April 30, 2016

Novak Djokovic to Meet Kei Nishikori in Miami Open Final

(April 1, 2016) On Friday Novak Djokovic defeated David Goffin 7-6 (5), 6-4 to reach his seventh final at the Miami Open. The world No. 1 will be going for his third straight title in Key Biscayne and sixth overall on Sunday when he faces No. 6 Kei Nishikori.  Djokovic is on a 15-match winning streak in Key Biscayne.  In the other semifinal, Nishikori stopped 24th seed Nick Kyrgios 6-3, 7-5.

Djokovic survived a tight first set against his Belgian opponent. A missed overhead smash by Goffin in tiebreak put the momentum in the Serb’s favor.

“Of course I was a bit fortunate in the tiebreak, but I made him play always an extra shot,” said Djokovic. “Second set was even better.”

“I was aware of the level that he raised his game in last couple of months. And the fact that he has played the first semifinals of a Masters 1000 event in his career in Indian Wells gave him obviously confidence coming into today’s match, and I knew he’s going to try to take his chances, going to try to be aggressive.

“He plays very clean, a tennis that is beautiful for the eye, you know, to watch, and the way he moves. Also, I think he improved his serve, first serve, especially in the first set. I had difficulty to kind of read it. It’s not as powerful and strong as maybe some other guys’, but it’s very precise and efficient. Also, he backs it up with a very efficient and good quality first shot after the serve.”

“There was a lot of big points in the first set,” Goffin said. “I had the break also earlier in the set, and at 4-3 I didn’t play good service game to do 5-3. Yeah, with new balls he was really aggressive with his return.

“Yeah, against Djokovic you have to make every point. You have to go for the shot in every point. He doesn’t give anything, so you have to win every point. It’s tough, because if you are not there for a few seconds, you lose the game.

“So, yeah. It’s always tough against Novak. But, yeah, at the end it was a really good first set with a lot of intensity, and, yeah, there was some — when we start the tiebreak it was, yeah, few second serves that I missed the return. I served well, but it was not enough, yeah, with the smash.”

Goffin who reached two straight Masters Series semifinals, Indian Wells and Miami, will see his ranking rise to 13.

“Of course my confidence is really high,” Goffin said of his recent results. “But of course I did two good weeks, two good tournaments, but I was not on fire. It was like really solid game, and I played my level. I really happy that mentally I was really competitive and I won a lot of good matches against many great players.

“So, yeah, I worked a lot during practice, so maybe that’s why it pays off during the match. But for the next tournaments and the rest of this season, of course the confidence is really high.”

Nishikori held back the hard-hitting Kyrgios in the night session. The man from Japan, survived five match points against Gael Monfils in his quarterfinal contest.

“It’s going to be tough, for sure,” Nishikori said about playing Djokovic in the final. “He has been playing well. I hope I can play another good match.”

Djokovic will be going for a record 28th Masters Series 1000 title, while Nishikori will be trying to win his very first. Should Djokovic win on Sunday he would tie tennis Hall of Famer Andre Agassi for the most number Miami titles with six and win his fourth Indian Wells-Miami double.

Djokovic leads in his career head-to-head against Nishikori at 6-2.

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Victoria Azarenka to Play Svetlana Kuznetsova in Miami Open Final

(March 31, 2016) A pair of former Miami Open winners and two-time major champions have reached the women’s final. Svetlana Kuznetsova, a 2006 winner of the Miami Open held off Switzerland’s Timea Bacsinszky 7-5, 6-3. 2009 and 2011 Key Biscayne winner, 13th seed Victoria Azarenka gained a little revenge from the Australian Open by beating No. 2 Angelique Kerber. Kerber beat Azarenka in the quarterfinals of Melbourne and went on to beat Serena Williams in the final to capture her first major title.

Kuznetsova knocked out eight-time champion Serena Williams in the fourth round of Miami and survived four straight three-set wins to reach the semifinal.

The 30-year-old Russian at No. 19 in the world has become the lowest ranked finalist since 2005, when No. 38 Kim Clijsters won the Miami title.

Should Kuznetsova win the title, she would return to the top ten. She talked about her tournament so far.

“I just take match by match and I just go,” she said. “It’s one more match. I’ll play with another amazing opponent. I had great wins this week, but one match, it’s a lot. It’s almost like everything. It’s great, you know.

“I start really well playing in Sydney, and then Australian Open didn’t happen to me to play good there. But I still felt I was in good level. Then I kind of mess up with Fed Cup and all that results. It was not good for me.

“I didn’t feel going in that good shape going to the U.S. swing. I was not feeling confident at all. After I had a loss in Indian Wells I tried to work a lot and training every morning a lot just to get confidence back, get my fitness.

“I’m doing better. I’m appreciate, I am blessed I have my body to play so many years and to win against good players, top players. It’s great when things come together. Either way, it’s not the end of the world, but it’s a great week. I’m really pleased and happy the way I fight through all these tournaments and weeks and players.”

On-court after the match, the former French Open and U.S. Open champion said she was happy wrapping up the match in straight sets.

“I am happy that I could hang in there and never let my hands down,” said Kuznetsova.

“I’m happy I’m still able to play against the best in the world. I was praying to finish it in two sets so I would have a little more time to rest.”

 

Victoria Azarenka

Victoria Azarenka

Azarenka advanced during the Thursday night session, improving her record this year to 21-1, not dropping a set during the tournament. Should the Belarusian win, she’d become only the third woman player to win the Indian Wells – Miami double in the same year.

Both Azarenka and Kerber produced hard-hitting shots with very exciting rallies. Azarenka had her serve broken, serving for the match at 5-4 in the second set but won the next two games to close it.

Azarenka broke the German’s serve seven time during the match, hitting 29 winners and only making 16 unforced errors.

“Vika, she is doing amazing,” Kuznetsova said about potentially playing her in the final. “She is extremely prepared. Playing really confident taking all her chances.”

Azarenka is 4-4 against Kuznetsova in head-to-head competition. The last time they faced each other was in the quarterfinals of the 2013 Australian Open. Azarenka won the match and went on to win her second straight Melbourne crown.

Kei Nishikori photo courtesy of MiamiTennisNews.com

Kei Nishikori photo courtesy of MiamiTennisNews.com

On the men’s side of the draw, No. 6 Kei Nishikori survived five match points to beat No. 16 Gael Monfils 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (3) to advance to the semifinals on Thursday. He’ll face No. 24 seed Nick Kyrgios who surprised No. 12 Milos Raonic 6-4, 7-6(4).

Nishikori was down 4-5, 0-40 before fighting off the Frenchman.

“I was up a break and I had many chances to break again, you know, second time,” said the top player from Japan.

“You know, I just try to focus when I lost the game for 4-All. Actually, I knew something like that was going to be happen, so I was kind of ready and like 50/50.

“But when I was down 4-5, Love-40, I thought, All right, that’s it. Especially the last couple games I wasn’t serving well, so that was — I thought it’s going to be tough to come back. I tried to play one point at time. Yeah, I thought I have to hit the ball to win the points, and I did.

“The tiebreak I was try to be focus again. I saw he was down a little bit, so try to be focus again. Yeah, did pretty good in tiebreak.”

“Then I think at 3-4 I really raise my level,” Monfils said. “I think I start to be very aggressive, start to go for it, and still had the strong feeling that I can make it.

“At the end, I think I push very hard. Then definitely I have opportunity it close it out, but actually Kei played strong. He fought well.

“Actually, I think in the breaker he was just better than me.”

Kyrgios talked about playing Nishikori next: “Obviously Kei is one of the greatest players in the world at the moment. He has an unbelievable return of serve, moves unbelievably fast, hits big from the baseline, doesn’t have many weaknesses.

“When I played him in Shanghai I didn’t really do too much wrong. I played a great match the whole time and he just played a really well in the big moments. I definitely had chances.

“I know what my game plan is going to be. It’s going to be a tough match, but I’m looking forward to it. He’s a great guy.”

For his efforts in Miami, the young Australian’s ranking will move into the top 20.

MIAMI OPEN RESULTS – MARCH 31, 2016
Women’s Singles – Semifinals
[13] V. Azarenka (BLR) d [2] A. Kerber (GER) 62 75
[15] S. Kuznetsova (RUS) d [19] T. Bacsinszky (SUI) 75 63

Men’s Singles – Quarterfinals
[6] K. Nishikori (JPN) d [16] G. Monfils (FRA) 46 63 76(3) – saved 5 m.p.
[24] N. Kyrgios (AUS) d [12] M. Raonic (CAN) 64 76(4)

Men’s Doubles – Semifinals
[5] P. Herbert (FRA) / N. Mahut (FRA) d [4] B. Bryan (USA) / M. Bryan (USA) 63 63
R. Klaasen (RSA) / R. Ram (USA) d T. Huey (PHI) / M. Mirnyi (BLR) 64 62

ORDER OF PLAY – FRIDAY, APRIL 01, 2016
STADIUM start 1:00 pm
ATP – [1] N. Djokovic (SRB) vs [15] D. Goffin (BEL)
WTA – M. Gasparyan (RUS) / M. Niculescu (ROU) vs [4] T. Babos (HUN) / Y. Shvedova (KAZ)

7:00 pm
ATP – [24] N. Kyrgios (AUS) vs [6] K. Nishikori (JPN)
WTA – [3] B. Mattek-Sands (USA) / L. Safarova (CZE) vs [8] Y. Xu (CHN) / S. Zheng (CHN)

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Davis Cup: Deadlocked Down Under, USA and Australia Tied at 1-1

 

DAVIS CUP: DEADLOCKED DOWN UNDER

U.S., Australia tied at 1-1 in World Group First Round

 

By Junior Williams

(March 4, 2016) MELBOURNE, Australia – On a sizzling hot afternoon which saw temperatures surge close to 100 degrees Fahrenheit, Bernard Tomic defeated Jack Sock 7-6(2), 6-3, 3-6, 6-4, to bring Australia even with the United States at 1-1 in their Davis Cup World Group First Round tie at Kooyong Lawn Tennis Club.

Tomic’s victory came after American John Isner dispatched Sam Groth 7-6(2), 6-2, 6-2 to give the U.S. an early lead.

It was a tight but impressive first set for Tomic, who won all 22 of his first serve points. His ball striking and defense of Sock’s ground strokes also gave the Australian the edge.

The world’s 20th-ranked player continued his momentum in the second set, securing it by breaking Sock with a shot that handcuffed the American on what was the fifth set point.

Sock bounced back in the third set, breaking Tomic for the first time in the match after the Australian mishit a ball past the baseline. The world number 24 also broke Tomic in the final game of the set.

But Tomic — who was 0-3 head-to-head against Sock prior to this match — took control in the fourth set, going up 5-4 winning a break point after rocketing a deep return of serve that Sock hit into the net.

Tomic closed out the 2 hour 24-minute match in the following game, to the delight of the home crowd. He won 120 points to Sock’s 114.

“It was very tough out there,” Tomic said. “I haven’t beaten Sock before so I knew that it was going to be tough. Anyone that you haven’t beaten before in your career – I think he’s on 2 or 3-0 record against me. So, for me I knew it was going to be tough but also playing him on a surface where I could beat him on and I was very happy because the conditions were very tough because I travelled so quickly here and you have to reset and you only have two or three days. So for me it was very tough out there.”

The top Australian admitted that it was difficult to get through the fourth set: “It was very tough because I had chances to be up a break in the third and then he got that break and it became a little bit hotter and after playing those first two sets everything got to me. So I had to find a bit of that energy and sometimes that’s good, I mean, I lapse away with my concentration a lot and that, to me, is a good thing because you rebuild your energy and it worked out in my favour in that fourth set. Gee, can you listen to that rain? I swear I finished and three minutes later it started.”

“Bernie did really well,” said Australian Davis Cup Captain Lleyton Hewitt. “Right from the start he came out serving great, hitting his spots really well. That was obviously a key to not let Jack get into too many of Bernie’s service games and we felt like Bernie’s going to get a lot more into his and put a lot more pressure on his second serve and he was able to do that. Bernie, the first set was a huge key as well and he played a great tie break, he picked the right side on a couple of shots and came up with a couple big passes and to have that first set, you know, it was hot out there as well especially those first couple of sets and once he went two sets to love up, he had a little lull there, which, you know, it happens in any five set matches. It’s about how you respond to that and he found a way in the fourth set. It’s not an easy thing to do to come out when you’re the number one player for your country and you’re one love down in Davis Cup in a World Group match. Bernie did fantastic today and he’s done absolutely everything that we’ve asked of him all week.”

“Bernie played some good tennis today when he needed to and came up with some good shots and, I’ll just take away you know the things I need to work on from that and take it into Sunday,” Sock said in press.

“Well we were put on grass, that’s the biggest difference I would say. I’ve played him on some slow hardcourts and some other hardcourts where you know my style definitely matches up well against and you know, his favourite surface is grass. His best results, you know, in the Slam are on grass and very crafty out there and his game is suitable for it. But, you know, I was in there and I felt confident after getting that third and then having a few chances early in the fourth, definitely felt like I was right. So, you know, for me my least experience has been on grass, so for me it actually did take away some confidence today playing out there against an experienced grass player and I’ll definitely use that for Sunday.”

In the opening match — a battle of high-powered servers — John Isner hit 20 aces and held serve throughout the match, despite six break point opportunities for Sam Groth, who was tapped to play singles for Australia after Nick Kyrgios pulled out of the competition due to illness.

The first set included a lot of what you’d expect, with eleven aces for Groth and ten for Isner. Groth also sprinkled in some doubles skills, winning four out of six net points. But Isner won a first set tiebreak, helped by a successful challenge that gave him a mini-break, and an ace up the middle to capture the set.

After that it was all Isner. Aside from his service game, the world No. 11 consistently cracked forehand and backhand winners up the sidelines. He also was helped by Groth’s first-serve percentage of 48-percent in the second set. The Georgia Bulldog notched his victory in 1 hour 49 minutes.

“It was a lot of confidence, you know, getting through that first set, I mean, I knew I was going to go out there, I knew I wasn’t going to be feeling fantastic right away,” Isner said. “Of course there’s a lot of nerves and you know, I haven’t seen his serve yet. So I got rid of those nerves in the first set and I got used to seeing the serve out there, so I became a lot more comfortable after that first set and I think it showed right away. I believe I broke the first game of the second set.

“So it was a very, very good performance for me and certainly I’ve played some matches in a lot in my career where I’ve struggled on return but I think today I was pretty solid.”

Isner commented on the court conditions with temperatures close to 100 degrees Fahrenheit. “Yeah I thought the court was great, he said. “The heat was pretty hot. It was more humid than I’ve ever played in Melbourne it’s generally dryer in my opinion, but it was pretty humid. At the same time in a match up like that, you tell me how many rallies we had more than five shots, so it could have been 200 degrees out there and I probably would have felt all right.”

“I think the first set was always going to be big, especially in the way we both play, we both play with a little bit of confidence, both play behind our serve and especially on a day where it’s quite hot out there as well,” Groth said. “You know, had I maybe taken a chance, that 0-40 game earlier, maybe it’s a different story but I felt like after that when he won that back-hand winner that clipped the line in the tie breaker and then his confidence just seemed to build. He started taking cuts on returns and, you know, to his credit they started going in.”

The tie now moves to doubles Saturday. Future Hall of Famers Bob and Mike Bryan are slated for the U.S., with Groth and doubles specialist John Peers scheduled to go for Australia.

But the watch is on to see if captain Lleyton Hewitt will put himself in the mix for the green and gold.

Junior Williams is a long-time journalist and tennis fan. At a moment’s notice he can give you a list of all the Davis Cup match-ups that would give the US home ties. He is in Melbourne covering the Davis Cup first round World Group tie between the United States and Australia.

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Lleyton Hewitt on Standby as a Playing Captain to Replace an Ill Nick Kyrgios in Davis Cup Tie

(March 3, 2016) MELBOURNE, Australia – Lleyton Hewitt, who just retired from professional tennis at his home country’s major in January looks as though his career will continue. Hewitt, the 35-year-old former No. 1, who is making his debut as Australia’s Davis Cup Captain, will be a playing captain due to Nick Kyrgios who has been ill with a virus and can’t participate. Hewitt is officially on standby to play the tie against the United States in the first round of the Davis Cup World Group this weekend to be played at the Kooyong Lawn Tennis Club.

Hewitt is Australia’s most accomplished Davis Cup player winning 58 of the 78 singles and doubles matches in his career.

“We took him (Nick Kyrgios) through his paces this morning and gave him a little fitness test to see how he pulled up from yesterday, but he just wasn’t fit enough to play this weekend,” Hewitt said. “It’s bad timing for us but it was really out of our hands and the end.”
“The illness is a kind of an unknown a little bit. You just don’t know,” Hewitt said “But obviously before nine o’clock this morning we had to make the best possible decision for the team, and we were dealing with Nick on everything. He wanted to put his hand up and certainly didn’t want to let the team down, and that’s why it was a tough decision for everyone involved.”

The draw for the tie took place in Kooyong on Thursday where Bernard Tomic, Sam Groth and John Peers were officially named to team Australia. Friday will see No. 1 U.S. player John Isner play Groth, followed by Australia’s top player Tomic face Jack Sock. Doubles day on Saturday as the Bryan Brothers are scheduled to play John Peers and Sam Groth. Sundya will be reverse singles – Isner versus Tomic and Groth against Sock.

U.S. Davis Cup Captain Jim Courier said he was not shocked to see Hewitt change the team.

“I wouldn’t say we are surprised given that we saw Lleyton practicing this week and Nick’s pretty conspicuous absence,” he said. “It is certainly not something coming to Australia that we were anticipating though. Nick is a very tough player who is on a high now with his results. However, Sam is a very capable grass court player and we won’t take him lightly for one second.

“I am sure that Lleyton will do whatever is best for his team. That’s his role. He is very aware of doing whatever is required to give him the best chance to win. He knows how everyone is feeling with health and length of matches. There are all types of combinations that could bring him to the court. That will be his call and we will be prepared.”

Jack Sock says he’s ready to take on friend Tomic on Friday. “It is going to be a very competitive and fiery match. He has had great results in Davis Cup and this is just my second tie, but we also played each other a few times in the past. It is a different scenario in Davis Cup, but I think the matches in the past will help me with my confidence and how to go about the match. We have always had some close matches and it comes down to a few points here or there. He is definitely playing some great tennis right now with some good results this year.”

Australia and the United States will be meeting for the 46th time. The U.S. team leads 25-20, last competing against the Aussies in the 1999 quarterfinals, when Australia won and went on take the Davis Cup title. The U.S. and Australia are the two leading nations with the most Davis Cup titles, 32 and 28 respectively.

Weekend Line-up

DAY/LOCAL MATCH TIME                  EVENT                    DETAILS/PAIRING

Friday, 11:00 a.m.                                   Singles A:                John Isner (USA) vs. Sam Groth (AUS)

Singles B:                Jack Sock (USA) vs. Bernard Tomic (AUS)

Saturday, 12:00 p.m.                               Doubles:                  Bob Bryan/Mike Bryan (USA) vs. Sam Groth/John Peers (AUS)

Sunday, 11:00 a.m.                                 Singles C:                John Isner (USA) vs. Bernard Tomic (AUS)

Singles D:                Jack Sock (USA) vs. Sam Groth (AUS)

 

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Australia Takes On U. S. in Davis Cup This Weekend in Kooyong

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Australia Takes On U. S. in Davis Cup This Weekend in Kooyong

U. S. Davis Cup Captain Jim Courier

U. S. Davis Cup Captain Jim Courier

(March 1, 2016) The United States will take on Australia in the Davis Cup World Group First Round this weekend at the Kooyong Lawn Tennis Club in Kooyong, Australia, from March 4-6 on a temporary grass court. The club was the former home to the Australian Open from 1972- 1987. The U.S. has met Australia more times than any other nation in Davis Cup play. The U.S. leads the head-to-head series 25-20.

Former world No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt, who retired at this year’s Australian Open will be making his debut as Australia’s Davis Cup captain. Hewitt has named world No. 20 Bernard Tomic, world No. 27 Nick Kyrgios, world No. 77 Sam Groth, and doubles specialist John Peers to team Australia.

Tomic holds a 15-3 singles record in Davis Cup competition, Kyrgios is 3-3 and Groth is 2-1 in singles and 1-2 in doubles. Peers is making his Davis Cup debut.

United States Davis Cup Captain Jim Courier has chosen top-ranked American and world No. 11 John Isner, world No. 24 Jack Sock, and 16-time major doubles champions Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan to the U.S. Davis Cup Team. Isner is 8-9 singles in Davis Cup competition. Sock made his debut on the U.S. team last year in the World Group Playoff, where he won both of his singles matches, becoming the first American since John McEnroe in 1978 to win two live rubbers in a Davis Cup debut. Bob and Mike Bryan are a dominant 23-4 in Davis Cup doubles together and are the all-time winningest U.S. Davis Cup doubles team in history.

Both teams held a pre-draw news conference on Tuesday, the draw will be made on Thursday.

Kyrgios was absent from the news conference due to a virus said Captain Hewitt who told him to rest: “Nick has a virus. At the moment, he is taking it easy and trying to get over that 100% to be ready to go. I didn’t want him around the other boys if he is a bit infectious. It is more of a precaution. He will be ready.

“Nick has played a lot of matches, as well as Bernie. They are coming in confident with their ball striking and it is about these guys doing the small things to feel comfortable on the grass courts. Come match day, I am backing both of these boys.”

 

“I am lucky with both of these guys (Kyrgios and Tomic),” Hewitt said. “Both of their games suit grass with big serves and good returns. The reason both boys are approaching career-high rankings right now is because of their serves. That will be a big point this weekend because the U.S. team serves well, too. It will come down to a few points here or there, just like any grass-court five-set match, but I am glad our boys have won quite a few matches in the last month.”

Tomic is back from just having played the final of Acapulco over the weekend.

“It was tough to play a final then fly here,” Tomic admitted. It was tough to get here, but I am happy to be here. The hit today was good and now on grass, I need to get as ready as I can.

“It is tough to say if I will be 100% by Friday, but there will not be a lot of rallies. There will be quick points. I am serving really well and playing very confidently. I just played one of my biggest tournaments and I am very happy with the way I am playing and will be ready for the show on Friday”

On making the transition to being a captain from a player, Hewitt said: “I have adjusted pretty smoothly. This week has been all about getting these boys on the practice courts and working out drills. It has been good this week, especially with doubles, and learning what times to say something and other times not to say so much. I have been a good hitting partner.”

U.S. Captain Courier reacted to Hewitt’s comments about Australia being the underdog: “It doesn’t matter one bit. We are the away team and we travelled to get here. The crowd will be behind them. We are here to play whether it is as an underdog or overdog. None of that matters, which I wish it did. We have to go to battle and play.

“We have to get through the first tie, but our draw is more favorable this year than it has been,” said Courier in discussing the outlook for the U. S. in Davis Cup competition this year. “Second round matchups are not easy, but it is easier than some other teams for us. But, you cannot look past anyone in Davis Cup and we have learned that the hard way. You have to put one foot in front of the other and this will be a tough tie for us.”

“Jack (Sock) had a great debut as a Davis Cup player in Uzbekistan last year and that is big part of why he is here. We have a lot of confidence in what he brings to the table and he is getting valuable experience here. We have some younger players that have had good success in the juniors that is translating to the pros. It is nice to feel that energy coming up below our best players.”

“Every point is huge,” said Isner. “I have been playing Davis Cup for quite a bit, but not nearly as long as the Bryans. Jack is a bit newer at this. There is certainly pressure on every player that is competing this weekend and we know that. I don’t think there is any extra pressure on me by any means.

I am preparing for the team that has been submitted. It can change come Thursday, but as of right now, I am prepared for all of them.”

Sock discussed the challenge of taking on Tomic and Kygios this weekend.

On facing Bernard Tomic, Sock said: “We are good friends. We have spent some time together in our careers. However, in any setting on the court, we go out there and you put that aside and compete. Afterwards, you are still pretty good friends, but when it is on the court, that doesn’t really enter your mind.

He has always been a good player. He is consistently staying more professional and working on the things he needs to do and that is why his results are showing.”

As for Kyrgios: “Similar to Bernie, I am friends with Nick, but when you step on the court, it is about the tennis and playing each other.

“When you are off the court, you can still be friends. When you are out there playing, that is the only thing that matters—especially this weekend when you are representing your country. It gives me all the more reason to go out there and compete as hard as I can.”

The winner of this tie moves into the World Group Quarterfinal, July 15-17, and will play either Croatia or Belgium. The tie will air on Tennis Channel in the United States.

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Wawrinka and Baghdatis Reach Dubai Final

226 Wawrinka  smiles in press

(February 26, 2016) DUBAI, UAE – Second seed Stan Wawrinka and unseeded Marcos Baghdatis will face off in the final of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships.

Wawrinka advanced to the final leading 6-4, 3-0 when Nick Kyrgios was forced to retire with a back injury. Baghdatis rallied to defeat to defeat sixth seed Feliciano Lopez 3-6, 7-6 (1), 6-1.

Despite the victory, Wawrinka is still not happy with his play.

“Not yet, but I’m in finals so there is one more match to play my best tennis. That’s the most important,” Wawrinka said. “For sure if you look from the beginning of the week I was not playing great at all. I was trying to find a way, frustrated during matches but still fighting and trying to find solutions to win more matches during the week to play better.

“I start to feel way better already yesterday. I feel that on the court I start to feel better. I know what to expect. I’m moving better. I’m a little bit more relaxed and my strokes are going better.”

“The tension was there because it’s a semifinal and I don’t want to lose. I want to win. I want to play better tennis. I want to be in the final and have a chance to get the trophy.

“That’s why I get the tension. But the rest, to play him I don’t think wasn’t, from my side, anything special.”

226 Kyrgios trainer

“I had a bit of a hip injury at the start of Marseilles,” Kygrios said. “That was still sort of bothering me a little bit. I was sort of struggling with a couple of niggles,” Kyrgios said. “It was a bit of a struggle, to be honest. I have been feeling so bad every day, like I’ve got some viral infection as well.”

“I couldn’t really serve anywhere near my full capacity today. I mean, he was playing great, anyway. He was playing really aggressive off the second shot of his serve.”

 

226 Bagdatis kisses court

“It’s been a long road for me the last three, four years,” said the former Australian Open finalist Baghdatis. “It’s all about fighting, getting back to where I want to be. Last year we set some goals to be top 50 with my team. I achieved that. Now I’m moving forward. I think I have still a lot to improve on, but the most important thing is healthy-wise I’m very, very good. I don’t have any injuries and health problems that I had.”

“I mean, he was the better player today I think the first two sets,” said the Cypriot. “He couldn’t hold his nerves. End of the second he was a break up at 4-3, and serving with new balls he couldn’t hold his nerves.

“The crowd helped me amazingly there, and, yeah, I found a way to fight in the second and win it. I think I played an unbelievable tiebreak, very solid, returned very well, served very well.

“Then started to get momentum in the third. And once I did the break and then hold after the 2-1, Love-40 on my serve, then everything went pretty smooth.”

 

Wawrinka on playing Baghdatis: “Marcos since the beginning of the year is playing better. He’s saying he’s happy with his fitness, with his game. You can see the way he’s playing. Yesterday he was playing really well against Bautista. It’s going to be interesting match.”

 

“He’s unbelievable player,” Baghdatis said about Wawrinka. “I think he has a better percentage of winning tomorrow, that’s for sure.

“I mean, the last two years he’s very consistent. He’s having his best years of his life. Winning two Grand Slams, that’s amazing. I think he’s a guy who deserves it.

“But I cannot tell you much more. You know, I’m going to sit down with my coach tomorrow morning or maybe tonight and talk about it a bit.”

All photos by Nida Alibhai

 

Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships

RESULTS – FRIDAY, 26 FEBRUARY 2016

Singles – Semi-finals
[2] S. Wawrinka (SUI) d N. Kyrgios (AUS) 64 30 ret. (back problem)
M. Baghdatis (CYP) d [6] F. Lopez (ESP) 36 76(1) 61

Doubles – Semi-finals
F. Lopez (ESP) / M. Lopez (ESP) d [Q] H. Chung (KOR) / J. Vesely (CZE) 64 76(6)
S. Bolelli (ITA) / A. Seppi (ITA) d L. Kubot (POL) / M. Matkowski (POL) 64 64
SCHEDULE – SATURDAY, 27 FEBRUARY 2016

CENTRE COURT start 5:00 pm
F. Lopez (ESP) / M. Lopez (ESP) vs S. Bolelli (ITA) / A. Seppi (ITA)
Not Before 7:00 pm
M. Baghdatis (CYP) vs [2] S. Wawrinka (SUI)

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Djokovic Retires from Dubai Match with Infection in his Eyes

Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic

(February 25, 2016) Top seed Novak Djokovic was forced to retire with an infection in both eyes after losing the first set 6-3, which gave sixth seed Feliciano Lopez a place in the semifinals of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships on Thursday.

 

“It’s an eye problem,” Djokovic said. “I have had it ever since I arrived to Dubai. Started with an infection and then severe allergy. That’s what I was told. It’s gotten worse in the last two days, unfortunately. It’s the first time that I have had such a problem with the eye. It was unfortunate. It was ultra sensitive today, the lights, and just wasn’t to be.

“I’m really sad to finish the tournament this way. I apologise of course. I apologise to all the people who came in to watch the match. I apologise to the tournament director and everybody who came out to support me. You know, I’m really sad to end out the tournament this way, but I was forced to.”

 

“I just hope that this problem with the eye will fade away in the next couple of days. I got a lot of important events waiting for me in the next period. Of course Davis Cup back home and Indian Wells, Miami, and of course clay court season.

“So, you know, physically I feel fine. Mentally, as well. It’s just something that I hope that is gonna, you know, vanish after several days, but in contrary, it was getting worse. I have to deal with it.”

 

“I was instructed not to wear contact lenses because of the fact that lenses are actually not helping this situation actually. They are making it worse. So I was wearing contacts only on the match yesterday night. And today, other than that, I was not wearing them at all.

“That’s all. You know, that’s all I can say. If I had a third eye I would, you know, play the tournament. I’m sorry that I’m talking to you now with my sunglasses at 10:00 p.m. It’s not a usual sight, but that’s what it is and just hoping it’s going to get better.”

 

“It’s very sad when you play against one of the best players in the history of the sport and he has to retire the way he did,” said Lopez. “He told me he had an infection in the eyes since a few days already. I had no idea and I just went on court without knowing about his illness.

 

“I felt that he was taking risks a little bit more than normal in some of the points that we played, especially when I made the break. Then he was trying to be more aggressive. Seems like he was not taking care of his shots sometimes. He was very aggressive where he normally don’t. So that’s why I kind of realized that something was going on.”

 

Second seed Stan Wawrinka beat Philipp Kohlschreiber 7-5, 6-1 and he now takes on unseeded Nick Kyrgios, who beat third seed and two-time Dubai finalist Tomas Berdych 6-4, 6-4.

 

“Quite happy with the match today,” Warinka said. “Was feeling better on the court. Better tennis in general. I still had some up-and-down. Not always serving well, not always playing my best tennis, but in general it was a good match. I’m happy to get through in two sets. I start to feel much better physically, so it’s positive.”

 

“I wasn’t in the greatest shape,” Kyrgios said of the victory. “I was really surprised with the performance I gave out there today, to come out there and beat a quality player and in tough conditions. It’s probably my favourite win over the last couple of weeks.”

 

“I think we have talked a lot, obviously, since the incident, “ Kyrgios said in regard to Wawrinka. “I think we have both moved on from it.

“We played on the same team in IPTL. That was actually really good. I got to know him a little bit more. He played great there. He’s one of the best players in the world, no doubt. He’s playing great tennis.

“I’m not going to do anything different,” Kyrgios continued. “I’m just going to go out there and see what happens.”

 

 

RESULTS – THURSDAY, 25 FEBRUARY 2016

Singles – Quarter-finals
[6] F. Lopez (ESP) d [1] N. Djokovic (SRB) 63 ret. (eye)
[2] S. Wawrinka (SUI) d [8] P. Kohlschreiber (GER) 75 61
N. Kyrgios (AUS) d [3] T. Berdych (CZE) 64 64
M. Baghdatis (CYP) d [4] R. Bautista Agut (ESP) 75 60

Doubles – Quarter-finals
S. Bolelli (ITA) / A. Seppi (ITA) d J. Murray (GBR) / T. Robredo (ESP) 64 63
L. Kubot (POL) / M. Matkowski (POL) d D. Nestor (CAN) / R. Stepanek (CZE) 36 63 10-5
SCHEDULE – FRIDAY, 26 FEBRUARY 2016

CENTRE COURT start 2:30 pm
S. Bolelli (ITA) / A. Seppi (ITA) vs L. Kubot (POL) / M. Matkowski (POL)

Not Before 5:00 pm
N. Kyrgios (AUS) vs [2] S. Wawrinka (SUI)

Not Before 7:00 pm
[6] F. Lopez (ESP) vs M. Baghdatis (CYP)
After Suitable Rest – F. Lopez (ESP) / M. Lopez (ESP) vs [Q] H. Chung (KOR) / J. Vesely (CZE)

 

Brasil Open

RESULTS – THURSDAY, 25 FEBRUARY 2016

Singles – Second Round
D. Lajovic (SRB) d [1] [WC] B. Paire (FRA) 60 46 63
[LL] R. Carballes Baena (ESP) d [2] T. Bellucci (BRA) 26 64 63
[3] P. Cuevas (URU) d [Q] F. Bagnis (ARG) 63 75
[4] F. Delbonis (ARG) d D. Schwartzman (ARG) 36 64 62
[Q] G. Elias (POR) d S. Giraldo (COL) 64 63
[WC] T. Monteiro (BRA) d D. Munoz de la Nava (ESP) 46 63 62
I. Cervantes (ESP) d [Q] B. Rola (SLO) 76(4) 76(1)
P. Carreno Busta (ESP) d D. Gimeno-Traver (ESP) 62 36 63

Doubles – Quarter-finals
J. Peralta (CHI) / H. Zeballos (ARG) d [WC] R. Dutra Silva (BRA) / J. Souza (BRA) 64 63

Doubles – First Round

[1] M. Melo (BRA) / B. Soares (BRA) d [WC] N. Almagro (ESP) / E. Russi Assumpcao (BRA) 61 63
[3] M. Gonzalez (ARG) / A. Sa (BRA) d M. Cecchinato (ITA) / P. Lorenzi (ITA) 76(4) 61
P. Carreno Busta (ESP) / D. Marrero (ESP) d T. Daniel (JPN) / D. Gimeno-Traver (ESP) 64 64
A. Martin (SVK) / H. Podlipnik-Castillo (CHI) d [Alt] P. Bernardi (BRA) / G. Clezar (BRA) 63 36 10-2
SCHEDULE – FRIDAY, 26 FEBRUARY 2016

CENTRE COURT start 12:30pm
[P. Carreno Busta (ESP) vs [LL] R. Carballes Baena (ESP)
Not Before 3:00 pm
I. Cervantes (ESP) vs [4] F. Delbonis (ARG)
Not Before 5:00 pm
D. Lajovic (SRB) vs [Q] G. Elias (POR)
Not Before 6:30 pm
[1] M. Melo (BRA) / B. Soares (BRA) vs G. Duran (ARG) / A. Molteni (ARG)
[3] P. Cuevas (URU) vs [WC] T. Monteiro (BRA)

COURT 1 start
After Suitable Rest – P. Carreno Busta (ESP) / D. Marrero (ESP) vs [3] M. Gonzalez (ARG) / A. Sa (BRA)
After Suitable Rest – F. Delbonis (ARG) / D. Schwartzman (ARG) vs A. Martin (SVK) / H. Podlipnik-Castillo (CHI)

 

Acapulco

RESULTS – THURSDAY, 25 FEBRUARY 2016

Singles – Quarter-finals
[4] D. Thiem (AUT) d [7] G. Dimitrov (BUL) 75 62
[5] B. Tomic (AUS) d I. Marchenko (UKR) 75 75
A. Dolgopolov (UKR) d R. Haase (NED) 63 63
S. Querrey (USA) d [Q] T. Fritz (USA) 26 64 64

Doubles – Quarter-finals
[1] J. Cabal (COL) / R. Farah (COL) d A. Bedene (GBR) / G. Muller (LUX) 16 61 10-4
[3] P. Petzschner (GER) / A. Peya (AUT) d [WC] J. Erlich (ISR) / C. Fleming (GBR) 64 62
[4] T. Huey (PHI) / M. Mirnyi (BLR) d M. Fyrstenberg (POL) / S. Gonzalez (MEX) 75 62
O. Marach (AUT) / F. Martin (FRA) d E. Butorac (USA) / S. Lipsky (USA) 46 64 12-10
SCHEDULE – FRIDAY, 26 FEBRUARY 2016

CANCHA CENTRAL start 4:00 pm
WTA – D. Cibulkova (SVK) vs C. Mchale (USA)
Not Before 6:00 pm
ATP – A. Dolgopolov (UKR) vs [5] B. Tomic (AUS)
Not Before 8:00 pm
WTA – [8] Y. Wickmayer (BEL) vs [2] S. Stephens (USA)
Not Before 10:00 pm
ATP – [4] D. Thiem (AUT) vs S. Querrey (USA)

GRANDSTAND start 6:00 pm
WTA – [1] A. Medina Garrigues (ESP) / A. Parra Santonja (ESP) vs M. Irigoyen (ARG) / P. Kania (POL)
ATP – [3] P. Petzschner (GER) / A. Peya (AUT) vs O. Marach (AUT) / F. Martin (FRA)
ATP – [1] J. Cabal (COL) / R. Farah (COL) vs [4] T. Huey (PHI) / M. Mirnyi (BLR)

 

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Novak Djokovic Joins 700-Win Club with Victory in Dubai

Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic

(February 24, 2016) DUBAI, UAE – No. 1 Novak Djokovic joined the 700-win club on Wednesday by defeating Malek Jaziri 6-1, 6-2 in 65 minutes to reach the quarterfinals the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships.

The 28-year-old four-time Dubai champion is only the 12th player in the Open Era to reach the 700-win milestone. He is one of only three active players with this record, joining Roger Federer with 1,067 victories, and Rafael Nadal with 775.

“The first set and a half I enjoyed it, and then I started missing a lot of forehands, easy forehands from midcourt,” said Djokovic. “It frustrated me, honestly, a little bit.

“But I managed to win the match. I will take the positives out of tonight’s match and hopefully I will be able to raise my game even more.”

Djokovic will take on sixth seed Feliciano Lopez in the round of 8 and hopes to extend his perfect record against the Spaniard.

“We have had many quarterfinals playing each other, quite a few quarterfinals,” said the 10-time major champion. “The only time I played him in this tournament was actually a quarterfinal three, four years ago.

“I know he likes playing here and likes the conditions. He slices, and the ball travels through the air quickly and you’ve got to be very reactive, very quick with the baseline shots, especially when you play somebody like Feliciano who comes in very often.

“I’m sure he’s going to try to use every opportunity given to chip and charge, come to the net, serve and volley, going to try to not let me give the same look on the ball. I know that. I know what to expect.

“I’m going to try to prepare for this match well, and, as I said, you know, raise the game a little bit more than tonight.”

Stan Wawrinka

Stan Wawrinka

Second seed Stan Wawrinka advance to the quarterfinals with a 7-5, 6-1 win over Croatian qualifier Franko Skugor.

Wawrinka was two points away from departing the tournament on Tuesday against Sergiy Stakhovsky, so he was a little happier about his play on Wednesday.

“(Played) a little bit better, I think,” Wawrinka said. “I was feeling a little bit better the balls. I adapt a few things with my racquet, also with the tension.

“I think it wasn’t amazing but it’s a good win. Happy to get through to playing in the quarter tomorrow, winning in two sets tonight. There’s a lot to improve, but in general I’m happy to win.”

Warwrinka will next face eighth seed Philipp Kohlschreiber.

223 Berdych in press 2 DDT

Two-time Dubai finalist, third seed Tomas Berdych dismissed Italian qualifier Thomas Fabbiano 6-2, 6-2. Berdych will play Nick Kyrgios. Kyrgios defeated the Czech en route to winning the Marseille tournament last week, his first ATP title.

“He’s part of really like fireworks on the court,” Berdych said of Kyrgios. “I mean in a good way. He’s playing really aggressive. He’s going for a lot of shots that they are not really, you know, with, I would say, on the safe side, you know.

“So he’s risking a lot. If couple of those shots are going in and he makes those extra points, then it can really make a difference.

“But overall he’s been serving incredibly well, and I think he’s been much more solid on the return side, as well.

“Of course, I mean, the conditions of playing indoors, the court, which is quite small, you know, feels like with all the side boards and everything, so, you know, that’s how it is.

“So here it’s again all kinds of different, you know, fast court, fast balls, playing outside. The court is very big. So let’s see.”

 

Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships

ATP World Tour 500  

Dubai, U.A.E. (+4 hours GMT)
22-27 February 2016   Surface: Hard

RESULTS – WEDNESDAY, 24 FEBRUARY 2016

Singles – Second Round
[1] N. Djokovic (SRB) d [WC] M. Jaziri (TUN) 61 62
[2] S. Wawrinka (SUI) d [Q] F. Skugor (CRO) 75 61
[3] T. Berdych (CZE) d [Q] T. Fabbiano (ITA) 62 62
[4] R. Bautista Agut (ESP) d H. Chung (KOR) 60 61
[6] F. Lopez (ESP) d L. Rosol (CZE) 63 76(7)
[8] P. Kohlschreiber (GER) d B. Coric (CRO) 62 76(5)
M. Baghdatis (CYP) d V. Pospisil (CAN) 64 62
N. Kyrgios (AUS) d M. Kukushkin (KAZ) 63 62

Doubles – Quarter-finals
F. Lopez (ESP) / M. Lopez (ESP) d [1] J. Rojer (NED) / H. Tecau (ROU) 64 64
[Q] H. Chung (KOR) / J. Vesely (CZE) d R. Bautista Agut (ESP) / J. Sousa (POR) 67(2) 76(6) 11-9

Doubles – First Round
D. Nestor (CAN) / R. Stepanek (CZE) d [2] R. Bopanna (IND) / F. Mergea (ROU) 36 76(6) 10-4
J. Murray (GBR) / T. Robredo (ESP) d [4] H. Kontinen (FIN) / J. Peers (AUS) 26 64 10-8
L. Kubot (POL) / M. Matkowski (POL) d I. Dodig (CRO) / M. Draganja (CRO) 46 64 10-7

SCHEDULE – THURSDAY, 25 FEBRUARY 2016

CENTRE COURT start 3:00 pm
N. Kyrgios (AUS) vs [3] T. Berdych (CZE)
[4] R. Bautista Agut (ESP) vs M. Baghdatis (CYP)

Not Before 7:00 pm
[8] P. Kohlschreiber (GER) vs [2] S. Wawrinka (SUI)
[1] N. Djokovic (SRB) vs [6] F. Lopez (ESP)

COURT 1 start 4:00 pm
S. Bolelli (ITA) / A. Seppi (ITA) vs J. Murray (GBR) / T. Robredo (ESP)
L. Kubot (POL) / M. Matkowski (POL) vs D. Nestor (CAN) / R. Stepanek (CZE)

Acapulco

RESULTS – WEDNESDAY, 24 FEBRUARY 2016

Singles – First Round
A. Dolgopolov (UKR) d [1] D. Ferrer (ESP) 64 64
S. Querrey (USA) d [2] K. Nishikori (JPN) 64 63
[4] D. Thiem (AUT) d D. Tursunov (RUS) 67(5) 63 64
[5] B. Tomic (AUS) d A. Mannarino (FRA) 64 64
[7] G. Dimitrov (BUL) d D. Young (USA) 63 64
R. Haase (NED) d A. Bedene (GBR) 64 67(3) 64
I. Marchenko (UKR) d [Q] R. Harrison (USA) 76(3) 46 76(5)
[Q] T. Fritz (USA) d V. Estrella Burgos (DOM) 61 63

Doubles – First Round
[1] J. Cabal (COL) / R. Farah (COL) d T. de Bakker (NED) / R. Haase (NED) 64 76(5)
E. Butorac (USA) / S. Lipsky (USA) d [2] R. Klaasen (RSA) / R. Ram (USA) 76(8) 60
[WC] J. Erlich (ISR) / C. Fleming (GBR) d M. Pavic (CRO) / M. Venus (NZL) 46 76(5) 11-9
O. Marach (AUT) / F. Martin (FRA) d J. Chardy (FRA) / L. Paes (IND) 62 64

SCHEDULE – THURSDAY, 25 FEBRUARY 2016

CANCHA CENTRAL start 4:00 pm
ATP – I. Marchenko (UKR) vs [5] B. Tomic (AUS)
ATP – A. Dolgopolov (UKR) vs R. Haase (NED)
Not Before 8:00 pm
ATP – [7] G. Dimitrov (BUL) vs [4] D. Thiem (AUT)
Not Before 10:00 pm
ATP – [Q] T. Fritz (USA) vs S. Querrey (USA)

GRANDSTAND start 4:00 pm
WTA – D. Cibulkova (SVK) vs [6] J. Larsson (SWE)
WTA – [8] Y. Wickmayer (BEL) or M. Puig (PUR) vs [3] A. Pavlyuchenkova (RUS)
WTA – [WC] N. Osaka (JPN) vs [2] S. Stephens (USA)
ATP – [4] T. Huey (PHI) / M. Mirnyi (BLR) vs M. Fyrstenberg (POL) / S. Gonzalez (MEX)

CANCHA 4 start 5:00 pm
WTA – M. Lucic-Baroni (CRO) vs C. Mchale (USA)
WTA – [3] L. Arruabarrena (ESP) / P. Goncalves (BRA) vs M. Irigoyen (ARG) / P. Kania (POL)
WTA-After Suitable Rest – [WC] A. Pavlyuchenkova (RUS) / Y. Wickmayer (BEL) vs [2] K. Bertens (NED) / J. Larsson (SWE)

CANCHA 3 start 5:00 pm
ATP – [WC] J. Erlich (ISR) / C. Fleming (GBR) vs [3] P. Petzschner (GER) / A. Peya (AUT)
ATP – O. Marach (AUT) / F. Martin (FRA) vs E. Butorac (USA) / S. Lipsky (USA)
ATP – [1] J. Cabal (COL) / R. Farah (COL) vs A. Bedene (GBR) / G. Muller (LUX)

CANCHA 2 start 6:00 pm
WTA – [1] A. Medina Garrigues (ESP) / A. Parra Santonja (ESP) vs T. Maria (GER) / M. Sanchez (USA)
WTA-After Suitable Rest – X. Han (CHN) / C. Mchale (USA) vs [PR] A. Rodionova (AUS) / G. Voskoboeva (KAZ)

Brasil Open

RESULTS – WEDNESDAY, 24 FEBRUARY 2016

No matches completed due to rain.

SCHEDULE – THURSDAY, 25 FEBRUARY 2016

CENTRE COURT start 12:00 noon
[1] M. Melo (BRA) / B. Soares (BRA) vs [WC] N. Almagro (ESP) / E. Russi Assumpcao (BRA)
[Q] B. Rola (SLO) vs I. Cervantes (ESP) 67(4) 12
[LL] R. Carballes Baena (ESP) vs [2] T. Bellucci (BRA)
[1] [WC] B. Paire (FRA) vs D. Lajovic (SRB)
Not Before 6:30 pm
D. Munoz de la Nava (ESP) vs [WC] T. Monteiro (BRA)
[WC] R. Dutra Silva (BRA) / J. Souza (BRA) vs J. Peralta (CHI) / H. Zeballos (ARG)

COURT 1 start 11:00 am
P. Carreno Busta (ESP) vs D. Gimeno-Traver (ESP) 62 36 10
D. Schwartzman (ARG) vs [4] F. Delbonis (ARG)
S. Giraldo (COL) vs [Q] G. Elias (POR)
[3] P. Cuevas (URU) vs [Q] F. Bagnis (ARG)

COURT 2 start 11:00 am
M. Cecchinato (ITA) / P. Lorenzi (ITA) vs [3] M. Gonzalez (ARG) / A. Sa (BRA)
A. Martin (SVK) / H. Podlipnik-Castillo (CHI) vs [Alt] P. Bernardi (BRA) / G. Clezar (BRA)
P. Carreno Busta (ESP) / D. Marrero (ESP) vs T. Daniel (JPN) / D. Gimeno-Traver (ESP)

Tournament Information

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Wawrinka Breaks a Racquet But Rallies for a Win in Dubai, ATP Results

223 Wawrinka broken racquet

(February 23, 2016) No. 2 seed and reigning French Open champion Stan Wawrinka rallied to defeat Sergiy Stakhovsky 5-7, 6-3, 7-5 to reach the second round of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships on Tuesday.

 

The Swiss saved a match point against Stakhovsky in the Marseille tournament last week, and he came within two points of losing on Tuesday. Wawrinka led 5-3 in the first set but lost the next four games. The Swiss broke his racquet in the 11th game of the set.

 

“It’s good for confidence but tough first match,” said Wawrinka. “I wasn’t playing well at all. I was playing not too great today. I was struggling with the condition, with my game. Quite fast condition. Flying. I was hesitating, always being behind, staying aggressive. And it’s tough to play especially against him who doesn’t give you too much rhythm.

 

“But it’s a good win, great win for me. Not playing well, still winning, still fighting, still finding a way, playing a little bit better at the end, trying to be the aggressive player on the court. It’s good to have a chance to play better tomorrow.”

 

“I play him in Marseilles. I saved match point to beat him. I expected a tough match, but I wasn’t expecting to play that bad.”

 

Third seed Tomas Berdych and fourth seed Roberto Bautista Agut also advanced. Berdych bested Joao Sousa 6-1, 6-4, and Bautista Agut beat Simone Bolelli 6-2, 6-4.

 

Borna Coric also advanced, defeating Jiri Vesely 6-4 6-4.

 

Last week Nick Kyrgios won his first career ATP title in Marseille, becoming the first player in the Open Era to do so without surrendering his serve, and he continued his winning ways by beating seventh seed Martin Klizan 3-6, 6-3, 6-2.

 

“Thought that both of us were playing really average today,” said the Australian. “I thought we both struggled with the conditions. Obviously it was really fast and the ball was flying a lot. But for me it was, you know, completely opposite conditions to what I played last week.

“So I barely hit at all here. Hit for about half an hour today, and I wasn’t feeling great. So I’m just happy I got through. But at the other end of the spectrum, you know, I played pretty bad today.”

 

Next up for Kyrgios will be Mikhail Kukushkin.

 

“Yeah, I think it’s dangerous,” Kyrgios said of the match-up. “I think this surface for him is probably his best. He likes to play on a fast surface. Hits very flat.

“I know serving is going to be key. I need to definitely play a lot better than I played today.”

 

All photos by Nida Alibhai

 

getwellsoonrf dubai photo by Nida alibhai

ATP World Tour 500
Dubai, U.A.E. (+4 hours GMT)
22-27 February 2016   Surface: Hard

RESULTS – TUESDAY, 23 FEBRUARY 2016

Singles – First Round
[2] S. Wawrinka (SUI) d S. Stakhovsky (UKR) 57 63 75
[3] T. Berdych (CZE) d J. Sousa (POR) 61 64
[4] R. Bautista Agut (ESP) d S. Bolelli (ITA) 62 64
N. Kyrgios (AUS) d [7] M. Klizan (SVK) 36 63 62
[8] P. Kohlschreiber (GER) d [WC] M. Ilhan (TUR) 61 75
L. Rosol (CZE) d [WC] Y. Bhambri (IND) 26 76(2) 60
M. Kukushkin (KAZ) d D. Istomin (UZB) 75 76(3)
[Q] T. Fabbiano (ITA) d L. Mayer (ARG) 63 64
B. Coric (CRO) d J. Vesely (CZE) 64 64
[Q] F. Skugor (CRO) d T. Gabashvili (RUS) 62 63

Doubles – First Round
[1] J. Rojer (NED) / H. Tecau (ROU) d G. Garcia-Lopez (ESP) / V. Troicki (SRB) 62 75
[Q] H. Chung (KOR) / J. Vesely (CZE) d [3] V. Pospisil (CAN) / N. Zimonjic (SRB) 64 64
F. Lopez (ESP) / M. Lopez (ESP) d D. Inglot (GBR) / R. Lindstedt (SWE) 76(3) 63
S. Bolelli (ITA) / A. Seppi (ITA) d [WC] M. Bhupathi (IND) / A. Qureshi (PAK) 64 62

SCHEDULE – WEDNESDAY, 24 FEBRUARY 2016

CENTRE COURT start 2:00 pm
[4] R. Bautista Agut (ESP) vs H. Chung (KOR)
Not Before 4:00 pm
[Q] T. Fabbiano (ITA) vs [3] T. Berdych (CZE)
Not Before 7:00 pm
[1] N. Djokovic (SRB) vs [WC] M. Jaziri (TUN)
[Q] F. Skugor (CRO) vs [2] S. Wawrinka (SUI)

COURT 1 start 2:00 pm
V. Pospisil (CAN) vs M. Baghdatis (CYP)
[8] P. Kohlschreiber (GER) vs B. Coric (CRO)
Not Before 5:00 pm
N. Kyrgios (AUS) vs M. Kukushkin (KAZ)
[1] J. Rojer (NED) / H. Tecau (ROU) vs F. Lopez (ESP) / M. Lopez (ESP)

COURT 2 start 2:00 pm
J. Murray (GBR) / T. Robredo (ESP) vs [4] H. Kontinen (FIN) / J. Peers (AUS)
I. Dodig (CRO) / M. Draganja (CRO) vs L. Kubot (POL) / M. Matkowski (POL)
[Q] H. Chung (KOR) / J. Vesely (CZE) vs R. Bautista Agut (ESP) / J. Sousa (POR)

COURT 3 start 3:00 pm
L. Rosol (CZE) vs [6] F. Lopez (ESP)
D. Nestor (CAN) / R. Stepanek (CZE) vs [2] R. Bopanna (IND) / F. Mergea (ROU)

 

Brasil Open
Sao Paulo, Brazil (-3 hours GMT)
22-28 February, 2016 Surface: Clay

RESULTS – TUESDAY, 23 FEBRUARY 2016

Singles – First Round
P. Carreno Busta (ESP) d [5] A. Ramos-Vinolas (ESP) 06 64 76(2)
[Q] B. Rola (SLO) d [6] P. Lorenzi (ITA) 76(3) 36 76(5)
[WC] T. Monteiro (BRA) d [7] N. Almagro (ESP) 63 75
[Q] G. Elias (POR) d [8] P. Andujar (ESP) 16 64 ret. (right elbow)
D. Lajovic (SRB) d L. Vanni (ITA) 62 62
S. Giraldo (COL) d M. Cecchinato (ITA) 62 62
[Q] F. Bagnis (ARG) d P. Mathieu (FRA) 64 61
I. Cervantes (ESP) d M. Granollers (ESP) 63 64
D. Schwartzman (ARG) d H. Zeballos (ARG) 63 42 ret. (dehydration)

Doubles – First Round
G. Duran (ARG) / A. Molteni (ARG) d T. Bellucci (BRA) / M. Demoliner (BRA) 64 62
J. Peralta (CHI) / H. Zeballos (ARG) d M. Kowalczyk (POL) / A. Siljestrom (SWE) 76(3) 75

SCHEDULE – WEDNESDAY, 24 FEBRUARY 2016

CENTRE COURT start 12:00 noon
[Q] B. Rola (SLO) vs I. Cervantes (ESP)
D. Schwartzman (ARG) vs [4] F. Delbonis (ARG)
M. Cecchinato (ITA) / P. Lorenzi (ITA) vs [3] M. Gonzalez (ARG) / A. Sa (BRA)
Not Before 6:30 pm
[1] M. Melo (BRA) / B. Soares (BRA) vs [WC] N. Almagro (ESP) / E. Russi Assumpcao (BRA)
[LL] R. Carballes Baena (ESP) vs [2] T. Bellucci (BRA)

COURT 1 start 12:00 noon
P. Carreno Busta (ESP) vs D. Gimeno-Traver (ESP)
A. Martin (SVK) / H. Podlipnik-Castillo (CHI) vs [2] P. Cuevas (URU) / M. Granollers (ESP)
P. Carreno Busta (ESP) / D. Marrero (ESP) vs T. Daniel (JPN) / D. Gimeno-Traver (ESP)

Albierto Mexicano Open
Acapulco, Mexico (-6 hours GMT)
22-27 February 2016 Surface: Hard

RESULTS – TUESDAY, 23 FEBRUARY 2016

Singles – First Round
[1] D. Ferrer (ESP) d J. Millman (AUS) 64 62
[Q] R. Harrison (USA) d [3] M. Cilic (CRO) 63 36 62
[4] D. Thiem (AUT) d D. Dzumhur (BIH) 76(3) 63
[5] B. Tomic (AUS) d R. Ram (USA) 75 63
A. Bedene (GBR) d [6] I. Karlovic (CRO) 64 12 ret. (knee)
[7] G. Dimitrov (BUL) d D. Kudla (USA) 75 61
[Q] T. Fritz (USA) d [8] J. Chardy (FRA) 64 36 63
A. Dolgopolov (UKR) d S. Johnson (USA) 75 76(4)
D. Tursunov (RUS) d S. Groth (AUS) 64 36 75
S. Querrey (USA) d D. Sela (ISR) 62 60

Doubles – First Round
A. Bedene (GBR) / G. Muller (LUX) d W. Koolhof (NED) / M. Middelkoop (NED) 63 36 10-7
M. Fyrstenberg (POL) / S. Gonzalez (MEX) d S. Johnson (USA) / S. Querrey (USA) 64 46 10-6

SCHEDULE – WEDNESDAY, 24 FEBRUARY 2016

CANCHA CENTRAL start 4:00 pm
ATP – [1] D. Ferrer (ESP) vs A. Dolgopolov (UKR)
WTA – [1] V. Azarenka (BLR) vs D. Cibulkova (SVK)

Not Before 8:00 pm
ATP – S. Querrey (USA) vs [2] K. Nishikori (JPN)
ATP – D. Tursunov (RUS) vs [4] D. Thiem (AUT)

GRANDSTAND start 4:00 pm
WTA – [Q] J. Glushko (ISR) vs [3] A. Pavlyuchenkova (RUS)
WTA – O. Govortsova (BLR) vs [2] S. Stephens (USA)
ATP – [7] G. Dimitrov (BUL) vs D. Young (USA)
WTA – [8] Y. Wickmayer (BEL) vs M. Puig (PUR)

CANCHA 4 start 4:00 pm
WTA – M. Duque-Mariño (COL) vs [WC] N. Osaka (JPN)
WTA – S. Rogers (USA) vs [6] J. Larsson (SWE)
WTA – [4] J. Konta (GBR) vs M. Lucic-Baroni (CRO)
WTA – M. Irigoyen (ARG) / P. Kania (POL) vs [Alt] J. Glushko (ISR) / R. Peterson (SWE)

CANCHA 3 start 4:00 pm
ATP – A. Mannarino (FRA) vs [5] B. Tomic (AUS)
ATP – [Q] R. Harrison (USA) vs I. Marchenko (UKR)
ATP – [Q] T. Fritz (USA) vs V. Estrella Burgos (DOM)
ATP – J. Chardy (FRA) / L. Paes (IND) vs O. Marach (AUT) / F. Martin (FRA)

CANCHA 2 start 4:00 pm
ATP – [WC] J. Erlich (ISR) / C. Fleming (GBR) vs M. Pavic (CRO) / M. Venus (NZL)
WTA – C. Mchale (USA) vs [7] D. Kovinic (MNE)
WTA – A. Mestach (BEL) / D. Schuurs (NED) vs T. Maria (GER) / M. Sanchez (USA)
WTA – M. Erakovic (NZL) / S. Soler-Espinosa (ESP) vs X. Han (CHN) / C. Mchale (USA)

CANCHA 1 start 5:00 pm
ATP – R. Haase (NED) vs A. Bedene (GBR)
ATP – E. Butorac (USA) / S. Lipsky (USA) vs [2] R. Klaasen (RSA) / R. Ram (USA)
ATP-After Suitable Rest – [1] J. Cabal (COL) / R. Farah (COL) vs T. de Bakker (NED) / R. Haase (NED)

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Nick Kyrgios Wins Open 13 for First ATP World Tour Title

 

(February 21, 2016) Nick Kyrgios captured his first career ATP World Tour title defeating fourth seed Marin Cilic 6-2, 7-6 (3) in the Open 13 final in Marseille on Sunday.

This was Kyrgios’ second final, he lost to Richard Gasquet in the Estoril title match last year.
The 20-year-old Australian did not lose a set or his serve during the tournament. He closed out the match with an ace. He beat three top 12 players in succession – No. 10 Richard Gasquet in the quarterfinals, No. 8 Tomas Berdych in the semifinals and No. 12, the 2014 U.S. Open champion Cilic in the final.

He is the first player under of 21 to defeat two Top Ten players in consecutive matches since Juan Martin del Potro did it at the 2009 U.S. Open  when the Argentine beat Rafael Nadal in the semifinals and Roger Federer in the final.

“I played my first final last year and was looking for my first title,” Kyrgios said. “But I didn’t really expect to win this title this week after having a couple of weeks off. But from the first round I started playing really well and just gained confidence as I kept winning matches.

“I think I served really, really well again. I was serving really well all week. I didn’t get broken once. That was the main thing that was good. And I was able to put pressure on my opponents’ serves a lot when I was going through my service games really quickly.”

“I felt I was getting much closer in that second set,” said the 27-year-old Croatian finalist. “Every game was becoming a little more intense. I felt also that he was becoming a bit more frustrated, which was good for me. I had a chance at the end of the second set to get the break, but he managed to play well.

“I think he played really, really well today. He served amazing. It was difficult also from the back of the court. I think he was returning well, making a lot of returns in the first set. I didn’t adjust well enough on the balls that were coming back.

“But I’m really satisfied with the week. It’s really good moving forward and it’s important for me. Nick was playing high-level tennis in the end, but I wasn’t playing too bad either and that’s something good I can take from the match.”

Kyrgios, who is ranked No. 41 in the world will see his ranking move into the low thirties.

Related articles:

Montreal Rogers Cup Day 4 – KyrgiosGate

“The Journey Starts Today” An Interview with Nick Kyrgios

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