Friday, May 22, 2015

Roger Federer receives a favorable draw at French Open

Nine-time champion Rafael Nadal and World No. 1 Novak Djokovic were drawn in the same quarter of the Roland Garros draw on Friday.

Nadal, who is 66-1 at the clay-court major championship, could potentially meet Djokovic in a blockbuster quarter-final. It is a result of Nadal dropping to No. 7 in the Emirates ATP Rankings. Djokovic is bidding to capture his first Roland Garros trophy that would complete a career Grand Slam.

Sixth seed Nadal will start his quest for a 15th major title against Quentin Halys and could meet No. 10 seed Grigor Dimitrov in the fourth round, while Djokovic will face Jarkko Nieminen.

View: Singles Draw | Tournament Profile

Nadal has a 23-20 FedEx ATP Head2Head lead against Djokovic, with victories over the Serbian in the 2012 final, 2013 semi-finals and 2014 final. Djokovic, a winner of eight Grand Slam crowns, won their most recent meeting in the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters semi-finals and is riding a 22-match winning streak.

Third seed Andy Murray, who is in the same half of the draw as Djokovic and Nadal, plays a qualifier in the first round. The 2011 and 2014 semi-finalist has a 10-0 record on clay courts this year, including two ATP World Tour titles. He is in the same quarter of the draw as seventh seed and 2013 runner-up David Ferrer, who challenges Lukas Lacko, and ninth seed Marin Cilic.

Second seed Roger Federer, the 2009 champion (d. Soderling) who will be making his 62nd Grand Slam championship appearance, will play a qualifier in the first round. He could potentially meet Gael Monfils, the No. 13 seed, in the fourth round. The pair has met three times at Roland Garros (2008-09, '11), but Monfils has won their past two clashes. Eighth seed Stan Wawrinka, who takes on Marsel Ilhan, could be a quarter-final opponent.

Fourth seed Tomas Berdych, who has reached the quarter-finals or better at every tournament he has contested in 2015, may need to beat No. 28 seed Fabio Fognini and No. 14 seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga prior to a quarter-final against fifth seed Kei Nishikori. Berdych faces a qualifier in his first match, while Nishikori will meet Paul-Henri-Mathieu. Feliciano Lopez, the No. 11 seed, may be a fourth round opponent for Nishikori.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Roger Federer Grand Slam stats

When 2015 Roland Garros begins on 24 May, World No. 2 Roger Federer will look to add another Coupe des Mousquetaires to his lone trophy from Paris. The 33-year-old Swiss' one title win at the Grand Slam on clay was in 2009, when he beat Rafael Nadal's conqueror,Robin Soderling, 6-1, 7-6(1), 6-4.

• FEDERER GRAND SLAM STREAK - This will be Federer’s record 62nd consecutive Grand Slam tournament played. Federer’s streak began at the 2000 Australian Open and he is the only player to compete in every Grand Slam singles draw in this century. There are six other players in the Top 10 longest consecutive Grand Slam tournaments played, including Feliciano Lopez (53) and David Ferrer (50). Here is a look at the Top 10 longest streaks in the Open Era and players competing at Roland Garros in bold:

Consecutive Grand Slams Played

1 Roger Federer
62+ ('00 US Open-'15 Roland Garros)

2 Wayne Ferreira
56 ('91 Australian Open-'04 US Open)

3 Stefan Edberg
54 ('83 Wimbledon-'96 US Open)

4 Feliciano Lopez
53+ ('02 Roland Garros-'15 Roland Garros)

5 David Ferrer
50+ ('03 Australian Open-'15 Roland Garros)

6 Fernando Verdasco
48+ ('03 Wimbledon-'15 Roland Garros)

7 Tomas Berdych
47+ ('03 US Open-'15 Roland Garros)

8 Fabrice Santoro
46 ('98 US Open-'10 Australian Open)

9 Dominik Hrbaty
44 ('97 Australian Open-'07 US Open)

10 Novak Djokovic
42+ ('05 US Open-'15 Roland Garros)

Guillermo Garcia-Lopez
42+ ('05 US Open-'15 Roland Garros)

+ denotes active streak including Roland Garros

• ALL-TIME GRAND SLAM CHAMPIONS - Federer leads the way with the most Grand Slam championships won. Here is a look at the all-time Grand Slam titles leader:


Roger Federer

Pete Sampras

Rafael Nadal

Roy Emerson

Bjorn Borg

Rod Laver

• FEDERER IN FINE FORM - Federer is making his 17th straight appearance at Roland Garros (61-15), and he completed a career Grand Slam in 2009 (d. Soderling) after three straight runner-up showings from 2006-08. He enters with a 25-5 match record on the season (9-3 on clay). He is 3-2 in finals this year and he’s coming off a runner-up finish at the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 in Rome (l. to Djokovic). He won his 85th career title in Istanbul (d. Cuevas) earlier this month. He also won titles in Brisbane (d. Raonic) and Dubai (d. Djokovic). The last 33-year-old seeded No. 2 at Roland Garros was Andre Agassi in 2003.

• GRAND SLAM MATCH WINS LEADERS - Federer is the all-time match wins leader (281) in Grand Slam history, while Nadal is No. 7 with 191 wins and Djokovic is No. 8 with 187 wins. Here are the Top 10 Grand Slam match wins leaders (active players in bold).


Roger Federer

Jimmy Connors

Andre Agassi

Ivan Lendl

Roy Emerson

Pete Sampras

Rafael Nadal

Novak Djokovic

Stefan Edberg

Ken Rosewall

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Roger Federer says Nadal remains French Open favourite, but hopes he'll be in the mix too

With victory over Roger Federer in Sunday's Internazionali BNL d'Italia final, Novak Djokovic extended his run of dominance at the most prestigious tournaments on the ATP World Tour.

The Serb is a perfect 37-0 in Grand Slams, ATP World Tour Masters 1000s and the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals since last November, but if you ask Federer, nine-time champion Rafael Nadal is still the favourite to hoist the Roland Garros trophy once again. Speaking to press following a 6-4, 6-3 defeat to the World No. 1, the Swiss admitted that while Djokovic is playing the best tennis of his career, there is no counting out the King of Clay in his home away from home.

"You cannot take away the past 10 years," said Federer. "It’s going to be best-of-five sets. We know how tough Rafa is physically and mentally. He is the favourite still to me. Novak at this point probably has to win, with the results he's shown this year. It feels similar to 2011 when he didn't lose the whole year.

"Maybe Rafa isn’t having the same success as before but nevertheless that remains the situation for me. But it's all talk because in the end his racquet's going to do the talking."

Despite falling to his rival, Federer, who was contesting his 129th tour-level final and 41st at the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 level, also believes there is another player who should be regarded as a legitimate title contender: himself.

"I don’t want to get myself too down because it was a good tournament for me...I really hope it's not just the two of them," the 2009 champion added, referring to Djokovic and Nadal. "I hope there's going to be some other guys who will be a part of that group and I hope in particular myself."

The second Grand Slam of the year commences next Sunday at Roland Garros

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Roger Federer wants another Roland Garros win more then ever

Roger Federer already has what Novak Djokovic desires: a French Open title. However, among his 17 Grand Slam titles, Federer has won only one at Roland Garros.

Nearing the end of his career, Federer may be more desperate for a win at Roland Garros than Djokovic.

Federer takes on Djokovic in the final of the Internazionali BNL d'Italia on Sunday. Despite a No. 2 ranking and "all-time great" status, Federer has less of a chance of winning the French Open than No. 6, Kei Nishikori, according to Odds Shark.

All the pre-tournament buzz centers around Djokovic's quest for a first title and Rafael Nadal's pursuit of a 10th.

According to Federer, Djokovic's win over Nadal at Monte Carlo and Andy Murray's victory over the Spaniard in Rome change little when it comes to the real favorite at Roland Garros. Federer told theIndependent that Nadal is still the man to beat.

"Regardless of what anyone says to me he’s the favorite...The guy’s only lost [at Roland Garros] once in 10 years. No way past that guy being the absolute favorite for that tournament.”

Federer's lone win at Roland Garros came in 2009, when he defeated Robin Soderling, who had knocked Nadal out in the fourth round.

At the time, a relieved and exuberant Federer believed he had finally quieted the critics. In an interview with the New York Times, Federer declared, "This could be my biggest victory, the one that takes off the most pressure...Now for the rest of my career, I can play relaxed and never hear again that I never won the French Open."

The pressure subsided. But it's still there. Instead of, "Will he ever?" it's now, "Can he ever, again?"

It's not that Federer has played poorly at Roland Garros. He's reached the finals at the French Open the same number of times as he has at the Australian Open.

However, Federer is 1-4 in French Open finals and 4-1 in championship matches at the Australian Open. He is 7-2 in Wimbledon finals and 5-1 at the U.S. Open.

With Nadal, the major roadblock to winning the title, diminished, Federer must feel a sense of urgency. It's now, or maybe never again.

The year before Federer won his first French Open, Nadal embarrassed him. In one of the most lopsided French Open finals, Nadal beat Federer 6-1, 6-3, 6-0. It marked the first time Federer had been bageled in a set at a Grand Slam since Pat Rafter beat him in the 1999 French Open. Federer was only 17 at the time. It was also his first time playing in the main draw of the French Open.

Federer remembers that match fondly. Last year, when asked about it, Federer told reporters he was just happy to have a wild card. "I mean, I knew I wouldn't end up winning the match. But it's like a carrot you give to a donkey, you know, but it was great."

When Federer started racking up Slams, it seemed a few French Open titles were inevitable. But along came Rafa. Federer has yet to conquer Nadal and Roland Garros at the same time.

With a record 17 Slams, Federer's status among the greats is secure. However, the lone French Open, as well as his one-sided record against Nadal, is the thinnest part of Federer's portfolio.

Given his three-year Grand Slam title drought, Federer would be ecstatic about winning any Slam. However, another French Open title would be doubly sweet.

Though the future is uncertain, this year is shaping up to be perhaps Federer's last decent chance to pull it off. Nadal looks as vulnerable as ever. Neither Djokovic nor Murray have ever won. Federer at least has that edge.

He seems to have found a balance between rest (skipping Miami) and clay-court prep (adding Istanbul) leading up to the French Open.

Reaching the final in Rome suggests Federer may be peaking at just the right time.

With the clock ticking on his career, Federer has less time to worry about rivalries. He's focusing his energy on legacy. A victory over Nadal, however sweet, means little if it comes outside of the final. Another French Open title, even if it's over a qualifier, goes into the record books. It solidifies Federer's standing as the greatest of all time.

Another French Open title: Federer no longer needs it. But he wants it, desperately.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Roger Federer fails to capture 1st Rome Masters title

Novak Djokovic continued his rich vein of form Sunday when he lifted the Internazionali BNL d'Italia trophy for a fourth time.

The World No. 1 clinched his fifth title of the season with victory over No. 2-ranked Roger Federer 6-4, 6-3 in the Rome final. Djokovic is now 19-20 lifetime in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series.

Read: How The Final Was Won | Novak vs. Roger: The Rivalry

Djokovic moved clear of Federer with his 24th ATP World Tour Masters 1000 crown, just three shy of all-time titles leader Rafael Nadal on 27.

He has won four of the five ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournaments in 2015 and is riding a 22-match winning streak, with his last loss coming to Federer on 28 February in the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships final. This year, the Serbian is also 14-1 against Top 10 opponents in the Emirates ATP Rankings.

BIG SEVEN TITLE FEAT? Djokovic is on a 37-match winning streak at the highest-level tournaments: Grand Slams, ATP Masters 1000s and Barclays ATP World Tour Finals. The run dates back to his title in Paris-Bercy last November:

Final Opponent
Win-Loss Record

2015 ATP Masters 1000 Rome
Roger Federer

2015 ATP Masters 1000 Monte-Carlo
Tomas Berdych

2015 ATP Masters 1000 Miami
Andy Murray

2015 ATP Masters 1000 Indian Wells
Roger Federer

2015 Australian Open
Andy Murray

2014 Barclays ATP World Tour Finals
Roger Federer

2014 ATP Masters 1000 Paris
Milos Raonic

Djokovic, who will celebrate his 28th birthday on 22 May, earned $628,100 in prize money and 1000 Emirates ATP Rankings points. He is now 35-2 on the season, which includes titles at the Australian Open (d. Murray), the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells (d. Federer), the Miami Open presented by Itaui n Miami (d. Murray) and the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters (d. Berdych).

Federer, who was competing in Rome for the 15th time, also finished runner-up in 2003 (l. to Felix Mantilla), 2006 and 2013 (l. to Nadal both times).

The Swiss walks away with $308,000 and 600 Emirates ATP Rankings points. He is now 85-44 in tour-level finals, including 23-18 in ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title matches.

This was a very disappointing match excitement wise, I thought Federer would at least be able to take things to third set. 

Djokovic didn't even play that outstanding to give Roger trouble, and Federer did have break point chances. 

I would say both played mediocre in this final.  Roland Garros next, I must say I'll be happy with whoever wins that one as long as it's not Rafael Nadal again. 

It was a good run for Roger nonetheless. Hopefully his performance in the French will be even better (hey I can dream).

Martina Hingis & Sania Mirza fall short of winning Rome Masters title

Rome: Indo-Swiss tennis combine of Sania Mirza and Martina Hingis did not live up to expectations as the top seeds were upset by Hungarian-French pair of Timea Babos and Kristina Mladenovic in straight sets in the women's doubles final of the $2,428,490 Rome Masters here on Sunday.

The third seeds took just an hour and 13 minutes to come out on top with a 6-4, 6-3 win on the outdoor clay courts of Foro Italico in the first ever match between the two pairs. This was Sania and Martina's, ranked World No.1 and 2 respectively, fourth final together, having won at Indian Wells, Miami and Charleston earlier in the year.

The match did not go in favour of the top seeds right from the start as Sania and Martina were shocked in the fifth game of the first set when Timea and Kristina broke them and held serve to extend the lead to 4-2.

Sania and Martina finally earned two breakpoints for the first time in the match when the the third seeds were looking to close the set on their service game at 5-4. However, both opportunities were wasted as Timea and Kristina won the set to take the lead in the match in only 38 minutes.

The third seeds took the momentum into the second set as they immediately broke their opponents. But Sania and Martina reverted by breaking back and levelling the set at 1-1.

The next four service games were held by both teams but the third seeds once again stunned the Indo-Swiss combo by breaking them in the seventh game of the set. They held serve to extend the lead to 5-3.

Within no time, Timea and Kritina had two matchpoints. The first was saved by the top seeds but the Hungarian-French pair converted the second to earn the vital crown.

Too bad, it was a nice preparation for the French Open though.  Good luck at Roland Garros ladies!.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Roger Federer wins battle of the Swiss to reach Rome Masters Final

Roger Federer foiled an early advantage by countryman Stan Wawrinka to book a spot in the Rome title match with a 6-4, 6-2 victory in the Internazionali BNL d'Italia semi-finals.

Rome is one of just two ATP World Tour Masters 1000 titles missing from Federer’s collection (Monte-Carlo). The Swiss is making his 15th appearance in the Italian capital and has reached the final here for a fourth time, having also advanced to the title match in 2003 (l. to Mantilla), 2006 (l. to Nadal) and 2013 (l. to Nadal).

"Stan played well in the first set," said Federer. "In the second set he had a sort of breakdown. He wasn’t serving his best. I was definitely able to take advantage of it. He’s got a good opportunity next week (in Geneva). He’s in the right direction and obviously the win against Rafa was massive for him and his confidence. His game is there. I was very happy how I played. I was able to impose my game. I had a sort of breakdown too but I’ll try not to let it happen tomorrow."

A rematch of their epic round-robin encounter at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals last year, Federer extended his FedEx ATP Head2Head lead to 16-2.

Looking to replicate his dominant performance from a quarter-final upset of Rafael Nadal, Wawrinka sprinted to an early 3-0 lead on Sunday at the Foro Italico. The 30 year old dropped a mere four points in breaking his friend and rival in the second game and consolidating.

As was the key to success against Nadal, Wawrinka stepped into his shots from the baseline, taking his backhand early and not allowing Federer to find a rhythm off the ground. But the World No. 2 would have an immediate authoritative response, breaking back to 15 and pulling level at 3-all.

Federer maintained a swift response to Wawrinka's initial run, reeling off six of seven games to snatch the opening set. He would secure a second break for 5-4 behind a stunning backhand winner that clipped the far edge of the tramline.

With Wawrinka's quick start far in the rear-view mirror, Federer relinquished just six points in grabbing a 5-1 lead in the second set and the three-time finalist would claim victory in 55 minutes. The second seed reached his 41st ATP World Tour Masters 1000 final and 129th overall, where he will face top seed Novak Djokovic.

"I feel like I have a chance to play well for sure," added Federer. "Novak is not Rafa on clay, so it’s a different situation. I’ve done fairly well in the past against him. We played here twice before and I lost both times so it's up to me to put in a good performance."

It will be the 39th meeting between the two rivals. Only Djokovic and Rafael Nadal have battled more in the Open Era.

Most Meetings In Open Era


Novak Djokovic vs. Rafael Nadal

Novak Djokovic vs. Roger Federer

Ivan Lendl vs. John McEnroe

Ivan Lendl vs. Jimmy Connors 35

Boris Becker vs. Stefan Edberg 35

Martina Hingis & Sania Mirza enter Rome Masters final!

ROME, Italy - Martina Hingis and Sania Mirza secured a return to No.1 on the Road To Singapore doubles leaderboard on Saturday with an impressive win in the Internazionali BNL d'Italia semis.

After winning their first three tournaments together at Indian Wells, Miami and Charleston, Hingis and Mirza stormed to No.1 on the Road To Singapore doubles leaderboard, but a few mis-steps in the first few clay court tournaments they played - losing early in Stuttgart and Madrid - saw them surrender that top spot to the other breakthrough doubles team of 2015, Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Lucie Safarova.

But if they reached the final in Rome they would secure a return to that top spot, and that's exactly what they did on Saturday - the No.1-seeded Hingis and Mirza held off a late surge from No.4 seeds Caroline Garcia and Katarina Srebotnik, saving set point in the tie-break to close it out, 6-2, 7-6(5).

Hingis and Mirza are now 18-2 together since joining forces in March, a 90% winning percentage.

Awaiting them in the final will be No.3 seeds Timea Babos and Kristina Mladenovic, who beat No.8 seeds Alla Kudryavtseva and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in the first semifinal of the day, 6-2, 6-4.

"At this stage of such a big tournament, everybody's playing really well," Mladenovic said. "We faced Alla and Anastasia already in Miami, and they're a tough team, so we definitely had a game plan."

The all-WTA Rising Star pair of Babos and Mladenovic will be going for their third WTA doubles title together, having won Dubai and Marrakech this year. They also made the Wimbledon final last year.

"We have big goals, and hopefully we can make them," Babos said. "What's important and what makes us a good team is we have fun. We help each other all the time. Hopefully we can keep going."

"Timea's my best friend and we just click on the court, so it's just working!" Mladenovic added.

Hingis and Mirza beat Babos and Mladenovic in their only previous meeting in Miami, 6-2, 6-4.

Mirza, Babos and Mladenovic are all looking to win the Internazionali BNL d'Italia for the first time, but Hingis won the doubles title in the Italian capital all the way back in 1999 with Anna Kournikova.

The Swiss WTA legend also captured the singles title twice, first in 1998 and again in 2006.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Roger Federer interview post quarterfinal win in Rome

Roger Federer storms into Rome semis, Nadal or Wawrinka next

Roger Federer advanced to the semi-finals of the Internazionali BNL d’Italia on Friday in Rome with a 6-3, 6-3 win over Tomas Berdych.

Federer will play either Rafael Nadal or Stan Wawrinka in a blockbuster semi-final on Saturday at the Foro Italico.

The Swiss trailed by an early break in the first set, but reeled off four straight games from 2-3 down to seal the opener. Federer then broke through decisively in the seventh game of the second set and captured the final two games for victory in 67 minutes, hitting 15 winners to 11 unforced errors.

Watch Federer Hot Shot

"From the baseline I was playing very well," said Federer. "My serve was not quite there in the beginning. I had to go through too many second serves and he was able to take advantage of that and break early. For me, it was important to pick it up on the serve, which is maybe the easiest thing to do.

"I felt good again on the return, moving well. As it went on, I think I got into the match better and better. The wind picked up in the second set. That's why I think Tomas didn't play so well anymore and I was able to get the job done. So I'm very pleased how the match went."

It was Federer’s 14th win in 20 meetings with Berdych and his second victory over the Czech this season, having also prevailed when they met in the Indian Wells quarter-finals in March.

The 33-year-old Federer is looking to win this ATP World Tour Masters 1000 clay-court title for the first time in 15 appearances. He was runner-up in 2003 (l. to Felix Mantilla), 2006 (l. to Nadal) and 2013 (l. to Nadal).

The Basel native is a winner of 23 ATP World Tour Masters 1000 crowns, with his last triumph coming in Shanghai (d. Simon) in October 2014. He was runner-up at the BNP Paribas Open (l. to Djokovic) in Indian Wells in March.