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Del Potro Joins 2011 Delray Beach ITC Singles Draw

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Del Potro Joins 2011 Delray Beach ITC Singles Draw


Juan Martin Del Potro is scheduled to play in the 2011 International Tennis Championships in Delray Beach, Florida. Del Potro joins the singles draw that includes Andy Roddick, Mardy Fish, and John Isner at the ATP World Tour event to be held February 18 – 27, 2011.

Here is the official press release from the tournament :

DELRAY BEACH, FL (www.YellowTennisBall.com) -  2009 US Open champion Juan Martin Del Potro has announced he will play in the 2011 Delray Beach International Tennis Championships (ITC), joining an ATP World Tour event singles draw that includes Americans Andy Roddick, Mardy Fish and John Isner.

The 19th annual event takes place February 18 – 27 at the Delray Beach Stadium & Tennis Center.  The ATP World Tour stars will be chasing not only the ITC title and its  $75,000 winner’s check, but also a 2011 Porsche 911 Carrera.

Headlining the second-year ATP Champions Tour event are John McEnroe and Mark Philippoussis, who are providing the star power for the eight-player tournament that features former world-ranked No. 1 players, Grand Slam champions and finalists and Davis Cup winners. McEnroe is returning to Delray Beach after reaching last year’s final while Philippoussis is making his first appearance.

Individual session tickets for the 18-session, 10-day ITC go on sale Wednesday, December 1.

“With two US Open champions already signed, without a doubt this ATP World Tour singles draw is shaping up to be the best in our history,” said tournament director Mark Baron. “Mardy Fish and John Isner finished 2010 in the top 20, and Fish could be in the Top 10 by tournament time. And having tennis’ favorite “bad boy” (McEnroe) back for our ATP Champions Tour event just makes us ecstatic about 2011.”

Del Potro’s ranking skyrocketed to No. 5 in the world in 2009 following a US Open run that included wins over Rafael Nadal in the semifinals and Roger Federer in the final. The 22-year-old Argentine’s magical year also saw him reach the Australian Open quarterfinal, the French Open semifinal and finals at the Masters Series Montreal and year-end Barclay’s ATP World Tour Championships. Del Potro was limited to six matches in 2010 after undergoing season-ending wrist surgery.

With the 2011 ITC singles champion receiving a Porsche as part of the winner’s compensation, the Delray Beach ITC becomes the first 250 Series ATP World Tour event in the world to offer a luxury automobile to its champion. Porsche, and local dealer Champion Porsche, are in the second year of a five-year contract as the official automobile of the Delray Beach ITC.

Fans looking for holidays gifts or stocking stuffers will find Delray Beach ITC tickets the perfect solution, and the tournament’s first-ever holiday discount will be in place when 2011 individual session tickets go on sale Wednesday.

All tickets purchased at the box office for ATP World Tour sessions earn a discount (20% reserved seats, 10% box seats) for any ATP Champions Tour session, and visa versa. Tickets range in price from $15 for grandstand seats to $85 for box seats. The promotion ends December 31.

Please go to www.YellowTennisBall.com or call the ticket office at 561-330-6000 for futher information.

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Andy Roddick Scheduled to Play in the 2011 Delray Beach International Tennis Championships

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Andy Roddick Scheduled to Play in the 2011 Delray Beach International Tennis Championships


Andy Roddick is scheduled to play in the 2011 International Tennis Championships in Delray Beach, Florida.  Roddick will join fellow Americans Mardy Fish, John Isner, and the Bryan brothers at the ATP World Tour event to be held February 18 – 27, 2011.

Here is the official press release from the tournament :

DELRAY BEACH, FL (www.YellowTennisBall.com) - Andy Roddick is coming back to “The Beach.” The former Boca Raton resident and 2003 US Open champion will return to the tournament where he made his pro debut when he plays in the 2011 Delray Beach International Tennis Championships (ITC) ATP World Tour event next February.

Roddick’s signing was announced Thursday as the Delray Beach ITC was accepting the 2010 Providencia Award from the Palm Beach County Convention and Visitors Bureau for its lead role in contributions to the area as a tourist destination.

The 19th annual Delray Beach ITC will be held Feb. 18-27 at the Delray Beach Stadium & Tennis Center, and will include both the ATP World Tour event alongside the 2nd annual ATP Champions Tour event featuring John McEnroe.

“It’s so great to have Andy come home where he started,” said tournament director Mark Baron, who gave an 18-year-old Roddick his first wild card into an ATP-level event in 2000. “Everyone has been asking for the last six years ‘when is he going to come back?’ We’re expecting the phones to be ringing off the hook.”

To celebrate Roddick’s signing, the ITC is running a discounted ticket promotion from October 1 -17. All single session reserved seats are 20% off (reg price $35-$85) while single session box seats are 10% off (reg price $65-$85). Reserved series ticket packages are also discounted 10%. Fans can order online through www.YellowTennisBall.com or by calling 561-330-6000.

Roddick’s 2000 pro debut began a string of four appearances in Delray Beach. The Boca Prep grad reached the 2002 ITC final, and by season’s end became the youngest American to finish in the Top 10 since Michael Chang in 1992.

“I am excited to return to Delray Beach,” said the 28-year old Roddick. “I received my first wild card as a professional tennis player in Delray so the tournament certainly has a special significance in my career.”

The Grand Slam champion became the youngest American to finish No.1 in the world when he achieved that ranking in 2003 as a 21-year-old. He has finished in the ATP’s Top 10 for eight straight years and enjoyed a five-year run in the Top 5 during that time. Roddick is a three-time Wimbledon runner-up, a 2006 US Open finalist, and has won 29 ATP titles in 10 years as a pro. His 41 US Davis Cup singles wins ranks second all-time behind McEnroe.

Roddick joins 2009 ITC singles champion Mardy Fish and Wimbledon record-setting John Isner in committing to play in the ITC’s ATP World Tour event, setting up a draw with three of the top four-ranked American singles players. Also returning to Delray Beach are the ITC’s defending doubles champions and world No.1 Byran Brothers while the ATP Champions Tour event has already received commitments from McEnroe, Mats Wilander, Pat Cash,Mark Philippoussis, Greg Rusedski and, most recently, Boca Raton’s Aaron Krickstein. McEnroe, Wilander, Cash and Krickstein played in the inaugural event in 2010.

The tournament’s reserved series ticket packages that are discounted 10% during this special promotion include the following: The $490 (reg price) Diamond package including all 18 sessions of ATP Champions and

ATP World Tour action; the $290 (reg price) Champions package (sessions 1-9) combining all ATP Champions Tour matches and four ATP World Tour sessions; the $390 (reg price) World package (sessions 6-18) giving fans all ATP World Tour matches plus  two days of ATP Champions Tour matches (including the final); and the popular $200 (reg price) Weekender package including tickets for the ATP World Tour quarterfinals, semifinals and finals (sessions 14-18) .

The ON-COURT “Best Seats In The House” are priced between $150 and $250, depending on the session.

All ticket opportunities, prices and amenities are explained in detail at www.YellowTennisBall.com. For more information, please call the tournament office at 561-330-6000.

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Nadal Dusts Off Ferrer For Fifth Masters Title In Rome

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Nadal Dusts Off Ferrer For Fifth Masters Title In Rome


Despite giving it the old college try, neither the rain nor David Ferrer could alter Rafael Nadal’s destiny.  In the finals of the Internazionali BNL d’Italia ATP Masters 1000, Nadal bested Ferrer 7-5,6-2 to grab his fifth trophy in Rome. In addition to garnering his 27th clay court title, Nadal tied Andre Agassi’s record of 17 Masters shields.

Following two easy service holds, Ferrer sent a forehand crosscourt long to face double break point.  With two un-returnable serves, Ferrer got to deuce. After dismissing five break points, with a forehand crosscourt winner, Ferrer held for 3-2.  The subsequent game, Ferrer had 15-30 with a crosscourt backhand pass for a winner.  However, Nadal connected on a few forehand winners to guard serve.  Then, by double faulting and netting a forehand, Ferrer was behind 0-30.  Still, by serving well and being aggressive at the right time, Ferrer maintain serve for 4-3.  Upon the heels of an uncomplicated game by Nadal, with Ferrer at play and 40-15, sprinkles turned into heavy rain causing the match to be suspended.

After nearly an hour intermission, Ferrer double faulted when play resumed.  Yet, with a return error by Nadal, Ferrer stayed ahead 5-4.  Next, with two consecutive miscues by Nadal, Ferrer had a 0-30 opening.  Unfortunately, Ferrer misfired on a second serve return. With three additional errors, Nadal equalized the set.  Subsequent to committing a double fault to allow a third game point to evaporate, Ferrer’s mistakes on two forehands gave Nadal the break and a 6-5 edge. Later, Ferrer crushed a backhand crosscourt return resulting in an error by Nadal on the next stroke and Ferrer’s first break point.  However, that break point was quickly wiped off when Ferrer sent a return long.  With a forehand volley winner, Nadal arrived at set point.  Nadal converted when Ferrer’s return missed its destination.

Ferrer started out the second set with mistakes leading to 15-40.  But, with well struck serves, Ferrer got to deuce.  Then, with a volley winner off a dropshot, Ferrer carried the game for 1-0.  After a comfortable hold, Nadal terminated a long rally with a volley winner for 0-15.  Perhaps feeling the effect of the prior point, Ferrer committed two miscues to hand Nadal triple break point.  Although Ferrer got to deuce, because a few more errors, Nadal eventually captured the break.  Again, there was a prolonged pause due to rain.  Upon returning, with backhand down the line winner, Nadal consolidated at love for a 3-1 lead.  Following an easy game, Ferrer placed pressure on Nadal at 30 all. Once more, let down by his forehand, Ferrer failed to progress further as Nadal maintained serve for 4-2.  Then, with back to back double faults, Ferrer eyed double break point.  As another of Ferrer’s forehand landed long, Nadal widened his advantage to 5-2.  Next, with a forehand volley winner, Nadal had double championship point.  When Ferrer’s returned sailed out of play, Nadal secured for the fifth time consecutive Masters shields in Rome and Monte-Carlo.

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Start of Something Big?  Gulbis Garners Delray Trophy

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Start of Something Big? Gulbis Garners Delray Trophy


img_0183Ivo Karlovic was hoping to fete his 31st birthday this afternoon with a victory in the finals of the Delray Beach International Tennis Championships.  Lamentably, 21 year old Ernests Gulbis showed him no respect.  Gulbis crushed Karlovic 6-2,6-3 for his inaugural ATP title.

Karlovic opened the match in his usual fashion, smoking serves by his opponent.  Then up 2-1, Karlovic connected on a forehand winner to get his first break point.  However, by coercing errors from the big guy, Gulbis salvaged the game. From the outset, Gulbis got some good stabs at Karlovic’s serves relaying the message that he would not be intimidated.  After a good return set up a backhand crosscourt pass for deuce, Gulbis got a forehand error from Karlovic for his initial break point.   By prevailing in a long rally, Karlovic sponged the deficit.  However, with a return winner, Gulbis obtained a second break point and converted by clipping the line with a forehand.  After readily consolidating for 4-2, with Karlovic slicing a backhand long, Gulbis had two more chances to break.  By pulverizing another return, Gulbis stretched his lead to 5-2.  The next game, with an ace, Gulbis put himself one set closer to his first ATP title.

Prior to this match, Karlovic had surrendered his serve only once all week.  But, by using the first serve as target practice and annihilating the second, Gulbis was giving Karlovic all sorts of headache.  After pressuring Karlovic in the opening game of the second set and himself holding at love, Gulbis earned double break point off a sensational return.  When Karlovic failed to convert on a volley, Gulbis secured the break for 2-1.  After having no trouble consolidating, Gulbis pressured his opponent into a double fault for break point.  Karlovic bailed himself out with an ace.  Karlovic then looked to the heavens and with the sign of the cross thanked the powers above for getting him out of trouble.  A few points later, Karlovic secured the game to keep the deficit to one break.  Still, the problem for Karlovic was the inability to dent his opponent’s serve.  Serving at 3-5, with a backhand down the line pass and errors from Karlovic, Gulbis arrived at double match point.  With two aces, Karlovic put Gulbis on ice.  Once more, with a fiery forehand crosscourt return winner, Gulbis had break point.  Yet again, Karlovic denied him with an ace.  However, feeling the squeeze from Gulbis, Karlovic threw in two straight double faults to hand Gulbis the trophy.

Gulbis reflected that this triumph was particularly sweet in light of his horrendous record in 2009 where he “struggled a lot …with injury”.  The next few days, Gulbis plans to practice and “hopes to get a wildcard [at the Sony Ericsson Open] in Miami”.  From a ranking of 72, Gulbis will return to the top 50; his career high is 38 in April 2008.

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Bryans Two Times Lucky In Delray Final

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Bryans Two Times Lucky In Delray Final


img_0137By defending their title at the International Tennis Championships in Delray Beach, Mike and Bob Bryan collected their 58th career doubles trophy.  The Bryans defeated Phillip Marx and Igor Zelenay 6-3,7-6.  In so doing, Mike and Bob surpass Peter Fleming and John McEnroe to become the second winningest doubles team.

Both Marx and Zelenay were making their debut in an ATP tour final and the Bryans took advantage of their opponents’ inexperience early on.  After an expeditious opening game by Mike, Bob stuck a forehand volley winner for three break chances.  When Marx dumped a volley into the net after a low return by Mike, the Bryans had the break.  With another quick game, the brothers widened their lead to 3-0.  On Zelenay’s serve, another volley mistake gave the Bryans a look at three opportunities for a double break lead.  However, by forcing a couple of errors from his opponents, Zelenay guarded serve.  Thereafter, each team comfortably held until the ninth game when Mike served for the set.  After arriving at two set points, the Bryans netted a forehand and with Marx producing a forehand down the line winner, they faced a deciding point.  Luckily, a superb serve by Mike resulted in a Zelenay return error leading to the Bryans bedding the first set.

Once Zelenay and Marx settled down after being broken in the initial set, they gave their adversaries quite a battle.  These two pushed the Bryans to 40-30 numerous times. Finally with Bob serving at 3-4, as a result of a double fault and a backhand error, Zelenay and Marx obtained 30-40.  However, with stellar serves, Bob helped to equalize the set at 4 all.  With neither party able to manufacture break points, the set went to a tiebreaker.  With Marx punching a mid-court forehand long, the Bryans had a mini-break lead for 1-0.  Then, with a low return, team Bryan caused Marx to volley up and built a 4-1 advantage.  Later, Marx double faulted to give the Bryans four set points.  On the Bryans’ second match point, Bob put away a backhand volley to seal the championship.

The Bryans were overjoyed to prevail.   They affirmed that they “love coming back to [Delray] and  [that] there’s always room for more trophies”.  With Davis Cup coming up in Serbia this week, Bob and Mike felt that Delray was a great way to prepare.  This victory “gives us momentum”.  They also tipped their hat to Marx and Zelenay because they put up a good fight; “they played really well. . .  we were fortunate today”.

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Karlovic Staves Off Fish to Get to Final

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Karlovic Staves Off Fish to Get to Final


img_0042_ikWith a 4-1 record against the ace machine, Ivo Karlovic, defending champion Mardy Fish knew he had his work cut out for him.  In the semifinals of the Delray Beach International Tennis Championships, the chilly weather possibly affecting a chronic left knee injury, a ribcage issue and Karlovic firing backhand winners all conspired to halt Fish.  Karlovic prevailed 6-2, 6-3 to earn his first final spot in two years.

Following an initial comfortable service game, with a Karlovic forehand up the line winner, Fish went down break point. When Fish failed on a pass attempt, Karlovic took a 3-1 advantage.  With Fish unable to chip away at Karlovic’s serve, the latter jumped to a 5-2 lead.  At that point, Fish called the trainer and received attention to his abdominal area.  With Fish’s serve lacking zip and going predominately to the forehand, Karlovic elicited a couple of errors from his counterpart and wiped out two game points.  Then, with a backhand down the line winner, Karlovic arrived at set point.  Ivo cashed in when Mardy was unsuccessful with the down the line pass.

Initially, after getting off on the right foot in the second set, Fish stumbled again.  Subsequent to a forehand up the line winner by Karlovic erasing a game point, Fish saw a backhand down the line blaze by to set up a second break point for the Croat. As Fish’s forehand flew long, his racket also went airborne as he realized in handing Karlovic the break, he was probably done down 1-3.  With three back to back love games, Karlovic punched his ticket into Sunday’s  final against Ernests Gulbis.  This should be a fascinating encounter since it will be these two’s first meeting.

In doubles, Mike and Bob Bryan will defend their ITC title after defeating Taylor Dent and Ryan Harrison 6-7,7-5,10-4 in the semifinals. After a multitude of chances with either break or deciding point on Harrison’s serve in the first set, the Bryan brothers could not get the 17 year old to blink.  Instead, cool under pressure in the tiebreaker, Harrison made a stellar return which allowed Dent to finish with a backhand up the line winner for their first mini-break.  But, later, a miss hit return by Mike led to a Dent error wiping out the advantage.  Still, after holding serve to get a second set point, Harrison connected with a monster forehand return giving his team the first set.

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Gulbis Attains First Career Final Berth

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Gulbis Attains First Career Final Berth


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For 21 year old Ernests Gulbis, the game plan was simple, overpower his 28 year old opponent with big serves and ground strokes.  In executing this strategy well, Gulbis downed Jarkko Nieminen 6-4, 6-4 in the semifinals at the Delray Beach International Tennis Championships to reach his first career ATP final.

After a love hold to open the match, Nieminen was in trouble the second game.  Unable to capitalize on two game points, Jarkko faced a fourth break point when he misfired on a forehand crosscourt.  With a backhand down the line winner, Gulbis secured the break for 2-1.  Despite difficulties, Gulbis went on to consolidate for a 3-1 edge.  Serving for the set at 5-4, with a couple of errors, Gulbis saw two set points disappear.  However, by calling on some booming serves, Gulbis carried the set.

The second set had a similar feel to the first at the start.  Subsequent to Nieminen winning the first game, down 0-30 in his second service game, he arrived at game point.  But, with Gulbis putting on the squeeze on the second serve, Nieminen eyed another break point.  With a spectacularly angled backhand return, Ernests forced a mistake from Jarkko and pocketed the break for 2-1.  Then, with a banal game, Gulbis extended his lead to 3-1.  Yet, serving at 3-2, Gulbis dumped two backhands into the net to give Nieminen double break point. Still edgy and frustrated in believing he was cheated out of an ace the prior point, Gulbis double faulted to equalize the set.  His next service game though, Gulbis pushed the calm button and quickly squared the set at 4 all.  Then, Gulbis swiftly regained the momentum. With Nieminen up 30-0, Gulbis bottled his urge to pull the trigger early and provoked his opponent into four consecutive errors, thereby capturing the break.  Now, one game away from the finish line, Gulbis’ potential victory lap was interrupted by rain.

When play resumed, after going down love-15, Gulbis found his rhythm on first serves after failing to connect initially.  After getting to double match point, Gulbis sealed the win with an ace.

Gulbis stated he was “happy” to prevail and that he feels “fit for [tomorrow's] match”.  When asked how he killed the three hour interlude, Gulbis replied “I ate, played basketball, did physio”.  In reference to his new coach Hernan Gumy, Gulbis characterizes him as “a great guy and great coach . . . He’s helped every aspect of my game”.

Gulbis awaits the result of the Mardy Fish and Ivo Karlovic semifinal which takes place later tonight.

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