Bits & Pieces from the World of Tennis: 21st of April 2014 - UBITENNIS
Connect with us

ATP

Bits & Pieces from the World of Tennis: 21st of April 2014

Published

on

TENNIS World of Tennis – Big numbers for Nadal and Federer. Tsonga and Sharapova celebrate their birthday. Laura Robson will undergo surgery. British tennis stars rally for Baltacha and who is playing where. Joshua Bosco

 

Federer 950th, Nadal 300th on clay

On Friday World No.4 Roger Federer won his 950th tour-level match after beating Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 2-6 7-6(6) 6-1 in the quarterfinals of the Monte Carlo Rolex Masters.

The 17-time Grand Slam champion is just the third player to reach the 950 win milestone in the Open Era after Jimmy Connors (1253) and Ivan Lendl (1071).

The day before, World No.1 Rafael Nadal became the 11th player to win 300 tour-level clay court matches in the Open Era when he defeated Italian Andreas Seppi 6-1 6-3 in just 74 minutes.

He then lost in the quarterfinals to fellow Spaniard David Ferrer who is not far behind him with 270 wins in this special ranking, topped by Guillermo Villas with an incredible 644 clay victories.

Happy Birthday Maria & Jo-Wilfried

World No.12 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga celebrated his 29th birthday on Thursday coming back from a set down to beat Fabio Fognini 5-7 6-3 6-0. After the match he was congratulated by the crowd with a rendition of “Bon Anniversaire”.

Maria Sharapova turned 27th on Saturday and she celebrated by adding Speedy, a new candy in the form of a Porsche 911, to her Sugarpova range.

Robson wrist concerns

Laura Robson announced last week that she will undergo surgery to resolve the wrist problem that has been troubling her for more than a year. The British No.1 will now miss both Roland Garros and Wimbledon.

In a message on her Facebook page she said that she will be operated at the Mayo Clinic by Dr Richard Berger, the same specialist that recently performed surgery on Juan Martin del Potro.

Rally for Bally

Many British players will get together on 15th June to hold a fundraising event to show their support for former British No.1 Elena Baltacha, who was recently diagnosed with liver cancer.

The event, dubbed “Rally for Bally”, will see the likes of Andy & Jamie Murray, Heather Watson, Tim Henman, Greg Rusedski and WTA legend Martina Navratilova (who herself survived breast cancer in 2010) take on each other in mixed doubles matches at Queen’s Club, Eastbourne and Birmingham.

The proceedings from the Rally, which follows a similar event held last year in support of Ross Hutchins, will be equally split between the Royal Marsden Cancer Charity and the Elena Baltacha Academy of Tennis.

Who’s playing where

After the first ATP Masters 1000 of the season in Monte Carlo, some players will rest before Madrid while others will be playing in Barcelona or in Bucharest.

World No.1 Rafael Nadal will try to shrug off his shock defeat in Monte Carlo with a ninth title at the ATP 500 event in Barcelona. Here he will be joined by fellow Spaniards David Ferrer, Tommy Robredo, Nicolas Almagro, Fernando Verdasco and, among others, Fabio Fognini, Kei Nishikori, Ernests Gulbis and Benoit Paire.

In Bucharest Lukas Rosol will have a hard time defending his 2013 title in a draw including eight Top 50 players including top seed Grigor Dimitrov, Mikhail Youzhny, Gael Monfils and Andreas Seppi.

World No.3 Agnieszka Radwanska will lead a star-studded draw at the Premier event in Stuttgart. Aga will be joined by defending champion Maria Sharapova and other Top 10 players like Simona Halep, Jelena Jankovic and Australian Open semi-finalist Dominika Cibulkova. German players Andrea Petkovic and Julia Georges have received wildcards for the event.

In Marrakesh Francesca Schiavone will be up against Daniela Hantuchova, Elina Svitolina, Bojana Jovanovski and Garbine Muguruza as she tries to win back-to-back titles at the Grand Prix SAR La Princesse Lalla Meryem.

ATP

Intriguing Team-Ups Lure Eyes Doubles’ Way. Will They Stay For The Problems, Too?

Will the recent surge in high-profile double partnerships have any impact on the long term future of the discipline?

Published

on

Cincinnati Open, Western and Southern Open, Andy Murray, Feliciano Lopez
Photo Credit: ATP Tour Twitter

In one of his press conferences at the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati, Andy Murray said he would not be playing the US Open. His announcement came a day or so after his initial declaration that he would be playing only the two doubles events in the final Major of the season. A few things came out of Murray’s remarks. The first and the obvious was that the former world no. 1 was ready to give it his all (yet again) to play singles. The second, the understated aspect, was that doubles while seeming easy vis-à-vis singles required just as much focus, if not more. Then, there was a third.

 

In tennis’ continuity though, the relevance of the doubles game is not a recent epiphany. However, the last few tournaments of the 2019 season that featured some eclectic partnerships – Stefanos Tsitispas and Nick Kyrgios, Andy Murray and Feliciano Lopez, the Pliskova twins, Andy and Jamie Murray, and so on – has made doubles slightly more prominent than singles.

Singles has become monotonous with the same set of players making it to the final rounds. On the other hand, doubles has brought in more verve to the existing status quo of the Tour, with each player’s individuality adding to the dynamics of the team. After his first outing as Kyrgios’ doubles partner at the Citi Open in Washington in July, Tsitsipas pointed this out.

“It’s the joy of being with a person who thinks differently and reacts differently. I would characterise him (Kyrgios) as someone who likes to amuse. I’m very serious and concentrated when I play, but he just has the style of speaking all the time. It’s good sometimes to have a change,” the Greek had said.

These changes – as seen with Murray’s recent decision – may not extend for a longer period. The culmination of these short-term team-ups does – and should – not mean the end of the road of doubles piquing attention, per se. At the same time, these transitory partnerships also reroute the discussion back to the financial side of the doubles game.

In a recent interview with Forbes, Jamie Murray – a doubles specialist – shared how conducive it had become for players to take up doubles as the sole means of a tennis career these days, as compared to in the past.

“Because the money is always increasing in tennis, it is a much more viable option to go down the doubles route a lot earlier than previous generations. Before, people would play singles and then when their ranking dropped, they played an extra few years of doubles. Now it is a genuine option to start off much younger and have a career in doubles,” the 33-year-old said.

Despite Murray’s upbeat attitude, these increases have not exactly trickled towards doubles, especially at the Slams including the upcoming edition of the US Open. For 2019, the USTA showed-off yet another hike in the prize-money coffer. The men’s and women’s singles champions will be awarded $3.8 million. In comparison, the men’s and women’s doubles teams winning the respective title will get $740,000. This sum gets further diluted for the mixed-doubles’ titlists who will get $160,000 as a team.

This is the third and final takeaway that emerged from Murray’s US Open call. For several of these singles players, intermittent doubles play is an option. For those who play only doubles, that is the only option they have. The doubles game requires similar effort – travel, expenses and fitness – the costs continue to outweigh the benefits. These momentary team formations are a gauge revealing the disparity of tennis’ two sides, visible yet obliviated beyond tokenism.

Continue Reading

ATP

Svetlana Kuznetsova upsets Ashleigh Barty in Cincinnati to reach the 42nd final of her career

Published

on

Russian wild card Svetlana Kuznetsova edged top seed this year’s Roland Garros champion Ashleigh Barty 6-2 6-4 in the semifinal of the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati to reach the 42nd final of her career.

 

Two-time Grand Slam champion Kuznetsova, who is now ranked world number 153, scored her third win against top 10 players this week  after beating former US Open champion Sloane Stephens and Karolina Pliskova.

Barty missed her chance to regain world number 1 spot from Naomi Osaka, who was forced to retire from her quarter final.

Barty earned the first break of the match in the second game of the opening set, when Kuznetsova netted a backhand. Kuznetsova broke back in the third game with a smash winner and earned another break at 2-2 when Barty netted a backhand. Kuznetsova hit a return winner to build up a 5-2 lead. Barty asked a medical time-out to treat he right leg. Kuznetsova held serve at 15 to close out the opening set after 30 minutes.

Kuznetsova went up a break in the first game of the second set. Barty won just three points on return in the second set. Kuznetsova closed out the second set with three winners in the 10th game.

“I am really happy. I am not really an analyzing person, but on my intuition, I am doing so much better, not repeating so many of my mistakes, just playing smarter and wiser now. It’s been so many different things when I was off, so I just enjoyed time off. Honestly, I was not missing at all the travelling and all the stress when you play tournaments, but now I have missed it and I feel good. I feel joy staying here and being here. It definitely helped me to have some time off to see other things outside tennis”, said Kuznetsova.

 

Kuznetsova set up a final against Madison Keys, who beat Sofia Kenin in straight sets. The Russian 34-year-old veteran player has qualified for her first final since last year, when she beat Donna Vekic in Washington.

 

“Madison is extremely tough. When she is on fire, it is really hard to play against her. It’s going to be a difficult match-up”, said Kuznetsova.  

Continue Reading

ATP

David Goffin reaches his first Masters 1000 in Cincinnati

Published

on

David Goffin beat Richard Gasquet 6-3 6-4 on an overcast afternoon to reach the first Masters 1000 final of his career and his 13th title match at ATP Tour level at the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati. Goffin has dropped just one set en route to the final.

 

Goffin is returning to his best form this summer under the guidance of former Swedish player Thomas Johansson. He reached the final in Halle and his first quarter final at Wimbledon. He received a walkover after Yoshihito Nishioka was forced to withdraw from the match due to food poisoning.

The Belgian player started the match with two consecutive holds before breaking at love to open up a 4-1 lead with a backhand winner down the line.

Goffin held his next service games to seal the opening set 6-3. Gasquet earned an early break to open  2-0 lead, but Goffin won five of the next six games with two breaks. The 2017 Nitto ATP Finals runner-up served out the win at love in the 10th game after 1 hour and 16 minutes, as Gasquet sent his backhand long.

Goffin reached the semifinal in Cincinnati last year, but he was forced to retire due to an arm injury.

“I am very happy. It’s a tournament I like and I have played the best tennis in the past few years. I am really happy to reach my first Masters 1000 final here. It’s a great moment for me.”

 

 

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Trending