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Breaking news in the NHL!!

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Maybe this is not tennis, but it is major sports news……….The NHL will expand in the 2014-15 season with two new Canadian teams. One will return to play in Quebec City while a new team will be situated in Markham Ontario. A new arena is already under construction in the Warden Ave/Hwy 407 area which will house the new team. A compensation amount of $150 million is to be paid to the Toronto Maple Leaf organisation. The new team is backed by the Bauer Sporting Goods Co.

Speculation about the location of a new team in the Toronto area has been discussed for years with places like Hamilton, London and Kitchener often being mentioned, but now the speculation ends as the new team will be just 20 miles Notheast of Toronto in Markham Township.

A public competition for a name for the new team will be announced soon. How about the Markham Marauders? or the Markham Misfits? Markham has a large Chinese population so The Markham Ming Dynasty might take on a new meaning!


Kaia Kanepi won her second career title as she stormed to a 6-2 6-1 win over Daniela Hantuchova in the Brisbane International final.


The big-hitting 26-year-old has produced upset wins over seeds Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, Andrea Petkovic and Francesca Schiavone to reach the final and produced the same superb form against Hantuchova. She was particularly devastating early in the second set, dropping just a solitary point in the first four games as she powered towards the biggest win of her career to date, adding to the title she won in Palermo in 2010.  That dominant start to the second set in fact extended Kanepi’s run to nine games in succession from 1-2 in the opener. Hantuchova should have been the fresher of the two players, having been granted a quarter-final walkover following Serena Williams’ withdrawal and then won her semi-final when Kim Clijsters retired during the second set. But Kanepi’s giant-killing run had seen her build momentum and she won 82% of points on her first serve as she recorded her first victory in four career meetings with the Slovakian, eventually finishing the encounter with her fourth match point.

The victory is set to lift Kanepi from 34th to 26th in the WTA rankings, ensuring she will be seeded for the Australian Open. Hantuchova will rise from 24 to 21.


Just one benefit of the rain in New York!


The draw for the 2012 Fed Cup World Group and World Group II was held in Japan.

A mouthwatering clash between Germany and No. 2 seed Czech Republic is arguably the pick of the World Group first round ties. Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova, who has led her side into this year’s final, will have to be at her very best if the Czechs are to overcome the up-and-coming Germans.

The other three seeds were all handed home ties: Russia against Spain, Italy versus Ukraine and, notably, Belgium against Serbia. The latter could see Kim Clijsters and Yanina Wickmayer taking on Ana Ivanovic and Jelena Jankovic.

In World Group II, Australia and Switzerland were drawn to meet just as they were in the Davis Cup by BNP Paribas World Group play-off draw earlier this week, and Victoria Azarenka’s Belarus face a tricky away trip to USA.

Having thrashed Argentina in the postponed World Group II play-off earleir in the day, Japan were rewarded with a home clash against Slovenia next year. France, who are making their first appearance in World Group II have a tough draw against Slovak Republic, who have the likes of Dominika Cibulkova and Daniela Hantuchova in their ranks.

World Group Draw.

RUSSIA v Spain

BELGIUM* v Serbia

ITALY v Ukraine


World Group II Draw.

USA* v Belarus

JAPAN v Slovenia


Switzerland v AUSTRALIA

Nations with choice of ground are listed first. Seeded nations are in capitals. Asterisk (*) denotes choice of ground determined by lot.


Dominika Cibulkova is Dunlop’s ‘uncovered perfection’.




Del Potro & Davydenko take ATP titles in Estoril & Munich.

Nikolay Davydenko

Juan Martin Del Potro claimed his ninth ATP Tour title this afternoon with a straight-sets victory over second seed Fernando Verdasco in the Estoril Open final. The eighth seed, playing in his first claycourt event of the year, needed just 76 minutes to see off his Spanish opponent 6-2 6-2 at the Estadio Nacional. There were three straight breaks of serve before the Argentinian took control by holding his serve to establish a 3-1 lead en route to clinching the first set, dropping just six points on serve throughout. Verdasco’s struggles on serve continued in the second set, Del Potro breaking in the first game and capitalising on a number of groundstroke errors to build a 5-2 lead before securing victory in a 14-point service game with a forehand winner. Del Potro dropped just one set all week in Portugal, and has now won 23 of his last 26 matches as he continues his climb up the world rankings following wrist surgery last year. Verdasco admitted he had come up against a man in form today.

Russian Nikolay Davydenko won the BMW Open title in Munich by beating Germany’s Florian Meyer in three sets. Davydenko won the first set 6-3 but lost the next by the same scoreline. But the 29-year-old was in total charge of the decider which he won to wrap up a 6-3 3-6 6-1 victory in an hour and 49 minutes. Davydenko, once as high as three in the world but now ranked 40th, made it 21 career titles with his first win since he took the title in Doha last year.



Vera Zvonareva and Svetlana Kuznetsova put the home team 2-0 up over Italy in Moscow.

Zvonareva set the tone with a 60 62 demolition of Errani in the opening match of the tie. Kuznetsova was then made to battle by a determined Roberta Vinci before prevailing 62 67(4) 61 in the second singles rubber. Saturday’s wins for Russia mean that Zvonareva could seal victory for the team against Vinci in Sunday’s first reverse singles match, though there was no hint of complacency in the Russian camp. For his part, Italian captain Corrado Barazzutti sounded an optimistic, if philosophical, note as he looked ahead to what is likely to be another challenging day for his team. “We have to acknowledge that the Russians played very well today. They have great players,” he said. “Tomorrow is another day and if the Russians win, then we have to congratulate them but we will have to see what’s up tomorrow because anything can happen.” After Zvonareva’s one-sided win, Kuznetsova and Vinci produced a battle that owed plenty to the Italian’s swashbuckling tennis style, which was most evident in the second set. At one stage, Vinci led 4-1 and had a ball for 5-1 before being pushed to a tiebreak. It was a sequence of events which was to rob her of much-needed energy for the third set.

Andrea Petkovic and Julia Goerges both scored straight sets victories to put Germany in charge against USA in their Fed Cup by BNP Paribas World Group play-off tie in Stuttgart. Petkovic gave Germany a great start to their promotion campaign with a 63 64 win over 18-year-old Christina McHale. The German No. 1 broke serve on four occasions, and only conceded her own delivery twice, to seal victory in 1 hour 35 minutes. Goerges then avenged a recent defeat by Melanie Oudin in Miami by coming back from a break down in the second set to win 62 76(5).

The Americans are missing their top three players through injury – Serena and Venus Williams, and Bethanie Mattek-Sands – leaving added pressure on the young shoulders of McHale and Oudin.



Transsexual player Andrea Paredes of Chile has received a wild card to compete in $25,000 Futures event in Buenos Aires.

A 37-year-old financial consultant from Chile who became the first transsexual to compete in professional women’s tennis since Renee Richards in the late 1970s and early 1980s, has told how she was encouraged to play by the American’s story.

Andrea Paredes also disclosed how she has suffered from years of discrimination in her own country, “as they are not very advanced in Chile”. “I’ll get more comments in Chile after this tournament, but I’m tough. I’ve had to be.”

Paredes, who was born Ernesto, had a sex-change operation in 2000. She was intrigued to hear about Richards, who was born Richard Raskind, had an operation to change sexes, was initially blocked by the American tennis authorities from playing at the US Open, and then successfully sued them through the Supreme Court to have the ban overturned. A year after her first appearance, Richards made the quarter-finals of the grand slam in America.

The International Tennis Federation said that they cleared Paredes to play after they were shown documentation of her operation and hormone treatment.

Three years after Ernesto became Andrea, she learned about Richards. “I had the sex-change operation in 2000, after a lot of psychiatric and psychological tests. I heard about Renee Richards in 2003, and it was sometime in 2004 that I thought about the possibility that I could one day play a professional tournament,” Paredes said in an interview after her appearance on the clay courts of the Parque Roca. Although Paredes lives and trains in Chile, she travelled to more liberal Argentina to make her first appearance. “I’ve got a financial consulting business that gives me a lot of time to play tennis. I live and train in Chile. I have suffered discrimination and comments in Chile, as they are not very advanced in Chile with their mindset. They discriminate against transsexuals and gays, that sort of thing. I will probably get more comments when I get back to Chile after this tournament, and I think I’m probably going to have to fight with the tennis federation in my country. I don’t think I will hear good things. But the comments won’t bother me,” said Paredes.



“It’s a long time since I’ve beaten someone in the Top 20, so I’m really going to enjoy this win,” says Krajicek.

Alisa Kleybanova’s title defense came unstuck at the BMW Malaysian Open on Thursday, when the No.3 seed was beaten by dangerous but mercurial Michaella Krajicek. Former No.1-ranked junior Krajicek, currently ranked No.150 in the world, dispatched the 21-year-old Russian in the last of the second round matches, 36 64 63. “I think I actually served well throughout the match, except for a patch near the end of the first set when I couldn’t put a first serve in,” said Krajicek, who had chances for a double break in the final set but ultimately only needed the one.

“It’s a long time since I’ve beaten someone in the Top 20, so I’m really going to enjoy this win,” added the former world No.30. “I’ve been playing well lately and to finally win two matches in a row at a WTA event and reach a quarterfinal is a first step. I’ll take it one match at a time.”

For her part, Kleybanova was philosophical about relinquishing what was her maiden trophy. “It’s quite a disappointing day for me,” said Kleybanova. “But I’ve got to give credit to Michaella… she played well, served very steady today and played well on the important points. She deserved to win the match. “I got a title here last year, this time it didn’t go so well, but I like to play in Asia and strange as it may sound, I like the heat,” Kleybanova added. “So I hope to come back next year and go further in the tournament.”


Serbia Triumphant in the World’s greatest Tennis competition!


Better than Wimbledon, the US Open, the Australian Open or Roland Garros, the overwhelming outpouring of emotion by both the players and the partisan fans leaves those other events far behind. And for those who would even suggest that the Davis Cup is out-of-date, and needs to revamped, then it must be assumed that they did not witness this latest event or they have an ulterior motive behind their suggestion. Maybe it’s because the USA, Australia and the UK, the three former powerhouses of tennis, are unlikely to have a competive team in the foreseeable future, that they want to change the format.

Viktor Troicki was the hero as Serbia won the Davis Cup for the first time in their history on Sunday. After Novak Djokovic had seen off Gael Monfils to level the final in Belgrade at 2-2, Troicki beat Michael Llodra in straight sets to seal the trophy for the hosts. The world number 30, a surprise late replacement for Janko Tipsarevic for the final rubber, ran out a comfortable 6-2 6-2 6-3 winner as Llodra struggled with his game. Troicki’s success sent a partisan home crowd into wild celebrations.

Troicki, who had disappointed in Saturday’s doubles rubber which France won to take control of the tie, responded with arguably the finest match of his young career as he revelled in the home support and outplayed a French opponent ranked seven places higher than him. The mood inside the Belgrade Arena had already been stoked after an emotional 6-2 6-2 6-4 win from Djokovic, who wore his heart on his sleeve in typical style. But it is Troicki, rather than the world number three, who will be remembered as the man who delivered Serbia their first Davis Cup crown after his stirring performance.

Both men were late replacements for the final rubber – Llodra coming in for Gilles Simon – and they showed early signs of nerves. However, it was Troicki who drew first blood with a break of the Llodra serve in the third game. He continued to cause his opponent problems, often coming up with a pass as Llodra tried to get to the net. Having lost the first set too easily, Llodra launched a fightback at the start of the second, opening a 2-0 lead. However, errors soon returned and he lost the next eight games to all but end France’s chances of winning a 10th Davis Cup crown. A double fault handed Troicki a double-break lead in the third set and although there was a minor slip-up from Troicki – he lost his serve in the following game – there was no denying the Serbs. Troicki clinched the historic victory with a superb backhand winner on the return of serve to write his name into Serbian folklore.

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