May 27, 2017

Roger Federer to Skip the French Open

Roger Federer

(May 15, 2017) Roger Federer announced on his web site that he will skip the French Open:

May 15, 2017

Dear Fans,

Regrettably, I’ve decided not to participate in the French Open. I’ve been working really hard, both on and off the court, during the last month but in order to try and play on the ATP World Tour for many years to come, I feel it’s best to skip the clay court season this year and prepare for the grass and hard court seasons. The start to the year has been magical for me but I need to recognize that scheduling will be the key to my longevity moving forward. Thus, my team and I concluded today that playing just one event on clay was not in the best interest of my tennis and physical preparation for the remainder of the season. I will miss the French fans, who have always been so supportive and I look forward to seeing them at Roland Garros next year.

Roger

 

Federer is coming off winning his 18th major, taking the Australian Open title back in January. He also won Masters Series titles at Indian Wells and Miami.

Federer did not play last year’s French Open due to knee surgery.

Federer won his only Roland Garros title in 2009, to complete a career Grand Slam.

More to follow….

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Tennis Channel To Broadcast Roger Federer Match in Seattle on Saturday

 

LOS ANGELES, April 27, 2017 – Tennis Channel will be live in Seattle on Saturday, April 29, at 9 p.m. ET, with Roger Federer’s first match in the city during an exhibition that will feature American star John Isner and Microsoft founder, philanthropist and Seattle resident Bill Gates. The Match for Africa 4 charity exhibition will include singles and doubles competition, a kickoff celebration and fundraising activity, the proceeds of which will benefit the Roger Federer Charitable Fund/Roger Federer Foundation, which promote children living in poverty in Africa.

 

The event will feature a three-set match between Federer and former World No. 9 John Isner. This will mark Federer’s first time playing tennis in Seattle, a city that has not held a men’s professional tournament since 1973. As part of the exhibition, Federer and Bill Gates will team up to take on Isner and lead guitarist Mike McCready of Seattle band Pearl Jam in a one-set doubles match.

 

Tennis Channel’s Mary Carillo will call the action from Seattle’s Key Arena and be joined by Federer’s former coach Paul Annacone (@paul_annacone) and former professional player Mark Knowles (@knowlzee10s) as analysts.

 

Tennis.com – part of Sinclair Broadcast Group’s Tennis Channel family – will stream the opening ceremonies beginning at 8:30 p.m. ET, followed by the entire event live. Tennis Channel’s telecast will begin with the doubles match featuring Federer and Gates against Isner and McCready at 9 p.m. ET. Following the conclusion of the doubles match there will be three-set singles match between Federer and Isner.

 

This is the foundation’s fourth Match for Africa and the first to be located outside of Zurich, Switzerland. Previous installments have featured star players like Rafael Nadal, Stan Wawrinka and, most recently, World No. 1 Andy Murray. Proceeds go to the Roger Federer Foundation, which received $1.4 million from The Match for Africa 3 earlier this month.

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Roger Federer Defeats Rafael Nadal to Complete Indian Wells-Miami Double

Roger Federer

(April 2, 2017) To quote the Peter Allen song from the movie “All That Jazz” – “Everything Old is New Again, especially on the ATP World Tour with Roger Federer’s and Rafael Nadal’s resurgence. Both men took time off the tour part of last year to recover from injuries. Federer was out for last six months of 2016 with a knee injury. Nadal was sidelined with a wrist injury to end the year in October.

For Federer this is his 91st career title, 26th Masters Series 1000 championship, third overall behind Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal.

On Sunday, the long-time rivals and top two major title holders 35-year-old Federer (18) and 30-year-old Nadal (14) squared off for the 37th time, this time in the final of the Miami Open. For the third time this year, Federer bested Nadal 6-3, 6-4 to win his third Miami title. In the final for a fifth time, Nadal was denied the crown in Key Biscayne.

Federer won the tournament back in 2005 and 2006. The win gives the Swiss a third “sunshine” double – claiming both Masters Series crowns in Indian Wells and Miami in the same year.

Federer is the oldest-ever Miami champion.

This is the third time that No. 4 seed Federer has defeated No. 5 seed Nadal this year, fourth straight time overall. The Swiss also beat the Spaniard in final of the Australian Open and the fourth round of Indian Wells two weeks ago. Nadal still soundly dominates the career head-to-head record at 23-14.

This year also marked the thirteenth anniversary of the first time both men first played each other on the tour.

Federer came into the final, after playing an intense three-hour and ten-minute semifinal win over 21-year-old Nick Kyrgios on Friday night. In the quarterfinals, he saved match points against Tomas Berdych.

 

In the final, Federer broke Nadal’s serve in the penultimate game of each set. Federer hit 30 winners with 17 unforced errors.

 

Rafael Nadal

“He’s playing good, no? That’s all,” commenting on Federer. “He’s playing good and with high confidence. When a top player like him is playing with this high confidence and playing that good then it’s tough to win.

“Today was a close match in my opinion. Was 6-3, 6-4, but I had opportunities to have the break before him on the first set. I don’t believe in luck, but I was not very lucky in the first set in a couple of points that I think I played well and I lost in the break points, and that’s it.

“Then he has the break and you are in trouble.

“In the second I had 30-All, second serve in the 4-All. I missed that point, and then 30-All, net for him, and go in.

“Few things decided the point, the decided the match, and today was for him. For me was a much closer result than — much closer level today than what the result says, and completely different than last week.

I think that I was close,” Nadal commenting on the match. “I think I was close enough to win the first set. Was not the day. Is true that when somebody is coming with that dynamic like him that he’s winning an a lot, I know that feeling, all the things are going to your way, no?

“So that’s what happened today, because in the first set I think anything could happen. Then in the second was close. The same, one break and that’s it. That’s all. It’s easy to see that match was a close match. In my opinion anything could happen and was in his way, so well done for him.”

“I think it was a close match,” Federer said in his news conference. “Maybe if you didn’t see the match and you were sitting somewhere around the world and you see the score you’re like, Okay, sort of maybe just straightforward and couple breaks and that was it.

“That’s not the full story. I thought he had his chances in the first and in the second. It was close. I think on the big points today I was just a little bit better. Why, I have no explanation. I just think it fell that way today.

“It was more of a fight mode I was in today just trying to stay afloat. Physically, emotionally it’s been a draining week, so I did I did very well.

“Great atmosphere again. A lot riding on the match of course. A lot has happened here in the last, I don’t know, it’s been 12, 13 years since I played Rafa the very first time here and in between.

“So it was a special match and it was great to play against Rafa again.”

“Was a positive tournament for me obviously,” said Nadal. “A lot of points, a lot of confidence for the most important part of the season for me that’s just in two weeks.

“So I hope to have a good two weeks of practice now at home and be ready for the clay. That’s my goal now.”

Rafael Nadal

“I think I am close to what I need to be,” Nadal said in his news conference. “I am at a very high level of tennis and I believe I am ready to win titles. I already played three finals this year, losing three times with a player that didn’t lose a match – only one match that he never would lose in normal conditions in Dubai and that’s it.

“I’m playing enough well to fight for everything I think. I have good hopes that I going to be ready for Monte-Carlo. Always when I am playing that well, on clay always helps a little bit more for me. I need to work hard to be ready for that. If I am ready for that, I think I am very excited about playing back on clay again.”

“I think that the way I’m playing right now is the right way for me moving forward as well,” Federer said. “Of course I’ll always recalibrate every tournament I go to depending on the speed of the ball, the speed of the courts, who I play, because I do have options.

“I’m happy that I was able to stay on the offensive more or less throughout this swing here, Indian Wells and Miami. I think once you win a big tournament like the Australian Open, or any big tournament for that matter, you can just bank usually on some confidence, you know.

“That confidence gets you through a lot of the tough matches that nobody ever speaks about again. You know, let’s make it the quarterfinals here against Berdych. End up winning that somehow. Nobody talks about it. They only will talk about the Nadal finals and the rest we know.

“I think I am definitely profiting from confidence, and then also from the right mindset, able to compress all my energy into one single match and not be distracted by everything else going on around me.

“So I think it’s been a challenging four weeks because, yeah, you have to be focused for a long time. I was able to do that and I’m very happy.”
“I’m moving up in the (rankings) and I just want to stay healthy,” Federer told ESPN’s Brad Gilbert on court after the match.

“I’m not 24 anymore,” Federer said. “I need a rest. My body needs healing”

“When I’m healthy and feeling good, I can produce tennis like this. That’s why taking a break and resting during the clay season and focusing on Roland Garros, the grass and the hard courts after that is best. It would be great to be No. 1 again, but it’s a long way away.”

Federer elaborating on this in his news conference: “I think it’s more about relaxing right now, making sure I get a rest. So I think it’s more prevention, to be honest.

“Then I would like to eventually — when you take a break, a breather and you start working out again, which I will have to stay in shape to some extent because I have Match for Africa 3 in Zurich on April 1oth. I can’t let everything fall apart right now because I have to play in a week.

“After that, I’m looking forward to go back in the gym and work on the stuff I couldn’t do for the last few months.

“Yeah, so I’ll probably stay on hard courts actually for the next few months, if you like, and then I’ll get on the clay probably two weeks before the French. That’s the plan for now.

“Then, yeah, hopefully I’ll play the French, but we’ll see how all of the buildup is going to go. Then obviously for me, that’s when the season essential starts. Sounds weird now, but I see it that way and I’ve always seen it that way.”

Federer’s next focus is Wimbledon: “Wimbledon has to be the biggest goal, I mean now in the near future. The American hard courts I guess as well. The French Open I guess to some extent. It’s just we’ll see what happens, you know. No pressure there really because I won’t have a preparation as such.

“But all of the grass really is important to me because I’ll play Stuttgart and Halle there, too. Then of course I am looking very good for the World Tour Finals, for the year-end championships, where I’ve been very successful. I like the indoors as well.

“So for me basically the second half of the season is a big priority now. That’s why I’ll take a break as well.”

“The comeback is over,” stated Federer. “Still a comeback year, but I did say that until here, now, Miami, it was going to be still learning. It’s the beginning. Let’s see how the knee is going to feel in Australia. How is the body going to be in the Middle East? How is the body going to be west coast, east coast?

“There is a lot of traveling, and the knee can act funny when you travel and fly trans-Atlantic and all that stuff. It’s not like I went home and all I did is take a warm shower. I had to do a lot of stretching, massage, and sleep well, all that stuff. I needed to be very professional to wake up every morning and be ready to compete.

“I’m happy that nothing major happened throughout this period. It’s been a dream run on the court; off the court as well my body has reacted very well and I couldn’t be happier, of course.”

Federer now holds the best record on the tour at 19-1 with three titles. He is 7-0 against Top Ten opponents this year.  This is his best start since 2006 when he went 33-1. He’ll move up to No. 4 in the world on Monday while Nadal will move to No. 5.

 

 

Johanna Konta

On Saturday Johanna Konta, the Australian-born Brit won her career-best title, beating former no. 1 Caroline Wozniacki 6-4, 6-3 for the Miami Open title.

The 25-year-old is off to 19-3 start on the year. She’ll move to a career high No. 7 ranking on Monday.

This is Konta’s third title on the WTA tour. She won Stanford last year and Sydney in January.

“I think I’ve always had the belief of wanting to become a Grand Slam champion, wanting to become the best in the world. I think that stays throughout, with every player I imagine, their career,” Konta said. “Without that, I don’t think it makes it as –the victories as sweet and I think also the defeats as motivating. I think that stays.

“And then it’s about keeping things simple and working for me. I just want to work and try to really bring out in myself the most that I have. Wherever that gets me that’s where it will get me, but hopefully the day I hang up my racquets I will be able to say that I really maximized my full ability and, my, yeah, everything inside me.”

Johanna Konta

“She’s very aggressive,” Wozniacki said. “She takes the ball early and stresses the opponent.”

Just two years ago Konta failed to qualify for Miami and now she is the champion. Talk about a quick turnaround – two years ago she was ranked in the 140s, now she’s Top Ten.

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Rafael Nadal to Face Roger Federer in Miami Open Final – Fedal Part 37

 

Rafael Nadal

(March 30, 2017) Rafael Nadal reached his fifth Miami Open final beating Italy’s Fabio Fognini 6-1, 7-5 during the day session. Nadal will try to win his first Miami final against Roger Federer, who defeated Nick Kyrgios in a three-hour and nine-minute epic match in the evening session 7-6(9), 6-7(9), 7-6(5).

No. 5 seed Nadal lost all four previous finals in Key Biscayne in 2005, 2008, 2011 and 2014.

No. 4 seed Federer won titles in Miami in 2005 and 2006. His last title victory in Miami came against his current coach Ivan Ljubicic.

Roger Federer

“He’s on such a good run, he’s such a great player, so it was a special feeling,” Federer said in his on-court interview.

“I kept fighting and believing, tried to stay aggressive.

“It was a nail biter and could have gone either way.”

 

Nick Kyrgios

“I think my game is there but I have to keep putting the mental part of it first,” Kyrgios said to media.

“Wasn’t expecting anything less of this match, the crowd. Created enough chances, felt it was on my racquet”

“I think my game is there but I have to keep putting the mental part of it first.”

“It was a tough match,” Kyrgios said. “Obviously played over three hours. Wasn’t expecting less, to be honest. He’s obviously the crowd favorite anywhere he plays obviously with what he’s done for the game.

“But I thought I was responding well to the crowd. Obviously serving for the first set. Hadn’t been broken in three matches, felt good. But I, mean, I created enough opportunity to win that match. I felt like it was on my racquet most of the time.

“He was playing great. Yeah, the crowd was obviously on his side, but I think I have to win a little bit more to start getting them on my side.”

“To stay healthy; that’s my main goal,” noted Kyrgios. “Playing a lot through the clay season so I to need to look after my body.

“I got Davis Cup next week. That’s my focus now. I am not going to think past that at all. We got a big tie against the USA. Obviously Jack is playing unbelievable. John, he’s a proven player. They’ve got a great team.

“That’s all I’m thinking about at the moment. Just staying injury-free, trying to get better. I felt like my game is there. Just mentally I got to keep putting in every day.”

“I showed a lot of fight,” Kyrgios said in regard to the match. “I thought I competed for every point.

“Obviously I’m an emotional guy. I had some ups and up and downs, bit of a roller coaster. Ultimately I think I put in a good performance. I thought the crowd would’ve enjoyed watching it, people at home would’ve enjoyed watching it.

“As I said, I wouldn’t be surprised if they found something bad, though.”

“I think people are really getting to know him now,” Federer said of his 21-year-old opponent. “They see him play more often. It’s his second, third year on tour now, so he’s coming back for the second, third year now to tournaments, which is good. You really see how he’s evolving as a player and person.

“I think it’s exciting following youngster because they change the look a lot or try out things, play differently; they get to know their game much better.

“He’s clearly got a big time game; he has one of the best serves in the game. He’s got great focus now on his serve, which I like to see. You know, it’s just going to take time for him to really be able to focus point for point and improve that.

“But you’re right, the crowds jump on it pretty quickly. But it makes for a good atmosphere I guess at the end of the day, so it’s not all that bad. Of course I think he’s good for the game at the end of game.”

This was seventh time in Roger Federer’s career that he has played all tie-breaks in best-of-three sets match. He has a 5-2 record in those matches.

Federer rallied from a break down in the first set and had match points in the second set tiebreaker, but could not convert.

Rafael Nadal

Nadal on his straightforward contest with Fognini: “I think I played a very good first set. He had mistakes obviously.

“In the second is not about losing the concentration, it’s about not being lucky at the beginning of the second set. With the normal situation, the normal thing is have a break at the beginning of the second. I had so many chances, but then situation changes, no?

“But when you don’t convert opportunities you’re in trouble, and that’s what happened. Especially with these conditions out there, a lot of wind. And with Fabio, who is a player that he is able to combine great points with mistakes then, you know, the match became strange, not a lot of rhythm, and then end of the second set was tough.”

“I served well. My serve worked well. I think I didn’t face a break point again during the whole match, so that is something that I am very happy with. That’s give you calm when you have opportunities on the return and you don’t convert.”

In one the more unusual situations on court, the 14-time major winner ran out of his shoe in the second set.

“I don’t know,” Nadal said responding to the incident. “Is strange because happened twice. In one month happened two times. I don’t know where the other time — practice. But practicing, not competing. I don’t know. Maybe I need to put tie stronger, but I don’t know. I don’t know how the shoe goes out. I have to check again.”

“Winning here will be something great and something that’s an important title that I didn’t win.

“But winning or losing, being honest, not going to change my career. Just helps to add something important for me and that’s it.

“I am very happy about the first part of the season on hard courts before the clay arrives. I won a lot of matches. I have a lot of points. I am in a privileged position of the race. That’s a great news for me and give me calm to play the next couple of tournaments.

“At the same time, I needed to play well at the beginning of the season because I didn’t have points the second half of the season on the computer, so I had a good chance to go back a lot on the ranking. That will not happen a lot probably. I can lose — I am still defending a lot of points on clay the next four tournaments, especially first three ones.”

For Fognini, the husband of 2015 U.S. Open champion Flavia Pennetta,  this was the unseeded player’s first Masters 1000 semifinal.

“I think I was missing a lot of balls,” he said. “That’s for sure, because I am giving like a present the first set to Rafa Nadal 6-1. It’s difficult to compete after. Even if I play much better the second set; I had my chance.

“I was really surprise about his serve, that he serve really, really good today. And of course no, me no.

“And at the end, I think we have a great fighting, even if he had more chance than me on the second set. I think I had bad luck, especially on that dropshot that was unbelievable, it was really good, on 3-All.”

The fifth seed Nadal leads the ATP World Tour in wins on the season with a 19-4 record.

“It’s great to be in the final for me,” said Nadal. “For me doesn’t matter the opponent. I am happy to be in that final again, and I am excited to play another final of on important event.

“So if it’s Roger, going to be another one for both of us, and that’s it. Just another one.”

“I think back to 2004, I just came off winning Indian Wells and I played the youngster Nadal, and I ended up losing,” Federer said on court.

“You could tell he was definitely going to win the French. The following year we played in the final and I should have lost, somehow, I won, he should have Miami titles and he doesn’t, so it’s going to be super special playing against him in the final.”

“When I came to Miami I just thought, Ahhh, this is probably again — like I did in Indian Wells and in Australia,” Federer said to media. “I just thought eventually it’s just going to catch up with me. Miami is probably not going to work that well because it’s slower. I already won Indian Wells.

“So let’s be realistic here. Semis would be an unbelievable run. Here we are in the finals and I get a chance to win the tournament. Still I feel like there is a mountain to climb in Rafa. He’s not won it yet before. He’s definitely feeling fresher than I feel right now. That’s not a problem. I’ll be ready on Sunday.

“Should be really exciting because we had this epic match in 2005. The finals was unbelievable. It was a turning point in my career, to be quite honest. For me to be able to focus for, I don’t know how long we played, maybe four hours, smashing forehand after forehand down the line I remember, I felt like I had to learn how to fight in matches, and there I showed it to myself and my team that I could do it.

“It was against somebody who ended up being my biggest rival. It’s definitely going to be very special playing Rafa here again. Of course I’m thrilled for him as well that he came back as well as he did after the comeback, the struggles that he had last year. Feels like old times. We’re playing each other every week now. We can’t get enough of each other.

“Yeah, hopefully it’s not our last match.”

Federer is now 18-1 on the year, his best start to a season since 2006.

The final between the “thirty-somethings,” 35-yearold Federer and 30-year-old Nadal, will be played on Sunday afternoon. Nadal holds a 23-13 head-to-head record against Federer.

 

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Roger Federer and Nick Kyrgios Reach Miami Open Semis

Roger Federer

(March 30, 2017) Roger Federer saved two match points to reach the Miami Open semifinals by beating Tomas Berdych 6-2, 3-6, 7-6(6). Federer failed to serve out the match at 5-3 in the third set and rallied from 6-4 down in the tiebreak for the win.

“I felt really good after the first set,” said the Swiss. “I think then I maybe let Tomas back into the match as well just a bit. Also, he started to play bigger and better.

“Still I thought I played a pretty good third set to get the lead, and then I just played a shocker of a game to get broken. I didn’t see — somehow I lost a ball on the first point, then maybe double fault, and then at Love-30 things are just complicated. Plus it was against the wind, so it was a very disappointing game for me.

“I tried to stay positive. I got a match point after that on the return where he went big on the second serve. Credit to him for just going for it. You know, it was nice to see that you can do that.

“Then the breaker obviously I got incredibly lucky. Could have gone either way. Felt like maybe this one I should have lost and maybe I should have won the one against him here in the night session years ago.

“But that’s how it goes. I’m happy I fought hard and somehow got it done today.”

“I just lost by one point. That’s what happened. Very simple, very straightforward,” Berdych said to media “He was the one serving out the match, didn’t make it. I had a match point, didn’t make it. I had two, didn’t make it. So what else to say?”

Nick Kyrgios

Federer will play Nick Kyrgios, the winner of a match between two rising starts on the ATP World Tour – the No. 12 seed Nick Kyrgios defeated No. 16 Alexander Zverev 6-4, 6-7(9), 6-3.

“They like the big stage,” Federer noted. “Both have a big serve. Both real nice backhand, and the belief, so that makes them just very tough to play, you know in any given match.

“The question with those guys coming up is can they bring to even single day? How is the mind and the body coping through all the sort of newer stress for them that they’re experiencing?

“Some weeks you feel great; some weeks you just don’t feel so good. That’s normal when you’re younger still trying to figure everything out, what’s their best surface, how do they need to play against certain player types.

“I both like their game and I think they’re going to be very, very good players moving forward. They already are, but I’m talking big picture.”

The world No. 6 is 17-1 on the year.

The other men’s semifinal is already set with Rafael Nadal taking on Fabio Fognini.

Asked about a chance for a Nadal- Federer final, Federer said: “I mean, it would be very cool. Look, they’ve been talking about it since the beginning of the tournament, which is nice. I’m happy we both made it this far. I definitely got super lucky today to be in the position that I’m in today, the semis.

“Yeah, I mean, look, I would love it. It would be like a throwback to 2005 I think the finals we played; 2004 we played the first time ever against each other here in Miami. So that would be cool, to have that going. Plus Rafa going for his first Miami Open. I think that would be cool, too.

“Yet I do believe the semis tomorrow is going to be quit difficult. Unfortunately I have to go back to that. Both are great players. Yeah, I think it’s going to be a tough match for both of them tonight, but especially for me tomorrow against either one.”

Federer versus Kyrgios will be a rematch of the quarterfinals on Indian Wells two weeks ago – Kyrgios had to withdraw due to illness. Federer went on to win the title.

This is the Aussie’s second straight year in the Miami semifinals.

Kyrgios talked about playing Federer: “Obviously he’s the greatest player of all-time, but the way that he takes time away from players, that’s his strength. He likes to play his pace of tennis. He likes to take away time and play aggressive.

“He obviously like to play really aggressive on return. Likes to get through his service games very quick. Serve and volley. I know what’s going to be coming. I’ve played him before.

“In saying that, he’s playing incredible at the moment. He’s had a great year. Obviously coming back from injury last year and winning the Australian Open, winning Indian Wells, he obviously looks very healthy and is moving very, very good.

“I’m not going to think about it too much at the moment. I got a whole day ahead of me where I can sort of just relax. I’m going to not do anything big. I’m going to serve big and play big. That’s my gamestyle that I’ve had success with, so that’s what I’m going to bring.”

Kyrgios beat Federer at the 2015 Madrid Open for their only head-to-head matchup.

Caroline Wozniacki and Johanna Konta moved into the women’s final. Konta defeated former champion Venus Williams 6-4, 7-5, while Wozniacki rallied past Karolina Pliskova 5-7, 6-1, 6-1.

“This is one of the few tournaments where I’ve never made a finals,” noted Wozniacki. “I think my best result was semifinals like five years ago. You know, it’s always been a tournament where I wouldn’t say I’ve struggled, but just not had the results that I’ve wanted to.

“You know, I’m really pleased to make it this far. There is one more match to go, and I’m going to do my best to win that one. But it’s going to be against tough opponents regardless of who I’m playing.”

“Against Caroline, I’m definitely going to be looking forward to playing a lot of balls and a lot of tough points,” Konta said. “She’s one of the best athletes in the game. She ran a marathon for goodness sake. I’m sure it’ll be a match where I’ll be running for a lot of balls. Hopefully we’ll give a great match for the final.”

“I think that’s the thing with Caroline: she never goes away. She’s there until the very, very last ball.

“I know that will be my challenge on Saturday. Yeah, looking forward to it.”

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Nadal and Federer Reach Quarterfinals, Wawrinka Loses at Miami Open

 

Rafael Nadal

 

(March 28, 2017) On the thirteenth anniversary of the first match they ever played against each other, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer won playing back-to-back matches on stadium court at the Miami Open. Top seed Stan Wawrinka lost on his 32nd birthday on Grandstand to 19-year-old Alexander Zverev.

Fifth seeded Nadal beat Nicolas Mahut, 6-4, 7-6(4) to reach the elite eight of Miami.

“It’s a good start of the year, I think, for both of us,” Nadal said about himself and Federer’s 2017. “Obviously, it’s a little bit better for him, but at the same time I’m happy with the way that I am playing, happy with the way that I started the year after a tough second part of the year last year with injuries.

“So I think it’s a positive for both of us that we can still (be) around here and be very competitive almost every week that we are playing.”
The Spaniard, seeking his first Miami title will play American Jack Sock for a place in the semifinals.

“He’s a very aggressive player, very powerful player, big serve, big forehand, and a good backhand, too, no? He plays quick with his backhand.

“So I need to play aggressive. That’s the only way. If I let him play in a comfortable position going to be impossible for me. So I need to be focus with my serve, but at the same time I need to be aggressive.”

Jack Sock

Sock who dismantled countryman Jared Donaldson 6-1, 6-2 talked about playing Nadal:
“I will definitely be looking forward to it, be excited for the battle.

“We played in Beijing couple years ago as well. Lost in three sets. Actually had a decent amount of chances there in the third. Might have even been up a break early or had a lot of break points early in the third.

“Yeah, I played in his backyard a few years ago, the French. He felt very comfortable will. I think we’re both comfortable on clay or hard. Yeah, either way should be a good battle; should be fun.

“I’ll definitely give myself a lot more chance to win this time around than maybe I did a few years ago. I’m 24 years old now and been on tour for a while. I’m playing these matches and hoping I can win and going in believing I can win for sure.”

 

No. 6 seed Roger Federer was pushed hard by Spain’s Roberto Bautista Agut, the 14th seed 7-6(5), 7-6(4). The Spaniard served for the first set at 5-4, but was broken back immediately.
“Look, I felt good overall,” said Federer. “It was a different kind of match. It wasn’t the big-serving match where you’re only going to see so many looks, you know, so when you miss chances you always feel a bit frustrated sometimes. That’s where you got to keep a positive mindset and make the right plays.

“I thought Roberto did a good job of making shots, staying offensive when he could, fending off a lot of good shots that I hit. Then it was tough. The sun was coming from the side in the beginning so it’s hard to chase the lines.

“At the end I’m very happy and pleased that I got it done in straight sets.”

He’ll play Tomas Berdych in the quarterfinals.

Asked about his next match, Federer said: “I wish it’s going to be like the Australian Open, but I know it won’t be like that. Just not reality that you can come in and just beat top 10 guys basically at will.

“I think it’s going to be a tough match. He’s beaten me at the, I don’t know, Olympics, US Open, Wimbledon, in big moments, so I know he can do it.

“Also beat me in Cincinnati once upon a time on the American hard courts. And here, too, saving match points. Looking forward to it.

“He’s also pushing again to get his ranking back up again after dropping a bit, so it’s a big match for him. For me obviously right after Indian Wells I’m trying to keep rolling here.

“Yeah, looking forward to it.”

Federer’s countryman and No. 1 seed, had his birthday spoiled by Germany’s Alexander Zverev 4-6, 6-2, 6-1.

 

Stan Wawrinka

“For sure it’s disappointing match,” said Wawrinka. “That’s for sure.

“I think the level was quite up and down. We were both fighting a little bit in the first set to find good level. Was really humid, not easy to play some great tennis, but we had some long rally.

“Yeah, one bad game to start the second set and then it was tough for me. I don’t know. I completely went down physically and mentally, and also my tennis was completely out.

“I had no more gas.”
The three-time major winner won only ten points in the final set.

Alexander Zverev

“In the first set I felt like I played a little bit still like I should have played against John(Isner),” noted Zverev. “You know, trying to keep the rallies long, the points long.

“But, yeah, I mean, I played well in the second and third. I turned it around a little bit. I had to be aggressive. I felt like he was the one controlling all the points all the time, so I had to change that.

“It worked out well for me. Happy to be in the quarterfinals now. Hopefully I can play as great as I did today after tomorrow as well.”

 

Zverev will play another up-and-comer on the ATP World Tour in 12th seed Nick Kyrgios who beat 8th seed David Goffin 7-6(5), 6-3

 

Kei Nishikori

Last year’s finalist and this year’s No. 2 seed Kei Nishikori, came back from a break down in the final set to beat Federico Delbonis 6-4, 6-4, 6-3.
“Every match is going to be tough from now on,” said Nishikori.

“Well, I tried to stay calm and focus again. I knew I have a lot of chance after losing the set.

“And also, even though was down a break, 2-1, but I was focusing well. I knew if I fight through I will have some chance, so I just tried to concentrate one game at a time.”

Nishikori will play unseeded Fabio Fognini, who beat Donald Young 6-0, 6-4.

More to follow…..

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Roger Federer Beats Juan Martin del Potro at Miami Open

(March 27, 2017) No. 4 seed Roger Federer moved into the fourth round of the Miami Open on Monday afternoon with a 6-3, 6-4 win over No. 29 seed Juan martin del Potro.

A break in each set secured the victory for the Swiss, the first time he’s played the Argentine since 2013.

“I felt like I was in control and I was able to generate more chances than he did,” noted the world No. 6.

“I mean, a little bit out of nowhere I felt like he got his chances, but maybe because I dropped my level ever so slightly and gave him few easy points, and that’s how he sort of got more chances on my serve.

“So I feel like I earned it more. I was more the aggressor. It was more on my racquet, and I like it that way.

“But, again, if he would’ve broken back in the first and would he have broken back in the second, we might still be playing and things would be very, very different right now.

“I thought it was a good match.”

Juan Martin Del Potro

“Well, it’s not easy play against Roger because he has good forehand, good backhand, slice, dropshot, everything,” said the 2008 U. S. Open champion.

“But think I did my best, and I had chance in both sets and I couldn’t take it. He played well in the break point moments, and I think that was the only difference of the match.”

Federer will match up against 14th seed Roberto Bautista Agut, who beat Sam Querrey.

“I respect Bautista Agut a lot,” Federer said. “He competes so well point for point, day in day out, and he plays ton of tournaments, and he’s really just match tough.”

“I have a really good record against Roberto. I hope I can use my variation to really make him feel uncomfortable.

“Looking forward to backing it up tomorrow now. It’s not something I’m actually used to, playing back-to-back days. So I hope my body is going to be fine tomorrow.

“That’s why definitely it was key also today not to waste too much energy.”

Alexander Zverev saved three match points to defeat John Isner 6-7(5), 7-6(7), 7-6(5).

In a battle between two former Miami Open champions, No. 11 seed Venus Williams defeated seventh seed Svetlanta Kuznetsova 6-3, 7-6(4). Williams saved two set points in the second set.

Angelique Kerber

No. 1 Angelique Kerber has reached the elite 8 in Miami. The two-time major champion beat Risa Ozaki 6-2, 6-2.

Caroline Wozniacki is also in the the quarters. Garbine Muguruza retired after the first set after feeling dizzy and having stomach pain.

Wozniacki, the 12th seed, will play former French Open finalist Lucie Safarova, who stunned fourth seed Dominika Cibulkova 7-6, 6-1.

Third seed Simona Halep avoided the upset, coming back from a set, 2-5 and a match point to beat Samantha Stosur. Also moving into the quarterfainls were 10th seed Johanna Konta and 26th seed Mirjana Lucic-Baroni.

Karolina Pliskova

In an all-Czech battle, Karolina Pliskova beat occasional doubles Barbora Strycova 6-1, 6-4.

 

More to follow

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Elena Vesnina and Roger Federer Win BNP Paribas Open Singles Titles

(March 19, 2017) Roger Federer and Elena Vesnina took home the BNP Paribas Open singles trophies on Sunday in Indian Wells California. In an all-Swiss affair, Federer defeated Wawrinka 6-4, 7-5 to win his fifth Indian Wells crown, 90th career tournament and 25th Masters Series 1000 title. He is now tied with Novak Djokovic for most Indian Wells titles.

At 35-years and seven months old, the 18-time major champion became the oldest BNP Paribas Open champion. Federer is third in Open Era in number of titles behind Jimmy Connors and Ivan Lendl.

The women’s final was an all-Russian contest which saw Elena Vesnina rally from a set and 1-4 down in the second s set and 2-4 down in the third set to beat Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-7 (6), 7-5, 6-4 in just over three hours in the first match of the day.

“For me, the dream run continues,” Federer said during the trophy ceremony.

“This was not part of the plan, to win Australia and Indian Wells. The goal was to be top 8 by after Wimbledon, so I’m there much, much faster.”

“I will make the plan for the remainder of the season, especially for the clay, after Miami, and then see also what the goals are because the goals are clearly changing after this dream start.”

“The way he’s playing is just so beautiful,” said finalist Wawrinka. “Everything looks perfect. He’s moving amazingly well. He has amazing touch. He’s doing everything you can do on the tennis court.”

“I think Stan can be very proud of his efforts here and the start to the year,” Federer said to media. “And the tournament he played here was great for him. He’s always struggled in the past in the desert. And then, for me, the dream run continues. The fairytale of the comeback that I have already shown in Australia.

“Again, I’m not as surprised as I was in Australia, but still this comes as a big, big surprise to me, nevertheless, to win here again and beating the players that I did and the way I did. I mean, couldn’t be more happy.

“It’s an absolute, huge start to the year for me. Yeah, last year didn’t win any titles. I don’t think I was in any finals except maybe Brisbane last year.

“The change is dramatic, and it feels great.”

Federer’s ranking will move up to No. 6 as of Monday.

Last February, 14th seed Vesnina was ranked No. 122 in the world and lost in qualifying at Indian Wells. Talk about a turnaround. She’ll be No. 13 in the world when the rankings come out on Monday.

Like her last year on tour, she had to battle back and Sunday was no different. The 30-year-old, who defeated No. 2 seed Angela Kerber and No. 12 seed Venus Williams on the road to making the final, talked about how she was mentally able to rebound from a set and 1-4 down:

“I was down the whole match except the first set. I was up with a break twice and I had set point. I didn’t use my chances there, and then she won the set and was 4-1-up.

“I was kind of fighting to just stay longer on the court, you know, just don’t give it so easy. I was telling to myself, You’re 4-1 down. Nothing to lose. Just fight for each game, you know, try to win every point, you know, try to deserve every point, because she will not give you anything.

“When I was down 4-2 in the third set, I know these kind of feelings when you’re having so much chances and you’re not using them, then your opponent will have one chance and she will use it.

“So I think that’s the situation what happened with Svetlana and me today, because she was up the whole match. She was up set 4-1, then 4-2 in the third. She had so many break points on my serve. She was 30-Love up couple of times on her serves.

“And I always keep coming back. I stick there, you know. I was just not giving anything, you know, that moment. I was just — I didn’t thought about, like, the end of the match. I was just thinking about how to kind of get back into the game. You know, I was just thinking about that.

“And when I broke her at 4-All and went to serve for the match, I had this in my mind. You know, I was, like, I’m not gonna give it. I went to serve, and I was, like, I never gonna lose this game.

“I don’t know how I have it in my mind, you know, serving for the championship point, championship game, you know, and don’t be so nervous, you know. I was really — that game, I was really calm. I was not thinking that if I’m going to lose this game it’s going to be 5-All. I was not afraid to lose, you know, maybe for the whole match. I was just trying to play.

“And I think Svetlana, end of the match, she was afraid to lose the match, and this is the difference maybe.”

The 31-year-old, two-time major champion and eighth seed Kuznetsova said: “I didn’t feel good today, because she was very aggressive, and I was a little bit out of my game. I was too far from the court, and I was running all the way, way behind, so the only thing I could defend. And I didn’t serve well.

“So I think that was overall the key points. Even I made it 7-6, 4-1 and was one break, and she kept being aggressive, and, yeah, I was too passive. I think that’s why I lost.”

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Federer Beats Nadal, Djokovic Loses to Kyrgios at BNP Paribas Open

Roger Federer

(March 15, 2017) Ninth seed Roger Federer took out fifth seed Rafael Nadal 6-2, 6-3 in a fourth-round match at the BNP Paribas Open on Wednesday. This was the first time since the 2004 third round in Miami that they met so early in a tournament. For the Swiss, it was his thirteenth win over the Spaniard in thirty-six attempts. For the first time in their rivalry, it’s the third straight victory over Nadal for Federer. Federer beat Nadal in the final of the Australian Open at the end of January.

“It’s a nice feeling to win the last three. I can tell you that,” said Federer.

“But most importantly, I won Australia. That was big for me. On the comeback, I look back at that and think that was one of the coolest things I ever experienced in my career.

“Basel was special, too, for many reasons, because I used to be ballboy there. I never played Rafa prior to that finals.

“Then now, here, after the Australian hype, you know, to play here in America right away, all of them are very special.

“I mean, all the matches that we have played are unique in many ways for both of us, winning or losing. So I take it. Obviously can’t celebrate too long this time around. I have to get back to work in a couple of days.”

Federer broke Nadal’s serve a total of four times, twice in each set for the win in 68 minutes.

“The main thing he take the break in the first game, and I had break point in the next game and come back and he had a good serve,” said Nadal.

“When Roger have advantage, his serve is so good, he has a lot of confidence with his serve, he’s able to play much more relaxed, no?

“Worst thing in that match for me was from the beginning I was in disadvantage breaking the first game of the match, and then breaking the second game of the second set. So that’s so difficult to play against Roger this way.”

“It was all about coming out and trying to play the way I did in Australia,” said Federer to media. “I didn’t think it was going to be that possible, to be quite honest, because the court is more jumpy here or more rough, let’s say, so it’s hard to put the ball away.

“I have seen, as well, like against Johnson yesterday, when you serve well and stay on the offensive and you press, you can actually play some really good, aggressive tennis here.

“It’s hard to dig your way out of defense, because the ball doesn’t skid on you as an attacker, and I think I did well again today. You know, I said yesterday it was more a sprint than a marathon. So getting in the lead was crucial, and then staying on the offense and pressing was the goal for me.

“Once I got the break in the second set, obviously you had to be very careful you didn’t get down double break. And I was able to hold my serve, and he couldn’t find a way how to get into my service games more frequently. Next thing you know, it’s all over. It was a really good performance by me, I thought.”

 

Nick Kyrgios

Three-time defending Indian Wells champ Novak Djokovic had his 19-match winning streak at the tournament snapped by 15th seed Nick Kyrgios 6-4, 7-6(3).
“Well, the run was amazing,” said Djokovic. “I am very proud of it, obviously. It had to end at some stage. Unfortunately, it was today.

“Well, Nick, again, as he did in Acapulco earlier, few weeks ago, he served so well. Just wasn’t managing to get a lot of balls back on his serve, first and second, as well.

“So I guess that’s what made a difference.”

The number two seed fell victim to the Australian for the second time in two weeks. Kyrgios beat Djokovic in Acapulco.
“I guess conditions like today where the ball travels through the air very fast and it bounces very high, you know, it’s a gamble,” said the Serb.

“And on his first serves, to try to anticipate and read his serve, where he’s going to go 140 miles per hour down the T and also pretty good angle wide, so it’s hard to position yourself well. Let’s call it that way. It is a gamble.

“His second serve, if you think you’re going to have a look at it, you don’t, because he goes for it, as well. He didn’t make too many double faults.

“As I said, you know, in this kind of conditions, it’s quite suitable for the server. Puts a lot of pressure on your service games. You know, you need to deliver and you can’t fold, which I did in the opening game of the match. Obviously, the dynamic of the match already went his way in the first/second game.

“Yeah, it was hard to come back from that one, although I did have my chances, did have some 30-Alls and deuces. I don’t think I reached a break point, but I did have some close games on his serves, but I just wasn’t able to deliver what was important at that stage.”
Kyrgios hit 14 aces against Djokovic.

“I knew it was going to be a tough battle today,” said Kyrgios. “I knew he wanted to come out there and obviously after Acapulco to come out there and win.

“The conditions are completely different here than they are in Acapulco. I don’t think I served anywhere near as I did in Acapulco. I fought for every point, and obviously we were a bit — I think both of us were a bit nervous at times.

“I thought it was a pretty good match. I played the crucial points pretty well. Obviously I just served well again. Yeah, it was good to get through.”

Kyrgios will take on Federer for a place in the semifinals. Kyrgios is 1-0 against the 18-time major champion.

Stan Wawrinka

No. 3 seed Stan Wawrinka had to battle back from two breaks in the third set to defeat lucky loser Yoshihito Nishioka 3-6, 6-3, 7-6(4) to advance.

“Well, was really tough match, of course, ” said Wawrinka. “He served twice for the match. He had breaker in the third.

“I wasn’t playing great. I was not moving well at the beginning. I was a little bit hesitating with my game. I think in general in the third set I played better than the two first sets. I got, I would say, maybe to break a little bit quick especially at 5-5.

“But in general I was finding a little bit better my game. I was playing a little bit more aggressive. I was more calm, making more long rally.

“Again, I’m really happy to get through for sure. You have to be a little bit lucky when he served twice for the match, but I’m happy to fight well enough to give me a chance to play tomorrow night.”

Other men reaching the elite 8 of Indian Wells includes: No. 4 seed Kei Nishikori, who defeated Donald Young 6-2, 6-4,  No. 8 seed Dominic Thiem dominated No.  10 seed Gael Monfils 6-3, 6-2, No. 17 seed Jack Sock who won 4-6, 7-6(1), 7-5 over Malek Jaziri, No. 21 Pablo Carreno Busta, beating qualifier Dusan Lajovic, and No. 27 Pablo Cuevas knocking out No, 11 seed David Goffin 6-3, 3-6, 6-3.

Karolina Pliskova

In women’s play, Karolina Pliskova and Svetlana Kuznetsova advanced to the semifinals. In a very tight match, the No. 3 seed Pliskova defeated No. 7 Garbine Muguruza 7-6, 7-6.

“Definitely the best match for me in this tournament,” said the Czech. “Also, like, it was good player, so the level ultimately goes a little bit more up, little better player.

“So definitely from the baseline I think was fine. But, yeah, the way how I was finishing those sets, I’m not happy with that, because I was serving into both. In the second one I was serving twice.

“Even 40-15 up, I don’t think it can happen with my serve. Like, anything is possible in tennis, but I just have to serve few times. I had a good rally once on my forehand.

“So, yeah, a little bit unlucky, but, yeah, just not happy with the way how it finished, but happy how I, in the end, still stayed there.

“And the tiebreaks, especially in the second one was not easy, because I had in my head, I had some match points and I had 5-2. So, yeah, so happy that I stayed there and closed it in the second tiebreak, as well.

“And obviously my serve not really good today, as the whole tournament.”

Kuznetsova defeated Russian countrywoman Anastasia Pavyluchenkova 6-3, 6-2.

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Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal Set Up Fourth Round Clash at the BNP Paribas Open; Novak Djokovic Advances

Roger Federer

(March 14, 2017)Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal will meet for the thirty-sixth time in their careers on Wednesday in the fourth round of the BNP Open. Both men won third round matches on Tuesday.

Nadal, a three-time winner, who last won the tournament in 2013, defeated fellow Spaniard Fernando Verdasco 6-3, 7-5 for his 50th career match-win at Indian Wells.

Roger Federer survived American Steve Johnson 7-6(3), 7-6(4). The Swiss is a four-time winner of this event, last winning in 2012.

Nadal is 23-12 against Federer, 12-4 at ATP Masters 1000 events, 9-8 on hard courts and 1-1 at the BNP Paribas Open. Federer has never beaten Nadal three-times in a row.

Their last meeting came in late January when Federer won the Australian Open in five sets over Nadal. In their last meeting before this, Federer beat Nadal at the Swiss Indoors event in 2015.

Asked about how he feels about his next match, Federer said: “Very excited. I said it at the press conference in the beginning. That’s why I came here, play against guys like Rafa. Now we have it.

“I’m going to be excited now. Better be excited now. Otherwise I came for the wrong reasons.”

“Everyone felt different against Rafa,” he continued, “because sometimes you come in and you’re extremely tired. Sometimes it was, like you said, maybe you just lost three in a row, and you play often in quick succession at one point, as well.

“I mean, Australia helps me a little bit, but, you know, at the end of the day, I’m still in the comeback. And I try to see it really as another opportunity to build upon something for the rest of the season. So regardless of Australia, winning or losing, I’m going to try to go out there and try to play free again. I think it’s really important.

“I’m really happy that I got my energy back, because in Dubai I was actually still quite tired. I feel like tomorrow if I move well, you know, I will definitely have a chance against Rafa.”

Rafael Nadal

“Since the season started, I was playing well,” Nadal said. So I tried to play my game, tried to play aggressive.

“My goal was don’t let him play with his forehand from easy positions. And that’s what I tried. I started well the match. Then taked a while to have the break, but finally I had in the right game, in the 4-3, and I closed well.

“So in the second I started with the break, and then happened what happened with those two games. Then I was there again.

“So very pleased with my performance. And I won already two matches here.”
“Tomorrow another chance to go on court, and I’m going to try to play better than I did today.”

Asked about what makes Federer’s game so special, Nadal said: “Everything. Yeah, he has the talent to do very difficult things that looks easy, you know. He’s able to take the ball very early, serve and first shot. He create a lot of winners with that, two first shots, no?

“And then he’s able to take the ball always from inside, and he’s very quick going to the net. If you play short ball, then you know that he gonna go inside and gonna hit a winner, gonna play a shot that hit forehand or backhand, go to the net, and you are going to be in big trouble.”

 

Novak Djokovic

In the night session, Novak Djokovic defeated Juan Martin Del Potro 7-5, 4-6, 6-1 to reach the round of 16 where he’ll play Nick Kyrgios.

“It was difficult to overcome this challenge tonight,” Djokovic said during his on court interview. “The third was some of the best tennis I’ve played this year”

For the five-time desert champion, was his his 300th ATP Masters 1000 match victory. He is now tied with Pete Sampras for 10th in Open Era with 762 wins overall.
In other men’s action, No. 4 seed Kei Nishikori easily beat Gilles Muller 6-2, 6-2, American Donald Young upset 14th seed Lucas Pouille 6-4, 1-6, 6-3 and Malek Jaziri of Tunisia survived big-serving American Taylor Fritz 6-4, 3-6, 6-3.

Nick Kyrgios

In a battle of generation next on the ATP World Tour, Nick Kyrgios beat Alexander Zverev 6-3, 6-4.

“It was the worst match I played all year. It’s quite simple, ” said Zverev of the loss. “My serving was absolute horrible, my returning was absolutely horrible. From the baseline was horrible. There is not one thing I did well.”

“I wasn’t serving my best, so I thought I just competed well, said Kyrgios. “It was always going to be a tough match. He’s been playing great tennis and on the rise ever since juniors. I knew it was going to be tough.

“It was hot, but it wasn’t scorching. I think that suits my game style. I can get more bounce off my forehand.

“But, yeah, it was a tough battle. I’m just really glad to get through.”

 

American Jack Sock saved four match points to stop Grigor Dimitrov 3-6, 6-3, 7-6(7).

 

More to follow…

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