2014/07/31

Kei Nishikori Upset by Martin Klizan at French Open

 

 

 

 

(May 26, 2014) For the first time in his career, Kei Nishikori has lost in the first round of a major. The No. 9 seed fell to Slovakian Martin Kilzan at the French Open 7-6(4), 6-3, 6-2.

The top Japanese player still visibly suffering from a back injury he sustained during the Madrid Open final a few weeks ago, where he was forced to retire from the match. Nishikori won his first clay court title in Barcelona last month.

Coming into the tournament Nishikori said that he wasn’t 100 percent. He was broken 10 times during the match and made 40 unforced errors.

“It really sucks, I have to say, a lot of injuries,” Nishikori said. “It’s tough for me, but I guess this is my tennis life. I have to take care of my body and injury will come again, for sure.”

For Nishikori’s coach Michael Chang, it’s the 25th anniversary of his French Open win as a 17-year-old.

At No. 10 in the world, he is the highest-ever Japanese ranked player.

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Rafael Nadal Wins Madrid Open After Kei Nishikori Retires

 

(May 11, 2014) Rafael Nadal is back on track for the clay season. World No. 1 Nadal won his fourth Madrid Open on after Kei Nishikori was forced to pull out of the match with a back injury with Nadal leading 2-6, 6-4, 3-0 in the final on Sunday.

“I’m very sorry for Nishikori,” Nadal said. The No. 1 Japanese player was leading the Spaniard 6-2, 4-2 when he first felt pain.

“He’s an unbelievable player that will fight to be in London (ATP World Tour Finals),” Nadal added. “I am sure of that. I really hope that the injury is not too bad and he will be able to compete in Roland Garros.”

“I suffered a similar situation in Australia this year,” said Nadal who lost this year’s Australian Open final to Stanislas Wawrinka. “So I know what I’m talking about and how bitter it is, especially when you’re playing an important match.”

Nishikori, 24, who was participating in his first Masters Series final, said that despite the injury he has a positive look at the future.

“There is a lot of confidence I get from this tournament by beating (Ferrer) in three sets and playing well in the final today. It’s going to be very exciting at (Roland Garros) because I never feel like this on clay. I’m very confident of whatever I hit going for winners. I can hit from either side – forehand or backhand – so it’s a very good feeling that I have on clay right now.”

The loss ended Nishikori’s consecutive win streak at 14. He has already withdrawn

The victory gives Nadal his 27th ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title and his 63 ATP career title. Nadal now is alone in sixth place in tournament wins in the Open Era.

“Winning at home is always more special than winning anywhere,” said the 27-year-old. “Having the chance to play in front of your home crowd… is unforgettable for me. This city gives me a lot. This is a very important victory for me.”

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Novak Djokovic Moves into Sony Open Final After Kei Nishikori Withdraws with Left Groin Injury

 

Kei Nishikori withdrawal

(March 28, 2014) A little over an hour before he was to play his semifinal against Novak Djokovic, Kei Nishikori pulled out of the Sony Open citing a left groin injury. Nishikori just scored back-to-back three-set wins over No. 4 David Ferrer in the fourth round and No. 5 Roger Federer in the quarterfinals.

For Djokovic, who automatically advances to the final against the winner of the Rafael Nadal – Tomas Berdych match, it’s his second walkover her received in Miami this year. Florian Mayer was forced to pull out before his match in the third round.

Nishkori announced his withdrawal on Facebook and Twitter:

 

“I really felt the last match against Roger, the quarterfinal,” Nishikori told media. “I had it before Indian Wells, and I hurt it in Delray. It wasn’t 100% yet.

“Yeah, it’s really sad, of course, semifinal in a big tournament. Was really playing well and beating Dimitrov, David, and Roger. I was really excited to play here the semis.

“But, you know, unfortunately I couldn’t moving side to side. Just tried to warm up today, but I couldn’t move.”

“I’m going to go back to see a doctor in Japan and see how bad it is.  And I don’t know if I can play or not, but I will try.”

“t was a great run for me to beat two top 10 guys,” Nishikori said.  “And Dimitrov was also playing well this year.  And four good players to beat, it was a good week for me.

“So I have a lot of confidence, and it’s pretty unfortunate to get injured, but this was a very exciting and positive week for me.”

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Kei Nishikori Rallies to Upset Roger Federer at Sony Open

Kei Nishikori

Kei Nishikori

(March 26, 2014) No. 5 Roger Federer let a set and a break lead slip and a game Kei Nishikori came back for the upset win 3-6, 7-5, 6-4 on Wednesday night to reach the semis of the Sony Open. For Japan’s Nishikori, it’s his second straight day with a victory over a top five player as he won a match against No. 4 David Ferrer on Tuesday after saving four match points. It’s his second straight win over Federer, over whom he now has a 2-1 record against.

He has also snapped Federer’s semifinal run streak at seven straight tournaments in stopping him in Wednesday’s quarterfinal.

No. 21 Nishikori has now advanced to his second ATP Masters 1000 semifinal.

In fact Federer was up a break twice in the second set but couldn’t close out the win.  Federer had his serve broken for the first time in the tournament by Nishikori who broke it four more times. Federer committed 39 unforced errors during the match versus 29 winners.

“Just couldn’t find my rhythm on the serve today, which was surprising, especially after how well I’ve played and served, especially this week, but I think it didn’t take off the way it did during the daytime,” Federer said after the match.  “You could expect that, but then plus the temperature drop had something to do with that.

Roger Federer

Roger Federer

“In the dark, for some reason, I just ‑‑ you know, I haven’t played many matches this year, or maybe lately.  Only one against Tommy Haas in Indian Wells and maybe the switch didn’t work that well for me.

“But still, you know, I had the set and a break, and then another break again, so it’s a bit frustrating.  But I think Kei did well to stay with me and then, you know, not allow me to get that, you know ‑‑ that I could hold my serve and then maybe feel comfortable.

“He right away made me feel uncomfortable and stayed with me, so he was more consistent in the second and third, and those are the ones he won.  At the end it’s his credit, of course, as well.”

“Feeling good, of course, you know, to beat Roger, and it’s second time to beat him,” the 24-year-old said.  “It was different conditions.  It was, you know, tough to play on the court, both of us.

“But I thought I really played well, especially in the third.  I was hitting both deep and striking well.  Everything was going well.  You know, there was couple of tough moments, but, you know, I was fighting through and happy to win today.

“He (Federer) wasn’t making a lot of first serves today,” Nishikori explained.  “I don’t know.  Maybe because the wind.  I don’t know.

“So I was trying, you know, to step in his second serve, and my return was going well.  That was the key for the game today.”

Federer said that she sees a bright future for the Japanese player.

“I think Kei does really well controlling the ball,” said the 32-year-old. “He has great technique, especially on the backhand, very simple, very short back swings, so he does a really nice job of having good timing.

“Then the forehand can be sometimes a bit off, but I think he does a good job, you know, with his feet.  He’s a quick mover.  Same with the his serve.  I think he’s done a good job using that to his advantage now.

“I think he’s serving better this year, and I see him moving up the rankings.  Clearly, I mean, with this tournament anyway but also in the future.  I predict he’s going to be top 10 in a short while.”

Nishikori will play Novak Djokovic on Friday for a spot in Sunday’s final.

Federer will go home and prepare for Davis Cup in Geneva the weekend of April 4-6.

 

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US Men’s Clay Court Championship Announces Entry List

 

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(February 26, 2014) HOUSTON – Four former champions are on the initial entry list of 21 players for the 2014 Fayez Sarofim & Co. US Men’s Clay Court Championship that will be held April 7-13. It will mark the 80th tournament that River Oaks Country Club has hosted.

Defending champion John Isner of the United States will be joined by former champions Juan Monaco (2012), Lleyton Hewitt (2009) and Ivo Karlovic (2007) in the tournament.

Isner, at No. 13, is the top ranked of all entrants, and is one of three Top 20 players in the field, joined by Spaniards Tommy Robredo (No. 16) and Nicolas Almagro (No. 17). Robredo and Almagro, the 2013 runner-up, are two of only four active players on the ATP with more than 200 career match wins on clay.

“We are very pleased to see the caliber of players on our initial entry list,” said Tournament Director Van Barry. “This field really has everything we could ask for – an international flavor, players with high rankings, players who have had success here and players who are well-liked by our fans. We are very excited to have all these guys come to River Oaks and are looking forward to a great week with them as we celebrate the 80th tournament in the Club’s history.”

The initial entry list of 21 includes players from 13 countries. Three more players will be granted wild cards into the field, while four will be added through a qualifying tournament held April 5-7. Below is the initial entry list (Feb. 24 ranking in parentheses):

Nicolas Almagro – Spain (17)
Benjamin Becker – Germany (90)
Alex Bogomolov, Jr. – Russia (93)
Pablo Cuevas – Uruguay (197*)
Somdev Devvarman – India (78)
Matthew Ebden – Australia (62)
Alejandro Falla – Colombia (79)
Daniel Gimeno-Traver – Spain (85)
Santiago Giraldo – Colombia (58)
Alejandro Gonzalez – Colombia (76)
Lleyton Hewitt – Australia (42)
John Isner – United States (13)
Ivo Karlovic – Croatia (55)
Bradley Klahn – United States (65)
Feliciano Lopez – Spain (37)
Juan Monaco – Argentina (43)
Sam Querrey – United States (56)
Tommy Robredo – Spain (16)
Janko Tipsarevic – Serbia (70)
Fernando Verdasco – Spain (32)
Donald Young – United States (91)
*Entry based on injury protected ranking

Two of the top doubles teams on the ATP World Tour have also committed to play the 2014 tournament. Bob and Mike Bryan, the twin-brother tandem that has won four titles at the US Men’s Clay Court Championship, and the Spanish duo of Fernando Verdasco and David Marrero, champions at the 2013 ATP World Tour Finals, have both been entered into the doubles draw.

In 2014, River Oaks Country Club will celebrate hosting a tournament for the 80th time since its inauguration in 1931. The upcoming tournament will also mark the 104th staging of the US Men’s Clay Court Championship.

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Kei Nishikori Repeats as Memphis Champion

 

nishikori memphis

(February 16, 2014) Kei Nishikori repeated as the champion at the U.S. National Indoor Tennis Championships in Memphis, stopping Ivo Karlovic of Croatia 6-4, 7-6 (0) on Sunday. For the No. 16 ranked player, this was his first career title defense. He is the first repeat winner since Tommy Haas won in 2006 and 2007.

“It’s amazing to defend a title for the first time, especially here,” Nishikori said. “I had a great memory from last year and I’m playing great.”

“I get a lot of confidence from keeping my ranking in the Top 20. It’s going to take some time to get to Top 10, Top 5, but I think I’m getting close.”

“He’s really fast,” Karlovic said. “He hits winners from any position on the court. That’s his game. He returned really well.”

“It was a good week for me. I’m really happy with the way I played. I hope I will continue like this and by the end of the year get into the Top 40.”

Nishikori was given a wild-card into this tournament, which this year was downgraded to 250 event, it was a 500 point event a year ago when he won.

This is Nishikori’s sixth ATP title.

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Sam Querrey and Kei Nishikori Commit to play US Men’s Clay Court Championship

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HOUSTON – Sam Querrey and Kei Nishikori have committed to play the 2014 Fayez Sarofim & Co. US Men’s Clay Court Championship at River Oaks Country Club.

Querrey, the tournament runner-up in 2010, and Nishikori, the runner-up in 2011, join 2013 champion John Isner, 2013 runner-up Nicolas Almagro and 2012 semifinalist Feliciano Lopez as early commitments to play the tournament that will be held April 7-13.

“It’s great to be able to make this announcement and start thinking about spring and the tennis tournament after the winter blast we had this week,” said Tournament Director Van Barry. “Sam has always been very loyal to the tournament and is a fan favorite. Kei is a rising star in tennis, and certainly adds to the international flavor of our tournament. We look forward to welcoming them back to River Oaks and adding to the already strong field we’re assembling for the 2014 tournament.”

Querrey will be playing at River Oaks for the fifth time in his career. He reached the final in 2010, falling to Juan Ignacio Chela in the title match. He’s twice reached the doubles final at River Oaks, finishing as runner-up with Isner in 2011 before winning the title with James Blake in 2012. Querrey, the No. 2 ranked American, has reached 12 career ATP finals and won seven titles.

Nishikori, 24, reached a career high ranking of No. 11 last summer, which is the highest-ever for a Japanese player on the ATP World Tour. When he was 14-years-old, he moved from his home in Japan to the Bollettieri Academy in Florida to train. As a professional, he has won three titles while appearing in a total of five career finals, including the 2011 River Oaks final in which he fell to American Ryan Sweeting. So far in 2014, Nishikori has reached the semifinals in Brisbane and the fourth round at the Australian Open

Isner will attempt to be the first player to successfully defend his US Men’s Clay Court Championship title since Andy Roddick won the 2001 and 2002 titles. Isner is the No. 1 ranked American, and will be making his sixth appearance at the tournament. Almagro has led the ATP in clay-court match wins three times in the past six seasons. With a career record of 229-108 on clay courts, he joins Rafael Nadal, David Ferrer and Tommy Robredo as the only active players with more than 200 wins on clay. Lopez recorded his 300th career match win during the 2013 season and also reached his eighth career ATP World Tour final.  He has been a member of four Davis Cup championship teams.

In 2014, River Oaks Country Club will celebrate hosting a tournament for the 80th time since its inauguration in 1931. The upcoming tournament will also mark the 104th staging of the US Men’s Clay Court Championship.

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Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray Win Tough Challenges to Advance in Melbourne

Nadal fingers

(January 20, 2014) No. 1 Rafael Nadal and No. 4 Andy Murray survived challenges from opponents to move into the Australian Open quarterfinals on Monday.

Nadal beat a tough Kei Nishikori 7-6 (3), 7-5, 7-6 (3).  Nadal survived a fall in the first set in which he broke his shoelace and had to get shoes from his locker, two breaks of serve in the final set and being called for time violation.

“We need referees who understand the game,” said Nadal in regard to his time violation.  “The rules cannot go against the good show.  That’s all.

“If you are playing with 40 degrees, you cannot expect to have 20 seconds recover, 25 seconds recover.  If you are playing crazy rallies, you cannot have 25 seconds recover because then you will not have more rallies because the players cannot have it.  So that goes against the fans, against the show.

“But I repeat:  nothing against the rules.  I accept the rules.  Sometimes I am wrong.  Sometimes I am too slow and I accept that.  I respect the decision of the referee even if I am not happy for that, because was not the right moment to do it, in my opinion, before an advise.  But she did.  That’s all.

“I going to try to go quicker for the future.  But is important to have people on the chair that really understand the game and people who manage this sport who understand the game, and that’s it.

“Because, if not, every time with Hawk Eye, the referee just start watching the watch, 25 seconds, then warning, so then we don’t need any more referees.  We only need lines.  That’s fine.

“Because if not, the referees don’t need to do all the rules.  That is my feeling.  We are making the referees worse than before with all the things that we are making for them easier.”

Nadal praised his opponent who gave him all he could handle for over three hours.

“Kei played fantastic match, in my opinion,” said Nadal.  “Just a few mistakes in some moments that was tough ones.  But for the rest, he played very aggressive, he went for the shots.  He came on court with determination to take the ball very early and go for the winners.

“He really had the right feelings to do it.  So just was a tough match, a very important win.  Very happy.”

Murray 88

Andy Murray failed to capitalize on four match points in the third set before dismissing lucky loser Stephane Robert of France 6-1, 6-2, 7-6 (6), 6-2.

In a rare show of frustration, Murray smashed his racquet after the third set.

“Sometimes it’s necessary,’ Murray said with a smile.  “I had I think three match points.  I put a lot of hard work into that third set.  I maybe lost concentration when I served for it.

“In the tiebreak I didn’t lose concentration.  I just missed a couple of shots, one just wide on a forehand I hit clean, just missed.

“Then losing that set was frustrating because it obviously means you’re out there another 30, 40 minutes at least, when I would preferably had been in the locker room.

“My racquet bit the dust.  Unfortunate for it.  But, yeah, I was glad I managed to start well in the fourth.”

 

Despite Roger Federer’s fall in the rankings to No. 6, Murray expects a tough contest.

“I mean, four, five years ago he was losing like three matches a year.  I mean, it was ridiculous, you know, his record across all of the slams and on the regular tour.  I mean, you could count them on your hand how many matches he was losing during the year.

“I’d say the last couple years he’s lost a little bit more.  I think last year you could see at periods he was struggling with his back.  And if he’s fully fit, I’ve said all along, he’s always going to be there or thereabouts in the majors, and he’ll give himself opportunities to win more because he’s that good.”

For Murray, this is his first major tournament since back surgery in the Fall.

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Sharapova, Murray, Nishikori and Wozniacki make Forbes’ “30 Under 30″ List for Sports

(January 6, 2014) Maria Sharapova, Andy Murray, Kei Nishikori and Caroline Wozniacki have made Forbes’ list of 30 Under 30 for sports in 2014.

It’s Forbes third annual “30 Under 30,” which showcases the brightest stars in 15 different fields under the age of 30.

 

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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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