September 1, 2015

ATP Completes Review Into Kyrgios Incident, Releases Statement

Kyrgios

(August 24, 2015)

News Release

www.ATPWorldTour.com

24 August 2015

ATP COMPLETES REVIEW INTO KYRGIOS INCIDENT

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, FLORIDA — The ATP has announced that Nick Kyrgios has been found to have committed the player major offence “Aggravated Behavior” after a review of his comments made during his second round match against Stan Wawrinka at the Rogers Cup in Montreal, Canada, on 12 August 2015.

The ATP has imposed a further fine of US$25,000 as well as a suspension for a period of 28 days from any ATP sanctioned event. However, the fine and suspension are withheld on the condition that, over the next six-month period, ending 24 February 2016, the player:

1)     does not incur any fines for verbal or physical abuse at any ATP sanctioned tournament, or;

2)     does not accumulate fines totalling more than US$5,000 for any other offences at ATP sanctioned tournaments.

Once the player has met those conditions the penalties will be formally dismissed. If the conditions are not met the penalties will be invoked after any appeals process is exhausted.

The ATP review analysed information gathered from various sources on-site and also included a submission on behalf of the player.

In handing down the finding, Gayle David Bradshaw, Executive Vice President, Rules & Competition, said: ‘This incident was egregious and reflected poorly on our sport. Nick has expressed regret, and the best result would be that he learns a lesson from this incident and that he understands he is responsible to the Tour and to fellow players for both his actions and his words. It is with these factors in mind I feel he should have the opportunity to ‘earn’ his way out of additional sanctions.”

Kyrgios had already been fined the on-site maximum of US$10,000 for the offence. In addition, he received a US$2,500 fine for Unsportsmanlike Conduct related to a comment made to a ball person during the match.

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Rogers Cup Day 6 – Djokovic, Murray to Face Off in Montreal Final

228 Djokovic being interviewed-001

Rogers Cup Day 06: Djokovic, Murray to Face Off in Montreal Final

By Charles David Mathieu-Poulin

 

(August 16, 2015) MONTREAL, Canada – The No. 1 and 2 seeds with face off in the Rogers Cup final for the first time since 2004, as Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray both won in straight sets on Saturday. While Djokovic won 6-4 6-4 against surprising Frenchman Jeremy Chardy, Andy Murray streamrolled through 4th seed Kei Nishikori 6-3 6-0.

 

The head-to-head between Chardy and Djokovic couldn’t have been more one-sided: the Serb was leading 9-0, never having lost a set. The No. 1 was also looking to get his 30th win in a row in Masters 1000 tournaments, while Chardy was reaching the semifinals at this level for the first time. It showed right from the get-go: Chardy, obviously nervous, started with two double faults in a row and got broken right away. Despite some pain in his elbow which required a medical timeout, Djokovic never looked back to win the set 6-4.

At one point, Djokovic seemed more troubled by a certain smell in the stadium than by his opponent…the smell of marijuana: ‘Somebody’s really enjoying his life around the tennis court and he was probably on the seventh sky somewhere’, Djokovic said in his post-match interview. ‘I felt I was playing better as I was inhaling (laughter).’

 

The second set followed a similar pattern. While Chardy was at times overplaying, Djokovic remained solid throughout, breaking once. The Serb served quite well, never giving Chardy a look at a break point. In the end, the 6-4 6-4 match was somewhat unmemorable.

 

Djokovic knows he’ll need to raise his level in the final against Murray: ‘I played better than I did yesterday, but still I need to get at least a level or two higher tomorrow in order to win the title’. Indeed, Murray was flawless in his match against in-form Nishikori, as the Brit only dropped three games.

 

The start of the match was close, as both players exchanged breaks. The match became a one-way street when, down 4-3, Nishikori got broken despite being up 40-0. Murray never looked back, winning the last 9 games of the match. ‘Once I got the first set, obviously that was the end of the match really. Didn’t really play any rallies at all in the second set. He wasn’t moving much’, the second seed analyzed.

 

Murray and Djokovic will face for the 28th time, with the Serb leading 19-8. Murray hasn’t won against Djokovic since the 2013 Wimbledon final and already has lost 4 matches to the world number one in 2015. On the other hand, Djokovic (only) leads 6-5 in finals.

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Rogers Cup Day 5 – Djokovic, Chardy Save Match Points to Set Semifinal Clash

228 Djokovic being interviewed-001

Rogers Cup Day 05: Djokovic, Chardy Save Match Points to Set Semifinal Clash

By Charles David Mathieu-Poulin

 

(August 14, 2015) MONTREAL, Canada – Both Novak Djokovic and surprising Frenchman Jeremy Chardy had to manage Houdini-esque escapes on Friday to reach the semifinals. While the world No. 1 saved two match points against former-top-10-player-now-qualifier Ernest Gulbis, Chardy saved an astonishing seven match points against big serving John Isner.

 

Isner and Chardy were the first on court, about two hours late due to afternoon rain. It was clear from the start that not much was separating the two: Isner is having a spectacular summer with a title in Atlanta and a final in Washington, while Chardy boasted a surprising 3-0 record against the American. Without much of a surprise, both players held serve until the tiebreak, where Isner was the first to draw blood. Chardy fought well to save a few set points, had one of his own, but Isner scraped through a spectacular 11-9 tiebreak.

 

When Isner broke early in the second, it seemed like things were in control. But Mother Nature decided to play a role in the match and interrupted play for about an hour. Chardy made the best of the switch in rhythm, as he won the first three games after the return. Both players then served their way to the tiebreak, which turned out to be the longest, and arguably the most exciting, of the tournament. Isner once again took the lead and get to match point, only to see Chardy stay toe-to-toe with him and get set points of his own. The American was the first one to get the chance to have a closing point on his serve, only to see Chardy drive a backhand return winner. This back-and-forth went on until 13-13 in the tiebreak, and seven match points saved later, Chardy ended the set on a service winner.

 

Isner, who has played a lot of tennis in the past three weeks, looked physically drained at the start of the third set. Nevertheless, he concentrated his energy on his main asset, his serve, which helped him keep points short and get to yet another tiebreak. This time, Chardy was the first to get a mini-break at 5-4, kept it until the end, and completed one of the best wins of his career.

 

With this win, Chardy reaches his first ever Masters 1000 semifinal. ‘It is a very important moment in a career when you are able to play well in major tournaments’, Chardy discussed. ‘Tennis is all about the Grand Slams and the Masters. If you have good results in those tournaments, it’s a good reward because that’s why you’re practicing.’ Asked about the crowd, who was cheering for him for most of the match, he replied: ‘I believe the Canadians love French players, and we love them, too. Now there are no longer any Canadian players anymore in this tournament, we are their favorite now.’

 

In the second quarterfinal of the day, Novak Djokovic was a clear favorite against qualifier Ernest Gulbis, who saw his ranking drop from the top 10 in 2014 to 87 at the start of the tournament. Nevertheless, the Latvian is known for his shotmaking and undeniable talent, and the five wins he had so far this week have been a proof of that.

 

From the get go, you could tell Djokovic was in an off-day: the Serb, a three time champion was missing early in rallies and looked a bit out of sorts. Gulbis took advantage, playing aggressive tennis to get the first set 7-5. The Latvian even got up a break in the second set, only to see the Number One fight back to force a tiebreak. Gulbis took an early 3-0 lead and looked to be creating the biggest surprise of the tournament when he got to match points at 6-4. But he got a bit tense, lost the next four points and the set. Gulbis never managed to get back in the match and Djokovic strearolled through the third set 6-1. When signing the camera after his win, Djokovic wrote the following two words: ‘Very Lucky’.

 

This was Djokovic’s 29th straight match win in Masters 1000, an incredibly feat. He will be looking to get to 30 against Chardy; it will be the tenth match between the two, with Djokovic never losing a set. ‘I will go on court and I have to try something new, Chardy said. Anyway, if I didn’t succeed, it will be just one more loss (laughter).’

 

In the other half, 4th seed Kei Nishikori played a near flawless match to beat 7th seed Rafael Nadal 6-2 6-4. He will face 2nd seed Andy Murray, who defeated 2014 winner Jo-Wilfred Tsonga 6-4, 6-4 in a very, very late match in Montreal. Murray leads the head-to-head 4-1, but Nishikori has won their last encounter earlier this year in Madrid.

 

RESULTS – FRIDAY, 14 AUGUST 2015

Singles – Third Round
[1] N. Djokovic (SRB) d [Q] E. Gulbis (LAT) 57 76(7) 61 – saved 2 M.P.
[2] A. Murray (GBR) d [10] J. Tsonga (FRA) 64 64
[4] K. Nishikori (JPN) d [7] R. Nadal (ESP) 62 64
J. Chardy (FRA) d [16] J. Isner (USA) 67(9) 76(13) 76(4) – saved 7 M.P.

Doubles – Quarter-finals
[1] B. Bryan (USA) / M. Bryan (USA) d R. Nadal (ESP) / F. Verdasco (ESP) 63 67(5) 10-8
[6] A. Peya (AUT) / B. Soares (BRA) d [3] J. Rojer (NED) / H. Tecau (ROU) 62 64
D. Nestor (CAN) / E. Roger-Vasselin (FRA) d [5] M. Matkowski (POL) / N. Zimonjic (SRB) 64 62
[PR] N. Djokovic (SRB) / J. Tipsarevic (SRB) d [7] J. Murray (GBR) / J. Peers (AUS) 63 67(5) 10-7

SCHEDULE – SATURDAY, 15 AUGUST 2015

COURT CENTRAL start 3:00 pm
[1] N. Djokovic (SRB) vs J. Chardy (FRA)

Not Before 6:00 pm
[1] B. Bryan (USA) / M. Bryan (USA) vs [6] A. Peya (AUT) / B. Soares (BRA)

Not Before 8:00 pm
[4] K. Nishikori (JPN) vs [2] A. Murray (GBR)

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Montreal Rogers Cup Day 4 – KyrgiosGate

Kyrgios

Montreal Rogers Cup Day 4: KyrgiosGate

By Charles David Mathieu-Poulin

 

(August 13, 2015) MONTREAL, Canada – There are days when the actual tennis results become secondary, and today was one of them. While multiple matches were going on all around the grounds of the Montreal Rogers Cup presented by National Bank, only one person was on everyone’s mind: Nick Kyrgios.

 

The Australian rarely leaves anyone indifferent. For example, he came to Montreal with a new hairdo, a Mohawk that’s bleached on one side and bright pink on the other. Some like his showmanship, some believe that he should let his tennis do the talking. But on Wednesday night, everyone agreed that he stepped over the line in his match against Stan Wawrinka.

 

Right after finishing the first set, Kyrgios and Wawrinka got in a small argument over the Australian’s serving rhythm: Wawrinka felt like Kyrgios would not let him have enough time between serves. Up 30-0, Kyrgios hit an unreturnable serve, got back to the wall, and under his breath, monologued on the intimate past of Wawrinka alleged girlfriend, WTA player Donna Vekic. The comment was picked up by the television microphone, and uproar exploded right away on social media.

 

Asked about the comment by local television in his post-match interview, Kyrgios justified himself on the ‘heat of the moment’. Later on, Wawrinka deemed the comments as ‘inexcusable’, said he confronted Kyrgios in the locker room and hoped that the ATP would sanction his opponent. And they did.

 

Indeed, on Thursday, the ATP announced that they fined Kyrgios for the on-site maximum of 10,000$ for insulting comments, as well as an additional fine of 2,500$ for unsportsmanlike conduct related to a comment made to a ballkid during the match. They also gave Kyrgios a ‘Notice of Investigation’, which opens up the possibility of further penalties such as monetary fines and/or suspension from ATP events.

 

Many wondered how the Rogers Cup fans would react to this situation. When Kyrgios stepped on Court Banque Nationale late on Thursday afternoon for his third round, he was welcomed with insistent booing from the crowd. On the other hand, his opponent John Isner, was strongly applauded. Isner, who had defeated Canadian player Vasek Pospisil the night before, went from the bad guy to the good guy in a matter of hours. And, as the saying goes, the good guy always wins, as Isner got through 7-5 6-3.

 

Except for a release on his Facebook page, which screamed PR crisis management, Kyrgios had not commented on the situation before his match. Everyone was therefore waiting for the post-match interview to get his side of things. But they didn’t get much, as Kyrgios was obviously closed and not talkative. ‘I just lost’, he said to explain his lack of answers. ‘Is that the only reason? Is the drama over for you?’ a journalist replied. ‘Yeah, yeah’.

 

It was also obvious that journalists would use other post-match interviews to get the players’ opinion on the subject. Novak Djokovic showed some signs of wisdom: ‘I’ve been here for about a decade, and it’s important to have respect between the players and towards the sport. He has to learn how to deal with that.’ Andy Murray linked the comments to Kyrgios’ age: ‘He’s a young guy who is growing up in the spotlight. There’s been a lot of negativity towards him over the last few months, that isn’t easy to deal with. People need to give him a little break; he’ll learn from it and become a better person.’ Rafael Nadal was a lot less apologetic: ‘Age is not an excuse. Most of the players started the tour very early, it is just about respect. The world of tennis, I think we should be an example for a new generation of kids, obviously yesterday was not one of these moments.’

 

This story filled up a day which was, tennis-wise, pretty uneventful, as all the favorites got through somewhat comfortably. The quarterfinals will feature number one player Novak Djokovic, who only dropped three games against Jack Sock, against qualified Ernest Gulbis. Isner will face surprising Frenchman Jeremy Chardy, while two blockbuster matches will happen in the bottom half, with 7th seed Rafal Nadal facing 4th seed Kei Nishikori and 2nd seed Andy Murray facing 10th seed and defending champion Jo-Wilfred Tsonga.

RESULTS – THURSDAY, 13 AUGUST 2015

Singles – Third Round
[1] N. Djokovic (SRB) d J. Sock (USA) 62 61
[2] A. Murray (GBR) d G. Muller (LUX) 63 62
[4] K. Nishikori (JPN) d [13] D. Goffin (BEL) 64 64
[7] R. Nadal (ESP) d [Q] M. Youzhny (RUS) 63 63
[10] J. Tsonga (FRA) d B. Tomic (AUS) 76(7) 63
[16] J. Isner (USA) d N. Kyrgios (AUS) 75 63
[Q] E. Gulbis (LAT) d [Q] D. Young (USA) 64 64
J. Chardy (FRA) d I. Karlovic (CRO) 46 76(1) 64

Doubles – Second Round
[1] B. Bryan (USA) / M. Bryan (USA) d F. Lopez (ESP) / M. Mirnyi (BLR) 75 64
D. Nestor (CAN) / E. Roger-Vasselin (FRA) d [2] I. Dodig (CRO) / M. Melo (BRA) 64 62
[3] J. Rojer (NED) / H. Tecau (ROU) d F. Fognini (ITA) / T. Robredo (ESP) 76(4) 63
[5] M. Matkowski (POL) / N. Zimonjic (SRB) d G. Monfils (FRA) / J. Tsonga (FRA) 75 75
[7] J. Murray (GBR) / J. Peers (AUS) d A. Murray (GBR) / L. Paes (IND) 64 76(9)

SCHEDULE – FRIDAY, 14 AUGUST 2015

COURT CENTRAL start 12:30 pm
[16] J. Isner (USA) vs J. Chardy (FRA)

Not Before 2:30 pm
[1] N. Djokovic (SRB) vs [Q] E. Gulbis (LAT)

Not Before 6:30 pm
[7] R. Nadal (ESP) vs [4] K. Nishikori (JPN)
[10] J. Tsonga (FRA) vs [2] A. Murray (GBR)

BANQUE NATIONALE start 2:30 pm
[3] J. Rojer (NED) / H. Tecau (ROU) vs [6] A. Peya (AUT) / B. Soares (BRA)

Not Before 4:00 pm
[5] M. Matkowski (POL) / N. Zimonjic (SRB) vs D. Nestor (CAN) / E. Roger-Vasselin (FRA)
After Suitable Rest – [7] J. Murray (GBR) / J. Peers (AUS) vs [PR] N. Djokovic (SRB) / J. Tipsarevic (SRB)
After Suitable Rest – [1] B. Bryan (USA) / M. Bryan (USA) vs R. Nadal (ESP) / F. Verdasco (ESP)

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Montreal Rogers Cup Day 3 – Seeds Fall, But Favorites Remain

Montreal Rogers Cup Day 03: Seeds fall, but favorites remain

By Charles David Mathieu-Poulin

(August 12, 2015)  MONTREAL, Canada – It was a tough day for seeds in Montreal, but the main favorites for the title managed to get through to the third round. While Andy Murray, Kei Nishikori, Rafael Nadal and defending champion Jo-Wilfred Tsonga all survived some spirited fights from their opponents, Stan Wawrinka, Tomas Berdych, Marin Cilic, Gilles Simon, Grigor Dimitrov and Gael Monfils were sent packing in the second round.

 

Nishikori, who entered the top 4 for the first time this week, had the most impressive win of the day. Except for a small hiccup in the start of the match, the Washington winner was flawless in his 6-3, 6-3 defeat of Pablo Andujar. Asked on the key aspects of his progression, Nishikori replied: ‘I think I’m little more patient than last year. I’ve been playing little more aggressive, but same time I have less unforced errors and I get more free points from my serve.’ Next up for Nishikori is Belgian 13th seed David Goffin, who has had a stellar year. Both players are on the small-side for the modern top players, but Nishikori did think it also has its advantages: ‘I feel like I have a good return, and I am faster than taller guys. Players like Ferrer, Goffin and I are doing well nevertheless, and it’s great to see all the different match-ups.’

 

While Nishikori is on the upswing of his career, Rafael Nadal has been having a difficult year by his standards. The Spanish champion did not win a French Open preparation tournament for the first time in more than a decade and his ranking has dropped down to number 9. A recent title on clay in Hamburg showed some signs of revival and Nadal, who has great memories in Montreal and is a crowd favorite, is looking to find his hardcourt game back in Canada. Despite getting broken in both sets when trying to close things off against Stakhovsky, Nadal showed signs of his old self and looked very happy with the 7-6, 6-3 win. ‘It was a good match overall. Only bad game I had was at 5-4 (in the first set), the rest was all positive. Important thing is winning; it gives you an opportunity tomorrow’. Next up for Nadal is resurgent qualifier Mikhail Youzhny, a former top 10 player now ranked at 107, who defeated 9th seed Gilles Simon in straight sets.

 

Youznhy wasn’t the only surprising winner today: fellow qualifier Donald Young, who just last week in Washington won his first main draw match since Miami, played inspired tennis to upset 5th seed Tomas Berdych 7-6, 6-3. He will face Ernest Gulbis, another qualifier, for a spot in the quarterfinals. Bernard Tomic, a 6-3 6-4 winner over US Open reigning champion and 6th seed Marin Cilic, Nick Kyrgios,who got through after a retirement by 3rd seed Stan Wawrinka who had a lower-back injury. Kyrgios made some inappropriate comments during his match against Wawrinka.

Also advancing were Gilles Muller (a winner over Gael Monfils in a third set tiebreak) and Jack Sock (who saved a match point in a grueling 5-7, 7-6, 7-5 win over Grigor Dimitrov) were also all surprising winners.

 

Other winners of the day included Andy Murray over Robredo, John Isner, who crushed the hopes of local player Vasek Pospisil, Jo-Wilfred Tsonga (who worked hard to defeat Bautista Agut 5-7, 7-6, 7-5) and Frenchman Jeremy Chardy, who saved a match point in the second set against Leonardo Mayer.

 

RESULTS – WEDNESDAY, 12 AUGUST 2015

Singles – Second Round
[2] A. Murray (GBR) d T. Robredo (ESP) 64 75
N. Kyrgios (AUS) d [3] S. Wawrinka (SUI) 67(8) 63 40 ret. (back)
[4] K. Nishikori (JPN) d P. Andujar (ESP) 63 63
[Q] D. Young (USA) d [5] T. Berdych (CZE) 76(5) 63
B. Tomic (AUS) d [6] M. Cilic (CRO) 63 64
[7] R. Nadal (ESP) d S. Stakhovsky (UKR) 76(4) 63
[Q] M. Youzhny (RUS) d [9] G. Simon (FRA) 61 64
[10] J. Tsonga (FRA) d R. Bautista Agut (ESP) 57 76(6) 75
[13] D. Goffin (BEL) d S. Querrey (USA) 64 64
J. Sock (USA) d [14] G. Dimitrov (BUL) 57 76(5) 75 – saved 1 M.P.
G. Muller (LUX) d [15] G. Monfils (FRA) 63 36 76(4)
[16] J. Isner (USA) d [WC] V. Pospisil (CAN) 76(1) 46 63
[Q] E. Gulbis (LAT) d L. Rosol (CZE) 62 57 63
J. Chardy (FRA) d L. Mayer (ARG) 46 76(4) 62 – saved 2 M.P.

Doubles – Second Round
[PR] N. Djokovic (SRB) / J. Tipsarevic (SRB) d [4] R. Bopanna (IND) / F. Mergea (ROU) 63 57 10-3
[6] A. Peya (AUT) / B. Soares (BRA) d M. Cilic (CRO) / R. Lindstedt (SWE) 75 64
R. Nadal (ESP) / F. Verdasco (ESP) d [8] P. Herbert (FRA) / N. Mahut (FRA) 76(8) 67(2) 10-4

Doubles – First Round
F. Lopez (ESP) / M. Mirnyi (BLR) d D. Goffin (BEL) / D. Thiem (AUT) 63 16 10-8
F. Fognini (ITA) / T. Robredo (ESP) d R. Klaasen (RSA) / R. Ram (USA) 62 75
D. Nestor (CAN) / E. Roger-Vasselin (FRA) d P. Cuevas (URU) / D. Marrero (ESP) 63 57 10-5

SCHEDULE – THURSDAY, 13 AUGUST 2015

COURT CENTRAL start 12:30 pm
[1] N. Djokovic (SRB) vs J. Sock (USA)

Not Before 2:30 pm
G. Muller (LUX) vs [2] A. Murray (GBR)

Not Before 6:30 pm
Possible Time Change – [7] R. Nadal (ESP) vs [Q] M. Youzhny (RUS)
Possible Time Change – [13] D. Goffin (BEL) vs [4] K. Nishikori (JPN)

BANQUE NATIONALE start 12:30 pm
J. Chardy (FRA) vs I. Karlovic (CRO)
[Q] E. Gulbis (LAT) vs [Q] D. Young (USA)
N. Kyrgios (AUS) vs [16] J. Isner (USA)
B. Tomic (AUS) vs [10] J. Tsonga (FRA)
D. Nestor (CAN) / E. Roger-Vasselin (FRA) vs [2] I. Dodig (CRO) / M. Melo (BRA)

COURT 9 start 4:00 pm
[3] J. Rojer (NED) / H. Tecau (ROU) vs F. Fognini (ITA) / T. Robredo (ESP)
[1] B. Bryan (USA) / M. Bryan (USA) vs F. Lopez (ESP) / M. Mirnyi (BLR)

COURT 5 start Not Before 5:00 pm
After Suitable Rest – [7] J. Murray (GBR) / J. Peers (AUS) vs A. Murray (GBR) / L. Paes (IND)
After Suitable Rest – [5] M. Matkowski (POL) / N. Zimonjic (SRB) vs G. Monfils (FRA) / J. Tsonga (FRA)

 

 

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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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Montreal Rogers Cup Day 1 – A Walk in the Park

Montreal Rogers Cup Day 01: A Walk in the Park

By Charles David Mathieu-Poulin

 

(August 10, 2015) MONTREAL, Canada – There you are, in the park. Jogging, walking your dog, having a picnic. You are looking at the clouds, daydreaming. But then you hear a regular series of thumps, followed by roars, clapping, yelling. You drop your workout, your Yorkie or your sandwich and head towards the noise. You walk up a few stairs, sit down on a not-so-comfortable metal bench and it hits you: you are watching Andy Murray. Then it’s Rafael Nadal. And now Novak Djokovic. Back-to-back-to-back.

 

The concept is, they believe, unique. The organizers of the Rogers Cup presented by National Bank in Montreal were looking for ways to make the tournament more accessible and reach a new public, one that may not naturally be drawn to tennis. They started by making the Qualifying weekend free. They then added an extra day of free practices on the Friday before the tournament. And a few years ago, in the middle of Jarry Park, one of the biggest public parks in Montreal and where the Uniprix Stadium complex is situated, they built a large set of bleachers overlooking Court 9.

 

The bleachers sat about a thousand curious onlookers, who can just take a seat and enjoy the show; as the setting actually is outside of the tournament grounds, it is free. On the opening day of this year’s event, the Rogers Cup went all out in their scheduling: after a somewhat unremarkable singles first round match on that court, they switched to doubles with matches featuring Andy Murray, Rafael Nadal, Tomas Berdych and Novak Djokovic. Opportunities to see four of the biggest stars of the sport in front of your own eyes in the same day are rare to start with. But seeing them live without spending a penny? Probably a once-a-lifetime chance.

 

All afternoon, Court 9 was packed, both on the free and paying sides. A few smart ticket holders actually got away from the never-ending lines by getting off the ground and up in the free seats. Everyone was treated to some pretty good doubles, though it was somewhat singles-oriented. And there might be more of Novak, Andy and Nadal on Court 9 for the rest of the week, as the three of them got through their first rounds.

 

On the singles side, it was also a walk in the park for most of the favorites. Gilles Simon and Gael Monfils, the only two seeds to complete their first round match, didn’t spend much time on court against their tricky Italian opponents (Seppi and Fognini, respectively). In an all-Spanish affair, Tommy Robredo fought through Feliciano Lopez in three sets, while Ivo Karlovic prevailed in a big-serving battle against Jerry Janowicz, only to face another big server in the second round in home favorite Milos Raonic. Other first round winners included Bernard Tomic, Thomaz Bellucci, Donald Young, Leonardo Mayer, Sergiy Stakhovsky, Sam Querrey and Gilles Muller.

 

RESULTS – MONDAY, 10 AUGUST 2015

Singles – First Round
[9] G. Simon (FRA) d A. Seppi (ITA) 62 64
[15] G. Monfils (FRA) d F. Fognini (ITA) 63 61
T. Bellucci (BRA) d P. Cuevas (URU) 76(4) 46 76(4)
[Q] D. Young (USA) d [Q] D. Kudla (USA) 63 64
L. Mayer (ARG) d [Q] H. Chung (KOR) 63 64
I. Karlovic (CRO) d J. Janowicz (POL) 64 76(6)
S. Stakhovsky (UKR) d [WC] F. Peliwo (CAN) 61 57 62
S. Querrey (USA) d M. Klizan (SVK) 63 63
B. Tomic (AUS) d J. Sousa (POR) 63 63
G. Muller (LUX) d [WC] P. Bester (CAN) 62 63
T. Robredo (ESP) d F. Lopez (ESP) 63 36 63

Doubles – First Round
R. Nadal (ESP) / F. Verdasco (ESP) d T. Berdych (CZE) / J. Sock (USA) 63 57 10-6
A. Murray (GBR) / L. Paes (IND) d K. Anderson (RSA) / J. Chardy (FRA) 63 61
[PR] N. Djokovic (SRB) / J. Tipsarevic (SRB) d A. Seppi (ITA) / V. Troicki (SRB) 64 63

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2014 Rogers Cup Montreal Photo Gallery

MONTREAL – Photographer Marc-Andre Gauthier snapped photos of the Rogers Cup in Montreal this week, here is a gallery of his photos from the tournament so far. More to come.

Follow his photo coverage of the tournament on Twitter @TennisNewsTPN.

[portfolio_slideshow size=large]

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Montreal Day 05 and 06 Wrap-Up: Crowd Pleasers

Venus Williams

Venus Williams

Montreal Day 05 and 06 Wrap-Up: Crowd Pleasers

By Charles David Mathieu-Poulin | August 8th, 2014

(August 8, 2014) MONTREAL – The Montreal tennis crowd was treated to great matches on Thursday and Friday, as eight of the twelve presented singles matches which went the distance. Here is what stood out from those two days.

Patience is a Virtue (or XXV)

The Montreal-based Williams Sisters fans really didn’t have much to cheer about in the past, as Venus had never showed up to the event and Serena had not played a match at Uniprix Stadium in over 14 years. But patience is a virtue, and the crowd will now be witnessing a Williams showdown in the first semi-final Saturday. A dream match for the tournament organizers, who were understandably worried for the tournament’s storylines after the early defeat of local star Genie Bouchard.

Both sisters had a tough road to the semis: while Serena battled through Lucie Safarova and good friend Caroline Wozniacki (rallying from 6-4, 4-2 down) respectively, Venus played two long battles against Angelique Kerber and Carla Suarez Navarro. The Kerber-Venus match, played under the lights on Thursday, produced some standing-ovation worthy tennis, as both players fought skin and teeth to get the win.

Asked about her previous record of 0-4 at the Rogers Cup, all in Toronto, Venus replied: ‘If I would have known these last 20 years all I had to do was come to Montréal that would be the trick to winning in Canada, I would have done it a long time ago! You live, you learn. Sometimes it takes a couple of decades, but it was worth it!’. This semi-final will be the 25th encounter between the two sisters, Serena having the edge 14-10. It will be their first match in over a year, and only their second meeting since 2009.

3/8

Only three of the top 8 seeds advanced to the quarterfinals in this 2014 edition. After the surprise of Bouchard’s loss to Rogers in round 2, four top seeds lost in thrilling matches on Thursday: Petra Kvitova (2) against Makarova, Maria Sharapova(4) to Suarez-Navarro (14), Kerber (6) to Venus Williams and Jelena Jankovic (7) to Coco Vandeweghe. For Sharapova and Kvitova, signs of rust were apparent in their first tournament on the summer hardcourts, as they couldn’t hit through their feisty, more consistent opponents. Other than Serena Williams, only Agniezska Radwanska (3) and Victoria Azarenka (8) sneaked through the quarters, facing each other in a pretty forgettable quarterfinal on Friday night. Azarenka was clearly hampered by a knee injury, and after missing most of 2014 already, things did not look good for the Belarussian out there. For Radwanska, this is her third semifinal in Canada and she will be looking to reach her first finals against Makarova in the night semifinal.

From Q to QF

Coco Vandeweghe was the revelation of the 2014 Rogers Cup, playing an astonishing 13 sets of tennis in 6 days. After getting comfortably through qualifying by winning two matches on the first Sunday, she handled Shuai Zhang in the first round, before beating the ‘Serbian Sisters’, 9th seed Ivanovic and 7th seed Jankovic, in consecutive battles to reach the quarterfinals. Both matches were classics, and probably two of the most dramatic of the week.

In her post-match interviews this week, she mentioned setting the goal to beat a top 10 player by the end of 2014: she accomplished just that, twice in less than 24 hours, and will be a player to watch for the upcoming hardcourt swing. Her big serve and forehand combination couldn’t get her through Makarova in the quarterfinals, who was solid throughout, but did impress the Montreal crowd. With her pure athleticism and a coach that became a star this week for his honest, very honest, feedback on her matches, Vandeweghe could well be on the way for a seeding position at the 2015 Australian Open.

Follow live twitter updates from the Coupe Rogers Montreal on @TennisNewsTPN throughout the week.

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Montreal Rogers Cup Day 03: Or should we say Day 04?

 

Serena Williams

Montreal Rogers Cup Day 03: Or should we say Day 04?

By Charles David Mathieu-Poulin and Maxime Labrecque

MONTREAL – After Tuesday’s Genie-gate and multiple blackouts, Wednesday seemed to follow the script, until a match that lasted until…Day 04. Here is a wrap up of today’s events.

Besties on cruise control

The friendship between Serena Williams and Caroline Wozniacki seemed to evolve over the past few weeks, especially after both were seen hanging out in Miami after the infamous ‘Wozillroy’ breakup. In her news conference yesterday, Wozniacki was all praise for the American No. 1, stating she was ‘incredible, both on and off the court’, ‘a fantastic person’ and that she ‘loved her personality’. Both players, who are set to play in the quarterfinals, had a near perfect match today, getting comfortably to the third round. On one hand, Wozniacki didn’t have to do much against Czech Koukalova, and won 6-1 6-2 in just over an hour, confirming her great post-breakup form. As for Williams, who was playing her first match in Montreal since retiring in the 2000 finals, she only gave 2 games to veteran and 2011 Us Open champion Samantha Stosur. It was one of Serena’s best performances of 2014, being aggressive and not letting the Australian in the match. Serena’s French was also near perfect in the on-court interview, and it seems that her relationship with the Montreal crowd, which could have been tense after a few boos in 2000, is now back on track.

Paris-Montréal

Maria Sharapova and Garbine Muguruza had played a dramatic quarterfinal match at the French Open this year, and this second round was certainly tricky for the 4th seed. Playing in her first hardcourt match of the summer, Sharapova had no room for rust, facing one of the most promising youngsters on the WTA. Despite finishing up a dramatic and intense three-set match against local Stephanie Dubois very late last night, it seemed like Muguruza wanted revenge on her loss in Paris. Hitting her signature clean and flat groundies, she kept Maria off-balance and on the run, and built a nice 6-4 2-1 lead. Serving at 40-0, it seemed like the Spaniard could pull off the upset. But arguably no other player is as resilient as Maria Sharapova, and she proved it again. Winning 11 of the last 13 games, Maria used her first serve well, only losing 4 points when her first strike when in, and shook off the rust to reach the third round. Asked in the post-match interview what she was most happy about, Sharapova had a very wise answer: ‘You know, when you’re able to finish stronger than your start, that’s always a positive because you give yourself an opportunity to keep playing in the tournament. When you’re in that position, there’s always another chance to work in another match to improve and get better’. That next chance will be against Carla Suarez-Navarro, Muguruza’s doubles partner, who will certainly show Maria a very different type of ball striking.

12.36am (or the Never-Ending Day).

What happens when you add up two third-set tiebreaks, two short rain delays, Ana Ivanovic, Coco Vandeweghe and substract a doubles match? A 12.36am finish. Court Banque Nationale today saw a series of long, very long matches and play ended in possibly one of the latest hours recorded at the Rogers Cup, when qualifier Coco Vandeweghe completed her 6-7(7) 7-6(7) 6-4 second round win against 9th seed Ana Ivanovic after close to three hours of play. It all started with 12th seed Dominika Cibulkova and qualifier Heather Watson, who played for more than 3 hours. The Brit, who led 6-2 4-0, couldn’t finish the match in the second set, which she lost 7-6. She then passively let go of a 5-2 lead in the third set, only to finally win in an error-filled third set tiebreak. Watson will face 8th seed Azarenka in the third round. Then came in Jelena Jankovic and Sloane Stephens, who both didn’t want to be overshadowed in the drama department. The American won a tight tiebreak in the first, only to get broken once in the second and lose it 6-4. Despite some spirited fight, Stephens could not manage to repeat her feat of the first set, losing the last three points, also in a third set tiebreak, this time in 3 hours 15 minutes. In the third match (and only two-setter of the court today), Venus Williams dominated young qualifier Yulia Putintseva. Venus was solid, especially on her forehand, while Putintseva was hoping for mistakes. Venus was about to serve for the match at 6-3 5-2, but a rain delay interrupted the match for 45 minutes, only to add to the delay of the final singles match. Venus finished it quickly when the play resumed and will face 6th seed Angelique Kerber of Germany in tomorrow’s night session match. Then came in Coco and Ana, who played one of the best matches of 2014: hard serves, big fight, huge shot-making and just good ol’ WTA drama.

 

Other results:
2nd round
[15] Lucie Safarova (CZE) def. Magdalena Rybarikova (SVK) 6-4 6-2
[14] Carla Suarez Navarro (SPA) def. [LL] Karolina Pliskova (CZE) 6-1 3-6 6-3
[6] Angelique Kerber (GER) def. Caroline Garcia (FRA) 6-4 6-1
Sabine Lisicki (GER) def. Madison Keys (USA) 4-6 6-1 6-4
Ekaterina Makarova (RUS) def. [LL] Elena Vesnina (RUS) 6-3 6-2
[2] Petra Kvitova (CZE) def. Casey Dellacqua (AUS) 6-3 6-2

Follow live twitter updates from the Coupe Rogers Montreal on @TennisNewsTPN throughout the week.

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