May 27, 2017

Fabio Fognini Stops No. 1 Andy Murray in Rome Second Round

Andy Murray

Fabio Fognini Stops No. 1 Andy Murray in Rome Second Round

 

(May 16, 2017) World No.1 Andy Murray will head into the French Open with few clay court wins under his belt. The three-time major winner and defending champion lost No. 29 Fabio Fognini of Italy in the second round of the Rome Masters 6-2, 6-4 much to the delight of local fans. Since winning the Dubai title in February, Murray is 5-6.

Fognini was fearless, hitting 22 winners to only four errors.

“I’m sure there were a lot of things I could have done better,” Murray said to media. “Obviously he started the match extremely well, for sure, and then, you know, mid to end part of the second set, you know, there were a few opportunities there.

“But, yeah, he was — you know, he was taking the ball early, you know, hitting the ball close to the lines and dominating most of the points.

“And then second set, you know, towards the end he starts making a few more mistakes. I was getting into it a little bit, but I wasn’t doing enough to — you know, I wasn’t creating enough chances on my own. You know, normally during matches your opponent might give you a few opportunities with some errors, and obviously you hope to create a few yourself.

“That certainly wasn’t the case today. The only chance I really got was when he was making errors.”

 

“Definitely movement the last two weeks has not been good,” Murray continued. “I felt like I moved decent in — you know, in the beginning of the year I was moving well. I moved pretty well in Monte-Carlo and Barcelona, but the last two weeks I haven’t moved well.

“You know, Fabio did play some good dropshots, but like you say, I wasn’t actually making a move or a step towards the ball.

“You know, that’s not a good sign, so that’s something, like I said, the last two years on the clay, that’s been a huge improvement for me. My movement has been a big help, you know, last couple of years, but certainly the last couple of weeks that’s been a problem. So I need to address that.”

 

No. 2 Novak Djokovic beat British qualifier Aljaz Bedene 7-6 (2), 6-2.

“Bedene is the kind of player that gives you good rhythm,” noted the Serb. “I had some good exchanges, some good games with rallies and it felt right, especially in the second set.

“Tiebreak I played a great tiebreak. Served very well when I needed to. I just — you know, I just wish that I had started a little bit sharper. But hopefully the next one will be good.”

 

A couple of ATP World Tour milestones from Tuesday – David Ferrer notched his 700th career match win on the tour while Tomas Berdych won his 600th.

 

 

INTERNAZIONALI BNL D’ITALIA – ROME, ITALY

RESULTS – MAY 16, 2017

Men’s
Singles – Second Round
F. Fognini (ITA) d [1] A. Murray (GBR) 62 64
[2] N. Djokovic (SRB) d [Q] A. Bedene (GBR) 76(2) 62
[6] M. Cilic (CRO) d R. Harrison (USA) 63 62
[9] D. Goffin (BEL) d F. Verdasco (ESP) 36 63 62
[12] T. Berdych (CZE) d [Q] C. Berlocq (ARG) 63 64
J. Isner (USA) d F. Mayer (GER) 76(4) 76(4)

Men’s
Singles – First Round
[13] J. Sock (USA) d D. Schwartzman (ARG) 64 16 75
[15] P. Carreno Busta (ESP) d G. Simon (FRA) 63 63
[16] A. Zverev (GER) d [Q] K. Anderson (RSA) 64 46 64
[PR] T. Haas (GER) d [LL] E. Escobedo (USA) 60 46 76(1)
B. Paire (FRA) d N. Mahut (FRA) 63 64
P. Cuevas (URU) d [Q] A. Mannarino (FRA) 64 76(2)
D. Ferrer (ESP) d F. Lopez (ESP) 46 63 61
R. Bautista Agut (ESP) d *[LL] A. Dolgopolov (UKR) 64 62

Men’s
Doubles – First Round
N. Mektic (CRO) / A. Ramos-Vinolas (ESP) d [WC] F. Gaio (ITA) / S. Napolitano (ITA) 76(3) 63
R. Bopanna (IND) / P. Cuevas (URU) d [WC] S. Bolelli (ITA) / A. Seppi (ITA) 64 62
B. Baker (USA) / N. Monroe (USA) d J. del Potro (ARG) / M. Matkowski (POL) 36 75 10-5

*[LL] A. Dolgopolov (UKR) replaced N. Kyrgios (AUS) – hip
Women’s
Singles – Second Round

[5] J. Konta (GBR) d Y. Putintseva (KAZ) 63 60
[7] S. Kuznetsova (RUS) d K. Siniakova (CZE) 61 76(3)
[16] M. Lucic-Baroni (CRO) d [WC] M. Sharapova (RUS) 64 36 12 Retired – left thigh injury
First Round
[Q] D. Gavrilova (AUS) d [10] M. Keys (USA) 26 75 75
J. Goerges (GER) d [13] K. Mladenovic (FRA) 76(6) 75
[15] K. Bertens (NED) d M. Niculescu (ROU) 26 62 61
[Q] A. Kontaveit (EST) d [Q] A. Petkovic (GER) 63 64
A. Sevastova (LAT) d I. Begu (ROU) 64 64
E. Makarova (RUS) d R. Vinci (ITA) 62 61
[Q] C. Bellis (USA) d M. Doi (JPN) 64 76(6)
[Q] J. Ostapenko (LAT) d S. Rogers (USA) 63 64
T. Bacsinszky (SUI) d T. Babos (HUN) 62 62
L. Davis (USA) d C. Suárez Navarro (ESP) 62 57 63

Women’s
Doubles – First Round

B. Krejcikova (CZE) / S. Zheng (CHN) d [5] K. Pliskova (CZE) / B. Strycova (CZE) 06 64 10-8
[PR] L. Arruabarrena (ESP) / A. Parra Santonja (ESP) d D. Gavrilova (AUS) / A. Pavlyuchenkova (RUS) 36 64 11-9
[WC] J. Jankovic (SRB) / A. Petkovic (GER) d [WC] D. Chiesa (ITA) / S. Rubini (ITA) 75 62
[Alt] O. Savchuk (UKR) / E. Svitolina (UKR) d S. Aoyama (JPN) / C. Liang (CHN) 64 62
E. Hozumi (JPN) / M. Kato (JPN) d S. Stosur (AUS) / S. Zhang (CHN) 62 64

ORDER OF PLAY – WEDNESDAY, MAY 17, 2017
CENTRALE start 12:00 noon
ATP – [7] K. Nishikori (JPN) vs D. Ferrer (ESP)
ATP – [Q] N. Almagro (ESP) vs [4] R. Nadal (ESP)
WTA – [1] A. Kerber (GER) vs [Q] A. Kontaveit (EST)

Not Before 7:30 pm
ATP – [3] S. Wawrinka (SUI) vs B. Paire (FRA)

Not Before 9:00 pm
WTA – [Q] J. Ostapenko (LAT) vs [3] G. Muguruza (ESP)

NEXT GEN ARENA start 11:00 am
WTA – [8] E. Svitolina (UKR) vs A. Cornet (FRA)

Not Before 12:00 noon
ATP – K. Edmund (GBR) vs J. del Potro (ARG)
WTA – L. Tsurenko (UKR) vs [9] V. Williams (USA)
ATP – [8] D. Thiem (AUT) vs P. Cuevas (URU)

Not Before 7:00 pm
ATP – [Q] J. Struff (GER) vs S. Querrey (USA)

PIETRANGELI start 11:00 am
WTA – L. Siegemund (GER) vs [6] S. Halep (ROU)
WTA – L. Davis (USA) vs [2] K. Pliskova (CZE)
ATP – V. Troicki (SRB) vs [16] A. Zverev (GER)
ATP – [PR] T. Haas (GER) vs [5] M. Raonic (CAN)

Not Before 5:00 pm
WTA – [4] D. Cibulkova (SVK) vs E. Makarova (RUS)

COURT 1 start 11:00 am
WTA – [Q] C. Bellis (USA) vs [15] K. Bertens (NED)
WTA – [Q] D. Gavrilova (AUS) vs C. Garcia (FRA)
ATP – [13] J. Sock (USA) vs J. Vesely (CZE)
ATP – [15] P. Carreno Busta (ESP) vs R. Bautista Agut (ESP)
ATP – [3] J. Murray (GBR) / B. Soares (BRA) vs J. Isner (USA) / J. Sock (USA)

COURT 2 start 11:00 am
WTA – [Q] M. Barthel (GER) vs [Q] Q. Wang (CHN)

Not Before 1:00 pm
WTA – J. Goerges (GER) vs J. Jankovic (SRB)
WTA – [14] B. Strycova (CZE) vs T. Bacsinszky (SUI)
ATP – N. Mektic (CRO) / A. Ramos-Vinolas (ESP) vs [8] I. Dodig (CRO) / M. Granollers (ESP)
WTA – [4] T. Babos (HUN) / A. Hlavackova (CZE) vs [PR] L. Arruabarrena (ESP) / A. Parra Santonja (ESP)

COURT 4 start 11:00 am
WTA – [WC] S. Errani (ITA) / M. Trevisan (ITA) vs C. Mchale (USA) / M. Niculescu (ROU)
WTA – [12] A. Pavlyuchenkova (RUS) vs A. Sevastova (LAT)
ATP – J. Sousa (POR) / F. Verdasco (ESP) vs D. Nestor (CAN) / E. Roger-Vasselin (FRA)
WTA – N. Hibino (JPN) / A. Rosolska (POL) vs [2] Y. Chan (TPE) / M. Hingis (SUI)

COURT 6 start 12:00 noon
ATP – O. Marach (AUT) / M. Pavic (CRO) vs [Alt] T. Huey (PHI) / M. Venus (NZL)
WTA – S. Kuznetsova (RUS) / K. Mladenovic (FRA) vs A. Groenefeld (GER) / K. Peschke (CZE)
WTA – After Suitable Rest – D. Jurak (CRO) / A. Rodionova (AUS) vs K. Bertens (NED) / J. Goerges (GER)

COURT 3 start 1:00 pm
WTA – K. Bondarenko (UKR) / K. Siniakova (CZE) vs [7] G. Dabrowski (CAN) / Y. Xu (CHN)
WTA – After Suitable Rest – [Alt] O. Savchuk (UKR) / E. Svitolina (UKR) vs [3] S. Mirza (IND) / Y. Shvedova (KAZ)

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Djokovic and Nadal Survive Challenges to Reach Madrid Third Round; Bouchard Advances

Novak Djokovic

(May 10, 2017) Novak Djokovic came back from a 0-3 deficit in the third set to get past Spaniard Nicolas Almagro 6-1, 4-6, 7-5, while Rafael Nadal needed just under three hours to win 7-6 (3), 3-6, 6-4 over Fabio Fognini to move into the final 16 at the Madrid Open on Wednesday.

Asked about his comeback in the third set Djokovic said:” Well, this was the fourth match on the clay court season for me this year, and all of them went 7-5 or 6-4 in the third set. Every match more or less that I’ve played was quite close, dramatic as well. I guess I’m supposed to be tested in every match on clay.

“From positive side, from that perspective, is good for psychological aspects and mental strength and getting confidence back.

“Obviously when you’re not winning too many matches, you have to build the confidence level. So to win the matches like this definitely helps confidence.

“I thought that for almost two sets I’ve played really well. Had 15-40 two times in the second set to finish off the match in straight sets. But, you know, I didn’t use my opportunities.

“He served well. Then he started to swing through the ball. Four games in a row he played really, really well.

“It’s tough to play Nico on any surface. Especially here where it’s altitude, it played quicker a little bit. He loves playing on clay. He was obviously motivated. He has a lot of strength in his shots, a lot of precision. He can, from both corners, hit equally well.

“If he doesn’t make many mistakes, he can really beat anyone. I could feel his very high quality, especially the end of the second set and the beginning of the third.

“But I hung in there and I knew that eventually I’m going to get my chances and going to get some looks on the second serves. When they’re presented, you know, I was ready to use them, which I did.

“Yeah, it was very challenging conditions, as well. Towards the end, a lot of wind. But all in all, a real test for the first match here.”

This was the 12-time major winner’s first match since splitting with his coaching team last week.

As to the speculation on who his next coach could be:”Well, I mean, I understand that people are trying to speculate and trying to look into the possible coaches and create a list because I was saying I would like to have ideally someone who fits into the profile of a person that was kind of in my shoes before, that has been winning Grand Slams. There are not too many of those kind of champions in the history of the sport. I guess it’s normal that people start coming up with names.

“I can’t talk more than that. I’m going to think about who I want in my team. Right now I don’t have yet anyone. But I think by French Open or after French Open, I already going to have someone.”

Defending Madrid champion Djokovic has just one title this year and has been hampered by an elbow injury.

“I’m still finding my way to that consistency level and quality of tennis that I’m looking for. I’m aware that I’m not playing at my best, but I’m definitely believing in myself and the process. Eventually the game will come together.

“I can take a lot of positives from today, as I say, for almost two sets. I was playing really well, consistently, taking my chances, returning a lot of balls back, serving precisely. I wasn’t making too many, you know, errors on the court. Then I had that four-game period which wasn’t that great. But I managed to recover.

“I try to take positives out of it. I know I can identify things that haven’t gone the way I wanted them in the game. But, you know, it’s normal to expect that sometimes you have those ups and downs. I’m going to try to reduce them as much as I can.

“Four consecutive games lost in this level should not happen because otherwise, you know, you’re going to lose the match. I was very close to lose it, as well. He was up 3-Love.

“But as I’ve said, you know, I’m happy with the way I handled the pressure in those moments, just stayed with him, made him play always extra shot. I did my work in the end of the match. So I’m looking forward to the next round.”

Four-time Madrid winner Rafael Nadal saved 10 break points in the first set and had to break serve as Fognini was serving up 5-4 in the first in a very back-and-forth match on Wednesday.

 

“I haven’t played bad, I played really bad,” Nadal said criticizing himself in regard to the match.

“Well, I think that even though I played really badly, my attitude has been very positive. My attitude and the will to win today’s match was there. My level of tennis was not so high today, but I managed to make it through the first round. It was uncomfortable.

“I think before it wasn’t so windy, but when I started playing, it was a really awful day. It was really windy.

“It’s true I’ve been through some difficult days with the issue of my ear, which cost me a little bit of general stability. I feel a little bit strange. But it’s something that is getting better day after day.

“Talking about the game in general, it’s quite simple: I think there was a moment where he was playing really well. There was another moment where both of us played really badly. The third set, we leveled up.

“I think we both played better than what we played in the first two sets. This is a positive thing. But that together with a couple of things, you know, it was the first match in altitude, then it was against an opponent that doesn’t give you a lot of rhythm, and the weather today was not really good. Those three things are not good.

“Also another thing I forgot. I was a little bit nervous today because it was the first day I played, and the conditions were completely different to the previous days. That makes the match very different. Luckily I was able to win, and tomorrow I have another opportunity. Hopefully I’m ready to do much better than today.”

 

Nadal will take on Nick Kyrgios next, who has beaten Nadal before – their first meeting at 2014 Wimbledon.

 

“He’s a very difficult opponent,” said Nadal. “He’s one of the most difficult players you can play. It’s true that I think on clay he’s a very, very tough player. But perhaps here he’s a little bit less difficult to play.

“But here we have the altitude, and that makes him very complicated. He can be even more complicated than a hard court due to the altitude we have here.

“Let’s see what happens tomorrow. If I play late, the conditions will be a little bit slower. But, well, he’s an opponent that’s going to put a lot of pressure on me. He has a very good serve. He’s very aggressive. I have to try to be very solid with my serve, too. I’m going to try to play at a high rhythm.

“I have to play really well to be able to beat him. I think I’m ready to do that. We’ll see what happens tomorrow. I don’t know what’s going to happen. But I think I’m ready to play well because of things in the past months I’ve been playing really well.”

 

In women’s play, Eugenie Bouchard backed up her win over Maria Sharapova, when she advanced to the quarterfinals when No. 1 seed Angelique Kerber was forced to retire with a hamstring injury with Bouchard up 6-3, 5-0.

“All in all I’m very pleased 9with the win), Bouchard said. “I felt I started off a little bit off ’cause the conditions were so different. It was cold. It was really windy from one side to the other, a strong wind. The atmosphere was different from my previous match.

“I just at the beginning felt a little bit out of it, a couple loose errors. But then after that, I got myself together and got my rhythm, felt pretty awesome out there.”

“My first-round win gave me confidence. Feeling a bit better in practice coming into this week gave me confidence coming in.

I thought it was very important today to keep moving my feet a lot and accelerate a lot.”

Kerber talked about her injury with media: “I know it’s the left hamstring. I just felt it in the last game. I think it was not the last point, but the point, like, before.”

“Then the last point when I served, I was sure I cannot play more because I’m actually not the person who is retiring so often. When I feel it, it’s something.

“But I hope it’s not too serious. So I will see it in the next hours or days.”

Bouchard will be play two-time major winner Svetlana Kuznetsova next. “She’s playing well, in general right now, ” said the Canadian. “Also I think she ended the year really, really well. It’s going to be a good battle. I’ve practiced with her before, played against her. I’ve always enjoyed it because she gets a lot of balls back, but she also goes for it. We both have just battled.

“I just want to have fun. I just want to enjoy it and just go for it, as usual.”

RESULTS – WEDNESDAY, 10 MAY 2017

Singles – Second Round
[2] N. Djokovic (SRB) d [WC] N. Almagro (ESP) 61 46 75
B. Paire (FRA) d [3] S. Wawrinka (SUI) 75 46 62
[4] R. Nadal (ESP) d F. Fognini (ITA) 76(3) 36 64
[5] M. Raonic (CAN) d G. Muller (LUX) 64 64
[6] K. Nishikori (JPN) d D. Schwartzman (ARG) 16 60 64
A. Zverev (GER) d [7] M. Cilic (CRO) 67(3) 63 64
D. Ferrer (ESP) d [10] J. Tsonga (FRA) w/o (shoulder injury)
[11] T. Berdych (CZE) d R. Haase (NED) 76(5) 63
[12] G. Dimitrov (BUL) d I. Karlovic (CRO) 63 75
[16] N. Kyrgios (AUS) d R. Harrison (USA) 63 63
[LL] B. Coric (CRO) d [Q] P. Herbert (FRA) 75 64
P. Cuevas (URU) d N. Mahut (FRA) 57 64 64
F. Lopez (ESP) d G. Simon (FRA) 63 36 76(3)

Doubles – Second Round
[2] B. Bryan (USA) / M. Bryan (USA) d F. Martin (FRA) / D. Nestor (CAN) 57 62 10-7
[3] J. Murray (GBR) / B. Soares (BRA) d J. Cabal (COL) / R. Farah (COL) 63 76(4)
[4] L. Kubot (POL) / M. Melo (BRA) d [Alt] B. Baker (USA) / N. Monroe (USA) 63 64
[6] N. Mahut (FRA) / E. Roger-Vasselin (FRA) d R. Haase (NED) / A. Ramos-Vinolas (ESP) 76(6) 76(3)

SCHEDULE – THURSDAY, 11 MAY 2017

MANOLO SANTANA start 12:00 noon
WTA – C. Vandeweghe (USA) vs [3] S. Halep (ROU)
Not Before 2:00 pm
ATP – F. Lopez (ESP) vs [2] N. Djokovic (SRB)
ATP – [1] A. Murray (GBR) vs [LL] B. Coric (CRO)
Not Before 8:00 pm
ATP – [16] N. Kyrgios (AUS) vs [4] R. Nadal (ESP)
Not Before 9:30 pm
WTA – E. Bouchard (CAN) vs [8] S. Kuznetsova (RUS)

ARANTXA SANCHEZ VICARIO start 12:00 noon
ATP – [6] K. Nishikori (JPN) vs D. Ferrer (ESP)
Not Before 2:00 pm
WTA – K. Bertens (NED) vs A. Sevastova (LAT)
WTA – [14] K. Mladenovic (FRA) vs [WC] S. Cirstea (ROU)
ATP – [12] G. Dimitrov (BUL) vs [8] D. Thiem (AUT)
ATP – [PR] T. Haas (GER) / M. Mirnyi (BLR) vs [8] F. Lopez (ESP) / M. Lopez (ESP)

ESTADIO 3 start 12:00 noon
ATP – [7] I. Dodig (CRO) / M. Granollers (ESP) vs F. Fognini (ITA) / T. Huey (PHI)
ATP – [5] M. Raonic (CAN) vs [9] D. Goffin (BEL)
Not Before 4:00 pm
ATP – [11] T. Berdych (CZE) vs A. Zverev (GER)
ATP – B. Paire (FRA) vs P. Cuevas (URU)

PISTA 4 start 12:00 noon
WTA – A. Groenefeld (GER) / K. Peschke (CZE) vs [3] Y. Chan (TPE) / M. Hingis (SUI)
Not Before 2:00 pm
WTA – [6] L. Hradecka (CZE) / K. Siniakova (CZE) vs [WC] A. Parra Santonja (ESP) / S. Soler-Espinosa (ESP)
WTA – After rest – [4] S. Mirza (IND) / Y. Shvedova (KAZ) vs I. Begu (ROU) / S. Halep (ROU)
WTA – After rest – K. Bertens (NED) / J. Larsson (SWE) vs [5] T. Babos (HUN) / A. Hlavackova (CZE)

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Rafael Nadal to Face Roger Federer in Miami Open Final – Fedal Part 37

 

Rafael Nadal

(March 30, 2017) Rafael Nadal reached his fifth Miami Open final beating Italy’s Fabio Fognini 6-1, 7-5 during the day session. Nadal will try to win his first Miami final against Roger Federer, who defeated Nick Kyrgios in a three-hour and nine-minute epic match in the evening session 7-6(9), 6-7(9), 7-6(5).

No. 5 seed Nadal lost all four previous finals in Key Biscayne in 2005, 2008, 2011 and 2014.

No. 4 seed Federer won titles in Miami in 2005 and 2006. His last title victory in Miami came against his current coach Ivan Ljubicic.

Roger Federer

“He’s on such a good run, he’s such a great player, so it was a special feeling,” Federer said in his on-court interview.

“I kept fighting and believing, tried to stay aggressive.

“It was a nail biter and could have gone either way.”

 

Nick Kyrgios

“I think my game is there but I have to keep putting the mental part of it first,” Kyrgios said to media.

“Wasn’t expecting anything less of this match, the crowd. Created enough chances, felt it was on my racquet”

“I think my game is there but I have to keep putting the mental part of it first.”

“It was a tough match,” Kyrgios said. “Obviously played over three hours. Wasn’t expecting less, to be honest. He’s obviously the crowd favorite anywhere he plays obviously with what he’s done for the game.

“But I thought I was responding well to the crowd. Obviously serving for the first set. Hadn’t been broken in three matches, felt good. But I, mean, I created enough opportunity to win that match. I felt like it was on my racquet most of the time.

“He was playing great. Yeah, the crowd was obviously on his side, but I think I have to win a little bit more to start getting them on my side.”

“To stay healthy; that’s my main goal,” noted Kyrgios. “Playing a lot through the clay season so I to need to look after my body.

“I got Davis Cup next week. That’s my focus now. I am not going to think past that at all. We got a big tie against the USA. Obviously Jack is playing unbelievable. John, he’s a proven player. They’ve got a great team.

“That’s all I’m thinking about at the moment. Just staying injury-free, trying to get better. I felt like my game is there. Just mentally I got to keep putting in every day.”

“I showed a lot of fight,” Kyrgios said in regard to the match. “I thought I competed for every point.

“Obviously I’m an emotional guy. I had some ups and up and downs, bit of a roller coaster. Ultimately I think I put in a good performance. I thought the crowd would’ve enjoyed watching it, people at home would’ve enjoyed watching it.

“As I said, I wouldn’t be surprised if they found something bad, though.”

“I think people are really getting to know him now,” Federer said of his 21-year-old opponent. “They see him play more often. It’s his second, third year on tour now, so he’s coming back for the second, third year now to tournaments, which is good. You really see how he’s evolving as a player and person.

“I think it’s exciting following youngster because they change the look a lot or try out things, play differently; they get to know their game much better.

“He’s clearly got a big time game; he has one of the best serves in the game. He’s got great focus now on his serve, which I like to see. You know, it’s just going to take time for him to really be able to focus point for point and improve that.

“But you’re right, the crowds jump on it pretty quickly. But it makes for a good atmosphere I guess at the end of the day, so it’s not all that bad. Of course I think he’s good for the game at the end of game.”

This was seventh time in Roger Federer’s career that he has played all tie-breaks in best-of-three sets match. He has a 5-2 record in those matches.

Federer rallied from a break down in the first set and had match points in the second set tiebreaker, but could not convert.

Rafael Nadal

Nadal on his straightforward contest with Fognini: “I think I played a very good first set. He had mistakes obviously.

“In the second is not about losing the concentration, it’s about not being lucky at the beginning of the second set. With the normal situation, the normal thing is have a break at the beginning of the second. I had so many chances, but then situation changes, no?

“But when you don’t convert opportunities you’re in trouble, and that’s what happened. Especially with these conditions out there, a lot of wind. And with Fabio, who is a player that he is able to combine great points with mistakes then, you know, the match became strange, not a lot of rhythm, and then end of the second set was tough.”

“I served well. My serve worked well. I think I didn’t face a break point again during the whole match, so that is something that I am very happy with. That’s give you calm when you have opportunities on the return and you don’t convert.”

In one the more unusual situations on court, the 14-time major winner ran out of his shoe in the second set.

“I don’t know,” Nadal said responding to the incident. “Is strange because happened twice. In one month happened two times. I don’t know where the other time — practice. But practicing, not competing. I don’t know. Maybe I need to put tie stronger, but I don’t know. I don’t know how the shoe goes out. I have to check again.”

“Winning here will be something great and something that’s an important title that I didn’t win.

“But winning or losing, being honest, not going to change my career. Just helps to add something important for me and that’s it.

“I am very happy about the first part of the season on hard courts before the clay arrives. I won a lot of matches. I have a lot of points. I am in a privileged position of the race. That’s a great news for me and give me calm to play the next couple of tournaments.

“At the same time, I needed to play well at the beginning of the season because I didn’t have points the second half of the season on the computer, so I had a good chance to go back a lot on the ranking. That will not happen a lot probably. I can lose — I am still defending a lot of points on clay the next four tournaments, especially first three ones.”

For Fognini, the husband of 2015 U.S. Open champion Flavia Pennetta,  this was the unseeded player’s first Masters 1000 semifinal.

“I think I was missing a lot of balls,” he said. “That’s for sure, because I am giving like a present the first set to Rafa Nadal 6-1. It’s difficult to compete after. Even if I play much better the second set; I had my chance.

“I was really surprise about his serve, that he serve really, really good today. And of course no, me no.

“And at the end, I think we have a great fighting, even if he had more chance than me on the second set. I think I had bad luck, especially on that dropshot that was unbelievable, it was really good, on 3-All.”

The fifth seed Nadal leads the ATP World Tour in wins on the season with a 19-4 record.

“It’s great to be in the final for me,” said Nadal. “For me doesn’t matter the opponent. I am happy to be in that final again, and I am excited to play another final of on important event.

“So if it’s Roger, going to be another one for both of us, and that’s it. Just another one.”

“I think back to 2004, I just came off winning Indian Wells and I played the youngster Nadal, and I ended up losing,” Federer said on court.

“You could tell he was definitely going to win the French. The following year we played in the final and I should have lost, somehow, I won, he should have Miami titles and he doesn’t, so it’s going to be super special playing against him in the final.”

“When I came to Miami I just thought, Ahhh, this is probably again — like I did in Indian Wells and in Australia,” Federer said to media. “I just thought eventually it’s just going to catch up with me. Miami is probably not going to work that well because it’s slower. I already won Indian Wells.

“So let’s be realistic here. Semis would be an unbelievable run. Here we are in the finals and I get a chance to win the tournament. Still I feel like there is a mountain to climb in Rafa. He’s not won it yet before. He’s definitely feeling fresher than I feel right now. That’s not a problem. I’ll be ready on Sunday.

“Should be really exciting because we had this epic match in 2005. The finals was unbelievable. It was a turning point in my career, to be quite honest. For me to be able to focus for, I don’t know how long we played, maybe four hours, smashing forehand after forehand down the line I remember, I felt like I had to learn how to fight in matches, and there I showed it to myself and my team that I could do it.

“It was against somebody who ended up being my biggest rival. It’s definitely going to be very special playing Rafa here again. Of course I’m thrilled for him as well that he came back as well as he did after the comeback, the struggles that he had last year. Feels like old times. We’re playing each other every week now. We can’t get enough of each other.

“Yeah, hopefully it’s not our last match.”

Federer is now 18-1 on the year, his best start to a season since 2006.

The final between the “thirty-somethings,” 35-yearold Federer and 30-year-old Nadal, will be played on Sunday afternoon. Nadal holds a 23-13 head-to-head record against Federer.

 

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Venus Williams Beats No. 1 Kerber; Nadal Moves into Miami Open Semis

Venus Williams

(March 29, 2017) Venus Williams produced her 15th win over a current No. 1 player on Wednesday at the Miami Open. The three-time Miami champion defeated the top seed Angelique Kerber 7-5, 6-3 to reach the final four in Key Biscayne.

 

For the 36-year old, 11th seeded Williams, it’s her first Miami semifinal since 2010.

 

“It was an interesting match,” the former No. 1 Williams said to media. “I was controlling it. I had more errors than I like and lower first serve percentage than I would like. For me, I’m looking at it from a standpoint of how can I get better.

“I have to play well against the No. 1 in the world. She’s on top of her game and she played well, so I had to find a way to play a little better.”

 

Sitting in the stands for the match was her father Richard Williams. After the win she thanked her dad in her on-court interview: “My dad is one of the loves of my life and the reason I’m here in this game.”

 

“He has always loved popcorn,” Williams said. “We always ate popcorn together when I was a child. That’s a great childhood memory.”

 

“I think last year Charleston was his last event, so he’s kind of sticking to the tournaments in the States now,” Williams commented.

“I could hear him on the sidelines. He really wanted it for me. So it’s a happy moment when you come off the court.

“Even if I lose he’s still very happy, but to see the joy and the pride and the excitement, I could win the match just for that.”

Williams will take on Johanna Konta who defeated Simona Halep.

 

 

Williams spoke about her upcoming match against the Brit: “She played well, served well. Tomorrow is an opportunity for me to come out and play hopefully better than today. There are a few things I would like to work on. Outside of that, just come out fresh eyes, fresh feet, and big shots. That’s my plan.”

Johanna Konta

Konta had a comeback victory over the No. 3 seed Halep 3-6, 7-6(7), 6-2. Konta was down a set and 5-2.

 

“I guess I really didn’t think too much of what the scoreline was,” noted Konta. “I think it was important for me to keep fighting and to keep — yeah, to stay very present.

“I think there wasn’t that much momentum at that point in that match necessarily in her corner, so I think I also just stayed very aware that although she was serving for the match there, there was still — I was still very much in there. I really tried to just fight every single point and stay very present.”

 

“Whoever I’m playing I’m going to have a battle on my hands, that’s for sure. I’ve obviously played Venus a few times and Angie, so I think they’re going to have a tough battle tonight.

“Yeah, looking forward to playing either of them. I think either will be a great opportunity for different reasons. Yeah, we get to have a night session tomorrow.”

 

Rafael Nadal

In men’s play, Rafael Nadal is a step closer to his winning his first Miami Open. The Spaniard saved four break points to prevent himself from going down a double break in the second set and won 6 out of the next seven games to close out the match 6-2, 6-3 over 13th seed Jack Sock in the last night match on Stadium court.

Nadal on the match: “In the first set I think I was under control during the whole set, because was so important for me to have the break in the first game that I was returning, no?

“So, yeah, in the second was so important to save that game, the 2-Love, 15-40. Another break point for him was decisive on the match, that game, and then confirm that save having the break back in the next game.

“So was two straight positive things and two straight games that probably create a lot of damage on the opponent, no?”

 

Nadal will play nemesis Fabio Fognini in the semifinals. Fognini beat a wobbly second seed and 2016 finalist in Kei Nishikori  6-4, 6-2.

 

 

Kei Nishikori

Nishikori admitted that he “wasn’t 100%.”

“I think he played good enough. I don’t think he played extremely well today. I think for me, I had too many unforced errors and my serve wasn’t there today, so I think that’s cost most of the match.”

 

“At the moment I’m just happy,” said the Italian. “Of course it’s a big, big tournament for me at the moment; feeling really good on court and other times, so this is the best thing that we can have this week.

“Happy about my performance. Of course the result, it’s positive. It’s like a dream maybe. I play next match Rafa or Sock, so going to be really, really tough match.

“Try to be focus on my game, try to do my best, and then if it’s dreaming coming true, I’m here.”

Nadal on playing Fognini:  “Well, I know him very well; he know me very well. We played couple of times; he beat me couple of times, too.

“So, yeah, it’s a tough match. He’s playing well, so will be a good tennis for me, too, and a good challenge. Happy to be in the semifinals. I’m excited about play that semifinals match against a player who’s playing very, very well during the whole week.

“Going to be a tough one. I need to play my best, keep playing aggressive like I did today, and hope to have my chances.”

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Fabio Fognini Wins Croatia Open

Fabio Fognini

Fabio Fognini

(July 24, 2016) Fourth seed Fabio Fognini beat Andrej Martin 6-4, 6-1 to win the Croatia Open on Sunday in Umag. It’s the Italian’s fourth career ATP World Tour title. It was his Slovakian opponent’s first final.

“I am really happy to win this title,” Fognini said. “Congratulations to Andrej, he played unbelievably this week.”

“Right now, it doesn’t feel so good, but over time I will appreciate what I did this week,” said Martin. “For me, it’s been a great experience.””

“It’s the final,” said the winner. “Both players had nothing to lose. For me there was everything to win because I was the favorite. I think I improved my game in the second set.”

“I have to be happy. A title is always a title. It was a great week of tennis.”

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In Their Own Words – Rafael Nadal, Serena Williams, Fabio Fognini and Bethanie Mattek-Sands

Nadal in press

U.S. OPEN

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Rafael Nadal

Press Conference

F. FOGNINI/R. Nadal

3-6, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Did you feel something started to go a different way between the first two sets and the last three ones?
RAFAEL NADAL: He play great. It was not a match that I lost, even if I had opportunities. It’s a match that he wins.

So accept. Not happy that he played better than me, but that’s what happened. He played better than me, no? I didn’t play bad at all. I played a normal match, but not enough.

So not happy with that. But accept that he was better than me today.

Q. Do you have some problems with your legs, cramping?
RAFAEL NADAL: No. Perfect.

Q. I want to know, when you were always behind one break in the fifth set, then you were coming back, what were your feelings at that moment?
RAFAEL NADAL: I fighted until the last point all the time, good attitude. Not enough to win today. I lost a couple matches this year like this.

But the good thing is my mind allows me to fight until the end as I did during all my career. Sometimes this year I was not able to do that.

So I am happy with that. I enjoyed the crowd. Was amazing support out there. Just very special feeling be out there with that support. I enjoyed that.

I tried to fight until the last ball. I believe I did, but was not enough today.

Q. What is your plan for the rest of the season?
RAFAEL NADAL: Probably Davis Cup and then Beijing, Shanghai, Basel, Paris.

Q. London?
RAFAEL NADAL: I can’t tell you now. I don’t know if I going to qualify.

Q. Is this tougher than other losses?
RAFAEL NADAL: No. Is another lose. Not tougher. As I tell, you know, my mind allows me to fight until the end. Is something that I was missing for a while, that feeling that I am there.

For the nerves, for the anxious that I had for a long time this season, I was not able to do it. I was not able to be fighting the way that I was fighting today. So is an improvement for me.

I take that like a positive thing and I know what I have to do. I going to work on it.

Q. It’s the first time in the last 11 years that you cannot win a Grand Slam tournament. What does it mean to you?
RAFAEL NADAL: No, the only thing that means is I played worse than the last 10 years. That’s the real thing.

By the way, for me was amazing win 10 years in a row Grand Slam. I think nobody did. You can imagine how difficult is make that happen.

Accept that was not my year and keep fighting till the end of the season to finish in a positive way for me. Finish the season with the feeling that I improved something from the beginning of the season. That’s something that I think I am doing.

I think I have a good base now. As I said, good thing is I am not playing terrible matches like I did at the beginning of the season. When I am losing, I am losing because the opponents beat me, not because I lose the match, as I did a lot of times at the beginning of the season.

That’s an improvement for me, so I have a base now. That is a start. I know what I have to do and I going to work on it.

Q. You lost three times to Fabio, so you know him well. Did he do anything surprising you tonight especially? I’ve never seen anybody making 70 winners against you.
RAFAEL NADAL: Maybe I am slower. I don’t know. (Smiling.)

Q. What is your opinion?
RAFAEL NADAL: I don’t know. He’s a player with a great talent, with huge shots, and he played amazing shots. But what I am doing worse is playing worse than what I used to do the last couple of years. That’s it.

We can be talking for one hour trying to create a reason. But the sport for me is simple, no? If you are playing with less confidence and you are hitting balls without creating the damage on the opponent that I believe I should do, then they have the possibility to attack.

I am playing with little bit less mistakes than before. I have better feelings on the ball. Now remain to have again the speed, that extra speed on the ball, on the winner.

I want the defense, defense a little bit more longer, and hit easier winners. Have been little bit tough for me to hit winners tonight.

But that’s it. Not a big story. Is just improve small things that make a big difference.

Q. Do you feel slower?
RAFAEL NADAL: No. I was joking.

Q. You say you’re feeling good mentally now. What feels different? What is not as good as you want it to be?
RAFAEL NADAL: If you hit the ball a bit shorter, the opponent has more space. If you hit the ball with a little bit of less confidence, then there is not as much topspin like used to be.

If you hit shorter, you will run slower. Is not you run slower, but the opponent take the ball earlier so it looks like you are slower, no?

Is easy to understand, easy to explain, difficult to change, but I going to do it.

Q. Tiger was in your box. You have almost the same number, and ESPN make a survey who going to win the 15th, you or Tiger. You know the new generation is coming in golf and tennis. Who has the bigger chance you win the 15, you or Tiger?
RAFAEL NADAL: I hope we make that happen next year both. It was a great honor for me to have Tiger in my box. For me like a sportsman he’s a big example. His attitude on the golf course for me always was a big inspiration.

So when I saw him play, when I saw his attitude, I see the eyes that he has when he has to shot, has the difficult shot, the decisive shot. Is very special. I don’t see a lot of sportsmen with that self-confidence, with that intensity on his face when he had to hit the important shot.

So for me, he’s a great example, great inspiration. I always say the same. I don’t have idols. But that’s closest thing that I have: him.

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Serena Williams Beijing

U.S. OPEN

Friday, September 4, 2015

Serena Williams

Press Conference

S. WILLIAMS/B. Mattek-Sands

3-6, 7-5, 6-0

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Not the easy way.
SERENA WILLIAMS: I just made a lot of errors. Had to play myself in after that.

Q. How did you play yourself into the match? Obviously it was really tight. You got close deep in the second set, and then you seemed to find another level.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I mean, I knew that I could play better, so with that in the back of my mind — because I made a lot of errors, but I knew, like, this wasn’t the best game, my best game.

So I guess knowing that always helps me really play better.

Q. Do you think she was trying to use dropshots or trying to bring you into the net a little bit? Did you see that as a tactic?
SERENA WILLIAMS: You know what? I don’t know. Maybe. I don’t know actually.

Q. What is it like to always be the favorite in a match? It seems like it’s so long since you weren’t expected to win.
SERENA WILLIAMS: I mean, it’s interesting. Yeah, no matter what, I’m always the favorite. I look at it as I’d rather be the favorite than be in a position where I’m not, so…

Q. When you get down in a match – you’ve spoken about this earlier in the tournament – what do you draw upon most, that you find most effective to turn things around?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don’t know. I just know usually when I’m down, I mean, I feel like if I’m not playing well, I know I can take it to another level. But if I’m down and I’m playing well, then I probably won’t win.

But usually, you know, I know that I can play better. I just try to tap into the energy and I try to play better.

Q. The other day you spoke about being nervous or a little bit tight. Were you nervous tonight?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Not at all. Not at all.

Q. Why not?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I wasn’t nervous at all, just the second round. From the week — from Cincinnati I felt good. I mean, I don’t have to win this event. It’s not the end of the world for me.

I told you getting to Wimbledon and winning the Serena Slam, that really meant a lot to me. That tournament I felt on the edge a lot. This one I don’t feel that way.

I think people feel that way more than I do, but I don’t feel like I need that more than anything.

Q. Do you feel better after it’s all over tonight than you did the other night?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, definitely. I feel good I was able to get that win, obviously.

And she played really well. She played a really aggressive game. I don’t think her level really dropped. I thought I just picked up my level.

Q. The history goes away and it’s just you against your opponent. You’re not aware of the circumstances as you’re playing?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I mean, of course it’s there. I’m not a robot or anything. But at the end of the day I’m just here to do the best I can. If that means I win, then great. But if it doesn’t, then you know what? I can’t let that affect me because I still have other tournaments to play.

Q. You’ve been down an early break in a lot of matches; lost some first sets. Does that concern you at all, or you know you’ve gotten out of it so many times?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I think getting out of it so many times definitely helps me. It’s definitely not something I want to do, though.

But, hey, a win’s a win, I guess.

Q. When you do face that situation which you now have eight times in the slams this year, do you ever think, I have no margin for error; it’s best-of-three sets? Like Murray yesterday lost the first two sets and came back. Do you wish it was best-of-five ever?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No, but we offered to play best-of-five. I totally could.

But doesn’t matter to me. Best-of-five, best-of-seven, whatever. Let’s get it going and cracking, right?

Q. What will you take away from playing Madison last time that you’ll bring to the match coming up?
SERENA WILLIAMS: You know, I think that she played a really high-intensity match. I thought she served really well; I served well.

So hopefully I’ll be able to show up and play well. We’ll see.

Q. What are the biggest similarities and differences between your games, do you think?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I mean, she runs around and hits forehands a lot. I tend to run around and hit backhands, which is just odd. I don’t know. I mean, we both have good serves.

Yeah, she does everything really well. She has a good return. She has a heavy shot. She’s moving well. So she does everything really well.

Q. When you were a young player trying to make your mark, you go out there as an eager beaver. You want to win matches. What is it like now when you’ve done so much on a day-to-day basis? Is that eagerness to go out there and play still there?
SERENA WILLIAMS: At this point in my career it is. I think it’s even more eagerness to win every single match I play every single time I step out on the court.

Q. The crowd was really cheering for you. Did that help you or is it sometimes pressure on you?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, no, I usually don’t have a cheering crowd for me, so it definitely feels good. They usually cheer for the underdog, but I think everyone wants to see me go far, I guess, this year.

So it’s really cool to have the crowd not cheering for the underdog this time. But I understand obviously. It just feels really good. It feels amazing every time I play. I think, if anything, it helps me.

Q. Do you prefer playing Americans here or would you rather…
SERENA WILLIAMS: It doesn’t matter. At some point you play everyone everywhere, so…

Q. At this point do you feel invincible?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No. I’ve never felt invincible. I’ve never used that word to describe me ever.

Q. Did you watch any of Venus’ match today?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No.

Q. You know she played really well. Do you take anything from that? You both mentioned this week you give advice to each other before matches.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, we do. The only thing I take from it is the fact that I’m going to have to step up my game, you know. That’s all I can do.

Q. A few times this year you have reminded us that it’s not easy. This isn’t easy. This journey that you’re on is really difficult. Is this really what you kind of expect, and it’s a lot harder than all of us think it is?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don’t know what to expect. I’ve never been on this train. I love metaphors. (Smiling.) I’ve never been on this train. It’s different. It’s definitely different.

But, yeah, I actually can’t really answer that because I don’t really know what to expect.

Q. To use your metaphor, what would it take to derail you?
SERENA WILLIAMS: If I’m standing on the middle of a track, I’m definitely going to get derailed. I have to make sure that I’m on the train and not, you know, in front of it.

Q. Do you have any particular memories of matches against Lindsay here?
SERENA WILLIAMS: The last time I played Lindsay was so long ago that hopefully I’ve improved. Hopefully. But, yeah, I remember one time. Obviously the semifinals here in ’99. I lost to her here once or twice. I don’t remember.

Q. You have a lot of visibility these days with commercials and such. Do you have a favorite you’ve seen and why?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I love the Gatorade and the Beats ad. They’re really inspirational. They’re not just like, Oh, here I am. They really are inspirational for young kids, and that’s what we wanted to do. We didn’t just want to do a normal ad. We wanted to inspire everyone from every part of the world.

Q. What is it like having your retired contemporaries watching you from the sidelines now? Hingis was watching Venus today.
SERENA WILLIAMS: It’s all right, I guess. I don’t think about it.

Q. Do you remember, were you watching when Steffi had her US Open where she was going for it? Do you remember anything about that?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Seriously? I mean, I’m old, but c’mon. Geez.

Q. You were playing tennis already.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, but, I mean, what, I was six. Get serious.

Thank you.

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Fabio Fognini

Fabio Fognini

 

U.S. OPEN

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Fabio Fognini

Press Conference

F. FOGNINI/R. Nadal

3-6, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. 70 winners. It sounds crazy.
FABIO FOGNINI: Well, with Rafa you have to try that, because otherwise if you run — he start running at the beginning and you finish at the end of the week. It’s not easy.

Right now I can’t tell you something more because was something incredible that I did today, I think. Is a really special win about the No. 1 on clay and he won two times here.

So really happy.

Q. What was the key to the match today for you?
FABIO FOGNINI: Well, I was starting to feel the ball really good, believe me. I lost that first set 6-3, but I was say in my mind, Okay, let’s try, let’s keeping working; do your tennis.

I went down a break. After come back on 4-4, I went 40-Love on that game and I lost incredible game. So was my fault. Even if I come back from break down, I was say, Okay, let’s try. But two sets to zero against Rafa, maybe you have to go to Lourdes.

I went there tonight and everything was in a perfect way.

Q. You have beaten Rafa two times this year. Does it give you any confidence or belief?
FABIO FOGNINI: I mean, confidence or not confidence, you know if you want to play against him and if you want to do something different, you have to risk. That’s the only thing.

Probably I make a lot of unforced errors, but it doesn’t matter. You have to do that with a great player that run a lot on the baseline. He’s one of the best player in the world.

Q. Was there a moment in the third or fourth set where you thought you could win this match?
FABIO FOGNINI: No, was not a moment. I was saying, Okay, keep working and try to do your best. In my mind I was feeling the ball really well, especially at the end of the fourth set. I make that incredible game with the backhand cross-court down the line. I broke him on, I don’t remember, but, you know, fifth set was something different.

We play three, almost four hours; break back few times. I lost again incredible game on 4-3, 40-Love. On that game I think I went risk, but he was playing better than me.

On the other hand, on 4-4 again I was — was incredible match for sure. It’s 2:00 in the morning. I am really tired in the moment. I try to recovery as best I can.

Q. We saw you play in Argentina singles and doubles for Davis Cup, winning both. You’re a great doubles player. You attack the net very well. You attacked the net 54 times and 72% of those times you won the point. Why do you think you’re not getting so good results on hard courts, attacking the net more, not defining the points not necessarily from the baseline?
FABIO FOGNINI: That’s a good question. But, you know, there’s the statistic. Even if we lost the doubles yesterday with the match point, I feel good on the net.

I repeat again: with Rafa, you have to risk. You have to attack him when you have the chance. He is one of the best passing player in the world, if not the best.

That’s what I think I was doing really well tonight.

Q. You’ve beaten him three times this year. You never beat him before this year. You played great in those matches. What do you think about his level this year compared to before?
FABIO FOGNINI: That’s your work. I don’t care if he’s play better or bad. Only thing, you have to win against him. It’s never easy for sure. I beat him three times, but, you know, it’s just statistic.

I was saying three times, and all three times was something different on the game. Rio de Janeiro was 7-5 in the third and I was down set and break.

I was playing really good in Barcelona with two set.

I was playing really good also the final in Hamburg, even if I lost 7-5, 7-5. We played 2 hours and 40 minutes. It was a tough match.

Yeah, tonight, yeah. Maybe the victory of tonight is something different for sure.

Q. It looked like you injured something. You were limping a little bit. What happened? You were obviously able to recover.
FABIO FOGNINI: I hope, yeah, to recovery really well. I was a little bit tired sometimes. You know, when you start thinking with Rafa it’s always difficult. Especially the fifth set when I went a break up three times, four times, I would say, Wow, I’m break up, so I have to do something different.

But he pushing all the time. Like try the best as you can.

Q. Ahead of the US Open you had a fairly rough year on the hard courts. Did you change anything?
FABIO FOGNINI: I mean, I start really bad the season. I was starting really bad at the beginning in Australia. I play well on clay on the second month of the year. I play really bad another time on Indian Wells and Miami.

But, you know, I was saying the first day that I came here, after play again really good on clay with the final against Rafa and two quarterfinal, I was feeling really well. I been playing really good, feeling on court really well.

I play only two matches, that’s true. I play Monfils and I play Kokkinakis, but in two different way, for sure.

For sure with Kokkinakis I play high level, even if I lost. With Monfils I play really good the first set, 0-6, breakpoint won. Second set I was really tired because I was coming directly to Europe.

After Cincinnati I take two day off, recovery, start practice really hard four, five day of the week. I’m here for the first time in the fourth round.

Q. The argument that you have with Rafael Nadal in Hamburg this year, did it have an impact on your mind?
FABIO FOGNINI: It’s not important.

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MattekSands

U.S. OPEN

Friday, September 4, 2015

Bethanie Mattek-Sands

Press Conference

S. WILLIAMS/B. Mattek-Sands

3-6, 7-5, 6-0

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Good effort. In your own mind, what happened second set?
BETHANIE MATTEK-SANDS: She stepped up. Serena played good. She broke me and I was able to break back, so I don’t know. Pretty tired. (Smiling.)

Q. What do you think it is about her that enables her to come back so often? Tonight was emblematic of so many matches during this great run of hers.
BETHANIE MATTEK-SANDS: I mean, she’s a great closer. She always has been. I think she gains momentum and gets pumped up, pumps herself up, and I think that’s why she’s able to close matches out really well.

Q. Is there anything watching her across the net that you see and feel when she’s on this sort of comeback roll having been down and being able to turn it around, that being across from her you can see in a way nobody else does?
BETHANIE MATTEK-SANDS: You can see when she’s really confident in her shots. Obviously she starts ripping the ball really hard and timing it well and taking balls on the rise. I think you can feel the pressure.

Q. You didn’t seem at all intimidated. Nobody goes out there wanting to be intimidated, but sometimes you can see the body language. You didn’t seem that way. There are times in a match when she gets rolling and she starts to yell loud. What is going on in your mind at that point?
BETHANIE MATTEK-SANDS: No, it’s competition. I mean, we’re both getting pumped up. When you hit a good shot, some people react a little bit more than others with their C’mons or fist pumps. It’s all sports; it’s all competition.

You know, I’m a competitor, as well. I think it’s fun when you play someone that’s on their A game. You get to see what your game’s all about.

Q. At what point would you say you realized that this is what everybody is talking about with Serena, when the momentum changes and when you felt it slipping away?
BETHANIE MATTEK-SANDS: Tough question. I don’t know.

Q. What did you say to her at the net?
BETHANIE MATTEK-SANDS: I said I’ll be cheering for her. Obviously I know she’s going for the record. I thought she was playing awesome. I mean, I like Serena a lot. We’re friends off the court, and I think she’s not only a great competitor but a good person.

I just wished her the best of luck.

Q. Were you able to leave all that out of your head when you were on the court?
BETHANIE MATTEK-SANDS: What do you mean?

Q. That you wanted her to go on and win it.
BETHANIE MATTEK-SANDS: Definitely. Again, I did my best today to try and stop her, and it wasn’t quite enough.

So, you know, I wish her the best.

Q. You talked about you’re feeling pretty fresh, injury-free, still motivated. A match like that, does that give you a little bit of extra kick going forward?
BETHANIE MATTEK-SANDS: Definitely. I feel like this year I’ve just gotten better and better each match. You know, I’ve gained a lot of momentum. I’ve played a lot of matches. For me that’s great.

There were so many years when I didn’t play a lot of tournaments. I didn’t compete. I think I’m a natural competitor. Even if it’s not in tennis, I’m pretty competitive.

Just ask Justin. (Smiling.)

But, no, it’s giving me a lot of confidence. Obviously the year’s not over. I’m still in the mixed doubles with Sam tomorrow. There’s a lot of tournaments left. So I’m really happy.

Q. Do expectations change between believing you can go out and do something and win before the match and then being there in the second set tied 5-All? Is that a realization that this could actually happen?
BETHANIE MATTEK-SANDS: No, I think you need to know you’re going to win before you’re in that situation. I give myself a chance to win every single match I step on the court. Whether I win or not, I always think I can.

You know, I feel like most athletes go out on the court or field with that mentality. You’re not just going to be all of a sudden tied with the No. 1 player in the world and think you might have a chance.

Q. How much fun was it tonight?
BETHANIE MATTEK-SANDS: I mean, the atmosphere out there was awesome. It’s so cool playing on Arthur Ashe, night match. I mean, that’s just “the” best atmosphere you could dream of. It was awesome out there.

Q. How has your success in doubles shaped your thinking going into tonight’s match? How has it shaped your thinking?
BETHANIE MATTEK-SANDS: No, I’ve gained a lot of confidence from my dubs. Obviously I’ve had a great year with Lucie. Unfortunately couldn’t play here, but I’ve played so many doubles matches.

I’ve been in tight situations. I’ve been up, I’ve been down, and had to close out matches. I’ve been down some in the finals. French Open down a set, had to come back.

So you’re in those pressure moments. I feel like, you know, coming out on top and just going through it has given me a lot of confidence, even in my singles. Even my game, I come to net, I play aggressive. That’s how I play in singles. Doubles has really helped me a lot this year.

Q. Seemed like the crowd was really rooting for Serena but your body language was still really good. How do you manage that?
BETHANIE MATTEK-SANDS: You know what? You can’t really control who everyone’s cheering for. Obviously it’s tough when there’s two Americans out there. You hope people are cheering for good tennis.

But I’m out there for myself. I’m playing tennis for me. You know, as much as you want the whole stadium to be behind you, and it’s a really great feeling when they are, it’s not something you can always control.

Q. What were you particularly pleased with what you did today? How did you bother her? Also, were there other points that run through your head even now that you think if you did this or that maybe the outcome changes?
BETHANIE MATTEK-SANDS: I haven’t really gone over with my coach kind of the ins-and-outs of the matches. There were some great points when we were both at net, lobs, winners. It felt like the crowd really got into some of those points.

I was really happy with how many times I broke her today. I know she serves big. I was ready for it. I like to think that returning is one of my favorite shots. I was really happy with how I did that.

Q. You knew going in that a high number of women had gone three sets with her and had her on the ropes. There you are, second set, pretty late, you have her on the ropes. When it starts to get away from you, does there come a point when you think you knew this would happen, you knew this could happen and now it’s happening to me?
BETHANIE MATTEK-SANDS: No. I was just sticking to my plan of attack, my game plan. Again, when she’s on fire and she’s ripping the ball, it’s just out of reach. I mean, there’s not much you can do except play the next point and do your best. So that’s all I was really staying focused on.

Q. What are the mental and physical aspects of the way she plays that you consider the biggest challenges not just for you but for anybody?
BETHANIE MATTEK-SANDS: You know, when she’s feeling really confident she’s ripping the ball and she’s hitting her targets. You know, she got ahold of some of my serves on the return and ripped them for clean winners.

As fast as you want to be to just get a racquet on it, you know, I wasn’t able to. When she’s feeling good like that, I mean, you really got to figure out a way to make her uncomfortable, because when she’s in the zone she can hit her targets.

Q. She plays Madison next. What are your thoughts on that matchup?
BETHANIE MATTEK-SANDS: I think it will be a great match. Madison has a big serve; she has a big forehand; she’s going to go for it.

Again, Madison will probably go into that match with nothing to lose. She’s a big power player. I think it will be a really good match.

Q. How proud are you of your year at slams?
BETHANIE MATTEK-SANDS: Very proud. I love the big moments in the big tournaments. I’m really happy. Obviously bummed to be out of the singles, but, again, overall I’m very happy with this year.

Q. We’re one match away from another Serena versus Venus matchup. What are your thoughts on that rivalry and maybe any memories that you have of seeing these two sisters go against each other on the tennis court?
BETHANIE MATTEK-SANDS: I think it’s always a tough one. I think they’re a little bit more subdued, which is understandable with a sibling. You know, you don’t fist pump in anyone’s face or anything.

It has to be hard. I didn’t have a sibling that played professional tennis so it’s hard for me to relate, but I’m sure it’s a difficult moment just because they are so close.

Q. You mentioned that you and Sam play mixed tomorrow. Talk about how you teamed up and what you expect.
BETHANIE MATTEK-SANDS: You know, it was actually really last minute because I was playing mixed this year with Mike Bryan. Last minute he actually said he wasn’t going to be able to play mixed. I was actually kind of searching.

I think I found Sam 30 minutes before signing closed. We just kind of winged it. We won our first match. It was his first mixed win. We were pretty pumped.

Q. Did Mike say why he couldn’t play?
BETHANIE MATTEK-SANDS: I think he was feeling a little bit injured. Obviously they had done really well in the couple tournaments leading up to the US Open. Both Bryans played a lot of tennis.

I know Bob didn’t play mixed either. I think they were just playing a lot of tennis and wants to focus on the men’s doubles.

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Nadal Beaten by Fognini After 2 Set Lead; Serena Williams Survives Mattek-Sands at US Open

 

(September 4, 2015) FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY –

Spectators got more than they bargained for during the night session of the US Open on Friday. Rafael Nadal lost and Serena Williams was forced to come back again to keep her hopes of a Grand Slam alive. The action lasted until 1:30 Saturday morning.

No. 8 Nadal came into the third round never losing a Grand Slam match when taking a two-set lead until he was beaten 3-6, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3, 6-4 by the 32nd seed Fabio Fognini. Nadal led by two-sets and a break of serve before the Italian’s comeback began.

“He play great,” Nadal said. “It was not a match that I lost, even if I had opportunities. It’s a match that he wins.

“So accept. Not happy that he played better than me, but that’s what happened. He played better than me, no? I didn’t play bad at all. I played a normal match, but not enough.

“So not happy with that. But accept that he was better than me today.”

“Well, I was starting to feel the ball really good, believe me,” Fognini said. “I lost that first set 6-3, but I was say in my mind, Okay, let’s try, let’s keeping working; do your tennis.

“I went down a break. After come back on 4-4, I went 40-Love on that game and I lost incredible game. So was my fault. Even if I come back from break down, I was say, Okay, let’s try. But two sets to zero against Rafa, maybe you have to go to Lourdes.

“I went there tonight and everything was in a perfect way.”

The loss ended the Spaniard’s 10 year run of winning at least one major.

“No, the only thing that means is I played worse than the last 10 years,” Nadal said. That’s the real thing.

“By the way, for me was amazing win 10 years in a row Grand Slam. I think nobody did. You can imagine how difficult is make that happen.

“Accept that was not my year and keep fighting till the end of the season to finish in a positive way for me. Finish the season with the feeling that I improved something from the beginning of the season. That’s something that I think I am doing.

“I think I have a good base now. As I said, good thing is I am not playing terrible matches like I did at the beginning of the season. When I am losing, I am losing because the opponents beat me, not because I lose the match, as I did a lot of times at the beginning of the season.

“That’s an improvement for me, so I have a base now. That is a start. I know what I have to do and I going to work on it.”

“I start really bad the season,” said the Italian. “I was starting really bad at the beginning in Australia. I play well on clay on the second month of the year. I play really bad another time on Indian Wells and Miami.

“But, you know, I was saying the first day that I came here, after play again really good on clay with the final against Rafa and two quarterfinal, I was feeling really well. I been playing really good, feeling on court really well.

“I play only two matches, that’s true. I play Monfils and I play Kokkinakis, but in two different way, for sure.

“For sure with Kokkinakis I play high level, even if I lost. With Monfils I play really good the first set, 0-6, breakpoint won. Second set I was really tired because I was coming directly to Europe.

“After Cincinnati I take two day off, recovery, start practice really hard four, five day of the week. I’m here for the first time in the fourth round.”

This will be the first-ever appearance in the round of 16 at the US Open for Fognini.

 

 

Before Nadal took the court, Serena Williams had to come back from a set down again to defeat American countrywoman wild card Bethanie Mattek-Sands 3-6, 7-5, 6-0, winning the last 8 games. She has now gone 24-0 in majors this year.

“Getting out of it so many times definitely helps me,” Williams said. “It’s definitely not something I want to do, though. But, hey, a win’s a win, I guess.”

“Just know usually when I’m down, I mean, I feel like if I’m not playing well, I know I can take it to another level. But if I’m down and I’m playing well, then I probably won’t win.

“But usually, you know, I know that I can play better. I just try to tap into the energy and I try to play better.”

Williams is looking to become the first woman since Steffi Graff in 1988 to win the Grand Slam. She is just four victories away from achieving history and winning her 22nd major.

“I don’t know what to expect. I’ve never been on this train. I love metaphors. I’ve never been on this train. It’s different. It’s definitely different.”

Women’s
Singles – Third Round
[13] Ekaterina Makarova (RUS) def. [17] Elina Svitolina (UKR) 6-3, 7-5
[23] Venus Williams (USA) def. [12] Belinda Bencic (SUI) 6-3, 6-4
[1] Serena Williams (USA) def. Bethanie Mattek-Sands (USA) 3-6, 7-5, 6-0
[25] Eugenie Bouchard (CAN) def. Dominika Cibulkova (SVK) 7-6(9), 4-6, 6-3
Kristina Mladenovic (FRA) def. Daria Kasatkina (RUS) 6-2, 6-3
Anett Kontaveit (EST) def. Madison Brengle (USA) 6-2, 3-6, 6-0
[19] Madison Keys (USA) def. [15] Agnieszka Radwanska (POL) 6-3, 6-2
Roberta Vinci (ITA) def. Mariana Duque-Mariño (COL) 6-1, 5-7, 6-2

Men’s
Singles – Third Round

[1] Novak Djokovic (SRB) d. [25] Andreas Seppi (ITA) 63 75 75
[9] Marin Cilic (CRO) d. Mikhail Kukushkin (KAZ) 67(5) 76(1) 63 67(3) 61

[32] Fabio Fognini (ITA) d. [8] Rafael Nadal (ESP) 3-6, 4-6, 6-4, 6-4, 6-4
[18] Feliciano Lopez (ESP) d. [10] Milos Raonic (CAN) 62 76(4) 63
[23] Roberto Bautista Agut (ESP) d. [14] David Goffin (BEL) 26 57 63 31 ret.
[19] Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA) d. Sergiy Stakhovsky (UKR) 63 75 62
Benoit Paire (FRA) d. [26] Tommy Robredo (ESP) 76(3) 61 61

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Rafael Nadal Stops Fabio Fognini for Hamburg Crown

Nadal in Beijing

(August 2, 2015) Top seed Rafael Nadal won his second title in Germany this year stopping Italy’s Fabio Fognini 7-5, 7-5 in Hamburg in just over two-and-a-half hours on Sunday.

The win, which give Nadal his 47th clay court title, puts him just two trophies behind Guillermo Vilas at 49. Nadal has 67 career crowns.

The Spaniard who was serving for a 4-1 lead in the second set, eventually had to save two set points.

“It was a great match, many great points, many breaks, we fought hard,” Nadal said. “I had many ups and downs.”

“I lost the last two times against him, so I knew it was going to be a tough one. I think I had a great attitude the whole match, very positive, fighting for every ball. I had some tough moments on court, lost opportunities, but every time I came back and I kept fighting with the right mentality. I’m very happy for the victory. It is an important victory for me.”

The title this week will move Nadal’s ranking up to No. 9.

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Nadal Knocked Out of Rio by Fognini

Nadal at changeover

(February 21, 2015) Fabio Fognini stunned world No. 3 Rafael Nadal in the semifinals of the Rio Open on 1-6, 6-2, 7-5. The fourth seeded Italian will face David Ferrer in the final on Sunday. Ferrer beat Andreas Haider-Maurer in the other semifinal 7-5, 6-1.

Fognini snapped Nadal’s 52-match win streak in tournament semifinals on clay with the win.

“Everybody knows he is the best on this surface,” Fognini said. “I don’t have words to describe this moment. I am super happy. It’s the best match I have won so far in my career.”

Near the end of the match, Nadal appeared to be cramping. He is scheduled to participate in next week’s tournament in Buenos Aires.

Nadal said he was happy with the way he played in the first set, but he “got tired too early.” The Spaniard was on the court until 3:18 on Saturday morning before defeating Pablo Cuevas, returning to the court less than 17 hours later.

Fognini will be attempting to win his fourth ATP title on Sunday, while Ferrer is going after tournament trophy number 23.

The loss for Nadal means his ranking will fall to No. 4 behind Andy Murray when next week’s rankings are released.

Rio Open

RESULTS – SATURDAY, 21 FEBRUARY 2015

Singles – Semi-finals
[4] F. Fognini (ITA) d [1] R. Nadal (ESP) 16 62 75
[2] D. Ferrer (ESP) d A. Haider-Maurer (AUT) 75 61

Doubles – Final
M Klizan (SVK) / P Oswald (AUT) d P Andujar (ESP) / O Marach (AUT) 76(3) 64
SCHEDULE – SUNDAY, 22 FEBRUARY 2015

CENTRE COURT start 3:00 pm
WTA – [1] S. Errani (ITA) vs [6] A. Schmiedlova (SVK)
Not Before 6:00 pm
ATP – [4] F. Fognini (ITA) vs [2] D. Ferrer (ESP)

 

Delray Beach

RESULTS – SATURDAY, 21 FEBRUARY 2015

Singles – Semi-finals
[4] I. Karlovic (CRO) d [5] A. Mannarino (FRA) 63 64
D. Young (USA) d B. Tomic (AUS) 46 64 62

Doubles – Semi-finals
[1] B Bryan (USA) / M Bryan (USA) d E Butorac (USA) / R Ram (USA) 46 63 10-4
[2] R Klaasen (RSA) / L Paes (IND) d B Tomic (AUS) / V Troicki (SRB) 64 64
SCHEDULE – SUNDAY, 22 FEBRUARY 2015

STADIUM start 1:00 pm
[1] B Bryan (USA) / M Bryan (USA) vs [2] R Klaasen (RSA) / L Paes (IND)
3:00 pm
[4] I. Karlovic (CRO) vs D. Young (USA)

 

Marseilles

RESULTS – SATURDAY, 21 FEBRUARY 2015

Singles – Semi-finals
[7] [WC] G. Monfils (FRA) d [4] R. Bautista Agut (ESP) 64 62
[5] G. Simon (FRA) d S. Stakhovsky (UKR) 36 63 62

Doubles – Semi-finals
C Fleming (GBR) / J Marray (GBR) d L Rosol (CZE) / D Thiem (AUT) 46 63 10-4

SCHEDULE – SUNDAY, 22 FEBRUARY 2015

COURT CENTRAL start 1:00 pm
C Fleming (GBR) / J Marray (GBR) vs [2] M Draganja (CRO) / H Kontinen (FIN)

Not Before 3:00 pm
[7] [WC] G. Monfils (FRA) vs [5] G. Simon (FRA)

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Stars Descend On Sydney for the Apia International

Julien Benneteau and Ken Rosewall at Sydney International draw ceremony

Julien Benneteau and Ken Rosewall at Sydney International draw ceremony

By Dave Gertler

(January 10, 2015) SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – Stars of the tennis world have been descending upon Sydney over the last days, while qualifying heats have been contested at the Apia International in Sydney. Last year’s women’s champion Tsvetana Pironkova, who qualified and won eight matches in a row at the 2014 Apia International, has had to navigate through qualifying again – albeit as top seed this year – and will make it into the main draw if she defeats American Nicole Gibbs on Sunday. Despite lifting her ranking from outside the top 100 a year ago to where it is now at No.37, that Pironkova still needed to qualify is testament to the depth of the women’s draw at this year’s event.

The tournament’s top seed Simona Halep will arrive in Sydney on Sunday, from Shenzhen, China where she won the tournament.
Petra Kvitova lost in the semi-finals of Shenzhen.
Caroline Wozniacki  arrived at Sydney Airport last night from Auckland, losing her Auckland final to Venus Williams.
Poland’s Agnieszka Radwanska will complete the Apia International’s top four seeds when she arrives in Sydney from Perth, where she and Jerzy Janowicz – who will also feature strongly on the men’s side of the Sydney tournament – have won the Hopman Cup in an eventful final against USA’s John Isner and Serena Williams.

Janowicz will continue to be a headline act of Australia’s Summer of Tennis, as he plays young Australian giant-killer Nick Kyrgios in their first round match, which was allotted yesterday during a draw ceremony whose guests of honour included Ken Rosewall and Lesley Bowrey. 2005 Sydney finalist Sam Stosur, as well as 2012 Sydney finalist Julien Benneteau, were also in attendance for their respective WTA and ATP draw ceremonies.

 

While the men’s draw is less stacked than a women’s draw which boasts six top-10 players, Benneteau called the men’s draw, “Very compact,” saying, “Maybe there is not top 10 players, but from the top seeds to the end of the draw, there are tough players between 20, 30, 40, very good players, so I really think that anyone can win on Saturday.”

The men’s top two seeds, Fabio Fognini and David Goffin, will fly surprisingly under the radar at this tournament given that last year’s champion Juan Martin Del Potro, has chosen this event to stage his comeback from injury that has left him sidelined for almost a year. Del Potro flew in on Thursday night and has been using the days since to practice on Ken Rosewall Arena, with some light strapping on his wrist.

 

Ken Rosewall predicted a big year for the new Australian men’s No. 1, saying, “Because of his rapid improvement and his performance at Wimbledon and other senior events, there’ll be a lot of players who’ll be wanting to be in top form when they play against him. Hopefully Nick can remain physically clear without any problems, and he’ll be in good form. But I think there’ll be extra pressure on him this time to kind of stand up to being the number one player in Australia.”

 

At the women’s draw ceremony, Lesley Bowrey, winner of the French Open in 1964 and 1965, had some timely and compassionate words of wisdom for Sam Stosur, who is known for her struggles to win matches on home soil. “I just want to wish Sam all the best,” said Bowrey, “And just go out there and be free and easy, really, and not worry, as you say about everyone else, and what they’re telling you, just play your own game and do what you want to do.” Stosur has been drawn to face Lucie Safarova, the Czech world No.15 to whom she has lost their last six matches.

 

“Look, sometimes when I used to lead in matches, and I used to lose them too,” continued Bowrey, perhaps referring to Stosur’s loss last week in Brisbane to Varvara Lepchenko, after having a match point at 5-1 in the deciding set, “We all do that, it’s nothing new, you just have to find a way. What I used to do is just say, well, if I’m leading 5-1 or 5-2 or 5-3, I’d just tell myself I’m down that, and just take the pressure right off myself. That’s how I used to handle it, just tell myself I’m not leading, I’m down. Tennis is a tough game, it’s a tough sport.”

Dave Gertler is a tennis journalist, player and musician based in Sydney and is covering the Australian summer of tennis for Tennis Panorama News. Follow his personal Twitter @davegertler,  read his blog,  and listen to his podcast, Tennis Days .

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