India's medal hope at the Athens Olympics, Mahesh Bhupathi and Leander Paes advanced to the doubles final at the US $2.5 million ATP Masters tournament in Toronto, Canada.
The eighth seeds upset fourth seeds Mark Knowles of Bahamas and Daniel Nestor of Canada, 6-4, 6-4 in the semi-finals on Saturday night.
In the process, the Indians extended their winning run to 16 matches, having not lost a match together since April 2002. That stretch includes five ATP matches, five Davis Cup matches and four Asian Games matches.
In the final, they will take on second seeds Jonas Bjorkman of Sweden and Max Mirnyi of Belarus, who beat third-seeded French pair of Michael Llodra and Fabrice Santoro 7-6 (7/2), 7-6 (7/2) in the other semi-final.
Paes and Bhupathi are teaming after more than two years to prepare for the Olympics, beginning on August 13. The former world No.1 doubles pair had taken the tennis world by storm in 1997, winning their first major title together on the ATP tour at the 1997 Gold Flake Open.
They won 12 titles thereafter leading up to a sensational 1999, which saw them become the first pair since 1952 to reach all four Grand Slam finals and win the Wimbledon and French Open.
08-01-2004, 11:13 PM
Federer wins Tennis Masters Canada
World No. 1 Roger Federer continued his mastery of American rival Andy Roddick.
The Swiss star defeated Roddick 7-5, 6-3 to capture the $2.5-million US Tennis Master Canada event Sunday.
The victory was Federer's 23rd straight and improved his lifetime record against Roddick, ranked No. 2 in the world, to 7-1.
``Andy, I'm sorry you didn't win another final,'' said Federer. ``But in the future I'm sure we'll play many, many more great matches and you'll get your fair share of them.''
Roddick defeated Federer in the semifinals of this event last year en route to capturing the tournament. But since then, Roddick is 0-3 against Federer, including a four-set loss to Federer in the Wimbledon final.
``I'd like to congratulate Roger,'' said Roddick. ``You're certainly becoming very annoying.''
Federer was definitely the more solid of the two before a sun-drenched sellout gathering of over 12,000 spectators at centre court in the new Rexall Centre. Roddick often came to the net, attempting to dictate the match, but all too often was thwarted by solid Federer returns or passing shots.
``I thought I played the big points pretty well,'' said Roddick. ``He just made great shots.''
Federer, who dropped only one set the entire tournament, started Sunday's match much stronger than he did in his semifinal win over Sweden's Thomas Johansson on Saturday. In that match, Federer looked shaky and mishit numerous shots.
But that wasn't the case Sunday as Federer earned his third straight tournament victory and eighth of the year. His 23-match win streak is the longest on the men's tour since American Pete Sampras earned 24 straight victories five years ago.
Roddick came into the match with the reputation of having the cannon serve, but it was Federer who unofficially registered 14 aces, compared to just four for Roddick.
After inconsistent weather throughout the week - rain forced play to be halted Tuesday and two rounds to be played Thursday - the conditions were stellar Sunday with 26 C temperatures, a light wind and brilliant sunshine.
This marked the first time the top two seeds in this event have met in the final since '95 when American Andre Agassi defeated Sampras. And Roddick was attempting to become the first champion to successfully defend his crown in Canada since Agassi accomplished the feat in 1994-'95.
Federer took the opening set 7-5, thanks to a break in the 12th game. After gaining the advantage thanks to stellar backhand that handcuffed Roddick at the net, Federer captured the win when Roddick's forehand went long, prompting the American to hurl his racket into the nearby photographer's pit in frustration.
It marked just the second time in the tournament Roddick had been broken.<
Federer had another break chance in the fourth game, but Roddick managed to save that and tie the match 2-2. Federer faced a 40-0 deficit before going to deuce on three straight aces and going ahead 5-4 when Roddick's forehand was just long.
The two continued on serve in the second, but Roddick required medical attention on his lower back after Federer went ahead 2-1. It seemed to work as Roddick held serve to tie the match 2-2.
But Federer took control of the match with a crucial service break to go ahead 5-3. After falling behind 40-0, Roddick saved two of the break point but had a shot sail wide to give Federer the victory.
From there, Federer served out the match to earn the title.
08-01-2004, 11:14 PM
Federer continues dominance of Roddick
Roger Federer won his third straight title Sunday, beating Andy Roddick 7-5, 6-3 in the final of the $2.5 million Tennis Masters Canada.
The top-ranked Federer, who won his eighth event of the year, extended his winning streak to 23 matches and raised his career record against the No. 2-ranked Roddick to 7-1.
“Andy, I’m sorry you didn’t win another final,” Federer said. “But in the future I’m sure we’ll play many, many more great matches and you’ll get your fair share of them.”
Roddick defeated Federer in the semifinals of this event last year and went on to win the tournament. Since then, Roddick is 0-3 against Federer, including a four-set loss in the Wimbledon final.
“I’d like to congratulate Roger,” Roddick said. “You’re certainly becoming very annoying.”
Federer was the more solid of the two before a sun-drenched sellout crowd of 12,000 spectators at Rexall Centre. Roddick often went to the net, attempting to dictate the match, but was often thwarted by solid returns or passing shots.
“I thought I played the big points pretty well,” Roddick said. “He just made great shots.”
Federer’s 23-match win streak is the longest on the men’s tour since Pete Sampras won 24 straight five years ago.
The match marked the first time the top seeds in this event met in the final since 1995, Andre Agassi defeated Sampras.
Roddick was trying to become the first champion to successfully defend the title since Agassi accomplished the feat in 1994-’95.
Federer got a break in the 12th game and took the first set. After gaining the advantage with a stellar backhand that handcuffed Roddick at the net, Federer captured the win when Roddick’s forehand went long. Roddick then hurled his racket into the nearby photographer’s pit in frustration.
It marked just the second time in the tournament Roddick was broken.
The two remained on serve in the second, but Roddick required medical attention on his lower back after Federer went ahead 2-1. The help seemed to work as Roddick held serve and tied the set 2-all.
But Federer took control of the match with a crucial service break to go ahead 5-3. After falling behind 40-0, Roddick saved two of the break points, but had a shot sail wide to give Federer the victory.
From there, Federer served out the match.
08-01-2004, 11:16 PM
Federer now leads Roddick 7-1 head-to-head
Roger Federer swept past Andy Roddick 7-5, 6-3 to capture the Toronto Masters on Sunday and extend his winning streak to 23 matches.
A rematch of last month's Wimbledon final produced a similar result as Federer continued his mastery over Roddick, improving his head-to-head record against his American rival to 7-1.
Federer, who turns 23 next week, needed less than 90 minutes under a hot Canadian summer sun to collect his fourth consecutive title and eighth of the season -- the most since Austria's Thomas Muster won 12 in 1995.
The Wimbledon and Australian Open champion's winning streak of 23 matches is the longest since Pete Sampras strung together 24 victories in 1999.
Federer will have an opportunity to equal that mark next week when he takes on Dominik Hrbaty in the opening round of the Cincinnati Masters.
08-02-2004, 09:27 PM
Federer shares record streak with hero Borg
ROGER Federer captured his eighth title of 2004 and earned himself a spot in the tennis record books alongside Bjorn Borg with a tournament win at the Masters Series in Toronto yesterday.
The Swiss world No. 1, performing to perfection on his country's national day, beat Roddick 7-5, 6-3 duplicating his Wimbledon final victory over the American.
The win left Federer with a 57-4 record for the season, including 23 match wins in a row.
He also became the first player since Borg in 1979 to win three titles in a row on three different surfaces – grass, clay and hardcourt.
In his four-tournament winning streak, Federer's past three came at Wimbledon (grass), Gstaad in Switzerland (clay) and Toronto.
"Bjorn Borg is my hero," said the 22-year-old. "I've met him once and I'd like to do so again. He's a great player and a great person. This is something for the history books."
Federer admitted that he was exhausted, with more challenges looming in this week's follow-on Masters Series in Cincinnati and then the Athens Olympics.
A puzzled and frustrated Roddick was trying to determine where it all went wrong for him on court.
"I kept telling myself it was bad luck that he aced to save on three straight break points," Roddick said of Federer's escape trick in the ninth game of the opening set. "But things like that happen a lot when I play Roger, it's frustrating."
08-02-2004, 09:28 PM
Paes-Bhupathi show awesome form, win Toronto Masters
Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi marked their reunion after a gap of more than two years by winning the doubles title at the $ 2.5 million ATP Tennis Masters Series in Toronto, Canada, last night.
Paes and Bhupathi, world number one pair at their peak in 1999 when they won the French Open and Wimbledon titles, defeated Jonas Bjorkman of Sweden and Belarussian Max Mirnyi 6-4, 6-2 in the final.
After going down a break in the second game, the ‘Indian Express’ bounced back with a double break in the third and seventh games to take the first set. The pair gained a break in the very first game of the second set before extending the lead to 5-2 with another break in the seventh to wrap up the title.
It was the 23rd title for Paes and Bhupathi together and their fifth Masters title. Interestingly, their first title came at the same venue seven years ago.
Individually, it was Bhupathi’s 36th career title and Paes’ 30th. Bhupathi was also the defending champion, having won last year with Mirnyi.
The duo ran into fine form in the tournament that saw them gobble up three top-10 pairs — including Mark Knowles of Bahamas and Canadian Daniel Nestor — on their way to the title and the win should make them a strong contender for the Olympics gold at Athens in a fortnight’s time.
The Toronto win gives the duo 500 ATP points each and will push Paes upto number 20 on the doubles entry ranking. Bhupathi’s ranking will stay at his current number 5.