Saturday, September 27, 2014

Martina Hingis & Flavia Pennetta win first doubles crown together in Wuhan China

WUHAN, China - Martina Hingis and Flavia Pennetta continued their late charge for the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global, winning their first WTA doubles title as a team at the Premier-level Dongfeng Motor Wuhan Open with a victory over Cara Black and Caroline Garcia.

Hingis and Pennetta looked fresh early on, and understandably so - they only played two full matches in four rounds going in, winning one by retirement and another by walkover. And both of their wins came in straight sets, too. The No.6-seeded Swiss-Italian combo stormed out to a 6-4, 5-3 lead.

The No.8-seeded Black and Garcia came alive from there, though. They fought off four match points en route to sneaking out the second set, 7-5, and built all kinds of leads in the ensuing match tie-break, like 4-1, 6-3, and - after losing those leads - even bringing up two match points up 9-8 and 10-9.

But Hingis and Pennetta fought both of those off, including a fantastic Pennetta backhand volley into the corner on the second one, and with one last big serve they closed it out, 6-4, 5-7, 12-10.

Hingis and Pennetta's best results in four previous tournaments together were runner-up finishes at Eastbourne and the US Open, and they finally made it fifth time lucky here with their first WTA doubles title as a partnership. It was Hingis' 39th individual WTA doubles title and Pennetta's 16th.

And so their late push for the WTA Finals in Singapore continues - currently No.12 on the Road To Singapore doubles leaderboard, they will move just outside the Top 8 after this tournament. And with the Top 8 qualifying for the WTA's crown jewel event, they're coming alive at just the right time.

Hingis and Pennetta, both former World No.1s in doubles, spoke to the crowd after their win.

"We got a little bit tight in the end of the second set, but that's normal in a final," Pennetta said. "It was just amazing to play doubles with Martina again. She's a great partner and a great person.

"Our first time in Wuhan was amazing. Everything was perfect. We really enjoyed our week."

"First, I want to say Xie Xie Wuhan," Hingis - who was saying thank you - started her speech with, drawing cheers from the crowd. "I really want to thank everybody for coming out here for the final.

"There aren't many places I can say I'm coming to for the first time in my 20 years of playing. And I really loved this tournament. I really enjoyed every moment. It's just been a fantastic week.

"The city is really pretty and it was just a wonderful event."

Hingis and Pennetta will now head to Beijing for the China Open, where they are the No.8 seeds.

Well how about that!. They are an awesome team. 

Nice job, congrats ladies!. 

On the women's singles side at the China Open Petra Kvitova won against Eugene Bouchard which was disappointing.

But hopefully Bouchard will figure out Kvitova in the future.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Martina Hingis sad over Li Na's retirement from the sport

Tokyo, Sep 19: Swiss tennis legend Martina Hingis said on Friday that Li Na’s retirement was a loss to world tennis, crediting the Chinese star with raising the game’s profile in her home country.

“It’s a sad day for Chinese tennis and for the global sport in general,” Hingis, who won the five singles and nine doubles Grand Slam titles, said in Tokyo after hearing about Li’s decision during the WTA Pan Pacific Open. ”I have good memories playing her,” said the 33-year-old. Hingis beat Li in the 2007 Australian Open fourth round.

Hingis said it was “sad” because the next WTA tournament was to be played in Li’s hometown of Wuhan next week, immediately followed by the big-money China Open in Beijing.

“There is so much more tennis which has moved tournaments to China, (there has been) development on the women’s side of the tour to have the tournaments there,” she added. China now hosts six women’s tour events. The Women’s Tennis Association upgraded the China Open in Beijing last year to become Asia’s only event combined with a men’s tour. The event is also one of the WTA’s top four tournaments.

The Wuhan Open is making its debut this year by replacing the Pan Pacific Open on the WTA’s second tier known as Premier 5. The Tokyo event now belongs to the so-called Premier-700 calendar.

Hingis made her second comeback from retirement in July last year but just as a doubles player. In the US Open doubles final two weeks ago, she teamed with Italian Flavia Pennetta and finished runners-up to Russia’s Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina. She teamed with 17-year-old rising Swiss star Belinda Bencic, who reached the US Open quarter-finals, in the doubles at the Pan Pacific Open but bowed out in the quarter-finals on Thursday.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Martina Hingis & Belinda Bencic early exit from Tokyo

Tokyo: Former world number one Martina Hingis and rising star Belinda Bencic ended their first time together as a dream doubles team for Switzerland in the Pan Pacific Open second round Thursday.

They bowed to the top-seeded pair of Zimbabwe`s Cara Black and Sania Mirza of India 6-4, 6-2 after winning their doubles debut match against Japan`s Rika Fujiwara and Taiwan`s Hsieh Shu-Ying 6-4, 6-2 in the first round.

But the Swiss duo, who have known each other for years despite the nearly 17-year age gap, said they might team up again in WTA events in China in the coming weeks, depending on how Hingis` usual partner Italian Flavia Pennetta recovers from a recent right-foot injury.

Hingis and Bencic broke Black`s serve in the third and seventh games of the first set. But they could not hold their service right after each of the games. They lost their serve in four games in the second set of the hour-long match.

"In the second set, we were falling apart. But in the first set, we definitely had chances," said Hingis, who turns 34 at the end of this month and has won five Grand Slam singles titles and nine doubles titles.

"It was a lot of fun to bring one of the best teams to have to play their best tennis," smiled Hingis, who made her second comeback from retirement in July last year but only as a doubles player.

Partnered by Pennetta, she lost to Russia`s Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina in the US Open final in New York two weeks ago.

Bencic, 17, currently ranked 34th in the world and who reached the US Open singles quarter-finals in only her fourth Grand Slam appearance, said: "It was fun to play with Martina."

"If we have used the chances, maybe we`d look a little bit different. A bit unlucky as I made some stupid mistakes."

Hingis said earlier Bencic was just four years old when she first met her. Her mother Melanie Molitor has trained Bencic for 10 years along with the youngster`s father Ivan.

Recalling the "momentum and challenges here and there" in the match, Hingis said: "To be on the same side with Belinda, I really enjoyed it. Hopefully we`ll do better."

Hingis is ranked 20th in the world doubles ranking and Bencic 255th.

Both of them will compete at the top-flight $4.5 million China Open starting in Beijing on September 29 and the low-tier $250,000 WTA event in Tianjin in the week of October 6. Hingis is also booked for another WTA event in China -- the Wuhan Open next week.

About another possible pairing with Bencic, Hingis said, "It depends on how we are going to do with Flavia (Pennetta) in the next two tournaments in China."

"There is Tianjin, so that would be another possibility."

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Martina Hingis & Belinda Bencic win first doubles together in Tokyo

Former world number one Martina Hingis and rising star Belinda Bencic made their debut as a dream doubles team for Switzerland Tuesday, winning their first match together at the Pan Pacific Open.

Four-time Grand Slam singles champion Hingis, 33, and 17-year-old Bencic, who reached the US Open quarter-finals two weeks ago, combined to oust Rika Fujiwara of Japan and Taiwan`s Hsieh Shu-Ying 6-4, 6-2 in the first round.

The all-Swiss pairing was announced as a wild card only last week after Hingis`s usual partner Flavia Pennetta of Italy pulled out of the $1 million tournament with a right-foot injury.

With Pennetta, Hingis reached the US Open final but her bid for a 10th major doubles title was denied by the Russian pairing of Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina.

Hingis, whose mother Melanie Molitor has trained Bencic for 10 years along with the youngster`s father Ivan, said she was committed to play with Pennetta at least until the end of this year. But a regular pairing with Bencic may be possible in the future.

"We`ll see. Maybe in the future there will be other opportunities for us to do this and that will be great," Hingis said.

The second-round opponents for the Swiss duo will be either the top-seeded pair of Zimbabwe`s Cara Black and Indian Sania Mirza or unseeded Casey Dellacqua of Australia and American Lisa Raymond.

"We had to figure out each other and what our strengths and weaknesses are and how to win matches," Hingis said of the first set.

"I think we got better throughout the match today. We`re really proud of that. We have now next steps to take."

Bencic said, "In the beginning I didn`t play that good. Then I came more into the match and Martina was helping me good."

"There was no reason to be really nervous," said Bencic, who has known Hingis since she was only four years old.

There were moments of great doubles play by the Swiss.

Leading 5-4 in the first set, Hingis`s backhand drop shot from the net hit cross court at set point after Bencic served.

On Hingis`s service, Bencic`s sharp passing shot landed inside a corner to put the team ahead 5-1 in the second set.

In the singles first round, sixth-seeded Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia beat Belgian Kirsten Flipkens 6-1, 6-3 and eighth-seeded Carla Suarez of Spain outlasted Japan`s Kurumi Nara 6-1, 2-6, 6-2.

The top four seeds, including world number eight Angelique Kerber of Germany and eighth-ranked and US Open finalist Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark, took a bye into the second round.

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 Bolelli. Stan 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 Agassi, Pete Sampras, Jim 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.

Monday, September 08, 2014

Roger Federer disappointed with loss at U.S. Open semis, but hopeful for the future

Roger Federer says that falling just short of claiming an elusive 18th Grand Slam title for the second major in a row won't haunt him, but he would be more than happy to add to his record haul in 2015.
After bowing out to Marin Cilic in the US Open semi-finals, following his five-set loss in the Wimbledon final to Novak Djokovic, the second seed reflected on what it would mean to keep adding Grand Slam hardware to his trophy case.
“It would mean a lot. 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.
“I’ll give it a go again in Australia; I hope to be healthy there. I enjoy playing there. It's been one of my most consistent Slams. I hope to get another chance at it. I can't do more than try really hard, which I'm doing.”
The five-time US Open champion plans to spend little time lamenting his loss to the Croat, whom he credited with playing “old school tennis” in their battle in Arthur Ashe Stadium on Saturday.
“It was just 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," said Federer.
"I'm just really disappointed, after how well I have played this season, especially here at the tournament. I really felt like I could win this tournament," added Federer. "[But] in tennis, there are so many highlights, so I have something to do next Friday already [Davis Cup]. I'll be very preoccupied with that starting right now."
The World No. 3 heads to Switzerland to represent his home country in a Davis Cup World Group semi-final tie, against Italy.
“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," said Federer. "I’ve qualified for the [Barclays ATP World Tour Finals], so that's on my mind as we go along.​“
Roger is taking this better then me, I'm still too disappointed for words. 
Perfect draw, no Nadal (and no Djokovic in the final).  Yep gonna take a while to get over this one!.

Sunday, September 07, 2014

Martina Hingis & Flavia Pennetta talk doubles at U.S. Open

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please. It was a nice victory there. Can you just comment on the win and where this places you in the tournament?

MARTINA HINGIS: Well, I'm enjoying every second to be out there. I said that two days ago already. We make the semifinals. I think we beat some really great teams on the way to get there. We proved it again today. They were No. 3 seed, right? So they are always contenders to win a Grand Slam. Cara has been there, done that, you know. So I think we really deserve our spot to be in the finals now.

FLAVIA PENNETTA: I agree. (Laughter.)

Q. What role can playing World TeamTennis have in your success here this year, do you think?

MARTINA HINGIS: Well, I just felt like, to me, it was a great team that I was able to be in the last couple of years, you know, partnering with Leander and with Anastasia, having Murphy as a coach. He also came out there today to watch and support. The owner was there today, as well. You really feel the team spirit. He made it possible this morning. He was still in Washington in a meeting and he came to the second set.

FLAVIA PENNETTA: I didn't know that.

MARTINA HINGIS: Yeah, yeah. I think it's just really like the emotions are there. It's a great preparation, as well. I mean, any title is a great title to have, whether it's TeamTennis title, a Grand Slam or being No. 1. It's always another steppingstone in a career, and, you know, now we're here in the final. I'm really happy.

Q. Is there a physical payoff, three weeks, short period of time, just prior to the US Open?

MARTINA HINGIS: Well, we played a couple more tournaments after that. One week off and just being fresh into the Open. I always take the one week to really prepare and mentally be ready. I think that like after TeamTennis you're ready for anything. It's just like really draining.

You're there, you're there for your team, you know, and it's just everything. After, it's a great relief. I think nothing can throw you off ever anymore. I think for every rookie it's a great thing to do. I have been doing it for the last six years. Whenever you feel down or anything, it's like those moments I think on the court that really pays off. To me it's always been great, you know, TeamTennis in the last years that I have played. I think now being on court -- and every victory gives you confidence. The last two years it definitely gave me confidence to play some great doubles.

Q. You have had obviously so many great moments at the US Open. How great does it feel to be back and be part of the theater of this event and now to get into a final, you know, here again after all the years that you have been here?

MARTINA HINGIS: Well, it means a lot to me. I mean, obviously, like you said, I only won one title here in doubles. That was a while back in '98. I made some good matches, like some great memories, but it's been a while.

So it's like I really cherish this moment because I have had some great matches, but also in doubles I didn't feel like I had too many opportunities. I lost to players that actually I beat in this tournament now again, like whether it was Peschke, you know. So it felt like really far away. Also in the beginning of this tournament I think we had a really tough draw. So I think we really deserved our spot. I think this tournament it all came together for me. I played a lot better than in the previous tournaments. With Flavia I feel really comfortable being out there. I think that's the key to success.

Q. Great situation for Flavia. Flavia, have you ever thought of playing TeamTennis, too?

MARTINA HINGIS: The owner was after her.

FLAVIA PENNETTA: Not for the moment.

Q. Do you realize that you lost I think never more than seven games in each match? I think you won each quite easy. Which was the most difficult, and did you expect that?

FLAVIA PENNETTA: I mean, like she said, the draw was really tough from the first matches. We had luck in the first one because Rybarikova, yeah, she wasn't able to play. She was injured.

But since then I think we played really well. The second match was amazing. Safarova-Pavlyuchenkova was really good. Like she say, we really feel comfortable on the court. We like to play together, and always we have a different -- in the important moments or when we are down, we always come out with some different things. We have always the energy to come back.

Q. Do you guys remember the first team that you beat when you partnered up this year?

MARTINA HINGIS: Yeah, next ones, of course.

Q. Does that give you confidence?

MARTINA HINGIS: Well, I think you have to play -- Makarova played really well this tournament. I mean, it always helps for you, you played really great tennis at this tournament. Because also playing well in the singles, it definitely helps.

FLAVIA PENNETTA: They play really well. It's gonna be tough.

MARTINA HINGIS: We have to come out with our best. I mean, if they beat us, too good. If it's not gonna be enough, even better.

Q. Do you know that there would be Davis Cup match between Switzerland and Italy in one week?

FLAVIA PENNETTA: That's true. In Geneva.

Q. I'd like to know...

MARTINA HINGIS: I was invited.

Q. Switzerland should win 5-Love or there is a chance for Italy?

MARTINA HINGIS: Well, I hope Roger and Stan, they're gonna win, of course (Smiling.) I mean, they are a great team if they want to win one time in Davis Cup it's now. Now is the time to shine. Definitely I'll be there rooting for them.

Q. Flavia?

FLAVIA PENNETTA: It's gonna be tough. Really tough.

Q. Martina, you have worn many hats: coach, World TeamTennis, doubles, mixed. Is this where you feel most comfortable? Maybe not here in press, but on court.

MARTINA HINGIS: If I have to serve it out that's not the most comfortable moment. I mean, I made the game 5-4 and then we couldn't return. I don't remember, 4-All. I was so happy I held serve. But, no, there are definitely moments when I think we build our moments or our strategy.

Definitely she's very powerful obviously from the baseline. As long as I'm at the net I feel comfortable, you know. That's my time to do things. I think we just really click together at this moment even better than any other tournaments that we played together. Obviously the first time we played together at Eastbourne was also -- right away we beat three top 5 teams. In the end probably our gas tank was a little low in the finals.

FLAVIA PENNETTA: But we played really well.

MARTINA HINGIS: Now we have a day off.

Q. You were flying everywhere, catching everything. It was almost a ballet.

MARTINA HINGIS: It's like you want to keep that momentum. It's scary, because we already play like amazing first set. Like the first games was everything was like perfect, right? She hit, I'd go short crosscourt volleys. Everything. Yeah, so you just want to keep going and keep the momentum.

Q. Martina, you played doubles with many different partners in the past. What kind of comparison you can do with Flavia? Flavia, who played with Gisela Dulko, there is nothing easy to compare with Gisela with Martina because they play completely different.

FLAVIA PENNETTA: Not really. Gisela, she has -- in the net she was really good also and good eye and moving. I mean, that's why I play good with her, because I stay more in the back and she stay more on the net. I play more or less in the same way I was playing with Gisela. I feel comfortable in the same way.

Q. Martina, with your partners?

MARTINA HINGIS: They're similar. It's like I always had also like players who could hit and strike the ball from the baseline, good serve, and I think, you know, overpowering the other players. I mean, even if you play Gajdosova-Tomljanovic, she can hold her own from the baseline and I try to scare them at the net.

That's very similar to me. All the partners I had in the past, except maybe Novotna -- I mean, she's great at the net. Even match point two days ago I was like so happy she has great reflection. So I don't have to be scared like someone on the second serve, they are going to shoot her off the court. It's not gonna happen. I know when she's there she's there. She can move. She can cross. I think that fits our game. We can adjust to each other in the moment.

Q. Can you compare the depth in the women's game right now to when you were in the prime of your singles career?

MARTINA HINGIS: Oh, I don't want to talk about singles. It's hard. I have been doing these answers and questions the past two weeks. I'm not gonna do that.

Q. Brava you say the last moment or other words?

MARTINA HINGIS: No, I think that was always my words since we play together.

Q. Just brava?

FLAVIA PENNETTA: I talk with her more in Spanish than in Italian because she's boyfriend is from Spain. (Martina slaps Flavia.)

Q. Finally inside information.

FLAVIA PENNETTA: No. My boyfriend? Spanish also. He's Spanish also.

Saturday, September 06, 2014

Martina Hingis reaches 1st U.S. Open Grand Slam doubles final in 14 years!

NEW YORK, NY, USA - Alongside Flavia Pennetta, Martina Hingis made her first Grand Slam doubles final in more than a dozen years on Thursday, pulling off yet another upset - this time over the No.3 seeds, Cara Black and Sania Mirza in the semifinals - to make it into the championship match.

Hingis and Pennetta had already taken out No.15 seeds Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Lucie Safarova and No.3 seeds Kveta Peschke and Katarina Srebotnik earlier in the tournament, but this was their greatest victory yet, cruising through the first set and rallying from 4-1 down in the second set to close out Black and Mirza, 6-2, 6-4. Black and Mirza even had a point for 5-1 in that second set.

"I'm enjoying every second to be out there," Hingis said. "I said that two days ago already when we made the semifinals. I think we've beaten some really great teams on the way to get there, and we proved it again today. They were the No.3 seeds, right? So they are always contenders to win a Grand Slam. Cara has been there, done that - so I think we really deserve our spot in the finals now."

Hingis already has nine Grand Slam doubles titles to her name - four Australian Opens, two French Opens, two Wimbledons and one US Open. This is the WTA legend's first Grand Slam doubles final since the 2002 Australian Open, where she actually ended up winning the title with Anna Kournikova.

Hingis was asked how it feels to be back at this stage of the US Open. "Well, it means a lot to me," she commented. "I only won one title here in doubles. That was a while back in '98. I made some good matches, like some great memories, but it's been a while. So I'm really cherishing this moment.

"This tournament it's all just coming together for me. I played a lot better than I did in the previous tournaments. With Flavia I feel really comfortable being out there. I think that's the key to success."

Pennetta has a Grand Slam doubles title too - the 2011 Australian Open with Gisela Dulko.

Awaiting them in the final will be the No.4 seeds, Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina, who ended the surprise run of Kimiko Date-Krumm and Barbora Zahlavova Strycova earlier in the day, 7-5, 6-3.

Makarova and Vesnina, who took out the Williams sisters in a high-quality quarterfinal match earlier in the week, have more credentials as a team - they've won four WTA doubles titles together, and that tally actually includes a Grand Slam doubles title on the slow red clay of Roland Garros last year.

The two teams have played once before, with Hingis and Pennetta beating Makarova and Vesnina in the first round of Eastbourne this year, 7-5, 6-2. Hingis and Pennetta would make the final there.

"Makarova is playing really well this tournament," Hingis said. "It always helps if you played really great tennis at this tournament - even if it's playing well in the singles, it definitely helps.

"We have to come out with our best."

Who would have thunk it!.  Go Martina!.  Not bad for an almost 34 year old.

Friday, September 05, 2014

Roger Federer narrowly escapes Monfils to reach U.S. Open semis in 5 sets!

NEW YORK — Roger Federer saved two match points while coming all the way back from a two-set deficit to beat Gael Monfils 4-6, 3-6, 6-4, 7-5, 6-2 Thursday night and reach the U.S. Open semifinals for the first time since 2011.

Frustrated by Monfils’ unpredictable style, flummoxed by the swirling wind, and missing shots he normally makes, Federer twice was a single point from losing while down 5-4 in the fourth set.

But he got out of that hole, starting a five-game run that put the match in his control for the first time all evening. It helped that Monfils’ quality of play dipped, including what wound up being a total of 10 double-faults.

This was the ninth time Federer has won a match after dropping the opening two sets.

The 20th-seeded Monfils was trying to reach his second career Grand Slam semifinal. Instead, Federer advanced to his 36th, ninth at Flushing Meadows. Five of Federer’s record 17 major singles titles have come at the U.S. Open, but he exited in the quarterfinals in 2012, and the fourth round in 2013.

On Saturday, the second-seeded Federer will play 14th-seeded Marin Cilic of Croatia. The other semifinal will be No. 1 Novak Djokovic against No. 10 Kei Nishikori; their quarterfinal victories came Wednesday.

Cilic wasn’t allowed to play in last year’s U.S. Open, forced to the sideline by a four-month doping suspension that he says he didn’t deserve. But Cilic reached the second Grand Slam semifinal of his career, and first since 2010, by beating sixth-seeded Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic 6-2, 6-4, 7-6 (4) Thursday.

"I mean, it was a difficult period. I didn’t know when I’m going to start back. But (it) was also (a) good period for me," Cilic said. "I matured a bit more and I was working, day after day."

His quarterfinal ended hours before the other began, and Cilic probably assumed he would wind up facing Federer next.

But that did not seem a certainty through the first 78 minutes of Federer-Monfils. That’s how long it took Monfils to shake off a twisted ankle and build a two-set lead, assisted by Federer’s 26 unforced errors in that span.

At 33, Federer was participating in his 43rd Grand Slam quarterfinal, while Monfils — who turned 28 on Monday — was in only his sixth. And Monfils had only won one of those, at the 2008 French Open, where he then lost to Federer in the semifinals, part of the Frenchman’s 2-7 head-to-head record coming into Thursday.

The air was swirling in the cavernous arena, rippling the players’ shirts and the giant American flag atop the stadium. In the early going, Monfils’ whiplike forehand was able to cut through the wind.

As the clock was about to strike 11 p.m., Monfils held two match points at 5-4 in the fourth set, with Federer serving. On the first, Monfils had an opening for a backhand passing shot, but it flew long. On the second, Federer produced a forehand winner, and the crowd roared.

After Federer held there for 5-all, Monfils had a letdown, double-faulting twice in a row to get broken. Soon enough they were in the fifth set — which began with another break by Federer.

By then, he was on his way.

Make no mistake, though. This was not easy. The turnaround might not have been possible for Federer a year ago, when he was dealing with a bad back and trying to figure out whether he should switch to a larger racket head.

But now Federer, however old, is approaching his skills of old. He has made the finals at his previous four tournaments, the first such run by a 30-something since Ivan Lendl in 1990.

Monfils is nothing if not one of a kind. In an era where some men, including Federer, have two coaches, Monfils goes without any. He’ll admit to tanking points, games or entire sets. He sips sodas during matches, including Thursday. He’ll go for a between-the-legs shot when a mundane forehand would do.

Against Federer, Monfils varied his tactics and it worked well for two sets. Monfils would chip-and-charge, coming in behind returns. He tried to serve-and-volley a handful of times, not usually his style. He moved way over toward the doubles alley on the deuce side to hit one serve, instead of standing in his normal spot near the baseline’s midpoint. He sneaked to the net when he could. He took pace off his booming groundstrokes occasionally.

In sum, anything to throw off Federer. And Federer did appear rattled, not just in his play, but also the way he barked at chair umpire Carlos Ramos over one fault call and later over the timing of a racket change, saying to the official, "What’s wrong with you, man?"

When Monfils broke Federer to get back on serve at 2-all in the fourth set, Federer pounded the top of the net with his racket.

But in crunch time, it was Federer who was steady as can be.

I said in a previous post that this one was going to be tricky, but not to this extant!.

I think Roger can add Houdini to his list of credentials, because I honestly still don't know how he got out of this match.

He was 2 sets to love down (for the 9th time in his career), and 2 match points down. I'm gonna chalk it up to sheer luck and determination.

Here's hoping next one is in straight sets, because I'm pretty sure this one give me high blood pressure.

Also 74 approaches to the net?!. Pretty sure that's a new record.

Too close for comfort. A little less drama next time Roger, sincerely all your fans.

Thursday, September 04, 2014

Martina Hingis into her first Grand Slam doubles semifinal in 12 years at U.S. Open! :)

NEW YORK, NY, USA - In their first Grand Slam as a team, Martina Hingis and Flavia Pennetta are through to the US Open semifinals after defeating fifth-seeded Kveta Peschke and Katarina Srebotnik on Tuesday.

Hingis and Pennetta found themselves down an early break at 3-1 in the first set, but won five of the next six games to take the set.

The Swiss-Italian combination were the ones going up an early break in the second set, and they never relinquished their advantage en route to a 6-4, 6-3 victory.

For the match, Hingis and Pennetta had 18 more winners than unforced errors and converted on six of eight break points to improve to 2-0 against the Czech-Slovenian duo, having also beaten them earlier this year in Eastbourne.

Hingis is into her first doubles Grand Slam semifinal since the 2002 Australian Open, when she captured the last of her nine Grand Slam doubles titles alongside Anna Kournikova.

Next up for Hingis and Pennetta are No.3 seeds Cara Black and Sania Mirza. They were up 6-1, 1-0 on Zarina Diyas and Xu Yi-Fan when the Kazakhstani-Chinese pairing retired because of a neck injury suffered by Diyas.

Also advancing to the semifinals were fourth-seeded Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina. The Russians lost a double break lead against 13-time Grand Slam champions Serena Williams and Venus Williams, but still managed to win the first set. 

Then in the second set, they broke Serena Williams to close out their 7-6(5), 6-4 triumph - improving to 2-0 in their head-to-head.

Interestingly enough, both Pennetta and Makarova have made it to the quarterfinals in singles as well.

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Roger Federer powers into the quarters at U.S. Open

With more than 50 net approaches, an aggressive Roger Federer reached the US Open quarter-finals Tuesday night after defeating 17th-seeded Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut in straight sets.
Chasing his first final at Flushing Meadows in five years, Federer powered to a 6-4, 6-3 6-2 victory to reach the quarter-finals for the 10th time in the past 11 years.
Federer was aggressive from the outset, breaking the Spaniard in the third and fifth games and winning his first 12 net approaches as he attacked the backhand. Bautista Agut, who had not beaten a Top 80 player en route to the fourth round, was also suffering from nerves on his debut on Arthur Ashe stadium, bouncing a first serve before the net in the seventh game. But he steadied to hold serve, then break Federer and hold again to fight back to 4-5.
But Federer would win 13 of the last 18 games of the match to close out a routine victory in the pair's first meeting.
Speaking on court after the match to ESPN’s Brad Gilbert, Federer said of his net rushing: “I used to serve/volley some myself when conditions were faster and my baseline game wasn’t as good. I’m happy I'm able to come forward now because coming to net requires a lot of agility and explosiveness and I have it back. I’m happy I’m feeling good at net because you’ve got to anticipate some, read some and it’s working really well. I hope I can keep it up.”
Federer next meets flashy Frenchman Gael Monfils, whom he leads 7-2 in FedEx ATP Head2Head meetings. The pair met last month at the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournament in Cincinnati, which Federer won in three sets en route to the title.
"[After my win in Cincinnati] I know exactly how I need to play him," Federer told ESPN of the looming Monfils clash. It's going to be more or less the same conditions. "It's very clear cut in my opinion. I know I'll be coming in; he knows he'll be defending. He'll be wanting to serve well and play big as well. So we both know what to expect going in."
Should Federer win a sixth US Open title and Novak Djokovic not reach the final at Flushing Meadows, the Swiss would replace the Serb in first place in the Emirates ATP Race to London. The Race reflects a player's performance in 2014 only and determines which eight players qualify for the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals.
At the end of the season the Race mirrors the Emirates ATP Rankings, also known as the world rankings. So if Federer moves into first place in the Race, he will have a strong chance of finishing the year at No. 1 in the Emirates ATP Rankings.
Federer, who hit 36 winners and converted six of 13 break chances, improved his 2014 match record to 53-9. He is seeking his first Grand Slam title since Wimbledon 2012 and first US Open crown since he won a fifth consecutive title at Flushing Meadows in 2008.
This next one could be tricky but again not impossible for the Fed man. 
Now if someone would knock Djokovic out in the next couple of rounds I will be a happy camper.

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Martina Hingis praises Swiss compatriot Belinda Bencic at U.S. Open

Belinda Bencic's U.S. Open performance has been a surprise even to compatriot and former world No. 1 Martina Hingis. The 17-year-old Swiss defeated Yanina Wickmayer in the first round before upsetting No. 6 Angelique Kerber to reach the fourth round.

"I practiced with her on Sunday and I'm like, 'Wow, she played really good.' So I was, you know, expecting her to do well, but not as well as she actually did in the Wickmayer match," said Hingis, who is making another U.S. Open doubles comeback partnering Flavia Pennetta.

Hingis' mother, Melanie Molitor, is Bencic's coach. Their games are often compared, and Hingis agreed there are similarities.

"The technique, my mom puts a lot of attention to that. So the game, I mean, she's got a great backhand, as well," said Hingis. "But also she's stronger, so she can work with other weapons than I had. I mean, maybe I was more maybe a little better mover, but when she hits a shot it can be a winner. Like she's hitting a lot more winners than did I. So it's different a little bit."

While Bencic is still a long way from matching Hingis' teenage accomplishments, she is still one of the few teens having an impact on today's the WTA tour.

"You know, she has her style like I had mine, but she improved a lot. Every three months you can see improvements," said Hingis. "Also, the big difference is like the belief that you can actually win against big players, great players, seeded players in Grand Slams. I'm very happy for her that she was able to do that."

Having just knocked out Jelena Jankovic to reach her first ever quarter-final I would say the belief is definitely there! (not bad for a 17 year old).

Very impressive indeed. It was also nice seeing Martina Hingis in the stands supporting her.

Years later I still love seeing her at Grand Slams doesn't matter in what capacity. Hope she does well in her next doubles match.

Monday, September 01, 2014

Roger Federer cruises into 4th round after slow start at U.S. Open

Roger Federer overcame a slow start and a heavy thunderstorm to produce some of his best tennis of this US Open as Marcel Granollers was dispatched 4-6 6-1 6-1 6-1 in the third round.

The world No.3 responded to his first dropped set of the tournament with a nine-game streak that swung the momentum firmly in his favour, wrapping up the match in one hour, 58 minutes to set up a last-16 clash with Roberto Bautista Agut, who beat Adrian Mannarino 7-5 6-2 6-3.

Less than an hour after Caroline Wozniacki and Maria Sharapova had taken a 10-minute heat rule break during their fourth-round encounter, the No.2 seed and his Spanish opponent were ushered from the Arthur Ashe Stadium court as tournament officials called for the stadium to be evacuated with lightning in the area.

Mentally, Federer had barely left the locker room by then. Granollers claimed the first 10 points of the match to open up a 4-1 lead inside 15 minutes before play was suspended with the world No.42 leading 5-2 in the first.

With flash flood warnings in place, the USTA cancelled the day session but juggled the night session schedule to get the match back on Ashe. Federer broke back when play resumed after the two-hour break, but Granollers broke once more with a pair of backhand passes to grab the first set.

As he had before the delay, Granollers committed himself to taking time away from Federer, refusing to take a backward step from the baseline and venturing forward when possible. The strategy had caught Federer cold in the first set but the five-time US Open champion was all too aware from thereon out.

What had been a compelling game of cat and mouse was rapidly reduced to a duck hunt; from 0-1 in the second set, Federer claimed 18 of the next 20 games and hit 57 winners in total from all corners of the court.

Asked about dealing with the delay, widely expected at the start of the day's action, Federer said: "You don't know what's going to happen. The conditions changed a lot, it was windy and quick and when we came back it was humid.

"Marcel started really on fire," Federer conceded. "The break helped me, and I came out and played some great tennis."

Well it was not an ideal start losing the 1st set, but he certainly made up for it in the 3 sets that followed.

I think he still has some slight issues with transitioning from day to night.

As soon as the day match turned into night, it seemed to almost wake him up and he went on a rampage.

Let's hope his next one is a nice and simple straight set win (especially given what happened last year). No more drama please Rog.