Archive for February, 2010

28
Feb
10

Djokovic wins despite the rain to repeat as Champion.

Novak Djokovic won the Barclays Dubai Championships final, defeating Mikhail Youzhny 7-5 5-7 6-3.

The defending champion, who led 7-5 2-0 on Saturday when rain forced the players off the court for a second time, was taken to a third set before seeing off his Russian opponent.

World number three Djokovic was far from his best but the Serbian – winner of the 2008 Australian Open – prevailed on a day when there were seven breaks of serve in 19 games.

28
Feb
10

Kleybanova wins her first WTA title.

 Alisa Kleybanova fired a barrage of powerful baseline shots and aces to clinch the crown over compatriot Elena Dementieva in the final of the Malaysian Open on Sunday.

The 21-year-old Kleybanova dominated the match in humid conditions and won 6-3, 6-2 in just over 100 minutes.

Fourth seed Kleybanova pressured first seed Dementieva into making unforced errors to gain her first WTA title, for which she pockets 37,000 dollars.

Kleybanova was intelligent with her serves, setting up easy forehand hits to win points.

“Yes, I am definitely happy to win the tournament. It has been a tough week for me,” she said.

The match was suspended in the first set for 95 minutes due to rain.

On resumption, Kleybanova continued to play an aggressive game and stayed with the rallies, unintimidated by 28-year-old seventh-ranked Dementieva’s booming baseline shots.

Dementieva pushed Kleybanova out of the court on many occasions but Kleybanova’s deep baseline volleys and precision returns won her points.

Both players fought hard but Kleybanova outclassed Dementieva in all aspects of the game and scored four aces.

28
Feb
10

Everything is ‘cool’ between Tomic and Hewitt.

Bernard Tomic insists everything is now “cool” in his relationship with Lleyton Hewitt after a belated exchange of phone calls between the two biggest names in Australian men’s tennis.

Hewitt had been offended by a perceived snub from Tomic at Wimbledon last year, when the young star turned down an invitation to practise with the former world No.1.

Tomic said it was a misunderstanding as he had been suffering from swine flu.

The 17-year-old phoned Hewitt in December to try and clear the air.

Hewitt called back last week on the eve of the upcoming Davis Cup tie against Taiwan, where Tomic is set to become Australia’s youngest-ever competitor.

“I called Lleyton in December and it was good to hear back from him about a week [ago],” Tomic said on Saturday.

“We spoke, we’ve fixed it all up, it was just a bit of a misunderstanding we had, but we’re all cool now which is the main thing.”

Tomic said he was unconcerned that it took Hewitt more than two months to get back in touch.

“We wanted to focus on the summer, which is probably why I called him and he didn’t call back [until February],” he said.

“There was the Australian Open coming up and a big season.

“He gave me a call after that which was good and we’ve sorted it out.”

Long-time Davis Cup warrior Hewitt is unavailable for the March 5-7 tie against Taiwan at Melbourne Park as he recovers from post-Australian Open hip surgery.

28
Feb
10

This week was David Ferrer’s turn to win.

David Ferrer avenged his loss to Juan Carlos Ferrero in the final at Buenos Aires last week to claim the title at the Abierto Mexicano Telcel tournament in Acapulco.

Third seed Ferrer won 6-3 3-6 6-1 in one hour and 47 minutes to lift his first title since his home-town success at Valencia in 2008.

It also meant Ferrero was denied a hat-trick of ATP Tour titles after his impressive form during the Latin American clay-court swing had seen the former world number one win in Costa do Sauipe and Buenos Aires.

28
Feb
10

Venus makes it WTA title #43 in Acapulco.

 Venus Williams came from a set down to defend her Mexican Open title, she defeated Polona Hercog of Slovenia 2-6, 6-2, 6-3, who was appearing in her first WTA final.

It was Williams’ second consecutive WTA title, this one on clay and another a week ago on hard courts in Dubai, and pushed her career total to 43 WTA titles, the most by an active player.

Williams started slowly and got into trouble with an erratic serve and ground strokes that were often long. Hercog showed poise in winning the first set and seldom missed a shot.

The American gained her composure in the second set and began to wear down the 19-year-old, hitting the corners more often and opening the court.

“I played such a good opponent,” Williams said. “In the first set she did not miss one shot and I had to find a way to get into the match.”

As she did when she won last year, Williams donned a huge sombrero, known as a “charro,” the type worn by Mexico Mariachi musicians, and turned to salute the crowd.

She suggested she’ll be back next year for at shot at three straight.

“I would love to come next year,” she said. “I have to make it three, a hat trick. I think I can do it. It’s not an easy tournament to win, as you can see this year.”

It was Williams’ first tournament of the season on clay, and she was pushed to three sets in the last three matches by lower rated opponents.

Williams defeated Spain’s Laura Pios Tio in the quarter-finals (ranked No. 399), Edina Gallovits in the semi-finals (No. 164) and the 60th-ranked Hercog in the final.

Williams came from 5-1 down in the final set to win the quarter-finals against Pous Tio, cheered on by fans chanting “Venus, Venus.”

“It’s too bad Mexican fans can’t follow me around the world and give me that support,” Williams said. “I’m going to miss it.”

27
Feb
10

Play will resume on Sunday……….

The final of the Barclays Dubai Tennis Championships between Novak Djokovic and Mikhail Youzhny will resume on Sunday after rain halted play.

Defending champion Djokovic was leading 7-5 2-0 when rain forced the players off the court for a second time on Saturday.

Play had initially been suspended in the first game of the second set and Djokovic just had time to hold serve and then break his Russian opponent before another downpour.

The Serbian had earlier taken a rollercoaster first set with his third break of serve, and fifth in total, as Youzhny served at 5-6 down.

27
Feb
10

Cilic is the youngest payer in next week’s Davis Cup.

A quick age count of the players involved in next week’s Davis Cup World Group first round reveals some interesting facts.

For instance, Argentina has the youngest team, possessing a combined age of just 94, and is also the most inexperienced. Despite all four players being ranked inside the world’s Top 100, they have only contested six rubbers in total, with Horacio Zeballos and Eduardo Schwank yet to make their debuts.

Zeballos and Schwank are not the only potential debutantes. If selected, USA’s John Isner, France’s Julien Benneteau, Germany’s Simon Greul, Croatia’s Antonio Veic, Spain’s Marcel Granollers and Chile’s Jorge Aguilar will also be playing for the first time.

Marin Cilic, the world No. 9 from Croatia, is the youngest player. The 21-year-old, who has a September birthday, will more than likely line up alongside Ivo Karlovic. The two Croats stand at 6’ 6” and 6’ 10” respectively, making them the tallest singles combination.

India, on the other hand, has the oldest team. Leander Paes, 36, and Mahesh Bhupathi, 35, contribute to a combined age of 126. With greater age, however, comes greater experience. Paes and Bhupathi, together with Somdev Devvarman and Rohan Bopanna, have played 196 rubbers, which is 46 more than any other nation.

On the subject of long serving players, Ecuador’s Nicolas Lapentti, who postponed his retirement plans to feature against Croatia, is one to look out for. He is currently in the Davis Cup history books for winning the most number of five-set singles rubbers, 13, and is also on the verge of breaking a number of his nation’s records, including total wins and ties played.

27
Feb
10

“It’s a great life we have,” says Caroline Wozniacki.

 Caroline Wozniacki and Victoria Azarenka are laughing at themselves. They were the first of the WTA players to participate in the two-day fashion shoot at the airport, and they took in the event with a mixture of anxiety, good cheer and camaraderie.

They’re in tiny dresses, skyscraper heels, with hair styled in a way that can only be described as quiff-couture and trowel-loads of hot pink make-up. And they’re screaming with uncontrollable laughter.

Asked by an increasingly exasperated photographer and shoot director to act angry, fierce and pull at each other’s jewellery as if they were fighting in front of an audience of surprised duty-free shoppers the two friends collapse into giggles every time they caught sight of the other’s quiff.

“It’s too funny,” Azarenka says as she tries to catch her breath. “It’s hard to act angry off the court. Can we do something like we like each other? At the end?” It’s fascinating to see the friendships that exist on the ten-month tour. While an outsider might think it’s a lonely, competitive existence where you have more rivals than mates, Wozniacki and Azarenka are quick to dispel that myth.

“It’s a great life we have,” says Danish star Wozniacki. “We play tennis and that’s what I love to do and to be able to live from your hobby is just great. “I have a lot of friends on the tour, Victoria is one of my best friends. It’s nice to have some good friendships on the tour.” Azarenka, sitting nearby having her hair styled, shoots back a retort. “We’re friends?” Wozniacki pauses for a moment. “So you’re not one of my good friends?”

“Well, I’m one of yours. But I don’t know if you’re one of mine,” deadpans Azarenka, before they both start to laugh. “On the court, of course we want to win and we have the rivalry, but once we’re off the court we’re good friends again,” says Wozniacki. “We eat dinner we go to the movies, we go shopping.”

Azarenka adds that she’s planning a holiday with some of her tennis mates. “It’s normal for us, we compete, we see each other every week, so you get to know people. I like these girls and we always hang out.”

27
Feb
10

An update from Ana Ivanovic…..

I’m currently training in California with my new coach Heinz Gunthardt. Things are going well: I am learning a lot from him, and I’m feeling more confident about my game.

The timing of the New York exhibition couldn’t be any better, considering that we have just started working together: it gives us the opportunity to try some things out in a serious setting, but one that is not as pressured as a tournament.

After the New York exhibition it’s not too long before the two big tournaments in Indian Wells and Miami begin, and Heinz will be there too. After those events we will evaluate our work together and decide where to go from there. Hopefully it will be long-term.

I’ve been practising hard and haven’t done anything especially interesting in the evenings. I was very eager to get back onto the practice court as soon as my injury cleared up, and we haven’t wasted any time, practising twice a day most days.

We will monitor the health of my shoulder. We have to be careful, and it could influence how many tournaments I can enter in the next few months. I want to play more matches, but I must manage it properly.

26
Feb
10

Djokovic v. Youzhny in Dubai Final.

Novak Djokovic was again forced to battle from a set down to seal his place in the final of the Dubai Tennis Championships at the expense of Marco Baghdatis.

In what has proved a tricky tournament for seeds, the world number three was on the brink of elimination in the second round against compatriot Viktor Troicki and again in the quarters against Ivan Ljubicic.

He was again once more in a tricky spot today when Baghdatis claimed the opening set of their semi-final.

But the Serbian hit back to seal a 6-7 (2/7) 6-3 6-4 win and a place in the final against Russia’s Mikhail Youzhny.

Djokovic struggled for rhythm in the opening set, serving five double faults, and was a break down in the second, but took control from there to progress.

Seventh seed Youzhny earlier beat Jurgen Melzer of Austria in two tough sets to book his final place.

The key moment came at 5-5 in the first set, when Melzer slipped to 0-40 on serve and, although he saved two break points, Youzhny converted at the third attempt.

He went on to take the second on a tie-break for a 7-5 7-6 (7/4) win.

“It was a tough match,” he said on http://www.atptour.com. “It was really close for both players.

“I think Jurgen played really well today. He was aggressive. He won a lot of good points. So for me it was really tough.”




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