Tag Archive | "U.S. Clay Court Champions"

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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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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