CHARLESTON—Almost everyone was out and about today as the good weather arrived just in time for pro tennis to be played between the Wando and Cooper Rivers. The exceptions: there were no sightings of Venus or Birthday Girl Sam Stosur.
Francesca practiced with Voegele, the Rodionovas practiced together and with partners, and Madison Keys teamed up with Marina Erakovic.
But the biggest practices were on Stadium Court. Wozniacki got there first, which was a good thing for her, because Lisicki stayed on court for nearly three hours after she took over.
She hit with Mona Barthel, then she hit with her coach, followed by a hitting partner. She looked in form and I expect her to be in the running next Friday. Check out the Sabi Split she pulled off at the end of the video.
Poor Stefanie Voegele. She was robbed of a point and had her concentration irretrievably broken at 4-4 in the 2nd set in Memphis today. Voegele had crawled back in the match after dropping the first set, and the worst display of short term memory loss by an official couldn’t have come at a worse time for Voegele. She returned a serve and it landed in play. The linesman called Erakovic’s serve wide, but the replay challenge showed it in. Instead of replaying the point, Chair Umpire Gigi Gregory called the point for Erakovic.
This made no sense, of course, but the result clearly altered the outcome of the match. Voegele’s coach, Ivo Werner, apparently directed strong words toward the Chair, as in calling Gregory a ‘fat b**ch”. While it’s not acceptable to use profanity at a tennis match unless you’re playing, a colossal umpire goof-up of these proportions could leave a lot of people momentarily forgetting their filters. This has to go down as the worst officiating call in history, and that’s saying something, since we survived the first part of the NFL season with replacement referees.
Tough break for Erakovic too, because it took the spotlight from another solid effort on her part. She’ll be a big underdog tomorrow.
Sabine Lisicki eked by an agressive Magdalena Rybarikova 7-5, 7-5. More likely, Sabine stole the match. In the take advantage way and not the mugging way like Voegele got from Gigi Gregory. Rybarikova served for both sets at 5-4 and lost the following three games in each set to lose at 5 and 5. She also looked strong this week but will probably be remembered for not being able to hold her nerve than anything else. Lisicki is a clear favorite for the title and is on to her second straight final in a row.
On Sunday, I picked Sabi to win it all in Memphis. Barring a major letdown on her part or another Gigi Gregory ’Moment to Forget to Remember’, she’ll be holding the heavy hardware tomorrow night.
Alexandr Dolgopolov recovered from a slow start and poor play at times to best Rhyne Williams 6-4 4-6 6-4 yesterday in Memphis. Williams got off to a strong start, breaking to open and leading 3-0 but he would let his game slip and let Dolgopolov back into the opening set, a set he would eventually take with a break. In the 2nd set, it was Williams getting the big break he needed in a match full of long-winded rallies, with both guys putting a ton of balls back in play and returning serve well. In the 3rd, Dolgopolov got a break midway through and held on the rest of the way through some long difficult games. Dolgopolov was not at his top level but Williams, as usual, seemed to let the emotional rollercoaster get the best of him, and with every racquet smash and outburst, it was almost as if you could see Dolgo realizing he had gotten into Williams head and capitalizing.
Marin Cilic survived a brutal 3 set match with Igor Sijsling 7-6 3-6 7-6, a match where he didn’t have a single break of serve and struggled to deal with Sijsling’s powerful serve. He had a clear edge in the 1st set, holding easily, with Sijsling struggling with a sore shoulder that required the trainer after a few games. But Sijsling would hang in there, and almost got better as the match went on, holding his serve, but then struggling in the 1st set tiebreak. In the 2nd he came back though, got a break and held all the way through, hitting with power on both the backhand and forehand side along with continuing to serve well.
In the 3rd set, it continued to be a battle with holds all the way until the tiebreak and Sijsling having a break point at 6-5 to take the match that he couldn’t convert. Sijsling also had 2 more match points in the tiebreak, but an odd netcord and an unforced error prevented them from being converted. Cilic continued to hold his serve and eventually took the 3rd set tiebreak and the match in tough fashion.
In other men’s singles action, Michael Russell made the quarters 6-2 6-4 over Lukasz Kubot, smacking the ball around well, serving comfortably and passing the serve and volleyer Kubot, who was clearly off his game today, with relative ease. Kubot even whiffed on his volleys a few times, while Russell just glided corner to corner and put the ball away for winners, keeping Kubot uncomfortable and defensive.
Russell is joined in the quarters by Denis Istomin, who whipped up on Lleyton Hewitt 6-1 6-2, running over Rusty with good serving and a wicked forehand showing. Kei Nishikori eased past Donald Young 6-3 6-3, not showing any real weakness. Marinko Matosevic finally earned another marquee win, upsetting Sam Querrey in 3 sets 3-6 6-4 7-5. Jack Sock and his ripping forehand beat his doubles partner James Blake 7-5 6-4, surviving everything JB could throw at him in style. Feliciano Lopez also made the semis via walkover as Tommy Haas withdrew shortly before the match with “respiratory illness”.
The men’s quarterfinals will be Cilic vs. Nishikori, Matosevic vs. Dolgopolov, Russell vs. Istomin and Sock vs. Lopez.
In men’s doubles Peya/Soares beat Butorac/Hanley 6-4 6-2 and Kubot/Nestor beat Melzer/Petzschener 6-4 7-5. Both teams make their way into the semifinals.
On the women’s side, the singles semifinals were determined, with Sabine Lisicki beating Kristina Mladenovic 6-3 6-3, Stefanie Voegele dominating Heather Watson 6-1 6-2, Marina Erakovic beating a frustrated Jamie Hampton 7-5 6-2 and Magdalena Rybarikova winning a slice and dice battle with Kirsten Flipkens 6-7 7-5 7-6-3. That match was highlighted by a back and forth opening set tiebreak that went as long as a double changeover, and it seemed neither player could string consecutive points together, serving or returning.
The women’s semis will be Lisicki vs. Rybarikova and Voegele vs. Erakovic.
In women’s doubles, Arvidsson/Larsson booked a spot in the final , 4-6 6-3 11-9 over Deikmejre/Moulton-Levy and Dolonc/Hrdinova fell to Mladenovic/Voskoboeva 7-6 6-4. Mladenovic and Voskoboeva make the semis, where they will play Lee-Waters/Pegula.
It was a great time in Memphis and I hope everyone enjoyed the on site coverage, TEC will continue to update on news from Memphis until the conclusion of the tournament, and we want to thank everyone at the tournament, including the media director and the ATP and WTA media representatives for their helpfulness. I also want to extend a special thanks to Tennis Now’s Blair Henley, who was personally very helpful to me throughout the week as a fellow journalist.
I’ve been so busy I didn’t even realize that Steen uploaded a bunch of video from Memphis. Here’s a sample. The rest may be found on youtube. I see he’s got Hewitt’s presser processing. It’s a work in progress, so check back often.
Sizzling Sijsling Cool Under Pressure, Lisicki Knocks Out Keys
Here is your recap of all the goings on Tuesday at the Racquet club of Memphis.
Igor Sijsling got things started off right and continued his streak of strong play, knocking out Jurgen Melzer 6-4 7-6. Sijsling notched an early break of serve in the 1st set and then proceeded to keep Melzer moving and off balance, which created a host of groundstroke errors for the Austrian and resulted in him dropping the 1st set. In the 2nd, Melzer did his best to get fired up and pushed hard at multiple points to earn various break point chances. When the pressure was on Sijsling to keep his serve, he delivered, knocking aces and putting the ball on the lines with both his backhand and forehand. He also did some great volleying at the net.
Sijsling was pushed hard at times but never faltered and he kept Melzer scrambling, and though Jurgen scrambled and came up with some epic defense to offense shots and showed great court coverage from behind the baseline up to the net, Sijsling’s power was simply too much for him. When it came to the 2nd set tiebreak, 1 minibreak handed Sijsling the win. Melzer himself even stated after the match that Sijsling was simply too strong, and he felt he had played a good match besides not serving as he would like. In short, both guys would have beaten a lot of players today, but only 1 could be the victor.
After that match, Sabine Lisicki kept Madison Keys at bay 7-5 6-3. Lisicki broke Keys at the end of a tight first set and then traded breaks in the 2nd, but she seemed to make easy work of Keys 2nd serve, creeping up the baseline to return it and serving well enough to win.
James Blake won a back and forth, wild momentum swing match with Flo Mo, Florian Mayer, 4-6 6-3 6-2. Blake won the first 3 games of the match at love but then proceeded to unravel and let Mayer, who looked a bit dazed at the start, to roar back and roll off the next 5 games, eventually taking the 1st set. In the 2nd they played close for a while, but Blake again regained the momentum and rolled at the end of the 2nd which gave him enough momentum and energy in the 3rd to take it. Blake advanced to the next round to smatterings to cheers from the spectators who were strongly in his corner.
In other men’s singles action, John Isner continues to struggle and fell to Denis Istomin 6-4 6-3 in a match where he did nothing to his opponents serve. Sam Querrey calmly routined Alejandro Falla once again, 6-3 6-3, holding serve pretty easily and getting breaks when needed them. Michael Russell got past a flustered Alex Bogomolov 6-2 6-4. Feliciano Lopez came back to take out Benjamin Becker 4-6 6-3 6-4. In the nightcap, Kei Nishikori bested Ilya Marchenko by a count of 6-4, 7-5.
In men’s doubles, Butorac/Hanley defeated Huey/Inglot, 6-4, 7-5, Cilic/Sa beat Dodig/Melo in a very tight match 7-6 5-7 11-9 and Gonzalez/Lipsky got past Matosevic/Malisse 6-4 6-3, in a match where Matosevic was quite angry.
In women’s singles, Jamie Hampton crushed Coco Vandeweghe 6-3 6-0, Claire Feurstein of France was strong and confident with a 6-4 6-3 win over Lucie Hradecka, Andrea Hlavackova worked past Melanie Oudin 6-4 3-6 6-3 and Magdalena Rybarikova won 7-6 6-2 over Lauren Davis.
In women’s doubles, Mladenovic/Voskoboeva won 6-3 6-2 over Scheepers/Peer, Arvidsson/Larsson beat Falconi/Sanchez 6-2 6-4 and Muguruza/Soler-Espinosa beat Hibberd/Welcher 7-6 7-6.
Top Seeds Advance in Memphis 1st Round, Harrison Falls to Kubot
The top men’s seed, Marin Cilic, and the top women’s seed, Kirsten Flipkens both advanced in the opening round yesterday in Memphis. Cilic won in a 3 set comeback over Ivan Dodig 4-6 6-2 6-3 and Flipkens 6-2 6-2 cruised past over Shahar Peer in a little over an hour.
Flipkens is joined in the 2nd round by 2 seed Sofia Arvidsson, who won 6-4 6-4, over Jana Cepelova. A host of other women who also advanced included Jamie Hampton, 6-3 6-3 over Garbine Muguruza, Marina Erakovic 4-6 7-6 6-4 over Annika Beck, Lesia Tsurenko 6-2 6-4 over Maria Sanchez, Stefanie Voegele 7-6 6-0 over Silvia Soler-Espinosa and last but certainly not least, Victoria Duval, who at 17, won her first ever WTA match 3-6 6-1 6-3 over Johanna Larsson. Memphis Tiger Courtney Collins was outmatched by Kristen Mladenovic 6-3, 6-1.
In Sunday main draw singles it should be noted that Heather Watson, Melinda Czink, Magdalena Rybarikova and Lauren Davis all advanced to the 2nd round.
In ladies doubles action, the following teams advanced: Dabrowski/Kudryavtseva over the top seeds Hlavackova/Hradecka, Lee-Waters/Pegula over Czink/Lucic, Erakovic/Watson over Murdock/Slupska and Dolonc/Hrdinova over Townsend/Vandeweghe.
In the other two men’s singles matches on the docket yesterday, Rhyne Williams continued his streak of good play in winning a close encounter over Steve Johnson, 7-6 6-4 and Lukasz Kubot beat Ryan Harrison, 6-4 6-7 7-6 in a tight back and forth match.
In men’s doubles, 2 seeds Mirnyi/Tecau fell to Blake/Sock and Melzer/Petzschner beat Cabal/Mayer.
Today is our first day of onsite coverage. I’ll be watching defending champ Jurgen Melzer vs sizzling Igor Sijsling bright and early on stadium, which will be followed by the huge matchup of Sabine “Boom Boom” Lisicki vs Madison Keys. Following that will be a battle of veterans James Blake and Florian Mayer and the Sam Querrey vs Alejandro Falla rematch.
On grandstand, Alex Bogomolov will play Michael Russell, Lauren Davis will play Magdalena Rybarikova in a 2nd round singles match, Melanie Oudin will play Andrea Hlavackova, Coco Vandeweghe will play Jamie Hampton in a 2nd round singles match and Benjamin Becker will duel with Feliciano Lopez.
On court 1, Arvidsson/Larsson will play Falconi/Sanchez, Gonzalez/Lipsky will play the alternate team of Matosevic/Malisse, who replace Verdasco/Marrero, after Verdasco unfortunately withdrew with a neck injury last night. This team is also interesting given they were just playing against each other in the doubles final in San Jose on Sunday. Lucie Hradecka will play Claire Feuerstein, Cilic/Sa will play Dodig/Melo, and Peer/Scheepers will play Mladenovic/Voskoboeva.
The night session matches will be John Isner against Denis Istomin, followed by Kei Nishikori vs. Illya Marchenko. On the outer courts, Huey/Inglot vs Butorac/Hanley and Muguruza/Espinosa against Hibberd/Welcher.
Don’t forget, for coverage of the instant, live-tweeted variety, I can be found @nolesfan2011.
2013 WTA Memphis Preview
Steve Fogleman, TennisEastCoast.com
U.S. National Indoor Tennis Championships
WTA International Event
Memphis, Tennessee, USA
February 18-Feburary 24, 2013
Though it lacks the firepower of the men’s draw, the Memphis women’s competitors make up for it with a heavy American contingent and a wide open field. Don’t expect to see top seed Kirsten Flipkens taking on 2 seed Sofia Arvidsson in the Final, because it won’t happen.
No matter who I believe will win the main draw, the qualifying field is extremely strong and the placement of the qualifiers could dramatically affect the results. I expect Keys to take the first spot, Falconi to qualify, as well as Jana Cepelova and Taylor Townsend. Any of those players could destroy your bracket in the first round.
#34 in the world is good enough to make top seed in the WTA draw, and Kirsten Flipkens isn’t exactly used to the seeding. She managed to win her first title in Quebec last September. Expect her to surpass Shahar Peer in the first round. Lesia Tsurekno is her second round opponent provided she outlasts one of the dreaded qualifiers. If Tsurenko plays Flipkens in the second, an upset watch is in order.
2012 Washington champion Magdalena Rybarikova opens with Stephanie Foretz Gacon and will meet the winner of Ksenia Pervak/Lauren Davis. This could be a nice time for American Davis to make a WTA run, but she’ll be tested in the opener and a possible second round. Expect the winner of this eighth to strongly challenge Flipkens or Tsurenko in the quarters.
The quirky career of dude favorite Sabine Lisicki finds itself currently at #40, down from the teens this time last year. Nevertheless, she finds herself in the easiest quarter of this tournament and has a very realisitic shot at picking up her fourth WTA singles title. She opens with a qualifier, and with a win, she’ll face the Olga Puchkova/Melinda Czink winner for a quarterfinal berth. Czink’s career is all but over at this point. She’s the walking dead of the WTA. Puchkova will be a pushover for Lisicki.
Kristina Mladenovic may face Lisicki for a semifinal berth, provided the French woman with the Serbian name beats Memphis Tiger Courtney Collins and the winner of the match between Johanna Larsson and Haitian-American Victoria Duval.
Heather Watson has a quarter as top seed? It’s earned based on her recent success, but it won’t be easy to defend. She’s bound to advance over Galina Voskoboeva in the first round. After that, she’ll face a dangerous opponent in either Andrea Hlavackova or Melanie Oudin. These are two players who are able to perform above their rankings at any given moment.
Looking to meet up with the winner of those players will be Hlavackova’s doubles partner, Lucie Hradecka. Hradecka will need to get past a pesky qualifier before she meets Stefanie Voegele or Silvia Soler-Espinosa in the second.
Hradecka could come out of this quarter, but I see Oudin triumphing on home hard courts.
2 seed Sofia Arvidsson does business with a qualifier before meeting up with the winner of Marina Erakovic and Annika Beck. Erakovic is a sleeper here, but Arvidsson should be able to reach the quarters.
The top part of this quarter is open. While Chanelle Scheepers is the top ranked player in the eighth, she’s way off the form she posted last summer when she was world #29. She should get by Coco Vandeweghe. Jamie Hampton is near a career high and should smoke wild card Garbine Muguruza. Hampton would have a slight edge against Scheepers for the right to play Arvidsson to book a trip to the semis.
I won’t even bother naming a dark horse because there are so many. The contenders are Melanie Oudin, Jamie Hampton, Andrea Hlavackova, Lesia Tsurenko and an American qualifier to be named later.
Lisicki d. Rybarikova
Hampton d. Oudin
An All-American semifinal will find two Racquet Club of the South alumni slugging it out to the other’s familiar game in three sets. Hampton is 0-2 vs. Oudin in WTA play, but she is peaking right now.
Lisicki d. Hampton
The Southern Belle will be the overwhelming crowd favorite (except for a few guys in the stands), but Lisicki’s title experience will prevail as she wins a fourth WTA title.
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
Sabine Lisicki meets Andrea Hlavackova not before 1:30 p.m.today on Stadium Court in the Round of 32 at the Family Circle Cup in Charleston, SC. Sabine met with Tennis East Coast and the rest of the press on Monday and shared her thoughts on what inspires her to play tennis and also acknowledged her dedicated fan base. Lisicki enjoys taking the fans “back stage” on her journey and utilizes social media to do it. The video appears above.
As for her inspiration? Turns out tennis is the reason she’s so inspired to play tennis. She credits her desire to overcome injury due to the love of the game. Check it out.