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Delray Beach Open Announces Player Lineups

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Delray Beach Open Announces Player Lineups


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DELRAY BEACH, FL: Four of the current Top 20 singles players, the greatest doubles team of all time, and the 2001 Wimbledon champion are all included in a group of players who have signed on with the Delray Beach Open by The Venetian® Las Vegas to play in the 22nd annual event next February.

The world’s only combined ATP World Tour and ATP Champions Tour event will be played February 14 – 23, 2014 at the Delray Beach Stadium & Tennis Center. It will be the 16th year that the tournament will be held in Delray Beach.

The 32-player ATP World Tour field will include Top 20 stars Tommy Haas (No. 12), John Isner (No. 14), Kei Nishikori (No. 18) and Kevin Anderson (No. 20). Janko Tipsarevic, last year’s ATP world No. 8, former world No. 1 and two-time Grand Slam champion Lleyton Hewitt and former world No. 8 Marcos Baghdatis are also among the early entries. The remaining Delray Beach field, including three wild cards, will be announced in January.

Hewitt (1999), Haas (2006), Nishikori (2008) and Anderson (2012) are former Delray Beach champions.

The world No. 1 Bryan Brothers doubles team will highlight the 16-team doubles field, as the popular twins return to Delray Beach for the seventh time after winning titles in 2009 and 2010.

Bombastic Croat Goran Ivanisevic, the only Wimbledon champion in history to have won on a wild card, will join 2003 US Open champion Andy Roddick and four other former ATP stars in Delray Beach’s 5-year-old ATP Champions event. Ivanesivic is playing in Delray Beach for the first time.

Roddick committed to his inaugural ATP Champions Tour event in August, while Hall of Famer Mats Wilander is returning for a fourth run at the title. The trio of former two-time Delray Beach ATP World Tour champion Jan-Michael Gambill (2001 & 2003), former French Open finalist Mikael Pernfors and Boca Raton’s Aaron Krickstein round out the field. The competition will be divided into an “American” group (Roddick, Krickstein & Gambill) and a “European” group (Ivanesevic, Wilander, Penfors), with the winners playing a “USA vs Europe” championship match.

“These are undoubtedly the best fields we’ve put together collectively in both our ATP events,” said tournament director Mark Baron. “We continue to strengthen our ATP World Tour field and we’re excited about the ATP Champions Tour battle within the American and European groups and think it’s going to be a fun one for our fans to follow.”

The Delray Beach Open by The Venetian has moved one week earlier on the ATP World Tour calendar. The three-day ATP Champions Tour event will kick off on Valentines’ Day, Friday, Feb. 14 with two evening matches featuring Roddick, Ivanisevic, Gambill and Wilander. The ATP Champions Tour final will be played Sunday, Feb. 16 at 3:00 pm.

The ATP World Tour three-day qualifying rounds begin Saturday, Feb. 15 with the main draw beginning Monday, Feb. 17. The doubles final is scheduled for Sunday, Feb. 23 at 1:00 pm followed by the singles final at 3:00 pm.

To purchase tickets, check playing schedules, or to obtain more information, please go to www.YellowTennisBall.com, call 561-330-6000 or visit the Delray Beach event’s box office at 30 NW 1st Avenue, Delray Beach, FL.

Delray Beach ATP World Tour Headliners:

The Bryan Brothers, 2009 and 2010 Delray Beach champs, are 8-time year-end world No. 1 doubles champions. The pair are the first doubles team in history to hold all four Grand Slam titles as well as the Olympic gold medal at the same time. They have 92 career ATP titles, including 15 Grand Slam wins.

Tommy Haas has returned to the Top 20 from major surgery three times in his career. The 2006 Delray Beach champion has twice been the ATP’s “Comeback Player of the Year” and is currently ranked No. 12 in the world. Haas has won more than $12 million in prize money.

Top-ranked American John Isner, who has back-to-back semifinal finishes in Delray Beach, reached a career-high No. 9 in the world in 2012 and enjoyed 18 weeks in the Top 10. He reached the 2011 Australian Open QF and his first Master Series final in Indian Wells that year. He finished No. 1 among ATP players in aces two of the last three years, and has garnered 7 career ATP titles.

Kei Nishikori won his first ATP title in Delray Beach in 2008 as an 18-year-old, and reached his first Grand Slam QF at the 2012 Australian Open. The top all-time Japanese player with rock star status has reached No. 11 in the world this year and is positioned to become the top Asian tennis player of all time.

Kevin Anderson is enjoying the best year of his career, reaching three finals in 2013, and currently No. 20 in the world. In addition to his Delray Beach title in 2012, he has reached two QFs in his new hometown. Anderson established a residence in Delray Beach over the summer.

Janko Tipsarevic, the 2011 Delray Beach runner-up to Juan Martin del Potro, finished 2012 as the year-end No. 8 in the world. With 4 career ATP titles, a 2012 US Open QF finish and the 2010 Davis Cup title, the Serbian has enjoyed two straight Top 10 seasons.

An 18-year-old Lleyton Hewitt won the first ATP tournament held in Delray Beach (1999). The No. 1 player in the world for the 2001 and 2002 seasons won Grand Slam titles at the 2001 US Open and at Wimbledon in 2002 and has five Top 10 year-end finishes, including four in the Top 5.

Marcos Baghdatis was a 2006 Australian Open finalist and became the ATP’s breakout performer that year, reaching a career-high No. 8 and finishing the season at No. 12. Baghdatis was also Top 20 in 2007 and 2010.

Delray Beach ATP Champions Tour Headliners:

2003 US Open champion Andy Roddick will be making his ATP Champions Tour debut in Delray Beach, a venue where he began his pro career with a pair of wild cards in 2000 and 2001. He finished No. 1 in the world for 2003, and had an incredible run in the Top 10 from 2002 – 2010. Roddick led the 2007 US team to the Davis Cup title.

Goran Ivanisevic garnered 22 career ATP wins but his greatest moment was winning the 2001 Wimbledon title 11 years after he won his first title. He achieved a career-high No. 2 ranking and finished in the Top 10 five times in his career.

Hall of Famer (2002) Mats Wilander is one of only five men to win Grand Slams on every surface. The Swede won the first of his seven Slam titles at the French Open as an unseeded 17-year-old. He was the No. 1 ranked player in the world in 1988, won 33 ATP titles and three Davis Cup titles.

Player Schedule Highlights:

Andy Roddick: Friday, Feb. 14 (Session 1 – night), Saturday, Feb. 15 (Session 3 – night)
John Isner: Tuesday, Feb. 18 (Session 8 – night)
Bryan Brothers: Wednesday, Feb. 19 (Session 9 – day)

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Ferrer Fends Off Haas to Get into Maiden Sony Open Final

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Ferrer Fends Off Haas to Get into Maiden Sony Open Final


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The first men’s semifinal at the Sony Open showcased a pair of thirtysomething. World number five David Ferrer outlasted a resurgent Tommy Haas 4-6, 6-2, 6-3 to reach his fifth Masters 1000 series final.

At 35, Haas, a former world number two, discovered his fountain of youth. Ranked 18th, the German ousted 24 year old Alexandr Dolgopolov in the third round then stunned world number one Novak Djokovic in the round of 16. This year’s semifinal showing was the furthest Haas’ had advance in Miami.

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Haas Upsets Djokovic at Sony Open

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Haas Upsets Djokovic at Sony Open


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On a bizarre night that saw temperatures plummet in Miami, Tommy Haas pulled off the upset of the tournament by defeating two-time defending Sony Open champion Novak Djokovic in straight
sets 6-2, 6-4.

“Playing against something like Novak and coming out on top at this time of my career, it’s unbelievable.”, said Haas “You know, it goes up as one of my, you know, most best wins of my career.”

Djokovic was attempting to tie the record for consecutive wins in Miami, but a slew of unforced errors from the Serbian throughout the match proved to be his downfall. Djokovic credited Haas as the better player tonight and assessed his performance in his post match interview. “Yeah, I mean, all the credit to him. He played a great match and he was the better player, no question about it.” said Djokovic. “The results show everything, you know. As far as I’m concerned, it’s definitely the worst match I have played in a long time.”

When asked to access the unseasonal conditions in Miami Djokovic responded, “I mean, conditions were really much, much different from what I have played, you know, in previous matches. Balls didn’t bounce at all.
You know, he has a quite flat shots. He used the variety really well. Yeah, it was very cold, and I just didn’t find a better solution to come back to the match.”

Earlier in the day another Serbian was upset in Miami. The number 7 seed Janko Tipsarevic was bounced from the tournament by the number 11 seed Gilles Simon in three sets 5-7, 6-2, 6-2. Haas will face Simon in Wednesday’s night session for a place in the Sony Open semi-finals.

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Gulbis Wins the International Tennis Championships in Delray Beach

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Gulbis Wins the International Tennis Championships in Delray Beach


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Ernests Gulbis made a return appearance in the final at the International Tennis Championships in Delray Beach, Florida. The 2010 champion battled 29 year old Edouard Roger-Vasselin who was in his maiden ATP final. Gulbis downed Roger-Vasselin 7-6, 6-3 to bank his third career trophy.

This is the first time since 2007 in Houston that two players ranked outside the top hundred have reached this stage of the tournament. Gulbis, a former top 30 player, narrowly escaped the qualifying round to get into the main draw.

In the second round, Gublis overcame a 4-0 lead by third seed Sam Querrey in the third set. Later, in the semifinals versus second seed Tommy Haas, the Latvian erased a 0-40 disadvantage in the third set at 5 all to become the sixth qualifier to advance to the final.

For his part, Roger-Vasselin bounced big serving Ivo Karlovic in the second round, then, shocked top seed John Isner in the semifinals.

Although Gulbis and Roger-Vasselin had not met at the big league level, the two clashed on three prior occasions on the challenger circuit last in 2007 with Gulbis the winner every time.

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Competitive Draw at the Delray Beach International Tennis Championships

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Competitive Draw at the Delray Beach International Tennis Championships


The Delray Beach International Tennis Championships singles’ draw has been released with American John Isner as the top seed.

Isner faces compatriot Jessie Levine in the opening round while 2002 finalist and fourth seed Andy Roddick squares off against German Philipp Petzschner.

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Rafter Captures Champions Title Over McEnroe

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Rafter Captures Champions Title Over McEnroe


img_9844The finals of the ATP Champions Tour were contested Tuesday night at the Delray Beach Stadium & Tennis Center between Australian Patrick Rafter and American tennis legend John McEnroe. The meeting between the two former majors winners was expected to be a display of serve and volley, both delivered. Rafter prevailed over McEnroe 7-6 (7-4), 7-6 (7-1) in two highly competitive sets.

Although the ATP Champions Tour has been in existence since 1997, the four day event in Delray marked the Champions Tour’s inaugural stop on U.S. soil. McEnroe qualified for the finals by going undefeated in Group A (3-0) highlighted by wins over Mats Wilander and Andres Gomez. Despite losing to Ronald Agenor, in Group B, Rafter advanced by beating Aaron Krickstein and Pat Cash.

Rafter was favored in the final in light of his age. However, McEnroe held his own in the match. The difference was Rafter’s ability to raise his game level in the tiebreakers. McEnroe would later concede during the trophy ceremony that Rafter was “too good.” Also, McEnroe jokingly said that Rafter is “younger, faster, and better-looking than me.” The win places Rafter at the top of the rankings of The Champions Tour. The Champions tour moves next to Zurich on March 9.

Turning to the ATP Tour’s main draw, top seed Tommy Haas was upset on Monday night by Teimuraz Gabashvilli in straight sets. Despite dropping a set to Nicolas Lapentti, Evgeny Korolev, last year’s finalist, advanced. Mardy Fish, the 2009 champion, moved on when Christophe Rochus retired at 3 all in the third set. Second seed Ivo Karlovic ousted Philipp Petzschner while Kie Nishikori, 2008 champion, fell to third seed Benjamin Becker .

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Delray Beach Welcomes ITC

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Delray Beach Welcomes ITC


img_8728Once more, the Florida swing of the ATP initiates with the Delray Beach International Tennis Championships.  Along with the 250 World tour event which takes place from February 22 thru 28; for the first time, the Champions Tour comes to Delray with play running concurrently from February 20 thru 23.

Heading the line up from the legends tour are multiple major winner John McEnroe, two time U.S Open champion Patrick Rafter, fellow Aussie and 1987 Wimbledon victor Pat Cash, holder of seven majors Mats Wilander, 1990 French Open winner Andres Gomez and Johan Kriek two time Australian Open titlist.

From the World tour, 2009 champion Mardy Fish returns seeking to become the first individual since Jason Stoltenberg in 1996-97 to defend.  Fish will face stiff competition from top seed Tommy Haas winner in 2006, second seed and serving giant Ivo Karlovic, two time finalist James Blake and two time champion Xavier Malisse. Wildcard youngster Kei Nishikori who stunned Blake in the 2008 final has again been given a wildcard entry.

On the doubles side, the top attraction are Mike and Bob Bryan who are on the hunt for their second straight title.

Come out to see today’s stars as well as those of yesteryears.  For more info on the tournament and to purchase tickets go to www.yellowtennisball.com or call (561) 330-6000.

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ATP Australian Open Early Round Rewind

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ATP Australian Open Early Round Rewind


img_0642_mcAfter one week of play, the cream of the ATP has risen to the top at the Australian Open.   Although some had a tougher road than others, eight of the top seeds are still in the hunt.  Here’s a look back at the tournament’s key moments to date.

In the first round, Igor Andreev’s forehand gave world number one Roger Federer all sorts of headache.  After stealing the first set, Andreev was just one forehand winner away from serving for a two set to one lead.  When Andreev’s shot sailed long, so did his opportunity at an upset.  Thereafter, Federer cruised through his matches.

Another difficult challenge lays ahead for Federer in the fourth round in Aussie Lleyton Hewitt who will have the support of the crowd.  Still, Federer is favored in that match.  Should Federer advance, his tasks gets more complicated since he could face Nikolay Davydenko in the quarters, a man who has beaten him their last two meetings.

While Fernando Verdasco, a semifinalist last year, struggled through his first round match then benefited from a retirement his last round;  Davydenko, his fourth round opponent, has been in peak form through three rounds.  If Davydenko moves on to the quarterfinals, Federer’s streak of 22 consecutive majors semifinal will be in serious jeopardy.

An astounding fatality in the first round was French Open finalist, Robin Soderling. Playing Marcel Granollers ranked 113, Soderling let a two set to none advantage evaporate.  Current U.S. Open champ Juan Martin Del Potro who has been dealing with a wrist injury also made an early exit. After defeating James Blake in a thrilling second round match, in the fourth round, Del Potro fought hard but came up short against Marin Cilic in another five setter.  Cilic who has now gotten to the quarterfinals in the last two majors will battle Andy Roddick.

Although Roddick has been pushed with each passing round, he’s had the answers.  After straight sets wins in rounds one and two, Roddick required four sets against Feliciano Lopez, then five versus Fernando Gonzalez, the Australian Open 2007 finalist and his coach’s former pupil. If Roddick aces the Cilic exam, it will be either Rafael Nadal or Andy Murray his next nemesis.

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ATP’s Rollercoaster Ride in 2009

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ATP’s Rollercoaster Ride in 2009


img_2928From Rafael Nadal winning his first hardcourt major in Australia, to Roger Federer completing the career grand slam, to the emergence of a new major star Juan Martin Del Potro at the U.S. Open, 2009 was a year replete with ups and downs on the men’s tour.  Here’s a flashback.

At the Australian Open final, despite a marathon semifinal match, Nadal had adequate reserves to stare down Federer in another five setter.  With that victory, Nadal seemed well positioned to achieve the calendar grand slam.  After sweeping every clay court tournament, Nadal was halted at the Madrid Masters by Federer days prior to the French Open. For many analysts, fatigue may have been deserving of an assist as Federer defeated Nadal in straight sets to capture his initial title of 2009. As such, Nadal was still considered the outright favorite for a fifth consecutive French trophy.

While everyone may have discounted Robin Soderling in the fourth round at the French Open, the Swede who played a contentious match with Nadal at Wimbledon in 2007 had visions of victory dancing in his head.  Soderling upstaged the best clay player in circulation, handing Nadal his first defeat at Roland Garros.  Soderling rode this euphoric wave all the way to his first final at a major where he was ultimately stopped by Federer. In addition, Soderling was a quarterfinalist at the U.S. Open.  At his initial ATP World Tour Finals, Soderling was a semifinalist and with that result jumped to a career best ranking of 8th after commencing 2008 at 17.

Melbourne was the site where Fernando Verdasco at last  lived up to his talent.  After surprising Andy Murray the hottest player on tour in the fourth round, Verdasco was involved in a dogfight in the semifinals with countryman Nadal.  Hands down, the best match of the tournament and one of the most scintillating of the year, the two Spaniards went toe to toe for over five hours.  Although Nadal was triumphant, Verdasco’s run in Australia galvanized him the rest of the year.  Verdasco reached the quarters at the U.S. Open and was instrumental in Davis Cup play. Verdasco participated in his first ATP World Tour Finals and ended 2009 at number 9.

After an horrendous start to the season, Federer’s year turned around after beating Nadal in Madrid in May. After avoiding a sleuth of pitfalls to get to the French Open final, Federer grabbed the elusive brass ring and tied Pete Sampras’ record of 14 majors.  With a knee injury placing Wimbledon defending champ Nadal out of action, the impossibility of a Federer-Nadal duel could have been deflating for the championships.  To the contrary, Andy Roddick stepped up to the plate and in facing Federer, the two had a final to rival last year’s epic.  Federer had to out ace Roddick, required 95 minutes and 30 games in the fifth set before coming away with the victory and a record setting 15 majors.  In July, Federer supplanted Nadal at the top of the ATP’s ranking list.  Brimming with confidence, Federer appeared unstoppable and was a shoe-in for a sixth consecutive  title in New York.

At the U.S. Open, Federer battled Del Potro in the final.  With this being the latter’s maiden major final, jitters were more likely than not to play a pivotal role.  In spite of his youth, Del Potro demonstrated that he is a quick study.  After a devastating lost to Federer in the French semifinals, down two sets to one, Del Potro carried a tiebreaker and showed up Federer in the fifth set to capture his initial major. Del Potro closed 2009 as the world’s fifth best player and is a definite threat to take over the top spot in 2010.

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Gonzo Guns For Second Legg Mason Final

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Gonzo Guns For Second Legg Mason Final


lmtc_logo_mediumAt the Legg Mason Tennis Classic, Fernando Gonzalez used his big forehand to harass Tommy Haas giving him a 7-5, 6-4 victory.  Now, Gonzalez is one match away from making his second final appearance at a tournament where he  made his ATP debut a decade ago.   After the match, Gonzalez sat down to answer questions and MiamiTennisNews had a few it wanted addressed.

You were so close to getting to the final of another major in Paris.   Is there any part of your game you feel you need to work on that will help you get there as you did a couple of years ago?
“I don’t think that there’s anything really I have to change about my game which was demonstrated by the fact that I was so close in Paris. For sure I have to keep improving things. I don’t know, perhaps working more on my serve and net play, but all this gives me peace of mind”.

Your most successful year was 2007, in that you reached the Australian Open final with coach Larry Stefanki, why did the two of you part ways?
“[First of all ] Larry is a great coach and I was with him many years . [However], Larry and I had a major problem, he lives in California and I in Chile….So, I am very grateful for all that he thought me and I have a great respect for him.”

Turning to the semifinals where Juan Martin Del Potro will be his opponent, the last time the two met was the 2007 Australian Open.   As far as Gonzalez is concerned, Del Potro is a “different player”. Regardless, there is a level of comfort in knowing “[one] has a winning record” against the other guy.

Commenting on the atmosphere to be expected with his being Chilean and Del Potro Argentinean, would there be any tension?  Gonzalez cited “there may be a rivalry between countries, [but not between us players].  Juan Martin and I are really good friends. It should be a good match and should be fun”.

After Wimbledon, Gonzalez took four weeks off due to tendonitis in his right knee. Gonzalez said that the lesion is not as severe as Rafael Nadal’s. With rest and treatment, he has been lucky that the knee has been responding.  Thus, he hopes his good run will continue through the remainder of season.

Concerning his forehand, Gonzalez was asked the secret to that stroke being “such a weapon”.   Gonzalez answered “I don’t have fear if I miss. If you don’t take a risk, you don’t miss.”  In other words, one has to be willing to gamble.

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