Radwanska and Kerber Ousted

FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – Oh those pesky Italian girls. What can we say?

Two major upsets from the ladies of the boot with both No. 2 seed Agnieszka Radwanska and No. 6 seed Angelique Kerber being ousted from the open by No. 20 seed Roberta Vinci and Sara Errani, respectively.

No. 2 seed Radwanska went down very easily, 6-1 6-4 to Vinci who was able to control the match from the outset.

“Yeah, I think I really had the worst day than other days before,” Radwanska said. “For sure I didn’t play that well as in the beginning of the tournament.  For sure, she was just better today, yeah.”

Radwanska was dominated by Vinci’s finesse and seemed to be able to combat anything the Polish player was able to send her way.

“She really mixes it up, a lot of slice, then suddenly hitting very well from the forehand side, then kick serve, dropshots, volleys as well, coming to the net,” Radwanska said. “It’s really tough because she really had an answer for everything today.”

Kerber, who beat Venus Williams the other night and was a Semifinalist last year, also had trouble with the No. 10 seed Errani, whose finesse was just more than enough for her German counterpart,

“I think I was trying to give my best, and it was very close and hard match also in the first set.  But, yeah, the balls from her were very difficult for me, and also the spin,” Kerber said.  “I just tried to be aggressive, but in the important moments she was better.  Yeah, I mean, she beat me and it’s okay.  I do everything I could do today.”

Both Radwanska and Kerber were considered favorites to move to at least the Quarterfinals and possibly playing next weekend. By losing in the fourth round, both players go home disappointed.

 

 

Harrison Shows He Belongs

FLUSHING MEADOWS – Is Ryan Harrison America’s Great Hope?

Well, he certainly hopes so.

“I mean, hearing the good stuff is always exciting,” he said. “But I think that those guys have obviously had such extraordinary careers.  They’ve done so well for U.S. tennis.  I’ve got such a long ways to go.  Hearing stuff like that doesn’t really come into play.  I mean, I’ve never made third round of a slam.  After that you got to get second week.  It only gets tougher from there.

“The closer you get to the top, the more difficult it gets.  I have a long ways to go.  I do believe I can get there ‑‑ and I’m going to do my best to get there ‑‑ but it’s not going to be easy.”

And it won’t be easy in the second round when he get Juan Martin Del Potro, after the young American beat Benjamin Becker 7‑5, 6‑4, 6‑2 to win a round this year.

 

“It’s going to start with my serve,” he said. “If I serve well, everything kind of becomes a lot less, I guess, pressure on the rest of my game because I can dictate and I can actually swing out on some return games and have a little bit of a crack because there’s not as much pressure.  It’s going to start with that.

“If things go my way, then I know I can return well enough to where I can put some pressure on him.  I play good defense, so with some of his shot‑making, I can make him hit a couple extra balls on some of his service games.

“Like I said, it’s not going to be easy, but I think I have the game to do it.”

That’s great confidence and he will need it to beat the No. 7 seed, but there is work to be done. Harrison has a goal to make the second week, but he knows the obstacles in front of him. Just 20, he has a long career ahead of him and can work on his game and make this Open a learning experience.

“Obviously you want to, but I’ve got a really tough opponent next round,” he said. “I know I can do well and I know I can win this match if I play well.  It’s going to be not easy, but I’m looking forward to the challenge.”

“It will be fun.”

Yes it will. Watching this American always is.

 

 

Isner Bulldogs It To The Third

FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY- Although John Isner is keeping a watchful eye on the other matchups today after his second round win over fellow American Robbie Ginepri, 6-4, 6-3, 6-4, his biggest concern is tomorrow’s big game.

It’s when his beloved Georgia Bulldogs take on Boise State.

“I’m just getting mentally prepared for that,” he said.  “I don’t watch too much tennis.”

He doesn’t need to keep watching after his strong performance on Armstrong today. The Georgia native has been on top of his game this year. This win will be his seventh in a row and that follows one that was what he thinks is an “eight or nine match” winning streak.

He took the Hall of Fame Tournament in Newport back in July and won in Winston Salem, just a few weeks ago to start his winning streak.

And what’s the secret of his recent success?

Why confidence, of course.

“It’s as high as it’s ever been,” he said. “You know, I don’t like to think too much about it, but, you know, I have won seven matches in a row now, and earlier this summer I won, I think, eight or nine matches in a row:  won Newport, made the finals of Atlanta.

“I’m just winning it a lot of matches and I’m very, very confident and I feel good.  I feel like I’m, you know, moving very well, you know, especially for myself.  I’m getting to balls and able to get a lot more balls back in play because I’m very comfortable out there.”

This is a different from the Isner we all have seen earlier this year, where he lost in French Open in the first round and Wimbledon in the second. He also had a disappointing loss in Chile during the Davis Cup.

“That was probably one of the biggest down points of my year so far, going down there and just not playing well and not really able to contribute to the team,” he said. “You know, I lost to a guy ranked pretty low in Davis Cup, and I just ‑‑ it all started once I got back to the States and started playing tournaments stateside.  Very comfortable over here.  It’s just, you know, once I won a few matches in a row ‑‑ at Newport I started ‑‑ you know, I knew my game was going in the right direction, because the first five months of the year frankly it was a disappointment.”

But the 26 year-old is now back and ready to continue on at the Open. Fortunately he has a the fifth set tie break here and there will be no repeat of his match last year at Wimbledon when he won a fifth set over Nicholas Mahut, 70-68, in a match that lasted 11 hours and five minutes.

“Every slam is different,” he said.  “To me, to be honest, I like the tiebreaker, because if it goes to a fifth set and it happens to go down to a tiebreaker I like my chances, especially with my serve.  You know, I beat Andy a couple years ago in a fifth set tiebreaker.  You know, I do like the system now.

“But, you know, I don’t think anything should change as far as the other tournaments go.  It’s just how the US Open does it.”

But that didn’t happen today – maybe later in the tournament. Right now, though, it doesn’t seem like he cares because his Bulldogs will take conter statge for him tomorrow.

And who is going to win?

“I’m partial to Georgia,” Isner predicted. “I think they’re virtually playing ‑‑ you know, they’re in their backyard playing in the Georgia Dome.  They’ll have the crowd support and it’s gonna be ‑‑ it’s a huge game to start the season, for sure.”

Spoken like a true Georgia alumni.

Sacks Beats Britton to Take Home USTA Claremont Futures Title

CLAREMONT, Calif., (Sept. 19, 2010) – You can’t blame Gary Sacks for not feeling totally confident about his one-set, 5-0 lead against Devin Britton in the singles final of 15th Annual Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center USTA Pro Classic on Sunday at the Claremont Club.

All Sacks had to do was think back the last time he held a big lead against Britton back in February at the Brownsville, Texas, Futures event. “I was up a set and 5-2 and had match points,” said Sacks. “I let him back in and he won the match. So up a set and at 5-2 today I was thinking, ‘You better finish this.’ “

Finish it Sacks, 23, of Woodland Hills, Calif., did winning the $10,000 Pro Circuit event with an entertaining and highly competitive 7-6 (8), 6-2 win over the former NCAA singles champion Britton, 19, of Brandon, Miss.

Ironically, it was after that loss to Britton in Brownsville that the former USC Trojan Sacks decided to quick tennis. “I just needed some time off and it was after I lost that match I decided I was done with tennis,” said Sacks, who added a bad back was another reason he decided to stop playing. “I had to be away from it for awhile to really fully appreciate it. I started coaching tennis and learned a lot just teaching kids. I’ve rededicated myself and I’m a different player now.”

Tournament director Barry Friedman said it was the first time in the tournament’s history that a qualifier had gotten even as far as the semifinals, let alone win the entire tournament. Sacks pocketed $1,300 for his win while Britton takes home $900.

Britton said Sunday’s match and the one in Texas were like night and day. “This was 10 times better,” said Britton, who held three set points in the first set but could not convert on any of them. “Oh, man. In Texas there were 30 mile per hour winds and the balls were going everywhere. It was so ugly. Gary played really well today and I did too.

“He was just a little more aggressive on the big points. I just had no energy left in the second set.”

Britton is entered in both the Costa Mesa and Irvine $10,000 USTA Futures events while Sacks will take a week off and then play the Irvine tournament. “This feels great,” Sacks said. “I am so tired. To come through qualifying to win the tournament is really amazing.”

Sunday’s final singles results

Gary Sacks, South Africa (q), def. Devin Britton, U.S., 7-6 (8), 6-2

Recent Claremont Champions

Year      Singles Winner               Singles Runner-up              Doubles Champions

2010      Gary Sacks                    Devin Britton                      Taylor Fogleman-Chris Kearney

2009      Matej Bocko                   Bradley Klahn                    Brett Joelson-Ashwin Kumar

2008      Tigran Martirosyan          Adriano Biasello                 Marcus Fugate-Nima Roshan

2007      Carsten Ball                    Robert Yim                        Nikita Kryvonos-Michael McClune

2006      Dudi Sela                       Sascha Kloer                     Ryler DeHeart-Dennis Zivkovic

2005      Benedikt Dorsch             Tyler Cleveland                  K.C. Corkery-James Pade

2004      Bobby Reynolds            Huntley Montgomery          Nick Rainey-Brian Wilson

2003      Glenn Weiner                  Jimy Szymanski                 K.C. Corkery-James Pade

2002      Dmitry Tursunov             Raven Klaasen                   Chris Magyary-Mirko Pehar

Points, Prize Money for $10,000 Futures Tournaments

Singles                         Doubles

Points               Prize $              Points               Prize $

Winner                          17                     $1,300              17                     $630

Finalist                          9                         $900                9                    $330

Semifinalist                   5                         $480                5                    $260

Quarterfinalist                2                         $290                2                    $180

Round of 16                  1                         $200                1                    ——

Round of 32                  0                         $117.50            –                     ——

USTA Pro Circuit

With 94 tournaments throughout the country and prize money ranging from $10,000 to $100,000, the USTA Pro Circuit is the pathway to the US Open and tour-level competition for aspiring tennis players and a frequent battleground for established professionals. Last year, more than 1,000 men and women from more than 70 countries competed on the USTA Pro Circuit for approximately $3.2 million in prize money and valuable ATP and WTA Tour ranking points. Maria Sharapova, Andy Roddick, James Blake, Lindsay Davenport, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Jelena Jankovic are among the top stars who began their careers on the USTA Pro Circuit. The USTA Pro Circuit is world-class tennis administered on the local level and played on local tennis courts as part of the fabric of communities nationwide — an opportunity for current and new fans to experience the excitement and intensity of the professional game in their neighborhood.

Zvonareva Goes To Finals After Darkening Sunshine

FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – It was fitting the clouds started to cover the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center after Vera Zvonareva whisked Caroline Wozniacki out of the tournament, because Sunshine set.

The Russian’s 6-4 6-3 win over the No. 1 seed raised a few eyebrows – especially the CBS executives who wanted to see the rising star in the finals – but it didn’t surprise the hardcore tennis fans, who saw Zvonareva lost to Serena Williams in the Wimbledon finals. Much like Wozniacki, she is also a rising star, who went from the 21st seed at Roland Garros to No. 7 here in Flushing.

“I always believe in myself,” Zvonareva said.  “I always believe I can beat anyone on the other side of the net if I’m able to play my best tennis.  There is nothing really changed for me, you know.  I know I’m not gonna play perfect tennis all the time, like most of the players, but that’s what we all trying to do.

“I know if I’m doing it, if I’m playing well, I can beat anyone.”

Today she proved just that. Controlling the match from the outset, the 26 year-old was able to break and then hold Wozniacki during the third game of the first set to easily cruse to a 6-4 win.  Zvonareva was able to control the match from the baseline, putting her younger opponent on heels, running from side to side, trying to track down balls.

“I think it’s the same probably as the previous match, very similar,” Zvonareva said. “It’s the right balance between being patient and being aggressive.  You know, with those windy conditions you have to play sometimes ugly, you know.  You don’t have to expect to play your best tennis.”

“That’s what I did well.  I was not expecting to play my best tennis, but, you know, I was trying to be patient when I needed, and step up when I got the chance.”

She got chances also early in the she when she went up a break, but Wozniacki broke back to show some fight. Yet, that game was the last the Pilot Pen winner won, as Zvonareva was able to break back and then serve for the win.

“She played a really good game, definitely,” Wozniacki said.  “You know, she was not missing a lot.  She was going for her shots.  Most things were going in.  You know, I had chances, and I don’t know, I made some mistakes today that I usually don’t do.

“Yeah, it was a tough day for me in the office, and unfortunately it was today.  That’s the way tennis is sometimes.”

Now Zvonareva will look for her first Grand Slam win by taking on Kim Clijsters tomorrow night. It will be a very interesting matchup as Clijsters is undefeated in Flushing Meadows since her comeback last year and leads the head to head matchup 5-2, but the two losses came this year. One at Wimbledon and then later this summer in Montreal.

“Any match with Kim will come down to the tough challenge, you know,” Zvonareva said.  “She’s a great mover on the court.  She has a lot of experience.  She won here last year.  You know, it’s going to be tough.  You know, we played a couple of matches for the past couple of months, but those matches are in the past.

“I will think about what worked the best for me, and I will try to take it with me tomorrow, and, you know, do it again.  Those things that didn’t work well for me, I tried to avoid them.  That’s it.”

And as for Wozniacki, it’s back to the drawing board for her Grand Slam, but as Annie once sung, “The sun will come out tomorrow.”

That means Sunshine as well.

Bryan Brothers Capture Fourth Australian Open Title

January 31, 2010 – Bordentown, NJ, – Defending champions Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan took home their second consecutive men’s doubles crown at the 2010 Australian Open Saturday evening and their eighth Grand Slam title overall beating rivals Daniel Nestor and Nenad Zimonjic in three sets, 6-3, 6-7, 6-3.

With their EXO3 Ignite Team 95 racquets, which they switched to late last year, the 31-year old American twins are now just four titles away from reaching the all-time record, currently held by Australian greats Todd Woodbridge and Mark Woodforde with 61.

“It feels great to come back to Melbourne and defend our title, capture another Grand Slam and take one step closer to the all-time title record,” said Bob Bryan.  “It is exactly how we hoped to kick-off 2010.”

The Bryans decided late last year to make a switch in racquets in order to achieve more control while still getting the ‘pop’ they need on serves and ground strokes.  Their decision, after hitting only a few balls, was to pick up EXO3 technology and come down a bit in head size with the  EXO3 Ignite Team 95.

“It is crucial in doubles to keep return of serves low and we feel as though we have better ability to do that with the  EXO3 Ignite Team.  But while it gives us added control and maneuverability, we are still able to deliver the power and pace we need on our serves and balls hit from the baseline,” said Bob Bryan.  “It is just a fantastic all-court racquet and one of the things we loved instantly was the ‘clunk’ solid sound it makes upon ball strike.”

“The doubles game is getting better.  Teams are improving and strong singles players on tour are starting to learn how to play.  We need to continue to get better and evolve our game and without question we think we have improved since making the racquet switch.  It was important for me to be able to carve out some more angles at net and do more with short balls,” said Mike Bryan.

The switch has proved to be a smart move.  Aside from taking home the year’s first Grand Slam event, the Bryans executed a dramatic end to last season when for the fifth time, they ended the year as the world’s top team by winning the ATP Tour Doubles Finals in London.  They came into that tournament 800 points behind Nestor and  Zimonjic, but in the end, claimed the year-end No.1 ranking.

Even their father, coach Wayne Bryan, echoes Mike and Bob’s feelings about their new frames.  “The Bros. absolutely love them and say it has the best feel of any stick they have every played with – which really is a strong testament and says something special. And, they like the looks of it too. “

The Bryans are just two of more than 50 players on tour, including Nikolay Davydenko, Gael Monfils and Maria Sharapova among others, who are now taking advantage of Prince’s O-technology, a unique series of holes along the frame of the racquet.

More information on the Bryan Brothers, their  EXO3 Ignite Team 95 racquet, and all Prince players and products can be found at www.princetennis.com.

Czink Wins Bell Challenge

The Bell Challenge has a new champion as Melinda Czink took the tournament for the first time on Sunday, as she beat Lucie Safarova, 4-6, 6-3, 7-5.

Although Safarova took the first set, the Hungarian hung tough and then broke the Russian in the fourth game of the second set to tie the match. She then traded breaks with her opponent in the third and tightest set to take the championship.

“It feels great. I haven’t really processed it yet but I will,” Czink said. “I went match by match this week. This was the toughest match this week. I had to take some risks on her serve today – sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn’t. We really pushed each other, and I’m happy I could come out the winner.”

“We both played a good match. I think it just came down to a few balls and she did it better,” Safarova said. “The whole week I was trying to be very aggressive and move forward, but she did the same today and I had trouble dealing with it. I didn’t feel I did anything wrong today. It could have gone either way.

“I hope to come back next year and do better. Unless you win, you can always do better!”

This was Czink’s first final of the Tour and she beat the higher seeds in Quebec this week to win, including Nadia Petrova and Aleksandra Wozniak in the proceeding two rounds.

US Open Throws Book at Serena

FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – Serena threatens and the USTA took action.

Persuant to the rules for the maximum permissible on-site fine for an Unsportsmanlike Conduct, Serena Williams was hit with a $10,000 fine for her on court behavior last night in her straight sets loss to Kim Clijsters in the Women’s Singles Semifinals. Williams was also fined $500 for racquet abuse which took place at the end of the first set.

Williams is $10,500 lighter because she threatened the lineswoman last night after she was called with a foot fault in the last game of the match. Serena proceeded to threaten the official in a profanity laced tirade, saying, “I will shove these [bleeping] balls down your [bleeping] throat.”

After conferring with officials, Clijsters was given the match point die to unsportsmanlike conduct. Williams was warned after the first set for smashing her racquet.

The Grand Slam Rule Book also allows for an investigation to be conducted by the Grand Slam Committee Administrator to determine if the behavior of Serena warrants consideration as a Major Offense for which additional penalties can be imposed.

The investigation has already begun.

Sweet Caroline Smiles To The Semis

FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – Although America’s Sweetheart is out, “Sweet Caroline” is still plaing music at the Open. And with Melanie Oudin going home, Caroline Wozniacki becomes the story in Flushing.

The attractive 19 year-old from Denmark, has slowly been improving and now has reached her first Semifinals at a Grand Slam. She is just soaking in every minute as she emerges into the tennis spotlight.

“It’s an amazing feeling, especially when you’re playing at night,” she said. “Playing on Arthur Ashe Stadium, 23,000 people watching you going on the court, I mean, you cannot really describe the atmosphere. It’s just magical. It’s amazing.”

What was amazing was how this cool Scandinavian came in with a game plan against the sentimental favorite Oudin. Instead of playing her game, she stayed back and let the 17 year-old’s inexperience come out. The result was a 6-2, 6-2 win and a trip to meet Yanina Wickmayer in the Semifinals.

“Yeah, today definitely I was like, I have to get as many balls back as possible and try to make her run,” she said. “Keep her on her backhand, but also, you know, make her run on her forehand. That was my goal, and I think it was a good way to play the match today.”

Even with Oudin on the court, it’s are to root against this attractive 19 year-old because of her sunny disposition. Her million dollar smile lights up the room as she graciously speaks about her opponents.

And that includes her Semifinal partner Wickmayer. Both player each other in juniors and Wozniaski says they are friends. Although she won’t let anything else out of the bag.

“I’ve tried not to watch too much tennis while I was here,” she said. “I mean, I watched Melanie’s matches because they were shown a lot. She’s a young player coming up, so I wanted to see her play. But I haven’t seen Yanina playing too much this tournament, but I know her really well from the juniors and we’ve played each other growing up.

“So, I mean right now I’m just so happy I’m in the Semifinals. I’m just going to enjoy a day off tomorrow, and I’ll talk to my dad who is also my coach about the strategy. But right now, I don’t really have any.”

One thing she will be doing is trying to stay positive and not let anything get to her. Against Oudin, Wozniacki just tried to stay positive through the whole match, which allowed her the easy victory.

“Today especially today it was important for me just to keep positive, try to just fight for every point,” she said. Because I knew if I show her too much emotions she will pick it up straightaway. I’ve seen that before in her matches. I mean, the crowd helped her through, as well. So today was just important, just to keep positive, keep fighting for every point.”

Off the court, Wozniacki just tries to keep it cool. Right now she doesn’t have a boyfriend, yet has a sense of humor about it. Earlier today Wickmayer joked to the Belgian press that there were 2000 boyfriends out there for her.

Not so in Denmark apparently.

“I haven’t read the newspapers in Denmark, but I’m sure they can find a boyfriend for me,” she said. “I don’t have any real boyfriends right now, and usually I keep to one.”

Don’t worry though with her style, looks and personality, Sweet Caroline should have no problem finding the right man.