2014/08/02

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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Novak Djokovic and Jelena Jankovic Advance at BNP Paribas Open

Djokovic thumbs up to fans while leaving

(March 11, 2014) INDIAN WELLS – Novak Djokovic was tested in the middle set against Colombian Alejandro Gonzalez, but the Serbian pulled out a 6-1, 3-6, 6-1 win to move into the fourth round of the BNP Paribas Open on Tuesday.

Other men advancing were 24th-seeded Marin Cilic of Croatia, who defeated 16th-seeded Tommy Robredo 6-4, 6-3; 30th-seeded Fernando Verdasco  who beat No. 8 seed Richard Gasquet, 7-6 (5), 6-1 24th-seeded Marin Cilic of Croatia, who beat 16th-seeded Tommy Robredo 6-4, 6- and Roberto Bautista Agut stopped  Jarkko Nieminen, 6-2, 4-6, 7-6 (6).

On the women’s side. 2010 champion Jelena Jankovic defeated 2011 champion Caroline Wozniacki 6-3, 6-1 in the battle of former No. 1s. Also Advancing on the women’s side were No. 6 seed Simona Halep who stopped Eugenie Bouchard 6-2, 1-6, 6-4; Casey Dellacqua of Australia moved on due to Lauren Davis pulling out of the tournament due to gastrointestinal illness and Maria Sharapova conqueror Camilia Giorgi was dismissed by her Italian countrywoman Flavia Pennetta in 56 minutes 6-2, 6-1 to reach the quarterfinals.

Two-time Indian Wells champion Djokovic had 28 winners in the match against Gonzalez. The Colombian before this week had never won an ATP Tour level match until Indian Wells.

“I honestly haven’t seen him play ever before that,” Djokovic said of his opponent.  “I got information from some other players, and my coach did preparations also for the match.  You know, asked also a few players what his weaknesses and strengths are in the game.

“It took me a little bit to get used to it, you know, but I thought I played really well from the start.  6‑1, and then his opening few games, service games, I had break points, and then suddenly I just had a big loss of concentration and allowed him to win the second set for no reason.

“Bounced back better in the third, but I obviously cannot allow myself to have these particular concentration lapses in the match at this level ‑ especially in the next match when I’m playing Cilic, you know, a guy who is in really good form and I think has gotten better in last couple of months working with Ivanisevic.

“So I’m going to have to be on top of my game throughout the whole match in order to win it.”

Djokovic plays Mari Cilic next.

“I’ve played him (Cilic) several times on different surfaces,” Djokovic said.  “We haven’t played each other for quite a long time.

“He started working with Goran, and as I said before, you can feel and you can notice the improvement in his game.  He’s more aggressive.  He comes to the net.  He’s a big guy, and that’s what you expect from him is to serve big and to come to the net.

“He’s using his serve as a big advantage nowadays, and also I feel like he’s moving better on the court.  He did before ‑‑ obviously he had this injury and then was absent from the tour for several months, but since he came back he’s a stronger player.

“I have been watching him playing some big matches.  He won against Murray in Rotterdam in straight sets.  He can definitely can play.  And not just play, I mean, he can win against top players.  That’s why I do not even for a second underestimate him.

“I’m coming into the match knowing that I’m going to have to be playing on top of my game in order to win that match.  I’m going to get myself ready for it.”

Jankovic fh volley

Djokovic’s countrywoman Jelena Jankovic routed Wozniacki 6-3, 6-1. Depending on how other players perform, Wozniacki’s ranking could fall to No. 15 in the world.

“I lost to her the last I don’t know how many times, but I think right now I am playing some pretty good tennis,” Jankovic said of finally ending a five-match losing streak against the Dane.  “I went on court, you know, trying to wait for my chances.

“Against her, if you go sometimes for too much you just make so many errors and you beat yourself.  A lot of times it happened in the past.

“So I try to play solid and aggressive at the same time, wait for the right shots, and then execute.  I did that pretty well.  3‑1 I kind of found my way, found my rhythm, and I was striking the ball very well out there and took control of the points.

“You know, I just did not let her play what she plays.  That was very important.  So I was pretty pleased with the way I played and how composed I stayed throughout the whole match.

“I kind of surprised myself, especially because of my back.  Two nights ago I hurt my back, and yesterday did not hit at all.  Had a lot of treatment.  Could not put my shoes on and all these kind of things.

“So I went on court today not knowing how I was going to feel.  You know, if I was going to be limited with my movement or if I was going to play my game.

“But I did, and I was surprised.  I was so happy and pleased with how everything went.”

Jankovic will play second-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska in the quarterfinals.

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Cilic Wins Delray Beach; Bryan Brothers Win 94th Doubles Crown

Marin Cilic

Marin Cilic

 

(February 23, 2014) Marin Cilic won the Delray Beach Open on Sunday, his 11th ATP World Tour title and second tournament win in three weeks, beating Kevin Anderson 7-6 (6), 6-7 (7), 6-4 in 3 hours, 8 minutes.

“It feels awesome, especially after waiting for a long time last night and finishing after 1am,” Cilic said. “Then, today to come back and win it, I’m really happy with this victory.”

“It wasn’t easy for my nerves, for Goran’s nerves especially. In the final some nerves can get into your body and you have to deal with it in the end. Luckily I found a way.”

“In the third [set], I just didn’t put down the clamps of getting back in the match and giving myself a chance,” Anderson said. “He was going to take one of his chances. He had a fair amount. If I would have capitalized a little more I would have put myself in a better position to win the title. I was happy making the final, but a little disappointed right now.”

Cilic leads the men’s tour with 18 match wins this season. He along with Rafael Nadal and Stanislas Wawrinka lead the tour with tournament titles in 2014 with two.

No. 1 Bob and Mike Bryan won the doubles final, beating Frantisek Cermak and Mikhail Elgin 6-2, 6-3 for their third Delray Beach Open title.

“[100 titles] is our next big goal,” said Bob Bryan. “We’re very happy to kick start the year here in Delray. Get that first [title] of the season, get that confidence flowing and take it into the next couple of Masters 1000s. It’s been a few years since we won the Miami tournament, so we want to put in a good showing there.”

The Bryans were congratulated after the match by golfer Jack Nicklaus, a winner of 18 major trophies.

“[Nicklaus] is a good friend,” said Mike Bryan. “He’s been to watch us at Wimbledon a few times. He loves tennis. Bob won his tournament last year. He’s a great, great guy to know. We’re huge fans of him. It was good to see him in the front row.”

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Tomas Berdych Ends Title Drought with Win in Rotterdam

Berdych wins Rotterdam

 

(February 16, 2014) Tomas Berdych ended his title drought on Sunday in Rotterdam decisively beating Marin Cilic 6-4, 6-2 to win his first ATP singles title since October 2013, the ABN Amro World Tennis Tournament.

The Czech only lost one set the entire event, to Ernests Gulbis in the semifinals.

Berdych’s ranking will move up to No. 6 when the rankings come out on Monday.

Cilic who knocked out Andy Murray in the quarterfinals, was trying to win two straight tournaments. He won in Zagreb last Sunday.

“It feels absolutely amazing,” Berdych said. “It’s been a while, actually 16 months since I won a title. To win a title in Rotterdam it’s a nice bonus. I’m extremely happy with the way I handled it throughout the week. I’ve been serving pretty well, which has been the strong part of my game.”

“It was a tough one today,” said the losing finalist. “What made the difference in the end was that Tomas served really well. Overall I think the tournament was great. I played great tennis and enjoyed it here. I had a great run of nine [straight] wins and I hope to make that run soon again.”

For Berdych it is his ninth tour-level title in his 20th final. He becomes the first Czech to win in Rotterdam since Radek Stepanek back in 2006.

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Marin Cilic Stops Top Seed Tommy Haas to Win Fourth Zagreb Title

 

Marin Cilic-001

By Florian Heer

(February 9, 2014) ZAGREB – Top seed Tommy Haas and the tournament’s number five Marin Cilic faced each other in the final of the ninth edition of the PBZ Zagreb Indoors. The German had won two of the previous three meetings, including their last encounter in the semi-finals of Hamburg in 2012. It was also the eighth time in the nine-year history of Zagreb that a Croat has reached the final. The tournament’s “dream-final” led to an almost fully packed Dom Sportova with about 5,000 spectators attending the match.

Both players hit a couple of unforced errors in the beginning of the match and consequently lost each of their opening service games. Cilic gained another break in the sixth game when Haas overcooked two forehand shots from the baseline and eventually served the first set out after 35 minutes of play.

In the second set, it was again the German veteran, who struggled to hold his serve and Cilic gained the decisive break through a nice forehand long line winner in the seventh game. The Croat, who is coached by former world number two and ace-hitting-machine Goran Ivanisevic, served big in the following to consolidate the advantage and eventually closed the match out winning 6-3, 6-4 after 80 minutes. Cilic won his fourth ATP title in Zagreb – the tenth in his career – without dropping a set in the entire week and is now holding a tournament best 22-4 win-loss record.

Tommy Haas-001

During the on-court ceremony Tommy Haas, who normally always thanks all the linesmen and umpires at the end of a week, criticized the absence of the Hawk Eye System in Zagreb.

“The hawk-eye was missing,” the top-seed still said on court. “I don’t say that every time I complain about a call that I’m right. It’s tough out there watching the lines all the time but only a few millimetres can be crucial. Hawk Eye just helps to see if a shot was in or out and you’re used to it now as so many tournaments now have it,” Haas added at the news conference.

“Congratulations to Marin, I think he played a very solid match and served very well when he had to,” Haas said about the match. “I wasn’t able to play my best tennis today, in particular at the beginning. Marin played the big points better and deserved to win. Overall I was very happy and excited to be in the final here and now I try to build up from here and to continue staying healthy, which is the most important thing for me,” the 35-year old stated.

The winner was more than happy afterwards. “Today I played really well, probably the best tennis this week. Another positive thing is that I haven’t lost too much energy this week as I played all the matches in two sets. For my next two tournaments, which are in a row it’s an important thing,” Cilic said.

Doubles finalists-001

In the doubles final second seeded team of Jean-Julien Rojer and Horia Tecau won their first title together. Both started their campaign as a new pairing in Brisbane this season and played their fourth tournament in 2014. They defeated another new tandem on the Tour in persons of Philipp Marx and Michal Mertinak, who made their debut as a team. Rojer and Tecau fought back winning the match 3-6, 6-4, 10-2 after 68 minutes. The Dutchman took his tenth ATP World Tour Doubles title and the Romanian won his seventeenth tournament. The pair share € 23.000 in prize money.

 

Florian Heer travels the tennis tour with a focus on ATP Challenger events and the ITF Future Circuit!  Follow his twitter account @Florian _Heer.

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Marin Cilic and Tommy Haas to Meet in Zagreb Final

Marin Cilic

Marin Cilic

By Florian Heer

(February 8, 2014) ZAGREB – Top seed Tommy Haas and the tournament’s number five seed Marin Cilic led Saturday’s semi-final line-up at PBZ Zagreb Indoors. They were joined by qualifier Björn Phau and lucky loser Daniel Evans. This special situation of having a qualifier and a lucky loser in the semi-finals of an ATP World Tour event has been the first one since Prague 1999.

 

In the first match of the day Marin Cilic took on Björn Phau. The defending champion seemed to be in good shape and hasn’t dropped a set yet this week. The German qualifier, No. 358 in the world, competed in his first semi-final since Houston five years ago and is the eighth player in the past five years ranked outside the top 300 to reach the stage of the last four on the ATP World Tour. Cilic made a nervous start to this match. Some shaky serves and a couple of unforced errors led to break points for the underdog in the beginning of the encounter. However, Phau wasn’t able to convert and eventually it was the Croat, who capitalized on his single break point opportunity in the eighth game of the opening set to take the frame in the following.

With Phau losing his opening service game in the second set, Cilic began to dictate the pace but the German, quick on his feet, immediately broke back by running the baseline from coast to coast. In the end, the fourth seeded Croat was the more consistent player and broke Phau’s serve three times in a row. Cilic advanced to guarantee a Croat in the final for the eighth time in nine years in Zagreb winning 6-3, 6-4 in 84 minutes.

“I have never played or practiced with Björn before,” Cilic said afterwards. “It was difficult for me to read his game and in particular at the beginning I was a bit struggling to get into the match but later on I felt much better on the court,” the Croat analysed. “Overall I think, from both of us, the match wasn’t on the best level, especially in the second set with a lot of unforced errors and service losses. Nonetheless I was trying to force the pressure and I really wanted to make into the final. In the end I managed to finish the job, no matter how,” Cilic stated. “Tommy has a pretty good record in the finals, so I think it would be better to face Evans tomorrow,” the local told about his possible opponent for the final.

 

Tommy Haas

Tommy Haas

In the second encounter Tommy Haas faced Daniel Evans for the very first time. The German veteran gained his first victories of the season here in Zagreb after falling in the second round after a bye in Auckland and a first round defeat at the Australian Open. Evans has become the first British player other than Andy Murray to reach the semis in an ATP World Tour tournament since James Ward advanced to the semi-finals at London’s Queen Club in 2011. Haas outclassed his opponent in the first two games of the match and the Englishman needed to wait six minutes to make his first point of the match in the third game. From then on Evans found his way into the match by getting the early break back. The Brit made it an even affair, gained a break in the eleventh game to take the first set in the following. At this point it became clear, that this should become harder work for Haas than he may expected. Nonetheless, Haas remained patient waiting for his chance to break in the tenth game of the second set and therewith took the frame. The 35-year-old German improved his play in the final set, gained the decisive break in the sixth game to eventually reach his 28th career final winning 5-7, 6-4, 6-3 in one hour and 59 minutes.

“I didn’t know much about Daniel,” Haas said afterwards. “But what I saw today was very nice to see. I like his game a lot. He plays with a good slice on his backhand and he also has a good serve. It’s always difficult to play against qualifiers, who won a couple of matches before and gained confidence,” Haas admitted Evan’s performance this week. “I’m very excited to be in another final. It’s great to play against an opponent, who is a big star in this country here and he obviously likes it here. A lot of things speak for Marin to do well here again but of course I’ll try everything to make his run stop tomorrow,” Haas said.

 

Florian Heer travels the tennis tour with a focus on ATP Challenger events and the ITF Future Circuit!  Follow his twitter account @Florian _Heer.

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Dan Evans Stuns Philipp Kohlschreiber in Zagreb to Reach Semis

Dan Evans

Dan Evans

By Florian Heer

(February 7, 2014) ZAGREB – After an exciting opening month of the season in Australia and Asia as well as the first round of the Davis Cup, ATP World Tour action returns to Europe. Leading the way at the PBZ Zagreb Indoors is world number twelve Tommy Haas, who is making his tournament debut and world number fourteen Mikhail Youzhny. Four of the top five seeds were in action on Friday at Dom Sportova. Two unseeded quarterfinalists met in the first encounter of the day when Dudi Sela took on Björn Phau for the fourth time. The German qualifier could only win one match before between the two but seems to be on a roll at this tournament. Phau advanced into the stage of the final eight by battling through the qualification and with victories over Ante Pavic and Mikhail Youzhny. The German is playing his first ATP World Tour event since falling in third round at Indian Wells in March last year losing to Juan Martin Del Potro. This is the German’s first quarterfinal since Stuttgart in July 2012. Sela, who played one quarterfinal this year before in Chennai was without any chance today. Phau, who already reached some good indoor results on Challenger level in the past, took the match winning 6-4, 6-3 in 69 minutes

 

The second match of the day guaranteed a Croatian semi-finalist for the eighth time in nine years in Zagreb when three times champion Marin Cilic faced Ivan Dodig. Cilic fired down fourteen aces on his way to victory over compatriot Mate Delic in the first round and he hit another twelve aces in a straight sets win over Serbian Dusan Lajovic in second round. Fourth-seeded Dodig opened his campaign with a 7-6, 6-3 win over countryman Ivo Karlovic but today he had to accept the fact that Cilic was the more consistent and luckier player in the decisive moments winning 7-5, 6-4 after one hour and 32 minutes.

 “Today against Marin it was a different match compared to yesterday,” Dodig said. “For me it was a little bit tough today to adopt Marin’s game. Unfortunately it didn’t work out for me, especially with my serve I am not happy at all today,” the fourth-seeded added. Cilic on the other hand celebrated his eighteenth victory out of his last nineteen matches in Zagreb. “I think that the key points were going on my side,” the winner analysed. “Especially in the end of the first set and at the beginning of the second when Ivan was not able to confirm his break. After that game we had new balls and it was tougher for him to gain the break back and in the final stage of the match I was also a bit lucky,” the defending champion admitted. “Of course playing with Ivan involve a lot of emotions, which sometimes is tough to deal with but I think I handled it very well today,” Cilic was satisfied with his performance as well as his mental strength.

 

A very first meeting took place with the match between Philipp Kohlschreiber and Daniel Evans. The German, who made his Zagreb debut yesterday defeating Andrey Golubev in straight sets, had to face a highly motivated British number two. The world number 147 entered the main draw by replacing the tournament’s seventh seeded Radek Stepanek, who withdrew due to a right heel injury. From then on Evans cruised past Jan Hajek and defeated qualifier Michael Berrer. The 23-year-old from Birmingham also made the better start into today’s encounter breaking Kohlschreiber’s serve in the third game to eventually take the set in tenth. The man from Augsburg, fought his way back into this match, breaking serve in the fourth and eighth game to take the encounter into a decider. Here again, the Brit was wide awake right from the beginning when he capitalized on his first break point opportunity in the final set. Evans didn’t become flustered, defended his advantage until the end of the match and served out in the tenth game winning 4-6, 6-2, 6-4 after two hours to reach his first ever semi-final on the ATP World Tour. “I enjoy every day here in Zagreb. I only found out the day when main draw started that I will have to play on Tuesday,” the lucky loser said. “So I had the chance to play a lot of matches this week, which is always good and it is a big achievement for me to reach the semis here,” Evans said. “For me Davis Cup is still one of my favourite things to do and so this is a big goal for me to play for my country. That I wasn’t selected for the tie on clay last weekend is a difficult decision but there are some players in Britain, who ran the same level and eventually the captain has to decide. It’s normal in sports that from time to time someone has to be left out,” the Englishman explained. In the end this decision might have become a lucky one for Evans as otherwise he may not to be here in Zagreb.

 

In the final match of the day top-seed Tommy Haas met Andrey Kuznetsov for the very first time. The 35-year-old German made his Zagreb debut yesterday winning in three sets against countryman Benjamin Becker. The Russian battled his way through the qualification, defeated 2008 champion Sergiy Stakhovsky and Heilbronn finalist Igor Sijsling to appear in his third ATP World Tour quarterfinal. The the first set in was even affair without any break points. Haas eventually took the set in the tie-break 8-6. The German veteran improved his play with the start of the final frame. Haas capitalized on the first break point of the match in the opening game of   the final set after 47 minutes. The top-seed served out by an ace winning 7-6, 6-4 in 85 minutes. “We both served well, the tie-break was hard fought and I think it was important for the momentum to win it,” the top-seed said afterwards. “It is always dangerous to play qualifiers at a tournament, who have already played a couple of matches before. Daniel beat with Philipp a top-player today and I have to focus on my game tomorrow but I expect another tough match,” Haas stated about his semi-finals task.

Florian Heer travels the tennis tour with a focus on ATP Challenger events and the ITF Future Circuit!  Follow his twitter account @Florian _Heer.

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Back From Doping Ban, Marin Cilic Happy as “a kid playing for the first time,” after Opening Win at Paris Masters

Marin Cilic

(October 28, 2013) Marin Cilic returned to the ATP Tour on Monday following a four month ban due to doping. He was originally supposed to be banned for nine months after the international Tennis Federation said he failed a test for the banned stimulant nikethamide.

The Croatian was joyous after his first round win at the Paris Masters on Monday stopping Igor Sijsling 5-7, 6-1, 6-4.

Cilic said in a news conference “I felt like a kid playing for the first time.”

“The feeling was amazing just to be back on the court, to be competing and I enjoyed every moment.

“My thoughts were just on how much I am enjoying it and how I am happy to be back on the court.”

No. 1 Rafael Nadal told media that he was happy that Cilic was back on tour. The Spaniard said that Cilic was a good guy and a great player and if he’s back on tour that it’s fair.

ATP World Tour Masters 1000
Paris, France  (+1 hour GMT)
28 October-3 November 2013     Surface: Indoor Hard

RESULTS – MONDAY, 28 OCTOBER 2013

Singles – First Round
[Q] S Giraldo (COL) d [WC] A Mannarino (FRA) 63 26 64
F Verdasco (ESP) d E Gulbis (LAT) 76(3) 76(5)
K Nishikori (JPN) d J Benneteau (FRA) 64 62
L Rosol (CZE) d J Chardy (FRA) 63 64
[Q] R Haase (NED) d D Istomin (UZB) 76(8) 63
P Kohlschreiber (GER) d A Seppi (ITA) 63 36 64
M Cilic (CRO) d [Q] I Sijsling (NED) 57 61 64
F Lopez (ESP) d [Q] B Tomic (AUS) 64 67(4) 76(1)
[Q] P Herbert (FRA) d B Paire (FRA) 62 62

Doubles – First Round

J Chardy (FRA) / G Simon (FRA) d [WC] A Mannarino (FRA) / G Monfils (FRA) 67(4) 63 10-7

SCHEDULE – TUESDAY, 29 OCTOBER, 2013

COURT CENTRAL start 11:00 am
[WC] M Llodra (FRA) vs G Dimitrov (BUL)
*Lucky Loser vs V Pospisil (CAN)
[9] R Gasquet (FRA) vs F Verdasco (ESP)
Not Before 7:30 pm
K Nishikori (JPN) vs [8] J Tsonga (FRA)
Not Before 8:30 pm
[Q] P Herbert (FRA) vs [2] N Djokovic (SRB)

COURT 1 start 11:00 am
[Q] M Przysiezny (POL) vs J Nieminen (FIN)
[WC] N Mahut (FRA) vs A Dolgopolov (UKR)
E Roger-Vasselin (FRA) vs I Dodig (CRO)
D Tursunov (RUS) vs M Granollers (ESP)
K Anderson (RSA) vs M Youzhny (RUS)
[Q] S Giraldo (COL) vs [14] J Janowicz (POL)

COURT 2 start 2:00 pm

J Isner (USA) / N Monroe (USA) vs J Marray (GBR) / I Sijsling (NED)
Not Before 4:00 pm
T Huey (PHI) / D Inglot (GBR) vs F Fognini (ITA) / A Seppi (ITA) – Possible Court Change
S Gonzalez (MEX) / S Lipsky (USA) vs J Murray (GBR) / J Peers (AUS)

*Lucky Loser to replace G Monfils (FRA) – left wrist

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Marin Cilic’s Doping Ban Reduced; Can Go Back on Tour Next Week

ITF

(October 25, 2013)  Marin Cilic’s doping ban has been reduced from nine months to four. This will allow Cilic to return to the tour next week to play the Paris Masters if he chooses to.

 

The 25-year-old Croatian whose ranking once peaked at No. 9 in the world, tested positive for nikethamide in May at an event in Munich. Cilic challenged the ban citing that he did not mean to take the substance found in glucose tablets. He accepted a ban in June. His ranking has fallen to No. 47 in the world.

 

The International Tennis Federation released the following press release:

 

The International Tennis Federation announced that the Court of Arbitration for Sport (“CAS”) has partially upheld the appeal by Marin Cilic against the decision of the independent tribunal dated 23 September 2013. The independent tribunal had determined that Mr Cilic should be suspended from participation for a period of 9 months, commencing from 1 May 2013 (the date on which the sample containing the prohibited substance was collected) and so ending at midnight on 31 January 2014 for the commission of an Anti-Doping Rule Violation under Article C.1 of the Tennis Anti-Doping Programme (presence of a Prohibited Substance in player’s sample).
The CAS panel decided that the independent tribunal’s decision be set aside, and replaced with a period of ineligibility of four months, with the start back-dated to 26 June 2013, the date on which Mr Cilic accepted a voluntary provisional suspension. He thus will be eligible to participate on 26 October 2013.

 

Mr Cilic’s results from the BMW Open remain disqualified, including forfeiture of the prize money and ranking points won at that event. Mr Cilic’s results subsequent to the BMW Open will not be disqualified and he is permitted to retain the ranking points and prize money that he won at those events.

 

The full decision, with reasons, will follow in due course.

 

The Tennis Anti-Doping Programme is a comprehensive and internationally recognised drug-testing programme that applies to all players competing at Grand Slam tournaments and events sanctioned by the ITF, ATP, and WTA. Players are tested for substances prohibited by the World Anti-Doping Agency and, upon a finding that an Anti-Doping Rule Violation has been committed, sanctions are imposed in accordance with the requirements of the Tennis Anti-Doping Programme and World Anti-Doping Code. More background information on the Programme, sanctions, tennis statistics and related information can be found at www.itftennis.com/antidoping.

 

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