Van Uytvanck (BEL)
WTA – [Q] D Kovinic (MNE) vs K Bertens (NED)
Not Before 2:00 pm
WTA – [3] T Babos (HUN) / J Gajdosova (AUS) vs F Molinero (ARG) / L Thorpe (FRA)


Serena and Venus Williams Win to Wrap Up Fed Cup World Group Spot for the U.S.


Venus Williams

Venus Williams

By Nathalie Narcisse

(April 21, 2013) DELRAY BEACH, Florida – On a day where tennis legend Chris Evert was lauded for Federation Cup accomplishments, it was fitting that dynamic duo, Serena and Venus Williams carried their matches to prevent the U.S. from slipping out of the world group.

In the first match at the Delray Beach Tennis Center, Serena crushed Sweden’s Sofia Arvidsson 6-2, 6-1 while Venus hung tough against Johanna Larsson 6-3,7-5 to permit the Americans to compete for the Federation Cup title in 2014.

After Serena’s victory Saturday evening placed the U.S. on even terms with Sweden, captain Mary Joe Fernandez was hoping to maintain the momentum. The world number one did not disappoint.

In the early stages of the opening set, the sun seemed to be Serena’s biggest nemesis. She fought off three break points before finally putting a period on a long third game.

Subsequently, Serena manufactured triple break point and capitalized for 3-1. Then, with an ace, the world number one consolidated for 4-1. Serena went on to break Arvidsson a second time to bed the initial set.

Serena captured seven consecutive games before Arvidsson ultimately held in the sixth game of the second set to avoid posting a bagel. However, it was only a temporary reprieve. Soon, with her tenth ace, Serena arrived at triple match point. The world number one finished the proceedings with an unreturnable serve.

Overall a good performance by Serena considering the match lasted only 57 minutes, with 35 winners and 22 unforced errors. The third game in the first set was critical. Serena stated “if she had won that game, it would have been a tougher score or a different match. It was important for me to stay focused and fight for every point”.

While Serena does not use on court coaching with her WTA matches, she appreciates the support when it comes to team competition “it feels good, it’s different when you do call your coach on court. . .I take everything in, I just try to be like a sponge and listen”.

Since the sun was bothersome for both players, Arvidsson emphasized it was not a factor in her defeat “[Serena] was just too good. She showed why she’s number one”.

Serena was glad to see big sister in the position to seal the tie for the U.S. “Venus is a veteran and a great player. I hope she does really well”.

According to Fernandez, Venus was a “last minute decision . . after the warm-up today”, the gamble paid off.

Subsequent to a double fault to donate the opening game to Larsson, Venus regained her footing by promptly breaking herself. Later on, the American struck a forehand down the line winner up triple break point to capture he third successive game for 3-1. Despite being challenged, Venus consolidated for 4-1 and maintained the one break edge to finish off the first set.

Larsson warded off 0-40 to ultimately guard serve for 3-2 in the second set. Yet, with Larsson’s forehand pass landing long, Venus had her fifth break chance of the set. She converted when the Swede flubbed a backhand.

Soon with a hold at love, Venus raced to a 5-3 lead. However, with a love game of her own, the Swede forced Venus to serve out the match.

With a third double fault in the tenth game at 0-40, Venus opened the door for Larsson as the second set was now at 5 all.

Still, the American plugged away to regain the advantage. Serving for the tie the second time around, Venus went to nine deuces, had four double faults, salvaged three break points before striking gold on her eighth match point.

This was the maiden meeting between Venus and Larsson. The Swede was not surprised by the substitution “Sofia played a really good match yesterday. . .I was prepared mentally to play Venus. . .I was struggling the whole match to find a good rhythm. . I really tried to keep fighting”.

Despite the outcome, the Swedish coach felt “it’s the best experience you can ever have. [Johanna and Sofia] can keep [their] head up and be very proud. . .go back home with a lot of experience to use the rest of the year”.

After seeing a myriad of match points evaporate, Venus expressed “I was trying to stay focused. . .the game was very competitive, we were both going for the lines and missing them closely”.

Venus had not played Fed Cup singles since 2007. Ironically, the last time was also in South Florida. Moreover, Venus had never previously clinched the tie for her nation. The American cited “it’s a different kind of pressure being on a team, you just want to do more. I wanted to be out there”.

Venus felt a sense of relief wrapping thing up in straight sets “I needed it to be over in two. Mary Joe needed it to be over in two. She was having a heart attack on the sidelines”.

Now, the Americans will wait until next season to work together again in this format. Fernandez acknowledged “that’s the hardest thing about Fed Cup, the scheduling and how long it takes between the ties. You start building a chemistry with the team, a lot of bonding and you push each other. It’s fun. . .we’re still going to be watching each other, supporting each other. . .and we’ll regroup February of next year”.

With so many niggling physical issues, Fernandez withdrew her team from the doubles match. So, USA win over Sweden by a mark of 3-2.


Serena Williams Squares World Group Play-Off Tie versus Sweden


By Nathalie Narcisse


(April 20, 2013) DELRAY BEACH. Florida – After a three-hour setback due to showers at the Delray Beach Tennis Center, Serena Williams sauntered on court to face Swede Johanna Larsson. The world No. 1 dusted off her opponent 6-2, 6-2 to knot the tie between the two nations.

This was the first meeting between these two players. With Sofia Arvidsson vanquishing Sloane Stephens in the opening rubber, it was Williams’ job to prevent the U.S. team from going into a 2-0 hole.

Although, this was Williams’ seventh tie compared to Larsson’s thirty third, the difference though was that Williams was undefeated in Fed Cup play 11-0 and not to mention double digit majors titles.

Subsequent to Larsson’s double fault, Williams had double break point. With a crosscourt backhand winner, the American converted and swiftly consolidated for 3-0.

Despite a grueling game, Larsson guarded serve to stay one break behind at 3-1. Quickly, Williams coasted on serve to arrive at 5-2.

By provoking miscues from Larsson, Williams had double set point. With a backhand down the line winner, Williams bedded the first set.

The second set was not a cakewalk for Williams. In the opening game, the American’s mistakes on serve found her staring at 15-40. As usual, Williams selected the right serves to bail herself out of trouble. Her second time serving, Williams fended off another break point to keep her nose in front, 2-1.

While Larsson competed better, the unforced errors by Williams also began to mount. But, in the fourth game, two double faults by the Swede helped Williams to eventually get to deuce. Soon, with a forehand winner, the American had break point and later Williams pocketed the game for 3-1.

After comfortably getting to 5-2, the American captured another break to close out the match.

Considering the firepower on the American side, Swedish captain Lars-Anders Wahlgren is ecstatic with the performance of his players so far “it’s a little bit of a surprise for the Swedish team, it’s 1-1. I always believe in my girls. I was hoping for even 2-0”.

Despite the outcome, Larsson felt it was a great experience to battle a player of Williams’ caliber “it’s definitely an experience for me today. I had a lot of fun. . .I had a few chances. . When you play those players who are extremely aggressive, you really need to take your chances. . .I did my best and I was fighting the whole match”.

While for other competitors being down 0-1 in team play may cause some angst, Williams stated “I don’t feel pressure. Not this time around. . .I feel even though we didn’t win our first match, we have a really good team”.

Williams agreed that the second set was much tougher “I think she played a lot better. I think I also made more errors. She’s a really good player. She’s a professional. You can’t get on this level without being solid”.

Certainly, a different atmosphere and sensation representing yourself versus one’s country. Williams commented “I just try to fight and do the best I can. I’m here for my team. I’m here to give 100 percent”.

With Williams’ win, captain Mary Joe Fernandez was finally able to breathe “it was big for Serena to get a quick start. I thought the first match could have gone either way. Sloane had opportunities and wasn’t able to capitalize. . .conditions were tough and the rain delay sort of slowed her down because she had the momentum”.

A lot on the line tomorrow. Does Fernandez believe that Stephens will require tactical, mental support or both? Fernandez replied “every time you step on the court it’s a chance to get better and improve. When you have a few ups and down, you have to mentally get a little bit stronger. It helps when you are tactically sound and clear on what you need to do. So, I try to support and give as clear advice as I can on what I see out there and hope that works”.

The first match on Sunday afternoon will feature Williams against Arvidsson, followed by Stephens versus Larsson and will culminate with doubles play. The U.S. pair of Venus Williams and Vavara Lepchenko will collide with Larsson and Arvidsson.

Nathalie Narcisse is in Delray Beach covering the Fed Cup tie for Tennis Panorama News as media. Follow her twitter updates on @TennisNewsTPN.


Arvidsson Stops Stephens to Give Sweden 1-0 Lead in World Group Play-Offs

Sofia Arvidsson

Sofia Arvidsson

By Nathalie Narcisse

(April 20, 1013) DELRAY BEACH, Florida – The U.S. took on Sweden on hardcourt at the Delray Beach Tennis Center in the World Group Play-Offs.  In the initial match on Saturday, Swedish veteran Sofia Arvidsson, playing her 48th tie, recorded her 34th singles victory.  Arvidsson prevailed 6-4, 4-6, 6-1 over twenty-year-old Sloane Stephens who was contesting her maiden live rubber.

Florida has been the United States’ Federation Cup lucky charm.  In three prior visits to the Sunshine State, 1995 versus Austria, 2005 and 2007 against Belgium, the Americans never relinquished a match.  With Floridians, Serena Williams, Sloane Stephens and Venus Williams on hand, the Stars and Stripes were viewed as runway favorites.

Stephens seemed overwhelmed from the get-go.  As a result of a slew of miscues, the American surrendered her serve in the opening game.  Arvidsson went on to consolidate for 2-0.

Later on, the Swede dropped serve at love to permit Stephens to knot the first set at 2.  Soon with a hold, Stephens had a 3-2 lead.

However, a consistent opponent and 21 unforced errors turned out to be Stephens’ undoing.  Arvidsson broke for the third time for 5-4, then went on to easily serve out the opening set.

Stephens managed to reverse the tide in the second set.  Despite permitting a 3-0 advantage to melt away, Stephens cleaned up the stats sheet with a positive ratio of winners to unforced errors.  The American broke her rival at 5-4 to push the match into a final set.

The hot and humid conditions permitted both players to invoke the heat rule.  During that respite, a light drizzle came down which further postponed the deciding set.

The interlude appeared to squash Stephens’ momentum.  By committing a double fault, the American gifted Arvidsson double break point to start the set.  With Stephens dumping a forehand into the net, Arvidsson captured the break.  The Swede secured the four consecutive games as Stephens littered the court with mistakes.

In the sixth game, as Stephens’ forehand volley landed on her side of the net,  Arvidsson sealed her third break of the set to convert on her fourth match point opportunity.

Head-to-head, Arvidsson and Stephens split their two previous matches.  Unlike Brisbane earlier this year where Stephens “was dictating the points”, Arvidsson stated. “I tried to be aggressive.  That’s when I won my points”.

The rain was welcomed by Arvidsson “first set was really hard, I was kind of tired in the second.  I think the break was good for me.  It was a little cooler when we came out”.

For Arvidsson the opening match was crucial “first match is always important.  You want to win and put a lot of pressure on the other team.  [Particularly] with Serena a very big favorite in the second match”.

Stephens was disappointed with the result “she played really good tennis.  It was definitely tough conditions.  I thought I played pretty well.  It’s unfortunate that I didn’t get my first Fed Cup live rubber win at this home tie”.

Stephens admitted the pressure was not being the “lead off match.  I think it was playing my first live rubber at home. . .this is the most pressure and anxiety I’ve had since Australia. . .I didn’t want to let my team down”.

Still Stephens is trying to be positive “I’m going to go out for my team, hope Serena wins her match and we can start up with a bang tomorrow again. . . A lot to learn. . .my next tie I’ll definitely know what to expect”.

This is the fifth showdown between these two countries, the U.S. lead Sweden 3-1.  The latter triumphed at their ultimate meeting in 1988.  Sweden is vying to regain world group status for the first time since 2003.

Nathalie Narcisse is in Delray Beach covering the Fed Cup tie for Tennis Panorama News as media. Follow her twitter updates on @TennisNewsTPN.


Delray Beach – Monday Results, Tuesday Schedule



Singles – First Round
[3] [WC] S Querrey (USA) d M Russell (USA) 62 22 Retired (leg)
I Dodig (CRO) d [5] A Dolgopolov (UKR) 63 63
[8] X Malisse (BEL) d A Falla (COL) 63 63
E Donskoy (RUS) d S Darcis (BEL) 76(5) 63

STADIUM start 11:00 am
[1] M Mirnyi (BLR) / H Tecau (ROU) vs A Sa (BRA) / I Zelenay (SVK)

Not Before 12:30 PM
[Q] E Gulbis (LAT) vs [WC] J Blake (USA)

Not Before 2:30 PM
I Sijsling (NED) vs [2] T Haas (GER)

Starting at 6:30 PM
[4] K Nishikori (JPN) vs I Karlovic (CRO)

Not Before 8:30 PM
[1] J Isner (USA) vs J Levine (CAN)

COURT 1 start 11:00 am
R Harrison (USA) vs [Q] D Munoz-De La Nava (ESP)
M Ebden (AUS) vs [WC] J Sock (USA)
B Phau (GER) vs [7] F Lopez (ESP)
[Q] T Smyczek (USA) vs [6] K Anderson (RSA)

Not Before 4:00 PM
D Brown (GER) / C Kas (GER) vs [2] I Dodig (CRO) / M Melo (BRA) – Possible Court Change

COURT 4 start 11:00 am
F Cipolla (ITA) vs E Roger-Vasselin (FRA)
D Istomin (UZB) vs B Becker (GER)
M Matosevic (AUS) vs G Soeda (JPN)
M Elgin (RUS) / D Istomin (UZB) vs X Malisse (BEL) / F Moser (GER) – After Suitable Rest

COURT 2 start 1:00 pm
[Q] B Reynolds (USA) vs Y Lu (TPE)
A Begemann (GER) / M Emmrich (GER) vs [WC] M Ebden (AUS) / M Russell (USA) – After Suitable Rest
B Becker (GER) / I Sijsling (NED) vs A Falla (COL) / G Soeda (JPN) – After Suitable Rest