2014/12/19

Nicolas Almagro Withdraws from the U.S. Open

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(July 18, 2014) Spain’s Nicolas Almagro has withdrawn from the U. S. Open which begins on August 23  in Flushing Meadows, Queens, New York.

The world No.  27 Spaniard has not been on the court since retiring from his first round match at the French Open in May due to a left foot injury.

The 28-year-old also missed Wimbledon.

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Nadal Wins Eighth Barcelona Crown

 

Rafael Nadal

(April 28, 2013) Rafael Nadal recovered from an 0-3 start to defeat Nicolas Almagro 6-4, 6-3 to gain his eighth Barcelona Open tournament victory – a record. He has now won 39 matches in a row at the tournament.

“I feel very happy to lift the trophy once again here in Barcelona,” Nadal said. “It means a lot especially after the difficult year I’ve had. The conditions were very difficult today, especially in the first six games as it was raining a lot.”

“I am extremely satisfied about being able to defeat a player like Nico (Almagro) in straight sets in the final. I played better and better as the match went on and the break at 1-3 in the first set was vital for me. In the second set, things went smoother and I managed [to do] well in all the difficult moments.”

Nadal is the first player of the 2013 season to win four tournaments.

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Gasquet Beats Almagro in Tight Match at Sony Open

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By Amy Fetherolf

(March 26, 2013) MIAMI – Watching a match in person between World No. 10 Richard Gasquet and World No. 12 Nicolas Almagro was not only a chance to see two of the most visually appealing backhands on the ATP Tour up close, but it was also a chance to see two players that share similar reputations for lacking the mental strength to do bigger things than linger near the bottom of the top 10.

It was fun to observe the differences in those two backhands. Almagro strikes the ball cleaner, with a more efficient follow through. Gasquet’s backhand has a more artistic look, with a follow through that almost feels hyperextended, but despite all that, it’s a comfortable shot for the Frenchman.

Almagro’s serve is also an interesting shot to watch. He can get incredible pace on the first serve, and will hit plenty of aces in any given match. His relatively low ball toss is a stark contrast to players like Tomas Berdych and Juan Martin del Potro, who toss the ball high into the clouds.

Both men enjoy spending the vast majority of points behind the baseline. I went in expecting long rallies, and that’s what I got.

Gasquet came out nervy, and was broken to love immediately, dumping a volley into the net. Almagro was outhitting him more and more, the longer the rallies got. It was one-way traffic as Gasquet was broken again at 1-3. He angrily hit a ball into the backboard after dropping serve, frustrated with his poor start.

But suddenly, Almagro seemed to relax too much. A couple of loose shots into the net handed Gasquet back one of the breaks, and the match was on.

Gasquet held for 3-4, and got into Almagro’s next service game, trying to level the match. Frustrated at missing, he angrily gestured at a ballkid for not reading his mind and knowing that he wanted his towel. Surprisingly, given the fact that Gasquet spends so much time hanging around the area where the ballkids stand at the back of the court, he’s not very kind to them, particularly after losing a point.

Gasquet pushed Almagro to deuce, then groaned as he lunged futilely toward a ball that was long gone as Almagro struck a timely ace. Almagro dumped a volley into the net to get back to deuce. A few deuces later, Gasquet finally ventured up into his forbidden zone – in front of the baseline – and hit a lovely volley to earn a break point. Almagro made another error and it was level at 4-all.

It was as if Gasquet was a different player now. Suddenly relaxed, he held to 15, and was no longer snapping at ballkids. He had won four straight games, and suddenly Almagro was down two set points. He saved one with an ace, and Gasquet lost the next point on a backhand error, gesturing angrily at the crowd. Almagro finally held on a highlight reel backhand passing shot, stopping the bleeding.

A couple of easy holds later, and the first set went to a tiebreak. Gasquet took a 2-1 lead on a well-struck lob, but Almagro won five straight points, letting out a loud shout as Gasquet dumped a volley into the net to give him set points. Almagro hit an unreturnable serve to close out the set, turning around and yelling in the direction of the crowd, where a section of fans had unfurled four Spanish flags.

In the second set, Almagro saved early break points, and aside from that first game, each man held serve easily up until 4-all. At that point, Almagro managed to fend off two break points to hold for 5-4. However, he was broken two games later on a nervy double fault on break point. Gasquet was able to serve out the second set to force a decider.

In the third set, it was Gasquet’s turn to save early break points. Both men held three times apiece to get to 3-all. At 15-30, Almagro stepped into the court to hit an inside out forehand that he probably expected not to come back. At that point, Gasquet hit the shot of the match, managing to hit a defensive slice backhand passing shot winner down the line to set up double break point. At 15-40, Almagro stopped play to challenge a call on Gasquet’s return, but it was smack on the line and he was broken.

The Spaniard wasn’t ready to go away easily. He immediately broke back, channeling his earlier success in the longer rallies. Gasquet threw his arms up in frustration as the match was leveled.

Both men held their nerve to get to a tiebreak, but Gasquet steamrolled through a suddenly tight Almagro who double faulted to start the tiebreak. At the changeover as Gasquet led 4-2, there were dueling cheers of “Nico! Nico!” and “Richard! Richard!” But the steadier Gasquet wouldn’t be denied, and he took the match, 6-7(3), 7-5, 7-6(3).

Gasquet will face Tomas Berdych in the quarterfinals.

Pictures from the match:

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Amy Fetherolf‏ is covering the Sony Open as media for Tennis Panorama News.   Follow her live updates on twitter @TennisNewsTPN.   She is a co-founder of The Changeover. Follow her personal Twitter at @AmyFetherolf.

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Tommy Haas Continues His Return to Form with Win over Nicolas Almagro

Tommy Haas

By Jennifer Knapp

(March 13, 2013) INDIAN WELLS, CALIFORNIA – Tommy Haas, the ATP’s 2012 Comeback Player of the Year and nineteenth seed continued his strong return to form and secured his place in the fourth round of the BNP Paribas Open with a hard fought win over eleventh seed Nicolas Almagro.

The 34-year-old, making his 13th appearance in Indian Wells, took the first set 6-3 with solid serving and equally powerful returns. Almagro seemed a little out of sorts as the match got underway and it wasn’t long before he was berating himself and yelling in the direction of his camp.  Haas started off the secondset well but midway he lost his first serve, giving Almagro the opportunity to turn his luck around and even the match in a tie break 7-2. This time it was Haas’ turn to express his displeasure with his level of play.

 

The third and final set was perhaps the most dramatic of all as Almagro had the win on his racquet only to tighten up and lose control of his first serve, allowing Haas to break back and eventually forcing another tiebreak.  Despite the fact that the two players were pretty evenly matched, Haas was able to capitalize at the right moments and secure the match 7-6 for a 6-2, 6-7(2), 7-6(2)  third round victory.  He’ll play seventh seed Juan Martin del Potro in the fourth round. The two have played 3 times, most recently in Cincinnati last year and del Potro has won each of their matches.

Jennifer Knapp is covering the BNP Paribas Open for Tennis Panorama News. Follow the updates on twitter at @TennisNewsTPN.

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Ferrer Digs Deep to Overcome Almagro

 

DavidFerrerbyAbigailHintoShanghaiTennisPanorama

By Jaclyn Stacey

(January 22, 2013) David Ferrer fought back from two sets to love down to overcome compatriot Nicolas Almagro in five sets 4-6, 4-6, 7-5, 7-6(4,) 6-3 and progress through to his second Australian Open semifinal.

 

Ferrer is just the second Spaniard behind Rafael Nadal to reach multiple semifinals at the Australian Open and the third Spaniard to reach five or more Grand Slam semifinals in the Open Era. The win also signaled his 500th career win.

 

The first two and a half sets were dominated by the tenth seeded Almagro as he shocked the crowd by taking an aggressive two sets to love lead 6-4, 6-4 by serving powerfully and smashing winners from all over the court.

 

He continued the form into the third set as he broke Ferrer with the set level at 3-3 and had a chance to serve out the match at 5-4. Ferrer dug deep however and created three break point opportunities with Almagro serving for the match, the first saved with an ace and the second with a forehand volley winner for deuce. On his third opportunity Ferrer hit a superb forehand winner to break back and level the match at 5-5. With Almagro rattled, Ferrer won his next service game and broke Almagro in the next game to love to win the set 7-5.

 

The Spaniards traded breaks throughout the fourth set and with his nose ahead at 5-4 Almagro had another opportunity to close out the match. He squandered the game again to allow Ferrer back in the set at 5-5. By this stage his failure to serve out the match on two occasions appeared to play heavily on Almagro’s mind. He had a third opportunity to serve out the match after breaking Ferrer for 6-5 but again failed to do so and sent the set to a tie-break. Ferrer got ahead in the tie-break and won the set 7-6(4) to level at 2 sets all and sent the match to a decider.

 

In the fifth set Almagro began to struggle physically and had issues with his abductor while Ferrer was running on momentum and had full control on the match. He got the first break in the fifth game and a second in the seventh game and served out the match with a forehand winner.

 

Ferrer increased his head-to-head lead over Almagro to 13-0. He was asked what was going through his mind when he was down two sets and a break with Almagro serving for the match.

 

“I try to fight every point, every game. I know all the players in important moments we are nervous. I know that. I try to do my best. Today I was close to lost, sure. But finally I come back, no?”

 

“I think he played better than me in the first set. There was a break. I play bad in myself in one break. In the second, I didn’t play good, no? In the third, I feel better with my game. I can play more aggressive.”

 

“And in the fifth, he was cramping, problems with his leg, so it was easier for me.”

 

On a potential semifinal clash with  Novak Djokovic, should he defeat Tomas Berdych on Tuesday night, Ferrer said, “Amazing player. Of course, Novak, he’s the No. 1 of the world. He’s the favorite for to win the Australian Open. I will see the match tonight. Anyway, I will have to play better than today for to win after tomorrow, sure.”

 

“You know, every day is different: the weather, the conditions, everything is different. I don’t know what is going to be tonight with Tomas Berdych, but I hope it will be a long match, no (smiling)?”

 

Jaclyn Stacey is a Melbourne based freelance journalist covering the Australian Open tournament as media for Tennis Panorama News.  Follow her Australian Open updates on @TennisNewsTPN. Follow her personal twitter @JackattackAU.

 

 

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Tipsarevic Pulls Pin and Sends Almagro Through to First Australian Open Quarterfinal

The Miami Cup tennis tournament held at Crandon Park Tennis Center.

By Jaclyn Stacey

(January 20, 2013) Tenth seed Nicolas Almagro has progressed through to his first Australian Open quarterfinal after Janko Tipsarevic retired injured down a set and 2-5 in the second set.

 

The Serbian looked frustrated and uncomfortable for the duration of the short lived match, requiring a medical time out at 2-5 down in the first set to get some extra padding and taping added to his heel on his already taped up left foot.

 

In the second set he was unable to play his best tennis and after being broken for the second time he pulled the pin on the match. In the post match press conference Tipsarevic said the initial diagnosis was a jarred heel and that before the match he was feeling good and had fully recovered from his previous two five set encounters. He said it was very frustrating to have to end the match under such circumstances.

 

The retirement puts Almagro through to his first Australian Open quarterfinal, equaling his best appearance at a Grand Slam, having reached the quarterfinals at Roland Garros on three occasions. He will take on David Ferrer in an all-Spanish quarterfinal and goes into the match having lost all 12 previous encounters with his compatriot.

 

Regardless of the head-to-head statistics Almagro is looking forward to playing his good friend in their first Grand Slam match-up and said it “is a big opportunity for me to be in a semifinal. I’m ready to fight. I’m healthy and I’m happy with my tennis.”

 

“I’m playing good. I’m hitting the ball with confidence, playing really aggressive, going to the net to close the point, and, well, that’s it.”

 

When asked if he knew that something was wrong with Tipsarevic, Almagro said “Well, I don’t know. I don’t think so. I was talking with him and he said the problem start at 4-1 of the first set and after that he couldn’t move really well and he decide to retired.”

 

On weather Tipsarevic’s condition played on his mind he said, “Well, I was trying to be focused on my match, on my tennis. Well, I think I play a really good first set. After that, the mind start to work a little bit because you know something happen but you don’t know really good what happen.”

 

“But I think I was very focus all the match. With 5-1 in the second set, was really tough for him. I think he decide to stop because the injury would be worse.”

 

Jaclyn Stacey is a Melbourne based freelance journalist covering the Australian Open tournament as media for Tennis Panorama News.  Follow her Australian Open updates on @TennisNewsTPN. Follow her personal twitter @JackattackAU.

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Players React to Lance Armstrong in Notes and Quotes

Players at the Australian Open were asked about Lance Amstrong in the January 18, 2013 news conferences.

 

Q.  There was a lot of talk today about the Lance Armstrong interview.  Did you catch any of it?

MARIA SHARAPOVA:  I saw a little bit of it, yeah.

Q.  Do you have any thoughts on his admission today, how he justified it as not cheating?

MARIA SHARAPOVA:  I think it’s just a really sad story, sad for that sport itself.  I’m happy that our sport is as clean as it can be and that we’re constantly tested.  You know, we give whereabouts of where we are every single day of the year.  Hopefully not on birthdays and Christmas Eve, that would be pretty tough.

Although they did show up on my birthday and I was very disappointed.  They did a couple of years ago.  I said, Unless you bring flowers, I’m okay with it.  But they came empty‑handed (laughter).

So as long as we’re getting tested, whatever it takes, urine, blood, we’re all here to make the sport as clean as it can be.

 

Q.  Do you feel tennis is pretty clean at this moment?

MARIA SHARAPOVA:  I do very much.  For the amount of times that we get tested throughout the year and as random as they are, definitely.

 

 

Q.  I’m not sure if you saw today, but Lance Armstrong admitted to playing performance enhancing drugs.  I was wondering if you thought tennis had a vigorous enough policy on anti doping?

JANKO TIPSAREVIC:  You know what, you’re probably asking the wrong guy.  You know, actually came to Kenya to test me.  I wasn’t going to Kenya to hide from anti doping.  I was actually doing my pre season there.

One morning a person was waking me up.  I was so shocked and afraid somebody was like robbing us.  I wasn’t sure.

But I think it’s not cool what he did, cheating the sport and cheating so many people in the sport and so many people around him, believing that what he did actually did it on a clean and regular way.  So that’s really not cool what he did.

In regards of tennis, I think they test me often enough, blood and urine.  So, sure, if they want to increase it, why not?  But we have a tough enough time with this WADA process of us telling them every single day of our life where we need to be.

So I don’t really see how can it be more strict than that.

 

Q.  How comfortable are you that drug testing in tennis is rigorous enough?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, in tennis, you know, at least from my perspective, it’s really good.  Anti doping regulations a little bit maybe more strict in sense that you have to fill the whereabouts documents and you have to basically give an hour or two in every day of your life in a whole year, where you are.

But on the other hand, it gives them an opportunity to test you.  And you know it is the same for the other players.  At least from that point of view it’s fair.  And I have nothing against, you know, the anti doping federation, association, testing me 10, 20, 30 times a year.

I think as long as I know as many numbers of testing for the other players, I’ll be happy.

 

Q.  How about blood testing?  The ITF records tell us in the whole of 2011 there was only 18 blood tests taken of the top players.  How often would you or Andy or Roger or Rafa be blood tested?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Yeah, I wasn’t tested with blood for last six, seven months.  It was more regularly in last two, three years ago.  I don’t know the reason why they stopped it.

As I said, I mean, as long as it’s fair, it’s clean, we’re trying to protect the identity of this sport.  I believe tennis players are one of the most cleanest athletes in the world and one of the most competitive sports.

So as long as we keep it that way, I have no complaints about testing.

 

Q.  Would you disagree with Darren Cahill who said today that he believes the Anti Doping Program in tennis is inadequate and it’s been going backwards in recent years?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  What is the reason for that?

 

Q.  That’s his opinion.

NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, I mean, I don’t know.  There has to be a reason why he said that, backstory.

I know Darren.  He’s a great guy, somebody that knows tennis really well, so must be something why he said that.

But in my opinion, yeah, there has been a complaints from players in few years, last few years, about this whereabouts system.  Why do we need to write where we are every single day of our 365 days when most of the time we’re spending on the courts and so forth.

Maybe that is something that is, you know, questionable.  But on the other hand as many urine, as many blood sample tests they take, the better.  Then you’re aware that it’s a clean sport and everybody has the same treatment.

 

Q.  I think part of the issue is out of competition blood testing is expensive to carry out.  Do you think the ITF should make it more of a priority to spend more money on that?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  I mean, it’s a question for them, I guess.  From my point, I mean, I was more than clear.  I have nothing against the blood tests, you know.

Even though I prefer urine more.  I don’t like the needles too much.  But, of course, I mean, you know, the money in that direction should be invested because, you know, it’s always let’s say a safeguard for our sport that they’re investing money in our sport that is going to protect our sport and players.

 

Q.  A lot of cycling fans have lost a lot of faith in that sport now.  Do you think tennis fans should be confidant that nothing like this…

NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  I lost a lot of faith in cycling.  I used to watch it.  All the big champions that were there, Marco Pantani, now Lance Armstrong.  Yeah, I don’t want to say all.  I really don’t know.  There has been so much controversy about that sport.

I’m sure that there are many cyclists in the world who are training very hard and trying to not use any enhancing drugs for their competition.

But I think it’s not acceptable that they have physically so much races in short period of the time.  I think basically every single day, day and a half, they have to go through 200 miles.  Uphill, downhill in Giro D’Italia, Tour de France, that’s inhuman effort.  As you can see, Lance Armstrong, many other big champions, had to use something to succeed.

 

Q.  Do you think tennis fans should have faith that that won’t happen the same way?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  The results are showing that.  In last few years there maybe has been one or two cases, but those players were more or less outside of the hundred.  We are keeping this sport clean.  We are working towards it.  There is awareness with the players and with the officials.  As long as is like that, we are in a good road.

 

Q.  Would you be in favor of like a biological passport program that they’re instituting in cycling for tennis?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  I mean, you know, we can discuss about the options for a while.  But generally I believe that the present regulations about anti doping tests in tennis are good, in my views.  I don’t think there should be any major changes because, as you know, it’s official.  We have to write where we are every day of our lives so they have an opportunity to test us every day of 365 days in a year.

I think that doesn’t give anybody a chance to do something that is unsportsmanlike.

 

 

 

Q.  The Lance Armstrong interview today, I was wondering what your thoughts are on drug testing in tennis?

NICOLAS ALMAGRO:  I’m not going to say nothing because I didn’t see nothing about that.  I want to see before to speak.

I don’t know what happened.

Q.  My question is what about the authorities in tennis are doing.

NICOLAS ALMAGRO:  You need to ask to someone better than me because I not going to say nothing.  Sorry.  It’s a very important things, and I not going to talk.

I thinks our sport is clear, is fair, and I won’t believe that is the only thing I can say.

Q.  I’m not sure if you saw today, but Lance Armstrong admitted to playing performance‑enhancing drugs.  I was wondering if you thought tennis had a vigorous enough policy on anti‑doping?

JANKO TIPSAREVIC:  You know what, you’re probably asking the wrong guy.  You know, actually came to Kenya to test me.  I wasn’t going to Kenya to hide from anti‑doping.  I was actually doing my pre‑season there.

One morning a person was waking me up.  I was so shocked and afraid somebody was like robbing us.  I wasn’t sure.

But I think it’s not cool what he did, cheating the sport and cheating so many people in the sport and so many people around him, believing that what he did actually did it on a clean and regular way.  So that’s really not cool what he did.

In regards of tennis, I think they test me often enough, blood and urine.  So, sure, if they want to increase it, why not?  But we have a tough enough time with this WADA process of us telling them every single day of our life where we need to be.

So I don’t really see how can it be more strict than that.

 

Q.  On a non‑tennis note, did you watch any of Oprah’s interview with Lance Armstrong?

VENUS WILLIAMS:  No, I didn’t.

Q.  Is it something that players are talking about, his confession to doping?

VENUS WILLIAMS:  I think everyone is pretty much focused on the tennis.  Maybe other players are talking about it.  I have no idea.

Q.  Do you have any reaction?

VENUS WILLIAMS:  I can’t talk about anything I don’t know anything about, so I’m just going to keep my mouth shut.  I’m not an expert on that stuff.  That’s all I can say.

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Almagro Wins All Spanish Encounter to Advance to Australian Open Third Round

The Miami Cup tennis tournament held at Crandon Park Tennis Center.

By Jaclyn Stacey

(January 16, 2013) MELBOURNE PARK, Australia – Nicolas Almagro moves into the third round at the Australian Open for the fifth consecutive year after conquering his countryman Diego Gimeno-Traver 6-4, 6-1, 6-2 in an all Spanish second round encounter on Hisense Arena in morning play on Wednesday.

 

The tenth seed was never really troubled throughout the encounter, Gimeno-Traver only looking to have any chance during the beginning of the first set when he broke Almagro for a 2-1 lead.

 

The two have played each other on many occasions stretching back to the ITF junior days with Gimeno-Traver winning their only encounter on hard court at the 2010 Valencia Open in three sets.

 

One of 16 Spanish men flying the flag for Spain in the absence of Rafael Nadal, Almagro used his explosive shot making to shut down Gimeno-Traver.

 

He is known to be an intense personality on court, and let out plenty of emotional cries and fist pumping on his way to victory.

 

Gimeno-Traver drew blood early in the first set, breaking Almagro to take a 2-1 lead. It didn’t last long though as Almagro dug deep to return the set on serve in the eighth game. Gimeno-Traver double faulted while serving at set point down to gift his countryman the first set.

 

Almagro kept up the intensity in the second set, allowing his opponent only one game on his way to a 6-1 set win.

 

The third set was a similar story as Almagro convincingly won through to the third round, sealing the match with an ace.

 

Almagro improved his first serve percentage from a low 53% in his opening round five set match against American Steve Johnson to 64% and served down 10 aces. “I think I played better than in the first round. I served better today than the other day.”

 

“The Spanish are really good players. He [Gimeno-Traver] did a really good match in the first round so maybe he’s a bit tired. But I want to think about me I want to rest and play well in the next round.”

 

Almagro equaled his best showing fourth round at the Australian Open last year and to progress further in 2013 he would need to defeat a likely fourth round opponent in eighth seed Janko Tipsarevic before a possible quarterfinal showdown with number one ranked Spaniard David Ferrer.

 

Almagro plays 24th seed Jerzy Janowicz in the third round on Friday.

Jaclyn Stacey is a Melbourne based freelance journalist covering the Australian Open tournament as media for Tennis Panorama News.  Follow her Australian Open updates on @TennisNewsTPN. Follow her personal twitter @JackattackAU.

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Oz and Ends – Day One at the 2013 Australian Open

Melbourne park grounds

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

 

Bagels and breadsticks

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

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

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

 

Win streak continues

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

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

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

 

Tweets of the day

 

 

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

 

Tough day for Aussies

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

 

Two seeds falls

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

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

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

Federer out of Davis Cup

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

 

Five set marathons

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

 

Karen Pestaina for Tennis Panorama News

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New Season, New Goals

Andy Murray 12 26 Abu Dhabi

By Abigail Hinto

(December 26, 2012) ABU DHABI – Six of the top eleven players in the world,  are gathered in Abu Dhabi to start their season at the Mubadala World Tennis Championships (MWTC). Three of the players, namely Janko Tipsarevic, Tomas Berdych and Andy Murray showed up on Tuesday for their pre-tournament news conferences.  No. 11 Nicolas Almagro replaced Rafael Nadal, who withdrew from the event with a stomach virus.

Despite all three belonging in the top 10, and despite the small gap in their rankings, these three players are in vastly different stages in their careers with varying expectations, pressures and goals. And the goals they’ve set for themselves for the new season give an interesting insight to how they see their careers, where they’re at now and what they feel they should be able to accomplish.
Tipsarevic, the relative newcomer in the top 10 has set his sights on qualifying for the World Tour Finals in London. And with his best showing at a grand slam only consisting of two quarterfinal appearances, both at the US Open this year and last, he aims to have deeper runs at the slams this year. His tight quarterfinal loss against David Ferrer at this year’s US Open has shown him that though he’s not quite there yet in the level he needs to challenge the top players, he’s getting close.
Tomas Berdych meanwhile has already made finals and a couple of semifinals at the majors. His goal now, is to hold that trophy. Saying that he was happy for Andy Murray finally winning his slam, noting that it’s good that someone had once again broken the stranglehold Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic had on winning the majors, could acknowledging Murray’s breakthrough give Berdych the inspiration to try to win one for himself as well? Davis Cup this year, a grand slam next year?
As for Andy Murray, after finally winning that major he’s been working so hard for and been pressured on winning since he was first considered a contender in 2008, how does he re-set his goals? Murray is a short-term goal-setter which he says he’s always been with his career. So, it’s one major at a time for him, now focusing solely on the Australian Open trophy. Asked if reaching no.1 is a top priority, Murray answers that it’s not, as that ranking only comes with the results from every tournament he plays.
And as the Mubadala World Tennis Championships starts on Wednesday, we’ll get to see these three players finally begin their first step towards their goals.
Abigail Hinto is covering the Mubadala World Tennis Championships in Abu Dhabi, UAE as media for Tennis Panorama News. Follow her updates on twitter at @TennisNewsTPN.
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All photos by Abigail Hinto for Tennis Panorama
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