Bits & Pieces from the World of Tennis: 14th of April 2014 - UBITENNIS
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Bits & Pieces from the World of Tennis: 14th of April 2014

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TENNIS – Bits & Pieces from the Wolrd of Tennis. Cornet and Garcia fly the flag for France in the WTA and Spain collects 2 ATP titles. Maria Sharapova starts a new business venture and the Bryans a 3 titles away from the century. Joshua Bosco

 

Winners in Katowice, Bogotá, Casablanca & Houston

In Katowice Alize Cornet saved a match point to defeat Camila Giorgi, who was playing in her first WTA final, 7-6(3) 5-7 7-5 after a tightly contested match. It was Cornet’s fourth career title and third time lucky against an Italian player in a final, having previously lost to Flavia Pennetta (Acapulco 2008) and Francesca Schiavone (Strasbourg 2012).

In Bogotá another French player won the trophy with Caroline Garcia beating World No.9 Jelena Jankovic 6-3 6-4. This was Garcia’s first WTA-level final and a perfect ending for her fantastic week in Colombia, where she also won the doubles title on Saturday – again in her first ever doubles final.

In an all-Spanish final in Casablanca, No.8 seed Guillermo Garcia Lopez won his third career title defeating No.4 seed Marcel Granollers 5-7 6-4 6-3 in a match lasting over two and a half hours.

In another Spanish contest in Houston, Fernando Verdasco beat Nicolas Almagro 6-4 7-6(4). Verdasco saved five break points in the second set when serving on 4-5 to push the set to a tiebreak in which he won the last four points to come back from a minibreak down and close the match in 1h 53m.

Who’s playing where

The ATP Tour heads back to Monte Carlo this week for the beginning of the three month clay and grass European swing.

The Top 6 players in the world (Nadal, Djokovic, Wawrinka, Federer, Berdych and Ferrer) will all be in the main draw this year, after Federer accepted a surprise late wild card earlier this week following a two-year absence from the prestigious tournament.

The other two Top 8 seeds are Milos Raonic and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, while notable absentees are Richard Gasquet (who withdrew with a back injury), Juan Martin del Potro (who is recovering from his wrist surgery), Andy Murray (who decided not to defend last year’s third round points), John Isner, Tommy Haas and Kei Nishikori.

Many women will play for their Fed Cup teams later this week, while some of them will fly to Kuala Lumpur for an International Series tournament.

In Kuala Lumpur, defending champion Karolina Pliskova will be joined by World No.10 Dominika Cibulkova, Zhang Shuai, Kimiko Date-Krumm and Donna Vekic while Andrea Hlavackova, Jovana Jaksic and Venus Williams have withdrawn before the start of the tournament.

In the Fed Cup semi-finals the Czech Republic (Kvitova, Safarova, Koukalova and Hlavackova) will take on Italy (Errani, Vinci, Knapp and Giorgi) in Ostrava, with the Italian team leading the Head2Head 5-4.
Germany (Kerber, Petkovic, Georges and Groenefeld) will visit Brisbane to face Australia (Stosur, Dellacqua, Barty and Sanders), with the Aussies leading the Head2Head 8-4.

Sharapova’s new venture

Maria Sharapova’s ranking may be sinking lately but her business empire is certainly on the rise: the Russian player will soon become the co-owner of Supergoop!, a skincare company which focuses on the prevention of skin cancer.

“I thought the idea of being an equity owner would be the next phase in my business development” said Sharapova, who launched her own brand of sweets, Sugarpova, back in 2012. 

97 times Bryan Brothers

The Bryan brothers are now just three tournaments away from their 100th title, after winning their 97th trophy together in Houston on Saturday.

The Bryans beat Spanish duo David Marrero and Fernando Verdasco 4-6 6-4 11-9 in the final, extending their winning streak to 17 matches.

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‘He Needs To Bulk Up’ – Tennis Great Cast Doubt On Alex De Minaur’s French Open Chances

John Newcombe believes it will be a few more years before the world No.27 reaches his peak.

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One of Australia’s most decorated Grand Slam champions of all time believes compatriot Alex de Minaur still has a way to go before he poses a threat at the French Open.

 

Former world No.1 John Newcombe believes the 21-year-old needs to improve on his physicality before reaching his peak on the surface. De Minaur comes into the Grand Slam high in confidence after reaching the quarter-finals of the US Open in what was his best performance at a major so far in his career. He was knocked out of the tournament by eventual winner Dominic Thiem.

Although De Minaur’s preparations for the clay took a blow last week after he lost the first round of the Italian Open to German qualifier Dominik Koepfer. The world No.27 had a set and 3-0 lead over Koepfer before losing. He is not playing in any tournament this week leading up to Roland Garros.

“I’d have to see the draw, how it comes out, but it will be hard work for him,” Newcombe told the Australian Associated Press about de Minaur’s chances in Paris.
“He’s going to have to do a hell of a lot of work. If he got to the quarters, it would be a terrific effort.
“He’s not going to be physically where he needs to be, just bulking up a bit, until he’s 25, 26.
“But he’s got a good all-court game and he understands the game well, so there’s no reason he can’t be a pretty good late maturer (on clay).”

This year’s clay-court major will be the fourth time the Australian has played in the main draw. In his three previous appearances, de Minaur has only won one match which was against Bradley Klahn last year.

During a recent interview with atptour.com, the Next Gen star gave little away about his expectations for the clay this year given the revised schedule. The French Open is taking place just two weeks after New York due to the COVID-19 pandemic which brought the sport to a five-month standstill earlier this year.

“Realistically, you never know until you step out and play matches. It’s a very quick turnaround, something that has never happened to play such an important event after a slam. I’m taking it all in, doing as best as I can and we will have to see,” he said.

De Minaur has won three ATP titles and has scored four wins over top 10 players so far in his career. He is currently the only player from his country ranked in the world’s top 40 on the ATP Tour.

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Novak Djokovic claims his 36th Masters 1000 title in Rome

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Novak Djokovic came back from 0-3 down in the first set to beat Diego Schwartzman 7-5 6-3 after 1 hour and 53 minutes in the final of the Internazionali BNL d’Italia at the Foro Italico in Rome. Djokovic claimed his fifth title in the Eternal City and his 36th Masters 1000 trophy and his 81st career title. Djokovic has become the oldest Rome champion. 

 

The World number 1 player extended his record in 2020 to an impressive record of 31 wins in 32 matches, including four titles at the Australian Open, Dubai, the Western and Southern Open in New York and Rome. 

Djokovic dropped his serve three times and earned five breaks of serve. 

Djokovic wasted a game point and dropped his serve, when he netted his backhand. Schwartzman hit four service winners in the second game to consolidate the break for 2-0. 

Djokovic made a backhand error to face a break point in the third game. Schwartzman earned his second break to open up a 3-0 after 18 minutes, as Djokovic netted another backhand.  Djokovic earned a break point chance and conveted it after a double fault from Schwartzman. 

Djokovic held serve at 15 with an ace in the fifth game to claw his way back to 2-3. The Serbian star forced an error from Schwarzman to earn a breka point in the sixth game and got the break, when the Argentine netted a forehand. Djokovic held serve at 15 to take a 4-3 in the seventh game. Schwartzman hit a forehand down the line winner at 30-15 in the eighth game and held serve with a service winner to draw level to 4-4. 

Djokovic saved a break point in the ninth game with a volley winner and held serve to take a 5-4 lead. Schwartzman saved a set point with a forehand winner and drew level to 5-5 after two deuces with a backhand the line winner. 

Djokovic held serve after a deuce to take a 6-5 lead forcing Schwartzman to serve to stay in the set for the second time. Djokovic converted his third set point to win the opening set 7-5 after 70 minutes. 

Schwartzman earned an early break at the start of the second set. Djokovic got the break back to draw level to 1-1 when Schwartzman sent a forehand wide. 

Djokovic hit a winner at the net to hold serve in the third game. Schwartzman hit four winners in the fourth game to draw level to 2-2.

Djokovic saved two break points in the fifth game and held serve with a service winner to take a 3-2 lead. Schwartman held serve with a drop shot. Djokovic won his service game at love to take a 4-3 lead and broke serve at love in the eighth game with a backhand down the line winner. Djokovic held serve at love to close out the final. 

“”It was a great week. A very challenging week. I don’t think I played my best tennis throughout the entire week, but I think I found my best tennis when I needed it the most in the decisive moments today, yesterday and in every match. That definitely makes me very satisfied and proud that I managed to find that fifth gear when it was most needed. Turning to Paris, I could not ask for a better tournament here in Rome. Another big title and i super pleased with it”, said Djokovic. 

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Stan Wawrinka Parts Way With Long-Time Coach Norman

Stan the man is on the look out for a new coach for the first time in almost a decade.

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It is the end of an era for three-time Grand Slam champion Stan Wawrinka after he announced his split from coach Magnus Norman.

 

The former world No.3 confirmed on Monday that the two have decided to end their collaboration with ‘mutual consent’ following eight years working together on the Tour. Norman was last with Wawrinka at the Italian Open last week where the Swiss player lost his opening match to rising star Lorenzo Musetti. It is unclear as to exactly when the decision was made.

“After 8 great years together Magnus Norman and I have decided to part ways by mutual consent. We have had an amazingly strong, enjoyable and hugely successful partnership. We reached the height of this sport together and I want to thank him for helping me win everything that I could ever dream of winning,” Wawrinka said in a statement posted on Instagram.

44-year-old Norman is a former world No.2 player himself who reached the final of the French Open back in 2000. During his coaching career, he guided Wawrinka to various milestones in his career that includes 13 ATP titles with three of those being at Grand Slam level. The Swede has also been recognized by the ATP for his work with Wawrinka after winning the inaugural Coach of the Year award back in 2016.

“He’s been a great coach, friend and mentor and will always be a dear friend,” Wawrinka said in a tribute.
“I want to publicly thank him for all his hard work, dedication and commitment in making me a better player over the years. Winning three grand slams have been a life changing experience for me and I could not have done that without him. I wish him all the best in his next chapter in his life.”

The announcement from the world No.17 comes a week before the French Open starts. Wawrinka has been training on the clay for the past few weeks after deciding against travelling to North America to play in the US Open. Instead, he played in a couple Challenger events and won a trophy in Prague last month. Overall, he has achieved a win-loss record of 15-3 so far in 2020.

It is unclear as to who will be replacing Norman in Wawrinka’s team.

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