Saturday, June 25, 2016

Roger Federer in Djokovic half of the draw at Wimbledon

World No. 1 Novak Djokovic finds himself in the same half of the draw as seven-time champion Roger Federer as he looks to win his third successive Wimbledon crown and fourth overall at The Championships.

Djokovic and Federer have met in the final the past two years at the All England Club.

Meanwhile, second seed and 2013 champion Andy Murray is on a semi-final collision course with fourth seed Stan Wawrinka.

Federer headlines the second quarter of the draw. The 34-year-old Swiss was forced to miss Roland Garros, ending his Open Era-record streak of 65 straight Grand Slam appearances, but returned on the grass in Stuttgart and Halle with two semi-final showings. Federer, who lifted his seventh Wimbledon trophy in 2012 (d. Murray), opens his campaign against Guido Pella.

The first seed Federer could face is No. 30 Alexander Dolgopolov, with two Frenchmen – No. 16 Gilles Simon and No. 17 Gael Monfils – leading the charge to face the Swiss in the fourth round, though former semi-finalist Grigor Dimitrov also features in that section.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Martina Hingis & Sania Mirza fall in Eastourne quarters

The top-seeded pair of Sania Mirza and Martina Hingis lost 3-6, 3-6 to Darija Jurak and Anastasia Rodionova in the quarterfinals of the women's doubles at the Aegon International in Eastbourne on Wednesday.

Jurak (Croatia) and Rodionova (Australia) won the match in just under an hour.

Earlier in the day, Mirza and Hingis had beaten Lucie Safarova (Czechoslovakia) and Samantha Stosur (Australia) 6-1, 2-6, 10-4 in the first round.

Not the grass preparation either were hoping for a week before Wimbledon, but I think having to play 3 sets and comeback to play later the same day is the reason for their loss. 

Hopefully they can bounce back and defend their title at Wimbledon next week. Good luck ladies!. 

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Roger Federer: Novak Not Unbeatable, Rafa is Greatest Rival

Novak Djokovic defeated Roger Federer in the last two Wimbledon finals and arrives at SW19 this month as only the third man to hold all four Grand Slam titles simultaneously.

Djokovic's dominance has not diminished Federer's belief that the world No. 1 is beatable.

“Is Djokovic now the man to beat? Absolutely," Federer told The Guardian in a new interview. "Does he deserve to be where he is? 100 per cent. But is he beatable? Yes, of course he is. I beat him last year three times.”

Read Federer's entire wide-ranging interview with The Guardian's Simon Hattenstone here.

The 17-time Grand Slam champion calls Rafael Nadal his greatest rival though he says that could change if he plays more major finals against Djokovic.

“For me, (Nadal) has been (my greatest rival)," Federer tells the Guardian. "It could still change if I play Novak another few times in bigger matches. Novak and I have obviously had really big matches, but somehow the match-up with Rafa will always stay unique – because of the Wimbledon final in 2008.”

Federer, who defeated Robin Soderling in the 2009 Roland Garros final to complete the career Grand Slam, said there's a reason he never beat Nadal in Paris: He wasn't good enough.

"Sometimes I was outplayed, sometimes I was close, but never quite good enough to beat him at the French," Federer said. "But I never lost hope or faith that it could happen.”

Though fans of Federer, Djokovic and Nadal sometimes spar on social media over their allegiances, the former No. 1 cites Nadal and Stan Wawrinka as two of his long-time friends on tour along with two prominent rivals.

“Andy Murray is very funny. I like chatting with him," Federer said. "Gael Monfils is good fun, he’s always chilled out. There’s not one guy I don’t get along with, which makes the tour so much more enjoyable. At the start of your career, yes, you can be tough, focused, a warrior on the court, but we get away from it and have a nice time."

Federer believes good relations among top players could contribute to career longevity.

"That’s why I think we see players hanging around longer," Federer said. "Before, everyone was so serious and like, ‘I hate that guy.’ Is it nice when 50 players don’t like you? I think they needed it to get jacked up.”

The 34-year-old Swiss hasn't won a Grand Slam title since the 2012 Wimbledon, but says his love for the game has deepened.

“I don’t want to say I’m enjoying it more, but it’s different. I have a deeper love for the game today," Federer said. "Before it was chasing the dream. Today it is living the dream and appreciating I can still do it. It’s a wonderful feeling.”

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Martina Hingis & Sania Mirza qualify for season ending championship in Singapore 2nd year in a row

SINGAPORE - Doubles co-No.1s Martina Hingis and Sania Mirza have become the first players to qualify for the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global, the WTA's crown jewel event where the world's Top 8 teams will battle for a $7-million prize purse.

"Qualifying for the WTA Finals for the second year in a row with Sania is very exciting," said Hingis, three-time WTA Finals doubles champion. "We enjoyed every moment in Singapore last year and hope to defend our title amongst the best doubles teams in the world."

Mirza added, "Being able to achieve such great success together has been a dream come true. Having won the WTA Finals in Singapore last year as well as multiple tournaments in such a short period of time has been an unbelievable experience. I'm very much looking forward to competing in Singapore once again to try to make it three titles in a row."

The collaboration between Hingis and Mirza began at the 2015 BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, where they achieved instant success by taking the title and eight more by the end of the year, including the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global. This year, Hingis and Mirza have already claimed five titles - Brisbane International, Apia International Sydney, Australian Open, St. Petersburg Ladies Trophy and the Internazionali BNL d'Italia - Rome. As a result, the Swiss-Indian duo, known as "SanTina" to their fans, will attempt to defend their title in Singapore in their second appearance as a team.

Here is the current doubles Road to Singapore Leaderboard:

1. Martina Hingis (SUI) / Sania Mirza (IND)
2. Caroline Garcia (FRA) / Kristina Mladenovic (FRA)
3. Andrea Hlavackova (CZE) / Lucie Hradecka (CZE)
4. Chan Hao-Ching (TPE) / Chan Yung-Jan (TPE)
5. Xu Yifan (CHN) / Zheng Saisai (CHN)
6. Ekaterina Makarova (RUS) / Elena Vesnina (RUS)
7. Anabel Medina Garrigues (ESP) / Arantxa Parra Santonja (ESP)
8. Julia Goerges (GER) / Karolina Pliskova (CZE)
9. Vania King (USA) / Alla Kudryavtseva (RUS)
10. Timea Babos (HUN) / Yaroslava Shvedova (KAZ)

The doubles competition will begin in Singapore on October 27 and is a single elimination contest between the Top 8 doubles teams of the 2016 season, all vying to hold the Martina Navratilova Doubles Trophy. Total prize money for doubles stands at $1.4 million with the champion team taking home up to $500,000.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Roger Federer feeling positive for Wimbledon despite not reaching the final in Halle

The king of the Gerry Weber Open was dethroned on Saturday.

When 19-year-old Alexander Zverev upset top seed Roger Federer 7-6(4), 5-7, 6-3 in the Halle semi-finals, it marked the first time the Swiss failed to contest the final in 11 straight appearances. Still in search of his first tour-level crown in 2016, Federer says he is not lamenting his missed opportunity for an unprecedented ninth Halle title. Following an extended absence due to back and knee ailments, his return has been full of positives.

"Looking back on how I felt three, four weeks ago, this is pretty good," Federer said to assembled media following the match. "Talking to me after a loss clearly is always tougher to step back and just to reassess how great everything is, but I must say it’s gotten better and better.

"I think there are little things that just have to fall into place and then you play better and feel better. I hope it’s sooner than later and I know what I need to work on in the next 10 days. Clearly, I also need to rest now. It’s been a lot of tennis. This has been seven matches in nine or ten days now. It’s been intense and it’s been busy and it’s exactly what I needed. At least I have a clear picture now where my game is at, what I need to do and without Stuttgart and Halle I wouldn’t have that. I have more clarity now."

After reaching the last four at the MercedesCup in Stuttgart (l. to Thiem), Federer moved to his happy hunting ground in Halle in search of match play and rhythm on the grass. At 34, the Swiss admits he is taking it one step at a time. Progress is there.

"The only thing missing is a better baseline game. I guess that comes through movement and through just playing enough again. I feel the serve has come back around now, the returns have gotten better also throughout the match today.

"I think if the movement gets better and then the baseline game improves a little bit, I’ll be better on the big points, on the return and also in less trouble on my own service games. But I’m okay and I’m pleased on how I played, how I’m feeling and now we’ve got enough time before Wimbledon to get ready for that."

Federer will next head to SW19 for the Wimbledon Championships, looking for a record eighth title. Always a threat on the lawns of the All England Club, the World No. 3 is not tempering expectations but stresses that patience is essential.

"I definitely need a rest first and once I get back to practice and by the time the press conferences get rolling in Wimbledon, I can probably tell you a whole lot more."