2014/09/19

Murray Overcomes Tough Qualifier to Progress to Round of 16

Andy Murray

Andy Murray

By Jaclyn Stacey

( January 19, 2013) MELBOURNE PARK, Australia – Andy Murray won through to the fourth round of the Australian Open after defeating qualifier Ricardas Berankis in a tough straight sets match 6-3 6-4 7-5 in two hours and 12 minutes on Super Saturday.

 

Despite the scoreline, Berankis put up some strong resistance to Murray, creating 12 break point opportunities against Murray and converting three of them.

 

Murray and Berankis are some time hitting partners on the tour and the world No. 3 said that it was challenging to play the Lithuanian.

 

“Yeah, it was a tough match. He takes the ball very early, hits the ball very flat compared to most players on the tour. And when the ball is between, you know, his hips and his shoulder, he hits the ball extremely well. He’s got very good timing. Yeah, he made it tough.”

 

The win keeps the 2012 US Open champion on track to win back-to-back Grand Slam titles. He will meet the winner of the all French match between Gilles Simon and Gael Monfils in the round of 16 on Monday.

 

“I just focus on the next match. I’ll need to play better than I did today. You know, Gael and Gilles are both tough players. They do extremely consistent. You know, Gael is probably the best – in my opinion – athlete that ever played the game. When he’s injury-free, he’s a very tough guy to

beat.”

 

“And Gilles the same. He’s caused guys lots of problems before. You know, he pushed

Roger to a very tough five-set match here a few years ago. He’s getting closer to the top 10 in

the world. He had his own injury problems as well.”

 

“Both tough matches, and I’ll need to play better than I did today.”

 

Jaclyn Stacey is a Melbourne based freelance journalist covering the Australian Open tournament as media for Tennis Panorama News.  Follow her Australian Open updates on @TennisNewsTPN. Follow her personal twitter @JackattackAU.

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Tsonga Unhappy But Eases Through to Australian Open Third Round

Jo-Wilfred Tsonga at 2011 Sony Ericsson Open Players Party

Jo-Wilfred Tsonga at 2011 Sony Ericsson Open Players Party

By Jaclyn Stacey

(January 17, 2013)  MELBOURNE PARK, Australia – Seventh seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga fought through Melbourne heat to defeat Japan’s Go Soeda in straight sets 6-3 7-6(1) 6-3 in the first match of Australian Open day four on Margaret Court Arena ahead of a packed house.

 

With the mercury tipped to top 39°C (102.2°F) on Thursday at Melbourne Park, Tsonga clearly struggled with with the rising temperatures early on in the match. He became openly frustrated with his inability to get moving on the court and looked like he had just stepped out of the shower throughout the duration of the match.

 

The 2008 Australian Open runner-up needed just one break in the sixth game of the first set to claim the lead in the match.

 

He immediately went down a break at the beginning of the second set. He managed to break back with Soeda serving for the set at 5-3 30-40 by coming into the net and forcing his opponent to make the error. The set went to a tie-break which Tsonga rolled through to take a two sets to love lead in the match.

 

The final set played out identical to the first and Tsonga progresses into a third round meeting with either Australian wildcard James Duckworth or world number 93 Blaz Kavcic.

 

Tsonga said in his post match press conference that he was not happy with his performance.

 

“Well, I was not like in the good attitude for me. That’s it. And on the next match, like I said, I will

try to be a bit more aggressive, try to play more than my game than what I did today.”

 

On the soaring temperatures Tsonga said “Oh, it was hot today, of course. Was not easy because the ball was flying a lot because of the heat. You know, it’s like this. Anyway, you have an opponent, you have everything around, and you have to deal with it. That’s it.”

 

Tsonga reached the final of the Australian Open in 2008 losing to first time champion Novak Djokovic in four sets. When asked whether he feels closer to winning his first Grand Slam Tsonga said, “I did some good results already, but, you know, I want to join the next step.

It’s maybe to win one. Today I’m just working for that. I’m doing everything, you know, to achieve these things. So, yeah, I mean, I don’t have too much goals. The only goal is to play well in that kind of tournament.”

 

In other one day four men’s action Ricardas Berankis required only 77 minutes to defeat twenty-fifth seed Florian Mayer 6-2 6-3 6-1 and will play Andy Murray in the third round on Saturday.

 

Thirteenth seeded Canadian Milos Raonic defeated Czech Lukas Rosol in straight sets and will play 17th seed Philipp Kohlschreiber in the third round.

 

Jaclyn Stacey is a Melbourne based freelance journalist covering the Australian Open tournament as media for Tennis Panorama News.  Follow her Australian Open updates on @TennisNewsTPN. Follow her personal twitter @JackattackAU.

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Querrey Captures Third Los Angeles Title

Sam Querrey has joined the ranks of Andre Agassi, Arthur Ashe and Jimmy Connors in winning his third title at the Farmers Classic in Los Angeles. On Sunday Querrey stopped first-time finalist Ricardas Berankis 6-0, 6-2 to extend his win streak in Los Angeles to 13.

“I feel like I always play well here,” said Querrey. “I grew up kind of playing around this area and I’m really comfortable out there on the courts. It’s fun to play in front of my friends and family. It all came together this week, and especially today.”

“I was nervous in the first set, that’s for sure. I didn’t play as I would like to play,” said Berankis. “In the second set, a couple of games, here and there, I loosened up a little bit. The crowd helped me. The crowd was great and I really enjoyed it. I was trying to stay focused and trying to do my best.”

Berankis had a career week as the first Lithuanian-born player to reach an ATP World Tour final.

Querrey’s win puts him in a first place tie in the Emirates US Open Series with Andy Roddick.

“I’m hoping I can just keep this up and play well the entire summer and keep going,” Querrey  said. “I’ve got Washington D.C. next week, so I’m just trying to continue to ride the train and hopefully play well all the way through the US Open.

“I’d love to be seeded at the Open, that’s one of my goals. I’m going to be pretty close after this week so hopefully with a few more good weeks I can make it into the Top 32 and be seeded there. And I’d love to get back into the Top 20, where I was a year-and-a-half ago, so that’s my big goal right now.”

The 24 year old is projected to move into the top 40 when the next rankings come out.

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Berankis Into First ATP Final

By Curt Janka

Los Angeles – Although Lithuanian qualifier Ricardas Berankis was playing in his first ATP semifinal, he maintained his composure and elevated level of play to beat Marinko Matosevic 7-5, 6-1. With the win, Berankis reaches his first ATP final and is the first player from his country to do so.

 

Berankis was all smiles after his match. “It’s really amazing,” he said. “I really didn’t think of it before coming here. I mean, every athlete has to think of their best in the tournament, but the finalist? When you come to play qualies it’s difficult to think of the final.”

 

The match started out in a dead lock. The players had split their previous two meetings and through 10 games and neither could make a dent in the other’s serve. Serving at 5-5, Matosevic wavered and Berankis seized the opportunity. With the break in hand, Berankis quickly held to close out the first set.

 

Much like his match against Nicolas Mahut, Berankis started out the second set by grabbing the early break. From that point he never looked back. Matosevic had one look at a break when he got the first two points of the game with Berankis serving at 2-1. The frustration from not capitalizing on that opportunity seemed to break Matosevic as his opponent ran away with the rest of the match.

 

The coach who Berankis has been working with for 13 years, and who he calls a “second father,” flew into town today for the match. The coach left Lithuania yesterday for Washington, where they planned to meet after the tourney. Because things were going so well, they decided to get him on a flight at 6am this morning and he got to the tournament just 30 minutes before today’s match.

 

Berankis will play either Sam Querrey or Rajeev Ram in the final of The Farmers Classic.

 

Asked about his chances in the final, Berankis said “My game is improving every day. I’m feeling great on the court at the moment and looking forward to tomorrow.” He added that he would be looking to attack any second serves he gets.

 

While 2011 saw 10 first-time winners on the ATP tour, this year players attempting to win their first title have gone 0-10 in finals. Berankis hopes to add the title to his list of first this week.

 

Along with the other accomplishments Berankis is stacking up, today’s win puts him in a tie for 2nd on the Emirates US Open Series Bonus Challenge standings with Gilles Muller. The winner of the final will be tied for first with Andy Roddick.

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Berankis Stuns Mahut at Farmers Classic

By Curt Janka

Los Angeles – Qualifier Ricardas Berankis made upsetting the number four seed look routine in a straight sets win over Nicolas Mahut in the first quarterfinal of The Farmers Classic. Ranked No. 141, Berankis needed just one break in each set to dismiss his opponent, 6-4, 6-4.

 

Despite holding the top junior ranking spot in 2007, Berankis has been slow to break through at ATP events. The win earns him his first semifinal on the tour. Bernakis is just 22-years-old and the youngest player left in the draw. Sidelined by an injury for the first half of the season, he’s only been playing since June and is happy with his progress saying, “So far, so good.”

 

Mahut struggled to return the Lithuanian’s serve throughout the match. Berankis further frustrated Mahut by saving all three break chances he faced. On the other hand, Berankis seemed to get more returns in, keeping pressure on Mahut’s serve with nine break chances in the first set alone.

 

The turning point in the match came in the ninth game of the first set. Both players had been holding fairly easily to that point and suddenly Mahut found himself fending off 6 break points before conceding the break after nine deuce points.

“I got lucky on a couple points,” said Berankis. “I’m happy I was able to control my emotions and play well.”

 

Berankis held quickly after that to close out the first set and continued the run by breaking Mahut in the opening game of the second set. From then on, both players protected their serve without much tension until the end of the match. Facing three match points, Mahut was able to save two before Berankis converted on his third chance.

 

This may be the furthest Berankis has advanced in an ATP event, but his run may not end yet. He will either face another unseeded player in Michael Russell or sixth-seeded Marinko Matosevic in the semifinal, which can only be viewed as a golden opportunity to debut in a final. Asked about the opportunity he said, “The first time is always unbelievable and something new. I hope that tomorrow I can continue doing the way I am now.”

 

While Berankis did not qualify for the Olympics this year, he hopes to represent Lithuania at the next games in Brazil.

Curt Janka is covering the Farmers Classic in Los Angeles for Tennis Panorama News. Follow his updates on twitter @TennisNewsTPN.  His personal twitter is @CurtJanka.

 

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