Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Martina Hingis & Chan Yung Jan set to make Singapore return this time as a duo

Martina Hingis and Chan Yung-Jan were on opposite sides of the net at last year's BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global, but have won five titles since pairing up in February and aim for a strong finish to the 2017 season in Singapore.

Martina Hingis and Chan Yung-Jan are one of the first doubles teams to qualify for the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global. A three-time doubles champion at the WTA Finals, Hingis will be making her eighth appearance at the season-ending event, while Chan will be making her fourth appearance.

After being fierce rivals throughout much of the 2016 season, when Hingis was partnered with Sania Mirza and Chan played with her sister Chan Hao-Ching, the Swiss-Chinese Taipei duo joined forces in February and have won five titles this season, including two Premier Mandatory titles at the BNP Paribas Open and Madrid Open.

WTA Insider caught up with the experienced duo to talk about their successful partnership and why qualifying for Singapore means so much

WTA Insider: You were both playing in Singapore last year on opposite sides of the net. Did you think it was going to be possible that you were going to be qualifying for Singapore as a team?

Hingis: I think at that time we didn't think much about what was going to happen in the future, especially Latisha because she was playing with her sister. So I had some work to do too. It's not easy to break up the family (laughs). But now it's nice to be back and qualify for Singapore and I'm just really enjoying this partnership and really enjoying our next challenges.

WTA Insider: Last year Martina, you split with Sania Mirza in the middle of the season, and then reunited for Singapore. Will it mean more for you to come to Singapore as a unit that's been together for the whole year?

We knew each other's games. We didn't split up a long time ago before we played Singapore. So we knew what to expect from one another. We had played together for two years and for that week we tried to make it work. There's not much time to look back. Those are the eight best teams in the world and every match is a tough one. We won two years ago, we made semifinals last year. I'm looking forward to going back. Just qualifying for Singapore means a lot. To be steady and have a very high standard the whole year, it's a reward that you go to Singapore.

WTA Insider: Latisha, you and your sister were one of the toughest teams for Martina and Sania. You were the last team to beat them before they went on a 41-match winning streak. Did it feel like, if you can't beat them, you might as well join her?

Chan: It feels funny to talk about it because it was just last year. Since February we started to play together and it didn't take much time for us to qualify for Singapore. I think it's a pretty good effort as a team. I have enjoyed a lot to play with one of my toughest opponents. I'm very much looking forward to everything that's going to happen in Singapore.

WTA Insider: It was a good start in the Middle East but it really started to get going for you at Indian Wells. You've now won five titles, two of the first three Premier Mandatories. Could you have expected this much so soon?

We were hoping for success. Obviously we felt good together in that practice session. I think that's why we chose to actually play together and team up. We are very determined players and you always set very high goals. Latisha has been in Grand Slam finals before, I've done a few things (laughs). We aim for every high stakes and I think we deserve it. I think our results match up with what we expected to do.

WTA Insider: Do you have a favorite title run so far?

Every single title means a lot to us because every title has a different story behind it. I think the most important thing is no matter what happens we support each other. Because as a player you can't feel good every single day, but that's what your partner is here for. She's here to support you and to understand that and if you're not doing well I'll be there for you. I think that's the very strong part of partnership, to trust each other. That's why at some tough matches we can survive and there have been many tough matches. It's not just the tennis side, it's the mental side. I think that's one of our strengths.

WTA Insider: How important is it when you're a new team is it to spend time together off-court?

Hingis: For me that's always been the key to success. I think every time I play with someone, you do spend automatically a lot of time together on and off-court. That's what makes it special and that's what makes it nice to be on tour. You travel 35-40 weeks a year, you spend more time with your partner than your relatives and family. In my case I have to get along and be able to give everything and trust the partner. That's what makes it work and click at the end of the day. You reach a little higher, stronger, and try a little bit harder every time.

WTA Insider: What are the pros and cons of going from paying with your sister to playing with one of the greatest doubles players of all time?

Chan: Playing with my sister and Martina is totally different. Martina is a very easy-going person and she's always nice with everybody. Sometimes I have my emotions but she always takes it easy and she talks to me. We speak about everything. When I don't feel good I talk to her and we try and find a way. She understands how I feel.

I'm a bit younger than her. She has more experience than I do so sometimes she can give me good advice. It's not just a partnership. I think I've learned quite a few things from her.

WTA Insider: On the evolution of the doubles game. It used to be about getting to net. The modern game has turned into a combination of power and finesse. Talk about the contrast on the court.

Hingis: I think my partners in the past have been like Latisha, other than Jana Novotna who used to serve and volley. I'm more of a technical player and strategic on the court, someone with the power that Latisha brings to the game is definitely key. It makes it difficult for the opponents to know what to expect. When they get the ball from Latisha it's big and heavy, and then from me, it's more angles and twists and turns. I think that's why we're so successful and why it's been working. I think you see a lot of teams function like that and you try to be better on the given day.

As a team, the way you play with the rules, with the scoring and super tiebreakers, you have to be really focused on the important points, I think we've done that really well. So when it's really close I think we can be the better team in the match. We use each other's strengths really well.

WTA Insider: There have been a lot of shifts in the teams this year. Do you think the fact that you've been able to stick together throughout the season so far that it helps you on those big points as opposed to the newer teams who are still trying to figure themselves out?

Hingis: Definitely, when there is a new team then experience comes in. But on the other hand you don't know what to expect sometimes so you have to be ready for anything to come at you. So there are pros and cons. Sometimes a new partnership can bring new motivation and new energy. So you never know if it's working for you or against you. I think the key is to really have a solid base to build on. Then you can survive the scares that are really crucial moments in the match. Once you get through those, easy peasy, right?

WTA Insider: What are you most looking forward to in your Singapore return?

Chan: Well I'm very excited to return to Singapore again because I'm Asian! The finals mean a lot to all the girls on the tour. To qualify with my new partner, I'm very excited about it. Of course we'll try to win as much as we can. Every girl is aiming for the trophy. So we'll have to put extra energy and focus on the ball and reach the goals that we want.

Hingis: It's the cherry on top of the cake that you get to go to Singapore. It's a long season. You look for that little bit of motivation at the end of the year. Already being there you feel like you really deserve it. The city is beautiful and the tournament is definitely above many others. It's the goal next to the Grand Slams to go to Singapore and if you get home with the trophy, even better!


Monday, August 14, 2017

Roger Federer withdraws from Cincinnati with a tweaked back

Roger Federer has withdrawn from the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati. The seven-time champion said on Monday that a back injury will force him to miss the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournament this week.

“I am very sorry to pull out of the Western & Southern Open as I always enjoy playing here,” Federer said. “Cincinnati has some of the best fans in the world and I am sorry I will miss them. Unfortunately, I tweaked my back in Montreal and I need to rest this week.”

Federer fell in the Coupe Rogers final to Alexander Zverev, the first title match the Swiss has lost this season (5-1 record). His withdrawal guarantees Rafael Nadal will return to No. 1 in the Emirates ATP Rankings when the new rankings are released on Monday 21 August. Nadal has spent 141 weeks at the top spot but hasn't been No. 1 since 6 July 2014.


I saw this coming, I mean credit to Zvarev but I could tell Roger was not himself all week in Montreal. 

The fact that his first service percentage was under or just over 50% was the clue. And it also explains his uncharacteristic number of double faults and backhand/forehand errors. 

I'm kind of wishing he hadn't played Montreal, now I'm really worried about his chances in New York even with the rest. 

I'll be happy either way because he's had an amazing 2017, but I really don't want the rest of his year to end on a sad note. 

And I really wanted him to do well at the U.S. Open. 

Now all that is in serious doubt, because we know what tweaking his back does to his game. Staying positive for the moment, but not expecting much at the same time.  Damn :(. 

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Roger Federer into the final of Rogers Cup in Montreal


If Roger Federer was warming up earlier this week in Montreal, the second seed hit a higher gear on Saturday afternoon during his semi-final against Robin Haase at the Coupe Rogers.

The Swiss right-hander struck “Are you kidding?” backhand passes and was untouchable on serve on Court Central. He dropped only nine points on serve (45/54) and hit 28 winners, including nine aces, against Haase, who was playing in his first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 semi-final.

But the 30-year-old Dutchman was eager for the fight, pushing Federer to a second-set tie-break before the all-time great advanced 6-3, 7-6(5) to reach the Montreal title match. The 36 year old will be going for his third Canadian Masters 1000 crown (2004, 2006 in Toronto) and his 27th Masters 1000 title.

But he has never won the Canadian Masters in Montreal. If he wins on Sunday, he'll have won a tour-level crown in 31 cities. Federer will meet #NextGenATP German Alexander Zverev or #NextGenATP Canadian Denis Shapovalov in the final, which will be Federer's sxith of the season. He has now won 16 consecutive matches.

The Swiss right-hander owns a 2-1 advantage against Zverev in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series, including a 6-1, 6-3 victory in the Gerry Weber Open final in Halle in June. Federer has never faced Shapovalov, who's the youngest Masters 1000 semi-finalist (since 1990).

Earlier in the week, Federer talked about struggling to implement his aggressive game plan. In the third round, he dropped the opening set against Spaniard David Ferrer, a player he's now beaten 17 consecutive times.

But Federer was sharp from the start against Haase, breaking twice for a 3-1 lead. He served out the set to 15.

Haase, though, who's hitting top form after battling injuries for years, refused to back down. The right-hander tidied up his service games, striking eight aces and never facing a break point in the second set. But Federer found his way through the tie-break, advancing to the his third Masters 1000 final of the season when Haase lifted a forehand long.

Next week at the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati, Federer will go head-to-head with rival Rafael Nadal to see which player will replace Andy Murray as World No. 1 on August 21.

That's more like it, now take it to another level for the title tomorrow Rog!. 

Also not a fan of the 5 o'clock shadow. Hope he gets rid of it for Cincy next week. 

Roger Federer Assesses QF Win Montreal 2017

Friday, August 11, 2017

Roger Federer stays on course moves into semis at Rogers Cup in Montreal

Roger Federer remains on course to lift his 27th ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title and put pressure on Rafael Nadal in the two-man battle to replace Andy Murray at No. 1 in the Emirates ATP Rankings.

Bidding to capture his first trophy in Montreal – and his third overall in Canada – Federer produced a spellbinding blend of power and finesse to outclass No. 12 seed Roberto Bautista Agut 6-4, 6-4 in 68 minutes on Friday afternoon at the Coupe Rogers. It was his seventh straight win over the Spaniard and Federer is now 34-2 on the season, which includes an ATP World Tour-high five titles.

“It pays off playing aggressively here in Montreal, plus I feel comfortable at net, so why not spend some time there instead of slugging it out from the baseline,” Federer, who won 21 of 25 points at the net, told Brad Gilbert of ESPN after the match. “I think I did a good job again, even though it was tough to control the ball. I got some decent rhythm going.

“Yesterday, I struggled against [David] Ferrer early on, so today was better. I was more committed and a step further in, adjusting my position slightly realising the ball does fly a lot."

The second seed and 2004, 2006 champion (in Toronto) will now challenge Dutchman Robin Haase, who will appear in his first Masters 1000 semi-final on Saturday, for only the second time. The pair met in a Davis Cup World Group play-off in 2012 with Federer winning the rubber 6-1, 6-4, 6-4.

Bautista Agut held firm through the first eight games, effective on serve and also in keeping his position on the baseline. However, the pressure began to tell and the Spaniard faltered on first serve in the ninth game of the first set. Federer surprised Bautista Agut with changes in pace, angle and net rushes, breaking to 15 when his opponent struck his first double fault.

Federer and Bautista Agut exchanged service breaks at the start of the second set. But it was Federer, quick to attack the net off his powerful forehands, who seized control and moved Bautista Agut out of his comfort zone at the baseline.

“I wanted to play a great tournament, and I think I did a good week,” said Bautista Agut. “Today, I felt that I didn’t get into the rhythm of the match and I didn’t feel the ball well. Roger plays very fast and he didn’t want to rally with me, so he went for his shots. To be in the quarter-finals here in Montreal is a very good result for me, also getting hard-court matches under my belt.”

The 36-year-old Federer has not ranked as the World No. 1 since 4 November 2012. With no Emirates ATP Rankings points to defend in the rest of the 2017 season, the Swiss superstar could potentially add to his 302 weeks at the pinnacle of men’s professional tennis as early as 21 August.

“I obviously follow it, because Rafa had an opportunity to get to No. 1 this week," Federer told ESPN television. "I thought it would take a few months to get my teeth into it, but now Rafa is out I obviously know I can make big strides. It’s all connected by great play, but I have to focus on the next match against Haase.”


Better match today, but his first serve really needs to comeback. Below 50 % today for Roger that's just unheard of.

If he does end up having to face Zvarev in the final he may not be able to win without his serve.

Hopefully he can get the feel of the hard court just in time for Cincy and the U.S. Open.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Roger Federer struggles but enters the quarters of Rogers Cup in Montreal

Roger Federer Tumblr 

Tested early and often, Roger Federer overcame a formidable performance from David Ferrer to advance to the Coupe Rogers quarter-finals on Thursday. Federer prevailed 4-6, 6-4, 6-2 in one hour and 57 minutes.

The Swiss kept his bid alive for a first title in Montreal, improving his 2017 hard-court record to 21-1 and bumping his overall win streak to 14 straight. Meeting for the first time in three years, Federer extended his impressive FedEx ATP Head2Head advantage over Ferrer to 17-0.

Ferrer was on the front foot throughout the opener and he would halt Federer's dominant sets-won streak at 32. The ruthless run began in the first round of the Gerry Weber Open in Halle and included his title at Wimbledon and straight-set win over Peter Polansky on Wednesday.

Striking his forehand with great depth and relying on an efficient first serve, Ferrer was unflappable in closing out the 43-minute opener. The Spaniard, who is in top form after claiming his 27th ATP World Tour title two weeks ago in Bastad, struck a deep, penetrating return to snatch the initial break for 3-1. Serving for the first set at 5-4, he would fire a return at Federer's feet, which the Swiss hit into the net. The second seed struck an uncharacteristic 19 unforced errors in the first set, but the tide would take an abrupt turn in the second. After exchanging early breaks, Federer rediscovered his groove, surging ahead with another break in the fifth game.

Federer's Most Dominant Rivalries

Opponent FedEx ATP Head2Head

David Ferrer

Federer 17-0

Mikhail Youzhny

Federer 16-0

Jarkko Nieminen

Federer 15-0

Feliciano Lopez

Federer 12-0

Philipp Kohlschreiber

Federer 11-0

Coming forward more often and playing more aggressive, vintage Federer tennis, the Swiss would turn aside a set point at 5-3 and force a decider in the next game. He would pull away from then on, breaking twice in the third and closing out a spot in the quarter-finals with a volley winner on his first match point.

A two-time champion at the Canadian ATP World Tour Masters 1000 event (2004 & '06 in Toronto), Federer advanced to the quarter-finals in Montreal for the first time since 2009. He will next face Roberto Bautista Agut, after the 12th seed edged Gael Monfils 4-6, 7-6(5), 7-6(2) earlier on Thursday. Federer owns a 6-0 edge in their FedEd ATP Head2Head, most recently prevailing at the Masters 1000 event in Miami earlier this year.

Let's be honest here this was Roger on his off day, his service percentage was well below what it usually is which is why he even lost that first set in the first place. 

Hopefully, this was a one off sub par performance, and it'll be back to business as usual in the next round. 

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Roger Federer back to winning on hard courts and the last 16 in Montreal

Roger Federer eased back into action for the first time since winning his eighth Wimbledon title last month as he claimed victory at the Canadian Masters in Montreal.

Federer, who celebrated his 36th birthday on Tuesday, was not unduly detained by Canada's world number 116 Peter Polansky, winning 6-2 6-1 in 53 minutes.

The Swiss star is seeking his third career title at the tournament, which he last won in 2006 although he has since been a beaten finalist three times.

He could not have made a more comfortable start against the overwhelmed Polansky, whom he broke at the first attempt as he established a 3-0 lead.

Barely threatened on his own serve, Federer took advantage of his second break point to break Polansky once again and take the opener.

Polansky would waste two break points on the Federer serve in the second set but it was academic as the Canadian was broken twice himself to complete the rout.

Sunday, August 06, 2017

Roger Federer, Montreal has a special place in his heart

For Roger Federer, who is playing here for the first time since 2011, there is no one particular memory of Rogers Cup in Montréal that stands out.

By his own admission, his best performances did not come here. He lost in the third round in 2011, the quarterfinals in 2009 and the final in 2007.

But there is one event that Federer will always associate with Rogers Cup in Montréal for the rest of his life: the birth of his first children.

“Before 2010, I remember the Djokovic match [2007 final], a couple of other matches but, for the rest, it’s a bit of a blur to be honest,” he says. “The most important one was when I came in 2009. My girls were two weeks old. It was our first trip. We just got the passports and travelled here. I remember we had an unbelievable time. I was trying to be a dad for the first time, was all out of control in the nicest possible way and it was here in Montréal. So forever, Montréal will be special to me. This year, I’m here without the family so it’ll be a bit more quiet. I’m going to try and focus on playing and resting and sleeping while I can before I see them all again next week.”

This year, the 35-year-old (Federer turns 36 on Tuesday) elected to skip the clay events to focus on his grass court prep. The decision paid off when he won the title in Halle and then went on to lift his eighth Wimbledon cup.

For over a year, Federer has been increasingly selective when choosing the tournaments he competes in. So why Montréal after a six-year absence? “I think I made up my mind about six days ago,” he explained. “I wanted to keep the door open and see at the last minute how I felt after my holidays. When I started training again and saw that I was in good shape, it didn’t take me too much time to find my rhythm. I always want to play more during the second half of the season. I also think that the first six months of the year were positive because I wasn’t injured, I’m in good health and I didn’t spend too much energy even though I played a lot of matches. So I figured that I had trained enough in the past year and that if I was feeling healthy, I would rather play matches than train.”

At today’s media gathering, an Italian journalist raised an interesting detail that local reporters were not aware of: at the 2015 Masters 1000 in Rome, Federer revealed on Italian television that after Centre Court at the All England Club, Uniprix Stadium was his favourite venue in the world. Quite a compliment coming from one of the greatest grass court players of all time.

“What I see here is a soul in the tournament,” he said. “I see a soul on Centre Court. I know the stadium has been around for a while and I like that. The fact that it’s not totally symmetrical as well makes it unique because all the courts are usually either a box or a circle, all the same. I feel like this one is not and I like that. I think the crowds are always good, it’s pretty full all the time. They have day and night sessions too, which is pretty nice, and I think you can sense great energy here in town in Montréal. They’re very excited that tennis is back, they only have this one tournament a year and I feel like the fans make the most of it. I feel it’s a great center court. That’s why I hope to stick around for a bit.”

Friday, August 04, 2017

Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal top 2 seeds at Rogers Cup Montreal

In a sight that many tennis fans wouldn’t have expected at the start of the season, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal are once again the top seeds at an ATP World Tour Masters 1000 event as the Coupe Rogers kicks off next week in Montreal. It marks the first time since 2009 that Federer and Nadal have held the top two spots in Canada.

Federer and Nadal have won four of the five ATP World Tour Masters 1000 events held this year. The Swiss star won both hard-court events in Indian Wells and Miami, while Nadal prevailed in Monte-Carlo and Madrid.

Should Nadal reach the semi-finals in Montreal, he will unseat Andy Murray for the top spot in the Emirates ATP Rankings. Winning the title on Sunday would also have the Spaniard break a tie with Novak Djokovic and set a new record for most ATP World Tour Masters 1000 titles won (31). Federer won't be able to take No. 1 this week, but he could take it later during this American hard-court swing as he and Nadal are in a hot two-way battle for year-end No. 1 honours.

Second seed Federer looks to build on his second Grand Slam title of the year at Wimbledon by winning his first title in Canada since 2006. Federer, who has a first-round bye, is guaranteed to open his week against a Canadian when he plays the winner between wild cards Vasek Pospisil and Peter Polansky. Looming ahead is a possible third-round clash with 15th seed Jack Sock and quarter-final battle with fifth seed and 2016 runner-up Kei Nishikori.

Federer leads his FedEx ATP Head2Head with Nishikori 5-2 and has won their past four matches, including a five-set win this year in the fourth round of the Australian Open. He also leads the rivalry with Sock 3-0 and has yet to drop a set to the American, including in their most recent match this March at the BNP Paribas Open.

Meanwhile, top seed Nadal has a bye in the opening round and will start his campaign against Borna Coric or a qualifier/lucky loser. His draw doesn’t get easier from there, with other potential roadblacks including red-hot 14th seed John Isner or Juan Martin del Potro in the third round and home favourite Milos Raonic, seeded sixth, in the quarter-finals.

If Federer and Nadal make it to the final, it would be their first meeting in Canada. Nadal leads their FedEx ATP Head2Head rivalry 23-14, but Federer has won their past four matches and all three encounters in 2017. Nadal leads 12-6 in their ATP World Tour Masters 1000 matches.

Third seed Thiem is in the same half of the draw as Federer and kicks off his Montreal quest against Diego Schwartzman or a qualifier/lucky loser. The Austrian will be eager to rebound after squandering a match point this week in his third-round loss to Kevin Anderson at the Citi Open.

Fourth seed Alexander Zverev is in the same half of the draw as Nadal and starts out against local wild card Brayden Schnur or Richard Gasquet. The 20-year-old German clinched his maiden ATP World Tour Masters 1000 crown this May in Rome (d. Djokovic).

The most intriguing first-round match will be between Isner and del Potro, with the American riding an eight-match win streak after back-to-back titles this past month in Newport and Atlanta. Other notable first-round matches include Gilles Muller taking on Sam Querrey and Steve Johnson facing Gael Monfils.


Thursday, August 03, 2017

Roger Federer headed to Montreal for Roger's Cup

The next chapter of Roger Federer's remarkable renaissance will take place in Montreal next week, after the Swiss confirmed that he will play the Rogers Cup, which begins on Monday.

Federer has not been to Montreal since 2011, and missed last year's Rogers Cup - a Masters 1000 event that alternates between the Canadian cities of Montreal and Toronto - with injury.

After a six-month absence in the second half of 2016, Federer has enjoyed a stellar year - winning two grand slams, five titles and losing just two matches.

Tuesday, August 01, 2017

Roger Federer & family vacation in Sardinia Italy

And some with Roger and the Wimbledon trophy because there just can't be enough of those ;).

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