Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Martina Hingis & Sabine Lisicki get wild cards for Madrid Open doubles

Tennis - Organizers of the Mutua Madrid Open event have announced the wild cards for the tournament which gets underway on May 2nd.

Spaniards Roberto Bautista Agut and Pablo Carreno Busta have got wildcards into the men's singles draw along with Marius Copil while Spanish women Anabel Medina Garrigues, Silvia Soler-Espinosa, Lara Arruabarrena and Tita Torro get wildcards into the women's singles draw along with Irina-Camelia Begu.

Copil and Begu are from Romania and tournament promoter Ion Tiriac, also from Romania, is doing his bit to promote Romanian tennis.

Former world no. 1 Martina Hingis has received a wild card for the women's doubles event - along with German Sabine Lisicki.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Stan the man Wawrinka wins the all Swiss affair against Roger Federer at Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters

Stanislas Wawrinka won the Monte Carlo Masters for the first time after rallying to beat Roger Federer 4-6, 7-6 (5), 6-2 in a rare all-Swiss final on Sunday.
The Australian Open champion had lost his previous two Masters finals and looked like losing a third until Federer's level dropped suddenly late in the second set, and Wawrinka began troubling the 17-time Grand Slam champion with his aggressive backhand.
The fourth-seeded Federer, who accepted a wild card invitation to play in the tournament, was also looking to win it for the first time after losing his three previous finals here to eight-time champion Rafael Nadal from 2006-08.
Wawrinka has beaten Federer only twice in 15 matches but both victories have come here. He also beat him in the third round in 2009.
"It's exceptional to be able to win my first Masters title here," Wawrinka said.
With the third-seeded Wawrinka serving for the match, Federer shouted in frustration as he missed an easy forehand on second serve at 15-15. On the next point, Federer's backhand went wide and Wawrinka clinched victory with a crisp forehand winner that landed on the line.
The players, who are good friends, shared a warm hug at the net.
"I had a great week here," Federer said. "Congratulations to Stan."
It is the seventh title of the 29-year-old Wawrinka's career, and his third this year. He lost his previous Masters finals at Madrid last year and Rome in 2008.
Federer was seeking the 79th title of an illustrious career, and his 22nd Masters title. The 32-year-old Swiss has lost three of his four finals this year, with the other defeats against Novak Djokovic at Indian Wells and to Lleyton Hewitt at Brisbane.
The next two Masters events on clay are at Madrid and Rome leading up to the French Open, which starts on May 25.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Roger Federer & Stan Wawrinka make it an all-Swiss final at Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters


The serene setting of the Monte-Carlo Country Club will be swathed in the red and white colors of the Swiss flag on Sunday, as Roger Federer and Stanislas Wawrinka each passed their semifinal tests on Saturday to set up the first all-Swiss final on the ATP tour in over fourteen years (Marseille, 2000, Rosset d. Federer). 

By the Numbers: Federer and Djokovic Continue Storied Rivalry Wawrinka was first to reach the final, and he did so with gusto. The World No. 3 turned in a blistering first set against David Ferrer, then edged the Spaniard in the second-set tiebreaker to book a place in his third career Masters 1000 final. The victory was the reigning Australian Open champion's 19th on the season against only three losses, and it also marks Wawrinka's 100th Masters 1000 victory, making the 29-year-old one of only ten active players to have achieved that mark. 

 The more heavily anticipated semifinal on Saturday turned out to have an anticlimactic finish, as Roger Federer took down an obviously injured Novak Djokovic, 7-5, 6-2, in the 34th career meeting between the two legendary rivals. 

Djokovic took the court with heavy strapping that covered his right wrist and forearm, and while he was able to compete quite well in the first set, he appeared to be suffering down the stretch as Federer waltzed to the finish line in 75 minutes. 

But the match had its moments, particularly in a tense first set when neither player could earn a break point in the first nine games. Federer was put to the test by the Serb in the tenth game, but he coolly swept away two set point opportunities with decisive play to level at 5-all. In the next game the tides began to turn as Federer rallied from 40-0 down to earn his second break point of the set. 

He would convert that opportunity, with some help from a limp, netted forehand by Djokovic, and serve out the set comfortably. During the changeover, a disappointed Djokovic sat slumped, a towel draped over his head, possibly contemplating the chances he'd missed in the opener but more likely coming to the grips with the realization that a comeback from a set down wasn't going to be in the cards in his physical conditions. 

The Serb was hardly the same player in the second set, and he quickly found himself down a double-break at 5-1, with his body language plummeting as rapidly as his play. Federer, hungry for an opportunity to win his first ever Monte-Carlo title, showed no mercy down the stretch, and he served out the match with ease for his 18th career victory in 34 career matches against Djokovic. 

With back-to-back victories over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Djokovic, the resurgent 17-time Grand Slam champion improves to 6-2 against top ten competition in 2014. He went 4-1 against the ATP's top ten in 2013. 

Wawrinka, who crushed 16 winners in the first set of his semifinal against Ferrer today (against only one for the Spaniard), has only beaten Federer once in 14 tries in his career, but that win did come in Monte-Carlo in 2009. But one could easily make the argument that Wawrinka in 2014 is leaps and bounds ahead of the Wawrinka of the past. 

Though the man affectionately dubbed “the Stanimal” slipped a bit after winning his first career Grand Slam in Australia this January, he's returned to resplendent form on the clay this week. Wawrinka has not been broken all week, and the extra time to think and react on the slower clay has seemed to bring his world-class, bash-and-crash groundstrokes back into focus. Sunday's final will not only be for the title in Monte-Carlo, it will also decide temporary bragging rights in Swiss tennis and the ATP's No. 3 ranking.

Federer will certainly have his hands full with Wawrinka, but with such a dominant history against his friend and compatriot, he'll go in as the heavy favorite on paper, and, of course, the fan favorite around the grounds.

No matter the eventual outcome, their will be legions of happy Swiss tennis fans in Monte-Carlo and around the world on Sunday. 

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Roger Federer comes back from defeat to reach Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters semis

Roger Federer’s patience was tested to the limit as he battled to a 2-6, 7-6(6), 6-1 victory over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the quarter-finals of the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters on Friday.

It took Federer 16 break points before he finally breached Tsonga’s defences on serve. The decisive move gave him a 2-0 lead in the third set and he went on to break Tsonga once more before claiming victory in two hours and 26 minutes.

The Swiss had been two points from defeat, trailing 5-6, 0/30 at the end of the second set, but four points later had forced a tie-break. He let slip a 6-3 lead, but was given a fourth set point chance courtesy of a Tsonga error and took his chance.
"I was down 6-5, 0/30," said Federer. "It was a tough point at 15-30 as far as I remember with a half volley backhand defense kind of thing. It wasn't looking good there. Clearly was quite frustrating for a long period of time, missing all those break points. Now, looking back, I can take also some positives out of the match. It was just many things went wrong at the wrong time for me: Jo playing well, me playing wrong at certain times, wrong shot selections. It was a tough day at the office. I'm happy I found the way to tough it out.

"The confidence is there. I played well from the baseline. My serve was consistent. I'm very happy that I have this foundation for my game. Sometimes you feel you have no foundation. But having it helped me to remain very calm during the whole match. I really believed that eventually I was going to come through. It's not possible to go through that many break points. I was playing good enough to make the break and then serve my way home. That's exactly kind of what happened."
"The conditions were changing a lot during the match," reflected Tsonga. "It was becoming colder and the balls were not bouncing that much anymore and it was difficult for me to give them some height. So he had more and more of those balls at the height of his hips, and that's where he feels most comfortable. So it was then more difficult for me to put the ball away from him. I forced myself a bit and I got into trouble."

For a place in the final of this ATP World Tour Masters 1000 clay-court tournament, Federer will face either defending champion Novak Djokovic or Guillermo Garcia-Lopez. The 32-year-old Federer is looking to reach the final at the Monte-Carlo Country Club for the fourth time, having finished runner-up to Rafael Nadal from 2006-'08.

Federer is this week looking to win his 22nd ATP World Tour Masters 1000 crown and first since Cincinnati 2012 (d. Djokovic). He was beaten by Djokovic last month in the final of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Roger Federer fights into the quarters at Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters

Roger Federer is yet to spend more than an hour on court at the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters. Following a 52-minute win over Radek Stepanek on 
Wednesday, the Swiss advanced to the quarter-finals Thursday in 57 minutes, dismissing Lukas Rosol 6-4, 6-1. 

The 32-year-old Federer won 91 per cent of his first serve points and hit 24 winners to 18 unforced errors, breaking Rosol four times to record his second win this season over the Czech.
"I think it was a bit rocky in the beginning," said Federer, who initially trailed 1-3. "I was able to find my way into the match. After four games you usually kind of know what's going to work, what's not going to work. At the end I think I had good variation. I also came to the net some. I was effective on break points. My first serve started to work better. So I just think it was a more difficult start to the match."
The fourth-seeded Federer earned a quarter-final clash with Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who earlier fought from a set down to beat Fabio Fognini
Federer leads their FedEx ATP Head2Head series 10-4, beating Tsonga in the fourth round of the Australian Open in January in their most recent meeting. However, Tsonga won their last clay-court contest, beating Federer in the Roland Garros quarter-finals last year.
"I didn't play a very good match against him at the French last year," said Federer. "That was a bit of a disaster for me. On the other side, I played a really good match against him in the Australian this year. So I'm kind of excited to see what's going to happen this time around. I think Jo played the semis here last year, so he's played here well in the past. I have to make sure I play aggressive myself and not become too passive just because we're on clay."

Federer is making his first appearance since 2011 at the Monte-Carlo Country Club. After three runner-up finishes in 2006-'08, the Basel native is looking to win the title for the first time and claim his 22nd ATP World Tour Masters 1000 crown.  

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Roger Federer may be skipping the French Open in favour of wife's impending birth

MONACO — Roger Federer is prepared to skip tournaments — including possibly the French Open — to be with his wife when she gives birth again.

Federer, who has twin daughters with wife Mirka, announced on Dec. 24 they are expecting their third child, although they have not said when.

The 32-year-old Federer still does not know the exact date.

“So we’re just waiting. It’s a priority for me trying to be there, trying to support my wife,” Federer said Wednesday at the Monte Carlo Masters. “I’ve played enough tennis matches. Missing a tournament or missing a match wouldn’t change anything for me.”

Asked if that means he would be prepared to miss the French Open, which runs from May 25-June 8, the 17-time Grand Slam champion hinted that he would.

“Yeah, let’s talk about it when it would happen. At the moment we hope it’s not going to be that way,” he said after beating Radek Stepanek 6-1, 6-2 in the second round. “If it is, that’s what it is, you know.”

Federer has played in every Grand Slam since 2000.