2014/09/18

Kei Nishikori Stuns No. 1 Novak Djokovic to Reach US Open Final

(September 6, 2014) Under brutal heat and humidity, Japan’s Kei Nishikori became the first man from Asia to reach a major final, when on Saturday afternoon, the 24-year-old shocked top player Novak Djokovic 6-4, 1-6, 7-6 (4), 6-3 at the US Open.

“It’s just amazing, amazing feeling to beat the No. 1 player,” Nishikori said after the match in an on-court interview.

“I expected him to be able to play another five-setter because he had two days off,” Djokovic said of Nishikori’s stamina. “He hasn’t played before this tournament, so he had a big break. He could prepare himself for this tournament. He played some great tennis. I congratulate him for the effort. He was the better player today.”

Nishokori came into the semifinals having played two marathon five-set matches against top 5 players. In the fourth round the 10th seed stopped fifth seed Milos Raonic in a match which ended at 2:26 a.m. on Thursday morning. In his quarterfinal, Nishikori defeated reigning Australian Open champions and third seed Stan Wawrinka. Nishikori played more 81/2 hours combining those two matches.

“That second set my game today was not even close to what I wanted it to be,” said the Serb. “A lot of unforced errors, a lot of short balls. Just wasn’t myself.”

“I don’t want to talk about conditions,” Djokovic continued. “It’s same for both of us. I think he just played better in these conditions than I did. I just wasn’t managing to go through the ball in the court. You know, I wasn’t in the balance. Unforced errors. Even when the ball gets back to his part of the court it’s pretty short; he takes advantage of it. On the other side I didn’t. That’s it.”

 

“Well, this is definitely huge for Japan,” Djokovic commented. “It’s a big country. Over a hundred million people. This can definitely be a great encouragement for tennis in that country. He’s been around for last couple of years. He’s been making a lot of success. But playing finals of a Grand Slam and now fighting for title is definitely something different. You know, he has gotten to another level, and I’m sure that people will praise him.”

Nishikori will face Roger Federer or Marin Cilic in Monday’s final.

More to follow.

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Novak Djokovic Reaches Eighth Straight US Open Semifinal

Djokovic applauds

(September 4, 2014) Novak Djokovic stood toe-to-toe for two sets with Andy Murray until the world No. 1 took charge over the eighth seed in the third set and came through 7-6 (1), 6-7 (1), 6-2, 6-4 to reach his eighth straight US Open semifinal. The match which had many long and intense rallies, lasted three hours and 32 minutes, and finished at 1:17 a.m. on Thursday morning.

When I get to play Andy, at the Grand Slams especially, where we both try to peak with our performances obviously, I know that the matches are going to go the distance,” said the Serb.. “We’re going to have a lot of long rallies and a lot of exchanges. It’s going to be physical but also mental. I get the feeling that if I get to stay with him and kind of, you know, work, work, and, you know, not get too loose and too frustrated with points and not allow him to get into a big lead, I feel like there is a point where I feel I have that edge, you know, maybe physically. That’s where I try to always focus on and, you know, it paid off tonight.”

“I’d say definitely physically he was fresher, but towards the end I tried to hang in as best I could in the fourth set,” Murray said. “But, yeah, he was definitely — well, he appeared fresher than me. Whether he was or not I don’t know, but maybe he does a better job of hiding it than me. The pace of my serve slowed significantly towards the end of the third set.”

Murray, who underwent back surgery late last year, has not reached a Grand Slam semifinal all year, nor any other tournament.

“I’m obviously disappointed,” Murray said of the loss. ”It’s extremely late. You know, I’m tired. I don’t feel particularly proud right now. I feel disappointed. But, yeah, I think there was some good tennis. I obviously haven’t, you know, analyzed the match or had time to think about it yet, but I think there was some good tennis there. You know, hopefully I can build on that.”

 

Djokovic will play Kei Nishikori in the final four. Nishikori beat Stan Wawrinka in five sets.

 

“Well, I haven’t played Kei in a while,” Djokovic said. “He’s very, very good player, obviously. I think he’s playing best tennis of his life in the last 12 months. He started working with Michael Chang and he changed a few things in his game. He serves very efficiently. Obviously he’s very, very fast, maybe one of the fastest on the tour player. Great backhand, great forehand, all-around player. He won today against Stan, who is playing some great tennis. To be able to come back after winning against Raonic 2:30 a.m., again five sets, five sets, it’s pretty impressive. I give him credit for that. We both had some long matches in quarters, but I’m sure Uniqlo family will be happy to see us play against each other. (Both men wear UNIQLO clothing) You know, the better will win.”

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Top Seeds Serena Williams and Novak Djokovic Win: Eugenie Bouchard Beaten by the Heat

Eugenie Bouchard

Eugenie Bouchard

(September 1, 2014) FLUSHING MEADOWS – The US Open top seeds had straight set victories on Labor Day Monday. Novak Djokovic, was a 6-1, 7-5, 6-4 winner over No. 22 seeds Philipp Kohlschreiber of Germany, and Serena Williams defeated No. 50 Kaia Kanepi of Estonia 6-3, 6-3.

For the Serb Djokovic it’s his 8th straight US Open quarterfinal he’s reached and his 22nd major tournament overall.

“I’m very glad obviously that I had so many consecutive quarterfinals of Grand Slams,” said the Serb. “It says that I do value these tournaments the most and try to always perform my best tennis in them. Obviously motivates me for the future to continue that streak, of course.”

Djokovic will meet two-time major champion Andy Murray in the quarterfinals. Murray beat No. 9 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 7-5, 7-5, 6-4.

For Serena Williams the two-time defending US Open champion, this will be her first Grand Slam quarterfinal this year.

“I never thought it would be so exciting,” Williams said smiling. “Yeah! It feels good. Obviously I don’t want this to end. But I’m just happy that I’m able to be performing a little better at the end of the year.”

Williams has a perfect 5-0 record against her next opponent Flavia Pennetta.

“Of course, she’s better than me, but if I still believe I can beat her, maybe if she doesn’t have a good day I can do that,” Pennetta said. If I get in the court and just play and try to don’t take 6-Love 6-Love, I gonna take 6-Love 6-Love.”

Canadian Eugenie Bouchard was beaten by the heat during her fourth round match-up against Ekaterina Makarova. The Canadian said that she felt dizzy and her vision was blurry as she was bothered by the New York City heat and humidity. She took two medical time outs.

“I was feeling very light headed and dizzy on the court,” said Bouchard. “You know, just seeing things a little blurry. You know, feeling well physically on the court is very important to me, so when I don’t feel that — I just generally didn’t feel good.”

Makarova, the 17th seed from Russia beat Bouchard 7-6 (2), 6-4, ending the Canadian’s streak of reaching at least the semifinals of each major in 2014.

“I definitely felt a lot of outside expectations and pressure to win matches. I felt more like it’s normal if I win and it’s a bit more of a disaster when I lose,” Bouchard said. “But that’s something that I need to block out.”

“I remember as a junior a few times in Australia when it was hot I felt this way. Last year here actually in the second round I felt it a little bit. You know, once in a while I get a little bit light headed. That’s what happens.”

Makarova said: “Today was really tough condition definitely. So humid, and sometimes I think because of that the game was going like up and down. Against Bouchard it’s always tough because she’s running good. She’s also really — like physically she’s hard. So I think it was really good match, and I’m really happy that in the end of the first and the second set I was a little bit more aggressive.”

In round of 16 men’s matches on Monday night, No. 3 Stan Wawrinka beat No. 16 Tommy Robredo 7-5, 4-6, 7-6 (7), 6-2, No. 5 Milos Raonic fell to  No. 10 Kei Nishikori 4-6, 7-6(4), 6-7(6), 7-5, 6-4, in a match which ended at 2:26 a.m. Tuesday, equaling the latest finish in US Open history.

Two-time US Open finalist Victoria Azarenka rallied past qualifier 145th-ranked Aleksandra Krunic of Serbia to win 4-6, 6-4, 6-4.

“I didn’t have a lot of data on her or, you know, much of an idea,” Azarenka said. “I think she played exceptionally well today. I’m not sure if I would have watched the matches before that would help me a lot, I think because I felt like not knowing much she still played on a really high level and pretty consistent through the whole match. She gave a fight, and she wasn’t afraid to go big on the important moments. I was a little bit surprised that she’s not that tall, and she hits the ball and unleashes her forehand with so much power. So that was quite surprising. But, you know, I think she’s a young player. She has a good future if she keeps going this way.”

 

Next for Azarenka will be Makarova. The Belarusian evaluated her next challenger.

“I think she’s a very tough opponent because she’s very consistent. You know, she reads the game really well. We had some tough matches in the past. I think she’s not afraid to play against top players. She handled herself well against, you know, big names in Grand Slams. She’s definitely playing well. I’m looking forward to that match.”

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Novak Djokovic Crushes Paul-Henri Mathieu to Reach US Open Third Round

DJOKOVIC

(August 28, 2014) FLUSHING MEADOWS – Novak Djokovic wasted no time on Thursday in dismantling French man Paul-Henri Mathieu at the US Open. The No. 1 seed earned a place in the third round by a 6-1, 6-3, 6-0 score in 87 minutes.

“I wanted to get my job done as quick as possible,” said the Serbian. “I don’t feel like I need to play long matches to get into the groove. I mean, I feel that I’m hitting the ball very well. Second match even better than the first one. Under the circumstances I think I came up with a very good performance. Stayed mentally tough and not allowed myself to get frustrated because of the wind and conditions that were obviously very tough for both of us.”
The 27-year-old Djokovic will face American Sam Querrey next. Querrey upset 28th seed Guillermo Garcia-Lopez 6-3, 6-4, 6-4.

Djokovic talked about the upcoming match against the American.

“Sam is playing in front of his crowd. I’m sure that he’s going to have some good support. But on the other hand, if we get to play on center court maybe night session, that’s where my experience kicks in, I think. I have had a lot of matches, night sessions if we get to play, as I said, and try to neutralize his serve that is his big weapon. If he serves well he’s very dangerous. I saw a little bit of his match today and he played great. He’s in good form, good shape, and has nothing to lose. It’s going to be a tough one.”

Djokovic is 7-1 against Querrey.

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Sharapova and Djokovic make Quick Work of Challengers during US Open Night Session

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(August 25, 2014) FLUSHING MEADOWs – Night session on day one of the 2014 US Open had Maria Sharapova and Novak Djokovic with easy victories. Sharapova won the last 10 games of her match to dismiss friend Maria Kirilenko 6-4, 6-0, making a return to Flushing Meadows as she missed last year’s event due to an injured right shoulder.

“I thought there was a few times where I could have broken her in the beginning of the match. But I think she started off playing well and solid,” Sharapova said. “Despite not taking those opportunities in a couple of her service games, I felt pretty good, especially towards the end of the match.”

No. 113 Kirilenko, never won another game after taking a 4-2 lead. She had not played since Wimbledon.

“We spent a lot of time in the juniors away from the courts practicing a lot together, competing against each other,” Sharapova said. “We certainly have a big history together. But when you go out on the court, it’s always that fine line between, of course you want to be the winner, you have to face that person as a competitor, not someone that you’ve known for years and developed a friendship with. It’s always a tricky balance, I guess.”

Djokovic cruised past a 22-year-old Argentine Diego Schwartzman 6-1, 6-2, 6-4 in his first main draw at Flushing Meadows.

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“I thought I hit the ball very well throughout the whole match,” Djokovic said. “Diego is a talented player; very quick on the court. He has to work on his serve a little bit more, I feel. He didn’t put so much pressure on his serve. You know, he’s not so tall so it’s difficult for him to serve well. But it was obviously first big match for him, first hard court Grand Slam match on the biggest stadium in the night session. I’m sure he was a bit nervous. I thought he played well. I was happy with the first match.”

Djokovic has reached the US Open final four straight years running. The Serbian won the event back in 2011 and is currently No. 1.

“It’s definitely a privilege, you know, and responsibility,’ Djokovic said of being the top seed.. “Pressure is part of the sport. I’m used to it already

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2014 US Open Men’s Contender Profiles

Djokovic

(August 24, 2014) Profiles of the top Men’s Singles contenders for 2014 U.S. Open. Note: Grand Slam records for main draw matches only.  – by Jack Cunniff     http://twitter.com/jrcunniff

 

1.Novak Djokovic

2014 Record: 39-6

Grand Slam Record: 175-32

U.S. Open Record: 45-8

U.S. Open Best Result: W (2011)

Fast Fact: Djokovic is looking for his fifth consecutive U.S. Open Final, tying Connors for third place in the Open Era (Lendl – 8, Federer – 6).

 

2. Roger Federer

2014 Record: 49-9

Grand Slam Record: 274-44

U.S. Open Record: 67-9

U.S. Open Best Result: Won (2004-’08)

Fast Fact: With 67 U.S. Open match wins, Federer could pass both Sampras (71) and Lendl (73) at the 2014 U.S. Open. Connors (97) and Agassi (79) have the most U.S. Open match wins.

 

3. Stan Wawrinka

2014 Record: 31-10

Grand Slam Record: 79-37

U.S. Open Record: 23-9

U.S. Open Best Result: SF (2013)

Fast Fact: Wawrinka’s only loss to a Top Ten opponent in 2014 came in the Wimbledon quarterfinals against Federer. He has compiled a 6-1 record vs. Top Ten opponents for the year.

 

4. David Ferrer

2014 Record: 43-16

Grand Slam Record: 120-47

U.S. Open Record: 27-10

U.S. Open Best Result: SF (2007, ‘12)

Fast Fact: On August 11, 2014, Ferrer celebrated 200 consecutive weeks ranked in the ATP Top Ten, dating back to October 10, 2010.

 

5. Milos Raonic

2014 Record: 34-12

Grand Slam Record: 32-15

U.S. Open Record: 6-3

U.S. Open Best Result: 4R (2012-‘13)

Fast Fact: Raonic will pass $6 million in career earnings after the U.S. Open. He has earned 46% of his prize money ($2.75M) over the last 12 months.

 

6. Tomas Berdych

2014 Record: 37-14

Grand Slam Record: 99-44

U.S. Open Record: 24-11

U.S. Open Best Result: SF (2012)

Fast Fact: Berdych is attempting to win his 100th Grand Slam match in the first round of the U.S. Open. In nine of the last ten years, Berdych has lost at least one first round match at a Grand Slam, but he has not in 2014.

 

7. Grigor Dimitrov

2014 Record: 38-12

Grand Slam Record: 17-16

U.S. Open Record: 0-3

U.S. Open Best Result: 1R (2011-‘13)

Fast Fact: In 2014, Dimitrov has a 9-3 record in Grand Slam events (75% winning pct). Prior to 2014, Dimitrov had an 8-13 record in Grand Slam events (38% wining pct).

 

8. Andy Murray

2014 Record: 34-14

Grand Slam Record: 130-32

U.S. Open Record: 33-8

U.S. Open Best Result: W (2012)

Fast Fact: If he fails to reach the U.S. Open final, it will be the first year since 2009 that Murray does not reach a final in a Grand Slam event.

 

9. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga

2014 Record: 30-14

Grand Slam Record: 81-27

U.S. Open Record: 12-5

U.S. Open Best Result: QF (2011)

Fast Fact: Tsonga is the only player in 2014 to defeat four top ten players in the same event (Toronto, defeated Djokovic, Murray, Dimitrov, Federer)

 

10. Kei Nishikori

2014 Record: 34-9

Grand Slam Record: 31-20

U.S. Open Record: 7-5

U.S. Open Best Result: 4R (2008)

Fast Fact: Nishikori is the last player to reach the second week of the U.S. Open at 18 years old (2008).

 

11. Ernests Gulbis

2014 Record: 35-15

Grand Slam Record: 26-28

U.S. Open Record: 6-7

U.S. Open Best Result: 4R (2007)

Fast Fact: Gulbis needs only three more wins this season to break his personal record of most match wins in a season (37 wins, 2013).

 

12. Richard Gasquet

2014 Record: 25-13

Grand Slam Record: 72-39

U.S. Open Record: 19-8

U.S. Open Best Result: SF (2013)

Fast Fact: Gasquet hasn’t defeated a Top Ten opponent since David Ferrer in Beijing (October, 2013).

 

13. John Isner

2014 Record: 31-15

Grand Slam Record: 35-25

U.S. Open Record: 15-7

U.S. Open Best Result: QF (2011)

Fast Fact: The last event that Isner played where he didn’t contest a tiebreak was Nice, France (May 2013), a streak of 31 consecutive events.

 

14. Marin Cilic

2014 Record: 40-16

Grand Slam Record: 56-27

U.S. Open Record: 13-5

U.S. Open Best Result: QF (2009, ’12)

Fast Fact: Only two players in the US Open draw have more match wins than Cilic in 2014 (Federer – 49, Ferrer – 43).

 

16. Tommy Robredo

2014 Record: 29-19

Grand Slam Record: 99-50

U.S. Open Record: 30-12

U.S. Open Best Result: QF (2013)

Fast Fact: Milestones: Robredo is attempting to win his 100th Grand Slam match in the first round. If he reaches the fourth round, he will play in his 800th professional match.

 

Related article:

Serena Williams

2014 US Open Women’s Contender Profiles

 

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Top Seed Novak Djokovic Looking to Peak at US Open

 

 

Djokovic

(August 23, 2014) FLUSHING MEADOWS – World No. 1 Novak Djokovic is coming into the 2014 not exacting riding on the crest of a wave in recent weeks. After winning his second Wimbledon title in July, the Serbian lost early in both hard court Masters 1000 events in Toronto and Cincinnati.

In his pre-tournament news conference on Saturday, he said he’s hoping to peak at the US Open.

“I’m feeling better and better as the days go by, ” he said.

“It’s something that is encouraging me for this year’s US Open campaign. Obviously I want to peak with my form in the US Open. Yes, I wanted to do better in Canada and Cincinnati. Unfortunately I wasn’t even close to my best. But, you know, a lot of things happened in the last two months, and it was very emotional period. You know, I just felt a little bit flat on the court. I wasn’t managing to find that intensity and the perfect mindset. But, you know, it’s all normal. It’s something that I’m experiencing for the first time, right? So I’m trying to talk as much as I can to, of course, first of all my coach that has been through similar experiences in his life more than one time, Djokovic said with a smile. “So I’m trying to get as much information as I can, valuable advices that I can use in my case.”

 

Djokovic, recently married, with his wife expecting their first child, spoke about his impending role as a future father on the ATP Tour.

“I talk with people who are around me who have children,” Djokovic commented. “As I said before, my coach and people who have been in similar situations like I am and how they dealt with that, how that has affected their careers, their mindset, their, you know, just overall life. I with no doubt have only positive and joyful feelings approaching fatherhood, and hopefully — it’s going to happen in less than two months. Then I’m going to enjoy it and try to take as much energy as I can, positive energy to, you know, after kind of transfer that to the tennis court. But without a doubt, life changes. You know, priorities change. My priorities, you know, my family, my wife, my future kid. You know, tennis is not definitely not No. 1 anymore.”

The top seed will begin his quest for a second US Open against Argentina’s Diego Schwartzman.

So how much does Djokovic know about his opponent? (He’s) “one of the youngsters from Argentina and that he’s very quick on the court. He’s a clay court specialist. He had his best results on clay. I watched some videos of him playing Roland Garros against I think Roger this year. I watched him on several other occasions. So I’m going to, with my team, try to prepare myself tactically as best I can. It’s obviously always tricky to play against somebody I never faced before. And playing on the center court, as I was saying before, for Schwartzman will be a unique experience. He definitely has nothing to lose. I’m going to try to use my experience playing many matches on the center court and get a win.

Karen Pestaina for Tennis Panorama

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Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer are Top Men’s Seeds at US Open

Djokovic and Federer shake hands

From the USTA -FLUSHING, N.Y., August 19, 2014 – The USTA announced today that world No. 1 and reigning Wimbledon champion Novak Djokovic,of Serbia, has been named the top seed in men’s singles at the 2014 US Open, and five-time US Open champion Roger Federer, of Switzerland, has been seeded No. 2. The 2014 US Open will be played at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing, N.Y., August 25 – September 8. The US Open Men’s Singles Championship is presented by Mercedes-Benz.

 

Djokovic has reached the last four US Open men’s singles finals, winning the title in 2011, and won his seventh Grand Slam singles title at Wimbledon this summer, and Federer, a 17-time major champion who pushed Djokovic to five sets in the Wimbledon final, are joined in the top four seeds by No. 3 Stanislas Wawrinka, of Switzerland, the 2014 Australian Open champion and No. 4 David Ferrer, of Spain. Great Britain’s Andy Murray, the 2012 US Open champion, is seeded eighth.

 

World No. 2 and reigning US Open champion Rafael Nadal, of Spain, withdrew from the US Open men’s singles tournament yesterday with a right wrist injury.  2009 US Open champion Juan Martin del Potro, from Argentina, currently ranked No. 13, withdrew earlier, as did No. 23 Alexandr Dolgopolov, of Ukraine, No. 28 Nicolas Almagro, of Spain, and No. 34 Tommy Haas, of Germany.

 

Federer is seeded at the US Open for the 14th straight year, tying Ivan Lendl for the second longest streak in the Open Era behind only Jimmy Connors’ 18 consecutive years.

 

For 2014, the US Open followed the Emirates ATP Rankings released Monday to determine the men’s singles seeds. This is the 13th consecutive year that the US Open will seed 32 players in singles.

 

Djokovic, 27, is 39-6 this year and reclaimed the No. 1 ranking from Nadal in July following his Wimbledon victory. Federer, meanwhile, is ranked No. 3 and won his 22nd ATP Masters 1000 title last week at the Emirates Airline US Open Series’ Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati.

 

The singles draws for the 2014 US Open will be revealed live during an official draw ceremony on Thursday, August 21, at 12 p.m. ET at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. The draw will be streamed live on USOpen.org.  Defending US Open champion Serena Williams will make an appearance at the event.

 

2014 US Open Men’s Singles Seeds

 

1.    Novak Djokovic, Serbia

2.    Roger Federer, Switzerland

 

3.    Stanislas Wawrinka, Switzerland

4.    David Ferrer, Spain

 

5.    Milos Raonic, Canada

6.    Tomas Berdych, Czech Republic

7.    Grigor Dimitrov, Bulgaria

8.    Andy Murray, Great Britain

9.    Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, France

10.  Kei Nishikori, Japan

11.  Ernests Gulbis, Latvia

12.  Richard Gasquet, France

13.  John Isner, United States

14.  Marin Cilic, Croatia

15.  Fabio Fognini, Italy

16.  Tommy Robredo, Spain

17.  Roberto Bautista Agut, Spain

18.  Kevin Anderson, South Africa

19.  Feliciano Lopez, Spain

20.  Gael Monfils, France

21.  Mikhail Youzhny, Russia

22.  Philipp Kohlschreiber, Germany

23.  Leonardo Mayer, Argentina

24.  Julien Benneteau, France

25.  Ivo Karlovic, Croatia

26.  Gilles Simon, France

27.  Santiago Giraldo, Colombia

28.  Guillermo Garcia-Lopez, Spain

29.  Lukas Rosol, Czech Republic

30.  Jeremy Chardy, France

31.  Fernando Verdasco, Spain

32.  Joao Sousa, Portugal

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Djokovic Upset by Robredo, Murray Survives Isner in Cincinnati

 

Andy Murray

Andy Murray

By Dave Gertler

(August 14, 2014) MASON, OHIO – Two of the three Big Four players competing at this year’s Cincinnati Masters played their third-round matches during Thursday’s day sessions. One survived, one didn’t.

 

“The focus is winning right now,” said a composed Andy Murray after his 6-7(3), 6-4, 7-6(2) win over John Isner, “Not so much how I’m hitting the ball or moving or anything like that. Just trying to win. That’s all that’s important just now.”

 

Since winning Wimbledon last year, Murray has seen his rank plunge from No. 2 to No. 9. First struggling with back surgery rehab, and then adjusting to a new coaching situation. He has regained peak physical condition, but collated a mixture of results that has not seen him advance past the semi-finals of any tournament in the last 14 months.

 

“I want to get back to winning events and being in the finals of the big tournaments,” said Murray, “And winning matches like today is a big step for me.” He and his opponent John Isner, last year’s Western & Southern Open runner-up, played for 2 hours and 23 minutes in front of a Grandstand Court that was packed to the rafters.

 

“Sort of like standing room only,” said Isner, who served 21 aces to Murray’s 14, “You could see people on Center Court at the top looking over and watching. It was great. The fans were unbelievable. I thought they were on my side the whole way, and they were.”

 

After losing the first set tiebreak, Murray then broke Isner for the only break of the match, holding on to win the second set. Then, with the sun in his eyes, serving to stay in the match, Murray served two double faults, allowing Isner his first of two match points. “When it’s 6‑5 in the third set,” said Murray, “Ideally you want to try and get some free points when you can. Maybe made a slight mistake trying to do that. Yeah, but I just managed to find a way to get through that game.”

 

While Murray cited “instinct” as what guided him to a third-set tiebreak, which he would ultimately win to advance to the quarterfinals, fellow Big Four member Novak Djokovic has faltered at the round-of-16 stage of his second consecutive hard court Masters 1000 event. The world No.1, who last bowed out in the third round in Toronto, today lost in straight sets to 16th seed Tommy Robredo.

 

“Just many, many, many things are not clicking these two weeks on hard courts,” said Djokovic, who fought back from being a break down to Robredo in the first set, before losing it in a tiebreak. “It’s unfortunate, but it’s more than obvious I’m not playing even close to what I’m supposed to play.”

 

In the second set, Djokovic was unable to make a dent on Robredo’s serve, winning only four points while receiving. While Djokovic was able to save two match points, serving at 4-5, Robredo would convert at his next opportunity, taking the second set 7-5.

 

“Well, maybe he didn’t play very good the last two matches that he played,” said Robredo after his second career win over a world No.1 – the first was against Lleyton Hewitt in 2003, “But anyway, he’s the world No. 1. He won in Wimbledon. He’s a great player. If you don’t play your best you’re gonna lose for sure. Even if you play your best, sometimes if he’s playing great, you’re gonna lose also.”

 

While Djokovic will head straight to New York to prepare for the US Open, where he is defending finalist, Murray will face either Gael Monfils or Roger Federer, who play their third-round match on Center Court this evening.

 

Dave Gertler is a tennis journalist, player and musician based in Sydney covering the Western & Southern Open for Tennis Panorama News. Follow his Twitter updates from the tournament on @TennisNewsTPN, follow him on his personal Twitter @davegertler,  read his blog,  and listen to his podcast, Tennis Days .

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Top Chef Masters Finalist Kerry Heffernan to Host Celebrity Chef Challenge as part of Taste of Tennis Week

sam and Kerry

Chef Kerry Hefferman with Sam Stosur

(August 13, 2014) Since 2000 the world’s top tennis players and chefs have been serving up culinary delights at the Annual BNP Paribas Taste of Tennis. This year’s premier pre-US Open social event to be held on Thursday night, August 21 at the W New York Hotel, is again being hosted by world No. 1 Serena Williams, along with featured Chef Masaharu Morimoto. Other players scheduled to appear are Gael Monfils, Victoria Azarenka, Agnieszka Radwanska, Bob & Mike Bryan, Dustin Brown and Sloane Stephens.

Serena Williams, Azarenka, Bryan Brothers and More To Headline First-Ever Taste of Tennis Week

In addition to the Thursday gala, Taste of Tennis will be hosting several special events as part of “Taste of Tennis Week” including the Celebrity Chef Doubles Tennis Challenge on Wednesday, August 20th at the Midtown Tennis Club. The tournament will pair guests with a top chef in a round-robin style tournament. Serena Williams will team up with Chef Morimoto for the event which will be televised at a later date on MSG Plus and New England Sports Network on a program hosted by sports broadcaster Harry Cicma.

Hosting the Celebrity Chef Challenge will be Top Chef Masters Finalist Kerry Heffernan. Hefferman who is one of the chefs who has participated in Taste of Tennis the longest, said although he played a little tennis growing up in the suburbs, he didn’t really get thoroughly absorbed by it until he received a tennis racquet as one of the gifts in his Taste of Tennis goodie bag a few years ago.

”You get these great goodie bags and in them were these amazing tennis racquets,” he said.

“Wait a minute these look like really good racquets, maybe I should try this thing. One thing led to another… and it’s been three years now since I really got into it.”

“It grows on you, you want to get better, you want to play more, you want to find people that play. You just mushroom into this obsession that creeps into all different parts of your life.”

The idea for the Celebrity Chef Challenge came about as the result of attending the BNP Paribas showdown at Madison Square Garden earlier in the year.

“Other chefs were in attendance tweeting pictures at the event,” Hefferman continued. “Through social media and texts among other chefs” the idea gained a lot of momentum.

I asked Chef Hefferman if he thought that many tennis players are “foodies” and many chefs are into tennis.

“I would concur 100 percent,” he said. “The passion that most chefs have for tennis, is like their display of their cooking. Many similarities – it’s hot, it’s unpredictable, you’re subject to a lot of pressure.

“Lot of parallels between a tennis match and cooking in a professional kitchen.

“The other thing is I notice, having done this for 13 years, that probably a set number of celebrities come and cook with me, so many of them are interested in food and are so knowledgeable about food, it’s really, really satisfying to have somebody come back and recognize that you have an heirloom tomato, or chose a carrot with an usual herb, just to have that culinary fluency.

“And I would say that certainly the European players are a little more fluent even. But the Bryan Brothers for example are super. We did this almost quickfire challenge with Gail Simmons from Top Chef and Top Chef Masters and they were having a blast. Bob Bryan is such a great guy, he still follows me on twitter, we still both keep in touch. Okay, he’s a bit busier than I am. It was a connection through food that like lasts.”

With such a link between Chef Hefferman and tennis, I asked him: ‘If you were a tennis player, who would you be in the Culinary world?’

“That’s a good question,” he said. “I guess you would want to be (Roger) Federer because it’s that effortless execution, that focus and determination.

“Like many chefs, I have such admiration for him having gone back and strengthen part of your game….. his serve for example brought him to the finals at Wimbledon that you just have some respect for the craft. Many chefs would like to be compared to someone like that because he approaches it with ultimate appreciation for how the game is played almost the technical aspect. Anybody would want to be a (Rafael) Nadal or even a (Novak) Djokovic, for the passion, the energy and the dedication but for me if I could be compared to a Federer.

“Your cooking should appear as effortless as his backhand, it shouldn’t looked contrived, it shouldn’t look like you are trying to make look like something it’s not.

“The way that Roger plays the game has got sort of that natural beauty to it. There’s a kind of energy that we really appreciate.”

For more details on the Taste of Tennis events, visit www.tasteoftennis.com.

Karen Pestaina for Tennis Panorama News

 

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