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Roddick Brushes Berdych Aside For Title In Miami

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Roddick Brushes Berdych Aside For Title In Miami


Until the match is played, regardless of the statistics, there is no certainty as to the victor.  However, in this case, the numbers did not lie.  Today, in the Sony Ericsson Open final, Andy Roddick, the favorite on paper, improved his record to 6-2 versus Tomas Berdych.  Roddick defeated Berdych 7-5, 6-4 for his second ATP Masters 1000 title in Miami and his 29th career trophy.

Twice this season, these two have battled with Roddick taking both matches in straight sets.  Yet, the manner in which Berdych moved on to the finals, with wins over Roger Federer, Fernando Verdasco and Robin Soderling, the Czech appeared to have at least an outside chance. With a forehand crosscourt winner, Berdych held at love his initial game.  Then, with a backhand volley winner, Berdych put Roddick in 0-30 predicament.  By coming with 130 mph heat, Roddick managed to hold for 1 all.  Later, Roddick faced another 0-30 situation when Berdych connected on a backhand crosscourt pass for a winner.  Despite not finding first serves, Roddick elicited enough return errors on his second serve to get to 3 all.  Next, as the set progressed, Roddick found the groove on Berdych’s serve.  When Berdych botched  a makeable forehand up the line, Roddick had his first break point of the day.  Although Berdych wiped that one away, later, he double faulted giving Roddick another opportunity.  The American took it when Berdych’s forehand landed wide.  Subsequently, at 40-0, with an ace, Roddick wrapped up the set.

In the second set, with a backhand pass for winner, Roddick earned break point.  Again with an unforced forehand error, Roddick seized a 1-0 edge.  Despite letting a 40-15 game reach deuce because of double fault, Roddick still consolidated 2-0.  Following two easy occasions on serve, when Roddick missed an uncomplicated forehand to get to 30 all, Berdych seemed to have a slim opening.  Yet, with a backhand down the line pass, Roddick arrived at game point and with an ace had a 4-2 lead.  After Roddick readily got to 5-3, with a deep return, he caused a forehand blunder from Berdych for his first match point.  In the longest rally of the day, 31 strokes, Berdych terminated the point with an overhead winner.  Later, Berdych saved another match point and finally held for 4-5.  However, for the Czech it was delaying the inevitable. Roddick had permitted no break point the entire day and he had no plan to be generous although it was Easter.  With an overhead winner, Roddick had double championship point.  When Berdych netted a down the line backhand, Roddick wrote his name on the trophy.

Roddick performance was pretty clean with 25 winners and 16 unforced errors, while Berdych had almost twice as many in the latter category and just 2 more winners.  Berdych was the first Czech male to reach the finals in Miami since Ivan Lendl.  Lendl won the tournament twice, in 1986 and 1989. In the post match analysis, Berdych had the following responses when MiamiTennisNews.com posed:

Q.  Seemed [that] your first serve was off?

BERDYCH: . . .  my serve was not that good.  But still, . . . I just lost two close sets. . . He [got] one chance and he just took it.  That’s how it is . . .  maybe I would get one then it would be different.

Q.  It seems . . .on the first break chance that he had in the first set, . . .  you made an error on the first serve and then the clap from the crowd.  Was that a distraction for you?

BERDYCH:  No, that’s usual, especially here . . . when you play in States against American, that’s all right.  That’s how it is.

Coming on the heels of a letdown in the finals in Indian Wells, Roddick admits prevailing a the Sony Ericsson Open is a relief considering he had been the favorite both times.  Roddick spent his formative years in Boca Raton, therefore, this trophy is special to him.  After the victory,  Roddick said he has a lot of fond memories of the area “lots of firsts . . . playing the Orange Bowl, the Sunshine Cup, junior Davis Cup and winning that for the first time . . . [this venue]it’s one of those places where . . . going down a hallway . . . I don’t need to look for signs to see where I’m [going]. . .  it [‘s] just kind of   ingrained.  It’s a great crowd. I never feel really uncomfortable on the center court. It’s a big title for me. ”

Berdych’s ranking rises from 20 to 16 while Roddick moves up one spot to number 7.  Roddick earned his 5th Masters shield with this win.  In addition, Roddick becomes only the fifth multiple winner of this title keeping company with Andre Agassi, holder of 6, Pete Sampras with 3, Ferderer and Lendl each with two.  All in all not a bad consolation prize.

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Last Act of 2010 Sony Ericsson Open Today: Roddick and Berdych in Men’s Final

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Last Act of 2010 Sony Ericsson Open Today: Roddick and Berdych in Men’s Final


The recipient of the Sony Ericsson Open men’s trophy will be decided this afternoon as Andy Roddick and Tomas Berdych clash in the finals.  That will be followed by the WTA doubles final.

The winner in Brisbane, this is Roddick’s fourth final of the year.  However, in his first ATP 1000 Masters’  final in Indian Wells, Roddick was disappointed by Ivan Ljubicic.  The victor in Miami in 2004, Roddick will attempt to capture his second championship in South Florida.  If Roddick succeeds, it will be his first Masters’  title since 2006 in Cincinnati and the 29th of his career.

After prevailing over Roger Federer, Fernando Verdasco and Robin Soderling to advance to the finals, Berdych tries to put the cherry on this spectacular run with his first title of the year.  Moreover, Berdych is in his first ATP Masters 1000  final since 2005 in Paris where he was triumphant.  In contrast to Roddick, not only is this Berdych’s first final of the year,  he is trying to collect  his 6th career title.  The Czech is 2-5 lifetime versus Roddick and has already lost twice to him in 2010.  While Berdych has a record of  5-4 in finals, Roddick is 28-19.  With the prior wins and the vast differential in experience, Roddick is the clear favorite.

The tournament ends with the women’s doubles with the new team of Samantha Stosur and Nadia Petrova, seeded 3rd, taking on the duo of Gisela Dulko and Flavia Pennetta.  For Stosur and Petrova, this is their second consecutive final, they were defeated two weeks ago in Indian Wells.  In 2006-07, Stosur won the championship with Lisa Raymond and in 2004 Petrova carried it with partner Megan Shaughnessy.  Petrova and Stosur have a combined 40 doubles titles. For Dulko and Pennetta, this is their initial final at the Sony Ericsson Open.  In addition, that tandem possesses a total of 15 trophies.  Again, because of their wealth of experience,  the 3rd seed have a distinct advantage.

Here is the order of play :

STADIUM start 1:00 PM
[16] T Berdych (CZE) vs [6] A Roddick (USA) – ATP SINGLES FINAL
[3] N Petrova (RUS) / S Stosur (AUS) vs G Dulko (ARG) / F Pennetta (ITA) – WTA DOUBLES FINAL

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Berdych Bludgeons Soderling for Berth in Sony Ericsson Open Final

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Berdych Bludgeons Soderling for Berth in Sony Ericsson Open Final


In the second male semifinal at the Sony Ericsson Open, the majority of the highlight reel was filled by Tomas Berdych.  Berdych, the 16th seed, squashed Robin Soderling, the 5th seed, 6-2, 6-2 to move on to the finals where his ultimate challenge will be Andy Roddick.

When Berdych sent a forehand wide following a great return in the initial game of the match, Soderling had break point. However, with a series of booming serves including an ace on game point, Berdych held.  Similarly, Soderling had a comfortable game his first time out.  But, on his second trip, Soderling was pushed to deuce.  Nevertheless, with a forehand winner, Soderling pocketed the game for 2 all. Yet down at 2-3, Soderling made two errors; then, with a forehand up the line winner, Berdych gave himself triple break point.  When Soderling dumped a backhand into the net, Berdych moved ahead 4-2.  After easily consolidating, Berdych broke Soderling at love for the second successive occasion to terminate the set.

Up to this juncture, Soderling had two primary problems, a low first serve percentage and too many errors, particularly with his main weapon, the forehand.  Yet, despite being blown off the court the first set, Soderling’s body language was positive.  In the first game of the second set, when Berdych committed an error serving at 30-0, Soderling pumped his fist.  That attitude at least helped Soderling out of a tight spot in the second game.  As a result of a double fault, Soderling stared at double break point.  Although with difficulty, Soderling carried the game for 1 all.  Then for the first time in the match, by forcing a couple of mistakes on Berdych’s serve, Soderling had 0-30.  Still, with Soderling incapable of finding a decent return rhythm, Berdych inched in front 2-1.  The next game, when Soderling’s forehand up the line missed its mark, Berdych had break point. Luckily, Soderling came up with the answers, erasing a total of two break points to equalize things at 2 all.  However, serving at 2-3, Soderling’s forehand up the line miscue resulted in a break point for Berdych.  Unable to find the range with another forehand, Soderling handed Berdych a 4-2 advantage.  After Berdych consolidated quickly for 5-2, he pressured Soderling into a caravan of errors to arrive at match point.  Then, with a return winner, Berdych ended the match and claimed the remaining final spot.

After his tremendous victory, MiamiTennisNews.com wanted to know how Berdych was able impose his will on the match:

Q.  The last two times you met Robin, one was in Sunrise in a challenger series here, and [the other in] Kuala Lumpur.  He pretty much beat you handily.  How did you change your game plan or tactics today?
BERDYCH:  Yeah, I mean, it was I would say pretty simple.  Both of those matches he was playing really aggressive[ly] and I was just . . . waiting for some mistakes or something and giv[ing] him too much time to just do on the court whatever he want[ed].  So, this time I just need[ed] to play more aggressive. . .  Step a little bit more into the court, try to play faster and a little longer shots against him, and just not give him too much time.  Then all the errors can come.  That’s what happened today.  I was serving pretty [well] today.  But, I would say really [the] key point was in the first game when I was break point down. . . Maybe if . . .  he took [that game] and start[ed] really strong, the match could be different.  It wasn’t, so I’m happy for that.

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Berdych Boots Out Verdasco, Soderling Discharges Youzhny

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Berdych Boots Out Verdasco, Soderling Discharges Youzhny


At the Sony Ericsson Open, Tomas Berdych and Robin Soderling claimed the remaining semifinal positions.  Berdych pulled his act together against Fernando Verdasco to win 4-6,7-6,6-4.  Conversely, Soderling expedited Mikhail Youzhny in straight sets 6-1,6-4.

In the first set, after Verdasco survived a love-40 game, he worked his way to double break point.  Verdasco broke for a 3-2 advantage.  With that sole break, Verdasco went on to capture the first set.

One of Berdych’s greatest issue was too mistakes on the forehand side.  His initial game of the second set, Berdych dropped serve.  Verdasco then rubbed out a break point to get to 2-0.  But, as Verdasco served at 3-2, Berdych picked on his rival’s backhand to get to double break point.  When Verdasco’s forehand landed long, the set was tied at 3 all.  After double faulting to give Verdasco break point, Berdych maintained serve for a 4-3 edge.  As the set progressed, Berdych found his forehand and forced a tiebreaker.  In carrying the tiebreaker, Berdych sent the match into a third set.

At 3 a piece in the decisive set, with back to back backhand errors, Verdasco faced double break point.  With a spectacular backhand pass, Berdych secured the break for 4-3.  After Berdych consolidated, Verdasco held at love to force him to serve for the match.  With Verdasco’s forehand miscue, Berdych had double match point. Then, with a forehand winner, Berdych seized the victory.

Tonight, Soderling raced through the first set taking it 6-1 against Youzhny.  However, in the second set, Youzhny woke up, making it more compelling.  After Soderling sprinted to a 3-1 lead, Youzhny held at love to keep the deficit to one break.  The following game, Youzhny had break point and capitalized.  Still, Soderling was too much for his rival.  The next game, Soderling wrestled another break from Youzhny and consolidated for 5-3.  Although Youzhny held at love, Soderling guarded serve to claim the match. Soderling and Berdych will square off in the semifinals.  In their head to head series, Soderling leads 4-2.

In doubles action, Leander Paes and Lukas Dlouhy defeated Nicolas Almagro and Tommy Robredo 6-3,6-0 to advance to the finals.  Mahesh Bhupathi and Max Mirnyi beat Arnaud Clement and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-4,6-7,10-4 in the quarters.  Tomorrow, they will face Mariusz Fyrstenberg and Marcin Matkowski in the semifinals.

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Women Semifinal Day at the 2010 Sony Ericsson Open:  Venus, Bartoli, Henin and Clijsters

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Women Semifinal Day at the 2010 Sony Ericsson Open: Venus, Bartoli, Henin and Clijsters


At the Sony Ericsson Open today, the women finalists will be determined along with the semifinalists for the top half of the men’s draw.

For the third time, Venus Williams takes on Marion Bartoli. Their head to head stands at one all.  Williams carried their 2007 Wimbledon final match while Bartoli won their last encounter in Stanford in 2009.  In the ultimate session, Kim Clijsters clashes with Justine Henin.  Earlier in the year, they played in the finals in Brisbane.  Clijsters defeated Henin in three sets in what she stated was “ one of . . .  most exciting matches I think that I’ve played [in]  my career . . . we had a great time out there”.

In the initial male quarterfinal, Tomas Berdych faces Fernando Verdasco.  After his amazing triumph over Roger Federer, Berdych attempts to at least equal his best result in Miami, he reached the semifinals in 2008.  Berdych has 5-3 record against Verdasco.  They’ve split their last two meetings.

Mikhail Youzhny and Robin Soderling battle it out for the ultimate semifinal berth.  Soderling has been victorious their last three out of four matches. In Rotterdam this year, Soderling beat Youzhny. Soderling was well on his way to securing the trophy before the Russian retired with a hamstring problem.

In addition, there’s a sprinkling of doubles as Nicolas Almagro and Tommy Robredo square off against Lukas Dlouhy and Leander Paes for a spot in the finals.  Arnaud Clement and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga meet Mahesh Bhupathi and Max Mirnyi in the quarterfinals.  Last year, Mirnyi won the title with partner Andy Ram.

Here is today’s complete schedule :

THURSDAY, APRIL 1

STADIUM start 1:00 PM
[13] M Bartoli (FRA) vs [3] V Williams (USA) – WTA

Not Before 3:00 PM
[16] T Berdych (CZE) vs [10] F Verdasco (ESP) – ATP
Almagro/Robredo vs [3]Dlouhy/Paes

Starting at 7:00 PM
[13] M Youzhny (RUS) vs [5] R Soderling (SWE) – ATP

Not Before 9:00 PM
[14] K Clijsters (BEL) vs [WC] J Henin (BEL) – WTA

COURT 2 Not before 4:30 pm
Clement/Tsonga vs. [4]Bhupathi/Mirnyi

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Federer Tipped Over by Berdych, Venus Saunters Into Semis

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Federer Tipped Over by Berdych, Venus Saunters Into Semis


Nearly a year, Madrid May 2009, has elapsed since Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal butted heads in an ATP final.  Fans were hopeful that Federer and Nadal would rekindle their rivalry at the Sony Ericsson Open.  That possibility was dashed in the fourth round as Tomas Berdych beat Federer 6-4,6-7,7-6.

Federer had been fumbling his way through the tournament.  Still, the wish was that the world number one’s luck would not run out.  Subsequent to Berdych and Federer’s first meeting at the 2004 Athens Olympics where the former prevailed, the latter has claimed their next eight bouts.  At the 2009 Australian Open, Berdych carried the first two sets, but still went down in flames.  Perhaps that performance bolstered Berdych’s morale leading him to believe that his fortune could be better in a best of three sets contest.

After a double fault gave Federer a break point, the world number one broke to open the match, then consolidated for 2-1.  In a game where Federer donated a double fault, Berdych got two chances to break.  On his second opportunity, Berdych knotted the set at 3 all.  Down the road as Federer served to push the set to a tiebreaker, at love-40, he double faulted to gift Berdych the set.

From the opening game of the second set, Federer applied pressure, but failed to convert on four break point opportunities.  The same story was repeated in the 7th and 9th games.  Finally in a tiebreaker, Federer captured the second set.

In the third set, after breaking, Berdych stretched his advantage to 3-1. However, serving at 4-3,  Berdych double faulted on double break point to equalize things at 4 all.  With no break point the rest of the way, a tiebreaker settled the set.  Post saving match point at 6-7, Berdych won the next three points to seal the victory and quarterfinal spot.

Fernando Verdasco, Berdych’s quarterfinal opponent, is probably relieved not to see Federer against whom he has a 4-0 lifetime mark.  Verdasco triumphed over the 7th seed, Marin Cilic, 6-4,7-6.

In the round of 16, Nadal clashed with countryman David Ferrer.  After the two exchanged early service breaks and neither manufactured another break point, the set went to a tiebreaker.  In the latter stages, Nadal finally strung together two consecutive points to claim it.  In the second set, Nadal went up by a break.  However, again, Ferrer crawled back to 4 all.  With Ferrer serving to tie the set at 5 all, Nadal gained the upper hand and penned his name into the quarterfinals .  Nadal takes on Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.  Earlier in the day, Tsonga sent Juan Carlos Ferrero home in straight sets 6-2,6-2.

Also into the quarterfinals are Andy Roddick and Nicolas Almagro.  Roddick defeated Benjamin Becker 7-6,6-3.  Almagro prevailed over Thomaz Bellucci in three sets.  These two will do battle in the next round.

Unfortunately for Mardy Fish, a sciatic nerve injury caused him to pull out of his match against Mikhail Youzhny.  Fish was on the losing end 1-6,0-1 when he retired.  Youzhny has Robin Soderling as his quarterfinal adversary.  Soderling dismissed Fernando Gonzalez in three sets 6-0,6-7,6-2.

After fighting off Daniela Hantuchova tooth and nail to advance to the quarterfinals, Williams eased her way to the semifinals with a 6-3,6-1 win over Agnieszka Radwanska. Williams secured a break for 2-1 on Radwanska’s opening game.  Promptly though, Radwanska squared the set at 2 a piece.  Then, with back to back double faults, Radwanska went down 15-30, Williams won the next two points for a 5-4 lead.   With an easy game, Williams closed out the first set.  The second set, Williams once more took Radwanska’s first service game.  By allowing Radwanska only one game the entire set, Williams walked into the semis.

Venus meets Marion Bartoli.  Bartoli defeated Yanina Wickmayer 6-4,7-5 to advance to her first semifinal in Miami.

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Quarterfinal Headliners at the 2010 SEO:  Henin, Wozniacki, Clijsters and Nadal

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Quarterfinal Headliners at the 2010 SEO: Henin, Wozniacki, Clijsters and Nadal


The remaining two women singles semifinal slots will be assigned today at the Sony Ericsson Open.  In addition, the men get their singles quarterfinal round under way.

Following women quarterfinal doubles action, Justine Henin and Caroline Wozniacki kick off the afternoon on stadium court.  For Wozniacki, this is her initial encounter with the four time French Open, two time U.S Open and 2004 Australian Open champion.  Afterwards, Andy Roddick battles Nicolas Almagro.  Likewise, it’s the first meeting for these guys.  Because the surface is hardcourt and not clay where Almagro has won his five ATP titles, Roddick has the advantage considering his superb results lately. Subsequently, Mike and Bob Bryan face Mariusz Fyrstenberg and Marcin Matkowski in the quarterfinals.

The women’s night session has Samantha Stosur and Kim Clijsters.  Although Clijsters has a 2-0 record versus Stosur,  their ultimate collision was in Miami in 2007.  A victory by Henin and Clijsters will result in an all Belgian semifinal in the bottom half of the draw.

The evening ends with the match featuring Rafael Nadal and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.  The only time Tsonga defeated Nadal was in the quarters of the 2008 Australian Open.  Since then, they have played three hotly contested matches.  With Tsonga performing well in Miami, this should be a great battle.

In addition, the grandstand focuses on male doubles with the team of Fernando Verdasco and Feliciano Lopez as well as Lukas Dlouhy and Leander Paes to name a few.

Here is today’s full schedule :

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 31

STADIUM start 11:00 am
Y Chan (TPE) / J Zheng (CHN) vs [8] E Makarova (RUS) / S Peng (CHN) – WTA

Not Before 1:00 PM
[WC] J Henin (BEL) vs [2] C Wozniacki (DEN) – WTA

Not Before 3:00 PM
[6] A Roddick (USA) vs [33] N Almagro (ESP) – ATP
[8] M Fyrstenberg (POL) / M Matkowski (POL) vs [2] B Bryan (USA) / M Bryan (USA) – ATP

Not Before 7:00 PM
[9] S Stosur (AUS) vs [14] K Clijsters (BEL) – WTA

Not Before 9:00 PM
[8] J Tsonga (FRA) vs [4] R Nadal (ESP) – ATP

GRANDSTAND start 12:00 noon
[3] L Dlouhy (CZE) / L Paes (IND) vs B Becker (GER) / M Kohlmann (GER) – ATP

Not Before 6:00 PM
N Almagro (ESP) / T Robredo (ESP) vs F Lopez (ESP) / F Verdasco (ESP) – After appropriate rest


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Federer Evades Serra, Cilic and Soderling Sail Into the Round of 16

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Federer Evades Serra, Cilic and Soderling Sail Into the Round of 16


Following a complicated initial match at the Sony Ericsson Open, Roger Federer was again rattled in his third round match.  The world number one was seriously pressed by Florent Serra.  Still, Federer came away unscathed with a 7-6,7-6 win.

Subsequent to neither competitor having issues on serve, Serra had a double fault on game point.  Federer took the next two points to break.  Then, with a love service game, Federer consolidated for a 5-2 lead.  However, as Federer served for the first set at 5-3, he made two costly errors allowing Serra two chances to break.  With a forehand down the line return winner, Serra put the first set back on serve. Still, Federer arrived at double set point on Serra’s service.  But, the Frenchman did not cave in.  With the two men holding at love the next two games, a tiebreaker was initiated.  With Federer’s backhand down the line pass landing out of bounds, Serra opened with a mini-break.  Then, with a forehand down the line winner of his own and with Serra flubbing an overhead, Federer got a mini-break for 2-1.  Federer went on to comfortably carry the breaker.

In the second set,  by enticing errors from Serra, Federer obtained a double break lead for 4-1.  Yet, Serra climbed back.  With a backhand overhead winner and a forehand down the line winner, Serra decreased the deficit to 4-2.  Then, Serra survived double break point to stay in touch at 3-4.  With Federer serving for the match at 5-4, a double fault gave Serra double break point.  The Frenchman converted with a forehand up the line winner.  Eventually, a second tiebreaker was called upon.  Again, after Serra got the early mini-break, Federer rebounded to easily capture the second set.

In the post match interview, Federer responded as such to the questions from MiamiTennisNews.com:
Q.  Do you have a preference. . . A match like this [where] you are tested . . . as opposed to having a quick match in the earlier rounds?
FEDERER:  Well, I mean, most important is to come through the rounds, you know.  So I don’t have a preference how it’s done.  I always like to come out with confidence, that’s for sure.  So it’s nice . . . having won two breakers, because that doesn’t happen every match you play.  Sure, I still have to tidy up my game a bit, you know, having had one break up in the first and two breaks up in the second, it’s normally something that doesn’t get away from me. But I thought he came up with some good stuff, and that made it difficult for me, you know, to close it out. That’s why I’m happy to still be through.

Q.  Were you surprised being down a double break that he was still mentally pretty strong and still fighting?
FEDERER:  Well. . . I didn’t have the feeling he was playing the score too much.  He was just playing his style, which is aggressive, you know, taking chances.  Sometimes missing by many feet.  Sometimes, you know, hitting it right in the corners.  So I knew that was going to happen kind of thing, but it’s still impressive to see when it does happen against you.  You know, that he hits the spots three, four, five, six points in a row, and there’s not much you can do sometimes.  I wish I would have maybe served better, you know, at the crucial stages of the match, which I wasn’t able to do.  But then he took advantage of that and was able to come up with some amazing stuff. Then you can only hope that, you know, he’s going to cool off again and that . . . you’re going to get your act together so you don’t allow him maybe to play that way.

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Monday’s Agenda At the 2010 Sony Ericsson Open

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Monday’s Agenda At the 2010 Sony Ericsson Open


The men wrap up their third round at the 2010 Sony Ericsson Open today while fourth round action commences for the women.

Mardy Fish tries to avoid the lull that postdates a triumph over a player of Andy Murray’s caliber. In the first match of the day, Fish confronts Feliciano Lopez.  Their three prior meetings, Lopez won twice on hardcourt while Fish on grass. Afterwards, Roger Federer takes on veteran Florent Serra for the first time.  Following is Venus Williams and Daniela Hantuchova.  Williams will be shooting for 10-0 record versus her opponent.  The day session caps off with a jewel of a match, Kim Clijsters against Victoria Azarenka. In Toronto last year, Clijsters was victorious at their maiden encounter.

On stadium court, the evening program has Fernando Gonzalez clashing with Juan Monaco.  Gonzalez has prevailed at their five preceding rendezvous. The finale is Justine Henin versus Vera Zvonareva.  Henin has won all five prior matches, the last one was in Zurich in 2007.  Zvonareva is without question a different player.

On the grandstand, Svetlana Kuznetsova and Marion Bartoli do battle. Later, Marcos Baghdatis plays Marin Cilic, the inaugural showdown for these players.  Two other top seeds in action at that location are Fernando Verdasco and Robin Soderling.

The outer courts have plenty of stimulating singles and doubles matches.  After fighting her way into the fourth round yesterday, Caroline Wozniacki is back to face talented youngster Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.  Although Wozniacki carried their sole meeting in New Haven last year, with her dealing with a viral illness and Anastasia much improved, it will be a tough task.  In addition, Jelena Jankovic tussles with Sam Stosur for the second tournament in a row.  Jankovic has a 3-0 record versus Stosur.  Top doubles seed Daniel Nestor and Nenad Zimonjic collide with Nicolas Almagro and Tommy Robredo.  John Isner and Sam Querrey try to cut down fourth seed Mahesh Bhupathi and Max Mirnyi.

Below is Monday’s full order of play :

MONDAY, MARCH 29

STADIUM start 11:00 am
M Fish (USA) vs [29] F Lopez (ESP) – ATP

Not Before 1:00 PM
[1] R Federer (SUI) vs F Serra (FRA) – ATP
[3] V Williams (USA) vs [19] D Hantuchova (SVK) – WTA

Not Before 4:30 PM
[14] K Clijsters (BEL) vs [4] V Azarenka (BLR) – WTA

Not Before 7:00 PM
[9] F Gonzalez (CHI) vs [22] J Monaco (ARG) – ATP

Not Before 8:30 PM
[WC] J Henin (BEL) vs [11] V Zvonareva (RUS) – WTA

GRANDSTAND start 11:00 am
[1] S Kuznetsova (RUS) vs [13] M Bartoli (FRA) – WTA

Not Before 12:30 PM
Y Shvedova (KAZ) vs [6] A Radwanska (POL) – WTA
[10] F Verdasco (ESP) vs [23] J Melzer (AUT) – ATP
[25] M Baghdatis (CYP) vs [7] M Cilic (CRO) – ATP

Not Before 5:00 PM
P Petzschner (GER) vs [5] R Soderling (SWE) – ATP

COURT 1 start 11:00 am
K Peschke (CZE) / K Srebotnik (SLO) vs [8] E Makarova (RUS) / S Peng (CHN) – WTA
L Dekmeijere (LAT) / P Schnyder (SUI) vs [4] L Raymond (USA) / R Stubbs (AUS) – WTA

Not Before 1:00 PM
[1] D Nestor (CAN) / N Zimonjic (SRB) vs N Almagro (ESP) / T Robredo (ESP) – ATP
J Isner (USA) / S Querrey (USA) vs [4] M Bhupathi (IND) / M Mirnyi (BLR) – ATP
F Lopez (ESP) / F Verdasco (ESP) vs [6] S Aspelin (SWE) / P Hanley (AUS) – ATP

COURT 2 start 11:00 am
[19] S Wawrinka (SUI) vs [13] M Youzhny (RUS) – ATP
H Zeballos (ARG) vs [16] T Berdych (CZE) – ATP
[12] Y Wickmayer (BEL) vs T Bacsinszky (SUI) – WTA
[22] A Pavlyuchenkova (RUS) vs [2] C Wozniacki (DEN) – WTA

Not Before 5:00 PM
[7] J Jankovic (SRB) or [28] E Vesnina (RUS) vs [9] S Stosur (AUS) – WTA
M Kirilenko (RUS) / A Radwanska (POL) or [WC] K Clijsters (BEL) / K Flipkens (BEL) vs G Dulko (ARG) / F Pennetta (ITA) – To Be Arranged

COURT 3 start 1:00 pm
[3] L Dlouhy (CZE) / L Paes (IND) vs T Bellucci (BRA) / M Lopez (ESP) – ATP
[7] F Cermak (CZE) / M Mertinak (SVK) vs A Clement (FRA) / J Tsonga (FRA) – ATP

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Fish Trips Up Murray, Federer Still Standing

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Fish Trips Up Murray, Federer Still Standing


For the second straight day at the Sony Ericsson Open, a highly ranked male seed went out in the second round.  World number three and defending champion, Andy Murray, was beaten by Mardy Fish 6-3,6-4 .  Although Roger Federer, the number one seed, was pushed by Nicolas Lapentti.  Federer still won comfortably 6-3, 6-3.

In the opening set, in a game in which Fish double faulted, Murray captured the break for 3-1.  However, the next game, Murray threw in a double fault on break point permitting Fish to get back on serve.  With Murray serving in the ninth game, Fish attained triple break point.  Despite Murray reaching deuce and game point, Fish would not be denied.  Mardy manufactured two more break point chances and converted.  Then, on the third asking, Fish closed out the first set.

Poor serving and a tentative return game were what Murray brought to the table; thus, Fish took full advantage.  The initial game of the second set, Murray double faulted handing Fish his second break point opportunity, the American converted.  After consolidating and widening his lead to 3-1, Fish cruised on serve.  However, in the eighth game, Fish faced a 15-40 deficit.  Once again, the serve was his ally.  By raining a few bombs, Fish extricated himself out of this jam and maintained a 5-3 lead.  After Murray held, serving out the match, Fish once more was down break point.  Still, Fish snuffed Murray’s advantage with his serve.  Subsequently, with a couple of aces and unreturnables, Fish sealed the win.

Murray spends a lot of time training in South Florida, so MiamiTennisNews wondered:
Q.  You know this court almost more than anyone else.  You practice here all the time.  What made the difference in today’s match?
MURRAY:  Well, Mardy served well when he needed to.  You know, especially the second set when he was down break points he served well.  But I just wasn’t very good today, and I’m going to need to get a lot better.

After Murray’s debacle, a love-30 start to Federer’s opening game and a break point the subsequent one by Lapentti were preoccupying.  Still, with a few good serves, Federer held to stay on serve.  For his part, Lapentti had no difficulty holding with back to back love games for 2 all.  After multiple errant forehands, with Lapentti serving at 4-5, Federer connected on a forehand up the winner for deuce.  Later, Federer provoked a backhand error by Lapentti resulting in break point.  Then, the world number one produced a stellar backhand down the line pass to go ahead 5-3.  Following, with an easy game, Federer slammed the door on the first set.

Lapentti revealed no signs of disappointment, starting the second set strongly in part aided by Federer having trouble finding his mark with the forehand.  Similarly, Federer continued to have routine service games.  The good thing for Federer was that when it mattered, his forehand showed up.  With Lapentti serving at 3 all, Federer obtained break point with a forehand up the line winner.  When Lapentti’s forehand sailed long, Federer had the crucial break.  After getting out of love-30 mess to consolidate, with a backhand crosscourt winner, Federer broke Lapentti to finish the match.

As anticipated, Robin Soderling, Marin Cilic, Fernando Gonzalez and Fernando Verdasco advanced, all in straight sets.  Seeds Mikhail Youzhny, Tomas Berdych, Stanislas Wawrinka, Juan Monaco, Jurgen Melzer, Marcos Baghdatis and Feliciano Lopez also  moved on without difficulty.  On the other hand, Alberto Montanes, the 26th seed, Gilles Simon, seeded 20th, and Janko Tipsarevic, the 31st seed, were ousted.

For the women, it was business as usual.  Svetlana Kuznetsova, the top seed, with a 6-2,6-3 win, sent Agnes Szavay home . Venus Williams said arrivederci to Roberta Vinci with a 6-1,6-4 victory.  Agnieszka Radwanska took care of Ana Ivanovic 7-5,7-5.  Both Yanina Wickmayer and Marion Bartoli only needed two sets to pass to the round of 16.  The night match between Daniela Hantuchova and Nadia Petrova was less stimulating than expected.  Hantuchova prevailed over Petrova 6-2,6-4.  Timea Bacsinszky had an easy time with Polona Hercog 6-2,6-2.  Her next round will be more challenging as she faces Wickmayer.

The shocker for the women came from the doubles field as the top seed Cara Black and Liezel Huber were defeated in the first round by Natalie Grandin and Abigail Spears.

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