2012 US Open: Aga’s Angst, Roddick Farewell Tour Continues Tonight

Mad-wanska

Agnieszka Radwanska was upset in straight sets yesterday by 20 seed Roberta Vinci, ending the Poles bid for a first Grand Slam title. She’s had a great year and was obviously disappointed in failing to reach the quarterfinals. Also upset yesterday was Angelique Kerber, who began her rise to the top of the women’s game at the 2011 US Open. She fell to 2012 Roland Garros finalist Sara Errani. That sets up an all-Italian quarterfinal, with the winner likely to be mauled by Serena Williams in the semis.

Tonight, US standard-bearer Andy Roddick might play his last professional tennis match. Then again, he might not. A-Rod faces his toughest challenge yet in 2009 US Open champion Juan Martin Del Potro. If the pressure is really off his back, expect Roddick to see yet another night under the bright lights of Arthur Ashe after a four set win over JMDP.

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ATP Atlanta Semis: Roddick Wins a Thriller Against Isner, Will Face Gilles Muller in Final #BBTAO12

Roddick wins a thriller against Isner, will face Gilles Muller in final

Andy Roddick won a thrilling victory against strong serving John Isner 6-4, 6-7, 6-4.  Roddick took the first set after breaking Isner coming out of a short rain delay and serving it out the rest of the way. In the second set, Isner was firing on all cylinders with his serve and painted the lines the entire time, finally winning the tiebreak after going up a minibreak.

Roddick reaches the final

Early in the third, things continued as they had in the previous set with both guys using their serve to hold and Isner doing some damage on his forehand, while Roddick played plenty of slice backhands. The end of the match became incredibly intense with an electric crowd, which had urged both players on the whole match becoming even more vocal.

Roddick and Isner played a thriller

Roddick worked his tail off, hitting nice passers and good returns to earn three break points at 4-4 in the third, but a foot fault call on Isner derailed one of his chances to break, causing him to throw his racquet from the baseline into the net and complain to the chair. While Roddick was seriously frustrated, he was able to hold serve  at 5-4, forcing Isner to serve to keep the match alive again. This time, he couldn’t do it and a couple of errors later, it was Roddick who would advance to win bragging rights over his higher ranked countryman and a spot in the final. Isner had his chances, but he just could not do enough to break Roddick and had too many errant groundstrokes. Roddick was tenacious tonight.

Gilles Muller Booked a Spot in the Final, Too

Gilles Muller also booked his spot in the Atlanta final with a 6-4, 6-3 win over Go Soeda. Muller served strong and got the two breaks of serve he needed to defeat Soeda, who, like Isner, couldn’t do much with his opponents serve. Muller has  reached his first ATP final in seven years. While he will be an underdog against Roddick, if he keeps serving well and playing sharp at the net, he will have a genuine chance.

In doubles, the Flemchins were upset by Harrison/Ebden, who won 6-4, 6-4, and will face Malisse and Russell in the final.

–Steen Kirby

2012 ATP Atlanta Quarters Recap: Muller, Roddick reach Semis; Soeda upsets Nishikori #BBTAO12

Muller, Roddick reach Semis, Soeda upsets Nishikori

Muller took plenty of time to sign autographs for fans after his win

Gilles Muller wasted no time earning a spot in the semifinals, earning a 6-4, 6-4 win over Matt Ebden. It was all about the serve in this match. There were only 2 breaks of serve the whole match, both going to Muller and Ebden couldn’t find a way to get a break himself.

Soeda d. Nishikori

Muller will face Go Soeda, who upset his countryman, Kei Nishikori 6-2, 6-1. Soeda played better than Nishikori, the higher ranked player, and Kei was really wilting in the heat by the start of the 2nd set. Nishikori was taking plenty of time to towel off and walk slowly around the baseline. Go’s win gives him bragging rights going into the Olympics where they will be doubles partners for Japan.

Japanese fans came out to support their country’s top 2 players, or “Why is there a leg coming out of my ear, Doc?”

Andy Roddick didn’t have too hard of a time against fellow American Michael Russell. Like Muller, he got the two breaks he needed and took the match 6-3, 6-4. Both guys held serve with ease and played some great shots at the net. Russell came forward a lot, but he couldn’t handle Roddick’s serve.

ARod got the job done

John Isner beat Jack Sock in the late match 7-6, 6-4.  Isner was up early but struggled at the end of the 1st set in a match that was delayed by thunderstorms. Sock had a ton of set points, but could not convert and while Isner was still shaky, he got a break in the second and served it out.

Today’s semi final match ups will be Muller against Soeda and Roddick against Isner. In doubles semis, Malisse/Russell will take on Klaasen/Young and Fleming/Hutchins will take on Ebden/Harrison. Klaasen/Young won a great match over Ebelthite/Matosevic and Ebden/Harrison won a tough match against Anderson/De Voest.

–Steen Kirby

Ferrer Hits His Way to Title in Den Bosch, Roddick Finds Mojo in Eastbourne


 

2012 Unicef Open, Eastbourne ATP Recap
By Steen Kirby, TennisEastCoast.com

Unicef Open


Top seed David Ferrer smashed and served his way to a title in Den Bosch today, beating Pierre Luc-Duclos, Leonardo Mayer, sizzling Igor Sijsling, Benoit Paire and surprise finalist/qualifier Philipp Petzschner. Ferrer beat him in the final, 6-3 6-4.

Petzschner beat Dimitry Tursunov, Mate Pavic, Edouard Roger-Vasselin and Xaiver Malisse to reach the final. Paire beat seeded player Lukasz Kubot, while Malisse beat 2 seed Viktor Troicki.

Robert Lindstedt and Horia Tecau won the doubles title over Juan Cabal and Dmitry Tursunov.

ATP Eastbourne

Andy Roddick shocked nearly everyone and rekindled his mojo to take the title in Eastbourne over Andreas Seppi, 6-3 6-2. Roddick held his own against Sam Querrey, Jeremy Chardy, Fabio Fognini and Steve Darcis en route to the final and gave fans glimpses of his former top 10 self.

Seppi did well for himself in beating Carlos Berlocq, Phillip Kohlschreiber by retirement and surprise semi-finalist Ryan Harrison to reach the final. Darcis beat Aussies Matt Ebden and Marinko Matosevic to reach the semis. Matosevic had knocked off top seed Richard Gasquet.

The “Flemchins”, Colin Fleming and Ross Hutchins, took the doubles title on home soil over fellow Brit duo Jamie Delgado and Ken Skupski.

2012 ATP London Preview #AEGONChampionships

2012 ATP London (Queen’s Club) Preview

By Steen Kirby, TennisEastCoast.com
AEGON Championships
ATP World Tour 250
June 11- June 16 2012
€ 625,300

The larger of the grass court events this week, Queens Club in London features a fine field that includes 3 players in the top 10: home favorite Andy Murray, Jo Wilfried-Tsonga and Janko Tipsarevic.

Top 8 seeds (who all receive 1st round byes)
1: Andy Murray
2: Jo Wilfried-Tsonga
3: Janko Tipsarevic
4: Gilles Simon
5: Feliciano Lopez
6: Marin Cilic
7: Andy Roddick
8: Julien Benneteau

1st round matchups to watch:

Liam Broady vs. Gilles Muller

The young British wild card Broady, who was Junior Aussie open doubles champion and a Wimbledon junior finalist last year in singles will make his first ATP tournament appearance against veteran serve and volleyer Muller. Much is expected of the young Brit and an early upset would give his career a nice spark.

Vasek Pospisil vs. David Nalbandian

Vashy and Nalby both lost in the 1st round in Paris and both are looking to bounce back on the grass this week. Nalbandian will be a heavy favorite, but hopefully Vashy can give a good go of it.

Ivo Karlovic vs. Lleyton Hewitt

Karlovic and Hewitt, a couple of wily veterans, will replay their Wimbledon 2003 battle on the grass once again (albeit at a very different time in their career). Karlovic will have the advantage of his smashing serve while Hewitt continues his comeback efforts. He lost in 4 sets to Martin Klizan in Paris.

Sam Querrey vs. Olivier Rochus

The American Querrey, who was once a hot shot on the ATP tour but is now more of a grinder trying to break through, will take on veteran serve and volleyer Rochus in a clash of style and size. “Q-Ball” will tower over Rochus, but that may not be enough to give him the victory as the Belgian is full of fight.

“Disheveled, Disenchanted and Disgusted”?
Tell us how you really feel, Shriver.

Top Half:

Andy Murray will begin his quest for a 3rd Queens club title in 4 years. He will start against either grass courter Nicolas Mahut or Guillimero Garcia Lopez, and then he could face the tricky Gilles Muller or youngster Grigor Dimitrov.

Feliciano Lopez, no slouch on grass himself, will open against either Steve Darcis of Belgium or Ruben Ramirez Hidalgo, and then a possible match up with big serving 9 seed Kevin Anderson, who could cause him trouble.

Gilles Simon will face Ernest Gulbis or Simone Bolleli and then a motley crue of either Alex Bogomolov, Martin Klizan, the man who beat Lleyton Hewitt in Paris, Adrian Ungur, who took a set off Federer in Paris or veteran Xaiver Malisse.

Andy Roddick, who bowed out in a sad showing against Mahut at Roland Garros, will start off another go on the grass against a qualifier or Edourd Roger-Vasselin before possibly facing fellow veteran David Nalbandian, who is in slightly better form. Argentine Leonardo Mayer, youngster Vasek Pospisil, who lost a tough one against Vasselin in Paris in 5 sets or Malek Janziri.

Murray and Simon would be favored to advance here, but Lopez and Nalbandian, the wily vets, could do some damage as well.

Bottom Half:

Tsonga, who lost a heart wrenching match to Djokovic in Paris where he had 4 match points and was unable to convert any of them, losing in 5, will face Brits Jamie Baker or Oliver Golding. After that he’d likely face veteran Go Soeda, Bjorn Phau, Frank Dancevic or Ivan Dodig.

Julien Benneteau will face either Paolo Lorenzi or Tatsuma Ito. After that, he’s looking at either Olivier Rochus, the serve and volleying Belgian, Sam Querrey, Denis Istomin or a qualifier. Rochus, if he can get through Querrey and then likely Istomin, is a lurking threat in this part of the draw.

3 seed Janko Tipsarevic will face either Dimitry Tursunov or a qualifier and then either extremely dangerous Ivo Karlovic, Lleyton Hewitt, Igor Kunitysn or Lu-Tsen Hu.

Should he get through that 6 seed, Marin Cilic poses his own threat.  Cilic will face either fellow big man Matt Ebden or Matthias Bachinger. Marcos Baghdatis will play Fredico Gil and then either Lukas Rosol or Victor Hanescu to set up a clash with Cilic.

Dark Horse: David Nalbandian

While Nalbandian hasn’t played great recently, he faces the advantage of not having to play anyone early on who has been playing that well, either. He has shown he can do damage on the grass in the past. He will be favored over Pospisil and Mayer/Jaziri and then could knock off a struggling Roddick or another lower-ranked player. That sets him up to do battle with Simon, and while he would be an underdog, you can’t put it past him to grab the upset.

Predictions:

Semis:
Murray d. Simon
Tsonga d. Cilic

Final:
Tsonga d. Murray

These matches will likely come down to the head game, as Murray has been (as Pam Shriver described him) “disheveled, disenchanted and disgusted” for almost the entire clay court season. The season culminated in a gashing loss to Ferrer in 4 sets in Paris, while Tsonga choked away his big chance against Djokovic in the Paris quarters and let the home country down. Not to mention the home pressures on Murray, who seems to just be a lot more of a headcase than he used to be. Ivan Lendl may be to blame.

2012 Emirates US Open Series Early Summer Preview

2012 Emirates US Open Series Early Summer Preview

By Steen Kirby, TennisEastCoast.com
 
This summer, the ATP and WTA tours will return to the US for the always-exciting US Open Series, which runs from the 2nd week of July until the US Open in August/September.  Formerly sponsored by Olympus, but now sponsored by Emirates Airlines, the US Open Series offers the same set of great tournaments in different parts of the US that will certainly bring many American fans out to watch world-class professional tennis.  TennisEastCoast.com should be able to offer on site coverage from at least two of the US Open Series events (Atlanta and D.C) in addition to Newport.
 
The ATP side of the US Open Series features tournaments in Atlanta, Los Angeles, Washington D.C., Toronto, Cincinnati and Winston-Salem, in addition to the ATP tournament in Newport the week after Wimbledon. Here is an early preview of the first two ATP events.
 
2012 Campbell’s Hall of Fame Tennis Championships July 7-15

 
While not technically a part of the US Open series, the ATP 250 event in Newport, Rhode Island is held on the grounds of the International Tennis Hall of Fame and offers a great experience from the fans perspective. It  is a ‘blast from the past’ played in a cozy grass court environment with the players in all white and spectators often dressed in more traditional attire. It brings you back to a different era.  All that is missing are the wooden racquets.
 
The very modern world of pro tennis comes to Newport right after Wimbledon, and current top 10 John Isner will join players such as Tommy Haas (who just knocked off Jo Wilfried-Tsonga in Munich this week), young guns Ryan Harrison, Denis Kudla and Grigor Dimitrov, Bucharest semi-finalist Matthias Bachinger, ‘Marathon Man’ Nicolas Mahut, Ryan Sweeting and Sam Querrey. Sweeting and Querrey are both hoping to build on their recent success. The event will also feature the serve and volleying Olivier Rochus, big man Ivo Karlovic and Matt Ebden, Delray semifinalist Dudi Sela, Germans Tobias Kamke, Michael Berrer, serve and volleyer Denis Gremalmayr, Mischa Zverev and a South American contingent that features Brian Dabul, Sebastien Decoud and  Paul Capedeville. Lleyton Hewitt will also continue his comeback from injury here trying for some good results.
 
Rochus and Isner played in the final last year with Isner taking home the title while Kamke was one of the semi-finalists. Harrison and Ebden took home the doubles title. Isner beat the “Casino Curse” last year in becoming the first top seeded to player to actually win the event.

Argentinian Sebastien Decoud signs autographs

 
The International Tennis Hall of Fame itself is a big draw and another reason to attend. The Hall features all sorts of exhibits on the sport of tennis and it’s storied history along with plaques of the great players, coaches and other contributors to the sport who have been inducted on both the men’s and women’s side. The 2012 Hall of Fame class, headlined by Jennifer Capriati, will be inducted during the tournament.
 
2012 BB&T  Atlanta Open July 14-22
 
The first event of the US Open series (and its youngest, now in its 3rd year) is the ATP 250 series event in Atlanta. It features a state of the art, newly built venue this year located in the heart of downtown Atlanta and a great field to go with it. 

 

Newly sponsored by BB&T, the field is set to feature American favorites John Isner and Andy Roddick along with rising American star Jack Sock (who has had some good results before suffering injury). The Americans will be joined by Kei Nishikori of Japan, who continues to improve his play and his ranking. Kevin Anderson of South Africa, the former University of Illinois stand out, will also compete in Atlanta.  Mardy Fish took the title over Isner last year, while Alex Bogomolov and Matt Ebden took home the doubles title. 

 

2011 Singles Champion Mardy Fish

 

Atlanta has always been a great place for tennis and with the new setting and sponsor, the ATP tour event is on the path for greater, continued success. If you are a tennis fan in the south, this is a great event to attend.

Meet Our New Correspondent

2010 Legg Mason Kid's Day, Washington

We’re pleased to introduce Annabel, Tennis Maryland’s newest contributor. Annabel has been a tennis fan since she attended the Rogers Cup ATP event in Montreal, Canada on her first birthday in 2009, watching Novak Djokovic win on Court Banque National and Andy Roddick prosper at Stade Uniprix.

She followed that experience with a debutante appearance at Legg Mason Kid’s Day in 2010 and a return visit to Montreal, this time for the WTA event.



Around this time, Annabel’s mom put her tennis foot down and declared that Annabel ought never to be seated in the front row at a pro match for reasons involving the child prodigy’s then-inability to keep quiet. Imagine!

Thereafter, Annabel’s involvement in the game has exclusively involved tournament Kid’s Days (Washington, Newport, CitiOpen), annual pilgrimages to the International Tennis Hall of Fame, Wii Grand Slam play and on-court Quikstart instruction. She even took a lesson from Sebastien Decoud last summer.

Though she’ll only be contributing on a part-time basis, you can expect full-court coverage from this li’l Jimmy Olsen. Her first product review will appear on the site tomorrow.

Kudla nearly knocks off Roddick, moves on to Memphis

Denis Kudla took former US Open champion Andy Roddick to three grueling sets last night at the SAP Open Tennis. There was all the Roddick drama that you might expect with lots of winners, liners, distractions and an ankle scare for Andy. Suffice it to say that Denis Kudla put the fear in him before it was finally over. Kudla played some impressive sets in San Jose and is headed to Memphis with momentum.

Thanks to Jen at RacquetRequired, Denis Kudla’s SAP Open post match press conference has been posted on Youtube. Here’s some of his quotes after his first round win over Jack Sock on Monday from San Jose.

“It’s hard to play like you do in practice, because you feel no pressure. If I can translate that in practices. I don’t want to sound cocky but I don’t see too many guys handling that ball. I’m hitting that ball pretty hard, very deep, in the corners.”

ON HIS SERVE: “I know it’s there, I know I’m very strong. I worked my butt off in the off-season. Right now, I’m still a work in progress. I don’t want to be a top 50, I want to be a top 10 player, a Grand Slam champion.”

US Open: Coach’s Round 4 Men’s Picks #USO11

Who's the King of Holy Matrimony? Fish!

With a third round record of 12-4, any prognosticator would want to rest on his laurels. Not Boys Latin Coach Magee.  From here, the waters get rough, but he’s taking the plunge. These picks are for amusement purposes only:

Simon over Isner
Murray over Young
Ferrer over Roddick (as much as it kills Coach to say it)
Nadal over Muller
Djokovic over Dolgolopov
Ferrero over Tipsy
Federer over Monaco
Fish over Tsonga – Tough call

Coach believes that Fish’s game,  unlike most newly married players, has sharpened with matrimony. Between his newly found fitness, winning the US Open Series and the New York crowd behind him, he is becoming America’s newest superhero, MARRIED MARTY MAN.

What is Tipsy still doing here?

US Open Early Rounds: Five Things we Love #USO11

1. The international competition and crowd: Even in a match that might look boring on paper. NYC has every community imaginable, so boisterous audiences cheer on their compatriot competitors with harmonious chants. Even when you have no idea what they’re chanting, it pumps you up and makes the match more enjoyable.

2. The closeness: If you’re not careful, you will inevitably sit by coaches and players families on the outer courts. So, be careful how loud you cheer for a player. Listen to where the cheers for your favorite player are coming from and then go sit on that side. The closeness also applies to the players walking nonchalantly through the grounds before and after matches and practice. If you’d take your eyes off your Iphone for one minute, you might be surprised who’s behind you. 

3. Court 17, The Pit: It’s everything we hyped it to be. They should drop the 7 from Court 17. It will be covered in a later post. And it’s only available for the early rounds.

4. The Practice Courts: Throngs of kids five-deep  with giant balls who will stand around for hours for a chance to get an autograph. We don’t LOVE the practice court setup, which allows good viewing from only one of the four sides of the courts. But we do love the kids who stand in the bushes to look through a screened fence to catch a blurry glimpse of their favorite player. That’s dedication.

5. The Media Center/Player’s entrance: If you stand here (near the practice courts) all day, almost every player will walk by. It beats getting mugged by small-fry to get a photo at the practice courts.