2014/10/26

Tsonga Tops Federer for Toronto Title

(August 10, 2014) Jo-Wilfried Tsonga became the first Frenchman to win the Rogers Cup, defeating No. 2 seed Roger Federer 7-5, 7-6 (3) taking down his fourth straight top 10 opponent.

He beat No. 1 Novak Djokovic on Thursday, No. 8 Andy Murray in the quarterfinals and No. 7 seed Grigor Dimitrov in the semifinals. This marks the first time that a player has defeated four top 10 players in a row in Canada since 2002.

For the Frenchman it was his first ATP World Tour title win of the year and 11th overall. Tsonga is now 5-11 versus the Swiss.

In the first set both men held serve through the first 11 games. With Federer serving in the 12th game, fell behind and faced his fist break point in the match. The world No. 3 hit a forehand long to give Tsonga the set.

In the second set, Tsonga kept his opponent at bay – he missed out on break point chances in the sixth game and in the eighth game. Federer saved a match point in the tenth game and both men held to force a tiebreak.

Tsonga took the mini-break advantage at 4-3 and closed out the match by winning the next three points.

“I think it was the overall day conditions that were tough for me,” Federer said. “It was faster than in the night, all my previous matches, so I think the turnaround was tough.

“I definitely think Jo served well, and when he does serve well it’s always going to be hard. But not to win more points on his first serve ‑‑ I don’t know the second serve stat, but I need to have a better impact on that normally.

“Today was just difficult in terms of rhythm from the baseline, so it was like a new tournament for me today.

“No excuses. I think he played really solid and well when he had to, and like you mentioned, I think he served well overall, which was key for him.”

“I don’t realize really what I achieved this week, but it’s a big achievement for me,” Tsonga said.

“It’s completely different than before when I won in Paris. In Paris it was the first one, you know, behind my family, all my friends, everybody. I think I did it with my hurt, you know, in Paris. Here I just did it with my level, with my game.

“I played well all this week. I beat many good guys. You know, it’s a big achievement because I worked really hard to come back from my knee injury last year.”

Asked about the pro-Federer crowd, Tsonga said: “When you play Roger, of course you are always the challenger for the people in the crowd, so some of them are for you because they want you to do a good performance, but most of them are for Roger because he’s the guy who did the most for tennis since a long time now, and he deserve it and that’s it.”

At No. 15, Tsonga is the first ATP Masters 1000 winner ranked outside the Top 10 since No. 26 Ivan Ljubicic won Indian Wells back in 2010 over Andy Roddick. Tsonga will move back into the top 10 when the rankings come out on Monday.

Share

Tsonga Moves into Toronto Final

By Dave Gertler

(August 9, 2014) TORONTO – No one’s been able to stop Jo-Wilfried Tsonga yet at the Rogers Cup in Toronto, and after an hour and 24 minutes of trying, neither could world No. 8 Grigor Dimitrov. The 13th seeded Frenchman now advances to his third career Masters 1000 final, after winning the Paris Indoors in 2008 and losing another final at home to Roger Federer in 2011.

 

After four grueling and lengthy three-set quarterfinals on Friday, a near-capacity crowd today – including a vocal contingent of Dimitrov supporters sporting Bulgarian flags – may have expected a closer battle between these two players known for their athleticism and shot-making. Instead, what they witnessed was a display of power from Tsonga, as he dictated on his serve, weathering down Dimitrov’s counterattack, ultimately breaking the world No.8 three times and saving all four break points he faced.

 

“I’m feeling good,” said Tsonga, who defeated world No.1 Novak Djokovic in the previous round, “You know, I’m waiting for this moment since a couple of years now.”

 

Tsonga was explosive on serve and forehand, delivering a total of 22 winners off both wings. Less than half of his first serves landed in, yet he only lost three points behind them in the first set, with a perfect 9 for 9 in the second set. With first serves averaging over 200km/h, it seemed even his faults were doing damage. Though his ace count was a modest 7, over half of the 23 points he won on his first serve were unreturnable by Dimitrov.

 

“He served good,” said Dimitrov, “I mean, not much else I could do. You have your chances. Today things were just not leaning on my side. You have a couple of chances. You couldn’t make the break.”

 

The four break points Dimitrov made Tsonga face came in the last game of the first set, after Tsonga had broken the 23-year-old for a 5-4 lead. In the longest game of the match, a nervous Tsonga would continually bail himself out of trouble with potent serving from the ad-court, clocking speeds between 217km/h and 226km/h to save four break points, and eventually confirm the set with a 219km/h service winner.

 

Dimitrov’s only reprieve from Tsonga’s attack would be a brief toilet break between sets. After Dimitrov held for 1-0 in the second set, Tsonga won 12 points in a row, breaking Dimitrov at 1-1, then making him face three break points at 0-40, 1-3.

 

With the support of the Bulgarian crowd, Dimitrov mustered enough free points on serve to prevent going down a double break. “Everywhere I turn,” said Dimitrov, “There was Bulgarian flags and support was amazing.”

He kept fighting, but a serving of free points and some vocal support from the crowd would not be enough to let Dimitrov back into a second set in which the Frenchman only lost two points on serve.

 

In fact, Tsonga won more points on Dimitrov’s serve in the second set than Dimitrov himself would win, ultimately breaking the world No.8 in the last game of the match, taking it 6-4, 6-3, and celebrating with a display of shadow-boxing, a departure from his trademark running jump-spin chest beating.

 

“When I win like this,” said Tsonga, “I show emotion because, you know, it’s not only on the court we work. It’s also outside. There is people around us to help us, and it’s always good to share with them.”

 

Tsonga is now hoping for an opportunity to play Roger Federer, who contests the other semifinal tonight against Feliciano Lopez, a player he has never lost to, to reach what will be his 37th Masters 1000 final.

 

“I would like to face Roger,” said Tsonga, who has had four career wins over Federer, a two-time Rogers Cup champion, “Just because it’s always an honor for me to play against him in such a good arena. Yeah, it can be one of the biggest victories for me if I am able to beat him.”

 

Dave Gertler is a tennis journalist, player and musician based in Sydney covering the Rogers Cup in Toronto for Tennis Panorama News. Follow his Twitter updates from the tournament on @TennisNewsTPN, follow him on his personal Twitter @davegertler,  read his blog,  and listen to his podcast, Tennis Days .

Share

2014 Rogers Cup Toronto Photo Gallery

TORONTO –  Photographer Nida Alibhai snapped photos all around the grounds of the Rogers Cup this week, here is a gallery of her photos from the tournament so far.

Follow Nida Alibhai’s photo coverage of the tournament on Twitter @TennisNewsTPN.

Share

After Win Over Djokovic, Tsonga Continues Form with Upset of Murray to Reach Toronto Semis

Tsonga Murray 8814

By Dave Gertler

 

(August 8, 2014) TORONTO – Jo-Wilfried Tsonga is returning to the form that has previously delivered him to two semifinals at the Rogers Cup, and on Friday, he exacted revenge on the man who stopped him in his path when he first got there in 2009. After a surprising 6-2, 6-2 win over Novak Djokovic yesterday in Toronto, Tsonga has followed it up with his first win over Andy Murray since the Frenchman’s famous run to the final of the Australian Open in 2008.

 

Firing 17 aces at Murray throughout the match, including three in the first game, Tsonga let his serve do the talking from the outset. “I’m just stronger,” said the world No.15 after his victory, “During practice I worked a lot on my legs, and for sure I’m stronger on my legs. I think it helped me a lot for my serve because I can push a little bit more, so it give me more angle.” His increased leg-strength allowed Tsonga to maintain a first-service speed well above 200km/h throughout the two-hour, 18-minute match on Stadium Court.

 

Tsonga would only lose ten points in total behind his first serve the whole match, Murray realizing early that he would need to return at a high level, saying, “The beginning of the match he served extremely well. He served a lot of aces. You know, I had to play around my return position quite a lot, and I started to get into more service games the second and third set.”

 

After Tsonga sealed the first-set tie-break 7-5 with a booming ace, Murray found himself with the advantage in the second set, holding twice before breaking for 3-2. Although he was immediately broken back to love, the world No.9 would regain his edge, breaking Tsonga to love for a 6-4 margin in the second set.

 

“Tennis and sport really can change a lot from one day to the next,” said Murray, who had enjoyed an eight-match winning streak against Tsonga until today, “You wake up on the wrong side of the bed, which maybe he did in Miami and I played a good match, that can happen. He’s a fantastic athlete,” Murray added, “When his game is on, he’s very tough to beat.”

 

Tsonga would prevail in a 45-minute deciding set of high-quality tennis mixed in with some frustrating errors from both players. Ultimately, he would serve out the final set 6-4, serving three aces and a double fault. “I just stayed focused,” said the 29-year-old Frenchman, who has made the interesting fashion choice this week of tucking in his shirt, “Tried to be a little bit more aggressive because I was a little bit flat after losing the second set. He gave me one or two points he didn’t give me since the start of the second set, and, you know, then I went back and I won it.”

 

Tsonga will play Grigor Dimitrov next his third career Rogers Cup semifinal. Other winning quarterfinals included Roger Federer and Spaniard Feliciano Lopez.

 

Dave Gertler is a tennis journalist, player and musician based in Sydney covering the Rogers Cup in Toronto for Tennis Panorama News. Follow his Twitter updates from the tournament on @TennisNewsTPN, follow him on his personal Twitter @davegertler,  read his blog,  and listen to his podcast, Tennis Days .

Share

Anderson Ousts Third Seed Wawrinka in Toronto

Stan Wawrinka

Stan Wawrinka

By Dave Gertler

 

(August 7, 2014) TORONTO – Big-serving South African Kevin Anderson has made the most of relatively cold and gusty conditions to upset 3rd seed Stanislas Wawrinka in their Rogers Cup round-of-16 match on Thursday. This is the second straight win Anderson has had over Wawrinka since the Swiss 29-year-old won the Australian Open in January.

 

“I’m very happy,” said Anderson to media, appearing fresh and unruffled by their one-hour, 44-minute exchange, “Any time beating one of the best guys in the world is a great feeling. Obviously it’s a big challenge walking out there.”

 

Both players exchanged breaks early on their way to a first-set tie-break, in which both players had set points, Anderson claiming it 10-8. “After going down that early break (in the first set),” said Anderson, “Stan gave me a couple of double faults and just allowed me back in the match, and from there, I thought I served really, really well. I couldn’t be more happy on that front.”

 

Anderson increased his first-serve percentage in the second set to 75%, serving 7 aces along the way, keeping the pressure firmly on Wawrinka’s service games. “When I’m taking care of my serve games,” said Anderson, “It just allows me to relax a little bit more, and I thought I did a good job especially in the second, when I wasn’t getting too many looks on his serve. Sometimes in the past, I’ve let that frustrate me a little bit, and today I just let it go, and stayed focused on my serve game.”

 

“I had some chance,” said Wawrinka, showing minimal alarm at his early exit to the unseeded world No.21, “I had set point. I had two, three times 0-30, and the chance I didn’t took, it was more about choosing the right shot to play. Did some mistake that I shouldn’t do, and that’s happened.”

 

In general, I’m feeling great,” said Wawrinka, who will now leave Toronto for Cincinnati to compete at the Western & Southern Open next week, “I’m feeling physically good. I’m moving well. I’m playing well. It’s just that I need more matches to be really at the top.”

 

Anderson will contest his first career quarterfinal in Canada against Grigor Dimitrov.

 

Dave Gertler is a tennis journalist, player and musician based in Sydney covering the Rogers Cup in Toronto for Tennis Panorama News. Follow his Twitter updates from the tournament on @TennisNewsTPN, follow him on his personal Twitter @davegertler,  read his blog,  and listen to his podcast, Tennis Days .

Share

A Consistent Murray Moves Past Teen Kyrgios in Toronto

Andy Murray

Andy Murray

 

By Dave Gertler

(August 6, 2014) TORONTO – Andy Murray has averted the potential threat coming from Nick Kyrgios at the Rogers Cup in Toronto on Wednesday. Back from his hiatus that commenced after he was ousted from the quarter-finals of Wimbledon, the world No. 9 appeared fresh and in rhythm, employing a mixture of rock-solid consistency and relentless pressure to weather the initial onslaught from the explosive Australian teenager, and ultimately move through to the round of 16.

 

­

After both players exchanged holds of serve on Stadium Court, cracks began to appear in Kyrgios’ game. An unforced error-laden game saw him get broken for 1-2. “It was a solid match for a first match back after sort of four-and-a-half, five weeks. I was happy,” said Murray after the match, “I  thought I did most things pretty solid. I didn’t make too many errors. I moved well. High first-serve percentage.”

 

After a series of love-holds from both players, Murray struck again with a second break for 5-2, consolidating for the first set. After compound-fracturing his racquet at the tail-end of the first set, Kyrgios set about gaining a foothold in the second set, new racquet in hand.

 

But after both players held twice early in the second set, the 27-year-old wielded his experience over the 19-year-old, breaking him twice, sealing the next four games. The final scoreline of 6-2, 6-2 was achieved in 54 minutes. “He played way too good for me today,” said Kyrgios, who leaves tomorrow morning for Cincinnati to prepare to qualify for the Western & Southern Open, his last stop before the US Open later in August.  “I never felt comfortable out there. I felt awkward and wasn’t serving great, and he made me pay the price, so there’s a lot of things I can take away from that match today.”

 

To reach the second round, Kyrgios had to spring back from a set behind in the first-round against Colombian Santiago Giraldo yesterday, but Kyrgios said about today’s match. “I don’t think I can beat myself up too much,” said Kyrgios,”I haven’t played that much tennis at this sort of level yet. I’ve played a couple of grand slams, and this is only my third tour event, so it’s all new to me still, I’m getting used to it though.”

 

Having won the Rogers Cup twice before, Murray has not made it past the quarterfinals since 2010, and will now play Richard Gasquet in the round of 16, while Novak Djokovic will face Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in his third-round match. While Tsonga made it through his opponent, compatriot Jeremy Chardy, in straight sets on Grandstand Court, Djokovic found himself in a dire situation against another Frenchman, Gael Monfils. While it was the Serb world No.1 who made it through in the end, it was not without dropping a set to Monfils, both players electrifying the crowd with highlight-reel tennis over a devastating two hours and 40 minutes on Stadium Court, the final score going Djokovic’s way, 6-2, 6-7, 7-6(2).

 

Other winners to advance to the third round included Ivan Dodig, Marin Cilic, Julien Benneteau, Tommy Robredo and Kevin Anderson.

 

Dave Gertler is a tennis journalist, player and musician based in Sydney covering the Rogers Cup in Toronto for Tennis Panorama News. Follow his Twitter updates from the tournament on @TennisNewsTPN, follow him on his personal Twitter @davegertler,  read his blog,  and listen to his podcast, Tennis Days .

 

Share

Around the Grounds at the Rogers Cup Toronto

 

(August 3, 2014) TORONTO, CANADA – Photographer Nida Alibhai snapped photos all around the grounds of the Rogers Cup on Sunday, August 3, 2014.

Photos include: Roger Federer, Grigor Dimitrov, Andy Murray, Novak Djokovic, Bernard Tomic,Tomas Berdych, Feliciano Lopez and others.

Follow Nida Alibhai’s photo coverage of the tournament on Twitter @TennisNewsTPN.

 

Share

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…..

Share

Serena Williams Routs Sorana Cirstea for Toronto Title

 

Final Conference 015

By Brodie Elgin

(August 11, 2013) TORONTO – Another year, another title in Toronto for Serena Williams at the Rogers Cup. In 2011, it was an emotional return from injury for Williams as she needed six matches to take the title as an unseeded player, eventually defeating Samantha Stosur in the final. This year, a title run looked imminent as the 31 year-old American did not drop a set all tournament and eventually defeated Romanian Sorana Cirstea 6-2, 6-0 in Sunday’s final.

 

“No tournament is ever easy, especially being in the position I am in. The tournament starts and they expect you to win,” said Williams. “Even though I won Sweden, I was not happy with the way I played. So I went home and was working with my dad a lot and just going back to the basics.” Williams won her second Roland Garros title this year and despite playing so well this week, admitted the big moments can still get to her. “I had butterflies today. I will have butterflies at the Open. Hopefully I will have seven singles matches at the Open.”

 

Williams clearly enjoys playing in Toronto, having lost just two sets in her past 11 matches in the city. “Drake came out today. We are really good friends. We have always been good friends.”

Final Conference 005

For the 23 year-old Romanian, it has been a career week. Cirstea saved two match points, defeated two former number 1s as well as defeating two former champions. While Sorana was tearful after the match, they may have been more tears of joy than disappointment, as she thanked her coaches, Victor Ionita and Darren Cahill for their help as well as the support from the fans, saying Toronto was her new favorite tournament. “I usually I am quite emotional, but of course I was a little bit disappointed. I think even if I would have won I would have been crying,” laughed Cirstea after the match. “I didn’t expect to be that emotional, but that’s me.” “I’m looking forward to coming back here, because it’s been an amazing week.” Cirstea will reach a career high rank of 21 on Monday morning.

 

Despite the fact that Williams will be the top seed at Flushing Meadows and is the prime favorite to win her fifth US Open title, the American says there is still work to be done and there are always things to improve on. “For me, it’s always about constantly improving and never saying I did great and I can be satisfied. For me, it’s like I did great but what can I do better? What can I improve on? That’s what I always strive for.”

 

Both finalists will now travel to Cincinnati for the Western & Southern Open. Serena Williams is the top seed and will play a qualifier in her opening match, and Sorana Cirstea will play Washington doubles partner Yanina Wickmayer, with a win potentially setting up a rematch from earlier in the week against Caroline Wozniacki in the second round.

 

Brodie Elgin is the writer of mindtheracket.com. You can also follow him on Twitter at @MindTheRacket. He was covering the Rogers Cup in Toronto for Tennis Panorama News.

Share

Serena Williams Pushes Past Radwanska to Advance to Toronto Final

SerenaWilliams MadridOpen5-7-12

By Brodie Elgin

(August 10, 2013) TORONTO – It is often said that athletes do not practice for when they play their best, but for when they play their worst. From very early on in their semifinal, it was clear Serena Williams did not have her best game. Serena had a clear plan to push Agnieszka Radwanska out wide while serving and attack the open space. However, she looked slow at times and missed several forehands to put points away.

After taking the first set in a tiebreak, Williams called for the trainer in what was officially announced as “gastro intestinal issues”.

“I just had some stomach problems. I’m fine,” said Williams. These problems may have contributed to Serena’s sometimes sporadic game that alternated between extreme aggression and surprisingly passive patterns of play. Williams eventually let her emotions get the better of her as she ended up screaming at no one in particular. “I was just a little frustrated with myself, I think, as well as I don’t think I was playing
as aggressive as I needed to play.”

Serena Williams Presser Saturday 011-001
This made for incredibly long rallies at times, typically ending with one player pushing another side to side and attempting to finish it at the net. “I think here the courts are not that fast and the balls also not that fast. That’s why we could play a lot of long rallies and long games,” said Radwanska.

Ultimately, Radwanska would drop her one break lead in the second set, as Williams did find a way to be more aggressive and largely over power her opponent, particularly with strong returning. The American broke to end the match, taking it 7-6(3), 6-4. Having won the 2011 Rogers Cup as an unseeded player, Williams has now won her last 10 matches in Toronto, and has yet to lose a set in this year’s edition of the tournament. “I love playing here. I have a lot of friends that always come out. It’s always like you really want them to keep coming, so it’s a good time.”

Her opponent in Sunday’s final will be Sorana Cirstea, a player she defeated handily in Roland Garros earlier this year, but has had a career week in Toronto. “Last few months she has been really consistent,” said the world No. 1. “She is just a player who has finally found herself, and she’s playing better and better and getting more confident. It’s going to be a really tough match.”

Brodie Elgin is the writer of mindtheracket.com. You can also follow him on Twitter at @MindTheRacket. He is covering the Rogers Cup in Toronto for Tennis Panorama News, follow @TennisNewsTPN for updates.

ROGERS CUP
Toronto, Canada
August 5-11, 2013
$2,369,000/Premier
Hard/Outdoors

Results – Saturday, August 10, 2013
Singles – Semifinals
(1) Serena Williams (USA) d. (3) Agnieszka Radwanska (POL) 76(3) 64
Sorana Cirstea (ROU) d. (4) Li Na (CHN) 61 76(5)

Doubles – Semifinals
(3) Groenefeld/Peschke (GER/CZE) d. (2) Makarova/Vesnina (RUS/RUS) 62 64
Jankovic/Srebotnik (SRB/SLO) d. (WC) Dabrowski/Fichman (CAN/CAN) 75 63

Order Of Play – Sunday, August 11, 2013
Centre Court (NB 13.00hrs)

1. Singles Final: Serena Williams vs. Sorana Cirstea
2. Doubles Final: Jankovic/Srebotnik vs. Groenefeld/Peschke

Share