October 25, 2016

ATP Sanctions Nick Kyrgios

Kyrgios smiles

ATP World Tour News Release


News Release


17 October 2016


LONDON – Following the completion of its investigation into Nick Kyrgios’ second round match last week at the Shanghai Rolex Masters, the ATP has announced that Kyrgios has been found to have committed the player major offense ‘Conduct Contrary to the Integrity of the Game.’

The offense means that Kyrgios receives an additional fine of US$ 25,000, and is suspended from ATP tournaments for eight tournament weeks, effective from today, Monday 17 October, 2016, through to Sunday 15 January, 2017.

However, the suspension will be reduced to three tournament weeks upon agreement that the player enters a plan of care under the direction of a Sports Psychologist, or an equivalent plan approved by ATP, meaning Kyrgios could regain eligibility to compete on the ATP World Tour or Challenger Tour from Monday 7 November, 2016.

Kyrgios had already been fined a total of US$ 16,500 for breaches of the ATP Code of Conduct by the ATP Supervisors on-site in Shanghai. He received the on-site maximum fine of US$ 10,000 for violations of the Best Efforts provision in the Code, as well as a US$ 5,000 fine for Verbal Abuse of a Spectator, and a US$ 1,500 fine for Unsportsmanlike Conduct.

Today’s announcement completes the ATP’s investigation into this matter which, following the conclusion of the on-site process, included further review of the match, as well as comments made during Kyrgios’ post-match press conference.

Tennis Australia statement regarding Nick Kyrgios

“Tennis Australia will support the ATP sanction on Nick Kyrgios following recent events in Shanghai.

“Nick’s health and wellbeing is a priority and the ATP has offered a reduced penalty on the provision that he seeks appropriate professional advice, which he has agreed to do.

“Nick understands the gravity of his actions, has shown remorse and expressed a willingness to improve.

“We believe it’s our responsibility to help Nick, along with all our young athletes, improve both professionally on court as a player, and personally. We have always offered assistance and advice to Nick and his team and will continue to do so.”


Related article:

Nadal Loses in Shanghai Opening Round; Kyrgios Booed in Loss


Nadal Loses in Shanghai Opening Round; Kyrgios Booed in Loss

Rafael Nadal

Rafael Nadal

(October 12, 2016) Rafael Nadal lost in his opening match at the Shanghai Masters on Wednesday. The fourth seed and14-time major champion was beaten for the first time by Viktor Troicki 6-3, 7-6 (3).

Nadal was trying to solidify his spot in the ATP World Tour Finals said in press he was uncertain if he was going to continue playing this year:

“I cannot say now what I’m going do during the next month,” Nadal said. “Sometimes keep competing is not the solution. Sometimes the solution is practice………. and have a process of training. And maybe that’s an opportunity to do it.”

“I have two months and a half to put myself at the level that I need to be,” Nadal said about preparing for the 2017 Australian Open, “and I have the confidence that I’m going to do it.”

“It was a great feeling on the court playing like this and playing like this against Rafa Nadal, who is a great champion,” said the 31st -ranked Troicki. “It makes it extra special to beat him for the first time, especially in such a big tournament like Shanghai.”

Advancing to third round on Wednesday included second and third seeds Andy Murray and Stan Wawrinka.

Twelfth seed Nick Kyrgios was booed by fans in Shanghai for a lack of effort in his loss to German qualifier Mischa Zverev 6-3, 6-1. Kyrgios even argued with a fan.

“This is a professional tournament,” Chair Umpire Ali Nili said in reprimanding Kyrgios during a changeover. “You have to act like a professional.”

Kyrgios from his news conference on his behavior during the match:

“It’s my choice. If you don’t like it, I didn’t ask you to come and watch. Just leave.

“If you’re so good at giving advice and so good at tennis, why aren’t you as good as me? Why aren’t you on the tour?

“You want to buy a ticket? Come watch me. You know I’m unpredictable. It’s your choice. I don’t owe you anything.”


He later apologized on his twitter account:



Shanghai Rolex Masters

Shanghai, China


Singles – Second Round
[2] A. Murray (GBR) d S. Johnson (USA) 63 62
[3] S. Wawrinka (SUI) d [Q] K. Edmund (GBR) 63 64
V. Troicki (SRB) d [4] R. Nadal (ESP) 63 76(3)
[5] M. Raonic (CAN) d P. Lorenzi (ITA) 62 64
M. Granollers (ESP) d [7] T. Berdych (CZE) 76(4) 76(1)
[11] D. Goffin (BEL) d B. Paire (FRA) 61 76(0)
[Q] M. Zverev (GER) d [12] N. Kyrgios (AUS) 63 61
[13] L. Pouille (FRA) d N. Almagro (ESP) 64 76(10)
[15] R. Bautista Agut (ESP) d [Q] T. Fritz (USA) 64 64
[Q] V. Pospisil (CAN) d G. Dimitrov (BUL) 75 76(2)
J. Sock (USA) d F. Lopez (ESP) 63 46 64
G. Simon (FRA) d [WC] D. Wu (CHN) 62 62

Doubles – Second Round
[2] B. Bryan (USA) / M. Bryan (USA) d M. Matkowski (POL) / J. Rojer (NED) 61 76(3)
[4] F. Lopez (ESP) / M. Lopez (ESP) d J. Cabal (COL) / R. Farah (COL) 76(4) 63
J. Tsonga (FRA) / N. Zimonjic (SRB) d [5] R. Klaasen (RSA) / R. Ram (USA) 64 62
M. Cilic (CRO) / M. Pavic (CRO) d [6] R. Bopanna (IND) / D. Nestor (CAN) 57 64 10-8
J. Isner (USA) / J. Sock (USA) d [7] T. Huey (PHI) / M. Mirnyi (BLR) 16 76(6) 10-5

Doubles – First Round
H. Kontinen (FIN) / J. Peers (AUS) d P. Petzschner (GER) / A. Zverev (GER) 62 63
P. Cuevas (URU) / M. Granollers (ESP) d O. Marach (AUT) / F. Martin (FRA) 62 76(4)


STADIUM start 1:00 pm
[9] J. Tsonga (FRA) vs A. Zverev (GER)
[1] N. Djokovic (SRB) vs [Q] V. Pospisil (CAN)

Not Before 6:00 pm
[13] L. Pouille (FRA) vs [2] A. Murray (GBR)

Not Before 8:00 pm
G. Simon (FRA) vs [3] S. Wawrinka (SUI)

UNION PAY 3 start 1:00 pm
[Q] M. Zverev (GER) vs M. Granollers (ESP)
[5] M. Raonic (CAN) vs J. Sock (USA)
V. Troicki (SRB) vs [15] R. Bautista Agut (ESP)

Not Before 6:00 pm
[6] G. Monfils (FRA) vs [11] D. Goffin (BEL)

GRANDSTAND start Not Before 3:00 pm
After Suitable Rest – J. Tsonga (FRA) / N. Zimonjic (SRB) vs [2] B. Bryan (USA) / M. Bryan (USA)
After Suitable Rest – J. Isner (USA) / J. Sock (USA) vs [4] F. Lopez (ESP) / M. Lopez (ESP)

COURT 4 start Not Before 3:00 pm
After Suitable Rest – [3] L. Kubot (POL) / M. Melo (BRA) vs P. Cuevas (URU) / M. Granollers (ESP)
After Suitable Rest – H. Kontinen (FIN) / J. Peers (AUS) vs [8] R. Lindstedt (SWE) / V. Pospisil (CAN)


Nick Kyrgios Wins Japan Open

Nick Kyrgios

Nick Kyrgios

(October 9, 2016) Nick Kyrgios won his third ATP World Tour title on Sunday beating David Goffin 4-6, 6-3, 7-5 for the Japan Open Tennis Championships.


Kyrgios hit 25 aces to claim his first 500 level title.


Kyrgios said: “I played a very tough match against Gael Monfils yesterday, so it took me a little time to get into this match. David makes you feel like the court is very small. My serve got me out of trouble today.

“I enjoyed playing in front of the great crowd here. They’re very enthusiastic and very respectful. I have always loved playing in Japan.”

“It’s not easy to break him, because he was hitting 215 km/h serve on the line,” Goffin said. “I was trying to guess which way he was going. But he can still ace you. I tried my best, and it worked until 5-4 in the final set.”

Kyrgios adds his name to the list of young guns on the ATP World Tour to win titles this year, which includes Alexander Zverev and Karen Khachanov.


Wildcard Denis Shapovalov Knocks Out 11th Seed Nick Kyrgios in First Round of Toronto Masters

Denis Shapovalov

Denis Shapovalov

(July 25, 2016) Coming off the Junior Boys’ singles title at Wimbledon, 17-year-old Denis Shapovalov received a wildcard into the Rogers Cup in Toronto, his home tournament. The youngest player in the tournament made good use of his entry by upsetting 11th seed Australia’s Nick Kyrgios 7-6(2), 3-6, 6-3 in the first round on Monday night.

The winner could hardly believe that he won the match when he spoke to media.

“Nick is an incredible tennis player,” he said. “He’s top 20 in the world. Maybe even future No. 1 in the world.

“So obviously I didn’t expect to win. But like I said before, I’m just going to go fight for every point. That’s what I did. The outcome was very good today.”

“My whole family was there, my whole team, my sponsor, my physio. Couple of very close friends to me were there.”

“On the on-court interview, this girl, she was interviewing me and she asked me, Do you want me to pinch you?”

“I said, Yeah. Frankly I actually didn’t feel the pinch. I might be dreaming still. Yeah, it’s still hitting me. It’s going to be crazy, but there’s a next match and I have got to get ready for tomorrow.”

“I just didn’t play great,” Kyrgios said.

“He played well. You know, obviously he was excited playing in front of his home crowd. I know what it feels like obviously to come off one of your biggest junior results and then play in one of your home tournaments. I know that feeling. It’s great. I hope he enjoys it and rests up and does well.

“Yeah, I’m not going to tell you what I did or didn’t do to prepare for this match,” the eleventh seed said to reporters. “I just played pretty bad, but he played great and he earned it.”

Shapovalov said that he made the request to play on Centre Court.

“I thought it would be fun with all the fans,” he said. “I love playing on a big stage. I love, you know, impressing people. So, yeah, it was very fun for me.”

“So, you know, they really helped me a lot. And I think just the atmosphere really carried me forward today.”

Shapovalov will face former Top Ten player Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria in the second round. “Tournament is not over,” Shapovalov commented. “I could celebrate my win from Nick after the tournament but now I’m going to focus for Dimitrov.”


Singles – First Round
[9] J. Isner (USA) d D. Sela (ISR) 46 63 62
[WC] D. Shapovalov (CAN) d [11] N. Kyrgios (AUS) 76(2) 36 63
[12] B. Tomic (AUS) d [Q] A. Gonzalez (COL) 64 76(1)
[16] J. Sock (USA) d D. Kudla (USA) 62 62
G. Muller (LUX) d [PR] D. Tursunov (RUS) 76(5) 61
[WC] P. Polansky (CAN) d [Q] T. Smyczek (USA) 46 63 60
[Q] R. Harrison (USA) d A. Kuznetsov (RUS) 63 61
B. Coric (CRO) d I. Dodig (CRO) 57 64 62
S. Querrey (USA) d [WC] F. Dancevic (CAN) 76(5) 64
G. Dimitrov (BUL) d Y. Sugita (JPN) 57 76(5) 64
K. Anderson (RSA) d V. Troicki (SRB) 76(4) 63
[WC] S. Diez (CAN) d K. Edmund (GBR) 36 63 62
M. Youzhny (RUS) d S. Robert (FRA) 63 76(6)

Doubles – First Round
G. Dimitrov (BUL) / S. Wawrinka (SUI) d L. Pouille (FRA) / D. Thiem (AUT) 46 76(2) 12-10
T. Berdych (CZE) / R. Stepanek (CZE) d F. Martin (FRA) / J. Sousa (POR) 61 36 11-9

All photos by Nida Alibhai






Serena Williams and Andy Murray Reach Wimbledon Second Round with Straight Set Victories

(June 28, 2016) Defending champion Serena Williams recorded her 80th match win at the All England Club and raised her record in first round major matches to 63-1 when she defeated No. 148 qualifier Amra Sadikovic 6-2, 6-4 on day two of Wimbledon.

The match was more competitive than the scoreline demonstrated. “I never underestimate anyone,” said Williams. “It was a really good match but I don’t think it was tougher than I thought. It was definitely tough, but I always expect the best from everyone.”

“I started fast, that’s about it,” Williams said, evaluating her match.

Her 27-year-old opponent who was making her debut in a major, had retired from the sport in 2014, but was inspired to comeback of her Swiss countrywoman Timea Bacsinszky.

“I’m always shouting at myself and pushing myself, so it’s absolutely nothing different,” she said.

The world No. 1 needs one more major win to equal Steffi Graf’s record of 22 in the Open Era. The 21-time major champion came up short in the finals of the French and Australian Opens.

Williams will face fellow American Christina McHale in the second round.

No. 2 seed and 2013 Wimbledon winner Andy Murray is into the second round. Murray had a 6-2, 6-3, 6-4 victory over British countryman Liam Broady, ranked 235 in the world, who received a wild card into the tournament.

Murray needed just an hour and 42 minutes to complete the match. He’ll face Taipei’s Yen-Hsun Lu, ranked 76th in the world, who beat Russian Alexander Kudryavtsev 6-4, 6-1, 6-4.

Fourth seed Stan Wawrinka fought off American up-and-comer Taylor Fritz 7-6 (4), 6-1, 6-7 (2), 6-4. The two-time major winner will take on 2009 U.S, Open champion Juan Martin del Potro in a tough second round match.

“For sure, I think we  all happy that he’s back on the tour, hopefully without any injury (so) he can play for long now,” Wawrinka said. “He’s always been a great champion, a great player to watch.”


Juan Martin del Potro played his first match a a major in over two years, beating Stephane Robert 6-1, 7-5, 6-0. The last time he played at Wimbledon was in 2013 when he lost in the semifinals to Novak Djokovic.

The Argentine ranked 165 due to wrist surgeries is happy to be back on the court.

“I’m enjoying tennis again,” he said. “I’m starting to talk about tennis and (not) about my wrist. 

“I would like to stay here on tour for (a few more) years. I think I’m close to get that goal.”

Del Potro leads in his head-to-head record against Wawrinka 3-2. he last played the Swiss in 2012.

Nick Kyrgios had to fend off 37-year-old veteran Radek Stepanek in four sets on Tuesday – 6-4, 6-3, 6-7 (9), 6-1 .

“To be honest, that’s a nightmare first round for anyone at Wimbledon. No one wants to play Radek here. I could pick 90 guys in the draw that I would rather have played first round,” Kyrgios said to press. “It was a fun match. We’re great friends. I knew it was going to be tough. When I lost the third set, I wasn’t really expecting anything less for him to compete and fight.”

Stepanek was trying to become the oldest man to win a match at a major since Jimmy Commors in 1992.


The Australian Kyrgios will get another tricky opponent in the second round when he takes on Germany’s serve-and-volleying  Dustin Brown who survived in five sets against Dusan Lajovic 4-6, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4.  Brown defeated Rafael Nadal last year at Wimbledon in the second round.

Former No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki is still without a win at a major this year. The Dane lost in the first round of Melbourne and did play the French Open due to an ankle injury. She’s fallen in the rankings to No. 45 and will drop further due to her opening round loss to No. 14 seed Svetlana Kuznetsova 7-5, 6-4.

“It’s been uphill,” Wozniacki said of her 11-11 season. “But you just have to keep fighting, keep going at it, keep working hard, and hope eventually that’s going to turn and you’re going to take the chances you’re going to get.”

Wozniacki, chosen to carry the flag for Denmark in the Opening Ceremonies of the Olympic Games in Rio, does not know if she will be eligible to participate. She did not fulfill her Fed Cup requirements due to injury.



Djokovic, Nadal Rally for Wins in Rome; Federer Loses

Novak Djokovic

(May 12, 2016) Novak Djokovic had to rally from a bagel set down to stop No. 37 Thomaz Bellucci 0-6, 6-3, 6-2 while an ailing Roger Federer lost to 15th seed Dominc Thiem 7-6 (2), 6-4 in Rome on Thursday.

For No. 1 Djokovic, it was the first time he was at the losing end of a “bagel” set since the 2012 Cincinnati final when he lost to Federer.

The third seeded Federer withdrew from the Madrid Open last week with a back injury said that wasn’t concerned about losing, but was happy to get to get in two matches on clay at the Italian Open. The French open begins on May 22nd and the Swiss said that despite the pain from the injury he hopes to be able to play the year’s second major.

Seven-time Rome champion Rafael Nadal fought off Nick Kyrgios 6-7 (3), 6-2, 6-4 to advance to quarterfinals and second seed Andy Murray held off a second set charge to beat Jeremy Chardy 6-0, 6-4.

Besides Federer losing, a couple other upsets on the men’s side included 12th seed David Goffin, destroying 8th seed Tomas Berdych 6-0, 6-0 in 49 minutes, defending French Open champion Stan Wawrinka lost to Juan Monaco 6-7 (5), 6-3, 6-4 and lucky loser Lucas Pouille knocked out ninth seed David Ferrer 6-4, 6-1.

On the ladies’ side of the tournament, Serena Williams rebounded from 3-5 down in the first set best U.S. countrywoman qualifier Christina McHale 7-6 (7), 6-1.


9-15 MAY 2016

RESULTS – MAY 12, 2016
Women’s Singles – Third Round
[1] S. Williams (USA) d [Q] C. McHale (USA) 76(7) 61
[3] G. Muguruza (ESP) d J. Ostapenko (LAT) 61 64
[11] T. Bacsinszky (SUI) d [8] C. Suárez Navarro (ESP) 57 75 62
[9] S. Kuznetsova (RUS) d D. Gavrilova (AUS) 62 26 63
I. Begu (ROU) d D. Kasatkina (RUS) 61 64
M. Doi (JPN) d J. Konta (GBR) 46 75 62
M. Keys (USA) d T. Babos (HUN) 76(2) 63
B. Strycova (CZE) d E. Bouchard (CAN) 61 60

Doubles – Second Round

A. Klepac (SLO) / K. Srebotnik (SLO) d [2] B. Mattek-Sands (USA) / L. Safarova (CZE) 63 64
[3] T. Babos (HUN) / Y. Shvedova (KAZ) d [WC] C. Giovine (ITA) / A. Moratelli (ITA) 63 62
[4] A. Hlavackova (CZE) / L. Hradecka (CZE) d L. Arruabarrena (ESP) / S. Errani (ITA) 64 61
[5] C. Garcia (FRA) / K. Mladenovic (FRA) d A. Medina Garrigues (ESP) / A. Parra Santonja (ESP) 76(4) 16 10-7
I. Begu (ROU) / M. Niculescu (ROU) d [6] Y. Chan (TPE) / A. Groenefeld (GER) 26 76(1) 10-8
R. Atawo (USA) / A. Spears (USA) d [8] J. Goerges (GER) / Ka. Pliskova (CZE) 64 63


Men’s Singles – Third Round
[1] N. Djokovic (SRB) d T. Bellucci (BRA) 06 63 62
[2] A. Murray (GBR) d J. Chardy (FRA) 60 64
[13] D. Thiem (AUT) d [3] R. Federer (SUI) 76(2) 64
[PR] J. Monaco (ARG) d [4] S. Wawrinka (SUI) 67(5) 63 64
[5] R. Nadal (ESP) d N. Kyrgios (AUS) 67(3) 62 64
[6] K. Nishikori (JPN) d [11] R. Gasquet (FRA) 61 64
[12] D. Goffin (BEL) d [8] T. Berdych (CZE) 60 60
[LL] L. Pouille (FRA) d [9] D. Ferrer (ESP) 64 61

Men’s Doubles – Second Round
P. Kohlschreiber (GER) / V. Troicki (SRB) d [2] I. Dodig (CRO) / M. Melo (BRA) 36 76(3) 14-12
[PR] J. Benneteau (FRA) / E. Roger-Vasselin (FRA) d [7] A. Peya (AUT) / N. Zimonjic (SRB) 64 16 10-8

CENTER COURT start 12:00 noon
WTA – [11] T. Bacsinszky (SUI) vs [3] G. Muguruza (ESP)

Not Before 2:00 pm
ATP – [12] D. Goffin (BEL) vs [2] A. Murray (GBR)
ATP – [1] N. Djokovic (SRB) vs [5] R. Nadal (ESP)

Not Before 7:30 pm
WTA – [1] S. Williams (USA) vs [9] S. Kuznetsova (RUS)

Not Before 9:00 pm
ATP – [13] D. Thiem (AUT) vs [6] K. Nishikori (JPN)

GRANDSTAND start 12:00 noon
ATP – [LL] L. Pouille (FRA) vs [PR] J. Monaco (ARG)

Not Before 2:00 pm
WTA – I. Begu (ROU) vs M. Doi (JPN)

Not Before 3:30 pm
WTA – M. Keys (USA) vs B. Strycova (CZE)

PIETRANGELI start 12:00 noon
ATP – [4] J. Murray (GBR) / B. Soares (BRA) vs [5] B. Bryan (USA) / M. Bryan (USA)
ATP – O. Marach (AUT) / M. Matkowski (POL) vs [PR] J. Benneteau (FRA) / E. Roger-Vasselin (FRA)
ATP – [8] V. Pospisil (CAN) / J. Sock (USA) vs P. Cuevas (URU) / M. Granollers (ESP)
ATP – [6] R. Bopanna (IND) / F. Mergea (ROU) vs P. Kohlschreiber (GER) / V. Troicki (SRB)

COURT 1 start 12:00 noon
WTA – [7] E. Makarova (RUS) / E. Vesnina (RUS) vs A. Klepac (SLO) / K. Srebotnik (SLO)
WTA – [5] C. Garcia (FRA) / K. Mladenovic (FRA) vs [4] A. Hlavackova (CZE) / L. Hradecka (CZE)
WTA – [1] M. Hingis (SUI) / S. Mirza (IND) vs R. Atawo (USA) / A. Spears (USA)
WTA – After Suitable Rest – [3] T. Babos (HUN) / Y. Shvedova (KAZ) vs I. Begu (ROU) / M. Niculescu (ROU)


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.


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.

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

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)


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



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.


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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