Monday, October 16, 2017

Roger Federer says goodbye to scars and shanks

When it comes to playing Rafael Nadal, things haven’t always been easy for Roger Federer.

Although their 38th meeting ended in a 6-4, 6-3 win, his fifth in a row against his Spanish southpaw rival, Federer still trails Nadal 15 to 23 in their FedEx ATP Head2Head. The Nadal playbook has always been simple, but historically effective against Federer: use heavy topspin forehands to pound away at the weaker Federer one-handed backhand and attack the open court at the first opportunity.

But in 2017, the Swiss has managed to flip the script.

“I think I'm maybe serving consistently better. I get easier power ever since I switched to the bigger racquet, the RF97. I feel I'm connecting better on the backhand and I'm serving good, and that consistently,” said Federer, who at one point in Sunday’s final won a service game in 52 seconds with four straight aces.

“Before I had to slice more just because the racquet was good for the slice, and it was good for the coming over, but I would always shank too many balls,” he added.

Aggressive backhand play has been a characteristic of the 36 year old’s renaissance this season, allowing him yet another dimension in his fluid, attacking style of tennis. Although his one-hander hasn’t always been a weapon, 11 of Federer’s 28 winners in the Shanghai final came off that wing.

“I think it was hard for me to consistently just keep on attacking with the backhand,” Federer said. “Today it seems almost not a problem anymore to do it."

In what has been one of tennis’s most storied rivalries, Nadal has often come out on top, particularly on his beloved clay courts, upon which he owns a 13-2 record against the Swiss legend – Federer admits that those matches took their toll on him in previous seasons.

“I just think I'm not so scarred like maybe I have been in the past, not that I was horribly scarred in any way, but I did lose against him sometimes, a lot of the times especially on the clay courts. I do believe I still lost that Wimbledon final in '08 because of the French Open beatdown he gave me. It just affected my first two sets when I played him at Wimbledon.

“But, yeah, I think I have also played him well. Clearly avoiding him – not playing him on clay has helped,” added Federer. “So I'm able to stay on the hard courts or on faster courts against him, but I have been playing very well when I have faced off against him."

Federer’s Shanghai crown this week keeps him in contention for the year-end No.1 spot in the Emirates ATP Rankings, which would have been all but sealed for Nadal had he emerged victorious in the final. With strong results at the upcoming tournaments in Basel and Paris, Federer has the opportunity to set up a dramatic climax to the season: a fight for No.1 at the Nitto ATP Finals for the second straight year (Murray d. Djokovic in 2016 to claim the top spot.)

Despite closing the gap with Nadal on both the No.1 ranking and in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series this season, Federer insists that they aren’t targets for him – especially in the latter metric, where the Spaniard still leads by eight wins.

“It's not going to happen,” said Federer bluntly on overtaking Nadal in their rivalry. “We don't have enough years left on the tour, and we're ranked too good that we play each other only in finals at the moment. It looks like that's going to stay like this for a few months more. So can't win them all against Rafa, to be honest. He's too good of a player.

“I'm just excited I'm on a good stretch right now. Head-to-heads? Yeah, sure, I would like it to be different, but I have utmost respect for Rafa. It's been a tough matchup for me, and I tried my best. I have played him a lot on clay in the beginning of my career. No problem. I tried. I was close on many occasions, but he's better on clay. I try to win the other ones that I can, and this year has been great so I'm happy about it.”

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Roger Federer dominates Rafael Nadal to win 2nd Shanghai title!

 Really wish you would have shaved Roger

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Roger Federer was at his ruthless best on Sunday, streaking to the Shanghai Rolex Masters title with a 6-4, 6-3 victory over Rafael Nadal. It was a vintage Federer performance, as the Swiss secured the 71-minute win with a dominant display, clinching a second Shanghai crown (2014) and 27th at the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 level.

With the win, Federer notched his 700th match victory on hard courts and improved to 10-1 against the Top 10 this year. It was the 94th title in his storied career, which pulls him level with Ivan Lendl for second on the Open Era list. Only Jimmy Connors owns more trophies (109).

Federer's 2017 campaign continues to set the bar, as the 36 year old added a sixth title and third at the Masters 1000 stage. Having also prevailed in Indian Wells and Miami, it marks the fifth time in his career in which he has captured at least three such championships. Moreover, with the win, Federer draws to within 1,960 points of Nadal for the top spot in the Emirates ATP Race To London, with year-end No. 1 still very much in play. Both will be competing at the Swiss Indoors Basel, followed by the Rolex Paris Masters and Nitto ATP Finals.

"I had no nerves really before the match, which was nice," said Federer. "I was pretty clear about how I wanted to play the match. And then I came out and started off very well. Felt relaxed from then on. I always know that Rafa can come back at any moment if he connects well, picks the right sides, and does the right things.

"I even felt that way being up 0/40, you know, going for the double break, but, I had a clear game plan and felt I was playing well all week. I think that settled my nerves, because I was returning well from the first match here I played against Schwartzman. The serve only got better. I guess I saved the best for last. I played some good matches now against del Potro and also now these two sets.

"In a way, it's not surprising, because I did feel good all week, and it does pay off to arrive early to an event. You can't do it all the time, but I was here since Thursday late night and that's five, six days to prepare for a Wednesday match. So I was ready."

Open Era Title Leaders





Nadal leads their FedEx ATP Head2Head rivalry 23-15, but Federer is doing his best to narrow the margin, having won their past five match-ups. The trend continued in Sunday's final, with the Basel native capitalising on the fast conditions under the lights on Stadium Court.

With torrential rain drenching the Qi Zhong Tennis Center, the roof was closed for the blockbuster clash of titans. Federer was in control from the first ball, looking to break down Nadal's defence with an assault of forehands and backhands. The attacking Swiss made an immediate statement with a break in the opening game, carving a cross-court slice approach that caught Nadal out of position, followed by a boisterous backhand winner down the line.

In each of Federer's three previous victories over Nadal this season - at the Australian Open and ATP World Tour Masters 1000 events in Indian Wells and Miami - the Swiss won more than 75 per cent of first serve points. His delivery was on song once again in Sunday's final, claiming 83 per cent of total service points in closing out a 6-4 first set.

The second set featured more vintage Federer, as the second seed struck a stunning drop volley winner and forced Nadal to misfire on a forehand to claim the break for 3-2. Federer executed his gameplan to perfection throughout the 71-minute affair, sealing the win on his second match point when a Nadal forehand found the net.

Federer has now won five consecutive encounters in their FedEx ATP Head2Head and is 4-0 this year. It marked the third time they have met on Chinese soil, with the Swiss scoring a pair of wins at the 2006 & '07 Nitto ATP Finals, when the season finale was held in Shanghai.

Nadal, meanwhile, was bidding for a record 31st ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title. The 31-year-old Spaniard suffered his first defeat since returning to No. 1 in the Emirates ATP Rankings in August, seeing his win streak snapped at 16 straight. He was appearing in the Shanghai final for the second time, having finished runner-up to Nikolay Davydenko in the tournament's inaugural edition in 2009.

"It was a very difficult match for me," said Nadal. "He played very fast and he played well. I don't know how many unforced errors he made. I could have done some things better, but that's it. He just played too good. That's my point of view. So congrats to him.

"I played a fantastic tournament, having very good wins. Very pleased the way I played the whole Asian tour for me. Beijing and Shanghai have been a very positive two weeks for me. A lot of points, a lot of victories against great opponents. I come back with very good personal satisfaction the way that I played."

I said to a friend that I hoped he'd beat Nadal in straight sets, but I honestly didn't think it would happen given how Nadal had been playing and having won Beijing the previous week.  I thought for sure Roger would have to battle it out in 3.  

But clearly Roger had other plans, because he just came out storming right out of the gate and everything was working. 

His returns, his forehand, his backhand and his serve were all on point throughout.  It was simply virtuosic performance. 

So this makes it the 4th time in a row this year Roger has beaten Nadal (5th overall). Who would have thought.  

No wonder Rafa's answer during the U.S. Open was that he hoped he didn't have to play Roger.  2017 is Roger's best year in some time.  It's a pleasure to watch. 

Next up Basel and the Paris masters with a shot at possibly taking back the #1 ranking at the season ending championships.  

Time to start dreaming big again.  And why not, feels like anything is possible this year with the maestro in god mode. 

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Roger Federer avenges Juan Martin Del Potro U.S. Open loss sets up Fedal final in Shanghai

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Roger Federer will face longtime rival Rafael Nadal for the fourth time this season after coming from a set down to defeat Juan Martin del Potro, 3-6, 6-3, 6-3 at the Shanghai Rolex Masters. The 2014 champion advances to his third final at the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 event.

Federer’s 350th win at the Masters 1000 level set a crucial showdown with Nadal in the battle for year-end World No. 1. Should Nadal win on Sunday he will stretch his lead over Federer in the Emirates ATP Race To London to 2,760 points and effectively put the issue beyond doubt. However, should Federer win his fifth consecutive match over Nadal, he would pull to within 1,960 points. That’s still a lot of ground to make up to finish atop the year-end standings for the first time since 2009, but within the realm of possibility if Federer finishes the year as strongly as he started it.

"It's nice at this late stage of the career that we still have these matches going on," Federer said. "There is only going to be a few chances for either player, and sometimes it's just who blinks at the wrong time."

After failing to capitalise on four consecutive break points while down a set and up 3-2 in the second set, it appeared that Federer might be denied a meeting with World No. 1 Nadal for the second time in as many months by the Argentine, who defeated him in the quarter-finals at the US Open. But when del Potro missed a forehand wide on the fifth consecutive break point he faced, the 29 year old gave the Swiss all the momentum he needed to turn the match around.

"Clearly getting the break and then holding, it's always key in tennis," Federer said. "I'm happy I was able to do it, especially with all the twists and turns and, blink at the wrong time, he might hold the game and then you don't know what's going to happen next."

The 36 year old did not face a break point in the final two sets, and broke twice in the decider to advance in one hour and 58 minutes.

It was unclear just how fit del Potro would be for the match after he fell on his surgically-repaired left wrist in the third set of his quarter-final victory against Viktor Troicki on Friday. His communications manager, Jorge Viale, tweeted that the 2013 Shanghai finalist suffered a contusion, and was in a splint Friday evening. But you would not have known it by watching the right-hander compete against the World No. 2.

Early on, he answered virtually every aggressive shot by Federer with an even bigger forehand of his own, and even stepped into a number of two-handed backhands down the line to gain control of points. The Swiss consistently attacked his opponent's weaker backhand before changing directions to finish points to del Potro's forehand, but the Argentine's rocket of a forehand proved too tough to handle more often than not. On Federer's first break point in the sixth game of the second set, he chose to approach to del Potro's forehand, which came back like a laser from meters behind the baseline, a passing shot that forced a backhand volley error.

But once Federer finally broke through in the 19-point game in the second set, del Potro appeared frustrated, especially with the pro-Federer crowd in Shanghai, which the chair umpire had to ask to quiet down.

"He took the confidence after that game. He broke me and he started to play more aggressive. He served much better after that game,” del Potro said. "I was a little upset with something. Nothing about tennis. And you cannot give any advantage against these guys."

Federer began to use his slice to throw off del Potro's rhythm and extract more errors, and using his openings to be more aggressive himself. The strategy worked, and the 26-time Masters 1000 winner won 37 per cent of points on his opponent's serve in the final set, consistently threatening to break.

Federer will meet Nadal for the third time in a final in 2017, after winning the titles against him in Melbourne and Miami. The Swiss also beat his rival in their other meeting, which came in the Round of 16 at Indian Wells, and will look to close a 14-23 deficit in the pair’s FedEx ATP Head2Head rivalry.

The Spaniard carries a 16-match winning streak into the final, and will look to extend his tour lead to seven titles this season. Federer will attempt to tie Nadal by claiming his sixth trophy of the year.

38th Fedal meeting. Here we go!.  Go Rog!.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Roger Federer sets up semi-final rematch with Del Potro in Shanghai

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Roger Federer moved another step closer to earning his second Shanghai Rolex Masters title on Friday with a 7-5, 6-4 win over Richard Gasquet to advance to the semi-finals, where he will play No. 16 seed Juan Martin del Potro.

"I thought it was a really good match. Some big points, important shots at the right time for both guys sometimes to stay even, and we both created chances," Federer said. "I thought we were able to keep up the level from the beginning till the very end...I enjoyed it because it was slices and topspins and angles and power and finesse. I think the match had a bit of everything."

Considering the Swiss entered the match having won the past 15 sets against the Frenchman, all by margins of 6-4 or greater, it looked like the fans in Shanghai might be in for a surprise when Gasquet held a break point while up 3-2 in the opening set.

But Federer held him off and would break at 5-5 to give him the edge that allowed him to win the opening set. He’d break in Gasquet’s next service game as well to jump to an early lead in the second set, but the 31 year old refused to lose touch, getting back on serve immediately.

However, when Federer broke for the third time in the match at 3-3, he would not relinquish the advantage again, and would close out the quarter-final in one hour and 18 minutes.

Federer said during his press conference that he saw del Potro fall and hurt his left wrist during the Argentine's quarter-final victory against Viktor Troicki, and a reporter informed the Swiss that del Potro went to the hospital to get an MRI.

"I hope for him that it's nothing serious. Of course it's on the wrist, as well, that he's had problems in the past, so this is where he's worried, rightfully so. For me, at the end of the day, nothing changes. I'm ready to come out here tomorrow and see the match like it's a revenge chance for the US Open, where it was tight and I couldn't win. So I see that more than his injury," Federer said. "But I hope for now that Juan Martin can recover and we can play a normal match."

Federer owns a 16-6 lead in his FedEx ATP Head2Head series with del Potro, including wins in three of their past four matches. But in September, del Potro prevented the first Federer-Rafael Nadal match at the US Open when he eliminated the Swiss in four sets in the quarter-finals.

The No. 2 seed has not dropped a set this week in his pursuit of a third ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title this season (Indian Wells, Miami), while del Potro has been pushed to a decider in three of his four matches. If Federer gets through what should be a tough battle against del Potro, it will not get easier with World No. 1 Rafael Nadal taking on fourth seed Marin Cilic in the other semi-final.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Roger Federer eases into the quarters at Shanghai Rolex Masters

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Roger Federer continued his pursuit of a second Shanghai Rolex Masters title with a straightforward 6-4, 6-2 win on Thursday evening against the lone qualifier to advance to the third round, Alexandr Dolgopolov.

"I felt good in the first match, I must tell you," said Federer of his opening victory over Diego Schwartzmanin which he broke on two of eight opportunities. "So I felt, I think, the same. I think maybe the matchup was maybe a bit easier and I took my chances more. Had a better ratio of winning on the break points that I didn't quite have against Schwartzman. That's maybe the biggest difference of both matches, so I'm happy I was able to do better today on the break points."

He took three of seven break opportunities against Dolgopolov, and the Swiss was never significantly challenged in the match, facing just one break point, as he served for the first set. But when the Ukrainian made an error down break point at 2-2 in the second set, the finish line came into sight, and Federer then broke again in a 19-point game at 4-2 to allow him to serve for the match, which he did without a hitch.

Federer advances to his fourth quarter-final in six appearances in Shanghai. Each time he has made it that far at the event, he has continued to at least the semi-finals.

The No. 2 in the Emirates ATP Rankings, who has already qualified for the Nitto ATP Finals, is seeking his sixth title of the season, which would tie Rafael Nadal for the ATP World Tour lead.

The 36 year old will next play Richard Gasquet, against whom he has a 15-2 lead in their FedEx ATP Head2Head. Federer has not lost to the Frenchman since 2011 in Rome, with the other defeat coming in 2005 (Monte Carlo).

"I like playing Gasquet on fast courts," Federer said. "I hope I can again put in a similar performance like today."

Gasquet advanced to the quarter-final with a back-and-forth 7-5, 6-7(5), 6-3 victory over compatriot Gilles Simon in two hours and 40 minutes.

It appeared that the 31 year old would quickly extend his FedEx ATP Head2Head over Simon to 7-0 when he broke to lead 3-1 in the second set, but his 32-year-old opponent fought back to force a decider. While Simon broke immediately in the third set to gain the advantage, Gasquet then broke twice in a row and held on to earn a spot in his first Shanghai quarter-final.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Roger Federer fights through Shanghai Opener

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Roger Federer had to fight but eventually came through a tight opener on Wednesday at the Shanghai Rolex Masters, beating Argentine Diego Schwartzman 7-6(4), 6-4 to advance to the third round of the season's penultimate ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournament.

Federer improved to 4-0 against Schwartzman in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series and celebrated his 40th match win of the year with the straight-sets victory. The 36-year-old Swiss is now 40-4 during his comeback season.

“I think I served well. I had good concentration. Had good energy, as well, which I think is always important early on in a tournament,” Federer said.

During his first match in Shanghai since 2015, Federer was aggressive as he has been all season. He stepped into flat backhands and attacked the net, winning 14/24 net points. But the second seed did have to shake off a bit of rust in the big moments.

Before Wednesday, he hadn't played a tour-level match since 6 September, when he lost to Juan Martin del Potro in the US Open quarter-finals, and Federer saw break point after break point disappear in the first set.

Schwartzman, though, had much to do with that as well. The 5' 7” right-hander is enjoying his best season. He has climbed to a career-high No. 26 in the Emirates ATP Rankings and was coming off a semi-final run at the Rakuten Japan Open Tennis Championships 2017 in Tokyo (l. to eventual champion Goffin).

Schwartzman fended off break points at 1-2 before Federer broke in the sixth game to lead 4-2. The very next game, though, Federer, the 2014 titlist, was broken. At 3-4, Federer again had two more chances to break but Schwartzman saved them all. They headed to a tie-break, where Federer overcame an early mini-break for the one-set lead.

“I knew going in it was not going to be easy. He's had a great run in recent weeks and months. I really felt that he was confident. Shaking off misses, no problem. He was serving well. You could see he was taking the right decisions on his groundstrokes,” Federer said of Schwartzman.

“As an opponent, you feel that. You could see there was sort of an ease about his game today. I felt like that was going to be dangerous down the stretch of any set. I felt that tie-break was tough. I was down and then came up with some really good shot-making after that in the 'breaker to really turn it around.”

Federer can't afford to let this opportunity for a big week in Shanghai slip if he wants to stay competitive in the battle for year-end No. 1. Rafael Nadal, who also won on Wednesday, is more than 2,000 points ahead of the Swiss star.

The Basel native made life more straightforward during the second set. He broke to love to start and cruised to his 28th hard-court match win of the season (28-3). The right-hander is going for his sixth tour-level title of the year and his third Masters 1000 crown, having won the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells in March and the Miami Open presented by Itau in April.

“I think getting the break early in the second set gave me the chance to try a few more things, play more relaxed, go for my shots more, and then I was able to bring it home, coming back from 0/30 I think in the last game,” Federer said. “So it was a good match for me. I'm actually very happy with my level.”

He will next face Ukraine's Alexander Dolgopolov, who beat Spaniard Feliciano Lopez 7-6(4), 1-6, 6-4.

A little rusty which was to be expected.  Serve was on point though. and he was very aggressive and made some great return serves all good to see.  Here's hoping he only gets better.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Roger Federer's Hopman Cup schedule announced

The Swiss star will compete at the Australian-based mixed competition alongside compatriot Belinda Bencic. Switzerland have been placed in Group B along with the United States, Russia and Japan and will play singles and doubles matches against the competing nations.

Federer’s first match of the tournament will be against Yuichi Sugita on December 30. The world No 2 won his only meeting with the world No 40. He and Bencic will then play a doubles match against Sugita and Naomi Osaka. His first match of 2018, and second of singles contest of the tournament, will be against Russia’s Karen Khachanov before a doubles contest. Federer has also faced Khachanov just once, beating the world No 42 at the grass court tournament in Halle earlier this year.

Federer’s final confirmed singles match of the tournament is with Jack Sock of the United States on January 4. That promises to be the toughest contest of all with Sock up to 21 in the world rankings, however Federer has won all three of their meetings. Coco Vandeweghe will join Sock to face Federer and Bencic in doubles afterwards.

Monday, October 09, 2017

Roger Federer enjoying the ride in pursuit of year end world #1

An athlete with as prolific a global profile as Roger Federer’s is typically accustomed to being chauffeured around at events. Always one to try keeping it real when away from the glare of the spotlight, however, it may come as little surprise the Swiss often prefers to jump behind the wheel – or in the case of the Shanghai Rolex Masters on Monday – jump on the Metro to make his way to the tournament site.

The No. 2 seed at this year’s penultimate ATP World Tour Masters 1000 event, Federer arrived in Shanghai earlier than usual to resume his hunt for a record-equalling sixth year-end Emirates ATP Rankings No. 1 spot. The stint on the Metro train was a first for his trips to China.

“The Metro experience was a great one,” he said. “I grew up on public transport when I was younger in Switzerland. I used to take either tram, train, or bus to practice on a daily basis, and then also a lot of the train until about 20 years old, going to tournaments even to Italy, even internationally. So for me it's something very normal.

“With the tournament, we looked at something I haven't done really before. We have wanted to do it once as well in New York to go in the subway and stuff, but it ended up never happening, and during the tournament it's kind of difficult to organise … It's nice to be in a beautiful car and everything, but it's nice to go do that.”

Catching the Metro is not something Federer, admittedly, is often able to do in day-to-day life – and it’s not just because of his public profile. The 36 year old prefers to drive himself around, whenever the chance arises.

“The thing is I'm always just in the car because I love driving my own cars, to be honest,” Federer said. “That's why I drive probably. At 40 per cent of the tournaments I drive myself – Australia, Indian Wells, Miami, Cincinnati, Basel, you name it. There are so many tournaments. Stuttgart, I drove all myself. I like that. I don't always need public transport anymore, but sometimes I jump on the tram or on the bus or on the train with my kids real quick.

“It does happen sometimes. In Switzerland I know can I do it. In other countries where I'm not that experienced and I don't quite know the routes, I'd rather just take the car naturally.”

Federer returns to Shanghai for his first tour-level match since the US Open four weeks ago. He won on the fast hard courts in Shanghai three years ago and also when the Nitto ATP Finals were played there 10 years ago.

The No. 2 seed is pitted in the same half of the draw as recent Nitto ATP Finals qualifier, German Alexander Zverev, with the pair due to face off in the semi-finals in what would be a rematch of their Coupe Rogers final in Montreal, where Zverev triumphed.

“I couldn't be happier with the season, to be quite honest,” Federer said. “I'm relieved that I'm feeling better since the American summer and Canada. It would be nice to pick up one more title, maybe a couple more would be nice, and then get into training and start again next year.”

The Swiss will open against the winner of Rakuten Japan Open semi-finalist Diego Schwartzman and Australian qualifier Jordan Thompson in the second round.

Sunday, October 08, 2017

Martina Hingis & Chan Yung Jan China Open Champions!

China Open Twitter

BEIJING, China -- The exceptional play of Chan Yung-Jan and Martina Hingis continues in 2017, as the No.1 seeds eased to the China Open title on Sunday, dispatching No.4 seeds Timea Babos and Andrea Hlavackova, 6-1, 6-4.

"I've had success at China Open in the past," said Hingis, after the match, "so it's always nice to come back and relive the past memories, and create new ones by winning the trophy once again. We had some great fan support during the whole week and are very pleased with our performance today."

"It's always nice to be back in Beijing," Chan told the press after the final. "Definitely the tournament to look forward at the end of the season -- glad we've made it solid and strong again."

Chan and Hingis have now won nine titles this year, including their first Grand Slam title together at the US Open. They are currently in the midst of a staggering 18-match winning streak, and will go into the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global as one of the favorites.

"I think we were really aggressive from the beginning," Chan explained. "That's why we had quite a quick first set. We are both very happy with our performance."

Hingis agreed, saying "it was a great tournament for Latisha and I, and we are very happy we were able to show some good tennis out there."

Babos and Hlavackova could not clinch their fourth championship of the year, but still had a terrific week, during which they ousted No.2 seeds and Wimbledon champions Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina, and became the fifth team to qualify for the BNP Paribas WTA Finals in Singapore.

Hingis and Chan, the No.1 and No.2-ranked doubles players in the world, got off to a flyer of a start, winning the first three games of the match courtesy of excellent volleys by the Swiss veteran and strong groundstrokes from the Taiwanese star.

Good serving by Hlavackova, bolstered by some powerful Babos volleys, helped the Czech/Hungarian tandem get on the board for 3-1. But that would be the extent of their success during the first set.

Babos’s serve was broken for the second time in the set after a stunning service return by Chan on break point forced an error from the fourth-seeded team. With a 5-1 lead, Hingis stepped up to serve out the set, and came back from 0-30 in the game to hold when a service return went long.

The aggressive game of Babos and Hlavackova started to pay dividends in the competitive second set. Strong serving and volleying in the first game helped them fend off two break points and hold for 1-0, and the tilt was more evenly matched from that point forward.

Nevertheless, it was Chan and Hingis who claimed the only break of the second set at 3-3. With Hlavackova serving, the game went to a deciding point, and a fiery Chan forehand was too much to handle, giving the top seeds the crucial one-break lead.

With Hingis clicking on her commanding backhand, and Chan finding her rhythm in the forecourt, the single break was all they needed to sweep to victory. Hlavackova saved a match point at 5-3 with a brave overhead, but Chan served out the match at 5-4 when the Czech hit a return into the net on the third championship point.

2 years ago at this time Martina won the title with Sania Mirza, facing off with Chan Yung Jan and her sister in final.  

Now she's won it with her by her side.  They really are unstoppable at the moment.  They continue like this next year, and they might just beat the 15 titles Martina got with Mirza in 2015.

Saturday, October 07, 2017

Martina Hingis & Chan Yung Jan to play Mirza/Peng in semis again this time in Beijing

BEIJING, China - No.3 seeds Peng Shuai and Sania Mirza rallied from a set down to complete the semifinal lineup at the China Open on Friday, seeing off No.5 seeds Barbora Strycova and Katerina Siniakova in a match tiebreak, 4-6, 6-2, 10-7.

"Today was a really good win for Sania and me. It's the first time we played them, and they didn't play together before, but they're really strong as a team," Peng said of the Czech duo.

"We were down in the first set, and then the second set, we weren't really into it, but I think the turning point was in the fifth game. We were down, and we came back to hold, and then won four games in a row.

"In the tiebreak, we just tried to fight, and are happy to be in the semifinals."

The top four seeds will contest the semifinals at the WTA Premier Mandatory event, after three of the duos advanced courtesy of a match tiebreak in quarterfinal action.

The win for the No.3 seeds sets up a semifinal clash against top seeds and US Open champions Chan Yung-Jan and Martina Hingis, who defeated Gabriela Dabrowski and Xu Yi-Fan in the other quarterfinal, 6-3, 6-2.

The result of the match has implications in the Porsche Race to Singapore, as if Mirza and Peng lose the match, then Anna-Lena Groenefeld and Kveta Peschke, as well as Dabrowski and Xu will qualify for the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global.

Tuesday, October 03, 2017

Martina Hingis & Chan Yung Jan into the quarters of China Open in Bejing

Chan Yung-jan yesterday knocked out fellow Taiwanese Hsieh Su-wei in the second round of the doubles at the China Open, while younger sister Chan Hao-ching was also ousted in Beijing.

Top seeds Chan Yung-jan and Martina Hingis, bidding to claim their ninth title of the season, had to rally from a set down before defeating Hsieh and Monica Niculescu of Romania 3-6, 6-4, 12-10 in 1 hour, 25 minutes on Moon Court at the National Tennis Center in the Chinese capital.

The Taiwanese-Swiss duo, ranked the No. 2 and No. 1 doubles players in the world by the WTA, saved two of six break points and converted all three they created to advance to a quarter-final against Gabriela Dabrowski of Canada and Xu Yifan of China, who defeated Lyudmyla Kichenok of Ukraine and Raluca Olaru of Romania 7-5, 7-5.

The top seeds are bidding for their second straight doubles title in China after winning the Wuhan Open on Saturday.

Monday, October 02, 2017

Martina Hingis returns to world #1 in doubles

Hall of Famer Martina Hingis reclaimed the top spot on the WTA Doubles rankings on Monday after winning her eighth title of 2017 and a fourteenth straight match at the Dongfeng Motor Wuhan Open alongside regular partner Chan Yung-Jan.

Martina Hingis returns to WTA World No.1 in doubles today, October 2 following a trophy-laden season, capturing her eighth title of 2017 at the Dongfeng Motor Wuhan Open alongside Chan Yung-Jan on her 37th birthday on Saturday.

This Swiss star has previously held the top doubles ranking for 66 non-consecutive weeks, having first captured the No.1 spot on June 8, 1998 at 17-years-old to become the youngest-ever doubles No.1. She is also the last player to win a Calendar Year Grand Slam in singles or doubles, winning all four major titles in 1998: the Australian Open with Mirjana Lucic-Baroni and the reamining three with Jana Novotna.

In 2017, Hingis clinched eight titles, including her 13th Grand Slam doubles trophy at the US Open, as well as at the BNP Paribas Open, Mutua Madrid Open, Internazionali BNL d'Italia, Mallorca Open, Aegon International Eastbourne, Western & Southern Open and the Dongfeng Motor Wuhan Open (all w/Chan).

She is currently riding a 14-match winning streak, having not lost a match since the Rogers Cup quarterfinal in August, and was among the first two teams to qualify for the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global, a tournament she has won three times (most recently in 2015 with Sania Mirza).

Hingis also captured a two mixed doubles titles in 2017, partnering Jamie Murray to take home the Wimbledon and US Open crowns, upping her total Grand Slam haul to 25 across all three disciplines.

Hingis most last occupied the top spot the week of August 15, 2016, and now matches Jana Novotna for 13th most weeks atop the WTA doubles rankings with 67 weeks at No.1.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Martina Hingis celebrates her 37th Birthday winning 3rd consecutive title with Chan Yung Jan in Wuhan

Yung Jan Chan Twitter

Latisha Chan Facebook

WUHAN, China - Top seeds Chan Yung-Jan (Leticia) and Martina Hingis marched to their third consecutive title after taking down Shuko Aoyama and Yang Zhaoxuan at the 2017 Dongfeng Motor Wuhan Open, 7-6(5), 3-6, 10-4.

“It's nice to celebrate [my birthday] with a victory, obviously, and with a great partner to do it with,” said Hingis, who turned 37 today. “We're looking forward to the after party, so…

“It's my third time obviously here in Wuhan. It's even more special now with Leticia because she kind of guided me through this week. It was nice.”

Chan and Hingis came into the matchup with the knowledge that, regardless of the outcome of the final, Hingis would replace Lucie Safarova as No.1 in the WTA rankings on Monday for her 67th non-consecutive week at top spot, and Chan would occupy the No.2 spot – her career-best ranking.

The recent US Open champions hadn’t dropped a set en route to the final in Wuhan, but faced a tough challenge against the unseeded team, who was bidding to win their first Premier-level title.

The top seeds dropped serve in the opening game and spent the whole first set playing catch-up before forcing a tiebreak, where they finally pulled away. But Yang and Aoyama struck back in the second, recovering from an early break to reel off five games in a row. Chan and Hingis finally edged through in the match tiebreak to wrap up the match after an hour and 48 minutes.

“Martina and I have been performing very well this year,” Chan said. “We have won many matches. We have been through many difficult matches. We were very confident. Also, we have belief in each other. I'm very happy today that we won this match.”

With the victory, Chan and Hingis have now won 14 consecutive matches and last tasted defeat against Anna-Lena Groenefeld and Kveta Peschke at Toronto in August.

They sit firmly in first place in the Road to Singapore standings and have already qualified for the season-ending BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global.

Hingis added: “It's pretty cool to go with a victory into next week because I'm going back to No.1. Leticia is highest ranking No. 2.

“Right now we feel like we are the team to beat, the hot team till the end. It's a nice position to be in.”

Friday, September 29, 2017

Martina Hingis & Chan Yung Jan reach finals of Wuhan Open

Yung Jan Chan Twitter

WUHAN, China - Top seeds Chan Yung-Jan and Martina Hingis reached yet another final as they defeated Sania Mirza and Peng Shuai at the Dongfeng Motor Wuhan Open.

They will face Shuko Aoyama and Yang Zhaoxuan, who received a walkover into the final when Ashleigh Barty and Casey Dellacqua withdrew from the competition; the 21-year-old cited fatigue after beating Jelena Ostapenko 6-3, 6-0 to reach the singles final.

Aoyama and Yang progressed through the quarterfinals when second seeds Elena Vesnina and Ekaterina Makarova retired in the first set.

Chan and Hingis are looking for their eighth title of the year in Wuhan, and won the US Open earlier in the month.

Interesting score 7/6 6/4. They continue to win matches without losing a set since the U.S. Open. Impressive. 

Thursday, September 28, 2017

#1 seeds Martina Hingis & Chan Yung Jan roll on at Wuhan Open

WUHAN, China -- No.1 seeds and US Open champions Chan Yung-Jan and Martina Hingis rolled through their quarterfinal match on Thursday, leading a handful of highly-seeded doubles teams into the semifinals of the Dongfeng Motor Wuhan Open.

The Taiwanese/Swiss pair dismantled the No.6 seeds, Germany's Anna-Lena Groenefeld and Kveta Peschke of the Czech Republic, 6-1, 6-0. The top-seeded team never faced a break point during the 45-minute encounter.

Chan and Hingis have been on a tear all year, having already won seven titles, which will lead to Hingis reclaiming the World No.1 ranking from Lucie Safarova next week. They were one of the first teams to qualify for the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global, and look to be headed into the season finale in incredible form.

Another pairing who have already qualified for Singapore, No.2-seeded Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina, were not as fortunate. The Russian teammates, who won Wimbledon earlier in the year, were forced to retire while trailing 3-4 to the unseeded pair of Shuko Aoyama of Japan and Yang Zhaoxuan of China.

Ashleigh Barty and Casey Dellacqua, seeded No.4, will be the opponents for Aoyama and Yang in the Wuhan semifinals, as they eased past 5th-seeded Gabriela Dabrowski and Xu Yifan, 6-3, 6-4.

The Australians have also already punched their ticket to the WTA Finals, and Barty in particular is having a superb week in Wuhan, making the semifinals in singles as well as doubles.

Rounding out the final four teams in Wuhan are the No.3 seeds Sania Mirza and Peng Shuai, who eked out a win over 7th-seeded Alicja Rosolska and Abigail Spears, 3-6, 6-3, 10-5. Rosolska and Spears led the match tiebreak 3-0 before Mirza and Peng reeled off 10 of the last 12 points to claim victory.

The Indian/Chinese tandem, comprised of two former World No.1 players in doubles, are having strong success in only their fifth tournament together. They will take on the top seeds in the semifinals, meaning Mirza will be across the net from Hingis, her long-time former doubles partner, in the next round.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Martina Hingis and Chan Yung Jan cruise into quarters at Wuhan Open

Taiwan’s Chan Yung-jan and Martina Hingis of Switzerland cruised into the quarter-finals of the doubles at the Wuhan Open yesterday, while Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei gave top seed Kristyna Pliskova a fright in the first round of the singles at the Tashkent Open.

Chan and Hingis took just 57 minutes to complete a 6-1, 6-2 second-round victory over Raquel Atawo of the US and Darija Jurak of Croatia.

The top seeds saved two of three break points and converted five of seven, winning 53 of the 86 points contested to advance to the quarter-finals.

Monday, September 25, 2017

ATP NextGen Tournament to test all-electronic line calls

LONDON — There won't be anyone for players to argue calls with at this tennis tournament: They're getting rid of the line judges entirely.

The men's tour announced Monday that the Next Gen ATP Finals, a season-ending event for top 21-and-under players, will feature electronic line-calling for all shots. It's the first time this is being tried at an ATP tournament.

The Next Gen ATP Finals will be held in Milan, Italy, from Nov. 7-12.

The Hawk-Eye Live system will employ the same technology currently used for replay reviews at other tournaments when players contest a line judge's call. But this time, each call will be final. When there is a close shot, screens at the stadium will show a video replay so the competitors and spectators can see precisely where the ball landed.

The only official at each match will be the chair umpire.

The event also will showcase other experimental rules changes, including four-game sets, no lets and a serve clock.

I know a lot of people are debating, and maybe not liking all these changes and experimentations. 

But I'm loving it personally.  It's good for a sport to try new things and stay current.  

And there's no other way to do that than through some trial and error. 

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Roger Federer clinches Laver Cup victory for team Europe

 This image will forever be burned in my mind 

Laver Cup Facebook

Roger Federer delivered the Laver Cup for Team Europe with a nail-biting win over Nick Kyrgios on Sunday.

The inaugural tournament came down to the final match after Team World's John Isner upset Rafael Nadal, but Federer would have the final say to secure a 15-9 score-line.

The world No 2 won 4-6 7-6 11-9 against Kyrgios to avoid a deciding match that, for long periods, appeared to be on the cards.

The third and final day began with Team Europe enjoying a 9-3 advantage but Jack Sock and John Isner added three points to Team World's tally by beating Tomas Berdych and Marin Cilic in doubles action.

Alexander Zverev beat Sam Querrey 6-4 6-4 to give Team Europe an overall 12-6 lead, and hand Nadal the opportunity to seal victory.

But world No 1 Nadal suffered a surprise 7-5 7-6 loss to Isner forcing him to hand the baton to team-mate Federer, who eventually got the job done.