August 30, 2015

Djokovic, Murray and Nadal Reach French Open Fourth Round with Straight Set Wins

(May 30, 2015) Top seeds Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray and Rafael Nadal earned straight-set victory to reach the fourth round of the French Open on Saturday.

No. 1 Novak Djokovic, seeking the only major he has yet to win defeated young Australian Thanasi Kokkinakis 6-4, 6-4, 6-4. Djokovic currently on a 25 match win streak hit 34 winners in the one hour and 49 minute match.

“I think that tennis needs players like Thanasi, who is a teenager, but still able to come out on center court and play with courage and play with power and believe in himself,” Djokovic said. He’s one of this group of three, four young players that are, you know, starting to be more and more consistent and make couple of big wins in their careers and that are obviously expected to do very well from the tennis world. Now, we didn’t have that many young successful players under 20 year olds in last six, seven years, so I think it’s quite refreshing for tennis and it’s pretty good to see that. I thought he served well. He played pretty well. I made the three breaks each set, and that was enough for the win.”

“Great experience for me to play on such a nice court against No. 1 in the world and one of the greatest players of all time,” said the the Australian ranked 84th in the word. “I wasn’t too nervous going into the match. Felt like I served all right. I played all right. Just wasn’t quite enough.”

Next up for Djokovic will be No. 20 Richard Gasquet of France. Gasquet came back against Kevin Anderson 4-6, 7-6(4), 7-5, 6-4

Third seed Andy Murray remained unbeaten on clay this season reaching the fourth round defeating Nick Kyrgios 6-4, 6-2, 6-3.

“Definitely coming into the tournament, I mean, is the best I have played on clay,” Murray said. “The results would obviously suggest that. Never won a clay court tournament, never been to the final and had many wins against any of the top guys, you know, for a while on the clay. Obviously in Madrid, I managed to do that against Kei (Nishikori), Milos (Raonic), and against Rafa(el Nadal), played some very good matches there. I think winning the tournament and changing my schedule helped a lot. I never played any of the smaller events on the tour, on clay, and getting my first win on clay helped, for sure. I feel that that was a good decision from me and my team there. And then also physically, as well. I gave myself time to get used to the surface, and a surface I struggled with my back for a few years and gave myself a proper training period, built it up slowly, and made a few changes to the way that I preferred for this clay court season. That was, I think, they are the things that I have changed and the things that have helped me.”

“Murray, I think he’s one of the best defenders of the game at the moment,” Kyrios said. “Yeah, obviously matchup is key thing in tennis, but today I wasn’t near 100%. Not to take anything from him. He played unbelievable. I don’t think he served well, but he made a lot of returns and he just does what he does best: that’s make a lot of balls and mix up the game. He was too good.”

Murray with try to reach the quarterfinals when he takes on Frenchman Jeremy Chardy.

Jeremy Chardy upset 17th seed David Goffin 6-3, 6-4, 6-2.

“He’s so confident, he didn’t lose a match on clay court,” Chardy said about playing Murray. “I play against him in Rome. I play a good match, but still I lost 3 and 3. Yeah, after he beat me, he pull out from Rome to be fresh for Roland Garros, and I think for him it’s a big goal. So it will be a really tough match. In the past we always say Andy doesn’t like to play on clay court, but now I think everybody change and he like more now to play on clay.”

Rafael Nadal won his 69th career match at Roland Garros to move into the round of 16, besting 120th-ranked Andrey Kuznetsov 6-1, 6-3, 6-2 and extending his winning streak at Roland Garros to 38.

The sixth seeded Spaniard will face 22-year-old American Jack Sock next.

On playing Sock in the round of 16, Nadal said: He’s a great player, no? He’s playing fantastic, winning very tough matches against very difficult opponents like (Grigor) Dimitrov, Pablo Carrena (Busta), and today against (Borna) Coric. He has an amazing forehand, good serve, very good serve, and then he’s a player that can play very aggressive and is dangerous, no? I know I have to be very solid. I know I have to play aggressive, try to don’t let him to hit the forehand in positions, because I am going to be in big trouble. I gonna try.”

In a battle of young guns of the ATP World tour, Sock overwhelmed 18-year-old Borna Coric with his forehand with a 6-2, 6-1, 6-4 win.

Coric said: “He just played way too good today. He was serving too big. His forehands were very heavy and I was struggling to cope with that. I couldn’t stay close to the line. You know, yeah, he was just playing too good. I mean, it was maybe the combination that I didn’t play great. That’s for sure. But I think that the first thing was that he played too good.”

“It was a good day for me, for sure,” Sock said. “I was fortunate enough to play great tennis. And, you know, once again, things I was looking to do, serving forehand and dictate a lot of points, like I said yesterday or a couple days ago, I was able to do that very well today. In general, I think he plays pretty far behind the baseline and kind of lets the opponent maneuver the ball a little bit. He’s a great defender, makes a lot of balls, and is very quick. I usually feel pretty good when I’m hitting a lot of forehands, especially from the left side of the court, and able to move the ball around and dictate play. I was able to do that today fortunately.”

Ninth seed and reigning U. S. Open champion Marin Cilic of Croatia had a straight forward 6-3, 6-2, 6-4 victory over No. 23 Leonardo Mayer of Argentina.

The round of 16 is set for the men:

Novak Djokovic vs Richard Gasquet

Rafael Nadal vs Jack Sock

Andy Murray vs Jeremy Chardy

David Ferrer vs Marin Cilic

Kei Nishikori vs Teymuraz Gabashvili

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga vs Tomas Berdych

Stan Wawrinka vs Gilles Simon

Roger Federer vs Gael Monfils

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Ferrer Nets 600th Win to Advance to Valencia Semis Along with Murray

Ferrer 600

By Florian Heer

(October 24, 2014) VALENCIA – The first and third seeds headlined the action on Day 5 at the Valencia Open.

Three-time Valencia champion David Ferrer defeated Tomaz Bellucci in only 67 minutes winning 6-1, 6-2. It was the 600th career win for the Spaniard, who has become the fourth active player to accomplish the feat after Roger Federer (987), Rafael Nadal (706) and Lleyton Hewitt (611). Ferrer was congratulated with a celebratory cake on Centre Court by his nephew and Tournament Director, Juan Carlos Ferrero.

“It’s great to achieve this victory here at home in Valencia in front of the people I love most,” the No. 5 from Javea said and he added that the two greatest victories in his career were winning the Masters final in Paris Bercy in 2012 and defeating Juan Martin Del Potro in the 2011 Davis Cup final.

“Actually I prefer courts, which are a little bit faster. So the surface here will not be an advantage for me tomorrow. It’s going to be a tough match with a long rallies.”

Ferrer is looking forward to another clash with Andy Murray after both had met in Shanghai as well as in Vienna’s final last Sunday and is more than satisfied with Friday’s announcement that the Valencia Open will be part of the ATP Tour calendar for at least another two years. “It’s good news for myself and the people from Valencia that the tournament will remain here for another two years. I’m very happy with this fact,” Ferrer, as one of the tournament’s three owners, told.

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The Valencia Open’s No. 3, Andy Murray, who has won 15 of his last 17 matches, went up against seventh-seeded Kevin Anderson for the fourth time with the Brit edging their head to head 2-1 before Friday’s encounter. After the Scot had lost the opening set in the tie-break, Murray gained the decisive break in the ninth game of the second to take the match the distance, where he began to outplay his opponent more and more. After two hours and 43 minutes, Murray sealed victory winning 6-7, 6-3, 6-4.

It was a very tough match today with a lot of long games and long rallies. I started to serve a little bit better at the end of the second set and I created some chances on his service games. Nonetheless, it was extremely close. Matches like this are tough on the body as well as tough on the mind. A lot of the games could have gone the other way but I managed to get through,” Murray said afterwards.

“The match tomorrow will be an important one, as was last week and also in Shanghai. This tournament is very important to remain the chance of qualifying for London but next week in Paris will be also a deciding factor. Regardless of what is happening now here, I think it was a good decision to play in Valencia. So I have the chance to influence what will happen in the ATP Race. Rather I will play against David (Ferrer) in the semi-finals than someone else. If I win that match, I’ll put myself in a great position,” the Brit said about qualifying for the final showdown.

“Players, who win a Grand Slam deserve to be in the biggest competition at the end of the year. That’s my opinion. But as I said the last few weeks if I worked for the ATP Tour, I would want ATP tournaments to have more value. Of course I would be disappointed if I couldn’t make it to London because I’m playing this many tournaments trying to finish within the top-8. That’s what I want to do. Normally I would play two tournaments in Asia and two tournaments in Europe. Now, there are still ten days left, one more week to London,” Murray explaining about adding a few tournaments to his schedule.

Jeremy Chardy defeated Spanish Wild Card Pablo Carreňo-Busta for a second time in their second meeting winning 6-1, 6-2 in only 51 minutes.

“It was easier than I might have expected,” the 27-year-old Frenchman was happy reaching his second semi-final of the season. “Pablo is a good player. I played against him at the beginning of the year in Vina del Mar and back then it was a tough match but today I was very solid. Maybe Pablo also had to deal with a bit of pressure today playing in front of his home crowd. Nonetheless, since the beginning of the tournament I feel really good.”

“This has been my best year so far. I play very solid and I’m happy with my game. I hope that I can continue playing like this here in Valencia. I really like the court here, it seems to suit my game very well.

The French will battle Tommy Robredo in the semi-finals. The 32-year-old Spaniard beat compatriot Pablo Andújar 7-6, 6-4 in one hour and 52 minutes in the final singles match of the day, recording his first victory in three meetings between the two.

“It was a very intense match today with a lot of ups and downs. Chardy is a great player with a very good serve. It will be a very tough match and I have to plan a good strategy to be successful in the end,” the Spaniard said. On Saturday, Robredo is within reach of another ATP milestone. The world No. 21 is now one match away from his 500th career win.

Florian Heer travels the tennis tour with a focus on ATP Challenger events and the ITF Future Circuit!  Follow his twitter account @Florian _Heer. He is in Valencia covering the Valencia Open as media for Tennis Panorama.

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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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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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