Monday, March 31, 2014

Martina Hingis wins first WTA doubles title in 7 years at Sony Open


Former World No 1 Martina Hingis won her first title in seven years when she partnered Sabine Lisicki to win the Women's Doubles at the Sony Open in Miami.

Hingis and Lisicki, who entered the tournament as a wild-card entry, beat second seeded Russians Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina 4-6, 6-4, 10-5.

The final was the first for the 33-year-old Hingis since she came out of retirement last year to play doubles and was her first win since Doha in 2007.

The Swiss veteran and her German partner won the last seven points of the deciding super tiebreaker to take the trophy.

On their way to the final, Hingis and Lisicki beat sixth seeds Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Safarova and fifth seeds Cara Black and Sania Mirza.

Hingis has now claimed three Key Biscayne titles following wins in 1998 and 1999 with Jana Novotna as her partner.

After almost six years in retirement, Hingis returned to the doubles tour in 2013, playing five WTA events alongside Daniela Hantuchova.

After the US Open she didn't play for another six months but got back in the game at Indian Wells alongside Lisicki earlier this month.

How awesome is it that 7 years later she comes back and wins a WTA doubles title.

Congrats Martina & Sabine, well done!.

Hopefully this win will spur her on, and she enters a few more doubles tournaments with Sabine in the months to come. 

 Maybe even at Wimbledon :).

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Martina Hingis & Sabine Lisicki in the finals of Sony Open doubles in Miami!

Tennis: Former world no.1 Martina Hingis booked her place in the first WTA tour final after 7 years as she partnered Sabine Lisicki of Germany to beat Cara Black of Zimbabwe and Sania Mirza of India in straight sets 6-3, 6-4 in the semifinal of Sony Open in Miami.

This is the first time that Hingis has reached the final of a WTA tournament, since making her comeback last year. She had not even won consecutive two matches before this tournament.

Hingis had played 5 tournaments with Daniela Hantuchova last year but could only win 3 matches in 5 tournaments. She did not play any tournament after US Open but returned last week at Indian Wells with a different partner.

She and Sabine Lisicki lost in the first round at Indian Wells but here in Miami, in the first round they defeated No.6 seeds Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Safarova. They also saved seven match points in their quarterfinal win over Anabel Medina Garrigues and Yaroslava Shvedova a few days ago.

Hingis is now through to the 52nd WTA doubles final of her career, going 37-14 in her first 51. But perhaps more importantly it's her first WTA doubles final since returning to the doubles tour last year - her last WTA doubles final came at Doha in 2007 (where she won the title with Maria Kirilenko).

Lisicki is through to the fourth WTA doubles final of her career and is 2-1 in her first three.

The second semifinal will take place later in the night session, as No.2 seeds Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina face No.8 seeds Raquel Kops-Jones and Abigail Spears for a spot in Sunday's final.

Seems like this partnership is working out a lot better then her doubles stint with Hantuchova. Good luck ladies! :).

Friday, March 28, 2014

Martina Hingis reaches Sony Open doubles semis in Miami

Four-time Sony Open Champion Martina Hingis, who won two titles each in singles and doubles, had a flair for drama when she dominated women's tennis in the late 1990s.

But it's not likely that she ever produced anything quite as dramatic as she and doubles partner Sabine Lisicki did on Wednesday at the 2014 Sony Open Tennis in a thrilling quarterfinal match that included battling back from 7 match points, before they defeated Anabel Medina Garrigues andYaroslava Shvedova 3-6, 7-6(7) and 10-7 in a match defining super tiebreak.

"I don't ever think I had a match like this," said Hingis, adding that the tension and match points saved will undoubtedly lead to more confidence for the pairing. "You start to thrive on it."

Hingis, whose 2 singles titles (1997, 2000) sandwiched her doubles titles (1998, 1999) at the Sony, led an improbable comeback starting at 4-5 in the second set and 15-40 down. Hingis-Lisicki won three straight points to even the match at 5-5. At deuce in that game, Medina Garrigues hit a volley that was called out. After a challenge, replay showed that the volley missed by mere millimeters. "It missed by a hair," said Hingis.

The pair would turn away another two match points at 5-6 down and then two more in the 2nd set tiebreaker before defeating their opponents in a third-set super tiebreaker to win the match. Medina Garrigues and Shvedova had not lost a set coming into the quarterfinal.

Hingis and Sabicki, who were given a wildcard to enter the doubles tournament, are now into the Sony Open semifinals with Hingis only two matches away from winning her third Sony Open Tennis doubles title and her fifth overall. Hingis has already done better at the Sony Open than in her previous six tournaments since making her latest return to professional tennis.

The five-time singles Grand Slam winner and nine-time doubles Grand Slam champion has come out of retirement several times since first leaving the game in 2003. When asked if success at the Sony Open would lead to a repeat pairing at the Grand Slams, Hingis said she wasn't looking that long term. "I know we play Friday," she said.

Hingis and Lisicki have known each other since the latter was 10 years old and she traveled to Switzerland to practice with Hingis' mother. Lisicki said the friendship they share helps their chemistry on court. " We play great doubles together and have fun. That's why we are in the semis," said last year's Wimbledon finalist.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Nishikori ends Roger Federer's run at Sony Open in Miami

One day after saving four match points to upset World No. 4 David Ferrer, Japan’s Kei Nishikori once again showed his tenacity to defeat another Top 5 player, Roger Federer, at the Sony Open Tennis on Wednesday night. Nishikori twice rallied from a break down in the second set, coming back to defeat the two-time Miami champion 6-3, 5-7, 6-4.
"Feeling good, of course, to beat Roger," said Nishikori. "I thought I really played well, especially in the third. I was hitting both deep and striking well. Everything was going well. There [were a] couple of tough moments, but I was fighting through and happy to win today."
With the victory, he denied Federer a place in his 50th ATP World Tour Masters 1000 semi-final and a rematch with World No. 2 Novak Djokovic. Federer had lost to Djokovic two weeks ago in the BNP Paribas Open final. Djokovic ended Andy Murray’s title defence with a 7-5, 6-3 win earlier Wednesday, and is unbeaten in 10 matches.
Federer had lost just 18 points on serve through his first three matches and continued the impressive trend early on against the 20th-ranked Nishikori, building a 4-1 lead with a love service game. He played a shaky seventh game to drop serve for the first time in the tournament, but broke right back and clinched the set after 34 minutes.
Nishikori refused to be counted out despite twice falling behind a break at 1-2 and 3-4 in the second. He hit back in the next service games and then broke Federer to send the match to a decisive set.
Nishikori failed to take advantage of two break points in the fourth game of the third set, but broke on his third match point opportunity in the final game to claim victory after two hours and eight minutes.
It was his second straight victory over Federer, whom he defeated last May in Madrid. He now edges ahead in their FedEx ATP Head2Head, 2-1, with his 11th win over a Top 10 player.
Nishikori has also split his two previous meetings with Djokovic. He triumphed in their last meeting in the 2011 Basel semi-finals as he blanked the Serbian in the third set.
"He's playing well, no doubt," said Nishikori. "I played him a long time ago, maybe three or four years ago in Basel, and I beat him before, so hopefully I can play good like today."

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Martina Hingis & Sabine Lisicki win Miami doubles opener

Former world number one Martina Hingis and her German partner Sabine Lisicki produced a stunning performance at the Women's Tennis Association's Premier event in Miami, en route their 6-1, 6-4 win over sixth seeds Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Safarova in the opening round here.

Earlier, this month, the duo had failed to perform at the recently concluded tournament in Indian Wells, where they went down fighting to Australian twosome of Ashleigh Barty and Casey Dellacqua 6-4, 6-7, 10-6 in the first round itself.

Meanwhile, the unseeded pairing of Serbia's Ana Ivanovic and Belgian Kirsten Flipkens also suffered a shocking loss, going down 5-7, 4-6 to Janette Husarova and Iveta Melzer in the other opening-round clash.

Roger Federer breezes into the quarters at Sony Open in Miami

KEY BISCAYNE, Fla. -- He first came to Miami as a 14-year-old, part of a Swedish junior contingent that stayed for a month.

His last event as a junior was the 18-and-under Orange Bowl in 1998, when he beat future professionals

Jurgen Melzer, David Nalbandian and Guillermo Coria on the way to the championship. In 1999, playing for the first time here as a pro, the wild card was ushered from the Miami tournament in the first round.

Hard to believe, but this is Roger Federer's 15th appearance at the tournament now called Sony Open Tennis.

"Used to stay at South Beach when I was younger," Federer said a few days ago. "Enjoyed that atmosphere. I have moved away from there since."

Now, of course, he's beyond all that swirling vortex of party. Federer is the father of 4-year-old twins and, at the age of 32, a 17-time Grand Slam champion. He's stayed in Coconut Grove, Coral Gables, even the downtown Brickell section.

"I kind of get around a bit," Federer said. "It's always enjoyable coming back."

Last year, in an effort to streamline his schedule, Federer passed on Miami after 14 straight visits.

Tuesday, on a bruising day of rain and wind, he was back, scalding No. 9 seed Richard Gasquet 6-1, 6-2 in less than 50 minutes. Federer saved the only break point he faced and broke the Frenchman five of six times.

"Today was the first time I felt good going into a match," Federer said, later citing his previous awkward opponents, Ivo Karlovic and qualifier Thiemo De Bakker. "Things went well. Pretty straight forward, really.

"I definitely think I'm playing really good tennis right now, which is encouraging."

Unless, of course, you are Kei Nishikori, who will meet Federer in Wednesday's quarterfinals. They have split two previous matches but are frequent practice partners. Federer said Nishikori's three-set win over David Ferrer caught the attention of his fellow professionals.

"Everybody watched in the locker room and the player restaurant," Federer said. "It was one of those thrilling end to matches, into the tiebreaker with [four] match points saved. It had the whole drama.

"Clearly, I think it's an advantage at this point now that I had a quick match today and he had a really brutal [three-hour] match against Ferrer. Can I take advantage of it? Can he recover quickly? We will see tomorrow."

Coming into Day 7 at Sony Open Tennis, guess which ATP player had the most victories for the season: It was Federer, with a robust record of 21-3.

Djokovic knows this as well as anyone. He lost to Federer in the semifinals at Dubai and then needed a third-set tiebreaker to take the title at Indian Wells.

"I think he's playing in a high level this year," Djokovic said here last week. "He's back to his normal level, the level that he had for seven, eight years while he was so dominant in men's tennis. Obviously, last season he was not as good, for his standards."

Federer won Wimbledon in 2012, his most recent major, but last year he began to show his age. He lost in the second round at Wimbledon, where he is a seven-time champion, and fell in the fourth round at the US Open. The last time he had two Grand Slam results like that was a decade earlier.

The only title he won in 2013 was the modest, little event on grass in Halle, Germany. At times, he looked uncomfortable on the court and, subsequently, he explained why: His back, which has been a growing issue in recent years, restricted his movement significantly.

This year, he says he's healthy again and has two new components in his game: Stefan Edberg as his coach, and a slightly larger Wilson racket. Edberg, a six-time Grand Slam champion, has Federer thinking more aggressively; he seems to be coming to net more often.

The racket has given him a little more pop, particularly on his one-handed backhand -- the side that Nadal and Djokovic have exploited in recent years.

He started quickly, reaching the final at Brisbane before losing to No. 60-ranked Lleyton Hewitt and going out in straight sets to Nadal in the semifinals at the Australian Open.

But a fourth-round win over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in Melbourne, followed by a quarterfinals success over Andy Murray was encouraging. After helping Switzerland to a Davis Cup win over Serbia, Federer ran the table in Dubai -- beating Djokovic and Tomas Berdych in the process.

"This year, he started strong," Djokovic said. "I can feel that he's striking the ball very cleanly. He's very confident on the court, and he has improved his backhand, I think. Maybe it's the racket or something else, but he definitely has more depth on that shot. He's going more for his top spins, rather than slicing it. With his immense experience and success that he had in his career, he's never to be ruled out.

"Doesn't matter how old he is. It's just a number. As he was saying, he feels good on the court. He's definitely one of the best players in the world now."


Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Isaac Hanson and wife Nikki welcome baby #3 and it's a.....

This could be the beginning of a Hanson trio for a new generation.

Isaac Hanson and his wife Nikki welcomed their third child on Tuesday, March 11, their rep confirms to PEOPLE exclusively.

Weighing 7 lbs., 15 oz., Nina Odette joins the couple’s sons Clark Everett, who turns 7 next month, and James Monroe, 5½, at home in Tulsa, Okla.

“After more than five years of not having a baby in the house, having our first little girl is going to be fun,” the musician, 33, tells PEOPLE. “I know that Everett and Monroe are excited about being big brothers.”

Isaac, who’s the oldest of three Hanson brothers, is currently preparing to continue the group’s world tour in support of their sixth studio album, Anthem.

Younger brother Zac, 28, and wife Kate are parents to three children themselves: Shepherd, 5½, Junia, 3, and Abraham, 5 months, while middle brother Taylor, 31, and wife Natalie have five children: Ezra, 11, Penelope, 9 next month, River, 7½, Viggo, 5, and Wilhelmina, 17 months.

For once I actually love both names. And this time I had no idea Nikki was even pregnant it happens so often I cannot keep track!.

Congrats to them both on the new bundle of joy (all those kids are so darn cute!) talk about good genes!.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Roger Federer eases into 4th round at Sony Open

Roger Federer eased into the last 16 of the Sony Open Tennis in Miami after a routine 6-3 6-3 victory over Thiemo de Bakker.

The two-time winner never looked troubled against his Dutch opponent as he continued his promising start to the 2014 season.

Federer dropped just seven points on his serve over the course of the entire match and did not face a single break point.

De Bakker, in contrast, faced a total of nine break points and dropped his serve on three separate occasions, including the final game of the match.

"I'm feeling really good with my game," said Federer, who next faces French No 9 seed Richard Gasquet.

"My confidence is high and I'm moving well. I'm excited about how I've been playing."

Gasquet set up the showdown with Federer after seeing off dangerous South African Kevin Anderson 6-3 6-4.

Novak Djokovic was originally scheduled to be out on court on Sunday but was given a walkover in the third round after his opponent Florian Mayer withdrew from the event.

The Serbian will play Tommy Robredo next after the 16th seed clinched a 6-3 6-4 victory over Julien Benneteau.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Roger Federer happy and confident with his new raquet

Speaking to reporters at the Sony Open in Miami, Roger Federer dished a bit on his newer, larger-framed racquet, saying that he's really taken to the new stick.

I feel I do have easier power,” Federer said in a pre-tournament press conference today. “It's actually a big switch, bigger than people think it is, because it's a much bigger head frame, it's wider beam, and I really enjoy this new racquet. I think it's definitely also part of the reason that I am playing so well right now.”

Still, Federer, who reached the finals of last week's BNP Paribas Open, is quick to admit that without fitness, the racquet means nothing. “No, I mean, clearly you've got to be healthy to be able to play good tennis and get to the balls,” he said. “If you're not going to get to the balls, then you won't be able to hit it and then the racquet doesn't matter.” But, Federer added, he is getting to those balls.

“I need the quick feet, and I think I found that again,” he said. Federer, who is still in the early days of his newfound player-coach relationship with Stefan Edberg, also said he expects less opportunity to move in and attack the net on Miami's slower courts and heavier conditions.

“Indian Wells is the first one that's more slower,” Federer opined. “Then here in Miami, this is going to be the slowest of the year so far. So it's definitely going to be a little bit of an adjustment for me, as well. “But I think it's more because of the surface I have been playing more aggressive.

Already last week I haven't been able to come to the net as much as I wanted to. That's something I need to make sure I work on, that I do keep an aggressive playing style from the baseline. But you also have to be able to grind away because that's going to anyway come about when clay court season comes.”

Federer will open his bid for a third Miami title against Ivo Karlovic in second-round action. He has not reached the final of this event sine 2006, when he won his second consecutive Indian Wells-Miami double.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Roger Federer rolls on at Sony Open in Miami

Fifth seed Roger Federer defeated the ATP World Tour’s ace-leader this year, Ivo Karlovic, 6-4, 7-6(4) on Friday for a place in the Sony Open Tennis third round. It was his 20th win in 23 matches this year.

Federer, who is making his 15th appearance at the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 hard-court tournament in Miami, lifted the trophy in 2005 (d. Nadal) and 2006 (d. Ljubicic). He will next play Thiemo de Bakker, who upset No. 28 seed Fernando Verdasco 7-6(4), 6-7(3), 6-2.

Federer broke Karlovic in the fifth game and only lost one point on serve in the 29-minute opener. It came at 5-4, 40/0. Federer lost just one of his service points en route to the second set tie-break. He is now 11-1 lifetime against Karlovic, after victory in 75 minutes. Vogue Editor-In-Chief Anna Wintour watched from Federer's box.

Last week, Federer reached his 35th ATP World Tour Masters 1000-level final at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells (l. to Djokovic). He picked up his 78th title overall at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships (d. Berdych) last month.

Karlovic, 35, has now hit 308 aces in 19 matches this season (11-8 record). He is one of six players to hit more than 8,000 aces in his career, including Goran Ivanisevic, Andy Roddick, Pete Sampras, Federer, Ivan Ljubicic and Karlovic.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Roger Federer enjoyed some time at Walt Disney World ahead of Miami tournament

Swiss Maestro Roger Federer is a 17-time Grand Slam winner and considered the greatest tennis player by many but at the same time he is also a father of two pretty and young daughters so he accompanied them to the Walt Disney World in Florida on Monday.

The 32-year-old posted couple of pictures on his twitter account in which he could be seen enjoying at the Disney World. In one picture, he could be seen standing between Minnie and Mickey Mouse. He wrote, “Caught between two mice #mousetrap.”

He was standing at the entrance of Soarin’ in the second picture. The Swiss star wrote under that picture, “Had the best time @ Walt Disney World thanks a lot to everyone! #flying #familytime #chillaxing.”

Too bad, Federer did not share any picture of his wife Mirka and the two daughters. They must have enjoyed their visit to the Walt Disney with their champion father. Federer has a very busy schedule throughout the year due to his tennis commitments but it’s good that he tries to compensate that by taking his family on recreation trips.

It would have also refreshed Federer after his tough loss to Novak Djokovic in the final of BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells on Sunday. Bidding for his third title in Miami, the world number five will start his campaign against Croatia’s Ivo Karlovic or Paul-Henri Mathieu in the second round of Sony Open Tennis.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Martina Hingis doubles action at BNP Paribas & Sony Open

Can you remember 1998? Martina Hingis can. That was the last time she won a singles tennis tournament in the California desert.

“That’s a long time ago. I’m getting pretty old,” Hingis said with a ready smile.

In the late 1990s, Hingis was the face of the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA). Very few players on the women’s professional tennis circuit could challenge her. She was then an uber-confident teenager. Some saw her confidence as arrogance. She often smiled but you couldn’t help but wonder if it all came too fast or too easy for Hingis. Many cheered for her underdog opponents.

We weren’t yet hearing about two sisters named Williams in 1998. But we would very soon.

Hingis had an incredible run in her short singles career, which was marred by a controversial positive drug test for cocaine in 2007 that suspended her from play for two years and forced early retirement. A five-time Grand Slam winner (three Australian Opens, one Wimbledon, and one US Open), she is finding her way back into tennis and into the hearts of tennis fans through the doubles circuit.

At 33, Hingis is hardly too old to be competitive for tennis doubles. After all, it was another Martina named Navratilova who won the 2006 US Open mixed doubles competition with partner Bob Bryan at the over-the-hill age of 49. Navratilova was one month shy of turning 50. In her prime, Hingis was a terrific doubles player too, winning nine Grand Slams.

At the 2014 BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, Calif., the “Swiss Miss” reemerged as a surprise doubles partner to 2013 Wimbledon finalist, Sabine Lisicki, ranked No. 15 in the world and in the Top 20 for the second season in a row.

Though they didn’t win their doubles debut against the established winning Aussie duo of Ashleigh Barty and Casey Dellacqua, the two German-speaking friends showed a lot of spirit and competition in front of an enthusiastic crowd at the brand new 8,000-seat Stadium 2. They fought off four match points to win the second set and extend the match to a third-set super tiebreaker.

“I haven’t played doubles until last year,” Hingis said, who teamed up with Daniela Hantuchova. “With Sabine it was so much fun. She asked me just last week. We had talked about it once last year after Wimbledon, that it would be cool to play doubles. Now it became reality.”

Hingis wouldn’t fully commit to declaring Indian Wells her official comeback, but both players displayed the joy they have playing together on the court. They communicate freely in their native German and English.

Lisicki, who is nine years younger, is honored to be playing doubles with a friend, new coach and childhood tennis idol. It was at this year’s Australian Open in January that Hingis first stepped in to coach Lisicki, who was being coached by her father, Dr. Richard Lisicki.

Inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 2013, Hingis could have easily retired into coaching or commentary. But she has been thinking for the last seven years about playing doubles. The modern women’s singles game has long passed her by. It is much too fast, power-driven and baseline for the diva of tennis finesse. It was never the Hingis serve that won tennis matches, but her ability to be nimble around the court with timely drop shots, lobs and net volley play. She could often outsmart her opponents and she can still use that chess-like art form in doubles tennis play.

Hingis may have found the right doubles partner chemistry with which to please the crowd, have fun and maybe win another title. It may be her best opportunity to keep playing a game that she so obviously still loves playing. If it’s fun, then it doesn’t have to be about winning every time.

What was seen at Indian Wells in 2014 was a woman who is years departed from the teenage phenom who beat about every competitor she faced. Back then her smile was that of a winner facing little threat from opponents. Today her smile appears more relaxed and free. Many tennis fans appear to like this version of Hingis better.

Next up for Hingis is her second tournament doubles play with Lisicki at the Sony Open in Miami. After the short but sweet fun the two had in the desert, there’s no doubt that the Florida heat will be welcoming.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Martina Hingis to play doubles at Sony Open in Miami

The Sony Open will announce on Thursday that semi-retired former No. 1 Martina Hingis has accepted a wild card to play doubles with friend Sabine Lisicki at the Key Biscayne tournament, which begins next week.

Hingis, the five-time Grand Slam winner and crowd-pleaser, is now 33 and dabbling in doubles. She joins a star-studded Sony field that includes Rafael Nadal, Serena Williams, Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, Andy Murray and Maria Sharapova.

Fans should also keep an eye out for Ukrainian player Alexandr Dolgopolov.

Last week, Dolgopolov released a video calling for peace in his homeland, and it included messages from Nadal, Djokovic, Murray and Gael Monfils.

On Monday night in Indian Wells, Calif., Dolgopolov (known as “Dolgo") did something that he hopes brought Ukrainians a short respite from the government unrest and violence back home: He beat world No. 1 Nadal and established himself as a player to watch heading into the Sony Open.

Dolgopolov was 0-5 against Nadal going into Monday’s third-round match at the BNP Paribas event and had never won a set against the Spaniard. He lost to Nadal two weeks ago on clay in the Rio final. But this time, his aggressive style and varied pace threw Nadal off his game and the Ukrainian won 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (7-5).

The 25-year-old jumped from No. 57 to No. 31 in February and beat three top 20 players in Rio, including David Ferrer.

"As I said, it's good to make some results and make the people forget a little bit and have some happy moments in the news, [something] except the politics," he told reporters after the win over Nadal.

As for Nadal, he did not blame the loss on his back problems. He said he “played bad," never got in rhythm and was looking ahead to the Sony. “I will try to rest a few days and be fresh mentally, and I hope to be ready for Miami."

Read more here:

Monday, March 17, 2014

Roger Federer loses BNP Paribas final to Novak Djokovic

INDIAN WELLS, Calif. -– No. 2 Novak Djokovic defeated No. 8 Roger Federer 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 (3) on Sunday to win the BNP Paribas Open for the third time.

The two stars produced a dramatic finish in their 33rd meeting. Federer played clean, aggressive tennis early, breaking in Djokovic’s first service game and pocketing the first set in 31 minutes. Federer didn’t face a break point until the eighth game of the second set.

But the slow-starting Djokovic raised his performance in time to stage a comeback. He finally broke at 4-3 in the second set and earned another one at 1-1 in the final set. The Serb served for the match at 5-4, but Federer broke him easily. Djokovic was able to shake it off and rebounded to play solidly in the decisive tiebreaker.

Federer said the wind played tricks on both players toward the end of the third set, which helped him secure the late break but hurt him in the tiebreaker.

“A bit more wind coming from my side, which made it more difficult for him maybe to serve it out,” Federer said. “It would have been easier for me to get on the offensive in the rallies. And then the same thing switched around in the breaker. He then played the first six points with the wind. He took advantage of that, and maybe against the wind that’s when you have to get those easy points and those service winners I couldn’t get and he couldn’t get.

“So it was an interesting end to the match, no doubt. But I think he played well. At the end, he made sure he kept the ball in play and I might have made a few too many errors when it really mattered.”

Djokovic recorded his first title of the year and stopped Federer’s 11-match winning streak. The 26-year-old Serb also avenged a loss to Federer in the semifinals of the Dubai Championships last month. Federer still leads the head-to-head 17-16.

“I’m just very happy and thrilled to be able to win the first title in this season,” Djokovic said. “It was the first final that I played this year. It was necessary for my confidence, and hopefully I can carry that into Miami and the rest of the season.”

With his 42nd title, Djokovic passed Federer’s new coach, Stefan Edberg, for sole possession of 14thplace on the all-time list.

The ATP Big Four of Djokovic, Federer, Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray has now combined to win 33 of the last 35 Masters 1000 tournaments. Djokovic owns 17 Masters 1000 titles for his career, tied for third with Andre Agassi, behind Federer (21) and Nadal (26).

Despite the loss, Federer will rise to No. 5 in Monday’s rankings. The 32-year-old Swiss had been seeking his fifth Indian Wells title and his 20th match victory of the year, which would have equaled Marin Cilic for the most on tour. Djokovic has now played Federer twice this season and already he’s seen the improvement in Federer’s game from last year.

“He has more depth on his shots, especially from the backhand side,” Djokovic said. “He’s opening with his backhand shot down the line. He gives himself an opportunity to finish with the forehand. He serves well. He just played better than he did in the last 13, 14 months. I needed to really be in the top of my game and very concentrated the last moment in order to win.”

After a positive two weeks in Indian Wells, Federer will fly to Miami for the Sony Open and decide there whether he will play the tournament.

“It was overall a good performance,” Federer said. “I’m actually very happy with the tournament.”

Game-by-game analysis is below.

7:23 p.m. ET | Novak Djokovic defeats Roger Federer 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 (3) to win the BNP Paribas Open.

Third-set decisive tiebreak. Here we go:

1-0, Djokovic: He gets the mini-break as Federer hits a backhand long.

2-0, Djokovic: Good serve earns a short reply. Federer has a play on a forehand pass but opts to go for the lob, which Djokovic puts away.

3-0, Djokovic: Federer tries to chip and charge but it’s an unconvincing effort. He sends the backhand volley wide.

3-1, Djokovic: Good serve from Federer to get on the board.

4-1, Djokovic: Djokovic pulls Federer wide to the forehand side and Federer puts it into the net. Sharp breaker for Novak here, not so much for Federer.

5-1, Djokovic: The crowd is hushed as Djokovic again pulls Federer wide and Federer yanks the crosscourt reply wide.

5-2, Djokovic: First lazy error from Djokovic in the breaker, as he tries to blast a forehand winner from above his shoulder. Strikes it well long.

6-2, Djokovic: Inside-out error into the net on a routine forehand for Federer. Really poor tiebreak from him, while Djokovic has been solid.

6-3, Djokovic: Federer ace.

7-3 Djokovic: The match ends with a Federer backhand into the tape. Federer’s comeback ends and Djokovic’s is complete. He is finally on the board with his first title of the season and third here in Indian Wells.

This was a great final and really came down to Djokovic’s second-set resilience to fight for the break and then his outplaying Federer in the tiebreaker. Really poor from Federer in those last 10 points.

It was a great tournament overall.

Loved the way Federer fought back in the last set. Tie-break was very underwhelming other-wise the match could and probably would have gone to Federer.

Bit of revenge on Djokovic's part for Federer beating him in Dubai. Onward to Miami and the Sony Open.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Roger Federer & Stan Wawrinka's journey ends in the doubles semis at BNP Paribas Open

INDIAN WELLS, Calif. — “Federinka” is finished at the BNP Paribas Open after Roger Federer and Stanislas Wawrinka lost in the doubles semifinals on Friday.

No. 2 Alexander Peya and Bruno Soares defeated the Swiss stars 6-4, 6-1, halting a run in which Federer and Wawrinka beat the sixth- and fourth-seeded teams in addition to Ernests Gulbis and Milos Raonic.

Federer is still alive in the singles draw. He will meet Alexandr Dolgopolov in the semifinals on Saturday. Federer, ranked No. 8, clinched his return to the top five with a 7-5, 6-1 victory over Kevin Anderson in the quarterfinals on Thursday.

Peya and Soares will face No. 1 Bob and Mike Bryan in the final. The twins, who are the defending champions, defeated unseeded Americans John Isner and Sam Querrey 6-7 (4), 6-1, 10-7 in the semifinals on Thursday.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Roger Federer breezes into the finals at BNP Paribas Open

Roger Federer will play for his fifth title at the BNP Paribas Open, after ending the run of Ukraine’s Alexandr Dolgopolov in the semi-finals Saturday in Indian Wells. The Swiss raced to the 6-3, 6-1 victory in 61 minutes.

The seventh-seeded Swiss went on a five-game run to build a set and 2-0 lead. He converted on his first break point chance and closed out the opening set in 30 minutes with his sixth ace, then broke Dolgopolov to start the second set. He consolidated the break by winning a 20-point fifth game, and closed out the match with a break at love.

Federer has yet to drop a set this week, and extended his winning streak to 11 matches. He won his 78th title ahead of Indian Wells at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, where he defeated Novak Djokovic in the semi-finals and Tomas Berdych in the final.

The 28th-seeded Dolgopolov had posted three straight wins over seeded players, including an upset of World No. 1 and defending champion Rafael Nadal in the third round, to reach his first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 semi-final. He was attempting to become just the sixth player - and first outside the Top 30 - to defeat Nadal and Federer at the same tournament.

"I was ready physically, mentally," said Dolgopolov. "I wasn't nervous much, but I wasn't sharp enough. My concentration was going away for maybe one, two points every game, and you can't afford to have that in these matches."

Djokovic, a two-time BNP Paribas Open champion, and top American John Isner will face off in the Indian Wells semi-final for the second time in three years with a meeting with the 32-year-old Swiss once again awaiting the victor.

Federer is undefeated in finals at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden, winning three straight titles from 2004-06 and claiming a tournament-record fourth crown in 2012 with victory over Isner.

The Swiss, who will re-enter the Top 5 with his effort this fortnight, will be looking to win a 22th ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title and his first since 2012 in Cincinnati.

Roger Federer rolls into semi-finals in impressive fashion at BNP Paribas Open

Roger Federer continued to look the man to beat at Indian Wells as he raced past Kevin Anderson and into the semi-finals. The 32-year-old's 7-5, 6-1 victory was his 10th in a row as he made short work of the man who had dumped out his doubles partner, Stanislas Wawrinka.

Federer, who has won Indian Wells four times in all, took seven games in a row from 5-5 in the opening set, and afterwards he said: "It was a really good match for me."

It has been a complete turnaround for the Swiss after his struggles last season, and he admitted the speed of the transformation has taken even him by surprise.

"There is a sense of calmness to my game right now. Also confidence. But also that grit and wanting to win badly feeling is out there, which was hard to find at times last year," he said. "So now I've got it all. That results came as quickly as they did, maybe that did surprise me a little bit."

In the last four Federer will face Alexandr Dolgopolov, who won the battle of the giant killers against Milos Raonic to reach his first Masters series semi-final.

The Ukrainian knocked out Rafael Nadal, the world No1, in the third round while Raonic toppled Andy Murray, the Wimbledon champion.

Raonic led 3-0 in the second set but Dolgopolov won five games in a row and clinched a 6-3, 6-4 victory.

The 25-year-old reached a career-high ranking of 13 two years ago and appears to be returning to that form. "With my game I always believed I can beat anyone on a good day because I hit flat, I have the shots. I wasn't consistent enough, that's true. But I knew if I can get that consistency that I can trouble anyone."

Li Na will play Flavia Pennetta in the semi-finals of the women's event after the Italian defied a dust storm to defeat Sloane Stephens. There had already been plenty of twists and turns before the wind whipped up and the Santa Rosa mountains disappeared from view. Stephens initially seemed to be dealing with the conditions better and having broken Pennetta when she served for the match in the second set, the American made it six games in a row to lead 3-0 in the decider.

But back came Pennetta and she eventually took her fifth match point to triumph 6-4, 5-7, 6-4. "We didn't have a lot of fun today. I think it was not nice tennis on court," she said. "The third was a disaster for both of us. I mean, I won. I'm happy because I got through this match, but I don't have a good feeling right now. Outside it's crazy. The wind came from nowhere."

The Italian has had a remarkable 10 months and will return to the top 20 a year after considering retirement as she battled to rediscover form after wrist surgery.

Li also came through a long battle to win her Australian Open rematch with Dominika Cibulkova 6-3, 4-6, 6-3.

The No1 seed had won all five previous matches with Cibulkova, most recently in the final in Melbourne, where she secured her second grand slam title.

On that occasion Li was a convincing winner, not dropping a game in the second set, but things were very different in California.

The Chinese made a good start and took the opening set but her forehand was erratic in the second and Cibulkova raced into a 5-1 lead.

Li recovered three games but could not salvage the set, and the world No2 looked increasingly frustrated as the decider became a dogfight.

But she found her form just in time to win the final three games and make the last four in Indian Wells for the first time since 2007.

Asked if she was happy with her performance, she said: "Half and half. At least I'm still in the tournament. I think it's still a little bit of a problem because my level cannot stay the same from the beginning to the end. At least I got information so I'll take it."

Friday, March 14, 2014

Roger Federer & Stan Wawrinka reach doubles semis at BNP Paribas Open

Tennis - Roger Federer and Stanislas Wawrinka produced another upset as they beat fourth seeds Leander Paes and Radek Stepanek on Wednesday night to reach the semi-finals of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells.

Wawrinka bounced back from his singles loss earlier in the day and joined forces with his countryman to beat the Indo-Czech duo 6-3, 6-7,10-4.

Federer is also through to the quarters of the singles draw where he will meet Wawrinka's conqueror Kevin Anderson.

They will next meet Alexander Peya and Bruno Soares.

The other semi-final will be an all-American clash between the Bryan Brothers and John Isner and Sam Querrey.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Roger Federer moves into quarters on a day of upsets at BNP Paribas Open

INDIAN WELLS — With all the upsets in the BNP Paribas Open, it was even hard for four-time champion Roger Federer to even keep up.

Federer advanced to his eighth quarterfinals at the BNP Paribas Open following his 6-4, 6-4 victory over Tommy Haas.

But to say Federer was expected to advance might have been a stretch. Only two of the tournament’s top nine seeds still remain. Federer was expected to play Australian Open champion and good friend Stanislas Wawrinka in Thursday’s quarterfinal, but Kevin Anderson upset the No. 3 seed just before Federer stepped on court.

It seemed to throw Federer off in his post-match press conference

“I do play Anderson, I guess, right?” Federer said, drawing laughter from the media. “Maybe I am insecure now where I am in the draw. Stan’s not around.”

Coming into the tournament, Federer’s half of the draw looked stacked with No. 1 Rafael Nadal, Wimbledon champion Andy Murray, former U.S. Open champion Juan Martin del Potro, and Wawrinka.

The other quarterfinal in Federer’s half of the draw is between Alexandr Dolgopolov and Milos Raonic.

“A lot of the guys in the top 8 have lost, which is unusual,” Federer said. “But then again, it’s the first Masters 1000 of the year. For some it’s still maybe early in the season, and then some other guys play really well. I think the guys who won against those big guys play very well, and it just happened that it all came together here.”

Federer was happy to get past the veteran Haas, who at 36 is one of the few opponents who is older than Federer.

“He’s very good. Yeah, not pretty good,” Federer said. “What I like about Tommy is just his intensity he brings to the court. Every shot he hits, it’s with a purpose, it’s with an idea.”

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Roger Federer & Stan Wawrinka move into quarter-final doubles at BNP Paribas Open

Swiss duo Roger Federer and Stanislas Wawrinka reached the quarter-finals of the BNP Paribas Open on Monday in Indian Wells with a 7-6(3), 7-6(4) victory over Ernests Gulbis and Milos Raonic.

Both Federer and Wawrinka had reached the singles fourth round earlier in the day.

Federer and Wawrinka are pairing up at an ATP World Tour event for the first time since reaching the Indian Wells final three years ago (l. to Dolgopolov/Malisse).

The 2008 Olympic gold medalists edged first-time pairing Gulbis and Raonic in 87 minutes, setting a clash with fourth seeds Leander Paes and Radek Stepanek, who defeated Jonathan Erlich and Richard Gasquet 6-3, 7-5.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Roger Federer inspires coach Stefan Edberg

Stefan Edberg kicked off the defence of his Kings of Tennis crown in impressive fashion with a 6-4, 6-2 defeat of Henri Leconte at Stockholm’s Waterfront Congress Centre on Tuesday.

Edberg arrived in Stockholm straight from Indian Wells, where he was working in his new role as coach to 17-time Grand Slam Champion Roger Federer. And despite a touch of jet lag, the Swede thinks his time spent working with Federer will help him mount a successful title defence this week.

"Being on the main tour again with Roger definitely helps to get the competitive juices flowing,"’ he said. "I’ve been watching lots of matches and being around Roger and the tour has been quite inspiring. It helps that I’m hitting with Roger, that definitely keeps me sharp and being around the competition again is really motivating."

Edberg and Federer’s is one of many new ‘Super Coach’ partnerships between ATP World Tour and ATP Champions Tour players, and it’s one that the Swede certainly sees lasting for the long term.

"Working with Roger is going really well," he said. "There’s no pressure from my side; I’ll be there as long as he wants me to be."

Later in the week, Edberg will take on countryman Mats Wilander for the first time in 19 years in order to secure a place in a second consecutive Kings of Tennis final. The pair met a total of 20 times on the ATP World Tour, with the older Swede, Wilander, leading the head-to-head 11-9.

"I have been looking forward to defending my title here but I have to beat Mats before I’m in the final," said Edberg. "Our matches always used to be so tough, so I’m not taking anything for granted. I feel in good shape though and I love playing on this court. Hopefully there will be an amazing crowd for that match against Mats, so I hope it will be special."

The Swedes had further success on day one when Thomas Enqvist defeated former World No. 1 Marcelo Rios 6-3, 6-3 to take the lead in Group Two.

Rios was playing his first ATP Champions Tour match since 2011, having taken two years away from the sport following major back surgery. Despite mounting a valiant challenge, the Chilean was overpowered by the crisp groundstrokes of Enqvist, for whom a win against Carlos Moya on Wednesday will mean a guaranteed place in Friday’s final.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Roger Federer survives tough battle moves into 4th round at BNP Paribas Open

INDIAN WELLS: Four-time Indian Wells champion Roger Federer held on through two tiebreakers on Monday to beat Dmitry Tursunov in straight sets at the first ATP Masters of the year.

It wasn't a dominant performance from the former world number one and 17-time Grand Slam champion, but it showcased the confidence he has regained with a strong start to 2014 after a disappointing -- by his standards -- 2013 campaign.

"Now I feel like I'm in a good place. Zen on the court," Federer said after his 7-6 (9/7), 7-6 (7/2) victory.

"I know what my solid level is. Even if I won six and six today, I just feel like I was calm and served for the set -- OK, got broken, still managed to stay calm."

Federer broke Tursunov to open the match, but was broken as he served for the set at 5-4 before winning the tiebreaker.

He recovered an early break in the second set before dominating in the second-set decider.

Federer arrived in California on the heels of a victory in Dubai -- where he beat Novak Djokovic in the semi-finals and Tomas Berdych in the final.

That win was his first title in nine months, and backed up a solid semi-final showing at the Australian Open, where he posted wins over Andy Murray and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.

"It's just good to beat top 10 players from time to time," Federer said. "Especially with the difficult year I had last year, I could really feel at times I was actually not going to beat the best, probably.

"I would have a chance sometimes, but more often than not I wouldn't make it through.

"I feel different this year. I feel like if I do play my best I can come through again. That's like a major difference."

Sunday, March 09, 2014

Roger Federer moves into 3rd round at BNP Paribas Open

Roger Federer carried his strong form from one desert to another, ousting Paul-Henri Mathieu 6-2, 7-6(5) in his opening match at the BNP Paribas Open.
A week after registering a record sixth crown at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, Federer embarked on his quest for a fifth title in Indian Wells. The Swiss extended his impressive 2014 record to 15-2, defeating Mathieu for the seventh time since they first met 11 years ago.
The champion in 2004-06 and 2012, Federer claimed his 43rd match win in Indian Wells and 284th at ATP World Tour Masters 1000 level, converting on three break point opportunities and firing nine aces to defeat Mathieu.
Federer’s reward is a third round encounter with Dmitry Tursunov following the 31 year old’s 7-6(4), 6-4 triumph over Juan Monaco. Tursunov saved 10 of 12 break points faced to set up a fourth FedEx ATP Head2Head meeting with Federer. The Russian trails 0-3.
Stanislas Wawrinka made a triumphant return to the ATP World Tour in his first match since capturing his maiden Grand Slam title at the Australian Open (d. Nadal). The World No. 3 needed just 63 minutes to defeat the big-serving Ivo Karlovic 6-3, 7-5, improving to a perfect 12-0 in 2014.
"I was a little bit scared the way I was going to come back, the way I was going to play, but after five, six days on the practice court with Magnus, I was feeling really good," said Wawrinka. "I'm really happy with my level. I really think I'm playing great tennis."
Wawrinka did not face a break point and countered the Croat’s nine aces with eight of his own. He will vie for a fourth round berth when he faces 29th-seed Andreas Seppi next. The Italian rallied for a 4-6, 7-6(3), 6-3 win over home favourite Sam Querrey, saving two match points.

Roger Federer & Stan Wawrinka win their 1st doubles round at BNP Paribas Open

It was standing room only on Stadium 2 Friday afternoon when Roger Federer and Stanislas Wawrinka reunited as a doubles team for the first time in 18 months to defeat sixth seeds Rohan Bopanna and Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi 6-2, 6-7(4), 10-6 at the BNP Paribas Open.
Federer and Wawrinka, who won the 2008 Beijing Olympics doubles gold medal for Switzerland, reached the 2011 Indian Wells final (l. to Dolgopolov/Malisse). The duo had not teamed up since a Davis Cup tie versus The Netherlands in September 2012.
Bopanna and Qureshi drop to a 10-5 match record this season. Six days ago, the ‘Indo-Pak Express’ lifted the Dubai trophy (d. Nestor-Zimonjic) and Federer picked up his sixth crown (d. Berdych) at the event.
Federer, the seventh seed, opens his campaign for a fifth Indian Wells singles title against Paul-Henri Mathieu in the second round, while third seed Wawrinka plays Ivo Karlovic. Wawrinka is playing in his first ATP World Tour tournament since lifting the Australian Open trophy in January.
“We are very happy to have won today, and give ourselves another match in a couple of days,” said Federer.
Wawrinka, who admitted he did not train for “maybe 10 days, 15 days,” until last week, said, “I am really looking forward to my match tomorrow and for the rest of the season… It's really important that I keep trying to improve. It took me time to really realise what I did in Australian Open.”

Saturday, March 08, 2014

Roger Federer & Stan Wawrinka teaming up in doubles at BNP Paribas Open

Stanislas Wawrinka and Roger Federer may be slated for a quarter-final showdown at the BNP Paribas Open, but will share the same side of the net in doubles action this week in Indian Wells.
The Swiss superstars, who won Olympic gold together in 2008 at Beijing, will be teaming up for the first time since the 2012 Davis Cup World Group Playoffs and open against last week’s Dubai champions, No. 6 seeds Rohan Bopanna and Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi.
The winner of that match could face Novak Djokovic, who is teaming up with Filip Krajinovic. The Serbian wild cards play Ernests Gulbis and Milos Raonic in the first round.
Wawrinka and Federer came up three points shy of the title in their one previous outing at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden, losing to Alexandr Dolgopolov and Xavier Malisse in the 2011 final.
Four other players in the Top 10 of the Emirates ATP Rankings will join the competition for the doubles crown. 
Juan Martin del Potro plays alongside in-form Croatian Marin CilicAndy Murray joins forces with
2012 Wimbledon doubles champion Jonathan Marray, while Frenchmen Richard Gasquet and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga respectively partner Jonathan Erlich and Nicolas Mahut.
Americans Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan are the top seeds and defending champions at the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournament. 
They play fellow Stanford alum Scott Lipsky and partner Florian Mayer of Germany in the first round.

Friday, March 07, 2014

Roger Federer ready for BNP Paribas Open

There is something about the allure of a desert setting that energises Roger Federer.
A week after adding a record sixth crown at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, the most decorated player in BNP Paribas Open history seeks a fifth title in his return to Indian Wells.
“I’m excited to play here in Indian Wells,” said Federer on Thursday. “I’m happy to see the hard work is paying off and the decisions I made midway through last year were the right ones. I am playing nicely now and pain-free, which is the goal. Winning cements that feeling. It’s more fun and it gives me confidence. It makes me more eager to play more and win more.”
Federer, who is off to a strong start in 2014 with 13 victories in 15 matches, admitted that he is playing more freely and thinking clearer than he was during a taxing 2013 campaign. Consecutive comeback wins over Novak Djokovic and Tomas Berdych were exactly what the Swiss needed entering the first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 event of the year.
“It’s nice beating Novak, but for me what stands out is winning a tournament and holding a trophy in my hands,” Federer added. “It was an added bonus to beat him on a hard court. He’s had a great last six months or so. This was a big win for me. So was beating Berdych. He’s been having a great season so far. It’s nice to win and beat so many Top 10 guys now in two months.”
A champion in 2004-06 and 2012, Federer will be looking to add to his 21 ATP World Tour Masters 1000 titles. Only Rafael Nadal has won more (26) and while the Spaniard enters as the top seed and defending champion, Federer relishes the opportunity to battle his long-time rival and is ready for the challenges ahead. “(Winning) definitely helps with the confidence to play at a very good level. Now it’s important to get through this tournament in a good way physically. Mentally, I’m really motivated to be playing here in Indian Wells.”
Federer is the only player to complete the March sweep of Indian Wells and Miami twice (2005-06) and he expressed his drive and determination to “come close to doing something like that again.”
“These two (ATP World Tour) Masters 1000 are important to me,” Federer said. “I had amazing trips here, winning back-to-back. Those were really good times back then. I’m keeping up the hard work and we’ll see how things are going to go. The most important thing now is that I’m playing consistently well in practice and in matches.”
The No. 7 seed opens his campaign in the Coachella Valley with qualifier Paul-Henri Mathieu after the Frenchman ousted fellow qualifier Robby Ginepri 6-2, 6-3 on Thursday. Federer and Mathieu first met 11 years ago, in Rome in 2003. The Basel native owns a 6-0 FedEx ATP Head2Head advantage.

Thursday, March 06, 2014

Martina Hingis loses doubles match with Sabine Lisicki at BNP Paribas Open

It wasn't clear Thursday at Indian Wells whether Martina Hingis was making a comeback or just having a little fun with some hit-and-giggle tennis.

Last year, she was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame. That usually indicates that a playing career is over.

But there she was Thursday, drawing perhaps a half-full house in the BNP Paribas tournament's new 8,000-seat Stadium 2, playing doubles with her friend and occasional tennis student, Sabine Lisicki of Germany. They lost in a third-set super tiebreaker to a good team, seventh-seeded Ashleigh Barty and Casey Dellacqua of Australia.

But the winning or losing seemed less of a story than the future. Specifically, the future of Hingis, 33.

In the late 1990s, she was the face of women's tennis, especially 1997, when she won three of the four major tournaments, failing only at the French Open.

Her most definitive response to whether this was a one-off or there might be more to come was, "We'll see."

She and Lisicki, 24, are friends. Lisicki called Hingis "my idol" after the match. Hingis coached Lisicki, No. 15 in the world, at the Australian Open.

"I was excited when she asked me to play doubles," Hingis said.

Always a mistress of deflection in news conferences, Hingis smiled her light-up-the-room smile and reminded everybody that she had last won the singles title at Indian Wells in '98.

"That's a long time ago," she said. "I'm getting pretty old."
She neither looked it nor sounded 100% sincere.

Both Hingis and Lisicki, while giving credit to a very good opposing team, said they were mostly pleased with the result.

"It would have helped with a better draw," Hingis said.

The 6-4, 6-7 (0), 10-6 close call may have masked some of the improvements needed. Such as Hingis' serve, which she lost all six times, three of them at love. Or the sudden collapse of Lisicki's forehand in the late stages of the deciding third-set tiebreaker.

But the 7-0 tiebreaker to take the second set was impressive, and it featured three cat-quick volley winners that were a staple of Hingis' doubles game in her prime.

She did, after all, win five Grand Slam singles titles, nine Grand Slam women's doubles titles and one more major in mixed. She was, after all, ranked No. 1 in singles for 209 weeks and in doubles for 35 weeks and is among only a handful who have been ranked at the top in both at the same time.

Her singles game was artistry. But once the bigger, taller, harder-hitting players such as Mary Pierce, Lindsay Davenport and Serena and Venus Williams started showing up — an era that tennis broadcaster Mary Carillo once labeled "Big Babe Tennis" — Hingis was muscled to the sidelines.

She was asked about those days of creativity in tennis and she said, "Today, it is all more physical. There is no time to be creative. The ball is coming too fast."

In January 2008, Hingis was suspended from tennis after testing positive for cocaine in a tour drug test. The sanction was imposed by the International Tennis Federation. She appealed, then chose to retire. Five years later, she was in the Hall of Fame.

Six years later, she is back on the courts, smiling coyly about the future. And if the turnout and enthusiasm for her appearance Thursday was any indication, tennis people still hope she has one. The wild-card entry given her by the tournament turned out to be a smart move.

In other matches Thursday, two time Indian Wells winner Lleyton Hewitt (2002-'03) struggled past a fellow Australian, Matthew Ebden, 7-6 (2), 3-6, 6-3. In women's doubles, veterans Sam Stosur and Svetlana Kuznetsova knocked out the third-seeded pair of Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci.,0,7194121.column#ixzz2vJEyDywV