Indian Wells - Miami: Who's Hot and Who's Not - UBITENNIS
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Indian Wells – Miami: Who's Hot and Who's Not

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Novak Djokovic scored his second Indian Wells – Miami double after 2011. In the women’s tournament Flavia Pennetta won the most prestigious tournament of her career at Indian Wells and Serena Williams won her seventh Miami title A record of the US hard court tournaments. by Diego Sampaolo

Novak Djokovic: Novak Djokovic showed that he is back to his best form after clinching the second Indian Wells-Miami double of his career. He started the US hard court campaign with some doubts after losing to Stan Wawrinka in the Australian Open quarter finals and to Roger Federer in the semifinals in Dubai but he finished his US hard-court campaign in style winning both US Master 1000 tournaments. The US double is a confidence-booster for the Serbian player ahead of the European clay season which will kick off in less than two weeks with the Monte-Carlo Rolex Master where he will defend his title won in the final against Rafa Nadal. Both Nadal and Djokovic have dominated the Master 1000 circuit since 2013 winning all tournaments apart from Miami in 2013 which was won by Andy Murray.

Monte-Carlo will be another chapter of the rivalry between Djokovic and Nadal. Djokovic will have to defend just 190 points in Madrid and Rome. On the contrary Nadal will defend 2000 points as he won both these Master 1000 Tournaments in 2013. Nadal will defend 2000 points as Roland Garros champion, while Djokovic lost in a epic semifinal against Nadal last year and will defend 750 points, The Roland Garros is one of the few tournaments Djokovic never won in his career. He would complete his collection of Grand Slam tournaments with a win at the Roland Garros.

Djokovic beat Murray and Nadal in straight sets en route to winning his fourth Miami title confirming his status as the Hard-Court King. Only Djokovic and Federer have managed to score the Indian Wells and Miami double twice: Federer won both tournaments in 2005 and 2006 and Djokovic made the double in 2011 an 2014.

Djokovic won his second consecutive title with his coach Martin Vajda on his side as Boris Becker underwent hip surgery. This fact raised the question of many whether Becker was a good hire for Djokovic or not. It is difficult to say that but what is more important is that Djokovic is peaking his form at the right time ahead of the big tournaments.

Rafa Nadal: The Spaniard suffered a defeat in his fourth Miami final after losing three times in 2005, 2008 and 2011 losing with a double 6-3 against Djokovic but he remains at the top of the Ranking.However he gained 500 points after missing Miami last year. He will have to defend a lot of points on his favourite clay surface, having won in Rome, Madrid and the Roland Garros last year.

Kei Nishikori: The Japanese player was so unlucky to withdraw from the Miami semifinal after beating Roger Federer in three sets. Nishikori showed his maturity at high level when he scored three top wins beating Grigor Dimitrov in the third round, David Ferrer in the fourth round (after saving four match points) in a three-set tie-break and Roger Federer in the quarter final after rallying from a set and a break down.

Roger Federer: He played a great tournament in Indian Wells losing in three sets against Novak Djokovic. In Miami he went up a break twice in the second set against Nishikori but he could not close out the match. With his recent results in Indian Wells and Miami Federer has moved up to fourth in the ATP Ranking.

Tomas Berdych: The Czech reached the Miami semifinal after beating two strong rivals like John Isner and Aleksander Dolgopolov. He was then forced to withdraw before his semifinal against Nadal due to gastroenteritis.

Aleksander Dolgopolov: The Ukrainian player produced a major come-back reaching the semifinal in Indian Wells losing to Federer and confirmed his return to form by reaching the quarter final in Miami where he lost against Tomas Berdych after beating Stanislas Wawrinka.

Milos Raonic: The young Canadian player reached two consecutive quarter finals at Indian Wells and Miami reaching the too 10 position of the ranking. At Key Biscayne Raonic pushed Nadal to the third set and recorded the fastest ever serve in Miami with a 144 kph ace.

Andy Murray: In his first tournament after his split from Ivan Lendl who guided to wins at the US Open and the Olympic gold in 2012 and his Wimbledon triumph in 2013, Murray showed some encouraging improvement beating Feliciano Lopez and Jo Wilfred Tsonga before losing in the quarter final against Nole Djokovic. Murray will now play for Great Britain against Italy in Naples in the Davis Cup quarter final.

The Bryan brothers: The famous doubles legends Mike and Bob Bryan scored an impressive triple winning Delray Beach, Indian Wells and Miami. They completed the Indian Wells.Miami double for the first time in their long careers.

Stanislas Wawrinka: The Swiss did not show the same form as during the fantastic two Australian Open weeks. He failed to advance the fourth round in both Indian Wells and Miami. He lost to Kevin Anderson in Indian Wells and to Aleksander Dolgopolov in Miami.

Bernard Tomic: The young Australian player lost 6-1 6-0 in the first round against Jarkko Nieminen in just 28 minutes in the shortest match on the Open Era history.

Women:

Serena Williams: The US legend made history by winning her seventh Miami title in her ninth final in her home tournament which is held not far from the place where she lives. She was able to recover from 1-4 against Maria Sharapova in the semifinal and 2-5 against Li Na in the final. Serena holds the record for most Miami titles and is one of the four players to win the same WTA tournament more than seven times. The other players are Chris Evert, Martina Navratilova and Steffi Graf.

Li Na: This year’s Australian Open champion reached the seminal at Indian Wells where she lost in the semifinal against Flavia Pennetta and played the final in Miami where she was lost against Serena Williams 7-5 6-1 after storming to a 5-2 lead in the first lead. “I feel heavy right now but I am not feeling old at all. I feel I a young 32. I feel like tennis has changed a little bit now because it’s not about technique. It’s more mental and physical too and I am taking care of myself”, said Li Na after the final against Williams in Miami.

Flavia Pennetta: The Italian heroine ha mover to World Number 12 after her impressive title won in Indian Wells against Agnieszka Radwanska after beating Li Na in the semifinal. Pennetta achieved the most prestigious tournament of hr career. She continued her great period of form after the semifinal at the US Open and the quarter final at this year’s Australian Open.

Dominika Cibulkova: The Slovak player followed up her final at the Australian Open with a win in Acapulco, a quarter final at Indian Wells and a semifinal at Miami reaching the top-10 for the first in her career. In the third set of her Miami semifinal against Li Na Cibulkova was three games from the final in Miami final. Cibulkova reeled off six consecutive points and eight of the next nine points from 7-5 2-2 for Li Na to clinch the second set 6-2 and build up a solid 3-1 lead in the third set. Cibulkova had a point to go up 4-1 but Li Na scored four games in a row to take a 5-3 lead before clinching a hard-fought win with 7-5 2-6 6-3.

Maria Sharapova. The Russian player played one of the best tournaments of the year in Miami but she lost 7-5 6-1 after leading 4-1 in the first set and 2-0 in the second set against Serena Williams

Martina Hingis and Sabine Lisicki: The Swiss legend teamed up with last year’s Wimbledon finalist Lisicki to win her first doubles title since 2007 in Miami beating Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina in three sets with 4-6 6-4 10-5 reeling six points in a row from 4-5 in the third set tie-break. Six years after her retirement Hingis returned last summer playing alongside Daniela Hantuchova in five WTA doubles tournaments. The Swiss player did not play for six months after the US Open but she made a second return in Indian Wells teaming up with Sabine Lisicki.

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Auger Aliassime overcomes slow start to beat Seppi in Washington

The Canadian looked down and out early in the match but bounced back to avenge a loss he suffered at the French Open in June.

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Second seed Felix Auger Aliassime survived a huge scare in his opening match at the Citi Open in Washington.

The Canadian was on the verge of being upset by the Italian Andreas Seppi but battled back to beat him 2-6, 6-2, 6-2 in one hour and 59 minutes. Blasting a total of 25 winners and nine aces in the win.

 

“In my mind, I wanted to find a way to come back. To get that early break in the second really helped me a lot and I think I served a little bit better and I put more volume and height on my shot,” said Auger-Aliassime. “I was more patient and in the first set I was missing too quickly in the rallies so digging deep physically and mentally allowed me to come back nicely in the match and to finish strong in the third set. I am happy with the way things turned around for me today”.

It was the world number 88 with the better start to the match and after both players held their opening service games he had two chances to get the early break and took a 2-1 lead. After consolidating the break, the Italian set up another breakpoint with a stunning forehand winner, broke again for a 4-1 lead, and served out the first set.

Auger-Aliassime was keen on getting back into the match and wanted to avoid a second straight upset loss to the Italian. After holding serve in the first game of the second set he had two chances to take an early lead and broke for the 2-0 lead with a forehand up the line of his very own on breakpoint. That was enough for him to serve out the second set and send the match into a decisive third set to decide the winner.

It was the Canadian who repeated what he did in the second set holding the opening service game and breaking Seppi’s serve with a sublime passing shot. The Italian responded the next game by breaking right back but failed to consolidate the break as the world number 15 broke again with his powerful backhand winner.

At 5-2, the Auger-Aliassime found himself at match point and it took him five attempts before being able to convert and seal the match. Avenging a loss he suffered at Roland Garros.

After the match in his post-match press conference, the Canadian was asked if he had the loss to Seppi at the French Open in the back of his mind during the match.

” In a way yes of course because we played once and he beat me and as a player, you never want to go down twice in a row against a player but it happens but in my case, I really wanted to find a way to win that match and get revenge just for myself to try and get the win”. he said.

Auger Aliassime will now face the winner of the second-round match between Jenson Brooksby or Frances Tiafoe in the third round.

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Vasek Pospisil survives scare at Citi Open

The Canadian battled back from a set down in what was a tricky opening encounter.

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Vasek Pospisil was pushed to limits by qualifier Emilio Gomez in his opening match at the Citi Open.

The Canadian required three sets to beat the Ecuadorian qualifier 4-6, 6-3, 6-3 after two hours and 11 minutes of play. He hit a total of 10 aces en route to the second round.

 

” It’s always good to get through a tough one and I felt dialed in during the second set,” said Pospisil. “I was a little bit distracted during the first set but I am glad to get match play and getting the win is important so I am happy I got it done”.

The first three games of the opener went on serve and at 2-1 the Canadian had three chances to take an early break but the world number 165 saved all three and held serve. At 3-3, Pospisil played a poor service game and Gomez took full advantage by breaking him at love. That one break of serve was enough for him to serve out the first set.

The Canadian was determined to stay alive in the second and broke the Ecuadorian early to take a 2-0 lead and managed to turn it into a double break for a commanding 4-0 lead. Gomez got one of the breaks back but it wasn’t enough as the world number 61 would serve out the second set to force a decider.

The third set started with three breaks of serve but it was the Canadian that was finally able to hold serve and consolidate a break. That break was enough for him to serve out the match and complete the comeback.

Pospisil will next face the young American Sebastien Korda in the third round who is the 12th seed this week in the American capital.

” It’s going to be a tough one because he is playing some great tennis this year and he is an up and comer and a great player,” he said of Korda. “I will have to play really well to win that one because he is a dangerous player so I will have to serve well and return well”.

Other results

It was a busy day one at the Citi Open being held at Rock Creek Park in Washington, DC with some thrilling matches. Kei Nishikori beat Sam Querrey in straight sets 6-4, 6-3 and Marcus Giron pulled a three-set comeback against Ilya Marchenko 4-6, 6-4, 7-6.

In the battle of the Belorussians, Ilya Ivashka beat Egor Gerasimov in straight sets 7-5, 6-4. Meanwhile, Jenson Brooksby avenged a loss to the South African Kevin Anderson by beating him in straight sets 7-5, 6-3.

Andreas Seppi needed three sets to dispatch Yasutka Uchiyama of Japan 3-6, 7-5, 6-3, Ricardas Berankis beat the American qualifier Mitchell Kreuger in straight sets 7-6, 6-2, and Daniel Elahi Galan beat another American Tommy Paul in straight sets 6-4, 6-3.

Finally, in the last match of the day an American favourite, Jack Sock advanced to round two after his Japanese opponent Yoshito Nishioka was forced to retire due to injury during their match.

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John Isner Wins 16th ATP Title In Atlanta

The 6ft 10 American got revenge on his American opponent for the loss he suffered last week in Los Cabos.

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John Isner has continued his love affair with the Atlanta Open by ousting Brandon Nakashima to win the tournament for a record sixth time.

 

The sixth seed beat the American teenager 7-6, 7-5 in one hour and 57 minutes. Firing a total of 21 aces and winning 81% of his first-serve points en route to the victory.

“I think if you count the last two weeks playing singles and doubles I played 12 matches in about 10 or 11 days so I have played a lot which is exactly what I need,” Isner said following his win. “Hopefully I can take this and go forward and build some momentum for tournaments ahead.’
This tournament has meant everything to my career it’s amazing”. He added.

The first set was extremely tight and neither player gave an inch in their respective service games. The opener was decided by a tiebreaker which Isner is accustomed to. Whilst the first set was tight, the tiebreaker was an even tighter affair Isner squeezing out a 10-8 win to take the first set 7-6.

Again the second set was competitive and again neither player got an edge on their return game. It was only at 5-4 that the Dallas, Texas native found himself at triple match point but the world number 115 saved all three.

Nakashima would save a fourth before holding serve and at 6-5, the world number 35 earned a fifth match point. That’s where he closed out the match and sealed the win and the title.

After the match, Isner was asked about his history of playing numerous tiebreakers throughout his career.

” I play a lot of those and it’s a situation I am comfortable in since I have been on tour forever,” he explained. “Honestly I think today (Sunday) I was just a little bit luckier and that’s what It really came down to. It’s amazing to be out here again playing on a Sunday and it was awesome”.

Isner confirmed that he will not be making the trip to Washington, DC for the Citi Open and instead he will take a week off after playing back-to-back tournaments in Los Cabos and Atlanta. He is next scheduled to be in Toronto for the National Bank Open.

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