Notes from the Front – SAP Open 2013, Day Four


By Kevin Ware

Notes from the Front – SAP Open 2013, Day Four

Day Four Second Round Results

[6] Denis Istomin (UZB) d Benjamin Becker (GER) 6-3, 6-7(5), 6-2

Alejandro Falla (COL) d [7] Marinko Matosevic (AUS) 6-4, 6-4

[8] Xavier Malisse (BEL) d Matthew Ebden (AUS) 5-7, 7-5, 7-6(1)

[WC] Steve Johnson (USA) d [Q] Tim Smyczek (USA) 6-3, 6-3

[3] Sam Querrey (USA) d L Hewitt (AUS) 7-6(6), 1-6, 7-6(4)

[1] Milos Raonic (CAN) d Michael Russell (USA) 6-2, 7-5

Match Notes

Xavier Malisse might be past his best days on tour, but the Belgian can still do damage given the right draw.  He could also make things easier for himself by not putting so much energy into griping during his matches.  Everything and anything from ball kids to the officials to his shots, you name it. It was a mutter-fest out there in his match against Matthew Ebden. He’ll need to be much more positive in his output if he plans on getting by John Isner in the quarters.

The battle of young Americans fizzled early as Tim Smyczek started strong but couldn’t stem the tide of unforced errors in going down to defeat against Steve Johnson. Johnson didn’t play particularly well either, but he played well enough to capitalize on Smyczek’s errors.  Smyczek is a small, wiry guy who “redlines” his game to produce the pace needed to compensate at this level.  Now he needs to figure out how to do that and find the court on a much more consistent basis. Johnson moves on to face Tommy Haas.

Sam Querrey got through a tough and very “losable” match to Lleyton Hewitt with the help of some last-minute errors by the Aussie in the final set tiebreak; notably a double fault on match point.  Querrey started strong, but then struggled mightily with shot consistency after an initial 5-2 lead in the first set. Hewitt battled hard to take the first set to a tiebreak, but was done in by a close call he couldn’t challenge because he used up his allotment.

The second set was a wash for Querrey with Hewitt raising his game to easily sweep and take the match to a third. The third set was by far the best in terms of quality.  Both men served well, defended admirably, and stood toe-to-toe in great rallies that tested each man’s resolve. To end such a great set on the aforementioned match point double fault was disappointing. A win is a win, though.  Querrey now faces a much easier opponent in Alejandro Falla for a spot in Saturday’s semifinals.

Michael Russell did well to make it to the second round by defeating Donald Young.  He didn’t play great tennis to beat Young, but then again he didn’t need to. Milos Raonic was a different story. Russell, like Olivier Rochus and a few others, is at a considerable disadvantage when playing larger and stronger guys like Raonic because he doesn’t have the weaponry to match up from the baseline. Russell scrambled well to get balls back but couldn’t do nearly enough in terms of moving the ball around to keep it out of the Raonic strike zone. With the win, Raonic moves on to face Denis Istomin in a quarterfinal rematch of last year’s final.

Random Notes

Every time I pass John Isner in the hallway, I’m astounded by his height.  Ivo Karlovic, Sam Querrey, and Milos Raonic are all tall players as well.  But none of them give me the same sense of height as John. It’s like I’m looking up a small tree. I wonder what the court looks like from up there?

The Hewitt kids are pretty gosh darn cute, and it’s a good thing too. After his disappointing loss to Sam Querrey, which ended with a double fault on match point, I tweeted, “Hopefully they’ll put a smile back on dad’s face tonight”. Sure enough, about 20 minutes after the match I passed Lleyton, his wife Bec Hewitt, and the kids as they were heading out to eat.  And yes, he was smiling.

Observation of the day? After watching Hewitt lose a match that was within his grasp because of an awful third-set tiebreaker, I had the sense that I’d seen something like this before.  I did: two weeks ago in the Super Bowl with Colin Kaepernick and the 49′ers last possession.

Odd sighting of the day?  Sportscaster Vern Glenn standing outside of the HP Pavilion trying to get his work laptop to connect online.

Quote of the day? Also from Vern Glenn but attributed to Ronnie Lott, and in reference to working in the sportscasting biz: “Always make sure they keep you on scholarship!”

More after Day Five quarterfinal action.

Kevin Ware is in San Jose covering the SAP Open as media for Tennis Panorama News. Follow his live updates on twitter @TennisNewsTPN.  Follow his personal twitter @SFTennisFreak.


Oz and Ends – Day One at the 2013 Australian Open

Melbourne park grounds

Oz and ends  and bits of news from the Australian Open for January 14, 2013


Bagels and breadsticks

Maria Sharapova won her first match of the Australian Open 6-0, 6-0 in 55 minutes over fellow Russian Olga Puchkova. It was her third career “double bagel” in a major tournament. She only needs a double bagel at Wimbledon to complete a “double bagel slam.”

Three women have completed the “double bagel slam” – they are Hall of Famers Chris Evert, Steffi Graf and Monica Seles.

Venus Williams added to the bagel set count with a 6-1, 6-0 demolishing of Kazakhstan’s Galina Voskoboeva.


Win streak continues

Agnieszka Radwanska has extended her 2013 win streak to 10 by defeating Australian wild card entry Bojana Bobusic of 7-5, 6-0 on Monday.
Twitter News

Maria Sharapova has officially joined twitterverse. Follow her at @MariaSharapova

[tweet https://twitter.com/MariaSharapova/status/290778598774829058]


Tweets of the day



Lucky Loser is a winner
Tim Smyczek is lucky loser was a winner on Monday with a 6-4, 7-6, 7-5 victory over Ivo Karlovic. The American it into the draw thanks to housemate John Isner who pulled out of the tournament with a right knee injury.


Tough day for Aussies

Matthew Ebden, Ashleigh Barty, Olivia Rogowska, Sasha Jones,  John Millman, Lleyton, Hewitt and Casey Dellacqua all exited on day one of Australian Open. Sam Stosur was the only victorious Australian on Monday.


Two seeds falls

The 11th seed Juan Monaco was the only seeded played not to win on Monday. The Argentine who withdrew from last week’s Kooyong Classic exhibition tournament with a hand injury was clearly stuggling clearly struggling on the court in his straight set loss to Alex Kuznentsov, was applauded by spectators for not retiring from the match.

Monaco told Reuters: “My leg tightened up at the start of the second set and it was very tough for me,” pointing to his right leg.

On the women’s side Ksenia Pervak  stopped 32nd seed Mona Barthel 7-5, 2-6, 6-4.

Federer out of Davis Cup

Roger Federer will not participate in Switzerland’s first round Davis Cup tie versus the reigning champions, the Czech Republic


Five set marathons

[22] Fernando Verdasco def. David Goffin 6-3, 3-6, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4
[10] Nicolas Almagro def Steve Johnson 7-5, 6-7, 6-2, 6-7, 6-2
Edouard Rogers-Vasselin def. Ruben Bemelmans 6-3, 6-7, 2-6, 7-5, 11-9
Daniel Gimeno-Traver def. Lukasz Kubot 6-7, 6-4, 6-0, 4-6, 6-4
[23] Mikhail Youzhny def. Matt Ebden 4-6, 6-7, 6-2, 7-6, 6-3
[28] Marcos Baghdatis def. Albert Ramos 6-7, 7-6, 6-4, 3-6, 6-3
Roberto Bautista Agut def. Fabio Fognini 6-0, 2-6, 6-4, 3-6, 6-1
[31] Radek Stepanek def. Viktor Troicki 5-7, 4-6, 6-3, 6-3, 7-5;
Brian Baker def. Alex Bogomolov 7-6, 6-3, 6-7, 3-6, 6-2.


Karen Pestaina for Tennis Panorama News


BB&T Atlanta Open Begins

By Audraine Jackson

ATLANTA, Georgia – The first men’s event of the 2012 Emirates Airline US Open Series begins July 14-22 with the BB&T Atlanta Open. Mardy Fish will return to defend his title after winning the 2011 Emirates Airline US Open Series winning twice in Atlanta playing competitive matches with local favorite John Isner who is also scheduled to play. They both will be joined by former world No. 1 ranked Andy Roddick.


Fish said he would like to try to pull off a third victory in Atlanta, “This is my favorite time of the year so obviously this is an exciting time. I’m really looking forward to it,” said Fish.


“Obviously I love the weather, the heat. Playing in that type of heat is not just about being fit as well. It’s about convincing yourself you like it more than the other guy, pushing your body further than you think it will go…I love it. I grew up in it. I grew up in that weather and I played my best tennis in that type of heat. There’s going to be a lot of great players there as there has been in the past two years…I’ve had two very very close matches in the finals both to Isner and I am sure he will be looking to win one of those titles as well.”


Roddick acknowledges the tournament kicks off with a good field that includes Fish and Isner. “I think they’ve been in the last two finals. I’m one of the guys who is trying to make sure it’s not three in a row for those guys….I enjoy playing tennis anytime I step on the court. Motivation hasn’t been a problem of mine. As for the heat, I spent the majority of my life in Florida and Texas. I’m used to it. As far as heat goes, when I’m on court, I only have to be more comfortable than one person. I try to look at it that way.”


All four Men’s US Olympic team members are scheduled to play including hometown favorite Donald Young. Kei Nishikori, a Japanese native, makes his first appearance in Atlanta this year. He became the highest ranked male Japanese player in history last October. Unseeded Russian Alex Bogomolov Jr. and Matthew Ebden of Australia edged out the unseeded German team of Matthias Bachinger and Frank Moser 3-6, 7-5, [10-8] in a third-set match tiebreak to earn the 2011 Atlanta tournament doubles crown. Last year, Fish and Serena Williams swept the Emirates Airline US Open Series men’s and women’s titles, the first time two Americans won the Series Bonus Challenge in the same year.


Qualifying for this ATP World Tour 250 event runs July 14-15 with the main draw scheduled July 16-22 with prize money totaling $531,000.  Full seating capacity is 4,508 for the Atlanta venue in this eight tournament series leading up to the US Open. Players will compete during the entire series for $40 million in prize money.


Audraine Jackson is covering the BB&T Atlanta Open for Tennis Panorama News July 14-22, 2012. Audraine is a sports blogger, digital journalist and tennis addict. Follow her live updates on @tennisnewsTPN and personal twitter account @atlstoryteller.


Murray and Lopez Cruise to Semis at Shanghai Rolex Masters


Photo from Rogers Cup

SHANGHAI, China – Scotland’s Andy Murray has extended his current winning streak to 13 with an easy 6-3 6-2 over Australian qualifier Matthew Ebden on Friday at the Shanghai Rolex Masters.

World No. 124 Ebden stood toe-to-toe with Murray until the seventh game of the first set when the Scot took over.

“I created a lot of chances, I had game points in almost every one of his service games during the match, said Murray. I could have done with being a bit more clinical.”

Murray, who will play Kei Nishkori in Saturday’s second semifinal was asked about how much advice Nishikori will be getting from Murray’s former coach and one of Nishikori’s current coaches – Brad Gilbert

“I don’t know how much Brad is helping Kei, said Murray. “I don’t know how much time he’s actually spending with him. But he has a coach here with him. So I don’t know how the situation works.

“But whatever Brad says, I learnt quite a lot from him, and hopefully I’ll be able to use some of the things I learnt from him against Kei.”

“I used to spend a bit of time at Bollettieri’s training and he was always there. Yeah, I think he just got to the highest ranking of any Japanese player this week. So I’m sure he’s playing a little bit looser since he managed to do that.

“He’s obviously playing well this week. He’s had two very good wins the last couple of rounds, Tsonga and Dolgopolov.”

Murray was asked to speculate on Nishikori’s potential to be a rising star next season: “I don’t know. I think there’s a few guys that are looking to kind of push on, move up the rankings. Guys like (Milos) Raonic, (Ryan) Harrison, (Grigor) Dimitrov, (Bernard) Tomic. And, Kei, I think he was injured quite badly, maybe not last year but the year before. I don’t know if he had a surgery or not. But he’s come back well from it. He’s playing good. Yeah, this has been a great week for him.

“You never know what’s going to happen. But he’s going to be, I guess after this, maybe in the top 40 in the world. Maybe not so many points to defend at the start of the year so maybe it will give him a chance to get there.”

Murray is looking to capture an Asian swing triple if he can defend his Shanghai Rolex Masters crown. Recently Murray has won titles in Bangkok  and Tokyo.


Spain’s Feliciano Lopez defeated Thursday’s Rafael Nadal conqueror Germany’s Florian Mayer 6-2, 6-4 to advance to only his second Masters Series semifinal. The first came two years ago, also in Shanghai.

Lopez will play fellow Spaniard David Ferrerin Saturday’s first semifinal match.

“I think it’s going to be a very tough match, said Lopez. “David is a top player right now this moment, so I know it’s going to be tough to beat him.

“He’s a fighter. He’s very fast. He’s one of the best returners in the game right now, so I know it’s going to be a difficult match.

“If I want to continue winning, I have to play the way I was playing today and yesterday.”


Murray, Nishikori, Ebden and Lopez Advance at Shanghai Rolex Masters


SHANGHAI, China – Defending Shanghai Rolex Masters champion Andy Murray battled past Stanislas Wawrinka 6-4, 3-6, 6-3.

Matthew Ebden of Australia returns the ball to Rafael Nadal of Spain during their tennis match at the Queen’s Club Championships in west London June 8, 2011. REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett (BRITAIN – Tags: SPORT TENNIS)


Australia’s Matthew Ebden stunned eighth seed Gilles Simon of France 6-2, 2-6, 7-6(8).


Kei Nishikori defeated Santiago Giraldo 7-6, 4-6, 6-3 to advance to his first Masters 1000 quarterfinal. The in insures the Japanese player that come Monday, he’ll have the highest-ever ranking for a player from Japan surpassing Shuzo Matsuoka’s ranking of 46.


Feliciano Lopez‘s win over  sixth seed Tomas Berdych 6-4, 6-4 completed the round of 16.


ATP World Tour Shanghai Rolex Masters – Thursday Results, Friday Schedule