2014/11/24

Dennis Nevolo Advances to Semis of Claremont Club Pro Classic

CLAREMONT, Calif., (Sept. 12, 2014) – Playing the best tennis he’s played all year, top-seeded Dennis Nevolo beat three-week California traveling partner No. 6-seeded Jeff Dadamo, 6-1, 6-3, to advance to the semifinals of the 19th annual Claremont Club Pro Classic on Friday.

 

“I came out a little tight, but once I got the lead I got into a zone,” Nevolo said. “I felt like I’ve been struggling with my consistency the last couple of days, then today it just clicked. That’s probably the best I’ve played all year.”

 

The temperatures rose into the high 90s, and Nevolo admitted: “It’s getting warm out there, but I dealt with it OK.”

 

He added: “Practicing in Chicago it’s been a little more humid. Jeff’s got a very good serve and I neutralized him and then I did a good job of holding mine.

 

“We’ve been traveling together for three weeks. The good news is one of us was going to be in the semis, but I think we’d both rather play each other in the finals. It’s part of the game. Sometimes you play friends. It doesn’t really register anymore.”

 

Nevolo will play another friend and practice partner Jean-Yves Aubone in the one semifinal at 10 a.m. on Saturday. The two are both from the South Florida area. By way of his three-set win over lucky loser Reilly Opelka, Italy’s Salvatore Caruso waltzed into the final Sunday after Ecuador’s Roberto Quiroz pulled out of the tournament following his quarterfinal win with an injured left shoulder.

 

Caruso beat the 17-year-old USTA-trained Opelka, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4. The 6-foot-10 Opelka, who is still an amateur, was hitting 125-mph bombs in the first set to take a 6-3 lead. But the 21-year-old Caruso battled back and opened up a 4-1 second-set lead before Opelka broke Caruso’s serve to make it 4-3 with Caruso then closing out the set 6-3.

 

Up 4-3 in the third, Opelka called for a trainer for cramping. On break point at 4-all, Opelka double faulted and Caruso served out the match.

 

Dadamo and Nevolo captured the doubles title after Deiton Baughman and Opelka were forced to retire down 5-2 in the first set.

 

Opelka will play Costa Mesa and the Napa Valley $50,000 Challenger in the coming weeks, as well as some other ITF Futures events in South Florida. In December he will return to the junior circuit for the Eddie Herr tournament and Junior Orange Bowl.

 

With his size, of course Opelka gets comparisons to U.S. Davis Cup player John Isner, who is also 6-foot-10. “I hear that comparison a lot but I kind of do my own thing,” Opelka said. “I just happen to be tall, as well. All due respect to him, he’s the best American we’ve had for three years. The guy is unbelievable. He’s such a nice guy and I’ve hit with him. He has the best serve of all time.”

 

Friday’s Quarterfinal Singles Results:

q: Qualifying; wc: Wild Card; LL: Lucky Loser

Dennis Nevolo (USA) [1] def. Jeff Dadamo (USA) [6], 6-1, 6-3

Roberto Quiroz (ECU) def. Daniel Garza (MEX) [8], 6-1, 7-5

Salvatore Caruso (ITA) [4] def. Reilly Opelka (USA) [LL], 3-6, 6-3, 6-4

Jean-Yves Aubone (USA) [3] def. Ty Trombetta (USA) [q], 7-5, 6-3

 

Friday’s Final Doubles Results:

Jeff Dadamo (USA) / Dennis Nevolo (USA) [wc] def. Deiton Baughman (USA) / Reilly Opelka (USA) 5-2, retired

 

The first of three consecutive $10,000 USTA Pro Circuit hard-court men’s events held in Southern California following the US Open, the Claremont Club Pro Classic is run by tournament director Barry Friedman and USTA Tour Supervisor Peter Kasavage. It is one of nine USTA Pro Circuit men’s events taking place in California this year.

 

For more information, check on the web at:www.procircuit.usta.com, www.claremontclub.com; Facebook: www.facebook.com/pages/The-Claremont-Club/236147226396

 

Prize Money/Points – $10,000 Men

 

SINGLES:                   Prize Money                Points

Winner                         $1,440                         17

Runner-up                    $848                            9

Semifinalist                  $502                            5

Quarterfinalist              $292                            2

Round of 16                $172                            1

Round of 32                $104                            —

 

DOUBLES:                 Prize Money (per team)

Winner                         $620

Runner-up                    $360

Semifinalist                  $216

Quarterfinalist              $128

Round of 16                $0

Share

Baughman Beats Sarkissian to Advance Claremont Club Pro Classic

 

USTA pro circuit logo

CLAREMONT, Calif., (Sept. 10, 2014) – In just a little over one week, 18-year-old Deiton Baughman has played one of the best junior tennis players in the world, and also one of last year’s best in college tennis.

 

The Carson resident, who signed a pro contract with IMG back in April, on Wednesday beat NCAA runner-up Alex Sarkissian formerly of Pepperdine, 6-3, 6-3, in the first round of the 19th annual Claremont Club Pro Classic to advance to the second round.

 

Baughman was coming off a close first-round loss last week to US Open Junior Tournament boys’ singles and doubles champion Omar Jasika of Australia, 7-6 (5), 7-5, a few points against him here and there being the difference in the match.

 

A 17-year-old from Melbourne, Jasika became the first player in 28 years to lift both the boys’ singles and doubles trophies at the US Open and joined fellow Australian’s Pat Cash (1982) and Bernard Tomic (2009) as past winners of the US Open junior tournament.

 

On Thursday in the first match on Court 11 at 10 a.m. in Claremont, Baughman will play No. 6-seeded Jeff Dadamo.

 

Four players who worked their way through three round of qualifying to make the main draw advanced on to the second round on Wednesday, including American’s Eric Johnson, Ty Trombetta, Frederick Saba and the Netherland’s Max DeVroome.

 

Recently turned 17-year-old Reilly Opelka of Florida took advantage of his “lucky loser” spot in the draw after USTA wild card Collin Altamirano pulled out of the singles due to injury. Opelka fell to Trombetta in three sets in the qualifying singles but used his second life to beat another qualifier and fellow 17-year-old Logan Smith of Carlsbad, 2-6, 6-3, 6-1.

 

Baughman and Opelka are teamed up in doubles this week and moved into the second round when Altamirano was forced to withdraw from the doubles with partner Tommy Paul.

 

Wednesday’s First-Round Singles Results:

q: Qualifying; wc: Wild Card; LL: Lucky Loser

Deiton Baughman (USA) def. Alex Sarkissian (USA), 6-3, 6-3

Eric Johnson (USA) [q] def. Eduardo Nava (USA) [wc], 7-6 (8), 7-5

Reilly Opelka (USA) [LL] def. Logan Smith (USA) [q], 2-6, 6-3, 6-1

Greg Ouelette (USA) def. Andre Dome (USA) [q], 7-6 (3), 7-6 (3)

Salvatore Caruso (ITA) [4] def. Ryan Storrie (GBR) [q], 6-0, 6-1

Ty Trombetta (USA) [q] def. Haythem Abid (TUN), 6-2, 6-4

Max DeVroome (NED) [q] def. Evan Song (USA), 5-7, 6-3, 6-3

Roberto Quiroz (ECU) def. Gary Sacks (RSA), 6-3, 6-1

Frederick Saba (USA) [q] def. Stefan Menichella (USA) [wc], 7-6 (5), 6-3

Sebastian Rivera (ECU) def. Connor Farren (USA), 6-2, 3-6, 6-3

Mico Santiago (USA) def. David Hsu (USA) [q], 6-3, 6-2

 

Wednesday’s Second-Round Doubles Results:

Mackenzie McDonald (USA) / Martin Redlicki (USA) [1] def. Christopher Helliar (GBR) / Daniel Manlow (GBR), 6-7 (1), 6-4, 10-5

Andre Dome (USA) [4] / Fabian Matthews (USA) def. Randy Blanco (CUB) / Yuanfeng Li (CHN), 4-6, 0-6, 10-3

Jeff Dadamo (USA) / Dennis Nevolo (USA) [wc] def. Daniel Garza (MEX) / Eduardo Nava (USA) [3], 6-1, 6-3

Deiton Baughman (USA) / Reilly Opelka (USA) def. Collin Altamirano (USA) / Tommy Paul (USA), walkover

 

The first of three consecutive $10,000 USTA Pro Circuit hard-court men’s events held in Southern California following the US Open, the Pro Classic is run by tournament director Barry Friedman and USTA Tour Supervisor Peter Kasavage. It is one of nine USTA Pro Circuit men’s events taking place in California this year.

 

For more information, check on the web at:www.procircuit.usta.com, www.claremontclub.com; Facebook: www.facebook.com/pages/The-Claremont-Club/236147226396

 

Prize Money/Points – $10,000 Men

 

SINGLES:                   Prize Money                Points

Winner                         $1,440                         17

Runner-up                   $848                            9

Semifinalist                 $502                            5

Quarterfinalist              $292                            2

Round of 16                $172                            1

Round of 32                $104                            —

 

DOUBLES:                 Prize Money (per team)

Winner                         $620

Runner-up                   $360

Semifinalist                 $216

Quarterfinalist              $128

Round of 16                $0

 

 

Claremont Past Champions

Singles

Year    Winner                                    Runner-Up

2013    Marcos Giron (USA)               Dennis Novikov (USA)

2012    Daniel Kosakowski (USA)      Prakash Amritraj (IND)

2011    Steve Johnson (USA)             Darian King (BAR)

2010    Gary Sacks (RSA)                  Devin Britton (USA)

2009    Matej Bocko (SVK)                 Bradley Klahn (USA)

2008    Tigran Martirosyan (ARM)       Adriano Biasella (ITA)

2007    Carsten Ball (AUS)                 Robert Yim (USA)

2006    Dudi Sela (ISR)                       Sascha Kloer (GER)

2005    Benedikt Dorsch (GER)          Tyler Cleveland (USA)

2004    Bobby Reynolds (USA)           Huntley Montgomery (USA)

2003    Glenn Weiner (USA)               Jimy Szmymanski (VEN)

2002    Dmitry Tursunov (RUS)          Raven Klaasen (RSA)

2001    Marq Foster (USA)                  Huntley Montgomery (USA)

2000    Geoff Abrams (USA)               Daniel Andersson (SWE)

1999    Ryan Wolters (USA)               Jordan Kerr (AUS)

1998    Ville Liukko (FIN)                    Michael Mather (USA)

1997    Ofer Sela (ISR)                       Daniele Bracciali (ITA)

1996    Glenn Weiner (USA)               Cecil Mamiit (PHI)

 

Doubles

Year     Winner

2013    Carsten Ball (AUS) – Daniel Garza (MEX)

2012    Devon Britton (USA) – Reid Carleton (USA)

2011    Alexandre Lacroix (FRA) – Sanam Singh (IND)

2010    Taylor Fogleman (USA) – Chris Kearney (USA)

2009    Brett Joelson (USA) – Ashwin Kumar (USA)

2008    Marcus Fugate (USA) – Nima Roshan (AUS)

2007    Nikita Kryvonos (USA) – Michael McClune (USA)

2006    Ryler DeHeart (USA) – Dennis Zivkovic (USA)

2005    K.C. Corkery (USA) – James Pade (USA)

2004    Nick Rainey (USA) – Brian Wilson (USA)

2003    K.C. Corkery (USA) – James Pade (USA)

2002    Chris Magyary (USA) – Mirko Pehar (USA)

2001    Sebastien Jaeger (GER) – Alexander Waske (GER)

2000    Levar Harper-Griffith (USA) – Robert Kendrick (USA)

1999    Mark Loughrin (USA) – Ryan Wolters (USA)

1998    Simon Larose (CAN) – Jocelyn Robichaud (CAN)

1997    Lars Hjarrand (NOR) – Ross Loel (USA)

1996    Sascha Bandermann (GER) – Glenn Weiner (USA)

Share

Marin Cilic Beats Kei Nishikori for US Open Title for First Major

 

(September 8, 2014) Fourteenth seeded Marin Cilic of Croatia won his first major title by beating tenth seed Kei Nishikori of Japan 6-3, 6-3, 6-3 on Monday in the US Open final.

The Croat dominated the match throughout hitting 17 aces and 38 winners during the less than two-hour match

Both players were making their Grand Slam final debuts. The last time this happened was in 1997.

The 25-year-old Cilic is only the third man other than Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray to win a major since the middle of 2005.

Just a year ago Cilic missed the tournament due to a doping suspension which was later reduced.

“I mean, seems completely unreal to be called Grand Slam champion,” Cilic said. “I was dreaming about this all my life, and suddenly last four, five days everything started to change. And with my tennis especially. I started to play absolutely unbelievable starting with the fifth set with Simon. After that I had unbelievable run of the matches against these top guys. And what it means to me, it means everything. It’s just a huge accomplishment and huge moment for myself and for my team and for everybody around me who was with me all these years supporting me, believing in me and never giving up. So this is just the peak of the world.”

“I think I showed, you know, my potential I can beat anybody now,” Nishkori said. So if I can keep train hard and, you know, also practice hard, I think I have more chance coming up.”

The man from Japan defeated 5th seed Milos Raonic in the fourth round and 3rd seed Stan Wawrinka in the quarterfinals, both in long five-set matches. he followed the wins up by taking out the top seed Novak Djokovic in four sets.

Cilic, dismissed No. 2 seed Roger Federer in the semifinals in straight sets.

Cilic talked about the key to winning the tournament. “The key was definitely I was playing my own game and it was working extremely well. Last ten sets I played I played amazing tennis with everything, starting from serve, starting from movement, all different shots. Return with Federer. In Federer’s match was great I think overall. My performances were great.”

 

“A lot of guys are saying people would like to watch top four guys much more to extend their streak at the top and to extend their run at the Grand Slams, because, I mean, they attract the most, the fans and the TV, and everybody else,” Cilic said. “But sort of one day definitely they gonna go out and there’s gonna be a need for somebody else. I feel this time, this year — I mean, I think the guys from second line were a bit lucky because Andy Murray was also having trouble with his back; Wawrinka was up and down with his tennis after Australia; few other players were not playing at the best all the time. And Rafa is not here. So that opened a little bit the gate for everybody else. I feel it’s gonna definitely be much bigger competition from next year. I feel the guys at the top are gonna pull the other guys, too. I think the game of tennis is definitely going to evolve much more.”

“I feel, very inspirational for all the other guys out there who are, you know, working and sometimes losing motivation, having trouble to dig deep and to believe in the achievements. I would definitely feel much stronger if I would see somebody like me accomplish things like this. It sort of came out of nowhere for me. Few things clicked in just right before tournament sort of. I felt great about them, and match after match I played really good tennis. These last three matches, everything was working perfectly.”

 

Share

Serena Williams Three-Peats at US Open for 18th Grand Slam Title

 

(September 7, 2014) Serena Williams won her third straight US Open, sixth overall for her 18th major title by defeating tenth seed Caroline Wozniacki 6-3, 6-3 in 75 minutes on Sunday afternoon.

“It feels great,” Williams said. “I never thought I would have won this one six times, because I won Australian five times and Wimbledon five times. I think I only won the Open like three times; now it jumped to six.”

When she’s on her game it’s not fun to play her,” said the 24-year-old Dane . “You know, she’s so strong. She has a good serve and she puts pressure on you straightaway. You know, today I went out there and I was a little nervous. I had a game plan in mind, but it was kind of difficult at the start. I tried to push her back, but that really didn’t work for me. She really just stepped in and she was playing aggressive. She was playing better than me today.”

Williams won the tournament without losing a set.

Williams is now tied with Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova at fourth on the all-time major titles list.

“Number 18. I have been trying to reach it for so long, since last year.” Williams said. “Well, since the beginning of the year. I didn’t really think would I get there. I just felt so good.”

“It means a lot to me. You know, I just could never have imagined that I would be mentioned with Chris Evert or with Martina Navratilova, because I was just a kid with a dream and a racquet. Living in Compton, you know, this never happened before. You know, I just never could have imagined that it could have ended — not ended. I’m just beginning. Well, I’m not beginning, but I could have gotten this far, you know. So it was just — I think it was — and then it was eluding me for three tournaments, I guess. But, still that’s a lot for me. I was like, you know, really excited to get it.”

Turning 33 in 19 days, Williams is the second-oldest player to win a Grand Slam title in the Open Era after 33-year-old 1990 Wimbledon champion Navratilova.

Williams, who did not win any majors this year coming into the US Open she had no expectations.

“My goal was just to get past the third round, maybe the fourth round, because it was just really difficult for me in the majors, said the 33-year-old. “My goal was just to win some matches.”

She has now also equaled Evert’s 6 US Open titles won. Williams leads all active players in tournament wins with 63.

Williams and Wozniacki are good friends off the court and the Dane talked about their relationship.

“When you’re out there — we’re both competitors and we both want to win, so we’re both going to do anything possible to win the match. You know, after the match we’re friends again. You know, it’s tennis. It’s a game. But off the court we’re still — we still care equally as much about each other. It doesn’t really change.”

“It’s definitely not easy,” Williams said, “but I think we both wanted to win this. We both wanted to do the best that we could. And like I say, I’ve play against (sister) Venus, so I think that helped me a lot to be able to — if I can play against her, I can really handle anything at this point.”

“Think her results and her career says it all: 18 Grand Slam titles,” Wozniacki said. “You don’t get that unless you’re exceptional in what you do. You know, she is one of the greatest of all time. You know, to have 18 Grand Slam titles and still be the person she is is really something very rare. You know, I admire her both on and off the court. I definitely think when Serena is on her game there’s not much we can do. So, you know, I think that’s why she has so many titles that she has.”

The No. 1 player earned a record $4 million dollars for the win, $3 million for the title, plus a $1 million bonus for having won the US Open Series Bonus Challenge.

Asked what she plans to do with her prize money, Williams said: “Well, I have a really good uncle that I love a lot. I always say this. His name is Uncle Sam. I think I’m going to give him a lot of it.”

 

Share

UCLA’s Marcos Giron, North Carolina’s Jamie Loeb Win American Collegiate Invitational at US Open

Peter Kobelt and Marcos Giron in the American Collegiate Invitational. Photo courtesy of the USTA

FLUSHING MEADOWS, N.Y. (Sept. 6, 2014) – A little bit of rain wasn’t going to stop UCLA’s Marcos Giron from winning the inaugural American Collegiate Invitational played at the US Open on Saturday.

 

The top-seeded Giron of Thousand Oaks, Calif., downed Ohio State’s Peter Kobelt, 6-1, 6-3, to win the men’s title, while North Carolina’s Jamie Loeb beat fellow New Yorker Julia Elbaba, 7-5, 6-1, of Virginia to capture the women’s championship in the eight-player event played at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center

 

If Giron is ranked No. 250 or higher and Loeb No. 150 or higher in the world rankings at this time next year, the pair will receive a main draw wild card into next year’s US Open. Guaranteed at least a qualifying wild card, Giron and Loeb will also get wild cards into two USTA Pro Circuit events, while Kobelt and Elbaba will get one.

 

Playing a dominating all-court game, the reigning NCAA singles champion Giron took a commanding 5-1, 15-40 lead on Kobelt’s serve when the rain came. Kobelt won one point, and play was suspended. “I was like, ‘Are you kidding me?’ ” said Giron, who entered the locker room and began a 90-minute wait. “I had all the momentum to that point, but all of the sudden a rain delay can make you more relaxed once you come back out there.”

 

But Giron came back and took the set and eventually the match.

 

Currently ranked No. 419 in the ATP World Tour rankings, Giron has been in New York for two and a half weeks having played in the main draw of the pro event. “I’m ready to go back home,” Giron said. “This is a place I definitely want to be coming back to a lot in the future. This is the top of tennis, and I’m definitely looking forward to coming back and proving myself.”

 

Giron has had a good summer, including qualifying at the Winston-Salem tournament. “It’s attainable,” he said of reaching No. 250 by this time next year. “It’s been a steep learning curve since I turned pro, but I’m getting a grasp on it and slowly learning how to be a pro.”

 

Giron and Kobelt had split matches during their college days, and Kobelt said Giron has improved since he beat him two years ago. “Marcos played great,” he said. “He has a lot of confidence since winning the NCAA title and had a great summer. He’s really developed an all-around game.”

 

Inspired by seeing her hero Roger Federer earlier in the morning eating breakfast, Loeb was able to overcome a slow start to down Elbaba in front of a bunch of USTA Eastern Section supporters of both players, including USTA First Vice President Katrina Adams.

 

Unlike both men’s players who next begin life on the pro tour, both Loeb and Elbaba have started school and will be among the nation’s elite this coming season.

 

“I think I started off pretty slow,” said Loeb, of Ossining, N.Y., in Westchester County. “It was pretty hot out there, and it took me awhile to adjust to that. But as I got into the match I was able to get more serves in.”

 

Loeb said the key to the day was a break in a close second game of the second set. “Getting that break was huge,” she said, adding she felt a little nervous at the start and that might have attributed to her slow start. “I think I’m pretty mentally tough, and I’m always going to fight to the last point.”

 

Besides seeing Federer, Loeb her favorite memory of the week was “all the support of my family and friends. It’s great for college players to get the chance to succeed beyond college.”

 

Elbaba was disappointed with the loss. “I felt I left everything out there on the court,” she said. “I thought we put on a great match for all the supporters. Tennis is a big game on momentum, and I thought she just gained confidence throughout the match.”

 

Elbaba said her best memory was, “playing some of my best tennis in front of some of the biggest crowds I’ve played in front of.”

 

SATURDAY’S FINAL RESULTS

Women

Jamie Loeb (North Carolina, Ossining, N.Y.) def. Julia Elbaba (Virginia, Oyster Bay, N.Y.), 7-5, 6-1

Men

Marcos Giron  [1] (UCLA, Thousand Oaks, Calif.) def. Peter Kobelt (Ohio State, New Albany, Ohio), 6-1, 6-3

Share

Another Super Saturday Shocker as Marin Cilic Beats Roger Federer to Reach US Open Final

 

(September 6, 2014) Super Saturday at the US Open had its second shocker of the day when No. 14th seed Marin Cilic used his big serve and big strokes to dominate No. 2 seed Roger Federer 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 to reach his first major final.

The match followed the first surprise of the day when No. 1 Novak Djokovic was upset 6-4, 1-6, 7-6 (4), 6-3 by Japan’s Kei Nishikori.

Monday’s final will feature two players in their first major final – 24-year-old No. 10 Nishikori versus 25-year-old No. 14 Cilic.

“Just an amazing day for me. I feel amazing,” Cilic said. “To be able to play like this, I never dreamed of.”

“Just for the performance today from, I mean, first point to the last I was absolutely playing the best tennis of my life,” Coloc said in press.. “Considering the huge occasion I was playing in, I mean, for the second time in a semifinals of a Grand Slam, it just can’t be more special. Considering also that, you know, even I was a set up and break up, you know, the crowd was rooting for Roger to come back. You know, it wasn’t easy to deal with that, but I felt that my serve helped me a lot today, you know, to get some free points to breathe a little bit easier. It was, I mean, working perfectly.”

“It’s fairly simple: I think Marin played great,” Federer said. “I maybe didn’t catch my best day, but I think that was pretty much it in a nutshell.”

“I think he served great when he had to,” Federer said. “I think the first break was tough. I think was up 40-Love and then lose five straight points, and then had one chance in the third when I was up a break and he came straight back. Those are my two moments really. But credit to him for just playing incredible tennis.”

The Monday final will mark the first time since the Australian Open final in 2005 that neither Federer, Rafael Nadal or Djokovic is in a grand slam final.

“That’s going to be a sensational day for both of us,” said Cilic about his match against Nishikori.

This marked the first time Cilic has beaten Federer, the Swiss won on the five previous occasions.

Cilic is the first man from Croatia to reach a grand slam final since his coach Goran Ivanisevic won Wimbledon back in 2001.

“Well, it’s gonna be special day for both of us,” said the Croat. “I mean, opportunity for both of us to win a Grand Slam, to be a part of the history. It’s gonna be definitely huge emotions on the court. And we played couple times already here at the US Open. Both of those matches were extremely tough under very difficult conditions. I feel that, I mean, we have both different game styles. I mean, Kei is extremely well — I mean, he hits the ball extremely well from the back of the court. I think I’m going to have to just focus on my game to break that a little bit of rhythm and to try to serve well. I think it’s gonna be a good sort of tactical matchup for the final.”

 

 

Share

Kei Nishikori Stuns No. 1 Novak Djokovic to Reach US Open Final

(September 6, 2014) Under brutal heat and humidity, Japan’s Kei Nishikori became the first man from Asia to reach a major final, when on Saturday afternoon, the 24-year-old shocked top player Novak Djokovic 6-4, 1-6, 7-6 (4), 6-3 at the US Open.

“It’s just amazing, amazing feeling to beat the No. 1 player,” Nishikori said after the match in an on-court interview.

“I expected him to be able to play another five-setter because he had two days off,” Djokovic said of Nishikori’s stamina. “He hasn’t played before this tournament, so he had a big break. He could prepare himself for this tournament. He played some great tennis. I congratulate him for the effort. He was the better player today.”

Nishokori came into the semifinals having played two marathon five-set matches against top 5 players. In the fourth round the 10th seed stopped fifth seed Milos Raonic in a match which ended at 2:26 a.m. on Thursday morning. In his quarterfinal, Nishikori defeated reigning Australian Open champions and third seed Stan Wawrinka. Nishikori played more 81/2 hours combining those two matches.

“That second set my game today was not even close to what I wanted it to be,” said the Serb. “A lot of unforced errors, a lot of short balls. Just wasn’t myself.”

“I don’t want to talk about conditions,” Djokovic continued. “It’s same for both of us. I think he just played better in these conditions than I did. I just wasn’t managing to go through the ball in the court. You know, I wasn’t in the balance. Unforced errors. Even when the ball gets back to his part of the court it’s pretty short; he takes advantage of it. On the other side I didn’t. That’s it.”

 

“Well, this is definitely huge for Japan,” Djokovic commented. “It’s a big country. Over a hundred million people. This can definitely be a great encouragement for tennis in that country. He’s been around for last couple of years. He’s been making a lot of success. But playing finals of a Grand Slam and now fighting for title is definitely something different. You know, he has gotten to another level, and I’m sure that people will praise him.”

Nishikori will face Roger Federer or Marin Cilic in Monday’s final.

More to follow.

Share

Peng Retires in Match; Wozinacki and Williams Move into US Open Women’s Final

 

(September 5, 2014) China’s Shuai Peng, appearing to have cramps clutched her right knee and limped her way over to the back wall of the court in tears while receiving serve from 10th seed Caroline Wozniacki who was up 7-6(1), 4-3, 30-40.

At the wall, a trainer, a tournament official, a security guard and a ballperson ran to Peng’s side to help her. After about a ten minute period, which included Peng being taken off court for evaluation and being treated for heat illness, she resumed play. Points later she collapsed to the ground and retired from the match, advancing Wozniacki to her second major final.

Peng was taken off the court in a wheelchair.

In her news conference hours later, Peng said she felt fine.

“I think it was the physical because today is really humid and hot,” said the 28-year-old, ranked 39th. “And then like my body is not like from like — maybe I got from I parents when I’m born. It’s not like the strong, my physical like everything. So also from like what I does in the practice and just the lot of fitness and then try to improve with everything.”

“I said, `No, no, no. I don’t want to give up. I want to try one more time,'” said Peng, when she  had to retire. “I knew I’m not going to stay maybe too long, but I just want to try, you know. I just wanted to challenge her one more time.”

“It was really hard to watch for me whenever I saw her collapse on the court,” the 10th seed Wozniacki said. “You know, tennis is great, but the health is more important. You know, to see her struggling out there, I just wanted to make sure she was okay. I got the word that she’s okay now and just getting cooled down, so that’s great to hear. I’m in the finals, which is obviously great. It’s been five years for me since my last one here, so I’m extremely happy to be back there.”

The 24-year-old Dane lost to Kim Clijsters in the final of the US Open in 2009.

The other semifinal had very little drama as No. 1 Serena Williams ran away with a 6-1, 6-3 victory over Ekaterina Makarova. For Williams this will be her third straight US Open final. She’s looking to three-peat and win her sixth US Open crown on Sunday.

 

“I’m just really excited to be in the final,” the 32-year-old said. In the beginning of the week I definitely wasn’t sure I would make it this long. Definitely wasn’t sure I’d be here. So I’m just elated, to be honest, to have made it this far.”

“I think I played pretty well today. You know, I was able to change up my game and just keep moving forward and just keep doing what I could do today.”

Williams evaluated her match-up with Wozniacki: I” definitely expect another close match. She really knows my game well and knows how to play. She’s so consistent. I think that’s one of the things that makes her really tough. So I just have to be ready for that and, again, just stay calm and just be able to relax and be happy. You know, the beginning — the past six months I would never thought I’d be here. I think it’s just staying calm and happy.”

Williams is seeking her 18th major on Sunday which would tie her on the all-time list with Martina Navratilova and Christ Evert.

 

Share

Roger Federer Saves Two Match Points to Reach US Open Semifinal

 

 

 

(September 4, 2014) No. 2 seed Roger Federer saved two match points while coming back from two-sets to love down to defeat 20th seed Gael Monfils 4-6, 3-6, 6-4, 7-5, 6-2 on Thursday night and reach the US Open semifinals for the first time in three years.

For the first two sets, the 33-year-old veteran had no answer to a focused Monfils hard-hitting Frenchman, nor did he have an answer for dealing with the windy conditions in Arthur Ashe Stadium.

Federer began to dig out of a two sets down hols in the third set. The five-time US Open winner survived two match points when he was down 5-4 in the fourth set. He won five games in a row to take the fourth set and gain majors momentum in the fifth set where Monfils’ level of play took a precipitous drop.

“Well, then it was tough, because I think then my serve was not good, so it let me a bit down again at 5-All,” Monfils said. “I think maybe I hit a double fault. I think I had a point for 6-5 and could not really quite use my serve. I think the side I was was tougher because it was against the wind, so it was a bit tougher. Then rush me with his long return, so it was very tough. But then he play good. He played good. He had the set. Then physically I had a drop, five minutes. But maybe come from mentally also, because I thought that I could have play better this fourth set. For five minutes I think I had — I was a little bit, yeah, tired and mentally also tired. So then it came quick. I think then he start to be very offensive. So then it was very tough to handle it.”

Federer was asked about how he survived his match to come back and win.

“Well, it was one of those moments where you got the back against the wall and hope to get a bit lucky and you hope to play exactly the right shots that you need or that he completely just messes it up,” Federer said. Either way works as long as you get out of it. But clearly it’s not a great feeling, because you feel it’s not in your control anymore really. So I’m very, very happy to have found a way tonight.”

“I was like saying to myself, Keep it simple, you know, and try to make him play them,” Monfils discussing having two match points. “Because I knew that he will force it, like he will put the first ball in and then for sure come to the net very quick. So it was more like, you know, I be relax and just lean a bit more on my forehand return and try to make it. And then we just played those two points, and, you know, well done.”

“It’s just unbelievable to win matches like this at slams,” Federer continued. “You know, I have won other big ones in other places. But over best of five, saving match points against Gaël in an atmosphere that it was out here tonight, it’s definitely very special. I’m. Not sure I have ever saved match point before in a slam. If that hasn’t happened, I’m unbelievably happy that it was today, because I knew I could play better after the first couple of sets. I believed I could turn it around from the get-go when the third set started, and I’m so happy the crowd got into it. The rallies were incredible at times, and my game really picked up. I served great in the fifth when it mattered, and just overall an enjoyable match also to play, because it had all the ups and downs similar to the Wimbledon final.”

This was the ninth time Federer has won a match after dropping the opening two sets down, eight of them at majors.

The victory will move Federer ahead of Rafael Nadal for the No. 2 spot in te ATP race.

Federer will take on Marin Cilic in his semifinal on Saturday afternoon.

 

Share

Opening Day At US Open In First American Collegiate Invitational

Danielle Rose Collins from the University of Virginia in action in the quarterfinals of the Women's Collegiate Invitational. Photo courtesy pf the USTA

Danielle Rose Collins from the University of Virginia in action in the quarterfinals of the Women’s Collegiate Invitational. Photo courtesy of the USTA

FLUSHING MEADOWS, N.Y. (Sept. 4, 2014) – The inaugural American Collegiate Invitational began play at the US Open on Thursday at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.

 

University of North Carolina women’s tennis player Hayley Carter described the thrill of practicing next to Serena Williams earlier in the morning while UCLA’s Clay Thompson said he fulfilled a lifelong dream before ever striking a ball.

 

Winners on the men’s side for the day included three from Southern California schools and a Big 10 player while on the women’s side two New Yorkers, one from New Jersey and the nation’s reigning NCAA women’s singles champion all moved on to Friday’s semifinals.

 

Top-seeded and reigning NCAA men’s singles champion Marcos Giron, his UCLA teammate Clay Thompson, Pepperdine’s Alex Sarkissian and Ohio State’s Peter Kobelt recorded wins while NCAA women’s singles champion Danielle Collins, her Virginia teammate Julie Elbaba, top-seeded Jamie Loeb of North Carolina, and Stanford’s Krisite Ahn each posted straight-set wins.

 

“I was so excited,” said Thompson. “I walked in yesterday and picked up my credential and walked on site and said, ‘My dream is complete; I’m at the US Open as a player.’ No matter what happens from here doesn’t matter. If I were to lose in the first round, I’m still on the world’s greatest stage for tennis. It’s just amazing.

 

“There’s no better place in the world to play a tournament.”

 

Loeb (Ossining, N.Y.), Elbaba (Oyster Bay, N.Y.) and Ahn (Upper Saddle River, N.J.) each call the New York-area home, and have played in the US Open before with Ahn even qualifying for the women’s pro main draw back in 2008.

 

“It’s awesome being here,” Ahn said. “It’s great exposure for college tennis and to be a part of the first one is such an honor. From here this event is only going to get better. It’s not quite main draw, but it’s pretty amazing.”

 

“It’s always exciting to play here in Flushing,” said Elbaba, who played two US Open junior events and qualified both times, but never won in the main draw. “It brought back a lot of memories being on these courts.”

 

 

University of Florida’s Olivia Janowicz felt the same way as Ahn. “I’ve literally been dreaming about this day since I was a kid,” Janowicz said. “I grew up in Jersey and I remember coming here and watching (Kim) Clijsters when she was an unknown.”

 

Janowicz’s college teammate Alex Cercone added: “It’s a dream come true and I’m honored to be a part of this group. The environment is different than anything I’ve ever experienced.”

 

Kobelt said, “Just walking around the locker rooms and seeing anyone you can name: (Milos) Raonic, (Richard) Gasquet; you name it, they’re here. Just being in the gym with them and practicing next to them is amazing.”

 

The winner of the American Collegiate Invitational will receive either a main draw or qualifying draw wild card entry into the 2015 US Open, based on their individual ranking. The champion will also get wild cards into two USTA Pro Circuit events, while each runner-up will get one.

 

Tomorrow’s meeting between Sarkissian and Giron will be a rematch of the 2014 NCAA Singles Championship finals, which Giron won, 6-4, 6-1.

 

Notre Dame’s Greg Andrews couldn’t believe the way the players were treated. “I felt like this was one of the best events I’ve ever been a part of,” he said. “It was so much fun. I felt like a king as a player the way they treated us. I think the fans got a chance to see that there is a lot of talent in college tennis. I really hope they keep it going.”

 

Despite losing, Carter still enjoyed her time in New York playing alongside the best tennis players in the world. “This has been an amazing experience,” she said. “This morning I got to practice next to (Caroline) Wozniacki, Serena (Williams) and (Tomas) Berdych. It was a tough day but I can’t hang my head too much!”

 

Kobelt felt much like Carter. “I came from a small town in Ohio and never thought tennis would take me this far,” he said. “If I don’t go farther in tennis I can say I played the US Open, and it’s an achievement I’ll have for the rest of my life.”

 

MEN’S FIRST-ROUND RESULTS

Peter Kobelt  (Ohio State, New Albany, Ohio) def. Gregory Andrews  (Notre Dame, Richland, Mich.), 7-6 (3), 6-4

Marcos Giron  (UCLA, Thousand Oaks, Calif.) [1] def. Raymond Sarmiento  (USC, Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.), 7-6 (8), 6-3

Clay Thompson (UCLA, Venice Beach, Calif.) [2] def. Jared Hiltzik  (Illinois, Wilmette, Ill.), 6-3, 6-4

Alexander Sarkissian  (Pepperdine, Glendale, Calif.) def. Mackenzie McDonald (UCLA, Piedmont, Calif.), 5-7, 6-3, 6-3

 

WOMEN’S FIRST-ROUND RESULTS

Danielle Collins (Virginia, St. Petersburg, Fla.)  def. Olivia Janowicz (Florida, Palm Bay, Fla.), 6-2, 6-4

Jamie Loeb (North Carolina, Ossining, N.Y.) [1] def. Jennifer Brady (UCLA, Boca Raton, Fla.), 6-3, 6-4

Kristie Ahn  (Stanford, Upper Saddle River, N.J.) def. Hayley Carter (North Carolina, Hilton Head, S.C.)  [2], 6-4, 6-1

Julia Elbaba (Virginia, Oyster Bay, N.Y.) def. Alexandra Cercone (Florida, Seminole, Fla.), 6-3, 6-4

 

FRIDAY’S SEMIFINALS SCHEDULE OF MATCHES

Starting at 11 a.m. ET; Court 6

Women

Julia Elbaba vs. Kristie Ahn

Followed by

Jamie Loeb  (USA) [1] vs. Danielle Collins

Followed by

Men

Peter Kobelt vs. Clay Thompson [2]

Followed by

Marcos Giron  [1] vs. Alex Sarkissian

 

Share