Monday, September 15, 2014

Roger Federer takes Switzerland into 2nd Davis Cup final


Venue: Palexpo, Geneva, SUI (hard - indoor)
Switzerland advanced to its second Davis Cup final on Sunday, courtesy of its greatest player.
Roger Federer recorded his 55th match win of the year in beating Italian Fabio Fognini 6-2, 6-3, 7-6(4) in the first reverse singles rubber, to give Switzerland an unassailable 3-1 lead in Geneva.
The World No. 3 struck 33 winners, including 11 aces, for victory in just under two hours. It maintained his perfect 3-0 FedEx ATP Head2Head record against Fognini.
Switzerland will travel to France for the Davis Cup final, to be held 21-23 November.
Federer has a 37-7 record in singles rubbers for Switzerland, including Friday's 7-6(5), 6-4, 6-4 victory over Simone BolelliStan Wawrinka beat Fognini 6-2, 6-3, 6-2 in the second singles rubber on Friday. Fognini and Bolelli beat Marco Chiudinelli and Wawrinka 7-5, 3-6, 5-7, 6-3, 6-2 in the doubles rubber.
In 1992, Switzerland — featuring Marc Rosset and Jakob Hlasek — finished runner-up to United States, made up of Andre AgassiPete SamprasJim Courier and John McEnroe, in the Davis Cup final.
Andreas Seppi won the dead rubber against Swiss Michael Lammer 6-4, 1-6, 6-4

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Martina Hingis & Belinda Bencic wild card doubles entries at Toray Pan Pacific in Tokyo

Former world No. 1 Martina Hingis of Switzerland has been granted a wild-card entry into the doubles competition at the upcoming Toray Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo, organizers announced Friday.
The 33-year-old Hingis has been paired with 17-year-old and Swiss compatriot Belinda Bencic, who made the singles quarterfinals at the recent U.S. Open, for the tournament which starts Monday at Ariake Tennis Forest Park.
Hingis retired for a second time in 2007 and returned to the sport last year. She and partner Flavia Pennetta of Italy made the final at the U.S. Open, where they lost to the Russian duo of Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina.
Hingis has won 43 WTA singles titles, including five Grand Slams, and 38 in doubles in her career.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Roger Federer & Stan Wawrinka give Switzerland the lead in Davis Cup

Venue: Palexpo, Geneva, SUI (hard - indoor)
Switzerland is one win away from reaching the Davis Cup final for the first time since 1992 after Roger Federer and Stan Wawrinka both recorded straight-sets wins on Friday in Geneva. The host nation leads Italy 2-0 after Federer defeated Bolelli 7-6(5), 6-4, 6-4 and Wawrinka followed up a with a 6-2, 6-3, 6-2 victory over Fabio Fognini.

Federer and Wawrinka have the chance to seal victory for Switzerland when they join forces in Saturday’s doubles. 

Victory marked Federer’s 36th Davis Cup singles win; his last defeat came in the 2012 first round against the United States’ John Isner. It was also his 600th hard-court win and an ATP World Tour-best 55th tour-level win of the season.

"I just stayed with him really," said Federer, reflecting on the first set. "I served well myself. It ended up going to the tie-break, which I thought was the right thing. In the tie-break, I really think I served well throughout. The margins were small in the first set. 

"In the second set I was finally able to get the break; that broke the deadlock for me a little bit. I was able to play with the lead which is always easier. I'm just happy overall how it went. It's important to get that first point and that was the most important part."

Wawrinka clinched his 20th Davis Cup singles win as he fired 16 aces converted six of his nine break points to defeat Fognini in 90 minutes. The 29-year-old Wawrinka improved to a 4-1 lead in his FedEx ATP Head2Head series with Fognini.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Martina Hingis promises more doubles in 2015

The 2014 United States Open may not be the last time we see Martina Hingis playing doubles.

One of the most heartwarming stories over the past fortnight in New York has been that of the unseeded pairing of Hingis and Pennetta, who defeated two of the biggest seeds at the tournament, No. 5 seeds Kveta Peschke and Katarina Srebotnik and No.3 seeds Cara Black and Sania Mirza, to reach the final of the tournament – Hingis’ first doubles final since 1998.

The former No. 1 won 9 Grand Slam titles in doubles throughout her career and yet admit that there were still some tournaments that she wanted to play, which is why she had decided to take part in the 2015 season.
“Not all, but definitely the selected, the smarter ones, the good ones,” said Hingis of her proposed schedule. “Today I don’t have to prove nothing to nobody, but definitely there are so many nice tournaments still this year. It hasn’t finished yet. There is, yeah, next season. I’m looking forward to it already now.”

Although they have only played four tournaments together, Hingis and Flavia Pennetta reached the final of the US Open, which is why the Swiss star intends to keep the Italian on as her regular partner.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Roger Federer interview post U.S. Open semis loss

Q. Can you explain what happened tonight?
ROGER FEDERER: It's fairly simple: I think Marin played great. I maybe didn't catch my best day, but I think that was pretty much it in a nutshell. If that's what you mean.
Q. Is this leftover at all from the Monfils match where you had to go so long and so late? Were you tired?
ROGER FEDERER: No. No, I was feeling good, you know. I was feeling fine, you know. I just think if I could have stayed longer with him in the first set, you know, I felt like there was a proper match going on. But I think him playing with the lead he played with, you know, no fear and just full-out confidence, which clearly everybody at this point sort of has in the semis of a slam. I think he served great when he had to. I think the first break was tough. I think was up 40-Love and then lose five straight points, and then had one chance in the third when I was up a break and he came straight back. Those are my two moments really. But credit to him for just playing incredible tennis.
Q. When you lost the first two sets, were you thinking you were going to plot a comeback like the other night?
ROGER FEDERER: I wasn't as confident this time around, because Marin played more aggressive. He was serving huge. From that standpoint I knew that margins were slim, you know, even though I still believed in my chance. The reaction was there. I did break straight back like I did with Monfils, as well, but I knew probably this comeback would be tougher just because of the risk he was taking and, you know, how big he was serving really.
Q. Was it more his serve or your return that today wasn't at the best?
ROGER FEDERER: I mean, he's been serving well for some time now. I'm definitely not happy the way I was able to return his serve. I expect better from myself. Especially on his first serve, you know, at least get the feeling like I know what's going on, I know where it's coming. Today that didn't work at all. But, you know, like I said, credit to him. He served big; he served close to the lines. When you do that, there's only so much you can really do. Then I need to focus on my own service game, what I did well against him in Toronto. I didn't get broken for all three sets, I think, and for two-and-a-half hours. So today I probably had to manage something similar. But I think he was also playing really well from the baseline, so let's not only talk about just his serving. From the baseline I think he was hitting the ball very well, as well.
Q. Cilic and Nishikori will be going to their first Grand Slam final. How do you see the future of tennis shaping up?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I think it's exciting for the game, you know, to have different faces from time to time. At the same time, I think people still enjoy seeing the guys they have seen for a while or often in the big matches. But I think it's definitely refreshing to some extent. It's big for Croatia and big for Japan I guess on some level, especially on sporting terms and tennis terms. Everybody who gets to this stage of this kind of a competition deserves to be there because they have put in the work and they hoped for the break, and this is it for both of them. I hope they can play a good final.
Q. We have seen some guys knocking on the door, but not necessarily these two. Are you surprised that these are the guys that are now in the final?
ROGER FEDERER: I'm more surprised with Cilic, to be honest, because he's older. I think he is, anyway. He's been around for longer, you know, but he's really been able to make a nice transition in the last few years in his game. There is a significant difference in how he plays. Whereas with Kei I always thought unbelievable talent way back when I played with him for the first time when he was 17. Just wasn't quite sure that in a best-of-five-set tournament if he could get all the way to the back end of the tournament. But he's beaten, you know, myself twice already, other top guys, you know, before. He was destroying Rafa in the finals of Madrid. He's shown what he can do, and that's why with Kei I'm not surprised, really.
Q. You have been outspoken person about antidoping. Are you at all uncomfortable losing to somebody who only last year was convicted of an antidoping violation?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I'm fine with it. I truly believed he didn't do anything wrong in the sense that he did it on purpose. Was he stupid maybe? Maybe. You know, yeah. But I feel like I know him well enough, and I don't think he would ever do it. I don't quite remember what the circumstances were, but I feel more bad for him than anything else. So for me, when I see him it doesn't cross my mind in any way. And, no, I think he was becoming the player he is already way before that, so from that standpoint no problem for me.
Q. Kei advanced to first time Grand Slam final. What do you think his possibility to get the title?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, it's interesting situation, you know, where you have two players who have never been in a Grand Slam final before and in a way they have nothing to lose. Who is the favorite? Nobody really knows. From that standpoint I think it's quite an interesting situation. I think Kei played amazing tennis, you know, this tournament. And Marin now, as well. I don't know who is the favorite really going in. That's why you've got to watch it. (Smiling.)
Q. For you personally in the pursuit of more majors you, how does a day like today and the deeper field perhaps affect your thoughts?
ROGER FEDERER: Not in a big way, you know. I'm just really disappointed after how well I have played this season, especially here also at the tournament. I really felt like I could win this tournament, you know. Obviously that's not gonna happen. That's why there is always disappointment. Clearly I'm happy for Marin. I told him so at the net, as well. I'm happy for these guys, you know. But, you know, comes at the cost of me losing, and it's not so much fun. I'm an athlete. I want to win, you know. So unfortunately wasn't my day today. Tennis there is so many highlights thankfully, so I have something to do next Friday already again. I'll be, you know, very preoccupied with that starting right now. And after that I'm going to hopefully play a good end to the season. I don't know exactly where I'm going to play yet, but I'll definitely play the indoor season at the end of the year. Qualified for the World Tour Finals, so that's on my mind as we go along.
Q. You have always prided yourself on the way you have shaken off defeats. How do you think it will be for this one knowing that it's quite a while for the next major?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, which is good, you know. I'm happy that grass can grow over this, you know, even though I'm not too disappointed, you know, in the sense that I think this match gets forgotten very quickly. I just think conditions were fast; he served great; it was one of those matches like old school tennis. It was just like full swing from all sides: forehand, backhand, serve, return. No holding back from his side. I just couldn't hang with him for long enough to create some doubts in his mind. Didn't play good enough overall. That's the bottom line. I think when a match is like this I think you can actually move on very quickly.
Q. Talking about the game transitions for a while now, specifically how has he changed in your eyes?
ROGER FEDERER: I just think he was quite erratic before. You know, especially from the baseline. I think in some ways his game has little margin, I find, because he takes the ball early. If he doesn't feel well on the half volleys it's tough for him. But I feel like he's cleaned up his return game to some degree. I think he's serving much more consistent throughout an entire match and entire tournament; whereas before he could have a good day, bad day, good set, bad set. I think his mental approach has been one of always a true professional, always super fair play on the court. Always well-behaved. Always a guy I kind of liked watching play.
Q. This is the first time in a long time without either you, Nadal, or Djokovic playing final. Does that mean something or...
ROGER FEDERER: You create your stories. You said the same in Australia, everybody; and then we know what happened at the French Open final, Wimbledon final. But this is another chance for you guys, you know. So you should write what you want. I don't think so, but...
Q. During your Grand Slam career of winning five-setter and you have to come back from 0-2, this mean the mental challenge for you in the third set? Go into the third when you never win this kind of back to back five-setter, come back from 0-2? Have you ever thought about this?
ROGER FEDERER: I didn't even know about it. (Smiling.) If I don't know about it, I can't think of it. So I was confident today because I woke up yesterday feeling perfectly fine. Woke up today feeling perfectly fine, ready to go. Yeah, it was credit to him for playing well. Today wasn't because of my fitness I lost. That was the least of the problems.
Q. Do you think the results of the match before yours could have an impact, whether it was giving Cilic more belief or sort of unsettling you a little bit? That was a pretty unexpected result.
ROGER FEDERER: Well, I mean, I thought that Kei was going to have a chance, to be quite honest. He's playing really well. For me it doesn't have an effect. Sometimes you watch one of those matches and you feel like, yeah, that's good or that's bad or like, ew, I don't know, it gives me extra energy or kind of deflates me because it's somebody I care, I don't know what it is. But I felt pretty much, you know, focused on what I needed to do today. I was fine, you know. Sure, there was a bit of a reset after the rain. I don't know if that changed anything. I didn't think so. I felt like I had enough energy and I was ready to go. Because I remember how I went out against Granollers. I was a bit flat in the beginning and then I came back the second rain delay and was full of energy. So I really made sure that I was ready to go, and so there was nothing I could have done different really in my preparation.
Q. I will not see you before next Thursday. Davis Cup against Italy semifinal. What do you expect from Switzerland? How important is for you? What do you think will happen in that match? 5-0 for Switzerland?
ROGER FEDERER: 3-0 is enough for us, but if you want 5 we can make it 5, you know. (Laughter.) No, as long as we win, the rest -- it doesn't matter who wins and how we win as long as we do. Obviously I think we are the favorites, which is always a nice feeling to be. So 18,000 people in Switzerland is something very special. I think it's going to be record crowd for Swiss, you know, Swiss tennis crowd. I'm looking forward to be playing at home, especially after the run I have had as of late, you know. I think people are quite excited to come see Stan and myself play, regardless of who it is against. Neighboring country I think adds something special to it. I have had some memorable ties against Italians in the past. For me it was the first tie I ever played as a player in '99 against Sanguinetti and all those guys. I'm happy we have a chance to play all the Italians again.
Q. Were you surprised at times at how he controlled the court?
ROGER FEDERER: Yes, I was. I mean, just how consistently he was able to pull it off, forehand and backhand. Yeah, I was surprised.
Q. How important it is to get an 18th Grand Slam?
ROGER FEDERER: I mean, not to my life. I don't need it to be more happy or anything. But the moment itself, it would mean a lot, you know. I keep working hard to win titles on the tour, not just No. 18. I was very happy to get to No. 80 the other week, so that was huge for me. You know, I'll give it a go again in Australia; hope to be healthy there. I enjoy playing there. It's been one of my most consistent slams. I hope to, you know, get another chance at it. I can't do more than try really hard, which I'm doing.

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Martina Hingis & Flavia Pennetta runners-up in U.S. Open doubles final

WHAT HAPPENED: It was a win in a practice set last year over No. 4 seeds Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina of Russia that prompted Martina Hingis to launch her doubles-only comeback last year, but the Russians prevailed in a far more important occasion in Arthur Ashe Stadium.
Down a set and a break in the women’s doubles final against Hingis and Flavia Pennetta, Makarova and Vesnina hung tough and won their second Grand Slam doubles title together, 2-6, 6-3, 6-2.
Sixteen years after her last US Open doubles title, the ‘90s were alive and well in Arthur Ashe Stadium as Hingis put on a volleying clinic with Pennetta in the opening set. They broke Vesnina to open up the match and began picking on her backhand side. A wild backhand miss from Vesnina on Makarova’s serve gave the unseeded pair a commanding 5-2 lead, and when Hingis easily held serve to wrap up the set, the No. 4 seeds left the court for a bathroom break.
A break of Vesnina’s serve off an unforced error gave Hingis and Pennetta a 3-2 lead in the second set, and it appeared that the match would be one-way traffic. But Makarova showed why she got to the singles semifinals this week by hitting a volley winner to break Pennetta in the very next game. Two games later, the Russians broke Hingis off a volley error from Pennetta, and Vesnina then comfortably held serve to level the match at one set each.
The No. 4 seeds showed impressive mental fortitude after breaking Pennetta to open the third set, saving numerous break points in their next two service games to maintain a 3-1 lead. The Italian then hit what appeared to be a volley winner on break point on Vesnina’s serve, but a Hawkeye challenge showed the ball was wide, and the Russian eventually hit an ace to give her team a 4-2 lead.
Hingis dropped her serve in the next game when Vesnina hit a delicate volley winner. With Makarova serving for the championship, she ripped a forehand up the line on match point, as both players jubilantly jumped for joy.
WHAT IT MEANS: Makarova and Vesnina became the first all-Russian pair to win the US Open women’s doubles title. It marks their second Grand Slam doubles title as a team, having also won the French Open together in 2013. Makarova also won the mixed doubles title here in 2012 with Bruno Soares of Brazil.
Despite the loss, Hingis can consider this tournament a success after reaching her first Grand Slam women’s doubles final in 12 years. She and Pennetta split $250,000 for reaching the final here. Makarova and Vesnina split a check for $520,000.