September 4, 2015

More Women’s Seeds Lose, Young Beats Simon, Federer Cruises at US OPen

Lucie Safarova

Lucie Safarova

(September 1, 2015) FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – The upsets continued on the women’s side of the draw at the US Open on Tuesday. French Open finalist sixth seed Lucie Safarova lost to No. 37 Lesia Tsurenko 6-4, 6-1, while 14th seed Timea Bacsinszky lost to Barbora Strycova 7-5, 6-0 Alizé Cornet 27th seed Alizé Cornet also was defeated. Ten women’s seeds have lost in the first round at the US Open, half of the Top 10.

No. 11 Gilles Simon led Donald Young by two sets to none and 3-0, when the American rallied to win the match 2-6, 4-6, 6-4, 6-4, 6-4.

“Down two sets to love and 3-0 actually, that’s when I decided to swing a little freer, start to, you know, push the envelope a little bit and start to come in more, just assert myself to the match,” Young said. “I was going to go down swinging. That was pretty much my mentality at that point.”

“I love playing in New York. I love playing on hard courts. It’s the last slam of the year. I haven’t had the results I wanted at the other slams. I didn’t want to go out like that.

“If I was to go out, I really wanted to go out swinging and giving him a battle and making him earn it. I didn’t feel at first I was able to do that. To be able to do that was great. Emotionally I just felt, you know, it gives you confidence to know you can come back from 2 sets to love against such a quality opponent, a top 10 guy, wins titles and, competes at the highest level every week.”

This was the first time Young had ever come back in a match from two sets to love down.

There was no such drama for high seeds (2) Roger Federer, (2) Simona Halep, (4) Caroline Wozniacki, (6) Tomas Berdych and (9) Garbine Muguruza.

Federer destroyed Argentine Leonardo Mayer 6-1, 6-2, 6-2 in 77 minutes.

“I feel good now,“ Federer said. “I actually wasn’t so confident yesterday and today. I just felt like maybe could be one of those matches I just couldn’t see it coming.

“So thankfully I took this match extremely serious. I thought at times almost I was taking it a bit too serious. I got that lucky in Shanghai, so that’s why that was just — it was just creeping around in my mind that maybe today was going to be a bad day.

“Plus I had practiced with him, you know, here, I don’t know, the day of the draw, and he was playing very well in practice, too.”

A record was set for retirements during the first round of the U.S. Open than in any round at any Grand Slam tournament in the open era.

Twelve men and women have retired during matches on Monday and Tuesday. Tuesday pull-outs included Marcos Baghdatis, Ernests Gulbis, Thanasi Kokkinakis, Aleksandr Nedovyesov and Marina Erakovic.

Andy Murray bested controversial Nick Kyrgios in four sets in the night match. The young Australian Kyrgios was playing his first match since and episode in Montreal where he verbally abused Stan Wawrinka. He’s been put on probation by the ATP, and if he misbehaves in the next 6 months at an ATP event, he could face a suspension and fine. However this would not apply for the US Open as it’s a Grand Slam.

RESULTS – SEPTEMBER 1, 2015
Women’s
Singles – First Round

[2] Simona Halep (ROU) def. Marina Erakovic (NZL) 6-2, 3-0 (retired – knee injury)
[4] Caroline Wozniacki (DEN) def. Jamie Loeb (USA) 6-2, 6-0

[5] Petra Kvitova (CZE) def. Laura Siegemund (GER) 6-1, 6-1
Lesia Tsurenko (UKR) def. [6] Lucie Safarova (CZE) 6-4, 6-1
[20] Victoria Azarenka (BLR) def. Lucie Hradecka (CZE) 6-1, 6-2
[11] Angelique Kerber (GER) def. Alexandra Dulgheru (ROU) 6-3, 6-1

[18] Andrea Petkovic (GER) def. Caroline Garcia (FRA) 3-6, 6-4, 7-5
[9] Garbiñe Muguruza (ESP) def. Carina Witthoeft (GER) 6-2, 6-4

[22] Samantha Stosur (AUS) def. Timea Babos (HUN) 6-3, 6-4

[16] Sara Errani (ITA) def. Mayo Hibi 6-0, 6-1
Johanna Konta (GBR) def. Louisa Chirico (USA) 6-3, 6-0
Elena Vesnina (RUS) def. Laura Robson (GBR) 3-6, 6-3, 7-5

Kurumi Nara (JPN) def. [27] Alizé Cornet (FRA) 2-6, 6-4, 6-4

Petra Cetkovska (CZE) def. Christina McHale (USA) 4-6, 6-4, 6-3

[24] Sabine Lisicki (GER) def. Aliaksandra Sasnovich (BLR) 6-1, 6-4
Varvara Lepchenko (USA) def. Kirsten Flipkens (BEL) 6-1, 6-1

Yanina Wickmayer (BEL) def. Francesca Schiavone (ITA) 6-3, 6-1

Qiang Wang (CHN) def. Maria Sakkari (GRE) 7-5, 6-2

Shelby Rogers (USA) def. Sachia Vickery (USA) 6-2, 6-2
Anna Karolina Schmiedlova (SVK) def. Julia Goerges (GER) 6-3, 6-4
Nicole Gibbs (USA) def. Lourdes Dominguez Lino (ESP) 6-3, 3-6, 6-4
Barbora Strycova (CZE) def. [14] Timea Bacsinszky (SUI) 7-5, 6-0
Danka Kovinic (MNE) def. Aleksandra Krunic (SRB) 4-6, 7-5, 6-1
Mona Barthel (GER) def. Tsvetana Pironkova (BUL) 5-7, 7-6(4), 6-1
[26] Flavia Pennetta (ITA) def. Jarmila Gajdosova (AUS) 6-1, 3-6, 6-1
Jelena Ostapenko (LAT) def. Annika Beck (GER) 6-4, 1-6, 6-4
Evgeniya Rodina (RUS) def. Tereza Mrdeza (CRO) 6-2, 6-2
Karin Knapp (ITA) def. Ajla Tomljanovic (AUS) 6-7(1), 6-2, 6-4
Olga Govortsova (BLR) def. [28] Irina-Camelia Begu (ROU) 6-1, 0-6, 7-6(3)
Camila Giorgi (ITA) def. Johanna Larsson (SWE) 6-3, 6-3
Kateryna Bondarenko (UKR) def. Yulia Putintseva (KAZ) 6-0, 6-3

Monica Niculescu (ROU) def. Alexandra Panova (RUS) 7-6(3), 5-7, 6-3

Men’s
Singles – First Round

[2] Roger Federer (SUI) d. Leonardo Mayer (ARG) 61 62 62
[5] Stan Wawrinka (SUI) vs. Albert Ramos-Vinolas (ESP) 75 64 76(6)
[6] Tomas Berdych (CZE) d. Bjorn Fratangelo (USA) 63 62 64
Donald Young (USA) d. [11] Gilles Simon (FRA) 26 46 64 64 64
[12] Richard Gasquet (FRA) d. Thanasi Kokkinakis (AUS) 46 61 46 63 20 ret.
[13] John Isner (USA) d. Malek Jaziri (TUN) 62 63 64
[21] Ivo Karlovic (CRO) d. Federico Delbonis (ARG) 63 75 75
[30] Thomaz Bellucci (BRA) d. James Ward (GBR) 61 75 63
Jurgen Melzer (AUT) d. Denis Kudla (USA) 63 75 61
Austin Krajicek (USA) d. Santiago Giraldo (COL) 36 76(6) 76(6) 76(1)
Mikhail Youzhny (RUS) d. John-Patrick Smith (AUS) 61 36 75 76(4)
Jiri Vesely (CZE) d. Paolo Lorenzi (ITA) 64 64 64
Gilles Muller (LUX) vs. Ruben Bemelmans (BEL)
Aljaz Bedene (GBR) d. Ernests Gulbis (LAT) 36 64 30 ret.
Robin Haase (NED) d. Dustin Brown (GER) 46 46 63 75 64
Yoshihito Nishioka (JPN) d. Paul-Henri Mathieu (FRA) 64 26 67(7) 61 62

More to follow…

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Novak Djokovic Wins Monte Carlo for 23rd Masters Series Tournament Victory

(April 19, 2015) Novak Djokovic made some ATP history on Sunday in claiming his second Monte Carlo Masters tournament win. He defeated Czech Tomas Berdych 7-5, 4-6,6-3.

The world’s No. 1 tennis player has become the first player to sweep the opening three Masters Series events in a season. The 27-year-old Serb who resides in Monte Carlo took home trophies in Indian Wells and Miami as well. He is has won the last four Masters tournaments going back to Bercy in the fall of 2014.

“The fact that now I won three Masters in a row, that nobody ever has done that, that has given me, even this week, more motivation,” said the winner.

The win also extended Djokovic’s winning streak to 17 straight boosting his overall record on the year to 30-2. He is now 19-2 against Berdych.

“Obviously I’m experiencing the time of my life on the tennis court, and also private life is very good,” Djokovic said. “I became a father. I’m just trying to sometimes pinch myself and say, ‘Where am I at this point in my life?’ I’m very grateful for this, for everything that I have. That’s the kind of philosophy.

“I won this match with my heart and with battle. That’s how I feel like I won it. I don’t think I played at the level that I wish to play and that I have played throughout the whole week. But also credit to Tomas because he has played very aggressively, staying close to the line, pushing me back. So I had to defend a lot of times.”

Djokovic is now more than 5000 ranking points ahead of No. 2 Roger Federer. He has now equaled Federer in the number of Masters tournament wins at 23, four behind Rafael Nadal who holds the record.

The one major trophy which has eluded his grasp has been Roland Garros, the French Open. After defeating nine-time French Open champion Nadal in the Monte Carlo semifinal on Saturday, the 8-time major champion discussed the rest of the season.

“I think the most important period of the year is coming up right now,” Djokovic said. “Obviously Roland Garros and Wimbledon are the priority. That’s where I want to perform my best. But we’ll take it step by step and see how far I can go.”

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Novak Djokovic Defeats Rafael Nadal to Reach Monte Carlo Final

(April 18, 2015) Novak Djokovic extended his current winning streak to 16 matches with a 6-3, 6-3 victory over Rafael Nadal in the semifinals of the Monte Carlo Masters on Saturday in one hour and 37 minutes.

No. 1 Djokovic will meet Tomas Berdych in final on Sunday. Berdych dismissed Gael Monfils 6-1, 6-3 earlier in the day

The Djokovic – Nadal semifinal was much closer than the score indicated. In the first set Djokovic had to rebound from 0-2 with points to go down 0-3, taking six of the last seven games to claim the first set.

In the second set, Djokovic broke serve in the seventh game, after the 8-time Monte Carlo champion Nadal led 40-0. The Serb ended the match with a second break of serve in the set.

Djokovic hit 23 winners to 19 unforced errors in match to the Spaniard’s 20 winners and 20 errors.

Djokovic is now 10-1 against Top ten opponents in 2015. Djokovic has improved his head-to-head record against Nadal to 20-23.

Djokovic will be looking to claim his fourth straight Masters Series title and second Monte Carlo crown on Sunday.
RESULTS – SATURDAY, 18 APRIL 2015

Singles – Semi-Finals
[1] N. Djokovic (SRB) d [3] R. Nadal (ESP) 63 63
[6] T. Berdych (CZE) d [14] [WC] G. Monfils (FRA) 61 64

Doubles – Semi-finals
[1] B. Bryan (USA) / M. Bryan (USA) d [4] M. Matkowski (POL) / N. Zimonjic (SRB) 64 62
S. Bolelli (ITA) / F. Fognini (ITA) d [2] I. Dodig (CRO) / M. Melo (BRA) 76(6) 63

SCHEDULE – SUNDAY, 19 APRIL 2015

COURT CENTRAL start 11:30 am
[1] B. Bryan (USA) / M. Bryan (USA) vs S. Bolelli (ITA) / F. Fognini (ITA)

Not Before 2:30 pm
[1] N. Djokovic (SRB) vs [6] T. Berdych (CZE)

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Djokovic and Murray to Meet in Miami Open Final

Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic

(April 3, 2015)Sunday’s Miami Open men’s final will feature a battle between a pair who have won multiple times in Key Biscayne when No. 1 Novak Djokovic takes on Andy Murray.

Djokovic, who will be going for his fifth Miami crown, moved past hard-serving John Isner in Friday night’s semifinal 7-6(3), 6-2. Murray, who will be attempting to capture his third Miami Open title, defeated Tomas Berdych 6-4, 6-4.

Djokovic outserved Isner 10 aces to nine. Djokovic never faced a break point. After a very tight first set, Djokovic broke Isner’s serve twice in the second set. Isner lost 70 percent of his second-serve points.

“I didn’t quite have my legs underneath me like I did yesterday maybe for whatever reason,” Isner said. Conditions, it was a little bit more humid out there tonight. I didn’t have quite as much pop on the ball as maybe I had earlier in the tournament. I needed a lot of pop in order to make a match like that closer. I just didn’t quite have it tonight.”

 

“I created a lot of opportunities for myself in the first set, even though there was only one break point and it was actually a set point,” Djokovic said.

 

“I thought I made him work for his serves games a lot from the beginning. I thought that that has influenced a little bit his physicality. I think towards the end of the first and beginning of the second set he already felt a business exhausted, and I wanted to use the opportunity and the early break in the second to open the door for me.

 

“That’s when I felt like I could start swinging through, and played a great second set.”

 

Despite the loss, Isner had a good fortnight in Miami, beating three top 11 players in succession – Grigor Dimitrov, Milos Raonic and Kei Nishikori en route to the semifinals

 

“Novak is the best in the world,” Isner said. “He’s so good. It was a good two weeks for me. I’m playing better. I have to build on this, and I will.”

 

‘He’s No. 1 in the world for a reason. I had to play pretty close to my best to beat him, and I don’t think I did that tonight.”

 

Mubadala World Tennis Championship

This will be the Scot’s 13th Masters Series final and fourth Miami final.

“I felt like I served well,” said Murray. “It was tricky from one end of the court. We’re basically serving right into the sun at that time of day, so I had to take a little bit off the serve. On the second serve it was very tough to see.

“But I thought when I was behind in games, like the last game, for example, I came up with some big serves and was able to dictate a lot of the rallies from the baseline as well. I was moving him around a lot. That was good.”

Murray’s win has evened up his record against the Czech 6-6.

“Andy changed the game plan a bit,” Berdych said. “He starts to play much more aggressive in those last two matches that he played to me. I think that he’s been doing that pretty well. I think that’s the only reason.

 

“So, you know, I’m just going to need some time to put myself ‑‑ prepare better for the next time I’m going to play him.

Now I know what to expect and just be more ready for it.”

 

“Well, I thought I obviously started both sets well,” Murray said of the early breaks in each set. “Yeah, that was really the difference, to be honest. We played some good points. I thought throughout the match I thought it was a pretty clean match.

Yeah, I felt like I just played a bit better than him. That was the difference.”

Murray on playing Djokovic in the final: Novak obviously started the year extremely well obviously winning Australia, and then also last week, too. He’s come through a couple of tough ones so far in this event.”

 

As for Djokovic on playing Murray: “The fact that I won I think last six, seven matches that we played against each other, especially the one just recently in Indian Wells, gives me confidence and maybe a slight mental advantage.

 

“But we’re talking about small margins. That’s always the case when we play against each other. Very few points, details can decide a winner. We have very similar games. We already played twice this year, and of course in a big match in Australian Open final which was very, very physical, very close.

 

“I expect a battle, long rallies, and I know what is expecting me on the court. I know his game pretty well, as well as he knows mine.”

Djokovic leads in head-to-head clashes with Murray 17-8

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Andy Murray Reaches 500th Win Mark with Victory Over Kevin Anderson at Miami Open

(March 31, 2015) Andy Murray became the ninth player on the ATP World Tour to win 500 career matches with his victory over Kevin Anderson 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 to reach the Miami Open quarterfinals.

The Scot is the 46th player in the Open era with 500 or more wins and the first British player to accomplish this feat.

“It’s nice I think obviously for me the fact that it happened here,” said the two-time Miami Open champion. “It’s just fitting just because I have spent so much time training here and working to get better and to improve. That was nice.

“Yeah, I hope I’ve still got a lot more wins in me. To get to 500 is good. It’s not an easy thing to do at my age. It’s nice. Hopefully I can keep going.”

“I hope for me this isn’t the end and I can keep trying to progress,” he added. With each win you get closer to going past a great player.

“You know, the people that are ahead of me have all done pretty amazing things in the sport, so that’s what’s nice about it. And, yeah, it gives me ‑‑ also feels like it gives me motivation, as well, for some reason.

“I don’t know why, but getting to 500, yeah, it gives me motivation to go on and try and win more. When you look at the list of players and the wins that certain guys have got, it gives you something to aim at, as well.”

No. 3 seed Murray will face off against 21-year-old Dominic Thiem, who reached his first Masters 1000 quarterfinal with a win over No. 28 Adrian Mannarino 7-6 (5), 4-6, 7-5.

“He had his best year on the tour last year,” Murray said. “He’s a very talented guy. He’s strong. I know him fairly well. I practice with him quite a bit. He’s very hard worker. Very good attitude. Very respectful guy. He’s got a very good career ahead of him.

“So I expect tomorrow will be a tough match. He struggled a little bit the beginning part of the year. He changed racquets. “You know, always takes a few months to get used to that. Obviously this week he’s played very well again.”

Also advancing to the quarterfinals were No. 1 Novak Djokovic, No. 4 Kei Nishikori, No. 6 David Ferrer, No. 8 Tomas Berdych, and Juan Monaco.

Djokovic survived a test from Alexandr Dolgopolov 6-7, 7-5, 6-0. Dolgopolov was a point a way from a 7-6, 4-0 lead. Berdych advanced when Gael Monfils retired from the match with a hip injury in the second set.

 

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What a Difference a Week Makes

Serena Williams

Serena Williams

(March 20, 2015) INDIAN WELLS, CALIFORNIA – Just as the tournament spun in the early days with the expectation of Serena Williams’ return, so it would end in an almost eerie echo of 14 years ago.

 

Social media had already buzzed about the news during the previous semi-final, and when she took to the court mostly to cheers, a few boos could be clearly heard from the Press balcony, coming from above, but the announcement was cleverly stage managed to celebrate 40 years of the tournament, and the momentousness of Williams come-back just a week ago.

 

Williams spoke to the press immediately afterwards and confirmed: “I was just on the practice court two days ago, day and a half ago, yesterday, and everything was going good. Literally last two couple minutes of practice I went for a serve and I just felt a super sharp pain in my knee.

 

“It was like, Okay, and I served again. I felt it again. I just came off, and it hasn’t been the same since. I have done everything. Like I have just pretty much done everything from taping to research and I even did an injection. I have never done an injection before.

 

“I think if this was any other event I probably wouldn’t have considered it. I wanted to give 200%. It just wasn’t meant to be this year.”

 

She has stated she intends to return to Indian Wells next year.

 

Meanwhile – we had the ATP quarter-finals to conclude, and that too was a tale of two halves.

315Federerin press.-001

Roger Federer almost bullied his way to the semi-finals of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells. From the outset he had Tomas Berdych on the back foot, at one stage throwing up three double faults in one game before Federer finally broke through the door he had been battering down. A single break was a respectable margin for the first set, but it was not enough as Federer stepped up a gear, and Berdych crumbled once more in a key match 6-4, 6-0.

 

The confidence he had at the start of the year with regards to changing the team around him, once more could not manifest itself when it came to the crunch, as Berdych tried to explain.

 

In his post-match news conference he said: “When you feel that he’s in control right from the beginning, then of course you have to come up with your best game from the beginning of the match. I mean, you just want to play well. You just want to play your best. There is a very thin line in between that and overdoing it. It’s not so easy, really, to control it every single time that you go play with a player like this, even if he’s playing in such a good shape.

 

“Today I stepped a little bit over it, so hope the next time, next day, it’s just going to stay on the line.”

 

With the very real prospect of the World Top 4 contesting the Indian Wells semi-finals, Federer cast his eye over another match up with Rafael Nadal. The Spaniard started aggressively against Milos Raonic, breaking him before the first change of ends in the first set.

 

Federer said: “Matches against him are always tough, I think. You know, he’s going to play the percentages high. He’s not going to miss many shots. He’s got a great forehand, one of the best ever. Then physically and mentally he’s always going to be there. That what makes him so good and so tough over all these years. “

 

It looked for all the world like we would be in for a quick afternoon, but somehow Raonic clung on to set, needing five set points in total (three in the tie-break) to take only his second set off the Spaniard.

 

Milos Raonic

Milos Raonic

Going toe-to-toe with him in the decider had everyone ready for a decisive tie-break but for a loose game by Nadal to give Raonic a 6-5 lead. For once it was right to come down to that serve as Raonic held his nerve to close out a 4-6, 7-6(10), 7-5 win, his first over Nadal and it sets up an intriguing rematch now against Federer after their encounter in the season opener in Brisbane.

 

Raonic believes he can be ready for Saturday’s semi-final after such a momentous win.

 

He said: “I think I have a good understanding of what I need to do against Roger. Obviously that’s the easiest part, understanding it, rather than doing it. But I think the last three times we have played I have sort of been able to change course a little bit, especially when it was important to me in Paris. Even the other two I didn’t play well at the start of the matches, in London and in Brisbane, but I was able to find a way to fight myself back into those matches and give myself some opportunities.

 

“I’ve just got to keep calm, keep collected, and just try to figure out solutions and adjustments as they come.”

 

The ATP semi-finals will be played on Saturday.

 

Ros Satar is a British sports journalist and a writer at Livetennis.com.

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Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer to Face-off in Dubai Final Again

 

[portfolio_slideshow size=large]

Photos by Nida Alibhai

(February 27, 2015) DUBAI, UAE – In a rematch of last year’s final No. 1 Novak Djokovic will take on defending champion No. 2 Roger Federer in the final of the Dubai Tennis Championships.

Djokovic defeated fourth seed Tomas Berdych 6-0, 5-7, 6-4 while Federer had a much easier time with lucky loser 18-year-old Borna Coric 6-2, 6-1 in 56 minutes.

“Even after the first set that went as perfectly as possible and when I was break up I knew that the match is not over,” said Djokovic. “I just wanted to stay on that level, but it was hard.

“I started making some unforced errors, backed up a little bit, less first serves in. Then he stepped in. From that moment on it was an even match, a lot of unforced errors from my side. Just wasn’t feeling the ball great in the third but somehow managed to hang in there.”

“From that moment on it was an even match, a lot of unforced errors from my side. Just wasn’t feeling the ball great in the third but somehow managed to hang in there.”

“I don’t know his game very well. Maybe I was a bit tentative in the beginning,” Federer said of being broken early in the match, “But I was still able to get off to somewhat of a good start, not being broken early, then breaking him right away. I felt like after five games I knew more or less what to expect, and I realized what had worked until that point and what had not.”

“I can see why he has so far caused difficulties for some of the top guys and he still has a lot of room for improvement in his game,” said Federer. “He does a really good job for a big guy. It’s unbelievable how in the past 10 years we have seen so many big guys moving well from the baseline. I think he returns very well, especially off second serves, and that’s such a huge part of today’s game, I believe.”

“Yeah, I was. I was. I was nervous,” Coric said. “I knew that it’s going to be very tough, you know. But when you come on the court and actually feel the ball and feel the pressure which he’s making, it’s actually been tougher than when you’re watching it on the sofa in front of the TV.

“You know, he was just way too good for me. I was feeling so rushed. I didn’t have any time to play my game plan. I was just trying to hold in the rally as long as I can, and it was basically only thing what I could do.”

For the 33-year-old Federer, it will be his ninth final, he’s won the tournament six times. Djokovic is trying to win Dubai for the fifth time.

Between Djkokovic and Federer they have claimed the Dubai trophy in 10 of the last 12 years dating back to 2003, with only Rafael Nadal in 2006 and Andy Roddick in 2008.

“When you play Roger, it’s always a great challenge,” said Djokovic about the final against Federer. “If you want to win you have to play your best tennis, especially against Roger in the final of any event, but here particularly. Because I feel like this is the kind of a surface and conditions that it suits his game the best.”

Federer holds a 19-17 career edge over Djokovic. The final will be their fourth meeting in Dubai and second in the final.

RESULTS – FRIDAY, 27 FEBRUARY 2015

Singles – Semi-finals
[1] N. Djokovic (SRB) d [4] T. Berdych (CZE) 60 57 64
[2] R. Federer (SUI) d [LL] B. Coric (CRO) 62 61

Doubles – Semi-finals
[4] R. Bopanna (IND) / D. Nestor (CAN) d [2] J. Rojer (NED) / H. Tecau (ROU) 46 76(9) 11-9
A. Qureshi (PAK) / N. Zimonjic (SRB) d D. Inglot (GBR) / F. Mergea (ROU) 67(2) 64 11-9

SCHEDULE – SATURDAY, 28 FEBRUARY 2015

CENTRE COURT start 5:00 pm
A. Qureshi (PAK) / N. Zimonjic (SRB) vs [4] R. Bopanna (IND) / D. Nestor (CAN)
Not Before 7:00 pm
[1] N. Djokovic (SRB) vs [2] R. Federer (SUI)

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Lucky Loser Borna Coric Stuns Andy Murray to Reach Dubai Semis

Borna Coric

Borna Coric

(February 26, 2015) DUBAI, UAECroatian teenager and lucky loser Borna Coric upset world No. 3 Andy Murray 6-1, 6-3 on Thursday to become the youngest player ever to reach the Dubai Tennis Championships semifinals.

The 18-year-old was beaten in the qualifying rounds, but received a place in the main draw when 2014 semifinalist Philipp Kohlschreiber withdrew due to illness.

“I was just trying to maintain the level and stay in the rally as long as I can, which I was doing really good, you know. I was also running very good,” said Coric currently ranked No. 84.

“I think I was really lucky with Kohlschreiber pulling out. That’s the life. Sometimes you’re going to get lucky. Maybe next tournament I will have match point and I’m not going to take it. That’s tennis. One week you gonna play good, you gonna be lucky, and it’s those kind of days for you to take opportunities.”

Last year Coric stunned Rafael Nadal in Basel, and caught the eye of Novak Djokovic, who has since practised with him both in Australia and Dubai.

“I try to help him because I see, in a way, myself through him,” said Djokovic. “I’ve never felt that way when I practice with somebody as I felt with him. It’s like playing myself. Very similar game. Great fighting spirit, disciplined, focused, committed, confident, very young but confident, which is important.”

“He didn’t make many errors,” said Murray. “He played very solid and he moved well, made a lot of balls, made it tough. I made way too many mistakes from the beginning of the match right through to the end, early in rallies, rushing points. I don’t think I’m being wrong in saying that I made a lot of basic errors, especially early in the rallies. I don’t know exactly why that was the case.”

Murray made 55 errors with only 15 winners.

Novak Djokovic stopped Turkish qualifier Marsel Ilhan 6-1, 6-1.

“He lacks a little bit of experience and confidence on being in the big stadium. That’s where I used my opportunity from the start,” said Djokovic. “I made double break, and I felt like I was in control of the match. I didn’t allow him to get into the groove. So it was a good performance.”

Roger Federer was on court for only 20 minutes as Richard Gasquet retired with a back injury after losing the first set 6-1.

“I think I played well. I served well,” he said. “Then again, you know, the test was so short that it’s tough to judge on a 20-minute match. But I think I was hitting the ball well again like yesterday. I felt able to play aggressive and do what I was hoping to do, so I was very pleased, actually.”

Tomas Berdych was stretched to three sets winning 6-3, 4-6, 6-2 Sergiy Stakhovsky.

“I think especially in the second set, end of the second set, he come up with some great shots,” said Berdych. “But that’s how it is. You know, you have to know how to deal with those situations. Again, it’s very good that I handled the third set how I did, two breaks.”

RESULTS – THURSDAY, 26 FEBRUARY 2015

Singles – Quarter-finals
[1] N. Djokovic (SRB) d [Q] M. Ilhan (TUR) 61 61
[2] R. Federer (SUI) d R. Gasquet (FRA) 61 ret. (lower back pain)
[LL] B. Coric (CRO) d [3] A. Murray (GBR) 61 63
[4] T. Berdych (CZE) d S. Stakhovsky (UKR) 63 46 62

Doubles – Quarter-finals
D. Inglot (GBR) / F. Mergea (ROU) d [1] B. Bryan (USA) / M. Bryan (USA) 76(6) 26 10-8
[2] J. Rojer (NED) / H. Tecau (ROU) d R. Lindstedt (SWE) / M. Matkowski (POL) 46 75 10-7
[4] R. Bopanna (IND) / D. Nestor (CAN) d [Q] J. Murray (GBR) / J. Peers (AUS) 64 75
A. Qureshi (PAK) / N. Zimonjic (SRB) d J. Chardy (FRA) / L. Rosol (CZE) 61 62

SCHEDULE – FRIDAY, 27 FEBRUARY 2015

CENTRE COURT start 2:30 pm
[4] R. Bopanna (IND) / D. Nestor (CAN) vs [2] J. Rojer (NED) / H. Tecau (ROU)

Not Before 5:00 pm
[LL] B. Coric (CRO) vs [2] R. Federer (SUI)

Not Before 7:00 pm
[1] N. Djokovic (SRB) vs [4] T. Berdych (CZE)
D. Inglot (GBR) / F. Mergea (ROU) vs A. Qureshi (PAK) / N. Zimonjic (SRB)

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Wawrinka Takes Rotterdam Trophy

Thumbs up Wawrinka

(February 15, 2015) Stan Wawrinka took out defending champion Tomas Berdych for the sixth time in a row, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 on Sunday to win the World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam for his ninth career title, first indoor crown and first ATP 500 trophy.

“Tomas was playing really well, but I’m happy to turn that match for me and win the title,” said Wawrinka. “Winning indoors is something special for me personally.”

The 29-year-old Swiss turned the tide of the match in the second set when he broke serve for a 5-3 lead and broke again and held for 2-0 at the start of the third set.

“I had my chances in the beginning of the second set, and I didn’t take them so I think that cost me the match,” Berdych said. “I can see some positive things because the last time I played him it went a completely different way. I was in control in the beginning and the small differences decided it.”

“It’s been an amazing week,” Wawrinka said. “It wasn’t easy, but every match I found my way. It was a great final. Tomas was playing really well, but I’m happy to turn that match for me and win the title.

“It’s my first (ATP World Tour) 500 title and winning indoors is something special for me personally. It’s always amazing to win a trophy. It’s the best feeling.”

“I’m disappointed with the way the match finished,” Berdych said. T”here can only be one winner. I had my chances in the beginning of the second set and I didn’t make them so I think that cost me the match.

“I can see some positive things because the last time I played him it went a completely different way. I was in control in the beginning and the small differences decided it today. Next time I need to work harder.”

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Serena Williams Win Sets Up Australian Open Final Against Maria Sharapova

(January 29, 2015) For the first time since 2004, the Australian Open women’s final will feature No. 1 versus No. 2. Top seed and five-time Australian Open winner Serena Williams will take on 2008 champion Maria Sharapova for the title on Saturday.

Both women won straight set matches on Thursday to advance. Williams won a slugfest of big serves and hard groundstrokes against 19-year-old Madison Keys in a battle between Americans 7-6 (5), 6-2. Williams was pushed by Keys at the very end, needing nine match points to close the contest. Sharapova had a much easier time against Russian countrywoman No. 10 Ekaterina Makarova 6-3, 6-2.

For the 33-year-old Williams, she is seeking her sixth Australian Open title and 19th major. She last won the Australian Open in 2010. Sharapova will be trying to claim her second Melbourne title and sixth Grand Slam title.

“She (Keys) pushed me really hard the first set ……. and I had to really dig deep mentally to get through that,” said a coughing Williams who has been ill for several days. “It was a little frustrating, I had like nine or 10 match points and couldn’t close it out. That doesn’t happen so much. She played like she didn’t have anything to lose.”

“I think she’s going to be winning this tournament very soon and lots of other Grand Slams,” said Williams to ESPN.

A total of 25 aces were hit during the match – 13 for Williams, 12 for Keys. Williams hit 19 winners to 16 unforced errors to Keys 27 winners to 39 unforced errors.

“I was impressed by her ability to stay in the match,” Said Williams. She never let up at all till the end. I think that is a really great quality to have.

“Well, I was just happy to get through it today. And I think I was able to serve big when I needed to. So that really helped me out a lot.”

“I’m really happy to have gotten this far in a tournament,” Keys said. “It’s my first one. Just looking forward to having more. Hopefully have a couple where I’m with the trophy at the end of the week.”

“I think I handled the moment pretty well. I definitely had a good start, so nerves didn’t totally play into that. I thought I handled myself pretty well in that last serving game of mine. But, I mean, she played really well. She served really well. It was pretty much impossible for me to break her serve. So, you know, great job to her today.”

“I think this week has definitely more shown to me, more than anyone else, that I can play the top players and I can do well against them. I can play the No. 1 player in the world in a pretty close match. So I think for me that’s inspiration for every time I’m on a practice court to keep working, keep getting better so I can have more and more weeks like that.”

 

Sharapova was pleased with her decisive win on Thursday. “I’m definitely happy. Like today, I thought I played solid. I did everything I had to do. I wasn’t afraid for it to become a physical match. You know, I think it was important to really stand my ground in the first few games, which I did well, even though I was behind, especially the first and second one. But, yeah, those key moments are really important. Yeah, definitely happy I was able to win really solid today.”

The No. 2 player’s road to the final had one major bump – she saved two match points in the second round of the tournament coming back to beat No. 150 Russian qualifier Alexandra Panova.

“It’s been a strange road for me to get to the finals, but I’m happy,” said Sharapova. “Came from behind in a few, really behind in one – saving match points. I felt like I was given a second chance. I just wanted to take my chances.”

Williams is 16-2 against Sharapova, with her last loss to the Russian coming in 2004. Williams has won the last 15 straight matches against Sharapova. Regardless who wins the final, Williams will remain in the top spot after the tournament.

“Everyone’s expecting me to win, “Williams said to ESPN. But I have to win. I’m glad No. 1 and No. 2 are in the final and I think it will be a good match.”

“Maria is playing great,” Williams said in her post-match news conference. “She’s in the tournament only because she’s a fighter and only because she refuses to give up. So, yeah, it’s a new match. She has nothing to lose, once again. She has only things to gain. And I feel that way, too. I feel I don’t. I’ve won this tournament several times. I don’t have to go out there and have another title. I want it, but it’s not life or death for me. I think that helps me he relax. So, yeah, she absolutely has nothing to lose, and I have nothing to lose, so it will be fun.”

Asked about what about Williams’ game give her trouble, Sharapova responded: “I think her power and her aggressiveness, I think that’s always made me a little bit too aggressive, maybe going for a little bit more than I had to. You know, she’s great at making players hit that shot that you don’t necessarily have to go for. You know, maybe going for a little too much, going on the line. It’s been a really difficult matchup for me, but, you know, I am a competitor. If I do play her, I will go out and I will do everything I can to try to change that result around.”

“I think my confidence should be pretty high going into a final of a Grand Slam no matter who I’m facing against and whether I’ve had a terrible record, to say the least, against someone” said the 27-year-old. “It doesn’t matter. I got there for a reason. I belong in that spot. I will do everything I can to get the title.”

“I’ve had many great memories on Rod Laver Arena. I’ve hopefully set myself up for another good one.”

“I think it’s great for women’s tennis,” Williams remarked about No. 1 versus No. 2. “I think it’s good for me and Maria. I’m excited. Like I said, I love playing her. I look forward to it. I didn’t expect to get to the finals of this tournament when I first got here because I wasn’t playing great. So I’m happy to be here. Yeah, I’m just happy, like I said, to get past the quarterfinals of a slam. Fourth round actually, outside the Open.”

No. 6 Andy Murray advanced to his fourth Australian Open final defeating No. 7 Tomas Berdych 6-7 (6), 6-0, 6-3, 7-5.

On the court there was obvious tension during this night match due to one of Andy Murray’s coaching team switching over to Berdych’s in the off-season.

There were profanities being yelled between the players on the court and during the first set of the match it appeared that Murray’s fiance Kim Sears was caught on camera cursing at Berdych.

“Obviously losing in the finals is disappointing. But making four finals is a very, very difficult thing to do,”Murray said. “And, yeah, I’m proud of my record here. I’ll go in with best tactics possible, prepare well – I literally couldn’t have done anything more to put myself in a better position come Sunday.”

Murray, who has been coached by former No. 1 player Amelie Mauresmo since June, had come under scrutiny for his choice of a female coach.  After the match on Thursday night he paid tribute to female coaches: “A lot of people criticized me working with her,” said Murray. “And I think so far this week we’ve showed that women can be very good coaches as well.”

“Madison Keys, who reached the semis here and had her best tournament, is also coached by a woman, Lindsay Davenport, and I see no reason why that can’t keep moving forward like that in the future.”

Murray will play the winner of the Novak Djokovic –  Stan Wawrinka match in Sunday’s final.

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