Tag Archive | "Canas"

Delray Beach International Tennis Championships Just Around The Corner

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Delray Beach International Tennis Championships Just Around The Corner


db_itc_logo_rgbThe 17th session of the Delray Beach Championships, an ATP 250 World Tour event, will take place from February 21 thru March 1, 2009 at the Delray Beach Stadium and Tennis Center.

The 32 person singles’ draw features Tommy Haas, the 2006 champion along with Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis, the 2006 Australian Open finalist. Other familiar names taking the court include Americans Mardy Fish, Robby Ginepri and the always charismatic, Vince Spadea.

Last year, 19-year-old Japanese wildcard, Kei Nishikori, stole the spotlight coming from nowhere to beat world number 12, James Blake. This year, talented 20-year-old Ernests Gulbis will be looking for the same result against more senior players such as Guillermo Canas and Jarkko Nieminen.

Accenting the doubles are Mike and Bob Bryan fresh off their seventh majors win in Australia and their reinstatement at number one. These two are looking to avenge their lost in the finals last year. A lethal combination, the Bryans, is one of the tournament’s biggest attractions.

The clock is ticking; the championships are just a couple of weeks away. For more details and to buy tickets, visit www.YellowTennisBall.com or call (561) 330-6000.   Here’s your chance to see the action first hand.  Don’t delay!

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Intrepid Del Potro Puts Argentina Into Davis Cup Final


Urged on by the hometown fans, Argentine teenager Juan Martin Del Potro was the hero on Sunday as he defeated Russian Igor Andreev to secure Argentina’s place into the Davis Cup final 6-4, 6-2, 6-1.

On Friday, Argentina cruised to a 2-0 lead with superb performances by David Nalbandian and Del Potro. In the first rubber, Nalbandian beat Andreev 7-6, 6-2, 6-4. After losing a tight first set in a tiebreak, the Russian simply disappeared. An unforced error by Andreev in the second allowed Nalbandian to capitalize on triple break point and go up 3-1. Andreev had several chances to get back on serve but his erratic forehand proved to be his Achilles heel. Nalbandian closed out the second set with another break; then with his consistent play prevailed in the third for the straight sets win.

In the second rubber, Del Potro took on Nikolay Davydenko who turned out to be no match for the talented youngster 6-1, 6-4, 6-2. With his crushing forehand, Del Potro broke at will to take the first set. After getting a double break at 4-1, Del Potro’s game hit a wall. As a result of unforced errors, he let Davydenko back in the second set. Yet, Davydenko failed to convert on two opportunities to equalize the set and Del Potro eventually secured it. The third set was a cakewalk for the teenager.

On Saturday, the Russian team of Dmitry Tursinov and Igor Kunitsyn defeated Argentines Guillermo Canas and Nalbandian in an exhilarating five set match 6-2, 6-1, 6-7, 3-6, 8-6. After a blazing start whereby the Russians were up two sets to none lead, the relentless Argentines carried the third set in a tiebreak after saving three match points. After winning the fourth, the Argentineans coasted to an early break in the fifth set. However, the Russians broke at love to get back on serve. Then, with multiple unforced errors from their rivals, Russia converted a break point. Subsequently, Tursinov served out the match with a strong game to keep Russia alive.

On Sunday, Davydenko bounced Nalbandian 3-6, 6-3, 7-6, 6-0. With a drop shot winner, Nalbandian went up a double break and won the first set. But once Davydenko cleaned up on the unforced errors, he converted on his fifth break point chance in the second set to take a 3-1 lead and eventually the set. Despite some dicey play, in the third, Davydenko broke Nalbandian at love to edge in front 3-2. But serving for the set at 5-4, the Russian missed a backhand crosscourt allowing Argentina back into the set. However, in the tiebreak, Nalbandian double faulted to concede the set. Then, a barrage of unforced errors followed from the Argentine in the fourth allowing Russia to comfortably win.

In the decisive rubber, unaffected by the magnitude of the moment, Del Potro, the hottest player on tour besides Rafael Nadal, began the match by breaking the Russian. Andreev’s inability to contain the unforced errors helped Del Potro to prevail in the first set. In the second set, a net court went in Del Potro’s favor giving him another break point which he converted. Then with that unstoppable forehand, Del Potro hit a couple of winners to extend to a double break lead. In the third set, with his steady play, Del Potro jumped out to a 4-0 advantage then with some thundering forehand winners, the Argentine closed out the match 6-4, 6-2. 6-1. Argentina will face Spain in the finals at home. For sure, the ultimate match up would be Nadal versus Del Potro considering the extraordinary season these two are having.

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This Week On Grass On The ATP And WTA Tours


At the Ordina Open in the Netherlands, a combined ladies and gentlemen event, Spaniard David Ferrer, seeded number one, defeated Frenchman Marc Gicquel in the finals 6-4, 6-2 in order to win his first grass court title.

The second seed and world number nine, Frenchman Richard Gasquet, was eliminated by Gicquel in the second round. Other prominent players who fell include Ivan Ljubicic in the second round, Guillermo Canas in the semifinals and Mario Ancic in the quarterfinals. All was not lost for Ancic though who teamed up with Austrian Jurgen Melzer in the doubles. These two surprised the second seed Leander Paes/Mahesh Bhupathi in the finals, winning the trophy 7-6, 6-3.

On the women’s side, Danira Safina, the third seed, who has been on a dream ride the last few months, was shocked in the finals by 30-year-old Thai qualifier Tamarine Tanasugarn 5-7, 3-6. Safina beat the number one seed Elena Dementieva in the semifinals. For second seed Anna Chakvetadze the headaches continue this year; Alona Bondarenko stopped her in the quarterfinals.

Tanasugarn had to do it the hard way, but this was the most productive week of her career. After playing two matches to get into the main draw, Tamarine defeated last week’s titlist on grass Kateryna Bondarenko, then Ashley Harkelroad in the second round, hometown sweetheart Michaella Krajicek in the quarterfinals and got rid of the other Bondarenko sister, Alona, in the semifinals. Krajicek gave the locals something to cheer for regardless by winning the doubles with partner Marina Erakovic 6-3, 6-2.

At the Slazenger Open in Nottingham England, Ivo Karlovic successfully defended his title by beating Fernando Verdasco 7-5, 6-7, 7-6. The higher seeds at this tournament were from the top twenty in the world. The well-known doubles teams of Jonathan Erlich/ Andy Ram seeded number one lost in the first round. In the finals, Bruno Soares/Kevin Ullyett prevailed over Jeff Coetzee/Jamie Murray 6-2, 7-6.

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2007 ATP Year End Review


In many respects, the 2007 ATP tennis season can be summarized as a case of déjà vu, particularly where the grand slam tournaments are concerned. As he did in 2006, Roger Federer repeated at the Australian, Wimbledon and US Open while Nadal claimed his third consecutive French Open trophy. Majors aside though, Federer faltered throughout the year at the Masters’ Series, the second most prestigious competitions on the tour. At the Pacific Life Open, Guillermo Canas who entered the draw as a lucky looser, after a prolonged suspension from the sport for steroid abuse, provided the year’s first stunner by beating Federer in the second round, putting an end to the latter’s 41 match-winning streak. In so doing, the door was opened for Serb Novak Djokovic to make it to his first Masters Series final where he eventually lost to Rafael Nadal.

A few months later, at the Sony Ericsson Open, Canas demonstrated that his prior win was not a fluke, lightning can indeed strike twice, he again eliminated Federer in straight sets, a tremendous feat considering that in 2006, only Nadal and Andy Murray had been able to register wins against Federer. Moreover, the Sony Ericsson Open turned out to also be Djokovic’s coming out party; he exacted his revenge against Nadal by defeating him in the semifinals and went on to stop Canas from becoming the first qualifier to win the Ericsson Open, claiming his first Masters Series trophy. Without a doubt, Djokovic’s star was on the rise in 2007. He not only beat Federer at the Masters in Montreal, but also went on to make it to his first grand slam final at the US Open where he would prove to be a worthy contender before finally surrendering to Federer.

In the last few years, tennis has been a tale of two surfaces while Federer has been king on grass and hardcourt, Rafael Nadal has been “Rey” on clay, and 2007 was no exception. Rafa extended his winning streak to 81 on the “terre battue” including titles in Rome and Monte Carlo before Federer was finally able to get the better of him in Hamburg at the finals. This unforeseen result fueled speculation that perhaps Federer might win his first French Open title; but such a prediction never materialized. Rafa reasserted his dominance in beating Federer in the finals. Unfortunately, despite a strong stance at Wimbledon where he once again became a finalist, the remainder of Rafa’s season can best be described as lack luster. Plagued by injury, Nadal was unable to rack up another title, the only tournament final he reached, the Paris Masters, proved to be a debacle, a lopsided win by David Nalbandian. Therefore, it is safe to assume that the latter part of 2007 is a period that Nadal would like to relegate to the distant past.

Besides Novak Djokovic, 2007 had some other nice surprises, primarily, the resurgence of a few so-called veteran players. For his part, at the tender age of 31,Carlos Moya, the former French Open champion, saw his rededication to the game pay off; posting his best results over the last several years. Moya reached the finals at the Medibank in Australia, the semifinals and quarterfinals on his best surface clay at Hamburg and the French Open respectively. Moya even demonstrated his competence on hardcourt by making it to the quarterfinals at the U.S. Open. Perhaps as is the case with the Spanish wine Rioja, Moya gets better with age. Undoubtedly, Moya’s fellow countryman, Ferrer, was one of the most exciting players to watch in 2007. Customarily, the Spaniards can be expected to do well on clay, but Ferrer surprised everyone when he beat Nadal on hardcourt on his way to earning a spot in the U.S Open semifinal where he eventually fell to Djokovic. A few months later, Ferrer returned the favor at the Tennis Masters Cup in Shanghai, easily defeating Djokovic as well as two other players to make it to the series final. For all his troubles though, Ferrer sealed a date with Federer who despite looking sluggish in the initial rounds of the event, managed to pull out yet again another victory.

Another individual who decided the time had come to revive his game was Nalbandian; his recommitment was evident with a new fitness trainer and coach, weight loss translated to a renaissance of his powerful two-handed backhand along with spryness on the court. In the last few months of the year, Nalbandian’s game flourished, the reward was wins over both Federer and Nadal at the ATP Masters final in Paris and Madrid. Nalbandian has always been a difficult opponent for Federer, strangely enough, he is one of a hand full of players with a winning record against Roger. Thus, if he continues to work hard and improve, 2008 will prove to be an interesting season not only for him, but also for tennis fans alike.

Regrettably, for those fanatical about American tennis, 2007 continued to disappoint. Andy Roddick failed to reach the finals of any of the key tournaments, his best showing was semifinalist at the Australian; while James Blake appears to be spiraling down, he did not make it past the fourth round at any of the grand slams. This leaves many to wonder when the drought of American champions will come to an end. Hope may lie with a young Atlanta teenager by the name of Donald Young, who decided to dabble in the adult league in 2007 while still playing on the junior circuit. In 2008, Young will probably join the ATP full-time, his inexperience will be a hindrance for several years, as impatient as Americans are, it is doubtful that their hunger for a consistent champion will be satisfied early enough. Regardless, all was not lost in 2007; team tennis was the brightest spot for the USA. After a twelve-year hiatus, the Davis Cup returned to its home on US soil, when the US convincingly defeated Russia.

Probably, the biggest story in 2007 was for the shenanigans off the court; tennis was revealed not to be immune from an ugly aspect of professional sports, gambling. At times, one forgets that tennis is not just a game; it is after all a business. With so much money involved, there is no lack of temptation. Allegations of match fixing surfaced when one of tennis’s most prominent stars, Russian Nikolay Davydenko was accused of possibly throwing a match against a relatively obscure opponent. Eyebrows were raised when an inordinate amount of bets was being placed in favor of Davydenko’s adversary despite the fact that he had been pummeled in the first set. When the Russian retired in the third set supposedly due to a foot ailment, suspicions heightened that something illicit was afoot. Subsequently, a few players admitted to having been approached with the proposal of loosing matches for monetary gains. The investigation in Davydenko’s case is still ongoing, but the repercussions that this type of blemish may have on the sport are troubling enough to the ATP officials that a few months later an Italian player was temporary barred from play after he was found to be betting on matches.

After taking a look back at the past year, it would only be fitting to peak into the tennis crystal ball and tread into the realm of forecasting what may unfold in 2008. As it turns out, the crystal ball appears cloudy; therefore, what to expect the upcoming season is anyone’s guess. The predictable question remains as to whether Nadal will at last relinquish the French Open crown to Federer thereby anointing him the best player the game has ever seen or as was the case with Pete Sampras will that trophy continue to remain elusive. What is undoubtedly clear in reviewing the events of 2007 is that the gap has been closing between Roger and the rest of the field; thus, Superman may be forced to come down to earth in 2008 and permanently reside amongst the commoners.

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