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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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Monfils Skirts by Isner for a Place in the D.C. Final

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Monfils Skirts by Isner for a Place in the D.C. Final


Although this semifinal was scheduled for Saturday night, it’s conclusion came after one in the morning Sunday. Following a couple of shower intermissions, top seed Gael Monfils edged local favorite John Isner 6-4,3-6,7-6 to reach his initial final at the Legg Mason Tennis Classic.

Four years ago, Isner surprisingly advanced to the final in Washington. Along the way, in their first encounter, Isner prevailed over Monfils, a top 50 player, in a thrilling semifinal third set tiebreaker.

Tonight, subsequent to Isner carrying the opening game, Monfils’ turn was halted by rain. Ultimately when play resumed, the points went along quickly.

After Monfils erased a break point to hold, Isner’s did the same with a 135 mph serve. Despite further difficulties, Isner maintained serve for 3-2.

Later though, when Isner misfired on a forehand, Monfils had his second break point of the ninth game. The Frenchman converted courtesy of an errant forehand by Isner to ascend 5-4. Soon, with a strong service game, Monfils closed out the first set.

Isner and Monfils had tussled five times prior, with each meeting decided by a third set. Apparently, Monfils did not feel like deviating from the script.

By hitting a forehand wide, Monfils handed Isner double break point. The Frenchman compounded that mistake with a ill advised dropshot to gift the break. Promptly with a love game, Isner consolidated for a 3-0 lead.

In the fifth game, a dreadful incident occurred whereby one of Isner’s serving bullets struck a spectator in the eye. After the injured person was attended to and a horrified Isner gathered himself, play resumed.

With Isner leading 5-2, another rain stoppage came. With Monfils incapable of a break point, Isner captured the second set.

At 3-2 in the decisive set, Monfils forced Isner into a forehand mistake for break point. By taking out his big gun, Isner salvaged the game to level the set at 3 all.

The next time Isner served, Monfils was again at 0-30. Yet, he could not fabricate a break point. However, ahead 5-4, Monfils arrived at his first match point when Isner committed a forehand error.

But with a crisp volley, Isner got to deuce. A second match point by Monfils was dismissed with a second serve ace. Not certain of the umpire’s call, Monfils challenged. With the review system malfunctioning, the call stood. Monfils shrugged it off; the two even exchanged a knuckle high five.

Eventually, the tiebreaker settled the winner. As each competitor guarded serve, Isner thumped an ace to get to his first match point. Monfils replicated to square the breaker at 6 a piece.

Then, with a courageous lob winner, Monfils secured his third match point. When Isner dumped his forehand into the net. Monfils booked a place in the final of a U.S. tournament for the first time.

It’s conspicuous that these two share a mutual respect as they embraced at the net. Monfils said as much after the match “I have great respect for John. I like his mentality and it’s always a pleasure for me to play him”.

Monfils expressed that he was relieved to finish the match. During the breaks, he had his coach to distract him and did not get too anxious.

With the momentum after the first set, Monfils lost his way early on in the second. MiamiTennisNews.com asked him to evaluate that part of the match “he played two solid points and I played two fancy shots”.

Monfils admitted that his judgment was flawed “instead of the dropshot, I could have hit another forehand . . . because from the baseline I’m a bit stronger than him. I did not play with my weapon. Once you lose serve against John, you know it’s three sets”.

Although it’s less than twenty-four hours before the final, Monfils stated that fatigue will not be a factor. The shear adrenaline from being in his first final of the season will squelch any physical or mental tiredness.

Isner was attempting to reach his third consecutive final after bagging the title in Newport and runner up status in Atlanta. Isner was also glad to resolve the semifinal tonight. Now, he can move on to his next stop, the Rogers Cup.

In tomorrow’s final, Monfils will collide with Radek Stepanek. They last clashed in Hamburg a few weeks ago with Monfils victorious.

Monfils is at a career high ranking of seven while Stepanek is world number 54. Although Monfils has been a finalist the last two years at the ATP Masters 1000 event in Paris, his three ATP titles have been at the 250 level.

Both men have a losing mark in finals with Monfils at 3-10 and Stepanek 4-7. However, Monfils has a 5-2 record over his opponent. For both men it will be their maiden ATP 500 trophy.

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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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