2015/03/06

Lucie Safarova Claims First Win over Victoria Azarenka to win Doha Title

Safarova

(February 28, 2015) Lucie Safarova beat Victoria Azarenka, 6-4, 6-3 to win the Qatar Open on Saturday for her first Premier-level championship and sixth career WTA title, her first since Quebec City in 2013.

The victory snapped Azarenka’s 14-match winning streak in Doha, which included two titles. I was also the Czech’s first win against the Belarusian.

“I’m really excited and happy about it, because it took me quite a few years to get to this point,“ Safarova said. “I hope it’s not a finish point and I can still improve. I’m playing more consistently. My game improved a lot throughout the last couple of years. I think we did the great job together with my coach, Rob, on my game and it’s just hard work and also maturing a little bit.  I think it’s everything together.”

“There’s a lot of progress this week, a lot of good things happened. I played a lot of great matches, and that’s especially what I was looking for,“ Azarenka said. “Obviously I’m disappointed for today, but I just have to move on quickly. There is going to be another tournament in a week, so I have to prepare for that.  But I can be satisfied with the progress that I made.”

Safarova will move up to a career-high ranking of No.11 in the new rankings, while Azarenka is projected to return to the Top 40.

Share

Venus Williams, Azarenka, Suarez Navarro and Safarova Reach Doha Semis

 

(February 26, 2015) Venus Williams stopped Agnieszka Radwanska for the second time this year 6-4, 1-6, 6-3 to reach the Qatar Open semifinals. Williams knocked out the Pole in the round of 16 at the Australian Open last month.

Williams will face two-time Qatar champion, wild card Victoria Azarenka who defeated third seed Caroline Wozniacki 6-3, 6-1 in her semifinal. Williams is a perfect 4-0 against Azarenka.

No 1 Petra Kvitova fell to Carla Suarez Navarro of Spain 3-6, 6-0, 6-3, for the second time in two weeks.The Spaniard also defeated the Czech in Dubai last week.

Lucie Safarova will challenge Suarez Navarro for a place in the final, after dispatching sixth seed Andrea Petkovic 6-2, 6-1.

QATAR TOTAL OPEN 2015 – DOHA, QATAR
$ 731,000.00
23-28 FEBRUARY 2015

RESULTS – FEBRUARY 26, 2015
Women’s
Singles – Quarterfinals

[9] C. Suárez Navarro (ESP) d [1] P. Kvitova (CZE) 36 60 63
[WC] V. Azarenka (BLR) d [3] [WC] C. Wozniacki (DEN) 63 61
[7] V. Williams (USA) d [4] A. Radwanska (POL) 64 16 63
L. Safarova (CZE) d [6] A. Petkovic (GER) 62 61

Women’s
Doubles – Quarterfinals

[1] S. Hsieh (TPE) / S. Mirza (IND) d M. Krajicek (NED) / B. Zahlavova Strycova (CZE) 60 61
[4] R. Kops-Jones (USA) / A. Spears (USA) d [WC] V. Azarenka (BLR) / K. Flipkens (BEL) walkover
H. Chan (TPE) / C. Dellacqua (AUS) d G. Dabrowski (CAN) / M. Erakovic (NZL) 63 62

ORDER OF PLAY – FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 27, 2015
CENTRE COURT start 4:30 pm
[9] C. Suárez Navarro (ESP) vs L. Safarova (CZE)
[7] V. Williams (USA) vs [WC] V. Azarenka (BLR)
[1] S. Hsieh (TPE) / S. Mirza (IND) vs H. Chan (TPE) / C. Dellacqua (AUS)

COURT 1 start 5:30 pm
[4] R. Kops-Jones (USA) / A. Spears (USA) vs [2] E. Makarova (RUS) / E. Vesnina (RUS)

 

Share

Azarenka and Venus Williams Advance in Doha

Venus Williams

QATAR TOTAL OPEN 2015 – DOHA, QATAR
$ 731,000.00
23-28 FEBRUARY 2015

RESULTS – FEBRUARY 23, 2015
Women’s
Singles – First Round

[7] V. Williams (USA) d C. Dellacqua (AUS) 36 62 61
[WC] V. Azarenka (BLR) d [8] A. Kerber (GER) 60 63
L. Safarova (CZE) d S. Stosur (AUS) 76(3) 64
B. Zahlavova Strycova (CZE) d S. Lisicki (GER) 75 64
F. Pennetta (ITA) d S. Kuznetsova (RUS) 36 64 62

Women’s
Doubles – First Round

[4] R. Kops-Jones (USA) / A. Spears (USA) d A. Klepac (SLO) / A. Rodionova (AUS) 76(2) 64

Women’s
Qualifying Singles – Third Round

Qualifying – [6] [WC] K. Flipkens (BEL) d K. Kozlova (UKR) 63 64
Qualifying – S. Voegele (SUI) d Y. Putintseva (KAZ) 63 36 64
Qualifying – A. Dulgheru (ROU) d S. Zheng (CHN) 61 60
Qualifying – D. Gavrilova (RUS) d S. Hsieh (TPE) 16 63 64

ORDER OF PLAY – TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 24, 2015
CENTRE COURT start 3:30 pm
[Q] K. Flipkens (BEL) vs [6] A. Petkovic (GER)
G. Muguruza (ESP) vs [9] C. Suárez Navarro (ESP)
[Q] A. Dulgheru (ROU) vs A. Cornet (FRA)

Not Before 8:00 pm
[7] V. Williams (USA) vs B. Zahlavova Strycova (CZE)

COURT 1 start 3:30 pm
[LL] S. Zheng (CHN) vs J. Jankovic (SRB)
Ka. Pliskova (CZE) vs [Q] S. Voegele (SUI)
[3] M. Hingis (SUI) / F. Pennetta (ITA) vs H. Chan (TPE) / C. Dellacqua (AUS)
Ka. Pliskova (CZE) / L. Safarova (CZE) vs G. Dabrowski (CAN) / M. Erakovic (NZL)

COURT 2 start 3:30 pm
[Q] D. Gavrilova (RUS) vs E. Svitolina (UKR)
[1] S. Hsieh (TPE) / S. Mirza (IND) vs A. Medina Garrigues (ESP) / A. Parra Santonja (ESP)
[WC] V. Azarenka (BLR) / K. Flipkens (BEL) vs [WC] F. Al Nabhani (OMA) / S. Zheng (CHN)

COURT 3 start 3:30 pm
[WC] O. Jabeur (TUN) vs Z. Diyas (KAZ)
[Alt] D. Jurak (CRO) / K. Koukalova (CZE) vs [2] E. Makarova (RUS) / E. Vesnina (RUS)

Not Before 6:30 pm
After Suitable Rest – G. Muguruza (ESP) / C. Suárez Navarro (ESP) vs A. Kudryavtseva (RUS) / K. Srebotnik (SLO)

Share

Tennis Results for Montpellier, Quito and Zagreb

quito

Ecuador Open Quito
Quito, Ecuador

ATP World Tour 250  $439,405 ($494,310 Total Financial Commitment)
Quito, Ecuador (-5 hour GMT)
2-8 February 2015   Surface: Clay

RESULTS – SATURDAY, 7 FEBRUARY 2015

Singles – Semi-Finals
[1] F. Lopez (ESP) d [3] F. Verdasco (ESP) 76(5) 76(1)
[8] V. Estrella Burgos (DOM) d [6] T. Bellucci (BRA) 76(5) 75

Doubles – Final
[Alt] G Kretschmer (GER) / A Satschko (GER) d V Estrella Burgos (DOM) / J Souza (BRA) 75 76(3)
SCHEDULE – SUNDAY, 8 FEBRUARY 2015

CANCHA CENTRAL start 1:00 pm
[1] F. Lopez (ESP) vs [8] V. Estrella Burgos (DOM)

 

open-sud-de-france

Open Sud de France

Montpellier, France

ATP World Tour 250  €439,405 (€494,310 Total Financial Commitment)
Montpellier, France (+1 hour GMT)
2-8 February 2015   Surface: Indoor Hard

RESULTS – SATURDAY, 7 FEBRUARY 2015

Singles – Semi-finals
[4] R. Gasquet (FRA) d [1] G. Monfils (FRA) 64 63
[5] J. Janowicz (POL) d [7] J. Sousa (POR) 76(9) 36 61

Doubles – Semi-finals
[1] D Inglot (GBR) / F Mergea (ROU) d R Junaid (AUS) / A Shamasdin (CAN) 64 75

SCHEDULE – SUNDAY, 8 FEBRUARY 2015

COURT CENTRAL start 12:15 pm
[1] D Inglot (GBR) / F Mergea (ROU) vs M Daniell (NZL) / A Sitak (NZL)

Not Before 2:45 pm
[4] R. Gasquet (FRA) vs [5] J. Janowicz (POL)

 

zagreb

PBZ Zagreb Indoors

Zagreb, Croatia

ATP World Tour 250  €439,405 (€494,310 Total Financial Commitment)
Zagreb, Croatia (+1 hour GMT)
2-8 February 2015   Surface: Indoor Hard

RESULTS – SATURDAY, 7 FEBRUARY 2015

Singles – Semi-Finals
[3] G. Garcia-Lopez (ESP) d M. Baghdatis (CYP) 64 64
[5] A. Seppi (ITA) d [8] M. Granollers (ESP) 76(5) 61

SCHEDULE – SUNDAY, 8 FEBRUARY 2015

CENTRE COURT start 1:30 pm
F Martin (FRA) / P Raja (IND) vs [2] M Draganja (CRO) / H Kontinen (FIN)

Not Before 4:00 pm
[3] G. Garcia-Lopez (ESP) vs [5] A. Seppi (ITA))

Share

Troicki Wins Historic Sydney Final

Troicki

By Dave Gertler

(January 17, 2015) SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – Going into the 2015 Apia International final, Serbian Viktor Troicki looked a steady favorite. His opponent Mikhail Kukushkin, who like Troicki had started in qualifying rounds in Sydney – albeit as a seeded qualifier, unlike Troicki – had also won seven matches straight to reach the first all-qualifier final in ATP history, and also looked solid. The Kazakh had not dropped a set before Saturday’s final, while the Serb had required three sets to decide three of his seven wins in previous rounds.

 

While Kukushkin and Troicki – Nos. 51 and 54 in the world respectively – both beat a series of players ranked higher than them once reaching the main draw, Kukushkin had ousted defending champion Juan Martin Del Potro in the quarterfinals on Ken Rosewall Arena. Yet it was Troicki’s lower-profile come-from-behind quarter-final win on over Simone Bolelli that positioned him well for the semi-final and final. With Bolelli serving for the match in the final set, Troicki had needed to – and did – come up with something special to win the next three games, and the match. Perhaps the Serbian former world No. 12 carried some of the confidence from this win into his next two matches on Ken Rosewall Arena.

 

Initially, during Saturday night’s final, Kukushkin and Troicki were trading holds of serve comfortably until Troicki serving at 2-2 went down 0-30 and, instead of being broken, played and won the longest rally of the set to stop the bleeding in his service game, eventually holding serve convincingly for 3-2. Troicki would not lose another game that set, breaking Kukushkin for 4-2, then 6-2.

 

Serving at 1-2 in the second set – and after a game where Troicki had served three of his 13 total aces – Kukushkin started to grimace and look like he was experience difficulty moving, Troicki breaking Kukushkin’s serve, which had significantly slowed and kept getting slower towards the end of the match. 127km/h second serves were being consistently punished by the Serb, and were a stark contrast to the serving form Kukushkin had shown on Ken Rosewall Arena the previous two evenings to beat Del Potro and Gilles Muller.

 

“He was really defending well,” said Kukushkin of his opponent, “He was as well pushing a lot and he was playing really good today. He was serving amazing.”

 

Troicki broke and consolidated for a 4-1 lead, and the match looked like it would be over in less than an hour, then Kukushkin called for a medical timeout. “He broke my rhythm a little bit at 4-1 in the second set,” said Troicki, “He took a medical timeout, and I felt I was close, you know, close to finishing the match. He started hitting the ball pretty sweet and fast. Didn’t want to rally too much. He played few good shots; I missed some. Yeah, that was when he broke me.”

 

Troicki ended up giving the break back to Kukushkin, but that would be the last game Kukushkin would win, Troicki taking the match, and his first title since 2010, 6-2, 6-3.

 

“Very happy. Yeah, a lot of emotions actually,” said Troicki, whose only other title came in Moscow in 2010, and who has now been back on tour for six months from a year-long doping suspension, “It’s been a tough road, a lot of work, and it paid off with a nice title. If I look back where I was like five, six months ago it’s amazing to have a title already.  So it’s really nice moment for me and for all my team. I really, it’s very emotional. Yeah, that’s all I can say.”

 

In an even stranger twist of fate, Troicki’s first-round opponent at the Australian Open on Monday will be Czech Jiri Vesely who also won a tournament from qualifying in Auckland, this week.

Dave Gertler is a tennis journalist, player and musician based in Sydney and is covering the Australian summer of tennis for Tennis Panorama News. Follow his personal Twitter @davegertler,  read his blog,  and listen to his podcast, Tennis Days .

Share

Heather Watson Wins Hobart for Second WTA Crown

Happy Heather Watson Hobart

(January 17, 2015) Great Britain’s Heather Watson defeated American qualifier Madison Brengle 6-3, 6-4 on Saturday to win the Hobart International title, her second WTA Tour career title. She won the Japan Open title in 2012. She won this week’s event without dropping a set.

It was Brengle’s first WTA final of her career.

The unseeded 22-year-old became the first British woman in more than 30 years to win two titles, the last was Anne Hobbs who won Auckland in 1985 and Indianapolis in 1983.

En route to the final, Watson dismissed No.5 seed Sloane Stephens, No.9 seed Roberta Vinci and No.8 seed Alison Riske.

The Australian Open begins on Monday and Watson will open against Bulgaria’s Tsvetana Pironkova while Brengle will face 13th seed Andrea Petkovic of Germany.

 

More to follow.

Share

Jiri Vesely Wins Maiden ATP Title in Auckland

Jiri Vesely

Jiri Vesely

(January 17, 2015) In a match between first-time finalists, qualifier Jiri Vesely of the Czech Republic defeated France’s Adrian Mannarino 6-3, 6-2 in Auckland to earn his first ATP Tour World title. The 21 year-old world No. 63 is the first Czech to win in Auckland since Jiri Novak in 1996.

En route to the finals Vesely upset world No. 13 Ernests Gulbis and World No. 16 Kevin Anderson.

“It feels amazing to be part of the ATP champions,” said the Czech. “It’s not something that everyone is [able] to achieve, so I’m very grateful for that. It’s a great start for me… I can really see that it’s possible to play with the best guys and I think that’s something very important for me for the future.”

“I was really believing in myself, that my game could be better than his, and I was just trying to be more patient and to put more balls back and just not let him play the game he’d like to play.”

Vesely led the tournament in aces, first and second serve points won, as well as service games won.
“When you get broken by someone who’s serving like this, you feel like it’s slipping away,” said Mannarino. “I was trying to deal with my own game and it was really tough today. I didn’t have the same feeling that I had during the week. I didn’t feel the ball the same way. Unfortunately it happened in the final.”
The win adds Vesely to the list of ATP World Tour title winners born in the 1990s, joining Milos Raonic (6), Grigor Dimitrov (4), David Goffin (2), Bernard Tomic (2) and Federico Delbonis (1).

Vesely will play Viktor Troicki in the first round of the Australian Open. The tournament begins on Monday.

Share

Kvitova wins all-Czech Sydney Final

 

Petra with trophy

By Dave Gertler

(January 16, 2015) SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – Czech world No. 4 Petra Kvitova has defeated emerging world No.22 Karolina Pliskova in the first all-Czech final at the Apia International on Friday night. It was the first time Kvitova had appeared in a final in Sydney, having lost to the eventual winner Tsvetana Pironkova in the semi-final last year, which was her fourth appearance at the event.

 

“I’m just glad how I played today,” said Kvitova after her 7-6(5), 7-6(6) win that took just shy of two hours to complete on Ken Rosewall Arena, “I mean, it was very a tough match to really handle it everything. Two tiebreakers, it’s always very difficult. Karolina played really well and she served very well.”

 

The 22-year-old Pliskova, playing her sixth WTA-level final in the past year – but her first ever final at Premier level – held a break over Kvitova for most of the first set until, while attempting to serve it out at 5-4, her opponent’s return game clicked into gear, and Kvitova was able to break back and force the first set to a tie-break, throughout which she continued to elevate her game and separate herself from her opponent, taking the tie-break 7-5.

 

“I feel today I must say a little bit tired,” said Pliskova, whose strong serving and follow-up attack game had seen her through to the final only losing one set along the way, “Also in the match I wasn’t that I don’t want to say fast, because I’m not that fast normally, but I felt a little bit tired, not that much power in my serve.”

 

Throughout the match, Kvitova hit 38 winners, almost doubling her opponent’s figures, and in the second set, it was the dual Wimbledon champ who held an early break before her opponent broke back for 3-3 and held on for a second-set tie-break. A series of double faults and errors by Pliskova gave Kvitova a 5-1 advantage which all but sealed the championship, and although Pliskova then managed to level the score, it was Kvitova who eventually came through an entertaining tie-break, taking it 8-6.

 

“You know, it was quite weird tiebreak,” said Kvitova, “Because she was serving so well all the match then she did two double faults, so I was a little bit like relaxed and it was fine. I mean, I was still holding my serve pretty well. It’s tiebreak tennis, and you never know what’s going to be there.”

 

Both the Czech women are seeded, and will play qualifiers in the first round of the Australian Open next week. “I come to Melbourne tomorrow,” said Kvitova, “And I need to forget about the Sydney trophy to be ready and focused for the Melbourne. It’s just really crazy world sometimes in tennis. You really can’t enjoy the title because the next week it’s something different and you have to be prepared already.”

 

Dave Gertler is a tennis journalist, player and musician based in Sydney and is covering the Australian summer of tennis for Tennis Panorama News. Follow his personal Twitter @davegertler,  read his blog,  and listen to his podcast, Tennis Days .

Share

Defending Champion Del Potro out of the Apia International

DelPotro

By Dave Gertler

(January 15, 2015) SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – After ousting former world No. 5 and defending champion Juan Martin Del Potro on Thursday, Kazakhstan’s Mikhail Kukushkin will play another Argentinian – currently the highest ranked South American – Leonardo Mayer, for a place in the Apia International final against either Gilles Muller or Viktor Troicki.

 

Kukushkin needed two hours and two tie-breaks to beat Del Potro on Ken Rosewall Arena. Neither Del Potro nor Kukushkin was able to muster a break point against the other, and while the 2009 US Open champion briefly held the upper hand in the first tie-break, leading 4-2 at the change of sides, Kukushkin – who will contest his first ATP-level semi-final not on an indoor hard court in Russia – proved consistent at the right moments in both tie-breaks.

 

“It was a tough match,” I think he deserve to win because he played better than me in the tiebreak.” Del Potro – feeling more wrist pain than in his previous matches – was unable to fire off the backhand side, opting for a slice backhand most of the time, which allowed his opponent to dictate and be the aggressor. “I served well,” said Del Potro, “But my wrist hurts a little bit more than yesterday, and I couldn’t hit harder than my last match. He played very smart. He was all the time playing to my backhand and playing slices.”

 

“He’s a top player,” said Kukushkin about his opponent, “But I think everyone saw today that he cannot yet hit full power his backhand. He did a lot of slices. For sure this is affect his game. Still he serve good. His forehand was working OK today.” Kukushkin admitted exploiting current gaps in Del Potro’s arsenal was part of his game plan, saying, “I knew that right now his backhand not so good. Of course I tried to use it. Unfortunately, but I have to.”

 

Del Potro is excited to be returning to Melbourne for the Australian Open next week, his first grand slam appearance in 12 months. He is managing expectations on court, but doesn’t hide his enthusiasm to be rubbing shoulders with friends and other grand slam winners. “It’s not easy, but everybody has to know I’m 338th player in the world at the moment,” said Del Potro, “I just beat the top 20 player here, top 50, it’s great for these kind of players, so I’m happy for that. But I want to meet also Federer, Djokovic, these guys, because I miss them when I was at home. I only speak with WhatsApp or by phone. Now I will meet the biggest players of this sport again.”

 

Dave Gertler is a tennis journalist, player and musician based in Sydney and is covering the Australian summer of tennis for Tennis Panorama News. Follow his personal Twitter @davegertler,  read his blog,  and listen to his podcast, Tennis Days .

Share

Tomic out, Troicki into Semi-finals of Sydney

Bernard Tomic

Bernard Tomic

By Dave Gertler

(January 15, 2015) SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – Two-time finalist, Australian Bernard Tomic, has failed to reach the semi-final of the 2015 Apia International, bowing out to world No.45 Gilles Muller in their quarter-final on Thursday.

 

The big-serving lefty from Luxembourg fired off 25 aces to Tomic’s 15 in their two sets on Ken Rosewall Arena, and was the better player in both tie-breaks, particularly in the marathon second-set tie-break which he won 15-13 to seal the match against the hometown favorite and 2013 Sydney champion.

 

“He served really well,” said Tomic, “I knew it was going to be difficult.  This is a player that has been in the last eight at majors I think four or five years back at the US Open. It was very difficult playing him. That serve is probably one of the best serves out there now that’s left handed. Not a lot of guys that can play like him.”

 

Muller has needed to play his best tennis so far at the Apia International, exacting tight wins over Sam Groth and Jeremy Chardy on his way to the quarters, and will now need to continue elevating his game if he’s to make it past an on-fire Viktor Troicki, back with a vengeance from his suspension, and seemingly attempting to make up for lost time.

 

While Tomic and Muller were on main court on Thursday evening, Troicki and Italian Simone Bolelli were battling it out on an outside show court. Although currently outside the top 50, 29-year-old Bolelli came back from a set down against Troicki by playing flawless top-20 quality tennis. After losing the first set 3-6, Bolelli manoeuvred himself into a winning position, taking the second set 6-3, and leading by a break late in the final set before Troicki’s relentless defense proved a deciding factor, allowing the Serb back into the final set, which he would win 7-5, along with the match.

 

“I was expecting pretty tough match,” said Troicki, who served 16 aces to Bolelli’s two during the 2-hour, 8-minute-long match, “I had few tough battles with Simone, who’s a good friend. I think he played great. He was unlucky at the end to lose. But I think we both played good. I was defending a lot because he was really aggressive. Yeah, I had bit more luck in the end and played some good points, played some big points pretty good. So I was happy with that. I also served well. So I’m really satisfied with the win today and happy with the result.”

 

Troicki, who lost to Gilles Simon in the 2011 Sydney final, the same year he reached his highest rank of world No. 12, is seemingly playing with a new lease on life after returning from a doping ban which left him sidelined for a year.

 

“Well, I experienced something that most of the guys don’t experience,” said Troicki, who had to play through qualifying this year, “I’ve been banned, yeah, from playing. When you cannot do something that you love and when you’re not doing it for a while you see how much you miss it and love it. Ever since I was a kid I dreamed about this, playing, competing, doing something that I love. I really love playing tennis. So I enjoy on the court much more than I used to. Yeah, it’s fun being back. All my life I was looking forward to this. I enjoy it more on the court, as I said. It’s more fun and more enjoyment on the court.”

 

An all-journeyman semi-finals has been set for Friday – Viktor Troicki versus Gilles Muller, and Leonardo Mayer versus Mikhail Kukushkin – and the Apia International will have a new men’s champion crowned on Saturday.

 

Dave Gertler is a tennis journalist, player and musician based in Sydney and is covering the Australian summer of tennis for Tennis Panorama News. Follow his personal Twitter @davegertler,  read his blog,  and listen to his podcast, Tennis Days .

Share