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Novak Djokovic Seeks Place in Record Books at the 2013 Sony Open

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Novak Djokovic Seeks Place in Record Books at the 2013 Sony Open



IMG_1283_DjokovicNovak Djokovic begins his Sony Open title defense on Friday night, March 22. Djokovic, the 2013 Australian Open champion, is looking for a place in the Sony Open record books by attempting to win three straight Miami titles.

Possibly standing in Djokovic’s path is a potential semifinal encounter with Juan Martin Del Potro. If both players advance to the semis in Miami, it would be a rematch of last week’s 2013 BNP Paribas Open semifinal. In that match, Del Potro emerged the victor ending Djokovic’s 17 match winning streak. The only player to have won the Miami title three years in a row is Andre Agassi (2001 – 2003).

Here is the official press release from the tournament :

WORLD NO. 1 NOVAK DJOKOVIC TO KICK-OFF EVENING SESSION PLAY ON FRIDAY, MARCH 22

MIAMI, Fla. (www.sonyopentennis.com) – World No. 1 and two-time defending Sony Open champion Novak Djokovic will return to South Florida on Friday, March 22 (Session 8) at 7:30 p.m. to begin his quest to a three peat at this year’s 2013 Sony Open. Djokovic’s potential opponents will be determined when the men’s draw is announced on Monday, March 18.

Djokovic has proven from his success at the Sony Open that this is one of his favorite stops on tour. The gregarious Serbian star has always stated that he “enjoys the beautiful city of Miami and the tennis fever that goes on in South Florida.”

The three time Sony Open champion (’07,’11,‘12) is looking to continue his hot start to 2013 after capturing the Australian Open crown in January. Djokovic has consistently had great results at the Sony Open, reaching the finals four of the last six years, including an epic championship win over Andy Murray last year.

Arguably the best player in the world the past two years, Djokovic has won 19 titles including 5 Grand Slams since the start of 2011 and is looking to hold a tighter grasp on the number one ranking.

The Sony Open offers the ultimate entertainment experience over a span of two weeks with an array of events taking place in between exceptional matches featuring the best players on the planet. The exciting restaurants and lounges on site contribute to the electrifying buzz in which fans can enjoy and prepare for the launch of the evening session. Also prior to Djokovic’s evening match, Fila will host “FILA Friday Night” on the entertainment stage at 6:00 p.m. This event brings some of the top ATP and WTA players to the stage in which fans can participate in a question and answer session.

Tickets to the 2013 Sony Open are on sale now and can be purchased by phone (305-442-3367) or via the internet at www.sonyopentennis.com. A thrilling two weeks of tennis conclude with the women’s final on Saturday, March 30 and the men’s final on Sunday, March 31.

ABOUT THE SONY OPEN: The 2013 Sony Open will be played March 18-April 31 at the Tennis Center at Crandon Park 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 2012 Novak Djokovic defeated Andy Murray for his third Sony Open title, while Agnieszka Radwanska knocked off Maria Sharapova to capture her first 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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Djokovic, Nadal, Murray, Azarenka, Serena and Sharapova Headline 2013 Sony Open

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Djokovic, Nadal, Murray, Azarenka, Serena and Sharapova Headline 2013 Sony Open


The Sony Open will be played in Miami March 18 through March 31 at the Crandon Park Tennis Center. In anticipation of the 2013 Sony Open, the tournament has released the men’s and women’s entry list.

Novak Djokovic, the 2013 Australian Open champion, returns to Miami to defend his 2012 title. Djokovic is looking for a place in the record books by attempting to win three straight Miami titles. The only player to have won the title three years in a row is Andre Agassi (2001 – 2003). Also joining Djokovic in Miami are Andy Murray and Rafael Nadal. Absent from the roster this year is Roger Federer who has decided to limit his play in 2013 and in the process will be skipping the Sony Open.

On the women’s side Victoria Azarenka, the 2013 Australian Open champion, will be looking to add another title in Miami. Azarenka has won the title in Miami on two occasions. Agnieszka Radwanska will also be in Miami attempting to defend her 2012 Sony Open title. Maria Sharapova and Serena Williams also highlight the women’s field. A title in Miami by Williams will break the record for most titles by a women in Miami. Williams is currently tied with Steffi Graf with 5 Miami titles.

Below is the official press release from the Sony Open :

SONY OPEN TO HOST GRAND SLAM PLAYER FIELD

Reigning Grand Slam Champions Djokovic, Nadal, Murray, Williams, Sharapova and Azarenka all entered to play.

MIAMI, Fla. (www.sonyeopentennis.com) – The ATP and WTA entry lists for the 2013 Sony Open were announced today and the tournament will once again feature a Grand Slam caliber player field.

Click Here to View Full Lists

Each spring the Sony Open brings the greatest tennis players in the world to the Crandon Park Tennis Center and 2013 is no different. The Sony Open field features several Grand Slam champions including reigning singles champions Novak Djokovic (Australian Open), Rafael Nadal (French Open), Andy Murray (US Open), Victoria Azarenka (Australian Open), Maria Sharapova (French Open) and Serena Williams (Wimbledon and US Open).

Tickets to the 2013 Sony Open, which will be played March 18-31 at the Crandon Park Tennis Center, are on sale now and can be purchased by phone (305-442-3367) or online at www.sonyopentennis.com. An electrifying two weeks of tennis conclude with the women’s final on Saturday, March 30 and the men’s final on Sunday, March 31.

Qualifying rounds will be played March 18-19 and will determine 12 more slots in each singles draw. The tournament will also award wildcards to five men and eight women. The main draw begins on Tuesday, March 19 as the women take the court, followed by the beginning of the men’s main draw on Wednesday, March 20.

Djokovic returns to Miami seeking a three-peat, having won the trophy in 2012 and 2011. He brought home his first Sony Open title in 2007. On the women’s side, 15-time Grand Slam champ and Olympic Gold Medalist, Serena Williams returns on a mission for a record-breaking sixth Sony Open title, but both contenders will face a tough field in their quest for Sony Open history.

On the men’s side, 11-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal, recently made his return to the court and is entered to play his 10th consecutive Sony Open. Nadal, a three-time finalist, will attempt to capture his first title on the purple courts. Andy Murray, the 2009 Sony Open champion, will look to bounce back from last year’s final appearance and take home the coveted trophy.

The women’s field is also extremely competitive, featuring American Sloane Stephens, who made her first Grand Slam semifinal appearance this year, which included a win over Serena Williams at the Australian Open. Two-time Sony Open winner Victoria Azarenka, comimg off here second consecutive Australian Open title, seeks her third Sony Open title in five years. Also a favorite to capture her first Sony Open title is the ever-popular Maria Sharapova, who last year completed the career Grand Slam with her French Open victory.

With such a tremendous player field one might forget that the Sony Open is more than just tennis and has become the standard for first-class sporting events. High fashion, great food, fabulous shopping and celebrity musical performances have made the Sony Open the most glamorous stop on tour.

Come see why huge crowds as well as the biggest names in music, entertainment and sports visit the Sony Open each March. Get your tickets today.

ABOUT THE SONY OPEN: The 2013 Sony Open will be played March 18-April 31 at the Tennis Center at Crandon Park 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 2012 Novak Djokovic defeated Andy Murray for his third Sony Open title, while Agnieszka Radwanska knocked off Maria Sharapova to capture her first 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

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Djokovic Captures Historic Third Successive Australian Open Title

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Djokovic Captures Historic Third Successive Australian Open Title



Novak Djokovic defeated Andy Murray 6-7, 7-6, 6-3, 6-2 in the final of the Australian Open to become the first player in the Open Era to hoist that trophy three years in a row.

With extensive baseline rallies, a well contested opening set left Djokovic with a sour taste after he failed to capitalize on four break points in the sixth game and another in the eighth. Ultimately, the set was settled by a tiebreaker.

As a result of a double fault, Djokovic spotted his opponent a 1-0 advantage. From there, Murray took full advantage and ran away with the tiebreaker 7-2.

Subsequent to a love hold, Murray had triple break point courtesy of a litany of miscues by Djokovic, By reverting to his defensive style, Murray wasted those opportunities which allowed Djokovic to guard serve for 1 all.

As the second set progressed, each player dug in and protected serve quite comfortably. Again, a tiebreaker was needed to decide the set’s winner.

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Still at Home in Monte Carlo: Nadal Records Seventh Straight Title

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Still at Home in Monte Carlo: Nadal Records Seventh Straight Title



After six time defending champion Rafael Nadal was pushed in the semifinals by Andy Murray to three sets lasting two hours and fifty-eight minutes, the question was whether the world number one would have enough left in the tank to get over the finish line.

In today’s final at the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters, compatriot David Ferrer made sure the “king of clay” did it the old fashion way. Nadal prevailed 6-4, 7-5 over Ferrer to earn his seventh successive trophy.

For the second year in a row, two Spaniards clashed in the final at this event. Last year, Nadal destroyed Fernando Verdasco 6-0, 6-1. Consequently, it was imperative for Ferrer to make his presence felt early on in the competition.

Subsequent to a forehand up the line winner to hold in the opening game, Ferrer produced a backhand crosscourt return winner for double break point. However, Nadal eventually overcame the deficit to guard serve.

Next, with Ferrer netting a backhand crosscourt, Nadal had double break point. On a second consecutive backhand miscue by Ferrer, Nadal seized the break for 2-1. Yet, with Nadal attempting to consolidate at 40-15, Ferrer provoked a few mistakes and got to deuce. Later, with a dropshot forehand winner, Ferrer broke to level the first set.

But, with a forehand down the line winner, Nadal had triple break point. On his third break opportunity, Nadal struck a forehand crosscourt winner to bag the break for 3-2.

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Djokovic Edges Nadal in Sony Ericsson Open Final

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Djokovic Edges Nadal in Sony Ericsson Open Final



Novak Djokovic kept his winning streak and perfect season alive today. Djokovic defeated Rafael Nadal in the final of the Sony Ericsson Open 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 to win his second title in Miami and his fourth consecutive of the season.

It was the second week in a row that Nadal and Djokovic, world number one and two respectively, were meeting in a Masters 1000 final. The last time the top two players clashed for the title at this tournament in1995, number two Andre Agassi beat number one Pete Sampras in a third set tiebreaker.

With a backhand up the line pass for a winner on his second break point opportunity, Nadal obtained a 2-1 advantage. It was the first time, Djokovic had dropped serve this tournament.

After going down double break point, Nadal found the equalizer. The Spaniard survived another break point before consolidating for 3-1.

Then, Nadal captured a second break for 4-1. The Spaniard salvaged another break point before widening his lead to 5-1. Nadal dropped serve trying to close out the set the first time around. But, despite difficulties, on his second attempt Nadal banked the set.

After wasting multiple break points in the initial set, Djokovic aided by errors from Nadal seized the break for 2-0 in the second. Subsequent to wiping out a break point, Djokovic consolidated for 3-0 when Nadal’s slice backhand found the net.

Djokovic pressured Nadal on serve while having an easier time himself. At 40-0, Djokovic sent a beautiful lob for a winner to stretch his gap to 4-1. Ultimately, with an ace on triple set point, Djokovic threw the gauntlet for a deciding set.

The opening game of the third, Nadal overcame love-30 to hold. Serving at 1-2, Djokovic battled a similar predicament and got to 2 all. As the set progressed, despite a few 15-30 or 0-30 games, neither manufactured a break point. Fittingly, the championship was settled by a tiebreaker.

The first four points of the tiebreaker, neither competitor maintained serve. When Nadal double faulted, Djokovic had a mini-break at 3-2. With Nadal’s next two strokes sailing wide, Djokovic had a 5-2 cushion.

Following, Djokovic struck a forehand winner down the line for 6-2 and four championship points. Although Nadal won the next two points, on his third opportunity, Djokovic connected on forehand winner to pocket the trophy.

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Henman – Ivanisevic: The Wimbledon Rematch

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Henman – Ivanisevic: The Wimbledon Rematch


Tim Henman and Goran Ivanisevic faced each other at the Royal Albert Hall in London last night for the first time since their epic semi-final at Wimbledon in 2001. Ivanisevic broke the hearts of the British public by beating Henman in a thrilling five set match spread across three days due to the unpredictable British weather.

I clearly remember listening to the commentary secretly during lessons at my school in North London on my vintage Sony Walkman, nerves on edge.  Arguably, this was Henman’s most promising opportunity to be the first British man since Fred Perry to lift the Wimbledon crown.   With a certain American, Pete Sampras, knocked out in the fourth round by none other than recent ATP Tour Finals champion, Roger Federer, the path seemed clear or so we thought.

However, the stars were shining favourably on the charismatic Croat, who famously ate at the same table at the same restaurant every night during the Wimbledon fortnight.   En route to his well deserved Wimbledon title, the pinnacle of any professional tennis player’s career, Ivanisevic won back the heart of the British crowd in his fairytale win against Aussie, Pat Rafter.  Ranked world number 125 due to a recurring shoulder injury, Ivanisevic reached the final as a wild card entry and previously had three tough Wimbledon final losses to Andre Agassi in 1992 and Pete Sampras in 1994 and 1998.

He famously said to reporters: “If some angel comes tonight in my dreams and says: ‘OK Goran, you’re going to win Wimbledon tomorrow, but you’re not able to touch the racket ever again,’ I will say: ‘OK, I’d rather take that and then never play tennis again in my life.’”

Yet, the changeable Croat with dual personalities is back.  And what a comeback it has been for the 39-year-old.   A regular on the seniors tour, Ivanisevic has won two titles in Barcelona and Knokke this season and recorded his fastest ever serve this year. He was one of the many players who encouraged Henman out of retirement to join legends such as Stefen Edberg, John McEnroe and Britain’s own, Greg Rusedski on the ATP Champions Tour in a more jovial yet competitive atmosphere.

“I saw him at the World Tour Finals in London last year and I told him he should come back and play with us,” Ivanisevic said of Henman. “He’s a great tennis player and we miss players like him.”

The players certainly didn’t disappoint the animated crowd last night. In fact, with the pressure off, they produced an outstanding level of tennis, with Ivanisevic serving as well as I’d ever witnessed, winning the first set 6-4. Indeed, Henman said in the post match press conference that no one had ever served as well against him in his entire career in that first set.  Heady praise for the Croat who revealed he is serving faster than ever before with the “new technology” of rackets these days.

With “good” Goran serving on all cylinders, this could have been a baptism of fire on the fast indoor court for Henman, only in his second match out of retirement. But, the Brit held his nerve well and showed many glimpses of his former glory, with great net play and feel around the court, winning the second set 7-5 and bringing the match to an exciting deciding Championship tiebreak.

Despite the hecklings of the old Tim faithful, Goran served his way to the match with an 11-9 victory in the Champions’ Tie-Break, looking impressively sharp on his backhand returns too.

Both looked exhilarated and liberated by the atmosphere of the ATP Champions Tour, particularly in the historic setting of London’s Royal Albert Hall. In the post match press conference Henman revealed his “body felt good” and was pleased with the “good quality of tennis out there.”  Similarly, Goran was beaming as he said “today I felt great” and emphasized how much he is enjoying his tennis without the mental pressure of the tour.  To my question of whether he still enjoyed playing up to his loveable villain reputation, he laughed and said:  “People have always called me so many things. I don’t mind.”

Well, last night Goran, you were quite simply brilliant.

Follow Melina Harris’ coverage for MiamiTennisNews on twitter under the username @thetenniswriter

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Roger Federer Beats Rafael Nadal for His Fifth ATP World Tour Finals Title

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Roger Federer Beats Rafael Nadal for His Fifth ATP World Tour Finals Title


Today, Roger Federer claimed his fifth year-end ATP finals title with a superlative performance over a defiant, but defeated world number one, Rafael Nadal, 6-3, 3-6, 6-1.

In the 22nd meeting of an illustrious rivalry that will leave a great legacy for the game for years to come, Nadal and Federer captivated audiences world-wide with a final that sparkled with explosive shot making, drama and as many twists and turns as a Shakespeare play.

The world number one and two are polar opposites with one thing in common; an extraordinary will to win. While many began to question Federer’s mental strength following his failure to capitalize on two match points against an often mentally fragile Novak Djokovic in the semi-finals of the US Open earlier in the year, Federer seemed to have shrugged off any niggling doubts of his own authority in matches in the run up to the final.

Questions have also been raised about Nadal’s physical problems.  A shoulder injury in his serving arm caused Nadal to take a five week break before the ATP Finals and his recurring knee problems are always a concern.  Many wondered how Nadal’s body would cope after a grueling three set match against Britain’s Andy Murray in the semi-finals.   The tennis world waited with baited breath to see how the latest act in tennis’ greatest rivalry since Andre Agassi and Pete Sampras would play out.

In the opening set, Nadal described Federer as “unplayable” and it was evident from the outset that the Swiss Maestro was back to his absolute best. The players went tactically toe to toe until the seventh game when Nadal’s continued tactic of playing to Federer’s backhand backfired spectacularly.  With a superb cross court winner from that wing, Federer gained the break of serve.  Then, the former world number one closed out the first set 6-3 with a forehand winner in just 32 minutes.

But, with a dramatic swing of momentum, like an incensed lion released from its cage, Nadal characteristically pounced on Federer’s drop in form in the second set.  By switching tactics, Nadal secured a break of serve in the fourth game through working the Federer forehand with spectacular success. Federer took a tumble in the fifth game following an unkind net cord for Nadal and so did his form, allowing the Spaniard to pull ahead with a comfortable 4-1 lead.

The remainder of the second set went with serve.  Nadal held his nerve after losing the first point when serving out the set at 5-3 by finishing Federer off with a wonderfully executed backhand slice right at the master’s feet. Game on.

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Serving Notice:  Federer Wiggles By Fish for His Fourth Cincinnati Title

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Serving Notice: Federer Wiggles By Fish for His Fourth Cincinnati Title


Following his Australian Open victory in February, Roger Federer’s game had been in a tailspin.  In his best form since Melbourne, Federer made the final at the Rogers Cup last week, but went down to Andy Murray.  However, today, Federer edged out wildcard Mardy Fish 6-7,7-6,6-4 at the Western and Southern Financial Group Masters for his second straight Western and Southern Financial Group Masters title and  his 17th Masters’ shield.

This hardcourt season, Fish has positioned himself as a man to fear.  After a grass title in Newport, Fish claimed the initial trophy of the Olympus U.S. Open series in Atlanta.  In Cincinnati the first three rounds, Fish dismissed Gilles Simon, 9th seed Fernando Verdasco and Richard Gasquet in straight sets.  Subsequently, in the quarterfinals, Fish defeated Andy Murray for the third consecutive time.  Then, in the semifinals, Fish collected his second successive win over Andy Roddick by erasing a 4-6,2-5 deficit and improved his record to 16-1 since Wimbledon.  Thus, with these results, Fish’s confidence was astronomical.

Moreover, with Fish in the most outstanding physical shape of his career and an easy triumph over Federer in their last meeting at Indian Wells in 2008, the chances were excellent that in his fourth attempt, Fish would gain his first Masters’ shield.  Conversely, despite advancing to two other finals besides Toronto, Federer was denied in Madrid and Halle this year.  In his 90th career final, Federer was hungrier than ever to capture his 63rd career title and gain momentum heading into the U.S. Open.

Subsequent to a comfortable hold by each player, Fish got embroiled in a 15 minute plus game.  After surviving two break points, on the ninth deuce, Fish obtained a game point with a backhand volley winner and sealed the game with a strong serve for 2-1.  Thereafter, both men cruised on serve until the tenth game when Fish misfired on a forehand up the line to give Federer set point.  With an ace, Fish wiped out Federer’s advantage and later tied the set at 5 all.  At 5-6 on Fish’s serve, Federer arrived again at set point when Fish’s stroke hit the net and flew long.  Once more, Fish repelled his opponent and forced a tiebreaker.

On Federer’s backhand crosscourt error, Fish got a mini-break for 4-3.  But, with two forehand winners, Federer stole both points off Fish’s serve for 5-4.  Still, Fish reversed the tides with an overhead winner and a backhand error by Federer to fabricate set point at 6-5.  With Federer unable to catch up to Fish’s serve, the American bagged the tiebreaker.

Yet to face a break point, Federer continued to coast on serve in the second set.  However, Fish had no problem matching the defending champion.  In fact, Fish’s first serve percentage improved as the set progressed.  At two all, Fish pushed Federer to a deuce game.  But, Federer guarded serve to stay ahead 3-2.  After holding at love for 6-5, Federer got to deuce on Fish’s watch with a forehand up the line winner.  By readily finding his first serve, Fish held for a second tiebreaker.

With a forehand crosscourt winner, Federer inched ahead with a mini-break for 2-0.  After stretching his lead to 4-1, Federer provoked two errors from Fish to take command of the tiebreaker at 6-1.  Next with an ace, Federer leveled the match at one set a piece and forced a decisive set.

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Berdych and Verdasco Make the Cut, Roddick and Company Wipe Out

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Berdych and Verdasco Make the Cut, Roddick and Company Wipe Out


With the quarterfinal spots at stake, after nearly five hours, the stormy weather cleared to allow play at the Legg Mason Tennis Classic.  While Tomas Berdych, the number one seed, and Fernando Verdasco, the third seed, battled their way into the next round.  For the Americans, the tournament was a disaster.  Andy Roddick, the three time champion and second seed, 2007 finalist John Isner as well as 2010 Atlanta champion Mardy Fish were all swept away.

Isner, the fifth seed, squared off against Xavier Malisse.  In March at their initial meeting in Houston, Malisse prevailed in three tiebreaker sets. In the beginning stages of the first set, Malisse had a few break points.  However, Isner promptly brushed those aside.  Later at 4 all, Malisse obtained the break which permitted him to take the set.  But, in the second set, Malisse double faulted on break point to give Isner a 2-1 edge. As usual, this was the minute window the American required to push the match to a third set.  In the third game, Isner had two break point chances, yet converted none.  For his part, with Isner serving at 4 all, Malisse failed to capitalized on love 40.  Thus, the tiebreaker was called upon.  At 5 all, Isner miscalculated an overhead which resulted in the ball landing on his side of the court.  With a mini-break/match point in hand, Malisse connected on a good serve.  With Isner botching the return, Malisse punched his ticket into the subsequent round with  a 6-4,3-6,7-6 win.

Despite recently turning 30, Malisse is enjoying great success the last few months. MiamiTennisNews asked:

Q. Although you are getting on in years, you are playing pretty good tennis.  What keeps you motivated?
Malisse: I had two years of injuries, when you are sidelined and everyone else is playing it hurts. Sometimes you say that you want  a couple of weeks off, when it’s [not on your own terms], it really gets to you . . . Since I had two easy years, I feel I am healthy now . . . The road back has been tough playing challenger last year after being in nice tournaments in nice places. . . But it feels so much more satisfying now . . . Before, I was just playing, not really enjoying it.

At Wimbledon, Malisse teamed up with Kim Clijsters and made it to the quarterfinals in mixed doubles.  MiamiTennisNews inquired:

Q. Do the two of you  plan to do the same at the U.S. Open?
Malisse: I don’t think so.  We have not talked about it. It’s harder considering it’s five sets . . . We had a good time and laughed a lot in [London], that’s the most important thing.

The first set went along swimmingly for Malisse’s quarterfinal opponent, Berdych against Andrey Golubev.  After securing the break in the third game, Berdych cruised on serve.  Nevertheless, serving to send the second set into a tiebreaker, Berdych dropped serve at love.  In the decisive set, Berdych broke for 3-2.  Though, serving for the match and ahead 30-0, Berdych surrendered four straight points to enable Golubev back in.  Still, Berdych managed to break once more and hold for a 6-3,5-7,7-5 victory.

First round at Wimbledon, Berdych faced Golubev and send him packing in straight sets. Hence, MiamiTennisNews wanted to know:

Q.  Why was it so difficult to close Golubev out this time around?
Berdych: He’s really improved [in the last couple of weeks].  He won his first [title] in Hamburg which is a big tournament . . . Even before, he’s had a couple of good results . . . Hardcourt is going to be the best surface for him. . . The conditions, the fast courts suit his game . . .

The Sony Ericsson Open was a pivotal point in Berdych’s career.  Since, he’s had extraordinary results at the French Open and Wimbledon.  MiamiTennisNews questioned whether Berdych felt the same way.

Q.  In making the final in South Florida, did that give you the mental boost to propel you to additional success?
Berdych:  Yes. . .  But not only the tournament in Miami. It started the Davis Cup week right before Indian Wells. . . I won a couple of matches . . . Then at Indian Wells, I made the quarters which showed me even if I am . . .  not playing  well, I can [have] good results which gave me a lot of confidence. . . Coming to Miami which is really my favorite tournament . . . The key match against Roger [Federer] turning it around match point down . . . [getting] to the final . . .  I am happy I can keep the form, keep the consistency and bring more and more good results.

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Nadal Shuts Out Berdych for a Second Wimbledon Prize

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Nadal Shuts Out Berdych for a Second Wimbledon Prize


The list of competitors who have successfully prevailed their initial outing in the finals at a major is brief.  Today, Tomas Berdych was hoping to add his name to that distinguished roll of honor.  To do so, the Czech would have to overcome his biggest hurdle these two weeks, 2008 Wimbledon champion and world number one, Rafael Nadal.  Nadal dispatched newcomer Berdych 6-3,7-5,6-4 to capture his second back to back French Open and Wimbledon trophies.  With a total of eight majors, Nadal moves up to fifth in the record books besides Ivan Lendl, Jimmy Connors and Andre Agassi.

Berdych’s track to the finals was dramatic.  In the quarterfinals, the Czech defeated six time champion Roger Federer.  Moreover, Berdych halted Federer’s seven straight Wimbledon final streak.  Subsequently, in the semifinals, Berdych ousted Novak Djokovic, the world number 3, and became the first player from his nation since Lendl in 1987 to reach the finals at the All England Club.

With injury barring him from the defense of his title last year, Nadal had his knees come into the picture the earlier rounds.  But, in the quarterfinals and semifinals against Robin Soderling and Andy Murray respectively, Nadal had no issues.  Thus, the Spaniard appeared fit to battle.  Although Berdych and Nadal are the same age, their careers have had divergent paths.  Nadal holds 40 titles and has a 8-2 mark in finals of majors.  On the other hand,  Berdych’s overall record in finals is 5-5.

Berdych coolly carried the opening game at love while Nadal duplicated with four easy points.  Later in the first set, with a forehand crosscourt winner, Berdych held at 15 to stay in front 3-2.  However, after mildly pushing Nadal on serve, Berdych committed two quick unforced errors.  Then, with a forehand up the winner, Nadal arrived at triple break point.  With Berdych unable to locate a first serve the entire game, Nadal punished another second serve with a backhand crosscourt shot leading to another miscue by Berdych and the break.  Previously, Berdych had surrendered only two points on his serve.  Promptly with a forehand crosscourt winner, Nadal consolidated at love for 5-3.  After Berdych misfired on another forehand resulting in double break point, Nadal teed off on an abysmal second serve to get the error and claim the first set.

Still, in the second set, Berdych had his chances.  With two double faults and Nadal’s forehand floundering, Berdych had three opportunities to break in the first game.  With Berdych failing to capitalize on second serves, Nadal maintained serve.  Despite being denied, Berdych held with a love game.  Although Nadal committed a few uncharacteristic mistakes, he never allowed Berdych back in.  With Nadal ahead 4-3, at 40-30, Berdych connected on a backhand volley winner to level the set.  After readily keeping pace with comfortable games, Berdych produced a rash of errors as he served to send the set to a tiebreaker.  As a result, Nadal had triple break point.  In a mirror image of the first set, with a forehand error by Berdych, Nadal broke to take a two set advantage.

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