2014/09/01

Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams Capture Rome Titles

 

 

(May 18, 2014) Novak Djokovic stretched his win streak over No. 1 Rafael Nadal to four in a row when he came back to beat the seven-time Rome champion 4-6, 6-3, 6-3 to claim his third Italian Open on Sunday. Top women’s tennis player Serena Williams beat an injured Sara Errani in front of her home crowd 6-3, 6-0 to win her third Italian Open championship.

For No. 2 Djokovic who sat out last week’s Madrid Open due to a wrist injury, the Serbian had more than tennis on his mind during his battle with Nadal as dozens have died in the Balkans due to severe floods.

The 26-year-old, who drew a heart on the court in the clay with his racquet after his win, dedicated his victory to flood-hit Serbia.

“This heart on the court is for you,” Djokovic said on court. “It’s also a special dedication to my country, which is suffering a lot right now. My heart is with them.”

For Nadal who was pushed to three sets in all but one of his matches this week in Rome, he said: “It was a difficult week. Too many hours on the court.”

“I felt that Novak was pushing me and has a great talent to play inside the lines. I think this week is important for me. I have won 600 points. I was able to play in another final here. I was able to compete well against one of the best players of the moment. I arrive to Roland Garros now more encouraged that what I did a few weeks ago.”

The Spaniard hit 27 errors with only 15 winners against Djokovic. For the first time, 8-time Nadal enters Roland Garros, which begins next Sunday, with three losses on clay this season and just one European clay court title (Madrid). Nadal is 59-1 at the French Open.Djokovic is seeking his first French Open title. He was a finalist in 2012.

“It’s been a great week considering where I’ve been a few weeks ago with the wrist injury,” Djokovic said. Luckily for me, I played with no pain and increased the level of tennis as the week went on. I’ve had some tough matches. Four out of five matches were three-setters and I had to come back from one set down yesterday against Raonic and today again. That gives me a lot of confidence. Winning against Rafa in the final of a big tournament on clay, his preferred surface, is definitely a confidence booster.”

Djokovic takes home his 19th ATP Masters Series title.

Serena Williams Jumped out to a 3-0 lead and with a 5-3 lead, Errani sustained a left thigh injury and had to go off the court to get treatment. After Errani came back on the court, it was obvious that her movement was hampered. Williams who has been dealing a through injury herself last week when she pulled out of Madrid, reeled off the next 7 games for the title.

Speaking to the Rome crowd in Italian, Williams said, “I’m also sorry for Sara today. She really played great all week.”

“I’m sorry. You were unbelievable all week,” said Errani to the fans during the trophy presentation. “I tried to do my best and stayed on the court only for you.”

“It’s crazy for me that I got to the final this year,” Errani said through tears. “I never expected to manage to play such good tennis.”

“Sara played really well in the first set,” Williams added. “She was doing everything right and I could tell she had obviously improved since our last meeting in Paris last year,” Williams continued. It was unfortunate she got injured in the last game of the set, but overall I thought she was playing really well out there.”

For Williams it was her 60 title of the 32-year-old American veteran’s career. She now ranks 6th overall behind Martina Navratilova holds the record with 167 singles titles.

“My game gets better with age,” Williams said.

Williams will be going after her third French Open title when the Tournament begins next Sunday.

 

INTERNAZIONALI BNL D’ITALIA
Rome, Italy
May 12-18, 2014
Red Clay/Outdoors

Results – Sunday, May 18, 2014
WTA Singles – Final
(1) Serena Williams (USA) d. (10) Sara Errani (ITA) 63 60

WTA Doubles – Final
(4) Peschke/Srebotnik (CZE/SLO) d. (2) Errani/Vinci (ITA/ITA) 40 ret. (Errani: left hip muscle strain)

ATP Singles – Final
[2] N Djokovic (SRB) d [1] R Nadal (ESP) 46 63 63

ATP Doubles – Final

[6] D Nestor (CAN) / N Zimonjic (SRB) d R Haase (NED) / F Lopez (ESP) 64 76(2)

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Sara Errani Stuns Li Na to Reach Rome Semis

Errani photo by Christopher Levy @tennis_shots

Errani photo by Christopher Levy @tennis_shots

(May 15, 2014) Italy’s Sara Errani conquered Rome on Friday when she upset No. 2 Li Na Na 6-3, 4-6, 6-2 to reach her second straight Italian Open semifinal, much to the delight of a supportive crowd. Coming into the match Errani was 0-6 versus Li.

The No. 10 seed is trying to become the first Italian woman since Raffaella Reggi in 1984 to win Rome.

Li committed 52 unforced errors to Errani’s 21. In her post-match news conference, Li said that she threw up before the match. She told press that her illness could have been caused by pasta or allergies.

Errani will face either Jelena Jankovic or third-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska in the semifinals.

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Roger Federer Falls in First Match Since Boys Birth

Roger Federer

(May 14, 2014) It’s back to paternity leave for Roger Federer who fell to No. 47 Jeremy Chardy in his opening match at the Italian Open 1-6, 6-3, 7-6. Federer lost despite holding a match point on her own serve in the third set tiebreak.

The 32-year-old Federer was playing his first match since his wife, Mirka, gave birth to their second set of twins, Lenny and Leo, last Tuesday.

No. 4 Federer came back from a 2-4 down in the final set to force a tiebreak and had a match point at 6-5 after Chardy double faulted. Chardy hit a stunning forehand passing shot at 6-6 and took the match on the next point when Federer hit a forehand long.

“I think we both struggled to win today and at the end a shot here or there may have decided the match,” Federer said to reporters in Rome. “He gave me a double fault to give me match point. I missed my first serve, which was crucial, but credit to him to give it a go. A passing shot is a tough one for me to take. Credit to him for fighting his way back into the match.”

For the 27-year-old Frenchman, he beat his first Top 10 player of 2014 and the eighth of his career.

“This one is totally OK if it doesn’t hurt,” Federer said of the shocking loss “I tried everything. I can’t do more than that on the court.”

“I still feel good, my body is good, my mind is good and it’s just unfortunate for one passing shot today I don’t get another opportunity to play this week.”

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Switzerland, France and Italy Stage Comebacks to Clinch Berths in Davis Cup Semis

(April 6, 2014) France, Italy and the Czech Republic each had to rally from 1-2 down going into Sunday’s play in Davis Cup and each team won their final two rubbers to join the Czech Republic in the semifinals which will take place September 12-14.

France came back from a 0-2 deficit on Friday to beat Germany, closing out the tie on Sunday with wins from Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Gael Monfils. It’s only the eighth time in Davis Cup history that a team has come back from being down two matches to none. They will face the Czech Republic in the semifinals who beat Japan 5-0.

Tsonga dominated Tobias Kamke 6-3, 6-2, 6-4. Tsonga hit 45 winners in the match.

Gael Monfils sealed the win for France, beating Peter Gojowczyk 6-1, 7-6 (0), 6-2. Monfils won the first five games of the match and shut out his opponent in the second set tiebreak.

Team Italy came into Sunday’s play down 1-2. An inspired Fabio Fognini beat Wimbledon champion Andy Murray 6-3, 6-3, 6-4 to level the tie at 2-2. Andreas Seppi completed the comeback by topping James Ward 6-4, 6-3, 6-4.

It will be the first time in 16 years that Italy has reached the semifinals of Davis Cup. Italy has won the Davis Cup only once, back in 1976.

Italy will face Switzerland next.

Stanislas Wawrinka and Roger Federer won their matches on Sunday to seal Switzerland’s win over a game Kazakhstan team 3-2.

Wawrinka leveled the tie at 2-2 with Kazakhstan rallying to beat Mikhail Kukushkin 6-7(4), 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 for his first point of the weekend. The Australian Open champion lost his opening singles match to Golubev and the doubles where he teamed up with Federer. The Swiss did not allow any break points during the match.

For the first time in his career, Roger Federer played a live fifth rubber in a Davis Cup tie. No. 4 Federer held back No.  64 Andrey Golubev 7-6(0), 6-2, 6-

For Switzerland, they have sealed a berth in their first Davis Cup semifinal in 11 years. They’ll play Italy at home for a chance to reach the final.

 

The nations competing in the World Group play-offs which take place the same weekend as the semifinals are:

World Group first round losing nations: Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Canada, Netherlands, Serbia, Spain and USA.

Zone Group I second round winning nations: Brazil, Croatia, Colombia, India, Israel, Slovak Republic, Ukraine and Uzbekistan.

The draw for the play-offs will take place on Tuesday.

Davis Cup Results:

WORLD GROUP QUARTERFINALS

 

CZECH REPUBLIC defeated JAPAN 5-0

Venue: Ariake Coliseum, Tokyo, JPN (hard – indoor)

 

Radek Stepanek (CZE) d. Tatsuma Ito (JPN) 67(5) 76(5) 61 75

Lukas Rosol (CZE) d. Taro Daniel (JPN) 64 64 36 46 62

Lukas Rosol/Radek Stepanek (CZE) d. Tatsuma Ito/Yasutaka Uchiyama (JPN) 64 64 64

Lukas Rosol (CZE) d. Yasutaka Uchiyama (JPN) 63 36 64

Jiri Vesely (CZE) d. Taro Daniel (JPN) 64 64

 

FRANCE defeated GERMANY 3-2

Venue: Palais des Sports Jean Weille, Nancy, FRA (hard – indoor)

 

Tobias Kamke (GER) d. Julien Benneteau (FRA) 76(8) 63 62

Peter Gojowczyk (GER) d. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA) 57 76(3) 36 76(8) 86

Julien Benneteau/Michael Llodra (FRA) d. Andre Begemann/Tobias Kamke (GER) 61 76(5) 46 75

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA) d. Tobias Kamke (GER) 63 62 64

Gael Monfils (FRA) d. Peter Gojowczyk (GER) 61 76(0) 62

 

ITALY defeated GREAT BRITAIN 3-2

Venue: Tennis Club Napoli, Naples, ITA (clay – outdoor)

 

Fabio Fognini (ITA) d. James Ward (GBR) 64 26 64 61

Andy Murray (GBR) d. Andreas Seppi (ITA) 64 75 63

Colin Fleming/Andy Murray (GBR) d. Simone Bolelli/Fabio Fognini (ITA) 63 62 36 75

Fabio Fognini (ITA) d. Andy Murray (GBR) 63 63 64

Andreas Seppi (ITA) d. James Ward (GBR) 64 63 64

 

SWITZERLAND defeated KAZAKHSTAN 3-2

Venue: Palexpo, Geneva, SUI (hard – indoor)

 

Andrey Golubev (KAZ) d. Stanislas Wawrinka (SUI) 76(5) 62 36 76(5)

Roger Federer (SUI) d. Mikhail Kukushkin (KAZ) 64 64 62

Andrey Golubev/Aleksandr Nedovyesov (KAZ) d. Roger Federer/Stanislas Wawrinka (SUI) 64 76(5) 46 76(6)

Stanislas Wawrinka (SUI) d. Mikhail Kukushkin (KAZ) 67(4) 64 64 64

Roger Federer (SUI) d. Andrey Golubev (KAZ) 76(0) 62 63

 

 

AMERICAS ZONE GROUP I SECOND ROUND

 

BRAZIL defeated ECUADOR 3-1

Venue: Francisco Segura Cano, Guayaquil, ECU (clay – outdoor)

 

Rogerio Dutra Silva (BRA) d. Julio-Cesar Campozano (ECU) 64 26 64 64

Emilio Gomez (ECU) d. Guilherme Clezar (BRA) 67(3) 64 1-1 ret.

Marcelo Melo/Bruno Soares (BRA) d. Gonzalo Escobar/Giovanni Lapentti (ECU) 62 60 63

Rogerio Dutra Silva (BRA) d. Emilio Gomez (ECU) 64 67(10) 61 61

Julio-Cesar Campozano (ECU) v Guilherme Clezar (BRA) – not played

 

COLOMBIA defeated DOMINICAN REPUBLIC 4-1

Venue: Estadio de Tenis “Alvaro Carlos Jordan”, Cali, COL (clay – outdoor)

 

Santiago Giraldo (COL) d. Jose Hernandez (DOM) 62 46 64 67(3) 62

Alejandro Falla (COL) d. Victor Estrella (DOM) 46 62 57 62 62

Juan-Sebastian Cabal/Robert Farah (COL) d. Victor Estrella/Jose Hernandez (DOM) 63 62 64

Peter Bertran (DOM) d. Robert Farah (COL) 26 61 64

Juan-Sebastian Cabal (COL) d. Jose Olivares (DOM) 60 61
ASIA/OCEANIA ZONE GROUP I SECOND ROUND

 

UZBEKISTAN defeated CHINA, P.R. 3-2

Venue: Tianjin Tennis Center, Tianjin, CHN (hard – outdoor)

 

Denis Istomin (UZB) d. Zhang Ze (CHN) 64 46 36 63 64

Wu Di (CHN) d. Farrukh Dustov (UZB) 16 76(4) 76(4) 36 97

Farrukh Dustov/Denis Istomin (UZB) d. Gong Mao-Xin/Li Zhe (CHN) 64 62 62

Wu Di (CHN) d. Denis Istomin (UZB) 16 75 63 75

Farrukh Dustov (UZB) d. Zhang Ze (CHN) 62 16 63 67(4) 63

 

INDIA defeated KOREA, REPUBLIC 3-1

Venue: Spo1 Tennis Courts, Busan, KOR (hard – outdoor)

 

Somdev Devvarman (IND) d. Chung Hyeon (KOR) 76(4) 76(3) 64

Lim Yong-Kyu (KOR) d. Sanam Singh (IND) 76(5) 64 64

Rohan Bopanna/Saketh Myneni (IND) d. Lee Hyung-Taik/Lim Yong-Kyu (KOR) 76(4) 57 76(2) 63

Somdev Devvarman (IND) d. Lim Yong-Kyu (KOR) 64 57 63 61

Chung Hyeon (KOR) v Sanam Singh (IND) – not played

 

 

EUROPE/AFRICA ZONE GROUP I SECOND ROUND

 

CROATIA defeated POLAND 3-1

Venue: Torwar Hall, Warsaw, POL (hard – indoor)

 

Marin Cilic (CRO) d. Michal Przysiezny (POL) 61 64 64

Borna Coric (CRO) d. Jerzy Janowicz (POL) 26 62 75 57 64

Mariusz Fyrstenberg/Marcin Matkowski (POL) d. Marin Draganja/Mate Pavic (CRO) 67(1) 76(4) 46 76(2) 64

Marin Cilic (CRO) d. Jerzy Janowicz (POL) 36 67(5) 64 61 63

Michal Przysiezny (POL) v Borna Coric (CRO) – not played

 

ISRAEL defeated SLOVENIA 3-1

Venue: SRC Marina Portoroz, SLO (clay – outdoor)

 

Amir Weintraub (ISR) d. Blaz Kavcic (SLO) 46 75 63 36 64

Blaz Rola (SLO) d. Dudi Sela (ISR) 63 64 64

Jonathan Erlich/Andy Ram (ISR) d. Blaz Rola/Grega Zemlja (SLO) 76(7) 46 76(5) 63

Dudi Sela (ISR) d. Grega Zemlja (SLO) 62 67(5) 60 62

Blaz Rola (SLO) v Amir Weintraub (ISR) – not played

 

UKRAINE defeated SWEDEN 4-1

Venue: Baltiska Hallen, Malmo, SWE (hard – indoor)

 

Sergiy Stakhovsky (UKR) d. Johan Brunstrom (SWE) 64 64 57 36 1311

Artem Smirnov (UKR) d. Markus Eriksson (SWE) 64 61 62

Johan Brunstrom/Robert Lindstedt (SWE) d. Sergei Bubka/Denys Molchanov (UKR) 76(4) 67(6) 36 64 108

Sergiy Stakhovsky (UKR) d. Markus Eriksson (SWE) 76(5) 76(4) 64

Sergei Bubka (UKR) d. Robert Lindstedt (SWE) 57 76(3) ret.

 

SLOVAK REPUBLIC defeated AUSTRIA 4-1

Venue: Aegon Arena, National Tennis Centre, Bratislava, SVK (hard – indoor)

 

Norbert Gombos (SVK) d. Dominic Thiem (AUT) 64 36 63 64

Lukas Lacko (SVK) d. Andreas Haider-Maurer (AUT) 76(3) 46 46 62 63

Martin Klizan/Michal Mertinak (SVK) d. Alexander Peya/Dominic Thiem (AUT) 67(4) 36 76(5) 64 64

Andreas Haider-Maurer (AUT) d. Norbert Gombos (SVK) 76(5) 75

Lukas Lacko (SVK) d. Gerald Melzer (AUT) 46 63 62

 

 

AMERICAS ZONE GROUP II SECOND ROUND

 

BARBADOS defeated EL SALVADOR 4-1

Venue: National Tennis Centre, St Michael, BAR (hard – outdoor)

 

Darian King (BAR) d. Rafael Arevalo (ESA) 61 63 63

Marcelo Arevalo (ESA) d. Haydn Lewis (BAR) 76 (5) 57 64 76(1)

Darian King/Haydn Lewis (BAR) d. Marcelo Arevalo/Rafael Arevalo (ESA) 26 64 76(9) ret.

Darian King (BAR) d. Marcelo Arevalo (ESA) 60 1-0 ret.

Seanon Williams (BAR) d. Salvador Andres Bolanos (ESA) 62 67(5) 76(8)

 

MEXICO defeated PERU 3-1

Venue: Club Britania Zavaleta, Puebla, MEX (hard – outdoor)

 

Miguel-Angel Reyes-Varela (MEX) d. Mauricio Echazu (PER) 63 46 76(2) 64

Duilio Beretta (PER) d. Cesar Ramirez (MEX) 26 64 26 61 62

Santiago Gonzalez/Miguel-Angel Reyes-Varela (MEX) d. Sergio Galdos/Rodrigo Sanchez (PER) 62 61 61

Miguel-Angel Reyes-Varela (MEX) d. Duilio Beretta (PER) 63 76(2) 46 63

Cesar Ramirez (MEX) v Mauricio Echazu (PER) – not played

 

AMERICAS ZONE GROUP II PLAY-OFF

 

CHILE defeated PARAGUAY 5-0

Venue: Club Palestino, Santiago, CHI (clay – outdoor)

 

Gonzalo Lama (CHI) d. Juan Borba (PAR) 63 60 61

Christian Garin (CHI) d. Gustavo Ramirez (PAR) 46 63 60 63

Jorge Aguilar/Paul Capdeville (CHI) d. Ramon Delgado/Gustavo Ramirez (PAR) 62 64 64

Jorge Aguilar (CHI) d. Juan-Carlos Ramirez (PAR) 64 62

Christian Garin (CHI) d. Juan Borba (PAR) 62 61

 

BOLIVIA defeated GUATEMALA 3-1

Venue: Country Club Cochabamba, Cochabamba, BOL (clay – outdoor)

 

Christopher Diaz-Figueroa (GUA) d. Federico Zeballos (BOL) 76(8) 76(4) 76(4)

Hugo Dellien (BOL) d. Andres Bucaro (GUA) 62 63 75

Hugo Dellien/Federico Zeballos (BOL) d. Andres Bucaro/Christopher Diaz-Figueroa (GUA) 76(3) 75 64

Hugo Dellien (BOL) d. Christopher Diaz-Figueroa (GUA) 63 36 62 46 62

Federico Zeballos (BOL) v Andres Bucaro (GUA) – not played

 

ASIA/OCEANIA ZONE GROUP II SECOND ROUND

 

PAKISTAN defeated PHILIPPINES 3-2

Venue: Philippine Columbian Association, Manila, PHI (clay – indoor)

 

Patrick-John Tierro (PHI) d. Aqeel Khan (PAK) 75 64 64

Ruben Gonzales (PHI) d. Samir Iftihkar (PAK) 64 63 61

Aqeel Khan/Aisam Qureshi (PAK) d. Ruben Gonzales/Treat Huey (PHI) 75 63 62

Aqeel Khan (PAK) d. Johnny Arcilla (PHI) 46 61 26 63 5-1 ret.

Aisam Qureshi (PAK) d. Patrick-John Tierro (PHI) 62 63 36 64

 

THAILAND defeated KUWAIT 4-1

Venue: The National Tennis Development Centre, Nonthaburi, THA (hard – outdoor)

 

Pruchya Isarow (THA) d. Abdulhameed Alshatti (KUW) 60 60 60

Mohammad Ghareeb (KUW) d. Wishaya Trongcharoenchaikul (THA) 36 76(8) 76(4) 36 75

Pruchya Isarow/Nuttanon Kadchapanan (THA) d. Hasan Al Mousa/Mohammad Ghareeb (KUW) 76(2) 75 63

Pruchya Isarow (THA) d. Mohammad Ghareeb (KUW) 62 76(12) 16 61

Warit Sornbutnark (THA) d. Ali Ghareeb (KUW) 63 64

 

ASIA/OCEANIA ZONE GROUP II PLAY-OFF

 

SRI LANKA defeated VIETNAM 3-2

Venue: The 198 Tennis Club, Da Lat City, VIE (hard – outdoor)

 

Minh-Quan Do (VIE) d. Dineshkanthan Thangarajan (SRI) 63 64 64

Harshana Godamanna (SRI) d. Thien Nguyen Hoang (VIE) 62 63 62

Sharmal Dissanayake/Harshana Godamanna (SRI) d. Minh-Quan Do/Quoc-Khanh Le (VIE) 64 75 63

Thien Nguyen Hoang (VIE) d. Sharmal Dissanayake (SRI) 62 63 64

Harshana Godamanna (SRI) d. Minh-Quan Do (VIE) 63 75 60

 

EUROPE/AFRICA ZONE GROUP II SECOND ROUND

 

LITHUANIA defeated SOUTH AFRICA 3-2

Venue: Irene Country Club, Centurion, RSA (hard – outdoor)

 

Ricardas Berankis (LTU) d. Jean Andersen (RSA) 63 76(2) 63

Rik de Voest (RSA) d. Laurynas Grigelis (LTU) 76(5) 76(3) 26 76(4)

Jean Andersen/Raven Klaasen (RSA) d. Ricardas Berankis/Laurynas Grigelis (LTU) 36 63 63 76(5)

Ricardas Berankis (LTU) d. Rik de Voest (RSA) 62 64 57 75

Laurynas Grigelis (LTU) d. Ruan Roelofse 76(5) 36 76(3) 64

 

BOSNIA/HERZEGOVINA defeated FINLAND 3-2

Venue: Tali Tennis Center, Helsinki, FIN (hard – indoor)

 

Damir Dzumhur (BIH) d. Juho Paukku (FIN) 63 76(4) 64

Mirza Basic (BIH) d. Jarkko Nieminen (FIN) 36 76(3) 36 63 86

Henri Kontinen/Jarkko Nieminen (FIN) d. Mirza Basic/Tomislav Brkic (BIH) 63 76(4) 62

Jarkko Nieminen (FIN) d. Damir Dzumhur (BIH) 75 76(1) 61

Mirza Basic (BIH) d. Juho Paukku (FIN) 36 46 63 75 64

 

MOLDOVA defeated BELARUS 4-1

Venue: Manejul de Atletica Usoara, Chisinau, MDA (clay – indoor)

 

Radu Albot (MDA) d. Dzmitry Zhyrmont (BLR) 62 62 36 62

Maxim Dubarenco (MDA) d. Uladzimir Ignatik (BLR) 75 76(5) 63

Egor Gerasimov/Max Mirnyi (BLR) d. Andrei Ciumac/Andrei Gorban (MDA) 63 62 60

Radu Albot (MDA) d. Egor Gerasimov (BLR) 36 16 63 61 62

Maxim Dubarenco (MDA) d. Dzmitry Zhyrmont (BLR) 76(3) 76(2)

 

DENMARK defeated LUXEMBOURG 5-0

Venue: Hillerod Tennis Klub, DEN (hard – indoor)

 

Martin Pedersen (DEN) d. Ugo Nastasi (LUX) 64 64 61

Frederik Nielsen (DEN) d. Mike Scheidweiler (LUX) 63 64 57 67(5) 61

Thomas Kromann/Frederik Nielsen (DEN) d. Gilles Kremer/Mike Scheidweiler (LUX) 46 64 57 64 62

Frederik Nielsen (DEN) d. Ugo Nastasi (LUX) 64 36 62

Mikael Torpegaard (DEN) d. Christophe Tholl (LUX) 62 63

 

EUROPE/AFRICA ZONE GROUP II PLAY-OFFS

 

MONACO defeated NORWAY 5-0

Venue: Oslo Tennis Arena, Oslo, NOR (hard – indoor)

 

Benjamin Balleret (MON) d. Viktor Durasovic (NOR) 61 62 64

Romain Arneodo (MON) d. Joachim Bjerke (NOR) 76(7) 63 63

Guillaume Couillard/Thomas Oger (MON) d. Stian Boretti/Erling Tveit (NOR) 62 64 63

Benjamin Balleret (MON) d. Joachim Bjerke (NOR) 76(5) 64

Romain Arneodo (MON) d. Viktor Durasovic (NOR) 61 62

 

BULGARIA defeated GREECE 4-1

Venue: Ilioupoli Tennis Club, Athens, GRE (clay – outdoor)

 

Grigor Dimitrov (BUL) d. Markos Kalovelonis (GRE) 63 63 60

Dimitar Kutrovsky (BUL) d. Theodoros Angelinos (GRE) 64 63 16 63

Grigor Dimitrov/Dimitar Kutrovsky (BUL) d. Alexandros Jakupovic/Markos Kalovelonis (GRE) 76(4) 62 64

Alexandros Jakupovic (GRE) d. Dinko Halachev (BUL) 76(2) 61

Dimitar Kutrovsky (BUL) d. Charalampos Kapogiannis (GRE) 57 60 61

 

IRELAND defeated EGYPT 3-2

Venue: Castleknock Tennis Club, Dublin, IRL (hard – indoor)

 

James McGee (IRL) d. Karim-Mohamed Maamoun (EGY) 60 63 62

Mohamed Safwat (EGY) d. Sam Barry (IRL) 36 75 75 76(5)

Sam Barry/James Cluskey (IRL) d. Sherif Sabry/Mohamed Safwat (EGY) 62 76(6) 62

James McGee (IRL) d. Mohamed Safwat (EGY) 75 64 63

Mazen Osama (EGY) d. Daniel Glancy (IRL) 76(4) 76(5)

 

MOROCCO defeated CYPRUS 4-1

Venue: Complexe Sportif Al Amal, Casablanca, MAR (clay – outdoor)

 

Sergis Kyratzis (CYP) d. Hicham Khaddari (MAR) 26 62 61 75

Lamine Ouahab (MAR) d. Petros Chrysochos (CYP) 63 64 64

Lamine Ouahab/Mehdi Ziadi (MAR) d. Petros Chrysochos/Rares Cuzdriorean (CYP) 76(6) 61 36 46 64

Lamine Ouahab (MAR) d. Sergis Kyratzis (CYP) 60 60 60

Ayoub Chakrouni (MAR) d. Constantinos Ioannides (CYP) 63 62

 

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Knapp Sacks Riske: Italy Advances in Fed Cup Over USA

DSCN0663

By Steve Fogleman

(February 9, 2014) Karin Knapp followed up on her win over Christina McHale yesterday with a clinching 6-3, 7-5 victory today over Alison Riske in the first round of the 2014 Fed Cup season in Cleveland, Ohio. The Italians defeated the American team in all three live rubbers.

Knapp did had some trouble closing it out over Riske, who was a last-minute replacement for Madison Keys in an effort by Captain Mary Joe Fernandez to get some momentum for the US. Riske acquitted herself well. She elevated her game in the second set, and after drawing even with the Italian, she was broken at 5-5 in the next game. Knapp served it out from here.

Overall, the match was more competitive than it might appear.

“It’s not easy because she came back. I got a little bit nervous. I got a little bit of emotion.”

Knapp told the press that the team made a pact to jump in the Cleveland snow if they won the tie.

“After this, we will all put the jacket on, the scarf on and we will jump in the snow!”, she said.

No word on when and where that photo opportunity will occur, but the snowy tundra of Cleveland Public Square is conveniently located between the venue and the Fed Cup hotel.

The snow didn’t stop the crowd from arriving to cheer on the US team, but it did slow them down. There were many empty seats at the start of the tie, but the fans filled in to create a boisterous cheering section by the beginning of the second set. The Public Auditorium was noticeably louder than yesterday.

Riske

Riske

Riske had a “big group of people from Pittsburgh” to join her for the event. She called the tie “an unbelievable experience” and noted the “awesome” support from the fans.

She’ll be in training in the two weeks leading up to Indian Wells.

Madison Keys and Lauren Davis won the inconsequential doubles rubber 6-2, 6-3 over Nastassja Burnett and Alice Matteucci.

Italy will advance to the quarterfinals, while the US will be attempting to simply avoid relegation from the World Group in their next outing.

Steve Fogleman is Editor of TennisEastCoast.com, a Mid-Atlantic based tennis website. He is in Cleveland, Ohio covering the Fed Cup tie between USA and Italy for Tennis Panorama News.

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Catching Up with Alison Riske at Fed Cup in Cleveland

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Italy Sweeps USA on Day 1 of Fed Cup to Take 2-0 Lead

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By Steve Fogleman

(February 8, 2014) CLEVELAND – Team Italy blanked the USA on Saturday in Cleveland, Ohio, to take a 2-0 lead in Fed Cup first round action.

Christina McHale played a horrendous first set, ceding second serves to Karin Knapp. Knapp’s powerful backhand threatened to make the match a runaway for the Italian. McHale settled down in the second and broke twice to level the score at 6-4.

The ultimate result was a big bang for Italy with a victory by Karin Knapp in three sets, 6-3, 3-6, 6-1. McHale ran her Fed Cup career record to 5-3 with the loss.

After the match, McHale admitted that “by giving her that lead she really relaxed and started playing much better.”

The Italian team was especially loud and supportive. Karin Knapp acknowledged that she feeds off of them and predicted that they would feed off of her win.

“We are not a lot, but we are loud. They helped me”, she said.  “They gave me confidence”.

“If I get the point, maybe Camila goes on the court a little relaxed.”

Maybe you’re right, Karin Knapp.

As predicted by Knapp, Camila Giorgi did come out relaxed…and focused.

Giorgi thrashed Madison Keys 6-2, 6-1, notching a victory for the Italian in her first Fed Cup rubber. Keys seemed to be confused and having one of those days, and she was unable to hold serve on a regular basis.

Giorgi said it did help her composure knowing that her nation was already on the board before she hit her first ball in a Fed Cup.

Keys summed it up best. “She was playing amazingly. I can only control so many things. Great job to her today”, she said.

The Americans are now in danger of losing a fourth straight tie to the Italian team dating back ten years. They’re 0-10 in ties where they’ve started with a pair of singles losses.

But US Captain Mary Joe Fernandez has every reason to believe that this team, at least on paper, should have a realistic shot at pulling a sweep of their own tomorrow. I agree.

Steve Fogleman is Editor of TennisEastCoast.com, a Mid-Atlantic based tennis website. He is in Cleveland, Ohio covering the Fed Cup tie between USA and Italy for Tennis Panorama News.

 

Video Bonus:
Fed Cup Cleveland: Better Than the Winter Olympics

 

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Catching Up with Alison Riske at Fed Cup in Cleveland

.@RISKE4REWARDS: Close to Home, But Still Not Messin’ Around With Those Cleveland Browns
By Steve Fogleman

(February 7, 2014) CLEVELAND – Alison Riske grew up in Pittsburgh, a mere two hours from Cleveland, but this week marks the first time the 23-year-old has ever been to this nearly-neighboring fair city.

As a die-hard Pittsburgh Steelers fan, Riske is jovial and simultaneously serious about her love of the Steelers spoiling her desire to camp out in Cleveland.

“Never came. It is Browns territory, so I’m like ‘I’m not setting foot over there’.

I wouldn’t want to come to Cleveland for any other occasion than Fed Cup.”

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The World No. 46 admitted this without hesitation when I caught up with her outside of the Grand Ballroom of the Marriott at Key Center on the eve of her maiden Fed Cup voyage as a player.

Riske was a designated hitting partner six years ago as a 17-year-old at the US Fed Cup tie in Moscow and appreciated the experience.

“I got my feet wet. I think that was the whole point of being a ‘Future Fed Cupper’.

US Fed Cup Team 2014 Cleveland

Riske joins Cleveland native Lauren Davis in the fifth and final rubber on Sunday in doubles against Alice Matteucci and Nastassja Burnett. It could be crucial.

Fed Cup Doubles: Alison Riske, Lauren Davis, Nastassja Burnett, Alice Matteucci

Though she can cross ‘Fed Cup’ off of the old Bucket List for now, she says she’ll gladly come back and play singles anytime.

FUN FACT: Riske is the only regarded WTA player who lists Washington, DC as her address. But she’ll be filling out a change of address form sometime soon.

She’ll head to Toronto to rejoin her coach, Yves Boulais, who she followed to the Junior Tennis Champions Center in College Park, Maryland a year ago. She will train full-time in Canada. Boulais left Maryland and returned to College Park late last year. She credits him for much of her success.

“I feel like my game has transformed into something I can build on. It’s really exciting and I think the best is yet to come.”

Steve Fogleman is Editor of TennisEastCoast.com, a Mid-Atlantic based tennis website. He is in Cleveland, Ohio covering the Fed Cup tie between USA and Italy for Tennis Panorama News.

Alison Riske photo by Steve Fogleman

Alison Riske photo by Steve Fogleman

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Draw Set for US-Italy Fed Cup in Cleveland

Draws and Results for Fed Cup for February 7, 2014

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Draw Set for US-Italy Fed Cup in Cleveland

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By Steve Fogleman

(February 7, 2014) CLEVELAND – The US and Italian Fed Cup Team match ups are all set in Cleveland, having been determined during an afternoon draw ceremony on Friday at a downtown hotel two blocks from the site of the tie the Public Auditorium.

The second-highest ranked American on the team, Christina McHale, will open against top Italian Team player Karin Knapp at 1:00 p.m. Saturday, followed by Madison Keys and Camila Giorgi.

On Sunday, Keys and Knapp will meet at 12:00 p.m., followed by McHale and Giorgi.

Alison Riske and Lauren Davis were enlisted for doubles, and they will square off on Sunday against Nastassja Burnett and Alice Mateucci in the fifth rubber.

At the post-draw press conference, the members of the American team expressed elation at having been chosen to participate on behalf of the US. Only one of the players—McHale—has previously represented her country in Fed Cup play and she was designated a captain for her experience.

“Whether I play or not, it’s great to be here”, said Alison Riske.

Mary Jo Fernandez spoke out in support of her designation of McHale as the leader of the team.

“It’s a different experience playing for your country. Christina has been there before. She knows what’s coming her way.”

McHale’s past participation aside, this group is Generation Next. The Americans hope to end an 0-3 slump to the Italians, after beating the Azzuri nine times in a row between 1963-2003.

 

DAY/LOCAL TIME      MATCH             PAIRING

Saturday, 1:00 p.m.          Singles A:         Christina McHale (USA) vs. Karin Knapp (ITA)

Singles B:         Madison Keys (USA)  vs. Camila Giorgi (ITA)

Sunday, 12:00 p.m.           Singles C:         Madison Keys (USA) vs. Karin Knapp (ITA)

Singles D:        Christina McHale (USA) vs. Camila Giorgi (ITA)

Doubles: Lauren Davis/Alison Riske (USA) vs. Nastassja Burnett/Alice Matteucci(ITA)

 

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US Hopes Youth Will Triumph When They Face Italy in Fed Cup this Weekend

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(February 5, 2014) The USA will face Italy for the fourth time in the last six years when both teams meet again in Cleveland this weekend in Fed Cup quarterfinal play.

Neither team will have its “A” team so youth will be served, especially for Team USA. Fed Cup Captain Mary Joe Fernandez named the team last month – Madison Keys (18), Alison Riske (23), Christina McHale (21) and Cleveland native Lauren Davi (20).

“It’s exciting to have young members, new members on the team, said Captain Fernandez to media on Wednesday in a pre-draw news conference.  “Christina (McHale) is our experienced one, the veteran at the prime old age of what, 21?

“And I think Alison is our oldest player at 23.  So you bring a lot of excitement and energy and enthusiasm when it’s your first time.  You get this great experience to play for your country, represent your country.
So those are all pluses.  I don’t really see any negatives.  Obviously not having played under the pressure of Fed Cup before you never know how someone is going to handle it.
“I think that’s a positive regardless because of the experience and the feedback you get in it.  For me’s really it’s all positive.”

“I think this team from Italy, the challenge is that they’re big hitters,” said Fernandez. “They hit the ball hard and they’re aggressive.  Good indoors.  Probably one of their favorite surfaces.”

Team Italy who will be sporting a team of mostly first-timers are up to the challenge.

“I think will be a tough match, very talented match,” said Italy’s captain Corrado Barazzutti.  “They are young team against, so we come here to try hard to win this match and we know that will be difficult.”
“I think it’s pretty clear the future is very bright, and this is an example of it,” Fernandez said of the US squad.  “This group and the group around them has really been really making strides the last few years and working hard to break each category.
“When I started with the Fed Cup as captain five, six years ago I want to say there were only three Americans in the top 100.  I believe we’re at 11 or 12 now.  So everybody is improving and pushing each other.  We’re seeing the results.
“We have different game styles, which is great, and personalities, but it’s very positive.  It’s extremely exciting to be part of and to see the young players grow and develop as people and as players as well.

As the lone member of the Fed Cup team with any Fed Cup experience, Christina McHale offer some advice to her teammates:

“I’ve had some of my best memories and just fun weeks playing Fed Cup, so I’m really excited to be back on the team.
“I think everyone here has come to a Fed Cup before, so I think they already have some experience.
“I mean, I think just, you know, it’s such an honor to play for your country, so just giving it everything you have, which we always do.  I think that’s the best advice.”

Italy beat the US in the first round of Fed Cup last year. Overall, the US has a 9-3 record versus Italy in Fed Cup play. The US has the record for the most Fed Cup titles at 17, while last year’s winners Italy have now won the cup four out of the past eight years.

 

 

 

 

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Italy Rallies Past US to Move into Fed Cup Semis

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Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci

(February 10, 2013) Italy came back from 1-2 down to defeat the United States in Fed Cup 3-2 on Sunday in the first round of the World Group in Rimini, Italy.

 

World No. 1 doubles team Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci sealed the win for Italy in the fifth rubber with a victory over Varvara Lepchenko and Liezel Huber 6-2, 6-2.

 

“Errani and Vinci are the weapon,” said Huber. They are like sisters. They are like best friends. They can almost see each other’s body language and predict something before it has happened. They have a different style than what we are used to and stick to their style. They are great singles players and don’t discount doubles. I enjoy watching them play, just not against me!”

 

The United States led 2-1 after Lepchenko beat world No, 7 Errani 7-5, 6-2 in the first of reverse singles on Sunday.

 

“In the first set, I had to get my body started,“ said Lepchenko. “I had a long match yesterday, so I was a bit up and down in the beginning. Once my body warmed up, I was playing better and better in the second set and got pumped and got going.”

 

Vinci rallied for Italy topping Jamie Hampton 6-2, 4-6, 6-1 to send the tie into a fifth rubber.

“I had a tough match yesterday, so I had to regroup and do my best for the team,” Hampton. ”First set, I made a lot of errors and started off like yesterday. I got back together in the second set and thought I had a hold of the match, but I made a lot of errors.”

 

 

Italy will next host defending champion Czech Republic in the Fed Cup semifinals, a rematch of last year’s semifinal. The other semifinal has Slovakia at Russia.

 

Next the United States will play in the World Group Playoff, April 20-21, to remain in contention for the Fed Cup World Group l in 2014 and to try and stave off relegation to World Group II next year. The United States’ opponent will be drawn on Wednesday, February 13, at 10 a.m. GMT at the ITF offices in London.

 

The U.S., who will be seeded will play one of the four winners of the World Group II First Round (Switzerland, Sweden, Spain, or Germany). The host site for Switzerland or Sweden will be determined by a coin toss on Wednesday. The U.S. would host Spain or Germany.

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