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Old 04-18-2012, 08:56 AM   #136
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BASEL 2011

Home favourite Roger Federer won his fifth crown at the Swiss Indoors Basel on Sunday, dismissing Kei Nishikori 6-1, 6-3 in their first FedEx ATP Head 2 Head meeting. The victory gives Federer five titles or more at an event for the fifth time. “I’m very happy, as I got better as the week went on,” stated Federer. “I definitely saved the best for last at the tournament. I played really well today in the final.”

With the win, Federer claimed his 68th career title and second in 2011 after beginning the season by defeating Nikolay Davydenko in the Doha final. He snapped his longest title drought since 2001-2002, when he went 11 months between his first two titles in Milan and Sydney. “I’m feeling really fit and I’m ready for more,” Federer said. “I’m very hungry and fired up.”

The Swiss broke serve to start the match and overwhelmed Nishikori in the first set, winning 12 of 13 service points while converting three breaks of serve to take the set in 29 minutes.

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Watch Federer Interview | Watch Nishikori Interview

After holding serve to begin the second set, Federer immediately pressured Nishikori’s serve before the 21 year old managed to hold for the first time since the third game of the match. But the World No. 4 continued to press the Japanese star, breaking him to move ahead 4-2. Nishikori saw his first break point of the match in Federer’s final service game, but the 30 year old closed the door to clinch the trophy in one hour and 12 minutes. “I think I started a little bit nervous even though at the same time I was excited to play in the final here with Roger,” Nishikori said.

“I’m a bit disappointed with how I played today, as it didn’t go well, but it’s always going to be tough against him… His tennis was too good for me. I felt like I couldn’t do anything.”

Nishikori was bidding to win his second title and first since triumphing in Delray Beach three years ago. The runner-up finish is his second of the season, having also reached the final in Houston (l. to Sweeting). “Every match is a good experience, especially when you’re playing Top 10 guys,” believes Nishikori. “It’s a different level and I’ve learned from these matches.”

The two will now head to Paris for the BNP Paribas Masters, the final event of the regular season. "I haven’t been able to win in Paris yet, so I hope to do some damage over there," said Federer.

"I was really close last year. I’m confident with what’s still to come but it’s only getting tougher from here. It’s only the beginning of the last push of the season."
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Old 04-18-2012, 08:56 AM   #137
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PARIS 2011

World No. 4 Roger Federer will take a 12-match winning streak into the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, where is the defending champion, after claiming his first BNP Paribas Masters title with a 6-1, 7-6(3) victory over sixth-seeded Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga on Sunday in Paris.

"I'm just really ecstatic to have played so well this week from start to finish," said Federer. "Basically from first ball struck against [Adrian] Mannarino all the way until the very end here. I couldn't be more happy. I have had many attempts trying to win Paris Bercy, and for some reason, I wasn't able to win it earlier. But this one obviously feels great and it's a special victory."

Federer, the first player to contest the final of all nine Masters 1000 tournaments, has now won 18 ATP World Tour Masters 1000 crowns (18-12 in finals), second on the list of title leaders behind Rafael Nadal with 19. With his victory, it marks the first time in Masters 1000 history that all nine champions during the season were ranked in the Top 4.

Federer came under pressure early in his first BNP Paribas Masters final, but fought off two break points on serve in the opening game and proceeded to break Tsonga in the next. "These two games maybe decided the outcome of the match," the Swiss admitted. "It gave me great confidence and a great direction for the match."

The No. 3 seed raced through the first set in 30 minutes, building a 5-0 lead before Tsonga managed to get on the scoreboard. After saving two break points in the second set, Federer quickly gained control in the tie-break; he rolled out to a 6-1 lead and clinched the title on his third championship point.

"Jo was always with the back against the wall, so I was really able to put him under pressure and play aggressive with myself," said Federer. "Couple of hiccups maybe midway through the second. I didn't serve so well anymore, but I saved the best for last. I played a good tie-breaker and got the win here, which is very nice."

The 30-year-old Swiss is unbeaten since the US Open semi-finals (l. to Djokovic), and will enter the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals with a 59-12 season record (41-7 on hard). He made a strong start to his 2011 campaign, winning the Doha title in the opening week of the year, and snapped a 10-month title drought last week at his hometown tournament, the Swiss Indoors Basel.

"I have played well for a few months now," he said. "Maybe I didn't win the US Open, but we all know I was one point away from making the finals and then who knows? But Novak was able to come back in that great match against me at the Open. And before that I think I had some really good moments, where I actually did play very well, such as Wimbledon and the French Open where I think more was possible, too.

"I have had some really tough losses this year, but I kept believing that still the year wasn't over, I can still finish this year on a high, which that proves to be the case. Now I still have a massive highlight coming up in a week's time."

Federer, a winner of 69 tour-level titles, will look to reach his 100th tour-level final when he makes his 10th straight appearance at the circuit finale, to be held from 20-27 November at The O2 in London.

Tsonga will also feature at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals after clinching his berth in the eight-man field earlier this week.

He had advanced to his second ATP World Tour Masters 1000 final after saving three match points in his semi-final match against John Isner on Saturday, and was attempting to win his third indoor hard court title in as many months following triumphs in Metz and Vienna.

"If I had played better at the start it would have changed things. The key of the match was there," lamented Tsonga, who will return to his career-high World No. 6 ranking on Monday. "Every time we play each other it's similar. If I am able to fight back at the start, then I play well. But if I lose the first set like I did today, then it becomes more difficult for me."

Celebrities in attendance included basketball star Tony Parker, who took part in the trophy presentation ceremony, musician Gavin Rossdale and international DJ Bob Sinclair.
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Old 04-18-2012, 08:57 AM   #138
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LONDON 2011

Roger Federer has become the first player to win six titles at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals. The fourth-seeded Swiss won his 70th tour-level trophy in his 100th final on Sunday after he defeated sixth seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France 6-3, 6-7(6), 6-3, in two hours and 19 minutes, to become the oldest titlist at the year-end championship.

The 30-year-old Federer, who won all five matches he played this week, at The O2 in London, picked up a cheque for $1,630,000 and 1,500 South African Airways ATP Rankings points. He was also year-end champion in 2003-04, 2006-07 and 2010. The victory also tied Federer with Ivan Lendl's wins record at the tournament. Lendl compiled a 39-10 mark, with five titles, while Federer is now 39-7.

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"It feels very special, indeed," admitted Federer, who has a 17-match winning streak. "I've been trying to sort of block it out for the entire tournament, the entire time I've been here in London. I just tried to recuperate from Basel and Paris and hopefully get through the round robin stages. So now it's finally sort of reality that I've been able to win six [Barclays ATP] World Tour Finals. It's an amazing feeling. I know it's one of my greatest accomplishments."

It was Federer's third straight indoor trophy, after title runs at the Swiss Indoors Basel (d. Nishikori) and the BNP Paribas Masters in Paris (d. Tsonga) two weeks ago. He also beat Tsonga last Sunday in Group B round-robin play and finishes the year unbeaten indoors with a 16-0 mark.

"This definitely is an amazing finish again to the season," said Federer, who finishes in the year-end Top 3 of the South African Airways ATP Rankings for a ninth straight season. "I've never finished so strong."

Federer, who had won the first set in his six previous year-end finals, turned up the heat on Tsonga at 4-3, when he hit three straight backhand winners to give his French opponent a headache at 0/40. Federer, who had looked second-best for much of the first set, broke serve and ultimately clinched the set in 35 minutes, despite the best efforts of Tsonga to break.

On Federer's first set point at advantage, Tsonga drew Federer to the net before ripping a backhand winner down the line. Federer then hit a forehand approach winner and on his second set point chance, Tsonga made a backhand error under pressure. Federer hit nine winners to Tsonga's 12, but took his chance in the eighth game. Tsonga, lost just five points on serve and his 12 winners, but came out second best.

Tsonga almost buckled under the pressure at 1-1 in the second set, after he hit two double faults, but he managed to salvage the game from 15/40. Two games later, however, Federer set up one more break point opportunity. Taking advantage of a second serve at 30/40, Federer ran around his backhand to lash a forehand winner down the line for a 3-2 lead.

Federer served for the title at 5-4, but a lapse in concentration saw him face three break points at 0/40. He saved two when Tsonga hit a backhand return long and a forehand into the net, but he could not win the third as Tsonga attacked the net off a forehand to strike a smash winner. In the next game, Tsonga saved one break with a powerful forehand approach, which Federer could not scramble back. The set was decided on a tie-break.

Read DEUCE Magazine - Federer: Renaissance Man

Federer Eying More Major Silverware

Federer took a 4-2 lead in the tie-break courtesy of a forehand volley, after both players made edgy starts. He then hit a drive volley winner for a three-point cushion. But Tsonga came back by winning three straight points, until Federer's sixth ace of the match took him to his first match point chance at 6-5. Tsonga kept his nerve and fired a mid-court forehand for a winner, then hit an unreturned serve for his first set point opportunity at 7-6. Tsonga jumped all over Federer's second serve, hammering a forehand return to the Swiss' feet. Tsonga hit 18 winners in the set and won 10 of his 15 net points.

The quality of tennis in the deciding set improved with every game. Tsonga came through hold for 3-3, with his never-say-die brand of tennis, when he hit three forehand winners, while Federer continued to clinch routine service holds.

The pressure, of serving second in the set, looked to weigh heavily on Tsonga's shoulders at 3-4. He fought back from 0/30 with three straight points, but then committed two forehand errors to gift Federer a break point opportunity. Tsonga saved it by following a forehand to the net and hitting a volley winner. Two points later, facing break point again, he came to the net and executed a perfect back cross-court angle that left Federer motionless. Federer made it third time lucky for a 5-3 lead, when Tsonga over-balanced while running for a forehand that he hit wide.

Federer closed out his 64th match win of the season (64-12 overall) with a hold to love, finishing with a forehand volley winner, and leapt in the air in celebration. He has a 6-1 record in year-end finals, losing only to David Nalbandian in the 2005 title match. This year, he became the event's oldest titlist - Ilie Nastase was 29 when he won in 1975.

"I thought I played well," said Federer. "Look, I thought Jo played well. Could I have won it easier? I guess. I had it in my hands. I had a chance to go a double break in the second [set]. I had chances to serve it out. I had chances in the tie-breaker. Yeah, it wasn't meant to be. I had to go through the third set, which was tough, but eventually I made it, which felt probably even better going through three sets. The relief was amazing. The joy, of course, as you can imagine, was great."

Read DEUCE Magazine - Tsonga: The Pugilist

Tsonga, 26, was attempting to become the first Frenchman to win the title. He hit 42 aces this week and has struck an ATP World Tour season-best 825 aces, ahead of John Isner's 811. Tsonga received prize money of $740,000 and 800 points as runner-up.

"Today I fought all I can," said Tsonga. "I'm just happy tonight because I had a good week. Of course, to win is better but I gave everything. Tonight I can look [at] myself in the mirror and say, 'Yeah, you fought enough.'

"They [the crowd] supported me a lot. "It was really fair from the English crowd. He was better than me in the first set. Also in the second set. But I took the first set point in the tie-break."

Tsonga finished the season with a 55-24 match record (27-17 in tie-breaks). He won two ATP World Tour titles at the Moselle Open in Metz (d. Ljubicic) and the Erste Bank Open in Vienna (d. del Potro). The Frenchman was also runner-up at the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam (l. to Soderling), the AEGON Championships at The Queen's Club (l. to Murray) and the Rogers Cup in Montreal (l. to Djokovic).

The evening final was watched by the Mayor of London Boris Johnson and Real Madrid footballer Cristiano Ronaldo, among other well known names, in a capacity 17,500-strong crowd.
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Old 04-18-2012, 08:58 AM   #139
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DAVIS CUP 2011

Spain clinched its fifth Davis Cup by BNP Paribas title on Sunday, when Rafael Nadal defeated Juan Martin del Potro 1-6, 6-4, 6-1, 7-6(0) in Seville to give the host nation a 3-1 victory over Argentina. The rubber lasted four hours and eight minutes.

"We gave everything, it was a very emotional victory at the end of a tough year," Nadal told the host television broadcaster. "Winning in this way, we are very grateful to all the people of Spain. It was the best atmosphere I have experienced in my career."

Watch Nadal Interview | Watch del Potro Interview

World No. 2 Nadal has a 20-1 record in singles rubbers for Spain, who lifted its third trophy in four years. Spain hold the World Group record for the longest run of wins (21) by a nation at home. Spain's last home loss was in 1999 (l. Brazil), which was also the last time it lost a Davis Cup tie on clay.

Argentina was bidding to become the first South American country to lift the Davis Cup title. It was the fourth time (also 1981, 2006, 2008) it has finished runner-up. Spain first participated in Dwight Davis' competition in 1921. It also won the title in 2000, 2004, 2008 and 2009.

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Del Potro took a 3-1 lead when Nadal committed three groundstroke errors, but the 23-year-old Argentinean immediately came under pressure in the next game. He saved two break points with an unreturned serve and a fortuitous net cord winner off a forehand. Del Potro continued to overpower Nadal, firing clean winners off anything short. But once Nadal moved his opponent around and hit close to the lines, the Spaniard dictated the points.

Nadal recovered from 0/40 to deuce at 1-4, but made two costly errors to be broken and give del Potro an opportunity to serve for the set. Del Potro tightened up, falling to 0/40 and - after saving four break points - eventually, on his third set point chance, he struck a backhand crosscourt winner off a poorly placed Nadal drop shot. Del Potro hit 18 winners and committed 15 unforced errors in the 63-minute set, while Nadal could only convert one of eight break point opportunities.

Del Potro won his seventh straight game by breaking Nadal to 30 in the first game of the second set. But Nadal, by winning five straight points to break back for 1-1, grew in confidence and the balance of power shifted in the pair's 10th meeting. Nadal began mixing up his service placement to keep del Potro guessing. At 3-4, del Potro saved one break point, as Nadal began to made inroads on return of serve. Two games later, Nadal found his range in baseline rallies and broke del Potro to 30 to clinch the 57-minute set with a smash winner. Nadal, who leapt in the air to celebrate, dropped eight points on serve and hit 10 winners. Del Potro made 21 errors.

From 1-1 in the second set to 3-1, 40/0, in the third set, covering one hour of play, Nadal did not drop a point on his serve. The streak ended when he mis-timed a forehand long of the baseline. Nadal looked every inch a six-time Roland Garros champion, when he broke del Potro for 2-0 with two straight forehand winners down the line, after del Potro had run around backhands.

Questions over del Potro's movement to his left surfaced in the sixth game, when he dropped to 30/40. Although the World No. 11 - with heavy strapping on both thighs - saved the break point, a moment of brilliance from Nadal sealed a 5-1 lead. Del Potro attacked the net off a deep forehand stroke, but Nadal hit a running forehand winner down the line to get the crowd at the Olympic Stadium on its feet. Argentina's bench looked shell-shocked. Nadal held to love to clinch the 43-minute third set, having won 16 of his 17 service points.

Read DEUCE Magazine: Nadal - The Good Fight

The match looked to be moving away from del Potro when, in the first game of the fourth set, he was broken to 15 after hitting a forehand drive volley long. Nadal took a 2-0 lead, before del Potro staged a resurgence. Three groundstroke errors from Nadal, saw del Potro break to 30 for 2-2. Nadal's dip in concentration gave life to thousands of Argentinean supporters courtside. But in an nine-minute game to follow, Nadal dominated long baseline rallies to force del Potro into hitting a forehand long.

Del Potro was not finished. Incredibly, he regained the form that clinched him the first set. Winning 10 of the next 11 points, with aggressive tactics and clinical play at the net, he won three games in a row for a 5-3 lead. Del Potro came to within two points of winning the set, but at 30/30 he hit a double fault. On break point, del Potro struck three volleys before Nadal scrambled back a forehand winner. It was the set's sixth break of serve.

Nadal then broke del Potro's serve to 30, when the Argentine hit his 52nd error of the rubber. At the match ticked over the four-hour mark, del Potro made one final push. Nadal saved one break point at 15/40 with a gutsy backhand drive, which del Potro dive-volleyed wide. But he struck a powerful forehand winner on his second opportunity to take the set to a tie-break.

Nadal improved to 20-9 in tie-breaks in 2011 (139-85 lifetime) with a flawless finish, ending with his 26th forehand winner. He committed 20 unforced errors in the final three sets. Overall this season, Nadal compiled a 69-15 match record and won three tour-level titles.
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Old 04-18-2012, 09:05 AM   #140
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HOPMAN CUP 2012

The Czech Republic has won the Hyundai Hopman Cup for the second time with top seeds Petra Kvitova and Tomas Berdych going right through the week unbeaten in singles ending with the Final inside the Burswood Dome on Saturday against France's Marion Bartoli and Richard Gasquet.

World No. 2 Kvitova finished off her outstanding week and debut in Perth by beating world No. 9 Frenchwoman Bartoli 7-5, 6-1 in the women's singles to give the Czechs a winning start and then the seventh ranked Berdych finished the job beating former world No. 7 Gasquet 7-6, 6-4.

It is the Czech Republic's second Hopman Cup title after Jana Novotna and Petr Korda won the sixth tournament in 1994 by beating Germany's Anke Huber and Bernd Karbacher in the Final.
Now in the nation's eighth appearance at the Hyundai Hopman Cup, Kvitova and Berdych have added their names to the list of champions and also made the Czech Republic just the sixth country to win the Cup at least twice along with the USA (six times), Slovak Republic (three), Spain (three), Switzerland (two) and Germany (two).

It has been an outstanding week in Perth for the Czech pair who now both have every reason to have confidence of contending for the first Grand Slam of the year in Melbourne at the Australian Open.
Kvitova is fresh off an amazing 2011 that included a Wimbledon crown, the Fed Cup and being the ITF World Champion and WTA Player of the Year, and now her 2012 has got off to an outstanding start.
This week she has beaten defending American Hopman Cup champion Bethanie Mattek-Sands, Bulgaria's Tsvetana Pironkova, world No. 1 from Denmark Caroline Wozniacki and then in the Final France's Bartoli.
"It was a really good match (against Wozniacki) but today I played much better against Marion and it’s always tough to play with someone at the top," Kvitova said.

"It’s really good to win at the beginning of the season and of course I have to say thank you to Tomas because without him we wouldn’t win."You played really unbelievable and it was an honour to play with you. And of course with our team, with them it’s always really fun. It’s really enjoyable in Perth and of course I have to say thank you to Hopman Cup."

Berdych was playing for the Czech Republic at the Hopman Cup for the third time and also went through undefeated in his men's singles matches with American Mardy Fish, Bulgaria's Grigor Dimitrov, Denmark's Frederik Nielsen and then France's Gasquet in the Final.

"It couldn’t be better, it was an extremely great week and first of all I need to congratulate my partner. She won all she can and I just add some winnings again and now we can be standing here and have such a nice trophy so it was really good week," Berdych said.

"I think it was possibly the best Final that could come of those two Groups and we are happy for that. We would like to congratulate them as well to get the Final and wish them both the best of luck for the rest of the season, for the Australian Open and all of the weeks. I think everybody enjoyed it, we had the best time on court and I hope the people liked it."

France also had a tremendous week in Perth, though, as Bartoli and Gasquet got their nation into the Hopman Cup Final for the second time, but the French are still chasing that elusive first title.

Bartoli might have lost tight encounters with Kvitova and world No. 5 Li Na, but did beat Australia's Jarmila Gajdosova and Spain's Anabel Medina Garrigues impressively.

Gasquet has this week shown the form that saw him reach the world No. 7 ranking in 2007 by beating Australia's Lleyton Hewitt, Spain's Fernando Verdasco and China's Wu Di.

The attendance for Hyundai Hopman Cup XXIV, which will be the last at Perth's Burswood Dome before the tournament moves to the new Perth Arena, was 8365 to take the total for the week to an impressive 72,776.
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Old 04-18-2012, 09:06 AM   #141
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DOHA 2012

Third seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga captured the Qatar ExxonMobil Open title Saturday, defeating countryman Gael Monfils 7-5, 6-3 in the first all-French final in Doha. The tournament was celebrating it's 20th anniversary. "At the beginning of the match, it was a bit difficult because he broke me very early. It was tough. But in my head, everything was right," said Tsonga.

"I said, 'Okay, I'm one break down, but I will continue to play my game. I will make him run a lot.' So I hit a lot of shots to make him run. I think it was the good solution because then, after that, he was maybe a bit tired. After that, I was better than him. That's why I maybe won today."

The fourth-seeded Monfils broke Tsonga in the opening game of the match, handing the World No. 6 just his third break of serve in the tournament. But after Tsonga won the first point on Monfils’ serve, the match was suspended for a little over a half hour as fog caused slippery conditions on the baseline.

When the final resumed, Monfils consolidated the break, and kept his advantage until 5-3, when Tsonga wrestled the momentum away from his compatriot. Making use of delicate play at the net and a forceful forehand return, Tsonga won 16 of the final 19 points, winning four straight games to clinch the set. He won all five points when he came forward and converted both of his break points opportunities. Monfils struck seven winners to 14 unforced errors, and claimed just 30 per cent of his second serve points. "I think I had some opportunities in the first set, and I was maybe a bit less aggressive tonight to finish this first set," Monfils said. "And then I think he played better and better."

Tsonga continued his level of play, despite tumbling at the end of fourth game of the second set. He shook it off and on the next point, ran down a Monfils lob before stumbling at the back of the court. His efforts drew a smile from Monfils and a roaring applause from the crowd. Trailing 2-3, Monfils gifted Tsonga the lone break of the set with a forehand unforced error. Tsonga went on to close out the entertaining encounter in one hour and 57 minutes to win his eighth title. "I learned even when you are one break down, you don't need to panic," said Tsonga. "You need to stay yourself, stay really relaxed and play your game... I reacted really well. I played good tennis [and] I'm just really happy to win."

With the victory, Tsonga became the third Frenchman to lift the Doha trophy, following triumphs by Nicolas Escude in 2004, and Fabrice Santoro in 2000. He improved his FedEx ATP Head 2 Head record against Monfils to a 3-1 mark, and upped his final record to 8-5. "It's really good for me because I played a lot of matches [this week]," Tsonga said. "I will leave this tournament with a lot of confidence, and it's good for me for the next tournament, which will be Melbourne."

Monfils was bidding to win his fourth title, and fell to 4-12 in title matches. "I think the conditions were a bit tough, but it was for both of us," said Monfils. "Today I was maybe less powerful than I was during this week, because I think Jo also played different. He was playing a bit soft and then changed the rhythm, [hitting] a bit hard and mixing it up with some slice."
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Old 04-18-2012, 09:07 AM   #142
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BRISBANE 2012

Andy Murray captured his 22nd ATP World Tour title on Sunday at the Brisbane International by beating third seed Alexandr Dolgopolov of Ukraine 6-1, 6-3 in front of his new coach, former World No. 1 Ivan Lendl.

World No. 4 Murray earned $74,370 in prize money and 250 South African Airways 2012 ATP Ranking points, while No. 15-ranked Dolgopolov was presented a cheque for $39,165 and 150 points.

"I served pretty well again," said Murray. "It got close in the second set and I stayed focused. He was just going for his shots [and] hit quite a few winners but I didn’t let it get to me. It's good because I could easily have lost second round against [Gilles] Muller but I managed to fight my way through and played three very good matches. I felt like I was moving well right at the end of the week."

Top seed Murray broke twice in the 26-minute first set and did not lose a point in his first three service games. The 24-year-old Scot won nine straight games from 2-1 in the first set to 4-0 in the second set.

Third seed Dolgopolov won 45 per cent of his service points. Murray, who was broken six times in five matches (41 of 48 service games) this week, is now 3-0 lifetime against Dolgopolov. The final lasted 67 minutes.

Murray is now 22-9 lifetime in title matches. He has reached the Australian Open final the past two years.

"I couldn't move much on my right leg," admitted Dolgopolov. "It was tough to go right and push from it. I just tried to do my best and still stay on the court because the stadium was full and you don't want to pull out of something like that."

Dolgopolov, 23, was one of 10 first-time ATP World Tour titlists last season, when he lifted the ATP Studena Croatia Open trophy at Umag (d. Cilic). He also reached the Brasil Open final at Costa do Sauipe (l. to Almagro).

Over the course of the week, 92,802 people visited the Queensland Tennis Centre to watch the tournament.
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Old 04-18-2012, 09:08 AM   #143
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CHENNAI 2012

Fourth seed Milos Raonic picked up his second ATP World Tour title on Sunday at the Aircel Chennai Open with a hard-fought 6-7(4), 7-6(4), 7-6(4) victory over top seed Janko Tipsarevic of Serbia.

Raonic earned $71,900 in prize money and 250 South African Airways 2012 ATP Ranking points with victory in three hours and 14 minutes, while Tipsarevic picked up $37,860 and 150 points.

"It is only my second title," said Raonic. "It is an awesome feeling. I created a lot of opportunities... one in each set. Tipsarevic took it away in the first set. But I took my opportunities in the second and third. My serve is a big factor in my game... in 99 per cent of my matches. My job is to take care of my serve."

Tipsarevic came under pressure at 1-2, when he saved four break points, but didn't suffer any problems thereafter. Raonic dropped just three points on serve and hit 10 aces in his first six service games en route to the tie-break. Tipsarevic took a 5-3 lead in the tie-break, which proved decisive to clinch the 61-minute set. Raonic had dropped four points on serve overall.

In the second set, Tipsarevic got himself out of trouble on three occasions. From 15/40 in the first game and by winning four straight points from 0/30 at 2-2 and 15/40 at 3-3. Raonic almost fell to 3-5, but saved two break points with big winners to keep the set on serve.

Once again, a tie-break was needed. After the first couple of points were exchanged, Raonic took control by opening up a 4-1 lead. He levelled the score on his second set point opportunity, having his 13 aces and won 30 of 42 service points in 69 minutes of high-quality action.

In a close decider, Raonic saved two break points in the first game. Tipsarevic saved one at 3-4, 30/40. In the third tie-break of the final, Raonic's greater service potency reaped dividends. He gained a 5-0 lead and soon tasted silverware for the second time (2-1 overall).

Raonic hit 35 aces and 76 overall at the ATP World Tour 250 hard-court tournament. The 21-year-old Canadian won all 48 of his service games in four matches and also saved all 14 break points he faced during the week.

He is the first player to win an ATP World Tour title without dropping serve since Roger Federer at the 2008 Gerry Weber Open in Halle (49 games). Raonic is now 5-8 lifetime against Top 10 opponents.

"Guys like Milos are special players," said Tipsarevic. "It was a great game of tennis. Nobody knew till the end who would win. Unluckily for me it was I who lost. It was just a matter of a few points here and there. Hopefully next time I will get the better of him."

Tipsarevic drops to a 2-6 record in singles finals. Later in the day, he teamed up with Leander Paes to win his first ATP World Tour doubles title
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Old 04-18-2012, 09:08 AM   #144
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SYDNEY 2012

Jarkko Nieminen ended a six-year title drought on Sunday, defeating Julien Benneteau 6-2, 7-5 in an all 30-over final at the Apia International Sydney to win his second career trophy. "I tried to focus and win every point I could. I think I managed to do that pretty well," said Nieminen.

"I don't have a good record in finals, but I don't think I've done anything wrong in the ones I've played. Today I felt I had a really good chance to take the title as I had the game to do it. It's been many years since that first title and I had many finals after that, but I'm pretty good at believing in myself."

After Benneteau broke the Finn in the first game, the match belonged to Nieminen. He converted four breaks of serve, and won 74 per cent of his first serve points to improve his undefeated record against the Frenchman to a 5-0 mark. "I had one of the best off-seasons," revealed Nieminen. "I stayed healthy and felt I was playing really good the whole of December, and practising hard. Maybe I'm more relaxed and experienced now, and don't have anything to prove with myself."

Nieminen is the first qualifier to win an ATP World Tour title since Sergiy Stakhovsky lifted the St. Petersburg crown in 2009. Nieminen’s previous triumph came at the Heineken Open in 2006, and this week’s ATP World Tour 250 event in Sydney was the 147th tournament he competed in since winning his first title in Auckland. He is now 2-10 in title matches.

Benneteau was bidding to win his first title, and fell to a 0-6 final record with the loss. He was aiming to become the first player over 30 to capture his first ATP World Tour title in nearly seven years, when Australian Wayne Arthurs, 33, won at Scottsdale in 2005. "It was a good week, but not the finish I wanted, as I hoped today I would win," Benneteau said. "Jarkko played very well, but I could have done better. It's a good start to the year. My goal is to win a tournament and to be a better player."

The two were contesting the first all 30-over final since 2007, when 30-year-old Carlos Moya topped 33-year-old Andrei Pavel to win the Umag trophy.

Nieminen later finished runner-up with Matthew Ebden in the doubles final to World No. 1 Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan. The American twins won 6-1, 6-4.
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Old 04-18-2012, 09:09 AM   #145
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AUCKLAND 2012

World No. 5 David Ferrer successfully defended his Heineken Open title on Saturday, defeating Olivier Rochus 6-3, 6-4 to win his 12th ATP World Tour trophy. "It was a pretty tough match," said Ferrer. "I think in the second set, we played good tennis. I think the key was the difference with my first serve and his."

Ferrer lost serve just once, winning 83 per cent of his first serve points. He broke Rochus three times in his four break opportunities to win a record-tying third title at the event in one hour and 36 minutes. The Spaniard joins Onny Parun (1973, ’75-76) and Roy Emerson (1960, ‘65-67) as the only three-time champions. "I love to play here," Ferrer said. "To me, winning today was more special than the other times because players are more difficult and I'm older now."

With the victory, Ferrer improved to a 6-2 record against the 68th-ranked Belgian. Ferrer has won 52 of his past 53 matches against players ranked outside the Top 50, with his lone loss during the stretch coming to then-No. 239 Ivo Karlovic at the BNP Paribas Open last year.

Rochus was bidding to end a title drought dating back to 2006, when he triumphed in Munich to win his second crown. He drops to a 2-8 final record. Ferrer is now 12-14 in title matches. "I played a good final and I think the level was great," assessed Rochus. "It was very tough physically. There were a lot of long rallies. I'm happy with how I played today and throughout the week... He was just better than me in the crucial moments."
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Old 04-18-2012, 09:10 AM   #146
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AUSTRALIAN OPEN 2012

World No. 1 Novak Djokovic captured his fifth Grand Slam championship title as he defeated No. 2-ranked Rafael Nadal 5-7, 6-4, 6-2, 6-7(5), 7-5 in an epic final contest at the Australian Open on Sunday night in Melbourne.

At five hours and 53 minutes, it was the longest-ever match at the Australian Open and the longest men's Grand Slam final on record, surpassing the previous record of four hours and 54 minutes when Mats Wilander defeated Ivan Lendl at the 1988 US Open.

In his acceptance speech, Djokovic said, "Rafa, you're one of the best players ever, one of the most respected players on tour. We made history tonight; unfortunately there couldn't be two winners tonight. I wish you all the best for this season and I hope that we will have many more finals like this."

It was the third successive Grand Slam final that Djokovic and Nadal have contested, and saw the Serb extend his winning streak over Nadal to seven straight matches. The pair clashed in six finals last season, with Djokovic prevailing in each one, including at Wimbledon and the US Open.

When asked whether it was the greatest win of his career, Djokovic said, "I think [it] comes out on the top because, just the fact, that we played almost six hours is incredible. I'm very proud just to be part of this history, part of the elite players that have won this tournament several times. I was very flattered to be playing in front of Rod Laver, in front of the all time greats, and in front of 15,000 people that stayed until 1:30 a.m."

The 24 year old Serb won his first major title at the Australian Open in 2008, defeating Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, and reclaimed the trophy at Melbourne Park last year with victory over Andy Murray. Last year’s victory proved to be the catalyst for one of the greatest seasons tennis has ever seen. The Serb went on to compile a 70-6 match record, taking in a career-best 10 titles, and finished as the year-end World No. 1 in the South African Airways ATP Rankings.

In a pulsating contest on Rod Laver Arena, Djokovic rallied from a 2-4 deficit in the fifth set, to fight back and claim a dramatic victory. He continued to narrow the gap in his FedEx ATP Head2Head series with the Spaniard to 14-16. Nadal had never previously lost a Grand Slam final after winning the first set.

Djokovic now has a 5-2 record in Grand Slam finals, with his two defeats coming against Roger Federer in the 2007 US Open final and against Nadal in the 2010 US Open final. He is just the fifth man in the Open Era to win three successive Grand Slam titles, joining Pete Sampras, Rod Laver, Federer and Nadal.

The Belgrade native had come through a marathon semi-final clash at Melbourne Park on Friday night, edging Andy Murray 7-5 in the fifth set after four hours and 50 minutes to notch his 400th tour-level win. He improved to a 32-5 event record.

The 25-year-old Nadal was bidding to win his 11th major title and his second trophy at the Australian Open, having beaten Federer in the 2009 final. He has also won a record-equalling six Roland Garros trophies, two Wimbledon crowns, and completed the career Grand Slam when he defeated Djokovic in the 2010 US Open final.

The Mallorcan, who had defeated his long-time rival Federer in four sets in the semi-finals on Thursday night, dropped to a 10-5 mark in major finals.

"Good morning everybody," joked Nadal as he started his runner-up speech at 1:50am. "Congratulations to Novak and his team, they deserve it, they are doing something fantastic, so congratulations. To start the season here and play this fantastic match against Novak is, I believe, a fantastic start."

In his post-match press conference, Nadal admitted, "I'm tired. Physically [it] was the toughest match I ever played. I think we played a great tennis match. It was, I think, a very good show. I enjoyed being part of this event and this match.

"I wanted to win, but I am happy about how I did. I had my chances against the best player in the world today. I played one against one. I didn't play at lower level than him for a long time, so that's a very positive thing for me. I am very happy about my mentality tonight.

"Yes, I had big chance for 5-2 [in the fifth set]. I had that easy passing shot with the backhand. I miss it, yes, but I was 4-3, 0/40 in the fourth [set], too. Anything can happen when the match is there."
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Old 04-18-2012, 09:10 AM   #147
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MONTPELLIER 2012

Top seed Tomas Berdych defeated third-seeded Gael Monfils 6-2, 4-6, 6-3 in two hours and five minutes to win the Open Sud de France title in Montpellier Sunday.

Berdych broke Monfils twice to take the opening set in 37 minutes, but Monfils converted the only break of serve in the fifth game of the second set, and went on to level the clash at a set apiece. Each player held their nerve until the eighth game of the final set, when Monfils tossed in his sixth double fault to give Berdych a 5-3 advantage. The Czech subsequently served out the match to beat Monfils for the second time. "I expected a tough final. I felt he was the best player on the other side of the draw," Berdych said.

"It was a close match, decided by one or two points. I'm happy that I was the one to become the champion and get the last break and finish it with my serve."

The seventh-ranked Berdych improved his final record to 7-6, winning his first indoor title since lifting the BNP Paribas Masters trophy in 2005. "It was a great week. It's a nice place to play tennis," said Berdych. "I was surprised to come to an indoor tournament with such a high level. It's great to have a title from here."

Monfils, the 2010 champion, fell to a 4-13 mark in title matches, losing his second final of the year after finishing runner-up to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga at the Qatar ExxonMobil Open in Doha to begin the season. "I was really close today, maybe Tomas was a bit more successful at the end," assessed Monfils. "He really went for it more than I did and it worked.

"To me, overall it was a great week. I played solid tennis in all my matches, even today I am very happy with the way I played. It was great to be in the final here again, and play in front of my mom, aunt and friends. It is a great tournament, which I enjoy a lot, and I will come back to try to win the title again."
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Old 04-18-2012, 09:11 AM   #148
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ZAGRAB 2012

Third seed Mikhail Youzhny captured his eighth title on Sunday, dismissing first-time ATP World Tour finalist Lukas Lacko 6-2, 6-3 in the PBZ Zagreb Indoors final. He followed up his singles victory by partnering Marcos Baghdatis to the doubles crown to become the first double winner this season.

The Russian did not face a break point in the match, winning 75 per cent of his service points. He broke the 97th-ranked Lacko three times, and served out the match at love to end a 16-month title drought dating back to his Kuala Lumpur triumph in 2010. "It feels really good, as it was my best match of the tournament, and that’s why I won today," said Youzhny. "It’s tough to compare my level today with previous years, it’s impossible. But for sure today was my best tennis of the week."

With the win, Youzhny remained undefeated against the Slovakian, defeating the 24 year old for the fourth time. He is now 8-10 in title matches, with four of his final victories coming on indoor hard courts. "I don’t want to think about my ranking. If I keep playing well, my ranking will come," stated Youzhny. "I’m just enjoying my game at the moment, that’s it. It’s a nice atmosphere in Zagreb, I feel comfortable here and really enjoy this tournament."

Lacko was bidding to beat his fourth straight seeded opponent, having knocked off No. 2 seed Alex Bogomolov Jr., seventh seed Robin Haase and No. 6 seed and 2007 champion Baghdatis en route to the final. "I was down 1-2 in the first set. I had an easy forehand winner down the line, and I missed it," recalls Lacko. "It was a crucial moment as he broke me that game, and he started to play too good. He was reading me well, so I didn't have control in the [match]."

Added Lacko, "I wasn't nervous. I didn't play my best. He was just too good today. If I take my four matches before, I was the one applying pressure, attacking most of the shots. Today was the opposite. I was under pressure."

In the doubles final, Youzhny and Baghdatis rolled past wild cards Ivan Dodig and Mate Pavic 6-2, 6-2 in just 52 minutes. The Cypriot and Russian won 24 of their 26 first serve points, and broke the Croatians twice in each set to seal the victory.

Baghdatis takes home his first doubles trophy in his second title match, while Youzhny celebrates his ninth win in 12 finals. Both Dodig and Pavic were contesting their first doubles final. "It's been a pleasure to come back here to play this week," said Baghdatis. "I was last here in 2007 and it's been great to be back. Thanks to everyone for making it a great week, and Mischa for playing with me. Congrats to him on a great tournament."

Prior to Youzhny, the last player to win both the singles and doubles events at an ATP World Tour event was Andy Murray, who pulled off the feat at the Rakuten Japan Open Tennis Championships in 2011, partnering his brother Jamie Murray.
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Old 04-18-2012, 09:12 AM   #149
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SANTIAGO 2012

Top seed Juan Monaco ended a five-year title drought on Sunday at the VTR Open as he defeated first-time finalist Carlos Berlocq 6-3, 6-7(1), 6-1 in an all-Argentine final in Vina del Mar.

The 27-year-old Monaco improved to a 4-8 record in ATP World Tour finals, with his three previous titles all coming in 2007 at the Copa Claro in Buenos Aires (d. Di Mauro), Poertschach (d. Monfils) and the bet-at-home Cup Kitzbühel (d. Starace). Since then he had recorded seven runner-up finishes, including twice at the VTR Open in 2008 (l. to F. Gonzalez) and 2010 (l. to Bellucci).

"Third time is lucky they say, so this time it’s true," joked Monaco. "I’m very happy to be champion again. I lost the last seven finals, so this is a very special moment for me. I’m very happy because I fought a lot, I practised a lot and I was thinking a lot about winning a tournament again. [It gives me] confidence and motivation."

In the first all-Argentine final on the ATP World Tour in four years, Monaco made a strong start, racing to a 4-1 lead before wrapping up the first set. He looked to be in command of the match as he established a 4-2 lead in the second set, but Berlocq fought back and levelled the match after dominating the tie-break. Monaco regrouped quickly, though, and broke serve twice in the decider to claim victory in two hours and 46 minutes.

"It was a hard final," assessed Monaco. "At the beginning I felt I was playing very well. Then in the second set I started playing a little bit nervous and he came back, fought a lot, and at that time played really well. I tried to be very focussed, tried to fight for every point like it was the last one and I started playing better every game."

Monaco had come into the VTR Open having played just one match in 2012, suffering a five-set first-round loss to Philipp Kohlschreiber at the Australian Open. He improved to a 4-1 match record on the year.

Berlocq, who celebrated his 29th birthday on Friday, had only dropped one set en route to his first ATP World Tour final, including victory over second seed Juan Ignacio Chela in the semi-finals. The right-hander was also later denied silverware in the doubles final as he and Spanish partner Pablo Andujar were beaten by Frederico Gil and Daniel Gimeno-Traver 1-6, 7-5, 12-10.

"I felt very good," said Berlocq. "I was very calm and I enjoyed it a lot. I think I did things well and played the match very well tactically. I think that if I continue this way I can continue achieving good results. Now I have to continue working and trying to reach this level of performance as many times as possible each year.

"It gives me a lot of confidence to be able to play at this level. It also gives me peace of mind and confidence to be able to play with the players at an equal level. All the players here are of good quality and even though I reached a final this week, every week is different and I have to continue being focussed and working hard."
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Old 04-18-2012, 09:12 AM   #150
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ROTTERDAM 2012

Top seed Roger Federer lifted his first trophy of the season in Rotterdam Sunday, defeating Juan Martin del Potro 6-1, 6-4 in the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament final. "In the first set, I was rock solid. I played great from start to finish," said Federer. "In the second set, it got tighter. I'm happy I was able to sneak it out."

Federer raced out to a 5-0 lead in the first set, converting both of his break point opportunities against the Argentine. After del Potro held to get on the scoreboard, Federer served out the 34-minute set.

Del Potro settled into the match in the second set, but was broken in the fifth game by the World No. 3. Federer was pressed on his serve by the 10th-ranked del Potro, but saved all seven break points he faced throughout the match to beat the former US Open champion for the ninth time in 11 FedEx ATP Head 2 Head meetings, claiming victory in one hour and 26 minutes. "He couldn't pull the trigger the way he wanted to," assessed Federer. "Just like yesterday, I had a good mindset. I really believed I was going to make it difficult for him, especially on the break points. I know the second set could have been a whole lot different."

With the win, the Swiss extended his streak of winning at least one ATP World Tour title each season to 12 years in a row. He has triumphed at the last five indoor-hard court events he has entered, dating back to the 2010 Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, winning 24 consecutive matches in those tournaments. His last loss on the surface came at the hands of Gael Monfils in the BNP Paribas Masters semi-finals two years ago. "It's nice to pick up the momentum after the indoor season I had last year," Federer said.

"And then coming back here after seven years and going through this whole buzz in Rotterdam has been amazing, having a standing ovation every time I walked on and off the court. I think it was a great tournament all-around. I really enjoyed myself here and saved my best for last. That match with Davydenko was gigantic looking back now. I knew I had a chance if I got through that one. It all came together perfectly. I'll enjoy this tonight with my friends and family who are here."

The 23-year-old del Potro was bidding to win the ATP World Tour 500 event on his event debut. Federer improves to a 71-30 final record, while del Potro drops to 9-5 in title matches. "He played much better than me today," said del Potro. "I didn't take the break points when I had them. It's really difficult to beat Federer if you have the chances and don't take them. He was more confident and concentrated than me in the important moments and I think that was the key."

Following the trophy ceremony, Federer completed a press conference and six TV interviews in three different languages.
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