December 2, 2015

Rafael Nadal Wins Grass-Court Edition of Mercedes Cup in Stuttgart

(June 14, 2015) Rafael Nadal captured his first title on grass since 2010 Wimbledon on Sunday when defeated Viktor Troicki 7-6 (3), 6-3 to win the Mercedes Cup for the third time in an hour and 27 minutes. Nadal claimed the title in Stuttgart in 2005 and 2007 when it was played on a clay court.

“I’m really, really happy. It’s my second win this year and it gives me a lot of confidence,” said Nadal of his 66th career tournament title.

“It was a great week for me,” he said.

“It’s a very special title,” said Nadal. “Since 2011 I didn’t play a final on grass, so win a title here is very good news for my game and for my mentality too. Congrats to Viktor for a great tournament. He’s playing great and will have some positives for the week.

“At this point of the season, every victory is important and every title means a lot to me. I’m happy for that.”

“In important moments my focus was not 100 per cent,” said Troicki. “He served very well the whole match. Even though it was a great week in reaching the final, I’m disappointed to lose this match. I had my chances and didn’t use them. I lost to a great champion. He served better and congrats to him.

“It’s a good result. I’m now going to London and we’ll see. I have high expectations for the grass season and this gives me a lot of confidence.”

“In important moments my focus was not 100 per cent,” said the 28th-ranked Troicki. “He served very well the whole match. Even though it was a great week in reaching the final, I’m disappointed to lose this match. I had my chances and didn’t use them. I lost to a great champion. He served better and congrats to him.

“It’s a good result. I’m now going to London and we’ll see. I have high expectations for the grass season and this gives me a lot of confidence.”

This was Nadal’s second tournament title this year, he also won in Buenos Aires.


Angelique Kerber Stops Caroline Wozniacki for Stuttgart Title

Angelique Kerber

German Angelique Kerber rallied in the third set to upset Dane Caroline Wozniacki 3-6, 6-1, 7-5 in the final of Stuttgart for her second straight title, lifting her win streak to 11 straight.

“It was small things today that made the difference,” Wozniacki said of the 2-hour and four minute match. “I had 5-3 in the third set and 30-all, and it could have gone both ways, but she took her chances and it went her way. We’re great friends, we hang out a lot and practice a lot together, and it’s always nice to play a friend in a final. You obviously want to win, but if you don’t win, it’s still nice that your friend does.”

“A few days ago I said clay is actually not my favorite surface, but right now I think I will change my mind,” said Kerber. “I’ve played very well on clay the last few days and weeks. I feel good that I have had so many matches on clay, and now I’m looking forward to the next tournaments before Paris. Of course I’m a little bit tired – I’ve had a lot of matches the last few weeks, and also a lot of travel. So that’s why I’m for sure taking the next few days off, just relaxing a little bit before I go to Madrid.”

On the way to the final, Kerber defeated three-time defending champion Maria Sharapova in the second round and also took out second seed Simona Halep in the semifinals.

For Kerber she won her the fifth WTA title of her career and second of 2015. She also won Charleston earlier in the month.


Maria Sharapova Three-Peats in Stuttgart


(April 27, 2014) It was a three-peat for Maria Sharapova in Stuttgart on Sunday. Sharapova came back from 3-6, 1-3 down to stop Ana Ivanovic 3-6, 6-4, 6-1 to win her third straight Porsche Grand Prix crown. She is now on a 13-match winning streak at the event.

It’s the Russian’s 30th career WTA title, the first of 2014. She is now third in titles among active players behind Serena and Venus Williams. With her eighth WTA clay court title win, Sharapova now trails just Anabel Medina Garrigues (10), Serena Williams (10) and Venus Williams (9) for most WTA clay court titles among current players.

“For the first half of the match I thought it might not be my day today, but somehow I turned it around,” Sharapova said. I had quite a slow beginning to the year, but me and my team have been working hard to get in the position to win titles again, and I’m so happy to be able to do it in Stuttgart.”

“From the first moment it was always a close match. It was always a few close balls to decide each game, and it went on the whole match. In the second set she definitely went for those big shots, though, and she made some amazing point,” Ivanovic said. “She’s just a great player, and that’s what happens when you play against great players in big matches like this. You need to use your opportunities.”

Sharapova joined boyfriend Grigor Dimitrov in the winner’s circle on Sunday. Dimitrov won the title in Bucharest, his third career ATP title.


Fognini Wins First ATP Title with Stuttgart Victory


(July 14, 2013) Italy’s Fabio Fognini joined the ATP winner’s circle for the first time taking the clay court event in Stuttgart defeating German Philipp Kohlschreiber 5-7, 6-4, 6-4 for the title.

“Finally, after two finals, I have won,” Fognini said. “I played great, great tennis this week. I am really happy to have beaten Philipp in the final. I was focused on my game and I think I felt fresh physically. The tension increased at the end, but then I got some luck. I just thought about my serve and playing solid. This gives me a lot of confidence. I will never forget my first title. It would be great to play on hard courts like this.”

“It is always tough to lose in the final, especially in Germany, in front of a home crowd,” Kohlschreiber. Maybe it was not the best final ever, but intensity wise it was tricky. Fabio played a great tournament and I can also be happy. There was great support. I think I started badly in the second and third sets. After winning the first set, I should have relaxed more.”

Fognini became the sixth first-time ATP World Tour titlist of 2013. The Italian took home €74,000 and a Mercedes-Benz A 45 AMG, ‘Edition 1’ car for his efforts.


Halep and Beck Move into Budapest Quarters


Budapest, Hungary
July 8-14, 2013
Red Clay/Outdoors

Results Wednesday, July 10, 2013
Singles – Second Round
(3) Simona Halep (ROU) d. (WC) Agnes Bukta (HUN) 61 61
(4) Annika Beck (GER) d. Lucie Hradecka (CZE) 63 63
Yvonne Meusburger (AUT) d. (5) Johanna Larsson (SWE) 36 64 64
Timea Babos (HUN) d. (7) María-Teresa Torró-Flor (ESP) 16 64 76(4)

Doubles – Quarterfinals
(1) Hlavackova/Hradecka (CZE/CZE) d. (WC) Barzo/Galfi (HUN/HUN) 63 61
Grandin/Martic (RSA/CRO) d. Olaru/Solovyeva (ROU/RUS) 64 62

Order Of Play – Thursday, July 11, 2013
Court Asboth Jozsef (from 11.00hrs)
1. Petra Martic vs. Chanelle Scheepers
2. Anna Tatishvili vs. Shahar Peer
3. Alexandra Cadantu vs. Andrea Hlavackova (NB 15.30hrs)
4. Klemenschits/Klepac vs. Babos/Rosolska
5. Bratchikova/Tatishvili vs. Bukta/Jani

Court 5 (from 13.00hrs)
1. Valeria Solovyeva vs. Danka Kovinic


Dimitrov Rallies to Stop Volandri


ATP World Tour 250
Båstad, Sweden  (+2 hours GMT)
8-14 July, 2013     Surface: Clay


Singles – Second Round
[3] J Monaco (ARG) d [Q] H Laaksonen (SUI) 64 62
A Ramos (ESP) d [4] T Robredo (ESP) 63 64
[5] G Dimitrov (BUL) d F Volandri (ITA) 26 61 64
C Berlocq (ARG) d B Kavcic (SLO) 75 63

Doubles – First Round
[1] R Lindstedt (SWE) / D Nestor (CAN) d S Stakhovsky (UKR) / V Troicki (SRB) 64 75
[2] D Marrero (ESP) / F Verdasco (ESP) d G Garcia-Lopez (ESP) / H Zeballos (ARG) 76(4) 63
[4] J Brunstrom (SWE) / R Klaasen (RSA) d [WC] G Dimitrov (BUL) / M Tillstrom (SWE) 16 63 10-4
N Monroe (USA) / S Stadler (GER) d [Alt] T de Bakker (NED) / R Junaid (AUS) 62 62


CENTRE COURT start 11:00 am
[8] F Verdasco (ESP) vs J Struff (GER)
[1] T Berdych (CZE) vs M Alund (ARG)
G Garcia-Lopez (ESP) vs [2] N Almagro (ESP)
T de Bakker (NED) vs [6] V Troicki (SRB)

COURT 1 start 12:00 noon

[1] R Lindstedt (SWE) / D Nestor (CAN) vs N Monroe (USA) / S Stadler (GER)
J Hajek (CZE) / F Polasek (SVK) vs [4] J Brunstrom (SWE) / R Klaasen (RSA)
C Berlocq (ARG) / A Ramos (ESP) vs [2] D Marrero (ESP) / F Verdasco (ESP)
[PR] L Arnold Ker (ARG) / J Monaco (ARG) vs M Alund (ARG) / J Souza (BRA)



Troicki and Verdasco Gain Second Round in Bastad

Fernando Verdasco

Fernando Verdasco

ATP World Tour 250
Båstad, Sweden  (+2 hours GMT)
8-14 July, 2013     Surface: Clay


Singles – First Round
[6] V Troicki (SRB) d J Souza (BRA) 64 62
[8] F Verdasco (ESP) d [WC] A Vinciguerra (SWE) 64 76(3)
T de Bakker (NED) d [Q] D Schwartzman (ARG) 62 64
A Ramos (ESP) d [Q] J Reister (GER) 63 63
B Kavcic (SLO) d [LL] M Copil (ROU) 64 61
F Volandri (ITA) d [PR] J Zopp (EST) 61 62
[Q] H Laaksonen (SUI) d [Q] A Veic (CRO) 57 61 61
J Struff (GER) d S Stakhovsky (UKR) 63 63
G Garcia-Lopez (ESP) d J Hajek (CZE) 76(4) 61

Doubles – First Round

M Alund (ARG) / J Souza (BRA) d [WC] I Arvidsson (SWE) / M Kontinen (FIN) 64 76(5)
J Hajek (CZE) / F Polasek (SVK) d M Copil (ROU) / H Tecau (ROU) 75 63
C Berlocq (ARG) / A Ramos (ESP) d M Elgin (RUS) / P Marx (GER) 64 16 10-7


CENTRE COURT start 11:00 am
[1] R Lindstedt (SWE) / D Nestor (CAN) vs S Stakhovsky (UKR) / V Troicki (SRB)
Not Before 12:00 PM
[5] G Dimitrov (BUL) vs F Volandri (ITA)
[4] T Robredo (ESP) vs A Ramos (ESP)
[Q] H Laaksonen (SUI) vs [3] J Monaco (ARG)

COURT 1 start 11:00 am

[Alt] T de Bakker (NED) / R Junaid (AUS) vs N Monroe (USA) / S Stadler (GER)
Not Before 12:00 PM
B Kavcic (SLO) vs C Berlocq (ARG)
G Garcia-Lopez (ESP) / H Zeballos (ARG) vs [2] D Marrero (ESP) / F Verdasco (ESP)
[WC] G Dimitrov (BUL) / M Tillstrom (SWE) vs [4] J Brunstrom (SWE) / R Klaasen (RSA)


Top Seeds Safarova and Cornet Ousted in Budapest

Lucie Safarova

Lucie Safarova

Budapest, Hungary
July 8-14, 2013
Red Clay/Outdoors

Results Tuesday, July 9, 2013
Singles – First Round
Valeria Solovyeva (RUS) d. (1) Lucie Safarova (CZE) 61 60
Andrea Hlavackova (CZE) d. (2) Alizé Cornet (FRA) 64 62
(6) Chanelle Scheepers (RSA) d. Michaela Honcova (SVK) 64 61
(8) Anna Tatishvili (GEO) d. (WC) Reka-Luca Jani (HUN) 63 64
Alexandra Cadantu (ROU) d. Patricia Mayr-Achleitner (AUT) 60 61
Petra Martic (CRO) d. (WC) Vanda Lukacs (HUN) 63 60
Yvonne Meusburger (AUT) d. Alison Van Uytvanck (BEL) 60 62
Timea Babos (HUN) d. Aleksandra Krunic (SRB) 63 67(5) 63
Shahar Peer (ISR) d. Xenia Knoll (SUI) 62 62
Danka Kovinic (MNE) d. Johanna Konta (GBR) 62 36 62

Order Of Play – Wednesday, July 10, 2013
Court Asboth Jozsef (from 11.00hrs)
1. Annika Beck vs. Lucie Hradecka
2. Yvonne Meusburger vs. Johanna Larsson
3. María-Teresa Torró-Flor vs. Timea Babos (NB 15.30hrs)
4. Agnes Bukta vs. Simona Halep

Court 5 (from 13.00hrs)
1. Grandin/Martic vs. Olaru/Solovyeva
2. Hlavackova/Hradecka vs. Barzo/Galfi (after suitable rest)


Fognini Advances in Stuttgart


ATP World Tour 250
Stuttgart, Germany (+2 hours GMT)
8-14 July, 2013     Surface: Clay


Singles – First Round
[5] F Fognini (ITA) d [Q] A Ward (GBR) 63 76(5)
[6] [WC] F Mayer (GER) d [Q] A Beck (GER) 64 36 61
T Bellucci (BRA) d [7] L Rosol (CZE) 64 64
E Gulbis (LAT) d M Granollers (ESP) 46 61 61
L Mayer (ARG) d P Andujar (ESP) 36 76(5) 76(5)
V Hanescu (ROU) d D Tursunov (RUS) 36 63 76(7) – saved 2 M.P.
N Davydenko (RUS) d [Q] D Munoz-De La Nava (ESP) 67(6) 63 64
G Monfils (FRA) d P Mathieu (FRA) 76(0) 64
[Q] N Langer (GER) d [WC] R Kern (GER) 36 64 63

Doubles – First Round
T Bednarek (POL) / M Kowalczyk (POL) d [2] A Begemann (GER) / M Emmrich (GER) 63 63
A Siljestrom (SWE) / I Zelenay (SVK) d [3] J Murray (GBR) / J Peers (AUS) 36 62 10-6
F Mergea (ROU) / L Rosol (CZE) d O Marach (AUT) / G Monfils (FRA) 64 64
L Dlouhy (CZE) / M Klizan (SVK) d N Davydenko (RUS) / D Tursunov (RUS) 63 67(3) 10-7


CENTER COURT start 11:00 am
R Bautista Agut (ESP) vs [8] M Klizan (SVK)
Not Before 12:00 PM
[3] J Chardy (FRA) vs [WC] M Berrer (GER)
Not Before 2:30 PM
[Q] N Langer (GER) vs [2] P Kohlschreiber (GER)
[6] [WC] F Mayer (GER) vs G Monfils (FRA)

GRAND STAND start 12:00 noon

[4] D Brown (GER) / P Hanley (AUS) vs D Gimeno-Traver (ESP) / L Mayer (ARG)
[1] M Granollers (ESP) / M Lopez (ESP) vs F Bagnis (ARG) / T Bellucci (BRA)
F Fognini (ITA) / D Munoz-De La Nava (ESP) vs [WC] A Beck (GER) / M Berrer (GER) – After Suitable Rest


Sharapova Defends Stuttgart Title with Victory Over Li Na

Sharapova Porsche

By Tumaini Carayol

(April 28, 2013) STUTTGART – Maria Sharapova arrived in Stuttgart as merely the defeNding champion. One Porsche mega-deal later, the Russian had almost assumed home-crowd support as fans and staff alike cheered the Russian on passionately throughout the week.


After her perilous struggles in the rounds before, Sharapova saved her most impressive victory for last, showcasing a performance of the highest quality to refuse Li Na her title 6-4, 6-3. The Russian struck the ball cleanly and with precision, while her movement improved dramatically overnight as she closed out the match in two impressive sets.


“I definitely thought it would be the toughest match of the tournament because, you know, she’s the second seed and someone I lost to last time I played against her,” she said.


“Probably because I knew she’d be the freshest of both of us. I tried to do the right things from the beginning and not have a let-down like I did in the other matches. I’m extremely happy that I pulled through.”


Sharapova’s afternoon was most succinctly summed up by a break point in set two. Chasing from side to side, the Russian found herself on the back foot as Li attempted to dominate. Eventually she stretched for a last-ditch left-handed forehand which barely trickled over, but as the Chinese number one attempted to put away the weak reply, Sharapova had already begun sprinting back to her forehand side, into the open court. A stunning on-the-run forehand down the line passing shot followed as she wrestled the break from her opponent’s grasp and hammered the final nail into the coffin that held Li Na’s title hopes.


“I think the main thing (in the earlier rounds) is the way that I fought,” said Sharapova later. “The way I came back from being down from, you know winning the first set.


“Losing the second could have been tough and easy to let the third set go but I kept fighting to give myself a chance to get into the next round. And then I played my best tennis today. So no matter how difficult those matches were, no matter how tired I was.”


On the question of pressure after recording a breathtaking 20th straight victory on red clay, Sharapova showcased a relaxed outlook to her outstanding previous 12 months on the red dirt.


“It’s more exciting. I really feel like I deserve to be in that position where I’m considered one of favorites because I needed to work to be in this position for many years. I’ve worked on getting stronger. I’ve worked on getting patient. I’ve worked on getting my game to adapt a little more on clay. There’s a reason why I’ve got myself there. It didn’t take a day, it didn’t take months, it took many years.


It remains difficult to name the players who will figure as the top favorites for Roland Garros as the second Grand Slam draws ever-nearer, but if one thing is for sure, it’s that Sharapova will top them all.