2014/08/01

Doubles Delight in the Desert – Part 1

Murray Murray

By Jennifer Knapp

INDIAN WELLS, California -The BNP Paribas Open has a long-standing reputation amongst other tournaments, fans, media, etc. for fantastic ATP doubles fields year after year.  It’s a place where you are apt to see many of the top ranked men’s singles players pairing up with friends and or fellow countrymen along with the top doubles specialists in the world – something for everyone.  The fact that most of the matches are played on the smaller show courts gives the ever passionate crowd the opportunity to see some of their favorite players up close and personal – and that is worth the sometimes very long lines to secure a coveted seat in the stands.

 

As a long-time attendee of the tournament, I have seen some absolutely amazing doubles over the years and I made a conscious decision this year to watch as many matches as I could manage to fit in while I was in town. Seeing that Saturday’s doubles’ schedule on Court 7 included such names as Andy Murray, Milos Raonic, James Blake and Mardy Fish, I made that my destination and knew that once I found a seat, I was committed for the afternoon.  Thankfully the one I found was in the shade.  Just for the record, Court 7 with a capacity of 2,200 was packed the entire afternoon and the only way to get in was for someone to come out.  No joke.

 

First up was Feliciano López and Milos Raonic versus 3rd seeds Mahesh Bhupathi  and Daniel Nestor. López and Raonic teamed up in the desert for the first time in 2011 but did not compete last year. Bhupathi and Nestor, a newly formed partnership this year are both former number ones and Nestor, the oldest player in the tournament at 40, is a 4-time winner (2006, 2005, 2002 & 1996) with Mark Knowles. Powerful serves versus experience and finesse.   And neither team disappointed with only one break of serve in the entire match.  The energetic crowd clearly appreciated the level of tennis being played on court and were absolutely mesmerized by Raonic’s multiple 140+ mph serves which included a 144 that was nearly impossible to see.  Bhupathi and Nestor’s reaction was priceless as they held their hands up to the sky, smiled and shook their heads.   Lopez’s strong serving (he and Raonic combined for 15 aces) and net play definitely made a difference in the score lines they won the match 6-4, 7-6(4)

 

Anyone standing in line that thought they would be able to get seat in-between matches was quickly disappointed as the packed crowd was anxiously awaiting the next match featuring Andy Murray and Jamie Murray versus the 5th seeds, Robert Lindstedt and Nenad Zimonjic  (another new partnership in 2013). It was Andy’s first hard court match since the Australian Open and the crowd was anxious to see the 2012 Olympic Gold Medalist and U.S. Open Champion up close and personal.  On paper, Lindstedt and Zimonjic were clearly the stronger pair with 64 doubles titles between them but on court, it was a different story. Another seeded team goes down in the first round as the Murray brothers end up on top, 6-4, 4-6, 10-4.

 

Andy took some time after the match to sign quite a few autographs.  I have to say that seeing the total exuberance on the children’s faces after he signed their ball, ticket or program was absolutely precious.  The Indian Wells tournament is also known for providing fans with better access to the players and the smaller courts are the best place to capitalize.

 

Up next were local fan favorites and long-time friends James Blake and Mardy Fish (in his first match after 182 days off tour) taking on the Spanish pair of David Marrero and Fernando Verdasco who are fresh off of 5 tour titles together in 2012.  Mardy and James took control of the match early and it was clear that they were comfortable on the court together.  With the majority of the full-to-capacity crowd behind them, they cruised to a somewhat routine win 6-4, 6-4.  It was so great to see both of them healthy and back on the court in Indian Wells.

 

So, after 3 matches and about 5 hours, my time on Court 7 was done for the day.  Without a doubt, it was worth every single minute! One day down, four to go.

 

On a side note – check out this great video that the BNP Paribas Open team shot with Robert and Nenad a few days ago…. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0jp5-_G9D5o

Jennifer Knapp is covering the BNP Paribas Open for Tennis Panorama News. Follow the updates on twitter at @TennisNewsTPN.

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Top Seeds Errani and Vinci Claim Australian Open Women’s Doubles Title

ErraniVinci

By Jaclyn Stacey

(January 25, 2013) MELBOURNE PARK,  Australia – Top seeds Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci took out the Australian Open Women’s Doubles title on Friday, overcoming a spirited fightback from the local team of Casey Dellacqua and 16-year-old Ashleigh Barty 6-2, 3-6, 6-2 in one hour and 42 minutes.

 

Dellacqua and Barty were surprise finalists and were the first Australian pairing to reach the final since Evonne Goolagong Cawley and Helen Gourlay won the title in 1977.

 

In an exciting battle on Rod Laver Arena watched over by tennis legend Margaret Court the Italian top seeds raced to a commanding lead in the match, claiming the first set 6-2 in just 29 minutes.

 

The Australian pair dug deep in the second set to break the top seeds in the eighth game with Vinci serving and closed out the set 6-3 to give themselves a chance in the decider.

 

Errani and Vinci took control in the final set, claiming breaks in the sixth game and on championship point to become the first Italian pairing to win the Australian Open title. Italian Flavia Pennetta won with Argentine Gisela Dulko in 2011.

 

“In the third set we started to get nervous,” Vinci said post match. “However, today we’ve proven we’re a really strong doubles team.

 

“Our strength is that we always play together. We went out there today with lots of grit, and we really wanted to win.”

 

In the mixed doubles competition, the Australian team of Jarmila Gajdosova and Matt Ebden progressed through to the final after defeating the Kazakh and Uzbekh pairing of Yaroslava Shvedova and Denis Istomin in two tough sets 7-5, 7-6(5).

 

The Australians will play Czech duo Lucie Hradecka and Frantisek Cermak in the final on Sunday after the pair overcame Kveta Peschke and Marcin Matkowski in a super tiebreak 10-7.

 

The men’s doubles final will be contested on Saturday after the women’s singles final with top seeds Bob and Mike Bryan squaring off against the Dutch duo of Robin Haase and Igor Sijsling.

 

Jaclyn Stacey is a Melbourne based freelance journalist covering the Australian Open tournament as media for Tennis Panorama News.  Follow her Australian Open updates on @TennisNewsTPN. Follow her personal twitter @JackattackAU.

 

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Day 11 2013 Australian Open Doubles Update

Bryan Brothers China Open 2

By Jaclyn Stacey

 

(January 24, 2013) MELBOURNE PARK, Australia – On semifinal day for the men’s doubles top seeds Bob and Mike Bryan won through to their ninth Australian Open final after defeating the Italian pairing of Simone Bolelli and Fabio Fognini in three sets.

 

Considered the greatest doubles team of all time, the Bryan brothers will be vying for their sixth Australian Open title and will compete against the Dutch duo of Robin Haase and Igor Sijsling in the final. The dutchmen knocked out the third seeds in Spaniards Marcel Granollers and Marc Lopez in a tough straight sets encounter.

 

The semifinal lineup for the mixed doubles competition was also completed on Thursday. The pairings of Kveta Peschke/Marcin Matkowski and Yaroslava Shvedova/Denis Istomin had progressed through to the semifinals on Wednesday and they will play the pairings of Lucie Hradecka/Frantisek Cermak and Jarmila Gajdosova/Matt Ebden respectively.

 

The women’s doubles final will take place on Friday before the Roger Federer versus Andy Murray semifinal clash and will see the surprise Australian pairing of Casey Dellacqua and Ashleigh Barty take on the top seeds Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci.

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Australian Open Doubles Update Day 10

errani-vinci

By Jaclyn Stacey

 

( January 23, 2013) MELBOURNE PARK, Australia – While the men’s and women’s singles quarterfinals have enthralled viewers of the Australian Open on day ten, on the outdoor courts the men’s, women’s and mixed doubles have been heading to the pointy end of their respective tournaments.

 

The number one seeded women’s doubles pairing of Italians Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci won in straight sets over the fourth seeded Russian pairing of Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina 6-2 6-4 and progressed through to the final to be held on Friday afternoon.

 

The top seeds will face the unseeded Aussie duo of Casey Dellacqua and 16-year-old Ashleigh Barty in the final after they defeated the pairing of Varvara Lepchenko and Saisai Zheng 6-2 6-4 late on Wednesday night. The Australians have been a surprise package at the tournament so far and have received great support from the local crowds.

 

The men’s doubles competed at the quarterfinal stage of the draw on Wednesday with top seeds Mike and Bob Bryan advancing to the semifinals with a straight sets over Daniele Bracciali and Lukas Dlouhy. They will play the Italian pairing of Simone Bolelli and Fabio Fognini for a place in the final.

 

Third seeded Spaniards Marcel Granollers and Marc Lopez defeated the unseeded pairing of Tomaz Bellucci and Benoit Paire 6-3 6-1 and will play the dutch duo of Robin Haase and Igor Sijsling in the semifinals after the pair defeated Spaniards David Marrero and Fernando Verdasco in a tough two sets.

 

In the mixed doubles competition Kveta Peschke and Marcin Matkowski defeated Su-Wei Hsieh and Rohan Bopanna to progress through to the semifinals and will play the winner of the quarterfinal between Sania Mirza/Bob Bryan and Lucie Hradecka/Frantisek Cermak.

 

Yaroslava Shvedova and Denis Istomin also advanced to the semifinals and they will meet the winner of the match between fifth seeds Nadia Petrova/Mahesh Bhupathi and Australians Jarmila Gajdosova/Matt Ebden.

 

Jaclyn Stacey is a Melbourne based freelance journalist covering the Australian Open tournament as media for Tennis Panorama News.  Follow her Australian Open updates on @TennisNewsTPN. Follow her personal twitter @JackattackAU.

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Errani Will Claim WTA World No. 1 Doubles Ranking Next Week

The Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) announced on Tuesday that Italy’s Sara Errani will rise to the World No.1 doubles ranking on Monday, September 10. Errani replaces co-No.1s Liezel Huber and Lisa Raymond in the top spot, and becomes only the second Italian to hold the honor, after Flavia Pennetta, who was ranked No.1 for 18 weeks in 2011. Errani’s partner, fellow Italian Roberta Vinci, is also set to achieve a career-high doubles ranking of No.2.

 

“I would like to congratulate Sara on becoming the WTA’s World No.1 doubles player,” said Stacey Allaster, WTA Chairman and CEO. “Sara has had an amazing year in singles and doubles, reaching both finals at Roland Garros and winning 11 titles. Sara, along with her partner Roberta, achieved a historic feat at Roland Garros by becoming the first all-Italian team to win a Grand Slam doubles title. Their hard work and determination has paid off and is earning them fans around the world.”

 

“Becoming WTA No.1 in doubles is a dream come true,” said Errani. “It’s what you play for! We’ve won a lot of titles this year and to share such success with a friend like Roberta is amazing. Playing a lot of matches in both singles and doubles has been good for my confidence.”

 

Errani, and her regular doubles partner, countrywoman Vinci, have had an outstanding year, winning seven doubles titles, highlighted by becoming the first all-Italian pair to win a Grand Slam doubles title at Roland Garros. Between April and June the duo won five consecutive titles – Barcelona Ladies Open, Mutua Madrid Open, Internazionali BNL d’Italia (Rome), Roland Garros and UNICEF Open (‘s-Hertogenbosch) – and their 25-match win streak was the longest by a team since 1994, when Gigi Fernández and Natasha Zvereva won 28 straight. The pair currently leads the Race to the TEB BNP Paribas WTA Championships-Istanbul doubles standings.

 

Errani’s quarterfinal appearance at the Generali Ladies Linz with Alberta Brianti last year gives her a slight ranking advantage over Vinci, who will also rise to a new career-high next week, at No.2.

 

At 25 years old, Errani is enjoying a career year in 2012. In addition to her doubles accomplishments she reached her first Grand Slam singles final at Roland Garros (l. Sharapova), breaking into the singles Top 10. She has also won four singles titles – at Abierto Mexicano TELCEL (Acapulco), Barcelona Ladies Open, Budapest Grand Prix and XXV Italiacom Open (Palermo).

 

During the course of her career, Errani has won six singles and 15 doubles titles. In addition, she has represented Italy in Fed Cup competition for five consecutive years (including championship runs in 2009 and 2010), and competed in two Olympic Games.

WTA WORLD NO.1 DOUBLES PLAYERS

PLAYER WEEKS AT No.1 DATE REACHED No.1
Martina Navratilova (USA)

237

September 10, 1984
Liezel Huber (USA)

199

November 12, 2007
Cara Black (ZIM)

163

October 17, 2005
Lisa Raymond (USA)

137

June 12, 2000
Natasha Zvereva (BLR)

124

October 7, 1991
Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario (ESP)

111

October 19, 1992
Paola Suarez (ARG)

87

September 9, 2002
Gigi Fernandez (USA)

80

March 4, 1991
Helena Sukova (CZE)

68

February 5, 1990
Jana Novotna (CZE)

67

August 27, 1990
Virginia Ruano Pascual (ESP)

65

September 8, 2003
Samantha Stosur (AUS)

61

February 6,2006
Pam Shriver (USA)

48

March 18, 1985
Ai Sugiyama (JPN)

45

October 23, 2000
Martina Hingis (SUI)

35

June 8, 1998
Lindsay Davenport (USA)

32

October 20, 1997
Gisela Dulko (ARG)

24

November 1, 2010
Flavia Pennetta (ITA)

18

February 28, 2011
Julie Halard-Decugis (FRA)

14

September 11, 2000
Anna Kournikova (RUS)

10

November 22, 1999
Kveta Peschke (CZE)

10

July 4, 2011
Katarina Srebotnik (SLO)

10

July 4, 2011
Serena Williams (USA)

8

June 7, 2010
Venus Williams (USA)

8

June 7, 2010
Corina Morariu (USA)

7

April 3, 2010
Kim Clijsters (BEL)

4

August 4, 2003
Larisa Neiland (LAT)

4

January 27, 1992
Rennae Stubbs(AUS)

3

August 21, 2000
Sara Errani (ITA)

1*

September 10, 2012

*Includes week September 10, 2012

 Statistics from the WTA

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Llodra and Zimonjic Upset Bryan Brothers for Rogers Cup Title

 

 

MONTREAL,  Canada – Fourth Seeded pair Michael Llodra and Nenad Zimonjic won the Rogers Cup title doubles title, upsetting defending champions and No. 1 Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan 6-4, 6-7(5), 10-5. This marks the eighth win in a row for Llodra and Zimonjic who captured the Legg Mason Tennis Classic last weekend. Llodra and Zimonjic spoke to the media after their victory.

 

Video by Jennifer Knapp.

Jennifer Knapp is in Montreal covering the Rogers Cup for Tennis Panorama News. She has been following professional tennis for 15+ years and has attended dozens of tournaments around the world. She completed her own personal “Grand Slam” after attending her 1st US Open in 2002 and next on her tennis bucket list is the 2012 Olympics in London. Follow her Montreal twitter coverage this week  on @GVTennisNews. Her personal twitter is @jusbjen.

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Bryan Brothers Discuss Career, State of Doubles and the Olympics in Montreal News Conference (Video)

 

 

MONTREAL, Canada - Bob and Mike Bryan won their 702nd career match on Saturday by defeating Tomas Berdych and Florian Mayer 6-2, 6-1 in the Rogers Cup semifinals.  Sunday’s final will mark their ninth final of the 2011 season. The Bryans in their post-match news conference discuss their career, the state of doubles and the Olympics.

 

Video by Jennifer Knapp.

Jennifer Knapp is in Montreal covering the Rogers Cup for Tennis Panorama News. She has been following professional tennis for 15+ years and has attended dozens of tournaments around the world. She completed her own personal “Grand Slam” after attending her 1st US Open in 2002 and next on her tennis bucket list is the 2012 Olympics in London. Follow her Montreal twitter coverage this week  on @GVTennisNews. Her personal twitter is @jusbjen.

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