Davis Cup on Tennis Channel

LOS ANGELES, September 13, 2012 -Tennis Channel will provide exclusive coverage of the United States semifinal competition against defending champion Spain in Gijon, Spain, this weekend, with live telecasts of each match and same-day, “Instant Encore” replays. Highlighting the competition, American John Isner will face US Open semifinalist and World No. 5 David Ferrer for the first time since the BNP Paribas Masters in Paris last fall, when Isner defeated the Spaniard during the quarterfinals. However, Ferrer has the career upper hand, holding a 3-1 record against the 6-foot-9-inch American. Rounding out the United States team is Sam Querrery and the 2012 US Open doubles champions, twins Bob and Mike Bryan.

If the United States claims victory over Spain this weekend, the Americans will face either Argentina or the Czech Republic in the final. In addition to televising the United States and Spain’s matches each morning, Tennis Channel will cover semifinal competition between 2011 Davis Cup runner-up Argentina and Czech Republic in Buenos Aires, Argentina, each evening.

Coverage from Parque Hermanos Castro in Spain and Parque Roca in Argentina (all times ET):
Friday, Sept. 14:
6 a.m. – Live Singles #1 Spain vs. USA
9 a.m. – Live Singles #2 Spain vs. USA
{12 p.m. – Instant Encore Singles #1 Spain vs. USA}
{3 p.m. – Instant Encore Singles #2 Spain vs. USA}
8 p.m. – Singles #1 Czech Republic vs. Argentina
11 p.m. – Singles #2 Czech vs. Argentina

Saturday, Sept. 15:
8 a.m. – Live Doubles Spain vs. USA
{5 p.m. – Instant Encore Doubles Spain vs. USA}
8 p.m. – Doubles Czech Republic vs. Argentina
{11 p.m. – Instant Encore Singles #2 Czech Republic vs. Argentina}

Sunday, Sept. 16:
6 a.m. – Live Singles #1 Spain vs. USA
9 a.m. – Live Singles #2 Spain vs. USA
{12 p.m. – Instant Encore Singles #1 Spain vs. USA}
{3 p.m. – Instant Encore Singles #2 Spain vs. USA}
8 p.m. – Singles #1 Czech Republic vs. Argentina
11 p.m. – Singles #2 Czech Republic vs. Argentina

The United States and Spain have faced each other ten times in Davis Cup play, with the nations tied at five wins apiece. The Americans’ last victory against the Spaniards came in 2007 when they won 4-1 in the quarterfinal in Winston-Salem, N.C. However, Spain has won the last two meetings against the United States, winning last year’s quarterfinal competition in Austin, Texas, and the 2008 semifinal in Spain. The United States has not defeated Spain on away soil since 1972. The Americans enter this weekend’s match after their second clay-court victory of the year against France in the quarterfinal. The United States leads all nations in Davis Cup championships, winning its 32nd title in 2007 with a 4-1 win against Russia.

Spain has dominated the past decade with five Davis Cup championships since 2000, the most recent in 2011 when it beat Argentina 3-1 in Seville, Spain. The Spanish team is captained by former star Alex Corretja and features the same players who beat Austria 4-1 in the quarterfinal: Ferrer, Nicolas Almagro, Marcel Granollers and Marc Lopez.

The Czech Republic holds a 3-1 advantage over Argentina in Davis Cup competition, most recently winning a 2009 quarterfinal in Ostrava, Czech Republic. Argentina’s sole victory over the Czech Republic came in 2005 in Buenos Aires. The Czech Republic enters this weekend’s match after defeating Serbia 4-1 in the quarterfinals. The Czech nation clinched its only Davis Cup trophy in 1980, when it defeated Italy in Prague while competing under the flag of Czechoslovakia.

The Argentine team is bidding to reach the Davis Cup championship round for its second- consecutive year and has finished runner-up in 1981, 2006 and 2008. Argentina’s team is captained by Martin Jaite and features World No. 8 Juan Martin Del Potro, Juan Monaco, Carlos Berlocq and Eduardo Schwank.

Tennis Channel (www.tennischannel.com) is the only 24-hour, television-based multimedia destination dedicated to both the professional sport and tennis lifestyle. A hybrid of comprehensive sports, health, fitness, pop culture, entertainment, lifestyle and travel programming, the network is home to every aspect of the wide-ranging, worldwide tennis community. It also has the most concentrated single-sport coverage in television, with telecast rights to the US Open, Wimbledon, Roland Garros (French Open), Australian Open, Emirates Airline US Open Series, ATP World Tour Masters 1000 events, top-tier WTA competitions, Davis Cup and Fed Cup by BNP Paribas, and Hyundai Hopman Cup. Tennis Channel is carried by nine of the top 10 video providers.
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Weather Aids Djokovic To Final

It was a different day and a different player. No wind. And Novak Djokovic was up to the task.

His match with Spain’s David Ferrer was stopped on Saturday with Ferrer up 5-2. There were weather concerns in the Flushing area and the wind was awful.

The match re-started on Saturday at 11 am under perfect conditions and Djokovic was perfect. After Ferrer won the first game to take the first set, 6-2 Djokovic got into high gear. He rolled 6-1 in the second set and won the third 6-4, at one point winning 12 out of 14 points. The fourth was no different with Djokovic closing out Ferrer 6-2.

Ferrer was not despondent in his press conference. He noted that the top four in the game are much better than the next level of which he is a part.He applauded Djokovic’s performance.

Djokovic was thrilled after the match and rated his Monday final with Andy Murray as even.

Murray beat Tomas Berdych on Saturday in bad conditions.

Murray enters the final with a mark of 0-4 in finals. He is now coached by Ivan Lendl who was also 0-4 in finals when he won the French Open in 1984.

Djokovic is one of the best returners ever in tennis. Murray needs to have his serve in top flight form to win.

Djokovic holds an 8-6 lead over Murray, but in their last match-up Murray prevailed at the Olympics.

 

Murray’s Biggest Challenge Comes Next

Some players may feel there’s a higher power helping them.

And it very well could be the case.

But if God is too busy, Andy Murray can rest assured he has Sean Connery on his side.

The Oscar winning actor had an unexpected cameo during his post match presser after the Scotsman beat Tomas Berdych in four sets 5-7, 6-2, 6-1, 7-6 to reach the Open Finals for the second time of his career.

The match was marred by high winds which made play very difficult for both sides.

You can’t really sort of allow yourself to enjoy it because anything can happen,” he said. “The match turns around so quickly.  He serve‑volleyed a couple times, came to the net more, and played a couple of good points.

“All of a sudden, you know, you’re back tied at 3‑All when you’ve been in total control for two hours of the match.  You can’t allow yourself to lose focus.  If you do, it can get away from you quickly.”

But Murray survived and he will face the winner of the David Ferrer and Novak Djokovic match with Ferrer up 5-2 in the first set before it was called due to a pending storm.

Murray, though, may have a good chance to win it all. He has been playing his best tennis this year, going to the Wimbledon final and then winning the London Olympics.  He lost to Djokovic in the 2011 Australian Open finals, but the other three Slams he went to, Roger Federer was standing in his way and the Maestro was sent home by Berdych earlier this week.

“I think, you know, my results in the slams over the last couple of years have been very good,” he said. “And obviously this year in the major tournaments, you know, along with the Olympics, it’s been my best year.  Never made two Grand Slam finals in a year, so that’s obviously a good sign that I’m playing better and still learning.

“And the Olympics was the biggest win of my career by far.  You know, it meant a lot to me, too.  Whatever happens in the final, it’s been a great year.  But, you know, all I want to make sure I do in the final is that I give 110%.

I know how hard these opportunities are to come by, and, you know, I will give it everything.”

And he knows the road will be hard no matter who is facing on Monday. Both Djokovic and Ferrer are very tough competitors.

But neither are lopsided with Djokovic holding a 8-6 edge over Murray, while the Scotsman is leading 6-5 over Ferrer.

David makes it very, very hard.  He makes it very physical.  He’s in great shape.  He’s playing the best tennis of his career this year,” he said. “I have played him many times, and, you know, unbelievably tough match with him at Wimbledon.  I lost to him at the French Open; the previous year I played him in the Aussie Open, as well.  That was also a brutal match.  It was very, very tough.”

I handled a big match against (Djokovic) well in Australia this year,” he said of his other possible opponent. “ It was a great match.  I think both of us played very well.  It came down to a couple of points. I know how much the Olympics meant to all of the players, and winning against him in the Olympic semifinal, you know, was a big win for me.  I know how tough it is to beat the top, top players in big matches.”

But Murray will have the rest as he the Men’s Final was moved to Monday. And with the momentum, the Scotsman certainly has a chance to get the monkey off his back and win a Slam.

So hopes Sir Sean Connery.  

 

Murray Qualifies for ATP World Finals

LONDON — 2012 Olympic gold medalist Andy Murray will return to London this November to compete at the season-ending Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, held at The O2 from 5-12 November.

Murray’s win over Marin Cilic on Wednesday to reach the US Open semi-finals guaranteed the Brit his place among the world’s top eight players at the season-ending tournament in London. It will be the first time that Murray returns to compete in the UK following his remarkable gold medal run at the Olympic Games in August.

Murray, who also reached this year’s Wimbledon final, has thrived whilst competing in London in 2012, and can now look ahead to taking on the world’s best in November at The O2. The Brit also captured the title at the Brisbane International in Australia in January, as well as reaching finals at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships in Dubai and the Sony Open Tennis in Miami.

“It’s great to have qualified again for London. I’ve played some of my best tennis this year on home soil, so hopefully I can also have a good run at The O2 in November. The atmosphere and the support I’ve had there has always been incredible,” said the Brit.

Murray is the fourth singles player to qualify for the season-ending finale, joining Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal in the player field in London. Four singles spots still remain up for grabs, with the likes of Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, David Ferrer, Juan Martin Del Potro and Tomas Berdych all in contention to join the top four in London.

Brad Drewett, ATP Executive Chairman & President, said: “My congratulations go to Andy on qualifying for the 2012 Barclays ATP World Tour Finals. Andy has put together another stellar season on the ATP World Tour and truly deserves his place among the top eight in London. His qualification is wonderful news for tennis fans in the UK who will get another chance to show their support for Andy in November following his outstanding performances at Wimbledon and the Olympics this past summer.”

The season-ending event once again looks set to provide a thrilling finale to what has already been a remarkable season on the  ATP World Tour, with the year-end World No.1 South African Airways ATP Ranking  potentially coming down to the wire at the last event of the season in London.

With tickets still available for the 2012 Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, don’t miss your chance to witness the world’s top eight singles players and doubles teams competing for the world’s biggest indoor tennis tournament. For more information, visit: www.BarclaysATPWorldTourFinals.com.

ATP Top 20 Rankings

1 Rafael Nadal (Spa) 11225.00pts

2 Novak Djokovic (Ser) 7145.00

3 Roger Federer (Swi) 6735.00

4 Andy Murray (Gbr) 5035.00

5 Robin Soderling (Swe) 4910.00

6 Nikolay Davydenko (Rus) 4150.00

7 Tomas Berdych (Cze) 3780.00

8 Fernando Verdasco (Spa) 3330.00

9 Mikhail Youzhny (Rus) 3295.00

10 David Ferrer (Spa) 3200.00

11 Andy Roddick (USA) 3180.00

12 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (Fra) 2905.00

13 Jurgen Melzer (Aut) 2605.00

14 Marin Cilic (Cro) 2540.00

15 Gael Monfils (Fra) 2250.00

16 Nicolas Almagro (Spa) 2150.00

17 Ivan Ljubicic (Cro) 2120.00

18 Marcos Baghdatis (Cyp) 2030.00

19 Mardy Fish (USA) 1931.00

20 Stanislas Wawrinka (Swi) 1860.00

Nadal KOs F-Lo In Three

Rafael Nadal has changed his grip and asserted a strong hold on this US Open field. Continuing to wreak devastation on the men’s draw, Nadal flogged Feliciano Lopez, 6-3, 6-4, 6-4, to storm into his third consecutive US Open quarterfinal. The top seed has not surrendered serve or dropped a set and played with the ferocity of a man who may well run the table in New York, complete the career Grand Slam and become the first man since Rod Laver in 1969 to hold Roland Garros, Wimbledon and the US Open championships simultaneously.

Gone are the questions about Nadal’s two-handed backhand, which betrayed him in Cincinnati. Gone are the questions about his ability to tame the fast Flushing Meadows hard courts given the fact he has not won a hard-court title since the 2009 Indian Wells and gone is the uncertainty over Nadal’s readiness to reach his first US Open final.

Perhaps the only person in Arthur Ashe Stadium who wasn’t thoroughly impressed with Nadal’s performance tonight was the top-seeded Spaniard himself.

Always the perfectionist, Nadal says he’s playing well, but can get better.

“No, I think I am playing well, but I (am) not playing yet at my highest level,” Nadal told Tennis Now in his 1:30 a.m. press conference. “But I am playing well. To be in the quarterfinals of the quarterfinals of the US Open without losing a set and without losing serve, two things must work really well: the concentration and the serve. Without those two things, you gonna lose for sure serves, no?”

Nadal will take on former Davis Cup teammate Fernando Verdasco in the first all-Spanish US Open quarterfinal in Open Era history.

The eighth-seeded Verdasco fought back from a two-set deficit and a 1-4 hole in the fifth-set tiebreaker, winning six straight points to score a stirring victory over David Ferrer.

Running down a Ferrer shot well behind the baseline, Verdasco stumbled slightly, regained his balance then sprinted forward to lift a lunging forehand pass up the line  — an exceptional exclamation point to punctuate a 5-7, 6-7(8), 6-3, 6-3, 7-6(4) victory that vaulted Verdasco into the US Open quarterfinals for the second straight year.

“After I lost the first two sets, of course, it’s tough,” Verdasco said. “You just need to win all the other sets. I came back till the fifth set and of course even that I was 4-1 down in the tie break, I was not going to say ‘Okay, that’s it. I was going to try my best until the end. I was, of course, with 4-1 down in the tie break  much more chances to lose than to win, but I just kept fighting and trying.”

When Verdasco saw Ferrer near net, he anticipated the volley, streaked forward on a diagonal line and was near the doubles alley when he caught up to the ball. Reaching the ball was a feat in itself, it’s what Verdasco did with it that will make this shot one for the highlight reel.

Seeing a sliver of space up the line, he squeezed his stretch forehand down the line, watched the ball land and then fell flat on his back, staring straight up into the white lights as the crowd exploded in support.

“(It) is tough to explain. You are with your sixth sense in the ball knowing how important that is just trying to run, fight,” Verdasco said. “When I did the backhand along the line passing shot, I was like even surprised that he took the volley. Of course my reaction was just keeping the point and start running forward…So I start running I just saw the space. When you see there is a little bit of space, you just try to put the ball in. It was like unbelievable.”

Will Verdasco, who is winless in 10 career meetings with Nadal, have any legs left for the quarterfinal?

“I hope that this is gonna give me big confidence, this match,” Verdasco said. “And I also hope to be 100 percent physically after a tough match like today to play against one player like Nadal that you need to be like 100 percent to try to face him, to try to beat him. I will just try to do all the things right and good as best as possible. Everybody knows that he’s No. 1 in the world; he’s a great plaeyr. My record is not too good against him. But I will keep trying and keep fighting to make the first time here.”

Richard Pagliaro is the editor of TennisNow.com.

Verdasco Wins An Epic Battle Over Ferrer

FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – Fernando Verdasco spent this New York night engaged in an epic tennis tug-of-war with compatriot David Ferrer with neither man giving an inch over five sets and four hours, 23 minutes of scintillating shotmaking that seemed to cover every available inch of court. Grinding his teeth, screaming at himself at times and hurling his body all over the court in pursuit of every ball, a combative Verdasco competed with all the tenacity of a man fighting his way out of a rugby scrum in roaring back from a two-set deficit and a 1-4 chasm in the fifth-set tie breaker.

When Verdasaco’s match point moment came, he seized it with the most electrifying effort of the match.

Running down a Ferrero shot well behind the baseline, Verdasco stumbled slightly, regained his balance then sprinted forward to lift a lunging forehand pass up the line  — an exceptional exclamation point to punctuate a 5-7, 6-7(8), 6-3, 6-3, 7-6(4) victory that vaulted Verdasco into the US Open quarterfinals for the second straight year.

“After I lost the first two sets, of course, it’s tough,” Verdasco said. “You just need to win all the other sets. I came back till the fifth set and of course even that I was 4-1 down in the tie break, I was not going to say ‘Okay, that’s it. I was going to try my best until the end. I was, of course, with 4-1 down in teh tie break  much more chances to lose than to win, but I just kept fighting and trying.”

When Verdasco saw Ferrer near net, he anticipated the volley, streaked forward on a diagonal line and was near the doubles alley when he caught up to the ball. Reaching the ball was a feat in itself, it’s what Verdasco did with it that will make this shot one for the highlight reel.

Seeing a sliver of space up the line, he squeezed his stretch forehand down the line, watched the ball land and then fell flat on his back, staring straight up into the white lights as the crowd exploded in support.

“(It) is tough to explain. You are with your sixth sense in the ball knowing how important that is just trying to run, fight,” Verdasco said. “When I did the backhand along the line passing shot, I was like even surprised that he took the volley. Of course my reaction was just keeping the point and start running forward…So I start running I just saw the space. When you see there is a little bit of space, you just try to put the ball in. It was like unbelievable.”

The eighth-seeded Spaniard will face World No. 1 Rafael Nadal in the first all-Spanish US Open quarterfinal in Open Era history. Nadal crushed a crackling forhand winner to conclude an impressive 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 victory over 23rd-seeded Spaniard Feliciano Lopez.

Will Verdasco, who is winless in 10 career meetings with Nadal, have any legs left for the quarterfinal?

“I hope that this is gonna give me big confidence, this match,” Verdasco said. “And I also hope to be 100 percent physically after a tough match like today to play against one player like Nadal that you need to be like 100 percent to try to face him, to try to beat him. I will just try to do all the things right and good as best as possible. Everybody knows that he’s No. 1 in the world; he’s a great plaeyr. My record is not too good against him. But I will keep trying and keep fighting to make the first time here.”

It was a crushing loss for Ferrer, who had not dropped a set in his three tournament wins.

The 10th-seeded Ferrer was three points from victory at 4-1 in the tie breaker, but could not seal the deal.  Verdasco cracked a crosscourt backhand winner then took advantage of three Ferrer errors to earn match point.

Speaking in a clear, quiet voice with a half-full bottle of Evian at his finger tips, Ferrer was left ruing the match that slipped through his fingers.

“Verdasco played really well,” Ferrer said. “But from 4-1 up, I play so bad, so bad. I have a chance in the third set and he played really good. I fight a lot, as hard as I could. It was difficult one.”

It was such a ferociously fought match, Verdasco actually apologized to Ferrer in the locker room after the match.

“He told me ‘Well done.’ ” Verdasco said. “I told him, like ‘I’m really sorry.’ Then I told him like you know that we need to keep fighting to be both in the Masters Cup. We have a great relationship. Of course when you lose a match like this today for him, if I lost this match for sure I (would be) so upset and pissed in the locker room. But at the end we are good friends and I want (for) him the best.”

They brought out the best in each other tonight.

Richard Pagliaro is the editor of TennisNow.com.

Spain Takes The Lead In US Open

FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – Rafael Nadal was an avid soccer player growing up in Mallorca and traveled to South Africa to watch Spain win its World Cup earlier this summer. But these days the top-seeded Spaniard just can’t quite kick a hard habit. Winning is addictive and Nadal is hopelessly hooked in leading a Spanish Imposition at the US Open.

The top quarter of the US Open draw is saturated in Spanish colors, ensuring at least one Spanish semifinalist.

Nadal sent new father Gilles Simon headed for the next plane to Paris to meet his newborn baby in pounding out a 6-4, 6-4, 6-2 victory to storm into a US Open fourth round showdown against sometime Davis Cup teammate Feliciano Lopez.

Spanish men set a Grand Slam Open Era record with nine players reaching the third round.

Fernando Verdasco and Lopez partnered to send Spain to the 2008 Davis Cup championship and the lefthanders flicked their respective wrists in scripting Spain’s stamp on this US Open. Verdasco diffused David Nalbandian, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3, 6-2 on the Grandstand court and Lopez followed on the same stage, holding a 6-3, 4-0 lead when Sergiy Stakhovsky retired from their match.

Verdasco will face David Ferrer, a 7-6(2), 6-2, 6-2 winner over Daniel Gimeno-Traver, for a place in the quarterfinals. Verdasco has won six of 10 meetings with Ferrer with nine of those encounters coming on clay. Ferrer won their only hard-court meeting six years ago in Chennai. Playing for a trip to his second straight US Open quarterfinal, Verdasco takes on a capable opponent in the 10th-seeded Ferrer, who knocked Nadal out of the Open in the 2007 round of 16.

“It’s always nice to see all the Spanish winning and being in the last rounds, no?” Verdasco said  “So if you need to lose, it’s better to lose against a Spanish player, then at least one guy is gonna be there one round more, no? I’m happy.  I hope to play good also the next round, keep doing my work and my job as better as possible.  Trying to play the best to be in the quarterfinals like last year.”

Twenty years ago, the Spanish Armada sailed primarily on the red clay seas, but Spanish men have conquered all surfaces now.

“It’s kind of surprising to have so many players in the fourth round,” said Lopez after snapping Stakhovsky’s seven match winning streak. “What can I say about Spanish tennis? It’s always there. And since 15-20 years ago we are winning almost everything, no? Before we were the best on clay. Now we win on grass, on everywhere no? So it’s gonna be one time that his is gonna be over and the people will have to accept.”

Continuing his quest to complete the career Grand Slam, Nadal produced another impressive serving performance in winning 39 of 43 points played on his first serve (91 percent), smacking a 135 mph serve and erasing the only break point he faced.

Nadal has not dropped a set or surrendered serve in three tournament victories and will be primed and pumped to avenge his Queen’s Club loss to Lopez when they square off on Tuesday.

The Spanish players dine together, practice together and hold court in the same corner of the locker room and will share the court again as Verdasco plays David Ferrer with the winner meeting the Nadal-Lopez winner in the quarterfinals.

“We practice more with the Spanish players because they are friends and it’s easier for us to get in touch with them and to call them for practice or whatever because we are almost together every day and we go for dinner,” Lopez said.

Rich Pagliaro is the editor of TennisNow.com.