2014/09/16

Top Seeds Serena Williams and Novak Djokovic Win: Eugenie Bouchard Beaten by the Heat

Eugenie Bouchard

Eugenie Bouchard

(September 1, 2014) FLUSHING MEADOWS – The US Open top seeds had straight set victories on Labor Day Monday. Novak Djokovic, was a 6-1, 7-5, 6-4 winner over No. 22 seeds Philipp Kohlschreiber of Germany, and Serena Williams defeated No. 50 Kaia Kanepi of Estonia 6-3, 6-3.

For the Serb Djokovic it’s his 8th straight US Open quarterfinal he’s reached and his 22nd major tournament overall.

“I’m very glad obviously that I had so many consecutive quarterfinals of Grand Slams,” said the Serb. “It says that I do value these tournaments the most and try to always perform my best tennis in them. Obviously motivates me for the future to continue that streak, of course.”

Djokovic will meet two-time major champion Andy Murray in the quarterfinals. Murray beat No. 9 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 7-5, 7-5, 6-4.

For Serena Williams the two-time defending US Open champion, this will be her first Grand Slam quarterfinal this year.

“I never thought it would be so exciting,” Williams said smiling. “Yeah! It feels good. Obviously I don’t want this to end. But I’m just happy that I’m able to be performing a little better at the end of the year.”

Williams has a perfect 5-0 record against her next opponent Flavia Pennetta.

“Of course, she’s better than me, but if I still believe I can beat her, maybe if she doesn’t have a good day I can do that,” Pennetta said. If I get in the court and just play and try to don’t take 6-Love 6-Love, I gonna take 6-Love 6-Love.”

Canadian Eugenie Bouchard was beaten by the heat during her fourth round match-up against Ekaterina Makarova. The Canadian said that she felt dizzy and her vision was blurry as she was bothered by the New York City heat and humidity. She took two medical time outs.

“I was feeling very light headed and dizzy on the court,” said Bouchard. “You know, just seeing things a little blurry. You know, feeling well physically on the court is very important to me, so when I don’t feel that — I just generally didn’t feel good.”

Makarova, the 17th seed from Russia beat Bouchard 7-6 (2), 6-4, ending the Canadian’s streak of reaching at least the semifinals of each major in 2014.

“I definitely felt a lot of outside expectations and pressure to win matches. I felt more like it’s normal if I win and it’s a bit more of a disaster when I lose,” Bouchard said. “But that’s something that I need to block out.”

“I remember as a junior a few times in Australia when it was hot I felt this way. Last year here actually in the second round I felt it a little bit. You know, once in a while I get a little bit light headed. That’s what happens.”

Makarova said: “Today was really tough condition definitely. So humid, and sometimes I think because of that the game was going like up and down. Against Bouchard it’s always tough because she’s running good. She’s also really — like physically she’s hard. So I think it was really good match, and I’m really happy that in the end of the first and the second set I was a little bit more aggressive.”

In round of 16 men’s matches on Monday night, No. 3 Stan Wawrinka beat No. 16 Tommy Robredo 7-5, 4-6, 7-6 (7), 6-2, No. 5 Milos Raonic fell to  No. 10 Kei Nishikori 4-6, 7-6(4), 6-7(6), 7-5, 6-4, in a match which ended at 2:26 a.m. Tuesday, equaling the latest finish in US Open history.

Two-time US Open finalist Victoria Azarenka rallied past qualifier 145th-ranked Aleksandra Krunic of Serbia to win 4-6, 6-4, 6-4.

“I didn’t have a lot of data on her or, you know, much of an idea,” Azarenka said. “I think she played exceptionally well today. I’m not sure if I would have watched the matches before that would help me a lot, I think because I felt like not knowing much she still played on a really high level and pretty consistent through the whole match. She gave a fight, and she wasn’t afraid to go big on the important moments. I was a little bit surprised that she’s not that tall, and she hits the ball and unleashes her forehand with so much power. So that was quite surprising. But, you know, I think she’s a young player. She has a good future if she keeps going this way.”

 

Next for Azarenka will be Makarova. The Belarusian evaluated her next challenger.

“I think she’s a very tough opponent because she’s very consistent. You know, she reads the game really well. We had some tough matches in the past. I think she’s not afraid to play against top players. She handled herself well against, you know, big names in Grand Slams. She’s definitely playing well. I’m looking forward to that match.”

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Tsonga Tops Federer for Toronto Title

(August 10, 2014) Jo-Wilfried Tsonga became the first Frenchman to win the Rogers Cup, defeating No. 2 seed Roger Federer 7-5, 7-6 (3) taking down his fourth straight top 10 opponent.

He beat No. 1 Novak Djokovic on Thursday, No. 8 Andy Murray in the quarterfinals and No. 7 seed Grigor Dimitrov in the semifinals. This marks the first time that a player has defeated four top 10 players in a row in Canada since 2002.

For the Frenchman it was his first ATP World Tour title win of the year and 11th overall. Tsonga is now 5-11 versus the Swiss.

In the first set both men held serve through the first 11 games. With Federer serving in the 12th game, fell behind and faced his fist break point in the match. The world No. 3 hit a forehand long to give Tsonga the set.

In the second set, Tsonga kept his opponent at bay – he missed out on break point chances in the sixth game and in the eighth game. Federer saved a match point in the tenth game and both men held to force a tiebreak.

Tsonga took the mini-break advantage at 4-3 and closed out the match by winning the next three points.

“I think it was the overall day conditions that were tough for me,” Federer said. “It was faster than in the night, all my previous matches, so I think the turnaround was tough.

“I definitely think Jo served well, and when he does serve well it’s always going to be hard. But not to win more points on his first serve ‑‑ I don’t know the second serve stat, but I need to have a better impact on that normally.

“Today was just difficult in terms of rhythm from the baseline, so it was like a new tournament for me today.

“No excuses. I think he played really solid and well when he had to, and like you mentioned, I think he served well overall, which was key for him.”

“I don’t realize really what I achieved this week, but it’s a big achievement for me,” Tsonga said.

“It’s completely different than before when I won in Paris. In Paris it was the first one, you know, behind my family, all my friends, everybody. I think I did it with my hurt, you know, in Paris. Here I just did it with my level, with my game.

“I played well all this week. I beat many good guys. You know, it’s a big achievement because I worked really hard to come back from my knee injury last year.”

Asked about the pro-Federer crowd, Tsonga said: “When you play Roger, of course you are always the challenger for the people in the crowd, so some of them are for you because they want you to do a good performance, but most of them are for Roger because he’s the guy who did the most for tennis since a long time now, and he deserve it and that’s it.”

At No. 15, Tsonga is the first ATP Masters 1000 winner ranked outside the Top 10 since No. 26 Ivan Ljubicic won Indian Wells back in 2010 over Andy Roddick. Tsonga will move back into the top 10 when the rankings come out on Monday.

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Tsonga Moves into Toronto Final

By Dave Gertler

(August 9, 2014) TORONTO – No one’s been able to stop Jo-Wilfried Tsonga yet at the Rogers Cup in Toronto, and after an hour and 24 minutes of trying, neither could world No. 8 Grigor Dimitrov. The 13th seeded Frenchman now advances to his third career Masters 1000 final, after winning the Paris Indoors in 2008 and losing another final at home to Roger Federer in 2011.

 

After four grueling and lengthy three-set quarterfinals on Friday, a near-capacity crowd today – including a vocal contingent of Dimitrov supporters sporting Bulgarian flags – may have expected a closer battle between these two players known for their athleticism and shot-making. Instead, what they witnessed was a display of power from Tsonga, as he dictated on his serve, weathering down Dimitrov’s counterattack, ultimately breaking the world No.8 three times and saving all four break points he faced.

 

“I’m feeling good,” said Tsonga, who defeated world No.1 Novak Djokovic in the previous round, “You know, I’m waiting for this moment since a couple of years now.”

 

Tsonga was explosive on serve and forehand, delivering a total of 22 winners off both wings. Less than half of his first serves landed in, yet he only lost three points behind them in the first set, with a perfect 9 for 9 in the second set. With first serves averaging over 200km/h, it seemed even his faults were doing damage. Though his ace count was a modest 7, over half of the 23 points he won on his first serve were unreturnable by Dimitrov.

 

“He served good,” said Dimitrov, “I mean, not much else I could do. You have your chances. Today things were just not leaning on my side. You have a couple of chances. You couldn’t make the break.”

 

The four break points Dimitrov made Tsonga face came in the last game of the first set, after Tsonga had broken the 23-year-old for a 5-4 lead. In the longest game of the match, a nervous Tsonga would continually bail himself out of trouble with potent serving from the ad-court, clocking speeds between 217km/h and 226km/h to save four break points, and eventually confirm the set with a 219km/h service winner.

 

Dimitrov’s only reprieve from Tsonga’s attack would be a brief toilet break between sets. After Dimitrov held for 1-0 in the second set, Tsonga won 12 points in a row, breaking Dimitrov at 1-1, then making him face three break points at 0-40, 1-3.

 

With the support of the Bulgarian crowd, Dimitrov mustered enough free points on serve to prevent going down a double break. “Everywhere I turn,” said Dimitrov, “There was Bulgarian flags and support was amazing.”

He kept fighting, but a serving of free points and some vocal support from the crowd would not be enough to let Dimitrov back into a second set in which the Frenchman only lost two points on serve.

 

In fact, Tsonga won more points on Dimitrov’s serve in the second set than Dimitrov himself would win, ultimately breaking the world No.8 in the last game of the match, taking it 6-4, 6-3, and celebrating with a display of shadow-boxing, a departure from his trademark running jump-spin chest beating.

 

“When I win like this,” said Tsonga, “I show emotion because, you know, it’s not only on the court we work. It’s also outside. There is people around us to help us, and it’s always good to share with them.”

 

Tsonga is now hoping for an opportunity to play Roger Federer, who contests the other semifinal tonight against Feliciano Lopez, a player he has never lost to, to reach what will be his 37th Masters 1000 final.

 

“I would like to face Roger,” said Tsonga, who has had four career wins over Federer, a two-time Rogers Cup champion, “Just because it’s always an honor for me to play against him in such a good arena. Yeah, it can be one of the biggest victories for me if I am able to beat him.”

 

Dave Gertler is a tennis journalist, player and musician based in Sydney covering the Rogers Cup in Toronto for Tennis Panorama News. Follow his Twitter updates from the tournament on @TennisNewsTPN, follow him on his personal Twitter @davegertler,  read his blog,  and listen to his podcast, Tennis Days .

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After Win Over Djokovic, Tsonga Continues Form with Upset of Murray to Reach Toronto Semis

Tsonga Murray 8814

By Dave Gertler

 

(August 8, 2014) TORONTO – Jo-Wilfried Tsonga is returning to the form that has previously delivered him to two semifinals at the Rogers Cup, and on Friday, he exacted revenge on the man who stopped him in his path when he first got there in 2009. After a surprising 6-2, 6-2 win over Novak Djokovic yesterday in Toronto, Tsonga has followed it up with his first win over Andy Murray since the Frenchman’s famous run to the final of the Australian Open in 2008.

 

Firing 17 aces at Murray throughout the match, including three in the first game, Tsonga let his serve do the talking from the outset. “I’m just stronger,” said the world No.15 after his victory, “During practice I worked a lot on my legs, and for sure I’m stronger on my legs. I think it helped me a lot for my serve because I can push a little bit more, so it give me more angle.” His increased leg-strength allowed Tsonga to maintain a first-service speed well above 200km/h throughout the two-hour, 18-minute match on Stadium Court.

 

Tsonga would only lose ten points in total behind his first serve the whole match, Murray realizing early that he would need to return at a high level, saying, “The beginning of the match he served extremely well. He served a lot of aces. You know, I had to play around my return position quite a lot, and I started to get into more service games the second and third set.”

 

After Tsonga sealed the first-set tie-break 7-5 with a booming ace, Murray found himself with the advantage in the second set, holding twice before breaking for 3-2. Although he was immediately broken back to love, the world No.9 would regain his edge, breaking Tsonga to love for a 6-4 margin in the second set.

 

“Tennis and sport really can change a lot from one day to the next,” said Murray, who had enjoyed an eight-match winning streak against Tsonga until today, “You wake up on the wrong side of the bed, which maybe he did in Miami and I played a good match, that can happen. He’s a fantastic athlete,” Murray added, “When his game is on, he’s very tough to beat.”

 

Tsonga would prevail in a 45-minute deciding set of high-quality tennis mixed in with some frustrating errors from both players. Ultimately, he would serve out the final set 6-4, serving three aces and a double fault. “I just stayed focused,” said the 29-year-old Frenchman, who has made the interesting fashion choice this week of tucking in his shirt, “Tried to be a little bit more aggressive because I was a little bit flat after losing the second set. He gave me one or two points he didn’t give me since the start of the second set, and, you know, then I went back and I won it.”

 

Tsonga will play Grigor Dimitrov next his third career Rogers Cup semifinal. Other winning quarterfinals included Roger Federer and Spaniard Feliciano Lopez.

 

Dave Gertler is a tennis journalist, player and musician based in Sydney covering the Rogers Cup in Toronto for Tennis Panorama News. Follow his Twitter updates from the tournament on @TennisNewsTPN, follow him on his personal Twitter @davegertler,  read his blog,  and listen to his podcast, Tennis Days .

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Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic Move into Wimbledon Quarterfinals

 

 

(June 30, 2014) WIMBLEDON -Top seed Novak Djokovic and third seed Andy Murray are getting closer to a semifinal clash as both men reached the Wimbledon quarterfinals on Monday at the All England Club.

Defending champion Murray reached his seventh straight Wimbledon quarterfinal after beating Kevin Anderson of South Africa 6-4, 6-3, 7-6 (6) under a closed roof on Centre Court, after a rain delay in the second set forced the roof to be shut.

For the Scot Murray it’s his 17 straight match win at the All England club dating back to the 2012 Olympic Games in London.

The Serb Djokovic beat France’s Jo-Wilfried Tsonga for the 11th consecutive time with a 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 (5) win.

“I was just happy that I won the match,” Murray said.  “I was a bit disappointed with how I started under the roof.  The beginning, like I said, I was a little bit tentative.  Apart from that, that sort of three or four games when we came back out, I played well.

“I created many chances, gave him a few opportunities.  That’s what you need to do on grass court tennis.  You don’t always break.  But if you keep putting them under enough pressure, you’re going to get through in the end.”

“I knew I was going to get tested, you know, at some stage,” the Scot added.  “And, yeah, today I was pushed, especially in the middle part of that second set, then obviously later on in the third there were some tight moments.

“But I handled them fairly well.  It was a good match.”

“I think he was moving great,” Anderson said of Murray’s play.  “That’s a big part of his game.  I think especially on the grass I think that’s a big contributor to why he’s had so much success on this surface.”

Murray will face No. 11. Grigor Dimitrov in his quarterfinal. Dimitrov defeated Leonardo Mayer 6-4, 7-6 (6), 6-2.

“It’s a step up because it’s one round further, and the guys that are in the quarterfinals are going to be playing top tennis,” Murray said about his encounter with the Bulgarian.  “He obviously won Queen’s a couple weeks ago.  He likes the grass courts.

“Yeah, it’s a big opportunity for him, as well, playing on the Centre Court, the courts at Wimbledon for the first time.

“Yeah, it’s a great opportunity for him.  Hopefully we can play a good match.”

 

“I’m happy that I’m in the quarterfinal match,” Dimitrov said.  “Just going to give credit to myself for that.  But my job isn’t over yet.

“So I’m excited to get on the court tomorrow.  Just go through my regular routines, through all the gears, you know, come on Wednesday.”

 

“I’m just going to play my game,” Dimitrov added.  “I’m not going to step back.  I just want to come out with my big game and play my aggressive tennis.”

 

“I was aware of his qualities, especially on this surface,” Djokvic said of his match with Tsonga.  “He looked, before the match, very determined to play his best and very focused.

“I think I did really well from the start to the end, especially in the third set where I thought he elevated his level of game and he started serving very high percentage first serve, very strong, all angles.

“It was difficult to get the return back in play, but managed to save a couple break points, crucial ones, get myself in the tiebreak and wait for the opportunity to be presented.

“We both served very well in the tiebreak, and the only opportunity I had was on second serve on 6-5, and I used it.  I went for the shot.

“Yeah, I’m just glad that I didn’t allow him to go into the fourth set, because he started to use obviously the crowd support.  And, you know, I knew that he’s going to do that because he’s the kind of player that feeds off the energy, so it was very important for me to get this done in straight sets.”

Djokovic will play Marin Cilic for a place in the semifinals.

“I will try to stick to the kind of a game plan that I had against Marin in the previous occasions,” Djokovic said.

“I am aware of the fact, as well, that since he started working with Goran Ivanesevic that he has improved, especially in his service department, where for his height I thought that he didn’t use his full potential up to now work with Goran, where it’s evident that it works well for him.

“Especially on the grass it serves as a great weapon.  He won here in straight sets against Chardy and Berdych and some very good players.

“So it says enough about his quality play in this tournament.”

Stan Wawrinka was finally able to complete his third round match on Monday. Rain on Saturday delayed his chance to play.

The No. 1 Swiss will face 19th seed Feliciano Lopez in the fourth round. Lopez dismissed the last American man in the singles draw, Ninth seed John Isner, 6-7 (8), 7-6 (6), 7-6 (3), 7-5, despite the American hitting 52 aces.

“Tough match to play,” Lopez said.

“As I said before, I knew it’s going to be like this.  I knew we going to play a lot of tiebreaks, so this is the match I was excepting to play.

“Luckily I made it.  I’m very happy to went through.  It was a very difficult one for me today.”

With Isner beaten and Madison Keys withdrawing from the tournament with an injury, it’s the first time since 1911 that no Americans have reached the round of 16 at Wimbledon.

Asked about this fact, Isner said, “Didn’t know that. Don’t really care either.”

Keys was forced to pull out of the tournament with a left adductor injury.

On the women’s side of the draw, the conqueror of Serena Williams has been knocked out of Wimbledon.

Canada’s Eugenie Bouchard, the 13th seed defeated Alize Cornet 7-6 (5), 7-5 to reach the quarterfinals.

“I think we played some good tennis today, “Bouchard said.  “You know, we had some tough points.  She has good wheels.  So I had to really try and finish off the point.

“You know, I think it made for some really tough, physical points.  So that’s definitely the most physical match I’ve played I think this tournament.

“But I’m proud that I really, really fought till the end.  She’s a good fighter, too.  We were really just battling.”

“This is what I’ve worked so hard for, to be in the quarters at Wimbledon,” Bouchard said. “But I want to go another step. I want to keep going.”

Bouchard will play the winner of the fourth round match between Maria Sharapova and Angelique Kerber.

Bouchard spoke briefly about playing both of these women:

“I think she’s a great player,” Bouchard said of Sharapova.  “She, you know, tries to be aggressive like I try to be aggressive as well.  So I think, you know, I’m going to go in and try to battle and go for my shots.  We had a tough match recently at the French Open.  But that’s the past.  So it’s a new match.  If I were to play her, I would just be very excited and really try to go for it.”

“Kerber I played at the French as well.  I played both opponents recently.  Of course with her she’s a lefty so you keep that in mind with tactics.  I played well last time against her because I was really trying to go for it.  Whenever I had an opening, I would really go for it.  I would keep my basic game against both players.”

Three players from the Cazech Republic are among the women’s quarterfinalists – 2011 Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova, Lucie Safarova and unseeded Barbora Zahlavova Strycova.

Zahlavova Strycova, who beat No. 2 Li Na, defeated No. 16 Caroline Wozniacki 6-2, 7-5 to reach her first Grand Slam quarterfinal. Back in April 2013, she completed serving a a six-month doping ban after testing positive for the stimulant sibutramine.

“I can’t believe it for right now,” Zahlavova Strycova sid about the win and reaching the quarterfinals.  “It’s great.  I mean, it was a tough match obviously, and I had to make a fifth match point.

“I’m really, really happy that I could win today.”

She spoke about the six month ban to press: “First of all, I didn’t wanted to play again because I felt like it’s a little bit unfair.  Everything was kind of against.

“So first two months I didn’t want to come back.  Then I missed it.  I missed the feeling of working out, the feeling of winning matches, and being on tour.

“It was tough, but on the other hand, it also brings me some positive things.  Like I say, I am seeing the sport a little bit different now.

“And here I am.”

Last year’s finalist Sabine Lisicki ousted 11th seed Ana Ivanovic 6-4, 3-6, 6-1 to reach the fourth round in a match carried over from Saturday.

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Nick Kyrgios Saves 9 Match Points in Win over Richard Gasquet

(June 26, 2014) WIMBLEDON – Nineteen year-old Australian, Nick Kyrgios saved nine match points before beating No. 13 Richard Gasquet 3-6, 6-7 (4), 6-4, 7-5, 10-8 at Wimbledon on Thursday. For the wild card, he has reached the third round of a major tournament for the first time in his young career. He is the youngest player in the draw.

“It was an unbelievable match out there,” said the Australian.  “My first ever two sets love down, coming back and winning.  It’s an amazing feeling.  So proud of yourself the way you hung in and fought it out.

“I played some unbelievable tennis today.  He was coming up with some really good shots as well.  I think I saved nine match points.  There’s plenty of opportunities he could have taken.  I came out on top, I’m really happy.”

For the young Australian beating Gasquet represents the biggest win of his budding pro career, his first against a top 20 player.

So what was Kyrgios thinking about as he was facing match points against him?

“I was just thinking I just need a big serve every time,” he said.  “That’s what I was thinking.

“You know, a couple times where I missed my first serve.  Obviously the challenge kept me in it.  I was just thinking about going through my routine, coming up with something, going after it, playing aggressive.

The match lasted almost four hours and ended when the Aussie hit his 21st ace of the match.

“My goal is to become the No. 1 player in the world,” Kyrgios said.

Kyrgios will face another youngster in Jiri Vesely in the third round. Vesely took out Frenchman seeded 24, Gael Monfils in five sets 7-6 (3), 6-3, 6-7 (1), 6-7 (3), 6-4.

“He had a massive win today, winning in five sets,” Kyrgios said of his next challenger.  “He’s also young.  He’s on the rise.  He’s got a really aggressive game, big serve.  Big hitter as well.

“I think the grass is suiting him nicely.  Well done to him, as well.”

“He is a very talented player and today he was a beast,” Gasquet said in his post match news conference.

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga completed his match suspended by darkness on Wednesday night and broke Sam Querrey’s service in the 25th game of the final set to win the match 4-6, 7-6 (2), 6-7 (4), 6-3, 14-12 at Wimbledon on Thursday.

 

Karen Pestaina at Wimbledon

 

Related article:

“The Journey Starts Today” An Interview with Nick Kyrgios

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Novak Djokovic Dominates Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in Paris

 

 

(June 1, 2014) No. 2 Novak Djokovic thoroughly dominated 13th-seeded Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-1, 6-4, 6-1 in only 90 minutes on Sunday at the French Open to reach the quarterfinals for his 20th straight major tournament in a row.

Djokovic broke Tsonga seven times as Tsonga hit 38 unforced errors.

“I didn’t go through happy moments today,” Tsonga told press. “It was not fun for me. It was tough. I didn’t have time to go for my shots. I didn’t get off to a good start. Then against this type of player, things started to deteriorate. He played better and better.”

Djokovic raised his record over Tsonga to 12-5 overall, winning the last 10 encounters.

The Serb will face No. 8 Milos Raonic of Canada in the quarterfinals. The Canadian beat Marcel Granollers of Spain 6-3, 6-3, 6-3.

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Ernests Gulbis Keeps Record in Finals Perfect with Win Over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga

Ernests Gulbis by Maria Noble

(February 23, 2014) Ernest Gulbis extended his perfect record in finals to 5-0 when he beat defending champion Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 7-6 (5), 6-4 to win the Open 13 title in Marseille.

The third seed Gulbis upset top seed Richard Gasquet in the semifinals going on to win his first ATP title since the St. Petersburg Open this past October.

Gulbis kept the pressure on Tsonga by playing aggressively, coming to the net. The Latvian hit 14 aces with 41 winners against the Frenchman.

For his efforts this week, the current world 23 will move into the top 20.

“My long-term goal in tennis isn’t to be Top 20” Gulbis said. “It’s to be No. 1. Anything less than that wouldn’t make me fully satisfied. I don’t want to get to 30 years old, look back on my career and say I didn’t make something of it. Everybody’s looking for satisfaction in life and my joy and happiness is based on my tennis career.

“I think [the top players] feel threatened by my game, because they know if I serve well and I’m aggressive, then it’s tough to play against me. I don’t feel I’m in the same league as the [Top 4] yet, I need to prove it. Game-wise, I think that I can be.

“It’s a really nice small record for me. 5-0 is really good. I remember when I used to play Futures and Challengers, I think I lost maybe one or two finals. When I get into finals I really have good form and good confidence and play my best tennis. Today I was serving really well and in the tie-break I was feeling really, really confident.

“I’m very happy right now, but the reality is that you’re back on court in two days. I want to keep both feet on the ground. There’s a couple of big tournaments coming up. It’s been a great week, but I want to build on it.”

For the favorite Tsonga who was seeking a third Open 13 championship, said he had a good week. “It was a high quality match today and I have no regrets. He was very solid and took a lot of risks. It was a positive week for me. It was important to get some matches under my belt. This is important for the confidence. Ernests has a great game and can beat the best players in the world.”

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Roger Federer Beats Jo-Wilfried Tsonga to Reach Australian Open Quarterfinals

Federer 3

By Alana Mitchelson

(January 20, 2014) MELBOURNE – Without having dropped even a single set on his road to the quarterfinals, Roger Federer has set up yet another clash with old rival Andy Murray this Wednesday after defeating Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in straight, 6-3, 7-5, 6-4, on Monday night.

 

The crowd roared in anticipation of the first true high-profile match of the tournament. From the get-go, Federer was focused in the moment, reading the motion of the ball and setting up opportunities to approach the net for cross-court winner volleys. The serve and volley tactics, reminiscent of his earlier days in the field, became a theme of his service games and saw him to hold each and every one of his serves.

 

Tsonga began attacking Federer’s backhand which was perhaps not at its strongest that evening. But with the exception of seizing a couple of break point opportunities here and there, Tsonga did not come close to backing up such chances at crucial moments or breaking ahead to a comfortable position on the scoreboard.

 

The former world No. 1 exhibited elegant shot-making of astounding precision and it was refreshing to watch him mix in the occasional net play rather than remain baseline bound for which he has become known in more recent times.

 

While Tsonga hit some breathtaking winners, he was shockingly inconsistent, claiming only about half of the points upon his second serve, and he failed to play anywhere near aggressively enough to pose any threat to the great Roger Federer.

 

“Don’t think I got broken today. That, against a great player. So I’m extremely happy with how things went for me tonight. I was able to play my game, offensive, mix it up, come to the net,” Federer said.

 

“I was good at net. I was consistent. I was solid. I was quick. I had the right mindset. I think the plan definitely worked out well for me tonight.

 

“I definitely felt like momentum was on my side, no doubt. I started the match well.”

 

This rising momentum worked against the Frenchman as the crowd often began to applaud a would-be-winner of Tsonga’s only to disband into a thrill of cheers as Federer would somehow manage to hit the ball back over the net.

 

Federer, however, identified some aspects of his game he could indeed improve on moving forward.

“I had some missed opportunities midway through the second set. I think I twice had 0-30, so I thought I could have done a bit better. But Jo did well to hang around and serve well when he had to.”

 

Reaching the quarterfinal round at the Australian Open for the eleventh year straight, the Swiss will contest Murray for a position in the semifinals. Federer is eagerly awaiting the challenge.

 

​”I think we’re both coming into this match with a good feeling. We’re both coming into this match, though, with some doubts slightly. I don’t know how he’s feeling. I haven’t seen him play much, to be quite honest.

 

“​It will be interesting because we both had an interesting year last year with some ups and downs. It’s a good start to the season for both of us already.”

 

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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Players React to the Heat at the Australian Open

 

(January 14, 2014) Temperatures topped 42C (108F) at the Australian Open on Tuesday while similar temperatures are expected to continue until Friday. Officials still did not invoke the “Extreme Heat Policy.” Here is the official statement from the Australian Open:

AUSTRALIAN OPEN STATEMENT

The top temperature at Melbourne Park today was 42.2 degrees Celsius, at 5.45pm.

Statement from Wayne McKewen, Referee:

While conditions were hot and uncomfortable, the relatively low level of humidity ensured that conditions never deteriorated to a point where it was necessary to invoke the extreme heat policy. Stages one and two of the heat policy were implemented.

Dr Tim Wood, Chief Medical Officer:

The majority of matches today were completed without any court calls from the medical team. Of course there were a few players who experienced heat related illness or discomfort, but none required significant medical intervention after they had completed their match.

 

Most of the matches today didn’t go for much longer than a couple of hours and generally the playing group coped extremely well.

 

Players reacted to the scorching temperatures in their news conferences. Here is a compilation of what the some of players said to press in response the heat:

Wozniacki frustrated

Q.  Could you give us a sense of the conditions and how you felt you coped with that today.
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI:  It was a little warm out there today.  But the first set I thought I managed to keep my head cool.  Every time in the changeovers, ice bags, ice towels, everything; and then in the second set I could feel they were starting to heat up even more.

I put the bottle down on the court and it started melting a little bit underneath, the plastic, so you knew it was warm.

But it was warm for both of us, and it was great that I managed to finish it off in two sets and it wasn’t too long.

Yeah, just had an ice bath now.  Yeah, I could go out and play another two sets now (smiling).

Victoria Azarenka

Q.  Any tricks of the trade to the heat?  Do you get an ice bath after that kind of heat?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:  I’m going to go probably after.  Just using ice, you know, hydrate.  It’s simple things, but you just have to be very disciplined about it.  Ball kids make a great job just bringing the ice towels right there.

 

Q.  Did you have a cold shower before you went out to hit the ball again, or is it a process that you go through to try and sort of bring your body temperature back down?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:  No, I just went out straight to go hit.  Actually put on a long sleeved shirt.  It wasn’t probably the smartest thing to do, but I’m fine.

 

Q.  Should the roof have been closed for your match?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:  I don’t know.  I would love it, but, you know, I think my opponent would also enjoy that.  But it’s fine, you know.

I think, you know, we’re all in the same conditions.  It’s much hotter out there right now than when I was playing.

 

Q.  Caroline said she put a plastic water bottle down on the court and she thought that it started melting a bit.  Is it that hot out there?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:  I don’t know.  It’s pretty hot.  I don’t know, when I went out on the court I was just curious what was the temperature.  Because even though it was windy, the wind was like hot wind.  Like I said, Just don’t blow it, because it’s like even hotter.  Just stop.

But you normally expect a little bit of, I don’t know, some freshness, I don’t know what, but it just didn’t come.  From anywhere (smiling).

 

Q.  The soles of your shoes weren’t burning, were they?
VICTORIA AZARENKA:  It felt pretty hot, like you’re dancing in a frying pan or something like that.

 

Maria Sharapova

Maria Sharapova

Q.  Not a bad first start.  What was it like playing in that sort of heat in the middle of the night?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  Yeah, I knew I had a tough opponent ahead of me.  You know, the conditions were tough for everyone.  I think we got the least today, considering how late we played.  But it was still pretty warm out there.  Warm enough to have to use some ice vests.

But, you know, looking at her results in the last, you know, couple of weeks and last year and the matches that I’ve played against her, I knew that it was going to be a tough match.

No matter what I had to do, I wanted to get through it, and I think that’s what it was about today.

Q.  How did you like the vest?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  It’s cool.  Feels good.  Makes you a little wet, but that’s okay.

Q.  Did you feel sorry in any way for some of the players in the heat?
MARIA SHARAPOVA:  Yeah, I noticed their facial expressions.  I’m sure it was very difficult for everyone.  I think everyone, except the meteorologists and the doctors, seemed to have the same opinion about the whether, so…

 

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga

Q.  Everyone’s talking about the heat.  How hot did it feel out there on court?  Some of the hottest conditions you played in?
JO WILFRIED TSONGA:  Yeah, I think it’s maybe the hottest condition I played in.  I remember a match I played against Nishikori a few years ago which was also tough.  We knew before it’s gonna be difficult today, and it was, so it’s good to finish that and look for the next round.

Q.  You seem to be having trouble with your shoes, with getting grip out there.  Was that just the heat?
JO WILFRIED TSONGA:  Yeah, because of the heat, you know, the material of the shoes, you know, it’s really becomes, you know, not really hard.  Like, I don’t know how to say it in English.

But anyway, it’s not good for our shoes when it’s hot like this.

 

Federer 1

Q.  Much obviously today has been made of the conditions.  How would you describe them and how it affected your play, if any, today?
ROGER FEDERER:  Yeah, I thought it was very dry, just hot, you know, stinging sort of sun.

I guess also it depends on who you play, if you’re playing a big server, clearly faster conditions.  If you’re getting into rallies, I guess you’ll feel the heat a bit more.

Depending on where you come from it has a bigger effect on you, this type of heat, than maybe humid heat.  So it’s very personal, and it can become just a very mental thing, you know, and you just can’t accept that it’s hot.

Just deal with it, because it’s the same for both.  That’s basically it.

 

Q.  You spoke before the tournament about how hard you trained in the offseason.  Does that help you if the weather stays like this to cope well?
ROGER FEDERER:  Yeah, I didn’t practice in 40 degree heat because that’s hard to find, you know, around the world.  I did that after the US Open.  In Dubai we had 42, 43, so that was warm then.

But like I said, it’s just a mental thing.  If you’ve trained hard enough your entire life or the last few weeks and you believe you can do it and come through it, there’s no reason.

If you can’t deal with it, you throw in the towel.  But that’s for me.

Q.  From your perspective, should the roof be closed on Rod Laver when the heat gets this bad?
ROGER FEDERER:  No.  I think it should always stay open, honestly.  That’s my opinion.

 

Kei Nishikori

Q.  How was it today?

KEI NISHIKORI:  I’m happy to win, I mean, first of all.  You know, it was not easy condition with the heat and with the wind.

Yeah, it’s always tough to play, you know, first round.  You get tight and, you know, anything can happen.

But I’m happy to win in fifth set.

Q.  Was there any point in the match where you had some problems with the heat?  Because you played five sets, three and a half hours, I think, 3:40.

KEI NISHIKORI:  Actually, not really.  Brisbane was much tougher.  It was no wind and humidity was high.  Here it’s, you know, with the wind and it’s dry, so it wasn’t too bad, actually.

 

Q.  I think it’s still 41 degrees outside.  How do you deal with the heat?
NICK KYRGIOS:  I think it suits my game pretty well.  It will suit my serving a lot.  The more aggressive you are, I think it helps a lot.

Obviously it’s affecting everyone out there.  It’s pretty tough.  You got to stay hydrated.  You got to be smart with nutrition, as well.

Yeah, tough conditions out there, for sure.

Juan Martin Del Potro

Q.  How did you find the conditions today in the heat?
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO:  Was terrible for play.  I mean, it was for both player, but is tough to play long rallies, to manage the weather conditions.  And it’s tough to play in these kind of conditions.

I mean, you are thinking about a lot more things than the tennis match.  You are trying to drink a lot and always thinking about your body, your physic, and not about the game.

I know tomorrow and after tomorrow it’s going to be worst, so I will try to be ready for the weather conditions, too.

Andy Murray 8202013

Q.  Do you think the conditions were safe out there?  A couple players collapsed.  A ball boy collapsed.
ANDY MURRAY:  Yeah, it’s definitely something that you maybe have to look at a little bit.  As much as it’s easy to say the conditions are safe   you know, a few people said there’s doctors and stuff saying it’s fine   it only takes one bad thing to happen.  And it looks terrible for the whole sport when people are collapsing, ball kids are collapsing, people in the stands are collapsing.  That’s obviously not great.

And I know when I went out to hit before the match, the conditions like at 2:30, 3:00 were very, very, very tough conditions.  Anyone’s going to struggle in that heat.

Whether it’s safe or not, I don’t know.  You just got to be very careful these days.  There’s been some issues in other sports with, you know, players having heart attacks.  I don’t know exactly why that is.  Or collapsing.

In this heat, that’s when you’re really pushing it to your limits.  You don’t want to see anything bad happen to anyone.

 

Q.  Were you surprised the heat rule wasn’t implemented today?
ANDY MURRAY:  I don’t know what the heat rule is, so…

Q.  Nobody does.
ANDY MURRAY:  Exactly.

Q.  Bearing in mind how hot it was this afternoon, you could have had a roof and air conditioning.
ANDY MURRAY:  Apparently it wasn’t that humid today.  That’s why it wasn’t implemented.  There’s different rules for the men and women.  I don’t know why.  I don’t understand what the difference is in the two rules.

If I’m told to play, I play; if not, then we don’t.

 

Q.  What’s the talk in the locker room?  Are people unhappy about it?
ANDY MURRAY:  I don’t know.  I mean, I didn’t sit down and discuss whether the guys are happy with the rules or not.

But every single person that I saw coming in from practice or going out to play a match or coming back from a match, everyone just said like, It’s really hot today.  That was what they said (smiling).

SloaneStephens

Q.  Has there been much chatter in the locker room today about the heat and wind, especially out on Court 6, the outer courts?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  Yeah, no, I saw it this morning at breakfast.  I was like, Can’t be windy outside.  I just expected it would be hot.

But, I mean, I kept looking at my phone.  Mine is in Fahrenheit.  I’m like 108 Fahrenheit, why is that happening?  Then I kind of like Googled 45 Centigrade like just to see what’s happening.

I think the heat was more in my mind than anything.  When I got there it wasn’t that bad for me.  Obviously I played later, so it was okay.

 

Q.  We don’t have to ask Siri about the Celsius conversion?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  Yeah, just ask me, because I’ve been looking at it all day (smiling).

GillesSimonTasteofTennis-600x450

Q.  So the conditions helped you?
GILLES SIMON:  Yeah.  If I feel ready and I want to fight from the baseline, then he a tough opponent because I will just look for rhythm in the match and finally the condition will be helpful for this.  He will serve fast, with the wind, with the heat; you don’t control anything.

But today it was the other way.  I just wanted it to be as short as possible with no reason.  I wanted him to feel bad, to get tight, and I managed to do that.

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