|Topic Review (Newest First)|
|03-03-2015 04:08 AM|
Re: ATP Finals
Roger Federer captured a record seventh Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships crown on Saturday night as he defeated Novak Djokovic 6-3, 7-5 in the final.
"The seventh is quite unbelievable, what I hear people talking about that, announcing I'm the six-time winner here in Dubai," said Federer. "Sounds pretty crazy. It's nice that Wimbledon and Halle are that way, as well."
The Swiss served four aces in the 37-minute opener and became the fourth player (since 1991) to hit 9000 aces when he fired down a service winner at the start of the sixth game of the second set. He hit 12 aces in total throughout the match, taking his tally to 9007.
The 33-year-old Swiss was contesting his ninth final in 12 visits to this ATP World Tour 500 hard-court tournament. He previously lifted the trophy in 2003-05, 2007, 2012 and 2014 and finished runner-up in 2006 and 2011. He now has a 47-5 tournament record.
Victory marked Federer’s second ATP World Tour title of the season. He opened his 2015 campaign by claiming the Brisbane title with his 1000th match win, beating Milos Raonic in the final. The Basel native now has an 84-42 finals record.
After saving two break points earlier in the contest, Federer broke Djokovic in the eighth game and went on to serve out the opener. Top seed Djokovic had his chances to push the match to a third set. He had Federer at 15/40 on serve in the eighth game and then again in the 10th game – eliciting two set points – but could not convert.
Federer then pounced in the 11th game, breaking Djokovic - who had led 40/0 - with a forehand winner to Djokovic, Federerlead 6-5. Federer faltered slightly serving for the match. He netted on his first match point and was forced to save a seventh break point for Djokovic before sealing victory at the second time of asking in 84 minutes.
"I think the first set belonged to me; whereas the second set belonged to him more," said Federer. "He created many more opportunities. I struggled to get into his service games more frequently. It seemed like the moment I wasn't serving great he created chances for himself and put a lot of pressure on me. It was a huge game clearly at 5-5, 40/0 for him. I crawled my way back into the game and ended up breaking him. So that was big, but I think the break points saved were even bigger tonight."
Federer improved to a 20-17 lead over Djokovic in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series as he recorded his first victory over the Serb in a final since the 2012 Cincinnati title match.
"I think it's really become a very nice rivalry," said Federer. "I think we play very nicely against each other, and it seems people like the way we play against each other, as well. I don't think we have to adjust our games very much against each other, which I think is nice, as well. We can just play our game, and then the better man wins.
"It's been nice seeing Novak's improvements over all these years. He's become such an unbelievable player, especially the past five, six years, and cleaned up his game so nicely and became the best mover in the game. It's really a pleasure playing against him every single time again."
Djokovic, a four-time champion in Dubai, was looking to eclipse his coach Boris Becker and win his 50th tour-level title. The Belgrade native dropped to a 49-23 finals record. He was playing his first tournament since winning his eighth Grand Slam championship at the Australian Open (d. Murray) last month.
|03-03-2015 04:07 AM|
Re: ATP Finals
David Ferrer continued his stellar start to 2015 by capturing his fourth Abierto Mexicano Telcel title after defeating top seed Kei Nishikori 6-3, 7-5 in the final on Saturday.
The 32-year-old Spaniard won his third ATP World Tour crown this year (also Doha and Rio de Janeiro) and improved his season record to 18-1.
As champion, the 24-time ATP World Tour titlist received $343,000 in prize money and 500 Emirates ATP Ranking points. Nishikori, who is guaranteed to rise to a career-high World No. 4 for reaching the final in Acapulco, received $154,620 in prize money along with 300 Emirates ATP Ranking points.
"Tonight I played my best match this week," said Ferrer. "For sure. I played very aggressive, without mistakes. I'm very happy. To win here a fourth time is a dream.
"I tried to play my forehand to his forehand and with more energy. In important moments, he made more mistakes and I took my chances. I feel very confident with my tennis now. I've won three tournaments this year and we've only began the season."
The World No. 9 grasped an early 3-1 lead in the first set and, after trading breaks with Nishikori, served out the first set at love. Continuing momentum, Ferrer quickly raced to a 3-0 lead in the second set. The 25 year old from Japan was able to get one of the breaks back and later fired a forehand to level the set at 4-all.
The Spaniard earned a crucial break for 5-4 and a chance to serve for the match. Pressure mounted and the top seed broke back for 5-all, but Ferrer prevailed as he broke yet again and clinched the win in one hour and 49 minutes.
Ferrer hit 11 winners in the match and benefited from 40 unforced errors from his opponent.
The eventual champion defeated Igor Sijsling, Marinko Matosevic, Bernard Tomic and qualifier Ryan Harrison en route to his fifth final in Acapulco and his 49th tour-level final.
Last Sunday, Ferrer captured his 23rd tour-level crown in Rio de Janeiro (d. Fognini).
Nishikori was bidding to win his ninth ATP World Tour crown and second in three weeks, having earned a three-peat on the indoor hard courts of Memphis.
"There were too many unforced errors," Nishikori said. "I tried to be aggressive but I was missing too much. Especially with this slower surface, he gets everything. I knew I had to step in a little more, but it wasn't my day.
"I fought hard from 0-3 (in the second set) and tried to come back, but he was too good. It was definitely a great week, I had some tough matches and it's always a great feeling coming through to a final."
Did You Know?
Ferrer is the first player to reach tour-level finals in consecutive weeks on clay and hard courts since Andres Gomez in 1988. He is the first player to win titles on clay and hard courts in back-to-back weeks since Ivan Lendl in 1985.
|03-03-2015 04:06 AM|
Re: ATP Finals
BUENOS AIRES 15
Top seed Rafael Nadal survived home favourite Juan Monaco and multiple rain delays to claim his first title of the year at the Argentina Open presentado por Buenos Aires Ciudad.
“All titles are special, but I’m really happy because I have not been a champion for a long time,” said Nadal. “Against [Monaco], I played my best of the week. That is great news for me because I’m trying to gain more confidence."
Appearing in his 93rd tour-level final, the World No. 4 added a 65th overall crown. Nadal assumed sole possession of fifth place on the Open Era titles list, breaking a tie with Pete Sampras and Bjorn Borg.
“They have an impressive history,” Nadal said of Sampras and Borg. “That’s why it is an honour to be compared to them."
The 28-year-old Spaniard needed one hour and 27 minutes to prevail 6-4, 6-1, breaking on four of nine occasions while not facing a break point on his own serve. After a two-hour rain delay postponed the start of the match, Nadal registered the first break for 4-3 in the opening set. In front of a packed crowd that included Argentine legends Guillermo Vilas, Guillermo Coria, David Nalbandian and Gaston Gaudio, he would reel off eight of the next 10 games to emerge victorious. Nadal converted on his first match point when Monaco fired a forehand long.
Making his first appearance in the Argentine capital in 10 years, Nadal won the title at a fourth different Golden Swing tournament, adding to crowns in Acapulco (2005, '13), Sao Paulo (2005, '13) and Rio de Janeiro (2014). He improves his FedEx ATP Head2Head advantage over Monaco to 6-1, earning $91,050 and 250 Emirates ATP Rankings points.
The Mallorca native extends the run of Spanish dominance in Buenos Aires to seven consecutive years with a titlist (Ferrer 2012-14, Almagro '11, Ferrero '10, Robredo '09).
Former World No. 10 Monaco was bidding to become the first home grown Argentina Open champion since Nalbandian won the title in 2008. Appearing in an ATP World Tour singles final for the ninth straight year, the Tandil native was looking for his ninth title overall.
“It was a difficult week at first, but then I took confidence and I think I’m slowly returning to my best,” said Monaco. “That’s why I leave here happy.”
|03-03-2015 04:06 AM|
Re: ATP Finals
OPEN 13 15
In the fifth all-French final in Open 13 history, fifth seed Gilles Simon edged seventh seed Gael Monfils 6-4, 1-6, 7-6(4) on Sunday in Marseille to lift the trophy for the second time.
Simon improved to a 5-1 FedEx ATP Head2Head lead over Monfils as he added to the Marseille trophy he won in 2007 (d. Baghdatis). The 30 year old captured his 12th ATP World Tour title, placing him second on the French title leaders list in the Open Era; Yannick Noah leads with 23.
Simon received 250 Emirates ATP Rankings points and €102,900, while Monfils collected 150 points and €54,200 in prize money.
"It was a great week, but a tough one physically," said Simon, who spent eight hours and 53 minutes on court in his five matches. "I left a lot of energy against [Borna] Coric (in the second round) and then it was hard to recover from this one. I'm happy I won here since I won my first tournament in Marseille. I hope it won't be the last one."
Monfils paid the price for 54 unforced errors as Simon held steady to claim victory in two hours and 29 minutes. Simon let slip an initial break lead in the third set, and found himself two points from defeat when serving in the 12th game, but was the more consistent player in the deciding tie-break.
World No. 17 Simon was coming off a semi-final showing at the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam, where he snapped a 12-match losing run against Andy Murray in the quarter-finals. The Nice native has an 11-4 mark at the start of the 2015 season.
The 28-year-old Monfils dropped to a 5-17 record in ATP World Tour finals. The Paris native’s last title came 12 months ago at the Open Sud de France in Montpellier (d. Gasquet). "I’m disappointed," said Monfils. "It was a great match and we both played really well."
|03-03-2015 04:05 AM|
Re: ATP Finals
DELRAY BEACH 2015
Just one week shy of his 36th birthday, World No. 29 Ivo Karlovic became the oldest winner in Delray Beach Open history with a 6-3, 6-3 win over Donald Young on Sunday.
He is the oldest winner on the ATP World Tour since Jimmy Connors won in Tel Aviv in 1989 (37 years, one month).
"It is unbelievable," said Karlovic, who trains in nearby Plantation. "It was really satisfying also for me to do this at my age, and it gives me a boost of confidence when I go into the other tournaments at Indian Wells and Miami.
"Last year, I was in four finals and I lost all of them, so I really wanted to do this one good. I was focused; I was doing my thing and it paid off."
In his 13th career ATP World Tour final, his second in Delray Beach (2010, l. to Gulbis), the fourth-seeded Karlovic struck 13 aces and saved all seven break points he faced to deny the 25-year-old American his first title. The 6'11" Croat totalled 91 aces, a tournament record, during his week in South Florida.
"He kind of tosses in the same spot and can hit all the spots on the court," Young said of his opponent's serve. "You look and see some tendencies. I was able to pick quite a few, but just not when it actually mattered.
"He played well. He beat me. I didn’t play the best I wanted to play, but all credit to him."
After going 0-4 in finals last year, Sunday's victory marks Karlovic's first title since 2013 Bogota (d. Falla). As a reward for claiming his sixth ATP World Tour championship, Karlovic will take home $84,250 and 250 Emirates ATP ranking points.
|03-03-2015 04:04 AM|
Re: ATP Finals
RIO OPEN 2015
David Ferrer made quick work of Fabio Fognini to claim his first Rio Open presented by Claro title on Sunday evening.
Ferrer needed one hour and 23 minutes to dispatch Fognini 6-2, 6-3, winning his 23rd ATP World Tour crown and a record seventh in Latin America's 'Golden Swing'. The 32-year-old Spaniard, also a three-time titlist in both Acapulco and Buenos Aires, was previously tied with countryman Nicolas Almagro.
Ferrer, who captured his second title of the year after prevailing at the season-opening Qatar ExxonMobil Open (d. Berdych), improved his perfect FedEx ATP Head2Head edge over Fognini to 8-0. He also defeated the Italian in the Argentina Open final last year.
"I'm really happy," said Ferrer. "It's my 23rd tournament win and I never won here before in Rio. I'm very happy for that. I had the chance to be in the Carnaval this week and all the facilities are good. This week is very special. I have a lot of confidence with my game. I won two tournaments this year. It's very important for me being with the best players in the world."
The World No. 9, who earlier in the week cracked the Top 20 of the Open Era match wins list (615-295 win-loss mark), takes home $343,000 and 500 Emirates ATP Rankings points. In front of Brazilian sporting legends Gustavo Kuerten, Ronaldo and Cesar Cielo, Ferrer broke twice in the opening set and secured the decisive break of serve in the fourth game of the second.
Fresh off a stunning comeback victory over World No. 3 Rafael Nadal in the semi-finals at the Jockey Club Brasileiro, Fognini was bidding to win his fourth ATP World Tour title. He collects $154,620 and 300 Emirates ATP Rankings points for his efforts.
"When you lose in a final, you're always disappointed," said Fognini. "It's a big week for me. Yesterday I beat Rafa. It's a big tournament and I'm happy because I put in a lot of work mentally and physically. To be 100 per cent against David it is difficult."
|02-18-2015 06:00 AM|
Re: ATP Finals
Kei Nishikori became the first player to win the Memphis title in three consecutive years since the tournament’s inception in 1975, defeating No. 2 seed Kevin Anderson 6-4, 6-4 in their first ATP World Tour meeting on Sunday.
Nishikori withstood 12 aces from his 6'8" South African opponent, claiming the breaks he needed in the first and second sets. Serving for the match at 5-4, the Japanese star created a 40-love lead before Anderson fought back to deuce. As in his semi-final match against Sam Querrey, Nishikori clinched his first title of 2015 on his fourth match point.
The World No. 5 enjoyed a straightforward win in the Memphis Open final, but the same could not be said for his previous three matches. In the semi-finals, Nishikori defeated Querrey 5-7, 7-6(5), 7-6(5) in the longest match of the week (two hours, 42 minutes). His first two matches against qualifiers Ryan Harrison and Austin Krajicek also lasted three sets, marking just the second time he has won three straight matches in a tournament from a set down (’12 Australian Open).
"It feels great, of course," he said. "Today’s match was much different than [the past] couple of matches. I played really solid from the baseline and returned really well."
Tommy Haas, Todd Martin and Jimmy Connors all took home Memphis titles two years in a row (Connors did it twice!), but Nishikori managed to rack up three championships in just his fourth appearance at the American tournament.
As a reward for his efforts, the 25 year old will take home a custom-made Gibson Memphis ES-335 Figured Gloss Semi-Hollowbody electric guitar instead of a traditional trophy, joining enthusiastic doubles winners Mariusz Fyrstenberg and Santiago Gonzalez.
"I love it!" Nishikori said of his prize. "I’ve never done guitar before, but I think I might need to start and get some lessons."
Anderson will take the positives from his performance before heading to Delray Beach next week.
"Being in that stage a few times now in the finals, obviously you want to take it a little bit further, but it wasn’t there," he said. "I have a couple of other tournaments coming up now, so I can’t afford to dwell on this.
|02-18-2015 05:59 AM|
Re: ATP Finals
BRASIL OPEN 2015
Pablo Cuevas turned in a dominant serving display to end the dream run of qualifier Luca Vanni at the Brasil Open 2015, claiming his third ATP World Tour title on Sunday with a 6-4, 3-6, 7-6(4) win.
Cuevas, who was the first Uruguayan to reach the final in Sao Paulo, improved to 3-0 in tour-level title matches. He won his maiden crown last year at the SkiStar Swedish Open and hoisted the trophy on the clay of Umag two weeks later.
"We were both very nervous," said Cuevas. "I think it was the first time I played a final as the favourite. I thought that I couldn’t lose when that happens, but the matches become more difficult. In front of me I had someone that was playing with a lot of confidence and with a great serve. I think we both failed at some moments: a double fault, a volley. There were many mistakes at the end and the winner was the one who fails less than the other.
"I’m having a great comeback. I dream it will be good, but it’s better than I thought. I’m happy and enjoying the moment. But I’m healthy and I want more. I think I can give more and I thought about it when I could not play."
Cuevas was an indomitable force on serve in the 32-minute opening set, securing five love holds (20/20 points won) behind a heavy dose of leaping kick serves and fluid movement to set up his backhand down the line. They would remain on serve until the ninth game, when Vanni blinked first, sending a forehand into the net to be broken at love.
The fifth-seeded Cuevas would reel off 12 straight points to steal the opener 6-4, but his momentum was suddenly quelled as the second set got underway. In search of his first win against a Top 50 opponent, Vanni finally discovered the key to penetrating the World No. 32's serve, breaking for a 2-0 lead. As the Italian began swinging more freely from the baseline, Cuevas' unforced error count rose. He would throw down three aces to hold for 5-2 and sent the final to a decider two games later.
The angles became even more acute as the third set progressed, with both players finding their top form. Neither would yield an inch on serve as the match neared its conclusion, with Cuevas staving off a critical break point at 3-all. The 5'11" right-hander would be pressed on serve again two games later, but this time Vanni seemed to have the last laugh, breaking for 5-4.
Serving for your first ATP World Tour title is always a challenging task and Cuevas broke back immediately. A tie-break would eventually decide the championship and Vanni would not be able to recover after squandering an early mini-break. Cuevas won seven of the last 10 points to seal the win in two hours and three minutes.
Cuevas is projected to ascend to a career-high Top 25 position after picking up 250 Emirates ATP Rankings points and $80,850 in prize money. Vanni, meanwhile, who had never won an ATP World Tour match prior to this week, earns $42,600 and 150 Emirates ATP Rankings points, rising to just outside the Top 100.
The Italian was bidding to become just the third different Italian to win on the ATP World Tour since 2006 (Fognini, Seppi), and the first player to win a tour-level title having previously not won a match since Steve Darcis achieved the feat in Amersfoort 2007.
"I'm so happy," Vanni said. "It was a close match. I fought hard against Cuevas. Tomorrow he will be 28, maybe 27, in the (Emirates ATP Rankings)...I'm so proud of myself.
"I was in the chair before I served for the match and was thinking we are 1-all in the first set. I didn't want to think we were at 5-4 and I was serving for the championship. I started with a good serve and then he played solid and didn't miss a ball. He put every ball inside the court. I took some risks, which can be good sometimes and sometimes not. But I have to be satisfied after this week."
|02-18-2015 05:57 AM|
Re: ATP Finals
Stan Wawrinka followed in the footsteps of his fellow Swiss, Heinz Gunthardt, Jakob Hlasek and Roger Federer, by capturing the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament title.
Wawrinka extended his winning streak over Tomas Berdych to six matches with a 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 victory in a two-hour final Sunday at the Ahoy Rotterdam. This year was his first appearance at the ATP World Tour 500 tournament since 2005.
It was Wawrinka's ninth tour-level title and his second of 2015, adding to last month’s Aircel Chennai Open (d. Bedene). He walks away with €358,540 and 500 Emirates ATP Ranking points.
"It's been an amazing week," said Wawrinka. "It wasn't easy, but every match I found my way. It was a great final. Tomas was playing really well, but I'm happy to turn that match for me and win the title.
"It's my first [ATP World Tour] 500 title and winning indoors is something special for me personally. It's always amazing to win a trophy. It's the best feeling."
Berdych had been attempting to successfully defend an ATP World Tour crown for the first time in his career. He is now 10-16 lifetime in finals, having taken home €161,650 and 300 points.
Wawrinka was solid in defence in the fifth game, when he saved one break point at 30/40 from yards behind the baseline. Berdych mis-timed a forehand crosscourt on that occasion, but was not denied for long. The Czech, who is playing with greater aggression under his new coach Dani Vallverdu, sealed his third break point for a 4-3 lead when Wawrinka struck a forehand long.
Berdych served for the set at 5-4, but stunning forehands from Wawrinka at 40/30 – set point – ensured it was not all one way traffic. Wawrinka could not convert a break point opportunity, as Berdych held his nerve. His 12 winners and service consistency helped him take the 39-minute opener.
Chances were few in the second set, until the eighth game. Berdych got rattled when Wawrinka dominated baseline rallies. At 3-4, he dropped to 0/30 and while he saved one break point with an ace at 15/40, Wawrinka was able to draw Berdych to the net on the next point for a fine forehand winner. Wawrinka had taken advantage of Berdych’s first serve failing (38 per cent) to take their 16th meeting to a decider.
Wawrinka got lucky with a net cord return winner in the opening game, which broke Berdych’s serve to 30, and his confidence soared. A second break gave him a 4-1 lead, but in the next game two unforced errors saw Berdych break back. Wawrinka’s power was on display at 5-3, when he forced Berdych to also hit big in order to save one match point. Minutes later, Wawrinka closed out his 14th match win of 2015 for his first indoor title.
Wawrinka’s name now features on the roll of honour with Gunthardt (1980), Hlasek (1989) and Federer (2005, 2012). It was just his second indoor final (2007 Vienna, l. to Djokovic).
Berdych had been hoping to become the fifth player in tournament history (since 1972) to successfully defend the Rotterdam title. Only Arthur Ashe (1975-76), Stefan Edberg (1987-88), Nicolas Escude (2001-02) and Robin Soderling (2010-11) have done so.
"I'm disappointed with the way the match finished," said Berdych. "There can only be one winner. I had my chances in the beginning of the second set and I didn't make them so I think that cost me the match.
"I can see some positive things because the last time I played him it went a completely different way. I was in control in the beginning and the small differences decided it today. Next time I need to work harder."
It was the third all-Top 10 Rotterdam final in the past 10 years (also 2009 and 2012).
|02-09-2015 07:31 AM|
Re: ATP Finals
At 34 years old, Victor Estrella Burgos became the oldest first-time ATP World Tour titlist in Open Era history with his 6-2, 6-7(5), 7-6(5) win over top seed Feliciano Lopez in the Ecuador Open Quito final on Sunday.
The recently named Dominican Sportsman of the Year is also the first from the Dominican Republic to achieve such a feat. The World No. 73 is the second player ranked outside the Top 50 to win a title this year following World No. 63 Jiri Vesely, who won in Auckland last month.
After upsetting Thomaz Bellucci in a semi-final match that included a four-hour rain delay on Saturday, Estrella Burgos competed in his first ATP World Tour doubles final, falling with partner Joao Souza to the German team of Gero Kretschmer and Alexander Satschko.
Summoning every bit of remaining energy on Sunday, he struck first in the final, breaking Lopez in the opening game and again to go up 5-2 before serving out the set. Neither player broke serve in the second set, with Lopez leveling the match on his fourth set point.
Estrella Burgos again got off to a strong start in the third, breaking the Spaniard in the second game and creating a 4-1 lead before Lopez came storming back to force a tie-break. Estrella Burgos took advantage of his second match point to close out the two hour and 17-minute match.
"The truth is that Quito has become a very special city for me," Estrella Burgos said. "It actually already was, as I've won Challengers here. Today has been a very tough day for me where I was a set up, and later I lost the tie-break. In the third set I was up a break, and I didn't manage the nerves well.
"I got a little bit nervous, but thanks to God, I relaxed a bit in the tie-break, and I was able to win the mini-break and win the match."
Despite the loss, Lopez claimed his own piece of history in Quito, becoming the ninth player (third active) to strike 7,000 aces in his career. Needing just 10 more to reach the mark, he struck 19 total in the final.
"He practically dominated the whole match," admitted Lopez. "In the tie-break I was ahead, and then I had a very easy backhand shot that I missed and that killed me. It would have put me at 5-4 with two serves. That would have been a good opportunity, but tennis is like this."
The match marks the second over-30 final of the season with Guillermo Garcia-Lopez (31) defeating Andreas Seppi (30) for the Zagreb title earlier on Sunday. Last year, there were five all over-30 finals in total.
|02-09-2015 07:31 AM|
Re: ATP Finals
Guillermo Garcia-Lopez survived a clash between two of the hottest players on the ATP World Tour in 2015, battling past Andreas Seppi to claim the PBZ Zagreb Indoors title on Sunday.
The 31-year-old Spaniard needed one hour and 37 minutes to dispatch Seppi 7-6(4), 6-3, earning his first win in five FedEx ATP Head2Head meetings. Garcia-Lopez fired 25 winners, converting on two of five break points.
"You don’t win a tournament every week," said an emotional Garcia-Lopez following the match. "This is only my fourth title during my whole career so of course it was an emotional moment. I was thinking about those moments when you are working hard, practising a lot, spending a lot of hours on court. Every title is of course a really good moment for players, so this one is a nice one, for sure."
It was the World No. 33's fourth ATP World Tour crown and first in the Croatian capital. Garcia-Lopez and Seppi contested the second 30-over final of the year, with Victor Estrella Burgos (34) and Feliciano Lopez (33) set to face off for the Ecuador Open Quito title later in the day. Last year there were five all 30-over finals.
The turning point of the match came with Seppi leading 4-1 in the first set tie-break. The Italian's momentum came to a grinding halt as a 47-shot rally went Garcia-Lopez's way and the third seed would go on to capture the opener, claiming six straight points to close it out. Seppi looked to turn the tables in the second set, earning a break in the fifth game, but his lead would be short-lived as Garcia-Lopez broke back immediately and would reel off four consecutive games to seal the victory.
The La Roda native earns €80,000 and 250 Emirates ATP Ranking points with the win, improving to 9-3 in 2015. It is his second title in as many years, having won in Casablanca in 2014 (d. Granollers) and first on hard courts since upsetting Rafael Nadal en route to the Bangkok crown in 2010.
Seppi, who falls to 3-4 in finals on the ATP World Tour, takes home €42,100 and 150 Emirates ATP Ranking points for his efforts.
"I was a bit tired mentally and physically by the end of the second set," Seppi said. "I tried to stay calm but I felt like I had no energy.
"It is a little bit disappointing. It was the final. I was one step away from winning the tournament but I have to see the positive things. I didn’t play my best tennis but I made it to the final with some good fighting spirit so it is pretty positive."
|02-09-2015 07:30 AM|
Re: ATP Finals
Fourth seed Richard Gasquet captured his second Open Sud de France title on Sunday in Montpellier.
The Frenchman now has a 13-3 record at this ATP World Tour 250 indoor hard-court tournament, having previously lifted the trophy in 2013 (d. Paire). He finished runner-up to Gael Monfils in last year’s final, but avenged that loss with victory over his countryman in Saturday’s semi-finals.
Gasquet was crowned champion when Jerzy Janowicz was forced to retire ill just three games into the final. The fourth seed had won 14 straight points to open up a 3-0, 30/0 lead before Janowicz conceded.
"I knew he was sick when we were warming up. I saw very quickly at the beginning of the match that he couldn’t play at all," said Gasquet. "Anything can happen, so even though I knew he was sick, I stayed focused. I had a great week, with solid matches. It’s good for the rest of the season. I felt that I played well this week. I feel 100 per cent and ready for the season."
"I'm extremely disappointed because I felt pretty OK the whole week," said Janowicz. "I saved six match points in the first round and after that I played pretty good tennis. Two days ago, I got sick. I haven't slept in almost two days. I had a fever and the flu and I'm so weak. There was not much that I could do today."
Former World No. 7 Gasquet lifted his 11th ATP World Tour trophy and first since 2013, when he won three titles for the second time in his career (also 2006) with victories at Doha, Montpellier and Moscow. He has a 10-12 record in finals.
The 28-year-old Gasquet has opened his 2015 campaign with an 8-2 record, reaching the quarter-finals in Doha (l. to Berdych) before reaching the third round at the Australian Open (l. to Anderson).
|02-02-2015 07:06 AM|
Re: ATP Finals
AUSTRALIAN OPEN 2015
World No. 1 Novak Djokovic became the first man in the Open Era to win five Australian Open titles on Sunday. The Serb is just one title short of Australian legend Roy Emerson, the great champion of 1961, 1963-67.
Djokovic defeated Andy Murray 7-6(5), 6-7(4), 6-3, 6-0 for the third time in a final at Melbourne Park to clinch his eighth Grand Slam championship crown.It was his 50th hard-court victory at Melbourne Park.
Djokovic earned his eighth Grand Slam championship crown and has now won 38 hard-court titles, third in the Open Era list behind Roger Federer (57) and Andre Agassi (46). He has a 16-8 FedEx ATP Head2Head series record against Murray, who is now 2-6 lifetime in major championship finals.
Djokovic moves into equal-eighth place with Andre Agassi, Jimmy Connors, Ivan Lendl, Fred Perry and Ken Rosewall on the all-time list for most major titles.
It was only fitting that Emerson presented Djokovic with the trophy. "I'm so privileged and honoured and grateful to be standing here for the fifth time, to be in an elite group of players, with legends of our sport out here watching," said the Serb.
Djokovic also denied Murray in the 2011 and 2013 Australian Open title matches. It was Djokovic’s 50th match win at the prestigious tournament.
The 27-year-old Djokovic won his first major title at the Australian Open in 2008 (d. Tsonga) and followed with three successive victories from 2011-13. He has won 32 of his past 33 matches at Melbourne Park.
Murray has now finished runner-up at the Australian Open four times. No player in the Open Era has ever lost three Australian Open finals before winning the title. Murray had also been denied in 2010 against Roger Federer.
"It's been my most consistent Grand Slam throughout my career, I just haven't been able to win it," said Murray in his runner-up speech. "We put in a lot of hard work to try and get back in this position after what was a difficult year last year. Unfortunately, we couldn't quite do it tonight, but I'm a little bit closer than I was a few months ago and we'll keep working hard to try and get there. I'll try and come back next year and have a slightly different outcome in the final."
An enthralling first two sets on Rod Laver Arena took two hours and 32 minutes. Murray looked to have wrestled the initiative when he then broke for a 2-0 lead in the third set. However, Djokovic switched gears and as Murray faded fast, the Serb won 12 of the last 13 games to clinch victory in three hours and 39 minutes.
The 27-year-old Murray has now lost five matches in a row against Djokovic, with his last victory over the Belgrade native coming in the 2013 Wimbledon final. The Scot was attempting to win his third Grand Slam championship; he won his first against Djokovic at the 2012 US Open.
Murray dropped to a 2-6 record in Grand Slam finals. His victories at the 2012 US Open and 2013 Wimbledon have also been countered by losses at the 2008 US Open (l. to Federer) and 2012 Wimbledon (l. to Federer).
How the final was won
Murray’s plan, crafted with his coach Amelie Mauresmo, appeared to be to serve out to Djokovic’s forehand on the deuce court, while six-time Grand Slam champion Boris Becker had instructed his charge to take the net away from Murray. In the opening minutes, both tactics worked but it was Djokovic who first came under pressure at 1-1, when he recovered from 0/40 to win five straight points. Djokovic cut down his error count and, in the next game, broke Murray to 15 with a stunning crosscourt forehand return winner. Murray was not playing badly, but soon found himself down 1-4. Through six games he had won one of his seven second service points.
DjokovicMurray dug in. The Scot played down the centre of the court and maneuvered Djokovic out of position with his backhand. Two break points went begging at 2-4, 15/40, through groundstroke errors, but Djokovic soon buckled when he hit a backhand wide. In the eighth game, Murray opened up a 30/0 lead but Djokovic did not give an inch in baseline rallies and converted his second break point chance for a 5-3 lead. Prior to serving for the set, Djokovic indicated he wanted a trainer to look at a problem with the thumb of his right hand. Momentarily, Djokovic’s game went off the boil. His concentration was lost. The issue hindered his ability to strike backhands cleanly and Murray took advantage to break to 15.
Nerves took hold in the tie-break. Djokovic opened with a double fault, but soon recovered from 2-4 to lead 5-4 as Murray mis-timed and pushed at his groundstrokes. Murray had dictated many of the rallies as Djokovic clung on. The 72-minute set ended with Murray striking a backhand return into the net. Both players won 42 points in the set, but Djokovic hit 19 winners to Murray’s 12 and had found a way to win.
In a strange opening to the set, Djokovic appeared to twist his right ankle in one rally during the second game that he lost when he struck a backhand into the net. Shaking his head, he motioned to Becker. It was all mental. Murray led 2-0, 15/0 before Djokovic refocused to win four straight games – and 12 straight points. Murray was on the back foot and needed to react fast. At the end of the seventh game there was a delay, as two protestors were escorted away. At the change of ends in his semi-final victory over Tomas Berdych, he had read pre-prepared notes. This time, he had his own thoughts.
MurrayMurray’s backhand length improved to keep Djokovic yards behind the baseline and expose angles. At 4-3, Djokovic missed two first serves from 30/30 to put himself under pressure and Murray surged forward to strike a forehand winner to break. Murray’s confidence grew with a hold to love, his third straight game. The physicality of both players was on show at 4-5, when Djokovic let slip a 40/15 lead. Murray was battling hard but he could not capitalise on a set point opportunity in the 15-minute game that included five deuces. He hit a backhand into the net, rising up too early on the stroke. Djokovic celebrated a mammoth hold and then refocused to press for a break.
Murray, the match player, saved three break points at 30/40 and twice at Ad Out by switching up the direction of his serve. Djokovic pinned Murray with forehands that landed close to the baseline, but it was Murray’s mental resilience that saw him take a 6-5 lead. Both players knew the enormity of the situation heading into another tie-break. Murray was in the ascendency when he took a 4-1 lead and won a 26-stroke rally for a 5-2 lead. A 6-2 lead and four set points chances got cut, but Murray converted his fourth opportunity to clinch the 80-minute set.
DjokovicMurray carried the momentum into the third set, breaking Djokovic in the opening game. The intensity of the match was extraordinary as Djokovic began looking for answers. At 1-2, Murray dropped to 0/30 and although he saved one break point with an ace, Djokovic was not to be denied as he levelled the scoreline when Murray hit a wild forehand. So tense was the match that Djokovic’s wife, Jelena, tweeted from their Monaco apartment that she and their 10-week-old son, Stefan, were heading out for a walk with their two dogs, Pierre and Tesla.
At 3-3, Murray came close to breaking Djokovic once again, but he narrowly missed out on a backhand winner down the line off a drop volley at 30/40. The match started to unravel for Murray, when he hit a double fault at 15/40 in the eighth game to hand Djokovic the advantage. Seven of Murray's 12 unforced errors in the 39-minute set came in the final few games, but he could not stop Djokovic seizing control of the match.
Murray started to vent his anger as Djokovic began to dismantle his serve. Murray got broken to 30 in the first game, to 15 in the third game and to 15 in the fifth game, as Djokovic’s consistency from the baseline reaped dividends. From an 0-2 deficit in the third set, Djokovic had won 12 of 13 games to extend his winning streak to 10 matches against opponents in the Top 10 of the Emirates ATP Rankings. Roy Emerson, a six-time Australian championship winner, was on hand to present Djokovic the Sir Norman Brookes Trophy.
|01-18-2015 03:57 AM|
Re: ATP Finals
Qualifier Jiri Vesely lived up to his “rising star” billing Saturday in Auckland, taking out fellow lefty Adrian Mannarino 6-3, 6-2 in just over an hour to capture his first ATP World Tour title at the Heineken Open. The World No. 63 is the first Czech to win in Auckland since Jiri Novak in 1996.
“It feels amazing to be part of the ATP champions,” said Vesely. “It’s not something that everyone is [able] to achieve, so I’m very grateful for that.
“It’s a great start for me… I can really see that it’s possible to play with the best guys and I think that’s something very important for me for the future.”
The 21 year old, named the ATP Star of Tomorrow presented by Emirates in 2013, upset World No. 13 Ernests Gulbis and World No. 16 Kevin Anderson en route to the championship. With the win, Vesely added his name to the list of ATP World Tour title winners born in the 1990s, joining Milos Raonic (6), Grigor Dimitrov (4), David Goffin (2), Bernard Tomic (2) and Federico Delbonis (1).
In the first final appearance for both players, it was Vesely who grabbed the momentum, firing 11 aces and converting on four of seven break point opportunities.
“I was really believing in myself, that my game could be better than his, and I was just trying to be more patient and to put more balls back and just not let him play the game he’d like to play,” said Vesely.
The Czech led the tournament in aces, first and second serve points won, as well as service games won.
“When you get broken by someone who’s serving like this, you feel like it’s slipping away,” said Mannarino. “I was trying to deal with my own game and it was really tough today. I didn’t have the same feeling that I had during the week. I didn’t feel the ball the same way. Unfortunately it happened in the final.”
|01-18-2015 03:57 AM|
Re: ATP Finals
In the first all-qualifier final on the ATP World Tour, World No. 92 Viktor Troicki won his second title with a 6-2, 6-3 victory over Mikhail Kukushkin at the Apia International Sydney Saturday.
The Serb collected $80,000 and 250 Emirates ATP Rankings points as he added to the title he won five years ago at the Kremlin Cup in Moscow (d. Baghdatis). Troicki now heads to Melbourne, where he will face Auckland champion Jiri Vesely in the first round of the Australian Open.
"There are a lot of emotions actually," said Troicki. "It's been a tough road, a lot of work, and it paid off with a nice title. If I look back to where I was five, six months ago, it's amazing to have a title already. So it's a really nice moment for me and for all my team. It's very emotional.
"I've got to say I have been working harder than ever probably, and I feel very, very fit," added the Serb. "I didn't have any problems. I had eight matches here and luckily I haven't had problems. I feel very fresh again. I feel I can go again good on Monday. Definitely I was working hard and that's paying off. I have inside myself trust in my body, and I feel I can do a lot of things."
Troicki improved to a 2-1 FedEx ATP Head2Head lead over Kukushkin as he dismissed the Kazakhstani’s challenge in 64 minutes. The right-hander fired 13 aces and won 73 per cent of his service points, breaking Kukushkin four times from five opportunities.
Troicki is the first qualifier to win the Sydney title since Jarkko Nieminen in 2012. The Belgrade native improved to a 2-4 mark in ATP World Tour finals and was contesting his first title match since a runner-up finish in Moscow in 2011 (l. to Tipsarevic). Earlier that same year he had lost out in the Sydney final against Gilles Simon.
The No. 66-ranked Kukushkin was looking to win his first title since victory at St. Petersburg in 2010. The 27 year old dropped to a 1-2 mark in ATP World Tour finals.
The right-hander had embarked on a giant-killing run to reach the final, ousting sixth seed Pablo Cuevas in the second round, halting Juan Martin del Potro’s comeback in the quarter-finals and upsetting fifth seed Leonardo Mayer in the semi-finals. At next week’s Australian Open, he will play Malek Jaziri in the first round.
“For sure I can take something positive from this week,” said Kukushkin. “A final of an ATP tournament is important. Of course it's something special, and of course it was great for me anyway because I won seven matches.
“To start the season like that, to win so many matches, to get some confidence, is really important. So of course I take something positive from that. But of course it was a disappointing final for me; Viktor just played better today.”
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