US Open Men’s Final Now On Monday

The US Open is making a change.

Well you can consider it just making it official.

Much like the last few years, the Open Men’s Final will take place on Monday with the Women’s final on Sunday.

Because of rain, this was the way it happened over the past few years, but now it’s etched in stone.

“We listened to the players and understood we needed to accommodate their request for an extra day of rest between the semifinals and final,” said USTA Spokesman Widmaier said. “The USTA reached out to many of the top players, player agents as well as the respective tours. So far, everything has been fairly positive. The day of rest is being embraced across the board. Because of the nature of the game, and to assure a final that can be played at the highest competitive level, you need an extra day of rest. We recognized that.”

But the ATP isn’t happy about it.

“The ATP and its players have made it clear to the US Open that we do not support a Monday final,” the ATP said in a statement. “We strongly believe the US Open should keep a similar schedule to the other Grand Slams, with the men’s semifinals completed by Friday and the final on Sunday.

“It is unfortunate the US Open response did not reflect our views on this issue and the ATP and its players will continue to pursue this matter in its discussions with the USTA.”

Of course, the Open is going to go where the TV networks say and if CBS wants it on Monday it will be on Monday. No bowl betting odds will say otherwise.

And with the rain a factor now, having the extra day will build in a buffer so the Open doesn’t go any longer.

WTA – Tokyo (Sat): Petrova Wins 12th & Biggest WTA Title

TORAY PAN PACIFIC OPEN
Tokyo, Japan
September 23-29, 2012
$2,168,400/Premier
Hard/Outdoors

Singles – Final
(17) Nadia Petrova (RUS) d. (3) Agnieszka Radwanska (POL) 60 16 63

Doubles – Final
Kops-Jones/Spears (USA/USA) d. (4) Groenefeld/Peschke (GER/CZE) 61 64

Final Facts
– Petrova wins her 12th and biggest WTA title, her previous two biggest coming at $1,340,000 Premier-level events at Charleston and Berlin in 2006 (this one was a $2,168,400 Premier-level event); she is now 12-11 lifetime in WTA finals
– With wins over World No.7 Sara Errani, World No.9 Sam Stosur and World No.3 Agnieszka Radwanska this week, it is the first time Petrova has ever beaten three Top 10 players at the same tournament (and the only previous time she had beaten two at the same tournament was right here in Tokyo four years ago)
– Petrova was down 63 41 and a point from going down 63 51 against Errani in the quarterfinals (she ended up winning that match, 36 75 63)
– Petrova is projected to rise from No.18 to No.14 on the new rankings
– Radwanska is now 10-4 in WTA finals and is projected to stay at No.3
– Kops-Jones and Spears win their fifth WTA doubles title together; this is their second straight WTA doubles title together (they won Seoul last week) and their second Premier-level WTA doubles title together (they won Carlsbad this summer); Kops-Jones now has seven WTA doubles titles to her name and Spears nine

Final Quotes
Nadia Petrova: “After running out of gas in the second set, I don’t know where I found the strength and willpower to fight in the third set, but I did and it feels amazing. This is the biggest tournament I’ve ever won. It’s a great accomplishment. And at the beginning of the tournament I definitely didn’t expect to win the title, because of the back injury I’ve been struggling with. I’m so happy to be here right now.

“There are a few players who have won Grand Slams after 30, and I feel like I don’t want to walk away from tennis without accomplishing the same. I still find the will to wake up every morning and go on the court and try to improve with each day. If it’s meant to happen it will, but if it doesn’t, at the end of my career I’ll know I’ve done everything I could.”

Agnieszka Radwanska: “I’m disappointed – I wanted to win this title so much, and when you’re so close and feel you can make it, it’s always emotional if you don’t. But she was playing really well. Her biggest weapon is her serve, for sure, but also her return was very good today, and I had to serve really well myself to hold my serve. But overall I think those two shots were working really well for her today.”

Raquel Kops-Jones: “We were trying to contain ourselves after we won – we kind of wanted to dance. It’s not a Grand Slam, but for us it’s pretty close. We put in a lot of work this year and it’s our biggest win ever.”

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Knee Ends Wozniacki’s Open

FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – In the pale moonlight over Louis Armstrong Stadium, the sunset for Sunshine at the US Open.

Caroline Wozniacki was sent home after a first round defeat to Irina –Cameila Begu 2-6 2-6. In a stunning loss where the former US Open runner-up was favoring her right knee.

“You know, you always want to go in and do your best no matter what’s happening out there,” she said.  “I tried.  I didn’t succeed to play well.  I didn’t play particularly well, made too many errors.

“You know, it’s unfortunate because it’s a huge tournament, a tournament you want to play well in.”

With her right knee tightly wrapped, Wozniacki couldn’t muster her usual baseline speed that makes her so dangerous. She was at the Romanian’s mercy as she couldn’t catch-up to the baseline shots.

“I haven’t really had a machine out there measuring,” Wozniacki said. “I definitely felt like I couldn’t hit through her today and I couldn’t hit past her like I wanted to.  When she had the opportunity, she went in and finished off the point.”

During the second set and down a break, Wozniacki brought out the medical trainer to check and re-wrap her knee. It really didn’t help as Begu was able to break her later in the set and Wozniacki couldn’t do anything on the return service.

And that makes for the first major upset of the Open. A mainstay in the second week, Wozniacki will be missed. Even though she was seeded eighth this year, her lowest since 2009, she did have the star power to make it through the first week.

Now she goes home early wondering what’s next.

“You know, the year’s not done yet,” Wozniacki said.  “Obviously definitely the Grand Slams this year hasn’t been great.  You know, after the year is finished you can evaluate you can see what was good and wasn’t so good, yeah, work from there.”

“I still have plenty of years in me.  Hopefully I can just turn it around and play even better.”

If her knee heals, she probably can.

McHale’s Navy Attacks In Full Force

FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – Two years ago, people started to “Believe” in Melanie Oudin and her Cinderella run.

This year the New York crowd may be ready to board McHale’s Navy.

Nineteen year-old Christina McHale, stormed to the third round with a straight set win over No. 8 seed 7-6 (2) 6-2 to become the darling of this year’s open.

“I knew that like I had to try,” the New Jersey resident said.  “I couldn’t play like any sloppy games.  I had to try and compete really hard in the second set because I knew she was going to try even harder, too, to get the second set because she lost the first.

“When I went from 3‑Love to 3‑2, I was like, C’mon, Christina, don’t let it get back to 3‑All.  That game was a big game to get it to 4‑2.”

McHale isn’t any stranger to upsets. She slayed World No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki in Cincinnati last month in the first round and then proceeded to beat Aleksandra Wozniak in the first round.

This win may have topped it off for the young American.

“I think they’re different wins.  I had never really, at the Grand Slams, made it past the second round,” she said.  “Yeah, that was a good win for me, too, but I think to have it happen here at the Grand Slam is exciting for me.”

Two years ago, during Oudin-mania McHale quietly win her first round match against Polona Hercog but lost to Maria Sharapova. Now, though, she seems poised to take on the bigger names in the sport on her rise to the top.

Yet, she is trying to not to get too tied up in the hype and become a long term disappointment like Oudin.

“I try not to think about that too much,” she said.  “I mean, when I go out there every time on the court, I’m going to try my best, try to compete really hard.”

Being from New Jersey means this is her hometown match. For years as a teenager she came to Flushing as a fan to watch the greats competed for the title.

Now she is getting the same treatment she gave to her heroes.

“Someone asked me this the other day,” she said.  “I don’t remember a particular match.  I just remember we’d all get here when the gates opened and we’d literally spend the whole day here, all of our friends, running from court to court, trying to get an autograph, a picture.

“It was so much fun for us.”

Almost as fun as winning the second round of the Open and if she beats the 25th seed Maria Kirilenko in the third round, then McHale’s Navy may be in full force.

All Aboard!

A New Martina Hingis Leads The Sportimes back into Action…

She was known as “The Swiss Miss,” and at the ripe old age of 18 dominated the women’s tennis scene, especially the hard courts and tough fans of New York’s US Open. Now at age 32, a reborn, married and healthy Martina Hingis will return to New York and the fans who loved her as a member of the New York Sportimes of World Team Tennis. The Sportimes will begin defense of their 2010 Eastern conference title Wednesday the 6th when they take on The Boston Lobsters on Randall’s Island.

“I love the Team Tennis format that Billie Jean has created, and getting to play on the court in New York, at the beautiful facility John McEnroe has will be a thrill for sure,” Hingis said this week. “I feel great, I am enjoying life, and I want to have a great month for the fans and our team.”

The Martina Hingis of today is much more like the graceful player that stormed to the top of the women’s tennis game and much less like the rebellious twentysomething whose life turned due to injuries, boredom and other off the court issues in the latter half of the last decade. She has a new husband, showjumper Thibault Hutin, a new doubles partner at Grand Slams seniors events (Lindsay Davenport, who she teamed to win the French Open Masters with in May), and a new outlook on life that is refreshing in a sport that usually casts off its former stars for long periods of time. “I have my horses, my tennis and a very nice balance right now, especially not travelling 30 weeks a year playing,” she added.

Hingis will be a Sportimes mainstay for their matches this coming month. Fans can catch her no less than five times at the beautiful Randall’s Island facility, playing singles (including a match with the Washington Kastles Serena Williams) and mixed doubles with team captain McEnroe.

More importantly for tennis, it appears that one of their former bright stars is back and enjoying the game, and will bring that joy to the fun-filled world of WTT starting on Wednesday. For all the details visit newyorksportimes.com.

10 Players, 10 Countries in New WTA Rankings

ST. PETERSBURG, FL – The Women’s Tennis Association (WTA), the global leader in women’s professional sport, announced today that for the first time in its history, the Top 10 rankings will feature ten players from ten different countries around the world.  Eleven different nations are represented among the top 11 spots, and 30 different countries among the top 60 ranked players.

The WTA Top 10 Rankings for week of January 31, 2011, released earlier today, are as follows:

1.       Caroline Wozniacki (DEN)

2.       Kim Clijsters (BEL)

3.       Vera Zvonareva (RUS)

4.       Francesca Schiavone (ITA)

5.       Samantha Stosur (AUS)

6.       Venus Williams (USA)

7.       Li Na (CHN)

8.       Jelena Jankovic (SRB)

9.       Victoria Azarenka (BLR)

10.     Agnieszka Radwanska (POL)

Shahar Peer reaches a career-high ranking of World No.11, a record for a player from Israel.  Francesca Schiavone becomes the first player from Italy to break into the Top 5 while Kim Clijsters of Belgium ascends to World No.2 for the first time since August 2006.  After making history at the Australian Open by reaching the ladies’ singles final, Li Na becomes the first Chinese player to ascend to a career-high ranking of World No.7.  Li Na’s success in Australia promises to have an exponential impact on the growth of women’s tennis in China, the world’s most populous country.

“Our players are inspirational national heroes who transcend sport in their respective countries.  Having ten different players represent the Top 10 rankings shows how truly global tennis has become,” said Stacey Allaster, Chairman and CEO of the WTA.

The WTA’s calendar for the 2011 season features 53 tournaments and four Grand Slams in 32 countries including 23 events in Europe, 16 in the Americas and 18 in Asia.  The 2012 calendar will feature 54 events, four Grand Slams and the Olympic Tennis Event, with the geographic spread of events to include 20 in Asia, 23 in Europe and 16 in the Americas.  In 2013, the WTA Calendar will showcase 54 WTA events and the four Grand Slams, with 20 events in Asia, 22 in Europe and 16 in the Americas.

USPTA show, “Footwork Solutions – Moving Backward & Forward,” premieres on Tennis Channel

“On Court with USPTA” is the cable TV show produced by the United States Professional Tennis Association. In this episode USPTA Master Professional Lorenzo Beltrame focuses on moving backward and forward from the baseline. Footwork is an extremely important part of tennis since a player’s feet and legs are instrumental in getting him to the ball and allowing him to recover for the next shot.

Beltrame demonstrates scenarios of hitting backhands and forehands while moving backward. He then shows viewers how to move forward and take the ball off the bounce and also the more aggressive move of taking the ball out of the air.

Beltrame has been involved in tennis all his life, first as a top junior, then as a professional player and ultimately as a coach. Throughout his coaching career, he has worked with dozens of ATP and WTA touring professionals, including Jim Courier and Pete Sampras. He has traveled extensively coaching players in major professional events including the four Grand Slams, Davis Cup, and Hopman Cup. Beltrame has served as director of tennis and director of athletic mental training at the Human Performance Institute Inc., in Orlando, Fla., since 1996. Prior to joining the Human Performance Institute he was responsible for developing programs at the Tennis Club Ambrosiano, one of the largest tennis clubs in Milan, Italy, and at two of the leading tennis academies in the United States.

“On Court” is a half-hour instructional show featuring USPTA-certified professionals as guest instructors. The USPTA became the first tennis-teaching organization ever to produce and air an educational television series on playing and teaching tennis on the Tennis Channel in 2003. Since then, more than 65 shows have been produced that provide instruction about technique, strategy and other facets of the game. All production is done in-house, which includes everything from planning and scripting, to shooting and editing, to graphics and DVD duplication. All episodes of “On Court” are now in high-definition.

Don’t miss out on this episode. Tune in to the Tennis Channel on Tuesday, February 1, at 7:30 p.m. Eastern time to see the show. Also, all episodes of “On Court with USPTA” and more than 100 other USPTA-produced DVD titles are also available for purchase online at www.usprotennisshop.com.  For additional show times and other information visit www.oncourtwithuspta.com.

Founded in 1927, USPTA strives to raise the standards of the tennis profession while promoting greater awareness of the sport. USPTA offers 70 professional benefits to its more than 15,000 members worldwide, including certification and professional development. With more than 300 days of educational opportunities throughout the year, USPTA offers the most comprehensive continuing education program in the tennis industry. For more information, call 800-877-8248 or visit www.uspta.com.

Lineup For Indian Wells Announced

With the Australian Open concluding this weekend, the next major stop on the tennis calendar will be the BNP Paribas Open, the most-attended tennis tournament outside of the Grand Slams. Once again the tournament, to be held March 7-20 at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden, will feature hundreds of the best players in the world, including the top three players on both tours – Rafael Nadal and Caroline Wozniacki (No. 1), Roger Federer and Vera Zvonareva (No. 2) and Novak Djokovic and Kim Clijsters (No. 3).

Nadal, who had an incredible season in 2010 capturing three of the four majors, French Open, Wimbledon and the US Open, will be in search of his third crown in Indian Wells (2007, 2009), and would join Jimmy Connors, Michael Chang and Federer as three-time winners of the BNP Paribas Open. Wozniacki became the 20th World No. 1 in WTA history last year, and captured six titles. A finalist at the 2010 BNP Paribas Open, she is seeking her first Grand Slam title this week at the Australian Open and is into the semifinals.

Federer, who is the only man to ever win the BNP Paribas Open three years in a row (2004-2006), bookended 2010 by winning the sixteenth major of his career in Australia in January and the ATP World Championships in the final week of the season. A win this week would continue to increase his all-time leading major title record. Zvonareva had a fantastic 2010 reaching the finals of Wimbledon and the US Open, and climbing to an all-time high ranking of No. 2 in the world. The 2009 BNP Paribas Open champion has another shot at a major title this week at the Australian Open.

Djokovic had another strong campaign in 2010, and entrenched himself further into the Serbian history books  by helping his country capture its first ever Davis Cup title with a win over France in December. The 2008 BNP Paribas Open champion is trying to capture the second major of his career this week in Australia, with the first coming in 2008 in the land down under. Clijsters, who has three major titles, including the last two US Open’s, will look to become the only woman to ever win the BNP Paribas Open singles title three times (2005, 2003). She is currently in the hunt this weekend for her fourth Grand Slam title and her first at the Australian Open.

In addition to these six stars, the fields will feature a host of others who have captured titles in Indian Wells including the last six women to win the title – defending champion Jelena Jankovic, Ana Ivanovic (2008), Daniela Hantuchova (2007, 2002), Southern California resident Maria Sharapova (2006), Zvonareva and Clijsters. On the men’s side, defending champion Ivan Ljubicic and Lleyton Hewitt (2001-2002) join Nadal, Federer and Djokovic as former champions in the draw.

In addition to these champions, numerous other top ten stars such as Robin Soderling (No. 4), Andy Murray (No. 5), Tomas Berdych (No. 6), David Ferrer (No. 7), American Andy Roddick (No. 8), Fernando Verdasco (No. 9), Mikhail Youhzny (No. 10), Samantha Stosur (No. 6), Francesca Schiavone (No. 7) and World No. 9 Victoria Azarenka will also vie for the title. Other American stars that will compete include Mardy Fish, Bethanie Mattek-Sands, Sam Querrey, Melanie Oudin, John Isner and the World No. 1 doubles team, Mike and Bob Bryan, who will be seeking to capture one of the few titles that have eluded them in their record-setting career.

One of the new additions for the players and fans this year will be the addition of Hawkeye replay technology and video displays on all match courts. While most tournaments feature Hawkeye replay technology and video displays on one, two, or three courts, none have made it available on eight match courts.

The women’s qualifying draw will take place March 7-8 and the men’s qualifying rounds will be held March 8-9. There will be 48 players in each draw vying for 12 spots in the main draws. First-round play will begin Wednesday, March 9 for the women and Thursday, March 10 for the men. The men’s and women’s singles championship finals will be held on Sunday, March 20. For information or to buy tickets, visit www.bnpparibasopen.com, call the Indian Wells Tennis Garden at 800-999-1585, or visit the box office, 78-200 Miles Avenue, Indian Wells, CA 92210.

Tennis Ledger Has Returned

Welcome Back to Tennis Ledger. Over the past few months, because of some personal issues, this site was not updated the way it should have been, but now with the Aussie Open, we have returned.

Over the next few weeks, we will be adding new content and will be launching our second issue in February. We expect to have live coverage from Indian Wells and also Miami with the Grand Slams of the summer to follow.

So come on back and take a look as the all new Tennis Ledger is just getting started.

Serena Williams and Kim Clijsters Qualify For WTA Championships

ST. PETERSBURG, FL, USA – Today, Serena Williams and Kim Clijsters became the third and fourth singles players to qualify for the season-ending WTA Championships–Doha 2010, set to take place for the third year in a row at the Khalifa International Tennis Complex in Doha, Qatar, from October 26-31.  Williams and Clijsters join Caroline Wozniacki, Vera Zvonareva and the doubles teams of Gisela Dulko/Flavia Pennetta and Kveta Peschke/Katarina Srebotnik who qualified earlier. The world’s top eight singles players and top four doubles teams will compete for the coveted WTA Championships title and a share of the $4.5 million in prize money.

“I congratulate both Serena and Kim for qualifying for the WTA Championships and am glad that fans all over the world will have the opportunity to watch these two incredible players compete for the coveted title in Doha,” said Stacey Allaster, Chairman and CEO of the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour.

SERENA WILLIAMS:

World No.1 Serena Williams has qualified for the WTA Championships for the seventh time in her career and is headed to Doha as the defending champion, having defeated sister Venus in the 2009 final.  In her career, Serena has held the World No.1 ranking for 122 weeks (6th all-time), including all of 2010 season to date.  Serena enjoyed a successful start to the 2010 season, capturing her 12th Grand Slam singles title at the Australian Open, in addition to taking home the doubles trophy with Venus.  At Roland Garros, she reached the quarterfinals (l. to Stosur) and also won the doubles title with Venus. She then went on to capture her 13th Grand Slam victory at Wimbledon two weeks later, passing Billie Jean King’s career number of Grand Slams singles title wins.

In addition to her success at the Grand Slams, Serena reached the final of the Medibank International (Sydney, l. to Dementieva) and the semifinals of the Internazionali BNL d’Italia (Rome, l. to Jankovic).

KIM CLIJSTERS:

“A year into my comeback, making the WTA Championships is a great achievement to me. It’s certainly a personal highlight and goal of mine,” said World No.5 Clijsters.  “I’ve never been to Doha so it will be exciting to travel there as it’s a place I’d like to see and learn about.”

Just one year since making a comeback to the sport after a two-year hiatus, Kim Clijsters is the fourth player to qualify for the WTA Championships and will attempt to win her third year-end title, having previously captured the trophy in 2002 and 2003.  This year marks Clijsters’ seventh year-end Championships appearance, the first since 2006.

Clijsters has had a terrific 2010 season, highlighted by winning her third US Open title, and reaching her “second-career” highest ranking of World No.3 on August 23, 2010.  Clijsters has an impressive 36-6 win-loss record this year and has reached the quarterfinals or better seven times in 10 tournaments played.  In 2010, Clijsters has won four tournaments – the Brisbane International (Brisbane), the Sony Ericsson Open (Miami), the Western & Southern Financial Group Women’s Open (Cincinnati), in addition to defending her title at the US Open.

RACE TO THE WTA CHAMPIONSHIPS – DOHA 2010 (as of the week of September 27, 2010)

SINGLES DOUBLES
PLAYER POINTS RACE STANDING TEAM POINTS RACE STANDING
Caroline Wozniacki** 5615 1 Gisela Dulko/Flavia Pennetta** 7186 1
Serena Williams** 5355 2 Kveta Peschke/Katarina Srebotnik** 5921 2
Kim Clijsters** 5295 3 Serena Williams/Venus Williams 5500 3
Vera Zvonareva** 5173 4 Lisa Raymond/Rennae Stubbs 4704 4
Venus Williams 4985 5 Vania King/Yaroslava Shvedova 4527 5
Samantha Stosur 4567 6 Nuria Llagostera Vives/Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez 3676 6
Jelena Jankovic 4033 7
Francesca Schiavone 3952 8
Justine Henin 3415 9
Elena Dementieva 3327 10
Victoria Azarenka 3196 11
Li Na 3091 12
Shahar Peer 2965 13
Agnieszka Radwanska 2831 14

** Denotes player/team has already qualified