2014/07/30

Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal to Headline U. S. Open

2011-US-Open-Tennis-Tournament

White Plains, N.Y., July 17, 2014 – The USTA announced that world No. 1 Novak Djokovic and defending champion Rafael Nadal lead the men’s singles field for the 2014 US Open Tennis Championships. The field features six former US Open champions, including Djokovic (2011), two-time champion Nadal (2010, 2013), five-time champion Roger Federer (2004-08), Andy Murray (2012), Juan Martin del Potro (2009) and Lleyton Hewitt (2001).

Each of the world’s top 104 men received direct entry into the US Open, representing 36 countries.

The 2014 US Open will be played August 25 through September 8 at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing, N.Y. The US Open Men’s Singles Championship is presented by Mercedes-Benz.

Leading the entry list is Djokovic, the Serbian world No. 1 who has reached the US Open final every year since 2010. He won his seventh major title earlier this month at Wimbledon, beating Federer in five sets, after which he reclaimed the world No. 1 ranking from Nadal.

Nadal, the world No. 2, defeated Djokovic in four sets last year to win his second US Open championship, joining Federer (2007) as the only men to win the Emirates Airline US Open Series and US Open titles in the same year. This spring, the Spaniard won his record ninth French Open title, giving him 14 Grand Slam singles championships, tied with Pete Sampras for second all-time.

World No. 3 Federer, of Switzerland, is the all-time leader with 17 major singles titles, and was bidding for his eighth Wimbledon title this month before falling to Djokovic in the five-set final. Federer is competing for his sixth US Open title, which would surpass Pete Sampras and Jimmy Connors for the most US Open men’s singles titles in the Open Era.

Stanislas Wawrinka, the Swiss No. 4 and a 2013 US Open semifinalist, won his first major singles championship at the Australian Open this year, joining del Potro (2009 US Open) as the only men outside the “Big Four” of Djokovic, Nadal, Federer and Murray to win a Grand Slam since the 2005 French Open.

Filling out the field’s top 10 are No. 5 Tomas Berdych, of the Czech Republic, a 2012 US Open semifinalist and 2010 Wimbledon finalist; No. 6 Milos Raonic, of Canada, a 2014 Wimbledon semifinalist; No. 7 David Ferrer, of Spain, a French Open finalist (2013) and two-time US Open semifinalist (2007, 2012); No. 8 and 2009 US Open champion Juan Martin del Potro, of Argentina; No. 9 Grigor Dimitrov, of Bulgaria, a 2014 Wimbledon semifinalist; and No. 10 Andy Murray, the 2012 US Open champion and 2013 Wimbledon champion.

American men who received direct entry are No. 12 John Isner, of Greensboro, N.C., No. 62 Sam Querrey, of Las Vegas, Nevada, No. 64 Steve Johnson, of Orange, Calif., No. 69 Jack Sock, of Lincoln, Neb., No. 70 Donald Young, of Atlanta, and No. 77 Bradley Klahn, of Poway, Calif.

Germany’s Dustin Brown, ranked No. 104, is the last man to receive direct entry into the field of 128. No players used protected or special rankings to gain direct entry. Sixteen more players will gain entry through the US Open Qualifying Tournament, held August 19-22, while the eight remaining spots are wild cards awarded by the USTA.

Among the players competing in the US Open Qualifying Tournament will be the winner of the fifth annual US Open National Playoffs – Men’s Championship, held during the Emirates Airline US Open Series women’s event in New Haven, Conn., prior to the US Open Qualifying Tournament. The USTA created the US Open National Playoffs in 2010 to allow players 14 and older, regardless of playing ability or nationality, to vie for a spot in the US Open Qualifying Tournament via one of 13 sectional qualifying tournaments.

The July 14 edition of the Emirates ATP World Tour rankings was used to determine the US Open main draw entry list. Seeds will be determined and announced closer to the start of the event.

The 2014 US Open will mark the culmination of the Emirates Airline US Open Series, the North American summer season of eight ATP World Tour and WTA events that begin this Monday, July 21. The US Open is the highest-attended annual sporting event in the world and will again be televised domestically on CBS Sports, ESPN and Tennis Channel, with international coverage reaching more than 180 countries.

The 2014 US Open will be played from Monday, August 25 through Monday, September 8. Tickets can be purchased: at USOpen.org; by calling Ticketmaster at 1-866-OPEN-TIX; at all Ticketmaster outlets; at the box office at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.

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19th Annual Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day to Feature Country Recording Artist Hunter Hayes, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal

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U.S. Tennis Association: WHITE PLAINS, N.Y., July 16, 2014 – The USTA announced that country superstar Hunter Hayes, breakout duo MKTO, girl group McCLAIN, British pop rock band The Vamps, teen sensation Madison Beer and EDM prodigy DJ Salerno will team up with tennis players Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal at the 19th Annual Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day Presented by Hess Saturday, August 23 at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing, N.Y., from 9:30 a.m. – 4 p.m. Singer and actress China Anne McClain (Sing Your Face Off, A.N.T. Farm) and Jeff Sutphen (Figure It Out, BrainSurge), will co-host the show with a special guest appearance by popular fitness trainer and choreographer, Shaun T. Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day Presented by Hess will kick off the 2014 US Open, which runs from August 25 – September 8, 2014.

From 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m., kids and their families can enjoy an exciting array of free tennis games, live music and attractions taking place throughout the grounds of the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Inside Arthur Ashe Stadium from 1 p.m. – 3 p.m., the live tennis and music show will feature fun exhibition matches and skills competitions with Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal as well as musical performances by Hunter Hayes, MKTO, McCLAIN, The Vamps and Madison Beer and Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day house DJ Salerno. Additional talent will be announced in the coming weeks.

Stadium show tickets are on sale now through Ticketmaster (1-866-OPEN-TIX), www.usopen.org and at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center box office. American Express is the official card of Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day. General admission promenade tickets cost $10 and loge tickets are $25. Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day will be broadcast nationally by CBS on Sunday, August 24, from 12:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m (ET). 

“Not only is Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day presented by Hess a fantastic way to kick off the US Open, but it’s also a great time to encourage youth to be active, play tennis and develop healthy habits, “ said Gordon Smith, USTA Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer. “This annual event continues to bring the entire family together for a fun-filled day of sports and entertainment.”

Over the years, Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day has been a launching ground for many of music’s biggest acts including Ariana Grande, Austin Mahone, Justin Bieber, Rihanna, The Wanted, Jonas Brothers, Demi Lovato, Carly Rae Jepsen, Cody Simpson, Sean Kingston, Britney Spears, Ne-Yo, Jessica Simpson, Hanson and Backstreet Boys.

This year’s lineup will feature:

Hunter Hayes – Four-time GRAMMY nominee Hunter Hayes is a Louisiana-born, Nashville-based singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist who roared onto the music scene in 2011 with his Platinum-selling, No. 1 self-titled debut album on Atlantic Records. With three No. 1 singles already under his belt (including the multi-Platinum smash “Wanted,” “Somebody’s Heartbreak,” and “I Want Crazy”), Hayes delves into deeper material on his new album, Storyline. The emotional lead single “Invisible” resonates with fans across the globe and new single “Tattoo” is already warming up the airwaves at Country radio. Hayes is currently headlining shows across the U.S. and Canada. For more information, visit www.hunterhayes.com.

MKTO – The guys of MKTO, comprised of Tony Oller (22) and Malcolm Kelly (21) instantly became best friends when they met on the set of Teen Nick’s Gigantic in 2010. In-between takes, however, the duo couldn’t stop talking about one thing, making music. They linked with Eman and Evan “Kidd” Bogart (Beyoncé, Ne-Yo, Rihanna) who inked them a deal to Columbia Records and began executive producing their self-titled debut album. MKTO have seen international success with top 10 singles in the US, Australia and New Zealand, building a loyal fanbase and amassing over 2.2 million in record sales worldwide. MKTO includes the band’s anthemic debut single “Thank You,” and the platinum-selling soulful/pop single “Classic” which recently hit #14 on the Billboard Hot 100. The music video has amassed over 22 million views on YouTube/VEVO. MKTO recently embarked on their first headlining tour, hitting 36 cities with appearances on Live With Kelly and Michael, The View and Good Morning America. In September 2014 they will hit the road with Demi Lovato on her fall arena tour.

McCLAIN –Formerly known as The McClain Sisters, Sierra, Lauryn and China Anne McClain were born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia and have grown up in a house filled with music. They formed their singing trio at the tender ages of nine, seven, and five and have since performed at the 2012 White House Easter Egg Roll and at the Houston Rodeo for over 78,000 people. They’ve appeared on Disney Channel’s hit series A.N.T. Farm and in Tyler Perry’s film Daddy’s Little Girls. McCLAIN opened for Big Time Rush on their “Better with U Tour” and they’ve been featured on the soundtracks for Disney Channel’s Holiday Playlist and Shake It Up: I <3 Dance. Their single “Rise” has over 12 million views on YouTube/VEVO while their current release, “He Loves Me” is chart smash on Radio Disney. Along with their strong sense of spirituality, these singing sisters believe that their love for music, entertainment—and, even more so, each other—can inspire audiences all around the world.

The Vamps –The Vamps are already a sensation in the U.K., with three Top 3 singles, over 80 million views on their YouTube/VEVO channel, slots opening for Taylor Swift, Selena Gomez and The Wanted, and a Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Award for “UK Favorite Breakthrough”. Now the British four-piece, nominated this year for a Radio Disney Music Award for “The Freshest-Best New Artist,” are gearing up for Stateside domination. The band (Brad Simpson on vocals, James McVey on guitar, Tristan Evans on drums and Connor Ball on bass) have just released their first U.S. single, “Somebody To You,” featuring Demi Lovato and are currently on tour with Austin Mahone and Fifth Harmony. Their debut U.S. EP is due in August on Island Records. “The message of The Vamps is to show people that we are four young musicians who started in a garage and are now having this amazing adventure,” says Connor. “We want everyone who comes to our shows to leave feeling like they had an awesome time!” 

Madison Beer –At just 15, Madison Beer has solidified herself as one of the most promising up-and-coming talents in music. Hailing from Long Island, New York, she first gained recognition on YouTube in 2011 and quickly became a viral hit—garnering more than 10 million page views to date. Manager and media mogul Scooter Braun and pop R&B sensation Justin Bieber took notice, signing Madison to a management deal. Her first single, “Melodies”, was released on Island Def Jam in September, 2013 and the video has 7.1 million views to date on VEVO. In June, 2014, Madison released her second single and music video for “Unbreakable”, produced by the team responsible for Demi Lovato’s “Let It Go.” The music video has already generated more than 2 million views on VEVO. Madison currently serves as a Brand Ambassador for Ralph Lauren’s global child literacy initiative and recently launched a social good campaign on Twitter called #Madkindness, encouraging teens to get involved with and create new charitable opportunities in their communities.

DJ Salerno – Salerno is a 17-year-old DJ, EDM producer & guitarist that has performed with some of today’s biggest stars in front of thousands of fans across the country. One of the most promising up-and-coming DJs on the electronic dance music scene, he has opened or closed for such giants as Hardwell, Martin Garrix and Danny Avilla. Salerno is currently Reality Dance TV’s resident DJ on the nationwide Jam Tour and hosts the weekly EDM radio show RAGE RADIO. He’s fast becoming one of the hottest young DJs on the EDM scene, performing sets in some of the biggest clubs in the world, from Pacha NY to Nokia Theater in L.A. to Confession & Gusto in Aruba. He is also an accomplished guitarist and has toured with Jax, Maddi Jane, IM5 and Coco Jones. He was the Camplified’s resident tour DJ in 2011 & 2012 and has performed with Justin Bieber, Jonas Brothers, Selena Gomez, Ke$ha, Paramore, Girl Talk, Cody Simpson, Miranda Cosgrove and Big Time Rush.

Shaun T – Shaun is a world-renowned health and fitness expert and creator of the bestselling at-home fitness programs INSANITY, Hip Hop Abs and FOCUS T25. He is a native of New Jersey, receiving a BS in Sports Science with a minor in Theater and Dance from Rowan University. He’s shared the stage alongside Val Kilmer in the musical version of The Ten Commandments, appeared in Pippin and Applause as well as Six Feet Under and the feature film Beauty Shop. He’s danced with Mariah Carey, Aaron and Nick Carter, choreographed for the NCAA Final Four Halftime Show and the movie Bring it on: All or Nothing. In creating programs for adults, he recognized the need to fight childhood obesity by developing programs for kids and preteens to get into shape. Shaun’s passion is focused on affecting positive lifestyle changes in people across the world and proving that becoming the best version of yourself is attainable.

Jeff Sutphen – Jeff Sutphen has a great talent for creating shows that engage kids and teens, whether he’s behind the camera or in front of an audience.  As host of Nickelodeon’s Figure It Out, Sutphen brought high energy and laughs, challenging celebrities to guess kid contestants’ unique talents and skills. Prior to Figure It Out, Sutphen hosted all three seasons of Nickelodeon’s Emmy-nominated hit BrainSurge, for which he also served as a producer. He hosted the ABC summer game show 101 Ways to Leave a Game Show from the producers of Wipeout and has most recently been appearing at baseball games across the country for Nickelodeon in association with Major League Baseball. Jeff continued his role as co-host of Nickelodeon’s “Orange Carpet” at the Kids’ Choice Awards and he’ll next appear at Nickelodeon’s first ever Kids’ Choice Sports Awards 2014.

China Anne McClain – 15-year-old singer and actress China Anne McClain was born in Decatur, Georgia to an artistic family, with a father who’s a music producer and mother who’s a screenwriter. She made her major motion picture debut in the 2005 film The Gospel alongside Boris Kodjoe and Idris Elba and went on to land co-starring roles on TBS’s Tyler Perry’s House of Payne and in the Adam Sandler feature franchise Grown Ups. That same year, she was featured on the JONAS L.A. soundtrack singing “Your Biggest Fan” with the Jonas Brothers. In 2011, McClain landed a starring role in the Disney Channel original series A.N.T. Farm and appeared in the in the Wizards of Waverly Place trilogy, Wizards vs. Angels. A member of the pop trio McCLAIN with her sisters Sierra, Lauryn, China Anne has seen chart success while honing her unique musical gift. She recently appeared on the ABC celebrity reality competition show Sing Your Face Off, where she captured first place and also stars in the upcoming Disney Channel original movie How To Build A Better Boy, premiering August 15th.

The Grounds Festival offers a wide range of interactive activities and the opportunity for children of all ages to test their skills, hit with top tennis pros, win prizes and enjoy music: 

  • Hess Express Stage – The Grounds Festival’s free concert featuring up-and-coming musical talent including hip-hop phenoms The Bomb Digz, “Hip Pop” duo Kalin and Myles, New York’s Impact Rep and recent Billboard “Hot Shot Debut” Shawn Mendes. Additional acts to be confirmed.
  • YouthTennis.com (two courts) – Tennis is sized right for kids! With shorter courts, smaller racquets and lower-bouncing balls, the focus is on the fun so kids enjoy the game right from the start.
  • Hess Express Obstacle Course –Test agility, balance, running and tennis skills on the engaging and challenging obstacle course.
  • Hess Target Time – Intermediate and advanced-level kids can test their skills hitting targets. 
  • Xerox Beat the Pro – Challenge the best playing points against some of the top touring and teaching pros in the world.
  • PTR 10 and Under Tennis – Have some fun with PTR professionals and work on improving your beginning serve, rally and scoring skills.
  • USPTA 10 and Under Tennis – USPTA-certified teaching professionals host this court consisting of colorful hitting stations using a variety of teaching aids.
  • Nike Tennis – Tennis and skill activities on two courts featuring Nike-sponsored athletes.
  • Esurance Champions of the Court –Exciting doubles play for all levels. Which team will win Champions of the Court?
  • USTA Foundation Tennis Skills –Innovative, fun, tennis and fitness activities to develop the skills of beginning players of all ages.
  • Coca-Cola Get Fit and Play – Challenging tennis courses for varying skill levels focusing on agility, balance, coordination, speed and strength.
  • IBM Speedzone – Just like the pros, utilize IBM’s speed serve technology to test the power behind your shot.
  • The US Open American Express Fan Experience –Step inside the US Open American Express Fan Experience for even more tennis fun! The Fan Experience is located in the Chase Center near the East Gate.
  • Watch the Pros Practice – See tennis’s biggest stars up close as they prepare for the US Open. Public practices are featured on Louis Armstrong Stadium, Grandstand and Court 17. Watch the video boards for schedules. 
  • From Nickelodeon – Live appearances by SpongeBob, Patrick, Dora and Diego!
  • Also – Autographs, Juggling Workshop, Face Painting, Hair Beading and Braiding, Storytelling, Balloon Artists, Roving Entertainers and more.

Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day presented by Hess is the largest single-day, grassroots tennis and entertainment event in the world. Hess has supported the event since 2003. With chart-topping performers, celebrities and professional tennis players, the day helps to promote youth tennis and encourages children of all ages to develop healthy habits through fun activities. Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day also celebrates the life and values of tennis legend and humanitarian Arthur Ashe.

Proceeds from Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day benefit the USTA Foundation which helps fund the National Junior Tennis & Learning Network (NJTL), a nationwide group of more than 600 nonprofit youth-development organizations that provide free or low-cost tennis, education and life-skills programming to more than 325,000 children each year, founded 45 years ago by Arthur Ashe, along with Charlie Pasarell and Sheridan Snyder. 

For more information on Youth Tennis and Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day, log on to www.YouthTennis.com and/or www.AAKD.com. To connect via social media, please “like” the officialFacebook page facebook.com/ArthurAsheKidsDay and/or follow @AAKidsDay on Twitter. In the event of inclement weather, ticket holders can log on to any of the sites listed above for the most up to date information.

The 2013 US Open surpassed 700,000 attendees for the sixth time, with the final tally of 713,026 ranking fourth-highest US Open attendance in history. The all-time combined session attendance record of 62,794 was set on Sunday, September 1.

In a rematch of the 2012 women’s singles final, television viewership of Serena Williams defeating Victoria Azarenka on CBS Sports was the highest since 2002, with 19.3 million viewers watching all or part of the match. The four-set men’s singles final, where Rafael Nadal captured his second US Open title by defeating Novak Djokovic, was seen by 11.7 million viewers on CBS Sports. The 2013 US Open was broadcast in more than 200 countries around the world and aired on CBS Sports, ESPN and Tennis Channel in the U.S.

The 2014 US Open will be held Monday, August 25 through Monday, September 8. Tickets for the 2014 US Open can be purchased four ways: 1) at USOpen.org; 2) by calling Ticketmaster at 1-866-OPEN-TIX; 3) at all Ticketmaster outlets; or 4) at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center box office.  American Express is the Official Card of the US Open.

Hess Corporation (NYSE: HES), with headquarters in New York, is a leading global independent energy company engaged in the exploration and production of crude oil and natural gas. More information is available at www.hess.com.

The USTA is the national governing body for the sport of tennis in the U.S. and the leader in promoting and developing the growth of tennis at every level — from local communities to the highest level of the professional game.  A not-for-profit organization with more than 750,000 members, it invests 100% of its proceeds in growing the game. It owns and operates the US Open, the highest attended annual sporting event in the world, and launched the Olympus US Open Series linking 10 summer tournaments to the US Open. In addition, it owns the 90-plus Pro Circuit events throughout the U.S, and selects the teams for the Davis Cup, Fed Cup, Olympic and Paralympic Games. The USTA philanthropic entity, USTA Serves, provides grants and scholarships and helps underserved youth and people with disabilities. For more information on the USTA, log on to usta.com, “like” the official Facebook page facebook.com/usta or follow @usta on Twitter.

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Nadal, Bryans Qualify For 2014 Barclays ATP World Tour Finals

Nadal waves and smiles

ATP World Tour -LONDON – Rafael Nadal will return to London this November in an attempt to capture his first career season-ending Barclays ATP World Tour Finals title. Nadal joins three-time champion Novak Djokovic as the first two singles players to qualify for this year’s season finale, to be held at The O2 from 9-16 November.

Nadal has qualified for the elite eight-player tournament for the 10th straight year. The Spaniard has finished runner-up on two occasions, in 2010 (l. to Federer) and 2013 (l. to Djokovic). The Barclays ATP World Tour Finals title is one of the few major prizes in the sport still to elude the Spanish superstar.

ATP Executive Chairman and President, Chris Kermode, said, “Rafa’s qualification for this year’s Barclays ATP World Tour Finals is terrific news for tennis fans in the UK. They now have another chance to see a true sporting icon battle it out for the last title of the season. Rafa has previously come close to winning the title in London a number of times. This year, once again, many will consider him to be a leading contender as he looks to add this prestigious title to his long list of career achievements.”

The 28-year-old Nadal has lifted four trophies this year, including the Qatar ExxonMobil Open (d. Monfils) in January; the Rio Open presented by Claro hdtv (d. Dolgopolov) in February; an all-time record 27th ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title at the Mutua Madrid Open (d. Nishikori) in May and his ninth Roland Garros (d. Djokovic). Roger Federer, currently at No. 3 in the Emirates ATP Race To London, is the next in line to qualify for the 2014 Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, where he is a record six-time former winner.

Last week Nadal relinquished No. 1 in the Emirates ATP Rankings to Djokovic following the Serb’s triumph at Wimbledon. Nadal, who has been No. 1 for a total of 143 weeks, was crowned the year-end ATP World Tour No. 1 in 2008, 2010 and 2013. Nadal and Djokovic have dominated the year-end No. 1 position for the past four years and the battle for top spot should not be an exception this year.

Bob and Mike Bryan will also be bidding to crown their 2014 season by winning the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals for a fourth time, adding to titles in 2003-04 and 2009. They have qualified for the eight-team season finale for the 13th consecutive time (2001, 2003-2014). No doubles event was held in 2002.

The American brothers have captured five team titles in eight finals this year. In 2013, the American brothers clinched the year-end No. 1 Emirates ATP Doubles Team Ranking for a record ninth time and for a fifth consecutive season.

The Barclays ATP World Tour Finals has welcomed more than 1.25 million fans to The O2 arena over the past five years, establishing itself as the biggest indoor tennis tournament in the world since moving to London in 2009. Tickets can be purchased at: www.BarclaysATPWorldTourFinals.com.

Emirates ATP Race to London – Top 15 (as of Monday, 14 July, 2014)

Singles
Pos. Name YTD Points
1. N. Djokovic (SRB) 7,250
2. R. Nadal (ESP) 6,645
3. R. Federer (SUI) 4,560
4. S. Wawrinka (SUI) 4,095
5. T. Berdych (CZE) 3,050
6. G. Dimitrov (BUL) 2,785
7. A. Murray (GBR) 2,435
8. D. Ferrer (ESP) 2,410
9. K. Nishikori (JPN) 2,405
10. E. Gulbis (LAT) 2,265
11. M. Raonic (CAN) 2,205
12. M. Cilic (CRO) 1,710
13. R. Bautista Agut (ESP) 1,565
14. F. Fognini (ITA) 1,500
15. A. Dolgopolov (UKR) 1,410


Emirates ATP Doubles Team Race to London – Top 10 (as of Monday, 14 July, 2014)

Doubles
Pos. Name YTD Points
1. B. Bryan (USA) / M. Bryan (USA) 6,445
2. D. Nestor (CAN) / N. Zimonjic (SRB) 5,100
3. J. Benneteau (FRA) / E. Roger-Vasselin (FRA) 3,600
4. L. Kubot (POL) / R. Lindstedt (SWE) 2,855
5. A. Peya (AUT) / B. Soares (BRA) 2,650
6. M. Llodra (FRA) / N. Mahut (FRA) 2,480
7. E. Butorac (USA) / R. Klaasen (RSA) 2,235
8. J. Cabal (COL) / R. Farah (COL) 2,045
9. V. Pospisil (CAN) / J. Sock (USA) 2,000
10. M. Granollers (ESP) / M. Lopez (ESP) 1,990


Bold denotes qualification

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French Open Champions Rafael Nadal and Maria Sharapova Lose at Wimbledon

(July 1, 2014) WIMBLEDON – French Open Champions Rafael Nadal and Maria Sharapova were the victims of major upsets on Tuesday at Wimbledon.

World No. 1 and No. 2 seed Nadal fell to Australian wild card Nick Kyrgios 7-6(5), 5-7, 7-6(5), 6-3 in the fourth round. For the up-and-coming Kyrgios ranked 144th in the world who hit 37 aces against Nadal, it was the match of his life and the biggest upset of the tournament.

“I’m pretty happy,” said the 19-year-old Australian. “That’s the biggest win of my career obviously, and that’s something I’m never going to forget. I’m going to draw so much confidence out of that no matter where I play now. To have that under my belt, it’s massive.”

“The thing is this surface,” Nadal said. “When you have an opponent that he decides to serve and to hit every ball very strong, you are in trouble.

“I think that I didn’t play really bad. But that’s the game in this surface.

“I think in the second and the third set I was better than him, but I was not able to convert that opportunities. And for the rest, I think he play better than me.

“So, in general, talking about what you need to win in this surface, he did the things better than me.”
It was the fourth straight match at Wimbledon where Nadal dropped the opening set.

Kyrgios became the first man to reach the quarterfinals in his Wimbledon debut in 10 years. He is also the first teenager to defeat the No. 1 player man at a major since Nadal did it at 19 when he beat Roger Federer at the 2005 French Open.

“I think I had to play a solid game that gave me the best shot,” said the 6’ 4” Australian. “That’s serving big and playing aggressive. I thought today my serve was something that got me over the line. It made me, you know, be able to put pressure on his serve as well.

“I think that was very important.”

“In the tiebreak he was able to serve better than me,” the Spaniard said. “So that’s an advantage. I could serve better on the tiebreaks. But 5‑All in the second set in the tiebreak, second serve, net, inside for him, second serve big. Then he repeat the second serve with 140 miles the second serve.

“You know, that’s happens when you have nothing to lose. You can play that way. Players who really play for being in the last rounds, think about win the titles, it’s not easy to create the second serve 114 5-All in the tiebreak, but that’s what happened today.

“Congratulations to him. For me, beach,” Nadal said smiling.

“It still hasn’t sunk in yet,” Kyrgios said of the win. “I was just overwhelmed with every feeling out there. I turned to my whole box, you know, just shared that moment with them. It still hasn’t hit me what I’ve done.”
Next up in the quarterfinal for the Aussie will be another big server in Canadian Milos Raonic.

“Milos has probably got the best serve in the world,” he said. I’m just going to go out there and have fun again.”
Maria Sharapova became the favorite to win Wimbledon when Serena Williams lost on Saturday. Germany’s Angelique Kerber, the No. 9 seed dismissed the fifth-seeded Russian from the tournament 7-6 (4), 4-6, 6-4. The match was a tale of errors.

Sharapova made 49 unforced errors, 38 more than her opponent.

“I think there were a few little key moments in each set actually that I can learn from,” Sharapova said. “I was up in the tiebreaker and didn’t follow through. You know, it was great to come back in that second.
“Had a really slow start in the third. She rode with that confidence. It was just a few points in the end of that. Maybe things would have been different if I won that game, but in the end I didn’t.”

“Before I went on court I was just telling myself, you know, Just go out there, enjoy it, and play like you are at practice,” Kerber said. “You know, not focus on her, just focus on yourself, yeah, and believe that you can beat her.”

“At the end I was trying to focus just from point to point. I was telling me, you know, You can do it. She will not make mistakes. If you would like to win the match, you need to do it, to be aggressive, just go for it.
“Yeah, and I did it. Yeah, I’m just happy that, you know, actually I won the match. I think she didn’t lost the match; I won it. That feels good.”

“The next match against Bouchard, it will be tough one,” Kerber added. “I lost against her in Paris, but I’m feeling right now better and I’m feeling better on grass.

“I never played against her on this surface, so I will be focused like today just on myself. Just try to be aggressive, play my game, and not focusing on her.”

The women’s quarterfinals set for Wednesday are No. 3 Simona Halep against 2013 runner-up Sabine Lisicki, and No. 9 Angelique Kerber versus No. 13 Eugenie Bouchard. The semifinal on the other side of the draw is already complete 2011 champion Petra Kvitova against No. 23 Lucie Safarova

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After a Slow Start, Nadal Cruises Past Kukushkin at Wimbledon

 

(June 28, 2014) WIMBLEDON – While rain suspended play on the outer courts on Saturday, under the roof at Centre Court, No. 2 seed Rafael Nadal dropped the first set for the third striaght match, but rebounded for a 6-7(4), 6-1, 6-1, 6-1 win over Mikhail Kukushkin to reach the last 16 at Wimbledon.

In the opening set the Kazakh, played powerful tennis, kept pace with Nadal, giving the world No.1 all he could handle. Both men stood toe-to-toe until the tiebreak.

The first three points of the tiebreak went against serve, giving Kukushkin the immediate advantage. He went on the take the tiebreak 7-4.

:I am a good first set player,” Nadal said.  “I think my opponent played great the first set today and I think I was playing fine.  He played fantastic.  The only thing that I did not good in the first set was some returns with the second serve that I make a few mistakes with his second serve.

“And then in the tiebreak I didn’t serve well, didn’t serve enough well.  Then I give him the opportunity to attack me with the second serve, my second serve.  He did well.  He was playing great.

“Accept that the match is long.  Accept that if he is able to play like this for three sets I will be in trouble.  But always waiting that I can improve one step.  If I improve one step, I can be there.  I think I did.”

Kukushkin hit 17 winners with five aces in the first set.

The tide took a tremendous turn for the Spaniard, whose game picked up.  After 1-1 in the second set, Nadal won 11 of the next 12 games to take the next two sets 6-1, 6-1.

Nadal hit 10 winners and made only 2 unforced errors in the second set. He won 31 out of 47 points in the set. Nadal was  two for three on break points.

Nadal opened the third set with a break and held to go up 2-0. Seven straight games until Kukushkin could hold to break the string of games against him. An additional break in the fifth game extended Nadal’s lead to 4-1 and a hold for 5-1 and another break gave him the set.

The fourth set saw more of the same dominance from 14-time major champion. He hit 27 winners in the match with and won 92 percent of his points at the net.

Nadal is now 187 – 24 in grand slam matches.

Nadal will play ATP youngster Nick Kyrgios in the round of 16.

 

 

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Rafael Nadal Bounces Back to Knock Out Lukas Rosol at Wimbledon

 

(June 26, 2014) WIMBLEDON – Rafael Nadal rallied from a set and a break down to stop Lukas Rosol 4-6, 7-6(6), 6-4.

Lukas Rosol burst on the scene when he upset Nadal in five sets in the second round of Wimbledon back in 2012. The Czech picked up where he left off two years ago taking the first set 6-4, using his powerful serves and groundstrokes.

The Czech jumped out to a break to take a 4-2 lead in the second set, when a momentum shift seemed to take place. Nadal was serving bigger and was more accurate with his returned and took the break back to even up the set at 4-4.

 

Both men held to get into a second set tiebreaker. The first mini-break of the tie break went to Rosol to go up 5-3. Serving at 5-4, Rosol gave the break back when he netted a soft volley. A 125 mph serve gave him set point at 6-5 and a forehand winner by Nadal evened up at 6-6.

“Maybe if I lose that set point in the second set, if that forehand down the line went out, maybe will be here with a lose,” Nadal said.

“But that’s the sport.  That forehand was a perfect forehand for that moment.  Is true that even if I was losing, I was fighting for every ball.  I was fighting mentally, physically.  Positive thing about tennis, I was able to find solutions through the whole match.  At the same time my physical performance was different today than a few years ago”

Nadal’s strong serve forced a Rosol error to give him set point and a double fault gave Nadal the set 7-6(6) to even the match.

 

In the third set Nadal had three break points in Rosol’s second serving game which he failed to take advantage of. But with Rosol’s first serves losing their luster, Nada look advantage of another second serve to take the fourth break point for a 2-1 lead in the third.

Nadal held at love to extend his lead to 3-1. Nadal held the rest of the set to claim it 6-4. Nadal hit 16 winners in the set to Rosol’s 2.

Nadal continued his momentum by breaking Rosol at love to open the fourth set. He never relinquished the lead, but saved a break point as he was serving for the match.

“When I am playing the match today, I am not thinking about the match two years ago,” said the 28-year-old.  “I am thinking what I have to do to win the next point in that match.

“What happened happened.  That’s it.  We already congratulate him for what happened two years ago.

“Today is another history, another story.  I needed to find the solution.  Finally I did.  That’s the most important thing.

” I think I played with fantastic energy during the last three sets.  Very positive.  Very quick with my legs.  You know, very quick mentally.  I was returning great last three sets.  I was able to have more breaks.

“But he was serving well, hitting the ball well.  When I had the chance to touch the ball with the return, every return was in, and a good one.  So I am very pleased the way that I played.”

Nadal hit 46 winners to just 11 unforced errors in the match, going 13 for 19 in points won at the net.

The No. 2 seed will play Mikhail Kukushkin of Kazakhstan in the third round on Saturday.

More to follow…

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Nadal Tops Klizan for 700th Win

Nadal waves and smiles

(June 24, 2014) Rafael Nadal recovered from a first set loss to earn his first match win at Wimbledon since 2012 with a 4-6, 6-3, 6-3, 6-3 win over Martin Klizan. The world No. 1, but seeded No. 2 entered special company on Tuesday afternoon becoming the 11th player in the Open Era to earn his 700th career win.

“Well, was a positive match for me,” Nadal said.  “First thing because I won.  That’s the most important thing.  I didn’t play much on grass for the last three years.  So always is like you restart.

“So happy for the victory.  In the end the match was difficult.  After the first set was even more difficult.  So I was able to fight.  I was able to try to find some solutions, some changes during the match.  I think I can do it better than what I did today, but at the same time I know I will not play today at my 100%.  I will not play perfect today after not playing in grass for a while.

“So you need to find the routines again.  You need to find the confidence on some shots.  The only way to find that things that comes automatic, the only way is play matches.”

Next up for the two-time former Wimbledon champion will be Lukas Rosol, the man who upset Nadal in the second round of Wimbledon in 2012.

“He’s a very dangerous player, very strong, very powerful shots from the baseline,” Nadal said.

“He’s aggressive player.  Will be a tough match again.  I know if I want to have chances to win, I need to play very well.  That’s what I going to try.  If not, I don’t have chances to be in the third round.  But I going to fight for it.”

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Quotes of the Day from the Pre-Wimbledon News Conferences

Serena in press 3

(June 21, 2014) WIMBLEDON – Players met the media on Saturday for pre-Wimbledon news conferences, days ahead of the The Championships, 2014.

 

Who says I was over it (smiling)?

-No. 1 seed Serena Williams  asked about how long it took for her to get over her stunning second round loss at the French Open to Garbine Muguruza.

 

-Simona Halep on her new found fame in her homeland of Romania

It was amazing feeling when I arrived home, because they stopped the plane just on the red carpet at the airport and everybody was waiting for me, about 300 fans.  I went to them and I said hello, many things there.  They ask me many things.

Yeah, was incredible.  For me was the best moment of my life.  Was incredible.  I will never forget that moment.

 

The big change is that everybody knows me now and a lot of people are speaking about me and are watching me.  In Romania all the press, every day they are watching me.  I don’t know why.

It’s a little bit difficult, but I want just to stay very far of this and just to keep focus my mental for the tennis.  I just want to think about tennis now and nothing else.

 

On looking at her ranking years ago:

A few years ago I was looking at the rankings on Internet, and I saw I was fourth page.  I said my dream is to be on first page.

So now I am there, and I am really happy.  I cannot be sad that I lose some matches.  I want just to enjoy this moment and to try to improve more in my game and to be maybe second or first.

 

Roger Federer on his second round loss at Wimbledon last year:

That was done a week after Wimbledon.  After that, I didn’t need to think about it a whole lot anymore.  It was just one of the big goals I set for myself.  I failed.  Back to work.  Get yourself in shape.

Rafael Nadal on Wimbledon:

I say before:  Is really the most dangerous tournament of the year.  When I arrive to Roland Garros I already played for one month on clay.  I played a lot of matches.  So more or less I can imagine how I am going to play.

 

 

 

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Dustin Brown Stuns No. 1 Rafael Nadal in Halle

 

(June 12, 2014) Just four days after winning his ninth Roland Garros title, world No. 1 Rafael Nadal fell in his opening match at the Gerry Weber in Halle, Germany to German wild card No. 85 Dustin Brown 6-4, 6-1 in 58 minutes. With the victory, Brown becomes the lowest-ranked player to beat a No. 1 player since No. 98 Mardy Fish beat Roger Federer at Indian Wells in 2008.

“I lost today because my rival was playing better than me,” said the Spaniard “And at the same time, as I said yesterday, the transition from clay to grass is difficult, especially when you arrive a little bit tired and not at 100 per cent. But I tried my best.”

Nadal is now 1-3 at Halle, with all three losses coming to German players.

“It was the worst draw possible against a player like this,” Nadal said. It’s very difficult to talk about the match because I don’t know what to say. I didn’t play. My opponent always served over 200kph with his first and second serves. So, that can happen on this surface if you face an opponent like this.

“I tried but my serve was not good enough. At the same time he changed the dynamic completely. For four games he really didn’t put many returns on the court and then suddenly he was playing winners from the return. So, it’s difficult to analyze these kind of matches.”

“I’ve had a lot of great wins before, but this was my first time playing against a World No. 1, at home in Germany and on grass – my best surface,” said the German Brown. “Everything came together. I tried to play my game as aggressively as possible.

“I took away the big things in (Nadal’s) game that make him the unbelievable player that he is. I hit a lot of big serves. I had a plan and it worked out.”

It’s Brown’s second top ten win of the year, he defeated No. 10 John Isner at the tournament in Houston in April.

Brown will play countryman Philipp Kohlschreiber in the quarterfinals.

Nadal has now lost his last three grass court matches to Brown, No. 135 Steve Darcis at last year’s Wimbledon and No. 100 Lukas Rosol at 2012 Wimbledon.

Roger Federer had to rebound from a first set loss to stop Portugal’s Joao Sousa 6-7 (8), 6-4, 6-2.

RESULTS – THURSDAY, 12 JUNE 2014

Singles – Second Round
[WC] D Brown (GER) d [1] R Nadal (ESP) 64 61
[2] R Federer (SUI) d J Sousa (POR) 67(8) 64 62
S Johnson (USA) d T Gabashvili (RUS) w/o (right knee)
Y Lu (TPE) d I Karlovic (CRO) 76(2) 76(3)

Doubles – Quarter-finals
M Draganja (CRO) / F Mergea (ROU) d [1] L Kubot (POL) / R Lindstedt (SWE) w/o (Kubot – left heel)
A Begemann (GER) / J Knowle (AUT) d R Haase (NED) / K Nishikori (JPN) 63 64
[WC] M Chiudinelli (SUI) / R Federer (SUI) d A Falla (COL) / S Giraldo (COL) 63 63

SCHEDULE – FRIDAY, 13 JUNE 2014

STADIUM start 12:00 noon
[WC] P Gojowczyk (GER) vs A Falla (COL)
[WC] D Brown (GER) vs P Kohlschreiber (GER)
S Johnson (USA) vs [4] K Nishikori (JPN)

Not Before 5:30 pm
Y Lu (TPE) vs [2] R Federer (SUI)

COURT 1 start 1:00 pm
M Draganja (CRO) / F Mergea (ROU) vs A Begemann (GER) / J Knowle (AUT)
After Suitable Rest – [WC] D Brown (GER) / J Struff (GER) vs I Karlovic (CRO) / M Pavic (CRO)

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Rafael Nadal Wins Ninth French Open Title for 14th Major

 

 

(June 8, 2014) Rafael Nadal captured his ninth French Open title, his 14 major title by defeating No. 2 Novak Djokovic 3-6, 7-5, 6-2, 6-4 on Sunday in Paris in three hours and 31 minutes. For Nadal it’s a record breaking five straight French Open titles, a 66-1 record at Roland Garros and a 35 match winning streak in Paris.

In capturing his 14 major, the twenty-eighth-year-old Spaniard has won his 64th tournament title. He is tied with Pete Sampras for second on the all-time list of major tournament titles, three behind Roger Federer who has 17. Nadal has one at least one major for the ten straight years.

Nadal lifts his record against Djokovic to 23-19, a perfect 5-0 when playing him at Roland Garros. He is now 4-3 in major finals against the Serb. Djokovic won at Wimbledon and the US Open in 2011 and at the 2012 Australian Open, while Nadal won at the 2010 US Open, 2012 Roland Garros, the 2013 US Open and Roland Garros.

“For me playing here in Roland Garros is just unforgettable, forever,” Nadal said.

Djokovic won the first set, after breaking Nadal in the eighth game and saving break points in the ninth for 6-3.

Nadal broke Djokovic in the 12th game to win the second set 7-5. In the third set, Nadal jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the third and broke serve again to take the set 6-2.

Djokovic had two chances to get the break back in the third set, in the fifth game and in the seventh, but Nadal held both times and then broke serve again in the final game for 6-2.

In the fourth set Nadal broke Djokovic in the sixth game to take a 4-2 lead, but the Serb broke back and held to even the set at 4-4. Nadal held for 5-4 and won the match when Djokovic double-faulted on match point.

“It was a great start; came back in the second,”Djokovic said in his post-match interview with media.  “Could have gone to the tiebreak and was quite even.  I lost that service game 6 5, and then the momentums went his side.

“I started, you know, playing quite bad, you know, and didn’t move as well.  Struggled a little bit physically throughout that third set.

“Then in the fourth started to feel a little bit better, but then just crucial points he played better.  I wasn’t playing at the level that I wanted, especially in the second part of the match.

“You know, that’s sport.  It’s how it is.  These kind of big matches obviously take the best out of players.  And of course it’s a huge challenge.  I tried to do my best.  My best wasn’t as the best against him in Rome a couple weeks ago.

“But, you know, it’s how it is.  Congratulations to him.  He was a better player in the crucial moments.  Of course it’s disappointing for me, but life goes on.  It’s not the first time or last time that I lost a match.”

“Without that second set, I don’t know if I have this trophy with me now,” Nadal said.

“He deserves to win this tournament,” Nadal said. “I am sure he will do it in the future.”

For his efforts, Nadal will receive €1,650,000 in prize money. He will remain No. 1 in the world.

At 45 clay court singles titles, Nadal is one title away from equaling the record of Guillermo Vilas at 46.

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