Monday, February 20, 2017

Roger Federer says Laver Cup is designed to be tough

PRAGUE (AP) — The new Laver Cup team tennis tournament is supposed to be a "tough" contest, not an exhibition, according to Roger Federer.

The competition will pit a team of the best six European players against the top six from the rest of the world. The inaugural edition is scheduled for Sept. 22-24 at the O2 Arena in Prague. The following year, it moves to the United States.

"The idea is to absolutely have a tough tournament, tough matches, the better man wins, that's the idea of the Laver Cup," Federer said Monday.

To promote the competition, Federer played some rallies against Tomas Berdych on a boat cruising the Vltava river to a crowd watching from the famed Charles Bridge.

Bjorn Bjorg will captain Europe while John McEnroe will do the same for the opponents. The tournament is to honor Rod Laver, an 11-time major champion who won two calendar-year Grand Slams.

No ATP rankings points will be awarded, but Federer insisted that an exhibition "is not how the captains see it, that's not how Rod Laver sees it. He wants us to represent our part of the world with pride and try our very best and also win for our teammates."

The teams won't be named until after the U.S. Open, but it's not clear yet if all players who will formally qualify via the rankings will be available.

What is for certain, organizers said, is that Federer and Rafael Nadal, the finalists at this year's Australian Open, will be on the European team.

With Andy Murray, Novak Djokovic and Stan Wawrinka possibly on the team, Europe seems to be the one to beat.

"On paper, we look as the big favorites," Federer said. "We have more depth in Team Europe that we can choose from."

The tournament will include three singles and one doubles match every day. Federer was clear about his choice of his possible partner for the doubles.

"I guess I would love to play with Rafa just because of our rivalry has been so special," Federer said.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Martina Hingis and new doubles partner fall in the semis of Qatar Open

Top seeds Chan Yung-jan and Martina Hingis were ousted in the semi-finals of the doubles at the Qatar Ladies Open on Friday, as Olga Savchuk and Yaroslava Shvedova rallied from a set down to win their second match of the day and advance to the final in Doha.

The Taiwanese-Swiss duo, playing their first tournament together, won the first set before the unseeded Ukrainian-Kazakh pairing rallied to complete a 3-6, 6-2, 10-6 victory in 67 minutes in the rain-hit Qatari capital.

Savchuk and Shvedova, who had earlier ousted third seeds Andrea Hlavackova of the Czech Republic and Peng Shuai of China 6-3, 1-6, 10-7, saved three of six break points and converted four of nine, winning 59 of the 110 points contested to advance to the final.

In the final they were due to face fourth seeds Abigail Spears of the US and Katarina Srebotnik of Slovenia, who ousted second seeds Sania Mirza of India and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic 6-3, 1-6, 10-8 in Friday’s other semi-final.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Martina Hingis reaches Qatar Open semis with new doubles partner

Martian Hingis Facebook

It was a tale of the top seeds at the rain-hit Qatar Ladies Open on Thursday, as Chan Yung-jan and Martina Hingis advanced to the semi-finals in the doubles, while Angelique Kerber crashed out to a Russian teenager in the second round of the singles in Doha.

Chan and Hingis faced a tougher test than their first-round match in their quarter-final against Andreja Klepac of Slovenia and Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez of Spain, but they came through with flying colors, posting a 6-3, 6-3 victory in 67 minutes.

The Taiwanese-Swiss duo saved six of eight break points and converted five of 13, winning 59 of the 105 points contested to advance to a semi-final against either third seeds Andrea Hlavackova of the Czech Republic and Peng Shuai of China or Olga Savchuk of Ukraine and Yaroslava Shvedova of Kazakhstan, who were scheduled to play their rain-delayed quarter-final yesterday.

That should give the top seeds an advantage in the semi-finals, with their opponents having to play two matches yesterday in their bid to make today’s final.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Martina Hingis scores first win with new doubles partner in Doha

 Chan Yung-jan celebrated her new doubles partnership with former world No. 1 Martina Hingis with a win at the Qatar Open yesterday, but it was not such a good day for fellow Taiwanese Chuang Chia-jung in a rain-hit Doha.

Top seeds Chan and Hingis took just 60 minutes to see off Kiki Bertens of the Netherlands and Johanna Larson of Sweden 6-1, 6-4.

The Taiwanese-Swiss duo failed to save either of the break points they faced, but they converted five of seven to advance to a quarter-final against Andreja Klepac of Slovenia and Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez of Spain, who cruised past Madison Brengle of the US and Naomi Broady of Britain 6-1, 6-2.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Martina Hingis & Iva Majoli to play in French Open Final repeat in Croatia exhibition

An exhibition match between Croatian Iva Majoli and former World No.1 Martina Hingis, which will be a repeat of the 1997 French Open final, will be one of the highlights of the 2017 WTA 125K Series Bol Open.

The WTA 125K Series Bol Open will take place from 5 – 11 June 2017 on Bol on the Croatian island of Bra─Ź.

Organisers today announced a strong field for the tournament now in its 13th year.

Local stars Ana Konjuh and Jana Fett were present today at the press conference in Zagreb and both announced they will be playing in Bol.

An added attraction will be a rematch of the 1997 French Open final at Roland Garros when Majoli takes on Hingis. Majoli won her first and only Grand Slam that year and the two friends will be going at it again 20 years later.