2014/10/21

Li Na’s Retirement Ceremony in Around the Grounds Beijing Photo Gallery

(September 30, 2014) BEIJING – Photos by Natalie Ho from around the grounds to the main interview room on Tuesday of the China Open including Li Na’s retirement ceremony.

Abigail Hinto and Natalie Ho are in Beijing, China covering the China Open for Tennis Panorama News. Follow their twitter updates on @TennisNewsTPN.

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Rafael Nadal Returns with a Win in Beijing

 

By Abigail Hinto

(September 30, 2014) BEIJING – What rust?  Rafael Nadal didn’t show any rust in his first singles match back to the competition after being sidelined with a right wrist injury for three months.  In a comfortable 6-4, 6-0 win over Richard Gasquet.

Nadal was playing aggressively off both his forehand and backhand, hitting winners all over the court.  Once Gasquet was pushed off the court with Nadal dictating play, and there was nothing more the Frenchman could do to get back in to the point.  His only other option was to be as aggressive as Nadal, which he managed to do well in the first set earning him a couple of break points but which unfortunately for him, he was unable to convert especially in the crucial tenth game as Nadal saved the break point with an ace while serving for the set.

 

The second set saw Gasquet’s frustration boil over as he started making more errors with overly aggressive play while Nadal was as steady as rock both offensively and defensively.

 

There were no signs of the wrist injury from Nadal, “the wrist is much, much better,” according to Nadal.  “Is almost recovered hundred percent.  I cannot say ‘hundred percent’ because when you have some feelings on it when you warm up at the beginning, it’s not hundred percent.  But let’s say 90 something percent.  The most important thing is the wrist is not limiting me to play my tennis, to hit the normal backhand.”

 

Overall, Rafael Nadal is happy to be back on court playing again.  “I have to be happy the way that I played, no?  Three months without a match, winning against a player who is a good player like Richard, is a very positive comeback for me.”

 

“More important than win, lose, is spend time on court.  And winning, I have another chance to play another match after tomorrow, no?”

 

“That’s the key for me today:  spend time on court, play matches.  At least I going to play two matches minimum here.  That’s a positive thing.  I’m going to try my best to play three.”

 

Next up for Nadal is Peter Gojowczyk who took him to three sets earlier this year in Doha in their only meeting so far.

Abigail Hinto and Natalie Ho are in Beijing, China covering the China Open for Tennis Panorama News. Follow their twitter updates on @TennisNewsTPN.

 

Photos by Natalie Ho.

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The US Open Series Begins this Weekend in Atlanta

 

BB&TAtlantaOpen

By Herman Wood

(July 17, 2014) ATLANTA – Preparation for the US Open is underway.  The BB&T Atlanta Open gets things started on Saturday, July 19th for the men.  Qualifying begins at 10 AM.  The BB&T Atlanta Open is an ATP 250 event, with a 28 player draw, four of which come from the qualifying tournament.  The qualifying field will have 32 players.  The doubles draw is a 16 team field.  Last year’s champ, John Isner, is returning, along with fellow Americans Sam Querrey, Wimbledon doubles champ Jack Sock, and Donald Young.  Gael Monfils, Richard Gasquet, Radek Stepanek, Ivo Karlovic, Ivan Dodig, Lleyton Hewitt, and the other half of the Wimbledon doubles championship team, Vasek Pospisil, are also expected in the tournament.  The tournament aspires to be a mini US Open, with the venue set among the skyscrapers of downtown Atlanta at Atlantic Station.  Atlantic Station is a community within downtown that provides homes for 10,000 people integrated with shopping, restaurants, and retailers that make it a hit with the players.  Besides the attractive venue, players will get a jump on the US Open Series Bonus Challenge, where nearly $40 million in prize money is up for grabs.  This is the third year the tournament has been held at Atlantic Station.

It is a familiar place for Americans, with Isner winning last year, Roddick in 2012, and Fish in 2011.  It has also been comfortable for big man tennis- last year Isner, at 6’10”, overcame Kevin Anderson at 6’8” in three tiebreaks.  Fans in the first couple of rows certainly had to pay attention with the huge serves coming their way.  It is especially familiar for Isner, who competed collegiately just an hour down the road for the University of Georgia Bulldogs, leading the team to a national championship and winning every possible team title in 2007.  He’s usually a fan favorite, with at least a couple of barks from Georgia fans in his favor at each match.  Isner may not be the only recipient of barks; University of Georgia player Austin Smith has accepted a wild card into the main draw. The sophomore from Cumming, Georgia excelled this season as the Bulldogs captured the 2014 SEC Championship. Smith finished with a 35-12 record, and went 9-1 in SEC matches. He has won four USTA Pro Circuit matches. A tournament qualifier in 2011, Smith will be playing his debut ATP main draw match.

Another American, Jack Sock, could very well get on a roll at this tournament.  After winning doubles with Pospisil at Wimbledon, he rolled into Newport and eliminated Isner in the Newport Hall of Fame event on grass just a week ago.  Unfortunately for him, he wasn’t able to keep that momentum and was eliminated by the veteran Lleyton Hewitt, who went on to win the tournament.  Hewitt’s feisty shouts of “C’mon!” have endeared him to the Atlanta fans in past years.  Fresh off his renewed success at Newport, he could very well win Atlanta.  The main draw was just rounded out with the addition of Ryan Harrison and Robby Ginepri.  “We’re ecstatic to welcome back two of our fan favorites in Ryan Harrison and Atlanta metro resident Robby Ginepri,” Tournament Director Eddie Gonzalez said. “One of our goals is to highlight American talent and both of these players are great examples of the fine players this country has produced.”  Harrison won the doubles last year, partnering with Matthew Ebden.  Ginepri appears for the fourth time, with a onetime ranking of fifteen.  He is a graduate of Wheeler High School, just a few miles north of Atlantic Station.  He currently resides in Kennesaw, another couple of miles north.

The draw will be finalized over this weekend with the completion of the qualifying tournament.  Promising American junior Francis Tiafoe has accepted his first tournament qualifying wild card. Tiafoe, 16, is a talented young prodigy who rose to No. 2 in the world junior rankings this spring. Georgia Tech’s Nathan Rakitt and Alabama’s Becker O’Shaughnessey have also accepted qualifying wild cards. Rakitt, a Marietta native and All-ACC selectee, is competing again for the second year. O’Shaughnessey of Macon, Ga., led the Crimson Tide in singles wins (22) this season.

Herman Wood is in Atlanta covering the BB&T Open action from around the grounds for Tennis Panorama News, follow him on twitter at https://twitter.com/hermanewood.

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Nick Kyrgios Saves 9 Match Points in Win over Richard Gasquet

(June 26, 2014) WIMBLEDON – Nineteen year-old Australian, Nick Kyrgios saved nine match points before beating No. 13 Richard Gasquet 3-6, 6-7 (4), 6-4, 7-5, 10-8 at Wimbledon on Thursday. For the wild card, he has reached the third round of a major tournament for the first time in his young career. He is the youngest player in the draw.

“It was an unbelievable match out there,” said the Australian.  “My first ever two sets love down, coming back and winning.  It’s an amazing feeling.  So proud of yourself the way you hung in and fought it out.

“I played some unbelievable tennis today.  He was coming up with some really good shots as well.  I think I saved nine match points.  There’s plenty of opportunities he could have taken.  I came out on top, I’m really happy.”

For the young Australian beating Gasquet represents the biggest win of his budding pro career, his first against a top 20 player.

So what was Kyrgios thinking about as he was facing match points against him?

“I was just thinking I just need a big serve every time,” he said.  “That’s what I was thinking.

“You know, a couple times where I missed my first serve.  Obviously the challenge kept me in it.  I was just thinking about going through my routine, coming up with something, going after it, playing aggressive.

The match lasted almost four hours and ended when the Aussie hit his 21st ace of the match.

“My goal is to become the No. 1 player in the world,” Kyrgios said.

Kyrgios will face another youngster in Jiri Vesely in the third round. Vesely took out Frenchman seeded 24, Gael Monfils in five sets 7-6 (3), 6-3, 6-7 (1), 6-7 (3), 6-4.

“He had a massive win today, winning in five sets,” Kyrgios said of his next challenger.  “He’s also young.  He’s on the rise.  He’s got a really aggressive game, big serve.  Big hitter as well.

“I think the grass is suiting him nicely.  Well done to him, as well.”

“He is a very talented player and today he was a beast,” Gasquet said in his post match news conference.

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga completed his match suspended by darkness on Wednesday night and broke Sam Querrey’s service in the 25th game of the final set to win the match 4-6, 7-6 (2), 6-7 (4), 6-3, 14-12 at Wimbledon on Thursday.

 

Karen Pestaina at Wimbledon

 

Related article:

“The Journey Starts Today” An Interview with Nick Kyrgios

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“Big Four,” Nadal, Djokovic, Federer and Murray Advance to Sony Open Quarters

 

(March 25, 2014) No. 1 Rafael Nadal, No. 2 Novak Djokovic, No. 5 Roger Federer and No. 6 Andy Murray all reached the Sony Open quarterfinals on Tuesday while No. 3 Stanislas Wawrinka and No. 4 David Ferrer were upset.

Nadal had no problems dismissing Fabio Fognini 6-2, 6-2. Nadal only lost only three points during the match has dropped a total of only nine games in the three matches played so far at the Sony Open.

“First three matches I was able to find the right rhythm on court, playing aggressive, playing with no mistakes, so today was a little bit strange match,” Nadal said.

“I am sorry for Fabio.  I think he felt a little bit, I don’t know how to say, but he felt a little bit close to the hip, something from yesterday.  So was not easy for him to play that match.

“But anyway, I think I managed well the situation.  The wind, it was hard tonight, and I was manage to do well.  So I think I played the right match.”

Novak Djokovic pushed past Tommy Robredo 6-3, 7-5. In a bit of good sportsmanship, Djokovic gave back a point which was called out, which was indeed in.

“I mean, for me, it’s something as normal,” Djokovic said about giving the point back.  “I don’t want to talk about the nice gesture that I have done.  I don’t like to talk about myself, you know.  I let everybody else to judge.

“But for me that’s something that is absolutely normal if I am not able to ‑‑ if I judge that I couldn’t win the point, that I had no chance to get that ball back in the court, or if I see the ball is good, I’m going to tell him to challenge it or that it’s very close.

“For me it’s something that is part of the sport and fair play that, you know, I think I expect everybody else to do the same.  Of course, not everybody else is the same, but for me that’s something that’s normal, just a normal, natural reaction.”

Djokovic will play Andy Murray next in the quarterfinals. Murray beat Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-4, 6-1.

“Andy is a defending champion,” Djokovic said of a potential match-up with Murray.  “He won a couple of Grand Slams, Olympic gold medal, and obviously he’s the player who can, you know, play big‑time tennis on a big stage.”

Murray who had back surgery last year, appeared to be some pain during his win over Tsonga, despite winning easily in 73 minutes.

“My game is getting there.  I mean, the last six sets I played have been very high‑level tennis.  Again, very few errors and aggressive tennis.  You know, coming forward, taking my opportunities to hit winners, and come to the net when I had the chance.

“Yeah, I’m playing better each match, and I hope that continues.  You know, last couple of weeks have been difficult for obvious reasons.  But, you know, hopefully I’m coming out the other side of that now and keep playing better.”

“It was sore, but I still moved well throughout the rest of the match, which is a good sign.  Was probably moving better at the end of the match than I was at the beginning, so that’s probably a good sign.”

Roger Federer only needed needing 49 minutes to defeat No. 9 seed Richard Gasquet 6-1, 6-2. Federer hit 25 winners during the match to Gasquet’s 8.

“I think I played well.” Federer said. “I served well.  I made my returns I had to and stayed aggressive, so I didn’t let him just make errors.  I forced him to do stuff.  It was a good match for me.”

Federer will play Kei Nishikori who saved 4 match points before upsetting fourth seed David Ferrer 7-6 (7), 2-6, 7-6 (9).

“He had obviously a very difficult match with Ferrer, but a great one which everybody watched in the locker room and the player restaurant,” Federer said.  It was one of those thrilling end to the matches, you know, into the tiebreaker with match points saved.  It had the whole drama.

“Either one could have won, but in tennis always one guy’s got to win.  Kei did a good job getting it done at the end.  I only played him twice but practiced with him many times, so we know each other well so there are no real secrets out there.

“Clearly I think it’s an advantage at this point now that I had a quick match today and he had a really brutal match against Ferrer.  Can I take advantage of it?  Can he recover quickly?  We will see tomorrow.

“But I’m sure we will see him out on the court, and he will give it everything he has.  He always has.”

In another upset on the day, No. 22 Alexandr Dolgopolov stopped three seed Stanislas Wawrinka 6-4, 3-6, 6-1 to reach the quarterfinals.

Also advancing to the quarterfinals were Milos Raonic and Tomas Berdych who eliminated the last American man, John Isner 6-3, 7-5

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In All-French Final, Monfils Beats Gasquet for Montpellier Crown

 

(February 9, 2014) Gael Monfils captured his fifth ATP World Tour title in his 21st final, defeating his good friend and defending champion, Richard Gasquet 6-4, 6-4 to win the Open Sud de France in Montpellier for the second time.
“This is unbelievable for me,” Monfils said.”I had some back problems at the beginning of the week and I didn’t know if I was going to be able to play, so to now be with the trophy is pretty crazy.

“I have been elevating my game match after match and I am extremely proud in the way I played today. I really enjoy playing here in Montpellier. I love the atmosphere there is in this arena.”

“It was great to be in final here once again,” Gasquet said. I am extremely disappointed to have lost in the final, but that’s tennis. I need to congratulate Gael because he’s played unbelievable all week.

“I wasn’t able to read his serve, he was serving bullets all match. My only way out was to try to push him to a tie-break and wait for him to start making mistakes. But it didn’t happen.”

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Despite Loss to Djokovic, Gasquet Finishes with a Flourish

 

Richard Gasquet

Richard Gasquet

(November 9, 2013) LONDON – After what had perhaps been a lackluster performance for the Frenchman at the World Tour Finals, Richard Gasquet put up a fight in his final round robin match at the ATP World Tour Finals on Saturday.

 

Facing defending champion and Wolrd No. 2 Novak Djokovic, who had already qualified for Sunday’s semi-finals, started quickly establishing a break, but Gasquet dug in to force a tie-break for the first set, but was edged out by Djokovic.

 

It did not deter the Frenchman, who worked hard to swing the momentum his way perhaps surprising the Serbian, who would have been hoping for an easier match ahead of his semi-final.

 

Djokovic quickly imposed himself on the deciding set, and once he had established a quick break, he never looked in danger of being caught, as Gasquet leaves London with perhaps a disappointing 0-3 record having worked so hard to qualify this year. Victory to Djokovic 7-6(5), 4-6, 6-3

 

There are plenty of positives for the Frenchman to take away though – he started and finished this season well, as well as reaching the US Open semi-final for the first time. It should provide him a useful platform for 2014.

 

Gasquet found out on Friday that his coach Riccardo Piatti resigned without giving notice.  Gasquet will work with part-time coach Sebastien Grosjean until he finds a new coach.

 

Djokovic now heads into the semi-final on Sunday on a 20-match winning streak, when he faces Stanislas Wawrinka.

 

Tennis Panorama News is in London covering the ATP World Tour Finals.  Follow our twitter updates from the tournament @TennisNewsTPN.

 

 

Results

Singles – Group B Round Robin
[2] N Djokovic (SRB) d [8] R Gasquet (FRA) 76(5) 46 63
[6] R Federer (SUI) d [4] J del Potro (ARG) 46 76(2) 75

Doubles – Group A Round Robin
[1] B Bryan (USA) / M Bryan (USA) d [8] M Fyrstenberg (POL) / M Matkowski (POL) 46 63 10-5
[3] I Dodig (CRO) / M Melo (BRA) d [5] A Qureshi (PAK) / J Rojer (NED) 75 36 11-9

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Federer Gets First Victory at ATP World Tour Finals

Federer-001

(November 7, 2013) LONDON – Roger Federer got his first round-robin stage win on the board on Thursday afternoon, after defeating Richard Gasquet 6-4 6-3 at the ATP World Tour Finals in London. The win keeps his hopes of qualifying for the semi-finals here alive but it is still all to play for at the top of the group.

 

Federer, who is seeded sixth in London dispatched the Frenchman in just 79 minutes, in a match where he took the advantage early twice and Gasquet never really looked on terms to stay with the Swiss.

 

Gasquet remained so far back on the court that Federer was able to catch him out time and again at the net and with drop shots, as the Frenchman just looked to be slightly slower today.

 

If there were any jitters, perhaps they became more evident when it took Federer six attempts to close out the match, and with Gasquet still to face the defending champion Novak Djokovic, it is safe to assume that the Frenchman will not be in contention on Saturday’s final round-robin leg.

 

He said: “I’m taking a lot of experience playing this Masters because the level is very high, very difficult. So I need to improve on my game to play these guys.”

 

After the match, Federer admitted that it perhaps was not as easy a win as the score would suggest:

 

“Richard does a good job of making you feel uncomfortable at the same time as well because he uses heights, spins really well. He likes extended rallies [and] I’m trying to force the issue.”

 

“I think today was just a battle for myself, making sure I move the right way, I play the right way, I have the right shot selection.  Maybe also just getting used to the conditions a little bit.”

 

Federer is making his twelfth appearance at the season-ending championships and has only failed to advance out of the round-robin stages once.

 

Tennis Panorama News is in London covering the ATP World Tour Finals.  Follow our twitter updates from the tournament @TennisNewsTPN.

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Del Potro Rallies Past Gasquet at ATP World Tour Finals

DelPoto228

(November 4, 2013 LONDON – Juan Martin Del Potro got off to winning ways against Richard Gasquet in a top quality evening match to round off the first day’s action at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in Group B play.

 

From the first rally, it was clear that both players meant business, and initially it was Del Potro that looked the stronger, not losing a single point on his serve for his first three games.

 

It took just a momentary lapse of concentration from the Argentine to allow Gasquet to break him but Del Potro broke straight back as they battled their way to a first set tie-break.

 

Eventually the Frenchman edged in to take the lead as he competed in the season-ending finale for the first time in six years.

 

But the second set was a different story as some lapses in Gasquet’s concentration let Del Potro take control of the second set, taking it to a decider.

 

You felt that midway through the deciding set, it would be crucial for Gasquet to hold on to his serve, but a couple of double-faults handed the advantage back to Del Potro.

 

It took the tall Argentine two attempts to close out the match, as fatigue was setting in, but it was a great win and a fantastic start to the tournament 6-7, 6-3, 7-5.

 

“I tried to fight as much as I could,” Gasquet said of the disappointing loss. “And I, yeah, played well. It was a great match for me. I think I was really close to win that match.

 

“As I said, I tried my best. He did very good, too. It was a long match. Very tiring for me. I think he was just a little bit better than me.”

 

“A lot of pressure basically against Richard, because I think in my next two matches I will have nothing to lose,” Del Potro said. “If I was to pass the group, today match was the key to stay alive and with chances. That’s what I feel nervous.

 

“I think I never win my first match in the Masters Cup. It’s my first victory today. That’s also make me feel nervous.

 

“But now I’m feeling so glad to beat Richard. I’m still with chances to go through.”

 

Del Potro admitted that he was having problems with his focus, partially due to being robbed at a the train station in Paris on Saturday where he lost not only his passport but a rosary given to him by Pope Francis.
“Yeah, one of my things was the rosary,” Del Potro said. “But I have a few things which means a lot from my life. I don’t have it anymore.”
The Argentine, who is in the very competative Group B still has to play both Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer in round-robin play and talked about the challenge.

“Well, the next two matches going to be different, different opponents,”he said. “We play many times this year each other. I just beat Roger two weeks ago. He beat me last week. We always play good matches. So I will see against him.
And Novak is playing really well. Is unbeatable after the US Open. He won in Beijing, then Shanghai and in Paris also.

“So what I say before, I don’t have nothing to lose against them. It’s another good chance to play good tennis and get closer to the best of the world.”

Tennis Panorama News is in London covering the ATP World Tour Finals.  Follow our twitter updates from the tournament @TennisNewsTPN.

 

 

ATP WORLD TOUR FINALS RESULTS FOR MONDAY, NOVEMBER 4, 2013

Singles – Group A Round Robin
[7] S Wawrinka (SUI) d [5] T Berdych (CZE) 63 67(0) 63

Singles – Group B Round Robin

[4] J del Potro (ARG) d [8] R Gasquet (FRA) 67(4) 63 75

Doubles – Group A Round Robin

[8] M Fyrstenberg (POL) / M Matkowski (POL) d [5] A Qureshi (PAK) / J Rojer (NED) 63 76(8)

Doubles – Group B Round Robin

[6] D Marrero (ESP) / F Verdasco (ESP) d [4] M Granollers (ESP) / M Lopez (ESP) 61 64 

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Richard Gasquet Saves a Match Point En Route to Five-Set win over Milos Raonic

Richard Gasquet

 

(September 2, 2013) Frenchman Richard Gasquet came back from a match point down to stop Canadian Milos Raonic 6-7 (4), 7-6 (4), 2-6, 7-6 (9), 7-5 in the fourth round of the US Open on Sunday night on Court 17. The match lasted 4 hours, 40 minutes.

World No. 8 Gasquet is now 2-15 in major fourth round matches. The win means he’ll be playing the fourth seed Spaniard David Ferrer for a place in the semifinals.

Gasquet last made a major quarterfinal at Wimbledon in 2007.

Milos Raonic’s 39 aces during the match is third all-time at the US Open. The US Open record of 49 aces was set by Richard Krajicek in his 1999 five-set quarterfinal loss to Yevgeny Kafelnikov. Ivo Karlovic hit the second-most aces with 42 in his 2008 second-round straight-sets win over Florent Serra.

 

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