2014/07/22

Monday Dispatch from Atlanta – Withdrawals Provide Opportunities

BB&TAtlantaOpen

By Herman Wood

(July 21, 2014) ATLANTA- Qualifying wrapped up on Monday in Atlanta at the BB&T Open, with the weather finally cooperating. Qualifying dodged rain all weekend, with the second round ending up under the lights last night.  Unfortunately, the qualifying matches today were almost an afterthought with the main draw withdrawals.

Radek Stepanek withdrew due to an injury over the weekend.  He posted on his twitter account “Sad to pull out of the @BBTatlantaopen this week but had fun talking to the media here and signing some autographs :)” along with a picture of a young fan.  Gael Monfils and Richard Gasquet also withdrew, leaving the tournament in a bad spot.  Of the 24 players entered in qualifying, seven will make the main draw, apparently with one directly advancing to the second round.

There was some other ball played this afternoon, with Wimbledon doubles champ Jack Sock getting some basketball tips from Atlanta Hawk Demarre Carroll at a hoop set up by the team just off the USTA YouthTennis court.  Turned out Carroll got schooled in a game of HORSE.  Sock returned the favor with a tennis lesson for Carroll on the court afterwards and then had a press conference with his Wimbledon partner, Vasek Pospisil.  The two will be the top seed in the doubles draw.

Young Americans have quite an opportunity with the withdrawals.  Scheduled matches today feature world number 61 Sam Querrey playing number 64 Steve Johnson.  Official opening ceremonies will follow and lead into local Donald Young playing Dudi Sela.  Another local, Robby Ginepri, will team up with Rhyne Harrison to take on the British duo of Ken and Neal Skupski in the opening round of doubles once the singles match concludes.

 

Herman Wood is in Atlanta covering the BB&T Open action from around the grounds for Tennis Panorama News, follow him on twitter at https://twitter.com/hermanewood.

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The US Open Series Begins this Weekend in Atlanta

 

BB&TAtlantaOpen

By Herman Wood

(July 17, 2014) ATLANTA – Preparation for the US Open is underway.  The BB&T Atlanta Open gets things started on Saturday, July 19th for the men.  Qualifying begins at 10 AM.  The BB&T Atlanta Open is an ATP 250 event, with a 28 player draw, four of which come from the qualifying tournament.  The qualifying field will have 32 players.  The doubles draw is a 16 team field.  Last year’s champ, John Isner, is returning, along with fellow Americans Sam Querrey, Wimbledon doubles champ Jack Sock, and Donald Young.  Gael Monfils, Richard Gasquet, Radek Stepanek, Ivo Karlovic, Ivan Dodig, Lleyton Hewitt, and the other half of the Wimbledon doubles championship team, Vasek Pospisil, are also expected in the tournament.  The tournament aspires to be a mini US Open, with the venue set among the skyscrapers of downtown Atlanta at Atlantic Station.  Atlantic Station is a community within downtown that provides homes for 10,000 people integrated with shopping, restaurants, and retailers that make it a hit with the players.  Besides the attractive venue, players will get a jump on the US Open Series Bonus Challenge, where nearly $40 million in prize money is up for grabs.  This is the third year the tournament has been held at Atlantic Station.

It is a familiar place for Americans, with Isner winning last year, Roddick in 2012, and Fish in 2011.  It has also been comfortable for big man tennis- last year Isner, at 6’10”, overcame Kevin Anderson at 6’8” in three tiebreaks.  Fans in the first couple of rows certainly had to pay attention with the huge serves coming their way.  It is especially familiar for Isner, who competed collegiately just an hour down the road for the University of Georgia Bulldogs, leading the team to a national championship and winning every possible team title in 2007.  He’s usually a fan favorite, with at least a couple of barks from Georgia fans in his favor at each match.  Isner may not be the only recipient of barks; University of Georgia player Austin Smith has accepted a wild card into the main draw. The sophomore from Cumming, Georgia excelled this season as the Bulldogs captured the 2014 SEC Championship. Smith finished with a 35-12 record, and went 9-1 in SEC matches. He has won four USTA Pro Circuit matches. A tournament qualifier in 2011, Smith will be playing his debut ATP main draw match.

Another American, Jack Sock, could very well get on a roll at this tournament.  After winning doubles with Pospisil at Wimbledon, he rolled into Newport and eliminated Isner in the Newport Hall of Fame event on grass just a week ago.  Unfortunately for him, he wasn’t able to keep that momentum and was eliminated by the veteran Lleyton Hewitt, who went on to win the tournament.  Hewitt’s feisty shouts of “C’mon!” have endeared him to the Atlanta fans in past years.  Fresh off his renewed success at Newport, he could very well win Atlanta.  The main draw was just rounded out with the addition of Ryan Harrison and Robby Ginepri.  “We’re ecstatic to welcome back two of our fan favorites in Ryan Harrison and Atlanta metro resident Robby Ginepri,” Tournament Director Eddie Gonzalez said. “One of our goals is to highlight American talent and both of these players are great examples of the fine players this country has produced.”  Harrison won the doubles last year, partnering with Matthew Ebden.  Ginepri appears for the fourth time, with a onetime ranking of fifteen.  He is a graduate of Wheeler High School, just a few miles north of Atlantic Station.  He currently resides in Kennesaw, another couple of miles north.

The draw will be finalized over this weekend with the completion of the qualifying tournament.  Promising American junior Francis Tiafoe has accepted his first tournament qualifying wild card. Tiafoe, 16, is a talented young prodigy who rose to No. 2 in the world junior rankings this spring. Georgia Tech’s Nathan Rakitt and Alabama’s Becker O’Shaughnessey have also accepted qualifying wild cards. Rakitt, a Marietta native and All-ACC selectee, is competing again for the second year. O’Shaughnessey of Macon, Ga., led the Crimson Tide in singles wins (22) this season.

Herman Wood is in Atlanta covering the BB&T Open action from around the grounds for Tennis Panorama News, follow him on twitter at https://twitter.com/hermanewood.

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David Ferrer Presented Award at the US Open For Personifying Sportsmanship over the Summer Tennis Season in North America

DavidFerrerPrince

FLUSHING, N.Y., September 4, 2013 — The USTA today announced that David Ferrer has received the second annual “US Open Sportsmanship Award,” presented to the male and female professional tennis players who best demonstrate excellence in sportsmanship throughout the Emirates Airline US Open Series and the US Open.  The award was presented to Ferrer today at the US Open by USTA Sportsmanship Selection Committee Chairman Todd Martin.

 

“As relentless a competitor as David is on the court, he is just as respectful toward the game and his opponents,” said USTA Chairman, CEO and President Dave Haggerty. “David personifies what the US Open Sportsmanship Award represents and certainly deserves the recognition.”

 

The USTA started a Sportsmanship Committee in 2011.  Its charge is to “educate and inspire youngsters and their parents to develop and exhibit a high degree of sportsmanship and an attitude of fair play and mutual respect on and off the tennis court.  Underlying the charge is the ethical imperative that fairness is more important than winning.”

 

Eligibility requirements for winners include participating in at least two Series tournaments, as well as the 2013 US Open.  Each US Open Sportsmanship Award winner receives a trophy and a $5,000 donation to the charity of his or her choice. The 2012 winners were Bob and Mike Bryan and Samantha Stosur.

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Del Potro Takes DC over Isner, Rybarikova Repeats as Women’s Champion

DSCN9435

By Steve Fogleman

(August 4, 2013) WASHINGTON, DC – A rare temperate and gorgeous day in August in the Nation’s Capital was an extra incentive for fans in Washington to pack the house for Championship Sunday at the Citi Open. This year marked the first time that three title matches were played on the same Sunday at the event. Men’s Doubles began at noon, the Men’s singles final began at 3:00 p.m. and the Women’s Singles final started a little after 5:45 p.m. Though each final was exciting and close, only the match between Del Potro and Isner was not decided in straight sets.

In the opener, Julian Benneateau and Nenad Zimonjic scraped by Mardy Fish and Radek Stepanek, 7-6(5), 7-5.

The men’s final featured former finalist John Isner and two-time event champion Juan Martin Del Potro, who had won the tournament in 2008 and 2009 when it was known as the Legg Mason Tennis Classic. Isner’s serve was clearly a problem for Del Potro in the first set, and Del Potro looked to be on the verge of being upset as Isner commanded 6-3. Then, Isner’s first serve and accuracy quickly unraveled in the second. Isner hit 4 aces in the first set, but he only scored a single ace in each of the two remaining sets. Del Potro began standing a good 20 feet behind the baseline for a first serve and came very far forward on the second. Isner seem baffled by Del Potro coming so far in during the second serve, as it appeared to be a sign of disrespect to his usually scorching second attempts. Del Potro allowed Isner to win only 2 second service points in each of the final two sets.

“It’s amazing,” Del Potro said. “I’m so happy to win here once again. Always when you win a tournament, it’s special, it’s big. And after Wimbledon, to be in my first tournament on hard court, it means a lot. I’m looking forward to Montreal, Cincinnati and the US Open. That gives me big confidence to keep trying and getting closer to the top guys.”

Isner was gracious in defeat, and spent more time in press than Del Potro. Isner indicated that he believed Del Potro to be a favorite for the US Open, a suggestion that made Del Potro blush. Like the good guy that he is, Del Potro made it clear that he thought Isner was a leading contender for a US Open title as well.

Del Potro faced Ryan Harrison, Bernard Tomic, Kevin Anderson and Tommy Haas before nabbing the title with the win over Isner.

Isner beat Alex Kuznetsov, Somdev Devvarman, Marcos Baghdatis and Dmitry Tursonov to reach the match with Del Potro.

The women’s final was expected to be close, too, and it was to some extent. Petkovic raced out to a 4-0 start in the first, but began to show the fatigue of having been on court at 2:15 a.m. the same morning in her rain-delayed win over Alize Cornet in the semifinals. She stated that she only got four hours sleep, and after she dropped the first set 6-4 and was down two breaks in the second, it looked like Rybarikova has already won the match. But Petkovic got those two breaks back as Rybarikova was not able to close it out. The set eventually went to a tie break which the defending champion won at 7-6(2). Fans expecting a championship Petko-dance were disappointed, but there were certainly more spectators pulling for Rybarikova than in last summer’s DC final, when most in the stands knew little about her. It appears that by winning the title in Washington last year, she was more of a known local commodity. By repeating her success, she will be talked about by DC tennis for years to come.

“I played great today – I couldn’t be happier,” said the women’s champion. “Today there were some really good parts of the match for me. Andrea was playing too well at the beginning so I’m happy I managed to win the first set – and then again at the end she started playing very well again, and I was getting a little tight and my arm was kind of shaking, so I’m really happy I could play a great tie-break there.”

“It was a pretty good week – all in all I’m quite satisfied,” Petkovic said. “I would have loved to win the title here to really feel like I’ve completely come back, but I’m really okay with this. Magda was really stepping up her game, not missing a lot and not giving me many free points. It was a really difficult match but all the credit to her, she really deserved to win the title today.”

For the championship, Rybarikova rolled past Christina Mc Hale, Jana Cepelova, top seed Angelique Kerber and 3 seed Ekaterina Makarova before defeating Andrea Petkovic for the trophy.

To reach the final, Petkovic had a tough road herself, beating Jessica Pegula, 6 seed Mona Barthel, Paula Ormaechea and 4 seed Alize Cornet.

The tournament featured a new stylish players lounge and cafeteria, which were major improvement on this leg of the tour which had long been considered by players a no-frills tournament. Media center staff was amazingly helpful and use an announcement system that I have not seen in the smaller tournaments I attend. They emailed all press conference times, so that even if you were on the grounds, you knew when to show up to the media center. That was a huge relief, since I have missed many post-match banter sessions because I wasn’t in the tent when someone screamed “John Isner 9:15!” I spend less time in the media center than many bloggers because I’m dying to see some of the great matches, and the matches go on no matter what time a player is in press.

Overall, it was a wonderful experience and probably the best all around Washington tennis tournament in the twelve straight years that I have made the pilgrimage to Rock Creek Park for world class professional tennis. Thanks to Tennis Panorama for allowing me the opportunity to share my experiences with you.

Steve Fogleman is Editor of TennisEastCoast.com, a Mid-Atlantic based tennis website. He tweets from @TennisEastCoast.

 

 

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Del Potro, Isner, Haas and Tursunov Advance to Citi Open Semis, Top Women’s Seed Kerber Ousted

John-Isner

By Steve Fogleman

(August 2, 2013) WASHINGTON, DC – The email sent to fans by the Citi Open this morning stated “Blockbuster Quarterfinals Begin at 1 p.m. Today!”

On its face, a Marinko Matosevic vs. Dmitry Tursunov match didn’t appear much of a blockbuster in any sense of the word.

Don’t judge a match by its cover.

Although there were plenty of errors throughout, the men wildly entertained the crowd for Friday’s Stadium Court opener. Tursunov prevailed in the third set tiebreak at 4 for a 6-3, 4-6, 7-6 win.

That match was followed by another terrifyingly-close ATP three setter in Washington.

Tursunov will face Atlanta champion John Isner, because he dispatched Marcos Baghdatis in the proceeding match on Stadium Court, 6-7(5), 6-4, 6-4.

Isner’s serve was on and Baghdatis couldn’t close the deal on Isner’s service games today. Baghdatis never saw a break chance all day, and Baghdatis didn’t see many of the 18 aces Isner fired at him. Still, Baghdatis kept it close.

Isner will seek to reach his third Washington final.

Tommy Haas

Tommy Haas

Later, Tommy Haas made the semis over Grigor Dimitrov in straight sets but nearly two hours by a final of 7-6(5), 7-6(3). The German and former Citi Open finalist will take on top dog Juan Martin Del Potro, who concluded the all-male Stadium Court fraternity party/quarterfinals matches with a 7-6(0), 6-2 defeat of Kevin Anderson.

Andrea Petkovic

Andrea Petkovic

The women’s matches were just as wild on Grandstand 1.

It started with a grueling three-setter between Andrea Petkovic and Paula Ormaechea. Ormaechea came out with unusual speed in the first set, which required adjustments from Petkovic. Petkovic noticed the Argentinian’s big serves throughout the match and joked, “Nice match, Ivo Karlovic” to Ormaechea at the net after the 4-6, 6-1, 6-3 victory. For Petkovic, reaching each semifinal is a treat to be relished, and she displayed her emotions with another mini-Petko Dance to the delight of the fans on Grandstand.

Alize Cornet of France finished strong in a 7-6(5), 6-2 win against Sorana Cirstea. Cornet had never beaten the Romanian in hard courts in her career, but said that her mental confidence made all the difference this time. Both players have played some of the best tennis of their careers recently. Cornet moves on to do battle with Petkovic.

Defending champ Magdalena Rybarikova just plays well in Washington.

As the 7 seed, she knew she was always going to have to take out the 1 seed, Angelique Kerber, to advance to the semifinals. In a see-saw match, it was Rybarikova who laughed last in a 2 hour and 14 minute victory, 7-6(0), 3-6, 6-3.

She will meet a hardly-tired Ekaterina Makarova, who won when Monica Niculescu retired after the first game, 1-0.

Steve Fogleman is Editor of TennisEastCoast.com, a Mid-Atlantic based tennis website. He tweets from @TennisEastCoast.

 

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Del Potro Does Double Duty in Wins Against Harrison and Tomic at Citi Open

JM Del Potro 812013

(August 1, 2013) WASHINGTON, DC – Juan Del Potro closed out two ATP tour matches in six hours on Thursday. Not too shabby for the man that everyone was worried about when he took that big spill during his match with Novak Djokovic at Wimbledon last month. His first victim was Ryan Harrison, 6-1, 7-5. Then, it was it was Bernard Tomic, 6-3, 6-3.

 

Kei Nishikori also had to play two matches in even less time, but he couldn’t physically recover after knocking out Jack Sock 7-5, 6-2. He was a shell of his 2 o’ clock self in the nightcap, bowing out to Marcos Baghdatis 6-1, 6-2 in 58 minutes.

 

I am confounded by the dilemma that tournament organizers face in such rain delays. On the one hand, they want to showcase the top seeded players in prime time, meaning that they play late.

On the other hand, they not so secretly hope that the big names go deep in the tournament. So when you make a Kei Nishikori or a Del Potro play at 9:00 p.m., the chances are greater that their match is going to be postponed by weather than a player who starts at 2:00 or 4:00 p.m.

 

That’s the gamble you take. And the Citi Open was 1 for 2 today.

 

Del Potro pulled it off, but it was almost asking the impossible and Nishikori did not possess those same superpowers tonight. Look at Andrea Petkovic. She was the only singles player at the Citi Open to get a win on Wednesday, and she played at 2:00 p.m. Imagine how much better Nishikori would have done against Baghdatis tonight if he had the amount of rest that Petkovic had last night and this afternoon.

 

It was no small miracle that rain did not interrupt today’s matches today, whose order of play was cobbled together to compensate for yesterday’s almost-total rainout. Grey clouds threatened almost the entire session on Thursday, and there were rumbles of distant thunder throughout and a few lonesome drops. In fact, I checked the weather radar on my I-phone at one point, and it showed light rain all over the Washington area. Somehow, the tennis gods decided to give the Citi Open a break. A washout today would have almost guaranteed another crazy day on Friday and could have forced Monday Finals. And this isn’t the US Open, folks. A Monday Final for both the ATP and WTA titles would’ve been….crickets, both in terms of attendance and television ratings.

 

Marinko Matosevic shocked many by sending Milos Raonic home to Canada a little earlier than he’d expected before Rogers Cup. Matosevic won 7-5, 6-2. In a one on one interview after the match, he said “I don’t know if it’s the biggest win of my career, but it is definitely a big win beating Milos in a big tournament like Washington.” Later, he added, “I think I’m going in the right direction. I want to make that next push, not just to get back to my ranking (No. 39 in February), but seeded at the Slams and try to get to top 30 this year”.

 

Kevin Anderson finished off James Duckworth 6-3, 3-6, 6-4 from a match that was 99% complete on Wednesday night. He later beat Mardy Finish in the 3rd round by a count of 7-6(2), 6-1.

 

Tommy Haas pulled a similar move, completing a nearly-over match against Tim Smyczek, 3-6, 7-5, 6-3 and later advancing to the quarterfinals over Ivan Dodig, 6-4, 4-6, 6-2.

 

Grigor Dimitrov also made the quarters in  a surpisingly easy 6-3, 6-3 victory against Sam Querrey. Later, Dmitry Turnsonov eliminated 2011 Champion Radek Stepanek 4-6, 6-4, 7-5.

 

And BB&T Atlanta Open Champion John Isner advanced 7-5, 7-5 over a plucky Somdev Devvarman.

 

In WTA action, top seed Angelique Kerber overcame early difficulties to sweep Melanie Oudin, 7-5, 6-0.

 

Defending Champ Magdalena Rybarikova squeaked through to the quarters by the seat of her pants against fellow Slovakian Jana Cepolova, 7-5, 5-7, 7-5 in an affair that lasted nearly three hours. Cepelova is always a tough out. Rybarikova beat Cepelova last year in the Citi Open quarterfinals en route to the title.

 

Like Rybarikova, Monica Niculescu nearly snatched defeat from the jaws of victory over tenacious Madison Keys, 6-1, 2-6, 7-6(6).

 

In yet another exciting match, Sorana Cirstea prevailed against Alison Riske of recent grass court success and new Washington-area resident Alison Riske, 3-6, 6-2, 6-3.

 

Ekaterina Makarova simply destroyed Caroline Garcia of France, 6-2, 6-0 in 58 minutes and Monica Niculescu,

 

And Alize Cornet had a work-woman-like win over Heather Watson, 6-4, 6-4.

 

Friday’s quarterfinals are split into two sessions. It’s like a day-night doubleheader in baseball with a big difference. Like the US Open, they don’t clear out the venue before the evening session. And the only ticketed court at the venue is Stadium Court. And all of the matches on Stadium tomorrow are men’s quarterfinals. That means fans can catch two of the ATP quarters with a day session ticket, and stay late for two women’s quarterfinals, not to mention the doubles matches on outer courts.

 

The Friday Day session has Tursunov against Matosevic at 1:00 p.m. on Stadium Court, followed by Isner and Baghdatis not before 4:00 p.m. The Night session begins at 7:00 p.m. with Tommy Haas and Grigor Dimitrov and concludes with Del Potro versus Anderson not before 9:15.

 

The women are back to back to back to back on Grandstand 1 from 1:00 p.m., with Petkovic/Ormaechea, Cirstea/Cornet, Makarova/Niculescu and concluding with Kerber/Rybarikova.

 

Steve Fogleman is Editor of TennisEastCoast.com, a Mid-Atlantic based tennis website. He tweets from @TennisEastCoast.

CITI OPEN – WASHINGTON, DC, USA
USD 1,546,590.00 (ATP)
USD 235,000.00 (WTA)
JULY 27 – AUGUST 04, 2013

ORDER OF PLAY - FRIDAY, AUGUST 02, 2013
STADIUM COURT start 1:00 pm
D Tursunov (RUS) vs M Matosevic (AUS) – ATP

Not Before 4:00 PM
[8] J Isner (USA) vs [16] M Baghdatis (CYP) – ATP

Not Before 7:00 PM
[3] T Haas (GER) or [13] I Dodig (CRO) vs [11] G Dimitrov (BUL) – ATP

Not Before 9:15 PM
[1] [WC] J Del Potro (ARG) vs [7] K Anderson (RSA) – ATP

GRANDSTAND 1 start 1:00 pm
A Petkovic (GER) vs P Ormaechea (ARG) – WTA
[5] S Cirstea (ROU) vs [4] A Cornet (FRA) – WTA
[3] E Makarova (RUS) vs M Niculescu (ROU) – WTA
[1] [WC] A Kerber (GER) vs [7] M Rybarikova (SVK) – WTA
G Dimitrov (BUL) / M Llodra (FRA) vs [WC] S Johnson (USA) / S Querrey (USA) or [2] A Qureshi (PAK) / J Rojer (NED) – ATP-After Suitable Rest

GRANDSTAND 2 start 1:00 pm
[1] S Aoyama (JPN) / V Dushevina (RUS) vs M Alvarez Teran (BOL) / K Wong (USA) – WTA
E Bouchard (CAN) / T Townsend (USA) vs [2] I Falconi (USA) / E Hrdinova (CZE) – WTA
J Benneteau (FRA) / N Zimonjic (SRB) vs S Gonzalez (MEX) / S Lipsky (USA) or [WC] J Blake (USA) / E Butorac (USA) – ATP
[1] A Peya (AUT) / B Soares (BRA) or A Begemann (GER) / R Bopanna (IND) vs T Huey (PHI) / D Inglot (GBR) – ATP

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Citi Open – Wednesday Results, Thursday Schedule

 

CITI OPEN
Washington DC, USA
July 29-August 4, 2013
Hard/Outdoors

Results – Wednesday, July 31, 2013
WTA Singles – Second Round
Andrea Petkovic (GER) d. (6) Mona Barthel (GER) 62 62

Suspended due to rain
Paula Ormaechea (ARG) leads Olga Puchkova (RUS) 36 63 21

WTA Doubles – First Round
(2) Falconi/Hrdinova (USA/CZE) d. Cirstea/Wickmayer (ROU/BEL) 63 62
(3) Tatishvili/Watson (GEO/GBR) d. Barthel/Cornet (GER/FRA) 64 64
ATP Singles – Second Round
D Tursunov (RUS) d [5] G Simon (FRA) 64 62
[8] J Isner (USA) d [Q] A Kuznetsov (USA) 76(2) 76(4)
M Fish (USA) d [12] J Benneteau (FRA) 63 75
[13] I Dodig (CRO) d T Kamke (GER) 26 62 63
R Stepanek (CZE) d [17] M Llodra (FRA) 62 61

ATP Doubles – First Round
T Huey (PHI) / D Inglot (GBR) d C Fleming (GBR) / J Marray (GBR) 64 67(4) 10-7


SCHEDULE – THURSDAY, 1 AUGUST, 2013

STADIUM COURT start 2:00 pm
[1] [WC] J del Potro (ARG) vs R Harrison (USA) – ATP
[3] T Haas (GER) vs [Q] T Smyczek (USA) 36 75 10
Not Before 4:00 PM
M Matosevic (AUS) vs [4] M Raonic (CAN) – ATP
[8] J Isner (USA) vs [Q] S Devvarman (IND) – ATP
[1] [WC] J Del Potro (ARG) or R Harrison (USA) vs [14] B Tomic (AUS) – ATP
[3] T Haas (GER) or [Q] T Smyczek (USA) vs [13] I Dodig (CRO) – ATP

GRANDSTAND 1 start 2:00 pm
[WC] J Sock (USA) vs [2] K Nishikori (JPN) – ATP
[1] [WC] A Kerber (GER) vs M Oudin (USA) 00
Not Before 4:00 PM
M Fish (USA) vs [WC] J Duckworth (AUS) or [7] K Anderson (RSA) – ATP
[16] M Baghdatis (CYP) vs [WC] J Sock (USA) or [2] K Nishikori (JPN) – ATP
M Fyrstenberg (POL) / M Matkowski (POL) vs M Fish (USA) / R Stepanek (CZE) 01 – ATP-After suitable rest

GRANDSTAND 2 start 2:00 pm
[WC] J Duckworth (AUS) vs [7] K Anderson (RSA) 36 63 45
[5] S Cirstea (ROU) vs A Riske (USA) – WTA
J Cepelova (SVK) vs [7] M Rybarikova (SVK) – WTA
[11] G Dimitrov (BUL) vs [6] S Querrey (USA) – ATP
S Gonzalez (MEX) / S Lipsky (USA) vs [WC] J Blake (USA) / E Butorac (USA) – ATP
[WC] S Johnson (USA) / S Querrey (USA) vs [2] A Qureshi (PAK) / J Rojer (NED) – ATP – after suitable rest

COURT 1 start 2:00 pm

H Watson (GBR) vs [4] A Cornet (FRA) – WTA
Not Before 4:00 PM
D Tursunov (RUS) vs R Stepanek (CZE) – ATP
M Niculescu (ROU) vs [8] M Keys (USA) – WTA
[1] A Peya (AUT) / B Soares (BRA) vs A Begemann (GER) / R Bopanna (IND) – ATP

COURT 2 start 2:00 pm

P Ormaechea (ARG) vs O Puchkova (RUS) 36 63 21
[3] E Makarova (RUS) vs C Garcia (FRA) – WTA
E Bouchard (CAN) / T Townsend (USA) vs [3] A Tatishvili (GEO) / H Watson (GBR) – WTA-After Suitable Rest

COURT 3 start 2:00 pm

[1] S Aoyama (JPN) / V Dushevina (RUS) vs A Mueller (USA) / A Perez (VEN) – WTA
[4] C Castano (COL) / J Pegula (USA) vs M Alvarez Teran (BOL) / K Wong (USA) – WTA
C Garcia (FRA) / C Mchale (USA) vs [2] I Falconi (USA) / E Hrdinova (CZE) – WTA-After Suitable Rest

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Citi Open Interview: Sorana Cirstea: Happy Sorana Cirstea Has Sky-High Goals

By Steve Fogleman for Tennis Panorama

Citi Open Feature Interview: Sorana Cirstea

 

(July 31, 2013) WASHINGTON, DC – Sometimes words alone cannot capture the emotions of a human being as adequately as seeing and hearing the subject.

This is one of those times.

Sorana Cirstea is one happy tennis player.

I caught up with her yesterday after a 7-5, 1-1 over Lesia Tsurenko by retirement. She’ll face Alison Riske in the second round of the Citi Open in Washington, D.C. tomorrow for a spot in the quarters.

 

“I hope you don’t make me sing! I cannot sing!” she jokingly protested, as I handed her a microphone for the interview.

 

Sorana Cristea is so happy with her year so far and so excited to be in Washington for the first time that she comes across as one of the most genuine and well-balanced players I’ve ever met.

This is one of those times when I’m glad I’m about the only person who regularly shoots video interviews in the early rounds of the tournaments I attend. I know it’s more convenient to read a blog than watch a video on your Iphone or laptop. I mean, you might be at work or on a bus or watching a tennis match right now.

 

But please take time to hear Sorana’s infectious jubilance by watching the video at some point.

If you like Cirstea, you’ll like her even more. And if you don’t know anything about her, you’ll like her for the first time.

 

The 23-year-old Romanian is just off her new career high of #23 in the world. She has been in the late rounds of every other tournament I follow.

 

She’s only won one WTA singles title, and that was five year ago in Tashkent, but this year alone, she has made the semis at Pattaya and Stanford, the quarterfinals at Birmingham, and the Round of 16 in Charleston and Miami. She also made the third round at Roland Garros before falling to eventual champion Serena Williams.

 

And yet, it seems, no one in the English-speaking world can pronounce her name.

She even changed the pronunciation of Cirstea because non-Romanian speakers simply cannot pronounce it.

“However people can say it, as long as they get Sorana fine, that’s all good. I find it funny.

The funniest thing of all is when I go to grab a coffee. That’s always the worst place they spell my name. So for now on, I will be something like Bob or Michael!”

 

She’s definitely pleased with the results of her hard work on the circuit this year.

“It’s been a solid year. I’ve been quite consistent from tournament to tournament. I feel I am playing better and better from week to week. It’s nice knowing that when you put all that hard work in, you can see the results. I think that motivates. I’m just very excited and looking forward to what’s coming next.

 

I feel I’m ready. When I have a good day, I can beat anyone. I always say that the rankings show the truth. If I’m 28 right now, it means this is where I should be.”

 

This is her first time in Washington in any capacity. She’s thrilled with the beauty of the city and the friendliness of Citi Open staff.

 

“I’m very excited to be here for my first time in Washington. I’ve always wanted to come. It’s this thing about “The Capital”. I’ve been waiting 23 years to get here. As soon as I got in on Sunday night, we dropped our bags at the hotel and went to the White House.

 

There’s just so much history here. Hopefully, I’ll have some time to explore and be a tourist.”

I asked her if she might be a lawyer after her pro career concludes. She acknowledged that it might be too late to start schooling for such a job, and that she has some many interesting options after tennis.

 

“Once I have something in my mind, I try to put 100% in to make it.”

Of course, the reason I asked about a legal career was due to her brilliant closing arguments against bad calls in Stanford recently in a match with Dominkia Cibulkova. It was an argument she won, and won, and won, as the judges went her way six times in a single set.

 

“I think that’s more stubbornness!”, she joked. “Once I think I’m right, I usually go all the way. I knew I was right at that point. So I was really confident and I went for it. I have respect for the chair umpire and all the linesmen. The only reason why I argued is because I wanted that point. It was mine. I earned it. I’m one of those people where if something is mine, I won’t give it away.”I don’t know if about her stubbornness, but I am impressed with her fearlessness. She took a maiden sky-diving jump last year and loved it so much she had to do it again recently.

 

“I loved it. I always wanted to do it and never had the opportunity.The second time around was ten times better, because I actually knew what to expect. Everyone should jump at least once in their life. It’s an experience worth living. Don’t  be surprised if you see me jumping again.”

 

And don’t be surprised if you see her hoisting a trophy and winning another WTA title or two before the year is out.

 

Steve Fogleman is Editor of TennisEastCoast.com, a Mid-Atlantic based tennis website. He tweets from @TennisEastCoast.
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Devvarman Dumps Defending Champ Dolgopolov at Citi Open

Somdev Devvarman

By Steve Fogleman

(July 30, 2013) WASHINGTON, DC – A major upset occurred on Stadium Court on Tuesday as defending champion Alexandr Dolgopolov lost in straight sets to Somdev Devvarman, 6-3, 7-6(4). World No. 25 Dolgopolov was not in the same form as when he captured this title last year. Still, the win by No. 129 Devvarman was special for the partisan crowd, many of whom shared Devvarman’s University of Virginia roots.

 

Lleyton Hewitt also got a surprise at the hands of Ryan Harrison by a count of 6-3, 7-5. Jack Sock made it look easy over Igor Sijsling, 6-4, 6-2. Bernard Tomic didn’t show any signs of his recent off-court struggles in a cakewalk, 6-1, 6-3. Dmitry Tursunov escaped Jesse Levine, 7-6(5), 7-5 and James Duckworth advanced over Yuichi Sugita, 6-2, 6-2. Marinko Matosevic beat Nikolay Davydenko, 6-4, 7-5.

 

In the nightcaps, Marcos Baghdatis sent Lukas Lacko packing, 7-6(2), 6-2, 6-4, and Milos Raonic was just good enough to spoil Sam Groth‘s impressive run to qualify for the tournament, 7-5, 6-4.

 

Several men’s matches went the distance Tuesday night. Sam Querrey avoided another first round defeat by the skin of his teeth in his match with Denis Istomin, 4-6, 6-3, 7-6(9). Tim Smyczek dropped the second set tiebreak but still managed to make it feel like a blowout with Greg Zemlja at 6-1, 6-7(8), 6-1. In the battle of the Alexs, Kuznetsov bested Bogomolov 6-3, 4-6, 6-3.  Grigor Dimitrov continued Xavier Malisse‘s Year of Disappointment 7-5, 7-6(4), 6-4.

Kerber

Angelique Kerber made quick work of Irina Falconi on Stadium Court, 6-2, 6-3. She wasn’t the only one to play speed tennis. Kerber’s 67 minute win time was bested by Alize Cornet’s blazing victory over Yanina Wickmayer, 6-1, 6-3 in 59 minutes and Mona Barthel‘s 63 minute dispatch of Stefanie Voegele, 6-2, 6-2. Also, Taylor Townsend double-faulted on match point as Monica Niculescu easily advanced over the young American in 69 minutes by a score of 6-3, 6-0.

 

Sorana Cirstea received a 57 minute win due to Lesia Tsurenko retiring at 7-5, 1-1.  Ekaterina Makarova held off Eugenie Bouchard, 6-4, 6-2, while Madison Keys dropped qualifier Michelle Larcher de Brito 7-5, 6-3.

 

Three setters of the day included Heather Watson surviving a first round tiebreak loss to advance over American Alexandra Mueller, 6-7(5), 6-4, 6-3, Caroline Garcia with the comeback of the day versus Anna Tatishvili, 0-6, 7-6(5), 6-4 and Alison Riske got herself a win on American soil over Vania King, 7-5, 6-3.

 

Wednesday headliners include top seed Juan Martin Del Potro opening with Ryan Harrison, Kei Nishikori coming off a first round bye to take on Jack Sock and the return of John Isner to Washington in a second round match against Alex Kuznetsov. In WTA play, Andrea Petkovic will open on Stadium Court versus Mona Barthel, and No. 1 seed Angelique Kerber will get a sharp-looking Melanie Oudin in second round action

 

Steve Fogleman is Editor of TennisEastCoast.com, a Mid-Atlantic based tennis website. He tweets from @TennisEastCoast.


SCHEDULE – WEDNESDAY, 31 JULY, 2013

STADIUM COURT start 2:00 pm
[6] M Barthel (GER) vs A Petkovic (GER) – WTA
Not Before 4:00 PM
[8] J Isner (USA) vs [Q] A Kuznetsov (USA) – ATP
Not Before 5:30 PM
[3] T Haas (GER) vs [Q] T Smyczek (USA) – ATP
Not Before 7:00 PM
[1] [WC] J del Potro (ARG) vs R Harrison (USA) – ATP
[WC] J Sock (USA) vs [2] K Nishikori (JPN) – ATP

GRANDSTAND 1 start 2:00 pm
S Cirstea (ROU) / Y Wickmayer (BEL) vs [2] I Falconi (USA) / E Hrdinova (CZE) – WTA
Not Before 4:00 PM
[12] J Benneteau (FRA) vs M Fish (USA) – ATP
Not Before 5:30 PM
[5] G Simon (FRA) vs D Tursunov (RUS) – ATP
Not Before 7:00 PM
[1] [WC] A Kerber (GER) vs M Oudin (USA) – WTA
S Gonzalez (MEX) / S Lipsky (USA) vs [WC] J Blake (USA) / E Butorac (USA) – ATP

GRANDSTAND 2 start 4:00 pm
T Kamke (GER) vs [13] I Dodig (CRO) – ATP
[WC] J Duckworth (AUS) vs [7] K Anderson (RSA) – ATP
J Cepelova (SVK) vs [7] M Rybarikova (SVK) – WTA
[WC] S Johnson (USA) / S Querrey (USA) vs [2] A Qureshi (PAK) / J Rojer (NED) – ATP

COURT 1 start 4:00 pm
R Stepanek (CZE) vs [17] M Llodra (FRA) – ATP
M Barthel (GER) / A Cornet (FRA) vs [3] A Tatishvili (GEO) / H Watson (GBR) – WTA – after suitable rest
M Fyrstenberg (POL) / M Matkowski (POL) vs M Fish (USA) / R Stepanek (CZE) – ATP – after suitable rest
[1] S Aoyama (JPN) / V Dushevina (RUS) vs A Mueller (USA) / A Perez (VEN) – WTA

COURT 2 start 4:00 pm
T Huey (PHI) / D Inglot (GBR) vs C Fleming (GBR) / J Marray (GBR) – ATP
P Ormaechea (ARG) vs O Puchkova (RUS) – WTA
[4] C Castano (COL) / J Pegula (USA) vs M Alvarez Teran (BOL) / K Wong (USA) – WTA

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Former Champions Open Main Draw Play with Wins on Stadium Court at Citi Open, Second Seed Stephens Ousted

Radek Stepanek

By Steve Fogleman

(July 29, 2013) WASHINGTON, DC – Radek Stepanek was elated after a 7-6(3), 6-3 victory over American Steve Johnson. The 2011 ATP Washington marked the first men’s main draw match on Stadium Court at the Citi Open in Washington today, and Stepanek was good-natured throughout our exclusive Tennis Panorama video stand-up with the doubles legend. Stepanek’s next opponent is Michael Llodra. The head-to-head is 5-1 in favor of Stepanek.

Magdalena Rybarikova

Magdalena Rybarikova

Prior to Stepanek’s match, 2012 Champion Magdalena Rybarikova made an impressive comeback over Christina McHale on Stadium, delivering 2-6, 6-4, 6-2. In yet another exclusive video stand-up, Rybarikova spoke of reaching a career high inside the top 40 last month and her 2012 run through the field in Washington. She’ll play a second round rematch of a 2012 battle with her Slovakian compatriot, Jana Cepelova. Cepelova also needed to come from behind to make the rematch happen. She rallied from 6-4, 0-6, 6-3 against Kiki Bertens.

Andrea Petkovic handled Jessica Pegula easily, 6-2, 7-5. Paula Ormaechea overcame an overwhelmingly pro-Beatrice Capra crowd to dominate 6-1, 6-1. Capra is yet another graduate of the Junior Tennis Champions Center in nearby College Park, Maryland and a Duke Blue Devil. She is coached by Usue Arconada‘s coach, Frank Salazar, and received a wild card from tournament management.
Sloane Stephens Tennis Panorama
And finally, the big upset. Two seed Sloane Stephens received a hasty exit from Washington from the racket of Olga Puchkova. The 7-5, 6-3 win puts Puchkova in a nice position in the next round. She’ll face Paula Ormaechea for a chance to make the quarterfinals.
Less than 24 hours after her Washington Kastles celebrated a World Team Tennis championship victory, Anastasia Rodionova could not withstand Melanie Oudin, who won the Late Late Match, 7-5, 6-3.
Mardy Fish

Mardy Fish

In ATP play, the big news was not an upset but a three-set victory for returning veteran Mardy Fish. Fish started slowly but found his groove over qualifier Matt Ebden, 2-6, 6-1, 6-3. Xavier Malisse also needed three sets to advance over Rajeev Ram, 4-6, 6-3, 6-2.
Australian Sam Groth has not been the crowd favorite for three matches in a row now. Today, the capacity crowd on Grandstand 1 was overwhelmingly stacked with friends and supporters of Denis Kudla, who was raised in Washington. Groth didn’t seem to care, as he outserved the Junior Tennis Champion Center alumnus 7-6(2), 6-2.
Denis Istomin out-dueled Santiago Giraldo 6-3, 6-4 and David Goffin beat Yen-Hsun Lu 6-4, 6-4.
Rhyne Williams couldn’t take advantage of his lucky loser status and lost again, this time to University of Virginia standout and crowd fave Somdev Devvarman, 7-5, 6-1.
In the men’s nightcaps, Lukas Lacko made adjustments and scraped by Alejandro Falla by a score of 1-6, 6-4, 6-4. Marinko Matosevic dusted James Blake 6-2, 7-6(6). Blake had a decent run in Atlanta, so the showing will be a disappointment to the veteran. The final men’s match of the night to conclude was a three set victory for Tobias Kamke over Ricardas Berankis, 3-6, 6-3, 6-2.
Tuesday’s headliners on Stadium Court: Angelique Kerber vs. Irina Falconi, followed by Somdev Devvarman and 2012 Champion Alexandr Dolgopolov, followed by Lleyton Hewitt/Ryan Harrison followed by Denis Istomin and Sam Querrey, and concluding with Nikolay Daydenko vs. Marinko Matosevic.
Steve Fogleman is Editor of TennisEastCoast.com, a Mid-Atlantic based tennis website. He tweets from @TennisEastCoast.

SCHEDULE – TUESDAY, 30 JULY, 2013

STADIUM COURT start 2:00 pm
[1] [WC] A Kerber (GER) vs [Q] I Falconi (USA) – WTA
Not Before 4:00 PM
[Q] S Devvarman (IND) vs [9] A Dolgopolov (UKR) – ATP
Not Before 5:30 PM
L Hewitt (AUS) vs R Harrison (USA) – ATP
Not Before 7:00 PM
D Istomin (UZB) vs [6] S Querrey (USA) – ATP
[Q] S Groth (AUS) vs [4] M Raonic (CAN) – ATP

GRANDSTAND 1 start 2:00 pm
Y Wickmayer (BEL) vs [4] A Cornet (FRA) – WTA
Not Before 4:00 PM
[WC] J Sock (USA) vs I Sijsling (NED) – ATP
Not Before 5:30 PM
D Goffin (BEL) vs [14] B Tomic (AUS) – ATP
Not Before 7:00 PM
[11] G Dimitrov (BUL) vs X Malisse (BEL) – ATP
[15] N Davydenko (RUS) vs M Matosevic (AUS) – ATP

GRANDSTAND 2 start 2:00 pm
[6] M Barthel (GER) vs S Voegele (SUI) – WTA
Not Before 4:00 PM
[5] S Cirstea (ROU) vs L Tsurenko (UKR) – WTA
[Q] M Larcher de Brito (POR) vs [8] M Keys (USA) – WTA
[3] E Makarova (RUS) vs E Bouchard (CAN) – WTA
V King (USA) vs A Riske (USA) – WTA

COURT 1 start 2:00 pm
[WC] T Townsend (USA) vs M Niculescu (ROU) – WTA
Not Before 4:00 PM
M Fish (USA) / R Stepanek (CZE) vs [4] I Dodig (CRO) / M Melo (BRA) – ATP
[3] R Lindstedt (SWE) / D Nestor (CAN) vs J Benneteau (FRA) / N Zimonjic (SRB) – ATP
G Zemlja (SLO) vs [Q] T Smyczek (USA) – ATP
[16] M Baghdatis (CYP) vs L Lacko (SVK) – ATP

COURT 2 start 2:00 pm
[Q] A Mueller (USA) vs H Watson (GBR) – WTA
Not Before 3:00 PM
C Garcia (FRA) vs A Tatishvili (GEO) – WTA
[LL] J Levine (CAN) vs D Tursunov (RUS) – ATP
[WC] J Duckworth (AUS) vs [Q] Y Sugita (JPN) – ATP

COURT 3 not before 4:00 PM
A Bogomolov Jr. (RUS) vs [Q] A Kuznetsov (USA) – ATP
[4] C Castano (COL) / J Pegula (USA) vs M Irigoyen (ARG) / P Ormaechea (ARG) – WTA
C Garcia (FRA) / C Mchale (USA) vs J Cepelova (SVK) / O Puchkova (RUS) – WTA – after suitable rest

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