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Djokovic to Headline Opening Weekend at The Sony Ericsson Open

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Djokovic to Headline Opening Weekend at The Sony Ericsson Open


Novak Djokovic, the 2011 Sony Ericsson Open champion, will commence the defense of his title when he takes to courts in Miami on Saturday, March 24. Djokovic will headline the evening session of the tournament’s opening weekend.

Djokovic will face a stacked field that includes Rafael Nadal and former Sony Ericsson Open Champions Roger Federer, Andy Roddick and Andy Murray.

MiamiTennisNews.com will once again be providing live media coverage from the tournament. Join our Facebook Fan page at http://www.facebook.com/MiamiTennisNews and follow us on Twitter under the user name @MiamiTennisNews at http://twitter.com/MiamiTennisNews for news, live scores, and results.

Here is the official tournament press release :

WORLD NO. 1 NOVAK DJOKOVIC TO OPEN EVENING SESSION PLAY ON SATURDAY, MARCH 24
MIAMI, Fla. (www.sonyericssonopen.com) – World No. 1 Novak Djokovic will begin his quest to defend his 2011 Sony Ericsson Open title on Saturday, March 24 (Session 10) at 8:00 p.m. Djokovic’s opponent, along with the rest of the men’s field, will be determined on Monday, March 19 when the tournament draw is announced.

The two-time Sony Ericsson Open champ (2011, 2007) has become a fan favorite in Miami having played in some of the tournament’s most thrilling matches en route to capturing the Butch Buchholz Championship Trophy.

Djokovic looks to join the company of Andre Agassi and Pete Sampras, by becoming the third man in tournament history to win at least three titles; and the first, since Roger Federer (2006, 2005), to record back-to-back wins at the Sony Ericsson Open.

Tickets to the 2012 Sony Ericsson Open are on sale now and can be purchased by phone (305-442-3367) or via internet at www.sonyericssonopen.com. An electrifying two weeks of tennis conclude with the women’s final on Saturday, March 31 and the men’s final on Sunday, April 1.

Djokovic, started the year off strong, claiming his third Australian Open title. The fun-loving Serbian star, plans to build on his remarkable 2011 campaign which saw him collect three of the four Grand Slams including, the Australian Open, Wimbledon and the US Open.

The five-time Grand Slam champion became World No. 1 on July 4, 2011 after his win at Wimbledon. Earlier this year, Djokovic received the prestigious Laureus Sportsman of the Year Award in London beating out some of the world’s best in their respective sport including Usain Bolt (Track and Field), Dirk Nowitzki (Basketball), Sebastian Vettel (Motor Racing), Lionel Messi (Soccer) and Cadel Evans (Cycling).

Djokovic will face a field featuring 10-time Grand Slam winner Rafael Nadal; 16-time Grand Slam champion and two-time Sony Ericsson Open winner Roger Federer; Grand Slam champ and two-time Sony Ericsson Open winner Andy Roddick; and 2009 Sony Ericsson Open champion Andy Murray.

ABOUT THE SONY ERICSSON OPEN: The 2012 Sony Ericsson Open will be played March 19-April 1 at the Tennis Center at Crandon Park in Miami. The two-week combined event is owned and operated by IMG and is widely regarded as the most glamorous event on the ATP and WTA Tours drawing over 300,000 guests each year including the biggest names in music, entertainment and sports. The Sony Ericsson Open is one of nine ATP World Tour Masters 1000 series events and a Premier Mandatory event on the WTA Tour, and features the top men’s and women’s tennis players in the world including defending champions Novak Djokovic and Victoria Azarenka. For ticket information, call (305) 442-3367 or visit the website at http://www.SonyEricssonOpen.com.

ABOUT SONY ERICSSON: Sony Ericsson is a 50:50 joint venture between Sony Corporation (“Sony”) and Telefonaktiebolaget LM Ericsson (“Ericsson”). In October 2011 it was announced by Sony and Ericsson that Sony will acquire Ericsson’s stake in the company and that Sony Ericsson will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sony. The transaction is expected to close in January 2012 and is subject to regulatory approvals. Over the years Sony Ericsson has brought together the best communication technologies with superior entertainment user experiences to create its Xperia™ line of the ‘most entertaining smartphones’ in the mobile handset industry. With its global corporate functions in London, Sony Ericsson has sales and marketing operations in all major regions of the world, as well as manufacturing in China, and product development sites in China, Japan, Sweden and Silicon Valley, California. For more information, please visit: www.sonyericsson.com/press.

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 Venturesin 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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Stepanek Thwarts Monfils for Title in Washington

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Stepanek Thwarts Monfils for Title in Washington


For the second day in a row, rain disrupted the proceedings at the Legg Mason Tennis Classic. But this afternoon, even that was insufficient for top seed and wildcard Gael Monfils to prevail. Unseeded Radek Stepanek bested Monfils 6-4,6-4 to win this ATP 500 tournament, the biggest prize of his career.

With a record of 5-2 against Stepanek, Monfils seemed in good stead to become the first Frenchman to triumph in the nation’s capital since Arnaud Clement beat Andy Murray in 2006.

For his part, Stepanek was on a quest to end his nation’s 29 year drought at this venue. Petr Korda, Stepanek’s coach, was the last victorious Czech in 1992.

The preamble to a disastrous afternoon for Monfils came in his initial service game. Monfils had two successive double faults despite holding.

Subsequent to guarding serve, Stepanek struck a backhand crosscourt winner for break point. When Monfils dumped a forehand into the net, Stepanek took a 2-1 lead.

In trying to consolidate, Stepanek went down 0-30. However, Monfils obliged with a sleuth of errors to allow the Czech to consolidate for a 3-1 advantage.

Later with Stepanek serving, the skies opened up and a thunderous downpour followed. Once Stepanek returned and completed the game for 4-2, showers came anew.

When play resumed, Monfils appeared more willing to fight and comfortably maintained serve. Yet despite Stepanek’s horrendous 30 percent first serve, Monfils could not capitalize on his second serve.

With Monfils stuck ten feet beyond the baseline and his returns falling short, an aggressive Stepanek proficient at volleying thrived at the net. Consequently, Stepanek easily bedded the first set.

For Monfils, the following set was a duplicate of the previous one. With a backhand volley winner, Stepanek had break point in the initial game. With Monfils’ forehand crosscourt pass finding the net, Stepanek converted.

Next, with an emphatic love game punctuated by his maiden ace, Stepanek raced to a 2-0 lead.

At times, Monfils uncorked his frustration on his racket. The crowd did it’s utmost to lift the Frenchman, however, without success. Despite losing solely two points his subsequent four service games, Monfils could not fabricate a single break point.

Stepanek’s first serve percentage picked up slightly this set at 46, winning 12 out of 12 points. With Monfils’ return not clearing the net, Stepanek had triple championship points.

When Monfils flubbed a backhand, Stepanek claimed his first title since San Jose in 2009. He also became the second oldest titlist. Jimmy Connors hoisted the trophy in 1988 at age 35.

With yesterday’s semifinals completed in the wee hours of the morning, Monfils did not go to sleep until four. Thus, the Frenchman felt the lack of rest made him “a fraction of a step slower. . . [so I] caught the returns late”.

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Djokovic Bewilders Nadal for First Wimbledon Crown

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Djokovic Bewilders Nadal for First Wimbledon Crown


Today, Rafael Nadal went in search of his third consecutive Wimbledon title. Unfortunately for the Spaniard, someone got in his way. Novak Djokovic downed Nadal 6-4,6-1,1-6,6-3 to bank his initial trophy at the All England Club.

With a record of 47-1 this season and four victories over Nadal, the Serb realized he had “a mental advantage”. Yet, the finals of Indian Wells, Miami, Rome and Madrid were three set affairs. Consequently, in a five set major final against Nadal, Djokovic knew it would be a bear of a task.

Nine games into the initial set, neither player had problem holding serve. Then, at 4-5, Nadal misjudged a forehand to give Djokovic set point. When the Spaniard sent another forehand wide, Djokovic took the first set.

After Djokovic recovered from 0-30 in the opening game of the second set, Nadal netted a backhand crosscourt to hand his rival double break point. Great anticipation by Djokovic off the forehand dropshot by Nadal resulted in a backhand volley winner for the break and a 2-0 lead.

Next, Djokovic consolidated with another comfortable hold. Later ahead 4-1, Djokovic manufactured another break chance. When Nadal pushed a backhand wide, Djokovic had a 5-1 advantage in the second set.

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Federer on Track for Seventh Title at Wimbledon

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Federer on Track for Seventh Title at Wimbledon


For the second year in a row, Roger Federer is on course to equalize Pete Sampras’ record of seven Wimbledon titles. Defending champion Rafael Nadal is also through to the second week as he goes for his third French Open-Wimbledon duo. While Novak Djokovic, the hottest player this season, is in great form through three matches.

The world’s top three players are still the ones to beat heading into the round of 16 while world number four and hometown pick Andy Murray is also alive with an outside chance. Here’s a review of the past few days and a look at the rest of the tournament.

Federer has looked superb through the first three rounds of play. The Swiss dominated his third round match against a less than 100% David Nalbandian who’s had his number previously.

In the fourth round, Federer takes on Mikhail Youzhny. Federer has won all ten of their prior meetings and the Russian has never been beyond the round of 16 at this event.

David Ferrer tied his best showing at the All England Club by reaching the round of 16 and will face Jo-Wilfried Tsonga who was a quarterfinalist last year. The winner of that contest will probably battle Federer in the quarterfinals.

After straight sets triumphs his initial two matches, Djokovic had to bear down against Marcos Baghdatis to move on in four in the third round. On Monday, Djokovic meets Michael Llodra in the fourth round. Although Llodra is sensational on grass, he should be no match for Djokovic.

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Wimbledon Draw 2011: Nadal and Djokovic Steer the Field

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Wimbledon Draw 2011: Nadal and Djokovic Steer the Field


For the first time at the All England Club, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic are the top two seeds. Defending champion Nadal will fight to collect his third hardware at this venue and his third French Open-Wimbledon combo. Djokovic who registered his maiden loss of the year at the previous major after a forty-one match unbeaten run will attempt to reach his first final at SW 19.

Two other competitors are also hoping to make history. Third seed Roger Federer tries to equalize Pete Sampras’ all time record of seven titles while fourth seed Andy Murray carries the aspirations of an isle on his shoulders. This fortnight, Murray aims to terminate his nation’s 75 year drought at its home major. Here’s the breakdown of the 2011 Wimbledon draw.

For world number one Nadal, it should be smooth sailing until the third round. In that session, the defending champion could be bothered by phenom Milos Raonic. Again in the round of 16, Nadal will be on crash alert with Juan Martin Del Potro his likely opponent. Consequently, there are various rocks along the road early on for the top seed.

In the quarterfinals, Nadal could face a rematch of last year’s final with Tomas Berdych. Considering Berdych’s average performance this season, the Spaniard should have the advantage. However, a semifinal against either Andy Roddick, a three time finalist, or Murray will be a harder challenge.

Having won the Queen’s Club trophy for the second time, Murray has once more found his mojo. Murray’s potential third round counterpart is Marin Cilic and either Stanislas Wawrinka or Richard Gasquet in the fourth round. While these are all worthy adversaries, Murray should have the upper hand.

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Nadal Balks Federer for Record Sixth French Open Title

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Nadal Balks Federer for Record Sixth French Open Title



For the second consecutive day, the French Open became a part of history as Rafael Nadal beat Roger Federer 7-5,7-6,5-7,6-1 to equal Bjorn Borg with six French Open titles. Nadal also became the seventh man in the exclusive club of those with 10 or more major trophies.

The last time the two clashed in a final at a major was the 2009 Australian Open. This was the twenty-fifth meeting between Nadal and Federer, their fifth at Roland Garros and their fourth final.

In 2008, Nadal blew Federer off the court 6-1,6-3,6-0. After ending Novak Djokovic’s 2011 unbeaten run at 41 matches, Federer came in rejuvenated and relaxed, it was evident in the first set.

Subsequent to guarding serve, on a backhand error by Nadal, Federer had double break point. Despite Nadal getting to deuce, on his fourth opportunity, Federer seized the break and consolidated for 3-0.

After constructing a 5-2 advantage, as Nadal’s forehand sailed long, Federer had set point. However, with the dropshot missing its mark, Nadal was at deuce and later captured the game.

Serving for the initial set, Federer’s first serve which was instrumental in building his lead deserted him. Federer netted a backhand to hand Nadal break point. When the Swiss misfired on a volley after a passing shot, the players were back on serve.

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Djokovic Sandbags Nadal for Seventh Title of the Season

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Djokovic Sandbags Nadal for Seventh Title of the Season



Since 2005, Rafael Nadal has been the undisputed proprietor of the red dirt. Anyone intending to set up camp on his estate would have to muscle him out. This year, Novak Djokovic has come with eviction notice in hand. Djokovic stunned Nadal 6-4, 6-4 in the final of the Internazionali BNL D’Italia to collect his second straight clay ATP Masters 1000 championship trophy.

Last week, when Djokovic defeated Nadal in the final of the Mutua Madrid Open, it could have been dismissed as a fluke. Moreover, after being four points from kissing his perfect season goodbye and needing over three hours to get by Andy Murray in the semifinals, Djokovic appeared at a distinct disadvantage against Nadal. Yet this season, Djokovic, the 2008 champion in Rome, knows no limit.

After the first seven game of the match went to the server, Djokovic manufactured double break point when Nadal’s forehand sailed long. When the Spaniard flubbed the backhand, Djokovic captured the break for a 5-3 lead in the first set.

However, with Djokovic serving for the set, Nadal forced the Serb into a forehand mistake to arrive at double break point. When Djokovic dumped the forehand into the net, Nadal banked the break.

Unfazed by his prior miscue, Djokovic pressured Nadal and fabricated another break point. With a backhand crosscourt winner, Djokovic sealed the initial set.

Subsequent to easily holding serve, Djokovic obtained a break point in a game where Nadal was in control 40-0. After Nadal salvaged the first break point, Djokovic produced a second by inciting Nadal into a mistake. With Nadal slicing a backhand wide, Djokovic jumped to a 2-0 lead.

Although Nadal quickly broke to get back on serve, Djokovic kept the Spaniard on his back foot. Nadal had to erase double break point before squaring the set at 2 all.

It’s a strange sight witnessing Nadal being pushed around on clay, Djokovic had an answer to every shot. The angles the Serb generated were surreal, even the net courts were partisan with the majority favoring Djokovic.

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Del Potro Stifles Verdasco to Capture the Estoril Open Title

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Del Potro Stifles Verdasco to Capture the Estoril Open Title



The last time Juan Martin Del Potro competed on clay, he was battling Roger Federer in the 2009 French Open semifinals. Del Potro demonstrated that he can be a threat on this surface in Paris this year. The Argentine annihilated Fernando Verdasco 6-2, 6-2 for his second title of the season.

After failing to consolidate on an opening service break, Del Potro fabricated double break by forcing a backhand error from Verdasco. With the latter making another miscue, Del Potro went ahead 2-1. This time, with an ace at 40-0, Del Potro solidified his lead.

With Verdasco burying a backhand into the net, Del Potro again had double break point. Then, as Verdasco’s forehand flew long, Del Potro broke a third time for a 4-1 lead. By easily guarding serve his next two service games, Del Potro bedded the first set.

In the second set, Del Potro’s persistent power proved too much for Verdasco. Thus, as Verdasco’s forehand crosscourt went wide, Del Potro manufactured double break point. Del Potro burned Verdasco with a forehand crosscourt pass winner to break the initial game of the second set.

Once more with a comfortable hold, Del Potro moved in front 2-0. The Argentine consistency on serve meant that Verdasco had no break point opportunity.

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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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