Sunday, November 29, 2015

Martina Hingis says she taught Roger Federer how to win titles

Even the greatest Grand Slam champions need guidance to win. 

So who taught the young Roger Federer to win championships? 

Martina Hingis—and she doesn't let Federer forget it. 

In an interview with the Times of India, Martina reveals she often reminds Roger that she taught him to win during their run to the 2001 Hopman Cup title. "You could always see the talent. I tell him I was the one who taught him how to win titles," a giggling Hingis told the Times of India. "Before that he played a few finals but didn't win anything. Hopman Cup was his first big title and he has won a few after that, isn't it?" 

In 2001, Hingis was the star attraction and Federer a rising young talent when they joined forces to lead Switzerland to the Hopman Cup championship with a win over Monica Seles and Jan-Michael Gambill in the final. 

Hingis and Federer remain good friends. The Grand Slam king, who once served as a ball boy during a Hingis match, revealed he is the former No. 1's "biggest admirer."

In this International Tennis Hall of Fame video tribute to Hingis, Federer praises his former mixed doubles partner.

"I was always the biggest admirer of her," Federer says. "How, at a young age, she was able to handle the pressure and play so well. And then obviously the whole combination was just incredible."

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Martina Hingis believes Roger Federer's 18th Slam is just around the corner

Former women’s singles World No. 1 Martina Hingis of Switzerland believes compatriot Roger Federer has what it takes to add another Grand Slam title before he ends his career.

“The Hopman Cup was one of his first major successes. He was a late bloomer, but I knew he would achieve big. He is a living legend now. People wrote him off a couple of years ago, but look what has happened. He is no. 2 and pushing Novak Djokovic. I feel his Slam no. 18 is around the corner,” Hingis shared to

Federer and Hingis paired at the 2001 Hopman Cup and won the title for Switzerland beating Americans Monica Seles and Jan-Michael Gambill in the championship round. The title was one of the first for Federer, who has went on to win 88 singles titles including 17 Grand Slam championships.

Like Federer, Hingis was one of the top players during her prime spending 209 weeks as World No. 1 in the women’s singles rankings. Hingis has won five Grand Slam titles, three at the Australian Open (1997, 1998 and 1999) and one each at the Wimbledon Championships (1997) and the US Open (1997). Hingis has shifted to the doubles competition in recent years and is currently ranked World No. 2.

Federer has won six titles in the 2015 ATP season but has come up short in the major tournaments. He was eliminated in the third round of the Australian Open and the quarterfinals of the French Open. Federer made the final of the Wimbledon Championships and the US Open but fell both times to World No. 1 Novak Djokovic,

Federer is considered by many as the greatest tennis player in the history of the sport with 17 Grand Slam titles under his name. Another majors title will confirm his status as the best all-time and Hingis believes Federer has enough to win the 18th crown.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Roger Federer's "beard" rests in the hands of his twin daughters

I kind of want him to grow it out now, just to see how he would look with a full beard :D. Go for it Rog!.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Martina Hingis feels lucky to have Sania Mirza as doubles partner

Veteran Swiss tennis player Martina Hingis heaped praise on her doubles partner Sania Mirza on Sunday, terming the Indian as “extremely professional” and “optimistic” and a partner she is lucky to play with.

The unstoppable duo of Mirza and Hingis came up with yet another stupendous performance recently to win the women’s doubles title at the prestigious season-ending $7 million WTA Finals in Singapore.

It was the pair’s ninth title together this season out of 10 final appearances, having also won in Beijing, Wuhan, Guangzhou, US Open, Wimbledon, Charleston, Miami and Indian Wells. Mirza also won the Sydney International in January with American Bethanie Mattek-Sands to take her doubles trophy count to 10 this year.

“It has been a great year for me with Sania. She is a great player. We have great respect for each other. She is extremely professional and an optimistic player. Our friendship and relationship both on and off the court has led to this success,” Hingis said at a press conference in Mumbai.

“Sania has improved a lot on the nets. We all know she is extremely good at the backhand but she has improved on the nets too. Hoping to continue this good run in days to come. Lucky to have Sania as a partner in the incredible journey,” the 35-year-old said.

Speaking on the her mixed doubles partner Leander Paes, she said, “Paes is a legend in this game. I can rely on Paes as he is a great player in the nets and I can concentrate at the back. He also has great volleys.”

Praising both Mirza and Paes, the Swiss star said the duo might have some weakness in the court but their strengths make them a champion in the game.

“They both have different strengths and weaknesses. They have good qualities and what makes them champion is their strengths,” she said.

Hingis is in the country to play for Hyderabad Aces in the Champions Tennis League starting on Monday which is the mastermind of the legendary Vijay Amritraj. Reigning US Open women’s singles champion Flavia Pennetta will play for Mumbai Masters in the six-team tournament featuring Hyderabad, Mumbai, Chandigarh, Raipur, Nagpur and Chennai.

The current men’s top players who will feature in the league are, Marcos Baghdatis (Punjab Marshalls, Chandigarh), and Spanish professionals Feliciano Lopez (Team Nagpur) and Fernando Verdasco (Chennai).

Among the women players who will play in the six teams alongside Pennetta and Hingis are Serbian Jelena Jankovic (Nagpur), France’s Alize Cornet (Raipur), Ukraine’s Elina Svitolina (Chandigarh) and Heather Watson of Britain (Chennai).

Speaking on the competition, Hingis said, “This is a great tournament to play in. I am looking forward to give my best for my team and do well. Amritraj has brought this up and I wish him all the best for this.”

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Roger Federer wins battle of the Swiss in swift fashion sets up another ATP World Tour Final with Djokovic

The eight-man field at the Barclays ATP World Tour Final has been whittled down to two. No. 3 seed Roger Federer will face World No. 1 Novak Djokovic for the trophy on Sunday, having booked a spot in the title match with a 7-5, 6-3 triumph over countryman Stan Wawrinka at The O2.

Djokovic defeated longtime rival Rafael Nadal 6-3, 6-3 earlier on Saturday in the other semi-final. Federer holds a slight 22-21 edge in their FedEx ATP Head2Head meetings, having defeated the Serb this week in Group Stan Smith play 7-5, 6-2.

"Same court, same place," said Federer of his re-match with the top-ranked Djokovic. "For me, it's an advantage because I guess it gives me a bit of confidence. For him, it's an advantage because he gets a second chance, and he's in another final. He's played some great tennis since we've played. I still believe his confidence is slightly higher than mine with the amount of success he's had this year."

The last time a player avenged a loss in round-robin play with a victory in the final was back in 2005, when Argentine David Nalbandian fell to Federer 6-3, 2-6, 6-4, then came back to defeat the Swiss for the title 6-7(4), 6-7(11), 6-2, 6-1, 7-6(3).

In a re-match of the 2014 semi-finals, the bearded Federer held his serve at love to open the match, but was broken in the fifth game as Wawrinka moved ahead 3-2. But a loose service game from the 30-year-old Swiss allowed Federer back in the set at 4-all. Another break with his opponent serving at 5-6 would give Federer a one-set lead.

The 34-year-old maintained that momentum in the second set, racing out to 3-0 and never looked back. He would finish with 30 winners to 19 unforced errors in the one-hour and 10-minute win.

Federer now owns a 264-63 record indoors — the best career mark among active players.

By winning all three of his round-robin matches in Group Stan Smith, Federer guaranteed that he will finish as the Swiss No. 1 for the 15th straight season in the Emirates ATP Rankings.

With Andy Murray’s elimination on Friday, Federer can pass the Brit and reclaim the No. 2 ranking by winning his seventh Barclays ATP World Tour Finals title. If he loses Sunday’s final, Murray will be the year-end No. 2 for the first time in his career. Even if Federer wins the title, Murray can still end 2015 as the World No. 2 if he wins two live rubbers in singles during the Davis Cup final Nov. 27-29 (adding 150 ranking points).

Wawrinka closes the 2015 season at a career-best 55-18 and will finish in the Top 10 in the Emirates ATP Rankings for the third straight year. He won a career-high four titles, including his second Grand Slam crown at Roland Garros.

"The year was amazing," said Wawrinka. "I didn't expect to play that well, to be here tonight, honestly, being No. 4, winning a Grand Slam, semi-finals here again. I couldn't expect more. I won two titles for the first time in my career — one of them the French Open, beating the No. 1 player. I made the semi-finals at the US Open, Australian Open; quarter-finals at Wimbledon. I was quite consistent at the highest level. I beat so many top guys. The year, it was amazing for me."

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Roger Federer still improving at 34

There was much talk this summer about Roger Federer’s newfangled move, the acronymic SABR (Sneak Attack By Roger), that chip-and-charge offensive the Swiss added to his already considerable arsenal in Cincinnati. But what got lost in all the ballyhoo was that, some 17 years and 17 Grand Slams into his career, the 34-year-old was even willing to tweak his game at all.

As Federer explained, “You can be stubborn and successful or you can give it up a bit and change things around. I think you need to challenge yourself and try out new things, maybe where you practise, how you practise, who you practise with, the advice you receive sometimes, equipment, you name it, maybe a grip, maybe a string, maybe racquet technology. Everything keeps evolving and changing."

The benefits that come along with that openness to change were on display at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals on Tuesday, when after four losses in six matches against World No. 1 Novak Djokovic in 2015, Federer reversed the trend, downing his longtime rival in straight sets 7-5, 6-2.

Djokovic hadn’t lost a match in his previous 23 outings, a dominant stretch that included consecutive titles at the US Open, Beijing, Shanghai and Paris.

“I think a tennis player never stops working on his game,” said Federer after the win. “Unfortunately, we don't have enough time to practise — a lot of match play, a lot of resting, a lot of preparing. In a perfect world, it would be great to have many more months to prepare, because you then could actually come back and be sort of a different player. Of course, it's our decision to take that time, but it's hard to sit on the sidelines for months when other guys are winning tournaments and your ranking is dropping in the process.

“I won't say I regret doing it,” confided Fededer, looking back on his title-filled career on the ATP World Tour, “but I wish I could have taken even more time to train on my game.”

So in between events — he has played 17 in 2015 — he dabbles, he tweaks, he adds to his game, never quite satisfied with the status quo.

“I think in the last couple years since I changed my racquet, that gave me a totally different approach on how I can return, how I can serve, what I can do,” he explained. “It was about keeping my forehand and my slice up to a standard which I liked. And naturally the backhand and the serve improved because of the easier power I received from my racquet. Of course, then tactical elements come into play more and more. The experience helps. The experience can also hinder you sometimes because of playing too much percentage tennis. I still feel like I'm young in the mind and I don't shy away from trying new things. That’s what keeps it still interesting for me.”

Federer and Djokovic have now played 43 times, their FedEx ATP Head2Head history tracing all the way back to 2006. For now, it’s the Swiss who holds a slight 22-21 edge. But don’t hold your breath if you’re waiting on some complacency. He knows all too well how dangerous a player Djokovic can be.

“To me, Novak is still the favorite of the tournament,” Federer explained. “He should make his way to the semis somehow. And he'll be the favourite in that probably, too, with the year he's had. He's far from gone. The way I know Novak, he's going to find a way to be tougher to beat from now on.”

Friday, November 20, 2015

Roger Federer "beard" dilemma at ATP World Tour Finals in London

Looking like a bizarro version of himself, the kind who’d trip 12-year-old ballboys just for the fun of it, intentionally speak in the non-native language of wherever the tournament was being played and smoke those long European cigarettes while making fun of Novak Djokovic’s cheap Uniqlo clothes, Roger Federer was seen sporting a light, but still scruffy, beard for his Tuesday round-robin victory over Djokovic at the ATP World Tour Finals.

Doesn’t The Fed still have a deal with Gillette that reportedly pays him millions per year? Or is this part of some Gillette marketing ploy — a razor company struggling in a world of hipsters and the lazy, showing that you can let the ol’ shadow grow for a few days and still get a clean shave with the 14-bladed razor Gillette probably has now? (Oh, it’s only five? C’mon guys. Step it up.)

UPDATE: Federer is no longer with Gillette, according to ESPN. When asked about the “beard” in press, he offered a joke about his hipster, blogger-like look:

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Roger Federer fights past resilient Nishikori, wins all 3 round robins reaches ATP World Tour semis in London

Escaping the “backhand cage” is something Roger Federer has had a lot of practice doing over his illustrious career.

Federer defeated Kei Nishikori 7-5, 4-6, 6-4 at the Barclays World Tour Finals on Thursday afternoon, only winning three more points (96 to 93) over the two-hour and 10-minute battle.

Making Roger Federer hit as many backhands as possible in a row is what the backhand cage strategy focuses on. Federer may make his first couple of backhands, but can he make four or five in a row?

At the start of the match, Federer looked like he had all the time in the world to hit backhands, but Nishikori gradually improved his court position and groundstroke velocity to really target the Federer backhand side.

Nishikori was the first opponent to win a set from Federer this year in London, and also the first opponent to make him hit more backhands than forehands from the back of the court.

Federer hit 54 per cent backhands and 46 per cent forehands from the baseline against Nishikori, committing 13 backhand unforced errors, while hitting eight backhand winners.

Federer hit 55 per cent forehands in defeating Tomas Berdych, and went 50/50 beating Novak Djokovic - both of those in straight sets.

Federer is now totaling 49 per cent forehands and 51 per cent backhands combined over his first three matches at The O2.

Federer’s forehand is a much more potent weapon from the back of the court, and also helps set up countless attacks to the net.

Federer’s average backhand speed against Nishikori was 63 miles per hour (Nishikori 69 mph), with his topspin backhand averaging 71 mph (Nishikori 74 mph).

Nishikori definitely held the edge in backhand-to-backhand exchanges, constantly trying to make Federer hit one more shot in search of one more error, and also playing behind him with great success. Nishikori won 63 baseline points to Federer’s 49, with the backhand cage being the primary pattern.

Overall, Federer hit 72 per cent of his backhands with topspin against his Japanese opponent, mixing in 28 per cent slice to try and keep the ball low, and not give Nishikori any power to work with.

Nishikori hit 80 per cent topspin off his backhand, and 20 per cent slice, looking to hit the ball harder and deeper, leaning on the Federer backhand to commit errors.

Nishikori hit 79 per cent of his backhands cross court in a clear attempt to keep Federer in the dreaded “backhand cage”.

Nishikori also hit his backhand deeper, hitting 85 per cent past the service like, compared to only 76 per cent from Federer.

Nishikori Returning

Federer did not serve well, only making 54 per cent (51/94) of his first serves, but won a very high 84 per cent (43/51) when he did get it in.

Of note was how well Federer performed serving in the Ad court, only losing two points for the entire match. He won 12/13 serving out wide, and 9/10 down the T.

An interesting dynamic was how Federer was constantly kicking the ball up high to his 5'11" opponent’s backhand in the Ad court, with the Japanese star moving forward to stop it climbing out of his strike zone.

Nishikori averaged making contact 1.43 metres (4.7 feet) with his backhand return wide in the Ad court, but only 1.27 metres (4.2 feet) hitting forehand returns out wide in the deuce court.

That 16 centimetre (6.3 inches) difference is all about using spin and height to force a weaker return from Nishikori’s backhand wing.

Key Moments

Federer led 4-1 in the second and lost it 6-4, and also led 4-1 in the third set before Nishikori raced back to level at 4-4. A critical moment for Federer was escaping a 0/40 hole at 1-1 in the third set, winning five straight points to get out of the jam. In the 2015 season, Federer is amazingly holding 37 per cent of the time when trailing 0/40.

Nishikori also contributed an untimely double fault serving at 4-5, 40/30, in the final set, and the match was quickly over two points later.

Nishikori got close with the right strategy, but his good play was too often tied to the scoreboard.

When he was trailing Federer, he played very aggressively with his court position and velocity of shot, but that needed to turn up more when he was ahead in the score.

It was the perfect hit-out for Federer, being pushed to the limit, and relying more on his backhand than his traditional strengths to get over the finish line.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Roger Federer gets the best of Novak Djokovic moves to ATP World Tour Finals semis

Roger Federer Tumblr tag

After four losses in six match-ups with the World No. 1 in 2015, six-time champion Roger Federer defeated Novak Djokovic 7-5, 6-2 in round-robin action on Tuesday at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals.

Federer’s straight-sets victory, coupled with Kei Nishikori’s three-set 7-5, 3-6, 6-3 decision over Tomas Berdych, means he has qualified for the Group Stan Smith semi-finals. The Swiss broke their FedEx ATP Head2Head deadlock and moved ahead 22-21 with the victory. Djokovic, who tied the series with a four-set win in the 2015 US Open final, has never had more victories than Federer in their rivalry, which dates back to the ATP Masters 1000 Monte-Carlo in 2006.

Both players looked sharp early on, especially on serve, but Federer seized the momentum, taking the opening set 7-5 in 44 minutes. He would keep rolling in the second set, totaling 19 winners and a like number of unforced errors in closing out the match in one hour and 17 minutes.

"Winning the first set clearly in a match like this gives you the upper hand," said Federer, at 34 the oldest player to qualify for the year-end finale since Andre Agassi (35) in 2005. "It was important to strike again as quick as possible in the second set, and I did."

“You have those days as well when you're not feeling your best — not even close to the best," said Djokovic, the reigning three-time champion. “Credit to Roger for mixing up the pace, giving me always a different ball. He used the slice and spin very wisely. He served very efficiently. I made a lot of unforced errors [22]. Just handed him the win, especially in the second set.

“But, again, that's sport,” Djokovic added. “Sometimes these kind of matches, these kind of days happen. The good thing is that it's a round-robin system, so I still have an opportunity to reach the semis."

"I didn't think I mixed it up that crazy, to be honest," Federer asserted. "I didn't play any insane tactics. It was pretty straightforward, in a way I've played him many times in the past. My game is to mix it up, change up the spins. His game is to press you away. I think we both played our regular game, and it was a good outcome for me tonight."

Federer won 75 per cent (27 of 36) of his first-serve points, and converted four of eight break-point opportunities.

Djokovic had been riding a 23-match win streak since falling to Federer in the Cincinnati final on Aug. 23. He had won 16 straight matches at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, including wins over Federer in 2012, 2013 and 2014 (walkover).

The rivals have met more times (43) than any other two players in the Open Era with the exception of Djokovic and Rafael Nadal (45). The pair’s respective coaches, Hall of Famers Boris Becker and Stefan Edberg, played 35 times.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Roger Federer ATP Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship & Fan Favourie recipient once more

Roger Federer Tumblr tag

Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Bob and Mike Bryan have been honoured in the 2015 ATP World Tour Awards presented by Moët & Chandon. While the ATP World Tour No. 1 Doubles Team presented by Emirates Award is still to be decided between four teams, all the other award winners have been announced today.

Djokovic receives the ATP World Tour No. 1 award presented by Emirates for a second straight year and fourth time overall, following an unbroken stint at No. 1 in the Emirates ATP Rankings since 7 July 2014.

Federer has been selected by his peers as winner of the Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award for an 11th time and by fans as the Fans’ Favourite presented by Moët & Chandon for a 13th straight year. Since 2003, Federer has won a record total of 31 ATP World Tour Awards.

The Bryan twins are the recipients of the Arthur Ashe Humanitarian Award for their off-court philanthropy with their charitable foundation, Bryan Bros, raising money for dozens of beneficiaries. They also take home the Fans’ Favourite presented by Moët & Chandon for a record 11th time and remain in contention for the ATP World Tour No. 1 Doubles Team presented by Emirates.

The 18-year-old Alexander Zverev wins the ATP Star of Tomorrow Award presented by Emirates for being the youngest player ranked in the Top 100, while players have voted Hyeon Chung as the Most Improved Player of the Year and recognised Benoit Paire as the Comeback Player of the Year.

Players will receive their awards in on-court ceremonies at The O2 throughout the tournament week.

Well-known writer Linda Pearce of The Age (Melbourne, Australia) is the recipient of the Ron Bookman Media Excellence Award while the ATP Tournament of the Year awards will be announced in 2016.

2015 ATP WORLD TOUR AWARDS presented by Moët & Chandon

ATP World Tour No. 1 presented by Emirates

(determined by Emirates ATP Rankings)

Novak Djokovic: The 28-year-old Serbian has become the sixth player to clinch the year-end No. 1 Emirates ATP Rankings on four or more occasions, following in the footsteps of Pete Sampras (six years), Jimmy Connors and Roger Federer (five years), Ivan Lendl and John McEnroe (four years). In 2015, Djokovic reached all four Grand Slams finals (3-1 record), eight ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournament finals, winning titles in Indian Wells, Miami, Monte-Carlo, Rome, Shanghai and Paris. He also lifted the Beijing trophy among 14 finals. He comes to the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals with a 78-5 match record, the sixth time in eight years he’s reached at least 70 wins.

ATP World Tour No. 1 Doubles Team presented by Emirates

(determined by Emirates ATP Doubles Team Rankings)

Bob Bryan & Mike Bryan, Jean-Julien Rojer & Horia Tecau, Ivan Dodig & Marcelo Melo, and Jamie Murray & John Peers will battle to finish as the No. 1 duo in the Emirates ATP Rankings at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals. The Bryans have won the award 10 times overall (2003, ‘05-07, ‘09-14).

ATP Star of Tomorrow Award presented by Emirates

(determined by Emirates ATP Rankings)

Alexander Zverev: This category in its third year, replacing the player-voted Newcomer of the Year, is awarded to the youngest player in the Top 100 of Emirates ATP Rankings as of 9 November. Zverev, who began the season ranked No. 136, broke into the Top 100 on 18 May and reached a career-high No. 74 on 29 June. The 18-year-old German reached the Bastad semi-finals and the Washington, D.C. quarter-finals. He also won one ATP Challenger Tour title at Heilbronn.

Most Improved Player of the Year

(voted by ATP players)

Hyeon Chung: The 19-year-old Korean climbed more than 120 places from No. 173 in the Emirates ATP Rankings at the start of the year, winning four titles on the ATP Challenger Tour in 2015. He also reached the Shenzhen quarter-finals and is currently at a career-high of No. 51.

Comeback Player of the Year

(voted by ATP players)

Benoit Paire: A knee injury and long months of inactivity in 2014, saw the Frenchman drop out of the Top 150 in the Emirates ATP Rankings but in 2015 he produced a dramatic resurgence. He captured his first ATP World Tour title at Bastad in July to become the first player since Steve Darcis in 2007 to win an ATP World Tour, ATP Challenger Tour and ITF Future title in the same season. He recorded his first Top 5 win over No. 4-ranked Kei Nishikori in the US Open first round and went on to finish runner-up at Tokyo where he beat Nishikori again in the semi-finals. He is currently at a career-high No. 20 in the Emirates ATP Rankings.

Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship

(voted by ATP players)

Roger Federer:
Fellow players voted the Swiss as the winner of the Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award for the 11th time and fifth year in a row. He also won the award six straight years from 2004-09. Rafael Nadal, David Ferrer and Kevin Anderson were also nominated in this category.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Roger Federer easily wins first round robin ATP World Tour Finals match vs Berdych

Roger Federer sometimes makes the 02 Arena look like his own personal fan convention, attracting as loyal a following as any musical act that performs here.

That was again the case on Sunday night as before his adoring public he dismissed Tomas Berdych 6-4 6-2 to win his opening group match at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals.

Andy Murray – who starts on Monday afternoon against David Ferrer – knows what it is like to feel almost a stranger in your own country when facing Federer at this event.

So Berdych, forever stuck in the chorus line behind the so-called Big Four, was never likely to be anything other than friendless against the Swiss legend. Federer’s following does not diminish with his advancing years, as demonstrated after the match when he picked up the ATP Fans’ Favourite award for the 13th time.

As for the neutrals, after a match lasting 69 minutes they were left awaiting a proper contest in the singles event with shades of what happened twelve months ago when there were so many lopsided matches in the main event.

As Novak Djokovic walloped Kei Nishikori 6-1 6-1 in just over an hour, by far the best contest was provided by Jamie Murray’s first doubles match.

When Berdych broke Federer right at the start there may have been hopes of a gripping battle about to ensue. Faced with the world number three’s elegant flourishes, the Czech was too inconsistent to trouble the favourite, whose most unusual feature was his lengthy stubble.

Already it must be extremely likely that Federer and Djokovic will be in opposite sides in Saturday’s semi-finals, and their match Tuesday may well be a playoff for who goes through from the group on top.

The 28-year-old Scot plays his opening group match on Monday afternoon, and ought to be tested by the pugnacious Spanish veteran Ferrer.

The world No 7 was comfortably defeated by Murray in the recent Paris semi-final, although form is not always everything for the British player when it comes to this event, where he can be less predictable than normal.

Murray looked very sharp in Paris but ended his tournament here last year by winning just one game against Federer. It is not easy to assess how we will find him this week, especially with the preoccupation of the looming Davis Cup final.

That is his stated priority, but he needs a couple of wins inside the dome to ensure the world number two position is his at the end of the season. Ferrer is the most likely source of one with Murray’s other two group opponents being Stan Wawrinka and Rafael Nadal, who face off on Monday night.

Predictability of performance is quite assured when it comes to Djokovic, who is as much a racing certainty to win this season-end event as Federer was in his heyday during the mid-Noughties.

The competitiveness of his match against Nishikori was not helped by the fact that the Japanese player has been suffering from injuries, including a stomach muscle strain, and he admitted afterwards that he had not been able to practice serving much in recent days.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

ATP World Tour Finals groups set to go in London

Between the two of them they have claimed 10 Barclays ATP World Tour Finals. This year Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer have been pitted in the same group for the round robin stages of the season-ending finale.

The Serbian No. 1 seed and Swiss No. 3 seed are locked at 21 wins apiece in their FedEx ATP Head2Head record, but Federer will have his work cut out to curb the Serb’s record-breaking run at the final hurdle this year. Djokovic has clinched four of the six matches the pair has played this year including the Wimbledon final and their most recent clash, in the US Open final. Federer, though, split these two defeats with a successful defence of his ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Cincinnati title, where he denied the World No. 1 the chance to claim the only 1000 event missing from his collection.

Before their much-anticipated showdown in the Stan Smith Group, Djokovic will carry a 22-match winning streak into his opening match of the season-ending finale, having won four straight titles leading in. He will open against Japan’s No. 8 seed Kei Nishikori, a player he has beaten four of the six times they have met, including the only time they crossed paths in 2015 in the Rome quarter-finals.

Djokovic will carry an even more impressive 20-2 win-loss record into his group match with No. 6 seedTomas Berdych, with the Czech’s last victory coming in the Rome quarter-finals two years ago. Berdych has, however, pushed the Serb the three times they have met in 2015 – in hard-fought three-set losses in the Dubai semi-finals and Rome final and falling in two tie-break sets in the BNP Paribas Masters quarter-finals only last week. It marked the first time in Djokovic’s career he had won a match without breaking serve.

Federer will open his campaign against Berdych on Sunday night. The Swiss leads their FedEx ATP Head2Head 14-6 and comfortably won their two matches in 2015 – in the Rome and Indian Wells quarter-finals. Berdych last beat the 34 year old in Dubai in 2013.

For either Berdych or Nishikori to favour their chances of progressing to the semi-finals, they will likely have to bank on at least claiming the honours when they square off in the group stage. Nishikori has won three of their four matches, although the pair hasn’t met since Tokyo in 2012.

Turning to Ilie Nastase Group and No. 2 seed Andy Murray will begin his bid to claim a maiden season-ending finale when he takes on Spanish No. 7 seed David Ferrer on Monday. The Scot has been victorious in 11 of their 17 encounters including both times in 2015 – a four-set quarter-final win at Roland Garros and a straight-sets dismissal in the BNP Parisbas Masters semi-finals last week.

Ferrer’s countryman, No. 5 seed Rafael Nadal, will ride an impressive 15-6 record against the Scot and hope to build on a promising late-season lift in form. Murray, though, who reached this week’s BNP Paribas Masters final, won the duo’s only encounter of 2015, a straight-sets triumph to claim the Madrid final.

This year’s Roland Garros champion, Stan Wawrinka, presents Murray’s third hurdle to reaching the semi-finals at The O2 this week. The Scot holds a narrow 8-6 win-loss record over the Swiss, but they have not played since the 2013 US Open, where Wawrinka upset the defending champion in the quarter-finals. Wawrinka has since gone on to claim two Grand Slam titles.

The fourth-seeded Swiss opens his season-ending campaign against Nadal on Monday night. The Spaniard won the first 12 meetings between the pair, but Wawrinka’s upset of Nadal in the Australian Open final in 2014 marked a change in fortunes for the 30 year old. He has now won three of their past four matches, including two of the three times they met in 2015. Wawrinka claimed quarter-final victories in Rome and at last week’s BNP Paribas Masters, while Nadal split the two losses with a win in the Shanghai Rolex Masters quarter-finals.

Against Ferrer, Wawrinka narrowly trails 6-7 in their FedEx Head2Head record, but the Spaniard has not beaten him since Buenos Aires in 2013. The Swiss has secured their past three matches although this will be their first of 2015.

Continuing his enviable Head2Head record against his group-stage opponents, Nadal will ride the confidence of having prevailed in 23 of the 29 times he has taken on his countryman, Ferrer. Nadal ground out a three-set quarter-final win in Monte-Carlo, in the pair’s only clash of 2015. Ferrer’s last win against Nadal came in the quarter-finals at the same event last year.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Martina Hingis the star attraction in Champions Tennis Legue (CTL)

Hyderabad: Martina Hingis, Flavia Pennetta, Jelena Jankovic, Thomas Johansson and other top tennis players would cross swords when the Champions Tennis League (CTL) 2015 begins on November 23.

After a successful inaugural edition last year, the Vijay Amritraj-promoted tournament would begin in Mumbai and it will see 13 matches being played over a two-week period.

The event would conclude with a grand finale in Hyderabad on December six, Amritraj told reporters today.

CTL features six city-based teams across the country, put into two zones, he said.

"Each zone has three teams, where all teams play each other in a home and away format. The team winning the highest number of games in their respective zone will play each other in the grand finale to win the prize money of Rs one crore. The runner-up would win Rs 50 lakhs," he said.

The six teams include Punjab Marshalls, Mumbai Tennis Masters, Raipur Rangers, Nagpur Orangers, Hyderabad Aces and an yet to be announced sixth team.

"Over the years, I always said that we only had the Chennai Open as the international tennis event in India. Champions Tennis League brings international tennis, world class tennis to different cities across India. We have Indian Davis Cup players who are part of each team to participate alongside great champions.

"And, we will also have two juniors in each team, one boy and one girl, to learn and experience what it is to be alongside these great champions," Amritraj said.

The Hyderabad Aces comprises Hingis, Ivo Karlovic, Thomas Johansson, Jeevan Neduncheziyan and the two juniors Sathwika Sama and Adil Kalyanpur.

Amritraj said the CTL is delighted to have Hingis, who has been having a great run for some time now in the company of India's star player Sania Mirza in the doubles category in international tennis.

"What Sania and Martina have achieved from March this year is finding a complementary partner in each other… I think both of these have combined extremely well to prove as to why they have been outstanding in doubles this year. So, we are delighted to have Martina Hingis back," said Amritraj.

Replying to a query, he said Indian players are doing well in doubles and that things need to improve in others.

"Most of our performance has come in doubles. It is critical for us in men's tennis to make the world group in Davis cup, top 16 teams, that you have to have players in the top 100, hopefully in the top 50, to make the world group. If you do not have players in top 50, top 35, you are going to struggle to make the world group.

"Because everyone there is in the top 20, top 25. So it is difficult unless you do that. Similarly, in the Fed Cup as well amongst women," he said.

Asked about India's medal prospects in the Rio Olympics, he said tennis is a "non-seasonal sport" that is played almost throughout the year and that the players mainly look forward to the next Grand Slam event.

The tennis players would not look forward to the Olympics like their counterparts in athletics would do, he said.

He, however, added that India stands a chance to win medals in tennis in the Olympics in the doubles category.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Roger Federer helps out retiring friend Jarkko Nieminen

In London next week, Roger Federer will play the year-end ATP World Tour Finals, reserved for tennis’s top eight players, for the 14th time in his career.

His preparation this year was a bit different than usual: a two-day trip to rainy Finland, not exactly a tennis mecca, for one of the most extravagant, eccentric retirement parties in the sport’s history.

The man of honor was Jarkko Nieminen, age 34, older than Federer by two weeks and the most accomplished Finnish player ever. Nieminen, a recent father, played his last professional tournament in Stockholm last month. He and Federer have been friends since they first met as 14-year-olds. When Nieminen decided his time on the tour was up, he presented Federer with an idea.

“I thought, ‘OK, what’s the biggest way to finish?’” Nieminen said. “Of course to get the best player ever to come to my home, Finland.”

And so it was that Federer—father of four, winner of a record 17 Grand Slam singles titles and still No. 3 in the world—flew from Paris, where he played last week, to Finland for the first time during a chilly, wet month that the locals love to grumble about.

“People are like, ‘I’m sorry you have to be here in November,’ but it’s fine,” Federer said. “I’ll have to come back with the family.”

Federer has traveled extensively during his career but still loves it, especially when he visits a new place. Earlier this year, he played a tournament in Turkey. He has played exhibitions in South America, India and other parts of Asia. His chief motive, he said, is inspiration.

“To add that twist of fun and magic and freshness to everything besides the serious professional tour—I’ve played for 17 years—for me it seems like a great combination,” Federer said. “This is going to give me energy for the next few days and maybe the right inspiration I need for the World Tour Finals.”

No tennis player attracts as many fans from as many places as Federer (12,500 tickets to Nieminen’s retirement sold out in two hours). Nonetheless, Nieminen didn’t want to take any chances with his big night.

“Tennis is popular in Finland, but it’s not ice hockey,” Nieminen said. “I was a little bit afraid how it would go.” So Nieminen did what any good Finn would do: He invited two retired NHL stars—Finland’s Teemu Selänne and Sweden’s Peter Forsberg, tennis lovers both—to play doubles with the pros. There was a heavy metal band. And giant chocolate bars for the participants. T-Shirts for the event, dubbed “The Final Night,” were on sale for about $27 (profits from the evening benefited the Helsinki tennis academy Nieminen helped to start three years ago). Nieminen himself received a Jura coffee machine that looked like it weighed as much as a Finnish cruise-ship anchor.

“In Finland, we aren’t used to doing things this big,” Selänne said.

The fans, not surprisingly, were quite excited about a visit from Federer. When he was introduced as the greatest player who ever lived, the response in Hartwall Arena, Finland’s largest indoor stadium, was more roar than cheer.

“It’s crazy and it’s cool that it’s that way,” Federer said. “It makes you want to stay on tour, it makes you want to play, it makes you want to practice hard, it makes you want to put on a great show.”

Nieminen won two singles titles in his career and earned almost $8 million in prize money. He once reached No. 13 in the professional rankings, the highest spot in history for a Finn.

“My dream was to go to Wimbledon as a spectator once,” he said.

Nieminen watched in awe as his friend piled up Grand Slam titles. Nieminen lost all 15 of his matches against Federer, winning just one set. Federer, he said, is still like the kid he remembers.

“He’s still the same Roger, still has the same sense of humor, still very down to Earth,” Nieminen said.

Federer, who played in two major finals this year, said his friend’s retirement won’t make him think about his own. “I’m totally relaxed about it,” he said. “The love is still very much there and we’ll see where the journey takes me.”

In the first match of the evening, Nieminen and Selänne beat Federer and Forsberg in a set of doubles. Music followed, and then Federer and Nieminen returned for a fast-paced singles match played on a hard court set on top of wood that covered the arena’s ice. Satu Karhapää-Puhakka, who lives about 270 miles away in Joensuu, came with her husband and two children. They watched from the last row.

“These were the last places with four seats together,” she said. “This is the first time for me to see Federer play. It’s great.”

Federer won the match 7-6(4), 7-6(7), said his thanks and left Nieminen to stand in the spotlight. Nieminen looked up as a montage of his life played on the video screen. A young Nieminen hitting balls. Holding trophies. Wearing the uniform from his compulsory military service. Plucking a blade of grass from Wimbledon’s Centre Court.

Nieminen wiped away a tear but the sadness passed quickly. Then it was time for a beloved Finnish pastime: headbanging.

Nieminen ran a lap of the court, swept his long, blond hair over his face, stepped onto the courtside stage and rocked out to the music of Apocalyptica, a heavy metal band featuring three classically trained cellists.

“That was amazing,” Federer said. “That’s the way to go out.”

Saturday, November 07, 2015

Roger Federer out of Paris Masters courtesy of John Isner

Roger Federer knew he would have his hands full against John Isner on Court Central. Sure, he was 5-1 against the altitudinous American, his only defeat coming in a Davis Cup clash on clay in 2012. But the Swiss was well aware of Isner’s record on the indoor courts of Paris, where the 6-foot-10 power server was 7-6 and had reached the semi-finals in 2011. With a serve like his, anything can happen.

“When I saw the draw and I saw I had a possibility of playing him in the second round,” Federer observed, “it's the kind of draw I don't really like to see.”

“I know it's not going to be easy,” said Federer prior to the match. “I need to make sure I focus on my own game and see what I can do on his serve. There are only so many opportunities. I'm aware of that. He goes through a lot of close matches. He's used to that kind of stuff. We're not used to that many tie-breakers and 7‑6s in the third.”

Prescient words from Federer, as Thursday’s Round-of-16 match-up would indeed come down to a third-set tie-break, Isner emerging victorious behind 27 aces 7-6(3), 3-6, 7-6(5).

As he showed at the BNP Paribas Masters, with no sun, no wind, no game-changing elements to affect his toss, Isner’s weapon of choice is as lethal as they come.

“I think he serves consistent throughout the year,” said Federer, who despite the loss registered 13 of his own aces and was never broken. “I think with him it's more can he serve big when he really needs it the most? Does indoors maybe help him there a little bit? Potentially. He's got the size, got the power, got the angles. I thought he did very well today when he needed it. The breakers, he served great. Those are the ones he needed. That was the difference."

On Wednesday, Federer needed just 47 minutes to dispatch Italian Andreas Seppi 6-1, 6-1. There would be no such brevity against the former collegiate standout, the three-set match lasting some two hours and 16 minutes.

Did his title run last week in Basel (d. Rafael Nadal 6-3, 5-7, 6-3) take a toll on his body?

“Maybe the eye was a thousandth of a second slower,” quipped the 34-year-old, who said he “played without pain” despite a mid-match visit from a trainer to check his arm. “I mean, what do you want me to tell you? I was definitely not tired from last night. I was ready to go today.”

Next up for Federer is the Nov. 15-22 Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, where he has had his share of success in the past. In fact, the World No. 2 has held the trophy at the year-end showdown on no less than six occasions.

“I have been there since 2002,” he said. “It's one of the tournaments that I’ve enjoyed most and that I’ve had a lot of pleasure winning. I'm happy I'm qualified. We'll see the groups, the round robins. I'm very eager to go to London and get prepared as well as I can. I'm in good shape. I'm healthy, so I want that tournament to start.”

Friday, November 06, 2015

Martina Hingis earns 50th career doubles title in Singapore

SINGAPORE - 20-time Grand Slam champion Martina Hingis truly made her 2015 season one to remember. The Swiss Miss not only clinched the Year-End No.1 - and the WTA Year-End World No.1 Doubles Team Award presented by Dubai Duty Free alongside partner Sania Mirza - but by winning the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global against Garbiñe Muguruza and Carla Suárez Navarro, she also won her 50th career doubles title, becoming the 16th woman in WTA history to amass such a total.

Hingis joins an elite group that includes some of the best doubles players to have ever played the game, including Martina Navratilova, Rosie Casals, Pam Shriver, Billie Jean King, Natasha Zvereva,Lisa Raymond, Jana Novotna, Arantxa Sánchez-Vicario, Gigi Fernández, Helena Sukova, Larisa Neiland, Cara Black, Rennae Stubbs, Wendy Turnbull and Liezel Huber.

"I'm enjoying [tennis] in a different way," she said before the tournament began. "I'm also 35 now, so I think you take a lot more credit for what you're able to do and enjoy the moment, live in the moment.

"Especially when we were able to win Wimbledon this year, I mean, you could see the joy on the court already that we had to win the title. That was definitely more of a relief and joy at the same time."

With 10 titles under her belt - nine with Mirza, one with former coaching mentee Sabine Lisicki - Hingis enjoyed her best year on the doubles court since 1998, when she won nine titles but, most impressively, captured the Calendar Year Grand Slam with two different partners (Mirjana Lucic-Baroni at the Australian Open, and fellow 50+ doubles titlist Novotna at the remaining three). After winningWimbledon with Mirza, Hingis went on to take the US Open as well, and finish the season on a still-unbeaten 22-match win streak that dates back to the Western & Southern Open.

The two first considered pairing up before the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, though the two admitted it wasn't the most auspicious of starts.

"It was the worst practice in the world. It was windy and stormy in Doha and we got our ass kicked," Hingis recalled after winning their semifinal against Chan Hao-Ching and Chan Yung-Jan.

"We just had that one practice and then we went to Indian Wells and we practiced a couple days. It got better because it couldn't get worse after that practice!" Mirza added.

Better is an understatement. The team, who later became known as "Santina," began their official partnership with three sraight titles in Indian Wells, the Miami Open, and the Family Circle Cup. Reflecting on that time, Hingis thought they played far better tennis to finish the season than to start.

"Obviously the first three months, first three tournaments, we were already like amazing. But I think it's just like knowing one another. The understanding of each other grew even more. We were already winning from the beginning, but after that was even more and more. But I think you have to work on that. I mean, doesn't fall from heaven, and we didn't have always perfect moments."

Resolved to remain together through the start of the 2016 season, Hingis and Mirza will have some time apart during the off-season before reconvening ahead of the Australian summer hardcourt swing - with title No.51 already on her mind.

"I don't think if we don't play together for two months it's going to really change anything. The goal is to be prepared for Australian Open. We're going to play a couple weeks before that. You know, maybe come in earlier a little bit into Australia and try and train."

Thursday, November 05, 2015

Martina Hingis & Sania Mirza secure year end No. 1 ranking in doubles

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SINGAPORE - Martina Hingis and Sania Mirza have secured the WTA Year-End World No.1 Doubles Ranking presented by Dubai Duty Free.

"Dubai Duty Free congratulates Serena, Sania and Martina on reaching the No.1 spot in singles and doubles of the 2015 WTA Year-End ranking," said Salah Tahlak, Senior Vice President of Corporate Communications at Dubai Duty Free. "We are delighted to present the Year-End No.1 trophies to these players that signify their outstanding results in 2015. We are a proud partner of the WTA and look forward to welcoming Serena, Sania and Martina back to Dubai in February 2016 to participate in the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships."

Hingis and Mirza are 8-1 in finals this season, with two Grand Slam titles (Wimbledon, US Open), five WTA Premier titles (BNP Paribas Open - Indian Wells, Miami Open, Family Circle Cup - Charleston,Dongfeng Motor Wuhan Open, China Open - Beijing), and one WTA International title (Guangzhou International Women's Open). 

As a result, the Swiss-Indian duo finished atop the Road to Singapore leaderboard and earned the top seed for the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global.

The partnership between Hingis and Mirza began at the 2015 BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells in March, where they clinched their first title as a team. Their undefeated hot streak continued through their next two events at the Miami Open and the Family Circle Cup at Charleston, where Mirza ascended to the World No.1 ranking.

"It is definitely something beyond my expectations," said Hingis. "When I first teamed up with Sania it was a trial at Indian Wells and Miami to see how it would go. We ended up winning both of those tournaments and Charleston on top of it, and since then it has been an incredible journey. Ending up as the No.1 team is definitely something beyond my expectations and something I had dreamed of but when it really happened it was incredible."

"I'm very excited," added Mirza. "This is something we've worked towards especially in the later part of the year. When we first teamed up, we were testing it out. But when we started doing well, we realized that we could do some great things together and it became one of our goals to end the year No.1, so we're really happy to have achieved that."

Hingis, 35, has been inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame due to her 94 WTA titles over the past 20 years, which include 49 doubles titles. In 1997, Hingis became the youngest women's player to be ranked World No.1 in singles (16 years old) and the youngest-ever doubles No.1 in 1998 (17 years old).

Mirza, 28, has also made history by becoming the first Indian woman to achieve the No.1 ranking. The Indian star has clinched 32 WTA doubles titles including two Grand Slam titles, achieved this year. In August, Sania was presented with the prestigious Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award, India's highest sporting honor.

Roger Federer flies into 3rd round at Paris Masters

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Roger Federer scored his best-in-the-business 327th ATP World Tour Masters 1000 victory on Friday at the BNP Paribas Masters, easily downing Andreas Seppi 6-1, 6-1.

In 13 previous FedEx ATP Head2Head meetings, Seppi had defeated Federer on just one occasion: a 6-4, 7-6(5), 4-6, 7-6(5) third-round upset earlier this year at the Australian Open. But that seemed but ancient history at the AccorHotels Arena, where Federer overwhelmed the Italian in 47 minutes.

So speedy was the match that one reporter asked the World No. 2 if he had promised his children he would be home in time for dinner.

Federer quipped, “No, I'm too late now.”

“But it's very pleasant to play matches like this one,” he continued. “Of course, I like great battles, playing two, three, four, five hours. But 47 minutes is always very pleasant. You need to focus a lot for the very short time you are on the court, not to make any mistakes. I'm very happy with this mental performance.”

Federer, 34, playing his first match since claiming his seventh Basel title on Sunday, played near-flawless tennis in taking the opening set in an efficient 19 minutes, winning 92 per cent of his service points.

The 28th-ranked Seppi never seemed to recover in the second set. It wasn’t until, serving for survival at 0-5, that he got on the scoreboard. But it was too little too late. He finished with 18 unforced errors to just five winners.

Seppi fell to 2-8 against Top-10 competition in 2015. Federer, meanwhile, improved to 59-9 overall on the year. He will now meet John Isner in the Round of 16. The Swiss is 5-1 against the power-serving American in FedEx ATP Head2Head encounters.

"Indoors here in Paris, he's played well historically," Federer observed. "I'm aware of that, and I know it's not going to be easy. I need to make sure I focus on my own game and see what I can do on his serve. There is only so many opportunities."

Trailing 1-4 in the opening set against Viktor Troicki, 15th seed Feliciano Lopez of Spain battled back before falling 6-7(7), 7-5, 6-4. The Serb will next face Stan Wawrinka. Elsewhere, No. 9 seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga made quick work of Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut, winning 6-2, 6-2 in one hour and two minutes.

"I wanted to keep focused and not give away anything along the way,” said Tsonga. “And this I did well. I didn't want to get caught in a very long match. It was too dangerous."

The Frenchman smacked eight aces and converted four of eight break points in earning a Round of 16 match-up with Tomas Berdych.

In a marathon match that lingered until 12:24 a.m. local time, Kevin Anderson outlasted Dominic Thiem6-7(3), 7-6(4), 7-6(5) for the right to meet Rafael Nadal in the Round of 16. The two-hour and 44-minute affair saw Anderson register 30 aces, totaling 55 winners and 39 unforced errors. Both players saved match points before the decisive third-set tie-break, but it was the South African who would come through in the end.

For the first time since 2009, 14 of 16 seeds are through to the Round of 16 at the BNP Paribas Masters.

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

Agnieszka Radwanska the new WTA Finals champion in Singapore!

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SINGAPORE - Agnieszka Radwanska edged Petra Kvitova in a thriller to win the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global - the biggest title of the former World No.2's career.

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

It was a true underdog story - not only did she leave the US Open three spots out of even qualifying for the event, but after battling just to make it into the field, she was a longshot just to make the final four, having lost her first two round robin matches against Maria Sharapova and Flavia Pennetta.

But a win over Simona Halep in her third round robin match and a little help from Sharapova took her to the semifinals, and she pulled off another surprise there, grinding past Garbiñe Muguruza in three dramatic sets - her first victory over the Spanish WTA Rising Star in five attempts this year.

And then, longtime rival and fellow former No.2 Kvitova in the final - Kvitova was also playing on a new breath of life, going 1-2 in the round robin portion herself before reviving her game and battling her way into the final, pulling off a stunning upset over the red-hot Sharapova in Saturday's semifinals.

Radwanska came out on fire, capitalizing on a few untimely unforced errors from the Kvitova racquet to build an early 6-2, 2-0 lead. Kvitova started to find the range on her huge lefty game, winning eight of the next 10 games to sneak out the second set, 6-4, and build a 2-0 lead in the deciding set.

But the No.5-seeded Radwanska had one last fight left, breaking back to get to 3-all and then pulling away from there, winning three more games to finish off the No.4-seeded Kvitova, 6-2, 4-6, 6-3.

"A few weeks ago I didn't even know I'd have a chance to be here, and there you go. It's just an incredible day for me," an emotional Radwanska said during her on-court interview after the match.

"It means everything. It couldn't be any better. I think that was the biggest day in my life."

Just how well did Radwanska play in the final? Five - just five - unforced errors the entire match, with three times the winners (15). Kvitova, meanwhile, finished with 41 winners to 53 unforced errors.

"Well, the serve wasn't a huge weapon today, there were lots of ups and downs and lots of breaks!" Radwanska said. "But in the important moments I was really doing the right things, I think. Of course I had my chances in the second set, but it doesn't matter how I won. I'm extremely happy about this!"

Before this, Radwanska's biggest titles were Premier Mandatory-level titles at Beijing in 2011 and Miami in 2012. This was her first title at one of the five biggest events on the WTA calendar (the four Grand Slams and the WTA Finals). It's the 17th overall WTA title of her long, successful career.

Tuesday, November 03, 2015

Roger Federer triumphs over Rafael Nadal at Swiss Indoors Basel wins his 7th

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Roger Federer ended a three-and-a-half year drought against Rafael Nadal on Sunday at the Swiss Indoors Basel, claiming a seventh title in his hometown 6-3, 5-7, 6-3.

After a 21-month wait, Federer and Nadal renewed their storied rivalry on the indoor hard courts of the ATP World Tour 500 event, with the Swiss winning for the first time since the 2012 BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells. Competing in a record 12th final on home soil in Basel, he added a seventh trophy, a feat he has also achieved at four other tournaments in his career (Wimbledon, Halle, Dubai, Cincinnati).













"It was one of my best weeks in Basel, considering everything I've done throughout my career here," said Federer. "I thought the match was close. I had my chances in the second, but he fought back well, like he's done throughout the week really. Overall I was really happy how I played and it was a very special day.

"I know I've had better backhand days and he's had better forehand days than today, but the match was high quality and it was entertaining and exciting for both of us as well. The confidence is good, no doubt about that. It's good to get back into the mood of winning after Shanghai... I think the body's gotten used to match play again after all these weeks of not playing."

Nadal was looking to make early inroads in the Federer serve and the Spaniard would attack early behind a barrage of deep, penetrating groundstrokes. Federer was forced to save a break point in his first service game following a trio of errors, but the Swiss would quickly regain his composure. The home favourite claimed six of the next seven points and rode the wave of momentum to three break chances of his own at 2-2. Utilising the fast indoor conditions at the St. Jakobshalle to his advantage, Federer opened the court and refused to give Nadal time to set up his forehand, coming forward often, as he has done all year.

One of the points of the tournament came with Federer facing break point in the sixth game. Nadal had the Basel native on the ropes after ripping a backhand approach into the open court, but Federer turned defence into offence in a flash, lunging at a cross-court forehand from well behind the baseline and sneaking it just past Nadal for the stunning winner. He would not look back, breaking to love a few games later to capture the opener 6-3.

Federer made a push to run away with the match early in the second set, but Nadal would not go down quietly, saving a break point while serving down 2-3. The margins were razor thin as both players looked to attack with first-strike tennis. The Mallorca native was one step ahead of the top seed in the latter stages of the set and his aggressive mindset would pay dividends, claiming his first break of the match for 6-5 as Federer buried a forehand into the net. Nadal would force a decider with a hold to love.

The patterns of play from the first two sets persisted in the third, with both players looking to open the court and keep rallies short. A Nadal double fault in the third game would give Federer a break chance to claim a potentially decisive break, but the Spaniard dispelled any such notion. He would win the battle, but the Swiss would win the war, grabbing the decisive break for 5-3 and serving it out a game later after two hours and three minutes on court. The former Basel ballboy out-aced Nadal 12-0 and struck 44 total winners. He converted on three of seven break points.

Federer earned his third title this year at an ATP World Tour 500 event, adding to crowns in Dubai and Halle, and 88th of his career at the tour-level. He also emerged victorious in Brisbane, Istanbul and Cincinnati in 2015. Nadal, meanwhile, who owns a 23-11 FedEx ATP Head2Head edge, was vying for just his second indoor hard court trophy (Madrid 2005). He falls to 67-31 in tour-level finals and 3-3 this year.

"My goal is to get back to my level and be competitive against the top players again and today I was very competitive against one of the best players in the world," said Nadal. "The match wasn't far away from me. He played well and I played well too. The match was very close to win, but I think he served very well in the third. I want to congratulate him for the victory and I had a lot of quality things in my game and mental side to take away from the week."

Monday, November 02, 2015

Martina Hingis & Sania Mirza 2015 WTA Finals doubles champions!

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SINGAPORE - Forty-eight hours after being officially crowned 2015's best doubles team, Martina Hingis and Sania Mirza underlined their dominance of the field with an emphatic victory over Garbiñe Muguruza and Carla Suárez Navarro in the final of the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global.

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

Hingis and Mirza are now unbeaten in 22 matches, stretching back six tournaments. In fact, since their last defeat - to Chan Hao-Ching and Chan Yung-Jan in Cincinnati - they have dropped just two sets.

Against Muguruza and Suárez Navarro - late replacements in the draw after Casey Dellacqua and Yaroslava Shvedova's withdrawal - they stamped their authority all over the contest immediately.

In the second game, Mirza unleashed a ferocious forehand to break Muguruza. A quarter of an hour later, it was Mirza once more coming to the fore, this time sending a backhand drive volley whistling past Suárez Navarro.

The second set was more competitive, but there was to be no denying the Swiss-Indian duo, an emotional 6-0, 6-3 triumph wrapped up on their fourth match point when Muguruza sent a tired backhand drifting wide.

"It's incredible. I feel like it was a perfect day," Hingis said. "The energy was a bit better in practice and Sania just played out of her mind - she was everywhere today - on her side, behind me - it's about choosing the right partner!"

And with success - they have won nine WTA titles since teaming up in spring - comes popularity. The partnership has already been christened 'Santina' by their legions of fans, whom Mirza was quick to thank in the aftermath of this latest triumph.

"On court, off court, we have a lot of fun," Mirza said. "To play in tournaments like this is what we've fought all our lives for and it's incredible to play in front of a packed stadium.

"We feel very fortunate. We've done some amazing things together and it's the perfect way to end the year for us."