Bits & Pieces from the World of Tennis: 28th of July 2014 - UBITENNIS
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Bits & Pieces from the World of Tennis: 28th of July 2014

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TENNIS BITS & PIECES – The Times chief tennis correspondent admits plagiarism. The IPTL is in trouble. Tomljanovic to represent Australia and who is playing where this week. Joshua Bosco

Neil Harman exposed

“The Times” chief tennis correspondent Neil Harman has been suspended by the newspaper after the journalist admitted to plagiarism earlier last week.

Harman, who has worked at The Times for 12 years and started his career 40 years ago, confessed he had used rival journalists’ articles to compile three different issues of the Official Wimbledon Annual. The plagiarism is widespread, as noted by Slate journalist Ben Rothenberg: he reports 52 large passages copied without attribution in the last three Annuals alone.

Harman has now resigned from the International Tennis Writers’ Association (ITWA) and was fired from the All England Club.

IPTL in doubt

The future of the IPTL is now more than ever in doubt after PVP Ventures, the financial backers of the Mumbai franchise, pulled out of the tournament citing a lack of clarity over the financial side of the league.

In addition to PVP Ventures bowing out the league is still missing an official broadcaster and an owner for the Bangkok team. And on top of all, a $3 million pool which was promised to each franchise trough sponsors is yet to be guaranteed.

Tomljanovic becomes Australian

World No.55 Ajla Tomljanovic is planning to become an Australian citizen and will represent her new country at the upcoming US Open, starting on 25th August in Flushing Meadows.

Croatian-born Tomljanovic has been training in the US since she was a teenager and her decision to switch nationality comes just eight months after she started a collaboration with Australian coach David Taylor, who used to work with Sam Stosur.

She will now be able to represent Australia in Grand Slams and other ITF competitions, but she’ll have to wait until she becomes a full Aussie citizen to play for Australia in WTA tournaments.

Who’s playing where

Tennis players begin their shift to the US for the summer hard-court season as three of the four main tournaments this week are played on American soil. Both men and women will be flying to Washington, with some WTA players also heading to Stanford for the Bank of the West Classic while many clay-court specialists will remain in Europe for one more week and will play the ATP 250 in Kitzbuhel, Austria.

The ATP World Tour 500 in Washington will see some of the big names on the tour battle it out for the trophy. The tournament, which will see a different winner from last year as defending champion Juan Martin del Potro is still recovering from his most recent wrist injury, features top names like Tomas Berdych, Milos Raonic, Grigor Dimitrov, Kei Nishikori, John Isner, Richard Gasquet, Kevin Anderson and Ivo Karlovic.

The WTA International tournament plays host to Lucie Safarova, Alize Cornet, Sloane Stephens, Svetlana Kuznetsova, Madison Keys and its two-time defending champion Magdalena Rybarikova who faces a tough first round match against No.2 seed Ekaterina Makarova.

The prestigious Bank of the West Classic in Stanford sees two-times winner Serena Williams head a stellar line-up which includes Agnieszka Radwanska, Angelique Kerber, Victoria Azarenka, Ana Ivanovic, Carla Suarez Navarro, Andrea Petkovic and defending champion Dominika Cibulkova. 2000 and 2002 winner Venus Williams received a wildcard for the tournament, while Sara Errani and Petra Kvitova withdrew before the start.

Some men are staying in Europe for the last main clay-court tournament of the season in Kitzbuhel, Austria, where defending champion Marcel Granollers will face some tough competition from Philipp Kohlschreiber, Lukas Rosol, Andreas Seppi, Robin Haase and rising star Dominic Thiem in order to retain his 2013 title.

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Roger Federer: “I am not too disappointed after my defeat against Dominic Thiem in Indian Wells”

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Twenty-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer was not too disappointed after losing the Indian Wells final against Dominic Thiem last Sunday.

Roger Federer lost the Indian Wells final for the fourth time in his career after finishing runner-up in 2014, 2015 and 2018. Last year he did not convert three championship point against Juan Martin Del Potro.

“I am not too disappointed. I feel like he had to come up with the goods, and it felt like to some extent it was on my raquet. I just came up against somebody who was a bit better when it really mattered. That’s how it goes. Sure, it’s frustrating, disappointing and sad to some extent. I have been in these positions so many times that I get over it very quickly. I feel like I am actually playing good tennis. Like in Australia, I was not too down on myself because I feel like my game is there. My body is there. That keeps me upbeat, and I feel it’s a privilege when I feel this way leaving a tournament. I have been playing every single day for the past three weeks. I can be very happy and proud of that fact. I feel really good”, said Federer after the final against Thiem in Indian Wells.

Federer congratulated with Thiem, who won his maiden Maiden 1000 title in the Californian desert after losing his previous two finals in the series in Madrid on his favourite clay surface.

“I am happy with Dominic, winning his first Masters 1000 title, as well. It’s a massive event to win. I just got my 100th title in Dubai and I had a great week. There is no reason to get down. There is more to look forward to Miami”.

This season Federer has a positive record of 12 wins in his 14 matches and lifted the 100th title of his career beating Stefanos Tsitsipas in Dubai.

Federer is looking forward to the Miami Open where he headlines the bottom half of the draw. Federer, who won three titles in Miami in 2005, 2006 and 2017, will take on either Matthew Eden from Australia or a qualifier in the second round and could renew his battle against his compatriot Stan Wawrinka in the third round for the second consecutive tournament after winning their recent all-Swiss clash in Indian Wells in straight sets last week. Federer leads 22-3 in his 25 head-to-head clashes against Wawrinka. Wawrinka beat Federer three times in clay court matches in Monte-Carlo in 2009 and in the 2014 final and Roland Garros in 2015 and is chasing his first win on hard court against his compatriot.

“I think Stan knows that he is very close and it’s just a matter of time until he is going to break through again”,said Federer after their most recent clash at Indian Wells.

Federer could face Danil Medvedev in the Round of 16, Kevin Anderson or Karen Khachanov in the quarter final and a semifinal against either Stefanos Tsitsipas or last year’s Miami finalist Alexander Zverev.

 

 

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Nikola Mektic and Horacio Zeballos lift their maiden Masters 1000 title as a title in Indian Wells

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Unseeded Nikola Mektic from Croatia and Horacio Zeballos won their first doubles title as a team after beating Lukasz Kubot and Marcelo Melo 4-6 6-4 10-3.

Kubot and Melo drew the first blood by getting an early break in the first game, but Mektic and Zeballos broke straight back in the second game. Mektic and Zeballos fended off two break points in the third game to take a 2-1 lead. Kubot and Melo went up a break in the fifth game to take a 3-2 lead. The Polish and Brazilian team fended off a break point before serving out for the first set in the 10th game.

Mektic and Zeballos were not able to convert any of their two break points in the fourth game of the second set, but they held their service games easily and broke serve in the 10th game on the deciding point forcing the match to the decisive Match tie-break. Mektic and Zeballos cruised through to winning the tie-break 10-3 clinching their maiden doubles title as a team. Zeballos and Mektic won 40 % of their return points.

Earlier this week Mektic and Zeballos saved two match points in a match tie-break against this year’s Australian Open Pierre Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut before beating Colombian doubles specialists Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah in the quarter finals and Oliver Marach and Mate Pavic in the semifinal.

“It’s unbelievable. Being in the big press conference, it’s great. I have never been in this room. I love it”,said Zeballos in the post match press conference.

“Oh my God, we won Indian Wells. We are a great team. We can beat anyone. Especially on this tournament where the difference is a few balls. A few points will decide who is going to win. Of course you are not expecting to win, but we are going into every match confident that we can win, so we just went step by step and it happened”, said Mektic.

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Marcelo Melo and Lukasz Kubot beat Novak Djokovic and Fabio Fognini to reach the Indian Wells doubles final

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Brazil’s Marcelo Melo and Poland’s Lukasz Kubot secured their spot in the final of the doubles tournament of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells after beating singles world number 1 player Novak Djokovic and Fabio Fognini 7-6 (7-5) 2-6 10-6 in the super tie-break.

Melo and Kubot will face Horacio Zeballos and Nikola Mektic, who beat Oliver Marach and Mate Pavic 7-6 (7-3) 7-6 (7-3). Melo and Kubot have played together since 2017, while Zeballos and Mektic are teaming up for their second time in their careers.

In the first set Kubot and Melo earned an immediate break in the first game in the first game. Djokovic and Fognini broke back in the 10th game at 15 to draw level to 5-5. Kubot and Melo came back from 1-4 down to win the tie-break 7-5. Djokovic and Fognini broke twice in the first and fifth games to clinch the second set 6-2. Kubot and Melo took the 10-6 edge in the super tie-break.

Djokovic and Fognini thrilled the crowd with their spectacular tennis, but doubles specialists won the most crucial points.

“I think the fact we played together for a long time, this makes a difference. We were aggressive in important moments. We do what we have to do and most of the time for us, it pays off. I am very happy with this, so let’s go forward for tomorrow to the finals”, said Melo.

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