TAYLOR TOWNSEND RETURNS TO JUNIOR COMPETITION AT FRENCH OPEN
Townsend to Play First Junior Event in 2013;
Stefan Kozlov Among Youngest in Boys’ Field
WHITE PLAINS, N.Y., May 13, 2013 – Taylor Townsend (17, Chicago), the No. 1-ranked junior in the world at the end of 2012, will play in her first junior event of 2013 at the Roland Garros French Open Junior Championships June 2-8 in Paris.
Townsend finished last year as the No. 1-ranked junior in the world, becoming the first American girl in 30 years to hold that distinction. She remains No. 10 in the ITF world junior rankings despite thus far having played only professional tournaments in 2013. In her first WTA-level main draw match, Townsend beat then-No. 57 Lucie Hradecka in the first round of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, Calif., in March.
Townsend, who in 2012 won the Australian Open junior singles title and junior doubles titles at the Australian Open, Wimbledon and US Open, headlines an American girls’ contingent accepted to play in the French Open Junior Championship that includes Victoria Duval (17, Delray Beach, Fla.), currently No. 285 in the WTA rankings. In 2012, Duval won the USTA Girls’ 18s national title to earn a wild card into the US Open main draw, where she played Kim Clijsters in the first round.
Christina Makarova (16, San Diego), currently No. 11 in the ITF world junior rankings, No. 29 Sachia Vickery (18, Hollywood, Fla.) and No. 39 Jamie Loeb (18, Ossining, N.Y.) are also in the girls’ main draw, while No. 56 Louisa Chirico (16, Harrison, N.Y.), was accepted for qualifying.
Townsend, Duval and Vickery each train at the USTA Training Center – Headquarters in Boca Raton, Fla., while Chirico trains at the USTA Training Center – East in Flushing, N.Y.
Thai-Son Kwiatkowski (18, Charlotte, N.C.), currently the top-ranked American junior boy at No. 16 in the world, leads the Americans accepted to play the boys’ main draw, followed by No. 19 Stefan Kozlov (15, Pembroke Pines, Fla.), No. 23 Noah Rubin (17, Rockville Centre, N.Y.), No. 38 Luca Corinteli (17, Alexandria, Va.) and No. 40 Spencer Papa (17, Edmond, Okla.). No. 49 Martin Redlicki (17, Hawthorn Woods, Ill.) was accepted for qualifying.
Kozlov is the youngest player in the Top 20 of the world junior rankings and is the second youngest player in the French Open boys’ main draw. Rubin, who has been ranked as high as No. 6 in the world junior rankings, reached the quarterfinals of last year’s French Open Junior Championship, while Papa advanced to the third round last year.
Currently, Kozlov and Papa train at the USTA Training Center – Headquarters in Boca Raton, Fla. Kwiatkowski and Redlicki previously trained there, Kwiatkowski for three years, and Corinteli trains at the Junior tennis Champions Center in College Park, Md., a USTA Certified Regional Training Center.
American Alex Kuznetsov qualified for the Sarasota challenger before rolling off 7 straight match wins (3 in qualifying, 4 in the main draw) to take an early lead in the points race for the USTA French Open Wild Card. Kuznetsov crushed Wayne Odesnik 6-0, 6-2 in the final after beating Benjamin Becker, Tim Smyczek, Steve Johnson and Somdev Devvarman.
Kuznetsov had lost 5 straight matches going into Sarasota and though he was formerly a star junior player, he has only played 3 ATP level matches since 2011. He has not registered a win in any of them and is effectively known as a journeyman, but he certainly hopes for bigger things now.
Odesnik took 2nd place in the Har-Tru challenge by beating Alex Bogomolov, Cedrik-Marcel Stebe, Facundo Arguello and Denys Molchanov.
Nadal Takes His 7th French Open Title
By Steen Kirby, TennisEastCoast.com
It took Rafael Nadal an extra day due to the rain, but he capped off another dominating French Open run, taking his 7th title in 4 sets over a great but not fantastic Novak Djokovic, 6-4 6-3 2-6 7-5. It was a dominating run from start to finish for Nadal, as he dropped only one set the entire tournament (3rd set against Djokovic) and rolled over veteran clay courters Juan Monaco, Nicolas Almagro and David Ferrer in the 2nd week to do it. Not a single player provided him much resistance.
Djokovic gutted his way to the final, coming back from 2 sets down to beat a red hot Andreas Seppi, saving 4 match points to beat home favorite Jo Wilfried-Tsonga and beating a less than top-notch Roger Federer in straights. When he got into the final against Nadal, he performed much the same he had in their previous matches on clay this year in Monte Carlo and Rome, both of which he lost in straights. While he played well enough to beat about any player on the tour, against Nadal, he just didn’t have enough as his strokes and movement weren’t sharp enough against the King of Clay. He quickly lost the 1st 2 sets, the 2nd being interrupted by rain even though he had moments of success in both. In the 3rd, he shockingly found some holes to pick and took them but as the rain moved in again, the match was called and wouldn’t resume until the next day, killing any momentum Djoker may have had.
Thus, when the match began Monday, Rafa was back in the zone and closed it out 7-5 in what was a choppy but unsurprising final. While many had high hopes for this final, like a repeat of their epic Aussie open final that lasted 5+ hours and sets, the fact is Nadal has simply done better on clay and Novak has not found the formula to beat him on the surface yet. Now as things turn to grass and then hard courts the playing field will be a bit more balanced.
In other 2nd week news and notes, Juan Martin Del Potro scored a nice 5 set win over Tomas Berdych before pushing Roger Federer to 5 sets but running out of gas and falling short. Tsonga beat nemesis Stanislas Wawrinka in 5 and then had 4 chances to knock Djokovic out of the tournament, but it was not to be as he gave away the 4th set and then proceed to collapse in the 5th, handing Novak another semi-final appearance. David Ferrer turned in nice wins over fellow Spaniard Marcel Granollers and the unhappy warrior Andy Murray, who gave him a bit of a test but let his head get the best of him once again. Ferrer again came up disappointing against countryman Nadal, only winning 5 games in 3 sets off of him.
Nadal only lost 1 match this clay court season, to Fernando Verdasco on the smurf clay of Madrid, which makes that match a bit of anomaly. Nadal otherwise completely dominated all fellow travelers. He won titles in Monte Carlo, Barcelona, Rome and Paris once again, holding off the critics about his knee and other possible problems.
Daniel Nestor of Canada and Max Mirnyi of Belarus took the doubles title over the Bryan Brothers 6-4 6-4. It was Nestor’s 3rd straight Roland Garros doubles title and Nestor/Mirnyi will continue to be the top ranked doubles team on the ATP tour.
Three generations of players come together for the
Longines Future Tennis Aces Tournament Roland Garros 2012
Paris (France) / St. Imier (Switzerland), 9 June 2012 – After two days of highly emotional tennis, the final of the Longines Future Tennis Aces Roland Garros 2012 tournament was held over the final weekend at Roland Garros. Destanee Aiava from Australia won the tournament, beating Haruna Arakawa from Japan. This exciting duel was followed by an exhibition match that brought together three generations of players. The two finalists of the Longines Future Tennis Aces Roland Garros 2012 tournament teamed up with Stefanie Graf and Sabine Lisicki, with Mansour Bahrami also joining in the fun. Afterwards, Longines presented the two youngsters with an annual bursary of $2,000 to pay for their tennis equipment until their 16th birthday.
The U.S. was represented in Paris by Rachel Lim, a 12-year-old, from Briarcliff Manor, N.Y., who won the Longines Future Tennis Aces qualifying tournament for U.S. participants last month. Lim, USTA ranked No. 22 in the 12-and-under division, lost in the first round last Thursday against the top-seeded player from Russia.
The Longines Future Tennis Aces Roland Garros 2012 tournament was a huge success. Through this tournament, Longines – the official partner of Roland Garros – aims to look for tomorrow’s tennis champions and to promote sport as well as respect, fair play and tolerance, which are essential for the enjoyment of sport. Over two days, the 16 players, all under the age of 13 and from all corners of the world, did their best to qualify for the final on Saturday morning.
A press conference was held in the Tennis Museum at Roland Garros to wind up the Longines Future Tennis Aces Tournament Roland Garros 2012, with the presence of Walter von Känel, President of Longines, Graf, Lisicki, Florence Ollivier-Lamarque, General Director Swatch Group France, Gilbert Ysern, General Director of the French Tennis Federation and Director of the French Open and Nelson Montfort.
US REPRESENTATIVE RACHEL LIM TO COMPETE AT LONGINES FUTURE TENNIS ACES TOURNAMENT AT ROLAND GARROS, JUNE 7-9, 2012
Lim to Compete for a Chance to Play with Tennis Legend
Stephanie Graf Prior to the French Open Final
WEEHAWKEN, NJ – May 30, 2012 – Rachel Lim, the United States representative for the ‘Longines Future Tennis Aces’ is on the road to the French Open tournament at Roland Garros, and is currently training near her home in Briarcliff Manor, NY in preparation for her first International tournament. Lim qualified for the all-expense-paid trip to Paris following a victory at last month’s Future Tennis Aces U.S. qualifying event at Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, site of the U.S. Open, in Flushing Meadows, NY. Ranked No. 22 nationally in the 12-and-under division, Lim will compete against 15 finalists from around the world during the final weekend of the French Open.
In addition to winning an all-expense paid trip to Roland Garros, Lim will compete for a chance to play with former world No. 1 and Longines Ambassador of Elegance Stefanie Graf and member of the Longines Rising Tennis Stars Sabine Lisicki (ranked 12th at the WTA) in an exhibition match prior to the French Open Women’s Final, and financing for her tennis equipment until her 16th birthday, courtesy of Longines.
“I’m very excited to meet and play against other players from around the world,” said Lim. “I can’t wait to experience their different styles of play. This will be my first trip overseas to play a tennis tournament. I am very excited to finally be able to visit the Eiffel tower, learn about the French culture and go to the French Open at Roland Garros and have the chance of a lifetime to play on the brick clay.”
Lim started playing tennis at 5 years of age and appeared in her first national competition at age 8. Last November, she won her first USTA National Open in the 12-and-under singles division and most recently captured her second national title at the USTA National Open at Owning Mills, MD. She also placed 3rd in doubles at the same tournament.
Longines Future Tennis Aces is part of the brand’s global commitment to support and develop tennis’ superstars of tomorrow. All the players who qualified for the World Final event in Paris will have the opportunity to attend the French Open Women’s Final on June 9.
Longines is the official timekeeper of the French Open of Roland Garros. Countries competing at the Longines Future Tennis Aces World Final include: Australia, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Italia, Japan, Mexico, Poland, Russia, Singapore, Spain, Switzerland, Taiwan, United Kingdom and the United States.
A complete schedule of events follows:
Longines Future Tennis Aces World Championship Tournament
Date: Thursday and Friday, June 7-8
Time: 10 am – 6 p.m. local time Paris
Location: Roland Garros Courts 14 & 16
Longines Future Tennis Aces World FINAL
Date: Saturday, June 9
Time: 10:15 am local time
Paris Location: Roland Garros Court 7
Stefanie Graf Exhibition Match featuring finalists from Longines Future Tennis Aces
Tournament Date: Saturday, June 9
Time: 11:15 am local Paris time
Location: Roland Garros Court 7
Sweet as a Georgia Peach: Melanie Oudin, @IrinaFalconi Advance to 2nd round of @RolandGarros For 1st Time #RG12
Melanie Oudin and Irina Falconi, two of Tennis East Coast’s favorite players, were both set in for early first round singles matches this morning by Roland Garros schedulers. It meant an early rise on the East Coast for fans, but it also started the French Open in a very good way for American tennis.
Oudin dispatched Johanna Larsson of Sweden 3 and 3, and was clearly elated to notch her first-ever main draw singles win at Roland Garros.
Falconi started slower, but found her form in a 3-6, 6-3, 6-1 victory over Edina Gallovits-Hall of Romania. She also claimed her first win on the famed ‘terre battue’. Falconi has a date with Sam Stosur in the second round, while Oudin will face the winner of Sara Errani/Casey Dellacqua.
Both players have Georgia connections. Oudin is a Marietta native and Falconi was a Georgia Tech All-American who now lives in Atlanta.
As a fan, I couldn’t have asked for a better start. There are a lot of Americans who wish they could have filled the empty seats at Roland Garros today.
It is finally time for the pinnacle of the clay court season, the French Open, which kicks off Sunday in Paris and will run for a full 2 weeks that will certainly be full of thrilling tennis action from shocking upsets to dynamic winners, 5 set battles and rowdy French fans. Players like Rafa return to try and continue their dominance, while others seek to make a name for themselves in the biggest clay court event of the year.
Top 8 seeds
1: Novak Djokovic
2: Rafael Nadal (defending champ)
3: Roger Federer (last year’s finalist)
4: Andy Murray
5: Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
6: David Ferrer
7: Tomas Berdych
8: Janko Tipsarevic
The only notable players missing in the field are Kei Nishikori and French favorite Gael Monfils, both of whom withdrew with injury. Monfils had been struggling recently but he always brought a certain flair and spark to Chatrier and will be missed. Who can forget this epic match in the dark with Fabio Fognini?
1st round matchups to watch:
Blaz Kavic vs. (wc) Lleyton Hewitt
Rusty will make his return to the Tennis tour after yet another bout with injury and a brisk recovery against the Slovenian Blaz Kavic. If Hewitt can advance, he could get a rematch with the man he took to an epic 4 sets at the Aussie Open, Novak Djokovic.
(22) Andreas Seppi vs. Nikolay Davydenko
Davydenko has shocked most everyone reaching the Nice semifinals this week. He has already upset Isner and is still in the running for the title. Seppi has had some fine results himself, most recently reaching the quarterfinals of ATP Rome and winning the ATP Belgrade title. Those fine performances have rocketed him into the top 25 and clay is his favorite surface. Should be an interesting matchup.
(wc) Brian Baker vs. Xaiver Malisse
In a compelling human interest story, Brian Baker, a former American top prospect who suffered numerous bouts with injury including multiple hip surgeries and was forced to retire from the tour a few years ago, has made a stunning return. That return saw him tear up the challenger circuit to earn the USTA wild card for the French Open and now reach the Nice semi-finals where he is still competing for the title. He knocked off Gael Monfils to get there. Malisse is a veteran himself and it should be interesting to watch these guys push themselves. The winner likely faces French favorite Gilles Simon.
(26) Andy Roddick vs. Nicolas Mahut
Roddick has been struggling as of late, losing a couple of matches in the World Team cup in Dusseldorf, his first matches on clay of the year (he last played in Miami where he knocked off Federer before losing to Juan Monaco). While he is ranked higher than Mahut, Mahut has to be given at least a puncher’s chance, considering he knows the surface and has had more playing time.
Benoit Paire vs. Albert Ramos
Paire, who was a finalist in Belgrade and is a home favorite Frenchmen will take on Ramos, who was a finalist in Casablanca. It should be a rowdy match-up between dirt ballers and the winner likely gets David Ferrer in a tough match-up.
Bjorn Phau vs. Paul-Henri Mathieu
Phau and Mathieu are both wily veterans hoping for a career renaissance and while neither has made too much noise as of late Mathieu, should have an eager crowd behind him.
Donald Young vs. Grigor Dimitrov
In a battle of the former phenom vs the still somewhat current phenom, a subliminally slumping Donald Young will try to pull it together for a match against the tricky Dimitrov. Young hasn’t won a match since Memphis in February, but that match was oddly enough against Dimitrov, albeit on a different surface. Dimitrov hasn’t done much himself and has mostly been lurking around the challenger circuit.
Santiago Giraldo vs. Alejandro Falla
In a battle of countrymen, the Colombian dirtballers Falla and Giraldo will duke it out. Giraldo is ranked higher (by 1 spot) and both players have had similar results recently.
Juan Ignacio Chela vs. Marcos Baghdatis
In another match-up of veterans, Chela, who hasn’t won a match since Acapulco in February, will take on Baghdatis. Though Baghdatis is higher ranked, he is still trying to pull things together.
Igor Kunitsyn vs. Denis Istomin
Kunitsyn, another veteran who is ranked just outside the top 100 and has been playing challengers recently, seeks to knock off top 50 player Istomin in a battle of the Russians. The winner likely faces Rafa.
Now to preview the 1st week of the French Open. This preview will split into 2 parts the 1st with week 1 predictions and early round previews and the 2nd with week 2 predictions and late round previews coming Saturday.
Top seed Novak Djokovic, who recently changed clothing sponsors if you haven’t heard, starts off with Italian Potito “Potato Starch” Starace before a possible Aussie open rematch with the always dangerous Hewitt. If he gets through that, he will face either 30 seed Jurgen Melzer or a qualifier. It is an easy enough early round draw for the world number 1.
14 seed Fernando Verdasco, who has had some good results recently, starts off with Steve Darcis of Belgium (who goes in as a bit of a sleeper), before a likely match-up with Gilles Muller and then the dangerously hot Andreas Seppi. Seppi gets Davydenko and then Ernest Gulbis or Mikhail Kukukshkin. A 3rd round match-up between Verdasco and Seppi if they are on their games would certainly be a cracker.
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, the 5 seed, opens up against a qualifier, followed by either dirtaballer Joao Souza or young German Cedrik-Marcel Stebe. If he can get through that, with the crowd urging him on, he could face either Bucharest finalist Fabio Fognini or Serbian Viktor Troicki (who had a good run at the French last year and is seeded 28th).
Gilles Simon, who got put in the same part of the draw with fellow French favorite Tsonga, will take on American Ryan Harrison before a match-up with either Malisse or Brian Baker. Baker is a guy that most of the tour is slightly terrified of playing right now because he is doing so well. Simon just lost to Almagro in the Nice semi-finals and if he can get through Baker or Malisse, he will probably face another dangerous player, Stanislas Wawrinka, the 18 seed. Wawrinka will face Flavio Cipolla and then probably Casablanca champ Pablo Andujar.
Roger Federer, the ATP Madrid champ and 3 seed, opens up against veteran German Tobias Kamke. Afterward, he probably faces another vet still playing well who prefers clay, David Nalbandian. It gets slightly easier from there though as his 3rd round match-up will be either Roddick/Mahut or Dancevic/Klizan. Dancevic is coming off injury while Roddick is slumping, Roddick last beat Federer in Miami, though, so that would be a compelling 3rd round match-up.
15 seed Feliciano Lopez, another veteran Spaniard, starts off against a qualifier before a match-up with either Karol Beck or Polish doubles specialist Lukasz Kubot, then he likely faces 23 seed Radek Stepanek and then Federer.
7 seed Tomas Berdych, one of the favorites outside the top 5 this week will open up against Dudi Sela, before a match-up with either Frenchman Michael Llodra or GGL. Then he probably gets another big man, 31 seed Kevin Anderson, and another big man, the 9 seed Juan Martin Del Potro, in what is the “big man” part of the draw.
Del Potro opens up against Albert Montanes, then will face either Frenchmen Edourd Roger-Vasselin or Vasek “Vashy” Pospisil, the young Canadian. The 3rd round match-up would probably be with 21 seed Marin Cilic in a rematch of their previous battles including in Davis Cup play on clay. Cilic will have to get through Juan Carlos Ferrero first, though, and that is never an easy task on the dirt.
Murray is the 4 seed but this isn’t exactly “his” quarter for the taking. Never the less, he actually has a somewhat easy draw starting off with Tatsuma Ito of Japan who performed admirably in Dusseldorf this week, and then either Jarkko Niemenen or Igor Andreev. Then he will get either 25 seed Bernard Tomic, not exactly on a hot streak himself, a qualifier or Colombians Falla or Giraldo.
16 seed Alexandr Dolgopolov opens up against Ukranian Sergiy Stakhovsky and then will likely face Italian Fillipo Volandri before meeting 17 seed Richard Gasquet.
Gasquet gets a qualifier and then Dimitrov or Young. He comes in a bit under the radar but he is another French favorite and certainly a handful. He knocked off Murray in a 3-set battle in Rome and Murray could get a chance at revenge.
6 seed David Ferrer, who is the odds on favorite in this quarter of the draw, even while playing second fiddle to Nadal most of the clay court season has done quite well in his own right. He opens up against Lukas Lacko, before facing either Ramos or Paire and then either 27 seed Mikhail Younzhy/James Blake or Robin Haase/Ivan Dodig. Nothing too tricky for him early on.
10 seed John Isner, who has struggled recently, even though he was a “dark horse” pick for Roland Garros earlier in the year and is the American almost everyone is still pinning their slim clay court hopes on opens up against a qualifier and then the Mathieu/Phau winner. Then he likely faces dangerous Spanish dirtballer Marcel Granollers and then Ferrer. It is a pretty unlucky draw for the tall American.
Rafa is the odds on favorite to win it all once again in Paris after dominating the clay court season winning titles in Monte Carlo, Barcelona and Rome. His only slip up was against Verdasco in Madrid (he also reclaimed the number 2 ranking from Federer after losing it momentarily). Nadal starts off against Italian Simone Bollelli and then will face the Istomin/Kunitsyn winner. 32 seed Florian Mayer of Germany or Ivo Karlovic are his likely 3rd round match-ups and then Juan Monaco in the 4th round. It is an easy early draw for the Spaniard.
Monaco opens up against wild card Guillumane Rufin of France and then will get the Carlos Berlocq/Lukas Rosol winner. If he faces Berlocq it will be a battle of Argentines. 19 seed Milos Raonic is his likely 3rd round match up .
Janko Tipsarevic, the 8 seed, lost to Wawrinka in Rome but also reached the semis in Madrid and is also in the final for Serbia in Dusseldorf where he knocked off Philip Kohlschreiber. He begins against American Sam Querrey before facing either Frenchman Jeremy Chardy or Yen-Tsun Lu. He then will likely get another Frenchman, 29 seed Julien Benneteau, and then 12 seed Nicolas Almagro, who has reached the final in Nice.
Almagro, another clay court favorite, will face Paolo Lorenzi, the Baghdatis/Chela winner and then 24 seed Philip Kohlschreiber of Germany.
Dark Horses (one for each quarter of the draw): Stanislas Wawrinka, Juan Carlos Ferrero, Alexandr Dolgopolov/Marcel Granollers and Phillip Kohlschreiber.
Wawrinka, the 18 seed, could easily reach the quarterfinals if he can get past Simon, who has been toiling away in Nice and will have a lot of pressure on his shoulders. He’ll also have to take out Tsonga, who has been somewhat of a roller coaster ride recently (getting thumped by Djokovic in Rome after beating Del Potro, losing to Dolgopolov in Madrid and Haas in Munich). If Wawrinka does this, he could be the most hated man in France for dashing French hopes. For his part, his last loss was a thriller in Rome to Andreas Seppi.
Ferrero, the former world number 1, French Open champ (2003) and French Open runner up (2002), seeks another dashing run in Paris after a nice couple of wins in Rome over Anderson and Monfils. He faces a wild card and then 21 seed Cilic. Then he would face 2 other big men, Del Potro and Berdych reach the quarterfinals. Though it is unlikely, in this part of the draw it is possible.
Dolgopolov has a great shot to reach the quarters if he can knock off Gasquet on home clay and then Murray, who is always unpredictable these days. He might even be lucky enough to avoid Murray and get Tomic in the 3rd round. He was forced to retire during his match vs. Verdasco in Rome but reached the quarters of Madrid.
Granollers is the other dark horse in this quarter (considering Murray struggles don’t exactly make him the favorite) and if he could knock off a slumping John Isner on his favorite surface, he would then most likely face Ferrer. While he would be a heavy underdog to his countryman Ferrer, stranger things have happened.
Kohlschreiber, the Munich champ, lost to Tipsarevic in the semis of the world team cup in Dusseldorf after winning a couple of matches and before that, lost to Isner in the 1st round of Rome. He has a good chance to reach the quarters if he can get past Nice finalist (and possible champ) Almagro and then get his revenge on Tipsarevic.
Week 1 predictions (4th round match-ups)
Djokovic v. Verdasco
Tsonga v. Simon
Federer v. Lopez
Berdych v. Del Potro
Ferrer v. Granollers
Murray v. Dolgopolov
Tipsarevic v. Almagro
Nadal v. Monaco
And for what it’s worth, here is my full French Open bracket prediction http://www.tourneytopia.com/RacquetBracketFrenchOpenATP/FrenchOpenATP/pool/entrypicks.aspx?entryid=297104&confirmed=true&existing=true
Djokovic d. Simon (dashing French hopes)
Federer d. Berdych (in a rematch of the Madrid final)
Ferrer d. Dolgopolov
Nadal d. Tipsarevic (in a rematch of the Barcelona quarter finals)
Federer d. Djokovic (gets his revenge from the Rome defeat)
Nadal d. Ferrer (for the third time in a row on clay possibly)
Nadal d. Federer in a rematch of last year’s final. Nadal has only lost once in Paris (to Robin Soderling in 2009) and carries a 45-1 record with him. He has also dominated the rest of the clay court season and also now holds the record for most wins on clay all time.
Denis Kudla, Michael Russell, Jesse Levine, Bobby Reynolds and Alex Kuznetsov advanced to the second round of qualifying at Roland Garros today. Kudla needed three sets to dispatch 29 seed James Ward of Great Britain, 6-2, 4-6, 6-3. Reynolds also won a three-setter in convincing fashion over KazakhYuri Schukin, 6-0, 6-7 (1), 6-2. Levine won 2 and 2 against France’s Julien Obry. Michael Russell perservered in a very tight 4, 6 and 7 win from German Simon Greul, while Kuznetsov eked it out over fellow American Michael Yani, 7-6(3), 7-5.
The American men will mostly have an off day tomorrow. The exception is Michael Russell, who will take the court for a second round match not before 3:00 p.m.
Eight American women are scheduled for tomorrow’s first round qualifying. Coco Vandeweghe, Madison Brengle, Alexa Glatch, Alison Riske, Lauren Davis, Julia Cohen, Jill Craybas and Gail Brodsky will begin their quest for main draw berths tomorrow. Craybas and Brodsky will meet on Court 16, where only one American will advance from the match.
ATP Rome Recap: Nadal Defeats Djokovic Once Again
By Steen Kirby, TennisEastCoast.com
Rafael Nadal won his 6th Rome title a day later than expected with another relatively easy victory over a clearly frustrated Novak Djokovic, 7-5 6-3. The victory also guarantees Nadal the number two seed at Roland Garros. Djokovic will still be the one seed.
Nadal didn’t face a 3 set match all week as he rolled over Florian Mayer, Marcel Granollers, Tomas Berdych and dejected countryman David Ferrer before taking out Djokovic. It was another dominant performance from the king of clay who quickly overcame his Madrid blues.
Djokovic took out Bernie Tomic, came back from a set down to beat Juan Monaco, beat Jo-Wilfried Tsonga with ease and then dispatched Roger Federer in an exciting match before falling to Nadal.
The match of the week and one of the nominations for match of the year has to be Italian Andreas Seppi, playing on home clay and taking down Stanislas Wawrinka in 3 tie break sets 6-7 7-6 7-6. Seppi saved 6 match points and converted his only match point to take out the higher ranked Wawrinka before a raucous home crowd.
The same raucous crowd that showed their displeasure with the cancelling of the men’s final on Sunday due to rain and poor court conditions by throwing anything they could find on the court.
Marcel Granollers and Marc Lopez, the ‘M&Ms’, took the Rome doubles title over Lukasz Kubot and Janko Tipsarevic 6-3 6-2.
2012 ATP Nice Preview
by Steen Kirby, TennisEastCoast.com
Open de Nice Côte d’Azur
ATP World Tour 250
May 20-May 26 2012
Prize Money: € 398,250
In the final tune up before Roland Garros, the pros head to the French coastal town of Nice. The field features 4 players ranked in the top 20 and all seeded players are in the top 50.
Top 4 Seeds (who all receive 1st round byes)
1: John Isner
2: Gilles Simon
3: Nicolas Almagro
4: Gael Monfils
1st round matchups to watch:
Nikolay Davydenko vs. Matt Ebden
In a battle of young vs. old, big vs. small, veteran Davydenko, a former top 10 player who continues his career slide but still manages to pull off a good win here and there, will take on the rising Aussie Ebden. Ebden could use a good run here.
Robin Haase vs. J.C Ferrero
Haase, the 6 seed, will take on wild card Ferrero, who knocked off Kevin Anderson and Gael Monfils before falling to Federer in Rome.
John Isner, the top seed, will start against either Xaiver Malisse or Yen-Tsun Lu. 7 seed Denis Istomin faces the dangerous Alejandro Falla before a match-up with either Ebden or Davydenko.
Gael Monfils, who has struggled, is still seeded 4th and will be one of the home favorites. He will take on on Sergiy Stakhovsky or a qualifier before a likely match up with 5 seed Bernie Tomic. Tomic opens up against the lanky Slovak Lukas Lacko, and if he advances will take on either Mikhail Kukushkin or a qualifier.
Gilles Simon, the 2 seed, and the home favorite opens against either veteran Dudi Sela or a qualifier before a likely match-up with Haase or Ferrero (a qualifier and Donald Young are also an option).
Nicolas Almagro, the 3 seed and defending champ, will take on either Belgrade finalist Benoit Paire or Edouard Roger-Vasselin. Fabio Fognini, the 8 seed, opens up against Steve Darcis of Belgium before a match-up with either another Belgian, Olivier Rochus, or countryman Filippo Volandri.
Dark Horse: Bernard Tomic
Tomic has been under the radar for a while and doesn’t normally play his best tennis on clay, and yet, he is well primed for a good run in Nice. If he can get past Lacko and Kukushkin, he gets a struggling Gael Monfils in the quarters and a somewhat down John Isner in the semis. All are winnable matches for the Aussie, who is on the favorable side of the draw.
Tomic d. Isner
Simon d. Almagro
Simon d. Tomic