July 28, 2015

Djokovic, Murray and Nadal Reach French Open Fourth Round with Straight Set Wins

(May 30, 2015) Top seeds Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray and Rafael Nadal earned straight-set victory to reach the fourth round of the French Open on Saturday.

No. 1 Novak Djokovic, seeking the only major he has yet to win defeated young Australian Thanasi Kokkinakis 6-4, 6-4, 6-4. Djokovic currently on a 25 match win streak hit 34 winners in the one hour and 49 minute match.

“I think that tennis needs players like Thanasi, who is a teenager, but still able to come out on center court and play with courage and play with power and believe in himself,” Djokovic said. He’s one of this group of three, four young players that are, you know, starting to be more and more consistent and make couple of big wins in their careers and that are obviously expected to do very well from the tennis world. Now, we didn’t have that many young successful players under 20 year olds in last six, seven years, so I think it’s quite refreshing for tennis and it’s pretty good to see that. I thought he served well. He played pretty well. I made the three breaks each set, and that was enough for the win.”

“Great experience for me to play on such a nice court against No. 1 in the world and one of the greatest players of all time,” said the the Australian ranked 84th in the word. “I wasn’t too nervous going into the match. Felt like I served all right. I played all right. Just wasn’t quite enough.”

Next up for Djokovic will be No. 20 Richard Gasquet of France. Gasquet came back against Kevin Anderson 4-6, 7-6(4), 7-5, 6-4

Third seed Andy Murray remained unbeaten on clay this season reaching the fourth round defeating Nick Kyrgios 6-4, 6-2, 6-3.

“Definitely coming into the tournament, I mean, is the best I have played on clay,” Murray said. “The results would obviously suggest that. Never won a clay court tournament, never been to the final and had many wins against any of the top guys, you know, for a while on the clay. Obviously in Madrid, I managed to do that against Kei (Nishikori), Milos (Raonic), and against Rafa(el Nadal), played some very good matches there. I think winning the tournament and changing my schedule helped a lot. I never played any of the smaller events on the tour, on clay, and getting my first win on clay helped, for sure. I feel that that was a good decision from me and my team there. And then also physically, as well. I gave myself time to get used to the surface, and a surface I struggled with my back for a few years and gave myself a proper training period, built it up slowly, and made a few changes to the way that I preferred for this clay court season. That was, I think, they are the things that I have changed and the things that have helped me.”

“Murray, I think he’s one of the best defenders of the game at the moment,” Kyrios said. “Yeah, obviously matchup is key thing in tennis, but today I wasn’t near 100%. Not to take anything from him. He played unbelievable. I don’t think he served well, but he made a lot of returns and he just does what he does best: that’s make a lot of balls and mix up the game. He was too good.”

Murray with try to reach the quarterfinals when he takes on Frenchman Jeremy Chardy.

Jeremy Chardy upset 17th seed David Goffin 6-3, 6-4, 6-2.

“He’s so confident, he didn’t lose a match on clay court,” Chardy said about playing Murray. “I play against him in Rome. I play a good match, but still I lost 3 and 3. Yeah, after he beat me, he pull out from Rome to be fresh for Roland Garros, and I think for him it’s a big goal. So it will be a really tough match. In the past we always say Andy doesn’t like to play on clay court, but now I think everybody change and he like more now to play on clay.”

Rafael Nadal won his 69th career match at Roland Garros to move into the round of 16, besting 120th-ranked Andrey Kuznetsov 6-1, 6-3, 6-2 and extending his winning streak at Roland Garros to 38.

The sixth seeded Spaniard will face 22-year-old American Jack Sock next.

On playing Sock in the round of 16, Nadal said: He’s a great player, no? He’s playing fantastic, winning very tough matches against very difficult opponents like (Grigor) Dimitrov, Pablo Carrena (Busta), and today against (Borna) Coric. He has an amazing forehand, good serve, very good serve, and then he’s a player that can play very aggressive and is dangerous, no? I know I have to be very solid. I know I have to play aggressive, try to don’t let him to hit the forehand in positions, because I am going to be in big trouble. I gonna try.”

In a battle of young guns of the ATP World tour, Sock overwhelmed 18-year-old Borna Coric with his forehand with a 6-2, 6-1, 6-4 win.

Coric said: “He just played way too good today. He was serving too big. His forehands were very heavy and I was struggling to cope with that. I couldn’t stay close to the line. You know, yeah, he was just playing too good. I mean, it was maybe the combination that I didn’t play great. That’s for sure. But I think that the first thing was that he played too good.”

“It was a good day for me, for sure,” Sock said. “I was fortunate enough to play great tennis. And, you know, once again, things I was looking to do, serving forehand and dictate a lot of points, like I said yesterday or a couple days ago, I was able to do that very well today. In general, I think he plays pretty far behind the baseline and kind of lets the opponent maneuver the ball a little bit. He’s a great defender, makes a lot of balls, and is very quick. I usually feel pretty good when I’m hitting a lot of forehands, especially from the left side of the court, and able to move the ball around and dictate play. I was able to do that today fortunately.”

Ninth seed and reigning U. S. Open champion Marin Cilic of Croatia had a straight forward 6-3, 6-2, 6-4 victory over No. 23 Leonardo Mayer of Argentina.

The round of 16 is set for the men:

Novak Djokovic vs Richard Gasquet

Rafael Nadal vs Jack Sock

Andy Murray vs Jeremy Chardy

David Ferrer vs Marin Cilic

Kei Nishikori vs Teymuraz Gabashvili

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga vs Tomas Berdych

Stan Wawrinka vs Gilles Simon

Roger Federer vs Gael Monfils

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Serena Williams Avoids Early Exit, Rafael Nadal Cruises at French Open

(May 28, 2015) Serena Williams survived a possible upset on Thursday when she came beat German Anna-Lena Friedsam ranked 105th in the world 5-7, 6-3, 6-3 in the second round of the French Open.

“Probably more frustrated than relieved, but I know I’m capable of playing great tennis, just haven’t seen it yet,” Williams said.

“I feel like one thing Venus always tells me: A win is a win, and as long as you live to survive the next day, you can always improve. I know my level is literally a hundred times better than I played today, so I think I take more solace in the fact I can play better as opposed to the fact that that’s the best I could play. Then I would be in trouble.”

Next for Williams in the third round will be two-time major champion Victoria Azarenka who defeated Lucie Hradecka 6-2 6-3.
“It will be a tough match, obviously,” Williams said. “We had a really tough match in Madrid. So I do know if I play the way I did today, I probably won’t be winning my match. So I’m going to have to step it up a level. Probably just get out, start up better and be more relaxed and go from there. But it’s definitely not going to be easy, but, you know, at the end of the day it is what it is. I’m ready.”

“I think out of all the top players she’s, for whatever reason, has given me particularly some troubles. But, you know, she’s great at what she does. She fights hard and never gives up, and she’s really feisty. And I think that’s obviously why she’s been able to be a Grand Slam champion, not just on one occasion. So, I mean, yeah, those players aren’t always the easiest to play, but they also get you excited to play those matches and to be ready for that.”

“Facing somebody who is, you know, No. 1 in the world is never easy,” Azarenka said. “But I just want to try to focus, you know, on my game, on my energy, and try to play the best as possible. But there is no question you have to come up with your A game and play well.”

No drama for 9-time French Open champion Rafael Nadal who dismissed Spanish countryman Nicolas Almagro 6-4, 6-3, 6-1.

“I think I played a good match against an opponent I think he didn’t play bad through a lot of very hard games, long games,” Nadal said. “The score is easier than what the match was like. Very happy, I think I did a few things very well.”

2010 French Open champion Francesca Schiavone saved a match point in a 3 hour 50 minute marathon against 18th-seeded and 2009 French Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova, 6-7 (11), 7-5, 10-8 to move into the third round. Kuznetsova served for the match four times.

Both women played the longest women’s match in Grand Slam history at the 2011 Australian Open, 6-4, 1-6, 16-14 which lasted 4 hours, 44 minutes. Schiavone won that match as well.

“She went for it,” Kusnetsova said. “She played unbelievable shot. She played the deeper ball on high bounce to my backhand. I played good angle. For one-handed backhand to play it like that down the line, she totally went for it and all credit to her. She played unbelievable point. It’s nothing I can do, you know. It’s many more other opportunities I have to think about on my serve, which I didn’t serve well. I was not too sharp today for me.”

“Today was the key that long line with backhand,” Schiavone said. “I had to, otherwise backhand against backhand she was much better than me. So I had to play over there or in or out, and I play very good long line. Long match, yeah. With Svetlana I think we can play hours and hours and hours because we know each other exactly like I said before to play. Was great for me. I don’t know. She is amazing, and every time I play against her I say, Oh, my God, now what can happen? And it’s happen a long match again.”

Another upset victim, Caroline Wozniacki, the fifth seed, fell to 72nd ranked Julia Goerges in 6-4, 7-6 (4).

“I think I don’t play the typical women’s game on clay court,” said the German. “I play a little bit more spin, a little bit higher the ball over the net than some of the other girls. Well, she gets the ball in her striking zone she doesn’t miss any ball, but if you give her different balls, then it’s tougher for her to manage to bring the ball back with good quality, what she usually does when she has it in her striking zone. You have to mix up a lot. That’s what I did in all the matches I’ve played her. It’s never a guarantee you’re going to win the match, but you have to execute well, as well, and that’s what I did mainly today very well.”

Americans Madison Keys, Sloane Stephens and Jack Sock also advanced to the third round.

The 16th seeded Keys defeated Switzerland’s Belinda Bencic 6-0, 6-3.

“Belinda is also a great player,” Keys said. “So I knew it was going to be tough. I knew I was going to have to be playing well and kind of in my best form in order to get past them. Just really happy with kind of how I managed to fight through the first one. I thought I played really well today.”
“I thought I came out and was aggressive and tried to play the best I could,” Stephens said about beating Watson 6-2, 6-4. “Obviously executed really well my shots and I stayed pretty consistent throughout, so that was good.”
Watson, who had never lost to Stephens before, was wearing tape on her arm. “I’ve had this with my arm for a week and a bit now, but it wasn’t the reason I lost today,” Watson said. “I felt fine. I had it all taped up and I took some painkillers before the match. But it was just me really. I was just pretty sluggish and slow out there. Finally after like a set and a bit I finally got into it, but at that point it was kind of a little bit too late.”

Jack Sock continues to win on American men’s least successful surface in recent times, but his favorite. The American defeated Pablo Carreno Busta in four sets to advance.

“I thought he played a really good match,” Sock said. “I’ve seen him play a few times, not a whole lot. Yeah, I thought he was kind of on top of his game today. It was a match I had to win. He wasn’t going to be given to me, by any means. I finally found my serve three hours in, which was nice. It was letting me down there for a while, but I was able to find a little bit and the rhythm there at the end.”

May 28, 2015 Results French Open

Men’s Singles – Third Round

[5] Kei Nishikori (JPN) d. Benjamin Becker (GER) W/O (right shoulder)

Men’s Singles – Second Round

[1] Novak Djokovic (SRB) d. Gilles Muller (LUX) 61 64 64
[3] Andy Murray (GBR) d. Joao Sousa (POR) 62 46 64 61
[6] Rafael Nadal (ESP) d. Nicolas Almagro (ESP) 64 63 61
[7] David Ferrer (ESP) d. Daniel Gimeno-Traver (ESP) 62 63 61
[9] Marin Cilic (CRO) d. Andrea Arnaboldi (ITA) 76(3) 61 61
[15] Kevin Anderson (RSA) d. Yen-Hsun Lu (TPE) 57 64 64 64
Jeremy Chardy (FRA) d. [16] John Isner (USA) 64 46 63 63
[17] David Goffin (BEL) d. Santiago Giraldo (COL) 63 46 75 62
Pablo Andujar (ESP) d. [22] Philipp Kohlschreiber (GER) 61 76(5) 36 36 64
[23] Leonardo Mayer (ARG) d. Jerzy Janowicz (POL) 64 64 67(1) 61
Thanasi Kokkinakis (AUS) d. [27] Bernard Tomic (AUS) 36 36 63 64 86 – saved 3 M.P.
[29] Nick Kyrgios (AUS) d. Kyle Edmund (GBR) W/O (stomach)
Simone Bolelli (ITA) d. [31] Viktor Troicki (SRB) 62 64 63
Jack Sock (USA) d. Pablo Carreno Busta (ESP) 67(2) 76(4) 61 76(4)
Andrey Kuznetsov (RUS) d. Jurgen Melzer (AUT) 61 57 76(0) 75

 

Women’s Singles – Second Round
(1) Serena Williams d. Anna-Lena Friedsam (GER) 57 63 63
(4) Petra Kvitova (CZE) d. Silvia Soler-Espinosa (ESP) 67(4) 64 62
Julia Goerges (GER) d. (5) Caroline Wozniacki (DEN) 64 76(4)
(10) Andrea Petkovic (GER) d. Lourdes Dominguez Lino (ESP) 46 64 64
Andreea Mitu (ROU) d. (12) Karolina Pliskova 26 76(5) 64
(16) Madison Keys (USA) d. Belinda Bencic (SUI) 60 63
(17) Sara Errani d. Carina Witthoeft (GER) 63 46 62
Francesca Schiavone (ITA) d. (18) Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS) 67(11) 75 108 (saved 1mp)
(23) Timea Bacsinszky (SUI) d. Tereza Smitkova (CZE) 62 60
(27) Victoria Azarenka (BLR) d. Lucie Hradecka (CZE) 62 63
(30) Irina-Camelia Begu (ROU) d. Ana Konjuh (CRO) 62 60
Alison Van Uytvanck (BEL) d. (32) Zarina Diyas (KAZ) 06 61 64
Kristina Mladenovic (FRA) d. Danka Kovinic (MNE) 63 75
Irina Falconi (USA) d. (Q) Sesil Karatantcheva (BUL) 36 61 62
Sloane Stephens (USA) d. Heather Watson (GBR) 62 64
Tsvetana Pironkova (BUL) d. Denisa Allertova (CZE) 63 76(2)

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Nadal Says He Did Request that Carlos Bernardes Not Umpire His Matches

Nadal at changeover

(May 26, 2015) Simon Briggs of the Telegraph reported last week that chair umpire Carlos Bernardes was “unlikely to officiate him (Rafael Nadal) at Roland Garros.” Nadal was upset with Bernardes’ officiating in Rio and had a disagreement.

Nadal addressed this in his post-match news conference on Tuesday.

Q.Can you tell me what happened with Bernardes? Is it true the situation he cannot umpire your matches, or do you know anything about it? Because I read it, but I have no exactly the clue what happened.

RAFAEL NADAL: Is easy, no? There is a lot of umpires on the tour. I respect a lot Bernardes. I consider him a great umpire and a good person, but I think when you have some troubles with the same umpire, sometimes it’s easy to stay for a while away, no? I think that’s the real thing. I think is better for both of us if we are not in court at the same time for a while after what happened in Rio de Janeiro. That’s it. No problem with him personally.
Q. But not your request?
RAFAEL NADAL: Yes, it was my request, and the ATP talking about — well, I asked if it’s possible, but nothing personal against him 100%. I respect him like umpire, I respect him like person, and I consider him a good person more than that. So for me is not — I am not happy with that situation. That’s the first thing. Because I would love to have Bernardes on the court again. Will happen, but, you know, I think for both of us it is better to have a break, you know. We had some problems. For me he hasn’t — he was not enough respectful with me in Rio de Janeiro . That was my feeling when I put my shorts the other way. He wants to put me warnings four times, that’s fine. But if I put my shorts other way and I ask him if I can change my shorts, I can put my shorts the right way, and his answer is, Yes, but you will receive a time warning. For me, that’s not fair, you know, (smiling.) When something like that, something like this did happen on court, that I think is not fair. I think is, you know, shows not respect, because I cannot play a full game with the shorts the other way. So it’s better. It’s better to be away for a while. That’s all. No personal problem with him, no? Seriously, I’m not saying that because I am in front of you. I respect him, I like him, but he was not right. And I believe that is for relationship and everything is better to be away for a bit.

 

In his news conference, Novak Djokovic was asked about umpires.

Q. Obviously players deal with the same umpires over and over again. You know them really well. Have you ever, in your entire career, felt the need or happen to ask for a certain umpire not to umpire your matches?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: No.

Q. Is it common practice or is it normal for that to happen?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: No, no, no. Honestly, I never thought of that. Chair umpires are humans, as well. We all make mistakes. Maybe periods of the year when a chair umpire is more or less confident to make certain calls and decisions, and of course, they need to be strongly participating in the match, as well. They need focus and attention, especially the surfaces where you don’t have marks like clay and have to make certain calls with, of course, a time limit that is now a new rule, puts a lot of pressure on them. So I understand it. Of course, you go through tense moments, emotions on the court, as a player and as a chair umpire. You make mistakes. There are some chair umpires in some matches that I remember that I wasn’t very happy with how they did their job, but I never thought of requesting a chair umpire not to ever or whatever, for a certain time, be a chair umpire in my matches. I don’t think that’s fair. I don’t think that’s fair to them. You know, they do their job as best as they can. Of course, sometimes they do it better or worse.

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Business as Usual for Top Seeds Serena Williams, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal at French Open

(May 26, 2015) It was smooth sailing for the most part, on day three of the French Open for top players Serena Williams, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal. All three turned in straight-set victories.

During Serena Williams’ win over Andrea Hlavackova 6-2, 6-3, in the first set, the world No. 1 misjudged a lob which hit her in the arm. Williams laughed and delayed playing the next point, bending over her racquet trying to regain her composure while returning serve.

“I’m allegedly a professional tennis player. And I was thinking, `I’m going to hit a backhand.’ `I will hit a forehand.’ And, `I will run around and hit a backhand.’ `No, no, no, run around and hit a forehand.’ Next thing I know, it hit me in the back,” Williams said. “So I was, like, embarrassed. At the same time, I thought it was really funny. It happens to the best of us. Maybe not. But to me.”

Novak Djokovic, who was two points from losing the set before he won 22 out of the next 29 points in his 6-2, 7-5, 6-2 win over Jarkko Nieminen.

“It was a test, it was a challenge for me to come back to the court again after first match after Rome final,” said Djokovic. “And obviously it’s been a year since I played on Philippe Chatrier, and nice memories.

“Of course, I was aware of the quality and experience of my opponent today, who has shown, and especially in the second set, why he’s been around the tour and a successful, consistent player for so many years. He can play. He can swing through the ball and be very aggressive. And he was the better player for most of the second set. And then, I managed to come back and play some good shots, stayed patient, stayed calm. And overall it was a very solid performance.”

“I played a good match, a solid one,” Nadal said of his win over wild card Quentin Halys 6-3, 6-3, 6-4. “When I had some opportunities I seized them. The first four games in the first set, I mean, were tough. I made some mistakes, but then afterwards I was able to hit my shots. I had some problems with my serve, but on the whole, it was okay. From time to time the opponent served very well with a lot of power, but I managed to return quite well. He managed to hit shots that put me in a difficult situation at some times, but I was dominant on the whole during the match. I dominated the game. I managed to play some strokes down the line. So I handled the match very well. It’s a correct performance. I’m happy with it. He got lots of balls back, in fact, retrieving lots of them. A very good opponent.”
Nadal, the sixth seed, is aiming for an unprecedented 10th French Open title this year. He’ll play fellow Spaniard Nicolas Almagro in the second round.

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2015 French Open Men’s Contender Profiles – Fast Facts with Jack Cunniff

(May 23, 2015) Profiles of the top Men’s Singles contenders for the 2015 French Open. Note: Grand Slam records for main draw matches only.  – by Jack Cunniff     http://twitter.com/jrcunniff

 

 

Novak Djokovic

2015 Record: 35-2

Grand Slam Record: 187-33

French Open Record: 42-10

French Open Best Result: RU (2012, ‘14)

Fast Fact: Djokovic’s 42 match wins at Roland Garros are the most in the Open Era among men who have never won the title.

 

Roger Federer

2015 Record: 25-5

Grand Slam Record: 281-46

French Open Record: 61-15

French Open Best Result: Won (2009)

Fast Fact: By winning Istanbul, Federer ended a streak of 11 straight claycourt events that he had lost.

 

Andy Murray

2015 Record: 31-5

Grand Slam Record: 140-34

French Open Record: 23-7

French Open Best Result: SF (2011, ‘14)

Fast Fact: Murray hasn’t lost prior to the quarterfinals in a Grand Slam event since the 2010 U.S. Open (3R, Wawrinka).

 

Tomas Berdych

2015 Record: 32-9

Grand Slam Record: 108-46

French Open Record: 17-11

French Open Best Result: SF (2010)

Fast Fact: Since the 2014 U.S. Open, Berdych has reached the quarterfinals in 14 of his last 15 events (l. to Andujar, 1R Valencia).

 

Kei Nishikori

2015 Record: 31-7

Grand Slam Record: 41-22

French Open Record: 5-4

French Open Best Result: 4R (2013)

Fast Fact: In 2015, Nishikori has a winning record (7-6) when losing the opening set of the match.

 

Rafael Nadal

2015 Record: 25-9

Grand Slam Record: 191-26

French Open Record: 66-1

French Open Best Result: Won (2005-08, 2010-14)

Fast Fact: Nadal is attempting to win his 6th consecutive French Open, which would give him the longest Grand Slam title streak of any man in the Open Era.

 

David Ferrer

2015 Record: 32-7

Grand Slam Record: 124-49

French Open Record: 36-12

French Open Best Result: RU (2013)

Fast Fact: In the opening round of the French Open, Ferrer will attempt to win his 300th career claycourt match.

 

Stan Wawrinka

2015 Record: 22-8

Grand Slam Record: 87-39

French Open Record: 20-10

French Open Best Result: QF (2013)

Fast Fact: Since starting the year 14-1, with two titles, Wawrinka has since compiled an 8-7 record, reaching the semifinals in one of six events.

 

Marin Cilic

2015 Record: 4-6

Grand Slam Record: 63-27

French Open Record: 13-8

French Open Best Result: 4R (2009, ‘10)

Fast Fact:   Dating back to 2014, Cilic has lost 9 of his last 13 matches.

 

Grigor Dimitrov

2015 Record: 18-10

Grand Slam Record: 23-18

French Open Record: 3-4

French Open Best Result: 3R (2013)

Fast Fact: Dimitrov has lost his opening round match only twice since the start of 2014 (2014 Cincinnati, 2014 Roland Garros), the same amount of opening round losses as Federer, and one fewer than Nadal.

 

Feliciano Lopez

2015 Record: 14-11

Grand Slam Record: 76-53

French Open Record: 8-14

French Open Best Result: 4R (2004)

Fast Fact: The 2015 French Open marks Lopez’ 53rd consecutive appearance in a Grand Slam event, placing him fourth all-time in the Open Era (trailing Federer, Wayne Ferreira, and Stefan Edberg).

 

Gilles Simon

2015 Record: 20-10

Grand Slam Record: 58-35

French Open Record: 13-9

French Open Best Result: 4R (2011, ‘13)

Fast Fact: Six of Simon’s last 10 matches at Roland Garros, including his last three losses, have gone to five sets.

 

Gael Monfils

2015 Record: 19-8

Grand Slam Record: 68-33

French Open Record: 25-9

French Open Best Result: SF (2008)

Fast Fact: Monfils has earned seven wins in Grand Slam events over Top Ten opponents, five of those have come at Roland Garros.

 

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga

2015 Record: 6-5

Grand Slam Record: 84-28

French Open Record: 20-7

French Open Best Result: SF (2013)

Fast Fact: Since defeating four consecutive Top Ten opponents (Djokovic, Murray, Dimitrov, Federer) to win the 2014 Canadian Open, Tsonga has compiled a 12-11 match record, and has gone 0-7 vs. Top Twenty.

 

Kevin Anderson

2015 Record: 19-12

Grand Slam Record: 33-24

French Open Record: 9-5

French Open Best Result: 4R (2013-14)

Fast Fact: Anderson has lost to a higher ranked opponent in 9 of his last 10 Grand Slam events (l. to Baghdatis, 2013 U.S. Open).

 

John Isner

2015 Record: 18-12

Grand Slam Record: 39-27

French Open Record: 8-6

French Open Best Result: 4R (2014)

Fast Fact: Isner is the only payer other than Djokovic to force Nadal into a fifth set at Roland Garros.

 

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Novak Djokovic Could Face Rafael Nadal in the French Open Quarterfinals

RG mens draw

(May 22, 2015) Friday’s Roland Garros draw has nine-time champion Rafael Nadal projected to face No. 1 Novak Djokovic in the quarterfinals. Nadal, who is now No. 7 in the world is the sixth seed at the French Open this year.

Nadal who is 66-1 on the red clay of Paris, comes into the French Open this year with five clay court losses and no clay titles.

Djokovic comes into Paris seeking the last major prize he’s yet to earn – a French Open crown. The Serb not only has Nadal on his side of the draw, but also No. 3 Andy Murray, David Ferrer and 10th seed Grigor Dimitrov.

Potential men’s quarterfinals:

Novak Djokovic vs Rafael Nadal

Andy Murray vs David Ferrer

Tomas Berdych vs Kei Nishikori

Stan Wawrinka vs Roger Federer

 

Men’s Draw

 

As for the women, No. 1 Serena Williams could have a challenging road ahead of her. The two-time champion could face No. 27 seed Victoria Azarenka in the third round, her sister Venus or Sloane Stephens in the fourth round, friend Caroline Wozniacki in the quarterfinals, with Petra Kvitova in the semifinals.

Serena Williams will play a qualifier in the opening round, while her Venus will face Sloane Stephens.

 

Potential Women’s Quarterfinals:

Serena Williams vs Caroline Wozniacki

Eugenie Bouchard vs Petra Kvitova

Ana Ivanovic vs Simona Halep

Maria Sharapova vs Carla Suarez Navarro

 

Women’s Draw

 

 

The French Open begins on Sunday, May 24.

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Andy Murray Beats Rafael Nadal to Earn Madrid Masters Title

Andy Murray with Madrid trophy

(May 10, 2015) Andy Murray defeated Rafael Nadal on clay for the first time in his career on Sunday, 6-3, 6-2 to win his second Madrid Open. Just six days ago Murray claimed his first career clay tournament in Munich.

For Murray it was his 10th Masters Series title, first on clay and 33rd overall career tennis title.

Murray is undefeated since getting married on April 11 to his long-time girlfriend Kim Sears.

After his victory, Murray signed the TV camera glass with the words “Marriage Works.”

“Obviously the tennis has gone well (since the marriage),” Murray said. “You’re happy and that helps your performances on the court.”

“Today I was just more consistent, Murray said of the match. “In the second set Rafa was starting to play better at the beginning and the middle part. But I stayed strong in that period of the match and he started to make some mistakes at the end that he wouldn’t normally make. That obviously helped me finish the match.

“I wasn’t expecting this a couple of weeks ago, so when things are unexpected, it feels nicer. I didn’t feel like I put too much pressure on myself the last couple of weeks, which is a good thing. But obviously to win a Masters 1000 on clay is a step in the right direction. It’s something I had never done before. So that’s good progress there.”

“For me it was obviously a very tough match, you know winning against Rafa on clay is extremely difficult, one of the hardest things in tennis,” Murray added. “From my side it was a very good performance. I’m sure Rafa feels he could have played much better. But from my side, I couldn’t have done much more.”

“This wasn’t the game I wanted to play, but I tried to the very end,” Nadal explained. “Still, it was a very important and positive week for me, I recovered sensations that I hadn’t felt in a long time.”

“I’ve pushed Rafa on the clay a few times,” Murray said. “This (win) obviously gives me confidence.”

“I’ve played a couple good matches [this week], especially yesterday’s match,” Nadal said. “It’s one of the best matches I have played in a long time. So I cannot leave Madrid not happy. I have to leave happy and just delete what happened today. I will just stay with the good things that happened this week, and there are a lot of them, more good than bad. I will try to recover the good feelings in Rome. I think I’ve made a step forward and I’m playing better. My game is better.”

With the loss, Nadal’s ranking will fall to No 7 as of Monday. Murray’s ranking remains at No. 3. Both men will play the Rome Masters this week.

Petra Kvitova won the women’s title on Saturday beating Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-1, 6-2. The world No. 4 ended the 27-match unbeaten of Serena Williams on Friday.

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Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova Upset in Madrid Open Semis

Serena shrugs

(May 8, 2015) Top seed Serena Williams lost her first match of 2015, falling to two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova in the semifinals of the Madrid Open on Friday 6-2, 6-3. Earlier in the day, defending champion Maria Sharapova was ousted by Russian countrywoman Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-4, 6-4.

For the Czech Kvitova, it was her first win over the 19-time major champion. “For sure I’m happy I won today,” Kvitova said in her on-court interview. “I had never beaten her, so it’s a really special moment for me.”

“I think she just played well today,” Williams said. “I mean, she went for broke on every serve, every return. I hit some second serves, 170, 175, and she just hit them for winners. I was very slow off the mark. After my serve I wasn’t moving as well as I should have. You know, I wasn’t in it.

“I wasn’t Serena today. I think that was the main thing.”

The loss ended her 27-match unbeaten streak dating back to 2014. “I’m just exhausted today,” Williams said.

Maria Sharapova

Maria Sharapova

For Kuznetsova it’s the first time in seven years that she beat Sharapova. “I’m just happy to be in the final,” said Kuznetsova,

“Today she had much more pop on her ball than I did, while I felt my shots were a bit too flat,” Sharapova said. ”

On the men’s side, Rafael Nadal, Tomas Berdych, Andy Murray and Kei Nishikori reached the men’s semifinals

Defending Madrid Open champion Nadal beat Grigor Dimitrov 6-3, 6-4. Berdych defeated John Isner, 3-6, 7-6 (7), 7-6 (1).

“It’s great news to be in the semifinals, it’s a very positive result for me,” Nadal said. “I am pleased with the way I played this afternoon, very happy.”

“Very happy about the way things have worked out. I passed a test that was really important for me.”

RESULTS – FRIDAY, 8 MAY 2015


WTA Singles – Semifinals

[4] P. Kvitova (CZE) d [1] S. Williams (USA) 62 63
S. Kuznetsova (RUS) d [3] M. Sharapova (RUS) 62 64


WTA Doubles – Semifinals

[3] G. Muguruza (ESP) / C. Suárez Navarro (ESP) d K. Mladenovic (FRA) / K. Pliskova (CZE) 61 36 10-6
C. Dellacqua (AUS) / Y. Shvedova (KAZ) d [7] B. Mattek-Sands (USA) / L. Safarova (CZE) 75 36 10-7

ATP Singles – Quarter-Finals
[2] A. Murray (GBR) d [5] M. Raonic (CAN) 64 75
[3] R. Nadal (ESP) d [10] G. Dimitrov (BUL) 63 64
[4] K. Nishikori (JPN) d [7] D. Ferrer (ESP) 64 62
[6] T. Berdych (CZE) d [16] J. Isner (USA) 36 76(7) 76(1) – saved 1 M.P.

ATP Doubles – Quarter-Finals

[6] M. Granollers (ESP) / M. Lopez (ESP) d [3] V. Pospisil (CAN) / J. Sock (USA) 26 01 ret. (Pospisil – Ankle Sprain)
[5] M. Matkowski (POL) / N. Zimonjic (SRB) d M. Cilic (CRO) / V. Troicki (SRB) 64 67(4) 13-11
R. Bopanna (IND) / F. Mergea (ROU) d J. Cabal (COL) / A. Mannarino (FRA) 63 62
[WC] F. Lopez (ESP) / M. Mirnyi (BLR) d J. Murray (GBR) / J. Peers (AUS) 64 67(1) 10-4

SCHEDULE – SATURDAY, 9 MAY 2015

MANOLO SANTANA Start Not Before 3:00 pm
ATP – [6] T. Berdych (CZE) vs [3] R. Nadal (ESP)
Not Before 5:30 pm
WTA – Singles Final – [4] P. Kvitova (CZE) vs S. Kuznetsova (RUS)
Not Before 8:00 pm
ATP – [4] K. Nishikori (JPN) vs [2] A. Murray (GBR)
WTA – Doubles Final – C. Dellacqua (AUS) / Y. Shvedova (KAZ) vs [3] G. Muguruza (ESP) / C. Suárez Navarro (ESP)

ARANTXA SÁNCHEZ-VICARIO start 3:00 pm
ATP – R. Bopanna (IND) / F. Mergea (ROU) vs [6] M. Granollers (ESP) / M. Lopez (ESP)
ATP – [5] M. Matkowski (POL) / N. Zimonjic (SRB) vs [WC] F. Lopez (ESP) / M. Mirnyi (BLR)

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Novak Djokovic Defeats Rafael Nadal to Reach Monte Carlo Final

(April 18, 2015) Novak Djokovic extended his current winning streak to 16 matches with a 6-3, 6-3 victory over Rafael Nadal in the semifinals of the Monte Carlo Masters on Saturday in one hour and 37 minutes.

No. 1 Djokovic will meet Tomas Berdych in final on Sunday. Berdych dismissed Gael Monfils 6-1, 6-3 earlier in the day

The Djokovic – Nadal semifinal was much closer than the score indicated. In the first set Djokovic had to rebound from 0-2 with points to go down 0-3, taking six of the last seven games to claim the first set.

In the second set, Djokovic broke serve in the seventh game, after the 8-time Monte Carlo champion Nadal led 40-0. The Serb ended the match with a second break of serve in the set.

Djokovic hit 23 winners to 19 unforced errors in match to the Spaniard’s 20 winners and 20 errors.

Djokovic is now 10-1 against Top ten opponents in 2015. Djokovic has improved his head-to-head record against Nadal to 20-23.

Djokovic will be looking to claim his fourth straight Masters Series title and second Monte Carlo crown on Sunday.
RESULTS – SATURDAY, 18 APRIL 2015

Singles – Semi-Finals
[1] N. Djokovic (SRB) d [3] R. Nadal (ESP) 63 63
[6] T. Berdych (CZE) d [14] [WC] G. Monfils (FRA) 61 64

Doubles – Semi-finals
[1] B. Bryan (USA) / M. Bryan (USA) d [4] M. Matkowski (POL) / N. Zimonjic (SRB) 64 62
S. Bolelli (ITA) / F. Fognini (ITA) d [2] I. Dodig (CRO) / M. Melo (BRA) 76(6) 63

SCHEDULE – SUNDAY, 19 APRIL 2015

COURT CENTRAL start 11:30 am
[1] B. Bryan (USA) / M. Bryan (USA) vs S. Bolelli (ITA) / F. Fognini (ITA)

Not Before 2:30 pm
[1] N. Djokovic (SRB) vs [6] T. Berdych (CZE)

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Rafael Nadal Upset by Fernando Verdasco in Miami

Fernando Verdasco

Fernando Verdasco

(March 29, 2015) Rafael Nadal’s quest for a first Miami Open title was stopped by countryman No. 24 Fernando Verdasco 6-4, 2-6, 6-3 in the third round on Sunday.

It’s Verdasco’s second straight win over the current world No. 3, with the last victory coming back in 2012 at the Madrid Masters. Verdasco lost to Nadal 13 straight times before that.

“Of course is a huge victory, and it’s always really nice to feel, you know, in a packed stadium or almost packed stadium in a very important tournament like this one and playing against one of the best players in history,” Verdasco said

“Today was a good day. I played good and I won… I’m very happy, and now I just need to try to rest and be ready for the next one.”

 

Rafael Nadal Miami

“I played some good games at the beginning, bad games at the end of the second set; some good games on the second; not bad at the beginning of the third,” Nadal said.

“But he played well the third, so he deserved to win more than me without any doubt tonight. Just congratulate him for the victory.”

“Today my game in general improved since a month and a half. But at the same time, still playing with too much nerves for a lot of moments, in important moments, still playing with a little bit of anxious on that moments.”

Verdasco had 29 winners breaking Nadal’s serve three times. Nadal was 3-12 on break points with 32 unforced errors with 18 winners.

“Obviously always beating a player like Rafa is the same like if you beat, I mean, (Andy) Murray or (Roger) Federer or these guys,” Verdasco said. Is one of the biggest victories that you can have in tennis.

“Of course is a huge victory, and it’s always really nice to feel, you know, in a packed stadium or almost packed stadium in a very important tournament like this one and playing against one of the best players in history.

“You know, at the end you just try to enjoy the moment also. Not even winning or losing. You always try to win, but enjoy the moment.”

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