Tag Archive | "Fish"

Nadal, Federer, Djokovic and Murray Still In the Hunt at Australian Open

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Nadal, Federer, Djokovic and Murray Still In the Hunt at Australian Open




Seven days of competition have passed at the Australian Open.  While Rafael Nadal has breezed through his matches to get to the round of 16, defending champion Roger Federer had a hiccup in the second round.  As usual, there were a few unexpected departures in the first week.  Here’s a summary of what has taken place this initial week.

It’s been smooth sailing for Nadal in getting through to the round of 16.  The world number one’s excellent form will come in handy as he faces 2010 semifinalist Marin Cilic.  After two easy matches, Cilic edged out John Isner 9-7 in the fifth to earn a crack at Nadal.

After a thrilling first round five setter against Lleyton Hewitt, David Nalbandian called it quit in the second round, four games away from being handed a straight set loss.  Mikhail Youzhny also departed earlier than expected.  The tenth seed was sent packing in the third round by Milos Raonic.  The 20 year old Canadian qualifier with the humongous serve also ousted Michael Llodra, the 22nd seed in the second round.  Next up for Raonic will be David Ferrer who is a relentless competitor.  Ferrer’s experience may prove too much for the youngster.  Thus, a Ferrer-Nadal quarterfinal showdown is the likely scenario.

Without much fuss, both Robyn Soderling and Andy Murray have been taking care of business.  Soderling’s fourth round match will be against Alexandr Dolgopolov.  The Ukrainian upset 13th seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the third round.  Following an impressive second round match versus Juan Martin Del Potro, Marcos Baghdatis was forced to retire down two sets to one with a hand injury in his third round match against Jurgen Melzer.  As such, Murray will battle Melzer for a quarterfinal berth.

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Andy Roddick and Juan Martin Del Potro Headline 2011 Delray Beach ITC

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Andy Roddick and Juan Martin Del Potro Headline 2011 Delray Beach ITC



The field of competitors scheduled to appear at the 2011 Delray Beach International Tennis Championships in February has shaped up to be the strongest in the tournament’s history.

The draw is headlined by former US Open Champions Juan Martin del Potro (2009) and Andy Roddick (2003). Joining Del Potro and Roddick are past Delray Beach ITC champions Marty Fish, James Blake, Kei Nishikori, Xavier Malisse, and Ricardo Mello.

The tournament will also host a stop of the ATP Champions Tour event with John McEnroe, Mats Wilander, Pat Cash, Todd Martin and Mark Philippoussis scheduled to play.

Here is the official press release from the tournament :

DELRAY BEACH, FL (January 20, 2011) – Former Delray Beach International Tennis Championships (ITC) champions Xavier Malisse, Kei Nishikori and Ricardo Mello, along with 2010 runnerup Ivo Karlovic and 2007/2008 runnerup James Blake have signed up to play in the ITC’s 19th annual ATP World Tour event from February 21-27 at the Delray Beach Stadium & Tennis Center.

Also committing to the draw: 2009 world No. 12 Radek Stepanek and Janko Tipsaravic, who played a hero’s role in leading Serbia to the 2010 Davis Cup title.

The group joins a pair of US Open Champions - Andy Roddick (2003) and Juan Martin del Potro (2009) – as well as current Top 20 players Mardy Fish and John Isner - in giving the ITC arguably its best draw in history.

“We can’t wait to see how this one plays out,” said tournament director Mark Baron, who has added a 2011 Porsche 911 Carrera to the $500,000 pool of prize money.  “Our group of stars stands out,  but the depth of talent in this draw and guys who have had great results is very impressive.”

Malisse, the winningest player in ITC history, reached the Chenai final earlier this month. The 31-year-old is a three-time champion (2 singles titles, 1 doubles title) and has reached three other singles finals at the ITC.

Nishikori’s incredible run in 2008 as an 18-year-old made him Delray Beach’s youngest champion, and Mello will long be known for winning the 2004 title following one of South Florida’s four hurricanes that season.

Karlovic enjoyed an exciting run to the ITC final last year that included a tournament-record 89 aces, while Blake, with an 11-5 record in this tournament, received a wildcard to play this year.

Stepanek has played in 11 career ATP World Tour finals – winning four – and was the Delray Beach doubles champion in 2004. Tipsaravic owns an impressive record vs. Top 10 players, and his win in the decisive 5t rubber in last year’s Davis Cup semifinal propelled Croatia to the final.

The tournament’s ATP Champions Tour event, featuring John McEnroe, Mats Wilander, Pat Cash, Todd Martinand Mark Philippoussis, will kick off the Delray Beach ITC on Friday, February 18 at the Tennis Center. Fans buying tickets on Monday and Tuesday, February 21 and 22, will see both ATP World Tour and ATP Champions matches.

Baron also announced a ‘blockbuster’ Tuesday evening session that will include Roddick’s opening match in addition to the ATP Champions Tour final. The world No. 8 is expected to be the top seed in the ITC’s ATP World Tour event.

Individual session tickets range in price from $15 for grandstand seats to $85 for box seats, while a wide variety of tournament packages are available from $200 to $490. A limited number of ON-COURT “Best Seats in the House” remain, and there are unique “Fan Experiences” also available for purchase.

Here is Delray Beach’s 2011 draw: Kevin Anderson (RSA), Igor Andreev (RUS), Benjamin Becker (GER), Julien Benneteau (FRA), Richard Berankis (LTU), James Blake (USA), Dustin Brown (GER), Brian Dabul (ARG), Juan Martin del Potro (ARG), Ivan Dodig (CRO), Mardy Fish (USA), Teymuraz Gabashvili (RUS), John Isner (USA), Xavier Malisse (BEL), Adrian Mannarino (FRA), Ricardo Mello (BFA), Kei Nishikori (JPN), Bjorn Phau (GER), Michal Przysienzny (POL), Andy Roddick (USA), Rainer Schuettler (GER), Florent Serra (FRA), Radek Stepanek (CZE), Janko Tipsarevic (SRB); Balance of 32-player field will be filled by 4 qualifiers, 2 special exempts (at ATP discretion) & 1 wildcard.

Visit the Delray Beach ITC website www.YellowTennisBall.com to purchase tickets. For more information, please call 561-330-6000.

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Can Nadal Make it Four in a Row or Will Federer Defend?  Australian Open Preview

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Can Nadal Make it Four in a Row or Will Federer Defend? Australian Open Preview


1969 was the year when Rod Laver accomplished the calendar grand slam for the second time.  Laver had done so previously in 1962.  At the Australian Open, Rafael Nadal will attempt to become the first person to hold all four majors simultaneously, although not in the same calendar year.  Like Nadal, Roger Federer has won three majors in a single year on multiple occasions, but never held all four.  With a historic sixteen majors, Federer, the defending champion, will be one of the competitors trying to halt Nadal from revising  the tennis annals.  Indeed, if the Australian Open draw holds up, Nadal’s route to his second title is fraught with red flags.

After seemingly comfortable initial two rounds, Nadal may see Marin Cilic in the round of 16.  Despite disappointing results the remainder of 2010 after a semifinal placement in Melbourne, for Cilic knowing that he’s gone that far at this major can be an inspiration.  Moreover, the only time these two met in 2009, Cilic was the victor. In the quarterfinals, Nadal also has a few pesky potential opponents to look forward to: Mikhail Youzhny, David Ferrer and David Nalbandian.  On any given day, these men can be a real thorn on any individual’s side.

The second part of the top half of the draw has Robin Soderling and Andy Murray as the top seeds.  Either player could clash with Nadal in the semifinals.  Soderling appears to have a favorable trek until the round of 16 where he will possibly collide with Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, the 2007 Australian Open finalist and 2010 semifinalist.  On the other hand, 2010 finalist Murray may get Juan Martin Del Potro, Marcos Baghdatis or Jurgen Melzer.  Del Potro, the 2009 U.S. Open champion, and Baghdatis, the 2006 Australian Open finalist, would be a contest for anyone.  Whether it’s Murray, Soderling or Tsonga in the semis, Nadal will have to his hands occupied in order to reach his second Australian Open final.

To say Federer is hungry for the title is an understatement considering the implications if Nadal prevails. Could Mardy Fish or Sam Querrey trouble the defending champion in the round of 16?  Possibly.  However, with Federer’s four titles out of five his last five tournaments, it’s unlikely anyone will down him early on. Both Gael Monfils and Stanislas Wawrinka have a win over Federer, but are a combined 2-11.  Therefore, it’s inconceivable that either Monfils or Wawrinka will upend Federer in the quarterfinals.  Once again, Andy Roddick may find himself in the position of needing to go through Federer to advance to the semifinals.  Despite Roddick’s 2-20 against Federer, he is the most formidable rival who can actually put a crimp in Federer’s style.

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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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Federer and Nadal in Awesome Form Going into the Second Week at the U.S. Open

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Federer and Nadal in Awesome Form Going into the Second Week at the U.S. Open


The initial week at the U.S. Open is complete and the men’s field has been scaled down to sixteen players.  Two names missing from the roll call are Andy Roddick and Andy Murray.  These two touted favorites were upset early on. Here’s a summary of the past seven days and an analysis of what could unfold the next few rounds.

While Rafael Nadal barely passed his pre-tournament exams in Toronto and Cincinnati, in his first three matches at the Open, the Spaniard gets an A plus.  Despite being tested, with a beefed up first serve to the tune of 130 miles per hour at times, Nadal has dispatched each adversary in three sets.  In the fourth round, Nadal will face compatriot Feliciano Lopez.  With Nadal’s 5-2 record against his fellow citizen, Lopez is likely the subsequent sacrificial lamb.

After surviving a five set tussle in the first round against Fabio Fognini ranked 86th, Fernando Verdasco is in the round of 16 and will take on David Ferrer, the tenth seed.  Although Verdasco has a 6-4 edge in their encounters, Ferrer prevailed at their last meeting on clay and at their only battle on hardcourt in 2004.  David Nalbandian, one of the few players who could have troubled Nadal, was easily given his marching orders by Verdasco in the third round.

Also in the top section of the draw, seventh seed Tomas Berdych was surprised in the first round by Michael Llodra.  However, the jaw dropper came today with  Murray, the 2008 finalist and fourth seed, dismissed by Stanislas Wawrinka in the third round. The Swiss advanced for the third occasion to the fourth round in New York.   Wawrinka will meet Sam Querrey for a spot in the quarterfinals.  Consequently, for Querrey, this is the ideal scenario to book his maiden quarterfinal berth at a major.

The Spaniards have ruled and Tommy Robredo made sure to partake in the round of 16 festivities. With John Isner beaten by Mikhail Youzhny in the third round, Robredo and the Russian will fight for a place in the quarterfinals.

Another American  propelled into the limelight this week was eighteen year old Ryan Harrison.  After coming through three rounds of qualifying, Harrison stunned Ivan Ljubicic, the fifteenth seed, in the first round.  Furthermore, Harrison was one point from a win in a fifth set tiebreaker in the second round.  Harrison became the first American teen to vanquish a top twenty player at a major since Roddick in 2001 also at this event.

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Federer, Murray, Roddick and Nadal Stand Out of the Heap as U.S. Open Favorites

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Federer, Murray, Roddick and Nadal Stand Out of the Heap as U.S. Open Favorites


The U.S. Open draw has been unveiled with the usual suspects at the top pack.  Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer are the highest seeds followed respectively by Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray.  For some, the path has multiple green lights, but for others it is lined with yellow flags.  Here’s a breakdown of the draw.

After his victories at the French Open and Wimbledon, Nadal is once more in pursuit of the U.S. Open trophy, the sole major he lacks.  In 2008, the Spaniard was halted in the semifinals by Murray and last year in the same round by Juan Martin Del Potro, the champion.  Although Nadal has been the most prolific performer on grass and clay this season, hardcourt has been a different story.  Nadal has a lone final appearance in January in Doha and went down to Nikolay Davydenko.  With neither injury nor fatigue an issue this time, Nadal is capable of going the distance.  However, there may be a significant boulder in his way in the quarterfinals.

Finally in shape after hip surgery, David Nalbandian has made himself part of the conversation and could clash with Nadal in the quarterfinals.  Although Nadal recorded the win at their last meeting at the Sony Ericsson Open in March, Nalbandian’s form has improved markedly since then.  Moreover, Nalbandian took the title as a wildcard at the Legg Mason Tennis Classic earlier this month.  As a result, the Argentine will not be an easy customer for the Spaniard.

While Fernando Verdasco, the eight seed, is technically another likely quarterfinal counterpart for Nadal, Verdasco is at best a minute obstacle.  With a 10-0 record against his countryman, in a five set match, Nadal is a sure bet.

De novo, Nadal has been placed on a collision course with Murray to reach his first U.S. Open final.  Twice on hardcourt this year, Murray has comprehensively beaten Nadal including the Rogers Cup two weeks ago.  After dreadful results most of the season, Murray is at last in form and defended his title in Toronto.  If they clash in the semifinals, Nadal will have a tough time getting a pass.

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Serving Notice:  Federer Wiggles By Fish for His Fourth Cincinnati Title

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Serving Notice: Federer Wiggles By Fish for His Fourth Cincinnati Title


Following his Australian Open victory in February, Roger Federer’s game had been in a tailspin.  In his best form since Melbourne, Federer made the final at the Rogers Cup last week, but went down to Andy Murray.  However, today, Federer edged out wildcard Mardy Fish 6-7,7-6,6-4 at the Western and Southern Financial Group Masters for his second straight Western and Southern Financial Group Masters title and  his 17th Masters’ shield.

This hardcourt season, Fish has positioned himself as a man to fear.  After a grass title in Newport, Fish claimed the initial trophy of the Olympus U.S. Open series in Atlanta.  In Cincinnati the first three rounds, Fish dismissed Gilles Simon, 9th seed Fernando Verdasco and Richard Gasquet in straight sets.  Subsequently, in the quarterfinals, Fish defeated Andy Murray for the third consecutive time.  Then, in the semifinals, Fish collected his second successive win over Andy Roddick by erasing a 4-6,2-5 deficit and improved his record to 16-1 since Wimbledon.  Thus, with these results, Fish’s confidence was astronomical.

Moreover, with Fish in the most outstanding physical shape of his career and an easy triumph over Federer in their last meeting at Indian Wells in 2008, the chances were excellent that in his fourth attempt, Fish would gain his first Masters’ shield.  Conversely, despite advancing to two other finals besides Toronto, Federer was denied in Madrid and Halle this year.  In his 90th career final, Federer was hungrier than ever to capture his 63rd career title and gain momentum heading into the U.S. Open.

Subsequent to a comfortable hold by each player, Fish got embroiled in a 15 minute plus game.  After surviving two break points, on the ninth deuce, Fish obtained a game point with a backhand volley winner and sealed the game with a strong serve for 2-1.  Thereafter, both men cruised on serve until the tenth game when Fish misfired on a forehand up the line to give Federer set point.  With an ace, Fish wiped out Federer’s advantage and later tied the set at 5 all.  At 5-6 on Fish’s serve, Federer arrived again at set point when Fish’s stroke hit the net and flew long.  Once more, Fish repelled his opponent and forced a tiebreaker.

On Federer’s backhand crosscourt error, Fish got a mini-break for 4-3.  But, with two forehand winners, Federer stole both points off Fish’s serve for 5-4.  Still, Fish reversed the tides with an overhead winner and a backhand error by Federer to fabricate set point at 6-5.  With Federer unable to catch up to Fish’s serve, the American bagged the tiebreaker.

Yet to face a break point, Federer continued to coast on serve in the second set.  However, Fish had no problem matching the defending champion.  In fact, Fish’s first serve percentage improved as the set progressed.  At two all, Fish pushed Federer to a deuce game.  But, Federer guarded serve to stay ahead 3-2.  After holding at love for 6-5, Federer got to deuce on Fish’s watch with a forehand up the line winner.  By readily finding his first serve, Fish held for a second tiebreaker.

With a forehand crosscourt winner, Federer inched ahead with a mini-break for 2-0.  After stretching his lead to 4-1, Federer provoked two errors from Fish to take command of the tiebreaker at 6-1.  Next with an ace, Federer leveled the match at one set a piece and forced a decisive set.

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Fish and Knowles Scramble For Legg Mason Classic Title

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Fish and Knowles Scramble For Legg Mason Classic Title


Mardy Fish and Mark Knowles fought back in the final of the Legg Mason Tennis Classic overcoming Tomas Berdych and Radek Stepanek 4-6,7-6,10-7 to bag their second title as a team.

Berdych and Stepanek sprinted to a 3-0 advantage by breaking Knowles and Fish twice in the first set.  Then, with a love hold, Stepanek further extended their lead to 4-0.  Knowles and Fish managed to break once. Nevertheless, with the insurance break, the Czechs took the set.

Knowles and Fish have been a tandem since February 2008 while their Czech counterparts usually play doubles only in the Davis Cup.  Moreover, for Berdych and Stepanek, this was their first ATP doubles final as a team.  Thus, Knowles and Fish called upon their experience to weather the storm especially after Knowles double faulted in the second set to give their opponents a 3-2 edge which they consolidated for 4-2.  Later though, with Berdych serving at 40-30, Fish struck a forehand down the line winner to force a deciding point.  With Berdych double faulting, the set was squared at 4 all.  Ultimately, a tiebreaker was played.

Off a sensational forehand return by Fish, Stepanek dumped the forehand volley in the net.  Down the road, Fish made another volley winner to give his team a double mini-break for 5-2.  Next, on a miscue from the Czechs, Knowles and Fish had three set points.  Stepanek and Berdych battled back for 6 all.  Subsequently, on an error, Stepanek and Berdych were at 7-6 and championship point.  Again, Fish and Knowles produced some remarkable shots to stay afloat and steal the tiebreaker.

In the super-tiebreaker, with Berdych’s backhand sailing long, Knowles and Fish had a mini-break for 1-0.  On a Fish forehand error, Berdych and Stepanek got back on serve for 3-4.  But, with a net court favoring Fish and Knowles, that pair regained a mini-break for 5-3.  Again, the Czechs climbed back to make it 7 all. Soon, on a superb return by Fish, Stepanek flubbed the volley giving Fish and Knowles championship at 9-7.  The pair won the next point to capture the trophy.

After the match, MiamiTennisNews and one other media outlet sat down to talk to Fish and Knowles.  For 38 year old Knowles, this was his 53rd doubles title.  Therefore, MiamiTennisNews wanted to know:
Q. At your age, what keeps you still motivated and what has been the key to your success?
Knowles:  I still enjoy playing and competing . . . It’s a challenge competing against the current players.  I’ve seen the game evolve a little bit from when I first started.  It still gives me a high to compete at this level and win.

Q. Is it more difficult though with having a family?
Knowles: I play less now because of a wife and two kids.  This year was a little difficult.  I was injured at the start of the season and I was out for three months.  Mardy and I have agreed to play doubles this year which is an exciting prospect.  Things have taken a while to develop because of my injury but things are going well now.

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Berdych and Stepanek Move On to the Doubles Final at Legg Mason Tennis Classic

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Berdych and Stepanek Move On to the Doubles Final at Legg Mason Tennis Classic


In the doubles semifinals in Washington, Tomas Berdych and Radek Stepanek regrouped after dropping a contested first set to edge out the fourth seed Julian Knowle and Andy Ram 5-7,6-2,10-4.

After ousting the top seed Daniel Nestor and Nenad Zimonjic,  Berdych and Stepanek got a walkover into the semifinals. Subsequent to Ram and Knowle carrying the first set, the team’s failure in serving effectively, allowed the Czechs to dominate the rest of the match. In the super tiebreaker, Berdych and Stepanek took control to acquire their first berth in a doubles final on the ATP tour as a team.

Following their triumph, MiamiTennisNews was one of only three sources to sit down with the duos and discuss a variety of topics.  After his singles defeat, Berdych expressed his dissatisfaction with the manner in which he was treated as the top seed.

Post sleep and perhaps having reflected, MiamiTennisNews wanted to know his views since yesterday.  Berdych was ambivalent about participating next year.
Q.  The two of you had such tremendous crowd support for your match today.  How do you feel after what transpired yesterday?  Will today weigh more in terms of making a decision for 2011?
Berdych: I was quite sad yesterday.  [Today], I just wanted to go back on the court, try to win, play better tennis and enjoy it.  It’s not a question of the next day.  There’s still a year to go. . . I will think about it and see what to do next year . . .so it’s difficult to say right now.

Moreover, Berdych states that thus far his issues had not been taken under advisement nor had the appropriate authorities spoken to him on the subject.

Because of injuries and personal reasons, Stepanek has been absent from the court. In singles, he lost his first match out to Marco Chiudinelli.  MiamiTennisNews asked:
Q.  What are your thoughts on being in the final?
Stepanek:  It’s a great result for us as a team . . . We’ve always played together in Davis Cup, played great matches.  But, we’ve never been able to do so well at [the ATP level], so we are very please.  Especially for me, after being out for five months with [mononucleosis and knee injury] my first tournament, I’m in the final; it’s a great feeling even though it’s doubles.  I’m getting on the court, getting some matches, gaining confidence . . .so I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s final.

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