August 27, 2016

Serena Williams Reaches French Open Final Versus Muguruza; Djokovic To Face Murray for Title

 

(June 3, 2016) The world’s top tennis players Serena Williams and Novak Djokovic are seeking to make their own histories this weekend at Roland Garros.

Serena Williams advanced to her fourth French Open final besting Kiki Bertens 7-6(7), 6-4. The 34-year-old will take on 22-year-old Spaniard Garbine Murguza in Saturday’s women’s final. Should Williams win, she’ll tie Steffi Graf for most major titles in the Open Era at 22.

Djokovic has reached his fourth Roland Garros final in five years defeating up-and-comer No. 13 Dominic Thiem of Austria 6-2, 6-1, 6-4. The Serb is looking complete a career Grand Slam. The French Open title would complete the set.

Djokovic will face off against No. 2 Andy Murray who reached his first Roland Garros final beating defending champion Stan Wawrinka 6-4, 6-2, 4-6, 6-2. Murray is the first British man since 1937 to reach the final.

Murray won his last encounter against Djokovic, on clay at the Italian Open.

“I’m extremely proud,” said Murray on-court. “I never expected to reach the final here.”
“I’d always struggled on the clay and then in the past two years I’ve had some of my best results. I hope I can put on a good match for the crowd on Sunday.

“I knew today if I wanted to win I was going to have to play one of my best clay-court matches. Stan’s record here the past two years has been unbelievable. He was playing better every match here. I played one of my best matches today. I’m looking forward to the final now.”

This will be a rematch of the Australian Open final.

“I’m sure that it’s going to be a final with a lot of emotions and a lot of exchanges from the baseline, because we have similar styles of game,” Djokovic said. “I know his game, he knows mine.”
“It’s another Grand Slam title up for grabs for both Andy and myself,” Djokovic said. “One thing I know I can expect when I get on the court with him is it’s going to be a very physical battle.”
This will be Djokovic’s 20th major final and Murray’s 10th.

If Djokovic wins on Sunday, he be the eighth man to win all majors in a career joining Don Budge, Fred Perry, Rod Laver, Roy Emerson, Andre Agassi, Roger Federer, and Rafael Nadal.

 

“The first set wasn’t easy,” Williams said of Bertens in French during her on-court interview. “I needed to play better because she was playing very well, but I’m very happy to win today.”

Williams had to fight off two set points in the first set.

Bertens became the first Dutch woman since 1977 to reach the semifinals.

Serena Williams is in her 27th major final going up against Muguruza on Saturday. The two met in the final of last year’s Wimbledon. The American has a 3-1 record against the Spanish woman. The lone loss came in the second round of Roland Garros.

Serena leads No. 4 seed Muguruza 3-1 in their head-to-head, but Muguruza’s lone win came here in Paris, when the Spaniard stunned the top seed in the second round in 2014.

Muguruza moves up to No. 3 in the world by reaching the final. She’ll jump to No. 2 in the world, if she wins the title.

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Roland Garros – Top Seeds Williams and Djokovic Dominate in Opening Wins; Murray Survives in Five

Serena Williams

Serena Williams

(May 24, 2016) Top seeds Serena Williams and Novak Djokovic had easy opening victories at Roland Garros on Tuesday. Williams, the defending champion going for her fourth Paris title destroyed No. 77 Magdalena Rybarikova 6-2, 6-0 in 42 minutes. The 21-time major champion hit 25 winners and made only five unforced errrors.

Sister Venus also advanced in straight sets. The ninth seed defeated No. 82 Anett Kontaveit 7-6 (5), 7-6 (4).

Djokovic is seeking to win his first French Open title to complete a career Grand Slam. The Serb defeated No. 95 Yen-hsun Lu of Taiwan 6-4, 6-1, 6-1. Also reaching the second round easily was nine-time champion Rafael Nadal who blasted past Sam Groth 6-1, 6-1, 6-1.

No. 2 seed completed his first round match which was held over due to darkness, surviving qualifier and former Top 10 player 37-year-old Radek Stepanek 3-6, 3-6, 6-0, 6-3, 7-5.

“It’s unbelievable what he’s doing,” said Murray in an on-court interview. “He had an extremely bad injury last year and was our for eight or nine months. At 37 years old and coming out and fighting like that, playing that way, is unbelievable. I don’t expect to be doing that myself at that age! I’m just glad I managed to get through.”
Australian Open champion and third seed Angelique Kerber was the biggest upset on the day. The German suffering from a left shoulder injury lost to No. 58 Kiki Bertens of the Netherlands. 6-2, 3-6, 6-3. Bertens is fresh off winning a title over the weekend in Nürnberg, where she was a qualifier.

Another major surprise on the women’s side saw No. 5 Victoria Azarenka lose to No. 118-ranked Karin Knapp when she was forced to retire with a knee injury down 6-3, 6-7(6), 4-0.

2010 French Open champion, unseeded Francesca Schiavone lost to Kristina Mladenovic 6-2, 6-4. It was announced on court that Schiavone was retiring, but she set the record straight during her news conference.

“Roland Garros announced my retirement but I didn’t.”

“So you can stand up all of you and go back to work in the office because I didn’t say that. I will announce when I will want to stop.”

 

More to follow…

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Novak Djokovic Could Face Rafael Nadal in the Semifinals of Roland Garros

 

(May 20, 2016) The French Open men’s and women’s singles draws were made in Paris on Friday and No. 1 Novak Djokovic and No. 4 seed, nine-time Roland Garros champion Rafael Nadal could be on a collision course to meet in the semifinals. Nadal moved into the No. 4 seed position when No. 3 Roger Federer withdrew from the tournament on Thursday.

Djokovic comes into Roland Garros seeking the only major tournament he has not won. He’s looking to become the eight man to have a “career slam,” winning each of the four major title at least once. Should the Serb win the French Open, he would hold all four major championships at the same time.

Djokovic has lost in the final of the French Open three out of the past four years. He will begin his quest for the Roland Garros crown against No. 100 in the world Lu Yen-hsun in, while Nadal will play big serving Australian, Sam Groth.

On the other side of the men’s draw, a pair of two-time major champions could meet in the other semifinal – No. 2 Andy Murray and No. 3 seed and defending champion Stan Wawrinka. Murray will play a qualifier in the first round, while Wawrinka will face-off against

The top seed in the women’s draw, Serena Williams is going after her 22nd career major, which would tie her with Steffi Graf on the all-time list, the most in the Open Era. She’s coming off her first tournament win in nine months, winning the Italian Open trophy last weekend on the clay courts of Rome.

A hurdle for the American could come in the quarterfinals, where she is projected to meet No. 5 seed and two-time Australian Open winner Victoria Azarenka. Williams may also have play 2008 French Open champion Ana Ivanovic in the fourth round and reigning Australian Open champion Angelique Kerber in the final four. Williams lost to the German in the Melbourne final.

Williams will open against No. 76 Magdalena Rybarikova.

Williams is the defending champion and is going after her fourth Roland Garros trophy.

In the bottom half of the women’s draw, No. 2 Agnieszka Radwanska could play fourth seed Garbine Muguruza in the semifinals.

Play begins on Sunday, May 22.

Men’s draw

Women’s draw

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Andy Murray Gives Himself a Birthday Present While Serena Williams Wins Fourth Rome Title

Andy Murray fh

(May 15, 2016) Andy Murray gave himself a gift for his 29th birthday – a Rome Masters Series 1000 title. The Scotsman beat No. 1 Novak Djokovic 6-3, 6-3 for his 12 Masters title on Sunday.

Joining Murray in the winners circle was No. 1 Serena Williams who won the women’s singles title over Madison Keys 7-6(5), 6-3 in the first All-American women’s clay court final since Serena beat her sister Venus in the 2002 French Open final.

This was Williams’ fourth Rome title, first tournament win of 2016 and first championship title since she won the Cincinnati event last August.

Serena gets ready for bh 3112016

“It feels great,” Williams said. “So it’s not like I was playing every week. So that’s kind of how I look at it. But it feels great to win a title, especially on clay.”

Murray’s victory makes him the first British male player since 1931 to win the Italian Open. He has also secured the No. 2 seed at the upcoming French Open, which begins on May 22.

The Scotsman now is 22-5 in 2016, ending the Serb’s 17-match winning streak against Top 10 opponents.
“”It’s mostly great players have won this event, so I’m very proud to have my name on the trophy,” Murray said. “Today against Novak is nice. I know he didn’t play his best today. But there were still some tough moments for me in the second set. I saved the break points well and held strong. And overall it was a great week for me. I didn’t lose a set.”

“I had a long couple of weeks, especially the last couple of days,” Djokovic said. “I knew it’s going to be very hard for me, an uphill ride against Andy today, who was playing throughout the week at a very high level. To compete with him in long exchanges and rallies that we do have in our encounters, they require a lot more energy and better performance from my side which didn’t happen.

“Not taking anything away from Andy’s win. On the contrary, I think he deserved to win and deserved to win the entire tournament, because he was the best player. He was the player that played in the best form throughout the entire tournament.”
Serena Williams spoke to the crowd in Italian during the trophy presentation. This was her 70th career title.

The Bryan Brothers won their fourth Rome title and 36th Masters 1000 level, defeating Vasek Pospisil and Jack Sock.

“We’re sharing a room this week,,” said Bob Bryan. [Mike] fell asleep around 2:30, 2:45 a.m., because he started snoring. We drank so much coffee last night that I was wired. It was a 12-hour turnaround. Our bodies don’t turn around quickly anymore.”

“The rain delay definitely helped us,” Mike Bryan said. “Our coach [David Macpherson] was back in the locker room, where we had about 15 minutes, and he said, ‘Fire it up!’ We were kind of flat in the first set and weren’t playing with a lot of energy. We had a late match and Bob went to bed at 4 a.m. in the morning. So we were kind of dazed and confused. We were bouncing around in the second set. We played a good Match tie-break, which can go either way.”

This was the Bryan Brothers 112 tournament victory together as a team.

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Djokovic Survives Test From Nadal to Reach Italian Open Semis; Serena Williams Dominates

Djokovic celebrates win-001

(May 13, 2016) Novak Djokovic came back from a break down in both sets and set points down in the second set to fight off Rafael Nadal 7-5, 7-6(4) to reach the semifinals of the Italian Open on Friday in Rome. The dramatic match lasted almost two-and-a-half hours. The world No. 1 has now beaten the 14-time major champion seven straight times and has raised his record to 26-23 over the current No. 5. The Serb has now won 15 straight sets against the Spaniard.

Nadal grabbed opening breaks of serve in both sets and had five set points in the second set  serving at 5-4, but Djokovic kept coming back from adversity.

“I held my nerve at the clutch moments,” Djokovic said in an interview after the match. “Even though I had nervy beginnings to both sets, with some good games and good play in the crucial moments, I managed to win. It’s a straight-sets win, but it feels like we played five sets.

“Winning against Nadal is the ultimate challenge on clay courts and one of the toughest challenges we have in sport. I have to be very pleased with the way I handled myself in the big moments today. I won against one of my biggest rivals on his preferred surface. We must not forget he’s in form. He won Monte-Carlo and Barcelona and has played well the past couple of weeks. That gives me confidence for the rest of this tournament.”

Djokovic said that it was special to be on court playing against Nadal.

Nadal said that he was not disappointed and felt that he played well against the best player.

Djokovic will face-off against Kei Nishikori in his semifinal on Saturday. The sixth seed Nishikori beat 13th seed Dominic Thiem 6-3, 7-5.

No. 2 seed Andy Murray moved into the final four with a 6-1, 7-5 win over David Goffin. Murray will play French lucky loser Lucas Pouille for s spot in the final on Saturday. Pouille advanced when Juan Monaco withdrew with a left hip injury.

On the women’s side, No. 1 ranked Serena Williams, getting a little revenge from her loss in Miami, when she demolished Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-2, 6-0 in 51 minutes. She’ll play Irina-Camelia Begu next who beat Misaki Doi 6-2, 7-6 (3).

On the bottom half of the draw, Garbine Muguruza beat Timea Bacsinszky 7-5, 6-2 and will play Madison Keys, who defeated Barbora Strycova 6-4, 4-6, 6-3.

 

INTERNAZIONALI BNL D’ITALIA – ROME, ITALY
9-15 MAY 2016

RESULTS – MAY 13, 2016
Women’s Singles – Quarterfinals
[1] S. Williams (USA) d [9] S. Kuznetsova (RUS) 62 60
[3] G. Muguruza (ESP) d [11] T. Bacsinszky (SUI) 75 62
I. Begu (ROU) d M. Doi (JPN) 62 76(3)
M. Keys (USA) d B. Strycova (CZE) 64 46 63

Women’s Doubles – Quarterfinals
[1] M. Hingis (SUI) / S. Mirza (IND) d R. Atawo (USA) / A. Spears (USA) 64 62
I. Begu (ROU) / M. Niculescu (ROU) d [3] T. Babos (HUN) / Y. Shvedova (KAZ) 76(4) 63
[4] A. Hlavackova (CZE) / L. Hradecka (CZE) d [5] C. Garcia (FRA) / K. Mladenovic (FRA) 64 64
[7] E. Makarova (RUS) / E. Vesnina (RUS) d A. Klepac (SLO) / K. Srebotnik (SLO) 62 64

Men’s Singles – Quarterfinals
[1] N. Djokovic (SRB) d [5] R. Nadal (ESP) 75 76(4)
[2] A. Murray (GBR) d [12] D. Goffin (BEL) 61 75
[6] K. Nishikori (JPN) d [13] D. Thiem (AUT) 63 75
[LL] L. Pouille (FRA) d [PR] J. Monaco (ARG) w.o. (hip)

Men’s Doubles – Quarterfinals
[5] B. Bryan (USA) / M. Bryan (USA) d [4] J. Murray (GBR) / B. Soares (BRA) 63 64
[6] R. Bopanna (IND) / F. Mergea (ROU) d P. Kohlschreiber (GER) / V. Troicki (SRB) 63 64
[8] V. Pospisil (CAN) / J. Sock (USA) d P. Cuevas (URU) / M. Granollers (ESP) 64 76(4)
[PR] J. Benneteau (FRA) / E. Roger-Vasselin (FRA) d O. Marach (AUT) / M. Matkowski (POL) 46 75 10-8

ORDER OF PLAY – SATURDAY, MAY 14, 2016
CENTER COURT start 12:00 noon
WTA – [3] G. Muguruza (ESP) vs M. Keys (USA)

Not Before 2:30 pm
ATP – [LL] L. Pouille (FRA) vs [2] A. Murray (GBR)

Not Before 5:00 pm
WTA – [1] S. Williams (USA) vs I. Begu (ROU)

Not Before 8:00 pm
ATP – [1] N. Djokovic (SRB) vs [13] D. Thiem (AUT) or [6] K. Nishikori (JPN)
ATP – [PR] J. Benneteau (FRA) / E. Roger-Vasselin (FRA) vs [5] B. Bryan (USA) / M. Bryan (USA)

PIETRANGELI start 12:00 noon
WTA – [4] A. Hlavackova (CZE) / L. Hradecka (CZE) vs [7] E. Makarova (RUS) / E. Vesnina (RUS)

Not Before 1:00 pm
ATP – [8] V. Pospisil (CAN) / J. Sock (USA) vs [6] R. Bopanna (IND) / F. Mergea (ROU)
WTA – After Suitable Rest – [1] M. Hingis (SUI) / S. Mirza (IND) vs I. Begu (ROU) / M. Niculescu (ROU)

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Djokovic, Nadal Rally for Wins in Rome; Federer Loses

Novak Djokovic

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

INTERNAZIONALI BNL D’ITALIA – ROME, ITALY
9-15 MAY 2016

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

Women’s
Doubles – Second Round

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

 

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

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

ORDER OF PLAY – FRIDAY, MAY 13, 2016
CENTER COURT start 12:00 noon
WTA – [11] T. Bacsinszky (SUI) vs [3] G. Muguruza (ESP)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Novak Djokovic Wins Madrid for Record 29th Masters Title

 

(May 8, 2016) Novak Djokovic won his second Madrid Open title on Sunday beating Andy Murray 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 for a record 29th Masters title and 64th career ATP World Tour title. The world No. 1 is now tied with Pete Sampras and Bjorn Borg for sixth place for titles won in the Open Era.

This win raises the Serb’s record against the Brit to 23-9, victorious in 12 of the last 13 matches.

“This came at the right time,” Djokovic said. “I had an amazing opening four months of the season. Then an early exit in Monte-Carlo, but it happened for a reason, because I needed some time to really recharge my batteries. Three weeks was more than enough to get some freshness and new breath and get ready for Madrid. I came here early, got used to the conditions, and played a really fantastic tournament that will definitely serve as a great confidence boost before Rome and the French Open.”

“I started very well,” Djokovic explained. “Played terrific tennis in the first set. Couple of close games in the second, beginning of the second set, and then I made some unforced errors and double faults in the game when I dropped my serve in the second set. I couldn’t get back.

“He started serving very well, especially down the T and deuce side. Very precise and very strong, and he was backing that serve up with aggressive first shots, and then just about an hour it was split sets.

“Then the match really could have gone either way, but we exchanged some breaks of serves early in the third. Then when it seemed like I was closing out the match and having a match point at 5-2, he came up with some big serves again. The last game obviously got myself out of some trouble with some good serves, with some good forehands, but was very, very close. Very close.”

Andy Murray

Andy Murray

“I obviously fought hard today,” Murray said. “Yeah, disappointed because from like two games, like 2-All to 4-2, 5-2, I was making him work hard in the second set and then beginning of the third and then at the end of the third set.

“I just think I’m definitely moving better. That’s for sure. It makes a huge difference. Like I said, on the other surfaces it’s a massive strength of mine, a big part of my game, and for a number years I didn’t move well on the clay. It was a hindrance, and that makes you uncomfortable. If you took Ivo Karlovic’s serve away he would feel uncomfortable going on the court. For me, take my movement away.

“When I was having the problems with my back it was difficult for me when stepping on the court; whereas now my body feels great. I feel like I’m moving a lot better. So I’m not going on the court sort of a little bit nervous or apprehensive. I believe I can play well on clay now.

“There was a period there – if you watch it back – the game I got broken [in the third set], I made three unforced errors in that game. That was disappointing. Then obviously the last game I don’t know how many break point chances I had, but must have been six or seven.

“Both of us were pretty clinical on the break points up until the last game for me. That’s why he’s No. 1 just now. He fought very hard in that game and served well when he was a bit nervous. At the end he came up with some big serves and got himself some free points and did well.”

 

“Then the match really could have gone either way, but we exchanged some breaks of serves early in the third,” noted the world No. 1. “Then when it seemed like I was closing out the match and having a match point at 5-2, he came up with some big serves again. The last game obviously got myself out of some trouble with some good serves, with some good forehands, but was very, very close. Very close.”

“I’m very pleased that I have developed a great rivalry with somebody that I’ve known since very long time and somebody that I have a very good and friendly relationship with on and off the court,” Djokovic said.

 

Since Murray did not defend his Madrid title from last year, he will slip to No. 3 in the world on Monday. Roger Federer will move up to No. 2.

In the men’s doubles final Jean-Julien Rojer and Horia Tecau won their first Masters 1000 title as a team, beating defending champions Rohan Bopanna and Florin Mergea 6-4, 7-6(5). It was their 12th trophy overall.

“They are a great team, and also friends,” Rojer said. “It’s never easy to play these matches and it’s difficult for all four guys.”

“I want to thank my partner for having another great week,” said Tecau. “We were struggling for a few weeks, couldn’t win a lot of matches… It feels great to play well together and get another title.

“We’ve been chasing this one for almost three years. We’re really excited to get this one because it comes after having a few early exits in Masters 1000 events this year. So it means a lot to us.”

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Halep wins Madrid Open; Murray Beats Nadal and Will Meet Djokovic in the Final

Simona Halep

Simona Halep

(May 7, 2016) Calling her win “the best day in my life,” Romania’s Simona Halep won her second career WTA Premier Mandatory event when she beat Slovakia’s Dominika Cibulkova 6-2, 6-4 to claim the Madrid Open title.

“I saw always that it’s a special tournament because of Mr. (Ion) Tiriac, because of many Romanians that are coming here. I feel like home,” Halep said. Tiriac, also a Romanian, is a member of the tennis Hall of Fame is the Tournament Director of Madrid and gave Halep a wildcard into the tournament three years ago.

The victory for Halep marks her 12th career WTA tournament title. She will now move up to No. 5 in the rankings. Cibulkova will rise to No. 26.

Kei Nishikori and Novak Djokovic at GR8 Fundraiser in Miami in 2011

Kei Nishikori and Novak Djokovic at GR8 Fundraiser in Miami in 2011

Novak Djokovic will meet defending champion Andy Murray in the Madrid Open final on Sunday. No. 2 Murray saved 11 break points in holding off four-time Madrid winner No. 5 Rafael Nadal 7-5, 6-4, snapping the Spaniard’s 13-match winning streak. Murray beat Nadal in last year’s Madrid final.

“Not loads of players have won against Rafa on clay throughout his career,” Murray said. “To beat him in Spain on a clay court is obviously a big, big challenge for any player. Very pleased to have beaten him this year.”

“Murray was not unbeatable today,” Nadal said in press. “It was an open match, an even match,”

“I didn’t play my best level, but I didn’t play badly. I played a medium level, which was not enough to beat Murray.”

Djokovic beat Kei Nishikori 6-3, 7-6(4) in the other men’s semifinal. The Serbian had some trouble serving out the match leading 6-4, 5-4 40-0. The man from Japan came back and held off four match points against him to even the set at 5-5. Both men held and went to a tiebreak, which Djokovic won 7-3.

“It wasn’t easy to play in these very windy conditions, but overall I’m very pleased,” Djokovic said.”

Going into the final Djokovic leads Murray 22-9, winning 11 of the last 12 matches, winning all four matches on clay. Murray needs to win on Sunday to keep his No. 2 ranking ahead of the French Open or Roger Federer will move up to the second spot.

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Murray, Nadal and Federer Reach Monte-Carlo Quarterfinals

Andy Murray

Andy Murray

(April 14, 2016) World No. 2 Andy Murray rallied from a set and two breaks down to beat Benoit Paire 2-6, 7-5, 7-5 to reach the quarterfinals of the Monte-Carlo Masters on Thursday. Also advancing were No. 3 Roger Federer, No. 4 Stan Wawrinka, No. 5 Rafael Nadal, No. 8 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga,  No. 10 Milos Raonic, No. 13 Gael Monfils, and unseeded Marcel Granollers.

“It was a big win is what it was,” Murray said.  “You know, to win from 6-2, 3-0 down, two breaks, when you’re not playing particularly well, it’s a great effort.

“You know, those matches are important. It would have been easy to lose today and get down on myself. But I kept fighting right the way through to the end.

“Definitely, you know, the second set was sort of ups and downs. I didn’t feel like in the third that was the case so much. I mean, I think I broke him twice, he broke me once.

“But, yeah, it was a good one to get through because I could have easily lost today. Fought well, good effort.”

“I think he played a bad game at 3-0 in the second to give me one of the breaks back,” the Scotman noted as the turning point in the match. “I felt like I was in with a chance then. That was really the point of the match where it turned a little bit for me. I mean, there was still a lot of work to be done at that stage. Obviously he served for the match in the third.”

“I made a bad dropshot and a bad volley that wasn’t too difficult,” Paire said. “I lost the game. It was 3-1. I started wondering. It allowed him to get back into the match. I wasn’t playing the simple tennis I was playing from the start. I was no longer waiting for the right shot to come.

“I think I should have won that match and I’m extremely disappointed.”

“I’m playing good matches. I have good results. I’m close to the top players.

“What happened today, I was a bit stressed when it was at the point of trying to close out the match. I made a mistake. I should have just put the ball back into play, for example. I have many regrets.”

 

Federer had straight forward 6-2, 6-4 victory over Roberto Bautista Agut.

“I felt as good as in the first match, or maybe not as good, because I felt a bit tired,” said the world No. 3. “I can feel it in my body right now. I feel a bit soft, without energy.

“But as the match progressed, I felt better and better. Once I made the break, I was able to relax a little more. Bautista Agut, it was the first time I played him. I wasn’t sure whether he would stay far behind or make dropshots. I saw him do that against Chardy. I was playing in a way he couldn’t make those dropshots, so it was a good match.

“I felt good. In the beginning of the second, I could have made more breaks. So it could have gone my way very early.

“I’m happy with what I did. He’s a good player.”

 

Nadal had to come back from a break in the first set to oust Dominic Thiem 7-5, 6-3. The Spaniard overcame 15 of 16 break points against him in the first set.

“The good thing, in my opinion, the best thing is he didn’t play bad the breakpoints,” said Nadal. “It was more that I played well in the breakpoints than he played bad.

“So happy for that because that mean that I was ready to find and take the right decisions in the most important moments. I was able to fight all the moments, no? I never give up in all these tough moments that I had in the first set. So very happy for that.

“I think I played a solid match in general. That’s why I’m in the next round, because the opponent was very hard.”

“I think I played a good match. In terms of level of tennis, was great I think. In terms of fighting spirit and attitude and being ready to accept the mistakes, the good points, the tough moments, was similar way that I played in Indian Wells.

“That was a great continuation against a very tough player. I think he played a great match, too. Was a very good victory for me. Very happy for that.”

Next match for Nadal will be Stan Wawrinka, who beat Nadal in the final of the 2014 Australian Open. “Stan, he’s always very dangerous opponent and he’s a great player,” said the 14-time major champion. “I know when he’s playing well, it’s difficult to stop him because he’s able to hit so hard the ball from every part of the court. He’s able to serve so good, too.

“We’ll see. Will be a tough one. I only can think about myself. I have to continue the same way than today, fighting for every point, playing with my strategy. We’ll see if I am able to play like today or maybe little bit better. Let’s see.”

“I will have to play well if I want to have a chance to keep winning,” Wawrinka said about his next match. “Rafa is always tough to play on clay. He’s a left-hander. It’s always complicated to play against him.”

Novak Djokovic’s conqueror has been conquered. Jiri Vesely, who stunned tennis’ top player in the second round lost to Gael Monfils in straight sets 6-1, 6-2.

RESULTS – THURSDAY, 14 APRIL 2016

Singles – Third Round
[2] A. Murray (GBR) d [16] B. Paire (FRA) 26 75 75
[3] R. Federer (SUI) d [14] R. Bautista Agut (ESP) 62 64
[4] S. Wawrinka (SUI) d [15] G. Simon (FRA) 61 62
[5] R. Nadal (ESP) d [12] D. Thiem (AUT) 75 63
[8] J. Tsonga (FRA) d [WC] L. Pouille (FRA) 64 64
[10] M. Raonic (CAN) d [Q] D. Dzumhur (BIH) 63 46 76(5)
[LL] M. Granollers (ESP) d [11] D. Goffin (BEL) 76(1) 64
[13] G. Monfils (FRA) d J. Vesely (CZE) 61 62

Doubles – Second Round
H. Kontinen (FIN) / J. Peers (AUS) d [1] J. Rojer (NED) / H. Tecau (ROU) 62 63
[2] I. Dodig (CRO) / M. Melo (BRA) d D. Marrero (ESP) / B. Paire (FRA) 76(4) 62
[3] P. Herbert (FRA) / N. Mahut (FRA) d [WC] R. Nadal (ESP) / F. Verdasco (ESP) ret. (Verdasco – calf)
J. Cabal (COL) / R. Farah (COL) d [5] B. Bryan (USA) / M. Bryan (USA) 64 63
SCHEDULE – FRIDAY, 15 APRIL 2016

COURT RAINIER III start 11:00 am
[10] M. Raonic (CAN) vs [2] A. Murray (GBR)
[5] R. Nadal (ESP) vs [4] S. Wawrinka (SUI)
[3] R. Federer (SUI) vs [8] J. Tsonga (FRA)
[13] G. Monfils (FRA) vs [LL] M. Granollers (ESP)

COURT DES PRINCES start 11:00 am
T. Huey (PHI) / M. Mirnyi (BLR) vs [2] I. Dodig (CRO) / M. Melo (BRA)
[6] R. Bopanna (IND) / F. Mergea (ROU) vs [4] J. Murray (GBR) / B. Soares (BRA)
After Suitable Rest – [3] P. Herbert (FRA) / N. Mahut (FRA) vs D. Inglot (GBR) / A. Murray (GBR)
H. Kontinen (FIN) / J. Peers (AUS) vs J. Cabal (COL) / R. Farah (COL)

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Novak Djokovic Falls to Jiri Vesely in Monte-Carlo

227 Djokovic puzzled look-001

(April 13, 2016) World No. 1 Novak Djokovic lost his first completed match since November on Wednesday, at the Monte-Carlo Maters falling to No. 55 Jiri Vesely 6-4, 2-6, 6-4 in the second round.

“There is a proof nobody’s unbeatable,” Djokovic said to media. “Happens so many times in my career that I lose a match. It’s not a first time.

“Obviously it’s not easy to lose the match in terms of accepting it, you know, right after exiting the court. But I have to congratulate my opponent. I think he played very solid. He was serving very big. He was playing tactically good and aggressive.

“On the other hand, for me, there were just very few things I could take out from today’s match as a positive. I was playing really, really bad.

“But, you know, nothing taking away from my opponent’s performance. He deserved to win. When he was break up in the third set, he was playing bravely. He was coming in, dropshots, big serves. He was going for it. He deserved to have it.”

“I’m just very, very happy,” Vesely said. “It’s something amazing actually. When I went on court, I had completely different thinking, like I hope to win a game or I really hope to do well. But I really had no idea that I really would be able to beat Novak today.

“So for me it’s just something what I still can’t believe it really happened.”

This was the Czech first win over a Top ten player.

“I hope it will give me a lot of confidence, a lot of self-belief,” said the 22-year-old Vesely. “I think I’ve struggled pretty much the last few months where I really didn’t play good tennis. Obviously last week was the first week of the year where I played a little bit in good form and in good shape.

“I was definitely today in a better form than a couple weeks ago. But, you know, yesterday I was actually 3-6, 3-5 down. It could go bad yesterday and nothing would happen today.

“I’m just amazing happy the way I fought today and the way I finished the match.”

“I think Novak wasn’t at his best level, that’s for sure,” he continued. “He did a lot of mistakes from the beginning on. I think that was something that gave me actually a little bit more confidence and I was more passionate, was a little bit more creating the rallies. I wasn’t in a hurry, I wasn’t in a rush to end up the rally soon.

“From my side, I think I didn’t give him too much rhythm. I was just trying to change the rhythm all the time and not play the same game every single ball because I think otherwise he would get in the rhythm and, you know, start to play better and better.

“I’ve had a lot of dropshots. I was obviously serving very well. I think, yeah, I just got it somehow done. I don’t know how.”

This was Djokovic’s worst loss since June 2010 when he was beaten by No. 74 Xavier Malisse in the Queens Club tournament.

Since last January, the Serb had reached 19 out of 21 tournament finals and had won nine of his last 10 events.

Since January 2015, Djokovic had reached 19 finals in 21 tournaments, winning 15 – and the Serb was 28-1 on the year heading into Monte Carlo, having not dropped a set when winning the Miami Masters two weeks ago.

In terms of ranking, this was Djokovic’s worst since June 2010, when he lost to 74th-ranked Xavier Malisse on grass in the third round at Queens.

 

Earlier in the day, eight-time Monte Carlo champion Rafael Nadal beat Aljaz Bedene of Britain 6-3, 6-3 in the second round. Nadal was asked about his performance: “is obvious that I have been practicing little bit better than what I played today. But at the same time is true that I have been playing good for moments, some mistakes in other moments.

“But it’s fine, no? It’s the first match. It’s important to be through. Especially after what happened in Miami, it’s never easy. The first match again.

“Happy for the victory. I know that I have to improve for tomorrow. But I have confidence because I have been practicing very well these weeks. Let’s see if I am able to play the way that I was practicing. Tomorrow is going to be a tough match against a difficult opponent.”

The Spaniard will take on Dominic Thiem in third round.

“He has a great serve and a great forehand,” Nadal said of his next opponent “I need more victories to be 100 percent confident.”

Other upsets on the day included last year’s finalist, No. 6 Tomas Berdych who lost to No. 99 Damir Dzumhur of Bosnia 6-4, 6-7 (1), 6-3 and No. 9 Richard Gasquet lost to fellow Frenchman,  wild card Lucas Pouille 4-6, 7-5, 6-1.

 

 

RESULTS – WEDNESDAY, 13 APRIL 2016

Singles – Second Round
J. Vesely (CZE) d [1] N. Djokovic (SRB) 64 26 64
[4] S. Wawrinka (SUI) d P. Kohlschreiber (GER) 76(2) 75
[5] R. Nadal (ESP) d A. Bedene (GBR) 63 63
[Q] D. Dzumhur (BIH) d [6] T. Berdych (CZE) 64 67(1) 63
[WC] L. Pouille (FRA) d [9] R. Gasquet (FRA) 46 75 61
[10] M. Raonic (CAN) d P. Cuevas (URU) 75 26 76(5)
[11] D. Goffin (BEL) d [WC] F. Verdasco (ESP) 76(2) 26 76(1) saved 1 m.p.
[12] D. Thiem (AUT) d [Q] T. Daniel (JPN) 46 62 60
[13] G. Monfils (FRA) d P. Lorenzi (ITA) 62 64
[16] B. Paire (FRA) d J. Sousa (POR) 64 63
[LL] M. Granollers (ESP) d A. Zverev (GER) 64 46 63

Doubles – Second Round
[6] R. Bopanna (IND) / F. Mergea (ROU) d R. Lindstedt (SWE) / A. Peya (AUT) 75 75
D. Inglot (GBR) / A. Murray (GBR) d [7] E. Roger-Vasselin (FRA) / N. Zimonjic (SRB) 26 63 10-5
T. Huey (PHI) / M. Mirnyi (BLR) d [8] L. Kubot (POL) / M. Matkowski (POL) 76(3) 63

Doubles – First Round
H. Kontinen (FIN) / J. Peers (AUS) d R. Klaasen (RSA) / R. Ram (USA) 63 62
J. Cabal (COL) / R. Farah (COL) d F. Lopez (ESP) / M. Lopez (ESP) 63 64
SCHEDULE – THURSDAY, 14 APRIL 2016

COURT RAINIER III start 11:00 am
[16] B. Paire (FRA) vs [2] A. Murray (GBR)
[5] R. Nadal (ESP) vs [12] D. Thiem (AUT)
[3] R. Federer (SUI) vs [14] R. Bautista Agut (ESP)
[WC] L. Pouille (FRA) vs [8] J. Tsonga (FRA)

COURT DES PRINCES start 11:00 am
[Q] D. Dzumhur (BIH) vs [10] M. Raonic (CAN)
[15] G. Simon (FRA) vs [4] S. Wawrinka (SUI)
J. Vesely (CZE) vs [13] G. Monfils (FRA)
[11] D. Goffin (BEL) vs [LL] M. Granollers (ESP)

COURT 2 start 12:00 noon
[1] J. Rojer (NED) / H. Tecau (ROU) vs H. Kontinen (FIN) / J. Peers (AUS)
J. Cabal (COL) / R. Farah (COL) vs [5] B. Bryan (USA) / M. Bryan (USA)
D. Marrero (ESP) / B. Paire (FRA) vs [2] I. Dodig (CRO) / M. Melo (BRA)
[3] P. Herbert (FRA) / N. Mahut (FRA) vs [WC] R. Nadal (ESP) / F. Verdasco (ESP)

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