Tag Archive | "Mike Bryan"

Rebuilding: Hewitt Lifts Big Prize In Houston

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Rebuilding: Hewitt Lifts Big Prize In Houston


img_0039At U.S. Clay Court Championships, Australian Lleyton Hewitt secured his first ATP title in over two years by beating 23 year-old American Wayne Odesnik 6-2, 7-5.

For Odesnik ranked just outside the top 100, this was his first trip to an ATP final and on his best surface. As a two-time majors’ champion and former world number one, Hewitt used his wealth knowledge to pull him through. From the first point, Hewitt asserted himself with a forehand up the line winner. Then, with unforced errors from Odesnik , Hewitt went up 1-0. After consolidating the break, Hewitt connected on a forehand crosscourt winner for his second break chance and converted when Odesnik dumped his backhand into the net. However, with a double fault and unforced errors, Hewitt allowed Odesnik to get one of the breaks back for 3-1. In the next game, Hewitt had another advantage point courtesy of an inside out forehand winner. But, Odesnik brushed that aside with his own forehand winner and with a great backhand volley pickup saved the game. Subsequently, Hewitt opened the door for Odesnik with another double fault and a forehand shank. But, with two aces, Hewitt wiped off double break point, preventing his opponent from leveling the set. The Australian then sealed a third break to take the set 6-2.

Odesnik started the second set as he had the first. Multiple errors handed Hewitt a double break lead at 3-0 despite the Australian only getting 31% of his first serves in play. In the fourth game though, Odesnik capitalized on double faults by Hewitt for 1-3. After a marathon nine-deuce game in which Odesnik saved four break points to hold for 2-3, the American got a rare backhand error from the Australian to square the set at 3-3. In trouble again at 15-40, Odesnik came up with a few clutch serves to force return errors from Hewitt. After, with a backhand up the line winner, Odesnik had his first lead in the match at 4-3. With Hewitt’s backhand temporarily AWOL, Odesnik won five straight game for 5-3. Regrettably, serving for the set, Odesnik’s most reliable shot, the forehand went on holiday. As a result, Odesnik was unable to recover from triple break point. After easily equalizing the set at 5-5, Hewitt forced one too many forehand errors from Odesnik to get the upper hand at 6-5. Thereafter, despite serving a double fault, Hewitt regrouped to capture the championship. By reaching the finals, both men will incur a significant bump in their ranking.

On Saturday, in the doubles final, Bob and Mike Bryan thumped fellow Americans Ryan Sweeting and Jessie Levine 6-2, 6-1 for their fourth title of 2009.

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The Wait Is Almost Over: The Sony Ericsson Open Starts Next Week

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The Wait Is Almost Over: The Sony Ericsson Open Starts Next Week


img_2806-2The Sony Ericsson Open, Florida’s most prestigious tennis tournament and the world’s “fifth major”, turns 25 this year. From March 25th thru April 5th , an A-list of competitors will descend upon the Tennis Center at Crandon Park to mark this milestone birthday.

From the ATP, Rafael Nadal, the reigning Australian Open champion, world number one and 2008 Sony Ericsson finalist, will honor South Florida with his presence. The supporting cast will include Roger Federer, world number two and dual Sony titleholder, and Serb Novak Djokovic, the 2007 Sony champion. Brit Andy Murray and American Andy Roddick who have had spectacular seasons to date will be counted on for the festivities. Russian Nikolay Davydenko, the defending champion, has been out of commission for weeks due to injury. Hopefully, Davydenko will recover in time to take a stab at a second consecutive title.

One of the hottest players on the WTA tour is the current Australian Open and 2008 Sony titlist, Serena Williams. Serena, the female number one, will attempt to win for the third time in a row and is also going for a record setting sixth Sony trophy. Serena will face fierce competition from Russian Dinara Safina, the world number two and this year’s Australian Open finalist, Jelena Jankovic, the Sony 2008 finalist and world number three, not to mention her own sister Venus Williams, who has three Sony Ericsson Open trophies to her credit. Maria Sharapova, whose shoulder has been on the mend, may also make an appearance, giving the field a run of its money.

On the doubles side, Mike and Bob Bryan have regained the top doubles ranking since winning the Australian Open and will be ready to defend their Sony title. The Bryan Brothers will be a prime target for teams such as Mark Knowles and Mahesh Bhupathi, who took second place last year, Max Mirnyi and Andy Ram as well as Brazilians Andre Sa and Marcelo Melo.

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USA Cleans Switzerland’s Clock In The First Round Of The Davis Cup


In Davis Cup play, Andy Roddick has been unflappable. Today, America’s ace in the hole hammered Swiss Stanislas Wawrinka in the fourth rubber 6-4, 6-4, 6-2 to book his team’s place in the quarterfinals. Moreover, Roddick becomes second only to John McEnroe on the U.S. all-time Davis Cup winning list.

With Swiss cowbells ringing, Wawrinka won the first game with a forehand volley. Thereafter, things got sticky pretty fast for the Swiss. In two subsequent service games, Wawrinka went down love-30 and also faced a break point. Still, with a few unforced errors by Roddick, Wawrinka held serve. However, it was just a matter of time before Stanislas had to pay the piper. The debt came due in the seventh game. When Wawrinka missed a crosscourt backhand, Roddick got his second break point. Then, with a little luck, Roddick’s stroke skidded off the line, leading to a backhand error from Wawrinka and the break advantage. With his overpowering serve, Roddick grabbed the set.

The initial game of the second set was a replay of the first. Again, Wawrinka held serve for 1-0 with a forehand crosscourt volley winner. But, after Roddick cruised through his service game, Wawrinka was in dire straights afresh. With a backhand down the line winner and a volley error by his adversary, Andy had double break point. When Stanislas misconnected on an overhead, Roddick jumped ahead 2-1. The Swiss was irate, slamming his racket to the ground because he felt that the ball bounced twice on the American’s previous stroke. Except, there was no conclusive evidence that this was the case. In fact, Andy appeared to have trapped the ball. Thus, Wawrinka’s and the Swiss team’s protest fell on deaf ears. With Roddick able to neutralize Wawrinka’s masterful stroke, the backhand, and with the Swiss forced to sure up his least comfortable shot, the forehand; one break was enough for Roddick to capture the second set.

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Redemption In Delray: The Bryans Hoist Their First ITC Trophy

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Redemption In Delray: The Bryans Hoist Their First ITC Trophy


img_9139After a disappointing lost in the 2008 doubles final at the International Tennis Championships, world number one and top seed, Mike and Bob Bryan, bounced back this year by defeating the second seed, Brazilians Marcelo Melo and Andre Sa in straight sets 6-4, 6-4.

The Brazilians began well which troubled the Bryans as they produced a flurry of unforced errors. In the third game, Melo and Sa had triple break point. However, with clutch serving and by holding his composure after an ace was taken off the board due to a foot fault, Mike Bryan came out unscathed to equalize things at 2-2. The set’s next crucial moment came with Sa serving. After the Brazilians lead 40-15, the Bryans broke for a 4-3 advantage. With Mike serving, a crosscourt return by Sa hit Melo in the vicinity of the right eye, a frightening episode causing a temporary halt in the action. Fortunately, Marcelo recovered. After Mike Bryan consolidated the break, Melo closed out his service game with an ace for 4-5. Regardless, with a backhand volley winner by Mike and with two good serves by Bob, the Bryans captured the first set.

In the second set, the Bryans had the opportunity for the early lead. With a forehand return winner, they arrived at a deciding point. But, Melo salvaged the game with a great serve. Bob Bryan continued his strong serving, sealing his game with an ace for 1 all. Each team had a fairly unadventurous time holding serve until the seventh game. After leading 40-15, Melo missed an easy forehand volley, then, Sa volleyed up for 40-40 which meant in essence a break point. Fortunately, Melo’s forehand volley just caught the line which saved the game for 4-3. Thereafter, the Bryans had no trouble on their own service game and pressured the Brazilians. With Melo serving, Mike placed a sensational lob resulting in an unforced error by Melo. Then, Sa mishit a forehand volley to hand the Bryans triple break point. With a forehand winner, the Bryans went up 5-4. With sure handed Bob serving, the Bryans put away a backhand volley up the line, forced three service return errors to secure the match.

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Delray Beach International Tennis Championships Just Around The Corner

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Delray Beach International Tennis Championships Just Around The Corner


db_itc_logo_rgbThe 17th session of the Delray Beach Championships, an ATP 250 World Tour event, will take place from February 21 thru March 1, 2009 at the Delray Beach Stadium and Tennis Center.

The 32 person singles’ draw features Tommy Haas, the 2006 champion along with Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis, the 2006 Australian Open finalist. Other familiar names taking the court include Americans Mardy Fish, Robby Ginepri and the always charismatic, Vince Spadea.

Last year, 19-year-old Japanese wildcard, Kei Nishikori, stole the spotlight coming from nowhere to beat world number 12, James Blake. This year, talented 20-year-old Ernests Gulbis will be looking for the same result against more senior players such as Guillermo Canas and Jarkko Nieminen.

Accenting the doubles are Mike and Bob Bryan fresh off their seventh majors win in Australia and their reinstatement at number one. These two are looking to avenge their lost in the finals last year. A lethal combination, the Bryans, is one of the tournament’s biggest attractions.

The clock is ticking; the championships are just a couple of weeks away. For more details and to buy tickets, visit www.YellowTennisBall.com or call (561) 330-6000.   Here’s your chance to see the action first hand.  Don’t delay!

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Double Trouble: Bryan Brothers and Williams Sisters Come Out On Top In Australia


KnowlesIn the men’s doubles in Melbourne, the second seed, Mike and Bob Bryan, beat Mark Knowles and Mahesh Bhupathi, the third seed, 2-6, 7-5, 6-0 to win their third Australian Open title.

Knowles and Bhupathi dominated the first set, breaking at love to take a double break lead. Throughout the second set, Mark and Mahesh had multiple break chances, but failed to seize any, as the Bryans held firm. As Knowles served to send the set into a tiebreak, he double faulted and missed an easy volley to give the Bryans double set point. When Bhupathi tracked down a spectacular lob from his opponent and dumped the next stroke into the net, the Bryans equalized the match.

In the third set, the Bryans shifted to a higher gear. After holding serve, Mike and Bob had double break point and converted with a lob for a winner. On cruise control, the Bryans broke at love to secure the ultimate set and the championship. World number one, Daniel Nestor and Nenad Zimonjic were upset in the second round by Oliver Marach and Lukasz Kubot. That team then fell in the quarterfinals, ousted by Bhupathi and Knowles.

A day earlier, Venus and Serena Williams took the women’s doubles title by defeating Ai Sugiyama and Daniela Hantuchova 6-3, 6-3. After trailing in the first set 3-0, the Williams’ won six consecutive games to seal the first set. The second set was very competitive with the teams trading breaks back and forth. Finally, in the eight game, the Williams’ captured the lead and never relinquished it. A holder of the other three major titles in doubles, Sugiyama was denied the completion of the career doubles slam. Sugiyama and Hantuchova, seeded ninth, knocked out the number one seed, Liezel Huber and Cara Black, in the quarterfinals. In a reversal of last year’s Wimbledon, the siblings took both titles. However, this time, it was Serena holding up the singles trophy. Moreover, Venus deserves a great deal of praise for sticking around and playing so well after losing in the second round in singles.

The mixed doubles winner has yet to be decided as Sania Mirza and Bhupathi will play against Nathalie Dechy and Andy Ram.

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A New World Order:  The Year That Was 2008

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A New World Order: The Year That Was 2008


img_3045Fascinating is the word in a nutshell that perhaps best describes this past season. With 2009 looming, the time has come to reminisce as to why 2008 was such a quintessential year for the ATP.

The abundance of talent littering the tour foretold of a possible shake up as the year began, threatening Roger Federer’s supremacy. All dynasties have gone through a period of decline; perhaps, for Federer, 2008 will be viewed as such. In Australia, Federer faced two foes, mononucleosis and Serb Novak Djokovic. Unable to vanquish either, Roger succumbed in the semifinals. For Federer, this calendar had many ebbs and few flows with a spanking by Spaniard Rafael Nadal in the French final, a gut wrenching loss in the Wimbledon final in five sets, a much desired gold medal at the Olympics, but in doubles. Roger regained a bit of respect by capturing his fifth consecutive U.S. Open. But, for the first time since the dawning of the Federer era, Roger failed to grab a single masters’ shield. In 2008, not only did the Swiss have to get acclimated to the fact that Wimbledon was no longer his playpen, he also lost his grip on the number one ranking.

What a year for Nadal! Undoubtedly talent is an important part of success, yet hard work cannot be discounted. As the season started, the smart bet would have been on Djokovic yanking the top spot from Federer. Nevertheless, Roger’s clay nemesis, after more than two years of serving as best man, finally moved up to number one. After crushing defeats in the quarterfinals in Australia and finals at the Sony Ericsson, Nadal had a surreal clay run with one solitary loss. Moreover, Rafa won his fourth consecutive French Open and the crown jewel, his first Wimbledon trophy.  He was the first man in over twenty years with this dual combination. The ultimate feather in Rafa’s cap was getting Olympic singles gold. An arduous and lengthy schedule put the breaks to Nadal’s play with tendonitis stopping him from participating in the year-end tournament and the Davis cup finals. Regardless, Nadal could not have scripted this year any better.

In many respects, Djokovic had an up and down ride. After hoisting the Australian and Indian Wells trophies, the world number three had a reality check. Nadal unwilling to relinquish his hold on number two, schooled Djokovic when the two met in Rome and Paris. His confidence slightly dented, Novak was a non-factor mid-year with an early exit at Wimbledon. However, Djokovic finished strongly by winning the year-end tournament in Shanghai.

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Spain Downs USA In Davis Cup Semifinals


Rafael Nadal booked Spain’s berth in the Davis Cup final by beating American Andy Roddick in the fourth rubber 6-4, 6-0, 6-4.

The odds were stacked against the Americans, the defending champions, for various reasons. Firstly, they were playing on foreign soil. Secondly, two of their top players James Blake and Bob Bryan were unable to participate. But most importantly, they would have to face Spain on clay, a surface where the Americans are the least comfortable and Nadal’s pure genius has been proven over and over. Therefore, it was not surprising that after the first day, the Americans were in the position of playing catch up having lost the first two rubbers.

This uphill battle began promisingly with American Sam Querrey winning the first set in a tiebreak 7-6 over Nadal. But that would be the only bright spot in the first match. A seemingly rusty Nadal even went down a break early in the second set. But the Spaniard came roaring back to take control of the second set and the match 6-7, 6-4, 6-3, 6-4.

In the second rubber, Andy Roddick faced David Ferrer. The tide appeared to have turned for the U.S. as Roddick managed to get a two set to one lead after losing a tough first set tiebreak. Yet again, America’s luck proved fleeting as Spain stole the match in five sets 6-7, 6-1, 6-2, 4-6, 6-8. On Saturday, the U.S. stayed alive as the doubles team of Mike Bryan and Mardy Fish prevailed in spectacular fashion over Spain’s Fernando Verdasco and Feliciano Lopez 4-6, 6-4, 6-3, 4-6, 6-4.

However, the pivotal match came on Sunday as Nadal squared off against Roddick. Initially, the American used his big serve effectively to keep toe to toe with the Spaniard. Nonetheless, serving at 4-5, Roddick lost his way allowing Nadal to take the set. Thereafter, Nadal demonstrated why he has won four consecutive French Open titles. The clay master dominated, passing at will as Roddick tried to change things up by coming to net in the second set. Roddick attempted to stage a rally in the third set and had triple break point in the second game. Still, Nadal found the means to hold serve. The Spaniard then turned the tables, breaking the American at love the very next game. In the eight game, Roddick again found a slim opening at love-30, but it was promptly closed by Nadal. With a strong service game, Nadal put to bed the third set and assured Spain’s spot in the finals. The Spaniards also won the last rubber of the day with Lopez defeating Querrey 7-6, 7-6. Spain’s opponent will be either Argentina or Russia. The Russians will need to stage a come from behind charge as they find themselves down 2-1.

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