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Serena and Sharapova tested at the Sony Open

Serena and Sharapova tested at the Sony Open

IMG_6261_SharapovaSerena Williams survived up-and-comer Caroline Garcia of France 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 to reach the fourth round of the Sony Open on Saturday.

Six-time Sony Open winner Williams is seeking to defend her crown and win a record–setting seven title.

The 20-year-old Garcia made Williams work – moving the 17-time major champ around the court and blasting serves which were clocked as fast as at 117 mph in the two-hour and 30 minute match.

“She plays well,” Williams said of Garcia. “I really gave myself a tremendous amount of trouble out there.”

“I think, granted she played great, but I made so many errors. I hit so short. It really isn’t the same player. I just have to do better.”

The world No. 1 committed 41 unforced errors during the match.

“It was a good match to play and it was good test for me because she’s good player and she’s always fighting a lot,” Garcia said.

Williams advances to the fourth round.

Maria Sharapova was pushed by Lucie Safarova 6-4, 6-7(7), 6-2 in an almost three hour contest. The No. 4 seed won the match on her ninth match point over a feisty opponent 56 minutes after her first match point which came in the second set tiebreaker.

Safarova saved 6 match points against Sharapova in the final game of the match with a series of winners.

At the end of the match, instead of a traditional handshake, the women hugged each other.

“She kept hitting unbelievable shots,” Sharapova said after the match. “One more. One more. I said, `How many chances are you going to get?’”

“I’m happy to be sitting here winning the match,” the Russian said in press. “Obviously it was tough to lose that second set after having a couple of match points, but I was really happy with the way I came out.”

The day was not without upsets as No. 9 seed Sara Errani fell to Ekaterina Makarova 6-3, 2-6, 6-4.

Kirsten Flipkens moved into the next round when No. 14 seed Sabine Lisicki withdrew from the tournament due to the flu.

Other seeds advancing on the day were No. 5 Angelique Kerber who beat Tsvetana Pironkova 6-0, 6-2, No. 12 seed Ana Ivanovic who topped Indian Wells winner No. 20 seed Flavia Pennetta 6-4, 6-3, No. 8 Petra Kvitova who beat teenqualifier Donna Vekic 6-3, 6-4.

Karen Pestaina is a contributor in Miami. She writes for various tennis and news outlets and is the Editor-in-Chief of Tennis Panorama News. Follow her on Twittter @TennisNewsTPN.

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Federer, Djokovic, Murray off to winning start at Sony Open

Federer, Djokovic, Murray off to winning start at Sony Open


IMG_6389_FedererMiami, FL Ricky Dimon
After skipping last year’s Sony Open Tennis tournament, Roger Federer kicked off his 2014 campaign on Friday afternoon with a 6-4, 7-6(4) victory over Ivo Karlovic. Federer lost a mere three points on serve in the entire match and he fired six aces to Karlovic’s 13 to advance in one hour and 14 minutes.

The 32-year-old Swiss dropped just one service point in the first set and one in the second prior to a tiebreaker. An error off the net cord, however, gave back a mini-break to Karlovic in surprising fashion. One more mini-break was all Federer would need, as he took care of his final two service points at 5-4 and 6-4.

“I think I was able to play a very clean match on my service games throughout,” the world No. 5 explained. “I was playing with margin, was able to move Ivo around, and I was able to maintain that throughout the match, which was key.”

Next up for Federer is qualifier Thiemo De Bakker, who upset Fernando Verdasco 7-6(4), 6-7(3), 6-2.

Novak Djokovic joined Federer in the third round following a 6-4, 6-3 defeat of Jeremy Chardy. The Frenchman’s hopes were doomed by 51 percent serving and a failure to save any of the three break points he faced. Chardy also suffered a sprained ankle in the final game of the match when Djokovic served out his win at 5-3 in the second set.

“It’s obviously different conditions that I’m playing here in Miami from Indian Wells,” said the No. 2 seed, who is coming off a title at the BNP Paribas Open. “It’s more humid and it takes a little bit of time to get used to. So that’s why the first matches are always tricky. And especially when you have an opponent who goes for his shots as Jeremy did today.”

Andy Murray capped off the night on Stadium court by waking up from a slow start to storm past Matthew Ebden 3-6, 6-0, 6-1. Murray, who recently made a news-worthy split from coach Ivan Lendl, won all six of his return games spanning the second and third sets. The sixth-ranked Scot dropped serve to trail 1-0 in the third before reeling of a second streak of six consecutive games in his favor.

Ricky Dimon is a contributor in Miami and writes for tenngrand.com. You can follow him on Twitter under @RD_Tennistalk by clicking here.

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Li Na, Radwanska, Venus roll into next round at Sony Open

Li Na, Radwanska, Venus roll into next round at Sony Open

IMG_2397_RadwanskaSony Open No. 2 seed Li Namade it to the third round without striking a ball on Friday when her opponent Alisa Kleybanova pulled out of the tournament due to a viral illness. Kleybanova, is making a comeback from Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Kleybanova wasn’t the only withdrawal on the day for the women. No. 6 Simona Halep pulled out before her match due to a right toe injury.

2012 champion Agnieszka Radwanska stopped Romina Oprandi 6-0, 6-4.

“First of all, I started very well,” the No. 3 seed said. “She started to play much better in the second set and we had a lot of breaks and long games – it was tricky, and I was getting a bit nervous.

“But I was happy I could finish this match in two sets today.”

Other seeded winners on the day included (10) Dominika Cibulkova over Yvonne Meusburger 6-1, 6-2, (11) Caroline Wozniacki had to fight her opponent and the crowd when she topped Monica Puig 6-1, 1-6, 6-3, (15) Carla Suarez Navarro beat Chanelle Scheepers 6-4, 6-1 and (17) Sloane Stephens (17) won over Zarina Diyas 7-5, 6-3.

American Varvara Lepchenko pulled off the upset of the day on the ladies side of the draw by ousting No. 7 Jelena Jankovic 6-3, 2-6, 7-6 (2). Other surprises included Barbora Zahlavova Strycova who topped 13 seed Roberta Vinci 6-4, 2-6, 7-5, Elina Svitolina stunned 21st seed Eugenie Bouchard 1-6, 6-1, 6-2, Ajla Tomljanovic defeated (30) Garbine Muguruza and young American Madison Keys stopped (31) Daniela Hantuchova 6-4, 6-2.

“I’m really happy about it,” Keys said. “I mean, I think I served well. I think that really helped me today.

The next challenge for Keys will be No. 2 seed Li Na.

“I mean, she’s a great player. She’s obviously done a lot in her career, so really happy to get through that one.”

“It’s such a good experience,” Keys commenting on the match-up in the third round.

“She’s a great player. She just won the Australian Open so she’s obviously doing well.

“Yeah, just a good experience and excited to go play.”

Former No. 1 and 29th seed Venus Williams moved on by beating Anna Schmiedlova 6-3, 6-3 in the night session.

For the 33-year-old who is playing her 15th Sony Open it’s her first match since winning the Dubai title last month.

“I have been working hard since then, and I feel really confident, you know, in every situation I’m in on the court.

“So I think that, you know, it was a big help for me in Dubai.”

“She’s competitive, a new player,” Williams said about playing Schmiedlova. “You never know what their game is really going to be like. I’d never even seen her play.

“But it’s obviously great to be in the next round.” She’ll play in the third round against Casey Dellacqua.

Karen Pestaina is a contributor in Miami. She writes for various tennis and news outlets and is the Editor-in-Chief of Tennis Panorama News. Follow her on Twittter @TennisNewsTPN.

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Serena Williams, Sharapova Advance at Sony Open

Serena Williams, Sharapova Advance at Sony Open

IMG_6153_Serena(March 20, 2014) World No. 1 Serena Williams had to dust off a little rust in the first set to beat Yaroslava Shvedova 7-6 (7), 6-2 in her opening match at the Sony Open.

The defending champion and six-time Key Biscayne title holder jumped out to a 3-1 lead in the opening set, only to see her opponent take the next four games. Williams broke Shvedova while she was serving for the set at 5-4. The set ended with a tiebreak, in which Williams fell behind 3-6. Williams rallied to save three set points and eventually win it 9-7 ending the set with a pair of aces and a backhand winner.

“It was an incredibly tough first set,” Williams said of the 69-minute set. “I just needed to relax and yet keep up the intensity.”

“Well, she was doing a little bit of everything, Williams said to media. She was hitting hard; she was hitting soft; she was doing a little bit of everything.

Things were back to normal for the 16-time major champion in the second set, winning the last 5 games of the set to give her the match.

The next opponent for Williams will be France’s Caroline Garcia.

Fourth seed Maria Sharapova joined Williams in the third round by beating Kurumi Nara 6-3, 6-4 to begin the Thursday night session in Key Biscayne.

“She made me work extremely hard today,” Sharapova said. “She’s a really quick opponent, got a lot of balls back, as you saw, made me hit a lot, and made me feel like ‑‑ tried to do too much in certain situations.”

Always a bridesmaid but never a bride at the Sony Open for Sharapova who has lost five finals.

“I have been close, and I have had my fair share of chances of winning the tournament,” said the Russian. “Obviously I’m still looking for that.

Among the other WTA winners on Thursday were fifth-seeded Angelique Kerber who squeaked past Peng Shuai 6-3, 1-6, 7-6 (5), No. 12 Ana Ivanovic who topped young American Lauren Davis 6-1, 6-1, and No. 28 Svetlana Kuznetsova, the 2006 champion, was upset by teen qualifier Donna Vekic 7-6 (5), 7-5.

Karen Pestaina is a contributor in Miami. She writes for various tennis and news outlets and is the Editor-in-Chief of Tennis Panorama News. Follow her on Twittter @TennisNewsTPN.

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Hewitt wins 600th ATP match at Sony Open, young American trio advances

Hewitt wins 600th ATP match at Sony Open, young American trio advances

IMG_6122_HewittMiami, FL Ricky Dimon
Lleyton Hewitt earned his 600th ATP match victory when he came back from a set and a break down to defeat Robin Haase 3-6, 6-3, 6-3 during first-round action at the Sony Open Tennis tournament on Thursday afternoon.

Hewitt trailed 3-1 in the second set before mounting his charge with a streak of five consecutive games in his favor. The 33-year-old Australian worked similar magic in the third, although in that frame he did not fall behind by a break. Starting at 2-3, Hewitt reeled off four straight games to clinch victory. Haase double-faulted three times in the final game of the match, essentially sealing his own fate.

A former world No. 1 and two-time Grand Slam champion, Hewitt improved his lifetime record to 600-241 after one hour and 57 minutes. His reward is a Friday night date with current world No. 1 Rafael Nadal.

“Today was just like another match and an opportunity to go out there and play well,” Hewitt explained. “Afterwards…a great milestone. Not many people get to achieve [600 wins]. Means I have been around for an awfully long time, as well. I’m getting old.”

As for players who are not getting old anytime soon, Americans Ryan Harrison, Jack Sock, and Donald Young joined Hewitt in the second round. Harrison preceded Hewitt on Stadium court got the best of Federico Delbonis 6-2, 6-4, Young rolled over Carlos Berlocq 6-2, 6-2, and Sock made similarly routine work of Guido Pella in a 6-3, 6-4 win.

Interestingly, Young’s only previous encounter with Berlocq had come at this same event in 2006, when the Argentine humiliated Young 6-0, 6-0. In the very next round, Berlocq lost 6-0, 6-0 himself–to James Blake. Young had no trouble turning the tide eight years later and he is safely through to an all-American showdown against John Isner.

In history-making news of the day, Bernard Tomic made a premature comeback from hip surgery that had sidelined him since the Australian Open. The result was the shortest match of all-time on the ATP Tour, with Tomic going down to Jarkko Nieminen 6-0, 6-1 in 28 minutes and 20 seconds. The 21-year-old Australian won one point in the first five games, three points in the first set, and 13 points in total.

Ricky Dimon is a contributor in Miami and writes for tenngrand.com. You can follow him on Twitter under @RD_Tennistalk by clicking here.

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Novak Djokovic Address the Press at the Sony Open

Novak Djokovic Address the Press at the Sony Open

Three time Sony Open Tennis champion Novak Djokovic met with the press in Miami prior to his first round match on Friday.  Djokovic revealed that his coach Boris Becker will not be in Miami as he is undergoing surgery on both of his hips.

Djokovic responded to questions regarding the resurgence of Roger Federer, Andy Murray splitting with Ivan Lendl and the future of Juan Martin Del Potro.

Here is the complete interview :

Q.  Can you tell us a little bit about Boris.  We hear that he’s been unable to travel. 

NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Yes, he’s unable to travel.  He has surgery of his both hips today and tomorrow, so that’s unfortunate.  He couldn’t come.

Q.  But was that expected? 

NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  No, he was supposed to come here.  Basically in the finals of Indian Wells he called us and said that he had an emergency and he has to operate both hips.

Q.  How will this affect or will it affect you and Boris going forward?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  No, no, he’s going to be in MonteCarlo, and the schedule for the tournaments that he committed before the start of the season, he will be there, you know, unless his health doesn’t allow him.

Of course, in these particular situations you can’t do much about it.  If he has to operate his hips, he cannot move, cannot walk, unfortunately.  It’s been something that it’s kind of an issue that has been  issue he’s been carrying for many years already.

If he is able, he’s going to be in MonteCarlo already.  Everything stays the same.

Q.  People will look at what you did in Indian Wells and say, Well, you didn’t miss Boris much, but I guess what he has done in the buildup contributed to that success. 

NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Yeah, absolutely.  Well, first of all, I mean, Boris is a head coach, and this was not only my own decision.  It was actually Marian’s proposal from the start, because as I was saying before, he has been on the tour as a player and coach 30 years.  It’s been a very long time for him.

He wanted to spend more time with his family, and it was time for me to kind of try to get somebody that is able to commit for more tournaments than Marian.

So when Marian was still around, as you see, it was planned for him to be in Indian Wells; now he’s in Miami because of this situation.  But they split tournaments.  I mean, Boris is supposed to travel to more tournaments.

They have a very good communication and relationship, and I’m happy with the way it all has started.  Obviously the start of the season I haven’t won Australian Open as it was the case in last, previous three years, but, you know, it’s a sport.

I feel that I’m playing good on the court.  It’s just a matter of time when things are going to click.  I’m glad that I already  they already have clicked in Indian Wells.  I have had a great two weeks, and the benefits and the effects of our incorporation, Boris and mine, hopefully we will see in the rest of the season.

Q.  I wanted to ask you about Roger’s resurgence.  You just played him, and some people had already just not counted him out or were starting to write him off the Big 4 and all that.  Can you talk about him and just having played him.  What do you see in his game different, and that he’s sort of back?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Yes.  Well, I think he’s playing in a high level this year.  He’s back to his normal level, you know, the level that he had for seven, eight years while he was so dominant in men’s tennis.  Obviously last season he was not as good for his standards.

You know, but this year he started strong.  He won the title in Dubai and played semis of Australian Open.  I can feel that he’s striking the ball very cleanly.  He’s very confident on the court and he has improved his backhand I think.

Maybe it’s the racquet or something else, but he definitely has more depth on that shot.  He’s going more for his topspins rather than slicing it.  You know, of course, with his immense experience and success that he had in his career, he’s never to be ruled out.

Doesn’t matter how old he is.  It’s just a number.  As he was saying, he feels good on the court.  He’s fit.  He’s definitely one of the best players in the world now.

Q.  Were you as surprised as we were about Andy Murray’s split with Ivan Lendl?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, to be honest, I was not surprised.  But, again, I didn’t know what to expect.  They worked for two years, and obviously it brought both of them, especially Andy, a lot of success on the court.  He won Olympic Games, won a few Grand Slams.  I think it was a very good decision from inside to be working with Ivan.

Now they split.  I mean, they obviously had a good reason for that.  I’m not the one who should judge.

Q.  Do you think their success was one of the reasons why there are suddenly so many names… 

NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Maybe.  But I was saying that that was not the motivation behind me hiring Boris Becker.  As I said before, it was a kind of a course in our relationship between Marian and myself where, you know, we came to the point where we had to think of an alternative option.  We had to think about somebody stepping into our team.

That was the main reason why we hired Boris.

Q.  How important is playing with this environment in Miami?  Different for all of you?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  It is different tournament.  It’s actually one of the nicest ones we have on tour.  It’s a lot of fun, a lot of entertainment, very international crowd.

I have had much success in this city before I won my first big title back in 2007.  I remember here was my first Masters 1000 event.  So I have really good memories.

I always look forward coming back to Miami this time of the year.  It’s nice weather.  As I said, a lot of fun on and off the court.

Q.  Now that a couple of days has passed since Indian Wells, how much of a boost is that for you confidencewise and a bit of a relief?  I know winning titles is nothing new to you, but an estrangement at the start of this year.  How much of a confidence boost is that for you?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, it is, in some kind, a relief for me, because I haven’t had a title this year up to Indian Wells.  Indian Wells final was the first final of the year.  I haven’t played many tournaments; I haven’t played many matches.

So I knew I’m playing well.  I had incredible end of 2013, so I did have confidence.  But I started a little bit doubting myself on the court.  You know, I was struggling a little bit with my, I would say, consistency and the concentration.  Throughout the tournament also I had ups and downs, but I managed to win four out of six matches in three sets.

Mentally it’s a very encouraging win that gives me confidence and that also, you know, is very special in a way.  This time of the year I needed it very much, and hopefully I can carry that into this week.

Q.  Juan Martin Del Potro, have you talked to him, about his future?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, I talked to him a little bit a few days ago.  He was uncertain if he’s going to play or not.  Now he’s not playing, so, yeah, it’s really unfortunate.

I think it’s the other wrist, because he had problems with one wrist and now it’s the other one.  He’s a very tall, tall guy, and for him playing many tournaments in a high level week in and week out is very difficult.

His body is suffering, and it’s unfortunate that somebody of his quality is not performing here.  Also Indian Wells.  Tennis definitely misses him.  He’s always one of the contenders to win big titles.  He’s very entertaining to watch.  He’s a nice guy.

I wish him all the best and quick recovery.

Q.  We’re doing a story on fashion in tennis, and we have seen it transcend, you know, Agassi with the denim shorts.  You had the Darth Vader look.  A, what is your inspiration when you go into designing your own clothes?  And, B, how important is it for all of you guys to differentiate you guys with your style?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Yes, well, you mentioned Andre Agassi.  I mean, he definitely revolutionalized the fashion in tennis.  He was the first one to dress differently and to have some kind of statement on the court.

Well, I have been through a process in my career, as well.  I had different dragons and wings on my shirts (smiling).

But I’m at a different stage right now.  Of course I’m very much involved in giving  trying to give my input as much as I can to design my own clothes.  I’m fortunate to have a really good team of people and designers from Uniqlo Company who represents me the last two years.

There is various, I will say, inspirations behind the certain designs for different periods of the year depending on color of the surface, depending on the time of the year, depending where we go, color of Serbian flags, so forth and so forth.

So there are different sources of inspiration we are trying to put into the design and kind of create something that looks nice on the court.

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Chardy and Veterans Advance at the Sony Open

Chardy and Veterans Advance at the Sony Open

IMG_6027_ChardyMiami, FL Ricky Dimon
The first day of main-draw action in men’s singles at the 2014 Sony Open saw Jeremy Chardy outlast Juan Monaco in a thriller on Stadium court. Chardy prevailed 7-5, 3-6, 7-6(5) after two hours and 38 minutes to set up a second-round date with second-seeded Novak Djokovic.

It almost ended prior to a final-set tiebreaker, when the 48th-ranked Frenchman forced Monaco into a 15-40 situation at 4-5. Monaco saved the first match point with a serve-forehand combination and Chardy netted a backhand on his second opportunity. Two holds later, a ‘breaker had to decide the outcome. The Argentine fought off one more match point at 4-6, but Chardy finally got the job done at 6-5 thanks to an overhead smash.

Miami’s Stadium crowd was treated to another tense three-setter during the night session. Amidst a lively atmosphere, Marcos Baghdatis recovered from a dismal opening set and from two breaks down in the third to overcome Santiago Giraldo 1-6, 6-2, 7-5 in one hour and 51 minutes. Giraldo served for the match at both 5-2 and 5-4, but the Colombian failed on both occasions and he ultimately lost six straight games to Baghdatis to seal his fate.

It was just Baghdatis’ fourth victory of the season. The struggling Cypriot will next go up against Philipp Kohlschreiber on Friday.

Giraldo was not the only Colombian action on Wednesday. Whereas not a single American man took the court (six are scheduled for Thursday on the other side of the draw), three Colombians contested their openers. Alejandro Falla lost to Marinko Matosevic 1-6, 6-4, 7-6(6) and Alejandro Gonzalez took care of Malek Jaziri 7-6(9), 6-1.

The Grandstand featured a pair of stellar individual performances. Red-hot and fast-rising Dominic Thiem powered past recent Irving Challenger champion Lukas Rosol 7-6(6), 6-4. The 20-year-old Austrian, who qualified for the main draw for his fifth successful tournament qualification already this season, won 86 percent of his first-serve points. At the other end of the career spectrum, 35-year-old Radek Stepanek donated fewer games than any other man in a 6-3, 6-0 rout of Daniel Brands. Stepanek required a mere 57 minutes to book a spot alongside Andreas Seppi in the round of 64.

Ricky Dimon is a contributor in Miami and writes for tenngrand.com. You can follow him on Twitter under @RD_Tennistalk by clicking here.

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Novak Djokovic Seeks Fourth Sony Open Title

Novak Djokovic Seeks Fourth Sony Open Title


IMG_1283_DjokovicNovak Djokovic will seek his fourth Sony Open title in Miami when he headlines the Friday day session on March 21, 2014. The tournament draw will take place on March 17 at which point Djokovic’s opponent in his opening match will be revealed.

Last year Djokovic was bounced from the tournament by Tommy Haas preventing him from winning three straight Sony Open titles. Wins in Miami have led to multiple title wins during the ATP calendar year for Djokovic so there is no doubt that he will be eager to bag another title at the Crandon Park Tennis Center.

Here is the official press release from the tournament :

3-time Sony Open Champ Will Kick-Off the Best Weekend in Tennis

MIAMI, Fla. (www.sonyopentennis.com) – Friday, March 21 will get even hotter in Miami when World No. 2 Novak Djokovic returns to the court in a quest to claim his fourth Sony Open title. Djokovic’s opponent will be revealed on Monday, March 17 when the rest of the men’s main draw is announced. The 30th edition of the Sony Open runs March 17-30 at the Crandon Park Tennis Center.

Djokovic, who will play during Friday’s day session, joins an already star-studded Men’s field for the opening weekend as World No. 1 Rafael Nadal is scheduled to play Saturday night, March 22. Tickets for all the weekend matches, including the Djokovic and Nadal matches, can be secured by purchasing an Opening Weekend package starting at one low price of $202 (a 28% savings off the regular ticket price). Individual and package tickets can be purchased online at www.SonyOpenTennis.com or by phone at 305-442-3367.
In 2007, the Serbian star became the youngest male to win the tournament at 19, when he made a thrilling run in Miami. Capturing a fourth Sony Open trophy this year will move the six-time Grand Slam winner into second-all time behind Andre Agassi (6) for most Miami titles.

The road to the Butch Buchholz trophy won’t be easy. The men’s main draw includes World No. 1 Nadal, 17-time Grand Slam winner Roger Federer, defending Sony Open champ Andy Murray and a host of others.

The Sony Open offers a full day of entertainment for everyone. Enjoy the beautiful Miami weather, stop by one of our high-end retail stores, spend time with friends at one of our many lounge areas, try some of our diverse food options or hang around the entertainment stage to listen to live musical performances.
Experience first-hand why the biggest names in music, entertainment and sports visit the Sony Open each spring. Whether it is LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Kim Kardashian or Owen Wilson you never know who you may see around the site.

ABOUT THE SONY OPEN: The 2014 Sony Open will be played March 17-30 at the Crandon Tennis Center in Miami. The two-week combined event is owned and operated by IMG. The Sony Open is one of nine ATP Masters 1000 Series events on the ATP calendar, a Premier Mandatory event on the WTA calendar, and features the top men’s and women’s tennis players in the world. In 2013 Andy Murray defeated David Ferrer for his second Sony Open title, while Serena Williams knocked off Maria Sharapova to capture her record sixth title in Miami. For ticket information, call (305) 442-3367 or visit the website at www.SonyOpenTennis.com

ABOUT SONY MOBILE COMMUNICATIONS: Sony Mobile Communications is a subsidiary of Tokyo-based Sony Corporation, a leading global innovator of audio, video, game, communications, key device and information technology products for both the consumer and professional markets. Through its Xperia™ smartphone portfolio, Sony Mobile Communications delivers the best of Sony technology, premium content and services, and easy connectivity to Sony’s world of networked entertainment experiences. For more information: www.sonymobile.com

ABOUT IMG: IMG Worldwide is a global sports, entertainment and media business, with nearly 3,000 employees operating in 30 countries around the globe. IMG’s areas of expertise are diverse and wide ranging: IMG College; IMG’s Joint Ventures in China, Brazil and India; IMG Media; IMG Events and Federations; IMG Fashion; IMG Models; IMG Art+Commerce; IMG Clients; IMG Academies; IMG Consulting and IMG Licensing. More information is available at www.imgworld.com

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Nadal Returns to the Sony Open Tennis

Nadal Returns to the Sony Open Tennis

IMG_3458_Nadal
Rafael Nadal will return to Miami to take part in the 2014 Sony Open Tennis event after missing the event last year.

At the start of the 2013 ATP season Nadal was coming back from a knee injury and withdrew from the event. A three time runner up in Miami, Nadal is hoping to add the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 event to his resume of wins on the ATP tour.

Here is the official press release from the tournament :

MIAMI, Fla. (sonyopentennis.com) – Individual session tickets for the 2014 Sony Open Tennis event are on sale December 1 and tennis fans will once again have the chance to see Spanish superstar Rafael Nadal.

“I was very disappointed that I was not able to attend last year’s tournament and am looking forward to returning in 2014,” said Nadal. “I love to play in Miami because of its beautiful location and tremendous fans support. Miami is an international city, and the diverse crowds that attend the tournament create an unbelievable atmosphere. I am excited to see all my fans in Miami this year.”

After missing last year’s event due to doctor’s advice, world No. 1 and 14-time Grand Slam Champion Rafael Nadal will be returning to the purple courts in 2014 looking to claim his first Sony Open title.

In 2013 Nadal recorded on of the greatest comeback seasons in tennis history. After missing nearly seven months due to a knee injury, Nadal returned in February and posted 75-7 record, won 10 singles titles, including two Grand Slams, and regained the World No. 1 ranking.

Secure your tickets and experience the most glamorous event on the WTA and ATP World Tour calendars. The 2013 Sony Open will be held March 17-30 at the Crandon Park Tennis Center and will once again feature the world’s top players competing for one of the most prestigious titles in tennis.

The Sony Open offers a full day of entertainment for everyone. Enjoy the beautiful Miami weather, stop by one of our high-end retail stores, spend time with friends at one of our many lounge areas, try some of our diverse food options or hang around the entertainment stage to listen to live musical performances.

Even if you are not a tennis fan there is always something for you to enjoy on the tournament grounds.

Experience first-hand why the biggest names in music, entertainment and sports visit the Sony Open each spring. Whether it is LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Kim Kardashian or Owen Wilson you never know who you may see around the site.

In addition to ticket packages the Sony Open has a limited number of Patron Sponsorships are available. These highly sought after sponsorships do not become available very often and include box seats for all Stadium sessions, one Crandon parking pass for every two seats purchased, Patron listing at the front entrance, box seat name identification and six vouchers for meals at the Champions Club presented by ITAU. These seats won’t be available long so call today.

Vacation Packages are also on sale. If you are planning a trip to Miami for the Sony Open then let us take care of your hotel and ticket arrangements at one low price. Packages are inclusive for two (2) guests, which includes three nights at one of our partner properties, plus tickets to the sessions of your choice for the 2014 Sony Open.

Don’t miss any of the action. Secure your seats for 2014 and watch the best players in the world as they battle on the purple courts for one of the most coveted titles on tour.

For more information go to www.SonyOpenTennis.com or call the Sony Open ticket office at 305-442-3367.

ABOUT THE SONY OPEN: The 2014 Sony Open will be played March 17-30 at the Crandon Tennis Center in Miami. The two-week combined event is owned and operated by IMG. The Sony Open is one of nine ATP Masters 1000 Series events on the ATP calendar, a Premier Mandatory event on the WTA calendar, and features the top men’s and women’s tennis players in the world. In 2013 Andy Murray defeated David Ferrer for his second Sony Open title, while Serena Williams knocked off Maria Sharapova to capture her record sixth title in Miami. For ticket information, call (305) 442-3367 or visit the website at www.SonyOpenTennis.com

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Delray Beach Open Announces Player Lineups

Delray Beach Open Announces Player Lineups

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DELRAY BEACH, FL: Four of the current Top 20 singles players, the greatest doubles team of all time, and the 2001 Wimbledon champion are all included in a group of players who have signed on with the Delray Beach Open by The Venetian® Las Vegas to play in the 22nd annual event next February.

The world’s only combined ATP World Tour and ATP Champions Tour event will be played February 14 – 23, 2014 at the Delray Beach Stadium & Tennis Center. It will be the 16th year that the tournament will be held in Delray Beach.

The 32-player ATP World Tour field will include Top 20 stars Tommy Haas (No. 12), John Isner (No. 14), Kei Nishikori (No. 18) and Kevin Anderson (No. 20). Janko Tipsarevic, last year’s ATP world No. 8, former world No. 1 and two-time Grand Slam champion Lleyton Hewitt and former world No. 8 Marcos Baghdatis are also among the early entries. The remaining Delray Beach field, including three wild cards, will be announced in January.

Hewitt (1999), Haas (2006), Nishikori (2008) and Anderson (2012) are former Delray Beach champions.

The world No. 1 Bryan Brothers doubles team will highlight the 16-team doubles field, as the popular twins return to Delray Beach for the seventh time after winning titles in 2009 and 2010.

Bombastic Croat Goran Ivanisevic, the only Wimbledon champion in history to have won on a wild card, will join 2003 US Open champion Andy Roddick and four other former ATP stars in Delray Beach’s 5-year-old ATP Champions event. Ivanesivic is playing in Delray Beach for the first time.

Roddick committed to his inaugural ATP Champions Tour event in August, while Hall of Famer Mats Wilander is returning for a fourth run at the title. The trio of former two-time Delray Beach ATP World Tour champion Jan-Michael Gambill (2001 & 2003), former French Open finalist Mikael Pernfors and Boca Raton’s Aaron Krickstein round out the field. The competition will be divided into an “American” group (Roddick, Krickstein & Gambill) and a “European” group (Ivanesevic, Wilander, Penfors), with the winners playing a “USA vs Europe” championship match.

“These are undoubtedly the best fields we’ve put together collectively in both our ATP events,” said tournament director Mark Baron. “We continue to strengthen our ATP World Tour field and we’re excited about the ATP Champions Tour battle within the American and European groups and think it’s going to be a fun one for our fans to follow.”

The Delray Beach Open by The Venetian has moved one week earlier on the ATP World Tour calendar. The three-day ATP Champions Tour event will kick off on Valentines’ Day, Friday, Feb. 14 with two evening matches featuring Roddick, Ivanisevic, Gambill and Wilander. The ATP Champions Tour final will be played Sunday, Feb. 16 at 3:00 pm.

The ATP World Tour three-day qualifying rounds begin Saturday, Feb. 15 with the main draw beginning Monday, Feb. 17. The doubles final is scheduled for Sunday, Feb. 23 at 1:00 pm followed by the singles final at 3:00 pm.

To purchase tickets, check playing schedules, or to obtain more information, please go to www.YellowTennisBall.com, call 561-330-6000 or visit the Delray Beach event’s box office at 30 NW 1st Avenue, Delray Beach, FL.

Delray Beach ATP World Tour Headliners:

The Bryan Brothers, 2009 and 2010 Delray Beach champs, are 8-time year-end world No. 1 doubles champions. The pair are the first doubles team in history to hold all four Grand Slam titles as well as the Olympic gold medal at the same time. They have 92 career ATP titles, including 15 Grand Slam wins.

Tommy Haas has returned to the Top 20 from major surgery three times in his career. The 2006 Delray Beach champion has twice been the ATP’s “Comeback Player of the Year” and is currently ranked No. 12 in the world. Haas has won more than $12 million in prize money.

Top-ranked American John Isner, who has back-to-back semifinal finishes in Delray Beach, reached a career-high No. 9 in the world in 2012 and enjoyed 18 weeks in the Top 10. He reached the 2011 Australian Open QF and his first Master Series final in Indian Wells that year. He finished No. 1 among ATP players in aces two of the last three years, and has garnered 7 career ATP titles.

Kei Nishikori won his first ATP title in Delray Beach in 2008 as an 18-year-old, and reached his first Grand Slam QF at the 2012 Australian Open. The top all-time Japanese player with rock star status has reached No. 11 in the world this year and is positioned to become the top Asian tennis player of all time.

Kevin Anderson is enjoying the best year of his career, reaching three finals in 2013, and currently No. 20 in the world. In addition to his Delray Beach title in 2012, he has reached two QFs in his new hometown. Anderson established a residence in Delray Beach over the summer.

Janko Tipsarevic, the 2011 Delray Beach runner-up to Juan Martin del Potro, finished 2012 as the year-end No. 8 in the world. With 4 career ATP titles, a 2012 US Open QF finish and the 2010 Davis Cup title, the Serbian has enjoyed two straight Top 10 seasons.

An 18-year-old Lleyton Hewitt won the first ATP tournament held in Delray Beach (1999). The No. 1 player in the world for the 2001 and 2002 seasons won Grand Slam titles at the 2001 US Open and at Wimbledon in 2002 and has five Top 10 year-end finishes, including four in the Top 5.

Marcos Baghdatis was a 2006 Australian Open finalist and became the ATP’s breakout performer that year, reaching a career-high No. 8 and finishing the season at No. 12. Baghdatis was also Top 20 in 2007 and 2010.

Delray Beach ATP Champions Tour Headliners:

2003 US Open champion Andy Roddick will be making his ATP Champions Tour debut in Delray Beach, a venue where he began his pro career with a pair of wild cards in 2000 and 2001. He finished No. 1 in the world for 2003, and had an incredible run in the Top 10 from 2002 – 2010. Roddick led the 2007 US team to the Davis Cup title.

Goran Ivanisevic garnered 22 career ATP wins but his greatest moment was winning the 2001 Wimbledon title 11 years after he won his first title. He achieved a career-high No. 2 ranking and finished in the Top 10 five times in his career.

Hall of Famer (2002) Mats Wilander is one of only five men to win Grand Slams on every surface. The Swede won the first of his seven Slam titles at the French Open as an unseeded 17-year-old. He was the No. 1 ranked player in the world in 1988, won 33 ATP titles and three Davis Cup titles.

Player Schedule Highlights:

Andy Roddick: Friday, Feb. 14 (Session 1 – night), Saturday, Feb. 15 (Session 3 – night)
John Isner: Tuesday, Feb. 18 (Session 8 – night)
Bryan Brothers: Wednesday, Feb. 19 (Session 9 – day)

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