Archive | March, 2010

Federer Tipped Over by Berdych, Venus Saunters Into Semis

Federer Tipped Over by Berdych, Venus Saunters Into Semis

Nearly a year, Madrid May 2009, has elapsed since Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal butted heads in an ATP final.  Fans were hopeful that Federer and Nadal would rekindle their rivalry at the Sony Ericsson Open.  That possibility was dashed in the fourth round as Tomas Berdych beat Federer 6-4,6-7,7-6.

Federer had been fumbling his way through the tournament.  Still, the wish was that the world number one’s luck would not run out.  Subsequent to Berdych and Federer’s first meeting at the 2004 Athens Olympics where the former prevailed, the latter has claimed their next eight bouts.  At the 2009 Australian Open, Berdych carried the first two sets, but still went down in flames.  Perhaps that performance bolstered Berdych’s morale leading him to believe that his fortune could be better in a best of three sets contest.

After a double fault gave Federer a break point, the world number one broke to open the match, then consolidated for 2-1.  In a game where Federer donated a double fault, Berdych got two chances to break.  On his second opportunity, Berdych knotted the set at 3 all.  Down the road as Federer served to push the set to a tiebreaker, at love-40, he double faulted to gift Berdych the set.

From the opening game of the second set, Federer applied pressure, but failed to convert on four break point opportunities.  The same story was repeated in the 7th and 9th games.  Finally in a tiebreaker, Federer captured the second set.

In the third set, after breaking, Berdych stretched his advantage to 3-1. However, serving at 4-3,  Berdych double faulted on double break point to equalize things at 4 all.  With no break point the rest of the way, a tiebreaker settled the set.  Post saving match point at 6-7, Berdych won the next three points to seal the victory and quarterfinal spot.

Fernando Verdasco, Berdych’s quarterfinal opponent, is probably relieved not to see Federer against whom he has a 4-0 lifetime mark.  Verdasco triumphed over the 7th seed, Marin Cilic, 6-4,7-6.

In the round of 16, Nadal clashed with countryman David Ferrer.  After the two exchanged early service breaks and neither manufactured another break point, the set went to a tiebreaker.  In the latter stages, Nadal finally strung together two consecutive points to claim it.  In the second set, Nadal went up by a break.  However, again, Ferrer crawled back to 4 all.  With Ferrer serving to tie the set at 5 all, Nadal gained the upper hand and penned his name into the quarterfinals .  Nadal takes on Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.  Earlier in the day, Tsonga sent Juan Carlos Ferrero home in straight sets 6-2,6-2.

Also into the quarterfinals are Andy Roddick and Nicolas Almagro.  Roddick defeated Benjamin Becker 7-6,6-3.  Almagro prevailed over Thomaz Bellucci in three sets.  These two will do battle in the next round.

Unfortunately for Mardy Fish, a sciatic nerve injury caused him to pull out of his match against Mikhail Youzhny.  Fish was on the losing end 1-6,0-1 when he retired.  Youzhny has Robin Soderling as his quarterfinal adversary.  Soderling dismissed Fernando Gonzalez in three sets 6-0,6-7,6-2.

After fighting off Daniela Hantuchova tooth and nail to advance to the quarterfinals, Williams eased her way to the semifinals with a 6-3,6-1 win over Agnieszka Radwanska. Williams secured a break for 2-1 on Radwanska’s opening game.  Promptly though, Radwanska squared the set at 2 a piece.  Then, with back to back double faults, Radwanska went down 15-30, Williams won the next two points for a 5-4 lead.   With an easy game, Williams closed out the first set.  The second set, Williams once more took Radwanska’s first service game.  By allowing Radwanska only one game the entire set, Williams walked into the semis.

Venus meets Marion Bartoli.  Bartoli defeated Yanina Wickmayer 6-4,7-5 to advance to her first semifinal in Miami.

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Quarterfinal Headliners at the 2010 SEO:  Henin, Wozniacki, Clijsters and Nadal

Quarterfinal Headliners at the 2010 SEO: Henin, Wozniacki, Clijsters and Nadal

The remaining two women singles semifinal slots will be assigned today at the Sony Ericsson Open.  In addition, the men get their singles quarterfinal round under way.

Following women quarterfinal doubles action, Justine Henin and Caroline Wozniacki kick off the afternoon on stadium court.  For Wozniacki, this is her initial encounter with the four time French Open, two time U.S Open and 2004 Australian Open champion.  Afterwards, Andy Roddick battles Nicolas Almagro.  Likewise, it’s the first meeting for these guys.  Because the surface is hardcourt and not clay where Almagro has won his five ATP titles, Roddick has the advantage considering his superb results lately. Subsequently, Mike and Bob Bryan face Mariusz Fyrstenberg and Marcin Matkowski in the quarterfinals.

The women’s night session has Samantha Stosur and Kim Clijsters.  Although Clijsters has a 2-0 record versus Stosur,  their ultimate collision was in Miami in 2007.  A victory by Henin and Clijsters will result in an all Belgian semifinal in the bottom half of the draw.

The evening ends with the match featuring Rafael Nadal and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.  The only time Tsonga defeated Nadal was in the quarters of the 2008 Australian Open.  Since then, they have played three hotly contested matches.  With Tsonga performing well in Miami, this should be a great battle.

In addition, the grandstand focuses on male doubles with the team of Fernando Verdasco and Feliciano Lopez as well as Lukas Dlouhy and Leander Paes to name a few.

Here is today’s full schedule :

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 31

STADIUM start 11:00 am
Y Chan (TPE) / J Zheng (CHN) vs [8] E Makarova (RUS) / S Peng (CHN) – WTA

Not Before 1:00 PM
[WC] J Henin (BEL) vs [2] C Wozniacki (DEN) – WTA

Not Before 3:00 PM
[6] A Roddick (USA) vs [33] N Almagro (ESP) – ATP
[8] M Fyrstenberg (POL) / M Matkowski (POL) vs [2] B Bryan (USA) / M Bryan (USA) – ATP

Not Before 7:00 PM
[9] S Stosur (AUS) vs [14] K Clijsters (BEL) – WTA

Not Before 9:00 PM
[8] J Tsonga (FRA) vs [4] R Nadal (ESP) – ATP

GRANDSTAND start 12:00 noon
[3] L Dlouhy (CZE) / L Paes (IND) vs B Becker (GER) / M Kohlmann (GER) – ATP

Not Before 6:00 PM
N Almagro (ESP) / T Robredo (ESP) vs F Lopez (ESP) / F Verdasco (ESP) – After appropriate rest


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Federer Evades Serra, Cilic and Soderling Sail Into the Round of 16

Federer Evades Serra, Cilic and Soderling Sail Into the Round of 16

Following a complicated initial match at the Sony Ericsson Open, Roger Federer was again rattled in his third round match.  The world number one was seriously pressed by Florent Serra.  Still, Federer came away unscathed with a 7-6,7-6 win.

Subsequent to neither competitor having issues on serve, Serra had a double fault on game point.  Federer took the next two points to break.  Then, with a love service game, Federer consolidated for a 5-2 lead.  However, as Federer served for the first set at 5-3, he made two costly errors allowing Serra two chances to break.  With a forehand down the line return winner, Serra put the first set back on serve. Still, Federer arrived at double set point on Serra’s service.  But, the Frenchman did not cave in.  With the two men holding at love the next two games, a tiebreaker was initiated.  With Federer’s backhand down the line pass landing out of bounds, Serra opened with a mini-break.  Then, with a forehand down the line winner of his own and with Serra flubbing an overhead, Federer got a mini-break for 2-1.  Federer went on to comfortably carry the breaker.

In the second set,  by enticing errors from Serra, Federer obtained a double break lead for 4-1.  Yet, Serra climbed back.  With a backhand overhead winner and a forehand down the line winner, Serra decreased the deficit to 4-2.  Then, Serra survived double break point to stay in touch at 3-4.  With Federer serving for the match at 5-4, a double fault gave Serra double break point.  The Frenchman converted with a forehand up the line winner.  Eventually, a second tiebreaker was called upon.  Again, after Serra got the early mini-break, Federer rebounded to easily capture the second set.

In the post match interview, Federer responded as such to the questions from MiamiTennisNews.com:
Q.  Do you have a preference. . . A match like this [where] you are tested . . . as opposed to having a quick match in the earlier rounds?
FEDERER:  Well, I mean, most important is to come through the rounds, you know.  So I don’t have a preference how it’s done.  I always like to come out with confidence, that’s for sure.  So it’s nice . . . having won two breakers, because that doesn’t happen every match you play.  Sure, I still have to tidy up my game a bit, you know, having had one break up in the first and two breaks up in the second, it’s normally something that doesn’t get away from me. But I thought he came up with some good stuff, and that made it difficult for me, you know, to close it out. That’s why I’m happy to still be through.

Q.  Were you surprised being down a double break that he was still mentally pretty strong and still fighting?
FEDERER:  Well. . . I didn’t have the feeling he was playing the score too much.  He was just playing his style, which is aggressive, you know, taking chances.  Sometimes missing by many feet.  Sometimes, you know, hitting it right in the corners.  So I knew that was going to happen kind of thing, but it’s still impressive to see when it does happen against you.  You know, that he hits the spots three, four, five, six points in a row, and there’s not much you can do sometimes.  I wish I would have maybe served better, you know, at the crucial stages of the match, which I wasn’t able to do.  But then he took advantage of that and was able to come up with some amazing stuff. Then you can only hope that, you know, he’s going to cool off again and that . . . you’re going to get your act together so you don’t allow him maybe to play that way.

Read the full story

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Clijsters Ejects Azarenka, Venus Narrowly Escapes

Clijsters Ejects Azarenka, Venus Narrowly Escapes

The women’s draw sprang a leak for the first time at the 2010 Sony Ericsson Open. Svetlana Kuznetsova,  the top seed, Victoria Azarenka, the defending champion and 4th seed, as well as Jelena Jankovic, the 2008 finalist and 7th seed, all went out in the round of 16.  Venus Williams barely hung on to defeat Daniela Hantuchova 1-6,7-5,6-4.

Hantuchova captured Williams’ first two service games and ran away with the first set 6-1.  In the second set, courtesy of a Williams double fault, Hantuchova arrived at break point. After Venus wiped that out, later on because of errors, Hantuchova capitalized for 2-0.  Promptly though, Williams broke at love to get back on serve.  Shortly thereafter, Hantuchova misfired on three consecutive backhands handing Williams a break.  Venus consolidated at love for a 4-2 edge.  But, with Williams serving for the second set at 5-4, as a result of a double fault and a netted backhand, Hantuchova had break point.  When Venus made a forehand error subsequent to a terrific down the line stroke by Daniela, the players were dead even.  Down the road, by provoking mistakes from Hantuchova, Williams obtained a break, then, with a love game, she acquired the second set.

Early on in the third set, both competitors had break point, but maintained serve.  Yet, in the ninth game, with aggressive shots, Williams forced Hantuchova into errors and on her third break chance converted for a 5-4 lead.  Following a forehand crosscourt winner, Venus arrived at triple match point.  Williams moved on to the quarterfinals when Hantuchova dumped the return into the net.

Here are Venus’ comments after the match to the questions by MiamiTennisNews.com:
Q.  You last played her in 2007, although you have a 90 record against her, it’s been a while.  Was there something different about her game today, or was it the conditions?
WILLIAMS:  Yeah, she played really well.  I haven’t seen her play so well in a long time, so I think she was really executing her game.  Conversely, I was a little bit off and struggling to find the court and everything else. You know, days like this you just have to figure out a way to win the point, even if it’s not pretty.  So I enjoy that battle. Of course, I’d like to win more straightforward, but when it counts and times get tough, I always feel confident that I’m gonna find a way to win the point.

Q.  I notice that you don’t call for oncourt coaching.  Do you enjoy trying to figure out the puzzle on your own?
WILLIAMS:  I’ve called before.  It’s been a while.  I like being on the court alone.  I enjoy that.  I’m not a player [who] looks at [her] box every point. I look inside myself, because I feel like I have the answer. And all I need is my box to say, Go, go.  You can do it. That’s enough.

In the next round, Williams battles Agnieszka Radwanska.  Radwanska ousted Yaroslava Shvedova in straight sets 6-1,6-4.

The opening set of the Clijsters and Azarenka match was a dizzying with breaks galore. Ultimately after scratching off double break point on her serve, Clijsters set up double break/set point with a forehand crosscourt winner.  Clijsters pocketed the set when Azarenka dumped a forehand into the net.

After Clijsters had an easy game to begin the second set, with a forehand crosscourt winner, she broke for 2-0.  As Azarenka’s frustration mounted, her play deteriorated leading to Clijsters finishing her off in no time flat.  The final score was 6-4,6-0.

Samantha Stosur will be Clijsters’ quarterfinal adversary.  On her fourth attempt, Stosur prevailed for the first time over Jelena Jankovic 6-1,7-6.

A mixture of inclement weather and a shoulder injury resulted in Kuznetsova’s downfall. The Russian was given her pink slip by Marion Bartoli.  Bartoli pounced Kuznetsova 6-3,6-0.

This was what Bartoli had to say when MiamiTennisNews.com asked:
Q.  This is your first quarters here since 2003.  How does it feel?
BARTOLI:  Yeah, it feels great, you know.  I had a couple of bad years here. It was really tough for me, because I really love this tournament since I played Orange Bowl here when I was 16 years old. Coming here and playing so badly last few years has been tough mentally.  This year I just arrived a bit earlier from Indian Wells . . .  and practiced really a lot more . . . to get used to the conditions, because it’s just really tough to play here. I think the work paid off.

Q. The last time you played Kuznetsova was in 2006 in Bali.  Is there something different about your game or her game?
BARTOLI:  My game is different. I am serving a lot better than before.  I have a more powerful game compared to the last time we played which was before 2007 when I ended up ranked in the top ten and made it to a grand slam final.  My level particularly has elevated tremendously. [My serve]  especially is more powerful.

Bartoli battles Yanina Wickmayer in the quarters.  Wickmayer trounced Timea Bacsinszki 6-0,6-1.

Finally, a comfortable win for Caroline Wozniacki as she beat Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-2,6-2.  Wozniacki’s quarterfinal rival, Justine Henin will not be as generous. Henin dispatched Vera Zvonareva 6-1,6-4.

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Nadal Averts the Upset, Roddick Swiftly Through

Nadal Averts the Upset, Roddick Swiftly Through

In the third round at the Sony Ericsson Open, Rafael Nadal was severely tested by David Nalbandian.  Still, Nadal booked his passage into the round of 16 with a 6-7,6-2,6-2 victory. Andy Roddick breezed through, beating Sergiy Stakhovsky 6-2,6-1 to advance.

After Nadal secured the early break at 2-1, Nalbandian knotted the first set at 3 when Nadal double faulted on break point.  From that point on, these two guarded serve.  In the tiebreaker, Nadal dumped a backhand into the net to give Nalbandian a 2-1 mini-break lead.  Later, Nadal leveled things at 4 all.  Nalbandian erased a set point by Nadal, then, on his third set point captured the set when Nadal missed a forehand up the line.

Although Nadal began the second set with a couple of errors, he held serve.  After wiping out a break point by Nalbandian, Nadal converted on a break point courtesy of his rival’s miscue.  With a love game, Nadal consolidated for 5-2.  Subsequently, the next game, Nadal broke a second time to close out the set.

After a love hold, Nalbandian faced break point his second time out in third set.  Nadal went on to grab the break for 3-1.  Again, with a love hold, Nadal moved ahead 4-1.  Following an easy game for 2-4, Nalbandian tried to make a charge, but failed.  Nadal extended his lead to 5-2.  Then, at triple break/match point, with a forehand up the line winner, Nadal finished off the match.

Next up for Nadal is fellow Spaniard David Ferrer.  The 15th seed defeated Ivo Karlovic 7-6,6-3.  After his smooth entrance into the round of 16, Roddick has another potential easy adversary in Benjamin Becker.  Becker prevailed over 18th seed Tommy Robredo 1-6,6-4,7-6.

After his glorious victory over Novak Djokovic, Oliver Rochus was brought down to earth by Thomaz Bellucci.  Bellucci stopped Rochus, winning 6-3,6-4. In the succeeding round, Bellluci battles Nicolas Almagro.  Almagro fought off Jeremy Chardy 6-2,6-7,6-3.

Juan Carlos Ferrero downed American John Isner 6-2,3-6,6-3.  The upcoming challenge for Ferrero is Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.  The Frenchman ousted Phillip Kohlschreiber in straight sets 6-2,7-5.

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Wozniacki Lives Another Day, Clijsters And Henin Also In the Round of 16

Wozniacki Lives Another Day, Clijsters And Henin Also In the Round of 16

At the Sony Ericsson Open, for the second consecutive match, Caroline Wozniacki struggled. But, the world number two found a way to prevail 1-6,6-1,6-4 over Maria Kirilenko.

After holding serve, Kirilenko produced a volley winner to set up break point.  When Wozniacki’s backhand sailed long, Kirilenko broke for 2-0.  Subsequent to consolidating, Kirilenko’s aggressiveness by coming to net paid off again as she captured a second break.  Bothered by the humidity and a viral ailment, Wozniacki required a medical time out down 1-4. Kirilenko ran away with the first set the next two games.

As Wozniacki adjusted to the conditions, her play improved. Caroline took control of the second set forcing a decisive third.  At 3 all, Wozniacki obtained double break point.  Although Kirilenko got to deuce, down the road, with a couple of winners, Wozniacki broke for 4-3.  Yet, the next game, Kirilenko erased game point by her opponent and leveled the set at 4 a piece.  However, with a forehand error, Kirilenko donated double break point, Wozniacki accepted the gift with a forehand up the line winner.  Later, with a forehand crosscourt winner, Wozniacki secured the victory.

From MiamiTennisNews.com:
Q.  Do you think it was hard for Maria to play against you knowing she saw something might have been wrong?  Was [it] hard for her to change tactics or [did she think] you might not make it the whole match…?
WOZNIACKI:  I don’t know.  That’s difficult for me to say.  She played a great first set, and she gave me the chance to come back in the second, and then I got the belief and I started feeling better.  I just kept hanging in there, and my fighting spirit got to me and I was there.

Q.  You made it to the finals last week at Indian Wells.  Do you think maybe also part of it is fatigue that you’re experiencing with a lot of tennis the last few weeks?
WOZNIACKI:  I feel these are just  they’re really, really highranked tournaments just under the Grand Slams, and they are almost twoweek tournaments just like the Grand Slams. Everybody is playing.  It takes a lot of strength not only physically but mentally, as well.  You don’t really get to come down after such a big final, so I think maybe it just got to me. Then I had a huge match the first day where I almost went out, and I just think that just took everything out of me. Again, my fighting spirit didn’t give up, and I’m still here.

Short turnaround time for Caroline, she plays her fourth round match tomorrow.  Wozniacki battles Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova who defeated Francesca Schiavone 7-5,6-3.  Therefore, the advice from MiamiTennisNews.com was “Get plenty of rest, plenty of fluids”:
WOZNIACKI:  Thank you.

Another easier than expected day at the office for Kim Clijsters; she crushed Shahar Peer 6-1, 6-0.  In two matches, Clijsters has dropped only one game.  Clijsters is unlikely to have a walk in the park her round of 16 match, she takes on defending champion Victoria Azarenka.  In great form, Azarenka beat Lucie Safarova 6-4,6-2.

Justine Henin’s third round match against Dominika Cibulkova was a see-saw ride with ten breaks of serve. In each set, Cibulkova got the early break, but failed to impose her will on Henin.  With a double break advantage, Henin was broken the first time serving for the match.  The second time around, after Cibulkova saved two match points, Henin closed the deal 6-4,6-4.  Therefore MiamiTennisNews.com asked Henin:

Q.  What was most troubling to you about her game?
HENIN:  Well, she plays well, you know, she runs a lot, and she has [a] pretty good backhand.  She’s a real fighter.  I mean, she has a strong personality, and it was the first time I’ve played against her.  That’s never easy to play someone you don’t know.  So that was something new for myself. But, I mean, I was glad about my reaction in both sets to come back.  And especially after a good win two days ago, it wasn’t that easy today, but I’m glad I’m in, you know, in the last 16.

Henin’s next round opponent is Vera Zvonareva.  The latter won in straight sets against Sara Errani.

In the night session, Jelena Jankovic vanquished Elena Vesnina 7-6,6-3.  Sam Stosur, Jankovic’s subsequent challenge, stormed back after dropping the first set to Virginie Razzano 4-6,7-5,6-1.

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Monday’s Agenda At the 2010 Sony Ericsson Open

Monday’s Agenda At the 2010 Sony Ericsson Open

The men wrap up their third round at the 2010 Sony Ericsson Open today while fourth round action commences for the women.

Mardy Fish tries to avoid the lull that postdates a triumph over a player of Andy Murray’s caliber. In the first match of the day, Fish confronts Feliciano Lopez.  Their three prior meetings, Lopez won twice on hardcourt while Fish on grass. Afterwards, Roger Federer takes on veteran Florent Serra for the first time.  Following is Venus Williams and Daniela Hantuchova.  Williams will be shooting for 10-0 record versus her opponent.  The day session caps off with a jewel of a match, Kim Clijsters against Victoria Azarenka. In Toronto last year, Clijsters was victorious at their maiden encounter.

On stadium court, the evening program has Fernando Gonzalez clashing with Juan Monaco.  Gonzalez has prevailed at their five preceding rendezvous. The finale is Justine Henin versus Vera Zvonareva.  Henin has won all five prior matches, the last one was in Zurich in 2007.  Zvonareva is without question a different player.

On the grandstand, Svetlana Kuznetsova and Marion Bartoli do battle. Later, Marcos Baghdatis plays Marin Cilic, the inaugural showdown for these players.  Two other top seeds in action at that location are Fernando Verdasco and Robin Soderling.

The outer courts have plenty of stimulating singles and doubles matches.  After fighting her way into the fourth round yesterday, Caroline Wozniacki is back to face talented youngster Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.  Although Wozniacki carried their sole meeting in New Haven last year, with her dealing with a viral illness and Anastasia much improved, it will be a tough task.  In addition, Jelena Jankovic tussles with Sam Stosur for the second tournament in a row.  Jankovic has a 3-0 record versus Stosur.  Top doubles seed Daniel Nestor and Nenad Zimonjic collide with Nicolas Almagro and Tommy Robredo.  John Isner and Sam Querrey try to cut down fourth seed Mahesh Bhupathi and Max Mirnyi.

Below is Monday’s full order of play :

MONDAY, MARCH 29

STADIUM start 11:00 am
M Fish (USA) vs [29] F Lopez (ESP) – ATP

Not Before 1:00 PM
[1] R Federer (SUI) vs F Serra (FRA) – ATP
[3] V Williams (USA) vs [19] D Hantuchova (SVK) – WTA

Not Before 4:30 PM
[14] K Clijsters (BEL) vs [4] V Azarenka (BLR) – WTA

Not Before 7:00 PM
[9] F Gonzalez (CHI) vs [22] J Monaco (ARG) – ATP

Not Before 8:30 PM
[WC] J Henin (BEL) vs [11] V Zvonareva (RUS) – WTA

GRANDSTAND start 11:00 am
[1] S Kuznetsova (RUS) vs [13] M Bartoli (FRA) – WTA

Not Before 12:30 PM
Y Shvedova (KAZ) vs [6] A Radwanska (POL) – WTA
[10] F Verdasco (ESP) vs [23] J Melzer (AUT) – ATP
[25] M Baghdatis (CYP) vs [7] M Cilic (CRO) – ATP

Not Before 5:00 PM
P Petzschner (GER) vs [5] R Soderling (SWE) – ATP

COURT 1 start 11:00 am
K Peschke (CZE) / K Srebotnik (SLO) vs [8] E Makarova (RUS) / S Peng (CHN) – WTA
L Dekmeijere (LAT) / P Schnyder (SUI) vs [4] L Raymond (USA) / R Stubbs (AUS) – WTA

Not Before 1:00 PM
[1] D Nestor (CAN) / N Zimonjic (SRB) vs N Almagro (ESP) / T Robredo (ESP) – ATP
J Isner (USA) / S Querrey (USA) vs [4] M Bhupathi (IND) / M Mirnyi (BLR) – ATP
F Lopez (ESP) / F Verdasco (ESP) vs [6] S Aspelin (SWE) / P Hanley (AUS) – ATP

COURT 2 start 11:00 am
[19] S Wawrinka (SUI) vs [13] M Youzhny (RUS) – ATP
H Zeballos (ARG) vs [16] T Berdych (CZE) – ATP
[12] Y Wickmayer (BEL) vs T Bacsinszky (SUI) – WTA
[22] A Pavlyuchenkova (RUS) vs [2] C Wozniacki (DEN) – WTA

Not Before 5:00 PM
[7] J Jankovic (SRB) or [28] E Vesnina (RUS) vs [9] S Stosur (AUS) – WTA
M Kirilenko (RUS) / A Radwanska (POL) or [WC] K Clijsters (BEL) / K Flipkens (BEL) vs G Dulko (ARG) / F Pennetta (ITA) – To Be Arranged

COURT 3 start 1:00 pm
[3] L Dlouhy (CZE) / L Paes (IND) vs T Bellucci (BRA) / M Lopez (ESP) – ATP
[7] F Cermak (CZE) / M Mertinak (SVK) vs A Clement (FRA) / J Tsonga (FRA) – ATP

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Federer’s Take On First Round Win and More

Federer’s Take On First Round Win and More

Following his second round victory over Nicolas Lapentti at the Sony Ericsson Open, Roger Federer held a post match interview.  Here are the world number one’s comments to the questions specifically posed by MiamiTennisNews.com.

Q.  Your forehand at the beginning of the match seemed a little bit off.  What were the conditions out there?  It seemed a little cold and breezy.

FEDERER:  Yeah, conditions  I thought the ball was flying quite a bit actually, which I was sort of surprised about that, because in the practices I thought it was always very sort of humid and it was hard to get something out of the ball.  All of a sudden I was trying to generate pace on the ball and the thing would fly off my racquet like I couldn’t believe.  So I had to play a bit more safe and not go for the lines as much.  All of a sudden the court becomes this big, you know.  It’s tricky, but I tried a few different things on the return as well.  But when you start doing that, that also makes you a bit unsure.  And I think today I came through because I served very well.  I had a good start into basically all my service games.  I always knew I was going to have a couple of chances at least on the return games.  I was able to have a good record on breakpoint conversions, and I think that’s what won me the match today.

Q.  With some of the top seeds out, Djokovic and Murray, does it feel good to get your first match out?

FEDERER:  Sure, worries me as well being the top seed, seeing high seeds fall out of the tournament.  You know, I haven’t even started playing yet, and there’s two, you know, big names out of the tournament already. It’s a bit worrying at times.  But then again, I’m worried on my own work.  I’m relieved I’m through the first round, anyway.  I’ve got a feeling and a sense of how it plays out there in a match situation when the stadium is full.  Crowds were amazing today.  For first round and to have a sort of a sellout crowd and a record day, it’s nice to be part of it.

Q.  Speaking of the French Open, there has been talk about renovation of the venue because it’s somewhat sub-par compared to the other Majors.  Do you feel that’s the case?  What would you like to see changed there?

FEDERER:  Um, I’ve only heard bits and pieces, so I’m not entirely sure what they’re talking about.  For the venue to move takes a lot, so I think it’s not going to happen maybe in my lifetime, when I’m still playing.  But I definitely think there’s always things you could do better, you know.  I mean, it’s super crowded, especially the first week or so, down in the players’ area and Suzanne Lenglen on the other side.  That’s not really an option for me, who spends most time at Chatrier.  I think they could definitely improve their site a little bit.  But then again, you’re working with a small space.  I think all the tournaments are trying extremely hard to keep not only just the players happy, but also fans and media and everyone.  So it’s not always as easy as it seems, you know.  But I think it’s always very important for the tournament to try [its] best for the players, because we speak to the press.  If we’re extremely happy, we’re going to speak extremely well about the tournament.  I think that’s one of the reasons I guess they’re always looking for ways to improve, as well.

Q.  You’re going to be returning as the defending champion at Roland Garros.  Is there a different feeling that you’re going to have walking in as the defending champion as opposed to the past where you were only a finalist?

FEDERER:  Very different, yeah.  Finally less pressure, even though I’m defending champion.  I have to defend 2,000 points, and defend the Coupe des Mousquetaires.  It’s not something that’s so simple.  I know that.  I love those kind of challenges, you know.  I’m happy I have that kind of pressure.  But I think it’s probably going to be one of the first times at the French Open I’m going to walk in the grounds smiling thinking, you know, what?  I’ve already won this tournament.  It’s fine.
But I will try everything I possibly can to defend again.  The last few years I did feel a lot of pressure from myself, because I based a lot in the preparation already since like maybe December, February.  And then April again in the buildups, everything was based upon, you know, being as fit as I could be at the French Open.  So this time around I don’t have to do that, because I’ve already won the French.  Now I can just concentrate on playing tennis and enjoying the venue, which has not always been the case for me in the past.

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Fish Trips Up Murray, Federer Still Standing

Fish Trips Up Murray, Federer Still Standing

For the second straight day at the Sony Ericsson Open, a highly ranked male seed went out in the second round.  World number three and defending champion, Andy Murray, was beaten by Mardy Fish 6-3,6-4 .  Although Roger Federer, the number one seed, was pushed by Nicolas Lapentti.  Federer still won comfortably 6-3, 6-3.

In the opening set, in a game in which Fish double faulted, Murray captured the break for 3-1.  However, the next game, Murray threw in a double fault on break point permitting Fish to get back on serve.  With Murray serving in the ninth game, Fish attained triple break point.  Despite Murray reaching deuce and game point, Fish would not be denied.  Mardy manufactured two more break point chances and converted.  Then, on the third asking, Fish closed out the first set.

Poor serving and a tentative return game were what Murray brought to the table; thus, Fish took full advantage.  The initial game of the second set, Murray double faulted handing Fish his second break point opportunity, the American converted.  After consolidating and widening his lead to 3-1, Fish cruised on serve.  However, in the eighth game, Fish faced a 15-40 deficit.  Once again, the serve was his ally.  By raining a few bombs, Fish extricated himself out of this jam and maintained a 5-3 lead.  After Murray held, serving out the match, Fish once more was down break point.  Still, Fish snuffed Murray’s advantage with his serve.  Subsequently, with a couple of aces and unreturnables, Fish sealed the win.

Murray spends a lot of time training in South Florida, so MiamiTennisNews wondered:
Q.  You know this court almost more than anyone else.  You practice here all the time.  What made the difference in today’s match?
MURRAY:  Well, Mardy served well when he needed to.  You know, especially the second set when he was down break points he served well.  But I just wasn’t very good today, and I’m going to need to get a lot better.

After Murray’s debacle, a love-30 start to Federer’s opening game and a break point the subsequent one by Lapentti were preoccupying.  Still, with a few good serves, Federer held to stay on serve.  For his part, Lapentti had no difficulty holding with back to back love games for 2 all.  After multiple errant forehands, with Lapentti serving at 4-5, Federer connected on a forehand up the winner for deuce.  Later, Federer provoked a backhand error by Lapentti resulting in break point.  Then, the world number one produced a stellar backhand down the line pass to go ahead 5-3.  Following, with an easy game, Federer slammed the door on the first set.

Lapentti revealed no signs of disappointment, starting the second set strongly in part aided by Federer having trouble finding his mark with the forehand.  Similarly, Federer continued to have routine service games.  The good thing for Federer was that when it mattered, his forehand showed up.  With Lapentti serving at 3 all, Federer obtained break point with a forehand up the line winner.  When Lapentti’s forehand sailed long, Federer had the crucial break.  After getting out of love-30 mess to consolidate, with a backhand crosscourt winner, Federer broke Lapentti to finish the match.

As anticipated, Robin Soderling, Marin Cilic, Fernando Gonzalez and Fernando Verdasco advanced, all in straight sets.  Seeds Mikhail Youzhny, Tomas Berdych, Stanislas Wawrinka, Juan Monaco, Jurgen Melzer, Marcos Baghdatis and Feliciano Lopez also  moved on without difficulty.  On the other hand, Alberto Montanes, the 26th seed, Gilles Simon, seeded 20th, and Janko Tipsarevic, the 31st seed, were ousted.

For the women, it was business as usual.  Svetlana Kuznetsova, the top seed, with a 6-2,6-3 win, sent Agnes Szavay home . Venus Williams said arrivederci to Roberta Vinci with a 6-1,6-4 victory.  Agnieszka Radwanska took care of Ana Ivanovic 7-5,7-5.  Both Yanina Wickmayer and Marion Bartoli only needed two sets to pass to the round of 16.  The night match between Daniela Hantuchova and Nadia Petrova was less stimulating than expected.  Hantuchova prevailed over Petrova 6-2,6-4.  Timea Bacsinszky had an easy time with Polona Hercog 6-2,6-2.  Her next round will be more challenging as she faces Wickmayer.

The shocker for the women came from the doubles field as the top seed Cara Black and Liezel Huber were defeated in the first round by Natalie Grandin and Abigail Spears.

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Nadal, Clijsters and Henin On the Schedule Sunday At 2010 SEO

Nadal, Clijsters and Henin On the Schedule Sunday At 2010 SEO

The Sony Ericsson Open’s fifth session offers a plethora of fascinating matches.  The ATP begins its third round action with the bottom half of the draw which includes Rafael Nadal and Andy Roddick playing. Conversely, the women’s bottom half which comprises players such as Jelena Jankovic, Kim Clijsters and Justine Henin finishes off its third round.

First up on stadium court are Kim Clijsters and Shahar Peer.  At their only meeting in Sydney in 2007, Clijsters had a straight sets victory.  A quarterfinalist at the 2007 U.S. and Australian Open, Peer’s game has evolved over the three years. Therefore, this has the promise of an intriguing match.  After the ladies, Rafael Nadal and David Nalbandian take center stage. Since coming back from hip surgery in 2009 and an abdominal tear this January, earlier this month, Nalbandian carried his country to a quarterfinal berth in Davis Cup. Although Nalbandian is now ranked 161st , with his having a winning record against Nadal, the Spaniard will be on his toes.

Later on stadium court, Maria Kirilenko collides with Caroline Wozniacki. The latter is 4-0 versus the former; they last met two weeks ago also in the third round at Indian Wells. The afternoon session terminates with Andy Roddick facing Sergiy Stakhovsky.  On his way to capturing the St Petersburg Open last year, Stakhovsky defeated former world number one, Marat Safin.  Although this is their initial showdown, Roddick could be tested.

On the grandstand, Henin battles Dominika Cibulkova.  A first encounter for both ladies, it will interesting to see which one stands tall after the match.  Victoria Azarenka meets Lucie Safarova.  The defending champion has a perfect 3-0 record against Safarova. Another first time meeting is John Isner versus Juan Carlos Ferrero.  On the outer courts, Sam Stosur and Vera Zvonareva both square off versus opponents against whom they have unblemished records.

At night, Jankovic clashes against Elena Vesnina.  Jankovic owns her rival 4-0 in their head to head series. That’s followed by Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Phillip Kohlschreiber.  These players have split their prior two matches.

Here is Sunday’s full schedule :

SUNDAY, MARCH 28

STADIUM start 11:00 am
[14] K Clijsters (BEL) vs [17] S Peer (ISR) – WTA

Not Before 1:00 PM
[WC] D Nalbandian (ARG) vs [4] R Nadal (ESP) – ATP

Not Before 3:00 PM
[32] M Kirilenko (RUS) vs [2] C Wozniacki (DEN) – WTA
[6] A Roddick (USA) vs S Stakhovsky (UKR) – ATP

Not Before 7:00 PM
[7] J Jankovic (SRB) vs [28] E Vesnina (RUS) – WTA

Not Before 8:30 PM
[8] J Tsonga (FRA) vs [28] P Kohlschreiber (GER) – ATP

GRANDSTAND start 11:00 am

[33] N Almagro (ESP) vs J Chardy (FRA) – ATP
[27] T Bellucci (BRA) vs O Rochus (BEL) – ATP
[WC] J Henin (BEL) vs [26] D Cibulkova (SVK) – WTA
L Safarova (CZE) vs [4] V Azarenka (BLR) – WTA

Not Before 5:00 PM
[17] J Isner (USA) vs [12] J Ferrero (ESP) – ATP

COURT 1 start 10:00 am
N Grandin (RSA) / A Spears (USA) vs Y Chan (TPE) / J Zheng (CHN) – WTA
M Llodra (FRA) / A Ram (ISR) vs F Lopez (ESP) / F Verdasco (ESP) – ATP
[15] F Schiavone (ITA) vs [22] A Pavlyuchenkova (RUS) – WTA
[1] D Nestor (CAN) / N Zimonjic (SRB) vs P Cuevas (URU) / F Gonzalez (CHI) – ATP
[6] B Mattek-Sands (USA) / Z Yan (CHN) or M Kirilenko (RUS) / A Radwanska (POL) vs [WC] K Clijsters (BEL) / K Flipkens (BEL) – WTA

COURT 2 start 11:00 am
V Razzano (FRA) vs [9] S Stosur (AUS) – WTA
S Errani (ITA) vs [11] V Zvonareva (RUS) – WTA
[15] D Ferrer (ESP) vs [24] I Karlovic (CRO) – ATP
[18] T Robredo (ESP) vs B Becker (GER) – ATP

Not Before 5:00 PM
[WC] R Harrison (USA) / N Lapentti (ECU) vs E Butorac (USA) / R Ram (USA) – ATP

COURT 3 start 10:00 am
J Coin (FRA) / V King (USA) vs K Jans (POL) / V Uhlirova (CZE) – WTA
J Melzer (AUT) / P Petzschner (GER) vs [6] S Aspelin (SWE) / P Hanley (AUS) – ATP
I Andreev (RUS) / M Youzhny (RUS) vs M Fish (USA) / M Knowles (BAH) – ATP
[3] L Dlouhy (CZE) / L Paes (IND) vs R Hutchins (GBR) / J Kerr (AUS) – ATP

COURT 6 start 10:00 am
[7] F Cermak (CZE) / M Mertinak (SVK) vs R Lindstedt (SWE) / H Tecau (ROU) – ATP
S Huss (AUS) / W Moodie (RSA) vs [4] M Bhupathi (IND) / M Mirnyi (BLR) – ATP
G Dulko (ARG) / F Pennetta (ITA) vs [2] N Llagostera Vives (ESP) / M Martinez Sanchez (ESP) – WTA
[3] N Petrova (RUS) / S Stosur (AUS) vs O Govortsova (BLR) / A Kudryavtseva (RUS) – WTA

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