2014/09/17

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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Novak Djokovic Moves Into Sony Open Third Round

Djokovic on court 321-001

(March 21, 2014) Three-time former Sony Open champion Novak Djokovic defeated Jeremy Chardy 6-4, 6-3. The Serb converted on all three break points he had against Chardy.

“When I was supposed to play my best and come up with some good serves and good shots, that’s what I did in both sets,” Djokovic said.

Chardy hurt his right ankle in the eighth game of the second set.

“I assume it was quite bad,” Djokovic said.  “He twisted his ankle.  I talked with him after the match.  He’s still in physio room, so he says it’s not as bad as he thought.  But I wish him recovery.”

One of the keys to the world No. 2’s success has been the improvement of his footwork.

“Footwork is essential,” he said.  “If you want to hit the shot properly, you have to be in the right balance.

“To be in the right balance, you need to have the right footwork and you need to try to adjust to the ball.

Obviously variety of surfaces require variety of footwork and adjustment in the same element.

“I have been dedicating quite a lot of time on and off the court to that matter, and I have been fortunate with a team of people that I have.

I think they are experts in their fields, in their professions, and they are making sure I am, you know, developing that footwork, you know, regarding the place or the surface where I’m playing.

“So I think it’s very, very important, if not the most important thing.”

“I love this sport,” Djokovic said.  “I just love going out and I enjoy competing.  I enjoy, you know, playing the tournaments over and over again, you know, trying to win as many titles as possible, trying to, you know, strive for some kind of perfection, if there is a perfection in this sport, you know, always to get better.  We will see how far I can go.”

Djokovic will now get ready to play Florian Mayer in the third round.

In the last match on Stadium Court, defending champion Andy Murray, playing for the first time since he split with coach Ivan Lendl, rallied from a break down in the third set to beat Matthew Ebden 3-6, 6-0, 6-1.

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Chardy Bests Versatile Dolgopolov in Four Thrilling Sets

 

By Alana Mitchelson

(January 15, 2014) MELBOURNE – Pressured into not one, not two, but three thrilling tie-breaks in a four-set second round epic against the always competitive Alexandr Dolgopolov, Frenchman Jeremy Chardy lapped up the crowd’s applause as he broke ahead just in time to seal out the match, 7-5, 7-6(7-5), 6-7(3-7), 7-6(7-5).

 

“With every shot, he can do something special,” he said of Dolgopolov’s unique style.

 

“It’s tough to play against him. I think he’s a really talented player. He can go fast, he has a good touch and although he serves a lot of the time to the same spot, it’s still difficult to receive. So you have to be really focused on your game and after every point, you have to stay focused because he is really talented with his backhand.

 

“He has a strange backhand,” the Frenchman said, making a face, “but he never misses.”

 

Chardy handled his opponent’s versatile game and seemingly effortless coverage of the court by taking to the ball early, where possible, and strove to strike the forehand winner down the far wing whensoever the opportunity arose. This became his best shot throughout the match and it carried him through some of the most telling points.

 

Dolgopolov’s ‘never say die’ attitude meant Chardy was forced into nerve-racking tie-break after tie-break. While the Ukranian’s reflexive deflections of Chardy’s forehand drives were not perhaps the most tidy of groundstrokes, his astute ability to read the point and find impossible angles on the court led him to finally clinch his first set of the match in the third.

 

But as the match wore on and the warm north-easterly wind picked up, Dolgopolov made rash decisions at costly moments which allowed Chardy to break ahead in the last tie to secure a place in the third round.

 

“Today I think I was very good physically because I didn’t feel tired at any time,” Chardy admitted despite the severe heat.

 

“If we see the result, we see it really was a close match.

 

“I think I now have big confidence. I played good in Brisbane and I played two really good and solid matches here. So now I’ll play against Ferrer and I feel really good. I think, to beat him, I don’t have to try to do anything special – just play my game and we will see.”

 

Chardy will face David Ferrer on Friday as the third round matches of the Australian Open 2014 get underway.

 

Alana Mitchelson is a Melbourne-based freelance journalist covering the Australian Open for Tennis Panorama News. Follow her tournament updates on Twitter @TennisNewsTPN and read her personal website.

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Top Seeds Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams Ease into Wimbledon Round of 16

Novak Djokovic3

(June 29, 2013) Top seeds Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams showed their dominance on the Centre Court of Wimbledon on Saturday, each with straight set victories to advance to the round of 16.

Williams won 600th career match by demolishing 42-year-old Kimiko Date-Krumm 6-2, 6-0 under the lights of the closed roof of Centre Court.  Williams has become the 15th WTA player 600 career tour match wins. Date-Krumm is the oldest woman to make the third round of The Championships.

Williams was utterly dominant against her Japanese opponent hitting 28 winners. Williams hit 8 aces and broke serve 5 times.

“I honestly never thought I would play until my 30s, to be honest,” said the 31-year-old Williams.  “I don’t see my stopping any time soon.

“However, I don’t see myself playing into my 40s.  That’s why I have so much respect for Kimiko Date.  She’s playing so well and she’s so fit and she’s so good.”

SWilliams will play 23rd seed Sabine Lisicki in the fourth round on Monday.  Lisicki defeated 2011 U.S. Open champion Sam Stosur, the 14th seed 4-6, 6-2, 6-1.

No. 1 Novak Djokovic blew his opponent off court, beating Jeremy Chardy 6-3, 6-2, 6-2.

“It was a fantastic match,” said the world No. 1.  “I felt great from the start till the end.  I had that super focus, you know, and tried to, you know, be out there every point and not allow him to come back to the match or to have any chance.

“I saw the stats that I won 100% of first serves and I served over 80% of serves in in the whole match.  That was incredible for me.  I enjoyed every moment of it, especially at the end.  I managed to read his serve.  Everything went well.  So when you play that well, obviously you feel great, you feel confident.

“This kind of performance came in the right time for me.”

Djokovic was almost perfect as he committed only three unforced errors, winning 93% of first serve points.

Djokovic will play Tommy Haas in the fourth. The 35-year-old 13th seed Haas stopped Feliciano Lopez 4-6, 6-2, 7-5, 6-4.

“I’m looking at my next opponent, that I’m playing Djokovic again, which I’m really looking forward to,” Haas said.

No. 4 David Ferrer survived a five-set clash with Alexandr Dolgopolov 6-7 (6), 7-6 (2), 2-6, 6-1, 6-2.

No. 6 seed Li Na escaped Klara Zakopalova 4-6, 6-0, 8-6.  Zakopalova actually served for the match at 6-5 in the third set, only to see Li win the next three games.

“Is pretty tough match,” said Li.  “I mean, she has to serve for the match.

“But I was really happy I didn’t give up.  Still hang in there, yeah.  Fight like crazy, but still at least I will be in the second week of Wimbledon”

Bernard Tomic who made history back in 2011 by becoming the youngest quarterfinalist  at 18 since Boris Becker in 1985 defeated 9th seed Richard Gasquet 7-6 (7), 5-7, 7-5, 7-6 (5) in the third round.

Tomic’s father and coach John is prohibited from attending The Championships and other tennis tournaments. John Tomic is accused of assaulting his son’s practice partner during the Madrid Open.

Despite his father’s absence from being courtside, Tomic is still getting advice from his father.

“When I leave the site, I’m with my dad.  He’s helping me at this tournament.  We’re doing the right things.

“This is why the results are showing off now.  I’m not doing it on my own.  My dad is still involved.  That’s why I’ve gotten to where I am in this tournament and the results have shown.”

Tomic will face Tomas Berdych in the round of 16. The former Wimbledon finalist defeated 3-6, 6-3, 6-4, 7-5.

No. 8 seed Juan Martin Del Potro survived a fall on the court to beat Grega Zemlja 7-5, 7-6 (3), 6-0.

“I was going for the dropshot and I twist my ankle,” Del Potro said describing his fall.  “I did like hyperextended my knee, as well.  It was really painful.  I was a little scared at that moment.

“I finish the match very quick.  Now I start to feel something in my knee and my ankle, as well.  I will check with the doctor very soon.”

Del Potro will take on Andreas Seppi who defeated 12th seeded Kei Nishikori 3-6, 6-2, 6-7 (4), 6-1, 6-4.

 

No. 4 seed and 2012 Wimbledon finalist Agnieszka Radwanska, withstood  the challenge from promising American teenager Madison Keys to win 7-5, 4-6, 6-3.

Keys fired 15 aces in the loss. “I was kind of impressed with my serving today,” Keys said with a smile.

“I think (the momentum changed) in the third set when she broke me, that really just kind of, you know, changed the momentum up a little bit,” Keys commented.

“She was really playing great tennis,” Radwanska said.  “Especially she was serving unbelievable.  Even when I have some breakpoints and couple times couldn’t do anything.”

2011 champion Petra Kvitova came back from a break down in the final set to stop Ekaterina Makarova of Russia 6-3, 2-6, 6-3 in a resumption of a match halted by darkness on Friday with Makarova up 2-1 in the third set.

“It was another day for me,” Kvitova said.  “Yesterday when we start to play was quite close every game, and we were keeping our serves with 3‑All.  Then after suspended, I play so well, I came back to the court.  I was really on fire.”

“I should go for every point and play my game, Kvitova said.  “So I played quite aggressively.  That was the key.”

Laura Robson made the home folks happy for the second day in a row when the Briton came back from a set and a break down to erase Marina Erakovic of New Zealand 1-6, 7-5, 6-3. Robson broke Erakovic’s serve as the New Zealander was serving for the match in the second set.

A controversial call came in the second set when Robson challenged a call which was called out and overturned. The point was replayed and Erakovic double faulted to give Robson the set 7-5.

Robson explained the turnaround to press: “In the beginning she was just playing really, really well.  And, you know, her serve was firing, so I wasn’t getting a chance on her service games.

“Then, you know, wasn’t quite, uhm, hitting the ball well enough in my service games as well.  So she was just on top of things.

Y”eah, that’s the way it goes sometimes.  But you just have to hang in and wait for them to start making a few errors.”

With the win Robson becomes the first British woman since 1991 to reach the fourth round at Wimbledon. She will also be the first woman to reach the WTA top 30 since 1987.

“It’s now my second time in the second week of a Slam, so that’s pretty cool. Except at the U.S. Open, I played on the Sunday, so it didn’t quite feel like a `second week,'” Robson said to media, “and my brother said it didn’t count.”

Sloane Stephens the 17th seed completed a darkness-delayed match by stopping 196th ranked qualifier Petra Cetkovska 7-6 (3), 0-6, 6-4.

It’s been good fortnight for the over-30 set at Wimbledon. Nine players 30-and-over have reached the round of 16 at 2013 Wimbledon -Tommy Haas, Jurgen Melzer, David Ferrer, Lukasz Kubot,  Mikhail Youzhny, Serena Williams, Li Na, Flavia Pennetta, and Roberta Vinci. It’s a record for the most combined 30-somethings into the fourth round at Wimbledon in the Open Era, equaling the feat also done in1975.

On Monday both the men and women will play in the round of 16, here are the match-ups:

Men

Novak Djokovic vs. Tommy Haas

Bernard Tomic vs. Tomas Berdych

David Ferrer vs. Ivan Dodig

Andreas Seppi  vs. Juan Martin Del Potro

Lukasz Kubot vs. Adrin Mannarino

Fernando Verdasco vs. Kenny De Schepper

Mikhail Youzhny vs. Andy Murray

 

Women

Serena Williams vs. Sabine Lisicki

Laura Robson vs. Kaia Kanepi

Agnieszka Radwanska vs.  Tsvetana Pironkova

Roberta Vinci vs Li Na

Sloane Stephens vs. Monica Puig

Marion Bartoli vs. Karin Knapp

Petra Kvitova vs. Carla Suarez Navarro

Kirsten Filpkens vs. Flavia Pennetta

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Murray Races Through to Australian Open Semifinal

 

AndyMurrayDS2010

By Jaclyn Stacey

(January 23, 2013) MELBOURNE PARK, Australia - Andy Murray raced into the semifinals of the Australian Open, crushing hard hitting Frenchman Jeremy Chardy 6-4, 6-1, 6-2 in one hour and 51 minutes.

 

The win was a comprehensive victory for Murray as he heads into his fourth consecutive Australian Open semifinal. It wasn’t flawless however as Murray lead easily in each set but allowed the Frenchman to break him once in both the first and third set.

 

The Olympic Gold Medallist didn’t allow Chardy to play the game he’d been using to win through to the quarterfinal stage of the tournament, shutting down his attempts to reel Murray into the net and slam a big forehand past him.

 

Murray came into the contest the freshest player in the quarterfinal lineup having spent only seven hours and five minutes on court during his first four matches whereas Chardy had spent 11 hours and 40 minutes in total on court. Murray continued to field questions he won’t be ready for a big challenge against someone like Federer in the semifinals or Djokovic in the final having played such little tennis against lower ranked opponents in the tournament so far.

 

“I haven’t lost a set here yet. So, you know, maybe I’m expecting to play too well or whatever. But I’ve done a good job so far in this tournament.”

 

“But, you know, who knows. I played a lot of tennis in December. I had some good matches in Brisbane. So, I mean, I can’t be disappointed about being in the semis of a slam without dropping a set. That would be silly.”

 

There has been some criticism of the scheduling at the Open this year with world No. 3 Murray not playing one night match during the fortnight leading into the semifinals. His likely opponent Federer has played all bar one of his matches under the lights on Rod Laver Arena. Murray will practice under the lights on Hisense arena on Wednesday and Thursday night to adjust to the night match setting.

 

“It’s purely for the lights, yeah. I mean, I played in Brisbane a couple of matches in the evening, but it’s slightly different there, as well, because there’s a roof too. That’s why I’ll go out there. I’ll hit under the lights tonight and do the same tomorrow.”

 

“If I was the tournament director or the referee or whoever decides the schedule, I also would have put Federer against Tsonga on as the night match tonight because it’s the best match of the day.”

 

Murray has the chance to become the only first-time Grand Slam winner to immediately claim a second major at the next opportunity after he won his first Grand Slam at the US Open in September last year.

 

 

Murray will play the winner of the match between Roger Federer and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the semifinals on Friday night. Murray holds a head-to-head lead over Federer 10-9 and Tsonga 7-1 so will take some confidence into the match.

 

Jaclyn Stacey is a Melbourne based freelance journalist covering the Australian Open tournament as media for Tennis Panorama News.  Follow her Australian Open updates on @TennisNewsTPN. Follow her personal twitter @JackattackAU.

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Chardy Smashes His Way To Fourth Round, Defeats Del Potro

By Jaclyn Stacey

 

(January 19, 2013) MELBOURNE PARK, Australia – Frenchman Jeremy Chardy smashed an impressive 78 winners past sixth seed Juan Martin Del Potro in an epic five sets 6-3, 6-3, 6-7(3), 3-6, 6-3 to create the biggest upset of the Australian Open so far.

 

Chardy played the match of his life in defeating the Argentine, smacking endless forehand winners and remaining aggressive to put his opponent on the back foot for the majority of the three hour and 45 minute match.

 

“It’s a big win for me. And maybe the best of my career.” Chardy said in his post match press conference. “Since the first point to the last point, I play exactly the same. I stay very calm, very focus. That’s why I win today.”

 

Chardy came out generating superb forehand winners at every opportunity and broke Del Potro in his first service game to race to a 3-0 lead in the first set. The number six seed was unable to get back on serve and Chardy closed out the set 6-3.

 

Chardy played simply and effectively by mixing up play consistently by going into the net often to shut down points quickly with the forehand.

 

In the second set Chardy continued to control the game through his forehand and Del Potro seemed to struggle to find a way around it. Chardy again managed to get ahead in the second set, breaking Del Potro in the fifth and ninth games to win the set 6-3 and take a two sets to love lead.

 

Chardy maintained his intensity in the third set despite going down a break in the first game on a double fault, the Frenchman regaining control in the next game after Del Potro double faulted on his own break point down to put the set level 1-1.

 

By this stage the listless Argentine began to regain some motivation for the match, pumping himself up and holding serve for the rest of the set and forcing a tie-break situation. In the tie-break Del Potro ripped some forehand winners of his own, including one on set point to keep himself alive in the match.

 

The 2009 US Open champion played with momentum in the fourth set and was able to break Chardy in the eighth game for a 5-3 lead. The Frenchman’s body language began to drop as the match wore on and Del Potro was able to close out the set on his next service game 6-3 to send the encounter to a deciding set.

 

There was nothing between the two in the final set as Chardy picked up his game again and stayed with Del Potro throughout. The Argentine had a break point against him while serving at 3-4 30-40 but managed to save it with a backhand winner. Chardy had another chance to break a few points later and this time Del Potro sent a forehand well wide to give Chardy a 5-3 lead and serve for the match.

 

Chardy hit an ace on his first match point opportunity to defeat the sixth seed and win through to the fourth round of a Grand Slam for only the second time in his career.

 

“My tactic was very simple: I play slice with my backhand and I try to play short slice because like this he has to come in the court.  After, with my forehand, I can go full power, so… It was nothing else (laughter).”

 

“I’m so happy. I just finished my match. But I just so happy, I enjoyed it.”

 

Del Potro was understandably disappointed following the loss but gave full credit to his opponent.

 

“Well, the match was really tough. Jeremy play so strong during four hours. He serves well. He made a lot of winners with the forehand, very good slices.”

 

“In the end when he had the chance to break me, he did. I think that was the key. In the end, he play better in the important moments, and he took the chance to win the match.”

 

Chardy will play Andreas Seppi in the fourth round after the Italian triumphed in five sets over Marin Cilic 6-7(2), 6-3, 2-6, 6-4, 6-2.

 

Jaclyn Stacey is a Melbourne based freelance journalist covering the Australian Open tournament as media for Tennis Panorama News.  Follow her Australian Open updates on @TennisNewsTPN. Follow her personal twitter @JackattackAU.

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Saturday Semifinals Set for Western & Southern Open

Roger Federer photo © Enrique Fernandez for Tennis Panorama

By Megan Fernandez

MASON, Ohio – Roger Federer gave Mardy Fish one racket-clap but not much else en route to a 6-3, 7-6 (4) victory in the quarterfinals of the Western & Southern Open on Friday. Federer, four times a champion of this event, has faced a different semi-final opponent every time he has reached that round, and this year is no different. Across the net on Saturday he will see friend and fellow Swiss Stan Wawrinka, a winner over Milos Raonic of Canada.

Mardy Fish photo © Enrique Fernandez for Tennis Panorama

Fish picked up his game in the second set, earning the familiar “too good” gesture from Federer for a dipping cross-court passing shot. As Fish hung tough, the Lindner Family Tennis Center’s full house rewarded him with effusive support. No doubt many in the audience remembered that the World No. 20 had stretched Federer to three sets in the 2010 final, and were hoping their baseline slugfest could extend longer into the gorgeously clear and cool Midwestern night.  It looked like they might get their wish as the pair matched strength with strength. Federer unfurled a dainty drop shot at 2-2. Fish boomed a 133 mph serve up the middle in the next game. But the Swiss’s mix proved superior to Fish’s fight, and Federer closed out the match with an overhead on this third match point

“It was a great atmosphere,” Federer said. “Playing an American here in America, it’s always special.”  He’s happy with his adjustment to this event’s surface and balls just two weeks removed from playing on the Olympic grass. “The bounce is completely different here than at Wimbledon,” he said.

After the Wimbledon champ improved to 8-1 against Fish, he was asked about the state of his career-defining rivalry, with Rafael Nadal. He couldn’t remember exactly the last time they played (“Indian Wells, maybe?”), but he’s sure it wasn’t their final meeting. “I haven’t thought about it, that I might play Rafa less,” he said. “One time one top guy misses one major, I think some make a big deal out of it. It’s true that it’s a big shock, but it does happen from time to time.”

Novak Djokovic tends to move quietly through the draw in Cincinnati every year, and for the third time he has reached the semi-final without dropping a set—although thanks to a first-round bye and a second-round retirement by his opponent, Nikolay Davykenko of Russia, Djokovic has played only three sets this week. Today, he defeated Croatia’s Marin Cilic 6-3, 6-2 and earned chance to avenge his loss to Juan Martin del Potro of Argentina in the bronze-medal match at the Olympics—though he says revenge isn’t on his mind.

“I already put it aside,” the Serbian said. “As a tennis player, you have to do that.”

Del Potro defeated Jeremy Chardy of France, 6-1, 6-3, and Wawrinka came back from a one-set deficit to stop Raonic from reaching his first Masters 1000 semi-final. The Swiss No. 2, who won today 2-6, 7-6, 6-4, has struggled since his tough five-set loss to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga at the French Open. “It was not easy,” Wawrinka said, “but I’m really happy to be back on the hard court. Since the beginning o of the tournament, I’m focused on what I’m doing.”

Venus Williams photo © Enrique Fernandez for Tennis Panorama

Venus Williams reached her first semi-final in two years by defeating Australian Sam Stosur 6-2, 6-7, 6-4, sealing victory with a pair of service winners and booking a match with China’s Li Na, who took advantage of Agniezska Radwanska’s sore shoulder and rare inconsistency to notch an easy 6-1, 6-1 win.
In the other semi-final, the Czech Republic’s Petra Kvitova posted a 6-4, 7-5 (4) win over Anastasia Pavlyunchenkova of Russia.
Almost giddy in her post-match press conference, Williams happily talked about everything from cornbread (“I’m probably going to throw some eggs in there”) to karaoke (nearly an addiction) to candy (something she’s given up to deal with Sjogren’s Syndrome). Little did she know that here sister, Serena Williams, was struggling against Angelique Kerber just outside the building on Center Court. Mere minutes after the elder Williams opined that her sister needed some rest, she was proven right: Kerber took a 6-4, 6-4 victory from the hottest player on the WTA Tour, ending her opponent’s 19-match winning streak.

Serena photo © Enrique Fernandez for Tennis Panorama

“Today was one of my biggest wins in my career, for sure,” says the world No. 7, who had now defeated both Williams sister in a span of three weeks. “I go out there not thinking that it’s Serena on the other side.”

But Kerber’s work wasn’t done for the day when she aced Williams on match point. As the tournament’s WTA blogger for the week, she had Friday’s column to write. Find it on www.cincytennis.com and see if she put as fine an end on her commentary as she did her match.

Megan Fernandez is covering the Western & Southern Open in Mason, Ohio for Tennis Panorama News. Follow her updates on twitter at @TennisNewsTPN.

All photos by © Enrique Fernandez for Tennis Panorama.

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Chardy Topples Murray in Cincinnati

Andy Murray

France’s Jeremy Chardy toppled third seed Andy Murray at the Western & Sothern Open in Mason, Ohio on Thursday 6-4, 6-4 to move into the quarterfinals. It was Murray’s first loss to Chardy who made it into the main draw as a “lucky loser.”

Murray noted that he had a difficult time controlling his shots in the windy conditions.

“I was a little bit uncomfortable with those balls bouncing extremely high, Murray said. It was fairly hard to control.”

The Olympic singles gold medalist admitted that he had an off-day. “I didn’t serve particularly well,” said Murray. “You know, I got broken three times in the second set, which isn’t good enough. You know, I broke him a couple of times in the second.

“I had a lot of close games on his serve in the first and second set and didn’t convert enough chances, and, yeah, I didn’t serve well enough.

“Sometimes a few games can change matches. Had breakpoints in the first set. If I had maybe gone up there maybe I would have started to play better, but when I went behind he started serving better, and he was going for his shots.

Murray said that he won’t be playing any more matches before the US  Open.

“I won’t play any more matches, Murray added. “I mean, always when going into the big tournaments, sometimes I’ve won tournaments in the buildup and it hasn’t helped me; this year Wimbledon I lost in the first round at Queen’s and made the final there for the first time. I have won Queen’s before and not done well at Wimbledon.

So it doesn’t normally have that much bearing. But, you know, obviously I would have liked to have done a bit better this week.”

 

Chardy will play Juan Martin Del Potro on Friday for s spot in the semifinals.

 

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BNP Paribas Open Day Three: The Phenomenals.

By Erik Gudris

With the early talk at this year’s BNP Paribas Open focusing on the “big three” of Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic, it’s easy to forget about the next generation of tennis stars who aren’t that far away from potentially from being part of the top ten or even the top three, depending on how their games progress in the next few years. And already in 2011, we have three young men in the ATP Tour who have received a lot of attention and hype, some of it deserved and some of it not, each one being an ambassador for their country’s future Grand Slam hopes. Two from nations with a long history of tennis success that could be in peril of a long drought and one from a nation known more for sports victories on a slicker surface than grass.

Possibly the biggest star so far this year, even with the combined accomplishments of the “big three” is Milos Raonic. After coming through qualifying to reach the fourth round of the Australian Open followed by a title in San Jose and then reaching the finals in Memphis, Raonic comes into Indian Wells as a must-see player for fans who’ve only seen him on T.V. Raonic took on Marsel Ilhan of Turkey on Friday  and though the Canadian only served 46% first serves in the match, the “Maple Leaf Missile” managed a few rocket serves, including one at 148 mph that stunned the crowd. What impressed me most about Raonic was his movement and his backhand, especially when he hits down the line as a way to end the point outright. It was a shot he wasn’t afraid to go for and I thought about how I would like to see him go toe to toe with Djokovic in a baseline rally. Raonic pulled out a 6-2, 7-6 win but admitted he wasn’t playing his best tennis today. “I didn’t serve that well today, but I feel compared to Memphis and San Jose I’m playing another level from the baseline. I feel like it just gives me a lot more comfort that I’m improving that aspect and hopefully the serve will be back tomorrow for the doubles.”

The warm reception Raonic got at the start of the match proves the Canadian has become something of an adopted American for U.S. fans to cheer for. Not that they haven’t stopped cheering for Ryan Harrison of Shreveport, Louisiana who increased his own phenom status with a run to the second round of the U.S. Open last year, a run that was halted by a loss to Sergiy Stakhovsky in a five set match that Harrison had control of and that Harrison says still fuels him to improve his game. Harrison, unlike Raonic, has had a rough start to the year and his three set come from behind win over France’s Jeremy Chardy 6-7, 7-6, 6-3 today showed that Harrison may have a potential winning all-court game, but unlike Raonic, Harrison is still on a steep learning curve, especially on big points or when serving out a match like today when Harrison was up 5-0 in the third set but allowed Chardy three more games than was necessary. When asked what his strengths and weaknesses are in his game, Harrison cited his variety of shots as both. ”Sometimes I get to a point where I do get confused and I don’t know what to do in any given point. An experienced tour player will have something that they know what they want to do. You see Fed, he’s gonna hit that serve and look for a forehand. Everyone has their thing and I’m still trying to figure out what my thing is on big points.”

Someone who definitely appears to be figuring a lot of things out is Bernard Tomic, the 18 year old from Australia who managed his own three set victory over India’s Rohan Bopanna 6-7, 7-6, 6-4. Tomic, since winning two junior Grand Slam titles has earned both praise and scorn for his almost too casual playing style and his own perceived arrogance with regards to working his way up the ranks in qualifying at big events or even playing in Challengers. Watching Tomic for the first time live today, I never felt Tomic was ever emotionally invested for most of the match. After losing the first set, Tomic spent most of the time during points talking to himself and focusing more on studying close marks on the lines than running for shots that he could have reached if he put in enough effort. Somehow Tomic picked up his play enough to win the second set tiebreak 7-1 and then held onto to a break of serve in the third set to win the match. A lot of people compare Tomic’s defensive style of play to Andy Murray’s game, but I don’t think it’s anywhere near that level yet. I’m not ready to write off Tomic just yet, but he definitely needs an attitude adjustment soon.

It’s easy to get on Tomic’s case for his on-court attitude as both Raonic and Harrison today displayed flashes of anger either at calls or their own missed shots that one could chalk to youth rather than experience. Plus with each of these young men being called “the next great champion” by their own tennis federations and their nation’s media, how they handle that part of the sport could be just as important as what they do on-court.

Raonic is two years older than Harrison and Tomic and who’s to argue that in the next two years the young American and Australian won’t have their own breakout moment at a big event. And by then there could even be another young player we’ve barely heard of that will be the talk of the tour. But at least for this week at Indian Wells, all three of the “phenomenals.” are focused on being in the second round just as the “big three” will be this weekend.

Erik Gudris, writer and moderator of Adjustingthenet.com is covering the BNP Paribas Open this week for Tennis Panorama News. Follow him on Twitter @gvtennisnews

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