Archive for March, 2011

31
Mar
11

The ‘new’ US #1 will have his hands full in the semi final!

Novak Djokovic extended his unbeaten start to the year as he set up a semi-final against new American number one Mardy Fish at the Sony Ericsson Open. The Australian Open champion beat South African Kevin Anderson 6-4 6-2, gaining revenge for a shock defeat to the same unseeded player in their only previous meeting, three years ago at the same Miami event. Djokovic saved five break points and held his serve throughout the match to clinch a clash with Fish in the last four. The 23-year-old Serbian has now won his opening 22 matches of the year and is seeking a fourth title in 2011, having beaten Andy Murray, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal in his three finals so far. He is chasing his second Miami title, having won the event in 2007.

While Djokovic is enjoying a stellar season and stands at number two in the world, Fish, 29, has his own landmark achievement to celebrate. The 29-year-old will overtake Andy Roddick to become the highest-ranked American after reaching the semi-finals by beating Spain’s sixth seed David Ferrer 7-5 6-2. He will climb to at least 11th place when the new lists are published next week.

 

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31
Mar
11

I was much more stable today,” Azarenka said after defeating Kim Clijsters.

Victoria Azarenka beat defending champion Kim Clijsters in straight sets to reach the semi-finals at the Sony Ericsson Open in Miami. After battling from the brink of defeat to win against Ana Ivanovic in the fourth round, Belgian Clijsters was unable to repeat the comeback feat against Azarenka who beat the world number two 6-3 6-3.

“I think I played a little bit more aggressive [than in the past], played more forward, tried to come in more. That was the biggest difference. And physically I was much more stable today,” Azarenka said afterwards. The win gives Azarenka her best result of the season; she reached the quarter-finals at Indian Wells and Sydney. The No. 8 seeded Azarenka and 2009 champion now plays No. 3 seed Vera Zvonareva for a chance to reach the Miami final for the second time in three years. “I have to play at a high level, because she’s a very consistent player,” assessed Azarenka.

Next for Azarenka, the eighth seed from Belarus who landed the Miami title two years ago, will be a clash with Russian Vera Zvonareva. Third seed Zvonareva proved too strong for ninth seed Agnieszka Radwanska as she overcame her Polish opponent 7-5 6-3. Zvonareva said: “I’m pleased the way I played today, and especially against Agnieszka it’s never easy. “She keeps the ball in play, so you really have to focus really well. “I was able to keep my concentration throughout the whole match. There were still ups and downs, but overall I’m really happy. “Especially in those windy conditions, I had to take my chances and come into the net. I was pretty successful out there, so I’m pleased with that as well.”

 

30
Mar
11

“I don’t think I would ever feel like I was the No. 1 American,” Fish said.

Mardy Fish became the top-ranked men’s American player by beating No. 6-seeded David Ferrer 7-5, 6-2 Wednesday to reach the semifinals of the Sony Ericsson Open. The 29-year-old Fish will climb to at least 11th, a career best, in the next rankings. Good friend Andy Roddick will fall from eighth to 14th after losing his opening match last week. “I don’t think I would ever feel like I was the No. 1 American,” Fish said. “Andy has had a pretty good career. You can put his career on top of mine about six times. He’s always going to be the top dog in my generation.”

Fish, seeded 14th, dominated with his serve and took the lead for good when Ferrer hit back-to-back double-faults to lose the 11th game. At 29, Fish is into the Key Biscayne semifinals for the first time. His opponent Friday will be the winner of Wednesday night’s match between No. 2-seeded Novak Djokovic and unseeded Kevin Anderson.

 

30
Mar
11

Federer is being overlooked in Miami….don’t count him out!

Novak Djokovic has targeted a “revenge” victory after setting up a quarter-final against Kevin Anderson at the Sony Ericsson Open. It was at the same Miami tournament three years ago that Anderson produced a shock three-set win over Djokovic, in their only previous meeting. And after Djokovic posted a 6-3 6-2 win over his close friend and Davis Cup team-mate Viktor Troicki, the Serbian – still unbeaten in 2011 – was reminded of that result. “It’s not a nice memory, definitely,” second seed Djokovic said. “But I will have an opportunity to get my revenge on the same court where I lost in 2008. World number 40 Anderson knocked out another player with a renowned serve, American 30th seed John Isner, 6-3 7-6 (7/4) to reach the last eight.

The prospect of Djokovic meeting Rafael Nadal in the final on Sunday moved a step closer as Nadal brushed aside Ukraine’s Alexandr Dolgopolov 6-1 6-2. Dolgopolov had completed a three-set third-round win over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga earlier in the day – a match which began on Monday – and had little left for his match with Nadal. Nadal will face Tomas Berdych, the man he beat in last year’s Wimbledon final, in the quarter-finals. “It’s always a difficult match,” Nadal said. “We know each other. We have played a lot of times, and I know I will have chances against him if I play my best tennis.”

Roger Federer reached the quarter-finals with a brisk 6-3 6-1 win against Belgium’s Olivier Rochus. The world number three had predicted an entertaining match against his long-time friend but it proved a one-sided late-night contest as Federer won in 53 minutes to set up a last-eight clash with France’s Gilles Simon. Simon has beaten Federer in two of their three career meetings but lost to the Swiss in five sets at this year’s Australian Open, their most recent encounter. He secured his quarter-final berth with a 4-6 7-6 (7/5) 6-2 win against Serbian Janko Tipsarevic.

 

30
Mar
11

Ana Ivanovic withdraws from Andalucia tourney to regroup before the Fed Cup.

Ana has withdrawn from the Andalucia Tennis Experience, an International series tournament that will take place in Marbella, Spain, during 4-10 April. She explained: “It is with a heavy heart that I am making this withdrawal. I’ve had so many small things go wrong with my body this past month, and it’s only thanks to the brilliance of my doctor that I’ve been able to compete in Indian Wells and Miami.

“I’ve been doing therapy every day and it’s taken its toll. I don’t feel I can continue struggling this way, onto another tournament. I need a break, and unfortunately that means that I have decided to withdraw from Marbella. “I am very sorry to anyone who was hoping to see me play there this year, and I wish the organizers a very successful tournament.”

Ana’s next scheduled event is the Fed Cup World Group Play-Off against Slovakia in Bratislava on April 16-17.

 

30
Mar
11

Sharapova commented on her ankle. “It hurt when I did it. I’ve iced it a lot, did an ice bath and got it taped. I’ll be okay. I’m tough.”

It has been over two years since Maria Sharapova graced the Top 10 but that period will come to an end after this tournament, as the Russian secured a return to the elite with a dramatic 36 76(6) 76(5) win over Alexandra Dulgheru to reach the semifinals of the Sony Ericsson Open. Sharapova, the No.16 seed at the $4.5-million event, was playing the No.26-seeded Dulgheru for the first time and had her hands full the entire time, losing the first set and surviving a tight 90-minute second set in which she was down 4-3 and 6-5, as well as two points away from losing at 6-all in the tie-break.

“It was long. It was tough. It was not my best performance, but I gutted it out until the end,” Sharapova said. “I was making too many errors and my opponent was playing really well and consistent and even though I had the lead, I never took care of it. But at the end of the day I won, so I’m really happy tonight. “Sometimes it takes more than just playing well.” Sharapova commented on the ankle in her post-match presser. “It hurt when I did it. I’ve iced it a lot, did an ice bath and got it taped. I’ll be okay. I’m tough.”

Sharapova is projected to return to the Top 10 given her results here. It will be an amazing 240th week among the elite, her first 239 all coming consecutively between July 5, 2004 (right after she won Wimbledon) until February 1, 2009 (after she was unable to play the Australian Open, where she had won the year before, due to her well-documented right shoulder injury lay-off). Next for Sharapova is No.21 seed Andrea Petkovic. They are tied in their head-to-head series, 1-1, with Sharapova winning handily in Cincinnati last year and Petkovic getting revenge in Australia this year, 62 63.

 

30
Mar
11

Ivanovic chokes under pressure against Clijsters after leading 5-1.

Defending champion Kim Clijsters came back from the brink of defeat as she saved five match points to beat Ana Ivanovic at the Sony Ericsson Open in Miami. Second seed Clijsters reached the fourth round with a 7-6 (7/4) 3-6 7-6 (7/5) success, but at 5-1 behind and then at 0-40 on her own serve in the deciding set she had looked like going out. The Belgian clawed her way back into the set, before edging the tie-break against her Serbian opponent. Clijsters said: “I think because I have been on the tour for many years, you realise you have to keep trying until the last point is played.”

Ivanovic, a former world number one, admitted the defeat had left her tearful. “You should see my racquet. I kind of broke my racquet and then cried a little bit, and then I was okay,” she said. Clijsters will take on Victoria Azarenka in the quarter-finals.

Maria Sharapova set up a semi-final against Andrea Petkovic after both women recorded three-set wins. Sharapova, the 16th-seeded Russian, was pushed all the way by Romanian 26th seed Alexandra Dulgheru but scraped through a 3-6 7-6 (10/8) 7-6 (7/5) winner.

 

29
Mar
11

Andea Petkovic defeats JJ to earn a berth in the semifinal.

Andrea Petkovic’s dream tournament got even dreamier on Tuesday evening, as she scored a marathon 26 62 64 victory over Jelena Jankovic to become the first player into the semifinals of the $4.5-million Sony Ericsson Open. The No.21-seeded Petkovic, who had stunned No.1 seed Caroline the day before, looked out of gas early on against No.7 seed Jankovic early on, but she came alive with three games in a row to start the second set and would eventually level it at a set apiece. Jankovic rebounded in the third, building a 4-2 lead, but Petkovic hung tough and won four games in a row to finish it, including a marathon seven-deuce final game. Petkovic ended the match by rifling a backhand crosscourt and out of reach; it was her 30th winner of the match, compared to a more conservative 19 winners for former No.1 Jankovic.

Petkovic, 23 years old, will crack the world’s Top 20 on the next rankings. Next up for Petkovic will be either No.16 seed Maria Sharapova or No.26 seed Alexandra Dulgheru, who played later at night.

 

29
Mar
11

Former world No 1 Ivan Lendl shows interest in becoming Briton Andy Murray’s coach

Ivan Lendl has shown an interest in becoming Andy Murray’s coach, with the former world No 1 and winner of eight grand slam titles intrigued by the Scot’s disintegrating form and what he must do to win a grand slam. It is understood that Lendl, who is casting around for someone to coach, has already made informal contact with Murray’s advisers, and that could lead to serious discussions.

A grandee of the sport, who has such force of personality, and who would take no nonsense from Murray, Lendl could prove to be a fine coach for Britain’s world No 5, especially as he lost his first four appearances in grand slam finals before going on to win every major apart from the Wimbledon Championships.

Andy Murray split with part-time coaching consultant Alex Corretja and will try to halt the worst skid of his career. The fifth-ranked Murray has worked with Corretja since 2008 in a bid to improve his clay-court game, but the pair have mutually agreed to end their relationship. The Scottish player is heading into the clay-court season after getting knocked out in opening matches at Rotterdam, Indian Wells and Miami.

 

Murray’s problems can all be routed back to January’s Australian Open when he lost to Serbia’s Novak Djokovic, the third time he had finished as the runner-up at a slam. So Lendl would have the relevant experience to help him. If Lendl does end up sitting in the front row of Murray’s guest boxes around the circuit, he would become the joint most successful former player of modern times to coach someone at the highest level, the other being Jimmy Connors, also a winner of eight slams, who used to mentor his fellow American Andy Roddick.

Born behind the Iron Curtain in what was then Czechoslovakia, Lendl was often caricatured in Eighties Britain as a Cold War ‘baddy’, yet the 51 year-old, who took up American citizenship, could now become the second most important man in British tennis.

 

 

28
Mar
11

Rafael Nadal & Roger Federer ease into last 16 in Miami.

World number one Rafael Nadal and third seed Roger Federer made smooth progress into the last 16 of the Sony Ericsson Open in Miami. Nadal saw off fellow Spaniard, and good friend, Feliciano Lopez 6-3 6-3 after Federer had earlier beaten Argentine Juan Monaco 7-6 (7-4) 6-4.

Seventh seed Tomas Berdych joined them in round four with a 7-6 (10-8) 7-5 defeat of Carlos Berlocq. Second seed Novak Djokovic and in-form Juan Martin del Potro won on Sunday.

Federer will next play Belgian Olivier Rochus, who saw off 13th seed Mikhail Youzhny 1-6 6-3 6-3, while Nadal awaits the winner of the match between Alexandr Dolgopolov and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.

 




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