July 26, 2016

In Topsy-Turvy Match, Simona Halep Bounces Back to Reach Toronto Semis

221 Dubai Halep celebration3 -001

By Brodie Widdifield

(August 14, 2015) TORONTO, Canada – When trying to determine what we should expect from a match we often look to the players’ past matches against each other and how their styles of play compare and contrast. No one would have predicted the topsy-turvy, entertaining affair that took place Friday afternoon in Toronto at the Rogers Cup.

 

Simona Halep and Agnieszka Radwanska played each other three times in 2014. All three were straight set matches on hard courts, with Halep taking two of three. With the Romanian battling through a grueling three set match with Angelique Kerber on Thursday, it looked like she may fail to even win a game.

 

“It was difficult, because I was a bit tired when I started the match, and I didn’t have time to warm up very well before because it was raining, and the schedule was a little bit complicated,” said Halep. The world No. 3 won just 13 of 40 points in the first set, and Radwanska rolled to a 6-0 lead.

 

Halep managed to finally get a service hold and slowly the match began to change. The Romanian took some pace off of her shots which slowed the rallies and allowed her to play with more angles and spin in the slow, grey conditions of Toronto. “After that set I said that I have to change something. I was hitting the balls very strong, and it was not a good idea playing against Radwanska because she knows how to make you run during the point. I just tried during the point to make her run, like with short cross. I think I did a good change, and that’s maybe why I won.”

 

The second set quickly started to look like Halep’s match against Kerber as the length of rallies increased, including some thrilling ones that ended at the net. A particularly crazy game at 3-3 proved to be the turning point, as after Halep won it, the match was essentially over. She won eight of the following nine games and rolled to a 0-6, 6-3, 6-1 victory to make her first semifinal in Canada.

 

“I think played my best tennis since Miami. I come from bad results in the French Open and Wimbledon, but players always have ups and downs and I just wanted to stay focused to still believe in myself that I can do some results this year.”

 

The Romanian continued to thank her wild Romanian fans both on the court and in press after the match. “Today when I was down 0-5, they were supporting me like I was up 5-0. It was amazing, and they gave me power just to stay there, still fighting for the victory.”

 

Halep will face Sara Errani in the semifinals, who defeated qualifier Lesia Tsurenko 6-4, 6-4 later in the day. Halep will also attempt to become the second straight Romanian to make the final of the WTA version of the Toronto event after Sorana Cirstea made it all the way to Sunday in 2013. Halep leads the head to head, 2-1, and won their only meeting this year in Stuttgart, 6-4, 6-4.

 

Brodie Widdifield is the author of the tennis web site mindtheracket.com. You can also follow him on Twitter at @MindTheRacket. He is covering the Rogers Cup in Toronto for Tennis Panorama News, follow @TennisNewsTPN for updates.

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Montreal Rogers Cup Day 4 – KyrgiosGate

Kyrgios

Montreal Rogers Cup Day 4: KyrgiosGate

By Charles David Mathieu-Poulin

 

(August 13, 2015) MONTREAL, Canada – There are days when the actual tennis results become secondary, and today was one of them. While multiple matches were going on all around the grounds of the Montreal Rogers Cup presented by National Bank, only one person was on everyone’s mind: Nick Kyrgios.

 

The Australian rarely leaves anyone indifferent. For example, he came to Montreal with a new hairdo, a Mohawk that’s bleached on one side and bright pink on the other. Some like his showmanship, some believe that he should let his tennis do the talking. But on Wednesday night, everyone agreed that he stepped over the line in his match against Stan Wawrinka.

 

Right after finishing the first set, Kyrgios and Wawrinka got in a small argument over the Australian’s serving rhythm: Wawrinka felt like Kyrgios would not let him have enough time between serves. Up 30-0, Kyrgios hit an unreturnable serve, got back to the wall, and under his breath, monologued on the intimate past of Wawrinka alleged girlfriend, WTA player Donna Vekic. The comment was picked up by the television microphone, and uproar exploded right away on social media.

 

Asked about the comment by local television in his post-match interview, Kyrgios justified himself on the ‘heat of the moment’. Later on, Wawrinka deemed the comments as ‘inexcusable’, said he confronted Kyrgios in the locker room and hoped that the ATP would sanction his opponent. And they did.

 

Indeed, on Thursday, the ATP announced that they fined Kyrgios for the on-site maximum of 10,000$ for insulting comments, as well as an additional fine of 2,500$ for unsportsmanlike conduct related to a comment made to a ballkid during the match. They also gave Kyrgios a ‘Notice of Investigation’, which opens up the possibility of further penalties such as monetary fines and/or suspension from ATP events.

 

Many wondered how the Rogers Cup fans would react to this situation. When Kyrgios stepped on Court Banque Nationale late on Thursday afternoon for his third round, he was welcomed with insistent booing from the crowd. On the other hand, his opponent John Isner, was strongly applauded. Isner, who had defeated Canadian player Vasek Pospisil the night before, went from the bad guy to the good guy in a matter of hours. And, as the saying goes, the good guy always wins, as Isner got through 7-5 6-3.

 

Except for a release on his Facebook page, which screamed PR crisis management, Kyrgios had not commented on the situation before his match. Everyone was therefore waiting for the post-match interview to get his side of things. But they didn’t get much, as Kyrgios was obviously closed and not talkative. ‘I just lost’, he said to explain his lack of answers. ‘Is that the only reason? Is the drama over for you?’ a journalist replied. ‘Yeah, yeah’.

 

It was also obvious that journalists would use other post-match interviews to get the players’ opinion on the subject. Novak Djokovic showed some signs of wisdom: ‘I’ve been here for about a decade, and it’s important to have respect between the players and towards the sport. He has to learn how to deal with that.’ Andy Murray linked the comments to Kyrgios’ age: ‘He’s a young guy who is growing up in the spotlight. There’s been a lot of negativity towards him over the last few months, that isn’t easy to deal with. People need to give him a little break; he’ll learn from it and become a better person.’ Rafael Nadal was a lot less apologetic: ‘Age is not an excuse. Most of the players started the tour very early, it is just about respect. The world of tennis, I think we should be an example for a new generation of kids, obviously yesterday was not one of these moments.’

 

This story filled up a day which was, tennis-wise, pretty uneventful, as all the favorites got through somewhat comfortably. The quarterfinals will feature number one player Novak Djokovic, who only dropped three games against Jack Sock, against qualified Ernest Gulbis. Isner will face surprising Frenchman Jeremy Chardy, while two blockbuster matches will happen in the bottom half, with 7th seed Rafal Nadal facing 4th seed Kei Nishikori and 2nd seed Andy Murray facing 10th seed and defending champion Jo-Wilfred Tsonga.

RESULTS – THURSDAY, 13 AUGUST 2015

Singles – Third Round
[1] N. Djokovic (SRB) d J. Sock (USA) 62 61
[2] A. Murray (GBR) d G. Muller (LUX) 63 62
[4] K. Nishikori (JPN) d [13] D. Goffin (BEL) 64 64
[7] R. Nadal (ESP) d [Q] M. Youzhny (RUS) 63 63
[10] J. Tsonga (FRA) d B. Tomic (AUS) 76(7) 63
[16] J. Isner (USA) d N. Kyrgios (AUS) 75 63
[Q] E. Gulbis (LAT) d [Q] D. Young (USA) 64 64
J. Chardy (FRA) d I. Karlovic (CRO) 46 76(1) 64

Doubles – Second Round
[1] B. Bryan (USA) / M. Bryan (USA) d F. Lopez (ESP) / M. Mirnyi (BLR) 75 64
D. Nestor (CAN) / E. Roger-Vasselin (FRA) d [2] I. Dodig (CRO) / M. Melo (BRA) 64 62
[3] J. Rojer (NED) / H. Tecau (ROU) d F. Fognini (ITA) / T. Robredo (ESP) 76(4) 63
[5] M. Matkowski (POL) / N. Zimonjic (SRB) d G. Monfils (FRA) / J. Tsonga (FRA) 75 75
[7] J. Murray (GBR) / J. Peers (AUS) d A. Murray (GBR) / L. Paes (IND) 64 76(9)

SCHEDULE – FRIDAY, 14 AUGUST 2015

COURT CENTRAL start 12:30 pm
[16] J. Isner (USA) vs J. Chardy (FRA)

Not Before 2:30 pm
[1] N. Djokovic (SRB) vs [Q] E. Gulbis (LAT)

Not Before 6:30 pm
[7] R. Nadal (ESP) vs [4] K. Nishikori (JPN)
[10] J. Tsonga (FRA) vs [2] A. Murray (GBR)

BANQUE NATIONALE start 2:30 pm
[3] J. Rojer (NED) / H. Tecau (ROU) vs [6] A. Peya (AUT) / B. Soares (BRA)

Not Before 4:00 pm
[5] M. Matkowski (POL) / N. Zimonjic (SRB) vs D. Nestor (CAN) / E. Roger-Vasselin (FRA)
After Suitable Rest – [7] J. Murray (GBR) / J. Peers (AUS) vs [PR] N. Djokovic (SRB) / J. Tipsarevic (SRB)
After Suitable Rest – [1] B. Bryan (USA) / M. Bryan (USA) vs R. Nadal (ESP) / F. Verdasco (ESP)

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Montreal Rogers Cup Day 3 – Seeds Fall, But Favorites Remain

Montreal Rogers Cup Day 03: Seeds fall, but favorites remain

By Charles David Mathieu-Poulin

(August 12, 2015)  MONTREAL, Canada – It was a tough day for seeds in Montreal, but the main favorites for the title managed to get through to the third round. While Andy Murray, Kei Nishikori, Rafael Nadal and defending champion Jo-Wilfred Tsonga all survived some spirited fights from their opponents, Stan Wawrinka, Tomas Berdych, Marin Cilic, Gilles Simon, Grigor Dimitrov and Gael Monfils were sent packing in the second round.

 

Nishikori, who entered the top 4 for the first time this week, had the most impressive win of the day. Except for a small hiccup in the start of the match, the Washington winner was flawless in his 6-3, 6-3 defeat of Pablo Andujar. Asked on the key aspects of his progression, Nishikori replied: ‘I think I’m little more patient than last year. I’ve been playing little more aggressive, but same time I have less unforced errors and I get more free points from my serve.’ Next up for Nishikori is Belgian 13th seed David Goffin, who has had a stellar year. Both players are on the small-side for the modern top players, but Nishikori did think it also has its advantages: ‘I feel like I have a good return, and I am faster than taller guys. Players like Ferrer, Goffin and I are doing well nevertheless, and it’s great to see all the different match-ups.’

 

While Nishikori is on the upswing of his career, Rafael Nadal has been having a difficult year by his standards. The Spanish champion did not win a French Open preparation tournament for the first time in more than a decade and his ranking has dropped down to number 9. A recent title on clay in Hamburg showed some signs of revival and Nadal, who has great memories in Montreal and is a crowd favorite, is looking to find his hardcourt game back in Canada. Despite getting broken in both sets when trying to close things off against Stakhovsky, Nadal showed signs of his old self and looked very happy with the 7-6, 6-3 win. ‘It was a good match overall. Only bad game I had was at 5-4 (in the first set), the rest was all positive. Important thing is winning; it gives you an opportunity tomorrow’. Next up for Nadal is resurgent qualifier Mikhail Youzhny, a former top 10 player now ranked at 107, who defeated 9th seed Gilles Simon in straight sets.

 

Youznhy wasn’t the only surprising winner today: fellow qualifier Donald Young, who just last week in Washington won his first main draw match since Miami, played inspired tennis to upset 5th seed Tomas Berdych 7-6, 6-3. He will face Ernest Gulbis, another qualifier, for a spot in the quarterfinals. Bernard Tomic, a 6-3 6-4 winner over US Open reigning champion and 6th seed Marin Cilic, Nick Kyrgios,who got through after a retirement by 3rd seed Stan Wawrinka who had a lower-back injury. Kyrgios made some inappropriate comments during his match against Wawrinka.

Also advancing were Gilles Muller (a winner over Gael Monfils in a third set tiebreak) and Jack Sock (who saved a match point in a grueling 5-7, 7-6, 7-5 win over Grigor Dimitrov) were also all surprising winners.

 

Other winners of the day included Andy Murray over Robredo, John Isner, who crushed the hopes of local player Vasek Pospisil, Jo-Wilfred Tsonga (who worked hard to defeat Bautista Agut 5-7, 7-6, 7-5) and Frenchman Jeremy Chardy, who saved a match point in the second set against Leonardo Mayer.

 

RESULTS – WEDNESDAY, 12 AUGUST 2015

Singles – Second Round
[2] A. Murray (GBR) d T. Robredo (ESP) 64 75
N. Kyrgios (AUS) d [3] S. Wawrinka (SUI) 67(8) 63 40 ret. (back)
[4] K. Nishikori (JPN) d P. Andujar (ESP) 63 63
[Q] D. Young (USA) d [5] T. Berdych (CZE) 76(5) 63
B. Tomic (AUS) d [6] M. Cilic (CRO) 63 64
[7] R. Nadal (ESP) d S. Stakhovsky (UKR) 76(4) 63
[Q] M. Youzhny (RUS) d [9] G. Simon (FRA) 61 64
[10] J. Tsonga (FRA) d R. Bautista Agut (ESP) 57 76(6) 75
[13] D. Goffin (BEL) d S. Querrey (USA) 64 64
J. Sock (USA) d [14] G. Dimitrov (BUL) 57 76(5) 75 – saved 1 M.P.
G. Muller (LUX) d [15] G. Monfils (FRA) 63 36 76(4)
[16] J. Isner (USA) d [WC] V. Pospisil (CAN) 76(1) 46 63
[Q] E. Gulbis (LAT) d L. Rosol (CZE) 62 57 63
J. Chardy (FRA) d L. Mayer (ARG) 46 76(4) 62 – saved 2 M.P.

Doubles – Second Round
[PR] N. Djokovic (SRB) / J. Tipsarevic (SRB) d [4] R. Bopanna (IND) / F. Mergea (ROU) 63 57 10-3
[6] A. Peya (AUT) / B. Soares (BRA) d M. Cilic (CRO) / R. Lindstedt (SWE) 75 64
R. Nadal (ESP) / F. Verdasco (ESP) d [8] P. Herbert (FRA) / N. Mahut (FRA) 76(8) 67(2) 10-4

Doubles – First Round
F. Lopez (ESP) / M. Mirnyi (BLR) d D. Goffin (BEL) / D. Thiem (AUT) 63 16 10-8
F. Fognini (ITA) / T. Robredo (ESP) d R. Klaasen (RSA) / R. Ram (USA) 62 75
D. Nestor (CAN) / E. Roger-Vasselin (FRA) d P. Cuevas (URU) / D. Marrero (ESP) 63 57 10-5

SCHEDULE – THURSDAY, 13 AUGUST 2015

COURT CENTRAL start 12:30 pm
[1] N. Djokovic (SRB) vs J. Sock (USA)

Not Before 2:30 pm
G. Muller (LUX) vs [2] A. Murray (GBR)

Not Before 6:30 pm
Possible Time Change – [7] R. Nadal (ESP) vs [Q] M. Youzhny (RUS)
Possible Time Change – [13] D. Goffin (BEL) vs [4] K. Nishikori (JPN)

BANQUE NATIONALE start 12:30 pm
J. Chardy (FRA) vs I. Karlovic (CRO)
[Q] E. Gulbis (LAT) vs [Q] D. Young (USA)
N. Kyrgios (AUS) vs [16] J. Isner (USA)
B. Tomic (AUS) vs [10] J. Tsonga (FRA)
D. Nestor (CAN) / E. Roger-Vasselin (FRA) vs [2] I. Dodig (CRO) / M. Melo (BRA)

COURT 9 start 4:00 pm
[3] J. Rojer (NED) / H. Tecau (ROU) vs F. Fognini (ITA) / T. Robredo (ESP)
[1] B. Bryan (USA) / M. Bryan (USA) vs F. Lopez (ESP) / M. Mirnyi (BLR)

COURT 5 start Not Before 5:00 pm
After Suitable Rest – [7] J. Murray (GBR) / J. Peers (AUS) vs A. Murray (GBR) / L. Paes (IND)
After Suitable Rest – [5] M. Matkowski (POL) / N. Zimonjic (SRB) vs G. Monfils (FRA) / J. Tsonga (FRA)

 

 

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Simona Halep Safely into the Final 16 in Toronto While Five Seeds Fall

Halep 2182015-001

By Brodie Widdifield

 

(August 12, 2015) TORONTO, Canada – While much of the mainstream media’s attention has been on the baffling struggles of Eugenie Bouchard, Simona Halep has quietly had a disappointing 2015. After falling in the quarterfinals of the Australian Open, she went on to win Indian Wells – the biggest title of her career. Beyond that, it was disappointment as she fell in the second and first rounds of Roland Garros and Wimbledon, tournaments she had made the final and semifinals of just a year prior.

 

The 23-year- old Romanian admitted to being tired after Indian Wells and Miami. “At the beginning of the year I played some good tennis, but after I lost at two grand slams were last year I played good tennis. But maybe I couldn’t handle the pressure, and maybe I was a little bit tired. My life has changed a lot. Obviously everyone in my country is recognizing me and it’s a little bit tough. I have to accept and go forward.”

 

After a post Wimbledon break with her family, Halep decided to play Toronto, and the fans in Canada could not have been happier about her decision. Romanian fans came out in droves to support Sorana Cirstea during her unlikely run to the final in 2013 in Toronto, and they were chanting Simona‘s name after just the first game.

 

“I’m really happy that I have such a big support. Romanians are everywhere, so I really want to thank them for supporting me. It’s really nice to see our flag everywhere. Many Romanian words in the crowd. So that makes me happy on the court and makes me more, you know, more stronger that I have big support, and I can say that I fight easier.”

 

The support certainly did not hurt. Halep came out of the gate strong against Jelena Jankovic Wednesday afternoon. Changing directions early in the rally and keeping the ball deep, she was consistently on top in rallies. “I tried just to be aggressive, to take the ball as soon as possible, because I know that she has good defense. I tried to keep my first serve in because she’s returning well. I tried to play her forehand more, because I know she has a strong backhand. I didn’t want to rush myself, just go into the court and just to take the ball fast and to open the court.”

 

Continuing to move well and keeping errors low, the good form continued into the second set and Halep went on to take the second round match 6-3, 6-4. “I can say that I had stress free because I did not have expectations for this match because I had a long break. But I did pretty well today and I’m really happy I could win in two sets.” The win could set up some of the best matches of the tournament, as Halep will face Angelique Kerber on Thursday and potentially Agnieszka Radwanska in the quarterfinals.

 

Brodie Widdifield is the author of the tennis web site mindtheracket.com. You can also follow him on Twitter at @MindTheRacket. He is covering the Rogers Cup in Toronto for Tennis Panorama News, follow @TennisNewsTPN for updates.

ROGERS CUP PRESENTED BY NATIONAL BANK – TORONTO, CANADA
$ 2,513,000.00
10- 16 AUGUST 2015

RESULTS – AUGUST 12, 2015
Women’s
Singles – Second Round

[2] [WC] S. Halep (ROU) d J. Jankovic (SRB) 63 64
V. Azarenka (BLR) d [3] P. Kvitova (CZE) 62 63
B. Bencic (SUI) d [4] C. Wozniacki (DEN) 75 75
[5] A. Ivanovic (SRB) d [Q] O. Govortsova (BLR) 64 76(4)
[6] A. Radwanska (POL) d [LL] J. Goerges (GER) 75 63
D. Gavrilova (RUS) d [7] L. Safarova (CZE) 46 75 75
[Q] L. Tsurenko (UKR) d [8] G. Muguruza (ESP) 75 61
[Q] P. Hercog (SLO) d [11] E. Makarova (RUS) 62 67(2) 75
[13] A. Kerber (GER) d [Q] M. Puig (PUR) 62 63
[15] S. Errani (ITA) d M. Brengle (USA) 63 26 63
[16] A. Petkovic (GER) d [Q] H. Watson (GBR) 64 63
R. Vinci (ITA) d [Q] M. Lucic-Baroni (CRO) 63 63
S. Lisicki (GER) d B. Strycova (CZE) 76(3) 64
[Q] C. Witthoeft (GER) d A. Riske (USA) 64 57 63
A. Cornet (FRA) d D. Cibulkova (SVK) 63 62

Women’s
Doubles – Second Round

[3] B. Mattek-Sands (USA) / L. Safarova (CZE) d D. Jurak (CRO) / R. Kops-Jones (USA) 62 62
I. Begu (ROU) / I. Olaru (ROU) d [8] G. Muguruza (ESP) / C. Suárez Navarro (ESP) 76(5) 06 10-4
First Round
[6] S. Errani (ITA) / F. Pennetta (ITA) d [Alt] M. Barthel (GER) / M. Minella (LUX) 61 63
H. Chan (TPE) / Y. Chan (TPE) d [7] A. Hlavackova (CZE) / L. Hradecka (CZE) 64 36 10-8
A. Medina Garrigues (ESP) / A. Parra Santonja (ESP) d C. Chuang (TPE) / C. Liang (CHN) 36 61 10-8
[WC] F. Abanda (CAN) / H. El Tabakh (CAN) d G. Dabrowski (CAN) / A. Rosolska (POL) 75 75
[WC] B. Bencic (SUI) / D. Cibulkova (SVK) d L. Arruabarrena (ESP) / A. Klepac (SLO) 61 76(5)
[WC] S. Fichman (CAN) / C. Zhao (CAN) d C. Chan (TPE) / P. Kania (POL) 16 64 10-5

ORDER OF PLAY – THURSDAY, AUGUST 13, 2015
CENTRE COURT start 11:00 am
R. Vinci (ITA) vs D. Gavrilova (RUS)

Not Before 1:00 pm
[13] A. Kerber (GER) vs [2] [WC] S. Halep (ROU)
[15] S. Errani (ITA) vs V. Azarenka (BLR)

Not Before 7:00 pm
[1] S. Williams (USA) vs [16] A. Petkovic (GER)
[Q] P. Hercog (SLO) vs [5] A. Ivanovic (SRB)

GRANDSTAND start 11:00 am
[Q] L. Tsurenko (UKR) vs [Q] C. Witthoeft (GER)
B. Bencic (SUI) vs S. Lisicki (GER)
[6] A. Radwanska (POL) vs A. Cornet (FRA)

Not Before 6:00 pm
K. Mladenovic (FRA) / K. Pliskova (CZE) vs M. Krajicek (NED) / B. Strycova (CZE)
A. Medina Garrigues (ESP) / A. Parra Santonja (ESP) vs H. Chan (TPE) / Y. Chan (TPE)

COURT 1 start 12:00 noon
[WC] S. Fichman (CAN) / C. Zhao (CAN) vs [2] E. Makarova (RUS) / E. Vesnina (RUS)

Not Before 1:00 pm
[4] C. Garcia (FRA) / K. Srebotnik (SLO) vs [WC] F. Abanda (CAN) / H. El Tabakh (CAN)
[1] M. Hingis (SUI) / S. Mirza (IND) vs J. Goerges (GER) / K. Jans-Ignacik (POL)

Not Before 3:00 pm
After Suitable Rest – [6] S. Errani (ITA) / F. Pennetta (ITA) vs [WC] B. Bencic (SUI) / D. Cibulkova (SVK)

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Montreal Rogers Cup Day 2 – Bursting Montreal’s Bubble

 

Montreal Rogers Cup Day 02: Bursting Montreal’s Bubble

By Charles David Mathieu-Poulin

 

(August 11, 2015) MONTREAL, Canada – The crowd in Montreal is notorious for its emotional and vocal cheering of the local players. In the past few years, players like Frank Dancevic, Stephanie Dubois, Aleksandra Wozniak and Vasek Pospisil have used that energy to cause upsets and reach latter stages of the tournament. But with this attention also comes pressure: many will remember Eugenie Bouchard’s surprising loss in her opening match last year, and in a year’s time, one might reflect similarly on Milos Raonic’s early exit to Ivo Karlovic in this year’s edition.

 

Raonic, seeded 8th, wasn’t coming to the tournament in optimal shape: the top-ranked Canadian had been sidelined for most of the past few months by a nasty foot injury, which even required surgery to repair a pinched nerve. He had skipped the French Open and Davis Cup and admitted to playing through pain in Wimbledon. His rust was apparent Tuesday night, while his opponent, Ivo Karlovic, gave a serving masterclass in his 7-6(1) 7-6(1) win.

 

The Croat, No. 2 in player in career number of aces, never faced a break point and served 22 aces. During the match, he became only the second player in history to reach the 10,000 aces mark, and is well on his way to surpass his countryman Goran Ivanisevic. “Of course it is my goal, Karlovic admitted. I would hope that it happens this year, if not it will be next year. Hopefully I will be healthy enough to do it soon.”

 

Despite being 0 for 12 in break points throughout the match, Karlovic was flawless in the two tiebreaks, only conceding one point to Raonic. The Canadian, who usually thrives in these situations, was spraying uncharacteristic unforced errors. On the other hand, Karlovic, who stands tall at 6-foot-11, was covering the court surprisingly well for his size: “I was moving unbelievably well this evening, everything was going my way. This win means a lot to me.” It was Karlovic third top 10 win of 2015.

Milos Raonic 1

Asked whether his foot injury was a factor, Raonic replied with a smirk: “No, it wasn’t. I’ve been feeling something sort of in my back. I think I’m subconsciously protecting my foot. So, therefore, compensating, just finding different injuries at different times of the day.” Optimistic, he concluded: “A poor week this week doesn’t mean a poor week next week. I’ll just try to turn that around.”

 

This loss by Raonic means that Vasek Pospisil is the last Canadian standing. In his first round, Pospisil handled Yen-Hsun Lu for the second week in a row, this time in two sets. And, like last week, big-serving John Isner is next, as the American won a tight three setter against Benjamin Becker. “We’ve played four times already, five times including Hopman Cup, Pospisil said. I know what to expect, and so does he. I’d say it’s a pretty open match.”

 

While Raonic’s loss was a sure disappointment for the crowd, it wasn’t the only bubble that burst today.

 

While play started about one hour late due to rain on all outside courts, fans had to wait an extra hour to see Nick Kyrgios and Fernando Verdasco step out on Center Court. The reason? Some air bubbles popped up under the surface, most likely from water infiltration from the torrential rain, and made the court unplayable. The technical crew had to carefully remove the air in order to keep a smooth surface and consistent bounce.

 

Other winners of the day included first seed Novak Djokovic, Jo-Wilfred Tsonga (10), David Goffin (13), Grigor Dimitrov (14), while 12th seed Kevin Anderson was upset by Lukas Rosol. Andy Murray’s match against Tommy Robredo, which started way past 10pm, had to be suspended due to rain with the Scot serving at 4-all. Match will be postponed until Wednesday.

 

MONTREAL RESULTS, TUESDAY AUGUST 11, 2015 /

Singles Second Round
[1] N. Djokovic (SRB) d T. Bellucci (BRA) 63 76(4)
I. Karlovic (CRO) d [8] M. Raonic (CAN) 76(1) 76(1)

Singles First Round
[10] J. Tsonga (FRA) d B. Coric (CRO) 64 64
L. Rosol (CZE) d [12] K. Anderson (RSA) 76(2) 76(4)
[13] D. Goffin (BEL) d S. Johnson (USA) 62 62
[14] G. Dimitrov (BUL) d [Q] A. Dolgopolov (UKR) 64 75
[16] J. Isner (USA) d B. Becker (GER) 64 67(6) 63
J. Sock (USA) d A. Mannarino (FRA) 62 26 76(5)
[Q] E. Gulbis (LAT) d D. Thiem (AUT) 36 76(8) 61
N. Kyrgios (AUS) d F. Verdasco (ESP) 63 46 64
[WC] V. Pospisil (CAN) d [Q] Y. Lu (TPE) 64 63
J. Chardy (FRA) d [LL] N. Mahut (FRA) 61 75
[Q] M. Youzhny (RUS) d V. Troicki (SRB) 63 75
P. Andujar (ESP) d [WC] F. Dancevic (CAN) 62 64
R. Bautista Agut (ESP) d [PR] J. Tipsarevic (SRB) 63 64

Doubles First Round
M. Cilic (CRO) / R. Lindstedt (SWE) d [WC] P. Bester (CAN) / A. Shamasdin (CAN) 63 64
G. Monfils (FRA) / J. Tsonga (FRA) d [WC] L. Hewitt (AUS) / N. Kyrgios (AUS) 75 64

MONTREAL ORDER OF PLAY – WEDNESDAY AUGUST 12, 2015

COURT CENTRAL start 12:30 pm
P. Andujar (ESP) vs [4] K. Nishikori (JPN)

Not Before 2:30 pm
[7] R. Nadal (ESP) vs S. Stakhovsky (UKR)
T. Robredo (ESP) vs [2] A. Murray (GBR) 44

Not Before 6:30 pm
[WC] V. Pospisil (CAN) vs [16] J. Isner (USA)
[3] S. Wawrinka (SUI) vs N. Kyrgios (AUS)

BANQUE NATIONALE start 12:30 pm
[Q] M. Youzhny (RUS) vs [9] G. Simon (FRA)
[15] G. Monfils (FRA) vs G. Muller (LUX)
[Q] D. Young (USA) vs [5] T. Berdych (CZE)
R. Bautista Agut (ESP) vs [10] J. Tsonga (FRA)
P. Cuevas (URU) / D. Marrero (ESP) vs D. Nestor (CAN) / E. Roger-Vasselin (FRA)

COURT 9 start 12:30 pm
J. Sock (USA) vs [14] G. Dimitrov (BUL)
[6] M. Cilic (CRO) vs B. Tomic (AUS)
[PR] N. Djokovic (SRB) / J. Tipsarevic (SRB) vs [4] R. Bopanna (IND) / F. Mergea (ROU)
R. Nadal (ESP) / F. Verdasco (ESP) vs [8] P. Herbert (FRA) / N. Mahut (FRA)
After Suitable Rest – F. Fognini (ITA) / T. Robredo (ESP) vs R. Klaasen (RSA) / R. Ram (USA)

COURT 5 start 12:30 pm
J. Chardy (FRA) vs L. Mayer (ARG)
[13] D. Goffin (BEL) vs S. Querrey (USA)
L. Rosol (CZE) vs [Q] E. Gulbis (LAT)
M. Cilic (CRO) / R. Lindstedt (SWE) vs [6] A. Peya (AUT) / B. Soares (BRA)
F. Lopez (ESP) / M. Mirnyi (BLR) vs D. Goffin (BEL) / D. Thiem (AUT)

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Eugenie Bouchard Continues Slump with Opening Round Loss to Belinda Bencic in Toronto

Belinda Bencic

Belinda Bencic

By Brodie Widdifield

(August, 11, 2015) TORONTO, Canada – Another tournament and another early round loss for Eugenie Bouchard. Despite showing flashes of her spectacular 2014 form, she failed to escape her first match in a Canadian tournament once again and fell to an impressive 18-year-old Belinda Bencic 6-0, 5-7, 6-2 at the Rogers Cup.

 

The first set may have been one of the worst of the young Canadian’s career. She looked nervous and lost for ideas as she hit 15 unforced errors to her opponent’s zero and failed to impose herself on the match. She looked a step slow and her backhand looked particularly volatile.

 

Bouchard fought back in the second, however, and showed shades of the form that brought her so much success in 2014. “I didn’t freak out, I just thought to myself that I was just shaking off the rust a little bit, and I really didn’t panic.” She began hitting her backhand down the line and pushing the ball into space which led to some long, thrilling rallies. The Canadian crowd came alive, and Bouchard saved a match point en route to winning the set, 7-5.

 

Unfortunately, it was all for naught as Belinda Bencic raised her game, cut out some of the errors that plauged her in the second set and went on to take the match 6-0, 5-7, 6-2, all despite a crowd wildly cheering for her opponent. Bouchard has now lost 13 of her last 15 matches.

 

In some ways, it was the perfect representation of two young players whose careers have been heading in opposite directions this season. However, Bouchard was upbeat after the match, and saw the flashes of good play in the second set as a sign of an upward turn. “I’m pleased with my performance. It’s for sure a step in the right direction. I played the whole match pain free, that was one of the goals, the most important one, maybe. I’m going to go into the next few weeks with some goals, and just try and build on this match today.”

 

She will head to Cincinnati and then New Haven in search of more match play and more importantly, wins. Whether or not she will search for a new coach remains unsure, after splitting with Sam Sumyk after the end of Wimbledon. “It definitely wasn’t working. There were some big problems, and I just felt like I had to make a change.”

 

For Bencic, it is another fantastic win in a year that was highlighted by a title run in Eastbourne. “The crowd was on her side, but I enjoyed the atmosphere – to play on such a big court was also fun for me. I really like it here.”

 

The young Swiss player will take on Caroline Wozniacki – a player she beat on her way to that very title in Eastbourne this year – and knows what to expect. “Obviously she brings really a lot of balls back, and she doesn’t miss a lot. I know how to play against her. I’m ready for tomorrow, I hope.”

 

Brodie Widdifield is the author of the tennis web site mindtheracket.com. You can also follow him on Twitter at @MindTheRacket. He is covering the Rogers Cup in Toronto for Tennis Panorama News, follow @TennisNewsTPN for updates.

 

ROGERS CUP PRESENTED BY NATIONAL BANK – TORONTO, CANADA
$ 2,513,000.00
10- 16 AUGUST 2015

RESULTS – AUGUST 11, 2015
Women’s
Singles – Second Round

[1] S. Williams (USA) d F. Pennetta (ITA) 26 63 60
First Round
A. Cornet (FRA) d [9] C. Suárez Navarro (ESP) 63 67(2) 64
[Q] M. Lucic-Baroni (CRO) d [10] K. Pliskova (CZE) 36 76(5) 62
[11] E. Makarova (RUS) d [Q] A. Tatishvili (USA) 63 63
A. Riske (USA) d [12] T. Bacsinszky (SUI) 36 76(4) 76(3)
[13] A. Kerber (GER) d [Q] M. Doi (JPN) 60 61
[15] S. Errani (ITA) d K. Mladenovic (FRA) 57 61 60
[16] A. Petkovic (GER) d [WC] F. Abanda (CAN) 36 64 62
[Q] H. Watson (GBR) d [Q] I. Falconi (USA) 61 62
R. Vinci (ITA) d K. Knapp (ITA) 60 60
D. Gavrilova (RUS) d S. Stosur (AUS) 64 64
B. Bencic (SUI) d E. Bouchard (CAN) 60 57 62
B. Strycova (CZE) d V. Lepchenko (USA) 62 64
[Q] P. Hercog (SLO) d A. Van Uytvanck (BEL) 64 16 63
[Q] O. Govortsova (BLR) d I. Begu (ROU) 63 76(4)
[Q] L. Tsurenko (UKR) d [Q] Y. Wickmayer (BEL) 63 76(3)
[Q] C. Witthoeft (GER) d C. Vandeweghe (USA) 63 36 61
M. Brengle (USA) d [WC] C. Zhao (CAN) 61 61
V. Azarenka (BLR) d E. Svitolina (UKR) 61 64
[LL] J. Goerges (GER) d Z. Diyas (KAZ) 26 61 75
D. Cibulkova (SVK) d S. Stephens (USA) 63 64
[Q] M. Puig (PUR) d [Q] M. Duque-Mariño (COL) 64 46 75
J. Jankovic (SRB) d C. Garcia (FRA) 76(4) 62

Women’s
Doubles – First Round

K. Mladenovic (FRA) / K. Pliskova (CZE) d [5] C. Dellacqua (AUS) / Y. Shvedova (KAZ) 67(5) 64 15-13
[8] G. Muguruza (ESP) / C. Suárez Navarro (ESP) d J. Jankovic (SRB) / R. Vinci (ITA) 76(5) 60
J. Goerges (GER) / K. Jans-Ignacik (POL) d L. Kichenok (UKR) / O. Savchuk (UKR) 75 63
D. Jurak (CRO) / R. Kops-Jones (USA) d [WC] D. Gavrilova (RUS) / S. Halep (ROU) 62 63
M. Krajicek (NED) / B. Strycova (CZE) d A. Groenefeld (GER) / A. Tomljanovic (CRO) 64 64

ORDER OF PLAY – WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 12, 2015
CENTRE COURT start 11:00 am
D. Gavrilova (RUS) vs [7] L. Safarova (CZE)

Not Before 1:00 pm
J. Jankovic (SRB) vs [2] [WC] S. Halep (ROU)
[4] C. Wozniacki (DEN) vs B. Bencic (SUI)

Not Before 7:00 pm
V. Azarenka (BLR) vs [3] P. Kvitova (CZE)
[6] A. Radwanska (POL) vs [LL] J. Goerges (GER)

GRANDSTAND start 11:00 am
[8] G. Muguruza (ESP) vs [Q] L. Tsurenko (UKR)
[Q] O. Govortsova (BLR) vs [5] A. Ivanovic (SRB)
D. Cibulkova (SVK) vs A. Cornet (FRA)

Not Before 6:00 pm
[13] A. Kerber (GER) vs [Q] M. Puig (PUR)
G. Dabrowski (CAN) / A. Rosolska (POL) vs [WC] F. Abanda (CAN) / H. El Tabakh (CAN)

COURT 1 start 11:00 am
[11] E. Makarova (RUS) vs [Q] P. Hercog (SLO)
B. Strycova (CZE) vs S. Lisicki (GER)
[Q] H. Watson (GBR) vs [16] A. Petkovic (GER)
C. Chan (TPE) / P. Kania (POL) vs [WC] S. Fichman (CAN) / C. Zhao (CAN)
After Suitable Rest – L. Arruabarrena (ESP) / A. Klepac (SLO) vs [WC] B. Bencic (SUI) / D. Cibulkova (SVK)

COURT 2 start 11:00 am
[15] S. Errani (ITA) vs M. Brengle (USA)
[Q] C. Witthoeft (GER) vs A. Riske (USA)
After Suitable Rest – [6] S. Errani (ITA) / F. Pennetta (ITA) vs [Alt] M. Barthel (GER) / M. Minella (LUX)
After Suitable Rest – D. Jurak (CRO) / R. Kops-Jones (USA) vs [3] B. Mattek-Sands (USA) / L. Safarova (CZE)

COURT 3 start 11:00 am
[Q] M. Lucic-Baroni (CRO) vs R. Vinci (ITA)
H. Chan (TPE) / Y. Chan (TPE) vs [7] A. Hlavackova (CZE) / L. Hradecka (CZE)
A. Medina Garrigues (ESP) / A. Parra Santonja (ESP) vs C. Chuang (TPE) / C. Liang (CHN)
After Suitable Rest – I. Begu (ROU) / I. Olaru (ROU) vs [8] G. Muguruza (ESP) / C. Suárez Navarro (ESP)

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“Getting Myself on Track,” Victoria Azarenka Advances in Toronto

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By Brodie Widdifield

(August 11, 2015) TORONTO, Canada – Life as a touring tennis professional is a lonely one, but the long recovery from a serious injury can be even tougher. Victoria Azarenka struggled with a foot injury in 2014 which caused a serious dip in results, and eventually forced her to cut her year short in September.

 

With so much time away from the sport, Azarenka was afforded some time to think about herself in a way she might not be able to during the regularly busy tour. “Just getting myself on track, taking responsibilities for your actions, learning from your mistakes, getting organized, which I hate, and now I’m really good at it.” She stressed the importance of improving her relationships with others, even including the media. “Having probably the best relationship with my parents that I ever had. So that was something that I worked really hard on, and it’s amazing to me.” “I feel like I improved a lot with you guys (the media) since wherever I started. So that’s definitely a good job,” quipped the Belurussian, laughing.

 

While Azarenka admitted to being a perfectionist, she has also admitted to herself that she needs to give herself a break sometimes. “That’s why I need to like sometimes give myself a little bit of a, I don’t know, pat on the back and say good job, because I don’t like to be too satisfied because then I get myself too comfortable and then I’m not motivated.”

 

The combination of poor results in 2014 and the time off due to injury left Azarenka with a much lower ranking than she is used to. She has welcomed the challenge of boosting her ranking back up, and is not looking back to times when things were a bit easier. “I grew as a player. I have a lot more variety, a lot more power, a lot more consistency and better game overall. So for me, I don’t look in getting back there, because that was something I wanted to build from.”

 

“I have to slowly and steadily be coming my way up and I’ve been playing really good. I just lost a few times to a number one player, and I think a top ten player. I’m not developing my game. I’m just improving details. For me it’s just going after it and working really hard and giving myself the best opportunity to take out the best quality.”

 

When asked whether or not the tour felt new again after such an extended break, Azarenka could not help but poke fun at herself. “I just turned 26, and I can’t believe that, actually. Everybody says, hey, you are still a baby, and to me it feels like it’s been forever I’ve been playing on tour.”

 

Azarenka defeated Elina Svitolina 6-1, 6-4 and will face Petra Kvitova Wednesday in the second round of the Rogers Cup in Toronto.

 

Brodie Widdifield is the author of the tennis web site mindtheracket.com. You can also follow him on Twitter at @MindTheRacket. He is covering the Rogers Cup in Toronto for Tennis Panorama News, follow @TennisNewsTPN for updates.

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WTA All-Access at 2015 Rogers Cup

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By Brodie Widdifield

(August 10, 2015) TORONTO, Canada – The beginning of August always represents one of the most exciting times of the year for Canadian tennis fans with the Rogers Cup tournament getting underway. For players on the WTA, it represents the beginning of the North American hard court swing, and the end of a short but enjoyable post-Wimbledon holiday.

It’s definitely my favourite time of the season,” said Caroline Wozniacki. The Dane has dealt with a back injury this season and stressed the importance of fitness for this difficult yet important part of the season. “The most important thing is to stay healthy.”

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Petra Kvitova has been less lucky with her health, unfortunately. “I spent a few days off in Monaco as a vacation. I was trying to practice a little bit, but unfortunately I was diagnosed with mono.” The Czech emphasized that she was working with her team to properly schedule her practicing in order to conserve energy. “I probably got it during the spring time and I still have a little bit of it. I’m still going to play, but I need to worrying about the practicing, and I’ll try to be ready for the matches.”

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Ana Ivanovic also took some time off, and emphasized switching to hard courts would not be a challenge. “It’s not such a difficult change. A lot of players take time off, which was the case with me. The hardest transition is clay to grass, so I look forward to playing on the hard courts here in the United States and Canada.”

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Romanian Simona Halep was one of the stand out players of 2014, but has found success more difficult to come by in 2015. She seemed excited to get her hard court season under way in Toronto after deciding late to enter the tournament on a wild card. “I need some matches.” However, she enjoyed her time off after Wimbledon and is looking forward to getting back on court. “It was really good. I stayed calm, all four weeks, with my family, with my friends. Now I feel good, I feel confident, and I hope to have good matches here.” “I was a little bit tired after Indian Wells and Miami.”

 

The other hot topic on the lips of reporters and players was the continued success of the world’s best player, Serena Williams. With the season’s first three grand slams in her pocket, she will look to complete what was originally known as “The Grand Slam” – winning all four majors in a calendar year.

Not even Serena Williams herself could say it would be business as usual in New York. “It definitely feels different. Winning the Serena Slam this year took some pressure off.” Even at age 33, the world number 1 has no intentions of slowing down as she enjoys one of the best years of her career. “I feel like every year that goes by I start to love the game more than I did the previous year.”

Other players were genuinely happy for the success of Williams this year. Ana Ivanovic even said she would like to see her win the US Open. “I really hope she can do it. She’s been working really hard, she’s been on top of the game so long so I think she deserves it. We’re so lucky to have someone like her in our sport, and I don’t think she gets enough credit for what she has achieved.”

Simona Halep shared her views. “For me she is the best player in the world. She has a lot of power, and also mental power. I think she can do all four, and win the US Open this year.” But when asked if it was frustrating to constantly have such a dominant player, the Romanian only laughed. “For me it is not. It’s really nice to have a player [like her]. She’s very competitive and she loves to be number one.”

Finally, Garbine Muguruza was perhaps one of the most engaging interviews on the afternoon. Now in the top 8, the Spaniard invites all the attention that comes along with reaching a grand slam final at just 21. “Obviously things are changing, media, people are looking more at what I’m doing, but I’m enjoying it. You have to be ready, you have to be more mature. The good moments go so quickly, and the bad ones are so slow.” She mentioned that she learned a lot from the Wimbledon final, but laughed when asked if she had watched any of the match again. “I just watched the two minute highlights. No more than that.”

Brodie Widdifield is the author of the tennis web site mindtheracket.com. You can also follow him on Twitter at @MindTheRacket. He is covering the Rogers Cup in Toronto for Tennis Panorama News, follow @TennisNewsTPN for updates.

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Montreal Rogers Cup Day 1 – A Walk in the Park

Montreal Rogers Cup Day 01: A Walk in the Park

By Charles David Mathieu-Poulin

 

(August 10, 2015) MONTREAL, Canada – There you are, in the park. Jogging, walking your dog, having a picnic. You are looking at the clouds, daydreaming. But then you hear a regular series of thumps, followed by roars, clapping, yelling. You drop your workout, your Yorkie or your sandwich and head towards the noise. You walk up a few stairs, sit down on a not-so-comfortable metal bench and it hits you: you are watching Andy Murray. Then it’s Rafael Nadal. And now Novak Djokovic. Back-to-back-to-back.

 

The concept is, they believe, unique. The organizers of the Rogers Cup presented by National Bank in Montreal were looking for ways to make the tournament more accessible and reach a new public, one that may not naturally be drawn to tennis. They started by making the Qualifying weekend free. They then added an extra day of free practices on the Friday before the tournament. And a few years ago, in the middle of Jarry Park, one of the biggest public parks in Montreal and where the Uniprix Stadium complex is situated, they built a large set of bleachers overlooking Court 9.

 

The bleachers sat about a thousand curious onlookers, who can just take a seat and enjoy the show; as the setting actually is outside of the tournament grounds, it is free. On the opening day of this year’s event, the Rogers Cup went all out in their scheduling: after a somewhat unremarkable singles first round match on that court, they switched to doubles with matches featuring Andy Murray, Rafael Nadal, Tomas Berdych and Novak Djokovic. Opportunities to see four of the biggest stars of the sport in front of your own eyes in the same day are rare to start with. But seeing them live without spending a penny? Probably a once-a-lifetime chance.

 

All afternoon, Court 9 was packed, both on the free and paying sides. A few smart ticket holders actually got away from the never-ending lines by getting off the ground and up in the free seats. Everyone was treated to some pretty good doubles, though it was somewhat singles-oriented. And there might be more of Novak, Andy and Nadal on Court 9 for the rest of the week, as the three of them got through their first rounds.

 

On the singles side, it was also a walk in the park for most of the favorites. Gilles Simon and Gael Monfils, the only two seeds to complete their first round match, didn’t spend much time on court against their tricky Italian opponents (Seppi and Fognini, respectively). In an all-Spanish affair, Tommy Robredo fought through Feliciano Lopez in three sets, while Ivo Karlovic prevailed in a big-serving battle against Jerry Janowicz, only to face another big server in the second round in home favorite Milos Raonic. Other first round winners included Bernard Tomic, Thomaz Bellucci, Donald Young, Leonardo Mayer, Sergiy Stakhovsky, Sam Querrey and Gilles Muller.

 

RESULTS – MONDAY, 10 AUGUST 2015

Singles – First Round
[9] G. Simon (FRA) d A. Seppi (ITA) 62 64
[15] G. Monfils (FRA) d F. Fognini (ITA) 63 61
T. Bellucci (BRA) d P. Cuevas (URU) 76(4) 46 76(4)
[Q] D. Young (USA) d [Q] D. Kudla (USA) 63 64
L. Mayer (ARG) d [Q] H. Chung (KOR) 63 64
I. Karlovic (CRO) d J. Janowicz (POL) 64 76(6)
S. Stakhovsky (UKR) d [WC] F. Peliwo (CAN) 61 57 62
S. Querrey (USA) d M. Klizan (SVK) 63 63
B. Tomic (AUS) d J. Sousa (POR) 63 63
G. Muller (LUX) d [WC] P. Bester (CAN) 62 63
T. Robredo (ESP) d F. Lopez (ESP) 63 36 63

Doubles – First Round
R. Nadal (ESP) / F. Verdasco (ESP) d T. Berdych (CZE) / J. Sock (USA) 63 57 10-6
A. Murray (GBR) / L. Paes (IND) d K. Anderson (RSA) / J. Chardy (FRA) 63 61
[PR] N. Djokovic (SRB) / J. Tipsarevic (SRB) d A. Seppi (ITA) / V. Troicki (SRB) 64 63

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Tsonga Tops Federer for Toronto Title

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(August 10, 2014) Jo-Wilfried Tsonga became the first Frenchman to win the Rogers Cup, defeating No. 2 seed Roger Federer 7-5, 7-6 (3) taking down his fourth straight top 10 opponent.

He beat No. 1 Novak Djokovic on Thursday, No. 8 Andy Murray in the quarterfinals and No. 7 seed Grigor Dimitrov in the semifinals. This marks the first time that a player has defeated four top 10 players in a row in Canada since 2002.

For the Frenchman it was his first ATP World Tour title win of the year and 11th overall. Tsonga is now 5-11 versus the Swiss.

In the first set both men held serve through the first 11 games. With Federer serving in the 12th game, fell behind and faced his fist break point in the match. The world No. 3 hit a forehand long to give Tsonga the set.

In the second set, Tsonga kept his opponent at bay – he missed out on break point chances in the sixth game and in the eighth game. Federer saved a match point in the tenth game and both men held to force a tiebreak.

Tsonga took the mini-break advantage at 4-3 and closed out the match by winning the next three points.

“I think it was the overall day conditions that were tough for me,” Federer said. “It was faster than in the night, all my previous matches, so I think the turnaround was tough.

“I definitely think Jo served well, and when he does serve well it’s always going to be hard. But not to win more points on his first serve ‑‑ I don’t know the second serve stat, but I need to have a better impact on that normally.

“Today was just difficult in terms of rhythm from the baseline, so it was like a new tournament for me today.

“No excuses. I think he played really solid and well when he had to, and like you mentioned, I think he served well overall, which was key for him.”

“I don’t realize really what I achieved this week, but it’s a big achievement for me,” Tsonga said.

“It’s completely different than before when I won in Paris. In Paris it was the first one, you know, behind my family, all my friends, everybody. I think I did it with my hurt, you know, in Paris. Here I just did it with my level, with my game.

“I played well all this week. I beat many good guys. You know, it’s a big achievement because I worked really hard to come back from my knee injury last year.”

Asked about the pro-Federer crowd, Tsonga said: “When you play Roger, of course you are always the challenger for the people in the crowd, so some of them are for you because they want you to do a good performance, but most of them are for Roger because he’s the guy who did the most for tennis since a long time now, and he deserve it and that’s it.”

At No. 15, Tsonga is the first ATP Masters 1000 winner ranked outside the Top 10 since No. 26 Ivan Ljubicic won Indian Wells back in 2010 over Andy Roddick. Tsonga will move back into the top 10 when the rankings come out on Monday.

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