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Nieminen Comeback Stuns Nalbandian, Tomic to Meet Murray at Sony Open

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Nieminen Comeback Stuns Nalbandian, Tomic to Meet Murray at Sony Open



IMG_4013_Nieminen
Miami, FL Ricky Dimon
Jarkko Nieminen staged the comeback of the tournament thus far when he stunned David Nalbandian 2-6, 6-4, 6-3 in round one of the Sony Open Tennis event on Thursday afternoon. Niemined trailed by a set and two breaks at 3-0 in the second before a miracle recovery paced him to a win in one hour and 49 minutes.

The 31-year-old Finn appeared to be on his way out of Miami when he double-faulted on break point already trailing 2-0 in set two. Nalbandian even had a game point on serve at 3-0, 40-30, but the turnaround began when his opponent managed to get one of the breaks back. From there Nieminen could do no wrong, surging through the second and using an early break in the third to clinch victory.

Next up for Nieminen is fellow left-hander and No. 27 seed Martin Klizan. An even more intriguing second-round machup will pit world No. 3 Andy Murray against Bernard Tomic. The 20-year-old Aussie booked his spot in that showdown by dismissing 35-year-old qualifier Marc Gicquel 7-5, 7-6(3). Tomic twice fought back from a break down in the first set before both players held serve throughout the second. Gicquel also had a 2-0 lead in the ensuing tiebreaker, but Tomic won seven of the match’s final eight points.

“I haven’t seen him play that much outside of Australia,” Murray said of Tomic. “But he’s a very, very talented player. He makes it tough for everyone. He’s got a very unorthodox game style.”

A style of play that did not work on Thursday evening was singles players on a doubles court. Top two Americans Sam Querrey and John Isner went down 6-4, 6-3 to Dominic Inglot and Indian Wells doubles runner-up Treat Huey. Inglot and Huey, former teammates at the University of Virginia, held all nine of their service games without facing a break point to advance in a mere 57 minutes.

Up first for Isner in singles will be Ivan Dodig, who overcame Lukas Lacko 4-6, 6-0, 6-4. Additional three-setters on Thursday saw David Goffin oust Robin Haase and Simone Bolelli defeat Jesse Levine. Bolelli trailed by a break in the third and saved a match point on Levine’s serve at 5-4 before triumphing 4-6, 6-3, 7-6(4).

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

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Federer and Tsonga Aid In Preserving Their Countries’ World Group Standing For 2010

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Federer and Tsonga Aid In Preserving Their Countries’ World Group Standing For 2010


img_0942This weekend, the world group playoffs sorted out which eight nations would be eligible to compete against the seeded teams for the coveted Davis cup in 2010.  Team Switzerland, headed by world number one Roger Federer, defeated Italy while France’s workhorse turned out to be Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. Battling the Netherlands, Tsonga was instrumental in three out of four victories.

Besides Federer, the Swiss had top 30 singles player Stanislas Wawrinka to rely on.  As a packed Italian house looked on Friday, Wawrinka defeated Andreas Seppi 6-4, 6-1, 6-2 in the initial rubber.  Later, Federer took care of Simone Bolelli 6-3, 6-4, 6-1.  With its top singles players sitting out the doubles Saturday, Switzerland had its lead narrowed by Italy’s win.  However on Sunday, unfazed by a rain delay, Federer beat Potito Starace 6-3, 6-0, 6-4 to secure his country’s crack at the cup next year.

In the Netherlands, after countryman Gael Monfils lost the opening match against Thiemo De Bakker; Tsonga  prevailed 7-6, 6-2, 7-6 over Jesse Huta Galung to level the contest. Then, Saturday, Tsonga joined forces with Michael Llodra to eclipse team Netherlands 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 6-4.  Sunday, Tsonga avenged Monfils’ failure with a 7-6, 6-2, 3-6, 7-6 win over De Bakker.  Although that victory was enough to seal France’s spot in the world group, Jeremy Chardy capped the day by carrying the last rubber.

Serbia playing at home against Uzbekistan had more than enough fire power despite the absence of Novak Djokovic.  With only one singles player in the top 100, Uzbekistan tried its best, but had no answer to the combo of Viktor Troicki, Janko Tipsarevic, Nenad Zimonjic and Ilia Bozoljac. Serbia won all five matches.

On Friday, India taking on South Africa in the latter’s backyard build a 2-0 lead courtesy of victories by Smoved Devvarman and Rohan Bopanna. Subsequently, Saturday, Jeff Coetzee and Wesley Moodie got South Africa on the board by carrying the doubles.  Yet, Sunday, after Rik De Voest went ahead two sets to zero, Devvarman stormed back taking the next three sets to maintain India’s world group status.

After Andreas Vinciguerra down 6-7, 6-7 had to retire against Romanian Victor Hanescu, the Swedish crowd was uplifted as Robin Soderling defeated Victor Crivoi 6-2, 6-1, 7-5 to put that nation on level footing. The following day, Soderling paired with Robert Lindstedt to beat Horia Tecau and Hanescu  6-1, 7-6, 7-6.  The following afternoon in the all important fourth match, Soderling crushed Hanescu 7-5, 6-1, 6-0 to prevent Sweden, a perennial fixture in the world group, from being relegated.

Shortly after the euphoria of Marcos Daniel’s win over Ecuadorian Giovanni Lapentti, the Brazilian crowd was brought back to earth as brother Nicolas Lapentti defeated Thomaz Bellucci 7-6, 6-4, 7-5. On Saturday the Lapentti siblings inflicted further misery by prevailing in five sets match over Marcelo Melo and Andre Sa.  With Ecuador leading 2-1, in Sunday’s reverse rubber, Daniel down two sets to none, pushed Nicolas Lapentti to a fifth set.  Yet, the hometown crowd was brought to despair as Lapentti carried the match 6-4,6-4,1-6,2-6,8-6 thereby eliminating Brazil from the world group.

The most compelling group matches were Belgium vs. Ukraine and Chile vs. Austria with both requiring a decisive fifth rubber.  After Belgium’s Christophe Rochus and Steve Darcis gave their side a 2-0 advantage on Friday, Saturday in doubles, Sergei Bubka and Sergiy Stakhovsky defeated Xavier Malisse and Oliver Rochus 7-6, 3-6, 6-4, 7-6 to keep Ukraine in the game.  Furthermore, on Sunday, Stakhovsky denied Malisse by claiming the fourth rubber 6-3, 3-6, 0-6, 6-1, 6-3.  But, Belgium’s setback was temporary. In the fifth rubber, Darcis strong armed Bubka 6-2, 6-1, 6-0.

A continent away, Chile found itself in the same position as Belgium.   After Nicolas Massu and Paul Capdeville won their matches on Friday.  Austrians Julian Knowle and Jurgen Melzer kept their nation in the fold by beating Massu and Capdeville in doubles.  Moreover, the Chilean crowd had its anxiety heighten as Melzer won the fourth rubber 7-6, 4-6, 6-2, 5-7,6-4 over Capdeville. However, later that day, Massu defeated Stefan Koubek 6-4,4-6,6-4,7-6 to grab the ultimate world group spot.

The victors will square off next year against Spain, the Czech Republic, the U.S., Russia, Argentina, Croatia, Israel and Germany, the top eight seeds in that order. The placement for the world group playoff winners will be released Wednesday.

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Sunrise About To Rise And Shine For The BMW Tennis Championship

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Sunrise About To Rise And Shine For The BMW Tennis Championship


bmw_tennis_champ_logoFor the sixth year in a row, the Sunrise Tennis Club will be the setting for the BMW Tennis Championship, an ATP challenger tour event. The competition will run from March 15 thru 22. Some of the world’s best players will be on hand displaying their skills on the hardcourt.

The 32 men singles field will consist of 22 direct acceptances, 4 wildcard spots, yet to be determined, and 6 disputed qualifying slots. Spaniard Feliciano Lopez ranked 34th , who aided his country this past year to a Davis Cup title, will be in attendance as well as 2008 Wimbledon quarterfinalist and world number 30, Germany’s Rainer Schuettler. Israeli Dudi Sela, who was instrumental last week in helping his nation advance to the quarterfinals in Davis Cup by defeating Sweden, will also appear. Other recognizable names scheduled to take the court include Jeremy Chardy and Marc Gicquel of France, Russian Mikhail Youzhny, Italian Simone Bolelli, Serb JankoTipsarevic and American Bobby Reynolds. Moreover, 16 doubles team will be vying to claim the tournament’s top prize.

The BMW Tennis Championship boasts a distinguished list of former winners: Frenchman Gael Monfils in 2007 and Russian Dmitry Tursunov in 2006 to signal a couple. For the first year,  MiamiTennisBlog.com will be on the grounds bringing you live coverage.

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