2014/11/24

Wawrinka pushed after early qualification

Stan Wawrinka

Stan Wawrinka

Chalkdust Chronicles: Wawrinka pushed after early qualification

 

(November 14, 2014) LONDON – Stan Wawrinka qualified for the finals of the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, but then had to battle past Marin Cilic in three sets.

 

For many it was maybe a foregone conclusion that there would be an all-Swiss semi-final as Roger Federer qualified at the top of his group on Thursday. But the US Open champion also had an agenda to try and finish his season strongly, as he leveled the match and even kept the momentum at the start of the second going up a break.

 

Maybe Wawrinka’s experience shone through, as he fought back to reclaim the deficit before going on to seal the victory 6-3, 4-6, 6-3. Cilic, who had not really shown the style and consistency he proved he was capable of can feel happier with a win on his debut in London.

 

“I was eager to play better. That’s what I was focused on, to finish the season with a good matches, a good match. So it happened like that. So happy with my performance today.”

 

More importantly, it sets up Cilic for the forthcoming season, now just a few weeks away.

 

“To finish the year over here, it’s I think extremely important for me for next year, too. I am extremely satisfied, of course, where my game has developed. I feel that for next year it’s going to be also a bit easier considering the draws I’m going to be getting with the status of being seeded.”

 

Wawrinka faces an uphill task when he faces Federer on Saturday. He has beaten his Davis Cup team-mate just twice, both times on clay in Monte Carlo. Although he has more recently taken Federer to three sets on hard courts, playing him indoors is another matter entirely.

 

“It’s going to be a tough match for me, for sure. But I will have to play my best game if I have a chance to beat him. I know I can do it. I know it’s going to be very difficult.

 

“I have seen him play the first three match. It’s always the same. Indoor, if you don’t stay with him at the beginning, then it start to be really tough. He goes quick, putting so much pressure, serving well. The beginning of the match will be really important for me.”

 

Federer and Wawrinka will play in the night session on Saturday, as the crowds hope that the tournament is about to really catch light.

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Berdych rekindles his chances he wins his second round robin match at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in London

Berdych applauds

Chalkdust Chronicles: Berdych rekindles his chances he wins his second round robin match at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in London

 

(November 12, 2014) LONDON – Almost like clockwork, Tomas Berdych put aside his very disappointing performance in the opening round against Stan Wawrinka, with a convincing win over US Open champion Marin Cilic.

 

In all five years he has played here, the tall Czech has always struggled in the opener, only to flourish later in the tournament, as he delivered a beat down on the Croatian in just an hour and a quarter, 6-3, 6-1.

 

Again, we see the uniqueness in the round-robin format perhaps come into play – where those have more experience with handling the second (and third) chance.

 

Berdych said: “I think that’s the beauty of this event. One day you can be swept out from the court like I did, or I’ve been actually, and in two days’ time you can come up and you can play a different tennis.”

 

The Czech is not out of the woods yet, as he tackles two-time defending champion up next, with the night session between Wawrinka and Djokovic to hopefully deliver the first three-setter of the tournament.

 

“I’m going to try to, you know, maybe three, four games,” he joked. “That would be better from the last time (laughter). You know, it’s always a huge challenge to play No. 1 player in the world. The way he’s playing, where are we playing, it’s pretty much all set up for him and for his game. That’s how it is.

 

“So for me it’s going to be great to play a match with him, maybe the last of the season, maybe not. But even if it’s the last one, it’s with the No. 1 player in the world. It’s really, as I said, huge challenge. I’m going to try to bring all I have what is left in me, challenge him.”

 

For Cilic, maybe mentally he had checked out of the tournament, admitting that the season has been long for him, and that he was feeling it a little.

 

“It’s, of course, a little bit disappointing to play like this. I was not expecting it. But sort of I feel a little bit tired, and body feels a little bit tired on the court. It seems that the things that I’m doing that are all basically going in a wrong direction. Especially with these guys at this kind of level, even small mistakes, or if you’re not at your best performances, the outcome is not going to be going in your favour. I haven’t also been playing last few weeks. Also the body, of course, is not at the best possible shape.”

 

He plays Stan Wawrinka in the final round robin, and after the Swiss’ fine return to form against Berdych, Cilic knows he can perhaps swing a little more freely.

 

“It’s going to be I think more pressure on Stan, that he has to win. I mean, we’ll see, I don’t know. But, anyway, I’m going to try to enjoy. I deserve to be here as a matter of having a great season. Of course, try to play well and to perform well on Friday.”

 

Cilic and Wawrinka will play in the last of the Group A round robin matches on Friday.

 

Tennis Panorama News is covering the ATP World Tour Finals at the O2 Arena in London.  Follow on twitter for live updates on @TennisNewsTPN.

 

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Breadstick Day in Notes and Quotes from Day 2 of the ATP World Tour Finals

(November 10, 2014) LONDON – Notes and quotes from the Day 2 news conferences of the ATP World Tour Finals. Monday’s matches included a pair of 6-1, 6-1 victories for Group A players Stan Wawrinka and Novak Djokovic who demolished opponents Tomas Berdych and year-end rookie Marin Cilic respectively.

Stan Wawrinka

“I didn’t expect to win that easy in the score, for sure. But I was ready to play well. I did a great week of preparation. I did work really, really hard since few weeks with Magnus. Even if the result wasn’t there in Basel and Paris, I was feeling the ball really well at the practice court.”

 

“I’m happy with my performance. I’m happy the way I was playing. Serving really well. Returning almost everything. It seems it’s not usual. And, yeah, feeling good on the court.”

 

Q. Do you know the score of the first set was the same as the Federer/Raonic match yesterday?
STAN WAWRINKA: Good start for the Swiss.

Q. Good for the Davis Cup.
STAN WAWRINKA: Exactly. I try to show him that I’m going to be ready for the Final.
Q. You have the best record on tour against the top 10 this year, you’re 7 1. Against everyone else, you win two thirds of the time. You’re winning more against the top 10. Why is that?
STAN WAWRINKA: I had, what, six win against top 10 in the first three months of the year, then I never played them again because I lose early in the tournament, so it was a tough six months after (smiling).

 

 

Tomas Berdych

 

“Unfortunately it was my worst match of the whole season, and I kept it for the start here in the World Tour Finals. So that’s not the best one at the start.

“But, yeah, there are days like that. Now it’s over of that. Really, I mean, it’s just matter of, you know, looking forward, trying to find a way for next few days. Just try to leave this somewhere very far and try to come up with some better tennis.”

 

My game is about hitting the ball nice, clean, then you can create something. But that’s the beginning what I didn’t have today at all. I hit so many frames. You know, just was not there. It’s the thing that I have to sit with my team and find out and make the right things for the future days.

 

How did you find the court surface today? How does it compare to the previous four years you qualified?

TOMAS BERDYCH: Well, honestly, I don’t know if I’m in the right mood, the right feeling just to judge the court. Because today I didn’t really feel anything right.

 

 

Novak Djokovic

“It was a great performance. I was hoping I could play this way. I was preparing myself for this match. I knew already one week ago that I’m going to play Marin at 8 p.m. on Monday.

“My team did a good scouting. We thought about, you know, what’s the game plan. I stepped in and executed really well.”

 

His debut in the World Tour Finals has gotten best out of him in terms of his nerves. You could see that he didn’t feel so comfortable. Tried to use my experience playing on this stage, the stadium, which is pretty different from any other.

 

“How do I feel returning indoors comparing to outdoors. It is different and it’s better for the returner. It’s better for the server, but I feel it’s better for the returner because the ball more or less bounces the same every time, so you can anticipate better.”

 

Which is your most memorable memory with Grigor Dimitrov this year?

” I know what it was last year. When we took off our shirts at the exhibition event in Boodles before Wimbledon. We had a lot of fun there.

“He’s a great guy. A very good player that has the potential definitely to be a Grand Slam winner one day. He’s already working his way through. Played semifinals of Wimbledon. I think that’s our most memorable, let’s say, day of this year, of this season, where we played each other over three hours match, pushed each other to the limit.

“He’s got a lot of talent. He’s good‑looking. He speaks good English. He has Maria Sharapova for a girlfriend. What more can you ask for (laughter)? And he’s Bulgarian.”

 

 

Marin Cilic

 

Well, I mean, from my own side, it’s also first time being here. Also I felt that Novak played really, really solid today. In some matches, the score just keeps running. You are sinking a lot. You are, you know, always trying to find something. But whatever you try, it’s not working.

“That’s what I felt today. I felt a little bit uncomfortable on the court, rusty. In some situations where I felt I was, you know, having a chance to get in the score. Also in the beginning of the second set where I broke back to come back to level the score, you know, played pretty sloppy service game.

“In some situations, you know, the score just goes, and it’s difficult to stop it.”

 

 

“It’s medium‑paced court. It’s difficult to get the ball past the opponent. I mean, especially Novak. I didn’t have too many winners today.

“Also he was able to, you know, dictate the rallies. He was also able to return very well.

“That was a difficult part for my game to get some advantages at the beginning of the points.

“You know, when we are at the rallies, Novak starts to dictate, he’s always in a much better position. So that was, you know, a difficult part for me to get out of.

“Considering the court, it’s, I mean, a solid court, but you have to be able to, you know, keep the ball away from the opponent. If you are hitting the ball well, it’s going to pay off.

“But today I felt that I was not hitting it clean. That’s always difficult, especially against Novak, to get away with a win when you’re not playing so good.”

 

Tennis Panorama News is covering the ATP World Tour Finals at the O2 Arena in London.  Follow on twitter for live updates on @TennisNewsTPN.

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Cilic and Pavlyuchenkova Net Moscow Titles

Marin Cilic

Marin Cilic

(October 19, 2014) U.S. Open champion Marin Cilic won the Kremlin Cup on Sunday in Moscow defeating Roberto Bautista Agut 6-4, 6-4 for his 13th ATP World Tour title of his career and his fourth tournament win of the season.

“After winning such a big tournament as a Grand Slam you have a lot of emotions and it’s important to bounce back and keep going,” said the big-serving Croat. “I feel this is going to be a really good push for my career. All the titles are special but this one will definitely have an important spot. It is important for my progress.

“After winning big titles, players are very motivated to play better and they are playing more [risky]. I felt also that this week I had a lot of tough matches and I was able to stay in the battle and bring out my best tennis.”

On Friday Cilic qualified for the ATP World Tour Finals in London.

Cilci is the first Croatian to win Moscow since his coach Goran Ivanisevic won in 1996.

 

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova photo courtesy of Taste of Tennis

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova photo courtesy of Taste of Tennis

On the ladies side, Russia’s Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova beat Romania’s Irina-Camelia Begu 6-4, 5-7, 6-1 to win the women’s title.

“It’s just the best possible way to end the season,” the home town heroine Pavlyuchenkova said. “It was a really tough match. I just couldn’t have lost at home.”

She is the first Russian woman to win the Kremlin Cup since Elena Dementieva did it in 2007.

For Pavlyuchenkova it’s her seventh title of her career and the second of 2014, having also won at the Paris Indoors.

“After the second set I knew I had to be more energetic and intense out there,” said the Russian. “I knew I had to play my aggressive game and just do something, otherwise she’d be too good. She was playing so well the whole week. The surface really fit her game. I just needed to stop thinking about the score and go for it. I’m happy I could regroup in the third set and win this title at home. I’m extremely happy.”
“It was a great week,” said Begu. “I beat some really good players and this gives me a lot of confidence. She took her chances to step in and dictating the points, so it wasn’t my day. At the same time, I enjoyed the final and did the best that I could.”

 

Pavlyuchenkova and Begu are projected to rise in the ranking to No.25 and No.42 respectively when rankings are released on Monday.
Russian Tennis Federation president Shamil Tarpischev was absent from the trophy presentation. He was banned for a year by the WTA on Friday over comments about the Williams sisters. He attended the men’s trophy presentation.

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Marin Cilic is Still Getting Used to being a Grand Slam Champion

Marin Cilic

Marin Cilic

(September 29, 2014) US Open champion Marin Cilic of Croatia opened his quest for the China open in Beijing on Monday with a struggled with a 6-3, 6-4 win over Chinese wild card, world No. 462 Bai Yan.

Cilic who is three weeks removed form capturing his first major title said that he still getting used to being a Grand Slam winner.

“Most of the guys at the top are dealing with that already for few years,” he said. “It’s a bit new thing for me, so I’m learning day to day.

“It’s going to be a process for me, for sure, on all the tournaments to keep my level of the game at the high point where I want it to be.

“I have been dealing little bit with this in the past. I learned couple of lessons. Most important for myself is also not to put too many expectations on my own shoulders from my own side, not to ask too much out of myself. That can be dangerous in a process if things are not working the best I want them to.

“I know it’s always difficult to start tournaments. You know, players are always looking at you much more. I think it’s important for me to keep focusing on improvement of my game and try to, of course, recreate the game I was playing in the US Open.”

Cilic who turned 26 on Sunday and celebrated with four birthday cakes, spoke about returning home to Croatia after Davis Cup weekend, his first trip back since winning Flushing Meadow.

“In Croatia it was extremely special. When I came back after Davis Cup, the country, everybody was very, very happy. You could see whoever I met, they were really happy for me and also proud because Croatia is really small country. In the tennis world, everybody knows everybody. Especially now they follow me already since the beginning of my career. So everybody was just excited about this success.

When I was in my hometown, it was just amazing memory. Huge amount of people. It was, I don’t know, 30,000, 40,000 people on a square. Just was very special.”

China Open Results for ATP
Singles – First Round
[4] M Cilic (CRO) d [WC] Y Bai (CHN) 63 64
[5] G Dimitrov (BUL) d F Verdasco (ESP) 61 36 63
V Pospisil (CAN) d L Rosol (CZE) 64 63
J Sousa (POR) d [Q] T Gabashvili (RUS) 16 76(4) 64
[WC] V Troicki (SRB) d M Youzhny (RUS) 63 64

Doubles – First Round
F Fognini (ITA) / L Mayer (ARG) d [1] D Nestor (CAN) / N Zimonjic (SRB) 36 63 10-6
T Berdych (CZE) / J Isner (USA) d P Andujar (ESP) / R Nadal (ESP) 75 46 10-4

SCHEDULE – TUESDAY, 30 SEPTEMBER 2014

NATIONAL TENNIS STADIUM start 12:30
WTA – E Svitolina (UKR) vs [4] M Sharapova (RUS)

Not Before 2:30 pm
ATP – [1] N Djokovic (SRB) vs G Garcia-Lopez (ESP)
ATP – R Gasquet (FRA) vs [2] R Nadal (ESP)

Not Before 7:45 pm
WTA – [1] S Williams (USA) vs [Q] T Pironkova (BUL)

Not Before 9:00 pm
ATP – [7] E Gulbis (LAT) vs F Fognini (ITA)

LOTUS COURT start 12:30
ATP – [WC] F Lopez (ESP) vs [3] T Berdych (CZE)

Not Before 2:30 pm
WTA – [WC] L Zhu (CHN) vs [2] S Halep (ROU)
WTA – C Garcia (FRA) vs [16] V Williams (USA)

Not Before 6:30 pm
ATP – J Janowicz (POL) vs [6] [WC] A Murray (GBR)

MOON COURT start 12:30
WTA – R Vinci (ITA) vs [5] A Radwanska (POL)
WTA – C Chuang (TPE) / O Govortsova (BLR) vs [5] A Hlavackova (CZE) / S Peng (CHN)
WTA – [8] E Bouchard (CAN) vs S Lisicki (GER)
WTA – R Oprandi (SUI) vs [9] A Ivanovic (SRB)

BRAD DREWETT COURT start 12:30
WTA – K Mladenovic (FRA) / A Pavlyuchenkova (RUS) vs Y Xu (CHN) / J Zheng (CHN)
ATP – [8] J Isner (USA) vs S Giraldo (COL)
ATP – T Robredo (ESP) vs A Seppi (ITA)
ATP – [Q] M Klizan (SVK) vs L Mayer (ARG)

COURT 3 start 12:30
WTA – [15] A Petkovic (GER) vs M Keys (USA)
WTA – [7] A Kerber (GER) vs Z Diyas (KAZ)
WTA – [14] F Pennetta (ITA) vs C Suárez Navarro (ESP)

COURT 4 start 12:30
WTA – [3] K Peschke (CZE) / K Srebotnik (SLO) vs J Gajdosova (AUS) / A Tomljanovic (CRO)
WTA – S Kuznetsova (RUS) vs K Nara (JPN)
ATP-After suitable rest – F Lopez (ESP) / M Mirnyi (BLR) vs L Kubot (POL) / R Lindstedt (SWE)
ATP – J Cabal (COL) / R Farah (COL) vs [2] A Peya (AUT) / B Soares (BRA)

COURT 7 start 12:30
WTA – [12] E Makarova (RUS) vs [Q] P Hercog (SLO)
ATP – [Q] J Brunstrom (SWE) / N Monroe (USA) vs M Cilic (CRO) / S Gonzalez (MEX)
ATP – J Benneteau (FRA) vs P Andujar (ESP)
ATP – [Q] M Kukushkin (KAZ) vs P Cuevas (URU)

COURT 8 start 12:30
ATP – I Karlovic (CRO) vs [Q] P Gojowczyk (GER)

Not Before 2:00 pm
ATP – [3] D Marrero (ESP) / F Verdasco (ESP) vs J Rojer (NED) / H Tecau (ROU)
WTA – [Q] M Barthel (GER) vs [13] L Safarova (CZE)

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Marin Cilic Beats Kei Nishikori for US Open Title for First Major

 

(September 8, 2014) Fourteenth seeded Marin Cilic of Croatia won his first major title by beating tenth seed Kei Nishikori of Japan 6-3, 6-3, 6-3 on Monday in the US Open final.

The Croat dominated the match throughout hitting 17 aces and 38 winners during the less than two-hour match

Both players were making their Grand Slam final debuts. The last time this happened was in 1997.

The 25-year-old Cilic is only the third man other than Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray to win a major since the middle of 2005.

Just a year ago Cilic missed the tournament due to a doping suspension which was later reduced.

“I mean, seems completely unreal to be called Grand Slam champion,” Cilic said. “I was dreaming about this all my life, and suddenly last four, five days everything started to change. And with my tennis especially. I started to play absolutely unbelievable starting with the fifth set with Simon. After that I had unbelievable run of the matches against these top guys. And what it means to me, it means everything. It’s just a huge accomplishment and huge moment for myself and for my team and for everybody around me who was with me all these years supporting me, believing in me and never giving up. So this is just the peak of the world.”

“I think I showed, you know, my potential I can beat anybody now,” Nishkori said. So if I can keep train hard and, you know, also practice hard, I think I have more chance coming up.”

The man from Japan defeated 5th seed Milos Raonic in the fourth round and 3rd seed Stan Wawrinka in the quarterfinals, both in long five-set matches. he followed the wins up by taking out the top seed Novak Djokovic in four sets.

Cilic, dismissed No. 2 seed Roger Federer in the semifinals in straight sets.

Cilic talked about the key to winning the tournament. “The key was definitely I was playing my own game and it was working extremely well. Last ten sets I played I played amazing tennis with everything, starting from serve, starting from movement, all different shots. Return with Federer. In Federer’s match was great I think overall. My performances were great.”

 

“A lot of guys are saying people would like to watch top four guys much more to extend their streak at the top and to extend their run at the Grand Slams, because, I mean, they attract the most, the fans and the TV, and everybody else,” Cilic said. “But sort of one day definitely they gonna go out and there’s gonna be a need for somebody else. I feel this time, this year — I mean, I think the guys from second line were a bit lucky because Andy Murray was also having trouble with his back; Wawrinka was up and down with his tennis after Australia; few other players were not playing at the best all the time. And Rafa is not here. So that opened a little bit the gate for everybody else. I feel it’s gonna definitely be much bigger competition from next year. I feel the guys at the top are gonna pull the other guys, too. I think the game of tennis is definitely going to evolve much more.”

“I feel, very inspirational for all the other guys out there who are, you know, working and sometimes losing motivation, having trouble to dig deep and to believe in the achievements. I would definitely feel much stronger if I would see somebody like me accomplish things like this. It sort of came out of nowhere for me. Few things clicked in just right before tournament sort of. I felt great about them, and match after match I played really good tennis. These last three matches, everything was working perfectly.”

 

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Another Super Saturday Shocker as Marin Cilic Beats Roger Federer to Reach US Open Final

 

(September 6, 2014) Super Saturday at the US Open had its second shocker of the day when No. 14th seed Marin Cilic used his big serve and big strokes to dominate No. 2 seed Roger Federer 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 to reach his first major final.

The match followed the first surprise of the day when No. 1 Novak Djokovic was upset 6-4, 1-6, 7-6 (4), 6-3 by Japan’s Kei Nishikori.

Monday’s final will feature two players in their first major final – 24-year-old No. 10 Nishikori versus 25-year-old No. 14 Cilic.

“Just an amazing day for me. I feel amazing,” Cilic said. “To be able to play like this, I never dreamed of.”

“Just for the performance today from, I mean, first point to the last I was absolutely playing the best tennis of my life,” Coloc said in press.. “Considering the huge occasion I was playing in, I mean, for the second time in a semifinals of a Grand Slam, it just can’t be more special. Considering also that, you know, even I was a set up and break up, you know, the crowd was rooting for Roger to come back. You know, it wasn’t easy to deal with that, but I felt that my serve helped me a lot today, you know, to get some free points to breathe a little bit easier. It was, I mean, working perfectly.”

“It’s fairly simple: I think Marin played great,” Federer said. “I maybe didn’t catch my best day, but I think that was pretty much it in a nutshell.”

“I think he served great when he had to,” Federer said. “I think the first break was tough. I think was up 40-Love and then lose five straight points, and then had one chance in the third when I was up a break and he came straight back. Those are my two moments really. But credit to him for just playing incredible tennis.”

The Monday final will mark the first time since the Australian Open final in 2005 that neither Federer, Rafael Nadal or Djokovic is in a grand slam final.

“That’s going to be a sensational day for both of us,” said Cilic about his match against Nishikori.

This marked the first time Cilic has beaten Federer, the Swiss won on the five previous occasions.

Cilic is the first man from Croatia to reach a grand slam final since his coach Goran Ivanisevic won Wimbledon back in 2001.

“Well, it’s gonna be special day for both of us,” said the Croat. “I mean, opportunity for both of us to win a Grand Slam, to be a part of the history. It’s gonna be definitely huge emotions on the court. And we played couple times already here at the US Open. Both of those matches were extremely tough under very difficult conditions. I feel that, I mean, we have both different game styles. I mean, Kei is extremely well — I mean, he hits the ball extremely well from the back of the court. I think I’m going to have to just focus on my game to break that a little bit of rhythm and to try to serve well. I think it’s gonna be a good sort of tactical matchup for the final.”

 

 

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Marin Cilic Reaches First US Open Semi with Victory over Tomas Berdych

Marin Cilic

Marin Cilic

(September 4, 2014) Last year Marin Cilic missed the US Open because he was suspended from the tour after testing positive for a banned stimulant. He said that took the unintentionally from a glucose tablet he purchased from a pharmacy. He tested positive for nikethamide after a match in Munich in May of 2013.

This year the Croatian Cilic who is the 14th seed, is back on tour and has reached his first US Open semifinal by defeated sixth seed Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic 6-2, 6-4, 7-6 (4).

“It was a great performance today,” Cilic said. “Was very tricky with the conditions. Very gusty. I mean, for both of us. We are big guys. Not easy to deal with the wind and with, I mean, the ball moving in the air. I felt that I was using the wind a bit better today. Just considering the conditions and the opening of the match went in my side, that sort of relaxed me a bit more. I felt that I’m in a good driving seat and that Tomas was all the time catching me and I was serving good in the right moments. So, yeah, it feels great to be in the semis first time after three tries in quarterfinals. Lost both times to eventual winners. Just feels great to be here.”

Cilic’s serve was the key to victory, hitting 19 aces. The Croatian hit 46 winners to Berdych’s 21.

“I start pretty terribly,” Berdych said. “It was not the way to start the match like that. Then obviously was really tough to catch up. And really my serve was off. Basically, you know, when you have a game built on a serve, then it’s really tough and difficult to reschedule it and do it a bit differently. Yeah, today was not, definitely not the day I want to have. Yeah, that’s it. That’s tennis. Just need to carry over and go forward.”

Cilic is now the first Croatian to make the semifinals of the US Open since his coach, former Wimbledon champion Goran Ivanisevic did it in 1996.

“The only matches I watched on TV was Goran’s Wimbledon matches,” Cilic said of his tennis memories as a child. “That’s the only memory, you know, from tennis at very young age. And then later I started to play with him when I was 14 few times. He was out due to his shoulder injury. He played with me and one other kid from Croatia my age, and that was, for me, huge at age of 14 to play with my idol. Was amazing. Then I think he helped me a lot with pointing me in a good direction with my coach, long-time coach, Bob Brett. I think that was a very crucial part of my career.”

“You know Goran, so Goran is everything but not boring. Yeah, I feel that it’s very entertaining. We work a lot, but we still — I mean, even some days we are preparing, you know, we would have sessions of three, three-and-a-half hours or whatever, and we always have good time. I think that’s most important. It’s, I would say, can’t be better.”

Cilic will face the winner of the Roger Federer–Gael Monfils quarterfinal in his semifinal on Saturday.

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Semifinals Set for Both Men and Women at Wimbledon

 

 

(July 2, 2014) WIMBLEDON – Grigor Dimitrov ended the run of defending champion Andy Murray 6-1, 7-6(4), 6-2 to reach the semifinals of Wimbledon, becoming the first Bulgarian man to do so. Dimitrov joins No. 1 seed Novak Djokovic, seven-time Wimbledon champion Roger Federer and another newcomer Milos Raonic in the semifinals.

The No. 11 seed ended Murray’s 16-match winning streak at the All England club which went all the way back to the 2012 Olympic Games.

“I have very good memories from that court out there,” Murray said.  It’s a special court for me.

“Yeah, I mean, you can have bad days as an athlete.  You don’t win all of the time.  Sometimes you just have to take it on the chin and move on.

“But, yeah, when you don’t feel like you played as well as you can, that’s disappointing and frustrating.  Yeah, that’s happened a few times in the slams over the last year, so I’m disappointed about that.”

“I think I got early on in the match on top of him, and I think that really helped me, you know, progress in that way.” Dimitrov said.  “I think second and third set was just a little different.

“But, I mean, I can’t say much about the match because I came out to win the match.  I was really positive.  I was ready.  I had a lot of patience no matter how many sets I was supposed to play.

“But I was just composed and I was looking for every point that I had to play.”

On Friday, Dimitrov face 2011 Wimbledon champion in Novak Djokovic who reached the semifinals for a fifth straight year. Top seed Djokovic had to rally to top No. 26 Marin Cilic of Croatia 6-1, 3-6, 6-7 (4), 6-2, 6-2.

On the lower half of the draw, Federer will play No. 8 Milos Raonic, the first Canadian man in a Grand Slam semifinal since the early 1920s.

Federer dropped his first set of the fortnight to Australian Open champion Stan Wawrinka en route to a 3-6, 7-6 (5), 6-4, 6-4 win over his Swiss countryman.

“There was a lot on the line today playing against Stan,” Federer said.  “Quarters sort of shows the direction on how you’re playing and all these things.

“I’m really pleased to have come through.  Like you said, last year was a major disappointment for me because I always see Wimbledon as one of my main goals of the season, side-by-side with rankings and some other highlights that I choose that there are for me.

“I try to be in the best possible shape, so last year was rough.  I was very disappointed.  Went back to the practice courts.  Didn’t have any options left at that point.

“So I’m happy that one year later I’m back in the semis and with a chance to go further.”

In the battle between big servers, Raonic defeated teenager Nick Kyrgios, who beat Rafael Nadal in the fourth round 6-7 (4), 6-2, 6-4, 7-6 (4). Raonic hit 39 aces.

In the women’s quarterfinals, No. 3 Simona Halep beat 2013 Wimbledo runner-up Sabine Lisicki 6-4, 6-0, and will take on No. 13 Eugenie Bouchard, who beat No. 9 Angelique Kerber 6-3, 6-4.

“It was a great match for me today,” said Halep.  “I played really well and I’m really excited that I can play semifinals tomorrow.

“I like this tournament and I feel really well here.  I’m looking forward for the next round just to play good tennis and to try my best on court.”

Bouchard has reached her third straight major semifinal.

“I’m excited to be in the semis,” said the 20-year-old.  “But, of course, you know, never satisfied, so definitely want to go a step further, or as far as I can.

“I think, you know, I played some great players when I lost in the semis.  You know, you don’t win every single time.  But, you know, I’m going to look forward to try to play a little bit like I played today.  I thought I was pretty solid out there and playing the right way on the grass.

“So that’s going to be a key.”

Thursday’s other Ladies’ semifinal will be a battle between two left-handed Czech women -2011 champion Petra Kvitova versus No. 23 Lucie Safarova.

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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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