Sunday, July 05, 2015

Roger Federer into the 2nd week at Wimbledon

LONDON -- In the third game of their Centre Court encounter, Australian Sam Groth hit a scorching 147 mph serve that Roger Federer couldn't quite handle.

It was, certifiably, the second-fastest serve in Wimbledon's 138-year history. Five years ago, Taylor Dent hit a 148 mph fireball in the direction of Novak Djokovic.

Groth is a big fan of Australian Rules football and, at 6-foot-4, 215 pounds, he looks as though he could play the game. Instead, he hits aces for a living. Three years ago, he clocked 163 in a Challenger in Korea, a professional record.

None of this fazed Federer, who has a history of defusing these bombs with something approaching disdain. He's 59-10 against the ATP World Tour's 10 fastest servers on record. Feast your eyes on these tasty head-to-heads: Andy Roddick (21-3), Ivo Karlovic (13-1) and Dent (2-0).

As it turns out, Federer is now 2-0 against Groth after a 6-4, 6-4, 6-7 (5), 6-2 victory Saturday.

"Very pleased with the first week," Federer said, sounding as though he meant it.

On to our five Wimbledon Takeaways:

1. Like (Swiss) clockwork: The 33-year-old father of four is where he usually is this time of the tournament. For the 12th time in his past 13 events at the All England Club, Federer finds himself surviving and advancing to Week 2. He still has a chance to collect his eighth Wimbledon title, which would make him only the second man to win a major eight times or more. Rafael Nadal owns nine French Open crowns.

2. Speed, apparently, isn't everything: Federer had 17 aces, only four fewer than Groth. And while Groth won 60 of 80 first-serve points (75 percent), Federer was a searing 60-for-67 (90 percent). The Swiss champion did not face a break point.

3. The one that got away: While some of the leading men here have gone through to Monday without the loss of a set, Federer donated the third set to Groth. The Aussie was particularly sharp, with a 21-7 winner-to-errors ratio. For the match, though, Federer had 54 winners and only eight unforced errors.

4. His grass is always greener: Federer raised his record at the All England Club to 76-9 -- his best mark at any Grand Slam. He's won 15 grass titles, the last coming a few weeks ago in Hall, Germany.

5. The garden path: This how Federer's potential journey through the second week looks: No. 20 Roberto Bautista Agut, whom he's beaten twice, No. 6 Tomas Berdych in the quarters, No. 3 Andy Murray in semifinals and No. 1 Djokovic in the final.

Saturday, July 04, 2015

Roger Federer believes he's had the best preparation for Wimbledon

The solitary tear that rolled down Roger Federer’s cheek as he stood with the runners-up trophy on Centre Court was perhaps one of the most enduring images from last year's Championships.

He had just finished battling Novak Djokovic over five glorious sets on that final Sunday, having succumbed 6-4 in the final stanza after almost four hours. At nearly 33 years of age, many felt it was perhaps the Swiss champion’s last realistic shot at winning another major singles title.

It was a heart-breaking defeat, yet not one that broke him entirely. Federer has since done a remarkable job of moving on from it, carving out a fabulous 12 months in which he has won eight titles – the coveted Davis Cup for Switzerland among them – and cemented himself at world No.2.

“I'm not sure that last year's finals actually does anything to my performance this year. If it does something, it goes to show that last year I was playing well. I wasn't playing great, and I made the finals,” he reflected.

“I didn't expect myself to right away make the finals. To be honest, I was still somewhat on the way back (from injury).

"But things went faster than I thought they would. If I do look at last year, I see more the positives more than actually the heart-breaking loss in the final.”

It has been three years since Federer won the last of his 17 major singles titles. But rarely has he felt so good coming into a Grand Slam.

On Saturday at Wimbledon, the seven-time champion discussed how he felt more comfortable with his new racket, how his coaching relationship with Stefan Edberg had settled into a good groove, and how he had been able to gear his year around the tournament that means the most to him.

His record is 34-6 for the year, with four titles already under his belt. One of them was at the recent Halle event on grass in Germany, a tournament Federer has come to own over the past decade. That victory came amid an extended grass-court season which he believes has played perhaps the most significant part in supplying the confidence for his 17th visit to the All England Club.

“(The extended season has) changed everything, to be honest. You might think that a week is not a lot, but a week is so much for us players. The good thing is you can heal problems you might have carried over from the French rather than taking chances right away running onto the grass, or not playing a warm-up event.

“I could rest and relax and then really train and prepare properly, for a change, for a good grass-court season. Just the moving on grass takes some adjustment. Also, in my opinion, some physical adjustment, which I had all the time to do. That worked well. I could go early to Halle, train a lot, rest again. Same here. Arrived two days after the finals. Trained for three days, off today.

“I can totally pace myself, which is huge in an athlete's career and life.”

Although a player winning a Grand Slam singles title at nearly 34 would be unprecedented in this era – it has not happened since the early 1970s – Federer is genuinely shaping up as one of the favourites for the title.

It remains to be seen how Djokovic will respond to his crushing defeat in the French Open final. Rafael Nadal has yet to pull himself out of an extended funk that has seen him fall to No.10, and has not gone deep at Wimbledon in three years. Andy Murray must contend with a pressure-cooker environment of a Grand Slam event on home soil. Top five stars Stan Wawrinka and Kei Nishikori have historically struggled on grass, while last year’s beaten semi-finalists, Milos Raonic and Grigor Dimitrov, have endured their own woes – Raonic with injury, Dimitrov with form.

Federer, meanwhile, is in a great place. And he couldn’t be feeling better about it. “Winning Halle has given me the extra confidence I guess it's going to take me to win this title here,” he said.

“It’s probably been the best preparation I've ever had for Wimbledon.”

Friday, July 03, 2015

Martina Hingis & Sania Mirza breeze through 1st round of Wimbledon doubles

Martina Hingis Facebook Fanclub

Wimbledon: The Indo-Swiss pair of Sania Mirza and Martina Hingis thrashed their unseeded opponents Zarina Diyas of Kazakhstan and Zheng Saisai of China 6-2, 6-2 in only 68 minutes to enter the second round of the women’s doubles competition of the Wimbledon tennis championships.

The top-seeded pair started the match on an aggressive note by winning two break points and winning 10 out of 15 first serve points to take the set 6-2 at ease here on Wednesday.

After winning the first set, Sania-Hingis went into the second set even more strongly, winning two break points out of three along with three crucial aces.

Diyas-Saisai served a double fault at a crucial phase of the match to make it easier for their opponent to take the set and the match at 6-2.

“We made a good start, we were unlucky not to break in the first game and as the match went on we felt pretty solid,” Sania was quoted as saying by after the match.

“I think it’s important to get off to a great start. We were strong and solid and really pleased with how we played,” Martina said.

In the second round, Sania and Martina will face the Italian-Japanese pair of Kimiko Date-Krumm and Francesca Schiavone.

Thursday, July 02, 2015

Roger Federer dazzles moves into 3rd round at Wimbledon

A Tweenter lob just another day at the office for Mr. Federer :)

Roger Federer is cruising through his opponents at Wimbledon, and on Thursday he did so with style. During his second-round match against American Sam Querrey, the Swiss player hustled to hit a between-the-legs lob that landed perfectly just inside the baseline and proved unreturnable for his opponent who slammed the ball into the net.

The shot left both the crowd, which included Prince Charles’s wife Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, cheering and the tournament’s British announcers nearly speechless. They could only muster up an amazed, “Oh, come on!” after Federer made the difficult shot look effortless.

Federer went on to beat Querrey in straight sets, 6-4, 6-2, 6-2, in less than 90 minutes and was rightfully pretty pleased with his performance after the match.

“I’m very happy with the way I played the first two matches,” Federer said (via the BBC) after his win. “I guess there’s also a little bit of relief that I’m also playing well at Wimbledon.

He continued, politely: “Sam’s a good player, he’s had a good run on the grass. The first set was tough, he was serving very well and I didn’t know how long he was keeping it up so the first break was crucial.”

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Roger Federer starts off Wimbledon campaign with impressive win

Roger Federer made a typically confident start to his quest for a record eighth Wimbledon title as he dismissed the world No88, Damir Dzumhur of Bosnia, 6-1, 6-3, 6-3.

The 33-year-old, seeded No2 this year and beaten by Novak Djokovic in last year’s final, was never troubled as he made it through to round two.

Federer set another record as soon as he stepped on to the court for what was his 63rd consecutive grand slam appearance, beating the mark he had shared with Japan’s Ai Sugiyama.

Basking in the heat in front of a packed Centre Court, the first set went by in just 18 minutes and the whole thing took him just 68 minutes.

“You always try to focus on every point in the first round,” Federer said. “Try not to lose a set or in the end, the match. I was trying to be aggressive and I am always happy to win like that.”

It is rare that when Federer steps on to the court, his opponent is the story but that is the case for Dzumhur, who was born in Sarajevo in May 1992, a month after the start of the city’s siege. He grew up playing tennis in the former Olympic hall that had been badly hit by shelling and was used as a morgue during the war. The fact that he has made it from there to the tour is remarkable in itself and he enjoyed himself on his Wimbledon debut.

The 23-year-old showed some lovely touches, especially at the net but lacked the power to hurt Federer and the Swiss had his own way throughout, as he had done when they had met in the third round of the French Open earlier this month.

After the first point, one male fan shouted out: “Roger, I love you,” and most of the crowd seemed to feel the same way as they cheered everything that came off his racket.

Two breaks, in the fourth and sixth games, gave him the opening set and though Dzumhur held his own until 3-3 in the second, Federer pulled away before cruising through the third to set up a clash with the American Sam Querrey or Igor Sijsling of the Netherlands.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Wimbledon draw puts Roger Federer in bottom half could face Nadal or Murray in 2nd week

LONDON - Defending champion Novak Djokovic avoided his three biggest traditional rivals in the Wimbledon draw on Friday as the other members of tennis' "Big Four" were all placed on the opposite side.

Serena Williams had no such luck in the women's draw, where she may have to get past a trio of former No. 1s - sister Venus, Victoria Azarenka and Maria Sharapova - just to get to the final.

Canadians Eugenie Bouchard, Milos Raonic and Vasek Pospisil will compete at the third Grand Slam event of the tennis season.

Seeded no. 12 in the women's draw, Bouchard will take on Ying-Ying Duan on China in the first round. Raonic will open against Daniel Gimeno-Traver, while Pospisil will face qualifier Vincent Millot of France.

The draw at the All England Club set up a number of intriguing possibilities for the upcoming two weeks, especially with former champions Roger Federer, Andy Murray and Rafael Nadal all grouped together in the bottom half of the men's draw. Murray and Nadal could face each other in the quarterfinals, with Federer possible awaiting the winner in the semis.

The bottom half also includes former finalist Tomas Berdych and former semifinalist Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, leaving Djokovic facing a possible semifinal against Stan Wawrinka, the man who beat him in the French Open final.

Djokovic does face a potentially tricky start of the tournament, though, as he'll open play on Centre Court on Monday against German veteran Philipp Kohlschreiber and could face Australian former No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt in the second round. Hewitt, the 2002 champion, is playing Wimbledon for the final time and has always enjoyed huge crowd support at the All England Club.

Another Australian, Bernard Tomic, could then await Djokovic in the third round, while Kei Nishikori of Japan is a potential quarterfinal opponent.

Two-time champion Nadal is seeded only No. 10 this year after a disappointing season that saw him lose at the French Open for only the second time in his career. He could face fellow Spaniard David Ferrer in the fourth round.

Murray was given one of the toughest possible draws as he tries to win the tournament for a second time, with the home favourite potentially facing Tsonga in the fourth round, Nadal in the quarters, Federer in the semis and Djokovic in the final.

Federer will start his quest for a record eighth title against Damir Dzumhur of Bosnia-Herzegovina and could face Berdych in the quarterfinals.

In the women's tournament, top-ranked Williams could come up against sister Venus - also a five-time champion - in the fourth round, Azarenka in the quarterfinals and Sharapova in the semis in a tough upper half of the draw.

Williams, who is halfway toward a calendar-year Grand Slam, opens play against Margarita Gasparyan of Russia. Williams lost in the third round last year and the fourth round in 2013.

Defending champion Petra Kvitova is in the other half, and could face Bouchard - last year's runner-up - in the quarterfinals.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Martina Hingis & Sania Mirza fall short of the doubles final in Aegon International at Eastbourne

Eastbourne: Top seeds Sania Mirza and Martina Hingis were ousted from the WTA Aegon International following a semifinal defeat to Caroline Garcia and Katarina Srebotnik, here today.

The top seeds lost 5-7 4-6 to fourth seeded French-Slovak combine in the last-four stage of the USD 31,000 WTA Premier grass court event, which is the last before the Wimbledon championships.

Sania and Hingis split USD 11,360 as prize money and collected 185 ranking points each.

Sania and Hingis had numerous opportunities but they could convert only three of the 15 break chances.

Caroline and Katarina broke them five times out of 12 in the one hour and 21 minutes contest.