Federer & Nadal Are The Names, But Others Share Quiet Importance At Halle - UBITENNIS
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Federer & Nadal Are The Names, But Others Share Quiet Importance At Halle

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TENNIS ATP HALLE – Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal were the featured names at the Gerry Weber Open, but Federer will face Alejandro Falla in tomorrow’s singles final. He will also team with Marco Chiudinelli against Andre Begemann and Julian Knowle in the doubles, but others share quiet importance…From Halle, Mark Winters

 

Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal are hugely popular tennis players and well known world personalities. They are a major reason the Gerry Weber Open, in Halle, Germany, has broken attendance records each of its twenty-two years. Gerry Weber, the event’s founder, and his son, Ralf, the Tournament Director, could hold “How To Do It” seminars about organizing a tennis championship because theirs is so successful.

As with any endeavor, there are multiple pieces required to make a puzzle a perfect fit. Staging an ATP tournament in an area fit for an Impressionist’s painting helps, and so does the fact that the Gerry Weber Stadion Center Court has a closeable roof, which means, unlike the AEGON Championships (Queen’s) in London, there are never any, “Rain, rain, go away…” chants. It also helps that annually the Webers improve the look and set-up of their Gerry Weber World facility. But, the major component of the feel and ambience that makes Halle, Halle is the commitment of the local people.

They use their yearly vacations, or simply take time off from real jobs to participate. They do it because, (and it is a sincere belief), the Gerry Weber Open is their tournament.

For some this may appear to be an overly optimistic wish or hope if you will, but to those behind-the-scenes, it is their reality. That certainly is true of the eclectically interesting array of special people involved with the tournament’s Transportation Service. Were Guido Kriete, not Dr. Kriete at Georg-August-Universitaet at Goettingen, where he is a Senior Scientist working in the field of Plant Genetic Research, he could be the Gerry Weber Open GPS unit. He has been part and parcel of the driving effort for the event’s entire twenty-two years, and knows the roads hither and yon throughout the area.

Daniel Hartwig has been part of the “team” for eleven years. Kriete, though he said, “Mentor is too strong a word to use”, brought Hartwig up to speed when he began. “I have tried to help people and find out what they do not know,” Kriete said. “It is important that they know there are rules and how to manage a situation that they have not previously faced.”

Hartwig, an IT specialist, played tennis as a hobby, and used to attend the tournament when he was a youngster. The players were impressive, but the fact that they were transported from here to there in a Mercedes-Benz made an impact. “When I saw that people drove for the tournament and they used Mercedes-Benzes, that impressed me. So did the atmosphere. The drivers all seemed to be friends, and it is fun to drive.”

Lionel Brathwaite and Dorthe Peperkorn Photo by Mark Winters

Lionel Brathwaite and Dorthe Peperkorn Photo by Mark Winters

Lionel Brathwaite spent twelve years with the British Forces in Germany. Though he retired from the service, he works as a BF Transportation Coordinator when not motoring around for the Gerry Weber Open. Having been involved in every event, the personable Brathwaite, who is another “Mr. GPS”, has stories to tell. “Two years ago, when the Gerry Weber Open celebrated its 20th Anniversary, twenty to twenty-five of us, who had been involved with the tournament, were all going to Dusseldorf,” he said. “We were at the train station trying to get on, in the car where our suits were, as people were getting off the train, it was very crowded, so seeing that it was I, along with three others in the group, went to another entry door. But, just as we were about to get on, it closed. We were left behind, but two of the women worked for Gerry Weber so we went into the station, explained what had happened and were able to take the next train. Of course, we called the others to tell that what had happened because we knew they would worry about us, and we are all part of the team.”

During the Gerry Weber Open, Dorthe Peperkorn rarely has an opportunity to rest. The eighteen-year veteran of the Transportation Service has, for the past three years, been in charge of the operation. She is respectfully called, “The Chief.” She is up early every morning, not only during the week-long tournament, but also during the week prior when players are just getting into town and the qualifying takes place. Her days often end when the next one begins, meaning 12:00 or later, is not an oddity.

I like to drive,” she said with a smile. “I like to organize. I like everyone on the team. I think my job is all about ‘learning by doing’.”

Brathwaite clearly defined what it is like to be a member of the driving team when he said, “Some of us don’t see one another except for once a year, during the tournament. We meet and become a big happy family. Then we wait for another year to pass so we can do it again.”

In tomorrow’s singles final, Roger Federer, the six-time tournament champion, who defeated Kei Nishikori of Japan, in one of today’s semifinals, 6-3, 7-6 will face Alejandro Falla of Columbia, who surprised fan favorite Philipp Kohlschreiber, 5-7, 7-6, 6-4. Federer will be looking to double his Gerry Weber Open trophy collection and duplicate the victory he scored in 2005, with countryman, Yves Allegro, when he and Marco Chiudinelli, also from Switzerland, take on Andre Begemann of Germany and Julian Knowle of Austria in the doubles wrap up.

While the players have been featured throughout the 2014 Gerry Weber Open, and will be the focus of attention on Sunday, people such as Guido Kriete, Daniel Hartwig, Lionel Brathwaite and Dorthe Peperkorn share quiet importance.

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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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