Tag Archive | "BNP Paribas Open"

Sharapova Picks Up French Open Title to Complete Career Slam

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Sharapova Picks Up French Open Title to Complete Career Slam

Eight years after clenching her first major quarterfinal, ironically at Roland Garros, Maria Sharapova can finally call herself French Open champion. Sharapova dispatched Sara Errani, a surprise finalist, 6-3, 6-2 to obtain the career grand slam. Twice a semifinalist in 2007 and 2011, Sharapova now had a golden shot at grabbing the ultimate prize. While this was the third consecutive year that an Italian woman was battling for the title in Paris, for Errani ranked 24th in the world, this was her maiden major final appearance. Experience was certainly key at the start of the match as Sharapova broke on a backhand miscue by Errani to race to a 2-0 advantage. Subsequent to consolidating, Sharapova struck a backhand winner for a double break edge. Aided by two double faults from her opponent, Errani secured her first game and held to narrow the deficit to 2-4. Yet promptly, with a love game, Sharapova extended her lead to 5-2. After Errani fought off double set point to guard serve, Sharapova connected on her third set point with backhand down the line winner. By carrying the opening set 6-3, Sharapova had one hand on the French Open trophy. The second set unfolded similarly to the initial one with Sharapova breaking Errani at love to capture the early break. But, Errani overcame the effect of being a first time finalist at a major and tried to claw her way back. Despite the Italian’s defiance, Sharapova went ahead 2-0. Subsequent to a difficult game, with Sharapova’s backhand sailing long, Errani had a break point. But, Sharapova would not be denied and maintained serve for 3-1.

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Djokovic Retains Sony Ericsson Open Title

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Djokovic Retains Sony Ericsson Open Title

Novak Djokovic banked his 30th ATP title in Miami. The world number one downed Andy Murray 6-1, 7-6 to capture his third trophy at the Sony Ericsson Open. Djokovic became the first player to successfully defend at this event since Roger Federer in 2005-2006.

This was a repeat of the 2009 Miami final. On that occasion, Murray hoisted the big prize. The Brit was appearing in his third final of 2012, victorious in Brisbane and beaten by Federer in Dubai.

At this juncture in 2011, Djokovic was 24-0 with the Australian Open and BNP Paribas Open under his belt. Since winning at the Australian Open, Djokovic has had two defeats, each in the semifinal stage, one of them to Murray.

Out of nowhere in the opening set, after leading 40-0, Murray made two consecutive backhand errors and allowed Djokovic to later get to deuce. Down the road, three successive backhand miscues by Murray resulted in Djokovic converting.
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Nadal Toasts Federer to Book His Spot in the Sony Ericsson Open Final

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Nadal Toasts Federer to Book His Spot in the Sony Ericsson Open Final

The much anticipated semifinal bout between Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer at the Sony Ericsson Open failed to live up to expectation. In a one sided contest, Nadal destroyed Federer 6-3, 6-2 to advance to the final.

Nadal drew first blood in the first set. With Federer’s forehand up the line going wide, the Spaniard had double break point. Then, when Federer pushed a backhand into the net, Nadal had the break for 2-1.

Nadal consolidated easily for 3-1. Later, with Federer serving at 3-5, a litany of errors resulted in Nadal breaking for the second time to seal the opening set.

In the second set, with Nadal netting a backhand, Federer had his first break point of the night. However, with a net court winner off an overhead, Nadal was at deuce. Nadal went on to capture the game.

Subsequently, with a backhand down the line pass for a winner, Nadal had break point. He capitalized when Federer’s forehand found the net. With a prompt game, Nadal moved ahead 3-0.

The remainder of the set, Federer was just trying to tread water. The Swiss’ only window came at 1-3 and 0-30, but Nadal quickly shut it.

With Federer serving to prolong the match, miscues after miscues gave Nadal his first match point. As a result of Federer misfiring, Nadal booked his place into the final.

Federer committed 31 unforced errors while hitting 18 winners. Federer said in analyzing the match “I think it’s always a bit of an adjustment coming out and playing Rafa, any lefty, but him in particular. . . I warmed up with a lefty, Bob Bryan, and tried to get acclimatized as [much as] I could against him. It’s just hard”.

Federer went on “in the first couple games I got a break down, the conditions weren’t really favoring me. [It’s] slow [and] just makes it so hard to hit through him on a surface like this. Maybe you try to over hit a bit. Then, I started to make the wrong decisions on big points. . .and it’s not easy to come back. He played tough and he played well when he had to and I didn’t do that tonight. So it’s disappointing for me”.

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Nadal Weathers Nishikori, Defending Champ Roddick Ousted

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Nadal Weathers Nishikori, Defending Champ Roddick Ousted

Despite being tested by Kei Nishikori, Rafael Nadal managed to close out his second round match at the Sony Ericsson Open in straight sets. Nadal overcame the talented Japanese 6-4, 6-4 to get to the third round where he will face fellow Spaniard Feliciano Lopez.

After Nishikori wasted a couple of break points which have given him a 3-1 lead, Nadal manufactured double break point. Nadal converted when Nishikori buried a backhand into the net. Nadal subsequently consolidated at love for 4-2.

Later on, Nishikori had double break points with Nadal serving at 4-3. Once more, this was to no avail. Nadal maintained the one break advantage to seal the first set.

In the second set, Nadal seized the break in the first game and guarded the advantage despite Nishikori’s formidable resistance. With triple match point, Nadal aced his rival to punctuate the set.

Nadal was particularly hampered by the serve in the final of BNP Paribas Open last week. Consequently, MiamiTennisNews.com inquired as to the changes he made to fix this problem “I tried to remember what I did when I served well. I slowed down the speed a little bit. . . Because I served 117 to 124, 25 miles almost every time. That’s enough speed if you put the right percentage inside and. . .the balls close to the lines. I think that worked well.”

Furthermore, Nadal said “Nishikori is a good returner. His returns are fast, deep and difficult. . . I have to improve a little bit on the second serve. The speed was [at times] 85, 88, 89, 90, 92. . . But in general, I am very happy with the match of tonight”.

Never one to take his opponent for granted. Despite a 6-2 mark versus Lopez, Nadal’s assessment of the upcoming match when asked by MiamiTennisNews.com was “[it’s] important for me to play my best tennis. . . He has a very good serve, volleys well and he’s an aggressive player. Very dangerous, but if I play very well, I have my chances”.

In addition, Nadal stated “I have to play aggressively with my forehand, try to move him and get to the net when I have the chance. The match will be similar [to the past ones in some ways]. Still, every match is [also] different and always difficult”.

Pablo Cuevas came into the tournament with a record under 500 at 6-7. With defending Andy Roddick across the net, Cuevas must have thought that his week at its end in the second round. To the contrary, Cuevas surprised Roddick 6-4, 7-6.

Cuevas caught a break in finding Roddick not at 100%. After Roddick erased a break point, he manufactured double break point the very next game. However, Cuevas found a way to turn him away.

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Flawless Djokovic Neutralizes Nadal in Indian Wells Final

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Flawless Djokovic Neutralizes Nadal in Indian Wells Final

Novak Djokovic’s perfect 2011 record was on the line in the final of the BNP Paribas Open today.  Yesterday, in the semifinals, Djokovic defeated Roger Federer for the third time this year to supplant Federer as the world number two.

This afternoon, Djokovic faced world number one Rafael Nadal for the title. The 2008 Indian Wells champion, Djokovic extended his winning streak to 18 in a row by downing Nadal 4-6, 6-3, 6-2.

Subsequent to comfortable holds by both players, Djokovic stared at triple break point.  Although Djokovic managed to salvage those, with a double fault, he handed Nadal a fifth break chance which the Spaniard converted for a 3-2 lead.

However, Djokovic promptly broke back.  Quickly though, Nadal dismissed a couple of game points and with Djokovic gifting him a few backhand errors Nadal stole the game.

After consolidating at love for 5-3, Nadal served another love game to close out the set.

Despite an absent first serve, Nadal held the first two games of the second set at love.  On the heels of squandering two game points, Nadal committed a backhand mistake to give Djokovic a second break point.  By sending a forehand long, Nadal surrendered the game.

Yet, at break point with a charitable double fault, Djokovic awarded the next game to Nadal.  Again though, Nadal’s inability to hit first serves came back to bite him as Djokovic capitalized after reaching triple break point for a 5-3 advantage.

Although he had to survive a break point and required six game points, in the end, Djokovic overcame Nadal’s charge and wrapped up the second set.

Two factors contributed to the shift in Djokovic’s fortunes in the second set.  One, he was finally able to make Nadal pay for a dismal first serve percentage of 25.  Secondly, Djokovic directed about 75% of  his shots to the Nadal backhand with great success in provoking errors.

By sticking with this winning formula, Djokovic pushed Nadal into misfiring enough times to rip off an opening break.  Subsequent to consolidating at love, on a forehand miscue from Nadal, Djokovic had another break point opportunity.  When Nadal’s backhand traveled out of play, Djokovic had a 3-0 double break edge.

After Djokovic easily got to 4-0, Nadal fought hard and avoided posting a bagel.  With his foot firmly on the pedal, Djokovic manhandled Nadal the rest of the way and comfortably took the set and the championship.

With victories also at the Australian Open and Dubai, Djokovic has been supreme on the hardcourt.  In their head to head, Nadal had a 16-7 mark over Djokovic and had prevailed in their previous five finals.

If Djokovic maintains this level of play, soon, he will be challenging Nadal for the number one spot.

Unequivocally, as the ATP tour journeys to Miami, Djokovic will be the man to beat at the Sony Ericsson Open.

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Wozniacki Wards Off Bartoli for BNP Parisbas Open Title

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Wozniacki Wards Off Bartoli for BNP Parisbas Open Title

Last year, Caroline Wozniacki was disappointed in the final of the BNP Paribas Open by Jelena Jankovic.  Today, Wozniacki smiled from ear to ear as she held off Marion Bartoli 6-1, 2-6, 6-3 to capture the biggest title of her career.

Following a solid game to open the championship, Wozniacki connected with a backhand crosscourt winner to break and get a 2-0 lead.

Although Bartoli returned the favor by taking next game, Wozniacki rolled on winning the subsequent five games to pocket the first set.

The one sided scoreboard in the initial set belied the fact that Bartoli was playing very well.  As usual, Wozniacki was a bulwark from the baseline tracking balls which would have been winners against most competitors.

In the second set, Bartoli mixed it up more by coming to net, using the dropshot and exposing Wozniacki’s weaker stroke, the forehand.  From the get-go, Bartoli’s new strategy bore fruits.

After an ace to put a period on a tough game, Bartoli’s lob forced Wozniacki into an error.  Consequently, Bartoli had her second break point opportunity of the game which she converted with a forehand winner.

Promptly, Bartoli consolidated for a 3-0 advantage.  Despite not converting on another break point opportunity which would have given her a double break edge, Bartoli guarded serve for 4-1.

Later, as Wozniacki served at 2-5 to extend the second set, Bartoli induced a series of mistakes from her opponent and broke to push the match into a deciding set.

At that point, Bartoli appeared to have the upper hand.  Yet, with so many grueling rallies, fatigue began to play a part in Bartoli’s game with her shots having less authority than before.

Subsequent to a backhand error on game point, Bartoli watched Wozniacki produce a backhand pass winner for a second break point.  Wozniacki banked the break when Bartoli’s stroke landed long.

Once Wozniacki had consolidated, she arrived at triple break point when Bartoli netted a backhand.  Still, Bartoli managed to win the following five points to remain one break behind.

With Bartoli donating two double faults, Wozniacki broke at love to move ahead by a double break at 4-1.  Just when Wozniacki seemed in command, Bartoli roared back with a love break of her own and held for 3-4.

Wozniacki’s next time out was a love hold. Then, with Bartoli misfiring with a dropshot, Wozniacki had her second championship point.  As Bartoli’s backhand sailed long, Wozniacki claimed the title.

Bartoli was in tears after the match explaining “Caroline you made me cry . . .out of tiredness”.  Gracious in defeat, Bartoli recognized that the world number one was indeed worthy of the ranking:  “I am sure you will get a grand slam pretty soon”.

To her father, Bartoli expressed her love for the lone man in her box while Wozniacki had “a full box” saying “since I was five and a half when I hit my first tennis ball [you] were there, I hope [you] will be there until the last”.

Currently at seventeen, Bartoli will bump up in the rankings.  A semifinalist in Miami last year, Bartoli will hope to build on her great performance of the ultimate two weeks.

An overjoyed Wozniacki thanked Bartoli for her kind words and acknowledged today’s ferocious battle stating:  “I am sorry I had to beat you . . . It’s not like football where there’s a draw”.

Wozniacki was particularly happy that “every year I come back I have more and fans here.  It means so much to me”.

With her second title of the year, the first being in Dubai, Wozniacki goes into Miami with a heap of confidence.

Sony Ericsson Open defending champion Kim Clijsters retired from her fourth round match against Bartoli due to shoulder issues.  Thus, for Wozniacki hanging on to the number one spot may be easier the next few weeks as these two head to South Florida.

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