Malaysian Open, Kuala Lumpur (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia) – Monaco Wins Fourth Title Of Year; Peya/Soares Win Doubles

Singles – Final
[2] J Monaco (ARG) d [7] J Benneteau (FRA) 75 46 63

Doubles – Final
[3] A Peya (AUT) / B Soares (BRA) d C Fleming (GBR) / R Hutchins (GBR) 57 75 10-7

WHAT THE PLAYERS SAID

Monaco: “I think we played a great match, with a lot of ups and downs. I got a little nervous when I had chances, but I never gave up, particularly in the 12th game of the first set. He surprised me a little bit with his comeback in the second set. In the final set, I knew I had to be more aggressive and I am happy the way I finished the match.
“I’d like to relax now and enjoy the victory. It isn’t easy to win tournaments, but I will focus on the next challenge and go to Tokyo tomorrow. It has been nice to be in this city and win the trophy. It feels very good. When I win a title, I think of my family and my team, as they believe in me, they have supported me and we have worked hard to win tournaments.”

Benneteau: “I was very focused on this game, because I wanted to win this final. The fans were great; there was a lot of French in the crowd. It was a nice atmosphere and the game was a good level.”

Soares: “It feels very nice. Every title is very good, really special; a different story and different atmosphere. It is only our fourth tournament, so it feels really good. This week was special, because we felt we were playing better with each match.”

Peya: “We are starting to click more as a team, also on our off days as we work on our games. It paid off this week. We enjoyed the tournament a lot, it was a lot of fun.”

Eternal Sunshine of Caroline’s Mind

FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – You can’t blame Caroline Wozniacki for being happy. After winning in Montreal and then New Haven, she is on a roll.

And now she cruised into the third round of the US Open, losing only two games in the first round to Chelsey Gullickson, 6-1 6-1,  and now the shutting out Kai-Chen Chang, 6-0 6-0.

Yes, it was just another day at the office for the Danish beauty.

“The expectations maybe from the outside has changed, but from myself I always go into a tournament and I want to win it,” she said.  “Doesn’t really matter what tournament I’m playing, and I always believe in myself.  It’s not always possible to win every tournament, but at least I give it a shot.

“You know, the only time I get disappointed with myself is if I feel like I haven’t given 100%.  You know, I’m almost always giving 100%.  It’s just about if I lose a match, okay, the opponent was just playing better than me that day, and I need to get back and work harder and be better for next time.”

Wozniacki is now the No. 1 seed with Serena Williams out of the tournament. She is no longer below the radar, like she was at during the first week of last year’s US Open where she was overshadowed by the Melanie Oudin story and then Kim Clijsters, who beat her in the final.

“Well, the atmosphere here is great,” she said.  “I really love playing here.  I mean, it’s a great feeling.  Also coming back from last year, you know, being in the finals, coming back here and just, yeah, playing on the big courts, it’s a great feeling.”

Her run comes after the 20 year-old injured her ankle after the Wimbledon, she took a few weeks off to get healthy, which essentially recharged her batteries, allowing her to make this run.

“Yeah, I mean, I’m that type of person that I like to do everything 100%,” she said.  “If I don’t feel like I’m practicing 100%, it makes me frustrated a little bit, when I have to take care of myself, you know, where I have to take care of my body.

“You know, Charleston was, yeah, it was tough, you know.  I got that ankle injury and wasn’t feeling great.  I had to take care of myself.  You know, it’s tough when I’m used to doing so much fitness off the court, and I really couldn’t do that.

“It was great for me to have that time off after Wimbledon, and that’s where I really started to feel like my ankle was feeling 100% and I could really practice 100% and go to sleep and feel, okay, today I’ve really done what I had to do.  That’s the way I need to progress.

“It’s bringing out the results, and I’m really, really happy now.  You know, hopefully I can just stay injury‑free and keep improving.”

And now she’s looking to win her first major, even though her bracket looks tough and a potential meeting with Sharapova looms, Wozniacki’s confidence is strong.

“My body is feeling great,” she said.  “I’m feeling fine.  I had those five weeks after Wimbledon where I just practiced, and actually that’s ‑‑ I almost feel like that’s harder than playing matches.  I really like playing matches.

“I would like to get into that rhythm.  Especially when you’re winning, you have that confidence.  You go out on the court and you know what to do.  You’re in your own bubble.  That’s what I’m aiming for.”

Del Potro Ends Cilic’s Run

In his first grand slam quarterfinal, Marin Cilic gave it his best but ultimately it was the higher ranked Juan Martin Del Potro who proved too much. The 20 year-old sixth seeded Argentine continued to ride the wave, rallying from a set and break down to dispatch the No.16 Croat 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-1 at Ashe Stadium this afternoon in Flushing.

Del Potro advanced to his first ever U.S. Open semifinal improving on last year’s quarter result. Now, he’ll await the winner between Rafael Nadal and Fernando Gonzalez in tonight’s final quarter.

“It’s so beautiful playing in front of this crowd,” an excited Del Potro said acknowledging the fun atmosphere. “I’m so happy it happened this way.”

In the early going, Cilic dealt better with windy conditions looking intent on pulling another upset. Fresh off his straight set destruction of Andy Murray, he didn’t look out of place. Carrying momentum from that big win, the lanky 20 year-old who will move up in the rankings used the same powerful serve and huge forehand to give the favorite fits.

If one of the game’s best returners couldn’t get a read on it, Del Potro certainly struggled with Cilic’s serve making for a tough opening set that saw the underdog hitting out taking it to one of the tour’s best hardcourt players. In the fifth game, he ran into trouble when after fighting off two break points, the Argentine couldn’t save a third thanks in large part to some great hustle from his opponent who made a running forehand pass to earn a 3-2 lead.

Continuing to get in a high percentage of first serves, Cilic backed it up with big forehands outplaying Del Potro. Though he put up a fight in the 10th game saving one set point due to a nice lob, the Argentine couldn’t get back on serve with a forced miss allowing a pumped up Croat to close the set.

It continued to look dicey early in the second set when following a quick hold, Cilic broke for 2-0. But Del Potro stayed in it by climbing out of a Love-30 hole in the fifth game. Upping the tempo, he took the next four points holding for 2-3.

Apparently, he was just getting warmed up. Indeed, Del Potro’s memory bank was still fresh with ESPN analyst Darren Cahill noting that in their only head-to-head meeting in a fourth round Australian Open match this year, he rallied from a similar deficit winning in four sets.

More focused, Del Potro started to turn the tables hitting with more pace including a big forehand that supplied several of his 27 winners. Two less than his opponent whose signature shot suddenly went off spraying three wild forehands in the sixth game to square the set at three apiece.

With renewed confidence, Del Potro broke again en route to running off the final five games. But before he leveled the match, Cilic made things interesting saving two set points with big backhands, eventually earning a chance of his own to get back on serve. Facing the pressure, Del Potro calmly served an ace up the tee, then took the next pair of points with a service winner drawing him even at a set apiece.

Could Cilic respond? The definitive answer was no as he was broken a third consecutive time in the opening game of the third set. Following an easy hold, Del Potro had taken seven consecutive games before a Cilic love hold finally ended it.

Unfortunately, he couldn’t keep it going dropping serve again two games later falling behind 1-4 due to Del Potro taking the last four points including a Cilic netted forehand.

Following a Cilic hold, the rejuvenant Del Potro easily served the set out at love clinching it on a Cilic backhand into the net. By that point, the difference was apparent with the more polished player dealing with over 20 mph winds better by keeping balls in while his opponent cracked committing 37 unforced errors to Del Potro’s 20.

“I was thinking, every point, do the same, try to put the ball in the court,” Del Potro pointed out after improving to 16-1 since a second round Wimbledon exit to Lleyton Hewitt with the only other defeat coming to the departed Murray who got him at Montreal.

“When you fight that way to the final point, you have many chances and that’s what happened today.”

Though five days separate their birthdays later this month, it’s the older Del Potro who showed his mettle, with his consistency proving too much for Cilic to overcome with the Croat finishing with 29 more miscues (53-24).

“He was not missing,” explained Cilic while also noting the difference in conditions as well as why he was more successful the other day.

“Andy [Murray], he doesn’t have as much power as Del Potro has,” Cilic said. “And it was a little bit hotter that day and the ball was going through the court more and jumping much more.”

With a first Open semi in sight, Del Potro used some great defense to save game point, eventually converting another break for 1-0 in set four. It only worsened for Cilic who was broken a sixth time thanks to more brilliant shotmaking from Del Potro, who this time came up with a perfect running backhand topspin lob delighting the crowd and himself.

Suspense all but ended when he broke for 5-0 making it 16 of the last 18 games before Cilic earned one last break so he wouldn’t get bageled. The only problem was it was his first since early in the second when he was still in control. Now, it had come way too late.

Having solved Cilic’s serve by stepping in on seconds, Del Potro fittingly closed it by making it a perfect eight for eight on break opportunities with a wide Cilic forehand insuring his place into the final four. He took 17 of the last 20 games.

Can he take it one step further and make his first ever slam final?

“I cannot start the match like today,” Del Potro accurately stated. “I was thinking about other things, and the weather was bad. But it was bad for both players. I just need to be in focus in the beginning of the match until the last point and play my game.”

We won’t know till Super Saturday.