April 30, 2016

2016 Australian Open – Day 2 Men’s Preview

Rod Laver Arena

2016 AUSTRALIAN OPEN

DAY 2 MEN’S NOTES

Tuesday 19 January

1st Round Bottom Half

Featured matches

 

No. 2 Andy Murray (GBR) v Alexander Zverev (GER)
No. 4 Stan Wawrinka (SUI) v Dmitry Tursunov (RUS)

No. 5 Rafael Nadal (ESP) v Fernando Verdasco (ESP)
No. 8 David Ferrer (ESP) v (Q) Peter Gojowczyk (GER)

No. 13 Milos Raonic (CAN) v Lucas Pouille (FRA)

No. 16 Bernard Tomic (AUS) v Denis Istomin (UZB)

(WC) James Duckworth (AUS) v (WC) Lleyton Hewitt (AUS)

Adrian Mannarino (FRA) v Sam Groth (AUS)

 

On court today…

 

  • Former Australian Open champions Rafael Nadal and Stan Wawrinka begin their latest Melbourne campaigns today. Nadal faces a repeat of his epic 2009 semifinal against Fernarndo Verdasco, which lasted 5 hours 14 minutes and preceded his only title in Melbourne, in the 3rd match on Rod Laver Arena. Wawrinka, meanwhile, heads to Margaret Court Arena to take on Dmitry Tursunov, who is contesting his first Grand Slam match since the 2014 US Open after 13 months on the sidelines with a foot injury.

 

  • Andy Murray, a 4-time runner-up here in Melbourne, begins his 40th Grand Slam with a 1st round clash against Alexander Zverev in the 2nd match on Margaret Court Arena. The pair met for the first time at the Hopman Cup earlier this month, with the 2-time Grand Slam champion defeating 18-year-old Zverev in straight sets.

 

  • Both the youngest and oldest players to start in the men’s main draw are in action today. Qualifier Taylor Fritz, aged 18 years 95 days, begins his Australian Open campaign against fellow American and No. 25 seed Jack Sock in the 4th match on Court 14. Qualifier Radek Stepanek, aged 37 years 65 days, will bid to become the oldest man to win a match at the Australian Open since Bob Carmichael (38 years 183 days) and Ken Rosewall (44 years 62 days) in 1978, when he takes on qualifier Tatsuma Ito in the 4th match on Court 20.

 

  • Lleyton Hewitt begins his final Australian Open against compatriot James Duckworth in the night match on Rod Laver Arena. It’s a 20th straight appearance at Melbourne Park for Hewitt, which puts him in equal-4th place on the list for most appearances at a single Grand Slam. Hewitt and Duckworth are 2 of the 7 Aussies in action today.

 

 

NO. 2 ANDY MURRAY (GBR) v ALEXANDER ZVEREV (GER)

Head-to-head: first meeting

2016     Hopman Cup                Hard (I)            R2        Murray             63 64

 

MURRAY                                       v                                        ZVEREV

 

28                                          Age                                          18

2                             ATP Ranking (18 Jan)                            83

35                                         Titles                                          0

153-37                     Career Grand Slam Record                       1-2

39-10                        Australian Open Record                          0-0

552-165                              Career Record                               18-24

374-107                        Career Record – Hard                           5-11

0-0                                   2016 Record                                   0-0

0-0                              2016 Record – Hard                              0-0

18-7                          Career Five-Set Record                          1-1

8                         Comebacks from 0-2 Down                         0

157-98                       Career Tiebreak Record                         8-12

0-0                            2016 Tiebreak Record                            0-0

 

  • 4-time Australian Open runner-up MURRAY is contesting his 11th straight Australian Open and 40th Grand Slam overall.

 

  • Murray is looking to become the first man in the Open Era to win a Grand Slam title after losing 4 finals at any one Grand Slam. He finished as runner-up to Roger Federer here in 2010, and to Novak Djokovic in 2011, 2013 and 2015. Federer, at Roland Garros, and Ivan Lendl, at the US Open, are the only players to lose 3 Grand Slam finals at one major before winning the title in the Open Era.

 

  • Elsewhere in Grand Slam play in 2015, Murray reached the semifinals at Roland Garros (l. Djokovic) and Wimbledon (l. Federer). He fell to Kevin Anderson in the round of 16 at the US Open – the first time he had lost before the quarterfinals at a Grand Slam since the 2010 US Open.

 

  • Also in 2015, Murray won 4 titles including his first titles on clay at Munich (d. Philipp Kohlschreiber), where he became the first British player to win a Tour-level clay court title since Buster Mottram at 1976 Palma, and Madrid-1000 (d. Rafael Nadal). He also won the title at Queen’s (d. Anderson) and Montreal-1000
    (d. Djokovic).

 

  • Murray has not lost a 1st round Grand Slam match since the 2008 Australian Open (l. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga).

 

  • Murray warmed up for the Australian Open at the Hopman Cup. He won 2 of his 3 singles matches in Perth, defeating Kenny de Schepper and today’s opponent, but losing to Nick Kyrgios.

 

  • If he wins today, Murray will take sole occupancy of 8th place on the list for the most Australian Open match-wins in the Open Era. He is currently level with Wayne Ferreira on 39 wins at Melbourne Park. If he reaches the final here, he would tie Pete Sampras in 7th place on 45 wins.

 

  • Murray is one of 7 Grand Slam champions to start in the men’s main draw here. Murray won the 2012 US Open title (d. Djokovic) and became the first British man to win the Wimbledon singles title in 77 years in 2013 (d. Djokovic).

 

  • Murray is coached by 2006 Australian Open and Wimbledon champion Amelie Mauresmo.

 

  • ZVEREV is looking to reach the 2nd round here on his Australian Open debut and equal his best Grand Slam performance.

 

  • Zverev is making his 3rd appearance at a Grand Slam. He reached the 2nd round on his Grand Slam debut at 2015 Wimbledon (d. Teymuraz Gabashvili, l. Denis Kudla) and fell in the 1st round as a qualifier at the 2015 US Open (l. Philipp Kohlschreiber). He has attempted to qualify for the majors on 3 other occasions, including unsuccessfully here in 2015.

 

  • Zverev’s best Tour-level result in 2015 was reaching the semifinals at Bastad (l. Tommy Robredo) and the quarterfinals at Washington (l. Marin Cilic). He also won the title at the Heilbronn Challenger (GER)
    (d. Guido Pella), breaking the Top 100 at No. 85 for the first time as a result. He reached a career-high ranking of No. 74 in June 2015 but plays here at No. 83.

 

  • Zverev warmed up for the Australian Open at the Hopman Cup, where he won 1 of his 3 matches – defeating Kenny de Schepper but losing to Nick Kyrgios and today’s opponent.

 

  • Zverev is a former junior world No. 1. He was named 2013 ITF Junior World Champion and went on to win the boys’ singles title at the 2014 Australian Open (d. Stefan Kozlov). He also finished runner-up in the boys’ singles at 2013 Roland Garros and helped Germany reach the 2013 Junior Davis Cup Final (l. Spain).

 

  • Zverev is one of 8 former junior Australian Open champions in this year’s men’s main draw. Stefan Edberg is the only player to have won both the junior and senior title here in the Open Era.

 

  • Zverev received the ATP Star of Tomorrow Award in 2015 for being the youngest player in the Top 100. At 2014 Hamburg he became the youngest player ever to reach an ATP 500 semifinal aged 17, falling to David Ferrer.

 

  • Zverev’s brother, Mischa, attempted to qualify for the Australian Open, falling to Taylor Fritz in the final round of qualifying.

 

  • Zverev is coached by his father, Alexander Zverev Sr. His physical trainer is Jez Green, who used to work with Murray.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4 STAN WAWRINKA (SUI) v DMITRY TURSUNOV (RUS)

Head-to-head: tied 1-1

2008     Sydney                         Hard (O)           R32      Tursunov          63 63

2013     Kuala Lumpur               Hard (I)            QF       Wawrinka         26 63 76(3)

 

A 3rd career meeting between the 2 players. Tursunov won their only meeting in Australia 8 years ago.

 

WAWRINKA                                     v                                     TURSUNOV

 

30                                          Age                                          33

4                             ATP Ranking (18 Jan)                             –

12                                         Titles                                          7

103-41                     Career Grand Slam Record                      38-40

28-9                         Australian Open Record                          5-8

397-234                              Career Record                              229-207

214-128                        Career Record – Hard                        150-132

4-0                                   2016 Record                                   0-0

4-0                              2016 Record – Hard                              0-0

22-18                         Career Five-Set Record                          12-8

6                         Comebacks from 0-2 Down                         3

157-155                      Career Tiebreak Record                       110-88

0-0                            2016 Tiebreak Record                            0-0

 

  • 2014 Australian Open champion WAWRINKA has never lost in the 1st round here. This is his 11th Australian Open appearance and his 44th Grand Slam overall.

 

  • The last time Wawrinka lost in the 1st round at a Grand Slam was at 2014 Roland Garros, when as No. 3 seed he was defeated by Guillermo Garcia-Lopez. He was the first reigning Australian Open champion to lost in the 1st round of the subsequent Roland Garros since Petr Korda in 1998.

 

  • Last year here as defending champion Wawrinka reached the semifinals, losing to eventual champion Novak Djokovic 76(1) 36 64 46 60.

 

  • Wawrinka’s best Australian Open result is winning the title in his first Grand Slam final in 2014 (d. Rafael Nadal 63 62 36 63). He was the first player to defeat the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds en route to a Grand Slam title since Sergei Bruguera won 1993 Roland Garros.

 

  • Wawrinka won his 2nd Grand Slam title as No. 8 seed at 2015 Roland Garros. He became the 2nd Swiss player – man or woman – in history to win Roland Garros after defeating No. 1 seed Djokovic 46 64 63 64 in the final. At 30 years 71 days, he was the oldest man to win in Paris since Andres Gomez in 1990.

 

  • Elsewhere at the Grand Slams in 2015, Wawrinka reached the quarterfinals at Wimbledon (l. Richard Gasquet) and the semifinals at the US Open (l. Roger Federer). It was the first time he had reached the quarterfinals at all 4 Grand Slams in a calendar year.

 

  • Wawrinka had a career-best season in 2015. As well as winning his 2nd Grand Slam title at Roland Garros, he also won the titles at Chennai (d. Aljaz Bedene), Rotterdam (d. Tomas Berdych) and Tokyo
    (d. Benoit Paire). It was the first time he has won 4 titles in a single season. He also reached 5 further semifinals.

 

  • Wawrinka warmed up for the Australian Open by successfully defending his title at Chennai. He defeated Borna Coric in the final. It was his 12th career title and 4th at Chennai, having also won there in 2011, 2014 and 2015.

 

  • Wawrinka is currently working with Magnus Norman, who reached the semifinals here in 2000.

 

  • TURSUNOV is contesting his first Grand Slam match since the 2014 US Open and is looking for his first Grand Slam match-win since 2014 Roland Garros.

 

  • Tursunov spent 13 months out of the game due to a left foot injury after the 2014 US Open, making his comeback at 2015 Moscow where he failed to qualify in singles but won the doubles title as a wild card with Andrey Rublev. He has played just 2 other events since then, losing in the 1st round at the Ortisei Challenger (ITA) in November 2015 and in the final round of qualifying for the Bangkok Challenger
    (l. Frederik Nielsen) prior to coming here.

 

  • Tursunov is bidding to record his first Tour-level match-win since 2014 ’s-Hertogenbosch, when he defeated Bradley Klahn in the 1st round before giving a walkover to Thiemo De Bakker due to a left foot injury.

 

  • Tursunov is bidding to reach the 2nd round here for the 5th time. His best Australian Open performance is reaching the 3rd round as No. 21 seed in 2007 (l. Tomas Berdych). He fell in the 2nd round on his last appearance at Melbourne Park in 2014 (d. Michael Russell, l. Denis Istomin).

 

  • Tursunov’s best Grand Slam performance is 2 round of 16 finishes at Wimbledon in 2005 (l. Sebastien Grosjean) and as No. 27 seed in 2006 (l. Jarkko Nieminen). This is his 9th Australian Open and his 41st Grand Slam appearance.

 

  • Tursunov is bidding to end a 3-match losing streak at the Grand Slams. He has not won a match at a major since reaching the 3rd round at 2014 Roland Garros (l. Roger Federer).

 

  • Tursunov is a former Top 20 player, having reached a career-high ranking of No. 20 in October 2006, after winning his first career title at 2006 Mumbai (d. Berdych). He plays here on a protected ranking of No. 89.

 

  • Tursunov is a 7-time singles titlist. 5 of his 7 career singles titles have come on hard court – with his last title on the surface coming at 2008 Metz.

 

  • Tursunov is on an 8-match losing streak against Top 10 players. The last time he defeated a Top 10 player was at 2013 Cincinnati-1000 when he defeated No. 4 David Ferrer. He is bidding for his 3rd victory over a Top 10 player at a major – and his first since he defeated No. 4 Ivan Ljubicic at 2006 Wimbledon.

 

  • Tursunov entered the men’s doubles here with Alexandr Dolgopolov. The pair will play No. 16 seeds Pablo Cuevas/Marcel Granollers in the 1st round. Tursunov has won 7 career doubles titles.

 

  • Tursunov is coached by Vitaly Gorin at the Gorin Tennis Academy in Sacramento. His fitness trainer is Jason Stacy.

 

 

5 RAFAEL NADAL (ESP) v FERNANDO VERDASCO (ESP)

Head-to-head: Nadal leads 14-2

2005     Doha                            Hard (O)           R16      Nadal               62 64

2005     AMS Miami                   Hard (O)           R32      Nadal               62 62

2005     Stuttgart                       Clay (O)           R16      Nadal               63 62

2006     Queen’s                        Grass (O)         R16      Nadal               26 76(3) 76(3)

2007     AMS Indian Wells         Hard (O)           R32      Nadal               64 64

2008     Roland Garros             Clay (O)           R16      Nadal               61 60 62

2009     Australian Open          Hard (O)          SF        Nadal               67(4) 64 76(2) 67(1) 64

2009     Rome-1000                   Clay (O)           QF       Nadal               63 63

2009     Madrid-1000                 Clay (O)           QF       Nadal               64 75

2010     Monte Carlo-1000         Clay (O)           FR        Nadal               60 61

2010     US Open                      Hard (O)          QF       Nadal               75 63 64

2011     Cincinnati-1000             Hard (O)           R16      Nadal               76(5) 67(4) 76(9)

2012     Barcelona                     Clay (O)           SF        Nadal               60 64

2012     Madrid-1000                 Clay (O)           R16      Verdasco          63 36 75

2015     Miami-1000                   Hard (O)           R32      Verdasco          64 26 63

2015     Hamburg                      Clay (O)           R32      Nadal               36 61 61

 

Nadal and Verdasco have met at the Australian Open once before in the 2009 semifinals – their epic 5-set match lasted for 5 hours 14 minutes and is the 2nd longest match (in terms of duration) in Australian Open history. Nadal went on to win his only Australian Open title that year while for Verdasco it is his best Grand Slam performance and saw him break the Top 10 for the first time as a result. This is a 4th Grand Slam meeting for the 2 players but their first since the 2010 US Open.

 

Nadal leads the head-to-head 14-2 but Verdasco has won 2 of their last 3 match-ups, ending a 13-match losing streak to Nadal at 2012 Madrid-1000. Nadal has also won 6 of their 7 hard court encounters and all of their previous meetings at the majors.

 

Nadal and Verdasco are 2 of the 16 lefthanders to start in the men’s main draw. Nadal was the last lefthander to win the title here in 2009. They are also 2 of the 15 Spanish men to start in this year’s draw. Spain has the highest representation of any nation here.

 

NADAL                                         v                                     VERDASCO

 

29                                          Age                                          32

5                             ATP Ranking (18 Jan)                            45

67                                         Titles                                          6

198-29                     Career Grand Slam Record                      91-50

45-9                         Australian Open Record                        20-12

771-161                              Career Record                              430-311

367-108                        Career Record – Hard                        195-164

4-1                                   2016 Record                                   1-1

4-1                              2016 Record – Hard                              1-1

17-6                          Career Five-Set Record                         21-18

3                         Comebacks from 0-2 Down                         5

192-120                      Career Tiebreak Record                      164-173

0-1                            2016 Tiebreak Record                            2-0

 

  • 2009 champion NADAL is bidding to maintain his record of always having reached the 2nd round at the Australian Open. This is his 11th appearance at Melbourne Park and his 44th Grand Slam overall.

 

  • Nadal is bidding to win his 2nd Australian Open title and become the first man in the Open Era – and only the 3rd man in history – to win each of the 4 Grand Slam titles twice. Roy Emerson and Rod Laver are the only players to have won each Grand Slam on two or more occasions [see Preview page 2].

 

  • Last year here Nadal lost to Tomas Berdych in the quarterfinals. It ended Nadal’s 17-match winning streak against Berdych which was the joint longest winning streak in a Tour-level head-to-head.

 

  • In 2015, Nadal won 3 titles at Buenos Aires (d. Juan Monaco), Stuttgart (d. Viktor Troicki) and Hamburg
    (d. Fabio Fognini). This is the joint fewest titles he has won in a season since 2004 when he won one title. It was also the first year he failed to win a Grand Slam title since 2004.

 

  • At the majors in 2015, Nadal lost in the quarterfinals at Roland Garros to Novak Djokovic. It was just his second defeat in 95 best-of-5 set matches and ended his 39-match winning streak at the French Open. He lost to qualifier Dustin Brown in the 2nd round at Wimbledon and to Fabio Fognini in the 3rd round at the US Open.
  • Nadal is looking to win his 15th Grand Slam title and close the gap on Federer in the list of all-time Grand Slam title holders. He is currently joint-2nd with Pete Sampras on the list behind Federer (17). He was one of 7 Grand Slam champions to start this year’s men’s main draw.

 

  • Nadal’s best performance at the Australian Open was winning the title in 2009 (d. Federer). He also reached the final in 2012, losing to Djokovic in the longest men’s Grand Slam final on record at 5 hours, 53 minutes, and in 2014 (l. Stan Wawrinka).

 

  • Nadal has never lost in the 1st round at the Australian Open. He has only lost in the 1st round at a Grand Slam once before – to Steve Darcis at 2013 Wimbledon.

 

  • Nadal warmed up for the Australian Open at Doha, where he lost in the final to Djokovic.

 

  • Nadal is coached by his uncle, Toni Nadal, and his fitness trainer is Rafael Maymo.

 

  • Lefthander VERDASCO is contesting his 13th consecutive Australian Open and his 51st Grand Slam overall.

 

  • Verdasco recorded his best Grand Slam result here in 2009, when he lost to today’s opponent in the semifinals.

 

  • At the Grand Slams in 2015, Verdasco reached the 3rd round at the Australian Open (l. Novak Djokovic) and at Wimbledon (l. Stan Wawrinka) but fell in the 2nd round at Roland Garros (l. Benjamin Becker) and the US Open (l. Milos Raonic).

 

  • Verdasco’s best results in 2015 were reaching the semifinals at Ecuador (l. Feliciano Lopez) and Houston (l. Sam Querrey). He recorded back-to-back wins at just 6 tournaments and ended the year ranked No. 47, his lowest year-end ranking for 12 years.

 

  • Verdasco warmed up for the Australian Open by reaching the 2nd round at Doha (d. Malek Jaziri, l. Djokovic).

 

  • Verdasco has won 6 career singles titles, most recently at 2014 Houston (d. Nicolas Almagro). 2 of his titles have come on hard court – at 2009 New Haven and 2010 San Jose. He is a former Top 10 player, having reached a career-high ranking of No. 7 in 2009, but plays here at No. 47.

 

  • Verdasco has played at every Grand Slam event since making his debut at 2003 Wimbledon. This is his 51st straight major. Only 2 men have a longer active streak: Roger Federer (65) and Feliciano Lopez (56).

 

  • Verdasco entered the men’s doubles here with Robin Haase. They will play Colin Fleming/Jonathan Erlich in the 1st round. Verdasco has won 7 career doubles titles.

 

  • Verdasco is coached by David Sanchez and Sergio Perez. His fitness trainers are Jesus Rivera-Huidobro and Claudio Soliva.

 

 

8 DAVID FERRER (ESP) v (Q) PETER GOJOWCZYK (GER)

Head-to-head: first meeting

 

FERRER                                        v                                   GOJOWCZYK

 

33                                          Age                                          26

8                             ATP Ranking (18 Jan)                           223

26                                         Titles                                          0

130-51                     Career Grand Slam Record                       2-5

35-13                        Australian Open Record                          0-3

659-313                              Career Record                               10-15

308-166                        Career Record – Hard                            8-9

2-2                                   2016 Record                                   0-0

2-2                              2016 Record – Hard                              0-0

20-11                         Career Five-Set Record                          1-2

4                         Comebacks from 0-2 Down                         0

148-131                      Career Tiebreak Record                          7-7

1-0                            2016 Tiebreak Record                            0-0

 

  • FERRER is contesting his 14th successive Australian Open and his 52nd Grand Slam overall.

 

  • Ferrer has not lost in the 1st round at a Grand Slam event since 2005 Wimbledon, where as No. 17 seed he lost to Guillermo Garcia-Lopez. He fell in the 1st round here on his Grand Slam debut in 2003 (l. Hyung-Taik Lee) and again in 2005 (l. David Nalbandian).

 

  • Ferrer’s best Grand Slam result is reaching the final as No. 4 seed at 2013 Roland Garros, where he lost in straight sets to Nadal. At 31 years 68 days, he was the 4th oldest man to reach the Roland Garros final.

 

  • Ferrer’s best Australian Open performance is reaching the semifinals as No. 7 seed in 2011 (l. Andy Murray) and as No. 4 seed in 2013 (l. Novak Djokovic).

 

  • Last year here Ferrer reached the round of 16, losing to Kei Nishikori. Elsewhere at the Grand Slams in 2015, Ferrer reached the quarterfinals at Roland Garros (l. Murray) and the 3rd round at the US Open
    (l. Jeremy Chardy). He missed Wimbledon with an elbow injury, ending a run of 50 straight Grand Slam appearances.

 

  • Ferrer warmed up for the Australian Open by reaching the semifinals at Auckland, losing to Jack Sock. He fell in the 1st round at Doha to Illya Marchenko.

 

  • Ferrer finished 2015 at No. 7 in the rankings – the 6th consecutive year he has finished in the Top 10. He won 5 titles in 2015, the most titles he has won in a calendar year since 2012. He won the titles at Doha
    (d. Tomas Berdych), Rio de Janeiro (d. Fabio Fognini), Acapulco (d. Kei Nishikori), Kuala Lumpur
    (d. Feliciano Lopez) and Vienna (d. Steve Johnson). He played just one event between Roland Garros and the US Open due to an elbow injury.

 

  • Ferrer started working with Francisco Fogues in 2015.

 

  • Qualifier GOJOWCZYK is looking for his first match-win at the Australian Open. This is his 4th appearance at Melbourne Park and his 6th Grand Slam overall.

 

  • Gojowczyk has lost in the 1st round in all 3 of his previous appearances at the Australian Open – as a qualifier in 2012 (l. Donald Young) and 2014 (l. Victor Hanescu), and he retired with cramping as a direct acceptance in 2015 (l. Guillermo Garcia-Lopez). He failed to qualify here in 2013.

 

  • Gojowczyk defeated Brydan Klein (GBR) 75 62, Frances Tiafoe (USA) 63 62 and Alexander Kudryavtsev (RUS) 36 76(3) 62 in the 3 rounds of qualifying.
  • The only other Grand Slam event Gojowczyk has contested is the US Open, where he reached the 2nd round as a qualifier in both 2013 (l. Evgeny Donskoy) and 2014 (l. Milos Raonic). At the majors in 2015, he lost in the 1st round at the Australian Open and failed to qualify at Roland Garros, Wimbledon and the US Open.

 

  • Prior to coming here, Gojowczyk fell in the 1st round at the Happy Valley Challenger (AUS) (l. Alexander Sarkissian).

 

  • Gojowyczk’s best results in 2015 came on the Challenger Circuit. He won the title at Nan Chang (CHN)
    (d. Amir Weintraub) and reached the semifinals at Ningbo (l. Yen-Hsun Lu). He played in 3 Tour-level events, winning just one match at Chennai (d. Alejandro Falla, l. Roberto Bautista Agut).

 

  • Gojowyczk is looking for his 2nd victory over a Top 10 player, having defeated No. 9 Raonic at 2014 Halle. He has a 1-3 win-loss record against Top 10 players overall.

 

  • Gojowczyk is coached by Lars Uebel. He trains at the Sport-Scheck Allwetteranlage in Munich.

 

 

13 MILOS RAONIC (CAN) v LUCAS POUILLE (FRA)

Head-to-head: Raonic leads 1-0
2016     Brisbane           Hard (O)           QF       Raonic              64 64

 

A 2nd straight meeting in Australia this month for the 2 players. Raonic defeated Pouille en route to winning his 8th career title at Brisbane.

 

RAONIC                                        v                                       POUILLE

 

25                                          Age                                          21

14                            ATP Ranking (18 Jan)                            90

8                                          Titles                                          0

43-19                      Career Grand Slam Record                       1-7

14-5                         Australian Open Record                          0-2

211-103                              Career Record                               18-23

154-64                         Career Record – Hard                          12-14

4-0                                   2016 Record                                   2-1

4-0                              2016 Record – Hard                              2-1

5-4                           Career Five-Set Record                          0-1

0                         Comebacks from 0-2 Down                         0

137-88                       Career Tiebreak Record                         13-5

2-1                            2016 Tiebreak Record                            1-0

 

  • RAONIC is bidding to maintain his record of always having reached the 2nd round here.

 

  • Last year here as No. 8 seed Raonic recorded his best Australian Open result by reaching the quarterfinals (l. Novak Djokovic). This is his 6th Australian Open appearance and his 20th Grand Slam overall.

 

  • Elsewhere in Grand Slam play in 2015, Raonic reached the 3rd round at both Wimbledon (l. Nick Kyrgios) and the US Open (l. Feliciano Lopez). He missed Roland Garros with a right foot injury, which required surgery in May 2015.

 

  • Raonic’s best Grand Slam result is reaching the semifinals as No. 8 seed at 2014 Wimbledon (l. Roger Federer). He became the first Canadian man to reach a Grand Slam semifinal after Robert Powell at 1908 Wimbledon.

 

  • Raonic’s best result in 2015 was winning the title at St. Petersburg (d. Joao Sousa). He also finished as runner-up at Brisbane (l. Federer) and reached the semifinals at Indian Wells-1000 and Rotterdam. He ended his season after Shanghai-1000 in October due to a hip injury.

 

  • Raonic reached a career-high ranking of No. 4 in May 2015 after reaching the quarterfinals at Madrid-1000 (l. Andy Murray). He finished the year in the Top 20 for the 4th straight year and plays here at No. 14.

 

  • Raonic warmed up for the Australian Open by winning his 8th career title as No. 4 seed at Brisbane, avenging his defeat to Federer in the 2015 final with his 2nd career victory over the Swiss. All 8 of Raonic’s career titles have come on a hard court.

 

  • Raonic became the first Canadian to be seeded in the men’s singles at a Grand Slam event in the Open Era at 2011 Roland Garros. He plays here seeded No. 13 – his lowest Grand Slam seeding since 2013 Wimbledon.

 

  • Raonic was born in Montenegro but moved to Canada in 1994. He started playing tennis aged 8.

 

  • Raonic started working with former world No. 1 Carlos Moya at the 2016 Australian Open. Moya finished runner-up here in 1997 before going on to win Roland Garros in 1998. He is also coached by Riccardo Piatti.

 

  • POUILLE is bidding to reach the 2nd round here for the first time and equal his best Grand Slam result.

 

  • Pouille’s best Grand Slam performance is reaching the 2nd round on his Grand Slam debut as a wild card at 2013 Roland Garros (l. Grigor Dimitrov). It was his first Tour-level match-win.

 

  • Pouille has lost in the 1st round in 6 of his 7 Grand Slam appearances – including as a wild card here in both 2014 (d. Alex Kuznetsov, l. Dusan Lajovic) and 2015, when he fell to Gael Monfils in his only career 5-set match to date. He failed to qualify here in 2013.

 

  • Pouille warmed up for the Australian Open by reaching the quarterfinals at Brisbane (l. today’s opponent). It was just the 6th time he has won back-to-back matches at Tour-level.

 

  • Pouille is bidding to defeat a player ranked in the Top 20 for the 3rd time. Pouille has a 2-6 win-loss record against Top 20 opposition, having defeated No. 20 Fabio Fognini at 2014 Paris-1000 and No. 16 David Goffin for the best win of his career at 2016 Brisbane.

 

  • Pouille’s best results in 2015 were reaching his first Tour-level semifinals – as a lucky loser at Auckland
    (l. Adrian Mannarino) and as a qualifier at Hamburg (l. Fabio Fognini). He also reached quarterfinals at St. Petersburg and Moscow, losing to Roberto Bautista Agut on both occasions, and finished as runner-up at the Mouilleron Le Captif Challenger (FRA).

 

  • Pouille reached a career-high ranking of No. 23 on the junior circuit. He reached the quarterfinals of the boys’ event at the 2011 Australian Open and the 2nd round as a wild card at 2010 junior Roland Garros. He was a member of the French team that finished runner-up to USA at the 2008 World Junior Tennis Finals.

 

  • Pouille entered the men’s doubles event here with Adrian Mannarino. The pair will play Victor Estrella Burgos/Santiago Giraldo in the 1st round.

 

  • Pouille is coached by Emmanuel Planque.

 

16 BERNARD TOMIC (AUS) v DENIS ISTOMIN (UZB)

Head-to-head: Tomic leads 3-1

2012     Brisbane                       Hard (O)           QF       Tomic               63 76(4)
2012     Monte Carlo-1000         Clay (O)           R64      Tomic               64 63

2013     Davis Cup                     Clay (I)             R4        Tomic               46 62 62 63

2014     Washington                  Hard (O)           R32      Istomin             64 76(6)

 

TOMIC                                                   v                              ISTOMIN

 

23                                          Age                                          29

17                            ATP Ranking (18 Jan)                            59

3                                          Titles                                          1

30-23                      Career Grand Slam Record                      28-30

12-7                         Australian Open Record                          7-9

133-117                              Career Record                              185-190

99-74                          Career Record – Hard                        107-119

4-2                                   2016 Record                                   0-2

4-2                              2016 Record – Hard                              0-2

7-2                           Career Five-Set Record                          11-6

2                         Comebacks from 0-2 Down                         2

80-64                        Career Tiebreak Record                        92-79

2-2                            2016 Tiebreak Record                            0-0

 

  • TOMIC is bidding to record his 100th career hard court match-win today.

 

  • Tomic is bidding to reach the 2nd round at the Australian Open for the 7th time. This is his 8th consecutive appearance at the Australian Open and his 25th Grand Slam overall.

 

  • Tomic’s best Grand Slam result is reaching the quarterfinals as a qualifier at 2011 Wimbledon (l. Novak Djokovic). He was the youngest man since Boris Becker in 1986 to reach the quarterfinals at Wimbledon.
  • Tomic’s best Australian Open performance is reaching the round of 16 in 2012 (l. Roger Federer) and 2015 (l. Tomas Berdych).

 

  • Elsewhere at the Grand Slams in 2015, Tomic reached the 3rd round at Wimbledon (l. Novak Djokovic) and the US Open (l. Richard Gasquet) and fell in the 2nd round at Roland Garros (l. Thanasi Kokkinakis).

 

  • Also in 2015, Tomic defended his title at Bogota (d. Adrian Mannarino) and reached the semifinals at Delray Beach (l. Donald Young). All of Tomic’s 3 career singles titles have come on a hard court.

 

  • Tomic warmed up for the Australian Open by reaching the semifinals at Brisbane (l. Milos Raonic) and the quarterfinals at Sydney, where he retired with fatigue and dizziness while trailing Teymuraz Gabashvili 63 3-0. He plays here on a career-high ranking of No. 17.

 

  • Tomic is one of 9 Australians starting in the men’s draw here. He is looking to become the first native champion to win the Australian Open men’s singles title since Mark Edmondson in 1976.

 

  • Tomic is one of 8 former junior Australian Open champions in the draw. He won the 2008 Australian Open boys’ title aged 15 years 3 months, defeating Yang Tsung-Hua in the final. He was the youngest winner of the title since Ken Rosewall in 1950. He also won the 2009 US Open boys’ singles title (d. Chase Buchanan). Stefan Edberg is the only player to have won both the junior and senior title here in the Open Era. He captured the boys’ singles title in 1983, before winning the men’s singles in 1985 and 1987.

 

  • Tomic is coached by his father John.

 

  • ISTOMIN is bidding to reach the 2nd round here for the 6th time.

 

  • Istomin is looking to record his first match-win of 2016. Prior to coming here Istomin lost in the 1st round at both Brisbane (l. Mikhail Kukushkin) and Sydney (Andreas Seppi).

 

  • Last year here Istomin fell to Seppi in 5-sets in the 1st round. He has lost to Seppi in both of his 2 five-set matches at Melbourne Park but has an 11-6 win-loss record in 5-set matches overall.

 

  • Istomin’s best Australian Open performance is reaching the 3rd round here in 2010 and 2014, losing to Novak Djokovic on both occasions. He is contesting his 10th Australian Open and his 31st Grand Slam overall.

 

  • Istomin’s best Grand Slam result is reaching the round of 16 at 2012 Wimbledon (l. Mikhail Youzhny) and the 2013 US Open (l. Andy Murray). He is the only Uzbek player (man or woman) to reach the last 16 at a Grand Slam.

 

  • Istomin’s best result at the Grand Slams in 2015 was reaching the 2nd round at the US Open, where he retired with a right leg injury against Dominic Thiem. He fell in the 1st round at the Australian Open, Roland Garros (l. Nick Kyrgios) and Wimbledon, where he retired with fatigue against Albert Ramos-Vinolas.

 

  • Istomin’s best result in 2015 was winning his first Tour-level singles title at Nottingham (d. Sam Querrey). He reached 3 further quarterfinals at Montpellier, Bastad and St. Petersburg and finished the year ranked inside the Top 100 for the 6th straight year. He plays here ranked No. 59.

 

  • Istomin has won just one of his 14 previous matches against Top 20 opposition at the Grand Slams. His only win over a Top 20 player at a major came against No. 15 Nicolas Almagro at the 2013 US Open. He is on a 4-match losing streak against Top 20 players at Tour-level, with his last win over a Top 20 opponent coming against Ernests Gulbis at 2015 Dubai.

 

  • Istomin entered the men’s doubles here with Aliaksandr Bury. The pair will play No. 14 seeds Treat Huey/Max Mirnyi in the 1st round. Istomin has won 3 doubles titles, including one with Bury in their 2nd tournament together at 2015 Gstaad.

 

  • Istomin broke his leg in a car accident in 2001 while travelling to a Futures event in Tashkent. He spent 3 months in hospital and did not touch a racket in 2 years, with doctors doubting he would ever play competitive tennis again.

 

  • Istomin has received support from the Grand Slam Development Fund, receiving travel grants in 2004.

 

  • Istomin is coached by his mother Klaudiya Istomina.

 

 

(WC) JAMES DUCKWORTH (AUS) v (WC) LLEYTON HEWITT (AUS)

Head-to-head: first meeting

 

Duckworth and Hewitt are 2 of the 9 Australian men to start in the main draw here vying to become the first homegrown champion since Mark Edmondson in 1976. This is just the 2nd all-Australian 1st round match-up at Melbourne Park since 2004. The most recent one in 2013 also featured Duckworth, who defeated Benjamin Mitchell in 5 sets for his first 5-set match-win.

 

DUCKWORTH                                   v                                        HEWITT

 

23*                                          Age                                          34

129                            ATP Ranking (18 Jan)                           308

0                                          Titles                                         30

4-12                       Career Grand Slam Record                     147-63

3-4                          Australian Open Record                        31-19

16-30                                Career Record                              615-261

12-22                          Career Record – Hard                        371-157

1-2                                   2016 Record                                   0-0

1-2                              2016 Record – Hard                              0-0

3-4                           Career Five-Set Record                         32-25

0                         Comebacks from 0-2 Down                         6

15-15                        Career Tiebreak Record                      171-157

0-1                            2016 Tiebreak Record                            0-0

                                                                                       *Turns 24 on 21 January

 

  • Wild card DUCKWORTH is looking to reach the 2nd round here and equal his best Grand Slam result.

 

  • Duckworth earned a wild card into the main draw after winning the Australian Open wild card play-off. His final opponent, Benjamin Mitchell, withdrew ahead of the final to be with his girlfriend for the birth of their first child.

 

  • This is Duckworth’s 5th straight Australian Open appearance and his 13th Grand Slam overall. He has lost in the 1st round in 8 of his 12 previous appearances at the majors, including as a wild card here in 2014
    (l. Roger Federer).

 

  • Duckworth’s best Grand Slam performance is reaching the 2nd round at Melbourne Park as a wild card in 2012 (d. Jurgen Zopp, l. Janko Tipsarevic), 2013 (d. Benjamin Mitchell, l. Blaz Kavcic) and 2015 (d. Kavcic,
    Richard Gasquet), and as a direct acceptance at 2015 Wimbledon (d. Malek Jaziri, l. Sam Groth).

 

  • Elsewhere at the majors in 2015, Duckworth lost in 5-sets in the 1st round at Roland Garros (l. Andrea Arnaboldi), and at the US Open (l. Hyeon Chung).

 

  • Duckworth’s best results last year came on the Challenger Circuit. He reached the final at Kolkata (IND)
    (l. Radu Albot) and the semifinals at San Luis Potosi (MEX) (l. Guido Pella). He reached 2 Tour-level quarterfinals at Brisbane and Nice. He reached a career-high ranking of No. 82 in April but plays here at No. 129.

 

  • Prior to coming here, Duckworth reached the 2nd round as a wild card at Sydney (d. Inigo Cervantes Huegun, l. Jeremy Chardy) and lost in the 1st round as a wild card at Brisbane to Dominic Thiem. He reached his first career doubles final at Brisbane with Chris Guccione, losing to Henri Kontinen/John Peers.

 

  • Duckworth has entered the men’s doubles event here as a wild card with countryman John Millman. The pair will face Lukas Dlouhy/Jiri Vesely in the 1st round.

 

  • Duckworth reached the 2010 Australian Open boys’ singles quarterfinals as a wild card (l. Gianni Mina). He also reached the semifinals of the boys’ singles event at Roland Garros and reached a career-high junior ranking of No. 7 in July 2010.

 

  • Duckworth’s grandmother Beryl Penrose was women’s singles champion at the 1955 Australian Championships.
  • Duckworth is coached by Ben Mathias. His physical trainer is Ian Prangley.

 

  • 2005 Australian Open runner-up HEWITT is making his 20th – and final – Australian Open appearance, extending his record for the most Australian Open appearances ahead of Fabrice Santoro (18) [see Preview page 3]. He is in joint-4th place in the list for the most appearances at a single Grand Slam.

 

  • Hewitt is also making his 66th Grand Slam appearance overall, which puts him in 3rd place for the most Grand Slams played in the Open Era after Fabrice Santoro and Roger Federer [see Preview page 5].

 

  • In his 19 previous appearances at Melbourne Park, Hewitt has fallen in the 1st round 7 times.

 

  • Prior to coming here, Hewitt teamed with Jarmila Wolfe as the Australia Gold team at Hopman Cup. Hewitt defeated Jack Sock but lost to Jiri Vesely and Alexandr Dolgopolov in the round-robin.

 

  • At last year’s Australian Open, Hewitt lost in the 2nd round in 5-sets to Benjamin Becker. He is on a 6-match losing streak in 5-set matches. Hewitt has a 7-6 win-loss record in 5-set matches at the Australian Open and a 32-25 5-set win-loss record overall. He hasn’t won a 5-set match at Melbourne Park since defeating Marcos Baghdatis in the 3rd round in 2008 in a match that finished at 4:34am.

 

  • All 3 of Hewitt’s Grand Slam appearances in 2015 ended in 5-set defeats. As well as losing to Becker in the 2nd round here, he lost to Jarkko Nieminen in the 1st round as a wild card at Wimbledon in a match where the final set finished 11-9, and to Bernard Tomic as a wild card in the 2nd round at the US Open. He did not play at Roland Garros.

 

  • Hewitt is a former Grand Slam champion, having won the 2001 US Open (d. Pete Sampras) and 2002 Wimbledon (d. David Nalbandian). He was one of 7 Grand Slam champions to start in the men’s main draw here.

 

  • Hewitt finished runner-up here in 2005, becoming the first Australian to reach an Australian Open final since Pat Cash in 1988. He lost to Marat Safin 16 63 64 64 and had carried a hip flexor injury throughout the whole tournament.

 

  • Hewitt has entered the men’s doubles event here with Sam Groth. The pair will play Dusan Lajovic/Viktor Troicki in the 1st round.

 

  • In Davis Cup play in 2015, Hewitt helped Australia to reach the semifinals for the first time since 2006, where they lost to eventual champions Great Britain 3-2. He has been named as Australia’s Davis Cup captain and his first tie in charge will be against USA in Kooyong on 4-6 March.

 

  • Outside of the Grand Slams and Davis Cup, Hewitt played a limited schedule in 2015, contesting just 6 other tournaments. He won 4 matches all year – 2 at the Grand Slams, one in Davis Cup and one at Washington. He plays here ranked No. 308.

 

  • Hewitt is coached by Tony Roche and Jaymon Crabb.

 

 

ADRIAN MANNARINO (FRA) v SAM GROTH (AUS)

 

Head-to-head: first Tour-level meeting

2007     Great Britain     Futures             Hard (I)             R32     Groth               64 76(4)

2014     Knoxville           Challenger        Hard (I)             FR        Mannarino        36 76(6) 64

 

 

MANNARINO                                    v                                        GROTH

 

27                                          Age                                          28

48                            ATP Ranking (18 Jan)                            67

0                                          Titles                                          0

16-23                      Career Grand Slam Record                       6-8

3-6                          Australian Open Record                          2-3

77-109                               Career Record                               32-43

54-73                          Career Record – Hard                          19-32

0-1                                   2016 Record                                   0-2

0-1                              2016 Record – Hard                              0-2

3-3                           Career Five-Set Record                          1-0

0                         Comebacks from 0-2 Down                         0

34-47                        Career Tiebreak Record                        36-29

  • 2016 Tiebreak Record                                  0-3

 

  • Lefthander MANNARINO is bidding to reach the 2nd round and equal his best Australian Open performance. He reached the 2nd round here in 2011 (d. Ryan Harrison, l. Richard Gasquet), 2014
    (d. Steve Johnson, l. David Ferrer) and 2015 (d. Blaz Rola, l. Feliciano Lopez). Last year he retired in the 2nd round with illness.

 

  • Mannarino’s best Grand Slam performance is a round of 16 finish at 2013 Wimbledon (l. Lukas Kubot) – one of just 3 times he has advanced beyond the 2nd round at a Grand Slam in 23 previous appearances. This is his 7th appearance at Melbourne Park and his 24th major overall.

 

  • At the majors in 2015, Mannarino reached the 2nd round at the Australian Open, Wimbledon (d. Michael Berrer, l. Gael Monfils) and the US Open (d. Konstantin Kravchuk, l. Andy Murray) but fell in the 1st round at Roland Garros (l. Jurgen Melzer). He led Murray by 2-sets-to-love at the US Open before falling in 5-sets. His 5-set win-loss record is 3-3.

 

  • Elsewhere in 2015, Mannarino reached his first Tour-level final at Auckland (l. Jiri Vesely) and also finished as runner-up at Bogota (l. Bernard Tomic). He reached the semifinals at Delray Beach (l. Ivo Karlovic). He reached a career-high ranking of No. 27 after his run to the final at Bogota and plays here at No. 48.

 

  • Mannarino warmed-up for the Australian Open by winning the Noumea Challenger (CAL) (d. Alejandro Falla) but lost in the 1st round at Sydney to Nicolas Mahut.

 

  • Mannarino is coached by Marc Gicquel, who reached the 3rd round here in 2008. His fitness trainer is Pascal Supiot from the French Tennis Federation.

 

  • GROTH is looking for his first match-win of 2016. He is on a 5-match losing streak having not won a Tour-level match since the 2015 US Open.

 

  • Groth recorded his best Grand Slam performance here last year when he reached the 3rd round
    (l. Bernard Tomic). He also reached the 3rd round at 2015 Wimbledon (l. Roger Federer). This is his 4th Australian Open appearance and his 9th Grand Slam overall.

 

  • Also at the Grand Slams last year, Groth reached the 2nd round at the US Open (d. Alexandr Dolgopolov, l. Tommy Robredo) but lost in the 1st round at Roland Garros (l. Pablo Cuevas).

 

  • Groth’s best results in 2015 were quarterfinals finishes at Brisbane (l. Milos Raonic), Stuttgart (l. Viktor Troicki) and Washington (l. Kei Nishikori). He won 2 Challenger titles at Taipei (TPE) (d. Konstantin Kravchuk) and Manchester (GBR) (d. Luke Saville). He reached a career-high ranking of No. 53 in August but plays here ranked No. 67.

 

  • Prior to coming here, Groth lost in the 1st round at both Brisbane (l. Hyeon Chung) and Sydney
    (l. Federico Delbonis). His defeat to Delbonis at Sydney ended a run of 5 straight victories over lefthanded players. He has an 8-4 win-loss record against lefthanded players overall.

 

  • Also in 2015, Groth helped Australia reach the Davis Cup World Group semifnals, where they lost to eventual champions Great Britain 3-2. In the quarterfinals against Kazakhstan, he won the doubles rubber with Hewitt and the 1st reverse singles rubber against Mikhail Kukushkin as Australia fought back from 0-2 down to record a historic win.

 

  • Groth has entered the men’s doubles event here with Hewitt. They will play Dusan Lajovic/Viktor Troicki in the 1st round.

 

  • Groth was one of 9 Australian men to start in the main draw here vying to be the first homegrown champion since Mark Edmondson in 1976.

 

  • Groth is coached by Ben Mathias.

 

 

All statistics courtesy of Grand Slam Media and the Australia Open Men’s information team.

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Milos Raonic Reverses Last Year’s Result Against Roger Federer to Win Brisbane International

 

(January 10, 2016) Milos Raonic exacted some revenge on Roger Federer on Sunday. In a rematch of last year’s Brisbane International final, the Canadian reversed last year’s loss to claim the title 6-4, 6-4 over the Swiss. This is just Raonic’s second win over the 17-time major champion in 11 meetings. It’s Raonic’s eighth career ATP title.

“It feels great,” said Raonic. “It feels great considering how the past nine months have been. It adds a sort of cherry on top to all that. [The win] does great things. For myself it signifies within the team how concrete and good the work we’re doing is.

“At the same time, with the difficulties I’ve had last year, it’s maybe a good way for me to show the other guys I will face going in to Melbourne that I’ve got my stuff back together and I can play some good tennis again.

“Against him it’s always about who can dictate. I felt that other than maybe one service game where I double faulted three times, I was staying quite a bit ahead on my serve and always close on his, except for one that I lost at love. I felt like most of the other ones I was getting to 30. I was giving myself opportunities and then was able to capitalize twice.”

“I definitely didn’t play my best, because when you play a big sever first you focus on your own game, and then see what you can do on his game,” Federer said. The No. 3 player postponed his opening match of tournament due to the flu. “Both sides were not really happening. I was struggling on the serve. Quite inconsistent. He’s a good aggressive player. It was just not happening.

“Considering the week I’ve had, I’m actually quite happy. That’s why I’m not down or anything or disappointed. If I would’ve known I would’ve made the finals five days ago I would’ve been unbelievably happy.”

In an ironic twist, Raonic’s former coach is now a part of Federer’s coaching team – Ivan Ljubicic. Ljubicic was with Federer this week.

The 25-year-old Raonic, after parting with Ljubicic late last year, has added former No. 1 Carlos Moya as part of his team which includes Riccardo Piatti.

The Canadian starts off the year positively, wiping away the end of last year when he was sidelined with injuries during parts of the year. He missed the French Open with a foot injury. He was forced completely off the tour for the last three weeks with a back problem.

“(The win) it does great things – it signifies within the team how concrete and good the work we’re doing is.”

“At the same time, with the difficulties I’ve had last year, it’s maybe a good way for me to show the other guys I will face going in Melbourne, you know, I’ve got my stuff back together and I can play some good tennis again.”

“Hopefully, a better year this year than last,” said Raonic. “Every single year until now my ranking had been going up. That’s the thing I was most proud of. To see that slip was hard to accept and also very motivating.”

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Andy Murray and Milos Raonic Among ‘ATP Aces for Charity’ Grant Recipients

From the ATP World Tour: (January 5, 2016) LONDON – The Milos Raonic Foundation, and Unicef, supported by Andy Murray, have been selected among nine recipients in the ATP ACES For Charity grant program for 2016. Grants of $/€15,000 will be awarded to a total of nine charitable causes, nominated by ATP World Tour players, tournaments and alumni.

In addition to Murray and Raonic’s causes, respectively supporting children affected by the conflict in Syria and teens with cerebral palsy, a total of seven grants will benefit youth through programmes worldwide: Santi Giraldo’s Foundation in Colombia, ACEing Autism in the United States, the TJOMMIE Foundation in South Africa, the Ronald McDonald House in Australia, and the Japan Wheelchair Tennis Association.

ATP ACES For Charity grants have also been awarded to the Paul and Carolyn Flory Fund, created in memory of the long-time Cincinnati Tournament Director, in the fight against cancer, and to the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund to assist those affected by the recent flooding in Chennai.

Entering its sixth year in 2016, the ATP ACES For Charity program is a global initiative aimed at giving back to communities where ATP World Tour events are played, as well as recognising and supporting tournament, player and alumni charitable initiatives. Since 2011, the grant programme has awarded 67 grants totalling more than $800,000 in donations.

The recipients of the 2016 ATP ACES For Charity grants are:

Santiago Giraldo: Santi Giraldo’s Foundation supports children from less privileged socio-economic backgrounds, with a goal of inspiring them to learn sport values, pursue their dreams and live decent lives. Founded in 2014, the project is based on the platforms of sport and education, and aspires to expand beyond Pereira to the rest of Colombia and Latin America. The ATP ACES For Charity Grant will be used to sponsor players with equipment, training and at tournaments.

Ivo Karlovic: ACEing Autism, nominated by its ambassador Ivo Karlovic, operates under the tagline of “Connecting Kids Through Tennis”. It aims to provide meaningful benefits to children with autism, their families and communities by utilising unique tennis programmes, including Kids’ Day clinics at ATP World Tour events. ACEing Autism currently impacts more than 500 children in 35 cities across 16 U.S. states, and aspires to double the number of children served by overseeing 75-100 program sites.

Andy Murray: Unicef, the world leading children’s organisation, promotes the rights and wellbeing of children around the world and runs programmes to advocate for lasting change. Andy Murray, a Unicef UK supporter for the past two years, has participated in a variety of campaigns, including Unicef UK’s #BeatDisease appeal to raise awareness and funds to keep children safe from disease. Since September 2015, Murray has supported Unicef’s work for children in emergencies, spurred on by the child migrant and refugee crisis.

Milos Raonic: The Milos Raonic Foundation, founded by the Canadian and his family in 2012, has a mission to support children from disadvantaged backgrounds in order to remove economic, physical and other barriers that might prevent them from becoming healthy, production member of society. The foundation is currently targeting its support to programmes for children with disabilities. The Foundation will match the ATP ACES For Charity grant, donating $30,000 to support the Holland-Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital’s SportFit programme aimed at teens with cerebral palsy.

Jacco Eltingh & Paul Haarhuis: The former World No. 1 doubles players are ambassadors of the TJOMMIE Foundation. Founded in 1999 in The Netherlands, it aims to provide poor and vulnerable South African children with support, motivation and inspiration so that they can fully develop themselves and become more resilient. The foundation reaches at least 10,000 children and their families through its cooperation and support of children’s projects of the NGO Ndlovu Care Group, which provides both medical care and socio-economic help in the Limpopo and Mpumalange Province.

Brisbane International presented by Suncorp: Ronald McDonald House South East Queensland (RMH SEQ), the Brisbane International’s Charity of Choice, provides accommodation and support services for seriously ill children and their families who live more than 50km from the treating hospital in Brisbane. Funds from the ATP ACES For Charity grant, along with a $250 donation for every ace served on Pat Rafter Arena during this week’s tournament, will help fund the new Ronald McDonald House South Brisbane, anticipated to open by mid-2016.

Aircel Chennai Open: The Aircel Chennai Open aims to do its part in assisting those affected by the recent flooding in Chennai, with the ATP ACES For Charity grant going towards the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund. The Chief Minister’s Relief Fund organises flood relief measures for the distressed in Chennai and across the State of Tamil Nadu. Its wide scope of rehabilitation work includes housing and infrastructure development; provision of food, medication and essential relief materials; free medical check-ups; and compensation for losses.

Western & Southern Open (Cincinnati): The Paul and Carolyn Flory Fund, which operates under the motto “It Started With Tennis, It Ends With a Cure”, was created in memory of the long-time Cincinnati Tournament Director and his wife, who together orchestrated more than $10 million in giving toward fighting cancer. The Flory Fund directly benefits the Barrett Cancer Center at the University of Cincinnati. The ATP ACES For Charity donation will assist with hiring and retaining key medical personnel, acquiring advanced diagnostic equipment, and funding research retreats for top doctors and researchers.

Rakuten Japan Open Tennis Championships (Tokyo): Through the Japan Wheelchair Tennis Association and Shingo Kunieda, the World No. 1 wheelchair player, the Rakuten Japan Open Tennis Championships aims to introduce children to wheelchair tennis and start a junior tournament. The ATP ACES For Charity grant will be used for the cost of courts and balls, as well as to buy and repair wheelchairs for tennis.

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Montreal Rogers Cup Day 2 – Bursting Montreal’s Bubble

 

Montreal Rogers Cup Day 02: Bursting Montreal’s Bubble

By Charles David Mathieu-Poulin

 

(August 11, 2015) MONTREAL, Canada – The crowd in Montreal is notorious for its emotional and vocal cheering of the local players. In the past few years, players like Frank Dancevic, Stephanie Dubois, Aleksandra Wozniak and Vasek Pospisil have used that energy to cause upsets and reach latter stages of the tournament. But with this attention also comes pressure: many will remember Eugenie Bouchard’s surprising loss in her opening match last year, and in a year’s time, one might reflect similarly on Milos Raonic’s early exit to Ivo Karlovic in this year’s edition.

 

Raonic, seeded 8th, wasn’t coming to the tournament in optimal shape: the top-ranked Canadian had been sidelined for most of the past few months by a nasty foot injury, which even required surgery to repair a pinched nerve. He had skipped the French Open and Davis Cup and admitted to playing through pain in Wimbledon. His rust was apparent Tuesday night, while his opponent, Ivo Karlovic, gave a serving masterclass in his 7-6(1) 7-6(1) win.

 

The Croat, No. 2 in player in career number of aces, never faced a break point and served 22 aces. During the match, he became only the second player in history to reach the 10,000 aces mark, and is well on his way to surpass his countryman Goran Ivanisevic. “Of course it is my goal, Karlovic admitted. I would hope that it happens this year, if not it will be next year. Hopefully I will be healthy enough to do it soon.”

 

Despite being 0 for 12 in break points throughout the match, Karlovic was flawless in the two tiebreaks, only conceding one point to Raonic. The Canadian, who usually thrives in these situations, was spraying uncharacteristic unforced errors. On the other hand, Karlovic, who stands tall at 6-foot-11, was covering the court surprisingly well for his size: “I was moving unbelievably well this evening, everything was going my way. This win means a lot to me.” It was Karlovic third top 10 win of 2015.

Milos Raonic 1

Asked whether his foot injury was a factor, Raonic replied with a smirk: “No, it wasn’t. I’ve been feeling something sort of in my back. I think I’m subconsciously protecting my foot. So, therefore, compensating, just finding different injuries at different times of the day.” Optimistic, he concluded: “A poor week this week doesn’t mean a poor week next week. I’ll just try to turn that around.”

 

This loss by Raonic means that Vasek Pospisil is the last Canadian standing. In his first round, Pospisil handled Yen-Hsun Lu for the second week in a row, this time in two sets. And, like last week, big-serving John Isner is next, as the American won a tight three setter against Benjamin Becker. “We’ve played four times already, five times including Hopman Cup, Pospisil said. I know what to expect, and so does he. I’d say it’s a pretty open match.”

 

While Raonic’s loss was a sure disappointment for the crowd, it wasn’t the only bubble that burst today.

 

While play started about one hour late due to rain on all outside courts, fans had to wait an extra hour to see Nick Kyrgios and Fernando Verdasco step out on Center Court. The reason? Some air bubbles popped up under the surface, most likely from water infiltration from the torrential rain, and made the court unplayable. The technical crew had to carefully remove the air in order to keep a smooth surface and consistent bounce.

 

Other winners of the day included first seed Novak Djokovic, Jo-Wilfred Tsonga (10), David Goffin (13), Grigor Dimitrov (14), while 12th seed Kevin Anderson was upset by Lukas Rosol. Andy Murray’s match against Tommy Robredo, which started way past 10pm, had to be suspended due to rain with the Scot serving at 4-all. Match will be postponed until Wednesday.

 

MONTREAL RESULTS, TUESDAY AUGUST 11, 2015 /

Singles Second Round
[1] N. Djokovic (SRB) d T. Bellucci (BRA) 63 76(4)
I. Karlovic (CRO) d [8] M. Raonic (CAN) 76(1) 76(1)

Singles First Round
[10] J. Tsonga (FRA) d B. Coric (CRO) 64 64
L. Rosol (CZE) d [12] K. Anderson (RSA) 76(2) 76(4)
[13] D. Goffin (BEL) d S. Johnson (USA) 62 62
[14] G. Dimitrov (BUL) d [Q] A. Dolgopolov (UKR) 64 75
[16] J. Isner (USA) d B. Becker (GER) 64 67(6) 63
J. Sock (USA) d A. Mannarino (FRA) 62 26 76(5)
[Q] E. Gulbis (LAT) d D. Thiem (AUT) 36 76(8) 61
N. Kyrgios (AUS) d F. Verdasco (ESP) 63 46 64
[WC] V. Pospisil (CAN) d [Q] Y. Lu (TPE) 64 63
J. Chardy (FRA) d [LL] N. Mahut (FRA) 61 75
[Q] M. Youzhny (RUS) d V. Troicki (SRB) 63 75
P. Andujar (ESP) d [WC] F. Dancevic (CAN) 62 64
R. Bautista Agut (ESP) d [PR] J. Tipsarevic (SRB) 63 64

Doubles First Round
M. Cilic (CRO) / R. Lindstedt (SWE) d [WC] P. Bester (CAN) / A. Shamasdin (CAN) 63 64
G. Monfils (FRA) / J. Tsonga (FRA) d [WC] L. Hewitt (AUS) / N. Kyrgios (AUS) 75 64

MONTREAL ORDER OF PLAY – WEDNESDAY AUGUST 12, 2015

COURT CENTRAL start 12:30 pm
P. Andujar (ESP) vs [4] K. Nishikori (JPN)

Not Before 2:30 pm
[7] R. Nadal (ESP) vs S. Stakhovsky (UKR)
T. Robredo (ESP) vs [2] A. Murray (GBR) 44

Not Before 6:30 pm
[WC] V. Pospisil (CAN) vs [16] J. Isner (USA)
[3] S. Wawrinka (SUI) vs N. Kyrgios (AUS)

BANQUE NATIONALE start 12:30 pm
[Q] M. Youzhny (RUS) vs [9] G. Simon (FRA)
[15] G. Monfils (FRA) vs G. Muller (LUX)
[Q] D. Young (USA) vs [5] T. Berdych (CZE)
R. Bautista Agut (ESP) vs [10] J. Tsonga (FRA)
P. Cuevas (URU) / D. Marrero (ESP) vs D. Nestor (CAN) / E. Roger-Vasselin (FRA)

COURT 9 start 12:30 pm
J. Sock (USA) vs [14] G. Dimitrov (BUL)
[6] M. Cilic (CRO) vs B. Tomic (AUS)
[PR] N. Djokovic (SRB) / J. Tipsarevic (SRB) vs [4] R. Bopanna (IND) / F. Mergea (ROU)
R. Nadal (ESP) / F. Verdasco (ESP) vs [8] P. Herbert (FRA) / N. Mahut (FRA)
After Suitable Rest – F. Fognini (ITA) / T. Robredo (ESP) vs R. Klaasen (RSA) / R. Ram (USA)

COURT 5 start 12:30 pm
J. Chardy (FRA) vs L. Mayer (ARG)
[13] D. Goffin (BEL) vs S. Querrey (USA)
L. Rosol (CZE) vs [Q] E. Gulbis (LAT)
M. Cilic (CRO) / R. Lindstedt (SWE) vs [6] A. Peya (AUT) / B. Soares (BRA)
F. Lopez (ESP) / M. Mirnyi (BLR) vs D. Goffin (BEL) / D. Thiem (AUT)

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Notable Quotables from the Queen’s Club Tennis Tournament

315Kyrgiosserve-001

By Wendy M. Grossman

(June 21, 2015) LONDON, England – Notable quotes from 2015 Queens Club tournament:

Nick Kyrgios, asked about buying a scooter: “I don’t know, mate. I just bought a scooter because I felt like buying a scooter. I can’t tell you if it’s linked to tennis or anything like that. I just bought a scooter.”

Stan Wawrinka

Stan Wawrinka, asked after their match about Nick Kyrgios’s comment that he doesn’t want to think about tennis for a couple of weeks: “I think he’s saying a lot of things every day, so it’s quite interesting for journalists to hear that. I’m sure he’s not going to switch off…If he switch off two weeks of tennis, then he can go home and not play Wimbledon…When I read his interview, it’s always funny, a lot of things you can take. When I read before the match he was ready, excited for the challenge, and now he was sick.”

Nadal

Rafael Nadal, asked if he’d look for advice from Jose Mourinho, the Portuguese manager of Chelsea Football Club, who attended Queen’s on Tuesday: “He’s a football manager. He’s one of the best of the world. And I have my team. I will not give him never an advice of football and probably he will not giving me never advice of tennis.”

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Grigor Dimitrov, asked about being defending champion: “It’s one of the tournaments for me that every time I step on that court I feel like I own the court.”

 

Kevin Anderson, asked if he’d rather watch a guy with big aces or a match with lots of rallies: “Sometimes it would be interesting to see both.”

 

Andy Murray

Andy Murray

Andy Murray, asked after his three-set Muller match if he was having as good a time as it looked like: “I was when I was winning.”

 

Milos Raonic, on this year’s extended grass schedule: “I think just from the start of [Wimbledon] the quality of tennis will be better just because of time. You can’t really cheat time, spending time on court and so forth.”

 

Kevin Anderson, asked how much of an impression Kevin Curran, Wimbledon runner-up 30 years ago, made on him growing up: “Wayne Ferreira was the influence when I was growing up.”

 

Andy Murray, asked what shot he would pick if he could have a shot from any other player on the tour: “Probably would be Isner’s serve, I think. I mean, it makes the game a whole lot easier when you can serve like that.”

 

Kevin Anderson, asked to name the best servers in the world at present: “If you just look at the serve itself, I think – if you just looked at numbers, I think you’d have to look at [Ivo] Karlovic or [John] Isner. I mean, just in terms of stats…But I feel like Raonic, I feel like myself I think probably would round out the top four in terms of serving.”

Raonic trophy (1 of 3)

Milos Raonic, asked who he thought was the best server in the world: “I believe myself.”

 

Gilles Simon, asked if he thought he was reading Milos Raonic’s serve better in the second set: “I was guessing. There is nothing to read.”

 

Andy Murray, in response to the comment that the last time he won at Queen’s he went on to win Wimbledon: “Yeah, but that means nothing, really. You know, it’s great preparation obviously, but, you know, I think it has only happened six times where someone has won Queen’s and gone on to win.”

 

Andy Murray, in response to a comment about his nine-match winning streak since Jonas Bjorkman joined his team: “I also have to give a lot of credit to Amélie, because a lot of the work I have done with her is paying off. All of the things I have worked on with her, like using my variety is something I have spoken about a lot in the past, that’s things I have been working on with her for quite a while now.”

 

And finally, this exchange…

Question (after Kevin Anderson talked about being given Jack Nicklaus’ three grass courts in Florida to use for training): What’s your favorite Jack Nicholson film?

Anderson: Jack Nicholson?

Question: Or Jack Nicklaus.

Anderson: I don’t know. Is he in any films?

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Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer to Clash in Indian Wells Final

Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic

(March 21, 2015) The top two men’s tennis players will face off in the final of the BNP Paribas Open on Sunday in Indian Wells, California.

World No. 1 Novak Djokovic defeated No. 4 Andy Murray 6-2, 6-3 in the first semifinal of the day, a rematch of the Australian Open final, while No. 2 Roger Federer bested Milos Raonic 7-5, 6-4.

In Sunday’s final, defending champion Djokovic will be aiming to capture his fourth Indian Wells tournament, while Federer will be going for his fifth title in the desert. Federer leads Djokovic 20-17 in their head-to-head records.

Djokovic is now 17-8 against Murray, after winning for the sixth straight time against the Brit. Djokovic is 18- 2 on the year.

Considering this was probably the first match that I’ve played in the day in the entire year ‑‑ because I have played Doha, Dubai, Australian Open, and 90% of the matches I played during the night ‑‑ I thought I handled the conditions well.

It wasn’t easy, but I needed some time to adjust. The fact that I’m in another finals makes me definitely feel very good, very confident.

I had a phenomenal start of the season, and hopefully I can, you know, do my best tomorrow and maybe get another trophy.

Murray had a below average serving day against the Serb, losing his serve four times in the match.

“I tried to go for a few more serves today and to try to get a few more free points, but, you know, serving 50% or just below is, you know, not good enough against the best players,” sais Murray. “You obviously need to serve better.

“I thought I actually hit my second serve better than I did in Australia today, but first‑serve percentage was too low.”

Murray had 29 unforced errors and only seven winners in the contest

“I think obviously I didn’t start either of the sets well,” Murray said. “That obviously makes things difficult against the best players. I mean, Novak didn’t give me any free points at the beginning of either of the sets, and I made a few too many errors early on.

“Then, you know, in the end of both sets, middle of both sets, I started to play a bit better and made it tougher and was able to push him a bit, but not enough at the beginning of the sets to make it challenging enough for him.”

“I thought I played solid, with the right intensity from the beginning,” said Djokovic. “Good first‑serve percentage. Got some free points there in the important moments.

“Just overall it was a good performance.”

Djokovic admitted that his opponent did preform as well as he could have.

“Even though it’s a straight‑set victory, I still had to earn it,” Djokovic stated. “I thought that he hasn’t played close to his highest level. Made a lot of unforced errors, especially from the forehand side. Low percentage of first serves in. That allowed me to obviously step in and be aggressive.”

 

Roger Federer

Roger Federer

Milos Raonic broke up the potential “Big Four” reunion in the semifinals when he upset Rafael Nadal in the quarterfinals on Friday. Raonic tested Federer in the straight set loss on Saturday.

The hard-serving Canadian was broken in the eleventh game of the first set, which the Swiss closed out 7-5 in 45 minutes. Federer opened the second set with a break, and never looked back.

Federer has now reached his 40th Masters Series 1000 final. Federer claimed the desert crown 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2012.

“I’m very happy how well I’m playing,” said Federer. “Feel good physically. Obviously I feel refreshed after the holiday. I’m serving well, which is always crucial.”

“He was neutralizing well on the serve, but especially during the points I felt like a few times I was able to stretch him,” Raonic said.

“He was doing a good job of getting legs behind and always playing deep cross so I could never find that short forehand I was looking for.”

“I wish I would have served a higher percentage, but I felt like when I was putting my first serve in I was doing a good job,” the Canadian explained. “I don’t think I mixed up my second serve enough.”

Djokovic discussed the possibility of playing Federer in the final:

“If I get to play Roger, it’s the ultimate final that right now I can have. Probably the player that is in the best form. You know, in the last 12 months he’s been playing some of his best tennis, I thought.

“Especially after, for his standards, pretty average season in 2013. He came back and played the finals in Wimbledon, played some great tournaments, won titles, and we had a fight for No. 1 spot all the way up to last couple of matches in London.

“He started off the year well again except that third‑round loss in the Australian Open. He won two titles. You know, he’s playing great. There no question about it.

“We all know that Roger, with all his records, we know the experience that he has. He’s not expected to play nothing less than his best in these stages of the tournament.

“He’s been proving that. He won so many titles. He loves the big occasions, and I’m sure he’s gonna come out wanting to win, being aggressive.

“He moves great. I thought since he changed the racquet it helped him with maybe reaching balls in the defense that he wasn’t able to do maybe before that. Seems like he has more control in the backhand. Great serve, as always.

“So he’s a very complete player. No question about it.”

“One thing about Roger is that he always makes you play highest level if you want to win against him,” Djokovic added.

“That’s something that’s always in the back of my mind. This is something that makes me come out with the highest possible concentration and intensity and commitment. If I want to win that match and win this title, I definitely need to be on top of my game.”

“After losing so close last year I was quite disappointed, even though I was happy how I was playing,” said Federer. “Can’t wait until we get a chance again to play him here, because you have to wait one entire year, got to win another five matches, and finally you’re in the finals again.

“So I think it’s very exciting for both of us, and also for fans, to see a rematch of the great final from last year. I’m looking forward to it, and I hope I can keep up my good play.”

“I like these big matches. I have been playing so well and I don’t feel tired. I feel great going into the finals, and I hope I can keep up this kind of a level. I know I need an extra special performance tomorrow because Novak’s going to push you there to come up with a lot of great shots in a row, which is not always easy to do.

“So I will see how it goes.”

Asked if his rivalry Djokovic is on par with Rafael Nadal, Federer said: “It will never be the same. Not better or worse. It just will be different just because the matchup is so unique for me with Rafa; whereas Novak’s is totally, like I said, straightforward.

“With Rafa I feel like I need to change everything when I play him. I have played so many times against Rafa on clay, as well, that it feels different; whereas Novak has been a much more of a hard court rivalry, whereas with Rafa has been more clay and grass.”

Federer on his rivalry with Djokovic: “What remains is that you know it’s always been tough against him. I have seen the rise of him, you know, as he’s gotten fitter and more match tough, mentally tougher, became one of the best movers we have in the game. It’s been nice seeing him do that, you know, and improve as you move along.

“Sometimes I wonder if everybody’s willing to improve as much as Novak did. It’s been interesting to see him figure his game out, and I’m happy I can still hang with him. I must be quite honest, because he’s in his absolute prime right now, and I enjoy the challenge of him. I hope he enjoys my challenge.

“So we will see tomorrow, but I think it’s a very dynamic rivalry we have. Great movement. I don’t think we need to change our games very much when we play each other. We can just go out there and play our game, which I think is quite cool also for fans and for ourselves, which is interesting.”

 

 

 

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What a Difference a Week Makes

Serena Williams

Serena Williams

(March 20, 2015) INDIAN WELLS, CALIFORNIA – Just as the tournament spun in the early days with the expectation of Serena Williams’ return, so it would end in an almost eerie echo of 14 years ago.

 

Social media had already buzzed about the news during the previous semi-final, and when she took to the court mostly to cheers, a few boos could be clearly heard from the Press balcony, coming from above, but the announcement was cleverly stage managed to celebrate 40 years of the tournament, and the momentousness of Williams come-back just a week ago.

 

Williams spoke to the press immediately afterwards and confirmed: “I was just on the practice court two days ago, day and a half ago, yesterday, and everything was going good. Literally last two couple minutes of practice I went for a serve and I just felt a super sharp pain in my knee.

 

“It was like, Okay, and I served again. I felt it again. I just came off, and it hasn’t been the same since. I have done everything. Like I have just pretty much done everything from taping to research and I even did an injection. I have never done an injection before.

 

“I think if this was any other event I probably wouldn’t have considered it. I wanted to give 200%. It just wasn’t meant to be this year.”

 

She has stated she intends to return to Indian Wells next year.

 

Meanwhile – we had the ATP quarter-finals to conclude, and that too was a tale of two halves.

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Roger Federer almost bullied his way to the semi-finals of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells. From the outset he had Tomas Berdych on the back foot, at one stage throwing up three double faults in one game before Federer finally broke through the door he had been battering down. A single break was a respectable margin for the first set, but it was not enough as Federer stepped up a gear, and Berdych crumbled once more in a key match 6-4, 6-0.

 

The confidence he had at the start of the year with regards to changing the team around him, once more could not manifest itself when it came to the crunch, as Berdych tried to explain.

 

In his post-match news conference he said: “When you feel that he’s in control right from the beginning, then of course you have to come up with your best game from the beginning of the match. I mean, you just want to play well. You just want to play your best. There is a very thin line in between that and overdoing it. It’s not so easy, really, to control it every single time that you go play with a player like this, even if he’s playing in such a good shape.

 

“Today I stepped a little bit over it, so hope the next time, next day, it’s just going to stay on the line.”

 

With the very real prospect of the World Top 4 contesting the Indian Wells semi-finals, Federer cast his eye over another match up with Rafael Nadal. The Spaniard started aggressively against Milos Raonic, breaking him before the first change of ends in the first set.

 

Federer said: “Matches against him are always tough, I think. You know, he’s going to play the percentages high. He’s not going to miss many shots. He’s got a great forehand, one of the best ever. Then physically and mentally he’s always going to be there. That what makes him so good and so tough over all these years. “

 

It looked for all the world like we would be in for a quick afternoon, but somehow Raonic clung on to set, needing five set points in total (three in the tie-break) to take only his second set off the Spaniard.

 

Milos Raonic

Milos Raonic

Going toe-to-toe with him in the decider had everyone ready for a decisive tie-break but for a loose game by Nadal to give Raonic a 6-5 lead. For once it was right to come down to that serve as Raonic held his nerve to close out a 4-6, 7-6(10), 7-5 win, his first over Nadal and it sets up an intriguing rematch now against Federer after their encounter in the season opener in Brisbane.

 

Raonic believes he can be ready for Saturday’s semi-final after such a momentous win.

 

He said: “I think I have a good understanding of what I need to do against Roger. Obviously that’s the easiest part, understanding it, rather than doing it. But I think the last three times we have played I have sort of been able to change course a little bit, especially when it was important to me in Paris. Even the other two I didn’t play well at the start of the matches, in London and in Brisbane, but I was able to find a way to fight myself back into those matches and give myself some opportunities.

 

“I’ve just got to keep calm, keep collected, and just try to figure out solutions and adjustments as they come.”

 

The ATP semi-finals will be played on Saturday.

 

Ros Satar is a British sports journalist and a writer at Livetennis.com.

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Serena Williams to face Madison Keys in Australian Open Semifinal

Madison Keys

Madison Keys

(January 28, 2015) No. 1 Serena Williams and No. 35 Madison Keys booked spots in Australian Open semifinals on Wednesday. Keys broke up what could have been an “all-Williams” semifinal when the 19-year-old knocked out 34-year-old Venus Williams 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 to reach her first Grand Slam final four.

Serena Williams had a much easier time advancing, dismissing last year’s Australian Open losing finalist Dominika Cibulkova 6-2, 6-2 in 69 minutes, is still on track to try and win her 19th major and sixth Australian Open title.

Statistics tell the story for the world No. 1 American who hit 58 winners including 15 aces and made only 18 unforced errors against the Slovak. Williams has won the title at Melbourne Park each of the five previous times she has advanced to the semifinals.

“I feel I played well,” said Serena. “I felt I had to. I feel like when you’re going up against a player like that who is confident on the court – she just had a few good matches – I knew that I needed to really play well or go home.”

“It was tough match for me today,” No. 11 Cibulkova said. “She was just playing really well today, I have to say. She was putting so much pressure from the serve and return. I didn’t have a chance to play my game. Just felt under so much pressure. It was a good day for her.

“It’s the way I struggle with reading her serves. I just don’t put many first returns in the game. That’s what makes it tough. And also then I feel under a bigger pressure on my serve. That’s why I try to go for much more first serve today. It just didn’t go in. Then my second serve, she was just going for it. Yeah, that’s make it really tough. She tries to make the rallies much shorter and not to get me in the rhythm. Yeah, that’s it.”

In a battle between tennis generations, Venus Williams and Keys, it was the first All-American quarterfinal since Sloane Stephens beat Serena Williams in Melbourne Park back in 2013.

After a dominant first set by Keys, who is now coached by former No. 1 and three-time slam winner Lindsay Davenport, she had to overcome a left leg injury and rally from a break down in the third set to win the match. Keys completed the match with 34 winners to 45 unforced errors, while Venus hit 10 winners to 38 unforced errors. The match saw 12 service breaks.

“I definitely didn’t serve as consistently as I wanted to,” said the seven-time major champion. “I felt like just not as aggressive off the ground as I would have liked. So I think in this kind of match you have to be aggressive. Like I said, I give a lot of credit to her because she really set her points up. She was swinging freely. Most of them went in for her. So it was just, you know, great for her.”

“It already feels like a long season already, so many matches in a row,” Williams said. “But it’s a great start. Hopefully I’ll be able to keep this level up.”

Venus is 9-1 on the year, having won the tournament in Auckland.

“I think she played really well,” Venus said “Of course, I have to give credit to her just for playing well, landing a lot of great shots I think is ultimately — ultimately she played really well.

Venus hadn’t reached the quarterfinals of a Grand Slam since the U.S. Open in 2010 since being diagnosed with Sjogren’s syndrome in 2011, an auto-immune disease which causes fatigue.

“I think just being able to come back from being down and from not being able to move as well, not having as effective of a serve, just being able to kind of grind through that, still figure it out, manage to win some points, is what I’m most happy about,” Keys said about her left abductor injury.

“It was definitely one of those things where it wasn’t nearly as bad as Wimbledon, but it was that nightmare of `I don’t want this to happen again,’” Keys said. “Luckily the pain meds kicked in.”

“I mean, it definitely feels amazing,” said the teenager about the victory. “It’s one of those things where you want to feel this way all the time. But it’s not, you know, this unbelievable excitement either ’cause you want to keep winning and you want to keep doing better. I am very happy and I am very excited, but also not getting too far ahead of myself and being too content where I am.”

This is the third straight year that a teenager has reached the Australian Open semifinals: 2013 – Sloane Stephens, 2014 – Eugenie Bouchard and 2015 – Keys.

“I think Genie and Sloane are both really talented and can play some really good tennis,” Keys said.” It’s not super surprising they made semifinals. But, no, it’s one of those things when you see some of your fellow peers doing well, going deep in tournaments, it’s inspirational. Makes you kind of believe that you can do the same.”

About how Venus sees Keys’ future: “Sky’s the limit. There is no limit on what you can achieve. No one can stop you. Sometimes you may not win every match, but there’s a lot of them you can win. Really the sky’s the limit for her and anyone out there.”

On playing Serena next, Keys said: “It’s just one of those things where I have to go out and I have to do my best and I have to really just have to stay focused on my side of the court, because she’s obviously very, very good and she’s going to play very well. So if I get too focused on what she’s doing I think I can kind of let the moment get away from me. So I’m just really going to stay focused on myself.”

Serena on playing Keys:“I think she likes the surface. I’m just happy to be in the semis, and whatever happens an American will be in the final.”

“She’s playing great. I told her I was really happy that she did well. She’s in the semis. It’s good to see another American, another African American, in the semifinals playing so well. Regardless, there’s going to be an American in the finals, so that is great. It’s also great for me and Venus because we know that finally there’s other Americans that are constantly playing well and playing better, showing that they want to be the world’s greatest.”

On the men’s side of the draw, No. 1 Novak Djokovic and Stan Wawrinka posted straight set wins to reach the semifinals. Djokovic defeated Milos Raonic 7-6 (5), 6-4, 6-2 to gain his 25 major semifinal, while defending champion Wawrinka dominated Kei Nishokori with a powerful backhand 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 (6).

This sets up a repeat of the last year’s dramatic quarterfinal which Wawrinka won in five sets.

 

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2015 Australian Open Men’s Contender Profiles

(January 17, 2015) Profiles of the top Men’s Singles contenders for the 2015 Australian Open. Note: Grand Slam records for main draw matches only.  – by Jack Cunniff     http://twitter.com/jrcunniff

Djokovic

Novak Djokovic

2014 Record: 61-8

Grand Slam Record: 180-33

Australian Open Record: 43-6

Australian Open Best Result: Won (2008, ’11-’13)

Fast Fact: If Djokovic wins the title, he will be tied for 5th for Grand Slam titles won (8) with Agassi, Connors, and Lendl, and will have the most Australian Open titles (5) in the Open era.

 

Roger Federer

2014 Record: 73-12

Grand Slam Record: 279-45

Australian Open Record: 73-11

Australian Open Best Result: Won (2004, ’06, ’07, ’10)

Fast Fact: Over the last five years, the Australian Open has been Federer’s most successful Grand Slam event, with 26 match wins (French – 22 wins, Wimbledon – 22 wins, US – 21 wins).

 

Rafael Nadal

2014 Record: 48-11

Grand Slam Record: 187-25

Australian Open Record: 41-8

Australian Open Best Result: Won (2009)

Fast Fact: Over the last seven months, Nadal has lost as many matches (3) against players ranked outside the top 100 as he had over the prior seven years.

 

Stan Wawrinka

2014 Record: 39-17

Grand Slam Record: 82-38

Australian Open Record: 23-8

Australian Open Best Result: W (2014)

Fast Fact: In 2014, Wawrinka won 73% of his matches vs. Top Ten players (8-3); in prior years he won only 29% vs. Top Ten (27-67).

 

Kei Nishikori

2014 Record: 54-14

Grand Slam Record: 37-21

Australian Open Record: 12-5

Australian Open Best Result: QF (2012)

Fast Fact: In 2014, Nishikori won $4.4M in prize money, more than he had earned in his entire career prior to 2014 ($3.6M in 2007-2013).

 

Andy Murray

2014 Record: 59-20

Grand Slam Record: 134-33

Australian Open Record: 33-9

Australian Open Best Result: RU (2010, ’11, ’13)

Fast Fact: Murray has reached at least the QF in his last 15 Grand Slam events played, a streak dating back to 2010 US Open (lost 3R to Wawrinka).

 

Tomas Berdych

2014 Record: 55-22

Grand Slam Record: 103-45

Australian Open Record: 29-11

Australian Open Best Result: SF (2014)

Fast Fact: Berdych has played 15 five set matches at Grand Slam events, but only one at the Australian Open (2009, lost 4R to Federer).

 

Milos Raonic

2014 Record: 49-20

Grand Slam Record: 35-16

Australian Open Record: 10-4

Australian Open Best Result: 4R (2011, ’13)

Fast Fact: Raonic has only one Top Ten win at a Grand Slam, defeating No. 10 Youzhny in the 3R of the 2011 Australian Open.

 

David Ferrer

2014 Record: 54-24

Grand Slam Record: 121-48

Australian Open Record: 32-12

Australian Open Best Result: SF (2011, ’13)

Fast Fact: Ferrer’s win over Berdych in Doha last week was his first win vs. a Top Ten player since May, 2014 (def. Isner, Madrid 3R).

 

Grigor Dimitrov

2014 Record: 50-18

Grand Slam Record: 20-17

Australian Open Record: 6-4

Australian Open Best Result: QF (2014)

Fast Fact: Dimitrov is the only player born after 1990 to have reached the Top Ten in the ATP rankings.

 

Ernests Gulbis

2014 Record: 41-21

Grand Slam Record: 27-29

Australian Open Record: 2-6

Australian Open Best Result: 2R (2009, ’14)

Fast Fact: Gulbis has lost in the first or second round in 22 of the last 24 Grand Slam events he has played.

 

Feliciano Lopez

2014 Record: 39-26

Grand Slam Record: 73-52

Australian Open Record: 17-12

Australian Open Best Result: 4R (2012)

Fast Fact: In his 17th year as a professional, Lopez had his most successful year in 2014, winning 39 matches.

 

Gael Monfils

2014 Record: 36-15

Grand Slam Record: 67-32

Australian Open Record: 16-9

Australian Open Best Result: 4R (2009)

Fast Fact: Monfils is the only seeded man at the 2014 Australian Open to win the Boys Singles title (2004).

 

John Isner

2014 Record: 39-20

Grand Slam Record: 37-26

Australian Open Record: 7-6

Australian Open Best Result: 4R (2010)

Fast Fact: Of Isner’s 18 career final appearances, 15 have been in U.S. events.

 

 

 

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Roger Federer Wins 1000th Match, Claims Brisbane Title

(January 11, 2015) Roger Federer gained entrance into the exclusive “1000 win club” on Sunday when he defeated Milos Raonic 6-4, 6-7(2), 6-4 to claim the Brisbane International title, his 83rd career tournament crown.

The 33-year-old Federer is the third player in the Open Era to earn this achievement, joining Jimmy Connors with 1253 wins and Ivan Lendl with 1071 victories.
“It feels very different to any other match I’ve ever won. 1000 means a lot because it’s such a huge number,” Federer said. “Just alone to count to 1000 is going to take a while. It’s funny emotions right now, but clearly very proud and happy.

“Looking back it’s almost nicer winning this way, through a tight match with nerves and humid conditions against a great player in a final. It means so much more than just running away with it with the score maybe 6-4, 6-4, which was looking very likely at one stage. I guess I was much more happy having to go three sets in the end rather than winning in straight.”

“It was a great tennis match,” said Raonic, who was seeking his 7the ATP World Tour title. “I stayed out there, competed, gave it my all. I gave myself a chance after being down a set and a break. I think it just shows the development I’ve been able to make over the last little while. You put me in that same situation few months and weeks ago and I think I could be out of that stadium pretty quickly.

“Give and take few situations, I couldn’t have asked for a better way to go into the Australian Open. The progress I’ve been making, especially over the last six weeks from physically as a tennis player, technically, and just the way I go about things even mentally, I’m happy with that. I feel like I’m just going to get better over the next eight or nine days.”

Rod Laver and Roger Federer photo courtesy of Tennis TV

Rod Laver and Roger Federer photo courtesy of Tennis TV

Tennis Hall of Famers by Rod Laver and Roy Emerson joined Federer during the trophy ceremony which included ballboys held up 1,000 in big, white numbers near the net. Laver presented Federer with a framed montage of images with the words “Congratulations Roger, 1,000 match wins,” while Emerson handed Federer the trophy named after him.

Next stop for Federer is the Australian Open which begins January 19. The Swiss says he is aiming for more major titles. “Clearly I do believe I have a shot in Melbourne, otherwise I would go home.”

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