December 3, 2016

A Pair of First-time ATP Winners as Zverev Takes Down Wawrinka for St. Petersburg Crown and Pouille Wins Metz

 

Alexander Zverev

Alexander Zverev

(September 25, 2016) The ATP World Tour saw two first-time winners on Sunday. US Open winner and top seed Stan Wawrinka lost to 19-year-old up-and-and-coming German Alexander Zverev in St. Petersburg, while Frenchman Lucas Pouille beat top seed and No. 10 in the world Dominic Thiem to win in Metz, France.

The third seeded Pouille is coming off a successful US Open where he beat Rafael Nadal in the fourth round on his way to the quarterfinals for the first time, where he lost to fellow Frenchman Gael Monfils.

The 22-year-old Pouille, ranked 18th won 7-6 (5), 6-2 to claim the Moselle Open.

 

Louis Pouille

Louis Pouille

 

“I’m very happy with my week, Pouille said after the victory. “Winning a title is a big step, it’s an objective I wanted to achieve this year. It was a well-played final. We both played at a high level.”

 

Dominic Thiem

Dominic Thiem

“I think the first set was a pretty high level from both of us,” said the 23-year-old Austrian finalist. “I should have won the tie-break, but had an easy volley mistake. All in all, he was the better player and had more chances in my service games. He deserved to win today. I think he put pressure on me all the time and was serving really well.

“He’s had an amazing year, reaching the quarter-finals in the last two Grand Slam and semis in the Masters 1000 in Rome. I think we will see him in the Top 10 soon.”

Just two weeks after winning his first US Open title for his third major title, Stan Wawrinka fell victim to the rising 19-year-old Zverev 6-2, 3-6, 7-5.

Zverev snapped the Swiss’ 11 match winning streak in finals in winning his first title. The last time Wawrinka lost in a final was in 2013. The German became the first teenager to win an ATP World Tour title since 2008 when Marin Cilic won in New Haven.

“This victory is something special,” the German said. “I played all the finals well. I lost to Dominic Thiem on clay and I could have won against Florian Mayer on the grass… Now I’m very happy with the win, especially over such a great player like Stan.”

“In the third set I had the initiative and played slice to his left more. I tried to neutralize his massive backhand. I’m satisfied with the win.”

Stan Wawrinka

Stan Wawrinka

“We showed high-quality tennis,” said Wawrinka. “I was struggling in the third set. I had chances but I didn’t manage to convert them. He deserved the win.”

“He is a good player right now. He scored a couple of big wins over top players. It means he is really strong.”

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Nick Kyrgios Wins Open 13 for First ATP World Tour Title

 

(February 21, 2016) Nick Kyrgios captured his first career ATP World Tour title defeating fourth seed Marin Cilic 6-2, 7-6 (3) in the Open 13 final in Marseille on Sunday.

This was Kyrgios’ second final, he lost to Richard Gasquet in the Estoril title match last year.
The 20-year-old Australian did not lose a set or his serve during the tournament. He closed out the match with an ace. He beat three top 12 players in succession – No. 10 Richard Gasquet in the quarterfinals, No. 8 Tomas Berdych in the semifinals and No. 12, the 2014 U.S. Open champion Cilic in the final.

He is the first player under of 21 to defeat two Top Ten players in consecutive matches since Juan Martin del Potro did it at the 2009 U.S. Open  when the Argentine beat Rafael Nadal in the semifinals and Roger Federer in the final.

“I played my first final last year and was looking for my first title,” Kyrgios said. “But I didn’t really expect to win this title this week after having a couple of weeks off. But from the first round I started playing really well and just gained confidence as I kept winning matches.

“I think I served really, really well again. I was serving really well all week. I didn’t get broken once. That was the main thing that was good. And I was able to put pressure on my opponents’ serves a lot when I was going through my service games really quickly.”

“I felt I was getting much closer in that second set,” said the 27-year-old Croatian finalist. “Every game was becoming a little more intense. I felt also that he was becoming a bit more frustrated, which was good for me. I had a chance at the end of the second set to get the break, but he managed to play well.

“I think he played really, really well today. He served amazing. It was difficult also from the back of the court. I think he was returning well, making a lot of returns in the first set. I didn’t adjust well enough on the balls that were coming back.

“But I’m really satisfied with the week. It’s really good moving forward and it’s important for me. Nick was playing high-level tennis in the end, but I wasn’t playing too bad either and that’s something good I can take from the match.”

Kyrgios, who is ranked No. 41 in the world will see his ranking move into the low thirties.

Related articles:

Montreal Rogers Cup Day 4 – KyrgiosGate

“The Journey Starts Today” An Interview with Nick Kyrgios

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Juan Martin del Potro Makes a Winning Return at Delray Beach; ATP Results

Juan Martin Del Potro

Juan Martin Del Potro

(February 16, 2016) Juan Martin del Potro made his long awaited return back to tennis on Tuesday at the Delray Beach Open, when he defeated Denis Kudla 6-1, 6-4 in a first round match on Tuesday night.

 

The 27-year-old Argentine, who won the 2009 U.S. Open is making his first appearance at a tournament since March last year, sidelined by left wrist surgery. He’s had multiple wrist surgeries since 2009. Del Potro only played two tournaments in 2015 – Sydney and Miami. The former World No. 4 is currently No. 166 in the world.

 

 

ATP World Tour 250

Delray Beach, U.S.A. (-5 hours GMT)
15-21 February 2016   Surface: Hard

 

RESULTS – TUESDAY, 16 FEBRUARY 2016

Singles – First Round
A. Krajicek (USA) d [1] K. Anderson (RSA) 76(3) ret. (shoulder)
R. Ram (USA) d [2] B. Tomic (AUS) 76(3) 61
[5] J. Chardy (FRA) d M. Ebden (AUS) 62 61
[6] S. Johnson (USA) d J. Millman (AUS) 63 57 76(8) – saved 1 M.P.
[7] D. Young (USA) d M. Kukushkin (KAZ) 76(3) 30 ret. (leg)
S. Querrey (USA) d T. de Bakker (NED) 46 63 64
[WC] T. Smyczek (USA) d T. Fritz (USA) 63 63
[WC] J. Del Potro (ARG) d D. Kudla (USA) 61 64
[WC] N. Rubin (USA) d S. Groth (AUS) 64 46 76(6) – saved 3 M.P.
[Q] T. Ito (JPN) d [Q] D. Novikov (USA) 62 64
D. Dzumhur (BIH) d R. Berankis (LTU) 64 62
B. Becker (GER) d [Q] R. Albot (MDA) 64 61
I. Marchenko (UKR) d M. Granollers (ESP) 63 64

Doubles – First Round

O. Marach (AUT) / F. Martin (FRA) d R. Berankis (LTU) / A. Mannarino (FRA) 64 62
SCHEDULE – WEDNESDAY, 17 FEBRUARY 2016

STADIUM start 11:00 am
M. Fyrstenberg (POL) / S. Gonzalez (MEX) vs [3] T. Huey (PHI) / M. Mirnyi (BLR)
Not Before 12:30 pm
[6] S. Johnson (USA) vs B. Becker (GER)
Not Before 2:30 pm
I. Marchenko (UKR) vs R. Ram (USA)
Not Before 6:00 pm
D. Dzumhur (BIH) vs [4] G. Dimitrov (BUL)
Not Before 8:00 pm
[1] B. Bryan (USA) / M. Bryan (USA) vs J. Millman (AUS) / J. Smith (AUS)

COURT 1 start 11:00 am

[4] E. Butorac (USA) / S. Lipsky (USA) vs J. Chardy (FRA) / L. Paes (IND)
[8] A. Mannarino (FRA) vs [Q] T. Ito (JPN)
O. Marach (AUT) / F. Martin (FRA) vs D. Kudla (USA) / D. Young (USA)
After Suitable Rest – C. Guccione (AUS) / B. Tomic (AUS) vs S. Johnson (USA) / S. Querrey (USA)

 

ATP World Tour 250
Marseille, France (+1 hour GMT)
15-21 February 2016   Surface: Hard

 

RESULTS – TUESDAY, 16 FEBRUARY 2016

Singles – First Round
T. Gabashvili (RUS) d [5] G. Simon (FRA) 36 63 76(7) – saved 3 M.P.
S. Stakhovsky (UKR) d F. Lopez (ESP) 63 26 76(5)
A. Kuznetsov (RUS) d L. Pouille (FRA) 76(1) 64
N. Kyrgios (AUS) d V. Pospisil (CAN) 64 64
E. Gulbis (LAT) d [Q] K. De Schepper (FRA) 64 67(6) 76(2)
[Q] M. Zverev (GER) d [WC] R. Ramanathan (IND) 62 75
[WC] A. Zverev (GER) d [Q] J. Benneteau (FRA) 76(4) 75

Doubles – First Round
R. Haase (NED) / A. Qureshi (PAK) d [1] F. Lopez (ESP) / M. Lopez (ESP) 76(0) 76(6)
[2] M. Pavic (CRO) / M. Venus (NZL) d [PR] L. Dlouhy (CZE) / S. Stakhovsky (UKR) 61 26 10-7
A. Bury (BLR) / I. Zelenay (SVK) d [4] W. Koolhof (NED) / M. Middelkoop (NED) 63 62
J. Erlich (ISR) / C. Fleming (GBR) d [PR] T. Bednarek (POL) / A. Shamasdin (CAN) 76(0) 62

SCHEDULE – WEDNESDAY, 17 FEBRUARY 2016

COURT CENTRAL start 11:30 am
[6] D. Goffin (BEL) vs [Q] M. Zverev (GER)
Not Before 2:00 pm
N. Mahut (FRA) vs [Q] V. Millot (FRA)
Not Before 4:00 pm
[WC] Q. Halys (FRA) vs [LL] D. Guez (FRA)
Not Before 6:30 pm
[1] S. Wawrinka (SUI) vs S. Stakhovsky (UKR)
Not Before 8:30 pm
[4] M. Cilic (CRO) vs R. Haase (NED)

COURT 1 start 3:00 pm

[WC] J. Benneteau (FRA) / E. Roger-Vasselin (FRA) vs M. Kowalczyk (POL) / A. Siljestrom (SWE)
Possible Court Change – [3] N. Mahut (FRA) / L. Pouille (FRA) vs T. Gabashvili (RUS) / N. Kyrgios (AUS)
R. Junaid (AUS) / J. Marray (GBR) vs A. Bury (BLR) / I. Zelenay (SVK)

ATP World Tour 500
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (-3 hour GMT)
15-21 February 2016 Surface: outdoor clay

RESULTS – TUESDAY, 16 FEBRUARY 2016

Singles – First Round
[1] R. Nadal (ESP) d P. Carreno Busta (ESP) 61 64
[2] D. Ferrer (ESP) d [WC] N. Jarry (CHI) 63 76(3)
[5] D. Thiem (AUT) d P. Andujar (ESP) 63 64
F. Delbonis (ARG) d [6] J. Sock (USA) 75 61
[7] F. Fognini (ITA) d A. Bedene (GBR) 75 63
A. Dolgopolov (UKR) d [8] T. Bellucci (BRA) 67(3) 75 62
N. Almagro (ESP) d D. Munoz de la Nava (ESP) 61 36 64
I. Cervantes (ESP) d [Q] T. Daniel (JPN) 36 75 62
P. Cuevas (URU) d [Q] F. Bagnis (ARG) 62 60
P. Lorenzi (ITA) d M. Cecchinato (ITA) 64 36 61
[Q] D. Gimeno-Traver (ESP) d J. Monaco (ARG) 52 ret. right shoulder
S. Giraldo (COL) d [Q] G. Elias (POR) 64 76(5)
D. Schwartzman (ARG) d [WC] J. Souza (BRA) 63 62
A. Ramos-Vinolas (ESP) d D. Lajovic (SRB) 34 ret. left foot

SCHEDULE – WEDNESDAY, 17 FEBRUARY 2016

QUADRA GUGA KUERTEN start 2:15 pm
ATP – [3] J. Tsonga (FRA) vs [WC] T. Monteiro (BRA)
Not Before 5:00 pm
ATP – [5] D. Thiem (AUT) vs D. Schwartzman (ARG)
Not Before 6:30 pm
ATP – A. Ramos-Vinolas (ESP) vs [2] D. Ferrer (ESP)
ATP – S. Giraldo (COL) vs G. Pella (ARG)

QUADRA 1 start 2:30 pm
WTA – [Q] M. Duque-Mariño (COL) vs F. Schiavone (ITA)
Not Before 4:00 pm
ATP – [7] F. Fognini (ITA) vs [Q] D. Gimeno-Traver (ESP)
ATP – [1] M. Melo (BRA) / B. Soares (BRA) vs [WC] F. De Paula (BRA) / O. Luz (BRA)
ATP – After suitable rest – A. Bedene (GBR) / A. Ramos-Vinolas (ESP) vs T. Bellucci (BRA) / M. Demoliner (BRA)

QUADRA 2 start 2:30 pm
WTA – [5] P. Hercog (SLO) vs [WC] S. Cirstea (ROU)
Not Before 3:30 pm
WTA – S. Rogers (USA) vs V. Cepede Royg (PAR)
ATP – P. Mathieu (FRA) / J. Tsonga (FRA) vs [4] N. Monroe (USA) / J. Sock (USA)
ATP – After suitable rest – D. Lajovic (SRB) / D. Thiem (AUT) vs A. Dolgopolov (UKR) / D. Munoz de la Nava (ESP)

QUADRA 4 start 2:30 pm
ATP – F. Delbonis (ARG) / P. Lorenzi (ITA) vs M. Gonzalez (ARG) / A. Sa (BRA)
WTA – To be finished – [1] A. Rodionova (AUS) / S. Vogt (LIE) vs B. Haddad Maia (BRA) / T. Pereira (BRA) 76(5) 00
WTA – T. Moore (GBR) / C. Perrin (SUI) vs [2] M. Erakovic (NZL) / S. Soler-Espinosa (ESP)
ATP – After suitable rest – [3] P. Cuevas (URU) / F. Fognini (ITA) vs [WC] R. Dutra Silva (BRA) / J. Souza (BRA)

QUADRA 5 start 2:30 pm
ATP – M. Daniell (NZL) / A. Sitak (NZL) vs [2] J. Cabal (COL) / R. Farah (COL)
Not Before 3:30 pm
WTA – [Q] C. Burger (NED) vs [Q] E. Kostova (BUL)
ATP – P. Petzschner (GER) / A. Peya (AUT) vs [Q] P. Carreno Busta (ESP) / D. Marrero (ESP)
Not Before 5:30 pm
WTA – After suitable rest – [4] V. Cepede Royg (PAR) / M. Irigoyen (ARG) vs P. Goncalves (BRA) / S. Marand (USA)

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Gasquet, Estrella Burgos and Bautista Agut Win ATP Titles

Richard Gasquet

(February 7, 2016) Richard Gasquet, Victor Estrella Burgos and Roberto Bautista Agut claimed titles on the ATP World Tour on Sunday.

Gasquet defended his Open Sud de France title with a 7-5, 6-4 victory against French countryman Paul-Henri Mathieu.

“It was great for me to win another title,” said Gasquet of his 13th tournament crown. “I am very proud to win my third title here, because it was a great match against a good friend. He had nothing to lose, so it was great to win.”
estrella burgos 1

Victor Estrella Burgos of the Dominican Republic defended his title in Quito, making a comeback to defeat Thomaz Bellucci of Brazil 4-6, 7-6 (5), 6-2 at the Ecuador Open. Both of his ATP World Tour tournament victories have come on the clay courts of Quito.

“I can’t describe the feeling when I saw the last ball go out,” Estrella said. “It was an unbelievable moment, to win back-to-back in Quito. Last year I was very nervous. I could barely breathe serving on match point. This year I was much more relaxed closing out the match.

“The conditions were difficult. It was sunny and so windy. It was impossible to return [Bellucci’s] serve in the first set.”

The 34-year-old is now 10-0 in Ecuador.

“It was a difficult day,” Bellucci said. “The wind did not allow me to maintain a good level. I was dominating and I had options to win the match, but I wasted them. In the third set, I lost my rhythm on serve and he raised his level. I’m happy to have reached the final, but sad because I could have won.”

 

Roberto Bautista Agut-001

Bautista Agut defeated Viktor Troicki 6-3, 6-4 in 82 minutes to win the inaugural Sofia Open for his fourth career title.

 

The Spaniard Bautista Agut won the Auckland event last month.
“It is always special to win a title,” said the 18th ranked player. “I have to be happy about this start to the season, the way I play. I am enjoying to be on the court. I just can’t be happier.

“I used drop shots a lot today because he is a great defender and sometimes he stays very far from the baseline. I needed to find a way to break the rhythm and drop shots gave me a lot of points today. To beat Viktor you have to work a lot. He is a very tough opponent. He runs a lot, he makes you play a lot of balls, he defends really well. We played a lot of rallies today and I like that as a Spanish player.”

“He was playing better – more offensive, more aggressive, took more risks,” Troicki said. “He also didn’t’ miss many balls. I felt like the better I played, the better he played. I had a long match yesterday. I needed to be 100 per cent fit to win. He started the season very well. He played great the last four tournaments. So I congratulate him. He deserved the win.

“It was still a good week for me. I reached the final again in four weeks. It is a great start to the season. I hope to keep it up with the good results. That is the only way to make it to the Top 10 which is my goal. I have to achieve it this year.”

The Latin American clay-court swing will set foot in Buenos Aires with the Argentina Open next week. The top four seeds will be top seed Rafael Nadal, Spanish countryman David Ferrer, France’s Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and American John Isner is No. 4.

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Stan Wawrinka Upsets Novak Djokovic for French Open Title

(June 7, 2015) Stan Wawrinka denied Novak Djokovic entrance into the “career Grand Slam club” defeating the world No. 1 4-6, 6-4, 6-3, 6-4 on Sunday to capture his first French Open title and second major. Djokovic was bidding to become the the eighth man to win all four majors at least once.

The 2014 Australian Open champion and No. 8 seed also snapped the Serb’s 28-match winning streak.

This was Djokovic’s third time in the Roland Garros final, falling to Rafael Nadal in 2012 and 2014. Djokovic defeated Nadal in the quarterfinals this year and followed it up by taking out third seed Andy Murray in the semifinals, a match which took two days to complete.

“One day, you will win Roland Garros,” Wawrinka said to Djokovic during the trophy ceremony. “You deserve it.”

“I can tell you,” Djokovic said, “that I will keep trying to win this trophy.”

Djokovic won the first set 6-4, holding on to a break achieved in the seventh game, when Wawrinka double-faulted.

Wawrinka finally capitalized on a break point at an opportune moment – to win the second set 6-4.

The momentum swung to the Swiss in the third set as he became the aggressor and broke serve to take a 4-2 lead and held on to claim the set 6-3.

The match looked to be headed to a fifth set when Djokovic jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the fourth. Wawrinka fought back to get on even terms at 3-3.

Serving at 3-4 in the fourth, Wawrinka came back from 0-40 to hold for 4-4. In the next game Wawrinka broke Djokovic and served out the set for the victory.

This was only the fourth time that the Swiss had defeated the Serb in their 21 meetings.

Wawrinka hit 60 winners in the match, winning a total of 137 points in the 3 hours and 12 minute match.

Three-time Roland Garros champion and tennis Hall of Famer Gustavo Kuerten presented the trophy to Wawrinka.

“Certainly one of the best matches of my career, if not the best,” Wawrinka said

“Not easy to stand there as a runner-up again,” Djokovic said, “but I lost to a better player who played some courageous tennis.”

The 28-year-old Djokovic called Wawrinka’s backhand “one of the best one-handed backhands that I have seen.”

“I’m still surprised the way I played, because I think I played amazing today,” Wawrinka said. “I was really nervous, but I didn’t really choke. I was always going for my shots, always going for the right play.”

“It’s quite strange when I tell myself that I have a (Olympic) gold medal and Davis Cup, and that I have two Grand Slams. (It’s) something quite amazing. I never expected to go this far in my career; never expected to be this strong.”

Wawrinka, who also won the French Open as a junior back in 2003,  will move up to No 4 in the world when the rankings are released on Monday.

 

 

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Serena Williams Wins French Open for 20th Major Title

(June 6, 2015) Serena Williams won her 20th major title on Saturday defeating Lucie Safarova 6-3, 6-7(2), 6-2 for her third French Open title.

Williams remains undefeated at 9-0 against the 13th seeded Czech. She is 20-4 in major finals.

It was a struggle Williams for much of the fortnight, having to battle back from a set down in four of the five previous matches, in addition to having the flu.

Williams is now halfway through a calendar Grand Slam, winning the Australian Open in January. She has won three majors in a row – 2014 U.S. Open, 2015 Australian Open and now Roland Garros. She won four majors in a row from the 2002 French Open to 2003 Australian Open which has been dubbed “the Serena Slam.” Should Williams win at Wimbledon, it would be her second “Serena Slam.”

The last player to win the US Open, Australian Open and Roland Garros in a row was Monica Seles in 1991-92.

Williams is the first woman since Jennifer Capriati to win the first French Open and the Australian Open in the same year.

The world No. 1 is now two majors behind Steffi Graf and four behind Margaret Court on the all-time list.

Her third Roland Garros title puts her in elite company with all-time greats who have also won three Paris crowns in the Open Era – Monica Seles (1990, 1991, 1992), Aranxta Sanchez-Vicario (1989, 1994, 1998) and Margaret Court (1969, 1970, 1973).

Williams at 33 years, 254 days is the second oldest women’s winner at Roland Garros. The oldest was Hungary’s Zsuzsi Kormoczy, who was 33 years, 279 days when she won the 1958 singles title.

Playing in her 24th major final, Williams broke Safarova’s serve in the fourth game of the first set to lead 3-1. Safarova saved a set point serving at 2-5, but Williams closed out the first holding at 15 for 6-3.

Williams, who coming into a major final was 17-0 after winning the first set, broke Safarova’s serve to open the second and extended the lead to 4-1 breaking again in the fifth game. Williams a point away from a 5-1 lead, dropped three double-faults in the next game to give the break back. Williams gave the second break back in the eighth game and the set was leveled at 4-4. Safarova won her fourth game in a row to take a 5-4 lead in the second set.

Williams after yelling at herself, held serve and broke Safarova’s serve to serve for the title. Safarova broke back to send the set to a tiebreak.

Safaraova took a 3-0 lead and never looked back, winning the tiebreak 7-2 sending the match to a third set.

“I got so frustrated. I was just so angry at myself. I pretty much gave the match away,” Williams said “I just had to, like, try to pull it together.”

Safarova’s good fortune continued, opening the third set with a break of serve. At 0-2 down in the third set Williams won the next six straight games to close the match.

“When she was on, she was just serving amazing and going for the returns, pressuring me right away,” said Safarova. “It’s just hard to do anything with that.”

The world No. 1 now owns 67 career singles titles to her name.

“When I was a little girl, in California, my father and my mother wanted me to play tennis. And now I’m here, with 20 Grand Slam titles,” Williams said in French to the crowd after the win. “This is very special for me. I haven’t always played very well here, but I’m really happy to win the 20th here.”

Safarova will be making her Top Ten debut on Monday is projected to be ranked No.7. Along with Petra Kvitova, this will be the first time since the Fall of 1989 that two Czech women rank in the Top 10.

 

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Djokovic Completes Five-Set Win Over Murray to Reach French Open Final

(June 6, 2015) Novak Djokovic moved within one victory of completing a career “Grand Slam” on Saturday, defeating Andy Murray 6-3, 6-3, 5-7, 5-7, 6-1, completing a match suspended on Friday in the fourth set at 3-3.

Top seed Djokovic is seeking the French Open title, the lone trophy missing from his collection of major titles.

When the match resumed on Saturday in Paris, both men held their serves easily until 5-all when Murray broke Djokovic’s serve and held to send the match into a fifth set. It was all Djokovic after that, winning 6 of the next seven games to complete the victory to extend his current winning streak to 28.

“I don’t think I was lucky,” Djokovic said. “I think I was playing some great tennis yesterday. He found his game late in the third. I had many opportunities to finish the match in straight sets, but credit to Andy.

“He showed why he’s one of the biggest competitors and fighters on the tour,” said the world No. 1.  “It’s always a thriller, always a marathon.

“He just came up with some great shots, great points.”

This will be Djokovic’s third French Open final, when he faces No. 8 seed Stan Wawrinka on Sunday. Wawrinka dismissed Frenchman Jo-Wilfred Tsonga in the semifinals.

Djokovic will be seeking his ninth major, while the Swiss Wawrinka will try to win his second.

The Serb has a 17-3 record against Wawrinka.

More to follow………….

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Djokovic – Murray Match Suspended: Winner to Face Wawrinka in Men’s French Open Final

 

(June 5, 2015) Stan Wawrinka still does not know yet who his opponent will be in the French Open men’s final on Sunday. The Swiss, who defeated French favorite Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-3, 6-7 (1), 7-6 (3), 6-4 in Friday’s first men’s semifinal, awaits the conclusion of the Novak DjokovicAndy Murray match which was suspended due to an impending rain storm in the fourth set. No. 1 Djokovic was leading No. 3 Murray 6-3, 6-3, 5-7, 3-3.

The Serb and the Scot will resume play on Saturday at 1 p.m. local time. The women’s final featuring No. 1 Serena Williams against 13th seed Lucie Safarova is scheduled to begin at 3 p.m.

Williams canceled her practice session and news conference due to trying to recover from the flu she’s had since the third round of the tournament.

“It’s just a matter of resting and keeping hydrated – there’s not much else I can do,” Williams said in regard to her illness. “I need time, and obviously don’t have a lot of it. I just have to hope that tomorrow I will be feeling a lot better and able to give my best on court.”

For Safarova, who at 28-years-old is playing her first major final it will be a new experience.

“It’s been (a) long way and a lot of hours on court,” said Safarova. “I have been on tour, it’s my 12th year, and to reach this, finally, it’s just, you appreciate it much more, I think.”

Safaraova is also in the doubles final pairing up with American Betthanie Mattek-Sands. Together they won the Australian Open title in January.

In the second men’s semifinal, Djokovic rushed off to a two set lead lead, Murray broke Djokovic’s serve for the first time in the third set to take a 6-5 lead and closed out the set on his serve.

At 3-3 in the fourth set, play was called for the fading light due to the dark clouds moving in.

In the first men’s semifinal, Wawrinka had both Tsonga and the French crowd to battle. It’s been since 1983 that a French man won the French Open – Yannick Noaj and the last French man who reached the finals was Henri Leconte in 1988. The key statistic in the match was the fact that Tsonga was 1 for 17 on break points.

“Jo is always a tough player to play,” said the 8th seed Wawrinka, “especially when he’s playing at home.”

For Wawrinka, who won the French Open Junior title in 2003, Sunday will mark his second major final, he won the Australian Open back in 2014. Last year he was bounced out of the French Open in the first round.

For Djokovic, should he defeat Murray and then Warinka, he will be looking to become just the eighth man to win a career Grand Slam – winning a title at all four majors – Australia, Paris, Wimbledon and the U.S. Open.

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Serena Williams Rallies to Reach French Open Final

(June 4, 2015) Sick with the flu and moving slowly around a hot center court, Serena Williams came back from a set and a break down to reach the French Open final for the third time defeating 23rd seed Timea Bacsinszky 4-6, 6-3, 6-0 on Thursday.

Down 6-4, 3-2 the world No. 1 won the next 10 straight games to knock out her Swiss opponent and reach her 24th major final.

“I tried everything,” Williams said in an on-court interview after the match. ”I thought if I lose, I will lose with a fight. I tried, I tried. I found the energy. I don’t know where, but I found it. And I won. I hope that on Saturday, I hope”

She’ll face No. 13 Lucie Safarova of the Czech Republic in Saturday’s final for a chance to win her 20th major title.

Safarova defeated two former Roland Garros champions on the way to the final – defending champion and No. 2 Maria Sharapova in the fourth round, 2008 titlist and seventh seed Ana Ivanovic 7-5, 7-5 in the semifinals earlier in the day on Thursday.

Safarova rebounded from a 2-5 first set deficit to win the next five games in a row.

“I started a little bit slower in the match and wasn’t swinging as much as I should. I was a little slow on my feet,” Safarova said to media. “Ana was playing well right away and going for her shots, too, but I slowly started getting into the rhythm, into the game. Then right away I took the set, took the momentum.”

She had to serve for the match twice in the second set to finally close it out.

“In the second set, when I realized I could finally be in the finals, I got a little bit tense there. And the game at 5-4, I was really overthinking and couldn’t really concentrate to be there in that moment.

“But when I lost serve, I shook it off and started to play aggressive again, and I served it out.”

After 12 years on tour, this will be Safarova’s first singles final of a Grand Slam tournament.

 

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Djokovic Beats Nadal to Reach French Open Semis: Williams and Bacsinszky Advance to Final Four

(June 3, 2015) There would be no gifts given to Rafael Nadal by Novak Djokovic on the 9-time French Open champion’s 29th birthday on Wednesday. No. 1 Djokovic ended Nadal’s 39-match French Open winning streak winning the quarterfinal contest 7-5, 6-3, 6-1.

Djokovic has extended his current winning streak to 27.

It was just Nadal’s second defeat on the red clay of Roland Garros. The only other loss came in 2009 in the round of 16 to Robin Soderling. Nadal is 70-2 at the French Open.

Coming into the match, Djokovic had never beaten Nadal in Paris.

With the loss, Nadal’s ranking will fall to No. 10 and if Jo-Wilfried Tsonga reaches the final, the Spaniard’s ranking will be No. 11.

The Serb will play Andy Murray in the semifinals.  Murray defeated David Ferrer for the first time on clay 7-6(4), 6-2, 5-7, 6-1.

“I feel like I understand how I have to play on the surface better than I did in the past,” said Murray.

Both Murray and Djokovic come into their semifinal with unbeaten streaks on clay this season.

This will be Djokovic’s 26 major semifinal, tying hall of famer Andre Agassi for fourth on the all-time list.

“I have much respect for Rafa.” Djokovic said. “He is obviously not playing at the level we expect from him this season. But he remains a champion and it’s always a pleasure to play against him.”

“I lost in 2009 and it was not the end and I lost in 2015 and it’s not the end,” Nadal said. “I hope to be back here next year and to fight.”

“I wanna work even harder than before to come back stronger.” Nadal said it was the best moment in Djokovic’s career.

“A match that I will remember for a long time,” Djokovic said.

“An ideal scenario is today could have been (the final), and could have a different discussion,” he continued. “It’s only quarterfinals, and I want to fight for the title. That’s what I came here for.”

On the women’s side, No. 1 Serena Williams had no trouble dismissing former French Open finalist, 17th seed Sara Errani 6-1, 6-3 to reach the semifinals.

“The last four French Opens in a row she’s been to the quarterfinals or better, so I knew I had to be really focused today,” Williams said.

“I haven’t had a great clay court season, so I’m pretty excited to have gotten this far,” said the American. “Hopefully I can keep going. Nothing’s guaranteed – at this point I’m just fighting to stay in the tournament.”

The 33-year-old American, seeking her third title in Paris and 20th major, will play Switzerland’s Timea Bacsinszky, the No. 23 seed, who defeated surprise quarterfinalist Alison van Uytvanck of Belgium 6-4, 7-5.

“I know people like to write about who is the favorite and who has pressure, who has no pressure, but we are equal when we step on the tennis court,” Bacsinszky said after the match. “She deserved that spot in the quarterfinal. It means she’s playing really well. I wasn’t feeling like the favorite today. That’s why I just played my game and tried to find the solution like before. It was a great experience for me.”

 

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