Archive for the 'Madrid Open' Category

30
Apr
12

New Blue clay surface in Madrid?….how about new Pink clay in Paris!!

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It will be interesting to see how things unfold in Madrid, particularly given it is such a major tournament – one of the Masters 1000 events on the ATP World Tour and a Premier Mandatory week for the WTA. Players are also desperate to find good form on the surface ahead of the French Open which is just four weeks away. Whatever the future holds for the blue stuff, the decision to use it has already had an effect on other tournaments.

Organisers at Roland Garros have already announced they will have a pink claycourt during the French Open, although significantly it will not be used for main tournament matches. It is instead being used as more of a publicity stunt – promoting the tournament’s ladies’ day which comes on June 7 when the women’s singles semi-finals are due to take place. Court One will be turned pink and will play host to two women’s legends matches.

Critics say Madrid’s move to blue is also nothing but a PR gimmick, although if that is the case it has certainly worked. We await the verdict of the players with bated breath.

16
May
10

A star is born!….Aravane Rezai takes Women’s tennis to a new level!

Much will be written about the newest WTA ‘star’s’ coming of age in Madrid. But for those who have watched her play, and have witnessed her growth, it is no surprise to see Aravane Rezai reach a new plateau with her game. She has set a standard by which all players from now on will be measured. It is a no holds barred approach to the Women’s game that has fallen short when compared to the men’s. Winning her first mandatory event in Madrid where she defeated the likes of Justine Henin, Jelena Jankovic and Venus Williams in the final, makes more than just a statement about who she is and how she plays. She plays with an intensity and drive that compares to Rafael Nadal, she hits every ball as hard as she is able, and she has the ability to concentrate on each and every point.

Her performance in Spain was no fluke. She has the potential to be the best Women player in the world, and has to be added to the short list for Roland Garros.

It has been a long time since someone, other than her sister, has beaten Venus when she has played at her best, but today she was no match for Rezai. She was outhit on both wings, out hustled, and out played. Even serving at above 65% didn’t help. She had 5 sets points but failed to capitalise as the French women fought them off and went on to win 6-2, 7-5.

16
May
10

Federer as the #1 player is not the favourite?

In the Madrid Open final today, Nadal bids to not only underline his claim to being the pre-tournament favourite to reclaim the French Open crown in three weeks, he also plans to become the most prolific collector of Masters 1000 titles in the history of the game. Andre Agassi amassed 17 but it took him until well after his 34th birthday to achieve the feat. Victory this afternoon over Roger Federer will see Nadal go one better and he is still 18 days short of turning 24.

Nadal won both the Monte Carlo and Rome titles at something of a canter and emphatically cruised through the first three rounds without dropping his serve, let alone a set. But Nadal was forced to fight harder than he has on his favoured surface since losing last year’s Madrid final. Against the initially almost impertinent opposition of 35th-ranked Nicolas Almagro — Spain provided three of the semi-finalists to assert their dominance on clay — Nadal needed to be resilient.

In the end Nadal prevailed 4-6 6-2 6-2, as his attitude told him that buckling under pressure was a sign of weakness. Tomorrow he will reclaim the world No 2 ranking and more importantly the honour of being the French Open’s second seed. But it was not a performance he will care to reflect on for too long.

16
May
10

Rezai may be tougher than expected in the final.

In today’s women’s final Venus Williams will face the unlikely opposition provided by France’s Aravane Rezai, who will not just be bidding for her first title of the year but a €585,000 pay cheque that dwarfs any reward the 23 year-old from St Etienne has previously collected. Like Nadal, Williams is assured of reclaiming the world No 2 ranking but she is only a month away from her 30th birthday and was assumed by many to be so encumbered by a succession of injuries that her best days were behind her.

Venus has not contested a big clay court final since Berlin six years ago and clearly there is a great amount of satisfaction inside the five-time Wimbledon champion. She savoured her 6-3 6-0 decimation of Israel’s Shahar Peer with a degree of pride and said: “I’ve played so many different players with so many different styles — some playing clay court tennis and others just hitting the ball really hard. So to have come out on top so far feels good.

“I feel like I’ve had a good career on clay courts. The ultimate is to win the French, and I’ve come close (she reached the 2002 final). I think I’ve won every other tournament except the French on clay, so I’d like to take it one more step.”

Rezai, who trains alongside Britain’s Laura Robson at the Mouratogolou Academy just outside Paris, began the week by ousting one former world No 1 Justine Henin and reached the semi-final by beating another in Jelena Jankovic. She enjoyed the easiest passage through to today’s meeting with Williams when Lucie Safarova was forced to retire suffering from an injured left thigh after the Frenchwoman, displaying power and aggression, had taken the first set 6-1.

15
May
10

…they meet again..Nadal v. Federer in Sunday’s final.

Rafael Nadal battled back from a set down to beat fellow Spaniard Nicolas Almagro 4-6 6-2 6-2 and reach the Madrid Open final.

Almagro showed superior speed and power to become only the second person this year to take a set off Nadal on clay.

But the four-time French Open champion raised his game to break in the fourth game of the second set before closing out the match in ruthless fashion.

Roger Federer showed signs of brilliance in both the first and third sets against David Ferrer, but the second set was all Ferrer. The final score was 7-5, 3-6, 6-4 in a match that laster just over 2 hours. Ferrer shows what a class act he is on court, and is probably among the elite of clay court tachticians. He pushed Federer to the limit and maybe if he had been fresher he might have won.

After a stunning performance in the first set, in which he broke the Nadal serve three times, Almagro’s head seemed to drop after going 3-1 down in the second.

The win stretched Nadal’s unbeaten run on clay to 14 matches this year, a run that included titles in Monte Carlo and Rome, and also restores his status as world number two.

Victory in Sunday’s final would be Nadal’s record 18th title in a Masters Series event, one more than Federer and Andre Agassi.

It would make the 23-year-old firm favourite to reclaim the French Open title at Roland Garros in Paris on 23 May.

15
May
10

Venus has an easy trip to the Madrid final.

The WTA Madrid Open final will be contested between fourth seed Venus Williams and the unseeded Aravane Rezai after both players enjoyed comfortable semi-final successes.

Williams, who was the only member of the top six to get beyond the third round in what has been a bad week for the leading female players, defeated Israel’s Shahar Peer 6-3 6-0 in just 66 minutes.

The American, who will return to second place in the world rankings for the first time in seven years following her run this week, said: “She (Peer) is a really tenacious player. She’s talented, with a never-say-die attitude. So I can’t complain about being able to play that well against a player like her.

“I’ve been happy with my form and I’m going to try to keep it going tomorrow, and tonight,” added Williams, referring to her doubles final when she and her sister Serena face Gisela Dulko and Flavia Pennetta.

Frenchwoman Rezai secured her spot in Sunday’s final when her Czech opponent Lucie Safarova retired after losing the first set 6-1.

14
May
10

Venus dominates Stosur to reach the semi final.

Venus Williams defeated Samantha Stosur 6-3, 6-3 Friday to reach the semifinals of the Madrid Masters.

In a strong performance, Williams broke the eighth-seeded Stosur’s serve four times.

Williams, who will improve to No. 2 in the rankings behind her sister Serena next week, has won all four meetings with the Australian.

Williams’ next opponent will be Israel’s Shahar Peer, after she beat 13th seed Li Na 6-4 3-6 6-4 in their quarter-final.

Despite the defeat, Stosur’s recent performances are projected to send her to No. 7 in next week’s rankings, the highest held by an Australian since Wendy Turnbull in 1985.

Earlier, Lucie Safarova advanced to the semifinals with a 6-1, 1-6, 6-4 victory over 16th-seeded Nadia Petrova.

Safarova has had a fine clay-court season, reaching the quarterfinals in Stuttgart and Rome. She will next face Aravane Rezai who was a surprise winner over Jelena Jankovic 7-5, 6-4.

13
May
10

Stosur will try again against Venus.

Samantha Stosur and China’s Li Na are into the last eight in Madrid. Eighth seed Stosur stopped Swiss Patty Schnyder 7-6 (7/3), 6-2 while Li, the 13th seed, put out Alona Bondarenko of the Ukraine with a 6-3, 6-4 win.

Stosur next faces a test against fourth seed Venus Williams, against whom she stands 0-3 from 2007 and 2008 meetings.

Li will play Israeli Shahar Peer, who defeated Spain’s Arantxa Parra Santonja 7-5, 6-2.

Stosur remains a huge force on the spring clay after winning 14 of her last 15 matches on the surface, taking the title last month at Charleston and playing the final in Stuttgart against Justine Henin.

The 26-year-old from the Gold Coast leads the WTA standings for clay wins in 2010 and will move up to a career-high seventh in the world rankings next Monday, just in time for the countdown to the French Open.

The 2009 Roland Garros semi-finalist will arrive in Paris as the highest-ranked Australian woman since Wendy Turnbull was classed fifth in February 1984.

“I’ve played well since Indian Wells (in March),” said Stosur, who was broken in the penultimate game by Schnyder, but immediately broke the Swiss back to claim victory.

“That form just translated over to the clay. I’m enjoying my tennis, it’s just one of those things. Once you start winning it doesn’t matter which surface it’s on, it gives you confidence.”

Stosur said that she got better as the contest with Schnyder went on.

“It was even in the first set with no breaks. The key was to hold serve,” she said.

“I was feeling very comfortable in the second set. Schnyder is a tricky lefty who likes to hit a loopy ball and play the angles. My strategy was not to give her too many chances.

“I’m feeling really good on the court and of course the confidence is growing.”

Li took 90 minutes to go past the 26th-ranked Bondarenko, who now trails the Chinese 1-3 in their head-to-head series.

13
May
10

“Madrid is not among the tour favorites,” says Serena.

After her second-round loss against Nadia Petrova in Madrid, Serena Williams gave the tournament a less than stellar rating, saying, “This isn’t a player-favorite tournament, to be honest. None of the players are really gung-ho about playing here.”

Madrid is in its second year as the last big clay event before the French Ope and ends a week before the start of the year’s second Grand Slam. The high altitude conditions in Madrid have been criticized by some players as being too different from the French Open, but the tournament has also found acceptance. Madrid is a Masters event on the men’s side and a Premier mandatory on the women’s, and most of the top players have so far played it.

Last year, Williams retired from her opening match in Madrid with an injury, saying she would not have played if not for WTA rules. “Unfortunately, it doesn’t matter if you are injured, it doesn’t matter if you are dead or alive, if you don’t play they are going to fine you heavy on the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour, so I have to play,” she said at the time. “I wanted to do well [in Madrid] but at the end of the day, I’m trying to play Paris.”

Williams batted for first-round win earlier this the week, however, playing the longest match of her career to defeat Vera Dushevina in two hours, 36 minutes. The American received treatment for a leg problem during the match.

12
May
10

Serena is ousted by Petrova after Venus wins to secure the #2 spot.

Serena Williams crashed out in the third round of the Madrid Open when she lost 4-6 6-2 6-3 to Russian Nadia Petrova on Wednesday.

The American, who won her 12th grand slam singles title at the Australian Open in January before injury sidelined her for three months, looked increasingly distraught as the match wore on in the face of some powerful and accurate hitting from the 16th seed.

A pumped-up Petrova ground her opponent into submission, constantly hitting the lines, and Williams appeared to have given up the ghost well before she sent a forehand over the baseline on the Russian’s first match point.

Big sister Venus Williams cemented a return to the No.2 ranking at the Mutua Madrileña Madrid Open on Wednesday, beating Francesca Schiavone in the third round of the $4.5-million Premier-level event.

Williams, the No.4 seed this week, was broken early and lost the first set but regrouped in a big way, rolling past the No.15-seeded Italian, 36 61 62. The win secured her return to the No.2 ranking; the last time the 29-year-old Williams was in the Top 2 was on May 11, 2003, almost exactly seven years ago.




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