2014/10/30

Radwanska Captures Sony Ericsson Open Title

 

Agnieszska Radwanska won her ninth career title and is now ranked at a career best No. 4 in the world by capturing the Sony Ericsson Open topping Russian Maria Sharapova 7-5, 6-4.

“I really played well today, from the beginning till the end,” Radwanska said. “I was really focusing on my serve, and I’m very happy I didn’t lose my serve. It was actually I think the key on this match.

“I think I was just playing very good today. Everything was working. I couldn’t complain about anything.

“So, you know, I was just  I went on court, you know, I’m playing against a really good player, top player, second in the world right now.  Pretty much nothing to lose.

“But, you know, it’s just a great feeling, you know, to beat those kind of players, especially, you know, in the final and, you know, playing great tennis.”

 

Maria Sharapova had very strong service games until the final game in each set, where she was broken. Sharapova was hurt the most in this first set was the fact that she was trying to be aggressive on her return of serve but made too many unforced errors.

Radwanska was not an easy opponent to play because every ball comes back and Sharapova has to be the aggressor and go for her shots.

“I thought she played extremely well today,” Sharapova said, “ was very consistent, got that extra ball back and I made that extra mistake.  She didn’t give me many errors.  When I had my chances at break point, I didn’t take them.  When she had them, she did.

“I definitely didn’t return well.  I wasn’t aggressive on that shot.  When I did have second‑serve opportunities, you know, she’s serving at 70 miles per hour and I’m not winning those points, there’s something wrong with that.

“You know, I for sure should have won a lot of those secondserve points.  I just didn’t.

“You want to put pressure on her to go for a little bit more maybe when she’s, you know, moving, but she moved extremely well.

“She hit a lot of good balls on the run and they were deep.  She didn’t just bring them back; she had something on them.

“Then the few errors on important points that I made I thought were  you know, maybe I shouldn’t have gone for the line so much, you know, aimed a little bit closer to the middle.”

Sharapova committed 45 unforced errors and fell to 0-4 in Miami finals.

One can’t forget the fitness part of the game, it’s never easy playing Radwanska. She makes opponents run all over the place, and uses drop shots and lobs to win the point. The Pole has great hands and incredible court placement, with a superb awareness of where the opponent is in the court.

“I think my tennis, it’s just, you know, trying to mix it up, everything,” Radwanska said.

“I was just, I think, born with that.  Of course my father is coaching me almost all my life, 18 years already.  It’s pretty long.

“But, you know, when we are practicing, we always try to improve, you know, everything.  You know, there’s always something to improve.  So it’s never been one shot, you know, one thing.  It’s just when we practice, we practice everything.  So that’s what we were doing all my life pretty much.

“It’s a great feeling to win tournament like this here in Miami. It’s the biggest tournament after Grand Slams, especially like with all the top players, you know.

“You know, you have to play now six very good matches to win this tournament.  So I’m just extremely happy that, you know, I could win almost the second tournament in a row after Beijing.”

Radwanska is 26-4 for 2012, 0-4 in 2012 against No. 1 Victoria Azarenka and 26-0 against the rest of the WTA Tour.

 

Videos from earlier in the tournament

From Tennis Channel

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“I have nothing to lose,” Venus Williams Stuns Kvitova

In her first tournament since she withdrew from the US Open after being diagnosed with Sjogren’s  Syndrome, wildcard Venus Williams battled past No. 3 Petra Kvitova 6-4, 4-6, 6-0 in the second round of the Sony Ericsson Open on Friday night.

“A tough match,” said Williams. “Going into it, I know she’s playing well.  I wanted to stay focused on my game.

“I was just trying to stay tough and make the point.  That’s the best I could do.

“So it was definitely gratifying.  I know she’s playing well and I know, you know, that I have fallen off the ranks and she’s risen up the ranks since I have been injured.

“So in many ways we’ve changed places.  It’s definitely satisfying.”

Currently at No. 134 in the world, Williams is looking to improve her ranking and her between matches recovery due to her auto-immune disease.

“Definitely to win these matches definitely a lot of it’s mental to get out there and believe you’re gonna win and execute.

“I have definitely come a long way physically.  I think I know a lot better how to recover.  My recovery is definitely similar to before.  I definitely have to cut out a lot of extracurricular actives.  I’m not gonna to be the one having fun dinners.  I am gonna be the one stuck in the room.

“The price to pay is definitely worth it.

“I mean, I’ve got nothing to lose.  Like literally I have nothing to lose.

“So I think if there’s anyone on this tour besides me and maybe Kleybanova, we have the least amount to lose than anyone on tour.  Everything, every shot is a victory and a blessing.

“So it’s like I’m just, you know, going for it.”

Kvitova discussed the match with media: “That first round, Venus, wasn’t really easy.  I mean, she played very well after a long time.

“She looks very ready, very fit.”

The match marked Venus Williams 600th win on the WTA tour. She is the 14th woman to accomplish this feat. She has a 600-147 career record.

Williams will face Canada’s Aleksandra Wozniack next.

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Fernando Gonzalez Calls it a Career

Fernando Gonzalez played the last match of his career on Wednesday evening, losing to to Nicolas Mahut 7-5, 4-6, 7-6(3) in the Sony Ericsson Open night-session opener.

He was presented a commemorative frame by ATP Executive Chairman and President Brad Drewett, and Sony Ericsson Open Executive Vice President and Tournament Director Adam Barrett. A video tribute with messages goodbyes from Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, Andy Murray, the Bryan Brothers and David Nalbandian was broadcast in the stadium.

“At the end, the video was great. It’s not only about tennis. It’s also about friends,” Gonzalez said. “I mean, we’ve been playing against each other many times, but at the end of the day we are friends. We have a great relationship. Of course, the atmosphere was great. We’re really far away from Chile, and there was little flags. There was my family here. I had a lot of friends, and I really enjoyed the moment.”

Gonzalez ended his career with a 370-202 overall record, wining 11 ATP World Tour titles. He was a finalist at the 2007 Australian Open. He won a gold medal in doubles in the 2004 Olympic games with Nicolas Massu and he also won a bronze medal in singles in 2004 and a silver medal in singles in 2008.

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Venus Williams – Champion and “Cheagan”- in Her Own Words

Venus Williams

(March 22, 2012) Playing in her first singles match since announcing that she’s suffering with the auto-immune disorder Sjogren’s Syndrome, 31-year-old Venus Williams destroyed 41-year-old Kimiko Date-Krumm 6-0, 6-3 on Wednesday in the first round of the Sony Ericsson Open in Key Biscayne. Williams who has won 43 titles in her WTA career spoke to media about how she feels about coming back. Here are a few excerpts from her post match news conference:

 

It was great to be back out there. You know, it was definitely nerve wracking, especially playing an opponent that I know how talented she is and first match back.

 

But, you know, I was able to get a great start and settle in and play well against, you know, a really difficult opponent.

 

I definitely wanted to come out focused, so that was definitely an ideal, ideal start.  I’m glad it happened that way.

I mean, just to be in this tournament is a huge win for me; just to be here is a win.  You know, that’s what I told myself going in, that this is a win.  I have nothing to lose.  Just, you know, to gain.  Just to get back at this level is a win for me.

 

Well, I feel like a person that has an autoimmune disease.  You know, for me, I’m not gonna probably feel like everybody else.  But for me, my personal best is to give 100%.

You know, I felt good enough to…

(Dog comes out of bag.)  (Laughter.)

 

Why doesn’t anyone ask him a question?  He goes everywhere with me.

 

He’s a Havanese.  He’s my baby.

TPN:  If you have to give from 1 to 10 how you played today, what would you give?

VENUS WILLIAMS:  I was happy with how I played today.  I wasn’t sure how I was gonna come out.  I mean, I’m always positive, but it’s definitely hard to play the first match.

I’m scoring high today.

Q.  Would you say 11?

VENUS WILLIAMS:  Yeah, 11, awesome.

I’m confident I will give it 110%.  My goal is to peak for the Olympics.  Like just to win a match helps me in my goal, and to win another match helps.

So the good thing is that I’m playing well.  I know how to play, so I haven’t lost any steam in that, you know, the fact that I can play tennis.  So that’s really comforting.

 

On Diet: I started eating raw, and I started eating vegan.  And I also cheat.  So I’m a chegan.

 

A chegan?  It’s vegans who don’t always… (Laughter.)

 

It’s just that I might find something on someone else’s plate that I in that in my past life I was accustomed to eating, so that’s what cheaganism is all about.  It’s a crossover.

I’m not perfect.  It’s hard to change your life completely, but I think it’s definitely worthwhile.  I think it’s helped me.  It’s definitely a lifestyle that is good for me so I can play pro.

On whether or not she’s confident about receiving an Olympic BerthYeah, I have been talking about the Olympics ever since I played the first one, so, um, for me there’s no limits to what I can achieve.  Even if, you know, the odds aren’t in my favor I have still been able to do really well.

 

So I believe I can do it.  So just stay tough, I guess.

Williams will play No.3 seed Petra Kvitova in the second round. There only meeting came four years ago in Memphis when Kvitova stopped the American in three sets.

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Around the Grounds with “Behind These Walls” Filmmaker Rex Miller at the Sony Ericsson Open

Director/Filmmaker/Photographer/Tennis Coach Rex Miller is down at the Sony Ericsson Open in Key Biscayne this week.

I had the great opportunity to do some directing on a new promotional campaign for the WTA (I can’t talk about the details yet, but we were shooting all the top players, lots of fun, three – 18-hour days). This is my first post for  Tennis Panorama as I wandered the grounds of the Sony Ericsson Open on Wednesday.

Thomaz Bellucci

Thomaz Bellucci had a great run last week at Indian Wells, he pushed Roger Federer pretty close to the edge, and was a few points from taking the match, so I was eager to check him out up close. He was extremely flat in a morning match against Frederico Gil of Portugal, who was extremely pumped up. The crowd was split between the Brazilians and the Portuguese, both sides waving flags, and singing songs. The Brazilians had little to cheer for as Bellucci fell behind a set and two breaks at 4-1. Gil got a little tense and seemed to be begging Bellucci to come back in and join him for a fight, much to the delight of the Brazilians. Bellucci clawed back to 4-3 and had two break points but he felt the pressure and Gil was able to hold, and eventually limped across the finish line for 6-4. I say limped because both players were afraid to hit out, opting for steady play in the breezy conditions.

I’ve always thought that Bellucci’s talent was at a much higher than his results. He left the court despondent and skipped his post-match media conference.

 

James Blake

I caught the first set of James Blake- Nikolay Davydenko where Blake again proved that he has one of the best forehands in the game, as he ripped winners from many spots, with the crowd oohing and aahing.

Nikolay Davydenko

I’ve seen Blake too many times to get emotionally attached during his matches. I heard he eventually succumbed to the steely Russian, who–despite being one of the more un-animated players, is a joy to watch for those of us who love great footwork and amazing ball-striking.

I was anxious to catch American wild-card Denis Kudla, the 19 year-old from Washington, DC by way of Ukraine. I spent some time with Kudla two years ago as he was a subject of a documentary I shot for Tennis Channel “Who’s Next.” He’s a product of the Champions Training Center in College Park, which also produced University of Virgina’s freshman sensation and current NCAA No.1 Mitchell Frank and Texas A&M’s Junior Ore. Kudla is one of the best ball strikers you’ll see, he has absolutely great technique on both sides, has a good bit of pop on his serve and although being about 5’9″ or 5’10,” has bulked up in the shoulders a lot in the last two years and will probably continue to do so.

Denis Kudla

Today, Kudla was up against qualifier Antonio Veic from Croatia and he came out smoking. The two had long rallies with Kudla often controlling the action, ripping from both sides and occasionally venturing to the net to finish points with crisp volleys and a deft touch. He broke the Croatian twice to take it 6-2. Kudla has steadily climbed the rankings and is now at around 160. I sat next to his agent Sam Duvall who mentioned what an important match this was for a kid who is 160–big points at these Super Masters series, a great opportunity for a big jump, one that is hard to come by in the dogged ATP world. Kudla couldn’t maintain his high level and eventually lost in 3, I’m sure a disappointment to the hard-working kid, but look out for him because I think he’s going to have some good results in the near future.

 

Rex Miller is a filmmaker/tennis coach and self-described tennis geek who is covering the Sony Ericsson Open for Tennis Panorama News. He was the Director and Producer for the documentary – Behind these walls which aired on Tennis Channel. It talks about the unique world of “tennis behind bars” at San Quentin State (CA),Penitentiary, one of America’s most infamous prisons. Read more about Rex and his work at http://www.rexpix.net/.

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Made My Day – Videos from Cliff Drysdale’s Fundraiser During the Sony Ericsson Open

by Craig Hickman

The 2011 Sony Ericsson Open is now history. Before play was officially underway, Kim Clijsters, Andy Roddick, Caroline Wozniacki and Ryan Harrison supported the Greater Miami Tennis Club as part of Cliff Drysdale’s fundraiser at the Ritz-Carlton of Key Biscayne inside the tennis center that bears his name.

Last year, Clijsters and Roddick considered the same event their good luck charms as both went on to win the Sony Ericsson Open. I guess it’s true, then, that lightning doesn’t strike twice in the same place. But the defending champions had a great time. Seeing tennis players doing what they love to do without the stress of a match was a beautiful thing.

The Ritz-Carlton of Key Biscayne is more like a palace than a hotel. I couldn’t help but thinking we were approaching royalty as we drove into the gated grounds. Perfectly designed and manicured landscaping all around, we finally found the tennis center valet. Once on the courts, I was able to see what Serena Williams once said about green clay being slower and grittier than the crushed red brick used in Europe and South America. It almost looks like gravel. On one of the outside courts, I recognized former Miami runner-up Guillermo Cañas playing a double’s match with other members.

The staff at the Ritz-Carlton gave customer service new meaning. Attentive, genuinely nice, they made us feel at home. Perfect weather, live musicians, an open bar, passed hors d’oeuvres, and the chance to test-drive Cadillac’s new models would have attracted anyone who wanted to support a worthy cause..

Even with the great atmosphere and fun tennis exhibition , the event highlight came at the end when I approached Drysdale, who’d kept the proceedings efficient and light-hearted with his infectious personality and wit. He’s practically a stand up comedian.

“Just in case I never have another opportunity to say this to you, I just wanted to let you know that you are the voice of tennis for me. Didn’t matter where I was in the house, if I heard your voice on the television, I knew tennis was on. I enjoy your commentary, your humor, and the personality you bring in the booth is always a perfect foil for your colleagues.”

His face lit up more than it naturally does. “Wow. Thank you so much for telling me that. You have made my day,” he replied with an outstretched hand. Next thing I knew, he touched the side of my face as though I were his son. He made my day, too.

Michelle Payer, the media relations director who invited us to cover the event, insisted that I pose with Drysdale for a photo. As we posed, I told him of my sister’s home in South Africa and JD, who’s originally from the Netherlands, asked him if he spoke any Afrikaans, the Dutch dialect spoken by the Dutch who settled there centuries ago. Personal connections make every experience more memorable.

The entire event benefited the Greater Miami Tennis and Education Foundation and like last year, kids from the foundation attended the event as ball boys and girls. They earned that privilege based on their report cards, attendance, leadership and other factors. The $13,000 raised will benefit these socially and economically challenged Miami children, will help them learn tennis and valuable life skills by participating in free, affordable GMTEF tennis and education programs throughout the school year, as well as during the summer.

Next year’s event promises to be even better.

Craig Hickman covered the Sony Ericsson Open for Tennis Panorama News. He is the  founder and editor of Craig Hickman’s Tennis Blog

Photos by JD Blom

Videos by Craig Hickman and JD Blom.

 

Video Highlights


 



 



 

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Rafael Nadal April 3 Interview at the Sony Ericsson Open


N. DJOKOVIC/R. Nadal

4‑6, 6‑3, 7‑6

An interview with:

RAFAEL NADAL

THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please.

Q.  Tough day for you.  What do you think the turning point was in the match today?
RAFAEL NADAL:  Well, he’s playing with confidence, that’s for sure, no?  Probably his best moment of his career.  I think I didn’t play as well as I did during a lot of moments of this tournament today.
I was a little bit more tired than usual during the match, that’s true.  But in general, that’s everything what I said is part of the game.  So the sport is this.  Sometimes you win; sometimes you lose.
Last two times myself, I had to lose.  I had chances in both places.  I think here was really close with the 6‑5, 15‑30.  But, you know, when you play against one player like Nole, first thing, he’s very good; second thing, he’s playing with big confidence.
When you’re winning, it’s easier to keep winning ‑‑ or less difficult, no?  So all these facts.
I probably didn’t serve as well as I did during all the tournament.  Well, I didn’t serve as bad as I served in Indian Wells, but the thing is, my serve didn’t help me today to start the points with a little bit of advantage.
I was there fighting until the last point.  You know, nothing left in my body right now, so that’s the sport.  I love these kind of matches.  For sure I love to win, not lose.  (Smiling.)
But from everything you learn, I had a fantastic American hardcourt season, two finals, and ready for clay.

Q.  A that what a impressing you most about Novak, a his mental strength?  He might not have had it a few years ago but it’s there now.
RAFAEL NADAL:  He always was there.  He’s focused and confident and playing well.  I wasn’t that far, so that’s true, no?
Well, what he’s doing a unbelievable, winning four tournaments in a row, difficult ones, one Grand Slam, two Masters 1000, Dubai.  So it’s great.  He’s a great champion, and all the best for the rest of the season for him.
We’ll see what’s going on right now.

Q.  Looked near the end that he might be getting tired and he was looking at his box.  Looked like he was ready to maybe go down a little bit, but he seemed to play very strong at the end.  Were you surprised with that?
RAFAEL NADAL:  No.  He has a perfect performance physically, because when you play and you win one Grand Slam, one Masters 1000 last week, so he’s in the perfect performance right now, no?
I think he’s healthy.  He can run to every ball.  Seems like he’s less tired than.  Before when he runs a lot, he can play long points and still running.  So he’s good.
In general, the easiest thing to say a he’s very good tennis player.

Q.  You seemed to have a lot of double faults today.
RAFAEL NADAL:  How many?

Q.  Six or seven.  Six.
RAFAEL NADAL:  Too much, yeah.  If it’s one, it’s too much.

Q.  What do you think a the reason that you weren’t serving as well?
RAFAEL NADAL:  I always say the same:  If I know the reason, I never going to do it.  That’s part of the game.  Maybe because I was a little bit more nervous than other days, second final, maybe because I never won here and this is the third chance.
I played against a player who’s playing well, and I lost last week.  All of these facts maybe can affect a little bit to be a little bit more nervous, and the serve is a little bit part of that.
In general, I think I didn’t play as well as I did two days ago.  I didn’t play bad, that’s true.  I was close on probably his favorite surface and against the best Novak Djokovic.

Q.  Which was the harder match, last week or this?
RAFAEL NADAL:  Physically this, for sure.  I was very tired at the end.  I think I played a little bit better the beginning of last week’s final.  But wasn’t real for me because I didn’t play well during all the tournament, so I wasn’t ready to play all the match that level.
This week I was ready to play at my highest level because I played a very, very good tournament, playing better every day.

Q.  How far are you…
RAFAEL NADAL:  No, I think was more difficult the match of today because I was closer to win.  But was a little bit more difficult to accept maybe, because I was ready to win last week.  I was there.  Wasn’t very far, but probably mentally or physically I wasn’t enough ready well to beat Novak.
This time I was ready to win.  I didn’t play perfect, so I lost.

Q.  How far are you from where you want to be?  I know you had a month that you couldn’t practice or anything.
RAFAEL NADAL:  I am not that far.  I am very close, no?  I had a very good season, American season, probably the best one of my life here, in Indian Wells and Miami, having two finals.  It’s true I won a few times in Indian Wells, but after I lost in quarterfinals in Miami.
So both times I lost in quarterfinals, I think.  One time against Novak and one time against Del Potro.  This time I was very solid.  Indian Wells I was very far from where I want to be.  And where I want to be, you never know where is the top.
I am happy.  Important thing is be happy how you are playing, be comfortable when you go on court.  That’s what I feel right now.  Every day when I go on court, I think I played solid, aggressive with the forehand.  Today remain few aspects to win this kind of match against Novak.  That’s work to improve that for Monte‑Carlo.

Q.  Do you feel like he’s breathing down your neck to be No. 1?
RAFAEL NADAL:  No.

Q.  Did you feel like in the clay court season you can separate like you have in the past?
RAFAEL NADAL:  No, I think he’s going to be No. 1.  I don’t feel he’s breathing on my neck.  I don’t know what’s the expression in English.  The thing is, that’s part of sport.  We will see at the end of the season who’s No. 1, who’s No. 2, and who’s No. 20.
That’s tennis.  For me, be No. 1 is a goal, but not.  That’s always difficult to say, because you are No. 1 or you are not No. 1.  It’s difficult for me to say my goal is be No. 1.  My goal is be competitive in every tournament.  If I do that, I going to have my chance to be No. 1.
He won two tournaments in a row right now, very big tournaments and one Grand Slam.  Normal thing is he will be No. 1 in the next month, month and a half, two months.  I don’t know.  Depends on my results on clay.
For sure he will be there, no?  I going to fight for me.  If I am solid, if I play a very good clay court season, we will see what’s going on after.

Q.  At the end of the first set, at 5‑2 when you came up to serve for the set, you went for the ice scarf.  You used it, and at the end you were bending over.  Were you feeling as if were going to pass out?  Have you had any type of treatment since the end of the match?
RAFAEL NADAL:  Well, was very hot outside.  Can you see?  You was there?  (Laughter.)

Q.  I was in the shade.
RAFAEL NADAL:  You were in the shade, yeah, so you wasn’t there.  So that’s what happened.  Was very, very hot outside there today.  I sweat crazy, like ten T‑shirts today.  So I was very tired at the end.  Seriously, very tired.
One of those kind of matches, it’s better to finish as soon as possible, because I was very, very tired at the end.  But I was there fighting until the last point, because I felt if I am tired, the other one must be tired, too.  The hot and the sun is for both of us.

Q.  This time last year when you were sitting there having not won this tournament, you then won Monte‑Carlo, Madrid, Rome, Paris, Wimbledon.  So you must take some comfort in that.  Your favorite surface is about to happen.
RAFAEL NADAL:  Yeah, that’s one time in life win every tournament on clay.  Nobody does in the history, only myself last year.  So it’s difficult to imagine two years in a row can repeat that.
For me, seriously happy about how I’m playing, happy about my level of this tournament.  Normally when I play well on clay I have a little bit more advantage, so let’s see what’s going on week in Monte‑Carlo.
I’m going to prepare.  I’m going to start to practice on clay.  You know, always the adaptation after almost ten months without play on clay is hard the first days, so we will see.
Hopefully I going to be playing well this tournament.  This is important confidence for me.  That’s all, no?  Let’s try my best in Monte‑Carlo.  First tournament of clay is always important.
But it’s not going to be perfect.  Remain a lot.  I don’t going to win ten times in a row Monte‑Carlo.  That’s sure.  No, I won six in a row.  I going to try my best for the seventh, but know how difficult is every tournament.

Q.  That was part of my question, too.  You’ve been to the finals here a few times.  How tough it was to lose this match today?
RAFAEL NADAL:  Well, wasn’t very lucky weekend for me, no?  I think I was very close in 2005; I was very close today.  I’ll try next year.  That’s what I can say.  I didn’t feel sad.  No, I feel okay.
I think I try my best and it’s not big disappointment, no?  Some tournaments I arrive one time and you win.  This tournament, three times, three loses.
So if we see my record on finals, normally I have a very positive record winning finals.  This tournament breaks a lot this positive record for me, no?  So let’s try next years.  I don’t know.  I love this tournament.  I love to play.  So when you play three finals, you can win.  We’ll see.

FastScripts by ASAP Sports

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Sony Ericsson Sunday Results

Getty Images

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Men’s Singles – Final
[2] N Djokovic (SRB) d [1] R Nadal (ESP) 46 63 76(4)

 

Photo Courtesy of the WTA

Women’s Doubles – Final
D Hantuchova (SVK) / A Radwanska (POL) d [3] L Huber (USA) / N Petrova (RUS) 76(5) 26 10-8

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State of Perfection – Djokovic Wins Sony Ericsson Open

Novak Djokovic continues his perfect 2011 season with a 4-6, 6-3, 7-6(4)  win over World No. 1 Rafael Nadal to capture the Sony Ericsson Open.  “It was one of the closest and best finals that I have played ever,” said Djokovic as he addressed the media in his post-match news conference. ” To be able to win against a great champion like Nadal is, of course he’s No. 1 player of the world, and at this stage he’s always playing his best. I think it was very high level of tennis today. I think everybody enjoyed, even us playing. It was very close, and up to the last stroke we really didn’t know which way it’s going to go.”

“On each point, I think each game we played in the third set especially, was very close. I had a lot opportunities on his serve in the third set; he had on my serve in the second and third set. So really fortunate to get through this match. For these matches, you really play this sport. To play the final address, three and a half hours against the best player in the world, it’s incredible achievement for me. I’m very proud of today’s performance.”

“It’s the best four months in my life. But it’s only the start of the season. I think it’s a bit early to talk about getting that top spot in the rankings. It’s still quite a big difference. Rafa is definitely the best player in the world now. If I want to have that shot, the No. 1 ranking, I need to play consistently well throughout the whole year. We all know that clay court is his favorite surface, and obviously somewhere where he plays his best. But this is going to give a lot of confidence boost for the upcoming clay court season, the wins that I had on the starting tournaments of the year. Still, this streak is incredible that I have, and I want to keep on working hard and try to get more success.”

Djokovic is now 24-0 for 2011.  He’s on a 26 match winning streak  counting his singles matches in last year’s Davis Cup final. He is one match shy of equaling Ivan Lendl’s 25-0 start in 1986. The record belongs to John McEnroe at 39-0 to start the 1984 season.

 

As for Nadal,”I had chances in both places. I think here was really close with the 6-5, 15/30. But when you play against one player like Nole, first thing, he’s very good; second thing, he’s playing with big confidence. When you’re winning, it’s easier to keep winning, or less difficult. So all these facts. I probably didn’t serve as well as I did during all the tournament. I didn’t serve as bad as I served in Indian Wells, but the thing is, my serve didn’t help me today to start the points with a little bit of advantage.

“I was there fighting until the last point. Nothing left in my body right now, so that’s the sport. I love these kind of matches. For sure I love to win, not lose. (Smiling.) But from everything you learn. I had a fantastic American hard court season, two finals, and am ready for clay.”

As for Nadals’s goals for the year, “My goal is be competitive in every tournament. If I do that, I going to have my chance to be No. 1. He won two tournaments in a row right now, very big tournaments and one Grand Slam. Normal thing is he will be No. 1 in the next month, month and a half, two months. I don’t know. Depends on my results on clay. For sure he will be there, no? I’m going to fight for me. If I am solid, if I play a very good clay court season, we will see what’s going on after.”

Novak Djokovic became the first player since Roger Federer in 2006 to win the BNP Paribas Open – Sony Ericsson Open double in the same year.

Novak Djokovic April 3 Interview at the Sony Ericsson Open

Rafael Nadal April 3 Interview at the Sony Ericsson Open

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Miami Twice – Azarenka Captures Sony Ericsson Open

Photo Courtesy of WTATennis.com

Victoria Azarenka won her second Sony Ericsson Open title in three years on Saturday by defeating Maria Sharapova 6-1, 6-3. Azarenka last won the tournament back in 2009  when she defeated Serena Williams in the final.

Azarenka made her way through the draw by knocking out No. 2 Kim Clijsters and No. 3 Vera Zvonareva.

Azarenka  : “Maria likes to swing big, and when she has time it’s very heavy and coming fast. So I was trying to take time away from her. I think the heat really suits me well – I mean, it feels good!  Hardcourt is one of my favorite surfaces, and I’ve just been really working hard for these last two tournaments. I played very good tennis in Indian Wells, and unfortunately got injured.  It was amazing for me to come here and step up my game so well.”
For Sharapova’s efforts this fortnight she’ll return to the top ten when the rankings are released on Monday.


Sharapova: “It’s a bit too late to pick up the pace when you’re down a set and 4-0. I wish I picked it up earlier. But I’m very, very happy about what I’ve achieved in the last three or four weeks. If you saw me 10 weeks ago after I pulled out of Paris, I was in no shape or form to even play a tournament. So it’s amazing I even achieved that. I went to Indian Wells without a lot of expectations – I was sick for almost three weeks. I got myself back in it and I’m definitely proud of that.”

Victoria Azarenka April 2 Interview at the Sony Ericsson Open

Maria Sharapova April 2 Interview at the Sony Ericsson Open

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