2014/07/31

Rafael Nadal Withdraws from Toronto and Cincinnati with Wrist Injury

Nadal at changeover

 

(July 30, 2014) World No. 2 Rafael Nadal has withdrawn from both the Rogers Cup in Toronto and the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati due to a right wrist injury.

 

“I’m extremely disappointed that I am unable to defend my Rogers Cup title this year,” said Nadal through a Rogers Cup press release. “I was looking forward to coming there and playing again in Toronto as I have always loved to play in Canada and had great results in the past at a very important event.

 

“Unfortunately I injured my right wrist yesterday during practice and after the tests I have undergone today in Spain, including an MRI, and checking with my doctors, I will have to stay out of competition for at least 2-3 weeks,” Nadal said via a news release from the Western & Southern Open. I am sorry and wish the best to the tournament and thank all of the fans for their support,” said Nadal. “I’m extremely disappointed that I am unable to defend my titles and compete in Toronto and Cincinnati this year. I was looking forward to coming and playing again after my great results last year.”

 

Official announcement from Nadal’s management team in Spanish:

Rafa Nadal no podrá participar y defender los títulos que ganó en la pasada temporada en los torneos de Toronto y Cincinnati.
El jugador ha sufrido una molestia en los entrenamientos preparativos para la gira norte americana y tras unas pruebas realizadas hoy en la Clínica Mapfre de Medicina del Tenis, se ha encontrado una pequeña desinserción de la vaina del cubital posterior de la muñeca derecha.
El tenista tendrá que estar de 2 a 3 semanas con una célula de inmovilización de la muñeca derecha.
En función de la evolución, que será seguida detenidamente por el Doctor Angel Ruiz-Cotorro incluyendo pruebas de ecografia y resonancia magnética, se valorará el retorno del jugador a la competición prevista inicialmente para el US Open.

 

More to follow…..

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Serena Williams, Azarenka, Bryan Brothers and More To Headline First-Ever Taste of Tennis Week

 

tot-web-banner-350x250

 

August 20, 2014 – August 23, 2014

 

Press Release: NEW YORK, NY (July 29, 2014) – AYS, the creators and producers of the Taste of Tennis, New York’s premier pre-US Open experience, announced today the first-ever Taste of Tennis Week will take place from August 20th – August 23th, 2014 in New York City.  In addition to the renowned Taste of Tennis Gala, Taste of Tennis Week will feature even more tennis-meets-food events, including the Celebrity Chef Tennis Challenge on August 20th, Citi Dining Series on August 21st and Party with The Pros on August 23rd.

 

The 15th Annual Taste of Tennis Gala offers guests the opportunity to sample sensational cuisine prepared by the most prestigious chefs in the world, sip on handcrafted cocktails all while rubbing elbows with professional tennis players. World #1 Serena Williams, Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto and Host of Today Show and MSNBC’s NewsNation, Tamron Hall, will be joined by top tennis players, celebrities and a number of New York’s finest chefs and culinary personalities.

 

“The Taste of Tennis concept has proven to be so popular, and we are pleased to offer these exciting new events that provide foodies and tennis fans with unprecedented access to their favorite chefs and pro tennis personalities,” explains Penny Lerner, CEO of AYS.

 

Tickets for the Taste of Tennis Week are currently on sale and can be purchased online via the links below. The complete Taste of Tennis Week schedule of events includes:

  • Wednesday, August 20th -  Celebrity Chef Tennis Challenge, 9AM-12PM (Midtown Tennis Club – 341 8th Avenue): Hosted by Top Chef Masters Finalist Kerry Heffernan. At this exciting event, professional chefs will serve up something a little out the ordinary as they compete in a round-robin style doubles tournament to determine who is the King (or Queen) of the court!

o    Participating chefs include: Marc Murphy (Landmarc), Kerry Heffernan (Top Chef Masters Finalist), Daniel Holzman (The Meatball Shop), Michael Chernow (The Meatball Shop), David Seigal (Cull & Pistol), Francois Payard (FPB, FP Patisserie), Zac Young (David Burke Group), Chad Brown (Davio’s), Eric Gabrynowicz (Restaurant North), Jonathan Waxman (Barbuto), Phil Conlon (Corkbuzz Wine Studio), Alfred Portale (Gotham Bar and Grill), Philippe LaJaunie (Les Halles), Carmen Quagliata (Union Square Café), Floyd Cardoz (Celebrated Indian American Chef) and Andrew Friedman (Cookbook Author)

  • $150 to Participate in the Challenge: http://www.eventbrite.com/e/celebrity-chef-tennis-challenge-tickets-12319053621
  • Thursday, August 21st – Taste of Tennis Gala, 7PM-10PM (W New York- 541 Lexington Ave.): The party that started it all! To celebrate the US Open, AYS created the Taste of Tennis, a one of a kind event featuring fine food prepared by 25 of NYC’s top culinary minds, signature cocktails, interactive sponsor experiences, live music and appearances by the world’s greatest tennis players. Hosting this year’s gala will be Today Show’sTamron Hall, headlining Chef Masaharu Morimoto and professional tennis star Serena Williams. The evening will be a curated culinary evening with US Open stars, the brightest chefs in New York and celebrities who will be on hand to enjoy the slew of offerings with proceeds benefiting City Harvest.

o  Participating chefs include:Headlining chef, Masaharu Morimoto (Morimoto), John Mooney (Bell, Book, & Candle), Marc Murphy (Landmarc), Peter Andino (Heartbeat), Daniel Holzman & Michael Chernow (The Meatball Shop), Eric Gabrynowicz (Restaurant North), Kerry Heffernan (Top Chef Masters Finalist), Bill Telepan (Joel Javier/Larissa Raphael) (Telepan Local), David Seigal (Cull & Pistol), Kevin Sbraga (Sbraga and The Fat Ham), Jimmy Bradley (The Red Cat), Phil Conlon (Corkbuzz Wine Studio), Chad Brown (Davio’s Northern Italian Steakhouse), Carlos Llaguno (Les Halles), Harold Moore (Commerce Restaurant), Ben Pollinger (Oceana), Zac Young (David Burke Group), Georgeann Leaming (Suppa), Admir Alibasic (Ben & Jack’s Steakhouse), Sebastien Chamaret (Bagatelle), Paul Evans (Secrets St. James, JTB) among others.

o  Participating athletes include: Serena Williams, Venus Williams, Victoria Azarenka, Bryan Brothers, Sloane Stephens, Gael Monfils, Aga Radwanska, Dustin Brown and more to be announced.

o  Major sponsors for the 15th Taste of Tennis include Citi, Rado, Guadalupe Islands Tourist Board, The Cheesecake Factory, Jamaica Tourist Board, W New York, UnBurn, Mouton Cadet and Franciscan Estate Napa Valley, among others.

  • Ticket Information: Individual tickets for the event are available for $275/per person; http://tasteoftennisnyc.eventbrite.com/?aff=PressRelease
  • Saturday, August 23rd Party with The Pros, 6PM-9PM (Measure Lounge at Langham Place Fifth Ave.): Guests at the Party with the Pros will enjoy an evening of great food, handcrafted signature cocktails and live music, with some of the top names in professional tennis. This exclusive event takes place a Measure Lounge at the luxurious Langham Place Fifth Avenue hotel. Attendance is limited to 150 guests so get your tickets now!

o    Participating athletes include: Victoria Azarenka, Sloane Stephens and John Isner

ABOUT TASTE OF TENNIS

“Taste of Tennis,” the world’s premier food and tennis experience, brings professional athletes, influential chefs, the entertainment industry and global brands together for a unique tasting event with a sports twist.  The ultimate kick-off celebration to US Open in New York City, “Taste of Tennis” is the perfect convergence of sports fans and culinary enthusiasts.  Produced by AYS, Taste of Tennis and its sister event, Taste of Tennis Australia, have become the most widely recognized and anticipated events on the yearly calendar.  Visit our website at www.tasteoftennis.com.

 

ABOUT AYS

AYS is a full-service marketing consultation and event solutions company. Since 1995, we have leveraged our experience to help clients create successful B2B and B2C marketing initiatives and events worldwide. Our mission is to maximize marketing ROI for our clients. AYS also produces the Taste of Tennis™, which is widely considered the World’s Premier Food & Tennis Experience. Visit our website at www.aysworld.com.

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Washington Kastles Four-Peat at WTT Champions

Photo of 2014 Mylan WTT Champion Washington Kastles attached – photo credit Camerawork USA. (front row – Anastasia Rodionova, Martina Hingis, Leander Paes, Bobby Reynolds; back row – Mylan WTT CEO/Commissioner Ilana Kloss, Washington Kastles owner Mark Ein, Kastles coach Murphy Jensen and Mylan WTT co-founder Billie Jean King).

Photo of 2014 Mylan WTT Champion Washington Kastles attached – photo credit Camerawork USA. (front row – Anastasia Rodionova, Martina Hingis, Leander Paes, Bobby Reynolds; back row – Mylan WTT CEO/Commissioner Ilana Kloss, Washington Kastles owner Mark Ein, Kastles coach Murphy Jensen and Mylan WTT co-founder Billie Jean King).

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (July 27, 2014) – The Washington Kastles defeated the Springfield Lasers 25-13 at the Mylan World TeamTennis Finals in Springfield, Mo., on Sunday afternoon to become only the second team in the league’s 39-year history to win four consecutive titles. The Kastles were led by Hall of Famer Martina Hingis who posted a pivotal 5-2 singles win over Olga Govortsova and was named Mylan WTT Finals MVP.
The Kastles tie the mark of four consecutive titles set by Sacramento between 1997-2000. This is also Washington’s fifth title in the past six years. For the second year in a row, the Kastles became the first franchise to win all five sets in the Mylan WTT Finals since the league switched to a first to five games format in 1999. In their win over Springfield, the Kastles claimed the majority of the critical 3-all points, winning seven of 10.
It was the Lasers’ fifth trip to the Finals and probably the most unexpected after a season that started with three consecutive losses and season-ending injuries to three of their four starters.
The Kastles were in charge from the opening set when Bobby Reynolds, in his last professional singles match, edged Springfield’s Michael Russell 5-4. Reynolds and Russell traded service breaks early on but held serve through the rest of the set to take it to a 9-point tiebreaker. Reynolds closed out the tiebreaker 5-3 for the 5-4 set win and an important early lead.
“We knew Springfield was solid. I had some trouble with Mike the first two times we played,” said Reynolds. “I knew I needed to get to five. That was my goal today. I got down a break but I was able to fight back. One thing about Mylan WTT is that you have to win those 3-all points and if you do, it’s in your favor in the end.”
Two of Mylan WTT’s best faced off for the first time in women’s singles. Springfield’s Olga Govortsova jumped out to an early 2-0 lead after breaking serve on a Hingis double fault. Surprisingly, Govortsova returned the favor in the next game with a double fault to give Hingis a service break. Hingis got back on track serving an ace to even up the set at 2-2. She reeled off five straight games and converted four 3-all game points for a 5-2 victory that set the course for the afternoon.
“It was a great day here in Springfield for me, obviously with getting the Finals MVP,” Hingis said. “I don’t know if I have been as nervous before in my career with playing in the Finals for my team, because you have no time to miss anything. Everything is quick. You have to keep it sweet!”
Reynolds final time on court was a fitting end to a shining Mylan WTT career as he teamed with Leander Paes to shut down Russell and Ross Hutchins 5-2. Washington broke Springfield’s service game twice and wrapped up the set with a Reynolds volley winner to give the Kastles a commanding 15-8 halftime lead.
Hingis and Anastasia Rodionova added to the Kastles lead in women’s doubles, running past Govortsova and Liga Dekmeijere-Thomas 5-1. Hingis then paired up with Paes to bring home the victory and the Kastles fifth King Trophy with a 5-4 win in mixed doubles over Govortsova and Hutchins.

Mylan World TeamTennis Finals – Mediacom Stadium at Cooper Tennis Complex in Springfield, Mo.

WASHINGTON KASTLES def. Springfield Lasers 25-13

MEN’S SINGLES: Bobby Reynolds (Washington Kastles) def. Michael Russell (Springfield Lasers) 5-4
WOMEN’S SINGLES: Martina Hingis (Washington Kastles) def. Olga Govortsova (Springfield Lasers) 5-2
MEN’S DOUBLES: Bobby Reynolds/Leander Paes (Washington Kastles) def. Michael Russell / Ross Hutchins (Springfield Lasers) 5-2
WOMEN’S DOUBLES: Martina Hingis / Anastasia Rodionova (Washington Kastles) def. Olga Govortsova/ Liga Dekmeijere-Thomas (Springfield Lasers) 5-1
MIXED DOUBLES: Martina Hingis / Leander Paes (Washington Kastles) def. Ross Hutchins / Olga Govortsova (Springfield Lasers) 5-4

MYLAN WTT FINALS MVP: Martina Hingis (Washington Kastles)

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John Isner Defends Atlanta Open Title

 

(July 27, 2014) John Isner won his ninth ATP World Tour title on Sunday by defeating Dudi Sela of Israel 6-3, 6-4 to win the Atlanta Open for the second straight year. It was the American’s fourth Atlanta final in five years.

“The field is so tough at this event,” Isner said. “I’m so happy to win this. I consider myself fortunate that this event is even here. It’s a big advantage for me to play in Georgia and to have a lot of support.”

“Isner went for his shots and played more freely,” Sela said. “With his return game, he just went for it.”

In doubles action, Wimbledon champions Jack Sock and Vasek Pospisil reman a perfect 10-0 as a doubles team, capturing the title with a 6-3, 5-7 10-5 over Steve Johnson and Sam Querrey.

“[Johnson and Querrey] played well, but we felt like we were playing better than they were even after losing the second set, said the Canadian Pospisil. “We just had to stay calm in the [Match Tie-break] and go point by point.”

“We’re trying to make the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals,” said Sock. That’s one of our goals this year on the side, aside from improving our singles rankings.”

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Isner to Meet Sela in Atlanta Open Final

John Isner

John Isner

By Herman Wood

(July 26, 2014) ATLANTA – Young American Jack Sock took on veteran John Isner on Saturday at the BB&T Open in the first singles semifinal.  Hotlanta certainly was up to the nickname.  Conditions were compared to this year’s Australian Open, when players were understandably concerned.  The difference?  In Atlanta, the humidity combined with the heat makes it more difficult for the body to cool itself.  Despite the conditions, both men came out in dark colored tops.  Isner said, “It’s not easy conditions at all playing, doing anything.  Heat like that is tough.  I don’t know how the fans endure it.”  Despite conditions, Isner started off on the right foot, unlike yesterday.  He was striking winners off his forehand and backhand, though his first serve was off and he only had three aces for the first set while serving 48% on that delivery.  Sock looked better able to handle the conditions early in the match, moving better with his head up and working for points while Isner was content to let some balls go.  Isner has been accused of playing “possum” a bit in matches, but the two men train together, so that was not in the cards today.  (In the southeastern United States, possum refers to a marsupial whose primary method of defense is to play dead until an opportune moment, at which time they either wander off or show impressive teeth and a willingness to fight.)

 

As expected, rallies were mostly short, one or two strokes after a return.  The first deuce point occurred at four games apiece, with Isner serving.  On Isner’s very next service game, Sock seemed to fully get his teeth into Isner’s deliveries and forced him to rally.  With an untimely double fault, Isner handed Sock his first break point opportunity.  With a second serve coming, Sock got the return back into play and correctly anticipated Isner’s inside out forehand and just missed a pass off the tape that might have made all the difference and he clearly knew it.  Isner took full advantage and held with a blistering forehand and 128 MPH ace.  Serving at 5-6, perhaps Sock wasn’t able to clear the thoughts of the missed opportunity and missed his next three serves, the first two a double fault.  His fourth serve was punished by Isner for an easy winner.  Isner was certainly feeling it, as he challenged on the third point of the game on a ball that was solidly on the line.  The challenge may have given Sock some time to settle himself, as he took that point and the next two to get to 40-30.  Isner toughened and Sock got a bit loose.  Combined, that let to nine deuces before the matter of the twelfth game and ultimately the first set could be settled.  Sock chose the more difficult down the line forehand on a short ball and clipped the tape.  Isner sealed the first set on his third try with a Sock backhand error, 7-5, on a ball that did not seem that difficult.

 

Sock settled in despite early pressure from Isner in the first few games of the second set.  Certainly, he showed maturity beyond his young age, keeping his wits about him and continuing with good fight through two games all.  On Sock’s serve, at 2-3, Isner made a challenge on a ball called out right in front of Sock.  It turned out to be a wise challenge, as review showed the ball good.  The chair awarded the point to Isner.  Sock argued that the call by the linesman affected his play on the ball and that the point should be replayed.  It was very tough to tell when the call came, though it did appear that Sock had a play and chose not to play the ball and the linesman made the call late.  Sock struggled with himself throughout the game.  He told the chair umpire “You ruin matches, you know that.”  To his credit, Sock worked through the game and held to get to three all.

 

Perhaps the game energized Isner, as he showed no signs of playing possum or “lollygagging around” as he kept the pressure on Sock, with extremely high kicking second serves that Sock had lots of trouble returning mixed in with a few more aces on first serve deliveries.  On Sock’s service games, Isner was clearly trying to attack with frequent approaches and crushed forehands.  The strategy led to some impressive shots as well as shanks, one of which may have stopped traffic on nearby Interstate 75.  The crushed forehands from Isner looked to do damage to anything they hit.  Isner stepped up his serve to hold to get to 5-4.  The game went for three straight service winners, only to be interrupted by an Isner miss on the only ball Sock got in play in the whole game.  Isner closed the game with an ace.  Sock stepped in to serve, down 4-5, to stay in the match.  After more impressive shanks by Isner, Sock let a thirty love lead evaporate on a poor attempt at a slice back hand and floating forehand winner by Isner.  Isner stepped up again and committed to the rally and Sock missed to give Isner a match point.  Sock saved it with aggressive play, leading to an overhead to get back to deuce.  Unfortunately for Sock, he double faulted immediately to give Isner another match point.  Sock played bravely, nailing a ball onto the left baseline that Isner challenged unsuccessfully.  If out, it would have ended the match.  Sock could not manage to rally on the subsequent deuce, missing a forehand to give Isner a match point. Sock finally donated a double fault to hand the match to Isner, 7-5, 6-4.  He will either face Dudi Sela or Benjamin Becker in the finals on Sunday.

 

When asked about his possible opponent on Sunday, Isner expressed no preference.  He mentioned that “They said on TV I was 2-0 against Becker, though I can’t remember the two times I’ve played him.  He’s another college product.  He went four years at Baylor.  That would be kind of cool, two four year college guys.  Dudi, I remember I played him in Delray Beach this year.  I beat him 7-6 in the third.  Although he is slight of stature, he doesn’t mind playing guys with big serves.  He beat Querrey.  He beat Pospisil.  He’s just an extremely talented player that can do so much with the ball.  I don’t know who to favor.”

 

 

 

Before an appreciative packed house at Atlantic Station in Atlanta, Israeli Dudi Sela took on German Benjamin Becker over three tough sets for a chance to play local favorite John Isner  With the first two sets virtual mirror images, with each man winning a set 6-3, the match came down to a tight third set.  With Becker giving him only one opportunity to break, Sela took full advantage to get to 4-2.  Becker had five opportunities to break at that time, but had not cashed in.    Both men could feel the pressure, but Becker stepped up with a forehand winner to finally break right back.  Sela was far from done, hitting his picture perfect backhand for winners at crucial times and breaking again to allow him to serve for the final, 5-3.  Sela went for his shots and earned his first match point with a nice forehand retrieve that Becker shanked.  On the very first match point, Sela seized the opportunity with a blistering forehand that was too much for Becker.  It will be only his second final.  He has experience playing big servers like Isner.  He eliminated Pospisil and Querrey earlier in the Atlanta tournament.  In Columbia, he played Ivo Karlovic and used a chair to shake his hand after the match.

Sela really appreciated the support.  “This atmosphere is great!  I love Atlanta.”  Somehow, even with a well educated Atlanta tennis crowd, I expect former Georgia Bulldog John Isner will be feeling a bit more love.  The last time they played, it took Isner a third set tiebreak to overcome Sela.  The local support may be all the edge Isner needs.

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Quarterfinal day at the BB&T Atlanta Open

 

 

John Isner

John Isner

By Herman Wood

(July 25, 2014) ATLANTA – Americans and best buddies Steve Johnson and Sam Querrey got things going on Friday.  Yes, they already played- each other.  On Friday, they took on Santiago Gonzalez and Scott Lipsky in doubles.  It was a tight match, with the American pair winning 7-6 (2), 7-5.  On an interesting strategic note, Querrey lined up in front of Johnson with Johnson serving and folded his 6 foot 6 inch frame downward in an attempt to… well, I’m not really sure, but that’s a lot of human being to squeeze under a serve.  In the other doubles quarterfinals, Chris Guccione and John-Patrick Smith broke a nine match win streak for Guccione in a loss to Nicholas Barrientos and Victor Estrella Burgos 7-5, 3-6, and 10-6 in the match tiebreak.  The rest of the quarterfinals were already completed.  Pospisil and Sock will take on the Barrientos -Burgos pair while Querrey and Johnson will take on King and Venus, all for a chance in the finals.  Those matches will be played Saturday.

In singles action, the No. 1 seed, John Isner surprisingly played at 4 PM rather than in the 7 PM featured time slot.  Isner said, “I preferred the 4 PM start.”  By the time he and Matosevic took the court, the stadium resembled an oven.  Matosevic said, “It was really hot.”  We do not call it Hotlanta without a reason.  Isner said “I knew he was struggling out there a little bit and he knew I was struggling out there a little bit.”  “A lot of people tell me I play possum out there.  Sometimes when I’m super tired I play my best tennis. I don’t have enough energy to run side to side.

There’s only one option for me and that’s to sort of play big and play aggressive and just go for it and sometimes it works out.”   Isner started the match on the wrong foot- a foot fault.  Of course that fired him up a little and the very next ball was an ace.  It was a slow start for Isner, as he was immediately broken, though it did not take long to get back on serve.  With a break to get to two all, the two traded holds until Matosevic was serving at 5-6.  Isner challenged him a bit, but it was time for a tiebreak.  Isner is not called “Johnny Tiebreak” without a reason.  He is experienced, calm, and collected in the big moment.

Sure enough, Matosevic handed the set to Isner with his second double fault of the tiebreak.  The other double fault occurred when Matosevic was up a mini break.  In the second set, the two traded service holds until three all, when Isner got a break and that was all he needed.  Up 4 – 3, he held easily, saved himself during Matosevic’s service game and then served it out 7-6 (8), 6-4.  Isner was happy for the early finish to his day.  “I’ll have a little more time.  I can walk the dog.  It kind of puts me at ease.”  He’ll play Jack Sock on Saturday in the semifinals.

Jack Sock

Jack Sock

In the evening match, American Jack Sock got the featured time slot.  He took on Slovakian, Lukas Lacko, in what could be a preview for the Chicago Davis Cup match in September if Sock were to be named to the American squad.  Unfortunately, like Isner, Sock got off on the wrong foot as he was broken on his first service game.  Lacko at one time had a 4-1 lead, but let it slip away.

Sock said “I had a pretty rough start.  He was playing the ball deep and keeping me off the baseline.”

A Lacko double fault at a critical time and an ill-advised strategy that did not include staying away from the Sock forehand let Sock get it back to 4-5 and serving.  The crowd was clearly behind sock, urging him on, but he could not manage another break and so the tie breaker was on.  Each man had his chances, but Sock pulled it out 8-6.

He kept the momentum early in the second, breaking to a 3-1 lead before he let down just a bit.  Lacko took the break back, only to see Sock immediately return the favor at love to get to 4-2.  It was clear that Sock wanted to run away with it, moving quickly, serving to 5-2, with Lacko serving to stay in the match.  Sock had his way in the decisive game, as Lacko’s first serve percentage had fallen off to only forty five percent.  Game, set, match to Sock, 7-6 (8), 6-2.

The Atlanta crowd was very appreciative of the effort and the win.  Sock will take on John Isner on Saturday for a chance at the the final.  They recently played in Newport where Sock beat Isner.  “Newport was pretty ugly for both of us.  We both played some shocking tennis there.  We practice almost everyday at Saddlebrook in Tampa.  I’ll have to use what I know from practice.  These courts suit him pretty well with a high bounce and when there is a seven foot guy serving down on you, it’s not going to be easy.  I’ll go out there and scrap out some points and see what happens.”

In late action on Friday, Sock’s doubles partner Vasek Pospisil was eliminated in a see saw match by Dudi Sela 7-5, 1-6, 6-2. It was a busy night for the trainer, as he was out three times for Pospisil and once for Sela. Pospisil was clearly injured, as the trainer really seemed to be working him over. Despite the injury, he was able to move very well.

Sela took a medical timeout of his own, though he did not appear in pain. Sela was quoted by another media member -Ricky Dimon of Tennis Grand,  as to why he took the timeout; “To do some thinking with myself about what I have to do. To relax.”

 

Sela will take on Benjamin Becker Saturday evening.  Becker ended the run of lucky loser Thiemo de Bakker 6-4, 6-2.

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.

Results for July 25, 2014

Singles – Quarter-finals
[1] J Isner (USA) d [8] M Matosevic (AUS) 76(8) 64
D Sela (ISR) d [4] V Pospisil (CAN) 75 16 62
J Sock (USA) d L Lacko (SVK) 76(6) 62
B Becker (GER) d [LL] T de Bakker (NED) 64 62

Doubles – Quarter-finals
S Johnson (USA) / S Querrey (USA) d [2] S Gonzalez (MEX) / S Lipsky (USA) 76(2) 75
N Barrientos (COL) / V Estrella Burgos (DOM) d [3] C Guccione (AUS) / J Smith (AUS) 75 36 10-6

Schedule for July 26, 2014

STADIUM start 12:30 pm
K King (USA) / M Venus (NZL) vs S Johnson (USA) / S Querrey (USA)

Not Before 3:00 pm
[1] J Isner (USA) vs J Sock (USA)

Not Before 8:00 pm
D Sela (ISR) vs B Becker (GER)
[1] V Pospisil (CAN) / J Sock (USA) vs N Barrientos (COL) / V Estrella Burgos (DOM)

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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.

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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.

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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)

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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.

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