Thursday, April 30, 2015

Roger Federer wins first match moves into the quarters at Istanbul Open

Roger Federer began his inaugural TEB BNP Paribas Istanbul Open campaign with a 6-2, 7-5 win over Jarkko Nieminen on Wednesday.

The top-seeded Swiss did not face a break point on serve during the one-hour match, as he improved to a 15-0 FedEx ATP Head2Head record against the 33-year-old Finn.

"I'm happy that I won my first match ever in Turkey," he said. "In the second set Jarkko started playing better and I'm happy that I managed to close the match."

Federer, who is looking to win his 11th clay-court title this week, will face Daniel Gimeno-Traver in the quarter-finals, but first, he planned on making good use of his day off Thursday.

"Tomorrow I have a day off and I will enjoy and do a sightseeing trip by boat on the Bosphorus to see some more of this beautiful city," he said.

Earlier Wednesday, Gimeno-Traver fired five aces past sixth seed Mikhail Kukushkin in a 6-3, 6-3 win, his third in four meetings against the Kazakh. The in-form Spaniard is 7-2 in his past two tournaments, highlighted by a runner-up finish at the Grand Prix Hassan II (l. to Klizan).

Fourth seed Santiago Giraldo booked a spot in his third ATP World Tour quarter-final of the year with a 6-4, 1-6, 6-3 over last year’s junior World No. 1 Andrey Rublev.

Meanwhile, eighth seed Diego Schwartzman swept past Jurgen Melzer 6-0, 6-2 in 52 minutes.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Roger Federer is enjoying Istanbul "hoping for a nice long week"

It’s not often that Roger Federer gets to play in a new country, and 24 hours into his visit to Turkey, the city of Istanbul has met his expectations.

“I’ve heard a lot of great things about Istanbul and the country; I’ve always wanted to come visit,” he said, ahead of the inaugural TEB BNP Paribas Istanbul Open.

“I saw the pictures before I came here and I was hoping it was going to be like this, so I’m happy it’s as pretty as it is and I’m really enjoying myself. I hope it’s going to be a nice long week and I hope it’s a lot of matches and I stay here as long as possible.”

Federer is aiming to win his 11th clay-court title this week in Istanbul, before he heads to back-to-back ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournaments in Madrid and Rome, followed by Roland Garros.

“The French Open clearly is a big goal of mine, but to play well at the French Open I need confidence and I need to play well, and I hope I can pick that up here in Istanbul and really win a lot of matches, preferably win the tournament,” he said. “That’s why I’m here, at the end of the day is to win this.”

He began his clay-court campaign two weeks ago at the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters, where he lost to Gael Monfils in the third round, and has spent close to a month working on clay.

“It’s about getting used to the sliding and just wanting to decide how aggressive I want to play,” he said. “Clearly I play on hard court for 7-8 months like all the other players. It just takes some adjustments. For that, I’m trying to put up as many hours as I can on the clay and I think my game is going to get better and better as we move along.”

Federer expected both Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal to be in peak form at Roland Garros, and called them the favourites, despite Nadal’s recent struggles. “Even though maybe his form is not as good as the previous years, I still believe once the French Open rolls around he’ll be difficult to beat.”

But first, the World No. 2 is focused on his opening assignment this week: playing the winner between Turkey’s Marsel Ilhan and Finland’s Jarkko Nieminen in the second round.

“I really hope I can play against [Marsel], even though he’s playing Nieminen, who is a really close friend of mine; I came through the juniors with him,” he said. “Either way it’s going to be a nice first round, but of course the atmosphere would be quite special if I played Marsel in the first round.”

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Roger Federer believes Rafael Nadal is still the man to beat at Roland Garros

Oddsmakers have established world No. 1 Novak Djokovic as the French Open favorite, but Roger Federer says nine-time Roland Garros champion Rafael Nadal and Djokovic are the co-French Open favorites in his mind.

"At the French Open, Rafa for me is still the favorite alongside Djokovic who has been playing so well," Federer told the media in Istanbul. "Even though his (Nadal's) form is not as good as in previous years, I still believe when the French Open rolls around he is going to be very difficult to beat."

The second-ranked Swiss has a first-round bye at the inaugural TEB BNP Paribas Istanbul Open. Federer will face either Marsel Ilhan or Jarkko Nieminen in his opener.

After losing to Gael Monfils in Monte Carlo earlier this month, Federer said he's aiming to make more adjustments to his clay-court game this week in Istanbul.

"It's about getting used to the sliding, deciding how aggressive I want to play," Federer told the media. "I have been on hard courts for seven-eight months so it needs some adjustments. My game is going to get better and better as we move along."

Monday, April 27, 2015

Roger Federer headlines inaugural Istanbul draw

The bustling Turkish metropolis of Istanbul is the cultural and commerical epicenter of eastern Europe and western Asia, with the Bosphorus strait separating the two continents. The iconic Hagia Sophia attracts more than three million visitors annually.

Next week, the Koza World of Sports facility, promoted as the largest tennis academy in the world, hosts the inaugural TEB BNP Paribas Istanbul Open.

The first ATP World Tour event in Turkey boasts Roger Federer as its top seed, with World No. 11 Grigor Dimitrov seeded second. Federer will face either home hope Marsel Ilhan or Finnish veteran Jarkko Nieminen in his opening match. Ilhan, an Istanbul resident, is the highest-ranked Turkish player.

"First I will have to pass the first round," said Ilhan. "My Finnish competitor is a very experienced player. I hope I will get to play Federer if I pass the first round. I had played Wawrinka and Djokovic before, now its Federer."

Dimitrov, meanwhile, squares off against the winner of the first round clash between Andrey Golubev and Nikoloz Basilashvili. Other seeds in the draw include fellow Top 50 talents Pablo Cuevas, Santiago Giraldo and Andreas Haider-Maurer. Russia's Andrey Rublev, the youngest player in the Top 400 of the Emirates ATP Rankings, was awarded a main draw wild card. The 17 year old earned his biggest win in upsetting Fernando Verdasco at this week's Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell.

“I got a little bit of a tour around the area and it looks amazing,” Dimitrov said. “To have that kind of facility and to have the opportunity to build something like that is pretty amazing.”

The centre court at the Koza World of Sports features a retractable roof and provides seating for 7,500 people, with two other clay show courts raising available seating to 9,500. Main draw action commences on Monday.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Martina Navratilova ends coaching partnership with Agnieszka Radwanska

After almost four months together, Agnieszka Radwanska and Martina Navratilova are officially done their coaching relationship, Radwanska announced through her Twitter account on Friday afternoon.

Navratilova was brought on in December as one of the first supercoaches on the women's tour, a trend that has become increasingly popular on the men's tour, in the hopes that her 18 Grand Slam titles and former World No.1 status would bring the former World No.2 closer to her first Grand Slam title.

Radwanska, whose best result so far in 2015 has been a semifinal run on home soil at the Katowice Open, will continue to work with her main coach, Tomasz Wiktorowski. Here's the Radwanska tweet:

I just wanted to thank Martina for her time and efforts over these last few months. It was a great experience to work with one of the all time greats. However, we both agreed that as Martina could not commit 100% to the project then it was not going to work as a long term partnership. We will stay friends and I wish her all the best in her personal and professional life.

I am stepping down as Agnieszka's part-time coach," Navratilova said in a statement.

"I think I underestimated the time it would take to make this a proper and good situation for both Agnieszka and me. I have quite a busy family life now as well as my TV work and other business commitments, which all combined make it impossible to dedicate the amount of time necessary to do a great job. Tomas Wiktorowski, Agnieszka's full-time coach, certainly knows what he is doing and he will be able to continue to build on some of the adjustments we were trying to make. I really enjoyed working with Aga and her whole team and I wish her all the best for the rest of the season."

Well that didn't last long, too bad. 

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Martina Hingis' comeback: wins, loses and beyond

Successful as she’s been in making a comeback in doubles, Martina Hingis’ sojourn back in singles was nonetheless somewhat under-par. Not only did her two Fed Cup singles matches end up disappointingly, there was also a decisive break to the winning rhythm she’d been on, since partnering Sania Mirza before Indian Wells. Lastly, Hingis’ attempt to rejoin the fold of singles tennis – for the third time – also cast attention about players trying to re-enter the sport following a prolonged absence.

Instances of such comebacks have then been both fruitful and unproductive in equal measures, dotting the pages of tennis history. Three noteworthy examples that however come to mind prominently are that of Martina Navratilova, Kim Clijsters and Justine Henin.

Navratilova had a good run after coming back from her absence the early 2000s.The American’s case especially stands out for not only was she in her late 40s when she took to playing competitive tennis again, but it was also selective in that she only played in the grand slams – focusing on mixed doubles.

Speaking of Clijsters and Henin, the second time round, both experienced contrasting fortunes while taking a step back into the sport for the second time.

Clijsters, who retired to start a family, was always expected to return – given her own indications to the same. Following her joining the sport again, she won three majors – two US Opens in 2009-10 and one Australian Open in 2011– and even regained the world no. 1 ranking, before calling time finally in 2012. For her compatriot though, the road back proved to be a mixed-bag.

Henin did make it to the final of the Australian Open in 2010 as a wildcard. But there, she wasn’t able to match the penetrating game of defending champion Serena Williams. While she did win a set off the American, in the end it wasn’t enough to prevent Williams from winning her (then) fifth Australian Open title. The rest of the season was equally tumultuous for Henin for even though she won a couple of titles, she wasn’t able to make deeper inroads into the remaining three grand slams. A year later, after her third round loss in the Australian Open, she chose to retire in what seemed to be an abrupt end to her comeback.

Thus there may be several factors that go into consideration about attempting comebacks, each unique to each player. However, by far the most significant denominator – common to all – is that of time. Not only the time elapsed between retirement and comeback, but also the time thought out by the players to keep continuing, irrespective of whether the results meet their expectations or not.

Navratilova and Clijsters’ successes were hinged dually. One, the way both players focused towards playing to their strengths and the other, the way each used the time spent away from professional tennis to their advantage. Contrarily, Henin in spite of being away from professional tennis for only 16 months didn’t feel inclined to extend her career to beyond a season. This, in turn, raises the question as to whether she would have been able to better her performances by prolonging her comeback for some more time instead of putting a definite stop to it.

Hingis will need to introspect upon this last facet even in the wake of her declaration, in the aftermath of her losses in the Fed Cup, of not going back to playing singles. For, unpredictability still governs the Swiss’ decisions.

Her aspiration to participate in the 2016 Rio Olympics may have brought about her decision to play the Fed Cup, after all these years. But regardless of her ambitions and her declarations, fact remains that the elapsing of time has neutralised many of the key aspects of her game as far as singles’ concerned.

She wasn’t able to do much against Agnieszka Radwanska, who has a similar game in that she doesn’t have a big-hitting and power-packed game of her own, but relies on shot placement and excellent re-direction of the return as her bread-and-butter. That she came short against an opponent with a matching style of play then needs be the crucially decisive element, aided by the passage of time, spurring her to continue playing doubles alone.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Martina Hingis & Sania Mirza out in first round doubles at Porsche Grand Prix in Stuttgart

Martina Hingis and Sania Mirza’s perfect record together took a hit as they lost their opening match at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart. Who beat them?

Published April 22, 2015 12:15

STUTTGART, Germany – A long six weeks finally took its toll on Wednesday night as Martina Hingis and Sania Mirza – who had taken the doubles world by storm with back-to-back-to-back title runs at Indian Wells, Miami and Charleston – finally lost a match at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart.

After a travel-heavy last few days because of Fed Cup – Hingis headed to Poland, Mirza all the way back to India – the Swiss-Indian duo could be forgiven for not being their freshest. And Hingis – who even played two singles matches over the weekend – was treated for a back injury during this match.

After losing three straight games from 3-all to drop the first set, the No.1-seeded Hingis and Mirza showed some encouraging signs as they jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the second set, even holding a point for 3-0. But the first-time pairing of Petra Martic and Stephanie Vogt held that game and broke them right back to even the set at 2-all, and they went on to pull of a straight set stunner, 6-3, 6-3.

Hingis and Mirza’s triumphs in Indian Wells, Miami and Charleston not only saw them shoot up to No.1 on the Road To Singapore doubles leaderboard, the year-long journey to the doubles event at the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global, it also propelled Mirza to No.1 on the WTA Doubles Rankings, the first Indian woman in tennis history to rise to No.1, in singles or in doubles.

Given the two teams’ credentials, it was a David and Goliath-like victory. Hingis and Mirza went into the match 14-0 together and with 70 WTA doubles titles between them – 44 for Hingis, 26 for Mirza.

Martic and Vogt were playing together for the first time and had one WTA doubles title between them.

I really hope they take the next couple of weeks off, and skip at least one of the clay court tournaments.  I think they both need it.  

Especially poor Martina who no doubt only aggravated her injury (although everyone seems confused on what that is) the leg or the back?.  

Given all that I really wouldn't call this a shock defeat.  Hope they both get some well deserved rest.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Martina Hingis coached Fed Cup doubles due to singles exhaustion

Switzerland's Martina Hingis says that while she was disappointed in losing to both Agnieszka and Urszula Radwanska in singles, she was pleased to have helped coach the deciding doubles rubber in last weekend's Fed Cup tie in Poland. 

The Swiss team of Timea Bacsinszky and Viktorija Golubic beat Agniezska Radwanska and Alicja Rosolska to win the tie, 3-2.

Hingis said that she could not play doubles because she was exhausted physically on Sunday. The former No. 1 was up a set and 5-2 against Urszula Radwanska, but lost the second and third sets, 7-5, 6-1. Hingis said that her legs were too tired. "We have to be realistic," Hingis said. "I am 34 years old and it’s not like I am 17 years old—I had 30 minutes before playing again. I was not going to be the team and save it."

Hingis, who is playing full-time doubles on the WTA and who has won her last three tournaments, said that she was helping Swiss captain, Heinz Gunthardt. 

"Pulling from the sidelines, a little coaching experience to help give confidence," she told the Fed Cup website. "I did the best I could do it. I was working the lines up and down almost having a cramp. You live your moments, that's your team spirits. I know the players, and that was the best option."

Hingis added that next year, she would only want to play doubles in Fed Cup.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Roger Federer aims to get more comfortable on clay before next tournament

Roger Federer was denied a 12th time in his bid for the elusive Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters title, and admitted that lack of comfort – both on clay and against Frenchman Gael Monfils – contributed to his third-round exit Thursday.

“It's the very beginning of the clay court season,” said the four-time Monte-Carlo finalist. “It's going to take me some time to feel 100 per cent comfortable... Not many guys are perfect this week. But it was a good week for me anyways to come here and practise with the best, play a couple of matches. At least gives me some information, if I'm trying to be a bit positive right now.”

Federer held a 5-3 lead in the second set tie-break, only to see Monfils win four straight points to clinch the 6-4, 7-6(5) win.

“I never felt at ease, and I never felt the way I wanted to be on the court,” said Federer, who was attempting to record his 200th match win on clay.

“There are many things I could have done better. I could have served better. I could have mixed it up a bit better. Also I didn't play my slice backhand well enough. There are some things I did a little bit better and some other things I didn't do well. Anyway, I never felt comfortable during the whole match… I only have to accept what went wrong and go from there.”

The 33-year-old Swiss shared that he would return home and “practise really hard” ahead of the inaugural TEB BNP Paribas Istanbul Open, which gets underway in 11 days, followed by the Mutua Madrid Open.

“I think the only thing I need to do is go out on the court and practise,” he said. “I need to play many hours and see what works best. We will analyse the practice I had on clay and those matches with Seve (Luthi) and (Stefan) Edberg. We'll try to see what the problems are. I think the important thing is to play well in practice and to play many sets. I'll be able to see what works and what doesn't work.”

It marked just the second time since last year’s Roland Garros that Federer had lost before the quarter-finals of a tournament. Ahead of Monte-Carlo, he had made back-to-back final appearances in Dubai (d. Djokovic) and Indian Wells (l. to Djokovic).

“I'm very happy how I worked, how I felt, how my body is, how mentally I feel like I'm in a good place,” said the World No. 2. “It's really my earliest loss besides the Australian Open probably in a year, since Rome last year. I've had a very consistent run. I'm aware of this.

“This is not going to put me under too much. I know it's the first tournament on clay. Of course, I was really hoping to do better because I felt there was an opportunity. Unfortunately, Gaël played well today. It was always going to be a tough match.”

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Martina Hingis loses her 2nd singles match, Switzerland wins 3-2 over Poland in Fed Cup

Martina Hingis Facebook Fanclub

ZIELONA GORA, Poland (AP) -- Five-time Grand Slam champion Martina Hingis lost both her singles matches but finished on the winning team as Switzerland beat Poland 3-2 Sunday in a Fed Cup World Group playoff.

Swiss victory was sealed when Timea Bacsinszky and Victorija Golubic beat Poland's Agnieszka Radwanska and Alicja Rosolska 2-6, 6-4, 9-7 in a doubles match lasting over 2 1/2 hours on the hard indoor court.

Hingis was set to play in the doubles but injured her left leg in her earlier defeat by Urszula Radwanska and was substituted by Golubic.

Hingis was playing this weekend in her first competitive singles matches since 2007 and lost both of them to the Radwanska sisters.

On Sunday, Urszula Radwanska beat Hingis 4-6, 7-5, 6-1 to take the tie to 2-2 after Bacsinszky had easily defeated Agnieszka Radwanska 6-1, 6-1. On Saturday, Agnieszka Radwanska beat Hingis 6-4, 6-0.

The 34-year-old Hingis was playing in the Fed Cup for the first time in 17 years.

After her second retirement in 2007, Hingis played singles only in exhibition matches but won several doubles and mixed doubles titles.

Tremendous effort in singles by Martina Hingis even though she lost them both. She played extremely well in the second singles match against Urszula in particular.

If it wasn't for the leg cramps she would have won that match in straight sets.  Not bad for someone who (outside of exhibitions) hasn't played singles matches since 2007!.

I have to wonder though why the Swiss team captain didn't use Hingis in doubles on Day 2 rather then putting her in 2 singles matches.  Poor choice (there's a reason she's won three doubles titles back to back).

Really the only reason she lost was lack of singles match play and maybe a little bit of conditioning (3 sets are a lot more taxing when you're playing by yourself) vs when you're only responsible for covering half the court.

Throughout the match that brilliance that made her #1 in the world all those years ago was on full display.  Watching her game still makes me long for the good old days of crafty net play and long rallies.

So happy we get to see her genius shine in doubles this year.

Next for the dynamic doubles duo is Stuttgart Porsche Grand Prix.  Where back in the 90's Martina won 4 Porsche cars before she was even legally allowed to drive them :D.  

Good memories.  Best of luck to both ladies.  Hope they can bring home another trophy.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Martina Hingis defeated by Agnieszka Radwanska at Fed Cup in Poland

She stayed close with her for a long time, pushing the opening set about as close as possible, but Martina Hingis' first singles match in almost eight years ended in defeat to Agnieszka Radwanska.

Playing the first match of the World Group play-off tie between Poland and Switzerland, Radwanska and Hingis dazzled the Polish crowds with their classic all-court games in the first set, Radwanska drawing first blood with a break for 3-1, then Hingis breaking back right back to get back on serve, 3-2. Radwanska broke again for 5-3, then Hingis broke right back again to get back on serve, 5-4.

And it looked like Hingis was cruising in that 4-5 service game, storming out to a 40-0 lead and, after losing the next three points, winning the deuce point for ad-in, and another point to hold. But Radwanska won another three points in a row from there to sneak out the 49-minute set, 6-4, and from there the floodgates opened, as the Pole ran away with it in the second set to close it out, 6-4, 6-0.

"I can be proud of the way I played," Hingis said. "I think it was a great first set. I definitely had my chances in the set, at least to equalize and maybe even win one. I was getting a little bit tired at the end of the first set, but I'm proud of my performance today, and I'm looking forward to tomorrow."

Hingis, a former World No.1, was asked what's separating her singles game from the top players.

"The only problem is the physical part. That's what it always was, even when I was playing singles and doubles on the pro tour. I feel like I definitely have the game to hang on with the best in the world, and especially Aga, as she's not a power player who kills you off the serve or first return, or hits bombs right and left. You feel like you can always match up with her game, and I felt like I was right there.

"But she doesn't give you a single point for free - that's what makes her a great Top 10 player."

Radwanska was very impressed: "I had the break twice and things turned around both times, and she had 40-0 to hold for 5-all, so things were very dangerous," the World No.9 said. "The last game of the first set was key. I'm glad I could play my best tennis in that game because that was very important.

"I think she could definitely still play singles. She's already done so much on the tour in singles, so that's why I think she's just enjoying doubles right now, but she could definitely still play singles."

Radwanska also throroughly enjoyed the match: "You could see everything in that match - a lot of rallies, a lot of running, drop shots, spins, slices. It's always enjoyable for me to play against players like her. I'm just very happy I could play a very good game today, and win the match in two sets."

Timea Bacsinszky levelled the tie at 1-all afterwards with a 6-2, 6-1 win over Urszula Radwanska

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Martina Hingis to play first singles match since 2007 at Fed Cup in Poland

Martina Hingis will officially put her singles hat on for the first time since 2007 this weekend, playing two singles matches - as well as the doubles match - in Switzerland's Fed Cup tie against Poland.

Hingis, who came back to the tour in doubles in the summer of 2013 and has since become one of the top players in the team discipline, is a former World No.1 in singles as well, winning five Grand Slam titles. Her last tour-level singles match came against China's Peng Shuai at Beijing in 2007.

She was asked how it feels to take the singles court again for the first time in almost eight years.

"That's why I took a while to make this decision - I was like, 'Give me another night to sleep on it,'" Hingis said from Poland. "The comfort zone is there to play doubles, obviously I've played very well in the last five weeks, winning three titles, and the confidence is there. But singles is a different ball game. On the other hand they have put the trust in me, so it's like, 'Let's go for it. Let's try.'

"Hopefully I can make at least a game, you know - a point for Switzerland!"

She's had a little bit of practice in the individual discipline, though...

"I've played some World TeamTennis in America in the last three or four years, maybe a set," Hingis said. "But it's usually just one set. That's why I said I should sleep on it. We'll see if I can last.

"I'll try my best for the team. We'll see what happens tomorrow."

Hingis' first match will be against current World No.9 Agnieszka Radwanska on Saturday.

"I'm very happy about it," Radwanska said. "I haven't played her for a couple of years now, so it's going to be a good challenge, especially since she's still very fit and still playing some great tennis.

"We actually played in the Indian league a few months ago. She was there as a singles player. She was still playing great tennis, playing against everyone. She's still young and very fit and after so many years on tour she can't forget how to play good singles. That's why she can still be very dangerous."

Radwanska beat Hingis in their only previous meeting - watch that match right here.

Hingis and one of 2015's biggest breakthroughs, Timea Bacsinszky, will be Switzerland's two singles players this weekend, and Radwanska sisters Agnieszka and Urszula Poland's singles players. The doubles match will pit Bacsinszky and Hingis against Klaudia Jans-Ignacik and Alicja Rosolska.

It's a World Group play-off tie - the winner of the tie will be in the World Group in 2016.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Roger Federer bows out of Monte Carlo Rolex Masters in the third round

Roger Federer has been knocked out of the Monte Carlo Masters in the third round by Gaël Monfils, on a bad day for Switzerland as Stanislas Wawrinka also lost.

Monfils’ 6-4, 7-6 (7-5) victory was his second consecutive win on clay over the 17-times grand slam champion, following his straight sets victory during last year’s France-Switzerland Davis Cup final.

Federer, playing in his first tournament since losing in the Indian Wells final nearly four weeks ago, made too many mistakes in a match featuring some spectacular shots.

He initially moved 3-1 ahead via an early break but Monfils hit straight back and then outplayed the Swiss from the baseline to break again at 4-4 before clinching the opening set. The second went with serve, then Federer built a 5-3 lead in the tie-break before losing four points in a row.

“It was not the best end to the match,” Federer said. “I should have done better with the break up in the first. I think I did a good job to hang around the second set. I also had chances of my own. But I never felt like things were really happening the way I wanted them to be going during the whole match.”

Federer said he would return to Switzerland to prepare for more clay-court action in Istanbul and Madrid.

Wawrinka also looked like he needs more practice. The defending champion hit 41 unforced errors as he went down to Grigor Dimitrov, the ninth seed, in under an hour, putting up only token resistance as his game fell apart in a 6-1, 6-2 rout.

Dimitrov will now face Monfils in the quarter-finals.

The third seed Rafa Nadal, who ruled in Monte Carlo from 2005-12, overcame John Isner, but was given a fright.

The Spaniard had to save two set points in the opening set and then found himself pegged back before advancing to the last eight 7-6, 4-6, 6-3.

Nadal broke decisively in the fourth game of the third set to set up a meeting with the Spanish fifth seed David Ferrer or Frenchman Gilles Simon.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Martina Hingis & Sania Mirza on what's next for them

Martina Hingis and Sania Mirza have had a whirlwind last five weeks, winning their first 14 matches together, picking up a hat-trick of Premier-level titles, moving up to No.1 on the Road To Singapore doubles leaderboard and, biggest of all, Mirza becoming the first Indian woman to reach No.1.

So what's next for the hottest doubles team on the tour?

They talked about the future in their post-final press conference in Charleston.

"We're both headed to Fed Cup actually," Mirza, who's headed back home to Hyderabad for her tie. "I don't know how I'm going to adjust to this time difference - it's like 10 hours. But I have to go and play a match on Wednesday, and Martina has to play in a couple of days too, so it's going to be tough.

"Then Stuttgart, take the week off after, then the big ones - Madrid, Rome and French Open."

Speaking of the French Open, it's there in Paris where Mirza can make another dream come true.

"I'd love to win some Slams," Mirza said when asked what her next goals were. "It would also be great for both of us to be No.1 together. That's very important to me. For Martina, I don't know - she's been No.1 before. But since we're playing like the No.1 team, I feel like we both deserve to be No.1. So yeah, one of the goals is to be No.1 together, but also to carry this performance on in Slams."

Hingis is obviously driven to be the best, but what does the player who has everything want?

"It's like everything is a bonus," the Swiss said. "I'm just really enjoying the moment. The longer you play in your career, the more you can also enjoy it and lean back, especially in doubles. As for No.1, it will come with the results. I was never the kind of person who was chasing No.1. You need to move yourself and win the matches. For me it's more like business - you do your thing on the court.

"Right now I think the pressure is off, to be honest. I know Sania and I can play well at any time, any surface, anywhere. We're a very solid team and we're the ones to be chased after right now."

But before they take the doubles court together again, there have been rumblings that one of these two doubles specialists would be open to hitting the singles court during Fed Cup this weekend.

"Well, first I have to get there," Hingis said. "I'm like checking flights and this and that, so I've been in contact with the coach and the president. So first off I have to get to Poland, and then we'll go from there, because it's a change of time and surface again. I mean, I haven't played singles in eight years.

"But I had that question pop up. We'll see once I'm there. We'll make that decision when I'm there."

OK, can I just say I love the fact that the first Fed Cup match Martina Hingis is playing will not only be vs Poland, but in the country itself (than again I might be a tad biased ;)  :D).

I hope she does play some singles too!. I can't wait for the dynamic doubles duo to get back on court. Is it May yet?

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Roger Federer back in action wins first match on clay at Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters

Second seed Roger Federer required just 55 minutes to cruise past Jeremy Chardy 6-2, 6-1 on Wednesday for a place in the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters third round.

Federer hit 19 winners to five for Chardy, and made 12 unforced errors to record his 17th victory in 19 matches this year, which includes two ATP World Tour titles.

“I thought Jeremy didn’t serve very well, and I felt good on the return,” said Federer. “So I was in a lot of the service games when he was serving. Then I thought I served well, had a high first serve percentage and was able to control the baseline. On clay, things move ahead very quickly, I must say.”

The 33-year-old Federer, who lost to Chardy at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome last year, was competing for the first time since 22 March, when he finished runner-up to Novak Djokovic in Indian Wells.

Federer is competing at the Monte-Carlo Country Club for the 12th time and is looking to finally lay his hands on the winner’s trophy that has so far eluded him. The Basel native was runner-up in 2006-08, losing out to Rafael Nadal each time, and last year was thwarted in the title match by countryman Stan Wawrinka.

Next up for Federer will be Gael Monfils, who defeated Alexandr Dolgopolov. Federer holds a 8-3 FedEx ATP Head2Head record against the Frenchman, but lost in straight sets in their most recent meeting this past November in the Davis Cup final.

"The preparation is different; instead of playing just one hour before a match on clay, this time I had 10 days and I'm better prepared," he said. "I feel more confident than I was in Lille.

"Gaël is such a player. He has capacities that other players don't have, physically, also because of his power on the forehand and the backhand. It is a real challenge to play him. Often the problem is not on your own racquet against him."

Roger Federer feeling good, and ready for clay season

Last October, Roger Federer ticked the Shanghai Rolex Masters off his ATP World Tour Masters 1000 checklist. With seven of the nine prestigious events conquered, the World No. 2 hopes it will be 12th time lucky as he descends on theMonte-Carlo Rolex Masters in search of his first crown.

A four-time finalist in the Principality, Federer was denied by an in-form Stan Wawrinka in last year’s title match. The Swiss admits that coming up just short of the crown hurt, but he is putting the experience into perspective.

"I was close,” said Federer. “I don't remember if I was two points or three points or four points away. I felt like I had some chances, but I remember Stan getting better. It's something I thought about a whole lot. I was very happy for Stan.

"I like that I played very well throughout the tournament, so I look back more on how good I actually played and the final was a good one. I got quite tired in the third set and also had a horrible cold. I was not feeling like my absolute best, but still I was able to play well. Stan deserved the win because I couldn't cross the finish line in the second set when I had to.

"I know how to put it in perspective. I know what a big win it was for Stan and what a good tournament it was for me. There are reasons to be happy to be honest."

The 23-time ATP World Tour Masters 1000 champion is physically and mentally ready to attack the European clay-court season, after capturing a seventh Dubai title and finishing runner-up to Novak Djokovic at the BNP Paribas Open for a second straight year. Federer says he is recharged after taking three weeks off following Indian Wells.

"I'm feeling good about my game and my fitness,” he added. “It's been good to work on that for the last few weeks. I came here early on Thursday to practise on Centre Court, which is something I haven't always had the chance to do. Clearly I feel I've done all the right things to prepare for the clay court season now.

"For fitness and rest, I had to do it more in blocks (compared to last year). That's why I'm happy I got a vacation behind me. For fitness, I will do another block after Monaco when I come back to Switzerland and I might do some more after Madrid. That's the plan and it will work well for Roland Garros and Wimbledon and beyond."

Federer opens against either Jeremy Chardy or Diego Schwartzman. The Swiss knows both potential opponents well, having fallen to Chardy on the clay of Rome last year and having defeated Schwartzman just last month in Indian Wells.

“This is always the first tournament after seven or so months on hard courts. So far, so good. The draws are always tough in these Masters 1000s. I either play Chardy who was playing in Houston or a qualifier who has won two matches here. I'll follow that closely before I get ready for my first round."

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Roger Federer & wife Mirka meet Monaco's royal family

FedererNews on Facebook

Roger Federer and his wife Mirka were special guests of Monte-Carlo's royalty, HSH Prince Albert II and his wife HSH Princess Charlene, at the Prince’s Palace of Monaco on Sunday.

In town for the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters, the World No. 2 spent time chatting with the royal couple of Monaco. The couples shared experiences of being parents of twins, as the royal couple have Prince Jacques and Princess Gabriella, twins born last year, and the Federers have two sets of twins, Myla Rose and Charlene Riva (born 23 July, 2009) as well as Leo and Lenny (born 6 May, 2014).

A four-time finalist at the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournament in Monaco, Federer will open his campaign against the winner of Diego Schwartzman and Jeremy Chardy in the second round.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Martina Hingis & Sania Mirza Family Circle Cup Final highlights

Martina Hingis & Sania Mirza win Family Cicle Cup title, become world #1 doubles team

Martina Hingis and Sania Mirza won the Family Circle Cup, a victory that made history - Mirza clinched the World No.1 doubles ranking, the first Indian woman to be No.1.

CHARLESTON, SC, USA - Martina Hingis and Sania Mirza kept their perfect start going on Sunday, adding the Family Circle Cup title to their BNP Paribas Open and Miami Open titles, and with that win made history - Mirza clinched the World No.1 doubles ranking, the first Indian woman to be No.1.

After not even losing a set in their first two tournaments together in Indian Wells and Miami, Hingis and Mirza were certainly tested in Charleston - they lost sets in their quarterfinal and semifinal matches, even facing match point against Anabel Medina Garrigues and Yaroslava Shvedova in the semis.

But the No.1-seeded Swiss-Indian duo beat Casey Dellacqua and Darija Jurak in straight sets for the title, 6-0, 6-4, missing two match points at 5-3 in the second set but closing it out a game later.

"It's a dream for every kid to be No.1 one day," Mirza said to the crowd at the trophy ceremony.

"I can't think of a better person to do it with. When we came here we had one thing in mind, to get No.1, and she really helped me get there. She helped me through some tough moments this week. She's just a great person and a great player. We also become the No.1 team in the world today with this.

"I hope we have many, many more tournaments and end the year on a high as well."

Mirza kept the smiles coming as she kept praising Hingis, a former World No.1 herself.

"I don't want to make you feel old, but I did watch you as a kid!" she said, drawing laughter from Hingis and the crowd. "You were an idol to most young girls at the time. You made it when you were 15!"

And on reaching No.1 in Charleston? "No tournament has been as special to me as the Family Circle Cup, and no tournament will ever be as special to me, because I became No.1 here," Mirza added.

Hingis and Mirza had already reached a milestone by making the semifinals in Charleston, securing a rise to No.1 on the Road To Singapore doubles leaderboard, the journey to the doubles event at theBNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global, which takes place in October.

But Mirza becoming World No.1 in doubles is something that will go down in WTA history - she's the first Indian woman to reach No.1 in tennis, in either singles or doubles, and just the fourth Asian woman to do it, after Japan's Ai Sugiyama, China's Peng Shuai and Chinese Taipei's Hsieh Su-Wei.

Mirza has won seven WTA doubles titles over the last 12 months - Oeiras, Tokyo [Pan Pacific] and the WTA Finals last year with Cara Black, Sydney earlier this year with Bethanie Mattek-Sands, and of course the aforementioned Indian Wells, Miami and Charleston titles this year alongside Hingis.

For Martina Hingis that marks the 2nd time in her illustrious career that she reached #1 in doubles.  Congrats to both ladies on an incredible run!.  All the best in the tournaments to come :).

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Martina Hingis & Sania Mirza reach Family Circle Cup Doubles Final

Martina Hingis and Sania Mirza battled into the final of the Family Circle Cup, and that means Mirza is now just one win away from becoming the World No.1 in doubles.

CHARLESTON, SC, USA - Martina Hingis and Sania Mirza survived one of their toughest tests yet to reach the final of the Family Circle Cup. If they win the title, Mirza is the new doubles World No.1.

Watch highlights, interviews and more video from Charleston right here on!

The No.1-seeded Hingis and Mirza were up 6-4, 0-2, 30-all, when rain started to fall - and once the rain delay was over, their opponents, Alla Kudryavtseva and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, caught fire.

"It's never easy to play with the rain delay," Mirza would say afterwards. "All credit to them, though - they came out more aggressive than us, and we didn't win a single point for six points, it was like they were all over the place hitting winners from everywhere. But we knew we had to keep believing."

Kudryavtseva and Pavlyuchenkova cruised through the rest of that set, 6-1, and came out firing again in the match tie-break, going up 4-2 and, after Hingis and Mirza caught up, staying even to 7-all.

But that's when all of the clutch play Hingis and Mirza have been displaying on the big points over the last month came out - they snuck out three points in a row, including a miracle return winner from Hingis for 9-7 and one last volley winner, also from the Swiss, to close it out, 6-4, 1-6, 10-7.

"One of our best qualities as a pair is that no matter how we're playing, we keep fighting," Mirza said. "We've had matches where we haven't played our best, and we still come out winning, and that really helps. We keep trying and we keep believing in our abilities. And that's really what we did today."

Hingis was asked about the miracle backhand return winner that took them to match point.

"I knew they were mainly serving a lot to my backhand, and I lost the last few cross courts with Alla, so I just took my chance and went down the line," Hingis said. "But I also hit it a little bit late, though!"

Hingis and Mirza are now 13-0 together, going 5-0 to win Indian Wells, 5-0 to win Miami and 3-0 to reach this final. By winning their quarter final match on Friday night they already secured No.1 on the Road To Singapore doubles leaderboard, and now there's something even bigger - if they win the final, Mirza will become World No.1 in doubles, the first Indian woman ever to reach No.1 in tennis.

"You try not to think about it, but we're human, and I'm obviously thinking about it," Mirza said.

"But I'm trying to block it out and play every point. That's what we're trying to do."

Waiting for them in the final are Casey Dellacqua and Darija Jurak, who got past Marina Erakovic and Andrea Petkovic in the second doubles semifinal by an almost identical scoreline, 6-4, 1-6, 10-5.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Martina Hingis & Sania Mirza fight off match points to reach Family Circle Cup semis in Charleston

Charleston: Sania Mirza and Martina Hingis beat Anabel Medina Garrigues of Spain and Yaroslava Shvedova of Kazakhstan to reach the Family Circle Cup tennis tournament's semi-finals.

The No. 1-seeded Hingis and Mirza battled Medina Garrigues and Shvedova for an hour and 41 minutes for a 7-5, 4-6, 13-11 victory, fighting off a match point down 10-9 in the match tie-break and needing six match points of their own to edge the Spanish-Kazakhstani defending champions.

"They played really well - they were defending champions here, so we knew we had to come out with our best tennis," Hingis said after the match.

"They knew how to play against us. They served well and were good from the baseline. We really had to keep our energy up, be solid and come up with the shots when we needed to," she added.

"They were coming up with a lot of great shots on the deciding points, which was different than a lot of the other teams we've been playing recently. They really did well in those important points."

The Family Circle Cup crowds loved every up and down in the match - and Mirza was thrilled about it.

"We were so happy with the crowd support tonight," she said.

"We've had great support everywhere we've gone, but here especially they love doubles, and they always come out in big numbers."

Thursday, April 09, 2015

Throwback Thursday: Martina Hingis Charleston Family Circle Cup 1997

She's making magic with Sania Mirza on the doubles court these days, but at the Family Circle Cup in 1997 she was making magic with Monica Seles on the singles court.

HILTON HEAD, SC, USA - The Family Circle Cup is one of the most treasured tournaments in WTA history - it's as old as the WTA, after all, its first edition coming the year the WTA was formed in 1973.

And one of the most memorable finals at the green clay court event - now the only green court event left on the WTA calendar - came in 1997, a thriller between Martina Hingis and Monica Seles.

Hingis came in on a big head of steam, a flawless 30-0 record on the year and fresh off becoming the youngest World No.1 in tennis history - she had also owned Seles in their only two previous meetings, beating her at Oakland in 1996, 6-2, 6-0, and at Miami a week earlier, 6-2, 6-1. Her ability to take Seles' huge blasts early and redirect them into the corners at will made it, until then, a mismatch.

Key words: until then. Seles, a three-time French Open champion and a natural on clay, raced out to a 5-0 lead in just 14 minutes, a lopsided start that inspired Hingis to comment afterwards, "I was just hoping she didn't do the same score to me as I did to her. I liked last week in Miami a lot better."

Hingis would indeed work her way back into the match, losing that first set but winning the second and looking headed for victory in the third, until another surge from her opponent - Seles clawed her way into a third set tie-break, even going up 5-3, before Hingis rebounded to win, 3-6, 6-3, 7-6(5).

"If you are 5-3 down in the tie-breaker and you know you have to play against the wind, you just try to make her do the mistakes," Hingis told reporters afterwards. "I just fought back and tried to move her around and make her tired. She just played much better today - much more clever this time."

"I just wanted to go out there and take it a point at a time and go for my shots," Seles said after the match. "I had some great points, and it was a great match, and it was a lot of fun to play. I really think I played more my game a little bit and attacked more, which in the past I wasn't doing enough."

Hingis would emerge from the Family Circle Cup 31-0 on the year and extended that perfect start to 37-0 with six more wins at Roland Garros, including another three set nail-biter against Seles in the semifinals. The run would finally end in the French Open final to inspired Croat Iva Majoli.

Here are a few throwbacks to Sunday, April 6, 1997:

No.1 song on Billboard Hot 100 singles: Can't Nobody Hold Me Down by Puff Daddy & Ma$e

No.1 album on Billboard 200 albums: Nine Lives by Aerosmith

No.1 movie at US Box Office: Liar Liar starring Jim Carrey

No.1 men's tennis player: Pete Sampras

No.1 women's tennis player: Martina Hingis

Martina Hingis & Sania Mirza win doubles opener in Charleston

CHARLESTON, SC, USA - Martina Hingis and Sania Mirza kept their perfect start going Wednesday night, beating the Rodionova sisters in their opening match at the Family Circle Cup, 6-7(7), 6-3, 10-5.

Watch highlights, interviews and more video from Charleston right here on!

After teaming up for the first time a month ago, Hingis and Mirza swept their first two tournaments together, and big ones too - Premier Mandatory-level hardcourt events in Indian Wells and Miami. Not only did they go 10-0 together to win those titles, but they didn't even lose a set - 20-0 in sets.

One of those records held strong in their first match on clay in Charleston, as Rodionova sisters Anastasia and Arina twice rallied from a break down and even fought off a set point down 6-5 in the tie-break to take the 57-minute first set, but from there it was plain sailing for the No.1-seeded Hingis and Mirza, who took just 46 minutes to cruise through the second set and ensuing match tie-break.

Hingis and Mirza had beaten the Rodionovas by a much less complicated scoreline in Miami, 6-3, 6-4.

"The draw is so tough here, especially our half," Mirza said. "We're also still making the transition from hard to clay, and we haven't had much practice, and the others have been here for a longer time.

"We just tried our best. We almost had the first set, it was a couple points here and there - but we're happy to come through. It was our first super tie-break together, so we're happy to win that!"

Hingis, a former World No.1, said the pair's chemistry helped them pull through this tough one.

"The feeling on court together is what helped us win today," she said. "The chemistry is there - when one of us gets down, the other is there to pull them up. And sometimes it's hard to keep the energy level up after back-to-back wins. Also the balls are different here, and the movement's different.

"But overall we came through, and we're very happy about it - we have to build on that."

Awaiting Hingis and Mirza in the quarterfinals are Anabel Medina Garrigues and Yaroslava Shvedova, who won their first round match on Tuesday against Madison Keys and Lisa Raymond, 7-5, 7-5.

Medina Garrigues and Shvedova are rough customers in Charleston - they're 8-1 together here, reaching the finals in 2012 (falling to Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Lucie Safarova), winning the title here in 2014 (beating Chan sisters Hao-Ching and Yung-Jan in the final) and now the quarters in 2015.

Hingis and Mirza's match against Medina Garrigues and Shvedova will take place on Friday.

And if Hingis and Mirza win the title, Mirza will become the new World No.1 in doubles.

11 matches in a row!.  These 2 are on a hot streak, it's pretty outstanding.  Just wish the women's doubles matches were covered more by sports networks.

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Martina Hingis & partner Sania Mirza head to Charleston & possible #1 doubles ranking

After winning ten straight matches and capturing the Indian Wells-Miami double in their first two tournaments as a team (without dropping a set, if you’re scoring at home), Martina Hingis and Sania Mirza will take their red-hot doubles act to Charleston to try and secure a historical milestone.

Mirza could become the first Indian to rank No. 1 in the world if she and her new partner can take home a third straight title at the Family Circle Cup this weekend in Charleston. With title points, Mirza would leapfrog Italians Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci, who recently announced the end of their doubles pairing.

“That's why for me today's match was so huge,” Mirza said after Sunday’s 7-5, 6-1 title victory in Miami over Ekaterina Makarova and Elina Vesinina. “Makes me really, really close to No. 1. I think I'm a few points off. It's something that I've dreamt of all any life.”

She added: “We're going Charleston, and our thing was if we play final or won here we would go to Charleston. That's what we're doing. Obviously we're in the hunt for No. 1, of course.”

Mirza, already the first woman from India to win a WTA singles and a Grand Slam doubles title (she has won three in mixed), says that Hingis’s touch and feel at the net provides the perfect complement to her aggressive baseline game.

“I think that's our biggest strength,” Mirza said. “When I'm hitting the ball big at the back and she's at the net, it's tough for the other team to find space. I think that's one of the biggest strengths. The second thing is she knows how to win. I've won a lot in the last couple of years, and we both try to find a way always.”

Hingis has now won as many doubles titles as singles titles after yesterday’s triumph (43) and says that the team is feeling no pressure because they know they’ll get there sooner or later—if not this week. “I think the way we play and team up together, sooner or later hopefully it's going to happen,” Hingis said. “It's just a question of time hopefully.”

Yesterday, the team revealed its plans to play together all season, including the Grand Slams.

Though she continues to rule out a singles comeback, Hingis says she’s just happy to be competing against the WTA’s elite doubles teams—and winning.

“It's a different situation,” she says. “It's a different situation in my career right now. I know my singles days are over like long time ago when I decided not to play anymore. Now it's just everything that I always say that I achieve now is a bonus. I really enjoy every minute, every moment of it. Now playing with Sania, we haven't dropped a set since we played together.”

If Mirza achieves the feat, she would become the fourth Asian woman to do reach No. 1 after Japan's Ai Sugiyama, China's Peng Shuai and Chinese Taipei's Hsieh Su-Wei.

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Martina Hingis set for Fed Cup return at the end of this month

Paris: Swiss tennis legend Martina Hingis is set to return to Fed Cup duty following a 17-year absence after being called up on Tuesday by captain Heinz Guenthardt.

Hingis, 34, will compete in the World Group play-offs against Poland at Zielona Gora on April 18-19. (Sania Mirza and Martina Hingis Win Miami Open)

The former world number one has not played Fed Cup since the 1998 final which Switzerland lost to Spain in Geneva.

Hingis must play the women's team competition if she wants to compete in the 2016 Olympic Games mixed doubles, perhaps alongside Roger Federer.

Hingis won five Grand Slam singles titles between 1997 and 1999, 43 WTA Tour singles crowns and was once world number one during her prime.

After six years in retirement, she gradually felt her way back on to the doubles circuit, but stopped a second time in November 2007 following a positive test for cocaine.

Since her second come-back in 2013, Hingis only competes in doubles and this season won the Australian Open mixed doubles with Leander Paes and the Indian Wells and Miami doubles titles with Sania Mirza.

Hingis will be joined by 22nd-ranked Timea Bacsinszky, Stefanie Voegele (91) and Viktorija Golubic (236) as Switzerland bid to return to the World Group for the first time since 2004.

Sunday, April 05, 2015

Martina Hingis & new partner Sania Mirza win Miami Open

Miami Open Facebook

First two tournaments, first two titles - Martina Hingis and Sania Mirza continued their dream start together, adding the Miami Open title to their BNP Paribas Open title.

MIAMI, FL, USA - They were in a lot of trouble early on, but Martina Hingis and Sania Mirza battled back to beat Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina on Sunday to win the Miami Open doubles title.

The No.2-seeded Makarova and Vesnina came out strong, storming out to a 5-2 lead, but the No.1-seeded Hingis and Mirza came alive from there, reeling off eight games in a row - even staving off a set point - to surge ahead, 7-5, 3-0. They barely looked back to close out the Russian pairing, 7-5, 6-1.

"The most important thing is that we never stopped believing we're a great team," Hingis said of the early deficit. "They played a great set to get us to that position, 5-2 down. Then we just tried to stay in there and get our chances. We just built on every point, which is what we did well last week too."

The Swiss-Indian duo talked about how an on-court coaching visit helped them turn it around.

"Today the coaching really turned it around - your dad came on court," Hingis said to Mirza.

"We just tried to keep telling each other to enjoy the struggle," Mirza said. "Last week everything came very, very easily to us - we didn't lose more than four games in a set. Over here we were down, and we were panicking. It was like, 'Oh my God, we're not playing well.' We just weren't used to that.

"But it's good to fight through those matches and believe, and come out now and be like, 'At 5-3 I was gutsy to hit a big serve,' or she made a huge move at 5-4, if that makes sense. So it's good."

It has been an absolute dream start for Hingis and Mirza - the two Premier Mandatory events in Indian Wells and Miami were their first two tournaments playing together. They're now 10-0 together, and even more impressively, they haven't lost a single set along the way - they're 20-0 in sets together.

Hingis now has 43 WTA doubles titles to her name, which matches the 43 WTA singles titles she's won in her career. Meanwhile, Mirza took home the milestone 25th WTA doubles title of her career.

Both teams will also make big moves up the Road To Singapore doubles leaderboard, the year-long journey to the doubles event at the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global. Makarova and Vesnina will go from No.2 to No.1, while Hingis and Mirza will go from No.9 to No.3.

Saturday, April 04, 2015

Martina Hingis & doubles partner Sania Mirza reach Miami Open Finals!

In a repeat of the Indian Wells doubles final from two weeks ago, Martina Hingis and Sania Mirza will play Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina for the Miami doubles title on Sunday.

MIAMI, FL, USA - Martina Hingis and Sania Mirza played Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina in the final of the BNP Paribas Open two weeks ago, and it'll happen all over again at the Miami Open on Sunday, as the Top 2-seeded teams at the Premier Mandatory event battled into the final Friday.

The No.2-seeded Makarova and Vesnina were first into the final, falling behind 2-0 early on but then winning 12 of the next 16 games to beat No.9 seeds Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka, 6-4, 6-2.

"Today was quite a tough one because the first set was so close," Makarova said. "They broke us in the beginning, so we just had to keep playing solid and aggressive, and really just stay with our game.

"We've played against them so many times, and it's nice to see they're starting to play together again. They're really aggressive and really know how to play doubles - they're always a tough team."

No.1 seeds Hingis and Mirza followed them into the final with a 6-2, 6-4 win over No.7 seeds Timea Babos and Kristina Mladenovic, an all-WTA Rising Star pair who made the Wimbledon final last year.

"It was a great match," Hingis said. "I'd never played this team before, and I know it was a good test for us in our second tournament together - it's nice to get a tough team like that to play against.

"Now we know we can definitely beat the best, because they're champions too."

"We're still learning to play with each other, so it's good to play against a tough team like that," Mirza said after the match. "They're really good. We were down a break in the first set, so we're happy we were able to get it back and win the first set, 6-2. We're just happy to be in another final now."

Hingis and Mirza will be playing against Makarova and Vesnina for the second time, their first meeting being the aforementioned Indian Wells final - the Swiss-Indian pairing won that one, 6-3, 6-4.

They were asked what they would have to do to beat Makarova and Vesnina again.

"The same as we did last week!" Mirza said. "We just have to keep focused and fight for every point. I keep saying this - names don't win you matches, neither does any result. Every day is a different day."

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Martina Hingis & doubles partner Sania Mirza enter into Miami Open semis

Miami: Fresh from their maiden win in the Paribas Open title last month, Indian tennis ace Sania Mirza and her Swiss partner Martina Hingis have entered the women's doubles semi-fnals of the Miami Open here.

The top-seeded Indo-Swiss duo served past the Rodionova sisters, Anastasia and Arina, 6-3 6-4 in the quarterfinal encounter.

The Sania-Hingis pairing has been much-talked about in the tennis circuit and the top seeds lived up to the hype by claiming their first title win in their maiden appearance together in Indian Wells in March.

Hingis has won 11 Grand Slams in the team discipline (nine in women's and two in mixed) while Sania has claimed three Grand Slams (all in mixed).

The duo, which decided to unite in February, will now meet the seventh-seeded Hungary-French combine of Timea Babos and Kristina Mladenovic in the last-four clash.