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

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

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

WHAT THE PLAYERS SAID

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

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

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

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

Guangzhou (Fri): Robson Ends 22-Year Wait For British Finalist

GRC BANK GUANGZHOU INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S OPEN
Guangzhou, China
September 17-22, 2012
$220,000/International
Hard/Outdoors

Results – Friday, September 21, 2012
Singles – Semifinals
Laura Robson (GBR) d. (3) Sorana Cirstea (ROU) 64 62
Hsieh Su-Wei (TPE) d. (4) Urszula Radwanska (POL) 61 36 60

Doubles – Semifinals
(1) Gajdosova/Niculescu (AUS/ROU) d. Luzhanska/Zheng (USA/CHN) 75 76(3)
(3) Tanasugarn/Zhang (THA/CHN) d. Han/Liu (CHN/CHN) 63 63

Order Of Play – Saturday, September 22, 2012
Centre Court (from 15.00hrs)
1. Singles Final: Hsieh Su-Wei vs. Laura Robson
2. Doubles Final: Gajdosova/Niculescu vs. Tanasugarn/Zhang

On-Site WTA Communications Staff
Kelly Peng (kpeng@wtatennis.com)

For Results
www.wtatennis.com/page/Scores/

For Draws
www.wtatennis.com/page/Draws/

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www.wtatennis.com/page/PressCentre/

For Mobile Site / Chinese Site / Spanish Site

http://m.wtatennis.com/

www.wta.cn
www.es.wtatennis.com

Tournament Website

http://sports.21cn.com/2012gzopen/

WTA
www.wtatennis.com
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London office: +44.20.7386.4100
Beijing office: +86.10.5910.2700

ATP Board Approves Change In Time Violation Penalty

NEW YORK — At its recent meetings in New York, the ATP Board of Directors approved a rule change and a trial for the 2013 season, both proposed by the new ATP Competition Committee.

From 2013, on both the ATP World Tour and ATP Challenger Tour, a time violation between points (25 seconds) will be penalised in the first instance with a warning. For the second and all subsequent violations, the penalty will be a fault for the server and a point penalty for the receiver. Currently, the rule is a warning and then point penalty for both the server and receiver.

“There’s been a lot of discussion about the amount of time taken between points,” said ATP Executive Chairman and President Brad Drewett. “We believe this modification will give officials a useful tool and allow for more consistent enforcement of the current time violation rule.”

The ATP Board also approved a trial elimination of the service let on the ATP Challenger Tour only, for the first three months of 2013.

“Although this change will not materially reduce the length of a match, we believe it should have a positive impact on the flow of the match,” said Drewett. “We’re certainly not ready yet to eliminate the service let, but believe a trial at the ATP Challenger level will be a good way to test this initiative in a competitive environment and get feedback from players and the public before deciding if it could be adapted more broadly.”

The new ATP Competition Committee serves in an advisory capacity, with any recommended changes or innovations requiring approval by the ATP Board of Directors.

The six-person committee consists of two representatives designated by the ATP Tournament Council, two representatives designated by the ATP Player Council, and one at-large member and a committee chairman, both selected by the ATP Executive Chairman and President.

Serena Wins Fourth US Open

Serena Williams collapsed to the tennis court and then jumped for joy after she won her fourth US Open of her career yesterday. The 15th Grand Slam victory of her career wasn’t as easy as it seemed at the beginning, and Williams was actually two points away from losing her second-straight US Open final.

Serena dominated the first set of the matchup, winning 6-2, and breaking the serve of her opponent, 23-year old Victoria Azarenka, ranked #1 in the world, three times. It appeared that the 30-year old Williams would win the final easily, without losing a set to any opponent, something she also accomplished in 2002 on her way to the US Open title. But Azarenka stormed back to take the second set 6-2, to create the first US Open Women’s final to go to a third set in 17 years.

Williams and Azarenka traded breaks in the third and final set, and Azarenka was in control, up 5-3 and a break. At 30-30, Williams took over, holding serve, then breaking Azarenka to tie the set at five, then held serve again before converting a final break that crowned her the champion.

Serena talked about her opponent being two points away from handing her defeat after the match. “At 30-all I figured I could serve out and just make her serve for it…after that, I thought I could just force another game and obviously never give up. I never, never quit. I have come back so many times in so many matches.”

With her win, Williams becomes the first woman ever to win a Grand Slam title in three different decades. “That’s kinda cool” she responded, when asked about the accomplishment. Serena praised the play of her opponent. “You can tell by the score line that she really worked hard and she pushed me.”

Azarenka also had positive things to say about Williams. “She never gives up…she’s definitely the toughest player mentally there is. She continued, with an upbeat attitude. “I have to be positive, you know, because I feel like these kind of matches, every time I play Serena, it really pushes (me) to be better, to improve, to move forward. I have to be thankful to her for that.”

There were numerous entertainers in the star-studded crowd of 23,771, including tennis legends Billie Jean King and Boris Becker, New York Knicks forward Amar’e Stoudemire, New York Mets pitcher RA Dickey, actors Will Ferrell, Kevin Spacey, Stanley Tucci, Judd Hirsch, and James Caviezel, actresses Jennifer Connelly, Minka Kelly,and Vivica Fox, musicians Redfoo of LMFAO and Mandy Moore, supermodel Tyra Banks, and Vogue editor Anna Wintour.

The Bryan Brothers Claim 12th Slam

FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – This week, everyone is talking about the Manning brothers and their quest for a fourth world championship.

Yes, four. Eli has two and Peyton has one.

Move over Mannings, it’s time for the Bryan Brothers – Bob and Mike – to get some love.

Yes, tennis’s wonder twins are at it again with another Grand Slam win on the resume – that would be their 12th for those counting at home – after beating the team of Leander Paes and Radek Stepanek 6-3, 6-4 to win the Men’s Doubles title.

“We were just thinking about playing a good match and executing the scouting report our coach gave us and winning our home slam in front of all these fans that were pumping us up the whole day,” Bob said. “I mean, we’re extremely pumped to leave 2012 with a Grand Slam title.  I think it’s eight years in a row now we’ve at least got away with one of them, which we’re very proud of.”

Maybe the Bryans are the standard bearers of men’s tennis now with the retirement of Andy Roddick. Although they play doubles – a sport that isn’t really cared about – their success is extraordinary winning a slam a at least year for eight years.

And this is their fourth Open win, on bested by Australia with five.

“You know, it doesn’t get the notoriety that, you know, a Federer record does,” Mike said.  “We have fun slipping under the radar.  Probably get asked once or twice a week ‑ by Doug ‑ but that’s about it.  This isn’t our first time sitting in this room in front of a bunch of media.

“But they’re special to us and we talk about them with our camp.  My dad definitely he shoots e‑mails to us with all our records and they’re fun to look at.

“Then it’s up to you guys to, you know, determine where we stand in history or whatever.  You know, that’s what we play for.  We set goals every year.  This was just another goal that we went after.  It’s fun to achieve it.”

Oh and let’s not forget the Olympic gold this year too, which is just as important for the brothers.

And after that what’s next?

“Got to finish it off strong with Davis Cup,” Mike said. “You’re only as good as your last match.

“So we’re leaving tomorrow night, going to get our clay court shoes on, and hopefully help the U.S. out.”

Like they have done for the last eight years.

 

 

 

Federer Match A Shocker

It almost seemed like an imposter was playing at the Open under the name of Roger Federer last night.

Fedrer lost in the quarter-finals to Czech Tomas Berdych 7-6,6-4,3-6,6-3, making his earliest exit at the Open since 2003.

Federer curiously won the opening toss and chose to receive. Things got worse from there.

Berdych hit winners from every angle on the court, seemingly leaving Federer defenseless. Berdych also had 14 aces.

Federer and the No. 6 seed had split their last 6 matches.

Federer had 40 unforced errors to only 21 by Berdych. Many of the unforced errors were forced by Berdych.

The crowd, very vocal earlier in the day when Andy Roddick played and lost his last competitive match seemed to sit on its hands during most of the match in stunned silence.

Berdych, never a winner in a Grand Slam will play Andy Murray on Saturday in the semis.

Federer Stunned By Berdych

FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – To paraphrase the late Howard Cosell: “Down goes Federer! Down Goes Federer!”

A shocker in the Men’s Quarterfinal saw Czech Tomas Berdych beat No. 1 seed Roger Federer in four sets  7-6, 6-4, 3-6, 6-3.

For the first time since 2003, the Maestro will not be in the US Open Semifinal and went home pretty unhappy to say the least.

“I’m sure it was a combination of many things,” Federer said.  “I mean, obviously I rarely go through matches where I have no chances, you know.

“So obviously I missed some tonight again, but that’s normal.  When you end up losing at the end, you know, you always hope that you made every chance you had.  It’s just not possible.

“He probably created more than I did, and that’s why he ended up winning tonight.”

It could have been the extra rest Federer received when Mardy Fish pulled out of the Open on Monday that ruined his sharpness. Like a pitcher, most tennis players tend to like the regular rhythm of a tournament, but the Swiss Master was forced to sit out Monday’s match when he received a walkover.

Federer though didn’t use that as an excuse.

“I have been there before,” he said.  “Once I had six‑and‑a‑half days off and I ended up winning Wimbledon.  I don’t think this was the issue tonight.”

Federer looked off from the outset, after electing to receive in the coin toss, was put on his heels by Berdych, who blew the Maestro away in the tiebreaker 6-1 and broke Federer early in the second set.

Only late in the second did Federer look like the Maestro, but down two breaks was just too much for the Swiss Master and Berdych eventually was able to come through.

But then the third set came and Federer was able to break Berdych and take the set rather easily.

“I still was down two sets to one, so I wasn’t celebrating too much,” he said. “It was good.  The momentum switch no doubt gave me a chance, put the score back to zero, put him further away from winning, and made the match go longer, make it more physical, more mental.

“Yeah, so obviously I was excited winning the third, but the problem was the first couple of sets ‑ particularly the first one.”

At that point it looked like Federer was going to paint another masterpiece, but Berdych was able to break him in the middle of the fourth to end it quickly for the Master.

“The fourth set all of a sudden ended quickly,” Federer said.  “He played good the last couple of points on my serve I think at 30‑All.  But that’s always a danger with Tomas if you’re down in the score and he can take some chances.  He’s obviously a shot‑maker, so, yeah, it’s dangerous.

“I should never lose the first set.  But anyway, it happens.  Move on.”

It will be a very different Open now that both the biggest story in Andy Roddick and its biggest draw in Roger Federer are no longer playing.

It also gives Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray excellent chances to win the whole thing.

 

Roddick Still Goes Out On Top

FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – After his loss to Juan Martin Del Potro, Andy Roddick was asked to say a few words.

For the first time in a long time, his mouth was at a loss.

“I mean, I don’t know that I had a plan,” Roddick said.  “You know, I was just going to try to win.  It was perfect.  This whole week has been perfect, you know.

“Rain‑delayed match, come back the next day.  It’s like typical US Open.  Played with me in the end, so I guess it was right.”

It wasn’t the storybook ending for Roddick, but it was his ending, as the No. 7 seed took him out of the Open with a 6-7, 7-6, 6-2, 6-4 win today in a match that was restarted after postponed last night.

But it didn’t matter for Roddick. He didn’t think he would have lasted to the final with some younger and better players in front of him. Rather, he wanted to go out on his terms. And today, he did.

Even in his final press conference.

“I was walking out of the locker room, and I said, Man, I think I have more expectation of this press conference than I did the match today,” he said.

“So, you know, like you said, I think it’s at the point now where I look back on rough moments fondly, you know, in these rooms.  I hope you all do, too.  There has certainly been some good ones; there have been some fun I ones.

“There has been some horrible ones both ways, but it wasn’t boring.”

Maybe that’s Roddick’s legacy. He wasn’t boring. Much like John McEnroe and Andre Agassi before him, he knows tennis is entertainment and besides being an athlete, he is there to entertain the crowd. He is always witty and funny and of course never a snoozer.

His matches with Federer were epic at times, even though he could never break through, and he played to the crowd in exhibitions, such as last March when he imitated Rafa Nadal on his serve much to the laughter of those in attendance.

He was no clown prince, though. Tennis was a serious business to him and he never gave up, which is why the Arthur Ashe crowd was chanting, “Let’s Go Andy!” throughout the match.

“I know the thing that is certain is I didn’t take any of it for granted,” he said.  “ I think I went about things the right way.  The umpires might disagree with me.  (Laughter.)

“I was consistent, and I don’t feel like I left a lot on the table on a daily basis.  When I look back, that’s probably what I’m proud of.”

What’s next for him, well that’s anyone’s guess, but Roddick will be humbled when the accolades come down, especially if he gets the call from Newport.

“That’s not for me to say,” he said.  “That’s not my choice.  Obviously it’s the ultimate honor of any tennis player, and that’s something I’d be extremely humbled by. But I’m certainly not going to be presumptuous about anything.  If it happens, I’ll be thrilled and amazed.  If it doesn’t, I’ll probably still be thrilled and amazed with what I was able to see.”

Because deep down inside, Roddick is still that 12 year-old kid who dreamed about playing Ivan Lendl or Stefan Edberg and now that they are his contemporaries, he is definitely satisfied.

“Yeah, it’s funny, because if you tell a 12‑ or 13‑year‑old kid that he’s going to win 30‑some odd titles and become one of 20 for this and 20 for that and be No. 1 and have a slam, you’d take that in a heartbeat,” he said.  “Going back, I would have taken that in a heartbeat.

“There were a lot of tough moments but unbelievable moments.  I mean, who gets to play in Wimbledon finals and who gets to play in an Open and who gets to be part of a winning team?  Most people don’t get to experience that.”

Roddick did and today he closed that chapter in his life on his terms.

 

 

 

 

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.