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Fish to Make ATP Champions Tour Debut at Delray Beach Open

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Fish to Make ATP Champions Tour Debut at Delray Beach Open

IMG_9290_Fish Marty Fish, the 2009 Delray Beach Open champion, will make his debut on the ATP Champions Tour when the tournament kicks off on February 12, 2016. Fish will be joined by former ATP Tour players that will include James Blake, Mark Philippoussis, Sebastien Grosjean, Greg Rusedski and Aaron Krickstein.

The ATP Champions tour is held the first weekend of the Delray Beach Open which serves as the ATP World Tour’s first North American hard court event.

Here is the official press release from the tournament :

DELRAY BEACH: Former world No. 7 Mardy Fish will make his ATP Champions Tour debut at the 2016 Delray Beach Open, returning to the event where he continues to be the only ATP World Tour champion in tournament history to win as the top-seed – a feat he accomplished in 2009.

Additionally, former Davis Cup teammate and world No. 4 James Blake will join Fish in the ATP Champions Tour field that was announced today by the tournament. Four of the six players who will play in the event have ties to the area, including Fish, a former Vero Beach resident.

The three-day, six-player round-robin tournament is played the first weekend of the 10-day Delray Beach Open and includes an American team competing against an International trio. The action begins Friday, Feb. 12 with a pair of night matches, followed by four matches over Saturday day and night, and three Sunday afternoon matches that could decide the team title.

Joining Blake and Fish on Team USA is current Boca resident Aaron Krickstein while Team International includes former Delray Beach resident Mark Philippoussis (AUS), longtime Boca Raton resident Sebastien Grosjean (FRA), and Greg Rusedski (GBR).

The tournament is also announcing its annual Holiday Promotion, which discounts individual box and reserved tickets for all ATP Champions Tour matches (Sessions 1-4, 50% off) and ATP World Tour matches (Sessions 5-17, 20% off). The promotion begins Nov. 26 and runs through Dec. 31.

Fish, who last played in Delray Beach in 2011, missed most of the 2012, 2013 and 2014 ATP World Tour seasons as he battled a heart ailment and anxiety issues that he has since openly discussed in efforts to help others who battle the disorder. He played in several ATP World Tour events in 2015 before announcing his retirement prior to the US Open, where his career ended in a stirring five-set defeat in the second round. Over his career, Fish won six ATP titles and reached the quarterfinals of three Grand Slam tournaments.

Fish went 19-7 in eight Delray Beach appearances, and in addition to his ’09 title, reached the final in 2003 and semifinals in 2009 and 2001. Blake, a two-time ATP World Tour Delray Beach finalist (2007 & 2008), made his debut on the ATP Champions Tour in Delray Beach a year ago. Like Fish, he reached three Grand Slam quarterfinals during his ATP World Tour career and was runner-up to Roger Federer in the season-ending 2006 ATP World Tour Championships.

Two-time Grand Slam runner-up Philippoussis will be playing in his third ATP Champions Tour event in Delray Beach – he won the 2011 title when the tournament crowned an individual champion. A 1997 US Open finalist, Rusedski was 6-2 in Delray Beach as an ATP pro and reached the event’s 1995 final while four-time Grand Slam semifinalist Grosjean was 5-3 in Delray Beach and played in a 1999 semifinal. Rusedski and Grosjean are making their first Delray Beach ATP Champions Tour appearances.

The Delray Beach Open also announced a new ‘no-ad’ format for all ATP Champions Tour matches – at deuce, the player returning serve picks the side he wants to return from; the winner of that point wins the game. A traditional 7-point tiebreaker will continue to be played at six games apiece and a match tiebreak (10-point) will continue to decide a match when players split the first two sets.

Sunday’s 12:30 pm match on Court 1 will be of local interest because it creates a “country club rivalry” between Krickstein and Grosjean, who never played each other on the ATP World Tour. Krickstein is the longtime head pro at St. Andrews Country Club in Boca Raton while Grosjean is a resident of Woodfield Country Club, also in Boca. Grosjean currently coaches Top 10 Richard Gasquet.

In addition to their ATP Champions Tour play, Blake and Philippoussis have been given a wild card to partner in doubles in the ATP World Tour event.

Discounted ticket are available at http://www.yellowtennisball.com/tickets/ with prices starting at $14.50. Fans can also visit the on-site box office at 30 NW 1st Avenue in Delray Beach, or call 561-330-6000.

For more information: Go to YellowTennisBall.com.

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Gasquet Neutralizes Berdych to Reach the Semifinals at the Sony Open

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Gasquet Neutralizes Berdych to Reach the Semifinals at the Sony Open

Richard Gasquet grabbed his maiden semifinal berth at the Sony Open. The Frenchman stopped 2010 finalist Tomas Berdych 6-3, 6-3 to win a date with Andy Murray tomorrow.

Although Gasquet had a 4-3 lead in their head to head, only a few days ago in the round of 16 at Indian Wells, Berdych sent him packing in two sets. Consequently, Berdych would have come in quite confident.

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Homecoming: Tsonga Lights Up Paris With A Victory

When defending champion Argentine David Nalbandian met Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga at the BNP Paribas Masters final, not only was a Waterford crystal at stake, but also the last slot at Tennis Masters Cup in Shanghai. Moreover, Nalbandian was trying to become the first repeat titleholder in the event’s 23-year history. Urged on by his fellow Parisians, Tsonga defeated Nalbandian in a scintillating match 6-3, 4-6, 6-4.

A supercharged atmosphere became even more electric when Tsonga after winning his service game at love, crushed a forehand down the line for a winner to get a break point. Nalbandian then donated the game by tossing a double fault. Subsequently, the Frenchman consolidated the break with a bullet crosscourt forehand winner in another easy service game 3-0. From that point on, the Argentine steadied himself and maintained the deficit at one break. As Tsonga served at 4-2, a forehand unforced error gave Nalbandian his first shot at getting back on serve. However, with a crisp forehand volley, Tsonga deleted the break point and secured the game with a terrific backhand volley. Serving for the set at 5-3, with great serve placement, Tsonga was able to draw the errors from Nalbandian and take one step closer to winning his first Masters’ shield.

After leading 40-15 in the first game of the second set, Nalbandian lost his way when Tsonga made a volley and crosscourt forehand winners to get to deuce. Then, a few points later, David double faulted to give Jo-Wilfried a break point. But, the steely Argentine erased the Frenchman’s advantage with an ace and secured the game with a forehand volley 1-0. While Tsonga put on a serving clinic, Nalbandian, one of the game’s best returners, continued to pile on the return errors. The Frenchman produced back to back aces to close out his games at love for 2-2 and 3-3. However, ahead 4-3, Nalbandian’s opportunity to break came with Tsonga misfiring on two forehands and making a double fault. Nevertheless, with aces and finesse at net, Tsonga escaped triple break point and equalized the set at 4-4. After holding serve at 5-4, Nalbandian again worked his way to triple break point. This time, the Argentine converted with a forehand error from Tsonga and took the set.

Tsonga’s backhand had been ineffective the entire match with double digit errors and no winner. Nalbandian exploited that deficiency to hold serve at 1-0 in the decisive set. But, Tsonga returned the favor exposing Nalbandian’s weakness on the forehand side and with four consecutive errors converted a break point for a 2-1 advantage. From that point on, neither player was challenged on serve until the sixth game when Nalbandian got a break point courtesy of a backhand error which Jo-Wilfried then dismissed with his 24th ace. Serving for the championship, Tsonga appeared like he would crack again after making three consecutive errors to go down triple break point. Yet, Jo-Wilfried responded with three good first serves which led to a quality volley and a forehand down the line winner for deuce. Sparked on by the crowd, Tsonga produced his 25th ace for match point and with a forehand error from Nalbandian captured the trophy.

After being kept out of the French Open and Wimbledon by knee surgery, Tsonga made up for his absence this week by beating Novak Djokovic in the third round, Andy Roddick in the quarterfinals and James Blake in the semifinals. The Australian Open finalist culminated the season as he had begun, on a high note. Not only did Tsonga knock out countryman Gilles Simon from Shanghai, he jumped to number 7 in the rankings taking over the honor of top ranked Frenchman from Simon. Besides, Tsonga became only the third Frenchman to win this tournament, the last being Sebastien Grosjean in 2001.  Despite injury getting the better of Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer in the quarterfinals, Nadal withdrew with a knee problem after being thumped in the first set by Nikolay Davydenko while Federer never took the court against Blake due to back spasm, fans were still rewarded with a high quality final.

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