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Fish Clings on to Atlanta Title

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Fish Clings on to Atlanta Title


The U.S. summer hardcourt series got under way this week with the Atlanta Tennis Championships. In a replay of last year‘s final, Mardy Fish and John Isner collided in the ultimate match. The result was similar as Fish vanquished Isner 3-6,7-6,6-2 to defend his trophy.

With the title in Newport a few weeks ago, Isner was trying to win back to back title for the initial time in his career while Fish was in his maiden final of the season.

As a result of a double fault, Isner faced double break point to open the match. However, by finding his serve, Isner held. Later on, when Fish’s forehand sailed long on break point, Isner took a 3-1 lead. This was the difference in the first set, as Isner went on to guard serve and carry it 6-3.

With a forehand miscue by Fish on break point, Isner capitalized and secured the initial game of the second set. Soon though, with a backhand down the line winner, Fish manufactured double break point. When Isner double faulted, the players were back on serve.

Since neither contender could fabricate another break point, the second set went to a tiebreaker. Subsequent to getting the initial point, Isner got on a roll and built a 5-1 advantage. Then, with a powerful forehand, Isner forced Fish into a mistake to obtain double championship point at 6-4.

Yet, by pushing his backhand long and with Fish thumping an ace, Isner watched two chances combust. Promptly, with a superb backhand crosscourt volley winner, Fish had set point. Next, as Isner hit a forehand wide, Fish captured the second set.

At the start of the previous set, Isner seemed to be suffering from the heat. On the other hand, Fish looked like he had hardly warmed up after tiebreaker. Consequently, Isner would need to draw on all his reserves to pull off a victory.

With Isner double faulting, Fish arrived at double break point. When Isner’s backhand dropshot missed its mark, Fish banked the opening game of the decider.

After Fish consolidated with a love game, Isner easily guarded serve to stay one game behind. With Fish serving at 3-2, Isner struck a nice backhand down the line winner for double break point.

Still in the longest rally of the afternoon, fatigue bested Isner causing him to send a forehand long. Ultimately, Fish maintained serve and extended his lead.

When Isner double faulted on break point, Fish had a 5-2 edge. After quickly reaching triple match point, Fish crushed a forehand crosscourt winner to claim the championship.

Fish stated that he was “lucky” to come away with the win because “nine out of ten times when John is up a set and a break, he will close it out”. Furthermore, Fish expressed he cannot remember Isner ever surrendering a tiebreaker after a 5-1 advantage.

Fish admitted that fitness was in part a factor “I felt great. . . I pride myself on my fitness now”.

This upcoming week, Fish will be the top seed at the Farmers’ Classic. Juan Martin Del Potro, the 2008 champion, will make his summer hardcourt debut as the second seed at the same event.

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Wimbledon Draw 2011: Nadal and Djokovic Steer the Field

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Wimbledon Draw 2011: Nadal and Djokovic Steer the Field


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

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

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

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

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

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Del Potro Sacks Soderling, Djokovic Easily Wins at the Sony Ericsson Open

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Del Potro Sacks Soderling, Djokovic Easily Wins at the Sony Ericsson Open




With each passing match, Juan Martin Del Potro looks one step closer to the form which made him the 2009 U.S. Open champion and a world number four. In the third round of the Sony Ericsson Open, Del Potro knocked out current world number four Robin Soderling 6-3, 6-2.

With three titles already this season and a 20-2 record, Soderling should have felt pretty good going into this contest. However, a recent ailment and an earlier than expected exit at Indian Wells allowed just enough room for Soderling to doubt his chances.

As a result of a net court winner, Del Potro obtained his fourth break point opportunity in the fourth game of the first set. The Argentine capitalized when Soderling’s backhand down the line sailed wide. Then, with an ace on game point, Del Potro consolidated for 4-1.

Because of sensational serving, Del Potro guarded the one break advantage and carried the first set.

After Del Potro broke the first game of the second set, Soderling came alive with two winners to go up 0-30. Yet, Del Potro’s serve came to the rescue. The Argentine saved the game for a 2-0 lead.

Later, Del Potro captured an insurance break. Then with a strong game closed out the match.

When Del Potro won the title in Delray, he felt that the true measure of the state of his game would be prevailing over a top ten player. Having accomplished this objective, Del Potro was asked to evaluate his progress “when you play against these kinds of players and [win it gives you a little bit of confidence]. Today, my serve, my forehand, my backhand, everything worked incredibly well. He’s a really good player. He had chances, too, but I took my opportunities. . .that was very important for my confidence”.

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Djokovic Squelches Istomin, Del Potro Resists to Reach 3rd Round

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Djokovic Squelches Istomin, Del Potro Resists to Reach 3rd Round



No one these days can touch Novak Djokovic.  Djokovic cruised through his second round match at the Sony Ericsson Open.  The Serb thrashed Denis Istomin 6-0, 6-1 to book a spot in the next round against American James Blake.

It’s perhaps safe to surmise that Denis Istomin had a feeling of impeding doom prior to his match.  Of late, most players seeing Djokovic across the net would share a similar uneasiness.

After having a bagel besides his name in the first set, Istomin held his first service game of the second set.  However Istomin’s, next time around, Djokovic obtained the break.

Djokovic went down double break point while trying to consolidate.  Any notion of Istomin showing signs of life were quickly eradicated as Djokovic guarded serve for 4-1.

For Istomin the winners were too few while the errors were many.  Consequently, it took Djokovic just 48 minutes to dispatch his adversary.

Subsequent to the match, MiamiTennisNews.com wanted to know:  You’ve played so much tennis, is it helpful that tonight’s match was so short?
DJOKOVIC:  Definitely helpful.  In opening rounds. . . you’re trying to get used to the conditions and you don’t want to underestimate your opponent.  So you want to step into the court and try to be focused from the start and try to get as quickly as possible out of the court.  I did a great job tonight.

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Tipsarevic Advances in Delray, Querrey and Blake Bounced

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Tipsarevic Advances in Delray, Querrey and Blake Bounced



Six-seeded Janko Tipsarevic advanced to the third round of the Delray Beach Tennis International Championships Wednesday night with a 6-2, 6-7, 6-3 win over Blaz Kavcic.

In the first night session match, Kei Nishikori eliminated wild card James Blake 6-3, 6-4. The second round encounter was a rematch of the 2008 final whereby Nishikori was also victorious.

In the afternoon session third-seeded Sam Querrey went down in straight sets to qualifier Ryan Sweeting, while Ivan Dodig advanced over Dudi Sela 2-6, 6-3, 6-2.

In another second round match Adrian Mannarino rallied from a set down to advance over Leonardo Mayer 1-6, 7-6, 6-4.

Thursday afternoon, 2009 ITC champion Mardy Fish will take on the 2004 ITC champion Ricardo Mello. The night session is highlighted by 2009 US Open champion Juan Martin Del Potro who takes on Teymuraz Gabashvili. Gabashvili eliminated John Isner in the first round.

Here is the order of play for Thursday, February 24 :

STADIUM start 11:00 am
B Becker (GER) / M Kohlmann (GER) vs C Kas (GER) / A Peya (AUT)

Not Before 12:30 PM
R Mello (BRA) vs [2] M Fish (USA)

Not Before 2:30 PM
[8] A Mannarino (FRA) vs [Q] A Falla (COL)

5:30 PM
S Lipsky (USA) / R Ram (USA) vs J Murray (GBR) / K Skupski (GBR)

Not Before 7:15 PM
J Del Potro (ARG) vs T Gabashvili (RUS)
[5] K Anderson (RSA) vs F Serra (FRA)

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Del Potro Advances In Delray Beach Debut

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Del Potro Advances In Delray Beach Debut



Juan Martin Del Potro advanced to the second round of the Delray Beach Tennis Championships Tuesday night with a 6-4, 6-1 win over Richard Berankis of Lithuania.

Del Potro and Berankis traded breaks early in the first set before going back on serve in the sixth game. Serving at 4-5, Berankis was broken, handing Del Potro the first set. In the second set, Berankis was no match for Del Potro who easily ran away with the second set and the match.

In the post match interview, Del Potro responded to following questions from MiamiTennisNews.com:

Q: Since your return from your wrist surgery have you had to adjust the way you play or are are playing at the same level when you won the US Open?
Del Potro: It depends on the climate and how I feel on a given day. I do not have the same strength however my game remains the same. I try to be aggressive with all my shots as that is what has allowed me to win tournaments.

Q: Are you taking any special measures to protect your wrist or are you back to 100%?
Del Potro: No, I’m still rehabbing and receiving treatments. It is a very long process. It still hasn’t been a year since I had the surgery. The norm would be that I would have some pain. At the moment [the recovery] is going well.

Del Potro, who is making his first appearance in Delray, will face Teymuraz Gabashvili of Russia in the second round. On Monday night Gabashvili upset the fourth-seeded American John Isner in a three sets.

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Delray Beach Draw Displays Potential for an Exciting Final

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Delray Beach Draw Displays Potential for an Exciting Final



As usual, Delray Beach will be the ATP’s first stop in South Florida.  This year, the field is more spectacular than ever with 2003 U.S. Open title holder Andy Roddick and 2009 U.S. Open champion Juan Martin Del Potro gracing fans with their appearance.  Moreover, former champions Marty Fish, Kei Nishikori, Xavier Malisse and Ricardo Mello will also take part in the festivities.  The draw has been announced, here’ a closer look as to how this thrilling week may unfold.

Roddick, the top seed, may have to face Janko Tipsarevic for the second consecutive week.  This time, Roddick would battle Tipsarevic or 2010 finalist Ivo Karlovic for a spot in the semifinals.

Third seed and wildcard entry Sam Querrey may be another threat to Roddick’s quest to the final.  However, prior to a potential date with Roddick, Querrey may have to overcome either Nishikori, Russian Igor Andreev or the always dangerous Benjamin Becker in the quarterfinals.

In the bottom section, 2009 titlist Fish is the second seed.  Veteran Rainer Schuettler could present a grave challenge for Fish in the second round.  Then, in the quarterfinals, Fish could contend with Radek Stepanek.

Also, in Fish’s part of the draw are John Isner and Del Potro.  These latter two just clashed in Memphis and could see each other again in the second round.  American teenager Ryan Harrison has a terrific opportunity to get to the quarterfinals.  But, in that round, Isner or Del Potro may await him.  Consequently, Fish, Del Potro, Stepanek and Isner appear the ones with the truest chance to advance to the final.

While the likelihood of an all American final exist, Roddick vs. Isner or Roddick vs. Fish, there are plenty of potential spoilers.  Since returning from his wrist injury, Memphis seems to be a turning point for Del Potro.  The Argentine looks to have regained some of the form and confidence which propelled him to the top ten.  As a result, it would not be surprising to see two former U.S. Open champions Del Potro and Roddick duke it out for the ITC title.

Click here for a complete look at the draw as it appears on the ITC tournament website.

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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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Nothing but Nadal in 2010

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Nothing but Nadal in 2010


No room for dispute, 2010 was a banner year for Rafael Nadal.  The Spaniard captured three majors, regained the world number one ranking and completed the career grand slam.  As such, Nadal’s domination left no ambiguity as to who was the most outstanding player in 2010.  With the year at a close, here’s a snapshot of the stories which caught the headlines this foregone season.

After a slow start, Nadal found his footing on clay with his first calendar title at the Monte-Carlo Masters.  Subsequent to banking titles at the Masters in Rome and Madrid, Nadal culminated his clay campaign with his fifth big prize at Roland Garros.  At Wimbledon, the Spaniard defended his 2008 title to seize his second major at the All England Club.  Finally, at U.S. Open, with troublesome obstacles removed from his half of the draw,  Nadal reached his first final in New York.  Nadal stared down a strong challenge from Novak Djokovic to hoist his first U.S. Open trophy.  With a total of seven titles, Nadal topped his peers in 2010.

For Roger Federer, this year was a mixed bag.  After grabbing his sixteenth major in Australia, Federer had a fourth round loss at the Sony Ericsson Open to Tomas Berdych which sent him into a tailspin.  As defending champion at the French Open, Federer was beaten in the quarterfinals by Robin Soderling which ended an unprecedented streak of twenty-three consecutive semifinals at the majors.  Furthermore, defending champ Federer was ousted in the quarterfinals by Berdych at Wimbledon.  In fact, Federer’s ranking dropped to number three, his lowest since November 2003.  Yet, with his second title of the season at the Cincinnati Masters, Federer seemed again on the right road.  However, Federer failed to take advantage of match points in the U.S. Open semifinals against Djokovic and went down in flames.  After the New York fiasco, Federer resurfaced with a fresh coach, Paul Annacone, and won three of four finals including the ATP World Tour finals where he toppled Nadal.

The Australian Open appeared a turning point for Andy Murray.  Easily handled in the final by Federer, Murray could do nothing right with the racket for a while. Eventually at Wimbledon, Murray advanced to the semifinals only to be disappointed by Nadal.  With the defense of his title at the Rogers Cup, Murray seemed to be back.  But, another setback occurred at the U.S. Open where Murray was stunned in the third round by Stanislas Wawrinka.  In besting Federer in the Shanghai Masters final, Murray looked to be heading for a strong finish.  Yet, at the ATP World Tour Finals, Murray took another  downturn.  This was emblematic of the Scot’s tumultuous year which included a rupture with coach Miles Maclagan, a brief ceding of the world number four spot to Soderling and only two titles.

With solely two titles and a U.S. Open final appearance, Djokovic had a so-so year.  The Serb even ascended to number two for a bit, but finished at number three.  While individual success was sparse, Djokovic led his country to its first Davis Cup title.  Along with countryman Viktor Troicki, Djokovic mounted a brilliant comeback to stop France from a tenth trophy.

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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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