(July 8, 2016) No. 6 Milos Raonic became the first Canadian to reach the Wimbledon final when he rallied past seven-time Wimbledon champion Roger Federer 6-3, 6-7 (3), 4-6, 7-5, 6-3 in his semifinal on Friday.
Federer, who seemed to be in control of his service games in the fourth set, making headway into Raonic’s service games, but on the cusp of reaching a tiebreak, blew a 40-0 lead, hit toe double faults in a row, to be broken for the set and the momentum switched to Raonic, who never let it go.
“This one clearly hurts, because I felt I could have had it. So close,” said Federer. “It was really so, so close.”
Federer fell flat on his face, literally and figuratively in the fifth set and Raonic sprinted to a 4-1 lead and never looked back.
“I was able to finish,” Federer said, commenting about the fall. “But I don’t slip a lot. I don’t ever fall down. It was a different fall for me than I’ve ever had.”
He admitted in press that after slipping on the grass that he did not feel the same afterwards.
As for the 25-year-old Raonic, he survives and advances. “I sort of persevered,” he said. “I was sort of plugging away.”
Two years ago, The Swiss beat the Canadian in the semifinals.
“Two years ago, I bottled up all the difficulties I had on court and never got it out,” Raonic said. “I was quite more vocal and a lot more positive on court.”
“I was struggling through many parts of the match,” he continued. “He gave me a little opening towards the end of the fourth. I made the most of it.”
“You’re playing who Roger is today,” Raonic added, “not who he’s been the past few years.”
Raonic will be joined in the final by 2013 champion and second seed Andy Murray. The Scot reached his third Wimbledon final and third major final of the year easily passing 10th seed Tomas Berdych 6-3, 6-3, 6-3. This will be the 11th major final of Murray’s career.
It will be the first major final where he won’t face either Novak Djokovic or Roger Federer. Murray is 2-8 in major finals.
“Obviously, first time I’ll play a Slam final against someone that isn’t Roger or Novak. So, yeah, that’s different,” Murray said to media. “But you never know how anyone’s going to deal with the pressures of a Slam final. So just have to go out there and concentrate on my side. Do what I can to prepare well for it and see what happens.”
(July 6, 2016) Roger Federer kept his hopes alive of winning a record eighth Wimbledon title when he rallied from two sets down and saved three match points to beat ninth seed Marin Cilic 6-7(4), 4-6, 6-3, 7-6(9), 6-3 to reach the semifinals on Wednesday on Centre Court. It was a little revenge for the Swiss who was destroyed by Cilic in the 2014 U.S, Open semifinals.
“Well, a lot happened out there,” Federer said to the BBC about the tenth time in his career coming back from a two-set deficit. “I knew I was in so much trouble in the third, and then again in the fourth.”
“I’m really, really pleased and just ecstatic I was able to come through somehow.”
The win for the third seeded Federer marks the 11th time he’s reached the semifinals of the All-England Club, tying Jimmy Connors and he also claims a record 307th match victory at a major, passing Martina Navratilova at 306. He also equaled Jimmy Connors with number of match wins at Wimbledon at 84.
This will be the 17-time major champion’s 40th major semifinal.
“I fought. I tried. I believed, and in the end I got it done, and so it’s great on so many levels,” Federer said to media.
Federer will face No. 6 seed Milos Raonic in the final four. The Canadian stopped the run of 28th seed American Sam Querrey, who upset Novak Djokovic in the third round, 6-4, 7-5, 5-7, 6-4.
Also advancing to his second Wimbledon semifinal was No. 10 Tomas Berdych beating No. 32 Lucas Pouille 7-6(4), 6-3, 6-2.
2013 Wimbledon winner and No. 2 Andy Murray held off No. 12th seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 7-6 (10), 6-1, 3-6, 4-6, 6-1 for the last spot in the final four on Centre Court.
(June 29, 2016) British qualifier Marcus Willis had his Cinderella story come to an end when seven-time champion Roger Federer brought him down to earth 6-0, 6-3, 6-4 in the second round of Wimbledon on Wednesday. The tennis instructor ranked 772nd in the world reached the main draw through both a special pre-qualifying tournament for British players advancing into the regular qualifying tournament.
Willis had the crowd behind him on Centre Court with the roof closed at the All England Club. For Federer, a Wimbledon fan favorite, expected the crowd to support his opponent.
“I expected something like this, especially under the roof. He was going to have some supporters and they were going to have chants. I felt very well prepared. I enjoyed it.”
“It’s his moment. I wanted him to have a great time,” Federer said. “I’ll remember most of the Centre Court matches here at Wimbledon, but this one will stand out because it’s that special and probably not going to happen again for me to play against a guy 770 in the world. I enjoyed it as much as I possibly could.”
“I did look up twice as I bounced the ball, and saw Roger Federer, and thought, ‘Oh, haven’t seen this before,'” said the 25-year-old Brit who lives at home with his parents. “It was surreal.”
“It was all just a blur,” the left-handed Willis said after the match. “It was amazing. I did enjoy myself even though I was getting duffed up. I loved every bit of it. Not the duffing bit. I loved getting stuck in, fighting hard.”
“The whole experience was incredible.”
For Federer, it was his 81st match win at Wimbledon. He’s second all-time to Jimmy Connors with 84.
Top seed Novak Djokovic advanced earlier in the day which saw rain wash out 40 of the matches on the outer courts. Wimbledon is issuing refunds to many of the Wednesday patrons.
Djokovic won his 30th consecutive match at a major with his victory over France’s Adrian Mannarino 6-4, 6-3, 7-6(5).
(June 27, 2016) Top seed Novak Djokovic, going for his fifth major tournament win in a row and the third leg of the “Grand Slam” opened his defense at Wimbledon with a 6-0, 7-6(3) win over No. 177 British wild card James Ward. The Serb was halfway to a “triple bagel” (6-0, 6-0, 6-0) before Ward got on the board.
“I honestly didn’t expect myself to start that well,” said Djokovic. “Nine games in a row, 6 0, 3 0. I thought it was just a matter of time when James would win his first game. I knew that the reaction of the crowd, and his own reaction, will be the way it was.
“As a home player, he enjoyed a lot of support today, especially when he won his first game. That’s when the energy kind of shifted on his side. He felt huge relief obviously winning the first game. On the other hand, I maybe dropped the concentration a little bit. The second set was quite close. Credit to him for serving well.
“The first part of the match was almost flawless, so I’m very pleased with the way I started Wimbledon.”
Seven-time Wimbledon champion Roger Federer was pushed by No. 52 Guido Pella 7-6(5), 7-6(3), 6-3. The Swiss broke the Argentine’s serve once – in the second-to-last game of the match.
Pella is now 0-4 in tour grass court matches.
“I was very happy with the way I played. If I would have used my chances earlier in the first and second set, maybe things would have been a bit easier.” Federer said. “I’m happy I made it in three straight sets.”
Federer’s win sets up a contest with the “Cinderella” of the tournament in the second round. No. 772 Marcus Willis, a British qualifier, advanced with a straight set win over Ricardas Berankis. Willis, a teaching pro came through both pre-qualifying and qualifying to reach the main draw.
New French Open and last year’s Wimbledon finalist, Garbine Muguruza was pushed to a third set before advancing over Italy’s Camila Giorgi 6-2, 5-7, 6-4.
Five-time Wimbledon winner Venus Williams beat Croatia’s Donna Vekic 7-6(3), 6-4 in her opening match. This is Williams’ 19th time competing at the All England Club.
Former world No. 1 Ana Ivanovic was an upset victim on Monday, losing to a qualifier ranked 223rd making her major tournament debut. The Serb seeded 23rd lost to Russian Ekaterina Alexandrova 6-2, 7-5. Also exiting on the women’s side was 25th seed Irina-Camelia losing 6-1, 6-4 to Germany’s Carina Witthoeft.
Ivanovic told media that her injury caused her many miss hits.
Upsets on the men’s side of the draw on day one were twentieth seed Kevin Anderson and 21st seed Philipp Kohlschreiber.
In the comeback of the day, 28th seed Sam Querrey, rallied from two sets down to beat Lukas Rosol 6-7 (6), 6-7 (5), 6-4, 6-2, 12-10. back in 2012 Rosol stunned Rafael Nadal in the second round of Wimbledon.
(June 11, 2016) LONDON, England – “Don’t look,” cautioned the man bearing the silver bowl.
Tennis conspiracy theorists always think tournament draws are fixed. Sometimes – for example, the 1996 US Open, when the players threatened to boycott unless the draw was remade – there are good reasons. In that case, the seedings had been announced after the draw had already been announced, and because they didn’t strictly follow the rankings, there were legitimate questions asked about whether the tournament was favoring American stars. A 2011 study of ten years of men’s and women’s singles Grand Slam draws found that the other Slams did indeed seem to produce random draws, but that that the US Open draws showed anomalies.
More common claims are that the draw is fixed to ease one or another player’s path or that the placing of seeds 3 and 4 is fixed in order to keep a particular pairing apart until the final. Every time a new draw for one of the majors is announced, you’ll find someone in a tennis discussion forum complaining that Roger Federer always gets an easy draw and Rafael Nadal a hard one, or Novak Djokovic a tough road and Nadal an easy one…or some variation of that with whatever players the poster cares about.
Others would just like to tinker with the rules governing how draws are made. Over the years people have suggested that the semifinal pairings should always be 1-4 and 2-3, or that the entire draw should be remade before the quarter-finals to rebalance the gaps left by defeated seeds. Another favorite suggestion is that the majors should go back to seeding 16 players instead of 32, the rule until 2001. Doing so, the argument goes, would make the early rounds a little more tantalizing. I incline toward this latter idea myself, but it’s unlikely to happen because seeding 32 players was a concession Wimbledon made as part of a settlement of player complaints. The Spanish players were offended by the All-England’s habit of revising the seeding list to take into account past results on grass, which sometimes dropped the Spaniards out of the seeding list. This, they felt, was unfair: sure they often lost in the early rounds, but, they reasoned, they got no reverse consideration at the French Open, where they could be expected to do well but Pete Sampras was still top seed despite his habit of losing in the first two rounds.
Back to the man with the silver bowl. We are in the Presidents’ Room at Queen’s Club, surrounded by oil portraits, one of which is a dead ringer for Kaiser Wilhelm (it’s actually the Rt Hon Lord of Dalkeith, the club president from 1874 to 1879). The room is full of journalists and various people involved with running either the club or the tournament. (You can easily tell them apart. The people involved with the club are dressed for a cocktail party; tournament staff are wearing sponsored sports stuff; and the journalists look like they’ve been dragged in off the street.) At the front, next to a populated head table is a large screen with a blank 32-slot draw, and a load of numbered plastic tokens. We are introduced to three people who together have bid £250,000 (to be given to a children’s charity) for the right to be here today. Also on hand: Marin Cilic, the 2012 champion of this event. All of this, including the presence of a player, is fairly standard, though the exact mechanics vary.
The ritual begins with slotting the name of the top seed – Andy Murray – on line number 1 and second seed Stan Wawrinka on line 32. Next, the tokens for 3 and 4 are placed in the bowl and Queen’s man in the grey suit asks one of the dignitaries to pick one. This is where “Don’t look!” comes in. The one that is drawn – fourth seed Richard Gasquet – is placed on line 9, and the other, McEnroe-enhanced third seed Milos Raonic, on line 24. That settles the projected semifinal pairings. Next, the tokens for seeds 5 to 8 are placed in the bowl, and the man bowl is offered to three different people to fill the quarterfinal spots. Finally, the rest of the tokens are placed in the bowl, and the man goes around offering it to various people in the audience, even soliciting volunteers. Each person draws out one of the remaining numbers and the team at the front places it in the next empty line of the draw. There are tokens for qualifiers, whose names won’t be known until tomorrow (assuming the rain delay ends in time). These will also be drawn randomly to fill the empty spaces left for them.
As they go, the on-screen board fills in and profiles of the players and their match pairings pop up alongside. Some of the matches sound much tastier than the first round at Wimbledon will be. Cilic, interviewed, noted that the cut-off for the main draw this week was 44, which he thinks is the highest for any tournament on the tour. Murray, seeking his record-breaking fifth title here this year, draws Nicolas Mahut in the first round. Definitely a tough one: Mahut has grass cred. Besides being, famously, the loser in 2010’s three-day first-round Wimbledon encounter with John Isner, he’s a former finalist here who might have won the title but for an unlucky netcord, and recently the world’s number one doubles player. Other first-round contests that catch the eye: Nick Kyrgios versus Raonic sounds like an old-style serving contest; John Isner will have to contend with just-back Juan Martin del Potro; and Cilic faces Feliciano Lopez, the good-on-grass Spaniard who has troubled plenty of players here over the years.
Most draws, while not attended with quite as much ceremony, are pretty much like this: public events, with at least one player, some press, and various others in attendance. While it might be possible to fix the draw somewhere sometime, the intent is to make the process transparent and trustworthy. Conspiracy theorists should look elsewhere.
Novak Djokovic Wins French Open Title to Complete “Career Grand Slam” and win Fourth Straight Major Title
(June 5, 2016) Novak Djokovic became the first man since Rod Laver won a calendar Grand Slam in 1969 to win four straight major titles, winning the French Open on Sunday over Andy Murray 3-6, 6-1, 6-2, 6-4 on Sunday to complete a career Grand Slam. Djokovic is just the third man to hold all four majors titles at the same time which includes Don Budge 1938 and Rod Laver in 1962 and 1969.
The title gives No. 1 Djokovic his 12 major titles, tying him with Roy Emerson on the all-time list, behind Roger Federer with 17, Rafael Nadal and Pete Sampras with 14. The Serb is the eighth man to complete a career “Grand Slam” joining Don Budge, Fred Perry, Rod Laver, Roy Emerson, Andre Agassi, Roger Federer, and Rafael Nadal. The 29-year-old is now 12-11 in major finals.
“It’s a thrilling moment,” said Djokovic. “One of the most beautiful I have had in my career. “It’s incredibly flattering to know that Rod Laver is the last one that managed to do that. There are not many words that can describe it. It’s one of the ultimate challenges that you have as a tennis player. I’m very proud and very thrilled. It’s hard for me to reflect on what has happened before and what’s going to happen after. I’m just so overwhelmed with having this trophy next to me that I’m just trying to enjoy this moment.”
“Perhaps the greatest moment of my career.”
After completing the victory, Djokovic took a page out of former Roland Garros champion Gustavo Kuerten’s book, by drawing a heart in the clay and laying on his back inside it to celebrate.
“The most important thing for me is that I wrote down that heart, like Guga did,” Djokovic said after the match. “He gave me the permission to do this. The most important is that I felt the love, and drawing a heart means I will remain on this court with you every day.”
“This is Novak’s day,” Murray said during the trophy ceremony. “Winning all four Grand Slams at once is a great achievement. This is something that is so rare in tennis. What he’s achieved the last 12 months is phenomenal. I’m proud to be part of it today.”
Djokovic has now won 28 matches in a row in major tournaments dating back to last year’s French Open final.
His collection of majors: 6 Australian Opens, 1 Roland Garros, 3 Wimbledons and two U.S. Opens.
The French Open crown marks his 65 title, which puts him at number six on the all-time list behind Jimmy Connors (109), Ivan Lendl (94), Roger Federer (88), John McEnroe (77) and Rafael Nadal (69).
Djokovic is now halfway through a calendar Grand Slam, winning the Australian and French Opens. The last time a man won the first two majors in a year was Jim Courier in 1992.
— Roland Garros (@rolandgarros) May 20, 2016
(May 20, 2016) The French Open men’s and women’s singles draws were made in Paris on Friday and No. 1 Novak Djokovic and No. 4 seed, nine-time Roland Garros champion Rafael Nadal could be on a collision course to meet in the semifinals. Nadal moved into the No. 4 seed position when No. 3 Roger Federer withdrew from the tournament on Thursday.
Djokovic comes into Roland Garros seeking the only major tournament he has not won. He’s looking to become the eight man to have a “career slam,” winning each of the four major title at least once. Should the Serb win the French Open, he would hold all four major championships at the same time.
Djokovic has lost in the final of the French Open three out of the past four years. He will begin his quest for the Roland Garros crown against No. 100 in the world Lu Yen-hsun in, while Nadal will play big serving Australian, Sam Groth.
On the other side of the men’s draw, a pair of two-time major champions could meet in the other semifinal – No. 2 Andy Murray and No. 3 seed and defending champion Stan Wawrinka. Murray will play a qualifier in the first round, while Wawrinka will face-off against
The top seed in the women’s draw, Serena Williams is going after her 22nd career major, which would tie her with Steffi Graf on the all-time list, the most in the Open Era. She’s coming off her first tournament win in nine months, winning the Italian Open trophy last weekend on the clay courts of Rome.
A hurdle for the American could come in the quarterfinals, where she is projected to meet No. 5 seed and two-time Australian Open winner Victoria Azarenka. Williams may also have play 2008 French Open champion Ana Ivanovic in the fourth round and reigning Australian Open champion Angelique Kerber in the final four. Williams lost to the German in the Melbourne final.
Williams will open against No. 76 Magdalena Rybarikova.
Williams is the defending champion and is going after her fourth Roland Garros trophy.
In the bottom half of the women’s draw, No. 2 Agnieszka Radwanska could play fourth seed Garbine Muguruza in the semifinals.
Play begins on Sunday, May 22.
(May 19, 2016) Roger Federer announced on his Facebook page and website that he will not play the 2016 French Open which will begin May 22. The withdrawal snaps his streak of 65 straight major tournaments played. He last missed a major in 1999 – the U.S. Open. Rafael Nadal will become the No. 4 seed with Federer’s pullout.
This is what the 17-time major winner posted on his Facebook page and website:
“I regret to announce that I have made the decision not to play in this year’s French Open. I have been making steady progress with my overall fitness, but I am still not 100% and feel I might be taking an unnecessary risk by playing in this event before I am really ready. This decision was not easy to make, but I took it to ensure I could play the remainder of the season and help to extend the rest of my career. I remain as motivated and excited as ever and my plan is to achieve the highest level of fitness before returning to the ATP World Tour for the upcoming grass court season. I am sorry for my fans in Paris but I very much look forward to returning to Roland Garros in 2017.”
Federer has suffered from a few injuries this year. He had a knee operation after the Australian Open. He was going to play the Miami Open but withdrew with a stomach virus. The Swiss played the Monte Carlo Masters event and withdrew from the Madrid Open with a back injury. He played the Italian Open, but the 34-year-old admitted that he was not 100%.
Spain’s Feliciano Lopez now has the longest active streak in playing consecutive majors at 56.
(May 12, 2016) Novak Djokovic had to rally from a bagel set down to stop No. 37 Thomaz Bellucci 0-6, 6-3, 6-2 while an ailing Roger Federer lost to 15th seed Dominc Thiem 7-6 (2), 6-4 in Rome on Thursday.
For No. 1 Djokovic, it was the first time he was at the losing end of a “bagel” set since the 2012 Cincinnati final when he lost to Federer.
The third seeded Federer withdrew from the Madrid Open last week with a back injury said that wasn’t concerned about losing, but was happy to get to get in two matches on clay at the Italian Open. The French open begins on May 22nd and the Swiss said that despite the pain from the injury he hopes to be able to play the year’s second major.
Besides Federer losing, a couple other upsets on the men’s side included 12th seed David Goffin, destroying 8th seed Tomas Berdych 6-0, 6-0 in 49 minutes, defending French Open champion Stan Wawrinka lost to Juan Monaco 6-7 (5), 6-3, 6-4 and lucky loser Lucas Pouille knocked out ninth seed David Ferrer 6-4, 6-1.
On the ladies’ side of the tournament, Serena Williams rebounded from 3-5 down in the first set best U.S. countrywoman qualifier Christina McHale 7-6 (7), 6-1.
INTERNAZIONALI BNL D’ITALIA – ROME, ITALY
9-15 MAY 2016
RESULTS – MAY 12, 2016
Women’s Singles – Third Round
 S. Williams (USA) d [Q] C. McHale (USA) 76(7) 61
 G. Muguruza (ESP) d J. Ostapenko (LAT) 61 64
 T. Bacsinszky (SUI) d  C. Suárez Navarro (ESP) 57 75 62
 S. Kuznetsova (RUS) d D. Gavrilova (AUS) 62 26 63
I. Begu (ROU) d D. Kasatkina (RUS) 61 64
M. Doi (JPN) d J. Konta (GBR) 46 75 62
M. Keys (USA) d T. Babos (HUN) 76(2) 63
B. Strycova (CZE) d E. Bouchard (CAN) 61 60
Doubles – Second Round
A. Klepac (SLO) / K. Srebotnik (SLO) d  B. Mattek-Sands (USA) / L. Safarova (CZE) 63 64
 T. Babos (HUN) / Y. Shvedova (KAZ) d [WC] C. Giovine (ITA) / A. Moratelli (ITA) 63 62
 A. Hlavackova (CZE) / L. Hradecka (CZE) d L. Arruabarrena (ESP) / S. Errani (ITA) 64 61
 C. Garcia (FRA) / K. Mladenovic (FRA) d A. Medina Garrigues (ESP) / A. Parra Santonja (ESP) 76(4) 16 10-7
I. Begu (ROU) / M. Niculescu (ROU) d  Y. Chan (TPE) / A. Groenefeld (GER) 26 76(1) 10-8
R. Atawo (USA) / A. Spears (USA) d  J. Goerges (GER) / Ka. Pliskova (CZE) 64 63
Men’s Singles – Third Round
 N. Djokovic (SRB) d T. Bellucci (BRA) 06 63 62
 A. Murray (GBR) d J. Chardy (FRA) 60 64
 D. Thiem (AUT) d  R. Federer (SUI) 76(2) 64
[PR] J. Monaco (ARG) d  S. Wawrinka (SUI) 67(5) 63 64
 R. Nadal (ESP) d N. Kyrgios (AUS) 67(3) 62 64
 K. Nishikori (JPN) d  R. Gasquet (FRA) 61 64
 D. Goffin (BEL) d  T. Berdych (CZE) 60 60
[LL] L. Pouille (FRA) d  D. Ferrer (ESP) 64 61
Men’s Doubles – Second Round
P. Kohlschreiber (GER) / V. Troicki (SRB) d  I. Dodig (CRO) / M. Melo (BRA) 36 76(3) 14-12
[PR] J. Benneteau (FRA) / E. Roger-Vasselin (FRA) d  A. Peya (AUT) / N. Zimonjic (SRB) 64 16 10-8
ORDER OF PLAY – FRIDAY, MAY 13, 2016
CENTER COURT start 12:00 noon
WTA –  T. Bacsinszky (SUI) vs  G. Muguruza (ESP)
Not Before 2:00 pm
ATP –  D. Goffin (BEL) vs  A. Murray (GBR)
ATP –  N. Djokovic (SRB) vs  R. Nadal (ESP)
Not Before 7:30 pm
WTA –  S. Williams (USA) vs  S. Kuznetsova (RUS)
Not Before 9:00 pm
ATP –  D. Thiem (AUT) vs  K. Nishikori (JPN)
GRANDSTAND start 12:00 noon
ATP – [LL] L. Pouille (FRA) vs [PR] J. Monaco (ARG)
Not Before 2:00 pm
WTA – I. Begu (ROU) vs M. Doi (JPN)
Not Before 3:30 pm
WTA – M. Keys (USA) vs B. Strycova (CZE)
PIETRANGELI start 12:00 noon
ATP –  J. Murray (GBR) / B. Soares (BRA) vs  B. Bryan (USA) / M. Bryan (USA)
ATP – O. Marach (AUT) / M. Matkowski (POL) vs [PR] J. Benneteau (FRA) / E. Roger-Vasselin (FRA)
ATP –  V. Pospisil (CAN) / J. Sock (USA) vs P. Cuevas (URU) / M. Granollers (ESP)
ATP –  R. Bopanna (IND) / F. Mergea (ROU) vs P. Kohlschreiber (GER) / V. Troicki (SRB)
COURT 1 start 12:00 noon
WTA –  E. Makarova (RUS) / E. Vesnina (RUS) vs A. Klepac (SLO) / K. Srebotnik (SLO)
WTA –  C. Garcia (FRA) / K. Mladenovic (FRA) vs  A. Hlavackova (CZE) / L. Hradecka (CZE)
WTA –  M. Hingis (SUI) / S. Mirza (IND) vs R. Atawo (USA) / A. Spears (USA)
WTA – After Suitable Rest –  T. Babos (HUN) / Y. Shvedova (KAZ) vs I. Begu (ROU) / M. Niculescu (ROU)