Tag Archive | "Indian Wells"

A Tale of Two Seasons:  Serena Starts and Wozniacki Finishes

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A Tale of Two Seasons: Serena Starts and Wozniacki Finishes

Although the familiar saying states “all good things must come to an end”, when it comes to tennis it’s not necessarily the case.  While the 2010 season is over, in the blink of an eye the new one will commence.  Before turning to a fresh chapter, it’s important to reminisce and ponder what made this past year noteworthy.

At her first tournament after rejoining the tour, Justine Henin was a finalist in Brisbane.  The Belgian followed that result with a run to the final at the Australian Open.  In a compelling match, Serena Williams edged out Henin to defend her title and claimed her twelfth career major.  Despite Williams’ conquest, the road to victory was far from routine.  Thus, early indications were Williams would be fighting tooth and nail to retain the number one ranking.  Yet, in the end, injury became Serena’s speed bump rather than her fellow competitors.

Following Australia, a knee injury caused Williams to put her feet up for a few months.  In May, a healthy Serena returned to competition.  Subsequent to being stunned in the French Open quarterfinals, Williams successfully defended her Wimbledon title.  However, days after her triumph, Serena suffered a freakish foot injury.  Initially, the damage seemed inconsequential.  But, as the weeks went by, Serena withdrew from tournament after tournament and underwent surgery.  Ultimately, Wimbledon proved to be Serena’s last event of 2010.

Ironically, Serena’s similar fate befell Henin.  After being booted in the round of 16 at Roland Garros, Henin turned her focus to Wimbledon the underlying reason for her comeback.  With a title at a warm-up tournament before Wimbledon, Henin was a serious contender to capture the sole major which has eluded her. But, after easily carrying the first set against Kim Clijsters, Henin fell on her elbow and eventually loss in the round of 16.  What at first seemed an innocuous tumble prematurely terminated Henin’s year.

After being upended in the quarterfinals at the Australian Open by Na Li, Venus Williams caught a full head of steam and defended back to back titles in Dubai and Acapulco.  Then, Venus made the finals at the Sony Ericsson Open and the Mutua Madrilena Madrid Open.  Consequently, Venus’ ranking peaked at number two.  Days after celebrating her 30th birthday,  the five time Wimbledon champion stepped on the grass with high hopes for a sixth crown.  However, in the quarterfinals, Venus was sent packing by Tsvetana Pironkova.  Later at the U.S. Open, Williams watched an opportunity to advance to the final evaporate, going down to Clijsters.  Bothered by a knee issue, after New York, Venus sat out the remainder of the season.

No ifs and or buts, Clijsters is back.  After besting Henin in the Brisbane final, Clijsters rebounded from an early exit at the Australian Open by thrashing Venus in the final of the Sony Ericsson Open.  Although a foot injury prevented Clijsters from participating at the French Open, the following month the Belgian reached the semifinals at Wimbledon.  Subsequent to a sensational win in the final in Cincinnati, Clijsters repeated in New York and earned her third U.S. Open title.  Clijsters capped the year with the number three ranking and the WTA Championships trophy in Doha.

In placing one’s bet at the start of 2010, Maria Sharapova, Henin and Clijsters would have been regarded as the candidates likely to supplant Serena at number one.  Instead, Williams was toppled from that spot by a great Dane.  Last year, as a runner-up at the U.S. Open, Caroline Wozniacki demonstrated that she is a legitimate rival.  With Serena sidelined by injury, Wozniacki scaled up the ranking by winning six tour titles and making the finals in Indian Wells and Doha.

Despite being halted in the round of 16 at the Australian Open and Wimbledon, the quarterfinals at the French Open and the semifinals at the U.S. Open, consistency week in and week out was the key to Wozniacki taking over at number one.

Another individual who had a spring in her step in 2010 is Vera Zvonareva. The Russian followed her first major final at Wimbledon with another at the U.S. Open.  Although Zvonareva fell to Serena and Clijsters respectively, because of her phenomenal performance, Zvonareva shot up to the number two ranking.

Other names to come into the spotlight this season include twenty year old Petra Kvitova who stunned Victoria Azarenka and Wozniacki before being knocked out in the Wimbledon semifinals by Serena.  Along with Li, countrywoman Jie Zheng advanced to the semifinals at the Australian Open.  Perhaps the unlikeliest ones to rise above the fray were veterans Francesca Schiavone and Samantha Stosur.

After beating Henin, Serena and Jelena Jankovic at the French Open, 26 year old Stosur booked her maiden major final spot.  With a victory over Wozniacki in the quarterfinals, Schiavone sauntered into the French Open final as a result of Elena Dementieva retiring in the semifinals with a calf injury.  First time major finalist Schiavone took full advantage of her good fortune.  Less than a month prior to her 30th birthday, Schiavone prevailed over Stosur becoming the first Italian woman to win a major.

In doubles, Serena and Venus triumphed in the finals at the Australian and French Opens while Wimbledon and the U.S. Open were claimed by the new pair of Vania King and Yaroslava Shvedova.  The number one doubles team of Cara Black and Liezel Huber had an acrimonious divorce in April.  With the break up of Huber and Black and injuries affecting the Williams’, Flavia Pennetta and Gisela Dulko with six titles and the WTA Championships trophy ended the year as the top doubles team.

For the second consecutive year, Italy dismissed the U.S. to take the Federation Cup. Former French Open champion and world number one Ana Ivanovic redeemed her season by pocketing the Tournament of Champions trophy in Bali and reintegrating herself in the top twenty.  Nothing but bad news for former world number one Dinara Safina.  Limited by a back problem, Safina hardly played and finished the year ranked 63rd.

At the WTA championships, Dementieva dropped a bomb announcing her retirement after her last round robin match.  The 2008 Olympic gold medalist and two time major finalist felt at 29 years of age the time had arrived to seal this phase of her life and move on to another.

It is impossible to dissociate 2010 from 2011 with injury already a factor in the year to come.  With her foot still on the mend, Serena proclaimed she will not defend her Australian Open title.  As such, the first major of the year will be up for grabs.  Will Clijsters seize her first major other than the U.S. Open?  Can Wozniacki silence all doubters and show she really belongs at the top spot?  Will Zvonareva draw on the positives from 2010 and take the final step to the major’s winner circle?  Will it be Sharapova or Henin reliving their past success down under?  In contemplating the outcome of the Australian Open, the permutations seem infinite.  With all these questions, the first major portends that the upcoming season will be a fascinating one to follow.

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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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Stosur Smashes Zvonareva In Charleston Final

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Stosur Smashes Zvonareva In Charleston Final

By virtue of prevailing in their last four meetings, Samantha Stosur, the 4th  seed and world 11th, was favored to win over Vera Zvonareva seeded 7th and ranked 22nd  in the Family Circle Cup final.  However, Stosur’s 1-6 record in finals left plenty of room for pause.  With ten titles under her belt including one this year, Zvonareva had experience on her side.  Still, Stosur obliterated her prior performances from her mind and crushed Zvonareva 6-0,6-3 to become the first Aussie to conquer Charleston.

With three straight winners, Stosur opened with a love hold.  Following a forehand error by Zvonareva, Stosur had break point.  The Aussie captured the break with an overhead winner.  Then, by culminating another love game with her sixth winner, Stosur took a 3-0 lead.  Following three consecutive errors by Zvonareva, Stosur broke again.  Later, with another forehand winner, Stosur stretched her lead to 5-0.  With two forehand winners and a double fault donation by Zvonareva, Stosur arrived at double set point.  As a result of an error by Zvonareva, Stosur secured d the set.

In her previous matches, Zvonareva had not relinquished a set.  Considering a competitive encounter in Indian Wells last month despite Stosur being triumphant, it seemed a matter of time before Zvonareva struck back and Stosur cooled down. Yet, with a few more winners, Stosur readily held to start the second set.  Then, with a backhand down the line winner, Stosur obtained triple break point.  By converting a forehand down the line winner, Stosur claimed the break.  Subsequently, with an ace to close out a love game, Stosur sprinted to a 3-0 lead.  After two Stosur forehand winners and a double fault, Zvonareva stared at double break point.  Unable to bottle her frustration any longer, Zvonareva erupted by wrecking a racket.  Thereafter, the Russian won the next four point for 1-3.  Momentarily, Zvonareva appeared to have found the antidote to Stosur’s hot hand.  After holding for 2-4, because of a double fault and two forehand mistakes by Stosur, Zvonareva had double break point.  When Stosur sliced a backhand out of play, the players were back on serve.  Undaunted, Stosur resumed her relentless attack.  In forcing a miscue from her rival, Stosur fabricated double break point.  The Aussie followed that up with a forehand down the line winner for 5-3.  Quickly, with a forehand crosscourt winner, Stosur set up triple championship point.  Stosur guaranteed the trophy with a forehand crosscourt winner.

The Family Circle Cup, a WTA premier event, is the second and biggest title of Stosur’s career.  Last season in reaching the semifinals at the French Open, Stosur revealed she is a legitimate competitor on clay.  Even though those at the head of the class when it comes to favorites at the majors, Justine Henin, Kim Clijsters and Serena Williams were absent from this event; through this victory, Stosur demonstrates she will be a mighty contender this clay season as she climbs back into the top ten.

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Last Act of 2010 Sony Ericsson Open Today: Roddick and Berdych in Men’s Final

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Last Act of 2010 Sony Ericsson Open Today: Roddick and Berdych in Men’s Final

The recipient of the Sony Ericsson Open men’s trophy will be decided this afternoon as Andy Roddick and Tomas Berdych clash in the finals.  That will be followed by the WTA doubles final.

The winner in Brisbane, this is Roddick’s fourth final of the year.  However, in his first ATP 1000 Masters’  final in Indian Wells, Roddick was disappointed by Ivan Ljubicic.  The victor in Miami in 2004, Roddick will attempt to capture his second championship in South Florida.  If Roddick succeeds, it will be his first Masters’  title since 2006 in Cincinnati and the 29th of his career.

After prevailing over Roger Federer, Fernando Verdasco and Robin Soderling to advance to the finals, Berdych tries to put the cherry on this spectacular run with his first title of the year.  Moreover, Berdych is in his first ATP Masters 1000  final since 2005 in Paris where he was triumphant.  In contrast to Roddick, not only is this Berdych’s first final of the year,  he is trying to collect  his 6th career title.  The Czech is 2-5 lifetime versus Roddick and has already lost twice to him in 2010.  While Berdych has a record of  5-4 in finals, Roddick is 28-19.  With the prior wins and the vast differential in experience, Roddick is the clear favorite.

The tournament ends with the women’s doubles with the new team of Samantha Stosur and Nadia Petrova, seeded 3rd, taking on the duo of Gisela Dulko and Flavia Pennetta.  For Stosur and Petrova, this is their second consecutive final, they were defeated two weeks ago in Indian Wells.  In 2006-07, Stosur won the championship with Lisa Raymond and in 2004 Petrova carried it with partner Megan Shaughnessy.  Petrova and Stosur have a combined 40 doubles titles. For Dulko and Pennetta, this is their initial final at the Sony Ericsson Open.  In addition, that tandem possesses a total of 15 trophies.  Again, because of their wealth of experience,  the 3rd seed have a distinct advantage.

Here is the order of play :

STADIUM start 1:00 PM
[16] T Berdych (CZE) vs [6] A Roddick (USA) – ATP SINGLES FINAL
[3] N Petrova (RUS) / S Stosur (AUS) vs G Dulko (ARG) / F Pennetta (ITA) – WTA DOUBLES FINAL

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On Tap At the 2010 Sony Ericsson Open For Friday March 26

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On Tap At the 2010 Sony Ericsson Open For Friday March 26

Second round play for the WTA and ATP continue today at the Sony Ericsson Open with many top ten players from both tours on the schedule.

The morning starts with last year’s Sony Ericsson Open champion, Victoria Azarenka, on stadium court squaring off against Alexandra Dulgheru. Jelena Jankovic and Caroline Wozniacki, the winner and runner up at Indian Wells, are on the grandstand and court 1 respectively. After her great play in Federation Cup, a rejuvenated Melanie Oudin faces a struggling Vera Zvonareva. This is another chance for the U.S. Open quarterfinalist, Oudin, to claim yet another Russian scalp. In the afternoon, Kim Cljisters works on sealing a third round spot versus Petra Kvitova on stadium court.

Novak Djokovic, the 2009 Sony Ericsson finalist, has a date with Oliver Rochus while Rafael Nadal will need to sidestep Taylor Dent to book a third round bid. Americans John Isner and Sam Querrey attempt to reach the third round for the first time in Miami, they will be in session on the outside courts. Charismatic Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, a quarterfinalist in 2009, hopes to make short work of Guillermo Garcia-Lopez.

Saving the best for last. In the night session, Elena Dementieva will look to avenge her second round Australian Open loss to Justine Henin, as these two face each other for the 13th time. Although Henin has a commending 10-2 record in their head to head, this one will likely have spectators on the edge of their seats. The women will be followed by Andy Roddick and Igor Andreev. After a tough outing in the finals at Indian Wells, Roddick will try to rebound. With the players tied after four meetings, Roddick may have his hands full.

Below is a complete list of the matches and court location for Friday:

STADIUM start 11:00 am
A Dulgheru (ROU) vs [4] V Azarenka (BLR) – WTA
O Rochus (BEL) vs [2] N Djokovic (SRB) – ATP
[14] K Clijsters (BEL) vs P Kvitova (CZE) – WTA
T Dent (USA) vs [4] R Nadal (ESP) – ATP

Not Before 7:00 pm
[5] E Dementieva (RUS) vs [WC] J Henin (BEL) – WTA
[6] A Roddick (USA) vs I Andreev (RUS) – ATP

GRANDSTAND start 11:00 am
[15] D Ferrer (ESP) vs M Llodra (FRA) – ATP
[7] J Jankovic (SRB) vs [Q] M Koryttseva (UKR) – WTA
[27] T Bellucci (BRA) vs J Blake (USA) – ATP
[30] V Troicki (SRB) vs [WC] D Nalbandian (ARG) – ATP

Not Before 5:00 pm
[8] J Tsonga (FRA) vs G Garcia-Lopez (ESP) – ATP

COURT 1 start 10:00 am
D Gimeno-Traver (ESP) vs [24] I Karlovic (CRO) – ATP
[Q] T Pironkova (BUL) vs [2] C Wozniacki (DEN) – WTA
C Suarez Navarro (ESP) vs [9] S Stosur (AUS) – WTA
[17] J Isner (USA) vs M Russell (USA) – ATP
A Medina Garrigues (ESP) / C Wozniacki (DEN) vs [4] L Raymond (USA) / R Stubbs (AUS) – WTA

COURT 2 start 10:00 am
[32] M Kirilenko (RUS) vs M Czink (HUN) – WTA
D Koellerer (AUT) vs [12] J Ferrero (ESP) – ATP
J Chardy (FRA) vs [21] S Querrey (USA) – ATP
M Oudin (USA) vs [11] V Zvonareva (RUS) – WTA

Not Before 5:00 pm
B Becker (GER) vs [11] I Ljubicic (CRO) – ATP

COURT 3 start 10:00 am
T Paszek (AUT) vs [22] A Pavlyuchenkova (RUS) – WTA
[WC] R Harrison (USA) / N Lapentti (ECU) vs E Butorac (USA) / R Ram (USA) – ATP
A Kudryavtseva (RUS) vs [17] S Peer (ISR) – WTA
[18] T Robredo (ESP) vs [Q] I Marchenko (UKR) – ATP
M Llodra (FRA) / A Ram (ISR) vs F Lopez (ESP) / F Verdasco (ESP) – ATP

COURT 4 start 11:00 am
[29] M Martinez Sanchez (ESP) vs L Safarova (CZE) – WTA

Not Before 12:30 pm
[15] F Schiavone (ITA) vs A Cornet (FRA) – WTA
M Damm (CZE) / F Polasek (SVK) vs I Karlovic (CRO) / D Vemic (SRB) – ATP

COURT 6 start 10:00 am
[33] N Almagro (ESP) vs E Schwank (ARG) – ATP
[Q] S Arvidsson (SWE) vs [26] D Cibulkova (SVK) – WTA
J Melzer (AUT) / P Petzschner (GER) vs [6] S Aspelin (SWE) / P Hanley (AUS) – ATP
F Mayer (GER) vs [28] P Kohlschreiber (GER) – ATP
S Stakhovsky (UKR) vs [32] J Benneteau (FRA) – ATP

COURT 7 start 10:00 am
L Dekmeijere (LAT) / P Schnyder (SUI) vs V Dushevina (RUS) / A Rodionova (AUS) – WTA

Not Before 11:30 am
[20] J Zheng (CHN) vs V Razzano (FRA) – WTA
[24] A Kleybanova (RUS) vs S Errani (ITA) – WTA
[1] C Black (ZIM) / L Huber (USA) vs N Grandin (RSA) / A Spears (USA)
T Garbin (ITA) / V Ruano Pascual (ESP) vs K Peschke (CZE) / K Srebotnik (SLO) – WTA

COURT 8 start 11:00 am
A Bondarenko (UKR) / G Voskoboeva (KAZ) vs J Coin (FRA) / V King (USA) – WTA
J Goerges (GER) vs [28] E Vesnina (RUS) – WTA
[6] B Mattek-Sands (USA) / Z Yan (CHN) vs M Kirilenko (RUS) / A Radwanska (POL) – WTA
I Senoglu (TUR) / Y Shvedova (KAZ) vs [8] E Makarova (RUS) / S Peng (CHN) – WTA

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Federer Tackles Questions Prior to Saturday Play at Sony Ericsson Open

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Federer Tackles Questions Prior to Saturday Play at Sony Ericsson Open

Roger Federer, world number one, will be holding court for the first time at 2010 Sony Ericsson Open on Saturday night.  This afternoon, though, Federer held a press conference at which MiamiTennisNews.com was present.  Here are some of the more salient remarks from the reigning Australian Open champion.

Q.  No doubt what happened to you last week at Indian Wells hurt.  We can could see that afterwards.  I mean, how much do defeats still really hurt you, at whatever level they come and whatever tournament they come?

FEDERER:  No, I mean, it was just disappointing on the moment itself.  Disappointed you don’t get a shot at winning the title.  I mean, it’s a long trip, and I’ve been practicing or trying to recuperate for weeks and weeks.  So when it’s over after one or two matches, it’s kind of  you know, you feel a little bit empty in the moment itself, in the moment that follows.  I mean, the press conference is three minutes after, which doesn’t help.  If I would do it the next day it would sound obviously much fresher.  And it was late and everything.  No, I mean, after that, you know, I’ve had many years where I run from one thing to the next that also I welcome having all of a sudden, you know, more days off, more days of practice, more days where I can just wake up and see what I really want to do instead of having the perfect plan the whole time.  So it’s nice to adjust that for a change, if there’s anything positive to take out of a loss.

Q.  MiamiTennisNews.com wanted to know since you had to withdraw from Dubai because of a lung infection.   Are you back to 100% now?

FEDERER:  Yeah, I mean, I felt good after, ever since I got the green light from the doctors, and I’ve been practicing hard before Indian Wells and also now in between.  So no issues whatsoever.  I’m fighting fit again.

Q.  Do you ever plan to play Latin American tour?  And what do you think of what happened down there?

FEDERER:  Yeah, I mean, it’s a tough circuit for me to attend really, because I have options to play indoor tournaments in Europe which are a one hour flight away and are indoors where I had my first success, which I really enjoy playing. Or I don’t play those and just go play Dubai, which is what I’ve been doing for many years.  So that’s why obviously to go to South America is almost impossible for me except for maybe exhibitions at the end of the year, which I guess at some stage I would consider.  But at the moment, especially with having a family as well, it’s  yeah, it’s not really in my plan, to be honest.  I’d love to go see more of it.  Back in maybe ’96 I played the junior circuit.  I mean, it wasn’t South America deep south, but I played Mexico, Costa Rica, and Venezuela.  That’s as close I’ve gotten really to get a feel for South America.

Q.  MiamiTennisNews inquired I believe you were the last person to win Indian Wells and Miami back to back.  Can you elaborate what’s so challenging about trying to win these two tournaments back to back?

FEDERER:  Two huge tournaments, tough draws, over three, four weeks you got to keep your concentration.  It’s not easy.  Obviously with a knockout system tennis it’s just not easy to win backtoback Masters 1000 events.  I think I did it for two years in a row.  I’m not sure about yeah, I was playing great and probably got lucky on one or two matches during the stretch.  That’s what you need, as well, if you want to try to win two in a row here.

Q.  Justine [Henin] said your winning the French really sort of put the fire back in her in terms of wanting to come back and play.  I know you’re a fan of the women’s game.  What is it you like about Justine and the way she approaches things?

FEDERER:  Well, one-handed backhand is something you don’t see very often.  I like that, you know, she doesn’t have too many letdowns.  You know, sometimes I see women players going through quite a few ups and downs during the match.  But she can really focus through an entire match.  Just putting in a solid performance every time she goes out on court.  She knows how to win the big titles.  She’s been in many pressure situations and she’s handled those well.  Yeah, something you can look up to.

Q.  What’s it like to still go out there and see people just to watch you practice?  What’s that like?  And do you ever just look around and say, Wow?

FEDERER:  Yeah, it’s funny how it goes.  You reach No. 1 in the world, and next time you practice you’ve got a crowd.  That’s something that was a very, you know, shockingly nice surprise when it happened, sort of, in 2004.  But it’s not easy.  I wish sometimes I was alone on the practice courts, because then you can really just relax a bit more.  But I feel like everything is documented, whatever I do in the practice courts.  So, sometimes I do feel the pressure, as well, and then you can’t just come in and walk in and out, you know.  You don’t have to, but of course I sign a lot of autographs and take pictures.  That always takes time away, too.  It’s just part of my life today.  But it definitely, you know, also wears you out at times.  I like to do it and put in the hard work because they make it so worthwhile, you know, to keep on playing and make it so much more fun.  I’m lucky enough to always be playing on center court and also the practice I get a lot of encouragement.  It’s nice they’re there, you know.  But, I definitely feel the pressure sometimes that they’re watching me, many of them probably for the first time in their lives, so it’s a big moment for them.  Especially here in Miami and also Indian Wells there’s huge crowds at the practice.  It’s nice, you know, because they’re really friendly and very enthusiastic.  So then obviously I like to spend even more time with them.

Federer was victorious on consecutive years from 2005-06 at Sony and reached the semifinals last year.  The holder of a record 16 majors, Federer will be attempting to win his 17th Masters’ shield.

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Here Comes The Sony Ericsson Open

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Here Comes The Sony Ericsson Open

The next couple of weeks, tennis’ spotlight shifts to Miami as the ATP and WTA’s best players descend on Crandon Park to battle for the Sony Ericsson Open trophy.

Leading the troops for the ATP will be this year’s Australian Open champion and world number one, Roger Federer.  After an early exit at Indian Wells, Federer is looking to regain his form by ending a four year drought in South Florida.  However, Federer’s task won’t be easy.  Defending champion and 2010 Australian Open finalist, Andy Murray, will attempt to make it two in a row while Rafael Nadal after being sidelined by injuries for weeks will try to prevail for the first time in Miami.

Also, not to be forgotten, Novak Djokovic, Sony’s 2008 victor and new world number two, who like Federer stumbled at Indian Wells will be ready to sizzle in the Miami heat.  After advancing to the finals at Indian Wells, Andy Roddick, the champion in 2004, will see if he can continue his excellent play in the Magic City.  All this bodes well for a very competitive tournament on the men side.

Although reigning Australian Open champion and five time Sony winner, Serena Williams, will be absent due to injury, sister Venus, a three time vanquisher at Sony is hoping to capture glories of old.  Venus last reached the finals in 2001.  But, Victoria Azarenka, last year’s conqueror, will have plenty to say as she sets her eyes on a second straight Sony prize.  In addition, Caroline Wozniacki, the 2009 U.S. Open finalist and  Jelena Jankovic, 2008 Sony finalist, who squared off in the finals at Indian Wells will do their best to carry their momentum down to Sony.

After a disastrous start to the season, former Sony winner and 2009 French Open champ Svetlana Kuznetsova is searching to reestablish her footing by doing well in Miami.  Yet,  the most intriguing players on the women side are Kim Clijsters and wildcard entrant Justine Henin.  With both ladies fresh out of retirement and having quickly found their winning ways, the field can be said to be wide open.

Along with singles, there will be plenty of doubles action to enjoy.  After being derailed at Indian Wells in the first round, Mike and Bob Bryan will be seeking redemption while Daniel Nestor  and Nenad Zimonjic who were disappointed in the finals in the desert by Marc Lopez and Nadal will be trying to make amends.  Liezel Huber and Cara Black, the ladies’ top seed,  hope that this will be the year they will breakthrough with their initial title in Miami.

Qualification rounds start today.  To purchase tickets, take a look at the draws and for more detailed information, click on sonyericssonopen.com.

MiamiTennisNews.com will once again be on the grounds providing live daily coverage.  For up to the minute news,  follow us on Twitter under the username MiamiTennisNews.

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BMW Championship Hits Sunrise

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BMW Championship Hits Sunrise

img_9385Want to experience tennis live in South Florida this upcoming week?  Here’s your appetizer before the Sony Ericsson Open.  From March 14-21, the Sunrise Tennis Club will host the ATP Challenger tour’s BMW Championship.

Last year, Robin Soderling, the 2009 French Open finalist and world number 7, defeated Tomas Berdych, ranked 22nd, to take home the big prize.  Who will be the breakout star this year?

The 2010 list of potential contenders is equally impressive.  Mikhail Youzhny, ranked 13th, whose year thus far includes back to back finals in Rotterdam and Dubai will be the top seed.   After dropping from a peak ranking of 6th to 21st, Gilles Simon who has been dealing with a sleuth of injuries is hoping to get his game back on track and is the projected second seed.  Richard Gasquet, formerly ranked in the top ten, is also expected to be part of the main draw.  2004 champion Jurgen Melzer, ranked number 28th, is another featured attraction.  Michael Berrer, a recent quarterfinalist in Dubai and finalist in Zagreb, will try to continue his winning ways while Horacio Zeballos, ranked 49th and one of  the keys to Argentina’s win over Sweden earlier this month in Davis Cup, will attempt to carry that momentum towards a trophy in Sunrise.

Keep in mind that although these are the players on the acceptance list, the actual competitors may vary since they are allowed to enter this tournament and Indian Wells simultaneously.  The draw is expected to be finalized by the end of the day on March 16th.  Regardless, you can be assured that some of  the ATP’s best will take the court.

For tournament details and to purchase tickets,go to www.sunrisetennis.com.  Make sure to tune in for live coverage by following us on twitter at www.twitter.com/MiamiTennisNews under the username @MiamiTennisNews.

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