June 28, 2017

Fabio Fognini Stops No. 1 Andy Murray in Rome Second Round

Andy Murray

Fabio Fognini Stops No. 1 Andy Murray in Rome Second Round

 

(May 16, 2017) World No.1 Andy Murray will head into the French Open with few clay court wins under his belt. The three-time major winner and defending champion lost No. 29 Fabio Fognini of Italy in the second round of the Rome Masters 6-2, 6-4 much to the delight of local fans. Since winning the Dubai title in February, Murray is 5-6.

Fognini was fearless, hitting 22 winners to only four errors.

“I’m sure there were a lot of things I could have done better,” Murray said to media. “Obviously he started the match extremely well, for sure, and then, you know, mid to end part of the second set, you know, there were a few opportunities there.

“But, yeah, he was — you know, he was taking the ball early, you know, hitting the ball close to the lines and dominating most of the points.

“And then second set, you know, towards the end he starts making a few more mistakes. I was getting into it a little bit, but I wasn’t doing enough to — you know, I wasn’t creating enough chances on my own. You know, normally during matches your opponent might give you a few opportunities with some errors, and obviously you hope to create a few yourself.

“That certainly wasn’t the case today. The only chance I really got was when he was making errors.”

 

“Definitely movement the last two weeks has not been good,” Murray continued. “I felt like I moved decent in — you know, in the beginning of the year I was moving well. I moved pretty well in Monte-Carlo and Barcelona, but the last two weeks I haven’t moved well.

“You know, Fabio did play some good dropshots, but like you say, I wasn’t actually making a move or a step towards the ball.

“You know, that’s not a good sign, so that’s something, like I said, the last two years on the clay, that’s been a huge improvement for me. My movement has been a big help, you know, last couple of years, but certainly the last couple of weeks that’s been a problem. So I need to address that.”

 

No. 2 Novak Djokovic beat British qualifier Aljaz Bedene 7-6 (2), 6-2.

“Bedene is the kind of player that gives you good rhythm,” noted the Serb. “I had some good exchanges, some good games with rallies and it felt right, especially in the second set.

“Tiebreak I played a great tiebreak. Served very well when I needed to. I just — you know, I just wish that I had started a little bit sharper. But hopefully the next one will be good.”

 

A couple of ATP World Tour milestones from Tuesday – David Ferrer notched his 700th career match win on the tour while Tomas Berdych won his 600th.

 

 

INTERNAZIONALI BNL D’ITALIA – ROME, ITALY

RESULTS – MAY 16, 2017

Men’s
Singles – Second Round
F. Fognini (ITA) d [1] A. Murray (GBR) 62 64
[2] N. Djokovic (SRB) d [Q] A. Bedene (GBR) 76(2) 62
[6] M. Cilic (CRO) d R. Harrison (USA) 63 62
[9] D. Goffin (BEL) d F. Verdasco (ESP) 36 63 62
[12] T. Berdych (CZE) d [Q] C. Berlocq (ARG) 63 64
J. Isner (USA) d F. Mayer (GER) 76(4) 76(4)

Men’s
Singles – First Round
[13] J. Sock (USA) d D. Schwartzman (ARG) 64 16 75
[15] P. Carreno Busta (ESP) d G. Simon (FRA) 63 63
[16] A. Zverev (GER) d [Q] K. Anderson (RSA) 64 46 64
[PR] T. Haas (GER) d [LL] E. Escobedo (USA) 60 46 76(1)
B. Paire (FRA) d N. Mahut (FRA) 63 64
P. Cuevas (URU) d [Q] A. Mannarino (FRA) 64 76(2)
D. Ferrer (ESP) d F. Lopez (ESP) 46 63 61
R. Bautista Agut (ESP) d *[LL] A. Dolgopolov (UKR) 64 62

Men’s
Doubles – First Round
N. Mektic (CRO) / A. Ramos-Vinolas (ESP) d [WC] F. Gaio (ITA) / S. Napolitano (ITA) 76(3) 63
R. Bopanna (IND) / P. Cuevas (URU) d [WC] S. Bolelli (ITA) / A. Seppi (ITA) 64 62
B. Baker (USA) / N. Monroe (USA) d J. del Potro (ARG) / M. Matkowski (POL) 36 75 10-5

*[LL] A. Dolgopolov (UKR) replaced N. Kyrgios (AUS) – hip
Women’s
Singles – Second Round

[5] J. Konta (GBR) d Y. Putintseva (KAZ) 63 60
[7] S. Kuznetsova (RUS) d K. Siniakova (CZE) 61 76(3)
[16] M. Lucic-Baroni (CRO) d [WC] M. Sharapova (RUS) 64 36 12 Retired – left thigh injury
First Round
[Q] D. Gavrilova (AUS) d [10] M. Keys (USA) 26 75 75
J. Goerges (GER) d [13] K. Mladenovic (FRA) 76(6) 75
[15] K. Bertens (NED) d M. Niculescu (ROU) 26 62 61
[Q] A. Kontaveit (EST) d [Q] A. Petkovic (GER) 63 64
A. Sevastova (LAT) d I. Begu (ROU) 64 64
E. Makarova (RUS) d R. Vinci (ITA) 62 61
[Q] C. Bellis (USA) d M. Doi (JPN) 64 76(6)
[Q] J. Ostapenko (LAT) d S. Rogers (USA) 63 64
T. Bacsinszky (SUI) d T. Babos (HUN) 62 62
L. Davis (USA) d C. Suárez Navarro (ESP) 62 57 63

Women’s
Doubles – First Round

B. Krejcikova (CZE) / S. Zheng (CHN) d [5] K. Pliskova (CZE) / B. Strycova (CZE) 06 64 10-8
[PR] L. Arruabarrena (ESP) / A. Parra Santonja (ESP) d D. Gavrilova (AUS) / A. Pavlyuchenkova (RUS) 36 64 11-9
[WC] J. Jankovic (SRB) / A. Petkovic (GER) d [WC] D. Chiesa (ITA) / S. Rubini (ITA) 75 62
[Alt] O. Savchuk (UKR) / E. Svitolina (UKR) d S. Aoyama (JPN) / C. Liang (CHN) 64 62
E. Hozumi (JPN) / M. Kato (JPN) d S. Stosur (AUS) / S. Zhang (CHN) 62 64

ORDER OF PLAY – WEDNESDAY, MAY 17, 2017
CENTRALE start 12:00 noon
ATP – [7] K. Nishikori (JPN) vs D. Ferrer (ESP)
ATP – [Q] N. Almagro (ESP) vs [4] R. Nadal (ESP)
WTA – [1] A. Kerber (GER) vs [Q] A. Kontaveit (EST)

Not Before 7:30 pm
ATP – [3] S. Wawrinka (SUI) vs B. Paire (FRA)

Not Before 9:00 pm
WTA – [Q] J. Ostapenko (LAT) vs [3] G. Muguruza (ESP)

NEXT GEN ARENA start 11:00 am
WTA – [8] E. Svitolina (UKR) vs A. Cornet (FRA)

Not Before 12:00 noon
ATP – K. Edmund (GBR) vs J. del Potro (ARG)
WTA – L. Tsurenko (UKR) vs [9] V. Williams (USA)
ATP – [8] D. Thiem (AUT) vs P. Cuevas (URU)

Not Before 7:00 pm
ATP – [Q] J. Struff (GER) vs S. Querrey (USA)

PIETRANGELI start 11:00 am
WTA – L. Siegemund (GER) vs [6] S. Halep (ROU)
WTA – L. Davis (USA) vs [2] K. Pliskova (CZE)
ATP – V. Troicki (SRB) vs [16] A. Zverev (GER)
ATP – [PR] T. Haas (GER) vs [5] M. Raonic (CAN)

Not Before 5:00 pm
WTA – [4] D. Cibulkova (SVK) vs E. Makarova (RUS)

COURT 1 start 11:00 am
WTA – [Q] C. Bellis (USA) vs [15] K. Bertens (NED)
WTA – [Q] D. Gavrilova (AUS) vs C. Garcia (FRA)
ATP – [13] J. Sock (USA) vs J. Vesely (CZE)
ATP – [15] P. Carreno Busta (ESP) vs R. Bautista Agut (ESP)
ATP – [3] J. Murray (GBR) / B. Soares (BRA) vs J. Isner (USA) / J. Sock (USA)

COURT 2 start 11:00 am
WTA – [Q] M. Barthel (GER) vs [Q] Q. Wang (CHN)

Not Before 1:00 pm
WTA – J. Goerges (GER) vs J. Jankovic (SRB)
WTA – [14] B. Strycova (CZE) vs T. Bacsinszky (SUI)
ATP – N. Mektic (CRO) / A. Ramos-Vinolas (ESP) vs [8] I. Dodig (CRO) / M. Granollers (ESP)
WTA – [4] T. Babos (HUN) / A. Hlavackova (CZE) vs [PR] L. Arruabarrena (ESP) / A. Parra Santonja (ESP)

COURT 4 start 11:00 am
WTA – [WC] S. Errani (ITA) / M. Trevisan (ITA) vs C. Mchale (USA) / M. Niculescu (ROU)
WTA – [12] A. Pavlyuchenkova (RUS) vs A. Sevastova (LAT)
ATP – J. Sousa (POR) / F. Verdasco (ESP) vs D. Nestor (CAN) / E. Roger-Vasselin (FRA)
WTA – N. Hibino (JPN) / A. Rosolska (POL) vs [2] Y. Chan (TPE) / M. Hingis (SUI)

COURT 6 start 12:00 noon
ATP – O. Marach (AUT) / M. Pavic (CRO) vs [Alt] T. Huey (PHI) / M. Venus (NZL)
WTA – S. Kuznetsova (RUS) / K. Mladenovic (FRA) vs A. Groenefeld (GER) / K. Peschke (CZE)
WTA – After Suitable Rest – D. Jurak (CRO) / A. Rodionova (AUS) vs K. Bertens (NED) / J. Goerges (GER)

COURT 3 start 1:00 pm
WTA – K. Bondarenko (UKR) / K. Siniakova (CZE) vs [7] G. Dabrowski (CAN) / Y. Xu (CHN)
WTA – After Suitable Rest – [Alt] O. Savchuk (UKR) / E. Svitolina (UKR) vs [3] S. Mirza (IND) / Y. Shvedova (KAZ)

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Rafael Nadal Wins Madrid Open for 30th Masters Series Title

Rafael Nadal Wins Madrid Open for 30th Masters Series Title

(May 14, 2017) Rafael Nadal won his third straight clay court title on Sunday defeating Dominic Thiem 7-6 (8), 6-4 to win the Madrid Open, for the fifth time in his career for his 72nd overall career crown. With his 30th Masters title win, he equals Novak Djokovic for most Masters 1000 series events.

It’s his 15th straight match win. With 34 matches won on the year, he leads the tour.

The 14-time major champion from Spain will move up in the rankings to No. 4 ahead of Roger Federer. Nadal also leads in the Race to London for the year end tournament title and World No. 1.

“I think it was a tough match since the beginning, especially here in altitude, which is difficult to make breaks against a player like Thiem,” Nadal said. “Returning the ball is difficult, especially when he hits it so high.

“Since the beginning, I was playing with a lot of pressure. Fortunately I managed to come back and break. I think he made an error, so I managed to break again.

“After that, I calmed down. I think I played a good first set. Anything could have happened at the end of the first set. But I think I played well the important points at the end of the first set. I saved a few set points playing some good shots with my forehand. After that I went for it.

“I knew at the beginning of the second set, it was going to be very important. Once you finish a first set like that, it’s normal to lower your level a little bit. I had to play well in the second set. I started with a break, so that was very good towards what I had to do after that.”

It was the 30-year-old’s second straight victory over the 23-year-old, whom he defeated in the final of Barcelona two weeks ago.

“I think it was a good fight out there,” said the Austrian. “I was much, much better and much closer than in Barcelona. I think I already had worse weeks in my life than this one.”

“I gave everything that I could,” Thiem explained. “But there were many or some chances in the first set. But obviously if you want to play a close match, if you want to have a chance winning against Rafa on clay, I mean, you have to play your best. There’s no other way. And, of course, it would be enough against many other players.

“But, I mean, it was a final of a Masters 1000, my first one, against the best player on this surface ever. Sometimes against the best players in the world, you even lose when you play well. That’s the thing in tennis: there’s only one winner.”

 

Rafael Nadal

“To try to win Roland Garros, you don’t need to be No. 4 or No. 1 or No. 5, what you need is to play tennis very well,” Nadal said. “I don’t think it changes a lot for me. What I’m really happy about is to achieve a title like this here in Madrid. I see myself being able to win important titles and achieve my goals.”

 

“These last few weeks have been very special. I’m very happy for what I achieved,” Nadal said. “It means a lot to me to win at home, it’s always a special place for me.”

Dominic Thiem

“It was a good fight out there. I was much, much better and much closer than in Barcelona,” Thiem said. “Sometimes against the best players in the world, you even lose when you play well.”

 

“Of course, it were unbelievable two weeks in Spain: Barcelona and Madrid. I’m going to enjoy the next hours, then I’ll think about Rome. It’s, again, a big and important tournament.

“Now that I did it once, play really well in such a big tournament, next step is to maintain this level to the next week. That’s what I will try.”

 

Nadal has won three of the tournaments leading into Roland Garros where he hopes to win his 10th title.

“To try to win Roland Garros, you don’t need to be No. 4 or No. 1 or No. 5, what you need is to play tennis very well,” Nadal said.  “This is the situation right now.”

“If I am No. 4 and I played badly, I’m not going to have chances. If I am No. 5 and I play well, I will have the same chances as if I’m No. 4 or No. 5. It’s just circumstantial.

“In my career, being No. 4 or No. 5, I don’t think it changes a lot for me. What I’m really happy about, I really enjoy, is to achieve a title like here in Madrid, to win a title like this.

“Today is a day to be satisfied, to be happy, and to have this trophy. I thought I was going to take it, but apparently it’s going to stay here. After tomorrow, I will think about Rome. That’s everything I’m thinking right now.

“This is a very emotional period of the season. I really enjoy these tournaments. I just try to go for all of them. I try to compete. In Monte-Carlo and Barcelona I did well, same here. I hope to do the same in Rome.”

 

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Rafael Nadal Snaps Seven-Match Losing Streak Against Novak Djokovic to Reach Madrid Open

Rafael Nadal Snaps Seven-Match Losing Streak Against Novak Djokovic to Reach Madrid Open

Rafael Nadal

(May 13, 2017) Rafael Nadal snapped his seven-match losing streak against Novak Djokovic on Saturday, dominating the world No. 2 6-2, 6-4 to reach the final of the Madrid Open. The last time Nadal defeated Djokvovic was in the 2014 final of the French Open.

Djokovic, who was the defending Madrid champion had won 15 straight sets over the four-time titlist. The Serb still leads the head-to-head against the Spaniard 26-24.

 

For Nadal it’s his 14th straight victory and an ATP World Tour leading 33rd match win on the year.

 

“I have been playing well,” Nadal said of the win.  “I think it was a great first set. I hit good the forehand in the first set, good the backhand, too. I was serving well.

“When I was playing that well at the beginning, it’s true that I felt for moments under control, and in the second not. In the second, the match was much more equal, and anything could happen.

“It’s true that I played a little bit shorter. I changed less directions in the second set. I needed to play more shots down the line with my forehand.

“But that’s normal, no? An important match for me. That’s it. But in general terms, I think I played a great match.”

Asked about how important it was to break the losing streak against Djokovic, Nadal said: “It’s one more match. What’s important to me is to make it to another final. As years go by, depending on the type of victories, can fulfill you a little bit more or less. As time goes by, what is important is the titles, not the opponents that you have beaten. It’s just the titles that you have won.

“It’s true that some matches are more important than others. But I’m just here to try to make it the best possible way, to play my best tennis, and of course to beat an opponent such as Novak, it gives you a lot of confidence. It shows you you’re working in the right way.

“But it’s just another match. As I said yesterday, it gives me another opportunity to win another title, which is important to me.”

 

Novak Djokovic

“Rafa was obviously a better player today,” Djokovic said. “He deserved to win. I mean, he was controlling the game from beginning to the end.

“Second set was a bit closer. Maybe I had some chances to be in the lead, 2-All. Was a long game. I lost the break there.

“But, you know, all in all, I did try my best. It wasn’t a very high quality of tennis from my side. I mean, I made a lot of unforced errors, especially first set.

“Just his quality was very high. You know, he managed to do whatever he wanted really, especially in the first set. I was getting a lot of balls back. He was serving well. He was using his court positioning well.

“Today was warmer than last three, four days, so conditions were quite different. The ball was bouncing very high.

“Well, he managed to be better in these kind of conditions.”

 

Djokovic, who has not so far had a good season by his standards, winning only one tournament this year, and fresh off of parting ways with his coaching team was happy to reach the final four in Madrid. “Well, first of all, it was really good to play in semifinals of big event, and to play against one of the top rivals I have in my life. I haven’t had that feeling in months, so it’s great to feel that.

“It was a positive week, a positive experience. I take, as I say, more positives than negatives into the next week in Rome. As I go along, I hope to continue getting better and getting stronger.

“I felt like I was playing well throughout the week. Today maybe slightly I could have played better. But, again, I just had an opponent that was too good.

“Well, I have to move on. Semifinals is a good result. Hopefully I’ll have another good result in Rome.”

 

Simona Halep

In the women’s final, defending champion Simona Halep held on to the title with a 7-5, 6-7, 6-2 over Kiki Mladenovic just under three hours.

“I feel great that I could defend this title,” Halep said afterwards. “It means a lot because it gives me confidence for the bigger tournaments.”

There was controversy during the trophy presentation when former player Illie Nastase was on the podium with Halep. Nastase has been banned from all ITF events due to his behavior at Fed Cup.

For the No. 3 seed Halep this was her 14th career title.

“It’s going to be a tough match whoever I face tomorrow,” explained Nadal. “That’s the reality. We’re saying I will be playing against Thiem. He’s No. 3 in the Race, came from the final in Barcelona. He’s young, has a lot of talent. I think the altitude helps him here. The ball bounces high and it’s difficult to control.

“Talking about Pablo, it’s more or less the same. He is doing really well. He played really well in Monte-Carlo, when he beat Wawrinka. Playing really well, then he lost after that. But it was a very tight match, too.

“Whoever is my opponent tomorrow, it’s going to be a very tough match. The only way to win these kinds of tournaments, because you are playing some of the best players in the world, so you have to play at a very high level to be able to beat them.

“This is my goal. This is what I’m thinking right now, to play really well. That’s the only way to be able to have options for tomorrow’s match.”

Nadal will be going for his fifth Madrid title and 30th Masters 1000 crown.

 

Nadal will tale on Dominic Thiem in the final. Thiem beat unseeded Pablo Cuevas 6-4, 6-4.

“It means a lot to me to play a finals. My first finals in this level,” Thiem said.

“These kind of tournaments are so strong, so it’s amazing for me to go that far. I’m very happy at the moment.”

 

Thiem lost to Nadal in the final of Barcelona in straight sets two weeks ago.

“I think he played a very, very good match in Barcelona. First set there was I think close. I also played well.

“But obviously even if I’m at my best and he’s at his best on clay, probably he’s the better player. If you see his records on this surface, it’s just amazing.

“But, yeah, tomorrow is a new day. I will try to improve the things I didn’t do that good in Barcelona and then we will see what happens.”

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Lucky Loser Borna Coric Beats No. 1 Andy Murray at Madrid Open

Lucky Loser Borna Coric Beats No. 1 Andy Murray at Madrid Open

 

Andy Murray

(May 11, 2017) No. 1 Andy Murray lost to lucky loser Borna Coric of Croatia in the third round of the Madrid Open on Thursday 6-3, 6-3. Coric became the first person to reach the quarterfinals as a lucky loser in Madrid. Coric reached the main draw after losing in the qualifying tournament when Richard Gasquet withdrew.

“After one match of the qualies where I lost and I was booking my flight back to home, it is surprise for sure,” Coric said of the win.

“But in last two matches, I’ve been feeling pretty good, like I was feeling good like back in Marrakesh.

“I was expecting to play good, but I was not sure how it was going to end. But I was playing really good today.”

Borna Coric

“It’s a huge win, for sure,” the No. 59 ranked Coric continued. “It’s going to mean to me a lot. Also regarding my confidence, which is very important in tennis, obviously, and especially when you are a player like me. So the confidence does play I would say a very big role in my tennis.

“Also it’s going to help me in my ranking. It’s always easier when you’re a little bit higher in the ranking. I don’t know where this is going to put me exactly, but for sure I’m going to be a little bit higher. I can play now a little bit more, let’s say, free. I don’t need to defend many points. I can only earn points.”

 

As for Murray, he has failed to make it past the semifinals of the three clay court events in which he has participated this year.

“Well, most things weren’t working particularly well,” Murray said. “Yeah, wasn’t great. I mean, I started the match okay, but when I started to go behind, I didn’t find any way to improve my game or to make it more difficult for him. I just kind of let the same things keep happening, making mistakes very early in a lot of the rallies. I wasn’t building any points really.

“You know, I didn’t help myself sort of find a way into the match to start playing better. That was disappointing because, you know, you’re not always going to play your best tennis, but you can still find ways to make it difficult for your opponent, and I didn’t do that at all today.”

“It actually felt quite similar to the match I played against him in Dubai. You know, he serves well. He moves extremely well. You know, he never gives matches away. He makes a lot of shots. He’s very consistent.

“You know, if you’re not on your game, and he’s moving well, making a lot of balls, he can make it very, very tough for you.”

Coric will play his quarterfinal against Dominic Thiem of Austria, who  saved five match points to beat Grigor Dimitrov 4-6, 6-4, 7-6 (9).

Novak Djokovic

 

Defending Novak Djokovic champion beat Feliciano Lopez 6-4, 7-5 to reach the final eight.

“Level was definitely very high today I thought from both players,” said the Serb. “I think Feliciano played really well, especially in the second set. I wasn’t winning too many points on his service games until the last one where I managed to return many balls back in play and then win the match.

“One break was enough, 5-4, 6-5, both sets. But, as I said, it was quite a solid performance from both players, high quality. I was enjoying very much.

“Of course, in the end, you know, 5-All, Love-30, a couple of really long points. I was in trouble, and I managed to get my way out of it, as I said, with some great gets. That pumped me up obviously.

“You know, you’re trying to hold your composure and always find the right balance between pumped up and having great intensity on the court, but at the same time having calm and concentration.”
Djokovic will take on Kei Nishikori next. The 2014 U.S. Open finalist defeated David Ferrer 6-4, 6-3. Nishikori is playing his first tournament since March, he’s been nursing a right wrist injury.

Rafael Nadal

In the night match, Rafael Nadal gave Nick Kyrgios a lesson in clay court play when he demolished the Australian 6-3, 6-1 for his tour leading 31st win of the year.

“I think I played really well tonight,” said the four-time Madrid winner. “Since the beginning of the match, I committed just a few errors. I think I returned the ball very well, even better than normally.

“I think I served very well, committed very few errors. I think I made a step forward compared to yesterday. Of course, to be able to win 6-3, 6-1, whatever the second was, I can’t remember, I think it’s great news. I think it’s not normal to win against an opponent like this because Nick is a really good opponent.”

Nadal will play ninth-seeded David Goffin who won 6-4, 6-2 over fifth-seeded Milos Raonic.

In women’s play Simona Halep, the highest seed left in the women’s draw dismissed Coco Vandeweghe 6-1, 6-1 to reach the semifinals.

“I was a little bit nervous, to be honest, before the match, because she has a big serve,” Halep said.

The Romanian will face Anastasija Sevastova next.

Kristina Mladenovic will play Svetlana Kuznetsova in the other semifinal.

Two-time major winner Kuznetsova stopped Eugenie Bouchard’s run 6-4, 6-0.

RESULTS – THURSDAY, 11 MAY 2017

ATP

Singles – Third Round
[LL] B. Coric (CRO) d [1] A. Murray (GBR) 63 63
[2] N. Djokovic (SRB) d F. Lopez (ESP) 64 75
[4] R. Nadal (ESP) d [16] N. Kyrgios (AUS) 63 61
[9] D. Goffin (BEL) d [5] M. Raonic (CAN) 64 62
[6] K. Nishikori (JPN) d D. Ferrer (ESP) 64 63
[8] D. Thiem (AUT) d [12] G. Dimitrov (BUL) 46 64 76(9) – saved 5 M.P.
A. Zverev (GER) d [11] T. Berdych (CZE) 64 64
P. Cuevas (URU) d B. Paire (FRA) 75 06 61

Doubles – Second Round
[7] I. Dodig (CRO) / M. Granollers (ESP) d F. Fognini (ITA) / T. Huey (PHI) 67(4) 75 10-6
[8] F. Lopez (ESP) / M. Lopez (ESP) d [PR] T. Haas (GER) / M. Mirnyi (BLR) 63 64

WTA

Singles – Quarterfinals
[3] S. Halep (ROU) d C. Vandeweghe (USA) 61 61
[8] S. Kuznetsova (RUS) d E. Bouchard (CAN) 64 60
[14] K. Mladenovic (FRA) d [WC] S. Cirstea (ROU) 64 64
A. Sevastova (LAT) d K. Bertens (NED) 63 63

Doubles – Quarterfinals
[3] Y. Chan (TPE) / M. Hingis (SUI) d A. Groenefeld (GER) / K. Peschke (CZE) 46 63 10-8
I. Begu (ROU) / S. Halep (ROU) d [4] S. Mirza (IND) / Y. Shvedova (KAZ) 63 36 10-6
[5] T. Babos (HUN) / A. Hlavackova (CZE) d K. Bertens (NED) / J. Larsson (SWE) 62 64
[WC] A. Parra Santonja (ESP) / S. Soler-Espinosa (ESP) d [6] L. Hradecka (CZE) / K. Siniakova (CZE) 62 63

SCHEDULE – FRIDAY, 12 MAY 2017

MANOLO SANTANA start 12:00 pm
ATP – [6] K. Nishikori (JPN) vs [2] N. Djokovic (SRB)
Not Before 2:00 pm
WTA – [3] S. Halep (ROU) vs A. Sevastova (LAT)
Not Before 4:00 pm
ATP – [9] D. Goffin (BEL) vs [4] R. Nadal (ESP)
Not Before 8:00 pm
WTA – [8] S. Kuznetsova (RUS) vs [14] K. Mladenovic (FRA)
Not Before 9:30 pm
ATP – [LL] B. Coric (CRO) vs [8] D. Thiem (AUT)

ARANTXA SANCHEZ VICARIO start 12:00 pm
ATP – [7] I. Dodig (CRO) / M. Granollers (ESP) vs [4] L. Kubot (POL) / M. Melo (BRA)
Not Before 2:30 pm
ATP – P. Cuevas (URU) vs A. Zverev (GER)
ATP – [3] J. Murray (GBR) / B. Soares (BRA) vs [6] N. Mahut (FRA) / E. Roger-Vasselin (FRA)
ATP – [1] H. Kontinen (FIN) / J. Peers (AUS) vs [8] F. Lopez (ESP) / M. Lopez (ESP)
ATP – N. Kyrgios (AUS) / J. Sock (USA) vs [2] B. Bryan (USA) / M. Bryan (USA)

ESTADIO 3 start 2:00 pm
WTA – [3] Y. Chan (TPE) / M. Hingis (SUI) vs [WC] A. Parra Santonja (ESP) / S. Soler-Espinosa (ESP)
WTA – TBA after rest – [5] T. Babos (HUN) / A. Hlavackova (CZE) vs I. Begu (ROU) / S. Halep (ROU)

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Djokovic and Nadal Survive Challenges to Reach Madrid Third Round; Bouchard Advances

Novak Djokovic

(May 10, 2017) Novak Djokovic came back from a 0-3 deficit in the third set to get past Spaniard Nicolas Almagro 6-1, 4-6, 7-5, while Rafael Nadal needed just under three hours to win 7-6 (3), 3-6, 6-4 over Fabio Fognini to move into the final 16 at the Madrid Open on Wednesday.

Asked about his comeback in the third set Djokovic said:” Well, this was the fourth match on the clay court season for me this year, and all of them went 7-5 or 6-4 in the third set. Every match more or less that I’ve played was quite close, dramatic as well. I guess I’m supposed to be tested in every match on clay.

“From positive side, from that perspective, is good for psychological aspects and mental strength and getting confidence back.

“Obviously when you’re not winning too many matches, you have to build the confidence level. So to win the matches like this definitely helps confidence.

“I thought that for almost two sets I’ve played really well. Had 15-40 two times in the second set to finish off the match in straight sets. But, you know, I didn’t use my opportunities.

“He served well. Then he started to swing through the ball. Four games in a row he played really, really well.

“It’s tough to play Nico on any surface. Especially here where it’s altitude, it played quicker a little bit. He loves playing on clay. He was obviously motivated. He has a lot of strength in his shots, a lot of precision. He can, from both corners, hit equally well.

“If he doesn’t make many mistakes, he can really beat anyone. I could feel his very high quality, especially the end of the second set and the beginning of the third.

“But I hung in there and I knew that eventually I’m going to get my chances and going to get some looks on the second serves. When they’re presented, you know, I was ready to use them, which I did.

“Yeah, it was very challenging conditions, as well. Towards the end, a lot of wind. But all in all, a real test for the first match here.”

This was the 12-time major winner’s first match since splitting with his coaching team last week.

As to the speculation on who his next coach could be:”Well, I mean, I understand that people are trying to speculate and trying to look into the possible coaches and create a list because I was saying I would like to have ideally someone who fits into the profile of a person that was kind of in my shoes before, that has been winning Grand Slams. There are not too many of those kind of champions in the history of the sport. I guess it’s normal that people start coming up with names.

“I can’t talk more than that. I’m going to think about who I want in my team. Right now I don’t have yet anyone. But I think by French Open or after French Open, I already going to have someone.”

Defending Madrid champion Djokovic has just one title this year and has been hampered by an elbow injury.

“I’m still finding my way to that consistency level and quality of tennis that I’m looking for. I’m aware that I’m not playing at my best, but I’m definitely believing in myself and the process. Eventually the game will come together.

“I can take a lot of positives from today, as I say, for almost two sets. I was playing really well, consistently, taking my chances, returning a lot of balls back, serving precisely. I wasn’t making too many, you know, errors on the court. Then I had that four-game period which wasn’t that great. But I managed to recover.

“I try to take positives out of it. I know I can identify things that haven’t gone the way I wanted them in the game. But, you know, it’s normal to expect that sometimes you have those ups and downs. I’m going to try to reduce them as much as I can.

“Four consecutive games lost in this level should not happen because otherwise, you know, you’re going to lose the match. I was very close to lose it, as well. He was up 3-Love.

“But as I’ve said, you know, I’m happy with the way I handled the pressure in those moments, just stayed with him, made him play always extra shot. I did my work in the end of the match. So I’m looking forward to the next round.”

Four-time Madrid winner Rafael Nadal saved 10 break points in the first set and had to break serve as Fognini was serving up 5-4 in the first in a very back-and-forth match on Wednesday.

 

“I haven’t played bad, I played really bad,” Nadal said criticizing himself in regard to the match.

“Well, I think that even though I played really badly, my attitude has been very positive. My attitude and the will to win today’s match was there. My level of tennis was not so high today, but I managed to make it through the first round. It was uncomfortable.

“I think before it wasn’t so windy, but when I started playing, it was a really awful day. It was really windy.

“It’s true I’ve been through some difficult days with the issue of my ear, which cost me a little bit of general stability. I feel a little bit strange. But it’s something that is getting better day after day.

“Talking about the game in general, it’s quite simple: I think there was a moment where he was playing really well. There was another moment where both of us played really badly. The third set, we leveled up.

“I think we both played better than what we played in the first two sets. This is a positive thing. But that together with a couple of things, you know, it was the first match in altitude, then it was against an opponent that doesn’t give you a lot of rhythm, and the weather today was not really good. Those three things are not good.

“Also another thing I forgot. I was a little bit nervous today because it was the first day I played, and the conditions were completely different to the previous days. That makes the match very different. Luckily I was able to win, and tomorrow I have another opportunity. Hopefully I’m ready to do much better than today.”

 

Nadal will take on Nick Kyrgios next, who has beaten Nadal before – their first meeting at 2014 Wimbledon.

 

“He’s a very difficult opponent,” said Nadal. “He’s one of the most difficult players you can play. It’s true that I think on clay he’s a very, very tough player. But perhaps here he’s a little bit less difficult to play.

“But here we have the altitude, and that makes him very complicated. He can be even more complicated than a hard court due to the altitude we have here.

“Let’s see what happens tomorrow. If I play late, the conditions will be a little bit slower. But, well, he’s an opponent that’s going to put a lot of pressure on me. He has a very good serve. He’s very aggressive. I have to try to be very solid with my serve, too. I’m going to try to play at a high rhythm.

“I have to play really well to be able to beat him. I think I’m ready to do that. We’ll see what happens tomorrow. I don’t know what’s going to happen. But I think I’m ready to play well because of things in the past months I’ve been playing really well.”

 

In women’s play, Eugenie Bouchard backed up her win over Maria Sharapova, when she advanced to the quarterfinals when No. 1 seed Angelique Kerber was forced to retire with a hamstring injury with Bouchard up 6-3, 5-0.

“All in all I’m very pleased 9with the win), Bouchard said. “I felt I started off a little bit off ’cause the conditions were so different. It was cold. It was really windy from one side to the other, a strong wind. The atmosphere was different from my previous match.

“I just at the beginning felt a little bit out of it, a couple loose errors. But then after that, I got myself together and got my rhythm, felt pretty awesome out there.”

“My first-round win gave me confidence. Feeling a bit better in practice coming into this week gave me confidence coming in.

I thought it was very important today to keep moving my feet a lot and accelerate a lot.”

Kerber talked about her injury with media: “I know it’s the left hamstring. I just felt it in the last game. I think it was not the last point, but the point, like, before.”

“Then the last point when I served, I was sure I cannot play more because I’m actually not the person who is retiring so often. When I feel it, it’s something.

“But I hope it’s not too serious. So I will see it in the next hours or days.”

Bouchard will be play two-time major winner Svetlana Kuznetsova next. “She’s playing well, in general right now, ” said the Canadian. “Also I think she ended the year really, really well. It’s going to be a good battle. I’ve practiced with her before, played against her. I’ve always enjoyed it because she gets a lot of balls back, but she also goes for it. We both have just battled.

“I just want to have fun. I just want to enjoy it and just go for it, as usual.”

RESULTS – WEDNESDAY, 10 MAY 2017

Singles – Second Round
[2] N. Djokovic (SRB) d [WC] N. Almagro (ESP) 61 46 75
B. Paire (FRA) d [3] S. Wawrinka (SUI) 75 46 62
[4] R. Nadal (ESP) d F. Fognini (ITA) 76(3) 36 64
[5] M. Raonic (CAN) d G. Muller (LUX) 64 64
[6] K. Nishikori (JPN) d D. Schwartzman (ARG) 16 60 64
A. Zverev (GER) d [7] M. Cilic (CRO) 67(3) 63 64
D. Ferrer (ESP) d [10] J. Tsonga (FRA) w/o (shoulder injury)
[11] T. Berdych (CZE) d R. Haase (NED) 76(5) 63
[12] G. Dimitrov (BUL) d I. Karlovic (CRO) 63 75
[16] N. Kyrgios (AUS) d R. Harrison (USA) 63 63
[LL] B. Coric (CRO) d [Q] P. Herbert (FRA) 75 64
P. Cuevas (URU) d N. Mahut (FRA) 57 64 64
F. Lopez (ESP) d G. Simon (FRA) 63 36 76(3)

Doubles – Second Round
[2] B. Bryan (USA) / M. Bryan (USA) d F. Martin (FRA) / D. Nestor (CAN) 57 62 10-7
[3] J. Murray (GBR) / B. Soares (BRA) d J. Cabal (COL) / R. Farah (COL) 63 76(4)
[4] L. Kubot (POL) / M. Melo (BRA) d [Alt] B. Baker (USA) / N. Monroe (USA) 63 64
[6] N. Mahut (FRA) / E. Roger-Vasselin (FRA) d R. Haase (NED) / A. Ramos-Vinolas (ESP) 76(6) 76(3)

SCHEDULE – THURSDAY, 11 MAY 2017

MANOLO SANTANA start 12:00 noon
WTA – C. Vandeweghe (USA) vs [3] S. Halep (ROU)
Not Before 2:00 pm
ATP – F. Lopez (ESP) vs [2] N. Djokovic (SRB)
ATP – [1] A. Murray (GBR) vs [LL] B. Coric (CRO)
Not Before 8:00 pm
ATP – [16] N. Kyrgios (AUS) vs [4] R. Nadal (ESP)
Not Before 9:30 pm
WTA – E. Bouchard (CAN) vs [8] S. Kuznetsova (RUS)

ARANTXA SANCHEZ VICARIO start 12:00 noon
ATP – [6] K. Nishikori (JPN) vs D. Ferrer (ESP)
Not Before 2:00 pm
WTA – K. Bertens (NED) vs A. Sevastova (LAT)
WTA – [14] K. Mladenovic (FRA) vs [WC] S. Cirstea (ROU)
ATP – [12] G. Dimitrov (BUL) vs [8] D. Thiem (AUT)
ATP – [PR] T. Haas (GER) / M. Mirnyi (BLR) vs [8] F. Lopez (ESP) / M. Lopez (ESP)

ESTADIO 3 start 12:00 noon
ATP – [7] I. Dodig (CRO) / M. Granollers (ESP) vs F. Fognini (ITA) / T. Huey (PHI)
ATP – [5] M. Raonic (CAN) vs [9] D. Goffin (BEL)
Not Before 4:00 pm
ATP – [11] T. Berdych (CZE) vs A. Zverev (GER)
ATP – B. Paire (FRA) vs P. Cuevas (URU)

PISTA 4 start 12:00 noon
WTA – A. Groenefeld (GER) / K. Peschke (CZE) vs [3] Y. Chan (TPE) / M. Hingis (SUI)
Not Before 2:00 pm
WTA – [6] L. Hradecka (CZE) / K. Siniakova (CZE) vs [WC] A. Parra Santonja (ESP) / S. Soler-Espinosa (ESP)
WTA – After rest – [4] S. Mirza (IND) / Y. Shvedova (KAZ) vs I. Begu (ROU) / S. Halep (ROU)
WTA – After rest – K. Bertens (NED) / J. Larsson (SWE) vs [5] T. Babos (HUN) / A. Hlavackova (CZE)

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Andy Murray Moves Into Third Round of Madrid Open

Andy Murray

 

(May 9, 2017) No. 1 Andy Murray opened his Madrid Open with a 6-4, 6-3 win over wild card No. 104th ranked Marius Copil of Romania to move into the third round on Tuesday. The Scot is a two-time winner of the title in 2008 and 2015.

 

“I found it difficult to start,” Murray said. “I haven’t practiced out there. Well, we practiced out there for 25 minutes before the match, this morning at like 11:00. That had been it.

“It was very lively out there. It was probably the hottest it’s been since we’ve been here. Found it a bit difficult at the beginning to adjust to the conditions. Also never played him before. He serves big, comes forward a bit, uses dropshots. It was tricky.

“But when I started to control the points more towards the end of the first set and second set, you know, I was hitting the ball pretty clean, creating a few chances. I didn’t give him any opportunities.

“It was good for the first match.”

 

Murray, who had been nursing an elbow injury syas that he’s trying to get back into form: “I don’t think I’m playing perfectly just now. I think there’s just things I can definitely do better.

“But, you know, the most positive thing about tonight was that I feel like I can serve a little bit better than I did today.

“I had no breakpoints against me. That was something that obviously I’d struggled on serve a bit, especially the last couple of tournaments. So to not give up any breakpoints in the first match was good.

“I think the altitude does also help a bit with that. It’s a good sign for me that my serve is getting better. Hopefully that continues that way.

“When I serve well, the rest of my game tends to follow. It’s an important part of the game for me. You know, when I can get a lot of free points on my first serve, put a lot of pressure on my opponent’s service games, you know, it really helps my game a lot.

“That was the most important thing for me today.”

 

Wednesday’s schedule will include No. 2 Novak Djokovic, who recently parted ways with his coaching team and four-time winner Rafael Nadal who is dealing with an ear infection an asked for a later start in the tournament.

 

RESULTS – TUESDAY, 9 MAY 2017

Singles – Second Round
[1] A. Murray (GBR) d [WC] M. Copil (ROU) 64 63
[8] D. Thiem (AUT) d [LL] J. Donaldson (USA) 63 64
[9] D. Goffin (BEL) d F. Mayer (GER) 76(3) 60

Singles – First Round
[Q] P. Herbert (FRA) d [13] L. Pouille (FRA) 76(5) 67(4) 63
[LL] B. Coric (CRO) d M. Zverev (GER) 63 76(5)
I. Karlovic (CRO) d R. Bautista Agut (ESP) 76(4) 67(9) 76(7) – saved 4 M.P.
B. Paire (FRA) d P. Carreno Busta (ESP) 63 64
A. Zverev (GER) d F. Verdasco (ESP) 75 63
G. Muller (LUX) d [PR] T. Haas (GER) 64 76(7)
R. Harrison (USA) d B. Tomic (AUS) 75 46 62
D. Schwartzman (ARG) d A. Ramos-Vinolas (ESP) 61 63
[WC] N. Almagro (ESP) d [WC] T. Robredo (ESP) 63 36 61

Doubles – Second Round
[1] H. Kontinen (FIN) / J. Peers (AUS) d O. Marach (AUT) / M. Pavic (CRO) 46 64 14-12
N. Kyrgios (AUS) / J. Sock (USA) d [5] R. Klaasen (RSA) / R. Ram (USA) 64 64

Doubles – First Round
J. Cabal (COL) / R. Farah (COL) d [WC] D. Marrero (ESP) / T. Robredo (ESP) 63 62
F. Martin (FRA) / D. Nestor (CAN) d R. Bopanna (IND) / P. Cuevas (URU) 63 62

SCHEDULE – WEDNESDAY, 10 MAY 2017

MANOLO SANTANA start 12:00 noon
WTA – [WC] L. Arruabarrena (ESP) vs A. Sevastova (LAT)
ATP – [WC] N. Almagro (ESP) vs [2] N. Djokovic (SRB)
ATP – F. Fognini (ITA) vs [4] R. Nadal (ESP)
Not Before 8:00 pm
WTA – [1] A. Kerber (GER) vs E. Bouchard (CAN)
Not Before 9:30 pm
ATP – [3] S. Wawrinka (SUI) vs B. Paire (FRA)

ARANTXA SANCHEZ VICARIO start 12:00 noon
ATP – [6] K. Nishikori (JPN) vs D. Schwartzman (ARG)
ATP – D. Ferrer (ESP) vs [10] J. Tsonga (FRA)
ATP – G. Simon (FRA) vs F. Lopez (ESP)
ATP – [LL] B. Coric (CRO) vs [Q] P. Herbert (FRA)
ATP – A. Zverev (GER) vs [7] M. Cilic (CRO)

ESTADIO 3 start 12:00 noon
ATP – [5] M. Raonic (CAN) vs G. Muller (LUX)
Not Before 2:00 pm
WTA – C. Vandeweghe (USA) vs C. Suárez Navarro (ESP)
WTA – [16] S. Stosur (AUS) vs [3] S. Halep (ROU)
WTA – [Q] O. Dodin (FRA) vs [14] K. Mladenovic (FRA)
Not Before 8:00 pm
ATP – [12] G. Dimitrov (BUL) vs I. Karlovic (CRO)

PISTA 4 start 12:00 noon
ATP – [16] N. Kyrgios (AUS) vs R. Harrison (USA)
WTA – [Q] Q. Wang (CHN) vs [8] S. Kuznetsova (RUS)
Not Before 3:00 pm
WTA – K. Bertens (NED) vs I. Begu (ROU)
WTA – [WC] S. Cirstea (ROU) vs M. Doi (JPN)
ATP – F. Martin (FRA) / D. Nestor (CAN) vs [2] B. Bryan (USA) / M. Bryan (USA)

PISTA 5 start 12:00 noon
ATP – [Alt] B. Baker (USA) / N. Monroe (USA) vs [4] L. Kubot (POL) / M. Melo (BRA)
ATP – [11] T. Berdych (CZE) vs R. Haase (NED)
ATP – P. Cuevas (URU) vs N. Mahut (FRA)
ATP – [3] J. Murray (GBR) / B. Soares (BRA) vs J. Cabal (COL) / R. Farah (COL)
ATP – R. Haase (NED) / A. Ramos-Vinolas (ESP) vs [6] N. Mahut (FRA) / E. Roger-Vasselin (FRA)

PISTA 6 start 12:00 noon
WTA – A. Groenefeld (GER) / K. Peschke (CZE) vs G. Dabrowski (CAN) / Y. Xu (CHN)
Not Before 5:00 pm
WTA – After rest – [6] L. Hradecka (CZE) / K. Siniakova (CZE) vs S. Stosur (AUS) / S. Zhang (CHN)

PISTA 7 start 12:00 noon
WTA – TBA based on result – [WC] L. Arruabarrena (ESP) / S. Sorribes Tormo (ESP) vs [5] T. Babos (HUN) / A. Hlavackova (CZE)
WTA – TBA based on result – [1] B. Mattek-Sands (USA) / L. Safarova (CZE) vs K. Bertens (NED) / J. Larsson (SWE)

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Novak Djokovic Announces Split with Entire Coaching Team

(May 5, 2017) Novak Djokovic announced on his website and social media, that he has split with his entire coaching team – longtime coach Marian Vajda, fitness coach Gebhard Phil Gritsch and physiotherapist Miljan Amanovic.

The 29-year-old world No. 2 has been working with Vajda since 2006. The Serbian 12-time major winner worked with Tennis Hall of Famer and six-time major winner Boris Becker from 2013 until last year.

 

 

 

From Novak Djokovic’s website:

I want to find the winning spark on the court again

Serbian tennis player Novak Djokovic mutually agreed with his coach Marian Vajda, fitness coach Gebhard Phil Gritsch, and physiotherapist Miljan Amanovic to end their successful and long term partnership after Masters tournament in Monte Carlo.

Novak and the team members decided to part ways after a detailed analysis of the game, achieved results in the previous period, and also after discussing private plans of each team member. Despite the fantastic cooperation so far, Djokovic felt he needed to make a change, and to introduce new energy in order to raise his level of play.

“I am forever grateful to Marian, GG and Miljan for decade of friendship, professionalism and commitment to my career goals. Without their support I couldn’t have achieved these professional heights. I know they completely dedicated themselves and their lives to help me achieve my dreams and they were always my driving force and wind in my back. It was not an easy decision, but we all felt that we need a change. I am very grateful and proud of our relationship and unbreakable bond that we built through years of mutual love, respect and understanding. They are my family and that will never change”, said Djokovic.

Novak’s longtime coach Marian Vajda thanked Djokovic on behalf of the whole team for the years they spent together and for the wonderful cooperation.

“Time spent with Novak feels like a whole lifetime. We were part of many of his incredible achievements, we were living and breathing for his dreams. I gave everything I could as a coach and I am very proud of our results. We arrived to the point where we all realized we need new energy in the team. Novak can do so much more and I am sure he will. I am convinced that he will remain at the top of the tennis for many years and that he will bring a lot of joy to all the tennis fans around the world with his victories. Of course, we will continue consulting each other, seeing each other and hanging out together because after all, we are a family”, explained Vajda.

Novak has added that he believes this “shock therapy” will help him achieve better results.

“I want to continue raising the level of my game and stamina and this is a continuous process. I enjoy this journey, it feels like I am starting something new again and I love this challenge. I am a hunter and my biggest goal is to find the winning spark on the court again”, said Novak.

Novak’s fitness coach Gebhard Gritsch shared his appreciation for the opportunity to work with such an athlete.

“It was a great privilege to have worked with Novak for exactly eight years to the day. It is the dream of every coach to be able to work with an athlete as gifted, professional and committed as Novak. We kept pushing the limits and found new ways to improve. I have no doubt that he will be back on top of the game again. He is a champion and a warrior and the sky is the limit for him. I am very proud of all the time we spent together as a team and a family on the road. It was time for us all to move on professionally, but privately we will remain friends and family and continue sharing all the joys of life with each other”, said Gritsch.

Miljan Amanovic, Novak’s physio commented the situation in a positive tone.

“Novak is my best friend and my brother. I spent more time with him than with my family in the past 10 years. Nothing will change between us as our lives are interconnected in so many ways. I will forever be here for him and I look forward to seeing him rise to his full potential again. I have no doubt that he will”, said Amanovic.

Novak mentioned that he is thinking of strengthening the team with a new head coach, but he does not want to rush things.

“I feel like this is a new chapter in my life. My career was always on the upward path and this time I’m experiencing how it is when the path takes you in a different direction. I want to find a way to come back to the top stronger and more resilient. I have so much faith in this process and that’s why I will take time to find the right person who I can connect with professionally. I have been on the tour long enough to know how to manage daily routines and I don’t want to rush my decision. I will be on the tour alone for a while with support of my family and management. I will inform the public when I find the right person, but for now I thank you for your support and understanding”, concluded Djokovic.

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Novak Djokovic Withdraws From Miami Open with Elbow Injury

 

 

(March 19, 2017) Novak Djokovic has withdrawn from the Miami Open with a right elbow injury.

“I have some very disappointing news to share with you regarding the Miami Open tournament,” said Djokovi in a statement. “My doctor has strongly advised against play because my elbow injury, that I keep carrying on for months, got worse in the past week. I will do everything in my power to recover and do all the necessary therapy to be able to return on court as soon as possible. Sadly, I won’t be able to defend my title in Miami this week.”

“Believe me, it is as shocking to me, as it is to you. I had incredible run in Miami, I won there my first Masters tournament and started my campaign towards the top of the world rankings. No wonder they say that in sport the biggest and most painful defeats come from injuries, and not from opponents. I am lucky that throughout my career I didn’t have many injuries, but I guess that all that I’ve been through physically in the past so many years did leave a mark on my body. I remain eternally grateful for all the love and support I receive from you. Thank you for believing in me.”

No. 1 Andy Murray withdrew from the tournament on Saturday with a similar injury.

Eight-time champion Serena Williams will be skipping the tournament due to a left knee injury.

The tournament runs from March 20 – April 2.

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Federer Beats Nadal, Djokovic Loses to Kyrgios at BNP Paribas Open

Roger Federer

(March 15, 2017) Ninth seed Roger Federer took out fifth seed Rafael Nadal 6-2, 6-3 in a fourth-round match at the BNP Paribas Open on Wednesday. This was the first time since the 2004 third round in Miami that they met so early in a tournament. For the Swiss, it was his thirteenth win over the Spaniard in thirty-six attempts. For the first time in their rivalry, it’s the third straight victory over Nadal for Federer. Federer beat Nadal in the final of the Australian Open at the end of January.

“It’s a nice feeling to win the last three. I can tell you that,” said Federer.

“But most importantly, I won Australia. That was big for me. On the comeback, I look back at that and think that was one of the coolest things I ever experienced in my career.

“Basel was special, too, for many reasons, because I used to be ballboy there. I never played Rafa prior to that finals.

“Then now, here, after the Australian hype, you know, to play here in America right away, all of them are very special.

“I mean, all the matches that we have played are unique in many ways for both of us, winning or losing. So I take it. Obviously can’t celebrate too long this time around. I have to get back to work in a couple of days.”

Federer broke Nadal’s serve a total of four times, twice in each set for the win in 68 minutes.

“The main thing he take the break in the first game, and I had break point in the next game and come back and he had a good serve,” said Nadal.

“When Roger have advantage, his serve is so good, he has a lot of confidence with his serve, he’s able to play much more relaxed, no?

“Worst thing in that match for me was from the beginning I was in disadvantage breaking the first game of the match, and then breaking the second game of the second set. So that’s so difficult to play against Roger this way.”

“It was all about coming out and trying to play the way I did in Australia,” said Federer to media. “I didn’t think it was going to be that possible, to be quite honest, because the court is more jumpy here or more rough, let’s say, so it’s hard to put the ball away.

“I have seen, as well, like against Johnson yesterday, when you serve well and stay on the offensive and you press, you can actually play some really good, aggressive tennis here.

“It’s hard to dig your way out of defense, because the ball doesn’t skid on you as an attacker, and I think I did well again today. You know, I said yesterday it was more a sprint than a marathon. So getting in the lead was crucial, and then staying on the offense and pressing was the goal for me.

“Once I got the break in the second set, obviously you had to be very careful you didn’t get down double break. And I was able to hold my serve, and he couldn’t find a way how to get into my service games more frequently. Next thing you know, it’s all over. It was a really good performance by me, I thought.”

 

Nick Kyrgios

Three-time defending Indian Wells champ Novak Djokovic had his 19-match winning streak at the tournament snapped by 15th seed Nick Kyrgios 6-4, 7-6(3).
“Well, the run was amazing,” said Djokovic. “I am very proud of it, obviously. It had to end at some stage. Unfortunately, it was today.

“Well, Nick, again, as he did in Acapulco earlier, few weeks ago, he served so well. Just wasn’t managing to get a lot of balls back on his serve, first and second, as well.

“So I guess that’s what made a difference.”

The number two seed fell victim to the Australian for the second time in two weeks. Kyrgios beat Djokovic in Acapulco.
“I guess conditions like today where the ball travels through the air very fast and it bounces very high, you know, it’s a gamble,” said the Serb.

“And on his first serves, to try to anticipate and read his serve, where he’s going to go 140 miles per hour down the T and also pretty good angle wide, so it’s hard to position yourself well. Let’s call it that way. It is a gamble.

“His second serve, if you think you’re going to have a look at it, you don’t, because he goes for it, as well. He didn’t make too many double faults.

“As I said, you know, in this kind of conditions, it’s quite suitable for the server. Puts a lot of pressure on your service games. You know, you need to deliver and you can’t fold, which I did in the opening game of the match. Obviously, the dynamic of the match already went his way in the first/second game.

“Yeah, it was hard to come back from that one, although I did have my chances, did have some 30-Alls and deuces. I don’t think I reached a break point, but I did have some close games on his serves, but I just wasn’t able to deliver what was important at that stage.”
Kyrgios hit 14 aces against Djokovic.

“I knew it was going to be a tough battle today,” said Kyrgios. “I knew he wanted to come out there and obviously after Acapulco to come out there and win.

“The conditions are completely different here than they are in Acapulco. I don’t think I served anywhere near as I did in Acapulco. I fought for every point, and obviously we were a bit — I think both of us were a bit nervous at times.

“I thought it was a pretty good match. I played the crucial points pretty well. Obviously I just served well again. Yeah, it was good to get through.”

Kyrgios will take on Federer for a place in the semifinals. Kyrgios is 1-0 against the 18-time major champion.

Stan Wawrinka

No. 3 seed Stan Wawrinka had to battle back from two breaks in the third set to defeat lucky loser Yoshihito Nishioka 3-6, 6-3, 7-6(4) to advance.

“Well, was really tough match, of course, ” said Wawrinka. “He served twice for the match. He had breaker in the third.

“I wasn’t playing great. I was not moving well at the beginning. I was a little bit hesitating with my game. I think in general in the third set I played better than the two first sets. I got, I would say, maybe to break a little bit quick especially at 5-5.

“But in general I was finding a little bit better my game. I was playing a little bit more aggressive. I was more calm, making more long rally.

“Again, I’m really happy to get through for sure. You have to be a little bit lucky when he served twice for the match, but I’m happy to fight well enough to give me a chance to play tomorrow night.”

Other men reaching the elite 8 of Indian Wells includes: No. 4 seed Kei Nishikori, who defeated Donald Young 6-2, 6-4,  No. 8 seed Dominic Thiem dominated No.  10 seed Gael Monfils 6-3, 6-2, No. 17 seed Jack Sock who won 4-6, 7-6(1), 7-5 over Malek Jaziri, No. 21 Pablo Carreno Busta, beating qualifier Dusan Lajovic, and No. 27 Pablo Cuevas knocking out No, 11 seed David Goffin 6-3, 3-6, 6-3.

Karolina Pliskova

In women’s play, Karolina Pliskova and Svetlana Kuznetsova advanced to the semifinals. In a very tight match, the No. 3 seed Pliskova defeated No. 7 Garbine Muguruza 7-6, 7-6.

“Definitely the best match for me in this tournament,” said the Czech. “Also, like, it was good player, so the level ultimately goes a little bit more up, little better player.

“So definitely from the baseline I think was fine. But, yeah, the way how I was finishing those sets, I’m not happy with that, because I was serving into both. In the second one I was serving twice.

“Even 40-15 up, I don’t think it can happen with my serve. Like, anything is possible in tennis, but I just have to serve few times. I had a good rally once on my forehand.

“So, yeah, a little bit unlucky, but, yeah, just not happy with the way how it finished, but happy how I, in the end, still stayed there.

“And the tiebreaks, especially in the second one was not easy, because I had in my head, I had some match points and I had 5-2. So, yeah, so happy that I stayed there and closed it in the second tiebreak, as well.

“And obviously my serve not really good today, as the whole tournament.”

Kuznetsova defeated Russian countrywoman Anastasia Pavyluchenkova 6-3, 6-2.

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Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal Set Up Fourth Round Clash at the BNP Paribas Open; Novak Djokovic Advances

Roger Federer

(March 14, 2017)Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal will meet for the thirty-sixth time in their careers on Wednesday in the fourth round of the BNP Open. Both men won third round matches on Tuesday.

Nadal, a three-time winner, who last won the tournament in 2013, defeated fellow Spaniard Fernando Verdasco 6-3, 7-5 for his 50th career match-win at Indian Wells.

Roger Federer survived American Steve Johnson 7-6(3), 7-6(4). The Swiss is a four-time winner of this event, last winning in 2012.

Nadal is 23-12 against Federer, 12-4 at ATP Masters 1000 events, 9-8 on hard courts and 1-1 at the BNP Paribas Open. Federer has never beaten Nadal three-times in a row.

Their last meeting came in late January when Federer won the Australian Open in five sets over Nadal. In their last meeting before this, Federer beat Nadal at the Swiss Indoors event in 2015.

Asked about how he feels about his next match, Federer said: “Very excited. I said it at the press conference in the beginning. That’s why I came here, play against guys like Rafa. Now we have it.

“I’m going to be excited now. Better be excited now. Otherwise I came for the wrong reasons.”

“Everyone felt different against Rafa,” he continued, “because sometimes you come in and you’re extremely tired. Sometimes it was, like you said, maybe you just lost three in a row, and you play often in quick succession at one point, as well.

“I mean, Australia helps me a little bit, but, you know, at the end of the day, I’m still in the comeback. And I try to see it really as another opportunity to build upon something for the rest of the season. So regardless of Australia, winning or losing, I’m going to try to go out there and try to play free again. I think it’s really important.

“I’m really happy that I got my energy back, because in Dubai I was actually still quite tired. I feel like tomorrow if I move well, you know, I will definitely have a chance against Rafa.”

Rafael Nadal

“Since the season started, I was playing well,” Nadal said. So I tried to play my game, tried to play aggressive.

“My goal was don’t let him play with his forehand from easy positions. And that’s what I tried. I started well the match. Then taked a while to have the break, but finally I had in the right game, in the 4-3, and I closed well.

“So in the second I started with the break, and then happened what happened with those two games. Then I was there again.

“So very pleased with my performance. And I won already two matches here.”
“Tomorrow another chance to go on court, and I’m going to try to play better than I did today.”

Asked about what makes Federer’s game so special, Nadal said: “Everything. Yeah, he has the talent to do very difficult things that looks easy, you know. He’s able to take the ball very early, serve and first shot. He create a lot of winners with that, two first shots, no?

“And then he’s able to take the ball always from inside, and he’s very quick going to the net. If you play short ball, then you know that he gonna go inside and gonna hit a winner, gonna play a shot that hit forehand or backhand, go to the net, and you are going to be in big trouble.”

 

Novak Djokovic

In the night session, Novak Djokovic defeated Juan Martin Del Potro 7-5, 4-6, 6-1 to reach the round of 16 where he’ll play Nick Kyrgios.

“It was difficult to overcome this challenge tonight,” Djokovic said during his on court interview. “The third was some of the best tennis I’ve played this year”

For the five-time desert champion, was his his 300th ATP Masters 1000 match victory. He is now tied with Pete Sampras for 10th in Open Era with 762 wins overall.
In other men’s action, No. 4 seed Kei Nishikori easily beat Gilles Muller 6-2, 6-2, American Donald Young upset 14th seed Lucas Pouille 6-4, 1-6, 6-3 and Malek Jaziri of Tunisia survived big-serving American Taylor Fritz 6-4, 3-6, 6-3.

Nick Kyrgios

In a battle of generation next on the ATP World Tour, Nick Kyrgios beat Alexander Zverev 6-3, 6-4.

“It was the worst match I played all year. It’s quite simple, ” said Zverev of the loss. “My serving was absolute horrible, my returning was absolutely horrible. From the baseline was horrible. There is not one thing I did well.”

“I wasn’t serving my best, so I thought I just competed well, said Kyrgios. “It was always going to be a tough match. He’s been playing great tennis and on the rise ever since juniors. I knew it was going to be tough.

“It was hot, but it wasn’t scorching. I think that suits my game style. I can get more bounce off my forehand.

“But, yeah, it was a tough battle. I’m just really glad to get through.”

 

American Jack Sock saved four match points to stop Grigor Dimitrov 3-6, 6-3, 7-6(7).

 

More to follow…

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