2014/11/26

Roger Federer Win Clinches Switzerland’s First Davis Cup Title

 

(November 23, 2014) Switzerland became the 14th country to claim the country’s first Davis Cup title on Sunday when they defeated France 3- 1 in Stade Pierre Mauroy in Lille, France.

In front of a record setting crowd of 27,448, world No. 2 Roger Federer clinched the tie for Switzerland defeating Richard Gasquet 6-4, 6-2, 6-2, falling to the ground in celebration after hitting a drop shot winner. Gasquet filled in for an ailing Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.

The Swiss No. 1 was in command of the match from beginning to end, which lasted an hour and 42 minutes.

“He was playing fast. He was very focused and making very few mistakes. I was not even able to have a break point,” said Gasquet. “It was difficult for me to give him problems. We are all disappointed. I would have liked to do more for the team because the crowd was ready, ready to support me to the end. In that situation, the only thing you want to do is play a fourth or fifth set just to please the crowd.”

“He was not unbeatable today, but he only made a few mistakes,” Gasquet explained. “It’s a shame I could not get any break points.”

Federer was dominated in a straight set loss to Gael Monfils in the second singles rubber on Friday. Stan Wawrinka opened the tie with a four-set victory over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and teamed with Federer to claim the doubles rubber on Saturday to give the Swiss a 2-1 lead coming into Sunday.

Being a part of a winning David Cup, adds another victory to his career resume, in which he already holds 17 major titles.

“I’m unbelievably happy. Amazing feeling to be celebrating with my friends,” said Federer post match in an on-court interview. “Just a great match, great atmosphere. It was a beautiful weekend for tennis.”

“We fought hard for it, I’ve been playing this game for almost 15 years now and clearly I’ve never come as close as this last weekend. I’m happy I was able to stay calm and play a good match when I had to and I’m happy for all the guys on the team.”

With Federer coming into the Davis Cup final in questionable health due to a back injury which forced him to withdraw last week’s ATP World Tour Final against No. 1 Novak Djokovic, the Basel native gave full credit to Wawrinka as the “MVP” of the Davis Cup Final.

“Everybody worked incredibly hard to get me match ready, Stan has put in so much effort over the years and played an unbelievable weekend that gave me the opportunity today,” said Federer.

“I’m very much aware of that, this one is for the boys. It’s not for me. I’ve won enough in my career and did not need to tick any empty boxes. I’m just happy for everybody else. I’m happy we could live a great tennis historic moment in our country.”

Just over a week ago, there appeared to be friction between Federer and Wawrinka when some media reports claimed that Federer’s wife Mirka allegedly heckled Wawrinka by calling him a “crybaby” during the ATP World Tour Finals semifinals between Federer and Wawrinka. It was later reported that Federer and Wawrinka had an argument in the locker room after the match.

“At the end, it’s a tennis match, you feel great emotions,” Federer continued. “You’re unbelievably happy and relieved “We wanted this clearly very badly, especially being up 2-1. You inch yourself closer and closer. Clearly seeing Stan out there, the rest of the team supporting you, gives you an extra push. It was definitely one of the better feelings in my career, no doubt about it. So much nicer to celebrate it all together.”

“It’s an amazing feeling. The best,” said Wawrinka. “We all know how it’s great to watch such an amazing player when he’s playing good tennis.”

With the Davis Cup win on Sunday, Wawrinka, became the first person since Andre Agassi in 1992 to win his first Grand Slam title and his first Davis Cup trophy in the same year. Wawrinka also won his first Masters 1000 title in Monte Carlo, taking out Davis Cup teammate Federer back in April.

Federer set a new record as the most successful Swiss player in the history of the Davis Cup. It was his 50th win, now ahead of Jakob Hlasek for total wins.

Asked about comparing this victory to winning his first major, Wimbledon in 2003, Federer said, “You can’t compare. When I won Wimbledon, it was a total shock honestly. Davis Cup is something that I knew was possible at some stage in my career.

“Of course, there was the pressure of being able to manage all this and make everyone happy with all the support we had for the team and everything. So it is a totally different feeling. Also I was not alone on the court. This changes everything.”

 

Final scores:

DAVIS CUP BY BNP PARIBAS FINAL

SWITZERLAND defeated FRANCE 3-1

Venue: Stade Pierre Mauroy, Lille, FRA (clay – indoors)
Stan Wawrinka (SUI) d. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA) 61 36 63 62

Gael Monfils (FRA) d. Roger Federer (SUI) 61 64 63

Roger Federer/Stan Wawrinka (SUI) d. Julien Benneteau/Richard Gasquet (FRA) 63 75 64

Roger Federer (SUI) d. Richard Gasquet (FRA) 64 62 62

Gael Monfils (FRA) v Stan Wawrinka (SUI) not played

 

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Switzerland Takes 2-1 lead over France in Davis Cup Final

(November 22, 2014) Roger Federer and Stan Wawrinka gave Switzerland an important 2-1 lead in the Davis Cup final on Saturday, when they defeated France’s doubles team of Julien Benneteau and Richard Gasquet 6-3, 7-5, 6-4 in Lille, France.

Switzerland’s captain Severin Luthi made the move to place the 2008 Olympic champion doubles team instead of Marco Chiudinelli and Michael Lammer, who were slated to play.

In the 2 hour and 12 minute match, the Swiss pair defended all five break points against them.

After Federer lost to Gael Monfils on Friday in the second singles rubber, the 17-time major champ said after the match that he would be ready to play doubles if he was needed despite the back injury.

Federer was clearly moving better on Saturday than on Friday.

Federer is scheduled to face Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the opening rubber on Sunday, with Stan Wawrinka playing Gael Monfils in the fifth rubber if necessary.

France is looking for it’s 10 Davis Cup while Switzerland is seeking it’s first.

 

 

DAVIS CUP BY BNP PARIBAS FINAL

 

SWITZERLAND leads FRANCE 2-1

Venue: Stade Pierre Mauroy, Lille (clay – indoors)
Stan Wawrinka (SUI) d. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA) 61 36 63 62

Gael Monfils (FRA) d. Roger Federer (SUI) 61 64 63

Roger Federer/Stan Wawrinka (SUI) d. Julien Benneteau/Richard Gasquet (FRA) 63 75 64

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA) v Roger Federer (SUI)

Gael Monfils (FRA) v Stan Wawrinka (SUI)

 

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France Evens Tie Against Switzerland in Davis Cup Final

(November 21, 2014) France leveled the Davis Cup final against Switzerland at 1-1 at the end of day one in Lille, France when Gael Monfils dispatched Roger Federer 6-1, 6-4, 6-3 on Friday. I was Monfils’ first win over the world No. 2 on clay. Monfils hit 44 winners in the less than two hour match.

Federer pulled out of the final of the ATP year-end event in London on Sunday due to a back injury, decided to play despite a back injury that forced him to pull out of the title match at the ATP Finals last Sunday.

Stan Wawrinka gave Switzerland a 1-0 advantage after the opening rubber defeating Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-1, 3-6, 6-3, 6-2.

Wawrinka was dominant at the net winning 25 points there. He hit 61 winners during the match.

The crowd of 27,432 has set a new record for an officially-sanctioned tennis match, more than the previous record, Spain versus United States Davis Cup Final at the Estadio Olympico de Sevilla in 2004 at 27,200.
 

More to follow.

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Draw Set for Davis Cup Final – France Versus Switzerland

davis cup 2014

(November 20, 2014) The draw has been set for the Davis Cup final between France and Switzerland this weekend in Lille, France on a clay court.

After speculation about Roger Federer, who pulled out of the final ATP World Tour Finals with a back injury, the 17-time major champion will participate in Davis Cup this weekend.

Roger Federer will face off against Gael Monfils in the second match on Friday. Australian Open champion Stan Wawrinka will open the series against Jo-Wilfired Tsonga.

France has a rich Davis Cup and is looking for a 10th title, while Switzerland seeking its first crown in the team competition. France leads Switzerland 10-2 in head-to-head competition in the ITF event.

 

 

DAVIS CUP BY BNP PARIBAS FINAL

FRANCE v SWITZERLAND

Venue: Stade Pierre Mauroy, Lille (clay – indoors)
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA) v Stan Wawrinka (SUI)

Gael Monfils (FRA) v Roger Federer (SUI)

Julien Benneteau/Richard Gasquet (FRA) v Marco Chiudinelli/Michael Lammer (SUI)
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA) v Roger Federer (SUI)

Gael Monfils (FRA) v Stan Wawrinka (SUI)

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Novak Djokovic Defends Title at Paris Masters for 600th Win

Djokovic wins Bercy

(November 2, 2014) Novak Djokovic became the first player to defend the Paris Masters title with an easy 6-2, 6-3 win over Milos Raonic on Sunday.

The Serbian world No. 1’s victory secured his 20th ATP Masters 1000 title and 600th match win on the ATP World Tour. Djokovic is just the 23rd man to reach 600 win mark. It’s his first title victory as a father as his wife Jelena gave birth to son Stefan on October 22.

“This win is for my son, this is the first tournament I won since becoming a dad,” he said.

“I thought (Djokovic) played some great tennis,” Raonic said. “He neutralized my serve well. Even when I was able to open him on the backhand side, he was moving really well. He was always getting two hands on it.

“He was always playing deep. He didn’t really give me too many looks. Even on the break chances I had, he played them well. He just made life difficult for me today.”

 

“I played the best match of the entire week today when it was most needed,” said Djokovic. “I got a lot of returns back and just overall I’m extremely happy with the performance.”

The 27-year-old Djokovic, who strolled through the draw without losing a set is closer to solidifying a third year-end No. 1 ranking, extending his lead over No. 2 Roger Federer.

“I see it better now than one week ago, that’s for sure,” said Djokovic on the battle for year-end No. 1. ” It helps that I won the title in Paris-Bercy, that I’m playing well, and that I’m feeling good about myself on the court playing indoors. That encourages me, as I said before, prior to the last event of the year.”

Next stop for Djokovic will be the ATP Finals in London from November 9-16.

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France to Host Switzerland in Davis Cup Final

 

(September 14, 2014) For the first time in 22 years, Switzerland is in the Davis Cup final. No. 1 singles player from Switzerland, Roger Federer clinched the tie versus Italy on Sunday, defeating Fabio Fognini 6-2, 6-3, 7-6 (4) for an unassailable 3-1 lead in Geneva.

France will play host to Switzerland in the Davis Cup final November 21-23. France clinched their berth in the final on Saturday, winning the doubles rubber to take a 3-0 lead. They completed the tie on Sunday 4-1 over the Czech Republic at Roland Garros, site of the French Open.

“It’s nice sharing the emotions with your fans and team members,” Federer said in an on-court interview after the match.

“It was a pretty quick court, so if you’re not serving so well there are always going to be errors – it wasn’t the best performance for either of us.

“Some of the best match-ups I’ve had have been against France, but we’re very pleased to be in the final.”

The French team is looking for their first Davis Cup title since 2001, while Switzerland is seeking their first-ever Davis Cup crown.

Team France says they are ready for the challenge.

“Everybody speaks about a dream final against Switzerland, but for me the dream is just that France will be there,” said French Davis Cup captain Arnaud Clement said. “With Federer and Stan Wawrinka, It’s obviously a big contest but the important thing is that we are in the final.”

“Federer is a monument of tennis, this is a dream final,” said Richard Gasquet in press on Sunday.

“There is no need for motivation when you are in the final, but hosting Federer adds an extra something to a sumptuous final,” Julien Benneteau said.

Although not official, it’s been reported that the northern French city of Lille will host the final.

The French have a 10-2 record versus Switzerland in Davis Cup play.

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Rafael Nadal Wins Ninth French Open Title for 14th Major

 

 

(June 8, 2014) Rafael Nadal captured his ninth French Open title, his 14 major title by defeating No. 2 Novak Djokovic 3-6, 7-5, 6-2, 6-4 on Sunday in Paris in three hours and 31 minutes. For Nadal it’s a record breaking five straight French Open titles, a 66-1 record at Roland Garros and a 35 match winning streak in Paris.

In capturing his 14 major, the twenty-eighth-year-old Spaniard has won his 64th tournament title. He is tied with Pete Sampras for second on the all-time list of major tournament titles, three behind Roger Federer who has 17. Nadal has one at least one major for the ten straight years.

Nadal lifts his record against Djokovic to 23-19, a perfect 5-0 when playing him at Roland Garros. He is now 4-3 in major finals against the Serb. Djokovic won at Wimbledon and the US Open in 2011 and at the 2012 Australian Open, while Nadal won at the 2010 US Open, 2012 Roland Garros, the 2013 US Open and Roland Garros.

“For me playing here in Roland Garros is just unforgettable, forever,” Nadal said.

Djokovic won the first set, after breaking Nadal in the eighth game and saving break points in the ninth for 6-3.

Nadal broke Djokovic in the 12th game to win the second set 7-5. In the third set, Nadal jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the third and broke serve again to take the set 6-2.

Djokovic had two chances to get the break back in the third set, in the fifth game and in the seventh, but Nadal held both times and then broke serve again in the final game for 6-2.

In the fourth set Nadal broke Djokovic in the sixth game to take a 4-2 lead, but the Serb broke back and held to even the set at 4-4. Nadal held for 5-4 and won the match when Djokovic double-faulted on match point.

“It was a great start; came back in the second,”Djokovic said in his post-match interview with media.  “Could have gone to the tiebreak and was quite even.  I lost that service game 6 5, and then the momentums went his side.

“I started, you know, playing quite bad, you know, and didn’t move as well.  Struggled a little bit physically throughout that third set.

“Then in the fourth started to feel a little bit better, but then just crucial points he played better.  I wasn’t playing at the level that I wanted, especially in the second part of the match.

“You know, that’s sport.  It’s how it is.  These kind of big matches obviously take the best out of players.  And of course it’s a huge challenge.  I tried to do my best.  My best wasn’t as the best against him in Rome a couple weeks ago.

“But, you know, it’s how it is.  Congratulations to him.  He was a better player in the crucial moments.  Of course it’s disappointing for me, but life goes on.  It’s not the first time or last time that I lost a match.”

“Without that second set, I don’t know if I have this trophy with me now,” Nadal said.

“He deserves to win this tournament,” Nadal said. “I am sure he will do it in the future.”

For his efforts, Nadal will receive €1,650,000 in prize money. He will remain No. 1 in the world.

At 45 clay court singles titles, Nadal is one title away from equaling the record of Guillermo Vilas at 46.

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Maria Sharapova Wins Second French Open Title

(June 7, 2014) Once describing her movement on clay courts as that of a “cow on ice,” Maria Sharapova has now captured the most important clay court title for a second time in three years by defeating No. 4 seed Simona Halep 6-4, 6-7(5), 6-4 for the French Open title on Saturday. The victory marks her fifth major tournament victory – 2012, 2014 French Opens, 2008 Australian Open, 2006 US. Open and 2004 Wimbledon.

The win is 27-year-old’s 32nd tournament win. She will move up to No. 5 in the world when the next rankings come out on Monday and Halep who made her first major final appearance will rise to No. 3.

Coming into last year’s French Open Halep was ranked No. 57 in the world.

Sharapova went down a break in the first set but rebounded to win it. In the second set Sharapova broke Halep twice as she was serving for the set, but lost the last four points of the tiebreak, after leading 5-3 to lose it and be extended to a third set. In the third set both women exchanged breaks early, but the Russian gained the ultimate break of serve in the ninth game of the set, which she backed up with an emphatic hold.

Sharapova had to rally from a set down in three straight matches on the way to the final, beating Sam Stosur, Garbine Murguruza and Eugenie Bouchard.

“This is the toughest Grand Slam final I’ve ever played,” Sharapova said on court after the match. “Really, this tournament means so much to me. It’s a tournament, when I was young and growing up, I wanted to win.

“To think that I’ve won it two times is, I don’t know. So emotional right now, I can’t even talk.”

“To be in your first Grand Slam final is an incredible achievement,” Sharapova said. “You’ve had an amazing two weeks, and this is just the first step. I think you’ll have an incredible career.”

“It’s my first Grand Slam speech, so emotionally it’s really difficult for me,” Halep said to the crowd during the trophy ceremony, after the match. “But I wish to have many more. But of course this one will be very special for me all my life.”

“I had two incredible weeks here. It was an amazing tournament for me,” Halep continued. “I played my best. And I’m really happy that you guys came every match to support me and today also you were amazing.”

Halep was trying to become the second Romanian player to win Roland Garros. The first, Viriginia Ruzici who won in 1978, is Halep’s manager.

Sharapova is now the first Russian player to win a major twice.

The match which lasted 3 hours and 2 minutes was the longest French Open women’s final since 1996 when Steffi Graf defeated Arantxa Sanchez 10-8 in the third set. It was also the first women’s final in Paris to go the full three sets since Jennifer Capriati beat Kim Clijsters 12-10 in the third in 2001.

“If somebody had told me that I’d win at some stage in my career that I’d have more Roland Garros titles than any other Grand Slam, I’d probably go get drunk” Sharapova said. Or tell them to get drunk, one or the other.

“Yeah, it’s really amazing.  I feel that I worked to get to this position.  There’s nothing else.  There is no substitute in these titles.  You can’t just go out there and just do it without putting in the effort, putting in the work.

“You’re not just born being a natural clay court player.  Okay, maybe if you’re Nadal.  But certainly not me.  I didn’t grow up on it; didn’t play on it.  I just took it upon myself to make myself better on it.

“There is no one else that was going to do that for me.  I had to do the work.”

“I think I had good tactics today,” Halep said in her post-match news conference.  “I opened the angles.  Also, I was hitting the ball strong.

“But, yeah, she did what she’s doing always, like to hit the balls very strong.  The serve was really, she had a good kick, and it was difficult for me to return.

“Yeah, she was moving really well.  I think it was a good, very good match today, a good final.  I didn’t expect three sets, three hours, but it happened, and I’m really happy that I could stay very long time on court.

“The atmosphere was incredible.  Of course, forever I will not forget this match.”

Sharapova’s win marks her 32nd career title. She now is second place on the all-time prize money list  surpassing Venus Williams. Serena Williams sits atop the all-time earnings list.

Sharapova now has 10 clay court titles, second among active players to Serena Williams with 11. Her record improves to 19-1 on clay this season and 54-4 since the start of 2012. She now has 20 straight wins in three-set matches on clay.

 

 

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Rafael Nadal Routs Andy Murray to Reach Ninth Roland Garros Final

 

 

(June 6, 2014) Rafael Nadal will play in the French Open title for the ninth time after crushing Andy Murray 6-3, 6-2, 6-1 on Friday. The win extends his record streak to 34 straight wins at Roland Garros. He is now 65-1 in Paris.

The world No. 1 and eight-time champion moved out to a 3-0 lead to begin the match and never had to look back.

“It was a bad, bad day,” Murray said.

Nadal will face Novak Djokovic in Sunday’s final. Djokovic beat Ernests Gulbis 6-3, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3.

The No. 1 ranking will be at stake in the final, with the winner claiming the top spot.

“It’s unbelievable to be in [a ninth] final,” Nadal said. “It’s very emotional for me. When I was a kid, to come here any day and play. Now, 10 years coming here. It’s something I’ll never forget in my life.”

It will be Nadal’s 20 Grand Slam final, second on the all-time list to Roger Federer’s 24.

More to follow…

 

Novak Djokovic Reaches Second French Open Final

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Novak Djokovic Reaches Second French Open Final

 

(June 6, 2014) No. 2 Novak Djokovic advanced to his second French Open final on Friday defeating 18th seed Ernests Gulbis 6-3, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3. For the 27-year-old Djokovic it will be his 13th major tournament final appearance. Djokovic has won 6 Grand Slam titles and is hoping to complete a career Grand Slam, should he capture the Roland Garros title. Djokovic lost in the 2012 final to Rafael Nadal.

In the opening set in the third game, Djokovic dug out of 15-40 and saved two break points to hold for 2-2. The critical game in the first set came in the next game as Djokovic needed four break point chances, but broke the Latvian’s serve for 3-2. Djokovic went on to win the next three games to close out the first set 6-3.

In the second set, both men held to form until the eight game when a Gulbis double fault gave Djokovic a break point chance which he took for a 5-3 lead when Gulbis sent a forehand shot long. Djokovic took the set 6-3 on his third set point.

In the third set Djokovic saved break points in the second and sixth games, but in the eighth game, Gulbis, making his first appearance in a major semifinal, finally took advantage to take a 5-3 lead to serve for the set. During the set Gulbis appeared to be stretching his back as though it were bothering him. The 18th seed captured the third set with an ace to send the match into a fourth set.

Djokovic broke Gulbis’ serve to go up 2-0 but is broken back at 15 to get back on serve. In frustration, Djokovic broke his racquet.

The set stayed even until the eighth game, when the Serbian broke the Latvian’s serve to go up 5-3. Djokovic closed the match out on his serve 6-3, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3.

“First two sets went well,” Djokovic said.  “I thought I played well, very solid, putting a lot of returns back in the court, serving at the high percentage.”
“Then suddenly midway through the third set started to feel physically fatigued a little bit, and you could feel that.  You could see that both me and him, we struggled on the court.

“It happens, you know.  It happens in the tournament, and important thing for me is that I realize what’s going on.  It’s nothing serious.  I’m going to have now two days of recovery and get ready for the final.”

“Difference in the match was, first of all, I’m not used to play these kind of big matches,” Gulbis said.  “It’s just normal I felt extra nervous and extra tense.
“I can take one positive side out of the match:  that I could still win a third set feeling that nervous and that extra tired, and I saw that he was feeling the same.  So it’s not only me.
“That’s one thing what I take for the future.  I take it out of this match.  Was a good thing.”

Djokovic will play  8-time champion Rafael Nadal in Sunday’s final.

More to follow…

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