October 28, 2016

Andy Murray and Agnieszka Radwanska Capture China Open Singles Crowns

(October 9, 2016) Andy Murray won his 40th ATP singles title, while Agnieszka Radwanska captured her 20th WTA crown as both were victorious at the China Open.

Scotsman Murray became just the 16th man to win 40 titles in the Open Era beating Grigor Dimitrov 6-4, 7-6(2).

“It was probably my best match of the week,” Murray said. “But my second serve tonight was probably the best part of my game. A lot of the unreturned serves came off second serves. Considering the conditions were fairly cold, I was still serving over a hundred miles an hour on some second serves. I felt using good variation on that shot, so I didn’t give him a chance to really attack me there and that was probably the thing that I did best tonight.”

“I think the past couple of times, Andy has been playing really well against me,” Dimitrov said. “I didn’t start my match the best way possible. I got broken right away in the first game. There are very different conditions today, pretty chilly. I think I just didn’t have enough time to adjust.”
For Murray, this was his fifth title of the year, the most in a year for the 29-year-old since 2011.


Murray, who did not drop a set this week, is now within 1,555 points of World No. 1 Novak Djokovic in the rankings.

Agnieszka Radwanska

Agnieszka Radwanska

For the third seed Radwanska, her win over Britain’s Johanna Konta 6-4, 6-2, gave her, her third title of the year, all without dropping a set.


“Every title means a lot, but especially here when you play against the best players in the world, in one of the biggest tournaments,” Radwanska said. “It’s top players from the first round and I’ve been playing my best tennis all week so of course I’m very happy to win this tournament again, and this trophy is going to stay in a very special place.”
The Polish woman now joins Serena Williams, Victoria Azarenka, and Maria Sharapova as the only women to have won three or more Premier Mandatory titles. She is now tied with Angelique Kerber, Simona Halep, Sloane Stephens, and Victoria Azarenka for most titles in 2016.
Konta great week makes her the first British woman to crack the Top 10 since Jo Durie did it in 1984.

“It’s pretty cool! I’m very pleased with my progress over the past few years and hopefully many more places to climb,” Konta said. “I’m just working hard towards playing matches like these, against players like Agnieszka.”
“I had a lot of very amazing memories here at the China Open. It’s definitely one event I will remember for a very, very long time. Obviously I definitely would have loved to come out on top today, but it just wasn’t in the cards for me.

“Yeah, no, I think all in all I kept improving every match that I played. I really tried to build on the previous one constantly.

“I think equally today I will have a lot of things that I can build on and improve on, so I’m really looking forward to that. Hopefully I will be able to create many more opportunities like this.”

Rafael Nadal

Rafael Nadal

In the men’s doubles, Rafael Nadal improved his finals record to 11-4 pairing up with countryman Pablo Carreno Busta to win 6-7(6), 6-2, 10-8 over Jack Sock and Bernard Tomic.

“We enjoy [playing] together,” Nadal said. “We played some good matches here, I think, winning against some good players. Winning with a good friend, too, is something that is a bit more special. So we’re happy for that.”

Bethanie Mattek-Sands

Bethanie Mattek-Sands

Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Lucie Safarova won the women’s doubles title, extending their current winning streak to 16.

“We had a lot of fun, like we do at every tournament,” Mattek-Sands said. “We have fun on and off the court, from the warm-ups to the dinners and foot massages. We had a lot of fun here in China and we’re looking forward to coming back.”


Almagro, Kohlschreiber and Schwartzman Win ATP Titles

Diego Schwartzman

Diego Schwartzman

(May 1, 2016) Unseeded Diego Schwartzman came back to win his first career ATP title on Sunday when he upset second seed and former top ten player Grigor Dimitrov 6-7 (5), 7-6 (4), 6-0 to win the Istanbul Open. Schwartzman, from Argentina rallied from 2-5 down in the second set before marching on to the victory.

It was a career week for Schwartzman, beating top seed Bernard Tomic in the second round and saving a match point in the final eight.
“It was an amazing match for me,” said the winner. “I played well and fought all match. What happened to Grigor with the cramps also happened to me in Australia this year. With my doubles final and title in singles, it’s amazing.

“I’ve practiced really hard to improve my tennis. I played all the points with 100 per cent effort and I need to. All the matches are tough, against Tomic, Dzumhur and Bagnis. I played really well.”

 “I started cramping at 5-2 in the second set, said the Bulgarian runner-up. “It was very unfortunate that I couldn’t close out the match. I have to give credit to Diego.

“I have two big events coming up and hope that I can face one of the top guys there. There will be some altitude in Madrid and I won’t have much time to get ready, but I like it there.”
AlmagroIMG_3445_AlmagroNicolas Almagro came back to beat Spanish countryman Pablo Carreno Busta 6-7 (6), 7-6 (5), 6-3 to win the Estoril Open on Sunday. This was Almagro’s 13th career title. All of his titles have come on clay.

This is Almagro’s first tour-level title since Nice 2012.


Kohlscreiber in press

Germany’s Philipp Kohlschreiber claimed his third Munich crown beating Dominic Thiem of Austria 7-6 (7), 4-6, 7-6 (4). The German also won titles in 2007 and 2012.

“Unbelievable. Great story the whole week,” said the champion. “Great performance. Huge final… I’m very happy and pleased with my performance.
“I think it was another great final in Munich.”

“It was a very close final, attractive for the crowd, for sure,” Thiem said. It was very painful for me but Philipp was the better player today, and he deserves to win.
“Almost every final is close because both players never give up. They want to win the title. I’ve won the last five finals… now I’ve lost one. It’s no tragedy, especially against Philipp.”


Svetlana Kuznetsova Upsets Serena Williams at Miami Open; Andy Murray Also Ousted

(March 28, 2016) Serena Williams’ twenty match winning streak at the Miami Open was snapped by Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-7 (3), 6-1, 6-2 in the fourth round on Monday.

It’s the first time since 2000 that the American has not reached the quarterfinals of the Miami event. The world No. 1 was trying to win her fourth straight and ninth title in Key Biscayne.

The 34-year-old, 21-time major champion has not won a tournament since winning the event in Cincinnati last August.

“It’s obviously disappointing, but I’ve won here a lot, so it’s okay,” Williams said in her news conference.

“I did the best that I could. My fans, you know, I did the best I could do. I can’t win every match. The players come out and play me like they’ve never played before in their lives.

“You know, the best that I could do today. I have to be 300% every day, so…”

Russian Kuznetsova made only 15 unforced errors to Williams’ 50.  Kuznetsova broke serve 6 times. The 15th seed won Miami back in 2006.

“I’m too old,” Kuznetsova said in her on-court interview. “I’ve been many times on this court. I love being back here, and I’m really happy with my performance.”

“Physically I’m fine,” Williams said. “I don’t know, I guess I didn’t move today. Maybe that was one of the things that didn’t work out for me.”

Asked about if there are too many expectations placed on her, Williams said: “I don’t think there is expectations. I mean, there obviously is expectations, but I think overall I put a lot of expectations on myself more than anything.

“So that’s pretty hard to live up to, is the expectations I put on myself.

“I have so many people saying congratulations I feel like I won the title already,” Kuznetsova told media. “Not real.

“Now these days the tennis is extremely tough and each opponent is really difficult to play. I’m just focusing for tomorrow’s match. I don’t have too much time to rest.

“Really looking forward to give my best another day tomorrow.”

“I knew I had to go for my serves. I think I barely did double fault. I knew I had to go aggressive. If I would give some easy second serves I would get my ass kicked, you know, out there.”

Asked if she thought Williams was struggling, she said: “I mean, you say drama when somebody, No. 1, which is probably one of the greatest in the history of athletes didn’t win four slams. This is drama. For me this would be miracle of the year. For us it’s drama that she didn’t win the fourth Grand Slam of the year.

“She struggled a little bit probably because she lost Australian Open, but, I mean, she is still No. 1 and she still plays great. I don’t see much to be depressed about.”

“I mean, going into today’s match I knew she is not on her top game, but neither was I. I didn’t feel good. I knew I was hang in there and I will fight for each ball.

“It’s her game, as I said, mentioned earlier. She goes for her shots, and I have to move her as more I can and make her do more unforced errors. This is my goal, how I have to win, because I’m not going to overhit her or do more winners than Serena, or do more aces. This is not my game.

“If I put myself and Serena on the paper, that’s what I fight for: for her to make unforced errors, to bring more returns back, to serve better, and I think it worked really well for me today.”

In addition to the top seed falling, the No. 2 on the women’s side also lost. 2012 champion Agnieszka Radwanska,  lost to No. 19 Timea Bacsinszky 2-6, 6-4, 6-2.

A major upset took place on the men’s side as well when No. 2 Andy Murray lost to No. 26 Grigor Dimitrov 6-7 (1), 6-4, 6-3. Dmitrov won the last five games to close the match.

Murray made 55 unforced errors and had his serve broken six times in the match.

“I got myself up 3-1 in the third set, which is a good position to be in, and then the mistakes started creeping in,” Murray said. “That’s nothing to do with adjustments. A lot were unforced errors and just poor mistakes.”

“I made many more mistakes than usual, especially in the third set, so that was surprising for me.

“But, again, I got myself in a winning position, so it’s not like I came out and played like awful stuff the whole match. Just when you get in winning positions you need to put your foot down. The last two tournaments I certainly haven’t done that.”

“In then the third set managed to get up a break and then a lot of unforced errors. Credit to him. He was more solid than me.”

“I’m happy,” Dimitrov said. “Of course I’m happy with that victory. Every time you beat a top player you know you must have done something good.

“As I said, I’m just very happy with the win and just focusing on the next round. I’m not trying to rank anything right now. I’m still in the tournament. Looking for my next opponent. It’s a good win. Still in a way it’s the beginning of the year. Clay is coming after.

“So just focusing on what I have to do.”

There is only one of the top five men’s seeds left – No. 1 Novak Djokovic.


21 MARCH – 3 APRIL, 2016

RESULTS – MARCH 28, 2016
Women’s Singles – Fourth Round
[15] S. Kuznetsova (RUS) d [1] S. Williams (USA) 67(3) 61 62
[2] A. Kerber (GER) d T. Babos (HUN) 62 36 64
[19] T. Bacsinszky (SUI) d [3] A. Radwanska (POL) 26 64 62
[13] V. Azarenka (BLR) d [4] G. Muguruza (ESP) 76(6) 76(4)
[5] S. Halep (ROU) d [WC] H. Watson (GBR) 63 64
[30] E. Makarova (RUS) d [12] E. Svitolina (UKR) 61 64
[22] M. Keys (USA) d I. Begu (ROU) 63 61
[24] J. Konta (GBR) d [32] M. Niculescu (ROU) 62 62

Women’s Doubles – Second Round
M. Gasparyan (RUS) / M. Niculescu (ROU) d [1] M. Hingis (SUI) / S. Mirza (IND) 64 62
[3] B. Mattek-Sands (USA) / L. Safarova (CZE) d D. Kasatkina (RUS) / E. Vesnina (RUS) 62 63


Men’s Singles – Third Round
[26] G. Dimitrov (BUL) d [2] A. Murray (GBR) 67(1) 64 63
[6] K. Nishikori (JPN) d [27] A. Dolgopolov (UKR) 62 62
[17] R. Bautista Agut (ESP) d [9] J. Tsonga (FRA) 26 63 76(3)
[12] M. Raonic (CAN) d [22] J. Sock (USA) 76(3) 64
[16] G. Monfils (FRA) d [23] P. Cuevas (URU) 63 64
[24] N. Kyrgios (AUS) d [Q] T. Smyczek (USA) 64 64
D. Dzumhur (BIH) d [Q] M. Kukushkin (KAZ) 46 61 62
An. Kuznetsov (RUS) d A. Mannarino (FRA) 26 75 60

Doubles – Second Round
[4] B. Bryan (USA) / M. Bryan (USA) d R. Bautista Agut (ESP) / V. Troicki (SRB) walkover
[5] P. Herbert (FRA) / N. Mahut (FRA) d A. Qureshi (PAK) / G. Simon (FRA) 62 63
[WC] O. Jasika (AUS) / J. Smith (AUS) d D. Marrero (ESP) / B. Paire (FRA) 63 64
R. Klaasen (RSA) / R. Ram (USA) d [PR] M. Cilic (CRO) / M. Draganja (CRO) 76(10) 60

STADIUM start 11:00 am
ATP – [10] R. Gasquet (FRA) vs [7] T. Berdych (CZE)

Not Before 1:00 pm
WTA – [19] T. Bacsinszky (SUI) vs [5] S. Halep (ROU)
ATP – [1] N. Djokovic (SRB) vs [14] D. Thiem (AUT)
ATP – [16] G. Monfils (FRA) vs [26] G. Dimitrov (BUL)

Not Before 7:30 pm
WTA – [15] S. Kuznetsova (RUS) vs [30] E. Makarova (RUS)

Not Before 9:00 pm
ATP – [6] K. Nishikori (JPN) vs [17] R. Bautista Agut (ESP)

GRANDSTAND start 10:50 am
ATP – [LL] H. Zeballos (ARG) vs [15] D. Goffin (BEL)
ATP – [18] G. Simon (FRA) vs L. Pouille (FRA)
ATP – [24] N. Kyrgios (AUS) vs An. Kuznetsov (RUS)

Not Before 5:00 pm
ATP – D. Dzumhur (BIH) vs [12] M. Raonic (CAN)

COURT 1 start 4:00 pm
WTA – [4] T. Babos (HUN) / Y. Shvedova (KAZ) vs C. Dellacqua (AUS) / S. Stosur (AUS)
WTA – M. Gasparyan (RUS) / M. Niculescu (ROU) vs V. King (USA) / A. Kudryavtseva (RUS)


Notable Quotables from the Queen’s Club Tennis Tournament


By Wendy M. Grossman

(June 21, 2015) LONDON, England – Notable quotes from 2015 Queens Club tournament:

Nick Kyrgios, asked about buying a scooter: “I don’t know, mate. I just bought a scooter because I felt like buying a scooter. I can’t tell you if it’s linked to tennis or anything like that. I just bought a scooter.”

Stan Wawrinka

Stan Wawrinka, asked after their match about Nick Kyrgios’s comment that he doesn’t want to think about tennis for a couple of weeks: “I think he’s saying a lot of things every day, so it’s quite interesting for journalists to hear that. I’m sure he’s not going to switch off…If he switch off two weeks of tennis, then he can go home and not play Wimbledon…When I read his interview, it’s always funny, a lot of things you can take. When I read before the match he was ready, excited for the challenge, and now he was sick.”


Rafael Nadal, asked if he’d look for advice from Jose Mourinho, the Portuguese manager of Chelsea Football Club, who attended Queen’s on Tuesday: “He’s a football manager. He’s one of the best of the world. And I have my team. I will not give him never an advice of football and probably he will not giving me never advice of tennis.”

315dimitrov fh-001

Grigor Dimitrov, asked about being defending champion: “It’s one of the tournaments for me that every time I step on that court I feel like I own the court.”


Kevin Anderson, asked if he’d rather watch a guy with big aces or a match with lots of rallies: “Sometimes it would be interesting to see both.”


Andy Murray

Andy Murray

Andy Murray, asked after his three-set Muller match if he was having as good a time as it looked like: “I was when I was winning.”


Milos Raonic, on this year’s extended grass schedule: “I think just from the start of [Wimbledon] the quality of tennis will be better just because of time. You can’t really cheat time, spending time on court and so forth.”


Kevin Anderson, asked how much of an impression Kevin Curran, Wimbledon runner-up 30 years ago, made on him growing up: “Wayne Ferreira was the influence when I was growing up.”


Andy Murray, asked what shot he would pick if he could have a shot from any other player on the tour: “Probably would be Isner’s serve, I think. I mean, it makes the game a whole lot easier when you can serve like that.”


Kevin Anderson, asked to name the best servers in the world at present: “If you just look at the serve itself, I think – if you just looked at numbers, I think you’d have to look at [Ivo] Karlovic or [John] Isner. I mean, just in terms of stats…But I feel like Raonic, I feel like myself I think probably would round out the top four in terms of serving.”

Raonic trophy (1 of 3)

Milos Raonic, asked who he thought was the best server in the world: “I believe myself.”


Gilles Simon, asked if he thought he was reading Milos Raonic’s serve better in the second set: “I was guessing. There is nothing to read.”


Andy Murray, in response to the comment that the last time he won at Queen’s he went on to win Wimbledon: “Yeah, but that means nothing, really. You know, it’s great preparation obviously, but, you know, I think it has only happened six times where someone has won Queen’s and gone on to win.”


Andy Murray, in response to a comment about his nine-match winning streak since Jonas Bjorkman joined his team: “I also have to give a lot of credit to Amélie, because a lot of the work I have done with her is paying off. All of the things I have worked on with her, like using my variety is something I have spoken about a lot in the past, that’s things I have been working on with her for quite a while now.”


And finally, this exchange…

Question (after Kevin Anderson talked about being given Jack Nicklaus’ three grass courts in Florida to use for training): What’s your favorite Jack Nicholson film?

Anderson: Jack Nicholson?

Question: Or Jack Nicklaus.

Anderson: I don’t know. Is he in any films?


At Queen’s Club Wawrinka Loses, Simon Ends Kokkinakis’ Long Journey


By Wendy M. Grossman

(June 17, 2015) LONDON, England – The big emotional high notes of the first two days at Queen’s – Monday, Lleyton’s Hewitt’s 16th and final appearance, Tuesday, Rafael Nadal’s loss – have given way to mid-tournament flatness. The biggest news of the day is that Hewitt, who is currently ranked 117, has been granted a wild card into his 17th and final Wimbledon. Until or unless British favorite Andy Murray loses, that may be it for major excitements until the final. True, two current Grand Slam champions are still in the draw – Stan Wawrinka, facing Kevin Anderson, and Marin Cilic, facing Adrian Mannarino – but neither is famed for his grass court game.

There were hopes – if not high ones, at least of the “new! kid! big! chances!” variety – for the second round match between the veteran Frenchman Gilles Simon and newcomer Thanasi Kokkinakis. For two games, this seemed justified as Kokkinakis quickly went up 2-0. And then…those hopes faded quickly despite some nice moments: a dink volley here, a well-executed drop shot/lob combination there. The match lasted an hour and 16 minutes and went 6-4, 6-2 to Simon.

“I liked it yesterday,” Kokkinakis joked about the grass. “I didn’t like it so much today.”

Afterwards, Kokkinakis tweeted, “Feel bad for the spectators tbh about that one….😐 yuck. Hope to redeem myself on the doubles court with Rusty”. To the press, he explained, “I felt like I had to say something. I felt like it was one of my poorest performances in a while.”

Jet lag can sometimes be worse a couple of days later than it is at first. Kokkinakis had planned to play the qualifying here, but instead went home to Adelaide to pay a quick visit to his sick grandmother. He was on the way back when he got the news Queen’s had awarded him a wild card. He arrived back Monday at noon, and although he declined to blame the “something like 48 hours in [the air in] three days”, he admitted to waking up “pretty tired” this morning and to getting distracted by spotting Top Gear TV presenter Jeremy Clarkson in the crowd.

Wawrinka vs Anderson which ended 7-6, 7-6 in Anderson’s favor, was a more tense affair but, much like the grass-court contests of 20 years ago, came down to serve and return. “Maybe [I] didn’t return great,” Wawrinka said afterwards, “but he was serving big”.

Yesterday, after his win against a coughing Nick Kyrgrios, Wawrinka said he thought he’d be better able to manage the aftermath of winning his second major title; after the first, the 2014 Australian Open, he took six weeks off, and then struggled to get his form back for some months.

“Australia, everything was new and I didn’t know what to expect,” he said yesterday. “Everybody was saying it’s going to change your life and change your career. And that’s true. You win a first Grand Slam, especially in that era and you have only the big four winning Grand Slam since 10 years. So that was a big thing for myself. I did few mistakes after. I had a lot of ups and downs. I had to learn and to change the way I was and trying to adapt myself to my new life. ” This time, although he thinks the achievement is bigger, “what’s coming after, I have more under control”. And, of course, no chance to take off much time: Queen’s and Wimbledon awaited.

Today’s losses, put together with Nadal’s, leave the bottom half of the tournament draw looking a little anemic: Milos Raonic, seeded 3, and Simon, seeded 7, are all the remaining seeds, and they play each other in the quarter-finals on Friday. For the right to face the winner of that match in the semi-finals, Anderson will play Guillermo Garcia-Lopez, who put out Alexandr Dolgopolov, whose win against Nadal carried him no further. In the top half, tomorrow top-seeded Murray faces Fernando Verdasco, Grigor Dimitrov faces Gilles Muller, fourth-seeded Marin Cilic faces Viktor Troicki, and, in probably the most interesting match-up of the four, John Isner plays eighth seed Feliciano Lopez, who is an exceptionally strong grass-court player.


American Jack Sock Knocks Out 10th Seed Grigor Dimitrov at Roland Garros on ‘Favorite Surface’

Jack Sock

(May 26, 2015) Grigor Dimitrov became the highest men’s seed to take a tumble at Roland Garros on Tuesday. The 10th seeded Bulgarian fell to Jack Sock of the United States 7-6, (7), 6-2, 6-3 in the first round.

The last American man to lift the singles trophy at Roland Garros was Andre Agassi in 1999. Since then the U.S. men have not had much success on the red clay.

Twenty-two-year-old Sock who won a title last month in Houston on green clay calls clay: “my favorite surface.”

“This just suits my game very well,” Sock said. “Like I said, serve, forehand, I think it really complements those shots well for me. Serve is able to get up, forehand gets up, and it slows it down a little bit where I’m able to take my time and kind of maneuver the ball around. Movement is another big part of my game. I feel like on the clay get to a lot of balls, I can touch a lot of balls in the balls, which sometimes can frustrate guys when you get to one extra. Sometimes that can change a match.”


As for American men and their feeling about red clay, Sock said: “I hope as a whole for American tennis we can do well and we can get wins and kind of push to be somewhat where we were bunch of years ago when we had some of the American guys winning and doing well. But, yeah, as a whole we’re all pushing each other and trying to do very well. Each of us individually is also focusing on ourselves. I think when one of us does well it pushes the others to do well as well. I think that’s everyone’s mindset.”
Sock who began his 2015 season late due to a torn hips muscle, dealt with the illness of his older brother who had a lung infection.

“He’s doing much better now,” Sock said. “He’s got full I guess health back. He’s started working again. He teaches tennis back home in Kansas City with the coach I worked with growing up. Just the little things, strength and mobility, shoulder, he’s just had to do a lot of work to get back. He’s getting there and close to 100%.”

“It’s been a lot outside of tennis for me, a lot of stuff going on. It’s motivated me in a lot of ways to see a family member, and especially my brother — you know, I’m very close with him. To see him go through what he did… And I was in the hospital every day with him after I had surgery, so just back-to-back things that were very unfortunate. To see him battle and get through that when he was very close to not making, it was more inspirational I think than anything. Like people I think know in Indian Wells, when I started the year, I was out there and he was with me. I was playing for him, him and my family. Just doing the best I could for them and trying to make them proud. It’s kind of carried over every week.”

Sock’s countryman John Isner was winner on Tuesday as well. He beat Andreas Seppi 7-5, 6-2, 6-3. Isner isn’t afraid of the red dirt either.

“A lot is said about clay and how it’s a defensive surface,” Isner said. “It’s sort of I would say a misconception. I think clay is a very good attacking surface. A guy like Rafa(el Nadal), yeah, he plays great defense, but knocks the cover off the ball. He is greatest clay-court player of all-time. Me, on top of that, I’m a completely different animal than anyone. My serve is going to play no matter what the surface is and going to keep me in the match. So I’m comfortable on clay. I’ve played pretty well over here in Europe, which is nice. You know, I’ve had some bad European swings before, too. So feeling pretty good right now.”




A Game of Inches and Miles

[portfolio_slideshow size=large]

By Curt Janka

(March 15, 2015) INDIAN WELLS, California – The intrigue of tennis often relies on how well the opponents match up. When talent is comparable, the space between winning and losing can be a couple ticks on a ruler. So was the first-ever meeting between Grigor Dimitrov and Nick Kyrgios. Looking at the stats alone, it would be difficult to tell who was the victor. Dimitrov won 7-6 (2), 3-6, 7-6(4), but a mini break here or an inch there could have easily tipped the match in Kyrgios’ favor.

With no breaks of serve in the first set and nearly identical stat sheets, the whole match came down to Dimitrov playing more levelheaded tiebreakers. The lively court and sometimes-tricky breeze may have made it tougher for either player to break serve. “I thought it was really bouncy today,” said Kyrgios. “I found it incredibly tough to return, and he obviously wasn’t comfortable at all returning my serve. It was just tough conditions. A bit windy at times.”

Dimitrov did, in fact, struggle to crack his opponent’s serve. “I think he’s tough to read, and especially when the court is very lively, like today,” Dimitrov explained. “, I think it was just a matter of a few points, and definitely my mental side was better I think in the end.”

Ultimately, an ankle roll immediately before Kyrgios served for the win in the third set may have decided the match. When asked if the unlucky injury contributed to his loss, Kyrgios said, “It obviously played a big part in me not serving out the match because I had not really been broken before that.”

In stark contrast, Serena Williams and Roger Federer outdistanced their overmatched opponents by huge margins. Williams appeared listless for most of the match, but did not expend much effort to brush off Zarina Diyas 6-2, 6-0.

“It definitely felt back to normal out there,” Williams said. “Just trying to feel the rhythm and trying to focus on the ball more than anything else.”

Federer also appeared a bit off rhythm at times, but still coasted to a 6-4, 6-2 win over Diego Schwartzman.

“I’m moving well, which is key on this surface because the easy shots and easy points are not going to happen so easily here like they maybe do in Dubai or Australia or the indoor season,” Federer said.

Curt Janka is covering the BNP Paribas Open this week. Follow his updates on twitter at @TennisNewsTPN. Follow his personal twitter @CurtJanka.


Federer Would Love the ATP Year End to Come Back to MSG, “but everything needs to be right”

(March 10, 2015) NEW YORK, NY – Madison Square Garden played host to the BNP Paribas Showdown on Tuesday in conjunction with World Tennis Day. The main exhibition event saw world No. 11 Grigor Dimitrov take down No. 2 Roger Federer 6-2, 1-6, 7-5, rallying from a break down in the final set in front of 14, 894 fans.

Madison Square Garden held the ATP World Tour Finals from 1977-1989. Tennis Panorama News asked Federer and Dimitrov about bringing the event back to New York City.

Tennis Panorama News: “You both clearly enjoy playing in the Garden, do you think the ATP should bring the Year End back here?”

Federer: “Yeah, let me answer that. I’ve been in politics a little be more in the game than Grigor has.

“I think if we come here, everything needs to be right – the time, the money, to be honest, because in London we have an unbelievable tournament going on right now. So it needs a lot in my opinion to move away from O2 (Arena) which is a wonderful venue It’s sold out every single session – day session, night session and it’s very, very successful so I don’t know what the ATP is going to do with it, but it’s the crown jewel of the ATP Tour and a lot of thought will go into it and I’m sure they are checking out different venues all around the world. But clearly also speaking to London, which has a lot of history, the same as here in New York.

“So in my opinion, I would love see the Year End Championships in a strong market, in a cool city – and clearly New York fits the bill for that but still I think that a lot needs to be done, but clearly in some way I would love to see tennis back at the Garden. No doubt about it, especially after tonight again.”

In a bit of levity after both men were asked about their initial memories about Madison Square Garden, 33-year-old Federer reminisced about watching New York Knicks games on TV in the early 1990s, while 23-year-old Dimitrov added: “I was born around the ’90s,” which elicited laughter from those in the news conference.

Although, the win for the Bulgarian is only an exhibition victory, he’ll take it. Dimitrov is 0-3 on the tour against the Swiss. “I have so much respect for him,” he said.

“I think he played very well, “Federer said. He did really well to turn the match around, honestly. So credit to him. It’s a lot of pressure – first time at the Garden.”

“We did have some great shots,” Federer said. I thought it was actually a pretty high level match at the end of the day.”

In one rally, both men exchanged between-the-legs shots, also known as a “tweener.” Dimitrov also substituted himself out of the match during the third set, and let a young boy take over for a point. The boy hit a lob winner over Federer’s head. “It’s special to play at the Garden,” Federer said. ” This is only my third time. This is very unique and enjoyed the experience.” “I’m thrilled. It was an amazing experience for me,” Dimitrov said of his first time playing in the Garden. ” To be out there playing against Roger.”

The evening at the “Showdown” began with a pair of Hall of Fame members squaring off to commemorate the 25th anniversary of their five-set 1990 WTA Finals match which also took place at Madison Square Garden.

Gabriela Sabatini, 44 exacted a little revenge with her 8-5 pro set win over 41-year-old Monica Seles. Seles won the match 25 years ago.

Speaking of Hall of Famers, Roger Federer admitted that Martina Hingis has approached him about playing mixed doubles with her at the 2016 Olympics in Rio.

“I have to figure out things, what my priority is at the end of the day and Martina has done a lot for tennis in Switzerland,” said the fellow Swiss. “She was a hero of mine. Seeing her on the tour basically when I was still, not knowing what I was doing on the tennis court really.  She was already winning Wimbledon and all those things.”

Karen Pestaina for Tennis Panorama News


Cori “Coco” Gauff and Gabriella Price will Square-Off in Juniors match at BNP Paribas Showdown


New York, NY (February 26, 2015) – Two talented junior players will once again be featured as part of the annual BNP Paribas Showdown at Madison Square Garden. The match, presented by HEAD Penn Racquet Sports, will feature Cori “Coco” Gauff and Gabriella Price as part of World Tennis Day on March 10.


The match will take to the court prior to tennis legends Monica Seles and Gabriela Sabatini facing each other in a 25th anniversary rematch of their famed 1990 five-set WTA Championship final and Roger Federer taking on Grigor Dimitrov in the main event of the eighth annual BNP Paribas Showdown.

“One of the most rewarding parts of World Tennis Day is seeing the juniors participate in clinics and matches,” said Jerry Solomon, President, StarGames Inc.  “Sloane Stephens and Dennis Kudla, among others have played at the BNP Paribas Showdown before launching their professional careers and we hope others will follow in their footsteps. Maybe one day one of our juniors will be back to play in the main event!”


At 10 years old, Cori “Coco” Gauff is a young tennis champion on the rise. Coco started playing tennis just short of her seventh birthday. Her love and dedication to the sport has resulted in a number of championship titles including the 2014 USTA girls 12 Clay Court Super National Singles where she was the youngest winner in USTA history at the young age of 10. There are many more wins for Coco on the horizon, so continue to be on the lookout for this up and comer!


Gabriella started playing tennis when she only four years old. Since then, Gabby has grown leaps and bounds in her tennis skills, along with her love of the game. Currently, Gabby is 11 years old and ranked #3 in the nation in Girl’s 12 and under and top 90 in Girl’s USTA 14 and under. Her heart, will and spirit to compete have helped her endure tough challenges along the way and has increased her chances for success at a young age. Gabby wants to be the best she can be and dreams about winning many Grand Slams when she is older.


This will be the fifth time juniors have been included in the BNP Paribas Showdown. The 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)

2015: Francis Taifoe (16) vs Reilly Opelka (16)


Roger Federer Upset in Third Round of Australian Open

(January 23, 2015) In the biggest upset of the tournament so far, No. 2 seed Roger Federer was knocked out of the Australian by world No. 46 Andreas Seppi of Italy 6-4, 7-6 (5), 6-4, 7-6 (5) in the third round on Friday.

“I just tried to enjoy to play on the center court again, so I just tried to do my best,” Seppi said in a post-match on-court interview on ESPN Televison. “It was one of my best matches for sure, or else I couldn’t win against Roger. It was fun to play in front of a full stadium.”

The loss for Federer ends an 11-year run of at least reaching the semifinals of the Australian Open.

Coming into the match, Seppi was 0-10 against the world No. 2, winning only one set.

Seppi’s win breaks a 23-match losing streak against the Top 10.

Federer won 145 points to Seppi’s 144. Federer served at 59% for first serves with 15 aces and 9 double-faults. He hit 57 winner to 55 unforced errors. Seppi had 50 winner to 40 unforced errors.

Federer had his chances. In the second set tie-breaker, the 33-year-old Swiss could not hold onto a 4-1 lead. Seppi won six out of the next seven points.

Federer was also up 3-1 in the fourth set tiebreak and could not hold the advantage.

The 17-time major champion had won his last 41 third round Grand Slam matches, is now 51-4 overall in third round of majors.

“You never feel comfortable playing against Roger, but I was focusing on my service game, I didn’t have many chances on his serve,”  Seppi said.

“Just a bad day, yeah,” Federer said in his post-match news conference.  “I mean, I wish I could have played better, but clearly it was tough losing the first two, you know. Had chances to get back into it. I let it slip, I mean, both times in some ways. I guess I won the wrong points out there today. I knew how important that second set tiebreaker was, so clearly that hurt, losing that one. The end wasn’t pretty, you know. It wasn’t easy to play with the shadow. But it was the same for both of us. Just a disappointing loss, you know.”

“I guess it was just an overall feeling I had today out on the court that I couldn’t, you know, really get the whole game flowing. You know, was it backhand? Was it forehand? Was it serve? It was a bit of everything. At the same time, I think I got broken in the last couple of sets. The second set also I only got broken once. I was hanging in there. Gee, what did I have, 4-1 in the breaker, 3-1 in the breaker? I don’t remember what it was. I hit a pretty good serve that I shouldn’t — downwind I should never lose that point. So it wasn’t all bad. It’s just when it counted the most somehow it just ended up going his way. I think that was because overall I wasn’t feeling it quite as well. I had to play it a little bit passively at times when normally I would play aggressive. You know, it was just a tough match for me.”

This is the earliest exit for Federer  at a major since Wimbledon in 2013, when he fell to Sergiy Stakhovsky in the second round.

“You know, to beat Roger first time, especially in a Grand Slam, best-of-five, is a special moment for me,” Seppi said. “Of course at the beginning I just went on the court to enjoy the match and to play my best tennis. Yeah, but especially after the first set, then I felt, you know, I am there, I am hitting the ball very well. I start to believe that I can do more. Yeah, then I think very important was the second set tiebreak. And, yeah, it worked out pretty well.”

“I had to believe that I could win,” said Seppi.

“It’s first time I beat him. I beat once Nadal in Rotterdam when he was 2 in the world. Was also a big win. Against Roger, you know, I never went close. I never had the chance. To have this win in my career, it’s for sure something big.”

Seppi will face young Australian Nick Kyrgios in the fourth round.


No. 3 seed Rafael Nadal had easy time with Dudi Sela 6-1, 6-0, 7-5 and will face Kevin Anderson in the round of 16.

Andy Murray defeated Portugal’s Joao Sousa 6-1, 6-1, 7-5 to reach the fourth round. Tomas Berdych was the first man to book a place in the fourth round when he defeated Viktor Troicki 6-4, 6-3, 6-4.

Another young Australian is also in the fourth round. Bernard Tomic will play Berdych.

No. 10 Grigor Dimitrov won five-set battle against 2006 Australian Open finalist Marcos Baghdatis 4-6, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 6-3. He will face Andy Murry next.

“Thought Marcos was playing dominating tennis early on in the match,” said Dimitrov. “I wasn’t really able to turn things around as fast as I wanted to. I felt quite good physically, which was I think the best sign for me today. I’m not going to hide my excitement of winning the match because it meant a lot to me. To be able to play three and a half hours and win 6-3 in the fifth and feelin really good after the match physically, that says a lot for me. Just getting ready for the next one.”
On the women’s side,No. 2 seed Maria Sharapova moved into the fourth round with a 6-1, 6-1 dismissal of Zarina Diyas.

Third seed Simona Halep moved into the fourth round of the Australian Open with a 6-4, 7-5 win on Friday over Bethanie Mattek-Sands.

“Here I started last year to play my best tennis. I (reached) my first quarterfinal in Grand Slams then I made final in French Open,” said Halep. “I have more confidence now during Grand Slams and I believe I have my chance at every tournament.”

The 2014 French Open finalist will play Yanina Wickmayer next, who beat 14th seed Sara Errani.

No. 7 seed and a Melbourne semifinalist last year, Canadian Eugenie Bouchard eked out a tough first set before breaking away to win 7-5, 6-0 over Carolina Garcia to reach the round of 16.

“Yeah, I don’t think it was the prettiest tennis out there,” said the 20-year-old.

“I wasn’t playing great tennis in the first. I feel like she was putting some pressure on me and I really didn’t feel like I got a rhythm. But I’m happy that I just kept going. Even if it wasn’t going so well, I was able to turn it around.”
Other seeded women advancing to the fourth round included No. 10 Ekaterina Makarova and No. 21 Peng Shuai.

More to follow….