2014/10/02

Roger Federer Rallies to Win Sixth Dubai Title

Federer wins with arms raised

By Florian Heer

(March 1, 2014) DUBAI – Roger Federer won his sixth crown in the desert at the Duty Free Tennis Championships beating last year’s finalist Tomas Berdych 3-6, 6-4, 6-3, coming back from being down a set and a break. The Swiss led their head-to-head series 11-6 before the match but it was the Czech, who emerged victorious the last two times the pair met at the US Open in 2012 as well as here in Dubai last year.

 

In front of fully packed stands, it was Federer, who gained first blood by taking the opportunity and broke a shaky third service game from the Czech. Berdych recovered quickly and broke back to even score at 2-2 when the 32-year-old former world No. 1 started to produce a couple of unforced errors with his forehand. In the following the third-seed remained aggressive, in particular on Federer’s second serve, of which the Swiss could only win 30% percent of the points. Consequently Berdych gained another break in the sixth game.

 

The Czech served out taking a not very exciting first set in 33 minutes. Berdych also made the stronger start into the second set getting a break in the fifth game. Federer, who was clearly favored and backed by the crowd was able to find the right answer by gaining the immediate break back. The Swiss now playing with an aggressive style, came to the net more often, snatched the momentum and gained another break on set point in the tenth game to take the match the distance.

In the final set, Berdych’s first serve and forehand seemed to desert him. The Czech lost his service in the fourth game and Federer confirmed impressively in the following through a nice drop shot. The Swiss eventually served out the match after one hour and 58 minutes beating Berdych 3-6, 6-4, 6-3 for the first time since Madrid Masters in 2012. Federer ended the Czech’s eleven matches winning streak by lifting his sixth Dubai crown as well as his 78th career title but will remain the world’s No. 8 in the ATP Rankings.

“It’s like one of the things you just kind of hope it turns for the better,” Federer said afterwards about coming back from a set and a break down. “At that point you’re just telling yourself to serve well to give you maybe a few good opening points on Tomas’ serve. If he serves well, it’s difficult or the margins are extremely slim at that point. So once you do get back, it’s important not to relax then and think that the hardest part is done. It’s only about to beginning actually,” the Swiss explained.

“So I was happy I was able to use the momentum, win the second set and then it was a tough third one wasting the 0-40 game on Tomas’ first service game. Then I even had to save breakpoints by myself. I mean, anything could have happened there but things definitely went my way tonight,” the champion was happy. “It was a switch I wanted to do for a long time,” Federer said about the role of his new racket. “I like the chances Wilson was able to come up with. I’m happy that the results are paying off, especially in quick succession. I have only just switched and I made it into the final in Brisbane, the semis at the Australian Open, won my Davis Cup match and now I’m here with my trophy,” he added. Federer himself, however, is not sure if he can be dominating world tennis again. “Who knows? I’m just happy that I’m healthy again and that I can focus on tactics and not focus on me,” the Swiss concluded.

“Many things went wrong today,” said a disappointed Berdych afterwards. “The match was starting pretty well. I had really many chances, and then I basically just gave him the game and that’s it. I’m disappointed how I handled the situation. I was in better shape, played really well and made my chances. Unfortunately I didn’t execute until the end,” the Czech stated.

The Swiss has won at least one ATP World Tour title every year since 2000 and Saturday’s victory saw him pass the $80m mark in career earnings. Federer now has a 42-5 event record in Dubai, previously lifting the trophy in 2003-05, 2007 and 2012.

Rohan Bopanna and Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi

Rohan Bopanna and Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi

Earlier in the afternoon, the tournament’s two top-seeded-pairs faced each other when the combination of Daniel Nestor and Nenad Zimonjic took on Rohan Bopanna and Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi. It was only the Serb losing his service game during the match. In the opening set Zimonjic was broken in the tenth game and in the second frame it happened in the fourth game. Qureshi finally served for the title winning 6-4, 6-3 in 68 minutes. The “IndoPak Express” took their first title as a team since the ATP Masters 1000 in Paris in 2011. It was theit fifth ATP World Tour team title and first since reuniting at the start of 2014.

“We started off well this season playing a good final in Sydney but lost it to Nestor and Zimonjic. I’m happy to get a little sweet revenge back,” Bopanna said afterwards.

“Today we took our chance, which was key I think. On the big points, especially the no add points, Rohan returned remarkably well. I also think that we served really well and smartly,” Qureshi added. “Even though we have a different style of play, we both play really aggressively. In a way it does complement each other and also the fact that we always keep us motivated even after hitting bad shots. It’s just working as a team,” Bopanna told about their good partnership. “We also have Scott Davidoff traveling with us now. He’s been on the tour for many year and has a lot of experience. I think he’s brought in so much more to our game as well,” the Indian added.

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

See all of the photos from the past two weeks of Dubai tennis coverage on the Tennis Panorama Facebook page: http://on.fb.me/OOUwHw

 

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Day Five Dubai Round-up – Federer Bests Djokovic in Three Sets

Roger Federer

Roger Federer

By Florian Heer

(February 28, 2014) DUBAI – Semi-final day at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships saw the tournament’s two most successful players, Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer, go up against each other for a place in Saturday’s final.

The event’s theme “Stars will collide” became reality when both met for the 32nd time on the ATP World Tour with the Swiss leading their competitive head to head series by 16-15 before the match. The stands were fully packed when the players entered the stadium under floodlight, which created a special atmosphere. The match also started with some entertaining rallies, so that the crowd was in high spirits right from the beginning. Djokovic started with good length in his shots holding Federer back at the baseline. The defending champion capitalized on his first and only break point in the second game of the opening set to eventually take the frame in the ninth after 35 minutes.

In the second set, the Swiss again had to save break points in the fifth game before he was 30-0 up in the following when play was suspended for about five minutes due to drizzle in the desert at still about 20 degrees Celsius in the evening hours. So the match resumed quickly and Federer was wide awake and gained his first break of the match. Federer served out in the in the ninth game taking the match the distance. Djokovic struggled in his opening service game in the final set and double faulted at break point. The 17-time-Grand Slam champion was now able to play more aggressively, coming to the net as often as possible and so put a lot of pressure on the Serb. Federer broke a second time in the fifth game through great cross court forehand passing shot. The Swiss, obviously backed by the crowd, outplayed Djokovic at the end winning 6-3, 3-6 6-2 for the first time from a set down.

Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic

“Novak got the crucial first break, which is always big when top guys play each other and he is better than anybody with the lead,” Federer said afterwards. “So I knew I was a bit in trouble and it wasn’t looking good at all because he has the tendency to really then run with it and then play more freely on his serve. For me it was just a matter of trying to play consistently but also remain aggressive. Sometimes I also tried to be a bit overaggressive and to see if it works out. If it doesn’t’, you can always pull back a little bit. Overall I’m just happy I was able to deliver a good performance,” the Swiss added and was also impressed playing in such a great atmosphere. “I think the fans just wanted to see a great match. I do not know what they were chanting if it was, Nole, Nole or Roger, Roger,” he laughed. “Maybe there were more fans of myself in the stadium or more for Novak but I think it was a very enthusiastic and polite crowd and it was a dream playing out there today,” Federer said.

Djokovic had to admit the today’s defeat. “Roger deserved to win. He played in the second part of the match better and was more aggressive and played all around the court really well,” the Serb stated. “I dropped my opening service game in the third set, which was quite a bad game for me. I started making a lot of unforced errors as well and just wasn’t able to move well. He felt that this is the opportunity and he used it. The momentum changed and he stated to make less mistakes but look, I lost to Roger and that’s not a bad loss,” Djokovic said and has left for Indian Wells without winning a title in the season for the first time since 2006.

 

Tomas Berdych

Tomas Berdych

Earlier in the afternoon number third seed and last year’s finalist Tomas Berdych opened proceedings on Centre Court against Philipp Kohlschreiber. The Czech had emerged victorious in seven of their eight previous meetings, including the last three in a row.

Yesterday the German became the 23rd active player to reach the landmark of 300 match wins on the ATP World Tour by beating Tunisian Wild Card Malek Jaziri. Kohlschreiber made an impressive start into the encounter, returning well and capitalized on his first break point in the opening game. It was only the second time during this week Berdych lost his serve. The German seemed to remain solid with his baseline shots until the last four games, in which the 30 year-old still only made three points. Consequently, the third-seeded Czech broke serve in the twelfth game taking the opening set in 38 minutes. The second frame should become an even one as well as until the twelfth game again, in which Kohlschreiber couldn’t hold serve and after 88 minutes Berdych converted his second match point to advance into the final for the second successive year in Dubai.

In the beginning of the match I probably forgot myself at the room and just came out right after. This was definitely not me,” the Czech stated about his bad start into the match. “Then I was ready and I took the first set. Basically the similar stuff happened in the second set. Philipp was very solid, didn’t give me much chances at all on his serve. Then I got one in the last game and I took it,” Berdych was happy with his performance.

Philipp Kohlschreiber

Philipp Kohlschreiber

Kohlschreiber, who actually played a fine match apart from the end of each set was still satisfied with his week in Dubai. “Overall it was a very great tournament. Today was also great to play in front of such a nice crowd. Nonetheless it takes for sure a couple of maybe minutes, hours to get over the loss,” Kohlschreiber said right after the match. “Today, the only chance I had for a break was at the beginning of the match but then over the time he put more pressure on me and I didn’t serve so well. I had to go over many second services and this makes it always tight against these top guys,” the German explained.

In Saturday’s final Federer is facing Berdych for the 18th time leading 11-6 in head to head record but the Swiss had to admit that the Czech beat him last year here in Dubai in a very convincing way.

In the doubles final the two top-seeded-pairs will meet for the title. Daniel Nestor and Nenad Zimonjic defeated Danield Brands and Florian Mayer in two tie-breaks and Rohan Bopanna and Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi advanced by winning 6-2, 6-0 against Tomasz Bednarek and Lukas Dlouhy.

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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Day Two Dubai Round-up

Berdych applauds

By Florian Heer

(February 25, 2014) DUBAI – The second day of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships started on Centre Court with last year’s beaten finalist Tomas Berdych, who extended his seven-match winning streak against Romanian qualifier Marius Copil through a 6-3, 6-4 victory in 78 minutes. Since opening his season with a first round loss to Ivo Karlovic in Doha, the Czech has won thirteen out of his last fourteen matches with his only defeat coming to Stanislaw Wawrinka in the semi-finals of the Australian Open.

“It has been a tight match by the score but I think I had quite many chances even after I made my breaks each set and then in the last game I should have done something a bit different,” the Czech said after today’s victory. “You lose one point and then, you know, the guy serves really well. I got like four or five aces. That’s it. Then later I was able to serve it out,” Berdych added. It seems that the third-seed doesn’t want to peak too early and saves his best tennis until the end of the week. “Well, if I get there, I hope so, yes,” the Czech laughed. “Of course I’m trying to win every match. I have a space to improve for the further stages. I was especially looking more for my percentage of the first serve today, because always when you come up indoors to outdoors, really, this bright sky and straight sun to my face, it’s always very difficult with my high ball toss,” Berdych explained the difficulty coming from Rotterdam, where he collected his ninth ATP career title, to Dubai.

Del Potro retires shakes hands w devvarman

Next up was Wild Card Somdev Devvarman against Juan Martin Del Potro. The Indian played three ATP Challenger events on home soil over the last three weeks and lifted the trophy in New Delhi last week. Del Potro, who won the title at the beginning of the year in Sydney, is making his third consecutive visit to Dubai and so far he has always reached the semi-finals. This time, however, he will not have the chance to repeat his positive results.

 

After the Indian Wild Card had taken the opening set in the tie-break, the Argentine was forced to retire due to injury at his left wrist. “My wrist is hurting a lot, everybody knows what happened to me four years ago with my other wrist,” a clearly disappointed Del Potro stated afterwards. “It was really tough to play today and I tried everything but it’s really difficult to play in these conditions. I’m feeling similar pains to the other hand what I felt four years ago. It’s hurting all the time, it’s sometimes less and sometimes little more. But it’s hurting, and I have been in contact with my doctor all the time.  He’s trying to keep me motivated to keep playing, but I know what it’s my limit playing on court. Today was enough. I have been doing a big effort to play this tournament, and it was not enough to play what I like to play,” the Argentine said about his doctor, who fixed his right wrist in the past. The number two seed had been suffering with the injury before he arrived in Dubai, and he sought medical advice in the United States following his opening round loss at the Australian Open last month. “I will let everyone know very soon what my plans gonna be,” Del Potro said about the coming weeks.

 

Devvarman on the other hand was happy to advance but also had some thoughts for his opponent. “Obviously it is unfortunate, especially for a guy like him. I wish him nothing but the best and a good recovery,” the Indian said. “Regardless of whether his wrist was okay or not, I just tried to fight hard and tried my best to make things tough for him, make things easier for me. I’m just happy that I got through today,” Devvarman said about his own performance.

Djokovic in press 2

Defending champion Novak Djokovic, who returned to action for the first time since losing in five sets against Stan Wawrinka at the quarterfinals of the Australian Open, took on Denis Istomin for the fifth time. Djokovic, who has never lost before the quarterfinals in eight consecutive years in Dubai, only lost one set to the Uzbek before and today’s match shouldn’t change any of it. Djokovic gained an early break in the third game of the opening set and from then on the Serb remained in command eventually reaching the next round through a comfortable win in 64 minutes 6-3, 6-3. “It was a tough draw against Denis, who can play big from back of the court. He’s a tall guy, can serve well and loves playing on the big stages, so it wasn’t that easy as the scorelines indicates,” Djokovic said. “I needed to work for my games. Having not played an official match for more than four, five weeks, obviously takes its toll on the court. I do feel it a little bit. I practiced a lot, I put a lot of hours on the court, trying to develop my game, trying to get myself in the right shape and it is going to click sooner or later,” Dubai’s top-seed added and is going to face Roberto Bautista-Agut next. “He won against Del Potro in Melbourne in a thrilling five sets. He has improved his game significantly since last year and winning against Del Potro in a Grand Slam says enough about his quality,” Djokovic said about his next opponent.

Radek Stepanek

Two of the ATP Tour’s veterans Radek Stepanek and Michael Russell clashed on Court 3. The Czech and the US-American are two of the tree oldest players ranked inside the Top 110, so their first meeting was eleven years ago Stepanek winning in straight sets in Auckland. The 35-year-old Czech was able to repeat his victory today taking the match 5-7, 6-3, 6-1 after two hours and two minutes. Therewith he has extended the head to head record to 2-1.

A hard hitting duel took place on Court 2 when Lukas Rosol faced Daniel Brands. Both players have met six times before, mostly on Challenger level, leading the German 4-2. Nineteen aces were served today in total, one more for Brands but it was the world No. 49 winning eventually 7-6, 6-4 in 75 minutes.

World No. 177 James Ward, who was granted a Wild Card, upset Teymuraz Gabashvili winning 2-6, 6-4, 7-6. Ward made his maiden appearance at ATP 500 level and will face Mikhail Youzhny next, who defeated Michal Przysiezny in straight sets 6-3, 6-4.

Tsonga bh

In Tuesday’s last encounter on Centre Court, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga faced Victor Hanescu for the second time. The last meeting between the two dated back to the year 2008 in Adelaide when the French won the match in three sets. Tsonga reached his first final of the season in Marseille on Sunday, where he lost to Ernests Gulbis who only arrived in Dubai this morning. Considering the quick change from indoors to outdoor, the Frenchman made an impressive start into the tournament taking the opening set in only half an hour. Tsonga went on to play a solid match cruising past the Romanian 6-2, 6-4 in only 72 minutes. “I played a good match tonight. I think I have an advantage on this surface, as it suits well to my serve and my forehand,” said the fifth-seed after the match.

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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Juan Martin Del Potro Retires from Match in Dubai

Del Potro retires

(February 25, 2014) DUBAI – Juan Martin Del Potro was forced to retire from the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships on Tuesday with a left wrist injury after losing the first set in a tiebreak to Somdev Devvarman.

 

The No. 2 seed had been suffering with the injury before he arrived in Dubai, and he sought medical advice in the United States following his opening round loss at the Australian Open last month. Del Potro missed most of the 2010 season recovering from wrist surgery. Del Potro won the US Open, his only major in 2009.

 

Although he broke for a 2-0 lead, Del Potro immediately dropped his own serve in the next game and after failing to convert three set points on his opponent’s serve at 6-5 he lost the tiebreak 7-3.

 

“My wrist is hurting a lot and it was really tough to play today and I tried everything, but it’s very difficult play like in these conditions, you know, playing slices or I cannot be the player what I would like to be,” said the Argentine.

 

“It’s hurting all the time, it’s sometimes less and sometimes little more. But it’s hurting, and I have been in contact with my doctor all the time.  He’s trying to keep me motivated to keep playing, but I know what it’s my limit playing on court. Today was enough. I have been doing a big effort to play this tournament, and it was not enough to play what I like to play.”

 

Devvarman said that he realized after a few games that Del Potro was having some pain.

 

“After starting the match, I realized that he wasn’t very comfortable hitting backhands obviously, and I tried to make him hit as many as I could, and he wasn’t really hitting over it, so I knew that he wasn’t happy,” said Devvarman. “I just tried to fight hard and tried my best to make things tough for him, make things easier for me.

 

“Obviously it’s unfortunate, you know, especially for a guy like him. I think he’s been playing really good tennis to be in the top 5, and I wish him nothing but the best and a good recovery.”

 

Del Potro said that he plans to head straight to the Mayo Clinic for another consultation with his physician Dr. Richard Berger, who operated his right wrist surgery.
The next tournament is in the United States, and I have a couple of weeks off before the tournament and I will be there to see the doctor and what advice he will give to me,“ Del Potro said.

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Federer on the “Tweener”: “It was exciting, and the fans enjoyed it”

Federer stretch fh

(February 24, 2014) DUBAI – Five-time Dubai champion Roger Federer began his quest for a sixth title on Monday with a 6-1, 6-4 win over Benjamin Becker. During the match the 17-time major champion hit a between-the-legs-shot also called in tennis circles a “tweener.” Here is a video of the point where he hit the “tweener” lob. Video courtesy of supertennistv1.

When Federer was asked about the shot he said: “two shots before that, the dig I had on the volley, I didn’t think I was going to make that.  And then the second one was just a reflex.  I thought he was going to go to the forehand, went to the backhand.  I got it over somehow, and then I thought that was maybe actually going to win, and then he got to it quite comfortably and he had to hit the lob because I was so close to the net.

“Then because he was coming in already, I thought maybe he was going to be pretty close to the net so let me try the lob instead of just the hit just like I usually play it.  It worked perfectly, so I’m happy I didn’t miss it wide and even better that he got it back so he created even more to it.

“Yeah, it’s rare for me to win that point with the lob in that circumstance.  I know I can hit it, but it’s always exciting, it’s so rare to get that opportunity to line it up because it’s a safe shot for me almost to a degree.  It was exciting, and the fans enjoyed it, which is almost as important as winning point.”

Tennis Panorama News is in Dubai this week covering  the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships. Follow the updates on Twitter @TennisNewsTPN.

Related article:

Day One Dubai Round-up

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Djokovic, Del Potro, Berdych and Federer Meet the Media in Dubai

 

Dubai venue-001

By Florian Heer

(February 23, 2014) DUBAI – For the 22nd time, the only ATP World Tour 500 event in the Middle East region is taking place in Dubai. The tournament is held at the Aviation Club and its Centre Court with the official name of Dubai Duty Free Tennis Stadium, has a capacity of 5,000 seats. Total prize money will be US-$ 1,928,340.

The draw was announced on Saturday in which defending champion as well as top-seed Novak Djokovic and five-time winner Roger Federer are projected to clash in the tournament’s semifinals. “We have two of the greatest men who have ever played the game once again competing here at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships,” said Colm McLoughlin, Executive Vice Chairman of tournament owners and organisers Dubai Duty Free. “Their semifinal will be one to savour, but the field here is so strong that neither are guaranteed their place in the final four,” he added.

There is also second-seed Juan Martin Del Potro, who opens his bid for the title against popular wild card Somdev Devvarman. The Argentine could meet 2013 runner-up and recent Rotterdam winner and Australian Open semi-finalist Tomas Berdych in the semifinals. The Czech faces a qualifier in the first round. “With other members of the Top ten in the form of former US Open champion Juan Martin del Potro, and very in-form Tomas Berdych and the entertaining and highly-talented Jo-Wilfried Tsonga also vying for one of the most coveted trophies on the ATP World Tour, Dubai tennis fans are set to enjoy a fantastic week of top-class action,” said Tournament Director Salah Tahlak.

Tomas Berdych-001

Tomas Berdych

On Sunday the event’s top-seeds spoke about the coming week. “Every tournament starts from zero. There will be an opponent already in the first round, who really wants to beat you and plays well,” Tomas Berdych explained. “For me there is also a big change coming from indoors and now playing here outside. I still need time starting to build it up again,” the Czech winner from Rotterdam said.

Roger Federer-001

Roger Federer

“For me it is key playing point to point from match to match,” fourth-seeded Roger Federer stated. “The tournaments in Brisbane and Melbourne gave me confirmation that the racket switch was a good choice,” the Swiss said. “It’s nice spending time with him and it is also inspiring just to hear him speaking about the game,” Federer added about his partnership with Stefan Edberg. “Clearly we are favourites in the next match,” the Swiss talked about the Davis Cup when Switzerland will face Kazakhstan. “Clearly with Stan (Wawrinka) we have a very good team, although the depth is not quite there. Nonetheless Marco (Chiudinelli), Michael (Lammer) and Henri (Laaksonen) can play good tennis but still it depends a lot on Stan and myself. We will see how the next round goes and it is clearly nice to play at home in Switzerland,” Federer is looking forward to the tie and hopes that a lot of spectators will come to Geneva in April.

Juan Martin Del Potro-001

Juan Martin Del Potro

“There are a lot of good players here in the draw. There are Federer or Djokovic, who are also favourites to win the title here,” second-seeded Juan Martin Del Potro said. “Of course I also want to go deep into this tournament. There are high expectations in my country as well and I’m trying to keep within the top-five, top-ten this year and it will be a great season for me,” the Argentine said.

Novak Djokovic-001

Novak Djokovic

“I discussed it with my team last year during the Asian swing in September and Marian (Vajda) was actually the one, who suggested to include another coach,” Novak Djokovic said about his partnership with Boris Becker.

“Marian has been travelling for so many year on the tennis tour and he got a little bit tired. He wanted to spend more time with his family. He has two daughters, who also play tennis so the subject came up and we talked about it. We considered different names and Boris was the one, who fitted most to our vision and to that what I want. Next we talked to Boris and there were several months of discussion how we could make this work and eventually he accepted it. Today I’m still excited for having a tennis legend like Boris in my team,” Dubai’s top-seed told the press.

“As a head coach Boris committed to travel a lot of weeks and many tournaments, which is hopefully going to bring me positive results. It’s just the beginning of the season and the Australian Open was a good tournament for us, although I lost in five sets against the champion, somebody who played an incredible tournament of his life. This was a great match to be part of. The year before I won against Stan (Wawrinka), so this is normal. Sometimes you win and sometimes you lose. It was not because Boris was there instead of Marian, as many people were saying. We are not significantly changing anything in my game. The biggest part where Boris can help me is obviously the mental approach and figuring out certain match situations, as he knows the position on the court.

 

“We are not changing my technique, you will not see me playing with my left and or single-handed backhands,” Djokovic added and laughed. “We do have different games. Boris was a serve and volley player, very strong and muscular. In contrary I’m a player, who stays more at the baseline but I have been working for the last year and a half – also with Marian – trying to use the opportunity that is presented due to my groundstrokes to come to the net and win the point,” the Serb said. “I felt that I have dropped two or three titles in the big tournaments during the last two years, which I could have won. That’s another reason why Boris is here,” Djokovic added.

“After the Australian Open I took some time off. There are more than four weeks between my last official match and Dubai. I only played five matches this year, just practiced for the rest of the weeks and so it will be challenging for me to go out on the courts here. It’s a totally different situation playing matches in front of thousands of people and so I tried to play so many points as possible in the last few days with all the players here,” Djokovic said.

The draw for the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships was completed on Sunday after four qualifiers Adrian Ungur, Lukas Lacko, Marius Copil and Thiemo de Bakker battled their way to victory.

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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Delray Beach and Marseilles Results

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

RESULTS – TUESDAY, 18 FEBRUARY 2014

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

SCHEDULE – WEDNESDAY, 19 FEBRUARY 2014

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

RESULTS – TUESDAY, 18 FEBRUARY 2014

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

SCHEDULE – WEDNESDAY, 19 FEBRUARY 2014

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)

 

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Caroline Wozniacki Battles Past Sabine Lisicki in Dubai; Talks Engagement Ring in Press

Wozniacki engagement ring

(February 18, 2014) DUBAI – Former No. 1 and Dubai 2011 champion Caroline Wozniacki battled back to stop 2013 Wimbledon finalist Sabine Lisicki, winning 2-6, 6-3, 6-3.

“I have had to fight pretty hard against her quite a few times,” said the woeld No. 11.  “I knew she was going to come out hot and just go for her shots, and I felt like I was just a step behind.  I couldn’t really do what I wanted from my backhand side, and I was playing a little too short.

“In the second set I started serving really well, I was really pleased with my serves, and I got a lot of her returns back deep, and all of a sudden, you know, the game was different.  I started attacking more from my backhand side onto her backhand and started to make her run a little bit.”

Asked if she was disappointed with the loss Lisicki who is still nursing a shoulder injury said:

“Definitely, but I still see it as positive, because I didn’t have a racquet in my hand for more than two weeks or two weeks.  I practiced four days, and, you know, my shoulder, I did a lot of rehab to be able to come here.

“So I’m very happy that I was able to play and to actually play that well.  It wasn’t enough to play the two whole sets that way yet, but in general, I’m pretty satisfied the way, you know, I started and went into the match, so that’s definitely something that I can build on.”

Wozniacki came into her news conference, sporting her 8 carat diamond engagement ring from fiancé and fomer No. 1 golfer Rory McIlroy. She doesn’t wear it on court for fear of losing it.

She explained the significance of the 8 carats:

“That’s my lucky number.  That’s how he picked eight.  Very thoughtful.  I should have said 18, but…,” she said jokingly.

“Date, everything, location set,” the Dane said when asked about her wedding plans. “Such an exciting time.”

Asked to name the date, she quipped, “You never know.”

 

No. 5 seed, Jelena Jankovic, had to fight to get past qualifier Maryna Zanevska, winning 6-4, 6-3.

“I worked really hard. It was not easy for my first match here,” said Jankovic. “I just came from Doha like one day ago, so it’s completely different. Playing there during the night it’s slower, and here it’s faster and the balls fly. It was quite windy out there, and I felt kind of like I couldn’t play my game totally, you know, play the lines.”

Related articles:

“Rusty” Serena Williams Opens Dubai with a Win; Ana Ivanovic Squeaks by Angelique Kerber

Simona Halep Retires with Injury in Dubai Opening Match

 

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Simona Halep Retires with Injury in Dubai Opening Match

Halep Retires

(February 18, 2014) DUBAI – Fresh off her title victory in Doha on Sunday, Simona Halep was forced to retire with a right Achilles injury from her first round match trailing Alize Cornet 6-1, 1-1 at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships on Tuesday.

No. 9 Halep received treatment after Cornet had taken to lead 4-1.

“I have an inflammation at my Achilles. So when I jump with my serve and when I stop at the rallies, I feel the pain,” said Halep. “I wanted to try, because I like to try to fight for my chance, but here I couldn’t. After one set I realized that it is dangerous to continue.”

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Venus Williams Dominates in First Round Victory in Dubai

IMG_6086

(February 17, 2014) DUBAI – Wild Card entry and two-time former champion Venus Williams was off to a winning start at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships besting Elena Vesnina 6-3, 6-2 hitting 10 aces along the way.

“The last couple matches I played against her, at Wimbledon she played so well and it wasn’t my day, and Cincy as well – I had some chances there but she was clearly more on her game,” Williams said after the win.

“These days I’m a little more on mine, so I was glad to get a win.”

Venus Williams dubai

“I definitely don’t take for granted any win anymore,” said Williams. “Not that I used to. But now it’s even more special, every win. My serve keeps improving pretty much every tournament. That always helps me.

“I think the more matches I’ll play, the better I will feel. You know, in moments where I’m controlling the match, the better I will feel in moments where things are close.”

The 2009 and 2010 champion’s win will set up a second round meeting with the winner of sixth seed Angelique Kerber and former No. 1 Ana Ivanovic.

DUBAI DUTY FREE TENNIS CHAMPIONSHIPS
Dubai, UAE
February 17-February 22, 2014
$2,000,000/Premier
Hard/Outdoors

Results – Monday, February 17, 2014
Singles – First Round
Carla Suárez Navarro (ESP) d. (WC) Nadia Petrova (RUS) 63 62
Ekaterina Makarova (RUS) d. Alisa Kleybanova (RUS) 64 67(3) 64
Sorana Cirstea (ROU) d. Roberta Vinci (ITA) 64 63
Lucie Safarova (CZE) d. Sloane Stephens (USA) 63 75
(WC) Venus Williams (USA) d. Elena Vesnina (RUS) 63 62

Doubles – First Round
Kops-Jones/Spears (USA/USA) d. Chan/Huber (TPE/USA) 63 76(4)
Groenefeld/Rosolska (GER/POL) d. Dushevina/Parra Santonja (RUS/ESP) 64 63
Raymond/Zhang (USA/CHN) d. (WC) Flipkens/Kvitova (BEL/CZE) 06 64 107 (Match TB)

Singles Qualifying – Final Round
Annika Beck (GER) d. (1) Eugenie Bouchard (CAN) 61 64
(3) Flavia Pennetta (ITA) d. (5) Yvonne Meusburger (AUT) 61 63
Karolina Pliskova (CZE) d. Camila Giorgi (ITA) 75 62
Maryna Zanevska (UKR) d. Mona Barthel (GER) 76(8) 64

Order Of Play – Tuesday, February 18, 2014
Centre Court (from 14.00hrs)
1. Alizé Cornet vs. Simona Halep
2. Caroline Wozniacki vs. Sabine Lisicki
3. Angelique Kerber vs. Ana Ivanovic (NB 19.00hrs)
4. Serena Williams vs. Ekaterina Makarova

Court 1 (from 14.00hrs)
1. Maryna Zanevska vs. Jelena Jankovic
2. Samantha Stosur vs. Annika Beck
3. Kaia Kanepi vs. Flavia Pennetta
4. Kirsten Flipkens vs. Karolina Pliskova

Court 3 (from 14.00hrs)
1. Hlavackova/Safarova vs. Black/Mirza
2. Errani/Vinci vs. Pavlyuchenkova/Petrova (NB 16.00hrs)
3. Jankovic/Kleybanova vs. Kudryavtseva/Rodionova

 

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