Thailand Open (Bangkok, Thailand) – Gasquets Wins Seventh Title; Lu/Udomchoke Clinch Doubles Crown

Singles – Final
[2] R Gasquet (FRA) d [4] G Simon (FRA) 62 61

Doubles – Final
[WC] Y Lu (TPE) / D Udomchoke (THA) d [4] E Butorac (USA) / P Hanley (AUS) 63 64

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WHAT THE PLAYERS SAID

Gasquet: “I played against a French player, who is also my friend, so of course it a little bit strange, but for me it’s a title and I’ve had some tough matches this week so I’m very happy to win. The people here are very nice, the crowd was very nice. The night I played against [Grigor] Dimitrov it was late, but the people stayed and cheered for me so it’s more reason for me to come back next year and defend my title.”

Simon: “I was playing some of the best tennis I ever played yesterday [against Janko Tipsarevic] and today I just couldn’t play at all. Thierry [Tulasne] was here to watch, but it was our last week together so I really wanted to win.”

Lu: “I feel very happy, there’s no reason to be upset at all. I’m very happy for Danai [Udomchoke] to win on his home ground. I don’t know how I can explain how I feel, I’m just very happy and I appreciate playing with my friend. This is another experience we go through as friends and I’m happy.”
Udomchoke: “I was at my happiest moment during match point because I’ve always dreamed of holding a Thailand Open trophy in the 10 years I’ve played the tournament. I feel very proud of having done it today.”

Davis Cup Semi-Final and World Group Schedule

WORLD GROUP SEMIFINALS

FRANCE v ARGENTINA

Venue: Palais des Sports de Gerland, Lyon, France (hard – indoors)

Michael Llodra (FRA) v Juan Monaco (ARG)

Gael Monfils (FRA) v David Nalbandian (ARG)

Arnaud Clement/Michael Llodra (FRA) v Eduardo Schwank/Horacio Zeballos (ARG)

Gael Monfils (FRA) v Juan Monaco (ARG)

Michael Llodra (FRA) v David Nalbandian (ARG)

SERBIA v CZECH REPUBLIC

Venue: Belgrade Arena, Belgrade, Serbia (hard – indoors)

Novak Djokovic (SRB) v Radek Stepanek (CZE)

Janko Tipsarevic (SRB) v Tomas Berdych (CZE)

Viktor Troicki/Nenad Zimonjic (SRB) v Jan Hajek/Ivo Minar (CZE)

Novak Djokovic (SRB) v Tomas Berdych (CZE)

Janko Tiparevic (SRB) v Radek Stepanek (CZE)

WORLD GROUP PLAY-OFFS

COLOMBIA v USA

Venue: Plaza de Toros La Santamaria, Bogota, Colombia (clay – outdoors)

Alejandro Falla (COL) v Mardy Fish (USA)

Santiago Giraldo (COL) v Sam Querrey (USA)

Robert Farah/Carlos Salamanca (COL) v Ryan Harrison/John Isner (USA)

Santiago Giraldo (COL) v Mardy Fish (USA)

Alejandro Falla (COL) v Sam Querrey (USA)

ISRAEL level with AUSTRIA* 1-1

Venue: Nokia Stadium, Tel Aviv, Israel (hard – indoors)

Dudi Sela (ISR) d. Andreas Haider-Maurer (AUT) 64 61 63

Jurgen Melzer (AUT) d. Harel Levy (ISR) 64 63 63

Jonathan Erlich/Andy Ram (ISR) v Jurgen Melzer/Alexander Peya (AUT)

Dudi Sela (ISR) v Jurgen Melzer (AUT)

Harel Levy (ISR) v v Andreas Haider-Maurer (AUT)

* being played 16, 17, 19 September

GERMANY v SOUTH AFRICA

Venue: TC Weissenhof Stuttgart, Stuttgart, Germany (clay – outdoors)

Philipp Kohlschreiber (GER) v Rik de Voest (RSA)

Florian Mayer (GER) v Izak van der Merwe (RSA)

Andreas Beck/Christopher Kas (GER) v Jeff Coetzee/Wesley Moodie (RSA)

Philipp Kohlschreiber (GER) v Izak van der Merwe (RSA)

Florian Mayer (GER) v Rik de Voest (RSA)

SWEDEN v ITALY

Venue: Sparbanken Lidkoping Arena, Lidkoping, Sweden (hard – indoors)

Andreas Vinciguerra (SWE) d Potito Starace (ITA)

Robin Soderling (SWE) v Fabio Fognini (ITA)

Simon Aspelin/Robert Lindstedt (SWE) v Simone Bolelli/Daniele Bracciali (ITA)

Robin Soderling (SWE) v Potito Starace (ITA)

Andreas Vinciguerra (SWE) v Fabio Fognini (ITA)

INDIA v BRAZIL

Venue: SDAT Tennis Stadium, Chennai, India (hard – outdoors)

Rohan Bopanna (IND) v Thomaz Bellucci (BRA)

Somdev Devvarman (IND) v Ricardo Mello (BRA)

Mahesh Bhupathi/Leander Paes (IND) v Marcelo Melo/Bruno Soares (BRA)

Somdev Devvarman (IND) v Thomaz Bellucci (BRA)

Rohan Bopanna (IND) v Ricardo Mello (BRA)

AUSTRALIA v BELGIUM

Venue: Cairns Regional Tennis Centre, Cairns, Australia (hard – outdoors)

Lleyton Hewitt (AUS) v Steve Darcis (BEL)

Carsten Ball (AUS) v Olivier Rochus (BEL)

Paul Hanley/Lleyton Hewitt (AUS) v Steve Darcis/Olivier Rochus (BEL)

Lleyton Hewitt (AUS) v Olivier Rochus (BEL)

Carsten Ball (AUS) v Steve Darcis (BEL)

KAZAKHSTAN v SWITZERLAND

Venue: The National Tennis Centre, Astana, Kazakhstan (hard – indoors)

Andrey Golubev (KAZ) v Marco Chiudinelli (SUI)

Mikhail Kukushkin (KAZ) v Stanislas Wawrinka (SUI)

Evgeny Korolev/Yuriy Schukin (KAZ) v Yves Allegro/Michael Lammer (SUI)

Andrey Golubev (KAZ) v Stanislas Wawrinka (SUI)

Mikhail Kukushkin (KAZ) v Marco Chiudinelli (SUI)

ROMANIA v ECUADOR

Venue: Centrul National de Tenis, Bucharest, Romania (clay – outdoors)

Victor Hanescu (ROU) v Ivan Endara (ECU)

Adrian Ungur (ROU) v Giovanni Lapentti (ECU)

Victor Hanescu/Horia Tecau (ROU) v Giovanni Lapentti/Nicolas Lapentti (ECU)

Victor Hanescu (ROU) v Giovanni Lapentti (ECU)

Adrian Ungur (ROU) v Ivan Endara (ECU)

EUROPE/AFRICA ZONE GROUP I SECOND ROUND PLAY-OFFS

BELARUS v SLOVAK REPUBLIC

Venue: Republic Olympic Training Center for Tennis, Minsk, Belarus (hard – outdoors)

Uladzimir Ignatik (BLR) v Martin Klizan (SVK)

Siarhei Betau (BLR) v Lukas Lacko (SVK)

Uladzimir Ignatik/Max Mirnyi (BLR) v Michael Mertinak/Filip Polasek (SVK)

Uladzimir Ignatik (BLR) v Lukas Lacko (SVK)

Siarhei Betau (BLR) v Martin Klizan (SVK)

LATVIA v POLAND

Venue: Olympic Sports Centre, Riga, Latvia (carpet – indoors)

Andis Juska (LAT) v Michal Przysiezny (POL)

Ernests Gulbis (LAT) v Jerzy Janowicz (POL)

Karlis Lejnieks/Deniss Pavlovs (LAT) v Mariusz Fyrstenberg/Marcin Matkowski (POL)

Ernests Gulbis (LAT) v Michael Przysieszny (POL)

Andis Juska (LAT) v Jerzy Janowicz (POL)

AMERICAS ZONE GROUP I SECOND ROUND PLAY-OFF

CANADA v DOMINICAN REPUBLIC

Venue: Rexall Centre – Grandstand Court, Toronto, Canada (hard – outdoors)

Peter Polansky (CAN) v Jhonson Garcia (DOM)

Milos Raonic (CAN) v Victor Estrella (DOM)

Frank Dancevic/Daniel Nestor (CAN) v Luis Delgado/Jose Hernandez (DOM)

Peter Polansky (CAN) v Victor Estrella (DOM)

Milos Raonic (CAN) v Jhonson Garcia (DOM)

ASIA/OCEANIA ZONE GROUP I SECOND ROUND PLAY-OFF

KOREA, REP. v PHILIPPINES

Venue: Chanwon Municipal Tennis Courts, Changwon, Korea, Rep. (hard – outdoors)

Yong-Kyu Lim (KOR) v Treat Huey (PHI)

Suk-Young Jeong (KOR) v Cecil Mamiit (PHI)

Hyun-Joon Kim/Jae-Min Seol (KOR) v Vicente Elberto Anasta/Johnny Arcilla (PHI)

Yong-Kyu Lim (KOR) v Cecil Mamiit (PHI)

Suk-Young Jeong (KOR) v Treat Huey (PHI)

EUROPE/AFRICA ZONE GROUP II THIRD ROUND

LITHUANIA v SLOVENIA

Venue: SEB Arena, Vilnius, Lithuania (hard – indoors)

Richard Berankis (LTU) v Blaz Kavcic (SLO)

Laurynas Grigelis (LTU) v Grega Zemlja (SLO)

Laurynas Grigelis/Dovydas Sakinis (LTU) v Grega Zemla/Luka Gregorc (SLO)

Richard Berankis (LTU) v Grega Zemlja (SLO)

Laurynas Grigelis (LTU) v Blaz Kavcic (SLO)

PORTUGAL v BOSNIA & HERZEGOVINA

Venue: Centro de Tenis Do Jamor, Cruz Quebrada, Portugal (clay – outdoors)

Frederico Gil (POR) v Amer Delic (BIH)

Rui Machado (POR) v Aldin Setkic (BIH)

Frederico Gil/Leonardo Tavares (POR) v Amer Delic/Ismar Gorcic (BIH)

Frederico Gil (POR) v Aldin Setkic (BIH)

Rui Machado (POR) v Amer Delic (BIH)

AMERICAS ZONE GROUP II FINAL

MEXICO v VENEZUELA

Venue: Rafael El Pelon Osuna, Delg. Miguel Hidalgo, Mexico (clay – outdoors)

Mexico

Daniel Garza

Bruno Rodriguez

Cesar Ramirez

Luis Diaz-Barriga

Captain: Jorge Lozano

Venezuela

Jose De Armas

Piero Luisi

Roman Recarte

Luis David Martinez

Captain: William Campos

ASIA/OCEANIA ZONE GROUP II FINAL

THAILAND v NEW ZEALAND

Venue: National Tennis Development Centre (LTAT), Nontheburi, Thailand (hard – outdoors)

Weerapat Doakmaiklee (THA) v Michael Venus (NZL)

Kittiphong Wachiramanowong (THA) v Jose Statham (NZL)

Sanchai Ratiwatana/Sonchat Ratiwatana (THA) v Daniel King-Turner/Michael Venus (THA)

Kittiphong Wachiramanowong (THA) v Michael Venus (NZL)

Weerapat Doakmaiklee (THA) v Jose Statham (NZL)

Monfils and Gasquet Will Be A Fair Fight

Careening into the corner with all the speed of a man vaulting onto the court from a fleeing flat-bed truck, Gael Monfils skidded into a sliding split with so much force a piece of his K-Swiss sneaker came flying off into the air. Too engaged in his passionate pursuit of the ball, Monfils had more pressing matters on his mind: avoid French kissing the blue wall that loomed large in his path.

Monfils skidded to a stop before the collision, but even when Monfils loses a point he entertains.

The 17th-seeded Frenchman fought off Janko Tipsarevic, 7-6(4), 6-7(4), 6-2, 6-4 on the Grandstand Court.

Meanwhile, on Court 11, Monfils’ friend and former doubles partner Richard Gasquet downsized towering South African Kevin Anderson, 6-4, 7-6(3), 7-5, to set up an appealing French fourth round showdown.

Six Frenchmen — Monfils, Gasquet, Gilles Simon, Michael Llodra, Paul-Henri Mathieu and Arnaud Clement — started this day of play still alive in the men’s draw.

Second-seeded Roger Federer dismissed Mathieu, 6-4, 6-3, 6-3, on Ashe Stadium and Fish fought off the 32-year-old Clement in a stirring 4-6, 6-3, 6-4, 1-6, 6-3 triumph to advance to a fourth-round meeting with either good friend and frequent golf buddy James Blake or third-seeded Novak Djokovic.

Monfils vs. Gasquet may well be one of the most exciting fourth-round clashes on the men’s side. Certainly Fish’s fourth-rounder will garner the most attention of any round of 16 match and deservedly so. But if you derive pure pleasure from seeing skilled shotmakers paint the court with impressionistic imagination then the first US Open meeting between the pair is the popcorn match of the fourth round.

Both Gasquet and Monfils are capable of producing eye-popping winners from virtually any position on court and both are fascinating to watch because they will drop back so far behind the baseline you might think they’re heading to Hoboken before dashing forward to net.

“I think Richard is more talented than me in couple ways,” Monfils said. “Like he can adapt more about the conditions.  Then I think I’m stronger than him physically, and maybe a bit mentally, also. Sometime he is like too defensive, like me.  So actually it will be a good match, and we will see who’s going to put like more pressure on the opponent.”

The animated Monfils plays with such explosiveness — and exuberant enthusiasm — he should consider enlisting a stunt double to celebrate his winners as the practice has proven to be a health hazard for him in the past. Monfils’ celebratory leap abruptly came to a calamitous crash landing in Madrid in October of 2006 when the festive Frenchman strained ligaments in his right ankle on an awkward landing after a post-point jump of jubilation in the second set of his Madrid match with Dominik Hrbaty. The injury limited him to one match for the rest of the 2006 season.

Avoiding a collision with the wall today, Monfils used his speed to force Tipsarevic, who was bothered by a bad ankle and took treatment for a strained hamstring, into pulling the trigger quickly in points.

Tipsarevic played powerful, passionate and crowd-pleasing tennis in his four-set triumph over Andy Roddick in the second round but poured so much of himself into the match he was physically depleted today.

“That wasn’t the main reason I lost,” Tipsarevic said. “I’m sad to say I am not fit enough to progress in the tournament. I just couldn’t execute. Gael is a big-time player. He’s extremely tough to make shots against because he gets to so many balls. I had 39 aces in the first two matches and just four today. Yes, I was feeling pain and was frightened a bit about my leg, but the leg had almost nothing to do with my loss.”

A former junior World No. 1, Monfils won every junior major except for the US Open.

An NBA fanatic who is a Carmelo Anthony fan, the 6-foot-4, loose-limbed Monfils has an elastic ability to bend his body into positions previously realized only by cartoon characters and contortionists. He thrives off the buzz New York City fans bring to the Open.

“I love the atmosphere.  I love the city, also,” Monfils said. “I mean, actually the States when I was young, and I was like looking for two things:  One, the Orange Bowl, and another thing the US Open junior for sure, and I didn’t (win either). I fail like twice in final in Orange Bowl.  I came here with injury the year when I won the other three (junior Grand Slams). I mean, here is like now I’m in seniors, so I really want to win this one, also.  I love the surface here; I love the crowd; I love the Ashe Stadium.  So I feel very good and comfortable here.”

Rich Pagliaro is the editor of TennisNow.com.

Blake Storms Into Third Round With Impressive Win

James Blake has delivered dazzle and disappointment in some enthralling New York nights. Honored on opening night at the US Open earlier this week, he’s heard the whispers wondering if this might be his Flushing Meadows Farewell. But dancing on his toes behind the baseline tonight like a boxer eager to beat his opponent to the punch in an entertaining brawl, Blake showed he still knows how to throw a block party and brought a few thousand of his fans along for another memorable ride.

Exhorting the fans inside Louis Armstrong Stadium with the wave of his hand, Blake drew a double fault from a rattled Peter Polansky to break serve then put the hammer down in closing a 6-7, 6-3, 6-2, 6-4 crowd-pleasing win to surge into the US Open third round tonight.

The Yonkers, N.Y. has spent part of his injury-ravaged season fielding questions about his future, but showed he still has juice left in his 30-year-old legs and plenty of lightning in his electric forehand in reaching the third round for the eighth straight time.

Based on the way Blake worked the crowd into a rousing state it looked like he spent some of his Wednesday evening watching good friend and former Davis Cup teammate Andy Roddick lose focus over a foot fault call in the third set and ultimately fall in four to Serbian Janko Tipsarevic.

A cranky Roddick did not engage a crowd eager to impose itself in that match. Blake wisely broke down the barrier between athlete and audience tonight in bouncing in exuberance on his toes, waving the fans on as the 205th-ranked Canadian qualifier stepped up to serve down break point at 4-all.

The crowd responded with a roar, Polansky’s right arm tightened slightly and he sent a double fault beyond the service box as Blake broke for 5-4.

“People  say I’ve been struggling and everything, but I’m still having fun. I’m still having a great time competing,” Blake said. “I still love what I do. Our here, I love it even more.”

As a kid, Blake and older brother Thomas, who was in the support box, tried sneaking into the Open. He needed a wild card to gain entry into his 10th Open and the 108th-ranked Blake played with the passion of a man eager to extend his stay for at least another couple of days.

Hobbled by a right knee injury that sidelined him for two months, caused his ranking to plummet to outside the top 100 for the first time in five years, Blake has looked distracted and disconnected at times this year.

Returning to the place where he’s produced some of his most memorable tennis, Blake regained the buzz in his game and reconnected with the fans all too eager to show their support. The result was Blake turning a two-man competition into a festive match in which he fed off the crowd participation.

“When I have the fans behind me, they helped me get through that at the end,” Blake said. “I’m going to show some emotion out there and try to get the fans involved. I’m going to do my best. That’s what they can expect from me.”

Of course, working in concert with the crowd to dispatch a qualifier playing in his first Grand Slam main draw appearance is one thing, can Blake lift both his level of play and the fans along with him in a potential third-round clash against third-seeded Novak Djokovic?

“I would expect it to be a pretty good match,” Blake said. “He has one of the more underrated serves in the game. He’s got a great service motion, a great serve, one of the best backhands in the game. His movement is unbelievable. I’m going to have to play well, that’s for sure.”

Blake can still unload on his mammoth forehand that sometimes comes off his strings sounding as if its hit with all the force of a steel door slamming shot.  But he will be up against one of the best athletes and hard-court movers in the sport in Djokovic, who induces errors out of opponents with his ability to transition from defense to offense and run down virtually any shot. Djokovic is a more consistent player, which puts more pressure on Blake to squeeze shots closer to the lines in a search for open space.

“If I got out there and I start dictating, I feel like I have a good shot,” Blake said. “But there’s also a good shot that he comes out and plays great tennis and proves why he’s No. 3 in the world right now. But it will be on Ahse Stadium. I think I’ll have pretty good crowd support. Hopefully, I can come up with some of my best as I’ve been known to do before.”

Rich Pagliaro is the editor of TennisNow.com.

Down Goes Roddick

FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – Andy Roddick stepped on the line then tumbled out of the US Open second round tonight. Janko Tipsarevic out served, out fought and out hustled Roddick, scoring a stirring 3-6, 7-5, 6-3, 7-6(4) victory that sent Roddick to his earliest Flushing Meadows exit since he lost to Gilles Muller in the opening round five years ago.

The tattoos that adorn his arms combined with with the sports spectacles on his face make Tipsarevic look a little bit like a biker moonlighting as a philosophy professor. The explosive Serbian stood up to the ninth-seeded American and a pro-Roddick crowd cracking 66 winners against just 30 unforced errors.

“I thought I hit the ball pretty well,” Roddick said. “I thought he played very high-risk and executed for four sets. I kept telling myself this has to have an expiration date on it. Unfortunately, I needed another set for that.”

In the fourth-set tie breaker, Roddick sent a backhand beyond the baseline and Tipsarevic followed with a backhand volley winner for 4-2. Attacking net again, Tipsarevic forced Roddick to come up with a pass, but his backhand found the net and it was 5-2.

On the longest point of the set, a 19-shot physical exchange, Tipsarevic sent a backhand long as Roddick creeped closer at 4-5. But Tipsarevic launched his 5-foot-11 inch frame into a stinging serve down the middle and Roddick flailed a forehand return into net giving the Serbian, whose black beard seemed to grow longer during the three hour, 18 minute encounter, a match point.

Tipsarevic again attacked, anticipated Roddick’s reply and blocked a backhand volley winner down the line to wrap up his second win over Roddick in a major. He beat the former World No. 1 in the second round of the 2008 Wimbledon.

At net, Roddick congratulated Tipsarevic with both praise and a playful death threat.

“He said ‘Well done, man. You played great,’ ” Tipsarevic recalled. “And he said ‘If you lose early, I’m going to kill you.’ He said ‘You beat me at Wimbledon and now if you lose early, I’m going to freaking kill you.’ ”

Roddick says he’s recovered from the case of mononucleosis that plagued him earlier this summer yet the malaise continues to cripple his game.

The 2003 US Open champion played some of the best tennis of his career in reaching successive Masters finals in Indian Wells and Miami where he dispatched Rafael Nadal and Tomas Berdych back-to-back to capture the Sony Ericsson Open.

He returned to New York to contest his 11th consecutive US Open leading the ATP Tour in hard-court wins but looked reluctant to unload on his forehand and didn’t consistently delve into the corners of the box on his second serve. It was as if Roddick was waiting for Tipsarevic to tumble out of the zone, but that moment never arrived.

While Roddick rightly gave Tipsarevic the credit he deserves for producing some spectacular winners on down the line drives, the truth is Roddick simply did not take enough risk and play with enough aggression and ambition when it mattered most.

A  cranky Roddick erupted in anger when hit with a foot fault call while serving at 2-5 in the third set. The lineswoman correctly called the foot fault but incorrectly claimed Roddick’s right rear foot dragged on the baseline when it fact replay showed his left lead foot slid across the line.

An irate Roddick continuously harangued the lineswoman throughout the rest of the game, and was fired up enough to hold for 3-5. Roddick’s problems began before that call as Tipsarevic took advantage of Roddick’s timid tendency to hit straight down the middle.

A half-step slow to a slice backhand, Roddick shoveled that shot long and fell into a 0-30 hole. Roddick slapped a stiff-armed backhand beyond the baseline to face triple break point then bounced his blue Babolat frame off his court in disgust falling into a triple break point hole. Roddick saved the first break point but on the second he was stranded at net and stuck his racquet out like a man waving a cane in vain at a passing train as Tipsarevic blew a backhand pass by him down the line to break for 4-2.

With the exception of a few plaintive “come on Andy” exhortations, the crowd was as deflated as Roddick when Tipsarevic fired his 10th ace past a lunging Roddick to hold for 5-2.

The foot fault call came in the ensuing game inciting an incredulous Roddick to ask chair umpire Enrique Molina “Have you ever seen my right foot step over the line?” Molina shook his head.

“That is unbelievable! My right foot?” said Roddick, who wandered around the back of the court posing variations of that question to Molina, the lineswoman, coach Larry Stefanki and even in th direction of Tournament Referee Brian Earley, who was camped out in the corner of the court.

“Tell me one time my right foot has ever gone ahead of my left foot in my entire career,” Roddick said, seemingly unaware that in fact it was his left foot that touched the baseline. “If it’s my left foot don’t say it’s my right foot,” Roddick said.

Tipsarevic, who had lost only two points on serve in the third  set, fell to 30-all when serving for the set. Roddick had a shot to break back, but Tipsarevic hit a forehand volley winner to earn set point. Roddick attacked net but did not do enough with a volley, Tipsarevic ran it down and rifled a pass to seize the set.

The fired-up Serbian celebrated with a Lleyton Hewitt-esque viche, pointing his finger tips toward his eyes and fist -pumping to his box.

Rich Pagliaro is the editor of TennisNow.com.