Tag Archive | "Roddick"

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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Nadal and Federer Headline ATP World Tour Finals in London

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Nadal and Federer Headline ATP World Tour Finals in London


Intense anticipation is building for the year-end climax to the men’s professional tennis season whereby at The Barclays ATP World Tour Finals the top eight singles players and doubles teams in the world will compete for the crown at London’s imposing 02 Arena.

The Finals kick off in spectacular style on Sunday, 21 November, with home grown, Brit, Andy Murray taking on in-form Robin Soderling in the first Group B singles match.

The players have been competing all season long for South African Airways ATP Rankings points in a bid to earn a coveted place in the final eight and a chance to win the $1.6m prize money on offer to the winner.

Competition for places was fierce in the run up to the finals, with Fernando Verdasco narrowly losing out to Andy Roddick, David Ferrer and Tomas Berdych for the remaining three spots.

This year, world number one, Rafael Nadal faces a rejuvenated Novak Djokovic, Czech, Tomas Berdych and plucky American, Andy Roddick in Group A, while five-time finals champion and world number 2, Roger Federer faces the prospect of in-from Robin Soderling, Britain’s Andy Murray on home turf and diminutive Spaniard, David Ferrer in Group B.

All eight players were greeted by Britain’s Prime Minister, David Cameron – an avid tennis fan – at a reception held at 10 Downing Street on Thursday 17 November to signal the start of what bodes to be an incredibly exciting week.

“It’s fantastic that the ATP World Tour Finals tournament is back in London for the second year running. It’s great for London and great for the country,” Mr Cameron said.

The PM himself gave Murray a warm up in the dining room with a series of volleys back and forth, and the young Scot hopes to have the home crowd on his side on Sunday.

“Every tennis player will tell you when you play at home it really helps you to have the crowd behind you,” Murray said at a press conference in London.

Last year, despite winning two out of his three group matches, Murray failed to qualify for the semi-finals on game difference, but what are his chances now?

The Scot began the year in fantastic form reaching the Australian Open final, only to lose to his nemesis, Roger Federer. The psychological impact of this loss caused Murray to incur mixed fortunes and an inconsistent season which saw him overtaken by Robin Soderling in the world rankings. However, in reaching the semi-finals at Wimbledon, Murray proved that a home crowd could play a significant role.

Soderling is arguably the man to beat. Currently riding high on the back of his victory over Gael Monfils to claim his first Masters title in Paris in November, coupled with his penetrating ground strokes indoors, many are tipping Soderling to win the year-end title.

After a break following tendinitis in his arm, world number one, Rafael Nadal, despite having a fantastic season, winning three out of the four majors and completing a career grand slam, is not favoured to do well, but anyone would be mad to bet against him.

Nadal, who failed to win a single match at the O2 last year, appeared relaxed outside Downing Street on Thursday, but insists he has put no pressure on himself.

“This tournament is a more difficult one for me because of the surface, because of the opponents,” he said.

Andy Roddick was forced to watch the 2009 World Tour Finals from the stands, after suffering from a knee injury earlier in the season. Roddick will want to prove his critics wrong, after many believed he would not even make it to London this year. Many feel he could well cause an upset this year, starting with his huge opening match against crowd favourite, Rafael Nadal, in his opening match on Monday.  At their last encounter in Miami, Roddick defeated Nadal at the Sony Ericsson Open.

Not only did David Ferrer look out of place, being the only player in a grey suit when meeting Britain’s Prime Minister, many have written off the diminutive Spaniard’s chances. However, it would be wrong to dismiss him. His victories against Andy Murray and Robin Soderling this season, as well as a string of consistent performances in the past few tournaments, including his impressive win at the Valencia Open at the start of November, suggest he is in good form.

The 2010 Wimbledon runner-up, Tomas Berdych from the Czech Republic, will be experiencing his first World Tour Finals, after rising to a career-high six in the world this year. However, the 25-year-old has faltered in recent weeks, failing to progress past the third round of any tournament. But could the buzz of London help him to end his season on a high?

Last but not least, anyone would be crazy to write off the 16-time Majors Champion, Roger Federer. But, despite his success at the recent Swiss indoor event in Basel, throwing away several match points to the unpredictable Gael Monfils in November’s Paris Masters semi-final has thrown a shadow of doubt over his invincibility.

The Bryan brothers are clear favourites to retain their doubles title from last year.

Follow Melina Harris’ coverage for MiamiTennisNews on twitter under the username @thetenniswriter

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Nadal Levels Monfils in Tokyo for Seventh Title of the Season

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Nadal Levels Monfils in Tokyo for Seventh Title of the Season


Rafael Nadal added another trophy to his cabinet today.  The world number one manhandled fifth seed Gael Monfils 6-1,7-5 to collect his first prize at the Rakuten Japan Open Tennis Championships.

Following a comfortable opening game, Nadal put the Frenchman on his heels and broke.  Subsequently, with an easy game, Nadal consolidated for a 3-0 lead.  As Monfils’ racket bled mistake upon mistake, Nadal closed out the initial set in just 25 minutes.

As a defensive player, Monfils would have a great shot at victory by camping out in the backcourt against any other opponent.  However, when it comes to Nadal, any strategy which involves overpowering the Spaniard from the baseline is not only risky, but usually a losing one.  Therefore, Monfils altered his game plan slightly resulting in a competitive second set.

By varying his serve, Monfils held without difficulty to start the set.  Still, the issue for Monfils was finding a way to rattle Nadal’s serve.  Serving at 2 all, with two winners from Nadal, Monfils got himself into a tight spot at love-30.  Yet, with a sensational pick-up on a low volley and good serves, Monfils stayed in front for 3-2.  Monfils’ best opportunity at manufacturing a break point arrived when Nadal double faulted for 30 all.  But, the Frenchman failed to pressure the Spaniard so the set was equalized at 4 a piece.  After falling behind love-30 again, Monfils managed to rescue the game and remained ahead at 5-4.  Nadal is quite stingy in handing get out of jail free cards, thus, eventually Monfils would have to pay for his miscues.  Serving at 5 all, Monfils misfired on a forehand down the line and had the ball go under his racket on an attempted volley.  Next, Nadal connected on a forehand winner up the line for double break point.  As Monfils approached the net, Nadal flicked a forehand return winner up the line to bank the break and secured a 6-5 advantage.  Later, on his first champion point, Nadal watched Monfils’ return sail long and celebrated yet another title.

In accepting the runner-up trophy, Monfils congratulated Nadal on being the better performer.  Despite the result today, the Frenchman was positive in saying “it was a great tournament . . . and I love to come here”.  Turning to his coach, he stated “not a win, but maybe next time”.  Indeed a productive week for Monfils; he took out second seed Andy Roddick in the quarterfinals.  Countryman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga also rejoined the tour at this tournament but suffered a first round defeat.

A stupendous championship for Nadal who salvaged two match points in the semifinals against Victor Troicki.  Nadal wished Monfils the best of fortunes for the rest of the year, particularly in Davis Cup final, France plays Serbia.  His debut event in Tokyo, Nadal has been overrun by fans wherever he shows up and the world number one was appreciative commenting “the crowds are fantastic . . . it was my first visit, but certainly not my last”.  The champion even ended with a couple of words in Japanese to express his gratitude.  From Japan, the ATP travels to Shanghai for a Masters’ 1000 series event.

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Andy Roddick Scheduled to Play in the 2011 Delray Beach International Tennis Championships

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Andy Roddick Scheduled to Play in the 2011 Delray Beach International Tennis Championships


Andy Roddick is scheduled to play in the 2011 International Tennis Championships in Delray Beach, Florida.  Roddick will join fellow Americans Mardy Fish, John Isner, and the Bryan brothers 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) - Andy Roddick is coming back to “The Beach.” The former Boca Raton resident and 2003 US Open champion will return to the tournament where he made his pro debut when he plays in the 2011 Delray Beach International Tennis Championships (ITC) ATP World Tour event next February.

Roddick’s signing was announced Thursday as the Delray Beach ITC was accepting the 2010 Providencia Award from the Palm Beach County Convention and Visitors Bureau for its lead role in contributions to the area as a tourist destination.

The 19th annual Delray Beach ITC will be held Feb. 18-27 at the Delray Beach Stadium & Tennis Center, and will include both the ATP World Tour event alongside the 2nd annual ATP Champions Tour event featuring John McEnroe.

“It’s so great to have Andy come home where he started,” said tournament director Mark Baron, who gave an 18-year-old Roddick his first wild card into an ATP-level event in 2000. “Everyone has been asking for the last six years ‘when is he going to come back?’ We’re expecting the phones to be ringing off the hook.”

To celebrate Roddick’s signing, the ITC is running a discounted ticket promotion from October 1 -17. All single session reserved seats are 20% off (reg price $35-$85) while single session box seats are 10% off (reg price $65-$85). Reserved series ticket packages are also discounted 10%. Fans can order online through www.YellowTennisBall.com or by calling 561-330-6000.

Roddick’s 2000 pro debut began a string of four appearances in Delray Beach. The Boca Prep grad reached the 2002 ITC final, and by season’s end became the youngest American to finish in the Top 10 since Michael Chang in 1992.

“I am excited to return to Delray Beach,” said the 28-year old Roddick. “I received my first wild card as a professional tennis player in Delray so the tournament certainly has a special significance in my career.”

The Grand Slam champion became the youngest American to finish No.1 in the world when he achieved that ranking in 2003 as a 21-year-old. He has finished in the ATP’s Top 10 for eight straight years and enjoyed a five-year run in the Top 5 during that time. Roddick is a three-time Wimbledon runner-up, a 2006 US Open finalist, and has won 29 ATP titles in 10 years as a pro. His 41 US Davis Cup singles wins ranks second all-time behind McEnroe.

Roddick joins 2009 ITC singles champion Mardy Fish and Wimbledon record-setting John Isner in committing to play in the ITC’s ATP World Tour event, setting up a draw with three of the top four-ranked American singles players. Also returning to Delray Beach are the ITC’s defending doubles champions and world No.1 Byran Brothers while the ATP Champions Tour event has already received commitments from McEnroe, Mats Wilander, Pat Cash,Mark Philippoussis, Greg Rusedski and, most recently, Boca Raton’s Aaron Krickstein. McEnroe, Wilander, Cash and Krickstein played in the inaugural event in 2010.

The tournament’s reserved series ticket packages that are discounted 10% during this special promotion include the following: The $490 (reg price) Diamond package including all 18 sessions of ATP Champions and

ATP World Tour action; the $290 (reg price) Champions package (sessions 1-9) combining all ATP Champions Tour matches and four ATP World Tour sessions; the $390 (reg price) World package (sessions 6-18) giving fans all ATP World Tour matches plus  two days of ATP Champions Tour matches (including the final); and the popular $200 (reg price) Weekender package including tickets for the ATP World Tour quarterfinals, semifinals and finals (sessions 14-18) .

The ON-COURT “Best Seats In The House” are priced between $150 and $250, depending on the session.

All ticket opportunities, prices and amenities are explained in detail at www.YellowTennisBall.com. For more information, please call the tournament office at 561-330-6000.

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Federer and Nadal in Awesome Form Going into the Second Week at the U.S. Open

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Federer and Nadal in Awesome Form Going into the Second Week at the U.S. Open


The initial week at the U.S. Open is complete and the men’s field has been scaled down to sixteen players.  Two names missing from the roll call are Andy Roddick and Andy Murray.  These two touted favorites were upset early on. Here’s a summary of the past seven days and an analysis of what could unfold the next few rounds.

While Rafael Nadal barely passed his pre-tournament exams in Toronto and Cincinnati, in his first three matches at the Open, the Spaniard gets an A plus.  Despite being tested, with a beefed up first serve to the tune of 130 miles per hour at times, Nadal has dispatched each adversary in three sets.  In the fourth round, Nadal will face compatriot Feliciano Lopez.  With Nadal’s 5-2 record against his fellow citizen, Lopez is likely the subsequent sacrificial lamb.

After surviving a five set tussle in the first round against Fabio Fognini ranked 86th, Fernando Verdasco is in the round of 16 and will take on David Ferrer, the tenth seed.  Although Verdasco has a 6-4 edge in their encounters, Ferrer prevailed at their last meeting on clay and at their only battle on hardcourt in 2004.  David Nalbandian, one of the few players who could have troubled Nadal, was easily given his marching orders by Verdasco in the third round.

Also in the top section of the draw, seventh seed Tomas Berdych was surprised in the first round by Michael Llodra.  However, the jaw dropper came today with  Murray, the 2008 finalist and fourth seed, dismissed by Stanislas Wawrinka in the third round. The Swiss advanced for the third occasion to the fourth round in New York.   Wawrinka will meet Sam Querrey for a spot in the quarterfinals.  Consequently, for Querrey, this is the ideal scenario to book his maiden quarterfinal berth at a major.

The Spaniards have ruled and Tommy Robredo made sure to partake in the round of 16 festivities. With John Isner beaten by Mikhail Youzhny in the third round, Robredo and the Russian will fight for a place in the quarterfinals.

Another American  propelled into the limelight this week was eighteen year old Ryan Harrison.  After coming through three rounds of qualifying, Harrison stunned Ivan Ljubicic, the fifteenth seed, in the first round.  Furthermore, Harrison was one point from a win in a fifth set tiebreaker in the second round.  Harrison became the first American teen to vanquish a top twenty player at a major since Roddick in 2001 also at this event.

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Federer, Murray, Roddick and Nadal Stand Out of the Heap as U.S. Open Favorites

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Federer, Murray, Roddick and Nadal Stand Out of the Heap as U.S. Open Favorites


The U.S. Open draw has been unveiled with the usual suspects at the top pack.  Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer are the highest seeds followed respectively by Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray.  For some, the path has multiple green lights, but for others it is lined with yellow flags.  Here’s a breakdown of the draw.

After his victories at the French Open and Wimbledon, Nadal is once more in pursuit of the U.S. Open trophy, the sole major he lacks.  In 2008, the Spaniard was halted in the semifinals by Murray and last year in the same round by Juan Martin Del Potro, the champion.  Although Nadal has been the most prolific performer on grass and clay this season, hardcourt has been a different story.  Nadal has a lone final appearance in January in Doha and went down to Nikolay Davydenko.  With neither injury nor fatigue an issue this time, Nadal is capable of going the distance.  However, there may be a significant boulder in his way in the quarterfinals.

Finally in shape after hip surgery, David Nalbandian has made himself part of the conversation and could clash with Nadal in the quarterfinals.  Although Nadal recorded the win at their last meeting at the Sony Ericsson Open in March, Nalbandian’s form has improved markedly since then.  Moreover, Nalbandian took the title as a wildcard at the Legg Mason Tennis Classic earlier this month.  As a result, the Argentine will not be an easy customer for the Spaniard.

While Fernando Verdasco, the eight seed, is technically another likely quarterfinal counterpart for Nadal, Verdasco is at best a minute obstacle.  With a 10-0 record against his countryman, in a five set match, Nadal is a sure bet.

De novo, Nadal has been placed on a collision course with Murray to reach his first U.S. Open final.  Twice on hardcourt this year, Murray has comprehensively beaten Nadal including the Rogers Cup two weeks ago.  After dreadful results most of the season, Murray is at last in form and defended his title in Toronto.  If they clash in the semifinals, Nadal will have a tough time getting a pass.

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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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Fish and Knowles Scramble For Legg Mason Classic Title

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Fish and Knowles Scramble For Legg Mason Classic Title


Mardy Fish and Mark Knowles fought back in the final of the Legg Mason Tennis Classic overcoming Tomas Berdych and Radek Stepanek 4-6,7-6,10-7 to bag their second title as a team.

Berdych and Stepanek sprinted to a 3-0 advantage by breaking Knowles and Fish twice in the first set.  Then, with a love hold, Stepanek further extended their lead to 4-0.  Knowles and Fish managed to break once. Nevertheless, with the insurance break, the Czechs took the set.

Knowles and Fish have been a tandem since February 2008 while their Czech counterparts usually play doubles only in the Davis Cup.  Moreover, for Berdych and Stepanek, this was their first ATP doubles final as a team.  Thus, Knowles and Fish called upon their experience to weather the storm especially after Knowles double faulted in the second set to give their opponents a 3-2 edge which they consolidated for 4-2.  Later though, with Berdych serving at 40-30, Fish struck a forehand down the line winner to force a deciding point.  With Berdych double faulting, the set was squared at 4 all.  Ultimately, a tiebreaker was played.

Off a sensational forehand return by Fish, Stepanek dumped the forehand volley in the net.  Down the road, Fish made another volley winner to give his team a double mini-break for 5-2.  Next, on a miscue from the Czechs, Knowles and Fish had three set points.  Stepanek and Berdych battled back for 6 all.  Subsequently, on an error, Stepanek and Berdych were at 7-6 and championship point.  Again, Fish and Knowles produced some remarkable shots to stay afloat and steal the tiebreaker.

In the super-tiebreaker, with Berdych’s backhand sailing long, Knowles and Fish had a mini-break for 1-0.  On a Fish forehand error, Berdych and Stepanek got back on serve for 3-4.  But, with a net court favoring Fish and Knowles, that pair regained a mini-break for 5-3.  Again, the Czechs climbed back to make it 7 all. Soon, on a superb return by Fish, Stepanek flubbed the volley giving Fish and Knowles championship at 9-7.  The pair won the next point to capture the trophy.

After the match, MiamiTennisNews and one other media outlet sat down to talk to Fish and Knowles.  For 38 year old Knowles, this was his 53rd doubles title.  Therefore, MiamiTennisNews wanted to know:
Q. At your age, what keeps you still motivated and what has been the key to your success?
Knowles:  I still enjoy playing and competing . . . It’s a challenge competing against the current players.  I’ve seen the game evolve a little bit from when I first started.  It still gives me a high to compete at this level and win.

Q. Is it more difficult though with having a family?
Knowles: I play less now because of a wife and two kids.  This year was a little difficult.  I was injured at the start of the season and I was out for three months.  Mardy and I have agreed to play doubles this year which is an exciting prospect.  Things have taken a while to develop because of my injury but things are going well now.

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Berdych and Verdasco Make the Cut, Roddick and Company Wipe Out

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Berdych and Verdasco Make the Cut, Roddick and Company Wipe Out


With the quarterfinal spots at stake, after nearly five hours, the stormy weather cleared to allow play at the Legg Mason Tennis Classic.  While Tomas Berdych, the number one seed, and Fernando Verdasco, the third seed, battled their way into the next round.  For the Americans, the tournament was a disaster.  Andy Roddick, the three time champion and second seed, 2007 finalist John Isner as well as 2010 Atlanta champion Mardy Fish were all swept away.

Isner, the fifth seed, squared off against Xavier Malisse.  In March at their initial meeting in Houston, Malisse prevailed in three tiebreaker sets. In the beginning stages of the first set, Malisse had a few break points.  However, Isner promptly brushed those aside.  Later at 4 all, Malisse obtained the break which permitted him to take the set.  But, in the second set, Malisse double faulted on break point to give Isner a 2-1 edge. As usual, this was the minute window the American required to push the match to a third set.  In the third game, Isner had two break point chances, yet converted none.  For his part, with Isner serving at 4 all, Malisse failed to capitalized on love 40.  Thus, the tiebreaker was called upon.  At 5 all, Isner miscalculated an overhead which resulted in the ball landing on his side of the court.  With a mini-break/match point in hand, Malisse connected on a good serve.  With Isner botching the return, Malisse punched his ticket into the subsequent round with  a 6-4,3-6,7-6 win.

Despite recently turning 30, Malisse is enjoying great success the last few months. MiamiTennisNews asked:

Q. Although you are getting on in years, you are playing pretty good tennis.  What keeps you motivated?
Malisse: I had two years of injuries, when you are sidelined and everyone else is playing it hurts. Sometimes you say that you want  a couple of weeks off, when it’s [not on your own terms], it really gets to you . . . Since I had two easy years, I feel I am healthy now . . . The road back has been tough playing challenger last year after being in nice tournaments in nice places. . . But it feels so much more satisfying now . . . Before, I was just playing, not really enjoying it.

At Wimbledon, Malisse teamed up with Kim Clijsters and made it to the quarterfinals in mixed doubles.  MiamiTennisNews inquired:

Q. Do the two of you  plan to do the same at the U.S. Open?
Malisse: I don’t think so.  We have not talked about it. It’s harder considering it’s five sets . . . We had a good time and laughed a lot in [London], that’s the most important thing.

The first set went along swimmingly for Malisse’s quarterfinal opponent, Berdych against Andrey Golubev.  After securing the break in the third game, Berdych cruised on serve.  Nevertheless, serving to send the second set into a tiebreaker, Berdych dropped serve at love.  In the decisive set, Berdych broke for 3-2.  Though, serving for the match and ahead 30-0, Berdych surrendered four straight points to enable Golubev back in.  Still, Berdych managed to break once more and hold for a 6-3,5-7,7-5 victory.

First round at Wimbledon, Berdych faced Golubev and send him packing in straight sets. Hence, MiamiTennisNews wanted to know:

Q.  Why was it so difficult to close Golubev out this time around?
Berdych: He’s really improved [in the last couple of weeks].  He won his first [title] in Hamburg which is a big tournament . . . Even before, he’s had a couple of good results . . . Hardcourt is going to be the best surface for him. . . The conditions, the fast courts suit his game . . .

The Sony Ericsson Open was a pivotal point in Berdych’s career.  Since, he’s had extraordinary results at the French Open and Wimbledon.  MiamiTennisNews questioned whether Berdych felt the same way.

Q.  In making the final in South Florida, did that give you the mental boost to propel you to additional success?
Berdych:  Yes. . .  But not only the tournament in Miami. It started the Davis Cup week right before Indian Wells. . . I won a couple of matches . . . Then at Indian Wells, I made the quarters which showed me even if I am . . .  not playing  well, I can [have] good results which gave me a lot of confidence. . . Coming to Miami which is really my favorite tournament . . . The key match against Roger [Federer] turning it around match point down . . . [getting] to the final . . .  I am happy I can keep the form, keep the consistency and bring more and more good results.

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