Djokovic Defends Rogers Cup: ATP Toronto Recap
Steen Kirby, TennisEastCoast.com
Novak Djokovic defended his Rogers Cup title in Toronto and was top dog all week as he finished the tournament off dispatching surprise finalist Richard Gasquet 6-3 6-2 in a routine match. Previously in the week, he handled Bernard Tomic, Sam Querrey, and Tommy Haas in three sets and countryman Janko Tipsarevic in a slugfest semi-final that was interrupted by rain. In fact, the Toronto tournament had to deal with weather interruptions all week. Tipsarevic repeated his Rogers Cup semifinal performance.
For Gasquet, he jumps into the top 15 by reaching his third masters final and his first in six years, but he has never won a Masters event. In order to reach the final, he beat Mikhail Kukushkin, 4 seed Tomas Berdych, 2011 Rogers Cup finalist Mardy Fish and a likely fatigued John Isner, who had had to play two matches in one day the day before (beating Phillip Kohlschreiber in three and Milos Raonic in straights).
In doubles, the Bryan Brothers earned another big title, beating Marcel Granollers and Marc Lopez.
In other North American tennis news, Steve Johnson won the Aptos, California challenger title on the USTA pro circuit.
2012 ATP Toronto Rogers Cup Preview
Steen Kirby, TennisEastCoast.com
The first hard court masters event of the summer, the Rogers Cup in Toronto will begin in earnest today right out of the Olympics. Notable withdrawals include Rafael Nadal, still dealing with knee issues, and Olympic silver medalist Roger Federer. Olympic gold medalist Murray and bronze medalist Del Potro, along with Djokovic, plan to compete. The top sixteen seeds receive first round byes.
ATP World Tour Masters 1000
August 6- August 12, 2012
Prize Money: $2,648,700
Top 8 seeds (who all receive first round byes)
1: Novak Djokovic
2: Andy Murray
3: Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
4: Tomas Berdych
5: Janko Tipsarevic
6: Juan Martin Del Potro
7: Juan Monaco
8: John Isner
First round matchups to watch:
Tommy Haas vs. David Nalbandian
In a battle of skilled veterans, the red-hot Haas, a Washington finalist, will take on Nalby. Haas will be a favorite as he has played more on hardcourts now.
Kevin Anderson vs. Mihail Youzhny
Both these guys have had an up and down year and are certainly talented. They also play contrasting styles, and while Anderson is usually slightly better on hardcourts, Youzhny has played better recently but suffered a first round loss at the Olympics. These guys are just a couple of places apart from each other in the rankings.
Alex Bogomolov vs. Viktor Troicki
Bogomolov has had a horrendous 2012, but he did manage to snatch a first round win at the Olympics this week over Carlos Berlocq. On the other side of things, Troicki lost in the first round of the Olympics to Nicolas Almagro, but has had a pretty decent year, doing well in both Wimbledon (R16) and the French Open (R32).
Novak Djokovic, the unlucky loser of the Olympic bronze medal match, will try to regroup first against either a continually slumping Bernard Tomic, who will be happy to be back on hardcourts or a qualifier. After that, he could face dangerous 13-seed Kei Nishikori, who upset David Ferrer and made the Olympic quarterfinals or CitiOpen semifinalist and LA champion Sam Querrey. If he gets through that, he likely faces a rematch with the man who beat him for the Olympic bronze, Juan Martin Del Potro, in the quarterfinals.
Del Potro will face either Radek Stepanek or DC champion Alexandr Dolgopolov, and then could get the man Dolgopolov beat in the DC final, the scorching Tommy Haas. If that match comes to fruition, it will be brilliant given the high level of play both guys have been at recently. 9-seed Gilles Simon, who has struggled recently, is also in this part of the draw and will play the winner of Haas/Nalbandian.
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who did well to make the quarters in Olympic singles, will face the winner of Jeremy Chardy vs. Donald Young in his opener. After that, he could get either Florian Mayer or Marcel Granollers, a couple of players more comfortable on clay. The quarters could find him facing Janko Tipsarevic. This is not a bad draw for Jo Willie.
Tipsarevic will face the winner of Youzhny/Anderson and then could face 10-seed Marin Cilic or Marcos Baghdatis in the third round.
Olympic Gold Medalist and two- time Rogers Cup champion Andy Murray will come off the biggest win of his career and face a qualifier in the second round. He could get home favorite Milos Raonic and another big serving big man, John Isner in the quarters. These are tricky matchups, but given his form, he should be able to do well adjusting to the hard courts.
Isner will face the winner of Pablo Andujar/Lukas Lacko and then likely faces a somewhat tricky Phillip Kohlschreiber in the third round, with the winner making the quarters.
Tomas Berdych, struggling as of late, starts off against Julien Benneteau or a qualifier and then could face another Frenchman, Richard Gasquet, in the third round. In the quarters, the winner could get Juan Monaco, Mardy Fish or maybe even Andreas Seppi of Italy.
Pico Monaco starts off against the winner of Seppi vs. Canadian favorite and Olympian Vasek Pospisil. He’d then likely face Mardy Fish, (still dealing with ankle issues, it seems) in the third round.
Dark Horse/Cheval Sombre: Juan Monaco
Monaco has been hot as of late, even though he suffered a second round loss to Feliciano Lopez in the Olympics. He’s a new top 10′er and was a winner of three clay court events this year and a finalist in another. He also made the semis of the hard court event in Indian Wells this year, beating his most likely ‘trip up’ in his part of the draw, Mardy Fish. His quarterfinals match up would likely be either the inconsistent Richard Gasquet or the struggling Tomas Berdych, neither of which is an impossible match up, giving him a good shot at the semis.
Djokovic d. Tsonga
Murray d. Monaco
Murray d. Djokovic
Andy will try to keep the momentum going in Canada.
We all love a bargain. The web deal provider, Groupon, has been a useful resource for cheap weekend tennis times, clinics and even discount passes to the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, RI. But it’s also become a good place to get highly-discounted tickets to pro tennis tournaments, too. And believe it or not, that can be frustrating for fans.
Some die-hards buy tickets to a tournament which they plan to attend months ahead of the event. The advantages for this are obvious: you expect that you will get better seats by purchasing in advance. In fact, sometimes, the USTA offers an “exclusive” presale for USTA members only. So you pay full price three or more months in advance, hoping that there’s no family or work emergency that will make you have to cancel your plans. Let’s say you paid $225.00 each for your tickets. That is the price for the Tier 1 seats at the Fed Cup tie in Worcester, Massachusetts this weekend. Then, a week before the event, you get the following email in your inbox.
Talk about sticker shock. It’s like, yikes! You just over-paid by $135.00 per ticket! And it’s not just Fed Cup. Over the past year, you could have ‘grouponed’ Delray Beach for 48% off, Cincinnati and the CitiOpen at 1/2 price, or the HSBC Tennis Cup at 42% of face value. The ‘groupon phenomenon’ isn’t limited to the US, either. You could have paid 40 cents on the looney to catch Roger’s Cup action in Toronto, and 48p to the pound to see the Aegon Classic in Birmingham.
What’s a fan to do? Well, unless it’s a tournament that always sells out in advance, the fan should wait for the bargain.
Groupon marketing for tennis events offered months after the general public has paid full-price doesn’t sit right with this fan. Then, what’s the promoter to do? Simply eating the unsold tickets isn’t an option. Everyone would rather have more fans in the stands watching world-class tennis.
Let’s look to the National Football League for an answer. The management of the Cincinnati Bengals were worried about a television blackout and needed to sell out Paul Brown Stadium before a final home game last December. Of course, selling all the available seats wasn’t just about making sure the game was televised locally. The Bengals would advance to the playoffs with a win, and they wanted to fill the stands with Cincinnati fans to support the team and show off a raucous crowd on national television as well.
The Bengals sold over twenty thousand tickets in a single day. How? They made a “groupon”-style offer strictly to fans who already had tickets to the game, namely, season ticket holders. For those committed fans, the Bengals offered a buy one, get one free deal to bring friends and family to the game. It made the season ticket holders feel special and it worked.
In the instant case of the Fed Cup tie in Worcester, perhaps the USTA could have sent an email to those who bought during the USTA member October presale informing them of an exclusive chance to buy extra tickets at half off. That move would endear and reward the loyal while filling the DCU Center.
So, yeah, we all love a bargain. Unless we ultimately end up feeling like a chump when we see what somebody else paid for the same thing. Tennis tickets shouldn’t be like airline tickets, where every single person on the plane paid a different price for the same seats.
If only they could somehow Groupon the US Open itself. Preferably in April and not September, please.