February 13, 2016

Juniors Hurricane Black and Carson Branstine to Kick Off BNP Paribas Showdown at MSG on March 8

BNP Paribas Showdown

From Madison Square Garden: (February 10, 2016) New York, NY –  The BNP Paribas Showdown will once again present two  junior circuit players when Tyra Hurricane Black squares off against Carson Branstine in an opening match presented by HEAD Penn Racquet Sports as part of World Tennis Day at Madison Square Garden on March 8.

 

The future pro stars take to the court to kick off the annual BNP Paribas Showdown featuring the colorful Gael Monfils, world No. 4 Stan Wawrinka, former world No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki and 21-time Major Champion Serena Williams.

 

Born and raised in Boca Raton, Florida, 14 year old, Tyra Hurricane Black is currently ranked No. 86 on the ITF World Junior Ranking.  She won three ITF junior titles in 2015 and reached the finals in the recent 52nd Coffee Bowl in San Jose, Costa Rica.  Additionally, Black helped lead the US team to the finals of the 2015 ITF World Junior Tennis Competition in the Czech Republic.  Her older sister, Alicia Black is a former top-5 world-ranked junior now playing on the pro circuit.

 

Branstine, who started playing tennis at seven years old, is 15 and hails from Orange County, California.  She is currently No. 184 on the ITF World Junior Ranking and holds 26 career singles titles.  She has played in the 2015 US Open Junior Slam and was a member of the USA Team National Junior Team. Additionally, Branstine played on an 18s national team where she went undefeated and was a finalist in the 2015 Plantation ITF.

 

Black and Branstine add to a considerable list of exceptional juniors who have taken to the Madison Square Garden tennis court at the BNP Paribas Showdown including the likes of Francis Tiafoe who turned pro in May 2015 and is said to be one of the prominent young up and coming stars as well as Sloane Stephens who is ranked No. 26 on the WTA Tour and currently representing the United States at the Fed Cup in Hawaii.

 

Previous junior matches featured:

2008: Denis Kudla (15 years old) vs Junior Ore (15)

2009: Sloane Stephens (15) vs Gail Brodsky (17)

2010: Nicole Gibbs (16) vs Sachia Vickery (14)

2014: Tiafoe (16) vs Reilly Opelka (16)

2015: Cori “Coco” Gauff (10) vs Gabriella Price (11)

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Raonic Knocks Out Fourth Seed Wawrinka to Gain Berth in Australian Open Quarterfinals; Murray Advances

Milos Raonic

Milos Raonic

(January 25, 2016) Thirteenth seed Milos Raonic held off fourth seed and 2014 Australian Open champion Stan Wawrinka to reach the quarterfinals of the Australian Open on Monday 6-4, 6-3, 5-7, 4-6, 6-3.

The Canadian employed an aggressive net game to take down the Swiss for the first time in their head-to-head encounters.

“I got to try to dictate, try to find my way forward and keep him out of rhythm,” he said.

Raonic dominated play in the first two sets and then the Swiss fought back to send the match to decider and get his first victory in Rod Laver Arena.

Raonic hit 82 winners in the 3-hour and 44-minute match which included 24 aces

Raonic is 8-0 this year. Earlier in the month, he defeated No. 3 Roger Federer in the final of the Brisbane International.

Raonic credits the new member of his coaching team, former No. 1 Carlos Moya with the improvement of his game and composure.

“I think it’s just about a calm, and understanding how I can be more efficient with my game,” Raonic said. “Today was a good example of that.”

“I’m very happy with the way I played, the way I competed, the way I turned things around after sort of having the momentum against me going into the fifth,” Raonic said.

“I’m happy the situation I’ve put myself in. At the same time, as happy as I am, my mind’s already on what’s the process for my next challenge.”

“Tough match in general, for sure,” Wawrinka said. “I think Milos start really well. He was pushing, playing well. Wasn’t really feeling great there, not playing my best. Wasn’t moving to do something else. I’m surprised to still have went five sets.

“For me, I tried to fight like always, tried to find solution. I think he went a little bit down with his speed, with his movement. I took the opportunity to push him to the fifth set.

“But for sure I’m disappointed. I know I tried what I could today.”

“He’s a really good player, you know,” the Swiss continued. “He’s been top five already, making semifinal in Grand Slam, winning a lot of tournament. Since two years, he’s really good.

“Today he did what I was expecting. Maybe he change few things in his game, but in general he’s the same tough player to play.”

 

Next up, the 25-year-old will face No. 23 Gael Monfils. The Frenchman, who is now in the Melbourne quarterfinals for the first time, beat unseeded over Andrei Kuznetsov 7-5, 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 (4) in two hours and 37 minutes.

“It was tough,” Monfils said. “I think I knew pretty much he will come and step in, try to play very fast. That’s what he did. I was a bit nervous so I could not hit through him for a while. Then suddenly I think I serve a bit better and I put more pressure. I grabbed the first set.

“Unlucky I felt in the second. I lost a bit the momentum because at this period I thought I had him. It was a bit tough for me to grip my racquet. Then it was a bit tougher to play.

“He had a good second set. Then I think I serve pretty good, try to focus on my first shot after the serve. Till the end, you know, I was fighting. I think he give me a good fight, so I was happy to come through.”

Talking about his next match against Raonic, Monfils said: “Milos is in good form. Coming in with a win in Brisbane. As we know, a big serve. Actually I think also a little bit he improve a lot his movement, hitting big from the baseline, a good return.”

“From what I’ve seen so far of him, he’s playing well,” Raonic said of his next opponent. “He’s very entertaining and he’s very difficult to play. He can give you complete ends of the spectrum within one game.

“So it’s very much of an internal match for me. I just have to take the game to him. I have to make him feel uncomfortable. Not let him get into his sort of playing comfort. If I can sort of keep up with the efficiency moving forward, I’ll have definitely some opportunities.”

Raonic has become the first Canadian to reach the quarterfinals of all four majors.

 

Andy Murray moved past local favorite Australian Bernard Tomic in the night session in Melbourne. The Scot  won 6-4, 6-4, 7-6 (4) in the fourth round.

“I didn’t think it was that straightforward,” Murray said. “It was a tricky match. You know, I mean, I got up a break I think in all of the sets. Each time he obviously got it back. So there were quite a few momentum shifts in all of the sets.”

Murray will play David Ferrer next.

“Last few days were very, very tough. A lot of emotions, yeah things sort of changing all of the time in my head,” Murray said. Two nights ago his father-in-law Nigel Sears was rushed to the hospital. Murray’s wife is expecting a baby near the end of the tournament. “It’s been a stressful few days, but I’ll try to rest up the next few days to get ready for the next one.”

No. 8 David Ferrer moved into the final eight of Melbourne for the sixth time, by defeating No. 10 John Isner 6-4, 6-4, 7-5. Ferrer has not dropped a set in the tournament.

 

 

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Serena Williams vs. Wozniacki and Monfils vs. Wawrinka Headline BNP Paribas Showdown at Madison Square Garden in March

 

 

Serena Williams MSG

 

New York, NY (October 28, 2015) – It was announced  that 21-time Grand Slam Champion and  Serena Williams, will take on close friend and former No. 1, Caroline Wozniacki, while current No. 4 men’s player Stan Wawrinka will square off with French star Gael Monfils in the 9th annual BNP Paribas Showdown at Madison Square Garden.  The one-night tennis event, which is being held on World Tennis Day for the fourth straight year has become a staple on the tennis calendar and is set for Tuesday, March 8.

 

The BNP Paribas Showdown is produced by MSG Sports and StarGames. Tickets starting at $35.00 will go on sale November 1 at 9:00 a.m. and can be purchased at the Madison Square Garden box office, online at www.thegarden.com and at all Ticketmaster outlets.

 

“I have been fortunate to play in World Tennis Day events in New York and Hong Kong,” said Caroline Wozniacki.  “It is a great day to celebrate our sport. This year will be even more special as I return to Madison Square Garden with Serena. It doesn’t get much better than that.”

 

Stan Wawrinka said, “There are certain things in your tennis career that you want to do: win Grand Slams, win the Davis Cup for your country. Playing in Madison Square Garden is one of the things on that list so I am excited about the invitation to play in the BNP Paribas Showdown and look forward to walking onto The Garden court.”

 

“I have always loved playing for the New York crowd which inspires me very much,” said Gael Monfils.   “So coming back to New York with Stan on World Tennis Day will be a great opportunity to play for the fans. We will put on a great show for them.”

 

StarGames President, Jerry Solomon added, “I am excited that once again the BNP Paribas Showdown will offer fans great tennis and entertaining matchups. Moreover, I think Serena has really become the ‘people’s champion’ and we have priced tickets to encourage her fans to be in attendance at Madison Square Garden as we honor her on World Tennis Day. It promises to be another night full of memorable moments that you won’t want to miss.”

 

“Year in and year out, the BNP Paribas Showdown at Madison Square Garden continues to attract the top tennis stars in the world and this year is no different,” said Joel Fisher, executive vice president, MSG Sports.  “We are thrilled to host these top athletes in what has become one of the most exciting and fun nights on the tennis calendar.”

 

The 9th edition of the BNP Paribas Showdown, which consistently attracts the biggest names in tennis, will follow the likes of Pete Sampras, Rafael Nadal, Andre Agassi, Andy Roddick, Ivan Lendl, Juan Martin del Potro, Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray, Mike and Bob Bryan, John and Patrick McEnroe, Grigor Dimitrov, Serena and Venus Williams, Maria Sharapova, Kim Clijsters, Victoria Azarenka, Caroline Wozniacki, Svetlana Kuznetsova, Ana Ivanovic, Monica Seles, Gabriela Sabatini and Jelena Jankovic, all of whom took part in previous Showdowns and provided unforgettable memories for New York tennis fans.

 

As in years past, the BNP Paribas Showdown at Madison Square Garden will once again headline a full day of worldwide activities as part of World Tennis Day, a global tennis participation effort. All events promote tailoring the game to players 10-and-under with smaller racquets, lighter balls and modified scoring.

 

Williams, who will make her third appearance in the annual BNP Paribas Showdown, is currently ranked No. 1 in the world, a ranking she has held on six separate occasions dating back to July 8, 2002.  She has a total of 21 Grand Slam singles titles – the third-most of any tennis player, male or female of all time.  Williams holds the most major singles, doubles, and mixed doubles titles combined amongst active players and her record of 36 major titles puts her fifth on the all-time list.  Additionally, Serena has won four Olympic gold medals, one in women’s singles and three in women’s doubles.

 

Williams captured the inaugural “BNP Paribas Showdown” held on March 2, 2009 at Madison Square Garden with a 6-4, 6-3 victory over sister Venus Williams. The field also included 2008 French Open Champion Ana Ivanovic, as well as year ending No. 1 Jelena Jankovic.

 

Wozniacki is a former World No. 1 who is currently ranked No. 11 and will be making her second appearance at Madison Square Garden in the BNP Paribas Showdown.  She made her professional debut at 15 years old in 2005 and has since won 23 WTA singles titles.  In 2008, she was named WTA Newcomer of the Year award. She took on Maria Sharapova in her MSG debut in 2012.

 

Wawrinka and Monfils will make their Madison Square Garden debuts when they step onto the Garden court on March 8.

 

Wawrinka, currently ranked No. 4 in the world, has won two Grand Slam titles including the 2014 Australian Open and 2015 French Open title.  Additionally, Wawrinka was a member of the Swiss team that won the Davis Cup in 2014 and also won a Gold Medal in the 2008 Olympics.  Stan and doubles partner Marco Chiudinelli played in the longest known doubles match when they faced Tomas Berdych and Lukas Rosal in a match that lasted over 7 hours.

 

The Frenchman, Monfils, is currently ranked No. 21 in the world. In 2014, he finished in the Top 20 for 1st time since 2011 and 5th time overall and advanced to the quarter finals of both the US Open and French Open.  He made it to the semi finals of the French Open in 2008 and to the quarter finals of the US Open in 2010.   In recent Davis Cup play, Monfils went 3-0 in singles to help France reach its first final since 2010.

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Serena Williams Advances Easily While Fourth Seed Nishikori Falls on Day 1 of US Open

SerenaWilliamsFaceoff6

(August 31, 2015) FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – Last year’s US Open men’s finalist and fourth seed Kei Nishikori lost in the first round on Monday while several women’s seeds tumbled out on the first day of Flushing Meadows.

No such drama for the No. 1 seed Serena Williams seeking the US Open to complete a calendar Grand Slam. She moved a step closer to history with an easy win over 86th ranked Vitalia Diatchenko of Russia who retired from the match trailing 6-0, 2-0. She said that she felt a sharp pain hitting a backhand during a point.

“It was definitely different and bizarre,” the 33-year-old Williams said. “But at the same time, I was still focused. I kept thinking: Just stay focused; don’t lose it. You never know what can happen.”

Williams march to completing the first Grand Slam since 1988 seems to have been made easier when a deluge of seeds from her half of the draw lost. They included: No. 3 Maria Sharapova who withdrew on Sunday with an injured right leg, No. 7 Ana Ivanovic, No. 8 Karolina Pliskova and No. 10 Carla Suarez Navarro, No. 21 Jelena Jankovic, No. 29 Sloane Stephens (who beat Williams in the quarterfinals of the Australian Open in 2013) and No. 30 Svetlana Kuznetsova.

The 21-time major champion will play the Netherlands Kiki Bertens. “I think she’s playing well, Williams said. “She does a lot of things well. She has a big serve. It’s definitely something that I look forward to. See what happens.”

“I’m not a person that usually looks at the draws,” Williams said. “I just take it as it comes and as it goes.”

Kei Nishikori was the only shock on the men’s side when the fourth seed fell to France’s Benoit Paire Nishikori’s 6-4, 3-6, 4-6, 7-6 (6), 6-4 despite having two match points in the fourth set tiebreak.

“It’s very sad to lose always first round, but I think he was playing good tennis,” Nishikori said. “So, I mean, I don’t think I played bad. Didn’t play great, but still, it’s never easy first match. He’s a good player.

“You know, try to think about next one, and I hope I can come back strong next year.”

“Today for me, when I come on court I know I can beat Nishikori,” Paire said. “I place twice time; I lost two time, but very tough match.

“So when I come on the court, I say, come on. You can beat Kei. He has a game — it’s not like if I play against Roger Federer. For me it’s different because he has good serve.

“Against Kei I know I can play, and for sure some volleys. For me it’s important because I know I don’t put a lot of pressure on myself. I say, Okay, for sure you can break him.

“So the most important thing is to feel good and to have fun. I think today that’s the most important thing.”

The man Nishikori lost to in last year’s final had few problems in his 6-3, 7-6, 7-6 win.

“I think this tournament is giving me the best chance to play the best over here,” Marin Cilic said. Even before last year, in the past years I was always playing pretty well and reached few times quarterfinals. Even in those matches had some chances. Close to making it to the semis.

“Coming this year again is definitely very special moment for me in my whole career. This experience of, you know, defending the Grand Slam title for the first time is something that I’m going to learn for sure a lot from.”

No. 1 Novak Djokovic destroyed  Brazil’s Joao Souza 6-1, 6-1, 6-1 in 71 minutes.

“I couldn’t ask for a better opening of this year’s US Open,” Djokovic said.” Hopefully I can continue in that rhythm.”

Sixteenth seed Gael Monfils retired from his match with a back against Illya Marchenko while trailing 2-6, 6-4, 5-0, 30-0.

Eighth seed Rafael Nadal, playing in the Flushing Meadows for the first time since 2013, beat teenager Borna Coric 6-3, 6-2, 4-6, 6-4 in second night match on Arthur Ashe Stadium. “Very happy to be back,” Nadal said, “and to be through.”

“I think I played great. The first two sets I played a very high level of tennis. Seriously, then I get a little bit tired. I had some problems. I was sweating a lot. I lost little bit — you know, I don’t feel enough strong after that, no?

“I had little bit of stomach problem so I felt not perfect, physically perfect then.

“But then in the fourth I recovered little bit. I played again more aggressive. Finally was important victory for me. Happy the way that I played when I was, you know, physically good.”

RESULTS – AUGUST 31, 2015
Women’s
Singles – First Round

(1) Serena Williams (USA) d. Vitalia Diatchenko (RUS) 60 20 retired (Left ankle injury)
Dominika Cibulkova (SVK) d. (7) Ana Ivanovic 63 36 63
(Q) Anna Tatishvili (USA) d. (8) Karolina Pliskova 62 61
Denisa Allertova (CZE) d. Carla Suarez Navarro (ESP) 61 76(5)
(12) Belinda Bencic (SUI) d. Sesil Karatantcheva (BUL) 61 62
(13) Ekaterina Makarova (RUS) d. Teliana Pereira (BRA) 63 63
(15) Agnieszka Radwanska (POL) d. Katerina Siniakova (CZE) 62 63
(17) Elina Svitolina (UKR) d. (Q) Elizaveta Kulichkova (RUS) 61 64
(18) Madison Keys (USA) d. Klara Koukalova (CZE) 62 64
(WC) Oceane Dodin (FRA) d. (21) Jelena Jankovic (SRB) 26 75 63
(23) Venus Williams (USA) d. Monica Puig (PUR) 64 67(7) 63
(25) Eugenie Bouchard (CAN) d. Alison Riske (USA) 64 63
CoCo Vandeweghe (USA) d. (29) Sloane Stephens (USA) 64 63
Kristina Mladenovic (FRA) d. (30) Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS) 63 75
(31) Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (RUS) d. Magdalena Rybarikova (SVK) 64 75
(Q) Kiki Bertens (NED) d. Mirjana Lucic-Baroni (CRO) 36 64 62
(WC) Bethanie Mattek-Sands (USA) d. (Q) Kateryna Kozlova (UKR) 64 63
Tereza Smitkova (CZE) d. Andreea Mitu (ROU) 76(4) 62
Magda Linette (POL) d. Urszula Radwanska (POL) 76(3) 61
Misaki Doi (JPN) d. Daniela Hantuchova (SVK) 63 63
Irina Falconi (USA) d. (WC) Samantha Crawford (USA) 64 62
(Q) Anett Kontaveit (EST) d. Casey Dellacqua (AUS) 75 62
Madison Brengle (USA) d. Saisai Zheng 62 57 75
(LL) Daria Kasatkina (RUS) d. Daria Gavrilova (AUS) 62 46 75
Ana Konjuh (CRO) d. Tatjana Maria (GER) 64 64
Bojana Jovanovski (SRB) d. Lara Arruabarrena (ESP) 62 62
Kaia Kanepi (EST) d. Anna-Lena Friedsam (GER) 61 61
Lauren Davis (USA) d. Heather Watson (GBR) 76(3) 76(0)
Roberta Vinci (ITA) d. Vania King (USA) 64 64
Mariana Duque-Marino (COL) d. (WC) Sofia Kenin (USA) 63 61
Polona Hercog (SLO) d. Zarina Diyas (KAZ) 62 75
(Q) Jessica Pegula (USA) d. Alison Van Uytvanck (BEL) 75 63

Men’s singles

Novak Djokovic (SRB) [1] d. Joao Souza (BRA) 61 61 61
Benoit Paire (FRA) d. Kei Nishikori (JPN) [4] 64 36 46 76(6) 64 – saved 2 MP
Marin Cilic (CRO) [9] d. Guido Pella (ARG) 63 76(3) 76(3)
Milos Raonic (CAN) [10] d. Tim Smyczek (USA) 64 76(8) 61
David Goffin (BEL) [14] d. Simone Bolelli (ITA) 64 61 62
Grigor Dimitrov (BUL) [17] d. Matthew Ebden (AUS) 64 62 64
Feliciano Lopez (ESP) [18] d. Nikoloz Basilashvili (GEO) 76(5) 61 63
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA) [19] d. Jarkko Nieminen (FIN) 63 61 61
Andreas Seppi (ITA) [25] d. Tommy Paul (USA) 64 60 75
Tommy Robredo (ESP) [26] d. Michael Berrer (GER) 62 62 64
Jeremy Chardy (FRA) [27] d. Ryan Shane (USA) 62 61 67(6) 62
Mardy Fish (USA) d. Marco Cecchinato (ITA) 67(5) 63 61 63
Fernando Verdasco (ESP) d. Tommy Haas (GER) 36 61 67(3) 63 61
Mikhail Kukushkin (KAZ) d. Yen-Hsun Lu (TPE) 63 63 30 ret.
Sergiy Stakhovsky (UKR) d. John Millman (AUS) 61 36 76(3) 64
Marcel Granollers (ESP) d. Lukas Lacko (SVK) 62 63 61
Evgeny Donskoy (RUS) d. Lucas Pouille (FRA) 62 67(3) 62 64
Marsel Ilhan (TUR) d. Radek Stepanek (CZE) 60 26 64 32 ret,
Ricardas Berankis (LTU) d. Joao Sousa (POR) 62 62 46 26 76(4)

Karen Pestaina for Tennis Panorama News at the US Open

 

 

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Former French Open Winners Roger Federer and Ana Ivanovic Reach Fourth Round

(May 29, 2015) Former French Open champions Roger Federer  Maria Sharapova and Ana Ivanovic reached the round of 16 in Paris on Friday.

2009 winner, second seed Federer defeated world No. 88 Damir Dzumhur of Bosnia 6-4, 6-3, 6-2 to move into the fourth round of Roland Garros for an 11th straight year.

The match lasted 88 minutes. For Dzumhur, this was his second time in the third round of a major. He is only man from Bosnia/Herzegovina to compete in a major championship.

Federer will face Gael Monfils for a spot in the quarterfinals.

“I think, No. 1, it’s an interesting matchup, Cuevas and Gaël,” Federer said. “I think both look really good on clay, feel comfortable on clay. I felt Cuevas was really strong in Istanbul and also in Rome. Gaël, I played him in some tougher conditions, I guess, for me potentially. Davis Cup was rough, you know. Monaco was so early in the clay court season it was always going to be tough, even though I wasn’t hitting ball so bad, but still not quite understanding how passive or aggressive I needed to play. I thought he played a good, solid match, and me, too. It came down to a few points. It was a pity for me not to get through that one. He’s played me tough, you know, throughout my career, I thought. Especially the last four, five years now. He’s been tougher for me to play against. We have played against each other here on a few occasions as well. Semis, quarters, some of my big years here. So clearly I’d love to play against him, as well. Pablo is also a great guy. I will watch that clearly with a lot of interest.”

Supported by the French crowd, Monfils rallied past Pablo Cuevas 4-6, 7-6 (1), 3-6, 6-4, 6-3 to reach the fourth round. Monfils now is 10-3 in five set matches at Roland Garros, tied for the record in wins with former player Harold Solomon.

Asked about playing Federer next, he said:

“Honestly, I don’t know. Is like, I just play my game. You know, somehow sometime, because some matches Roger kill me. Somehow I just maybe find a couple stuff, you know, in my game, to put him in trouble and to actually move him — I think Roger is very comfortable on couple of shots or couple, you know, area that I try to manage to put him out of this comfort zone. And then also I try, you know, to find a rhythm also with Roger that I’m happy with, because Roger always wants to dictate the match the way he wants, the way he make you wait or speed up the match, the way he will select his shot. And me, I really try to change out of him, and sometime Roger get pissed a little bit. And also, whether I will — and I know he will respect it, but when he’s good — actually, when I saw it the most it was in US Open, you know, Roger was very unhappy when the crowd is not behind him. And that will help me a lot, for sure,” Monfils said smiling.

 

Defending champion Sharapova is into the second week of the French Open reaching the fourth round after beating Samantha Stosur of Australia 6-3, 6-4. Next she takes on Lucie Safarova.

 

After challenges in the first two rounds, Ana Ivanovic moved quickly past Croatian Donna Vekic 6-0, 6-3 to reach the second week of the tournament in 53 minutes.

The Serb who won the French Open title in 2008 talked about her growing confidence.

“The first two matches I really felt like I had kind of a slow start, and I spoke to my coach, to Mats about it, and to my team and everything. This is something I really wanted to change today. I was happy I did that, because it’s not easy playing late and then playing first. Also today conditions were a little bit heavier, it was colder in the morning. I was really happy I was able to change that.”

“After first two matches, I really started to get a little bit of feeling and groove, and yesterday I had easy day, she said. “Today I really had strict game plan. I had an idea what I wanted to do, and obviously confidence from first two matches helped me in today’s performance, too. I really knew I was working hard for few weeks now, and I spoke about it even last few weeks. You know, when you know you are working the right direction, it always gets results. Today I did some things better than I did in my first two matches, which I was happy about.”

She’ll play No. 9 seed Ekaterina Makarova next. Makarova defeated Elena Vesnina 6-2, 6-4.

Stan Wawrinka moved into the fourth round of Paris with a 6-4, 6-3, 6-2 victory over American Steve Johnson in 89 minutes. He’ll play Gilles Simon, who beat fellow Frenchman Nicholas in five sets.

Frenchwoman Alize Cornet advanced reach the fourth round of her home major for the first time match with a 4-6, 6-3, 7-5 win over Mirjana Lucic-Baroni.

Cornet celebrated the victory as though she had won the tournament.

“At last, I’m into the second week at Roland,” Cornet said. “I’ve been waiting for this for 11 years.”

“The crowd was amazing, once more, today. It really helped me getting through tough time on the court. Mirjana was playing very aggressive, and I was playing with all my heart. The crowd being behind me like this was helping me a lot, giving me a lot of energy to keep going, not to let go. Yeah, I owe them a lot today, because I think I went over my limits. And the fact that it was in Roland Garros was definitely a big help for me today. It’s a pleasure to play here on the center court especially because I love this court. So I’m really glad.”

More good news for the home country as Richard Gasquet completed his match halted due to darkness 3-6, 6-3, 6-1, 4-6, 6-1 over Carlos Berlocq and advance to the third round.

The 20th seed will play 15th-seeded Kevin Anderson for a place in the 4th round.

Also advancing were No. 13 Lucie Safarova and No. 19 Elina Svitolina.

 

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Novak Djokovic Defeats Rafael Nadal to Reach Monte Carlo Final

(April 18, 2015) Novak Djokovic extended his current winning streak to 16 matches with a 6-3, 6-3 victory over Rafael Nadal in the semifinals of the Monte Carlo Masters on Saturday in one hour and 37 minutes.

No. 1 Djokovic will meet Tomas Berdych in final on Sunday. Berdych dismissed Gael Monfils 6-1, 6-3 earlier in the day

The Djokovic – Nadal semifinal was much closer than the score indicated. In the first set Djokovic had to rebound from 0-2 with points to go down 0-3, taking six of the last seven games to claim the first set.

In the second set, Djokovic broke serve in the seventh game, after the 8-time Monte Carlo champion Nadal led 40-0. The Serb ended the match with a second break of serve in the set.

Djokovic hit 23 winners to 19 unforced errors in match to the Spaniard’s 20 winners and 20 errors.

Djokovic is now 10-1 against Top ten opponents in 2015. Djokovic has improved his head-to-head record against Nadal to 20-23.

Djokovic will be looking to claim his fourth straight Masters Series title and second Monte Carlo crown on Sunday.
RESULTS – SATURDAY, 18 APRIL 2015

Singles – Semi-Finals
[1] N. Djokovic (SRB) d [3] R. Nadal (ESP) 63 63
[6] T. Berdych (CZE) d [14] [WC] G. Monfils (FRA) 61 64

Doubles – Semi-finals
[1] B. Bryan (USA) / M. Bryan (USA) d [4] M. Matkowski (POL) / N. Zimonjic (SRB) 64 62
S. Bolelli (ITA) / F. Fognini (ITA) d [2] I. Dodig (CRO) / M. Melo (BRA) 76(6) 63

SCHEDULE – SUNDAY, 19 APRIL 2015

COURT CENTRAL start 11:30 am
[1] B. Bryan (USA) / M. Bryan (USA) vs S. Bolelli (ITA) / F. Fognini (ITA)

Not Before 2:30 pm
[1] N. Djokovic (SRB) vs [6] T. Berdych (CZE)

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Andy Murray Reaches 500th Win Mark with Victory Over Kevin Anderson at Miami Open

(March 31, 2015) Andy Murray became the ninth player on the ATP World Tour to win 500 career matches with his victory over Kevin Anderson 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 to reach the Miami Open quarterfinals.

The Scot is the 46th player in the Open era with 500 or more wins and the first British player to accomplish this feat.

“It’s nice I think obviously for me the fact that it happened here,” said the two-time Miami Open champion. “It’s just fitting just because I have spent so much time training here and working to get better and to improve. That was nice.

“Yeah, I hope I’ve still got a lot more wins in me. To get to 500 is good. It’s not an easy thing to do at my age. It’s nice. Hopefully I can keep going.”

“I hope for me this isn’t the end and I can keep trying to progress,” he added. With each win you get closer to going past a great player.

“You know, the people that are ahead of me have all done pretty amazing things in the sport, so that’s what’s nice about it. And, yeah, it gives me ‑‑ also feels like it gives me motivation, as well, for some reason.

“I don’t know why, but getting to 500, yeah, it gives me motivation to go on and try and win more. When you look at the list of players and the wins that certain guys have got, it gives you something to aim at, as well.”

No. 3 seed Murray will face off against 21-year-old Dominic Thiem, who reached his first Masters 1000 quarterfinal with a win over No. 28 Adrian Mannarino 7-6 (5), 4-6, 7-5.

“He had his best year on the tour last year,” Murray said. “He’s a very talented guy. He’s strong. I know him fairly well. I practice with him quite a bit. He’s very hard worker. Very good attitude. Very respectful guy. He’s got a very good career ahead of him.

“So I expect tomorrow will be a tough match. He struggled a little bit the beginning part of the year. He changed racquets. “You know, always takes a few months to get used to that. Obviously this week he’s played very well again.”

Also advancing to the quarterfinals were No. 1 Novak Djokovic, No. 4 Kei Nishikori, No. 6 David Ferrer, No. 8 Tomas Berdych, and Juan Monaco.

Djokovic survived a test from Alexandr Dolgopolov 6-7, 7-5, 6-0. Dolgopolov was a point a way from a 7-6, 4-0 lead. Berdych advanced when Gael Monfils retired from the match with a hip injury in the second set.

 

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2015 Australian Open Men’s Contender Profiles

(January 17, 2015) Profiles of the top Men’s Singles contenders for the 2015 Australian Open. Note: Grand Slam records for main draw matches only.  – by Jack Cunniff     http://twitter.com/jrcunniff

Djokovic

Novak Djokovic

2014 Record: 61-8

Grand Slam Record: 180-33

Australian Open Record: 43-6

Australian Open Best Result: Won (2008, ’11-’13)

Fast Fact: If Djokovic wins the title, he will be tied for 5th for Grand Slam titles won (8) with Agassi, Connors, and Lendl, and will have the most Australian Open titles (5) in the Open era.

 

Roger Federer

2014 Record: 73-12

Grand Slam Record: 279-45

Australian Open Record: 73-11

Australian Open Best Result: Won (2004, ’06, ’07, ’10)

Fast Fact: Over the last five years, the Australian Open has been Federer’s most successful Grand Slam event, with 26 match wins (French – 22 wins, Wimbledon – 22 wins, US – 21 wins).

 

Rafael Nadal

2014 Record: 48-11

Grand Slam Record: 187-25

Australian Open Record: 41-8

Australian Open Best Result: Won (2009)

Fast Fact: Over the last seven months, Nadal has lost as many matches (3) against players ranked outside the top 100 as he had over the prior seven years.

 

Stan Wawrinka

2014 Record: 39-17

Grand Slam Record: 82-38

Australian Open Record: 23-8

Australian Open Best Result: W (2014)

Fast Fact: In 2014, Wawrinka won 73% of his matches vs. Top Ten players (8-3); in prior years he won only 29% vs. Top Ten (27-67).

 

Kei Nishikori

2014 Record: 54-14

Grand Slam Record: 37-21

Australian Open Record: 12-5

Australian Open Best Result: QF (2012)

Fast Fact: In 2014, Nishikori won $4.4M in prize money, more than he had earned in his entire career prior to 2014 ($3.6M in 2007-2013).

 

Andy Murray

2014 Record: 59-20

Grand Slam Record: 134-33

Australian Open Record: 33-9

Australian Open Best Result: RU (2010, ’11, ’13)

Fast Fact: Murray has reached at least the QF in his last 15 Grand Slam events played, a streak dating back to 2010 US Open (lost 3R to Wawrinka).

 

Tomas Berdych

2014 Record: 55-22

Grand Slam Record: 103-45

Australian Open Record: 29-11

Australian Open Best Result: SF (2014)

Fast Fact: Berdych has played 15 five set matches at Grand Slam events, but only one at the Australian Open (2009, lost 4R to Federer).

 

Milos Raonic

2014 Record: 49-20

Grand Slam Record: 35-16

Australian Open Record: 10-4

Australian Open Best Result: 4R (2011, ’13)

Fast Fact: Raonic has only one Top Ten win at a Grand Slam, defeating No. 10 Youzhny in the 3R of the 2011 Australian Open.

 

David Ferrer

2014 Record: 54-24

Grand Slam Record: 121-48

Australian Open Record: 32-12

Australian Open Best Result: SF (2011, ’13)

Fast Fact: Ferrer’s win over Berdych in Doha last week was his first win vs. a Top Ten player since May, 2014 (def. Isner, Madrid 3R).

 

Grigor Dimitrov

2014 Record: 50-18

Grand Slam Record: 20-17

Australian Open Record: 6-4

Australian Open Best Result: QF (2014)

Fast Fact: Dimitrov is the only player born after 1990 to have reached the Top Ten in the ATP rankings.

 

Ernests Gulbis

2014 Record: 41-21

Grand Slam Record: 27-29

Australian Open Record: 2-6

Australian Open Best Result: 2R (2009, ’14)

Fast Fact: Gulbis has lost in the first or second round in 22 of the last 24 Grand Slam events he has played.

 

Feliciano Lopez

2014 Record: 39-26

Grand Slam Record: 73-52

Australian Open Record: 17-12

Australian Open Best Result: 4R (2012)

Fast Fact: In his 17th year as a professional, Lopez had his most successful year in 2014, winning 39 matches.

 

Gael Monfils

2014 Record: 36-15

Grand Slam Record: 67-32

Australian Open Record: 16-9

Australian Open Best Result: 4R (2009)

Fast Fact: Monfils is the only seeded man at the 2014 Australian Open to win the Boys Singles title (2004).

 

John Isner

2014 Record: 39-20

Grand Slam Record: 37-26

Australian Open Record: 7-6

Australian Open Best Result: 4R (2010)

Fast Fact: Of Isner’s 18 career final appearances, 15 have been in U.S. events.

 

 

 

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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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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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