2014/07/12

Alves Fails to Qualify, Questions About Court Conditions at Brasil Open

Brazil Open

By Barbara Galiza

 

(February 10, 2013) Even with an impressionable run in the Davis Cup play-off against America last week, Brazilian Thiago Alves still failed to quality for his home tournament. The 135th player in the world fell in the second round of qualifying and his reaction hinted the indoor clay at São Paulo was to blame. After his loss, the Brazilian smacked his racket and kicked the surface so hard, some areas had to be refilled.

 

Fabio Fognini‘s coach, José Perla, also complained about the surface, but on Twitter: “The only problem with São Paulo are the courts. They are in terrible conditions and the balls are from the supermarket. (…) We hope no one gets hurt.”

 

The ATP 250 São Paulo has the presence of Rafael Nadal confirmed, after just returning to tour last week from a seven-month injury lay-off. The Spaniard will make his debut on Tuesday, but the organizers insist the courts will be in perfect condition for the start of the tournament tomorrow.

 

“The courts are still being adjusted. The clay hasn’t even had a month to settle down (since the Federer Tour exhibitions, held on the same site, but on hardcourts). The people from the ATP will still arrive and make the conditions 100% for the start of the tournament,” says Brasil Open’s press agent.

 

Barbara Galiza is a journalist from Rio de Janeiro covering the Brasil Open in São Paulo for Tennis Panorama. She likes tennis and writing. Sometimes she blogs, most of the time she tweets. – @fiercetennis. Follow her São Paulo updates on @TennisNewsTPN.

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“Uncle Sam” Saves U.S. – Querrey helps Americans squeak past Brazil and into the Quarterfinals

 

Sam Querrey backhand2

DAVIS CUP: “UNCLE SAM” SAVES U.S.

Querrey helps Americans squeak past Brazil and into the Quarterfinals

 

By Junior Williams

 

(February 3, 2013) JACKSONVILLE – The U.S. Davis Cup team avoided a huge upset when Sam Querrey clinched the First Round tie for the Americans over Brazil, 3-2, in a fifth and decisive rubber on Sunday at Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena. The U.S. now moves on to the Quarterfinals and will host Serbia and world number one Novak Djokovic in Boise, Idaho.

 

Querrey, ranked number 20 in the world, defeated 141-ranked Thiago Alves, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4, 7-6(3), becoming the first American to clinch a Davis Cup tie in a fifth and decisive rubber since 2000, when Pete Sampras defeated Slava Dosedel to defeat the Czech Republic in a World Group Quarterfinal in Los Angeles. Querrey’s second live Davis Cup singles victory came two days after he defeated Brazil’s Thomaz Bellucci in straight sets.

Querrey stepped up for the U.S. after John Isner, ranked number 16 in the world, fell to the No. 36-ranked Bellucci, 2-6, 6-4, 6-7(7), 6-4, 6-3, in Sunday’s first reverse singles match. That evened the tie at 2-2, before Querrey served up 26 aces to defeat Alves.

 

It looked as if an upset was in the making when Alves took the first set, but Querrey soon found his groove. He began to win the long rallies against Alves, and take a two sets to one lead.

 

In the fourth set, Querrey was serving for the tie at 5-4, but he failed to convert a tie point and got broken after his overhead smash went into the net, giving Alves new life and the Brazilian fans hope. Both players battled into a fourth set tiebreak, in which Alves sent a shot past the baseline to give the U.S. a 5-3 lead Querrey would not relinquish. His victory gave joy and relief to the few hometown fans who hadn’t left the match to watch the Super Bowl.

 

“You know, I was just very happy with the way I battled through it,” said Querrey. “Didn’t strike the ball as well as on Friday, but fought through the tough points, made him play, got breaks in the second, third and fourth sets there.

 

“He broke me back, but then edged him out in a tiebreaker. I was just happy to get through it.”
U.S. Captain Jim Courier said Querrey will benefit from experiencing the Davis Cup pressure cooker. “Sometimes obstacles become opportunities, and that’s what this was today for Sam. John, we thought he was going to get through his match. We thought Bob and Mike (Bryan) were going to get through their match (on Saturday). It came down to Sam, and he stepped up when we needed him to. Sam faced some adversity at the end and played a great tiebreaker to get past not closing it out on serve. Those are learning moments for a player, things you can draw on later on in your career.”

 

“It was a good effort from everybody, particularly the Brazilians,” said Courier. “They deserve a lot of credit for pushing us and making us come up with what we had to at the end.”

 

The Brazilian Alves said he was pleased with his level of play during the tie. “So was a great match. Sam is a great player. The first set I got my chance, so I think he was a little bit tense, nervous. After that he start to

play better tennis. I fight for all the match, all the match.”

 

Brazil’s Captian Joao Zwetsch congratulated the U.S. team on its victory, but also gave praise to his players for almost coming back from down 0-2 in matches to pull off the shocker.

 

“Everybody did all the best all the week trying to win this tie” said Zwetsch. “Everybody was like this. When I get on the court, I can feel this energy. I was feeling today. It’s different. I can say to you it’s really different.”
Top-ranked Brazilian Thomaz Bellucci did his part to push the Americans to the brink with his five-set victory over Isner. It was Bellucci’s spin and kick serves versus Isner’s power service game, which included 22 aces.

But the American also committed 81 unforced errors in the nearly three-and-a-half hour match, and appeared to run out of gas in the fifth set — with this being only his second match since skipping the Australian open with a knee injury.
“In the end, I saw that Isner was a little bit tired and I was trying to put every ball inside the court to keep him playing,” said Bellucci.
“I just couldn’t quite win the big points,” said Isner. “It’s almost like I wanted it too badly. I just felt like I was forcing it, wasn’t going for my shots like I should. Confidence-wise I’m not even close to where I want to be.”

 

Isner also complained about the Brazilian fans, who came ready to root for their favorites with taunts and a number of noisemakers in tow: party horns, kazoos and rubber ducks. “To be honest I don’t appreciate their fans at all. I don’t think they’re too classy at all.” Isner went on to say that the fans are not an excuse for his defeat and that Bellucci deserved to win.
U.S. Captain Courier is now setting his sights on Serbia in the Davis Cup Quarterfinals: “We’re excited. We wanted to face Serbia. We thought that would be a great test for us. They’re one of the great Davis Cup nations right now. Novak is playing again this year after taking last year off. If you want to lift this trophy, you need to beat the best teams, and that certainly is one of them.

“We look forward to the challenge. We know it will be difficult. But Boise should be a very hospitable environment for us. We’ll like the altitude there. That should work well for us. We’ll look forward to playing there.”

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Brazil Stays Alive As Melo and Soares Upset the Bryans in 5 Sets

 

Bob and Mike Bryan

Bob and Mike Bryan

 

DAVIS CUP: BRAZIL STAYS ALIVE
Melo and Soares upset the Bryans in 5 sets; U.S. up 2-1
By Junior Williams

 

(February 2, 2013) JACKSONVILLE — On Groundhog Day here in the United States, the conventional wisdom was that the world’s top-doubles team would clinch a first round Davis Cup World Group victory and ensure a long winter for Brazil’s team.

 

But as any Brazilian will tell you — it’s actually summer south of the Equator, and it’s not over yet.

 

Serveral hours after the American weather groundhog Punxsutawney Phil failed to see his shadow and predicted an early spring, Marcelo Melo and Bruno Soares kept Brazil’s Davis Cup hopes alive by stunning Americans Bob and Mike Bryan 7-6(6), 6-7(7), 6-4, 3-6, 6-3, in what was a high-quality and intense match. The U.S. now leads the tie 2-1.

 

For the Bryans — who are coming off their 13th major doubles title by winning the Australian Open — Saturday’s defeat marks only their third loss in 23 career Davis Cup matches.

 

In the first set tiebreak, Brazil rebounded from a 5-1 deficit and saved three set points on the way to winning the set, shocking the hometown faithful at Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Coliseum.

 

“It was very important for us ’cause we kept the pressure on them,” said Soares. “You never know, it’s tough to say, but I think if they had won the first set, they would come back really strong, and then it’s really tough to hold them back.”

 

The Bryans returned the favor in the second set tiebreak by saving four set points — including one as part of a challenge resulting in deadlock at 6-6 — to even the match at a set apiece. It was during the changeover at 6-6 during the tiebreak that Bob Bryan had some words with the Brazilian bench, ratcheting up the intensity level of the match.

 

 

“I felt strange Bob’s reaction” said Melo.  “Just running, too close from me, screaming on my ear. I don’t know what’s happened like that, you know. Bob never did this before. We have really good relationship. I have him as a friend. In that moment I got in shock, How Bob did this, is not normal.”

 

Here’s Bob Bryan’s take on the situation: “Yeah, Davis Cup is an emotional atmosphere. They got passionate after they thought they won the set. I got passionate to them. There were some words said. You know, no hard feelings, no grudges.

 

It’s Davis Cup. This sort of stuff happens all the time. It didn’t affect the outcome of the match at all. There’s no hard feelings.”

The Brazilians went on to take the third set, and the Americans battled back to win the fourth, putting the Bryans in uncharted territory: Their first ever five-setter in Davis Cup. The turning point in the fifth set was when Mike Bryan double faulted to give Brazil the break and a 5-3 lead. Brazil held serve in the following game to secure the victory, to the delight of fans wearing the green, gold and blue.

“We came here today to fight,” said Soares. “We know we play well together. We never give up. So I think today was just a perfect example how good me and Marcelo can play together.”

 

Soares said part of Brazil’s game plan was to take away Mike Bryan’s return of serve down the middle. “Mike is one of the best returners in the game. We know we have to mix it up, take chances, serve in a spot that you don’t really feel comfortable, but you got to do it. He can hit any return anywhere. So I think what we tried to do a lot is to play the ‘I’ position and mix it up a lot.”

 

Soares called the win against the American his best ever in doubles competition.

“Beat Bryans on a Davis Cup World Group in their home. Tough to beat that. Maybe later on our career we hope to have some good wins as good as this one. But this one for me, it’s very special. It’s number one, for sure.”

 

“Hats off to the Brazilians, said Bob Bryan. I thought they served well pretty much of the four hours. A lot of high-percentage first serves. They were half-volleying well, keeping the pressure on for a long time. We didn’t get it done, and that’s our fault. We came here from Australia and gave it our best effort to get in shape and win this match, and we came up short.

“All the credit to those guys. They’ve beaten us before. They’re a good team. They’re in the mix in the big tournaments around the world. They knock on the door. They beat some other big teams as well. I’m sure we’re going to see them again for many years.”
In response to a follow-up question about the Bryans having any jet-lag or letdown after traveling from Australia, Mike Bryan said the twins felt great and were not mentally fatigued. “I don’t think we executed our best. We could have played a better match. Could have probably played a little more aggressive. But it wasn’t a factor of just winning a Grand Slam and traveling so far.”

The Americans are hoping John Isner will seal the tie when he takes on Brazil’s Thomaz Bellucci in Sunday’s first singles match. A Bellucci victory would force a fifth and deciding match between Sam Querrey of the U.S. and Thiago Alves of Brazil. Querrey is ranked number 20 in the world, while Alves is ranked number 141.

 

U.S. Davis Cup Captain Jim Courier says he Isner and Querrey are “well-prepared. They come in with three sets under their belt from yesterday which is good for their

confidence, not damaging to their physical fitness. We feel confident in our chances (Sunday). We don’t underestimate the opposition. They gained a little bit of momentum. It will be our job to quell that tomorrow and snuff it out first ball.”
Courier’s counterpart, Brazilian Davis Cup Captain Joao Zwetsch, said his team is going to “come strong” on Sunday and use the doubles victory as added motivation. “We still respecting a lot the American team, like I said all the time this week,” said Zwetsch. “But I guess we are like stronger mentally now to come (Sunday) and fight as we fight (Saturday).”

 

Junior Williams is a long-time journalist and tennis fan. At a moment’s notice he can give you a list of all the Davis Cup match-ups that would give the US home ties. He is in Jacksonville, Florida covering the Davis Cup first round World Group tie between the United States and Brazil for Tennis Panorama News.

 

 

 

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Davis Cup: High “I. Q.” For USA

John-Isner_Miami-Tennis-Cup-e1354390274784

 

DAVIS CUP: HIGH “I.Q.” FOR U.S.

Isner, Querrey give Americans 2-0 lead over Brazil

 

By Junior Williams

 

(February 1, 2013) JACKSONVILLE – Straight sets victories by John Isner and Sam Querrey have given the United States a commanding 2-0 lead over Brazil in the first round of the Davis Cup World Group at Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena.

 

Isner — who skipped the Australian open due to a knee injury — showed signs of rust in his 6-3, 7-6 (4), 6-3 win over Thiago Alves, who’s ranked 141 in the world. The American committed 62 unforced errors in the nearly two-hour match, partly due to some spirited play from Alves, who at times surprised Isner with his return of serve and ability to win long rallies.

 

But in the end Isner was bailed out by his powerful serve. In the second set, Isner staved off two set points by firing aces and going on to hold at 5-5. He later overcame a mini-break in the second set tiebreak, and closed out the set with a pair of aces — he had 32 in all.

 

Isner — the top ranked American and number 16 in the world – took control of the third set by breaking Alves to go up 4-2, on the Brazilian’s unforced error past the baseline.

 

When asked whether the four-week layoff bothered him, Isner replied, “It wasn’t exactly pretty, but I knew that may be the case going into this match today because I’m real short on match practice, real short on practice in general. But these are the type of matches for me going forward that I need to get under my belt. But all in all I’m very happy with the outcome and glad I was able to contribute today.”

 

In the first match, Sam Querrey defeated Thomaz Bellucci 6-3, 6-4, 6-4. The American — whose world ranking is 20 — served 15 aces and won 96 percent of his first serve points. Early in the match, Querrey had trouble returning the Belucci’s kick serves, but the Brazilian double faulted midway through the first set to send Querrey up a break. Querrey capitalized by clinching the set as Bellucci returned his serve into the net.

 

“I feel like I played great,” said Querrey.  I was serving well, and that just makes things so much easier. I could play a little freer on his service games.I was a little nervous at the beginning.Once I got that first break, I felt like I got my feet settled and I was on a roll.

 

After that, it was all Querrey, who broke Bellucci in the first game in each of the remaining sets en route to his first Davis Cup singles victory

 

 

The number 36-ranked Bellucci said “It was not easy to play today. The court was very fast. (Querrey)  was serving very strong, very close from the lines. I didn’t play my best tennis, so I’m a little bit disappointing.

 

Jacksonvillearena

The turnout for today’s matches was low, but Querrey still gave the home crowd a thumbs up.

 

“Everyone that was there did a great job. They got surprisingly loud there at the end for an arena that wasn’t full.You know, it’s still good for who was there.Hopefully tomorrow we can get more. I know sometimes it’s a little tougher on Friday with people working. Hopefully tomorrow and Sunday we can get more.”

 

Saturday, the United States will look to clinch the tie by going with Bob and Mike Bryan, who are fresh from winning the Australian Open men’s doubles championship — a record-setting 13th major title. The twins will take on top 20 doubles players Marcelo Melo and Bruno Soares.”

 

A U.S. victory would send the Americans to the Davis Cup World Group quarterfinals, where they would likely host Serbia. World number one Novak Djokovic and teammate Viktor Troicki won their matches against Belgium to take a 2-0 lead.

 

Junior Williams is a long-time journalist and tennis fan. At a moment’s notice he can give you a list of all the Davis Cup match-ups that would give the US home ties. He is in Jacksonville, Florida covering the Davis Cup first round World Group tie between the United States and Brazil for Tennis Panorama News.

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Isner is Ready to Lead Team USA Against Brazil in Davis Cup This Weekend

QuerreyIsnerDavisCup2010lo_res

(January 31, 2013) JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA – The No. 1 tennis player representing the United States is ready to return to action this weekend in Jacksonville, Florida to lead the US against Brazil in the first round of Davis Cup World Group matches. John Isner coming back from a right knee injury which prevented him from competing in the Australia Open.

 

“We came into the week looking for clarity on John’s knee, hoping it would respond the way it has,” team captain Jim Courier explained at Thursday’s draw ceremony.

“He practiced hard every day. He’s had no setbacks.

 

“From our eyes and our medical staff’s eyes, we feel confident he’s ready and set for 10 sets of tennis if he needs to play them this weekend.”

 

“What Cap said, “ said Isner who first injured his knee when he was participating in Hopman Cup in Perth, Australia in the beginning of the year..” I had a very encouraging week of practice, which is what I was looking for. To be honest, I didn’t know how my knee was going to react when I really started to practice hard because it’s been a while.

 

“I certainly had to take some time off. Like I said, practice is going well. That was the main decision for us.

 

“My knee hasn’t been bothering me. I feel like I’m ready to go. These guys feel like I’m ready to go as well. That’s why the decision was made.”

 

Had Isner not been ready to go, Ryan Harrison would have been named to the team.

Tampa resident Isner who played for the University of Georgia is looking forward to the home tie, the first home tie for himself and Sam Querrey as  members of the Davis Cup squad.

“I’ve always flown over an ocean to go play Davis Cup. This tie I just got in my car and drove three hours,” he said. “I do feel at home here. Hopefully I can get some USA chants, but Georgia chants also would be accepted on my part.”

 

“I think this is my seventh match,” Isner added.  “Sam (Querrey) probably has played just about the same amount. We’ve always had the red stuff underneath our feet, so it’s been different to practice on hard courts during Davis Cup week.

 

“For basically our whole team, it was a pretty easy travel schedule to get here. It’s not something we’ve been accustomed to lately.

 

“For Sam and myself, this is going to be a great opportunity. We’ve never played one at home. We’re going to go out there and try to play our best.”

 

“It will be nice to have the fan support, the crowds behind us, instead of getting the boos every time you step onto the court, “ Querrey said. “It will be nice to get the home support.”

 

“It’s going to be real difficult for us here,” Brazil  Davis Cup Captain Zwetsch.

“We knew this before come here already. After we came here and saw the arena, it’s really nice and big. Probably is going to be crowded.

 

“The court is also a little fast, as we expected. But also we are already prepared for that. We are also talking about this some time before to come here during the tournaments.

 

“We did a very good preparation to face the USA team. We know that they are really good, they’re really strong. They’re going to have a great support here with the crowd. But we also have a good experience to play in these conditions. We’re expecting to do well.

 

“We’re going to fight hard to get this tie to Brazil.”

 

World No. 13 Isner will meet Brazil’s Thiago Alves, ranked No. 145 in the second singles match of the day on Friday. The first match will feature No. 22 Sam Querrey against Brazil’s top player, No. 33 Thomaz Bellucci.

 

The doubles rubber will take place on Saturday as the world’s top team ranked team of Bob and Mike Bryan will face the Brazilian pair of Marcelo Melo and Bruno Soares. On Sunday reverse singles will take place.

 

Isner is 5-5 in Davis Cup singles play, while Querrey is 1-5.

 

The match marks the fifth meeting between the U.S. and Brazil in Davis Cup with the Americans leading the overall series 3-1. The countries last met in Davis Cup play in 1997 in a first-round match in Ribeirao Preto, Brazil. Courier played singles for the U.S. team and won two matches to lead the American team to a 4-1 win.

 

This will be the first Davis Cup competition in an American city for either Isner or Querrey. Isner is 5-5 in Davis Cup singles play while Querrey is 1-5, with all matches held outside the U.S. on clay courts.

 

This match will mark the fifth meeting between the U.S. and Brazil in Davis Cup with the U.S. leading the overall series 3-1. The US defeated Brazil in the 1997 first round in Ribeirao Preto, Brazil, when Courier and Jacksonville resident MaliVai Washington led the U.S. to a 4-1 win. Brazil is playing the World Group for the first time since 2003. It has not won a World Group first round tie since 2001, when they hosted Morocco.

 

Weekend Order of Play

Friday, 2 p.m.

Singles A: Sam Querrey (USA) v. Thomaz Bellucci (BRA)

Singles B: John Isner (USA) v. Thiago Alves (BRA)

 

Saturday, 2 p.m.

Doubles: Bob Bryan/Mike Bryan (USA) v. Marcelo Melo/Bruno Soares (BRA)

Sunday, 12 p.m.

Singles C: John Isner (USA) v. Thomaz Bellucci (BRA)

Singles D: Sam Querrey (USA) v. Thiago Alves (BRA)

James Blake To Be Guest Analyst For Tennis Channel’s Davis Cup Coverage This Weekend

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With Isner Not at 100%, Harrison Will Be on Standby For Davis Cup Versus Brazil

John Isner

(January 29, 2013) The 2013 Davis Cup World Group first round tie between the United States and Brazil will take place this weekend from February 1 – 3, in Jacksonville, Fla., at the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena on an indoor hard court.

 

The US team, as of now will consist of John Isner, Sam Querrey, Bob and Mike Bryan while the Brazilian team will be composed of Thomaz Bellucci, Thiago Alves, Marcelo Melo and Bruno Soares.

 

On Tuesday both the US and Brazilian Davis Cup teams held pre-draw news conferences at the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena.

 

John Isner who pulled out of the Australian Open due to a bruised right knee may not be 100 percent for the tie, but he’s in Jacksonville preparing.

 

“It’s definitely been feeling better,“ Isner said. I’ve been doing everything I can to try to get this better.

 

 

“Really, once I pulled out of Australia, there wasn’t much I could do besides rest. Rest was the most important thing. I can ice it five, six times a day. I can do some treatment on it. But the most important thing for me was rest. I definitely have that.

 

 

“My knee, it is feeling better. Hopefully I’ll be able to go on Friday. I would really like that. We have to see how this week progresses.”

 

 

Not taking any chances, US Davis cup Captain Jim Courier has a backup plan – Ryan Harrison.

 

 

“John is here and obviously we’re hopeful he’s going to be prepared to play come Friday,“ Courier said. “But we have Ryan Harrison, as well, practicing with us. Ryan is certainly prepared to step in should John not be ready to go.”

 

Mardy Fish is also practicing with the team but is not match ready. He’s been off the tour with heart trouble.

 

 

“We’re glad to have him practicing with the team,“ Courier said.

“He’s building back up to be at tour level. He’s not going to be quite ready to go here.”

 

Well, we have a great medical support team here who will certainly make a decision whether John is fit to play or not,” Courier said.

 

“That will be one portion of the decision. The rest of it will just be between John and probably me and Jay Berger, our coach, as well to see if he’s ready to go.

 

“By Thursday when the draw comes out, we’ll name our firm four-player team, the Brazilians will do the same, and we’ll know what the options are from there.

 

“I think I speak for everyone when I say it’s a huge, huge honor,” said Isner.

“We’re excited to finally, myself and Sam, to play on home soil. We’ve never played a match in the U.S. I think both of us are looking forward to that.”

 

“As the captain said, this match is the first step towards our goal. We’re going to go out there and enjoy it and try to get it done.”

 

Tennis Channel will air live daily coverage of the tie. Friday’s singles matches will air live at 2 p.m. ET, Saturday’s doubles match will air at 2 p.m. ET, and Sunday’s singles matches will air live at 12 p.m. ET.

 

Karen Pestaina for Tennis Panorama News

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