2015/03/28

“I’m at a great place now” – Novak Djokovic Meets the Media in Miami

228 Djokovic being interviewed-001

(March 27, 2015) Defending Miami Open champion and world No 1 Novak Djokovic met the media on Friday ahead of his first match singles match, after losing in his doubles match with countryman Janko Tipsarevic. Robert Lindstedt and Jurgen Melzer edged the Serbian pair 6-4, 3-6, 10-7.

The former No. 8 Tipsarevic had been sidelined with a foot injury since fall 2013.

“The opportunity to play with him today was very special for me as a friend, and I cared very much to win this match today,” said Djokovic. “I got very tight in the super tie-breaker, I have to say, because it was a very tough match. We lost to two of the great, very good doubles players.

“But we talked after the match, and he appreciated the fact that he can actually play; just feel that match play, have that sensation of how it feels and what it takes to be on the court.

“Seventeen months is a long time for injuries, and he’s also not young. You know, he’s now 31 this year. But he’s eager to play. He’s motivated. He right now has been practicing for a couple of weeks 100%, and he decided actually it’s better to skip this tournament in singles because he needed a little bit more time to get into it.

“Hopefully this doubles match today can help him. When he plays now in Houston after Miami he can perform his best. He can relax. He has the quality to go back to where he was. You know, that’s top 10. I really wish him that”

The eight-time major champion is seeking his fifth Miami title.

Djokovic reflected on this 2015 year so far: “I started the season very well with winning Grand Slam (Australian Open), and that definitely helps my confidence level. I finished the 2014 season in a great form winning Paris (Masters) and London (ATP World Tour Finals) back to back and then winning Australia and playing finals Dubai, Davis Cup, and then Indian Wells.

“Of course I’m at a great place now. I try to enjoy and take the best out of the feeling that I have on the court right now.

“Hopefully I can have another great week in Miami. The record that I had in last, you know, eight, nine years I have been coming back to Miami and playing the tournament is really good. Some of my best tennis I have played here in these courts.

“That can hopefully help me to get far in the tournament. We are here in United States for, you know, some of the biggest events we have in sport, Indian Wells and Miami for four weeks, playing best of three, and it’s well spread.”

 

On his mindset coming off a big win at Indian Wells:

“Playing more matches and spending more time in the highest level in tennis allows you to understand, you know, how you need to approach and have the healthy approach to every tournament.

“Back in 2011 when I had the best season so far in my career and became No. 1 of the world, I was so much blown away and so happy by those terrific achievements that, you know, it was difficult for me the year after to kind of face all those challenges, to defend points, and was a little bit carried away by a lot of distractions, I would say, you know, off the court.

“But it allowed me ‑‑ those kind of experiences allowed me to grow and to become stronger mentally, you know, as a tennis player and as a person, and to find the right balance between the private and professional life, to enjoy the life that I have, to really embrace everything that life is presenting to me.

“But yet again, stay professional discipline, committed to the sport that I love.

“So I think right now I found the right balance, and I’m at the peak of my career and my abilities. Hopefully I can maintain that for the time to come.”

 

On social Media:

“I think the best thing about the social media and social platforms is the fact that you can interact with the people that follow and you support you.”

“So this is one of the ways to give them back, not just on the court by playing good tennis, but also you interact with them and feed them with some video or picture content that would give them a different look at your personality. Not just what they see on the TV when you’re playing tennis, but something else, to present yourself as a person.

“Everything has its borders, obviously, but I try to, you know, kind of post ‑‑ most of the content I post is something that is fun, something that is different. You know, sometimes I have to show them that I’m working in the gym or on the tennis court, that I am preparing myself.

“But mostly some other fun stuff for people that I get to meet along the way.”

On his life now as a husband and a father: “Right now I’m a complete person and really fulfilled in every aspect of my life. Became a husband and a father in last 10 months, and that’s a very important milestone for me that has definitely contributed in a positive way to my tennis, as well.

“I’m not taking things for granted. I am very grateful for the opportunity to play the sport that I love, and still kind of fulfill my parental duties and, you know, be, I would say, accomplished as a husband and a father.

“I cannot complain. It’s a great place in my life where I am at the moment, and trying to take the best out of it.”

“I really appreciate the fact that I’m playing tennis. Probably the childhood that I had, the circumstances in life that I had to face and overcome to be where I am at this moment allowed me to observe things in life in a different way, in a more humble way, I would say.

“The fact that I come from a very small country, the fact that I overcame some challenges that seemed impossible at the time with the war and sanctions and all these things and arrived to where I am, that has shaped me as a person and my character, and helps me now to have this kind of approach that I believe is the right one.”

Djokovic begins his quest for another Miami title on Saturday evening when his faces Martin Klizan.

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Francis Tiafoe Continues Win Streak with Straight-Set Win At USTA Men’s Pro Championships of Calabasas

Francis Tiafoe-001

(March 27, 2015) CALABASAS, Calif., – Francis Tiafoe moved one stepped closer to a second-straight USTA Pro Circuit Futures singles title as he beat No. 8-seeded Mitchell Krueger in the quarterfinals on Friday at the USTA Men’s Pro Tennis Championships of Calabasas.

 

Tiafoe, a 17-year-old from College Park, Md., won his eighth consecutive match taking out the No. 8-seeded Krueger, 21, of Aledo, Texas, 7-5, 6-4, in the $15,000-level event being played at the Calabasas Tennis & Swim Center.

 

“Yeah, I guess it is eight straight but I’m not really thinking about that number,” said Tiafoe, who won three consecutive three-setters in the first three rounds last week in claiming his first Pro Circuit title. “I’m just focusing on continuing to play good tennis in Cali and want to put on a good show for the fans who come out tomorrow.”

 

He had never faced Krueger before, but the two have practiced together all week, and Tiafoe said he was able to get familiar with his game.

 

Tiafoe will face 25-year-old former University of Michigan star Jason Jung in one of Saturday’s semifinasl. Jung beat 17-year-old wild card Taylor Fritz in the quarterfinals on Friday, 6-3, 6-3. Fritz had his chances early on, squandering 15-40 and love-40 games on Jung’s serve in the first set.

 

“Sure, he hits a big ball, but I was just better today,” said Jung, as he rested in preparation for an evening doubles semifinal. Jung also beat Fritz in the USC Pro Circuit Futures semifinals during the first week of the year.

 

In the other semifinal on Saturday starting at 3 p.m., it will be an all UCLA affair as No. 2-seeded Dennis Novikov will play either qualifier and current UCLA sophomore Mackenzie McDonald or former Bruin and wild card Clay Thompson, who played in the late match Friday.

 

Earlier on Friday, Novikov downed Ecuador’s Giovanni Lapentti, 5-7, 6-4, 6-3.

 

Follow along on Twitter at http://twitter.com/calabasastennis. For more information check out the official website, calabasasprotennis.com. Don’t forget to download the Pro Circuit App. Search procircuit in the iTunes App Store or on Google Play.

 

EVENTS: USTA Junior Team Tennis Kid’s Day with a Tennis Carnival is Saturday, March 28, from 1:30 p.m. till 3 p.m.

 

Friday’s Quarterfinal Singles Scores

Jason Jung, U.S., (6) def. Taylor Fritz, U.S., (wc) 6-3, 6-3

Dennis Novikov, U.S., (2) def. Giovanni Lapentti, Eucador, 5-7, 6-4, 6-3

Francis Tiafoe, U.S., def. Mitchell Krueger, U.S., (8) 7-5, 6-4

Mackenzie McDonald, U.S. (q) def. Clay Thompson, U.S., (wc), late

 

Friday’s Semifinal Doubles

Jason Jung, U.S. / Raymond Sarmiento, U.S., vs. Fabian Matthew, U.S. / Jeremy Hunter Nicholas, U.S., late

By Steve Pratt

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Miami Open – Official Statement from Tournament Director Office Regarding Tickets

MiamiOpenTennis

Official Statement from Tournament Director Office

Friday, March 27, 2015 – Session #8 – Night Session

The following policy applies to Opening Weekend Packages and/or individual session tickets purchased for Session 8, Friday, March 27th Evening Session.  Please note that this policy does not apply to packages purchased for the duration of the Tournament in the 100 level (Box), 200 level (Suite) or 300 level (Series).  The Miami Open cannot guarantee ticket availability, exchange of equal value or comparable seat location. All ticket exchanges are final, and there will be NO REFUNDS OR CREDITS.  In addition, patrons are advised that the Miami Open schedule of play is subject to change for all sessions. Tickets are not eligible for refund or exchange due to one or more changes in the Miami Open schedule of play.

Session 8, Night Session, March 27th of the 2015 Miami Open has been cancelled due to inclement weather.  Guests with Session 8 tickets may exchange them for:

Session 9 – Saturday, March 28th, Day Session – GROUNDS PASSES ONLY

Session 12 – Sunday, March 29th, Evening Session @ 7:30pm

Session 14 – Monday, March 30th, Evening Session @ 7:30pm

To exchange your tickets, please visit the Front Gate Box Office, located at the Crandon Park Tennis Center beginning at 9:00 am ET.

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Rain Washes Out Some Matches in Miami – Halep, Azarenka and Stephens Advance

Simona Halep

Simona Halep

(March 27, 2015) Rain saw the cancellation of some late afternoon matches and the evening session at the Miami Open on Friday including Serena Williams’ opening match. Saturday’s new schedule will be announced.

Miami Open – Official Statement from Tournament Director Office Regarding Tickets

Third seed Simona Halep who took home the BNP Paribas Open title, just last Sunday, won 6-4, 2-6, 6-1 against wild card Nicole Vaidisova. Vaidisova a former two-time Grand Slam semifinalist and once No. 7 in the world, is back on the tour since retiring and coming back from multiple shoulder surgeries.

 

Sloane Stephens

Sloane Stephens

In the all-American battle on Stadium court in the late afternoon, No. 45 Soane Stephens defeated No. 17 Madison Keys 6-4, 6-2.

In the first meeting between both women, Stephens broke Keys’ serve five times during the match. Keys had 36 unforced errors during the match to only 14 winners.

“One of those days where didn’t quite have the feeling; couldn’t really find it,” Keys said.

 

“Sloane played really well. I thought in the first set I kind of had a chance to come back and maybe get into the match a little bit more, but a couple of bad points here and there and it kind of just got away from me.”

 

“It was windy,” Stephens said. “The conditions weren’t that great.

 

“Because I know going out there I had to play my game and stay focused and really focus on myself. I tried to do that the best I could. Obviously the conditions were tough, so I was just happy to get out with the win.”

 

“It’s always really good to see Sloane playing well,” Keys commented on her past Fed Cup teammate. “I thought ‑ I knew ‑ it was going to be a tough match.

 

“You know, she just played better than me today. You know, wishing her all the best and hoping she goes deep now.”

 

“I just go out and play my game and stay focused,” Stephens said. “Obviously she’s a great player. I knew I had to go out there and execute.

 

“That’s what I did out there with the tough conditions. I was pleased with myself.”

 

“I know Maddy is going to have a great career,” Stephens said.

 

“I am going to see her for like the next 10 years of my life consistently. I’m looking forward to seeing her get better and keep playing and doing what she’s doing now.”

 

 

Stephens will match up against Sweden’s Larsson, Johanna, who defeated 10th seed Lucie Safarova.

 

Victoria Azarekna

Victoria Azarekna

Former Miami champion Victoria Azarenka is into the third round of Miami by beating world No. 20 Jelena Jankovic 6-1, 6-1.

The former No. 1 Jankovic was 0-13 on break point chances.

“I just really tried to stay focused and tried to find a way to stay in the game,” Azarenka said. I had to save a couple of break points right away, and then there was, you know, this battle.

 

“I know that Jelena is a fighter. Doesn’t matter what score it is, she will not give up. Some of those rallies she just went for it, and I felt like I wasn’t that aggressive on some points.

 

“So I just had to stay focused and stay tough and try to find a way to finish the match. You know, in those moments that’s what I really look for right now, to be able to step up my game when it’s needed.”

 

Azarenka, a former No 1 who has been plagued with injuries over the last two years, is currently ranked No. 36 in the world and trying to regain her form.

 

More to follow

 

Related article:
“This one I think I played a lot smarter” – Cici Bellis Defeats Zarina Diyas in Miami for some U. S. Open Revenge
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Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray Advance at Miami Open

Nadal at Miami Open Media day

(March 27, 2015) Fourteen-time major champion Rafael Nadal has won almost everything there is to win on the men’s tennis tour. One of the few titles which has escaped him is the Miami Open. Nadal a four-time finalist, began his quest for his first title with an 89-minute victory over Spanish countryman Nicolas Almagro 6-4, 6-2 to move into the third round.

Nadal was asked about his ankle which he hurt during practice earlier in the week.

“I am well, no?,” said the second seed. “I had just a little bit, how do you say, small torn in the beginning, so it was going to be tough.

“The day after I had pain, but after two days I improved 50% and stays the same. It’s not limiting my movements.”

“The real thing is the wind was really high,” Nadal said of the breezy conditions on court. “Very difficult to find a positive feeling on court.

“But in general I think I played a solid match. I played well. I had a good movement. I think I moved myself quick for moments, and when I had to put the balls in and play with no mistakes ‑ that was the idea today with that very tough conditions ‑ I did, I think.

“For some moments I went for the points. I worked well with my forehand. I had some good winners.

“Yeah. I’m happy the way that I played. Sure, second round against I don’t know yet, but Almagro was not an easy opponent for the first round. I am happy for that.”

Nadal who raised his record against Almagro to 11-1, will face the winner of Fernando Verdasco, and James Duckworth in the third round.

“The court in Miami I think is the same than since 10 years, since I came here,” Nadal said. “I don’t see difference with the court, no?

“The ball is heavier here than in Indian Wells for the humidity, so the ball flies is little bit slower through the air. That’s it.”

Two-time Miami champion Andy Murray defeated Donald Young 6-4, 6-2 in 82 minutes in an earlier match. Murray defeated the American recently – in Glasgow during the first weekend in March, when Great Britain defeated the United States 3-2 to reach the quarterfinals of Davis Cup.

“I played well against him the last couple of times,” said the third seed. “Obviously today was a very different match to Davis Cup; completely different conditions.”

“The tactics that you go into the match with completely change because of the weather and the wind.”

The Scot is just two wins away from reaching a milestone – to become just the ninth active player to win 500 ATP World Tour –level matches.

Murray will match-up against 27th seed Santiago Giraldo in the third round.

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“This one I think I played a lot smarter” – Cici Bellis Defeats Zarina Diyas in Miami for some U. S. Open Revenge

(March 27, 2015) Fifteen-year-old wild card Cici Bellis exacted some revenge on 29th seed Zarina Diyas of Kazakhstan at the Miami Open on Friday with a dominating 6-2, 6-1 win.

 

The young American lost to Diyas in the second round of the 2014 U.S. Open. The match before that, the current world No. 211 made some noise in the first round of Flushing Meadow when she upset 2014 Australian Open finalist and world No 12 at the time, Dominika Cibulkova. Bellis was the youngest player to win a match at the U. S. Open since 1996

 

Bellis broke her Diyas’ serve seven times during the match which lasted 76 minutes.

“This one I think I played a lot smarter,” Bellis talking about Friday’s win over Diyas to media. “At the US Open I was really like caught up in, you know, all the kind of hype that was going on.

“But this one I was just really focused and played my game. I think I did what I needed to do to win really well.”

“I think every single part of my game has improved since the US Open,” said Bellis. “I mean, just from today, like I lost to her at the US Open, which was I don’t know how many months ago, like eight months ago or something, and today I beat her 2 and 1.

“So I think everything in my game has improved. I have been working really hard, extremely, extremely hard since the US Open just for that. I think it’s really paying off, so I’m really happy.”

Bellis could face world No. 1 Serena Williams in the third round. Williams plays Monica Niculescu on Friday night in a rematch of her third round match just two weeks ago at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells.

“I mean, it’s going to be really fun,” she said of the possible match against the 19-time major champion. “I have nothing to lose, so I’m just going to play my game and see what happens.”

Asked about what her mindset will be going into a possible match against Williams, she said: “Just don’t really think about who I’m playing. It’s just, you know, another one of my opponents that I’m playing. Doesn’t really matter who it is.

“We are all in the same tournament, so we are all kind of at this level. You can’t really think about who you’re playing. It’s just a ball that’s coming back on the other side of the court. You just have to go out and not think about that stuff and just play your game. That’s what I’m planning to do.”

Bellis, who will turn 16 on April 8, has not decided if or when she will turn professional.

“Amateur,” she said. “I haven’t decided yet, but I think just keep my amateur status for a little bit longer, just, you know, in case.”

After the Miami Open, Bellis plans on playing in the WTA tour event in Charleston.

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Miami Open – Thursday Results, Friday Schedule

Miami Open Front gate

MIAMI OPEN PRESENTED BY ITAU – MIAMI, UNITED STATES

23 MARCH – 5 APRIL 2015

RESULTS – MARCH 26, 2015

ATP Singles – First Round
M. Klizan (SVK) d P. Lorenzi (ITA) 63 64
[Q] S. Darcis (BEL) d M. Jaziri (TUN) 26 75 75
T. Bellucci (BRA) d L. Hewitt (AUS) 75 67(2) 64
A. Dolgopolov (UKR) d R. Berankis (LTU) 64 61
M. Kukushkin (KAZ) d S. Johnson (USA) 64 36 62
[Q] A. Falla (COL) d [Q] M. Berrer (GER) 67(5) 64 64
[Q] A. Zverev (GER) d S. Groth (AUS) 75 67(5) 64
F. Delbonis (ARG) d J. Vesely (CZE) 76(4) 36 75
M. Youzhny (RUS) d A. Golubev (KAZ) 46 62 63
S. Bolelli (ITA) d M. Baghdatis (CYP) 62 62
B. Coric (CRO) d A. Haider-Maurer (AUT) 16 63 76(3)
J. Janowicz (POL) d [Q] E. Roger-Vasselin (FRA) 64 62
V. Pospisil (CAN) d [PR] J. Del Potro (ARG) 64 76(7)
[WC] A. Rublev (RUS) d P. Carreno Busta (ESP) 16 61 64
J. Melzer (AUT) d [WC] R. Harrison (USA) 76(3) 63
T. Gabashvili (RUS) d P. Andujar (ESP) 06 76(4) 63

ATP Doubles – First Round
K. Anderson (RSA) / J. Chardy (FRA) d [6] M. Matkowski (POL) / N. Zimonjic (SRB) 63 63
J. Isner (USA) / S. Querrey (USA) d [8] R. Bopanna (IND) / D. Nestor (CAN) 63 76(4)
[PR] N. Almagro (ESP) / G. Garcia-Lopez (ESP) d A. Mannarino (FRA) / G. Simon (FRA) 63 62
A. Begemann (GER) / E. Gulbis (LAT) d P. Cuevas (URU) / D. Marrero (ESP) 16 64 10-7
J. Murray (GBR) / J. Peers (AUS) d L. Rosol (CZE) / D. Thiem (AUT) 63 62
M. Draganja (CRO) / H. Kontinen (FIN) d G. Monfils (FRA) / J. Tsonga (FRA) 46 63 10-5
WTA Singles – Second Round
[WC] D. Gavrilova (RUS) d [2] M. Sharapova (RUS) 76(4) 63
[4] C. Wozniacki (DEN) d M. Brengle (USA) 60 61
[7] A. Radwanska (POL) d A. Schmiedlova (SVK) 64 75
[8] E. Makarova (RUS) d K. Knapp (ITA) 61 63
[9] A. Petkovic (GER) d C. McHale (USA) 62 62
[12] C. Suárez Navarro (ESP) d [Q] S. Voegele (SUI) 63 61
[14] Ka. Pliskova (CZE) d Ann. Beck (GER) 26 63 64
[16] V. Williams (USA) d [Q] U. Radwanska (POL) 63 62
K. Mladenovic (FRA) d [19] B. Zahlavova Strycova (CZE) 75 62
[22] A. Cornet (FRA) d E. Vesnina (RUS) 64 61
[23] S. Stosur (AUS) d [Q] P. Parmentier (FRA) 61 36 60
K. Nara (JPN) d [25] C. Garcia (FRA) 63 76(9)
[26] E. Svitolina (UKR) d B. Jovanovski (SRB) 63 76(3)
K. Kanepi (EST) d [28] V. Lepchenko (USA) 62 64
[31] I. Begu (ROU) d T. Smitkova (CZE) 57 64 64
[WC] P. Badosa Gibert (ESP) d [LL] S. Zheng (CHN) 61 75

WTA Doubles – First Round
[PR] V. Dushevina (RUS) / M. Martínez Sánchez (ESP) d [3] R. Kops-Jones (USA) / A. Spears (USA) 26 63 10-2
A. Rodionova (AUS) / A. Rodionova (AUS) d C. Dellacqua (AUS) / D. Jurak (CRO) 63 76(5)
J. Goerges (GER) / A. Groenefeld (GER) d [Alt] M. Rybarikova (SVK) / S. Zheng (CHN) 76(0) 46 10-8
A. Kudryavtseva (RUS) / A. Pavlyuchenkova (RUS) d K. Koukalova (CZE) / K. Siniakova (CZE) 62 60

SCHEDULE – FRIDAY, 27 MARCH 2015

STADIUM start 11:00 am
WTA – [3] S. Halep (ROU) vs [WC] N. Vaidisova (CZE)
ATP – D. Young (USA) vs [3] A. Murray (GBR)
WTA – S. Stephens (USA) vs [17] M. Keys (USA)
ATP – [PR] N. Almagro (ESP) vs [2] R. Nadal (ESP)

Not Before 8:00 pm
WTA – [1] S. Williams (USA) vs M. Niculescu (ROU)
ATP – T. Smyczek (USA) vs [11] J. Tsonga (FRA)

GRANDSTAND start 10:50 am
ATP – [8] T. Berdych (CZE) vs [WC] H. Chung (KOR)
WTA – [20] J. Jankovic (SRB) vs V. Azarenka (BLR)
ATP – [7] S. Wawrinka (SUI) vs C. Berlocq (ARG)
ATP – [17] G. Monfils (FRA) vs [Q] F. Krajinovic (SRB)

Not Before 5:00 pm
ATP – [14] E. Gulbis (LAT) vs J. Monaco (ARG)

COURT 1 start 11:00 am
ATP – [15] K. Anderson (RSA) vs S. Querrey (USA)
ATP – D. Thiem (AUT) vs [10] F. Lopez (ESP)

Not Before 3:00 pm
ATP – R. Lindstedt (SWE) / J. Melzer (AUT) vs [PR] N. Djokovic (SRB) / J. Tipsarevic (SRB)

Not Before 5:00 pm
WTA – [Q] T. Maria (GER) vs [6] E. Bouchard (CAN)
ATP – [21] F. Fognini (ITA) vs J. Sock (USA)

COURT 2 start 11:00 am
ATP – [Q] A. Krajicek (USA) vs [25] B. Tomic (AUS)
ATP – [27] S. Giraldo (COL) vs [Q] R. Haase (NED)
WTA – [Q] I. Falconi (USA) vs [5] A. Ivanovic (SRB)
ATP – [29] F. Verdasco (ESP) vs [Q] J. Duckworth (AUS)
ATP – S. Giraldo (COL) / M. Klizan (SVK) vs [3] M. Melo (BRA) / B. Soares (BRA)

COURT 6 start 11:00 am
WTA – [9] A. Hlavackova (CZE) / L. Hradecka (CZE) vs S. Aoyama (JPN) / R. Voracova (CZE)
WTA – G. Dabrowski (CAN) / A. Rosolska (POL) vs A. Medina Garrigues (ESP) / A. Tomljanovic (CRO)
ATP – E. Butorac (USA) / S. Groth (AUS) vs [WC] R. Harrison (USA) / R. Ram (USA)
WTA – K. Date-Krumm (JPN) / K. Pliskova (CZE) vs [7] T. Babos (HUN) / K. Mladenovic (FRA)

COURT 7 start 11:00 am
WTA – [24] S. Kuznetsova (RUS) vs A. Riske (USA)
ATP – J. Nieminen (FIN) vs [24] L. Mayer (ARG)
WTA – [1] M. Hingis (SUI) / S. Mirza (IND) vs [Alt] E. Bogdan (ROU) / N. Melichar (USA)
ATP – A. Ramos-Vinolas (ESP) vs [28] A. Mannarino (FRA)
ATP – [5] M. Granollers (ESP) / M. Lopez (ESP) vs [WC] T. Bellucci (BRA) / J. Souza (BRA)

COURT 8 start 11:00 am
WTA – [10] L. Safarova (CZE) vs J. Larsson (SWE)
WTA – [Q] S. Karatantcheva (BUL) vs [21] G. Muguruza (ESP)
WTA – [27] S. Lisicki (GER) vs J. Goerges (GER)
WTA – [11] S. Errani (ITA) vs A. Pavlyuchenkova (RUS)

COURT 9 start 11:00 am
WTA – [WC] C. Bellis (USA) vs [29] Z. Diyas (KAZ)
ATP – J. Struff (GER) vs [23] G. Garcia-Lopez (ESP)
WTA – T. Pironkova (BUL) vs [15] F. Pennetta (ITA)
WTA – H. Watson (GBR) vs [13] A. Kerber (GER)

COURT 10 start 11:00 am
WTA – [Q] A. Van Uytvanck (BEL) vs [30] C. Giorgi (ITA)
ATP – [7] N. Mahut (FRA) / E. Roger-Vasselin (FRA) vs R. Bautista Agut (ESP) / V. Troicki (SRB)
WTA – M. Krajicek (NED) / B. Zahlavova Strycova (CZE) vs [2] E. Makarova (RUS) / E. Vesnina (RUS)
WTA – [32] C. Dellacqua (AUS) vs B. Bencic (SU

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Maria Sharapova Upset by No. 97 Daria Gavrilova at Miami Open

Maria Sharapova

Maria Sharapova

(March 26, 2015) Maria Sharapova was looking for her first title at the Miami Open, a rare event in which she has never held the trophy going 0-5 in finals. The Russian is still looking for that crown in Miami, as she was upset by countrywoman and wild card recipient, world No. 97 Daria Gavrilova 7-6(4), 6-3 on Thursday night.

For the 21-year-old born in Moscow and resides in Australian, who just broke into the top 100 just days ago, it’s her first win against a Top 10 player, the biggest win of her career.

The first set of the match saw both women break each other’s serve, with Gavrilova moving to a 5-3 lead. Sharapova fought back, taking the next three games. The younger Russian held on to send the set into a tiebreaker, which she won 7-6 (7-4). The set last 68 minutes.

“I was down 6‑5 and I was up 5‑3 and it was 30‑All, and I was just thinking, Okay, be tough, be tough; you can do it,” said Gavrilova.

“I had some negative thoughts at that time, but I kind of got rid of them and just kept going.”

The wild card jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the second set, then moving out to a 4-1 advantage. The world No. 2 fought back to win the next two games to cut the deficit to 3-4, but her opponent broke back for 5-3 and served out the second set and the match 6-3.

On court was an elated winner: “I’m just so excited, I’m so happy, I can’t explain it,” she said. “I always believed and that’s probably why I won!”

“I was very composed. I told myself to keep believing and keep trying.”

Later at her post-match news conference, Gavrilova elaborated on her belief in being able to defeat Sharapova. “I played Angelique (Kerber) twice this year, and I played Simona (Halep) last week. I was pretty close I thought all this time. I just thought, Okay, you can do it. You’re probably at this level right now.”

Gavrilova, who is making a comeback from a torn anterior cruciate ligament in her right knee back in 2013 broke Sharapova’s serve four times during the match.

She talked about the journey from the ACL injury to recovery and the night’s big win: “I remember last year I was crying. I was like, Oh, it’s so boring doing this rehab. Blah, blah, blah. It all paid off at the end. I just have to keep going.”

“I was injured. I had a knee surgery last year. So I had a pretty rough time.”

Asked if she was surprised about the defeat, the No. 2 player said: “Well, it’s sport, and I happened to lose the match. Of course it’s a bit of a surprise. It’s the first round. I’m expected to win.

“But I think that’s, you know, one of the reasons why we play the matches, is you still have to go out and win it no matter if you’re the favorite.

“Today I didn’t.”

“I mean, I had little times where I did come back, but I was always behind. I put myself in a situation that was too far behind to come back from.”

“I still can’t realize that it’s my dream,” said Gavrilova. I have been dreaming about beating Maria since I was probably 12 when I saw her win Wimbledon, when she beat Serena.

“I was like, Oh, I really want to play her and beat her. I was probably visualizing beating her since I was 12, yeah.”

“She runs a lot of balls down,” Sharapova said, evaluating her opponent’s strength. “I was committing a lot of errors off of those balls and not really staying patient and just going for, you know, too many maybe winners, not moving forward enough.”

Sharapova committed 34 unforced errors during the match.

Sharapova said that she’ll be playing Fed Cup for Russia when they take on Germany in Sochi, Russia the weekend of April 18-19.

“I was actually talking to my coach and my physio,” Gavrilova said. “I’m saying, I’m not going to sleep tonight because my phone will be going off.

“And I said, Oh, I’ll turn my Wi‑Fi, 4G, 3G, everything off and sleep and get ready for the next one.

Next for Gavrilova, she’ll face No. 54 Kurumi Nara in the third round. Nara upset 25th seed Caroline Garcia 6-7, 7-6(9).

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March Madness For Three UCLA Bruins Who Move On At USTA Men’s Pro Championships of Calabasas

Mitchell Krueger

Mitchell Krueger

(March 26, 2015) CALABASAS, Calif., – A day after former UCLA Bruin and defending NCAA and Calabasas champion Marcos Giron was forced to retire from the USTA Men’s Pro Tennis Championships of Calabasas without ever hitting a ball, three current or former Bruins advanced to the Elite Eight of the USTA Pro Circuit $15,000 Futures tournament.

 

Current Bruin and qualifier Mackenzie McDonald, and former UCLA players wild card Clay Thompson and No. 2-seeded Dennis Novikov all posted wins Thursday at the Calabasas Tennis & Swim Center.

 

Thompson’s 6-3, 6-3, win over 17-year-old Stefan Kozlov was the most impressive, while McDonald needed three sets to down fellow qualifier Mico Santiago, 3-6, 6-3, 6-1, and Novikov got past American Fritz Wolmarans, 7-5, 6-2.

 

It all happened a day before the storied UCLA men’s basketball team is to play Gonzaga in a Sweet 16 game in the NCAA basketball tournament on Friday.

 

It was March Madness, indeed, on Thursday as 17-year-old Rancho Santa Fe, Calif., resident and tournament wild card Taylor Fritz upset top-seeded Fabiano De Paula of Brazil, 6-2, 6-0.

 

Also moving into the quarterfinals was Torrance’s Jason Jung, a former University of Michigan All American. He beat former Big-10 rival Marek Michalicka of the Czech Republic, 6-3, 4-6, 6-4. Michalicka played his college tennis at the University of Wisconsin. Keeping with the March Madness theme, the top-seeded Badgers basketball team beat North Carolina later in day to move into their own version of the Elite Eight.

 

“It’s nice to be home and not traveling,” Jung said. “The wind early on wasn’t too big a factor and it was really ideal conditions. We are the same class in college and played a bunch of times in college.”

 

Mitchell Krueger, the No. 8 seed, was the seventh American of the final eight to reach the quarterfinals as he beat West Covina’s Ernesto Escobedo, 7-5, 6-7 (5), 6-3. Krueger won a $15,000 ITF Pro Circuit event to start the year at USC. “I was able to play in the first round of qualies at Indian Wells and ended up losing 6-7 in the third in the first round,” Krueger said. “I love playing here. I played the double of Carson and Easter Bowl in April ever since I was a kid, so it’s great to be out here and feels pretty familiar to me.”

 

Follow along on Twitter at http://twitter.com/calabasastennis. For more information check out the official website, calabasasprotennis.com. Don’t forget to download the Pro Circuit App. Search procircuit in the iTunes App Store or on Google Play.

Thursday’s Second-Round Singles Scores

Taylor Fritz, U.S., (wc) def. Fabiano De Paula, Brazil (1), 6-2, 6-0

Jason Jung, U.S., (6) def. Marek Michalicka, Czech Republic, 6-3, 4-6, 6-4

Mackenzie McDonald, U.S. (q) def. Mico Santiago, U.S., (q) 3-6, 6-3, 6-1

Giovanni Lapentti, Eucador, def. Sekou Bangoura, U.S., (q) 6-2, 6-4

Mitchell Krueger, U.S., (8) def. Ernesto Escobedo, U.S., 7-5, 6-7 (5), 6-3

Francis Tiafoe, U.S., def. Alexander Ward, Great Britain, 6-4, 3-6, 6-3

Clay Thompson, U.S., (wc) def. Stefan Kozlov, U.S., 6-3, 6-3

Dennis Novikov, U.S., (2) def. Fritz Wolmarans, U.S., 7-5, 6-2

 

Thursday’s Quarterfinal Doubles Scores

Jason Jung, U.S. / Raymond Sarmiento, U.S., def. Deiton Baughman, U.S. / Walker Duncan, U.S., 6-4, 6-2

Pedro Bernardi, Brazil, / Luis Fernando Ramirez, Venezuela, def. Fabino De Paula, Brazil / Pedro Sakamoto, Brazil, walkover

Fabian Matthew, U.S. / Jeremy Hunter Nicholas, U.S., def. Damon Gooch, South Africa / Lucas Renard, Sweden, 6-1, 6-4

Adrian Forberg Skogeng, Norway / Wil Spencer, U.S., def. Giovanni Lapentti, Ecuador / Dennis Novikov, U.S. (3) def. walkover

By Steve Pratt

 

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Pospisil Spoils Del Potro’s Return

88 Del Potro 3

(March 26, 2015) Returning to the court for the first time since January 15, Juan Martin del Potro‘s recent attempt at comeback from wrist surgery ended in a first round loss at the Miami Open on Thursday.

Canadian Vasek Pospisil defeated the Argentine, who is currently ranked No 616, 6-4, 7-6 (7).

For Pospisil, it’s his first-ever win at the Miami tournament.

Del Potro’s rustiness showed in the second set when he failed to serve it out up 5-4 and then squandered set points in the tiebreaker, double-faulting twice, which led to match point against him.

“Obviously down there I wanted to win the match, and I had few chances in the first set; then in the second set I know I have set points, but I couldn’t close the set because I had easy efforts and easy mistakes,” del Potro said.

“I didn’t serve well in the special moments, which is tough for me with all of these things.

“But now I’m okay. I don’t have any physical problem after the match, and I will be recovering soon for the future.”

314Pospisil-001

“I didn’t really know what to expect,” said the Canadian in regard to taking on del Potro.

“That was a little bit added stress maybe before. But at the same time, I was just trying to focus on serving well and playing my game and trying to put pressure and coming to the net.”

“Whether he had pain or not, you know, it’s obviously not the same backhand that he normally plays,” Pospisil added. “I tried to take advantage of that by coming in and putting pressure on that side.

“But, you know, he’s still serving well and hitting his forehand huge, which made it tough. I just hung in there, you know, maybe got a little bit fortunate at the end. He was serving; had set point on his serve; but then the rest of the way I played well.”

The 2009 US Open Champion admitted that he still is not at 100 percent: “I’m not confident 100% to hit my best backhands yet.

“And I also need time to improve my backhand again. I already been hitting backhands the last 10 days in one year, which is very ‑‑ it’s very bad to play in this level.

“But I am working hard. I am working hard every day little more on my backhand. I think it’s the only way to get to pass through all of the things and get well for the future.”

“It’s just a wrist problem. Of course mentally you must be strongest enough to deal with the problem and get up every morning to do your treatments and rehab and stay calm, looking forward for the future.

“I’m not hurried to be in the top 10 very soon. I want to play tennis. It doesn’t matter how long it’s take me to be in the top again. Just wanted to play tennis and without pain.”

“It’s only 2 months after my second surgery and my left wrist. I feel better week by week, but it’s still very early to feel 100%.”

“It was like a Davis Cup atmosphere,”  said the 24-year-old Pospisil of the lively crowd cheering for his opponent. “I felt like I was playing away somewhere.

“It was a great atmosphere. Whether everyone is cheering for me or against me or if it’s equal, you know, when there is a big crowd and when they are into it, it’s always more enjoyable for everybody. I was enjoying it more, and actually might have helped me a little bit in the end, to be honest.”

The Canadian will take on No. 9 seed Grigor Dimitrov in the second round.

As for the 26-year-old del Potro, he’s taking his comeback one day at a time: “I think it’s the most important be patient and stay calm, and also try to be positive.

“I got depressive for a while in the past. I have been talking with (Janko) Tipsarevic, as well, at the locker rooms. He knows a lot about the injuries, about comebacks, and doesn’t make it.

“But in the end, I want to play tennis. If I have to learn a different backhand to keep playing, I will do it.

“But now I’m trying to do all my things to fix the problem and hitting my backhand as I did in the whole ‑‑ all my career. I am still positive.

“I think is the biggest goal for me trying to keep trying and stay mentally strong enough to go through all of the injuries.”

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