2014/07/30

Top Two Gstaad Seeds Mikhail Youzhny and Marcel Granollers Fall

 

Fernando Verdasco

Fernando Verdasco

By Florian Heer

(July 25, 2014) GSTAAD – Welcome to Gstaad – a town, which is considered by many people as the real Switzerland. Its local population is equal parts people and cows. Indeed, Gstaad’s direct vicinity has around 7,500 permanent residents alongside around 7,500 cows. Despite becoming an increasingly popular winter and summer tourism destination, farming is a major part of Gstaad’s identity and once a year, the ATP World Tour is making a stop amidst the impressive scenery of the Bernese Oberland for an event of the 250 category with total prize money of € 488.760,-.

The two top seeds of the Crédit Agricole Suisse Open, Mikhail Youzhny and Marcel Granollers, led the way on quarterfinal’s day 5. The Russian took on Robin Haase in a repeat of the 2013 Gstaad final, when Youzhny ran out a winner in straight sets. The world No. 19 from Moscow also had the better start today but the Dutch, who gained his first victory over the Russian in the last meeting between the two in Bucharest this year, stabilized his game and fought back winning 3-6, 6-1, 6-4 in one hour and 56 minutes, although it became really close in the end.

“Until 5-2 in the third set, I felt good,” said Haase. “But two net cord winners and one unbelievable backhand smash from Mikhail changed things. At 5-4 and a 40-0 lead, you think it is done. I double faulted and lost my rhythm but I knew I could beat him. Compared to last year’s match, it was very good.”

Marcel Granollers took on compatriot Pablo Andújar for the fourth time with the latter leading 2-1 in head to head before Friday’s meeting. After a close opening set, Andújar was in control of the encounter in the following. Through a solid baseline game and good returns the 28-year-old from Cuenca closed the match out in 75 minutes winning 7-5, 6-3.

In an all-South-American-affair Argentine Juan Mónaco faced Tomaz Bellucci. The Brazilian was making his fifth appearance in Gstaad and lifted two of his three career titles in Switzerland winning in 2012 and as a qualifier in 2009 but today Mónaco emerged victorious winning 7-6, 6-1 in 90 minutes to reach his first semi-final of the season.

Viktor Troicki

Viktor Troicki

In the final match of the day Viktor Troicki, who has returned to competitive action this week for the first time in 12 months after he had failed to submit a sample during Monte Carlo event in April 2013, which resulted in a suspension due to anti-doping violation, took on Fernando Verdasco. Earlier the day, the Spaniard had to complete his yesterday suspended second round match through a three set victory over Jan-Lennard Struff. In the evening encounter, it was the Spaniard’s forehand, which made the difference against Troicki. The 28-year-old Serbian, who dropped down to 847th position in the ATP rankings, felt obviously uncomfortable with the leftie’s game. Verdasco took advantage serving the match out in two hours and four minutes winning 6-4, 6-7, 6-1.

“This morning against Jan-Lennard, I just tried to win and finish the match in a good way because he served really well and I only had few chances to break,” the 30-year-old from Madrid said after his second victory of the day.

“This afternoon I felt the ball better and I played a really good first set, almost my best level. Unfortunately I made a couple of mistakes in the second set. Then I had a 4-1 lead in the tie-break and I became very upset after losing the set. It was mentally pretty hard for me. So I went to the toilet and I started screaming all the time, which helps when you are in a stressful moment. After ten or fifteen big screams, I started from zero and I was calm again and played the level of the first set,” Verdasco explained the ups and down in his match. “With the altitude here it is not easy to play from the baseline because you have to hit the ball in a perfect way otherwise it will be a miss. Viktor, however, served really well today. I have a good relationship with him outside the courts, so I’m happy that he is back,” the Spaniard said about Troicki’s return to the tour.

Stan Wawrinka

Stan Wawrinka

Earlier the day world No. 4, Stanislas Wawrinka, who represents the tournament’s ambassador, talked to the press. The 29-year-old from Lausanne should actually be Gstaad’s top-seed but after losing to Roger Federer in the quarterfinal of Wimbledon, he decided to take some time for recovery. “I took three weeks off, practiced and did some work with my fitness coach to become ready for the last four months of the year, which will be a tough one and a big challenge with the US-Open and the Davis Cup,” Wawrinka said. “It will be difficult to be better in in the second half of the season compared to the first but if I hold my level, I will achieve some good results,” the current Australian Open champion said and added that he will leave for Toronto in a few days.

Florian Heer travels the tennis tour with a focus on ATP Challenger events and the ITF Future Circuit. He is in Gstaad this week.  Follow his twitter account @Florian _Heer.

Results

Singles – Quarterfinals
[7] R Haase (NED) d [1] M Youzhny (RUS) 36 61 64
P Andujar (ESP) d [2] M Granollers (ESP) 75 63
[4] F Verdasco (ESP) d [WC] V Troicki (SRB) 64 67(7) 61
J Monaco (ARG) d T Bellucci (BRA) 76(1) 61

Singles – Second Round
[4] F Verdasco (ESP) d J Struff (GER) 36 63 76(3)

Doubles – Quarter-finals
[3] A Begemann (GER) / R Haase (NED) d P Marx (GER) / B Rola (SLO) 61 64
R Junaid (AUS) / M Mertinak (SVK) d [4] J Brunstrom (SWE) / N Monroe (USA) 76(5) 36 14-12

SCHEDULE – SATURDAY, 26 JULY 2014

CENTRE COURT start 11:30 am
[7] R Haase (NED) vs J Monaco (ARG)

Not Before 3:00 pm
[4] F Verdasco (ESP) vs P Andujar (ESP)
After Suitable Rest – R Junaid (AUS) / M Mertinak (SVK) vs P Andujar (ESP) / J Monaco (ARG)

COURT 1 start 1:00 pm
After Suitable Rest – F Bagnis (ARG) / F Delbonis (ARG) vs [3] A Begemann (GER) / R Haase (NED)

Share

John Isner Saves Two Match Points in Win over Robby Ginepri

GSM Isner

By Herman Wood

(July 24, 2014) ATLANTA – It was a showdown of Americans with local ties tonight at the BB&T Atlanta Open.  Former University of Georgia standout, top ranked American, and number one seed John Isner took on local Robby Ginepri, from just up I-75 in Marietta, now Kennesaw.  It was their fourth meeting, with Isner holding the edge, 2-1.

Ginepri, currently ranked 281, though as high as 15, was in the tournament as a wild card.  As expected in any John Isner match, things started with an ace.  Ginepri returned the favor with his very first serve and had a very easy hold.  From that point forward, it was evident that Ginepri was dialed in on the Isner serve.  He made Isner work by getting balls back in play off huge serves.  Isner did not help his own cause by only getting forty six percent of his first serves in and it led to the inevitable break with a sizzling passing shot by Ginepri to get him to 3-2.  Ginepri consolidated the break with a hold and the match stayed on track until Ginepri served the first set out 6-4.

As with any John Tiebreak, rather, Isner match, the second set went exactly that way.  There were threats of service break, again with Ginepri seeming to have really timed Isner’s deliveries.  It certainly seemed to take its toll, as Ginepri was flexing his wrists after blocking back 140 MPH or so blasts.  Isner served 71% of his first serves into play, converting 73% of those points.  Ginepri had no break points against his serve, while Isner saved the two opportunities Ginepri had.  There were mini-breaks of serve in the tie breaker, but the master of the breaker prevailed in a tight one 7-5.  Of course, the last point was an ace.

In the deciding third set, Ginepri seemed struggled a bit more to hold his serve, facing 7 break points.  He even dug out of one 15-40 hole and punctuated the hold with a yell.  It was inspired Ginepri tennis.  Isner had the customary two break points and saved both.  In Ginepri’s final service game, he was trying to hold for 6-5 and it couldn’t quite hold on.  The whole state knew what was coming next, but Ginepri was game, going for a new racquet in his attempt to break Isner’s  serve.  He never needed it.  Ace, ace, ace, ace.  Game, set, match; Isner 4-6, 7-5 (5), 7-5.  Isner said “It’s not easy, coming in playing your first match.  Having a bye is nice, but at the same time you are playing someone that has played a match.”  Isner will play Matsovci on Friday, surprisingly at 4 PM.  The feature 7 PM slot will see Jack Sock take on Lukas Lacko.

The crowd was well entertained and solidly behind good play, getting loud for each player in appreciation.  Of course, there was barking for Isner and shouts of ROBBY in support of Ginepri.  Some would have been concerned about turnout if Ginepri had won, but the crowd support for both men made it clear that Atlantans appreciation of good tennis should not be underestimated.

Share

Lucky Loser Thiemo de Bakker Knocks Out Second Seed Kevin Anderson in Atlanta

Thiemo de Bakker

Thiemo de Bakker

By Herman Wood

(July 24, 2014) ATLANTA – Play began on Thursday at 4 PM in Atlanta, just ahead of the usually scheduled afternoon summer thunderstorms.  Thiemo de Bakker and Kevin Anderson were on court holding serve through 3-all until the stadium got a bit loud- thunder and distant lightning.  De Bakker took heed and stepped up his returns to get a break for 4-3.  With a quick hold, he was looking to close out the set on Anderson’s serve.  It wasn’t before the rains came, as it was Anderson 30-15 when play was suspended.

Two hours later, it did not seem to have mattered, as de Bakker finished off the set quickly 6-4.  The second set stayed on serve through 3-2 Anderson with de Bakker serving.  De Bakker could not find the service box and Anderson took advantage of the second serves for a break at 4-2.  De Bakker was far from done, as he returned the favor in similar fashion with a fist pump, though he consolidated with a quick hold to get the set to 4-all.  They finally got back on track through 5-all, when Anderson seemed to get a bit unsettled and sent a wild miss over the baseline to get broken.  De Bakker served it out and just like that, the No. 2 seed and last year’s runner up, Kevin Anderson was out.

Yen-Hsun Lu and Benjamin Becker were on grandstand court and also had to run for cover.  That match was completed with Becker the winner, 6-4, 6-3.

In an exciting singles match on grandstand, Marinko Matsovic took out Tim Smyczek 6-4, 7-5.  The match was a battle of service breaks, with Matsovic managing two more.  Reportedly, he also chose not to play a ball judged on the line that was a match point.  That could have been a real learning experience.  Matsovic will play No. 1 seed John Isner in a surprising 4 PM start on Friday.  The feature 7 PM match will have Jack Sock playing Lukas Lacko.

The top seeded doubles team of Vasek Pospisil and Jack Sock were also in action over on the grandstand, taking on Benjamin Becker and Frank Moser.  The difference in the match was the inability of the German duo to convert their second serve points.  The Wimbledon champs were not broken, though did save three break points.  They closed the match out in under an hour 6-4, 6-1.

With the rain came a schedule adjustment.  The Chris Guccione and John-Patrick Smith vs Nicholas Barrientos and Victor Estrella Burgos doubles match was cancelled for the day.  It will go on at noon Friday.  The Steve Johnson and Sam Querrey vs Santiago Gonzalez and Scott Lipsky match also was postponed.  That match will follow the previously mentioned match on stadium court.

Herman Wood is in Atlanta covering the BB&T Open action from around the grounds for Tennis Panorama News, follow him on twitter at https://twitter.com/hermanewood.

Share

Washington Kastles Clinch Fourth Straight Mylan WTT Eastern Conference Championship

kastles

From World TeamTennis -WASHINGTON (July 24, 2014) – The Washington Kastles claimed their fourth consecutive Mylan World TeamTennis Eastern Conference Championship on Thursday, defeating the Philadelphia Freedoms 21-16. Washington now seeks a record-tying fourth straight King Trophy and travels to the winner of the Mylan WTT Western Conference Championship between the San Diego Aviators and Springfield Lasers for Sunday’s Mylan WTT Finals.

 

Coming into the clash, the Kastles and Freedoms had split their season series 2-2, with the Freedoms prevailing just 24 hours ago in Philadelphia after saving six match points. The matchup lived up to its billing until an unfortunate incident changed the course of the encounter.

 

Bobby Reynolds led off for the Kastles in men’s singles, winning the first 10 points before Frank Dancevic dug in for the Freedoms. It was a fierce battle, but Reynolds drew on his home fans to push ahead for a 5-3 win.

 

In women’s singles, Martina Hingis looked to continue her dominance over Taylor Townsend, having won all three of their meetings during the regular season by a combined 15-3 margin. Townsend had other ideas, executing an aggressive game plan to secure a 5-2 victory and move the Freedoms ahead 8-7.

 

Hingis remained on the court to play mixed doubles with Leander Paes. The two were eager to wipe away the disappointment of blowing a five-game lead and six match points a night earlier and it showed, as they came out firing against Liezel Huber and Marcelo Melo. Hingis and Paes broke Huber’s serve and closed out a 5-2 win to give the Kastles a 12-10 lead at halftime.

 

Huber and Townsend hoped to keep the Freedoms close in women’s doubles versus Hingis and Anastasia Rodionova. In the first game, Huber was struck in the back of the head by a Townsend forehand. The Freedoms would win the game, but a few points later, Huber was unable to continue. Townsend continued to play one-on-two and held a game point on her serve, but Hingis and Rodionova finished off a 5-1 win.

 

Dancevic and Melo gave the Freedoms a glimmer of hope by defeating Reynolds and Paes 5-3 in men’s doubles to force Overtime. Reynolds, who announced he was retiring from professional tennis after the Mylan WTT season, fittingly sealed the victory for Washington.

The Mylan WTT Finals are scheduled for Sunday, July 27 at 5:00pm ET on the home court of the Western Conference Champion.

Share

Noah Rubin and Tornado Black Among Americans Competing in 2014 US Open Junior Championships

usopen2012

USTA -WHITE PLAINS, N.Y., July 23, 2014 – Wimbledon junior champion and Long Island native Noah Rubin and 2013 US Open junior finalist Tornado Alicia Black headline the top American juniors accepted into the main draw of the 2014 US Open Junior Championships, held August 31-September 7 at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing, N.Y.

 

Rubin, the 18-year old protégé of John McEnroe’s, at his Randall’s Island, N.Y., academy, will once again be joined by world No. 2 junior Stefan Kozlov (16, Pembroke Pines, Fla.), who Rubin defeated in the first all-American Wimbledon boys’ title match since 1977. No. 6-ranked Francis Tiafoe (16, College Park, Md.) and No. 11 Michael Mmoh (16, Temple Hills, Md.) are also entered into the boys’ main draw.

 

Black (16, Boca Raton, Fla.), who reached the US Open girls’ final last year as an unseeded wild card, returns to Flushing as the second-ranked American in the girls’ field, following world No. 2 CiCi Bellis (15, Atherton, Calif.).

 

The US Open boys’ singles field includes 23 of the top 25 players in the ITF world junior rankings (age 18 and under), including No. 1 and French Open junior champion Andrey Rublev, of Russia, and 2013 Wimbledon boys’ champion Gianluigi Quinzi, of Italy. The girls’ singles field features 21 of the top 25 in the world rankings, including Wimbledon junior champion Jelena Ostapenko, of Latvia.

 

Americans filling out the boys’ main draw are: Wimbledon junior semifinalist and No. 18 Taylor Fritz (16, Rancho Santa Fe, Calif.); No. 25 Alex Rybakov (17, Coral Springs, Fla.); No. 42 Logan Smith (17, Carlsbad, Calif.), No. 47 Henrik Wiersholm (17, Kirkland, Wash.); and Jared Donaldson (17, Cumberland, R.I.), whose No. 333 ATP ranking leads all Americans.

 

Other Americans in the girls’ draw are: No. 29 Sofia Kenin (15, Pembroke Pines, Fla.); No. 30 Usue Arconada (15, College Park, Md.), No. 33 Dasha Ivanova (17, Beaverton, Ore.) and No. 49 Michaela Gordon (15, Los Altos Hills, Calif.).

 

Tommy Paul (17, Coconut Creek, Fla.) and Katerina Stewart (17, Miami) are also in the main draw by virtue of earning wild cards as this year’s USTA 18s National Clay Court champions.

 

Dennis Uspensky (17, Atlantic Beach, N.Y.) was accepted into boys’ qualifying. Katrine Steffensen (18, Scarsdale, N.Y.), Kaitlyn McCarthy (16, Cary, N.C.) Raveena Kingsley (16, Parkton, Md.) and Jessica Ho (17, Wexford, Pa.) were accepted into girls’ qualifying.

 

Previous US Open girls’ champions include Coco Vandeweghe (2008), Victoria Azarenka (2005), Marion Bartoli (2001), Lindsay Davenport (1992), Jennifer Capriati (1989) and Zina Garrison (1981).

 

Past US Open boys’ champions include Jack Sock (2010), Andy Murray (2004), Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (2003), Andy Roddick (2000), Stefan Edberg (1983) and Pat Cash (1982).

 

Share

Atlanta Open Tuesday Wrap

 

(July 22, 2014) ATLANTA – It was college night here at Atlantic Station!  There were Panthers, Owls, Yellow Jackets, and Bulldogs – Oh My!  At the USTA Family Zone, Kennesaw State University, Georgia State, and Georgia Tech mascots all helped to promote tennis this afternoon with some fun and games for fans.  The University of Georgia Pep Band serenaded the crowd with some tunes and tried to fire them up for the evening.

Speaking of UGA, in his news conference this afternoon, former Bulldog John Isner elaborated on his college experience; “I wouldn’t be where I am today.  Coach Diaz was so instrumental to me!  It was perfect.  There’s no hurry at 17, 18 years old to get out on the tour.”  He feels that almost every young player could benefit from the experience of playing in college and being part of a team experience.  When asked about multiple withdrawals and the pressure of being the marquee name in the tournament, Isner said, “It’s disappointing not to have those guys in the field this year.  It’s a very tough field.  I hope the fans come out as they always do.”  He went on to talk often being the last American standing in tournaments and that he doesn’t he feel any special pressure.  “It’d be better if we had more guys with more success.”  He’s really looking forward to the hard court season and indicated it was critical to his year.  Atlanta gets that all started in a place where he likes the surface and it is just an hour down the road from Athens where he spent four great years.  He will take on another tour veteran in his second round match.  It will be a match with lots of local interest, as local Robby Ginepri came through in three sets today.

Ginepri took on Sergiy Stakhovsky.  The first set was a tight affair, as Ginepri let a few nerves help Stakhovsky earn a break at two all.  He had a few chances to break back, as Stakhovsky had six double faults, most to the ad court in the opening set alone, but Ginepri finally drew even and earned his way into a tie break.  He owned the breaker, closing it out 7-3.

Ginepri served to open the second set and was broken early.  Stakhovsky ran out to a 4-0 lead with another break and it looked like Ginepri was ready to concede the set when Stakhovsky got a little loose and Ginepri got one of the breaks back.  It almost looked as if Stakhovsky was trying to extend the set to tire Ginepri, though he finally hung on to force the third set.

Turned out it was Ginepri who was saving himself.  He called on his veteran poise and settled in, winning all of the points on his first serve in the deciding set.  He never faced a break point.  It did not hurt that he converted all of his break points and 9 of Stakhovsky’s 10 second serve points.

The feature match was a decidedly collegiate affair.  A few players from Kennesaw State University, Georgia State University, and Georgia Tech tossed a few shirts into the crowd to get everyone fired up.  After some loud barking, University of Georgia great and Heisman Trophy winner Herschel Walker came out to do the coin toss for the Lukas Lacko v Nathan Pasha match.  Pasha is a player for Coach Manuel Diaz at Georgia.  He had a very good year, but had been taking some time off to rest and only got word four days ago that he had a wild card.  Despite some nerves, Pasha came out serving hard with a 135 MPH ace in the first game.  Unfortunately, he was soon broken and the set was Lacko’s, 6-2.  The second set was a much more even affair until Pasha earned a break to put him up 5-3, serving for the set.  Four double faults undid what he had earned and Lacko got a firm handle on the doorknob that Pasha could not find and slammed the door shut for a 6-2, 7-5 win.  Pasha showed lots of game and lots of promise.

In other action, Ryan Harrison fell to Tim Smyczek 6-0, 6-2.  Harrison was broken on his first two service games and never got on track.  Reports indicate he is dealing with some sort of foot injury.  Blisters, a stress fracture, and a broken foot have all been speculated, though no confirmation on any of those was available.  He has partnered with Robby Ginepri and they already completed their first round match, so a withdrawal would certainly be another disappointment for the tournament.

In other first round action, Marinko Matosevic made short work of Victor Estrella Burgos 6-0, 6-2.  John Patrick Smith fell to Illya Marchenko 6-4, 6-4.  Jack Sock beat Alejandro Gonzalez for the first time of the day 6-2, 6-4.  Rajeev Ram lost to Denis Istomin 6-1,6-4 and Benjamin Becker beat Mattew Ebden 6-4, 6-2.

The evening concluded with an entertaining doubles match on stadium court.   Colombians Alejandro Conzalez and Juan-Carlos Spir took on Vasek Pospisil and Jack Sock.  Unfortunately for Gonzalez, he couldn’t take advantage of the second chance.  Sock earned an early break with an outlandish overhead off a smash.  Yes, an overhead off of a smash – the ball was slammed into the court so hard it came down like a lob and Sock timed it right back forcing a volley error.  That was all they needed to claim the set, as the only other break point was saved by Pospisil/Sock.  The second set only had 4 break points, with Pospisil/Sock saving both of theirs while converting one of the Colombians’ pair.  The final point of the match had a short delay, as a ball girl was the recipient of a rather hard Sock service fault.  It was one very well earned tattoo and rewarded with the ball autographed.  Sock apologized profusely, but play continued and they closed it out 6-4, 6-4.

Wednesday’s play will feature Sam Querrey facing Dudi Sela for the 7 PM match.  Here is the rest of the order of play:

ORDER OF PLAY – WEDNESDAY, JULY 23, 2014
STADIUM start 2:00 pm
[3] C Guccione (AUS) / J Smith (AUS) vs J Erlich (ISR) / R Ram (USA)
[Q] M Venus (NZL) vs J Sock (USA)

Not Before 7:00 pm
[9] S Querrey (USA) vs D Sela (ISR)
YACHT ROCK REVUE CONCERT

AJC GRANDSTAND start 2:00 pm
N Barrientos (COL) / V Estrella Burgos (DOM) vs S Ratiwatana (THA) / S Ratiwatana (THA)
[Q] I Marchenko (UKR) vs [4] V Pospisil (CAN)
After Suitable Rest – M Ebden (AUS) / Y Lu (TPE) vs [2] S Gonzalez (MEX) / S Lipsky (USA)

COURT 3 start 3:00 pm

[7] Y Lu (TPE) vs [LL] A Kuznetsov (USA)
L Lacko (SVK) or [WC] N Pasha (USA) vs [6] D Istomin (UZB)

Share

US Open Wild Card Challenge Standings

 

(July 22, 2014) With one week left in the women’s US Open Wild Card Challenge, a berth into the 2014 US Open main draw will be decided this week at the Kentucky Bank Tennis Championships, a $50,000 event in Lexington, Ky.

The race for the women’s wild card is tight, with Nicole Gibbs winning the singles title at the USTA Player Development $50,000 Women’s Classic in Carson, Calif., on Sunday, to take the lead in the standings with 88 points. Gibbs, a two-time NCAA champion for Stanford, defeated fellow American and 2009 US Open quarterfinalist Melanie Oudin, 6-4, 6-4, in the Carson final. Julia Boserup is in second place in the wild card challenge with 63 points after reaching the final at the $50,000 event in Sacramento, Calif., two weeks ago and advancing to the quarterfinals in Carson. Oudin, who was playing in her first hard-court tournament since March in Carson, is in third place with 48 points.

The men’s wild card challenge kicked off last week with the Levene Gouldin & Thompson Tennis Challenger, a $50,000 Challenger in Binghamton, N.Y. Wayne Odesnik advanced to the final in Binghamton to take the early lead with 48 points. The men’s wild card challenge continues into its second week, also in Lexington.

All matches will be streamed live on www.procircuit.usta.com. 

USTA Player Development will award a US Open main draw wild card to the American man and American woman who earn the most ATP World Tour and WTA ranking points in a series of USTA Pro Circuit hard-court events this summer. The men’s events are $50,000 Challengers in Binghamton and Lexington, Ky., as well as $100,000 Challengers in Vancouver, B.C., and Aptos, Calif. The women’s tournaments are all $50,000 events, held in Sacramento, Calif.; Carson; and Lexington.

Ranking points from two out of the three women’s events and two of the four men’s events will be used and combined to calculate the point total and determine the US Open wild card recipient. If a player competes in more than two events, only his or her two best tournaments will be counted in calculating the point total. In the event of a tie, the player with the best ATP or WTA singles ranking will be awarded the wild card. Only players who have not earned direct acceptance into the US Open are eligible for the wild card.

The standings, as of July 21, are as follows:

The USTA first used this US Open wild card format for its 2012 wild cards, won by Steve Johnson and Mallory Burdette, both of whom reached the third round of the US Open. It was also used in 2013, when the winners were Bradley Klahn, who won his first-round match at the US Open, and Shelby Rogers. The USTA also utilizes this format for the French Open through the Har-Tru USTA Pro Circuit Wild Card Challenge, where this year’s women’s winner Taylor Townsend was a top story at Roland Garros, reaching the third round. Veteran Robby Ginepri won the 2014 men’s French Open wild card.

Share

Monday Dispatch from Atlanta – Withdrawals Provide Opportunities

BB&TAtlantaOpen

By Herman Wood

(July 21, 2014) ATLANTA- Qualifying wrapped up on Monday in Atlanta at the BB&T Open, with the weather finally cooperating. Qualifying dodged rain all weekend, with the second round ending up under the lights last night.  Unfortunately, the qualifying matches today were almost an afterthought with the main draw withdrawals.

Radek Stepanek withdrew due to an injury over the weekend.  He posted on his twitter account “Sad to pull out of the @BBTatlantaopen this week but had fun talking to the media here and signing some autographs :)” along with a picture of a young fan.  Gael Monfils and Richard Gasquet also withdrew, leaving the tournament in a bad spot.  Of the 24 players entered in qualifying, seven will make the main draw, apparently with one directly advancing to the second round.

There was some other ball played this afternoon, with Wimbledon doubles champ Jack Sock getting some basketball tips from Atlanta Hawk Demarre Carroll at a hoop set up by the team just off the USTA YouthTennis court.  Turned out Carroll got schooled in a game of HORSE.  Sock returned the favor with a tennis lesson for Carroll on the court afterwards and then had a press conference with his Wimbledon partner, Vasek Pospisil.  The two will be the top seed in the doubles draw.

Young Americans have quite an opportunity with the withdrawals.  Scheduled matches today feature world number 61 Sam Querrey playing number 64 Steve Johnson.  Official opening ceremonies will follow and lead into local Donald Young playing Dudi Sela.  Another local, Robby Ginepri, will team up with Rhyne Harrison to take on the British duo of Ken and Neal Skupski in the opening round of doubles once the singles match concludes.

 

Herman Wood is in Atlanta covering the BB&T Open action from around the grounds for Tennis Panorama News, follow him on twitter at https://twitter.com/hermanewood.

Share

Wozniacki Captures Istanbul Title

 

(July 20, 2014) In a match-up between the top two seeds, Caroline Wozniacki destroyed second seed Roberta Vinci 6-1, 6-1 in 67 minutes on Sunday to win the Istanbul Cup. The title gave the Dane her first tournament victory of 2014.

Wozniacki said:”I’m happy to have won my 22nd WTA title – it’s a great feeling! I’m happy how the final went today. I served well and pushed her around the court, and I really dictated the match.”

“I tried to play aggressively like always but made a lot of mistakes, Vinci said. “It’s tough to play like that against Caroline because she puts everything back in the court, and it was tough for me to stay in the rallies today. But I’m happy with my week and Caroline just played much better than me.”

World No. 15 Wozniacki has captured at least one title each year since 2008. She has 22 tournament wins in her career.

The 24-year-old Wozniacki has the fourth-most WTA titles among active players, trailing Serena Williams, Venus Williams and Maria Sharapova.

Share

Leonardo Mayer Wins First ATP Title with Upset Over Top Seed David Ferrer

By Florian Heer

 

(July 20, 2014) HAMBURG – Sunday’s final at Hamburg saw top-seed David Ferrer and Leonardo Mayer clash for the second time with the Spaniard having won their only previous meeting in s’Hertogenbosch two years ago.

Sunday’s match was an even affair with a couple of close rallies. Ferrer took the opening set after 58 minutes but lost his service in the fourth game of the second and also a bit of his rhythm. Consequently, Mayer took the match the distance in the seventh game. The Argentine showed an impressive performance with big serves – a lot fired with more than 200 km/h (124 mph) – solid groundstrokes with good length and some hard hitting forehands. The world No. 46 from Buenos Aires fully deserved his maiden title on the ATP World Tour and eventually emerged victorious after two hours and 20 minutes winning 6-7 (3), 6-1, 7-6(4).

“Leonardo was simply better today in the entire match,” Ferrer said. “I was a bit nervous in the important moments and he played more aggressively than me.”

“It was a positive week but I’m sad because I lost the final. I will go back home now and have a rest for a few days before I’ll prepare for the hard court season starting in Toronto and Cincinnati,” the Spaniard said.

Leonardo Mayer

The winner was understandably overwhelmed. “Today is a very special day. So far, I haven’t really realized that I won the match. This is simply unbelievable. I really wanted to win the match. Still on court, I called my girl-friend, my family and my team, who was watching the final on TV,” Mayer told the media in Spanish, as he is still too shy to speak in English. “I promise that I will take a teacher with me next year that I can answer the questions in English. I am able to speak but I’m nervous and I do not feel comfortable,” the Argentine added. “Tomorrow I’ll fly back to Argentina and then I am going to play the US Open,” Mayer said about his upcoming schedule.

In the doubles final the team of Marin Draganja and Florian Mergea beat the tournament’s top-seeds Alexander Peya and Bruno Soares in straight sets winning 6-4, 7-5 in 78 minutes taking their maiden title as a tandem on the ATP World Tour. “We beat a very, very good team today. We were happy to enter the draw and gaining the title here is amazing,” Draganja was happy afterwards.

Earlier the day, tournament director Michael Stich spoke to the media about the 108th edition am Rothenbaum. “We’re very satisfied with this week. With David Ferrer, we had a top-ten player in our field, who made it into the final to face the first Argentine here since Juan Mónaco, which is a very interesting affair. Of course, I would have loved to see the defending champion Fabio Fognini staying a bit longer in the tournament but that’s sports,” the former Wimbledon champion said.

“In the future we will try to present the fans a mixture of top players and the new younger generation. I think there will be generation change on the ATP World Tour and we will see new Grand Slam Champions like Dimitrov or Raonic maybe in two years’ time. That’s why we also made a long-term contract with Alexander Zverev to play here in Hamburg for the next five years. Nonetheless, it will remain our own demand to present players ranked within the top-3,” Stich told and added that around 60,000 spectators came to the venue this year.

 

Florian Heer travels the tennis tour with a focus on ATP Challenger events and the ITF Futures Circuit.  Follow his twitter account @Florian _Heer.

Share